Actor Liam Neeson was left stunned at the premiere of his latest Chronicles Of Narnia movie after Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II showed up to greet the cast.The monarch braved chilly temperatures on Tuesday (30Nov10) to make a trip to London’s Leicester Square with her husband Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh to don 3D glasses and watch The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.The Queen also shook hands with the film’s stars, including Irish actor Neeson and Simon Pegg, who had walked the snow-covered red carpet.Neeson told reporters, “I’m told the Queen doesn’t see many movies. But they’re coming tonight and that’s pretty special.”Actor Ben Barnes, who is currently appearing in the West End stage show Birdsong, ensured he was at the event to shake hands with the Queen before racing back to his play.He added, “We didn’t know that it would be a royal premiere so I arranged to come to this and then nip back.”
Hilary Swank struggled to gain weight for her role in new movie Conviction and forced herself to eat food even when she was full in order to bulk up.The Million Dollar Baby star plays an unemployed single mother who earns a law degree so she can represent her brother in court in the film.Swank was required to put on 15 pounds (6.8 kilograms) for her part – but she found it hard work eating enough food to build up her svelte frame, and even gave up her regular workouts.She tells New York Post newspaper columnist Cindy Adams, “I personally have difficulty keeping weight on, and for this role I had to add 15 pounds. My character, a single mom, hadn’t any opportunity to stay fit.”For my own needs, I like working out. But to gain weight I stopped that. Besides, this was an independent film. Small budget. We filmed long hours, long days. No time to work out.”Normally I only eat until I’m full. On this shoot, I kept eating more. Even when I was full, I’d eat more. With nowhere to go, the weight stays on you.”
Johnny Depp initially confused Disney bosses with his Pirates Of The Caribbean rogue Jack Sparrow – they assumed the character was gay or drunk.Depp was confronted by movie executives after his first performances as the flamboyant pirate, who the actor has admitted was inspired by Rolling Stones rocker Keith Richards.He tells Vanity Fair magazine, “They just couldn’t stand him. (I got calls from) upper-Disney-ites, going, ‘Is he, you know, like some kind of weird simpleton? Is he drunk? By the way, is he gay?’”But Depp refused to change the eccentric Sparrow, who has since helped turn the films into a hit franchise.He adds: “I actually told this woman who was the Disney-ite that called me about all that stuff, and asked me the questions, I said to her, ‘But didn’t you know that all my characters are gay?’ Which really made her nervous.”
The director of the upcoming Linda Lovelace biopic feels relieved after axing troubled actress Lindsay Lohan from the project – because the production can now move forward without “any distractions”.Moviemaker Matthew Wilder cast the Mean Girls star to play the porn legend in Inferno: A Linda Lovelace Story, and stood by the actress as she was jailed for breaching her probation earlier this year (10).However, the movie stalled once again in November (10) when Lohan was ordered to return to rehab until early 2011, and Wilder was forced to drop her from the project because of complications with insurance.And Wilder admits he’s glad he no longer has to deal with the scandal surrounding the star.He says, “I feel like 16 tons of weight are off my mind not having to deal with the Lindsay Lohan situation.”We have not heard anything from Lindsay and her camp recently but we wish her and them well. I still think she has great talent and if she respects those gifts then she will go on to show people what she is capable of doing.”We’re scheduled to start filming in February now and are really looking forward to moving forward without any distractions.”Watchmen star Malin Akerman has been hired as Lohan’s replacement.
Nicole Kidman gave up the glamorous trappings of Hollywood to star in low-budget drama Rabbit Hole – she slept on a blow-up bed in a house where the movie was shot.The Moulin Rouge! star scaled back her luxury lifestyle so film bosses could create the emotional movie on a Â£6.6 million budget.Kidman, who also serves as a producer on the drama, reveals, “We lived in the house the movie was shot in, shared the bathroom and had blow-up beds to sleep on. When filming on location in a school, I got changed behind a curtain in the headmistress’ office.”The film, which sees Kidman play a bereaved mother, is set for release next month (Dec10).
Ben Affleck turned down the chance to direct the new Superman film because he didn’t feel confident enough to take charge of an “epic effects movie”.Christopher Nolan, the brains behind the rebooted Batman franchise, is bringing the Man of Steel back to the big screen in a new installment following Bryan Singer’s 2006 offering Superman Returns.Nolan, who will act as a producer on the film, recently hired Watchmen moviemaker Zack Snyder to direct it, and Affleck has now revealed he was “tempted” by the job, but decided to leave the superhero movie to a director better acquainted with big budget blockbusters.He tells Deadline Hollywood, “The one benefit of having done all kinds of movies as an actor is, you learn the pros and cons of being tempted to do a really big movie because it costs a lot of money. With Superman, I think they’re going to do a great version. Chris Nolan is brilliant and they’ve got a great director for it.”I’ve love to do something like Blade Runner, but a lesson I’ve learned is to not look at movies based on budget, how much they’ll spend on effects, or where they will shoot. Story is what’s important. Also, there are a lot of guys ahead of me on the list to do epic effects movies.”Affleck previously donned the superhero’s cape to play Superman actor George Reeves in 2006 film Hollywoodland.
A representative for director Peter Jackson has admitted casting crews working on The Hobbit made “an incredibly unfortunate error” after an actress claimed she was turned down for a role in the film because of her skin colour.Naz Humphreys, who has Pakistani heritage, attended an audition in the New Zealand city of Hamilton last week (ends28Nov10) but alleges she was rejected because movie bosses only wanted “pale-skinned” actors.She tells the Waikato Times, “It’s 2010 and I still can’t believe I’m being discriminated against because I have brown skin. The casting manager basically said they weren’t having anybody who wasn’t pale-skinned. I would love to be an extra. But it just seemed like a shame because obviously hobbits are not brown or black or any other colour.”They all look kind of homogenised beige and all derived from the Caucasian gene pool.”Humphreys has now created a campaign group on Facebook.com titled “Hire hobbits of all colours! Say no to Hobbit racism!”A representative for Jackson claims the director never issued such an order to casting bosses and has branded the incident “an incredibly unfortunate error”.The spokesman adds, “It is not something the producers or the director of The Hobbit were aware of. They would never issue instructions of this kind to the casting crew. All people meeting the age and height requirements are welcome to audition.”
Comic actor Leslie Nielsen has died of complications from pneumonia. He was 84.The Canadian star passed away surrounded by his family at a hospital near his home in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida on Sunday (28Nov10).A statement from the star’s relatives reads, “We are saddened by the passing of beloved actor Leslie Nielsen, probably best remembered as Lt. Frank Drebin in The Naked Gun series of pictures, but who enjoyed a more than 60-year career in motion pictures and television.”Nielsen trained with the Royal Canadian Air Force as a teenager before switching careers to pursue acting.His first role came in 1956 when he appeared in crime drama Ransom! and he enjoyed huge success on both the big and small screen.The star appeared in Airplane!, his first comedy movie, in 1980 and went on to become most famous for his roles in spoofs, including The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! in 1988 and two sequels in the 1990s.In more recent years, the actor appeared in festive favourite Santa Who? and Scary Movie 3 and 4, with his last role being in 2009’s Stan Helsing.Nielsen picked up many top accolades during his six-decade long career – in 1988, he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and in 2001 he was inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame. The following year (02) he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada.He is survived by his fourth wife Barbaree Earl and two children, Maura and Thea, from his second marriage to Alisande Ullman.
Mel Gibson was so intense during the filming of Lethal Weapon, he left crewmembers in tears with his portrayal of unhinged cop Martin Riggs.The actor surprised his co-stars and director Richard Donner with his emotional performance as the suicidal sergeant, and several of the crew wept during a scene where Riggs contemplated shooting himself following the death of his wife.Donner tells Total Film magazine, “The camera was shaking because I’m crying, the operator’s crying. And I start to get worried about Mel. (He) hit (himself) with (the gun)! And this was after the take was over.”
Oscar winner Jeff Bridges prepared to play an alien in hit 1980s film Starman by stalking a friend he thought could be from outer space.The movie star insists on researching his roles and admits he was a little lost when it came to studying to play Starman in the 1984 John Carpenter film.He tells Men’s Journal magazine, “I started going through my phone book thinking, ‘Which of my friends would I not be surprised to find out was an alien? Then I just followed the dude around.”He was a dancer and had dyed his hair platinum blond… He definitely could have been from another planet. He was far out.”