New York, Jun 21 (AP/UNB) — The Irish actress Jessie Buckley grew up in County Kerry and lives in London but she's lately been traveling so much that she gives her present address as Heathrow Airport and New York's JFK. But regardless of her physical location, her mental state is much the same.
"I live in a lot of disbelief at the moment," says Buckley, chuckling.
The 29-year-old, Killarney-born, bright red-haired actress has quickly found herself among the prominent rising stars in film and television thanks to a string of performances that have culminated in a breakthrough. In "Wild Rose," Buckley stars as a fiery, working-class Glasgow single mother, just out of prison, who dreams of becoming a country music star. The character, Rose-Lynn, and Buckley, have the pipes to back it up.
"Honestly, I can't believe it," Buckley said in an interview on her most recent trans-Atlantic trip, to tape an appearance on "The Colbert Report." "I never in a million years thought I would make a movie. That didn't belong to a girl in Kerry. That was something else."
"Wild Rose," which opens in select theaters Friday, is a star-making film about wanting to be a star that both dovetails and diverts from Buckley's own story. Rose-Lynn is coarse and hardscrabble but when she sings — the soundtrack is littered with renditions of Emmylou Harris, Bonnie Raitt and John Prine — it's transcendent. After overhearing her singing while vacuuming, her employer (Sophie Okonedo) wants to help her get to Nashville. But "Wild Rose" has its own twists on the "A Star Is Born" myth; it's about balancing a dream with the responsibilities of life and family.
In her quest for fame, Rose-Lynn derides trying out for a talent show ("That's for folk who have a curry on a Saturday night," she says), yet one played a major role in Buckley's life. In 2008, at age 18, Buckley walked into an audition for the BBC's "I'd Do Anything," right after she had been rejected by a drama school. The winner would get a role in a West End production of "Oliver!" Buckley didn't win, but her performances captivated the judges. Andrew Lloyd Webber said she possessed "the sacred flame of star quality."
"I look back on the girl who did that," Buckley recalls. "I was so ignorant and innocent and just completely raw in that experience. I was just so excited and hungry to be part of a world that I thought would take at least, like, 30 years of hard auditions and people telling you 'You're not good enough' or 'You're hair's too curly' or 'You look like Hagrid's love child.'"
After the show, the theater producer Cameron Mackintosh invited Buckley to a Shakespeare workshop. She continued studying classical acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Words came to the fore; music receded.
"I kind of lost my nerve with singing quite a lot while I was there," says Buckley, whose mother is a harpist and singer. "I didn't really know what singing was to me until this film came my way."
Several of Buckley's first big roles came on the stage: "The Tempest" at the Globe; Kenneth Branaugh's "The Winter's Tale"; opposite Jude Law in "Henry V"; "A Little Night Music" in the West End. She co-starred in the 2016 BBC series "War and Peace," which Tom Harper directed. When Harper later came across Nicole Taylor's script for "Wild Rose," he sent it straight to Buckley.
The actress immediately responded to it, envisioning Rose-Lynn's battle as a kind of prison break film.
"She was just so enigmatic and tenacious and foibled and feckless and passionate and terrified of herself and terrified of the power of what she was feeling," she says. "It was like this tornado inside of her and the only place she knew where to put it was in song."
Taylor was channeling some of herself in the film. The screenwriter had been a country music fan in Glasgow (which boasts its own, boozier Grand Ole Opry) since she, at 13, was bowled over by a CMA performance by Mary Chapin Carpenter. Yet finding someone who could sing country and do a believable Scottish accent could have proved impossible. But when Taylor first met Buckley, she says she was "radiating something."
"The first line I ever wrote about this character is that 'She's thrilling alive, more alive than you.' When I sat down in this cafe, I was like, 'Wow, that's her.' She just has this electricity humming through her," Taylor said by phone from London.
For someone legitimately shape-shifting, Buckley is remarkably herself in person. She speaks liltingly and eloquently out of the side of her mouth and is rarely more than a minute away from a hearty guffaw, often at her own expense. The star quality Webber recognized a decade ago is abundantly evident, but such stars rarely come so down-to-earth and natural.
"What you see is what you get," said Taylor. "As unbelievably talented as she is, there's nothing intimidating about her because she's so real and such a laugh."
Filmmakers have noticed. Buckley, who last year starred in the acclaimed psychological thriller "Beast," co-stars opposite Renee Zellweger in the upcoming Judy Garland drama "Judy"; she's part of Stephen Gaghan's "The Voyage of Doctor Doolittle," with Robert Downey Jr.; in the spy thriller "Ironark," she co-stars with Benedict Cumberbatch; and she recently finished shooting Charlie Kaufman's "I'm Thinking About Ending Things."
"Someone's going to find me out one of these days and send me on my merry way," she says.
Buckley is also in HBO's "Chernobyl," playing Lyudmilla Ignatenko, the wife of a firefighter exposed to radiation. The success of the show — like that of her own — has caught Buckley off guard. "In a world where we live in sensationalism and Marvel-land and escapist film, it's amazing that people will also respond to a tragic, realistic drama," she says.
"Wild Rose" has had its own second life. Even though Buckley was previously no country listener ("I thought it was a bit hick, to be honest," she says), she's become an ardent fan. She and musicians from the film have off-and-on been touring the film's music, including a song co-written by Mary Steenburgen: "Glasgow (No Place Like Home)." She's opened for Kris Kristofferson; next week, she's performing at the Glastonbury Festival.
Like Buckley, Rose-Lynn has found an audience.
"She learns to fall in love with who she is and falls in love with the people in her life and, in turn, the love for her passion for her music and for her storytelling in song becomes bigger and more powerful," says Buckley. "Maybe you need to pierce the size of yourself in order to figure that out."
Shanghai, June 20 (Xinhua/UNB) -- Alan Taylor, director of "Game of Thrones," announced Tuesday at the ongoing Shanghai International Film Festival that his new film "Gold Mountain" would dig into American history and depict a piece of the story of early Chinese immigrants moving to America during the late 1850s Gold Rush.
The new film is part of a gigantic film incubation project with Starlight Culture, a Hong Kong-listed Chinese film company. The film shooting is scheduled to start and finish in 2020.
"History is my real interest," Taylor told Xinhua, explaining how he found this "Chinese story." His wife is a Chinese-American and has always wanted to tell the story of the early Chinese immigrants' integration into the United States.
The film "Gold Mountain" will tell the story of a shrewd widow who helped smuggle an unruly Chinese girl into the U.S. to enter into a fiercely violent world dominated by male chauvinism. Facing their life battle together, the two women finally establish a profound relationship.
"You will be surprised when you open the history books of the United States. The history of those early Chinese immigrants in the Gold Rush who helped build the Pacific Railway is almost completely wiped out," said Taylor. "But even for me, the subject is too heavy to handle. It was not until I found these two women, so subtle and so real, that I convinced myself to do this movie."
He said the film is both "very American" and "very Chinese." It depicts the typical American West, with early Chinese immigrants as the leading characters. In addition, Chinese Malaysian Hollywood movie star Michelle Yeoh will join this film as co-producer.
"History is grand. But fundamentally my film is only about human nature. It is not painful nor agonizing, but very uplifting when you see how people turn from 'tough' to 'soft' and make deep connections with their souls and hearts," he said.
As a television and film director, Taylor is known for work in TV shows such as "Game of Thrones." He has also directed films including "Thor: The Dark World" and "Terminator: Genisys."
Starlight also announced Tuesday in Shanghai a package of Sino-U.S. film incubation plans, which includes Roland Emmerich's "Rebirth," "Empress Wu" of Robert Zemeckis, "Bad Boys" of Sylvester Stallone.
Starlight has developed its business in Hollywood in recent years. It has signed up with Hollywood directors including Roland Emmerich, Alan Taylor, Robert Zemeckis, Gary Gary and Jonathan Liebesman, according to Peter Luo, CEO of Starlight.
Lately, the company has jointly invested in and produced Hollywood mainstream productions such as "Crazy Rich Asians."
Dhaka, June 20 (UNB)- Two beluga whales from a Shanghai aquarium have arrived in Iceland to be taken to a whale sanctuary there, reports BBC.
The 12-year-old whales flew halfway across the globe in special containers.
Born in the wild, Little Grey and Little White were captured at around two years old and performed for years as an attraction.
Belugas are thought to suffer in captivity, and there had been mounting pressure on the British firm that runs the aquarium.
Merlin Entertainment, which also runs Legoland and Madame Tussauds, bought Changfeng Ocean World Zoo where the two whales lived in 2012, and started looking for a home for them.
Their new sanctuary is some 6,000 miles (9,656 km) from Shanghai, in Klettsvik Bay, on the Icelandic island of Heimaey. Their long voyage will also include travel by truck, and a ferry.
"We have been working with Little White and Little Grey for the last 18 months to make sure that they will be prepared and ready for the long journey," said Andy Bool, head of the British conservation charity Sea Life Trust.
The bay is the world's first open water beluga sanctuary, and will "provide a more natural sub-Arctic environment and wilder habitat for these amazing whales to call home," the charity said.
The same bay was previously home to another showbiz whale, the orca Keiko from the Free Willy film franchise.
He was released in 2002, but died of pneumonia 18 months later after swimming to Norway and making his home there.
This time the bay, which measures 32,000 sq m (104,900 sq ft), will be netted off to protect the two female whales. It is thought Little Grey and Little White would not survive on their own in the wild.
There are plans for a visitors' centre, and tourists will be able to view the whales from boats.
The two will be studied by scientists to see how they adapt to their new home. If they thrive, they could live to between 40 and 60 years old.
Depending on how Little Grey and Little White fare, the sanctuary could become home to other belugas as well.
Dhaka, Juine 21 (UNB) - A man has been arrested at Warner Brothers Studios in Leavesden after an alleged incident that left another man taken to hospital with a neck injury, reports BBC.
A spokesperson for Hertfordshire Constabulary said the unnamed man was "arrested on suspicion of wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm".
According to The Mirror, the incident occurred on the set of a new film version of Roald Dahl's The Witches.
Leavesden was where the eight films in the Harry Potter series were shot.
Part of the lot is now taken by the Making of Harry Potter tourist attraction.
According to Hertfordshire Constabulary, police were called around 12:35 BST on Wednesday to reports of an incident.
The two men involved are believed to be known to each other.
"Enquiries are continuing at this time to establish the circumstances around what happened," said its spokesperson.
Anne Hathaway, Octavia Spencer and Stanley Tucci are among the stars of The Witches, due out in 2020.
New York, June 20 (AP/UNB) — Like “Casablanca,” ″Toy Story 3″ concluded with the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
It’s an ending that has very possibly produced an ocean’s worth of tears, not to mention countless awkward moments for children mildly embarrassed by their parents suddenly turning into waterfalls. “Um, dad, it’s a movie about a toy cowboy.”
But the sentimental crescendo of the “Toy Story” trilogy was real. The films’ young boy, the one whose name was emblazed on the bottom of Woody’s foot, had grown up. Andy was going to college. The fate most feared by the toys — boxed up in the attic — was miraculously avoided when Andy gifted his beloved playthings to a young girl named Bonnie.
As he drove off, after one last imaginative romp in the yard, Woody watched Andy go like a wistful father. After three brilliant and heartfelt parenting parables that ruminated on aging, loss and impermanence alongside the pitfalls of arcade claw machines and toddler daycare centers, this was the final goodbye. Goodbye to Andy, yes, but goodbye to childhood. “So long, partner,” said Woody.
The finale was immediately received as a classic Hollywood ending. “The chances of topping this one are infinitesimal,” New York magazine wrote at the time. “Toy Story 3″ won the Oscar for best animated film. Everyone, including the film’s makers and cast, believed they had neatly, perfectly wrapped up their trilogy.
Tom Hanks and Tim Allen discuss the generational success of the 'Toy Story' franchise, as well as making a fourth movie and carrying the story forward. Also, Tony Hale talks about his new character. (June 18)
“From the inside, ‘Toy Story 3’ was definitely the end of it,” said Tim Allen, the voice of Buzz Lightyear. “That one scene was it.”
But, of course, that wasn’t it. “Toy Story” has returned, nine years later, with “Toy Story 4.” In today’s movie business, nothing is safe from ongoing sequelizing, not even a story about the very necessity of letting go and making peace with the passage of time.
That movie franchises have been extended well beyond their natural cycle is nothing new. But “Toy Story 4” may mark when Hollywood officially gave up saying goodbye.
It’s probably a fool’s errand to wish for prudence from a corporate-made, multi-billion dollar property that was, from the outset, designed to sell as many toys as it jerked tears. “Toy Story 4,” which opens in theaters Friday, is widely expected to make around $150 million over the weekend and gross close to $1 billion over its worldwide run, just like “Toy Story 3″ did.
And, for some, Woody is again coming to rescue. The Walt Disney Co. release will break a spell of underperforming sequels . The box office has recently slumped about 7% below last year, partly due to a string of disappointing returns for badly reviewed (or just plain bad) sequels: “Dark Phoenix,” ″The Secret Life of Pets 2,” ″Men in Black: International.”
As Jeff Bock, senior box office analyst for Exhibitor Relations notes, it’s difficult for any studio, even Disney, to leave $1 billion on the table.
“Audiences might not actually need ‘Toy Story 4’ but theaters desperately need it,” said Bock. “It’s very reflective of where we are today with sequels and continuing sagas. We’re at a point where three is no longer the magic number. It’s beyond that.”
It would be an unfair Buzz kill to call “Toy Story 4” simply a blatant cash grab. Quality control is too high at Pixar to give us a “Toy Story” sequel on par with, say, “Jaws: The Revenge,” or something that we collectively pretend never existed, like “Godfather 3.” ″Toy Story 4″ is quite good, critics say . Though many reviewers have questioned its necessity, the film rates 99% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.
Directed by veteran Pixar animator and first-time feature filmmaker Josh Cooley, “Toy Story 4” finds Woody and the gang now settled in with Bonnie. But Woody slips into another existential crisis of self-worth when Bonnie favors other toys, especially one she quickly crafted herself out of a spork and some kindergarten trash. She names him Forky, a neurotic character voiced by Tony Hale. When Forky goes missing on a family road trip, the resulting adventure forces Woody to confront the possibility of not only post-Andy life, but post-kid life.
It’s become standard business for franchises to slowly abandon the numbers that might too bluntly remind fans of their lengthy runs. The “Fast and the Furious” series understandably chose to title its upcoming installment “Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbes and Shaw” over its almost shocking actual numerical value: “Fast & Furious 9.” Pixar, at least, hasn’t shied away from where this “Toy Story” fits in, even if its lead actor would have gone a different direction.
“It really should be called ’Toy Story: Forky,” said Tom Hanks. “Because it’s all about the Forky.”
Sequels have always been a somewhat touchy subject for Pixar. Since its groundbreaking first feature, 1995′s “Toy Story” (the first full-length computer generated animated movie), Pixar has, for much of its existence, eschewed repetition for originality. In his 2014 book “Creativity, Inc.” , Pixar co-founder Ed Catmull called quality “the best business plan” and suggested sequels can lead to “creative bankruptcy.”
Lately, things have been changing at Pixar, and not just because of a recent preponderance of sequels including “Finding Dory,” ″Cars 3″ and “Incredibles 2.” Former Pixar chief John Lasseter, who directed the first two “Toy Story” films, exited the company last year after acknowledging “missteps” in his behavior with female staff members. In 2017, Rashida Jones departed “Toy Story 4,” which she was helping to write, and said then that the company had “a culture where women and people of color do not have an equal creative voice.”
“Inside Out” and “Up” director Pete Docter, who has a story credit and is an executive producer on “Toy Story 4,” last year took over as Pixar’s chief creative officer. The studio’s next two releases will be originals: “Onward” next March and Docter’s own “Soul,” in June 2020.
And given Pixar’s unique stature as one of Hollywood’s few remaining factories of fresh storytelling capable of reaching mass audiences (its last original, “Coco,” grossed more than $800 million), some are rooting for “Toy Story 4″ to — really this time — be Woody’s last go-around. Not because they won’t watch another one, but because they will. In a movie world of endless “Star Wars” episodes and even actors who can be digitally resurrected, closure — the kind preached in “Toy Story 3″ — is increasingly a hard-to-come-by commodity. Not everything is meant to keep going for infinity and beyond.