Los Angeles, Dec 20 (AP/UNB) — Jennifer Lopez learned a long time ago that in the entertainment business you can't just sit around waiting for opportunities, you have to make them for yourself. It's the simple reason "Second Act," her first film in three years and her long-awaited return to the glossy, modern-day fairy tale, exists.
"I'm quite particular," Lopez said on a recent afternoon in Los Angeles. "I've been offered a couple of movies over the past couple of years but unless it's the right thing and I get the right types of opportunities, I'd rather create them. That's mine and Elaine's mantra. We don't force things, but we don't wait around either ... If no one is giving us the stories that we want to tell, then we'll create them ourselves."
Elaine is Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas, Lopez's longtime friend and producing partner who've worked together on projects like "The Boy Next Door" and "Shades of Blue." ''Second Act," which hits theaters nationwide Friday, was her idea. She thought that Lopez would be the right woman to play the 40-year-old big box store worker with business savvy but no degree who gets a chance to prove herself to Madison Avenue's elite. A little bit "Working Girl," a little bit "It's A Wonderful Life," it was right up Lopez's alley.
"We're stuck on these movies because we know, we grew up on them and we know. They're necessary. People need inspiration. They need to believe in a fairy tale," Lopez said. "I think that is the evolution of the romantic comedy. It's not so much about falling in love with Prince Charming, it's about falling in love with yourself and your life and realizing that you have to be the love of your life."
Lopez, 49, said she even cried describing the story in a pitch meeting to STXfilms Chairman Adam Fogelson ("Our great champion," she said), who agreed on the spot to make the movie.
"(He) believes in these types of movies and believes in women producers," she said.
They signed on a director, Peter Segal ("50 First Dates"), carved out some time in Lopez's busy schedule ("I literally think she's the busiest person on the planet earth," Segal laughed) and got to filming in New York City, which proved to be its own kind of challenge.
"It was crazy shooting in New York with her," Segal said. "I remember one scene we're in Central Park, going down the mall, the promenade with her, you know the same one of 'Kramer vs Kramer' and 'When Harry Met Sally' and there are all the vendors who are selling caricatures, and their sketches are like Michael Jackson and Barack Obama and Jennifer Lopez! It's like, 'Hey can we turn those around?' She's everywhere."
Then there were the ever present looky-loos and paparazzi, some of whom they had to digitally erase from shots in post-production.
It's just part of doing business with Lopez, an industry unto herself. She knows she is tough to pin down, but always makes sure to give her all when she's there.
"Everyone who gets in business with me has to bear with me a little bit because I do so much and I always want to be great when I'm in front of you," she said. "Once you get in the rhythm of that, you're like, ok she's going to show up. It may take her a minute for me to get her but when I get her, she's going to be 100."
She hopes that people find inspiration and hope in "Second Act." One person who already found himself quite emotional about the film is Lopez's boyfriend Alex Rodriguez, who related to being self-conscious about not having a college degree.
"He didn't get to go to college because he went into the big leagues at 18-years-old and he always missed that," Lopez said. "When he saw it he was like 'I felt inadequate because of that.' He's one of the greatest baseball players of all time who has made some of the biggest contracts, but it's not about that, you can feel inadequate being measured up to others because of their privilege and intelligence."
Lopez herself only attended one year of college, but for her, that was a choice that was necessary to jump-start her performing career. Still, she remembers feeling self-conscious and not worthy of some of her successes early on, like becoming the first Latin actress to get $1 million for a role ("Selena").
"I probably didn't realize how important it was. I was so young at the time. And there was a lot of to-do made about that," Lopez said. "Back then you were kind of ashamed like maybe I didn't deserve this. You come from a culture where you don't ask for anything. But now I realize that it was important because our community needed that boost to say, 'Yes we are just as valuable as any other actor playing leading role in Hollywood in a big film.'"
Lopez doesn't like the word "reinvention" — it implies that you have to be something different than you are — but rather she prefers "evolution." And she believes change is happening in the entertainment film industry because women are forcing it to.
"It takes time for us to believe in ourselves. I didn't believe it back then and it happened to me," she added. "Now I'm at a point in my life where I think yes, I do have worth and value and I should be compensated in this way or that way and I do deserve to have a good life and I do deserve to have love... We all are our own activists, we all are our own change, we all are our own vessel to have the life that we deserve but we have to believe that we deserve it."
Dhaka, Dec 18 (UNB) – A docudrama based on the life of Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will be screened at the Institution of Engineers, Bangladesh (IEB) on Thursday.
“’Hasina: A Daughter’s Tale’, is not only a docudrama but also a historical document,” said Md Abdus Sabur, president of IEB, and the science and technology affairs secretary of Awami League.
IEB’s Computer Science Division will arrange screening around 7pm at the auditorium, the institution said in a press release. “Viewers will be able to learn many things about the life of our prime minister,” Sabur said.
Radwan Mujib Siddiq and Nasrul Hamid Bipu of Centre for Research and Information produced the 70-minute docudrama.
Piplu Khan of Apple Box Films is its director and Debojyoti Mishra is the music director. Edited by Navnita Sen, the cinematography of the movie was done by Sadik Ahmed.
The docudrama focuses on the life of Sheikh Hasina, not the prime minister, before and after August 15, 1975.
“There’s nothing fictional here … it focuses on the incidents that took place in her (Sheikh Hasina’s) life,” Piplu said.
Los Angeles, Dec 18 (AP/UNB) — Jeff Bridges may have once been considered as one of Hollywood's most underappreciated actors, but next month's Golden Globe Awards will showcase his life and illustrious career next month by bestowing him one of its highest honors.
Bridges will receive the Cecil B. DeMille Award during the 76th annual awards ceremony on Jan. 6, 2019, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced Monday. The actor been praised for starring in films including "Crazy Heart," ''True Grit," ''Hell or High Water" and "The Big Lebowski," which became a cult classic thanks to his nonchalant, knit-sweater wearing character Jeffrey "The Dude" Lebowski.
HFPA President Meher Tatna said in a statement the Golden Globe winner has "captured hearts and minds" of audiences worldwide.
Bridges, 69, won a Globe in 2010 for best actor for his role in "Crazy Heart," when he remarked at the time during his acceptance speech about "chipping away" at his underappreciated status. He went on to win an Academy Award that year, and also received previous Globe nominations for his performances in "Starman," ''The Fisher King," ''Contender" and "Hell or High Water."
The DeMille Award is given annually to an "individual who has made an incredible impact on the world of entertainment." Past recipients include Oprah Winfrey, Morgan Freeman, Meryl Streep, Jodie Foster, Barbra Streisand, Sidney Poitier and Lucille Ball.
The Globes next year is also adding the Carol Burnett Award, an accolade that focuses on life achievement in television. The inaugural award will go to the 85-year-old Burnett, a five-time winner at the Globes.
In 1983, Bridges founded the End Hunger Network, a nonprofit dedicated to feeding children globally.
Bridges co-executive produced the 1996 television film "Hidden in America," which focused on poverty in America.
This year, he appeared in the mystery thriller "Bad Times at the El Royale" starring Chris Hemsworth, Jon Hamm and Dakota Johnson.
Myvatn, Dec 13 (AP/UNB) — The people of northern Iceland have had their travel plans disrupted with a record high snowfall this December. Roads have been shut, flights cancelled and school suspended.
But for the children of this isolated North Atlantic island nation, the main worry is how the waist-high snow might affect the Icelandic Santa, Stekkjastaur, who comes to town Wednesday.
Stekkjastaur, after all, has a stiff peg-leg.
He is one of 13 mischievous troll brothers, called the Yule Lads, who have entertained and also frightened Icelandic children for hundreds of years.
Instead of a friendly Santa Claus, children in Iceland enjoy favors from the brothers, who come down from their mountain cave 13 days before Christmas according to folklore.
The brothers are loud, reckless, and have names like Door-Slammer, Window-Peeper, Meat-Hook, Candle-Stealer — reflecting their preferred method of pranks or criminal behavior. But they claim to be mostly rehabilitated, and Sausage-Swiper is now keen to host barbecues.
Traditionally, they bathe once a year ahead of Christmas. Every year local actors in Myvatn, an inland community bordering Iceland's uninhabited interior, dress up in 19th-century costume and arrive as the Yule Lads to a natural lagoon heated with water from hot springs.
To children in the region, their arrival marks the countdown to December 24, when Icelanders celebrate Christmas.
"But, but, but — I was told we were going fishing," mumbled actor Hulda Sigmundsdottir, who plays "Pot-Licker," as she dipped her woolen sock reluctantly into the bath.
In the spirit of today's global outsourcing economy, the Yule Lads have also taken on the responsibility of replying to letters addressed to Santa Claus, their foreign colleague.
Soffia Jonsdottir, who is Santa's de-facto secretary in Iceland, says the Icelandic Postal Service forwards all Santa mail to the tiny outpost at Myvatn.
"Santa is a distant cousin of the Yule Lads so of course we are happy to help out," she said. "We reply to every letter that has a return address."
The letters arrive throughout the year and often include a wish-list, personal gift or simply a warm greeting. The Yule Lads, who speak Icelandic, admit sometime struggling with foreign languages.
Fortunately the letters are not delivered to the Yule Lads' home, where they might be stolen by their evil mother, Gryla, said to be a 600-year-old woman who eats children.
This dysfunctional family even has an innocently named "Christmas Cat," a giant feline with the habit of eating children — particularly those not wearing new clothes over the Christian holiday.
"You find a number of parents saying that we have to tone Gryla and her family down a bit," said Terry Gunnell, a professor in folklore at the University of Iceland. "But that would take away some the genuine Icelandic Christmas which is a dark time when days pass with only few hours of sunlight."
Gunnell said the Yule Lads had traditionally been used to discipline children when adults were busy preparing for the holiday.
"On the old Icelandic farms, stories of dark figures kept children from running into the mountains or falling into lakes or things like that," he said.
Parents used to torment children with such disturbing stories that in the 18th century, Danish king Christian VI tried to ban such un-holy tales.
For the next 13 days leading to Christmas, Icelandic children will enjoy favors from the Icelandic Santas as they come down from the mountains one by one, with presents — or a rotten potato in the case of bad behavior.
Five-year-old Anita Heidrunardottir, who was playing with her friends at the Managardur kindergarten in the capital Reykjavik, said she was hoping to wake up to books and mandarin oranges in her shoe in the run-up to Christmas.
"My sister is scared of the Yule Lads," she said. Why? "She does not know them. That's why she is scared."
Los Angeles (AP) — The National Film Registry is turning 30 and will bring in a new crop of films ranging from dinosaurs' return from extinction, a cowboys-in-love drama and stories showcasing Native Americans.
The Library of Congress announced Wednesday that the films "Jurassic Park," ''Brokeback Mountain" and "My Fair Lady" are among the 25 movies tapped for preservation this year.
"These cinematic treasures must be protected because they document our history, culture, hopes and dreams," Carla Hayden, the Librarian of Congress, said in a statement.
The national library chose a few more memorable titles such as "The Shining," ''Eve's Bayou" ''Hud" and "Broadcast News." Others on the list include 1898 film "Something Good - Negro Kiss" and "Smoke Signals" from 1998, along with animated films "Hair Piece: A Film for Nappy-Headed People" (1984) and "Cinderella" (1950).
The library selected movies for preservation because of their cultural, historic and artist importance since the registry began in 1988. This year's picks bring the total number of films in the registry to 750.
"Brokeback Mountain," released in 2005, is the newest film on the registry. The Oscar-winning film delved into the tragic tale of two cowboys who fall in love and starred Jake Gyllenhaal and the late Heath Ledger.
Ang Lee, director of the film, said he never intended for "Brokeback Mountain" to make a statement, but simply wanted to tell a love story.
"To my great surprise, the film ended up striking a deep chord with audiences; the movie became a part of the culture, a reflection of the darkness and light — of violent prejudice and enduring love — in the rocky landscape of the American heart," Lee said in a statement.
Steven Spielberg's 1993 original "Jurassic Park" was a blockbuster and the top public vote-getter to make its way into the registry this year.
Several films showcased the ethnic diversity of American cinema: "Smoke Signals" (1998) and "Dixon-Wanamaker Expedition to Crow Agency" (1908) explored the culture of Native Americans.
Other additions include ""Days of Wine and Roses" (1962), "Bad Day at Black Rock" (1955), "The Girl Without a Soul" (1917), "Hearts and Minds" (1974), "The Informer" (1935), "The Lady From Shanghai" (1947), "Leave Her to Heaven" (1945), "Monterey Pop" (1968), "The Navigator" (1924), "On the Town" (1949), "One-Eyed Jacks" (1961), "Pickup on South Street" (1953) and "Rebecca" (1940).