Friday, February 27, 2015

Henry Cavill to Star in Simon West’s Thriller Stratton


 SCREEN DAILY reports that noted action director Simon West (Con Air, The Expendables 2) will direct Henry Cavill (Man of Steel) in Stratton, which will shoot in the UK and Italy this summer.

The special forces thriller will feature Cavill as the title character John Stratton tracking down an international terrorist cell. The film is based on the first in a series of eight novels by pseudonymous author Duncan Falconer, an ex-SBS (Special Boat Service) commando.

“I’ve long wanted to tell a story about the British Special Forces and finally the opportunity has come around,” Cavill said. “Duncan Falconer’s work is fantastic and we are incredibly fortunate to be working with him so closely. We plan to convert the books to cinema as accurately as possible while keeping them topical. Simon West is a perfect match for this movie with his ability to marry story-telling and action, both of which are essential to do this project justice!”

West stated, “I have been looking for an opportunity to establish a new UK based action character for some time and Stratton fits the bill perfectly. The greatest challenge was always going to be who can play a character like that and bring depth and realism. I have followed Henry Cavill’s work for while now and I cannot imagine a better actor to take on this role. Henry is the reason this project is now possible.”


Matthew Goode Hits It Big With ‘Good Wife,’ ‘Downton Abbey’ Roles

Feb. 26, 2015 6:17 p.m. ET

Matthew Goode at Freemans, a restaurant on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.
Matthew Goode at Freemans, a restaurant on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. PHOTO: CLAUDIO PAPAPIETRO FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

In less than a year, British actor Matthew Goode joined the cast of a critically acclaimed TV drama (“The Good Wife”), appeared in an Oscar-nominated film (“The Imitation Game”) and secured a role in another, equally successful series (“Downton Abbey”).

“It’s been a really good year. There’s no question about that,” said the 36-year-old actor who grew up in England, studied at London’s Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Arts, then performed mainly in theater (“The Tempest”) and film (“Match Point,” “A Single Man”).

Mr. Goode was offered the “Good Wife” role of prosecutor Finn Polmar last winter, just as producers Michelle and Robert King were secretly plotting the exit of one of its lead characters, Will Gardner, played by Josh Charles. He quickly accepted, temporarily moving his family—Sophie, his wife, and daughters Matilda, 5, and Teddy, 1—to New York.

It has been a good run, but Mr. Goode is eager to return to England.

He will pack up his family in April, in time to film the next season of “Downton,” shoot a show about wine with friend and fellow actor Matthew Rhys and prepare for a new arrival. His son is due in August.

WSJ: Eddie Redmayne, Benedict Cumberbatch, you...Is there some sort of British actor boom going on?

There’s so much work over here. I think the Americans are much more open-minded than British audiences. But you’ve still got to pull it off. America isn’t just a couple of accents; it’s a vast country with a myriad of different accents and classes. You’ve got to get it right.

WSJ: Was it difficult to step into “The Good Wife” midseason, just as Josh Charles’s character was being killed off?

I never felt like I was stepping into his role. When I discussed it with Robert and Michelle, I said, “I think it would be a mistake to throw me in as this immediate replacement love interest. I think the audience needs to mourn and I don’t think it’s that interesting.”

So far, I like Finn. A lot of the characters are quite arch. You think you know them and suddenly they’ll do something that’s actually quite immoral. It hasn’t happened to Finn yet.

WSJ: How did you acquire your American accent?

I found a bloke on the Internet…this lawyer. He was talking to the press for a good five minutes. I didn’t memorize it, but I watched him. I could just learn his rhythms and what he said.

WSJ: Will you return next season?

I don’t know yet. We haven’t had the discussion. I might, but I’m all about the family, really. You can’t keep uprooting your children all the time.

WSJ: How did your “Downton Abbey” role come about?

I knew a few people in the cast already, like Allen [Leech] from “The Imitation Game.” I met Michelle [Dockery] a long time ago. We had a really good laugh and ended up dancing the night away. It’d been on the cards and suddenly it came to fruition.

I don’t know how long I’m going to be doing it, but the game is afoot. My character’s a guy called Henry Talbot. That’s all we know so far.

WSJ: “The Imitation Game” has caused quite a stir. What are your thoughts about it?

The story of Alan Turing is fascinating. We see that he thinks differently, we see that he has an incredible mind. Ultimately, he wins the Second World War. And for his efforts, because he likes to make love with men…?

Because Alan Turing achieved this incredible thing, he’s been pardoned by the queen. What about pardoning the other 49,000 men who you condemned for just being gay? There’s a petition you can sign. They wanted to get 49,000 signatures and I think it’s on its way to 100,000.


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Benedict Cumberbatch Writes Letter to Grieving Family of Sherlock Fan

BY TARA FOWLER @waterfowlerta
02/26/2015 AT 12:20 PM EST

Benedict Cumberbatch Writes Letter to Family of Dead Sherlock Fan

After hearing about the death of a young Sherlock fan, Benedict Cumberbatch wrote a touching letter to the family of 14-year-old Eve Shepherd, apologizing for missing her funeral because he was "filming the show she loved."

"It was absolutely unbelievable," her father Mark Shepherd, 47, tells PEOPLE of receiving the letter. "We know that Eve would have been jumping for joy.

"For him to have spent time to write to us and to comfort us in such a very difficult time is incredible," he says. "We knew that he was a lovely man before, but to spend time when he was getting married and was so busy with the Oscars and the BAFTAs and everything else is amazing."

Born premature, Eve underwent more than 200 operations after needing a tracheostomy at just 3 months old, her family told the Warrington Guardian. Cumberbatch had previously sent the 14-year-old a signed picture, "wishing her well and saying that he want to meet her," her father says.

The letter was read in front of hundreds at Eve's funeral service Monday at Padgate Methodist Church in Warrington, U.K.

"I send my deepest sympathies to Eve's family," the 38-year-old actor writes. "To lose someone so young who fought for her health all her life must be beyond endurance.

"I hope they can take solace from the fact that she was clearly much loved and her support of our show is hugely appreciated and shall be remembered.

"I wish I could be there but sadly am filming the show she loved. God rest her soul. With all my love and sympathies, Benedict xxx."

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Martin Clunes interview: The actor stars as the Sherlock Holmes creator in Arthur & George

GERARD GILBERT  Author Biography  
Wednesday 25 February 2015

"When I tell people I'm playing Arthur Conan Doyle on TV, some of them ask, 'Oh, is Benedict Cumberbatch in it?'," says Martin Clunes, illustrating a common blurring of distinction between the creator of Sherlock Holmes and his creation. Sitting in a carriage on a steam train on the Bluebell Railway line in Sussex (the same locomotives used in Downton Abbey, as it happens), with Clunes suited, booted and cloaked in full Victorian-Holmesian outwear, it's easy to understand the confusion. "London taxi drivers tell me that American tourists have sort of heard of Conan Doyle," he says, as we chug through the countryside, "but they think he was a prime minister. Mind you, they also think Sherlock was prime minister."

So to be clear: Clunes is filming a scene in ITV's new three-hour adaptation of Julian Barnes's 2005 novel Arthur & George, in which Barnes fictionalised real events from 1903 when Conan Doyle – rich and famous from the proceeds of his Sherlock Holmes stories, but widowed and bored – took it on himself to investigate what he saw as a miscarriage of justice. Staffordshire solicitor George Edalji, the Anglo-Indian son of a vicar – and the victim apparently of long-standing racial prejudice – had been convicted of mutilating livestock. "There's no way he could have cut those animals," says Clunes. "He was a bookish, disabled, poor-eye-sighted solicitor."

Clunes's wife, and the co-owner of a production company that also makes the actor's enduring ITV hit Doc Martin, Philippa Braithwaite, optioned Barnes's novel – with no real intention, she tells me, of casting her husband as Conan Doyle. "It wasn't written for Martin; it was just because I loved the book," she says. "I didn't know anything about Conan Doyle. I just picked up this book and it was a real case that just seemed so bizarre. And this was before any of the big Sherlock Holmes revivals had started really, so it was a coincidence that Sherlock had become so huge while we were working on this."

"I knew she was beavering away on this and slugging it out with Julian Barnes's agent and trying to satisfy them," says Clunes. "When I read the book I couldn't instantly see what Philippa had seen because it doesn't scream out 'televise me' when you read it, but she's obviously much smarter than I am." Peter Fincham, director of television at ITV, had, in his previous job as controller of BBC1, tried to persuade the channel to film Barnes's novel, but had been told it was "BBC2". "In the way that people say those things," says Clunes.


Tom Hiddleston Takes Acting Very Seriously & 9 Other Things His Nuffield Theater Q&A Teaches Us


While everyone in America celebrated the Oscars on Sunday, the film industry’s sweetheart Tom Hiddleston was doing a Q&A at the Nuffield Theatre in England. The small event was for members of the theater, (who can congratulate themselves on scoring quite a few fangirls as patrons, now) and was dedicated to hearing Hiddleston’s thoughts on acting, theater, and the arts in general.

I’ve always known Hiddleston loved all aspects of acting, but this Q&A really highlighted that enthusiasm. Although the event was closed to cameras or recording devices, thanks to several Hiddlestoners who attended, fans can read re-caps of the questions asked and what Hiddleston had to say about the arts. (And even without video of the event, all this is right in line with his general attitude towards taking acting seriously.) “Tom is seriously passionate [about] acting,” one attendee told me.

In fact, Hiddleston divulged that he initially joined the industry because it had essentially overtaken his life. “I slowly realized it had begun to take up all of my time,” he told the crowd. Although he focused on acting for the most part, Hiddleston also threw some feminism in there, referencing Emma Watson’s HeForShe campaign and reportedly saying, “Women and men should be allowed to be whoever they are without restriction.”

And as if that wasn’t wonderful enough, according to fans who were there, here is exactly how dedicated to the theater arts Hiddleston is.

He Doesn’t Drink at the Theater

According to Tumblr user l0kilee, who wrote an in-depth recap of the event, Hiddleston doesn’t get why some playhouses serve alcohol. “I never understood wanting to be in a lesser state of awareness in a theatre,” he said.

Truth is the Lifeblood of Acting

L0kilee revealed that Hiddleston found it hard to identify with Hank Williams for I Saw the Light, because Hiddleston couldn’t relate to Williams’ alcoholism. “I love my life too much,” Hiddleston said of why it was difficult to understand putting himself in that situation.

He’s Not a Method Actor

Hiddleston says he doesn’t subscribe to that idea because director feedback is too important for him to stay completely in character. But Tumblr user HiddleMemes says Hiddleston admitted he sometimes stays in his character’s voice between takes.