HOLLYWOOD – Benedict Cumberbatch to star in Bill Condon‘s Bang! the film set to chart the rise and fall of classic 80s band Frankie Goes to Hollywood.

Cumberbatch stars as the singer and band leader Holly Johnson, the Liverpudlian pixie who led his group to world dominance with singles such as Relax and Two Tribes. Eddie Marsan is also on board as Paul ‘I came to Dance’ Rutherford. Gods and Monsters director Condon told Studio Exec today:

The film comes from conversations we had while Benedict and I were making The Fifth Estate. I said what’s your favourite song and he said the Power of Love, which is amazing because my favourite album is Welcome to the Pleasuredome, so I said lets make a film based purely on this conversation.

Cumberbatch, however, reveals that the whole thing was a misunderstanding:

I meant the Power of Love by Huey Lewis and the News, not Frankie Goes to Hollywood. Jesus I even prefer Jennifer Rush’s song to that crap pile of an eighties band, but by then it was too late. Bill had got a deal and he looks so sweet when he’s enthusiastic about something. So I went ahead and signed on.

Bang! is due to start filming next August.



HOLLYWOOD – Woody Allen’s new Batman film took a decisive step forward today, with the announcement of a principle cast.

The English character actor, Eddie Marsan has snaffled up the choice lead role with Kenneth Brannagh appearing as arch-villain the Riddler. Diane Keaton plays Cat Woman and Scarlett Johansson … Scarlett J… Scarlett… will play Bat Girl. Woody is also expected to appear briefly as the Joker, ‘Because you know… I used to be  …  I mean I was .. kind of a comedian’ the director joked in his trademark bespectacled fashion.

The new film – provisionally entitled To Gotham with Love – is due to begin shooting in March.

The story is simplicity itself. I went straight back to the original Dostoevsky novels and so we open with Batman in his psychiatrist’s office and he’s worried about the length of his cape. And what that means. And then he’s got Bat Girl who is like his ward, so kind of like his adopted step daughter, but at the same time she has these big bazoomers and he feels conflicted.

What about the choice of the Riddler as villain?

Yeah, the Riddler is a perfect character, because he comes in with these conundrums, but he’s also delivering some killer lines, and then on a deeper level if you think about it, he’s the guy who understands the essential gnomic quality of existence. I mean why are we here? is a real question and he asks it with ever riddle and so Batman will have to spend a lot of time in the library brushing up on his Spinoza.

And Eddie Marsan?

I saw Eddie in Tyrannosaur and  New World and Miami Vice, War Horse, Sherlock Holmes. He’s even in 21 Grams. He’s a great actor, capable of disappearing into his roles and I thought to myself I bet this guy does a really good Woody Allen impression. Sure enough I was right.