When you’ve won as many prizes and honours as I have you find that barely a day goes by without a young up and coming actor asking your advice on how to bag an Academy Award, aka Oscar!
You have to admire their ambition: why settle for one of those Golden Globes they give away with every packet of breakfast cereal when you could have a lovely shiny Oscar? Dear Zac Efron looked on eBay for me and he reckons mine’s worth at least $500 so they’re well worth having.
And the way to win one is to play part that’s based on someone from real life. It’s worked for everyone from George Arliss in Disraeli back in ’23, to Danny Day-Lewis playing young Ronnie Reagan I think it was in Lincoln. And there’s no reason why lightning can’t strike again. When Benedict Cumberbatch, or ‘Eggs’ as I call him, told me he’d got the part in The Imitation Game I said to him ‘Benny, just a thought, why don’t you base it on that clever Al Turing who invented the pocket calculator?’ You could see the relief in his eyes!
It was the same sort of thing when little Eddie Redmayne, or ‘Eggs’ as I call him as well, told me he’d be playing Professor Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything. I suggested he base it on that international man of mystery Austin Powers, and as soon as I saw him with the glasses and funny teeth I said to myself ‘by Jove, he’s got it!’
I don’t expect any thanks. When they win their awards there’s really no need to mention me at all, I’d do the same for any young actor in their position, and I seek no glory for their success. But if they could bung me a few quid just to tide me over while I wait for my cheque from A Million Ways To Die In The West. I wouldn’t say no.
I wasn’t the only person to die in that one!
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THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING: REVIEW – James Marsh’s biopic takes a sappy dumb look at the life of an extraordinary genius.
What is it about Hollywood that just doesn’t get intelligence? It’s never quite so stupid as when it’s trying to be clever. Take this Oscar baiting, biographical picture of the astro-physicist Stephen Hawking, played by Eddie Redmayne. As with A Beautiful Mind, a scientific genius is understood only through his affliction (in this case motor neuron disease) and the self-sacrificing power of the love of a good woman, Jane played with toothsome determination by Felicity Jones.
They meet at Cambridge University – he a boffin with his spectacles ever askew, her an English rose of seemingly delicate bloom – and their love develops through wooden dialogue which has ‘scientist speak’ like ‘Love? How does that enter into my calculations?’ followed by fireworks and a crane shot. When disaster strikes and Stephen is diagnosed with an incurable degenerative disease and a life expectancy of just two years, Jane shows her mettle and the power of her love etc etc.
When Hawking’s Brief History of Time became a massive best-seller, it was fashionable to note that most people bought it but never read it and the film-makers appeared to have followed suit. Ron Howard got Russell Crowe to write on windows in a vain attempt to make mathematics visually interesting. Here, Hawking has a series of Eureka! moments via some visual cue. The boffins go to a Penrose lecture to hear a black hole described in a way that would bore a kindergarten with its simplicity. ‘Not even light escapes!’ – ‘Fascinating.’
Ultimately the film isn’t really about Hawking at all. It’s about Jane, based on her book and going along with many of the recent behind-every-great-man-is-a-great woman series of films: see The Girl with the Pearl Earring, The Invisible Woman and Hitchcock (actually don’t for the last one; it’s sh*t). This is to be applauded, but the film maker changes the narrative to make it more conventional and so her contribution actually less interesting. Where are the blazing rows which peppered the book? What about the fact that the diagnosis came BEFORE the first date?
The performances are all to be praised and Eddie Redmayne in particular manages to make his Stephen Hawking a genuine character that goes beyond the contortions of his disease. Felicity Jones carries the burden of a screenplay that seems tilted forever towards making us pity and admire her, but she still manages to imbue Jane with dignity and occasional flashes of steel. There is a fascinating story here and this is not an awful film. It’s just if you are going to make a film about one of the biggest and most original minds of this last century, you’ve got to be a bit smart and a little bit less conventional.
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LOS ANGELES- Justin Timberlake’s long awaited directorial debut is going to be a film version of Radiohead’s seminal 1997 concept album Ok Computer it was announced today at a press conference at the Los Angeles Hilton.
Timberlake says that he is inspired by such films as Ken Russell’s Tommy and Alan Parker’s Pink Flyod: The Wall but not Rob Marshall’s Chicago.
The pop star turned pop star told the Studio Exec EXCLUSIVELY:
I want to take inspiration from music that changed the era and to some extent summed up the era. And Radiohead have been instrumental at every stage of the creative process. As a first time director I feel particularly grateful to Thom Yorke for his guidance. Once you get through the abuse, there are actually some words of real wisdom immersed deep in the vitriol.
Plot details were few on the ground but Timberlake and screenwriter Charlie Kaufman said that the band would be characters, they would all live in the same house and they would go on holiday to Europe in a red double-decker bus. As for casting, the young director and star of Southland Tales said the band had all agreed to appear as themselves and astrophysicist and – in something of a scoop – Nobel prize winner Stephen Hawking has also signed up for a cameo, although Timberlake refused to say if the role involved any singing.
Shooting is due to begin in April and finish in September, with a release date already set for Christmas Day, 2014.