ALEC GUINNESS WILL NOT BE IN THE FORCE AWAKENS

HOLLYWOOD – It will be a disappointment to many, but today it was revealed that Alec Guinness will not return to his role as Obi Wan Kenobi in the new film Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Alec Guinness played Obi Wan Kenobi in the very first Star Wars has been a great favorite of fans, reappearing as a ghost in Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, but J.J. Abrams in a video interview for Hollywood Reporter revealed that Guinness would not be in Episode 7: The Force Awakens.

Abrams explained, responding to a question from Steve Guttenberg:

I’m afraid we won’t have Obi Wan Kenobi back. Although Ewan MacGregor has been eager, persistent, some might even say borderline stalkery, we just didn’t feel the character would real fit in with our universe and our take on where we wanted to go. As for Alec Guinness, sadly Alec passed away in 2000.

However, some fan sites have reacted with disappointment and anger at the decision. ManyBothansDied.net published a scathing post that went so far as to call for a boycott and dismissed Abrams’ ‘reasons’ as bogus.

Obi Wan Kenobi as played by Alec Guinness is an essential element to the Star Wars mythos and should be included. As for Mr. Guinness being dead, sharp-eyed fans will notice that so is Kenobi in Empire and Jedi. Far from impossible to have the deceased Guinness play the role, if anything, it would be typecasting! I’m sure his ghost would be more than happy to alleviate the tedium of the afterlife with an opportunity to be part of the most successful, Science Fiction/Fantasy franchise in the history of the world.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be released in December, 2015. For more on Star Wars click here.

5 FACTS YOU NEVER KNEW ABOUT STEVEN SPIELBERG

HOLLYWOOD – Everybody knows who Steven Spielberg is, but do we really know WHO Steven Spielberg is?

The answer is of course ‘Yes, he’s Steven Spielberg’ and here are five more FACTS that the Studio Exec FACT squad have attained:

1.      If you talk about a television program while Steven Spielberg is in the room he automatically gets an Executive Producer credit. The same is not true of a motion picture venture. For that you need to chase Steven around a room without touching the walls or the door or Steven until he falls down exhausted. Michael Bay chased Steven around the Universal lot for seven solid days before he finally agreed to Executive Produce Transformers, a decision he bitterly regrets.

2.      While filming Duel, Steven was involved in a serious accident and a small part of his cranium was removed. For this reason, he always appears in public wearing a hat. His ‘friend’ George Lucas made a cruel joke about this in Empire Strikes Back. Darth Vader is Flemish for ‘The Director of the Sugarland Express’.

3.      During the seventies Spielberg was one of the most powerful celebrity slave owners, a fact that has since caused him some embarrassment.
(CLICK HERE for more on that story). Although a well kept secret, celebrity slave owning was quite the thing and some celebrities such as Ben
Affleck continue the tradition even today, despite the controversy it causes. 
4.      He’s Amish. Although he rarely talks about religion it is understood that Peter Weirs’ “Witness” was based on the young life of Steven Spielberg. 
5.      Although many of his films have been reported to be commercially successful, none of them have actually turned a profit due to the Byzantine studio accounting system, except for The Terminal
For more FACTS click HERE.

MICHAEL FASSBENDER AND JENNIFER LAWRENCE STAR IN HERBIE GOES BANANAS LIVE READ

LOS ANGELES – Jason Reitman’s live read of Herbie Goes Bananas was a star-studded fest for fans of everyone’s favorite VW bug with Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence taking the leads.

For many Herbie Goes Bananas is the apotheosis of all the Herbie films, beating even 1968’s The Love Bug for the quality of its writing, physical comedy, madcap direction and subtle characterization.  In the live read, Michael Fassbender played Pete, Jennifer Lawrence played Melissa and Mark Hamill played Herbie, Captain Blythe and Aunt Louise. The biggest surprise of the night was Benedict Cumberbatch who played Pringle one of a trio of villains originally played by John Vernon. Quentin Tarantino voiced the other two villains Quinn and Shepherd.

Tarantino spoke to the Studio Exec EXCLUSIVELY about the live read:

This is a wonderful new way of discovering and rediscovering films. Herbie Goes Bananas was the fourth Herbie film and a work of delightful joie di vivre, perhaps one of the best live action film Disney made. And yet behind the slapstick humor and the apparently light tone, there is a scathing satire on South American dictatorships and specifically the Pinochet regime in Chile. Herbie’s silence stands for the repressed free press and the proletariat’s revolutionary potential.

Jason Reitman explained how the reading had offered up some surprises.

Pete in the original film is just a boy but Michael Fassbender obviously gave the performance of a grown man. And Mark Hamill’s voice work was exemplary. The enthusiasm which greeted the live reading was fantastic, much better than The Empire Strikes Back read which everyone agreed was a pile of dump.

Jason Reitman’s Live Read series continues with The Cat from Outer Space.

ON SET: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK


April 3rd, 1979

George had come down with a bad cold and for three day’s straight he’d been existing on a diet of malt liquor and Night Nurse. He’d never been much of a drinker and I was a little worried about his mental state, so I told him to take the afternoon off and go get some shut eye.

The next morning I was on set bright and early and asked where George was at but nobody had seen him hide nor hair of him since yesterday. I poured myself a cognac and prepared to send out a search party when I got a call from NASA mission control at Cape Canaveral. They said they had George in custody and could I get over there right away and collect him.

Five hours later I’m escorted to a holding room on the base and find George wrapped in a sheet surrounded by Star Wars action figures. He’d arranged them all into various sexual positions and was currently ramming C-3PO into the back of Princess Leia and making lewd noises.

The officer in charge told me they’d caught him trying to board a rocket with a sackful of toys and, when they asked him what the hell he was doing, he said he wanted to release his little children into outer space. Then he started crying and begging forgiveness for destroying some place called Alderaan.

I explained to the officer that George had been self-medicating and he’d been under a lot of pressure lately. He said he understood and this wasn’t the first time he’d had to stop a director from attempting to commandeer a space shuttle. Apparently 12 years earlier Stanley Kubrick had got as far as initiating the launch sequence before he was apprehended.

I said I’d send everyone on the base a ticket to the premiere and get Carrie Fisher to come over and play a benefit concert if they would release George and keep what happened under wraps. The officer said no problem and so I gathered up the toys, took George by the hand and made a hasty exit.

After that day I never saw Lucas with a drink in his hand again. As for me, well, that was the day I started taking three valium before breakfast instead of two. 


ON SET: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK


April 3rd, 1979

George had come down with a bad cold and for three day’s straight he’d been existing on a diet of malt liquor and Night Nurse. He’d never been much of a drinker and I was a little worried about his mental state, so I told him to take the afternoon off and go get some shut eye.

The next morning I was on set bright and early and asked where George was at but nobody had seen him hide nor hair of him since yesterday. I poured myself a cognac and prepared to send out a search party when I got a call from NASA mission control at Cape Canaveral. They said they had George in custody and could I get over there right away and collect him.

Five hours later I’m escorted to a holding room on the base and find George wrapped in a sheet surrounded by Star Wars action figures. He’d arranged them all into various sexual positions and was currently ramming C-3PO into the back of Princess Leia and making lewd noises.

The officer in charge told me they’d caught him trying to board a rocket with a sackful of toys and, when they asked him what the hell he was doing, he said he wanted to release his little children into outer space. Then he started crying and begging forgiveness for destroying some place called Alderaan.

I explained to the officer that George had been self-medicating and he’d been under a lot of pressure lately. He said he understood and this wasn’t the first time he’d had to stop a director from attempting to commandeer a space shuttle. Apparently 12 years earlier Stanley Kubrick had got as far as initiating the launch sequence before he was apprehended.

I said I’d send everyone on the base a ticket to the premiere and get Carrie Fisher to come over and play a benefit concert if they would release George and keep what happened under wraps. The officer said no problem and so I gathered up the toys, took George by the hand and made a hasty exit.

After that day I never saw Lucas with a drink in his hand again. As for me, well, that was the day I started taking three valium before breakfast instead of two.