Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Keira Knightley leads the stars at opening of La Traviata - the world's most fashionable opera

24 MAY 2016 • 4:51PM

Keira Knightley at the opening night of La Traviata - the Sofia Coppola directed Opera    

Kim Kardashian and Kanye West revealed themselves as surprise fans of the opera last night: “Awesome,” was Kanye’s verdict on the performance of Verdi’s La Traviata he’d just seen. “My husband always takes me to the opera - we love to go,” added Kim. They were joined in the stalls by Keira Knightley, Elizabeth Hurley, Luke Evans and Diane Von Furstenberg, all of whom had jetted to Rome to see the show alongside a host of Italian fashion and film stars including Monica Bellucci, Silvia Venturini Fendi and Frida Giannini.

Sofia Coppola

Opera is of course becoming increasingly popular, but this particularly glittering crowd was drawn by more than soprano Francesca Dotto’s top notes playing the doomed heroine, Violetta Valery. It was Valentino Garavani, founder of the Valentino fashion house, who sparked their interest when he decided to stage the opera. The beleaguered Teatro dell’Opera di Roma - suffering from a funding crisis - was happy to agree when the designer promised to supply the costumes himself, not only for the consumptive courtesan of the title but also for her friend and fellow seductress Flora.

The entire chorus was visibly thrilled to be singing in draped, pleated and expertly fitted gauze gowns designed by a top couturier rather than scruffy old hand-me-downs. Costumes for Dotto and Anna Malavasi (Flora) were made in the Valentino couture atelier under the eyes of Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli, the Valentino creative directors now the man himself has stood down.

Not content with creating the costumes, Mr Garavani attracted the talents of Sofia Coppola, Oscar-nominated director daughter of Francis Ford, to direct the piece (“Opera. Rome. Valentino - how could I say no?” she’s said of taking the helm at her first opera), and Nathan Crowley who designed the sets for Batman Begins and Dark Knight.

Valentino Garavani

The combination looks like a winning one. The so-called most fashionable opera ever to be staged has already taken almost £900,000 in advance ticket sales against a total cost of £1.3million, according to WWD.

READ MORE: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/fashion/events/keira-knightley-leads-the-stars-at-opening-of-la-traviata---the/

Tom Hardy, Christopher Nolan, Kenneth Branagh Start Work on ‘Dunkirk’ – Cast List and Plot Details


Tom Hardy at the Moet British Independent Film Awards (Photo by Ben A. Pruchnie / Getty Images for The Moet British Independent Film Awards)

Warner Bros Pictures announced filming is now underway on the dramatic movie Dunkirk from writer/director Christopher Nolan (Interstellar, The Dark Knight trilogy). The action thriller stars Tom Hardy (Mad Mad: Fury Road, The Revenant), Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies), Kenneth Branagh (Hamlet), Cillian Murphy (Inception, Scarecrow in The Dark Knight trilogy), newcomer Fionn Whitehead, Aneurin Barnard, One Direction’s Harry Styles, James D’Arcy, Jack Lowden, Barry Keoghan and Tom Glynn-Carney. Nolan and Emma Thomas are producing and Jake Myers is executive producing. Warner Bros is targeting a July 21, 2017 theatrical release.

The Plot: Dunkirk opens as hundreds of thousands of British and Allied troops are surrounded by enemy forces. Trapped on the beach with their backs to the sea they face an impossible situation as the enemy closes in.


Tom Hiddleston dresses down for casual lunch with mystery brunette... as he is tipped to be the next 007 after Daniel Craig 'quits'

PUBLISHED: 06:48 EST, 23 May 2016 | UPDATED: 08:30 EST, 23 May 2016

He's rumoured to be the top name in the frame for one of the biggest roles in Hollywood - James Bond.

But it was business as usual for Tom Hiddleston as he met up with a mystery brunette for lunch in London on Sunday.

The actor was spotted dressed down for a relaxing afternoon in his hometown as speculation continues to grow over the next 007

He's rumoured to be the top name in the frame for one of the biggest roles in Hollywood - James Bond.

Back in Blighty: Tom enjoyed a relaxing Sunday afternoon in London with his companion after months away filming and promoting

But it was business as usual for Tom Hiddleston as he met up with a mystery brunette for lunch in London on Sunday.

The actor was spotted dressed down for a relaxing afternoon in his hometown as speculation continues to grow over the next 007

'It’s not something that’s come into my life yet. I’m not closed to it by any means - in fact, I’m definitely open to the possibility. But you know what they say: you can’t go out and look for it, you just have to wait for it to come to you.'

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-3604742/Tom-Hiddleston-dresses-casual-lunch-mystery-brunette-tipped-007-Daniel-Craig-quits.html#ixzz49cHlZ9tj 
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Sunday, May 22, 2016

Benedict Cumberbatch proves a superb villain in The Hollow Crown's Richard III

Michael Billington
Saturday 21 May 2016 18.10 EDT

 The camera is a close bosom friend … Benedict Cumberbatch as Richard III. Photograph: Robert Viglasky/BBC/Carnival Film & Television Ltd

Richard III brings the BBC’s Hollow Crown cycle to a fine climax. It also confirms that Benedict Cumberbatch is a highly physical, as well as a natural Shakespearean, actor. Watching him wrestle his way into his clothes in the opening soliloquy, I was reminded of his superb performance as the creature in the National Theatre’s Frankenstein. On stage, we witnessed the tortured birth of a monster; here we see Richard acquiring a new identity as he gets laboriously dressed.

Keeley Hawes as Elizabeth, Judi Dench as Cecily and Phoebe Fox as Anne.

Cumberbatch starts with two great advantages. The previous episode enabled him to lay the ground for Richard’s throne-hungry mania. Like Olivier in the film of Richard III, he also uses the camera as a close bosom friend. Having wooed Phoebe Fox’s Lady Anne – an episode that here takes place in a forest glade – he confides to the camera, and thereby to us, his rasping astonishment at her pliability.

In fact, Cumberbatch takes us stage by stage through Richard’s systematic progress to power. The dominant image of the production is of Cumberbatch’s index finger tapping a chessboard, as he works out how to remove the pieces that stand between him and the crown. But it is a mark of Shakespeare’s progress that the dramatist also allows us to see inside Richard’s soul: Cumberbatch is especially good in the eve-of-battle soliloquy, where a character who might simply be a murdering monster pathetically realises “there is no creature loves me”.

Although Cumberbatch dominates the screen, this is far from a one-man show. Judi Dench brings all her clarity of speech and matchless sincerity to Richard’s mother, who views her son with undisguised horror: when she asks “What comfortable hour canst thou name / That ever graced me in thy company?” you totally believe her. Sophie Okonedo’s Queen Margaret stalks the action, right up to the climactic battle, like a vengeful ghost. Keeley Hawes turns Queen Elizabeth into a helpless pawn in Richard’s power games. Anyone who has seen the previous episodes will also understand – in a way that is tricky when the play is seen in isolation – just what the women are talking about when they catalogue Richard’s endless crimes.

READ MORE: http://www.theguardian.com/stage/theatreblog/2016/may/21/benedict-cumberbatch-the-hollow-crown-richard-iii

Saturday, May 21, 2016

BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH: A chilling end to The Hollow Crown, series two, review - 5 Stars

 Serena Davies
21 MAY 2016 • 11:10PM

And so, the most famous actor of his generation finally got to wear “the hollow crown”. In all the fuss over the BBC’s 2016 series of Histories – Aunty does six hours of epic, difficult Shakespeare – one man’s shadow has loomed over it. Just as the logic of the plays’ increasingly savage narrative arc is to give birth to a figure of expansive evil in the twisted shape of Richard III, so that sense of culmination was echoed in the casting.

We were all waiting for Benedict Cumberbatch’s rule. He didn’t disappoint. The shaggy-locked malingerer he’d offered for part two – when there were still several family members between Richard and the throne – was mainly given to literally stabbing people in the back, and looking somewhat wild-eyed and hammy in the process. But Cumberbatch got a haircut for Richard III. He smartened up, sharpened up, and sliced into your head. Speaking his monologues to camera like Frank Underwood from House of Cards (Kevin Spacey indeed modelled his Underwood on Richard), this tyrant made you think like him even as you hated him.

One sequence stood out. Tap tap tap went the ring on Richard’s finger on his chessboard, its paranoid beat taking us to the Tower and to the killing he’d ordered of his nephews, the most dreadful of all the dreadful deaths across the plays. The muffled groans of child-murder were spliced with shots of the actor’s putty-like face, which reformed itself from pointed intent to flabby stupefaction at his own degeneracy - Cumberbatch had never done bad better. Tap tap tap. This was a Richard who knew he could never win, who recognised the horror of his sins even as he was remorseless. When he died in the mud at the end he was the most self-loathing of creatures, as well as loathed.

Cumberbatch as Richard III

But anyone who watched Richard III alone, simply to revel in King Sherlock, was doing The Hollow Crown an injustice. The series had to be seen as a whole, the greatest achievement being that of director Dominic Cooke, an experienced theatre director but a first timer behind the camera. Cooke was working in a theatrical tradition - this tetralogy on the Wars of the Roses has been presented as three plays (the three Henry VIs combined into two) before, most famously by the RSC in 1963 and most recently by Trevor Nunn at the Rose Kingston in 2015. But Cooke understood the urgency to make the stories cinematic, to cut out the fug of reverence that might induce him to prettify scenes with their pretty language. Indeed he has gone out of his way to make his version of these four plays uglier than the originals.

Most of the deaths in Richard III happen off stage. Here we saw or at least heard the lot. The most bloodthirsty latter stages of Henry VI received truly horrific renderings in the middle film, in particular the three-way slaughter and crowning with thorns of Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York (Adrian Dunbar). And what use this graphic horror, this seeking out of violence? One answer, already much discussed, is a determination to make it appeal to the same audience that goes potty for Game of Thrones, the most popular TV series in the world.