Sep 23
2021

Sad news today. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Roger Michell, the British stage, television and film director whose movies include the hit romcom Notting Hill, has died. He was 65. Michell’s family announced his death on Wednesday in a statement on Thursday. They didn’t disclose the place or cause of death. “It is with great sadness that the family of Roger Michell, director, writer and father of Harry, Rosie, Maggie and Sparrow, announce his death at the age of 65 on Sept. 22,” said the statement released through Michell’s publicist. Michell directed for British theaters including the Royal Court, the National Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company, and made acclaimed television series in the 1990s, including adaptations of Hanif Kureishi’s novel The Buddha of Suburbia and Jane Austen’s Persuasion. On the big screen, his biggest commercial hit was Notting Hill, the Richard Curtis-penned comedy about an awkward romance between a movie star played by Julia Roberts and a London bookshop owner, played by Hugh Grant. After its release in 1999 it was for a time the highest-grossing British film in history, and Michell followed it with Hollywood thriller Changing Lanes, starring Ben Affleck and Samuel L. Jackson. But he largely made films in Britain, including Enduring Love, based on an Ian McEwan novel, and Venus, which gained Peter O’Toole an Academy Award nomination. Later films included Hyde Park on Hudson, a historical drama starring Bill Murray as President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and the upcoming The Duke, a real-life art heist story starring Jim Broadbent and Helen Mirren. Michell is survived by ex-wives Kate Buffery and Anna Maxwell Martin, both actors, and by his four children.

Sep 23
2021

Dame Helen Mirren and legendary comic actor Stephen Fry are to join a Best of British cast to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. A spectacular equestrian display showcasing horses from across the globe will also be staged in events across four nights in the grounds of Windsor Castle next May. A Gallop Through History has been billed as a “personal tribute to our monarchy” and will feature more than 500 horses and over a thousand dancers and musicians taking the audience on a journey from Elizabeth I to the Queen. The monarch has a life-long love of all things equestrian and is being kept informed by organisers of their plans, and her ponies and horses are expected to feature in the event, with royal fans hoping to see members of the royal family taking part. Marking the monarch’s record breaking 70 years on the throne, volunteers from across the UK and all corners of the Commonwealth will create a special pageant along the streets of London. An extended bank holiday, from Thursday 2nd to Sunday 5th June, will begin with Trooping the Colour, which will be staged in full for the first time since the pandemic, followed by a service of thanksgiving for the Queen’s reign at St Paul’s Cathedral on the Friday. On Saturday, the Queen will be accompanied by members of her family at The Derby at Epsom Downs with a special concert outside Buckingham Palace in the evening. The BBC will stage and broadcast the live concert that will bring together some of the world’s biggest entertainment stars to celebrate the most significant and joyous moments from The Queen’s seven decade reign.

Sep 17
2021

According to Variety, Helen Mirren is set to host a four-part “Harry Potter” wizarding world competition event in celebration of the 20th anniversary of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” The event, officially titled “Harry Potter: Hogwarts Tournament of Houses,” will put superfans of the beloved book and film series to the test as they use their “Harry Potter” knowledge to compete for the coveted House Cup. The special will feature hundreds of “Harry Potter” trivia questions and include a few special guest appearances. Although a date for the event has yet to be announced, it will be simulcast on Cartoon Network’s ACME Night and TBS and will then be available to stream on HBO Max. “I knew someday I’d get a ‘Harry Potter’ role, and I’m so pleased to take part in the 20-year film celebration,” Mirren said in a statement. “The films inspired such enchantment and wonder for so many of us, and it will be such a treat to reignite that magic for the countless fans who continue to revel in this spellbinding world.”

The special is set to film this month and will premiere later this year.

Sep 14
2021

To mark the 700th anniversary of Dante’s death, Milan-based theatre producer Julia Holden, collaborating with award-winning UK playwright Justin Butcher, is curating a 24-hour marathon live reading in Florence of the whole of the Divine Comedy, in the acclaimed English translation by Robert and Jean Hollander. According to The Florentine, Speaking Dante will take place with a live audience and live-streamed, with contributors including Ralph Fiennes, Helen Mirren, Adjoa Andoh, Jessie Buckley, Dominic West, Stephen Dillane, Rupert Everett, Ian McDiarmid, Tim McInnerny and John Nettles, and a team of top UK and international theatre professionals. It’s a fitting tribute to the Florentine poet’s astonishing legacy and the enduring power of The Divine Comedy. Speaking Dante will be hosted and live-streamed by the Cinema La Compagnia, in partnership with the Teatro della Pergola, the City of Florence, The British Institute in Florence and The Florentine, from 7pm CET on Monday, September 13 to 7pm CET on Tuesday, September 14.

Echoing the theme of exile in Dante’s life and work, Speaking Dante will be a charity fundraising event, with all proceeds going to support projects working with refugees and migrants in Italy, specifically in Florence. The charity partner is the Community of Sant’Egidio, whose pioneering work supporting refugees and migrants in Italy includes the Schools of Language & Culture, the Humanitarian Corridors Project, the Genti di Pace (People of Peace) project and work with the Roma people. As a celebration of the first great work of Italian literature written in the vernacular, Speaking Dante will raise funds for the Schools of Language & Culture, Community of Sant’Egidio, Florence, an empowering project enabling refugees and migrants to learn the Italian language and engage with Italian culture. The founder of the Community of Sant’Egidio is the internationally renowned academic, politician and human rights activist, Professor Andrea Riccardi, who is also the current president of Società Dante Alighieri.

Jul 14
2021

According to Deadline, Bleecker Street and ShivHans have secured U.S. rights to Golda by Oscar-winning director Guy Nattiv’s (Skin), about Israel’s legendary and only female Prime Minister, Golda Meir. Helen Mirren will star as “The Iron Lady of Israel.” The film shoots in October in Europe. Written by Nicholas Martin (Florence Foster Jenkins), Golda is a ticking-clock thriller following the intensely dramatic events and controversial decisions Meir faced during the Yom Kippur War in 1973. Her blend of tough leadership, plain speech and compassion, in impossible circumstances, would ultimately decide the fate of millions of lives. Producer Michael Kuhn of Qwerty, says; “History recalls Meir gracefully accepted her role as political scapegoat for the Yom Kippur War – and, in revisiting her story, Golda intimately draws the cinema audience up-close and personal to a globally influential woman facing the pressure of saving her people and, in never shying away from her own failings, acting with the utmost humanity. Amidst all global controversy, she stands apart.”