Posted: 12 Jan 2014 08:00 AM PST
SPACE drama Gravity received 11 Bafta nominations on Wednesday, one more than the Oscar-tipped 12 Years A Slave.
Gravity star Sandra Bullock was nominated for best actress, while Alfonso Cuaron is in the running for best director in Britain's equivalent of the Oscars.
British filmmaker Steve McQueen was nominated for best director for his brutal slavery epic 12 Years A Slave, while its star Chiwetel Ejiofor is nominated for the lead actor gong.
Michael Fassbender and rising Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong'o received supporting nominations for their role in the film, which is hotly tipped for Oscar glory.
Ejiofor, who was raised in London, said: "I continue to be immensely proud of the recognition this film is getting around the world. There is, of course, something particularly special about receiving a Bafta nomination from home."
American Hustle, the drama about two con artists embroiled with the FBI in the 1970s, equalled the 10 Bafta nominations for 12 Years A Slave.
Its star Christian Bale will go up against Ejiofor, Tom Hanks for Captain Phillips, Bruce Dern for Nebraska and Leonardo DiCaprio for The Wolf Of Wall Street for the best leading man award.
Bookmakers immediately made Ejiofor favourite to win his category with odds of 1-4, while 12 Years A Slave is their favourite for best film.
In the best actress category, Bullock will challenge American Hustle star Amy Adams, Cate Blanchett for Blue Jasmine, Emma Thompson for Saving Mr Banks and Judi Dench for Philomena.
Captain Phillips and Philomena – based on a true story about the Catholic Church in Ireland selling babies to wealthy Americans in the 1950s – complete the five-strong list of contenders for best film.
The awards ceremony takes place at the Royal Opera House in London on Feb 16. – AFP Relaxnews
Posted: 11 Jan 2014 08:00 AM PST
It's Chris Pine's turn to play CIA operative Jack Ryan and the actor is more than thrilled to step into the iconic role.
Chris Pine has always enjoyed watching movie stars like Harrison Ford, Ben Affleck and Alec Baldwin bring to life Jack Ryan, the famous character created by author Tom Clancy.
Each of these actors brought a different facet to the fictional CIA operative, who uses his brains rather than brawn, in the films based on Clancy's books – Clear And Present Danger, Patriot Games, The Sum Of All Fears and The Hunt For Red October.
Hence, when Pine was approached to play Jack Ryan in an origins story – Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit – he said yes immediately.
In a transcript provided by the film distributor, United International Pictures, Pine – who shot to fame after playing Captain James T. Kirk in 2009's Star Trek – said: "After the first Star Trek, they offered (the role of Jack Ryan) to me and I hadn't seen a script at that point but I love the character. I was more familiar with Jack Ryan than I ever was with Captain Kirk. I've always loved spy thrillers and I just jumped on it immediately."
At the same time, the 33-year-old Pine knew he had to bring something different to the film directed by Kenneth Branagh as there will definitely be comparisons drawn to the previous actors playing the character.
"When Ken and I started, we talked about how often in films you see so much death and mayhem and violence and no one ever really pays attention to it. So we thought it would be interesting to see ... what happens when an everyman is thrown into an extraordinary situation where he has to do things that you wouldn't necessarily do on any given day and how does he deal with seeing death?
"How does he deal with inflicting violence? How does he deal with potentially killing someone? ... So I like that human aspect (the film) has."
Shadow Recruit tells the story of how Jack is recruited into the CIA by a veteran operative (Kevin Costner). Soon, he uncovers a terrorist plot planned by Russian Viktor Cherevin (Branagh). Also mixed up in the story is Jack's romance with a surgeon, Cathy (Keira Knightley), who has no idea that Jack is now part of the United States' intelligence team.
The secret naturally causes a rift between the couple – and to make matters worse, she is kidnapped by Cherevin's henchman.
The Los Angeles-born actor felt it was important to tap into a current concern – terrorism.
"I can't tell you how many conversations I had with everyone involved. For me, the question always came down to what it meant to be a patriot because Jack is a patriot of sorts. And my contention was that in a post 9/11 era, the world is much greyer than it was 25, 30 years ago," Pine reasoned. – Mumtaj Begum
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit opens in cinemas nationwide on Jan 16.
Posted: 10 Jan 2014 07:25 PM PST
The buff actor sheds his Twilight image to play a Greek demigod.
Actor Kellan Lutz is shedding the vampire teeth to don the breastplate of Greek demigod Hercules in his newest film, as he leaves the Twilight franchise behind to embrace the action genre.
The Legend Of Hercules, now playing in cinemas nationwide, sees Lutz exploring the hero's origins. A second film, Hercules, starring Dwayne Johnson, will focus on the hero later in life, after he completes the legendary 12 labours.
Born to a mortal woman and Zeus, king of the Gods, Lutz's Hercules faces challenges early on in his life from his human father King Amphitryon, who never accepts him as a true son, and his half brother Iphicles, who is jealous of his super strength. Hercules finds himself torn away from his love, Hebe, and sent to war, only to be sold into slavery.
"It's the hero's journey – you have the wizard, you have the antagonist, that's the king, and you have the different missions he has to go through and the love interest in Princess Hebe. Story-wise, it's all there, that's what drew me to it," Lutz told Reuters.
Not that playing a superhero is unfamiliar territory for 28-year-old Lutz, who played Greek god Poseidon in 2011's mythological action film Immortals and has been drawn to the larger-than-life heroes from childhood. "I knew when I saw the superheroes that I wanted to fight against injustice. So from a young age, I always wanted to make the world a better place like Captain Planet would do, or He-Man, or Tarzan or Hercules," the actor said.
Lutz rose to prominence as the hunky vampire Emmett Cullen in the Twilight film franchise, based on the young adult novels by Stephenie Meyer about a teen romance between a human girl and vampire boy, which has grossed more than US$3bil at the worldwide box office. As well as starring in Hercules, Lutz will be in this year's action extravaganza The Expendables 3 alongside Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Harrison Ford.
The actor also has a long list of varied roles he'd like to play, from villain Venom in Spider-Man to secret agent MacGyver, animated hero Jonny Quest and of course, the sword-wielding He-Man.
"If everyone saw me as an action guy and gave me action movie after action movie, I'd be fine with it, it's one of those great genres that you always have fun doing," Lutz said. "I don't care to win an Oscar or anything like that. ... I love doing action movies. I love doing comedies and dramas," the actor added, saying he aspired to a career like Matt Damon's, who has flitted between drama, action and comedy on both independent and big-budget productions.
But while Lutz is building a portfolio of roles that capitalise on his model good looks and muscular physique – he was part of a 2010 Calvin Klein underwear campaign – the actor said he wants to be taken seriously as a filmmaker as well, writing and producing scripts for upcoming projects.
"I'm a very intelligent man. I went to college for chemical engineering," the actor said. "A lot of roles have shown off one of my other strengths, my physique, but now that I'm a producer, I can create my own material, so a lot of the books I'm going after, you probably won't even see me topless. ... I don't get offended if people call me a beefcake, they just don't know me." — Reuters
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