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'Selma' first look: David Oyelowo takes on Martin Luther King in upcoming film

A cross, constructed entirely of lightbulbs, shines behind David Oyelowo as he approaches the pulpit of Atlanta’s 145-year-old Wheat Street Baptist Church. It’s a steamy June night, and 500 extras—including U.S. Rep. John Lewis, a key architect of the civil rights movement—eagerly await the British-born actor’s first attempt to preach as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. But just as director Ava DuVernay puts on her headphones and does a last sound check, a freak lightning storm threatens the safety of the crew and forces the production to shut down.

Delays are nothing new in the long saga of bringing MLK’s life to the big screen. Despite the success of Hollywood movies focused on African-American figures Malcolm X, Ray Charles, and, most recently, Jackie Robinson and James Brown, it took the work of a relatively unknown female director, a British actor, and Oprah Winfrey to make an MLK biopic finally happen. Selma chronicles the Nobel Prize-winning civil rights leader during three intense months in 1965, from the “Bloody ­Sunday” assault on protesters to the historic march through Alabama that led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act. The film will have an Academy run in December before rolling out nationwide by MLK weekend in January, just in time for the 50th anniversary of the events it depicts. READ FULL STORY

SXSW Grand Jury winner 'The Great Invisible' gets U.S. distribution

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RADiUS-TWC has acquired the U.S. rights to the The Great Invisible,  the eco-documentary which won the Grand Jury Award at the South by Southwest Film Festival earlier this year. Written and directed by Margaret Brown, the film chronicles the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf Coast through the perspectives of the area’s survivors, fishermen, and oil men. Brown travels through towns in Alabama, Louisiana, and Texas, interviewing residents still reeling from the damage to the environment and the local fishing industry.

The Great Invisible is slated for release later this year.

READ FULL STORY

Toronto Film Festival sets Sept. 5 as Bill Murray Day

Let Sept. 5 be henceforth known as Bill Murray Day. The Toronto International Film Festival will be celebrating Murray at the world premiere of his new film, St. Vincent, and the festival has invited the reclusive comedian to his own premiere and devoted an entire day to him. The festival will be leading up to the premiere by showing free screenings of three seminal Murray classics—Stripes, Groundhogs Day, and Ghostbusters—starting at 10 a.m. at the TIFF Lightbox.

Fans who view all three films will be able to win tickets to the world premiere of St. Vincent. The line for tickets starts at 8 a.m. ET on Sept. 5 at the TIFF Bell Lightbox box office.

Wendi McLendon-Covey on her 'Friggin' Christmas' costar Robin Williams

Robin Williams left behind four complete, upcoming films when he died on Monday, leaving fans with a diverse slate of movies that will mark the final roles of his prolific career.

The Academy Award winning-comedian filmed Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, Boulevard, Absolutely Anything, and A Merry Friggin’ Christmas. Co-starring Joel McHale, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Lauren Graham, and Oliver Platt, A Merry Friggin’ Christmas holiday flick features Williams as a patriarch of a quirky family that reunites during the Christmas celebration. READ FULL STORY

Robin Williams: sober and battling Parkinson's, according to wife

Robin Williams’ wife Susan Schneider issued a statement Thursday morning, revealing that the Oscar-winning actor and comedian had been battling the early stages of Parkinson’s disease, in addition to depression and anxiety. According to the statement, Schneider says Williams was sober at the time of his suicide on Monday, Aug. 11.

The coroner’s office has yet to release its toxicology report.

The full statement:

“Robin spent so much of his life helping others. Whether he was entertaining millions on stage, film or television, our troops on the front lines, or comforting a sick child—Robin wanted us to laugh and to feel less afraid. READ FULL STORY

Lauren Bacall dead at 89

She looked so terrific and strong for such a long time that it was easy to imagine Lauren Bacall might just hang around forever. And who wouldn’t want her to, for the pleasure of hearing her firing off smart, unvarnished remarks about old Hollywood in that husky voice? But the end came at last on Tuesday, when the 89-year-old actress died from a stroke at her home, according to a report on TMZ. The Humphrey Bogart Estate followed with this tweet: “With deep sorrow, yet with great gratitude for her amazing life, we confirm the passing of Lauren Bacall.”

Whether she was trading double entendres with Humphrey Bogart, hawking freeze-dried instant coffee in a TV commercial, or taking a punch as a guest star on The Sopranos, Bacall had no equal at projecting an insolent, imperious, sexy, and slightly impish personality. (Okay, maybe Kathleen Turner came close for a while.) Was Bacall a great, rangy actress? No, but she was a lanky, electrifying presence, and a champion movie and stage star. READ FULL STORY

Robin Williams leaves behind four upcoming films

Robin Williams died suddenly Monday, leaving behind a still-active film career. This holiday season, moviegoers will be able to see him reprise his role as Teddy Roosevelt in Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb. The sequel wrapped production in May, according to Twentieth Century Fox, and will bow on Dec. 19th.

Williams’ other holiday flick is the indie family comedy Merry Friggin’ Christmas, co-starring Wendi McLendon-Covey, Lauren Graham and Oliver Platt.  Phase 4 will release the movie, produced by Captain America directors Joe and Anthony Russo on November 7.

He also recently starred opposite Bob Odenkirk (Breaking Bad) in the Dito Montiel drama Boulevard, which debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival earlier this year. The movie has yet to land theatrical distribution. READ FULL STORY

Robin Williams dead at 63

Oscar winner and comedian Robin Williams died this morning at 63. While his publicist wouldn’t confirm that his death was a suicide, a rep did issue this statement. “Robin Williams passed away this morning. He has been battling severe depression of late. This is a tragic and sudden loss. The family respectfully asks for their privacy as they grieve during this very difficult time.”

Williams, who won an Oscar for his supporting role in Good Will Hunting, will reprise his role as Theodore Roosevelt in the third installment of Night at the Museum this December. He had recently signed on to reprise his beloved role as Mrs. Doubtfire in a sequel to be directed by Chris Columbus, and was last seen opposite Annette Bening in the indie film The Face of Love. His sitcom The Crazy Ones premiered on CBS last fall, but was not picked up for a second season. READ FULL STORY

James Cameron goes on another deep dive with 'Deepsea Challenge 3D'

You would think James Cameron would want to rest. The 59-year old behind the two highest-grossing movies of all time—Avatar and Titanic, in addition to all the technology required to make those films a reality—has earned himself the right to a leisurely retirement. But there’s no rest for his curiosity.

Cameron’s latest endeavor, Deepsea Challenge 3D, is indication that he will never stop exploring. “I’m just a very curious person, I guess,” Cameron said in a recent interview on EW Radio. “It’s what attracts me to science, to engineering. I like to build things and see if they work. I get as much of a charge out of building the machines as I do out of operating them.”

During the last seven years—and while he was still in production on Avatar—Cameron and his crew of seafaring men constructed a submersible capable of diving to the depths of the ocean, down 36,000 feet. He of course documented the entire experience, from the challenges they faced to putting together such a vehicle to the dives themselves in a documentary that will debut Aug. 8 in limited release.

The film is compelling, suspenseful, and very personal; Cameron’s director John Bruno added in tidbits of Cameron’s childhood to explore his subject’s lifelong passion for science. It’s also tragic: On the eve of the crew’s expedition, the film’s original writer/director Andrew Wight and Mike deGruy were killed in a helicopter accident on their way to film aerial shots of the submarine. “It was the worst day of my life,” Cameron said.

The crew continued with production, as a way to honor their fallen comrades, after quickly hiring Bruno to take over. And it was Bruno’s idea to add in re-enactments of Cameron’s childhood as a way to personalize the film and contradict the chatter on the Internet, after Cameron made his dive to 28,000 feet.

“We got some feedback over the Internet that this was a stunt and it made me mad,” said Bruno, who has worked with Cameron on his films—and his dives—for the past 27 years. “I changed the course of my interviews, and I thought we should do a reenactment of him in 1960 as a kid and with his experiments on white rats. I don’t think the public was aware [of his dedication to science].”

As the film showcases the fits and starts of the laborious process to get the DeepSea Challenger ready for 36,000 feet, Cameron, the diver, is pictured dealing with mechanical frustrations, electrical malfunctions, and other setbacks. Was he ever afraid?

“Generally speaking, I’ve had hair-raising experiences in subs over the years and I don’t panic,” he says. “If there is fear, it’s beforehand, the night before or a couple days before. Thinking about what’s coming up, and that there is always some X factor out that that no matter how many years you’ve thought about this problem, there might be something you haven’t thought of.”

But when he’s being bolted into the submarine and hoisted into the water, the only emotion he experiences is excitement. “I get what astronauts call ‘Go Fever’ and I just want to go. It takes something pretty drastic before I will cancel the dive once we’re in process.”

Now, Cameron has turned his attention back to the Avatar sequels, which he is currently in deep pre-production on. Due out Christmas 2016, Cameron seems a little iffy that he’ll make the date: “I find deadlines to be entertaining,” he says with a laugh. “In the engineering community they are considered ‘notional.’ Reality has a tendency to intrude.”

New 'Interstellar' trailer shows off film's amazing visuals

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Christopher Nolan made his first-ever appearance at Comic-Con this year, promoting his new film, Interstellar. The Dark Knight director took the opportunity to present a trailer for the Paramount/Warner Bros. film, and now that clip has been released online.

Set to music presumably by the film’s composer Hans Zimmer, the new trailer showcases Interstellar‘s stunning visuals and focuses on the relationship of Matthew McConaughey’s character with his children. In the film, McConaughey plays an engineer who, along with several other scientists and astronauts, journeys through a newly discovered wormhole to save the world.

The film also stars Michael Caine, Jessica Chastain, and Anne Hathaway. Interstellar hits theaters November 7.


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