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Hot Trailer: ‘The Pirates! Band Of Misfits’

The latest feature from the UK’s Wallace & Gromit gang Aardman Animations arrives in the US in partnership with Sony Pictures Animation. Directed by Peter Lord and co-directed by Jeff Newitt, the stop-motion 3D adventure is based on books by Gideon Defoe, who also scripted. With the voices of Hugh Grant, Salma Hayek, Jeremy Piven, Imelda Staunton and David Tennant, it opens March 30.

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Sienna Miller & Toby Jones To Star In BBC/ HBO Film About Hitchcock & Tippi Hedren

UPDATE 3:30 PM : HBO Films is on board to co-produce The Girl, which will air in the U.S. on HBO, marking the latest collaboration between HBO and the BBC.

PREVIOUS 7 AM: Sienna Miller and Toby Jones will play Tippi Hedren and Alfred Hitchcock in BBC Two drama The Girl. The film will chronicle the director’s obsessive relationship with his The Birds star. According to BBC Two, Hedren has cooperated by giving interviews to writer Gwyneth Hughes, while Hitchcock biographer Donald Spoto is attached as a consultant. Miller and Hedren recently met to discuss the project and, says Hughes, “got on like a house on fire.” Becoming Jane’s Julian Jarrold is directing with Imelda Staunton and Penelope Wilton also in the cast.

Hitchcock was at the height of his fame and creativity when, in 1962, he chose an unknown fashion model to star in his most ambitious film — The Birds. But as he sculpted Hedren into the perfect Hitchcock blonde of his imagination, he became obsessed with the impossible dream of winning the real woman’s love. His failure arguably destroyed both of their careers. In a statement, Hughes said: “It’s been the most enormous privilege to talk at length to Tippi Hedren, the last ‘Hitchcock blonde’ in the life of Britain’s most original and successful film director. At the time, in the early 1960s, the American star suffered in silence. But now, at the age of 81, … Read More »

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Global Showbiz Briefs: UK, Africa, Australia

‘Arthur Christmas’ Slays ‘Em In The UK
Sony Pictures Animation and Aardman’s Arthur Christmas jumped to the top of the UK box office this weekend – in its fourth week of release. This bit of holiday magic came courtesy of a £1.9 million weekend take for a cume of £11.5 million. The film has been holding steady in second place since it bowed on November 11 and this weekend faced off against Happy Feet Two for the family audience. Largely positive notices and the British voice cast — including James McAvoy, Hugh Laurie, Jim Broadbent, Bill Nighy and Imelda Staunton — have no doubt been a local draw. Sony Pictures Releasing UK’s Peter Taylor said: “Opening a movie at No. 1 in such a competitive market as the UK is difficult enough, but to reach the top of the chart in the fourth week of release is almost unprecedented. We are all delighted.”

Tom Hooper Decides Against 3D For ‘Les Miserables’
Although director Tom Hooper flirted with the idea of filming the new movie version of the hit stage musical Les Miserables in 3D, the Oscar-winning helmer of The King’s Speech has decided to stick with 2D. Hooper told the BBC he had been “very tempted” to use 3D but worried that some audiences might “physically struggle” with the format. Not to worry, purists. “I can definitely announce it’s good old-fashioned 2D,” Hooper said at the British Independent Film Awards. “I wanted to make a film that would touch everyone. I believe the story is so strong, 3D is not essential.” Hooper added that the casting of Eponine and Cosette would be announced soon. “I’ve never done a film where big star actors are as obsessed with being in it as this.” Starring Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean and Russell Crowe as Javert, Read More »

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Hugh Grant Takes On Animated Role In Aardman’s ‘The Pirates! Band Of Misfits’

Mike Fleming

Sony Pictures Animation and Aardman Animations announced they’ve set Hugh Grant, Martin Freeman, David Tennant, Imelda Staunton, Jeremy Piven, Salma Hayek, Brian Blessed, Brendan Gleeson, Russell Tovey and Ashley Jenson to provide the voices in The Pirates! Band of Misfits, a stop-motion 3D animated pic that will be released March 30, 2012. Aardman’s Peter Lord is directing a script by Gideon Dafoe.

Grant’s character? A bearded pirate captain who is vying for the Pirate of the Year Award. When I got a missive about a Hugh Grant film, I got a little excited. Because he doesn’t work much and his last few films have been underwhelming Hollywood comedies like Did You Hear About the Morgans and Music and Lyrics. This is the guy who owns the British romantic comedy, from Four Weddings and a Funeral to Love Actually (his British prime minister character wears well even if you’ve seen the film 50 times), Notting Hill, About A Boy and those Bridget Jones films. So, great to see Grant working and who wouldn’t want to be a cartoon pirate? But can somebody please lock Grant and Richard Curtis in a room and not let them out until they’ve come up with something in the way of a live action British comedy?

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James McAvoy And Hugh Laurie Voice Aardman’s ‘Arthur Christmas’

They join Jim Broadbent, Bill Nighy and Imelda Staunton for Aardman’s first movie under its 3-year Sony Pictures Animation deal. The 3D CG film is slated for release on November 23 of next year. Set on Christmas night, the film’s story reveals the answer to every child’s question: “How does Santa deliver all those presents in one night?” McAvoy leads the cast as Arthur, Santa’s youngest son, while Laurie plays his older brother Steve, who runs Christmas night with military-style precision. Sony is also in production with Aardman on The Pirates!

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