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Nov 26, 2013

Idris Elba mines Mandela’s ‘commanding presence’ in biopic role

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – British actor Idris Elba will be the first to say that he doesn’t look like Nelson Mandela.

But in playing the anti-apartheid leader and former president of South Africa in the biopic “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom,” he figured that nailing his physical presence would go a long way to portraying the man.

Nov 21, 2013

Steve Coogan brings comic relief to sorrowful story of ‘Philomena’

BEVERLY HILLS, California (Reuters) – When British comedic actor Steve Coogan first read the mournful story behind his new film “Philomena” in a newspaper, he noticed that the two people in the accompanying picture were laughing.

The photo showed Philomena Lee, an elderly Irish woman looking for the son she was forced to give up as a teenage girl, and former BBC journalist Martin Sixsmith who had accompanied her on her search and written a book about it in 2009.

Nov 20, 2013

With cotton and corn husks, actress connects to her ’12 Years a Slave’ character

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – In preparing for her first film role as a petite, hard-laboring slave in “12 Years a Slave,” actress Lupita Nyong’o sized herself up against 500 pounds of cotton, which her character Patsey picked every day.

The pile “was taller and wider and thicker than me,” says Nyong’o. “And I was presented with this woman’s loftiness.”

Nov 18, 2013

What’s that whisper? Wireless headphone opera in busy train station

LOS ANGELES, Nov 18 (Reuters) – It’s Friday evening at Union
Station in downtown Los Angeles, and, like always, commuters are
catching trains to their bedroom communities and weekend
travelers are jumping on the Pacific Surfliner.

And then there’s a less harried crowd milling around the old
wooden seats under the arches of the grand waiting room,
headphones clamped down over their ears. They are told to
respect those using the station, especially the homeless who
take sanctuary there and the people running to trains.

Nov 17, 2013

Angelina Jolie receives humanitarian award from Academy

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The Hollywood film industry recognized Angelina Jolie on Saturday with a humanitarian award for her work with refugees and advocating for human rights through her film career.

Actors Angela Lansbury and Steve Martin and costume designer Piero Tosi also received what are called “honorary Oscars” for their contributions to film at the annual Governors Awards from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Nov 13, 2013

‘Nebraska’ melds melancholy and humor in film homage to heartland

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – As director Alexander Payne sees it, his latest film “Nebraska” is about a dying man whose son takes him into Hades to meet all the specters of the past.

Oh, and it’s a comedy, despite that dire synopsis – one that revels in lunkhead cousins who embody how awful extended family can be and in an elderly wife who lifts her skirt over a former paramour’s gravestone to show him what he missed.

Nov 8, 2013

Documentary ‘The Armstrong Lie’ deconstructs cyclist’s myth-making

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Filmmaker Alex Gibney was not alone in being duped by Lance Armstrong and his strident denials that he had doped and cheated his way to cycling’s biggest prizes over the years.

But Gibney was in a unique position as the Oscar-winning documentary director who had set out to make what he called a “feel-good” film about Armstrong’s comeback in the Tour de France in 2009. Known for tackling tough subjects like torture during war and the fall of energy company Enron, Gibney could take a lighter approach to a common theme for him – winning at all costs.

Nov 4, 2013

Short life, lasting legacy of Jimi Hendrix chronicled in new film

LOS ANGELES, Nov 4 (Reuters) – With a soft voice and a
downward gaze, Jimi Hendrix seemed to shrink in his pastel blue
kimono-like shirt as talk show host Dick Cavett called him one
of the best guitarists in the world in 1969.

After all, his friends and family said, Hendrix was shy and
insecure. When he was performing, however, he was anything but,
laying it all out for audiences that couldn’t quite absorb the
innovation unfolding before their eyes and in their ears.

Nov 3, 2013

Scorsese, Hockney honored at LA intersection of art and film

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – American film director Martin Scorsese and British artist David Hockney were honored at the Art + Film Gala, an annual gathering that aims to bring the art and movie industries of Los Angeles closer together.

In a Saturday night event heavy with Hollywood actors and studio executives at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, or LACMA, the Oscar-winning director Scorsese was praised for helping save the museum’s film program when it was nearly scrapped during the financial crisis, and for his work on film restoration.

Oct 31, 2013

Buddy comedy ‘Last Vegas’ hits jackpot with senior star wattage

LAS VEGAS (Reuters) – Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman has a conundrum at 76 years of age: he gets plenty of job offers, but the roles tend to be serious and they only beget more serious roles.

“I would do anything that got me out of gravitas,” said the actor, who has played the likes of a prison inmate in 1994′s “The Shawshank Redemption” and Nelson Mandela in 2009′s “Invictus” over a prolific career.

    • About Mary

      "Mary Milliken is Entertainment and Lifestyle Editor for the Americas since July 2013, based in Los Angeles. In 15 years with Reuters, she been bureau chief in Washington DC, the West Coast and South America and has organized news teams covering everything from presidential elections to economic crises to natural disasters. She speaks English, Spanish and Portuguese."
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