Movie News

Charlize Theron was 'scared' to play Megyn Kelly at first. Sunday was a private invite-only screening of December's movie "Bombshell." Rules were we may mention it, but we may offer no official reviews this early. Despite the restriction, Lionsgate, who distributed it, and Crosby Hotel, who screened it, came off gracious. They fed us afterwards. After TV's series decimating the late Fox TV big bear Roger Ailes, this sexual-harassment "#MeToo" story about Megyn Kelly, Gretchen Carlson, etc., again chops him. John Lithgow plays him magnificently in big-time prosthetics and large-time wardrobe. Co-producer Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, Margot Robbie and every blonde this side of a hairdresser are in it. Faces behind the news watched it. Sitting directly in front of me, Gayle King. Sitting right alongside me, Carl Bernstein. At the scheduled talk afterward, Charlize, who plays Megyn -- and in real life has darker hair -- said: "At first I was scared to play her. She's incredibly well-known, and I only knew her superficially. "I also knew she was conflicted because she has said, 'I'm not a feminist,' and then she takes on Trump and Ailes. "Our story takes place before the 2016 primaries. A year before Harvey Weinstein and Ronan Farrow and long before Matt Lauer. "This was harder than playing a serial killer. In 2004, I made 'North Country,' a movie about sexual harassment -- and to me, this was harder. The issue of sexual harassment is not over." Lithgow: "I told the makeup people, just let them see my eyes, my mouth and my own hair. Having played a villain before, I always look at their impulsions, what made them. The loneliness of the monster ... the cunningness of the victim. There were some tough scenes in this one." (PageSix)

'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker' Trailer Brings Balance to the Force. J.J. Abrams ends the nine-film saga in December. It's the end of an era. The new trailer for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker has arrived on what would have been late star Carrie Fisher's 63rd birthday, and it hammers home the message that filmmaker J.J. Abrams is closing out the 40-plus year saga that began with George Lucas' Star Wars in 1977. In the trailer Rey (Daisy Ridley) is seen running through a jungle and preparing to fight Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) on any icy planet. "People keep telling me they know me. No one does," Rey says during the spot. "But I do," Kylo Ren responds. In a later scene, the two are spotted fighting together. C-3PO, R2D2, BB-8, Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) and Finn (John Boyega) also make an appearance, as does Fisher. Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker can be heard in the trailer's voiceover saying, "The Force will be with you," with Leia adding, "Always." The trailer, which aired during ESPN's Monday Night Football, comes hours after tickets went on sale for The Rise of Skywalker. The cast includes Ridley, Boyega, Isaac, Lupita Nyong'o, Domhnall Gleeson, Driver, Richard E. Grant and Keri Russell. Original Star Wars actors including Hamill (as Luke Skywalker), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO) and Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian) return, as will Fisher (Leia) via previously unused footage she and Abrams shot for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Abrams unveiled the first trailer for Rise of Skywalker at Star Wars Celebration in Chicago in April, and unveiled a short sizzle reel at D23 in August. It is expected this will be the final major look at the project ahead of its release. In addition to closing out the Skywalker Saga, The Rise of Skywalker will be the final Star Wars film for some time, with the next feature scheduled for 2022. Star Wars will be kept alive on the small screen via Disney+, Disney's upcoming streaming service which launches Nov. 12 with Jon Favreau's The Mandalorian serving as the flagship series for the service. An Obi-Wan Kenobi series to star Ewan McGregor and a Rogue One prequel starring Diego Luna are also in the works for Disney+. On the big screen, The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson has a trilogy in development, as do Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. Marvel Studios' Kevin Feige is also working with Lucasfilm's Kathleen Kennedy on a Star Wars film. Disney and Lucasfilm open Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker on Dec. 20. (Hollywood Reporter)

Share of Female-Directed Films in Europe "Growing Slowly," Study Finds. The number of female directors reached 19 percent in 2017, the European Audiovisual Observatory finds, and notes "significant differences" in gender representation across Europe. Female directors represented 21 percent of all directors of European films produced between 2003 and 2017, the European Audiovisual Observatory said Tuesday, highlighting that the share in Europe "is growing slowly." The number of female directors reached 19 percent in 2017, the analysis found. "Although the number of European films by female directors has been growing, their share of the total number of films is progressing slowly, rising from 15 percent in 2003 to 19 percent in 2017," the organization reported in its analysis. "This share has been comparatively stable across the last five years for which data was available." The study sample comprised a total of 21,054 European feature films produced between 2003 and 2017 and theatrically released between 2003 and 2018. That included 3,618 European films directed by women, or 17 percent, with 80 percent of the movies made by male directors and 3 percent groups of directors of both genders. The prevalence of female directors is higher in the documentary field than in fiction and animation, according to a report summarizing the data. "Among films produced in the period 2013-2017, an average of 25 percent of documentary features were directed by women, compared to 15 percent for fiction films and 11 percent for animation," the organization found. Women tend to direct fewer feature films than men, the report highlighted, pointing out that 49 percent of "all women directors included in our sample only directed one single feature since 2003," compared to 40 percent of men. "Only 30 percent of female directors worked on more than two films during the same time period, compared to 39 percent for male directors. On average, each female director shot 1.4 films between 2003 and 2017, compared to 1.6 for male directors." The European Audiovisual Observatory also noted "significant differences" in gender representation across Europe. "While France is the country with the highest number of films directed by women, the share of female-directed films is higher in medium-sized production countries, led by the Netherlands and Sweden," the report found. Between 2013 and 2017, the Netherlands (33 percent) and Sweden (31 percent) were the top production countries based on the share of films by female directors, it said. Germany, with 24 percent, was "the only country with high production capacity to rank among the top 10 countries." Croatia and Norway are the production countries with the strongest growth both in terms of number of films and percentage share of films by female directors, according to the report. Meanwhile, the share of cinema admissions for films directed by women "tends to be significantly lower than the share of films, regardless of the production capacity of the country of origin," the report found. "One likely explanation is that female directors are entrusted with film projects with lower budgets than their male counterparts." In 2017, films by female directors generated 8 percent of total admissions, in line with a 15-year average, the report said, also pointing out: "In 2016, the unusually high share of admissions to films by female directors (15 percent) was the result of the box office success of the British comedy Bridget Jones's Baby." (Hollywood Reporter)

'The Irishman' to Open Cairo Film Festival. Martin Scorsese's all-star epic will have its Middle East and North African premiere on Nov. 20. Martin Scorsese's all-star gangster epic The Irishman is continuing its international tour. The film, starring Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Al Pacino, is set to open the 41st edition of the Cairo International Film Festival, marking its Middle East and North African premiere with a screening at the Cairo Opera House on Nov. 20, a week before it lands on Netflix. Having bowed at the New York Film Festival on Sept. 27, The Irishman recently closed the London Film Festival and is already set to screen at the Mill Valley, Hamptons, Lumire, San Diego, Mumbai, Rome, Philadelphia, Chicago, Tokyo, Camerimage, and Los Cabos film festivals. "We are extremely excited to be raising the red curtain of the festival with the epic masterpiece from one of the greatest filmmakers of all time, the genius that is Martin Scorsese," said Cairo festival president Mohamed Hefzy. The Irishman will be among 150 features and shorts from 63 countries due to screen over the 10-day festival, including 30 world premieres. The emphasis is, as ever, on Arab cinema, with 20 films hailing from the Middle East and North Africa being showcased in the lineup. (Hollywood Reporter)

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