Olivia Colman, Rowan Atkinson and Sally Hawkins have joined Warner Bros’ Wonka as production got underway in the UK on Wednesday (September 29).
The trio join Timothée Chalamet in the lead role as Willy Wonka in the studio’s Roald Dahl spin-off. New cast include Matt Lucas, Mathew Baynton, Tom Davis, Simon Farnaby, Rich Fulcher, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, Paterson Joseph, Keegan-Michael Key, Colin O’Brien, Natasha Rothwell, Rakhee Thakrar and Ellie White.
Paul King of the Paddington films directs and Harry Potter universe producer David Heyman produces alongside Luke Kelly, who produced the recent feature adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The Witches as well as the upcoming Matilda, and Alexandra Derbyshire, who was executive on the Paddington films.
Wonka takes place prior to events in Charlie And The Chocolate Factory and imagines the origins of the young inventor. King wrote the screenplay with Paddington 2 co-writer Farnaby (with prior writers including Simon Rich, Simon Stephenson, Jeff Nathanson, and Steven Levenson). Michael Siegel and Rosie Alison are executive producers.
Wonka is scheduled to open on March 17, 2023. Warner Bros handles global distribution.
Comedian Matt Lucas and actress Olivia Colman have joined forces with Great Ormond Street Hospital’s play team to launch their new Power of Play hub – a new free online activity resource for children.
The hub came about following research by GOSH Charity, which discovered that two thirds (66%) of parents polled were concerned that the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on how children play will have long-term impacts on their child’s wellbeing.
Three-quarters (74%) of parents said that play has “helped their child cope” as the world around them has changed beyond recognition.
The Power of Play hub provides an outlet for children to express themselves and their emotions, with brand new stories, audio recordings, activities and ideas that use play to help children (and their parents) cope with all types of childhood challenges.
Actress Olivia Colman voices a TV advert to support the campaign, while Little Britain star Matt Lucas narrates a poem featuring Tweedledee and Tweedledum about the pair being separated due to illness.
Matt Lucas said: “What is Tweedledee without Tweedledum? As we discover in this beautiful new poem, he is worried and anxious at being far away from his much-loved brother. It was a moving experience to step back into the characters of Dee and Dum once more, and share their feelings with other children and parents who might have struggled with being far away from their loved ones, especially during the last 18 months.
“I hope the raucous, playful game that Alice introduces them to in this poem will inspire parents and children alike to turn to play as a way of coping during times of sadness.”
The online hub also has a new Peter Pan story, in which Peter feels lonely but Tinker Bell devises a game to give Peter the confidence he needs to tackle his worries and make new friends.
Beano fans will gain support from the website’s exclusive comic, where Dennis and Gnasher use play and pranks to come to terms with a cancer diagnosis. And there’s new animation of Hey Duggee, who uses play to help Frog when her new siblings arrive, and things feel different.
Coming soon to the hub in October is a new Horrid Henry animation and an audiobook from CBeebies’ JoJo & Gran Gran.
The free animations, audiobooks and activities are designed to help parents and children deal with themes including loss, loneliness, sadness, illness and isolation, which many children have experienced during the pandemic.
Laura Walsh, Head of Play at Great Ormond Street Hospital says: “Play is a superpower at the fingertips of all children, and it’s especially important at times of change or worry, when building our children’s resilience can help them to cope with life’s challenges.
“While the last 18 months have seen children adapt to circumstances none of us could have imagined, this September they’ll also have the ordinary childhood experiences likes starting school and making new friends.
“Using our years of experience as play specialists at GOSH, we have teamed up with GOSH Charity and some much-loved children’s characters to create our Power of Play hub and bring to life the transformative power of play. We’re really proud to offer parents free, trustworthy, practical tips and resources to help their children embrace play to overcome their worries and discover all that life has to offer them.”
UK charity Choose Love has banded together a group of celebrities to raise money for Afghan refugees fleeing the Taliban.
A host of stars, including Oscar-winner Olivia Colman, Game of Thrones stars Lena Headey and Wilf Scolding, author Dolly Alderton, Bastille singer-songwriter Dan Smith, Bridgerton star Nicola Coughlan and TV presenter Ben Fogle, have joined the charity and personalised video platform Cameo. They will donate 100 per cent of their videos’ profits to the non-governmental organisation.
Fans will be able to buy custom video messages from each of the stars, with Colman selling clips from $750. Coughlan’s start at $500 and Headey’s $325. Also on board are Homeland star Nazanin Boniadi and James McVey of The Vamps, both with videos going from $100.
“We are so excited to be partnering with Cameo and some of our favourite supporters, who will bring you exclusive personalised video messages for you or your loved ones! And we can’t wait to share with you the rest of the supporters who are also joining,” Choose Love wrote on Instagram.
“All proceeds will go to support projects providing vital aid and services to Afghan people who have fled the country, such as clothes, shelter, support for children and groups protecting women and children’s rights.”
You can opt to pay more than the stated amount, if you wish to donate more money.
Choose Love is a UK NGO, which advocates for and provides humanitarian aid to refugees around the world.
The charity’s target was £250,000 ($340,630) and at the time of writing, it had raised £259,342.95.
Lionsgate UK is releasing Anthony Hopkins and Olivia Colman’s double Academy Award and double BAFTA winning film The Father on Blu-ray & DVD from August 30th.
Hopkins stars in the eponymous role of a mischievous and highly independent man who, as he ages, refuses all assistance from his daughter Anne (Colman). Yet, such help has become essential following Anne’s decision to move to Paris. As Anne’s father tries to make sense of his changing circumstances, he begins to doubt his loved ones, his own mind and even the fabric of his reality.
The Father is drawn from the stage play of the same name, which was written by Florian Zeller and launched in Paris in 2012, winning a Moliere Award for Best Play, before hitting Broadway and London’s West End, where it won both Tony and Olivier Awards for Best Actor (for Frank Langella and Kenneth Cranham respectively).
Zeller directed the film adaptation – his feature debut – filmed in London with a British cast, from a screenplay he co-wrote with playwright and screenwriter Christopher Hampton (Atonement, Dangerous Liaisons).
EXCLUSIVE: After meeting with and auditioning a number actors, Searchlight drama Empire of Lightdirected by Sam Mendes has set Top Boy breakout Micheal Ward to join Olivia Colman. The film will mark Mendes first since his Oscar-winning World War I drama 1917 and he also penned the script and marks his first solo script. The film will be produced by Mendes and Pippa Harris’ Neal Street Productions. Production is expected to star in fall of 2022.
While plot details are under wraps, the film is described as love story, set in and around a beautiful old cinema, on the South Coast of England in the 1980s. Mendes will also reunite with his 1917 cinematographer Roger Deakins.
Mendes has been taking his time in finding Colman’s co-star and in recent weeks Ward began positioning himself as a choice for the role.
Winner of the 2020 EE BAFTA Rising Star Award, Ward recently starred in the highly anticipated Netflix series Top Boy. In the series, Ward plays one of the lead roles, Jamie, a young, hungry and ruthless gang leader who has taken over. The resurgence of Top Boy hit the headlines after it was announced Drake would executive produce the series on Netflix. He can most recently be seen in Lovers Rock which is the second episode of Steve McQueen’s anthology series, Small Axe, which premiered to rave reviews in November of 2020. Ward also has a supporting role in the upcoming Netflix film Beauty. The film is written by Lena Waithe and stars Giancarlo Esposito and Sharon Stone. A ‘Screen International Star of Tomorrow 2020’, He is currently shooting the next season of Top Boy for Netflix.
First details have popped up about the upcoming Willy Wonka prequel movie, that Paddington’s Paul King is directing.
Pre-production on the Charlie And Chocolate Factory prequel, Wonka, is underway, and as such, a few details have started to emerge about the film’s cast and story.
Firstly, Olivia Colman is reportedly involved, and is set to play the film’s villain. It sounds like good casting to us, especially if the Oscar-winning actor is going to give us an antagonistic performance to match her role in The Favourite, for which she won her Academy Award (and more importantly, stole every scene she was in).
Also, some early details about the film’s plot have surfaced too. The story will reportedly be set in the mid-nineteenth century, in the heart of the industrial revolution, likely meaning the story will be located, at least partly, in England. The oompa loompas are set to feature as well, according to reports, with Wonka questing to win their aid.
Wonka is set to shoot in early 2022. Paul King, director of two perfect Paddington movies will be directing, which gives us hope that in a world of recycled character prequels, Wonka could actually be something really special if it can summon up some of that Roald Dahl spirit. We’ll let you know as we hear more.
Secret Invasion is expected to be the television adaptation of the comics storyline of the same name that’s focused on a hostile takeover of Earth led by a shape-shifting alien race you may already know and love from Captain Marvel: the Skrulls. Few details have been revealed since the project was first announced, but we do know the show will feature the return of Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury and Ben Mendelsohn as the friendly Skrull Talos, who was last seen impersonating Fury in Spider-Man: Far From Home.
There are some interesting possible characters for Colman and Clarke to play, too. In the comics, Empress Veranke is the leader of the Skrulls, and Colman’s time as both Elizabeth II on The Crown and Queen Anne in The Favorite could certainly translate to alien royalty. You could make the same case for Clarke’s turn as Daenerys Targaryen in Game of Thrones as well. There’s also the possibility of Abigail Brand, the leader of extraterrestrial-focused security agency S.W.O.R.D., making an appearance in the show, which could be a great recurring role for either actress.
There’s no announced release date for Secret Invasion, but with at least three Marvel films and several TV shows still slated to come out in 2021, there’s a good chance there’ll be some hints of what’s going on with the cosmic, space-based side of the Marvel universe soon.
Olivia Colman is currently enjoying the aftermath of her awards season success thanks to her many nominations at this year’s Golden Globesand the upcoming BAFTAand Academy Awards, but the actress is already gearing up for her next big project.
The Oscar-winner, who is beloved for her many credits including The Crown, Broadchurch and The Favourite, will be starring as the lead in Sam Mendes’ upcoming blockbuster, Empire of Light.
It’s not yet confirmed who Olivia will be playing, but the film itself marks a special milestone as Sam Mendes, the director behind Skyfall and 2020 awards season giant 1917, has penned the film without a co-writer for the first time and is reportedly thrilled to have Olivia on board.
According to Deadline, the movie is described as a romantic story set around an old cinema in the South coast of England in the 1980s. We can’t wait to hear more!
The James Bond director said in a statement: “I have long been an admirer of Searchlight and the dynamic way they have produced and released some of my favourite theatrical releases of recent years. This project is very close to my heart, and I couldn’t be more delighted that it has found its ideal home.”
Meanwhile, Olivia is hoping to win big at this year’s Academy Awards. The actress is nominated in the Supporting Actress category for her role as Anne in The Father which also stars Anthony Hopkins and Mark Gatiss.
Olivia also received a nod at this year’s Golden Globes in the same category, however she lost out to Jodie Foster who won for her part in The Mauritanian.
Olivia was also nominated in the TV category for her part as Queen Elizabeth II in Netflix’s huge hit, The Crown. The actress’ nomination was no doubt bittersweet as it marked ending her time on the streaming series on a high before waving goodbye to her role as the monarch. In the show’s upcoming fifth season, Imelda Staunton will be taking over the play Her Majesty in the next chapter of the drama.
he BBC is once again turning to Oscar-nominated Magic Light Pictures for its latest animation special. The studio behind The Gruffalo will bring Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s book Superworm to life with a cast including Olivia Colman and Matt Smith.
Colman will narrate, while Smith will feature as hero Superworm. They are joined by Patricia Allison (Sex Education) as Butterfly, and Rob Brydon (Gavin & Stacey) as the Crow.
Super-long and super-strong, Superworm is always on hand to help out other animals and insects, but when he is kidnapped by wicked Wizard Lizard and sidekick The Crow, his friend Butterfly must come to the rescue.
Superworm is directed by Sarah Scrimgeour and Jac Hamman, from a script by Max Lang and Suzanne Lang. The producer is Barney Goodland, with executive producers Martin Pope and Michael Rose for Magic Light. The composer is Rene Aubry, while animation services are provided by Blue Zoo Animation Studio.
Colman said: “This is such a lovely project to be involved with. When reading the script, and imagining all those goings on at the end of the garden, I could really get a feel for the pure fun and joy that the film will bring.”
Superworm is the BBC’s ninth Donaldson and Scheffler adaptation, as the stories have become fixtures of the BBC One’s Christmas line-up. Last year’s adaptation was Zog and the Flying Doctors, which was watched by 7 million viewers.
The stars will perform from the safety of their homes for the Comic Relief special, which airs on Christmas Eve and will be brought to life with illustrations from iconic children’s illustrator Quentin Blake.
Colman plays the fairy godmother, while Bonham Carter features as the wicked stepmother Lady Devilia. Meanwhile, the breakout star of Netflix series The Queen’s Gambit, Anya Taylor-Joy, will play the title role.
Other cast includes The Night Manager star Tom Hollander and Guz Khan as Baron Hardup and Buttons respectively. Daisy May and Charlie Cooper, the stars and creators of This Country (which is currently being remade by Fox), have been cast as the evil step-sisters. The pair are siblings in real-life.
Written by the Dawson Brothers, and based on an original script by Ben Crocker, Cinderella: A Comic Relief Pantomime for Christmas will be a retelling of the timeless panto classic. It is made by Crook Productions.
The executive producers for Crook Productions are Matt Crook, Richard Curtis, and Colin Hopkins. The director is Matt Lipsey. It was commissioned by Patrick Holland, Jo Wallace and Katie Taylor.
Curtis said: “It’ll be very funny and merry — and also a great seasonal opportunity to raise crucial funds for the projects that will help the most vulnerable people, at home and abroad — especially now when Covid has made things harder than ever for many.”
The BBC has promised other starry cameos, including an “incredibly famous person wearing an incredibly unconvincing horse costume.”