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From a proposed movie adaptation of Billy Elliot: The Musical, to new roles for Kate Hudson, Gina Rodriguez and Mark Wahlberg, to exciting behind the scenes Star Wars news, this has been a particularly busy week in the world of cinema. Join us as we highlight the latest film news you need to hear about.

Casting News: Kate Hudson and Mark Wahlberg to star in BP Oil Disaster film & Diego Luna joins Felicity Jones in Star Wars: Rogue One

– Director Peter Berg is compiling an impressive cast for his upcoming drama Deepwater Horizon, which will cover the 48 hours leading up the fatal April 2010 BP Oil spill disaster in the gulf of Mexico.

This week it was announced that Kate Hudson will be joining the project, which is also set to star seminal actor John Malkovich as a BP representative and Mark Wahlberg and Gina Rodriguez as the leads. Rodriguez’s star is certainly on the rise: after lighting up television screens as the eponymous lead in the CW sitcom Jane the Virgin, currently being shown on E4 in the UK, Rodriguez beat off stiff competition to win a coveted Golden Globe for her role in the show in February. Deepwater Horizon will mark her first lead role in a major movie production and will demonstrate Rodriguez’s versatility and talent. The drama is said to be based on the New York Times article ‘Deepwater Horizon’s Final Hour’, an in-depth feature that highlighted the efforts and courage of those who worked on the oil-rig when it exploded. The film is set for a September 2016 release date. – Back in March we reported that The Theory of Everything’s Felicity Jones would be playing the lead in director Gareth Edwards’ standalone Star Wars movie, Rogue One. This week it was revealed that two talented actors will star alongside Jones: actor-director Diego Luna and The Dark Knight Rises’ Ben Mendelsohn.

The movie chronicles an attempted heist of the Death Star by a group of rebel fighters. Jones is set to play one of the rebels, whilst it is believed that Luna has also been cast as a rebel, and Mendelsohn is in talks to play the film’s villain.

Variety broke the news of Luna’s casting, which has yet to be officially confirmed by Disney. Luna is certainly an interesting addition to the movie: after rising to fame starring in Alfonso Cuaran’s Y Tu Mama Tambien, Luna went on to star in The Terminal, Milk and (the surprisingly good) Dirty Dancing 2: Havana Nights. More recently he has focused on directing and won an Alma for his biopic Cesar Chavez and received praise and accolades for 2010’s Abel.

New Billy Elliot Film
billy-elliot-01Smash-hit West End musical Billy Elliot celebrated its 10th anniversary this week. The birthday performance, which took place on Tuesday at London’s West End Victoria Palace Theatre, featured performances by Billy Elliot actors past and present, and was attended by the show’s lyricist Sir Elton John.

The production is based on the 2000 film of the same name, written by Lee Hall and directed by Stephen Daldry. Hall and Daldry are also the team behind the musical. Set in Country Durham in the North-East of England during the 1984-5 miner’s strike, Billy Elliot follows a young boy who discovers a love of ballet dancing and attempts to pursue it, despite the hurdles and obstacles thrown his way. The film became a West End musical in 2005 and since then over 80 boys around the world have played the demanding titular role.

Speaking after the anniversary production, Sir Elton spoke of his wish to come full circle and adapt the stage version of the story in a movie musical. The musician told the BBC: “It would be lovely to do a film version […] You can only do so much on stage so it would be nice to change some things.”
billy-elliot-02The original film has a stellar 1980s punk-rock soundtrack but no singing, so it’s clear to see why Sir Elton, Hall and Daldry are discussing plans for a movie-musical, particularly as the stage musical has been so well received.

On the other hand, the original Billy Elliot is a British modern classic, beloved by audiences across the world. Would a film adaption of the stage musical ever live up to that standard? The team clearly think so, with Daldry explaining that Billy Elliot has an inherent timelessness and remains pertinent in today’s society: “It’s more relevant today than it ever was. The story about a community in crisis and inequality and the idea of grace is one of the things we all have to embrace.”

Lupita Nyong’o and Adam Driver’s Star Wars character revealed

Academy Award-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o rose to fame following her impassioned performance in 12 Years A Slave and moviegoers were eager to see what she chose to do next. As such, many were thrilled when it was announced Nyong’o would be part of the all-star ensemble cast compiled for the much-hyped Star Wars Epsiode VII: The Force Awakens. Last week more details were released about the upcoming film.

Nyong’o, who last night made headlines after wowing crowds at the Cannes Film Festival in a stunning jade green Gucci dress, posted an exclusive behind-the-scenes Star Wars photo on Instagram.

The image was taken by renowned photographer Annie Leibovitz and demonstrates how motion capture will be used to capture Nyongo’s performance as space pirate Maz Kanata. Leibovitz conducted a series of photos on the Star Wars set at London’s Pinewood Studios for Vanity Fair, including images of never-before-seen characters.

Leibovitz’s photographs depict Girls star Adam Driver as villain Kylo Ren surrounded by Stormtroopers, Oscar Isaac’s dashing rebel pilot Poe Dameron and newcomer Daisy Ridley, whose character is suspected by fans to be the daughter of Han Solo and Princess Leia. As we edge ever closer to the December 2015 release date, expect more news about The Force Awakens to land soon, so remember to check back to Culturefly for the latest news as it arrives.

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