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From the news that Felicity Jones will star in Gareth Edwards’ Star Wars spin off to the excitement of Sunday’s glistening BAFTA Awards, this has been an exciting week in the world of cinema. Join us as we round up some of the top movie news and updates from the past week.

BAFTA Awards 

Sunday’s BAFTA Awards saw The Theory of Everything and The Grand Budapest Hotel continue to triumph, with Eddie Redmayne once again claiming the Best Actor trophy for his role as Stephen Hawking. Following the ceremony, some critics criticised the awards for their predictable choices, arguing the BAFTAs should not be a rehearsal for the Oscars and should have their own unique take on the year’s films.

Nevertheless it was a night to remember: in a memorable moment Hawking himself appeared at the ceremony to present a visual effects award to Interstellar and received a standing ovation. Meanwhile following the announcement of his win, Redmayne embraced his wife Hannah Bagshawe and proceeded to make a sincere speech in which he thanked three families, his own, whom he called his “bedrock”, his professional family – specifically co-star Felcitiy Jones whom he called a “wonder” and finally Stephen Hawking’s family, whom Redmayne said reminded him of “the great strength that comes from the will to live a full and passionate life.”

Casting News: Felicity Jones to join Star Wars, Chris Pratt as Indiana Jones, Samuel L. Jackson teams up with Tim Burton

Felicity Jones has been causing waves in Hollywood over the past few months. Her Oscar, Golden Globe and BAFTA nominated performance in The Theory of Everything as Jane Wilde, Stephen Hawking’s first wife, has had critics and cinemagoers alike marveling at her talent. This week it was announced that the young British actress is set to play the much-coveted lead role in Gareth Edwards’ upcoming Star Wars spin-off film.

Disney currently plan to release three Star Wars spin-off films alongside the main franchise, which will be re-launched this December with JJ Abrams’ highly anticipated Star Wars: The Force Awakens. No plot or characters have been confirmed for Edwards’ stand-alone film, but rumours are circulating that the story could concentrate on Princess Leia’s backstory, with Jones potentially playing Carrie Fisher’s iconic role. Jones is a wonderful, expressive actress and her addition to this film, which has a script written by About A Boy’s Chris Weitz, will undoubtedly make the film a worthy addition to the Star Wars franchise.

Disney bought the rights to Star Wars in 2012 and a year later secured ownership of another blockbuster 80’s franchise: Indiana Jones. Harrison Ford has always expressed an interest in returning to the franchise and did so back in 2008’s Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. The latest news surrounding a new Indiana Jones is that Disney are in talks to secure Guardians of the Galaxy’s Chris Pratt as the lead role. This news is anything but surprising: since the release of Guardians, the biggest movie of 2014, Pratt has established himself as the go-to guy for the ‘lovable rogue’ action-comedy roles that Ford made his specialty a few decades earlier. Nothing has been confirmed yet, but BBC Newsbeat reported that Pratt was asked about the role at an awards ceremony at Harvard University, to which he replied enigmatically that it would be an “awesome opportunity.”
indiana-jonesSamuel L. Jackson is currently in talks to team up with director Tim Burton for Burton’s upcoming Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. The actor and director have never worked together before and this collaboration seems bound to produce brilliant results. The film is an adaptation of the New York Times best-selling young adult novel by Ransom Riggs, which tells the story of a sixteen year old boy (played by Hugo’s Asa Butterfield) who delves into the mysteries of his murdered grandfather’s murky past, discovering that he lived in an orphanage for peculiar children run by Miss Peregrine (due to be played by Casino Royale’s Eva Green). Jackson is due to play Barron, a key character who was created for the film adaptation. The story’s gothic elements seem perfectly suited to Burton’s directorial style and the casting of Green and Jackson promises to deliver.

Sneak Peak: The Gunman

The Gunman is the next project by Pierre Morel, director of Taken, and stars Oscar winner Sean Penn alongside Skyfall’s Javier Bardem, Luther’s Idris Elba and Mark Rylance, currently wowing in BBC’s Wolf Hall.

Penn stars as a former military operative dragged into a deadly cat and mouse game. The film is due to be released on 20 March and in anticipation of its upcoming release, several new stills have been released, promising the film will deliver on high action and explosive thrills.
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