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Anthony Hopkins Admits Phoning It In, Says 'Thor' Director Kenneth Branagh Brought Him Back

May 5th, 2011 1:00pm EDT
Academy Award Winner Sir Anthony Hopkins is one of the world’s most respected actors, but he says we haven’t even seen his best work lately. It took playing Thor’s father, and director Kenneth Branagh, to return Hopkins to his former glory.

“I’ve gotten lazy over the years,” Hopkins said. “I’ve been sort of phoning it in. I’ve been around so many years, but I loved working with Ken. I’ve got a lot of muscle in me and a lot of energy. That’s a case in point where he helped me. A great director, because of his background, being a great actor, really great actor, he took on everyone. He’s fie...

'Thor' Review: 'Two Jews On Film' Only One Falls For The Gods In This Epic Fantasy (Video)

May 5th, 2011 11:00am EDT
Once upon a time in 965AD lived a king named Odin (Anthony Hopkins) His kingdom was called Asgard and he had two sons...Thor (Chris Helmsworth) and Loki (Tom Hiddleston). At one time Asgard was at war with the Frost Giants of Jotunheim...They are these really ugly, really nasty beings who can freeze you with one touch. Their leader is Laufey (Colm Feore). So an uneasy truce has kept the peace between these two realms for many years...but that soon changes.

Thor is just about to be crowned King when all hell breaks loose. The Frost Giants attack and things go from bad to worse.

Thor, ou...

Chris Hemsworth Too Muscular For His 'Thor' Costume

March 30th, 2011 6:00pm EDT
Chris Hemsworth was left red-faced during his first camera test for Thor because he put on so much muscle while he was bulking up to play the superhero, his costume didn't fit.

The Australian actor plays the Nordic superhero in the upcoming self-titled blockbuster, directed by renowned thespian Kenneth Branagh.

Movie bosses ordered the star to hit the gym and gain as much muscle as possible before filming started, but Hemsworth went too far with his workouts and became so heavy he had to have his costume re-sized.

He tells the Los Angeles Times, "I got the part and immediately started ...

Stars Protest British Government's Art Cuts

March 13th, 2011 3:03pm EDT
Helen Mirren
Screen stars including Helen Mirren, Michael Sheen and Julie Walters have joined forces to protest against government cuts to arts funding in Britain.

Kenneth Branagh, Sheila Hancock, David Tennant and director Mike Leigh are also among the names who have signed a letter, published in U.K. newspaper The Observer, declaring arts and culture in Britain are facing "the biggest threat" in decades.

It comes after officials last year wound down the UK Film Council, which has funded movies including the Oscar-winning The King's Speech, as part of a range of cost-cutting measures.

The letter, or...

New 'Thor' Trailer Brings The Thunder

February 18th, 2011 10:14am EST
"You dare threaten me, Thor, with so puny a weapon?"

We really can't wait for "Thor." The very character, the very concept of the Norse god being banished to Earth to live among puny humans by his father Odin is in itself pure lunacy, and we believe a beautiful raving egomaniac like Kenneth Branagh is just the director to make it all actually work.

Marvel has released the second trailer for "Thor" and... yeah, it looks pretty crazy and wonderful. Chris Hemsworth saying things like "I have no plans to die today" without a trace of irony is quite delicious, as is all the CGI monster madnes...

TV On DVD: 'Discovering Hamlet'

February 1st, 2011 5:37pm EST
Discovering Hamlet
Acorn Media's Athena imprint has released Discovering Hamlet on DVD today. As you may have seen on PBS, this is a unique documentary tracking Kenneth Branagh's 1988 debut as the title character in Shakespeare's historic play. If you missed it, however, Athena now has it in a two-disc set so you can step back more than twenty years to see Branagh and legendary actor Derek Jacobi (Cadfael) on the English stage. Here's an inside look at the release.

The Show

Discovering Hamlet is, and I say this with love, a program for nerds. This is not Shakespeare for those with a short attention spa...

Idris Elba Eyeing 'Blade' Role

October 5th, 2010 5:15pm EDT
Idris Elba
Idris Elba is bidding to replace Wesley Snipes in a fourth Blade movie.

The Wire star recently signed to star alongside Kenneth Branagh and Anthony Hopkins in Thor, the first film in a multi-picture deal with comic book movie makers Marvel.

Brit Elba is refusing to reveal the details of his agreement with Marvel bosses, but hints he's in line to land his own comic book adventure - and the Marvel-owned Blade is top of his list.

He tells Total Film, "I wouldn't mind having a crack at bringing Blade back, personally. But there's a couple of things there that they have... Luke Cage is... ...

Emma Watson Joins Marilyn Monroe Film

September 24th, 2010 1:15pm EDT
Emma Watson
Emma Watson has landed her first post-Harry Potter film role in an upcoming movie about Marilyn Monroe.

The 20-year-old actress finished work on the final installment in the wizard franchise earlier this year but has shunned Hollywood to concentrate on her university studies and launching her eco-friendly fashion line People Tree.

She has now accepted her first film role after the Potter franchise in new Monroe movie My Week With Marilyn, which will see Michelle Williams playing the blonde bombshell. The film tells the story of Colin Clark who worked as Laurence Olivier's assistant on 1...

Natalie Portman's Oversized Grey Sweater Dress - Hot Or Not?

September 16th, 2010 7:10pm EDT
Natalie Portman
Natalie Portman continued her media blitz at a press conference for the film "Black Swan" at the 35th Toronto Film Festival. We think the fresh-faced star looked cute in a gray shift dress. What do you think?

The actress is reportedly replacing Angelina Jolie in space survival movie "Gravity" alongside Robert Downey, Jr. Reports suggest producers are now eying Portman after previously considering Blake Lively and Scarlett Johansson for the coveted role. She would play a woman stranded on a space station after a crash kills the rest of her crew.

Portman will play female lead Jane Foster i...

Natalie Portman Thrilled To Work With Kenneth Branagh

September 7th, 2010 2:00pm EDT
Natalie Portman
Actress Natalie Portman has thanked Kenneth Branagh for her role in Thor - she only took on the part because he's in the director's chair.

The Hollywood star will play female lead Jane Foster in the upcoming Marvel Comics film alongside Anthony Hopkins and Idris Elba.

However, Portman was all set to turn down an audition for the role - until she realized Branagh would be helming the project.

She tells Total Film, "It was actually not something I was dying to do. Not Thor in particular, but a big movie. When I heard Ken was doing it, I said, 'Wow that is a daring and interesting idea.'...

Ron Howard Taught His Daughter To Listen To Directors

December 25th, 2009 2:00pm EST
Bryce Dallace Howard
Bryce Dallas Howard listens to her dad. Ron Howard was a successful actor and now director. When she thought about entering the family business, he was straight with her.

"The best advice he gave me was that, if there was anything else I could do, to do that," Howard said. "You need to not be able to do anything else, to be in this business. If you have other options, in those unemployed moments, those other options will take precedent."

Her work with filmmakers, from McG and Sam Raimi to M. Night Shyamalan and Kenneth Branagh, makes Howard realize what else she got from her father. S...

'Up In The Air,' 'Nine' Lead Golden Globe Nominations

December 15th, 2009 9:19am EST
Up in the Air
The 67th annual Golden Globe nominations were just announced in Beverly Hills, Calif., by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

"Up in the Air" leads the pack with six mentions, including best picture, drama. The musical "Nine" ran second with five nominations, including best musical or comedy and acting slots for Daniel Day-Lewis, Penelope Cruz and Marion Cotillard.

The Golden Globes, Hollywood's second-biggest film honors after the Oscars, will be presented Jan. 17 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, televised live by NBC and hosted by comic actor Ricky Gervais.


Best Casting Decisions For The 'Harry Potter' Franchise

July 14th, 2009 9:30am EDT
Harry Potter
Get out your wands and your magical cloaks everyone, because Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is on the horizon and it promises to be the best HP film yet! The epic series is almost coming to a close, with only one more adapted book left, and this one is full of major betrayals, coming of age disasters, and the characters we love and hate developing further. One of the hardest parts about putting a book to life on the screen is finding the right actor to portray a beloved character. Fans are some of the harshest critics in the world. Here's a look at some of the most inspired casting ...

Starpulse's Explosive Summer Movie Preview

May 1st, 2009 10:06am EDT
Star Trek
Since the dawn of the American cinematic blockbuster in the late 1970s and early 1980s, moviegoers have eagerly waited for May - the unofficial beginning of summertime. This summer is no different. Films, and most popular media, are social mirrors, and this summer season supports that. The large box office contenders all deal with very similar themes: escapism and the support of the lone, outlaw hero figure (X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Star Trek, Terminator Salvation, Up, Transformers 2, Public Enemies, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra, Inglourious Basterds, et...

Philip Seymour Hoffman Stars In 'The Boat That Rocked'; In Theaters Aug. 28

April 24th, 2009 6:30pm EDT
The Boat That Rocked
In the late 1960s, American radio stations blasted rock and roll 24 hours a day. But in the home country of the Beatles and The Rolling Stones, the only way 25 million people could hear their music was to tune in…to a boat.

Celebrated filmmaker Richard Curtis (Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill, Bridget Jones's Diary, Love Actually) brings the incredible story of a band of rogue deejays who captivated British radio listeners in the '60s, playing the music that defined a generation and boldly defying the government that tried to shut them down - The Boat That Rocked.


Kenneth Branagh Beats David Tennant For Best Actor At BPG Awards

March 27th, 2009 11:54am EDT
David Tennant
British thespian Kenneth Branagh has been honored at the U.K.'s Broadcasting Press Guild Awards (BPG) - beating Doctor Who star David Tennant to take the coveted Best Actor prize.

The star was handed the trophy for his role in BBC drama Wallander, ahead of Tennant and Brideshead Revisited star Ben Whishaw.

The honor - voted for by British journalists - is the major TV acting award in Branagh's native country. Previous winners include Alec Guinness, Michael Gambon and Colin Firth.

David Frost received the Harvey Lee Outstanding Achievement Award for his accomplishments both on...

Slideshow: Irish Celebrities - Who Is Your Favorite?

March 17th, 2009 8:47am EDT
Colin Farrell
Happy St. Patrick's Day! In honor of Irish actors and musicians, Starpulse salutes those who have brought a wee bit of luck and whimsy to fans across the world:


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Colin Farrell

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Pierce Brosnan

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Liam Neeson

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'Valkyrie' Takes An Intriguing Look At Historical Event

December 19th, 2008 12:20am EST
Tom Cruise must be the only actor on the planet who can get away with playing any character, at any time, with an American accent. He never really disappears in his roles, not like Daniel Day-Lewis or Jamie Foxx with his portrayal of Ray Charles in "Ray"-no matter what he does, you can't help but looking at the screen and simply thinking to yourself, that's Tom Cruise. If that's the worst thing that can be said about a film, it probably stands a fighting chance.

As it turns out, Cruise's refusal to be anyone other than himself proves to be but a slight annoyance in an otherwise terrif...

Director Defends 'Valkyrie' Accents

December 17th, 2008 8:42am EST
Valkyrie director Bryan Singer has defended his decision to let the non-German cast of the World War II movie use their native accents in the film - insisting it would be less authentic if they tried to fake it.

Some critics have questioned Singer's decision to allow American Tom Cruise and Brits Tom Wilkinson and Kenneth Branagh use their native tongue in the film, even though they play German characters. But the filmmaker argues they would have sounded stupid and unrealistic attempting to impersonate Germans.

He tells the New York Times, "If everyone was trying to do German acce...

Tom Cruise Stars In 'Valkyrie,' In Theaters Dec. 26; Watch The Trailer Here

November 5th, 2008 11:23am EST
In a country in the grips of evil, in a police state where every move is being watched, in a world where justice and honor have been subverted, a group of men hidden inside the highest reaches of power decide to take action. Tom Cruise stars in the suspense film, Valkyrie, based on the true story of Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg (Cruise) and the daring and ingenious plot to eliminate one of the most evil tyrants the world has ever known.

Click the 'play' button to watch the trailer for "Valkyrie"

Director Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects, X-Men, Superman Returns) re-teams ...

Tom Cruise Stunned By Criticism Of Hitler Film

August 28th, 2008 11:46am EDT
Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise cannot understand why his movie Valkyrie has attracted so much criticism - because it's such an "important" story.

The actor insists the movie - which tells the true story of a plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler during World War II - will be a box office hit after wowing audiences at a test screening earlier this month.

He says: "It (the criticism) just doesn't make sense to me either. The moment I read the screenplay I knew it was an important story, and as it's a true tale of heroic resistance to one of the great villains of history, I can't imagine that people won't ...

'Valkyrie' Extras Seek Compensation

August 26th, 2008 10:47am EDT
Tom Cruise's troubled film project Valkyrie has been hit with another set-back - extras on the film are allegedly threatening to sue movie bosses over on-set injuries.

The film, which has been pushed back twice, has now been hit by a legal fight, with 11 actors claiming they were thrown from a moving vehicle while filming a scene for the World War II movie. The extras received minor injuries in the incident, with one being hospitalized due to serious injuries, according to Britain's Daily Star newspaper.

The publication also claims the actors are seeking compensation from studio...

'Valkyrie' Release Date Changed To December

August 14th, 2008 10:57am EDT
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures announced today they will be releasing the suspense film, Valkyrie, from Director Bryan Singer, on Friday, December 26, 2008. The film was last slated for release on Oct. 3, and then it was moved to President's Day weekend starting Feb. 13. It was originally slotted for June, 2008.

“We saw and tested the movie,” says Clark Woods, President of MGM Distribution. “and we believe a strong movie deserves a strong playdate.”

Tom Cruise stars in the suspense thriller, "Valkyrie," based on the true story of Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg (Cruise) and the da...

Kate Beckinsale Turns Her Back On Sexy Roles

March 27th, 2008 9:09am EDT
Kate Beckinsale
British actress Kate Beckinsale has vowed not to take any more glamorous movie roles - declaring her time as a "sex-bomb" is over. The 34-year-old star began her acting career in Kenneth Branagh's 1993 version of Much Ado About Nothing but graduated to action-packed adventures including Underworld and Van Helsing.

However, Beckinsale is now determined to turn her career around and prove herself as a serious actress. She says, "The sex-bomb thing is totally fun but you want to take the red shoes off sometimes. I've been wanting to do something more dramatic. I don't regret any of my mo...

Judi Dench Leads Tributes To Late Actor Paul Scofield

March 21st, 2008 11:33am EDT
Judi Dench
Judi Dench has led the tributes to late Oscar-winning actor Paul Scofield who died on Thursday. The English star of screen and stage - who won an Academy-Award in 1966 for his portrayal of Sir Thomas More in A Man For All Seasons - died after a long battle with leukemia. He was 86.

Dench - who starred with Scofield in Kenneth Branagh's 1989 Oscar-winning film Henry V - was shocked to hear the news, stating, "He was a great friend and a great man."

Revered British actor Simon Callow has described Schofield as "one of the greatest actors in the world". He adds, "He had a charisma...

A Salute To Irish Actors On St. Patrick's Day

March 17th, 2008 10:00am EDT
Colin Farrell
There’s something undeniably sexy about an Irish accent. Add celebrity into the mix, and you have a pretty powerful combination. Here are some of the Irish actors whose charisma, talent and lilting speech have made them favorites among moviegoers and TV fans:

When you think "Irish actor," Colin Farrell immediately comes to mind. A reformed bad boy who reportedly dated Britney Spears and made an infamous sex tape with former girlfriend and Playboy model Nicole Narain, Farrell has altered his priorities in the past few years.

Farrell recently showed his tender side when he opened...

Emma Thompson: 'I Was Wrong To Wed Branagh'

November 29th, 2007 10:43am EST
Emma Thompson
Oscar-winner Emma Thompson regrets marrying her ex-husband Kenneth Branagh - and insists the union would have been avoided had the couple visited a marriage guidance counselor. The Sense And Sensibility actress divorced Branagh in 1994 after five years of marriage, blaming her workaholic husband for the split.

However the 48-year-old - who is now wed to actor Greg Wise - is sure she and Branagh would never have gone through with their nuptials if they had fully analyzed their relationship.

She says, "I wish that in our society we had more of a tradition of really preparing peopl...

German Official Apologizes For Trying To Ban Tom Cruise

October 10th, 2007 12:05pm EDT
Tom Cruise
British filmmaker Kenneth Branagh has revealed the German official who initially wanted Tom Cruise banned from shooting in his country has apologized to the actor.

The unnamed German told Cruise he had misinterpreted the plot of the film, Valkyrie - about a real-life assassination attempt on Nazi leader Adolf Hitler - and was sorry for the fuss he had caused.

Branagh, who co-stars with Cruise, says, "All that nonsense about the Germans not wanting Tom Cruise there was largely exaggerated, and has to be said. A week into our shooting the man that led much of the noise that had bee...

Michael Caine Turns Country Retreat Into 'Sleuth'-Style Fortress

October 5th, 2007 1:04pm EDT
Michael Caine
Michael Caine has turned his country retreat in England into a high-tech fortress - not unlike the one his dastardly character lives in the Sleuth remake.

In the new Kenneth Branagh thriller, Caine plays paranoid millionaire Andrew Wyke, who wires up his home to catch a crook, Jude Law - and though the veteran actor isn't a "murderous psychotic" he admits he's not a technophobe when it comes to home security.

He explains, "I have that kind of household myself. I'm a big technology freak and I'm always trying to get up to date with the latest and the clearest high definition tele...

Jude Law Lands 'Hamlet' Role

September 11th, 2007 9:58am EDT
Jude Law
Hollywood actor Jude Law has landed a dream role playing Hamlet in London's West End. The Alfie star will take the lead role in the 2009 production under the direction of Emmy-award winning director Kenneth Branagh at the Donmar Warehouse theatre in Covent Garden.

Michael Grandage, artistic director at the theater, says, "Jude was on the record as saying he wanted to tackle Hamlet at some point. He is a muscular, visceral actor who has a very direct connection with raw emotion. It will potentially be a very different take on a play we have seen a lot in recent years."

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