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Illumination’s Super Mario Movie ‘Embracing’ Creator Shigeru Miyamoto’s Vision

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Mario may have come to the big screen before, in a critically-panned 1993 live-action movie, but Illumination are hoping to give the franchise an extra life with their forthcoming animated attempt.

“I like that this was not done well the first time,” Despicable Me Producer Chris Meledandri said in an interview with Variety, “I think that’s more exciting or more worthy than simply making another version of a film that was done incredibly well to begin with.”

The 1993 flick, starring Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo as the platforming plumber brothers Mario and Luigi, was detested by fans for throwing out much of the original video games’ beloved, wholesome art style and storybook lore in favour of a dystopian, grungy nineties aesthetic, and a mythos that bared little relation to the property on which it was supposedly based. That shunning of what makes the character and his world so beloved, and shunning creator Shigeru Miyamoto’s original vision, is – Meledandri feels – key to what will make Illumination’s version a comparative success.

“We are keeping [Miyamoto] front and centre in the creation of this film,” the producer is quoted saying, “I’ve rarely seen that happen with any adaptation where the original creative voice is being embraced like we’re embracing Miyamoto. There’s a history in Hollywood of people believing that they know better than the people responsible for a property. I’ve made that mistake before.”

The video games traditionally tell the simple tale of Mario and his brother Luigi, as they journey across the Mushroom Kingdom with their friends Toad and Yoshi to save Princess Peach from the evil dragon Bowser.

“It’s an ambitious task,” Meledandri continued, “The challenge is taking things that are so thin in their original form and finding depth that doesn’t compromise what generations of fans love about Mario, but also feels organic to the iconography and can support a three-act structure.”

The animated Super Mario movie is currently in ‘priority development’ in Illumination, and could reach theatres as early as 2022.

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Rosamund Pike and Richard Madden Join BAFTA Jury to Decide EE Rising Star Award Shortlist

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BAFTA nominated actress Rosamund Pike, actor Richard Madden, actor and producer Ray Panthaki and film broadcaster, Edith Bowman, joined the EE Rising Star Award jury to help choose the shortlist for the 2019 award.

Now in its fourteenth year, recipients of the EE Rising Star Award continue to read like a who’s who of the acting world with all past nominees and winners enjoying major box office success. It is the only award at the esteemed ceremony to be voted for by the British public and previous winners include James McAvoy, Eva Green, Juno Temple, Tom Hardy, Kristen Stewart, Noel Clarke, Jack O’Connell, Will Poulter, John Boyega, Tom Holland and last year’s winner, Daniel Kaluuya.

Meeting at BAFTA’s headquarters at 195 Piccadilly, London, the jury debated which five nominees deserve to go head to head and face the public vote ahead of the 2019 EE British Academy Film Awards. The shortlist will be announced on Thursday 3rd January and the winner will be revealed at the ceremony on Sunday 10th February.

Sitting alongside Rosamund Pike and Richard Madden on the jury panel at 195 Piccadilly were an outstanding line-up of industry experts gathered to discuss the long-list of emerging talent. The jury was chaired by Alison Thompson, Co-President of Cornerstone Films. It also included Lucy Bevan, industry-leading casting director for Murder on the Orient Express, Cinderella and Pirates of the CaribbeanLeo Davis, renowned casting director for The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas, Layer Cake and The Constant Gardener;and Georgina Lowe, acclaimed producer for Peterloo, Happy-Go-Lucky and Another Year. The jury was completed by prominent film and arts journalists including broadcaster Edith Bowman and film critic Anna Smith.

Rosamund Pike said: “To be asked to join this year’s EE Rising Star Award panel is an exciting honour. It’s been fascinating watching the breadth of talent in an incredible array of films. Making the shortlist decision won’t be easy as the calibre of the acting is so high but I’m looking forward to discussing and deliberating with my fellow jurors, to ensure we have the best possible shortlist for the public vote.”

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Maria Laura Antonelli/AGF/REX/Shutterstock (6323488bh)

Richard Madden said: “I was thrilled when I received the call inviting me to be a part of the decision making on this year’s EE Rising Star Award panel. It’s a very important category and it’s been exciting to watch these actors and actresses shine in their different parts. Today is going to be very interesting as we sit down to discuss who we each think deserves a nomination.”

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Lost Oswald the Lucky Rabbit Cartoon, Precursor to Mickey Mouse, Discovered in Japan

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Neck ‘n’ Neck, one of the seven Oswald the Lucky Rabbit cartoons thought lost to the annals of time, has been discovered by an anime historian in Japan.

The cartoon, first released by Disney in 1928, was in the hands of Yasushi Watanabe. The cartoon collector had bought a 16mm copy of the feature for the equivalent of $4.40 in Osaka when he was in high school almost 70 years ago, utterly oblivious to its significance.

“As I’ve been a Disney fan for many years, I’m happy that I was able to play a role,” Watanabe said in an interview with a local newspaper. The original Neck ‘n’ Neck, which aired as a supplementary feature in cinemas, was five minutes in length. However, the cartoon was cut down to just two minutes for the 16mm version that was sold for home projection use, which unfortunately does mean that 60% of the original feature still remains lost.

Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks created Oswald the Lucky Rabbit in 1927 and created twenty-six cartoons featuring the character that were then distributed by Universal Studios. Oswald was Walt Disney’s first original character, and his success acted as the launchpad for the business that is now worth $92 billion.

Unfortunately, in 1928, Walt Disney lost control of the character following a bitter contract disagreement with Oswald’s producer Charles Mintz, and Mintz would in fact wrangle the character over to Universal full-term, where he would stay until 2006. Following the loss of his flagship character, Walt would decide to make a replacement to be the face of his new cartoon business, and went on to create Mickey Mouse who debuted that same year in the black-and-white classic Steamboat Willie.

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Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald Eyeing $250M Debut

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Forthcoming, magical prequel/sequel Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is on track for a spellbinding time at the international box office.

The feature, which has been directed by Potter stalwart David Yates and penned by series’ creator JK Rowling, looks poised to potentially score a $65 million domestic debut, though some experts are placing the opening weekend figure closer to $75 million. If those higher estimates hold true, it would put the feature on par with its predecessor, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them ($74 million), which went on to garner $814 million worldwide. The Crimes of Grindelwald is hoping for a higher overall, however, carrying a budget of $200 million compared to the first film’s $175 million.

Globally, the film is on track to take in $250 million in its opening weekend, but that figure could suffer due to a harsher critical reception this time around; The Crimes of Grindelwald currently sits at a 54% on Rotten Tomatoes, and holds a 57 MetaScore, with many critcs decrying the feature as “cluttered“, “unsatisfying“, and “sleep-inducing“.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is in UK cinemas from tomorrow, starring Eddie Redmayne, Jude Law, and Johnny Depp, and is rated 12A.

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