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Rian Johnson Sets Neo-Noir Detective Story Knives Out With Daniel Craig As His Next Film

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It looks like Rian Johnson will be taking a short break from the galaxy far, far away, as he sets contemporary neo-noir detective thriller Knives Out as his next feature, according to Deadline.

Current James Bond, Daniel Craig will be playing the lead role – the recent delay of Bond 25 (following the departure of director Danny Boyle) opening up his schedule enough to latch on to the project – and the film will be a classically-styled locked-room whodunit, imbued with the pulp-art sensibilities Johnson infused his previous projects such as the low-budget Brick and the high-concept Looper. Johnson, a self-admitted Agatha Christie super-fan, wrote the script himself, and will produce with his long-time creative partner Ram Bergman.

Knives Out will be the first film for Rian Johnson since his $1.3 billion critical and commercial success with Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

On the casting of Craig, Johnson said in a statement: “I have been a huge fan and always wanted to work with him and as I worked on the script, trying to get it right, Ram and I were wringing our hands over who could be the detective. Then, serendipitously, we heard Daniel might have a small window and it worked out. He’s an actor of extraordinary range, and we are looking forward to the fun of finding that modern detective, and collaborating with Daniel on creating a new Poirot.”

Rian Johnson will return to the Star Wars sandbox following Knives Out, and has long-since been given the green light to make his very own trilogy – separate from the so-called Skywalker saga, which will conclude with JJ Abrams’ Episode IX next year. Knives Out is currently searching for a distributor at the Toronto Film Festival.

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Pharrell Williams To Narrate Benedict Cumberbatch’s The Grinch

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Grammy and Oscar award-winning artist Pharrell Williams has joined the cast of Universal Pictures and Illumination’s The Grinch, as the film’s narrator.

Williams scored all three of the entries in the Despicable Me franchise, and his song Happy (from the second film) went 7x platinum in the US. Fellow rapper Tyler the Creator has scored The Grinch along with veteran Batman composer Danny Elfman, and has written a solo track entitled I Am The Grinch for the feature.

Doctor Strange and Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch will voice the film’s title curmudgeonly creature, and Rashida Jones, Keenan Thompson and Angela Lansbury round out the rest of the cast. Scott Mosier and Yarrow Cheney will direct, and the flick is scheduled for an early November release, this year.

Illumination’s animated The Grinch also comes a whole eighteen years after the Jim Carrey-fronted live-action adaptation of Dr. Seuss’ classic children’s book. So yeah, now you feel old, huh?

Pharrell is currently gearing up to release his next collection of Adidas trainers, entitled SOLARHU, which will go live in five days. They are expected to sell out within hours.

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Shortlist Revealed For U.K. Film’s Biggest Bursary

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The BFI and IWC Schaffhausen today revealed the three filmmakers shortlisted for the IWC Schaffhausen Filmmaker Bursary Award in association with the BFI. At £50,000, it is the most significant bursary of its kind in the UK film industry, expressly designed to support the future careers of exceptional new British film talent.

Acclaimed directors, Paul Greengrass (Bourne, United 93, Captain Phillips) and Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Baby Driver) will join Amanda Nevill, CEO of the BFI and Christoph Grainger-Herr, CEO of IWC Schaffhausen, to select the winner, which will be announced at The IWC Gala Dinner in honour of the BFI, on Tuesday 9 October – the eve of the BFI London Film Festival’s Opening Night.

The shortlisted films include:

RICHARD BILLINGHAM – WRITER/Director, RAY & LIZ  

NICOLE TAYLOR – WRITER, WILD ROSE

HARRY WOOTLIFF – WRITER/DIRECTOR, ONLY YOU

Now in its third year, the Bursary is presented in recognition of outstanding British talent at the beginning of their careers and is designed to support a writer and/or director by providing them with the financial stability and time needed to develop their creativity. The Bursary affords them the freedom to focus on future projects without the pressure of deadlines or the distraction of taking paid work – a precious and extremely rare opportunity for a filmmaker. Previous recipient include writer/directors, Hope Dickson Leach (The Levelling) and Daniel Kokotajlo (Apostasy).

Amanda Nevill, CEO of the BFI comments: This Bursary award does so much to support some of our brightest and best new filmmakers and it’s not just about winning – as we’ve seen in the last two years, being shortlisted can prove hugely valuable in boosting a filmmaker’s profile within the industry and beyond. I want to thank IWC for their continued commitment to helping us support British filmmaking in this dynamic way. Our three filmmakers offer a rich variety of voices formed through a really exciting range of experiences and disciplines, and once again the judging panel faces a very difficult decision.

A panel of senior industry figures – Rose Garnett, Director of BBC Films, Ollie Madden, Head of Creative at Film4, Ben Roberts, Director of the BFI Film Fund, Tricia Tuttle, Acting Artistic Director of the BFI London Film Festival, and Kaleem Aftab, film critic and journalist – selected the shortlist of filmmakers. To be eligible for the Bursary Award a writer, director or writer/director must be UK-based and have their first or second film in Official Selection at the BFI London Film Festival in Partnership with American Express®. Once again, the high calibre of shortlisted applicants is testament to the strength of British independent filmmaking and this year also highlights the intersection of film with other creative disciplines, with the three finalists each demonstrating a unique range of experience and presenting original work with a distinctive tone.

Ben Roberts, Director of the BFI Film Fund said: “The three shortlisted filmmakers are each poised to catch the wave of their current success – but feature development needs time and encouragement. We are so grateful to IWC for highlighting and supporting the work of emerging UK filmmakers – and also to the producers of our three candidates for getting them here”

Tricia Tuttle, Artistic Director of the BFI London Film Festival said: “In the last few years we’ve seen an impressive new generation of film talent emerging from the UK. We’re really proud of the role the Festival plays in championing this talent globally, and this Bursary is a key part of how we do that.“

The final three in contention for the IWC Schaffhausen Filmmaker Bursary Award in Association with the BFI are:

In 2017 the IWC Bursary Award in Association with the BFI was won by writer/director, Daniel Kokotajlo whose debut feature Apostasy premiered at the LFF that year. The film was released in the UK in July 2018 to widespread critical acclaim.

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Director James Gray to Serve as President of 2018 Marrakech International Film Festval

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US director James Gray will serve as president of the Competition jury of the 2018 Marrakech International Film Festival, which runs from November 30th -December 8th.

Gray boasts an impressive filmography, having helmed films such as We Own The Night and 2017’s The Lost City of Z. His latest feature Ad Astra, starring Brad Pitt, is set to be released next year.

The festival’s Competition selection will consist of 14 first and second films chosen by a programming committee led by new artistic director Christoph Terhechte.

Following the announcement, Gray said

“The Marrakech Film Festival is truly a very special place where the language of cinema unites people from all over the map. It’s a tremendous honour to be named president of the jury and to be returning to this great festival for a third time.”

The top prize, Golden Star – Grand Prix comes with a cash prize of 50,000 USD. Other prizes include Jury Prize, Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Director.

 

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