Film: Rushes

WHEN, JUST days before this year's Academy Awards, the press start talking up an actor's rosy chances in next year's Oscars, you know someone's had a bad year. Step up Uma Thurman, star of Batman & Robin and The Avengers, whose PR machine moved into full swing with the news she's signed to Roland Joffe's Vatel. Screen scribe of the moment Tom Stoppard is penning the costume drama, which stars Gerard Depardieu as the eponymous master chef commanded to prepare a royal feast for Louis XIV. The $36m production has yet to commence filming and will need to get a move on to hit US cinemas by the end of this year to give Uma her chance of Oscar glory.

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IT'S GOOD to talk. Just don't do it when Laurence Not Larry Fishburne is treading the boards. The New York Post reported that the actor was in the middle of a performance of The Lion in Winter when someone's mobile phone started bleeping. He soldiered on for 20 seconds before bringing the play to a halt with a salty ad lib: "Will you turn off that fucking phone, please?!" Exit the guilty party while the audience treated Laurence Not Larry to a 30-second ovation.

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THE TRULY "multimedia" is coming to a cinema near you. Probably not for a very long time, but let's not spoil the fun for researchers at Carnegie Mellon University in America. They claim they've invented a process which allows the audience to touch and feel objects seen on the screen. "You can feel motion, resistance, and surface texture," they insist. And how? Why, with the old haptic interface, (a type of magnetic levitation device) the cinema-goer's favourite friend...

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EXPECT SPARKS to fly in Cannes this summer when the newly announced head of the film festival's jury takes up the reins. David Cronenberg has already demonstrated he's champing at the bit: "It's going to be intoxicating and thrilling," he said. "Once I'm there, the physician in me won't be able to resist conducting a few diagnostic tests and perhaps writing a prescription or two."

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