Screen Talk: PA takes charge

The Hollywood tradition of former assistants breaking out as talent continues. An untitled sci-fi crime thriller by Bobby Glickert, a former PA, has been snapped up by Universal.

Glickert wrote the outline for the pitch and will direct and produce his own project. As a PA he made some friends in high places, so Scott Stuber and Fast Five director Justin Lin will produce alongside him. Glickert was first a PA on Transformers and Iron Man then acted as an assistant to Lin on Fast and Furious, all the while directing short films of his own. When the buzz broke in Hollywood, Lin's tennis coach left a message on the web offering his best wishes – and pointing out that he was available for auditions at any time.

Panda kicks ass at the box office

DreamWorks Animation and Paramount are feeling Zen after breaking records in China. The jointly backed Kung Fu Panda 2, (above left), kicked out the Chinese record for an opening weekend, garnering 125 million Yuan (£11.7m) at the box office. It's a market on the up after the first Kung Fu Panda adventure, released in China in June 2008 in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics, was the first animated film to gross more than 100 million Yuan (£9.3m) there. While it requires diplomacy, an ability to swallow hard censorship rules and being resigned to the fact all Western releases must go through the state-run China Film Group and its sister company Huaxia Film Distribution, Hollywood's finest are still going all out for a slice of the action. It's all about potential. Box-office gross was up 64 per cent last year to £1bn and China is expected to overtake Japan as the world's No 2 movie market after the US in the next four years.

Hiccup returns

First, the good news for fans. Storyboarding has begun on a sequel to How to Train Your Dragon, slated to hit cinemas in 2014. The sequel will move beyond the small North Sea island that was the setting for the original as it traces the further adventures of Hiccup, as he grows toward becoming the leader of his Viking clan. And, in even better news for fans, the writer-director Dean DeBlois has said that the follow-up is being intentionally designed as the second film in a trilogy.

Scardino works his magic

The veteran television director Don Scardino, (above centre), whose CV currently includes 35 episodes of the long-running comedy show 30 Rock, is to make his feature film debut. Scardino, whose other television credits range from Rescue Me to The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd, has been tasked with directing Burt Wonderstone. He already has Steve Carell attached to play a magician who needs to rediscover his inner magic and a script, rewritten from Chad Kultgen's original, by John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein.

Wahey, it's Sahay

The internet is abuzz with the casting of Chuck actor Vik Sahay in American Reunion, the new American Pie movie from Universal, currently shooting in Atlanta. Sahay (above right), billed as "too good-looking to join the cast of this film", according to some webheads, joins a comedy cast which reunites the stars of the first movie. Jason Biggs, Alyson Hannigan, Chris Klein, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Tara Reid, Seann William Scott, Mena Suvari, Eddie Kaye Thomas, Jennifer Coolidge and Eugene Levy are all on board to chart how the characters' lives have changed as they return to their town for a high school reunion. Sahay will play the nerdy kid in high school who grows up to be Stiffler's boss. Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg wrote the script and are directing.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Chocolat author Joanne Harris has spoken about the financial struggles most authors face

books
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from How To Train Your Dragon 2

Review: Imaginative storytelling returns with vigour

film
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Josh Hutcherson, Donald Sutherland and Jena Malone in Mockinjay: Part 1

film
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Characters in the new series are based on real people, say its creators, unlike Arya and Clegane the Dog in ‘Game of Thrones’
tv
Arts and Entertainment
A waxwork of Jane Austen has been unveiled at The Jane Austen Centre in Bath

books
Arts and Entertainment
Britney Spears has been caught singing without Auto-Tune

music
Arts and Entertainment
Unless films such as Guardians of the Galaxy, pictured, can buck the trend, this summer could be the first in 13 years that not a single Hollywood blockbuster takes $300m

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Miley Cyrus has her magic LSD brain stolen in this crazy video produced with The Flaming Lips

music
Arts and Entertainment
Gay icons: Sesame Street's Bert (right) and Ernie

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Singer Robin Thicke and actress Paula Patton

music
Arts and Entertainment
The new film will be shot in the same studios as the Harry Potter films

books
Arts and Entertainment
Duncan Bannatyne left school at 15 and was still penniless at 29

Bannatyne leaves Dragon's Den

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The French economist Thomas Piketty wrote that global inequality has worsened

books
Arts and Entertainment
David Tennant and Benedict Cumberbatch

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck plays a despondent Nick Dunne in David Fincher's 'Gone Girl'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty (L) and Carl Barât look at the scene as people begin to be crushed

music
Arts and Entertainment

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty and Caral Barat of The Libertines performs on stage at British Summer Time Festival at Hyde Park

music
Arts and Entertainment
Ariana Grande and Iggy Azalea perform on stage at the Billboard Music Awards 2014

music
Arts and Entertainment

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Zina Saro-Wiwa

art
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
    Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

    Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

    In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
    Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

    A writer spends a night on the streets

    Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
    Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

    UK's railways are entering a new golden age

    New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
    Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

    Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

    Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
    Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

    Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

    This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
    Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

    Why did we stop eating whelks?

    Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
    10 best women's sunglasses

    In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

    From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
    Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

    World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

    No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
    Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

    Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

    18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    The German people demand an end to the fighting
    New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

    New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

    For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
    Can scientists save the world's sea life from

    Can scientists save our sea life?

    By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
    Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

    Richard III review

    Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice