Screen Talk: Ready to rumble n the legal jungle

 

Acting heavyweights Christopher Plummer (above left) and Frank Langella are set to spar in front of the camera for Stephen Frears.

The pair have been cast in Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight – though neither, obviously, will be boxing in the ring. The HBO film details the legal fight between Ali and the US government when the fighter became a conscientious objector to the Vietnam War. Having been drafted into the Army in 1966, Ali declined to serve, citing his belief that the war was against the teachings of the Koran. When he appeared at an armed services induction in 1967 and refused to step forward when his name was called, he was arrested. Legal wranglings ensued and the case ended up in the US Supreme Court in 1971. Shawn Slovo has written the script and the hunt for an actor to play Ali is underway. Plummer will portray Supreme Court associate Justice John Marshall Harlan II. Langella will portray Chief Justice Warren Burger.

Lost cause

Good news and bad for lovers of epic poetry. The long-planned, special effects-laden cinematic take on John Milton's Paradise Lost has been shelved. Bradley Cooper was set to star as Lucifer, leading a cast which included Djimon Hounsou, Casey Affleck and Camilla Belle. Alex Proyas was down to direct. Now, the production giant Legendary Pictures has said no to bringing Milton's war between heaven and hell to life. Why? The project was going to need "Avatar-like" special effects – with a projected budget of more than $120m, it was all just a little too costly.

 

A creature feature gets some help

Hollywood is going great guns for the vogue genre "young adult", expecting big things from The Hunger Games at the box office. Now Beautiful Creatures is being lined up as the next big hit. Adapted from the young-adult novel by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, it is already attracting grown-ups to its cast. Emma Thompson has signed to play the dual role of Mrs Lincoln, a small-town religious firebrand, and Sarafine, the dark witch who possesses her. Jack O'Connell and Alice Englert (above centre) are due to play the characters at the heart of the supernatural coming-of-age story about two star-crossed teens, a local boy and a mysterious new girl, who uncover dark secrets about their families, history and town. The Help's Viola Davis also stars in the film, which is backed by Warner Bros.

 

Murders, mean streets and Muppets

One of the hottest prospects in Movieland right now is a film-noir script about a down-on-his-luck detective who gets embroiled in a make-or-break career investigation. So far, so unoriginal? The reason that this particular script, Happytime Murders, is attracting heat is that it stars a Muppet. The project is being developed by Brian and Lisa Henson, children of Jim, and has as its gumshoe star a blue Muppet. Word is, the script is hilarious. And, after all, an adult comedy with a bad-ass Muppet hero is long overdue.

 

Write time, write place for Boone film

Greg Kinnear (above right) and Jennifer Connelly have proved to be a lucrative casting coup for the bittersweet comedy Writers, by newcomer Joshua Boone. The movie, scheduled to shoot in the US in March, tells the story of a fractured family trying to rediscover one another over the course of a year. The project was one of thousands of projects being sold to distributors at this year's European Film Market, held during the Berlin Film Festival. The movie has been pre-sold to territories around the world before a camera has even turned, and will now be seen in places as far afield as Singapore, India, Canada and Latin America – and on airplanes around the globe.

Arts and Entertainment
Howard Mollison, as played by Michael Gambon
tvReview: Too often The Casual Vacancy resembled a jumble of deleted scenes from Hot Fuzz
Arts and Entertainment
Larry David performs in his play ‘Fish in the Dark'
theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Jemima West in Channel 4's Indian Summers (Joss Barratt/Channel 4)
tvReview: More questions and plot twists keep viewers guessing
Arts and Entertainment
Kristin Scott Thomas outside the Royal Opera House before the ceremony (Getty)
film
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Channel 4's Indian Summers
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Shining star: Maika Monroe, with Jake Weary, in ‘It Follows’
film review
Arts and Entertainment

Brits 2015
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Paloma Faith arrives at the Brit Awards (Getty)

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Boleyn's beheading in BBC Two's Wolf Hall

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Follow every rainbow: Julie Andrews in 'The Sound of Music'
film Elizabeth Von Trapp reveals why the musical is so timeless
Arts and Entertainment
Bytes, camera, action: Leehom Wang in ‘Blackhat’
film
Arts and Entertainment
The Libertines will headline this year's festival
music
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Dean Anderson in the original TV series, which ran for seven seasons from 1985-1992
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Muscling in: Noah Stewart and Julia Bullock in 'The Indian Queen'

opera
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman and David Tennant star in 'Broadchurch'

TVViewers predict what will happen to Miller and Hardy
Arts and Entertainment
Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright in season two of the series

Watch the new House of Cards series three trailer

TV
Arts and Entertainment
An extract from the sequel to Fight Club

books
Arts and Entertainment
David Tennant, Eve Myles and Olivia Colman in Broadchurch series two

TV Review
Arts and Entertainment
Old dogs are still learning in 'New Tricks'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
'Tonight we honour Hollywood’s best and whitest – sorry, brightest' - and other Neil Patrick Harris Oscars jokes

Oscars 2015It was the first time Barney has compered the Academy Awards

Arts and Entertainment
Patricia Arquette making her acceptance speech for winning Best Actress Award

Oscars 2015 From Meryl Streep whooping Patricia Arquette's equality speech to Chris Pine in tears

Arts and Entertainment

Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants

Arts and Entertainment
Lloyd-Hughes takes the leading role as Ralph Whelan in Channel 4's epic new 10-part drama, Indian Summers

TV Review

The intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Segal and Cameron Diaz star in Sex Tape

Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron

Latest stories from i100
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.

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
    Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

    Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

    Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
    Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
    With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

    Money, corruption and drugs

    The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
    America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

    150 years after it was outlawed...

    ... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
    Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

    You won't believe your eyes

    Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
    Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
    War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
    Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

    Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

    The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
    A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

    It's not easy being Green

    After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
    Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

    Gorillas nearly missed

    BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
    Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

    The Downton Abbey effect

    Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
    China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

    China's wild panda numbers on the up

    New census reveals 17% since 2003