Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Screen Talk: Taxing role

Taxes and death are often cited as the only sure things in life. So it must be nothing more than hope-busting for Wesley Snipes to find out that his quest for a new trial for tax-related crimes was turned down.

Snipes, of Blade fame, was hoping to receive a new trial after lawyers received jurors' emails claiming other members had predetermined his fate. A federal judge rejected his plea and instructed the star to serve out his three-year prison term. The Orlando-born actor was convicted in 2008 of failing to file federal tax returns. The prosecution said the actor attempted to avoid paying millions in taxes and obstructed the IRS. Next stop would be the Supreme Court but Snipes will have to wait and see on that matter from a prison cell.

Cutting-edge horror

Great ideas sometimes make it all the way to the big screen still making sense. Horror fans watching the comings and goings of moviemakers are hoping director Charles Evered manages to bring out the best in one highly regarded movie premise. Evered is directing A Thousand Cuts, an original screenplay by Eric Barr and Marty James. The story focuses on a horror movie director who is confronted by the father of a girl who was murdered by a copycat carrying out the kind of murders depicted in the director's films. Michael O'Keefe, Michael A. Newcomer and Olesya Rulin are set to star in the indie feature, currently filming out in Palm Desert, California.

Leading man is still on a mission

Tom Cruise is producer as often as star of the big screen these days. The Cruiser is heavily involved in the lucrative money-spinning franchise, Mission: Impossible, and is starring alongside Jeremy Renner in the fourth outing, Ghost Protocol, which is filming in Dubai. Tongues began wagging after it emerged that Renner may be being groomed to replace Cruise in future Mission Impossible movies. Cruise doesn't want his producer credits and backend payments to end on the franchise so is, along with fellow film-maker and producer J J Abrams, considering handing the reins over to a younger actor, or even to an ensemble. Renner isn't giving away whether or not the hand-over is written into the current film though. Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, directed by Brad Bird, also stars Léa Seydoux as the female villain and Lost's Josh Holloway in his first major film role.

Biting comment

Not everyone in Hollywood thinks revisiting the not-so-distant past is a good thing. Take Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon (above right) for instance. He is far from happy that Warner Bros is gearing up for what Hollywood calls a reboot, when it means remake. "This is a sad, sad reflection on our times, when people must feed off the carcasses of beloved stories from their youths – just because they can't think of an original idea of their own," Whedon told E! Online. For her part, Kristy Swanson, star of the 1992 film, is already pitching her resumé for the reboot.

Quids in for Quidditch

Warner Bros has spent hours and hours and hours looking a ways to ensure the cash generated by the lucrative Harry Potter franchise continues to roll in. While the movie series itself finales next summer with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, the studio has busied itself with trademark rights over all things Potter. The studio has even shored up extensive trademark rights over Quidditch after an initial trademark move on it back in 1999. The latest push includes Quidditch lingerie, swimwear, cuff links, earrings, lapel pins, necklaces, ornamental pins, pendants and rings. It really is the crown jewel franchise for the studio. Who knows? Perhaps a WB Potter department store will follow.