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No more Mr Nice Guy: the actors who revived their careers with extreme makeovers



Affable goofball Vince Vaughn is on the verge of a Vaughnaissance with his gleeful antihero in Brawl in Cell Block 99. Heres who he can take tips from

Trace your way through Vince Vaughns career from affable-boyish late-90s Vince, past affable-goofball noughties Vince and all the way to affable-jaded latter-day Vince and you probably wouldnt expect his next role to involve grinding another mans skull into a cold concrete floor. Or snapping an assailants arm over his knee like a piece of firewood.

But cinema is always capable of springing a gloriously enjoyable surprise, and Brawl in Cell Block 99 is certainly that: a spectacularly gruesome Ronseal tin of a thriller, plotted with a grownups patience and delivered with adolescent glee. Fitting, then, that it should be Hollywoods perennial man-child whos tasked with carrying the film. And Vaughn, trading in his motormouth and five oclock shadow for a southern drawl and crucifix-emblazoned skinhead, lugs things along with conviction. The makeover is so convincing that, after an hour or so of watching him heave his hulking frame around the screen, maiming and dismembering anyone who comes near, its impossible to imagine him as the lovable loser of the last two decades.

After 20 years of pithy high jinks, could this be the start of a late-career pivot towards heavyweight gloom? If so and a similar turn in the best-forgotten second series of True Detective suggests it might well be then here are five actors he could take some tips from.

Dick Powell

Watch Dick Powell in the trailer for Murder, My Sweet

Half a century before the word McConaissance infected the lexicon, Powell was beating a path that would become well-trodden. Making his name as a sweet-voiced singer, Powell spent the first decade of his career signed with Warner Bros, bringing his nice-guy crooning to romantic musicals with titles such as Flirtation Walk and Naughty But Nice. But the urge to broaden his range got the better of him and he quit the studio, eventually convincing Warner rivals RKO to cast him in Murder, My Sweet as a whiskey-fuelled private eye named Philip Marlowe. The character, invented by Raymond Chandler in the 1940 novel on which the film was based, proved a screen sensation, and Powell promptly made himself at home in the murky world of film noir, spending his next few years following dubiously motivated women down dark alleys and helping shape a seminal cinematic age.

Helena Bonham Carter

One-movie makeover Helena Bonham Carter in Fight Club. Photograph: Allstar/Cinetext/20 Century Fox

It seems long ago, but there was a time when the gothic empress of British film was a mainstay of romantic epics. While Bonham Carters early career was livened up by a two-episode role in Miami Vice, it was almost exclusively spent playing despairingly lovestruck ladies of the upper middle classes. She did it well, too: her breakout performance in A Room With a View was much lauded and, 12 years later, her turn in The Wings of the Dove got her an Oscar nomination. But if a small part in the 1994 film Mary Shelleys Frankenstein had hinted at a taste for the macabre, her role in Fight Club four years later showed it to be a fully fledged craving. Marla Singer was a pill-popping crackpot who got her kicks from infiltrating support groups for the terminal ill not a hobby the Lucy Honeychurches of the world would be too keen on and effectively gave the actor a one-movie makeover. Three years later, she met director Tim Burton, and her role as one half of cinemas ashen-faced power couple was under way.

Robin Williams

Icy genius Robin Williams with Connie Nielsen in One Hour Photo. Photograph: Franois Duhamel/AP

Williams Oscar-winning turn in Good Will Hunting, as the paternal psychologist who sweet-talks Matt Damon into finding himself, is often looked back on as a left-field career move. In some ways it was until then hed spent the 1990s monkeying around in screwball comedies but for the most part his earnest father-figure role was a retread of what hed done in Dead Poets Society. The real reinvention came five years after Good Will Hunting. In 2002, Williams starred in three films; in One Hour Photo and Insomnia he played icily psychotic serial killers, while the other the forgotten gem Death to Smoochy was an inky-black comedy in which he played a corrupt and vengeance-seeking kids TV host. Unfortunately for us, the transformation wasnt as full-scale as it might have been: the following years brought mostly child-friendly chuckles peppered with the odd crack at the scary stuff. But it was good fun while it lasted.

Naomi Watts

Unshackling her sinister side Naomi Watts in David Lynchs Mulholland Drive. Photograph: StudioCanal/Rex/Shutterstock

Until her descent into nightmarish insanity in Mulholland Drive, Watts had spent her short career flitting between Aussie soap operas (Home and Away), quirky cult hits (Tank Girl) and B-movies (Children of the Corn IV). But since her sinister side was unshackled, she has made a point of indulging it as often as possible. No other actor has worked under all three of cinemas unholy trinity of directors: Michael Haneke, David Cronenberg and David Lynch. Thats to say nothing of her sterling work in the Ring remakes and the little-seen Hitchcockian horror Shut In.

Matthew McConaughey

Sneaky gambit Matthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club. Photograph: Anne Marie Fox/AP

The most famed and, by the shaky barometer of Academy recognition, the most successful of Hollywoods dark-side reinventions. McConaugheys Oscar for Dallas Buyers Club, the culmination of a two-year renovation project that saw him move fearlessly from handsome-charming to handsome-brooding, raised a couple of questions. First, why hadnt the Oscar come for Mud, an infinitely better film and an infinitely better performance, a year earlier? And second, isnt this a sneaky gambit: masquerading as a one-trick pony and then, a decade or so later, revealing that you can do something different after all? If acting is the process of creating characters, then playing the same role on repeat is a kind of anti-acting. Which is in itself no bad thing theres plenty to be said for fine-tuning your art, and I enjoy each Ryan Gosling outing as much as the last but should it really score you extra points when awards season rolls around?

Given the grindhouse leanings of Vaughns latest film, its probably not a debate anyone will be having about him just yet. But if he is offered a place on the Academys shortlist come February, he should snap their hand off.

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‘Fortnite’ composer Pinar Toprak will score ‘Captain Marvel’



Image: Brian To/FilmMagic

“Turkish-American composer Pinar Toprak has been hired to compose the score for Captain Marvel, which will premiere in March of next year.

Even if you’re not a film score buff, there’s a good chance you’re already familiar with Toprak’s work. In addition to writing additional music for Justice League in 2017, she is responsible for some of the incredibly catchy music from Fortnite. Yes, the stuff that is stuck in your head all the time…….”

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‘Incredibles 2’ breaks box office records with a whopping $180 million



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“For every unmitigated disaster like Solo, there are multiple other box office hits for Disney. Incredibles 2 is the latest.

The 14-years-later sequel is on a pace to finish off its opening weekend with a $180 million box office haul in the United States. That’s the highest opening to date for any animated release, and for any PG-rated release as well. It’s also the eighth-largest domestic opening weekend ever, overall.

Incredibles 2 soars past another Pixar sequel, Finding Dory, the previous top animated opener. The Finding Nemo sequel launched in 2016 on the same June weekend as Incredibles 2, but it only (only!) managed to pull in $135.1 million in its first three days.

The new $180 million bar will be a tough one for future competitors to beat, though even that record is bound to eventually fall. Inflation and rising ticket prices all but ensure it.

Disney currently has three recent releases in the weekend box office top 10. Solo: A Star Wars Story comes in at #4 on this weekend’s chart, with an estimated $9.1 million. That brings its domestic total up to $192.8 million.

Solo will probably cross $200 million domestic in the next week or two, but it’s currently the lowest-earning live action Star Wars movie to date. There’s even some question at this point as to whether or not it will manage to beat The Empire Strikes Back. Not accounting for inflation, that second-ever Star Wars movie ended its box office run in 1980 with $209.4 million.

Disney’s lowest entrant on this weekend’s box office top 10 is Avengers: Infinity War, at #8. The April 2018 release is still kicking in its eight week after hitting theaters. It picked up an estimated $5.3 million this weekend…..”

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Apple and Oprah sign a multi-year partnership on original content



Apple announced today a multi-year content partnership with Oprah Winfrey to produce programs for the tech company’s upcoming video-streaming service. Apple didn’t provide any specific details as to what sort of projects Winfrey would be involved in, but there will be more than one it seems.

Apple shared the news of its deal with Winfrey in a brief statement on its website, which read:

Apple today announced a unique, multi-year content partnership with Oprah Winfrey, the esteemed producer, actress, talk show host, philanthropist and CEO of OWN.

Together, Winfrey and Apple will create original programs that embrace her incomparable ability to connect with audiences around the world.

Winfrey’s projects will be released as part of a lineup of original content from Apple.

The deal is a significant high-profile win for Apple, which has been busy filing out its lineup with an array of talent in recent months.

The streaming service also will include a reboot of Steven Spielberg’s Amazing Storiesa Reese Witherspoon- and Jennifer Aniston-starring series set in the world of morning TVan adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation books, a thriller starring Octavia Spencer, a Kristen Wiig-led comedy, a Kevin Durant-inspired scripted basketball show, a series from “La La Land’s” director and several other shows.

Winfrey, however, is not just another showrunner or producer. She’s a media giant who has worked across film, network and cable TV, print and more as an actress, talk show host, creator and producer.

She’s also a notable philanthropist, having contributed more than $100 million to provide education to academically gifted girls from disadvantaged backgrounds, and is continually discussed as a potential presidential candidate, though she said that’s not for her.

On television, Winfrey’s Harpo Productions developed daytime TV shows like “Dr. Phil,” “The Dr. Oz Show” and “Rachael Ray.” Harpo Films produced several Academy Award-winning movies, including “Selma,” which featured Winfrey in a starring role. She’s also acted in a variety of productions over the years, like “The Color Purple,” which scored her an Oscar nom, “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” and Disney’s “A Wrinkle in Time.”

Winfrey also founded the cable network OWN in 2011 in partnership with Discovery Communications, and has exec produced series including “Queen Sugar,” “Oprah’s Master Class” and the Emmy-winning “Super Soul Sunday.”

The latter has a connection with Apple as it debuted as a podcast called “Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations” and became a No. 1 program on Apple Podcasts.

Winfrey recently extended her contract with OWN through 2025, so it’s unclear how much time she’ll devote specifically toward her Apple projects.

Apple also didn’t say if Winfrey will star or guest in any of the programs themselves, but that’s always an option on the table with a deal like this. CNN, however, is reporting that Winfrey “is expected to have an on-screen role as a host and interviewer.”

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