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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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Madonna to direct movie based on life of ballerina Michaela DePrince



MGM announces the singer will direct Taking Flight, the story of DePrinces journey from war orphan in Sierra Leone to world-class ballerina

Madonna is to return to the movies after a seven-year absence to direct Taking Flight, a feature film based on the life of Michaela DePrince, a war orphan from Sierra Leone who became a leading ballerina.

According to Deadline, Hollywood studio MGM has been developing the project since 2015 when it acquired the rights to DePrinces memoir, co-written with her adoptive mother, Elaine.

Michaelas journey resonated with me deeply as both an artist and an activist who understands adversity, Madonna said. We have a unique opportunity to shed light on Sierra Leone, and let Michaela be the voice for all the orphaned children she grew up beside. I am honoured to bring her story to life.

Ballet dancer Michaela DePrince in Johannesburg, in 2012. Photograph: Gallo Images/Rex/Shutterstock

DePrince, 23, lost both of her parents in Sierra Leones civil war when she was three years old. The following year, she was adopted by a New Jersey couple and brought to the US, where she developed a passion for ballet. She was one of the stars of 2011 documentary First Position, about young ballet hopefuls, and is a soloist with the Dutch National Ballet and Opera. She also appeared in Beyoncs music video album, Lemonade.

We were immediately awestruck by Michaelas journey and know Madonnas vision and passion for the material will deliver a film that inspires audiences everywhere, said producer Leslie Morgenstein.

No cast or released date has yet been finalised. Camilla Blackett, writer of the comedy series Fresh Off the Boat, will write the screenplay.

Madonna is the bestselling female recording artist of all time but her movie career has been more chequered, especially behind the camera. Her 2008 feature debut, Filth and Wisdom, was described by the Guardians Peter Bradshaw as a dumb and tacky comedy-drama about three people sharing a flat in a quaintly conceived London. Its follow-up, 2011s WE, in which Andrea Riseborough played Wallis Simpson, was also critically panned, with Bradshaw describing it as one long humourless and necrophiliac swoon at the Windsors supposed tragi-romantic glamour.

Madonna wrote, produced and narrated 2008 documentary I Am Because We Are, about children in Malawi orphaned by the Aids epidemic. She has adopted four children from Malawi, including twin girls in 2017.

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‘Black Panther’ Hits $1 Billion Mark In Worldwide Box Office Numbers



“Black Panther” has surpassed $1 billion at the worldwide box office, challenging industry norms about films with black casts. 

The Marvel blockbuster passed the major benchmark on Friday, Forbes reports.

The film is now the United States’ ninth highest-grossing film of all time, and had the second-largest four-day domestic opening weekend. “Black Panther” brought in $242 million in the U.S. over Presidents Day weekend, behind the $288 million “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” made when it opened in 2015. 

The international success of “Black Panther” has challenged the myth that films with predominately black casts don’t sell  and it helps unravel “unwritten Hollywood rules,” Jeff Bock, a senior analyst at entertainment research firm Exhibitor Relations, told The New York Times.

“I think about it like a wall crumbling,” Bock said. “In terms of ‘Black Panther,’ no studio can say again, ’Oh, black movies don’t travel, overseas interest will be minimal.’”

Stars of the film, including Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyong’o and Danai Gurira, have spoken out about the importance of representation in the movie. “Black Panther,” which is set in the fictional country of Wakanda, shows the possibilities of an African society untouched by colonialism and gender inequity. 

“I think there’s a thirst for these images,” Boseman told NBC. “There’s a real thirst for black superheroes.” 

Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige confirmed this week that a “Black Panther” sequel is in the works. Feige told Entertainment Weekly that there was “nothing specific to reveal” about the next movie but added that “we absolutely will do that.”


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Keegan-Michael Key’s reaction to Jordan Peele’s Oscar win will make you emotional



Find yourself a friend who loves you this much.

Jordan Peele had a historic moment last night when he won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for his debut solo film, Get Out. 

He became the first African-American screenwriter to win this category—and no one was prouder of him than his old Key and Peele partner, Keegan-Michael Key.

Key and Peele were the creators of the aptly titled sketch comedy series that ran on Comedy Central for five seasons, from 2012 to 2015.

Key was absolutely thrilled to see his “partner in laughs” snag his first Oscar.

Just look at that ecstatic jump!