It is with great sadness that much of the world woke today to the heartbreaking news that Anton Yelchin had passed. The actor, best known for his work in the rebooted Star Trek (2009) franchise, was tragically killed in a freak motor vehicle accident in his Studio City home, at the young age of 27. He has been remembered as a kind, compassionate and giving soul, who touched the lives of many. Yelchin was born in Russia to Soviet figure skaters, who immigrated to America looking to give their son a better life. The acclaimed actor got his first big break in the film The Man is Mostly Water (2000), before going on to star in 65 other credits, including Alpha Dog (2006), Charlie Bartlett (2007), Star Trek (2009), Terminator Salvation (2009), Like Crazy (2011), Fright Night (2011), Star Trek Into Darkness (2013), Only Lovers Left Alive (2013) and Green Room (2015). At the time of his death Yelchin still had five films listed as either completed, in post-production, or in pre-production, including next month's Star Trek Beyond (2016).
A statement from the LAPD regarding the incident said: 'A fatal traffic collision happened in Studio City. On Sunday, June 19 at 1:10 in the morning, a fatal traffic collision occurred. It was the result of the victim’s own car rolling backwards down his steep driveway, pinning him against a brick mailbox pillar and security fence. The victim was on his way to meet his friends for a rehearsal. When he didn’t show up, his friends went to his house, where they found him deceased by his car. It appeared he had momentarily exited his car leaving it in the driveway in neutral.'
Tributes from Yelchin's many friends flooded social media in the wake of his death, with Paramount, the studio he worked under regarding the Star Trek series stating; 'All of us at Paramount join the world in morning the untimely passing of Antony Yelchin. As a member of the Star Trek family, he was beloved by so many and he will missed by all. We share our deepest condolences with his mother, father and family.' Original franchise director JJ Abrams also took to Twitter, posting his thoughts in a handwritten letter on his Bad Robot production company page. 'Anton - You were brilliant. You were kind. You were funny as hell, and supremely talented. And you weren't here nearly long enough. Missing you - JJ.' While many have been left devastated and numb by today's news, there has also been a celebratory tone of the actor's array of achievements. Best friend, thoughtful, gifted, generous, passionate, courageous, talented, wise, and humble, are all words since attributed to him.
A new Twitter campaign is taking up the baton for whitewashing in Hollywood films, using the hashtag #StarringJohnCho. While an unconventional and hilarious method, in a era when equality is meant to be strongly represented in society and the arts, the lack of leading Asian-American is anything but a laughing matter. StarringJohnCho has become a Twitter handle, hashtag and website, with each platform hosting a number of photo-shopped posters of John Cho in leading male roles, to highlight the inequality in everything from big-budget movies right through to romantic comedies.
The website states: 'If studies show that films with diverse casts result in higher box office numbers and returns on investments, why doesn't Hollywood cast lead actors to reflect fact?' And it is an undeniable fact that Hollywood continue to cast white lead actors in roles that are traditionally Asian. From Emma Stone as Alison Ng in Aloha (2015) to Scarlett Johansson as Motoko Kusanagi in Ghost in the Shell (2017), studios continue to claim that there simply aren't any A-list actors of Asian ethnicity.
Sadly, it's a Catch-22 situation, because for actors to become A-list, they must first be cast in leading roles. And with only 1% of leading roles supposedly going to them, it's a losing fight. So New York strategist William Yu has sparked the discussion by removing the 'perception issue'. Will it work? Only time will tell. Until then, I'm hoping Yu continues his movement with a female version, to show that gender equality too is something Hollywood can work on.
Here's a bit of light-hearted fun to kick off your count-down to the weekend - a new video of actor Tom Hiddleston announcing the weather for Fox 32 Chicago. Interrupting the network's regular presenter, Hiddleston stepped into frame to help explain the 'Godly' reason behind the fierce tornadoes and heavy downfalls the area has been experiencing. The star was originally there for an interview with Jake Hamilton on Good Day Chicago, promoting his upcoming slew of projects, however it seems at some point he was asked to try his hand at a little weather reading too.
'My brother from another mother has been misbehaving. The God of Thunder has brought his skill-set to bear on the local weather. So there is this huge storm-front coming in and all that means is Chris Hemsworth has taken his hammer and has smashed it on the surface of the sky and it's going to rain a hell of a lot. So good luck with that!
Hiddleston has been keeping himself very busy of late, making the rounds to promote his upcoming films I Saw The Light (2016) and High-Rise (2016), as well as the TV mini-series adaptation of John Le Carre's The Night Manager (2016). Along the way he's also been fielding questions about the rumour he may be stepping into the shoes of 007 spy James Bond. The response to the video, which was posted to Jake Hamilton Fox 32 Chicago's Facebook page, seems to be mostly positive, with quotes ranging from 'This is awesome' to my personal favourite, 'Cloudy with a chance of elevated estrogen levels'. Despite Hiddleston looking a little awkward (like he was kind-of asked at the last minute maybe...) the thespian pulled off the feat with aplomb. So if you need a little pick-me up in the form of a good looking guy discussing a Norse Gods elemental tantrum, then check out the video below.
With the Academy Awards set to be handed out this weekend, the plague of diversity in Hollywood films is once again being called into question - this time in a recently released study. And it seems that having no actors or actresses of colour nominated in the Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Actor or Best Actress categories is just the tip of the iceberg. The report, released Monday, entitled 'The Comprehensive Annenberg Report On Diversion', comes from the Media, Diversity & Social Change Initiative at the University Of Southern California’s Annenberg School For Communication & Journalism.
It finds that the epitome of the Hollywood A-Class are white males, and that women, ethnic minorities, and LGBT people often fall within the realm of 'invisibility'. In the most honest and brutal terms Hollywood "still functions as a straight, white, boys club." Utilising data from 109 films released in 2014, as well as 305 scripted TV shows, the study focused on 11,000 speaking roles and 11,500 directors, writers, show-runners and executives. And it provided a stark look at the major studios of Disney, Sony, Paramount, 20th Century Fox, Universal, and Warner Bros.
Here's hoping Hollywood can do better next year, when The Academy's new steps will be put in place to secure greater diversity in their voting population, and hopefully on their winners podium too.
It's official, Sony and Marvel have found their new Spiderman, and a director to go with him! Tom Holland is set to don the red and blue spandex costume as the next version of Spidey, with Jon Watts onboard to direct. Holland was one of the original front-runners in contention for the character, along with actors like Charlie Rowe, Asa Butterfield and Matthew Lintz.
However he is said to have given impressive screen tests which ultimately proved the final step in sealing the deal, with Tom Rothman, the Sony Motion Pictures Group Chairman stating; "For Spidey himself, we saw many terrific young actors, but Tom's screen tests were special. All in all, we are off to a roaring start." Holland is young enough to fit the 14 - 18-year-old bill that both Sony and Marvel agreed upon for the webslinger, but also at 19 is likely able to handle the heavy workload a franchise like this entails.
And it seems he is capable of holding his own with the likes of Robert Downey Junior and Chris Evans, whom he reportedly screen-tested with before being flown out to the set of Captain America: Civil War (2016) earlier this month. The young star certainly has a history of giving great performances, with a phenomenally powerful and moving portrayal in 2012 film The Impossible, alongside Ewan McGreggor and Naomi Watts, and is soon to be seen in the Ron Howard directed In The Heart of the Sea (2015).
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