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ALISON BOSHOFF: Guy Ritchie Movie To Be Delayed ‘To Remove Nationality From Ukrainian Gangsters’

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Guy Ritchie’s new £125 million film Operation Fortune – with a cast led by British stars Hugh Grant and Jason Statham – was pulled from release because it featured a group of Ukrainian mobsters.

Filmed in 2020, the spy action thriller was set to release this spring but faded from the schedules. I was told that the gangsters’ nationality has now been removed from it.

A trailer, which can still be seen on YouTube, shows Statham, as spy-for-hire Orson Fortune, realizing that a deadly weapon has been bought by a Ukrainian crime syndicate.

The spy action thriller, which was filmed in 2020, was set to release this spring, but disappeared from the schedules

“The Ukrainians?” he says. “I can join the Ukrainians.”

His sidekick, played by actress Aubrey Plaza, jokes, “Hope you take them out to dinner first. † †

Sources close to the film say that out of sensitivity to the ongoing war, it was decided that they should lose the “detail” of the gang’s nationality.

They point out that the caper was always intended as fictional entertainment, not a political statement; and that the project was simply overtaken by events. One added: “Just to be clear, there are a lot of bad guys in the movie. † † the antagonists come from all over the world. But out of sensitivity to the ongoing war in Ukraine, it was decided to no longer identify some of these as Ukrainian.”

The photo will now receive a worldwide theatrical release sometime later in the year.

Ritchie’s film certainly fell victim to bad timing. A publicity campaign was ready to be launched; trailers were released; and posters printed last December.

However, when Russian troops started en masse at the border with Ukraine, the original release date (in January 2022) was shifted to March. And on February 24, when Putin’s tanks drove into Ukraine, that later date was also pulled without explanation by distributor STX.

A trailer, which can still be seen on YouTube, shows Statham, as spy-for-hire Orson Fortune, realizing that a deadly weapon has been bought by a Ukrainian crime syndicate

A trailer, which can still be seen on YouTube, shows Statham, as spy-for-hire Orson Fortune, realizing that a deadly weapon has been bought by a Ukrainian crime syndicate

Full titled Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre, the plot of the film is about billionaire arms dealer Greg Simmonds. He’s played by Hugh Grant, very much against the type, as a perma-tanned, cigar-munching Cockney geezer. Jason Statham is our hero, Orson Fortune, who tries to stop Simmonds from selling a secret weapon.

The comedy usually stems from Fortune’s brainwave trying to get to Simmonds by introducing him to his movie star idol Danny Francesco, played by Josh Hartnett. Eddie Marsan and Cary Elwes also appear.

Since the filming of Operation Fortune, Ritchie has directed Jake Gyllenhaal in The Interpreter, about attempts to get a military interpreter out of Afghanistan. He is also working on a TV version of his 2019 film, The Gentlemen, about a marijuana queen.

And it has just been announced that he will be directing a live action remake of the Disney film Hercules. He previously directed the remake of Aladdin, with Will Smith as the ghost.

Tom Felton – Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter movies – is having a great year for business. This week he plugged in a new attraction on the Warner Bros Studio tour: Professor Sprout’s Greenhouse.

He has also written a “coming of age memoir” titled Beyond The Wand, which is due out this fall and is expected to be a major backer. The book – the first of one of the ‘Potter children’ – will tell the story of his experiences on the Potter set and his account of the close friendships he formed with actress Emma Watson and other cast members.

Felton, 34, has also made three films so far this year — appearing in 2.22: A Ghost Story in the West End.

The actor, who lives in London with his dog Willow, thrashes T-shirts and music to his fans via Instagram. Oh, and he recently invested in a vegetarian company that makes the vegan pepperoni used by Papa Johns and Pizza Express.

Is Benoit Blanc, the Southern gentleman detective played by Daniel Craig in Knives Out, a Beatles fan?

I’m asking because Netflix just revealed the very teasing title of the sequel to Knives Out – Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery. Glass Onion is the title of a song on The Beatles’ White album and was written to intentionally intrigue and annoy those who sought hidden meanings in the band’s lyrics. Paul McCartney once said, “Little legends arose about every item of so-called importance, so on this occasion we decided to plant one.”

Is Benoit Blanc, the Southern gentleman detective played by Daniel Craig in Knives Out, a Beatles fan?

Is Benoit Blanc, the Southern gentleman detective played by Daniel Craig in Knives Out, a Beatles fan?

Meanwhile, director Rian Johnson tweets about his love for Agatha Christie. The new film is set on a boat, like Christie’s Death On The Nile. In addition to Craig, the cast includes Kate Hudson, Edward Norton, Ethan Hawke and Dave Bautista.

The Staircase started out as a hit documentary before being transformed into a superprestige streaming drama starring Colin Firth and Toni Collette.

And it looks like a similar journey awaits for one of lockdown’s big hits: The Tinder Swindler. That two-hour documentary — about fraudster Shimon Hayut (above) and the women he defrauded — is now being turned into a feature film by British Hollywood executive Stuart Ford, of the leading independent AGC Studios. Big names circle the project.

The Tinder Swindler is now being turned into a feature film by British Hollywood executive Stuart Ford

The Tinder Swindler is now being turned into a feature film by British Hollywood executive Stuart Ford

Simon Pegg is so low maintenance that he bought his own props for Channel 4’s highly anticipated new drama The Undeclared War – miniature rugby balls, in which his character squeezes when under stress.

Pegg said, “I got them from Amazon, didn’t charge for production, and since then I’ve given them to my dogs, Willow, Cookie and Myrtle, to chew.” The actor plays Danny Patrick, Head of Operations at GCHQ, in Peter Kosminsky’s six-part cyberthriller.

Simon Pegg is so low maintenance he bought his own props for Channel 4's highly anticipated new drama The Undeclared War

Simon Pegg is so low maintenance he bought his own props for Channel 4’s highly anticipated new drama The Undeclared War

He added that director Kosminsky provides actors with “amazingly detailed character profiles,” which made Daniel a former rugby player – hence the unusual stress balls.

The Undeclared War starts next Thursday at 9 p.m. on C4.

Working with the legendary prankster Rowan Atkinson is a very serious business.

Atkinson, 67, has created a comedy series, Man Vs Bee, for Netflix and his co-stars and executives are lining up to talk about his “obsessive” perfectionism and attention to detail.

Opponent Julian Rhind-Tutt commented: ‘He will try small variations of the simplest gesture 15 or 20 times. He was charming, but absolutely ruthlessly professional – and brilliantly obsessed with the small details to make something funny.”

Tom Basden, who plays a police officer on the show, released today, said Atkinson is very different from Ricky Gervais, with whom he worked on After Life.

Atkinson, 67, has created a comedy series, Man Vs Bee, for Netflix and his co-stars and executives are lining up to talk about his 'obsessive' perfectionism and attention to detail

Atkinson, 67, has created a comedy series, Man Vs Bee, for Netflix and his co-stars and executives are lining up to talk about his ‘obsessive’ perfectionism and attention to detail

‘Rowan likes to plan and think, especially when it comes to the physicality of the performance,’ says Basden. “He’s the opposite of Ricky Gervais, who is much more in the moment and follows his instincts.”

In Man Vs Bee, which consists of nine short episodes of about ten minutes each, Atkinson plays a hapless house sitter, Trevor Bingley, who is plagued by a bee.

Director Kerr commented, “The most remarkable effect was Rowan Atkinson’s face.”

Atkinson said this week, “I’m a perfectionist, but I believe it’s as much a curse as it is a virtue.

“While filming, I’m sure there’s something better that we didn’t grab in the shot. There is always something you cannot capture. It’s sad, really.’

Does this make him another famous perfectionist, Tom Cruise? “That might be all we have in common,” he said gravely.

Elvis being required months of work for Austin Butler, including extensive sessions with movement and voice coaches before and during filming. However, his co-star Olivia DeJonge, a young Australian actress, seems to have had an easier time portraying the King’s young bride, Priscilla, whom he met when she was 14.

DeJonge said, “She’s so famous for the hair and makeup. Honestly, the hair and makeup is almost half the character. Oh my god, the clothes! The attention to detail. The fit!

Becoming Elvis took Austin Butler months of work, including extensive sessions with movement and voice coaches before and during filming

Becoming Elvis took Austin Butler months of work, including extensive sessions with movement and voice coaches before and during filming

“All the costumes are made by Prada to fit my body perfectly.

‘Did I want to take them all home? Yes I did.

‘Could I? Absolutely not.’

The film is in theaters today.

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