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Top of the Lake series two set for 2017 release

RAPID TV NEWS – Filming on the second series of Jane Campion’s critically acclaimed drama Top of the Lake is underway, in a co-production between the BBC, Foxtel, See-Saw Films and SundanceTV.

 

Gwendoline Christie Paul Scala Headshot 2The six part crime-mystery, directed by Campion, will see Mad Men’s Elisabeth Moss reprise her Golden Globe winning role in the Australian series. She will be joined by Gwendoline Christie (Game of Thrones and Star Wars: The Force Awakes).

 

“I am so delighted to be working on Top of the Lake Season Two. Jane Campion has been a major creative influence throughout my life and I could not feel more privileged to be working on the next instalment of her unique and enthralling drama, alongside the brilliant Elisabeth Moss,” said Gwendoline Christie.

 

Also joining the cast for season two are David Dencik (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo), Alice Englert (Beautiful Creatures, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell) and Ewen Leslie (The Daughter).

 

The series is being made by See-Saw Films for BBC Two in co-production with BBC First and Foxtel in Australia, BBC UKTV in New Zealand and SundanceTV in the US and in association with Hulu in the US, ARTE in France and BBC Worldwide.

 

“We believe season two will continue to thrill and enthral audiences worldwide. The fact that we have been able to bring back broadcast partners from different corners of the world is a testament to the quality of the show and Jane’s extraordinary talent. We are delighted that our previous partners on Series One did not hesitate to board the second series to help bring to the world this stand-out drama,” said Jamie Laurenson and Hakan Kousetta from See-Saw Films.

 

Top of the Lake Season Two: China Girl will premiere in Australia on BBC First through pay-TV platform Foxtel in 2017.

EW Cover Story – Game of Thrones women are set to rule S6

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EW – Now it’s their turn: On HBO’s Game of Thrones, the show’s powerful female characters are about to take center stage more than ever before. So for this week’s issue of Entertainment Weekly, we go behind the scenes of the Emmy-dominating drama’s ultra-mysterious new season, plus profile six of the show’s leading ladies whose storylines are about to change Westeros forever.

 

“The women are rocking this season — and I’m not just saying that because they’re on your cover,” says HBO programming president Michael Lombardo. “Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) always does, but also Brienne (Gwendoline Christie), Arya (Maisie Williams), Sansa (Sophie Turner), Cersei (Lena Headey), Margaery (Natalie Dormer), and other characters too, like Yara (Gemma Whelan). They power this season. It’s organic to the storytelling, yet a radical shift. It’s the women that are the hope that we’re watching as the chess pieces move this season, and it’s very exciting.”

 

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‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Documentary Preview

 

MOVIE WEB – Last week, we reported that Disney and LucasFilm will debut the full-length Star Wars: The Force Awakens documentary Secrets of the Force Awakens: A Cinematic Journey at the SXSW Film Festival today. This documentary will be part of the bonus features on the upcoming Digital HD and Blu-ray Combo Pack release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and in case you weren’t able to see the documentary in Austin, we have a sneak peek from Good Morning America, along with a new trailer. The sneak peek includes plenty of behind-the-scenes footage, along with excerpts from John Boyega’s actual audition tape.We also see footage from the now-iconic final shot, where Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) meets Rey (Daisy Ridley) on his island sanctuary, with Mark Hamill revealing that “this feeling” came over him for the first time since he was on the Tunisia set for the original classic, Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope. We also hear from Gwendoline Christie (Captain Phasma), and Adam Driver exclaims that it was such a hassle to put on his Kylo Ren costume, it helped him get into character.This preview also explores the famous scene where Kylo Ren kills his father, Han Solo (Harrison Ford). Adam Driver revealed that this particular scene “terrified” him, while Harrison Ford stated that the scene “resolved” his destiny in a “powerful and effective way.” In addition to this sneak peek, we also have a full trailer for Secrets of the Force Awakens: A Cinematic Journey, along with photos from the SXSW premiere, featuring J.J. Abrams and R2-D2, along with several of the Star Wars: The Force Awakens visual effects artists.

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Star Wars: Gwendoline Christie explains Captain Phasma keeping helmet on

EW‘The Force Awakens’ star on why it’s better that we never saw the chrome trooper’s face

 

A friend and I were arguing about a deeply urgent divisive issue: Whether Captain Phasma never removing her helmet in The Force Awakens was cool or not. “You don’t hire somebody as talented as Gwendoline Christie for a Star Wars movie and then never show her face, it wastes her performance!” my friend fumed. While I countered: “An actor’s movements and voice are every bit as important as their face, and there’s something intriguing about not fully showing a character, just like Darth Vader and Boba Fett in the first two films, especially since Kylo Ren was whipping off his helmet left and right!”

 

So I asked somebody else to settle this: Gwendoline Christie. This is a bit like a real-life version of the famous scene in Annie Hall when Woody Allen fantasized about pulling out philosopher Marshall McLuhan to back him up in an argument.

 

“I thought it was a really interesting opportunity because as an actor I’m interested in transformation and different kinds of roles,” Christie told EW. “What’s the role about? Who is the character? What does the character mean in the function of a project or story? I thought it was a really interesting opportunity to play a female character where we formed an opinion of her based on her actions rather than the way she has been made flesh. And that concept within a Star Wars movie, a mainstream phenomenon, was very modern and interesting and exciting. I made no secret of the fact I wanted to be in the film, I campaigned hard to be in the film, but to be in it as that kind of character – she’s a woman, she’s in armor, the armor isn’t sexualized, and in the film we don’t see the actor’s face – I thought that was an exciting, modern concept. And obviously, I’m delighted to be in another film [Episode VIII].”

 

Naturally, Christie is forbidden from talking about Phasma’s role in the next movie, which wil open Dec. 15, 2017. We also asked if she invented any backstory for her mysterious chrome First Order trooper – like the way Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron) decided his character was from Yavin IV because it reminded him of his native Guatemala. Christie says she did, but doesn’t want to share that bit. “I went about preparing for that part the way I would for any role – to make some decisions about who the character is and why they do what they do. I think everybody would like to find out more about the character in the future.”

Star Wars Episode VIII Officially Begins Production

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TWINFINITE – Star Wars has reasserted its dominance over the entertainment industry the last few months, and there’s no better indication of how big the series is than an investor’s call with Disney CEO Bob Iger. 

 

While talking about the huge success of The Force Awakens, Iger revealed that production has officially begun on not only Star Wars: Episode VIII but Star Wars: Episode IX as well.

 

“Filming of Star Wars: Episode VIII, the next chapter of the legendary saga, has just commenced and it will be in theaters December 2017. And production of Episode IX, a 2019 release, has also begun.”

 

Actor John Boyega, who plays Finn, also took to Twitter to mark the beginning of production. Iger continued on by talking about the upcoming film Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, by saying that filming is almost complete on the movie. Rogue One is set for release on December 16, 2016.

 

Iger also confirmed that the Han Solo movie, written by Lawrence Kasdan & Jon Kasdan and directed by Phil Lord & Chris Miller, is still set to hit theaters in May 2018.

 

Star Wars: Episode VIII was originally planned for a May release as well in 2017, but recently suffered a delay to December of the same year. The movie is rumored to have two female leads, and John Boyega has talked about the new movie being darker than The Force Awakens, with Finn’s role being much more “physical.”

 

Are you already excited for Star Wars Episode VIII? What do you think of Rogue One, and the schedule for Star Wars movies right now? Let us know in the comments.

 

An Interview With The Women of Star Wars: Daisy Ridley and Gwendoline Christie Talk!

HOTPRESSThe women of Star Wars: The Force Awakens tell Roe McDermott why J.J. Abrams’ sci-fi instalment is a cultural game-changer in its portrayal of strong, complex women

 

You may have heard of this little film the came to cinemas this Christmas. Just a quiet, subdued indie drama… Oh, who are we kidding. JJ Abrams’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens is an epic space opera that is set to not only add to the iconic Star Wars franchise, but reignite it for a new generation. Set 30 years after the events of Return of the Jedi, the Rebel Alliance and the Empire have become Resistance and the First Order, respectively. The film sees Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher reprise their roles as Han Solo, Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia – but the cast is also brimming with the best and brightest of Hollywood’s new stars. Featuring Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o, Girls star Adam Driver, Inside Llewyn Davis’ Oscar Isaac and our own Domhnall Gleeson, Star Wars: The Force Awakens is dragging the franchise into the 21st century at light speed.

 

With this update comes new societal rules, and in a meta exploration of gender equality, Star Wars: The Force Awakens not only addresses the progress made in the Star Wars universe, but in the film industry. The upcoming instalment is thus filled with interesting, multi-faceted female characters – and it’s about time.

 

Princess Leia Organa, Star Wars’ leading lady, is one of sci-fi’s most adored heroines; a smart, fearless and capable leader whose strength is fuelled by her unwavering sense of moral and political conviction and personal empowerment.

 

A cinematic favourite turned feminist hero, Leia’s defiant warrior spirit and unapologetic femininity made her a cultural icon. And yes, the image of a kidnapped Leia in a gold metal bikini may have made an entire generation of young men sweaty and lightheaded with feverish desire, but this was not a woman who was just a sexualised slave – here was someone who used the chains that enslaved her as instruments of power, using them to destroy her captor.

 

However, Leia sadly proves to be an anomaly in the original Star Wars franchise, where women are seldom seen and almost never heard. In the beloved trinity of A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi, the only other female characters allowed to speak are Aunt Beru, Mon Mothma, and an unnamed Rebel functionary at the Hoth base. And the combined running time of these lines uttered by women? An almost unbelievably pitiful 63 seconds. To clarify, the total series runtime is 23,160 seconds. It seems that even in a galaxy far, far away, sexism still reigns supreme.

 

Until now, that is. In J.J. Abrams’ upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the director has infused the film with his trademark appreciation for strong female characters. Though now known for lens-flare fuelled action movies, Abrams got his start with the female-led teen drama Felicity, and thanks to characters like Lost’s Kate Austen, Alias’ Sydney Bristow and Fringe’s Olivia Dunham, Abrams’ career has been marked by his commitment to bringing fully-rounded and aspirational female characters to the screen. (We’re chalking the disappointing and objectifying portrayal of Alice Eve’s character in Star Trek Into Darkness as an uncharacteristic slip on an otherwise impressive resume).

 

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Gwendoline Christie Signs With WME

THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER – The woman behind Captain Phasma also plays Brienne of Tarth on ‘Game of Thrones.’

 

Gwendoline Christie has signed with WME as her first U.S. agency, The Hollywood Reporter has exclusively learned.

 

Since her big break as Brienne of Tarth on season two of HBO’s Game of Thrones, the 6’ 3” English actress has made a career out of playing some of Hollywood’s most formidable recent warriors, including Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Captain Phasma and The Hunger Games’ Commander Lyme.

 

Christie, who was chosen to be the face of Vivienne Westwood’s fall 2015 campaign, will next be seen when Game of Thrones returns for its sixth season on April 24. She also is set to return for Star Wars: Episode VIII, which has been scheduled for release on Dec. 15, 2017, and to appear in BBC Films and Fox Searchlight’s Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie.

 

Christie continues to be repped by Claire Maroussas at the U.K.’s Independent Talent Group.

27 British films to look out for in 2016

DEN OF GEEK – Cheer on local talent with these potentially great UK films from 2016, including drama, comedy, action, horror, fantasy & more…

 

While Batman Vs Superman, Captain America: Civil War, X-Men Apocalypse and other mega franchises are expected to dominate cinemas in 2016, let’s hear it for the films below. None are sequels, few have titanic budgets, all of them are British and each of them has the potential to be great.

 

2016 looks to be a particularly strong year for UK crime drama, with Ben Wheatley’s Free Fire, Adam Smith’s Trespass Against Us and Michael Apted’s Unlocked on their way. Military thrillers are also well represented this year, with Gavin Hood’s Eye In The Sky, Fernando Coimbra’s Sand Castle, and Simon West’s Stratton incoming. There’s also comedy, fantasy, drama, horror and even a musical waiting for you below.

 

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie (dir. Mandie Fletcher)

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In its heyday, Absolutely Fabulous was a real comedy coup. Eddie, Patsy, Bubble, Saffie and co. were hugely funny, endlessly imitable creations. Two decades and change after its 1992 debut, Jennifer Saunders’ sitcom is returning in movie form, with a screenplay by Saunders and the return of the original gang plus the usual deluge of celebrity cameos.

 

To wit, Saunders, regulars Joanna Lumley, Julia Sawalha, June Whitfield, Jane Horrocks, Kathy Burke, Celia Imrie and Helen Lederer will be joined by Gwendoline Christie, Rebel Wilson, Joan Collins, Kim Kardashian West and Dawn French in Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie, directed by UK comedy veteran Mandie Fletcher. The story sees Edina and Patsy hiding out among the glitterati of the French Riviera after causing “a major incident”…

‘Game of Thrones’ season 6 to premiere April 24

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CHICAGO TRIBUNE – Season six of “Game of Thrones” will premiere on April 24, HBO announced Thursday at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena.

 

While details are scarce about the plot for the upcoming episodes of the hugely popular fantasy series, a teaser released late last year suggests that it will address the season five cliffhanger that left fans speculating whether Kit Harington’s Jon Snow was alive after he became the victim of a Julius Caesar-like uprising.

 

The season also marks the return of Isaac Hempstead-Wright as Bran Stark, a character who has not been seen since season four. New cast members this season include Max von Sydow as the Three-Eyed Raven (a character first played by Struan Rodger) and “UnREAL” actor Freddie Stroma as Dickon Tarly, the brother of John Bradley’s Samwell.

 

Ian McShane will also join “Thrones” in an undisclosed role for one episode in season six, and has cryptically teased that “I am responsible for bringing somebody back that you think you’re never going to see again. I’ll leave it at that.”

 

All other seasons of “Game of Thrones” premiered somewhere between the end of March and the middle of April, and this time frame is a strategic move for HBO. Television episodes must air before the close of Emmy nomination voting on June 24 of this year in order to be eligible for this year’s Emmy Award consideration. Last year’s “Game of Thrones” finale aired on June 14 — the day before nomination voting began in 2015. The series went on to win the Emmy Award for best drama.

 

The “Game of Thrones” season five finale brought the show’s largest audience ever, averaging 8.11 million viewers. The series was also the most-pirated TV show of 2015.

Gwendoline Christie Loves Being a New Kind of Action Heroine

PEOPLE – Gwendoline Christie credits Carrie Fisher – with her buns, metal bikini, and laser blaster – as the inspiration for a career that includes fierce medieval fighter Brienne of Tarth in Game of Thrones and stormtrooper commander Captain Phasma in the record-setting hit Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

 

“I loved Princess Leia, and that even in my infant mind I remember thinking, ‘She’s a different kind of woman to the women I see in films,’ ” Christie, 37, tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue. “I think it must have been quite forming.”

 

“I’ve been lucky enough to play a couple of parts of women who are very driven and somewhat unconventional,” she adds. “I love playing women who kick ass!”

 

Christie, who first watched Star Wars when she was 6 years old, recently told Fisher she was a huge influence on her as a young girl.

 

“I said, ‘I feel that perhaps watching you planted a seed in my mind.’ ” To which Fisher joked, ” ‘I did actually plant a seed in your mind. It’s true.’ She’s incredible.”

 

When the 6’3″ actress finally stepped on The Force Awakens set to shoot, she couldn’t believe the day had finally arrived.

 

“I said to the people around me, ‘So, is this really happening?’ ” she recalls. “Walking onto the set with that incredible costume, the sets were so enormous and so detailed, everything seemed real … and I was in it.”

 

The costume, says Christie, made her role even more appealing. “I was struck by how incredible it looked, but also I liked that it was stormtrooper armor. It hadn’t been sexualized or feminized in any way. I thought, ‘That is interesting. That’s very modern.’ ”

 

Now she’s one of the Star Wars women future generations will watch closely, as she once did.

 

“People talk about having dreams come true,” Christie says. “This is really a lot of young dreams come true.”

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