The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences isn't as much of an old-boys' club as it used to be. The group named two women to prominent positions recently: on Friday, it was announced that Ellen DeGeneres will host the 2014 Oscar show on March 2, and earlier in the week, the academy's board of governors elected Cheryl Boone Isaacs president, the first African-American to hold the post and the first woman in three decades.
In June, the organisation invited 276 new members to join - 100 more than the previous year and arguably its most diverse slate ever. Among the new members invited to join the academy are Prince, Jennifer Lopez, writer-director Ava DuVernay, Sandra Oh, Paula Patton and songwriter Siedah Garrett.
DeGeneres, 55, is a proven commodity. She successfully hosted the Oscars in 2007 and has developed a devoted following with her 10-year-old daytime talk show, which can serve as a built-in platform to promote the Academy Awards. - AP
Disney to adapt Artemis Fowl book series
The fantasy book series Artemis Fowl, about a 12-year-old millionaire criminal mastermind, will be adapted into a film, announced Walt Disney Studios and the Weinstein Company. The film will cover the first two books in the series and be adapted by Michael Goldenberg, the screenwriter of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. The eight-volume series by the Irish author Eoin Colfer was published between 2001 and 2012 and has sold more than 21 million copies worldwide. "If you would have told me five years ago I would be producing a project with Disney I would have thought you were crazy," Harvey Weinstein said, adding that he was introduced to the books by Robert De Niro and the producer Jane Rosenthal. "Within hours I wanted rights to the film," Weinstein said. - Reuters
Kareena and Hrithik in Johar's next film
Karan Johar has announced Kareena Kapoor and Hrithik Roshan as the lead actors in his next Dharma Production project, Shuddhi, to be directed by Karan Malhotra. Johar says he believes the actors are best suited for the roles and says they will be able to create that chemistry required for the film, a love story that tackles reincarnation. Kapoor and Roshan were last seen together on screen a decade back in the family drama Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham. Shuddhi is scheduled for release in October 2014. - The National staff
Qawwali time for Imran, Sonakshi
Actors Sonakshi Sinha and Imran Khan, who have grooved to Tayyab Ali in the movie Once Upon A Time In Mumbai Dobaara!, were in for some qawwali time on the set of Indian Idol Junior. The episode will appear on August 19.
Sonakshi has last visited the sets of the show for her latest release Lootera, but it was a first-time visit for Imran, who was blown away by the talent of the young participants.
The theme of the episode was Qawwali, and the kids stuck to it dressed in signature Qawwali.
Once Upon A Time In Mumbai Dobaara!, which also features Akshay Kumar, will release in the UAE this month. - IANS
Billy Bob Thornton to star in TV's 'Fargo' series
Oscar winner Billy Bob Thornton will star in the TV version of the film Fargo. He has signed on to a limited series based on the 1996 crime comedy-drama. It's scheduled for a 10-episode run on FX next spring.
Thornton will play a rootless con artist. No characters will be carried over from the film, which brought a best-actress Oscar to Frances McDormand.
Even so, Landgraf says the series will be "remarkably true to the film." Its creators, Joel and Ethan Coen, are associated with the series.
No other cast members have been announced. - AP
Dark Knight Returns No. 2 cover sells for $478K
Heritage Auctions says the original pen and ink cover of The Dark Knight Returns No. 2 drawn by artist and writer Frank Miller has sold for $478,000 (Dh1.8m) at auction.
A near-mint copy of Batman No. 1 has also sold for $567,625 at the auction. The auction house said Friday that the buyers did not want their names disclosed.
Miller's cover was the first to be sold from DC Comics' 1986 four-issue Dark Knight miniseries.
The copy of Batman No. 1 from 1940 shows Batman and Robin swinging in front of a Gotham City skyline. It was auctioned on behalf of Tadano America Corp.
The record price for a comic book remains Action Comics No. 1, selling for $2.16 million in 2011. It featured Superman's first appearance. - AP