x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

India's Yash Raj studio to produce Hollywood film

Also: Bono is afraid of Alicia Keys; Tom Hanks heads to Germany for another war film; Scarlett Johansson can't stand Facebook or Twitter.

Tom Hanks will probably take the lead role in his forthcoming film adaptation of In the Garden of Beasts.
Tom Hanks will probably take the lead role in his forthcoming film adaptation of In the Garden of Beasts.

Bollywood has not looked back since it discovered the huge potential of Hindi cinema's overseas market a decade ago. Thereafter, the industry has increasingly reached out to global audiences, explored newer markets, and even entered into production tie-ups with big Hollywood studios. But what Yash Raj Films is now attempting is surely a first.

India's most prolific studio, founded by Yash Chopra 41 years ago and now run by his elder son Aditya, has set up a new venture, YRF Entertainment - a production and finance company based in Hollywood, making films for the US and international marketplace.

Yash Chopra's younger son Uday Chopra, who acted in productions such as Dhoom and Dhoom 2, has been appointed as the chief executive of the new company, a Yash Raj Films statement said.

Chopra has picked up a film project abandoned by its original financier: The Longest Week, a comedy that stars Jason Bateman, Olivia Wilde and Billy Crudup. Chopra liked the subject and decided to support the film after a meeting with its producer and director in Mumbai. Filming began this month.

Bono 'is afraid' of Alicia Keys

While Keys talked about being pregnant and empathetic while filming her Aids documentary in Africa, the U2 singer chimed in and said: "She's scary, isn't she? She's scary." Bono said Keys has "lioness energy" and her role as a new mother won't allow her to "let other mothers suffer".

The two were at the premiere of Keep a Child Alive with Alicia Keys, a film that follows a pregnant Keys visiting South Africa during last year's World Cup. Bono also recalled meeting Keys when they recorded a cover of What's Going On in 2001: "I was terrified the moment I met her. I was shaking in my boots. But I was very moved by her singing, of course." Keys says she hopes her film reaches out to those who want to help but can't make it to Africa.

  • Associated Press

Tom Hanks off to Germany for new project

The actor Tom Hanks may head back to the Second World War... again.

His production company Playtone is collaborating with Universal for a film adaptation of the nonfiction bestseller In the Garden of Beasts. Erik Larson's book tells the true story of the US ambassador William Dodd's experience in 1933 Berlin, during Adolf Hitler's reign.

Aside from producing duties, The Hollywood Reporter says the star will most likely take on the lead role as well.

Hanks's previous Second World War-themed productions include Saving Private Ryan, Band of Brothers and The Pacific.

Johansson doesn't 'like' Facebook

While her fellow superstars are posting and tweeting away, Scarlett Johansson would rather keep the mystery.

The actress revealed her lack of affinity towards social networking in an interview with The Huffington Post co-founder Arianna Huffington for Interview magazine's December issue.

The 27-year-old said the sites are an "amazing tool" to raise awareness and spread information, but she's not keen on revealing details of her daily life to millions of "followers". "I don't have a Facebook or a Twitter account, and I don't know how I feel about this idea of 'Now, I'm eating dinner, and I want everyone to know that I'm having dinner at this time' or 'I just mailed a letter and dropped off my kids'. That, to me, is a very strange phenomenon," she told Huffington.

"I can't think of anything I'd rather do less. I'd rather that people had less access to my personal life. If I could keep it that way, I'd be a happy lady."

Johansson will next be seen on the big screen alongside Matt Damon in Cameron Crowe's comedy-drama We Bought a Zoo, set for release at the end of the month.

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