x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Kanye West filming musical film in Doha

Plus: John Rhys-Davies hails Hobbit film; farewell to Dick Clark, Levon Helm, Bert Weedon; Tupac still alive, says rap mogul; Shah Rukh Khan in food documentary; Walking Dead star on show's success and Francis Lawrence to helm Catching Fire.

Kanye West. Matt Sayles / AP Photo
Kanye West. Matt Sayles / AP Photo

It seems Kanye West opted for Qatar rather than the UAE. Following reports two months ago that West's scouts had been scouring the region for locations for a short musical film in the same vein as 2010's Runaway, the rapper - together with Kid Cudi - was last week spotted filming in Doha.

While much is being kept under wraps, it seems at least some of the shoot has taken place at the Ceremonial Court in Education City, on the outskirts of Doha, with Twitter reports claiming that camels and horses had been brought on the set. According to a student speaking to the Doha News, the film included several extras from a local modelling agency who had been dressed in a way that was "culturally sensitive".

* Alex Ritman

Shah Rukh Khan in food documentary

Shah Rukh Khan will soon be seen in a documentary series on food and spirituality with the New York-based celebrated chef Vikas Khanna, known for his role in MasterChef India. The series will be based on traditions within religions when they cross paths with food.

The film in which Khan will star will analyse Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting and its associated rituals and how the fast is broken each day. Khan's Eid parties every year are well known and attended by most on the glitz list.

* Meera Gopal

John Rhys-Davies hails Hobbit film

John Rhys-Davies, who plays Gimli the dwarf in The Lord of the Rings films, has given an intriguing insight into what fans can expect from the forthcoming film The Hobbit.

"I went to see the filming of The Hobbit and it's a game changer," he said at Comic Con in Dubai. "The way people make films will never be quite the same after it comes out."

Peter Jackson is shooting the film at 48 frames per second - twice the normal rate. Davies said: "This means we will have a measure of visual clarity and acuity that I don't think we have ever seen on the big screen before."

He revealed that Jackson had developed an innovative way of shooting in 3D, and added: "I think this will become the standard handbook of shooting 3D films from now on. He's a consummate filmmaker, and The Hobbit is going to be incredible. I can't wait to see it."

* Colin Simpson

Farewell to Dick Clark, Levon Helm, Bert Weedon

The entertainment world is mourning the loss of three figures this week: Dick Clark, Levon Helm and Bert Weedon.

Clark, the media titan who hosted a New Year's Eve telecast from Times Square for four decades, died on Wednesday at age 82.

Ryan Seacrest, who paid tribute to the man on Wednesday night's American Idol show, said on Twitter: "I am deeply saddened. He has truly been one of the greatest influences in my life."

Helm, who died on Thursday at 71, achieved fame as the drummer and backing vocalist for the 1960s rock group The Band.

Rolling Stone reported that Helm died of throat cancer. His fellow bandmember Larry Campbell was quoted as saying Helm "died with dignity".

Weedon, whose Play in a Day guitar guide set some of the biggest names in rock 'n' roll on the road to greatness, died at 91 on Friday.

Play in a Day, released in 1957, helped inspire the likes of Eric Clapton, Brian May of Queen and John Lennon.

Tupac still alive, says rap mogul

The rap mogul Suge Knight, who was with Tupac Shakur when he was shot in Las Vegas in 1996, believes Shakur may still be alive.

"Nobody seen Tupac dead," Knight told the US radio station 93.5 KDAY on Friday. "Maybe Pac's not really dead … Pac's somewhere else."

Shakur, whose killer has never been found, appeared in 3D hologram form at last week's Coachella Music Festival.

Walking Dead star on show's success

The success of the zombie saga The Walking Dead comes down to the fact that we live in scary times, according to Laurie Holden, who plays Andrea.

"I had no idea it was going to become the phenomenon it has, but I think there's a reason for it," she said at Comic Con in Dubai. "I think that in times of economic trouble, when the world is uncertain, there's a palpable fear that people have.

"I think that our zombies are metaphors for the global economic crisis, for global warming. I think they are something that you can tangibly be afraid of and have some sort of escapism at a time when there's a lot of uncertainty."

She said she wished the producers would stop killing off characters.

"I'm hoping they don't kill any more because it's becoming a bit of a bloodbath and who's going to be left? I'm hoping I don't get turned into a zombie."

* Colin Simpson

Francis Lawrence to direct Catching Fire

Lionsgate has chosen Francis Lawrence (I Am Legend, Water for Elephants) to direct TheHunger Games sequel Catching Fire, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The studio will present its official offer to the filmmaker this week.

If Lawrence accepts the project, he will replace Gary Ross, who directed the first instalment of the franchise.