x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Mark Wahlberg to star in next Transformers

Plus Kenneth Branagh knighted by Queen, a horror film opens Rome festival, Coronation Street's Tarmey dies at 71 and Biden to appear on Parks and Recreation.

The Transformers director Michael Bay has announced that Mark Wahlberg will star in the franchise's fourth film. Bay called Wahlberg the "perfect guy to reinvigorate the franchise and carry on the Transformers' legacy" in his blog on Thursday. Bay worked with Wahlberg on his forthcoming film, Pain and Gain. Bay has said the next move will take a new direction in the series. The first three films starred Shia LaBeouf; the third, Dark of the Moon, was the second highest-grossing film of 2011. - AP

Kenneth Branagh knighted by Queen

Kenneth Branagh, who has played royalty on stage and screen, has been made a real-life knight by Queen Elizabeth II. The British actor was knighted at a Buckingham Palace ceremony on Friday for his services to drama and for his charity work in Northern Ireland. He said he was pleased to be honoured in the year of the queen's Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics: "It's been a hell of a year for the UK and I feel very honoured to be a tiny part of it." - AP

Coronation Street's Tarmey dies at 71

Bill Tarmey, who for 30 years played the loveable rogue Jack Duckworth on the British soap opera Coronation Street, has died at the age of 71. The show's producers say Tarmey died Friday in Tenerife. He had been in poor health for several years. Tarmey, a former labourer, joined the show in 1979 and left in 2010. - AP

Biden to appear on Parks and Recreation

Fresh off re-election, the US vice president Joe Biden will appear on the television sitcom Parks and Recreation on Thursday. The vice president's office said Biden taped a cameo appearance back in July. He said Thursday on Twitter: "My whole family loves the show, and I had a great time doing it".

The show's producers told The New York Times that Biden's appearance was taped under strict secrecy. - AP

Brooke Burke has thyroid cancer

The Dancing with the Stars host Brooke Burke says she has thyroid cancer. Burke posted a video message on YouTube disclosing her condition. The 41-year-old mother of four says a surgery has been scheduled. Although initially shocked by the diagnosis, Burke says she vows to make "a positive out of this negative thing". - AP

Horror film opens Rome festival

Lesson of the Evil, a horror film by the Japanese master director of gore Takashi Miike, was one of the opening night features at the Rome Film Festival, which began on Friday and runs through November 17. Others in competition are Roman Coppola's A Glimpse into the Mind of Charles Swan III, starring Charlie Sheen and Bill Murray, about a rich and famous man who is forced to deal with heart-break; and Back to 1942, a movie by the Chinese director Feng Xiaogang about the devastating famine of that year in a Chinese province. Its stars include Adrien Brody and Tim Robbins. Films from 26 countries will be shown. - AP