×

Film News Roundup: Royal Ballet’s Francesca Hayward Joins ‘Cats’ Movie

In today’s film news roundup, ballet dancer Francesca Howard is cast in “Cats,” Billy Bob Thornton and Alice Eve are getting honors, and “Chocolate Lizards” is becoming a film.

CASTING

Francesca Hayward, principal dancer with the Royal Ballet, has joined the cast of Universal Pictures and Working Title’s “Cats.”

The movie is an adaptation of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical “Cats,” based on “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats” by T.S. Eliot.

Hayward joined the Royal Ballet in 2010 and was promoted to principal in 2016. Some of her most prominent roles include Juliet (“Romeo and Juliet”), Alice (“Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”), Sugar Plum Fairy and Clara (“The Nutcracker”), and Princess Aurora (“The Sleeping Beauty”).

Tom Hooper will direct from a script he co-wrote with Lee Hall. “Cats” will be produced by Hooper and Working Title’s Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner, as well as fellow “Les Misérables” producer Debra Hayward, who brought the idea to Working Title. “Cats” will be produced by Working Title Films in association with Monumental Pictures and the Really Useful Group and executive produced by Steven Spielberg, Lloyd Webber, and Angela Morrison.

The cast includes Judi Dench, Idris Elba, Ian McKellen, Jennifer Hudson, James Corden, and Taylor Swift. Hayward is represented by Helen Clarkson at Curtis Brown and Lucy Popkin at Peikoff Mahan Law Office.

“Cats” received its world premiere at the New London Theatre in 1981, where it played for 21 record-breaking years and almost 9,000 performances. In 1983, the Broadway production became the recipient of seven Tony Awards including best musical, and ran for 18 years.

The news was first reported by Baz Bamigboye of the Daily Mail.

AWARDS

The eighth annual Napa Valley Film Festival has selected Billy Bob Thornton as the recipient of the Caldwell Vineyard Maverick Tribute.

Alice Eve will receive the Raymond Vineyards Trailblazer Tribute alongside Charles Krug Legendary Actor honoree Laurence Fishburne at this year’s celebrity tributes presentation on Nov. 8.

Thornton starred in “A Million Little Pieces” and is currently preparing to start filming Season 3 of “Goliath.” Eve most recently starred in the second season of Netflix’s “Iron Fist” and her film credits include “Star Trek Into Darkness,” “Men in Black 3,” and “Before We Go.”

The celebrity tributes program will take place at the Lincoln Theater in Yountville, Calif., and will include highlight reels and an on-stage conversation with Natalie Morales.

PROJECT ANNOUNCEMENT

Mark Bristol will direct the Texas-set drama “Chocolate Lizards” for Winter State Entertainment.

Producers are Julie B. Denny, Hamid and Camille Torabpour, and Mark Smith. Denny and Bristol wrote the screenplay, based on the novel “Chocolate Lizards,” written by Cole Thompson.

The story centers on a Harvard-educated aspiring actor losing his life savings in a poker game, leaving him broke and stranded in Abilene, Texas. Enter a hard-drinking wildcatter who just happens to have a job opening. Shooting takes place next year in Abilene.

Bristol began as storyboard artist for filmmakers including Christopher Nolan, Christopher McQuarrie, Spike Jonze, David Fincher, and Terrence Malick. Recently, Bristol storyboarded and directed all of the previs for “Mission: Impossible – Fallout.”

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Constance Wu and Jennifer Lopez star

    Jennifer Lopez's 'Criminal' Striptease: How 'Hustlers' Landed the Fiona Apple Hit

    Contrary to what you might be expecting, the number of songs by Jennifer Lopez, Lizzo and Cardi B in “Hustlers,” their newly released acting vehicle, adds up to … zero. Meanwhile, the standout music sync in a movie that’s full of them belongs to no less likely a choice than Fiona Apple. The scene in [...]

  • Game of Thrones Season 8

    'Game of Thrones,' 'Avengers' Win Big at 45th Annual Saturn Awards

    As Jamie Lee Curtis picked up her first trophy ever at the 45th Annual Saturn Awards Friday night, she had a good luck charm on her arm: former manager Chuck Binder, whom she said was the reason she became an actor. “I was in college and had no thought of being an actor,” Curtis told [...]

  • Jennifer Lopez and Constance Wu star

    Box Office: 'Hustlers' Dances Toward $32 Million Opening Weekend

    “Hustlers” is eyeing the biggest opening weekend ever for STXFilms, following a Friday domestic ticket haul of $13.1 million from 3,250 theaters. If estimates hold, the stripper saga could take home around $32 million come Sunday, marking the best live-action opening of Jennifer Lopez’s career. “Hustlers” follows a group of former strip club dancers, led [...]

  • Hustlers intimacy coordinator

    Meet the Stripper Consultant Who Gave 'Hustlers' Authenticity, Dignity and Sexual Freedom

    At last week’s Toronto Film Festival premiere of “Hustlers,” an audience of Hollywood heavyweights and Canadian locals applauded as a statuesque woman strutted on stage, rocking six-inch platform heels and a pastel tie-dye bodysuit. This adoration was not for stars Jennifer Lopez, Constance Wu or Keke Palmer, nor was it for the film’s acclaimed writer-director [...]

  • Kristen Stewart

    French Director Olivier Assayas Pays Tribute to Kristen Stewart at Deauville

    French director Olivier Assayas paid tribute to Kristen Stewart, whom he directed in “Clouds of Sils Maria” and “Personal Shopper,” at the Deauville American Film Festival on Friday evening. Stewart received a honorary award in Deauville before the French premiere of Benedict Andrews’s “Seberg” in which the actress stars as Jean Seberg, a French New [...]

  • Liam Gallagher: As It Was

    Film Review: 'Liam Gallagher: As It Was'

    Liam Gallagher is nearly as fascinating a rock ‘n’ roll figure as he thinks he is … which is saying a lot. After the breakup of Oasis, one of the most self-avowedly arrogant stars in pop culture found himself severely humbled, fighting to become relevant again without the help of Noel, his ex-bandmate and, for [...]

  • The Vast of Night

    Toronto Film Review: 'The Vast of Night'

    It’s the first high school basketball game of the season and all of Cayuga, N.M., population 492, is cheering on the Statesmen at the gym. Except for the town’s two brightest kids, Everett (Jake Horowitz) and Fay (Sierra McCormick), who are strolling through the empty darkness to their respective jobs as a radio DJ and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content