Holly to Bolly: Star Wars makers won’t digitally recreate Fisher, actors Johnny Depp, Amber Heard finalise divorce and more

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Star Wars makers won’t digitally recreate Carrie Fisher in future movies

The studio behind the Star Wars movie franchise said they has no plans to digitally recreate the late actress Carrie Fisher, much loved for her role as Princess Leia Organa in the original Star Wars trilogy (and as General Organa in 2015's Episode VII: The Force Awakens), in upcoming instalments of the blockbuster series.

Speculation had been growing since Fisher died unexpectedly last month, at the age 60, that filmmakers might use new advances in computer-graphics technology to resurrect digital images of the actress in forthcoming chapters of the Star Wars film epic. She had already filmed her scenes for Episode VIII, which is due for release in December 2017, but was also expected to play a prominent role in Episode IX, due out in 2019.

Walt Disney co-owned Lucasfilm, producers of the Star Wars franchise, said: “We want to assure our fans that Lucasfilm has no plans to digitally recreate Carrie Fisher’s performance as Princess or General Leia Organa,” the studio said.

"Carrie Fisher was, is and always will be part of the Lucasfilm family. She was our princess, our general and more importantly, our friend. We are still hurting from her loss. We cherish her memory and legacy as Princess Leia, and will always strive to honour everything she gave to Star Wars."

Fisher appeared in four of the Star Wars films, beginning with the original 1977 movie and its two sequels, The Empire Stikes Back and Return of the Jedi, playing the intrepid Princess Leia.

She returned in Disney's 2015 reboot of the franchise, The Force Awakens, as General Leia Organa, leader of the rebels fighting the evil First Order. – euters


Actors Johnny Depp, Amber Heard finalise divorce

Johnny Depp’s tumultuous divorce from Amber Heard was finalised on Friday, ending the couple’s marriage after months of highly publicised claims by Heard of domestic violence and counterclaims from Depp of financial blackmail.

Court papers filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court detailed a splitting of marital assets and an agreement by Depp, 53, to pay a previously announced sum of US$7million (Dh25.7m) to Heard, 30, which she said will be donated to charity.

Heard filed for divorce in May 2016 after 15 months of marriage, and days later obtained a temporary restraining order against Depp.

She said in court filings that Depp was abusive to her throughout their marriage, culminating in an argument in May in which he threw a cell phone at her face and broke objects in her apartment.

A lawyer for Depp denied allegations of abuse and argued that Heard was “attempting to secure a premature financial resolution by alleging abuse.”

As part of the divorce settlement, Heard dismissed her request for a continued restraining order against Depp. – Reuters


Michael Lynton exits Sony Pictures Entertainment to become Chairman of Snapchat

Sony Pictures Entertainment Chairman and chief executive Michael Lynton has stepped down from the entertainment conglomerate to focus his attention on his chairmanship of Snap, Inc., the owner of Snapchat, in which he has a major investment.

Lynton is leaving his post atop the conglomerate's motion picture, television and music units but will remain as co-chief executive for six months to help lead a search for his replacement, according to Variety magazine. The announcement revealed that Sony Corporation chief executive Kazuo Hirai will focus with Lynton on the search for a new leader, with the Japanese businessman taking on a much higher profile in the operation. He will serve alongside Lynton as co-chief executive of Sony Pictures Entertainment and open a second office for himself on the Culver City lot.

Harvard-educated Lynton was a respected leader in Hollywood, but his regime suffered multiple blows, particularly the 2014 hack of the studio’s computers that led to a series of embarrassing revelations about internal operations. – The National Staff


Benedict Cumberbatch’s body double to play Doctor Strange in Avengers

Broadway actor Aaron Lazar has been hired to appear in the upcoming Avengers movie as a body double of Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch. He will stand in for the actor as Doctor Strange in Avengers: Infinity War during filming in Georgia due to scheduling conflicts.

Cumberbatch will reshoot all the scenes in which the characters face can be seen, and record all of the dialogue, reports pagesix.com

“They are not digitally superimposing Cumberbatch onto another actor’s performance,” a source from Disney said.

Cumberbatch first played the Marvel hero, a surgeon-turned-sorcerer vested with powerful magical abilities and skills, in last year's Doctor Strange. It is not yet known how big a role Doctor Strange will have in the Marvel Cinematic Universe ensemble film.

Lazar, whose credits include Les Misérables and The Last Ship, is currently busy playing Thomas Edison in The Current War. – The National Staff


Bollywood stars to fight it out as MMA team owners

Bollywood actors Ajay Devgn, Arjun Rampal, Randeep Hooda and music-director duo Salim-Sulaiman will each own a stake, partnering with the corporate head honchos, in different teams of the world’s first Mixed Martial Arts Super Fight League.

Actor-producer Devgn will be the co-owner of Mumbai Maniacs. The Kahaani 2 actor Rampal is co-owner of Delhi Heroes and critically-acclaimed actor Hooda will co-own the team Haryana Sultans. Musical-duo Salim Merchant and Sulaiman Merchant co-own UP Nawabs.

A distinctive point-scoring system separates Super Fight League from all other leagues. Each SFL team will have six members (five male fighters and one female) who will compete in six weight categories and be evaluated based on a five-point scoring system.

The league will take place from January 20 to to February 25. – IANS


Rajinikanth bats for Jallikattu

Indian Superstar Rajinikanth has extended his support for Jallikattu, the popular and ancient bull-taming sport, which is played usually around the Pongal festival in Tamil Nadu. He said it must be held as it is part of Tamil culture.

Last year, the Supreme Court banned Jallikattu on animal-welfare grounds, earning the wrath of many fans.

Speaking at Vikatan Film Awards, Rajinikanth said with the right set of rules, the sport must be reinstated as it was a key part of the traditions of Tamil culture

Rajinikanth was awarded best actor for his performance as an ageing don in last year's Tamil blockbuster Kabali at the award ceremony.

The 65-year-old actor is currently shooting his next Tamil science-fiction action 2.0.