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Comedy, romance, J Lo and pirates in ‘Shotgun Wedding’

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Josh Duhamel was filming a scene in the new action-rom com “Shotgun Wedding” in which his fiancé, played by Jennifer Lopez, throws a grenade up in the air. He hits it like a baseball into a bad guy who blows up and sets off a display of rainbow-colored fireworks. “I was like, holy (expletive) this movie is bonkers,” Duhamel said. The film, directed by Jason Moore, starts out like a regular romantic comedy. Lopez’s Darcy and Duhamel’s Tom are having a big destination wedding on an island. There’s funny and awkward family dynamics and a charismatic ex-boyfriend shows up too. And Darcy and Tom find themselves fighting and about to call off the wedding moments before they’re to walk down the aisle. Then a band of pirates armed with guns arrive and takes the wedding party hostage. Lopez, who produced and stars, came to the Mark Hammer script through her producing partner Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas, — they’ve been been making films together since “Maid in Manhattan.” “She’s kind of the architect of careers,” Lopez said. “We do really kind of think about not just what we want to do, but what the audience would enjoy or what the world needs at different times. I even do that as an artist with my albums and the things I want to put out in the world as a message.” “Shotgun Wedding,” streaming Friday on Prime Video, was not just a fun genre mash up in a slick package, Lopez liked the idea that her character was getting married for the first time at an “older age” and that Tom was the “groomzilla,” obsessed with the details and logistics of planning the fete. It took, she said, “Different things that people don’t think of as conventional and normal and making that thing regular and acceptable.” The film was not exactly a hard sell for anyone involved. From Cheech Marin, who plays Darcy’s billionaire father, to Jennifer Coolidge, as Tom’s very normal Midwestern mother, everyone basically heard “Jennifer Lopez” and “Dominican Republic shoot” and signed up. “It was a funny script,” Coolidge said. “We had a table read at the very beginning and I remember it was such a good table read. I remember thinking, ‘Oh my God, this is going to be really fun.’” There was a hitch before they got to the island. Armie Hammer had been originally set to play Tom but he stepped away from the project after misconduct allegations surfaced, which he has denied. They were two weeks into prep and a pivotal role needed to be recast. Moore, a Broadway veteran, didn’t panic. “There’s always a moment when the understudy has to go on,” Moore said. “It always works out. ... There were a couple of days of ‘Oh boy’ and it yielded something even more wonderful.” Duhamel had been on Moore’s shortlist and had been friendly with Lopez for years. “He’s an incredibly handsome 1940s movie star who’s not afraid to look vulnerable and silly,” Moore said. Duhamel and Lopez spoke over Zoom and decided it was a go. “You really do need a certain kind of chemistry,” Lopez said. “This was not just romantic comedy chemistry. It’s more, you know, trusting each other and doing actions and doing stunts and also broad comedy. It was a lot.” “It was so much better than I even imagined,” Lopez added. “We were just like right on the same wavelength.” Coolidge also approved. “They’re so fun to look at,” Coolidge said. “You know, you want to see everything ... you want to see them get together. You’re attracted to both people and then you watch them, you know, be attracted to each other.” But of course pirates get in the way of some of that, and also promptly force the wedding guests to stand in a pool as their hostages while they try to find the fighting bride and groom. It was a lot of time partially submerged in water with about a dozen other people. “I’m probably not supposed to say, but we didn’t change the water the whole time we were shooting,” said Coolidge. D’Arcy Carden, who plays Marin’s new-agey and much younger girlfriend, said those 20 some days were a little humbling. Marin and Steve Coulter, who played Coolidge’s husband, would even sometimes take naps in their soaking wet suits next to one another, of which Carden says she has photographic proof. But aside from soggy shoes for two weeks, Carden said it was “as dreamy a situation as you could be in.” Much of the cast even lived together in a giant house and would go out together most nights, which translated into a family-like atmosphere on set. “It was like this weird sort of movie dorm,” Duhamel said. “But with a spa and a hot tub and a pool and a beach.” Lenny Kravitz, as Darcy’s ex-boyfriend, even flies in (in a helicopter) to disrupt things. “He’s an amplified sort of ridiculous version of, you know, a tiny part of what people think I am,” said Kravitz, a longtime friend of Lopez’s. Moore wanted to make sure that the film looked “big and James Bond and lux. Sometimes action rom coms can look kind of small,” he said. And all were impressed by Lopez, who doesn’t act the “movie star” part on set. During a day filming scenes on a small boat in the open water, Lopez went into producer mode and decided they didn’t need an extra boat for her makeup person to be out there with them. She could do her makeup herself. And she nailed it, Moore said. “She is a mogul and a producer and a storyteller, an actress, a singer and a brilliant physical comedienne,” Moore said. “She’s got discipline and she’s got artistic finesse which is a wonderful combo. She really can do everything.”

Josh Duhamel was filming a scene in the new action-rom com “Shotgun Wedding” in which his fiancé, played by Jennifer Lopez, throws a grenade up in the air. He hits it like a baseball into a bad guy who blows up and sets off a display of rainbow-colored fireworks.

“I was like, holy (expletive) this movie is bonkers,” Duhamel said.

The film, directed by Jason Moore, starts out like a regular romantic comedy. Lopez’s Darcy and Duhamel’s Tom are having a big destination wedding on an island. There’s funny and awkward family dynamics and a charismatic ex-boyfriend shows up too. And Darcy and Tom find themselves fighting and about to call off the wedding moments before they’re to walk down the aisle. Then a band of pirates armed with guns arrive and takes the wedding party hostage.

Lopez, who produced and stars, came to the Mark Hammer script through her producing partner Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas, — they’ve been been making films together since “Maid in Manhattan.”

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“She’s kind of the architect of careers,” Lopez said. “We do really kind of think about not just what we want to do, but what the audience would enjoy or what the world needs at different times. I even do that as an artist with my albums and the things I want to put out in the world as a message.”

“Shotgun Wedding,” streaming Friday on Prime Video, was not just a fun genre mash up in a slick package, Lopez liked the idea that her character was getting married for the first time at an “older age” and that Tom was the “groomzilla,” obsessed with the details and logistics of planning the fete.

It took, she said, “Different things that people don’t think of as conventional and normal and making that thing regular and acceptable.”

The film was not exactly a hard sell for anyone involved. From Cheech Marin, who plays Darcy’s billionaire father, to Jennifer Coolidge, as Tom’s very normal Midwestern mother, everyone basically heard “Jennifer Lopez” and “Dominican Republic shoot” and signed up.

“It was a funny script,” Coolidge said. “We had a table read at the very beginning and I remember it was such a good table read. I remember thinking, ‘Oh my God, this is going to be really fun.’”

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There was a hitch before they got to the island. Armie Hammer had been originally set to play Tom but he stepped away from the project after misconduct allegations surfaced, which he has denied. They were two weeks into prep and a pivotal role needed to be recast. Moore, a Broadway veteran, didn’t panic.

“There’s always a moment when the understudy has to go on,” Moore said. “It always works out. … There were a couple of days of ‘Oh boy’ and it yielded something even more wonderful.”

Duhamel had been on Moore’s shortlist and had been friendly with Lopez for years.

“He’s an incredibly handsome 1940s movie star who’s not afraid to look vulnerable and silly,” Moore said. Duhamel and Lopez spoke over Zoom and decided it was a go.

“You really do need a certain kind of chemistry,” Lopez said. “This was not just romantic comedy chemistry. It’s more, you know, trusting each other and doing actions and doing stunts and also broad comedy. It was a lot.”

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“It was so much better than I even imagined,” Lopez added. “We were just like right on the same wavelength.”

Coolidge also approved.

“They’re so fun to look at,” Coolidge said. “You know, you want to see everything … you want to see them get together. You’re attracted to both people and then you watch them, you know, be attracted to each other.”

But of course pirates get in the way of some of that, and also promptly force the wedding guests to stand in a pool as their hostages while they try to find the fighting bride and groom. It was a lot of time partially submerged in water with about a dozen other people.

“I’m probably not supposed to say, but we didn’t change the water the whole time we were shooting,” said Coolidge.

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D’Arcy Carden, who plays Marin’s new-agey and much younger girlfriend, said those 20 some days were a little humbling.

Marin and Steve Coulter, who played Coolidge’s husband, would even sometimes take naps in their soaking wet suits next to one another, of which Carden says she has photographic proof.

But aside from soggy shoes for two weeks, Carden said it was “as dreamy a situation as you could be in.”

Much of the cast even lived together in a giant house and would go out together most nights, which translated into a family-like atmosphere on set.

“It was like this weird sort of movie dorm,” Duhamel said. “But with a spa and a hot tub and a pool and a beach.”

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Lenny Kravitz, as Darcy’s ex-boyfriend, even flies in (in a helicopter) to disrupt things.

“He’s an amplified sort of ridiculous version of, you know, a tiny part of what people think I am,” said Kravitz, a longtime friend of Lopez’s.

Moore wanted to make sure that the film looked “big and James Bond and lux. Sometimes action rom coms can look kind of small,” he said.

And all were impressed by Lopez, who doesn’t act the “movie star” part on set. During a day filming scenes on a small boat in the open water, Lopez went into producer mode and decided they didn’t need an extra boat for her makeup person to be out there with them. She could do her makeup herself. And she nailed it, Moore said.

“She is a mogul and a producer and a storyteller, an actress, a singer and a brilliant physical comedienne,” Moore said. “She’s got discipline and she’s got artistic finesse which is a wonderful combo. She really can do everything.”

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Jailed Iran filmmaker Jafar Panahi says on hunger strike

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Jailed Iran filmmaker Jafar Panahi says on hunger strike

Acclaimed Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi, who has been jailed for the last six months, said he has begun a hunger strike to protest his continued detention, according to a statement published by his wife Thursday.

Panahi, whose films have won prizes at all of Europe’s main film festivals, was arrested in July even before the current wave of protests that have shaken the regime started in September.

There were expectations last month that the judiciary could order his release, but he remains behind bars in Tehran’s Evin prison.

He started his dry hunger strike, refusing food and water, from Wednesday, he said in the statement.

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“Today, like many people trapped in Iran, I have no choice but to protest against this inhumane behaviour with my dearest possession — my life,” said Panahi.

“In protest against the illegal and inhumane behaviour of the judicial and security apparatus and this hostage-taking, I have started a dry hunger strike as of February 1. I will refuse to eat and drink any food and medicine until the time of my release.

“I will remain in this state until perhaps my lifeless body is freed from prison.”

Panahi, 62, was arrested on July 11 and had been due to serve a six-year sentence handed down in 2010 after his conviction for “propaganda against the system”.

But on October 15, the Supreme Court quashed the conviction and ordered a retrial, raising hopes among his legal team he could be released.

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Panahi won a Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival in 2000 for his film “The Circle”. In 2015, he won the Golden Bear at Berlin for “Taxi Tehran”, and in 2018, he won the best screenplay prize at Cannes for “Three Faces”.

Panahi’s July arrest came after he attended a court hearing for fellow film director Mohammad Rasoulof, who had been detained a few days earlier.

Rasoulof was released from prison on January 7 after being granted a two-week furlough for health reasons and is still believed to be outside of jail.

Cinema figures have been among the thousands of people arrested by Iran in its crackdown on the protests sparked by the September 16 death in custody of Mahsa Amini, 22, who had been arrested for allegedly violating its strict dress code for women.

Star actor Taraneh Alidoosti, who had published images of herself without wearing the Islamic headscarf, was among those detained although she was released in early January after being held for almost three weeks. 

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Shekhar Kapur all praise for Sajal Aly

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Shekhar Kapur all praise for Sajal Aly

Indian filmmaker Shekar Kapur sees Pakistan actor Sajal Aly “more than a petty face” as he praised the star for her acting skills.

The highly anticipated international debut film, “What’s Love Got to Do with It?”, featuring Aly, is soon to be released globally. During promotions, the film’s director, Shekar Kapur, praised Sajal’s performance and shared that she was highly recommended to him by her peers.

Kapur stated that Sajal’s beauty on screen is accompanied by her depth and maturity as an actress. “She is obviously very beautiful. Whenever she comes on screen, she has that aura. During screenings, I always heard someone gasping,” he said mimicking a surprised emotion. “So there’s no doubt that she’s beautiful, but behind that beauty, her performances have a lot of pain and strength as well.”

He advised Sajal to not confuse her character’s shyness and gentleness with weakness, and expressed his pride in the strength she portrayed in the film.

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“When we spoke about her character initially, I told her that you do not have to be perceived as weak. You’re gentle, you are shy and you have to portray that but gentleness and shyness are not the same as weakness. What you have to portray is strength. And now when you watch the film, you’ll realise the kind of strength she portrays,” he said.

The film, a romantic comedy-drama, also stars a talented cast including Lily James, Shazad Latif, and Emma Thompson, among others, with a cameo appearance by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan.

Sharing the news on Twitter, the producer Jemiama Khan wrote, “Our film opens today in Dubai and the Gulf Countries.”

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‘Besharam Rang’ wasn’t a hit due to controversy, says singer Shilpa Rao

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'Besharam Rang' wasn't a hit due to controversy, says singer Shilpa Rao

Shilpa Rao, who is also the singer of most controversial song of 2022-23, “Besharam Rang”, said the reason of the song’s success was not the controversy.

The singer said the song did not gain instant popularity because of all the controversy that raged after its release. Rather, she thinks that people actually understood the song especially after watching it along with the movie.

Rao stated, “I still believe that a song has to be great as it is. So, it is very important for it to have a good melody and lyrics that people can connect with. When it reaches that stage, only then will people pick it up and make it popular, so the promotion, reach, and reels will come after that.”

She further went on to say, “I think the only reason this song has done so well is because people have actually got the meaning of the song, which is to express yourself without apologies and to love yourself the way you are. People got that and so, they are expressing themselves and that’s why it’s getting popular.”

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When asked about her personal opinion about Pathaan, Shilpa remarked, “I’ve seen the film. It feels really great to be a part of such an enriching project. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and it was thrilling to see others’ reactions too. ‘Pathaan’ promised to be a great film and it kept that promise,” reported Indian media.

Shilpa Rao is widely-known for songs like; “Ghungroo”, “Malang”, “Khuda Jaane”, “Subhanallah”, “Bulleya” and many others.

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