"Party on, dudes!"
We begin with important news: Bill & Ted 3 is happening. Cue air guitar. It’s over two decades since the good hearted stupidity and heavy metal bromance of Ted Theodore Logan (Keanu Reeves) and Bill S. Preston Esq. (Alex Winters) resulted in 1989’s Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure and the 1991 sequel Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey, but the planets have finally aligned for a third installment. Reeves and Winter are both keen to explore middle age life with their characters, and the former recently explained to GQ magazine that the story had the duo, who comprise the band Wyld Stallyns, being, “crushed by the responsibility of having to write the greatest song ever written and to change the world. And they haven’t done it.” Dean Parisot (Galaxy Quest) will direct.
Some talented child actors struggle to transition into more mature roles, but that’s not a problem for the gifted Irish actress Saoirse Ronan. Having revealed a precocious talent with Atonement, Ronan’s teenage years saw her working with Peter Weir (The Way Back), Joe Wright (Hanna, right) and Peter Jackson (The Lovely Bones). Now the 18-year-old, who plays the lead in The Host, a science-fiction romance adapted from a novel by Twilight author Stephenie Meyer via Andrew Niccol (Gattaca), will play the younger member alongside Gemma Arterton (Clash of the Titans) of a mother and daughter team of vampires in Byzantium, director Neil Jordan’s first dalliance with the undead since 1994’s Interview with the Vampire. After that Ronan will play the ill-fated title role in Mary Queen of Scots, portraying the 16th century claimant to the English throne who was ultimately executed by her cousin, Queen Elizabeth.
Knightley to coast
One from the Playing it Safe Dept: Keira Knightley, electrifying in David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method, is considering playing the wife of CIA analyst Jack Ryan (Star Trek’s Chris Pine) in a Kenneth Branagh-directed reboot of the espionage series that’s previously cast Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck in the lead role. Kevin Costner will play the wise mentor to Pine’s Ryan, with Branagh doubling up as the movie’s villain.
Watts and Werner go epic
Naomi Watts looks like she’ll be the latest actor to undergo the Werner Herzog experience. The King Kong and Fair Game star will play the lead in Queen of the Desert, a biopic of Gertrude Bell, a British writer, archeologist, administrator and spy in the Middle East in the turbulent early decades of the 20th century. By all accounts Bell enjoyed a fascinating life, although it’s unknown how the idiosyncratic Herzog will approach it. The casting process has only just got underway, but there’s already one possible curious addition: for British soldier T.E. Lawrence, whose exploits were transformed into David Lean’s 1962 epic Lawrence of Arabia, Herzog is talking to Twilight cuckold Robert Pattinson, who obviously has a thing for the desert having recently signed up for Animal Kingdom director David Michôd’s forthcoming futuristic outback western, The Rover.