NEW YORK — Tom Hardy will play Elton John in a biopic titled “Rocketman.”
Focus Features announced Hardy’s casting as the iconic piano man on Wednesday. The film is planned to begin shooting late next year.
The 36-year-old British actor is well respected for his wide-ranging talent, but his brawny, tattooed frame makes him an unconventional choice. Hardy is most famous for playing the terrorist Bane in “The Dark Knight Rises.” He has showcased a muscled masculinity in films like “Warrior,” “Lawless” and “Bronson.”
“Rocketman” is being made with the cooperation of John, 66, who’s an executive producer on the film.
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LOS ANGELES — Clint Eastwood’s second wife is ending their marriage.
Dina Eastwood cites irreconcilable differences in divorce papers filed Tuesday in Monterey County, Calif. The 48-year-old journalist and reality TV star is seeking spousal support and full physical custody of the couple’s 16-year-old daughter.
Dina Eastwood filed for legal separation from the Oscar winner last month.
The Eastwoods have been married since March 1996 and lived in Carmel. They met when she was assigned to interview the 83-year-old actor for her TV news station.
Clint Eastwood was previously married to Maggie Johnson from 1953 to 1984.
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HONG KONG — Police are investigating a second reported extortion attempt at the Hong Kong film set of the latest “Transformers” movie, authorities said.
A government statement received overnight said a production company crew member was setting up on the roof of a building in Kowloon on Tuesday when four men “intimidated her and asked for money.”
She called police, who arrested a 35-year-old man. He’s being held pending further inquiries. The three others are still wanted. The case has been classified as blackmail and a police anti-triad unit is investigating.
Triads are Chinese organized crime gangs.
Police arrested two brothers last week after director Michael Bay was assaulted at another filming location. They allegedly demanded $13,000.
“Transformers 4: Age of Extinction” is set for release in June 2014. It’s partly set in Hong Kong, where filming involving stars including Mark Wahlberg has attracted attention.
Non-violent attempts at extortion involving location filming have been an occasional problem for Hollywood over the years. They usually involve residents disrupting filming by making noise or other means in an effort to prompt a payoff.
In recent years, studios have been more diligent with compensation to residents in neighborhoods where films are shot.
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NEW YORK — The legal wrangling continues between comedian and condo board president Joan Rivers and a former downstairs neighbor in her luxury New York City building.
Elizabeth Hazan was able to get into a $2 million two-bedroom unit she once occupied Wednesday, despite a judge’s ruling the same day that she be denied access until she paid $200,000 in common charges.
The Daily News reported Hazan, surrounded by reporters, convinced police to let her in before officers got word of the judge’s order. The judge later said Rivers would have to get an eviction order.
Rivers lives in a $30 million upstairs penthouse. In a statement, Rivers called Hazan a deadbeat owner and said the building would endure the fiasco. The board is considering its legal options.