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Guillermo del Toro has announced that he will be taking a break from directing for a year

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Guillermo del Toro directing Sally Hawkins and Octavia Spencer in "The Shape of Water."
KERRY HAYES

As Guillermo del Toro’s fairytale love story The Shape of Water rides into the ongoing awards season high and mighty, the filmmaker, who is expected to direct Fox’s remake of Richard Fleischer’s 1966 sci-fi classic Fantastic Voyage, has announced that he will be taking a break from being behind the camera for a year.

“I’m taking a sabbatical for a year as a director. I was going to do Fantastic Voyage, but after The Shape of Water I need to take pause,” del Toro told a group of journalists at Morelia’s Hotel Virrey de Mendoza in Mexico. It’s unclear as to whether or not the director is still attached to the project, which was expected to begin shooting next Spring for a 2020 release.

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The Shape of Water, which received rave reviews from critics who saw it at festivals aboard such as the Venice International Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival, is a departure from del Toro’s typical horror fare and follows a lonely, mute woman whose life begins to change when she discovers a mysterious underwater creature that has the ability to communicate with her in the hidden government facility where she works.

With a cast that includes the likes of Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Doug Jones, Michael Stuhlbarg, and Octavia Spencer, del Toro’s latest effort will surely be enough to hold us over until the visionary director gets back to what he does best. The Shape of Water will open in theaters on December 8, 2017.

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‘Downton Abbey’ movie set to begin production in September with the original cast returning

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Downton Abbey
PBS

Focus Features chairman Peter Kujawski announced Friday morning that the long-awaited Downton Abbey movie is set to begin production this September with the original principal cast from the hit television series returning to reprise their respective roles.

According to a press release, Brian Percival, who directed the Downton Abbey pilot, is directing the film from a script written by Julian Fellowes, who created the award-winning series which picked up 15 Emmy Awards over the span of its six-season run.

Downton Abbey follows the lives of the elite Crawley family and the servants who worked for them at the turn of the 20th century in an Edwardian English country home. Michelle Dockery, Maggie Smith, and Hugh Bonneville all starred in the show.

“Since the series ended, fans of Downton have long been waiting for the Crawley family’s next chapter,” said in a statement. Kujawski.  “We’re thrilled to join this incredible group of filmmakers, actors and craftspeople, led by Julian Fellowes and Gareth Neame, in bringing back the world of Downton to the big screen.”

The film will be a Carnival Films production, with Focus Features and Universal Pictures International handling distribution.

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Adds Carnival’s executive chairman Gareth Neame, who is also producing the film: “When the television series drew to a close it was our dream to bring the millions of global fans a movie and now, after getting many stars aligned, we are shortly to go into production.  Julian’s script charms, thrills and entertains and in Brian Percival’s hands we aim to deliver everything that one would hope for as Downton comes to the big screen.”

A release date for the Downton Abbey movie has not been announced, though it seems likely that we’ll see the film hit the big screen towards the backend of next year if production does, in fact, begin this September.

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Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie are coming for their Oscars in ‘Mary Queen of Scots’ trailer

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Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie are coming for their Oscars in the riveting first trailer for Mary Queen of Scots, the upcoming historical drama from director Josie Rourke, which explores the turbulent life of the charismatic Mary Stuart and her intense rivalry with another young queen.

Based on the book Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart, the film was written by Beau Willimon and follows Mary (Ronan) as she returns to her native Scotland to reclaim her rightful throne, but Scotland and England fall under the rule of the compelling Elizabeth I (Robbie).

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Determined to rule as much more than just a figurehead, Mary asserts her claim to the English throne, threatening Elizabeth’s sovereignty. Betrayal, rebellion, and conspiracies within each court imperil both thrones – and, ultimately, change the course of history forever.

The film marks the feature directorial debut of Rourke, artistic director of The Donmar Warehouse and the first woman to run a major theater in London. Supporting cast members include Jack Lowden, Joe Alwyn, Gemma Chan, Martin Compston, Ismael Cordova, Brendan Coyle, Ian Hart, Adrian Lester, James McArdle, David Tennant, and Guy Pearce.

Focus Features is set to release Mary Queen of Scots in select theaters just in time for the forthcoming awards season on December 7.

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Phoenix readers: Win passes to an early screening of Bo Burnham’s directorial debut ‘Eighth Grade’

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Bo Burnham’s lovely directorial debut Eighth Grade has been charming audiences at festivals such as Sundance and South by Southwest for the past six months and now, finally, will hit theaters across the nation next week after opening in New York and Los Angeles this Friday.

Thanks to our friends over at A24, we’re giving our Phoenix-based readers the chance to win VIP seats to an early screening of the film at Harkins Camelview 14 at Fashion Square in Scottsdale on Thursday, July 19. Sound good to you? Here’s what you have to do to enter our contest:

  • First, send an email to matt@silverscreenbeat.com with the subject line “EIGHTH GRADE”
  • Next, in the body of the email, tell us your favorite coming-of-age movie
  • Be sure to also include your first and last name in the email in case you’re one of our winners
  • Hit send

We’ll choose five winners to win VIP seats to the Eighth Grade screening by 12:00 p.m. on July 18, so be sure to keep an eye on your inbox in case we select you as a winner! Remember, we’ll only be accepting one entry per person and will automatically disqualify anyone who enters more than once.

Written and directed by: Bo Burnham

Synopsis: Thirteen-year-old Kayla endures the tidal wave of contemporary suburban adolescence as she makes her way through the last week of middle school—the end of her thus far disastrous eighth grade year—before she begins high school.

Cast: Elsie Fisher and Josh Hamilton

Opens: Friday, July 20 exclusively at Harkins Camelview @ Fashion Square

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