THEY’RE two of the most popular superstars in the film business – but in a sleepy English village Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg aren’t universally liked just now.
The A-lister movie moguls are bringing their latest blockbuster production, Masters of the Air, to a former military base in Oxfordshire – recreating a World War 2 American air force base in the heart of the home counties complete with vintage fighter planes, gunfire and legions of troops.
But a wrangle over noise complaints and the size of the £1million set is already proving troublesome among residents in nearby Abingdon and Shippon – with several grumbling to council officials and urging them to put the brakes on the project.
A source said: “For loads of people locally this is the most exciting thing that has happened in a long time, but for some folk very close it’s a real life nightmare.
“There has been a year of lockdown already disrupting normal life and now there’s thousands of crew, actors and machinery descending – not to mention the late night pyrotechnics.
“It goes without saying recreating World War 2 is not the sort of thing anyone wants to see as they look out of their windows in a little rural village just as life was supposed to be returning to normal.
“Some of us were looking forward to garden parties – now it feels like we’re going to need to put our tin hats on.”
The big budget series, produced by Hanks and Spielberg, is set to film in the area for the next nine months – and is slated for release on Apple TV in early 2022.
It tells the story of the Eighth Air Force squadron during the 1939-45 conflict.
Bond director Cary Fukunaga is also on board for the major project, with the full cast yet to be announced.
There has been a year of lockdown already disrupting normal life and now there’s thousands of crew, actors and machinery descending.
Insiders say the series will feature nine epsiodes, with a production budget of £200million – so these guys aren’t messing around.
It sounds my kind of picture – I’m just glad it’s not being shot in my back garden…
Maya oh my
MAYA JAMA has managed to outdo herself once again, looking stunning in her latest Instagram snap.
The BBC presenter showed off her amazing figure in this white swimming costume, although given the weather outside, I think she’s a bit premature. She captioned the photo “Poster girl”.
But Maya also revealed the less glamorous side of showbiz after a mishap as she made her way to filming for ITV2 show Celebrity Juice on Wednesday.
Posting a selfie of her wearing sunglasses in the back of a car, she said: “Just vomited out the car door in traffic.
“I tried to keep my glasses on but they fell into the sick and I caught eyes with the driver behind. Big low point in this life.”
She seemed to be over it later on, though, as she tucked into a McDonald’s.
A woman after my own heart.
- ELVIS Presley is still one of the most listened to artists ever 43 years after his death. The King has racked up four billion streams on Spotify. His Rock ’n’ Roll album, which celebrates its 65th anniversary this year, has been listened to 65million times, with Can’t Help Falling In Love, Jailhouse Rock and Hound Dog his most popular songs.
- Rihanna has teased new music is finally on the way, five years on from her album Anti. She shared a post about the album’s success on Instagram and a fan commented: “Celebrate by releasing a song.”
Rihanna replied: “I think I should” alongside an emoji saying “soon”. But joking with fans that an album is still a way off, she added: “Just 1 tho lol.”
- Foals will headline the Monday of All Points East festival in East London’s Victoria Park on August 30. Other acts on the line-up include Bombay Bicycle Club, Caribou, Roisin Murphy and Maisie Peters.
Kard work, Kourtney
IT must be a real struggle being a Kardashian.
Take Kourtney, for example.
She just seems to lie down in her bikini and have her photo taken – as she did for this one which she shared on Instagram.
I’m not even sure what she does apart from live off her loaded sister Kim’s name. Mind you, she has done pretty well off it, seeing as she appears to be constantly living the high life.
Maybe it is all worth it after all.
Sarah tops chart
SARAH HARDING shot to No1 on the iTunes chart yesterday after releasing electro pop song Wear It Like A Crown.
The Girls Aloud singer, who is battling cancer, found the solo track she had recorded ten years ago while researching her memoir Hear Me Out.
She said: “While I was searching for old photos to include in the book I came across the song. I’ve always really loved it, and it made me sad that no one ever got to hear it.”
Proceeds are going to The Christie NHS Foundation Trust in Manchester, where Sarah has been getting treatment.
Maid it, Jade
LITTLE MIX are hoping to clean up in the Brit Award nominations on Wednesday, but in the meantime Jade Thirlwall is making do with keeping her flat spick and span.
Clearly bored, having not performed a gig for over a year, she shared this photo.
And she won the approval of the self-professed Queen of Clean, telly’s Kim Woodburn, who commented: “Good girl! I’m proud!”
Can’t imaging Kim in this gear.
Help Oscars keep it real
WHEN the Oscars announced plans for a proper ceremony last month, I was thrilled at the latest green shoots for the entertainment business.
The annual event is the glitziest in the showbiz calendar, a nod to the best of the big screen but also a much-needed boost to the industry as a whole.
Films and actors who leave with golden statuettes enjoy a box-office bonus as movie fans rush to see what all the fuss is about – and the night itself is a chance to see and hear directly from the A-listers behind the block- busters.
So I was chuffed that bosses said this one, on Sunday, April 25, would be the real deal – with the great and the good of Hollywood taking to the stage in their finery to accept their accolades, and not a grainy video link in sight.
But my enthusiasm may have been premature, amid talk of an increasingly forceful behind-the-scenes wrangle over the nominees’ ability to attend due to travel restrictions.
I don’t often get political here – and don’t worry, I won’t start now – but new threats of £5,000 fines for anyone making international trips are just the latest obstacle likely to discourage British stars from attending.
There will also be concerns over a publicity backlash and quarantines which could end up costing them most of a month for jetting out to pick up a gong.
Among the UK hopefuls lined up for glory are Riz Ahmed, Gary Oldman, Olivia Colman and Sacha Baron Cohen.
Sources say many prospective winners are already up in arms at the notion of not being able to attend virtually, while organisers are so far sticking to their guns in the hope of putting on a suitably swanky bash for Hollywood’s glamorous occasion.
So I’m hoping lawmakers will step in and see the value of these big events for our hugely stretched entertainment indus- try – which needs all the help it can get.
Like The Brit Awards and the Grammys do for music, the Oscars and Baftas provide a lifeline for filmmaking.
Surely some exceptions and exemptions could be made to lift the fortunes of our entertainment industry and honour our brightest stars.
We all need showbiz back to its best.
Justin’s frank ideas
HE released his sixth studio album Justice last week but Justin Bieber is already looking to his next project, with a totally different sound.
In a US interview he was asked if he would ever try a new genre and replied: “I really love Frank Sinatra and that kind of vibe.
“It would be fun to see if I would sound good singing that kind of music. That would be interesting.”
Justin dressed just like the iconic My Way crooner at the premiere of his film Believe in 2013.
It worked for Robbie Williams 20 years ago with Swing When You’re Winning, so why not give it a shot, Justin?
Niall floored by frenzied attention from 1D fans
NIALL HORAN has revealed he was close to developing a stiff neck while in One Direction from looking down so that people wouldn’t notice him in public.
He spent five years in the chart-topping group but found it so terrifying leaving the house that he only did so for work.
The Slow Hands singer explained: “There would be times, for a couple of years in the middle I’d say, maybe 2012 and 2013, when it was at its biggest, where I wouldn’t leave the house in fear.
“There was a couple of years where I would overthink everything. I wouldn’t go to the pub, or if I was going to the pub there would be scarves and hats and glasses.
“I nearly had a crick in my neck for looking at the floor for a few years.”
Niall has released two solo albums since the band split in 2015, but has revealed he desperately tried to cancel his second record, Heartbreak Weather, minutes before it was due out last March as the world locked down.
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He added on Dermot O’Leary’s People, Just People podcast: “I felt really deflated over it, like, what’s the point in releasing it? I nearly pulled the album release.
“I flew back to the UK [from the US] and I was like, ‘We need to pull the album’, but it was minutes away from coming out in Australia. I wanted to cancel it, but then when would I have released it? Then I felt like, what’s the point in releasing new singles now because I can’t get out?”
It is just as well Niall didn’t delay Heartbreak Weather as it debuted at No1.
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