HOLLYWOOD — Marvel Studios, aka Disney, is taking no chances with “Thor: Love and Thunder,” the fourth movie in the Thor saga. Oscar may have so far eluded Chris Hemsworth, but Marvel is backing him up by surrounding him with five Oscar winners: Natalie Portman (“Black Swan”) as Thor’s girlfriend, Russell Crowe (“Gladiator”), Christian Bale (“The Fighter”) as Gorr the God Butcher, and Matt Damon (“Good Will Hunting,” for screenwriting) as the villain “Actor Loki.” Add Sam Neill (“Actor Odin”), Luke Hemsworth (“Actor Thor”), Melissa McCarthy (“Actor Hela”) and Taika Waititi (adapted screenplay Oscar winner for “Jojo Rabbit”), director of “Thor: Ragnarok” and “Thor: Love and Thunder,” as well as the voice of Korg.
In addition, “Guardians of the Galaxy’s” Chris Pratt, Karen Gillan, Dave Bautista, Sean Gunn, Vin Diesel, the voice of Bradley Cooper and cameos from Cate Blanchett, Mark Ruffalo, Benedict Cumberbatch and Anthony Hopkins. If you’ve never seen “Thor” before, better start doing your homework or you’ll need a program.
The 2019 musical production of “Diana” (the life story of Diana, Princess of Wales) shuttered last year due to the pandemic, but is now set to return to Broadway on Dec. 1. In a bold move, Netflix has bought the rights to the filmed stage production (a la “Hamilton”) and will stream it starting Oct. 1. Jeanna de Waal, of the TV series “Iron Fist” and Broadway productions of “Waitress,” “Kinky Boots” and “Finding Neverland,” has the title role, while Roe Hartrampf plays Prince Charles. Erin Davie, of “Grey Gardens,” does Camilla Parker Bowles, and Broadway vet Judy Kaye, of “Phantom of the Opera,” “Ragtime” and “Mamma Mia” (for which she won a Tony Award), essays Queen Elizabeth II.
Also thinking about royalty is Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber (now 73), who gave us “Cats,” “Phantom of the Opera” and “Sunset Boulevard,” to name just three. He’s about to present us with a stage musical “reinventing” of the classic “Cinderella” fairytale. He’s written songs with lyrics by David Zippel and a book by “Promising Young Woman” three-time Oscar nominee Emerald Fennell (for best picture, director and screenplay). So far the show has four songs, and stars Carrie Hope Fletcher as Cinderella.
The reinvention is that Cinderella’s Prince Charming is gay and has run off with a duke, but luckily she’s fallen for his younger brother, Prince Sebastian, played by Ivano Turco, a young man of color who auditioned for the chorus but was chosen to play the lead because of his singing voice. Andrew Lloyd Webber says, “I’m convinced audience will fall in love with him, as we did, when we heard him sing ‘Only You, Lovely You’ (from the show). I just knew I’d found our Prince!” Sounds like that’s the REAL “Cinderella” story!
PHOTO: Chris Hemsworth as Thor
Photo credit: Disney/Marvel
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