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Emma Watson wins lead in 'Beauty and the Beast'

It's time for the actress to start singing lessons. Meanwhile, did Tom Cruise spy on Nicole? Plus Sam Smith gives Tom Petty his dues, and Benedict Cumberbatch causes a race storm

By Kate Guest | Published: 27 Jan 2015

Em Watson is Belle
Photo: Getty Images

Emma Watson nabs lead role in Beauty and the Beast remake
Move over Cinderella – you’re not even out yet and there’s already bigger Disney film news. The studio announced yesterday that Emma Watson has won the lead role of Belle in its live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast, which is set to begin filming this year.

On her Facebook page, Emma wrote: “It was such a big part of my growing up, it almost feels surreal that I’ll get to dance to ‘Be Our Guest’ and sing ‘Something There’. My six year old self is on the ceiling – heart bursting. Time to start some singing lessons. I can’t wait for you to see it.”

The film will be directed by Bill Condon, who also directed The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn. There’s no word yet on who gets the dubious honours of playing either the Beast or the sexist Gaston, though we’re looking forward to seeing how feminist crusader Emma handles that dude.

Tom Cruise hired people to spy on Nicole Kidman
Tom Cruise has faced his share of strange and unusual rumours before, but the latest is one of the creepiest yet. A new documentary about Scientology, the controversial religion Tom is famously dedicated to, claims the Mission Impossible star hired a private investigator to spy on wife Nicole when their marriage hit the rocks.

Filmmaker Alex Gibney’s documentary Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, based on the book Going Clear by Lawrence Wright, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on the weekend to positive reviews. The documentary claims that the church didn’t approve of Kidman because her father, the late Anthony Kidman, was a psychologist (the church doesn’t believe in psychology or psychiatry, and its founder, L. Ron Hubbard, called psychiatrists ‘terrorists’). Worried that Tom was distancing himself from the church during his second marriage, the head honchos attempted to undermine his relationship, and also to turn the couple’s son and daughter against Nicole. Cruise was convinced to hire a spy to follow his wife, and wire tap her phone. We all know how well that ended.

The film also claims that the church has ensured the loyalty of both Tom and fellow church member John Travolta by threatening to make public information obtained during their infamous, and supposedly confidential, ‘audit sessions’. The church has denounced the claims via full page ads in various newspapers and a promoted Twitter campaign.

We wonder if Nicole will have anything to say about the news – if, in fact, it is news to her.

Sam Smith pays royalties to Tom Petty
If, like us, you heard Sam Smith’s great tune Stay with Me and thought it sounded a lot like Tom Petty’s I Won’t Back Down – congratulations! You were right. Sadly, the only winner here though is Tom, who has received an out-of-court settlement after the similiarities were pointed out. Sam’s camp apparently did not contest the claim, and have amicably handed over payment and a co-credit, according to NME.

Tom Petty and Sam Smith. (Photo: Getty Images)

The song is up for both Best Pop Performance and Record of the Year at the 2015 Grammy Awards, being held on 8 February. Can we suggest an awards night Petty/Smith duet on a Stay/Back Down mash up, perhaps?

Benedict Cumberbatch lands himself in race storm
It’s no secret we at ELLE are very fond of Benedict Cumberbatch, but even diehard Cumbercookies can’t ignore it when he puts a foot wrong, as he did on US talk show Tavis Smiley last week when he referred to black people as ‘coloured’.

The term is considered offensive in the US, as hundreds of people were quick to point out on social media. The irony was that Cumberbatch used the term while discussing the lack of racial diversity in British film.

Because he is ultimately a good person, and even good people make mistakes, the Sherlock star was quick to apologise, saying he was "devastated" to have caused offence. “I make no excuse for being an idiot and know the damage is done. I can only hope this incident will highlight the need for correct usage of terminology that is accurate and inoffensive. I feel the complete fool I am and while I am sorry to have offended people and to learn from my mistakes in such a public manner please be assured I have.”

Related: Emma Watson and celebs talk about closing the gender gap
Related: Sam Smith records saddest Christmas cover ever
 


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