Actors and Actresses

Birthday Binge Watch: Five Judi Dench Performances You Can Stream Online

December 2014 holds an important milestone for fans of British drama everywhere as the great Dame Judi Dench celebrates her 80th birthday (December 9).

Dench, a stunningly talented actress who has served as a gateway drug of sorts for several generations of Anglophiles, is pretty much universally beloved, having wracked up untold numbers of BAFTAs, Tonys, Olivier Awards, Golden Globes and even an Oscar for her work and a massive global fanbase obsessed with her general sass and perfection. And, now that she’s officially an octogenarian, she’s even more awesome than ever, with upcoming roles in sequel The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and the second round of Hollow Crown films, in which she’ll play Cecily, the Duchess of York (i.e. Richard III’s – or in this case Benedict Cumberbatch’smom.)

So, to celebrate her special day, here are five classic Dench performances that you can stream online right now.

 

British Actors You Should Know: Timothy Spall

If you’re the type of person who pays attention to film award season, you probably will have heard about the recent accolades for our spotlighted actor, Timothy Spall. A hardworking and versatile performer since the late 70’s, Spall seems to be finally getting the attention he deserves for a career defining achievement.

He won best actor honors at this year’s Cannes Film Festival for his title role in the biopic Mr. Turner. Spall embodies eccentric English Romantic landscape painter J.M.W. Turner. Director Mike Leigh (with whom Spall has worked four times perviously) is known for his formidable demands on his actors. For this period piece, Leigh insisted Spall not only research the artist he was setting out to play but also to spend two years learning his distinctive painting technique. What resulted was this Oscar buzz-worthy bit of acting. 

Mr. Turner will be out in limited release beginning December 19, presumably to qualify for the Academy Awards race. Here’s hoping it won’t be much longer after that that those of us not living in major metropolitan cities will be able to witness the magic as well.

While all the kudos and glowing reviews are surely very nice indeed, Spall has been putting in memorable, entertaining performances for years. From notable roles in TV series such as Auf Wiedersehen, Pet and The Street to a cameo in The King’s Speech as Winston Churchill,  his talent has consistently been on display. If you’d like a reminder of his range or just want to explore his body of work for the first time, here are a handful of film and TV roles you might want to try. Believe me, Peter Pettigrew from the Harry Potter films is just the tip of the iceberg.

British Actors You Should Know: Eddie Redmayne

The major film festivals have taken place and now Hollywood is releasing the trailers for its 2015 Oscar contenders. If you pay attention to that sort of thing, you may well have heard the buzz around our latest featured actor – Eddie Redmayne.

He’s receiving accolades for his performance as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything. The film follows the life of the world famous scientist from his days as a student at Oxford through his devastating ALS diagnosis and out the other side to the triumph of his career and his determination to outlive the dire predictions of his doctors. He does all this with the love and full support of his fiancé, and later, wife, Jane (Felicity Jones) by his side.

(Curious about The Theory of Everything? Watch the trailer.)

Long before this breakout lead role, however, young Mr. Redmayne had been getting noticed for his acting skills on both sides of the pond. He’s won the Olivier and the Tony for his supporting role in the play Red as well as other theatre and film award nominations. So if you’re not familiar with this talented performer, here are just a few examples of Eddie’s past television and film work which you can view, in most cases, tonight if the mood strikes you.

Watch: Benedict Cumberbatch Does Impressions of Literally Everyone

If Benedict Cumberbatch seems to be a bit more, well… everywhere than usual of late, that would be because he’s been out doing the press rounds for the impending release of his buzzy Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game. (Which, if you haven’t watched the trailer for that yet, you can do so right here – and you really should it’s going to be equally everywhere this awards season).

This has led to a veritable avalanche of Cumberbatch-related print interviews, video snippets and Q&As on various social media platforms. It’s so much that even the most die-hard Cumber-enthusiast (such as myself) may have had a hard time sifting through the lot of it. That’s why it’s important to distill all this down to the essentials – which is exactly what this video is. It is awesome and it will make your day.

Watch: Benedict Cumberbatch Does His Best Beyonce For Graham Norton

It’s official: Benedict Cumberbatch can do anything. Or, even if he can’t, watching him fail at something is guaranteed to be more fun than watching basically anyone else succeed.

So, if you’re having a bad day – today, or tomorrow or six weeks from now – just bookmark this page, so that you can forever have this clip at your finger tips, because it is 100% guaranteed to make you smile.

The Internet’s Favorite British Celebrity – was a guest on The Graham Norton Show this weekend to promote his upcoming Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game. He shared his spot on the red couch with Call the Midwife’s Miranda Hart and Harry Potter’s Timothy Spall, but there’s absolutely no doubt that the Sherlock star is the one who stole the show. 

Benedict Cumberbatch Wax Figure Revealed at Madame Tussauds

It’s official: Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch has his very own wax replica at the world famous Madame Tussauds waxwork gallery in London. Given the fact that the basically everyone is obsessed with Cumberbatch at the moment, it may surprise you to realize that he did not actually have one up to this point, but that cruel oversight has thankfully now been rectified.

The official Cumberbatch waxwork was announced during the summer, with Tussauds’ General Manager Ben Sweet referring to the subject as “one of the most in-demand actors” of the moment. Apparently interest in what has been dubbed the “Cumberwax” has been so high that on the day of its announcement the gallery’s official site crashed under the weight of all the interested, eager fans.

And now, at last, the real thing has arrived. 

British Actors You Should Know: Hugh Bonneville

I’d wager a majority of Americans first became acquainted with this week’s featured British Actor You Should Know thanks to his role as Robert Crawley, The Earl of Grantham, in PBS’ monster hit period drama, Downton Abbey. 

However, before he became the patriarch of our favorite English country estate, Hugh Bonneville had already built up a successful and varied acting career.

Let's take a look at some of the highlights. 

Did You Know ‘Downton Abbey’ Star Elizabeth McGovern is in a Band?

While American actress Elizabeth McGovern is probably best known these days for her involvement in the very British Downton Abbey, in which she plays Lady Cora Crawley, she also has a few hidden talents that might surprise those who only know her from the popular costume drama.

For example, Did you know that when she’s not busy filming at Highclere Castle, McGovern regularly fronts a folk-rock band called Sadie and the Hotheads? Yup, her seven-piece group which will be embarking on a ten-date US tour along the East Coast this December.  The band, which was formed in 2007, has seen something of an uptick in popularity since the rise of a global appreciation of all things connected to Downton Abbey.

The tour will kick off in Washington, D.C. on December 4 and wrap in Hartford, CT on December 14. 

Surprise, Tom Hiddleston Performs Hank Williams (Twice) at Wheatland Festival

It’s common knowledge that actor Tom Hiddleston is one of the Britishiest Brits around at the moment, so it’s not surprising that people are a bit skeptical about the news that he’s set to play iconic American country music star Hank Williams in an upcoming biopic entitled I Saw the Light. Yeah, that’s really a thing that is happening. (Honestly, you might find it’s something that, the more you think about it, the more intriguing the idea becomes. Or that could just be me, I don’t know.)

Anyway, yeah, the film is set to follow the uber dramatic story of Hank Williams’ meteoric rise to fame in his early teens, his subsequent struggles with drug and alcohol abuse, and his shocking death at the age of 29. And we all know that Hiddleston’s a pretty good actor who’s played a wide range of roles, so what we’re all really curious about is, can he sing?

Luckily, Hiddleston himself seems to be fairly eager to answer that question. Last weekend, the actor put in a surprise appearance at the Wheatland Music Festival in Michigan, and hit the stage to get his Hank on.

Watch him perform two of Williams’ classics below. 

Benedict Cumberbatch’s Adorably Tipsy Awards Acceptance Speech Will Make Your Day

Everyone who enjoys quality television rejoiced when Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch (finally) took an Emmy home for Outstanding Actor in a Miniseries/TV Movie last month. And everyone who loves Cumberbach was emotionally gutted when it was revealed that the actor wasn’t present at the ceremony to pick up his statue due to filming commitments, thereby depriving all of us what was sure to have been a truly memorable acceptance speech.

Luckily, Cumberbatch is an actor who seems to pop up at awards shows with somewhat startling frequency, and fans didn’t have to wait too long for the acceptance speech they were so cruelly denied.  The star was named “Actor of the Year” at the recent British GQ Men of the Year Awards, a doubtlessly worthy honor given that it seems as though he’s involved with practically every movie released these days.   

And, true to earlier prediction, he did in fact give an acceptance speech for the ages, rambling and swearing his way through thanking GQ for the honor of victory. He also namechecks James McAvoy, Tom Hardy and  Michael Fassbender, pokes fun at his own rather posh way of speaking and admits he’s may have imbibed a bit too much before his name was called. 

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