JK Rowling has announced the release of a new children's book, The Ickabog, which she's publishing in daily instalments on her website for free. The first two chapters of the novel, aimed at 'children on lockdown, or even those back at school during these strange, unsettling times' are available now, with further chapters being posted until July 10. The British author, who first wrote the manuscript several years ago before taking a break from publishing, explained 'A few weeks ago at dinner, I tentatively mooted the idea of getting The Ickabog down from the attic and publishing it for free, for children in lockdown... so downstairs came the very dusty box, and for the last few weeks I’ve been immersed in a fictional world I thought I’d never enter again'.
Oscar winning filmmaker and actor Taika Waititi has enlisted celebrity friends including Meryl Streep, Ryan Reynolds, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cara Delevingne, Chris Hemsworth, Liam Hemsworth, Cate Blanchett, and Lupita Nyong'o, to read the Roald Dahl classic James and the Giant Peach in a new online series, supporting Partners In Health’s work against Covid-19. Waititi commented 'This wacky, wonderful tale is about resilience in children, triumph over adversity, and coping with isolation - things which couldn't be more relevant right now'.
Sebastian Stan has signed to Creative Artists Agency (CAA) for representation, where Chris Andres, Joel Lubin, and Shauna Perlman act as his agents. The American actor, recognised for starring as Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, is currently reprising his role in Disney+ series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and has been cast opposite Jessica Chastain, Penélope Cruz, and Diane Kruger in upcoming spy film 355, scheduled for release in January 2021.
Talia Ryder, 17, had just 48 hours to prepare before filming started for her debut film role, in Eliza Hittman’s acclaimed drama Never Rarely Sometimes Always, released earlier this year. Praised for her on-screen chemistry with co-star Sidney Flanigan, Ryder has been tipped to ‘conquer Hollywood’ over the coming years, despite still being a senior in high school. The young actress has since been snapped up by Steven Spielberg for his upcoming film adaptation of West Side Story, where she’ll build on her Broadway experience (she starred in Matilda the Musical aged 12) to play one of the Jets, appearing alongside Ansel Elgort and Maddie Ziegler.
Tiger Woods, Serena Williams, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Naomi Osaka co-star in Nike's Never Too Far Down campaign, narrated by LeBron James. The film, an extension of the brand's You Can’t Stop Us campaign, explores the adversity the stars have encountered and overcome during their careers, and NBA legend James said 'Even if basketball looks different for a while, I’m excited about the possibility of getting back in the game, because I know how inspiring and powerful sports can be. I think the lessons we learn from sport can inspire us all'.
British TV presenter and blogger Olivia Cox has been announced as Offensive Fashion's third brand ambassador. Cox took to Instagram to announce the news, posting 'So excited to share with you that I am now working with ethical fashion brand Offensive. Their tees are the antidote to fast fashion and have been specially designed for sensitive skin to cause zero irritation because of the high quality combed cotton'.
West End stars including Kerry Ellis, Lucie Jones, David Hunter, Shan Ako, John Dagleish, Cassidy Janson, Rachel John and Jodie Steele, have teamed up with Adam Blanshay Productions to launch the Newfound Hope Songs initiative, in support of NHS Charities Together. The actors and singers are writing and collaborating on new tracks from their homes during theatreland shutdown, to be premiered at a special gala concert in the future, and Ellie Orton, CEO of NHS Charities Together, commented 'The message of hope in this initiative is so important at the moment, we need that hope and to have events like this to look forward to. It’s fantastic that at the same time it will raise funds to support NHS staff, volunteers and patients and deliver its own bit of hope to them'.
Megan Thee Stallion has been tapped as Savage x Fenty's latest brand ambassador, joining fellow musicians Normani, Tinashe and Dreezy as the faces of Rihanna's lingerie brand. The American rapper models pieces including the t-shirt bra and booty short as part of the brand’s 'community-led' summer campaign initiative where brand partners, ambassadors, and influencers are creating self-produced photoshoots from their homes, and Rihanna said 'Meg is the energy we were looking for. She is a risk taker with an attitude, character, and personality'.
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