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Donald Glover cast as Lando Calrissian in Han Solo film

Donald Glover is joining the "Star Wars" universe.

Disney announced Friday that the writer, actor and rapper will play Lando Calrissian in the upcoming Han Solo "Star Wars" film.

Alden Ehrenreich was previously cast as the title character.

Directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller say the new film will explore Lando in his formative years, before the events depicted in "The Empire Strikes Back" and "Return of the Jedi."

The untitled film is set for release in 2018.

Tom Hanks sees US election warning in thriller 'Inferno'

Embedded within the manic action of "Inferno," the latest big-screen adaptation of a Dan Brown thriller, is a warning about the dangers of seeking simple solutions to complex problems. Star Tom Hanks says it's a theme with echoes in the current U.S. presidential race.

"Inferno" sets Hank's polymathic professor Robert Langdon on the trail of a deadly plague concocted by billionaire scientist Bertrand Zobrist (Ben Foster) out of a sort of warped humanitarianism: He plans to end war, poverty and famine by wiping out half the world's population.

Hanks says the belief that there's a "one-step answer to all problems" is alarmingly relevant.

"Down through history there's been an awful lot of people who say: Here's what the problem is, here's what it was caused by, and all you have to do is my suggestion, there's an easy way in order to make it go away," Hanks said.

"It's very simplistic, it's very reactionary. It's almost like a fundamental embracing of a brand of ignorance," he added. "But I think it's part of the political discourse."

Hanks clearly has the contest between Trump and Clinton in mind.

America, he says, needs "vision and leadership and scope, as opposed to one-stop shopping fixes all."

"I'm not a political activist, nor am I a political animal, but I will say: Look, I'm going to vote for her, because I think this is a marathon in order to solve not just the most obvious problems, but the ones that are coming down the pipe."

Political discussion over, Hanks happily reverts to talking about Dan Brown's mega-successful mix of medieval conspiracies and modern-day skullduggery.

In his third screen outing as Langdon, Hanks is sent on a high-stakes treasure hunt centered around the life and works of Dante Alighieri, whose "Divine Comedy" created a teeming vision of hell that has influenced artists and writers for 700 years.

He's joined by Felicity Jones' brainy medic Dr. Sienna Brooks as ally and intellectual sparring partner.

Hanks, who played Langdon in "The Da Vinci Code" and "Angels & Demons" — both directed by Ron Howard, as is "Inferno" — says he still finds pleasure in making the border-hopping thrillers. "Inferno" scurries from Florence to Venice to Istanbul, wreaking havoc in some of the world's most beautiful historic buildings.

"Making movies is by and large a pretty fun enterprise, except when you have to be cold or up late or wear a fake beard or something," said Hanks, after more than three decades in the business still the most affable of Hollywood stars.

"But these are rather special. The team has been together since the first one. We get to go to amazing places: London, Paris, Rome, Venice. Which is a lot better than, say, going to Sony Studios in Culver City, California."

For the viewer, the movie offers the pleasures of a good old-fashioned caper — Hanks likens it to a scavenger hunt — in which the characters must decipher a string of clues in a race against time.

"Time and distance are actually characters in all of these films," Hanks said over the phone from a rainy Florence, Italy, where the movie had its world premiere.

"We only have so much time and how do you get from Florence to Venice? Turns out the fastest way is the train, so we jump on a train and we actually shoot some of the movie while we're going from here to there," he said. "Ends up being one of the advantages of it not being a computer-generated story — these are movies that we shoot in real places."

For the actor, there's also the pleasure of absorbing large quantities of information so his character can dispense gobbets of exposition and expertise about everything from Dante's death mask to the nine circles of hell.

"It makes you a really great dinner companion," Hanks said.

"For a guy who really only had a couple of years of junior college — and none of it was spent in art history class — I end up learning an awful lot about art history."

Howard has assembled an international cast that includes Sidse Babett Knudsen (star of Danish political drama "Borgen") as an ambiguous World Health Organization boss, France's Omar Sy ("The Intouchables") as one of her agents, Romania's Ana Ularu as a mysterious assassin and Indian star Irfan Khan as an amoral international fixer.

Hanks said the diverse cast comes from Howard's simple desire to fill the movie with interesting actors.

"So more cultures are represented, and both genders, and that just ends up being perfect and organic for our story," he said.

"Inferno" opens in the U.S. on Oct 28.


Follow Jill Lawless on Twitter at

Mumbai film fest opens amid protests over Pakistani talent

India's glitziest film festival opened this week to fanfare and fury, as Indians protested the inclusion of Pakistani artists.

With a ceremony in Mumbai's iconic and newly refurbished Royal Opera House, the celebration of Bollywood and international film kicked off Thursday amid the sober announcement that at least one screening was canceled.

The Pakistani classic "Jago Hua Savera," or "Awake, It's Dawn," was dropped from the Mumbai Film Festival schedule after a local organization claimed it would cause public outrage.

Even a public plea from Bollywood filmmaker Karan Johar could not stem the calm. Johar released a video message asking Hindu nationalist protesters to not disrupt the Oct. 28 release of his big-budget romantic drama "Ae Dil Hai Mushkil," or "Difficulties of the Heart," which features Pakistani actor Fawad Khan in a small role.

"I beseech you to know one thing, that over 300 Indian people in my crew have put their blood, sweat and tears into my film," he said. "I don't think it's fair to them to face any kind of turbulence." Johar pledged to avoid using Pakistani actors or crewmen in future movies.

Tensions between Pakistan and India escalated last month after a deadly rebel attack on an Indian military base. India blamed Islamabad for backing the separatist rebels and providing them with training and arms. Pakistan denied the allegation, saying it offers only moral support to the rebels fighting for Kashmir's independence or merger with Pakistan.

As the two governments trade increasingly acrimonious barbs, people in both film-crazy countries have moved to boycott each other's films.

Pakistani cinema's stopped showing Bollywood fare in their theaters weeks ago. And a blanket ban against showing Indian content on Pakistani television networks and radio stations took effect Friday. India's government has not issued a blanket ban but said it would make such decisions on a case-by-case basis.

The Mumbai festival organizers this week said they dropped the Pakistani black-and-white classic "Awake" due to "the current situation." Meanwhile, the regional political party Maharashtra Navnirman Samiti threatened to disturb any attempts to screen any film involving Pakistani talent.

Many of the Bollywood glitterati attending the festival criticized the outrage and said protests were not the solution.

"Of course you have to stand by the nation, but when it comes to a movie ... there are so many Indian actors who have already put their blood and sweat into it, I think they ( protesters ) should think about it," Bollywood actor Riteish Deshmukh said.

Film director Zoya Akhtar called out the hypocrisy of protesters shutting down films while ignoring the ongoing cricket matches involving teams from both countries.

Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan also said the ruckus was "unnecessary," and that film audiences should be free to decide what they want to see.

"People will see the film and decide for themselves, thank you very much," Khan told reporters.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's political party along with state authorities in Maharashtra, of which Mumbai is the capital, have issued statements assuring that violent protests would not be tolerated.

Meanwhile, the weeklong film fest was screening some 175 films, documentaries and short films from more than 50 countries at venues across west-coast city.

The lineup included Cannes' prize winner, the British drama "I, Daniel Blake," as well as other international films including Oliver Assayas' "Personal Shopper," Romanian filmmaker Cristian Mungiu's family drama "Graduation," and Pablo Larraín's "Neruda" about the life of the Chilean poet.


AP journalist Manish Mehta contributed to this report.

'Queen of Katwe' stirs hope in slum where film was born

In a two-room shack in the heart of a Kampala slum, a barefoot 5-year-old boy is being taught how to move his pawns. He is one of scores of Ugandan children following in the footsteps of a local girl who became a chess champion and the subject of a new Disney film.

"Queen of Katwe" is set in this sprawling shantytown that until recently was only known to Ugandans for its high crime rate.

The movie shines a more flattering light on Katwe and the informal chess academy that nurtured the prodigy, Phiona Mutesi. The story is a source of immense pride for the stigmatized neighborhood in Uganda's capital, say some who have seen the film.

"The film ... has the faces I know," said Barbara Nassozi, a science teacher at a Katwe school where some scenes were filmed. "People have liked it so much. It has brought an impact in the area. Katwe is now known in the whole world."

"Queen of Katwe" follows the rise of Mutesi as a chess player amid grinding poverty, with her single mother barely able to support her and her two siblings. After Mutesi's brother is hit by a speeding motorcycle and hospitalized, the mother, played by Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong'o, stealthily pulls the boy from his hospital bed because she is not able to pay the bill.

Mutesi falls under the spell of an unassuming chess teacher, played by British actor David Oyelowo, who encourages the teenager to learn the game despite the skepticism of her mother, who warns her not to dream big because "you will be disappointed."

Mutesi goes on to win a local championship, compete at events abroad and earn enough money to buy a house for her mother.

The film's pathos will be familiar to those who have lived in Katwe, where poverty drives young people to despair, if not violent crime. Streams of raw effluent follow footpaths. The grade school where some scenes were filmed is makeshift wood structures in the dirt. Young men wash cars for a living.

The Som Chess Academy is an unexpected oasis of hope in the downtrodden community.

"Chess is like a brain booster," one of its students, 11-year-old Lydia Nakaweesa, said shyly. "It is good for mathematics. That is why I come here." She had been forced to miss school for a few weeks because she lacked tuition, she said, but the chess academy is free.

Robert Katende, who started the academy in 2004 and became Mutesi's mentor, now has chess academies in other Kampala slums, with former students acting as instructors when he is not available.

Many children have been knocking on his door following the release of "Queen of Katwe," Katende said.

"Chess, I can say, is very important because it has given the children and the community a platform that they didn't have before," he said. "They would not have any way out of the slums, but they have been able, through chess, to travel, to go for events, to go to different places."

Of Mutesi, who now attends boarding school and is a candidate for college, he said: "There is something special about Phiona because, first and foremost, she is a girl. ... She's also worked hard and believed in herself and taken all the guidance and counsel given to her."

The film has received mostly favorable reviews in Uganda, where it premiered earlier this month at a red-carpet event in which Ugandans, many of whom had never acted before, shared the limelight with stars like Academy Award winner Nyong'o.

Timothy Kalyegira, a prominent social critic in Uganda, drew widespread anger when he wrote online that "Queen of Katwe" is plagued by "lackluster acting by the Ugandans" and "the ineffective sequence of the scenes."

Many disagreed.

"The biggest benefit from (Queen of Katwe) is that here is a film that puts forward a truly Ugandan story of hope, of discovery, of small people pulling themselves up by the bootstraps, taking on and conquering the world," said Daniel Kalinaki, a columnist with Uganda's Daily Monitor newspaper.

"It is a reminder that there is more to us than corrupt, power-hungry politicians, hospitals without electricity where doctors operate on patients under torchlight, disease, defiance, destitution and the destruction of dreams."


Associated Press journalist Adelle Kalakouti contributed to this report.

Pakistan imposed blanket ban on Indian content over Kashmir

Pakistan's media regulation authority said Thursday it was imposing a blanket ban on Bollywood films and other Indian content on its television networks and radio stations amid increasing tension between the two nuclear-armed rivals on the issue of the disputed region of Kashmir.

The ban will be enforced from Friday and any TV and radio station found violating it will be shut down, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority, or PEMRA, said in a statement.

Indian movies are popular in Pakistan and Pakistani musicians and actors are extensively used and are well paid by Bollywood.

PEMRA gave no reason for the move, but two government officials said the step was taken following reports that some Indian filmmakers were refusing to use Pakistani actors in movies. They said some Indian cinema owners also stopped screening films with Pakistani casts. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

India termed the move as "unfortunate."

"It shows lack of self-confidence on Pakistan's part. It is an unfortunate development," Vikas Swarup, spokesman at Ministry of External Affairs, told reporters in New Delhi. He said there was no "blanket ban" on Pakistani artists performing in India. He added, however, that "in view of the prevailing atmosphere and taking into account security considerations as well and sentiments of local organizers, we will do so in a case to case basis," in an apparent reference to a demand for banning artists from Pakistan in the wake of an attack in the Indian-controlled part of Kashmir last month which killed 18 Indian soldiers.

Pakistan and India have a history of bitter relations, and the media on both sides appears to have become the latest battleground. Some Pakistani cinemas have vowed to stop showing Indian films in response to reports that Indian directors are refusing to hire actors from Pakistan.

The two government officials said certain parts of the Indian film industry had been asking Pakistani actors and singers to leave India since last month's attack. They said Indian media had also criticized Pakistan following the attacks. Pakistani authorities say Indian forces have been carrying out human rights violations in the area for months.

India and Pakistan each administer part of Kashmir, but both claim the Himalayan territory in its entirety. Rebel groups have been fighting against Indian rule since 1989. More than 68,000 people have been killed in the armed uprising and ensuing Indian military crackdown.

The Bollywood ban means an end to a law introduced by former President Pervez Musharraf which permitted the screening of a daily maximum of 86 minutes of Indian content in Pakistan.

Pakistan's Foreign Ministry said earlier it had lodged a strong protest with New Delhi over the latest ceasefire violation in Kashmir that killed one Pakistani civilian and wounded another 12.

The ministry said it had summoned a senior Indian diplomat and demanded an investigation into Wednesday's firing by Indian troops along the Line of Control. It said Pakistan asked India to "maintain peace and stability" in Kashmir. Pakistan returned fire in the incident.


Associated Press Writer Ashok Sharma contributed to this story from New Delhi, India.

Watch: Star Lord and co. are back in first 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2' trailer

Star Lord and company are back in the first teaser for "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2."

>> Read more trending stories

The highly anticipated sequel to director James Gunn’s 2014 hit "Guardians of the Galaxy" will come out in May 2017.

>> Related: 'Logan' trailer released

The first sneak peek at the Marvel fan favorite is only a minute-and-a half, but fans will want to watch it to the very end for the biggest reveal.

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The trailer held few plot details but social media users have taken it upon themselves to speculate and share excitement about the upcoming film. 

'Manchester by the Sea' leads Gotham Awards nominations

Kenneth Lonergan's family drama "Manchester by the Sea" has picked up a leading four Gotham Independent Film Awards nominations, including best feature and best actor for star Casey Affleck.

The Independent Filmmaker Project announced nominations Thursday for its 26th annual awards Nov. 28 in New York. The Gothams honor independent films and mark one of the first galas in the film industry's lengthy awards season.

"Manchester by the Sea" is facing off in the best feature category against Jim Jarmusch's "Paterson," Richard Linklater's "Everybody Wants Some!!," Kelly Reichardt's "Certain Women," and Barry Jenkins' "Moonlight."

The acclaimed coming-of-age story "Moonlight," which opens this week, also was singled out for a special jury award celebrating its ensemble cast, including Mahershala Ali, Naomie Harris and Janelle Monáe.

'Logan' trailer released

He's been teasing it for days, but Hugh Jackman and 20th Century Fox are giving fans of the X-Men franchise their first full look at the upcoming installment of the comic book movie series, "Logan."

Jackman, posting to Twitter, and Fox, posting to YouTube released the first full trailer of the film due out next year. 

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The trailer shows an older Logan than we last saw in "X-Men: Days of Future Past" and "X-Men: Apocalypse."

>> Read more trending stories  

It also features Patrick Stewart as Professor Xavier.

"Logan" hits theaters on March 3.

Actress pleads not guilty in North Dakota pipeline protest

Actress Shailene Woodley has pleaded not guilty in a North Dakota court to criminal trespass and riot charges after her arrest in a protest against the Dakota Access pipeline.

Court records show the "Divergent" star entered her pleas on Tuesday through her attorney Alexander Reichert.

Woodley and 26 other activists were arrested Oct. 10. She livestreamed her protest on Facebook.

The Standing Rock Sioux want construction of the $3.8 billion pipeline halted, saying it could taint the water supply and encroach on tribal burial sites. Protests supporting the tribe have been going on for months.

Woodley could face 60 days in jail and $3,000 in fines if she is convicted of criminal trespass and engaging in a riot.

Dinosaurs roar into Montana governor's race with new ad

Dinosaurs have roared into Montana's race for governor with a renowned paleontologist who consulted with Steven Spielberg on the "Jurassic Park" movies saying the Republican candidate would spend taxpayer money on private schools that teach creationism and mislead children about how old the Earth is.

A new television ad features former Montana State University paleontologist Jack Horner saying candidate Greg Gianforte thinks the Earth is only a few thousand years old. Horner says Gianforte supports using taxpayer money to fund "private schools that obscure the truth about dinosaurs and the age of the Earth."

"He'll say I'm attacking his religion — I'm not," Horner says in the ad. "We just need to make sure that our kids learn the truth. I'd think twice about voting for Greg Gianforte."

Gianforte, a Bozeman technology entrepreneur who is making his first run for political office, is in a tight race against incumbent Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock. Gianforte campaign spokesman Aaron Flint on Wednesday called the ad silly and said it misrepresents Gianforte's strong support of public schools and teachers.

"From his personal support of CodeMontana, computer science in every high school, support for more trades education and more — Greg is proposing increasing investments in our public schools once he's elected governor," Flint said.

Gianforte does not have an opinion on the Earth's age, Flint said. Regarding Gianforte's views on evolution, Flint forwarded a comment made last year by Gianforte in which he said, "I believe young people should be taught how to think, not what to think, and a diversity of views are what should be presented."

The ad is funded by a newly formed political action committee called Montanans for Truth in Public Schools, a group whose spending was part of a state-by-state analysis given to The Associated Press by the Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit news organization. It aired over the weekend in the Billings, Bozeman and Missoula markets.

The committee's treasurer, Adrian Cohea, said the group is concerned that Gianforte would promote teaching creationism and intelligent design alongside evolution.

"The purpose of the group is to educate the public about Ginaforte's desire to use public dollars to fund private schools that may be teaching methodologies in evolution that are at odds with scientific consensus," Cohea said.

Documents obtained by The Associated Press show the group is funded by 12 donors. Its two largest donors are Billings television broadcasting pioneer Joe Sample and Helena real estate developer Alan Nicholson.

Gianforte has steadfastly refused to talk about his religion, and it has not emerged as a major issue in the campaign. He attends and helped build an expansion to Grace Bible Church in Bozeman and has donated millions of dollars to religious organizations in the U.S. and in Africa, according to tax records released by Gianforte last year.

The tax records show Gianforte's foundation also donated $290,000 to a museum that holds the creationist view that humans and dinosaurs coexisted.

Horner, one of the world's best-known dinosaur researchers, left Montana State University's Museum of the Rockies over the summer. Michael Crichton based the character Alan Grant on Horner in the 1990 book "Jurassic Park," and Steven Spielberg brought Horner on as a technical adviser on all of the "Jurassic Park" movies.

Horner declined to comment Wednesday, saying the ad speaks for itself. In an interview with The Associated Press in May, Horner dismissed creationism as "pseudo-science."

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