Where You’ve Seen Them Before: Cast of “Going in Style”

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Copyright 2017 Warner Brothers
Copyright 2017 Warner Brothers

The remake of “Going in Style,” like the original, is about a trio of retired men who rob a bank, with all three characters played by acting legends. This version stars Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, and Alan Arkin, all Oscar-winners with decades of brilliant performances. And the co-star is one of my all-time favorites, Ann-Margret.

Morgan Freeman: Best remembered as Red in “The Shawshank Redemption,” Hoke in “Driving Miss Daisy,” and God in the “Bruce Almighty” and “Evan Almighty,” and the deep, rich-voiced narrator of films like “March of the Penguins,” Freeman won an Oscar for “Million Dollar Baby.”

Michael Caine: His breakthrough role was in 1966 as the ladies’ man title character in “Alfie,” and he has delivered iconic performances in everything from period drama (“The Man Who Would be King”) to literary adaptations (an Oscar-winning performance in “The Cider House Rules”) to Alfred in the Batman movies. His distinctive voice and Cockney accent have inspired many imitators.

Alan Arkin: He won an Oscar for playing a raunchy, drug-addicted grandfather in “Little Miss Sunshine,” and his other great performances include a confused Soviet submarine captain in “The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming!,” an isolated deaf man in “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter,” and a cynical Hollywood executive in “Argo.”

Ann-Margret: Her most iconic roles showcased her fiery hair, creamy skin, flashing turquoise eyes, gorgeous figure, seductive purr, and the unmatched energy and flair of her dancing, but she showed her ability with dramatic roles in “Carnal Knowledge” and the television film “Who Will Love My Children?”

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Where You’ve Seen Them Before: Beauty and the Beast

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Copyright Disney 2017
Copyright Disney 2017

Disney’s enchanting live-action remake of “Beauty and the Beast” features a magnificent cast. Here’s where you’ve seen or heard them before:

Emma Watson (Belle): We watched her grow up as Hermione in the Harry Potter films, but she has also appeared in “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” and “The Bling Ring.”

Dan Stevens (Beast/Prince): He is best known as handsome (and tragically killed) Matthew Crawley in “Downton Abbey,” but he also played Colin in the web series “High Maintenance” and stars as David Haller in the superhero series “Legion.”  We’ll see him next week with Anne Hathaway in the unusual monster movie, “Colossal.”

Kevin Kline (Belle’s father Maurice): An Oscar-winner for “A Fish Called Wanda,” Kline also starred in “Pirates of Penzance,” “Sophie’s Choice,” “The Ice Storm,” “Grand Canyon,” and “The Big Chill.”  I loved seeing his reunion with Meryl Streep in “Ricki and the Flash.”

Josh Gad (LeFou):He  starred in “Book of Mormon” on Broadway and is best known as Olaf in “Frozen.”  We recently heard him as the voice of the main character in “A Dog’s Purpose,” and I recommend his underrated film with Emma Stone and Rainn Wilson, “The Rocker.”

Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Plumette): The star of “Belle” and “Beyond the Lights” will appear in the eagerly anticipated “A Wrinkle in Time,” due next year.

Audra McDonald (Madame Garderobe): McDonald is a stage actress and singer who has won five Tony Awards (so far), for both musical and dramatic roles.  She also appeared in “Ricki and the Flash,” as Kline’s second wife.

Ewan McGregor (Lumiere): This versatile actor has played Obi-Wan Kenobi in “Star Wars,” a drug addict in “Trainspotting,” a fairy tale soldier in “Jack the Giant Slayer,” and Jesus in “Last Days in the Desert.”

Ian McKellen (Cogsworth): He played Gandalf in the “Lord of the Rings” movies and Magneto in the “X-Men” movies.  He is a classically trained British actor who has played Richard III and King Lear.

Emma Thompson (Mrs. Potts): An Oscar-winner for both writing and acting, Thompson starred in “Love Actually,” “Sense and Sensibility,” and “The Remains of the Day.”

Stanley Tucci (Maestro Cadenza): His voice can be heard in commercials for Verizon, and he has played Meryl Streep’s husband (“Julie & Julia”), “Hunger Games'” flamboyant emcee Caesar Flickerman, and a restaurant owner in “Big Night.”

Luke Evans (Gaston): This Welsh actor has extensive stage experience and onscreen has played two Greek gods, Apollo in Clash of the Titans (2010) and Zeus in Immortals (2011).

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Where You’ve Seen Them Before — Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

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“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” opens today, introducing a whole new set of characters to the extended Star Wars universe, played by some actors who may look familiar.

Felicity Jones (Jyn Erso) appeared earlier this year with Tom Hanks in “Inferno,” but is probably best known for “The Theory of Everything.” Her breakthrough was in the lovely romance, “Like Crazy,” and she played Miranda in the Helen Mirren production of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest.”

My favorite character in the new film is the reprogrammed droid voiced by Alan Tudyk. He is a very successful voice actor — he provided the squawks for Moana’s chicken sidekick and was Duke in “Frozen” and Duke Weaselton in “Zootopia” — but he has also appeared on screen in a variety of roles, from “Firefly” to “A Knight’s Tale.” I especially liked him as a three-card monte carny in “Hearts in Atlantis.”

Another favorite was the renegade Empire pilot played by Riz Ahmed, who had a breakthrough role this year in HBO’s “The Night Of.”

Forest Whitaker is the Oscar-winning actor from “The Last King of Scotland” and has had an extensive and widely varied career in film and television. You may also recognize him from “Platoon” or “The Butler.” I’m especially fond of his performance in “Phenomenon” with John Travolta.

Ben Mendelsohn is an Australian actor of superb skill. He’s made big-budget and prestige films like “Exodus: Gods and Kings” and “The Place Beyond the Pines.” He is superb in a small film with Ryan Reynolds called “Mississippi Grind.” He’s played a lot of bad guys and will play one again in the upcoming Robin Hood movie, starring Taron Egerton and Jamie Foxx.

Donnie Yen is one of Hong Kong’s top martial arts superstars. His fight scenes are electrifying.

Diego Luna has been an immensely charismatic actor on screen since “Y Tu Mamá También” when he was barely out of his teens. Be sure to see him in the twisty con man movie “Criminal” and with Sean Penn in “Milk.”

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Where You’ve Seen Them Before — “The BFG”

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“The BFG” stands for Big Friendly Giant, and it is a new movie from Steven Spielberg, based on the book by Roald Dahl.
There are no big-name stars in the film, but there are some familiar faces, with some of the world’s best character actors. After you’ve seen “BFG,” try some of their other films.

The cast includes Mark Rylance in the title role, and while he did win an Oscar earlier this year for his performance as a Soviet agent in Spielberg’s last film, “Bridge of Spies,” he’s better known for his three-time Tony Award-winning theater work than for movies or television.

You’ve seen him, though, if you watched “Wolf Hall,” where he played Thomas Cromwell.

And here he is as Richard III:

The wonderful Penelope Wilton plays an important role I won’t spoil here. She is best known for “Downton Abbey.”

I first became a fan after seeing her in the brilliant “Norman Conquests,” three intertwined plays by Alan Ayckbourn.

Rafe Spall plays a footman. He was in “The Big Short,” “What If,” and “Life of Pi,” co-starred with Wilton in “Shaun of the Dead,” and he stars in the new series “Roadies.” His father, Timothy Spall, played Peter Pettigrew in the “Harry Potter” films and has appeared in many other plays and films, including the upcoming “Denial.”

Rebecca Hall, who plays a lady in waiting, is also from a show business family. Her father, Peter Hall, is a distinguished director and founder of the Royal Shakespeare Company. Her films include “Frost/Nixon,” “Iron Man 3,” “Vicky Cristina Barcelona.”

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Where You’ve Seen Her Before: Dame Maggie Smith (the Early Years)

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Copyright The Telegraph 2014
Copyright The Telegraph 2014
Maggie Smith gives another beautifully complex performance this week as “The Lady in the Van,” based on the real-life story of a mentally ill woman who parked her van “temporarily” in the driveway of writer Alan Bennett and stayed for 15 years. She is best known now as the acerbic Dowager Duchess on “Downton Abbey” and as astringent Professor McGonagall in the “Harry Potter” films. But she is a two-time Oscar winner with a remarkable range of roles and everything she does is worth watching.

I love her as the devoted secretary “Miss Mead,” in the all-star soapy drama about wealthy and powerful people stuck at an airport, “The VIPs.” She was in love with her boss, played by Rod Taylor.

And she appeared with Taylor again in “Young Cassidy.”

She is the flamboyant title character in the madcap road trip caper “Travels with My Aunt.”

She won an Oscar as the headstrong, domineering, and misguided teacher in “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.”

And another for “California Suite,” where she played an Oscar-nominated British actress married to — and in love with — her gay husband, played by Michael Caine.

She played another aunt in “A Room with a View.”

I was lucky enough to see her twice on stage, in “Private Lives” and “Lettice and Lovage.” She was incandescent.

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Actors Where You’ve Seen Them Before
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