WEEK IN WOMEN: Gong Li to Play Chinese volleyball icon Lang Ping – Brandy McDonnell reports

Gong Li, who was to receive the Kering Group’s annual Women in Motion award Sunday at the Cannes Film Festival in France, has signed on to star in a biopic directed by Peter Chan about Chinese volleyball legend Lang Ping. The film, produced by Chan’s We Pictures and Beijing-based JQ Pictures, is targeting a major China theatrical release timed to the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo.

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WEEK IN WOMEN: Penelope Cruz Honored at San Sebastian FF – Brandy McDonnell reports

Spain’s San Sebastian International Film Festival has revealed the first of its annual Donostia Awards, and will honor this year Penelope Cruz, who will also grace the festival’s 2019 official poster. Spain’s most internationally recognized actress, Cruz has been a regular presence at San Sebastian for more than two decades.

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WEEK IN WOMEN: Cardellini’s Star Turn in LA LLORONA – Brandy McDonnell reports

In her more than two-decade acting career, Linda Cardellini has earned a Primetime Emmy Award nomination, co-starred in Oscar-winning films, earned cult TV status and played a role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But the underrated performer didn’t get the chance to play a leading role in a studio movie until the new horror movie The Curse of La Llorona.

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WEEK IN WOMEN: CAPTAIN MARVEL’s Marvelous Box Office – Brandy McDonnell reports

The global launch for the 21st installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe represents the biggest ever for a female-fronted film — surpassing 2017’s live-action Beauty and the Beast — as well as the second-largest for any superhero movie behind last year’s Avengers: Infinity War. Overall, it’s the sixth-best worldwide debut of all time, and the international opening of $302 million is the fifth-biggest ever ahead of 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

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WEEK IN WOMEN: Melissa McCarthy to receive Distinguished Artisan Award – Brandy McDonnell reports

Emmy Award winner and Oscar nominee Melissa McCarthy will receive the Distinguished Artisan Award at the Sixth Annual Make-Up Artists & Hair Stylists Guild Awards (MUAHS, IATSE Local 706) celebrating her prolific acting career and the plethora of characters she embraces. McCarthy is the first female artist to receive the award.

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WEEK IN WOMEN: Teen Stars Marsai and Millie Bobby to Produce Movies! – Brandy McDonnell reports

Teen stars Marsai Martin, the vivacious 14-year-old who plays sassy Diane on the ABC sitcom “Black-ish” and Millie Bobby Brown, the charismatic 14-year-old Brit who embodies the superpowered Eleven on Netflix’s sci-fi horror series Stranger Things, are taking on the role of film producers.

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WEEK IN WOMEN: Gia Coppola’s Sophomore Directorial Project is MAINSTREAM – Brandy McDonnell reports

Filmmaker Gia Coppola will follow her acclaimed directorial debut, the 2013 drama Palo Alto, with Mainstream, a drama which she is slated to direct and co-write (with Tom Stuart). Mainstream, expected to begin filming by the end of the year, will star Andrew Garfield, Maya Hawke, Nat Wolff and Coppola’s cousin Jason Schwartzman.

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WEEK IN WOMEN: Naomi Watts to Star in HBO’s GAME OF THRONES Prequel – Brandy McDonnell reports

Naomi Watts is the first performer been cast in the as-yet-untitled prequel to the HBO smash Game of Thrones. The two-time Oscar nominated actress will play a character described as “a charismatic socialite hiding a dark secret” in the prequel scripted bu Jane Goldmam and George R.R. Martin. The project is expected to begin filming in early 2019.

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