Jessica Chastain turns to Lebanese designers for ‘It’ premieres

Hollywood actress Jessica Chastain stars in new horror flick ‘It Chapter Two.’ (AFP)
Updated 18 September 2019

Jessica Chastain turns to Lebanese designers for ‘It’ premieres

DUBAI: Hollywood actress Jessica Chastain, who stars in “It Chapter Two,” has taken to red carpet premieres of the movie around the world in an array of Lebanese-designed gowns.

The star showed off an emerald green ballgown by Zuhair Murad at the Los Angeles premiere of the film last week and took to the European premiere of the horror film in London on Monday wearing a sleek black dress by Elie Saab.

Chastain turned heads in Zuhair Murad’s green gown, complete with an off-the-shoulder neckline and geometric beading across the length of the dress. She decided to tone things down in London, wearing a black number with a plunging neckline and a semi-sheer skirt straight from Elie Saab’s ready-to-wear Autumn/Winter 2019-20 collection.

Chastain wore an emerald green gown by Zuhair Murad to the US premiere of ‘It Chapter Two.’ (Getty)

The actress stars in soon-to-be released horror flick “It Chapter Two,” in which murderous clown Pennywise lurks in sewers and feasts on terrified children, based on a Stephen King novel.

But beyond the killer clown’s gruesome theatrics, King’s novel is an exploration of the dark underbelly of small-town America, director Andy Muschietti told AFP, tackling sinister yet tragically real themes such as spousal abuse and incest.

Movie sequel “It Chapter Two” covers the concluding sections of the novel in which the children — now grown up and enjoying successful lives elsewhere — must return to their hometown to confront a resurgent Pennywise.

The performance of the first “It” movie at box offices in 2017 leaves no doubt that the franchise resonates today with audiences, more than three decades on from King’s novel.

The R-rated blockbuster took in a whopping $700 million around the world to become the highest-grossing horror film of all time.

Hollywood actress Jessica Chastain stars in new horror flick ‘It Chapter Two.’ (AFP)

“Yeah, that was ridiculous!” said Muschietti. “The first weekend was just insane ... it just went through the roof.”

According to Muschietti, King was nothing but supportive of the direction of his film adaptations — to the point of making a cameo appearance in the sequel.

“He’s very respectful of adaptations. It was I who actually reached out to him,” said Muschietti, who showed King the sequel’s script ahead of filming.

Some are predicting even higher box office returns this time around, potentially approaching the billion-dollar mark and Muschietti admits the pressure is on.

“I don’t want to think about that too much — I’d rather have low expectations to start with,” he said, before conceding that the nearly three-hour-long sequel is more ambitious in scope.

“It’s bigger. It’s a longer, richer story — it’s a little more intense in every box... it’s a bit of a stab in the heart.”

Celine Dion returns to Canada to kick off world tour

Updated 19 September 2019

Celine Dion returns to Canada to kick off world tour

  • The Grammy winner also recently announced the release of a new album titled “Courage”
  • She said in April that she felt motivated to create new music and hit the road after the 2016 death of her husband and manager

QUEBEC CITY: After living and crooning for years in Las Vegas, French-Canadian superstar Celine Dion returned home to Quebec to kick off her first world tour in a decade on Wednesday.
At 51, the Grammy winner also recently announced the release of a new album titled “Courage,” which will be her 12th in English and is due out on November 15.
The first single “Flying On My Own,” featuring her powerful vocals backed by techno beats, has already hit the airwaves, while three more dropped Wednesday: “Courage,” “Lying Down” and “Imperfections.”
Known for her blockbuster ballads, Dion said in April that she felt motivated to create new music and hit the road after the 2016 death of her husband and manager Rene Angelil.
“When I lost Rene, he wanted me back on stage. He wanted to make sure I was still practicing my passion,” she said. “I wanted to prove to him that I’m fine, we’re fine, we’re going to be OK. I’ve got this.”
So, after more than 1,140 concerts for 4.5 million fans over 16 years in Sin City, she bid adieu to the Colosseum at Caesars Palace with a final two-hour show.
“Courage is exactly the way I feel,” she told public broadcaster CBC at the time, talking up the upcoming tour of the same name.
“In the past three years, it has been difficult for me to talk to my children, to raise them, to lose my husband, wondering am I going to sing again... so much has happened, but at the same time I feel that I’m in control of my life.”
Some 60 dates in North American have been confirmed so far, her label said, with two arena shows in Quebec City on Wednesday and Saturday kicking off the tour, which will run through April 2020, and will be her first world tour since 2008-2009.
Her show was almost two hours of mastery, as she performed some of her greatest hits — from “I’m Alive” to “My Heart Will Go On” — as well as new material to an ecstatic crowd of roughly 20,000.
“It was really impossible to miss Celine at home,” Nicolas Delivre, a French university exchange student in Montreal, told AFP.
Donald Berard, from Quebec City, said he had grown up listening to Dion. “We love her like a member of our family.”
“Courage” marks the first album and tour in Dion’s long career without Angelil, who steered her success beginning in 1981 when he mortgaged his house to finance the young teen’s debut album.
The pair began a personal relationship in 1988 when she was only 19 years old, and married in a lavish ceremony in 1994. Angelil died of throat cancer at age 73.
In an interview with NBC’s Today show, Dion revealed that she longs for the hugs and laughs that come with a relationship, but added, “I’m not ready to date.”
The youngest of a family of 14 children raised in the suburbs of Montreal, Dion has sold 250 million copies of 23 studio albums in English and French, including collaborations with French singer-songwriter Jean-Jacques Goldman, Barbra Streisand and Stevie Wonder.
Back in Canada, she told the Montreal Gazette that the tour schedule was “a little crazy,” but that she had found time in advance to take in life’s small pleasures.
At a press junket last Friday, Dion told Radio-Canada: “There are good wines that age well, and there are good wines that age badly. I hope to be a good bottle of wine.”
“I’m not a new Celine,” Dion added. “I’m a continuity of myself.”