X-Men rivals James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender square off in new films

Long-time friends and X-Men co-stars James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender square off in movies opening here tomorrow. We rate the two hotties

TITLE ROLE: James McAvoy in Victor Frankenstein and (above) with Daniel Radcliffe in a scene from the movie.
TITLE ROLE: (Above) James McAvoy in Victor Frankenstein and with Daniel Radcliffe in a scene from the movie.
LITERARY CLASSIC: (Above) Michael Fassbender in the film Macbeth, and arriving for the screening of his film "Steve Jobs" at the New York Film Festival last month.
LITERARY CLASSIC: Michael Fassbender in the film Macbeth, and (above) arriving for the screening of his film "Steve Jobs" at the New York Film Festival last month.

James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender aren't just two hotties who play superhero frenemies Professor X and Magneto in the X-Men films First Class (2011) and Days Of Future Past (2014).

They're also best mates and, at times, on-screen rivals.

And now, both actors are in movies based on literary classics opening here tomorrow (Nov 26). McAvoy is the titular mad scientist in sci-fi horror flick Victor Frankenstein , adapted from Mary Shelley's 1818 novel Frankenstein, and Fassbender is the eponymous Scottish tyrant in war drama Macbeth, based on the famous William Shakespeare play.

McAvoy, 36, and Fassbender, 38, are both rising stars who've climbed their way up from indie flicks to Hollywood blockbusters like the X-Men films.

With both squaring off at the box office this week, does the X-factor belong to McAvoy or Fassbender?

Read the full report in our print edition on Nov 25.

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Fast five with Willow Shields

Willow Shields bids farewell to The Hunger Games and talks about the impact of Jennifer Lawrence


Name: Willow Shields

Born: June 1, 2000, New Mexico, US


The Hunger Games (2012), The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013),

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 (2014), The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 (2015)


Willow Shields broke out as Primrose Everdeen in the first Hunger Games movie in 2012 as the little girl who sets the entire franchise in motion. After all, it is Prim's initial reaping for the 74th Hunger Games that caused elder sister Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) to volunteer to take her place.

She reprises her role in the final instalment, Mockingjay - Part 2, now showing in cinemas, and declares she is "Team Katniss for life". The 15-year-old told MTV: "I think Katniss has been an incredible role model for young girls... She's changed a bit of the way that people think about strong women characters in film."


Shields appreciated that The Hunger Games author Suzanne Collins wrote about Prim maturing and becoming Katniss' pillar of strength in the books. However, it took her a while to understand Prim's demise at the end of the series.

"When I was 10, it was shocking," she told Teen Vogue about Mockingjay. "Who does that to a kid in a book or movie? As I got older, I respected Suzanne Collins' choices more. She knew that Prim's fate would show how horrible war could be. No one is safe."


The bond she forged with Lawrence, 25, over the years is something that Shields cherishes.

She told Teen Vogue: "Jennifer is a friend and a mentor. She is someone I hope to be like as I get older. She handles herself so well and has not let fame change her in any way."

She told Socialite Life that Lawrence had advised her "to always be who I am and not (change) because of Hollywood".


For someone who was surrounded by Hollywood legends such as Donald Sutherland and Philip Seymour Hoffman, Shields was never affected by their presence.

"I was 10 in the first film, so I didn't know the difference between who was a huge movie star and who wasn't," she told ASOS.

She said the only person she was "excited and slightly intimidated to meet" was Julianne Moore, who plays President Alma Coin of District 13.


Shields, who is working on indie fantasy The Wonder, which is being shot in China and New Zealand, told Teen Vogue that saying goodbye to her Hunger Games family was "bittersweet".

"Everyone is proud of the final film but it's sad to say goodbye - to each other, to the characters and to the fans."

She added: "On my last day, Jen came in my trailer and gave me a sweet gift and we just hung out for a little while. It was hard because it was my last day on set and my last shot as Prim. It was all very emotional."



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Netballers to benefit from Deloitte partnership

Deloitte and Netball Singapore help players balance work and sports

STRIKING A BALANCE: National netballers Charmaine Soh (far left) and Yu Mei Ling (far right) have benefited from Deloitte's supportive approach which helps athletes excel at work and sports.

Her mother wanted her to quit netball and focus on finding a job after she graduated from the Singapore Institute of Management.

But national player Charmaine Soh was confident that she could juggle a career with her netball commitments.

It helped that the 25-year-old managed to find a supportive employer in Deloitte, a company which provides a variety of services spanning multiple industries.

"My mother was quite against me playing netball because she wanted me to start working. She felt I wouldn't be able to juggle work and sports," said Soh, who works as a regulatory & compliance associate for Deloitte.

"It's traditional thinking that athletes can't manage both at the same time, but we can show our parents and other parents that it's possible."

Soh, who was part of the team that won gold in June's South-east Asia Games, was speaking on the sidelines of a media session to announce a partnership between Deloitte Singapore and Netball Singapore at the company's office in Shenton Way yesterday.

Through this partnership, the company would be offering employment and education opportunities to eligible netballers in the National team, 21 & Under squad, as well as tertiary players who have taken part in Netball Singapore events. Internships and scholarships will also be offered.


Deloitte, which was the Official Professional Services Partner for the SEA Games and next week's Asean Para Games, also has its own athlete recruitment programme called Deloitte Ignite.

In addition, Netball Singapore will work with Deloitte to implement netball as a Co-Curricular Activity and conduct netball programmes in NorthLight School.

The school is the company's corporate social responsibility partner.

The company will also be the title sponsor of Pesta Sukan 2016.

Philip Yuen, the CEO of Deloitte Singapore, believes the partnership will be mutually beneficial.

"Athletes bring with them strong foundational skills including leadership, teamwork, and a winning mentality - qualities that we value," he said.

"We hope that with our support, athletes can develop further, achieving their goals both on and off the court."

Netball Singapore president Jessica Tan is also confident that the partnership will elevate the sport in Singapore.

"We do want to continue to raise the standard of the team. And the very fact that we allow a platform that allows our young ladies to not only excel in the sport, but to also continue to excel in their careers, gives them that motivation. We see that it is possible," said the Member of Parliament.

Besides Soh, other national players such as Kimberly Lim, Micky Lin and Yu Mei Ling as well as retired netballers Koh Kai Ling and Suhailah Kariman also work for Deloitte.

Yu feels that younger netballers will benefit from this partnership.

"For young players, they know that this is another path they can take," said the 24-year-old human resources administrator.

Stallone passes Rocky torch to Michael B Jordan in Creed

Ageing stars hand off their hit movie franchises to younger actors - with mixed results


Hollywood has a wealth of established hits in its archives, and every now and then, a movie studio will take one out and revive it.

But getting a fresh face to replace an ageing one doesn't always guarantee success.

Yet, if the passing of the torch is handled well, the movie's legacy is preserved.

Sylvester Stallone is doing just that with Creed.

Opening here tomorrow (Nov 26), the sports drama sees old guard Stallone handing over the reins of his almost 40-year legacy to rising star Michael B Jordan, who will take over the boxing gloves and attempt to reboot the much-loved Rocky series for a new generation.

So is the future bright for Creed and other successors such as Star Wars: The Force Awakens?



We first meet the titular Italian Stallion in Rocky (1976), a small-time boxer from Philadelphia who gets a surprise shot at fighting for the title alongside heavyweight champion Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers).

Although Apollo wins the match, Rocky becomes the people's favourite, prompting Apollo to demand a re-match (Rocky II, 1979), which ends in a knockout win for Rocky.

In Rocky III (1982), the two men go from rivals to best friends, with Apollo becoming Rocky's trainer. Rocky IV (1985) sees Apollo getting killed in the ring by Russian boxer Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren).


Adonis Johnson Creed (Jordan) is Apollo's illegitimate son, who yearns to be a champion boxer like his dad but is burdened by the weight of Apollo's legacy. He convinces a retired Rocky to be his trainer, and gets a surprise shot at the title.


Rocky's evergreen underdog theme always sits well with moviegoers, and Creed has already garnered positive reviews from US critics, largely because of the chemistry between Stallone and Jordan and director Ryan Coogler's reverence for the source material.

We can see a possible match-up between Creed and a Chinese boxer. China's Forbidden City will be the perfect place for Creed to train at, and the popular tourist destination also has iconic steps like those of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which are now synonymous with Rocky films.



Sci-fi flick Tron (1982) stars Jeff Bridges as Kevin Flynn, a computer programmer who is trapped in the game he is creating. His only chance of escape is with the help of security programme Tron (Bruce Boxleitner).


The sequel sees Flynn's son Sam (Garrett Hedlund) getting sucked into the same cyberspace that trapped his father. Sam befriends butt-kicking humanoid Quorra (Olivia Wilde), and together they try to rescue the elder Flynn (Bridges) and escape.


Tron was ground-breaking back in the day, drawing a huge cult following and becoming a big influence on pop culture. The sequel was a massive hit, making over US$400 million (S$567 million) worldwide.

The third instalment was to be directed again by Joseph Kosinski and feature the return of Wilde and Hedlund, but it was announced in May that Disney has scrapped all plans despite prep work already being done.

There may still be hope for Tron fans, considering Tron: Legacy took 28 years to materialise. But they need a more charismatic lead. Hedlund sorely lacks presence.



Harrison Ford's iconic fedora-wearing, whip-cracking archaeologist Indiana Jones first mesmerised movie-goers in adventure flick Raiders Of The Lost Ark (1981) and its sequels Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom (1984) and Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade (1989).

All the plots revolve around Indy trying to save lost artefacts from the Nazis or evil cult members.


Set 19 years after The Last Crusade, Indy finds himself a sidekick named Mutt (Shia LaBeouf), who turns out to be his son Henry Jones III. Together, they face off against Soviet agent Irina Spalko (Cate Blanchett), who is after a rare crystal skull.


It has been confirmed that there will be another Indy adventure, but we can safely say it'll be without LaBeouf, who burnt his bridges with director Steven Spielberg and Ford after his disparaging comments about the movie, which prompted Ford to infamously call his young co-star a "f***ing idiot".

We hope the rumours that Chris Pratt may play Indy prove to be true. Not only does the star of Guardians Of The Galaxy and Jurassic World have the Midas touch now, he possesses a similar wry sense of humour.



Set in a galaxy far, far away, this epic space saga follows the adventures of Jedi apprentice Anakin Skywalker (first played by Jake Lloyd, then Hayden Christensen) who embraces the dark side to become the villainous Darth Vader (Episodes I to III, 1999, 2002, 2005). He later engages in a war with rebels, led by his children Luke (Mark Hamill) and Leia (Carrie Fisher), who seek to overthrow his dominion (Episodes IV to VI, 1977, 1980, 1983).


The Force Awakens' plot is heavily shrouded. All we know is that it is directed by JJ Abrams and led by new characters Finn (John Boyega) and Rey (Daisy Ridley), who seem to be fighting new baddie Kylo Ren (Adam Driver).

Harrison Ford's Han Solo and Fisher's Leia are back too. And is Rey, the first female protagonist in the franchise's four-decade history, their daughter?

Though the newbies are largely well-received by fans, Ridley and Boyega have also attracted comments from detractors who have complained about the film having a black man and a woman as leads, the actors told Entertainment Weekly.

"We've been having a continuous struggle with idiots, and now we should just force them to understand... just force people to see this is the new world," said Boyega, 23.

"There are loads of people of different shades and backgrounds. Get used to it."


Spanning over 28 years and six episodes, there's no doubt that the Force will be strong with this latest one. It also doesn't matter if it bombs, as two more sequels are already in production. Only the directors - Rian Johnson for Episode VIII and Colin Trevorrow for Episode IX - have been confirmed.



Director James Cameron kick-started his Terminator franchise in 1984 with The Terminator, which saw Cyborg T-100 (Arnold Schwarzenegger) being sent back in time to kill Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) so that she would not give birth to her son John, who, in the future, is the leader of the war against the machines.

In Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), the T-100 becomes a good guy who helps Sarah in her quest to protect her teenage son John (Edward Furlong). Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines (2003) and Terminator Salvation (2009) take the franchise in different directions, not only in the storyline but also without Schwarzenegger in the latter picture.


Terminator Genisys reboots the ailing series with the welcome return of Schwarzenegger's T-100.

However, the time travel story gets even more convoluted with the new and young Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke) knowing all about her so-called turbulent future, thanks to the T-100 who has become her mentor. The new villain turns out to be her son from the future, John (Jason Clarke).

It's good that the Terminator lore continues with Clarke as the central figure. Even though the film had "new and young" versions of T-100 made in Schwarzenegger's glorious 80s image, the man is showing his age.


There were rumours that a sequel was put on hold after Genisys' disappointing performance (US$89.8 million) at the US box office.

However, the film producers clarified to The Wrap last month that the time-travelling cyborgs will be back but only after a "readjustment".

Movie picks

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Tags: creed

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