Film notes: 'Star Wars' director offers cameo contest

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"Star Wars: Episode VII" director J.J. Abrams is giving fans a shot at a cameo in the film that's set to be released next year.

Disney, Lucasfilm and Bad Robot have teamed up for a campaign to raise funds for UNICEF. Mr. Abrams announced the initiative in a video from the set of the movie in Abu Dhabi.

For every $10 donation at, contributors will become eligible to appear in the film when it shoots in London. The campaign runs until 11:59 p.m. PDT on July 18.

The cast of "Episode VII" was revealed in April. Disney will release the film in December 2015.

Batman v Superman dawning

Detroit is alive with capes and cowls these days.

Cameras are rolling on "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" in Detroit. Zack Snyder is directing Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/Batman and Henry Cavill in the role of Clark Kent/Superman

It also stars Gal Gadot as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman, with Amy Adams, Laurence Fishburne and Diane Lane returning from "Man of Steel," Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor, Jeremy Irons as Alfred, and Holly Hunter in a role created for the film.

Principal photography will take place on location at Michigan Motion Picture Studios and on location in and around Detroit; Illinois; Africa and the South Pacific. The movie is scheduled to open worldwide May 6, 2016.

'Joking' in Seattle festival

"You Must Be Joking," a comedy directed by and starring Pittsburgh native Jake Wilson, is premiered last week at the 40th Seattle International Film Festival.

Mr. Wilson grew up in Cranberry and graduated from Seneca Valley High School and was a CLO Mini Star before attending the University of Michigan where he earned a degree in musical theater.

"You Must Be Joking" is about an aimless paralegal (actress and screenwriter Sas Goldberg) who, inspired by her childhood best friend, decides to pick up her long-shelved passion for stand-up comedy.

Mr. Wilson, also an actor, is the creator of a musical Web series, "The Battery's Down." He has created and produced television shows for MTV, USA, Bravo, and OWN and has been working in New York and Los Angeles since graduation.


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