Entertainment News

'Power' alum Omari Hardwick joins J-Lo's assassin film 'Mother'; Eddie Murphy inks new deal with Amazon

Courtesy of Starz

Jennifer Lopez is getting some major backup on her upcoming Netflix project.

Variety has learned that Power star Omari Hardwick has joined the cast of Mother, Lopez's new thriller that follows her as an assassin who comes out of hiding to protect her daughter. Hardwick joins Joseph Fiennes and Gael Garcia Bernal, who were also announced. He will play an FBI agent who is also an ally of Lopez's character. A release date for Mother has yet to be announced.

In other news, Eddie Murphy is extending his relationship with Amazon Studios, Deadline reports. Following the success of Murphy's film, Coming 2 America, which Amazon said was the "most-watched movie on Amazon Prime in its opening weekend" in March 2021, the studio has inked a three-picture first-look film deal with the actor. As part of the new pact, Murphy will star in three films for the studio and develop original film projects for Prime Video and Studios. There is no word yet on Murphy's next project for Amazon.

Finally, ICYMI, John Boyega has joined the cast of Gina Prince-Bythewood's upcoming feature The Woman King. Boyega shared the news on Instagram, along with some details on his role and the film.

"I will be joining this incredible cast as King Ghezo," Boyega wrote. "The Woman King is a historical epic inspired by true events that took place in The Kingdom of Dahomey, one of the most powerful states in West Africa during the 18th and 19th centuries. The story follows Nanisca, General of the all-female military unit, and Nawi, an ambitious recruit, who together fought enemies who violated their honor, enslaved their people, and threatened to destroy everything they’ve lived for."

Boyega joins Viola Davis, Thuso Mbedu and Lashana Lynch, who were previously announced.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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New 'Ghostbusters: Afterlife' posters show Paul Rudd and the new cast geared up for the ghosts

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After waiting more than a year for Ghostbusters: Afterlife, fans are finally getting closer to seeing the repeatedly pandemic-delayed film. To that end, Columbia Pictures have released two new posters for the movie, which hits theaters on November 19.

Stranger ThingsFinn Wolfhard and McKenna Grace, play, respectively, the grandson and granddaughter of the late Harold Ramis' Egon Spengler. As the trailer revealed, they uncover a trove of his old ghostbusting gear, just in time to fight a supernatural menace. 

The first poster shows both teens armed with proton packs next to the Ecto-1, with two of their friends. Paul Rudd, who plays their science teacher, has a ghost trap in hand, as he and his younger co-stars stare up at an ominous blue-green storm cloud.

The second poster has the similar spooky sky, but shows the gang from behind, silhouetted by lighting-like bolts firing down from a hole in the cloud.

The action comedy, which will star original cast members Bill MurrayDan AykroydErnie HudsonAnnie Potts and Sigourney Weaver in their original roles, was co-written and directed by Jason Reitman, the son of director of Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II director Ivan Reitman.

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"Will they kill me?" See Kristen Stewart as Princess Di in the final trailer for 'Spencer'

NEON

The final trailer for Spencer, starring Kristen Stewart as Princess Diana, has just dropped, and it's clear the accolades the actress has already garnered are well deserved.

Spencer takes place in the 1990s over a crucial Christmas holiday during which Diana plotted her divorce from Prince Charlesand a life away from the British royal family. As in the teaser, a choral version of Lou Reed's "Perfect Day" haunts the new footage of the young princess crushed between the pressures of her title, her crumbling marriage, the paparazzi, and a holiday weekend with the King and Queen.

"Three days," she says as she steels herself. "That's it."

An aide warns her, "They know everything," as her royal relatives shoot her icy glares from across a finely appointed dinner table.

"They don't," Diana replies.

As the pressure mounts in the trailer, Diana's young son, Prince William, asks her, "Mummy, what's happened to make you so sad?"

"You have to be able to do things you hate," Diana's advised. "There has to be two of you. There's the real one, and the they take pictures of."

She's told it's for, "the good of the country."

"The country?" Diana protests, before slapping a sofa in frustration.

"Fight them," a friend tells her. "You're your own weapon."

Diana asks rhetorically of the royals, "Will they kill me, you think?"

Princess Diana was killed August 31, 1997 in a car crash in Paris that was caused in part by a high-speed pursuit by paparazzi. Her partner, Dodi Fayed, and their driver, Henri Paul, were also killed. Paul was later found to have been driving drunk. A bodyguard survived the crash.

Spencer debuts November 5 from Pablo Larrain, who previously called the shots on Natalie Portman's Oscar-nominated 2016 Jacqueline Kennedy biopic, Jackie.

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James Marsden jokes about 15-year gap between 'Enchanted' and 'Disenchanted': "I never felt older"

"Enchanted" - Walt Disney Pictures

Fifteen years after Enchanted sang its way into theaters, fans will finally see the story continue in Disenchanted, and star James Marsden is teasing what to expect when the sequel premieres next year.

The 48-year-old actor, who plays Prince Edward, told Entertainment Tonight the movie will acknowledge the length of time that passed since everyone supposedly went off on their happily ever after.

"I have never felt older," he laughed. "Fifteen years is not the sort of time frame you want to wait for the sequel of your movie where you play a Disney prince [to come out]. You go back in and you just got a belly and three chins."

"I think we made something special," Marsden amended. "I hope people will dig it."

Because 15 years had passed since the first and second movies, Marsden was at first skeptical that the sequel was being made.

"They have been talking about making it for years...I got my hopes up many times before," the actor said. "And recently I was like, 'Sure, sure, they're going to make it.' And last year they said, 'We are actually doing this, and they sent songs, and I am like, 'OK, this is actually real.'"

"Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz did all of the music again, and Amy Adams [is] playing her great role as Princess Giselle," Marsden raved. "It was a lot of fun getting back and working with Idina [Menzel] and getting the pipes back to working properly and the singing stuff."

Disenchanted, also starring Patrick Dempsey and Maya Rudolph, will waltz onto Disney+ sometime in 2022.

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'Tiger King 2' and more: Netflix introduces itself as "The Home of True Crime"

Netflix

In a stylish new trailer, Netflix is revealing a series of upcoming documentaries, welcoming viewers to "The Home of True Crime."

The trailer from the streaming service that launched the Emmy-winning Making a Murderer, and other true crime docs like Cocaine Cowboys, shows glimpses of sure-to-be bingeable titles, including a sequel to that pandemic smash Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness.

Here's the lineup, and descriptions from Netflix: 

Tiger King 2 (debuting this year)

The Puppet Master: Hunting the Ultimate Conman -- (January 2022)
"From the acclaimed filmmakers behind The Imposter, this three-part series tells the jaw-dropping story of one of the world's most audacious conmen who was convicted in 2005 for stealing fortunes and destroying multiple lives. But now, in an incredible twist, the story reaches into the present day, with a desperate family who fear for their mother's safety."

The Tinder Swindler -- (February 2022)
Centering on "a prolific conman who posed as a billionaire playboy on Tinder, and the women who set out to bring him down."

Trust No One: The Hunt for the Crypto King -- (2022)
"Follow a group of investors turned sleuths as they try to unlock the suspicious death of cryptocurrency multimillionaire Gerry Cotten and the missing $250 million they believe he stole from them."

Bad Vegan -- (2022)
"Celebrity restaurateur Sarma Melngailis becomes the 'Vegan Fugitive' when she’s conned out of millions by a man who convinces her that he can expand her food empire and make her beloved pit bull immortal -- as long as she never questions his increasingly bizarre requests."

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Patina Miller explains why she loves the "challenge" of playing Raquel in 'Raising Kanan'

Courtesy of Starz

Ahead of Sunday's season finale of Raising Kanan, Tony Award winner Patina Miller is explaining why taking on the challenging role of Kanan's mother Raquel has been a godsend for her as an actor.

"Raquel is so many different things," Miller tells ABC Audio of the fierce and gritty character. "The opportunity to really dig deep, go dark, explore many different things was... exciting to me. And it wasn't a hard thing."

Miller, who came off of a six-year run on Madame Secretary as press secretary Daisy Grant, says jumping from a political drama to a crime drama wasn't seamless, but thankfully she "loves a challenge."

"I love being able to show different sides of my craft of what I can do," Miller shares. "And I love being able to bring my experiences, the things that I know, to each character. And so this just really fit for me because I was able to call on a lot of my past experience to help inform who my character was."

Miller, along with star Mekai Curtis, return Sunday, September 26 at 8 p.m. ET for the season finale of Starz's Power Book III: Raising Kanan.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


"I don't wish ill on him": Miyam Bialik on replacing former 'Jeopardy!' host and producer Mike Richards

Jeopardy! Productions/Sony Picture Television

Following the ouster of former host and executive producer Mike Richards from Jeopardy! after controversial comments he made on a podcast resurfaced, it was announced Mayim Bialik and Ken Jennings would complete this season's shows while the search for a permanent replacement for the late Alex Trebek continues.

In a Newsweek essay, Bialik shed some light on how she got the "dreamy" job, recalling it was her 15-year-old son who first told her the Internet was buzzing that she should guest-host the show. 

"I had to learn all the rules and the language of the show," Bialik recalled. "I was terrified," but adds, "I had a spooky -- but positive -- feeling...'I don't want to leave.'"

"I was also sure that someone newsy, like Savannah Guthrie, was going to be made the permanent host, so a lot of the buzz about me...went in one ear and out the other," said Bialik.

Eventually, Richards was named the new host and Bialik was tapped to host special episodes of the game show. But everything changed when Richards stepped down.

"Of course I was in touch with Mike as he was my boss at that time, and I don't wish ill on him, or anyone," said Bialik. "My first response...was to say... 'How can I help?'"

Bialik says she feels "very honored" by the opportunity, noting, "It's been as dreamy as it was for the two days that I guest hosted."

The Big Bang Theory vet explained, "There will never be another Alex...It's important not to try and be him, because you can't..."

That said, Bialik admits, "I joke that I would give up my first child to host permanently! I think my son and I have a close enough bond that he will come back to me!"

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Jennifer Aniston reveals hilarious texts following David Schwimmer dating rumors

Warner Bros. Television

Jennifer Aniston and David Schwimmer's admissions during the Friends reunion back in April that they were crushing on each other while filming the sitcom led to a flood of rumors that they were dating in real life, something Aniston only realized after friends started texting her about the supposed relationship.

“That’s really funny,” Aniston, 52, tells Marie Claire Australia about the dating rumors.  “I was just saying, ‘I hadn’t heard a word of this.’  Honestly.  I was getting a couple of texts from people saying, ‘I thought you were on a break, LOL.’  And I kept saying, ‘What are you talking about?’  And then I went online to see what was happening, and I was like, ‘That is the funniest rumor that I never heard that got shot down in the quickest amount of time.’”

During the HBO Max reunion, Schwimmer, 54, admitted, “The first season...I had a major crush on Jen.”

Jennifer turned heads when she replied, “It was reciprocated.”

“At some point, we were both crushing hard on each other,” David continued, insisting, they "never crossed that boundary.  We respected that.”

Jennifer had a slightly different take, admitting the two would, “spoon and fall asleep on the couch.”

Following the revelation, fans were hoping for a real-life 2021 romance between Schwimmer and Aniston, who respectively played Ross Gellar and Rachel Green on the series, which ran from 1994-2004.

“That was bizarre. I could not believe that, actually.  Like, really?  That’s my brother,” Jennifer told Entertainment Tonight in a recent interview.  “But I understand it, though.  It just shows you how hopeful people are for fantasies, for dreams to come true.”

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'The Conners' dedicates live season four premiere to Norm Macdonald

ABC/Eric McCandless

The Conners kicked off its fourth season Wednesday with a live episode that ended with a touching tribute to comedian Norm Macdonald, who died last week at the age of 61 after a long, private battle with cancer.

The episode ended with the cast, seated on the show's iconic sofa, holding up a sign that read, "Dedicated to the memory of our friend and colleague, Norm Macdonald."

The episode itself, titled “Trucking Live in Front of a Fully Vaccinated Studio Audience,” began with star and executive producer Sara Gilbert announcing, "Oh, The Conners is live in front of a studio vaccinated audience."

"Wait, what?" added co-star Laurie Metcalf, appearing shocked, before the two of them joined the opening scene, already in progress.

One storyline featured Mark, played by Ames McNamara, the youngest son of Gilbert's Darlene, working on a school project in which he made video calls to distant relatives to collect information to determine how much of a role genetics play in a person’s decision-making. Those relatives were winners of a sweepstakes to appear on the show, but only found out they won when their phones rang, live on the air.  

The premiere also continued one of last season's storylines, in which Darlene tries to navigate hurdles in her relationship with Ben, played by Jay R. Ferguson. Darlene, trying to salvage their relationship, proved her commitment to him by putting a deposit down on an apartment, which provided another opportunity to break the fourth wall, when the camera followed Gilbert as she ran from one set to the other to find him.

"Better run, it's a lot further than you think," warned Metcalf. "It's the set opposite Wellman's Plastics."

"Look at her go," co-star John Goodman added.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Influential filmmaker Melvin Van Peebles dies at 89

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Influential filmmaker Melvin Van Peebles, whom many consider the godfather of modern Black cinema, has died at age 89.

On behalf of his family, The Criterion Collection and Janus Films confirmed his passing in a statement posted Wednesday.

“In an unparalleled career distinguished by relentless innovation, boundless curiosity and spiritual empathy, Melvin Van Peebles made an indelible mark on the international cultural landscape through his films, novels, plays and music,” the statement reads.

It continues, “His work continues to be essential and is being celebrated at the New York Film Festival this weekend with a 50th anniversary screening of his landmark film Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song; a Criterion Collection box set, Melvin Van Peebles: Essential Films, next week; and a revival of his play Ain’t Supposed to Die a Natural Death, slated for a return to Broadway next year.”

Van Peebles’ son, actor-director Mario Van Peebles, adds in the statement, “Dad knew that Black images matter. If a picture is worth a thousand words, what was a movie worth? We want to be the success we see, thus we need to see ourselves being free. True liberation did not mean imitating the colonizer’s mentality. It meant appreciating the power, beauty and interconnectivity of all people.”

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First 'SNL' guests of the season: Owen Wilson, Kim Kardashian West, Rami Malek, and Jason Sudeikis

NBCUniversal

On social media, Saturday Night Live has revealed the hosts and guests for the first month of its 47th season.

Loki star Owen Wilson leads things off on October 2, with musical guest Kasey Musgraves; October 9 will see Kim Kardashian West take the stage at Studio 8H for the first time, with singer Halsey.

The October 16 show will be hosted by Rami Malek, a week after fans can see the Oscar winner as a James Bond baddie in No Time to DieYoung Thug will be the musical guest.

And on October 23, former SNL cast member-turned Ted Lasso Emmy winner Jason Sudeikis will take the stage, with musical guest Brandi Carlile.

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Jada Pinkett Smith celebrates 50th birthday on 'Red Table Talk'; ABC to adapt Baratunde Thurston's 'How to Be Black'

Credit: Max Goodrich

The latest episode of Jada Pinkett-Smith's Facebook Watch show, Red Table Talk, is definitely a star-studded one.

In celebration of Jada's 50th birthday on September 18, the actress-turned talk show host had an impressive list of celebrity friends make an appearance on her show to wish her a happy birthday, including George Clooney, Mariah Carey, Gabrielle Union, Kerry Washington, Jimmy Kimmel, Ciara, Angela Bassett and others. Some of the celebs even posed a fun question for Jada to answer during the celebration. Before the episode ended, Pinkett-Smith received a happy birthday serenade by seven-time Grammy-winning superstar Toni Braxton. Watch the full episode of Jada's Red Table Talk birthday celebration now available on Facebook Watch.

In other news, Deadline has learned that ABC is currently developing Baratunde Thurston's memoir, How to Be Black, as an animated series. Like Thurston's book, the series -- written and co-executive produced by black-ish showrunner Courtney Lilly -- is expected to center on the "community and family that raised a young Baratunde in 1980s Washington, D.C." Voice casting details have yet to be announced. If greenlit, How to Be Black would be ABC's first animated comedy series since The Goode Family in 2009.

Finally, Hulu has given a series order to Black Cake, a new drama from Women of the Movement creator Marissa Jo Cerar, with Oprah Winfrey and Aaron Kaplan, Deadline reports. Based on the upcoming book by Charmaine Wilkerson, Black Cake is described as a "murder mystery with a diverse cast of characters and a global setting." It follows various narratives including the story of a runaway bride, who "is feared drowned or a fugitive on the run for her husband’s murder." A release date for Black Cake has yet to be announced.

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"No one is safe. Not one of you.": Johnny Depp decries 'cancel culture'

ABC/Randy Holmes

After the one-time box office champ claimed he was being boycotted by Hollywood following his messy legal battle with ex-wife Amber Heard, Johnny Depp is speaking out again.

At a press conference at the San Sebastian Film Festival, where he was given the lifetime achievement honor known as the Donostia Award, Depp was asked about 'cancel culture.'

“Do I feel safe myself? Yeah, I do," Deadline quoted the Pirates of the Caribbean series star saying. "Because it's important when you’re faced with something as mind-bogglingly bewildering, that sort of things hits you from many angles."

The actor said the cancel culture situation is, "[s]o far out of hand now that I can promise you that no one is safe. Not one of you. No one out that door. No one is safe, as long as someone is willing to say one sentence."

Depp added all it takes is a single allegation against a person to ruin their lives, according to Deadline.

"It takes one sentence and there’s no more ground, the carpet has been pulled. It's not just me that this has happened to," Depp expressed. "This type of thing has happened to women, men. Sadly at a certain point they begin to think that it’s normal. Or that it’s them. When it's not.”

"But if you are armed with the truth, that’s all you need. It doesn’t matter if a judgement per se has taken some artistic license," Depp said, seeming to nod at his loss in court of a libel case about spousal abuse allegations made against him by The Sun.

Depp told the assembled press, "When there's an injustice, whether it’s against you or someone you love, or someone you believe in -- stand up, don't sit down. 'Cause they need you."

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Ray J responds to rumors of a second sex tape with Kim Kardashian: "This ain't cool"

Smallz & Raskind/Oxygen

Ray J's former manager claims he has a second sex tape of him with Kim Kardashian, and Ray isn't happy about it.

During a podcastWack 100 stated that he had a tape that "was more graphic and better than the first one," which was titled Kim Kardashian, Superstar.

That tape was recorded in 2002 while Ray and Kim were celebrating her 23rd birthday in Mexico. It was released in 2007 by Vivid Entertainment.

“This ain’t cool," Ray J commented on Instagram about Wack's 100's claim. "I been staying off the Raydar -- Just staying focused and being humble and thankful for all the blessings I’m receiving.”

“How can I show growth and maturity if this kinda of stuff keeps happening?" he added. "I’m a father now and my job is to be a great parent and put them first. This is not the message I want to send out.”

Ray J has two kids with Princess Love: Melody, 3, and Epik, 1.

After the sex tape was released, Kardashian filed a lawsuit against Vivid Entertainment, then later dropped the suit and settled for a reported $5 million.

Kim's attorney, Marty Singer, says a second sex tape doesn't exist.

“The claim that there is an unreleased sex tape is unequivocally false,” Singer told Page Six. “It is unfortunate that people make these statements to try and get their 15 minutes of fame.”

Following enormous publicity spurred by the original tape, the reality television series Keeping Up with the Kardashians debuted in October 2007, launching the multi-million dollar Kardashian brand franchise.  Last year, Kim's celebrity took a different direction when she starred in the Oxygen channel documentary The Justice Project.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Nicole Richie sets hair on fire while blowing out birthday candles

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Nicole Richie is bringing in her 40s on fire -- literally. 

The actress celebrated her birthday on Tuesday and shared a short clip of herself blowing out the candles on her cake.

In the video, which was shared on Instagram, Nicole's cheered on by people off camera. However, the cheers quickly turn to scream, when her hair dangles into the flames of the still-lit candles, causing both sides of her hair to catch on fire. While someone sitting next to her was able to quickly pat out one side, the other side appeared to get a bit worse before fizzling out. 

The mom of two jokingly captioned the snippet, "Well… so far 40 is [fire emoji]."

Many of Richie's celebrity friends took to the comments to wish her a "happy birthday" including Chelsea Handler and Queer Eye star Antoni Porowski, who wrote, "I feel awful for laughing I’m sry also happy birthday!!"

Meanwhile Katherine Power, who apparently witnessed the event in person, quipped, "A moment I’ll never forget."

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