Entertainment News

Halle Berry praises H.E.R.; 'Harlem' debuts starring Megan Good; and more

Netflix

Bruised director and star Halle Berry recruited H.E.R. for the film's all-female soundtrack, and the Oscar- and Grammy-winning music artist delivered the powerful track "Automatic Woman," inspired by Halle's character, Jackie Justice, who stops at nothing until she emerges victorious.

Berry says in a new episode of the Netlifx Playlist Showcase video feature that the 24-year-old singer's 2016 song "Focus" changed her life and helped her ask for the focus she needed in a relationship.

"If this song, 'Automatic Woman,' could hit others like 'Focus' hit me, I feel like I’ve been part of creating something that’s really magical.”

H.E.R. comments that she was inspired by Halle’s gritty performance in Bruised. “I was so moved by ‘No matter what happens, I’m going to make it through,’” she says. “The idea of perseverance and, like, pushing through, fighting through … all those things you have to tell yourself to be able to fight through.”

In other news, Meagan Good stars as a Columbia University anthropology professor who is an expert on dating cultures around the world, yet has trouble navigating her own love life, in the 10-episode Harlem TV series that debuts Friday on Amazon Prime Video.

She told Ebony she's never related more to a character in her 30-year career. "This is the first time I was like, ‘Oh, I know her. I understand her.’ So much of that is exactly me. I am very quirky and goofy, and nerdy. And as an actress, I haven’t had a chance to show that side of myself, and I didn’t know what might come out—and I was excited to explore that. ”

Finally, a 16-time Grammy winner stars with Demetria McKinney in the original holiday film, Kirk Franklin's A Gospel Christmas, airing Saturday, December 4 at 8 p.m / 7 p.m. Central on Lifetime.

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"Hello, Sidney..." Paramount releases new promo pics starring the 'Scream' series' original survivors

Paramount Pictures

Neve CampbellDavid Arquette, and Courteney Cox are featured in a trio of new posters for the upcoming fifth film in the Scream series.

The faces of Campbell's Sidney Prescott, Arquette's Dewey Riley, and Cox's Gale Weathers are shown posing with the creepy mask of the Ghostface killer they've all managed to survive through multiple films. Below them is the movie's tagline, "It’s Always Someone You Know." 

As previously reported, the anticipated new film also stars some new blood: The BoysJack Quaid, 13 Reason Why's Dylan MinnetteMikey Madison from Once Upon a Time...In HollywoodYes Day's Jenna Ortega, and In The HeightsMelissa Barrera.

Scream debuts January 14.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Scarlett Johansson out, Ana de Armas in, opposite Chris Evans in Apple TV+ film 'Ghosted'

de Armas in "No Time To Die" -- © 2021 DANJAQ, LLC AND MGM/Nicola Dove

Scarlett Johansson won't be teaming up with her longtime friend and fellow Avenger Chris Evans in Ghosted after all. 

Apple TV+ has announced that newly mined Bond girl Ana de Armas has taken ScarJo's place in the movie, which is described as "a high-concept romantic action adventure film."

De Armas, who's still in theaters opposite Daniel Craig in No Time to Die, will co-executive produce with Evans as well, with Rocketman's Dexter Fletcher directing.

The movie was written by Deadpool and Zombieland duo Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, who are also producing.

De Armas was recently considering starring in the John Wick spin-off Ballerina, but her involvement has not been confirmed. 

Ghosted is part of a slate of high-profile Apple TV+ Original films, including the recently released sci-fi flick Finch, starring Tom Hanks, and the upcoming The Tragedy of Macbeth, starring two other two-time Oscar winners, Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand.

The streaming service has more projects with Academy Award winners forthcoming, namely Martin Scorsese's Killers of the Flower Moon with Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro, and Green Book director Peter Farrelly's The Greatest Beer Run Ever with Zac Efron and Russell Crowe.

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Saddle up with the action-packed new trailer to 'Yellowstone' prequel series '1883'

Paramount+

"The Road West Was Paved with Blood," reads a title card in the new trailer of Yellowstone's prequel series 1883 -- and there's plenty of the red stuff to go around.

As previously reported, real-life husband and wife Tim McGraw and Faith Hill star in the Paramount+ series, playing James and Margaret Dutton, the patriarch and matriarch of Yellowstone's Dutton family. 

The series, which also stars Sam ElliotBilly Bob Thornton and newcomer Isabel May, centers on this country's often brutal westward expansion, following the Dutton clan "as they embark on a journey west through the Great Plains toward the last bastion of untamed America...Montana."

"This way is a free country," Elliot's Civil War vet Shea Brennan tells a settler, pointing to the east.

"That way is No Man's Land, and that's where we're headed," he adds, gesturing to the then-untamed, and unclaimed, West. 

The trailer is as brutal as the journey: As one might expect of the Western genre, there's more gunplay than you can shake a six-shooter at, from beginning to end.

1883 premieres December 19 on Paramount+.

(VIDEO CONTAINS UNCENSORED PROFANITY)

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New 'Peacemaker' trailer shows that John Cena's vigilante character has daddy issues, too

HBO Max

(NOTE LANGUAGE) HBO Max has released a new trailer to its upcoming spin-off of The Suicide SquadPeacemaker, and in it, John Cena's over-the-top anti-hero shows off a vulnerable side. 

Not only is Cena's titular character apparently having second thoughts about his peace-through-violence mantra, hesitating when ordered to fire on innocent people so that he can kill a target, but he's also having issues with his dad. 

Terminator 2 and Sons of Anarchy veteran Robert Patrick plays his father, and he's tough to impress. When Cena's character mentions that he survived being shot -- and had a building fall on top of him, referring to the close of The Suicide Squad -- Patrick's character replies, "You let somebody shoot you?!"

Despite his reservations, however, Peacemaker isn't afraid of the action: In one scene he's shown boasting about a new tool he created -- a hand grenade attached to an old Russian tank shell. "A grenade only kills like two people!" he says in explaining his need for the upgrade.

He also lobs the weapon while heartily declaring, "Eat peace, motherf***er!"

Peacemaker premieres on HBO Max on January 13, 2022.

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Lady Gaga named Best Actress by New York Film Critics Circle for 'House of Gucci' role

Fabio Lovino/© 2021 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Lady Gaga is already off to a good start this awards season.

The singer/actress has been named Best Actress by the New York Film Critics Circle for her role in House of Gucci. In the Ridley Scott-directed film, Gaga plays Patrizia Reggiani, the woman who was famously convicted of arranging the murder of her ex-husband, Italian fashion heir Maurizio Gucci.

Gaga has been generally getting rave reviews for her performance, though the Gucci family has spoken out decrying the film's portrayal of the protagonists as inaccurate.

House of Gucci is Gaga's acting follow-up to her Oscar-nominated role in 2018's A Star Is Born.

The New York Film Critics Circle also named Benedict Cumberbatch as Best Actor for The Power of the Dog while Drive My Car was chosen as Best Film.

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Piper Perabo is stirring up trouble on 'Yellowstone'

Amy Sussman/Getty Images

Life on the Dutton Ranch is about to get sticky.  Again.

Piper Perabo has made her official debut on the hit cable TV series Yellowstone playing animal rights activist Summer Higgins -- who comes into direct conflict with Kevin Costner's character John Dutton’s livestock practices on the Dutton Ranch. Piper tells ABC Audio, that Summer and John do have one thing in common --a concern about conservation and the preservation of land.

"I think there are a lot of issues like that you know, that we can all see eye to eye on even if we don’t all have the same ideas on how to get there," says Perabo. "When it comes to the big picture? We agree more than we disagree."

Perabo adds that Summer’s hard exterior is about to be changed as the series moves ahead.

"I think his way of life, and the way of life on the ranch is not something that she’s really not been exposed to before," Piper explains. "And though she doesn’t agree with everything about it, it changes her to know this family."

The Dutton Ranch scenes are filmed at the real-life Chief Joseph Ranch in Darby, Montana, which, according to Piper is "almost like Disneyland, you know, like, as an adult it’s so cool to see something real!"

Speaking of movie sets, you may remember Piper dancing on the bar in the 2000 film Coyote Ugly. There’s a lot of buzz lately about a possible reboot, and Piper is on board -- with some exceptions.

"I would be very nervous to get back up on that bar? It was dangerous when I was in my 20s! So it could be more dangerous now!  

Yellowstone airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on Paramount Network.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Treat yo self! Aziz Ansari reveals engagement during comedy set

Paul Morigi/Getty Images

Former Parks and Recreation and current Master of None star Aziz Ansari is now engaged.

Page Six reports the actor and stand-up comedian broke the news Wednesday night, during a set at New York City's The Comedy Cellar, and that his fiancée is Danish forensic data scientist Serena Skov Campbell.

"We all went nuts" about hearing the good news, a source who was there told the publication.

Ansari, who also revealed he's been living in the U.K., reportedly joked that he hoped his kids would be more Indian than Dutch, according to the paper.

Ansari had mentioned Campbell on stage before. Things were apparently already serious between them back in 2019, when he revealed during a set at Radio City Music Hall that he planned to take Campbell to India to meet his grandmother.

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Newcomer Celina Smith shines as star of NBC's 'Annie Live!'

Virginia Sherwood/NBC

While the story of Annie is a classic one, NBC's Annie Live! was able to add their own pizazz and create some very memorable moments on Thursday.

The beloved story about an orphan who is adopted by a billionaire saw newcomer Celina Smith bring the titular role to life, and you can bet your bottom dollar fans were blown away by her performance.

"Celina Smith as Annie is giving ACTINGGG she full on dropped tears live on tv she is a star and she is the moment," one viewer raved on Twitter. 

Likewise, Taraiji P. Henson's Miss Hannigan received lots of praise, with one fan writing, "Taraji p Henson is killing this live annie role the vocals on point." 

In addition to nailing the casting, NBC's live version also paid tribute to late Broadway legend Ann Reinking, who portrayed Grace Farrell in the 1982 film, by including the epic dance number "We Got Annie" that had previously been omitted from stage versions of the show. Taking things up a notch, Nicole Scherzinger as Farrell, belted out the jazzy hit with a dance number complete with upside-down singing and a somersault.

The show also included its familiar songs "It’s The Hard Knock Life," "Easy Street," and, of course, "Tomorrow."

While fans were overall impressed with the production, there was one aspect that couldn't be ignored -- the bald head that Harry Connick Jr. donned as Daddy Warbucks.

"His bald head is unsettling, but his performance is absolutely crazy good," one social media user noted.

Annie Live! also starred Tituss Burgess as Rooster Hannigan and Megan Hilty as Lily St. Regis -- a.k.a. Annie's fake parents. 

If you missed Annie Live! or simply can't get enough, it's available for streaming now on Hulu, Peacock, and NBC.com.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Don't get the cheese touch! 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid' now streaming on Disney+

Courtesy of Disney+

Greg Heffley is back in the all-new Disney+ original movie Diary of a Wimpy Kid. The animated feature takes us back to book one, where Greg must master the laws of middle school if he wants his classmates to take him seriously.

This isn't the first time the series got the movie treatment, but there is one major difference between the live-action films and the Disney+ original -- and it has everything to do with author Jeff Kinney.

"This film is the first film that I've got my name on it and I'm the only writer!" he tells ABC Audio.  Kinney didn't write any of the live-action movies, except for "a writer's credit" in the 2017 film, The Long Haul

When asked if screenwriting is harder than book writing, Kinney says it's a little more nuanced than that.

"Writing a Diary of a Wimpy Kid book is like joke, joke, joke," Kinney explained, but that formula doesn't work in movies because they have "to be operating on a deeper level." 

"What I learned is that you do have to tell that emotional story. You can't get away with just going joke, joke, joke," he said. "[People] want to be entertained and to be entertained fully... So you have to tell these emotional stories that are really satisfying."

The author also reveals movies are written "at the speed of thought."

"The applications that you use to write a screenplay are created in such a way that you can almost write at the speed at which you can think it," he described. "It's really different than writing the book, which is very technical, very heavy." 

Although Kinney may be an author first, he does admit, "I love screenwriting." 

Diary of a Wimpy Kid is streaming now on Disney+.

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Jon Stewart joins ABC's 'Live in Front of a Studio Audience: ''The Facts of Life''

ABC

Former The Daily Show host Jon Stewart has joined Jennifer AnistonGabrielle UnionKathryn Hahn and Allison Tolman in the cast for the Facts of Life segment of NBC’s third Live in Front of a Studio Audience special, set to air December 7.

Stewart will be playing a “surprise role” in the show, per ABC. The Facts of Life re-enactment will be paired with a staging of its parent show, Diff’rent Strokes. That episode will feature Kevin HartJohn Lithgow and Damon WayansThe Handmaid's Tale star Ann Dowd will appear in both episodes as Mrs. Garrett, the role played by Charlotte Rae on both shows.

For Stewart, who currently hosts and executive produces The Problem with Jon Stewart on Apple TV, it will be taking on his first on-camera acting role that’s not a version of himself since 2002’s Death to Smoochy

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Alec Baldwin on 'Rust' shooting: 'Someone is ​responsible...but I know it's not me'

Roy Rochlin/FilmMagic

Alec Baldwin sat down with George Stephanopoulos for the one-hour primetime special, Alec Baldwin Unscripted, on Thursday, and gave his account of the October 21 shooting accident on the set of Rust that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.

"Someone put a live bullet in a gun, a bullet that wasn't even supposed to be on the property," Baldwin said. "Someone is ​responsible for what happened, and I can't say who that is, but I know it's not me."

Baldwin claimed that he and Hutchins began blocking out the scene. She was directing his every move, and “Everything [was] at her direction.”

“She's guiding me through how she wants me to hold the gun for this angle,” he said. “I'm holding the gun where she told me to hold it, which ended up being aimed right below her armpit.”

To get the shot, Baldwin said he needed to cock the gun, but not fire it. “The trigger wasn't pulled. I didn't pull the trigger,” Baldwin insisted.

“So, you never pulled the trigger?” Stephanopoulos asked.

“No, no, no, no, no,” Baldwin said. “I would never point a gun at anyone and pull a trigger at them.”

During rehearsal, Baldwin said the film’s first assistant director, Dave Halls, handed him a revolver, telling him, “This is a cold gun” -- industry jargon for a weapon that is either literally empty or loaded with non-firing "dummy" rounds.

Lisa Torraco, Halls’ attorney, corroborated Baldwin’s account on Thursday, saying Halls told her “from day one” that he was watching from three or four feet away and “the entire time Baldwin had his finger outside the trigger guard parallel to the barrel...that Alec did not pull that trigger."

Torraco would not confirm if Halls was the person who handed Baldwin the gun.

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Trailer shows Amazon Prime got a big star, literally, for its Jack 'Reacher' series

Amazon Studios/Shane Mahood

Undeniably, Tom Cruise is a big star. However, fans of author's Lee Child's Jack Reacher groused when Cruise, at 5' 7", played the character, who's described in the books as well over six feet tall and massively built. 

However, the new trailer for Amazon Prime's upcoming Reacher series proves this time, they got a star who is literally bigger than Cruise: Alan Ritchson.

The footage shows that Reacher's trademark pre-beatdown swagger sounds much more convincing coming from the hulking 6' 2" Titans actor than it did the Top Gun star. 

According to Amazon, the new series will center on Child's first Reacher book, Killing Floor, and will see the retired military investigator finding himself in a small town, accused of murder. 

"While he works to prove his innocence, a deep-seated conspiracy begins to emerge, one that will require Reacher’s keen mind and hard-hitting fists to deal with," the studio teases. "One thing above all is for sure: They picked the wrong guy to take the fall."

The eight-episode series, which also stars Malcolm GoodwinWilla Fitzgerald and Kristin Kreuk, will debut on February 4.

 

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Jay-Z and Will Smith partner with ABC News for Emmett Till docuseries, 'Let the World See'

ABC News

Jay-Z and Will Smith are among the producers of a new ABC news docuseries about the murder of Emmett Till.

Let the World See will tell the story of Ms. Mamie Till-Mobley's quest for justice after her 14-year-old son Emmett was lynched and fatally shot in Mississippi on August 28, 1955, after being accused of offending a white woman named Carolyn Bryant in her family's grocery story.

Bryant's husband and his half brother were acquitted of Till's murder. The following year, they admitted in a magazine interview that they were guilty. Till's death became a catalyst for the civil-rights movement.

Following Till-Mobley's death in 2003, the Till family has continued her legacy, remaining active in the movement as the deaths of Trayvon Martin, George FloydBreonna Taylor and others sparked protests around the country.

Let the World See premieres Thursday, January 6, 2022, at 10:01 p.m. ET on ABC, and will air for three consecutive Thursday nights following each new episode of ABC's upcoming limited series Women of the Movement.

In other news, Tessa Thompson appears on the December/January cover of Ebony. The 38-year-old actress stars with Ruth Negga in the Netflix film Passing as two mixed-raced Black women who can "pass" as white in 1920s Harlem.

When asked about "light-skinned privilege in Hollywood," Thompson says, "I've been able to play a lot of very different characters I'm not sure women who came before me -- who I stand on the shoulders of -- would have been able to. I've had the opportunity to really understand and unpack my own measure of privilege inside of the industry, and as someone who hopes to be a changemaker, [I've asked myself,] How do I contend with that? What do I do?"

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Steven Spielberg, 'West Side Story' stars taking part in IMAX Fan Event

20th Century Studios

Steven Spielberg, and the cast of his remake of West Side Story, including Ansel ElgortAriana DeBoseDavid Alvarez and Mike Faist, will be on hand for a special IMAX Live Fan Event on Monday, December 6.

Ten IMAX locations in the U.S. and Canada will screen the special Q&A with the filmmaker and his cast, as well as showing the film. The event starts at 7 p.m. ET.

West Side Story opens nationwide on December 10, 2021, from  20th Century Studios, which is owned by Disney, the parent company of ABC News. 

Here is a list of participating theaters: 

Boston
Theater: AMC Boston Common 19

Chicago
AMC Oakbrook Center 12 (Oak Brook, IL)
Century 20 Daly City and XD
Regal Irvine Spectrum 21 + IMAX & RPX

Los Angeles
AMC Century City 15 IMAX

New York
AMC Empire 25 IMAX

New Jersey
AMC Garden State 16

San Francisco
AMC Metreon 16 IMAX

Seattle
Regal Thornton Place Stadium 14 & IMAX

Toronto
Cineplex Cinemas Winston Churchill & VIP (Oakville)

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