Entertainment

- Cindy Williams, who played Shirley alongside Penny Marshall's Laverne in "Laverne & Shirley," one of the most popular U.S. TV shows of the 1970s and 1980s, has died at 75, the AP reported on Monday, citing a statement from her family. Williams passed away in Los Angeles on Wednesday following a brief illness, said her children, Zak and Emily Hudson, in the statement. "The passing of our kind, hilarious mother, Cindy Williams, has brought us insurmountable sadness that could never truly be expressed," they said. "Knowing and loving her has been our joy and privilege. She was one of a kind, beautiful, generous and possessed a brilliant sense of humor and a glittering spirit that everyone loved." Williams, who was born in Los Angeles, began her career acting in TV commercials before landing roles in films directed by Hollywood greats George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola. She and Marshall first appeared...
By Danielle Broadway LOS ANGELES - The late pop singer Michael Jackson will be portrayed by his 26-year-old nephew, Jaafar Jackson, in the biographical movie “Michael," the Lionsgate studio said on Monday. "Michael" will explore “the complicated man who became the King of Pop,” Lionsgate said in a statement. The film will include "all aspects" of his life and his most noteworthy performances that set him on the path to becoming an icon in the musical world," it said. Production will start this year and the film will be directed by Antoine Fuqua and produced by Graham King, who both said that Jaafar Jackson had a natural ability to emulate his uncle and bring him to life. “It was clear that he is the only person to take on this role,” King said in a news release, adding that he "cannot wait for the world to see him on the big screen as Michael Jackson.” Lionsgate did not directly address one of the most co...
(Please note strong language in paragraphs 7 and 9) By Michael Holden LONDON - Hollywood actress Eva Green, who is suing financiers for her fee for a failed film in which she was to star, told a London court on Monday she would not make a "B movie", saying it could kill her career while making quality productions was her "religion". The French actress, whose film credits include the James Bond movie "Casino Royale", is suing White Lantern Films and SMC Speciality Finance for the $1 million fee she says is owed over the collapse of the planned independent movie "A Patriot", in which she was to play the main role. The production company has launched a counter claim against Green for breach of contract, blaming her for the science fiction film's failure before it went into production in late 2019, saying she never intended for the film to go ahead. Giving evidence at the High Court in London, Green, 42, said the...
By Lisa Richwine LOS ANGELES - Hollywood's film academy said on Friday it was reviewing this year's campaigns for Oscar nominations, a day after a media report raised questions about the surprise nod for British actress Andrea Riseborough. On Tuesday, Riseborough was nominated for best actress for playing an alcoholic single mother in little-seen film "To Leslie," a shock to awards pundits who had not expected her to be in the mix. Media newsletter Puck reported on Thursday that the unexpected nomination had sparked questions about whether an aggressive campaign for Riseborough had violated lobbying rules set by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The academy issued a statement on Friday that said the organization was "conducting a review of the campaign procedures around this year's nominees, to ensure that no guidelines were violated." The statement did not name Riseborough. The review also aims...
By Jonathan Stempel - Rick Astley has sued the rapper Yung Gravy over a song that borrowed heavily from the British singer's signature "Never Gonna Give You Up," claiming that the new song illegally used an impersonator who imitated Astley's distinctive baritone. The complaint filed on Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court said Yung Gravy's 2022 song "Betty (Get Money)" violated Astley's right of publicity by featuring the singer Popnick, who imitated Astley's voice so well that listeners thought Astley was actually singing. "In an effort to capitalize off of the immense popularity and goodwill of Mr. Astley, defendants ... conspired to include a deliberate and nearly indistinguishable imitation of Mr. Astley's voice," the complaint said. "The public could not tell the difference." Astley's lawsuit seeks "millions of dollars" in damages, as well as profits from "Betty." Among the defendants are Yung Gravy, who...
By Rollo Ross and Danielle Broadway LOS ANGELES - When "Everything Everywhere All at Once" was released in March 2022, co-director Daniel Kwan wasn't sure if audiences would connect with the film and its multiverse premise, but they did. "We tried to make a movie that everyone can relate with, but we thought we'd fail," said Kwan, who worked with co-creator Daniel Scheinert. "But it turns out we didn't, like literally everybody has something they can relate with." It appears Hollywood can relate too. The A24 film garnered more Oscar nominations this week than any other film and is headed back to 1,400 theaters nationwide on Friday after earning 104.1 million globally. The motion picture is up for 11 Oscars at the March 12 Academy Awards, including best picture and lead actress for Michelle Yeoh. Both Jamie Lee Curtis and Stephanie Hsu are vying for best actress in a supporting role, while Ke Huy Quan is a favorite for best...
By Alicia Powell - Personal items once owned by Elvis Presley are expected to fetch big bucks when they come up for auction this week. The nearly 40 lots from Presley include a jacket designed by the man behind his famous jumpsuit and cape, a well-loved briefcase, and an address book filled with his handwriting, expected to bring in over $10,000. The address book featured "the people that he really was closest with and connected the most with," said Kruse GWS auctions founder and lead auctioneer Brigitte Kruse. "We actually have some of his personal notes (in the book), which we're going to leave as a surprise for the winning bidder." Interest in the American singer, who died in 1977, is high following the release last year of Oscar-nominated biopic "Elvis" and the recent death of his daughter, Lisa Marie Presley. Also included in the "Artifacts of Hollywood & Music" sale on Jan. 28 are items from Marilyn M...
By Lisa Richwine and Dawn Chmielewski LOS ANGELES - More movie theaters this weekend will be showing "The Fablemans," "Tar" and "Women Talking," a move to capitalize on the films' Oscar nominations at a time when dramas are struggling to draw people to cinemas. After moviegoing plunged during the pandemic, audiences have returned in droves to action-packed blockbusters such as "Top Gun: Maverick" and "Avatar: The Way of Water." The "Avatar" sequel has raked in more than $2 billion, ranking as the sixth-highest grossing film of all time. Many of the Hollywood dramas targeted at adult viewers have not fared nearly as well. Some older moviegoers simply have not returned to the local megaplex, industry executives told . Others have decided to wait to stream movies that do not have a visual spectacle that pops off a big screen. Studios are now making movies available to watch at home as soon as 17 days after their theatrical deb...
By Hanna Rantala LONDON - Michelle Williams won critical acclaim for her performance in Steven Spielberg's autobiographical coming-of-age drama, "The Fabelmans", and her portrayal of the director's mother secured her a best actress Oscar nomination on Tuesday. Co-written by Spielberg and Tony Kushner, the movie is set in the 1950s and 60s and follows the fictional character Sammy Fabelman, based on Spielberg as a young man, as he falls in love with the moving pictures and discovers a family secret that changes the way he views the world. Williams and Paul Dano play Sammy's mother Mitzi and father Burt, inspired by Spielberg's parents, the late Leah Adler and Arnold Spielberg. In an interview with earlier this month, Williams spoke about the role, seeing an emotional Spielberg on set and awards season. Below are excerpts, edited for length and clarity. Q: What was it like to essentially play Steve...
By Shilpa Jamkhandikar MUMBAI - Shah Rukh Khan's Hindi spy thriller opened to packed movie theatres in India on Wednesday in one of Bollywood's top openings on record, despite protests from some religious groups over scenes they deemed obscene. The success of "Pathaan", where Khan plays a spy fighting a militant outfit, is crucial for the Indian film industry that has seen a spate of high-profile flops since the COVID-19 pandemic began, as Netflix and Amazon have provided varied, and much cheaper, content at home. "It has seen a bumper opening, the second-best in Bollywood ever, even on a non-holiday, mid-week day, when audiences don't go to theatres," said Girish Johar, a producer and trade analyst who tracks box-office figures. Movie critic Taran Adarsh said Pathaan, which marks Khan's return to the big screen after four years, sold about 556,000 tickets on the first day, just behind record-setter "Baahubali 2"'s 650,000 o...
By Rollo Ross and Danielle Broadway LOS ANGELES - "Naatu Naatu", the standout song in the Indian period film "RRR," has won a Golden Globe and a Critics Choice Award, garnered hundreds of millions of views on YouTube and spawned a TikTok challenge. On Tuesday, it received an Oscar nomination for best original song, making history as the first Indian feature film to be nominated for anything other than best international film at the Academy Awards. Composer M.M. Keeravani is confident the Oscar statuette is within reach at the ceremony in Hollywood on March 12. "Yeah, I can see the moment taking its root to the road high and higher, so all fingers crossed and I have full confidence in Oscar too,” he said during a recent interview with . Keeravani he found out about his nomination on Tuesday while at a recording studio in India doing a session with a programmer and some of his singers. "They were...
By Danielle Broadway LOS ANGELES - Angela Bassett made history on Tuesday as the first Marvel Cinematic Universe star to be nominated for an acting Oscar for her “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” role as Queen Ramonda. After being nominated in the best supporting actress category, Bassett paid tribute to the character she portrayed. “Wakanda Forever’s Queen Ramonda is a character that touched my spirit because she is a mother and a leader who must care for her grieving nation as much as she cares for her family in mourning,” Bassett said in a statement. Bassett is a favorite to win at the Oscar ceremony on March 12, having already secured a Golden Globe and a Critics Choice award for the role. The film secured four other nominations, including for visual effects and costume design. Bassett was previously nominated for a best actress Academy Award for her portrayal as Tina Turner in the biopic "What's Love Go...
By Jonathan Stempel NEW YORK - The creators of "Better Call Saul" on Tuesday asked a U.S. judge to dismiss Liberty Tax Service's lawsuit objecting to an episode of the hit crime drama, saying the case "stretches the reach of trademark and defamation laws beyond their breaking point." Liberty Tax had sued AMC Networks Inc and Sony Pictures Television Inc over the depiction of "Sweet Liberty Tax Services" in the April 18, 2022 episode "Carrot and Stick." The title character Saul Goodman, a shady lawyer also known as Jimmy McGill, was shown visiting Sweet Liberty in the New Mexico desert. Sweet Liberty was housed in a trailer featuring a Statute of Liberty inflatable and American flag motif, and used by former Goodman clients Craig and Betsy Kettleman to skim tax refunds. Liberty Tax said the depiction misled viewers into thinking Sweet Liberty was one of its more than 2,500 offices. But AMC and Sony...
PARIS - Giorgio Armani took to the haute couture catwalk in Paris Tuesday with evening wear spun from a traditional, diamond-patterned harlequin motif in pale pastels. Models moved steadily down a glossy runway carrying the motif, their clothing echoing the colors underfoot - pale pink, green and purple. The show opened with elegant trouser ensembles - black, satin pants paired with bolero jackets in pink as well as in emerald green. Slim gowns followed, the diamond patterns delineated with sparkling beadwork that shimmered with movement, often worn with matching shoes and mini handbags. At the end of the show, the 88-year old Italian designer took his bow in a dark, velvet suit jacket and tie, waving at the crowd before exiting with one of the models. Haute Couture Week in Paris runs through Thursday and features some of the most prestigious fashion houses, including Christian Dior, Chanel, Fendi and Jean P...
By Claudia Doerries BERLIN - Germany's reboot of the famous anti-war classic "All Quiet on the Western Front" landed nine Oscar nominations on Tuesday, including best picture, a haul that surprised its creators. The Netflix movie, the first German version of the epic 1929 novel by German author Erich Maria Remarque, was one of the most recognized films in the 2023 Oscar nods, behind "Everything Everywhere All at Once" with 11 and tied with "The Banshees of Inisherin". "Especially after a really hard movie to make, it's just a really nice gift to get," said director Edward Berger, who was filming in Rome when he learned of the nominations. Producer Malte Grunert said that after the film's 14 BAFTA nominations last week they had "no clue whether that would translate into Academy Awards nominations." When the film premiered in September at the Toronto International Film Festival, Berger had said he wanted to sha...
By Anett Rios and Alexander Frometa HAVANA - Grammy-winning U.S. jazz saxophonist-composer Ted Nash traveled to Cuba this week to perform with fellow musicians from the Caribbean island nation, part of a week-long celebration of jazz in the Cuban capital of Havana. Nash - one of the United States´ best-known contemporary jazz performers, will lead a project called Jazz X. He and several Cuban musicians will compose new works inspired by visual art in Cuba´s National Museum of Fine Arts, then present them together to the public in several sessions. Well-known Cuban musicians Alejandro Falcón, Arnulfo Guerra y Ruy López Nussa will perform alongside Nash. The project, Nash said, brings together musicians from the two countries, and art of different forms, in a fusion of creativity across cultures and mediums. "For me, there is no better time to talk about collaboration than the present," Nash said....
By Alvise Armellini ROME - Italian archaeologists on Tuesday said they may never find the remains of the opening stretch of ancient Rome's first highway, the Appian Way, because underground water makes it impossible to dig deep enough to reach it. Appius Claudius Caecus, a magistrate, started the Appian Way in the 4th century BC. It was known in ancient times as the "regina viarum", or queen of the roads, due to its importance connecting Rome to Brindisi, a port on the south-eastern tip of Italy with sea access to Greece and other parts of the eastern Mediterranean. In the Middle Ages, it was the pilgrims' route to the Holy Land. Its legendary "first mile" is believed to lie about eight metres (26.25 ft) underground next to the ancient Baths of Caracalla, but a months-long effort to unearth it is about to be abandoned as early as this week. Excavations have reached a depth of five to six metres, but "a very powerful gro...
By Dawn Chmielewski LOS ANGELES - “Avatar: The Way of Water" director James Cameron’s box office blockbuster failed to translate to industry acclaim, as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' members declined to nominate him on Tuesday for best director – one of the most notable Oscar snubs. Cameron was joined - in omission - by another box-office standout, actor Tom Cruise, whose starring role in “Top Gun: Maverick” wowed audiences but was overlooked in the best actor category. Both films did, however, land on the list of 10 nominees for best picture, joining audience-pleasing films such as the biopic "Elvis" and multiverse adventure comedy "Everything Everywhere All at Once". In a bid to remain relevant to younger audiences, the Academy expanded the number of nominees for best picture to up to 10 more than a dozen years ago and has nominated commercially successful films, breaking from a history of honoring mo...
By Diane Bartz and Moira Warburton WASHINGTON -Live Nation Entertainment's president apologized to pop star Taylor Swift and her fans for a major fiasco involving ticket sales for her concert tour, as a U.S. Senate hearing on competition in the ticketing industry began on Tuesday. Ticketmaster, which has been unpopular with fans for years, has drawn fresh heat from U.S. lawmakers over how it handled ticket sales for Swift's "Eras" tour, her first in five years. Experts say Ticketmaster commands more than 70% market share of primary ticket services for major U.S. concert venues. "We apologize to the fans, we apologize to Ms. Swift, we need to do better and we will do better," Joe Berchtold, who is chief financial officer of Ticketmaster parent Live Nation as well as its president, told the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. "In hindsight there are several things we could have done better – including staggering the sales ove...
MELBOURNE - Stefanos Tsitsipas produced a blockbuster performance to reach the Australian Open semi-final on Tuesday then sent out an invitation to actress Margot Robbie to come and support him. The Greek, who enjoys great support in Melbourne, surprised fans during his on-court interview after beating Czech Jiri Lehecka by admitting he was a big fan of Robbie, who most recently starred in the film "Babylon". "Australia is such a great country," Tsitsipas said. "I like a lot of Aussie things. One of my favourite actresses comes from here, Margot Robbie." Pushed to shed more light on his apparent crush by interviewer Jim Courier, the 24-year-old Tsitsipas added: "It would be nice to see her here one day," confirming that it was an invitation for her to come and watch. Tsitsipas will play Russian Karen Khachanov in his fourth Australian Open semi-final, hoping to go one step further than on the previous occasions....