By Alicia Powell
NEW YORK - Musical "The Phantom of the Opera" ended a record-breaking 35-year Broadway run on Sunday when, amid predictions that the show would one day return, teary-eyed cast members took a final bow alongside its original stars.
Composer Andrew Lloyd Webber dedicated the final Broadway performance to his son Nicholas, who died of gastric cancer last month.
"In the last few months I don't think... any of us thought that 'The Phantom' would go out quite with the bang it has. And so maybe it may come back, you never know...," Lloyd Webber told a packed audience from the stage after the show.
"It couldn't have gone out with a better performance."
His production, whose closure date was set last year following a sharp drop in ticket sales, is based on a novel by Gaston Leroux.
It was originally directed by Harold Prince and Broadway legends including Michael Crawford, who was the fir...
By Lisa Richwine
LOS ANGELES - Hollywood television and movie writers wrap up a critical vote this week as they push media companies to raise their pay or face a strike that would disrupt an industry recovering from the pandemic and under pressure to make streaming more profitable.
Negotiators for the Writers Guild of America (WGA) have asked the roughly 11,500 members to give them the power to call a strike after May 1 if contract talks break down. Voting closes on Monday and the tally is expected to be released shortly after.
The strike authorization vote is meant to turn up the heat on companies such as Netflix Inc and Walt Disney Co and convince them to raise the pay for writers, who say their compensation has suffered because of the streaming revolution, which resulted in shorter TV seasons and smaller residual payments.
"We feel like we've been undervalued for years," said John August, a screenwriter who sits on the Gu...
By Marie-Louise Gumuchian
- Wes Anderson, Ken Loach, Todd Haynes and Wim Wenders are among the directors who will compete for the top prize at next month's Cannes Film Festival, where a spate of Hollywood stars will also premiere their latest works on the famed Croisette waterfront.
At a press conference on Thursday, festival director Thierry Fremaux announced the line-up for the 76th edition of major cinema showcase from May 16-27.
Nineteen films will vie for the festival's coveted Palme d'Or prize, of which six are directed by women.
"It's a competition that will mix young filmmakers competing for the first time with veterans whose names and works we know," Fremaux said.
Loach returns to the festival with "The Old Oak", about Syrian refugees arriving in a former mining village in Britain, while Anderson brings his star-studded "Asteroid City", in which major events disrupt a junior stargazer convention....
- U.S. actor Jamie Foxx is recovering following "a medical complication", his daughter Corinne Foxx has said.
The Oscar winner was hospitalised in Atlanta, where he was filming a new comedy with actress Cameron Diaz, according to Hollywood industry publication Variety.
"We wanted to share that my father, Jamie Foxx, experienced a medical complication yesterday. Luckily, due to quick action and great care, he is already on his way to recovery," Corinne Foxx said in statement on behalf of the Foxx family shared on Instagram late on Wednesday.
"We know how beloved he is and appreciate your prayers. The family asks for privacy during this time."
She did not share any further details.
Foxx, 55, is known for films such as "Ray", "Collateral" and "Django Unchained".
(Reporting by Marie-Louise Gumuchian; Editing by Kim Coghill)...
By Lisa Richwine
LOS ANGELES - Boy wizard Harry Potter is headed to streaming television in a new series based on the beloved books by author J.K. Rowling.
Warner Bros Discovery announced the series on Wednesday as part of the company's plans for its Max streaming service, which combines HBO Max with unscripted programming from Discovery.
The seven Harry Potter books have sold more than 600 million copies worldwide. They were adapted into blockbuster movies starring Daniel Radcliffe that grossed $7.7 billion globally from 2001 to 2011.
The upcoming series will feature a new cast, and each season will be devoted to one of Rowling's books. The plan is for the series to unfold over 10 years.
"I'm looking forward to being part of this new adaptation which will allow for a degree of depth and detail only afforded by a long-form television series," Rowling said in a statement.
Max also announced tha...
LOS ANGELES - Reality television star Kim Kardashian will turn to acting in an upcoming season of FX network's anthology series "American Horror Story," co-creator Ryan Murphy said on Monday.
Kardashian will co-star with Emma Roberts in the show's upcoming 12th season, which is based on a forthcoming book called "Delicate Condition."
The novel, due for release in August, is described in online advertisements as a "thriller that follows a woman convinced a sinister figure is going to great lengths to make sure her pregnancy never happens."
Author Andrea Bartz calls it a "feminist update to 'Rosemary's Baby'."
Murphy said in a statement that "American Horror Story" writer Halley Feiffer had crafted "a fun, stylish and ultimately terrifying role especially for Kim, and this season is ambitious and unlike anything we have ever done."
The Hollywood Reporter first reported the news.
Kardashian became a...
LOS ANGELES - An animated series set in the sci-fi world of "Stranger Things" is in development at Netflix, part of the streaming service's efforts to expand the hit series into a wide-ranging franchise.
Netflix announced the series in a statement released on Monday but gave no title or release date and few details.
"We’ve always dreamed of an animated 'Stranger Things' in the vein of the Saturday morning cartoons that we grew up loving," the Duffer brothers, creators of the original "Stranger Things" series, said in the statement.
"Stranger Things" debuted on Netflix in 2016 and became the company's most-watched English language series. The show tells the story of a group of teenagers battling unusual happenings in the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana.
Netflix had previously announced that a "Stranger Things" spinoff show was in the works and a play that will debut at London's West End in November....
By Lisa Richwine
LOS ANGELES - Walt Disney Co on Friday unveiled plans for three new "Star Wars" movies, including one with Daisy Ridley reprising her role as a Jedi hero in a galaxy far, far away.
Ridley will play her character, Rey, in a story set 15 years after the events of the 2019 film "The Rise of Skywalker." The upcoming movie will focus on rebuilding the New Jedi Order as powers rise to tear it down, Disney said.
Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy announced the new projects in London at the annual Star Wars Celebration fan convention, where the actress took the stage to confirm her return to the blockbuster franchise.
Disney purchased Star Wars producer Lucasfilm in 2012 for $4 billion and released three hit films from 2015 to 2019 plus several TV series on the Disney+ streaming service.
Fans had been waiting to hear where Star Wars would head on the big screen.
The company had put a...
By Lisa Richwine
LOS ANGELES - Oscar-nominated actor Jeremy Renner said he was at fault in a New Year's Day snowplow accident that left him close to death and that he apologized to his family for putting them through the ordeal.
Renner, in an interview that aired on Walt Disney Co's ABC network on Thursday, said he was driving the plow after using it to pull one of the family's trucks out of the snow and onto pavement.
As the plow started to skid on ice, Renner said he became worried about the safety of his nephew, Alex, who had just unhooked the chains connecting the truck and the plow. Renner stuck one foot out of the plow to look back at Alex and did not set the parking brake.
The actor then lost his footing and fell out of the plow's cab.
"You shouldn’t be outside the vehicle when you’re operating it, you know what I mean? It's like driving a car with one foot out of the car," Renner, seated in a wheelcha...
LOS ANGELES - Grammy-winning rapper Coolio died from a fentanyl overdose, his manager said on Thursday, six months after the musician was found dead at a friend's home in Los Angeles at age 59.
Born Artis Leon Ivey Jr., Coolio was best known for his 1995 single "Gangsta's Paradise," from an album of the same name.
That song, a massive hit featured in the film "Dangerous Minds," won a Grammy Award for best rap solo performance the following year.
Coolio's manager, Jarez Posey, said the rapper's family had been informed on Thursday by the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office that the singer had died from a fentanyl overdose.
The coroner's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from .
Posey said the rapper's children planned to honor their father in future documentary and film projects.
Born in Pennsylvania in 1963, Coolio began performing as part of the West Coast hip-hop scene a...
By Danielle Broadway
- Johnny Depp's first live-action film since the widely watched defamation trial against ex-wife Amber Heard was selected as the opening movie for next month's Cannes Film Festival in France, organizers said on Wednesday.
The French-language film "Jeanne du Barry" stars director Maïwenn Le Besco, known as Maiwenn, as Jeanne Becu, a woman who rose from poverty to the circles of King Louis XV. Depp plays the king in the movie, which will have its world premiere at Cannes on May 16.
The “Pirates of the Caribbean” actor has made few film or TV appearances since his trial concluded in June 2022. He made surprise cameos at the MTV Video Music Awards and Rihanna's Savage X Fenty fashion show.
Depp also voiced an animated puffin in last month's "Johnny Puff: Secret Mission."
The actor is trying to rebuild his career after winning a near-total victory in his U.S. legal battle with Heard, a fellow a...
By Rollo Ross and Danielle Broadway
- When actor Russell Crowe began reading about the history of real-life Catholic priest Father Gabriele Amorth, who claimed to have performed over 50,000 exorcisms, he was intrigued.
“He left behind a whole bunch of his first-person experiences to read through. I think there are like a dozen books or something like that, you know. So, it was just his journey that really fascinated me to start with,” the 58-year-old said.
Crowe’s portrayal of Amorth in Sony’s horror flick “The Pope’s Exorcist” is based on the books the late priest left behind, which chronicled 36 years of exorcisms and other work for the Vatican. Amorth died in 2016.
“The Pope's Exorcist” begins its global release in theaters on Friday.
The haunting tale begins when an American widow named Julia, played by horror film veteran, Alex Essoe, moves into an old castle in Spain with her two children and they soo...
LOS ANGELES - Walt Disney Co is developing a live-action version of its animated movie hit "Moana," star Dwayne Johnson announced at the company's annual shareholder meeting on Monday.
"Moana" is set in ancient Polynesia and tells the story of a teenage girl who sets sail on an epic journey to help save her tribe.
The animated version was released in 2016 and racked up nearly $683 million at global box offices.
"I’m deeply humbled and overcome with gratitude to bring the beautiful story of Moana to the live-action big screen," said Johnson, who voiced the role of the demigod Maui in the original film.
"This story is my culture, and this story is emblematic of our people’s grace and warrior strength," said Johnson, whose mother is Samoan.
The actor said the new movie was in the early stages of development. No release date was announced.
(Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Mar...
By Rollo Ross and Danielle Broadway
LOS ANGELES - Actor Ben Affleck is hopeful for basketball legend Michael Jordan’s seal of approval after directing the biographical sports film, "Air," which is based on Jordan’s historic deal with the Nike shoe brand.
Despite glowing reviews from critics and audiences since its world premiere at the South by Southwest Film Festival in March, the retired Chicago Bull’s verdict on the movie still is not in. The movie premieres on Wednesday in theaters and will later stream on Amazon.com Inc's Prime Video.
A representative for Jordan did not respond to a request for comment about the film.
“I certainly wouldn't be comfortable with promoting the movie any further by assigning Michael’s vote of approval to it,” Affleck told . “I will tell you that every step was taken along the way to make sure that he had every option available to him because of the respect that we have for him.”...
By Sarah N. Lynch
WASHINGTON - Actor Leonardo DiCaprio was in federal court in Washington on Monday to testify in the trial of rapper Prakazrel "Pras" Michel of The Fugees hip hop group, who is accused of illegally taking tens of millions of dollars to lobby the U.S. government on behalf of a Malaysian financier and the Chinese government.
The "Titanic" star is one of several prominent figures linked to financier Jho Low, who is suspected of embezzling $4.5 billion from Malaysia's 1MDB sovereign wealth fund.
DiCaprio allegedly received a Picasso painting from Low, who was known to pay Hollywood celebrities to party with him. He has been cooperating with the U.S. government's investigation.
Michel is accused of profiting from an alleged embezzling scheme by Low, as well as a Chinese government influence campaign aimed at repatriating dissident Guo Wengui.
Michel faces 11 criminal counts for what prosecutors sai...
By Elaine Lies
TOKYO - Ryuichi Sakamoto, the Oscar-winning Japanese composer famed for his scores for "The Last Emperor", "Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence" and other films, has died aged 71, the Yomiuri Shimbun daily reported on Sunday.
Sakamoto was also known for his work with the pioneering electronic music band Yellow Magic Orchestra (YMO) which he co-founded.
Introduced to the piano as a toddler, Sakamoto lived for music. As a high schooler, he rode on Tokyo commuter carriages so packed nobody could move, amusing himself by counting all the different sounds the train made along the way.
Sakamoto, who described classical musician Claude Debussy as his hero, studied ethnomusicology at the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, with particular interest in the traditional music of Japan's Okinawa prefecture as well as Indian and African musical traditions.
"Asian music heavily influenced Debussy, and...
By Andrew Hay
- A Santa Fe judge on Friday was to consider a plea deal that could bring the first conviction for the 2021 shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins during filming of the Western movie "Rust" in New Mexico.
Dave Halls, first assistant director on "Rust," in January entered an agreement with prosecutors to plead no contest to the misdemeanor charge of negligent use of a deadly weapon for his role in Hutchins' death.
Santa Fe District Court Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer was to preside over a virtual hearing in Halls' case scheduled for noon ET on Friday.
Hutchins was killed when actor Alec Baldwin fired a live round from a revolver while rehearsing. As first assistant director, Halls was responsible for set safety on "Rust."
Baldwin pleaded not guilty to a criminal charge of involuntary manslaughter. Armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who was responsible for firearms safety and training, will ente...
By Hyunsu Yim
SEOUL - K-pop group Blackpink's Jisoo became the last member to make a solo debut with her EP "ME" released on Friday.
Having debuted in 2016, Blackpink has become one of the biggest girl groups in the world, breaking records such as having the most subscribers on YouTube as an artist.
Local media reported this week that the group would put on a joint performance with pop star Lady Gaga at a state dinner U.S. President Joe Biden will host for South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol in late April.
YG Entertainment, Blackpink's agency, said it was reviewing the offer, though the presidential office denied the reports on Friday.
"We have our concerts and Coachella in April as a group. We have great things coming up." Jisoo told fans in an online news conference.
Many meetings and a lot of thought went into her first record, she said, before adding that she was not nervous about her sol...
LOS ANGELES - A jury in Utah on Thursday found Oscar-winning actor Gwyneth Paltrow was not responsible for injuries sustained by a man during a ski slope collision at an upscale Park City resort in 2016.
(Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Leslie Adler)...
By Danielle Broadway
LOS ANGELES - Brie Larson, Michael Cera and other cast members from the 2010 film "Scott Pilgrim vs. The World" will return for an upcoming Netflix anime series based on the popular graphic novels about a slacker pursuing love.
Netflix posted a cast announcement video on YouTube and other social media platforms on Thursday. The show's development was announced in January 2022, but the voice actors had yet to be unveiled.
Cera will return to voice the lead role of Pilgrim, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead will speak as romantic interest Ramona Flowers. Other returning cast members include "The Marvels" actor Brie Larson as Envy Adams and "Captain America" star Chris Evans as Lucas Lee.
"The White Lotus" actor Aubrey Plaza and "Pitch Perfect" actor Anna Kendrick also will return to voice their previous roles.
"Scott Pilgrim" is based on graphic novels by Canadian comic book artist Bryan Lee O'Mall...