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Pandora – the World of Avatar could be a glimpse into how Disney and Fox will work together

 (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

Months before Disney moved to purchase much of Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox media company, it made a foray into bringing a Fox product to life.

In May, Disney opened Pandora — the World of Avatar in Animal Kingdom at the Orlando, Fla., resort of Walt Disney World.

The theme park is built in the universe of “Avatar,” James Cameron’s blockbuster film (and soon-to-be film series), and aims to immerse visitors in the fictional world of Pandora, with its overriding themes of conservation and exploration. 

“Avatar,” the top-grossing film of all time, was distributed by 20th Century Fox in 2009, and while speculation grows about how Disney might incorporate Fox brands into its theme parks, Pandora could be the key. 


XXXTentacion jailed again on charges of harassing a witness

Jahseh Onfroy, also known as the rapper XXXTentacion, in a booking photo from June. (Broward County Sherrif)
Jahseh Onfroy, also known as the rapper XXXTentacion, in a booking photo from June. (Broward County Sherrif)

The rapper XXXTentacion is back in jail in Florida on charges of  harassing a witness, according to new reports.

The seven new charges stem from a 2016 domestic violence case in which the rapper, born Jahseh Onfroy, was charged with battery of a pregnant woman and false imprisonment, among other offenses.

The new charges include four first-degree felonies and three second-degree felonies. If convicted, he could face multiple years in prison. 

In March, Onfroy was released from jail after pleading no contest to charges of armed home invasion robbery and aggravated battery with a firearm. He was out on bond when the new charges emerged. 

Onfroy was slated to perform at this weekend’s Rolling Loud festival in San Bernardino. His album “17” debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard charts and yielded two Top 40 singles. His next court appearance is set for Jan. 24.


Peter Jackson says Weinsteins blacklisted Ashley Judd, Mira Sorvino; Harvey Weinstein disagrees

Filmmaker Peter Jackson. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
Filmmaker Peter Jackson. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

After director Peter Jackson publicized his suspicion that actresses Ashley Judd and Mira Sorvino were blacklisted by Harvey Weinstein, the disgraced producer has denied the “Lord of the Rings” filmmaker’s accusations.

According to Jackson, the actresses had been chosen to star in his “Lord of the Rings” franchise when it was still under the umbrella of Weinstein’s Miramax studio, but contended that Weinstein intervened in the late 1990s.

“I recall Miramax telling us they were a nightmare to work with and we should avoid them at all costs,” Jackson told New Zealand’s Stuff on Thursday.

“At the time, we had no reason to question what these guys were telling us — but in hindsight, I realize that this was very likely the Miramax smear campaign in full swing,” he said. "I now suspect we were fed false information about both of these talented women — and as a direct result their names were removed from our casting list.”

"I remember this well,” Judd tweeted Thursday night in response to Jackson’s interview.

“Just seeing this after I awoke, I burst out crying,” Sorvino tweeted on Friday. “There it is, confirmation that Harvey Weinstein derailed my career, something I suspected but was unsure. Thank you Peter Jackson for being honest. I’m just heartsick.”

In a statement issued by his spokesperson on Friday, Weinstein rebutted Jackson’s account, explaining how Miramax lost the project to New Line Cinema, and refuted the notion that Judd and Sorvino were blacklisted.

“Mr. Weinstein has nothing but the utmost respect for Peter Jackson. However, as Mr. Jackson will probably remember, because [Miramax parent company] Disney would not finance the ‘Lord of the Rings,’ Miramax lost the project and all casting was done by New Line,” the statement said.

“While Bob and Harvey Weinstein were executive producers of the film they had no input into the casting whatsoever,” it continued.

“Until Ashley Judd wrote a piece for Variety two years ago, no one at the Company knew that she had a complaint and she was cast in two other films by Mr. Weinstein [‘Frida’ and ‘Crossing Over’] and Mira Sorvino was always considered for other films as well,” the statement said. “There was no indication that Mira Sorvino had any issues until Mr. Weinstein read about the complaints in the news.”

“Just seeing this after I awoke, I burst out crying,” Mira Sorvino tweeted Friday in response to Peter Jackson's comments. (Chris Pizzello / Invision)
“Just seeing this after I awoke, I burst out crying,” Mira Sorvino tweeted Friday in response to Peter Jackson's comments. (Chris Pizzello / Invision)

The statement also said that as recently as this year, Sorvino called Weinstein to ask if her husband, Christopher Backus, could be part of the “SEAL” television series he was producing. Weinstein said he cast him but allowed Backus “to amicably break his contact” to pursue a different opportunity.

Judd was among the first women to publicly accuse Weinstein of harassment this year, detailing encounters with the mogul and rebuffing his alleged advances in the New York Times story that broke the scandal wide open in October. Sorvino was also among the scores of accusers who detailed Weinstein’s alleged misconduct in the avalanche of accounts that followed.

Three-time Oscar winner Jackson, who described Weinstein and his brother, Bob Weinstein, as “behaving like second-rate Mafia bullies,” also said he feuded with the studio about the number of films in the franchise and has chosen not to work with the brothers since.


Going to the chapel: Prince Harry will marry Meghan Markle in May

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in Nottingham, England, earlier this month. (Chris Jackson / Getty Images)
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in Nottingham, England, earlier this month. (Chris Jackson / Getty Images)

Mark your calendars and start shopping for those fascinators: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have set their wedding date.

The British prince, currently fifth in line to the British throne, will wed the American “Suits” actress on May 19, 2018, Kensington Palace announced Friday.

As previously revealed, the nuptials will take place west of London at Windsor Castle in the 15th-century St. George’s Chapel. The castle is one of Queen Elizabeth II’s main residences, which she had to grant her grandson permission to use. The royal family will also pay for the festivities.

Harry, 33, and Markle, 36, announced their engagement late last month after about a year and a half together. Since then, they’ve sat down for an extended interview about their relationship and began jointly carrying out some of Harry’s official royal duties. Alas, Harry attended “The Last Jedi” premiere in London earlier this week with his brother, Prince William, as his plus-one.

Spring 2018 will also mark another special occasion for the royal family: William and his wife, Catherine, are expecting a baby in April. That child will move in front of Harry’s place in the line of succession.


Morgan Spurlock steps down from production company after sexual misconduct confession

 (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

On Wednesday, “Super Size Me” director Morgan Spurlock published an essay admitting his long history of sexual misconduct.

The next day, Spurlock stepped down from Warrior Poets, the New York-based production company he founded in 2004 with partners Jeremy Chilnick and Matthew Galkin. 

In response to Spurlock’s departure, Chilnick and Galkin released a statement Thursday afternoon with few specifics. 

“On behalf of Warrior Poets, we as partners have always supported our company and its endeavors. As of today, Morgan Spurlock will be stepping down effective immediately.

“We will continue to lead the company as equal partners, producing, distributing & creating from our independent production company,” the statement read.

In his missive shared on social media Wednesday afternoon, Spurlock detailed his own sexual misconduct throughout the years, including a rape accusation in college, a settled sexual harassment allegation and a lifelong history of infidelity.

“I’ve come to understand after months of these revelations, that I am not some innocent bystander, I am also a part of the problem,” Spurlock wrote.


Seth Meyers dissects Omarosa's sudden departure from Trump's White House

Another day, another departure from the Trump administration to be analyzed. 

Omarosa Manigault Newman, director of communications for the Office of the Public Liaison, departed her position Wednesday under seemingly mysterious circumstances.

Seth Meyers broke down Omarosa’s resignation on Thursday night’s episode of “Late Night,” with a little help from the news anchors who covered the story.

“Before she was fired, all anyone had ever heard about Omarosa’s time in the White House was that she held a photo shoot with her bridesmaids there in April before getting married,” Meyers said. “Oh my God, Trump’s staff treat the White House like tourists treat the M&M store.”

When making the morning-show rounds on Thursday, Omarosa denied claims that she made a fuss when informed her employment would be terminated in January. 

CNN contributor April Ryan reported Thursday that Omarosa had been escorted from the White House after protesting her dismissal. Not true, Omarosa told “Good Morning America.” In fact, she shared, she and Chief of Staff John Kelly discussed the matter in the Situation Room.

“Wow, the Situation Room,” Meyers said. “Though I have a feeling that any room Omarosa goes into becomes a situation room.

“Seriously,” Meyers added, “You know it’s bad when they have to fire you in the same place they killed Osama bin Laden.”

As cutting as Meyers’ observations were, no one had an icier response for Omarosa’s drama than “GMA” anchor Robin Roberts.

“She said she has a story to tell. I’m sure she’ll be selling that story,” Roberts predicted after Omarosa’s segment, before muttering, “Bye, Felicia.”

“I wish all news anchors signed off that way,” Meyers marveled. “That’s how Edward R. Murrow should have signed off during the McCarthy era: “Good night, good luck and bye, Felicia.”


A Star Is Born: Don Johnson turns 68 today

 (Robert Durell / Los Angeles Times)
(Robert Durell / Los Angeles Times)

Yeah, I can scream. I am difficult; you know why? Because I ask the question, 'Why?' That connotates difficult. Studios and directors don't want to be asked why. They just want you to do. Well, you know what, boys? I got a little problem with that.

Don Johnson, 1999



Here's when ABC will unveil its 'Roseanne' revival

The "Roseanne" revival will premiere March 27 on ABC. (ABC via Getty Images)
The "Roseanne" revival will premiere March 27 on ABC. (ABC via Getty Images)

The dates for the Connor family reunion have been set for 2018.

ABC’s nine-episode revival of “Roseanne” will get a special hourlong premiere on March 27. It will settle into its Tuesday time slot (8-8:30 p.m.), where it will serve as the lead-in for “The Middle,” starting April 3.

Roseanne Barr and the show’s entire cast — including John Goodman, Laurie Metcalf, Sara Gilbert, Lecy Goranson and Michael Fishman — will reprise their roles for the update of the groundbreaking family sitcom, which ran for nine seasons. The new batch of episodes also will feature new characters as well as returning guest-star favorites.

The revival will “explore life, death and everything in between,” according to the news release announcing its premiere date.

The original “Roseanne” ran on ABC from 1988 to 1997 and was lauded for its depiction of a relatable working-class family in Illinois.

Production on the new episodes is expected to wrap Friday in Studio City.


Reports: Actresses to wear black on Globes red carpet to protest gender inequality, harassment

Blake Lively arrives at the 74th Golden Globe Awards on Jan. 8. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)
Blake Lively arrives at the 74th Golden Globe Awards on Jan. 8. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

The Golden Globes’ red carpet might reflect a somber year of career-ending sexual harassment allegations. That is, if most actresses resolve to don black formal wear in protest of gender inequality, as several Thursday reports have indicated. 

According to Us Weekly and the Hollywood Reporter, women, including nominees and presenters, are planning to wear the dark shade to the Jan. 7 ceremony. The move is meant to acknowledge the wave of misconduct allegations that made landfall when the Harvey Weinstein misconduct scandal broke in October.

This, just a day after the Screen Actors Guild announced that the presenters at its respective SAG Awards will all be women. 

The prominent show of solidarity was originally planned among a small group of actresses, but as word spread through the industry, at least 30 actresses have said they plan to participate, Us reported. The growing list is said to include A-listers.

“This movement is spreading rampantly and pretty much all the nominated women and others attending are participating,” an insider told the mag. “All the stylists who already did fittings are now changing out their clients’ original picks for Globes.”

It’s obviously not the first time fashion has been harnessed to make a statement during the high-profile awards shows. Traditionally, nominees, presenters and their guests have been affixing colorful ribbons to their formal wear to bring attention to a cause.

In the days after 9/11 and the launch of U.S. airstrikes against Afghanistan, the Television Academy requested that attendees of the twice-postponed 53rd Primetime Emmy Awards wear dressy business attire out of respect for the national tragedy.

No festive red-carpet promenade took place ahead of the subdued show either. (A similar request was made by the film academy, which banned formal dress at the 1942 Oscars, following the bombing of Pearl Harbor.)

In 2014, the #AskHerMore campaign made a marked effort for actresses to be asked about matters beyond their appearance during red-carpet interviews. 


NYPD opens investigation into Russell Simmons as more sexual assault allegations surface

Russell Simmons, who has now been accused of sexual misconduct by at least 11 women, is being investigated by the New York Police Department. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
Russell Simmons, who has now been accused of sexual misconduct by at least 11 women, is being investigated by the New York Police Department. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Following at least 11 accusations of sexual misconduct against Russell Simmons — seven of which allegedly happened in New York City — the New York Police Department’s special victims unit has opened an investigation of the embattled music mogul.

A person at the NYPD who was not authorized to comment publicly and requested anonymity told the Los Angeles Times on Thursday that detectives are in the initial stages of reaching out to women who have alleged that Simmons assaulted them in New York.

Sherri Hines, who went by the name Sheri Sher when she was in the all-female hip-hop group Mercedes Ladies, told The Times on Thursday that she was contacted by the NYPD earlier in the day. She says Simmons raped her in his New York office around 1983.

Simmons’ attorney, Brad Rose, said late Thursday that his client “fully supports and will cooperate with the police inquiry and is confident of a swift resolution.”

Simmons has previously denied the claims of all the women accusing him of misconduct. On Instagram on Thursday he vowed to fight back against the allegations. 

“Today, I begin to properly defend myself. I will prove without any doubt that I am innocent of all rape charges,” he wrote, adding a #NotMe hashtag to his post.

On Nov. 19, The Times published an account from Keri Claussen Khalighi in which the former model said that in 1991, Simmons coerced her to perform oral sex and penetrated her anally against her will in his New York City apartment. A few days later, on Nov. 30, screenwriter Jenny Lumet wrote in the Hollywood Reporter that Simmons had also sexually violated her in 1991 at his New York home.

Russell Simmons accuser Sherri Hines told the Los Angeles Times on Thursday that the New York Police Department had contacted her. (Sherri Hines)
Russell Simmons accuser Sherri Hines told the Los Angeles Times on Thursday that the New York Police Department had contacted her. (Sherri Hines)

Simmons, the co-founder of Def Jam Recordings, denied both claims. On Dec. 13, The Times published another investigation in which five women accused Simmons of sexual misconduct; two of those alleged incidents, including an alleged rape, occurred in New York.

That same day, the New York Times reported the accounts of four additional women who said Simmons had behaved inappropriately with them; three of the claims alleged rape that took place in New York.

In response to this week's new allegations, Simmons said he has "never had a sexual encounter that was not consensual or lawful. Ever."

"We were made aware of the alleged crime through the media, and we anticipate there will be more who come forward," the NYPD source said. "We're in the process of setting up interviews and if any victims want to come forward, they should contact us."

Over the last two months, police departments in New York, Los Angeles and Beverly Hills have launched investigations into high-profile show business figures accused of sexual misconduct, most notably disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein. 

New York police are also investigating Weinstein, who has been accused of misbehavior ranging from harassment to rape by more than 50 women. The movie executive is also being investigated by the Los Angeles Police Department, including the claim of an Italian model-actress that Weinstein sexually assaulted her in an L.A. hotel room in 2013.

The Beverly Hills Police Department, meanwhile, is investigating filmmaker James Toback, who has been accused by more than 300 women of sexual misconduct. The investigation is one of 12 that have been launched by the Beverly Hills police focusing on sexual assault in Hollywood.

Hines, one of Simmons’ accusers, said an NYPD detective called her on Thursday, saying he was "representing the women that Mr. Simmons may have violated.” The two set up an interview for next week, Hines said.

"I'm appalled that Russell is sitting there calling these women liars and calling me a liar," Hines said. "I'm not trying to bash him, but you did what you did, and what you did in the dark comes to light."

Dec. 14, 4:29 p.m.: This post has been updated to reflect Simmons’ response.


Russell Simmons hits back against rape allegations

 (Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)
(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

Music mogul Russell Simmons took to Instagram on Thursday morning to fight back against the multiple sexual misconduct accusations levied against him in recent weeks. 

“Today, I begin to properly defend myself. I will prove without any doubt that I am innocent of all rape charges,” Simmons posted, alongside a stark black-and-white image with the hashtag #NOTME. 

Simmons’ response comes a day after stories in the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times revealed several new accusations of rape by women against the co-founder of record label Def Jam Recordings. Simmons has denied all allegations.

The accusations against Simmons first came to light in the L.A. Times’ Nov. 19 report detailing model Keri Claussen Khalighi’s allegations against Simmons and director Brett Ratner. 

In Simmons’ Instagram post, he said that he would focus Thursday on his first accuser, Khalighi, whose claim “created this insane pile on of my #MeToo.”

On Friday, he promised, he would address the accusations of Jenny Lumet

Simmons did not explain what “focusing” on his accusers meant, but advised followers to “Stay tuned! We’ll share information today...”

“My intention is not to diminish the #MeToo movement in anyway, but instead hold my accusers accountable,” Simmons said.

“Again, this is not a movement against or even in conjunction with #Metoo. It’s just a statement about my innocence.”


Mel Brooks' 'The Producers' to open the TCM Classic Film Festival

Mel Brooks will be part of the TCM Classic Film Festival next year. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)
Mel Brooks will be part of the TCM Classic Film Festival next year. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

The ninth TCM Classic Film Festival will open next year with a 50th anniversary screening of “The Producers.” The April 26 screening will mark the world premiere of a new restoration of the film, and Mel Brooks — director, writer, producer and actor — is expected to attend.

The film won an Oscar for Brooks for original screenplay and a nomination for supporting actor for Gene Wilder. It was later adapted into a stage musical that was then re-adapted back to the screen for a 2005 film.

In a statement, Ben Mankiewicz, “TCM Prime Time” host and official host of the TCM Classic Film Festival, said, “From ‘Blazing Saddles’ and ‘Young Frankenstein’ to ‘Spaceballs,’ Brooks' uniquely keen eye can both spoof and celebrate classic Hollywood.”

Next year’s festival will also honor writer and director Robert Benton, who is scheduled to attend and introduce screenings of 1979’s “Kramer vs. Kramer,” for which Benton won Oscars for directing and adapted screenplay, and 1984’s “Places in the Heart,” which scored Benton an Oscar for original screenplay.

Also scheduled for next year’s festival are “His Girl Friday,” “The Sea Wolf,” “Woman of the Year,” “To Have and Have Not,” the 1948 version of “Hamlet,” “The Set-Up,” “Throne of Blood,” “Bullitt,” the 1974 version of “The Taking of Pelham One Two Three” and the 1979 version of “The Black Stallion.”

The TCM Classic Film Festival will take place in Hollywood April 26-29. 


Oprah Winfrey to receive Cecil B. DeMille prize at 2018 Golden Globes

 (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)
(Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

Former daytime TV queen Oprah Winfrey will receive the 2018 Cecil B. DeMille Award at the Golden Globe Awards next month, the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. announced Wednesday.

“What an honor,” the OWN exec tweeted in response to the news. (Alas, her response was not “You get a Golden Globe! And you get a Globe! And I get a Globe!”)

The HFPA board of directors selected the influential industry mogul for her “outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment.”

“For generations, Oprah has celebrated strong female characters on and off screen, and has been a role model for women and young girls for decades,” said Meher Tatna, president of the HFPA, in a statement.

“Holding titles such as chairman, CEO, and founder, Oprah is one of the most influential women of our time, and this honor is well deserved especially in this 75th anniversary year of the Golden Globe Awards.”

MORE: The complete list of 2019 Golden Globe Award nominees

Though she has never won a Golden Globe, Winfrey, 63, was previously nominated for the supporting actress prize for “The Color Purple” (1985), earned critical acclaim in “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” (2013) and produced and acted in the Golden Globe-winning “Selma” (2014). She’ll next appear as Mrs. Which in Disney and director Ava DuVernay’s adaptation of “A Wrinkle in Time.”

The 75th Golden Globe Awards, hosted by Seth Meyers, will take place on Jan. 7, airing live on NBC.


Tavis Smiley vows to fight back against sexual misconduct allegations

 (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)
(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Tavis Smiley is fighting back against sexual misconduct accusations that resulted in PBS suspending distribution of his late-night talk show.

In a Facebook video posted Wednesday evening, the “Tavis Smiley” host said that he was shocked by the announcement from PBS, stating that Variety knew before he did. 

“I have the utmost respect for women and celebrate the courage of those who have come forth to tell their truth,” Smiley said. “To be clear, I have never groped, coerced, or exposed myself inappropriately to any workplace colleague in my entire broadcast career, covering six networks over 30 years.”

“Never,” Smiley added. “Ever. Never.”

PBS enlisted an outside law firm to investigate “troubling accusations” against Smiley, according to a statement released Wednesday. 

“This investigation included interviews with witnesses as well as with Mr. Smiley,” the statement said. “The inquiry uncovered multiple, credible allegations of conduct that is inconsistent with the values and standards of PBS, and the totality of this information led to [Wednesday’s] decision.”

Smiley contended that PBS investigators interviewed him only after he learned of the inquiry secondhand. 

“If having a consensual relationship with a colleague years ago is the stuff that leads to this kind of public humiliation and personal destruction, heaven help us,” Smiley said. 

He then claimed that PBS investigators refused to provide him with the name of his accusers, to speak to his current staff or even look at any of Smiley’s personal documentation. 

Almost immediately after his meeting with investigators, Smiley said, the story broke in Variety. 

Smiley contends that the PBS investigation was sloppy and has tarnished a reputation he has worked a lifetime to establish. 

“This has gone too far,” Smiley said. “And, I, for one, intend to fight back.”

“Following receipt of a complaint, PBS hired an independent law firm to conduct an investigation and we stand by its integrity,” a PBS spokesperson said in a statement provided to The Times’ Thursday morning.

“The totality of the investigation, which included Mr. Smiley, revealed a pattern of multiple relationships with subordinates over many years, and other conduct inconsistent with the values and standards of PBS.”


11:30 a.m.: This article was updated with a statement from PBS.

This article was originally published at 9:03 a.m.


Alia Shawkat and John Cho to host Spirit Awards nominees brunch

John Cho and Alia Shawkat will host the Spirit Awards brunch and announce the winners of five cash grants. (Film Independent)
John Cho and Alia Shawkat will host the Spirit Awards brunch and announce the winners of five cash grants. (Film Independent)

Alia Shawkat and John Cho will host the upcoming Spirit Awards nominees brunch on Jan. 6 and announce the winners of five cash grants. (What independent filmmaker couldn’t use actual money instead of just a trophy?)

“John Cho and Alia Shawkat are both such fantastically talented actors, in independent film and beyond, so we couldn't be happier to have them hosting our Spirit Awards brunch,” Josh Welsh, president of Film Independent, which puts on the Spirit Awards, said in a statement.

Also in a statement, Shawkat captured the freewheeling spirit of the event: “I’m very excited to host the Spirit Awards brunch, as I love brunch and independent cinema.”

This will mark the first year for the Bonnie Award, named for Bonnie Tiburzi Caputo, the first female pilot to fly for a major U.S. airline. The $50,000 unrestricted grant goes to a mid-career female director. This year’s nominees are So Yong Kim, Lynn Shelton and Chloé Zhao.

This also will be the first year for the Seattle Story Award, which includes a $25,000 cash grant to create a short film inspired by the city of Seattle, which will premiere during the broadcast of the Spirit Awards.

There will be three other unrestricted $25,000 cash grants announced.

The Truer Than Fiction award is presented to an emerging director of nonfiction features. The nominees are Shevaun Mizrahi (“Distant Constellation”), Jonathan Olshefski (“Quest”) and Jeff Unay (“The Cage Fighter”).

The Someone to Watch award recognizes a filmmaker of singular vision who has not received appropriate recognition. This year’s nominees are Amman Abbasi (“Dayveon”), Justin Chon (“Gook”) and Kevin Phillips (“Super Dark Times”).

The Producers Award honors emerging producers who demonstrate creativity, tenacity and vision. The nominees are Ben LeClair, Summer Shelton and the team of Giulia Caruso and Ki Jin Kim.

The Spirit Awards ceremony is March 3.


Stephen Colbert celebrates Roy Moore's loss with a special cowboy ballad

Stephen Colbert had so many feelings about Roy Moore’s loss that he had to sing about it. 

The “Late Show” host kicked off Wednesday night’s episode addressing the biggest night for Democrats since Nov. 7: Doug Jones winning Alabama’s Senate race. 

“If you’ll excuse me, I’m a little shaky tonight,” said Colbert at the top of his show. “Because my heart has been hurting all day due to a condition my doctor calls ‘hope.’”

He hasn’t had much use for that word with the never-ending deluge of bad news this year, Colbert explained.

“But through the rubble of 2017 there was a glimmer of light,” he continued. “Because last night Roy Moore lost to Doug Jones in Alabama.” 

Colbert noted that Jones is the first Democrat to win an Alabama Senate seat in 25 years. Meaning “the last time Alabama elected a Democratic senator the biggest movie was ‘Aladdin.’” 

Of course, Colbert acknowledged that Moore’s defeat was not necessarily the state electorate’s rebuke of an alleged child molester — only 30% of white voters actually punched their ballot for Jones. Black voters, who overwhelmingly voted for Jones, deserve all the credit for Jones’ narrow victory, he said. 

Colbert even debuted a new song to celebrate the occasion, a cowboy ballad called “The Legend of Roy Moore.” 

“Gather ’round folks you’ll hear a song, a song of a candidate man,” sang Colbert. “A man who rode across the land, touching teens with his hand.” 

Listen to the song above. 


Philip Seymour Hoffman's partner opens up about his addiction and the relapse that led to his death

Illuminating the late Philip Seymour Hoffman’s longtime struggle with addiction, Mimi O’Donnell, his partner and mother of his three children, opened up about their relationship in a heartbreaking new essay for Vogue.

O’Donnell also wrote about the triggers that led to Hoffman’s relapse after two decades of sobriety and his death at age 46.

The Oscar-winning “Capote” star died of an overdose in 2014 involving a powerful cocktail of drugs. Hoffman’s body was found in the bathroom of his New York apartment with a syringe still in his forearm — heroin, cocaine, benzodiazepines and amphetamine were found in his system, causing “acute drug intoxication,” the coroner’s report said.

“I had been expecting him to die since the day he started using again, but when it finally happened, it hit me with brutal force. I wasn’t prepared. There was no sense of peace or relief, just ferocious pain and overwhelming loss. The most difficult — the impossible — thing was thinking, How do I tell my kids that their dad just died? What are the words?” she wrote in her essay, published Wednesday.

The costume designer-turned-director and producer said Hoffman had been frank about his addiction and stints in rehab when they started dating in 2001.

“Being sober and a recovering addict was, along with acting and directing, very much the focus of his life,” O’Donnell wrote. “But he was aware that just because he was clean didn’t mean the addiction had gone away.”

I had been expecting him to die since the day he started using again, but when it finally happened it hit me with brutal force. I wasn’t prepared. There was no sense of peace or relief, just ferocious pain and overwhelming loss.

Mimi O'Donnell on Philip Seymour Hoffman's death

 As his career picked up after 2005’s “Capote” and their schedules brimmed fuller, the family implemented an informal rule to never spend more than two weeks apart. Hoffman insisted on it and flew O’Donnell and their children — Cooper, Tallulah and Willa — to his filming locations, no matter the conditions. “We’re all doing it together,” he would say.

“I wonder whether Phil somehow knew that he was going to die young. He never said those words, but he lived his life as if time was precious. Maybe he just knew what was important to him and where he wanted to invest his love,” O’Donnell wrote. 

O’Donnell hesitated to ascribe “The Master” star’s 2012 relapse to just one thing. There were several triggers, she said, some “common to men in their 40s” and others were more specific, including his discomfort with celebrity, the death of his longtime therapist and a falling out with his AA friends.

“Phil had a love/hate relationship with acting,” she said. “The thing he hated most was the loss of anonymity. He was making film after film — we had a big family and had bought a bigger apartment — and AA started to get short shrift. He’d been sober for so long that nobody seemed to notice. But something was brewing.”

Philip Seymour Hoffman: 8 unforgettable roles

Hoffman began wanting to drink again, and did, despite O’Donnell’s telling him it was a terrible idea. It was a red flag that eventually led him back to drug use. After he closed “Death of a Salesman” on Broadway in the summer of 2012, he started using prescription drugs again, then heroin.

“As soon as Phil started using heroin again, I sensed it, terrified. I told him, ‘You’re going to die. That’s what happens with heroin,’ ” she said.

Hoffman checked himself in and out of rehab repeatedly, and though he maintained sobriety occasionally, “it was a struggle, heartbreaking to watch,” O’Donnell said.

“It happened so quickly,” she wrote. “Phil came home from Atlanta [where he was shooting ‘Hunger Games’], and I called a few people and said that we needed to keep an eye on him. Then he started using again, and three days later he was dead.”


Morgan Spurlock pens sexual harassment confession: 'I am part of the problem'

 (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

“Super Size Me” director Morgan Spurlock published an essay Wednesday night that opened up in great detail about his own sexual misconduct.

The confession comes after months of women — and men — stepped forward with allegations of sexual harassment against high-profile men, both inside and outside the workplace.

“As I sit around watching hero after hero, man after man, fall at the realization of their past indiscretions, I don’t sit by and wonder ‘who will be next?’ I wonder, ‘when will they come for me?’” Spurlock wrote in the essay linked to his verified Twitter account. 

“I can’t blindly act as though I didn’t somehow play a part in this,” he continued, “And if I’m going [to] truly represent myself as someone who has built a career on finding the truth, then it’s time for me to be truthful as well.”

Spurlock discussed an incident in college which he thought was a drunken one-night stand gone wrong, but the woman felt was rape. 

“She said she didn’t want to have sex, so we laid together, and talked, and kissed, and laughed,” Spurlock wrote, “And then we started having sex.”

The director confessed that he had settled a sexual harassment allegation at his office, after a female assistant whom Spurlock had routinely referred to as “hot pants” or “sex pants” quit and demanded a settlement. 

“Being who I was, it was the last thing I wanted, so of course, I paid,” Spurlock wrote. “I paid for peace of mind. I paid for her silence and cooperation. Most of all, I paid so I could remain who I was.”

Spurlock also admitted to a lifetime of infidelity, having cheated on every wife or girlfriend he’s ever had. 

“I hurt them. And I hate it. But it didn’t make me stop. The worst part is, I’m someone who consistently hurts those closest to me,” he wrote.

Spurlock concluded his essay by pondering what made him this way, be it ego or sexual abuse suffered as a child or alcoholism or depression or his parents’ divorce. 

Regardless, Spurlock said he was determined to rectify his behavior.

“The only individual I have control over is me. So starting today, I’m going to be more honest with you and myself,” he wrote. “I’m going to lay it all out in the open. Maybe that will be a start. Who knows. But I do know I've talked enough in my life ... I'm finally ready to listen.”


A Star Is Born: Tori Kelly turns 25 today

 (Liz O. Baylen / Los Angeles Times)
(Liz O. Baylen / Los Angeles Times)

I'm happy [fame] didn't happen for me as a kid because I really got to figure out who I am. But it's an ongoing thing, though. Even if you start to do well, there's still that argument of doubt.

Tori Kelly, 2015

Here are the 2018 SAG Awards nominees' reactions to their nods

The on-camera talent recognized during the 24th Screen Actors Guild Award nominations on Wednesday shared their excitement and gratitude for the special honor bestowed upon them by the acting community.

The SAG Awards serve up laurels for actors and ensemble casts working in television and film as voted by their peers. The awards show, hosted by “The Good Place” star Kristen Bell, will take place on Jan. 21.

LIST: The 2018 SAG Award nominees

In statements to the Los Angeles Times, several nominees repeatedly thanked their drama families, particularly the casts and crews of their respective projects. Here’s what some of them had to say about the recognition:

Alison Brie. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)
Alison Brie. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

Alison Brie, "GLOW"

“It is such a great honor to be recognized by my fellow actors with this nomination. I am so proud to be part of a show that celebrates the craft of acting, with all its pitfalls and glories, and to be able to work with such a diverse group of insanely talented women. ‘GLOW’ has meant the world to me and I’m deeply thankful for this recognition for me and the cast. Thank you SAG-AFTRA!!”

Millie Bobby Brown. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
Millie Bobby Brown. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

Millie Bobby Brown, "Stranger Things"

“Screen Actors Guild! Thank you SO much for recognizing me and our cast for the second year in a row! This means the world coming from you, our peers. I am so lucky and honored to have the privilege of playing Eleven — a strong, powerful, badass, strange, wonderful character! Can’t wait to celebrate with my ‘Stranger Things’ family!”

Timothée​​​​​​​ Chalamet. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)
Timothée​​​​​​​ Chalamet. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

Timothée Chalamet, “Call Me By Your Name”

“What an incredible morning! This nomination is very close to my heart because it’s from the actor. When we made ‘Call Me By Your Name,’ we had no idea what it would turn into. The experience in making the film with Armie [Hammer] was so special, and yet, we just didn’t know. Simply put, I’ve been blown away by the response this film has received. And, to be included in ensemble along with my ‘Lady Bird’ family (congrats, Saoirse [Ronan]!) makes this recognition that much more special.”

David Harbour. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)
David Harbour. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

David Harbour, “Stranger Things”

”If it isn’t wildly apparent by now, I’ll say it directly — I love actors! To be recognized by my peers in such distinguished company gives me a special joy. And Millie [Bobby Brown] and the show! Beyond.

“When I act, when I create, I feel alive, full to bursting, and I feel of service to the mysterious goodness that firmly exists in this world. I have been rewarded with a life that indulges in the primacy of self, but at its core and at its purest and its best, it is a life of service. A service to audiences. To prod and poke when necessary, to comfort and entertain when times seem dark, to ever expand the human experience, to offer a reason to live, to celebrate to the gods the great gift and scourge that is consciousness. Sometimes it means expressing iron intellect and rigorous truth that bonds us all in the achingly profound wisdom of no escape. Sometimes it means revealing the intimate moments of endurance, of unexpected kindness, unasked for love. And sometimes it simply means making a fierce and joyful noise, to spin, to twirl, to throw your hands up with the relentless dips and climb aboard this roller coaster of life. Ya know, to dance. *insert Hopper dancing gif*

“Thank you for recognizing me, as it might mean it’ll be easier to get more jobs doing it.”

Sally Hawkins. (Kerry Hayes / Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Sally Hawkins. (Kerry Hayes / Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Sally Hawkins, “The Shape of Water”

“I am beyond thrilled to have received the honor of this nomination. And to receive it from fellow colleagues is huge to me. Guillermo [del Toro], this film and the entire cast and crew hold a very special place in my heart and always will. Each and every one of them made me better. I am truly delighted more than I can really express in words but my heart is fit to burst with pride for us all. Thank you dearest SAG members. Thank you for your embrace."

Sean Hayes. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
Sean Hayes. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Sean Hayes, “Will & Grace”

“I am so honored to be recognized in this category with these extraordinary actors. I love acting because I love actors.  I also like to bake sometimes.”




Richard Jenkins. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)
Richard Jenkins. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

Richard Jenkins, “The Shape of Water“

“I am thrilled and humbled to be nominated by my peers for a SAG Award. This union is very close to my heart. Well, the SAG card is in my wallet, so it’s a little further south.”



Zoe Kazan. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
Zoe Kazan. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Zoe Kazan, “The Big Sick”

“Thank you to SAG for honoring ‘The Big Sick’ ensemble with a nomination. It means so much to us, especially from our acting peers. I am deeply proud to be a part of this film and to have brought Kumail [Nanjiani] and  Emily [V. Gordon]’s story into the world, especially at this time. We are particularly moved to have been recognized as an ensemble, as this was such an extraordinary collaborative experience  I'm excited to be reunited once more with my movie family, and to share this with Kumail, Holly [Hunter], Ray [Romano], Zenobia [Shroff], Anupam [Kher], and Adeel [Akhtar]— and everyone else who helped bring ‘The Big Sick’ to life.”

Nicole Kidman. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)
Nicole Kidman. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

Nicole Kidman, "Big Little Lies"

“What an amazing morning! Thank you to SAG-AFTRA for recognizing ‘Big Little Lies’ in such a significant way. I’ve been acting since I was 14 and have dedicated an enormous amount of my life to my craft so to be acknowledged by my acting family is the most incredible honor.”

Jason Bateman and Laura Linney. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)
Jason Bateman and Laura Linney. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

Laura Linney, "Ozark"

“I am so proud to be included in a list of such wonderful actresses who have raised the bar so high. What an amazing year for women in television. And I am especially proud to be representing ‘Ozark’ with my TV spouse, the ever deserving Jason Bateman! Thank you SAG-AFTRA!”

Marc Maron. (Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)
Marc Maron. (Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)

Marc Maron, “GLOW”

“I am stunned and excited to be recognized by other actors in this way. I really never thought this was possible in my life. It helps to be surrounded by amazing actors and to have such a defined and well written character as Sam Sylvia and to be on a show as unique as ‘GLOW.’ I am just a small part. So, thanks SAG for recognizing me and the mind-blowing ensemble that is ‘GLOW.’”

Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)
Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon, "The Big Sick"

“We are so lucky to have been graced with the enormous talents of every single member of our cast. They each put a piece of themselves into our story and we are thrilled at being recognized. Thank you. And a special shout out to Holly Hunter’s individual nomination!

“Now we have to go tell our real parents that they aren’t actually nominated.”

Bob Odenkirk. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)
Bob Odenkirk. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

Bob Odenkirk, “Better Call Saul”

“I am thrilled to get this nomination from my fellow actors! At ‘Better Call Saul’ I am surrounded by an ensemble of excellence — Michael McKean, Rhea Seehorn, Jonathan Banks, everybody raises my game. Thank you to SAG-AFTRA.”

Gary Oldman. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)
Gary Oldman. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

Gary Oldman, "The Darkest Hour"

“No actor could ever deny the special satisfaction that comes from being recognized by your fellow artists … we all share the same challenges, insecurities, and uncertainties, chief among them, the question ‘am I any good?’… this nomination, and in the wonderful company of the other nominees, is so very satisfying.”

Margot Robbie. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)
Margot Robbie. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

Margot Robbie, “I, Tonya”

“I'm so incredibly moved and excited to be nominated by my fellow actors. I feel very fortunate to be able to have had the opportunity to bring Tonya's story to the big screen. Thank you to Steven [Rogers] for his brilliant and unique script, to Allison [Janney] and Sebastian [Stan] for being such incredible screen partners and to Craig [Gillespie] for his amazing direction and perfectly capturing the tone and essence of the film. I'm so honored to be recognized among the truly powerful and wonderful women in the category. I can't wait to celebrate with everyone.”

Sam Rockwell. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)
Sam Rockwell. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

“It is such an honor to be nominated by your fellow actors, I have been a proud member of the Screen Actors Guild for as long as I can remember. To share it with this wonderful ensemble whom I have had the pleasure to work with over the years and others I got to collaborate with for the first time is truly special. I want to thank Martin McDonagh, our director and writer, for crafting these characters, as well as Woody [Harrelson], Fran [McDormand] and the rest of the cast who brought the town of Ebbing to life on screen. I am thrilled.”

Ray Romano. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)
Ray Romano. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

Ray Romano, “The Big Sick”

“This is awesome but I won’t believe it till the recount.”



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