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  • Celebrity
Octavia Spencer, left, and Jessica Chastain.
Octavia Spencer, left, and Jessica Chastain. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

Some allies talk the talk. But Jessica Chastain also walks the walk, according to Octavia Spencer, whose wallet will be a lot fatter thanks to her costar standing in solidarity with her at the bargaining table. 

That’s the word out of the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, where both Spencer and Jada Pinkett Smith praised Chastain for putting action to her words about Hollywood’s pay inequality.

While appearing on a “Women Breaking Barriers” panel Saturday, Spencer shared a story she said she’d never told before: She and Chastain got together to do a film together, specifically a comedy, as Chastain was looking to break into the genre and Spencer was looking to move beyond period films. 

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

Helen Mirren will don another crown for the upcoming HBO-Sky miniseries “Catherine the Great.”

The four-part drama about the 18th century Russian empress is set to begin filming later this year, with the English dame who won her Academy Award for her modern take on Britain’s Elizabeth II in “The Queen” in a titular role she’s always wanted to play.

“Catherine the Great” delves into the politically tumultuous and sexually charged court of the most powerful female monarch in history, HBO and Sky said Thursday in a joint announcement.

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  • TV
  • Late-night

There are two types of people in the world: Those who speak “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and those who don’t. And Stephen Colbert helped to bridge that gap just a little by asking RuPaul for a vocabulary lesson. 

RuPaul Charles stopped by the “Late Show” on Wednesday night to promote the upcoming season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars.” The appearance also served as a reunion between the 69th Emmy Awards host and the living Emmy statue

After sharing some fond memories, Colbert took the opportunity to have the world’s most famous drag queen personally explain some Ru-isms. 

  • Music
Lynyrd Skynyrd has announced its final tour, starting May 4.
Lynyrd Skynyrd has announced its final tour, starting May 4. (Larry Papke / Associated Press)

Elton John isn’t the only music legend bidding adieu to touring life.

Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd on Thursday announced its final “Last of the Street Survivors Farewell Tour,” beginning May 4 in West Palm Beach, Fla.

“It’s hard to imagine, after all these years, the band that Ronnie Van Zant, Allen Collins and myself started back in Jacksonville, would resonate for this long and to so many generations of fans. I’m certain they are looking down from above, amazed that the music has touched so many,” original member Gary Rossington said in a press release Thursday.

David Copperfield.
David Copperfield. (Emma Summerton)

Illusionist David Copperfield has preemptively responded to sexual assault allegations, hours before a report detailed an alleged nonconsensual encounter in 1988 with a 17-year-old aspiring model.

The famed Las Vegas headliner is accused of drugging and assaulting Brittney Lewis after meeting her during a modeling contest he was judging, the Wrap said Wednesday. At the time, she was 17 and Copperfield was 32.

The Wrap said it spoke with at least five individuals who corroborated Lewis’ story, and Lewis said she reported the alleged incident to the FBI in 2007. The Times has not independently verified the allegations. 

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  • Celebrity
Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise (Angela Weiss / AFP / Getty Images)

“Mission: Impossible” franchise star Tom Cruise is on now on Instagram, joining the more than 800 million active users who rappelled onto the social media site before him. 

The actor’s first posts Thursday were purely promotional, giving a peek into the next “MI” movie and revealing the name: “Mission: Impossible — Fallout.” It will be the sixth movie in the series, which according to unadjusted Box Office Mojo numbers has grossed enough worldwide to give each active Instagram user about enough green to buy a gallon of gas. 

Also, it appears that Cruise is once again doing his own high-risk stunts, though we knew that already in August when he had that building-jumping mishap (as one does in one’s mid-50s). Totally wish he’d posted a POV helicopter shot he took himself … 

  • Birthdays
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

I'm proud to be mentioned with people like Jill Scott and Erykah Badu because I feel they are part of a breakthrough. … For years women relied on men for songs, but now women are expressing the truth of a new generation. That's my goal too.

  • TV
Candice Bergen is returning to television for CBS' revival of "Murphy Brown."
Candice Bergen is returning to television for CBS' revival of "Murphy Brown." (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

Welcome to 2018, where everything old is new again and everything new is an idea recycled from 20 years ago.

CBS announced Wednesday it is reviving classic sitcom “Murphy Brown” in the upcoming season, complete with original star Candice Bergen. 

The original series is approaching the 30th anniversary of its Nov. 14, 1988, premiere, and the political and cultural climate of the world could not be more different. 

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HBO announced Wednesday that Meryl Streep will join "Big Little Lies" for Season 2.
HBO announced Wednesday that Meryl Streep will join "Big Little Lies" for Season 2. (Brigitte Lacombe / HBO)

Buckle your seatbelts: “Big Little Lies” is bringing out the big guns. 

HBO announced Wednesday that three-time Oscar-winning actress Meryl Streep is joining the already-stacked cast of the limited series.

Streep is playing Mary Louise Wright, mother of the recently deceased Perry (Alexander Skarsgard), who comes to Monterey concerned about the welfare of her grandchildren and suspicious about her son’s death.

  • Music
Elton John is calling it a career, at least on the road.
Elton John is calling it a career, at least on the road. (Eric Gay / Associated Press)

In a live Vemo broadcast Wednesday morning, the superstar Elton John announced his retirement from touring — with a world tour that’s expected to last three years and touch down in Los Angeles early next year.

The “Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour,” he told interviewer Anderson Cooper at the media event, will be “the best production I’ve ever done.”  

Always the consummate showman, John turned the announcement into a buzzed-about affair. On his official website, the multiplatinum hitmaker placed a countdown clock set to expire at 9:30 a.m. Pacific, along with a teaser phrase drawn from one of his most famous songs: “I’ve finally found where my future lies,” a reference to his song and album “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.”