Today in Entertainment: Jamie Foxx announces Hurricane Harvey relief telethon; ‘Simpsons’ fires longtime composer Alf Clausen
Here’s what’s new and interesting in entertainment and the arts:
- Newly reopened Angels Flight has long been a popular L.A. shooting location
- Jamie Foxx announces telethon for Hurricane Harvey relief
- Gwyneth Paltrow admits she’s screwed up plenty of relationships
- Longtime ‘Simpsons’ composer Alf Clausen exits the show after 27 years
- Firefighter who resuscitated Princess Diana remembers her final moments on 20th anniversary of her death
- Instead of statues, Trevor Noah and Roy Wood Jr. have another idea for honoring Confederate history
‘True Detective’ season three, starring Oscar winner Mahershala Ali, is officially confirmed at HBO
During the HBO executive session at the summer edition of the Television Critics Assn. press tour, programming president Casey Bloys confirmed reports that “Moonlight” Oscar winner Mahershala Ali would star in a third season of “True Detective.” Although he was mum at the time on when it might happen, he did say that he had read five scripts and thought they were “terrific.”
Thursday night, the premium pay cabler released a statement officially confirming that the series will indeed return for a third installment.
While no episode count or premiere date was included in the release, an enclosed synopsis stated that the next iteration of the show “tells the story of a macabre crime in the heart of the Ozarks, and a mystery that deepens over decades and plays out in three separate time periods.”
Ali will star as Wayne Hays, a state police detective from northwest Arkansas. (Ali follows in the footsteps of season one stars, and continuing executive producers, Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, and season two’s Colin Farrell and Vince Vaughn. No word yet on whether he’ll have a partner.)
The show will once again be helmed by creator Nic Pizzolatto, who penned all the episodes of the upcoming series, save the fourth, which he co-wrote with David Milch (“Deadwood,” “NYPD Blue”). He will share directing duties with fellow executive producer Jeremy Saulnier (“Blue Ruin.”)
“I’m tremendously thrilled to be working with artists at the level of Mahershala and Jeremy,” said Pizzolatto in a statement. “I hope the material can do justice to their talents, and we’re all very excited to tell this story.”
Bloys noted that “Nic has written truly remarkable scripts. With his ambitious vision and Mahershala Ali and Jeremy Saulnier aboard, we are excited to embark on the next installment of ‘True Detective.’ ”
Newly reopened Angels Flight has long been a popular L.A. shooting location
It’s among the more unusual landmarks in Los Angeles, a short, steep railway that gets people up and down a single hill. So it makes sense that Angels Flight has been featured in many movies and television shows over the years.
Angels Flight resumed regular service Thursday after being closed since 2013 (it did operate for one day of shooting on “La La Land”). It remains to be seen if it starts to appear again in movies and television shows. (Not that it ever really stopped.)
Speaking to The Times at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival, “La La Land” star Ryan Gosling reflected on the use of historic locations in the movie.
“This was an opportunity to show an L.A. that’s still there.... You’ve got to squint your eyes a little, but there are still places in L.A. that are still part of the golden years of Los Angeles when Hollywood was in its heyday,” Gosling said.
“I lived around the corner for a long time from Angels Flight and Grand Central Market, although I never got to ride Angels Flight because it had been shut down,” Gosling added. “Those places are still there... these gems that are there, and we were able to shoot them one by one.”
The small piece of land next to the top of Angels Flight, known as Angels Knoll, was also prominently featured in “(500) Days of Summer.”
The location has appeared in a wide variety of movies over the years, as early as 1916’s “Good Night, Nurse,” 1918’s “Up She Goes” and 1920’s “All Jazzed Up.” It has also had high-profile cameos in “Act of Violence” (1949), “M” (1951), “Kiss Me Deadly” (1955), “The Exiles” (1961), “The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies” (1963) -- all the way up to to 2011’s “The Muppets” and last year’s “La La Land.”
And on television, Angels Flight has been seen on “Perry Mason,” “Dragnet” and the recent series “Bosch.”
Jamie Foxx announces telethon for Harvey relief
In an Instagram post where the actor revealed his own donation of $25,000 to GlobalGiving, Foxx also shared preliminary plans for the upcoming benefit.
“From a fellow Texan, my heart goes out. My prayers go out,” Foxx, from Terrell east of Dallas, said. “September 12 we have a telethon that we’re doing. We’ll give you more details, so we can raise as much money as we can for everybody down there.”
Scooter Braun, talent manager and mastermind of One Love Manchester, is helming the event along with rapper and Houston native Bun B.
TMZ reported that Foxx, Reese Witherspoon, Blake Shelton, Hilary Duff and Michael Strahan are all involved with the project, with commitments from the four major broadcast networks to air the special for an hour on Sept. 12.
In an interview with TMZ, Bun B said that fellow Houston natives Beyoncé and Jim Parsons are high on his wish list for the telethon. The outlet also reported that Bun B would only want President Trump’s presence if it was via a show of unity with other former presidents.
Solange also announced Wednesday that she will be holding a benefit show at Boston’s Orpheum Theatre on Sept. 28. Featuring the Sun Ra Arkestra, the performance is titled “Orion’s Rise” and all proceeds will go to Hurricane Harvey relief.
Gwyneth Paltrow’s love life? Yeah, she admits she’s screwed up plenty of relationships
Gwyneth Paltrow takes full responsibility for her romantic failings.
She admitted as much in a recent interview with the podcast Girlboss Radio, during which Paltrow went deep on some of her lost loves.
“Oh, my god, I’ve [screwed] up so many relationships, so many,” Paltrow said. “I’m actually a pretty good friend and a good sister and a daughter and a mother, but I am at my potentially most vulnerable … in the romantic slice of the pie. So it’s taken me a lot of work to get to the place where I have a good romantic relationship.”
Paltrow “consciously uncoupled” from ex-husband Chris Martin in 2014 after 10 years of marriage and has been romantically linked to “American Horror Story” creator Brad Falchuk for the past three years.
On Girlboss Radio, Paltrow sent a shout-out to former beau Brad Pitt, whom she dated from 1994 through 1997, and was at one point engaged to.
“I [screwed] that up, Brad,” Paltrow said.
Paltrow also delved into her experiences as founder and CEO of her lifestyle brand Goop, sharing that once she’s in the boardroom with investors, no one cares if she’s a celebrity.
“I go into the room, and for the first 90 seconds, I’m Gwyneth Paltrow,” she said. “And they’re like, ‘Oh, my god, my wife loves you .... And then, about 90 seconds later, I’m just getting grilled like anyone else.”
But she doesn’t get offended; she relishes the challenge.
“It was such a beautiful chapter of my life when I started raising [venture capital financing], because it knocked me down so many pegs. I was like, ‘Oh, I’m, like, no one. I’m nothing. This [stuff] is real.’ I have to know the most granular aspects of my business and be able to defend it. The celebrity just completely drains out of the room. It’s irrelevant,” she said.
Paltrow’s full conversation with Sophia Amoruso can be streamed at Girlboss.
Longtime ‘Simpsons’ composer Alf Clausen fired from the show after 27 years
When the 29th season of “The Simpsons” premieres in the fall, it will, for the first time in decades, be doing so without its longtime musical contributor, Alf Clausen.
Clausen, who composed the Fox animated show’s incidental music, was told that the show was looking for “a different kind of music” moving forward, according to Variety.
Clausen confirmed his firing via Twitter.
The composer’s orchestral scores supported the family’s foibles since the show’s primitively drawn early days. And although “The Simpsons” theme song was penned by Danny Elfman, the sonic feel of the series has been defined by Clausen’s grandiose, often epic productions.
He’s responsible for scoring Mr. Burns’ breakout “See My Vest” moment and crafted the tunes for the Springfield musical theater company’s “A Streetcar Named Desire” adaptation. Ditto “The Planet of the Apes” musical.
In short, nearly every classic music moment of “The Simpsons” has featured Clausen’s fingerprints.
On Twitter, fans thanked Clausen for his work while expressing outrage at the circumstances surrounding his departure. “Fired over the phone, yet,” wrote one user.
Clausen quickly corrected him with a one-word reply: “Email ...”
On Thursday, producers for “The Simpsons” issued a statement to Variety. It stressed that Clausen will continue to contribute to the series:
“We tremendously value Alf Clausen’s contributions to ‘The Simpsons’ and he will continue to have an ongoing role in the show. We remain committed to the finest in music for ‘The Simpsons,’ absolutely including orchestral.”
The statement concluded: “This is the part where we would make a joke but neither Alf’s work nor the music of ‘The Simpsons’ is treated as anything but seriously by us.”
Update, 1:16 p.m.: This story was updated with a statement from “The Simpsons.”
Firefighter who resuscitated Princess Diana remembers her final moments on 20th anniversary of her death
The firefighter who initially resuscitated Princess Diana after her 1997 Paris car crash was certain she would live through it.
Sgt. Xavier Gourmelon, who led the response team exactly 20 years ago Thursday and administered CPR to the British royal, said in a Sun interview published Tuesday that he was convinced the Princess of Wales would make it when her heart started beating again and her breathing resumed.
Gourmelon was unaware that he was treating the so-called “People’s Princess” when he arrived at the scene of the accident in a Paris tunnel. He resuscitated her and she was conscious and her eyes were open when he pulled her from the wrecked Mercedes she was riding in with Harrods heir Dodi al Fayed and driver Henri Paul.
He said she had a slight injury to her right shoulder but saw no other significant wounds or blood on her.
“I held her hand and told her to be calm and keep still. I said I was there to help and reassured her,” Gourmelon said. “She said, ‘My God, what’s happened?’
“To be honest, I thought she would live. As far as I knew when she was in the ambulance she was alive and I expected her to live,” he added. “But I found out later she had died in hospital. It was very upsetting.”
Diana, famously eulogized as “the most hunted person of the modern age,” suffered cardiac arrest when she was placed on a stretcher. She died at the age of 36.
On Wednesday, her sons Princes William and Harry -- second and fifth in line to the British throne, respectively -- visited a memorial garden dedicated to Diana at Kensington Palace, her former home.
The princes have worked rigorously to uphold Diana’s philanthropic legacy and spoke openly about her life and death in a series of documentaries that aired ahead of Thursday’s 20th anniversary.
In the BBC’s “Diana, 7 Days,” the princes derided the paparazzi; William called their treatment of his mother “utterly appalling” and likened the photographers constantly harassing her to a “pack of dogs.” For Harry, Diana’s final moments were made worse by the lingering photographers.
“She had quite a severe head injury but was still very much alive on the backseat,” Harry said in the documentary. “And those people that caused the accident instead of helping were taking photographs of her dying.”
Instead of statues, Trevor Noah and Roy Wood Jr. have another idea for honoring Confederate history
With the country still reeling from the harrowing impact of Hurricane Harvey in Texas, Wednesday night’s “Daily Show” looked at one of the summer’s ongoing controversies: Confederate monuments.
Occasionally setting aside the show’s usual comedic tone, Trevor Noah enlisted correspondent Roy Wood Jr. to consider whether these statues honor Southern heritage, as their supporters claim, or the nation’s history and lingering problem with racism.
After showing a montage of guests on network news shows who reminded viewers that these statues were erected during the Jim Crow era, decades after the Civil War, Wood equated slavery to another tragedy.
“It’s like if a woman got out of an abusive relationship and then she had to keep pictures of her ex up in her house to remember the time,” a straight-faced Wood explained. “No, I don’t need pictures to remember pain.”
“People say, ‘We want to remember the history of the Civil War,’” Noah added. “There’s an easier way to remember what happened in the Civil War: Just walk around in the South. And if you see free black people, then you know what happened.”
Watch the segment above.
‘Lord of the Flies’ all-girl reboot news gets savaged by skeptics
The Hollywood recycle, reduce and reuse strategy of content creation has reached a new level of ridiculousness. Deadline reported Wednesday that Warner Bros. is creating an all-girl film adaptation of William Golding’s classic novel “Lord of the Flies.”
Twitter is not amused.
But instead of the typical “childhood-ruining” complaints levied against gender-swapped reboots, such as last year’s “Ghostbusters,” the Internet is angry that recasting the story with women fundamentally misses the entire point of the novel.
For those with only hazy memories of their 9th-grade literature class, “Lord of the Flies” is a 1954 novel about a group of British boys trapped on an uninhabited island, forced to govern themselves, to disastrous and deadly ends.
In most interpretations, the boys’ failure at self-governance is meant to mirror modern society’s own tendency toward toxic masculinity and harmful posturing.
Golding said as much himself about that issue in an introduction for a “Flies” audiobook, where he spoke about how the book wouldn’t work using women.
“I think women are foolish to pretend they are equal to men. They are far superior and always have been,” Golding said.
Twitter also had plenty to say about the fact that the Warner Bros. project, despite starring all women, will still be directed and written by two men, Scott McGehee and David Siegel.
Also, Internet denizens pointed out, if Hollywood wants to focus on the brutality and cutthroat nature of teenage girls, there are already plenty of examples.
Still, at least someone is looking at the positive potential of the project. Anyone up for a Themyscira origin story?
Gloria Gaynor sings to Texas’ Harvey victims: ‘You will survive’
Gloria Gaynor wants people affected by Harvey to know they will survive, and she’s communicating that message through a new version of the song that has defined her career.
Gaynor, whose “I Will Survive” became an anthem over the years, rewrote the 1978 disco hit to reach out to victims in Texas and posted her rendition on social media Wednesday.
“Hi, my neighbors in Texas,” she said in a video shot while she sat at a piano she was about to play. “This is Gloria Gaynor with a song that hopefully will cheer you up just a little bit.”
Here are the tweaked lyrics, for those who don’t want to hit “play” with the sound on.
First we were afraid
We were petrified
Thinking Texas couldn’t live
With floodwaters this high
We know you spent plenty of time
Preparing for this hurricane
Who could’ve known that it would come
With so much devastating rain
But we will strive
And you’ll survive
With all our love and help and prayers
We will stay strongly by your side
We are your neighbors tried and true
We’ll do all we can for you
And you’ll survive
You will survive, you will survive
“This is a new song, and we’ll never play it again,” frontman Chris Martin told an audience in Miami. “It’s a once-off. It’s called ‘Houston.’ We’re going to sing it in Miami for everybody here, and then we’re going to send it over there to everyone who missed the show.”