Live

Today in Entertainment: CNN fires Kathy Griffin over gory Trump photo; Lebanon officially bans ‘Wonder Woman’

Here’s what’s new and interesting in entertainment and the arts:

A Star Is Born: Morgan Freeman turns 80 today

(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

I like to play characters who are the absolute opposite of me. I think the farther you get from yourself, the more fun you have because the real you is hidden away. Those are the kind of parts where you can become totally empty and let the character fill you up. That’s what I look for -- a role that gives me a chance to be someone completely different.

Morgan Freeman, 1993

FROM THE ARCHIVES: No Sweat: Morgan Freeman Slides Into the Director’s Chair

Chloë Grace Moretz addresses body-shaming controversy over Snow White movie

(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

Actress Chloë Grace Moretz has long been known as a strong voice when it comes to issues of feminism, whether it’s over-sexualization of female characters or equal pay for women. Now she’s speaking out against the marketing campaign behind one of her own projects.

Moretz went on social media Wednesday to address criticism that marketing for the animated film “Red Shoes and the 7 Dwarfs” — an updated tweak on the Snow White story, with Moretz as the voice of the classic fairy-tale character — engages in body-shaming.

“I have now fully reviewed the [marketing] for Red Shoes, I am just as appalled and angry as everyone else, this wasn’t approved by me or my team,” the actress wrote.

According to the website of the South Korean animation studio behind the film, its story centers on “a Princess who doesn’t fit into the celebrity world of Princesses — or their dress size.” When she puts on a pair of magical red shoes, she instantly becomes skinnier.

The film’s synopsis promises an empowering message in which Snow White “learns not only to accept herself, but to celebrate who she is, inside and out.” But the film’s trailer and other marketing materials have been blasted as fat-shaming.

Plus-size model Tess Holliday took to Twitter to criticize a billboard for the film that appeared at the Cannes Film Festival, where “Red Shoes” was seeking distribution, that suggested that the less svelte Snow White was “no longer beautiful.”

Hearing the complaints about the film’s tone-deaf marketing, Moretz agreed – and told her more than 3 million followers so in a pair of tweets.

Even as she apologized, she promised that the marketing doesn’t represent the complete picture and the film’s ultimate message is a far more positive one than initial impressions may suggest.

Singing tween ventriloquist from ‘America’s Got Talent’ is the cure for what ails you

Had enough outrage? Here’s the cure for what ails you, courtesy of “America’s Got Talent.”

Take a deep breath, exhale slowly and witness one Darci Lynne Farmer, a 12-year-old singing ventriloquist from Oklahoma City, who on Tuesday night got the Golden Buzzer from “AGT” judge Mel B for a performance that exuded unadulterated joy.

Armed with bunny-puppet pal Petunia on lead vocals, Darci Lynne delivered a surprising version of “Summertime” for her audition. She ended up earning a ticket straight to the competition’s live shows.

“You made my heart melt,” said Mel B, who Darci Lynne later dubbed “the best Spice Girl.”

“I believe that that rabbit is a real separate person,” judge Howie Mandel said. “I love you. I believe you’re gonna go far. You just changed your life tonight, young lady.”

John Legend makes case to take canceled drama ‘Underground’ elsewhere

(Katie Falkenberg / Los Angeles Times)

John Legend is making a case for the recently canceled TV drama “Underground” to be picked up by other content providers.

The Oscar-winning musician, who is an executive producer and played abolitionist Frederick Douglass on the Underground Railroad-centered show, rallied fans to give it a second life when cable broadcaster WGN America announced Tuesday it would be canceling the series after two seasons.

The network has been scaling down its investment in original programming as part of a deal that its parent company, Tribune Media, made with conservative-leaning Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. Sinclair’s purchase of Tribune gives it control of more than 200 local TV stations and WGN America.

The shift was not lost on Legend, who fired off a series of tweets to promote the content brought forth by “Underground” and its creators, Misha Green and Joe Pokaski.

“WGN America has been bought and is going a different direction strategically. We will find a new home for Underground!” he tweeted, adding, “Content wins. We’re not reliant on a particular network to make great content. We’re so proud of our show and the audience that supported!”

Legend, who has made no secret about his liberal politics, cautioned fans to “be wary of Sinclair” and claimed that “they’re trying to make local stations mini Fox Newses” that lean even further to the right.

He completed his plea by asking followers to “feel free to drop some hints to the network/streaming services you want to pick up #Underground. Show them who will be watching!”

“Despite ‘Underground’ being a terrific and important series, it no longer fits with our new direction and we have reached the difficult decision not to renew it for a third season,” Peter Kern, president and CEO of Tribune Media, said in a statement. “It is our hope that this remarkable show finds another home and continues its stories of courage, determination and freedom.”

Sony Pictures Television, the studio that produces “Underground,” is said to be trying to find it a new home.

See The Times’ roster of new, returning and canceled series here.

Coachella 2018 dates and ticket sales announced

We already knew one thing about Coachella in 2018: Beyoncé's headlining. And now we know when the world-famous California music festival will be held and when tickets are on sale.

Organizers announced Wednesday that the festival will again return to the expanded Empire Polo Club in Indio for two weekends, April 13-15 and April 20-22.

Tickets go on sale Friday at 11 a.m. PDT. Ticket prices start at $429 for general admission and $999 for VIP, and usually sell out within hours and well before a full lineup is announced.

Given that next year will see Beyoncé's much-awaited, post-twins makeup set at Coachella, it’s fair to say they’ll go fast.

Lady Gaga performed at the 2017 edition of Coachella.
((Patrick T. Fallon / For The Los Angeles Times)

Liam Gallagher plays new music at Manchester benefit show

In the wake of the terrorist attack outside an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, scores of artists joined forces to raise money for the victims. Among them was Liam Gallagher, the former singer and frontman for the city’s most beloved rock band, Oasis.

Gallagher played a benefit show for the bombing victims on Tuesday at the O2 Ritz Manchester. At the show, his first as a solo artist, he played several new songs, including the single “Wall of Glass,” which you can watch above. It was a preview of his forthcoming solo LP, “As You Were.” (Previously, Gallagher fronted the post-Oasis rock band Beady Eye.)

For Oasis fans, he played several classic tracks, including “Be Here Now” with Oasis guitarist Paul “Bonehead” Arthurs and an a cappella take on “Live Forever.”

CNN fires Kathy Griffin from New Year’s Eve show over controversial Trump picture

(Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)

Kathy Griffin is out of a job at CNN.

The cable network on Wednesday terminated its agreement with the comic, who for years has co-hosted its New Year’s Eve program with Anderson Cooper, after a photo of Griffin holding a bloody, severed head in the likeness of President Trump went viral on social media.

The image, taken by photographer Tyler Shields, elicited strong criticism from liberals and conservatives alike.

Griffin apologized for the gory image in a 30-second video posted online Tuesday night.

“I beg for your forgiveness,” Griffin said in the video. “I went too far.”

Trump denounced the image Wednesday, calling it “Sick!” and saying Griffin should be ashamed.

Share