Saturday, September 23, 2017

News Briefs

Displaying 1 - 10 of 2634
  • Friday, Sep. 22, 2017
YouTube acquires Morgan Spurlock’s "Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken!"
Morgan Spurlock

YouTube has acquired the rights to Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken!, directed by Academy Award® nominee Morgan Spurlock and co-written with Jeremy Chilnick, from Warrior Poets, Snoot Entertainment and Public Domain. The sequel to the Oscar® nominated documentary made its world premiere at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival as an official selection of the Festival’s Documentary Premiere section. Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken! will release theatrically in 2018, followed by the exclusive global premiere on YouTube Red.
Thirteen years after Super Size Me garnered an Academy Award® nomination for Best Feature Documentary, muckraking filmmaker Spurlock reignites his battle with the food industry--this time from behind the register--as he opens his own fast food restaurant.
“I’m ecstatic to be partnering with YouTube Red for the release of Super Size Me 2!” said Morgan Spurlock. “There’s no one better to help get this film in front of more people worldwide than these guys. They are going to blow this clucker up!”  
“Supersize Me 2” marks the second time Spurlock has partnered with YouTube, following the successful release of his documentary Vlogumentary on YouTube Red in 2016.
“Morgan Spurlock has tackled so many thought-provoking topics over the years, and we’re thrilled to partner with him once again on this revealing documentary,” said Susanne Daniels, global head of original content, YouTube. “Morgan is skilled at sparking a global conversation on today’s most relevant issues, and Super Size Me 2 is yet another powerful film that will captivate viewers.” 

  • Friday, Sep. 22, 2017
Showtime making series of Clinton-Patterson thriller
In this Sept. 20, 2017 file photo, former U.S. President Bill Clinton speaks at the Bloomberg Global Business Forum in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

Showtime has won a bidding war to develop former President Bill Clinton and powerhouse author James Patterson's upcoming thriller, "The President is Missing," into a television series.

The network announced the deal Friday, months away from the book's publication next June.

In the collaboration with Patterson, Clinton provides an insider's perspective of having been in the White House. It's the first time that Clinton has helped write fiction.

Showtime's affiliation with CBS, and the corporation's boss Leslie Moonves, helped seal the deal. Moonves knows Clinton, and Patterson helps with the production of the CBS series "Zoo" and "Instinct."

  • Thursday, Sep. 21, 2017
Fireflies West gears up for 10th anniversary, will ride to raise funds for City of Hope
Fireflies West cyclists

Celebrating its 10th anniversary, Fireflies West connects an international community of entertainment and advertising executives who cycle 630 miles from San Francisco to Los Angeles to raise money and awareness for City of Hope Hospital. Based in Duarte, Calif., City of Hope is a leading research, treatment center dedicated to the prevention, treatment and cure of cancer and other life threatening illnesses guided by a compassionate patient-centered philosophy. Over the last decade, nearly 250 participating Fireflies West riders, along with a supporting volunteer network, and over 30 industry sponsors, have raised close to $2 million to date for City of Hope. This years goal: $500,000.  

Beginning on October 4 in Mill Valley, 60 Fireflies West riders (the biggest group to date) will cross the Golden Gate Bridge, then traverse the rugged, winding roads down the coastline between San Francisco and Los Angeles for seven days. The riders will average 100 miles per day, forging a bond through the deep belief and motivation in their motto: “For those who suffer, we ride.” The riders will be welcomed home on October 10 with an arrivals celebration at agency 72andSunny.

Every dollar goes directly to City of Hope without any administration costs throughout, ensuring that every tax-deductible donation goes directly to fighting cancer. Moreover, the annual riders fund their own way and expenses out of their own pocket, a reflection of their incredibly generous spirits.

“I’ve always felt cycling was a means to create ideas. By propelling yourself forward you free the mind to solve problems. The Fireflies West is collection of wonderful cyclists who are actually living out this hypothesis,” said Rich Silverstein, co-founder of Goodby Silverstein & Partners.

“Every year this ride proves to me that there is an undeniable good in this world. That people want to help other people. For 10 years I have been blessed to witness this benevolence,” affirmed Bryan Farhy, founder of Fireflies West.
For more info, click here.


  • Wednesday, Sep. 20, 2017
Linda Hamilton set to return to "Terminator" franchise
In this Sept. 9, 2004 file photo, actress Linda Hamilton laughs during an interview with the Associated Press in Washington. (AP Photo/Stephen J. Boitano, File)

Linda Hamilton is returning to the "Terminator" franchise for the first time since 1991's "Terminator 2: Judgment Day."

"Terminator" creator James Cameron announced Hamilton's casting at a private event in Los Angeles on Tuesday night, the Hollywood Reporter reported. Paramount Pictures, which is distributing the planned sequel, confirmed the news Wednesday.

Cameron is producing the sequel, which "Deadpool" filmmaker Tim Miller is directing. Arnold Schwarzenegger is also set to return.

Cameron, who was once married to Hamilton, recently compared Wonder Woman unfavorably to Hamilton's "Terminator" character, Sarah Connor. Cameron called Gal Gadot's superhero an "objectified icon," but said Connor was defined by "pure grit."

  • Tuesday, Sep. 19, 2017
"Stranger Things" writer Justin Doble reaches deal with Amazon Studios
Justin Doble

Stranger Things writer and producer Justin Doble has closed an overall deal with Amazon Studios. Doble will develop genre television projects exclusively for Prime Video.
“We have long admired Justin’s ability to create stories and characters that stoke fans’ passion,” said Sharon Tal Yguado, head of event series, Amazon Studios. “He has contributed to some of the best genre out there, and we are excited to collaborate with him as we build a slate of high-profile shows.”
In addition to his writing on both seasons of the multi-Emmy Award-winning Stranger Things, Doble has also written for Jason Katims’s The Path, and Millar and Gough’s Into the Badlands. He began his career as a writer on Fringe after taking part in the Warner Bros. Television Writer’s Program. He is a recipient of two WGA nominations for his work on Stranger Things.
Doble is represented by Allan Haldeman and Ben Jacobson at UTA and A.B. Fischer at the Shuman Company.

  • Tuesday, Sep. 19, 2017
Film academy president welcomes new members at private party
This combination photo shows, top row from left, Zoe Kravitz, Amy Poehler, Kate McKinnon, Maya Rudolph and Leslie Jones, second row from left, Riz Ahmed, Anna Faris, Chris Pratt, Justin Timberlake and Jon Hamm, and bottom row from left, Chris Hemsworth, Elle Fanning, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Dwayne Johnson and Terry Crews. (AP Photo/File)
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) -- 

Jeanne Tripplehorn has been a professional actress for more than 25 years. But as a new member of the film academy, she's almost as giddy as her first day on set.

"I'm already involved in all these different committees," she said. "I love film so much... so to be invited to become a member of the academy is the greatest honor I could have."

Tripplehorn was among the guests at a private reception Monday for the newest members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The organization invited a record class of 774 new members in June — 39 percent female and 30 percent non-white, representing 57 countries — as part of an ongoing effort to diversify its ranks. The group previously had around 6,200 members.

Academy chief Dawn Hudson said the new membership class reflects a "re-envisioning of the academy as a truly international institution."

"You make our academy better, stronger, smarter, more open," she said as she welcomed hundreds of new members to the organization's headquarters in Beverly Hills, California. Director Tom Ford, "La La Land" composer Justin Hurwitz and actors Terry Crews and Rodrigo Santoro were among the artists who turned out to celebrate their new membership status.

Hairstylist Kenneth Walker said he always believed he would join the film academy, though it took 35 years.

After decades in Hollywood, amassing such credits as "Ali," ''American Gangster," and last year's "Loving," the 78-year-old is finally a member.

"Betty White and I decided to come in at the same time," he said. (White was also invited to join the organization this year.)

As an academy member, Walker said he plans to devote time to mentoring young talent and exploring foreign film.

Academy president John Bailey said the foreign-language film committee is his "home favorite."

"Even ones that may not quite grab the brass ring are windows into the sociopolitical temperature of their country," he said. "You'll receive sometimes startling insights into how filmmakers in the rest of the world view themselves and their own country and also how they view us. As a creative artist, this is the best gift you could give yourself between mid-October and mid-December."

Bailey, a cinematographer who joined the academy in 1981, said membership isn't about all the free DVD screeners during awards season, but connecting to the past and future of filmmaking through academy efforts to preserve film history and recruit new talent.

"Almost from the start I discovered that what was really best about being a member was getting involved in academy programs and events, not just by attending them, but by signing up for the committees," he said.

Besides the foreign-language film committee, Bailey mentioned the Student Academy Awards and Nicholl Screenwriting Fellowships, the Margaret Herrick Library archives and future academy museum opening in 2019, and the Academy Gold internship program that just concluded its inaugural summer.

Georgian filmmaker Nana Dzhordzhadze said she can hardly get her head around becoming the first from the former Soviet nation to join the film academy, much less consider what committees to sign up for. Georgia has a 110-year history of film, she said, and people there love movies.

"I'm very proud to be part of this great film academy," said Dzhordzhadze, whose films have been Georgia's contenders in the foreign-language category six times. "It's really something for my country and for myself."

  • Tuesday, Sep. 19, 2017
Nielsen says 11.4 million watch Emmy Awards
Bruce Miller, from left, Margaret Atwood, and Elisabeth Moss accept the award for outstanding drama series for "The Handmaid's Tale" at the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

The Nielsen company estimated that 11.4 million people watched Sunday's presentation of the Emmy Awards, roughly equivalent to last year's show honoring the year's best in television.

Stephen Colbert hosted Sunday's show for CBS. It competed with pro football and the beginning of Ken Burns' lengthy documentary on the Vietnam War. Last year's audience of 11.3 million people was the lowest ever for the Emmy Awards.

The Emmys featured a surprise appearance by former White House press secretary Sean Spicer and a heavy concentration on Trump jokes and remarks. Hulu's "The Handmaids Tale" won the Emmy for best drama, while HBO's "Veep" was named best comedy.

  • Monday, Sep. 18, 2017
Cambodia selects Angelina Jolie film as Oscar submission
In this Sept. 11, 2017 photo, Angelina Jolie, left, director/co-writer of the film "First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers," and co-writer/human rights activist Loung Ung pose for a portrait during the Toronto International Film Festival in Toronto. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

Angelina Jolie's "First They Killed My Father" has been named Cambodia's foreign-language submission to the Academy Awards.

The Cambodia Oscar Selection Committee announced the choice Monday, calling Jolie's Cambodian genocide drama "cathartic" and hailing it for bringing back memories "often best forgotten."

Jolie directed the adaptation of Loung Ung's memoir about her childhood during the Khmer Rouge's bloody reign. She shot it in Cambodia with a local cast.

Jolie, whose eldest son, Maddox, was born in Cambodia, has been a citizen of Cambodia since 2005. In an interview with The Associated Press, Jolie said she made the film to "help a country to speak."

Jolie's 2011 Bosnian War drama, "In the Land of Blood and Honey," was also nominated for best foreign-language film by the Golden Globes.


  • Thursday, Sep. 14, 2017
Comedy Central keeps Noah at "Daily Show" through 2022
In this May 1, 2017 file photo, Trevor Noah attends The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP, File)

In a strong vote of confidence for its late-night cornerstone, Comedy Central said Thursday it has agreed to a contract extension that will keep Trevor Noah as host of "The Daily Show" through 2022.

The network also said Noah would produce and host specials comedically wrapping up each year, starting in a few months.

The little-known South African comic was a leap of faith for Comedy Central when he was selected to succeed Jon Stewart at "The Daily Show" two years ago. He started slowly but has made inroads both critically and commercially.

His show has averaged 1.57 million viewers so far this quarter, up 28 percent from the same period a year ago, according to the Nielsen company. That's not at Stewart's level, but Noah is the most popular late-night comic among viewers aged 18-to-34, and he's a particular hit among people who stream highlights online.

"It's very satisfying to see our belief in him come to fruition," said Kent Alterman, Comedy Central president.

Comedy Central is now trying to replicate what it had in its glory days of Stewart and Stephen Colbert, with another alum of "The Daily Show," Jordan Klepper, beginning a new program in the time slot after Noah on Sept. 25.

"When we set out to replace Jon Stewart, we knew that would be an impossible task," Alterman said. "If the goal was to find a younger version of Jon Stewart, that was a fool's errand."

Still, many viewers came with the expectation that Noah's show would be satisfying in the same way that Stewart was, and that Noah would come into the job fully formed, he said. Instead, it took time. Viewers saw Noah approach what was going on in the United States from the perspective of an outsider, but during last year's campaign "people felt this transition where he was talking about what was happening to us, instead of what was happening to you," Alterman said.

Video clips of Noah have been streamed some 2.2 billion times since he took over, the network said. That's increasingly the way younger viewers experience late-night comedy.

Noah quipped that it's exciting to know he's under contract for five more years, "or until Kim Jong Un annihilates us all, whichever one comes first."

  • Thursday, Sep. 14, 2017
"A Fantastic Woman" could lead to trans history at Oscars
In this Sept. 9, 2017 photo, Chilean trans actress Daniela Vega, a cast member in the film "A Fantastic Woman," poses for a portrait at the The Adelaide Hotel during the Toronto International Film Festival in Toronto. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

A transgender Chilean actress has turned in one of the most buzzed-about performances of the year and some are hoping she could be the first trans actor to land an Oscar nomination.

Daniela Vega, 28, stars in Sebastian Lelio's "A Fantastic Woman." She plays Marina, a transgender woman whose partner (Francisco Reyes) dies, after which Marina is subjected to harsh treatment by the family of her deceased lover and by police investing the death.

Chile has selected the film as its Academy Awards submission this year. But the bigger spotlight may be on whether Vega's breakout performance — one of stirring strength and compassion — could make Oscar history. Reviewing the movie at its Berlin Film Festival premiere, Variety called her performance "a multi-layered, emotionally polymorphous feat of acting," that deserves "so much more than political praise."

While several transgender musicians have been Oscar-nominated, no trans performer has ever earned an acting nod.

"It's too early to talk about that, to think about it. I have lots of festivals to attend, lots of dresses to wear," Vega said with a grin in an interview. "The Oscars are a little bit beyond the timeline I'm thinking about right now. We'll cross that bridge when we come to it."

Vega and "A Fantastic Woman" will not have an easy road to the Oscars. Performances in foreign-language films rarely break into the acting categories, and this year, like most, the field of potential contenders boasts plenty of heavyweight, bigger-name performers like Meryl Streep ("The Post") and Jessica Chastain ("Molly's Game").

But Vega has two things going for her: the depth of her performance and the possibility of a long-awaited Oscar landmark. Such a result could have great meaning for a trans community that President Donald Trump recently banned from entering the military.

"If we broaden our gaze, it will be more interesting, more beautiful. If we can make more diverse colors, people, stories, it will be interesting," said Vega. "Uniforms are for the military and the police, not for our thinking."

Hollywood has far from shied away from telling transgender stories, but the industry has come under increasing criticism for not casting them in high-profile parts. Hilary Swank ("Boys Don't Cry") and Jared Leto ("Dallas Buyers Club") have taken home awards, and movies like 2015's "The Danish Girl," with Eddie Redmayne, and 2005's "Transamerica," with Felicity Huffman, have garnered nominations.

While those films and the Amazon series "Transparent" have been widely applauded, pressure has mounted urging producers to cast trans actors for trans parts. Progress has instead come in smaller, offbeat productions like Sean Baker's "Tangerine," the much-lauded 2015 film Baker shot with iPhones. It starred a pair of transgender performers, Mya Taylor and Kitana Kiki Rodriguez. Taylor last year won an Independent Spirit Award for her performance.

"There is very beautiful transgender talent," Taylor said, accepting the supporting actress award. "You better get out there and put it in your movie."

Transgender people have been nominated in other Oscar categories. The composer Angela Morley received two nods, for 1974's "The Little Prince" and 1976's "The Slipper and the Rose."

Most recently, singer Anohni, formerly known as Antony of Antony and the Johnsons, became the first transgendered performer ever nominated. She collaborated with J. Ralph on the nominated song "Manta Ray" for the documentary "Racing Extinction." But when the category's other nominees — Lady Gaga, Sam Smith, the Weeknd — were given performing slots during the 2016 broadcast, Anohni was not, and she opted to boycott the ceremony.

In a fiery essay announcing her refusal to attend, Anohni declared: "They are going to try to convince us that they have our best interests at heart by waving flags for identity politics and fake moral issues."

Whether Vega — and Oscar voters — can change history won't be decided for months. Sony Picture Classics, which has guided performers to dozens of Academy Award nominations, will release the film on Nov. 17. For now, Vega is soaking up her moment.

"It's like living a dream," said Vega. "It's like a film in a film."