Friday, May 24, 2019

News Briefs

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  • Friday, May. 24, 2019
Lawyer: Deal close in Weinstein misconduct lawsuits
In this Oct. 11, 2018, file photo, Harvey Weinstein enters State Supreme Court in New York. A tentative deal is close to settling lawsuits brought against the television and film company co-founded by Weinstein, who has been accused of sexual misconduct by scores of women. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
NEW YORK (AP) -- 

A tentative deal has been reached to settle multiple lawsuits brought against the television and film company co-founded by Harvey Weinstein, who has been accused of sexual misconduct by scores of women.

Attorneys involved in the negotiations told a federal bankruptcy court judge during a hearing in Wilmington, Delaware, Thursday that a breakthrough in a still-unfinished mediation had put a settlement within reach.

The amount of the deal wasn't revealed in court, but a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press it was worth $44 million. The person wasn't authorized to reveal details of the discussions and spoke on condition of anonymity.

"We now have an economic agreement in principal that is supported by the plaintiffs, the (New York attorney general's) office, the defendants and all of the insurers that, if approved, would provide significant compensation to victims, creditors and the estate and allow the parties to avoid years of costly, time consuming and uncertain litigation on all sides," Adam Harris, a lawyer for studio co-founder Bob Weinstein, told the judge.

He cautioned that there was still "a lot of work here to do."

"But," he added, "I personally am very optimistic."

The size of the settlement was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

More than 15 lawsuits have been filed accusing Harvey Weinstein or the company of misconduct. The settlement would cover many of them, including a class action by alleged victims that accuses the film company of operating like an organized crime group to conceal widespread sexual harassment and assaults.

It would also resolve a civil suit by the New York attorney general alleging that Harvey Weinstein's media company, in enabling his mistreatment of women, violated labor laws.

The New York attorney general's office declined to comment on the amount of the settlement.

Any settlement would need to be approved by the courts.

Harvey Weinstein also faces criminal charges in New York of rape and performing a forcible sex act. His trial is scheduled to begin in September. The settlement wouldn't resolve his criminal case.

Weinstein denies all allegations of nonconsensual sex.

An attorney who represents unsecured creditors in the bankruptcy of the Weinstein film studio, Robert Feinstein, told U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Mary Walrath that mediation talks that had broken down a few months ago had recently been restarted.

A global settlement of the class action lawsuit and all other legal action against the Weinstein Co. seemed to become possible only in the past few days, he said, though he cautioned that many details remained to be resolved.

"I think we are poised to get there. I can't assure the court that we will," he said.

Harris said the settlement was complex due to the number of claims, and insurance companies, involved.

"We're dealing with potential claims here that go back . more than 25 years," he said, adding that the nature of the allegations had also made for "a highly charged environment, with very strong feelings on all sides."

Associated Press writer Randall Chase in Dover, Delaware, contributed to this report.

  • Wednesday, May. 22, 2019
Daniel Craig to undergo minor ankle surgery for Bond injury
Daniel Craig poses for photographers on 4/25/19 in Oracabessa, Jamaica.(AP Photo/Leo Hudson, File)
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- 

James Bond is out of commission for a few weeks. Star Daniel Craig is undergoing minor ankle surgery after sustaining an injury while filming the 25th installment in the franchise in Jamaica.

The news comes Wednesday in a tweet from the official James Bond twitter account. The statement says that production will continue during the 51-year-old actor's two-week post-surgery rehabilitation and that the film will stay on track to hit its April 2020 release date.

This is Craig's fifth outing as 007.

  • Wednesday, May. 22, 2019
Garcia Bernal finds Cannes Film Fest more relaxing as a director
Actors Benny Emmanuel, from left, Leidi Gutierrez and director Gael Garcia Bernal pose for portrait photographs for the film 'Chicuarotes' at the 72nd international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Tuesday, May 21, 2019. (Photo by Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP)
CANNES, France (AP) -- 

Gael Garcia Bernal is finding it's a lot more relaxing being at the Cannes Film Festival as a director than as an actor.

"As a director everything is done," says Garcia Bernal, whose film "Chicuarotes" is playing as an official selection but out of competition at Cannes.

"There's nothing else to do. So, I just, I don't know, let myself go. And I love the movie, I like it a lot. I like what we all did, all the collaborators did a wonderful job. And I'm proud of them and I'm happy," he said.

"Chicuarotes" follows two teenage friends in a town within Mexico City who turn to crime in an attempt to change their lives. The Mexican star says the lives of the characters are completely foreign to what he experienced growing up.

"What's so striking about the world they live in is they grew up in something that I am so far away from," he told The Associated Press in an interview this week. "I grew up in a very loving family and these kids (have) not. They don't have it. And I just can't understand how anyone grows up like that.

"It's like 'how do you do it?' I don't know there's something about wanting to know a person ... (and) the consequences of this cycle of violence that they go through."

This is not the directorial debut for Garcia Bernal, but he is better known for his acting projects, including "The Motorcycle Diaries,"  "Bad Education" and "Mozart in the Jungle."

Garcia Bernal first considered making the film a decade ago but decided to put things on hold following the birth of his son.

"I had to get out from it a little bit. So, I've been revisiting it constantly and now I've ended up making it," he says.

The film stars Daniel Giménez Cacho and Dolores Heredia, along with Benny Emmanuel, Gabriel Carbajal and Leidi Gutiérrez.

Gael Garcia said the casting was among the more complicated aspects of getting the movie done, particularly casting Emmanuel as the main character Cagalera.

"We had to find him, or rather he had to find us — rather he had to discover us because that's more or less what ended up happening," he said.

He added:  "We did workshops for two years with actors and yes, it was really nice. It was wonderful."

  • Wednesday, May. 22, 2019
The-Artery opens new space in Manhattan
The-Artery's new digs in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood
NEW YORK -- 

In a move that reflects a significant expansion of its capabilities and talent, multi-award-winning creative company The-Artery has opened the doors to a new space in Manhattan’s thriving Chelsea neighborhood.

Founded and led by chief creative officer Vico Sharabani, The-Artery now has a spacious new environment in which to apply its expertise in providing collaborative solutions to creative production and postproduction challenges. This includes leveraging its expertise in visual effects, post supervision, offline editorial, live action, and experience design and development across multiple platforms.

According to Sharabani, the new space is not only a response to the studio’s growth, but allows The-Artery to foster better collaboration and reinforce its relationships with clients and creative partners. “As a creative studio, we recognize how important it is for our artists, producers and clients to be working in a space that is comfortable and supportive of our creative process,” he said. “The extraordinary layout of this new space, the size, the lighting and even our location, allows us to provide our clients with key capabilities and plays an important part in promoting our mission moving forward.”

The-Artery has a seasoned and talented team of artists and creative collaborators, including recent addition, editor and former Mad River Post owner Michael Elliot, The creative company has showcased its singular approach and ingenuity on a variety of high-profile efforts in recent years. These include 2018’s groundbreaking VR-enabled production for Mercedez-Benz, its work on Under Armour’s “Rush” campaign and Beyonce’s game-changing Coachella documentary, Homecoming. The-Artery has also brought its talents to feature films like Netflix’s acclaimed Beasts of No Nation, Wes Anderson’s Oscar-winning Grand Budapest Hotel and box-office hit Ocean’s 8.

  • Tuesday, May. 21, 2019
With Brad and Leo, Tarantino debuts a fairy tale in Cannes
Actor Leonardo DiCaprio, left, and director Quentin Tarantino pose for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood' at the 72nd international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Tuesday, May 21, 2019. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
CANNES, France (AP) -- 

Twenty-five years after premiering "Pulp Fiction" in Cannes, Quentin Tarantino returned to the French film festival with neither great vengeance nor furious anger but a gentler fairy tale about 1960s Los Angeles.

"Once Upon a Time In ... Hollywood" made its much-anticipated debut Tuesday in Cannes, giving the festival its most concentrated splash of celebrity and frenzy. The film's two stars, Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio, brought a fittingly old-school Hollywood glamour to the Cannes red carpet, where throngs of onlookers swelled along the Croisette.

Much of the plot of "Once Upon a Time In ... Hollywood" had been carefully kept under wraps leading up to the premiere. DiCaprio plays a Westerns actor anxious that his notoriety is slipping. Pitt plays his stunt double, friend and, because of a drunk driving offense, his driver. Though set against the backdrop of the Manson Family murders, much of Tarantino's film is invested in recapturing the radiance of a bygone Hollywood.

For a filmmaker often associated with blistering dialogue and ecstatic explosions of violence, "One Upon a Time in ... Hollywood" finds the 56-year-old Tarantino working at a more relaxed pace, spending generous amounts of time in odes to spaghetti Westerns and '60s TV shows.

Ahead of the premiere, Tarantino, whose "Pulp Fiction" won the Palme d'Or in 1994, issued a statement to festival audiences imploring them not to spoil the film for future moviegoers — a request repeated before the film's press screening. Journalists lined up hours in advance.

"Once Upon a Time in ... Hollywood" is Tarantino's first movie not being released by Harvey Weinstein. After Tarantino cut ties with the disgraced mogul, the project attracted the interest of most studios. Sony Pictures landed the film and gave it a $95 million budget — a very rare gamble on a high-priced original movie.

Instead of superheroes or intellectual property, "Once Upon a Time in ... Hollywood" will instead bank on the draw of Tarantino and his two movie stars. Margot Robbie also co-stars as Sharon Tate.

"Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood" will be released in U.S. theaters July 26.

  • Tuesday, May. 21, 2019
New Coke, from 1985, makes comeback with "Stranger Things"
This undated photo provided by Coca-Cola shows a can of New Coke, which was originally launched in the summer of 1985. New Coke is making a comeback as part of Coca-Cola's partnership with the Netflix drama “Stranger Things.” The companies announced the venture on Tuesday, May 21, 2019. Season 3 of “Stranger Things” will be set in the summer of 1985. (Coca-Cola via AP)
NEW YORK -- 

Coca-Cola drinkers will get a chance to relive one of the company's darker chapters as New Coke makes a comeback under a partnership with the Netflix drama "Stranger Things," the companies announced Tuesday.

Season 3 of the show will take place in the summer of 1985, when Coca-Cola changed its formula for Coke. New Coke was considered one of the biggest marketing blunders of all time and the new version was dropped after 79 days, though sales of the original Coca-Cola rebounded.

"The summer of 1985 did in fact change everything for us with the introduction of New Coke, which was also arguably one of the biggest pop culture moments of that year," said Oana Vlad, director of Coca-Cola Trademark, Coca-Cola North America.

Workers had to retrieve the New Coke recipe from the safe for the "Stranger Things" partnership.

"All told, everything took about six months and was top secret," said Peter Shoemaker, director of sparkling category commercialization.

Workers also had to recreate the logo and the slightly different Coke red for the cans from more than 30 years ago.

"The partnership with Coke gives Netflix the opportunity to reach a massive audience via one of the most recognizable brands in the world in a deeply authentic way," said Netflix Head of Global Partner Marketing Barry Smyth.

Beginning Thursday, Coca-Cola will release a limited number of cans of New Coke as part of a "Stranger Things" package. An "upside-down" Stranger Things-inspired vending machine will also pop up in select cities this summer to dispense free cans of New Coke for a limited time.

  • Sunday, May. 19, 2019
James Gunn says he's a better person after being fired
In this June 25, 2018 file photo writer-director James Gunn attends the premiere of "Ant-Man and the Wasp" in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- 

It's been a roller-coaster year for James Gunn, who was fired from "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" over old tweets in July, and rehired this March. But the writer-director who shepherded the first two "Guardians" films to critical and box office success said the experience has been an educational one.

"I'm a better person than I was a year ago," Gunn told The Associated Press on Saturday. "It's made me more creative and focused on the things that really matter to me, which are my friends, my relationships and the movies that I'm making."

Although even after his firing, Gunn didn't exactly have a fallow period as he was hired fairly soon by Marvel's rival to work on the sequel to "Suicide Squad." Now, Gunn is fully back in the public eye promoting the horror film "Brightburn," which he produced, and resuming work on the third "Guardians" movie.

The ordeal has made him thankful for his friends who have supported him throughout. Actress Elizabeth Banks, who stars in "Brightburn," is one of those in the circle of people he can go to.

"There's a lot of things that people talk about Hollywood-cutthroat this and Hollywood-bad that and all the things that are terrible about Hollywood. But the truth is ... I have one really good gift ... I'm attracted to really good people and I have chosen to put wonderful people around me, whether it's the actors I work with, the crew members I work with, my, you know, the writers I would deal with, the studio people I deal with," Gunn said. "There's a lot of really good people in this industry."

The 52-year-old found himself under intense scrutiny last year when tweets from nearly a decade ago in which he joked about subjects such as pedophilia and rape resurfaced because of far-right propagandists Mike Cernovich and Jack Posobiec after Gunn was critical of President Donald Trump. Gunn apologized for his tweets, but Walt Disney Co. chairman Alan Horn said that they were inconsistent with the studio's values.

Both fans and his cast including Chris Pratt, Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana, Vin Diesel and other stars rallied behind him in the wake of the firing last July.

"Although I don't support James Gunn's inappropriate jokes from years ago, he is a good man," Pratt said.

But it was still somewhat surprising that Disney backtracked and this March announced that Gunn had been reinstated as the writer and director of "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3."

Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige told the AP last month that he was glad it happened.

"It was the right thing," Feige said. "It was something that Alan Horn at Disney really believed was the right thing to do."

The "Guardians" cast was similarly pleased.

"It's awesome. I'm really, really, really happy," 'Guardians' actress Pom Klementieff said at the premiere of "Avengers: Endgame" in April. "He's an amazing human being, and he's the best director."

AP Reporters Ryan Pearson and Lindsey Bahr contributed from Los Angeles.

  • Sunday, May. 19, 2019
A newly restored "The Shining" debuts in Cannes
Actor Leon Vitali, from left, Katharina Kubrick and producer Jan Harlan pose for photographers at the photo call for the film 'The Shining' at the 72nd international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
CANNES, France (AP) -- 

Thirty-nine years later, Jack is still not a dull boy.

In a new pristine restoration, Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining" premiered at the Cannes Film Festival on Friday evening. It was the second straight year that a Kubrick movie landed on the Croisette, following last year when Christopher Nolan brought what he termed an "unrestored" cut of "2001: A Space Odyssey."

This time around, Alfonso Cuaron introduced the film, alongside Kubrick's daughter, Katharina Kubrick, and Leon Vitali, Kubrick's longtime assistant. Vitali was himself profiled in the 2017 documentary "Filmworker," also a Cannes entry.

"If anybody hasn't seen it on the screen before, it's a different experience completely," Vitali told the crowd. "Don't worry, you'll all come out of here alive."

Cuaron's presence in Cannes was notable. His film "Roma" was set to premiere at the French festival last year. But when Netflix and the festival couldn't agree on distribution terms for the streaming giant's films, Netflix pulled out of Cannes and "Roma" headed instead to the Venice Film Festival, where it won the Golden Lion prize.

Cuaron didn't oversee "The Shining" restoration. That role went to Steven Spielberg, whose 2018 sci-fi thriller "Ready Player One" included a lengthy homage to "The Shining." But Cuaron lavished praise on "The Shining" while playfully prodding conspiracy theorists that dig into the film for hidden meanings.

"Actually, tonight, we're going to watch it backwards, because backwards, we'll see it with the message Kubrick (intended)," joked Cuaron.

The 2012 documentary "Room 237" chronicled some of those theories, including that "The Shining" is really about the moon landing or about the treatment of Native Americans. Katharina Kubrick used an expletive to describe the guessing games around "The Shining."

"This is a seriously cool ghost movie. Don't believe any of the conspiracy theories because it's all s---," she said. "I only said that because I've had some champagne."

Cuaron agreed. "Kubrick would have really gotten a laugh out of all of these conspiracy theories," said the director. "By all reports, he believed in films not to be explained but to be experienced. A little bit like music, he used to say."

"The Shining" restoration will be released on home video Oct. 1.

  • Sunday, May. 19, 2019
Abortion rights demonstration held on red carpet at Cannes Film Fest
Cast and crew of the film 'Let it be Law' demonstrate for the legalization of abortion in Argentina upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'The Wild Goose Lake' at the 72nd international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Saturday, May 18, 2019. (Photo by Arthur Mola/Invision/AP)
CANNES, France (AP) -- 

Ahead of Saturday's premiere of an Argentine documentary on abortion, dozens of women demonstrated for abortion rights on the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival in France.

Women, including the filmmakers and activists seen in the film, waved green handkerchiefs and carried a large banner while walking the Cannes carpet at the premiere of Argentine director Juan Solanas' "Let It Be Law." The documentary depicts Argentina's battle to legalize abortion.

Argentina's Senate last year rejected a bill to legalize abortion, prompting protests in Buenos Aires streets. Green handkerchiefs have come to be symbol of the movement. A modified version of the bill is to be presented to Congress on May 28.

The film's debut comes as abortion rights are also being fiercely contested in the U.S. On Tuesday, the Alabama Senate passed a bill that would outlaw almost all abortions in the state, including those involving pregnancies from rape or incest.

Many in the movie industry in Cannes have followed the developments in the U.S. with concern.

"What's happening in Alabama is so important in the world," Eva Longoria, who produced the Netflix documentary "Reversing Roe," said Friday at a "Women in Motion" event in Cannes. "It's going to affect everybody if we don't pay attention."

  • Saturday, May. 18, 2019
Netflix announces fashion design competition series
This combination of photos shows Tan France at the 70th Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles on Sept. 17, 2018, left, and Alexa Chung at the CFDA Fashion Awards in New York on June 6, 2016. The pair will host the fashion design competition series “Next in Fashion,” soon to come on Netflix. (Photos by Jordan Strauss, left, and Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
NEW YORK (AP) -- 

It's been a minute since a new fashion design competition has occurred. Enter: "Next in Fashion," soon to come on Netflix.

The series is hosted by the first "Queer Eye" star to spin off, Tan France, along with fashion maven Alexa Chung. The show features 18 designers competing for $250,000 and the chance to sell their wares on Net-a-Porter.

No release date was announced. Netflix said in a statement Friday the competition is focused on trends and styles that have "influenced the way the entire world dresses."

Among the judges are celebrity stylist Elizabeth Stewart and Eva Chen, Instagram's director of fashion partnerships. The show comes after a 17th-season makeover for "Project Runway" on Bravo starring Christian Siriano as mentor, Karlie Kloss as host and Brandon Maxwell among the judges.

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