Wednesday, January 23, 2019

News Briefs

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  • Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018
Viola Davis says "stop taming us" at Hollywood event
Viola Davis arrives at The Hollywood Reporter's Women in Entertainment Breakfast at Milk Studios on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- 

Actress and producer Viola Davis gave a rousing speech about leadership and authenticity to a well-heeled crowd of Hollywood power players Wednesday morning at The Hollywood Reporter's Women in Entertainment breakfast.

Davis, who was being honored with the Sherry Lansing Leadership Award, said that she doesn't always come to mind when she thinks of the idea of leadership — Martin Luther King, Jr. does — but that she is trying through her production company to embrace women of color as they really are.

"There is no limit to how we see narratives with people of color," Davis said to a rapt crowd that included Mandy Moore, Lupita Nyong'o, Awkwafina, Rita Wilson, "Roma" breakout Yalitza Aparicio and Kesha. "There is only so much I am going to cow tow to this business."

She said she and her husband Julius Tennon started JuVee Productions because she was tired of celebrating movies that didn't have "me in it."

"I don't mean me Viola," Davis said. "I mean me as a black woman."

She urged those in power in Hollywood to show more authentic black female characters. "My main message is 'stop taming us,' she said. "Everything that we are inside is what makes art in this world rich ... There is something to be said about being wild. Steve McQueen is wild. Barry Jenkins. Ryan Coogler.... These people who just dare. Who say you cannot silence me."

Even when there are black characters, she said, they're reduced to being maternal, to being the savior, to being denied sexuality, to being there to, "Make that white character feel better."

"What is in my heart is I cannot lead with bull(asterisk)(asterisk)(asterisk)(asterisk)," she said. "I cannot lead with lying. I cannot lead with the lying about what the road is out there."

Her company recently closed a first look feature production deal with Amazon Studios, where they will produce a film about pioneering politician Shirley Chisholm. Davis will star as the New York congresswoman.

Davis was in good company at the breakfast event, where comedian Hannah Gadsby chided "good men talking about bad men" and Monica Lewinsky talked about her "mistake" and learning how to survive and grow from it.

"We have each made a mistake in our career that has come with consequences. And probably everyone in this room can agree, that among all of us here today, when it comes to the worst mistake or mistake with the worst consequences, I definitely win, hands down," Lewinsky said. "Get comfortable with the fact that at some point you will make a mistake in your career...And know, from the deepest part of you, that you can move on from it, you can grow from it, and you can survive it."

One person who owned up to a mistake was Lena Dunham, who came on stage with the mother of a woman who accused a "Girls" writer of sexual assault last November. Dunham at the time came out in support of the writer, who was her friend, and questioned the account of Aurora Perrineau. Since then Dunham has become friends with Aurora and her mother Brittany Perrineau.

"I denied her experience publicly. That will always be my greatest regret," Dunham said. "But with Brittany and Aurora's love, forgiveness and bravery it has become my greatest moment of evolution and education...I learned to listen."

  • Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018
Sandra Oh, Andy Samberg to host Golden Globe ceremony
In this Sept. 17, 2018 file photo, Sandra Oh, left, and Andy Samberg present an award at the 70th Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles. Oh and Samberg will share host duties at next month’s Golden Globe ceremony. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- 

Sandra Oh and Andy Samberg will share host duties at next month's Golden Globe Awards.

Producers on Wednesday announced the co-hosts for the Jan. 6 ceremony. The Globes are hosted by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which presents awards for film and TV.

Oh won a 2006 Golden Globe for "Grey's Anatomy." This year, she became the first actress of Asian ethnicity to receive an Emmy nomination for drama series lead, for "Killing Eve."

Samberg won two Golden Globes in 2014 for "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," for best comedy actor and as a producer.

He was the 2016 Emmy Awards host, while Oh is a newcomer to handling emcee duties for a major ceremony.

Nominees will be announced Thursday morning. The three-hour Golden Globes ceremony will air live on NBC from Beverly Hills.

  • Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018
Lena Dunham sorry for supporting writer accused of assault
This combination photo shows actress Aurora Perrineau in Los Angeles on Feb. 17, 2015, left, and actress-writer Lena Dunham in New York on May 29, 2018. (AP Photo)
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- 

Lena Dunham is apologizing to actress Aurora Perrineau for defending a writer Perrineau accused of sexual misconduct.

Writing Wednesday in The Hollywood Reporter, Dunham says she "did something inexcusable" in supporting producer and writer Murray Miller. Dunham says she didn't have the "insider information" that she claimed and was acting on "blind faith." She says she wanted to feel her workplace was safe. Miller worked on Dunham's "Girls" series.

She tells Perrineau, "I believe you, Aurora." Dunham praised the 24-year-old actress and model's "bravery, openness, forgiveness, dignity and grace."

In 2017, Perrineau accused Miller of sexually assaulting her when she was 17 years old. The Los Angeles District Attorney's Office declined to file charges in August.

Miller has denied the "outrageous" allegations against him.

  • Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018
Netflix maintains high-priced relationship with "Friends"
This Oct. 11, 2011 file photo, shows the exterior of Netflix headquarters in Los Gatos, Calif. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- 

Netflix will still be there for fans of the old TV series "Friends," but maintaining the relationship will come at a steep price.

The video streaming service paid $100 million to keep showing "Friends" in the U.S. through 2019, according to a report in the New York Times . That's more than triple the $30 million a year Netflix had been paying for the long-running TV series about six 20-something friends in New York. The report cited two unidentified people with direct knowledge of Netflix's deal with the series' rights holder, AT&T.

Netflix tweeted that it will continue showing "Friends," but didn't disclose financial details. The Los Gatos, California, company declined further comment Tuesday.

Netflix's willingness to pay so much for a series that ended in 2004 is the latest sign of intensifying competition in video streaming.

Besides current rivals such as Hulu and Amazon, Netflix is also facing a significant threat next year when Walt Disney Co. plans to roll out a video streaming service featuring its popular movies and TV shows. As part of its move into streaming, Disney will be pulling much of the entertainment that it has licensed to Netflix for years.

That setback may have figured into Netflix's calculations about how much "Friends" is worth to its service. But Netflix is still spending far more on original programming such as "Stranger Things" and "The Crown" to distinguish itself from its rivals. The strategy has forced Netflix to take on billions of dollars in debt to pay for the programming, but it has helped the company build the world's largest video streaming service with 137 million subscribers.

AT&T also is planning to offer a video streaming service, and there is nothing in its deal with Netflix that prevents it from featuring "Friends" on that service beginning in 2020, according to the Times.

  • Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018
Report details new allegations of Moonves' sexual misconduct
In this Sept. 19, 2017, file photo, Les Moonves, chairman and CEO of CBS Corporation, poses at the premiere of the new television series "Star Trek: Discovery" in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)
NEW YORK (AP) -- 

A report by CBS lawyers outlines more allegations of sexual misconduct by longtime chief Les Moonves, The New York Times reported.

The report alleges that Moonves destroyed evidence and misled investigators as he attempted to protect his reputation and severance payments. It says investigators had received "multiple reports" about a network employee who was "on call" to perform oral sex on Moonves.

"A number of employees were aware of this and believed that the woman was protected from discipline or termination as a result of it," it cited the report as saying. "Moonves admitted to receiving oral sex from the woman, his subordinate, in his office, but described it as consensual."

It said, the woman did not respond to the investigators' requests for an interview.

The report was prepared by lawyers the network hired to determine if Moonves violated the terms of his employment agreement, the newspaper reported Tuesday.

The 59-page report is to be presented to CBS's board of directors before the company's annual meeting next week, it said.

It says Moonves could be denied his $120 million severance package after he had to quit in September amid numerous allegations of sexual misbehavior.

As part of his contract with CBS he was required to fully cooperate with the network's investigation.

Moonves stepped down following a story by The New Yorker that included a second round of ugly sexual misconduct accusations against the powerful television executive. He is one of many important figures in entertainment to be felled by sexual misconduct allegations.

  • Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018
Actor-comedian Kevin Hart will host 2019 Oscars
In this Dec. 11, 2017 file photo, Kevin Hart arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" in Los Angeles. Hart will host the 2019 Academy Awards, fulfilling a lifelong dream for the actor-comedian. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- 

Kevin Hart has a new job — he will host the 2019 Academy Awards, a role the prolific actor-comedian says fulfills a longtime dream.

Hart announced his selection for the 91st Oscars in an Instagram statement Tuesday. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences followed up with a tweet that welcomed him "to the family."

The announcement came hours after trade publication The Hollywood Reporter posted a story calling the Oscars host position "the least wanted job in Hollywood."

Hart clearly doesn't feel that way, writing on Instagram that it has been on his list of dream jobs for years. The 2019 Oscars will be broadcast Feb. 24 on ABC.

"I am blown away simply because this has been a goal on my list for a long time...To be able to join the legendary list of host that have graced this stage is unbelievable," Hart wrote. "I know my mom is smiling from ear to ear right now.

"I will be sure to make sure this years Oscars are a special one," Hart wrote.

Hart takes over hosting duties from Jimmy Kimmel, who presided over the last two ceremonies, including 2016's flub that resulted in the wrong best picture winner being announced. Last year's ceremony was an all-time ratings low, and the film academy has announced a series of changes to the upcoming show .

Those include shortening the broadcast to three hours, and also presenting certain categories during commercial breaks and broadcasting excerpts of those winners' speeches later in the show.

The 39-year-old Hart has become a bankable star with films such as "Ride Along," ''Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" and "Night School."

Celebrities including Martin Lawrence and Chris Rock, who hosted the ceremony in 2005 and 2016, posted congratulatory messages about Hart's selection Tuesday night.

"Damn I've lost another job to Kevin Hart," Rock posted on Instagram, echoing a joke he told during his 2016 opening monologue . "They got the best person for the job."

  • Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018
Cohen Media Group purchases Landmark Theatre chain
In this May 12, 2016 file photo, Cohen Media Group founder Charles S. Cohen appears at the screening of the film "Money Monster" at the 69th international film festival, Cannes, southern France. Representatives from the Cohen Media Group say Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018, that it has purchased Landmark Theaters, the nation’s largest independent theater chain. (AP Photo/Joel Ryan, File)
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- 

An Oscar-winning production and distribution company is getting into the movie theater business.

Representatives from the Cohen Media Group say Tuesday the company has purchased Landmark Theatres, the nation's largest independent theater chain.

Landmark Theatres has 252 screens in 27 cities and has been under the ownership of Todd Wagner and Mark Cuban's 2929 Entertainment since 2003.

CMG has been behind such Oscar-nominated and winning films as "The Salesman" and "Faces Places."

CMG founder Charles S. Cohen said in a statement that he admired the way Landmark has evolved to fit the changing independent film landscape.

Cohen said the theatrical chain is a good fit with the CMG business , one of which restores classic films like the Merchant Ivory collection and the Buster Keaton catalog.

  • Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018
Stephen H. Flick to receive Career Achievement Award from Motion Picture Sound Editors
Stephen H. Flick
STUDIO CITY, Calif. -- 

Supervising sound editor Stephen H. Flick has been named recipient of the 2018 Motion Pictures Sound Editors (MPSE) Career Achievement Award. A veteran of 40 years and more than 150 films, Flick won Oscars for Sound Editing in 1988 and 1995 for Robocop and Speed, respectively. He will receive the Career Achievement Award at the 66th Annual MPSE Golden Reel Awards ceremony, February 17, 2019 in Los Angeles.

Flick has created sound for some of the most beloved and successful films in recent Hollywood history. A master of both traditional and cutting-edge sound editing techniques, he is known for his collaborative approach toward sound production. “Stephen is a true innovator and the epitome of the sound artist,” said Tom McCarthy, MPSE president. “He creates sound that blends organically with picture and brings the film’s world and story to life.”

Flick comes from a background in music, puppetry and college theater. He began his career in motion picture sound in the late ‘70s and earned one of his first credits as sound supervisor on the 1982 horror-thriller Poltergeist¸ which also brought him his first Academy Award nomination. He has a total of five Oscar nominations, with others coming for Die Hard and Total Recall. Additionally, he has three Emmy Awards (for Deadwood, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee and John Adams) and a BAFTA for Speed.  The MPSE has previously honored him with two Golden Reel Awards, among five nominations. Flick is currently a professor of the practice of Cinematic Arts at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. He also plays jazz saxophone and flute in a number of traditional and contemporary ensembles.

“I have been fortunate to have spent my career doing work that I am passionate about,” said Flick. “It is an honor and a privilege to be recognized by my friends and colleagues in the MPSE.”

The MPSE Career Achievement Award recognizes sound artists who have distinguished themselves by meritorious works as both an individual and fellow contributor to the art of sound for feature film, television and gaming and for setting an example of excellence for others to follow. Flick joins a distinguished list of sound innovators, including 2018 Career Achievement Recipient John Paul Fasal, Harry Cohen, Richard King, Skip Lievsay, Randy Thom, Larry Singer, Walter Murch and George Watters II.

  • Monday, Dec. 3, 2018
Civil-rights lawyer's memoir to be reissued, made into film
In this April 20, 2000, file photo, Dovey Roundtree sits for a portrait in Spotsylvania Va. A memoir by the late civil-rights activist is being reissued, and a film version is in the works. (Suzanne Carr/The Free Lance-Star via AP, File)
NEW YORK (AP) -- 

A memoir by the late civil-rights activist Dovey Johnson Roundtree is being reissued, and a film version is in the works.

Algonquin Books announced Monday that a 10th-anniversary edition of Roundtree's "Mighty Justice" is coming out next November. Co-written by Katie McCabe, the book was originally called "Justice Older Than the Law" and was praised by Michelle Obama, among others. Meanwhile, Roaring Brook Press plans middle grade and picture book versions and film rights were acquired by Red Crown Productions, with Octavia Spencer as executive producer.

Roundtree, who died in May at age 104, was a groundbreaking attorney and minister and the inspiration for Cicely Tyson's idealistic Southern lawyer in the 1990s TV series "Sweet Justice."

  • Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018
Neil deGrasse Tyson denies misconduct allegations
In this Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2017 file photo, Neil deGrasse Tyson attends a fan event celebrating the release Kelly Clarkson's album "Meaning of Life" at YouTube Space New York in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP, File)
NEW YORK (AP) -- 

Renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson says he will cooperate fully with an "impartial investigation" into allegations of sexual misconduct that have been leveled against him.

Patheos.com recently published accounts from two women who say that Tyson behaved in a sexually inappropriate manner toward them. Tyson was host of "Cosmos: Possible Worlds" on Fox in 2014 and a new edition of the series was to air on National Geographic next year.

In a Facebook post Saturday, Tyson denied an accusation that he groped a woman and he denied that he made sexual advances toward a production assistant when he invited her to share wine and cheese at his home. He apologized for making the production assistant feel uncomfortable.

Fox and National Geographic Networks have said they will conduct a thorough investigation.

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