Wednesday, November 22, 2017

News Briefs

Displaying 31 - 40 of 2726
  • Friday, Nov. 3, 2017
Margaret Atwood's "Alias Grace" adapted as Netflix series
In this Aug. 16, 2017 photo, actress Sarah Gadon poses for a portrait to promote her series, "Alias Grace" in New York. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP)

Another Margaret Atwood novel is getting the Hollywood treatment, this time on Netflix.

In "Alias Grace," a six-episode Netflix miniseries starring Sarah Gadon, an Irish immigrant working as a maid in Canada in the 1840s is accused of murdering her boss and his mistress. Her case is covered with breathless scrutiny, making the young woman infamous.

Based on Atwood's historical novel, Gadon plays Grace, who recounts her life story to a young psychiatrist trying to help jog her memory.

"While he's having these interviews with Grace throughout the show, you start to question his motives," Gadon said in a recent interview. "Is he falling for Grace? Does he want to save her? Has he become obsessed with her or is she manipulating him?"

Gadon said the compelling part of the story is the gray area of it all. She and director Mary Harron analyzed different scenarios that would make Grace guilty or not. Gadon says they have their own beliefs about what happened but don't want to influence anyone watching the series.

"The series and the book are all about the ambiguity and it's all about the journey," Gadon said. "Did Grace do it? Did she not do it? Do you want her to have done it? It kind of plays with all those human emotions that we all feel."

To prepare for the role, Gadon spent time at Black Creek Pioneer Village, a working village in Ontario, Canada, that transports visitors back to the late 1700s to mid-1800s.

"I learned how to milk a cow, churn butter, start a fire and ... use a Victorian-era kitchen," she said.

Gadon also learned to sew because Grace sews a quilt by hand as she is being interviewed by her doctor. Gadon says she would need a refresher on sewing, but "could churn some butter. It's pretty easy. It's a lot of work but I could definitely churn some butter."

Another Atwood novel, "The Handmaid's Tale," is an Emmy-winning series on Hulu.

  • Friday, Nov. 3, 2017
Revelator adds writer/director Jonn Herschend to its roster
Jonn Herschend
AUSTIN, Texas -- 

Filmmaker Jonn Herschend has joined Revelator, an Austin-based video production company specializing in creative-driven and documentary-style commercial video. Led by Matt Muir and Chris Ohlson, Revelator now represents seven directors, working across the spectrum of commercial, feature and branded content.

Herschend is a California-based writer and director with an extensive background working in the contemporary art world. His work has been exhibited nationally, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Telluride Film Festival, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and internationally at the Den Frie Contemporary Art Center and most recently at Sydhavn Train Station in Copenhagen, Denmark.  

Herschend has won two Golden Gate Awards for his film work at the San Francisco International Film Festival, a SECA Award from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and he was included as an artist in the 2014 Whitney Biennial. His commercial experience includes creating marketing concepts and campaigns for brands such as Nike and Levi’s.

After working with Revelator on a long-form documentary this year, Herschend was excited to continue his collaboration with the company.   Revelator partner Chris Ohlson said of Herschend, “He has an incredibly unique voice and with wildly varying experiences in the world of modern art, publishing and commercial production — his vision and breadth of work is a great addition to our family of directors.”

  • Friday, Nov. 3, 2017
TV audience for Astros-Dodgers down from Cubs-Indians
The Houston Astros celebrate after Game 7 of baseball's World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2017, in Los Angeles. The Astros won 5-1 to win the series 4-3. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

The Houston Astros' seven-game World Series win over the Los Angeles Dodgers averaged 18.9 million viewers on Fox, down 19 percent from the 23.4 million average for the Chicago Cubs' seven-game victory over Cleveland last year for their first title since 1908.

The total audience on Fox's three outlets averaged 19.56 million, the network said Thursday. That included an average of 476,000 viewers on Fox Deportes, up 34 percent from 355,000 last year, and a digital audience average of 183,000 on Fox Sports Go, an increase of 4 percent.

Viewers on Fox were up 37 percent from San Francisco's seven-game win over Kansas City in 2014, which averaged 13.8 million on Fox.

This year's Series averaged a 10.7 rating and 20 share, down from a 13.1/23 last year. That was the highest-rated World Series since 2004, when Boston defeated St. Louis for its first title since 1918.

This was the second-highest rated World Series since the New York Yankees beat Philadelphia over six games in 2009.

Houston's 5-1 win in Game 7 on Wednesday night averaged 29,301,000 on Fox's three outlets, down 28 percent from 40,954,000 for Chicago's 8-7, 10-inning victory over Cleveland in Game 7 last year, the most watched baseball game since Minnesota's 1-0, 10-inning win over Atlanta in Game 7 in 1991.

This year's Game 7 audience included an average of 28,229,000 on the main Fox network, 778,000 on Fox Deportes and 294,000 on Fox Sports Go. The peak was 31,989,000 from 10:30 p.m. to 10:45 p.m. EDT. The audience on Fox Deportes was the highest for a sporting event on U.S. Spanish-language television other than soccer.

Last year's Game 7 averaged 40,045,000 on Fox, 565,000 on Fox Deportes and 344,000 on Fox Sports Go.

The rating is the percentage of television households tuned to a broadcast, and the share is the percentage tuned in among those television households with sets on at the time.

Fox said 106 million viewers watched the Series at some point, down from 115 million last year.

Television ratings were provided to Fox by Nielsen Media Research and the digital audience by Adobe Analytics.

  • Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017
Director Tom Tykwer to head Berlin film festival jury
In this Feb. 9, 2017 photo, German director Tom Tykwer arrives on the red carpet at the 2017 Berlinale Film Festival in Berlin, Germany. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

German director Tom Tykwer will head the jury at this winter's Berlin International Film Festival.

Festival organizers announced Thursday that they have chosen the German director of "A Hologram for the King," ''Cloud Atlas" and "Run Lola Run," among other films, to be jury president at the event's 68th edition in February.

The Berlin event is the first of the year's major European film festivals. It will run from Feb. 15-25. Tykwer said that he and the festival "have a fantastic and broad history with each other."

Other members of the jury that will award the top Golden Bear prize and other awards weren't immediately announced, and there are no details yet of the festival program.

Dutch director Paul Verhoeven led the jurors at the 2017 festival.

  • Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017
Beyonce to play Nala in Disney's "The Lion King"
In this Nov. 4, 2016 file photo, Beyonce performs at a Get Out the Vote concert for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

Beyonce Knowles-Carter is joining the cast of "The Lion King" to voice to role of Nala.

The Walt Disney Studios revealed the main cast for its upcoming live-action and CG adaptation of its 1994 animated classic Wednesday and confirmed the months old rumor that the pop superstar would be lending her voice to the project.

Some had been previously announced for the film including Donald Glover as Simba and James Earl Jones as Mufasa. Other cast include Chiwetel Ejiofor as Scar, Alfre Woodard as Sarabi, Seth Rogen as Pumbaa, Billy Eichner as Timon and Keegan-Michael Key as a hyena.

Jon Favreau, who brought Disney's CG and live-action adaptation of "The Jungle Book" to life, is set to direct.

The film is slated for a July 19, 2019 theatrical release.

  • Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017
Renegade grows original programming unit, promotes Jorgensen to head development
Brittney Jorgensen
GLENDALE, Calif. -- 

Continuing to expand its original programming unit, Renegade Animation has promoted Brittney Jorgensen to the newly created post of head of marketing and development. Jorgensen will work with creators, writers and animators in developing concepts for animated television series and features, and serve as the studio’s chief liaison with studios, broadcasters and streaming services. The independent animation studio currently has 12 animated series in development, targeting demographics from pre-school through teenagers.

Demand for quality, animated content is strong, according to Renegade animation creative director Darrell Van Citters. “With the growth in television and streaming production, now is the right time to focus attention on original programming,” he said.

Renegade EP Ashley Postlewaite cited Jorgensen’s “strong background in animation” as making her a strong choice to spearhead the company’s development effort.

Jorgensen, who joined Renegade in 2012 on the production side, also recently served as production manager on Being by Yourself, an animated short for the Imaginary Friend Society designed to help children with cancer cope with hospitalization. Previously, she was a production manager at Bento Box Entertainment. She also served in a production role at Disney Animation on TRON: Uprising.

Renegade Animation has longtime relationships with the top animation writers and artists in Hollywood, and is unique in having the resources to take shows from concept through delivery in-house.  “We love to be involved from the very beginning,” she says. “Talent may come to us with a script, a storyboard, a show bible, or just the germ of an idea. We work with creators to develop ideas so that they conform to our style and fit market demand.”

Renegade Animation has produced several animated television series including Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi, The Mr. Men Show, Captain Sturdy and Tom & Jerry, all for Cartoon Network, and has two Emmy Award nominations for the PBS/WNET show, Oh, Noah!  The studio’s original web series Elmo Aardvark: Outer Space Detective won an Annie Award for Best Animated Series in an Electronic Medium.  Its theatrical work includes the animated holiday feature Christmas is Here Again, which was recently adapted into a musical for the stage.

  • Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017
Under fire, Kevin Spacey won't get International Emmy Award
In this June 11, 2017, file photo, Kevin Spacey arrives at the 71st annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

The International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences has revoked an award it was going to give Kevin Spacey, a decision made after allegations that he made sexual advances on a teen boy.

The group says ""it will not honor Kevin Spacey with the 2017 International Emmy Founders Award."

The award is to honor "an individual who crosses cultural boundaries to touch humanity." Spacey was to get it at a gala on Nov. 20 in New York City. Past recipients include Steven Spielberg, Shonda Rhimes and J.J. Abrams.

The move comes after actor Anthony Rapp came forward with claims Spacey made inappropriate sexual advances toward him in 1986, when he was 14. Netflix announced Monday that it was pulling the plug on "House of Cards," which stars Spacey.

  • Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017
Sony profits soar on image sensors, games, "Spider-Man" film
In this July 31, 2014 file photo, visitors walk past a logo of Sony at Sony Building in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko, File)
TOKYO (AP) -- 

Sony Corp. reported Tuesday that its fiscal second quarter profit zoomed by 26-fold from the same period last year, boosted by the success of its image sensors, game products and the latest "Spider-Man" movie.

Tokyo-based Sony, which makes Bravia TVs, PlayStation 4 video-game consoles and Wyclef Jean recordings, recorded a July-September profit of 130.9 billion yen ($1.2 billion), up from 4.8 billion yen reported last year.

Quarterly sales rose 22 percent to 2.06 trillion yen ($18 billion).

The Japanese electronics and entertainment giant raised its full-year profit forecast to 380 billion yen ($3.4 billion), up by nearly 50 percent from its earlier forecast of 255 billion yen ($2.3 billion) profit.

That's a more than five-fold improvement from the 73 billion yen earned in the fiscal year that ended in March.

Sony has suffered in recent years as it fell behind rivals like Samsung Electronics Co. of South Korea and Apple, which makes the iPhone, in flat-panel TVs and mobile phones.

A pioneer in mobile music with the creation of the Walkman portable cassette player in 1979, Sony has been reshaping its operations to catch up in new technologies like 4K TVs, digital cameras and game software for its successful PlayStation franchise.

In the last quarter, a weak yen compared to a year earlier worked to boost Sony's bottom line. A weak yen lifts the value of overseas earnings of Japanese exporters.

The absence of costs related to damages at its computer-chips and battery businesses from last year's earthquake in Kumamoto, southwestern Japan, also helped.

Sony said its results benefited from the strong worldwide box office performance of "Spider-Man: Homecoming" and the popularity of a game application for mobile devices called "Fate/Grand Order."

Sony's perennially strong performing financial services businesses, such as life insurance and online banking, also did well, it said.

  • Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017
Forbes: Michael Jackson top earning dead celebrity with $75M
In this March 5, 2009, file photo, Michael Jackson appears at an event to announce a series of concerts in London. Forbes announced on Oct. 30, 2017, that Jackson topped its list of highest-earning dead celebrities. (AP Photo/Joel Ryan, File)

Michael Jackson died eight years ago, but he's still generating millions of dollars.

Jackson is atop the Forbes list of top-earning dead celebrities for the fifth straight year, with $75 million. Forbes says Jackson's earnings are boosted by a new greatest hits album, a Las Vegas Cirque du Soleil show and a stake in the EMI music publishing catalog.

Two other singers join Jackson in the top five. Elvis Presley comes in fourth with $35 million and Bob Marley ranks fifth with $23 million.

Golf legend Arnold Palmer is the second-highest earner. He brought in $40 million in part through sales of Arizona lemonade and ice tea beverage made in his name.

Palmer is followed by Charles Schulz. The creator of the "Peanuts" franchise made $38 million.

  • Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017
Gary Oldman to get career honor at Hollywood Film Awards
In this Sept. 11, 2017, file photo, Gary Oldman attends a press conference for "Darkest Hour" on day 5 of the Toronto International Film Festival at the TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto. Dick Clark Productions announced Oldman will receive a career achievement award at the Hollywood Film Awards Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

Gary Oldman will be honored with a career achievement award at the Hollywood Film Awards on Sunday.

Dick Clark Productions, which produces the awards, made the announcement Tuesday.

The Oscar-nominated British actor has taken on numerous memorable roles in a nearly 40-year career, including a drug-dealing pimp in "True Romance" and Commissioner Gordon in Christopher Nolan's Batman films.

Oldman has generated Oscar buzz with his recent turn as British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in "Darkest Hour." The Hollywood Film Awards will be handed out Sunday night in Beverly Hills, California, in a ceremony hosted by CBS late-night host James Corden.