Friday, July 19, 2019

News Briefs

Displaying 1 - 10 of 3673
  • Thursday, Jul. 18, 2019
Lin-Manuel Miranda geeks out on "His Dark Materials"
Lin-Manuel Miranda, left, and James McAvoy participate in the "His Dark Materials" panel on day one of Comic-Con International on Thursday, July 18, 2019, in San Diego. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)
SAN DIEGO (AP) -- 

Lin-Manuel Miranda says he agreed to being in the adaptation of "His Dark Materials" before he even knew what part he was being offered.

Miranda plays Lee Scoresby, a cowboy who flies hot air balloons and gets into bar fights, although he says he would have sharpened pencils to be part of the production.

He and his fellow castmates James McAvoy and Ruth Wilson debuted a trailer for the HBO and BBC series based on the Philip Pullman novels Thursday evening at Comic-Con in San Diego.

The big-budget 2007 feature film "The Golden Compass" also attempted to adapt Pullman's material, but it was not well received by critics and disappointed at the box office.

"I thought it was time for the books to be liberated," said producer Jane Tranter, who convinced New Line and Pullman to let her adapt them into a series.

She helped recruit Miranda to the project while he was in London filming "Mary Poppins Returns" and he had a very personal reason for feeling so passionately about the material.

"When my wife and I stated dating we read these books together," Miranda said. "They're in a really special place in my heart."

The audience responded with a big "aw" to the story.

McAvoy, who plays Lord Asriel, was also a big fan of the material — so much so that he basically signed on in a single phone call from the casting director, who is a friend of his, just days before filming was set to begin.

Lyra actress Dafne Keen, on the other hand, didn't know the source material when she booked the role. At just 14, she told the audience that it was because the books came out before she was born. But she tore through the three books and became a fan before production started.

But Miranda was by far the giddiest of the cast, excitedly asking permission to reveal his first scene.

"I literally come into this thing singing a duet with my demon, on a big hot air balloon, which was a fun way to enter the world," Miranda said. "I can't believe we get to go back to summer camp this summer for season two."

HBO has yet to set a premiere date for the series.

  • Thursday, Jul. 18, 2019
Hamilton, Schwarzenegger tease "Terminator" sequel at Comic-Con
Arnold Schwarzenegger, left, and Linda Hamilton kiss at the "Terminator: Dark Fate" panel on day one of Comic-Con International on Thursday, July 18, 2019, in San Diego. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
SAN DIEGO (AP) -- 

Leave the kids at home, "Terminator: Dark Fate" is getting an R-rating.

Director Tim Miller told the audience at San Diego Comic-Con that it wasn't always going to be the plan, but the fans demanded it. The panel that kicked off the fan convention Thursday morning may also have gotten the same rating with the number of expletives thrown around by Miller.

Arnold Schwarzenegger even won $20 because Miller said one particular word more than 5 times.

"It was 10," Schwarzenegger said. "I counted."

Would you expect any less from the director of "Deadpool"?

Miller and Schwarzenegger were joined by Linda Hamilton, who is reprising her role as Sarah Connor, franchise newcomer Mackenzie Davis and other cast members on the Hall H stage.

This latest film fully ignores the events of the last Terminator movie, "Terminator: Genisys," with Emilia Clarke which bombed with audiences and critics in 2015. Instead "Dark Fate" picks up where James Cameron left off with "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" in 1991.

Producer David Ellison even told Miller that he didn't do Terminator as well as he'd wished the first time around with "Genisys" and wanted to try again.

Part of the strategy to "get it right" involved bringing Cameron back to produce.

Cameron chimed in via a live broadcast from the set of the "Avatar" sequels. He said he would have liked to have been in San Diego to kick off the 50th Comic-Con , but that he had to keep working.

"Everybody's always whining about how long it's taking 'Avatar' to get done," Cameron said.

His requirements for a new "Terminator" film started and stopped with wanting to make sure Schwarzenegger came back. It wasn't a problem, since Schwarzenegger himself said he's addicted to these films.

"'Terminator' was the movie that really launched my action movie career," Schwarzenegger said.

Then there was the Sarah Connor question. For Cameron and many fans, Hamilton is the one true Sarah. He sent her a "long rambling email with a lot of reasons why she should do it and a lot of reasons why she shouldn't."

The main point in the "pro column," Cameron said, is that people love her as this character.

"The character is the same but time changes everything," Hamilton said. "I felt there was a world of richness I could explore and then rock it as a woman of a certain age."

Although the 62-year-old actress is in full fighting shape in the footage and trailers, Hamilton said she didn't worry too much about getting back to her "T2" self.

"One day I woke up and realized I can no longer worry about being what I was because I am so much more than what I was," she said. "The richness of my life experience is only going to enrich the character I play."

But her 32-year-old co-star Davis still conceded that Hamilton would definitely win in a fight. Hamilton agreed.

"Mackenzie is stronger and younger, but I'm meaner," Hamilton said with a smile.

Edward Furlong is also returning to play John Connor again.

The audience greeted the action-packed footage with enthusiasm, which reached a crescendo when Sarah Connor debuted on screen.

"Terminator: Dark Fate" opens in theaters Nov. 1 and Comic-Con runs through Sunday.

  • Thursday, Jul. 18, 2019
Tom Cruise surprises Comic-Con with "Top Gun" sequel trailer
Tom Cruise presents a clip from "Top Gun: Maverick" on day one of Comic-Con International on Thursday, July 18, 2019, in San Diego. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
SAN DIEGO (AP) -- 

Tom Cruise has made an unexpected flyby at San Diego Comic-Con to debut the first trailer for "Top Gun: Maverick."

The audience in the 8,000 seat room went wild for Cruise Thursday afternoon. He closed out what had been billed only as a panel for "Terminator: Dark Fate."

Cruise says all the flying in the trailer is real and that "Top Gun: Maverick" is a love letter to aviation. They worked with the Navy for the film, which is currently in production.

"Top Gun: Maverick" is expected to hit theaters next June. Val Kilmer, Jon Hamm and Miles Teller co-star.

Cruise said Comic-Con was the perfect place to premiere the trailer. He shot the original some 34 years ago in San Diego.

  • Thursday, Jul. 18, 2019
Jerry Seinfeld learns from comedy's best on Netflix series
Jerry Seinfeld attends the "Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee," photo call at The Paley Center for Media, Wednesday, July 17, 2019, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP)
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) -- 

Jerry Seinfeld would rather cruise in classic cars and sip coffee with comedy's best than reboot his uber-successful "Seinfeld" television series.

"No, and do what? Make it worse?" Seinfeld said in an interview Wednesday night about his eponymous NBC sitcom, which celebrated its 30-year anniversary this month. "I'm very fortunate to be in the position to make that show with those people at that time. I wouldn't be arrogant enough to think I could do it again. That's egomaniacal. I'm happy with what I have now."

These days, Seinfeld is focused on learning more about the "sharpest minds in comedy" through his Netflix series "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee." The 11th season of the series premieres Friday on the streaming service featuring Eddie Murphy, who talked about his career and shared stories with Seinfeld about them coming up in comedy together in New York in the 1970s.

The new season also includes an array of other comedians including Martin Short, Rick Gervais, Seth Rogan, Bridget Everett, Barry Marder, Melissa Villaseño and Mario Joyner. Jamie Foxx appears in an episode to talk about him wanting to return to standup and his impersonation of Dave Chappelle.

"It's kind of a music video to me. It's just kind of visual. The words are interesting and sometimes it's funny, but I like it to have a rhythm and flow and then it's over," Seinfeld said. "It's just very quick. I always like when people go 'I wish that was a little longer.'"

Seinfeld launched "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee" on Sony's Crackle in 2012. The series was moved to Netflix two years ago after the comedian signed a massive deal with the streaming service.

This season, Seinfeld continues to pick up each guest in a different vintage car, from a Maserati Mistral to a Rolls-Royce convertible to a beat-up Dodge Monaco. He takes them to a cafe or restaurant for coffee where they have an easy-flowing conversation about their career and life experiences as comedians.

Seinfeld said he learns something new from each guest. He was surprised when Murphy spoke about not being as confident as most thought during his rise in comedy. He also didn't know that Rogen first heard about Bill Cosby's sexual misconduct history from Hannibal Buress in 2014, a month before Buress accused Cosby in a viral stand-up routine.

For Seinfeld, he feels somewhat like a news reporter in an effort to create a comfortable environment for guests to open up.

  • Thursday, Jul. 18, 2019
Deneuve, Hawke movie "The Truth" to open Venice Film Festival
This combination photo shows actors Catherine Deneuve (l) and Ethan Hawke who star in Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda’s film “The Truth.” The film will open the 76th Venice Film Festival on Aug. 28. (AP Photo)
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- 

The 76th Venice Film Festival is opening with Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda's "The Truth."

Festival director Alberto Barbera announced the selection starring Catherine Deneuve, Ethan Hawke and Juliette Binoche in a statement Thursday.

This is the first time in years that Venice has not started with a Hollywood film. Recent openers have included "First Man" and "La La Land."

"The Truth" features Deneuve as a French movie star who reunites with her daughter and son-in-law after publishing her memoirs. The director said the small family story takes place primarily inside a house.

The film will premiere on the Lido in competition on Aug. 28.

"The Truth" is the Palme d'Or-winning director's first film to be made outside of Japan. He directed last year's Oscar-nominated drama "Shoplifters."

  • Thursday, Jul. 18, 2019
"It: Chapter Two" cast talks intense shoot at Comic-Con
Casts of "It: Chapter Two" sit at a Comic-Con event Wednesday night, July 17, 2019 at the Spreckels Theater in San Diego, Calif. A theater of fans got a sneak peek at the latest promo for the horror sequel at the Comic-Con event before it's released to the world Thursday morning. They are, from left to right, Isaiah Mustafa, Andy Bean, James Ransone, Bill Hader, Conan O'Brien, Andy Muschietti, Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Jay Ryan. (AP Photo/Lindsey D. Bahr)
SAN DIEGO (AP) -- 

"It: Chapter Two" is not taking it easy on the grown losers' club if the new trailer is any indication, and the shoot itself doesn't sound much calmer than battling a demonic clown either.

A theater of fans got a sneak peek at the latest promo for the horror sequel at a Comic-Con event Wednesday night in San Diego before it's released to the world Thursday morning.

Cast including James McAvoy, Bill Hader and Jessica Chastain were also on hand to tease three chilling extended scenes that had the audience gasping, laughing and cheering. They described the intensity of the shoot with director Andy Muschietti, who wouldn't quit until he got the perfect shot.

Chastain recalled doing a scene with blood. She wasn't supposed to get any on her face, but she protested and said, "No, let's make it 'Carrie' on steroids." Later, "freezing and very uncomfortable" in a kiddie pool covered with the fake blood, she may have regretted her choice.

They laughed that throughout filming they used a "record" amount of fake blood — 4,500 gallons (17,035 liters), according to Chastain.

McAvoy also talked about filming a particularly hair-raising scene in a hall of mirrors that he said was "like a nightmare ... absolutely horrific. There was no fun in it."

And all marveled at Bill Skarsgård's ability to transform into Pennywise the clown.

"He's super imposing in the costume," Bill Hader said. "He's a super nice guy but then when they say 'Action,' it's like a whole other being."

McAvoy worried occasionally that Skarsgård was actually going to hurt himself in character. According to the cast, the "eye trick" Pennywise does where one eye is looking straight and the other goes off to the side is not computer-generated; it's just something Skarsgård is able to do.

"It's like he was born to play Pennywise," Hader said.

Conan O'Brien moderated the late night ScareDiego event put on by Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema and pleaded with the audience not to record any of the footage.

The film opens nationwide on Sept. 6.

Comic-Con's main events begin Thursday morning at the San Diego Convention Center.

  • Thursday, Jul. 18, 2019
Suspected arson in Japan animation studio kills 1; 35 hurt
Smoke billows from a three-story building of Kyoto Animation in a fire in Kyoto, western Japan, Thursday, July 18, 2019. Kyoto prefectural police said the fire broke out Thursday morning after a man burst into it and spread unidentified liquid and put fire.(Kyodo News via AP)
TOKYO (AP) -- 

A man burst into a famous animation production studio in Kyoto and started a fire early Thursday, leaving at least one dead and 35 others injured, some critically, Japanese authorities said.

The fire broke out at a three-story building of Kyoto Animation in Uji city in southern Kyoto, after the suspect spread an unidentified liquid that set off the blaze, Kyoto prefectural police and fire department officials said.

One person died of severe burns, said fire department official Satoshi Fujiwara. Ten of the injured were in serious condition, many of them suffering from burns, he said.

The suspect was also injured and taken to a hospital, officials said. Police are investigating the man on suspicion of arson.

Footage on Japan's NHK national television showed gray smoke billowing from the charred building.

Rescue officials set up a tent outside the studio building to provide first aid and sort out the injured.

Fire department officials say more than 70 people were in the building at the time of the fire, but most of them ran outside.

The fire was almost extinguished hours later, and firefighters were searching for anyone left behind.

Kyoto Animation, better known as KyoAni, was founded in 1981 as an animation and comic book production studio, and is known for mega-hit stories featuring high school girls, including "Lucky Star," ''K-On!" and "Haruhi Suzumiya."

  • Wednesday, Jul. 17, 2019
Prosecutors drop case against Kevin Spacey
In this June 3, 2019 file photo, actor Kevin Spacey listens to attorney Alan Jackson during a pretrial hearing at district court in Nantucket, Mass. On Wednesday, July 17, prosecutors dropped the sexual assault case against Oscar-winning actor, who had been accused of groping 18-year-old man in 2016 in the crowded bar at the Club Car in Nantucket. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)
BOSTON (AP) -- 

Prosecutors dropped a case Wednesday accusing Kevin Spacey of groping a young man at a resort island bar in 2016, more than a week after the accuser refused to testify about a missing cellphone the defense says contains information that supports the actor's claims of innocence.

Spacey was charged with indecent assault and battery last year in the only criminal case that has been brought against the actor since his career collapsed amid a slew of sexual misconduct allegations. The two-time Oscar winner was among the earliest and biggest names to be ensnared in the #MeToo movement against sexual assault and harassment that swept across the entertainment and other industries.

Spacey denies groping the man, whose mother first went public with the allegations in 2017.

A phone message seeking comment was left with Spacey's lawyer.

The actor's accuser was ordered to take the stand earlier this month after he said he lost the cellphone he used the night of the alleged groping. The defense said it needed the phone to recover deleted text messages it says would help Spacey's case.

The man denied deleting messages or manipulating screenshots of conversations he provided to investigators. But when he was pressed by the defense about whether he knew that altering evidence is a crime, he invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, and the judge said his testimony would be stricken from the record.

The judge then questioned how prosecutors would be able to bring Spacey to trial if the accuser continued to refuse to testify, and prosecutors told the judge they needed time to decide how to proceed.

On Wednesday, Cape and Island District Attorney Michael O'Keefe said in court documents that they were dropping the charge "due to an unavailability of the complaining witness."

The hearing at which the accuser testified came days after the man abruptly dropped a lawsuit he had just recently filed against the actor that sought damages for "severe and permanent mental distress and emotional injuries." The suit was dismissed "with prejudice," meaning it cannot be refiled.

The man did not receive a settlement to drop the civil case, his mother said. His lawyer said he dropped it because he was emotionally overwhelmed and wanted only "one roller coaster ride at a time" and so chose to focus on the criminal case.

The man's mother, former Boston TV anchor Heather Unruh, alleged in 2017 that Spacey got her son drunk and sexually assaulted him at the Club Car, a bar on Nantucket where the teen worked as a busboy.

The man told police he went over to talk to Spacey after his shift because he wanted to get a picture with the former "House of Cards" star. He said Spacey bought him several drinks and tried to persuade him to come home with him before unzipping the man's pants and groping him for about three minutes.

Unruh's son told police he tried to move Spacey's hands, but the groping continued, and he didn't know what to do because he didn't want to get in trouble for drinking because he was underage. The man said he fled when Spacey went to the bathroom.

Shortly after Spacey was charged, he posted a video on YouTube in the voice of his "House of Cards" character who was killed off after the sexual misconduct allegations emerged, saying "I'm certainly not going to pay the price for the thing I didn't do."

Spacey has faced several other accusations.

His first accuser, actor Anthony Rapp, said Spacey climbed on top of him on a bed when Rapp was 14 and Spacey 26. Spacey said he did not remember such an encounter but apologized if the allegations were true.

The Associated Press does not typically name people who say they are the victims of sexual assault unless they identify themselves publicly. Rapp has; Unruh's son has not.

  • Tuesday, Jul. 16, 2019
Graphic suicide scene edited out of "13 Reasons Why" finale
In this March 30, 2017 file photo, Katherine Langford attends the LA premiere of "13 Reasons Why" at Paramount Pictures Studio in Los Angeles. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- 

Netflix has decided to remove a graphic suicide scene from the Season 1 finale of its show "13 Reasons Why" as the series prepares to launch its third season.

Show creator Brian Yorkey says in a statement on Twitter the intent in portraying the suicide in such graphic detail was to "make sure no one would ever wish to emulate it." But the producers have heard concerns from mental health experts and decided, along with the streaming service, to re-edit it.

Yorkey says the edit "will help the show do the most good for the most people while mitigating any risk for especially vulnerable young viewers."

Suicide prevention groups support the decision.

The series drew praise and criticism when it debuted in 2017. The show included warnings about its graphic nature and Netflix established a website of crisis helplines.

  • Monday, Jul. 15, 2019
Austin Butler to star as Elvis in Baz Luhrmann-helmed biopic
This combination photo shows singer-actor Elvis Presley in a 1964 photo, left, and actor Austin Butler at the premiere of "The Dead Don't Die" in New York on June 10, 2019. Butler has been cast to portray Presley in the upcoming biopic by director Baz Luhrmann. (AP Photo)
NEW YORK (AP) -- 

Baz Luhrmann's Elvis Presley biopic has found its King.

After a competitive casting contest, 27-year-old actor Austin Butler has been cast as Presley. Ansel Elgort, Harry Styles and Miles Teller all reportedly tested for the role ultimately won by Butler, who last year appeared in the Denzel Washington Broadway revival of "The Iceman Cometh."

Luhrmann says in a statement that through "a journey of extensive screen testing and music and performance workshops, I knew unequivocally that I had found someone who could embody the spirit of one of the world's most iconic musical figures."

Production is to begin early next year on the Luhrmann-directed film. Tom Hanks co-stars as Presley's manager Colonel Tom Parker.

Butler also has a role in Quentin Tarantino's upcoming "Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood."

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