Tuesday, August 20, 2019

News Briefs

Displaying 51 - 60 of 3717
  • 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."

  • Monday, Jul. 15, 2019
Oliver Stone writing memoir, scheduled for 2020
In this Aug. 15, 2017, file photo, Oliver Stone is shown during interview with Associated Press in Sarajevo, Bosnia. (AP Photo/Amel Emric, File)
NEW YORK (AP) -- 

Oliver Stone has some memories to share, not all of them happy.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt announced Monday that it had acquired a memoir by the Oscar-winning filmmaker. The book, currently untitled, is scheduled for Fall 2020. Stone is known for such provocative films as "Platoon," ''JFK" and "Born On the Fourth of July." According to the publisher, he will center on his early years, including his time in Vietnam. Winner of an Academy Award before age 35, he will also recount his "overindulgences borne of youthful success." Stone has an acknowledged history of drugs and alcohol and has been married three times.

Stone, 72, said in a statement that he has been reassessing his life and decided that all memories are to be cherished, "pleasant or not."

  • Sunday, Jul. 14, 2019
Scarlett Johansson: Comments on diversity were misconstrued
In a Tuesday, April 23, 2019 file photo, Scarlett Johansson, a member of the cast of "Avengers: End Game," appears at a hand and footprint ceremony at the TCL Chinese Theatre, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP, File)
NEW YORK (AP) -- 

Scarlett Johansson says comments she made on the "authentic casting" debate have been taken out of context and asserts that she supports diversity in film.

The actress came under fire in 2017 for playing an Asian character in "Ghost in the Shell" and canceled plans last year to portray a transgender man in the upcoming film "Rub & Tug," after transgender actors and advocates questioned the casting.

In a recent interview with As If magazine, she said actors should be allowed to play any person "because that is my job and the requirement of my job."

Johansson said Saturday that those comments were subsequently edited in other publications for "clickbait."

"I personally feel that, in an ideal world, any actor should be able to play anybody and Art, in all forms, should be immune to political correctness," she said in a statement.

"I recognize that in reality, there is a wide spread discrepancy amongst my industry that favors Caucasian, cisgender actors and that not every actor has been given the same opportunities that I have been privileged to."

  • Sunday, Jul. 14, 2019
Remains found in Oregon believed to be actor Charles Levin
This undated photo released by the Grants Pass Department of Public Safety shows actor Charles Levin. (Grants Pass Department of Public Safety via AP)
SELMA, Ore. (AP) -- 

Remains found in a remote area of Oregon are believed to be of missing actor Charles Levin, who played numerous roles on television comedies such as "Seinfeld" and "Night Court."

Levin, 70, was reported missing from Grants Pass on July 8 by his son after he hadn't heard from his father for several days, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported.

He owned an orange 2012 Fiat and was "almost always in the company of his fawn-colored pug dog, Boo Boo Bear," Grants Pass public safety said in a news release last week seeking information about Levin's whereabouts.

On Friday, search and rescue crews narrowed down a search area based on an emergency cellphone ping. A resident located Levin's car in a remote and almost impassable road Saturday. Inside the car, troopers found the remains of Levin's dog. Crews searching steep and rugged terrain found the human remains.

There is a "high probability" the remains are those of Levin, The Grants Pass Department of Public Safety said Sunday. The medical examiner will make the final identification.

Levin's TV credits include "Alice," ''Hill Street Blues," ''Doogie Howser, M.D.," ''Night Court" and "Seinfeld." Levin also had roles in movies, including "The Golden Child," ''Annie Hall" and "This is Spinal Tap."

  • Friday, Jul. 12, 2019
Report: FTC approves roughly $5B fine for Facebook
In this April 30, 2019, file photo, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg makes the keynote speech at F8, Facebook's developer conference in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar, File)
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- 

The FTC has voted to approve a fine of about $5 billion for Facebook over privacy violations, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday. The report cited an unnamed person familiar with the matter.

Facebook declined to comment; the FTC did not immediately respond to messages for comment. The Journal said the 3-2 vote broke along party lines, with Republicans in support and Democrats in opposition to the fine.

The FTC report has been moved to the Justice Department for review, per the report. It is not clear how long it will take to finalize.

The fine would be the largest the FTC has levied on a tech company. But it won't make much of a dent for Facebook, which had nearly $56 billion in revenue last year. The report did not say what else the settlement includes beyond the fine, though it is expected to include limits on how Facebook treats user privacy.

Since the Cambridge Analytica debacle erupted more than a year ago and prompted the FTC investigation, Facebook has vowed to do a better job corralling its users' data. Nevertheless, its controls have remained leaky. For example, It also acknowledged giving big tech companies like Amazon and Yahoo extensive access to users' personal data, in effect exempting them from its usual privacy rules. And it collected call and text logs from phones running Google's Android system in 2015.

  • Friday, Jul. 12, 2019
Disney cancels premiere after death of star Cameron Boyce
In this April 25, 2019, file photo, Cameron Boyce arrives at WE Day California at The Forum in Inglewood, Calif. Actor Boyce, known for his roles in the Disney Channel franchise “Descendants” and the Adam Sandler “Grown Ups” movies, died Saturday, July 6, 2019, at his home in Los Angeles, according to his spokesperson. He was 20. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- 

Disney Channel has canceled the red-carpet premiere of its movie "Descendants 3" after the death of 20-year-old star Cameron Boyce.

Disney Channel said in a statement Thursday that instead of the July 22 event, the telecast will be dedicated to Boyce's memory and the Walt Disney Company will make a donation to the Thirst Project, a charity he loved.

Boyce, who also starred in the Disney Channel sitcom "Jessie," played Carlos de Vil, teenage son of Cruella de Vil from "101 Dalmatians," in the "Descendants" films, which told the story of the offspring of classic Disney villains.

Boyce's family says he died Saturday of a seizure from an ongoing medical condition. An autopsy was performed Monday, but the coroner will conduct more tests before an official cause can be announced.

  • Thursday, Jul. 11, 2019
Peter Weir, Michael J. Meehan to receive honors at Location Managers Guild International Awards
LOS ANGELES -- 

Initial honorees for the 6th Annual Location Managers Guild International Awards (LMGI) were revealed by LMGI president Mike Fantasia. Oscar®-nominated director Peter Weir will receive the Eva Monley Award, which recognizes and honors industry members who support the work of location professionals. Location manager Michael J. Meehan has been named recipient of the 2019 LMGI Lifetime Achievement Award. The LMGI Awards spotlight international features, television and commercials in which the creative use of filming locations sets the tone, enrich the character and enhance the narrative. Winners of additional awards will be revealed during the formal ceremony on Saturday evening, September 21, at the Eli and Edythe Broad Stage in Santa Monica. Nominations will be announced on July 18.
 
Director, producer, screenwriter Weir is best known for his work on Witness (1985), The Truman Show (1998), Dead Poets Society (1989) and Master and Commander (2003); the movies all earned Weir Academy Award nominations for best director. He has been involved in  86 films and videos. He directed Linda Hunt, Harrison Ford, Robin Williams and Jim Carrey in Oscar-nominated performances. Weir has received a total of 36 awards and 59 nominations including five Oscar nominations, four Golden Globes, has won three BAFTA Awards and been nominated for four more.

Weir led the Australian New Wave cinema movement with his hypnotic Picnic at Hanging Rock, the lyrically surreal Last Wave, brutally realistic Gallipoli and the sultry Year of Living Dangerously.  From a precarious geological outcropping to the aboriginal outback to steamy Indonesia, his earliest films exemplify the value of evocative locations in the crafting of intelligent, moody dramas exploring the balance between characters and their environment.  He directed a diverse group of international films, many with location manager Meehan.

Meehan has traveled the world for 30 years scouting for major studios everywhere from Canada to Venezuela, with countries such as Mongolia, China, Russia, Bulgaria, Morocco, India and the Galapagos in between. Meehan has worked on over 38 movies and scouted more than 40 countries. His credits include Witness, Dead Poets Society, Arachnophobia, Toys, Pirates of the Caribbean 2/3, Master and Commander, among others. His illustrious career also included working with directors Sam Fuller, Mel Brooks and Barry Levinson, among others. Meehan’s additional credits include Ben-Hur, Poseidon, Spaceballs, Syriana, Patch Adams, Grease 2 and Star Trek IV. His resumé trends with water movies (The Perfect Storm, Pirates, Sphere, Deep Blue Sea, Battleship, Poseidon…), on which he has become a specialist, helping to design tanks in the United States and Spain.               

Committee co-chairs of this year’s LMGI Awards are Fantasia, Lori Balton and John Rakich.

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