Chiwetel Ejiofor might be taking on his holiest role yet. According to Hollywood Reporter, Ejiofor is in talks to star in Come Sunday, a new Netflix film based on renowned evangelical minister Carlton Pearson. Directed by Joshua Marston (Maria Full of Grace), the film is inspired by a 2005 This American Life episode, and follows Pearson, a minister from Oklahoma, who has a revelation that there is no hell. When he loses his church and family, he must find his own faith. Best of all, Ejiofor will star opposite Robert Redford (set to play Oral Roberts), for a truly religious experience.
DNC Debate: Is Elizabeth Banks Imitating Donald Trump or Is He Impersonating Her Hunger Games Character?By Tolly Wright
Elizabeth Banks, inspired by a certain Republican presidential nominee’s entrance last week into the Republican National Convention, took the stage at the Democratic National Convention shadowed by blue fog with Queen's “We are the Champions” blaring. And that, according to Banks, was only the beginning of their similar shticks. After taking a shot at Donald Trump’s campaign finances by saying, "The Trump campaign is so hard up for money, I just bought that fog machine on eBay for 30 bucks. I don't feel good about it," Banks pulled out her best Trump zinger. “Some of you know me from the Hunger Games, in which I play Effie Trinket,” explained Banks, “a cruel, out-of-touch reality TV star who wears insane wigs while delivering long winded speeches to a violent dystopia. So when I tuned into Cleveland last week I was like, 'Uh, hey, that's my act!’" Unfortunately the actress did not follow up this bit by introducing another Hunger Games-type played by a certain Late Show host, who would dump both Gale and Peta for a spot at that podium.
Following an emotional presentation from the Mothers of the Movement at the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday night, singer Andra Day delivered a powerful performance of her song “Rise Up” before the delegation, which she also performed at the 2016 ESPY Awards during the In Memoriam portion of the broadcast. Day sang the words “When the silence isn’t quiet / And it feels like it’s getting hard to breath / And I know you feel like dying / But I promise we’ll take the world to its feet / And move mountains” immediately after the mothers of Sandra Bland, Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis addressed the crowd, and explained why they will be voting for Hillary Clinton in the presidential election. It was another tear-soaked moment in a DNC that’s already littered with saturated tissues and handkerchiefs.
CBS may have found a way to expand its super successful reality franchise Big Brother beyond its usual summer perch — and possibly to another platform. Andy Dehnart, via his respected unscripted-focused site Reality Blurred, reports that the Eye network is readying a new season of the show that would premiere as early as mid-September, almost immediately after the current cycle of the series wraps. This would mark only the second time in Big Brother’s 16-year history it would air during the course of the traditional TV season; the last in-season edition came in 2008 and was prompted by a Writers Guild strike that caused a scarcity of scripted shows. Considering CBS has already announced a full fall schedule, as well as premiere dates, it seems unlikely (albeit not impossible) that the network would suddenly rush Big Brother. But that doesn’t mean the report is inaccurate.
Ava DuVernay’s adaptation of the beloved book A Wrinkle in Time just got blessed from on high, as Oprah Winfrey has entered final negotiations for the role of Mrs. Which. Mrs. Which is one of three celestial beings that accompany the story’s protagonists on their journey to find the father of the only girl in the group, Meg. Appropriately, Which is also the oldest of the three beings, because Oprah can only play the wisest figure in any story, and she typically appears as a shimmering kind of specter instead of a corporeal being, and that also feels so Oprah. DuVernay has not directed a feature film since 2014’s Selma, which also featured Oprah, flung both her and star David Oyelowo into the mainstream consciousness. She famously turned down an offer to helm Marvel’s Black Panther, saying she didn’t know if she could give it the identity of “an Ava DuVernay film,” but apparently felt comfortable enough with Marvel’s parent company, Disney, to proceed with bringing Madeleine L’Engle’s story to life under their banner. You will be able to give DuVernay and Oprah more of your money sometime in 2017.
Jessica Chastain Is in Talks to Fight in Jake Gyllenhaal’s The Division, and Please, Please Can She Rock Some Aviators Again?By Jackson McHenry
Jessica Chastain killed Osama Bin Laden, and she's not about to put up with you noobs. Variety reports that Chastain is in talks to star in The Division, an adaptation of the Ubisoft game, which already stars Jake Gyllenhaal. The game is set in a dystopian New York in the aftermath of a smallpox epidemic. "A video game movie? More like Zero Dork Thirty," say Jessica Chastain's childhood enemies. "I was nominated for an Oscar," says Jessica Chastain, before slipping on her Zero Dark Thirty Aviators and blinding everyone in a 300-foot radius with cool.
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers may be a California boy, but it looks like he’s picked up a few social cues during his time in the Midwest. The elder Rodgers brother delivered a perfectly Midwestern-polite answer to a rather unpleasant interview question about his relationship with his brother, Jordan, who is currently a finalist on The Bachelorette. Jordan talks about his brother a lot, which is only odd when you consider how much he talks about them not talking ("Me and Aaron don’t have that much of a relationship"). In fact, JoJo Fletcher's hopeful paramour has strongly implied that Aaron is somewhat estranged from their entire immediate family. Well, Aaron has had enough of his brother speaking for him, and said in an interview with a local Milwaukee, Wisconsin, news station today that not only does he not watch his little brother play tonsil hockey weekly on national television, but also that “I’ve always found that it’s a little inappropriate to talk publicly about some family matters, so I’m just — I’m not going to speak on those things, but I wish him well in the competition.” Jennifer Garner would approve, Aaron.
With mottled polyurethane flesh, detachable limbs, and a few USB-powered fans, a Rancor from Star Wars lurched to life on the streets of San Diego for Comic-Con 2016. The suit was a yearlong effort by L.A.–based animator Jeremy Fisher, who sank around $2,000 into building it. But if the throngs of fans and cosplayers at Comic-Con were any indication, it was worth it — even if some kids were clearly creeped out.
Adam Sandler’s Avengers are once again assembling, this time for Sandy Wexler, the third movie in Sandler's four-picture deal with Netflix. The movie will star Sandler as a Hollywood agent who reps a bunch of industry outsider types, and whose steadfast commitment to his clients is jeopardized when he falls in love with his latest discovery, a singer played by Jennifer Hudson. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Sandler staples Kevin James, Rob Schneider, and Nick Swardson will co-star; Terry Crews and Colin Quinn will round out the cast. And for all you New Girl fans out there, look forward to seeing Lamorne Morris as well. Wexler will be directed by Steven Brill, who helmed The Do-Over, so get ready for laughs on par with that movie — if you dare.
Before heading to Rio for the Olympic Games, reality-TV star, 30 Rock sex idiot, and guy who swims pretty fast, Ryan Lochte did an interview with Cosmopolitan and revealed that he is looking for love. The quest began on dating apps Bumble and Raya, but Lochte wasn't finding the right fish in those seas. "Well, one, with Bumble the girl always has to make the first [move], and I don't really like that. I don't think that's a woman job," Lochte said. "So I got off that. And then Raya [an app for celebrities and creatives], I don't know. I'm living in Charlotte so that didn't really work because most of the women you link up with are either in L.A. or New York."
When Tilda Swinton asks you to adapt something into a film for her, you adapt it into a film for her, goddamnit. That's exactly what happened to Annie Mumolo (the co-writer of Bridesmaids and Bad Moms) when Swinton sent her a friendly, out-of-nowhere email to praise the script for Bridesmaids and also see if Mumolo would be interested in adapting Patrick Dennis’s 1955 classic novel, Auntie Mame, for the big screen with her attached to star. Yes, Mumolo was indeed very interested in such a creative endeavor. "[Swinton] is, like, from another world. She’s one of the most intelligent people I’ve ever encountered … Her emails are like works of art, truly," Mumolo told Vanity Fair. "They should be published. The way she communicates is just beautiful and poetic … She asked me, 'Have you read Auntie Mame? … Would you take a look at it? I want to see if you are interested in writing a modern-day adaptation.' I said yes, because you say yes to Tilda Swinton when she asks if you want to do something."
Very sad and serious things happen on BoJack Horseman. The third season alone, which recently dropped another motherlode of Hollywood satire and unrelenting bleakness onto Netflix, features story lines involving tragic drug overdoses, abortion, pop songs about abortion, alcohol abuse, sexual harassment, and potentially terminal cancer diagnoses. Everyone on this show is miserable, self-involved, and either in the middle of an existential crisis or merely taking a brief break before the next round of soul-crushing “Why am I here and what’s the meaning of life?” questions start again.
The year is 2066. Your grandson bounces on your knee. "Grandparent," he asks, "was there ever a time when news stories were not about 'Carpool Karaoke,' the popular late-night segment handed down to us by the immortal god-emperor James I?" You smile gently. Yes, that is true, you tell him, but things are much better now that every headline is about "Carpool Karaoke." News in the old days was so depressing. Today we are lulled to sleep by the happy sounds of recognizable faces singing recognizable songs, while driving. Isn't that nice?
Your grandson's face crinkles into a scowl. "But when did things change?" You search your memory. Suddenly, it comes to you: Things changed on Tuesday, July 26, 2016, the day "Carpool Karaoke" signed "an exclusive first-window licensing agreement" with Apple Music. You can even remember the press release announcing the news, which replaced the Pledge of Allegiance in 2019. The deal brought 16 new digital episodes of "Carpool Karaoke" to Apple Music subscribers, in which "celebrities will ride along and sing along with the host," you tell your grandson, your hand unintentionally drifting over your heart, "as they visit places meaningful to the celebrity, sing tunes from their personal playlists, and surprise fans who don’t expect to see big stars belting out tunes one lane over." You also remember that the host was not yet announced at the time, and the terrible chaos that erupted when it was. But that, you tell him, is a story for another time. Now it is time for bed, with the image of Michelle Obama doing the "Single Ladies" dance sure to fill your dreams.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child officially opens on London's West End this Saturday, and in case you were worried that the new theater production couldn't possibly live up to the magic of the original books (and therefore somehow mar your childhood memories of them), fear not. So far, critics are raving about Jack Thorne's five-hour, two-part epic. Cursed Child picks up where readers last saw Harry and company in the epilogue of the seventh and final novel: in their thirties, sending their own children off to Hogwarts. By all accounts, audience members young and old, Potterhead and Potter-novice alike will leave the theater impressed and enchanted. Below, a sampling of their thoughts:
This movie has everything: Supermodels! Chile! Drugs! Snowstorms! Upscale ski resorts! And now, it has Paul Feig. Adapted from an Elle magazine article written by Mickey Rapkin, Feig has signed on to produce — but not direct — Paramount's forthcoming Supermodel Snowpocalypse alongside frequent collaborator Jessie Henderson. The article, which was published earlier this year, chronicles two sisters, a photographer, ad executives, and a handful of models (including Jerry Hall) who traveled to Chile in 1977 for a fur-themed photo shoot only to be trapped in their posh ski resort after a massive snowstorm hit. Despite having a drug-fueled, raging Studio 54–esque time for a week in confinement, the group soon planned a near-deadly escape to return to civilization. Fashion, man ...
James M. Nederlander, chairman of Broadway's Nederlander Organization, has died at the age of 94, his son James L. Nederlander announced on Tuesday. The elder Nederlander inherited his family's Detroit theaters after his father's death, and began expanding the company into New York City in the 1960s. Today, the Nederlander Organization owns nine Broadway theaters, three in London's West End, and 17 more around the U.S. Nederlander was once locked in competition with the Shubert Organization, Broadway's largest theater owner, though that rivalry has largely subsided; today, the two organizations are partnering on the upcoming revival of Cats. In his long career, Nederlander produced a number of shows, including Annie, La Cage Aux Folles, Noises Off, Sweet Charity, and Woman of the Year, and was also a minority owner of the New York Yankees.
To every show (Turn! Turn! Turn!) there is a final season. AMC has announced that its Revolutionary War–set spy drama will end after a fourth and final season, which will premiere in 2017. The network reworked the series several times — changing its name from Turn to the supposedly clearer Turn: Washington's Spies, and in this past season, introducing Alexander Hamilton on the heels of that whole Hamilton phenomenon — but the show never found a sizable audience. Perhaps those upstart chaps in the Continental Army will find a way to win the war in its fourth season, and perhaps Jamie Bell will go back to being Hollywood's favorite big-budget sidekick.
Youree Harris, who worked as a TV psychic under the name Miss Cleo, has died of cancer at the age of 55, TMZ reports. Harris, who was born in Los Angeles, began her career as a playwright in the 1990s Seattle theater scene. Her work there included a 1996 play called For Women Only, in which Harris played a Jamaican woman named Cleo, the likely origin of her iconic character. After leaving Seattle, Harris began working for the Psychic Readers Network in 1997, where she claimed to be a "Jamaican mystic" in a series of popular informercials. The network was later sued by the Federal Trade Commission for "deceptive advertising, billing, and collection practices," though Harris herself was not charged. She left PRN shortly after the judgement was handed down, but continued to play Cleo in various commercials, as well as a Cleo-inspired character in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.
Baz Luhrmann's The Get Down — which is set to premiere its first half of episodes on Netflix on August 12 — has been generating a lot of buzz for the streaming network since the debut of its promising trailer earlier this year. But behind the show's sweet hip-hop soundtrack and elaborate choreography, it's been far from all roses. As detailed in a new Variety article, The Get Down exceeded its original budget by about $7.5 million per episode and wound up costing at least $120 million overall, making it Netflix's most-expensive series ever (and, as Variety points out, one of the most expensive shows in TV history), breezing past Marco Polo, which at $90 million, was previously Netflix's most costly project. While the elaborate music and dance numbers, as well as licensing for classic 1970s music, impacted the large budget, the numbers really began to skyrocket due to the extremely slow pace of production.
Last year, the MTV Video Music Awards catalyzed the pre-show Taylor Swift–Nicki Minaj Twitter dustup that resulted in some “Will they have beef at the show?!” drama. Then, during the ceremony, Nicki mixed it up again, this time with host Miley Cyrus, who did some mouthing off about her in the lead up to the telecast. And our lives were forever changed by “What’s good, Miley??” What celebrity scrapes, real and manufactured alike, will power this year’s VMAs? Check out the list of nominees below and start placing your bets.
- Culture Editor
- Lane Brown
- Editorial Director
- Neil Janowitz
- West Coast Editor
- Josef Adalian
- Hollywood Editor
- Stacey Wilson Hunt
- Senior Editor
- Kyle Buchanan
- Senior Editor
- Jesse David Fox
- Senior Editor
- Gazelle Emami
- News Editor
- Samantha Rollins
- TV Reporter
- Maria Elena Fernandez
- Movies Reporter
- Kevin Lincoln
- Associate Editor
- Nate Jones
- Associate Editor
- Dee Lockett
- Associate Editor
- E. Alex Jung
- Associate Editor
- Abraham Riesman
- Associate Editor
- Jackson McHenry