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Friday
Dec152017

Director Rian Johnson says Carrie Fisher is "incredible" in "The Last Jedi"

Disney(LOS ANGELES) -- The holidays are here for Star Wars fans: The Last Jedi, the latest film in the epic series, is in theaters now.

All eyes will be on the late Carrie Fisher in her final Star Wars performance as Princess-turned-General Leia. Fisher died last December shortly after completing work on the film.

"Oh, she's incredible in the movie, man, she's so good," writer/director Rian Johnson says. "Her performance is so emotional, and there are some moments in it, obviously we didn't know it was a farewell performance when we were filming it, but I think there are some moments that are going to mean a lot to fans."

Actor Domhnall Gleeson tells ABC Radio that although Fisher is gone, she's not forgotten.

"She was a wonderful - ah, was man, that's sad. She was a wonderful woman," he says. "And her work lives on and her spirit lives on with her daughter, and the good she did in the world. It's amazing."

While fans will have their eyes on Fisher, Walt Disney Company Chairman and CEO Bob Iger will have his eyes on something else also.

"I will be watching the box office constantly," Iger tells ABC Radio. "Not nervously, 'cause I'm pretty convinced that it's going to do extremely well...but I will be watching, it's just that important to the company."

You can understand why: Disney acquired the Star Wars creator George Lucas' Lucasfilm company in 2012 for $4.05 billion and released The Force Awakens in 2015. That year, Variety reported The Force Awakens was the highest-grossing film in the history of Walt Disney Studios, domestically. The movie reportedly grossed $936.7 million in North America, and more than $2 billion total worldwide -- and that doesn't include the merchandising of everything from jewelry to toys to clothing, which raked in hundreds of billions since the Lucas deal was signed. 

Disney is the parent company of ABC News.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Dec152017

"None of us came here perfect": Matt Damon urges caution in the wake of high-profile sex accusations 

ABC Image Group LA(NEW YORK) -- The last time Matt Damon spoke about Harvey Weinstein, he was criticized online for first claiming to be unaware of Weinstein's alleged sexual misconduct, and then seemingly contradicting himself.

Well, Damon may once again face criticism over a new chat with ABC News' Popcorn with Peter Travers.

In the interview with Travers, Damon celebrates the "wonderful," "watershed moment" of women coming forward to confront their alleged abusers, but he's urging caution. 

"[Y]ou know, there’s a difference between patting someone on the butt and rape or child molestation, right?" Damon said. "Both of those behaviors need to be confronted and eradicated without question, but they shouldn’t be conflated."

The actor added, "We’re so energized to kind of get retribution, I think. And we live in this culture of outrage and injury, and we’re going to have to correct enough to kind of go, 'Wait a minute. None of us came here perfect.' Like, what's the point of us being here if not to improve, you know?"

As an example, Damon cited Louis C.K., who confirmed accusations he'd pleasured himself in front of various women.

"I don’t know all the details," Damon admitted, "but I did see his statement...he said, 'I did these things. These women are all telling the truth.' And I just remember thinking, 'Well...we can work with that,'" you know what I mean?"

In October, Damon told Good Morning America that he knew Weinstein was a bully, but claimed not to know of the serious assault accusations against the producer.  However, during the same interview, he said he'd heard years ago that Weinstein allegedly repeatedly tried to pressure Gwyneth Paltrow into sex.

"I knew the story about Gwyneth from Ben [Affleck], because he was with her..." Damon said. 

Though a rep, Weinstein denied all accusations of non-consensual sex.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Dec152017

More women accuse Dustin Hoffman of sexual misconduct

Photo by Roy Rochlin/FilmMagic(LOS ANGELES) -- Three more women have come forward to accuse Dustin Hoffman of sexual misconduct in an article published by Variety  on Thursday.

One, Cori Thomas, alleges that the actor exposed himself to her in a hotel room while she was a 16-year-old high school student; another, Melissa Kester, claims that Hoffman assaulted her while recording audio for the movie Ishtar; a third woman, who declined to be named, claims that Hoffman assaulted her and, according to the magazine, "manipulated her into a subsequent sexual encounter that left her compromised."

Hoffman did not comment for the Variety story, but the magazine notes that the actor's attorney sent a letter to Variety's owner, Penske Media Corp., calling the accusations "defamatory falsehoods."

In November two women accused Hoffman of sexual harassment in separate articles in The Hollywood Reporter and Variety.

At the time the actor issued a statement to The Hollywood Reporter saying, "I have the utmost respect for women and feel terrible that anything I might have done could have put her in an uncomfortable situation. I am sorry. It is not reflective of who I am."

In a statement to ABC News, Melissa Kester confirms the details of the Variety article and says she hadn't planned to speak out, but after she reached out to Anna Graham Hunter, one of the women who'd accused Hoffman in November, she changed her mind.

"She told me how others had done the same, and revealed their stories," Kester says in her statement. "Anna told me about the others’ pain, the terrible impact the abuse had on their lives, all without revealing their names or specifics. Somehow I felt more upset about what had happened to them, than what happened to me."

"It became clear that without my going public the reporter would be unable to publish their stories," she continues. "They needed two women on the record. Cori Thomas had already stepped up and now it was my turn."

Kester notes, "It was my teenage daughter who gave me the last shot of courage - 'Mom, you have to do it for the sisterhood.' So I did."

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Dec152017

"Super Size Me" director Morgan Spurlock steps down from company after Internet sex confession

Photo by Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images for DIFF(LOS ANGELES) -- Super Size Me director Morgan Spurlock is stepping down from the production company he co-founded after publication of a confession on Twitter Wednesday in which he admitted to sexually harassing an employee and to being accused of having sex with a woman who "believed she'd been raped," reports IndieWire.

Jeremy Chilnick, co-founder of the company, Warrior Poets, and partner Matthew Galkin, issued a statement saying, "On behalf of Warrior Poets, we as partners have always supported our company and its endeavors. As of today, Morgan Spurlock will be stepping down effective immediately. We will continue to lead the company as equal partners, producing, distributing & creating from our independent production company."

The company's Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken!, directed by Spurlock, debuted in September at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Dec152017

"Roseanne" coming back to ABC Tuesday, March 27

ABC/Adam Rose(LOS ANGELES) -- They're back! The cast of ABC's groundbreaking, Emmy-winning family sitcom Roseanne will return to the network in an hour-long premiere on Tuesday, March 27 at 8 p.m. Eastern time. The subsequent eight episodes will air Tuesday nights at 8:30 p.m.

The gang's all here: the revival series again stars Roseanne Barr as Roseanne Conner, John Goodman as Dan Conner, Laurie Metcalf as Jackie Harris, Lecy Goranson as Becky Conner-Healy, Sara Gilbert as Darlene Conner, Michael Fishman as D.J. Conner. The Big Bang Theory star Johnny Galecki, who used to play David, Darlene's guy back in the day, will reportedly also appear.

Even Sarah Chalke, who played the character Becky in later seasons is returning -- but in another role.

The new series also features a new generation of the family, in the form of Emma Kenney as Harris Conner-Healy, Ames McNamara as Mark Conner-Healy, and Jayden Rey as Mary Conner.

According to a press release from ABC, the revival will, "explore life, death and everything in between through the relatable, hilarious and brutally honest lens of the Conner household," adding the, "brilliant cast and crew haven't missed a beat." 

Production on the highly anticipated revival’s nine episodes is slated to wrap today in Studio City, California.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Dec152017

"Star Wars" fans give "The Last Jedi" raves after Thursday night screenings

Disney(NEW YORK) -- Even the frigid temperatures couldn't keep loyal Star Wars fans from being among the first to catch the franchise's latest installment, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, when it opened Thursday night in New York City and other select locations, and they weren't disappointed. 

Chris, who made the trek from New Jersey to catch the film, thought it was even better than The Force Awakens, noting this one had "a lot more surprises."

Anna -- also from Jersey -- has been a Star Wars fan from the start, and brought her two kids with her. She enjoyed the "modern twist" of this installment, as well as a "touching tribute" to the late Carrie Fisher in her last role as the franchise's iconic Princess -- now General -- Leia. "I think everybody's gonna enjoy it," she added.

Even Alex -- who admitted this was her first Star Wars movie -- found it "riveting," adding that it had "a lot of action" and "a really great soundtrack."

The second chapter in the latest Star Wars trilogy picks up where The Force Awakens left off, with Mark Hamill's Luke Skywalker found in self-exile by Rey, a powerful Force user played by Daisy Ridley. The Last Jedi follows her training under a cautious Luke, while Kylo Ren comes to terms with murdering his father, Han Solo, in The Force Awakens. We learn more about the alien who showed him the dark side: the evil First Order's Supreme Leader Snoke.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi opens nationwide on Friday. Lucasfilm, like ABC is owned by Disney.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Dec152017

"Star Wars: The Last Jedi" and "Ferdinand" arrive in theaters on Friday

Disney(LOS ANGELES) -- Opening in wide release on Friday:

Star Wars: The Last Jedi -- The second film in the latest Star Wars trilogy finds Daisy Ridley's Rey developing the power she discovered in The Force Awakens, guided by Luke Skywalker -- played by Mark Hamill. Meanwhile, the Resistance prepares to do battle with the First Order. John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, and Adam Driver also star, along with a final appearance from the late Carrie Fisher. Rated PG-13. Lucasfilm, like ABC, is owned by Disney.

* Ferdinand -- John Cena provides the voice for the titular character -- a fierce-looking bull with a big heart who is captured and taken from his home. Aided by a team of misfits, he's determined to return to his family. Kate McKinnon, Anthony Anderson and Bobby Cannavale provide additional voices. Rated PG.


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Thursday
Dec142017

Antonio Banderas says he "firmly trusts" Salma Hayek's allegations against Harvey Weinstein

Photo by 2430/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- A day after Salma Hayek wrote a New York Times op-ed piece in which she claimed disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein made frequent sexual advances towards her during the making of the movie Frida, her friend Antonio Banderas, who co-starred in the movie, wants the world to know he has Hayek's back.

"I'm deeply saddened by the terrible events that my dear friend Salma Hayek has made public about Harvey #Weinstein," Banderas tweeted. "Her integrity and honesty as a woman and as an actress make me firmly trust her words."

In her op-ed piece, Hayek described her experience making Frida, her 2002 film about famed Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, which she produced and starred in for Weinstein's former company, Miramax. She claimed that Weinstein continually harassed and propositioned her, and that he even threatened her life when she rejected him. 

The actress also claimed she suffered a nervous breakdown while shooting a nude sex scene that Weinstein demanded be included in the movie.  Despite all that, Frida, which had been Hayek's passion project, went on to earn six Academy Award nominations and win two Oscars. However, Hayek claimed that Weinstein never offered her another starring role for the remainder of her contract with Miramax.

Weinstein has issued a statement to ABC News via a spokesperson, in which Hayek's claims are specifically addressed, and then denied, one by one. The statement reads, in part, "All of the sexual allegations as portrayed by Salma are not accurate and others who witnessed the events have a different account of what transpired."

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Dec142017

The Rock would "100% consider" a 2024 presidential run

ABC/Ida Mae Astute(LOS ANGELES) -- While he's been coy about it in the past -- but never denied it outright -- Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson has now confirmed that he has his sights on the White House. 

The Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle star tells Variety he'd "100% consider" a run for president.  However, due to his busy career as one of the highest-paid actors in the world, Johnson says a career change would be a bit further down the road. 

"Realistically, as we go into 2018, when you look at my slate as we’re developing and shooting into 2019 and 2020, the slate goes deep into 2021, so it feels like the realistic consideration would be 2024," he tells the trade publication.

A 2016 column in the Washington Post first floated the idea of a presidential run for The Rock, noting,  "...And he could actually win." 

"It was never something that I trumpeted and beat my chest and ever said publicly, 'This is what I’m going to do,' but as that story picked up, Americans picked it up and there was this sentiment of, 'We're not joking, and we would really love the idea if you would run,'" Johnson tells Variety

"That’s where I’m at right now -- I'm well aware politics is not the business I’m in, so the best thing I can do is continuing to listen and learn as much as I can."

Johnson, who claims to be a registered independent, tells Variety his loyalty isn't to a particular party. Rather, as the man who once wielded "The People's Elbow" as a pro wrestler explains, he's loyal to his fellow Americans.

"I care deeply about our country, and I care deeply about our people – especially now," The Rock says. "Decency matters and being a decent human being matters, and character matters, and leadership matters."

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Dec142017

Oprah to be honored with Cecil B. de Mille Award at Golden Globes

Disney(LOS ANGELES) -- Oprah Winfrey will be honored with the 2018 Cecil B. de Millie Award when the Golden Globes are handed out next month.

The annual award is given by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association Board of Directors to an individual who has had, "an incredible impact on the world of entertainment." Other honorees have included Steven Spielberg, Meryl Streep and Denzel Washington.

"For generations, Oprah has celebrated strong female characters on and off screen, and has been a role model for women and young girls for decades. Holding titles such as chairman, CEO and founder, Oprah is one of the most influential women of our time, and this honor is well deserved especially in this 75th anniversary year of the Golden Globe Awards,” Meher Tatna, president of the HFPA said in a statement.

The 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards air Sunday, January 7, beginning at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.

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