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Thursday
Feb142019

Just in time for Valentine's Day, Rebel Wilson's "anti-romantic comedy" 'Isn't It Romantic'

ABC/Paula Lobo(NEW YORK) -- Rebel Wilson is proud to take on a new role in Hollywood with her film Isn't It Romantic.

The Australian actress and writer, best known for her parts in Pitch Perfect and Bridesmaids, stars in and produced the rom-com -- her first credit as a producer in a feature-film.

On The View, Wilson said she "used to hate romantic-comedies" before working on the movie, thinking they weren't relatable. "Of course Sandra Bullock or Julia Roberts [are] gonna end up with the guy," she said.

After watching at least 65 different rom-coms for research, she said she came around to appreciate them.

In the film, Wilson plays a woman trapped in a rom-com. She also can't get used to an attractive man, played by Liam Hemsworth, finding her irresistible. As the female lead, Wilson said she's 'proud' to represent the plus-size community, "particularly when it comes to romantic roles. There's not a lot of representation," she said. "I'm proud of the message it sends to people."

During the premiere of Isn’t It Romantic Monday night, Wilson spoke out to Variety about the shade she received in October for saying she was the first plus-sized woman to star in a romantic comedy. Wilson said she "obviously misspoke in that situation," and her intentions were to, "lift my fellow plus-sized women up."

In theatres now, Isn't It Romantic parodies "at least 100" movies, according to the actress. "Why I liked it is it's kind of an anti-romantic comedy: So it works if you hate romantic comedies...but it also works if you love Bridget Jones' Diary, or My Best Friend's Wedding, and all those classic rom-com films."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Feb142019

Tamar Braxton becomes the first African American to win 'Celebrity Big Brother'

Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS ©2019 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved(LOS ANGELES) -- Tamar Braxton has officially made history. On Wednesday night the singer/reality star became the first African American housemate to win CBS' Celebrity Big Brother.

In the final stage, Braxton competed against Dina LohanRicky WilliamsLolo Jones, and Kandi Burruss for the grand prize of $250,000.

According to People, in addition to making winner history, Braxton also made show history when she broke the "First to Enter" curse -- "a theory that the first person to enter the Big Brother house never wins."

After the Braxton was revealed as the winner, the "Love and War" singer talked to Entertainment Weekly about the in-house reconciliation with fellow songtress and reality star Kandi Burruss.

"Yeah, we got it back because we wanted it. We wanted to make amends more than we wanted to fight and that's for the both of us," she told the magazine. "I just think that's a testament to life. When you want to get along, when you want to do something, and it's another person involved, they've got to want it too. You've got to work at it. And we constantly worked at our relationship in the house."

Braxton continued, "I wasn't too happy to see her face, I'm not going to lie, when I first saw her. But, in the end, I'm really grateful that she was there. And I'm really grateful of the friendship that we've been able to have in the house and outside of the house."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Feb142019

Jussie Smollett takes down "doubters," clarifies details of his attack, in sit down with 'Good Morning America' 

ABC(NEW YORK) -- Jussie Smollett spoke directly to his "doubters" in an exclusive interview with Robin Roberts that aired on Good Morning America Thursday, just over two weeks after the Empire star told police he was attacked in what authorities are investigating as a suspected hate crime.

In his first interview since he told police he was attacked last month, the singer and actor said he was "heartbroken" when he found out that people questioned the details of his story.

Smollett said the attack happened on Jan. 29, at around 2 a.m. as he was leaving a Subway restaurant in Chicago. He said the attackers put a noose around his neck and poured an unknown substance, likely bleach, on him. Then he claims they used their hands, feet and teeth as weapons in the assault, according to the incident report, which ABC News obtained last week via a Freedom of Information Act request.

Smollett claimed the attackers also yelled, "This is MAGA country," during the attack -- a reference to President Donald Trump's "Make American Great Again" slogan.

To Roberts, he denied early claims about the incident: no, the alleged attackers were not wearing Make America Great Again hats and no, he did not have cracked ribs.

He addressed the doubters by saying, "...it feels like if I had said it was a Muslim, or a Mexican, or someone black, I feel like the doubters would have supported me ...A lot more. And that says a lot about the place that we are in our country right now."

He added, "It's not necessarily that you don't believe that this is the truth, you don't even want to see the truth."

Others suggested that he may have lied in his explanation for being outside at 2 a.m. in sub-zero Chicago weather, but Smollett said "that's ridiculous."

"I've heard that it was a date gone bad, which I also resent..." he said.

Smollett also confirmed reports that he was initially reluctant to contact the police or handover his cellphone to help with the investigation, the latter of which could have proved or disproved the "MAGA Country" claims.

"They wanted me to give my phone to the tech for three to four hours. I'm sorry but -- I'm not gonna do that," he said. "Because I have private pictures and videos and numbers: my partner's number, my family's number, my castmates' number, my friends' numbers, my private emails, my private songs, my private voice memos."

He also revealed that he didn't want to call the police at first, but his friend and creative director, Frank Gatson, did so on his behalf. When police arrived, responding officers said they found Smollett in his apartment with stained clothing and a "white rope draped around" his neck, according to the report.

Smollett said he was still in a state of shock and left the rope on because he wanted police to see.

The musician said he believes the two potential persons of interest in a photo released by police in the days after the attack are the perpetrators.

"I don't have any doubt in my mind that that's them," Smollett said. "Never did."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Feb142019

'Alita: Battle Angel' star says seeing herself onscreen as the motion-captured title character was "breathtaking" and "really [effing] cool!"

Courtesy Twentieth Century Fox(NEW YORK) -- Alita: Battle Angel -- based upon the beloved graphic novel series by Yukito Kishiro and produced by Oscar winner James Cameron and directed by visionary Robert Rodriguez -- opens today.

Set in the far future, the film's title character is a cyborg brought back to life onscreen by a gifted doctor, played by Oscar-winner Christoph Waltz.  But the character was brought to life by actress Rosa Salazar.

Using motion-capture technology, Salazar worked with a pair of high definition cameras pointed right at her face, and her every movement was translated into a realistic, wide-eyed anime character.

"Oh it was completely breathtaking," she tells ABC Radio. "I mean, it's almost too much for me to watch because it is me, it is my mannerisms it is my performance -- only it's outside of myself. It's like having a sister or a child that is also you. It's very strange to articulate. But I'll just say that it's really f****** cool!"

Alita essentially starts as a wide-eyed girl getting used to life in the post-apocalyptic Iron City, home to ruthless cyborg bounty hunters and assorted underworld characters, and then learns she's actually a fierce soldier from a war long ago.

The film was a passion project for Cameron, but he was so busy with his Avatar series that he signed Rodriguez, a friend and fan of the Terminator creator, to direct.

Rodriguez, famous for hits like El Mariachi and the Spy Kids films, said he wanted the job because he "just wanted to see this missing Jim Cameron movie!"

Alita: Battle Angel also stars Oscar winners Mahershala Ali and Jennifer Connelly, and Keean Johnson.



Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Feb142019

'The Bachelor' himself, Colton Underwood, offers Valentine's Day advice 

ABC/Craig Sjodin(LOS ANGELES) -- Thursday is Valentine's Day, and one guy who knows a thing or two about how to romance someone is the current star of ABC's The Bachelor, Colton Underwood, who shared some his expertise with ABC Radio.

Colton's first rule: "spoil you woman." And it doesn't have to be anything extravagant, according to him. "The little things go a long way, too."

One way Underwood likes to spoil his dates is with food -- and lots of it. "

You only live once," Colton says, explaining, "If you're having intimacy you should have that comfort to I guess just be full with each other."

Sharing an experience with your sweetheart is another great way of bonding, says Colton. "Seeing how somebody gets through something, and then also having a way to connect or bond with them," he tells ABC. "Whether you're doing it for the first time, or whether you're helping somebody out."

"I think just being able to relate on a deeper level but yet keep it loose, keep it fun," he adds. 

The Bachelor airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Feb142019

Jussie Smollett tells 'GMA' "I don't have any doubt" surveillance video shows his "attackers"

ABC/Stephen Green(NEW YORK) -- Empire star Jussie Smollett's sat down with Good Morning America's Robin Roberts, in his first televised interview since he claims he was attacked last month in what police are investigating as a hate crime.

In a clip from the interview, Smollett gives his impressions of the surveillance video that shows two figures whom police are seeking in connection with the alleged attack. 

"I do," Jussie responds when Roberts asks whether he believes they could be the attackers. "Because I was there.  For me, when that [video] was released, I was like, 'Okay, we're getting somewhere.'  ...I don't have any doubt in my mind that that's them.  Never didn't."

In an earlier preview clip, Smollett told Roberts he's still angry about what happened to him, saying he was "p***ed off," explaining that he was frustrated by those who thought he made up the story, citing a lack of evidence.

"Like, you know, at first it was the thing of like, listen, if I tell the truth then that's it because it's the truth.  Then it became a thing of, like, how can you doubt that? How can you not believe that? It's the truth.  Then it became a thing of, like, it's not necessarily that you don't believe that this is the truth. You don't even want to see the truth," he said.

Smollett's interview with Roberts comes almost three weeks after he told Chicago police that he was assaulted by two men during the early morning of January 22 while leaving a Subway restaurant in Chicago.

The actor-singer told police that two attackers yelled racial and homophobic slurs, beat him, poured an unknown liquid on him and put a noose around his neck.

The incident wasn't captured on surviellance video, but cameras spotted the singer and actor returning to his apartment after the alleged attack, still carrying the Subway sandwich he'd bought before he says the incident took place.

The case is being investigated as a hate crime. So far, no arrests have been made.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Feb142019

'Alita: Battle Angel' gets a head start on the busy box office weekend

Courtesy Twentieth Century Fox(NEW YORK) -- Opening nationwide Thursday:

* Alita: Battle Angel -- Based upon the popular Japanese graphic novel series and produced by Oscar winner James Cameron, this futuristic film centers on the titular character, a cyborg brought back to life by a gifted doctor, played by Oscar winner Christoph Waltz. Unable to remember anything of her past life, she sets out on a quest to find out who she is.  Actress Rosa Salazar plays Alita in a CGI-enhanced motion-capture performance.  Jennifer Connelly and Mahershala Ali also star. Rated PG-13.

Opening in limited release Thursday:

* Fighting with My Family -- Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson produced and makes an appearance in this biopic based on the 2012 documentary The Wrestlers: Fighting with My Family. It follows the journey of professional wrestler Saraya "Paige" Bevis -- played by Florence Pugh -- from growing up in a household of professional wrestlers to winning the WWE Divas Championship in 2014.  It also focuses on the the conflict with her brother, Zac, portrayed by Jack Lowden, who competed against her for a spot in the WWE and lost. Game of Thrones' Lena Headey and Vince Vaughn also star. Rated PG-13.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

 

Wednesday
Feb132019

Spike Lee to direct Chadwick Boseman in Netflix veteran drama 'Da 5 Bloods'

Lorenzo Bevilaqua, Randy Holmes/ABC(NEW YORK) -- Spike Lee has set his first post-BlacKkKlansman project and he's tapped a Wakandan king for the lead role.

According to Variety, Chadwick Boseman will star in Lee's Vietnam vet drama Da 5 Bloods, which has been set at Netflix. The film centers on a group of Vietnam vets who, "go back to the jungle to find their lost innocence and put their broken selves back together." Delroy Lindo and Jean Reno are also in talks to star.

The film, co-written by Lee, marks the director's first directing job for the streamer. Lee currently executive produces the Netflix TV adaptation of his 1986 film, She's Gotta Have It, and will also produce the time travel tale See You Yesterday.

As for Boseman, he's set to star in the next Avengers: Endgame and the action film 17 Bridges, which are both coming out later this year.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wednesday
Feb132019

Number of female-led films hit record high in 2018, study finds 

Warner Bros. Pictures/Barry Wetcher (LOS ANGELES) -- From Lady Gaga's Oscar-nominated turn in A Star Is Born to the female-led cast of Oceans 8, 2018 was a great year for women in movies, according to a study by the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative.

The study, obtained by Variety, shows that of the year's top 100 highest-grossing movies, 40 featured women in either leading or co-leading roles -- an increase of eight films from 2017 and 20 more than in 2007.

That bump also featured more women and people of color, whose inclusion in blockbuster films like Black Panther and Crazy Rich Asians helped draw huge audiences.

Of course, women and minorities still have a way to go to gain parity with their male counterparts, but at least Hollywood seems to be getting the message. In fact, 28 of the top 100 movies of 2018 featured an underrepresented lead or co-lead, according to the report. That’s a net gain of seven films from 2017 and a 15-film gain from 2007.

The news wasn't good, however, for Native women and women from the Middle East, who had leading roles.

Hollywood also seems to be casting older women. The study shows 11 of last year's top 100 films, including Jamie Lee Curtis and Sandra Bullock’s respective turns in Halloween and Ocean's 8, featured a woman 45 years of age or older. That’s more than double the number in 2017.

Additionally, the study found that each of the seven major studios had at least one woman of color in a leading role in 2018, and all but three were closely proportionate to the U.S. population when it comes to movies with female lead characters. The top performer was Sony, followed by Lionsgate, Paramount and Universal.

USC Annenberg’s Inclusion Initiative examines diversity in media.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wednesday
Feb132019

Glenn Close says she’s “open to” working with Lady Gaga someday

ABC/Paula Lobo(LOS ANGELES) -- Lady Gaga and Glenn Close may be competing against each other at the Oscars this year, but that doesn’t mean they won’t work together in the future.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Close – who’s up for Best Actress in The Wife – says she’d be open to acting alongside Gaga.

“We haven't talked about working together, but I would certainly be open to that,” she says. “She's remarkable, incredibly courageous and creative. A prodigy. So many gifts.”

She recalls participating in The Hollywood Reporter’s The Actress Roundtable with her and sensing Gaga’s “nervousness.”

“I tried to put myself in her shoes,” Close says. “Even though she's accomplished incredible things, as a personality, performer, artist, writer, she'd never been in that particular combination of women before, who are actresses. I tried to put her at ease as much as I could.”

She adds, “I was just thrilled that she was there. She's very articulate and smart. I felt like that was almost a rite of passage for her around that table. I'm very proud of her.”

Close says that while she hasn’t seen Gaga’s Vegas residency show, Enigma, yet, she “can’t wait.”

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