Mad About Shakespeare: Helen Hunt kicks off third season of PBS’ 'Shakespeare Uncovered'

Courtesy of Blakeway Productions(NEW YORK) -- Helen Hunt is ready to share her love of William Shakespeare as host of the third season premiere of PBS’ Shakespeare Uncovered.

In the episode airing Friday, the actress does a deep dive into the play Much Ado About Nothing. She’s starred in the play twice in her career, in the role of Beatrice.

“One thing about Shakespeare is I never leave with a fist pump, like, ‘Nailed it!’” Hunt tells ABC Radio. “You just humbly try to find your way with the language, let the language move you in ways that other wonderful writing just doesn't.”

Hunt was particularly drawn to Much Ado because of her love of romantic comedies. She says we can see Shakespeare’s influence even in Paul and Jamie Buchman, the characters she and Paul Reiser played in the hit ‘90s sitcom Mad About You.

Shakespeare Uncovered not only dissects the meaning and cultural relevance of Shakespeare’s plays, it also reveals the history behind them.

“When people first approach Shakespeare they think it's fancy or impenetrable, or 'I'll never understand it' or 'it's gonna be boring' -- the biggest fear is that it's boring,” Hunt says. “And once you just have a tiny window, which I think this show offers you, into the history of the plays and the relevance of the plays and the humor and heartbreak in the plays, you have a whole lot of beauty ahead of you.”  

The six-episode third and final season of Shakespeare Uncovered also features episode hosts F. Murray Abraham, Romola Garai and Brian Cox. Check local listings for air times.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Alec Baldwin says his "civilized" new talk show is all about good conversation

Alec Baldwin and guest Taraji P. Henson; ABC/Heidi Gutman(NEW YORK) -- Alec Baldwin says his new ABC talk show will be a more “civilized” kind of late-night program.

The Alec Baldwin Show, which debuts on Sunday, turns the long-form interview style of Baldwin’s podcast, Here’s the Thing, into a TV show for the people who prefer good conversation over a loud party.

“To me there’s a kind of a -- and I don’t want to disparage it -- but for me there’s kind of a noisy, hyper-kinetic, very, very jaunty -- like you’re at a party,” he says of the current talk show landscape.

“And I don’t know how many people want to walk into a party," he continues. "A lot of people later at night, they want to get into bed and relax.”

He adds, “They might want to have a conversation with somebody or eavesdrop on one, not necessarily walk into a big, noisy party. So we want to make it as civilized as we can.”

The hour-long show features Baldwin sitting down with celebrities and cultural icons for one-on-one, in-depth chats. Sunday’s debut episode features Robert DeNiro and Taraji P. Henson. Next Sunday, he’ll interview Kim Kardashian West.

There’s no live audience and the interviews will keep self-promotion to a minimum, instead favoring a nostalgic style reminiscent of Dick Cavett or David Susskind. Baldwin says he was inspired by “anything that harkens back to the shows I watched when I was a kid.”

Among the others guests sitting down with Baldwin this season: Robert F. Kennedy Jr., RuPaul, Kerry Washington, Jeff Bridges, Sarah Jessica Parker, former Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie, Ricky Gervais and the Prime Minister of Norway, Erna Solberg.

The Alec Baldwin Show airs Sundays at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Don't look for 'Camping' star David Tennant to sleep under the stars in real life 

David Tennant and Jennifer Garner; Anne Marie Fox/HBO(NEW YORK) -- The new HBO comedy Camping premieres Sunday night. Co-created by Lena Dunham, the series stars Jennifer Garner as a tightly wound wife and mom who plans a camping trip for her husband's birthday.

David Tennant plays Garner's husband, and tells ABC Radio that as an adult, he's only been tent camping once -- at the Glastonbury Music Festival, where a downpour left the ground muddy.

"At first it was awful and then after sort of 24 hours you sink into it, he recalls. "You give into the feral nature of what you're experiencing...Once you accept that you're not going to wash [or] change your underpants for three days...there's a sort of joy to it."

Tennant's lack of camping experience became pretty obvious while they were filming in the hills of Los Angeles -- an area filled with rattlesnakes. He says, "I often got told off for walking through long grass which I would blithely do without thinking twice about it. And someone would go: Back on the path! Back on the path! And so, yes, I think it was a bigger threat than I faced up to."

As Garner's passive, husband, Tennant may be totally unrecognizable to fans who may have enjoyed him as the Jessica Jones supervillain Kilgrave, or his turn as Doctor Who, but the 47-year-old actor enjoyed the change.

"I do spend a lot of time playing characters who are a great deal more self-confident than I am," he explains. "So, there's something quite liberating in settling back into a kind of slightly dorky dad, which is probably closer to me than a Kilgrave," he says.  

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved. 


Watch now: Disney drops teaser-trailer for live-action 'Aladdin'

Disney(HOLLYWOOD) -- The evening after Will Smith Instagramed a teaser poster for the live-action retelling of Aladdin, Walt Disney Pictures Thursday night released a teaser-trailer for the film.

The sneak peek is little more than that: mostly glimpses of director Guy Ritchie's vision of the fictitious port city of Agrabah as the parrot Iago flies overhead. However, the snippet closes with actor Mena Massoud as the charming scoundrel Aladdin, about the grasp the magic lantern that will free Genie -- in this retelling, played by Smith.

"LEMME OUT!! Can’t wait for y’all to see Me BLUE!" Smith wrote on his Instagram post.

We'll have to wait a bit longer to see Smith as the Genie.  Aladdin, which also stars Naomi Scott as Jasmine and Marwan Kenzari as Jafar, opens May 24, 2019.

The original, animated Aladdin premiered in 1992 and famously starred the late Robin Williams in a virtuoso vocal performance as the Genie that earned him a Golden Globe.  The movie has grossed $504 million worldwide.

Disney is the parent company of ABC News.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Wakanda lives again: Ryan Coogler signs on for 'Black Panther 2'

L-R: Ryan Coogler and Chadwick Boseman on the set of "Black Panther"; Marvel/Disney(NEW YORK) -- Ryan Coogler is headed back to Wakanda.

Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that Coogler has sealed a deal to write and direct the forthcoming Black Panther sequel. He co-wrote and directed the original, which starred Chadwick Boseman as King T'Challa/Black Panther.  To date, it's grossed over $1.3 billion worldwide and has been mentioned as a possible Oscar contender.

THR sources say Coogler will write the script next year, with an intention to start production in either late 2019 or early 2020.

However, neither Marvel nor its parent company, Disney, has made any official announcement beyond the release of the next Avengers movie in May 2019 and a Spider-Man: Homecoming sequel in July.

The Black Panther sequel would be the latest project for Coogler, who is developing the drama Wrong Answer with his Black Panther villain Michael B. Jordan. He's also set to executive-produce LeBron James' upcoming Space Jam sequel.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


'First Man' and 'Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween' top this week's new releases

Universal(LOS ANGELES) -- Here are the films opening nationwide on Friday:

* First Man -- Ryan Gosling stars as astronaut Neil Armstrong in this drama from La La Land and Whiplash director Damien Chazelle and Spotlight and The Post writer Josh Singer, chronicling Armstrong's life and the events that led him to become the first man to walk on the moon on July 20, 1969. Claire Foy and Jason Clarke also star. Rated PG-13.

* Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween -- The sequel to 2015's Goosebumps, both of which are based on R. L. Stine's children's horror book series of the same name, centers on two young boys -- played by Jeremy Ray Taylor and Caleel Harris -- who accidentally unleash a wave of violence after finding a magic book that brings a ventriloquist's dummy to life. Jack Black reprises his role as Stine and also supplies the voice of the dummy. Ken Jeong also stars. Rated PG.

* Bad Times At The El Royale -- Jeff Bridges, Cynthia Erivo, Dakota Johnson, Jon Hamm, Cailee Spaeny, Lewis Pullman, Nick Offerman and Chris Hemsworth play a group of strangers, each hiding a dark secret that comes to a head one night at a shady Lake Tahoe hotel. Rated R.

Opening in limited release on Friday:

* Beautiful Boy -- Steve Carell and Timothée Chalamet star in this film -- based on the memoirs by David and Nic Sheff -- chronicling the struggle between a father and his drug-addicted son. Also starring Maura Tierney. Rated R.

* The Oath -- Ike Barinholtz directed and stars alongside Tiffany Haddish in this comedy about a politically divided family celebrating Thanksgiving in a dystopian future where U.S. citizens are required to sign a loyalty oath. Also starring John Cho, Carrie Brownstein, Billy Magnussen and Nora Dunn. Rated R.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Kathryn Hahn talks two new roles in 'The Romanoffs' and 'Private Life' 

ABC/Image Group LA(NEW YORK) -- From movies to TV, from comedies to drama, Kathryn Hahn proves she’s as versatile as they come.

The actress -- whom you've seen in projects like Transparent and Bad Moms -- currently stars opposite Paul Giamatti in the Netflix film, Private Life, about a couple struggling with fertility issues. She’s also part of the ensemble cast in The Romanoffs, Matthew Weiner’s new Amazon anthology series about the descendants of Russian royalty, which debuts Friday.

While Hahn can’t see much about her character in the series, she does give a tease of what we can expect from her episode, entitled "End of the Line."

“All I can say is that she believes that she's a descendant of the Romanoffs, that she's searching for answers to her lineage, [and] that because it's an anthology series I feel like I did like a short film,” she says.

Hahn adds, “I have no idea how [my story is] connected to any other ones and I'm so excited to see the whole of it. I have no idea. I'm really, really excited.”

In Private Life, Hahn plays Rachel, a writer in her 40s who's desperate to conceive a child. She says the largely unexplored subject matter is what drew her to the film.

“Fertility and infertility has been long just not spoken of out in public,” she says. “It's something that a lot of women and couples are just kind of hiding. And so yeah, I thought it was a subject matter that just hasn't been talked about before and that was interesting to me to discuss.”

Private Life is on Netflix now.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


50 Cent signs new overall deal at Starz; Kevin Hart inks first-look deal at Nickelodeon

Starz(LOS ANGELES) -- 50 Cent has locked in a new deal with his Power network Starz.

Starz announced on Thursday that it has signed the rapper and media mogul to a new, four-year, exclusive overall deal. Under the deal, Jackson who is both the co-creator and executive producer of the hit series Power, will continue to develop new scripted and unscripted projects exclusively for the network through his G-Unit production company. 

The new deal also offers a three-series commitment and input into the merchandising and licensing of G-Unit developed brands and content.  According to Variety, Fif's new deal is worth $150 million.

In addition to Power, 50 currently has two active projects in development at Starz: Black Mafia Family and the Navy SEAL drama Vanguard.

Meanwhile, Kevin Hart has also signed a major deal of his own.

Nickelodeon has announced they have entered into an exclusive first-look deal with Hart and his production company, HartBeat Productions. Under the deal, the comedian will develop and produce live-action, scripted kids’ content for the network.

“For me, Nick has always represented everything fun about being a kid, and it’s still at the forefront today of kids’ and family entertainment," Hart said in a statement.

"I’ve been slimed at Kids’ Choice, won a lot of Orange Blimps and my kids are my very own built-in focus group," he added. "So I’m ready to dive in and make some next-level shows.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Johnny Depp says he was "falsely accused" of domestic violence

ABC/Randy Holmes(LOS ANGELES) -- Last year, following the controversial casting of Johnny Depp in the upcoming film Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling issued a statement defending the actor.  Now Depp himself is speaking out about Rowling's support in the wake of domestic violence allegations against him by his ex-wife, Amber Heard.

Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, Depp says, "The fact remains I was falsely accused, which I why I’m suing the Sun newspaper for defamation for repeating false accusations. J.K. has seen the evidence and therefore knows I was falsely accused, and that’s why she has publicly supported me."

"She doesn’t take things lightly," Depp adds. "She would not stand up if she didn’t know the truth.”

Last December, Rowling said in her statement, "Based on our understanding of the circumstances, the filmmakers and I are not only comfortable sticking with our original casting, but genuinely happy to have Johnny playing a major character."

In the movie, Depp's character, the wizard Gellert Grindelwald, is a former childhood friend of Hogwarts professor Albus Dumbledore. Having been captured in the last movie, he escapes and announces his plans to rule over the muggle population by unifying the wizarding world.

Asked by EW if his character could be compared to Donald Trump, Depp tells the magazine, "I don’t see [the comparisons] at all...[Grindelwald's] dream is for the wizard world to stand tall and above."

"It’s a fascistic element" Depp adds. "And there’s nothing more dangerous than somebody who is a dreamer with a specific vision that’s very strong and very dangerous and he can make it happen. But no character wakes up and goes ‘I’m going to do the worst things possible today and be evil as hell.’"

The Crimes of Grindelwald hits theaters November 16.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Regina Hall praises her 'The Hate U Give' cast and film's message of "hope"

ABC/Randy Holmes(NEW YORK) -- Ahead of the national release of The Hate U Give, Regina Hall is sharing her admiration for the film's cast and director.

The film, which is an adaptation of Angela Thomas' novel of the same name, follows the story of Starr, a sixteen-year-old girl who must decide if she'll stand up for what she believes after witnessing the shooting of her best friend by a police officer. In the drama, Hall plays Lisa Carter, Starr's loving, but extremely protective mother.

Hall tells ABC Radio that Thomas' book was already "amazing" to begin with, but when the cast -- specifically Amandla Stenberg, who plays Starr, and Russell Hornsby, who plays Starr's father -- took on the characters, she became an instant fan.

"Amandla is phenomenal in the movie and it's like I'm singing praises -- but Russell -- he really is. They really are," she says. "Everybody really felt like the people that I've read in the book. That I read on the page."

Hall also applauded the film's director George Tillman for his "phenomenal job of telling a story, as opposed to... blaming." 

Yet Hall is quick to note that in addition to the film's talented actors and director who help bring the story to life, the film also offers "hope" in a dark and uncertain world.

"I loved every character in it," she continues. "And I just loved the unfolding of what happens and it's not like picture perfect. But there is hope. You know what I mean, there's resonance of hope and that is incredible. So I just feel really honored to be able to be a part of it and to support." 

The Hate U Give hits theaters nationwide on October 19.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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