Tag Archives: Hollywood

COVID-19: Cautious optimism in Hollywood

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When veteran Hollywood actor Gregg Daniel was offered an audition for a new movie in Los Angeles, he nearly didn’t show up — the pandemic was well underway, and “no one was shooting.”

“I almost hesitated even going to the audition,” said Daniel. “I’m African-American, I’m over 50 and disproportionately black people were dying of COVID-19… but the script was so good, and I’m an actor at heart.”

Fast-forward to today, and Daniel has completed boxing drama “7th & Union,” filmed in the streets of the eerily quiet California entertainment capital.

Thanks to relentless testing, on-set “COVID officers,” sanitation stations and enforced social distancing between takes, “everything went smoothly” and safely, said executive producer Jolene Rodriguez.

Yet it is one of just a handful of film productions to resume in Hollywood since Governor Gavin Newsom gave the green light back in June.

Health fears, uncertainty and a second wave of coronavirus cases have meant few movie producers braving a return so far — with some heading elsewhere or even overseas.

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No US state has suffered more than California, which has so far recorded more than 610,000 coronavirus cases, including more than 11,000 deaths.

“At one point we were like… ‘Do we hold off for the safety of people?’” said Rodriguez. “But it ended up where we were able to pull it off.”

– Cautious optimism –

Permits to film in Los Angeles remain stalled at one-third of usual numbers, according to nonprofit FilmLA — and the vast majority of those are for making advertisements and reality television.

The main hold-up for movie studios is talks between employers and unions to agree on a new set of standard, industry-wide safety protocols.

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“We’ve been working on it for many, many weeks… there are a lot of complicated issues,” said Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, chief operating officer of actors guild SAG-AFTRA, which has joined forces with Hollywood’s directors, technicians and Teamsters unions.

Among discussions are daily testing for actors performing “the more dangerous work from a COVID perspective,” such as intimate sex or fight scenes.

HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA – AUGUST 13: PAM & NMA Magnet Coordinator Ali Nezu (L) disinfects the New Media Academy Magnet center at Hollywood High School on August 13, 2020 in Hollywood, California. With over 734,000 enrolled students, the Los Angeles Unified School District is the largest public school system in California and the 2nd largest public school district in the United States. Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images/AFP

Once negotiations are completed — a deal is expected by next month — the major problem of coronavirus insurance persists.

The cost of restarting a production only to shut down again due to an outbreak is so high that insurers are excluding COVID-related claims from new policies.

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“What we’re hearing… is that there’s going to need to be governmental involvement,” said Crabtree-Ireland, pointing to similar measures in California to incentivize earthquake coverage.

“There are discussions going on at both federal and state levels about how that might happen.”

– Creative locations –

For now, the trickle of film productions going ahead need to be approved by unions on a case-by-case basis — leading to wrangling over issues such as the frequency and type of COVID testing, especially on low-budget shoots.

A “cottage industry of boutique testing companies” have sprung up to service film sets that can’t afford in-house testing, said Crabtree-Ireland.

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Meanwhile, producers have learned to be creative about filming locations, with busy public areas not feasible, said FilmLA president Paul Audley.

“Writers are really clever — so we know some of the shows may be writing for areas that are more isolated, like an industrial area,” he told AFP.

Another, far riskier approach has sprung up — filming without permission at all.

“Right now, the number one complaint that we’ve had on the books is for illegal filming,” said Audley, adding that coronavirus-wary Los Angeles residents are more vigilant than ever in reporting guerrilla shoots.

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Still, despite the growth of other filming hubs such as the state of Georgia — where mogul Tyler Perry has set up a self-contained, 330-acre (133-hectare) production “campus” — many filmmakers appear determined to remain in Los Angeles.

The silver screen’s spiritual home boasts an abundance of support services, including six companies dedicated to movie-set recycling and garbage disposal alone, said Audley.

“Our members prefer to work close to home, and I think especially in times of uncertainty like this they feel more comfortable,” Crabtree-Ireland said.

“In terms of what the prospects for Los Angeles are, I wouldn’t suggest anyone should count LA out.”


#Newsworthy…

Netflix: Top 10 Male Hollywood pay list

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Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has been named Hollywood’s top-paid actor for a second year running, heading a list dominated by lucrative Netflix contracts.

The former professional wrestler banked $87.5 million in the year ending June 2020, according to Forbes’ annual ranking.

That figure — slightly down from last year’s $89.4 million haul, but comfortably ahead of second-placed Ryan Reynolds ($71.5 million) — was boosted by Johnson’s $23.5 million fee for upcoming Netflix action flick “Red Notice,” as well as endorsements.

Netflix shelled out more than a quarter of all the paychecks collected by this year’s top 10.

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Others benefiting from the streaming giant’s $140 million A-lister splurge included Reynolds (“Six Underground” and “Red Notice”), third-placed Mark Wahlberg (“Spenser Confidential”) and fourth-placed Ben Affleck (“The Last Thing He Wanted.”)

“Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda made his debut on the list after Disney paid $75 million for the movie rights to the smash hit Broadway production, which soared on Disney+ streaming last month.

Perennials such as Bollywood megastar Akshay Kumar and martial arts legend Jackie Chan returned to the top 10, as did Will Smith and Adam Sandler.

Largely absent this year were the cast of Marvel’s “Avengers” films — who dominated last year — with the record-breaking franchise taking an extended break from the big screen.

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But Vin Diesel, lynchpin of the ever-popular “Fast & Furious” franchise, returned at number five with $54 million.

The ranking does not include actresses, who will be featured in a separate list next month.

The top 10:

  1. Dwayne Johnson ($87.5 million)
  2. Ryan Reynolds ($71.5 million)
  3. Mark Wahlberg ($58 million)
  4. Ben Affleck ($55 million)
  5. Vin Diesel ($54 million)
  6. Akshay Kumar ($48.5 million)
  7. Lin-Manuel Miranda ($45.5 million)
  8. Will Smith ($44.5 million)
  9. Adam Sandler ($41 million)
  10. Jackie Chan ($40 million)

#Newsworthy…

Legendary Actress, Olivia de Havilland dies at 104

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Olivia de Havilland, a two-time Oscar winner and one of the last links to Hollywood’s legendary Golden Age, died Sunday at the age 104, her publicist said.

De Havilland, who starred in blockbusters like “Gone With the Wind” and played opposite such leading men as Errol Flynn, personified the glamour and elegance of a bygone age of moviemaking.

In a statement, her publicist Lisa Goldberg said de Havilland “died peacefully from natural causes” at her home in Paris, France.

In this file photo taken on September 09, 2010 British actress Jacqueline Bisset (R) and US actress Olivia de Havilland (L) pose after they were awarded chevalier of the Legion of Honour by French President Nicolas Sarkozy at the Elysee Palace in Paris.
Eric Feferberg / AFP

Born Olivia Mary de Havilland on July 1, 1916 in Tokyo, the star had lived in Paris since the early 1950s, and received honors such as the National Medal of the Arts, France’s Légion d’Honneur, and the appointment to Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

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She was married twice — first to author Marcus Goodrich from 1946 to 1953 and then to journalist Pierre Galante, editor of the French magazine Paris Match.

This file photo taken on April 08, 1970 in Paris shows US actress Olivia de Havilland. Golden Age Hollywood star Olivia de Havilland has died aged 104 in Paris, according to her publicist on July 26, 2020. AFP

De Havilland was most known for her role as Melanie Hamilton in 1939’s “Gone With The Wind,” but also had starring roles opposite Flynn in “Captain Blood” (1935) and “The Adventures of Robin Hood” (1938).

She was nominated for five Academy Awards, winning best actress for “To Each His Own” (1946) and “The Heiress” (1949).


#Newsworthy…

Geoffrey Rush wins a record multi-million dollar payout

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Hollywood star Geoffrey Rush won a record multimillion-dollar payout Thursday after an appeal by a Rupert Murdoch-owned newspaper against a defamation ruling was thrown out by an Australian court.

The Oscar-winner will receive US$2 million for lost earnings and compensation after a court rejected an appeal seeking reduced costs and a retrial of the case.

The decision — against News Corp’s Australian subsidiary Nationwide News — is the latest twist in the ongoing legal battle between Rush and the Daily Telegraph, which accused him of inappropriate sexual behaviour toward female cast members.

A file photo of Hollywood star Geoffrey Rush

In a front-page article published in 2017, the Daily Telegraph wrote that the Sydney Theatre Company received a complaint that Rush had inappropriately touched a female co-star during a staging of “King Lear”.

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A Sydney judge had described the content as a “recklessly irresponsible piece of sensationalist journalism”.

Local media said the sum awarded to Rush was the largest ever paid to an individual in Australia, which has notoriously strict defamation laws.

Rush won the Best Actor Academy Award in 1997 for his role in “Shine” and is one of the few stars to have also won a Golden Globe, an Emmy and a Tony Award.


#Newsworthy…

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Wizkid takes his career to Hollywood – set to feature in ‘Coming to America 2’

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Fans have been craving for music from starboy for a while now and the reason of that wait has now been revealed. It seems, the star was preparing for something really big. This time, not an album as expected but an acting debut.

Wizkid is known for sparking great surprises for his fans, This has been evident in the past, as up until last year no-one could have fathomed a duet between the ace superstar and Beyoncé, top among contributing reasons being that Wizkid never for once gave the slightest hint of it.

He is set to make the acting debut on Hollywood and this news bring chills to his fans globally.

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Fans are eagerly anticipating and the actual release of his anticipated and very hyped up next project dubbed “Made in Lagos”, they also have one more big surprise most likely to be unveiled maybe in the second half of this year as we have gotten information that he’s going to start in the upcoming movie “Coming to America part 2”

Wizkid set to make acting debut in hollywood movie.


#Newsworthy…

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Famous Hollywood star to plead over fraud allegation.


Full House actress Lori Loughlin and her husband have agreed to plead guilty to charges that they conspired to fraudulently secure their daughter’s college admission.

According to federal prosecutors, Lori and her fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli tried to bribe their daughter’s way into the University of Southern California.

Both of them have agreed to serve two months and five months in prison, respectively, under plea agreements filed in federal court in Boston.

They are expected to plead guilty on Friday to conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud. Loughlin and Giannulli also agreed to pay fines of $150,000 and $250,000, respectively.

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U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling in a statement said the plea deals ensure “these defendants will serve prison terms reflecting their respective roles in a conspiracy to corrupt the college admissions process.”

Their lawyers declined to comment.


#Newsworthy…

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American Actor, Jerry Stiller Dies At 92.

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Veteran actor and comedian Jerry Stiller, who found fame on Broadway and later in the smash US show “Seinfeld” has died from natural causes aged 92, his son, the Hollywood star Ben Stiller, said on Monday.

Stiller Snr and his wife Anne Meara starred on the stage and TV in the 1960s, writing and performing comedy sketches and routines together.

He later played George Costanza’s short-tempered father Frank on the smash TV show “Seinfeld,” for which he won the Funniest Male Guest Appearance in a TV Series at the American Comedy Awards in 1998.

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He was nominated for an Emmy award the year before for the same role.

He also played Leah Remini’s father in the sitcom “The King of Queens” and starred alongside Ben in the “Zoolander” films.

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“I’m sad to say that my father, Jerry Stiller, passed away from natural causes,” the award-winning actor and director said in a tweet.

“He was a great dad and grandfather, and the most dedicated husband to Anne for about 62 years,” Stiller added. “He will be greatly missed. Love you Dad.”

Jason Alexander, who played George in “Seinfeld,” described his screen dad as a “beloved friend.”

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“He was perhaps the kindest man I ever had the honour to work beside,” Alexander tweeted.

“He made me laugh when I was a child and every day I was with him. A great actor, a great man, a lovely friend.”


#Newsworthy ..

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Popular Bollywood Actor is Dead.

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Popular Bollywood actor, Irrfan Khan, who crossed over to Hollywood, is dead.

He died at the age of 53 on Wednesday in India’s entertainment capital, Mumbai, after being admitted to hospital for a colon infection earlier this week, NobleReporters learnt.

Khan was diagnosed with a high-grade neuroendocrine cancer in March 2018..

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The deceased starred in iconic Indian films such as Vishal Bhardwaj’s crime drama Maqbool, the comedy Piku and his breakout performance in Mira Nair’s Academy Award-nominated Salaam Bombay.

In his later years, Khan transitioned to Hollywood where he starred in Jurassic World, Inferno and The Amazing Spider-Man and Life of Pi.


#Newsworthy...

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COVID-19: Hollywood actor and wife, Rita are positive.


Hollywood actor, Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson have tested positive for coronavirus while filming in Australia.

The 63-year-old Academy Award-winning actor who is currently on the Gold Coast in Queensland filming Baz Luhrmann’s untitled production about Elvis Presley, made the announcement via Instagram.


Tom Hanks revealed that they tested positive for coronavirus after feeling “a bit tired, like we had colds”.

He wrote;

Hello, folks. Rita and I are down here in Australia. We felt a bit tired, like we had colds, and some body aches. Rita had some chills that came and went. Slight fevers too. To play things right, as is needed in the world right now, we were tested for the Coronavirus, and were found to be positive.

Well, now. What to do next? The Medical Officials have protocols that must be followed. We Hanks’ will be tested, observed, and isolated for as long as public health and safety requires. Not much more to it than a one-day-at-a-time approach, no?

We’ll keep the world posted and updated.

Take care of yourselves!
Hanx!


#Newsworthy…

Oscars Party Diary: Inside the A-List Events


The Hollywood Reporter’s staffers were on the scene at all the star-packed celebrations surrounding Oscar weekend.
Oscar winner Taika Waititi toasts with Piper-Heidsieck in the engraving lounge after the telecast.
Oscar winner Taika Waititi toasts with Piper-Heidsieck in the engraving lounge after the telecast.

Continue reading Oscars Party Diary: Inside the A-List Events

50 cent honoured after filming in Hollywood ‘Walk of Fame’


American singer, Curtis Jackson, professionally known as 50 Cent, has been honoured with a star on the iconic of Hollywood Walk of Fame.

The rap mogul and power star received the star in honour of his work in music, film and television.


The renowned singer, who took to his Instagram page to celebrate the gray honour, shared a photo of his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame with a caption.

“South Side on the map, wait till they see how I run with this..Hahaha ..they never seen nothing like me before,” he wrote.


50 Cent has joined the list of rappers, who have been awarded a star on the iconic Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Jackson, known as 50 Cent, is a hip hop artist and businessman who became famous for his streetwise raps and rags-to-riches life story.


The singer’s early life was on crime, drugs and violence, before he turned to rap, rocketing to stardom with the album ‘Get Rich or Die Tryin’ in 2003.

50 Cent has since branched out to become an actor and businessman.


His career has been littered with feuds with other rappers, arrests, legal and financial difficulties, while his recent recording output has been sporadic.

In 2000, Jackson was the victim of a severe shooting incident that left him with multiple injuries.


He returned to music after his recovery and made several low-budget recordings with his friends Lloyd Banks and Tony Yayo, as a crew called G-Unit.

Their efforts came to the attention of Eminem and Dr Dre, who heard 50 Cent’s “Guess Who’s Back?” mixtape in 2002.


They later signed him jointly to their labels, Shady Records and Aftermath Entertainment.

50 Cent’s debut album, Get Rich or Die Tryin’, was produced by Eminem and Dre. It was a massive commercial success that eventually sold nine million units.


The singer gritty singles, including “Wanksta” and “In Da Club,” were underpinned by strong hooks that helped turn them into crossover pop hits.

Jackson maintained a presence in the industry with the release of the album ‘Animal Ambition’ in 2014 and it sold just over 100,000 copies.


Following in the footsteps of hip hop moguls such as Dre and Jay Z, Jackson successfully expanded his brand into other markets.

He promoted and invested in Vitaminwater, a partnership that reportedly netted him $100 million.


The company was sold to Coca-Cola in 2007 and also founded the successful headphones line SMS Audio.

Jackson has two sons from two different women Marquise Jackson and Sire Jackson.

NobleReporters culled that Queen Latifah received her star in January 2006, followed by Diddy in 2008 and Pharrell Williams, who received his star in 2014.

Also, veteran rappers Pitbull and LL Cool J were awarded their stars in 2016.


#Newsworthy. ..

Hollywood film producer, Harvey Weinstein charged for rape

...plus sexual assault with another woman


Disgraced Hollywood film producer, Harvey Weinstein has been charged in Los Angeles with raping one woman and sexually assaulting another in separate incidents over a two-day period in 2013.

The 67-year-old now faces new felony charges of forcible rape, forcible oral copulation, sexual penetration by use of force and sexual battery by restraint, Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey said in a statement.

“We believe the evidence will show that the defendant used his power and influence to gain access to his victims and then commit violent crimes against them,” Lacey said.


The charges came hours after Weinstein appeared in a New York court for the start of his criminal trial on similar charges in a separate case and after his attorney, Donna Rotunna said any new charges would be “highly prejudicial” to a jury in the New York case.

According to the criminal complaint, Weinstein and a woman attended a Hollywood film festival on February 17, 2013, and later that night, he knocked on her hotel room door and was allowed entry into her room. Once inside, they talked briefly before he allegedly attacked the woman, forced her to perform oral sex on him, digitally penetrated her vagina and raped her, the complaint says.


She said that she did not disclose the assault because he threatened her life if she spoke, the complaint says. The charges of forcible rape, forcible oral copulation and sexual penetration by use relate to that incident.

On February 19, Weinstein met with a woman and her acquaintance for a business meeting at a hotel eatery in West Los Angeles, the complaint says. Weinstein persuaded the two to accompany him to his hotel suite, and one woman unwittingly followed him into the bathroom, the complaint says.


He allegedly took off his clothes and prevented her from leaving, and then he held her in place by her breast as he masturbated, the complaint says. He faces a charge of felony sexual battery by restraint for that incident, Lacey said.

Weinstein has denied all allegations of “nonconsensual sexual activity” related to the New York case and other claims made against him.

Weinstein’s career collapsed in October 2018, after numerous accusations of sexual harassment and assault were leveled against him.

Since then more than 80 women including young female assistants and actresses have come forward to accuse him of various sexual harassment and assaults.


#Newsworthy..

Brazilian president jair faults Hollywood star, Leonardo for Amazon rainforest fire.

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro has blamed Hollywood actor, Leonardo DiCaprio for making donations to nonprofit organizations that he claims are behind some of the fires in the Amazon rainforest.

Back in August, Earth Alliance, an environmental group co-founded by Leonardo DiCaprio, made a donation of $5m to help combat the fires that destroyed large parts of the Amazon rainforest.

But Speaking on Friday, November 29, Bolsonaro told supporters: ‘DiCaprio is a cool guy, isn’t he? Giving money to set the Amazon on fire.’

His comments comes after a police raid at the headquarters of two nonprofit groups in the Amazonian state of Para. According to Police, they are being investigated for allegedly igniting fires to obtain funding through nonprofits.

#Newsworthy…