Sunday Aug 2, 2015

'Downton Abbey' to get a float in the 2016 Rose Bowl parade

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — Maggie Smith's character on "Downton Abbey" might find the pomp and circumstance uncomfortable, but the PBS show is getting its own float in the Rose Parade, two days before the premiere of its sixth and final season on Jan. 3. PBS president...
Read More

TV

'Downton Abbey' to get a float in the 2016 Rose Bowl parade
Sunday Aug 2, 2015
'Downton Abbey' to get a float in the 2016 Rose Bowl parade

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — Maggie Smith's character on "Downton Abbey" might find the pomp and circumstance uncomfortable, but the PBS show is getting its own float in the Rose Parade, two days before the premiere of its sixth and final season on Jan. 3. PBS president and CEO Paula Kerger made the announcement Saturday at a bi-annual panel for TV critics. "It's just a beautiful send off to the series and I think it's fun," said Kerger. She said that PBS has been accused at times of not having a sense of humor and whimsy, and the float plan does have those qualities. As for specifics: "It will have a lot of flowers on it and it will be a 'Downton Abbey' theme." In an interview with The Associated Press, the show's star Michelle Dockery said she had never heard of the Rose Parade but joked there would be a lookalike of her riding the float. Funding for the float will come from PBS' marketing budget, unless a sponsor can be found, a PBS spokesperson said. The Rose Parade is held every year on New Year's Day in Pasadena, California. ___ Online: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/downtonabbey/ http://http://www.tournamentofroses.com/ Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Associated Press from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

'Downton' producer open to possibility of big-screen film
Sunday Aug 2, 2015
'Downton' producer open to possibility of big-screen film

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — Here's a roundup of news Saturday from the Television Critics Association summer meeting, at which TV networks and streaming services are presenting details on upcoming programs: 'DOWNTON ABBEY,' THE MOVIE? With "Downton Abbey" coming to an end, its executive producer is offering hope that a follow-up movie is at least a possibility. By ending the TV drama several years shy of the 1929 stock market crash, producer Gareth Neame said rich territory is left to be mined if a film is made. There's no script or a firm plan, he said, but a "Downton Abbey" movie could be a "wonderful thing." Afterward, he told The Associated Press that such a project could be made as a big-screen theatrical release but reaffirmed it was speculative at this point. However, it's time for the series itself to end while it's still popular and acclaimed, Neame said. Its sixth and final season will begin airing in September in the U.K. and in January on PBS in the United States. Neame said the last season will bring back some faces from the past, but the focus of the final season is to wrap up story lines for the main cast. The high-toned soap opera about the upstairs and downstairs occupants of a stately English mansion dealing with early 20th-century social change will end production Aug. 15. Studio scenes remain to be shot, but production at Highclere, the estate that stood in for Downton Abbey, wrapped recently. "That was a sort of interesting day," Hugh Bonneville, who plays Lord Grantham, said of the final taping at Highclere. The cast and crew marked the occasion by taking a "team photo" in the dining room, where the longest scenes were filmed. ___ 'DOWNTON ABBEY,' THE PARADE FLOAT Maggie Smith's character on "Downton Abbey" might find the pomp and circumstance uncomfortable, but the PBS show is getting its own float in the Rose Parade, two days before the premiere of its sixth and final season Jan. 3. "It's just a beautiful send-off to the series and I think it's fun," said PBS President and CEO Paula Kerger. In an interview with the AP, series star Michelle Dockery said she had never heard of the Rose Parade but joked there would be a lookalike of her riding the float. Funding for the float will come from PBS' marketing budget, unless a sponsor can be found, a PBS spokeswoman said. The Rose Parade is held every year on New Year's Day in Pasadena, California. ___ 'SHERLOCK' FOREVER "Sherlock" fans have grown familiar with the waiting game between TV seasons, but they may be encouraged that show-runner Steven Moffat says he could see it "going on for a long while." Moffat said he and co-executive producer Mark Gatiss are game to keep going. "I don't think it will be us that switch it off. I imagine it'll be down to Benedict (Cumberbatch) and Martin (Freeman). Obviously we can't do the show without them, and they've always said they're happy to carry on so long as it's good." Production on new episodes is expected to begin in the spring of 2016, but Cumberbatch and Freeman filmed a one-off episode set in the Victorian-era that has been rumored to air this Christmas in the U.K. "We've never said it's a Christmas special," said Moffat's wife and "Sherlock" producer Sue Vertue. "It's probably Christmas-ish," added Moffat. "We don't actually know. We're not making this up." They decided to jump back in time for an episode because "We checked the books and discovered we got it wrong," joked Moffat. "We should have read them first. No, just because we can, really." Viewers should not expect an explanation for the time jump. "We never bothered explaining what they were doing in modern London, so why bother explaining what they're doing in Victorian London, when that's where they're supposed to be?" Moffat also commented on the British government potentially yanking public funding from the BBC. "It staggers me that we got a government that got elected and decided the main problem with Britain is our national broadcaster... There must be something more important to do," he said. ___ TV'S LEAR JET Veteran TV producer Norman Lear of "All in the Family" fame is looking ahead to his next groundbreaking series. Lear, 93, is working on a Hispanic version of his single-parent comedy "One Day at a Time." "I love the idea because I don't see enough of that representation on the air," said Lear, who is the subject of a PBS' "American Masters" documentary planned for 2016. The original series aired from 1975 to 1984 and starred Bonnie Franklin as the mother of two girls, played by Valerie Bertinelli and Mackenzie Phillips. The reboot would focus on a Latino woman with perhaps a boy and a girl, Lear said, and a grandmother. He wants to show three generations of Latinas, he said. Does he have actors in mind? "Yes, but I'm not going to share," Lear replied, his tone as jaunty as his trademark white hat. Lear, known for his social activism, was asked if he found much to laugh at in today's politics. "It's so hard," he said. While he's labeled a progressive, a liberal or a lefty, "I think of myself as a bleeding heart conservative" who is intent on seeing the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights protected. Americans are patriotic, he said, but "I don't need their flag pins to prove it. I would like them to go back to civics lessons." ___ 'ROOTS' CONTROVERSY "Finding Your Roots" will return for season three, but whether the celebrity genealogy series that buried an uncomfortable fact about Ben Affleck's ancestor continues after that remains in doubt, PBS' chief executive said. PBS conducted a "very thorough investigation" and is working with the show's producers to ensure that its content is accurate, PBS President and CEO Paula Kerger said. The third season has yet to be scheduled. The public TV service launched a review after it was reported that Affleck requested the program not reveal his ancestor's slave-holding history in a 2014 episode. The AP examined historical documents and found that Affleck's great-great-great-grandfather owned 24 slaves. Affleck's request came to light last spring in hacked Sony emails published online by whistleblower site WikiLeaks. PBS' review found that co-producers violated standards by allowing improper influence on the show's editorial process and failed to inform PBS or then-producing station WNET New York of Affleck's efforts to affect the program's content. Series host and executive producer Henry Louis Gates Jr. has issued an apology, saying he regretted forcing PBS to defend the integrity of its programming. PBS hasn't been tarnished by what occurred, Kerger said, and it reinforced the importance of applying stringent standards to all its programs. PBS is taking time to weigh what occurred with "Finding Your Roots" to ensure that there was a clear understanding of what happened and what oversight needed to be added, she said. "But we want to be fair and not punitive," she said, adding she hopes that the series will continue. Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by The Associated Press from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

'Downton' producer doesn't shut door on big-screen film
Saturday Aug 1, 2015
'Downton' producer doesn't shut door on big-screen film

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — With "Downton Abbey" coming to an end, its executive producer is offering hope that a follow-up movie is at least a possibility. By ending the TV drama several years shy of the 1929 stock market crash, producer Gareth Neame said rich territory is left to be mined if a film is made. He told TV critics Saturday that it's been discussed, but there's no script or a firm plan. Afterward, he told The Associated Press that such a project could be made as a big-screen theatrical release but reaffirmed it was speculative at this point. "I think a 'Downton Abbey' movie could be a wonderful thing," he said earlier. But it's time for the series itself to end while it's still popular and acclaimed, Neame said. The Television Critics Association panel discussion was bittersweet as its stars and producers looked back at the drama's past seasons and ahead to its conclusion. "How are we going to live without it?" said Rebecca Eaton, executive producer of "Masterpiece," the PBS showcase for "Downton Abbey." Its sixth and final season will begin airing in September in the U.K. and in January on PBS in the United States. Neame said the last season will bring back some faces from the past, but the focus of the final season is to wrap up story lines for the main cast. The high-toned soap opera about the upstairs and downstairs occupants of a stately English mansion dealing with early 20th-century social change will end production Aug. 15. Studio scenes remain to be shot, but production at Highclere, the estate that stood in for Downton Abbey, wrapped recently. "That was a sort of interesting day," Hugh Bonneville, who plays Lord Grantham, said of the final taping at Highclere. The cast and crew marked the occasion by taking a "team photo" in the dining room, where the longest scenes were filmed. Saying goodbye to their fictional Crawley family home was difficult. "Laura (Carmichael) and I wandered around for the last time," said Michelle Dockery, who played Mary Crawley. "Suddenly we didn't want to go home. It was really funny." She and Carmichael (Edith Crawley), sat on a garden bench used by Mary and the now-departed Matthew, her husband who was played by Dan Stevens. They had a bit of a cry, which will likely be the case for the show's fans. It was an international success and is the highest-rated PBS drama ever. The actors were asked what they would miss about the series. "I'll miss being in a hit TV show," said Elizabeth McGovern, who played Cora Crawley, the countess of Grantham. Besides, Penelope Wilton noted, nothing can go on forever. "Some of us would be dead. You have to watch for that," said Wilton, who plays Isobel Crawley, the foil and sometimes-foe of Maggie Smith's Violet Crawley. ___ Associated Press writer Alicia Rancilio contributed to this report. Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Lynn Elber from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

At 93, TV producer Lear seeks to keep pushing boundaries
Saturday Aug 1, 2015
At 93, TV producer Lear seeks to keep pushing boundaries

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — Veteran TV producer Norman Lear of "All in the Family" fame is looking ahead to his next groundbreaking series. Lear, 93, told a TV critics' meeting Saturday that he's working on a Hispanic version of his single-parent comedy "One Day at a Time." "I love the idea because I don't see enough of that representation on the air," said Lear, who is the subject of a PBS' "American Masters" documentary planned for 2016. The original series aired from 1975 to 1984 and starred Bonnie Franklin as the mother of two girls, played by Valerie Bertinelli and Mackenzie Phillips. The reboot would focus on a Latino woman with perhaps a boy and a girl, Lear said, and a grandmother. He wants to show three generations of Latinas, he said. Does he have actors in mind? "Yes, but I'm not going to share," Lear replied, his tone as jaunty as his trademark white hat. He was asked why broadcast networks aren't airing sitcoms with the kind of topical humor that was a constant of Lear's shows of the 1970s through the mid-1990s, which besides "All in the Family" included "The Jeffersons" and "Maude." "My guess is that, first of all, they're (producers) fully capable of doing it. They just don't elect to," or the major networks don't elect to have them do so, Lear said, adding, "So I don't know which it is. ... They're doing very well without it. I love 'Modern Family.'" Lear, whose last sitcom was 1994's short-lived "704 Hauser," was asked if networks shied away from working with him because of his edgy humor or his years. Perhaps his age is at issue, he said, "but nobody shakes my hand and says, 'You're too old.' Nobody shakes my hand and says, 'I'm afraid you're gonna croak.'" Lear, known for his social activism, was asked if he found much to laugh at in today's politics. "It's so hard," he said. While he's labeled a progressive, a liberal or a lefty, "I think of myself as a bleeding heart conservative" who is intent on seeing the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights protected. Americans are patriotic, he said, but "I don't need their flag pins to prove it. I would like them to go back to civics lessons." Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Lynn Elber from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

'Finding Your Roots' to return for season 3 after PBS probe
Saturday Aug 1, 2015
'Finding Your Roots' to return for season 3 after PBS probe

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — "Finding Your Roots" will return for season three, but whether the celebrity genealogy series that buried an uncomfortable fact about Ben Affleck's ancestor continues after that remains in doubt, PBS' chief executive said. PBS conducted a "very thorough investigation" and is working with the show's producers to ensure that its content is accurate, PBS President and CEO Paula Kerger told TV critics Saturday. The third season has yet to be scheduled. The public TV service launched a review after it was reported that Affleck requested the program not reveal his ancestor's slave-holding history in a 2014 episode. The Associated Press examined historical documents and found that Affleck's great-great-great-grandfather owned 24 slaves. Affleck's request came to light last spring in hacked Sony emails published online by whistleblower site WikiLeaks. PBS' review found that co-producers violated standards by allowing improper influence on the show's editorial process and failed to inform PBS or then-producing station WNET New York of Affleck's efforts to affect the program's content. Changes were made, including adding another researcher and an independent genealogist. Series host and executive producer Henry Louis Gates Jr. has issued an apology, saying he regretted forcing PBS to defend the integrity of its programming. WETA in Washington, D.C., took over as the public TV producing station before the issue came to light, Kerger said. In a Facebook posting in April, Affleck said he was "embarrassed" for a TV show about his family to include a slave owner. The award-winning "Good Will Hunting" and "Argo" actor and filmmaker added, among other comments, that "Finding Your Roots" isn't a news program. "We deserve neither credit nor blame for our ancestors and the degree of interest in this story suggests that we are, as a nation, still grappling with the terrible legacy of slavery," Affleck said in the post. PBS hasn't been tarnished by what occurred, Kerger said during the Q&A session, and it reinforced the importance of applying stringent standards to all its programs. PBS is taking time to weigh what occurred with "Finding Your Roots" to ensure that there was a clear understanding of what happened and what oversight needed to be added, Kerger said. "But we want to be fair and not punitive," she said, adding she hopes that the series will continue. Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Lynn Elber from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Movies

Superhero movie round-up: 'Batman v Superman,' Aquaman, 'Spider-Man'
Friday Jul 31, 2015
Superhero movie round-up: 'Batman v Superman,' Aquaman, 'Spider-Man'

"Batman v. Superman" is linked with "The Hunger Games" actress Jena Malone, director Zack Snyder provides more detail on an Aquaman cameo, and a "Spider-Man" cast list rumor circulates.- Barbara Gordon in Batman v. Superman? - Jena Malone played Johanna Mason in the "Hunger Games" films and worked with Zack Snyder, director of "Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice," on 2011 action movie "Sucker Punch." Associated with "Batman v. Superman" since October 2014, she was at first thought to be playing Batman's sidekick, Robin. Having dyed her hair red, speculation matched her up with the coloring of "The Dark Knight Returns" female Robin, Carrie Kelley. But another character from the Batman universe is also a fellow coppertop -- Commissioner Gordon's daughter, Barbara -- and it's she who Malone is playing now. That's according to the Latino Review, citing three separate sources on the matter. The revelation opens the door to two possible Barbara Gordon alter egos: another sidekick in Batgirl, or Batman's intelligence adviser Oracle. Barbara was introduced as Oracle in the "Suicide Squad" comics, and Snyder is executive producing on that series' film adaptation which is booked for August 2016. - Aquaman surfacing in March -Speaking of Snyder, the director told Empire Magazine that there's to be a cameo appearance from another DC superhero, Aquaman, in March 2016's "Batman v. Superman." Jason Momoa would pop up in a cameo role, Snyder confirmed in conversation with Empire Magazine, introducing Aquaman several years in advance of a first "Justice League" ensemble in 2017 and his own solo feature in 2018. - Spider-Man cast list - Meanwhile, in Marvel's world, a rumored cast list has been doing the rounds (Latino Review), mixing names already known with a bunch of exciting though unconfirmable suggestions. Tom Holland as Peter Parker and Spider-Man and Marisa Tomei as his Aunt May were already known. A Robert Downey Jr. appearance makes sense, given that Holland screen-tested with him, and his Iron Man character is a linchpin of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Others, if correct, suggest an interesting direction for the webspinning reboot. Among them, there was Billy Zane as The Vulture, Jason Biggs as Scorpion, Timothée Chalamet ("Homeland") as a young Harry Osborn and future Green Goblin, Jacob Latimore of "The Maze Runner" as Flash Thompson and newcomer Rachel G. Fox as Mary Jane Watson were all intriguing selections. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

New trailer released for American Ultra
Friday Jul 31, 2015
New trailer released for American Ultra

Jesse Eisenberg leads the cast in the action comedy in which an undercover government agent who smokes marijuana becomes a target of a government operation.Eisenberg's character Mike discovers he has subconscious skills that could prove to be too much for the rival agents. Eisenberg's credits include "The Social Network," and "Batman v Superman." Kristen Stewart of "The Twilight Saga" and "Still Alive" co-stars. Eisenberg and Stewart worked together on "Adventureland." To watch the trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sSgzIJbKNz8&feature=youtu.be   Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Invisible Women? Hollywood's female superhero problem
Friday Jul 31, 2015
Invisible Women? Hollywood's female superhero problem

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Batman. Spider-Man. Iron Man. Ant-Man. The list of male superheroes starring in their own big-screen escapades is bigger than Tony Stark's ego, and the billions of dollars these films have generated rival the fortunes of the well-off tinkerer. However, in spite of Hollywood's continued fascination with supermen, a new surge of female power could finally electrify the genre and more closely resemble the audiences of comic book adaptations. That's the apparent takeaway from Marvel Studios' latest release, "Ant-Man." The film concludes with — spoiler alert — Evangeline Lilly's character, Hope Van Dyne, being bestowed with her late mother's prototype superhero suit and alter-ego. When she spots the ensemble, she satisfyingly informs her inventor father, "It's about damn time." It likely is, considering 42 percent of "Ant-Man" ticket buyers on opening weekend were women. "It was always intentional to end the movie that way with Hope saying she's going to be suited up in future adventures," said Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios. "Over the year since we shot that, it's taken on a greater meaning out there in the fan community. It's more relevant now than it's ever been." Over the past seven years of interconnected Marvel superhero movies, female characters who are not codenamed Black Widow have mostly been relegated to the sidelines as love interests, sidekicks, damsels in distress or all of the above, making Hope's parting words resonate beyond the screen for viewers who've long been dissatisfied with the lack of female superheroes in movies, despite their decades-long histories in comics. Scarlett Johansson's shadowy agent Black Widow is no longer the sole Marvel movie heroine following the introduction of Zoe Saldana's alien assassin Gamora in last year's "Guardians of the Galaxy," Elizabeth Olsen's mind-bending Scarlet Witch earlier this year in "Avengers: Age of Ultron" and Lilly's winged Wasp at the end of "Ant-Man." "Their intentions are in the right place," Lilly said. "They just have to get there. They're breaking new ground. I'm really honored and excited to be part of that, to be one of the pioneering women within the superhero realm, to represent strong women and put more of a female presence into these movies." Andrea Letamendi, a psychologist and comic book expert who recently participated in a talk at San Diego Comic-Con titled, "Building the Modern (Super)Heroine," was disappointed that the filmmakers stopped short of having Lilly's character actually don the Wasp's get-up and help save the day alongside Ant-Man. "When women don't see ourselves represented in an important role, for instance as a superhero, we begin to question our value in society," said Letamendi. "It's surprising that we're still considering that, but it's very true. The clinical term for it is symbolic annihilation, and it has a damaging effect, especially on younger audiences." Letamendi commended Marvel for including smart, savvy female characters, such as Thor's astrophysicist girlfriend Jane Foster and Tony Stark's CEO significant other Pepper Potts, in past films, although she said it would be more socially beneficial for viewers to see women serve as actual superheroes or — better yet — lead the charge against all those killer robots and aliens. Financially, solely focusing on female superheroes has never boosted the bottom line for movie studios. "Supergirl," ''Elektra" and "Catwoman" each failed to dazzle audiences or critics, but that was more than a decade ago before the current superhero boom. Since then, the young-adult, female-led adaptations of "The Hunger Games" and "Divergent" series rocketed to the top of the box office, and — as with "Ant-Man" — women accounted for more than 40 percent of the opening weekend crowds for "Age of Ultron" and "Guardians of the Galaxy." Regardless of the recent boost of womankind in Marvel's superhero movie line-up and among theatergoers, the Disney-owned studio isn't planning to release a film centered on a singular female superhero until 2018's "Captain Marvel." In the comics, the character is portrayed as a female fighter pilot who lands superpowers after a freak extraterrestrial accident. Warner Bros. will actually beat Marvel to punch a year earlier with a "Wonder Woman" film in 2017 starring Gal Gadot. She'll first pop up as the DC Comics character in next year's "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice." The demigod will later join several male superheroes for a two-part "Justice League" film series. Other than the warrior princess and some female anti-heroes in next year's baddie mash-up "Suicide Squad," the forthcoming cinematic take on DC Comics' super-powered population is expected to be just as dominated by characters with XY chromosomes as the Marvelverse, unless the likes of Batgirl, Black Canary or Hawkgirl swoop in. The scenario is similar for Fox's "Fantastic Four," out Aug. 7. The reboot features a lone lady: Kate Mara's Invisible Woman. Conversely, the movie studio's mutant-filled "X-Men" franchise has always featured a mix of male and female characters over the past 15 years, and next year's "X-Men: Apocalypse" edition will star the series' most diverse cast yet. The question of just how female superheroes can fare on their own with modern audiences will be tested later this year, not in theaters but on small screens. CBS' "Supergirl" and Netflix's "Jessica Jones" are set to debut in the fall. If those serialized DC and Marvel adaptations soar on television, perhaps their superhero sisters will on the big screen, as well. ___ Follow AP Entertainment Writer Derrik J. Lang on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/derrikjlang. Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Derrik J. Lang from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Demi Lovato's 'Dusk Till Dawn' character was written for her
Thursday Jul 30, 2015
Demi Lovato's 'Dusk Till Dawn' character was written for her

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — Robert Rodriguez had been waiting for a chance to work with Demi Lovato since she auditioned for his 2003 movie "Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over." The El Rey Network creator and executive producer of its TV series "From Dusk Till Dawn" told reporters Thursday the show was a nice fit, so a character was written specifically for the 22-year-old. Aside from her personal connection to the series, which is her relationship with cast member Wilmer Valderrama, Rodriguez said, "I've always been a big fan of hers and she's on tour a lot, so when she'd come to set to visit I threw out that we'd love to put her in somewhere." And he wanted to make sure it was an episode he directed because "she has a great personality" and "great acting chops." Lovato posted photos of herself on set to her Instagram account earlier this month. Rodriguez was cagey about the part, which will be included in the show's second season, premiering Aug. 25 at 9 p.m. ET. "She was fantastic. She's really got a great screen presence. If there's time for her to come back in the series she can," Rodriguez said at a TV critics gathering. "From Dusk Till Dawn" is based on the 1996 film of the same name that went on to be a cult favorite. It stars D.J. Cotrona and Zane Holtz as brothers in roles made famous by George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino. ___ Online: http://www.elreynetwork.com/ Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Associated Press from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Lupita Nyong'o to make NYC stage debut in September
Thursday Jul 30, 2015
Lupita Nyong'o to make NYC stage debut in September

NEW YORK (AP) — Lupita Nyong'o, the Oscar-winner for her role in Steve McQueen's "12 Years A Slave" will make her New York stage debut in September. The Public Theater said Thursday that Nyong'o (loo-PEE'-tuh nee-YAHNG'-goh) will star in "Eclipsed," a story of survival and resilience set in post-colonial Africa. It was written by Danai Gurira — who also is stars in "The Walking Dead" — and will be directed by Liesl Tommy. A graduate of the Yale School of Drama, Nyongo's stage credits include playing Perdita in "The Winter's Tale" and Sonya in "Uncle Vanya" both at Yale Repertory Theater. The Mexican-born Kenyan will next appear in the anticipated "Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens" and will voice a character in Jon Favreau's take on Disney's "The Jungle Book." Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Mark Kennedy from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Events

Veteran actress to step into Valerie Harper's role in play
Sunday Aug 2, 2015
Veteran actress to step into Valerie Harper's role in play

OGUNQUIT, Maine (AP) — Performer Brenda Vaccaro will replace Valerie Harper in a play in Maine as Harper recovers from an illness and brief hospitalization. The Ogunquit Playhouse says in a release Saturday night that Vaccaro will step into the role of Millicent Winter in the production of "Nice Work If You Can Get It," which is playing through Aug. 15. The 75-year-old Harper, who has battled cancer, was hospitalized Wednesday before an evening performance. York General Hospital says she was released Thursday. Playhouse officials say Harper is "feeling great right now" and they want her to continue resting and spending time with her family. Vaccaro has received an Emmy Award, a Golden Globe Award, the People's Choice Award, and the Theater World Award. She's also received Academy Award and Tony Award nominations. Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

'Finding Your Roots' to return for season 3 after PBS probe
Saturday Aug 1, 2015
'Finding Your Roots' to return for season 3 after PBS probe

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — "Finding Your Roots" will return for season three, but whether the celebrity genealogy series that buried an uncomfortable fact about Ben Affleck's ancestor continues after that remains in doubt, PBS' chief executive said. PBS conducted a "very thorough investigation" and is working with the show's producers to ensure that its content is accurate, PBS President and CEO Paula Kerger told TV critics Saturday. The third season has yet to be scheduled. The public TV service launched a review after it was reported that Affleck requested the program not reveal his ancestor's slave-holding history in a 2014 episode. The Associated Press examined historical documents and found that Affleck's great-great-great-grandfather owned 24 slaves. Affleck's request came to light last spring in hacked Sony emails published online by whistleblower site WikiLeaks. PBS' review found that co-producers violated standards by allowing improper influence on the show's editorial process and failed to inform PBS or then-producing station WNET New York of Affleck's efforts to affect the program's content. Changes were made, including adding another researcher and an independent genealogist. Series host and executive producer Henry Louis Gates Jr. has issued an apology, saying he regretted forcing PBS to defend the integrity of its programming. WETA in Washington, D.C., took over as the public TV producing station before the issue came to light, Kerger said. In a Facebook posting in April, Affleck said he was "embarrassed" for a TV show about his family to include a slave owner. The award-winning "Good Will Hunting" and "Argo" actor and filmmaker added, among other comments, that "Finding Your Roots" isn't a news program. "We deserve neither credit nor blame for our ancestors and the degree of interest in this story suggests that we are, as a nation, still grappling with the terrible legacy of slavery," Affleck said in the post. PBS hasn't been tarnished by what occurred, Kerger said during the Q&A session, and it reinforced the importance of applying stringent standards to all its programs. PBS is taking time to weigh what occurred with "Finding Your Roots" to ensure that there was a clear understanding of what happened and what oversight needed to be added, Kerger said. "But we want to be fair and not punitive," she said, adding she hopes that the series will continue. Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Lynn Elber from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Bobby Brown, family mourn the late Bobbi Kristina at funeral
Saturday Aug 1, 2015
Bobby Brown, family mourn the late Bobbi Kristina at funeral

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (AP) — R&B singer Bobby Brown emerged from the funeral of his daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown, staring toward the ground before lifting his head up and briefly gazing at the sky. Sporting a black dress shirt, the grieving Brown was one of the first to exit the tension-filled private service for Bobbi Kristina on Saturday at the St. James United Methodist Church in Alpharetta, just north of Atlanta. Twenty-two-year-old Bobbi Kristina was the only child between Brown and the late megastar singer Whitney Houston. Bobbi Kristina died in hospice care July 26, about six months after she was found face-down and unresponsive in a bathtub at her townhome. Several celebrities showed up for the funeral including filmmaker Tyler Perry, Grammy-winning R&B singer Monica and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. In the middle of the service Bobby Brown's sister Leolah Brown walked out of the church and spoke to reporters gathered outside. She said she was angry because Pat Houston was speaking at the funeral. Pat Houston is the sister-in-law and former manager for the late Whitney Houston. "I told her that Whitney is going to haunt her from the grave," Leolah Brown told reporters outside the church. She suggested that the feud between the Houstons and the Browns was far from over. "It's just getting started," she said before going back inside the church. An email to the Houston family rep was not returned. For years, there's been a longstanding rift between the families of the young woman's famous mother and father. Bobby Brown briefly appeared at Houston's funeral three years ago, saying he and his children were seated but asked repeatedly to move. Brown said he left because he didn't want to create a scene, but was upset. Bobbi Kristina's death was grimly similar to the way her mother had died three years earlier. Houston's assistant found the singer's lifeless body face-down in a foot of water in her bathtub at the Beverly Hilton Hotel just before the Grammy Awards in 2012. Authorities found prescription drugs in the suite, and evidence of heart disease and cocaine in her body, but determined her death was an accidental drowning. Bobbi Kristina was found in the townhome she shared with Nick Gordon, an orphan three years older, whom Houston had raised as her own. Bobbi Kristina referred to him as her husband. A police report earlier this year described the incident as a drowning, and authorities are investigating her death. Relations between Gordon and other relatives have soured over the past few years, especially after Bobbi Kristina was hospitalized. A protective order barred him from being within 200 feet of Pat Houston. And a feud erupted over whether Gordon could visit Bobbi Kristina while she stayed in the hospital. Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said he and his office are interested in reviewing the investigative file to determine whether any charges will be filed. Leolah Brown said she believes Gordon was involved in the death of her niece. Lawyers for Gordon declined to comment. Bobbi Kristina was raised in the shadow of her famous parents' hugely public life. She appeared alongside the couple in 2005 on the Bravo reality show "Being Bobby Brown," which showed her parents fighting, swearing and making court appearances. She attended award shows with her mother and father, walked red carpets with them and sang in Central Park with Houston as adoring fans watched. Houston and Brown were married 15 years. Their tumultuous relationship ended in 2007. On Saturday, she was remembered in a private service. A hearse carrying Bobbi Kristina arrived nearly three hours ahead of the service. Four men dressed in black suits carried the coffin into the church. Eight police motorcycles escorted three stretch limousines, carrying mourners to the church in Alpharetta ahead of the service. A procession of dozens of cars followed. Security was heavy outside the church. About 75 members of the media stood behind a barricade at the entrance of the church parking lot, while more than two dozen onlookers were just a few feet behind them. Alpharetta police say they were assisted by more than a dozen state troopers to manage traffic and shut down lanes to accommodate parking around the church where the service was being held. Bobbi Kristina was the sole heir of her mother's estate. She identified herself on Twitter as "Daughter of Queen WH," ''Entertainer/Actress" with William Morris & Co., and "LAST of a dying breed." She told Oprah Winfrey shortly after her mother's death in 2012 that she wanted to carry on Houston's legacy by singing, acting and dancing. But her career never took off. In her short life, Bobbi Kristina became a social media sensation, sending more than 11,000 tweets and attracting 164,000 followers. Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Jonathan Landrum Jr. from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Bobby Brown's sister vows family feud is just beginning
Saturday Aug 1, 2015
Bobby Brown's sister vows family feud is just beginning

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (AP) — Bobby Brown's sister vowed the family feud was "far from over" between their family and the late Whitney Houston's kin during the memorial service for her niece, Bobbi Kristina Brown. A frustrated Leolah Brown walked out of the St. James United Methodist Church in Alpharetta on Saturday and spoke to reporters gathered outside. She was angry because of some words that were said during the funeral by Pat Houston, the sister-in-law and former manager of Whitney Houston. "I told her that Whitney is going to haunt her from the grave," Leolah Brown told reporters outside the church. Before she went back inside the church, Leolah Brown expressed her love for Bobbi Kristina and Whitney Houston. But she ultimately spewed more venom toward Pat Houston, calling her a "phony" and not a "blood relative." "It's just getting started," she said. Bobbi Kristina, who dreamed of growing up to achieve fame like her mother, died in hospice care July 26, about six months after she was found face-down and unresponsive in a bathtub in her suburban Atlanta townhome on Jan. 31. An email to the Houston family rep was not returned. For years, there's been a longstanding rift between the families of the young woman's famous mother and father. Bobby Brown briefly appeared at Houston's funeral three years ago, saying he and his children were seated but asked repeatedly to move. Brown said he left because he didn't want to create a scene, but was upset. The 22-year-old Bobbi Kristina was the only child between Brown and Whitney Houston. Bobbi Kristina's death was grimly similar to the way her mother had died three years earlier. Houston's assistant found the singer's lifeless body face-down in a foot of water in her bathtub at the Beverly Hilton Hotel just before the Grammy Awards in 2012. Authorities found prescription drugs in the suite, and evidence of heart disease and cocaine in her body, but determined her death was an accidental drowning. Bobbi Kristina was found in the townhome she shared with Nick Gordon, an orphan three years older, whom Houston had raised as her own. Bobbi Kristina referred to him as her husband. A police report earlier this year described the incident as a drowning, and authorities are investigating her death. Relations between Gordon and other relatives have soured over the past few years, especially after Bobbi Kristina was hospitalized. A protective order barred him from being within 200 feet of Pat Houston. And a feud erupted over whether Gordon could visit Bobbi Kristina while she stayed in the hospital. Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said he and his office are interested in reviewing the investigative file to determine whether any charges will be filed. Leolah Brown said she believes Gordon was involved in the death of her niece. Lawyers for Gordon declined to comment. Bobbi Kristina was raised in the shadow of her famous parents' hugely public life. She appeared alongside the couple in 2005 on the Bravo reality show "Being Bobby Brown," which showed her parents fighting, swearing and making court appearances. She attended award shows with her mother and father, walked red carpets with them and sang in Central Park with Houston as adoring fans watched. Houston and Brown were married 15 years. Their tumultuous relationship ended in 2007. On Saturday, she was remembered in a private service. A hearse carrying Bobbi Kristina arrived nearly three hours ahead of the service. Four men dressed in black suits carried the coffin into the church. Eight police motorcycles escorted three stretch limousines, carrying mourners to the church in Alpharetta ahead of the service. A procession of dozens of cars followed. Security was heavy outside the church. About 75 members of the media stood behind a barricade at the entrance of the church parking lot, while more than two dozen onlookers were just a few feet behind them. Alpharetta police say they were assisted by more than a dozen state troopers to manage traffic and shut down lanes to accommodate parking around the church where the service was being held. Several celebrities showed up for the funeral including filmmaker Tyler Perry, Grammy-winning R&B singer Monica and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. Bobbi Kristina was the sole heir of her mother's estate. She identified herself on Twitter as "Daughter of Queen WH," ''Entertainer/Actress" with William Morris & Co., and "LAST of a dying breed." She told Oprah Winfrey shortly after her mother's death in 2012 that she wanted to carry on Houston's legacy by singing, acting and dancing. But her career never took off. In her short life, Bobbi Kristina became a social media sensation, sending more than 11,000 tweets and attracting 164,000 followers. Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Jonathan Landrum Jr. from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Filmmakers respond to criticism of Lego 'Brickumentary'
Saturday Aug 1, 2015
Filmmakers respond to criticism of Lego 'Brickumentary'

NEW YORK (AP) — The filmmakers behind a documentary on the toy powerhouse Lego say critics who see the film as a 92-minute commercial for the tiny building blocks are missing the point. "A Lego Brickumentary" opened Friday in limited theatrical release to mixed reviews, with some reviewers complaining the film took an uncritical eye to the toy that captivates children and adults alike. "If there is anyone out there that's looking for a hardcore controversial film they are looking at this film through the wrong lens," Kief Davidson, the film's co-director, said in an interview Friday. His co-director, Daniel Junge, said the film was guided by a genuine affection for the bricks, not any input from the Dutch toymaker. "Lego had no editorial control over the film," Junge said. "The love that you see in the film is coming from us as filmmakers." Their zeal for Lego bricks led some critics to liken the film to a corporate ad or promotional video. "As a movie, it can be as annoying as stepping on a stray LEGO brick with your socks off," New York Daily News reviewer Jordan Hoffman wrote in one of the more unflattering reviews. It clicked better with moviegoers; audiences gave it a 71 score on review site Rotten Tomatoes on Friday night. "A Lego Brickumentary" explores the culture surrounding Legos, which are no longer confined to tables and toy boxes, but include books, video games and a successful feature film. The documentary shows how builders create jets, replica movie sets and functional cars from a product initially created for children. "I don't think anyone would have seen the omnipresence of Legos we see now," said Junge, who won an Academy Award in 2011 for the short documentary, "Saving Face." The film includes recording artist Ed Sheeran, basketball player Dwight Howard and South Park creator Trey Parker describing their love for the toy. Jason Bateman narrates the feature length documentary as an animated Lego mini-figure. The majority of the film, however, explores the bricks' huge adult fan base, known as "Adult Fans of Lego," or AFOLs. Junge was approached to create the film about Brickworld, an annual convention of Lego enthusiasts who show off elaborate creations and learn new building techniques. "We were continuously just lured by the level of quality in the builds and the massive artistic endeavors at the conventions," Davidson said. That prompted the filmmakers to explore the use of Legos for real-life uses such as therapy and architecture, and its role as a gender-neutral toy. "Brickumentary" provided Junge and Davidson the chance to create a movie they can share with their children. Junge's upcoming film "Being Evel" focuses on daredevil Evel Knievel and Davidson is working on a documentary about the ivory crisis. Junge said this is the first time his 7-year-old daughters will see his work and the film gave Davidson an opportunity to bond with his son. "It drew us closer together as father-son and that's something 10 years from now I'll definitely remember," Davidson said. Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Luqman Adeniyi from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.