Sylvester Stallone bids “bittersweet” goodbye to ‘The Expendables’ franchise; passes baton to Jason Statham

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On his InstagramSylvester Stallone bade farewell to his hit Expendables franchise. 

The actor, writer, and producer posted a video shot on the European set after he’d wrapped his last scene as mercenary Barney Ross in the fourth film in the series. 

“It’s been about 12 years,” the 75-year-old star noted, adding, “it’s time to be moving on.” 

“It’s always bittersweet,” Stallone said, explaining he’s “ready to pass the baton to Jason [co-star Jason Statham] in his capable hands.” 

Statham played Ross’ buddy Lee Christmas in the successful series that debuted in 2010, and which has highlighted action stars of a certain age, including now-74-year-old Arnold Schwarzenegger; Stallone’s Rocky IV nemesis Dolph Lundgren, who is 65; Mickey Rourke, now 69; former MMA fighter Randy Couture and martial artist Jet Li, who are 58; 66-year-old Bruce Willis; 65-year-old Mel Gibson; and Terry Crews, who is a relatively young 53.

To date, the modestly-budgeted Expendables movies have made $800 million worldwide. 

The fourth installment, coming out in 2022, adds martial arts legend Tony JaaAndy Garcia and Megan Fox to the mix. 

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Rebel Wilson acknowledges people are “obsessed” with her recent weight loss

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Rebel Wilson shared her honest thoughts about how the world reacted to her dramatic weight loss and expressed discomfort that her physique overshadowed her other accomplishments.

Speaking recently to Australia’s Daily Telegraph, the 41-year-old actress explained that she starred in four movies in 2019, adding she produced two of them while another, Jojo Rabbit, was nominated the the Best Picture Academy Award.

“Yet I get more press the following year when I do nothing except lose weight,” the Pitch Perfect star lamented, adding, “When I was at my heaviest, I also had the most international attention on me.”

Wilson acknowledged, “People are so obsessed with [weight],” but insisted she wasn’t pressured by the headlines to get in shape.  Instead, she embarked on a fitness journey in order to address her emotional eating struggles that manifested along with her rising star status.

“Because I’m not a natural performer, my natural personality is very introverted; the way I dealt with that pressure was to eat,” she recalled. “I would reward myself with a block of chocolate.”

“For the first time in my life I’ve lost weight and maintained it,” she added, noting that her weight loss was a result of a total lifestyle change.

Saying she was “proud” of her hard work, Wilson admitted, “I’m not totally cured. I don’t think you can be. But I’ve learnt to manage it — and it’s not by reaching for a bowl of ice cream.”

Wilson also reflected on how her fitness journey improved her relationship with her body, adding, “It’s just about loving yourself and loving the journey that you’re on. And to me, the women I think are most beautiful are those who step into their own power.”

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Channing Tatum weighs in on Dave Chappelle controversy

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(NOTE LANGUAGE) Channing Tatum has waded into the Dave Chappelle Netflix/trans comments controversy, saying that while he does “understand” and “hate” that the comedian hurt so many people with his problematic comments about the trans and LGBTQ+ communities, he can’t turn his back on the man whose words comforted him in the past.

“Any human can hurt someone (usually cause they’re hurt) but any human can heal and heal others just the same,” Channing wrote on his Instagram Stories, according to Buzzfeed, saying Chappelle’s 2019 speech while accepting the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor at the Kennedy Center “healed” him.

“I can’t forget that,” he insisted.

Dave noted in the speech how his personality differs from the one he presents to the public, and how comedy saved his life.  “I was a soft kid. I was sensitive, I’d cry easy and I would be scared to fistfigh,” said Chappelle at the time. “My mother used to tell me this thing… ‘Son, sometimes you have to be a lion so you can be the lamb you really are.’ I talk this s*** like a lion. I’m not afraid of any of you. When it comes word to word, I will gab with the best of them, just so I can chill and be me.”

“And that’s why I love my art form, because I understand every practitioner of it,” Chappelle continued. “Whether I agree with them or not, I know where they’re coming from. They want to be heard. They’ve got something to say. There’s something they noticed. They just want to be understood. I loved this genre. It saved my life.”

While the speech was meaningful to Channing, he noted that it “does not excuse anything hurtful tho to be clear.”

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Michael B. Jordan and Serena Williams to award $1 million to one lucky HBCU student

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Black Panther star Michael B. Jordan and tennis legend Serena Williams are paying it forward to one lucky entrepreneur to the tune of one million dollars.

AfroTech reports that the two stars have teamed up to  assist students and graduates of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, or HBCUs, by launching a Startup Pitch Competition, which is aimed to inspire future business leaders who may not have equal access to opportunity.

Jordan’s Invesco QQQ Legacy Classic competition invites HBCU alumni and students to submit their business proposals and innovative ideas for a chance to win a million-dollar jackpot.  The competition is now open and is accepting applications.

The actor partnered with Williams’ Serena Ventures as well as MaC Venture Capital, two investment firms, to get the contest off the ground and “will work together to identify the most promising early-stage startup companies founded by current HBCU students or alumni.”

Three finalists will be chosen, who will then have to make a final pitch to the two firms, as well as Harlem Capital and Cake Ventures, who are also serving as advisors to the competition.

The $1 million winner will be announced December 18 during TNT’s broadcast of an HBCU college basketball showcase featuring four institutions: Howard University, Hampton University, North Carolina A&T University and North Carolina Central University.

The showcase, called the Invesco QQQ Legacy Classic Basketball Showcase Finals, is a double header between Hampton vs NC Central and Howard vs NC A&T.

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Brandy reveals why ‘Queens’ script was one she “could relate to”

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You’ll see some veteran music stars in the ABC drama Queens, premiering tonight. Rapper Eve stars alongside singer Brandy and former 3LW member Naturi Naughton, playing a group of women rappers who were popular 20 years ago, but for whom that success and lifestyle is now a distant memory.

For Brandy, joining the show was a no-brainer, telling ABC Audio, “I just loved the fact that it was a 90s hip hop legendary group of women. I’ve never seen that even in hip hop today.”

“Then, it was never a hip hop girls group, ever. And so I was like, this is different,” she continued. “This is deep. I love it. I want to be a part of it. What do I sign up?”

Additionally, the Queens script was one that Brandy says that she could really relate to.

“The entire struggle of being, at the top of your game and then kind of losing it and getting an opportunity to do it again. Like I could relate to that,” she shares. 

Included in that script is some original music and rhymes, which Eve reveals she didn’t pen herself and jokes, “If I had to it would be “Old McDonald had a farm” over and over again.”

As for Naughton, it wasn’t so much coming up with lyrics that intimidated her as much as having to rap in front of one of the most successful female rappers of all time.

“I was a little bit scared when Eve was next to me,” she says. “Whenever my verse comes after hers I’m like God daggit I really have to kill it! I can’t come after Eve and not kill it!”

Catch Queens Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.

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‘Dancing with the Stars’ 30 recap: Len Goodman breaks tie vote to send Melanie C home

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The cast of Dancing with the Stars celebrated one of America’s most beloved movie musicals — Grease — on Monday and the night included several surprise cameos from the original cast… as well as a shocking goodbye.

Judge Len Goodman was forced to deliver yet another tie-breaking vote at the end of the night after the audience sent Spice Girl‘s Melanie C and influencer Olivia Jade into the bottom two. Len sided with fellow judge Derek Hough to spare Olivia, overruling Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli who opted to save the British singer.

Despite the painful goodbye, the night provided plenty of highlights.

Olivia Newton John, who played Sandy in the 1978 film, opened the show with a special dedication to the cast and crew. 

Frankie Avalon belted out “Beauty School Dropout” in the 1978 feature, performed the standout hit on the ballroom floor as Amanda Kloots danced the Viennese waltz. 

JoJo Siwa earned the season’s first perfect score. The actress nailed her foxtrot to “Look at Me I’m Sandra Dee (Reprise),” which brought Goodman to his feet to compliment the “superb” routine.

The night also saw Real Housewives of Atlanta star Kenya Moore‘s big comeback!  The reality star shook off the sting of almost being sent home for the past two consecutive weeks and earned her first straight set of 9s for her sensual rumba to “There Are Worse Things (I Could Do).”  

Dancing with the Stars returns with a spooky vengeance next Monday at 8 p.m ET on ABC, celebrating all things Halloween! Of course, that also means social media is ablaze over what — and how many — outfits host Tyra Banks will change into over the course of the night.

Here are the current standings:
JoJo Siwa, Nickelodeon star, with Jenna Johnson — 40/40
Amanda Kloots, The Talk co-host, with Alan Bersten — 39/40
Kenya Moore, former Miss USA, with Brandon Armstrong — 36/40
Melora HardinThe Office actress, with Artem Chivensky — 36/40
Suni Lee, Olympic Gold medalist, with Sasha Farber — 36/40
Olivia Jade, influencer, with Val Chmerkovskiy — 36/40
Jimmie Allen, country music singer, with Emma Slater — 34/40
Michael “The Miz” Gregory, WWE superstar, Witney Carson — 32/40
Cody Rigsby, Peloton instructor, with Cheryl Burke — 32/40
Iman Shumpert, NBA player, with Daniella Karagach — 28/40

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‘Indiana Jones 5’ bumped to 2023, Marvel movies moving, as Disney shifts schedule

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Disney is bumping some of its biggest releases along in its 2022 schedule — and some into 2023.

Marvel Studios, which is also owned by ABC News’ parent company, has shifted Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness from March 25 to May 6 of 2022. In turn, Thor: Love and Thunder, which had been scheduled to open on May 6, now will premiere on July 8. Meanwhile, the opening of Black Panther‘s sequel, Wakanda Forever, has been moved from July 8 to November 11.

The changes have carried into 2023, as well.

The Marvels, a sequel to Captain Marvel, was bumped from November 11, 2022, to early 2023; Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania will now open on July 28, 2023; and the fifth Indiana Jones movie, which had been set to open on July 29, 2022, will now debut on June 30, 2023 — nearly in time for Harrison Ford‘s 81st birthday in July of that year.

Then again, as Indy himself has said, “It’s not the years, honey, it’s the mileage.”

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John Wick spin-off ‘The Continental’ books Mel Gibson

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The upcoming Starz limited-series The Continental, about the hitman hotel as seen in the John Wick movies, has booked its first big name. 

Mel Gibson has joined the cast of the series, ABC Audio has confirmed. The show is set decades before Keanu Reeves came out of retirement to avenge the death of his puppy. 

The fourth chapter of the blockbuster Wick franchise is currently in production, as previously reported. 

As the series has progressed, it has expanded on the history of The Continental, where contract killers can grab a drink and rest their bleeding heads — provided they don’t kill on company property.

While Ian McShane plays the New York City location’s classy owner Winston Scott in the films, his character will reportedly be re-cast with a younger actor central to the 70s-set series.

According to Lionsgate TV, the show will follow the origins of the hotel, “through the eyes and actions of a young Winston Scott…dragged into the Hell-scape of a 1975 New York City to face a past he thought he’d left behind.” The studio continues, “Winston charts a deadly course through the New York’s mysterious underworld in a harrowing attempt to seize the iconic hotel, which serves as the meeting point for the world’s most dangerous criminals.”

Oscar-winning Braveheart director Gibson will reportedly play a character named Cormac in the show. It’s his first foray on series TV since the American ex-pat started his acting career in Australia in 1976.

Gibson will next be seen in theaters and on demand November 5 in the thriller Dangerous for Lionsgate, the studio behind the Wick movies and The Continental show.

 

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Director Rob Zombie reveals his Lily & Herman for upcoming ‘The Munsters’ film

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Musician and director Rob Zombie has revealed the first cast members of his upcoming The Munsters film.

Sherri Moon Zombie and Jeff Daniel Phillips will be playing Lily and Herman Munster, respectively. Moon, who is Zombie’s wife, has starred in several of the “Dragula” rocker’s films, including the Firefly trilogy, 31 and his Halloween films. Phillips, meanwhile, is also a Zombie regular, but you may know him best as one of the cavemen in those old GEICO commercials.

Additionally, Zombie has announced that Matlock and Lost alum Daniel Roebuck will play Grandpa Munster, aka The Count.

The Munsters, of course, was originally a 1960s TV comedy show depicting a family of lovable monsters. It was briefly rebooted for the 2012 NBC special Mockingbird Lane, but was never picked up for a full series.

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Ken Jeong on his “dream” career, connecting with commercials, and how he defeated Thanos

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Ken Jeong was a doctor before he pursued a lifelong dream of acting “late in the game,” as he put it to ABC Audio, so the movie star and Masked Singer judge says his Hollywood career never gets old. 

“I remember Sandra Bullock, I did a movie with her….it was way before The Hangover,” he recalled about 2009’s All About Steve. “And they asked her, ‘What was it like working with Ken?’…[A]nd…she said, ‘I say this in a good way…Ken can’t honestly believe that he’s here.'” 

Jeong adds, laughing, “And so…if I can kind of retain that innocence, you know, for the rest of my days, that would be a good day!”

After years pulling all-nighters on his doctor rounds, and more recently reading scripts and taking Zoom meetings, the doctor recently saw a doctor himself, for dry-eye disease. You might have seen him in those commercials for the prescription drug Xiidra.

In spite of the, pardon the pun, dry topic, Jeong doesn’t lose his comic personality in the ads.

 “I think at the end of the day, it really is about it’s about connection,” he notes. “[W]hether one’s an educator or one’s a face model…You know, I think it’s all about…connection with people.”

Jeong calls his career a “dream come true,” and part of that was becoming a small part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Directors Joe and Anthony Russo often add their former Community stars as Easter eggs in their MCU movies, but Jeong jokingly insists his cameo in Avengers: Endgame saved the world.

“If it wasn’t for unspoken security, man, you know, Thanos would have ruled and we would not be back in to where we were today,” he says, chuckling. 

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