‘Blue Bayou’ shines a light on this issue that many have “no clue” about

Focus Features

The new film Blue Bayou, in theaters Friday, takes on an issue many people don’t know is an issue: kids brought to the U.S., adopted from other countries who, as adults, think they’re citizens until they’re told they’re being deported.

Alicia Vikander who stars in the film, tells ABC Audio she had “no clue” this was happening in real life and immediately dove into researching the topic after reading the script. 

“I think the first thing I did was to bring up my phone and start Googling because I literally I couldn’t believe that this was a reality because it doesn’t make any sense,” she says.

While some may think the issue is a political one, for Vikander, it’s about humanity. 

“With these families, they’re kind of met by this issue that I think everyone, like no one agrees — it’s not even like immigration politics because they’ve legally come into the country already,” she expresses. “So it just doesn’t make any sense for anyone, you know?”

For Blue Bayou writer and director Justin Chon, this issue is one that he’s had a close connection to, explaining to ABC Audio that it’s based on stories happening to people he knows and “this film is for them.”

Ultimately, though, Chon, who also stars in the film as one of these adults, named Antonio, says he hopes the film sheds some light on a heartbreaking story.

“One of my biggest goals was to bring empathy to somebody who was going through this process. I didn’t want it to feel like propaganda,” he shares. “Hence Antonio is not a perfect human being. He’s flawed, as we all are. And I just wanted to feel just so relatable, so tangible, so visceral. I wanted it to be hard to look away.”  

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Gun violence is the premise of FX on Hulu’s ‘The Premise’

Hulu

The Premise, a new anthology series from B.J. Novak, debuts today on FX on Hulu. Each episode tackles a different social hot button, and one of the two episodes out now deals with gun violence.

“It’s about a guy who has lost his family in a mass shooting and then applies for a new job at the sort of NRA type facility,” one of the stars, Boyd Holbrook tells ABC Audio. “[He] really falls in love with this job a little too much and starts raising concerns around the office about his true intentions.”

“It’s not really an anti-gun thing or a pro-gun thing,” the 40-year-old actor says of the dark comedy.  “It’s just about the common decency and the actual care of human life and how we’re engaging with that on a responsible level.”

Holbrook says his hope is that the show will start a conversation about a problem that has become all too common in this country.

“I think it’s great to ask, you know, what are we doing here? We have mass shootings, three hundred fifty-five days a year in the United States before the pandemic,” the Narcos alum says. “It’s just kind of almost droning in the media just how often they were happening and almost becoming sort of desensitized to all these horrific events that were happening.” 

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Anthony Mackie taking to the road in a series based on the demolition derby game ‘Twisted Metal’

Marvel Studios

Anthony Mackie will be hanging up his Captain America shield — temporarily — and putting on his producer hat for a series in which he’ll star based on Sony PlayStation’s popular Twisted Metal video games. 

The games center on tricked-out vehicles and burned-out drivers going at each other in a post-apocalyptic world, though the half-hour, live-action series will be more fleshed out than that.

Executive-produced by Deadpool and Zombieland screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, and written by co-executive producer and Cobra Kai writer Michael Jonathan Smith, the series will have Mackie playing John Doe, a motor-mouthed, amnesiac milkman who must travel across the wasteland in his souped up milk truck, to deliver an important package to win a chance at a better life. 

“With the help of a trigger-happy car thief, he’ll face savage marauders driving vehicles of destruction and other dangers of the open road, including a deranged clown who drives an all too familiar ice cream truck,” Sony Television explained in a release obtained by ABC Audio.

That flame-headed clown, gamers know, is the marauder Sweet Tooth.

“We’ve been big fans of Anthony’s phenomenal body of work over the years and knew he was the only actor who could play a character as complex, funny and compelling as John Doe,” said Glenn Adilman, executive vice president of comedy development at Sony Pictures Television. “Fortunately for us, he agreed.”

Twisted Metal is the second high-profile PlayStation game getting the TV series treatment: The Last of Us is currently in production for HBO, from Chernobyl creator Craig Mazin and Game of Thrones executive producer Carolyn Strauss. That series will star two GOT vets: Pedro Pascal, also known from The Mandalorian, and Bella Ramsey.

 

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Rachel Zegler, Ansel Elgort shine in the full trailer for Steven Spielberg’s ‘West Side Story’

20th Century Studios/Niko Tavernise

The new look at Steven Spielberg‘s West Side Story is here!

On Wednesday, Good Morning America exclusively debuted the official trailer of the adaptation of the 1957 Broadway musical of the same name. The film hits theaters Friday, December 10.

Starring in Spielberg’s movie musical are newcomer Rachel Zegler, Golden Globe nominee Ansel Elgort and the iconic Rita Moreno, among others. Moreno previously starred in, and won an Oscar for, the 1961 version of West Side Story, alongside Natalie Wood and Richard Beymer.

In the trailer, we hear Zegler, who was found via a casting call posted on Twitter and is making her professional film debut, sing for the very first time. She performs “Tonight,” one of the musical’s big numbers, as we’re introduced to the world of West Side Story.  Set in New York City during the ’50s, it tells a tale of two star-crossed lovers — think Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, which inspired the musical. Elgort’s Tony is a former member of the Jets, a white gang, who falls in love with Zegler’s Maria, the sister of the leader of the Sharks, a Puerto Rican gang.

The 1961 version, which won 10 Academy Awards, including best picture, celebrates its 60th anniversary this year.

Speaking to Vanity Fair last March, Spielberg said the story “is not only a product of its time, but that time has returned, and it’s returned with a kind of social fury.”

“I really wanted to tell that Puerto Rican, Nuyorican experience of basically the migration to this country and the struggle to make a living, and to have children, and to battle against the obstacles of xenophobia and racial prejudice,” he added.

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Whitney Houston’s “The Bodyguard” being “reimagined” into new film scripted by Tony nominee

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Can you imagine The Bodyguard starring anyone but Whitney Houston?  Hollywood can.  A “reimagining” of the 1992 romantic drama co-starring Kevin Costner is currently underway, reports Variety.

Tony nominee Matthew López, who wrote the critically acclaimed play The Inheritance, has been tapped to write the film, which will be “inspired” by the original, which grossed more than $400 worldwide.  Its soundtrack, featuring “I Will Always Love You” and other hits, is among the most successful movie soundtracks of all time.

The new film is being produced by, among others, Lawrence Kasdan, who wrote and produced the original film.  According to Variety, the project has been in the works since 2011, and the actors whose names have been floated to star in it include Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson, and Channing Tatum and Cardi B.  So far, nobody has actually been cast in the film.

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Kate Winslet, Jason Sudeikis and Scarlett Johansson make this year’s ‘TIME’ 100 list

Apple TV+

(NOTE LANGUAGE) TIME has released its TIME 100 list of influential people, and this year, Oscar-winner Kate Winslet, Ted Lasso Emmy nominee Jason SudeikisBlack Widow‘s Scarlett Johansson, and Minari and The Walking Dead‘s Steven Yuen all made the list. 

Winslet was profiled by Academy Award-nominated actor and director Kenneth Branagh; Seth Meyers praised Sudeikis; Jamie Lee Curtis profiled Johansson; and Tessa Thompson hailed Yuen.

Branagh recalled casting Winslet when she was just 17; he called her “a master of her art.”

Meyers said his fellow SNL cast member Sudeikis is,”charming, a good listener, and a good hang,” and “the kind of friend who puts together the perfect cocktail of the right people, place and activity. And he has done exactly that with [Ted Lasso].”

Curtis said of the Black Widow star, “Whether as an assassin with a conscience, an actor with an emotional center or, having just given birth to her second child, a fierce mother, the message is clear: Don’t f*** with this mama bear.”

Thompson hailed Minari Oscar nominee Yuen’s activism for his fellow Asians, and called him “a deeply fantastic human and a true leading man,” adding, “It’s been very gratifying to see him become one of the Internet’s boyfriends.”

For the second year in a row, TIME Studios and ABC will bring the TIME 100 list to life with a special television event called TIME 100. Airing on Monday, Sept. 20 at 10:00 p.m. ET on ABC, the program will offer an entertainment-filled inside look at the pioneers, artists, leaders, icons, titans and innovators comprising the 2021 list.

For the full TIME Most Influential list, including featured essays, visit TIME.com.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Norm Macdonald mourned by, you guessed it: Frank Stallone

Mary Ellen Matthews/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

There was an immediate outpouring of love from comics and others mourning the death of Norm Macdonald on Tuesday, but one note from one celebrity would have certainly made Norm smile. 

That message came from, you guessed it: Frank Stallone.

The musician brother of Sylvester was often used as a non-sequitur punchline, delivered in that exact way, by Macdonald while he sat behind the desk of Saturday Night Live‘s Weekend Update. Now the man himself took to Instagram to send Macdonald off in the most appropriate way. 

“I was saddened to hear that Norm Macdonald passed away…” he said, adding, “He had a lot of fun with me on weekend update, with You Guessed It Frank Stallone.” 

Stallone posted a photo of Norm at the anchor desk, with Stallone’s face displayed the screen next to the comedian, as it had been for numerous punchlines. Stallone said the frequent send-ups were “funny,” noting, “My only regret is that I never got the chance to do the show with him.” 

The musician called Macdonald “an original,” and passed along condolences to his family.

Incidentally, in 2018, Macdonald recalled that when Sylvester Stallone hosted SNL in the 1990s, he kindly asked Norm to lay off his brother, and Macdonald obliged.

Macdonald died Tuesday at age 61 after fighting a private battle with cancer. Or, as he used to say, it was a draw.

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Report: Amanda Bynes’ conservatorship extended until 2023

Bynes in 2014 – GVK/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

While Britney Spears tiptoes closer to being released from her controversial 13-year conservatorship, a judge has ruled that another celebrity will need to stay in hers for a little while longer.  

The Blast reports that Amanda Bynes, 35, who was placed in a conservatorship in 2013 following her mental health struggles, will remain under her legal arrangement until 2023.  The extension was triggered by a recent brief stay at a psychiatric facility for undisclosed reasons.

The Blast obtained copies of the legal documents filed earlier this week, in which a judge ruled that the Nickelodeon star will remain under supervision for a few more years.

Details about Amanda’s conservatorship — including treatment plans and restrictions — have been sealed.  She also did not appear in court when the documents were filed.

Bynes’ conservatorship was enacted over seven years ago following a string of high-profile run-ins with the law and controversial interactions with other celebrities on Twitter. She was later diagnosed with bipolar disorder, went to rehab, and her finances and other dealings placed under the care of a conservatorship started by her parents.

Currently, Bynes is working on obtaining a bachelor’s degree from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles. She is also engaged to boyfriend Paul Michael, but no wedding date has been disclosed.

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Gabrielle Union opens up about “heartbreaking and terrifying” racist encounter from 2019

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Gabrielle Union is ready to speak about a “terrifying” racist incident that left her and her group of friends “numb.”

In an interview with People, the 48-year-old actress said the encounter happened in 2019, when she and some friends visited a Game of Thrones filming location in Dubrovnik, Croatia. 

“We wanted to recreate Cersei’s steps from Game of Thrones,” she recalled. When her friends went to grab drinks at what they thought was a gay bar, they instead were accosted by its “Neo-Nazi” patrons.

Union adds that, in addition to being accosted, the bar displayed Jim Crow memorabilia, which left her and her group of friends shaken.  The Bring It On star adds that, even after they left, a group of “menacing” patrons pursued them down the street.

“I’ve never experienced that level of hatred and the threat of physical violence,” she said. “It was such a jolt. And the fear and adrenaline of what happened left us all numb.”

Calling the encounter “heartbreaking and terrifying,” Union admits the incident is just one of many acts of racism she’s had to endure. “To go through every instance is to take you through every day of my life… There are microaggressions and there are all out assaults. That’s what it is to be a person of color in this country,” she said.

Continues Union, “We think we’re post racial but we’re not. And that is beyond disappointing. I don’t think people understand the violence that comes with racism, whether it’s if you’re being chased or you’re having to watch someone wear blackface to collect a paycheck. It’s violent.”

“There are a lot of people who turn a blind eye to racism. But silence is complicity,” Union closed, saying, “real radical impactful change” happens when people stand against racism.

 

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Crew member on set of Kevin Hart-Mark Wahlberg film seriously injured

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A crew member suffered serious injuries while working on the set of Kevin Hart and Mark Wahlberg‘s upcoming Netflix film, Me Time.

Around 7 a.m. Tuesday morning, paramedics responded to 911 calls about a 38-year-old male who had fallen through a hole in an elevated platform at Netflix’s Sunset Gower Studios in Hollywood, according to the Los Angeles Times.

When paramedics arrived, the man didn’t have a pulse and wasn’t breathing, according to LAFD spokesman Brian Humphrey, who says on-set medical workers were performing CPR.

The man sustained fractures to both legs and one arm and was bleeding after falling from a height of about 60 to 80 feet, according to first responders, who had to use a defibrillator to resuscitate the victim.

The man’s condition remains unknown as of Wednesday morning.

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