Leslie Odom Jr. reveals what he’s most excited about for ‘Knives Out 2’

ABC/Matt Petit

Leslie Odom Jr. is thrilled to be part of Knives Out 2, the sequel to the 2019 hit movie, especially since he’ll be working alongside some familiar faces.

Odom, 39, raved to ABC Audio about the A-list cast, which includes his Central Park co-star Kathryn Hahn, as well as Janelle Monáe and Kate Hudson, with whom he starred in Harriet and Music, respectively.

Despite that, the Hamilton star finds it “funny” he’s nervous about the opportunity.

“There comes a time in the business where you just feel like you don’t know anybody,” said Odom. “There is a part of me that still feels like that 23- or 24-year-old kid that just got to LA and nobody knows me and I’m still trying to make it.”

Nerves aside, Leslie disclosed he’s most looking forward to working Knives Out 2 director RianJohnson.

“To work with Rian on his new film is what I’m most excited about” the Oscar nominee declared, noting Johnson is primed to “deliver something that is exciting and surprising to the fans, just like the first one!” 

Asked if he could tease anything about the sequel, Leslie grinned, “I’m not giving away a thing. No way!” However, he did note some of his Knives Out 2 co-stars are talented singers.

“I feel like there could be a musical number. I’ve got to get to work on that,” he joked, and urged fans to “write a fake fan letter” demanding one be included. (AUDIO IS ABC 1-ON-1)

Knives Out 2, also starring Daniel CraigDave Bautista and Ethan Hawke, is slated to premiere next year.

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Florence Pugh defends relationship with Zach Braff, “It’s my life”

ABC/Eric McCandless – ABC/Image Group LA

(NOTE LANGUAGE) Florence Pugh doesn’t care if you don’t like her or her relationship with Zach Braff

Speaking with the U.K. newspaper The Times in a piece published Sundaythe Black Widow star opened up about the criticism and bullying she receives from people who apparently don’t understand her relationship with Braff, who’s 21 years older than the 25-year-old actress.

“It’s my life,” Pugh said, according to BuzzFeed News. “And I’m not doing anything to please people or to make it a better headline or story.”

She added, “I want to also be a person!”

The Black Widow star also addressed the bullying she’s dealt with on Instagram as a result of her romance with the Scrubs actor. 

“It’s so weird to me to go on to someone’s page and s*** on it,” she shared. “That’s so not my nature — to go and bully for the sake of bullying. It’s such an odd thing that we’ve become OK with in the past 10 years of social media.”

“The thing is, people want Instagram to be a nicer place,” she continued. “They want to see nice things. They want to be inspired and they want to be happy.”

“I don’t mind you not liking me,” she concluded. “That’s absolutely fine. In which case, don’t follow me.”

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Matthew McConaughey reflects on America’s growth in patriotic speech: “We are going through growing pains”

ABC

Matthew McConaughey issued an inspiring and encouraging speech marking the Fourth of July.

Taking to Twitter on Sunday, the Oscar-winning actor celebrated America’s birthday in a heartfelt message about the state of the country.

“Let’s admit that this last year — this trip around the sun — was also another head-scratcher,” said McConaughey, 51. “But let’s also remember that we are babies, you know, as a country.”

“We’re basically going through puberty in comparison to other countries’ timeline, and we’re going to go through growing pains.  We are going through growing pains,” McConaughey continued. “This is not an excuse, to say, this is just the reality.”

McConaughey looked on the bright side of the country’s relatively young age and explained that he views it as an opportunity to grow and learn from the past.

“This is good,” he said. “We gotta keep learning, we gotta keep maturing, we gotta keep striving, we gotta keep climbing, we gotta keep building.” The only way to do that, said McConaughey, is to “maintain hope along the way, as we continue to evolve… Because the alternative sucks.”

“I believe in America,” McConaughey declared. “We’re constantly in motion, we’re on the way trying to get wiser, trying to get braver, trying to dream more, trying to do more, trying to be more fair — take the right kind of responsibilities to gain the right kind of freedoms.”

McConaughey noted people need to be “appreciative and supportive” of the nation’s collective triumphs and evolution, stressing, “We are all in this together.”

“[We’re] on the way to being the best we can be,” he closed. “Why?  Because that’s who we are.”

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‘F9’ becomes best-selling pandemic hit after global sales race past $500 million mark

Universal Pictures

It’s official: F9 is the biggest movie to come out of the pandemic.  The latest installment in the Fast & Furious franchise raced past the $500 million mark during the holiday weekend, leaving its competition in the dust.

F9, which opened in the U.S. June 25, grossed an additional $30 million across 4,203 American theaters over the long July 4th weekend, boosting its global numbers past the half-billion-dollar mark.  The movie is currently the only American film to earn more than $500 million globally since 2019.

Coming in second is the animated newcomer The Boss Baby: Family Business, which earned $20 million in its opening weekend.  The movie stars Alec BaldwinJimmy Kimmel, Amy Sedaris and James Marsden.

Universal Studios cleaned house this weekend, claiming the top three spots in the holiday box office roundup, with its other newcomer, The Forever Purge, coming in third, with $15.6 million.  The movie is the fifth and, reportedly, final film of The Purge franchise.

Dropping to fourth with $5 million in its sixth week of release is Paramount’s A Quiet Place Part II.  The thriller is only another five million away from crossing the $150 million mark in domestic ticket sales.

Rounding out the top five is the Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson action-comedy sequel The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard, which drew in another $3.9 million in its third week of release.

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“The Bachelorette” recap: Blake adds more drama to the competition and a new villain emerges

ABC/Craig Sjodin

A new curve ball and a new villain emerged Monday night on The Bachelorette.

Following last week’s jaw-dropping rose ceremony, Tayshia Adams announced that Blake Moynes, who starred in her season, would be joining the other 14 men in the quest to win Katie’s heart. 

Blake received a chilly reception from the other suitors, especially after it was revealed he would get the first of two one-on-one dates.

Their day of horseback riding turned personal after Blake inquired about Katie’s sex-positive outlook. That led to her retelling her story about experiencing a non-consensual sexual encounter and opening up about how the guilt she suffered eventually gave way to her openness about discussing “healthy sex.”

Blake’s declaration that he’d never do anything to make Katie feel “scared” of him “in any form” won him the date rose.

The evening was capped off with a private concert by American Idol winner Laine Hardy, who performed his new song, “Memorize You.”

Later, 13 of the men competed in an intense game of “Bash Ball” — a mash-up of basketball and rugby — emceed by Bachelor Nation favorites Wells Adams and Franco.  Katie abruptly ended the battle when Michael got hurt following a cheap shot by Hunter.

However, at the after party, Hunter wooed Katie by showing his “dad” side and broke out some pictures of his kids.  The gesture earned him the date rose.

Katie’s one-on-one date with Andrew S., who is Black, included a candid conversation about their future together, particularly her feelings about the possibility of raising mixed race children.

“One of my exes…she was worried about you know, having mixed children,” he recalled.  “And I know her heart and I know her character and she’s not racist…but she was worried about going to a grocery store and someone asking, ‘Are these your kids?’ and that was tough for me.”

After acknowledging that she felt “so naive as a white woman of the struggles you have experienced as a Black man, especially a Black man trying to date a white woman,” she added firmly, “I think our love could be so beautiful and our children would be just as beautiful as that love, and I don’t give a flying f*** when people want to look at me.”

Explaining that Andrew made her laugh and that they “shared a lot,” Katie rewarded him with the date rose.

Meanwhile, a new villain emerged on Monday.  Hunter, not satisfied with earning a rose, hogged up Katie for a good portion of the pre-rose ceremony.  His actions angered the other men, who feared their chances of impressing Katie were dwindling fast.

The rose ceremony brought Katie a step closer to finding love as Andrew M.Josh and Quartney were sent home.

If you or someone you know has experienced sexual assault, know that you are not alone. Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) offers help 24/7 at 800.656.HOPE or RAINN.org.

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Richard Donner, director of ‘Superman’, ‘The Goonies’, and ‘Lethal Weapon’ films, dead at 91

OGUT/Star Max/GC Images

Filmmaker Richard Donner has died at 91 years old, ABC News has confirmed.

Donner, whose 1978 Superman: The Motion Picture starring Christopher Reeve, remains the gold standard for the Man of Steel in cinema, also directed ’80s classics like The Goonies and the ’90s holiday staple Scrooged, and produced movies including The Lost Boys and the original X-Men film for 20th Century Fox with his wife Lauren Shuler Donner

The 1987 buddy cop film Lethal Weapon, starring Mel Gibson and Danny Glover, became nearly synonymous with the Bronx, New York-born director. The film spawned three sequels — and was on track for a fourth, which was in development before his death. 

Born Richard Donald Schwartzberg, Donner got his start both on and behind the stage, before transitioning to TV, where he directed series from The Twilight Zone and The Fugitive to Gilligan’s Island

Donner’s first big feature success was the 1976 thriller The Omen, which led to the coveted Superman directing gig. The filmmaker’s treatment of the character — and Reeves’ powerful, yet never cynical portrayal of the hero and his alter-ego Clark Kent — remains a high water mark for the genre and the character.

Donner returned for 1981’s Superman II, but parted ways with the studio before it was completed. In 2006, the “Donner Cut” of the film was released onto DVD, to critical and fan acclaim.

Donner’s death was mourned by friends and former colleagues including Steven Spielberg, Glover, and Gibson, Variety reports. 

Spielberg remembered Donner as your “favorite coach, smartest professor, fiercest motivator, most endearing friend, staunchest ally, and — of course — the greatest Goonie of all.” He added, “He was all kid. All heart. All the time. I can’t believe he’s gone, but his husky, hearty laugh will stay with me always.”

For his part, Gibson commented, “Donner! My friend, my mentor. Oh, the things I learned from him! He undercut his own talent and greatness with a huge chunk of humility, referring to himself as ‘merely a traffic cop.’ He left his ego at the door and required that of others.”

Gibson added, “If we piled up all the good deeds he did, it would stretch to some uncharted place in the firmament. I will sorely miss him, with all his mischievous wit and wisdom.”

For his part, Glover said, “My heart is broken.” 

The actor added, “Working with Dick Donner, Mel Gibson and the Lethal Weapon team was one of the proudest moments of my career. I will forever be grateful to him for that.”

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After intestinal bug shut down production, NBC’s ‘Ultimate Slip ‘N Slide’ reportedly slides out of post-Olympics slot

iStock/Jarvell Jardey

Ultimate Slip ‘N Slide, the reality competition series that made headlines last month when an intestinal bug washed out the wet and wild show’s production, won’t be premiering on NBC after the Olympics. 

Deadline reports that the series, which stars Saturday Night Live vet Bobby Moynahan and comedian Ron Funches, had been expected to benefit from the eyeballs tuning into the Closing Ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics because it originally was scheduled to premiere immediately after the event– on Sunday, August 8, at 10:30 p.m. ET. Ultimate Slip ‘N Slide also was to have aired the following night at 8 p.m. 

However, the trade notes that the production is still on hold after an outbreak of giardia, which causes stomach cramps, excessive gas and, for many, explosive diarrhea — not the best mix for any show, let alone one centering on water-slide obstacles.

 

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Kevin Carroll joins the cast of ‘Let the Right One In,’ Nickelodeon unveils cast for ‘That Girl Lay Lay’ & more

Ray Mickshaw/FX

Snowfall actor Kevin Carroll has joined the upcoming Showtime drama pilot Let the Right One In.

According to Variety, Carroll will play Zeke Dawes, the successful restaurant owner and friend of father-daughter duo Mark and Eleanor, played by Demián Bichir and Madison Taylor Baez. Foreman will play Eleanor’s quiet friend, Isaiah, who has no clue about her vampire powers. 

Variety has also learned that the upcoming Nickelodeon series That Girl Lay Lay premieres later this year, with co-stars Gabrielle Neveah Greem, Peyton Perrine III, Tiffany Daniels, Thomas Hobson, and Caleb Brown.

The series, from executive producers including Will Packer, will follow social media sensation and hip-hop kid star Lay Lay, described as the “perfect hype girl and best friend that anyone could ever want from their personal affirmation app.” In addition to the series, Nickelodeon plans to support Lay Lay’s music career with merchandising contracts and exclusive consumer products.

And in case you missed it, fans can expect a few surprise cameo appearances in the upcoming film Space Jam: A New Legacy. During an interview with Entertainment Tonightco-stars Don Cheadle andCedric Joe shared that Michael B. Jordan will appear in the film, which hits theatrs and HBO Max on July 16th.

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Get revved up for Kevin Hart and his buds in ‘Kevin Hart’s Muscle Car Crew’

L-R Hart, Ratchford and the rest of the Muscle Car Crew/Kevin Kwan

Today, arguably the hardest-working man in showbiz, Kevin Hart, launches his new show on the Motor Trend app.

Kevin Hart’s Muscle Car Crew has the stand-up comedian, actor and car enthusiast joining his comic pals who tour as the Plastic Cup Boyz, as they drive deep into the world of classic cars. The cast includes Will “Spank” Horton, John “Burgandee” Clausell, Kevin’s trainer Ronald “Boss” Everline, Joey “Dubb” Wells, and co-executive producer Harry Ratchford.

More than a year ago, Hart bought each of his five closest friends a car that reflected their personality. “That was something that I basically did based off the sporadic conversations that we were having while we were on tour,” Hart tells ABC Audio. “Little questions would come up: ‘If you could get an old school, what would it be?’…And, you know, as expected, some of our guys were a little more into classic cars than others.” 

He adds, “And they got bit by the bug heavy.”

The show follows the crew to car shows, into garages, and into the lives of those who share their passion.

For Hart, it was a chance to open some metaphorical doors, as well.

“The car community, they care about cars. And even though we all don’t look the same, we all don’t share the same skin color, we all love the same thing,” Kevin notes. “So if that’s our purpose and that’s the thing that attracts us all, then that means that we should embrace all.”

Harry Ratchford, agrees.

“In a car-culture world, there’s many different-colored cars, but I can truly say that it’s a colorless community,” Ratchford explains. “It crosses all lines — socioeconomic lines, racial lines. You pull up in a nice car or just the interesting car, and people are willing to sit there and talk to you, no matter what your background is.”

He says of the series, “If you’re viewing this, you can enjoy both learning and the learning process, and if you’re a veteran and you know, you have some knowledge, you can enjoy seeing where you once was. ‘I remember when I didn’t know what the exhaust was’ or etcetera, etcetera. So, you know, we in the show, we have  enjoyable content for everybody.”

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Music legends, Kermit the Frog, and a message from space: host Vanessa Williams on 2021’s ‘A Capitol Fourth’

Courtesy PBS

With fireworks and large gatherings cancelled over COVID-19 concerns, along with the racial strife in the streets, PBS’s annual A Capitol Fourth celebration was a more somber affair last year. For Sunday night’s telecast, however, host Vanessa Williams tells ABC Audio things feel different.

“It definitely feels like the needle has moved forward,” Williams explains. “There has been so many people are healthy and businesses are open again, so there will be a refreshing take this year to the Capitol Fourth.”

The actress and recording artist’s hosting and singing segments will be live, as will the fireworks, though “amazing” musical acts have been pre-recorded. 

Kermit the Frog is actually going to be doing a couple of segments with me. So it’s not John Stamos, but it’s Kermit, so we’ll take that,” she says with a laugh about her frequent co-host. 

Williams continues, “Broadway phenoms like Cynthia Erivo and Christopher Jackson from Hamilton and Alan Jackson from country. Jennifer Nettles from the Country world, Train from the Rock and Roll world. My dear friend Renée Fleming from the opera world. Pentatonix…I mean, so many,” she enthuses.

There will also be a message from astronauts on the International Space Station.

As she did last year, Williams’ performances will touch on deeper issues. “I’m doing a tribute to Juneteenth…to highlight our new federal holiday, and I’m singing ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing’, which has been kind of our Negro national anthem back in the day.”

She adds, “I will be singing ‘God Bless America’ while the fireworks are in the air.”

“It’s a wonderful tradition,” Williams says of the celebration that starts at 8 p.m. Sunday. “So I’m happy to listen to everyone and be a fan as well as a host.”  

 

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