ABC - Entertainment News

iStock/brightstarsBy: STEPHEN IERVOLINO, ABC News

(GEORGIA) -- With Georgia successfully becoming one of the first states to open for business following the COVID-19 lockdowns, Gov. Brian P. Kemp issued a "best practices" guide for film and TV crews working in the Peach State. 

Georgia has become a massive hub for Hollywood productions, with everything from the Marvel movies to MacGyver and The Walking Dead shooting there -- some 391 productions in all in 2019, Deadline reports

Governor Kemp's guide seeks to cut down on possible means of transmission of coronavirus -- or any easily communicable disease -- on sets, which are usually notorious for their close quarters and shared equipment. 

To that end, the guide includes rules that mandate cast and crew members getting temperature checks, wearing masks, utilizing social distancing, and the reduction of background extras in scenes. 

Location scouting and casting should be done using video conference technology as much as possible, the guide stipulates; also, the sharing of costumes, mics, and camera equipment would be discouraged, and plastic barriers would be used between performers during rehearsals.

In addition, cast and crew members are encouraged to take their own transportation to and from set; multi-person vans are usually the norm.

Plus, mealtimes should be staggered, and instead of the usual buffet-style craft services trucks seen on sets, take-out food is recommended.

Overseeing these rules will be a designated Occupational Risk Prevention specialist on set.

In a statement, Kemp noted, in part, "The Georgia Film Office has maintained their close work with industry executives to develop these outlines for how productions can help protect cast and crew members."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



(NEW YORK) -- Sharp-eyed fans' attention to detail while watching Back to the Future Part II on Netflix has gotten major attention from the streaming service. 

Apparently, Netflix had been running a censored version of the film without realizing it. The cut, which the fan noticed, included a sloppy deletion of Michael J. Fox's Marty McFly discovering family nemesis Biff had smuggled a French girly magazine inside the cover of that troublesome Gray's Sports Almanac

Now the movie's screenwriter, Bob Gale, is sounding off, telling The Hollywood Reporter, "Apparently, this was a foreign version which neither director Robert Zemeckis nor I even knew existed, for some country that had a problem with the Oh La La magazine cover.  I asked that the studio destroy this version."

Gale added, "FYI, Netflix does not edit films -- they only run the versions that are supplied to them.  So they're blameless. You can direct your ire at Universal, but I think they will be a lot more careful in the future -- and with 'the future.'"

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



Mary J. Blige is sharing her thoughts on the deeper meaning behind her new crime thriller Body Cam.

In the film, Blige plays Renee, a bereaved police officer who learns of police corruption in her department when she begins to hunt down a supernatural killer. Blige tells ABC Audio that even though she's a big horror movie fan, she was more impressed by the film's gritty storyline.

"The corruption of the cop system and how they cover up the murders of our people being slain and killed every single day," she says. "That's a real topic. And that's one of the things that drew me."

"And the fact that there's so many corrupt cops that the good cops like Renee don't get a chance," Blige adds. 

Although having her character uncover police corruption was a stand out moment for the actress-singer, Blige says it was just as important for the film to be relatable.

"Of course, the grieving mother and the mothers that suffer when their children are gunned down, just taking a jog," she says, referring to the death of Ahmaud Arbery, an unarmed black man who was shot and killed in February by a white former police officer while jogging. "Or, just for just walking home."

Still, if the film's storyline isn't enough, Blige has something else to offer: her new single "Can't Be Life" in the end credits.

"And I was like, 'Wow, what a perfect song to end this with, because it can't be life," she says. "This can't be life [when] our people being just killed and murdered... and we don't have a police system that can help us."

"So it's time to move to a higher vibration and try to do something different," she says.

Body Cam is now available for digital purchase from Paramount Pictures.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



(LOS ANGELES) -- A special episode of the Apple TV workplace comedy series Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet, is now live -- and has so far raised $600,000 for COVID-19-related charities.

The cast donated half of that money, and show co-creator and star Rob McElhenney and his wife, Always Sunny in Philadelphia co-star Kaitlin Olsen, matched the sum.

The remotely shot episode was quite the effort for its stars, McElhenney tells ABC Audio. "There was only one camera angle in every scene. So once...we were all set, we would get 15 takes because it was so easy. ...[B]ut everything leading up to it and then everything after that point was an absolute nightmare."

Mac adds, "So to me, just this figuring out a new way in which we could do something was just as exciting as making the episode itself. It was both really fun and really awful. And I and I would love to do it again."

The episode also gave McElhenney a chance to tweak certain celebs in quarantine, via his at-times egomanical Mythic Quest character, Ian.

"That's born out of me, looking at Twitter and at Instagram ...and seeing rich people complaining about the fact that they had to clean a toilet. And I'm like, 'Guys, you got to shut up...Everybody cleans their own toilet. Oh, boo hoo.' You know, you don't have your maid coming over to make you a PB&J sandwich? OK. Make your own PB&J sandwich, and certainly don't complain about it! So we thought, well, we got to satirize that."  

Mythic Quest: Raven's Banquet also stars F. Murray Abraham, Charlotte Nicdao, Danny Pudi, David Hornsby, Jo Ennis, and Ashly Burch.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty ImagesBy: KATE HODGSON, AARON KATERSKY, and IVAN PEREIRA, ABC News

(BOSTON) -- Full House actress Lori Loughlin and her fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, appeared via video conference before a federal judge in Boston today to plead guilty to conspiracy charges that stem from the so-called Varsity Blues college admissions cheating scheme.

Loughlin, in a black high-collar long-sleeve shirt, appeared on screen with her attorney from what appeared to be a living room with an armoire in the background. Giannulli, in a black jacket and tie and white shirt, appeared with his attorney on a separate screen.

“Guilty,” Loughlin answered, when the court clerk asked how she pleaded.

Assistant US Attorney Eric Rosen noted Loughlin faced a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.  The government agreed she should serve two months and her husband five months. The judge did not make an immediate decision whether to accept or reject the terms of the plea deal. 

Judge Nathaniel Gorton scheduled a sentencing hearing Friday, August 21 at 11 a.m. ET for Giannulli, 2:30 p.m. ET for Loughlin. 

Loughlin and Giannulli paid scheme mastermind Rick Singer $500,000 to get their daughters into the University of Southern California as rowing crew recruits.  Neither girl had ever rowed competitively.  They both initially pleaded not guilty to related fraud charges, claiming in part that their payments were charitable.

Had the case gone to trial, Rosen said prosecutors would have used recorded telephone calls, documents, emails and witness testimony to prove the couple’s guilt.  “They conspired with Rick Singer and others to commit wire fraud,” Rosen said.

Giannulli emailed Singer a doctored photo of daughter Olivia Jade on a rowing machine to cast her as an experienced coxswain and made purported charitable payments “To facilitate his daughter’s fraudulent admission to USC,” Rosen said, also noting that in 2017, the couple repeated the scam to falsely present their other daughter as an experienced coxswain.

Asked whether she disagreed with anything Rosen said the government would be able to prove, Loughlin answered, “No, your honor.”

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Photo by Noel Vasquez/FilmMagicBy: STEPHEN IERVOLINO, ABC News

(NEW ZEALAND) -- Like many movies, Oscar winning filmmaker James Cameron's forthcoming Avatar sequels hit a major snag when the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered production.  But now his longtime producing partner insists work will resume next week. 

In an Instagram post showing off some of the movie's extensive physical sets, Jon Landau stated, "Our Avatar sets are ready...Couldn't be more excited to be headed back to New Zealand next week."

Indeed, the shooting location of the four sequels was key to getting back to work.  The island nation -- which took early, methodical steps to limit COVID-19's spread -- currently has just 1,504 confirmed cases of the disease in its population of under five million people, with only 21 reported deaths.

Avatar 2 is slated for a Dec. 17, 2021 opening, while the third, fourth, and fifth films in the series are scheduled to roll out in 2023, 2025, and 2027, respectively.

The movies are being shot concurrently. The casts include returning stars Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, and Giovanni Ribisi; series newcomers include Oscar-winner Kate Winslet, Cliff Curtis, and Dileep Rao.

The movies will be released by 20th Century Studios, which is owned by Disney, parent company of ABC News.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Melinda Sue Gordon/©2020 Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc. All Rights Reserved.By: STEPHEN IERVOLINO, ABC News

(LOS ANGELES) -- Warner Bros. and Dark Knight trilogy director Christopher Nolan seem to be banking on movie theaters being open following the COVID-19 shutdowns, based on the just-released trailer for his anticipated action film, Tenet

The extended preview for the film promises that, unlike other movies have gone to streaming services to avoid the shuttered cinemas, Nolan's movie is "COMING TO THEATERS."

Following last December's teaser for Tenet -- starring John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and frequent Nolan collaborator Michael Caine -- the new trailer finally reveals what the hush-hush plot is about.

The central conceit apparently has to do with the power to reverse the flow of time.  Just as Nolan's imagination saw skyscrapers splitting open like flower petals and physics-bending fight scenes in InceptionTenet's use of time as a weapon lends itself to some mind-bending visuals, like a gunfight in reverse.

"You're not shooting the bullet, you're catching it," an associate tells Washington's character at a firing range.

Tenet is still officially set for a July 17 release, but it remains to be seen if Nolan and Warner Bros.' wishes will come true.


Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



(LOS ANGELES) -- Mission: Impossible 7 will have a new bad guy when it starts production in the summer, according to Deadline. 

Esai Morales will replace X-Men series star Nicholas Hoult, who was cast as the villain earlier this year.

The latest Mission: Impossible, starring Tom Cruise in his seventh go-round as super spy Ethan Hunt, was just about to start shooting before the COVID-19 pandemic forced production to shut down, which put Hoult in conflict with another commitment. 

Brooklyn-born Morales has appeared on the big and small screen over the years, from 1987's La Bamba, to a recurring role on NCIS: Los Angeles, and a four-year run on How To Get Away With Murder.

The seventh installment in the Mission: Impossible franchise, which has grossed over $3.57 billion worldwide, is slated for a November 2021 release.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Photos: Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic; NetflixBy MEGAN STONE, ABC News

(LOS ANGELES) -- (NOTE LANGUAGE) With actor Nicolas Cage tapped to play the infamous Joe Exotic in a movie inspired by Netflix's hit show Tiger King, fans of the true crime series are now wondering who will play Exotic's arch nemesis: Carole Baskin.

A tentative answer came on Thursday when actress Tara Reid confirmed to US Weekly that she is currently in talks for the coveted role.

"We’re definitely in major conversations and working out the things — the offers and this and that so, let’s see what happens," she dished to the magazine. "I would love to play this character. It’d be amazing."

While casting for the part is still underway, the Sharknado alum stated that she intends to spend time with Baskin should she land the role.

"I would definitely want to spend a week with her — not to ask her anything, to see how she eats, s****, see how she plays, see if she talks to people.  It’d be more for me to study, just to get her vibe," the 44-year-old revealed. "I think she is a complex character and I know I’d nail it."

Baskin, who is the current CEO of Big Cat Rescue, became a household name for her appearance in Netflix's bizarre series Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness.  Mainly, fans are convinced she murdered her millionaire ex-husband due to an offhanded remark she muttered about the likelihood of tigers eating a human.

"Just cover them in sardine oil or something they want to eat, should do the trick," she famously said on camera.

As for Exotic, born Joseph Schreibvogel, he was found guilty for hatching a murder-for-hire plot against Baskin and is currently serving a 22-year sentence.  The former Oklahoma zoo owner maintains his innocence.

The Tiger King movie's release date is currently unknown.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



(LOS ANGELES) -- The sixth annual Red Nose Day special looked a little different this year with digital noses, but its objective remained the same: raise awareness and funds to help end child poverty.  Hosted by This Is Us stars Mandy Moore and Justin Hartley, a variety of singers, actors and comedians teamed up to raise money for children and spread a message of unity in the face of COVID-19.

Joining the two hour fundraising telecast with special performances were artists such as Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton, Kelly Clarkson, Meghan Trainor, OneRepublic, James Taylor and more.

James Taylor performed a comforting rendition of the popular throwback tune "As Easy as Rolling off a Log" while Gwen and Shelton teamed up to perform their recent chart-topping hit "Nobody But You."

Other artists, like Trainor and Five Seconds of Summer, aimed to raise the audience's spirits by performing uplifting tunes "Better When I'm Dancin'" and "Best Years," respectively.

However, comedian and actor Steve Martin stole the show with his lively and hilarious performance of "I Can Play the Banjo" with the Steep Canyon Rangers, where he and band banjoist Graham Sharp held a one-sided duel over who was more skilled at the instrument. The bluegrass tune was filled with comedy, with Martin trying to sabotage Sharp while reminding the band that he was the star of their segment.

Another memorable skit came from Bryan Cranston, who played a deceased grandpa holding a Zoom conference from heaven with his living grandson, that shared a message for children frustrated by their parents' homeschooling methods to be patient and kind.

Other celebrities like Joel McHale, Elizabeth Banks, Paul Rudd, Jennifer Garner and Stephen Merchant made impassioned pleas for donations while highlighting children from underserved areas in the country and over the world who greatly benefit from the Red Nose fund.

The donations collected during the telecast will help provide food, shelter and healthcare for at-risk children.  The amount raised has not yet been released.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.




(LOS ANGELES) -- Looking for something to watch this Memorial Day Weekend?   Perhaps a semi-romantic comedy is up your alley?  The Lovebirds stars Issa Rae and Kumail Nanjiani as a couple in and out of love solving a murder mystery.

The film was supposed to get a theatrical release today, but when the COVID-19 pandemic forced the closure of theaters across the country, Paramount Pictures decided to release it on Netflix.  Nanjiani tells ABC Audio that’s fine by him.

“Issa and I spoke and we were like, Netflix would be such a great place for it because people are stuck at home, they need to watch something, they need to laugh,’” he explains. “Obviously, I'm a little sad that we're not in theaters, but...there are so much bigger problems to worry about.”

But is a movie about a bickering couple the best choice for a couple already stressed out from sheltering in place with each other? Rae says absolutely.

“You have to just establish like, ‘hey, we're watching this to have a good time, don't talk during the movie right now because you talk to me every single other time and I just want to get away from you at this moment,’" she suggests.  "I think if you set ground rules, it's it's bound to make the couple healthier.

So if theaters reopen in July, will Rae and Nanjiani be first in line to buy tickets?

“Hell no I’m not first in line to go,” says Rae with a chuckle. “But I have faith in our economy and our industry that they'll get it together. But I won’t be there."

Adds Nanjiani, “I’m going to be like, let everyone go out, see how it goes and then I'll, I'll, right behind you.” 

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



(LOS ANGELES) -- can now add life-coach to his already impressive resume with the release of his self-help Audible book The Decision: Overcoming Today’s BS for Tomorrow’s Success

The new audio book, which offers practical advice to help people reach their goals, is an exciting venture for Hart, whose previous book, I Can't Make This Up became a New York Times best-seller. Hart tells ABC Audio that this time around he wanted to bypass the hard copy and give his fans his authentic voice.

"I thought that my voice can drive home the premise a little better," he says. "This is one where you've got to listen to me."

"You have to hear me speak passionately and with the personality attached to some of these topics and subjects, because it lessens the seriousness of it," he continues. "Because it's very serious. But, the way that I'm presenting it takes some of the tension away."

Some of those "serious" topics include Kevin's take on why your comfort zone is the worst place on Earth and how having ugly feet is actually a blessing in disguise. 

"It's valuable information," he explains. "And it's something that I felt should be verbal."

While Kevin is confident that the "response [to his book] is going to be unreal," in deep reflection, he humbly admits that most practical life lessons come from those who know you the best.

"The biggest lesson... from my mom was: don't start things that we can't finish," Hart says. "There's no reason to step into something if you don't plan on giving it your all."

"And that's one of the best lessons that I can say that's been given to me," he admits. "It was simple, but yet so profound and so important."

The Decision is available now on Audible.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



(LOS ANGELES) -- General Hospital leads the pack with 23 nominations for the 47th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards, which were just announced. 

According to The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS), the soap was followed close behind by fellow daytime dramas Days of Our Lives, which earned 22 nods, and The Young and the Restless with 21. 

The Bold and The Beautiful earned 13 nominations.

Shows that tied for eight nominations apiece include Sesame StreetThe View, Studio CityEastsiders, and Ghostwriter.

In a statement, Adam Sharp, President & CEO of NATAS noted, "Now more than ever, daytime television provides a source of comfort and continuity made possible by these nominees’ dedicated efforts and sense of community."

He added, "Their commitment to excellence and demonstrated love for their audience never cease to brighten our days, and we are delighted to join with CBS in celebrating their talents.”

The awards will be presented in a two-hour special, filmed remotely because of the COVID-19 pandemic, on Friday, June 26 at 8:00 p.m. Eastern time on CBS.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



(NEW YORK) -- (NOTE LANGUAGE) The Apple TV workplace comedy series, Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet, will return on May 22 with a special COVID-19 inspired episode.

Shot entirely on iPhones, the show finds the team behind the biggest multiplayer video game of all-time tasked with working from home. To achieve this, the cast rehearsed, then later lighted and shot themselves from their homes on iPhones, with couriers later picking up and sanitizing each device before the footage was edited.

Show star and co-creator Rob McElhenney told ABC Audio, "What we tried to do from the very beginning was to make sure we made an episode that was at the very least fun and funny and would bring a certain amount of levity to people's lives when they're sitting in their house for the last three months and possibly the next month ahead."

He added, "[A]t best, to make people feel a little bit less alone and then maybe leave them with a sense of optimism and triumph that there's a group of people that work together on something and they succeeded. And it doesn't work unless they all do it, that if one person f***s it up, then the whole thing is ruined. I think there's something fun about that."

So will there be an Always Sunny in Philadelphia quarantine episode?

"Yes," revealed McElhenney, who is also the co-creator of that show. "The difference is...that in Mythic Quest the characters are being very respectful...we're being very respectful of the science and the reality of where the world is. The Sunny characters...I don't think that they believe in science unless it suits their needs and they wouldn't be respectful of anything or anybody but themselves. So I think it's a completely different episode. But it's one we'll have to explore." 

Also unlike the characters on Sunny would do, the cast of Mythic Quest raised $300,000 for NGO Mercy Corps' COVID-19 relief program, a figure that was matched by McElhenney and his Sunny co-star and wife Kaitlin Olson, for a total of $600,000.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/WireImageBy STEPHEN IERVOLINO, ABC News 

(NEW YORK) -- For those of you who've wished they could watch Rocky with the Italian Stallion himself, wish no more: Sylvester Stallone is hosting an online watch party of his Oscar-winning film on Facebook this evening. 

At 7 p.m. Eastern time, you'll be able to watch and chat along with Sly live on movie studio MGM's Facebook page -- all for a good cause. 

The event, part of Creative Artist Agency's Screenings with the Stars series, will benefit communities affected by the COVID-19 crisis.


Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


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