Entertainment

'Songbird' trailer imagines a bleak world with COVID-23

STX Films(LOS ANGELES) -- Can’t imagine a year worse than 2020? Well, the new pandemic thriller Songbird does it for us.

The film, starring KJ Apa and Sofia Carson, dropped its first trailer Thursday, which shows the world in its fourth year of quarantine after COVID-19 mutates into an even more deadly strain, COVID-23.

Apa plays Nico, a delivery man with a rare immunity to the virus who’s able to continue his job as an essential worker. He falls in love with Sara, played by Carson, even though the two have never met in person due to the strict lockdown. When he finds out Sara might be infected, he goes on a mission to save her.

The film went into production in July, becoming the first movie to shoot in Los Angeles following the COVID-19 shutdown.

Songbird, produced by Michael Bay, also stars Demi Moore, Bradley Whitford, Paul Walter Hauser, Craig Robinson, Peter Stormare and Alexandra Daddario.

A release date has yet to be announced.

By Andrea Tuccillo
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Scarlett Johansson and Colin Jost have tied the knot

Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic(NEW YORK) -- Scarlett Johansson and Colin Jost are officially married!

The actress, 35, and Saturday Night Live cast member, 38, announced the news of their nuptials in a post on the Meals on Wheels America Instagram account on Thursday.

“We’re thrilled to break the news that Scarlett Johansson and Colin Jost were married over the weekend in an intimate ceremony with their immediate family and loved ones, following COVID-19 safety precautions as directed by the CDC,” a statement on the account read.

The statement added that the couple’s wedding wish “is to help make a difference for vulnerable older adults during this difficult time by supporting @mealsonwheelsamerica" and asked for donations to the nonprofit.

Johansson and Jost confirmed their engagement in May 2019.

This is Jost’s first marriage and Johansson’s third. She was married to actor Ryan Reynolds from 2008-2011, then to French journalist Romain Dauriac from 2014-2017.

The actress shares a six-year-old daughter, Rose, with Dauriac.

By Hayley FitzPatrick
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Sam Heughan talks filming 'Outlander' love scenes with COVID precautions

Starz(NEW YORK) -- During an appearance on Live with Kelly & Ryan Thursday, Sam Heughan answered the burning question on every Outlander fans’ minds: How will they film the show’s steamy love scenes with COVID-19 safety protocols?

“Yeah, I guess I've gotta now stay two meters apart from my costar, so that could provide some really interesting love scenes,” he said. “We'll see.”

He assured that as far as he knows, there will still be love scenes between his character Jamie and Claire, played by Caitriona Balfe, in the upcoming sixth season of the Starz drama.

So far, shooting on season six hasn’t begun yet, but production will be starting again soon.

“I've been in a few times for costume fittings and yeah, it's just we're gonna have to adapt,” Heughan said. “You know, we're gonna have to look at a new way of working around it. But we're getting there, you know? So I'm excited. I'm excited to go back to work.”

In the meantime, Heughan and his Outlander co-star Graham McTavish have written a book that comes out November 3. It’s called Clanlands: Whisky, Warfare and a Scottish Adventure Like No Other.

The book is a companion to Heughan and McTavish’s upcoming Scottish travel show, Men in Kilts.

By Andrea Tuccillo
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Brothers Peter and Benjamin Bratt explain the inclusive conversation they want to have with the rerelease of 'Follow Me Home'

Courtesy of Follow Me Home(NEW YORK) -- Actor Benjamin Bratt and his filmmaker brother Peter Bratt have enlisted their Follow Me Home cast members and their industry friends to have a candid conversation about their film nearly two decades after its release.

As part of a three-night event, which includes the rerelease of the film, the brothers are sparking dialogue about racial inequity, voting, and the current political climate. Peter tells ABC Audio that he never imagined his film would still be as impactful today.

"It was seen as kind of a radical, uncomfortable idea... 25 years ago and we didn't really foresee this coming about," he says. "But it really was after the murder of George Floyd that we started hearing from people across the country who had seen the film saying, 'You have to bring this back. This is more relevant now than it was then.'"

Benjamin agrees, adding the film had the ability to broach difficult conversations then, as it does now.

"We yearn for a sense of belonging within a community, within a family, a connection with another individual," he says. "That's what it's all about. And I think it's important to underline that the conversation around racial equity has been largely a black and white issue. But the conversation we want to invoke involves everybody." 

While the film delves into deep and meaningful topics, it also offers plenty of levity through its dynamic and quirky characters. Benjamin jokes his brother initially thought he was "too pretty" for the role of Abel.

"The character I play, he's a straight up hardcore ex-con homeboy. And when [Peter] wrote the role of [Abel], the last person he considered for it was me," he says. "Even as his brother and co-producer on the film, I had to beg him for the part."

To join the conversation go to FollowMeHomeTheMovie.com.

By Candice Williams
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Former Miss America winner Leanza Cornett dies at 49

Donald Kravitz/Getty Images for Dick Clark Productions(LOS ANGELES) -- Leanza Cornett, who was crowned Miss America in 1993, died unexpectedly on Wednesday.  She was 49.

The Miss America Organization confirmed the beauty queen's passing, writing, "Leanza had a bright and beautiful spirit and her laugh was infectious.  We know she meant so much to so many, including all of you."

The industry has been "devastated by this sudden loss" and "are deeply sorry for her family and close friends for their loss."

The organization declined to reveal her cause of death, writing, "At the moment, we do not have any further information regarding a service for Leanza and we ask that you please respect her family during this difficult time."

Family and friends of Cornett revealed she suffered a head injury and creating a special Facebook group called Leanza Cornett's Circle of Love to update fans on her recovery. 

The group revealed on October 18 that she "sustained an enormous blow to the back of her head" that resulted in "bleeding in her brain."  No further details were provided.

"The updates here are provided by, and or approved by Leanza’s Mom, Patti, who is with Leanza," the group attested.

The last update to fans was posted Wednesday regarding Cornett's tragic passing.

Cornett's ex-husband Mark Steines, who shared sons Kai, 18, and Avery, 16, with her, took to Instagram to honor his late wife, vowing, "We will always remember the wonderful times shared during her short time here on earth. I find comfort knowing Kai and Avery will forever have the best guardian angel watching over them as they navigate life's path."

Cornett went on to play the first live-action Ariel in The Little Mermaid stage production at Walt Disney World and had cameos in shows like Weeds and Saved by the Bell: The New Class.

By Megan Stone
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


See Queen Elizabeth II and Margaret Thatcher face off in 'The Crown' season 4 trailer

Netflix(LOS ANGELES) -- The official trailer for The Crown season four has arrived.

The clip begins with a tense meeting between Olivia Colman’s Queen Elizabeth II and Gillian Anderson’s Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

“Two women running the shop. That’s the last thing this country needs,” we hear Prince Philip say. To which Queen Elizabeth retorts, “Perhaps that’s precisely what this country needs.”

The trailer then shifts to show Prince Charles, as he struggles with the pressures of choosing a suitable wife and ultimately marries Princess Diana, played by Emma Corrin. We see Diana as she tries to fit in with the royal family as they contemplate whether she will “bend” or “break.”

It’s all set to a haunting new version of The Smiths' classic song “How Soon Is Now?” We hear a woman sing the lyrics, "I am the son and the heir/of a shyness that is criminally vulgar/I am the son and heir/of nothing in particular."

The Crown season four debuts on Netflix November 15.

By Andrea Tuccillo
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Jennifer Lopez reveals she almost wasn't cast in 'The Wedding Planner'

Columbia Pictures/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Jennifer Lopez has starred in quite a few romantic comedies and it all started with The Wedding Planner -- but in a new interview she recalls that it almost didn't happen.

Speaking with her business partner and agent, Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas, for Variety's Power of Women Conversations presented by Lifetime, Lopez recalled how she had to fight in order to not be typecast and land the leading role in the 2001 box office hit. 

"When I started in the industry, I remember we talked about that I would always go in for what they would call the maid, the dishwasher. I was like, 'I don’t want to do that,'" she said. "I had to kind of break out of that, and convince somebody to put me in the first romantic comedy, which was The Wedding Planner."

The 51-year-old singer and actress admitted that,after receiving some pushback over what she was to be paid, ultimately, it was director Adam Shankman who secured her role alongside Matthew McConaughey. 

"You were my agent, and you were asking for a certain price that you thought I merited, and they were buckling back," Lopez explained. "Then [Adam] came to one of my record signings, and he said, 'Give her whatever she wants.'"

"The idea that somebody like me, from my background, who was a woman, could garner that type of, you know, price in this industry. It was a big deal," she added. 

Lopez has since gone on to star in more romantic comedies like Maid In Manhattan, Monster-In-Law, The Back-up Plan, and more. She will next appear in the romantic comedy Marry Me, which also stars Maluma and Owen Wilson.  The movie is slated to open in theaters February 12, 2021.

By Danielle Long
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Armie Hammer reveals COVID-19-related mental health struggles

Christopher Polk/Getty Images for The Critics' Choice Awards(LOS ANGELES) -- Millions of Americans have reported mental health struggles related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and Armie Hammer says he recently got a "wake-up call" of his own.

Speaking at British GQ's "Heroes" event, the star of Netflix's Rebecca said, "I could feel it happening in slow motion, like the rug was just being ripped from my feet and I was falling face-first and I was gonna smash my face on the ground."

"I had a wake-up call one day...and I realized that I needed more help than I realized," he explains. "So I called a friend of mine, Brendan, who works in mental health and I was like, 'Dude, it's not good. It's not good for me,' and he goes, 'I know, it's not good for anyone,' and I go, 'Yeah, but really not good for me, like I'm having a really hard time. I don't know what the answer to this is.'"

Hammer says his buddy put him in touch with a therapist who started seeing him "multiple times a week."

The 34-year-old actor says he continues to speak to his therapist at least once a week.

Hammer tells British GQ, "Society said, 'Oh, you can distract yourself with going out to dinner,' 'You can distract yourself with night clubs,' 'You can distract yourself with pubs,' 'You can distract yourself with whatever.'" 

"When that was stripped away, we were stuck dealing with ourselves," he continues.  "And I think a lot of people realized that they didn't like what themselves looked like. They didn't like where they'd gotten to, and I was in that position as well and I decided to just take whatever steps I could to make a difference and to help myself."

By George Costantino
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest to give away $10,000 in prizes for virtual Halloween costume contest

ABC Entertainment(NEW YORK) -- There are multiple exciting and spooky reasons to tune into Live with Kelly and Ryan on Friday!  Hosts Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest will be parading around in a variety of intricate and hilarious costumes throughout their show and want you to do the same for a shot at some amazing prizes.

Friday's episode kicks off the special "Live’s Best Halloween Show Ever: Almost as Scary as Real Life," which will, once again, set the standard for Halloween celebrations.

This year's festivities may look a little different this year due to COVID-19, which explains why Ripa and Seacrest are putting so much effort into this year's crop of costumes, such as an eclectic Zoom call and Moira Rose from Schitt’s Creek dressed as the pope.  That's just a sample of what the audience will enjoy on Friday.

The show's popular Halloween costume contest also needed a 2020 update, so it will be virtual this year.  With no fans in studio, those who entered the contest will put on their most creative costume and compete among the virtual audience to win from a stack of prizes totaling $10,000.

Beyond the costumes, the show will also pay homage to some of the biggest movers and shakers in pop culture this year, from the Netflix phenomenon Tiger King to the myriad of trendy recipes that took the nation by storm during lockdown.  

The show will also perform a virtual singalong, teasing the event as something "that only Live could produce." 

Joining Seacrest and Ripa Friday will be Broadway legend Kristin Chenoweth, Survivor host Jeff Probst, Dr. Sandra Lee aka Dr. Pimple Popper and Botched doctors Paul Nassif and Terry Dubrow.

Live with Kelly and Ryan is a syndicated program so check your local listings for scheduling.

By Megan Stone
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Mariska Hargitay brings cookies to New Yorkers waiting in line to vote: "It was the least I could do"

Maarten de Boer/NBCUniversal(NEW YORK) -- New York kicked off its early voting period last weekend to a resounding success.  Shortly after the polls opened on October 24, images of the long lines flooded the internet along with stories from voters regarding their hours-long wait to cast their ballot.

Leave it to Law and Order: SVU star Mariska Hargitay to give voters stuck in the impressively long lines something to smile about.  The actress on Tuesday rolled up to the Madison Square Garden polling location with arms full of sweet treats from Milk Bar.

The Emmy Award winner shared an adorable video of her sidling up to voters on Tuesday and excitedly thanking them for doing their civic duty before tossing them a packaged cookie from the acclaimed NYC-based bakery.

That small gesture delighted the crowd of social distancing voters, who broke out into smiles and laughter as the actress began excitedly shouting, "Booyah!  Booyah!" with each cookie thrown.

"We all know this election is incredibly important, which is I why wanted to show up to support my fellow New Yorkers," Hargitay expressed on her personal Instagram. "Lines are long and people are waiting for hours to exercise their civic duty-their right- so I wanted to surprise some voters at MSG with a little pick me up. It was the least I could do."

Beyond thanking voters for their patience, Hargitay also expressed appreciation to the polling places.

"I’m thankful that sports teams and venues have opened their doors this year to make safe, socially-distanced early voting a reality for so many Americans," the 56-year-old actress concluded. "It’s critical all of us make our voices heard."

She closed out the post with the cheeky hashtag "#WhoSaysVotingIsntFun."

By Megan Stone
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Anne Hathaway reveals how she hid her pregnancy while filming 'The Witches'

ABC(LOS ANGELES) -- Actress Anne Hathaway revealed earlier this week that she found out she was pregnant shortly before filming for The Witches got underway.  Now, she's opening up about how she kept her pregnancy a secret from most of the cast and crew.

After finding out she was pregnant with her and husband Adam Shulman's second child, a son named Jack, Hathaway told Entertainment Tonight, "I didn't really tell anybody that I was pregnant because I was still in my first trimester."

"Then, when I went into my second trimester during filming, I only told a couple people. But the costume still fit so I didn't feel the need to tell anybody," the Academy Award-winning actress continued.

Although, Hathaway admitted she had to really flex her lying muscles when outfoxing the movie's costume designer, Joanna Johnston.  

When discussing a particular scene where Hathaway's silhouette is only shown, Johnson suggested that she wear a corset "so you have a wasp waist."

Of course, that didn't fly with the 37-year-old actress, who immediately pushed back and was forced to give an elaborate excuse. 

"I couldn't say, 'Because I'm five weeks pregnant,'" Hathaway laughed, saying she settled on the lie that she needed looser fitting clothes for the number. "I go, 'I just know myself as a performer and I'm just gonna feel really constrained. I'm gonna feel really constrained and I just, I'm gonna be funnier if I don't have something.'"

Johnson believed her and "didn't ask questions" even though the actress fully admits she spoon-fed the costume designer a bunch of "BS."

The jig was up when filming eventually wrapped because, by then, "I was 16 weeks pregnant and she got it."

The Witches is available now for streaming on HBO Max.

By Megan Stone
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Ellen Pompeo reveals her 'Grey's Anatomy' contract expires this year, casts doubt on show's future

ABC/Mike Rosenthal(LOS ANGELES) -- Grey's Anatomy, the longest running medical drama in television history with a whopping 17 seasons, might be hanging up the scrubs sometime soon as hinted by star Ellen Pompeo.

The actress, who plays the titular Doctor Meredith Grey, spoke openly about the hit show and indicated that the series might come to an end sooner than fans think.

"We don’t know when the show is really ending yet," Pomeo admitted to Variety on Wednesday. "But the truth is, this year could be it."

The 50-year-old actress further hinted about her own future on the medical drama, adding, "I mean, this is the last year of my contract right now. I don’t know that this is the last year? But it could very well could be."

However, Pompeo understands that, should she leave, it might be difficult for the show to continue.

"I don’t take the decision lightly [about leaving,]" she confessed, "We employ a lot of people, and we have a huge platform. And I’m very grateful for it."

Pompeo assured that, despite the slight chance that Grey's Anatomy is in its final season, the show's quality will remain intact.

"I’m constantly fighting for the show as a whole to be as good as it can be," she revealed. "As a producer, I feel like I have permission to be able to do that."

Pompeo, who has been with Grey's since the pilot episode aired in 2005, is one of the last remaining original cast members.  Only two other actors have stayed with the show since the beginning, Chandra Wilson and James Pickens Jr., who play Doctor Miranda Bailey and Doctor Richard Webber, respectively.

Season 17 of Grey's Anatomy premieres November 17 on ABC and will feature the doctors adjusting to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

By Megan Stone
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Elizabeth Banks reveals why it's a "fabulous feeling" to host 'Press Your Luck'

ABC/Eric McCandless(LOS ANGELES) -- No whammies - stop! New episodes of Press Your Luck hosted by Elizabeth Banks are back tonight on ABC.

The game show features contestants collecting spins by answering trivia questions. They can later use the spins to win cash and prizes, which Banks tells ABC Audio is her favorite part of the job "hands down." 

"I get to give away life changing money, and it's not my money," she admits. "It's a fabulous feeling."

Banks is one of at least seven women hosting TV game shows -- a job that, up until recently, was dominated by men. She says she's glad the industry's changing.

"I'm thrilled by the numbers and, it's just one of these weird traditions that just needed to be broken. You know, there's no real rhyme or reason for it. It's kind of just how the world worked," she says.

"I think we are all realizing that how the world works didn't always work for everybody. Like ladies didn't get to host game shows. And there used to be this thing like, well, 'we didn't know maybe if you wanted to host it.' It’s like we did. We always want to do all of it. We want to do it," she adds.

Even so, Banks reveals that hosting a game show wasn’t something she necessarily dreamed of doing as a little girl, but she sure loved watching them. 

"I honestly had never thought about hosting a game show when I was a kid," she shares. "I thought about being on game shows when was a kid, for sure."

"We used to make fake like Plinko boards from The Price is Right. And be at the grocery store and we love Supermarket Sweep when I was little too,"  she recalls. "And we loved Press Your Luck. Loved the Whammy."

By Danielle Long and Jason Nathanson
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

GoFundMe started for Tutar's beloved mentor Jeanise Jones in 'Borat 2'

Amazon Studios An Oklahoma pastor is raising money for Jeanise Jones, the beloved grandmother who appears in Borat 2. 

Derrick Scobey is the pastor at Jones' church in Oklahoma City and recommended her for the film after he was approached by producers looking for a "Black grandmother" to take part in what they called a "documentary."

Jones' appearance is regarded as a highlight in the film as she acts as a mentor to Borat's daughter, Tutar, portrayed by Maria Bakalova. In one scene, Jones advises Tutar not get plastic surgery at her father's recommendation so he can marry her off to an American man, instead encouraging her that she is beautiful just as she is. 

Scobey has since organized a GoFundMe for Jones, who worked as an insurance claims auditor for 32 years before she was recently laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"This was not scripted for Jeanise. It all came from the heart. She is one of the most authentic people I’ve ever met," Scobey writes on GoFund Me. 

The fund has currently raised more than $60,000 dollars of its $100,000 goal, with 2,500 donors contributing.

For her part, Jones -- who was paid $3,600 for her appearance in Borat 2, according to the New York Post -- says she wasn't aware that she was taking part in a movie comedy.  She says she was told that it was a documentary about a young woman learning about her rights as a woman, and initially thought that Tutar was a child bride. 

She told the Post she felt "betrayed" by film, but then told Variety otherwise.

"I’m not ever going to say I was betrayed because it was partially my fault I didn’t read the contracts," she said to Variety. "I’ll take my responsibility on that."

By Cillea Houghton 
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Lovie Simone explains why she "fell in love" with her "woke" and "relevant" role in 'The Craft: Legacy'

Eli Joshua(NEW YORK) -- Lovie Simone is helping to bring a "woke" and contemporary update to the 1996 cult-classic film The Craft in the new supernatural horror The Craft: Legacy.

Although the Greenleaf actor wasn't "aware" of the original film when she first tried out for her role of Tabby, Simone tells ABC Audio that after she did "some homework, [and] some studying" on the film, she knew the job had to be hers. 

"I watched it and I was like, 'Wait, wait a second. I need this role,'" she recalls saying. "I just remember falling in love with it and just having to get the audition after. So when I got it, I was so excited."

Simone says there was something liberating about being in a film centered on modern day witches that were from her generation.

"It was just everything about like women in witchcraft and like what that looks like in a high school setting when they're young and they don't have a whole bunch of moles, and like pointy hats, and broomsticks," she explains. "I was like, 'This is what the witches and brujas need.'"

Yet, it was her character Tabby and the important themes touched on in the film that ultimately reeled Simone in and made her an instant fan.

"I was reading the script and saying my parts, and I was like, 'Wow, this is really woke and so relevant for today,'" she says. "There's so many topics that the movie touches on [that] it's like perfect for this time."

"So I'm like so ready for people to see the exaggeration of the hypermasculinity and sisterhood and witchcraft in this movie. It's like beautiful," she adds.

The Craft: Legacy, also starring Cailee Spaeny, Gideon Adlon and Zoey Luna, is now available On Demand.

By Candice Williams
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


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