Entertainment

Taika Waititi's 'Flash Gordon' project goes from animated to live-action

ABC/Craig Sjodin

Taika Waititi is bringing Flash Gordon back to the big screen. The Jojo Rabbit Oscar winner, who is currently working on Thor: Love and Thunder, apparently had a change of heart while working on an animated version of the Flash Gordon property, according to producer Jon Davis.

"It was a movie that was a huge influence on him growing up," Davis tells Collider of the New Zealand filmmaker. "It is one of his favorite movies. He initially said to me, 'Let's do it animated.' I said, 'Okay.' Then we...started developing it and he said, 'No, let's do it live-action.' I said, 'Even better.'"

Flash Gordon has influenced generations of filmmakers since Alex Raymond's 1930s comic strip debuted, including George Lucas, who fashioned Star Wars after the episodic theatrical serials of Flash that Lucas enjoyed in his youth.

Most famously, in 1980, Flash Gordon was converted into a campy space opera that starred Sam J. Jones as the earth athlete who finds himself fighting in an intergalactic war.

That film came to a new audience thanks to Mark Wahlberg's character in Seth MacFarland's Ted films, who, along with his teddy bear buddy, idolized Jones -- who appears in the comedies.

Davis, who co-produced Disney's just-released Jungle Cruise, tells Collider this version of Flash Gordon will be very, well, Taika. "He has the most fantastically interesting vision for this movie. And you can only know it is Taika. It is what he does. It is the way he looks at the world...He is the funniest guy in the world. And he thinks on a different plane."

Davis continues, "This movie embraces everything that's special about Taika, and his vision," while noting that "it harkens in a very interesting way to the original conception from the comics."

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Bob Odenkirk thanks fans for support; 'Better Call Saul' star says he's recovering from "a small heart attack"

RB/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

A short time after his friend and former comedy partner David Cross tweeted that the Better Call Saul actor was "doing great," Bob Odenkirk himself took to Twitter to confirm he's on the mend. 

"Hi. It's Bob. Thank you," he began. "To my family and friends who have surrounded me this week. And for the outpouring of love from everyone who expressed concern and care for me. It’s overwhelming. But I feel the love and it means so much."

Odenkirk continued, "I had a small heart attack. But I'm going to be ok thanks to Rosa Estrada and the doctors who knew how to fix the blockage without surgery."

The Nobody actor added, "Also, AMC and SONYs support and help throughout this has been next-level. I'm going to take a beat to recover but I'll be back soon."

Odenkirk collapsed on the Albuquerque set of Better Call Saul on Tuesday, and was rushed to the hospital.

News of the incident led to an outpouring of support on social media, so it's not surprising his two new tweets immediately went viral.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Buggles, Benatar and bloopers: Looking back at MTV's launch 40 years ago

Mark Weiss/WireImage

"Ladies and gentleman...rock and roll."

That's what anyone with cable TV who happened to be up at midnight on August 1, 1981 -- 40 years ago this Sunday -- heard, as MTV: Music Television signed on the air for the very first time.  At the time, it wasn't even available in most major markets, including MTV's home base, New York City. And that first day was a little rocky.

"The plan was that Mark Goodman would begin the welcome," recalls original VJ Alan Hunter of MTV's first moments. "After you had the Buggles and Pat Benatar videos, Mark comes on and says, 'Hey, welcome to this thing called MTV and here are my pals'" And it would roll down to JJ [Jackson] and Martha [Quinn] and Nina [Blackwood]. And I was the last guy to say, 'and I'm Alan Hunter.'"

But because the guy loading the videotapes screwed up, Hunter ended up being the first VJ we ever saw, saying, "...And I'm Alan Hunter."

"No one really noticed, it was late at night," Hunter laughs. "There was so many technical glitches that first day...MTV was duct-taped together to start, to be honest."

But MTV soon took hold across the country -- especially in the Midwest, where Hunter and his fellow VJs would find hundreds of people waiting to greet them at in-store appearances.

"They would ask for an autograph and say, 'I watch this 24/7 in the dorm at college,' or, 'in the basement of our friend's house down the street who has cable'...kids [were] going crazy for it," Hunter recalls. "And they were beginning to ask for the music that they were seeing on MTV."

Flooded with requests for songs by MTV faves like U2 and Duran Duran, radio eventually responded and previously unknown bands became superstars.  But hey, don't expect any gratitude from Duran Duran, whose stylish videos were a highlight of MTV's early years.

"We tend to look at it the other way around," Duran Duran's Simon LeBon tells ABC Audio. "We think, 'How much does MTV have to thank us for the popularity that they had in the 1980s?'"

Keyboardist Nick Rhodes snarks, "Yes, at least with Duran Duran, we didn't have to resort to game shows in the end. We stuck with the music!"

Indeed, MTV stopped being the place for music videos literally decades ago.

"When I look at MTV's daily schedule, all I see is Ridiculousness," laughs Hunter, referring to the viral video clip show. "I think they're struggling to try to find where they're going."

But whatever MTV is today, its impact is still being felt. Rob Tannenbaum, co-author of the oral history I Want My MTV, explains, "It changed record labels because now a certain type of band was more profitable. It changed the TV industry and the movie industry because they all wanted to emulate the fast cutting [and] bright colors. It changed fashion design. It changed advertising. It had a wholesale effect...all over popular culture."

And the quintessential MTV Video? Tannenbaum says it's Van Halen's "Hot for Teacher."

"It has all the things that are supposed to make a video good. It's got a guitar solo. It's a band with long hair, chicks in bikinis," he says, adding, "If you were trying to illustrate to an alien from another planet what MTV was about, you would show them 'Hot for Teacher.'"

Here were the first 10 videos played on MTV:

"Video Killed the Radio Star" -- The Buggles
"You Better Run" -- Pat Benatar     
"She Won't Dance with Me" -- Rod Stewart     
"You Better You Bet" -- The Who     
"Little Suzi's on the Up" -- Ph.D.     
"We Don't Talk Anymore" -- Cliff Richard
"Brass in Pocket" -- The Pretenders
"Time Heals" -- Todd Rundgren
"Take It on the Run" -- REO Speedwagon (interrupted after 12 seconds due to technical difficulties)
"Rockin' the Paradise" -- Styx

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


David Cross says friend Bob Odenkirk is "doing great" after heart scare

Randy Holmes/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

Bob Odenkirk's friend and one-time Mr. Show comedy partner David Cross gave fans of the Better Call Saul star a much-needed bit of good news after his health scare earlier this week. 

In a tweet, Cross just said, "Just got off the phone with Bob and he's doing great! Joking and japing and joshing."

Cross added, "Both he and his family are overwhelmed with the outpouring of love and concern everyone has shown. You will be hearing from him soon. But he's doing really well!!!"

The tweet was liked 20,000 times -- and counting -- within an hour of Cross posting it. 

The 58-year-old Odenkirk collapsed while shooting the sixth and final season of the AMC series in New Mexico on Tuesday, and was rushed to the hospital where he was treated for a "heart-related incident," a rep for the show told ABC News.

 

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Rebel Wilson says she lost weight to have "a better chance" at having a child

ABC/Robert Trachtenberg

Rebel Wilson embarked on a "Year of Health" in 2020, and in a recent Instagram live, shared her main reason for doing so.

During a chat with her fans, the "Pitch Perfect" star said it was her desire to have a child that inspired her to lose the weight.

Responding to a fan who asked why she got fit, Wilson shared, "That is such a massive question, but I'm going to try to answer it for you."

"It first started when I was going through, looking into fertility stuff and the doctor was like, 'Well, you'd have a much better chance if you were healthier,'" the 41-year-old Australian actress explained.

"I was actually a bit offended because I thought -- even though I was bigger -- I thought I was pretty healthy," she added. "That's, kind of, what started it, that if I lost some excess weight, that it would give me a better chance for freezing eggs and having the eggs be a better quality."

"At first, it wasn't even really [about] myself, it was more thinking of the future mini-me really," she confessed.

However, in May, the Isn't It Romantic star revealed in an emotional Instagram post that she was struggling with infertility. "I got some bad news today...," she wrote. "To all the women out there struggling with fertility, I feel ya."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines infertility as the inability to get pregnant after one year of trying to conceive.  Infertility affects six percent of women between the ages of 15 and 44, reports the CDC.

Rebel previously revealed she was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome, which the CDC also identifies as a leading cause of infertility in women.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Hulu's 'Love, Victor' nabs third season pickup

Michael Desmond/Hulu

Hulu’s Love, Victor is coming back for a third season.

The series, an off-shoot from the 2018 film Love, Simon, has officially been renewed just a month and a half after season two debuted.

The show stars Michael Cimino as a gay teen coming to terms with sexuality. It also stars Rachel Hilson, Anthony Turpel, Bebe Wood, Mason Gooding, George Sear, Isabella Ferreira, Mateo Fernandez, James Martinez and Ana Ortiz.

Season two ended with a few of the show’s core relationships in limbo. George Sear, who plays Victor’s love interest, Benji, says he can’t wait to explore his character even more.

“I hope we can see more more of an exploration with Benji's...yeah, his relationship, I suppose, but also some of his personal issues, which you will find out when you watch season two,” he tells ABC Audio. “And also it would be cool to see him sort of follow his dreams with music and become a happier person.”

For Bebe Wood, who plays Lake, she’s excited to explore a new direction for Lake’s love life, which was hinted at in the end of season two.

“I think at the end of season two, there is a sort of little moment with Lake that I find very exciting and very enticing, and I can't wait to explore that in the future,” she says.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Vax entertainment! Emmy audience, Broadway workers and patrons will all require COVID-19 vaccines

Academy of Television Arts & Sciences

Anyone attending the upcoming 73rd annual Emmy Awards, as well anyone appearing on stage or working behind the scenes on a Broadway production, and audience members, will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

The announcements came Friday amid rising concern over the so-called Delta variant of COVID-19.

ABC Audio has confirmed The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, which stages the Emmys, again noted that only nominees and their respective "plus ones" will be allowed to attend the  Creative Arts Emmy Awards ceremonies on Sept. 11 and 12. Same goes for the main awards show itself on September 19. And in all cases, attendees must show proof of vaccination. 

Earlier this month, the Academy announced it was cancelling its traditional Governors Ball events preceding the Emmys celebration, for the second year in a row, over rising COVID-19 concerns.

As recently reported, the 73rd Emmy Awards will return with a limited live audience on Sunday, Sept. 19 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS and streaming live and on demand on Paramount+. Cedric The Entertainer will host.

Meanwhile, The Broadway League, the national trade association for the Broadway industry, clarified that the owners and operators of all theaters in New York City will require "audience members, as well as performers, backstage crew, and theatre staff, for all performances through October 2021" to be fully vaccinated.

The organization also noted, "masks will also be required for audiences inside the theatre, except while eating or drinking in designated locations."

The Broadway League also said that ticket holders for performances through October 31 will be notified of the new rules and be kept abreast of an anticipated review of the policies in September. The organization said the future review, "may include a relaxation of certain provisions if the science dictates."

 

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Rihanna shades 'RHONY' star Ramona Singer, "What was said?"

Sophy Holland/Bravo

Stars -- they're just like us. Which in this case means they also watch reality TV. And this time, that star is Rihanna

The Fenty Beauty founder recently weighed in on an episode of The Real Housewives of New York City, in which RiRi was name-dropped by cast member Leah McSweeney.

In the scene, Leah, who owns the streetwear brand Married to the Mob, got into a small argument with her co-star Ramona Singer, who sarcastically offered to model her clothes, saying, "Let me promote Leah Mob or Mob something." 

Leah hit back, "You aren't exactly my demographic, so it's all good," before adding, "I already have Rihanna wearing my s***, you think I need you wearing my s***?"

Rihanna herself caught wind of the clip and made her stance on the reality stars' tiff clear by sharing an Instagram post of herself rocking a "B**** Mob" t-shirt early Thursday morning. She captioned the selfie, "what was said @ramonasinger ? [crying laughing emoji] #RHONY."

Leah commented on the post, writing, "I love you so much" followed by the crying laughing emoji, red heart emoji, and flame emoji. 

It doesn't appear as if Ramona has responded as of Friday morning.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Jay Pharoah and Sinqua Walls joke about their hostility toward Nick Cannon for his role in 'Love Don't Cost a Thing'

Courtesy of Netflix

In Netflix's new romantic comedy Resort to Love, Jay Pharoah and Sinqua Walls play brothers who don't seem to have that much in common besides their mutual interest in aspiring singer Erica, played by Christina Milian. The two actors, who admit they've been fanboys of Milian since her self-titled debut album in 2001, say they jumped at the opportunity to work with the talented star.

"Hesitant?! No, it was no hesitation," Pharoah tells ABC Audio of working with Milian.

"It was 'AM to PM,'" he quips, referencing Milian's lead single from Christina Milian. "I said, 'Yes, let's do it.' I ain't even gonna lie, growing up I had a crush on Christina. So, I always wanted to show the chops there."

Pharaoh recalls that he was also a bit jealous of Nick Cannon when Nick got to play Milian's love interest in the 2003 teen comedy Love Don't Cost a Thing.

"I was always looking at Nick Cannon like, 'Meheh. One day, Nick. One day too I shall be in that position,'" he jokes, remembering Cannon in the film.

The same can be said of Walls, who says he also accepted the gig with "no hesitation." 

"I was like, 'Well, this is not a bad way to spend my summer,'" he laughs, before adding that he "too wanted to hit Nick Cannon in the kneecaps a couple of times."

After some peels of laughter, Pharoah straightens up. "Salute to Nick Cannon," he says. "It's all love."

"Shout to Nick," Walls interjects. "I hope your kneecaps are all intact."

Making note of Cannon's recent family additions, Pharoah then adds, "I was about to say, if [his kneecaps aren't] hurting by now -- goddangit! All that running around at different houses he got to do."

Resort to Love is available on Netflix.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Ben Stiller hit with backlash over nepotism in Hollywood debate

Ben Stiller with parents Anne Meara and Jerry Stiller in 1996/Richard Corkery/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images

Ben Stiller is facing social media backlash for defending the growing trend of children following in the footsteps of their Hollywood A-list parents.

Stiller, the son of legendary comedians Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara, took issue with producer Franklin Leonard sarcastically tweeting, “Hollywood’s a meritocracy, right?” in response to a report that an upcoming project titled The Rightway, that’s set to be directed by Steven Spielberg’s daughter, Destry, and was written by Stephen King’s son, Owen.  Sean Penn’s son, Hopper is also set to star in the short film, according to Deadline.

“Too easy @franklinleonard. People, working, creating. Everyone has their path. Wish them all the best,” Stiller tweeted in response.

“Just speaking from experience, and I don’t know any of them, I would bet they all have faced challenges,” Stiller later added in a follow-up tweet.  “Different than those with no access to the industry. Show biz as we all know is pretty rough, and ultimately is a meritocracy.”

That prompted a barrage of comments implying the 55-year-old actor was denying the role of nepotism in Hollywood.

“I know Ben *Stiller* is not on this bird app calling Hollywood a meritocracy lmaoooooooo,” tweeted author Preeti Chhibber, while another follower added, “WRONG. Show business works off nepotism & access. It has NOTHING to do with merit.”

“Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara’s son would like you to know that Hollywood ‘ultimately is a meritocracy.’” wrote yet another.

 

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Check out Adam Driver, Lady Gaga and Jared Leto in the trailer for Ridley Scott's 'House of Gucci'

© 2021 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Academy Award-winning director Ridley Scott has unveiled the trailer for his much-anticipated new film, House of Gucci.

Adam Driver plays assassinated fashion mogul Maurizio Gucci, while an almost unrecognizable Jared Leto plays his cousin, Paulo, and Lady Gaga plays Maurizio's ex-wife, Patrizia Reggiani, who was convicted of arranging his murder. Maurizio was the grandson of the iconic label's founder, Guccio Gucci.

As Blondie's "Heart of Glass" floats in the background, Gaga says in an Italian accent, "It was a name that sounded so sweet... Synonymous with wealth, style, power. But that name was a curse, too."

The trailer shows Patricia and Maurizio's wedding, the trappings of the fabulous wealth that the House of Gucci accumulated and, ultimately, the family drama.

"You need to take out the trash," Gaga's Patrizia tells her husband.

"But they're my family," Driver's character protests. 

"So am I," the ambitious Patrizia replies. 

"You picked a real firecracker," Oscar-winner Leto's balding, bloated Paulo replies, rolling his R's in a way that would make any Italian language teacher proud.

As the trailer takes a dark turn, title cards flash on screen reading: "Money," "Family," "Power," "Betrayal," "Sex," "Loyalty," "Scandal," "Ambition" and, ultimately, "Murder."

After an assassin raises his pistol, the trailer cuts to Gaga's Patrizia in a stylish ski outfit, sipping an espresso by the slopes. "I don't consider myself an ethical person," she confesses. "But I am fair." 

In the final scene, she makes the sign of the cross, saying "Father, Son, and House of Gucci."

House of Gucci also stars Salma Hayek, and Oscar winners Al Pacino and Jeremy Irons.  It hits theaters November 24.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Dev Patel and Joel Edgerton say they were blown away by their new film 'The Green Knight'

L-R - Director David Lowery, Ralph Ineson, Dev Patel/A24

Today, the picturesque, trippy drama The Green Knight hits theaters. In the adaptation of the famed medieval tale Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, writer-director David Lowery has Slumdog Millionaire's Dev Patel playing Gawain, the nephew of King Arthur, who wants to prove himself to the king. 

To that end, when a mysterious, monstrous, truthfully Groot-like knight strides into the king's court and offers any worthy man a mysterious challenge, Gawain seizes his chance. 

His choice sends him on an epic quest of self-discovery, in which he encounters ghosts, bandits and a mysterious castle full of temptation, and ultimately finds out if he's worthy.

Patel and co-star Joel Edgerton, who plays a lord Gawain encounters on his quest, praised the Ghost Story director for bringing the haunting tale to life. "Everything is so considered in the film you know, down to every thread in that costume," Patel tells ABC Audio.

"You're part of this great visionary's composition, and every frame really was a painting. It's a process of submission in a way," he continues, adding with a laugh, "I trusted him so much that you kind of just submit yourself up to the experience and let a great director and the wilderness in Ireland do the rest of the dictating in a way."

Patel says of seeing the film for the first time, "My breath was taken away." 

Edgerton agrees. "I kind of blew my mind, actually," he notes. "I was expecting no less, but I got a lot more than I was expecting...It just feels like a constantly evolving painting."  

The Green Knight also stars Oscar winner Alicia VikanderErin Kellyman from The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, and Mission: Impossible series baddie Sean Harris.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


'Aquaman' producer confirms studio will not remove Amber Heard from sequel despite "pure fan pressure"

"Aquaman" -- Warner Bros. Pictures & © DC Comics

Following Amber Heard and Johnny Depp's contentious divorce battle, which unearthed unflattering accusations concerning them both, fans of the Aquaman franchise demanded the actress' removal from the upcoming sequel.  But don't hold your breath waiting for it to happen.

petition that was signed by over one million people said the actress needed to be removed because of previous allegations that she abused Depp during their marriage.

However, a producer of the upcoming Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom confirms Heard, 35, will not be cut from the movie and will reprise her role of Mera, the love interest of Jason Mamoa's Aquaman.

"I don’t think we’re ever going to react to, honestly, pure fan pressure," producer Peter Safran told Deadline about the backlash.  "You gotta do what’s best for the movie. We felt that if it’s [director] James Wan, and Jason Momoa, it should be Amber Heard. That’s really what it was."

Insisting that Heard is an integral part of the Aquaman franchise, Safran said, "One is not unaware of what is going on in the Twitter-verse, but that doesn’t mean you have to react to it or take it as gospel or accede to their wishes."

"You have to do what’s right for the film, and that’s really where we landed on it," he concluded.

Aquaman 2 is expected to premiere Christmas 2022.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Disney's 'Jungle Cruise' opens today

Disney/Frank Masi

The big-screen adaptation of Disney's iconic Jungle Cruise ride opens in theaters today. The film stars Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson as wise-cracking riverboat captain Frank Wolff, who is tasked with taking Emily Blunt's Dr. Lily Houghton into the heart of the Amazon so she can find a legendary tree with "unparalleled healing powers."

For Johnson, who was also a producer on the film, getting Quiet Place star Blunt in the film was key -- so important that he sent a personal video to her imploring her to join. "I said 'Emily, you are the only one who can do this movie,'" Johnson recalled at a recent press gathering of the cast. 

The pair's onscreen chemistry was evident during the sit-down, which was also attended by Jack Whitehall, who plays Blunt's onscreen brother, and Edgar Ramirez, who plays one of the heavies, Aguirre. Each took turns poking fun at Johnson and his video. "Jack can attest to this as a British person," Blunt laughed, "if someone comes on too strong...It's just better to go. 'OK, just tone it down.'"

Aside from busting Johnson's chops, Blunt admitted of the star, "We were pals for life immediately. It was like I knew when we met, we had this rapport that like ping pong back and forth so quickly and I just thought we could have a good time."

"It's very true," Johnson agreed. "And then, you know, you look you hope to get lucky, you know, with your cast and you like to try to have some chemistry and this and a lot of times you at times you fake it..."

Blunt quickly added, "He's been faking it for years," which cracked Johnson up, adding, "I have and I will continue to fake it. Big faker!"

Disney is the parent company of ABC News.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


'Ted Lasso' star Hannah Waddingham had jitters going into season two

Courtesy of Apple TV+

The second episode of Ted Lasso season two is out today, and Apple revealed earlier this week that last week’s premiere was the most watched of anything so far on Apple TV+’s impressive roster.

Hannah Waddingham, who plays Lasso's boss, Rebecca, tells ABC Audio why the news had her breathing a sigh of relief.

"I've never been so invested in something ever, of hoping that people who fell in love with it before will still be in love with it," she says. "It's crazy."

The fish-out-of-water comedy, which stars Jason Sudeikis as an incredibly chipper Southern U.S. college football coach who's hired to lead a mediocre English Premier League team, was recently nominated for 20 Emmy Awards. Waddington, reacting to the Emmy nods, explained why she thinks people are so obsessed with the show.

"I think everyone loves that it shows everyone… warts and all and the fact that everybody just wants to have hope and love in their lives and to find people that will think well of them,” says the 47-year-old British actress. "And even if somebody is having a bit of a s*** time, people will put their arm around you and go, you're being a s***, but here's how we're going to get out of it."

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


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