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SAG-aftra Member Meeting Draws Several Hundred as Strike Vote Looms

2 hours ago

With a possible strike authorization vote in the offing, several hundred SAG-aftra members have attended a closed-door meeting to receive an update on contract negotiations from their leaders.

The Wednesday evening gathering, held at the Sportsmen’s Lodge in Studio City, took place with the union just two days away from the expiration of its current three-year master contract. Union president Gabrielle Carteris, who’s heading the negotiating committee, greeted members as they signed in and union staffers were taping testimonials from members supporting the strike authorization.

The turnout was impressive, given that the meeting was first announced only three days earlier — on June 25 after the national board said it would seek a strike authorization vote from its membership unless a deal is reached by June 30. The two-hour meeting broke up at about 9 p.m.

“There was nothing but unity in the room,” said one member as he left.

The performers union said in a message to »


- Dave McNary

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‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ Red Carpet Premiere (Photos)

3 hours ago

A look on the carpet during the La premiere of “Spider-Man: Homecoming.”

Related storiesSpider-Man Freaks Out Starbucks Customers in Prank Video (Watch)'Transformers: The Last Knight' Once Again Tops Studios' TV Ad Spending'Spider-Man: Homecoming' Continues to Dominate Social Media »


- Jacob Bryant

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Film Review: ‘Becks’

4 hours ago

Becks” is the kind of modest, non-earthshaking indie enterprise that ends up being so satisfying mostly because it’s about a character type familiar from real life but all too under-represented at the movies. In this case, that’s a woman — played with consummate lived-in assurance by Broadway veteran Lena Hall — whose primary personality traits would be considered banally typical if she were a slacker-type dude, yet they can still seem exotic and frightening to some when they come in the form of a young lesbian.

A not-yet-successful musician who parties too hard, horndogs too much and seeks gainful employment too little, Becks (née Rebecca) might be a staple in any gay scene. Still, she remains a stubborn outsider in the hometown she’s been forced back to in Elizabeth Rohrbaugh and Daniel Powell’s narrative feature debut. What happens during her stay there is not particularly surprising or original, but »


- Dennis Harvey

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‘Beauty and the Beast’ Regains Top Spot on Disc Charts

5 hours ago

Walt Disney’s live-action “Beauty and the Beast” returned to the No. 1 spot on the national home video sales charts the week ended June 25, while newcomer “Life,” a science-fiction horror film from Sony Pictures, rode its $30 million domestic box office gross to a top five debut.

“Life,” about a group of astronauts who unwittingly return from Mars with a monster-in-waiting, debuted at No. 2 on the Npd VideoScan overall disc sales chart, which tracks combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc sales, and No. 4 on the dedicated Blu-ray Disc sales chart. Npd data shows it sold 96% as many units during the week as “Beauty and the Beast.”

The previous week’s top seller, “John Wick: Chapter 2,” from Lionsgate, slipped to No. 3 on the overall disc sales chart and No. 2 on the Blu-ray Disc chart.

The Lego Batman Movie” from Warner Bros., slipped to No. 4 on the overall disc sales chart and remained at No. 3 on »


- Thomas K. Arnold

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Chloe Bridges Joins Science-Fiction Movie ‘Skate God’ as Villain

5 hours ago

Daytime Divas” star Chloe Bridges has signed on to portray Azura, the villain in the dystopian science-fiction action film “Skate God,” Variety has learned exclusively.

Alexander Garcia will be directing “Skate God” from his own screenplay and producing under his Multi-Valence Productions along with Autumn Bailey Entertainment and Anne Stimac.

The story is set in a futuristic world and centers on a skater played by Luke Benward. He discovers he is a descendant of the Greek god Zephyrus and is thrust into a battle with a society led by Ryan Cooper (“Rough Night”) that wants to take over the outside earth. Celeste Desjardins will play the goddess love interest in the film.

Principal photography is scheduled for the fall in Oklahoma, where the film has been approved for a tax rebate. The film also stars Peter Fonda, Evan Ross, Osric Chau, Lauren Mayhew, Nathan Gamble, Gabriela Lopez, Daniel Pinder, Lolita Davidovich, and »


- Dave McNary

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Halle Berry on Her Oscar Win: It ‘Meant Nothing’ for Hollywood Diversity

6 hours ago

Halle Berry became the first black woman to win an Academy Award for best actress in 2002 for her performance in “Monster’s Ball.” Fifteen years later, and she’s still the only woman of color to receive the coveted award.

In a recent Teen Vogue interview at a panel at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, the actress divulged her thoughts on the Academy’s lack of diversity progress, most notably the 2016 Oscar nominations, which drew criticism for failing to represent nominees of color and sparked the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite.

“I sat there and I really thought, ‘Wow, that moment really meant nothing. It meant nothing. I thought it meant something, but I think it meant nothing,'” she said of her own historic win in light of the 2016 nominations.

Since her win, eight women of color have been nominated in the best-actress category.

Related

Academy Invites Record 774 New Members

“I was profoundly hurt by that, and »


- Rebecca Rubin

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Smith Global Media Buys Animated Movies ‘Gnome Alone,’ ‘Charming’

6 hours ago

Harry Smith’s fledgling Smith Global Media has bought distribution rights to the animated movies “Gnome Alone” and “Charming.”

Both films were financed and produced by 3Qu Media in association with Sc Films International and created in Cinesite’s Montreal studio. Both films were produced by John H. Williams (“Shrek”) and were executive produced by 3Qu Media’s Henry Skelsey, Jon Christianson and Jeremy Ross.

Variety first reported in  2014 that Williams was launching 3Qu as a specialist in CG-animated feature films for the international marketplace with “Charming” as its first film.

Charming” is set for a wide theatrical release in the second quarter of 2018. Voice cast includes Demi Lovato, Wilmer Valderrama, Ashley Tisdale, recording artists Sia and Avril Lavigne, Nia Vardalos, John Cleese and singer-songwriter G.E.M. The film was written and directed by Ross Venokur and centers on a young Prince (voiced by Valderrama) with an irresistible appeal and a maiden who wants him only for his »


- Dave McNary

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‘Deadpool 2’: Josh Brolin Teases Cable Transformation With New Photo

7 hours ago

Production for “Deadpool 2” is officially underway, and Josh Brolin is ready for his closeup.

The actor posted a photo on Instagram with a mold being taken of his face in transformation to become Cable, a time-traveling soldier.

“Insanity on the brink,” he captioned the picture. “Face is morphing into something machine, fierce, hair sliced, arm machined, bulged. Where is Deadpool?!? Looking. Looking. All I got are these two…molding me, prodding, turning me into something hard.”

Ryan Reynolds also shared a new photo from set Wednesday with “Hunt for the Wilderpeople’s” Julian Dennison on his back, who joins the cast for the superhero sequel.

The ensemble cast also includes Zazie Beetz, Leslie Uggams, and Jack Kesy. Reynolds is a producer on the film with writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, with Drew Goddard assisting and David Leitch co-directing.

Reynolds first teased production for the sequel on Instagram when they began shooting on Tuesday.

Deadpool 2 »


- Rebecca Rubin

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‘Ouija’ Director Stiles White Boards Supernatural Thriller ‘Forgotten’ (Exclusive)

8 hours ago

Ouija” director Stiles White has come on board the supernatural thriller “Forgotten” for Ld Entertainment, Variety has learned.

White will team with his spouse and writing partner Juliet Snowden to pen the script. Snowden is also executive producing.

“Forgotten” is an English-language adaptation of the 2012 German supernatural thriller “Du Hast Es Versprochen,” set on a remote island where two women reunite at a childhood vacation home. It explores themes of fear and friendship as the pair find themselves haunted by the ghost of a girl from their past.

Ld Entertainment will be financing. Producers are Mickey Liddell, Pete Shilaimon, and Jennifer Monroe of Ld Entertainment alongside Alison Rosenzweig and Michael Gaeta of Gaeta Rosenzweig Films.

White made his directing debut on 2014’s “Ouija,” helming from a script he co-wrote with Snowden. Produced by Jason Blum and Michael Bay, “Ouija” was a major financial success for Universal as it grossed more than $100 million worldwide on a $5 million budget »


- Dave McNary

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Spider-Man Freaks Out Starbucks Customers in Prank Video (Watch)

8 hours ago

Some unsuspecting Starbucks customers were in for a Spidey surprise when Spider-Man dropped from the ceiling to claim his grande cold brew.

The agency Thinkmodo — also behind the telekinetic coffee shop trick for “Carrie” — rigged the promotional prank for “Spider-Man: Homecoming.” In the video Spider-Man-suited stuntman Chris Silcox drops from the ceiling on wires while customers wait to pick up their orders, giving several of them quite the scare.

Related

Spider-Man: Homecoming’ Continues to Dominate Social Media

The video also features a cameo from Stan Lee, in keeping with Marvel’s inclusion of the comic book originator in all its films.

Spider-Man snaps a few selfies with the customers before heading out the door — after all, he can’t be late for school.

Spider-Man Homecoming” stars Tom Holland as the teenage superhero. Holland has made use of his new alter-ego several times by visiting children’s hospitals in his Spider-Man getup. He »


- Erin Nyren

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Russell Simmons Biopic ‘Life and Def: Sex Drugs Money + God’ in the Works

9 hours ago

Fox has launched development of a Russell Simmons biopic “Life and Def: Sex Drugs Money + God” with Simmons on board to produce.

The project will cover Simmons’ rise the inner city area of Queens to become a major impresario in the worlds of music, fashion, and TV. Fox has tapped Kenya Barris, the creator of ABC’s series “Black-ish” and co-writer of “Barbershop: The Next Cut” and “Girls Trip,” to write the script.

“Life and Def” will be a co-production between Simmons’ Def Pictures and Misher Films, with Simmons and Kevin Misher producing. Jake Stein, Bobby Shriver, Josh Bratman and Andy Berman are the exec producers.

Barris signed an overall deal with Fox in September for the development of feature projects through his production company, Khalabo Ink Society, aimed at telling compelling stories that pull back the curtain on the parts of our society that typically go unnoticed.

“Life and Def” will cover the rise of rap »


- Dave McNary

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Judge Dismisses Steven Mnuchin From Relativity Lender’s Fraud Suit

10 hours ago

A judge has once again rejected a lawsuit that accuses Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin of defrauding a lender while he was co-chair of Relativity Media.

Rka Film Financing sued Mnuchin in New York in February, alleging that he helped the struggling film company cheat the lender out of $80 million. Rka was essentially wiped out when Relativity declared bankruptcy in 2015. The financier has alleged that OneWest Bank — where Mnuchin served as chairman and CEO — emerged unscathed, recouping $50 million from Relativity shortly before the bankruptcy filing.

The lawsuit alleges that Mnuchin enjoyed a close personal relationship with Relativity CEO Ryan Kavanaugh, and was intimately aware of the company’s finances.

But in his ruling on Tuesday, Judge Charles Ramos found that Mnuchin had no relationship or fiduciary duty to Rka, and therefore cannot be held liable for fraud.

“Rka has yet to identify a specific factual misrepresentation made by Mnuchin to Rka,” Ramos wrote. »


- Gene Maddaus

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BFI Unveils £20 Million Plan to Attract 10,000 New Workers to U.K. Film Industry

10 hours ago

The British Film Institute has embarked on a £20 million ($26 million) project to attract the 10,000 workers it says the U.K. film industry desperately needs over the next five years to avoid an alarming skills shortage. Fueled by government tax breaks, the growth of the sector means there will be 30,000 new job opportunities in the U.K. film business during that time, the BFI said.

Lucasfilm is the first studio to sign up with the project, and has placed 28 trainees on its new Han Solo spinoff movie. The studio shot a special video about the trainees’ work on the movie, which was shown to reporters at a London news conference earlier this week.

“The U.K. film industry is one of our biggest success stories, and the films made here are loved by audiences around the world,” said Karen Bradley, the British government’s culture secretary. “For this to continue, we need to nurture and foster the next »


- Stewart Clarke

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Academy Invites Record 774 New Members

10 hours ago

The Academy announced on Wednesday that it’s inviting 774 new members — a record-breaking number.

It marks the second year in a row that the institution has broken its own record; last year, it set a new high-water mark by inviting 683 new members.

Among the high-profile actors newly invited to the Academy are “Wonder Woman” star Gal Gadot, “Moonlight” Oscar nominee Naomie Harris, Donald Glover, Chris Hemsworth, Riz Ahmed, Adam Driver, Dwayne Johnson, Priyanka Chopra, Leslie Jones, Betty White, Amy Poehler, Chris Pratt, Anna Faris, Margot Robbie, Channing Tatum, Kristen Stewart, Shailene Woodley, Ruth Negga, and Rupert Grint.

Courtesy of AMPAS

Directors invited to join the new class include “Moonlight” best-picture winner Barry Jenkins, “Get Out’s” Jordan Peele, “Suicide Squad’s” David Ayer, Theodore Melfi (“Hidden Figures”), and the Russo brothers (“Captain America: Civil War,” “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”).

The new class, representing 57 countries, is 39% female, the Academy notes. This marks an uptick from the previous 28%, and the 27% in 2016. Seven of the branches — actors, casting directors, costume designers, designers, documentary, executives, and film editors — invited more women than men this year.

Courtesy of AMPAS

Additionally, people of color make up 30% of the new class — a significant statistic following the #OscarsSoWhite protest that made waves in 2016. According to the Academy’s announcement, there has been a 331% increase of people of color invited to join the Academy from 2015-2017.

The Academy has vowed to make its membership better reflect the world demographics, after many years of criticism that women, racial minorities and international artists were under-represented. As a result, the number of new-member invitations has risen steadily.

Courtesy of AMPAS

For the years between 2004 and 2012, the average was 133. In 2013, that doubled, to 276; in 2014, it was 271. There was another big jump in 2015, when 322 invitations went out, and last year, when the Academy hit a record 683. As of January, there were 6,687 voting members of AMPAS. [ »


- Alex Stedman

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‘Bang! The Bert Berns Story’ Doc Headed to Apple Music

11 hours ago

Bang! The Bert Berns Story,” the documentary about “Twist and Shout” songwriter, producer and label pioneer Bert Berns and the music industry’s early entanglements with the mob, is headed to Apple Music in the fall. Brett Berns, the director and Bert Berns’ son, credits the platform with having “always been fair to the artist,” in announcing the exclusive pick-up.

Narrated by longtime Bruce Springsteen guitarist and “Sopranos” star and Steven Van Zandt, “Bang!” explores Berns’ close relationships with New York City wiseguys Carmine “Wassel” DeNoia and Tommy Eboli. The film features Van Morrison, Paul McCartney, Keith Richards, Ben E. King, Solomon Burke, and many more.

Related

Apple Music Hits 27 Million Subscribers

As Variety wrote in April, “It was a long time coming, but after a book, a musical, and a 2016 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the story of Bert Berns — genius songwriter, skilled producer and record label honcho — was a documentary that »


- Shirley Halperin

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‘The Beguiled’ Cast and Crew Participate in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s #Ham4All Challenge

11 hours ago

The cast and crew of Cannes film “The Beguiled” taped their own rendition of “Hamilton” song “The Schuyler Sisters,” carried predominantly by the film’s youngest cast members, as part of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s #Ham4All fundraising challenge.

The video features Emma Howard, Addison Riecke, and Angourie Rice as the three Schuyler sisters, with Oona Laurence taking on Aaron Burr, a role originated in the first production by Leslie Odom, Jr. Kirsten Dunst, Colin Farrell, Elle Fanning, Nicole Kidman, and director Sofia Coppola also make cameos, along with several members of the crew.

Related

Lin-Manuel Miranda Unveils ‘Immigrants’ Video for ‘Hamilton Mixtape’ Featuring Riz Ahmed, Daveed Diggs (Watch)

Filming for the challenge took place principally on the set of “The Beguiled,” although bits and pieces also took place offset, such as an intro portion that appears to be Laurence’s home. Howard also included a challenge to Ellen DeGeneres to participate.

The »


- Erin Nyren

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Beau Willimon Running Unopposed for WGA East Presidency

11 hours ago

House of Cards” creator Beau Willimon is running unopposed for the presidency of the Writers Guild of America East to succeed Michael Winship, who has opted not to run.

Willimon and five other incumbents won re-election to two-year terms for council seats last year. He was on the negotiating committee that reached an 11th hour deal with production companies on May 1.

“Should I be re-elected to Council, I plan to be very involved in the negotiating process,” he said last year. “Having worked for almost a decade with major film studios and having been at the forefront of launching streaming television, I have a unique on-the-ground perspective that I believe will be useful voice in making sure we remain strong as a union moving forward.”

Related

Inside the WGA-AMPTP Negotiating Room: Speeches, Strategies and Social Media That Averted a Strike

Incumbent Vice President Jeremy Pikser and Secretary-Treasurer Bob Schneider are also running unopposed.

The »


- Dave McNary

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Michelle Rodriguez Threatens to Leave ‘Fast and Furious’ Franchise if it Doesn’t ‘Show Some Love to Women’

12 hours ago

Michelle Rodriguez is, fittingly, furious with “The Fast and the Furious” franchise for not giving enough opportunities to women.

The actress threatened to leave behind her role as Letty Ortiz, the wife of Vin Diesel’s Dominic Toretto, if the series continues to limit its female roles.

“F8 is out digitally today,” she captioned her Instagram photo. “I hope they decide to show some love to the women of the franchise on the next one. Or I just might have to say goodbye to a loved franchise. It’s been a good ride & I’m grateful for the opportunity the fans & studio have provided over the years.”

Rodriguez, who has portrayed Letty in five of the eight installments, has previously pointed out that she’s had limited dialogue along with actress Jordana Brewster, who plays the sister of Dom, and other women who have joined the series.

Related

‘Fate of the Furious’ Crosses $1 Billion Milestone at International »


- Rebecca Rubin

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Film Review: ‘Dawson City: Frozen Time’

12 hours ago

When you see home-movie footage from, say, the 1940s, the images look old, but the people in them appear, more or less, to inhabit the same universe that we do. But when you see documentary footage from the late 19th century, it has an entirely different, slightly spooky not-of-this-world quality. Is it because of the primitive scratchy images? The more archaic visual-recording technology? No, it’s because the people in the images lack even a hint of the awareness of image-making technology. They have no media in their souls, and that marks them as pre-modern spirits.

Dawson City: Frozen Time” is a one-of-a-kind curio of a movie that captures, through a collage of photographs, silent documentary footage, and pre-talkie Hollywood film, the story of a Canadian mining town from the 1890s up through the early decades of the 20th century. But it’s really telling the story of the birth of the modern age, and »


- Owen Gleiberman

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‘Bad Moms Christmas’ Trailer: Mila Kunis, Kathryn Hahn, Kristen Bell Stress Out (Watch)

13 hours ago

Mila Kunis, Kathryn Hahn and Kristen Bell return as under-appreciated and overburdened women in the first trailer for Stx’s “A Bad Moms Christmas.”

The trailer launches to the strains of Andy Williams’s song “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” and then portrays the trio attempting to deal with the holiday frenzy.

“I feel like a giant stress ball,” muses Kunis as she grabs a beer with her female buddies at a shopping mall that’s dominated by holiday decorations and music. “Remember when the holidays were fun?”

Related

Film Review: ‘Bad Moms

Adding exponentially more anxiety to the holiday are Susan Sarandon, Christine Baranski and Cheryl Hines as the mothers of the bad moms — who all seem to have arrived without prior notice to their daughters. Baranski portrays the mother of Kunis’ Amy character; Hines is Bell’s mom and Sarandon is Hahn’s mother.

When »


- Dave McNary

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