Review Category : Entertainment

Michael Jackson, in 1993 Interview, Was “Horrified” by Thought of White Actor Portraying Him

Dave Hogan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — There’s been a lot of raised eyebrows over the news that British actor Joseph Fiennes, who’s white, has been cast as Michael Jackson in an upcoming British TV comedy about Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando. The plot concerns a rumored road trip that the unlikely trio made across the U.S. after they couldn’t get a plane back to California after the 9/11 attacks. While the King of Pop is no longer with us, there is proof that he wouldn’t be happy with the news.

In February of 1993, Michael sat down for a one-on-one interview with Oprah Winfrey, during which he said he was greatly upset by a rumor he wanted a white child to play him in a Pepsi commercial. “That is so stupid. That is the most ridiculous horrifying story I’ve ever heard. It’s crazy,” Michael told Oprah.

“I mean, why? Number one, it’s my face as a child in the commercial. Me, when I was little! Why would I want a white child to play me?” he continued. “I’m a black American. I’m proud to be a black American. I am proud of my race. I am proud of who I am. I have a lot of pride in who I am, and dignity.”

Comedian and actor Orlando Jones tweeted Wednesday, “I’m TOTALLY on board with Joseph Fiennes playing Michael Jackson IF AND ONLY IF Angela Bassett is cast as Elizabeth Taylor.” Bassett replied, “BRILLIANT! Ordered my violet contacts & bathed in White Diamonds this morning, so I’m READY! Let’s do this! xo! Ang.”

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“Batman v. Superman” Director Snyder Sought Christopher Nolan’s “Blessing”

Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures/TM & © DC Comics(NEW YORK) — There have been seven live-action Batman films since 1989, with three directors: Tim Burton, Joel Schumacher, and Christopher Nolan. Yet it’s been the most recent three movies — Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, starring Christian Bale in the title role — that have earned the most critical acclaim and revenue, defining the character on-screen for a new generation of fans. So perhaps it’s no surprise that the next big-screen Batman director felt the need for approval before taking on the task

In an interview with the U.K. movie magazine Empire, Zack Snyder reveals he sought Christopher Nolan’s “blessing” before undertaking Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. “You tell me if you don’t want me to do it,” Snyder recalls telling Nolan. “After a silence, Nolan said, ‘Well, we don’t own these characters. When you’re done making Batman movies, someone else will,'” Nolan replied.

Even so, says Snyder, Nolan, “Found it a little bit hard” to pass on the torch.

Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, starring Ben Affleck as Batman, Henry Cavill as Superman, and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, opens March 25.

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Tyra Banks and Photographer Boyfriend Welcome Son

Maarten de Boer/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Tyra Banks shared exciting news Wednesday evening. The supermodel told People magazine in a statement that she and her boyfriend, Norwegian photographer Erik Asla, have welcomed a son via gestational surrogate. Their child’s name is York Banks Asla.

“We are so excited for our new baby boy bundle of joy,” she said in the statement. “The journey to now has not been an easy process, as I’ve shared before. But there was a beautiful bright light at the end of the tunnel for me and his father, Erik.”

Alluding to her past struggles in conceiving a child, Banks, 42, added, “As I gaze into the beautiful eyes of my son, I think about all the people who struggle with fertility or carrying a child and continue to pray for them every day. My hopes and dreams are filled with well wishes that they get to feel what my little treasure, York Banks Asla, feels like in my arms.”

Banks also reflected on her new addition on Instagram, posting a photo of a baby’s hat.

“The best present we worked and prayed so hard for is finally here. He’s got my fingers and big eyes and his daddy Erik’s mouth and chin,” she wrote. “As we thank the angel of a woman that carried our miracle baby boy for us, we pray for everyone who struggles to reach this joyous milestone. York Banks Asla, welcome to the world.”

Banks and Erik Asla reportedly have been together for two years.

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Joseph Fiennes “Shocked” to Be Cast as Michael Jackson

Michael Tran/FilmMagic(NEW YORK) — Pundits didn’t know what to make of Joseph Fiennes being cast as Michael Jackson in an upcoming British TV movie. Though some were enthusiastic about the news, many argued that it was outrageous that a white actor would play the late King of Pop.

But nobody was more surprised than Fiennes, who was stunned to learn that he landed the role.

“I’m a white, middle-class guy from London,” he told Entertainment Tonight. “I’m as shocked as you may be.”

Fiennes, 45, will play the late Jackson in the upcoming movie Elizabeth, Michael and Marlon, which will broadcast in the U.K. The film focuses on a 2011 Vanity Fair story about Marlon Brando, Elizabeth Taylor and Jackson reportedly renting a car together in New York City on September 11, 2001, and taking a road trip. According to reports, Stockard Channing has been cast as Taylor and Brian Cox will play Brando.

“It’s kind of off the wall, but the writing is a delight, and the kind of interaction between the three of them is funny, and also full of pathos,” Fiennes told ET of the film. “It’s people who are so iconic, but also can be detached. You know, you can get detached from society. So it’s examining that kind of wonderful and mad detachment.”

“It’s a light comedy look,” he added. “It’s not in any way malicious. It’s actually endearing.”

According to Entertainment Weekly, Sky Arts, the channel behind the film, confirmed the casting in a statement and added the film will air later this year. The statement also addressed the diversity controversy.

“We believe in giving producers the creative freedom to cast roles as they wish, within the diversity framework which we have set,” the statement said.

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Channing Tatum Reveals How He Got Beyonce to Perform on “Lip Sync Battle”

Image courtesy Spike TV(NEW YORK) — When Beyonce stormed the stage on the season two premiere of Lip Sync Battle, surprising both viewers and contestants Channing Tatum and his wife, Jenna Dewan Tatum, the video went viral.

Still, no one was more shocked that he pulled it off than Tatum himself. On Thursday’s episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, the 35-year-old actor revealed how his collaboration with Bey happened.

“I had never met her before,” Tatum told host Ellen DeGeneres. “I won’t even tell you what I had to do to essentially get her assistant’s phone number.”

Tatum said when he got wind that his wife, against whom he was competing during the episode, planned to bring out Paula Abdul, he wanted to up the ante.

“I was like, ‘Hmm, who can I bring out?’ I know Beyonce’s not gonna come, so I wanted to bring, like, a cardboard cutout of Beyonce out just to be funny,” he explained. “Ultimately I ended up having to meet Beyonce doing Beyonce, and that was definitely the most terrifying thing I’ve ever done.”

Queen Bey joined Tatum onstage while he lip-synced her 2011 hit single “Run the World (Girls)” while in full costume, complete with a blond wig, crop top and thigh-high boots.

Tatum compared meeting Beyonce to Kevin Spacey’s near-mythical character from the 1995 film The Usual Suspects — Keyser Söze. “I don’t know if you guys know who that is, but you know she exists, but you never see her until all of a sudden you’re just like, ‘It happened. Wait, that was her, right?'” said Tatum. “And then you always know she’s somewhere in the world that can reach out and touch you.”

Beyonce didn’t stick around after the performance. “I said ‘Hi’ and she goes, ‘Hey, that was really funny. See ya!'” Tatum said, laughing. “But she did text afterwards and she was like, “Hey, I would love to meet you guys and hang out when you’re not looking like me and so terrifying.”

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ABC’s “Madoff” Reveals the Man Behind the Scam

Richard Dreyfuss in “Madoff”; ABC/Giovanni Rufino(NEW YORK) — February’s ABC Original Movie Event Madoff, which follows the rise and fall of the former investment advisor — and the subsequent fallout with his family, associates, and investors — stars Richard Dreyfuss as Bernie Madoff and Blythe Danner as the mastermind’s wife Ruth.

The miniseries explores the complicated family dynamics within the Madoff clan and exposes the motivations and mechanics behind the monumental fraud.

Madoff’s Ponzi scheme is considered to be the largest financial scam in United States history and dominated the headlines from 2008-2009, but the impact was global, losing billions of dollars for clients worldwide.

At the project’s red carpet premiere in New York City Wednesday night, director Raymond de Felitta describes it to ABC Radio as a modern-day Greek tragedy.

“It’s a man who destroys himself and destroys his family, and that was really the emotional core of that for me,” he explains.

According to di Felitta, the movie really came together when Dreyfuss signed on to play Madoff because, “Richard Dreyfuss is adorable. You can’t mistrust him. And, apparently, when you hear about people talk about Bernie, he was the same way…Everyone said he’s like the guy you met at your friend’s sister’s wedding. He was just this, and that’s what people trusted.”

Dreyfuss agrees, noting, “They say you know, one out of every four Americans is a sociopath. And if that’s true, then you’re not gonna be surprised that Bernie Madoff didn’t give a…about anything except was he satisfying his need.”

“And more people are like that than you’d care to know,” he adds.

Madoff airs February 2-3 at 8 p.m. Eastern time on ABC.

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President Obama Adds His Thoughts to Oscars Diversity Debate

Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images(WASHINGTON, D.C.) — President Obama weighed in Wednesday on the controversy over diversity in the Oscars during a series of wide-ranging interviews, saying that the debate is really “just an expression of this broader issue.”

The remarks were part of the latest installment of “Live from the White House” — a round of interviews with television anchors from Richmond, Philadelphia, Milwaukee, Salt Lake City, Denver, Los Angeles, and Oakland to discuss the Affordable Care Act. The cities were chosen for the interview series because they have large numbers of uninsured residents.

David Ono, from ABC-owned station KABC in Los Angeles, asked Obama about the controversy surrounding the Oscars and its lack of diverse nominees in the top categories.

“I think that California is an example of the incredible diversity of this country. That’s a strength. I think that when everyone’s story is told then that makes for better art,” Obama said.

“It makes for better entertainment, it makes everybody feel part of one American family, so I think as a whole the industry should do what every other industry should do, which is to look for talent, provide opportunity to everybody. And I think the Oscar debate is really just an expression of this broader issue. Are we making sure that everybody is getting a fair shot?” he added.

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Academy President: We Expect Oscars Host Chris Rock to “Go There” with Diversity Issue

ABC/Andrew Eccles(LOS ANGELES) — The president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences says Chris Rock didn’t consider pulling out as Oscars host in the wake of the diversity controversy, and she fully expects the comedian to tackle the issue during the ceremony.

Addressing the #OscarsSoWhite topic with The Hollywood Reporter, Cheryl Boone Isaacs says executives have “always known he was gonna go there.”

“We know who he is. He is a brilliant, brilliant, observant comedian and performer, and he is a brilliant host,” Boone Isaacs says. “And yes, we want him to, obviously, because way before this, our selection of Chris was to bring some edge and some fun and some funny — intelligent funny — to the telecast. So we know he’s going to do that.”

Will Smith and his wife Jada Pinkett Smith, plus Spike Lee, have said they will not attend the Oscars due to the lack of diversity in the nominees. This is the second consecutive year in which all of the acting nominees are white.

Last week, the Academy approved sweeping changes as part of an effort to improve diversity in its membership and in future Oscar nominations.

Boone Isaacs says the Academy addressed the matter quickly because it “could not be silent.

“And we had no reason to be silent,” she adds. “It isn’t a smart thing just to sit back and just sort of let the conversation get out of hand when it’s about you. At some point, you need to speak up.”

Boone Isaacs says the response to the changes has been “pretty positive”: [S]ome people I haven’t heard from before are saying, ‘Bravo, this is a great step forward, we’re proud of our Academy, we’re proud of our board.'”

Boone Isaacs and Academy CEO Dawn Hudson further discuss the diversity issue in the new issue of The Hollywood Reporter.

Rock will host the Oscars on February 28.

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“American Idol”: 200+ Contestants Gather for Hollywood Week

Michael Becker/FOX(HOLLYWOOD) — With the audition rounds now history, American Idol‘s 15th and final season kicked off Hollywood Week Wednesday with more than 200 hopefuls with golden tickets arriving at the Dolby Theater for another shot at impressing judges Keith Urban, Harry Connick, Jr. and Jennifer Lopez. It will be the end of the road for half of them.

The contestants took the stage in groups of 10, stepped up one-by-one and sang. After everyone in the group performed, the judges revealed who would advance in the competition and who would go home.

Hollywood Week kicked off with Jordan Sasser tackling Tori Kelly’s “Should’ve Been Us.” Dalton Rapattoni performed The Mamas and the Papas’ ”California Dreamin’” and Jaci Butler belted out Fall Out Boy’s “Centuries.” All three advance to the next round.

The next group included Jessica Cabral, who delivered a soulful version of Ed Sheeran’s “Photograph” and moved on to the next round. Melanie Tierce, who took on Kelly Clarkson’s ”Invincible,” and Sonika Vaid, however, were sent packing.

La Porsha Renae, singing a powerful version of Katy Perry’s “Roar,” advanced.

Day one ended with Harrison Cohen leading off the final group of singers with Andy Grammer’s ”Keep Your Head Up,” followed by Daniel Farmer with Bruno Mars’ ”Treasure” and Manny Torres tackling “Can’t Feel My Face” by The Weeknd. Farmer and Torres made the cut, while Cohen was eliminated.

Day two began with Jennifer telling the contestants that the previous day was a “good one,” but they made “a lot of cuts.” Keith tried to lighten things up by advising them to take a breath, take their time and “kill it.”

Jeneve Rose Mitchell, who grew up on a remote mountain in Crawford, Colorado, with no electricity or running water, was awed by her first time in Hollywood. However, she displayed some hometown pride with her version of Little Big Town’s “Boondocks,” playing the cello as she did. Mitchell advanced to the next round of the competition.

Gianna Isabella – the daughter of dance diva Brenda K. Starr — sang Jennifer Hudson’s ”One Night Only,” followed by Tristan McIntosh performing Carrie Underwood’s “Something in the Water.” Both moved on to the next round.

Contestants in the next group that moved on included Michelle Marie, who delivered a feisty version of Kelsea Ballerini’s ”Dibs.” However, Kyrsti Jewel — who was celebrating her birthday and noted what a great present it would be to advance to the next round – didn’t.

The day’s last group included Trent Harmon, who earlier was informed by his doctor that he had “full-blown” mononucleosis. He was determined to “push through it” anyway, in spite of a fever and shaking. It didn’t hinder his performance of Sam Smith’s “Lay Me Down.” Miranda “Poh” Scott, sister of Idol season-14 contestant Shi Scott, sang “Stay” by Rihanna and dedicated the performance to her sibling. Finally, Emily Brooke — who’s a returning contestant from last season — tackled Cassadee Pope’s ”I Wish I Could Break Your Heart.” All went through to the next round.

Hollywood Week continues Thursday on Fox at 8 p.m. Eastern time.

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Josh Gad Channels Donald Trump for Epic “Lip Sync Battle”

Video screen grab courtesy Spike TV(NEW YORK) — The Comedians star Josh Gad channels Donald Trump on the upcoming episode of Spike TV’s Lip Sync Battle.

Gad, dressed as the Republican presidential hopeful, sporting a bad wig and shorts made out of money, delivers a performance of the Divinyls’ 1991 hit, “I Touch Myself.”

The 34-year-old comic and actor also rides a Miley Cyrus-style wrecking ball, in a nod to her 2013 hit.

At the end of the performance, he brings out his opponent, The Big Bang Theory‘s Johnny Galecki, and the two kiss.

The episode airs Thursday on Spike TV.

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