Harvey Weinstein expelled from motion picture academy

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Harvey Weinstein, once one of the most powerful men in Hollywood, was expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences  Saturday amid a barrage of sexual harassment and sexual assault allegations going back decades. 

In a statement, the Academy, as it is commonly known, said “well in excess of the required two-thirds majority” of its members voted to oust Weinstein, the co-founder of Miramax and The Weinstein Company. 

“We do so not simply to separate ourselves from someone who does not merit the respect of his colleagues,” read the statement from the Academy’s Board of Governors, “but also to send a message that the era of willful ignorance and shameful complicity in sexually predatory behavior and workplace harassment in our industry is over.”

The Academy held an emergency session to discuss the allegations against Weinstein, which were reported by The New Yorker and The New York Times. 

The move by the Academy, the world’s top movie organization and home to the Oscars, is almost unprecedented.

Weinstein was ousted a week ago from The Weinstein Co., which now is struggling to survive this scandal.

He has denied the accusations.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
 

 

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Penelope Cruz opens up about her first nude scene at 18: ‘I was crying’

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Academy Award-winning actress Penelope Cruz revealed she was upset after filming her first nude scene at 18 years-old, afraid she would never work again.

Cruz, 43, who was featured on Esquire’s November magazine cover, told the publication about her nude scene for the 1992 film “Jamon Jamon.” The movie also featured her future husband, Javier Bardem.

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“I had a feeling the movie (‘Jamon, Jamon’) was going to be special,” Cruz told Esquire. “I knew the script was good. I knew there was something very unique there. Even if I had not seen many scripts before, it was so clear, it was so brave, so refreshing. And yes, it was very sexy.”

Actors Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem pose during a red carpet event for the movie "Loving Pablo" at the 74th Venice Film Festival in Venice, Italy September 6, 2017. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi - RC180663B800

Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem have been married since 2010.

 (Reuters)

She added, “I thought, ‘There is a character there, there is a style, the material is really good.’ Of course I was not looking forward to those scenes but I did it. Everyone was really respectful, aware of the fact that I was 18. I remember the last day of filming, I was crying, saying, ‘What if I never shoot a movie again?’ The feeling was devastating. ‘Who knows when I will see these people again?’ Including Javier.”

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Bardem gave an interview last year with the publication and recalled “Jamon, Jamon.”

“There was obvious chemistry between us,” Bardem said of Cruz. “I mean, it’s all there on film; it’s like a document of our passion. One day we’re going to have to show the kids — imagine! ‘Mummy, Daddy, what did you do in the movies together?’ Well, my children, you should celebrate this movie as you’re here because of it.”

Cruz’s cover of Esquire will be released on Oct. 17

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The Harvey Weinstein mess: What did people know and when did they know it?

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The more we learn about the magnitude of Harvey Weinstein’s gross mistreatment of women, the more unanswered questions surface about who knew about this, in journalism and in Hollywood, and why they didn’t do anything.

High on the list: NBC passing on what turned out to be the biggest entertainment scandal in at least a couple of years. And that information comes from none other than Ronan Farrow, a special NBC correspondent who wound up taking his well-documented exclusive to the New Yorker.

Rachel Maddow told Farrow on her MSNBC show that “the story wasn’t publishable” at the time he presented it to the network—which is reported to have been as recently as August.

“I walked into the door at the New Yorker with an explosively reportable piece that should have been public earlier,” Farrow said, “and immediately, obviously, the New Yorker recognized that, and it is not accurate to say that it was not reportable. In fact, there were multiple determinations that it was reportable at NBC.”

Good for Farrow, who is Mia Farrow’s son, for being so blunt. What that means is that someone in a high position at NBC overruled subordinates who thought the story should air.

Farrow has numerous women on the record, and three of them say that Weinstein raped them (he strongly denies all the allegations in a statement).

NBC News President Noah Oppenheim told his staff yesterday:

“Ronan, who was not working for us exclusively, began reporting on that story for NBC. We are proud of that. We launched him on that story, we encouraged him to report that story … The notion that we would try to cover for a powerful person is deeply offensive to all of us.”

He added: “We reached a point over the summer, where as an organization, we didn’t feel that we had all the elements that we needed to air it … Suffice to say, the stunning story, the incredible story that we all read yesterday, was not the story that we were looking at when we made our judgment several months ago.”

But it’s hard to imagine that all the women suddenly agreed to allow their names to be used in the few weeks before the New Yorker went to press.

And we do know that Farrow had a chilling audiotape months ago, when he was still working the story for NBC. In a New York police sting, we hear Weinstein trying to badger an Italian model into coming into his hotel room, and admitting it when she says he groped her breast the day before. That in itself should have been a story for NBC.

It’s hard to ignore the fact that Weinstein’s company had business relationships with NBC Universal and NBC’s Bravo channel. Or that he was a big-time Hollywood liberal and Democratic donor.

The Daily Beast says that “at least eight women claiming to have been sexually harassed, abused, or assaulted by Weinstein had agreed to go on camera—most of them anonymously in shadow, but two alleged victims with their names and faces. A third alleged victim was willing to allow her name to be used, but not her on-camera image.”

Now that Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow, Heather Graham and Rosanna Arquette—these are just the more famous names—are telling stories of how Weinstein tried to take advantage of them, more evidence is emerging of how many staffers at his companies knew of this behavior and helped Harvey set up the meetings. Farrow’s piece even described a “honeypot” scenario in which women would be lured to “meetings” with the boss, only to be left alone with him.

And with a number of journalists now saying that Weinstein’s conduct was an open secret in movie and media circles, the question remains why almost none of this made it to publication.

One possible factor is Weinstein’s widely reported technique of using leaks to retaliate against his critics and those who cross him.

As Washington Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan reports:

“Just last week, as a blockbuster New York Times story on Weinstein moved toward publication, negative information about one of Weinstein’s accusers was offered to a Washington Post reporter. The timing could, of course, be coincidental, but seems suspicious and tracks with Weinstein’s well-known practices. (The Post had begun checking into it when The Times story, naming the accuser, was published.)”

Now that Weinstein is radioactive and out of power, everyone who didn’t speak out is feeling free to pile on. But there’s no way his conduct should have remained such a secret for so long.

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Bruce Willis will reprise ‘Die Hard’ role in series’ sixth installment

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Actor Bruce Willis arrives on the red carpet for “Tony Bennett Celebrates 90: The Best Is Yet to Come” at the legendary Radio City Music Hall in New York, U.S., September 15, 2016. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz - S1BEUBNGTUAA

Bruce Willis has signed on to reprise his role as police detective John McClane in the next “Die Hard” movie.

 (Reuters)

Bruce Willis has signed on to reprise his role as police detective John McClane in the sixth movie of the “Die Hard” franchise.

Len Wiseman, who has signed on to direct the last installment of the series, said the newest film would depict McClane’s past and present as a cop, Deadline reported.

A part of the movie would show McClane as a young cop working in New York City in the 1970’s. Wiseman said they have started casting for the role of young McClane.

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“The right casting for this role is crucial. Those bare feet have some very big shoes to fill,” Wiseman told Deadline, referring to Willis’ being barefoot in the first film in the series.

The other part of the movie would be set in the present with Willis reprising his role as McClane.

The last movie in the franchise, “A Good Day to Die Hard,” released in 2013, received negative reviews and was not a success at U.S. box offices but did well in the overseas market, The Telegraph reported.

In 2010, Willis told Showbiz Spy that he would retire from the series after the sixth movie.

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“In the next few years they could easily find a replacement for me or call the character someone else. But for me, I want to do Die Hard 5, then one final Die Hard movie — Die Hard 6 — before finally hanging that white vest up for good.”

“At the moment, I can run and I can fight on screen. But there will come a time when I no longer want to do that. That’s when I’ll step away from the Die Hard films.”

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‘Game of Thrones’ musical cameos: From Ed Sheeran to Coldplay

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Ed Sheeran made waves – and drew online scorn – for his cameo on the season 7 premiere of “Game of Thrones” in July – but he’s far from the first musician to appear on the program.

From Mastodon to Coldplay, here are some of the famous musicians who have been seen on the hit fantasy show. Spoilers below. 

Snow Patrol singer Gary Lightbody

Lightbody popped up in the show’s third season, a few years after the Snow Patrol song “Chasing Cars” hit number 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2006.

He appeared among a group of men on horseback singing “The Bear and the Maiden Fair” who escort prisoners Jaime Lannister and Brienne of Tarth in “Walk of Punishment,” which aired in April 2013, Time noted.

Lightbody tweeted a photo of his “Game of Thrones” costume back in 2012.  “Can’t say much just it’s no pivotal role. Fun!” he wrote at the time.

Coldplay drummer Will Champion

One of the British rock band’s members, Will Champion, also turned up in the third season, when he was seen banging a drum at Edmure Tully’s ill-fated wedding, in the episode titled “The Rains of Castamere.”

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Sigur Rós

The Icelandic band played musicians during the wedding between King Joffrey and Margaery Tyrell in the fourth season. Their performance of the song “The Rains of Castamere” is cut short by Joffrey, who throws coins and yells, “Off you go!”

Band member Georg Holm said in a statement to Rolling Stone, “The meanest person in television history, King Joffrey, is played by the sweetest guy Jack Gleeson. It was a brilliant ‘hurry up and wait’ time for us and we would do it again in a heartbeat.”

Mastodon

In the season five episode “Hardhome,” members of American metal band Mastodon had cameos. 

Band member Brann Dailor told Pitchfork that “to be wildlings murdered and then brought back to life by White Walkers was beyond amazing.”

“I watched my best friends Brent [Hinds] and Bill [Kelliher], murdered right in front of me as I myself was stabbed in the stomach and had my throat slit multiple times, and I didn’t mind at all,” he said.

Dailor also popped up in the seventh season premiere. “You guys! I was on TV last night!!” he wrote on Instagram, sharing a video grab of his appearance.

Dailor, Hinds, and Kelliher all appeared in the seventh season finale, “The Dragon and the Wolf,” as wights in an undead army, the Independent reported.

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Ed Sheeran

Sheeran played a singing Lannister soldier in the season seven premiere, titled “Dragonstone.” Sheeran was cast to surprise “Game of Thrones” actress Maisie Williams, who is a fan of the musician, the Daily Beast reported.

“Dragonstone” director Jeremy Podeswa told the publication of Sheeran, “He is a lovely person; he’s really down-to-earth. If you didn’t know that he was a pop star or an entertainer of any kind, you would think he’s just one of the guys.”

Sheeran has shared several photos showing him in costume, including a photo of him with Williams and Podeswa. 

Bastille

Band member Kyle Simmons and Bastille’s tour manager Dick Meredith also had visible cameos in the seventh season finale as part of the undead army, the Independent reported. The remainder of the band may have been in the background or cut, it said.

Bastille lead singer Dan Smith posted a photo of the band in costume on Twitter Wednesday, saying, “This was a fun day.”

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Mark Hamill shares new image from ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi,’ talks losing Carrie Fisher

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Mark Hamill is about to get a big push back into the “Star Wars” limelight thanks to the upcoming, and inevitable, hype surrounding “The Last Jedi.” Now, a new image has dropped teasing his character’s return and he’s opening up about the bitter-sweet return.

Fans of the “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” will remember that Hamill was announced to return to the franchise along with co-stars Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford. While his old friends played major roles in the movie, the Luke Skywalker role was reserved for more of a cameo. However, he’s going to return in a big way, and fans now have their first taste of what he’ll look like in the movie – and it’s pretty dark.

Hamill posted an image from a Hungarian magazine called Cinemania Mozimania. On the cover, he can be seen in full “Star Wars” costume in a dark jedi suit. His expression is serious and somewhat vacant.

There’s a lot of mystery surrounding Luke, as not much is known about what he did between the end of the original trilogy and the beginning of “The Force Awakens.” It will all be covered in “The Last Jedi,” but Hamill admits he had his reservations.

“A thing that felt maybe wrong about coming back was the fact that the original trilogy had a beginning, a middle and an end. But there’s two ways of looking at that,” he said. “On the one hand, it had closure. But if you look at it another way, it’s the story of how Luke went from becoming a farm boy to a Jedi and then the story ends. It would be like telling the story of how James Bond got his license to kill and became 007, and the story ends.”

All fans know about Luke Skywalker from “The Force Awakens” is that he trained the villain Kylo Ren. Since then, he was living in exile until Rey found him and returned his lightsaber. Now, despite his reservations, Hamill is excited to show fans the story of what Luke did with his status as a Jedi master and pass the torch to the new generation.

“Luke changed, I think, more than the other characters in the original trilogy, from callow farm boy to a Jedi in training to finally a Jedi master. What you’re talking about is what really fascinated me. Between ‘Return of the Jedi’ and ‘Force Awakens,’ there’s just decades of history that’s unknown. So I was wondering how they’re going to handle all this,” he said. “Now, obviously, with “Force Awakens,” J.J. (Abrams) had a full plate. It was inevitable that they would push me down the line. I was sorry I wasn’t able to work with any of the original actors again. But it’s not about us anymore.”

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Hamill’s role being that of a cameo in “The Force Awakens” helped draw fan’s attention, but it also made it so that he couldn’t work with Ford or Fisher. Now, Ford’s character left the franchise and Fisher died earlier this year, something Hamill feels is a hurdle that the cast, crew and fans need to jump ahead of “The Last Jedi” release in December.

“It is different. She was irreplaceable. There can never be a proper reunion anymore. It’s tragic. I hate that it adds an air of melancholy to the film because it doesn’t deserve it,” he said. “I know for a fact she would obviously want us to be having fun. She was all about laughter and enjoying the moment. We’re all sort of having this communal period of grief. In a way, it sort of reflects the movies themselves, which were about triumphs and tragedies. They are about a family — a dysfunctional family, but a family nonetheless.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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‘Hellboy’ actor leaves role after whitewashing accusations

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With so many people conscious of ensuring there’s inclusiveness in film and TV, some in the business are taking big strides to ensure it happens. Following accusations of Hollywood “whitewashing,” one actor has decided to reject his casting in the upcoming “Hellboy” movie so that someone “appropriate” can be put in his place.

Controversy arose last week when “Deadpool” actor Ed Skrein joined the cast of the upcoming reboot “Hellboy: Rise of the Blood Queen.” The character rose to fame thanks to the Guillermo del Toro movies that came out several years ago. However, the character is based on Mike Mignola’s comic books. Skrein was cast as the comic book character Ben Daimio, who is a Japanese-American in the written source material. Soon, many in the Asian-American community accused Skrein and the producers of Hellboy of giving the role to a white man instead of a worthy Japanese-American. Now, the actor seems to have sided with his critics and announced that he’s stepping down from the role.

“I accepted the role unaware that the character in the original comics was of mixed Asian heritage. There has been intense conversation and understandable upset since that announcement, and I must do what I feel is right,” Skrein wrote in a statement on social media. “It is clear that representing this character in a culturally accurate way holds significance for people, and that to neglect this responsibility would continue a worrying tendency to obscure ethnic minority stories and voices in the Arts. I feel it is important to honour and respect that. Therefore I have decided to step down so the role can be cast appropriately.”

According to Deadline, there seems to be no hard feelings between Skrein and the studio. Producers Larry Gordon and Lloyd Levin made a statement to the outlet saying, “Ed came to us and felt very strongly about this. We fully support his unselfish decision. It was not our intent to be insensitive to issues of authenticity and ethnicity, and we will look to recast the part with an actor more consistent with the character in the source material.”

There’s currently no word on who will replace Skrein in the role of Daimio.

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‘Wonder Woman’ director fires back at James Cameron’s ‘step backwards’ comment

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“Wonder Woman” director Patty Jenkins fired back at “Titanic” director James Cameron’s contentious statement calling her movie “a step backwards” for female leads.

Jenkins tweeted on Thursday: “James Cameron’s inability to understand what Wonder Woman is, or stands for, to women all over the world is unsurprising as, though he is a great filmmaker, he is not a woman.”

“Strong women are great. His praise for my film ‘Monster,’ and our portrayal of a strong yet damaged woman was so appreciated,” Jenkins continued.

JAMES CAMERON CALLS ‘WONDER WOMAN’ A STEP BACKWARDS FOR WOMEN IN HOLLYWOOD

“But if women have to always be hard, tough and troubled to be strong, and we aren’t free to be multidimensional or celebrate an icon of women everywhere because she is attractive and loving, then we haven’t come very far have we. I believe women can and should be EVERYTHING just like male lead characters should be. There is no right and wrong kind of powerful woman. And the massive female audience who made the film a hit it is, can surely choose and judge their own icons of progress,” Jenkins’ statement said.

Jenkins has signed on to write the sequel to “Wonder Woman.”

In an interview with The Guardian, Cameron said that he was not impressed with the summer blockbuster.

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“All of the self-congratulatory back-patting Hollywood’s been doing over Wonder Woman has been so misguided,” Cameron said. “She’s an objectified icon, and it’s just male Hollywood doing the same old thing! I’m not saying I didn’t like the movie but, to me, it’s a step backwards.”

Cameron said Sarah Connor, from the “Terminator” franchise set a better example for female leading characters in movies than “Wonder Woman.”

“Sarah Connor was not a beauty icon. She was strong, she was troubled, she was a terrible mother, and she earned the respect of the audience through pure grit,” Cameron said. “And to me, (the benefit of characters like Sarah) is so obvious. I mean, half the audience is female!”

Despite his criticism, “Wonder Woman” went on to gross more than $400 million domestically, according to Box Office Mojo

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‘This Is Us’ directors to make Joker and Harley Quinn film

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The directors of “This Is Us” are said to be in the final stages of creating a film focusing on Batman villains Harley Quinn and the Joker.

Directors and executive producers Glenn Ficarra and John Requa are signed on to pen the untitled project, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

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Jared Leto and Margot Robbie who played the murdering duo in last year’s “Suicide Squad” are said to be reprising their roles for the movie.

The movie is set to be released after the sequel of “Suicide Squad,” an insider told The Hollywood Reporter.

The film, characterized as “a criminal love story” will feature the two costumed villains trapped in “an insane and twisted love story,” a source told The Hollywood Reporter. “’When Harry Met Sally’ on Benzedrine,” the source added.

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On top of the “Suicide Squad” sequel and Harley Quinn and Joker movie, a movie featuring only the Joker is also said to be in the works. It was not immediately clear if Leto would depict the Joker in that film.

Ficarra and Requa are also credited with directing “Crazy, Stupid, Love” and “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.”

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Movie money circulating as real in Pennsylvania town

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Movie prop money is being passed as though it’s real in one western Pennsylvania city.

Aliquippa police have posted pictures of a fake $20 bill that was passed at a local business.

Although the bill looks convincingly real otherwise, there is one dead giveaway: The words “Motion Picture Use Only” are printed clearly on the front and back of the bill in question.

Police haven’t said if they know where the money came from or who passed it.

It is not against the law to use real U.S. currency in movies and TV shows. But producers of such shows often use fake bills so they don’t have to concern themselves with theft or loss, especially when large sums of money appear on screen.

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