Entertainment Headlines

Photo credit: Takashi Seida(NEW YORK) -- Golden Globe winner Andra Day isn't taking award show season lightly.

Considering her dramatic transformation in becoming the renowned Jazz singer Billie Holiday -- which included a 40-pound-weight loss -- Day tells ABC Audio that to be recognized in Hollywood for her portrayal would be "amazing."

"It was a huge reward for me to be on set with [director] Lee Daniels, with Trevante [Rhodes], with Garrett Hedlund, with Tyler James Williams, with all of my cast," she says. "These are gargantuan talents and people with even greater integrity. [So] it would be great. It would be such a blessing and I would be grateful for it."

The "blessing" of winning didn't take long for the "Rise Up" singer when she took home the Best Actress Award in a Motion Picture – Drama at Sunday night's Golden Globes. Day says being honored for her moving depiction of Holiday makes her job as an actress all "worth it." 

"It was worth it to just sort of put our bodies through," Day explains. "Everything we put our bodies through on set. And the not sleeping, and the stress of whatever time, and budgets, and trying to honor her legacy."

Daniels quickly interjects, telling Day that they did honor Holiday's legacy with the film.

"We did Andra, we did," he notes. "And I think that the most important thing we did was that the truth was finally told."

"And it's not going to be Lady Sings the Blues, which we loved, but it's not going to be there anymore. We now know what happened with Billie Holiday in The United States [vs. Billie Holiday]," he adds.

The United States vs Billie Holiday is available to stream on Hulu.

By Candice Williams
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Disney(LOS ANGELES) -- On Friday, Star Wars actress Kelly Marie Tran will be heard voicing the heroic warrior Raya in Disney's Raya and the Last Dragon.

The film is already winning praise for its stunning visuals and strong representation of the Asian community.  While its setting, Kumandra, is fictional, its world is based on Southeast Asia, and brought to life by an all-Asian main cast, including Tran, Marvel movie veterans Benedict Wong, and Gemma Chan, Emmy-winner Sandra Oh, The Good Doctor star and producer Daniel Dae-Kim, and Awkwafina. 

The role of Raya puts Tran firmly in the running to score something of a pop-culture Triple Crown: Like Mandalorian and Mulan star Ming-Na Wen, Tran has now appeared both in the Star Wars universe and a Disney movie. 

So if she can nab a role in a Marvel property, like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. veteran Ming-Na did, she'd be in a very exclusive club indeed. 

Tran was tickled at the Triple Crown potential, but certainly wasn't ruling it out to ABC Audio. Putting her hands on her heart when she heard Ming-Na's name mentioned, Tran gushed, "We'll see. I hope to have a long career ahead of me, and, obviously, all hail Ming-Na Wen!" 

She then made a "We're not worthy" gesture and called the actress one of her personal role models.

And as for that Triple Crown, Tran laughed, "I hope to join her!" 

Raya and the Last Dragon premieres March 5 in theaters and on Disney .

Disney is the parent company of ABC News.

By Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


STX Films/Graham Bartholomew(NEW YORK) -- Fresh off Jodie Foster’s Best Supporting Actress Golden Globe win for The Mauritanian on Sunday, the film hits Video On Demand today.

It follows the true story of Mohamedou Ould Salahi, played by Tahar Rahim, a man held without charges in Guantanamo Bay who fights for his freedom with the help of his dedicated lawyer, Nancy Hollander, played by Foster.

Rahim, who was also nominated for a Golden Globe for his role, tells ABC Audio he put himself through a strict diet and other grueling measures to physically and mentally prepare for some of the more challenging scenes where Mohamedou is tortured while imprisoned. 

“[Director] Kevin [Macdonald] was a bit worried and he came to me like, ’Hey, calm down. You know, it's all good, we have it.’” Rahim recalls of his deep dive into the character. “I'm like, ‘Don't worry, I know what I'm doing, but I need this to, you know, to bring authenticity to my part, to you, to the audience and of course, to Mohamedou."

The whole cast was inspired by Mohamedou’s story of resilience and wanted to do his story justice.

“I think a real lesson that Mohamedou has to give to all of us is that in the face of this kind of fear and terror, the best option is to become more human, not less,” Foster says. 

So what was the real Mohamedou’s reaction to seeing the darkest times in his life play out on screen?

“He said, ‘Oh, man, thank you. What a great story and a great job. Thank you so much. People will know that Mauritania exists now!’” Rahim laughs. “That was a joke, of course.”  

The Mauritanian, also starring Shailene Woodley and Benedict Cumberbatch, previously hit theaters February 12.

By Andrea Tuccillo
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


ABC/Arturo Holmes(LOS ANGELES) -- Spike Lee and HBO have teamed up to produce a new documentary chronicling the historical events of September 11, 2001 and COVID-19. 

According to Variety, the film will follow "the life, loss and survival of New York residents over the twenty years since the terrorist attacks on the original World Trade Center complex." 

As director and producer, the Emmy-winning Lee said he's "proud" to share another Spike Lee film about his home state. 

"As a New Yawker who bleeds orange and blue (the colors of New York City), I’m proud to have a ‘Spike Lee Joint’ about how our/my city dealt with being the epicenters of 9/11 and COVID-19. With over 200 interviews, we dig deep into what makes NYC the greatest city on this God’s earth and also the diverse citizens who make it so," said Lee in a statement. "You will lose ya money betting against New York, New York. And dat’s da truth, Ruth. Be Safe. Peace And Love."

The multi-part film will debut later this year on HBO and HBO Max, offering an "unprecedented, sweeping portrait of New Yorkers as they rebuild and rebound, from a devastating terrorist attack through the ongoing global pandemic." 

By Rachel George
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


YANN COATSALIOU/AFP via Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Paris Hilton used Monday's episode of her podcast This Is Paris to speak out about a 2007 interview she did with David Letterman, then host of CBS' The Late Show, in which she felt he intentionally set out to humiliate her.

Hilton claims Letterman's public relations team had been after her to appear on the show, but she "kept saying no."  She finally agreed in order to promote a new fragrance she had coming out -- providing he promised not to bring up her time in jail for violating probation in an alcohol-related reckless driving case.

"There was not supposed to be one question [about the sentence], and then he just kept pushing me and pushing me and I was just getting so uncomfortable, and I was so upset," she continued. "It was like he was just purposely trying to humiliate me."

"It was just very cruel and very mean," she said.  "After it ended, I just looked at him, and I said, 'I am never coming on this show again.  You've crossed the line.'  I didn’t tell him off because I’m not that type of person, but I got angry."

Hilton insisted Letterman would have a harder time getting away with that interview if it happened today.

"It's such a different world now," she says.

Hilton she eventually did return to Letterman's show after he profusely apologized.  She said their next interview was "so much better."

By George Costantino
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


NBCUniversal(NEW YORK) -- Since it could be argued that some of the cringey technical glitches from Sunday night's Golden Globes belonged on America's Funniest Home Videos, it's ironic the telecast apparently got beat in the ratings by the family-friendly show on ABC. 

The bug-filled NBC awards show hosted by Tina Fey in New York, and Amy Poehler in Los Angeles, and co-starring a host of technical issues, attracted 5.42 million viewers, according to early numbers quoted by The Hollywood Reporter

By comparison, 2020's Golden Globes telecast attracted more than 18 million viewers, the trade says.

According to the trade, it's the lowest audience for the Globes since 2008, when a writer's strike left it little more than a press conference where the winners' names were read.

By Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Comic-Con International(SAN DIEGO) -- (NOTE LANGUAGE) Like last year, San Diego Comic-Con will be virtual again, in light of the coronavirus pandemic, the event's organizers have announced.

In a posting on its official website, the organizers noted, "While we are buoyed by the...growing number of individuals being inoculated, it appears that July will still be too early to safely hold an in-person event of the magnitude of Comic-Con."

The organizers continue to say they're postponing the convention as an in-person gathering until 2022.

They also noted that, "the challenges of this past year and the multiple postponements of our two largest events have left us with limited financial resources," which have reduced the normally four-day, in person event to a three-day online one, spanning July 23-25, 2021.

For those who have never been, comic conventions -- particularly major ones like San Diego's and New York's -- combine many no-no's of the "new normal": Hundreds of thousands of people crammed in close proximity, sweaty cosplayers, and celebrities pressing flesh with autograph seekers. 

"I think those are going to be one of the last things to come back full force," Spawn creator Todd McFarlane tells ABC Audio.

McFarlane, one of the most famous comic artists in the world, adds, "I don't know if I'm going to the first convention [after COVID]. Who's going to that? People vaccinated and people don't give a sh**. I don't know if I want to be in that room," he admits. 

"Think about a [movie] theater: like everybody's stationary, even at a football game or something like that. For the most part...they're pretty stationary. But man, convention is just mosh pit going by. It's like a packed airport."

McFarlane also sympathizes with fans, saying "it must be super frustrating." The die-hard baseball fan notes, "[I]f I don't go see the Arizona Cardinals and with my own two eyes, I feel pretty satisfied watching them on TV... But I think a lot of people go to the conventions for the interaction with some of their peers. And other people will come for the TV and movie celebrities to see them with their own two eyes up close. You can see them on a screen, and Zoom, but it's not like, 'Oh, my God, I went to the bathroom, I guess who was there!'"

By Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Walt Disney Television/Yolanda Perez(NEW YORK) -- If you're keeping count, Hilaria and Alec Baldwin have just welcomed their sixth child. 

However, if you're really keeping count, you'll know that they just welcomed their fifth child back in September. 

Baldwin posted to Instagram a picture of his bilingual Bostonian wife laying down with their growing brood, including the new bundle of joy, whose name is not known, as well as four month old Eduardo "Edu" Pao Lucas, Romeo Alejandro David, 2½, four year-old Leonardo Ángel Charles, Rafael Thomas, 5½, and 7-year-old Carmen Gabriela.

Alec is also dad to 25-year-old daughter Ireland, which would be why the post was captioned with a "7." 

The Baldwins' last child was born in September, and the new bundle of joy is obviously not a preemie, according to the photo.

It's not known whether the new addition was born via surrogate or adopted, and a rep for Mrs. Baldwin didn't respond to a request for comment as of press time.

By Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Anthony Mandler(LOS ANGELES) -- While Nick Jonas is very busy these days, there's one particular iron he doesn't have in the fire anymore.

Nick was set to star in the action thriller The Blacksmith, which would have featured him as a Jason Bourne-meets-MacGyver character: A weapons expert for intelligence agencies who must go on the run with only his "unique set of skills" to protect him.   However, according to the Hollywood Reporter, he's now dropped out of the project due to scheduling problems.

Because the start of shooting has been delayed, Nick couldn't fit the movie into his schedule, the head of the movie studio producing the film told The Hollywood Reporter.

"Nick, as you can imagine, has a lot of other commitments, with his acting and his music," explained CEO Stuart Ford. "Under normal circumstances, he could fly in and out, go to do things over the weekend, and come back to set Monday. But in a COVID environment, that doesn't work."

Ford notes that Nick would "have to stay in the same place for three months," adding, "With a star like Nick Jonas, it became borderline impossible to make the schedule work." The part will now be re-cast.

In other Nick Jonas news, he's releasing another new song, "This Is Heaven," on March 4, following its debut on Saturday Night Live.  His solo album Spaceman is due March 12.  Meanwhile, his new sci-fi movie Chaos Walking is out Friday.

By Andrea Dresdale
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


ABC/Rick Rowell(LOS ANGELES) -- Wonder Woman star Gal Gadot is pregnant with her third child, the Israeli-born actress announced Monday.

"Here we go again," she wrote on social media alongside a photo of her family -- including husband Yaron Varsano and daughters Alma, 9, and Maya, who turns 4 later this month -- with their hands resting on her stomach.

Gadot, who married Varsano in 2008, previously welcomed Alma in Nov. 2011 and Maya in March 2017, just months before the first Wonder Woman film was released.

While promoting its sequel, Wonder Woman 1984, this past December, the Justice League star, 35, opened up about her daughters visiting her on the set.

"It was great. It was really, really great. First of all, it was a very familiar environment for them. They know the cast, they know Patty, they know Patty's family," she told Good Morning America at the time. "It felt like a second home for all of us. But at the end of the day, they come and they see me work, you know?"

In the same interview, Gadot recalled Maya's priceless reaction to seeing the trailer for the Wonder Woman sequel for the first time.

"She said, 'Oh my god, [mother in Hebrew], you can fly?!' Then you have to explain it's not for real," she said with a laugh. "But they're very excited and they're very proud."

By Carson Blackwelder
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Apple TV (LOS ANGELES) -- Marvel Studios' Avengers: Endgame was the highest-grossing movie of all time, making more than $2.79 billion at the global box office.  The 2019 film was such a hit that even recordings of packed theater reactions to the movie's scenes went viral.  However, that was the "before times." 

Now, with the pandemic, more than half of movie houses in the U.S. are still shuttered, yet millions of movie fans are hungry to experience something like that again. YouTube comments show fans are re-watching the reaction videos now, just to remember what it was like.

Two lifelong movie fans who can't wait to get back to theaters are Joe and Anthony Russo. The siblings directed Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Civil War, of course, Avengers: Infinity War and the climactic Endgame.

"I do think that it's going to swing back hard," Joe tells ABC Audio. "I mean, any time something is withheld and then you get an opportunity to do it, you're going to do it a lot. And you look at the Chinese box office [where theaters are open]: from a week and a half ago, [it] broke all their records."  

Looking back on the in-theater reactions to their films, Joe says, "We never been in a theater...with that much energy...[even at] the movies that we loved as children. It became, he says, "a global communal event."

He added, "[E]veryone wanted to vocalize and participate...and cheer and gasp and jump up and down: We'd never seen anything like that."

"And I hope we get to experience that again in another film that...we haven't directed," Joe notes. "That we can just be fans of and sit and enjoy with everyone else."  

Joe and Anthony Russo's new film, the drama Cherry, debuts on Apple TV on March 12.

Marvel Studios is owned by Disney, the parent company of ABC News.

By Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


ABC/Mike Rosenthal(LOS ANGELES) -- Grey's Anatomy star Ellen Pompeo is flirting with a future without the long-running medical drama in her life.

The 51-year-old actress appeared on CBS Sunday Morning where the conversation gravitated toward her starring role as Doctor Meredith Grey and her future with the series.  The show's pilot aired on March 27, 2005 on ABC, which makes it television's longest-running medical drama.

It is currently unknown if the show will continue beyond its 17th season or if it is getting ready to hang up the scrubs and say goodbye to Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital once and for all.

When pressed for answers, the acclaimed actress insisted, "I can't say. Can't say."

"We honestly have not decided. We're really trying to figure it out right now," added Pompeo, who insisted that the show has to end on a high note -- which is an extremely daunting task given its 16-year run. "To end a show this iconic, how do we do it? I just want to make sure we do this character and this show and the fans -- I want to make sure we do it right."

Pompeo, who is one of television's highest paid actors, also admitted that she's been kept in the dark about her character's fate.

When asked if Meredith is alive or dead after being infected with COVID-19, the actress attested, "We don't know."

Despite not knowing how her story ends on Grey's Anatomy, Pompeo isn't sweating about what happens after the show wraps for good.

"Well, I can do anything I want. Or not do anything at all," she laughed.

Grey's Anatomy returns Thursday, March 11 at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.

By Megan Stone
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures & © DC Comics(LOS ANGELES) -- Rumors are swirling that Amber Heard has been fired from Aquaman 2, but the situation is something like an underwater mission in the Hudson River: murky. 

The 34-year-old actress stars as Mera, the protagonist's main love interest.

Australian entertainment site SausageRoll was first to report that Heard was quietly dismissed from the movie and that her exit was fueled by health concerns and not by her ongoing legal battles against ex-husband Johnny Depp.

For their part, fans of Depp have been burning up Twitter, with the hashtag #FireAmberHeard trending occasionally since it was revealed in court that she allegedly abused Depp.

The court case, which alleged abuse on both sides of the rocky marriage, led Depp to step away from Warner Bros. Fantastic Beasts threequel. Hannibal and Doctor Strange actor Mads Mikkelsen eventually replaced him.

The abuse allegations against Heard also sparked a petition demanding her removal, of which over 1.8 million people have signed. 

In Heard's stead, it was reported that Emilia Clarke would take over the role and reunite with her Game of Thrones co-star Jason Momoa, who stars as the King of Atlantis.

However, a journalist for The Hollywood Reporter journalist cast doubt on the report and tweeted out Sunday, "Told by a reliable source that reports of Amber Heard being fired off 'Aquaman 2' are inaccurate."

Aquaman 2 is expected to hit theaters by Christmas 2022.

By Megan Stone and Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


NBCUniversal(LOS ANGELES) -- Tonight, The Voice returns to NBC for an incredible 20th season, kicking off as usual with the Blind Auditions. Kelly Clarkson, back for another round as a coach, believes the Blinds -- where the contestants sing without the coaches seeing them -- is the reason the show has lasted for 10 years.

"The Blinds...really does make it about the voice," says Kelly. "I think sometimes we can't remember a time before Auto Tune or just listening to really great singers...people that really move you and don't need help from anything else: It's just their God-given gift. And the Blinds really supports that."

Kelly also thinks the fact that the contestants are mentored by the coaches is another unique aspect of the show -- and something she wishes she could have had on American Idol.

"It would have been a really cool thing to have someone in the industry, helping me on my way," she explains. "That would have really...boosted my confidence. So I love that we get to do that for people."

But Nick Jonas, who's returned to join Kelly, Blake Shelton and John Legend as a coach, believes the show's longevity is down to something else.

"It's really hopeful, it's incredibly wholesome, and it makes you feel good when you watch it," he explains, adding, "It's just one of those shows that means a lot to people, and the longer it's on TV, the more they love it."

This season, Nick, who says "I'm here to win," believes John Legend is his biggest competition. But Kelly Clarkson admits he's caused her to lose out on some promising contestants.

"It is funny when you turn around and it's a young girl and you're up against Nick Jonas," she laughs. "You're like, 'So...I am losing here!'"

By Andrea Dresdale
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures(LOS ANGELES) -- With more than half of the nation's movie theaters closed because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the newly released Tom and Jerry performed surprisingly well in the box office this weekend.

The hybrid live action and animated children's movie raked in $13.7 million in its opening weekend -- officially earning the second-best opening weekend behind Wonder Woman 1984 since the onset of the global pandemic.  That movie took in a $16.7 million haul opening weekend.

Tenant and The Croods: A New Age earned roughly $9.5 million on their respective opening weekends -- the only other two movies to come close to Tom and Jerry's opening number.

Tom and Jerry opened in 2,475 North American theaters -- which is 42 percent of the nation's theaters -- in addition to being available now for streaming on HBO Max.

In addition, the children's movie earned $25.1 million in the international box office, bringing its global haul to $38.8 million.

The movie, which stars Chloë Grace Moretz -- could serve as a barometer for next week's box office, as another major animated movie is expected to hit theaters March 5 -- Disney's Raya and the Last Dragon.

Slipping into second place this week was The Croods: A New Age, earning an additional $1.2 million across 1,912 venues.  To date, the movie has raked in $52 million.

In third was The Little Things, starring Denzel Washington, Jared Leto and Rami Malek.  The thriller, now in its fifth week of release, made $925,000 in 1,853 locations.

Wonder Woman 1984 hovered in fourth with a grand total of  $710,000 in 1,538 theaters while Liam Neeson's The Marksman rounded the top five with $700,000.

Wonder Woman has earned $43.6 million during its box office run while The Marksman has tallied $12.3 million.

By Megan Stone
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


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