Entertainment Headlines

Alex Panagopoulos - Courtesy of Netflix(LOS ANGELES) -- They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but in the case of a famous one -- an illustration of a brave little teddy bear wielding a wooden sword to protect a sleeping child -- it's worth turning into a movie.

Greek fantasy artist Alex Panagopoulos' illustration, which shows the little bear defending his young owner from a toothy monster as the little girl sleeps, has become grist for a Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson-produced family adventure for Netflix called Teddy and the Guardians of the Night.

Seven Bucks Productions President of Production Hiram Garcia first noticed the picture years ago, and it sparked the idea for the project. 

"In Teddy and the Guardians of the Night, stuffed teddy bears from around the world secretly come to life in order to protect children everywhere from all the things that go bump in the night," according to Netflix.

"From the moment I saw Alex’s incredible drawing, I knew there was something special there that our global audiences could respond to," Garcia said in a statement. "We’re excited to add to our growing slate with Netflix and share this story with the world."

Johnson's company, co-founded with partner Dany Garcia, has co-produced projects for the big and small screens, like their latest Young Rock on NBC, the Jumanji movies, and Disney's upcoming Jungle Cruise -- as well as high-profile content for Netflix including Red Notice, which will also star the former wrestling star and Ryan Reynolds and Gal Gadot.

Evan Almighty writing team Bobby Florsheim and Josh Stolberg are re-writing the script, based on a screenplay by Luke Passmore.

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

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Shane Mahood/USA Network(LOS ANGELES) -- Ahead of Oprah's much-hyped sit-down with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry on Sunday, the Duchess of Sussex's former Suits love interest, Patrick J. Adams is coming to her defense. 

Markle was recently accused of bullying by former Royal aides, in what some, including Adams, think was royal revenge for the Oprah tell-all. 

For his part, Adams was having none of it. In a lengthy Twitter chain, the actor let Buckingham Palace have it, claiming, "It's OBSCENE that the Royal Family, whose newest member is currently GROWING INSIDE OF HER, is promoting and amplifying accusations of 'bullying.'"

"Meghan Markle and I spent the better part of a decade working together on Suits," the actor continued, claiming he was "sickened" by, "endless racist, slanderous, clickbaiting vitriol spewed in her direction from all manner of media across the UK and the world."

He added of his friend, "She fell in love, moved to a new country, became a household name across the entire globe and began the difficult work of trying to find her place in a family dynamic that can at best be described as complicated and at worst, seemingly archaic and toxic."

Adams said, "IMO [in my opinion], this newest chapter and it's timing is just another stunning example of the shamelessness of an institution that has outlived its relevance, is way overdrawn on credibility and apparently bankrupt of decency."

He warned the haters, "Meghan [is] stronger than people realized or understood and they would regret underestimating her."

Oprah with Meghan and Harry airs at 8 p.m. Eastern time Sunday on CBS.

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

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Marc Piasecki/GC Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Kim Kardashian is the latest celebrity to come out in support of Britney Spears after watching the New York Times unauthorized documentary, Framing Britney Spears.

In her Instagram Stories Friday, the reality star said after watching the doc, she felt “empathy” for the pop singer and related it to her own experiences with tabloids and the paparazzi.

"The way the media played a big role in her life the way it did can be very traumatizing and it can really break even the strongest person," Kim writes. "No matter how public someone's life may seem, no one deserves to be treated with such cruelty or judgment for entertainment."

Kim goes on to reference a time in her life when she felt similarly mistreated by the media -- when she was pregnant with her first child, North, and gained 60 pounds due to preeclampsia.

"I was shamed on a weekly basis with cover stories that made my insecurities so painful I couldn't leave the house for months after,” she says. “It really broke me."

She adds that she was able to ultimately turn her feelings into motivation, but that it took a toll on her mentally. Kim concludes by encouraging everyone to show "understanding and compassion."

"You just never fully know what someone is going through behind the scenes and I've learned through my own experiences that it's always better to lead with kindness," she writes.

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

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Anthony Russo - AppleTV (NEW YORK) -- After spending the better part of a decade keeping secrets for their Marvel Studios projects, including two Captain America movies and Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame, directors Joe and Anthony Russo say they were clueless about WandaVision

And they tell ABC Audio that's exactly how they like it.

"It's been a great joy, to be honest with you, for Joe and I to be fans again," Anthony Russo admits.

"For seven years it was our responsibility to figure out where we were, where the [MCU] story was going next. And now, you know, with Endgame, we got to lay that down."

He explains, "And I think that's allowed us to become fans again."

Anthony adds, "So, yeah, I've been thoroughly enjoying WandaVision, watching it with my 14-year-old daughter and having no more knowledge than she does about what's going to happen or why."  

The Russo Bros.' latest film is the gritty drug drama Cherry, starring Tom Holland. It's in theaters and hits Apple TV next Friday.

The finale of WandaVision is now streaming on Disney .

Disney is the parent company of ABC News.

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

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Courtesy of Amazon Studios(NEW YORK) -- It took Eddie Murphy roughly three decades to do Coming 2 America, the sequel to his 1988 hit comedy. Looking ahead, Murphy tells ABC Audio that fans won't have to wait so long for another installment.

"We have a story for part three of this movie that would be really funny and clever, but... I have to be seventy-five," he jokes. "I'm dead serious. Sixteen years and we'll do part three."

While Murphy, who reprises his role as Prince Akeem, promises it will take half the time to put out another Coming to America, he shares that the Queens barbers won't be in the film because no one would ever believe they're "still alive."

However, one character that will be back is Murphy's infamous "Sexual Chocolate" band leader -- Randy Watson. 

"He'll be terribly old and I'll be 75," he quips. Murphy's co-star Arsenio Hall laughs, adding that the potential sequel will have "Morgan Freeman playing [Eddie's] son." 

Jokes aside, some of the cast are seriously contemplating the third installment.

"It would [be] so awesome to just be in the market and watch Zamundan locals," says Nomzamo Mbatha, who plays royal groomer Mirembe. "Because that's how you're going to get all the drama and all the comedy as well. It would be funny to see Eddie and Arsenio as locals."

Jermaine Fowler, who plays Prince Akeem's long lost son, agrees, adding he'd also love to see a story around Kiki Layne's character Princess Meeka.

"Her character has so much depth there that I would love to see what the third Coming to America would look like for her," he says. "I think they built such a beautiful foundation for all of these characters and you can go anywhere with them."

Coming 2 America is now available on Amazon Prime.

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

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Walt Disney Television/Yolanda Perez(NEW YORK) -- Alec Baldwin, who perhaps should know by now to stay off social media, has deleted his Twitter account for a fifth time, after he was flamed for seemingly shading Golden Globe-winning star of The Crown, Gillian Anderson. 

Baldwin retweeted a CNN story about Anderson's accent; while she is American, she was raised both in the States and the U.K., and not only can perform a flawless British accent as a result, but occasionally drifts into it during overseas interviews.

When she accepted her Golden Globe via remote last week, some on Twitter were surprised to hear The Crown's Margaret Thatcher speaking with her normal American accent.

Baldwin snarked in a now-deleted post, "Switching accents ? That sounds…fascinating," obviously referring to his wife Hilaria's Spanish accent swapping flap -- the outcry over which, of course, led her to come forward to explain she is both white and hails from Boston, not Mallorca, as had been repeatedly reported. 

The response to Baldwin's tweet earned him another rake over the online coals, with fans coming to Anderson's defense, and taking renewed swipes at Hilaria's cultural appropriation fiasco.

One said, "At least she ACTUALLY lived in both the US and England! It would make sense.....um....and she is an actor. Your wife lived in Boston her whole life and took a vacation or two in Spain. Comparing apples to how do you say..." following that with a cucumber emjoi -- the vegetable Mrs. Baldwin insisted she couldn't remember the English name for during a Today show cooking segment.

Baldwin explained his decision to leave Twitter yet again, during a mid-drive Instagram post.

"Of course you can't do any irony on Twitter," Baldwin said. "Of course you can't do any irony in the United States anymore, it's such an uptight...unpleasant place right now." 

Baldwin insisted he's a "huge, huge fan" of Anderson's -- without mentioning her name. He also lamented "haters" on Twitter, saying the social media platform, "is one-third interesting posts...one-third..puerile nonsense...and then it's one-third, or more, of abject hatred and malice."  

Earlier this week, Baldwin's posting a family Instagram post -- featuring the couple's new baby, to which he captioned "mi vida" -- also sparked online snark.

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

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ABC(LONDON) -- While there are secrets in the finale of WandaVision, which just dropped today -- and which we won't reveal -- star Paul Bettany admits hype over an earth-shaking cameo in the last episodes was on him. 

Quite literally. 

Last month, he told the Black Girl Nerds podcast, "There's stuff that I can't talk to you about, where I get to work with an actor that's going to be a surprise for everybody. I get to work with an actor that I've been wanting to work with forever, who is just unbelievable. We have some real fireworks together."

Naturally, the hints got fans guessing. Would it be Doctor Strange? Professor Xavier from the X-Men films? 

But on Thursday, Bettany told Good Morning America that the "secret" cameo amounted to Bettany working with...himself: an alternate version of Vision seen in the show's penultimate episode. 

"You know when you think something is going to be funny, and you say it? And then you actually panic about it? Because that's what I did," a slightly embarrassed Bettany admitted to GMA via a remote interview.

He added, "Fans started guessing about who it might be, and they were guessing people like Benedict Cumberbatch or Patrick Stewart. And I was thinking, '...that’s a good idea!' And they’re going to be so disappointed when they find out it's me!"

When pushed for some actual tea on the finale, Bettany flexed his trolling muscles again, by saying he'd love to spill secrets -- only to freeze on camera, pretending his Internet service was dodgy.

The Marvel movie veteran wouldn't answer various fan theories about the finale, responding to each of Michael Strahan's questions with "Hmmm" -- except one. When pressed whether Vision would "survive the finale," Bettany allowed, "Well, my bank manager certainly hopes so," cracking up the GMA team. 

By Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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ABC/Paul Hebert(LOS ANGELES) -- Following Chris Harrison's apology Thursday on ABC's Good Morning America for comments he made in defense of current Bachelor contestant Rachael Kirkconnell, former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay is reportedly ready to forgive the franchise's embattled host.

Following the interview, Lindsay told TMZ that she has accepted Harrison's apology "because it's what [she] needs to do to move forward with [her] life."

Rachel tells the gossip website that she and Chris haven't spoken directly since his GMA interview, but she watched it.

Kirkconnell's past social media posts showed her "liking" a photo containing a Confederate flag, as well as photos of her attending an "Old South" plantation-themed party in 2018.

Harrison found himself at the center of a controversy, when, in a February 9 interview with Lindsay on Extra, he claimed that Kirkconnell was a victim of cancel culture.

In his GMA interview with Michael Strahan, Harrison walked back the comments, saying, "Antebellum parties are not O.K. Past, present, future, knowing what that represents is unacceptable."

Harrison, who previously announced he was "stepping away" from The Bachelor, also made it clear he wants to return to show next season.

TMZ cites "sources close to Rachel" as saying she doesn't believe it's up to her to decide when he's ready to come back, suggesting the final decision rests with him and the franchise.

In the meantime, author and TV personality Emmanuel Acho has been announced as Harrison's "After the Final Rose" replacement, which airs March 15.

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

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Billy Porter in "Pose" - FX(NEW YORK) -- Pose is returning for a third and final season on May 2, co-creator and executive producer Steven Canals announced Friday on Good Morning America. The series finale will air June 6.

"It was a very difficult decision for us to make, but this has been an incredible journey and we have told the story that we wanted to tell the way that we wanted to tell it," Canals told GMA.

"I, along with my incredible collaborators, never intended on changing the television landscape. I simply wanted to tell an honest story about family, resilience and love."

The FX series, created by Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Canals, premiered in June 2018 and followed a group of queer and transgender people of color in the ballroom scene of New York City in the late 1980s and early 1990s at the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

"To go from the beginning of my career in the late '90s when it was nearly impossible to get an LGBTQ character on television to Pose -- which will go down in history for having the largest LGBTQ cast of all time -- is a truly full circle moment for me," he said.

"Pose" made history for having the largest cast of trans actors -- all of whom were women of color -- including Rodriguez, Dominique Jackson, Indya Moore Angelica Ross and Hailie Sahar. Also, part of the main cast is made up of cisgender actors of color who identify as queer, including Billy Porter, Ryan Jamaal Swain and Dyllón Burnside.

Trans talent has also been featured behind the camera, as Janet Mock has directed and either written or co-written numerous episodes. Our Lady J has also written or co-written several episodes to date. The two also serve as producers on the series.

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

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"A Quiet Place Part II" -- Jonny Cournoyer/Copyright © 2019 Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved(NEW YORK) -- The COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the movie industry.

Deadline reports Paramount has changed the release date for A Quiet Place Part II to May 28, marking the fifth change for the movie's opening.

Paramount originally scheduled the sequel for March 20, 2020. From there it was pushed to September 4, 2020, then April 2021 and, finally, September 17.

The first installment of A Quiet Place was a major hit for Paramount in 2018, delivering $188 million here in the states and over $340 million worldwide.

Meanwhile, Universal Pictures has also delayed the the theatrical release dates for two of its blockbusters

The ninth installment in the Fast & Furious franchise, slated for a May 28 release, won't hit theaters until June 25.  Despite New York City reopening theaters on Friday and Los Angeles expected to follow suit in the near future, Universal is waiting for overseas markets to lift restrictions, in hopes of having the film opening as many markets as possible, according to the entertainment website.

The Fast & Furious franchise has made over $5 billion around the world.

Additionally, Minions: The Rise of Gru, set to open July 2, will now open a year later on July 1, 2022.

Minions has been the studio's most profitable franchise.  The four films have have combined for more than $3.7 billion worldwide.

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

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Disney /Marvel Studios(LOS ANGELES) -- Do not adjust your set...No, it wasn't chaos magic, it was traffic -- a lot of traffic -- that caused Disney servers to crash upon today's debut of the WandaVision finale. 

The ninth and final episode of the Marvel Cinematic Universe spin-off caused major spikes in streaming that caused outages on the platform, mostly on the West Coast, where new episodes run at midnight. 

The Marvel Studios show stars Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany, playing respectively, Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch and her android love Vision, who find themselves living life in an artificial reality of American sitcoms -- a projection Olsen's witchy character concocted to deal with her grief of losing him at the climax of Avengers: Infinity War.

The penultimate episode had Kathryn Hahn, formerly the odd couple's nosy neighbor, revealing herself as Agatha Harkness, a legitimate witch from the pages of Marvel Comics who seeks Wanda's power -- and who in the show actually names her Scarlet Witch for the first time.

Disney is the parent company of ABC News.

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

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Walt Disney Animation Studio(NEW YORK) -- Like millions of others during the pandemic, actress Kelly Marie Tran was able to work from home -- though her work was voicing the title role in Disney's new animated film Raya and the Last Dragon. She did so while barricaded in a makeshift voice-over booth that she describes to ABC Audio as "very glamorous makeshift [pillow] fort."

Tran adds that she felt a little bit less nervous about the role because she was able to do it from home.

"I think there's always a little bit of nerves when you go into something like this, just recognizing how much bigger it is than you are and how much legacy these sort of movies come with," she tells ABC Audio. "But, yeah, it was both a blessing and a curse to be able to not leave your house to do the job -- but then also to have to deal with, y'know, Internet cutting out and the sound of construction happening outside."

In the movie, Tran's character Raya seeks out Sisu, the last dragon, who has the power to defeat an ancient menace that laid waste to Raya's fictional home of Kumandra.

While fictional, Kumandra is reminiscent of Southeast Asia, and the cast -- including Akwafina, Sandra Oh, The Good Doctor star and producer Daniel Dae-Kim, and Dr. Strange star Benedict Wong -- shows the diversity of Asian talent.

The film also displays that diversity by using food as a literal melting pot to drive home a key point.

"Food plays such a big part in this movie...it can symbolize communities and how we can come together and bring the best parts of ourselves to make something delicious," Tran laughs.  

The film opens today in theaters and is available On Demand on Disney . 

Disney is the parent company of ABC News.

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

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Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images, Christopher Polk/NBC/NBCUniversal via Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- The Framing Britney Spears documentary has people reexamining how the media treated female celebrities -- especially Britney Spears and Paris Hilton, who were openly ridiculed by the press and their peers. 

Hilton recently opened up on her This Is Paris podcast about one incident in particular that made her want "to die," which was the 2007 MTV Movie Awards, which were hosted by comedian Sarah Silverman.

To backtrack, the award show happened when Hilton was sentenced to 45 days in jail for violating probation, of which Silverman dragged her over during the opening monologue.

On Thursday, Silverman agreed that what she did was wrong and apologized for what she put Hilton through.

"I do not apologize if I'm not sorry.  But I do apologize when I am sorry," the 50-year-old opened on The Sarah Silverman Podcast

Reflecting on what happened 14-years ago, the Wreck It Ralph star continued, "While I was thrilled at the success of my monologue, I remember spotting her in the audience."

Silverman, who claims she didn't know Paris was there, continued, "I remember seeing that look on her face and my heart sank. There was a person under there."

"Here I am, 14 years later, telling you, Paris, that I am really sorry," she said."We can't change the past. So what's crucial is that we change with the times."

Silverman added that she hopes Paris will "accept my apology" and "feel my remorse."

Hilton has since reached out to Silverman to admit she was "shocked" by the "unexpected" apology, saying in a surprise This Is Paris episode Thursday, "I really just appreciate it so much."

"I know where she's coming from," the heiress furthered. "I'm glad that her comedy has grown and she realizes that it's not nice to make fun of people."

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

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Courtesy of Netflix(LOS ANGELES) -- Kevin Hart's new movie, Fatherhood, has officially landed at Netflix. 

On Thursday, the comedian and actor shared the exciting news about his new film, which will be handled by Barack and Michelle Obama's company, Higher Ground Productions.

"So excited to announce that my new drama, Fatherhood, will be released on @netflix on June 18th right before Father’s Day. This is a passion project. "The movie is amazing," wrote Kevin in the caption on Instagram. "It gave me an opportunity to change the narrative on the "Black Father" stereotype.

"As a Black father I pride myself on trying to be as present as possible in my kids lives," wrote the husband and father-of-five. "I’m not the only Black father that does this....there are so many of us. Seeing a film like Fatherhood is important as hell. I am also happy to be partnering with President Barack Obama & his wife Michelle Obama’s production company Higher Ground Productions. This is HUGE!"

Netflix acquired the rights for Fatherhood from Sony Pictures, who pushed the release of the film back several times due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the feature film is based on Matthew Logelin's book, Two Kisses for Maddy: A Memoir of Loss & Love. It focuses on a man who loses his wife soon after childbirth and who must now raise his newborn child on his own. 

Alfre Woodard, Lil Rel Howery, DeWanda Wise, Paul Reiser, as well as kid star Melody Hurd will star in the Paul Weitz-directed film.

Kevin Hart's Fatherhood arrives June 18th on Netflix.

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

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Courtesy Mulholland Distilling(LOS ANGELES) -- With celebrities like George Clooney, The Rock, Ryan Reynolds -- and yes, much to the chagrin of Kardashian critics -- Kylie Jenner getting into the alcoholic beverage business, you might think that Justified vet Walton Goggins' Mulholland Distilling is just another Hollywood-affiliated booze brand. 

But the actor, photographer, Oscar-winning producer and spirits entrepreneur takes it seriously.

He tells ABC Audio plainly, "This is not a celebrity co-branding thing."

"During Justified, because the consumption of whiskey was such an integral part of that [show], I was approached about kind of getting involved in certain things and it just didn't feel right," he admits. "I felt like I was selling something."

Instead, he and his friend, cinematographer Matthew Alper, sought to do something different with the Los Angeles-based Mulholland Distilling. They wanted to create, "a spirit brand that truly represents who we are."

Now, five years on, their wine and spirits brand is going national. "We started out of the trunk of our car, you know, selling wine and spirits. And now we're in 125 restaurants in Los Angeles and every Whole Foods, BevMo! in the state. And we're about to expand to 20 other states. And we're doing it because we love it!"

The Shield veteran and current star of The Unicorn says, "I've had the good fortune of traveling all over the world. And the first thing that I do whenever I get out of town is find my little bar...I get to know their names and it's just a little home away from home. And it's a way to unwind: one drink or one glass of wine after a long day of work."

Goggins says, "For me, sharing a drink with someone, it's just a gateway to vulnerability. And that's all it's ever been for me, is a conversation. And that's what I look for in my life. And that's what I look for in front of the camera. And that's what I look for when the cameras aren't rolling."

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

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