An actress who has appeared in TV hits The Walking Dead and The Vampire Diaries has been sentenced to 18 years behind bars for sending ricin-laced letters to U.S. President Barack Obama and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Shannon Rogers Richardson pleaded guilty to the crime in December (13), six months after she was arrested for sending three 'poisoned' notes to Obama, Bloomberg and his colleague Mark Glaze, threatening harm if they continued to push for tougher gun control laws.
The highly-toxic substance, which can cause death, caused minor injuries to one mail clerk, but the letters never made it to her intended targets.
The 36 year old, also known as Shannon Guess Richardson, appeared in a federal court in Texarkana, Texas on Wednesday (16Jul14), when she used the opportunity to apologise to her victims, stating, "I never intended to hurt anyone."
Richardson was ordered to spend the next 18 years in a federal prison. Once completed, she must also spend five years on supervised release and pay $367,000 (£215,882) in restitution.
She had initially blamed her estranged husband Nathaniel Richardson for sending the letters. He filed for divorce last year (Jun13).
Bryan Cranston, Neil Patrick Harris, Chris O'dowd and Stephen Fry are among the big-name TV stars nominated for top prizes at the 2014 Tony Awards. Breaking Bad star Cranston is up for the Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play trophy for his turn in All The Way, which is also nominated in the Best Play category at the awards, held to honour the year's best Broadway performances.
He will compete with Irish actor O'Dowd (Of Mice and Men), Brit Mark Rylance (Richard III), Tony Shalhoub (Act One), and Samuel Barnett (Twelfth Night), who are all nominated in the same category.
Samuel L. Jackson's wife LaTanya Richardson is nominated in the Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play category for her part in A Raisin in the Sun, but she will have to fend off competition from Tyne Daly (Mothers and Sons), Cherry Jones (The Glass Menagerie), Audra McDonald (Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill), and Estelle Parsons (The Velocity of Autumn).
How I Met Your Mother star Harris leads the nominations in the Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical category for his flamboyant turn in Hedwig and the Angry Inch, while singer Idina Menzel is nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical for her part in If/Then.
Beloved British actor Stephen Fry scooped a nod in the Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play category for Twelfth Night, but his fellow Brits Daniel Radcliffe, Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Patrick Stewart were all overlooked despite giving acclaimed performances on the Great White Way.
Fry took to his Twitter.com page on Tuesday (29Apr14) to share his excitement at being nominated, writing, "Oh my goodness, apparently I've been nominated for a Tony award. I can't believe it. How rippingly thrilling."
The winners will be revealed at the 68th annual Tony Awards on 8 June (14) at New York's Radio City Music Hall.
Members of Britain's most famous theatrical families will come together on the London stage when Vanessa Redgrave's granddaughter makes her debut alongside Jack Fox. Daisy Bevan, daughter of Nip/Tuck star Joely Richardson, is following her mother and grandmother into the family business after landing a leading role in a stage production of Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray.
The title character will be played by Fox, who is also a member of one of the U.K.'s most famous acting dynasties - his father is James Fox, his brother is Lawrence Fox, and he is the cousin of Freddie and Emilia Fox.
It will also mark the actor's professional stage debut, and Fox admits he has asked his father for advice.
He tells the London Evening Standard newspaper, "He has wonderful pearls of wisdom. He said, 'Think about what your character wants in every scene and if you do that you will be able to get into his head a little bit'. My dad's a model professional and a perfect dad. He's my idol. My family have always been there for me."
Bevan is equally as thrilled to get her big break in theatre: "I was very excited to get my first theatre job. The world of theatre is so different from film acting. Being in a rehearsal room is electrifyingly exciting. But there's an added pressure because of the work my family does. What if I'm the black sheep, the one who can't do it?"
The play will open at the Riverside Studios in London on Thursday (17Apr14).
Denzel Washington's star power has helped make the revival of A Raisin In The Sun a hit on Broadway, with the show earning $1.2 million (£705,446) in its first full week. The latest production of Lorraine Hansberry's award-winning 1959 race drama has been playing to sold-out audiences at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre in New York since its 3 April (14) opening, making it the fifth highest-grossing show of the week ending 13 April (14).
In addition, the play is the only non-musical to surpass the $1 million (£597,836) mark in a week.
Among those flocking to see A Raisin in the Sun were U.S. President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle, who attended the production on Friday (11Apr14).
Washington stars alongside Sean Patrick Thomas, Anika Noni Rose and Samuel L. Jackson's actress wife Latanya Richardson.
British acting newcomer Maisie Richardson-Sellers has become the frontrunner to take on a leading role in the highly-anticipated Star Wars sequel, according to multiple reports. The stage actress is allegedly preparing to make her movie debut in J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: Episode VII as a descendant of Obi-Wan Kenobi, a character previously played onscreen by Sir Alec Guinness in the original trilogy and Ewan McGregor in the prequel films.
Casting details for the forthcoming sci-fi movie, which has already begun production, have been shrouded in secrecy, but Girls star Adam Driver is said to be portraying the lead villain, while fellow newcomers Jesse Plemons, John Boyega, Ed Speleers and Matthew James Thomas have also been linked to key roles in the project, and Oscar winner Lupita Nyong'o, Saoirse Ronan and Michael B. Jordan have all met with Abrams to discuss parts.
The news of Richardson-Sellers' involvement in the new Star Wars film comes days after towering Brit Peter Mayhew was confirmed to reprise his role as Chewbacca. Veteran actress Carrie Fisher will also return as Princess Leia, although it is still unclear if Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill will join the original reunion in their roles as Han Solo and Luke Skywalker.
The latest Star Wars epic is scheduled for release in December, 2015.
Movie and TV veteran Diahann Carroll has pulled out of plans to make her Broadway return in a revival of A Raisin In The Sun. The 78 year old signed on last year (13) to portray Denzel Washington's mother in a new version of Lorraine Hansberry's play, her first Broadway role in 30 years, and the show was due to begin previews next month (Mar14).
However, Carroll has since bowed out of the production, blaming the vigorous schedule for her decision to step down, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Samuel L. Jackson's actress wife, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, has been picked to replace Carroll as family matriarch Lena Younger, despite only being five years older than 59-year-old Washington.
The play will mark Richardson Jackson's first role on Broadway since starring in a 2009 revival of August Wilson's Joe Turner's Come and Gone. She joins a cast which also includes Anika Noni Rose and Sophie Okonedo.
Summit via Everett Collection
You can imagine that Renny Harlin, director and one quadrant of the writing team for The Legend of Hercules, began his pitch as such: We'll start with a war, because lots of these things start with wars. It feels like this was the principal maxim behind a good deal of the creative choices in this latest update of the Ancient Greek myth. There are always horse riding scenes. There are generally arena battles. There are CGI lions, when you can afford 'em. Oh, and you've got to have a romantic couple canoodling at the base of a waterfall. Weaving them all together cohesively would be a waste of time — just let the common threads take form in a remarkably shouldered Kellan Lutz and action sequences that transubstantiate abjectly to and fro slow-motion.
But pervading through Lutz's shirtless smirks and accent continuity that calls envy from Johnny Depp's Alice in Wonderland performance is the obtrusive lack of thought that went into this picture. A proverbial grab bag of "the basics" of the classic epic genre, The Legend of Hercules boasts familiarity over originality. So much so that the filmmakers didn't stop at Hercules mythology... they barely started with it, in fact. There's more Jesus Christ in the character than there is the Ancient Greek demigod, with no lack of Gladiator to keep things moreover relevant. But even more outrageous than the void of imagination in the construct of Hercules' world is its script — a piece so comically dim, thin, and idiotic that you will laugh. So we can't exactly say this is a totally joyless time at the movies.
Summit via Everett Collection
Surrounding Hercules, a character whose arc takes him from being a nice enough strong dude to a nice enough strong dude who kills people and finally owns up to his fate — "Okay, fine, yes, I guess I'm a god" — are a legion of characters whose makeup and motivations are instituted in their opening scenes and never change thereafter. His de facto stepdad, the teeth-baring King Amphitryon (Scott Adkins), despises the boy for being a living tribute to his supernatural cuckolding; his half-brother Iphicles (Liam Garrigan) is the archetypical scheming, neutered, jealous brother figure right down to the facial scar. The dialogue this family of mongoloids tosses around is stunningly brainless, ditto their character beats. Hercules can't understand how a mystical stranger knows his identity, even though he just moments ago exited a packed coliseum chanting his name. Iphicles defies villainy and menace when he threatens his betrothed Hebe (Gaia Weiss), long in love with Hercules, with the terrible fate of "accepting [him] and loving [their] children equally!" And the dad... jeez, that guy must really be proud of his teeth.
With no artistic feat successfully accomplished (or even braved, really) by this movie, we can at the very least call it inoffensive. There is nothing in The Legend of Hercules with which to take issue beyond its dismal intellect, and in a genre especially prone to regressive activity, this is a noteworthy triumph. But you might not have enough energy by the end to award The Legend of Hercules with this superlative. Either because you'll have laughed yourself into a coma at the film's idiocy, or because you'll have lost all strength trying to fend it off.
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An actress who has appeared in The Walking Dead and The Vampire Diaries has pleaded guilty to sending ricin-laced letters to U.S. President Barack Obama and outgoing New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Shannon Rogers Richardson was arrested in June (13) amid allegations she sent three 'poisoned' notes to Obama, Bloomberg and his colleague Mark Glaze, threatening harm if they continued to push for tougher gun control laws.
The actress, who also goes by Shannon Guess Richardson, originally tried to pin the blame on her estranged husband, Nathaniel Richardson, who filed for divorce in June (13), but she has now taken responsibility for the crimes.
Richardson entered the guilty plea on Tuesday (10Dec13) in Texarkana, Texas.
Actors Cherie Johnson and Dennis White have accused a police officer in South Carolina of racial profiling after they were stopped and handcuffed during a weekend getaway in the state. The Punky Brewster star and her boyfriend, Notorious actor White, claim they were questioned by a cop for no reason on 22 September (13) and allegedly treated so roughly, they were seriously worried for their safety.
She revealed the couple had been on its way to Myrtle Beach for a romantic vacation when the actors turned off a rural highway and parked by a cotton field to take a picture. Upon returning to their car, they noticed a police vehicle parked behind theirs and they were quickly approached by a white officer named Shad Barfield, who quizzed them about drugs and handcuffed them as he searched their car.
In an interview with CNN on Sunday (29Sep13), Johnson said, "I've been stopped by the police before, but I've never been fearful for my life. They need some kind of sensitivity training."
Authorities in Marion County have since launched an investigation into Johnson and White's accusations, and a statement issued on Monday (30Sep13) by Sheriff Mark Richardson reads: "Discrimination in any form, including racial profiling, is strictly prohibited by this department and as Sheriff of Marion County SC, I can assure you I will take immediate and appropriate action to investigate the allegations of racial profiling made by Mr. White and Ms. Johnson. This matter will be dealt with by an internal investigation within the department and I will also ask the State Law Enforcement Division to review the allegation made against Deputy Barfield."
An actress accused of mailing letters laced with ricin to U.S. President Barack Obama has been indicted in Texas. Shannon Rogers Richardson was taken into custody by police in early June (13) over allegations she sent three poisonous notes to Obama, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his colleague Mark Glaze, threatening harm if they continued to push for tougher gun control laws.
The actress, who had bit parts in TV dramas The Walking Dead and The Vampire Diaries, originally tried to pin the blame on her estranged husband, Nathaniel Richardson, who recently filed for divorce, but on Friday (28Jun13) she was formally charged by officials at the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Texas.
The 35 year old, who is currently pregnant with her sixth child, was hit with two counts of mailing a threatening communication and one count of making a threat against the President of the United States.
If convicted, she faces up to 15 years behind bars.