Lions Gate via Everett Collection
Filmmaker Lee Daniels has signed on to direct a film about U.S. high school football star Brian Banks, whose sports career was derailed following a false rape accusation.
All-American high school star Banks had signed to become a college player at the University of South California (USC) in 2002 before he was accused of rape.
He maintained his innocence, but ended up serving over five years behind bars thanks to a hasty plea bargain deal. In 2012, Banks' conviction was overturned with the help of law students at the California Innocence Project and he went on to play four pre-season games with the Atlanta Falcons in 2013.
Now a motivational speaker and activist for the California Innocence Project, he is thrilled Daniels has been picked to adapt his life story for the big screen.
Banks says, "All I ever wanted was to prove my innocence. Telling my story in the form of a feature film is beyond my wildest dreams. Having Lee Daniels come on board to direct the film is so exciting, and such an honour."
Wildlife groups are concerned the filming of Star Wars: Episode Vii on the remote island of Skellig Michael could interfere with the breeding season of local birds. The cast and crew of the latest sci-fi instalment, directed by J.J. Abrams, are filming on the unpopulated island, which is located in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of County Kerry, Ireland.
Skellig Michael, a World Heritage Site, is home to colonies of puffins, guillemots and peregrine falcons, which all breed in July.
Dr. Steve Newton from Birdwatch Ireland tells Radio Kerry, "It would have been preferable if filming took place out of the breeding season, in September, when I believe it was originally scheduled... It seems a little inappropriate to do it during July."
Irish Film Board officials say the shooting schedule "has been designed specifically to avoid disturbance of breeding birds" and experts at the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) "approved the proposal on that basis".
Rapper Da Brat is facing a total payout of $6.4 million (£4 million) to a waitress she assaulted during a 2007 club altercation after a jury awarded the victim an additional $2.7 million (£1.7 million). The Not Tonight hitmaker, real name Shawntae Harris, stood trial on Thursday (27Feb14) for a civil suit filed by Shayla Stevens, who claimed to have suffered permanent facial scarring, neurological impairment and severe mental pain after she was hit with a bottle at an Atlanta, Georgia club.
The jury delivered a swift verdict and on Thursday afternoon, Da Brat, who completed a three-year prison sentence in 2011 after pleading guilty to aggravated assault, was ordered to pay Stevens $3.7 million (£2.31 million) in damages.
However, the jury later slapped Da Brat with another hefty fine, awarding Stevens, a former cheerleader for American football team the Atlanta Falcons, an additional $2.7 million (£1.7 million) for injuries and loss of earnings.
The ruling came just a day after the case, which was initially heard in an Atlanta court on Wednesday (26Feb14), was declared a mistrial as one juror was found unfit to serve as he was not a U.S. citizen. A new jury was quickly assembled, allowing the trial to proceed on Thursday.
Singer Jon Bon Jovi has downplayed reports he is in the running to become the owner of American football team the Buffalo Bills. Multiple reports surfaced on Sunday (24Nov13) suggesting the Bon Jovi frontman was interested in purchasing the team and has been meeting with officials in New York.
However, Bon Jovi's representative, Ken Sunshine, has cleared up the reports saying, "The Bills are not for sale, and he has so much respect for (owner Ralph) Wilson to engage in any discussions of buying the team.
"(He has) a day job that's doing very well. It's preposterous to say he's had any discussions with the Bills..."
Sunshine explains the rocker still hopes to one day become a National Football League (NFL) owner, explaining his client has made no secret about the venture.
The Livin' on a Prayer hitmaker's interest in football dates back to 2004, when he created an Arena Football team in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 2011 he was involved in negotiations to buy a stake in the Atlanta Falcons.
The star attended Morehouse College in Georgia and made some extra cash by working as a merchant at the Georgia Dome, which is home to the Atlanta Falcons.
The icon went on to make a name for himself in such movies as Pulp Fiction and the Star Wars prequel trilogy, and Jackson reveals he was recently asked to come back and record a special announcement that would be played for fans ahead of each game.
He tells New York Magazine, "I've been a Falcons fan since I was in college, when I worked in the Atlanta stadium... Now when the Falcon games start, I'm actually on the Jumbotron (large-screen television). I do this big speech with a gospel choir behind me. They play it each week when the team comes on the field. I'm sorta (sic) part of the Falcon family."
Of all the creative giants to take their respective properties to New York Comic Con, Seth Green is consistently the most enthusiastic about the journey. In 2011, Green and his Robot Chicken cast visited NYCC to discuss their beloved Adult Swim show, bringing surprise guest star Macaulay Culkin along for the ride (to hilarious, and very moist results). Green, Culkin, and the Robot Chicken team returned to the IGN Theater of New York's Javits Center on Friday night for NYCC 2012, to discuss the ever sparkling future of the animated spoofs series. Among the bits of celebrated news delivered by Green: Robot Chicken has been renewed for a seventh season.
Season 6 of the program premiered last month, and apparently has a ton of enticing story ideas yet to broadcast. For instance, as Green and company reveal, a Star Trek-themed rap about the anatomical makeup of robot Data, as performed by music artist Ke$ha. And on the topic of rap, the series has cast RZA in a "pescatarian"-themed sketch, and is planning a particularly interesting duet in the pairing of one 50 Cent with an artist known only as Parappa the Rapper. But best of all, Robot Chicken advertised an upcoming parody of the cult phenomenon The Cabin in the Woods, with the guest voice talents of the great Joss Whedon... playing Zombie Joss Whedon.
Additionally, the Robot Chicken team plugged and shared footage of other sketches to come, the subjects of which include Pinky and the Brain (having a night on the town), the sexual escapades of Mario and Luigi, and the quinceañera of Dora the Explorer. Plus, the troupe promised a forthcoming Christmas special (which, from the looks of a brief clip, embraces a good deal of violence), and suggests the probability of a second DC Comics-themed episode.
Beyond the announcements, the panel proved a lot of nerdy fun. Proving that Comic Con is the truest Mecca of geekdom, the entire crowd erupted in a crisp, simultaneous "Woo-oo!" immediately following Green's singing of the Duck Tales refrain. "It feels good to be amongst friends," the creator beamed proudly.
All this, plus a Family Feud-style tableau photograph of the Robot Chicken cast, an exchange of hugs and Millennium Falcons between the cast and some very emphatic fans in the crowd, and Green's adamant declaration of, "I don't like Jersey Shore," made for quite a spirited Robot Chicken panel. Sure, Macaulay Culkin didn't lick Seth Green this year (as he did last), but it was still pretty much a win.
[Photo Credit: Cartoon Network]
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The Atlanta Falcons running back was stopped by police for speeding in the early hours of Tuesday (18Sep12) and was then arrested for driving under the influence (DUI), shortly after his team defeated the Denver Broncos 27-21.
He was freed from custody in Atlanta, Georgia two hours later on $2,179 (£1,361) bail.
It is every diehard fan's dream to live out his or her favorite work of fiction. Some fly to New Zealand to tour Lord of the Rings' Middle Earth. Some construct Millenium Falcons in their basements to reenact the destruction of the Death Star. Fans of Teen Wolf stop shaving and buy fans. And now, there's a chance for The Hunger Games aficionados: they can actually visit Katniss Everdeen's house.
The Hunger Games was shot in the abandoned village of Henry River Mill, which is just outside Charlotte, NC. Several pieces of the set, including the house of Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and the bakery owned by Peeta Mellark's (Josh Hutcherson) family, are being opened for fans to tour, and live out their Panem fantasies. Fans can also tour the DuPont State Forest, where the titular competition actually takes place. You can learn more about this tour by clicking here.
Although it'll surely be a fun visit, it's advisable not to get too swept up in the realism of the set...
Hunger Games Makeup Designer on Peeta's Camouflage, Catching Fire and Amazing Spider-Man
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Hunger Games Exclusive: Unofficial Cookbook Author on Whipping Up Dishes for the Games
[Visit North Carolina]
There is a widely held assumption that movie geeks and sports fans are two mutually exclusive groups. In all fairness, those who hold to this assumption have plenty of evidence to support it. On the Venn diagram of obsessions, the overlap of the cinephile and sports fanatic circles would read: aberrant. I happen to be one such aberrant. What this typically means is that I watch sporting events with careful consideration of the dramatic qualities of the games and their larger-than-life personalities all the while contemplating how they might translate to the screen. Sports movies are among my favorite genre because they are a perfect encapsulation of this inherent relationship.
It is because of this fanaticism for sports cinema that Sunday’s Super Bowl XLVI sparked an epiphany. Both that game and the previous Super Bowl matchup between the New York Giants and the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII are ripe for silver screen immortalization. As I break down all the undeniably cinematic components of their storied rivalry, as well as a few carefully placed creative liberties, it is important to note that I am an Indianapolis Colts fan and the New England Patriots have been a nasty thorn in our sides for years. I therefore resign all guise of subjectivity and warn that these films will be thusly biased. However, I think most of the theatrical elements of the story demand being told in precisely this fashion.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you…Bleed Blue
The year is 2007, the New England Patriots are amassing win after win in their quest for a perfect season. This is a team accustomed to victory, having netted three Super Bowl titles in just five years. But their dedication to success is not so much admirable as it is ruthless and bearing no regard for the tenets of fair play. That same year, they were caught cheating; having videotaped the defensive signals of an opposing team to ensure a win. They were tried and fined by an inept, sniveling Commissioner, but their sinister coach was only too happy to buy off his most recent indiscretion. All of their previous Super Bowl victories became suspect. They continued their streak, accomplishing a perfect regular season record despite the public knowledge of their egregious misdeeds. They cut an easy path through the playoffs and “earned” their ticket to another Super Bowl.
The Patriots are the villains of this film, the arrogant bullies begging for a fall. They are the Galactic Empire asserting their dominance by any means they deem necessary with coach Bill Bellichick cackling on the sidelines like a sweatshirt-clad Palpatine. Their quarterback is a longhaired, UGG-Boot-wearing, pretty boy who cheats on his supermodel girlfriend with Hollywood starlets. If this were an 80’s movie, Brady would be played by Billy Zabka. The Patriots are the Cobra Kai, the NFL’s Ivan Drago, the football conversion of those dastardly peewee-hockey-playing punks from Team Iceland. They not only stomped out any lingering belief in the purity of professional football, but they were on pace to choke out the game’s variety and entertainment value. What we needed desperately were heroes to standup to these Goliaths.
Not far away, another NFL team struggles through their lackluster season. Having just watched his older brother win his first Super Bowl, a big-hearted, but browbeaten young quarterback, Eli Manning, feels further overshadowed by his highly acclaimed sibling. But with determination that rivals that of Rocky Balboa, he struggles week in and week out to get his team, the once great New York Giants, to the playoffs and maybe, just maybe, their first taste of Super Bowl glory under his leadership. They chalked up an unimpressive 10-6 season and managed to make the playoffs as a wild card team. But these scrappy kids from the Empire State would not be denied; they fought and clawed through a series of nail-biting finishes to punch their own ticket to the big game.
You can already imagine how the climax of this first film plays out. The overwhelming underdogs, the Giants, travel to Arizona, a place harboring deserts as desolate as their hopes for victory. Helicopter shots reveal an empty stadium the night before the big game, sportscasters and sports radio pundits espousing the assurance of victory for the heavily favored Patriots. But they will not quit, they fight with every ounce of their courage and keep the game far closer than the complacent Patriots were expecting. But then, with the Patriots up by four points with just over a minute left in the fourth quarter, another title seemed all but in their clutches; the pressure bearing down on poor Eli. Facing a big third down, basically their last chance, the Pats send the full fury of their defense at the young Manning. Time seems to stop as Eli catches a glimpse of his family sitting in the stands, his brother Peyton nodding silent encouragement. Not once, but twice, the defense snares him in what should have been game-ending tackles, but he miraculous breaks away and fires a Hail Mary down the field.
Cut to an under-appreciated wide receiver named David Tyree, a sixth-round pick in 2003. Tyree is in no shape to make the vital catch, his left hand having been stomped on by a vindictive Patriots defender (creative license). But in spite of his injury, and in glorious slow motion, Tyree grasps the ball in his good and secured it against his helmet in a moment of quick thinking ingenuity. The completion stands, a touchdown to a veteran receiver follows. The Giants win; derailing the Patriots unscrupulous quest for perfection.
Cue the rise of triumphant music and the tearful embraces of teammates; brothers of the gridiron. Eli Manning lifts the Vince Lombardi trophy as Peyton salutes from the stadium seats. We see handshakes between rivals; bitter hatred ceding ground to begrudging respect Goliath had been slain by Giants; Giants held small by the doubts of the populous.
But that’s not the end of this story…
Click . At one point he spars with his new trainer…an advanced model android whose developed human emotions. Well, he’s actually only developed one emotion: rage. Finally the day of the first playoff game arrives.
The Giants decimate the Atlanta Falcons, the poor, unsuspecting roadblocks on their path to retribution. The next few games are more reminiscent of their 2007 playoff run: barn-burning, back-and-forth, shootouts. Meanwhile, the Patriots experience a mostly impediment-free run and secure their spot in Super Bowl XLVI. The showdown is set, the rematch brews, and Eli’s robot tracks down and kills all the guilty ninjas.
The two teams enter the stadium, the film’s editor trades close-ups of Eli’s, Brady’s, and Belichick’s squinted, fuming eyes. The battle that rages is once again epic, but the Patriots are winning at the half. In the locker room, Eli reveals to them the secret of his brother’s injury and beseeches to win one for Peyton…who may or may not have also contracted some sort of disease by this point depending on the reaction from test audiences. In the second half, the Giants defense brings a wrathful hammer down on Brady and helps Eli lead the team to another victory.
In the house that Peyton built, Eli proves the hero once again. His brother’s honor restored, Eli marches to the Patriots sidelines and informs Belichick that his robot beat a confession out of one of the ninjas. The police escort him away as he spits threats of his return. “I’ll be here,” Eli coolly responds. The city exults and all is right with the world. Tom Brady cries.
Seriously? Who wouldn’t see those movies? Even the sequel has some interesting things going for it. I’m thinking the third film will involve time travel and be in 3D.
The Real Housewives of Atlanta star and Atlanta Falcons football player Kroy Biermann exchanged vows in Georgia on Friday (11Nov11).
The TV favourite tells Life & Style magazine, "This has been the happiest day of my life. It's been perfect. It's been a dream come true."
At 34, Zolciak is eight years older than her new husband.
The couple, who became engaged last month (Oct11), has a six-month-old baby.
Zolciak has two daughters from a previous marriage.