Rapper/actor Ice Cube has opened up about his controversial decision not to cast the late Eazy-E's son as the hip-hop icon in his forthcoming N.W.A. biopic, insisting the role required an experienced actor with "a lot of range". Eazy-E's son, Eric Wright, Jr., auditioned for the Straight Outta Compton film job and recently admitted he was disappointed after movie bosses decided to cast newcomer Jason Mitchell as the younger version of his tragic father.
Now Ice Cube, who is serving as one of the project's producers, has explained the reasons behind the decision, insisting aspiring actor Wright, Jr. simply wasn't a good fit.
Speaking to Colorado radio station KS 107.5, Ice Cube says, "He (Wright, Jr.) is an up-and-coming actor trying to do it, but we needed somebody who was a little more polished to play Eazy, because he goes through a lot in his life. He goes from selling dope in Compton to fighting for his life in a hospital bed. So we needed to find an actor with a lot of range. And we just couldn't use just anybody. We gave him (Wright, Jr.) a shot, and it just didn't work out."
Wright, Jr. wasn't the only N.W.A. offspring snubbed for a role in the film - Dr. Dre's aspiring actor/rapper son Curtis Young was also passed over in favour of Corey Hawkins, although Ice Cube's kid, O'Shea Jackson, Jr., will play his dad onscreen.
Meanwhile, the remaining N.W.A. bandmates MC Ren and DJ Yella will be played by Aldis Hodge and Neil Brown, Jr., respectively.
F. Gary Gray will direct the film about the rise of the iconic California rap group and their split in 1991.
The biopic is scheduled for release next summer (15).
The drummer for U.S. chat show David Letterman's house band was once a member of Kiss for a night. Revered session musician Anton Fig, who had played on two KISS albums as well as guitarist Ace Frehley's debut solo record, was initially drafted in to replace Peter Criss in 1980, but he was dismissed hours later when Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons decided to go in a different direction.
Frehley recalls, "We were looking for a new drummer and we auditioned about a dozen drummers, including Eric Carr. I called up Paul and Gene, because I had been working with Anton on my solo record, and I said, 'Why don't we get Anton Fig to play drums?' and they both agreed.
"So I called up Anton and said, 'You're in the band'. He was thrilled. He couldn't sleep all night. The next day, Paul and Gene calls (sic) me and says, 'You know what, I don't think Anton's a good choice'. So I had to do the dirty work and call Anton and say, 'Sorry, Anton, you're not in the band'. He was elated and then he was let down."
Criss officially left KISS in May, 1980, prompting the band to postpone a European tour. He was replaced by Eric Carr.
Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons refused to regroup the original Kiss line-up for a performance at the band's Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction because they were afraid fans would demand a reunion tour, according to guitarist Ace Frehley. Stanley and Simmons pulled the plug on a performance at the big bash in April (14) after Hall of Fame bosses refused to honour their current bandmates alongside Frehley and drummer Peter Criss, so the live spectacular fans had hoped for was nixed - and now the group's original guitarist tells WENN the KISS army will never forgive his old bandmates.
He explains, "After 40 years, you think they could have given the fans 15 minutes that night. Peter and I wanted to perform, the Hall of Fame wanted us to do it, but Paul and Gene shot it down. It was a moment in history that was lost and some of the fans will never forgive them for that.
"But I'll tell you why Paul and Gene didn't wanna perform with me and Peter - they were afraid of history repeating itself. When me and Peter performed with them on the MTV Unplugged sessions in 1995, the place went completely crazy and they had to scrap their album that they had just recorded with Bruce Kulick and Eric Singer and they had to do a reunion tour.
"They're on tour right now with Tommy (Thayer) and Eric (Singer) and they didn't want anything to overshadow that. They were afraid that everyone was gonna demand a reunion again if we played."
And Frehley has used his new WENN interview to respond to fresh criticism from Stanley, who recently stated his former lead guitarist was not fit "to wear the uniform" of KISS, explaining, "If you no longer can uphold your end or live up to the stature that we set for ourselves in the beginning, if you are compromised by drugs or alcohol, if you've lost sight of how lucky we are to be in this position, then you no longer deserve to wear the uniform."
Frehley insists he was never as bad as his former bandmates paint him - and he hopes his new album Space Invader, his first in five years, will prove he's still got what it takes.
He adds, "It's a joke. In concert, I always delivered, and 95 per cent of the time I delivered on record. It's there, it's history. All they're trying to do is discredit me, so it validates the new line-up. They'll look foolish when my new album comes out.
"I think they're just cranky that every time they go on the Internet they have to read fans saying, 'Get Ace back'."
With the final season of True Blood wrapping up this summer, we've got to wonder which characters the vampire drama will exterminate for good by the time the finale rolls around. We've already seen the HBO series give the axe to Tara Thornton, Alcide Herveaux, and Mrs. Fortenberry, but what about the rest of the major players? Who will make it to the end, and who will meet a grim fate?
Sookie StackhouseIn the end, Sookie probably has to live. That doesn't mean we can't secretly root for her demise, though. The character has become so self-centered that in the midst of a zombie-vampire epidemic and the death of her childhood best friend, she's principally concerned with what the people of Bon Temps are thinking about her. Sookie is upset that they think she brings nothing but trouble... so, she decides to try to help her kidnapped friends by trying to get kidnapped herself (and this is how Alcide gets shot, which now she has something else to feel bad about). Girl needs to get a grip.
Bill ComptonBill has always been one of the campiest character on the show, from his pronunciation of "Sookie" to actually becoming god, and we've gone back and forth between loving to hating him again and again. At this point, it's tough to hate Bill, but that's not to say we'd be all that sad to see him go. But perhaps we'll root for him to make it through, if only because Sookie probably will, and wouldn't that just be adorable if Sookie and Bill finally got together? (See? I almost sound like I give a hoot.)
Sam MerlotteSam has been involved in his own stories for a while, and now he's finally returning to the group. After seasons of waiting for him to get killed off, now I'm sort of rooting for him to make it through. He does have a kid on the way... or something. I'm still not quite sure exactly who his fiancée is, when she got pregnant, or any of that. But I'm pretty sure he mentioned she and their baby were taken by the vampires.
Jason StackhouseThere is no way in hell Jason Stackhouse should die because that's just a waste of beauty. It's as simple as that. Next character.
Eric NorthmanIt seems like it's a given that Eric will die since he's contracted Hep V, but who knows? Let's just hope that if he dies, he dies like Godric did. Or that we see Godric again at least.
PamPam can't die, can she? She's always been one of the show's strongest characters, but the latest episode featuring her with Eric lagged a bit. Until, that is, she stole Ginger's idea for Fangtasia and passed it off as her own. Then we remembered how fun Pam can be. It'll be a sad turn of events if she goes.
JessicaJessica is another character with whom the show has always done well. Hopefully, she and Hoyt will somehow fall back in love with each other and can stay alive (or, well, vampire-alive) to enjoy some time together.
Andy BellefleurAndy has grown more than any other character on this show in the last seven seasons, evolving from an incompetent drunk on the police force to a V addict, then to sheriff, and now a father and a leader. His trajectory makes him easy to root for consistently, regardless of whether or not we actually like him.
LafayetteAh, to look back upon how upsetting it was at the end of Season 1, when the cliffhanger led us all to believe Lafayette had died. Though his bruja abilities (is that what he is? or his just a medium?) can test a fan's patience, the character is one of the greatest on the show. He's still hilarious, and he's still lovable, and he's probably the only thing about this show that still is. Hopefully, he'll wind up with Jessica's boyfriend and find the happiness he was robbed of with Jesus.
ArleneHearts shattered in the latest episode when Arlene decided not to be with Terry in death. Hopefully that's the last run-in with death she faces this season, because she has those three kids and a heart of gold.
Courtesy Everett Collection
Legendary blues rocker Johnny Winter has died, aged 70.
The veteran musician passed away in Zurich, Switzerland, according to Blabbermouth.net, but no more details about his death were available as WENN went to press.
Motley Crue rocker Nikki Sixx was among the first to pay tribute to the star, writing in a post on Twitter.com, "So bummed to hear about Johnny Winters (sic) passing. I spend (sic) many many years soaking up his music late into the night. #Original #TheBlues."
Winter began his music career as a teenager, landing a record deal at the age of 15 with his band Johnny & the Jammers, and he later released his first solo album, The Progressive Blues Experiment, in 1968. He became a big success with his second record, Johnny Winter, in 1969 and was among the performers at the iconic Woodstock music festival that year.
He continued to enjoy success in the 1970s, and turned to production, heading into the studio with Muddy Waters. Three of the albums they worked on together won Grammy Awards. Winters also received a number of Grammy nominations for his own records, but failed to win.
He is believed to have performed with Jimi Hendrix in a number of jam sessions which became unofficial bootleg recordings after they were stolen from the guitar legend's home after his death.
In later years, Winter was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame.
Winter's death comes just weeks before he was due to release a new album, Step Back, which features stars including Eric Clapton, ZZ Top rocker Billy Gibbons and Aerosmith's Joe Perry.
The record is slated to hit shelves in September (14).
"There is no way these kids could be more adorable. OMG (oh my God)! So happy to be home snuggling!!" Newlywed Jessica Simpson is glad to be reunited with her son Ace and daughter Maxwell after enjoying a honeymoon in Mexico with her husband Eric Johnson.
Broadway's Tupac Shakur musical Holler If Ya Hear Me is to close early due to disappointing ticket sales.
The stage show, based on the music of the late rapper, officially opened at New York City's Palace Theatre on 19 June (14) and less than two months after its debut, the curtain will come down for the last time on Sunday (20Jul14).
Producer Eric L. Gold made the announcement on Monday night (14Jul14), attributing declining sales to the show's ultimate demise. He says, "We are so proud to be a part of this ground breaking production... My hope is that a production of this calibre, powerful in its story telling, filled with great performances and exciting contemporary dance and music will eventually receive the recognition it deserves."
"It saddens me that due to the financial burdens of Broadway, I was unable to sustain this production longer in order to give it time to bloom on Broadway. Tupac's urgent socially important insights and the audiences' nightly rousing standing ovations deserve to be experienced by the world."
The production reportedly cost $8 million (£4.7 million) to stage, and, after receiving mixed reviews from critics, box office figures have been declining ever since the show began previews on 2 June (14).
Pop star Jessica Simpson burst into tears as she walked down the aisle at her wedding on Saturday (05Jul14).
The singer/actress married former football player Eric Johnson at a ranch in Santa Barbara, California in front of more than 250 guests, and the ceremony was officiated by Simpson's father Joe.
The groom has now revealed his bride began crying as she walked down the aisle to him before they exchanged vows, telling People.com, "I saw my gorgeous wife coming towards me and she was crying. I think my heart was exploding a little bit."
Simpson adds of her big day, "It's so surreal. This has been something we've wanted ever since we met... It's all about family for us."
The couple is parents to a young son and daughter, who acted as a ring bearer and flower girl, and the singer reveals the youngsters received a rapturous reception as they walked out in front of the congregation, adding, "Before I walked out, I kept hearing all the applause, so my kids got standing ovations!"
Simpson wore a gold dress by Carolina Herrera for the ceremony, and later changed into a sparkly blue mini-dress for the reception, and she adds of her fashion choices, "Everybody thought I was going to wear a dress that completely showed off my new bod (body). But I can't help but want a princess dress! I'm a Southern girl at heart. I like everything big!"
Singer Jessica Simpson shed a few extra pounds in the lead-up to her weekend (05Jul14) wedding by adopting a strict vegan diet.
The blonde beauty has been showing off a slimmer figure in recent months after losing the pregnancy pounds from carrying her second child, son Ace, last year (13) with the help of a food plan from Weight Watchers, for which she is a spokeswoman.
However, Simpson wanted to make sure she looked her absolute best when she exchanged vows with former American footballer Eric Johnson in California on Saturday, so she temporarily cut out all animal products from her diet. A source tells UsMagazine.com, "Jessica did a vegan diet for about two weeks leading up to the wedding."
The newlywed also reportedly boosted her vitamin levels by getting "quite a few" B12 shots to help maintain a healthy brain and nervous system.
Simpson has since returned to her meat-eating ways - at a pre-wedding Independence Day bash on Friday (04Jul14), guests were treated to a feast of beef brisket, smoked barbecue baby back ribs, fried chicken and grilled shrimp, as well as a variety of pies and watermelon.
Simpson isn't the first superstar to go vegan - Jennifer Lopez recently adopted the plant-based diet to get her in tip-top shape for the release of her new album AKA, while Beyonce and her rapper husband Jay Z also tried a 22-day vegan challenge last year (13).
Transformers: Age Of Extinction has secured a second week at the top of the North American box office after earning another $36.4 million (£21.4 million) over the Independence Day holiday weekend (04-06Jul14). Last week (29Jun14), the Michael Bay action film, starring Mark Wahlberg, scored the biggest movie debut of the year (14) so far with a massive $100 million (£58.8 million) haul and it has continued to be a popular choice with families celebrating the three-day weekend.
It easily crushed Melissa McCarthy and Susan Sarandon's new comedy Tammy, which opens in second place with $21.2 million (£12.4 million), while Eric Bana's horror film Deliver Us from Evil debuts at three with $9.5 million (£5.59 million).
22 Jump Street and How to Train Your Dragon 2 round out the new top five.