Actor Courtney B. Vance has been cast as O.J. Simpson's lawyer Johnnie Cochran in much-anticipated TV drama series American Crime Story: The People V. O.j. Simpson. The Tony Award winner will portray Simpson's flamboyant defence attorney in the show, which will centre around the sports star's 1995 murder trial, during which the former football star was controversially acquitted of killing his wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman.
Simpson's defence "dream team" will be rounded out by John Travolta, who will play Robert Shapiro, and former Friends star David Schwimmer, who will take on the roll of Simpson's late friend and attorney, Robert Kardashian.
Oscar winner Cuba Gooding, Jr. will portray Simpson, while actress Sarah Paulson has been cast as prosecutor Marcia Clark.
The series will be executive produced by Glee and American Horror Story creator Ryan Murphy.
Cochran passed away in 2005.
Neil Young proved he was a good sport on Tuesday night (03Feb15) by performing a duet with U.S. comedian Jimmy Fallon, who was dressed as the rock veteran's look-alike. The funnyman has been donning a long wig and brown suede jacket to impersonate his music idol since 2010, when he teamed up with Bruce Springsteen to play an acoustic rock version of Willow Smith's pop hit Whip My Hair on his previous talk show, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.
The TV presenter has reprised his impression of Young again and again in recent years, even teaming up with David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash to become Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, and on Tuesday, he got the chance to appear alongside the Heart of Gold singer himself when he was a guest on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.
Fallon began the sketch dressed as Young, strumming on a guitar as he sang a rendition of Old Man, before the rocker walked out onstage in a similar outfit and guitar and took a seat beside the comedian to turn the performance into a duet.
Later on in the show, Young admitted he had had a blast taping the skit and revealed he had always been a fan of Fallon's impersonation.
He said, "I loved it; it was fun. I saw you doing me before and I always thought it was unbelievable."
Young, who is promoting his new Pono music player invention, also poked fun at his lack of TV interviews over the years, quipping, "This is the most I've been on TV, ever!"
Rapper Tyga has reportedly signed a deal to star in his own Mtv reality show.
The hip-hop star, real name Michael Ray Nguyen-Stevenson, is said to be lined up for the show, which will focus on his friendships and not his much-discussed love life. He is rumored to be dating Kim Kardashian's younger sister Kylie Jenner and has a notoriously fractious relationship with the mother of his child, model Blac Chyna.
Sources tell TMZ.com that neither women will appear in the show, but his pal Chris Brown is said to have filmed a segment.
Actor David Oyelowo felt obligated to keep up his American accent in between takes on Martin Luther King, Jr. biopic Selma, because he feared locals in the civil rights icon's native Atlanta, Georgia would not accept him in the lead role if they knew he was British. The Lee Daniels' The Butler star, who packed on the pounds for the role, reveals he was keen to try the method acting technique on the set of Selma after watching fellow Brit Daniel Day-Lewis in action in their movie Lincoln, but he soon realised it was necessary for him to keep up the American twang to avoid disappointing the hundreds of extras who had no idea he was from overseas.
He explains, "I felt I had to stay in character the whole time, partly because I did this film Lincoln and I had a scene with Daniel Day-Lewis, my favourite actor of all time, and he would stay in character the whole time and I felt that's the blueprint of how to get this right... But he's a genius; I'm a pragmatist.
"We were shooting in Atlanta; Dr. King is from Atlanta, revered in Atlanta... you go and say (in his British accent), 'Hello everybody, I'm going to be playing Dr. King', it's not (going to be) so good when (you have) 500 extras waiting for you to give a speech, so I felt I needed to stay in (the American accent)..."
However, there was one person who couldn't handle hearing Oyelowo speaking with an American accent - his wife Jessica.
He says, "It was weird for my wife because we were moving house at the time and she called me once (while he was on set) about the curtains: 'Should we go for the brown or should we go for (another colour)?'. (In his American accent, he replied), 'Well I think we should, er, go for the...' She went, 'Stop! Stop! We'll do this after you wrap! I cannot talk to you when you are talking like Dr. King, I already feel like I'm having an affair!'."
John Travolta is returning to TV to portray real-life defence attorney Robert Shapiro in American Crime Story: The People V. O.j. Simpson. The Pulp Fiction actor, who became a household name in America for his TV hit Welcome Back Kotter, will star alongside Cuba Gooding, Jr., who has been cast as Simpson in the drama.
The new TV project from Glee creator Ryan Murphy will centre on the former U.S. football player's murder trial. Simpson was accused and acquitted of killing his wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman in 1995.
Travolta will also serve as a producer on the mini-series.
Actress Sarah Paulson has also been cast as prosecutor Marcia Clark and former Friends star David Schwimmer will portray Simpson's late friend and attorney, Robert Kardashian.
Actor Wendell Pierce led the cast of his new civil rights movie Selma in a public protest on Sunday (14Dec14) by wearing T-shirts referencing the police killing of unarmed black man Eric Garner ahead of the film's New York premiere. The Wire star joined forces with co-stars including David Oyelowo, E. Roger Mitchell, Andre Holland and Lorraine Toussaint, and director Ava DuVernay to wear black T-shirts with the words, "I can't breathe" printed across the chest.
Staten Island resident Garner was heard uttering the phrase over and over again as he gasped for breath after a cop placed him in an apparent chokehold during an arrest in July (14), when he had been caught illegally selling cigarettes.
His death was ruled a homicide by the New York City medical examiner, but a grand jury chose not to indict the officer responsible for his passing earlier this month (Dec14) - sparking widespread protests across the U.S., where demonstrators were already angry over another grand jury's decision not to prosecute the cop who fatally shot Ferguson, Missouri teenager Michael Brown in August (14).
The stars of Selma made their support for the calls for justice known on Sunday by posing for a group photo in their shirts on the steps of the New York Public Library, while holding up their hands.
The snap was taken shortly before the group headed to the Ziegfeld Theater for the Selma premiere, where Pierce decided to continue modelling his T-shirt for photographers.
The pre-premiere protest took place a day after thousands of activists took to the streets of the Big Apple to take part in the Millions March NYC, another demonstration over the Garner and Brown killings.
Oyelowo, who plays human rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr. in the film, recently expressed his hope that his movie would inspire campaigners to keep the protests peaceful.
He told The Hollywood Reporter, "Thankfully, we're seeing a lot of the same good sides of protests happening with these protests - i.e. that they are non-violent, and that we are now seeing black and white and everything in between coming together against injustice. I think that the next step for us to be able to really articulate our demands. What is it we want out of this? In Selma, it was voting rights, and now it's police reform. We needed federal intervention for the verdict situation (in Selma); I would say we need the same thing for the police. Who's going to police the police? We really need to press to the government that this cannot go on."
Selma stars Oprah Winfrey and David Oyelowo hope their new film about the American civil rights movement will inspire U.S. protesters to keep current demonstrations peaceful in the aftermath of two controversial police killings. Oyelowo has been nominated for a Golden Globe award for his portrayal of human rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr. in the film about the marches in Alabama he helped organise in 1965 to campaign for voting reform.
The first event descended into violence and became known as 'Bloody Sunday' after hundreds of demonstrators clashed with police, but the third march was the most successful, with the protesters finally managing to reach their destination.
The stars hope the film will now inspire campaigners to protest peacefully following a number of violent demonstrations in Missouri over the death of teenager Michael Brown, who was shot and killed by a police officer in August (14).
Winfrey tells The Hollywood Reporter, "The lesson of the movie is strategy. Strategic planning, rigorous discipline, peaceful protest, and knowing what you want... Then you look out on the streets and some of the same thing is happening today."
Oyelowo adds, "Thankfully, we're seeing a lot of the same good sides of protests happening with these protests - i.e. that they are non-violent, and that we are now seeing black and white and everything in between coming together against injustice. I think that the next step for us to be able to really articulate our demands. What is it we want out of this? In Selma, it was voting rights, and now it's police reform. We needed federal intervention for the verdict situation (in Selma); I would say we need the same thing for the police. Who's going to police the police? We really need to press to the government that this cannot go on."
The officer who shot Brown was cleared of wrongdoing by a grand jury, sparking violent clashes in the local area, while a similar verdict was reached days later in the case of Eric Garner, who died shortly after being apparently placed in a chokehold by a New York cop. Thousands of Americans have taken to the streets to protest against the rulings in recent weeks.
Martin Luther King, Jr. biopic Selma leads the film nominations at the 2015 NAACP Image Awards after racking up eight nods. Ava DuVernay's civil rights drama is shortlisted for Outstanding Motion Picture, alongside Belle, Beyond The Lights, Dear White People and James Brown biopic Get On Up, while the filmmaker will compete for Outstanding Directing in a Motion Picture.
There were also a string of acting nods for Selma's leading man David Oyelowo (Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture), and supporting stars Andre Holland, Common, Wendell Pierce, Carmen Ejogo and Oprah Winfrey.
In the TV categories, six-time nominee Scandal is up for Outstanding Drama Series, facing off against two other Shonda Rhimes creations, Grey's Anatomy and How to Get Away with Murder, and Being Mary Jane and House of Cards, while drama acting nods went to Scandal's Kerry Washington and Guillermo Diaz, LL Cool J (NCIS: Los Angeles), Jeffrey Wright (Boardwalk Empire) and Jada Pinkett Smith (Gotham).
Black-ish, House of Lies and Orange Is the New Black are among the nominees for Outstanding Comedy, while Anthony Anderson (Black-ish), Don Cheadle (House of Lies), Mindy Kaling (The Mindy Project), Laurence Fishburne (Black-ish), Laverne Cox (Orange Is the New Black) and Sofia Vergara (Modern Family) have been recognised for their comedic acting talents.
Meanwhile, Beyonce and Pharrell Williams have emerged as the ones to beat in the music categories with four nods a piece, just days after both garnering six Grammy Awards nominations on Friday (05Dec14).
Beyonce is in the running for Outstanding Female Artist, Outstanding Music Video and Song for Pretty Hurts, while Pharrell will be fighting for Outstanding Male Artist, Outstanding Duo, Group or Collaboration for Brand New with Justin Timberlake, and Gust of Wind with Daft Punk. They will both compete for Outstanding Album with respective releases Beyonce and GIRL.
Late King of Pop Michael Jackson has also earned posthumous nods for Outstanding Male Artist and Outstanding Music Video for Love Never Felt So Good with Justin Timberlake.
The winners of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Image Awards, which celebrate diversity in film, TV, music and literature, will be unveiled at a ceremony on 6 February (15).
Aretha Franklin is threatening to take legal action against the author of a new unauthorized biography over allegations of defamation.
The music legend previously worked with David Ritz on her 1999 memoir From These Roots, but now she has lashed out at the writer for penning what she claims are falsities about her teenage years on the 1950s gospel scene - dubbed the Sex Circus - in his new tome, Respect.
Franklin tells the Detroit News, "There's a very trashy, trashy book on the street... It's lies, lies, lies and then more lies. "I'm talking to a criminal attorney. If this isn't defamation, I don't know what would be."
The book, published by Little, Brown and Company, also details Franklin's struggle as a teenage mother and how she bounced back after her abusive marriage to first husband Ted White. Ritz is standing by the stories told to him by Aretha's friends, family members and associates.
Defending his work, he tells the New York Post, "I spent 25 years researching Respect. I see my book as an homage to Aretha's artistic genius and an empathetic portrait of a woman who has survived and thrived in the complex culture of showbusiness."
Rockers the Foo Fighters closed out their week-long residency on America's The Late Show With David Letterman by performing their new single with Cheap Trick star Rick Nielsen. Dave Grohl and his bandmates, who are all huge fans of Cheap Trick, performed with Nielsen earlier in the week, as well as Heart sisters Nancy and Ann Wilson and Zac Brown - and they brought him back for their last night on Letterman's show.
The programme aired just hours after Grohl's new documentary TV series Foo Fighters: Sonic Highways debuted in America. That too featured Nielsen, recording Something From Nothing with the band in alternative music mogul Steve Albini's Chicago, Illinois studio.