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."
Universal Pictures via Everett Collection
Richard Pryor's son has threatened legal action in a bid to block production on Lee Daniels' new movie about the famous funnyman.
Lawyers representing Richard Pryor, Jr. have sent a cease and desist letter to the star's widow Jennifer Lee Pryor, who is contributing to the film biopic, urging her to stop work on the project amid a dispute over name rights.
In the letter, obtained by TMZ.com, the star's son accuses his stepmother of using "illegal, fraudulent" activity to obtain the rights to her husband's name.
He is also reportedly threatening to take legal action if the biopic moves forward. Rapper/actor Nick Cannon has been linked to the lead role in the movie.
Pryor died in 2005 aged 65 after suffering a heart attack. He spent years battling multiple sclerosis prior to his death.
Warner Bros. Entertainment Everett Collection
Whether you loved the way it neatly wrapped things up or hated the cheesy fairy tale ending it gave the series, the epilogue to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows has been, for the most part, the only real glimpse that fans got at the lives of Harry, Ron, and Hermione after their time at Hogwarts concluded. Though many have been able to get their fix of the Wizarding World through the snippets that J.K. Rowling has posted on Pottermore, she's been silent on the fate of the Golden Trio and the rest of Dumbledore's Army... until Tuesday morning, that is. In honor of the Quidditch World Cup — which conveniently coincides with the muggle world's World Cup — the author has released a series of short stories and mock articles about the game, its history, and now its famous spectators.
But while the always reliable Rita Skeeter has filled us in on what Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Ginny have been up to in the years since school (working as an Auror, helping George run Weasley's Wizard Wheezes, working up the ranks in the Ministry, and becoming a Quidditch reporter, respectively), there are still so many more characters whose fates were not addressed. In fact, Rita's article brings up more questions than answers, since everything it reveals leaves us wanting to know more about the Wizarding World. On the off chance that Rowling is looking for inspiration for another Pottermore update, we'd recommend she start by tackling some of these burning questions:
Where’s Draco Malfoy? We don’t expect Draco to be hanging out with Dumbledore’s Army any more now than he did when they were all at Hogwarts, but does Rowling really expect us to believe that he would pass up any opportunity to swan around a VIP area and brag about his success, real or exaggerated? Surely, if everyone were gathering at the World Cup, he would be there, flanked by Crabbe and Goyle and ready to start a fight, just as he always was. Draco Malfoy never shies away from a potential spotlight.
Did Lee Jordan Ever Make It as a Quidditch Announcer? Perhaps the greatest sports announcers – real or fictional – of all time, Lee Jordan had a gift for adding color and sass to even the most boring of calls, and even if Professor McGonagall didn’t appreciate his admittedly biased reporting, readers certainly did. It’s hard to imagine a career that suits the Weasley twins’ former partner-in-crime better.
How Does Rita Have Trouble Telling the Weasley Boys Apart? They might all have red hair, freckles and hand-me-down clothes, but all of the Weasley boys are distinct entities, and if she’s already got Ron and Bill down, it shouldn’t be too difficult for her to figure out the other three. Here’s a cheat sheet: if he looks self-important, slightly nerdy, and wears glasses, it’s Percy; if he’s ruggedly handsome and desert-worn, it’s Charlie, and if he has one ear, is constantly joking around and seems like there should be another one of him standing right there, it’s George.
Has Luna Mellowed Out Since School? Rita seems intrigued by Luna’s World Cup outfit, but we’re a little disappointed by it. What happened to the elaborate roaring lion’s head she broke out for a Gryffindor vs. Slytherin match in the sixth book? Where are her radish earrings or her Spectrespecs or her colorful shoes? This is the tamest Luna costume we’ve seen, and it makes us a bit worried that she’s lost some of her unique, spacey edge.
What Did Hannah Abbott Do Before She Married Neville? The epilogue revealed a bit about what the other potential Boy Who Lived has been up to since school has ended, but we know next to nothing about the new Mrs. Longbottom. What were her school years like? What did she get her OWLs in? How did she and Neville meet and fall in love? How long have they been married? What did she do for work before deciding to become a Healer and move to Hogwarts with Neville? Forget the Marauders; we want to hear a lot more about Neville and Hannah.
Warner Bros. Entertainment Everett Collection
Where’s Angelina Johnson? There’s no way that the former Gryffindor Captain would let her husband George Weasley attend the Quidditch World Cup without her. After all, this is the one person who was as obsessed with the sport as Oliver Wood, who captained the team with a drive and determination that would have made even her predecessor request a day off. The only possibly explanation, therefore, is that she’s a Chaser on the English National Team and was getting ready for the match at the time Rita observed her friends.
Is Hagrid Still Working at Hogwarts? That mention of Neville and Hannah hoping to move to the school’s grounds reminded us of the only non-dormitory living quarters we’ve seen: Hagrid’s hut. So, naturally, we’re curious as to what the Wizarding World’s foremost foster parent to dangerous animals is up to now. Is he still working as the Keeper of the Keys and Grounds? Did he and Madame Maxime ever manage to work things out? Did he ever get his pet dragon? For the sake of everyone else on the Hogwarts grounds, we’re hoping the answer to that last one is still “no.”
Is Professor McGonagall Still Headmaster? She was, after all, the natural successor to Dumbledore. And more importantly, is she still the toughest, kindest, smartest, most sensible and admirable woman in the Wizarding World? Actually, we can just answer that one ourselves. She definitely is.
Who’s the Current Minister of Magic? We know that the Department of Magical Transportation falls under Percy’s jurisdiction, and that Hermione is, as expected, quickly working her way up the ranks at the Ministry, and is currently the Deputy Head of Magical Law Enforcement. But what we don’t know is who Hermione would potentially be outsing as Minister of Magic, should she ascend to the position. Last we heard, it was Kingsley Shacklebolt, but knowing the Wizarding World as well as we do, it’s entirely possible that power has changed hands since then.
Who Is Still Hiring Rita Skeeter as a Writer? Was the Daily Prophet so desperate for subscriptions that they kept her on? Or does the Wizarding World have its own version of TMZ, where Rita can write and publish all of the gossip her QuickQuotesQuill can possibly come up with? Is there a publication out there that could keep up with the sheer number of slander lawsuits she’s probably had filed against her?
Charlie Weasley Is Basically the Wizarding World’s Equivalent of George Clooney, Right? Handsome bachelor, more focused on his glamorous job than his love life, unlikely to settle down any time soon, but making people swoon everywhere he goes? All Charlie needs is a villa in Italy, and they’d be the exact same person.
Universal Pictures via Everett Collection
Spike Lee's critically-acclaimed 1989 film Do The Right Thing may be headed to Broadway. The drama—which centered on race relations and the cultural experiences of individuals and families living in the Bedford Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York—could be adapted as a play, not a musical.
But in case you were curious as to what the musical version might sound like, check out Spike Lee's hilarious response below:
Actually, that sounds kind of amazing. But we'll trust Spike Lee to take the more practical route and stick to a stage play.
Follow @Hollywood_com Follow @shannonmhouston
Focus Features via Everett Collection
Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler were recently chatting up their new movie They Came Together and Vulture asked them to name some of their all-time favorite romantic comedies. While Poehler named the iconic '80s flick Say Anything, Rudd went in a slightly different direction:
"Annie Hall is pretty amazing. A lot of the Woody Allen ones are pretty great..."
The actor went on to name Albert Brooks as another favorite director, but now that Woody Allen's name is, for many, associated with a sex abuse scandal, could Paul Rudd's response be considered controversial?
The actor was clearly just giving an honest answer to the question, but there are plenty of people who believe that one cannot separate the man from the artist, and Woody Allen shouldn't be spoken about in a positive light at all. Most likely, Rudd's fans will continue to be fans—he's got one of those faces you can never stay mad at for long.
Follow @Hollywood_com Follow @shannonmhouston
Paramount via Everett Collection
Actor Dylan Baker has been tapped to play former U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation director J. Edgar Hoover in the Martin Luther King, Jr. biopic Selma.
The Spider-Man 2 star will portray the government official who famously wiretapped the civil rights leader's office in a failed bid to prove he was a part of the Communist party, according to Deadline.com.
Baker will join a cast that includes David Oyelowo as King, Cuba Gooding, Jr. as American civil rights lawyer Fred Gray, British actor Tom Wilkinson as former U.S. president Lyndon B. Johnson and Tim Roth, who will portray controversial U.S. governor George Wallace.
Oprah Winfrey, who will play civil rights protester Annie Lee Cooper in the film, and Brad Pitt are among the producers of the project.
Walt Disney Studios via Everett Collection
Okay, Ruffalo. Sell it. Tell us why, with so many properties to choose from and all the money required to breathe life into its leviathan of promising characters, Marvel is "entertaining the idea" of another standalone movie for the Hulk. After all, the first two attempts at a Bruce Banner-centric picture resulted in sour reviews and lackluster box office intake. Ang Lee's maudlin interpretation of the character, as portrayed by Eric Bana in 2003, nearly sapped us of our Spider-Man highs, while Louis Leterrier's lunking, charmless 2008 version left us mourning the days when an Edward Norton headline meant a sure thing (there might not have ever been days like that, but it sure seems like there were at some point). But two years past the Hulk's gallant return to Bixbian form in The Avengers, and you're coming to DigitalSpy with the news that Marvel is considering another go at the rage-filled green giant for a spin-off feature?
All right, we'll hear you out: "There's still nothing definitive, not even a skeletal version of what it would be. I look forward to going down that road, if we could crack that nut." Clearly, you and Marvel alike share our skepticism, which is, in its own way, comforting. As lovers of Banner in his comic book, television series, and Ruffaloan form (and that last bit includes your appearance in the Iron Man 3 stinger, for which you seem to share an affinity: "If they did Iron Man 4 and Banner’s in that, that’d be very cool."), we'd love nothing more than the Hulk granted his cinematic due. But such a complicated character takes patience and plotting... more so than Leterrier hocked at the screen in '08, but not quite as much as Lee wove so dreadfully in '03. A happy medium. Something that the Phase 2-and-on psychology might be able to bring to life.
Seems like you've convinced us, Ruffalo. Maybe there is some hidden gold left to mine for a Hulk movie. Just... be careful this time, okay?
Follow @Michael Arbeiter| Follow @Hollywood_com
Dreamworks via Everett Collection
Director Cameron Crowe is reportedly developing his first TV series centring around a fictional U.S. rock band's tour.
The Almost Famous filmmaker is preparing for his first foray into the small screen with an ensemble comedy titled Roadies, according to NikkiFinke.com. Crowe, who created the series and is producing the programme with J.J. Abrams' production company Bad Robot, is also slated to direct the pilot.
The Oscar winner is currently wrapping up an as-yet-untitled romantic comedy starring Bradley Cooper and Emma Stone, which is set to hit cinemas by the end of the year (14).
Spike Lee and Anika Noni Rose have offered up tributes to actress Ruby Dee following news of her death on Thursday (12Jun14) The Oscar-nominated actress, poet, playwright and civil rights activist passed away from age-related causes, prompting an outpouring of grief and respect from the Hollywood community.
Lee, who directed Dee in Do The Right Thing and Jungle Fever, called her his "spiritual mother" in one tweet, while rap mogul Russell Simmons revealed she "inspired" him throughout his life and career with her civil rights activism.
And Rose, who stars in the Broadway revival of A Raisin in the Sun, which Dee took to the stage in 1961, thanked the late star for being a trailblazer. She wrote, "RIP, Ruby Dee. Thank you for paving the way with your brilliance, beauty, fight and grace."
Fox Searchlight via Everett Collection
Ever since the rumors started swirling several months ago, the Internet has been waiting impatiently for a Star Wars VII casting announcement that included Oscar winner and instant style icon Lupita Nyong'o. They finally got that wish on Monday morning, when StarWars.com revealed that she would be joining the cast along with Game of Thrones star Gwendoline Christie. The pair join an impressive cast for the latest installment of the franchise, with acclaimed actors like Oscar Isaac, Max Von Sydow and John Boyega all playing significant roles. However, when it comes to buzz, they all pale in comparison to Nyong'o, who has won over both critics and fans since her breakout performance last year in 12 Years a Slave.
Casting an Academy Award winner is a big deal for a major blockbuster like Episode VII, but Nyong'o is far from the first winner to journey to a galaxy far, far away. Since the first film was released in 1977, the Star Wars franchise has featured several Oscar winners and nominees on both sides of the camera, and seen several of its alum take home the award later on. In honor of Nyong'o's casting, we've rounded up all of the actors, writers, directors and editors who fall in the middle of the Venn Diagram of "Oscar winners and nominees" and "involved in the Star Wars universe."
Academy Award Wins
PRE-STAR WARS: -Nyong'o, who won Best Supporting Actress for her performance in 12 Years a Slave at this year's awards, is the third actor who has taken home an Oscar before starring in one of the Star Wars films, and the fifth team member to hold the distinction. -Alec Guinness won Best Actor in 1957 for his work in The Bridge on the River Kwai, before he played everyone's favorite Jedi Master and mentor, Obi Wan Kenobi. He later earned an Oscar nomination for the part. -Composer John Williams, who has been nominated for a total of 49 Oscars, won his first for Best Scoring Adaptation and Original Score Song in 1971 for Fiddler on the Roof. Since then, he's won four more, including Best Original Score in 1977 for Star Wars. -Ben Burtt had established himself as a talented editor with two Best Sound Editing Oscars in 1982 and 1989 before he edited The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith.
POST-STAR WARS: -James Earl Jones, who provided the iconic voice of Darth Vader in the Star Wars films received an Honorary Oscar in 2011.-Natalie Portman won Best Actress for playing Nina Sayers in Black Swan in 2010, five years after her final installment of the trilogy was released. -Director Sofia Coppola played one of Queen Amidala's handmaidens in The Phantom Menace, and then went on to win Best Original Screenplay in 2003 for her film Lost in Translation. She was also nominated for Best Director and Best Picture that year.
20th Century Fox Film via Everett Collection
Academy Award Nominations
PRE-STAR WARS: -Before he created the franchise that eventually became Star Wars, George Lucas made American Graffitti, and was nominated for Best Director and Best original Screenplay in 1972 for his hard work. Five years later, he was nominated in those same categories for the first installment in the series. -Terence Stamp was nominated for Best Supporting Actor in 1962 for his work in the film Billy Budd, 30 years before he played Supreme Chancellor Valorum in The Phantom Menace. -His co-star in that film, Samuel L. Jackson, was nominated for Best Supporting Actor in 1994 for his performances as Jules Winnfield in Pulp Fiction, a first of many iconic characters. -Marcia Lucas received an Oscar nomination in 1974 for Best Editing alongside Verna Fields for American Graffiti, before winning the same award three years later for Star Wars, with Richard Chew and Paul Hirsch. -Liam Neeson was nominated for Best Actor in 1993 for his heartbreaking performance in Schindler's List before stepping into the role of Obi Wan's mentor, Qui Gon Jinn in 1999.
POST-STAR WARS: -After he played Han Solo, Harrison Ford was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar for his performance in the 1985 film Witness. -Keira Knightley, who played one of Amidala's handmaidens in one of her first film roles, was nominated for Best Actress in 2005 for her turn as Elizabeth Bennet in Joe Wright's Pride and Prejudice. -Lawrence Kasdan, who wrote Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi with Lucas, was nominated for Best Original Screenplay in 1984 and 1992 for The Big Chill and Grand Canyon, respectively, and Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Picture in 1989 for The Accidental Tourist.
Other Awards Of Note
-Three of the key supporting characters in Attack of the Clones were played by actors who were nominated or have won AFI and AACTA awards, the Australian equivalent of the Oscars and the BAFTAs. They are: Rose Byrne, Joel Edgerton, and Jack Thompson. -Ford has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and C3PO, R2D2, and Darth Vader have their "footprints" outside of the TCL Chinese Theater. -Christopher Lee, who played Count Dooku in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith has never been nominated for an Oscar, but he has been knighted, made a Commander of Order of the British Empire and a Commander of the Venerable Order of Saint John, been awarded both the BAFTA and BFI Fellowships, and is a French Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters. He was also a war hero, serving as part of the RAF Intelligence and Special Forces during World War II, and was attached to the SAS for a time during his service. He also once climbed Mt. Vesuvius right before it erupted and fronts several heavy metal bands, because he's cooler than the rest of us could ever hope to be.