Lionsgate via Everett Collection
If Battle Creek, Michigan is known at all, it's for being the home of Kellogg's, the country's largest cereal manufacturer. If Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan has anything to say about it, however, that's all about to change. Gilligan, along with former House executive producer David Shore, has the crime drama Battle Creek premiering on CBS in the fall. The show follows Josh Duhamel as an FBI agent dispatched from Detroit to the Southwestern Michigan city to set up a new field office, who has to work with a local detective, played by Dean Winters (Law & Order: SVU). It's a high powered affair with X-Men: Days of Future Past director Bryan Singer helming the first episode and serving as one of the show's producers.
In Breaking Bad, Gilligan charted the rise of Walter White, an unlikely drug kingpin in the semi-odd location of Albuquerque, New Mexico. While that locale was strictly chosen for financial considerations — the cost to shoot there was cheaper than California — this time the show's setting was done with a purpose.
By placing the show in a small, economically depressed city — especially one surrounded largely by rural areas and tied to the rest of the world by the interstate that runs through it connecting Detroit with Chicago — Gilligan has set his story up to deal with issues that we don’t normally see a big city crime drama delve into. The detectives on the show will be working with basically no budget and without much support. Unlike, say, the detectives on Castle, a show where there is a seemingly neverending supply of resources, Battle Creek's law enforcement will be forced to work with the outdated technology and Duhamel's earnest FBI agent won't be getting a warm reception from the locals (who also include Kal Penn and Janet McTeer).
Settling in a Midwestern city, where there's a stark racial disparity between the population within the city limits and the population just outside, gives Gilligan and his writers an opportunity to address social issues that frequently get ignored these days by most police dramas... namely the rifts that still exist throughout much of the nation along both racial and socioeconomic lines. In a nod to Breaking Bad — and given the actual level of the crime in the actual Battle Creek — expect to see some storylines that deal with crystal meth producers.
Unlike some other crime shows that have been set off the beaten path — such as Twin Peaks or Justified — the feel of Battle Creek isn't meant to come off as unique or quirky. The real Battle Creek is a mix of urban decay, Midwestern values and apathy brought on by the steady decrease in the area's industry and economy (full disclosure: I grew up in the area and still pass through on a semi-regular basis). It's a situation that is germane to a lot of small cities that once had a wealth of manufacturing that helped it grow but then did not have anything to replace the jobs or money when those companies moved or closed.
Gilligan originally tried to sell his pilot script about 10 years ago at the onset of the country's economic downturn. Years later, the situation hasn't changed markedly for Battle Creek and dozens of cities exactly like it. Deciding to tell a police story amidst that reality is an interesting choice… what Gilligan and his team decide to do with it will be fascinating to watch.
Lea Michele has broken her silence about the reported feud between her and Glee co-star Naya Rivera, insisting rumours of a major fall-out are "completely made up".
The actress/singer was a guest on The Late Show with David Letterman on Friday night (16May14) and was keen to clear the air about her alleged fight with Rivera, who plays Santana on the show. Rivera's publicist and show creator Ryan Murphy have both dismissed reports suggesting Rivera had been fired from the programme, and would not be returning for the final season.
Now Michele has denied reports of the spat, telling Letterman, "It's really unbelievable the amount of things that can just be completely made up, and it's really frustrating... The way people like to pit women against each other... is really annoying and it's sad."
Michael Jackson's estate executors have been slapped with legal action aimed at halting their plans to bring the King of Pop back to life as a hologram onstage at Sunday's (18May14) Billboard Music Awards.
Organisers of the 2014 prizegiving had hoped to mark the fifth anniversary of the Thriller hitmaker's death by resurrecting him in virtual form in conjunction with Jackson estate officials and bosses at the singer's production company as part of a tribute surrounding the release of his new posthumous album Xscape. However, they may have to rethink their plans after Alki David, who claims to control the rights to the hologram technology, filed suit in a U.S. court on Thursday (15May14) in a bid to put a stop to the spectacle, which was expected to be similar to the eerie Tupac Shakur stunt at the 2012 Coachella music festival in California, where the dead rapper appeared onstage alongside Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg in hologram form.
In legal papers obtained by TMZ.com, David insists that if the virtual performance is allowed to go ahead at the Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas, it will ruin his own plans to stage a Jackson hologram performance at a later date. A judge has yet to rule on the suit, but Jackson estate lawyer Howard Weitzman is adamant David has no legal standing to stop the Billboard plans.
He tells TMZ.com, "This is another Alki David stunt... It is ludicrous... and the show goes on." Coincidentally, billionaire entrepreneur David is the same man who went public with DNA information suggesting singer Brandon Howard was a 99.9 per cent match as an illegitimate son of the late King of Pop back in March (14). Those allegations were also dismissed by the Jackson estate. The superstar died in June, 2009.
One Direction star Liam Payne is reportedly planning to quit Britain and move to Malibu, California. The pop singer is said to be househunting in the U.S. in a bid to follow in the footsteps of his bandmates Harry Styles and Niall Horan, who are believed to have bought homes in Beverly Hills and Los Angeles respectively.
Payne reportedly let slip the news during an appearance at the launch party of David Beckham's new swimwear line for H&M in London on Wednesday night (14May14).
An onlooker tells Britain's Daily Mirror newspaper, "Liam caught the eye of a fashion student from California at the bash. He made a bee line for her and told her that he is currently looking at buying a beachside place in Malibu and that he plans to move there next year. He insisted the student, Shelby, and her friends join them after the party."
Payne is said to be newly single after splitting from his longtime girlfriend Sophia Smith.
Actress Lucy Hale is reportedly dating country singer Joel Crouse. The Pretty Little Liars star and Crouse were photographed together at a Los Angeles Lakers basketball game last month (Apr14) and after the sporting event, Hale took to Instagram.com to share a picture of her and the country singer, gushing about their fun night out.
She wrote, "First lakers game. Was really great teaching this one the rules of the game. And seeing him looking like a kid in a candy store @joelcrouse."
Last week (11May14), they were also spotted on a lunch date at Crave Cafe in Los Angeles.
A source tells Us Weekly magazine, "They are seeing each other. He is in L.A. right now to visit. It isn't anything serious just yet."
Hale, whose exes include actors Chris Zylka and David Henrie, is in a country music state of mind right now - her first country album, The Road Between, is scheduled for release later this summer (14).
David Beckham attracted a star-studded crowd when he threw a party in London on Wednesday night (14May14) to launch his new swimwear line for retailer H&M. Guests included One Direction stars Niall Horan and Liam Payne, singer Ellie Goulding and Breaking Bad actor Aaron Paul.
Pop star Gary Barlow has been urged to hand back a top honour from the British Establishment over claims he invested in a tax avoidance scheme. The singer and two of his Take That bandmates - Mark Owen and Howard Donald - are reportedly facing the possibility of paying millions in back taxes after a partnership they invested in was branded a tax scam by a judge.
All three singers have declined to comment on the report but several leading politicians have called for Barlow to hand back the Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) medal he was awarded in 2012 for services to entertainment.
Margaret Hodge, leader of the U.K.'s Public Accounts Committee, says Barlow "might want to show a bit of contrition by giving back his OBE", and another Member of Parliament (MP), Charlie Elphicke, tells The Times newspaper, "People who have seriously abused the tax system should be stripped of their honours."
However, Barlow has since received the backing of U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron, who told TV show Good Morning Britain, "I don't think that's necessary, frankly. Gary Barlow has done a huge amount for the country... He's raised money for charity, he's done very well for Children in Need so I'm not sure (he should hand back) his OBE in respect of the work he has done."
Barlow, Donald, Owen and their manager are said to have invested $105 million (£66 million) into a partnership company that was later allegedly exposed as an elaborate tax avoidance scheme.
British singer Jade Jones is heading to the U.K.'s House of Commons with his campaign to bring his brother's killer to justice. The former Damage star's brother John Kennedy was stabbed to death in a busy London pub in 1997, but police have never secured a conviction in the case.
Following a vigil in London last month (Apr14), Jones is leading a new drive urging revellers at the bar that night to come forward with any information.
A $32,000 (£20,000) reward is being offered for information leading to a prosecution and the star and his mother Rita Kennedy-Jones are meeting with British Member of Parliament (MP) David Lammy to try to increase awareness of the unsolved case.
Jones tells U.K. TV show Lorraine, "Seventeen years is too long for a family to be grieving... We are making efforts as a family to encourage witnesses to come forward. We have had meetings with Simon Hughes, Justice Minister, who has promised anonymity for witnesses who want to come forward... The people at that pub have been scared to say anything... At the minute, our brother's killer is out on the loose.
"We are going to the House of Commons to meet the Deputy Police Commissioner (of London) and David Lammy (MP). We just want to put the right people in place to help our cause."
Moviemaker Bryan Singer has broken his silence a week after he was accused of sexually abusing a teenager at a party in Hawaii in 1999. The X-Men director became the first power player named by Michael Egan in a series of lawsuits linked to "sordid" sexual exploits at a number of industry get togethers over a period of two years, when the plaintiff was aged between 15 and 17.
Singer's lawyer Marty Singer was quick to respond to the allegations, calling them "absurd" and "completely without merit", and now his famous client is speaking out to announce he won't be taking part in any promotional activity for new X-Men blockbuster Days of Future Past because of the drama.
He says, "The allegations against me are outrageous, vicious and completely false.
"I do not want these fictitious claims to divert any attention from X-Men: Days of Future Past. This fantastic film is a labour of love and one of the greatest experiences of my career. So, out of respect to all of the extraordinary contributions from the incredibly talented actors and crew involved, I've decided not to participate in the upcoming media events for the film.
"However, I promise when this situation is over, the facts will show this to be the sick twisted shakedown it is. I want to thank fans, friends and family for all their amazing and overwhelming support."
Egan has filed a civil suit against the director, alleging he sexually assaulted him at sex parties.
He has also filed sex abuse lawsuits against TV executive Garth Ancier, former Disney TV president David Neuman and Broadway producer Gary Goddard. Like Singer, all three insist the allegations against them are false.
Neil Patrick Harris' starring role in the Broadway debut of cult rock musical Hedwig And The Angry Inch has won rave reviews by critics, who have hailed his performance as "fabulous", "outrageous" and "blazingly entertaining". The How I Met Your Mother actor has returned to the Great White Way to star in the musical about a rock 'n' roll band fronted by a transgender East German singer.
The revival of the 1998 Off-Broadway show opened at the Belasco Theatre on Tuesday (22Apr14) and critics have heaped praise on star actor Harris.
Mark Kennedy from the Associated Press writes that Harris "simply crushes it", adding, "Rarely does a role fit a performer so well. Harris is funny, twisted, poignant, outrageous, bizarre, silly and very, very human."
Elysa Gardner from USA Today also praises director Michael Mayer, writing, "Harris, under Michael Mayer's razor-sharp direction, serves it with a blazingly entertaining and ultimately moving performance. The humour here is darker and rawer than the material that has endeared Harris to TV audiences, but he brings the same affable, slightly naughty charm."
Ben Brantley from the New York Times could not fault the actor's ability, adding, "Harris is in full command of who he is and, most excitingly, what he has become with this performance. That's a bona fide Broadway star, the kind who can rule an audience with the blink of a sequined eyelid."
David Rooney from The Hollywood Reporter also praised the actor, writing, "Harris is beyond fabulous, holds nothing back and plays it any way but safe in Michael Mayer's exhilarating production."
The opening night was attended by a host of stars including Hollywood actor Sam Rockwell, acting couple Justin Long and Amanda Seyfried, Yoko Ono, U.S. Vogue editor Anna Wintour, and Mad Men star Christina Hendricks.