Arcade Fire star Win Butler has responded to criticism from fellow rocker Laura Jane Grace over the band's decision to cast The Amazing Spider-Man star Andrew Garfield as a transgender woman in a new video. The Against Me! singer, who is transgender, took aim at the Canadian rockers for hiring an actor to play the role in the promo for their new gay anthem We Exist.
In a tweet posted last week (ends23May14), she wrote, "Dear @arcadefire, maybe when making a video for a song called 'We Exist' you should get an actual 'Trans' actor instead of Spider-Man?"
But Butler is standing by his decision to ask Garfield to play the lead in the new promo, stating, "For a gay kid in Jamaica to see the actor who played Spider-Man in that role is pretty damn powerful, in my opinion."
He tells The Advocate, "There was just so much thought and love that went into the video I don't personally see it as negative. I can totally see the sensitivity of the issue."
In the video, Garfield's character shaves his head before dressing up in women's clothing. He is then assaulted by a group of men before entering a dream sequence. The promo ends with the actor taking the stage during Arcade Fire's performance at Coachella, in character.
The video's director, David Wilson, has revealed he considered using a transgender actor for the role: "Before I got on the call, I thought, 'Is this the right person, should we be using a transgender person?' But... Andrew's commitment and passion toward the project was just overwhelming. For an actor of that caliber (sic) to be that emotionally invested in a music video is just a very special thing. It just completely made sense."
Grace is refusing to back down and has returned to Twitter.com to take aim at Butler for his response to her initial tweet.
She writes, "The implication that a homeless Jamaican LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) youth living in a sewer is going to feel empowered because a... straight white male actor in movies they can't afford to see stars in a music video they'll never watch? That's like so wtf (what the f**k)?"
She adds, "If the song was called anything else I wouldn't have even had a problem with it. It's called 'We Exist' and there is literally no signs of that existence represented. Should have been called 'They Exist'."
A lawyer representing Gregg Allman has criticised the decision to include the veteran musician in a wrongful death lawsuit filed against the producers of The Allman Brothers biopic Midnight Rider. The parents of tragic camera assistant Sarah Jones have sued the moviemakers over her death in February (14). The 27 year old died after she was struck by a train on location in Georgia, and her relatives have now targeted the film's producers, as well as Allman himself, whose memoirs form the basis for the movie.
Richard and Elizabeth Jones claim the filmmakers selected "an unreasonably dangerous site for the filming location" and failed to get the proper permission to shoot there.
Allman's attorney David W. Long-Daniels has now moved to distance the star from the legal wrangling, insisting the singer should not have been named as a defendant in the lawsuit.
He tells The Hollywood Reporter, "Mr. Allman and his representative did not have any knowledge that 'live people (would be) on a live train track.' My clients were not at the location when this tragedy occurred nor have they ever been to that location. In fact, they had no role in securing any location for the making of the movie or the actual physical production of the film. They provided creative input on the script and the rights about Mr. Allman's life, and consulted about casting and music. We are confident that the legal process will result in the ultimate dismissal of claims against Mr. Allman and his representative. It is unfortunate that plaintiffs' counsel has taken a shotgun approach to this very tragic event."
Allman recently sued the film's director Randall Miller and his production company in an effort to win back the movie rights to his life story after insisting the project should no longer go ahead. The rocker dropped the lawsuit earlier this month (May14) after reaching an undisclosed agreement with Miller.
Lana Del Rey performed at Kanye West and Kim Kardashian's lavish pre-wedding dinner in France on Friday night (23May14). The singer/songwriter was West's surprise for his bride-to-be, who reportedly started sobbing when Del Rey appeared on a makeshift stage at the bash, held at the historic Palace of Versailles, and performed three songs.
The Summertime Sadness singer has a special place in the couple's hearts - the rapper hired an orchestra to perform her track Young & Beautiful when he proposed at AT&T Stadium in San Francisco, California on Kardashian's 33rd birthday last year (13).
Guests at the pre-wedding party included Valentino, Alexander Wang, director Steve McQueen, illusionist David Blaine, Serena Williams and rappers Big Sean and Tyga.
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.