Actor Malik Yoba has hit back at reports suggesting he 'outed' Empire co-star Jussie Smollett in an online interview, insisting his comments have been misquoted. During a chat with BlackFilm.com last month (Feb15), Malik appeared to openly discuss Smollett's sexuality, but he now insists he was talking about the actor's character on their hit new Lee Daniels TV drama.
Malik said, "I think that our show represents a huge opportunity to stay in the culture beyond entertainment value and there's an intrinsic nature if you have the gay factor, right? So, obviously, Lee is gay. That was an important storyline for him. I think it's important for people to see themselves. Even within the Black community.
"I know Jussie, he is gay, and he's very committed to issues around the LGBT community. He and I have a very close relationship."
Malik has now attempted to distance himself from the online article, stating, "I was misquoted. My reference to Jussie was only about his character and storyline on Empire."
Smollett has not 'come out' as a gay man and he has yet to address what Malik has been credited with saying, but he has made it clear he can understand why some people might assume he is gay, like his character, stating, "I don't see a problem with that and I don't really care... This is not a gay black show. This is a show about human experiences... I'm not willing to confirm or deny anything."
Rockers Tommy Lee and Pete Wentz have formed an unlikely bond over their shared love of cooking. The Fall Out Boy star sharpened his kitchen skills following his split from wife Ashlee Simpson in 2011 so he could adequately care for their son Bronx Mowgli.
He was so keen to expand his expertise that he turned to his friends for help and advice, and even urged the Motley Crue drummer to hand over the recipe for an egg dish he showed off online.
Wentz tells Q magazine, "Until I was 30 I couldn't cook. But then I was a single dad, so I thought, 'I'm gonna get good enough for this.' I got a skillet, and I got these really goofy 'cooking for kids' cookbooks...
"I'll get obsessed with something and want to perfect that thing. (I) really wanted to know how to poach an egg... (Lee had) this crazy 'eggs in hell' dish. I got in touch and asked him how he did it, and he sent me the recipe. I did think, 'This is weird - Tommy Lee just sent me an egg recipe.'"
Filmmaker Lee Daniels shunned plans to make his new hip-hop drama Empire for the big screen because he has grown tired of scrambling for funding for his movie projects. The Precious director co-created Empire with his writing partner Danny Strong, basing it on the 1966 James Goldman play The Lion in Winter, and he admits choosing to turn the idea into a TV series was all about the money, because he wanted the guarantee of a cash injection from U.S. network bosses.
He explains, "My partner Danny Strong... pitched Lion in the Winter (sic)... and I said, 'OK...' He said, 'Let's do it hip-hop (sic)' and I said, 'Let's do it for TV.' He said, 'Why not a film?' and I said, 'Cause I wanna make some money for once!' Because you know, we've been to the Oscars and the Golden Globes and we end up right back where we were, at square one, scratching for dollars for the next movie."
Daniels chose to team up with executives at Fox to air the show so his relatives didn't need to shell out for cable TV service, and although he is having to get to grips with the restrictions imposed on dramas for primetime TV, he insists it's actually helping him find new ways to get his story across.
He says, "It was important for me to go into network television, because I had the option of doing cable or network, and I decided primetime because I wanted my family to watch it and you know, a lot of my family can't afford cable, so it was really important for them to see my story, our story, on primetime.
"And it helps me creatively (having things you can't do for network TV), because on cable you can say whatever, and how do you tell a story about hip-hop without using some of those (curse) words, you know what I mean...? The poetry is the language and the language is the music and the music is the magic, so what I do, is we work the actors to do the work with nuance, glances, and those nuances say those words (without saying them out loud)... It's all in the acting."
Empire, which stars Terrence Howard as an embattled hip-hop mogul, has featured acting turns from Naomi Campbell, Courtney Love and Mary J. Blige and it has proved to be such a hit, it has already been picked up for a second series - and now other stars are lobbying Daniels for guest appearances.
He quips, "Everybody's coming, everybody. I'm waiting for (U.S. President Barack) Obama to call!"
Comedienne/actress Mo'nique insists she can prove Lee Daniels offered her a leading role in his new TV series Empire before giving the part to Taraji P. Henson as the former friends' feud rumbles on. Daniels has criticised his Precious star for not playing the Hollywood game and campaigning for their 2009 movie, claiming her decision not to attend the Cannes Film Festival and other promotional events landed her with a bad reputation among film executives.
Mo'Nique, who insists she fulfilled every obligation she was contracted to, claims Daniels informed her she had been "blackballed" by Hollywood and has recently revealed she was up for roles in both Daniels' The Butler and Empire - but didn't get them.
She maintains Oprah Winfrey landed the part she was offered in The Butler and Henson took on the role of Cookie in Empire.
She says, "I have the emails... to go along with it (role) and what he (Daniels) said was, 'You know, I'm new to this TV thing; this is just a technicality... for you to come in and do a screen test... Just do the screen test, you have the role'.
"Four days had gone by (and) I didn't receive a phone call or another email for the location of where I was supposed to go to do this screen test... I gave him a call... That's when the whole conversation comes out about, 'Fox (network bosses) said you were difficult to work with. I told them let you be my difficulty'.
"I said, 'Lee, why ever would you say that when you know that you and I have never had any difficulty in working together?'"
Mo'nique, who claims Daniels is still sore because she never mentioned him in her Oscars acceptance speech, adds, "I'm not pulling anything outta the air. Everything that I've said... in reference to Mr. Daniels having a problem because I didn't mention his name... I have the emails in reference that. In reference to being offered The Butler, I have the script... No one just sends out scripts."
Precious star Mo'nique has fuelled her war of words with director Lee Daniels and producers of the acclaimed 2009 film by insisting she turned down the chance to promote the movie in France because they were not paying her to do so. Studio executives offered her a top hotel room and other perks to attend the Cannes Film Festival, but she refused to give up downtime with her family.
Daniels has claimed the actress, who won an Oscar for her role as Mary in the movie, has been "blackballed" in Hollywood after refusing to "play the game" - but Mo'Nique insists she did everything she was contracted to do after signing on to star in a friend's film.
Appearing on U.S. news show Access Hollywood Live on Tuesday (03Mar15) she said,"I fulfilled all of my obligations; it was extras that they then wanted me to do.
"I say to all the women in America, when you work Monday through Friday, 40 hours a week, and then your boss calls you up and says, 'We need you come in on Saturday and work for 10 hours', do you do that for free, or do you say, 'OK, what am I gonna be paid?'
"All I was saying is, 'Guys, I don't wanna work for free!' I was paid $50,000 to do this movie and I'm not complaining because I signed up to do it with my friend and I didn't have my business hat on, I had on my friendship hat."
Mo'Nique reveals she offered to go to Cannes if she was paid for the trip, but studio bosses stood firm and insisted they would never pay an actor or actress to promote a film.
During a CNN interview at the weekend (28Feb-01Mar15), filmmaker Daniels claimed his "friend" had been "blackballed" by Hollywood movie bosses because she made "unreasonable demands" during her Oscars campaign.
He said, "I love her, I've spoken to her. She's brilliant, and I love working with brilliant people (but) sometimes artists get in their own way... I think that there were demands that were made on the Precious campaign that everyone knows hurt her. I told her that. You've gotta play ball. This is not just show, it is showbusiness."
Ethan Hawke is reuniting with his Training Day co-star Denzel Washington for the upcoming remake of classic western The Magnificent Seven. The Boyhood star is nearing a deal to become one of the gang of gunslingers in the new version of the iconic 1960 John Sturges film, according to TheWrap.
The casting not only reunites Hawke with Oscar-winner Washington, but also with their director Antoine Fuqua, who will helm the western, nearly 15 years after Training Day.
Guardians of the Galaxy star Chris Pratt and actress Haley Bennett will also co-star in the film, which was written by True Detective creator Nic Pizzolatto and The Blind Side director John Lee Hancock.
Actress Mo'nique is convinced filmmaker Lee Daniels is the only person who holds a grudge against her following her 2010 Oscars win, because she failed to thank him personally during her acceptance speech. The Precious star recently revealed Daniels told her Hollywood studio executives had "blackballed" the actress for refusing to "play the game" by campaigning for the 2009 drama ahead of the Academy Awards, where she landed the Best Supporting Actress prize.
The alleged backlash led to Mo'Nique missing out on roles in Daniels' follow up projects, The Butler and his new TV series Empire, and now the 47 year old has come to the conclusion the director is the only person not willing to work with her, because she snubbed him during Hollywood's big night.
In a candid interview with U.S. breakfast show Good Morning America, which aired on Monday (02Mar15), Mo'Nique suggested the moviemaker took it upon himself to "teach Mo'Nique a lesson", because "it seems like she's choosing her family over Hollywood".
The actress went on to admit she was surprised to learn she had reportedly been "blackballed" because she is still receiving new job offers and is about to embark on a sold-out stand-up comedy tour.
She continued, "I had no idea (I'd been blackballed) because I don't think that Hollywood has turned its nose up to me. I think that those are feelings that Mr. Daniels is having and then he said... 'You know, Mo'nique, she didn't thank the producers (at the Oscars). She didn't thank the studio, and that's just not things that you do.'
"Well, it had nothing to do with the producers, nor the studio. Mr. Daniels had a problem that I didn't say his name the night of the Oscar awards...
"If I had (been blackballed), the scripts and the calls would have stopped coming, because Hollywood is a small community, (but) they never stop coming."
She closed the interview by urging fans not to pity her, insisting, "Please don't feel bad or sorry for Mo'Nique because Mo'Nique doesn't feel bad or sorry for Mo'Nique! You would be wasting your energy."
Her comments come after a heated war of words between Daniels and Mo'Nique in the pages of The Hollywood Reporter and on CNN. The filmmaker insisted he still considers the comedienne/actress his friend.
Bruce Lee's daughter has signed on to produce a new biopic about the martial arts movie legend, marking the first project to be made with the family's full involvement. Shannon Lee, under her company Bruce Lee Entertainment, has teamed with producers Lawrence Grey and Janet Yang to make the as-yet-untitled film about her movie star dad.
She says in a statement, "There have been projects out there involving my father, but they've lacked a complete understanding of his philosophies and artistry.
"They haven't captured the essence of his beliefs in martial arts or storytelling. The only way to get audiences to understand the depth and uniqueness of my father is to generate our own material and find amazing, like-minded partners to work with... Many don't know that Bruce Lee was also a prolific writer and a creator of his own unique art and philosophy. That's what we want to show - not just his kick-a** physicality, but the depth of his character and beliefs."
Shannon and her production company are also developing a TV series based on original ideas and materials by her father with Fast & Furious 6 director Justin Lin, as well as a reality TV show for China with Keanu Reeves.
Enter the Dragon star Lee died in 1973 at the age of 32 following an adverse reaction to a painkiller.
Filmmaker Lee Daniels has expanded on comments he recently made about his Precious star Mo'nique, revealing she was "blackballed" by Hollywood because she made "unreasonable demands" during her Oscars campaign.
The comedienne picked up the Best Supporting Actress award for her role as Mary in the hard-hitting film, but Daniels claims she didn't make many friends in the run up to the Oscars - and she recently revealed he told her she had been labelled difficult to work with by some movie executives.
Now, Daniels has told CNN Tonight Mo'Nique only has herself to blame for her unpopularity in Tinseltown. He said, "During the (Oscars) campaign, she was making unreasonable demands, and I remember thinking, 'This is when reverse racism happens'. You have to thank the producers of the film, you have to thank the studio, and she didn't understand that. People aren't going to respond well.
"I love her, I've spoken to her. She's brilliant, and I love working with brilliant people (but) sometimes artists get in their own way... I think that there were demands that were made on the Precious campaign that everyone knows hurt her. I told her that. You've gotta play ball. This is not just show, it is showbusiness."
CNN Tonight host Don Lemon then asked Mo'Nique to join him on the show and she confessed she was "shocked" by what the director said, insisting, "There were no demands. There was a request from the movie studio that I fly to France for the Cannes Film Festival. I simply said, 'I respectfully decline'." She later took to Twitter and added, "What do you do when someone is trying to bully you. Play the game, or take a stand. I love yall (sic) for real."
Mo'Nique recently told The Hollywood Reporter she had been up for roles in Daniels' The Butler and his new TV series Empire but lost out despite her Oscars win.