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‘Star Wars: Rogue One’ Plot to Focus on Death Star

6 hours ago | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

The upcoming “Star Wars” standalone film, “Rogue One,” will follow a group trying to steal the Death Star plans, it was revealed at Sunday’s Star Wars Celebration, which also showed a special teaser for the upcoming spinoff.

“A band of resistance fighters unite for a daring mission to steal the Death Star plans in Star Wars anthology film, Rogue One,” the official Star Wars account tweeted on Sunday.

Felicity Jones, who was previously confirmed to star in “Rogue One,” will play a rebel soldier. The film will take place between Episode III and Episode IV, but closer to “A New Hope.”

The news was revealed at a panel with Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, Lucasfilm Svp of development Kiri Hart and “Rogue One” director Gareth Edwards. Josh Trank was scheduled to appear at the panel, but didn’t show, with moderator Pablo Hidalgo saying he was “under the weather.”

The »

- Alex Stedman

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Meryl Streep Funds Lab for Women Screenwriters Over 40

8 hours ago | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Meryl Streep has funded a screenwriters lab for women writers over 40, to be run by New York Women in Film and Television and Iris, a collective of women filmmakers.

The creation of the lab, and Streep’s involvement in its founding, was announced Sunday at a panel discussion presented as part of the Tribeca Film Festival.

Called the Writers Lab, the screenplay development program aims to increase opportunities for female screenwriters over the age of 40. This year the initiative will accept submissions May 1-June 1, with eight winning scribes named Aug. 1.

Among the mentors to participate in the Lab’s inaugural year are writer-director Gina Prince-Bythewood (“Beyond the Lights”), producer Caroline Kaplan (“Boyhood”), and writers Kirsten Smith (“Legally Blonde”) and Jessica Bendinger (“Bring It On”).

According to Nywift, Streep ponied up a “significant” contribution to fully fund the Lab. The actress has been a longtime supporter of Nywift.

The Writers Lab »

- Gordon Cox

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Jonathan Crombie, ‘Anne of Green Gables’ Actor, Dies at 48

18 April 2015 12:00 PM, PDT | Variety - TV News | See recent Variety - TV News news »

Jonathan Crombie, who co-starred in the “Anne of Green Gables” movies, has died.

He was 48.

Crombie’s sister told CBC News that her brother suffered a brain hemorrhage and died in New York City on Wednesday.

The actor played love interest Gilbert Blythe in CBC’s Anne of Green Gables miniseries.

“He was funny, he was sweet,” his sister said. “He loved acting, he loved comedy and singing and dancing. As a little kid, he just loved Broadway shows and all of that kind of stuff and would sing and dance in the living room.”

Crombie, born in Canada, was also the son of ex-Toronto mayor David Crombie.

He appeared in several TV shows over the past 20 years including “The Good Wife” and “21 Jump Street.”


- Variety Staff

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Box Office: ‘Furious 7′ Outruns ‘Paul Blart 2,’ ‘Unfriended’

10 hours ago | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Furious 7″ ran laps around the competition, picking up $29.1 million in its third weekend of release, according to studio estimates.

The fast cars sequel withe the gravity-defying stunts is barreling toward the $300 million mark Stateside, having already hurtled past the $1 billion mark globally. Domestically, “Furious 7″ has earned $294.4 million.

“This is how you build a record year,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Rentrak. “These are summer-style numbers in April.”

Despite “Furious 7’s” continued dominance, “Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2″ did better than expected, pulling in a solid $24 million across 3,633 locations. It had been projected to fall short of the $20 million barrier.

It’s good news for Sony Pictures, which had a painful chapter from its recent history dredged up this week when Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks published an archive of emails and documents that were stolen by hacker group Guardians of Peace. However, “Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 »

- Brent Lang

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'Good Times' Actor Ben Powers Dies at 64

18 April 2015 6:05 PM, PDT | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Ben Powers, who played Thelma's (BernNadette Stanis) husband Keith Anderson on the final season of the classic CBS sitcom Good Times, has died. He was 64. Powers died April 6 in New Bedford, Mass., his family announced. No cause of death was revealed. He joined the cast of Good Times for its sixth and final 1978-79 season, playing Keith, a professional football player. His character and Thelma are wed on the third episode of that year, but he injures his leg while walking out of the church, straining their relationship.  Read More Hollywood's Notable Deaths of 2015 Powers also

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- Mike Barnes, Ryan Gajewski

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2015 Academy of Country Music Awards Winners: The Complete List

32 minutes ago | E! Online | See recent E! Online news »

Tonight is all about the biggest names in country! The 50th anniversary of the Academy of Country Music Awards is being held in Texas and our favorite musical superstars are walking away with some pretty impressive trophies. Miranda Lambert, Florida Georgia Line and Lady Antebellum are just some of the fan-favorites favored to win big. So, what are you waiting for? Take a look at all the winners of the night.  Milestone Award: George Strait  Song of the Year:  "Automatic" by Miranda Lambert »

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‘Fun Home’ Theater Review: When Life With Father Is Anything but Easy

34 minutes ago | The Wrap | See recent The Wrap news »

The best new play on Broadway at the moment is Lisa Kron’s book for the musical “Fun Home,” which opened Sunday at Circle in the Square in New York. Kron’s achievement here recalls Marsha Norman’s breakthrough play in the late 1970s, “Getting Out,” which looks at a woman’s life before and after her parole, the character played by two different actresses. Kron ups that challenge by seeing her character Alison at three stages in life, played by three actresses. While Alison never goes to prison, she does grow up in a household that, at times, resembles one, »

- Robert Hofler

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SAG-aftra Leaders Greenlight Industrial Films Contract

50 minutes ago | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

The SAG-aftra national board has ratified the union’s recently negotiated industrial films contract covering work in corporate and educational films and non-broadcast recorded material.

The agreement combines the legacy SAG and AFTRA contracts as a result of the merger in March 2012 that created a union of about 160,000 members. The legacy contracts were jointly negotiated in 2011 and are set to expire April 30.

The deal covers public relations, sales promotion and training films made for initial use to the general public, schools, conventions, seminars, museums, in retail stores and for Internet use. It also covers audio-only content, such as telephone messages and audio used in consumer products.

The 80-member board voted 94.69% percent in favor of ratification on Sunday, 11 days after it reached a tentative agreement with producers.

The new agreement includes a 3% increase immediately in minimum compensation and a 3% increase on Nov. 1, 2016. The agreement also includes a 0.5% increase to the employer »

- Dave McNary

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