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Aretha Franklin: What Was Her First Non-Singing Role?

Aretha Franklin: What Was Her First Non-Singing Role?
The sad news about Aretha Franklin today had us thumbing through our old vinyl and wondering if we should rewatch her sass-serving cameo in 1980's The Blues Brothers for a 41st time. We were a little surprised, however, to learn on IMDb that her first non-singing screen role came not alongside a repurposed Mount Prospect, Ill., police car but in a 1972 episode of the TV series "Room 222."

Also notable about the race-related classroom drama/comedy, one of the first TV shows to feature a black lead: It's the first series created by James L. Brooks, before he co-created "Mary Tyler Moore," won a Best Director Oscar for Terms of Endearment, and developed "The Simpsons."

As of this writing, Season 3 of "Room 222" is not available on DVD or to stream (VHS to the rescue?). Perhaps that's worth changing?

Check out our gallery of Aretha Franklin photos through the years.

Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, Dies at 76

  • Variety
Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, Dies at 76
“Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin, the eruptive singer who reigned atop the pop and R&B charts in the late ’60s and early ’70s with a succession of albums and singles of unparalleled power and emotional depth, has died. She was 76.

Franklin was suffering from pancreatic cancer, and had earlier undergone surgery in December 2010. Her longtime publicist Gwendolyn Quinn reported Franklin died Thursday morning at her home in Detroit.

“In one of the darkest moments of our lives, we are not able to find the appropriate words to express the pain in our heart,” Quinn said in a statement. “We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family. The love she had for her children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and cousins knew no bounds.”

She was the most lionized and lauded female R&B vocalist of her era. Winner of 18 Grammy Awards, and a Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement honoree in
See full article at Variety »

Disney Stands Firm on James Gunn Not Returning to ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ (Exclusive)

Disney Stands Firm on James Gunn Not Returning to ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ (Exclusive)
After a strong push to get James Gunn back as director of “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” following his firing from the project, Disney and Marvel are standing by their decision to not reinstate him as helmer for the next installment. The decision came following a meeting between Gunn and studio chairman Alan Horn.

Gunn was let go from the project nearly a month ago when dozens of Gunn’s tweets from nearly a decade ago came to light. The so-called joke tweets, about pedophilia and rape, were recently resurfaced by alt-right agitators. The studio acted quickly to remove Gunn from directing the third installment, believing the comments were unacceptable in the Me Too era and were not in line with Disney’s family-friendly image.

Since then, support for Gunn has been widespread, especially from the “Guardians” cast. Cast members including Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana asked for Gunn
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Darren Aronofsky’s Three-Part VR Series ‘Spheres’ To Premiere At Venice Film Festival; Millie Bobby Brown Narrates Final Installment

Darren Aronofsky’s Three-Part VR Series ‘Spheres’ To Premiere At Venice Film Festival; Millie Bobby Brown Narrates Final Installment
Darren Aronofsky’s three-part virtual reality series Spheres will make its world premiere at the upcoming Venice Film Festival, which also will mark the debut of the final chapter of the series, narrated by actress Millie Bobby Brown.

Brown, who received an Emmy nomination for her supporting role as Eleven on the Netflix series Stranger Things, lends her voice to the actual first installment in the trilogy, Spheres: Chorus of the Cosmos, which explores the sounds of the…
See full article at Deadline Movie News »

Seth Rogen-Charlize Theron Comedy ‘Flarsky’ Moving to Summer (Exclusive)

  • Variety
Seth Rogen-Charlize Theron Comedy ‘Flarsky’ Moving to Summer (Exclusive)
Thanks to strong test screenings, Lionsgate is moving its Seth Rogen-Charlize Theron comedy “Flarsky” to back four months to the summer season. It will now premiere on June 7, 2019.

Studio executives are feeling bullish about the film after recent audience test screenings gave it scores above 95% — indicating that “Flarsky” can perform as a major summer comedy. “Ocean’s 8” launched on the same weekend this year with $41.7 million and is on its way to a solid $138 million domestically.

Flarsky” had been set to open Feb. 8. Rogen stars as Fred Flarsky, a down on his luck journalist, who through a string of comedic circumstances catches the attention of the world’s most powerful woman, Charlotte Field, (Theron). Much to the chagrin of her handlers, he becomes an important part of her inner circle in her globe-trotting journey to become the first female president of the United States.

Test audiences are comparing
See full article at Variety »

Box Office: ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Pockets $5 Million on Wednesday

Box Office: ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Pockets $5 Million on Wednesday
Updated: “Crazy Rich Asians” is on track for a dazzling debut.

Warner Bros.’ highly anticipated romantic comedy generated $5 million on Wednesday, according to final numbers on Thursday. If projections hold, “Crazy Rich Asians” is heading for a weekend total of $19 million and a five-day tally of $25 million-plus. Some tracking predicts the movie, which carries a $30 million price tag, could top $30 million over the five-day period.

That should easily be enough to top the domestic box office over fellow weekend openers, Mark Wahlberg’s “Mile 22” and Sony Pictures Releasing-Studio 8’s “Alpha.”

Jon M. Chu directed the adaptation of Kevin Kwan’s 2013 bestselling book of the same name. It stars Constance Wu as an NYU professor who travels to Singapore with her boyfriend (Henry Golding) for his best friend’s wedding. While overseas, she meets his parents and finds out his family is, you know, crazy rich. Gemma Chan,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Elizabeth Banks To Star In Film About The True Story Of A Woman Who Won A Date With Prince

Elizabeth Banks To Star In Film About The True Story Of A Woman Who Won A Date With Prince
A film about a woman in a small cowboy town that wins a date with one of the biggest rock stars in the world sounds like a seriously contrived work of fiction, right? Well, not only is it true, it happened in 1986 with a woman who won an MTV contest to go out on a date with Prince. Not “a prince,” but actual, purple-clad, guitar-toting rock star Prince. And according to Deadline, Elizabeth Banks has signed on to bring this incredible true story to the big screen.

Continue reading Elizabeth Banks To Star In Film About The True Story Of A Woman Who Won A Date With Prince at The Playlist.
See full article at The Playlist »

‘American History X’ Director Tony Kaye Is Casting an Artificial Intelligent Robot to Lead New Movie

‘American History X’ Director Tony Kaye Is Casting an Artificial Intelligent Robot to Lead New Movie
Tony Kaye is making a dramatic casting move for his upcoming feature “2nd Born.” According to Deadline, the “American History X” filmmaker is using an artificial intelligence robot to play one of the lead roles in his new movie. The idea to cast a real robot came from Kaye and producer Sam Khoze. The filmmaker does not want to cast a human actor in makeup or have to rely on computer-generated effects.

According to Deadline, the robot will be trained in different acting methods and techniques prior to filming. Kaye and Khoze are hoping to get the robot SAG recognition.

“2nd Born” is the sequel to Ali Atshani’s “1st Born,” an indie film starring Val Kilmer, Tom Berenger, Greg Grunberg, William Baldwin, and Denise Richards. The original film is being released this year by Lotus Entertainment and centers on a married couple whose first pregnancy forces their families to find common ground.
See full article at Indiewire »

Jack Nicholson Drops Out Of ‘Toni Erdmann’ As American Remake Sees Behind-The-Scenes Changes

Jack Nicholson Drops Out Of ‘Toni Erdmann’ As American Remake Sees Behind-The-Scenes Changes
Changes are afoot on the upcoming production of the highly-anticipated American remake of “Toni Erdmann.” The film, which was set to star Kristen Wiig and Jack Nicholson, as the father-daughter duo at the center of the story, is in the middle of some big changes as the film moves forward towards production, according to The Wrap.

First, and probably foremost in the minds of film fans, Jack Nicholson has left the production for an unknown reason.

Continue reading Jack Nicholson Drops Out Of ‘Toni Erdmann’ As American Remake Sees Behind-The-Scenes Changes at The Playlist.
See full article at The Playlist »

Neill Blomkamp Hints That Actor Peter Weller Could Return In His Upcoming ‘RoboCop’ Film

Neill Blomkamp Hints That Actor Peter Weller Could Return In His Upcoming ‘RoboCop’ Film
There are two words that will make any “RoboCop” fan, like me, suddenly have faith in the upcoming Neill Blomkamp reboot/sequel — Peter Weller.

For those not familiar with one of the greatest films of all time (you read that right), “RoboCop” stars actor Peter Weller as the titular character, aka Alex Murphy. And if you consider every remake, spin-off, and sequel to the original Paul Verhoeven classic, the quality of the film is equal to the amount of Peter Weller on display.

Continue reading Neill Blomkamp Hints That Actor Peter Weller Could Return In His Upcoming ‘RoboCop’ Film at The Playlist.
See full article at The Playlist »

‘Minding the Gap’ Film Review: Powerful Doc Depicts Skateboarders In Transition to Adulthood

  • The Wrap
Throughout Bing Liu’s remarkable documentary “Minding the Gap,” a tale of escapist skateboarding and crashing into adulthood, there are occasional cutaway glimpses of scuffed railings around Rockport, Illinois, the economically depressed Rust Belt city where the three young men in Liu’s sights (which include himself) grew up. Those acrobatic grinds skateboarders perform can leave marks, obviously, but then so do turbulent childhoods.

Filmed over many years, during which Liu’s longtime passion for dynamic, fluid skate cinematography morphed into assembling a “Boyhood”-esque meditation on his board-proficient subjects’ entire lives, “Minding the Gap” (premiering theatrically and on Hulu) announces a confident new voice in personal non-fiction.

What starts as a raucous celebration of youthful freedom — with an exhilarating montage of his key skaters start on a building rooftop, down the ramps of a parking garage, and into the coast-able sloped streets of Rockport — consciously expands to cover the bonds of friendship,
See full article at The Wrap »

Showtime on Ruth Wilson’s Exit From ‘The Affair’: ‘Everyone Agreed the Character’s Story Had Run Its Course’

Showtime on Ruth Wilson’s Exit From ‘The Affair’: ‘Everyone Agreed the Character’s Story Had Run Its Course’
Ruth Wilson stoked speculation about the reason for her departure from Showtime’s “The Affair” when she said she’s “not allowed” to talk about the situation during a TV appearance Thursday morning.

Wilson appeared on “CBS This Morning” to talk about the dramatic exit of her character, Alison, from the Showtime drama that examines the impact of an extramarital affair from multiple perspectives. There had been speculation Wilson left because she was earning less than her male co-star, Dominic West. Asked by “CBS This Morning” anchor Gayle King directly about the pay parity question, Wilson replied: “I’ve never
See full article at Variety - TV News »

Watch Brent Cobb’s Funky Backstage Jam on ‘.30-06’

Watch Brent Cobb’s Funky Backstage Jam on ‘.30-06’
With drummer Oj Jackson keeping time on a plastic bucket and bass player J. Kott plucking away on an acoustic four-string, Brent Cobb and his band lay down a filthy rhythm in a backstage warm-up session, performing the cautionary “.30-06” off Cobb’s terrific new album Providence Canyon.

Filmed prior to a gig in Mountain View, California — a stop on Chris Stapleton’s All American Road Show Tour — the loose performance highlights the chemistry of Cobb and his band, which also includes guitarist Mike Harris and Matt McDaniel. It’s
See full article at Rolling Stone »

Ruth Wilson Says She’s ‘Not Allowed’ to Say Why She Left ‘The Affair’

  • The Wrap
Ruth Wilson Says She’s ‘Not Allowed’ to Say Why She Left ‘The Affair’
Ruth Wilson said on Thursday that she’s “not allowed to talk about” why she chose to leave Showtime’s “The Affair.”

Appearing on “CBS This Morning,” Wilson confirmed that she would not be returning to the Showtime drama after her character’s death earlier this season. “I’m not coming back, so she’s dead,” Wilson said, adding that despite the show’s fractured narrative, she believes her character to have been murdered.

When asked about her departure, Wilson kept her answer short. “I did want to leave, but I am not allowed to talk about why,” she said, declining to explain further.

Also Read: Showtime Programming Boss Says Some 'Who Is America?' Bits That Celebs Are Bracing for Won't Air

She did, however, seem to deny that the decision was tied to her previous comments regarding a pay disparity with her co-star Dominic West.

“I’ve never
See full article at The Wrap »

Elton John Pays Tribute to Aretha Franklin, ‘The Greatest Soul Artist of All Time’

Elton John Pays Tribute to Aretha Franklin, ‘The Greatest Soul Artist of All Time’
Elton John mourned the death of Aretha Franklin on Thursday in a reverent post on Instagram.

John is a lifelong fan of American soul music, and he collaborated with Franklin on 1989’s “Through the Storm,” an ode to persistence that became a Hot 100 hit. “The loss of Aretha Franklin is a blow for everybody who loves real music: music from the heart, the soul and the church,” John wrote.

Like many Franklin collaborators, John praised her singing — “her voice was unique” — but he also complimented her skills as an instrumentalist.
See full article at Rolling Stone »

‘Black-ish’ Creator Kenya Barris Inks Multiyear Overall Deal With Netflix

  • The Wrap
‘Black-ish’ Creator Kenya Barris Inks Multiyear Overall Deal With Netflix
“Black-ish” creator Kenya Barris is officially moving in at Netflix, the streamer announced Thursday. The mega-producer, who recently exited his pact with ABC Studios early, just signed a multi-year overall deal at Netflix.

As part of the pact, the Emmy and Golden Globe-nominated writer and producer new series exclusively at with the streamer — starting today — under his Khalabo Ink Society banner.

“Kenya Barris is one of our great modern storytellers,” Cindy Holland, Vice President, Original Content at Netflix, said in a statement. “Kenya uses his voice to make audiences more aware of the world around them, while simultaneously making them laugh. His honesty, comedic brilliance and singular point of view, combined with the creative freedom he will enjoy at Netflix, promises to create powerful new stories for all our members around the world.”

Also Read: ABC's Channing Dungey Says Kenya Barris Was 'Frustrated' by Limitations of Broadcast TV

“When my
See full article at The Wrap »

Aretha Franklin: My Favorite Songs of All Time

Aretha Franklin: My Favorite Songs of All Time
Aretha Franklin had an often-combative approach to interviews, especially with Rolling Stone over the years. But she couldn’t have been more fun to talk to when she got on the phone in 2014 for our annual Playlist Issue, where musical icons spoke about the songs that meant the most to them. “I’m just giving you some of my favorites – you can’t cite all of them,” said Franklin. It was clear she hadn’t lost any enthusiasm for music – her playlist had songs ranging almost 60 years, from 1957 to 2013. She
See full article at Rolling Stone »

Kenya Barris Signs $100 Million Netflix Deal

Kenya Barris Signs $100 Million Netflix Deal
Kenya Barris has become the newest big-ticket addition to Netflix’s lineup of television producers.

The “Black-ish” creator has signed a three-year overall deal with the streaming service that will see him produce series exclusively for Netflix. According to a source with knowledge of the negotiations, the deal is valued at roughly $100 million — putting Barris in the same ballpark as recent Netflix recruits Shonda Rhimes and Ryan Murphy.

Barris’ departure from ABC Studios, where he was under an overall deal, became official last month. But according to insiders, his release from his ABC deal had been secured several months ago,
See full article at Variety - TV News »

Gloria Estefan Honors Aretha Franklin: ‘The Absolute Zenith, The Guiding Light’

Gloria Estefan Honors Aretha Franklin: ‘The Absolute Zenith, The Guiding Light’
Gloria Estefan praised Aretha Franklin as the ultimate inspiration for any girl aspiring to sing, or any fan that wanted to appreciate a true master of their craft. Franklin died Thursday of pancreatic cancer at age 76.

In a note on Instagram, Estefan said of her VH1 Divas partner, “For as long as I can remember, Aretha Franklin has been the absolute zenith, the guiding light, the master for any girl that aspired to sing or even just appreciated someone at the top of their game.”

Estefan said she was “blessed
See full article at Rolling Stone »

Top Hannity Producer Named Editor-in-Chief of Fox News Digital

Porter Berry has been named editor-in-chief of Fox News digital, the network announced Thursday. The longtime Fox News hand previously served as senior executive producer of “Hannity” the channel’s top rated program.

“Porter’s keen understanding of the news business along with his extensive experience across production and audience engagement make him the ideal candidate to lead Fox News Digital,” said Fox News president and executive editor Jay Wallace. “His work across Fnc’s programming has been instrumental in our success as a network and we look forward to his leadership as we continue to grow our digital platforms.”

Berry joined Fox News in 2004 and worked his way up the ranks holding a variety of positions until he was ultimately tapped to lead Hannity in 2014. Berry will be replaced in the top management spot at “Hannity” by Tiffany Fazio — who previously served as a more junior executive producer under Berry.
See full article at The Wrap »
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