Wednesday September 4, 2019

In the show’s fourth-to-last episode, Harvey and Samantha embark on a road trip, while Louis gets in over his head. #SUITS

The first 3 episodes of Wu-Tang: An American Saga are available to stream on Hulu.

A new episode of Songland airs tonight on NBC. I will continue to implore you to watch this show.

How Dan and Keith’s SportsCenter changed TV forever.

“Apple has its first, well, bad apple. Bastards, the eight-episode project starring Richard Gere and based on the dark Israeli drama, will not move forward at the iPhone maker's forthcoming streaming service. Picked up straight to series late last year, Bastards was set to star Gere as one of two elderly Vietnam veterans and best friends who find their monotonous lives upended when a woman they both loved 50 years ago is killed by a car. Their lifelong regrets and secrets collide with their resentment of today's self-absorbed millennials, and the duo then go on a shooting spree.”

Season 7 will be the last for Netflix series Grace & Frankie.

Dani > Cam was as surprising to me as Max and Justin not being a match. If ANYONE gets that, thank you.

HBO has set an October 20 premiere date for Damon Lindelof’s highly-anticipated adaptation of Watchmen.

“As football season ramps up this week, HBO Sports and NFL Films announced their teaming on a feature-length film about the long-standing relationship between generational football coaches Bill Belichick and Nick Saban. Belichick & Saban: The Art of Coaching will air in December on the premium cabler. The film focuses on a four-decade-long friendship between two of the sport’s most successful and revered coaches. New England Patriots master Belichick and Alabama Crimson Tide frontman Saban grant unprecedented camera access to their annual coaching retreat, where they share a multi-layered conversation about their interwoven history, admiration, coaching philosophies and more. The intimate portrait invites viewers to examine first-hand their blueprints for organizational success.

Hulu and MGM are developing The Testaments, Margaret Atwood’s sequel to her best-selling dystopian novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, the streaming service and studio said Wednesday. The two companies are currently in discussions with Handmaid’s Tale creator/showrunner Bruce Miller about how the upcoming novel — due out Sept. 10 — “can become an important extension” to the flagship series.”

Per Deadline, “Ryan Murphy has unpacked a jaw-dropping, star-studded slate of excitement with his new group of Netflix shows as part of his mega-deal with the streamer.

“In an interview with Time, Murphy revealed that in addition to an adaptation of the Broadway musical The Prom starring Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman (news that Deadline reported exclusively) he will adapt the classic musical A Chorus Line into a 10-part miniseries.

“To add more to the pageantry of programming, Murphy said he is working on another miniseries about the iconic designer Halston, with Ewan McGregor stepping into the role of the man who changed the game of fashion. Halston has been a hot commodity in Hollywood as of late with the recent documentary by Frédéric Tcheng and the long-gestating Battle of Versailles project that involved the groundbreaking designer.

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Per Deadline, “Ryan Murphy has unpacked a jaw-dropping, star-studded slate of excitement with his new group of Netflix shows as part of his mega-deal with the streamer.

“In an interview with Time, Murphy revealed that in addition to an adaptation of the Broadway musical The Prom starring Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman (news that Deadline reported exclusively) he will adapt the classic musical A Chorus Line into a 10-part miniseries.

“To add more to the pageantry of programming, Murphy said he is working on another miniseries about the iconic designer Halston, with Ewan McGregor stepping into the role of the man who changed the game of fashion. Halston has been a hot commodity in Hollywood as of late with the recent documentary by Frédéric Tcheng and the long-gestating Battle of Versailles project that involved the groundbreaking designer.

“During the interview, he unloaded even more morsels of goodness including a new 10-part docuseries about pop art icon Andy Warhol as well as A Secret Love, a look at a real-life closeted lesbian couple who came out in their 80s.

“In addition to his groundbreaking FX series Pose, which he created with Brad Falchuk and Steven Canals, Murphy’s plate is definitely full. Other series on his Netflix slate include the upcoming Election-esque series The Politician starring Ben Platt, which drops September 27. He is also putting the finishing touches on the One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest prequel Ratchet starring Sarah Paulson in the titular role. The series has yet to land a release date.

Hollywood, starring Patti LuPone and Holland Taylor, is set to premiere in May and will look take a ‘look at Hollywood and the sex industry, and how absolutely everything has changed and nothing has changed.’

“Last and certainly not least, Murphy will team with frequent collaborator Jessica Lange for a project about Hollywood legend Marlene Dietrich in Vegas during the early ’60s. Not much movement has been made on that because he is admits that he is ‘booked,’ but it’s definitely on his radar.”

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From The Hollywood Reporter: “Add Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds) to the list of high-profile names signing on to programming at shortform streamer Quibi.

“The Oscar winner will star with Liam Hemsworth in an untitled thriller series for the service, which is set to launch next spring. The project features Hemsworth as a terminally ill man who, desperate to provide for his pregnant wife, agrees to participate in a deadly game where he discovers he's not the hunter, but the prey.

Waltz will play a character named Miles Sellers. Other details about the role are being kept under wraps.

“The effort will mark Waltz's American series debut. His film credits include Alita: Battle Angel, Downsizing and The Legend of Tarzan, and the actor is set to reprise his role as the villainous Blofeld in the upcoming James Bond movie No Time to Die.

“The untitled series comes from CBS Television Studios and creator Nick Santora (Scorpion, Prison Break), who will executive produce with director Phil Abraham (Mad MenDaredevil), Gordon Gray and Silver Reel Pictures.

“Quibi has more than 40 scripted and unscripted projects in development ahead of its planned launch in April 2020. The mobile-focused streaming platform will release shows in short "chapters" of eight to 10 minutes each and plans to premiere some 7,000 pieces of content in its first year, with users paying $4.99 monthly for a version with ads and $7.99 for an ad-free version. Founder Jeffrey Katzenberg and CEO Meg Whitman have raised $1 billion so far.”

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Per Variety, “Jordan Pruitt, a contestant on the third season of The Voice, has filed a lawsuit accusing her former manager, Keith Thomas, of sexually abusing her beginning when she was 14 years old.

“Pruitt also sued her former record label, Hollywood Records, and its parent company, the Walt Disney Co., alleging that they had failed to prevent the abuse. The suit alleges that the label compelled her to work with Thomas as her mentor and producer, and allowed him to be unsupervised, even though it knew or should have known that he was a sexual abuser.

“‘Unfortunately, these large companies are primarily concerned with sales, money and charts,’ Pruitt said in a statement to Variety. ‘Too often they fall short of protecting the young talent that they are ‘supposed’ to be caretakers for. Time and time again we see people in positions of power fail us. I couldn’t be more disappointed in how Disney treats their underage talent like cash cows.’

“Disney and Hollywood Records did not comment on the complaint.

“The suit represents a bombshell within the country music scene, where sexual misconduct allegations are still largely taboo even in the #MeToo era.

“Thomas is a veteran Nashville producer. He got his start with Ronnie Milsap, and worked with BeBe and CeCe Winans before hitting it big with the Amy Grant single Baby Baby. Since the early 2000s, he has worked largely with teenaged female singers, including Pruitt. In 2013, he starred on Chasing Nashville, a short-lived Lifetime reality show that followed four girls striving for country music stardom.

“The lawsuit was first filed on Aug. 14, using pseudonyms. Reached by Variety at that time, Thomas referred questions to his attorney. His attorney did not respond to a request for comment. An amended complaint with the true names attached was filed on Tuesday.

“Pruitt signed with the label as a 14-year-old in 2005. She released two albums in 2007 and 2008. In her statement to Variety, she said that many in the Nashville music world fear the consequences of speaking up about sexual abuse.

“‘I am standing up and speaking out not only for myself, but for the countless victims across the world who have never been given the opportunity for justice,’ Pruitt said. ‘It is extremely taboo for anyone to speak about sexual abuse, misconduct and exploitation of minors in the ordinarily conservative and genteel South. Over and above decorum, many fear the repercussions of coming forward for example (getting blacklisted from the industry, losing work, having YOUR reputation tarnished). To many victims, coming forward feels shameful. Even though the #metoo movement has been very powerful for many, there is still much work that needs to be done. No one should ever be punished for telling the truth and seeking justice, period.’

“The suit claims that Thomas groomed Pruitt for abuse, controlling her entire professional life, cutting off contact with boys her own age, and putting her down with negative comments about her looks and talents. The suit alleges that he would also shower her with compliments, saying he loved her and that no one understood how ‘special’ their relationship was.

“According to the complaint, Thomas also groomed her mother, gaining her trust, which enabled him to spend time alone with Pruitt.

“Pruitt alleges that the abuse began when she was 14, and continued until a week before her 16th birthday. She claims that it involved kissing and oral sex, and that Thomas took her virginity. She also alleges that on one occasion, she was drugged and anally penetrated. She alleges that the abuse occurred at the Staples Center, on soundstages at the Warner Bros. lot, in artists’ trailers, hotel rooms, and in parked cars.

“According to Pruitt, Thomas told her that ‘their love was a secret.’ She says that she only became fully aware of the abusive nature of the relationship last December.

“Pruitt had disclosed in a Facebook post in December that she had been molested as a teenager, but she did not identify the abuser at the time.

“‘At fifteen this person had brainwashed me into thinking that the things that were happening were “natural” and “okay,”’ she wrote. ‘While I will spare you any of the mind-piercing details, I can honestly and unfortunately say that this man sexually abused me for almost two years of my life. I am a victim of child molestation because of him.’

“In her statement, Pruitt said she hoped that as a result of the complaint, Disney and Hollywood Records would ‘spend their time and money on putting safeguards in place in order to protect the minors the are employing.’

“Last week, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge granted a request from Pruitt’s attorney, Keith Davidson, to identify the parties in the suit.

“‘Jordan Pruitt, like far too many child stars, was exploited by the very people who should have been protecting her,’ Davidson said in a statement. ‘Jordan’s innocence was robbed from her as she was systematically groomed, molested, and controlled by a predator employed by Disney, a company that sells happiness to children. Disney had a duty to protect Jordan from Keith Thomas, and failed at every step. Jordan can never get back the innocence that was stolen from her, nor can she erase the trauma of this tragedy, but she is committed to making sure no other young women fall victim to child predators employed and protected by one of the largest entertainment corporations in the world. Jordan is brave to find the courage to come forward to take on such a large conglomerate. She like so many victims with their own #metoo story must be supported. I am honored to represent Jordan.’

“The suit also names Thomas’ company, Levosia Entertainment, as a defendant. Pruitt is now writing a book about her experience, Abuse Anonymous.”

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From Vulture: “‘There he is,’ Regina King says in her familiar soft contralto as we approach a small black-and-white photo of Tupac Shakur looking askance with his middle finger casually pointed toward the sky. ‘You could just get lost in his eyes. You could feel like you saw all the pain, all the joy, all the everything. All at the same time.’

“We’re meandering through Contact High: A Visual History of Hip-Hop at the Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles. The photo was taken at Club Amazon in 1993, shortly after King first met Shakur during the table read for the John Singleton film Poetic Justice. King had gotten into a car accident on the way to the set, hydroplaning into a pole. Shakur chauffeured her around for the rest of the day. ‘We just became peas in a pod after that,’ she says. ‘One Christmas, we drove out to Atlanta to spend the holidays with him. That was the last time I really got to spend time with him. God willing, your last time with someone can always be one of joy.’

“The rest of the exhibit too is a kind of memento book of friends and acquaintances King has met throughout her life. She crashed with Guru of Gang Starr when she first moved to New York; she had the ‘hugest crush’ on the rapper Aceyalone. (‘He never knew that I did. I can say it now.’) Photos of a young Jay-Z in front of the World Trade Center prompt a memory of the first time she met him at Roc Nation CEO Jay Brown’s wedding. ‘I was walking toward the dance floor’ — she demonstrates a little shimmy for me, shoulders gleaming in her denim jumpsuit — ‘and he had the face that felt like he don’t fuck with nobody. He don’t smile. He just about his business. He saw me and he went —’ She laughs and does the shimmy again.

Regina King has always been good. She was good when she first started her career at the age of 13 on 227. She was good as Janet Jackson’s best friend with a drinking problem in Poetic Justice. Good as Cuba Gooding Jr.’s solid-as-a-rock wife in Jerry Maguire. Good as both Huey and Riley in The Boondocks. Good in a string of television shows that never quite got their proper due, like Southland and the Netflix series Seven Seconds. She has been so good for so long that you felt the danger of taking her for granted. In part, it’s because she is skilled at playing supporting characters who feel of the world, modeling them on the people she knows until they become part of a vast suite of references to draw from. Her recent awards recognition — three Emmys, a Golden Globe, and an Oscar in four years — felt like the Establishment making up for lost time.

“‘Regina has done so much amazing work in her career that was not lauded in the way — I won’t say it should have been — but it could have been,’ says Barry Jenkins, who directed King to her Oscar in If Beale Street Could Talk. ‘There are some people for whom the early ingenue career is the path and there are other people who have to become so undeniable that their work is finally recognized later in their career. Unfortunately for black actresses [like Regina], that’s certainly been the case.’

“This October, she’ll star as police officer Angela Abar in Damon Lindelof’s HBO adaptation of the graphic novel Watchmen. Lindelof, who first worked with King on the second season of another apocalyptic HBO drama, The Leftovers, has a rule: He doesn’t work twice with the same actor. And yet, during the writing and pitching of the show, he would often slip and refer to Angela as Regina, before catching himself and saying, ‘It’s not going to be Regina!’

“‘I keep feeling like, Why is Regina King not the star when she’s the star?’ says Lindelof, whose series is an extension or ‘remix’ of the original Alan Moore text, adapting its punk, meta spirit for 2019. In King, he saw someone the viewer could trust. ‘I would never write something for her where she had to be a liar,’ he says. ‘Regina doesn’t lie.’ In his telling, the ostensible villains are a white-supremacist militia group, and King’s character is a masked cop set to take them down. ‘[Regina] liked the idea of Angela in that it was not just about putting on a cool costume and beating up bad guys,’ says Lindelof. ‘It was understanding that she can beat up white supremacists, but she can’t beat white supremacy. She likes the Sisyphean quality of that battle.’

“Also, she just wanted to play a badass. ‘I’ve wanted to be a superhero since The Incredible Hulk,’ she says. ‘Yo! I put on that [costume] and my shoulders go back and I feel like, Where’s my theme music?

“King’s son, Ian, ambles up to us in a bright-white tee and a Baltimore Black Sox cap, which he’s wearing in honor of the old Negro League team. He’s 23 and works as a producer and DJ; the pair are close in a way that feels uncannily like friendship. I ask him what his mom is like.

“‘She’s blunt. Straightforward. I get it from her, so I respect that,’ he says.

“‘Okay, I’ll walk away,’ King says, idling off to the side.

“‘Irresponsibility is something that’s a pet peeve,’ he says.

“‘Everybody is irresponsible,’ she responds, circling back. ‘But it’s when people are irresponsible and try to pretend like they’re not. You own up to it. Yeah, I was fucking up, you know?’

“Call it what you will — authenticity, honesty, owning your shit — the moral clarity she telegraphs in Watchmen has been a through line in much of King’s work: as a grieving mother who loses her son to a hit-and-run in the Seven Seconds, or as a social worker in the third season of American Crime. It’s perhaps why two of her most memorable scenes in recent years have played out directly to the camera. On the season-two episode of The Leftovers, Lens, she and Carrie Coon face off in an extraordinary nine-minute scene, shot in hair-raisingly extreme close-up. Then there was the wordless scene in Beale Street, where King’s character, Sharon Rivers, gets herself ready in front of the mirror, putting on her wig, before setting off to find the woman she believes has falsely accused her daughter’s partner of rape. For an actor, there’s nowhere to hide, no distance between yourself and the viewer. She’s pure presence.

“King’s own sense of morality is undergirded by religion. She grew up in the Church of Religious Science and went to a school affiliated with it as a kid, where the students would start each morning by singing Let There Be Peace on Earth. Religious Science — ‘not to be confused with Scientology’ — was founded in L.A. in 1927 (Cary Grant was once involved). It holds a kind of pantheistic belief that God isn’t a being so much as a universal presence. ‘God is everywhere,’ she explains. ‘Fear and love are both equal energies. Just one is applied positively and one is applied negatively, and it’s a choice on which application you are using.’

“When she won the Oscar for If Beale Street Could Talk, she thanked her mother, Gloria — ‘I’m an example of what it looks like when support and love is poured into someone’ — before adding the word GIMOSAS. It’s an acronym for ‘God is my only source and supply.’ King invokes it like a daily chant: GIMOSAS, GIMOSAS, GIMOSAS. ‘It is to access the calm, to help you center all through the day,’ she says.

“As we take our leave, a stranger walks up to her and asks, ‘Regina Hall, right?’ — something that’s already happened once today. I sense a slight impatience edging her eyes.

“‘No,’ she replies.

“‘You look so much like her,’ he presses on.

“‘No, I don’t. I don’t look anything like her,’ she replies steadily. ‘I look just like Regina King.’”