film

Will Ferrell Talks Educating Himself On The Transgender Community At Sundance Film Festival 

Will Ferrell recently made an appearance at the Sundance Film Festival for the world premiere of his new documentary “Will & Harper.” 

The documentary centers around Ferrell’s long standing friendship with Harper Steele, who he initially met while he was on “Saturday Night Live” and she was working as a writer (from 1995 to 2008). The documentary follows the pair of best friends on a road trip and discusses their past, as well as Harper’s experience coming out as transgender in 2022. 

“It was three summers ago in which Harper emailed a lot of her close friends with the headline: ‘Here’s a Weird One.’ She went on to explain she was going to transition and we were all of course excited to hear the news and surprised to hear the news. All of us were extremely supportive and expressed love…but that sort of opened the questions like, how can we help you? What do you need us to do?” Ferrell stated to Variety at the festival. 

Ferrell also stated that before Harper came out to him, he had “zero knowledge” regarding the intricacies of the trans community. 

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“I had met trans people, but I didn’t have anyone personally in my life. So this was all new territory for me, which is why I think this film is so exciting for us to kind of put out there in the world. It’s a chance for all of us in the cis community to be able to ask questions and also just to listen and be there as a friend to discuss this journey,” Ferrell said. 

“It tells the story of a cis friend of a trans person who has to transition himself,” Harper stated. Variety reported that the official synopsis for “Will & Harper” states the following: 

“When Will Ferrell finds out his close friend of 30 years is coming out as a trans woman, the two decide to embark on a cross-country road trip to process this new stage of their relationship in an intimate portrait of friendship, transition, and America.”

Ferrell himself also produced the documentary with Jessica Elbaum, Rafael Marmor, and Christopher Leggett, with Josh Greenbaum producing and directing. 

“Will & Harper” will make its official debut at Sundance and is seeking distribution out of the festival.

ticketmaster

‘Fans First’ Live-Event Ticketing Reform Bill Introduced By US Senators 

Six US Senators have introduced a new “Fans First Act” to address the multiple discrepancies in ticketing sales across the country. The live event ticketing system in the US is saturated with fake or overpriced tickets from resellers, making it nearly impossible for fans to be able to afford to go see their favorite live events. 

The bipartisan bill was brought to Congress by three Republicans and three Democrats; John Cornyn of Texas, Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Roger Wicker of Mississippi, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Peter Welch of Vermont, and Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico. 

This is the newest move from Congress to battle “high and exploitative” ticket pricing for things like concerts and other live events, according to reports

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The issues with online ticketing sales have always been present, but issues reached a head in 2022 with tickets for Taylor Swift and Bruce Springsteen’s tour’s crashed Ticketmaster and subsequently crashed the website and made prices increase exponentially. 

At the time, several Taylor Swift fans sued Ticketmaster for “fraud, price-fixing, and antitrust violations” and alleged that “intentional deception” from the site allowing scalpers and resellers to buy a majority of the tickets to upsell them exponentially. 

For example, within the first few hours of Swift’s tour tickets going on sale secondary sellers were able to purchase a majority of them and price them at up to $22,000.

The suit alleged that “because no other venue can hold half as many people as the stadiums and venues working through Ticketmaster, Taylor Swift and other popular musicians have no choice but to work through Ticketmaster.” 

The US justice department started an antitrust investigation into Live Nation, the parent company of Ticketmaster, after this incident to look into whether or not they abused their power in its multibillion-dollar entertainment industry. 

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The Fans First Act is seeking to improve transparency with ticket pricing by requiring all live event ticket sellers to advertise the total price of a given ticket, including all fees and additional charges, so that when a fan goes to purchase a ticket, they understand the total price immediately and aren’t caught off guard by large fees and additional charges when they checkout. 

Fans will also have a clear understanding as to whether the ticket they’re purchasing is from a reseller or the original retailer. 

The Fans First Act will also work to strengthen the requirements of the Better Online Ticket Sales (BOTS) Act which was signed into law in 2016. The BOTS Act worked to prohibit the use of bots to purchase large quantities of tickets for resellers to later upcharge. It also imposes civil penalties on resellers practicing illegal sales.

“The current ticketing system is riddled with problems and doesn’t serve the needs of fans, teams, artists or venues. This legislation would rebuild trust in the ticketing system by cracking down on bots and others who take advantage of consumers through price gouging and other predatory practices and increase price transparency for ticket purchasers,” said Congressman Cornyn.

Live Nation, the owner of Ticketmaster, also released a statement supporting the new bill: “We support the Fans First Act and welcome legislation that brings positive reform to live event ticketing. We believe it’s critical Congress acts to protect fans and artists from predatory resale practices, and have long supported a federal all-in pricing mandate, banning speculative ticketing and deceptive websites, as well as other measures. We look forward to our continued work with policymakers to advocate for even stronger reforms and enforcement.”

movie

A ‘Barbenheimer’ Parody Movie Is Officially In The Works 

This past summer, ‘Barbie’ and ‘Oppenheimer’ releasing in theaters on the same day became a pop culture phenomenon known as “Barbenheimer,” with moviegoers embracing the significance of both films and their vastly unique impacts. Some viewers even planned their entire days around seeing both movies back-to-back. 

Producer Charles Band will be creating the movie through his company Full Moon Features, he confirmed to People Magazine. 

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“With the world so divided and with so many genre films focusing on things that depress, with Barbenheimer, I just want to make a fun, cool, witty little weird movie that unites people with laughter and fun — that reminds us movies can simply be escapism.”

Band is known for his films in horror and horror-comedy, and initially spoke on the “Barbenheimer” craze to the Hollywood Reporter. Both Greta Gerwig’s ‘Barbie’ and Christopher Nolan’s ‘Oppenheimer’ received a large amount of press and hype before their release on the same day in July, so much so that the trend to see both movies in one weekend, or back-to-back on the same day, became popular. 

“We’re making a crazy, candy-colored romp that riffs on two movies that literally have nothing in common and yet when placed together, make perfect — and perfectly strange — harmonious bedfellows. Which is what I wish we could do in real life (as opposed to ‘reel’ life),” Band explained

Band said that his biographer, Adam Felber, suggested he make the movie after the hype first began, telling him “everyone around the world is having fun with that notion, so we should actually make it.” 

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According to a synopsis reported by the Hollywood Reporter, “the story follows Dr. Bambi J Barbenheimer, a scientist doll from Dolltopia with a boyfriend named Twink Dollman, who ventures into the real world where she experiences humanity at its worst and, naturally, decides to build a giant nuclear bomb to take it all out.”

The movie will reportedly begin production sometime next year, but it’s still in the very early stages of development; they’re still looking for a director and cast. The movie will also feature a slew of original songs, like the ‘Barbie’ movie, written by Brian Wecht. 

“[This project is] an opportunity to have fun with the bizarre coupling of these two movies and the combination of Barbie’s vibe and the darkness of Oppenheimer. You mix that together and you have such an opportunity for dark humor,” Band explained. 

“But it seems like every other feature is dark and depressing, and it’s like, God, we need a little humor going into 2024,” he said.

“On top of Barbenheimer the movie, Full Moon will add some crazy merch to our already robust line of toys, including a Dr. Barbenheimer action figure riding a nuclear missile a la Dr. Strangelove. This is going to be a fun one, and I’m super excited to bring Barbenheimer to life,” Band tells People.

hogwarts

Daniel Radcliffe Produces Film About Paralyzed Harry Potter Stunt Double

Daniel Radcliffe, renowned for his portrayal of the beloved wizard Harry Potter, is producing a new documentary about his stunt double, David Holmes. While filming The Deathly Hollows—Part 1 in 2009, Holmes suffered a devastating injury on set that left him paralyzed from the chest down.

The documentary, “David Holmes: The Boy Who Lived,” will feature interviews with Radcliffe, friends, family, and former crew, as well as personal footage from Holmes’ life over the last decade.

Its synopsis reads, “The film is a coming-of-age story of stuntman David Holmes, a prodigious teenage gymnast from Essex, England, who is selected to play Daniel Radcliffe’s stunt double in the first ‘Harry Potter’ film when Daniel is just 11.”

“Over the next 10 years, the two form an inextricable bond, but on the penultimate film, a tragic accident on set leaves David paralyzed with a debilitating spinal injury, turning his world upside down. As Daniel and his closest stunt colleagues rally to support David and his family in their moment of need, it is David’s extraordinary spirit of resilience that becomes their greatest source of strength and inspiration.”

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In an interview with the Mirror in 2014, Holmes described the “jerk back” stunt that had gone wrong, in which he was to be pulled backward “at speed” by a high-strength wire to simulate the effects of an explosion. Holmes instead was launched into a wall, breaking his neck.

Warner Bros. Discovery released a statement about the documentary, sharing more about what the film will entail.

“Featuring candid personal footage shot over the last decade, behind-the-scenes material from Holmes’ stunt work, scenes of his current life and intimate interviews with David, Daniel Radcliffe, friends, family and former crew, the film also reflects universal themes of living with adversity, growing up, forging identities in an uncertain world and the bonds that bind us together and lift us up.”

On Tuesday, Holmes posted on his Instagram about the documentary, stating, “I can now share with you all the secret project and four years’ hard work that has gone into creating this film: THE BOY WHO LIVED.”

“Being a stuntman was my calling in life, and doubling Harry was the best job in the world. This film tells the story of not just my achievements in front of camera, but also the challenges I face every day, and my overall attitude to life after suffering a broken neck. In the turbulent world we find ourselves living in right now, I would like to quote Harry; ‘We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.’”

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Holmes also thanked medical staff, Radcliffe and Harry Potter author, JK Rowling, for their support. Writing about Radcliffe, he expressed they were both “immensely proud of our time on the Harry Potter films, and the joy and comfort it brings to audiences around the world on a daily basis.”

In 2020, Radcliffe and Holmes teamed up to launch Holmes’ Cunning Stunts podcast, which profiles interviews with other Hollywood stunt performers. While attempting to debunk a common misconception about stunt performers, Radcliffe said in one episode, “I think there’s a myth around stuntmen that they are just superhuman in some way.”

“When the public sees something really painful or horrible, they think it was a visual effect or that there’s some clever, safe way of doing it. Often that’s not the case. There’s no way of faking, for example, falling down stairs. When you get hit by a car, you’re still getting hit by a car, even if it’s going slower than it would. They find the safest way of doing it, but it can still hurt.”

Radcliffe is serving as the documentary’s executive producer. The film, directed by Dan Hartley, makes its premiere on HBO, including HBO Max, on Nov. 15.

Chiefs

Travis Kelce Says NFL Is ‘Overdoing It’ When It Comes To Taylor Swift Coverage

On Travis Kelce and his brother Jason’s podcast, “New Heights,” the Kansas City Chiefs player stated that the NFL was going a bit overboard when it came to covering his potential relationship with Taylor Swift. 

While Kelce and Swift have not confirmed or denied their relationship, Swift has been seen cheering for the Chiefs for the past two games, and the coverage has been widespread and highly discussed. 

On Travis and Jason’s “New Heights” podcast, Travis stated: “I think it’s fun when they show who was at the game. I think it brings a little bit more to the atmosphere, brings a little bit more to what you’re watching. But at the same time…”

“I think they’re overdoing it,” Jason interrupted, which Travis agreed, saying, “They’re overdoing it a little bit for sure, especially my situation, [but] I think they’re just trying to have fun with it.”

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The NFL responded to the claims on their social media, defending how engagement and exposure has been increasing as the world’s of professional sports and pop culture collide. 

“The Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce news has been a pop cultural moment we’ve leaned into in real time, as it’s an intersection of sport and entertainment, and we’ve seen an incredible amount of positivity around the sport.”

When Swift attended the first Chiefs game, there was a 400% spike in sales for Kelce’s Chiefs jersey, according to Fanatics, a sports retailer. TV ratings for the game were also the “highest among female demographics across various age groups,” according to Variety Magazine.

Swift was seen enjoying the game with Kelce’s brothers’ mom, Donna, at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City on September 24th, and also attended the game at MetLife Stadium when the Chiefs played, and won against, the New York Jets.

cancelled

Russel Brand’s Comedy Tour Postponed Amid Sexual Assault Allegations 

This Monday, British police stated that they have received a sexual assault allegation after media outlets published multiple claims made by several women against Russel Brand. Promoters have now postponed the remaining dates of Brand’s comedy tour.

Both a talent agency and a publisher have parted ways with Brand, 48, as well over the allegations and questioning over his abuse of power as a public figure. 

Brand has denied the allegations made by four women in a Channel 4 television documentary as well as The Times and Sunday Times newspapers. The accusers have not been named, and one claims that she was sexually assaulted by him when she was 16 and they were in a relationship. Another woman states that Brand raped her in Los Angeles in 2012. 

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London’s Metropolitan Police force stated that the since the initial reports of the allegations against Brand were made, they have “received a report of sexual assault which was alleged to have taken place in Soho in central London in 2003,” which is three years before the earliest of the initial allegation reports. 

“Officers are in contact with the woman and will be providing her with support. [We’re urging] anyone who believes they may have been a victim of a sexual offense, no matter how long ago it was, to contact us.”

Max Blain, spokesman for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, said the allegations were “very serious and concerning.” 

“This merits and needs a criminal investigation, because for too long we have seen men — and the perpetrators of these sorts of crimes are almost invariably men — not being held to account for their behaviors and their actions,” Conservative legislator Caroline Nokes, told BBC radio.

The BBC, Channel 4, and the production company behind “Big Brother” spin offs that were hosted by Brand have all said they launched investigations into his behavior and how the complaints were initially handled. 

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Brand’s talent agency Tavistock Wood has also dropped the performer after being “horribly misled” by him. 

Ellie Tomsett, a senior lecturer at Birmingham City University who also studies Britain’s standup circuit, said to the Associated Press that “Brand was a product of a live comedy scene that was riddled with misogyny – and still is, despite progress made by women and others to diversify the comic landscape.

“When we’ve had a rise of popular feminism … we’ve also had a rise in popular misogyny epitomized by the likes of (social media influencer) Andrew Tate, but evident in all aspects of society, and definitely reflected on the U.K. comedy circuit.”

“More and more things are springing up to try and counter this, but the idea that it’s something that happened in the past and doesn’t happen anymore is, quite frankly, nonsense,” she added.

Maestro

Leonard Bernstein’s Family Defends Bradley Cooper’s Portrayal In New Film ‘Maestro’

Famous composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein is being portrayed by Bradley Cooper in the new film ‘Maestro.’ After the first trailer of the film was released this week, some critics online stated concerns that the makeup worn by Cooper to portray Bernstein in the movie reinforced hurtful anti semitic stereotypes. 

Cooper’s also not of Jewish ancestry while Bernstein was born in Massachusetts to Jewish immigrant parents from Russia. 

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However, the children of the late Bernstein, Jamie, Alexander, and Nina, have voiced their defense of Bradley and the film, taking to Instagram to share a statement about the backlash that Cooper and the film has been facing. 

“Bradley Cooper included the three of us along every step of his amazing journey as he made his film about our father,” their statement said.

 “We were touched to the core to witness the depth of his commitment, his loving embrace of our father’s music, and the sheer open-hearted joy he brought to his exploration. It breaks our hearts to see any misrepresentations or misunderstandings of his efforts.”

Jamie, Alexander, and Nina also directly addressed the criticism of Cooper’s physical appearance and makeup in the film portraying their father. 

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“It happens to be true that Leonard Bernstein had a nice, big nose. Bradley chose to use makeup to amplify his resemblance, and we’re perfectly fine with that,” they said. 

“We’re also certain that our dad would have been fine with it as well. Any strident complaints around this issue strike us above all as disingenuous attempts to bring a successful person down a notch — a practice we observed all too often perpetrated on our own father.”

Cooper also co-wrote, co-produced, and directed ‘Maestro,’ marking his first directorial work since ‘A Star Is Born’ in 2018.

The film follows Bernstein and his 25-year marriage to Felicia Montealegre, who’s played by Carey Mulligan. Both Martin Scorsese and Steven Speilberg are part of the film’s production team as well. 

“At all times during the making of this film, we could feel the profound respect and yes, the love that Bradley brought to his portrait of Leonard Bernstein and his wife, our mother Felicia. We feel so fortunate to have had this experience with Bradley, and we can’t wait for the world to see his creation,” the family statement concluded. 

strike

Entertainment Industry Could Collapse If Writer And Actor Strike Isn’t Settled By September, Says Barry Diller 

Barry Diller, the chairman and senior executive of IAC and Expedia Group and former Hollywood studio chief, was recently interviewed by CBS’ ‘Face The Nation’ where he stated that Hollywood executives and top-paid actors should take a 25% pay cut to narrow the gap between their salaries and those on the lower end of the pay scale. 

Diller also discussed that if a deal isn’t settled by September 1st, we could see the industry completely collapse. 

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“There’s no trust. You have the actors union saying, ‘How dare these 10 people who run these companies earn all this money and won’t pay us?’ While, if you look at it on the other side, the top 10 actors get paid more than the top 10 executives. I’m not saying either is right. Actually, everybody’s probably overpaid at the top end,” Diller explained. 

“The one idea I had is to say, as a good-faith measure, both the executives and the most-paid actors should take a 25 percent pay cut to try and narrow the difference between those who get highly paid and those that don’t.”

The Writers Guild of America has been on strike since May 2nd while SAG-AFTRA joined this past Friday. 

Diller stated: “What will happen is, if in fact, it doesn’t get settled until Christmas or so, then, next year, there’s not going to be many programs for anybody to watch. 

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So, you’re going to see subscriptions get pulled, which is going to reduce the revenue of all these movie companies, television companies, the result of which is that there will be no programs. And at just the time, strike is settled, that you want to get back up, there won’t be enough money. So this actually will have devastating effects, if it is not settled soon.”

“The truth is, this [Hollywood] is a huge business both domestically and for world export.… These conditions will potentially produce an absolute collapse of an entire industry.”

Diller also believes the fears over AI in the industry aren’t as serious as others may be making it out to be during this time, explaining how he doesn’t see a world where AI can logistically and realistically take the jobs of real writers and actors. 

“Yes, you can ingest all this stuff and spit out something that sounds like Shakespeare, but guess what? It is not original Shakespeare, and writers will get assisted, not replaced. Most of these actual performing crafts, I don’t think are in danger of artificial intelligence,” he explained.

Barbie

‘Barbie’ Movie Receives Amazing Reactions And Reviews Following Early Screenings And Premiere 

Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie” movie has received an amazing initial response after early screenings and the star-studded Los Angeles premiere of the film. 

Katcy Stephan, Variety’s social media editor stated: “Greta Gerwig delivers a nuanced commentary on what it means to be a woman in a whimsical, wonderful and laugh-out-loud funny romp. The entire cast shines, especially Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling in roles they were clearly born to play.”

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Joseph Deckelmeier from ScreenRant stated the film was “funny, bombastic, and very smart.” “Greta Gerwig aims for the fences and hits a home run, Margot Robbie is great and Ryan Gosling and Simu Liu – who play Kens – are pure entertainment”

The movie’s cast and crew have been enduring an extensive publicity tour ahead of its worldwide release on July 21st. Noah Baumback, the film’s co-writer, was absent at the Los Angeles premiere this Sunday to stand in solidarity with the Writers Guild of America, who’s on strike. Greta Gerwig spoke on his absence:

“My co-writer, my partner in love and art, Noah Baumbach is not here. He is passionately supporting the fight of the WGA. He is a Barbie girl. Nothing in Barbie happened without him, and nothing in Hollywood happens without writers.”

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Gerwig also told The Observer that she and Baumback were working on the “Barbie” script throughout the pandemic. 

“There was this sense of wanting to make something anarchic and wild and completely bananas, because it felt, like, ‘Well, if we ever do get to go back to cinemas again, let’s do something totally unhinged.’”

Gerwig discussed that she hoped audiences view the film as an “archaic experience, crediting its inspiration to the deep isolation of the pandemic, that feeling of being in our own little boxes, alone.”

The star-studded cast of “Barbie” includes Kate McKinnon, Issa Rae, Emma Mackey, Dua Lipa, Nicola Coughlan, America Ferrera, Will Ferrell, Michael Cera, Helen Mirren, Jamie Demetriou, and Emerald Fennell. 

stage

Broadway Makes Inspiring Statements Against Antisemitism At Tonys, ‘Leopoldstadt’ and ‘Parade’ Win In Major Categories 

During Sunday night’s Tony Awards, Broadway made a defiant statement against antisemitism, as two major shows that thematically embodied the subject pulled in major categories: “Leopoldstadt” and the musical revival “Parade.”

Some of the members of both plays’ casts’ utilized the opportunity to make statements regarding antisemitism, as well as its connection to other forms of bigotry, such as homophobia and transphobia, during a time where, politically, all the groups are under attack. 

“Leopoldstadt” won four of the six Tonys it was nominated for, including best play. Tom Stoppard’s semi-autobiographical play takes the audience through three generations of Viennese Jewish families before and after the Holocaust. 

Brandon Uranowitz of “Leopoldstadt” won for the featured actor category, and thanked Stoppard for writing a show about antisemitism and “the false promise of assimilation,” discussing how members of his family were murdered by Nazis in Poland. 

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“When your child tells you who they are, believe them,” Uranowitz, who is gay, stated.

“Parade” is about the 1915 lynching of Leo Frank, and took home two awards on Sunday, including best revival of a musical. Alfred Uhry, who wrote the book to the original play in 1998, wore the Star of David lapel pin when he came up to accept the award. 

The show’s director, Michael Arden, discussed Leo Frank in his speech, and how he had “a life that was cut short at the hands of the belief that one group of people is more or less valuable than another, which is at the core of antisemitism, of white supremacy, of homophobia, of transphobia, of intolerance of any kind.”

Arden also warned the audience to take in and learn the lessons that these plays are providing, “or else we are doomed to repeat the horrors of our history.”