John Leguizamo Wants The TV Academy To Embrace Diversity And Change Ahead Of Emmys Voting 

Actor and Comedian John Leguizamo is calling on the Television Academy to embrace diversity and change ahead of the 76th Primetime Emmy Awards. Leguizamo took out a full-page advertisement in the Sunday issue of The New York Times to put out an open letter. 

“Dear Hollywood, please let this be the year we finally embrace change. The year we truly find equity and see artists of color represented across not just one category, but ALL categories.”

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“I know you’re tired of hearing words like ‘inclusivity’ and ‘diversity’ — treading water while you try to understand how to put actions behind these sentiments. Look no further! It’s simple! 

There are hundreds of prolific non-white artists who deserve to be considered for awards this year, not because they are simply… Black, Brown, Indigenous or Asian but because they are truly great… exceptional artists who have achieved that greatness with a foot on their neck for far too long,” Leguizamo began

“Let this be the start of a new era. Let us not continue to white wash our awards shows. Instead let this year be the catalyst that inspires the next generation of minority and underrepresented artists… a generation who might finally see a reflection of themselves on that stage and think … ‘If they can, maybe I can, too…’”

“Your peer, John Leguizamo. Writer, actor, producer, director & Colombian-American who won’t ever let anyone tell him ‘no,’” Leguizamo signed.

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Leguizamo followed his open letter by posting to X, formerly Twitter, to summarize what he said as well as re-emphasize his overall point to his followers. 

He discussed how non-Hispanic white people only make up about 59% of the United States’ population, however, they are consistently “over-represented in top positions across the board.”

“They are the decision makers in tech, banking, corporations, medicine and streamers and Hollywood! America is better when it is inclusive. It is more profitable. It is more creative! Let’s not give up. I’m still woke! Are you?” wrote Leguizamo on X, also sharing screenshots of the open letter.  

Voting for the 76th Primetime Emmy Awards will start on Thursday, June 13th, and the nominations will be revealed on July 17th. The award show itself will occur on Sunday, September 15th.

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ChatGPT Suspending AI Voice That Sounds Like Scarlett Johansson 

OpenAI, owner of ChatGPT, has now removed a heavily promoted voice option for the platform, that they named “Sky,” after many individuals reacted to the voice saying it sounded almost identical to Scarlett Johansson. 

The company first used the voice during an event last week that was highly publicized. The event was meant to show the new capabilities of the latest ChatGPT-40 artificial intelligence model. 

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During the event, speakers talked with Sky to exemplify its personable, feminine, and responsive behavior and speech. Viewers and members of the media almost instantly compared Sky’s voice to Johansson, and more specifically the AI companion character she voiced in the 2013 film, “Her,” which also starred Joaquin Phoenix.

Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI, didn’t exactly dissuade viewers from these comparisons either. After the presentation was complete, Altman posted a tweet that simply said, “her.” 

Within a week of the presentation, OpenAI published a blogpost to “explicitly clarify” that the voice of Sky was not based on Johansson, and then explained what went into the AI voice’s creation. The post also reinforced OpenAI’s values regarding the voice acting industry, according to reports from the Guardian

“Sky’s voice is not an imitation of Scarlett Johansson but belongs to a different professional actress using her own natural speaking voice. To protect their privacy, we cannot share the names of our voice talents.”

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Johansson’s husband and Saturday Night Live cast member, Colin Jost, made a joke about the similarities on SNL’s season finale. 

Daily Show host Desi Lydic jokes: “You can really tell that a man built this tech. She’s like, ‘I have all the information in the world, but I don’t know anything.’”

“OpenAI reviewed hundreds of voice acting submissions over a period of five months last year, releasing five different voice options for its ChatGPT in September,” the company said. 

Several top members of ChatGPT’s safety team resigned prior to the company pulling back the Sky voice for its platform as well. Jan Leike, a key researcher, stated that the company was too focused on “shiny products” rather than creating a culture of safety. 

Altman, however, stated that they would never release a product if there were ever safety concerns. In their blogpost, OpenAI also stated that it will be collaborating in the future with entertainment industry professionals and compensating voice actors for their work. 


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Romeo + Juliet Is Coming To Broadway With Kit Connor And Rachel Zegler To Star 

Romeo + Juliet is officially coming back to Broadway. Acclaimed director Sam Gold is set to adapt the famous Shakespeare play with the help of Grammy winner Jack Antonoff, who will be doing the music for the production. 

The Broadway production is set to have Rachel Zegler, known from West Side Story, as Juliet and Kit Connor, known from Heartstopper, as Romeo. 

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Tony award-winning director Sam Gold has previously taken on adapting other Shakespeare plays such as Macbeth and Othello. In a statement reported by The Guardian, he expressed his excitement about bringing this play to Broadway during a time where the world needs a little joy. 

“With the presidential election coming up in November, I felt like making a show this fall that celebrates youth and hope, and unleashes the anger young people feel about the world they are inheriting.”

The official synopsis states:

 “The youth are f*cked. Left to their own devices in their parents’ world of violent ends, an impulsive pair of star-crossed lovers hurtle towards their inescapable fate. The intoxicating high of passion quickly descends into a brutal chaos that can only end one way.”

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Gold recently directed the Insen adaptation An Enemy of the People, which received critical acclaim for Gold’s directing and for lead actor Jeremy Strong’s performance. Gold has previously worked with other stars such as Daniel Craig and David Oyelowo. 

Zegler celebrated the official announcement by posting on social media: “never beating the broadway debut allegations.” Zegler was recently hailed for her performance in The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes, and is also going to be starting in new comedy horror Y2K from Kyle Mooney. 

Connor is popularly known for his role in Netflix teen drama Heartstopper. Beside’s playing Romeo, Connor will soon be heard alongside actress Lupita Nyong’o in animated adventure The Wild Robot. He has also previously appeared on stage in London in the play Fanny & Alexander. 

Romeo and Juliet isn’t the only Shakespeare play making its way to Broadway. Denzel Washington and Jake Gyllenhaal are set to star in a new take on Othello this year, which will be the first Broadway staging of the play since 1982.

Billie Eilish And Stevie Wonder Among 200+ Artists Demanding Protection Against Predatory Use Of AI 

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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.