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Your Daily Edition November 16, 2016

Daily Edition

Fox Goes Family Friendly With Animation-Heavy Film Slate

With the success of 'Alvin and the Chipmunks' and Disney's 'Finding Dory,' 20th Century Fox is making it a priority to snap up various children's books and develop more live-action hybrids.

It looks like 20th Century Fox under Stacey Snider is going to be an all-in-the-family studio.

On Nov. 10, Fox Animation bought children's book Momotaro: Xander and the Lost Island of Monsters by Margaret Dilloway, which followed pickups of Kelly Barnhill's The Girl Who Drank the Moon, Ben Hatke's Zita the Spacegirl, Jennifer Weiner's The Littlest Bigfoot and Garth Nix's Princess and the Frog tale Frogkisser! And on Wednesday, Fox also revealed it is developing a theatrical feature based on the 2014 Oscar-nominated animated short The Dam Keeper from two former Pixar art directors.

The new projects won't all be straight animation plays. At least two — Girl Who Drank the Moon and Littlest Bigfoot — will be CG/live-action hybrids, a priority area for the studio, which hired executive Nate Hopper in September to build the initiative. The format already has proved successful with movies such as the Alvin and the Chipmunks franchise, made by Fox but under the live-action arm at the time.

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And as The Dam Keeper shows, the projects won't be strictly from Blue Sky Animation, the Fox-owned animation house responsible for the Ice Age movies and 2015's The Peanuts Movie.

These moves follow Snider's ascension on Sept. 1 to chairman and CEO of Fox's film group. Sources say Snider wants to turn the animation division, run by Vanessa Morrison, into a power player as she builds the Fox slate.

Feature animation is having another banner year at the box office, led by billion-dollar worldwide grosses for Disney's Finding Dory and Zootopia and $873 million for Universal/Illumination's The Secret Life of Pets. Fox's Ice Age: Collision Course pulled in $407 million, while its Trolls (produced by DreamWorks Animation) has made $224 million since its Nov. 4 release.

"More than ever, now is an exciting time to be in the all-audience, family entertainment space," Morrison tells The Hollywood Reporter. "We are excited to grow and deepen our Blue Sky business as well as expand our efforts into hybrids and look for other opportunities in animation."

A version of this story first appeared in the Nov. 25 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

Forest Whitaker In Talks to Join Johnny Depp in Tupac/Biggie Murder Movie

Brad Furman is set to direct the crime drama.

Forest Whitaker is in talks to join Johnny Depp in Labyrinth, the real-life drama that will follow the criminal investigation behind the murders of rap legends Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G. 

Whitaker would play a journalist who teams with Depp's disgraced LAPD detective, who has been unable to solve the mysterious deaths of two of hip-hop's biggest stars.

Helmer Brad Furman (The Lincoln Lawyer) will direct from a Black List script by Christian Contreras, which he adapted from journalist Randall Sullivan’s book LAbyrinth: A Detective Investigates the Murders of Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G., the Implication of Death Row Records’ Suge Knight, and the Origins of the Los Angeles Police Scandal.

Miriam Segal will produce the project, which was recently acquired for distribution by Open Road, with Miramax co-financing.

Whitaker is out now in theaters with sci-fi offering Arrival and will next be seen in the first Star Wars stand-alone pic, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. He also will star as Bishop Desmond Tutu in the biopic The Forgiven and is set for Marvel's Black Panther movie.

Whitaker is repped by WME, Brillstein and Ziffren Brittenham.

‘Kung Fu Panda’ Director Mark Osborne Tackling Adaptation of Cult Comic ‘Bone’ (Exclusive)

At the same time, Adam Kline ('Artemis Fowl') has been tapped to co-write the script with Osborne.

Mark Osborne, fresh off directing The Little Prince, has come aboard to tackle Warner Bros.’ animated adaptation of Bone, the Eisner-winning comic series from Jeff Smith.

Adam Kline has been tapped to co-write the script with Osborne, who is developing the project as a directing vehicle. The moves re-energize the adaptation for the studio, which first picked up the rights around 2008.

Dan Lin’s Lin Pictures is producing with Animal Logic’s Zareh Nalbandian with the goal of making a trilogy of animated feature films.

The comic told of three Bone cousins — Fone Bone, Phoney Bone and Smiley Bone, all small, bald and humanlike creatures with big noses — who are separated and lost in a vast uncharted desert after being run out of Boneville. One by one they find their way into a deep forested valley filled with wonderful and terrifying creatures.

The comics were published from 1991 to 2004 and then rediscovered by a new and more mainstream generation when Scholastic began releasing them in graphic novel form.

Bone is very special and unconventional because it blends elements together that you don’t necessarily expect — soft, little comic characters and epic high-stakes fantasy adventure," Osborne tells The Hollywood Reporter. "To carry this into the cinematic realm presents both an opportunity to represent what readers of all ages have loved about the series, while pushing animated storytelling into exciting and different areas."

Osborne will act as an executive producer, as will Lin Pictures’ Mark Bauch.

"As source material goes, Jeff's epic is something of a unicorn: mythic, whimsical and pure in equal measure," says Kline.

P.J. Hogan (Muriel’s Wedding) was previously attached to direct while Patrick Sean Smith, who created the ABC Family show Greek, was writing the script.

Osborne has twice seen his work nominated for an Oscar. He snagged nominations for his 1999 animated short, More, and for 2008’s Kung Fu Panda, the latter which he co-directed with John Stevenson. Panda kicked up $631 million at the box office and launched a key franchise for DreamWorks Animation.

Osborne is now angling for another nomination with Little Prince, his well-regarded adaptation of the timeless all-ages novel that was released this summer by Netflix.

Osborne is repped by UTA. Klein is repped by UTA and Circle of Confusion.

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‘Duck Dynasty’ to End on A&E

The 11th season of the reality franchise will be its last.

The end is in sight for A&E's Duck Dynasty

The network announced Wednesday night that after five years and 130 episodes, the unscripted series will come to an end. The current 11th season will be its last. This season runs through Jan. 18, with a small break, followed by the final seven episodes that will air from March 1 through April 12. A series of holiday specials are also likely to come later.

The series, which has faced its share of controversy during its run, ranked as the most-watched nonfiction series in cable history and, according to A&E, remains the No. 1 series on the network among total viewers. 

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The announcement was made Wednesday night during the season 11 premiere with a message from the Robertson family. 

"After five years, we’ve decided as a family for this to be the final chapter of the Duck Dynasty series," Willie Robertson said in the video that included other family members.
 
"It's still the leader in that kind of family docuseries, and a lot of the others have tried. Could it be like First 48 and go 12 years? I don't know, and I can't speak for the family, but I don't think they'd see it going [five more years]," Lifetime and A&E GM Rob Sharenow told The Hollywood Reporter a year ago about the future of the series that has spawned musicals as well as a retail line, among others.
 

Despite early ratings success, the show was hurt by a series of controversial remarks from members of the Robertson family. Phil Robertson was briefly suspended from his show in 2013 during the fifth season following comments in which the then-67-year-old star likened homosexuality to "bestiality." The suspension prompted an immediate outcry from the show's conservative fan base, and he was welcomed back to the series shortly afterward. 

For A&E, the imminent end of Duck Dynasty comes as the cabler is poised to wrap up its signature scripted series, Bates Motel, in 2017. That leaves the network without a breakout signature series beyond 60 Days In, the docuseries that ranked as cable's No. 1 new nonfiction show earlier this year. Next up on the unscripted side is Leah Rimini's Scientology series.

Samantha Bee’s ‘Full Frontal’ Renewed, Moving to Wednesdays

The 'Daily Show' alum's TBS series became one of the most-talked-about during the 2016 election.

No surprise here: Samantha Bee is staying put at TBS. Her weekly talk show, Full Frontal, has been renewed for a second season. One thing that will change is her time slot. The comedian heads to Wednesday nights in 2017.

"I am only sorry that this renewal leaves me unavailable for a cabinet position in the new administration," Bee said Wednesday in a statement. "I will, however, be available to host the White House Correspondents Dinner, seeing as I already bought the dress."

Bee's freshman season, expanded in the wake of positive critical feedback and plenty of attention during the run-up to the presidential election, aired largely on Monday nights. It started at 10 p.m. before shifting to 10:30 p.m. The network also played it fast and loose with the schedule, allowing for delayed and extra episodes to accommodate political conventions and last week's election. When the second season debuts Jan. 11, it will air at 10:30 p.m. Wednesdays.

“Of course we're picking up the show," said TBS' senior vp, original programming Thom Hinkle. "In less than a year, Sam has become one of the most talked-about personalities in all of television and Full Frontal's audience continues to grow. We're so lucky to have Sam and her Emmy-nominated team, led by the brilliant [showrunner] Jo Miller, as part of the TBS family."

Indeed, Bee has become a bigger part of the comedy conversation than many of her male late-night contemporaries. Ratings for the series have improved, now pulling an average 3.3 million viewers across platforms, and the recent quarter saw its showing among adults 18-49 grow by 37 percent. Bee's presence on YouTube remains a bit shy of her peer group's, with a total 481,000 subscribers and more than 117 million video plays to date.

Deviating some from the traditional late-night comedy format, and technically not late-night at all on account of its primetime airing, Full Frontal presents reported features and interviews on top of Bee's acerbic monologues. (She's also skipped out on a desk and in-studio guests in favor of standing in front of her audience.)

The remaining episodes of Full Frontal's freshman season, which airs through early December, will continue to air Monday nights.

The CW Dates ‘Riverdale’; Freshmen ‘No Tomorrow,’ ‘Frequency’ Not Getting More Episodes

The network also has shifted 'Supernatural' and "Legends of Tomorrow' and announced the finale date for 'The Vampire Diaries.'

The CW on Wednesday announced its midseason lineup — and it looks quite different from the schedule it launched this fall.

On top of a premiere date for Riverdale, the network is moving both Supernatural and Legends of Tomorrow and also confirming the expected, that freshman No Tomorrow and Frequency will not get anything beyond the initial 13-episode orders this season.

Neither No Tomorrow nor Frequency seemed ripe for a full 22 episodes. In addition to the fact that neither has been a particular breakout in linear ratings, even with strong lead-ins, The CW's schedule is quite full. Shorter order seasons have become something of a norm for many of its hourlongs, though the network also is clearly open to being fluid with episode counts. Just last week, Legends of Tomorrow earned four more episodes for its sophomore run.

With Riverdale set to bow Thursday, Jan. 26, at 9 p.m. ET/PT, Supernatural will shift to 8 p.m. in that move, with Legends of Tomorrow migrating to Tuesday nights at 9 p.m. that same week. As has become habit for the network, which is employing shorter orders in an effort to fill the calendar with originals, midseason also will see the returns of iZombie (Tuesday, April 4, 9 p.m.), The 100 (Wednesday, Feb. 1, 9 p.m.) and Reign (Friday, Feb 10, 9 p.m.).

Also of note, The Vampire Diaries will sign off for good on March 10. Spinoff The Originals hits the schedule the following Friday, March 17, in the same time slot. Crazy Ex Girlfriend vacates its Friday roost at the end of its sophomore season on Feb. 3.

Obama to Honor Tom Hanks, Robert De Niro, Bruce Springsteen and More With Medal of Freedom

The honorees also include Ellen DeGeneres, Diana Ross and Vin Scully.

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is set to honor actors Robert De Niro, Cicely Tyson, Tom Hanks and Robert Redford with the nation's highest civilian honor.

They are among 21 people Obama plans to recognize Tuesday with the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the White House.

Honorees from the sports world include basketball players Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Michael Jordan, along with veteran sports broadcaster Vin Scully.

Entertainers include Ellen DeGeneres, Diana Ross and Bruce Springsteen.

Other honorees are philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates, polymath physicist Richard Garwin, architect Frank Gehry, designer Maya Lin, Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels, attorney Newt Minow, mathematician and computer scientist Margaret H. Hamilton and Eduardo Padron, president of Miami Dade College in Florida.

Posthumous honors will go to Native American advocate Elouise Cobell and Rear Adm. Grace Hopper.

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Tom Hanks Hopes Donald Trump “Does Such a Great Job That I Vote for His Re-Election”

The actor was honored by the Museum of Modern Art at a gala also attended by Steve Martin, David Letterman, Stephen Colbert, Emma Watson and Meg Ryan, among others.

A week after the election, with many New Yorkers still feeling uneasy about the prospect of a Donald Trump presidency, a number of entertainment industry luminaries gathered at the Museum of Modern Art to honor Tom Hanks with the organization's ninth annual Film Benefit, presented by Chanel.

The election results, a surprising outcome for many who opposed Trump, led MoMA's chief film curator Rajendra Roy to scrap many of his planned jokes, he said, and just proclaim, "Thank God for Tom Hanks."

He continued: "For over 100 years, when our country's faced times of turmoil or uncertainty, we've looked to cinema and its heroes for comfort, inspiration and reassurance. Charlie Chaplin gave us his comedic genius and permission to laugh. Barbara Stanwyck gave us her determined strength. … [Tom Hanks] is the cinematic hero we need now."

When Hanks himself finally took the stage — after a compilation of clips from many of his films and accolades from Emma Watson, Aaron Eckhart, Steve Martin and (via video) Oprah Winfrey, Ron Howard and Clint Eastwood — he echoed these thoughts about the role of film in helping people cope with difficulty.

"I can’t wax philosophically enough about what film means to myself and to any person who ponders the human condition," said the actor. "We are one week into a different era for the world and for our nation. We can always turn to films, from no matter what era they were made in, to reflect who we are and how we believe and the things we hold dear and important to us. Sometimes they can be silly movies, fantastic movies. The Wizard of Oz when it came out is just as reflective of who we are, who we were, in 1939, as was Gone With the Wind or Goodbye Mr. Chips. The films throughout the ages, in the 1950s and the 1960s, those great years when John Wayne was exhibiting his True Grit at the same time that Peter Fonda was driving across America in Easy Rider. That’s who all of us are. They capture everything about us, one way or another. The rise of artists like Melvin Van Peebles and Sidney Poitier goes on and on.

"We can somehow just sample what makes us a nation and what makes us a people by paying a few dollars and going to a movie theater or by paying a few dollars to go into a place like MoMA," continued Hanks. "We can turn on our televisions right now and see extraordinary films that somehow, whether or not they were made in the last year or they were made in the 1930s, reflect — we see ourselves up on the screen. Sometimes we’re Barbara Stanwyck in an old Preston Sturges film. Other times we’re Robert Downey Jr. in Captain America. There's aspects of all of us in those films."

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Hanks even delivered an extended series of remarks about how the U.S. Constitution, singing the Schoolhouse Rock! preamble song and all, will protect the country.

"We are going to be all right," assured Hanks. "America has been in worse places than we are at right now. In my own lifetime, our streets were in chaos, our generations were fighting each other tooth and nail. Every dinner table ended up being as close to a fistfight as human families are allowed. We have been in a place where we have looked at our leaders and wondered, 'What the hell they were thinking of?' We’ve had moments with the administrations and politicians and senators and governors in which we have asked ourselves, 'Are they lying to us or do they really believe in this?' That’s all right. We have this magnificent thing that is in place. It’s a magnificent document and it starts off with the phrases that, if you’re smart enough, you’ve memorized in school or just read enough to that you could put it by heart, or you watched those things on ABC where they taught you a little song in order to sing. And the song goes, 'We the people, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare,' and it goes on and on. That document is going to protect us over and over again, whether or not our neighbors preserve, protect and defend it themselves.

"We are going to be all right because we constantly get to tell the world who we are. We constantly get to define ourselves as American. We do have the greatest country in the world. We move at a slow pace. We have the greatest country in the world because we are always moving towards a more perfect union. That journey never ceases, it never stops. Sometimes, to quote a Springsteen song, it’s 'one step forward, two steps back,' but we still aggregately move forward. We, who are a week into wondering what the hell just happened, will continue to move forward. We have to choose to do so, but we will move forward because if we do not move forward, what is to be said of us?"

Prior to the presidential election, Hanks spoke out against Trump's lewd Access Hollywood comments, saying he was "offended as a man" and criticizing the then-Republican nominee for his lack of government experience. But speaking to The Hollywood Reporter on the black carpet leading into the gala, he reiterated what he'd said in April on CBS This Morning, and what he would later say in his speech, that the country and its people would be OK.

"This is the United States of America. We'll go on. There's great like-minded people out there who are Americans first and Republicans or Democrats second," Hanks told THR. "I hope the president-elect does such a great job that I vote for his reelection in four years."

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The actor also made it clear that he'd heard Michael Moore's suggestion that Hanks run for president and he wasn't too happy about it, indicating he felt he was unfit for the position.

"Not to be completely, over and over coming back to the same thing that I would like to strangle Michael Moore on in offering my name in order to be something other than a CPA, which I’m not qualified to be either," Hanks said onstage. "We will take everything that has been handed to us as Americans, and we will turn our nation and we will turn the future and we turn all the work that we have before us into some brand of a thing of beauty."

After the ceremony honoring Hanks, Stephen Colbert asked the actor, even if he didn't want to run for office, could people continue to think of him as president, again as a source of comfort.

Hanks was humble about the MoMA honor as well, telling THR, "I'm still aghast that they made the choice. It's a huge honor without a doubt. I never look at my stuff and think [affecting snooty voice], 'Wow, at last I am at the apex of artistic —' I always say, 'Well that kind of worked, and that didn't work, and that could've been better,' and then the audience informs you in ways that will surprise you. I'm thrilled."

Roy shared his thoughts on how Hanks is able to be both a movie star with broad appeal and an acclaimed actor.

"There's not one Tom Hanks character but he's one of those actors who kind of brings a generosity to the process that informs the characters he inhabits in a way that audiences have embraced," he told THR.

Eckhart, who played co-pilot to Hanks' Capt. Chesley Sullenberger in Sully, called his experience working with Hanks "an honor and a privilege just to watch him work and be around him and soak him in, to learn from him, to watch him learn from others."

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In terms of specific memories from their time filming Sully, Eckhart indicated that Hanks offered great career advice.

"Just being in the cockpit with him on those long days and eating lunch with him and talking about the business and his experiences, his wisdom, what he considers to be appropriate or not appropriate in the business or what choices he made or how he overcame obstacles in his career or how he deals with the tribulations of being on set," Eckhart told THR. "All of this is very interesting to a young actor because he helps people navigate their careers and he's the best. So anything he says is golden."

Other guests in attendance included Hanks' wife, Rita Wilson, Meg Ryan, David Letterman, Steven Spielberg, Graydon Carter, Wendi Murdoch, Diane Sawyer, Brian Williams, Marie-Josee and Henry R. Kravis and Leon Bridges, who performed for the well-heeled audience after dinner.

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OWN Employee Sues for Pregnancy Discrimination, Sexual Harassment

The suit also claims a department supervisor reenacted graphic sex scenes from horror movies during meetings.

An Oprah Winfrey Network employee says her supervisor shamed her for morning sickness, simulated squeezing her breasts during a meeting and regularly discussed sexually graphic movie scenes in staff meetings, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

Rebecca Taylor claims her supervisor in the deliverables and fulfillment services department, Nakisha Gowen, began harassing her when she was three months pregnant and the harassment continued after the birth of her son in November 2013.

Gowen would begin mandated staff meetings by discussing horror movies and would often act out sex scenes from the films, according to the complaint. Taylor says the behavior escalated to sexual assault in a December 2014 meeting during which Gowen simulated that she was squeezing Taylor's breasts during a conversation about babies being obsessed with women's breasts.

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"Ms. Gowen then attempted to lay her head on [Taylor's] breasts," states the complaint. "Ms. Gowen committed these acts against the Plaintiff in order to create a sexually hostile and abusive work environment, and to degrade and humiliate the Plaintiff in front of her coworkers."

Taylor also claims when she was promoted to manager her pay was less than it should have been because Gowen was retaliating against her for refusing to endure the sexual harassment.

Taylor says she reported the harassment on multiple occasions, but OWN did nothing in response and in July 2015 she left work for nearly a year on "stress leave." She is suing OWN for sexual harassment, both sexual and pregnancy discrimination, retaliation and intentional infliction of emotional distress, among other claims.

OWN has not yet responded to a request for comment.

The full complaint is below.

‘The Edge of Seventeen’: Film Review | TIFF 2016

Hailee Steinfeld, Woody Harrelson and Kyra Sedgwick headline Toronto closing film 'The Edge of Seventeen,' a comedy about a teenage girl whose brother starts dating her best friend.

Not that we needed another teen comedy revolving around angsty white millennials, but here's The Edge of Seventeen anyway, and guess what? It's really, really good.

Fast, full-hearted and graced with a beautifully modulated lead turn by Hailee Steinfeld, the movie takes the risk of playing it straight and sincere — and the risk pays off. That doesn't mean this directorial debut from Kelly Fremon Craig, produced by James L. Brooks, isn't sporadically funny (it is) or doesn't sometimes strain to be clever (it does). But The Edge of Seventeen is considerably less arch and gimmick-driven — less edgy, for lack of a better word — than other recent entries in the sub-genre (including decent ones like Easy A). Instead, it coasts on brisk humor and clear-eyed empathy for its endearing, exasperating protagonist, neither brazenly satirizing her rather routine adolescent crises nor drowning them in acoustic-strumming earnestness. Taken on its own modest terms, the movie proves that sometimes all you need is a strong cast, a sturdy script and a director who knows when and how to stay out of the way.

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The Edge of Seventeen may not be embraced by John Hughes nostalgists, but Steinfeld's Nadine is a direct descendant of Molly Ringwald's Samantha in Sixteen Candles — as well as of the marginalized heroines played by Winona Ryder in Heathers, Julia Stiles in 10 Things I Hate About You, Thora Birch in Ghost World and many others. Brimming with insecurities and hostilities, pathologically self-deprecating and, of course, far more appealing than she realizes, Nadine decided long ago that she was an outsider and has been wallowing in self-pity ever since.

After an unpromising first scene in which the high-school junior rushes into the classroom of history teacher Mr. Bruner (Woody Harrelson) to announce her impending suicide, the movie flashes back a decade. Little Nadine (Lina Renna) is a sulky and morose child, seething with resentment toward slightly older brother Darian, who's the apple of everyone's eye. Flighty Mom (Kyra Sedgwick) doesn't know what to do with her daughter, but Dad (Eric Keenleyside) is a big softie (though he may be partly responsible for her social difficulties; at one point, he counsels the pint-sized pessimist to stand up to bullies by farting into their backpacks).

Things pick up for Nadine when she meets gentle soul Krista (Ava Grace Cooper) on the school playground. The two are immediately inseparable and remain BFFs as the years go by, through bad skin, worse hair — we get a glimpse of Steinfeld as a 13ish Nadine with an unfortunate Greg Brady 'do — and real tragedy when Nadine's father dies suddenly.

Her friendship with the endlessly patient, positive Krista brightens Nadine's world view a bit, though she's still a handful by the time she hits high school — the kind of kid who corrects her teachers, calls herself an "old soul" and, in a move worthy of Lena Dunham's Hannah Horvath on Girls, literally crawls around the house when she's hungover (just to, you know, indulge).