Happy Friday: Ron Howard got his first chance to talk about joining the Star Wars universe at Cannes Lions. Meanwhile, The Gong Show return bewilders some critics, Stephen Colbert was in Russia for The Late Show and Johnny Depp makes a controversial Trump joke. — Matthew Belloni, Erik Hayden and Jennifer Konerman
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A day after being named the new director of Lucasfilm's untitled Han Solo movie, Ron Howard took to the stage at Cannes Lions on Friday, Rhonda Richford writes from the festival:
Howard called the film "a little opportunity that came my way" and later also said that "I've been a fan forever," adding: "It's gratifying to lend my voice to the Star Wars universe now."
The director also told the audience: "I've been around the Star Wars universe from the beginning," and explained George Lucas was conceiving the story while they were working on American Graffiti. When Lucas first told him the idea, he said he thought it sounded "crazy."
Howard recalled that when he first saw Star Wars, he waited in line with his wife for two hours. "We left almost speechless, and I said, 'Do you want to see it again?'" he recalled. "And we got in line and waited another 90 minutes to see it twice the same day."
Elsewhere in film...
► Jurassic World sequel unveils title and first poster. The upcoming film, which reunites Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard, has been given the cryptic title Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and will be released June 22, 2018.
► Amy Schumer's rom-com finds male lead. Rafe Spall will star opposite Schumer in I Feel Pretty. Michelle Williams and Emily Ratajkowski are signed on to star in the film that serves as the directorial debut of Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein for STX.
► Jennifer Lopez plans new rom-com. The actress will star in and produce a new STX film titled Second Act, which follows a big box-store employee. It's pitched as Working Girl meets Maid in Manhattan.
► Steve McQueen's heist thriller enlists Carrie Coon. The actress, generating Emmy heat for her superlative work in Fargo and The Leftovers, is headed to the big-screen, joining the cast of Widows, the New Regency thriller.
^New Beguiled reviews arrive. As the Sofia Coppola film gets set for a limited release stateside this weekend after a Cannes debut last month, a new round of reviews from major outlets have been published. (THR, in Cannes, said the film was "Not so beguiling.")
+ NYT: "a study in moods and implications." LAT: "misses the bigger picture, though it might be fairer to say that she sees the beauty in the smaller one." The Atlantic: "worth seeing the film just for the poise of its conclusion." Rolling Stone: "simmers with violent undercurrents and dark, subversive wit." RT score now: 74 percent.
► Netflix comedy Ibiza adds Gillian Jacobs, Vanessa Bayer. Phoebe Robinson also stars in the business trip-gone-wrong comedy with a script by Lauren Kahn. The film, which will begin production next month in Europe, was previously set up at Sony.
► Sony's Denzel Washington drama gets title. The project, directed by Nightcrawler helmer Dan Gilroy, is now named Roman Israel, Esq. It was previously titled Inner City. The film, which just wrapped principal photography, is eyeing a fourth-quarter release.
THE RACE: Los Angeles Film Festival unveils winners. Elizabeth Rohrbaugh and Daniel Powers’ Becks took home the U.S. Fiction Award and Amanda Kopp and Aaron Kopp’s Liyana claimed the Documentary Award. Full list.
ABC's venerable variety-show format gets good judges and talent for its opener, but Mike Myers' performance-art host, Tommy Maitland, adds nothing, Daniel Fienberg writes in his review:
Tommy Maitland is a reasonable enough simulacrum of a human. Tommy Maitland adds almost nothing to the pleasure of watching the Gong Show premiere, which otherwise is at least moderate. Fortunately, Tommy Maitland doesn't exist.
I get completely why Mike Myers would think that hosting The Gong Show as a latex-entombed relic of British game shows past was a performance-art hoot. And I get completely why ABC would be willing to let Myers do whatever the heck he wanted in exchange for hosting The Gong Show.
Having now proven his ability to host the show incognito, a gimmick original host Chuck Barris surely would have appreciated, my advice/hope going forward would be: Don't. Stop. Move on.
+ Early takes: USA Today: "the new version feels just a little more hollow and heartless." L.A. Times: "It’s just as crass and unsophisticated as the original." Washington Post: "a dank and shticky amateur talent show." New Yorker: "a kind of admirable oddity — an elaborate private joke."
Elsewhere in TV...
► ABC moves Shondaland's Still Star-Crossed to Saturdays. Just three episodes in, the summer series has moved from its Monday night post-Bachelorette slot. The period drama's ratings languished out of the gate, posting just a 0.5 rating among adults 18-49 and only 2.3M viewers.
► Freeform scraps plans for Greek reunion. The TV film was supposed to pick up five years after the end of the series, with the original cast reuniting at the reunion. The movie was set to be timed to the holidays.
► Hulu says Alexis Bledel will return on Handmaid's Tale. The Gilmore Girls actress, who recurred in the first season, has signed on to return as a series regular for season two. Production on the 13-episode second season begins this fall.
► HBO, John Oliver sued by energy company. The defamation lawsuit claims Last Week Tonight created a "villainous" portrait of conservative coal baron Robert Murray, who alleges his reputation was harmed. Details.
^CBS sends Stephen Colbert to Russia. The host is in the country on assignment for a future broadcast of his series. The Late Show is in repeats Thursday and Friday, no doubt coinciding with his trip. Colbert did, however, post a photo and note.
► Sony TV renews overall deal with Shawn Ryan. In a big sign of support for the independent studio, the Timeless co-creator Ryan and his MiddKid banner has inked his third straight three-year overall deal with the company.
► Fox sets fall schedule. Starting Tuesday, Sept. 26, the network will roll out the bulk of its fall lineup, with Seth MacFarlane dramedy Orville getting a preseason NFL push before its official debut Sept. 28.
► MSNBC recruits conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt. The commentator is joining MSNBC's Saturday morning lineup, a move that is sure to raise eyebrows at the network and among its left-leaning fans.
Trailer watch, Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later. Find out what kind of people the Camp Firewood staff have blossomed into in the first look at the Netflix sequel series, which drops in August.
► Showtime's Shameless enlists Jessica Szohr. The Gossip Girl grad has booked a season-long recurring arc on the dramedy starring William H. Macy and Emmy Rossum.
► CBS' Alan Cumming drama adds Supergirl grad. Sharon Leal has joined Instinct, which centers on a former CIA operative (Cumming) who is lured back to his old life by an NYPD detective. The series is slated to premiere midseason.
ALSO: Johnny Depp's new controversy is a Trump assassination joke. "When was the last time an actor assassinated a president?" he asked at the Glastonbury Festival on Thursday. The question drew loud cheers and boos from the crowd as Depp shrugged. "I want to clarify, I'm not an actor. I lie for a living," he continued. Video.
As Mel Brooks' comedy turns 30, Bill Pullman (Lone Starr) reminisces with Ryan Parker about Brooks' on-set power naps, the late John Candy's frustrations with his Barf costume and how the crew feared that working with a special effects blue screen could make them pass out or go blind. A look back.
What else we're reading...
— "Peak TV’s new hot profession: the music supervisor." John Jurgensen writes: "As links between the worlds of TV and music, they have also emerged as influential allies of musicians looking for exposure." [The Wall Street Journal]
— "Inside Gwyneth Paltrow's first wellness summit." Amy Kaufman visits In Goop Health, where "tickets for the one-day event began at $500 and went all the way up to $1,500 — instantly creating a self-selecting group." [The Los Angeles Times]
— "How Roseanne Barr embraced the alt-right." Amy Zimmerman writes: "The legendary comedian was once a liberal Green Party candidate for POTUS, but over the past year-plus has taken a sharp turn." [The Daily Beast]
— "Nicolas Cage is the king of the good bad movie." Shea Serrano writes: "He’s been in a ton of preposterous movies, wears the hell out of a wig, and is secretly a good actor." [The Ringer]
— "Was this it?" Franz Nicolay writes: "Every generation of New York rockers romanticizes its era. In the juicy new book Meet Me in the Bathroom, the early 2000s was the golden age." [Slate]
What else we're seeing...
+ "Anthony Hopkins shares an important life lesson." [Jimmy Kimmel Live]
+ "Ice Cube narrated 30 for 30 to get revenge on the Celtics." [Late Night]
+ "Ruth Negga gets distracted by Jimmy's '80s Irish politician mustache." [Tonight Show]
Today's Birthdays: Melissa Rauch, 37, Joel Edgerton, 43, David Dobkin, 48, Joss Whedon, 53, Frances McDormand, 60, Randy Jackson, 61.