What Matters in Hollywood Today

7:29 AM 1/30/2018

by Ray Rahman

Lupita Nyong'o_Black Panther Premiere - Getty - H 2018
Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

What's news: Black Panther premiered last night, and the buzz so far has been very positive. Plus: Chris Christie joins ABC News, Pink feuds with the Grammys president and Diane Keaton defends Woody Allen. — Ray Rahman

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  • Early Reviews

    Marvel's Black Panther held its premiere last night, and early reaction has been overwhelmingly positive, writes Abid Rahman:

    Black reviewers and geek sites, in particular, were effusive for the Ryan Coogler film's positive representations of black women. Natasha Alford, an editor at The Grio, made the point that there will be a generation of kids growing up seeing superheroes that look like them. The Los Angeles Times' Tre'vell Anderson called Black Panther a "love letter about blackness."

    ReBecca Theodore-Vachon, who has written for Forbes and RogerEbert.com, was one among many who felt the film contained important and necessary portraits of black women not seen in superhero movies before. Many black reviewers also praised Coogler's deft handling of issues of identity and imperialism. Read more.

    + The buzz: "BLACK PANTHER is incredible, kinetic, purposeful ... The 1st MCU movie about something real,"  Jen Yamato of the L.A. Times tweeted. "This is the first MCU film that has an actual sense of identity & history & musicality. Wakanda is alive," wrote David Ehrlich of IndieWire.

    Celebrities got into it too: "black panther was beautiful," Donald Glover wrote in what looks to be his first tweet ever. "we should keep celebrating." He added: "who's out here?"

    + The looks: Lupita Nyong'o wore a "warrior-inspired" gown to the premiere. "There’s definitely a nod to her warrior character Nakia here, without being costumey,” her longtime longtime fashion stylist Micaela Erlanger says. “It’s a really glamorous take on our vision and it’s very fierce, certainly.” Read more.

    + First Ant-Man and the Wasp trailer: Double the fun? The first preview shows off what Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly‏) can do now that she has a size-changing suit of her own. Watch the trailer here.

    + Remember that Wesley Snipes Black Panther movie that never happened? He does: "We went through three different scripts and a couple of different director options — very interesting director options at the time," Snipes says. Read more.

    Elsewhere in film...

    ? Diane Keaton defends Woody Allen: “Woody Allen is my friend and I continue to believe him,” the actress tweeted yesterday, joining Alec Baldwin in Allen's defense. Her message included a video clip with the message: “It might be of interest to take a look at the 60 Minute interview from 1992 and see what you think.”

    + Judd Apatow fires back: "I see a man who wanted what he wanted and didn’t care that he was having an affair with a 19-year-old when he was 54 who was also his daughter’s sister," Apatow wrote in response to Keaton. "He also took nude photos of this child who he had known since she was nine and left them out for his family to see. Narcissism."

    + Could the Allen-Amazon relationship be ending? According to a New York Times report, "Amazon is having serious conversations about ending its relationship with Mr. Allen, which could leave [Allen's upcoming A Rainy Day in New York] without distribution."

    ? Blake Lively movie suspends production: The Reed Morano-directed feature The Rhythm Section is being shut down, with crews being told to find other work, while Lively recuperates from a hand injury. The actress' injury occurred while doing a stunt on the Dublin set in December.

    ? Richard Roeper suspended by Chicago Sun-Times for buying Twitter followers: The paper announced that the movie critic's reviews and columns will not be published while an investigation is conducted into his Twitter following. The general reaction so far? "This is dumb," film journalist Mark Harris tweeted. "Buying Twitter followers is silly and embarrassing. It's not more than that."

    ? Nina Tassler, Denise Di Novi launch studio for the Time's Up era: The pair has formed PatMa Productions — named after Di Novi and Tassler’s mothers, Pat and Norma, respectively — which is being touted as an independent studio intended to amplify diverse voices.

    ^Tom Hanks as Mr. Rogers: It's happening. The Oscar winner is set to play late TV personality Fred Rogers in the biopic You Are My Friend, which Marielle Heller (The Diary of a Teenage Girl) will direct for Sony's TriStar Pictures. Production begins in September. Read more.

    ? Unsane trailer: The trailer for Steven Soderbergh's  Claire Foy-starring iPhone-shot thriller is here.

    ? Sam Raimi will helm Lin-Manuel Miranda's The Kingkiller Chronicle: The filmmaker is in talks to direct a feature film for Lionsgate based on Pat Rothfuss' Kingkiller books, The novels' adaptations (for both film and TV) are being overseen by Miranda.

    ? Elisabeth Moss goes punk: The actress will play a punk rocker named Becky Something in Alex Ross Perry's upcoming film Her Smell. Moss and Perry are no strangers: They've previously worked together on Queen of Earth and Listen Up Philip.

    ? Ben Kingsley and Monica Bellucci team up for spy thriller: The duo have signed on to star in Spider in the Web, a contemporary thriller from Israeli director Eran Riklis (Lemon Tree).

    ? Despicable Me + Walking Dead = Birthright? Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio, the writers behind the Despicable Me movies, are teaming up with Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman and his Skybound Entertainment to adapt fantasy epic comic book Birthright for Universal.

    Mark Gordon will lead creative at Entertainment One: eOne on Monday named the veteran Hollywood producer as president and chief content officer for film, television and digital, leading all creative units. The move follows eOne agreeing to acquire the remaining 49 percent of The Mark Gordon Company that it didn't already own for $209 million.


  • Eggert Speaks Out

    Charles in Charge star and Scott Baio accuser Nicole Eggert went to Megyn Kelly Today to tell her story:

    During her interview with Kelly, Eggert reiterated her allegation that Baio regularly molested and touched her when she was 14 and on, saying: “He was playing not only on my emotions but my hormones.”

    At one point, Kelly also asked whether the producers or supervisors on set knew about Baio's alleged actions. "I don't think they knew about the actual physical, sexual abuse," Eggert responded. "But everybody knew of the attention he gave me." Watch the interview here.

    Elsewhere in TV...

    ? HGTV star arrested: Christopher Dionne, who has appeared on HGTV's pilot of the show Family Flip and a yet-to-be-aired A&E show called House Rescue, turned himself in to police Monday to face charges of sexual assault and risk of injury to a minor.

    ? The Four judge accused: Charlie Walk, president of Republic Records and a judge on Fox's reality competition The Four, has been accused of making lewd comments and unwanted sexual advances toward Tristan Coopersmith, the founder of Life Lab and a former employee of Walk's.

    ? Grammy ratings update: The show reached an all-time demo low, averaging 19.8 million viewers and a 5.9 rating among adults 18-49.

    + But the Grammy bump still works: 328 percent — that's how much the songs performed at the ceremony collectively grew in download sales on the day of the show. The raw numbers: 74,000 downloads on Sunday, versus 17,000 the previous day. The biggest gainers included Kesha's "Praying" (720 percent) and Little Big Town's "Better Man" (2,166 percent).

    + Pink strikes back: The musician fired back at Recording Academy president Neil Portnow for saying women should "step up" for more Grammy recognition: “Women in music don’t need to “step up” – women have been stepping since the beginning of time. Stepping up, and also stepping aside. Women OWNED music this year. They’ve been KILLING IT. And every year before this.”

    + Portnow's response: "I was asked a question about the lack of female artist representation in certain categories of this year’s Grammy Awards. Regrettably, I used two words, ‘step up,’ that, when taken out of context, do not convey my beliefs and the point I was trying to make. Our industry must recognize that women who dream of careers in music face barriers that men have never faced."

    ? BBC pay report: "no evidence of gender bias." The BBC published a report on its pay system for on-air talent in its news and current affairs department following criticism of its gender pay gap. The BBC emphasized that the report found "no evidence of gender bias" but promised to address "unfairness" and "create a fairer and more equal" system. Read more.

    ? Chris Christie joins ABC News: The former New Jersey governor is joining the network as a contributor, with his debut happening today as part of ABC's State of the Union coverage.

    ? Michelle Obama heads to Ellen: The former First Lady will sit down with Ellen DeGeneres this Thursday for her first TV interview since leaving the White House.

    ^Morgan Freeman talks about rapping in a Super Bowl ad: "Rapping doesn't come naturally to me," the Oscar-winning actor says about performing a rendition of Missy Elliot's "Get Ur Freak On," which he did for a Super Bowl ad co-starring Peter Dinklage and Busta Rhymes. But he added: "It was a painless experience." Read more.

    ? New Fox pilots: The network will produce two more scripts, an untitled FBI drama from Ilene Chaiken (Empire) and a comedic Erin Foster vehicle called Daddy Issues, with Elizabeth Meriwether (New Girl) attached as showrunner.

    ? There will be more Fuller House: Netflix has handed a fourth season to its reboot of the '90s sitcom, no matter what the critics think.

    ? Michael Haneke's first TV project: The award-winning director of Amour and Funny Games is teaming up with Germany's UFA Fiction to create his first-ever television series. Titled Kelvin's Book, the 10-part series is described as a high-concept dystopian drama set in a near future.

    ? A Norm Macdonald talk show on Netflix? He says it may happen. During a Reddit AMA, Macdonald wrote: “I did my podcast in order to see if I could host a talk show. And I think I succeeded and have now been offered a talk show by Netflix. All the podcasts were rehearsals.” He added: “To be clear, I’m only in negotiations. There’s no show yet.”

  • Andy Lack Talks Trump

    The NBC News chairman talked Trump, media hostility and the "golden age" of journalism at an event last night. Jeremy Barr writes:

    Lack said it's "disconcerting" for his network to operate in a climate of intense hostility toward journalists, but he also said it's par for the course. "We're not in a popularity contest, so we're used to being in conflict," Lack said. "People get pissed off at us. We should expect to have the lowest approval ratings on some level."

    But Lack said that Donald Trump's administration is particularly hostile toward the press. "It's an out-of-body experience at times, when you're being tweeted about or attacked in the way the president is wont to do," Lack said. Read more.

    And introducing...

    ? The Three-Question Interview: A series of short Q&As with interesting executives and personalities. First up: Jon Steinberg, founder and CEO of Cheddar, an online-only financial news network.

    What do millennials want from a financial news network that other demographics don’t? "I don’t think we’re a financial news network. I don’t mind being called that, but we are a technology-media-entrepeneurship-innovation network. That may sound ridiculous, but everyday talking speakers, rockets landing on their tails, new iPhones, self-driving cars, AirBNB, streaming services — it’s an enormous part of their culture, broadly appealing to an enormous group of people in their 20s and 30s."

    CNBC still reports on those things. "Where we get the thread where CNBC misses it, is that an old oil-and-power executive is just not interesting to that audience. I’m not saying that’s not important, but that’s much less interesting than the founder of Allbirds."

    Vice has also done well competing with cable news networks while appealing to millennials. How are you guys competing against them? "I admire Vice, because they made it about the content and the brand. That said, Viceland is a misuse of a channel. You don’t need a linear network to show on-demand mini-docs, original series, and other kinds of scripted programming. In the future, people are going to get all their dramas and comedies on-demand from streaming services. Then they’re going to have a skinny bundle for their ambient, window-on-the-world, what’s-happening-now live news. Netflix doesn’t solve that, Amazon doesn’t solve that. That’s when you need a network like Cheddar, to see what’s happening right now."?

    What else we're reading...

    — "Quincy Jones has a story about that." Chris Heath's Q&A with the music legend is chock full of enticing celebrity anecdotes involving everyone from Elon Musk to Truman Capote. [GQ]

    — "The resistance has come to celebrity award shows." Amy Chozick writes: "Hillary Clinton’s surprise turn at the Grammy Awards on Sunday night set off a roiling political debate about how far glitzy awards shows should go in needling Democrats’ favorite target." [New York Times]

    — "Film festivals are forever changed in the era of #MeToo." Angela Wirecutter writes: "Shifting an industry as entrenched as Hollywood was never going to be easy, and if/when it happens, it’ll take years, maybe decades." [Wired]

    — "Is MoviePass here to stay?" David Sims writes: "As its user base grows, the subscription-based film-ticket service is playing hardball with AMC, the biggest theater chain in the country." [The Atlantic]

    — "Proud Mary and the pressure on black audiences to support black movies." Hanif Abdurraqib "analyzes the persistent pressure on black audiences to root for products that aren't always very good." [Pacific Standard]

    What else we're seeing...

    + "Stephen interviews Piers Morgan's interview of Donald Trump." [Late Show]

    + "Chadwick Boseman on Black Panther premiere." [Jimmy Kimmel Live!]

    + "Darren Criss talks The Assassination of Gianni Versace." [Late Night]

    What else we're hearing...

    + "Awards shows in the crosshairs." A look at the criticism directed at the Grammys. [The Frame / KPCC]

    + "The scholarly Kareem Abdul-Jabbar." Mike Pesca sits down with the NBA great. [The Gist / Slate]

    Today's Birthdays: Christian Bale, 44, Olivia Colman, 44, Brett Butler, 60, Ann Dowd, 62, Steve Zaillian, 65, Phil Collins, 67, Marc Turtletaub, 72, Vanessa Redgrave, 81, Gene Hackman, 88.