What Matters in Hollywood Today

7:29 AM 12/6/2017

by Ray Rahman

Photographed by Miller Mobley

What's news: Jennifer Lawrence chats with Oprah Winfrey for THR's Women in Entertainment issue. Plus: A look at the potentially female-led morning TV landscape after Lauer, #MeToo makes Time's Person of the Year, Megyn Kelly pens an essay on change and Molly McNearey opens up about her and Jimmy Kimmel's year in a new kind of spotlight. — Ray Rahman

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On the cover: Oprah Winfrey interviews Jennifer Lawrence for THR's Women in Entertainment issue, guest-edited by Shonda Rhimes. The Oscar-winning actress talks to the legendary interviewer about everything from pay equity ("I had it up to my f—ing eyeballs") to Harvey ("He had only been nice to me — except for when he wasn't") to where she sees herself in 20 years: "I won't have periods anymore, that's a bonus." 

OPRAH WINFREY: By the time you're 27, you've got [an Oscar]. By the time you've gotten four [nominations], does it come with —

JENNIFER LAWRENCE: Fear. You're immediately hit with fear. Or at least I was. I had been climbing and working and fighting, and I remember last year just getting hit with fear. All of a sudden it was, "They're going to get sick of me." That's when all my insecurity came. I've been probably more insecure after last year, and I don't know if that's just a feeling of: I've got more to lose, I have more people to disappoint. I don't know how to explain it.

How do you choose what you're going to do next?

It's chemistry. It's like meeting a boyfriend. Red Sparrow was sexual, and I haven't done anything sexy or sexual. I've been afraid of that since 2014, when I got my pictures hacked. I just thought, "I'll never do that again. I'll never share that part of myself ever since it got shared against my will." And then when I said yes to Red Sparrow, I felt I was taking something back.

What's the best advice you've been given?

It was probably by you. You just said it under your breath. You were talking, and then under your breath you said, "You have to teach somebody how to treat you." That's the smartest thing I've ever heard. Full interview.

+ The Power 100: Samantha Bee, Ava DuVernay and Megan Ellison are among the standout industry leaders who dominated the 2017 entertainment and media industry landscape. See the full list here.  

+ Executive of the Year: Netflix's Cindy Holland sits down to discuss the streamer's new priorities, parting ways with Kevin Spacey and expectations for Shonda Rhimes. Read more.

  • Shonda's Letter to Hollywood

    Photographed by Christopher Patey

    Shonda Rhimes, the prolific creator and media entrepreneur behind Shondaland.com, pens a note praising the women who have come forward and urging Hollywood to stop “erasing" women's stories:

    I work at a company run by me. My producing partner is a woman. My head of production is a woman. I can count the number of men working in my offices on one hand — I'm surrounded by women. On four out of five of my shows, my line producers are women. Women lead our shows. I am so deep in a matriarchy bubble over here that I forgot a simple truth: It's a bubble, and a small one at that. 

    Women — real, three-dimensional women — are being erased from the stories told in this town. Erased from agents' offices, pitch meetings, C-suites, writers rooms, sets, postproduction. And when present, women are often used as nothing more than the shiny object in a story. It's time we became the subject. It's almost embarrassing to admit, but right now? Hollywood is the villain in this story. Read more.

    + ICM Partners pledges to reach 50-50 gender parity by 2020. Rhimes, an agency client, encouraged the big step toward "mentoring women into leadership positions."

    Elsewhere in film...

    The New York Times' latest Harvey Weinstein report: The paper's new story on "Weinstein's complicity machine" is a doozy, detailing how the disgraced producer relied on politicians, media moguls and business leaders to protect himself. 

    + Lena Dunham says she warned Hillary Clinton campaign officials, telling them: "I just want to let you know that Harvey's a rapist and this is going to come out at some point."

    Time's Person of the Year: The anti-harassment movement. The cover features a composite group photo of Ashley Judd, Taylor Swift, Susan Fowler and more. 

    + Judd on Hollywood's broken system: "Were we supposed to call some fantasy attorney general of moviedom? There wasn't a place for us to report these experiences."

    + Swift on her testimony in the groping trial: “I was angry. In that moment, I decided to forego any courtroom formalities and just answer the questions the way it happened. This man hadn’t considered any formalities when he assaulted me, and his lawyer didn’t hold back on my mom — why should I be polite?”

    Terry Crews sues WME and agent Adam Venit over alleged assault. The complaint was filed Monday in Los Angeles County Superior Court. 

    ^The Post, reviewed. "It's a dramatic tale loaded with all manner of dynamics, political and personal, and Spielberg charges out of the gate at a brisk clip, extends his hand and all but enjoins the viewer to grab hold and be swept along for the ride," writes Todd McCarthy. Read more.

    + What others are saying: "The best Meryl Streep vehicle in years." — Richard Lawson, Vanity Fair. “There’s a bit of a silliness to the gusto with which film sets out to inspire, but I’ll be damned if it’s not an effective call to arms.” — Kevin Fallon, The Daily Beast. “Meryl Streep elevates The Post beyond its obvious message.” — Chris Nashawaty, EW.

    Warner Bros. builds next movie slate under cloud of uncertainty. As parent Time Warner waits to see if it will be allowed to merge with AT&T, studio chief Toby Emmerich fills out the 2019 schedule with Mark Wahlberg's Six Billion Dollar Man, Edward Norton's passion project Motherless Brooklyn, a Clint Eastwood movie and the superhero pic Shazam. Read more.

    Academy Museum names new board of trustees. In addition to chair Ron Meyer, the board will include Netflix's Ted Sarandos and producers Kimberly Steward and Jason Blum.

    Legendary Entertainment names attorney Joshua Grode CEO. Nearly one year after Thomas Tull exited the studio he founded and later sold to China's Wanda for $3.5 billion, Legendary has a new leader — and "$700 million, give or take, of liquidity," he says.

    In the works: Kurt Russell will play Santa Claus in an untitled Christmas movie from Netflix, which is hoping for a holiday-season 2018 release ... Courtney B. Vance joins Julia Roberts in Ben Is Back, the Peter Hedges drama starring son Lucas as Ben ... Amazon Studios nabs rights to Life Itself, an ensemble drama written and directed by This Is Us creator Dan Fogelman and starring Oscar Isaac, Olivia Wilde and more ... John Green's novel Turtles All the Way Down will be adapted by Fox 2000 and Temple Hill ... IFC Films has acquired Furlough, a road-trip comedy starring Tessa Thompson and Melissa Leo.

    ► Paradigm signs Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle star. Ser'Darius Blain, who was previously without an agent, plays one of the teens who get sucked into the magical game in the upcoming film. 

     

  • The Lauer Effect

    Illustration By Wren McDonald

    Will NBC's Matt Lauer debacle spark a morning TV women's movement? As Lauer and Charlie Rose exit their roles amid harassment claims, female hosts take the spotlight, writes Marisa Guthrie:

    The implosion of powerful men is causing many to re-examine retro notions about the anchor configuration of morning TV. At both CBS and NBC, it fell to female co-hosts — Gayle King and Norah O'Donnell on CBS This Morning and Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb on Today — to explain the fate of their colleague to viewers. "I have felt for years that women can carry these programs," says a longtime TV news executive. "But I'm sure there are plenty who think they can't."

    Neither network had a succession plan in place: Lauer was signed through 2018, and Rose was locked in well into next year. "It forced an issue that everyone has been aware of for a long time: Who is going to replace Charlie?" says a CBS executive. "It's not going to be an alpha male because you have two alpha females, you need someone to complement them." Adds an NBC News insider: "They honestly don't know what they're going to do." Full story.

    + The Today show's ratings are up post-Lauer. With a daily average of 4.9 million viewers last week, the controversy seemingly to helped Today dominate the broadcast morning shows by all measures. The peak came the day after Lauer's sudden ouster, when the show spiked to 5.7 million viewers.

    + Lauer has reportedly fled to the Hamptons to escape the harsh glare of Manhattan, prompting Town & Country to publish a dishy look inside the sprawling compound where he's doing "his soul searching."

    + NBC's next headache? New Olympics host Mike Tirico has harassment in his past. The network is sticking with its Bob Costas replacement, who was suspended at ESPN in the early 1990s: "Mike has repeatedly assured us that this behavior is long in his past, and we have no evidence of anything to the contrary." Read more.

    Elsewhere in TV...

     James Murdoch addresses NFL ratings, avoids Disney talk. During a media conference on Tuesday, Murdoch made it clear that he didn't want to discuss news that Fox was negotiating a sale of some of its assets to Disney.

    + But people are talking about it anyway thanks to the Financial Times report that says Murdoch is being considered to replace Bog Iger if Fox and Disney reach an agreement.

    + As for NFL ratings, Murdoch said: “I can't tell you the NFL decline isn't a challenge." He added that ad sales around some NFL games have become "tricky” but that the league "remains tremendously powerful" due to the "scarcity of value" in live sports.

    News Corp CEO blasts YouTube: At the same media conference, News Corp CEO Reed Thomson called YouTube "a toxic waste dump."

    Canada's CBC launches live TV streaming service to rival Netflix. The public broadcaster has launched an over-the-top video service, allowing Canadians to live-stream Schitt's Creek and other original series on digital devices.

    ^Molly McNearey: "How Jimmy Kimmel and I decided to share the story of our baby's trauma on air — and what came afterward." Kimmel's producer, co-head writer and wife opens up to Lacey Rose about their turbulent year in the spotlight:

    At [one] point I thought what Jimmy had done was incredible, but I didn't think it would make much of a difference. Of course, I couldn't have been more wrong. The positive response was and still is overwhelming. Jimmy and I can't go anywhere without someone coming up and thanking him for that monologue. Now, people interrupting our dinner isn't annoying to me anymore because I'm so thankful that they show their gratitude toward him and what he did.

    Then came the criticism. People attacking us for politicizing what happened to our baby, which to me is truly crazy. We took a personal experience and we shared it with the world, and then it just so happened that this was going on while people were trying to take health care away from children like ours. People were sending letters to our home, attacking both of us on Twitter, saying things like we deserve this and we're terrible people. Full story.

    Westworld, S.W.A.T. and other shows have shut down production amid California wildfires. The second season of the HBO drama was among the shows suspended as a 200-acre brush fire broke out near the filming region.  

    In Development: Will Smith will host National Geographic's upcoming event series One Strange Rock from Darren Aronofsky, slated to premiere in March ... Laverne Cox will host Glam Masters, the Lifetime beauty competition series exec-produced by Kim Kardashian, set to debut in February ... ABC's The Goldbergs is releasing a soundtrack "mixtape" featuring star Hayley Orrantia covering '80s artists as well as originals written for the show.

  • Megyn Kelly on Real Change

    Illustration by: Zoe More O'Ferrall

    The NBC News host, who experienced sexual harassment by Roger Ailes, sees opportunity for a lasting impact in the deluge of horror stories. Megyn Kelly's guest column:

    The truth is, however, stopping harassment and abuse is going to require vast societal change. Because women are being sexualized and demeaned not just by a few errant bosses but by a male-dominated system that remains stacked against them. And too many men and women are committed to perpetuating it.

    Women have made great strides during the past 40 years. We are on the Supreme Court, running for president and leading 6.4 percent of Fortune 500 companies. It's a start. However, there are still too few of us in positions of power in the most influential industries. And when we do ascend to positions of authority, we can face enormous backlash.

    Trust me, I know. Read more.

    What else we're reading...

    — "What makes Luke Bryan country?" Will Stephenson goes "on the road with the king of 'bro country,' who has been testing the sonic limits of the genre for a decade." [New York Times Magazine]

    — "Is the Marvel Cinematic Universe actually the most popular TV show of the decade?" Joanna Robinson writes: "From throwaway jokes to emotional climaxes that rely on three films of back story to land, the deeply serialized Marvel universe is leaning on the kind of complex storytelling that has defined the current era of Peak TV." [Vanity Fair]

    — "How the FCC's net neutrality plan breaks with 50 years of history." Tim Wu writes: "For better or worse, I was there pretty much from the outset of the modern era. In the interest of trying to get things right, I offer this history." [Wired]

    — "The Nathan For You finale, my new favorite love story." Errol Morris (that's right) writes: "Like all great romances, the story is mixed with a real sense of tragedy and loss." [The New Yorker]

    — "How Teen Vogue's Elaine Welteroth is shaking up expectations for a new generation of young women." Amy Kaufman writes: "Since her rise, Welteroth has become a media darling — the chic yet socially conscious wunderkind! — and self-described 'cool auntie' to Gen Z." [Los Angeles Times]

    What else we're seeing...

    + "Tracee Ellis Ross reads children's book The Handsy Man." [Jimmy Kimmel Live!

    + "Van Jones is a 'no' for the White House Christmas party." [Late Show]

    + "Kate McKinnon shows off her Gal Gadot impression." [Tonight Show]

    What else we're hearing...

    + "Dan Rather on Trump, patriotism, and 'what unites us.'" [It's Been a Minute / NPR]

    + "Beauty and the Beast lyricist; Call Me By Your Name writer; pot on TV." [The Frame / KPCC]

    + "Cartoon Country looks back at the golden age of Sunday comics." [Fresh Air / NPR]

    Today's Birthdays: Jack Thorne, 39, Sarah Rafferty, 45, Craig Brewer, 46, Judd Apatow, 50, Janine Turner, 55, Steven Wright, 62.