What Matters in Hollywood Today

7:06 AM 12/8/2017

by Ray Rahman

Courtesy of Netflix

What's news: Nine women who accused Harvey Weinstein share their experiences since going public. Plus: Inside the Gotti movie mystery, a look at Wonder Woman's post-AFI Oscar chances, a shakeup at DC and everything you need to know about The Crown season 2. — Ray Rahman

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  • Weinstein's Accusers

    Coral Von Zumwalt

    Mira Sorvino, Natasha Henstridge and seven other Harvey Weinstein accusers gather to reveal what happened after they came forward: "Everything came rushing back" ... "It was like PTSD" ... "It was the first time I realized I wasn't alone." Jeanie Pyun and Jane Carlson write:

    The shock of well-known actresses — be they A-list or activist, from Ashley Judd to Rose McGowan to Mira Sorvino — publicly revealing their pain and shame was eclipsed only by the staggering number of accounts. But as other heads rolled, the first wave of Weinstein's accusers already were moving forward to heal through solidar­ity and create actionable solutions. Meetings of minds led by insiders from Kathleen Kennedy to Eve Ensler started pointing the way to real change.

    Yet it all started with speaking out. 

    "As harrowing as it was to use my own name," says Sorvino, who reveals the aftermath of her coming forward here, "once it went to print, I felt an enormous peace wash over me, that I had the courage to tell the truth about a beast and, in so doing, end his dominion of intimidation that had lasted over two decades. I'm glad I did it." Read the women's stories.

    + Mira Sorvino: The vindication and aftermath of my Weinstein story. The Oscar-winning actress shares her journey in a special guest column.

    + Empire actress Kaitlin Doubleday: Why I went up to Weinstein's hotel room. "My story reads just like Ashley Judd's. A hotel room. Small talk about movies or books. Doing my best to avoid Harvey's advances, from asking me to wait while he showered to giving him a massage." Read more.

    + A trauma expert on Harvey Weinstein: "That kind of sexual assault is about power," says Louise Godbold. Guest column.

    + Lauren Sivan's story: The TV news reporter, who revealed that Weinstein masturbated in front of her into a potted plant, was also sexually harassed by Roger Ailes. Read more.

    + How coming forward sparked action at AFI. Ilana Bar-Din Giannini shares her experience

    + The 6 rules of business etiquette in a post-Weinstein world. Beverly Hills Manners CEO Lisa Gache breaks down the rules that everyone from the CEO to the mail room should abide by. 

    Elsewhere in film...

    What's going on with John Travolta's Gotti movie? Lionsgate sold back the film just days before its planned Dec. 15 launch, but a producer now says the Kevin Connolly-directed movie will get a wider release. “This has nothing to with scandal, sex, anything like that,” EP Keya Morgan says, insisting that they chose to buy back the film. He goes so far as to say: "It’s a masterpiece. It’s one of the best mob movies I’ve seen in years. ... We did two recent screenings and had amazing feedback." Full story.

    Oscars documentary shortlist: Icarus, Jane, and Faces/Places were among the top contenders in the Academy's list of 15 features up for nomination. Also notable: The list included four Netflix titles and two sequels. 

    ► DC had quite the up-and-down day yesterday. The good news: Wonder Woman was among the AFI top ten, giving the film a crucial boost as it vies for Oscar recognition (see below). 

    + The not-so-good: DC is in the midst of a shakeup that will see Warner Bros. co-president of production Jon Berg, who is the studio's point person for all things DC, stepping down as Justice League's underperforming box office numbers continue to disappoint. A replacement is expected to be named in the near future.

    ^AFI Awards: Is Wonder Woman’s place among the Top 10 a sign of things to come at the Oscars? THR awards columnist Scott Feinberg writes: “In close calls, AFI tends to break for Hollywood studio films, whereas the Academy tends to break for indie and/or non-American projects — but there is reason to believe that this summer's biggest smash may click with both groups.” Read more.

    + See AFI’s full top ten lists of the year's best movies and TV shows.

    They eat porgs, don't they? Dave Itzkoff's new Star Wars group interview in the New York Times is a fun and revealing read, especially when the topic of porgs comes up. Snippet:

    LAURA DERN: The more I went on about how adorable they are — it was like looking into the eyes of E. T., I loved those eyes so much — Oscar only continued to talk about different recipes.

    OSCAR ISAAC: Porgs with roasted turnips... glazed porg...

    The Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom trailer has so many dinosaurs in it. Also: a lot of Jeff Goldblum. Plus: some guy named Chris Pratt. Watch it here.  

    + Andrey Zvyagintsev's Loveless trailer has far fewer dinosaurs in it, but the tense Cannes Film Festival favorite has a shot at winning best foreign film at the Oscars. Watch the trailer here.

    Pet Sematary gets a release date: Paramount is giving the new Stephen King adaptation an April 19, 2019 debut — thus beating the It sequel slated for September of that year. 

  • Writers' Picks

    Courtesy of Hulu

    The Writers Guild of America on Thursday announced its top picks for TV in 2017, revealing the nominations for the upcoming 2018 WGA Awards. Unsurprisingly, Emmy darling The Handmaid's Tale was among the pack of small-screen honorees, writes Michael O’Connell:

    The Hulu series scored a nomination for best drama, joining 2017 winner FX's The Americans, AMC's Better Call Saul, HBO's Game of Thrones and Netflix's Stranger Things. Handmaid's Tale also scored a mention in the best new series category, alongside HBO's The Deuce and Netflix efforts American Vandal, GLOW and Ozark.

    With 2017 comedy (and best new series) winner FX's Atlanta not airing originals since the last awards, the half-hour race is wide open — with HBO's Veep and Silicon Valley both making return appearances to the category. They join HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm and Netflix's Master of None, as well as GLOW.

    On the snubbed front, 2017 winners Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and This Is Us both failed to garner any nominations. Read more.

    Elsewhere in TV...

    Inside NBC News: Vanity Fair published a report that delved into the mood at the beleaguered division right now. On top of excellent color from staff holiday parties, the story outlines NBC's crisis management approach: “Recently, top-level managers, including Andy Lack, NBC News president Noah Oppenheim, and editorial senior vice president Janelle Rodriguez, have hosted nearly 60 H.R.-oriented meetings with small groups of employees in order to provide reassurance and, potentially, to get ahead of any other possible scandals that could be lurking beneath the surface."

    + “It’s like Spotlight,” one senior staffer said. “But there was definitely a sense that things were being handled.”

    Sam Seder is back: The political journalist was rehired as a contributor by MSNBC just days after the cable-news network let him go over a raunchy tweet from 2009, which came to the network's attention thanks to conservative activist Mike Cernovich. The firing prompted all sorts of criticism from the media and elsewhere.

    + "Sometimes you just get one wrong," MSNBC president Phil Griffin said.

    But Harold Ford Jr. is out: Or suspended, at least. The former politician and frequent Morning Joe contributor, who was fired from Morgan Stanley yesterday after harassment allegations came to light, is going to stay off the air until the claims are resolved, Mika Brzezinski announced during this morning's broadcast.

    And the AT&T-Time Warner merger trial will happen... in March. March 19, to be specific, which would mean that the two companies' wish to have a deal by April 22 will almost certainly not happen. Read more.

    Masters of Sex creator signs overall deal with FX. Former Masters showrunner Michelle Ashford will develop new TV projects for FX Networks and other outlets.

    ^The Crown is here. Are you ready for season 2, which is literally available on Netflix right now? If not, consult our comprehensive guide to the show, which includes everything from a season 1 recap, new characters, historical timelines and more.   

    Marvel launching animated property Marvel Rising in 2018. It's all part of a new multiplatform initiative that will focus on younger characters, including Ms. Marvel and Squirrel Girl. A series of digital shorts will also launch before the debut of Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors, a full-length animated movie scheduled for 2018.

    David Hornsby and Blake Anderson developing a comedy for CBS. The Always Sunny writer and Workaholics star would serve as creators and stars of the still-untitled potential family sitcom.

    So long, goodbye: A look back at the 25 biggest TV deaths and cast departures that rocked our favorite shows in 2017. 

  • Tales From Murdoch's 'Boys Club'

    Photographed by Simon Simard

    “He called me a feminizi”: Twenty-six years ago, Fox's first female chief Lucie Salhany was the most powerful woman in Hollywood, a TV force who signed Oprah and kickstarted Roger Ailes' career. But when Rupert Murdoch took over the network, their clashes caused her to bail on the business, Tatiana Siegel writes:

    In 1992, Lucie Salhany was at the very top of The Hollywood Reporter's inaugural Women in Entertainment power list. As the first female to head a broadcast network, her future was bright. But behind the scenes, her Hollywood days were numbered.

    The man who had hired her, Barry Diller, would soon be gone, and she and her new boss, Rupert Murdoch, would not see eye to eye. "When Barry told me he was leaving, it was like the day when Kennedy got shot," says Salhany, now 71, rolling her eyes as she adds: "Instead, we inherited Rupert." 

    "Barry was such a gentleman about his word, and Rupert was exactly the opposite. No matter what he said, he would go back on it," she recalls now. "It was the worst time of my career." Full story.

    What else we're reading...

    — "Shakespeare in Love and Harvey Weinstein's dark Oscar victory." Rebecca Keegan writes: "Long a pet topic of Oscar obsessives and industry insiders, it is impossible to revisit the 1999 Oscars and not see the campaign now as Weinstein’s bully masterpiece." [Vanity Fair]

    — "Hillary Clinton and Lena Dunham, her main millennial, hit the Weinstein wall." Amy Chozick writes: "On Tuesday, the generational tensions that hummed beneath the alliance during the presidential campaign exploded into public view." [New York Times]

    — "Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, and lessons in royal marriage (and divorce) from The Crown." Rebecca Mead writes: "The union of the Queen and Prince Philip has, at least for the past half-dozen decades or so, been presented to the British public less often as a love affair than as a partnership held together by compromise and sublimation — the sometimes-resigned submission by its dual participants under the strictures of one institution, marriage, within the strictures of another institution, monarchy, within yet another institution, Englishness as such." [The New Yorker]

    — "Foxtrot is Israel's hottest export and lives up to the hype." Kenneth Turan writes: "In the ambitious, even daring way it combines intense emotional drama with visual pizazz and bursts of unexpected surrealism, it's nothing like almost anything you can think of." [Los Angeles Times]

    — "Visa spent a year developing a signature sound." Alexandra Bruell writes: "One of the finalist chimes was eliminated for sounding 'angry,' and a couple of the sounds elicited 'visceral reactions.' The last two finalists 'fit the criteria of being energetic and optimistic and not overly intrusive.'" [Wall Street Journal]

    — "John Oliver was right: It's time to confront the Dustin Hoffmans in your life." Joe Berkowitz writes: "Oliver shouldn’t feel contrite about it, though; he should be applauded. He took a gutsy principled stance, and in the process created a blueprint for the next step of this reckoning: confrontation." [Fast Company]

    What else we're seeing...

    + "Sarah Paulson has twitchy eye from 2017." [Late Show]

    + "Amber Ruffin apologizes to Seth like a sexual harasser." [Late Night]

    + "James Franco does his impression of The Room's Tommy Wiseau." [Tonight Show]

    What else we're hearing...

    + "Time's Person of the Year: People who broke silence on sexual abuse." [On Point / WBUR]

    + "Gay theater, then and now." [Studio 360 / WNYC]

    + "Paul Feig on his J.Crew collection." [The Treatment / KCRW]

    Today's Birthdays: Nicki Minaj, 35, Ian Somerholder, 39, Wendi Deng Murdoch, 49, Teri Hatcher, 53, Wendell Pierce, 54, Ann Coulter, 56, Kim Basinger, 64, Nancy Meyers, 68.

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