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SHOWBIZ 'Call Me by Your Name,' Heath Ledger, superheroes, gay singer
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

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Director Luca Guadagnino confirmed that a sequel to his 2017 film Call Me by Your Name is in the works, although the project is currently on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic, noted. "Before coronavirus, I had a trip to the United States to meet a writer I love very much, whose name I don't want to say, to talk about the second part," Guadagnino said, adding that the entire cast will return for the sequel. Call Me by Your Name received an Oscar nomination for Best Picture, and James Ivory won an Oscar for his screenplay; actor Timothee Chalamet was also Oscar-nominated for his performance as Elio, a 17-year-old student who falls for his father's 24-year-old intern, Oliver ( Armie Hammer ), during the summer of 1983 in the Italian countryside.

Jake Gyllenhaal told Another Man magazine that Heath Ledger was dedicated to the message behind the groundbreaking film Brokeback Mountain—so much so that he refused to make jokes about the film's gay love story, noted. Gyllenhaal, who starred opposite Ledger in Ang Lee's film, said the late actor refused to present at the 2007 Academy Awards over a joke involving their characters' romantic relationship. "I mean, I remember they wanted to do an opening for the Academy Awards that year that was sort of joking about it—and Heath refused," Gyllenhaal said.

The new graphic novel Gotham High—a reimagining of the Batman franchise—reboots the franchise to portray Wayne as a 17-year-old Chinese-American high school student who's been kicked out of boarding school and moved into the family home with his gay uncle, Alfred, LGBTQ Nation noted. The young adult novel takes a dive into the lives of three main characters: Wayne, Selina Kyle ( Catwoman ), and Jack Napier ( Joker ); the teenagers have a love triangle.

Marvel Comics has introduced its first ever non-binary superhero—but reaction on social media has been far from positive, Metro Weekly noted. Snowflake, as the hero is known, debuts in The New Warriors one-shot comic "Outlawed," alongside their twin brother, Safespace. "Snowflake and Safespace are the twins," writer Daniel Kibblesmith said in a release, "and their names are very similar to Screentime; it's this idea that these are terms that get thrown around on the internet that they don't see as derogatory. [They] take those words and kind of wear them as badges of honor." One Twitter user posted, "Why on EARTH would you name Marvel's first non-binary characters 'Snowflake' and 'Safespace'? Not sure if purposeful but this reads like a pisstake. At a glance I genuinely thought this was a CG project."

Jay Maq—who was part of the world's first all-gay boy band, Echo V—has struck out on his own with "No Love," which features Mac, a press release noted. Written and produced by the artist, the dancehall track questions if it is a crime to break someone's heart and cautions listeners to stop chasing after people who don't give you the love you deserve. The video is set to premiere April 15 at

The Power Rangers reboot may feature a transgender and a gay character, LGBTQ Nation noted. A previous version of the franchise included a lesbian ranger. The hit franchise currently includes 27 television seasons over 20 different themed series and three theatrical films; this would be the first transgender character to appear since it debuted in 1993. Each version of the series features a team of five teenagers recruited by a wizard to fight the latest enemy threatening humanity; they have special powers and morph into color-coded superheroes—the Power Rangers.

Sam Smith and Demi Lovato team on Smith's new single "I'm Ready," which will be released this Friday, April 17, on Capitol Records, a press release announced. The official video for "I'm Ready"—helmed by award-winning director Jora Frantzis ( Cardi B; Rosalia ) and renowned choreographer Sean Bankhead ( Normani; Missy Elliot )—will also be released that day.

YouTuber and entertainer Rebecca Black—who became a public name when her song "Friday" went viral in 2011—recently spoke about her sexuality after ending a longtime relationship with her ex-girlfriend, Just Jared noted. "I made a conscious decision not to 'come out.' I guess people starting asking and I stopped not responding. I'm still in the process it feels like," Black said on the Dating Straight podcast. When asked how she identifies, Rebecca said, "It's something over the past few years, I've been having a lot of conversations with myself and my friends and my family. To me, the word 'queer' feels really nice."

Actress Auli'i Cravalho—who played the title character in Disney's Moana—came out as bisexual, LGBTQ Nation reported. Moana was released in 2016 to critical acclaim, and the film grossed an estimated $700 million worldwide. Cravalho was 15 when the film came out; she has gone on to do more voice acting in several other films and television shows.

Nina West—best known for her run on season 11 of VH1's Rupaul's Drag Race, where she was voted Miss Congeniality—relaunched her podcast Dragcast with Nina West, with a new celebrity interview-focused format, a press release announced. West and co-host Patricia Taylor will speak with guests such as Patricia Clarkson, Jared Harris, Kristin Chenoweth, Anika Noni Rose and Anna Kendrick.

Out actor Colton Haynes announced that his sister, Julie, lost her battle with cancer, Queerty noted. "I'm at a loss for words," he wrote on Instagram. "My beautiful sister Julie passed away from a long battle with cancer. My heart hurts." Although they were 20 years apart and had different mothers, Colton and Julie were very close. The family will not be able to mourn together for her funeral because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Netflix true-crime docuseries Tiger King, which has taken the internet by storm, portrayed trans male zoo employee Saff as a lesbian female, according to a Metro Weekly item that cites LGBTQ Nation. Saff—who is shown in the series being mauled by one of the zoo's tigers, resulting in the amputation of part of his left arm—is repeatedly deadnamed and identified with the wrong pronouns by those around him. The show follows gay Oklahoma-based animal breeder Joe Exotic, who was ultimately jailed for attempting to have his rival ( animal rights activist Carole Baskin ) murdered.

The 65th Annual Obie Awards—honoring off-Broadway and off-off-Broadway productions and artists—will be postponed and celebrated virtually in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, Playbill noted. The 2020 Obie Awards, co-presented by The Village Voice, were originally scheduled for May 18 at Terminal 5 in Manhattan; a date and additional details for the virtual event will be announced shortly. This year's event will shine a light on the shows that were lost due to closures, with awards co-organizer the American Theater Wing establishing a relief fund for artists impacted by the cancellations.

On another theatrical note, a handful of stage and screen favorites gathered—virtually—for a Passover Seder on April 11. The free live stream event, dubbed "Saturday Night Seder," raised funds for the CDC Foundation's Coronavirus Emergency Response Fund. Among those slated to help tell the Exodus story are Tony winners Idina Menzel, Ben Platt, Cynthia Erivo, Harvey Fierstein, Judith Light, Alan Menken and Billy Porter, as well as Pamela Adlon, Jason Alexander, Reza Aslan, Dan Levy, Camryn Manheim, Andy Cohen, Skylar Astin and many others.

Highly engaged in politics and LGBTQ affairs, Pose co-star Angelica Ross revealed that she may not vote at all during this election, The Jasmine Brand noted. She tweeted, "I might not be voting this go round. I'm now seriously questioning it. Because Donald Trump actually is NOT the problem and I feel like white people want you to think that so that when he's gone they restore America. The White version. It's literally going to be #MAGA2." Ross added that she feels that the government has become more divisive than democratic.

Talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres was slammed for being tone deaf after cracking a joke that being home all the time during the coronavirus pandemic was akin to being behind bars, The Daily Mail noted. "This is like being in jail— mostly because I've been wearing the same clothes for 10 days and everyone in here is gay," DeGeneres told her fans during a show as she sat in a spacious living room with windows opening onto a large plant-filled yard. She recently announced that she'd be returning to screens with shows taped from her home and featuring some of her celebrity pals, including Chrissy Teigen and Jennifer Lopez.

Todd Chrisley tested positive for coronavirus, and discussed the "life-altering" diagnosis that has taught him what "truly matters," Page Six noted. "It has been the sickest that I have ever been in the 52 years I've been on this earth," the reality-TV star said on his Chrisley Confessions podcast. "I cannot ever tell you a time in my life where I have ever been as sick as what I had been with the coronavirus."

Fashion Nova and rapper Cardi B are donating $1,000 every hour until May 20 to those affected by the coronavirus pandemic, Page Six noted. "You know sometimes you give to charity and you wonder, 'Is it really going to the people?' Well we're gonna make sure it goes to the people," she said. The Grammy winner will be personally vetting those who apply online on Fashion Nova's website.

Emmy-nominated hairstylist Charles Gregory Ross died from coronavirus, reported. He wass remembered by many of the Hollywood stars he worked with over the years, including Tyler Perry, Viola Davis, Rosario Dawson and Lee Daniels. Perry, Ross' frequent collaborator, shared a photo of them together that also served as a message to encourage the Black community to stay home. The Center for Disease Control ( CDC ) reported that one in three people infected by COVID-19 in the first month were African American.

Spectrum Originals is developing Tinseltown, a period drama series based on William J. Mann's 2014 best-selling book Tinseltown: Murder, Morphine, And Madness At The Dawn of Hollywood, Deadline noted. It explores the lives of four pioneer women filmmakers whose lives and livelihoods were threatened by a scandalous murder and the brutal patriarchy of Hollywood's studio system. The description refers to the unsolved murder of William Desmond Taylor, the popular president of the Motion Picture Directors Association.

Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the Provincetown Theater—which recently postponed its production of Mae West's The Drag—will begin streaming a roster of performances for free, Playbill noted. The virtual programming, running through Tuesday, May 26, includes The Mosquito Story Slam, August: Osage County and other productions as well as "community conversations." See

HBO Films' Bad Education will debut Saturday, April 25, according to a press release. The film—starring Hugh Jackman and Allison Janney—centers on the stunning impact and aftermath of a multi-million-dollar embezzlement scheme. The darkly comical film highlights the deficiencies of the public education system in the United States while examining the broader forces that foster greed, corruption and lack of accountability in our institutions. The film will also be available on HBO On Demand, HBO NOW, HBO GO and partners' streaming platforms.

Outlander star Sam Heughan has been seen as a successor to Daniel Craig for the part of James Bond—after he revealed in an interview with Esquire he had previously auditioned for the part, .au noted. "I actually have auditioned for James Bond," Heughan said in an Esquire interview promoting his film, Bloodshot. "Back when they were rebooting, Bond 21, when Daniel Craig came on board, they were talking about making him younger. I don't know what happened, but very recently I became the bookie's favorite to play Bond—which is kind of random and very strange."

International drag performer Violet Chachki announced rescheduled spring and summer dates for her A Lot More Me North American Tour, a press release stated. It will now start in September and run through February 2021. Some of the stops will include Los Angeles, Vancouver, Toronto, Detroit and New York City.

Queer actor Ezra Miller appears to choke a female fan in a disturbing video that emerged on social media, Page Six noted. The 15-second video, which was posted to Twitter, showed the 27-year-old Perks of Being a Wallflower actor approach a smiling woman—and then grabbing the woman by the neck and pushing her into a wall as a shocked bystander behind the camera says, "Whoa, bro! Bro!" It's unclear whether the confrontation was a joke.

The acclaimed South Korean film, directed by Bong Joon-ho, is now streaming on Hulu, Just Jared revealed. The film took home the Best Picture award at the 2020 Academy Awards, marking the first foreign language film to do so. Hulu also added three other Bong movies—Mother ( 2009 ), The Host ( 2006 ) and Barking Dogs Never Bite ( 2000 )—to its catalog, noted.

Reno 911! was recently greenlit for a new, seventh season by Quibi with producing partner Comedy Central Productions, and will premiere Monday, May 4, a press release noted. The ensemble comedy was created by and stars Robert Ben Garant, Kerri Kenney-Silver and Thomas Lennon, all of whom are attached to write and star in the new season. The entire cast is slated to return, including Niecy Nash, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Carlos Alazraqui and others, along with newcomers such as Ian Roberts.

Sonejuhi Sinha's feature directorial debut, Stray Dolls, debuted last weekend on a multitude of VOD platforms, Deadline noted. The crime thriller, which bowed last year at the Tribeca Film Festival, follows Riz ( Geetanjali Thapa ), who has left her life of petty crime in India and is now working as a housekeeper at the Tides Plaza Motel managed by Una ( Cynthia Nixon ). When Riz is forced to steal from one of the motel rooms, she sets off a series of events that entangle her in a web of crime.

Beverly Hills, 90210 actress Tori Spelling touted a virtual meet-and-greet for 20 fans—but the catch was that each participant had to pony up $95 for the chance to gab with her, Page Six noted. Not surprisingly, Spelling's venture caused an almost immediate backlash on social media, with followers decrying the hefty price tag during a time when so many people are struggling economically during the coronavirus pandemic. Spelling and husband Dean McDermott have been plagued by financial issues for years.

Harvey Weinstein is out of coronavirus isolation in a New York state prison, but the convicted sex offender now is facing even more charges out in Los Angeles, Deadline noted. Already sentenced to 23 years behind bars last month, Weinstein now faces 30-plus years in prison on the West Coast, and the extradition process has begun.

The prosecution in the Lori Loughlin case denied defense claims that the FBI had entrapped her and other unwitting parents into participating in the college admissions bribery scheme, Variety reported. Last month, attorneys representing Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, argued that the case should be thrown out due to government misconduct.

Hollywood Reporter Editorial Director Matt Belloni abruptly stepped down after 14 years at the publication in the wake of recent clashes with the company's leadership over editorial issues, noted. Asif Satchu and Modi Wiczyk—co-CEOs of Billboard-Hollywood Reporter Media Group parent company, Valence Media—recently butted heads with Belloni and others in an escalating dispute about newsroom practices. Tension reportedly did not involve pay-for-play with the magazines, or the trading of advertising for promised editorial coverage—but more with expectations that clients of Valence-owned businesses like Dick Clark Productions might get special treatment by the news publication, for example.

Driver Kyle Larson was indefinitely suspended by NASCAR (and later fired by Chip Ganassi Racing) for using a racial slur during the livestream broadcast of a virtual exhibition race night, USA Today noted. Larson issued an apology on Twitter on April 13, saying he was sorry, "especially ( for ) the African American community" and "understands the damage is probably [ir]reparable." Larson is half-Japanese and is the only driver of Japanese descent to win a major NASCAR race.

Page Six noted that Wendy Williams has again reduced the price of her suburban Livingston, New Jersey, home. She is now asking $1,575,000 for the five-bedroom, four-and-a-half-bath home, according to . She and now-ex-husband Kevin Hunter originally paid $2,100,000 in 2008 for the property, which is located in the exclusive Bel Air gated community.

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