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SHOWBIZ 'Handmaid,' Kristen Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Viola Davis
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2018-12-04

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Margaret Atwood is currently writing a sequel to her best-selling dystopian novel The Handmaid's Tale, TheWrap.com noted. Due out in September 2019 from publishers Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, The Testaments is set 15 years after Offred's final scene in the original book and will be narrated by three female characters, Atwood tweeted. The novel has since been adapted into an award-winning TV series on Hulu starring Elisabeth Moss, Joseph Fiennes and Yvonne Strahovski.

Out actress Kristen Stewart is in talks to star in a Christmas-themed lesbian rom com called Happiest Season, LGBTQ Nation noted. The movie will center around a young woman who plans to propose at her girlfriend's family holiday party—but discovers her girlfriend isn't out to her parents. Stewart came out as "so gay" last year in a Saturday Night Live opening monologue.

Hugh Jackman is reviving his one-man stage show and is planning a multi-city tour, Variety reported. A set list hasn't been determined for the touring stage show, but the Tony winner will likely perform songs from musicals he's been associated with, such as Les Miserables, The Boy from Oz, and Oklahoma. He will also add two or three numbers from the film The Greatest Showman, according to insiders. Jackman is currently playing former presidential candidate Gary Hart in The Frontrunner and will next appear opposite Allison Janney in the drama Bad Education.

Days after Oscar winner Viola Davis and Julius Tennon's JuVee Productions announced a first-look feature production deal with Amazon Studios, the first project is moving forward: The Fighting Shirley Chisholm, in which Davis will produce and star as the U.S. representative who was both the first woman and the first person of color to seek a major U.S. political party's nomination for president, Deadline reported. Chisholm ran for the U.S. House of Representatives in 1968 from New York's 12th Congressional District and became the first Black woman elected to Congress. In January 1972, she announced her presidential bid in a Baptist church in her Brooklyn district.

Gus Kenworthy teamed with Ashley Graham to help a young gay man come out to his parents, Gay Star News noted. As part of Graham's Fearless show, the model and body positivity activist joined Winter Olympic freestyle skier Kenworthy to help 20-year-old Pennsylvania student John come out as gay. Another episode of Fearless featured transgender actress Laverne Cox surprising a young trans man.

Twitter rebelled against out entertainer Todrick Hall for his comments about Shawn Mendes' sexuality, NewNowNext.com noted. In a now-deleted tweet, Hall tweeted to the "Stitches" singer, calling "dibs" if he ever decides to "come out" in the future. Many Twitter users felt Hall's tweet was insensitive since Mendes just admitted to feeling anxious about the rumors. Hall later apologized.

After nearly a decade together, Ross Mathews and Salvador Camarena are splitting, according to Page Six. "Salvador and I have decided that the time has come to part ways," the RuPaul's Drag Race judge wrote on Instagram. "This split is amicable and filled with kindness, compassion and a genuine love for one another." The pair began dating in 2008, according to People, and in 2013 they were featured in an episode of HGTV's House Hunters.

Tony-winning musical Dear Evan Hansen is making its way to the big screen, Page Six noted. Universal Pictures has acquired film rights to the Broadway hit, with Wonder director Stephen Chbosky set to handle filmmaking duties. Sources say Ben Platt—who originated the role and won a Tony for his performance—is in early talks to step back into his signature blue-striped shirt and arm cast for the movie.

Halsey may have performed at the 2018 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, but the LGBT performer took to social media to offer her input on the company's CEO, Ed Razek, who recently uttered transphobic and fat-phobic remarks, NewNowNext.com noted. On Twitter and Instagram, she shared a statement in support of the LGBTQ community—and slamming Victoria's Secret for its "lack of inclusivity." Halsey went on to add that she has "no tolerance" for bigotry—and that new viewers who might've stumbled upon her page after viewing her performance should support LGBTQ advocacy groups like GLSEN. ( She later donated to GLSEN herself. )

Ava DuVernay has signed a new multi-year overall deal with Warner Bros. Television, TheWrap.com noted. Under the terms of the deal, the "Queen Sugar" creator will develop new television projects—including but not limited to drama and comedy series, long-form/event series, documentaries, potential digital content and more—for all platforms, including broadcast networks, premium/pay and basic cable channels, and streaming/on-demand platforms. The overall development and production pact for DuVernay and her Forward Movement production company will take effect in January 2019.

Madonna lost a near-three-year-old legal battle against her Manhattan co-op over a rule that requires her to be physically present in the $7.3-million pad when any of her family members or staff are there, according to Page Six. The "Holiday" singer sued Harperley Hall in April 2016—two years after the board changed the building rules to say that her children and domestic help cannot live in the unit unless she herself is "in residence" at the time.

Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor refused Sen. Ted Cruz when the GOPer apparently asked to be put on a guest list for a show in Texas, Page Six noted. "He was bugging to be put on the guest list and I told him to f—k off," the musician told the crowd at a show in Irving, Texas, according to a video posted to Reddit. Reznor claimed Cruz attended one of the industrial rock band's concerts "several years ago," and the musician said the politician "drank all the beer and was just a pain in the ass to be around."

Rapper Kanye West was called out for using his cell phone during the opening night of The Cher Show, Gay Star News noted. Actor Jarrod Spector, who plays Sonny Bono in the Broadway show, tweeted about the incident. Later, West apologized to the Cher cast for his lack of etiquette. He also praised the show several hours later via Twitter, calling it a masterpiece.

First Wives Club, which was slated to debut on Paramount Network in January, will instead air on sibling BET, Deadline noted. At Paramount Network, First Wives Club ( starring Ryan Michelle Bathe, Jill Scott and Michelle Buteau ) was slated to launch the network's new Thursday dramedy night in January, followed by Younger and the new series Emily in Paris.

Black Lightning executive producer Salim Akil has been accused of repeated "non-consensual assault and battery" by a woman who says she was the married man's lover for more than a decade, Deadline reported. As well as a detailed and specific complaint for domestic violence and breach of contract filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Nov. 20, actress Amber Dixon Brenner is also suing Akil and others for copyright infringement in federal court.

Amber Heard has opened up about being a survivor but didn't mention ex-husband Johnny Depp, whom she previously accused of physically abusing her, Page Six noted. "When a woman comes forward, she will be met with skepticism, hostility, and shame," the actress told Glamour. "All a man has to do is point to an incentive. He will. Or society will." In 2016, Heard accused Depp of domestic violence and was granted a temporary restraining order; Depp still denies the accusations against him.

NPR fired film critic David Edelstein because of a joke he made after Bernardo Bertolucci's death that alluded to a much-discussed rape scene in the director's film Last Tango in Paris, TheWrap.com reported. Edelstein, a critic for NPR's Fresh Air, wrote on Facebook, "Even grief is better with butter"—along with an image of a scene in the film in which Marlon Brando's character rapes Maria Schneider's character using butter as a lubricant. NPR said in a statement that the joke was "offensive and unacceptable."

The movie Green Book—starring Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali—was named the best film of 2018 by the members of the National Board of Review, TheWrap.com noted. Other films in the NBR's Top 10 included A Star Is Born, Black Panther, Roma, Mary Poppins Returned and A Quiet Place, among others. The Favourite was conspicuously missing from the list, as were Spike Lee's BlacKkKlansman, Steve McQueen's Widows and Adam McKay's Vice.

Zac Efron shared a photo of himself dressed as the notorious serial killer Ted Bundy in his new film Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile on Instagram, People.com noted. "Ready for Sundance! #extremelywickedshockinglyevilandvile," Efron captioned a photo in which he appeared to be in a courtroom. The film, which follows the life of Bundy, is told through the perspective of his girlfriend Elizabeth Kloepfer ( played by Lily Collins ), who struggled to accept the reality of her boyfriend's true nature.

Telly Leung—currently starring as the title role in Disney's Aladdin on Broadway—has announced the release an updated version of the holiday classic "All I Want for Christmas Is You" to benefit ASTEP ( Artists Striving to End Poverty ), a press release announced. The song, arranged by Lynne Shankel, is available on iTunes and Amazon, as well as all streaming platforms. For more information, visit TellyLeung.com .

Actor/playwright/filmmaker/comedian Tyler Perry has announced the second round of dates for Tyler Perry's "Madea's Farewell Play Tour," a Live Nation press release noted. The nationwide tour will kick off in Oakland, California, on Jan. 18, and over the course of four months, Perry will bring his characters to venues across the United States. Shows will take place in Chicago on March 7-10 at the Arie Crown Theatre.

To commemorate her single "As Long As I Live," singer Toni Braxton has announced a tour of the same name, according to YouKnowIGotSoul.com . The trek will take her across stops in the United States and Canada, and will include performances from opening act SWV. The tour will start Jan. 19 in Columbia, South Carolina, and will end March 3 in Los Angeles, with Nashville, Brooklyn, Chicago and Montreal among a few of the other stops.

Daredevil was canceled by Netflix Nov. 29, after three seasons, as the streamer continues to drop its Marvel series offerings, TheWrap.com noted. The cancellation followed Netflix discontinuing Luke Cage and Iron Fist. "We look forward to more adventures with the Man without Fear in the future," said the Disney owned comic giant Marvel the following day.

The Powerpuff Girls turned 20 on Nov. 18, marking two decades since Bubbles, Blossom, and Buttercup adorably wormed their way into fans' hearts, Bustle noted. But the show wasn't just a fan favorite; in addition to other awards recognition, Powerpuff Girls scored six Emmy nominations during its time on the air.

Marvel Comics creator Stan Lee's death certificate has been released and it states that he died from heart failure and breathing issues, Economic Times noted. The death certificate was obtained from the Los Angeles Department of Health. According to People, Lee suffered from aspiration pneumonia—a complication that occurs when one inhales food, drink, vomit or saliva into their lungs.

The late Whitney Houston's ex-husband Bobby Brown and the estate of daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown are using Showtime, BBC and the producers of a Whitney Houston documentary entitled, Can I Be Me?, TheWrap.com noted. The Brown family is seeking $2 million for their inclusion in the film, according to documents filed in New York federal court Nov. 28.


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