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SHOWBIZ Hugh Jackman, Sam Smith, festival news, Taraji P. Henson
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2019-03-20

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Hugh Jackman is set to be Broadway's next "Music Man," Page Six noted. Producer Scott Rudin officially confirmed Jackman's casting in his revival of The Music Man, telling The Hollywood Reporter he was psyched "about the opportunity to present Hugh in what I think is the best role ever written for an actor in all of Broadway musical theater." The Tony winner will star as the "Professor" Harold Hill, a traveling con man who poses as small-town marching band leader in Iowa.

Singer Sam Smith ( who also has come out as non-binary genderqueer ) revealed they got liposuction to help with body-image issues—when he was just 12, Page Six noted. Smith said in an interview with Jameela Jamil on an episode of her Instagram series I Weigh Interviews, "At the time, I think I was very happy about it. It didn't really change anything. I think I put the weight back on in two weeks because I hadn't figured out my relationship with food, so it didn't really change anything. But being 12 years old and having liposuction on your chest is quite a big deal." Following their public revelations, Smith, 26, said the interview with Jamil "completely changed my life."

Dan Reynolds, lead singer of Grammy-winning band Imagine Dragons, announced the third annual LOVELOUD Festival Powered By AT&T—which will feature Kesha as a headliner, a press release noted. Martin Garrix, Reynolds, Tegan & Sara, Daya, Grouplove, K. Flay, PVRIS and Laura Jane Grace are also slated to perform. The festival seeks to progress the relevant and vital conversation about what it means to unconditionally love, understand, accept, and support LGBTQ+ youth in our communities.

San Diego Pride announced that Melissa Etheridge is going to headline its event this year, Gay Star News noted. Fittingly, this year's theme is "Stonewall 50: A Legacy of Liberation." Founded in 1974, San Diego Pride held its first event the following year. San Diego Pride will take place July 13-14.

And iconic singer Grace Jones will perform at New York City Pride's Pride Island 2019 on June 29, Gay Star News relayed. Moreover, singer Teyana Taylor and Brazilian drag artist/songwriter Pabllo Vittar will also perform. Pride events span the whole month, culminating in the famous NYC Pride March on June 30. This year's Pride will also be the official host of WorldPride 2019, marking the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots.

Empire actress Taraji P. Henson has spoken about embattled co-star Jussie Smollett, ExtraTV.com revealed. Henson said, "You have to stay strong, stay positive, full of hope," and confirmed that her Empire cast is also "strong." In her newest film, The Best of Enemies, which co-stars Oscar winner Sam Rockwell, Henson plays civil-rights activist Ann Atwater, who faces off against C.P. Ellis, Exalted Cyclops of a Ku Klux Klan group.

Starz comedy series Now Apocalypse premiered recently—and even before making it to air, the show has gotten plenty of attention for the steamy romance between the main character, Ulysses, played by Avan Jogia, and Gabriel, played by Tyler Posey ( Teen Wolf ), NewNowNext.com noted. "Me and Avan have some pretty intense hookup scenes," Posey told Young Hollywood. "More intense than anything I've ever done straight on camera, and it was a breeze. ... It was so much fun on set. I had the greatest time. The director, Gregg [Araki], made it so easy and comfortable on set." Posey also said of being offered the chance to play a gay character that he was "excited to explore this kind of realm that I've never done before."

In his memoir, Too Much Is Not Enough, out actor Andrew Rannells says he was sexually assaulted by a priest as a teen, Page Six noted. "My retirement from the altar came just as my interest in it disappeared, but my relationship to priests was just about to kick into high gear," he writes. A man referred to as Father Dominic forcefully kissed Rannells at least twice, according to the book.

Oscar-winning actress Natalie Portman—star of films including Black Swan and Annihilation—is launching her first-ever online class, Page Six revealed. In the class, priced at $90 for unlimited access, the self-taught actress will share insights and experiences over a 25-plus year career, including case studies on her most notable roles. Portman's class is available exclusively through online-education provider MasterClass.

Shawn Mendes nearly swept the 2019 Juno Awards, scoring wins in five out of the six categories for which he was nominated, Page Six noted. The Canadian musician won for single of year ( for "In My Blood" ), artist of the year, album of the year ( for Shawn Mendes ), songwriter of the year and pop album of the year.

Lifestyle authority/television personality Martha Stewart has entered a business partnership with Canopy Growth, one of the globe's largest marijuana producers, to develop hemp-derived CBD products, CNBC.com noted. Stewart will play an advisory role at Canopy and will assist in developing a broad new line of animal health products. With several clinical trials underway, the company said it plans to leverage Stewart's consumer experience while exploring the effects of CBD on human and animal health.

Talk-show host Wendy Williams revealed that she has been quietly focusing on her sobriety, People.com noted. "I have been living in a sober house. … You know I've had a struggle with cocaine in the past," she said on The Wendy Williams Show. "I never went to a place to get treatment … there are people in your family, it might be you … I want you to know more of the story." Williams had been absent from her program from January until March 4, attributing the hiatus to a fractured shoulder and her battle with Graves' disease. She has always been open about her drug use, telling People that she was addicted to cocaine for about a decade early on in her career.

Model Nathan Westling, formerly known as Natalie, has come out as transgender, Page Six revealed. The model—who's hit the runway for designers including Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton and fronted campaigns for the likes of Chanel and Miu Miu—revealed to CNN Style that he began taking testosterone approximately six months ago, and plans to get surgery and return to fashion in the future.

A new Orphan Black series is in early development at AMC, Deadline reported. The new work is not a reboot or spinoff, but will be a new story set in the Orphan Black universe. Orphan Black—which helped put BBC America on the original scripted series map—aired for five seasons. It starred Emmy winner Tatiana Maslany as multiple clones ( including a lesbian scientist ) in the Peabody Award-winning series that all started on a train platform. IGLTA will provide its experience in the development of this market in other countries and will make available best practices so that destinations and service providers will attract the greatest number of tourists.

Netflix has opted not to pick up the reboot of One Day at a Time—about Cuban-American family comedy, starring Justina Machado and Rita Moreno—for a fourth season, Deadline.com noted. One Day At a Time, from Sony Pictures TV, has been an important milestone for representation, bringing back the Latinx family sitcom genre as the first Latinx-themed series on Netflix. While the Internet network is not continuing with it, over the past year, Netflix has greenlit three series focused on U.S. Latinx stories, including Mr. Iglesias, Gentefied and an upcoming Selena project.

Disney/Marvel released a new poster for Avengers: Endgame following backlash after fans noticed that Danai Gurira—while featured on the poster—was the only cast member not credited on the top line of the poster, Deadline.com noted. Along with the official poster, Disney/Marvel released the first full trailer to Avengers: Endgame, which hits theaters April 26.

Aquaman is already out on digital, and will be out on 4KUDH, Blu-ray and DVD on March 26, a press release noted. Jason Momoa is in the title role, with co-stars such as Amber Heard, Nicole Kidman, Patrick Wilson, Willem Dafoe, Dolph Lundgren and Temuera Morrison. All versions of Aquaman will include a three-minute sneak preview of Shazam, the live-action feature starring Zachary Levi as the DC superhero; that movie will be out April 5.

In a related development, Warner Bros just dated Aquaman 2 for Dec. 16, 2022, Deadline.com noted. Christmas Day falls on a Sunday that year, and Illumination Animation has an untitled film that's set to open on Wed., Dec. 21. Aquaman has grossed $1.1 billion worldwide, becoming the highest grossing DC film of all-time for WB, beating The Dark Knight Rises ( $1.08 billion ).

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association ( HFPA ) has set Jan. 5 for its 77th annual Golden Globe Awards, Deadline noted. The 2020 show again will be produced by dick clark productions ( dcp ), in association with the HFPA, and air live coast-to-coast on NBC. It will be the second Globes show covered as part of a new eight-year deal NBC inked with HFPA and dcp in September.

Robert Irvine returns to help struggling owners turn their failing restaurants around in a new season of Restaurant: Impossible, premiering Saturday, April 20, on Food Network, a press release noted. Over four one-hour episodes, Irving will use a little outside-the-box thinking with a lot of muscle to rescue restaurants from complete collapse—with only two days and $10,000 for a budget.

Director James Gunn has been rehired to direct Guardians of the Galaxy 3 after he was fired by Disney over decade-old tweets that joked about rape and abuse, BBC.com noted. The development happened after famous cast members from the Marvel series—including Bradley Cooper, Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Vin Diesel and Dave Bautista—signed an open letter pleading for Gunn's return. Gunn will reportedly begin production of Guardians of the Galaxy 3 after he completes Suicide Squad 2, which is being produced by Marvel rival DC, Deadline reported.

Having already been tossed out of court once, Oscar-winning director Paul Haggis terminated his own appeal against a film publicist's sexual-assault allegations against him, according to Deadline.com . However, he is still going ahead with his appeal against Haleigh Breest in her lawsuit against him, which is still before the courts. Haggis took Breest to court in December 2017 after he said he was strong-armed by reps for the accuser for a payment of $9 million to make "these outrageous and wholly baseless demands" go away; however, that action was dismissed.

The Children's Museum of Indianapolis has removed three Michael Jackson items from exhibits after a new documentary renewed allegations of child sexual abuse against the late singer and Gary, Indiana, native, Page Six noted. A fedora and glove Jackson wore onstage and a Jackson poster are no longer on display at the museum. Chris Carron, the museum's director of collections, says it wants items on display to tell stories of "people of high character."

Startalk and Cosmos are returning to Fox and Nat Geo's lineups following an investigation into sexual-misconduct allegations against host Neil deGrasse Tyson, Deadline.com reported. "The investigation is complete, and we are moving forward with both StarTalk and Cosmos," National Geographic said in a statement. "StarTalk will return to the air with the remaining 13 episodes in April on National Geographic, and both Fox and National Geographic are committed to finding an air date for Cosmos."

The Amazing Race contestant Dr. Jim Raman passed away in Kentucky at the age of 42, ExtraTV.com noted. In a statement, Lexington County Coronor Margaret Fisher said, "Nothing suspicious or criminal is involved with the case you are referencing, and out of compassion and respect for family, my office will not comment on it." The cause of his death has not been revealed; an investigation is still underway.

Felicite Tomlinson—the 18-year-old sister of One Direction member Louis Tomlinson—has died, ExtraTV.com noted, citing TMZ. The teen suffered a possible heart attack at her studio apartment in London. She had more than 1 million followers on Instagram.

Freeda Foreman, daughter of boxer George Foreman, was found dead at age 42, ExtraTV.com noted. Harris County Police officials told RadarOnline.com that Freeda was hanging in the closet of her Houston home. George Foreman—who has 10 children—remembered his daughter on Twitter, sharing a photo of her in a cap and gown, and recalling her short-lived boxing career.

Reality-TV figure Mama June was involved in a domestic dispute with boyfriend Geno Doak, ExtraTV.com noted, citing TMZ. Police were called to an Alabama gas station, where the couple were arrested. Doak was taken into custody for domestic violence/harassment, felony possession of a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia, while June was arrested for felony possession of a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia.

Playwright David Mamet defended longtime friends Felicity Huffman and her husband, William H. Macy, who were swept up in a vast college-admissions bribery scheme, Page Six reported. Mamet wrote an open letter in which he blasted the "elite universities"—calling their admissions policies "an unfortunate and corrupt joke." Huffman was among 33 wealthy parents charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud in a pair of scams to cheat on college-entrance exams and corruptly recruit student-athletes.

Speaking of the scandal, reports say that actress Lori Louhglin's daughter was celebrating spring break on a yacht owned by a USC board of trustees member the same day her mother was ensnared in a widespread college bribery case, Page Six noted. Loughlin's daughter Olivia Jade was on Rick Caruso's yacht in the Bahamas when federal prosecutors announced her mother would be charged with paying bribes to get her daughter accepted to USC.

Warner Bros. Chairman and CEO Kevin Tsujihara is stepping down in the wake of the texting scandal with actress Charlotte Kirk, Deadline.com noted. A memo to staff read, in part, "It has become clear that my continued leadership could be a distraction and an obstacle to the company's continued success." WarnerMedia is investigating allegations that Warner Bros. Entertainment Tsujihara had an affair with Kirk and subsequently tried to help her land roles in Warner Bros.' productions. The studio previously investigated the allegations in the fall of 2017 and found no wrongdoing or abuse of power by Tsujihara, who is married.


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