Al Harrington Dies: ‘Hawaii Five-O’ Actor Was 85

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September 23, 2021 12:55pm

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Al Harrington, a Samoan-American actor who had roles on both the original Hawaii Five-0 TV series and its reboot decades later, died Tuesday in Honolulu as the result of a stroke last week. He was 85.

His death was announced by his family.

“I have had the honor of loving Al, whom I called ‘Harrington’ for 20-years,” his wife Rosa Harrington said, in part, in a statement. “We were an inseparable team; best friends and he was my regal Polynesian King. Al embodied the purest, life-giving values of aloha and began each day with a smile.”

Born Tausau Ta’a in American Samoa, Harrington was three when he moved with his mother to Honolulu. After attending both Menlo College and Stanford University, he began teaching at the University of Hawaii, also working in entertainment in Waikiki.

James MacArthur, Al Harrington, Jack Lord, ‘Hawaii Five-0’
Everett Collection

In 1972, he joined the cast of CBS’ hit police drama Hawaii Five-0 starring Jack Lord, playing Detective Ben Kokua (Harrington had already appeared on the series in other roles since its debut in 1968). He remained with the show as a regular cast member until its cancellation in 1975.

The actor returned to the successful franchise with the 2011 CBS reboot, recurring as the character Mamo Kahike until the show was canceled in 2018.

In between the two series, Harrington appeared frequently on television, with roles on The Jeffersons, Magnum, PI, Jake and the Fatman, Scrubs, and many others. His film credits include The Homecoming of Jimmy Whitecloud, Forrest Gump and White Fang 2.

“Admiration, respect, humor, peace, and joy are those attributes that one can ascribe to Al Harrington,” said his longtime agent Gregory David Mayo.

In addition to his wife, Harrington is survived by sons Alema and Tau, daughters Summer Harrington and Cassi Harrington Palmer, and other extended family.

A24 Sets Q4 Release Dates For Joaquin Phoenix Pic ‘C’mon C’mon’ & Sean Baker’s ‘Red Rocket’

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September 23, 2021 12:56pm

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EXCLUSIVE: Deadline has just heard that A24 had set theatrical release dates for their fall film festival critically acclaimed titles, C’mon C’mon from Mike Mills on Nov. 19, and Sean Baker’s Red Rocket on Dec. 3.

C’mon C’mon, starring Joaquin Phoenix as a radio journalist who embarks on a cross-country trip with his young nephew (Woody Norman), made its world premiere at Telluride, garnering an immediate 91% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes and will continue on to the New York Film Festival. The pic reteams A24 with Mills, the distributor having released his 20th Century Women which saw Mills nominated for Best Original Screenplay at the 2017 Oscars. Gaby Hoffman also stars.

Baker is another filmmaker to release his latest via A24, the studio have distributed his The Florida Project which earned an Oscar nomination for Willem Dafoe in the Best Supporting Actor category. Red Rocket follows Mikey Saber (Simon Rex), a washed-up porn star who returns to his small Texas hometown — not that anyone really wants him back. The pic made its world premiere at Cannes and won the Critics Award at Deauville. It’s currently 96% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

A24’s fall lineup includes Lamb on Oct. 8, Souvenir 2 on Oct. 29, The Humans in theaters and on Showtime on Nov. 24 and Joel Coen’s The Tragedy of Macbeth in theaters on Dec. 25 and on Apple TV on Jan. 14.

 

What ‘Peril’ Reveals About Donald Trump’s Twitter Tirades – Analysis

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September 23, 2021 12:48pm

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In the week before the publication of Bob Woodward and Robert Costa’s Peril, many of its juiciest revelations already had made headlines.

Sans any kind of spoiler alert, there were the calls that General Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, gave to assure his Chinese counter part despite an erratic President Donald Trump. There also was former Vice President Dan Quayle counseling Vice President Mike Pence that no, he didn’t have the power to reject electors during the Jan. 6 vote count, despite Trump’s relentless pressure to do more.

But despite the pre-publication buzz surrounding Peril, fairly typical for a Woodward bombshell, some of the minor items still are revelatory.

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One that stands out, oddly enough, is Trump’s apparently realization that his tweets weren’t necessarily helping him.

The scene in the book, which came out Tuesday, is a post-inauguration meeting at Mar-a-Lago with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, with Trump is quoted as saying, “You know, being off Twitter has kind of helped me.”

McCarthy: “Oh really?”

Trump: “Yeah, a lot of people would say they liked my policy, didn’t like my tweets.”

McCarthy: “Yeah, like everybody.”

Trump: “My numbers have kind of gone up.”

John Nacion/STAR MAX/IPX

In another instance, during a conversation with Corey Lewandowski, Trump is quoted as telling him: “Twitter took me down. It’s been so relaxing without it. You know how many people I would have to go after if I still had it?”

Later, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), in a round of golf with Trump, found the ex-president acknowledging that the Twitter and Facebook ban was liberating.

“I’ve found I’ve got hours a day just to do other things,” Trump said.

That Trump finally was realizing that perhaps Twitter wasn’t the asset he insisted it was, months after losing the election, is certainly not the biggest bombshell of the book.

But it’s a bit ironic to the all-out war that he waged against Twitter throughout the campaign, railing against the platform’s placement of fact checks on some of his tweets and then his permanent ban following the January 6 insurrection. You kind of wonder what would have happened if Trump was shut out of Twitter earlier or if he himself had realized earlier in his term that his tweets were doing more harm than good. Would his approval rating have shot up?

In all likelihood, the instances in Peril might just be fleeting moments of self-awareness. Even though he’s off Twitter, Trum has fallen into a pattern of sending out statements that are then posted by his spokesperson, Liz Harrington. Among them is a recent blast at Graham and another Republican senator, Mike Lee, both quoted in Peril. Trump said they “should be ashamed of themselves” for “not putting up the fight necessary to win.”

Perhaps more than anything, the book is further affirmation that Trump’s claims of election fraud were bogus — and that many in the White House and among his key allies knew it. The trigger seems to have been Trump being told, before the election, that if he reached 74 million votes, he would win. But Biden got more than 81 million and, unlike what happened to Hillary Clinton in 2016, won the electoral college, 306-232.

The White House

Alyssa Farah, White House communications director, is quoted as saying to an acquaintance: “I felt like we were lying to the public. Good, hardworking, salt of the earth people that supported the president, who don’t have a lot of time or money or energy to invest in politics, are being sold a bill of goods.” That awareness been borne out by other recent stories, including a memo filed in a court case that shows Trump campaign officials knew that claims against election systems company Smartmatic and Dominion Voting Systems were bogus.

Some of Trump’s loyalists on Capitol Hill also are unpersuaded. As January 6 approached, Graham had Lee Holmes, his chief counsel on the Senate Judiciary Committee, review memos from Rudy Giuliani that outline the claims of election fraud. They included lists of names of allegedly dead voters or others who were registered at vacant addresses, among other claims. Woodward and Costa wrote, “Holmes reported to Graham that the data in the memos were a concoction, with a bullying tone and eighth-grade writing.”

In other words, Trump’s claims couldn’t pass a very cursory test by a sympathetic ally.

Of course, that didn’t dissuade Trump, who continues to claim that the election was stolen from him, in what has become a rallying point for his supporters. The Big Lie motivated his supporters to storm and ransack the Capitol on January 6, and the strongest points of Peril come in showing just how much democracy was put to the test that day — chilling in that it reminds that it all could have been much worse. What would have happened if Pence listened not to Quayle but to law professor John Eastman, who authored a memo claiming that the vice president did have to power to reject the results?

At the end of Peril — and here is a spoiler alert — Woodward and Costa conclude that Trump’s threat to democracy and its norms remain.

“I bring rage out. I do bring rage out. I always have. I don’t know if that’s an asset or a liability, but whatever it is, I do,” he told them in 2016. They write, “Could Trump work his will again? Were there any limits to what he and his supporters might do to put him back in power? Peril remains.”

Camilla Cabello Leads Leonardo DiCaprio, Dozens Of A-listers Calling On Google, Amazon, Fox, Netflix, Disney & More To Demand Congress Support Biden’s Climate Plan

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September 23, 2021 12:39pm

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As Democratic leadership tries to unite its progressive and moderate wings, a group of 80-plus artists, celebrities and activists called on the leaders of Google, Disney, Amazon, Fox, Facebook and more to urge Congress to support President Biden’s Biden’s Build Back Better plan.

Boldfaced signatories to the group letter included J.J. Abrams, Greg Berlanti, Cate Blanchett, Jack Antonoff, Don Cheadle, Ellen DeGeneres, Selena Gomez, Chris Evans, Jimmy Kimmel, Lady Gaga, John Legend, Chuck Lorre, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Sean Penn, Joaquin Phoenix, Billy Porter, Robert Redford, Ryan Reynolds, Shakira, Barbra Streisand, Wes Studi, Justin Timberlake, Kerry Washington and many more. The full list of names is below.

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The effort was spearheaded by the National Resources Defense Council Action Fund and actress/singer Camila Cabello, who convinced the sizable group of A-listers to speak out, specifically about the need to address climate change. (On Monday, a group of 17 Nobel Prize-winning economists also signed a letter in support of Biden’s plan.)

Manish Bapna, President and CEO of the NRDC Action Fund said, “These are the tastemakers of our time—and in moments like these they have an opportunity to be the changemakers, too. What started as an idea by Camila Cabello has exploded into a clarion call from entertainers overnight to take action. Congress holds in its hands our best chance at combating our biggest environmental challenge yet. We need all hands on deck to make sure they seize it, and these industry leaders can play a critical role in making sure that they do.”

In today’s initiative, the artists call out the following execs by name: Lincoln Benet at Access Industries (Warner Music Group), Sundar Pichai at Alphabet (Google, YouTube), Andy Jassy at Amazon, Tim Cook at Apple, John Stankey at AT&T (WarnerMedia), Brian Roberts at Comcast, David Zaslav at Discovery (and soon Warner Bros. Discovery), Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook, Lachlan Murdoch at Fox, Reed Hastings at Netflix, Kenichiro Yoshida at Sony, Robert Bakish at ViacomCBS, Arnaud de Puyfontaine at Vivendi (Universal Music Group) and Bob Chapek at Walt Disney.

The letter says, in part:

As the top leaders of the entertainment industry—one of the nation’s most powerful and influential business sectors—you are needed to lead our community’s call for action and embrace this vision for a better world. The entertainment community has a long, proud tradition of driving societal change. Our industry is already leading the charge toward more sustainable practices within our own businesses and productions. Now is the time to use your influence to shape our future.”

Congress needs to hear you demand, unequivocally, that it put forward and pass the most ambitious climate change agenda in U.S. history.

“It’s no secret that climate change is here and is already affecting people’s lives across the globe,” wrote Cabello in her post on Instagram about the effort. “We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to act boldly to fight the climate crisis, so I am honored to join over 60 fellow artists to call on leaders of the entertainment industry to use their power and demand that Congress pass @potus’s #BuildBackBetter agenda this fall.”

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The standard was taken up by longtime environmental champion DiCaprio, who tweeted to his 19 million followers, “This fall, Congress has a rare opportunity to invest in a clean, just, and equitable future by passing the Build Back Better agenda. This is our moment, and there is no time to waste. Join us and @NRDC_AF…”

This fall, Congress has a rare opportunity to invest in a clean, just, and equitable future by passing the Build Back Better agenda. This is our moment, and there is no time to waste. Join us and @NRDC_AF by texting CLIMATE NOW to 21333 to demand Congress take action. pic.twitter.com/7Ivx6ElCpG

Leonardo DiCaprio (@LeoDiCaprio) September 23, 2021

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who is an NRDC board member, said the following in a statement: “People are seeing the impacts of climate change first-hand, from climate-fueled wildfires, to floods and storms,” said . “We cannot wait longer to act and we must use our voices to demand that our government leaders pass President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda.”

The full text of the letter and a list of its signatories are below.

Dear Entertainment Industry Executives:

Climate change has arrived on our doorstep: California is on fire, record-breaking and deadly storms are flooding New York City, hurricanes are devastating the Gulf. This summer alone, nearly one in every three people in the United States experienced an extreme weather event.

Scientists warn that if we fail to act now, every single one of us will feel the impacts, a billion people will be displaced, and low-income people and communities of color will continue to be hit first and worst. Right now, we have a critical window of opportunity to do something about it. And we need all hands on deck to demand that our leaders protect the people we love and the places they live before it’s too late.

Congress has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to invest in a clean, just, and equitable future for all by passing the robust climate action that President Biden called for in his Build Back Better agenda. This legislation will create healthier communities, put millions to work in clean energy jobs, and free us from the fossil fuels that are driving climate change.

As the top leaders of the entertainment industry—one of the nation’s most powerful and influential business sectors—you are needed to lead our community’s call for action and embrace this vision for a better world. The entertainment community has a long, proud tradition of driving societal change. Our industry is already leading the charge toward more sustainable practices within our own businesses and productions. Now is the time to use your influence to shape our future.

Congress needs to hear you demand, unequivocally, that it put forward and pass the most ambitious climate change agenda in U.S. history.

The plan currently before Congress will protect people’s health and clean up our drinking water. It will create a just transition away from dirty fossil fuels and create millions of new jobs. It will protect communities from climate change through investments in clean energy, clean transportation, and infrastructure upgrades. And it will make sure we finally prioritize and invest in the low-income communities and communities of color that are hit hardest by both fossil fuel pollution and climate impacts.

This plan will create a stronger, brighter, and more just America—and we need you to help make this vision a reality.

At this pivotal moment, please lead the call. Demand publicly and loudly that our senators and representatives in Congress pass this critical legislation.

And we pledge to do our part as well. We will use our platforms to remind all Americans: Tell your senators and representatives in Congress that you demand climate action now. Advocate for Congress to take up the president’s climate agenda. And don’t stop there. Tweet. Post. E-mail. Call. Whatever it takes.

Sincerely,

J.J. Abrams
Anitta
Jack Antonoff
Troian Bellisario
Greg Berlanti
Cate Blanchett
Benny Blanco
Dave Burd aka “Lil Dicky”
Camila Cabello
Dove Cameron
Alessia Cara
Don Cheadle
Glenn Close
Coldplay
Jacob Collier
Lily Collins
James Corden
Ellen DeGeneres
Cara Delevingne
Leonardo DiCaprio
Zac Efron
Billie Eilish
Chris Evans
Jimmy Fallon
Finneas
Selena Gomez
Conan Gray
Grimes
Todrick Hall
Hugh Jackman
Jimmy Kimmel
Joey King
Liza Koshy
Lady Gaga
Cyndi Lauper
John Legend
Adam Levine
Kevin Liles
Dua Lipa
Lorde
Chuck Lorre
Julia Louis-Dreyfus
Demi Lovato
Ziggy Marley
Shawn Mendes
Idina Menzel
Lin-Manuel Miranda
Sean Penn
Joaquin Phoenix
Billy Porter
Zachary Quinto
Addison Rae
Robert Redford
Ryan Reynolds
Mark Ronson
Kyra Sedgwick
Shakira
Lilly Singh
Troye Sivan
Barbra Streisand
Wes Studi
Ryan Tedder
Justin Timberlake
Kerry Washington
Sigourney Weaver
Shailene Woodley
Calum Worthy

Aretha Franklin Biopic ‘Respect’ Gets Impact Campaign Via One Community

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September 23, 2021 12:36pm

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Jennifer Hudson and Marc Maron in ‘Respect’

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EXCLUSIVE: One Community, the film and TV co-financing company founded and led by Scott Budnick, today unveiled “In Session Talks,” an initiative inspired by the legacy of iconic performer and activist Aretha Franklin, which will launch alongside the streaming release of MGM’s Franklin biopic, Respect.

The initiative, geared toward high schoolers, consists of a series of master classes with celebrated performers, composers, music industry professionals, and high-achieving women of color. Speakers will include Respect‘s star, Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson, its director Liesl Tommy and composer Kris Bowers; The Recording Academy CEO, Harvey Mason, Jr.; Chorale Le Chateau founder and artistic director, Damien Sneed; OWN President Tina Perry; Unilever North America EVP & COO Esi Eggleston Bracey and others.

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One Community

The goal with these videos is to bolster music education and to emphasize women’s empowerment, helping to close the equity gap for young people of color from underserved communities, and to inspire the next generation of artists and leaders. Each master class, which you can find by clicking here, will be accompanied by a discussion guide and supplemental resources.

One Community, with support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, partnered with MGM, Save the Music, Music Unites, National Association for Music Education, and Leading Women Defined for the initiative.

“We are so proud to bring this initiative to life. Aretha Franklin was not only a groundbreaking artist, she was very much an advocate and activist for social change,” said One Community’s Chief Impact Officer, Sonya Lockett. “Respect is an inspiring and empowering look at how she found her voice, and we hope through this campaign to help students in underserved communities find their own voices, passions and power.”

“In Session Talks” is the second major impact campaign launched by the company. The first, “Represent Justice,” was timed to the 2019 release of Warner Bros.’ Just Mercy, starring Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx, using stories of hope and redemption to spur public demand for a fair legal system and dignity for system-impacted individuals.

Following Franklin from her childhood through her rise to international superstardom, Respect got a U.S. theatrical release via United Artists Releasing on August 13, with Universal Pictures bringing the film to other territories around the world.

Propagate Ups Isabel San Vargas To Equity Partner; Promotes Biz Affairs Pair

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September 23, 2021 12:30pm

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Propagate Content has promoted Isabel San Vargas, its President, Production and Operations, to equity partner in the indie content production and distribution company. She joined Propagate as it was founded in 2015 by Ben Silverman and Howard T. Owens, rising to her current role in 2018.

San Vargas oversees all aspects of production and operations, including international and domestic production and post-production. She reports to Drew Buckley, Group President and COO.

“Isabel is a seasoned and trusted leader who consistently delivers results,” Silverman and Owens said Thursday. “She is a hands-on operator, and has overseen a number of premium global documentary, scripted and unscripted productions for Propagate during an unyielding global pandemic. We are thrilled to have her assume an expanded role on Propagate’s leadership team.”

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Prior to Propagate, San Vargas was SVP Production at Pilgrim Studios, where she helped launch competition series Top Shot and oversaw The Ultimate Fighter, American Chopper and Street Outlaws, among others. Her freelance producer credits include America’s Next Top Model, The Simple Life and Making the Band.

Propagate also said today that it has promoted Leili Mostajeran to Head of Legal and Business Affairs, West Coast, and David Martinez to Head of Legal and Business Affairs, East Coast. Both also report to Buckley.

The promotions come as Propagate said earlier this week that its president Greg Lipstone is leaving after a three-year run as his original contract comes to an end. The company said he will not be replaced.

Propagate’s slate includes the upcoming Fox drama series Our Kind of People, the Hulu miniseries Hillary, HBO Max’s documentary LFG and Netflix’s Untold, as well as unscripted series Kevin Hart’s Muscle Car Crew on MotorTrend, Chopped on Food Network and Netflix’s Baking Impossible.

The independent studio, backed by A+E Networks and The Raine Group, has a portfolio that includes Electus, Big Breakfast and Notional and talent management firms Artists First, Authentic Talent & Literary Management and Select Management.

James Gunn On How ‘Peacemaker’ “Has A Lot Of Issues” – TCA

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September 22, 2021 2:20pm

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John Cena’s mercenary character in DC’s Peacemaker may not exactly be the most politically correct guy by today’s measure in his expletives to friends, enemies and waitresses.

Peacemaker follows the DC superhero who is dedicated to world peace and how he’s prepared to use force of arms to achieve it.

Asked at today’s TCA session for the Max Original series spinoff of Warner Bros. The Suicide Squad, as to why the character has a lot of blind spots when it comes to race, and how the character is a spitting image of jingoistic racist America, creator James Gunn answered, “Peacemaker has a lot of issues.”

“I don’t sit down and say ‘Oh, how am I gonna make this character likable.’ I make it as fully fleshed as possible, and one of the things that I wanted to tell was a story in which he’s got a lot to learn,” added The Suicide Squad filmmaker.

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By the end of this past summer’s movie, while other members of the Suicide Squad had made a nice arc, Peacemaker did not. “His blind spots are pretty terrible and there are other places of him being ignorant,” explains Gunn.

“He’s every guy I grew up with in Missouri, and not different from anyone I know,” he said.

“Everyone on TV is entirely good or entirely evil, although there are some great shows not like that, and it was fun to make a supervillain who has a lot of nuances,” says Gunn.

One of the characters making the crossover from this past summer’s film to the new Max original series this coming January is Jennifer Holland’s Emilia Harcourt who worked as an official under Viola Davis’ Amanda Waller who keeps the Suicide Squad in line, for better or for worse, and sends them on their impossible, deadly missions.

“She’s closed off,” says Holland about her character, “that comes from a life of seeing a lot of death and killing of a lot of people.”

“She also believes that close personal relationships are dangerous. I think she’s a lone wolf,” adds the actress who teased that Harcourt “will become a more well rounded person and create some relationships with people throughout the season.”

Gunn wrote all eight episodes and directed many episodes, and exec-produced alongside The Suicide Squad producer Peter Safran. Cena is Co-EP.

‘Reboot’: Leslie Bibb, Rachel Bloom, Michael McKean & Krista Marie Yu Join Steve Levitan’s Hulu Comedy Pilot

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September 22, 2021 2:00pm

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Leslie Bibb, Michael McKean, Rachel Bloom & Krista Marie Yu
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Leslie Bibb (Jupiter’s Legacy) has been tapped as the female lead opposite Keegan-Michael Key and Johnny Knoxville in RebootHulu’s comedy pilot from Modern Family co-creator Steve Levitan. Also cast in the project are Rachel Bloom, in her return to series television after her starring turn on her CW series Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Michael McKean and Krista Marie Yu.

In Reboot, when Hulu reboots an early-2000s family sitcom, its dysfunctional cast is forced back together and now must deal with their unresolved issues in today’s fast-changing world.

Calum Worthy also stars.

Bibb plays Bree, a former pageant girl from rural Virginia turned sitcom star who left the country after the show to marry a prince.

Bloom plays Hannah, the young, hip writer with a fresh take on old sitcom Step Right Up.

McKean plays Gordon, the hacky, narcissistic creator of late 90’s sitcom Step Right Up.

Yu plays Elaine who came from the tech world but now finds herself out of her comfort zone covering the reboot of Step Right Up.

Reboot is created by Levitan, who co-wrote the pilot script with John Enbom. It was based on a story by Levitan. He and Enbom executive produce with Jeff Morton and Danielle Stokdyk, president of Levitan’s production company. 20th Television, where Levitan is under an overall deal, is the studio.

2020-21 Hulu Pilots & Series Orders

Bibb is repped by ICM Partners and John Carrabino Management. Bloom is repped by UTA and Ginsburg Daniels. Michael McKean is repped by APA and Harriet Sternberg Management. Yu is repped by Bonnie Liedtke at Authentic Management and A3 Artists Agency.

Shawn Levy & Steven Knight’s Limited Series Adaptation Of WWII Story ‘All The Light We Cannot See’ Gets Series Order At Netflix, Opens Casting Call

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September 22, 2021 2:00pm

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Netflix has handed a series order to a four-part limited series adaptation of Anthony Doerr’s Pulitzer Prize-winning bestseller All The Light We Cannot See from Shawn Levy and Steven Knight.

Stranger Things producer Levy has been developing the project for a couple of years through his company 21 Laps Entertainment at the streamer, where he has an overall deal. Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight is writing the adaptation and Levy, who directed Ryan Reynolds comedy feature Free Guy, is directing all four episodes.

All the Light We Cannot See tells the story of Marie-Laure, a teenager who is blind, and Werner, a German soldier, whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.

Levy and producers have started a worldwide casting search for for the lead role of teenage Marie-Laure and actresses who are blind or low vision are especially encouraged to apply.

All The Light We Cannot See was published in 2014 and received wide critical acclaim as well as a Pulitzer Prize in 2015, and the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction in 2015. All the Light We Cannot See has spent more than 200 weeks on the New York Times best-seller list, and has sold more than 5.7 million copies in North America across print, e-book and audio formats and another 9.5 million copies worldwide.

Shawn Levy, Dan Levine and Josh Barry of 21 Laps Entertainment will serve as executive producers on the series. 21 Laps is the production company behind Stranger Things and film Arrival, along with the Netflix’s Shadow and Bone, along with the recently released movie Free Guy. Knight will also serve as an Executive Producer. Joe Strechay (See) will serve as Associate Producer, Blindness and Accessibility Consultant.

STXtelevision & Reel One Entertainment Partner On English Language Adaptation of Belgian Series ‘Team Chocolate’

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September 22, 2021 1:18pm

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EXCLUSIVE: An English adaptation of the hit Belgian series Team Chocolate will be produced by STXtelevision and Reel One Entertainment after acquiring the rights from Wild Bunch TV.

The award-winning original tells the story of Jasper Bloom, a young man with Down’s syndrome who begins working with a diverse team of employees with a range of disabilities. He falls in love with one of his colleagues but their love story is interrupted when she’s whisked away to another city. So Jasper hits the road with his new friends on a journey of adventure and self-discovery not only for Jasper but for his wider community.

STXtelevision and Reel One are committed to casting the show with the same character-specific attention, authenticity, and care that was a hallmark of the original series.

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“We were struck by Team Chocolate’s honest and unbarred portrayal of lives within a community we don’t often see authentically adapted for the screen, and we’re excited to be bringing the story to English-speaking audiences,” said Jada Miranda, President of Creative Development and Production, STXtelevision. “We are thrilled to work with our co-production collaborators at Reel One and Wild Bunch who came to the table with the same priorities. Together, we aim to approach development and production with the same verve, confidence, and beauty that makes the original series so special.”

Adds Tom Berry, CEO of Reel One Entertainment, “We needed a partner that shared our passion for this project and STX’s enthusiasm, commitment, and creative chops makes them the  ideal co-producer for Team Chocolate.  De Mensen did such a great job with the original series and we can’t wait to get started on this exciting new adventure for Jasper and his friends.”

STX Global TV Distribution executive Danny Goldman brought the project to the studio. Richard Frankie negotiated the deal for the rights to the series on behalf of STXtelevision.

Watch a trailer for the original series below.

Fran Drescher & Other SAG-AFTRA Leaders Join Chorus Of Actors Supporting IATSE’s Demands For Fair Contract

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September 22, 2021 2:09pm

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IATSE Local 600

SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher has joined the chorus of actors voicing their support for IATSE’s demands for a fair contract as IATSE prepares to take a strike authorization vote. “Standing in #solidarity w/my on-set friends & colleagues in @IATSE,” she tweeted Wednesday. “Entertainment content only happens bc our crews are extraordinary.”

Many other SAG-AFTRA leaders have also taken to twitter to express their support. “I stand with you my @IATSE brothers and sisters,” tweeted former SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris. “You make entertainment magic and deserve fairness and dignity on the job.”

Joely Fisher, recently elected secretary-treasurer of SAG-AFTRA, tweeted: “To my sisters and brothers and others in @IATSE. I stand with you in solidarity #IASolidarity #union #UnionStrong.”

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IATSE

SAG-AFTRA national board member Anthony Rapp, who Fisher defeated in the race for secretary-treasurer, tweeted: “I stand with my @IATSE friends & colleagues who work on our shows’ crews. None of what you see would be possible if it weren’t for the skill, talent, & work ethic of these folks. They’ve been expected to sacrifice their well-being for far too long. #IASolidarity #IAStrike.”

Rebecca Damon, SAG-AFTRA’s executive vice president, tweeted: “As a #sagaftramember, I have seen up close that the solidarity with unions in the entertainment industry has never been stronger. I stand with @IATSE today and every day”

“I am an actor,” tweeted Jennifer Beals. “I stand with IATSE. Do you? #IASolidarity.”

Many other actors, including Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin – seen above with raised fists and sporting IATSE Solidarity T-shirts – are also rooting for IATSE.

“As actors, we need to speak up for our friends who make our careers possible,” tweeted Bradley Whitford. “No one wants a strike. @IATSE is being forced to consider it by negotiators for the AMPTP who refuse to even discuss guaranteed meal breaks or 10 hour turnarounds. That’s nuts. If you make a living in front of a camera, now is the time to speak for the people who make it possible.”

Seth Rogan tweeted: “Our films and movies literally would not exist without our crews, and our crews deserve better.”

Tweeted Kerry Washington: “There are so many talented humans who make the movies and TV shows we love!” . “You may not see them on screen but they are the magic-makers and the glue that holds any set together. I urge the #IATSE to hear them. And I stand with my brothers & sisters in this strike #IASolidarity.”

Ever Carradine, who stars in The Handmaid’s Tale, posted this message: “Actors: if you’re uncomfortable standing with IATSE, I’m sure one of their members will bring you a chair to sit in or a more comfortable pair of shoes. #IASolidarity @IATSE.”

“First to arrive, last to leave, day in & day out, the crew makes the show,” tweeted DC’s Legends of Tomorrow’s Courtney Ford. “They labor tirelessly, through injury and illness, to turn the ideas of others into something actors can touch and audiences can see. They deserve a safe workplace and a living wage. #IASolidarity.”

“I stand with @IATSE,” tweeted Sarah Paulson, who stars as Linda Tripp in Impeachment: American Crime Story.

IATSE said Monday that it had been informed by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers “that they do not intend to respond to our comprehensive package proposal presented to them over a week ago. This failure to continue negotiating can only be interpreted one way. They simply will not address the core issues we have repeatedly advocated for from the beginning. As a result, we will now proceed with a nationwide strike authorization vote to demonstrate our commitment to achieving the change that is long overdue in this industry.”

‘The Sex Lives Of College Girls’ Co-Creators Mindy Kaling & Justin Noble Talk “Almost Entirely Female” Writing Staff, Covid & More – TCA

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September 22, 2021 1:03pm

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To help bring an entertaining look at the multi-layered quest for identity and self in HBO Max’s upcoming comedy The Sex Lives of College Girls, co-creators Mindy Kaling and Justin Noble enlisted a writing team that could speak to the main characters experiences.

“We stacked our writers room with truly incredible staff that is almost
 entirely female – all different ages, all different walks of life,” Noble said during the coming-of-age comedy’s TCA session on Wednesday. “They were all brilliant and so smart and funny and great and they contributed to each of these characters
 and such huge waves.”

The Sex Lives of College Girls stars Pauline Chalamet, Amrit Kaur, Renée Rapp and Alyah Chanelle Scott as four roommates at the the prestigious New England Essex College. A bundle of contradictions and hormones, these girls are equal parts lovable and infuriating as they live out their new, free lives on campus.

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The new HBO Max series touts a diverse collection of characters, hailing from different racial, socio-economic and educational backgrounds. Noble shared that the process of putting together the series started with the writing staff sharing their own collegiate experiences.

“Just listening to [the writers’] experience and their thoughts on what these characters would do was – it made it kind of the easiest job in the world just to stand in the middle and say yes I love with that person saying yes I love
 with that person saying,” he said.

During the panel, Kaling shared that the series, though not auto-biographical, takes from her and Noble’s experiences at Dartmouth and Yale, respectively. Their love for comedy especially in their college days inspired Bela’s (Amrit Kaur) desire to join her campus comedy magazine – which gives rise to notable alumni and future comedy writers.

In addition to showcasing the leading character’s various (s)exploits and their growing sense of self, Kaling said she and Noble intended to showcase the “good and bad” of the college experience. While the characters participate in club sports, attend their first “naked parties” and take in the liberation of college life, they also face the more grounded and often serious parts of higher education, Kaling teased. Beyond gender and race quotas at a school publication, she shared that the series will also touch on the specter of of Title IX” and the socio-economic inequalities that some students may encounter while in college.

The panel came to a close with Noble and Kaling reflecting on the Covid-19 pandemic’s place in the series, both on-screen and behind the camera. While The Sex Lives of College Girls takes place in a “post-Covid” world, the creators revealed that viewers can expect the leading ladies to acknowledge the pandemic, and even joke about it.

Beyond the obvious obstacles the coronavirus pandemic posed to the series’ production,  Noble said that the Covid-19 crisis allowed he and the rest of the creative team to find the ideal lead cast. The cast members first met over Zoom, but when they finally saw each other in person, the young women bonded almost instantly.

“Immediately, I knew it was going to be great,” Noble said.

HBO Max has also unveiled the first teaser for the coming-of-age comedy. Watch it above.

ICM Agent Chris Sawtelle Exiting To Become Co-President Of Client Josh Richards’ CrossCheck Holdings

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September 22, 2021 1:04pm

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Christ Sawtelle, Josh Richards
ICM Partners

EXCLUSIVE: ICM agent Chris Sawtelle is wrapping up a three-year stint at the firm and transitioning to the role of co-president at agency client Josh RichardsCrossCheck Holdings.

CrossCheck was founded by Richards, who has a following of tens of millions across digital platforms and is active as an influencer, entrepreneur, musician and actor, among other disciplines. He heads up CrossCheck Studios, a joint venture production company launched with partners including Mark Wahlberg. He is also co-founder of TikTok management and production company TalentX and co-hosts the BFFs Podcast with Dave Portnoy, founder of Barstool Sports.

Sawtelle will help lead CrossCheck alongside Richards’ business partner, Michael Gruen, who is also co-president. ICM will continue to rep the company and its principals and expressed support for Sawtelle’s move.

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“We’re excited to continue working with Chris in this new capacity,” Gruen said. “Not only is Chris one of the most ambitious, forward-thinking agents in the business, he has a background that encompasses motion picture literary, digital, brand management and production—all the key areas we’re focused on.”

Prior to joining ICM Partners in 2018, Chris was at Anonymous Content and began his career as an assistant in CAA’s motion picture department.

“I’m grateful to Josh and Michael for giving me this opportunity and to ICM for the opportunity to grow as a representative and entrepreneur,” Sawtelle said. “I’ve enjoyed working with the team as clients, and now I’m thrilled to join the company and help build the business from the inside.”

Divisions of CrossCheck Holdings include CrossCheck Studios, a production company focused on Gen Z content creators that was created with Wahlberg, Archie Gips and Steve Levenson. The company also has sports agency CrossCheck Sports and HawkeZ, a marketing agency for brands catering to youth audiences.

“I have complete confidence in Chris’ ability to help us build this company,” said Richards, who serves as CEO of the holding company. “With Chris at helm, we’ll be able to identify and seize new opportunities across verticals.”

Adam Schweitzer, Managing Director of Talent and Branding at ICM Partners, who managed Sawtelle, saluted the “super-ambitious business plan” of CrossCheck, He added that ICM “could not be more excited to be in business with Josh Richards, Michael Gruen and Chris Sawtelle.”

“It is a testament to the level of service that Chris and our team have provided, that they want him to come in and be co-president of the company,” Schweitzer added. “We will continue to surround Josh, Michael and Chris with a great team and look forward to collaborating with them to further this fantastic partnership.”

Amblin Television Developing Kimberly McCreight’s Novel ‘Friends Like These’ Into Series

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September 22, 2021 1:00pm

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EXCLUSIVE: Amblin Television has acquired the rights to the novel Friends Like These, the new thriller from New York Times Bestselling author Kimberly McCreight, and will developing as a series.  McCreight will also adapt the script with Amblin’s co-Presidents of Television Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey exec producing. Alex Maggioni, SVP of television, will work with Frank and Falvey on the day-to-day development of the project.

The novel follows five friends who gather at a picture perfect country house in the Catskills for a co-ed bachelor weekend. It’s been a decade since graduation, but they have remained devoted to one another, forever bound by the mysterious and tragic death of Alice, their sixth member, during senior year. But the “bachelor weekend” is just a front – they’re actually gathering for a staged intervention for Keith, Alice’s college boyfriend, now a successful art dealer caught in a downward spiral of opioid addiction. But Keith’s brought an unexpected guest along for the weekend – his biggest client, a charismatic bad boy named Finch, who senses the fault lines within the group and wastes no time exploiting them to his own benefit.

Friends Like These has just been published by Harper and has also received numerous accolades, including being named a GMA ‘Buzz Book’ pick and an Amazon ‘Best of the Month’ title.

McCreight is the New York Times bestselling author of Reconstructing Amelia which is also being developed as a series at HBO with Blossom and David E. Kelley. Her other novel A Good Marriage is set up at Amazon with Blossom also producing and Nicole Kidman attached to star. She is represented by WME and Victoria Cook at Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz.

Colin Donnell To Star In Peacock Crime Drama ‘Irreverent’

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September 22, 2021 1:00pm

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Courtesy of Nathan Johnson

Chicago Med and Arrow star Colin Donnell is to lead Peacock’s Australia-set crime drama Irreverent.

The series, which Deadline revealed last month had scored a straight-to-series order, will also feature PJ Byrne, Kylie Bracknell, Briallen Clarke, Tegan Stimson, Ed Oxenbould, Wayne Blair, Russell Dykstra, Calen Tassone and Jason Wilder as series regulars.

Irreverent follows a criminal from Chicago who bungles a heist and is forced to hide out in a small Australian reef town in Far North Queensland posing as the new church Reverend.

Donnell will play Mack/Paulo, a skilled and articulate mediator who keeps the peace between organized crime families in Chicago. After a mediation goes badly wrong, Mack flees to a remote beach town in tropical Australia where he is forced to assume the identity of a Reverend in order to stay ahead of the people who want him dead.

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Created by Paddy Macrae (Wanted), the series is produced by Matchbox Pictures, the production company behind Cate Blanchett’s Stateless.

2020-21 Peacock Pilots & Series Orders

It will be exec produced by showrunner Macrae, Andrew Knight and Debbie Lee with writers Andrew Anastasios, Angela McDonald and Darlene Johnson. Jonathan Teplitzky and Lucy Gaffy are directors with Tom Hoffie producing the 10-episode series.

Byrne will play Mackenzie “Mack” Boyd, a church reverend in Chicago who never ruffles any feathers. Devastated by his wife leaving him before their relocation to Australia, Mackenzie meets Paulo on the flight over and runs off with his money in a bid to inject some adventure into his predictable life. Mackenzie will start to lean on his new “buddy” Mack for support during an existential crisis and his deep feelings of loneliness.

Bracknell takes on Piper, a gifted cop who recently has returned to her home town after a successful start to her career in the city. Back to the beach, back to the rainforest and back to her old boyfriend Aidan, who is thrilled she’s in town again. Piper manages her work with ease, but she is beginning to suspect that the new reverend perhaps isn’t exactly what he appears to be.

Clarke will appear as Amy, Piper’s childhood best friend who misses her and what they used to have. Amy is an engineer at the local sugar mill and the face of the organized protest fighting for her worker colleagues. Amy and Mack become close, as she becomes someone he can talk to – about some things. Amy wants her friendship with Piper back, but it’s going to take a lot to get it.

Stimson joins the cast as Daisy, a local teenager whose mum recently died and dad is in prison. She lives in the Manse with Mack, and she quickly becomes his key confidant and unlikely partner in crime.

Oxenbould will be Cameron, a teenager who is best mates with Daisy. He would help anyone out, for any reason, any time. Cameron has a passion for car engines, which gets him in trouble now and then.

Blair will portray Peter, a local dentist who is devoutly religious and has been campaigning for a new Reverend for years. He has a wife at home with Multiple Sclerosis who he’s trying to help in all the wrong ways.

Dykstra will play Lester, proprietor of the local bar and soulmate of Amy’s father Victor. He wants to bring wealth and prosperity to Clump via tourism, but he’s the only one who doesn’t know he’s delusional.

Tassone is Harry, Piper’s brother and best mates with Aidan. As the local barman, he knows virtually every secret in Clump, and is increasingly concerned by the chemistry he sees between Piper and Mack.

Lastly, Wilder takes onAidan, a Clump local. Totally alluring and lovely, he is back in a relationship with Piper after a few years while she lived in the city and he adores her. He’s a self-taught marine biologist, naturally gifted, runs tours on the reef and lives aboard his book-laden boat.