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Entertainment news: Ellen; Eddie Redmayne; Dolly Parton; Sam Smith
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

This article shared 6303 times since Tue Aug 18, 2015
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Hillary Clinton, Caitlyn Jenner and Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai will kick off the 13th season of Ellen DeGeneres' The Ellen Show," according to Page Six. "These 3 women are changing the world," The Ellen Show tweeted along with a photo of the trio. The new season of the show premieres Sept. 8 on NBC.

Speaking of DeGeneres, she's receiving press for a speech she gave at the Teen Choice Awards Aug. 16 after winning for Choice Comedian. According to USA Today, she said, "I wanna say also it feels good to be chosen, but there was a time in my life that I was not chosen. I was the opposite of chosen because I was different, and I think I wanna make sure that everyone knows that what makes you different right now, makes you stand out later in life. So you should be proud of being different—you should be proud of who you are."

Eddie Redmayne will star as transgender icon Lili Elbe in the upcoming film The Danish Girl, and wants to world to know what he learned: Gender and sexuality aren't related, according to TheWrap. "It's a civil rights moment," he told Out magazine. "My greatest ignorance when I started was that gender and sexuality were related." Although Redmayne has played gay men on stage before, including the gay son of a fictitious American president in 2008 production of Now or Later, he explained the story of Einar Wegener/Lili Elbe was different. Redmayne also said he saluted Caitlyn Jenner's courage.

NBC will make a television movie based on the Dolly Parton song "Jolene," according to TheWrap. The film will be written by John Sacret Young, creator of the television drama China Beach, and a writer and producer on The West Wing. NBC, in January, announced a deal to partner with Parton on multiple family-oriented projects.

Madame Tussauds San Francisco unveiled the wax figure of multiplatinum British pop superstar Sam Smith, Business Wire noted. The event, which had Smith coming face-to-face with his wax figure, took place on the heels of his performance at Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival. "This is the ultimate 'pinch yourself' moment," Smith said. "The process was so fascinating and I will never look at a waxwork in the same way again. ... Feel free to squeeze my wax bum!"

Also regarding Smith, Capitol Records presented him with a plaque commemorating 4 million adjusted album sales of his Grammy-winning debut album, In The Lonely Hour, at a ceremony at the Troubadour in West Hollywood, California, a press release stated. Released in June 2014, In The Lonely Hour ( which includes the singles "Stay with Me" and "Lay Me Down" ) debuted at number two on the Billboard 200, and is still charting in the Top 20.

In Nylon magazine, actress Kristen Stewart is more candid than ever about her sexuality, touches on her sexuality and why she hasn't "come out," noted. "Google me, I'm not hiding," Stewart said. "But I am an actress, man. I live in the fucking ambiguity of this life and I love it. I don't feel like it would be true for me to be like, 'I'm coming out!' No, I do a job." She continued, "I think in three or four years, there are going to be a whole lot more people who don't think it's necessary to figure out if you're gay or straight. It's, like, just do your thing."

Madonna has told Entertainment Weekly that she will most likely never return to Moscow or St. Petersburg because of Russia's stand on gay rights, according to The Moscow Times. Madonna last appeared in Russia in 2012 and lived up to her reputation as a provocateur by publicly voicing support for punk band Pussy Riot. Conservative St. Petersburg lawmaker Vitaly Milonov responded to the singer's statement by calling her a "hypocritical old lady." He also accused her of prioritizing gay rights over the lives of children suffering because of the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Speaking of Madonna, she has unveiled the fashion designers with whom she is collaborating for her costumes on her Rebel Heart World Tour, a press release touted. The list includes Alessandro Michele for Gucci, Alexander Wang, Fausto Puglisi, Jeremy Scott for Moschino, Nicolas Jebran, Miu Miu, Prada and Swarovski. Costume designer Arianne Phillips will be overseeing the wardrobe for the tour and will also contribute designs, marking her sixth tour with Madonna.

Actor Jack Black has labelled Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott a "nutter" after he was questioned about the political leader's stance against gay marriage, The Daily Mail noted. Believing the prime minister's anti-gay marriage view is strange within today's society, Black said, "I personally think the guy is living in the Stone Age, though he's not seeing the writing on the wall." Blocking his ministers from completing a conscious vote, Abbott recently controlled the numbers needed to pass changes to the Marriage Act that will allow same-sex marriage.

Iconic TV producer Norman Lear has given his take as to why President Richard Nixon slammed an episode of the classic show All in the Family for "glorifying homosexuality," TalkingPointsMemo noted. "I wonder if the president didn't have a problem with his own sexuality, the way he described those two guys as 'handsome' and 'virile,'" Lear remarks in the clip. The clip is part of a work-in-progress documentary called Playing Gay: How America Came Out on Television; it examines television's role in bringing LGBT people more mainstream acceptance. See

On the daytime TV soap The Bold and the Beautiful, the storyline of transgender character Maya Avant and Rick Forrester is front and center, noted. Viewers first learned that Maya, played by actress Karla Mosley, is a transgender woman back in March during a conversation between Maya and her younger sister, Nicole. A few weeks ago, Rick proposed to Maya during a fashion show featuring transgender models Carmen Carrera and Isis King. The Bold and the Beautiful is the first show in television history to include a story with a transgender character getting married.

Out country singer Chely Wright was on Rosie O'Donnell's side in a lengthy Facebook post, noted. Wright posted that when she heard the crowd of 5,000 cheer at Donald Trump's dig at Rosie O'Donnell at a recent GOP debate, she "felt a wave of nausea sweep over me and it has remained for days." Wright added, "This is not a matter of the Left or the Right—this is a matter of basic decorum and decency. I saw very little of either in that moment."

ABC Family's Pretty Little Liars hit an 18-month high in total viewers with the trans-related revelation of the mysterious character "A," hauling in 3.1 million people, TheWrap reported. The series stars Troian Bellisario, Ashley Benson, Tyler Blackburn, Lucy Hale, Ian Harding, Laura Leighton, Shay Mitchell, Janel Parrish and Sasha Pieterse.

Out actress Heather Matarazzo ( Princess Diaries ) has spoken out about the sexism she's faced in Hollywood, The New York Daily News noted. "Things that I've been saying for a while are starting to get more attention," the actress told MTV News about the fight for equal rights she's been involved in for several years now. In a February blog post titled "What the F—k is F—kable?," she detailed a time when, at a young age, she was told that, according to Hollywood standards, she was "unf—kable."

The marriage of WNBA players Brittney Griner and Glory Johnson continues, as an Arizona judge has denied Griner's request to annul the union, according to an US Magazine item that cites TMZ. Griner, 24, filed for annulment back in June, just 28 days after the two married May 8. The Phoenix Mercury player alleged in her documents that Johnson, also 24, had been communicating with an ex via text. Johnson is "thankful the annulment was rejected because an act of marriage did occur," she told TMZ Sports. Johnson has also revealed that she's expecting twin girls.

Steve Parker and Cthulhu Crush Productions have wrapped the movie Love, Colin. The short, shot around Vancouver last month, stars Thea Gill ( TV's Queer as Folk and Dante's Cove ) as a single mother who notices her 15-year-old son's attraction to other boys. Love, Colin is expected to be released in 2016.

The addition of out rapper/model Milan Christopher is reportedly some of the cast members on the set of the reality show Love & Hip Hop Hollywood, noted. TMZ originally reported that big-name rappers such as Ray-J, Soulja Boy, Omarion and Mally Mall are giving Christopher the cold shoulder. ( Omarion later told TMZ he had no problem filming scenes with Christopher. ) According to VH1's website, the relationship between Christopher and his long-distance boyfriend, Miles, will be featured on the show.

Britney Spears tweeted that she will appear on an upcoming episode of The CW's Jane the Virgin, TheWrap noted. "See u at the Marbella Hotel soon, @hereisgina @jaimecamil! Guest starring on one of my favorite shows EVER @CWJaneTheVirgin #DreamComeTrue," Spears posted. "Jane the Virgin" returns for season two on Monday, Oct. 19.

Wayne Brady will step into the high heels of the cross-dressing Lola in the Broadway musical Kinky Boots starting Nov. 21, Page Six noted. It is the Let's Make a Deal host's first return to Broadway since he made his debut in 2004 in the production Chicago. Brady will succeed Broadway's original Lola, Billy Porter, who has played more than 800 performances at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre and won a Tony Award.

Nicolle Wallace, who was recently let go from ABC's The View, told Variety she learned of her firing from an article in that publication. Although Wallace, the former communications chief for President George W. Bush, received praise from viewers and the staff for her laid-back style, executives under ABC News President James Goldston reportedly decided in the spring that they were dissatisfied that she didn't bicker with her co-hosts during Hot Topics. She told variety that she was very close with co-hosts Whoopi Goldberg and Rosie Perez, and that ABC never called her to tell her she was being fired.

Dave Franco has closed a deal to return as former frat boy Pete in Neighbors 2 alongside Zac Efron, TheWrap noted. Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne also return to star in the sequel, and this time, they'll be joined by sorority sisters played by Chloe Moretz, Kiersey Clemons and Beanie Feldstein. The original Neighbors grossed more than $269 million worldwide; the sequel will hit theaters May 20, 2016.

David Denson—a minor-league player for Major League Baseball's ( MLB's ) Milwaukee Brewers—has come out as gay, The Chicago Tribune reported. Denson, 20, plays for the Helena Brewers in the rookie Pioneer League. He is the first penly gay player on a team affiliated with MLB. He came out with the help of Billy Bean, MLB's ambassador of inclusion. He told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that it was a "giant relief" to come out to his teammates. Denson told the newspaper that they were nothing less than supportive. "They said, 'You're still our teammate. You're still our brother. We kind of had an idea, but your sexuality has nothing to do with your ability,'" Denson stated.

Kim Basinger has joined the growing cast of Nocturnal Animals, the Focus Features adaptation of the Austin Wright book Tony And Susan that Tom Ford wrote and will direct beginning in the fall, Deadline reported. Basinger, who won the Oscar for L.A. Confidential, will play Anne Sutton, a wealthy Texas socialite and the mother of the character played by Amy Adams. Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Shannon and Aaron Taylor Johnson are also starring in the film.

Singer LeAnn Rimes will be hitting the road again this December for her annual holiday themed tour called "Today Is Christmas," a press release stated. This year the tour will hit select West Coast cities ( such as Tacoma, Washington, and Malibu, California ) with Ellee Duke opening. The tour harmonizes with the release of her new Christmas album—also called Today Is Christmas, due out this fall.

Dave Koz's Collaborations: 25th Anniversary Collection ( Concord Records ) debuted at number one on Billboard's Current Contemporary Jazz Albums chart, becoming the nine-time Grammy nominee's eighth album to top the list, according to a press release. The collection's first single, "( Your Love Keeps Lifting Me ) Higher and Higher," which features Kenny Lattimore, is one of the songs recorded especially for the collection.

Rihanna will take the role as key advisor for season nine on NBC's hit singing competition The Voice, Variety reported. Rihanna will act as advisor to the four coaches, Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Pharrell and Gwen Stefani, who's returning after a one-season hiatus. Host Carson Daly also returns for the ninth season. The Voice returns Sept. 21.

Patti Smith's memoir Just Kids will be adapted into a miniseries by Showtime, TheWrap reported. "'Just Kids' is one of my favorite memoirs of all time," said David Nevins, president of Showtime Networks Inc, in a statement. "Not only is it a fascinating portrait of artists coming of age, but it's also an inspiring story of friendship, love and endurance."

Angelina Jolie Pitt and her Jolie Pas Productions signed on with Aircraft Pictures, Cartoon Saloon and Melusine Productions for The Breadwinner, an animated feature about Parvana, an Afghani girl living under Taliban rule, Deadline reported. In the story, Parvana disguises herself as a boy to become the breadwinner of the family when her father is unfairly imprisoned.

Pixar is releasing the film Finding Dory—12 years after the original movie, Finding Nemo, according to TheWrap. "This is so exciting, for me … I can't tell you, oh you do know," Ellen DeGeneres said, as she revealed that she has been begging for a sequel for years. Finding Dory is set for release on June 17, 2016.

Michael Sam, the first openly gay player to be drafted by the National Football League ( NFL ), has declined to play football—for now, according to NBC Sports. Sam, who made his Canadian Football League debut for the Montreal Alouettes recently in a close loss, tweeted that he needs to focus on his mental health. "The last 12 months have been very difficult for me, to the point where I became concerned with my mental health," he posted. Last year, the NFL's St. Louis Rams drafted him in the seventh round. After the team let him go, Sam briefly worked with the Dallas Cowboys' practice squad.

Showtime has renewed both Masters of Sex and Ray Donovan for their fourth seasons, according to Deadline. Ray Donovan stars Liev Schreiber as LA's best professional fixer; it also features Jon Voight, Paula Malcomson, Eddie Marsan, Dash Mihok, Steven Bauer, Katherine Moennig and Pooch Hall, among others. Season three of Masters of Sex is set in 1966, when the famed duo Masters and Johnson are dealing with the glare of the national spotlight as their sex study is finally unveiled. Lizzy Caplan and Michael Sheen star; Caitlin FitzGerald and Annaleigh Ashford co-star.

TLC has scheduled its documentary about child-sex abuse that was prompted by child-molestation allegations against 19 Kids and Counting's Josh Duggar, Page Six reported. The film Breaking The Silence will air Aug. 30. The one-hour, commercial-free documentary aims to shine a light on the challenges faced by those affected by child sexual abuse, as well as raise awareness of where people can turn for help.

Baz Luhrmann's music-driven Netflix series The Get Down will take a short break to catch up on scripts, Deadline reported. Taking a pause in production is not considered unusual for ambitious TV productions helmed by A-list filmmakers used to the big canvas and resources of big-budget Hollywood movies. Set in 1970s New York City, the series revolves around a ragtag crew of South Bronx teenagers who are wild in the streets.

Out singer Sir Ari Gold has teamed up with EDM producer Subgroover to form the new dance-pop collective GoldNation, noted. The group's debut album, Soundtrack to Freedom, is now available. Soundtrack to Freedom features a handful of cheekily titled songs such as "Sex Like A Porn Star" and "Take Your Shirt Off," while Gold's lyrics continue to delve deeper into his favorite topics—LGBT freedom and sexual liberation in general.

A gay-porn studio is stirring up controversy with a new film featuring what appears to be one of the genre's last remaining taboos: women, according to Vocativ. The film, by Treasure Island Media, shows men having sex with other men—but it also depicts men having sex with Siouxsie Q James, a cis woman, and Sami Price, a trans woman. Max Sohl, the film's director, said he's never gotten so much early feedback on a film—but that the negative comments only account for roughly 45 percent of the overall responses he's received.

Actor Emile Hirsch has been sentenced to 15 days in jail for attacking a female movie executive at Sundance, with his victim telling the court, "He choked me until I blacked out … I thought I was going to die," according to Page Six. Hirsch appeared in court in Park City, Utah, after striking a plea deal on the felony and misdemeanor charges resulting from his Tao nightclub attack on Paramount Digital VP Daniele Bernfeld at the film festival on Jan. 25. The actor was sentenced to 15 days in jail, starting immediately, and will be required to pay $4,750 and do 50 hours of community service.

Multi-platinum recording artist Bryan Adams is set to release his 13th studio album, Get Up ( UMe ), on Oct. 16, a press release stated. Produced by famed ELO frontman Jeff Lynne and co-written with longtime collaborator Jim Vallance, the album features nine new songs and four acoustic versions. A performance clip will be released to accompany the first download, "You Belong To Me," and and the official music video for "Brand New Day" will feature acclaimed actress Helena Bonham Carter.

Former American Idol contestant and Rock of Ages star Constantine Maroulis was charged with domestic violence against girlfriend Angel Reed, Page Six reported. The couple reportedly got into an altercation at their Wyckoff, New Jersey, home. TMZ noted that Reed phoned 911, alleging Maroulis threw her to the ground and kicked her in the groin after an argument turned physical. Maroulis' rep denied the charges.

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