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SHOWBIZ Ben Whishaw, non-binary actor, Cardi B, Obama, 'Grease' prequel
by Windy City Times staff
2021-07-18

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Out actor Ben Whishaw stars in the film Surge, which will debut Sept. 24 and On Demand, a press release announced. Whishaw portrays Joseph, who is trapped in a soulless job, living a life devoid of emotion and meaning. After an impulsive act of rebellion, Joseph unleashes a wilder version of himself. He is propelled on a reckless journey through London, ultimately experiencing what it feels like to be alive. Whishaw won the Special Jury Award for his role in the film at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival.

Non-binary actor Amandla Stenberg is set to star as the titular character in the upcoming animated film Ozi, out.com noted. They'll be joined in the cast by Laura Dern, Donald Sutherland, Djimon Hounsou, RuPaul and Dean-Charles Chapman. Dern and Hounsou are playing Ozi's parents, while RuPaul will play Gurd, who Deadline describes as "Mr. Smiley's son and heir."

"WAP" rapper Cardi B took to social media to express her frustration with online stans who complain every time she puts out new music—and she zeroed in on a specific type of stan: white twinks, according to out.com . "White twinks on this app are weird," Cardi tweeted. "You don't dictate people's actions." Cardi has had several run-ins with online armies of stans, whether they be Barbz, Arianators or her own Bardi Gang.

Former President Barack Obama shared his summer 2021 playlist, EW.com noted. The Bruno Mars-Anderson.Paak collab "Leave the Door Open" made the list, along with tunes by Rihanna, The Rolling Stones, Louis Armstrong, Bob Marley, Brandi Carlile, Simply Red, Joni Mitchell and Drake, among others.

The ViacomCBS streaming service Paramount+ has given a series order to Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies, a prequel to the beloved musical, per The Hollywood Reporter. Rise of the Pink Ladies takes place four years before the original Grease. Per the show's logline, "before rock 'n' roll ruled, before the T-Birds were the coolest in the school, four fed-up, outcast girls dare to have fun on their own terms, sparking a moral panic that will change Rydell High forever." Stockard Channing, Didi Conn, Dinah Manoff and Jamie Donnelly played the Pink Ladies in the 1978 feature film version of Grease.

Alt-folk singer/songwriter EVVAN (she/her) marked this year's International Non-Binary Day with a personal essay about her journey to come out as well as a live video for a previously unreleased song, "Falling Into You," a press release noted. (The video is at www.youtube.com/watch; "My journey coming out as non-binary was a long one and it was full of worry that I'd never live a life without judgment, mainly judgment of myself," EVVAN said. EVVAN will be playing her first indoor show since before the pandemic on July 28, at Rockwood Music Hall (Stage 3), in New York City.

HBO Max has released the official trailer and key art for season three of the Max Original Titans, a press release noted. The first three episodes of season three will debut Thursday, Aug. 12, with subsequent episodes launching weekly every Thursday through Oct. 21 on HBO Max. In season three, circumstances draw the superheroes to Gotham City, where they will reunite with old friends and face new threats. The series stars Brenton Thwaites, Anna Diop, Teagan Croft, Ryan Potter, Conor Leslie, Curran Walters and Joshua Orpin, with Alan Ritchson, Minka Kelly, Damaris Lewis, Savannah Welch and Vincent Kartheiser. The trailer is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ttU1iKSpdA.

Hugh Jackman recently responded to Ryan Reynolds' recent MCU debut as Deadpool, according to Screen Rant. Jackman commented on Reynolds' post for the video for Free Guy (Reynolds' latest film) and joked about how it didn't mention him at all. "Wow! 4:12 and no mention of me. DP your therapy is working!!!," he wrote. (Reynolds dressed as Deadpool for a video promoting Free Guy, as Deadpool reacted to the trailer alongside Thor: Ragnarok's Korg (Taika Waititi).) Celebrity frenemies Jackman and Reynolds have spent years poking fun at each other over everything from their movies to their respective businesses, and it all began during Reynolds' first outing as Deadpool.

Josh Gad—who played the role of LeFou in 2017's live-action remake of Beauty and Beast, where his character was portrayed as being gay—told Variety there could be more exploration of his sexuality in the upcoming Disney+ prequel series about Gaston, per out.com . Before the film came out, director Bill Condon said that it would feature an "exclusively gay moment." He described LeFou as "somebody who on one day wants to be Gaston and on another day wants to kiss Gaston."

The former home of late Hollywood heartthrob Rock Hudson has hit the market for the first time in 24 years—for more than $55 million, The New York Post noted. The Beverly Hills mega-mansion has five bedrooms, four bathrooms and one powder room across 9,600 square feet. Including guest houses and recreational buildings, the estate has 24,370 square feet of indoor space, according to property records. Universal Pictures purchased the 1920s Spanish-style property at the height of Hudson's career and included it in his contract. He lived in the stucco-and-terra cotta house from 1962 until he died of AIDS-related complications in 1985.

SAG-AFTRA's upcoming election is taking shape, with the union's ruling party—headed by presidential candidate Fran Drescher—unveiling its full slate of candidates, Deadline noted. Yvette Nicole Brown is running for president of the Los Angeles local, and Ezra Knight is running for president of the union's New York local. Rosie O'Donnell is making her first run for a seat on SAG-AFTRA's national board in New York.

Black Widow—the first Marvel film to hit theaters since the start of the pandemic—broke box office records with an estimated $87-million debut, marking the biggest opening of the pandemic era, EW.com noted. The film also set a new record for single-day earnings, bringing in $39.5 million on July 9. (Space Jam: A New Legacy edged the film the following weekend, though.) Set between the interim of 2016's Captain America: Civil War and 2018's Avengers: Infinity War, Black Widow follows Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) on the run as she's drawn into a dangerous mission from her Red Room past that involves reuniting with the spy family from her childhood: Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh), Alexei Shostakov (David Harbour), and Melina Vostokoff (Rachel Weisz.)

Actors Lupita Nyong'o and Mark Hamill were among the July 17 winners in the Daytime Emmys' Children's and Animation categories, Deadline noted. Some of the other winners included the Hulu revival of Animaniacs, the iconic PBS show Sesame Street and Nickelodeon's The Adventures of Paddington. Singer, songwriter, director and Daytime Emmy-nominated actress Raven-Symone hosted the latest telecast. The first group of 2021 Daytime Emmy Awards was handed out in 41 categories, on June 25.

Carrie Underwood, Dierks Bentley, Luke Bryan, Jon Pardi, Mickey Guyton and Brothers Osborne are among the artists taking part in CMA Summer Jam, a press release noted. The two-night event at Music City's Ascend Amphitheater will take place July 27-28 and will also feature performances by Blake Shelton, Gwen Stefani, Dwight Yoakam, Luke Combs, Miranda Lambert, Florida Georgia Line, Gabby Barrett, Jimmie Allen, Cole Swindell and others.

Starting Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr told Michael Smith and Michael Holley on the Brothers From Another podcast that while he was taken by surprise when Carl Nassib came out, he was also one of the first to reach out and let him know he supported him, per out.com . Nassib made NFL and professional sports history when he announced he was gay on Instagram last month. He then donated $100,00 to the Trevor Project; the NFL matched the donation.

LGBT sprinter She'Carri Richardson—who accepted a one-month ban for her positive test for marijuana on June 28, disqualifying her results from the Olympic trials—will return to racing in the 100 meters and 200 meters at the Prefontaine Classic in late August, Sports Illustrated noted. Meet organizers will likely fill the rest of the fields with medalists from the Olympics, allowing fans to see how she would have stacked up against them at the global championship. Her suspension ends July 28; however, he was not selected by USA Track and Field to be part of the Olympic women's 4x100m relay, which starts Aug. 5.

Queer social-media figure Jojo Siwa dominated the the 2021 MLB All-Star Celebrity Softball game, which took place at Denver's Coors Field, EW.com noted. Representing the Chicago Cubs in a #8 jersey, Siwa hit a double off Quavo after the rapper had struck out DK Metcalf. Siwa was among the group of celebrities who participated in the annual charity baseball game to aid in fighting hunger in Colorado, joining Anthony Mackie, DJ Steve Aoki, Ross Butler, Noah Beck, Charles Melton, Residente, Blake Gray and Kane Brown on the playing field. Siwa recently celebrated six months with her girlfriend Kylie Prew.

The Jonas Brothers train with some of Team USA's best current and former athletes in gymnastics, track and field, and BMX racing when Olympic Dreams Featuring Jonas Brothers premieres on Wed., July 21, at 8 p.m. ET/PT, a press statement announced. Olympians include Laurie Hernandez (Olympic gold medalist, gymnastics), Nastia Liukin (5x Olympic medalist, gymnastics), Sydney McLaughlin (world record holder, Olympic hurdler, track & field), Sanya Richards-Ross (4x gold medalist, track & field) and Alise Willoughby (2x Olympian, silver medalist, BMX racing).

John Cameron Mitchell was seen in character as Joe Exotic for the first time while filming the upcoming NBC series based on the star of the 2020 Netflix miniseries Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness," according to Page Six. Kate McKinnon will portray Exotic's nemesis, Carole Baskin, and Kyle MacLachlan is set to play her husband, Howard Baskin.

Grammy-winning songwriter and producer Paula Cole ("Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?") announced a run of U.S. tour dates, per a press release. Following the release of her acclaimed album American Quilt, the Grammy-winning songwriter and producer is embarking on a 23-date tour, beginning Aug. 8 at Cain Park in Cleveland Heights, Ohio and concluding at Stone Mountain Arts Center in Brownfield, Maine on Nov. 18. Some other stops include Chicago and New York City (each at that place's City Winery), Nashville (at the Brooklyn Bowl Nashville) and Portland (at The Old Church).

The Guy Ritchie action thriller Wrath of Man is now available on Blu-Ray and DVD, via Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, a press release noted. The heist/revenge film stars Jason Statham, Scott Eastwood, Andy Garcia, Holt MCallany, Jeffrey Donovan, Laz Alonso, Josh Hartnett, Raul Castillo, DeObia Oparei and Eddie Marsan.

Showtime has picked up the Australian drama series Wakefield, starring British actor Rudi Dharmalingam, a press statement noted. Scheduled to premiere Monday, Oct. 18, with an eight-episode season, Wakefield is a psychological drama that shines a comedic light on what happens when the sanest individual working in a mental-health facility begins to lose his grip.

After a year that was challenging for all "gig" workers, Mimi Imfurst (real name: Braden Chapman) is stepping back from the world of drag, stating wistfully that "drag is not a place of joy for me anymore," Instinct Magazine noted. Chapman spoke openly of his financial struggles and is in severe danger of losing his home (citing a business deal has gone bad). He has set up a GoFundMe page, stating that he is "out of options" and "needs some help." Last year, two fellow Philadelphia drag performers came forward with sexual assault charges against Imfurst last summer, and Imfurst also participated in the Philadelphia Black Queer & Burlesque Town Hall, facing charges of issues with payment to performers and predatory behavior, among other issues.

Less than an hour after becoming Britney Spears' new lawyer, Matthew Rosengart, pledged to push the singer's father, Jamie, off his perch in the conservatorship that has held sway over her personal and professional life for more than a decade, according to Deadline. Jamie Spears' own lawyer, Vivian Thoreen, waved away the suggestion as a non-starter. The stage seems set for a battle royale between the younger Spears and her father, who dominates the conservatorship and his daughter's $50-million fortune.

CBS' daytime show The Talk announced that frequent guest host Jerry O'Connell is joining the show as a permanent co-host, Deadline noted. "It's fun, and it works, and we're going to have a lot of fun," the actor said on the July 14 episode as the announcement was made. O'Connell—the first full-time male co-host—effectively replaces Sharon Osbourne, who left the CBS show in March, TheWrap added.

Supergroup Swedish House Mafia have returned with a new song and video, "It Gets Better," alongside an announcement of signing to the prestigious Republic Records, a press release noted. Their reunion is celebrated by a cover of Billboard Magazine and the group is slated to perform on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on July 19. The group last released music in 2013.

Bisexual actress Megan Fox flirted with a fellow bombshell: supermodel Adriana Lima, according to out.com . Lima, a former Victoria's Secret Angel, posted a side-by-side comparison of herself with Fox on her Instagram over the weekend, sharing that she'd love to work with the actress. Fox responded, "But what if I need a girlfriend. Can I hit you up for that as well?" Lima stated, "it's a date see you tonight at Nobu," with some fire emojis.

Long-time Cincinnati Reds play-by-play announcer Marty Brennaman replied via Twitter to an apology ESPN's Stephen A. Smith made on First Take, showing support for Smith and adding that he wished his son's employers "had been as forgiving" as Smith's, Yahoo! Sports noted. Smith apologized to the Asian and Asian-American communities after suggesting earlier that Major League Baseball can't market Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani because Ohtani uses an interpreter for most interviews conducted in English. Brennaman's son, Thom, resigned from his position as play-by-play announcer for the Reds and FOX Sports Ohio (renamed Bally Sports Ohio earlier this year) last September, about one month after his on-air apology for using a homophobic slur during a broadcast.

Actor Drake Bell—called a "monster" by the victim in a 2017 Ohio child-endangerment case—was given two years of probation and a suspended one-year jail sentence in a Cleveland courtroom, Deadline reported. Bell appeared for the sentencing via Zoom in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas courtroom with Judge Timothy McCormick. The charges carried a possible prison term of up to two years. In addition to probation, Bell was sentenced to 200 hours of community service, all of it to be served in California.


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