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SHOWBIZ 'Drag Race,' year-end honors, 'Guardians,' Taylor Swift
by Windy City Times staff

This article shared 1327 times since Mon Dec 21, 2020
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VH1 unveiled a game-changing twist from the upcoming season of the Emmy-winning RuPaul's Drag Race, premiering Friday, Jan. 1, at 8 p.m. ET/PT, a press release noted. For the first time in Drag Race "herstory," queens will enter the Werk Room to discover a surprise: They must immediately go head-to-head on the mainstage to defend their place in the competition, with six lip syncs for their lives. Also, beginning Friday, Dec. 25, fans can catch up on every season of RuPaul's Drag Race with a marathon of seasons one through 12 on Logo.

Dan and Eugene Levy (who were together on the award-winning show Schitt's Creek) as well as Sarah Paulson were among those Entertainment Weekly has honored as its Entertainers of the Year. Some of the others included Chadwick Boseman (the late Black Panther actor), Kerry Washington (who's currently in Netflix's The Prom), Pedro Pascal (The Mandalorian and Wonder Woman 1984), Sacha Baron Cohen (The Trial of the Chicago 7 and Borat Subsequent Moviefilm) and Michaela Coel (I May Destroy You).

Marvel confirmed that Guardians of the Galaxy character Star-Lord is bisexual and polyamorous, noted. The character's sexual orientations were revealed in a new installment of the comic-book series titled "I Shall Make You A Star-Lord," which shows him to be in a relationship with a man and a woman. It has yet to be revealed whether this aspect of Star-Lord's character in the comics will make its way into the Guardians of the Galaxy films, which are written and directed by James Gunn; Chris Pratt portrays the character on screen.

In less than a week, Taylor Swift's second surprise album of 2020, evermore, eclipsed global sales of 1 million, with total worldwide streams of evermore sailing past half a billion and counting, a press release announced. The album bowed at number one on the Billboard 200 as her second chart-topper in five months and third #1 on the chart in 16 months. Swift has moved at least 1 million copies worldwide in a single week with eight consecutive albums (Fearless, Speak Now, RED, 1989, reputation, Lover, folklore and evermore).

Documentaries spotlighting the talents of EGOT winner Rita Moreno and dance pioneer Alvin Ailey are among the lineup of the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, which will be presented virtually due to the ongoing pandemic, Playbill noted. Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for It will premiere Jan. 29, while director Jamila Wignot's Ailey, about the late visionary who founded the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, will debut the following day. Other films will feature such actors as Michael C. Hall, Tessa Thompson, Jesse Eisenberg, Alexander Skarsgard and Tiffany Haddish. Sundance will run Jan. 28-Feb. 3.

Out actor Haaz Sleiman will co-star with Michael Cassidy in Breaking Fast, a queer rom-com that will debut in January, noted. Sleiman stars as Mo, a gay practicing Muslim who lives in West Hollywood; he is reeling from heartbreak, and headed into Ramadan, when he meets Kal (Cassidy). Also, Sleiman has revealed that he will play the husband of Brian Tyree Henry's Phastos in the now-delayed The Eternals.

NBC is developing Look at Me, a drama series inspired by the life of deaf model, actor and activist Nyle DiMarco, Deadline noted. The America's Next Top Model and Dancing with the Stars winner is the executive director of the project. DiMarco has also acted in series including Switched at Birth, Difficult People and Station 19.

Elliot Page thanked fans for the "greatest gift"—their emotional assistance after coming out as a non-binary, transgender person, USA Today noted. The Umbrella Academy star shared a selfie on Instagram while thanking his fans for continued "love and support" following his transgender announcement on Dec. 1. The Oscar-nominated star of Jun" wrote a lengthy, heartfelt post on Instagram and Twitter on Dec. 1 that stated, "Hi friends, I want to share with you that I am trans, my pronouns are he/they and my name is Elliot. I feel lucky to be writing this. To be here. To have arrived at this place in my life."

Ellen DeGeneres said she endured "excruciating back pain" but is now feeling "100 percent" after testing positive for COVID-19, Page Six noted. "One thing that they don't tell you is you get, somehow, excruciating back pain," DeGeneres said in a video. "Didn't know that that was a symptom but I talked to some other people—back pain. Who knew, how come? Back pain, bad." Fever or chills, shortness of breath, fatigue, and a new loss of taste or smell are among the symptoms of COVID-19, according to the CDC.

The classic film Love Story—starring Ryan O'Neal and Ali McGraw—celebrates its 50th anniversary with a brand-new Blu-ray in the Paramount Presents line, debuting Feb. 9, 2021 from Paramount Home Entertainment, a press release noted. Based on Erich Segal's best-selling novel, Love Story was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and earned more than $100 million at the domestic box office.

Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex, and Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex, have an exclusive podcast partnership with Spotify, Deadline reported. The royal duo will produce audio programming via their company Archewell Audio as part of the multi-year partnership. A holiday special hosted by The Duke and Duchess will air later this month, produced in partnership with Spotify's Gimlet studio.

Days after Jeopardy! contestant Cody Lawrence shined a spotlight on bisexuality by wearing a bisexual pride flag pin on an episode of the series, Kate Freeman appeared on two episodes wearing a similar accessory and making show history by being the first out trans winner, NBC News noted. Two-time Jeopardy! champ Jennifer Morrow responded to writer Peter Fox's congratulatory tweet, noting there has been another trans champ, although that person came out sometime after their victory.

Izzy Wouters, from the reality show Below Deck, came out as lesbian on Instagram, according to . "Hello, my name is Izzy and I am out and proud," the Australian stewardess wrote. In her Instagram stories, Wouters joked about how she wanted to come out creatively, but her friend said she'd already "basically come out" when she tweeted about having a "platonic work husband."

TikTok banned Perez Hilton from its platform after months of complaints from influencers—but Hilton said he's innocent, noted. The celebrity blogger best known for his early 2000s online presence recently expanded his brand to TikTok, amassing 1.6 million followers. In an email to Hilton, TikTok claimed he had violated the app's community guidelines for slurs and hate speech, nudity and sexual content and bullying, although it did not provide examples. Hilton told Insider that he doesn't believe he bullied anyone, although if he did he's sorry; he also posted a series of apologetic, tearful videos pleading with TikTok and its top creators to help him get his account back. Starting in April, a petition to ban Hilton from TikTok received more than 220,000 signatures.

Smallville's Allison Mack—who pled guilty last year to racketeering charges and apologized for her involvement with the controversial, cult-like self-help group Nxivm—reportedly filed for divorce from wife Nicki Clyne, noted. The pair tied the knot in 2017, federal prosecutors said in court transcripts previously obtained by People magazine. Prosecutors had accused her of recruiting sex slaves for Raniere and its subgroup, DOS, described as an all-female secret society of "masters" and "slaves" in which women allegedly were forced to be sexually subservient to Nxivm co-founder Keith Raniere.

A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal handed a victory to the estate of Michael Jackson in its battle over the 2019 HBO documentary Leaving Neverland, which accused the late singer of sexually abusing two young boys, Variety reported. The Jackson estate sued HBO for $100 million, arguing that the documentary violated a 27-year-old non-disparagement clause from a 1992 concert film from the "Dangerous" tour. HBO has argued that the clause is irrelevant to the present dispute and accuses the Jackson estate of seeking to silence victims of sexual abuse. The network could appeal the panel's ruling to the full 9th Circuit or argue before an arbitrator.

Naomi Ackie is in final negotiations to portray Whitney Houston in Sony's upcoming musical biopic I Wanna Dance With Somebody, Variety noted. I Wanna Dance With Somebody follows the life and times of Houston, the iconic artist behind timeless hits like "I Will Always Love You" and "Saving All My Love for You." Houston, who died in 2012, made her acting debut in the 1992 romantic thriller The Bodyguard. I Wanna Dance With Somebody is slated to be released on Thanksgiving 2022.

The soundtrack of the LGBTQ rom-com Happiest Season is now available via Warner Records, a press release announced. The soundtrack is executive produced by Grammy-nominated songwriter/Facet Records co-founder Justin Tranter (Selena Gomez; Demi Lovato; Bebe Rexha; The Chicks). Each of the 11 tracks—by Bebe Rexha, Brandy Clark, Carlie Hanson, Shea Diamond, Sia, Tegan and Sara and more—is called "a celebration of the queer community, featuring LGBTQ+ songwriters or artists."

Mischief Makers 2—the second solo show by iconic folksinger, activist and artist Joan Baez, showcasing her portraits of people making the world a better place—will open Jan. 6 and run through Feb. 14 at Seager Gray Gallery in Mill Valley, California, a press release noted. In celebration of the artist's 80th birthday, a reception will be streamed at 5:30 p.m. PT on Jan. 9. The event will include an interview with Baez, a virtual tour of the show and other festivities and "mischief" to mark this milestone occasion. Tickets are $15 each at

Husband-and-wife All My Children alums Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos are developing a prime-time reboot of ABC's daytime soap—titled Pine Valley, after the show's fictional Pennsylvania setting, The New York Post noted. The sequel, to be executive produced and written by Leo Richardson ("Star"), would follow a young journalist who snoops around the dark pasts of the show's Kane—as in the legendary Erica, as played by Susan Lucci—and Santos families. No new casting was announced, nor was any information about which All My Children actors might reprise their original roles.

Henry Cavill injured his leg on the U.K. set of the Netflix series The Witcher, noted. Contrary to some reports, filming on the fantasy series is continuing even with one of its leads temporarily sidelined, but is expected to pause soon for the holidays, as previously planned. The eight-episode second season—starring Cavill, Anya Chalotra and Feya Allan—is expected to air sometime in 2021.

NBCUniversal Syndication Studios renewed The Kelly Clarkson Show for two more seasons, Deadline noted. The Emmy-winning daytime talker has been sold to NBC Owned Television Stations group through 2023. Hosted by Emmy- and Grammy winning artist Clarkson, the daytime talk show headed into its second season as the most watched new talk show in seven years.

Chris Pine is in negotiations to star in Dungeons and Dragons, Paramount and eOne's upcoming film adaptation of the popular fantasy role-playing game, Variety reported. Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley—the duo best known for Game Night, starring Rachel McAdams and Jason Bateman—are directing the movie and writing the screenplay, which is based on a draft by Michael Gilio. The film's release date was recently pushed back from November of 2021 to May 27, 2022.

The Sun posted audio of Tom Cruise launching a tirade at the crew of Mission: Impossible 7 after he noticed lapses in social-distancing protocols that were put in place to make one of the first blockbusters to resume production during the pandemic, Deadline reported. Cruise, also the film's producer, helped develop the protocols meant to get the film through production that spanned from Italy to Norway and London. It is a massive undertaking, and there were reports of COVID issues during the Italy leg of the shoot, which reportedly shut the film down for a couple of days—and some crew members reportedly left after Cruise's tongue-lashing.

Latin Grammy winner and platinum-selling recording artist Bad Bunny has joined Brad Pitt in action pic Bullet Train, Deadline noted. Joey King, Aaron Taylor Johnson, Brian Tyree Henry, Zazie Beetz, Michael Shannon, Logan Lerman, Masi Oka and Andrew Koji are also on board.

At the end of one of the longest voting sessions in recent memory, clocking more than five-and-a-half hours, the New York Film Critics Circle named A24's First Cow as its Best Picture of 2020, Deadline noted. The Kelly Reichardt-directed drama follows a skilled cook who has traveled west and joins a group of fur trappers in Oregon. Other winners included Spike Lee's Da 5 Bloods, with a Best Supporting Actor win for the late Chadwick Boseman and Best Actor win for Delroy Lindo; Focus Features' Sundance feature Never Rarely Sometimes Always (Best Actress win for Sidney Flanigan); Bulgarian actress Maria Bakalova, who won Best Supporting Actress for Amazon's Borat Subsequent Moviefilm; and Brazil's Bacurau (Best Foreign Film).

Fox will not proceed with a spinoff of its signature drama series Empire that centered on the larger-than-life character of Cookie Lyon, played by Golden Globe winner Taraji P. Henson, Deadline noted. Disney TV Studios' 20th Television, which produces the project with Imagine TV, is reportedly shopping it to Disney outlets ABC and Hulu. The mothership series, created by Lee Daniels and Danny Strong, ran on Fox for six seasons.

Hulu announced The D'Amelio Show, a new eight-episode docuseries following the reigning family of social media, the D'Amelios, according to a press release. With a combined social-media footprint of more than 250 million followers, The D'Amelio Show will give an authentic look at the reality of this family as Charli, Dixie, dad Marc and mom Heidi as they navigate their sudden rise to fame. The D'Amelio Show is expected to debut on Hulu next year.

Lily James and Sebastian are reportedly on board to play Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee in a new limited series for Hulu going by the working title Pam & Tommy, Deadline noted. The celebrity couple's relationship dominated the tabloids for years, including the scandal of when their sex tape from their honeymoon was stolen and leaked to the public. Seth Rogen is likely to play the man who stole the tape, with I, Tonya director Craig Gillespie helming the series.

Days after Sia claimed Shia LaBeouf "conned" her into an "adulterous" relationship, the "Chandelier" singer revealed she replaced him with Kate Hudson in her forthcoming movie, Music, Page Six noted. Sia came forward with her claims against LaBeouf after his ex-girlfriend FKA Twigs sued him over their allegedly abusive relationship.

Joselyn Cano—a model and social-media influencer known as the "Mexican Kim Kardashian"—died at age 30 following a botched medical procedure, The New York Daily News noted. Cano, a resident of California, died after traveling to Colombia for butt-lift surgery, Newsweek reported. The exact circumstances surrounding the incident remain unclear.

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