Wolfe Releasing has slated the film The Obituary of Tunde Johnson for a theatrical and digital release on Feb. 26, a press release noted. The filmwritten by Stanley Kalu; directed by Ali LeRoi; and starring Steven Silver, Spencer Neville and Nicola Peltzfollows a wealthy, Nigerian-American teen who is pulled over by police, shot to death and immediately awakens. He ends up reliving the same day over and over, trapped in a time loop that forces him to confront difficult truths about his life and himself, including themes of police brutality and LGBTQ acceptance. This drama had its world premiere at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival in September 2019, was one of eight films awarded the prestigious Next Wave designation, opened the Austin Film Festival a month later and won the Audience Award for the best Debut Narrative Feature at the 2020 L.A. Outfest.
Filmmaker/writer John Waters appeared on the PBS series Finding Your Roots, where Harvard University professor Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr. reveals results of celebrities' ancestries, LGBTQ Nation noted. One of the discoveries that researchers made about Waters is that an ancestor on his father's sideSomerset R. Waters, his great-great-grandfatherowned slaves before the Civil War. "It's appalling," John Waters told Gates. "I should go spit on his grave." It was also revealed that another of John's ancestors was one of the wealthiest landowners in Maryland, that his maternal grandparents divorced at a time when that was rare in Catholic families, and that one of his forebears died while mining for gold in the Klondike.
The Weakest Link, NBC's game show hosted by Jane Lynch, has been renewed for a second season, a press release noted. The popular series is a British import based on the iconic quiz show format distributed by BBC Studios. Production on the new season, set for 13 episodes, will begin later this year. The hybrid game show sees contestants answer general knowledge questions to bank prize money across multiple rounds; at the end of each round, the contestants vote out who they perceive to be the "weakest link" remaining.
In her new March cover story for Vanity Fair, singer Billie Eilish discussed body-image issues while reflecting on those viral paparazzi shots of her in a tank top that took the blogosphere by storm, iHeart.com noted. "I think that the people around me were more worried about it than I was, because the reason I used to cut myself was because of my body. To be quite honest with you, I only started wearing baggy clothes because of my body," Eilish told the magazine. Last year, Eilish attempted to take back the power of the talking point by filming an interlude as part of her "Where Do We Go? World Tour" in which she removes her shirt.
The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and the Stagecoach Country Music Festival have been canceled for the second straight year, NBC Chicago noted. "Due to the pandemic, Public Health Officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser today (Jan. 29) signed a public health order canceling Coachella Valley Music and Arts, Stagecoach Country Music festivals planned for April 2021," Riverside County officials said. "We look forward to when the events may return." It's not yet clear if 2020 pass holders would be able to hold onto their tickets for any upcoming rescheduled festivals, which was the case last year.
Out Australian model/actor Ruby Rose is set to replace Elliot Page in 1Up, an upcoming comedy about an underdog esports team from Lionsgate and BuzzFeed, out.com noted. Page was originally set to star in the film, but has stepped away, leaving room for Rose to step in. Page came out as trans and nonbinary last December, and this is the first role they've left since then.
The sports movie On Thin Ice will be available to rent and own on DVD and North American digital HD internet, cable and satellite platforms through Freestyle Digital Media on Feb. 2, a press release noted. calls attention to athletes who have struggled for acceptance due to race, religion, sexual orientation, and other prejudices. The film chronicles the life of filmmaker Keli Price's great-grandfather Jack Brooks, who escaped the anti-Jewish pogroms in Eastern Europe in 1923 and became one of the top speed-skaters of interwar America. Other athletes featured include Allyson Felix, Evander Holyfield, Michael Sam, Robbie Rogers, Apolo Ohno, Aimee Mullins and Greg Louganis.
GLAAD and Outfest are hosting the inaugural virtual Queer House @ the 2021 Sundance Film Festival (Jan. 30-Feb. 3), a press release noted. Celebrating the LGBTQ inclusive films and filmmakers at Sundance, Queer House will offer a program of panels, discussions, and performances with industry talent, exploring the history and purpose of queer cinema. The eight Queer House events include(d) "In Conversation: Rita Moreno One-On-One with Wilson Cruz," "Focus on Transmasculinity in Film & Television" and "Be Scene: An LGBTQIA+ Actors Showcase," among others. Queer House programming is open to the public for free; see village.festival.sundance.org/mainstreet-detail/5ff23f2d2cb7dd6784098af3 .
Actress/activist Jane Fonda will receive the Cecil B. de Mille Award at the 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards on Sunday, Feb. 28, Deadline noted. "For more than five decades, Jane's breadth of work has been anchored in her unrelenting activism, using her platform to address some of the most important social issues of our time," said Hollywood Foreign Press Association President Ali Sar. Fondadaughter of Hollywood legend Henry Fonda and brother of the late Easy Rider actor Peter Fondais a two-time Oscar-winning actress (1971's Klute and 1978's Coming Home), producer, author, activist and fitness guru; other honors include the 2014 AFI Life Achievement Award and the BAFTA's 2019 Stanley Kubrick Excellence in Film Award.
Jo Ellen Pellmanwho stars as Emma in Ryan Murphy's movie adaptation of The Promrecently talked about why Kate McKinnon is her queer role model, Variety noted. Pellman said that McKinnon showed her that "I can be openly gay, openly queer, and be accepted and celebrated." She added, "That's something that I do not take lightlythat I have the choice of whether or not to come out to someone, that I am white, cis-passing and able-bodied, and there's so much privilege that comes with that and, if anything, I feel like my queerness has just been nothing but celebrated and it's allowed me to tell stories like The Prom."
Jelani Alladin and Nico Tortorella play a gay couple in The Walking Dead spinoff The Walking Dead: World Beyondand when some fans became upset with the characters and storyline, the show tweeted a quick and final response, out.com noted. The tweet read, "Hi, hello. If LGBTQ+ characters on television (or anywhere) make you uncomfortable or angry, please unfollow us. While we also encourage you to look within and be more accepting, know that there is no place in our fandom for hateful discrimination or willful ignorance. Thank you." On the show, Alladin plays Will a former security guard and the boyfriend of Felix, portrayed by Totorella. Alladin's recent remarks on the Talk Dead to Me podcast describing the beauty of the characters' relationship evidently was a triggering event for some of the show's fans.
A day before her death, Cicely Tyson did a virtual interview on Live with Kelly and Ryan, during which she talked about her childhood, how she snagged her leading role and her vegetarian lifestyle, USA Today noted. The revered actress' memoir, Just As I Am, was released just two days before her she died Jan. 28 at age 96. Tyson established roles portraying the lives of women ranging from fictional slave-turned-activist Jane Pittman and educator Marva Collins to activist Coretta Scott King and abolitionist Harriet Tubman. "I never really worked for money," she said during the conversation. "I've worked because there were certain issues that I wish were addressed about myself and my race as a Black woman."
A Tony Awards ceremony will be held on an as-yet-undetermined date in coordination with Broadway's eventual reopening, but voters will finally be able to make their selections beginning March 1, Deadline reported. Nominees for the 74th Annual Tony Awards were announced last October, with the 18 eligible productions reflecting the pandemic-shortened 2019-20 season. The 2020 Tony ceremony and CBS broadcast had originally been set for June 7 at New York's Radio City Musical Hall, but was scuttled due to the COVID shutdown.
Actress Jamie Chung said that Asian culture made it difficult for her older sister, Jean, to come out of the closet, a Page Six item stated. The Lovecraft Country star opened up about the impact her culture had on her and her sister during HBO Max's "Our Stories to Tell" series at the Sundance Film Festival, and said her parents struggled to accept Jean's admission, adding, "It comes from, like, a cultural, religious refusal to accept something."
The long-awaited Wendy Williams biopic aired Jan. 30 on Lifetime, People Magazine noted. Wendy Williams: The Movie starred Ciera Payton as the TV personality and followed her entire life, from her upbringing in New Jersey to her tumultuous relationship with ex-husband Kevin Hunter. Some of the other issues in the film included Williams' substance-abuse issues, her experience with sexual assault and her fertility struggles before giving birth to son Kevin, now 20. Williams, who executive-produced the biopic, said that making the movie was a chance for her to clarify some misconceptions about her and present the truth.
Demi Lovato is returning to scripted television in the food-issues comedy Hungry, which is in the works at NBC, Deadline reported. Hungry follows a group of friends who belong to a food issues group help each other as they look for love, successand the perfect thing in the fridge that's going to make it all better. The singer, who has battled bipolar disorder and addiction, is the subject of a YouTube Originals doc series Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil, which will premiere at SXSW.
After telling the world that she was happiest that she's ever been in her personal life, social-media star JoJo Siwa was "swatted" mere hours after officially coming outcalling the experience "really scary," according to out.com . Swatting is when someone calls the police and claims that something is happening in order to get law enforcement to respond to the location and lock it down. According to Siwa, about 50 officers converged on her home yelling for everyone to come out of the house. "Basically we went outside hands up because we obviously have to follow the rules and do what you're supposed to do," she explained. "And then the police were saying that somebody had called and made a claimand then, all of a sudden, paparazzi came from around the corner."
Empire actress Gabourey Sidibe revealed in a January interview on Taraji P. Henson's talk show, Peace of Mind With Taraji, that she battled with bulimia for years before undergoing bariatric surgery in 2016 and losing 150 pounds, US Magazine noted. "It was about me surviving the day. It was about controlling this emotion that was uncontrollable. I hated this emotion so much, I hated it," she said of her struggle with depression, which triggered her eating issues when she was in college. Sidibe previously opened up about her mental health and eating disorder in her 2017 memoir, This Is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare.
Figure skater Johnny Weir recently posted about the need for security during his sessions. He tweeted, "For my safety and due to past threats against me, my training sessions are private and locked. My schedule is purposely staggered to protect me & the people on hand at my rink. Thank you for your support but please respect that when my privacy is compromised, I [cannot] skate."
After pro golfer Justin Thomas made headlines when he used a self-described "inexcusable" anti-gay slur at a tournament, Ralph Lauren dropped him and the PGA tour said it will likely fine himbut Citi is not dropping the athlete, out.com noted. Citi considered terminating Thomas, but opted instead to create change and consulted with unnamed members of the community who supported the decision. To do that, it will work with the golfer to ensure he uses "his platform to play an active role in accelerating support for the LGBTQ+ community and to increase awareness of the discrimination this community continues to face." To do that, Thomas has been charged to donate a "meaningful portion" of his 2021 sponsorship fee to "mutually agreed upon LGBTQ+ organizations."
Singer Halsey is the first major pop star to pull the plug on a summer concert tour, MassLive.com noted. Her "Manic" shows, originally scheduled for 2020 but postponed due to COVID-19, have been canceled altogether for this year. "Safety is the priority," said Halsey on Instagram. "I wish things were different. I love you. Dreaming of seeing your faces again." She went on to say her goal is to ensure everyone who purchased a ticket gets a refund and that an email should be forthcoming to detail that process.
And in another Halsey-related matter, the singer announced that she's pregnant, USA Today reported. She posted a photo that shows off her baby bump on Instagram, captioning, "(S)urprise!," followed by a trio of emojis: a bottle, a rainbow and a baby angel. The rainbow emoji was possibly a nod to the fact Halsey, 26, suffered a miscarriage while on tour about five years ago; a baby born after a pregnancy loss is commonly referred to as a rainbow baby.
Mira Sorvino is developing a series to help the survivors of human trafficking, according to Deadline. The series will look to help a group of people to get past their trauma using expert-led animal therapy, in which abused and neglected rescue animals will provide connection for the abused and neglected survivors of modern slavery. Sorvinowho won an Oscar for her role in the Woody Allen film and more recently starred in Condorhas served as a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador to Combat Human Trafficking for UNODC since 2009.
Cara Delevingne, Eva Longoria, Margherita Buy, Marcia Gay Harden, Leonor Varela and Jacqueline Fernandez are among the all-star cast for anthology feature Women's Stories, whose segments will be directed by filmmakers including Catherine Hardwicke, Deadline reported. The film will be made up of six segments directed by female directors from different parts of the world, shot in Italy, India and the United States. They will range in genre from drama to comedy, docudrama to animation. The cast will be all women.
The National Board of Review selected Spike Lee's Da 5 Bloods as its best film of 2020, Deadline noted. Lee won best director, and the Netflix film also took the ensemble award. Chadwick Boseman was posthumously honored with the NBR Icon Award. He's featured in Da 5 Bloods in one of his final roles alongside a cast that included Delroy Lindo, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Clarke Peters, Norm Lewis and Jonathan Majors.
Domestic maven Martha Stewarta known dog lover (having two French bulldogs, Creme Brulee and Bete Noire; and two chow chows, Emperor Han and Empress Qin)announced the launch of her line of pet CBD products with Canopy Animal Health, CNBC.com noted. Stewart said she became curious about CBD after working with rapper Snoop Dogg (aka Calvin Cordozar Broadus Jr.), who is a known cannabis user. When it comes to health and wellness, Stewart, 79, said that green juice, Iyengar yoga and horseback riding are parts of her life. She also said she felt great after getting her first COVID vaccine.
Vice President Kamala Harris' stepdaughter Ella Emhoffwhose fashion choices went viral during the U.S. presidential inaugurationhas signed with a major modeling agency, CNN Style noted. Emhoff will join top supermodels like Karlie Kloss and Gisele Bundchen, as well as singers like Selena Gomez, on IMG Models' roster. The announcement came after IMG Models signed a contract with national youth poet laureate Amanda Gorman, another star of President Joe Biden's inauguration.
Film director Baz Luhrmann has tapped up-and-comer Alton Mason to play legendary musician Little Richard in Warner Bros.' Elvis, according to Deadline. The musical's cast includes Austin Butler, as Elvis; Tom Hanks, as Colonel Tom Parker; and Olivia DeJonge, as Priscilla Presley.
HBO Max will co-produce and be the U.S. streaming home for limited series The Tourist, from BAFTA-nominated and Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning production company Two Brothers Pictures, a press release noted. Jamie Dornan will lead this thriller charting one man's search for his identity; Danielle Macdonald, Shalom Brune-Franklin and Hugo Weaving co-star.
Modern Familywhich wrapped its 11-season broadcast TV run last yearis embarking on a significant new streaming chapter via a shared deal with Peacock and Hulu, Deadline noted. Starting Feb. 3, all 250 episodes of the sitcom will be available on both services after years of only having a limited batch of episodes on Hulu.
Laverne Cox made a remote appearance on The Ellen Show and revealed she is in love, Queerty noted. The trans actress talked candidly about meeting a man last summer, although she didn't reveal his identity. "[Finding love in 2020] almost sounds like a punchline, but, yeah, Laverne is in love again and it feels amazing," Cox said. "Love is an incredible thing. It's literally this chemical thing that's awesome and he is a really great guy and I didn't expect it."
Just4Gaysa new website dedicated to gay men's fashions, particularly underwearis opening soon, a PR Newswire item noted. Customers who sign up for updates now, while the website it in development stage, will receive a discount on their first purchase.
Singer, songwriter, actress, model and activist Paris Jackson released the official video for the ballad "eyelids," a press release noted. The song features vocals from Manchester Orchestra's Andy Hull, who co-wrote and produced the track, as well as Jackson's first full-length album, wilted, out now. The video is at www.youtube.com/watch.
Three episodes into The Blacklist's eighth season, NBC's long-running drama has been picked up for a ninth one, Deadline noted. The series stars James Spader, Megan Boone, Diego Klattenhoff, Amir Arison, Hisham Tawfiq, Laura Sohn and Harry Lennix.
MTV announced its new original digital reality series, MTV's Following: Bretman Rockstarring social-media figure Bretman Rockwill premiere on Monday, Feb. 8 at 4 p.m. ET on MTV YouTube, a press release noted. New episodes of the six-week long series will premiere each Monday at the same time. The show is an exclusive look at all aspects of the content creator's life in Hawaii, following Rock and his y crew as he navigates vlog life, new business ventures, his mom's impending move and the recent passing of his dadall amidst the current COVID-19 pandemic.
The seven-part true crime podcast series Unraveled: Long Island Serial Killer is now out, a discovery+ press release noted. It's been more than a decade since 11 bodies were found on the coast of Long Island; while many have attempted to solve the murders, this podcast/series examines why the case remains unsolved. The Long Island Serial Killer is the first case in the Unraveled anthology podcast and series, with future seasons dedicated to covering different captivating true crime stories. Additionally, a companion two-hour special, Unraveled: The Real Story Of The Long Island Serial Killer, will begin streaming on discovery+ on Tuesday, March 9.
Seventeen Magazine admitted that an imposter successfully posed as Riverdale star Lili Reinhart in a magazine interview, according to Page Six. The publication apologized, saying it had "briefly published" a story with information believed to have come from the actress. The mag scrapped the article from its site and said it would be "internally reviewing our editorial and fact-checking processes to ensure something like this does not happen again." Reinhart initially addressed the weird situation in her Instagram story, writing, "For some bizarre reason, someone impersonated me in an interview with @seventeen."
HBO Max show Haute Dog returns with all-new episodes on Thursday, Feb. 4, a press release announced. Each episode features three groomers facing off in head-to-tail creative contests for the title of "Best in Show" and a $10,000 prize. The series introduces top pet stylists from across the country whose interpretations of imaginative challenges and out-of-the-box themesfrom "royalty" and "fairy tales" to "safari" and "superheroes"spotlight the best looks for man's best friend.