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Harvey Weinstein’s attorney claims mogul was misquoted in “jobs in exchange for sex” interview

Photo by Raymond Hall/GC Images(NEW YORK) — Harvey Weinstein’s lawyer has claimed the disgraced Hollywood mogul was misquoted in an interview published in the Spectator on Friday in which he appeared to admit having traded movie roles for sex.

Weinsten is quoted in the interview with the Spectator‘s Taki Theodoracopulos, as saying, “I was born poor, ugly, Jewish and had to fight all my life to get somewhere…no girl looked at me until I made it big in Hollywood. Yes, I did offer them acting jobs in exchange for sex, but so did and still does everyone. But I never, ever forced myself on a single woman.”

However, Weinstein’s attorney, Ben Brafman, says in a statement obtained by Variety that he was present for the conversation and denies Weinstein made the remark.

“It was not an interview, but a social meeting between old friends,” claims Brafman. “Harvey and Taki did not discuss the case, nor would I allow him to.”

“We talked about old Hollywood and the contrast to European culture,” Brafman continues. “Mr. Weinstein never said anything about trading movie roles for sexual favors. You have my word that Harvey did not say that.”

The statement includes a comment from Theodoracopulos, in which the columnist admits he “may” have misstated Weinstein’s remark.

“After 41 years as a Spectator columnist without a single retraction, I believe that I may have misrepresented Harvey Weinstein’s conversation with me in New York last month,” says Theodoracopulos. “We were discussing Hollywood and I may have misunderstood certain things about the methods of that place.

Theodoracopulos, who describes himself as a “buddy” and “old friend” of Weinstein, has been a staunch defender of the producer and former Miramax co-founder, while criticizing the #MeToo movement.

Weinstein has pleaded not guilty to three felony charges related to the alleged rape of two women and has denied dozens of other charges of sexually misconduct or assault involving others.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

‘Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation’ scares up $44.1 mil #1 debut

Sony Pictures(NEW YORK) — Hotel Transylvania: Summer Vacation topped the weekend box office, delivering $44.1 million in its debut, including Thursday-evening previews,  Adding $1.27 million from Amazon Prime showings on June 30, the animated feature — starring the voices of Adam Sandler, Selena Gomez and Andy Samberg — has earned over $45 million stateside. However, that number falls short of the $48.5 million Hotel Transylvania 2 earned in 2015.

Disney/Marvel’s Ant-Man and The Wasp landed in second place with an estimated $29.1 million. It joins Guardians of the Galaxy, The Incredible Hulk, Spider-Man: Homecoming and Captain America: The First Avenger as the only films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to not repeat at number one in their second week of release.

Skyscraper, starring Dwayne Johnson, struggled in its opening weekend, delivering an estimated $25.48 million for a third-place finish. That’s about ten million dollars less than its pre-release earnings estimates.  The movie fared much better overseas, where it grabbed an estimated $40.4 million for a worldwide total gross just shy of $65.9 million.

Disney Pixar’s Incredibles 2 took fourth place in its fifth weekend of release with an estimated $16.2 million. It’s now passed 2008’s The Dark Night to become the ninth largest overall film all-time domestically. Incredibles 2 tacked on an estimated $33.3 million internationally, bringing its global tally to over $850 million — the 64th-largest worldwide release of all-time.

Disney is the parent company of Marvel, Pixar and ABC.

Rounding out the top five was Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, delivering an estimated $15.5 million. Its domestic earnings now stand at $363.3 million, $1.134 billion worldwide.

Here are the top 10 movies from Friday through Sunday, with estimated box office sales:

1. Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation, $42.5 million
2. Ant-Man and The Wasp, $29.1 million
3. Skyscraper, $25.48 million
4. Incredibles 2, $16.2 million
5. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, $15.5 million
6. The First Purge, $9.1 million
7. Sorry to Bother You, $4.25 million
8. Sicario: Day of the Soldado, $3.85 million
9. Uncle Drew, $3.2 million
10. Ocean’s 8, $2.9 million

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

YouTube TV apologies, offers free week of service after World Cup outage

iStock/Thinkstock(SAN BRUNO, Ca) — YouTube TV is apologizing for Wednesday’s internet-streaming outage during the World Cup semifinal match between England and Croatia, and is now offering a free week of service to subscribers, according to an email obtained by Deadline

“We’re really sorry for the recent YouTube TV outage during the FIFA World Cup Semifinal,” Thursday’s email reads. “To help make this right, we’d like to offer you a week of free service. You’ll receive another email soon, confirming your account has been credited.”

The outage Wednesday afternoon lasted just over an hour, but YouTube TV told subscribers that they can now access the game in its entirety in their “Library” tab.

The free week of service credit amounts to $10 under the $40 per month subscription. 

During the outage, YouTube TV tweeted an initial apology, telling subscribers they “understand your frustration.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

‘Siberia’ shows a different side of Keanu Reeves, says director Matthew Ross

Saban Films(NEW YORK) — Keanu Reeves finds revenge is a dish served as cold as the Russian region that shares its name in his new movie Siberia. The film, which hits theaters and video-on-demand today, has the John Wick star playing an American diamond dealer who gets in over his head with some supremely unsavory clients.

While John Wick would be well-equipped to deal with a deal gone bad, Reeves’ character Lucas Hill has no armor — ballistic or otherwise: although married, he falls hard for an alluring Russian woman (Ana Ularu) entangling them both in this dangerous world.

Siberia director Matthew Ross tells ABC Radio of Reeves: “He’s been in the cultural zeitgeist for you know, 35 years…And I think only on occasion…have directors really explored this more sensitive, vulnerable side to him.”

“He’s this great stoic actor — especially in the John Wick movies, especially in the Matrix movies — but I sort of wanted to peel the onion a little bit on the stoicism and see what was underneath.”

The thriller’s dark tone is worlds away from one of former journalist Ross’ career milestones: helping craft “Palestinian Chicken,” arguably one of Curb Your Enthusiasm‘s best episodes.

The episode had Larry David, his manager Jeff, and other Jewish Los Angelinos cheating on their political beliefs with the food at a particular chicken joint.

Ross, who became a story consultant on the show, recalled, “I kind of weaseled my way into a dinner at Larry’s house…We just hit it off immediately, and we were just watching the Knicks you know…drinking some wine, and then eventually, I kind of…got up the courage to pitch a couple of ideas to him. And he ended up liking ’em.”

“And we’re friends to this day,” he laughs.


Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Scarlett Johansson leaves trans role following backlash

ABC/Heidi Gutman(LOS ANGELES) — Scarlett Johansson has apologized and announced she will no longer play a trans character in a drama called Rub and Tug, following backlash that a trans actor wasn’t filling the role. 

The film follows the real-life story of Dante “Tex” Gill, who ran a massage parlor and prostitution ring in Pittsburgh in the 1970s and ’80s.

Johansson had initially been defensive about the static the casting news received, noting to the website Bustle via her rep that criticism, “can be directed to Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto, and Felicity Huffman’s reps for comment.” The comment referred to other cis-gendered performers who have played trans characters.

The actress, who was criticized for playing a traditionally Asian character in Rupert Sanders’ 2017 film Ghost in the Shell, has now relented, releasing a statement to Out magazine. “In light of recent ethical questions raised surrounding my casting,” she said in part, “I have decided to respectfully withdraw my participation in the project.”

ScarJo continued, “Our cultural understanding of transgender people continues to advance, and I’ve learned a lot from the community since making my first statement about my casting and realize it was insensitive. I have great admiration and love for the trans community and am grateful that the conversation regarding inclusivity in Hollywood continues.”

Including stats about the representation of trans characters in film declining, Johansson added, “I understand why many feel he should be portrayed by a transgender person, and I am thankful that this casting debate, albeit controversial, has sparked a larger conversation about diversity and representation in film.”

The Marvel movie star added that as a producer, she looks, “forward to working with every community to bring these most poignant and important stories to audiences worldwide.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ creator Bruce Miller “wasn’t expecting” Emmy nomination after mixed reviews

Elizabeth Moss in “The Handmaid’s Tale”/Hulu(LOS ANGELES) — The Handmaid’s Tale is the current reigning best drama champ at the Emmys, but show creator Bruce Miller says he was still surprised by the 20 Emmy nominations the dystopian Hulu series received Thursday morning.

“I wasn’t expecting anything, because I’m terrified all the time that we did a terrible job,” Miller told ABC Radio. “I’m always thrilled and surprised because I’m always expecting or preparing for the worst. So this was wonderful news.”

After taking home the Best Drama Series prize at last year’s awards, Miller premiered the second season of the series on Hulu to mixed reviews. Miller says he does read some of the negative critiques to try and improve the show — even if the criticism hurts. 

“If you don’t pay attention you don’t have the kind of ammunition you need to figure out how to improve the show,” he said. “It does hurt my feelings when people don’t like things that I like.”

Unlike last year, Miller will be competing against juggernaut Game of Thrones for best drama, but he told ABC Radio that doesn’t faze him. “They’ve been making fantastic television for a very, very long time, and I’m just proud to be counted in the same category,” he said.

The Television Academy also nominated The Handmaid’s Tale stars Elisabeth Moss for Lead Actress in a Drama Series, Ann Dowd for Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, and Samira Wiley for Guest Actress in a Drama Series.

“We’re beyond grateful, beyond proud,” Miller said. 

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Amy Schumer denies pregnancy rumors, announces new clothing line: “Thank you for thinking of my womb”

ABC/Heidi Gutman(NEW YORK) — Amy Schumer isn’t giving birth to a baby, but a clothing line. 

The comedian had to deny pregnancy rumors Thursday after she posted a picture of herself in a red dress on Instagram where she seems to be pointing at her stomach. The caption reads, “@leesaevansstyle and I are cookin somethin up.” Fans immediately mistook the words and body language as a baby announcement.

Schumer was quick to squash the rumors in an Instagram video posted a few hours later, explaining she’s actually just launching a clothing line with friend and stylist Leesa Evans. 

“I am not pregnant,” Schumer says in the video. “It looked like I was pointing to a bump or something but I’m not. Leesa Evans and I have created a clothing line for all sizes and shapes and at a chill price point. That’s what I was trying to allude to but thank you for thinking of my womb.”

She captioned the video with a joke: “I always have a bump alert.”

Although Schumer married her husband Chris Fischer just last year, it doesn’t seem like it’s baby time just yet. 

“The best part is just having a partner and being like, ‘I got a team,'” Schumer told E! News about newlywed life. “It was just me and [my dog] Tatiana and now it’s cool, you got someone to go through life with together that you love and you want to be partnered up with.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Girl super-power: Marvel’s ‘Black Widow’ movie gets female director

Marvel Studios(LOS ANGELES) — Marvel’s Black Widow stand-alone movie, starring Scarlett Johansson, has found its helmer, according to Variety: Australian director Cate Shortland, best known for the female-centric films Lore and Berlin Syndrome.

It hasn’t yet been revealed whether the film will be an origin story or set after the next Avengers movie.

Shortland becomes the second female to solo direct a big-budget female-starring superhero movie, following Wonder Woman‘s Patty Jenkins.

The Black Widow film is also just the second Marvel movie to feature a solo female superhero lead: Captain Marvel with Brie Larson, due out in 2019, is the first. Of course, Marvel’s current hit, Ant-Man and The Wasp, has a female co-lead, Evangeline Lilly.

Marvel Studios is owned by Disney, the parent company of ABC News.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

We’ve got a bleeder! ‘There’s Something About Mary’ turns 20

Photo by 20th Century-Fox/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — On Saturday, the comedy that made us think differently about romantic comedies — and hair gel — turns 20 years old.

Sibling directors Peter and Bobby Farrelly’s follow up to their gross-out comedy hits Dumb and Dumber and Kingpin, There’s Something About Mary upped the ante in the over-the-top gag department — like that infamous prom night zipper mishap — but hid a rather sweet love story underneath its R rating.

As you may remember, Ben Stiller plays Ted, who hires a smarmy private detective, played by Matt Dillion, to find Ted’s high school crush, Mary, played by Cameron Diaz. Ted’s fondest memory — and his worst one, arguably — centered on his prom night with Mary, which ended with Ted in the hospital after the aforementioned mishap with the zipper on his rented tux. 

However, when the P.I. gets a glimpse of Mary, he soon finds, as the movie’s title suggests, there’s something about her: he makes a move on her — as does pretty much every guy who crosses her path. And yes, that includes NFL legend Brett Favre.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

The movie went on to make a mint at the box office, making $176.4 million domestically that year — making it the highest-grossing comedy of 1998, and one of the most successful R-rated comedies of all time, with a worldwide gross of more than $369 million.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

‘Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation,’ ‘Skyscraper’ debut today

Sony Pictures(NEW YORK) — Here are the movies opening nationwide Friday:

* Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation — The third film in the 3D-animated franchise picks up a few months after the last one, with Dracula — once again voiced by Adam Sandler — taking the family on vacation, where he ends up falling in love.  Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez, Kevin James, David Spade, Steve Buscemi, Keegan-Michael Key, Molly Shannon, Fran Drescher and Mel Brooks, all reprising their roles from the last film, are joined by new additions Kathryn Hahn and Jim Gaffigan. Rated PG.

* Skyscraper — This action film stars Dwayne Johnson as a former FBI agent who goes to great lengths to save his family from a skyscraper after it’s taken over by terrorists and set on fire. Neve Campbell also stars. Rated PG-13.

* Sorry to Bother You — In an alternate present-day version of Oakland, telemarketer Cassius Green, played by Lakeith Stanfield, discovers a magical key that leads to material success and into into a macabre universe. Tessa Thompson, Terry Crews, Patton Oswalt, David Cross, Danny Glover and Armie Hammer also star. Rated R.

Opening in limited release on Friday:

* Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on FootJoaquin Phoenix stars in this dramedy based on the true story of John Callahan, a paralyzed alcoholic who gained a new lease on life through his passion for drawing subversive newspaper cartoons. Also starring Jonah Hill, Rooney Mara and Jack Black. Rated R.

* Shock and AweRob Reiner directs and stars in this drama about group of journalists who question President George Bush‘s justification for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Woody Harrelson, Tommy Lee Jones, James Marsden, Milla Jovovich and Jessica Biel also star. Rated R.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.