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Dwayne Johnson taking the throne for ‘The King’, passion project from ‘Braveheart’ writer and ‘Forrest Gump’ director

ABC/Randy Holmes(LOS ANGELES) — Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is finally getting a chance to honor his Polynesian heritage onscreen: He’ll portray Hawaiian King Kamehameha in a movie based on the ruler’s life.

Robert Zemeckis, who called the shots on the Back to the Future films and won an Oscar for Forrest Gump, is directing, Deadline reports.

Kamehameha will tell the story of how the ruler united the once-warring Hawaiian islands under one flag. The trade notes that the project is being compared to Braveheart, both because of its historical scope and because it was written by Randall Wallace, who penned the script for the Oscar-winning epic for director Mel Gibson.

Kamehameha is a passion project for Johnson, who was born in California but went to school in Hawaii and who is of Polynesian descent.  It’s a heritage he’s celebrated via the tribal tattoos on his body and with his character in Disney’s Moana.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Ariana Grande’s fiancé Pete Davidson: “I’m still convinced she’s blind”

Will Heath/NBC(NEW YORK) — Saturday Night Live star Pete Davidson still can’t believe that he’s engaged to one of the biggest pop stars in the world.

Speaking to Variety, the comedian, who got engaged to Ariana Grande in June after a few weeks of dating says, “I’m still convinced she’s blind or hit her head really hard. Something is going to happen, and she’s going to be like, ‘What the f*** is this thing doing around?’ For right now, it’s rocking.”

He also says he proposed to her in bed, after they’d watched a movie.  “I was like, ‘Will you marry me?’ It was really dope,” he says.

Pete can’t stop gushing over Ariana, saying, “I never thought I’d meet anyone like her. I can’t even put into words how great of a person she is. I could cry. She’s the f****** coolest, hottest, nicest person I’ve ever met….I feel like I’m living in a fantasyland.”

Ariana’s pal and duet partner Nicki Minaj approves of the relationship, too.  As captured by Nicki Minaj News, the rapper commented on Ariana’s Instagram pic of Pete by writing, “”Omg @ the most perfect man on the planet. Wtf does he have a brother btch??”

Ariana responded by writing, “no but I’m the luckiest b**** in the galexy [sic] I’ll tell you dat.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

‘Dancing with the Stars’ judge Carrie Ann Inaba to host 2019 Miss America competition

ABC/Eric McCandless(LOS ANGELES) — Dancing with the Stars judge Carrie Ann Inaba will host the 2019 Miss America Competition.

It’s the first one since the organization vowed sweeping changes to the event in the light of the MeToo movement, and weathered an internal email scandal that led to the resignation of several executives, including CEO Sam Haskell.

In a statement, Inaba said she’s “honored” to take up the mantle. “I choreographed the Miss America Competition for years and am thrilled to be this year’s host,” she said. “I’m humbled to have the chance to be part of an evening that will give young women the opportunity to further their education and crown a new Miss America.”

Inaba added, “I have always been a fan of the Miss America Organization that consistently encourages women to be strong, intelligent and radiant women in the world.”

Inaba will share co-hosting duties with TV personality Ross Matthews, who is equally psyched. “Since I’ll never get to compete for the Miss America crown, this is the next best thing,” he joked in a statement.

“I feel like a lucky fan who won a golden ticket and gets to stand on stage alongside the gorgeous Carrie Ann Inaba and 51 incredible women knowing that one will be officially crowned the new Miss America,” he added.

“It’s a dream to be asked and I am beyond excited to get to Atlantic City. Who knows? Maybe the winner will even let me try on the crown!”

The 2019 Miss America Competition — the first which will not feature a swimsuit competition — airs live on ABC from Atlantic City’s Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall on Sunday, September 9 at 9 p.m. Eastern time.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Johnny Depp scores potentially game changing court victory against his former lawyers

ABC/Randy Holmes(LOS ANGELES) — After settling a year-and-a-half long legal battle with his former managers, Johnny Depp has scored a significant win in a contract dispute with his lawyer, which could also impact current and future Hollywood deals, according to Variety.

Depp filed a complaint back in October, accusing his attorney of 18 years, Jacob A. Bloom, of ripping him off for nearly $35 million, arguing that Bloom collected fees from the Pirates of the Caribbean actor’s variable income without a legally binding contract under California law.

The judge, Terry Green, sided with Depp, according to the industry trade, arguing, “There’s not a special rule for entertainment people. Why isn’t it in writing? Why not have something that memorializes the agreement so we don’t end up in court fighting like this?”

Bloom’s attorney, Ray Cardozo, countered that his fee arrangement is very common, explaining, “With a contingency fee, you are speculating on an uncertain outcome. In Depp’s case, the agreement was closer to a law firm doing work for a tech startup in exchange for equity rather than cash. “You’re not speculating on an outcome…Your piece of Depp’s income can fluctuate.”

The judge, however, argued that the ups and downs of Depp’s career underscore the speculative nature of a fee arrangement based on his income. “I don’t follow showbiz. I rarely go to movies. I know who the plaintiff is. I can’t tell you a whole lot about him, except he’s had ups and downs in his career. Who would have known, 18 years ago, how high the highs are and how low the lows,” he explained.

The ruling could also have profound effects on legal dealings in Hollywood, where agreements are often sealed with a handshake rather than a written contract, according to Variety.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

‘Doctor Who’ and ‘The Crown’ vet Matt Smith joins ‘Star Wars: Episode IX’

Alex Bailey/Netflix(LOS ANGELES) — Matt Smith, of Netflix’s The Crown and Doctor Who fame, has stepped into a galaxy far, far away.

Variety reports the British actor will be joining Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Mark Hamill, the late Carrie Fisher, and the rest of the cast of Star Wars: Episode IX.

His role is still secret, but said to be “key,” according to the industry trade.

The J.J. Abrams directed movie will hit theaters December 20, 2019, from Disney, the parent company of ABC News.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Kathy Griffin, Rosie O’Donnell, and more react to Louis C.K. returning to stand up

FX(NEW YORK) — Last weekend, disgraced comedian Louis C.K. performed a surprise stand-up set at the Comedy Cellar, one year after admitting to sexual misconduct. Now, he’s receiving backlash from the comedy community. 

The comedian dropped by the famous comedy theater Saturday night to work out some new material, which included themes of racism and tipping. Despite reportedly receiving a standing ovation at the show, comedians and former fans have not been so welcoming on social media. 

Kathy Griffin was quick to announce her anger about his set on Twitter

“You know how many talented women and POC comics are knocking on doors trying to get some time in front of audiences or powerful people in this business?” Griffin wrote. “And Louis just gets to glide back in on his own terms? Gosh, does it payoff to be in the boys club..the white boys club.”

Rosie O’Donnel agreed with her fellow outspoken comedian. “Wow. I guess nothing will ever surprise me again regarding men,” she wrote on Twitter

Michael Ian Black echoed their sentiments and said he cannot side with Louis. “For everybody asking, I know and like Louis C.K. I won’t defend him. This is inexcusable and he needs to address it,” The Insatiable actor tweeted

Non-comedians also expressed outrage at the news. “Why the HELL would the Comedy Cellar allow Louis CK to come back?” one woman wrote. Another added, “many good, well-employed comedians regularly perform at the Comedy Cellar. They all have the power to make it clear that Louis CK’s return is not acceptable.”

Last year, five women publicly accused the comedian of sexual misconduct, including masturbating in front of them without their consent. He later admitted to each incident in a statement, saying “these stories are true” and wrote that he’d brought “pain to my family, my friends, my children and their mother.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

‘The View’ taps Fox News alumna Abby Huntsman for season 22

ABC(NEW YORK) — ABC’s The View will kick off its 22nd season with a new co-host when the show returns Tuesday, September 4: former Fox News anchor Abby Huntsman.

Replacing Sara Haines, who is leaving the show to co-host an extended Good Morning America opposite Michael Strahan, Huntsman will join the show’s lively panel, which includes returning stars Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, Sunny Hostin and Meghan McCain.

“I look forward to adding my own point of view to the most interesting and successful talk show on television today,” said Huntsman in a statement.

The daughter of former governor-turned U.S. Ambassador John Huntsman Jr. added, “Joining the women at The View really is a dream come true!”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

‘Operation Finale’ gets an early jump on the Labor Day weekend releases

Credit: Valeria Florini / Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures © 2018 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. All Rights Reserved.(LOS ANGELES) — Opening nationwide on Wednesday:

* Operation Finale — This historical drama, based on real events, stars Oscar Isaac as Peter Malkin, who leads a team of Israeli spies from the Mossad to track down Adolf Eichmann, the Nazi officer who masterminded the Holocaust, played by Ben Kingsley. Inglourious Basterds‘ Mélanie Laurent and Nick Kroll also star. Rated PG-13.

 

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Blair Underwood and Omar Dorsey help to round out the cast of Ava DuVernay’s ‘Central Park Five’

Blair Underwood – ABC/Giovanni Rufino(LOS ANGELES) — Ava DuVernay has recruited some additional talent to help her round out the cast for her upcoming Netflix series, Central Park Five

As previously reported, the four-episode drama is based on the true story of five teenagers from Harlem —  Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana and Korey Wise — who were wrongly convicted of raping Trisha Meili while she was jogging in New York’s Central Park.

Each episode will focus on the five teens, beginning in spring 1989, when each was first questioned, to 2014, when they were exonerated.

The newest additions included Quantico‘s Blair Underwood, Joshua Jackson, Christopher Jackson, Omar Dorsey, Adepero Oduye, Famke Janssen, Aurora Perrineau and William Sadler. 

As noted before, the Central Park teens will be portrayed by Ethan Herisse, Caleel Harris, Asante Blackk, Marquis Rodriguez and Jharrel Jerome.

Central Park Five is set to hit Netflix in 2019.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

‘Mrs. Doubtfire’ gets closer to saying “Oh, Hello!” to Broadway

Photo by 20th Century-Fox/Getty ImagesProducers have announced that Four-Time Tony Award winner Jerry Zaks will direct the Broadway musical version of the hit 1993 Robin Williams hit Mrs. Doubtfire.

Zaks recently called the shots on the critically acclaimed, hit revival of Hello, Dolly! starring Bette Midler.

In a joint statement, Kevin McCollum and Bob Cohen of Fox Stage Productions said, “Mrs. Doubtfire is such a beloved story, both laugh-out-loud hilarious and extremely moving…We can’t wait to get into production.”

Based on the best-selling Anne Fine novel Alias Madame Doubtfire, the movie tells the story of an out of work actor who disguises himself as a dowdy British nanny to stay closer to the kids he lost in a custody dispute with his ex.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.