R. Kelly surrenders on 10 sex abuse charges; attorney calls all accusers ‘liars’

Posted on: February 23rd, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Misconduct allegations against the rapper were made in "Surviving R. Kelly."

R. Kelly charged with 10 counts of felony criminal sexual abuse

Posted on: February 22nd, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Misconduct allegations against the rapper were made in "Surviving R. Kelly."

Where’s the beef? Wolfgang Puck’s got it this Oscar Sunday

Posted on: February 22nd, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

ABC(LOS ANGELES) — As sure as a winner will forget to thank their significant other on the podium, celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck will be running the kitchen for the famed Governors Ball after the Oscars Sunday night. 

It’s the 25th year that Puck’s been crafting A-list edibles for A-list guests at the official after-party of the Academy Awards, and once again, he caught up with ABC Radio to talk about the most indulgent items on the menu this year.

“We all know black truffles are expensive, we have 30 pounds of that,” he explains. “You know, caviar is not cheap, either. We brought in enough Miyazaki beef, and you know, that’s expensive. It cost as much as a Mercedes with all the beef we got.”

Puck also explained some of his inspiration for one of Sunday night’s delicacies, Spanish ham, came from a Best Picture nominee — accidentally.

“The inspiration for the ham started really when I saw Roma, the movie, where they spoke Spanish. And I was thinking right away of Spain,” Punk explains. “But then afterwards, I found out that [director Alfonso Cuaron] is from Mexico and it’s actually a Mexican movie!”

Puck laughed, “But I said, you know, I love the ham so much I don’t care — I’m going to serve it.” 

Tune in to ABC on Sunday night to see the nominees and winners at the Academy Awards — before they descend on the Governors Ball and start stuffing their faces.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

‘A Star Is Born’ co-star Anthony Ramos would rather the film change a life than win awards

Posted on: February 22nd, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

L-R; Lady Gaga, Anthony Ramos; Clay Enos/Warner Bros.(NEW YORK) — A Star Is Born is up for eight Academy Awards this Sunday, including Best Picture, but for one of the movie’s stars, winning isn’t everything.

Anthony Ramos, who plays the best friend of Lady Gaga’s character Ally, tells ABC Radio that the film’s effect on audiences matters more to him than any trophy.

“I think at the end of the day…you can win the most awards — I mean, you could win every award — but if people connect to it and people feel, that’s what matters the most, honestly,” the former Hamilton star says.

Ramos adds, “I’d rather win no awards and somebody’s life get changed than me win a million and it just be, like, an Oscar-winning movie, you know what I mean?”

Maybe he won’t have to choose one or the other. Tune in to the Academy Awards ABC Sunday night at 8 p.m. ET to see if A Star Is Born can be both a life-changing and Oscar-winning film.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

"Now this is a story…" Will Smith to revive ‘Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ character in children’s book series ‘Fresh Princess’

Posted on: February 22nd, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

ABC/Randy Holmes(LOS ANGELES) — Will Smith is bringing something extremely fresh to the children’s book world.

According to Entertainment Weekly, Smith has partnered with HarperCollins and author Denene Miller for a new book series called Fresh Princess.

Inspired by Smith’s character from his iconic ’90s sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, the three-part picture book series will follow Destiny, “a cool, energetic, and strong-willed girl who approaches every day with her own signature style.”

That is, until she moves to a new neighborhood where nothing is “quite the same.” But Destiny reacts by putting a plan into motion that finds her bringing “the fun to any situation.”

“I couldn’t be more excited that the character I played for so long could inspire such a fun and empowering book for kids everywhere,” Smith said in a statement.

“I know all of my children would have loved Fresh Princess growing up, and being a father who raised a strong daughter, I know how important it is to see that type of strength depicted in stories.”

He continued, “It’s what [my wife] Jada and I have always championed and shown our kids throughout their lives. I’m down to follow Destiny through her growth and adventures just as I had experienced the journey of the young ‘Will Smith’ as he danced, laughed, made mistakes, and created memorable moments on his road to becoming the Fresh Prince.”

Fresh Princess will be available on April 2 and is now available for pre-order.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

‘A Star is Born’ has been "an amazing ride," says Oscar nominee Sam Elliott

Posted on: February 22nd, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures(LOS ANGELES) — Oscar Sunday is almost here, and Sam Elliott is — finally — a nominee this year, for his work in A Star is Born.

The beloved character actor has been working in front of the cameras for more than 50 years, but he received his first-ever nomination for Bradley Cooper’s adaptation of the Hollywood classic. 

Elliott is up for a Best Supporting Actor trophy Sunday night for playing the brother of Cooper’s troubled musician character. Elliott tells ABC Radio that he suspected the film was destined for greatness.

“I think the odds were in its favor when you got Lady Gaga starring and you got Bradley Cooper, who’s clearly, as we know him now, a brilliant filmmaker.”

And even though A Star Is Born is Cooper’s first film as a director, the showbiz veteran tells ABC Radio that he knew right away the Oscar-nominated actor had the goods.

“You know, I’d never crossed paths with Bradley before we did this film together, but in my initial meeting with him…I left there [knowing] that this guy’s really a smart man,” said Elliott. “And the way he talked, I suspected he was a brilliant filmmaker and he is — there’s no question about it.”

Sunday caps a busy awards season for A Star Is Born, but the star wouldn’t have it any other way, he tells ABC Radio.

“It’s been an amazing ride, so yeah, totally enjoyed it,” Sam says. “It’s a slog, it’s a lot of work, but to see the film recognized for what it is, and to see all that hard work on everybody’s part pay off is a wonderful thing,” he adds.  

Tune in to the Academy Awards ABC Sunday night at 8 p.m. ET to see if A Star Is Born takes home the gold.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Following arrest, Jussie Smollett is removed from the final two Season 5 episodes of ‘Empire’

Posted on: February 22nd, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Chicago Police Department(CHICAGO) — Hours after returning to the set of his show Empire following his arrest for falsely reporting he was the victim of a politically-motivated hate crime, Jussie Smollett has been temporarily cut out of the show.

In a statement obtained by ABC News, the show’s producers announce that they have removed his character from the final two episodes of the series’ fifth season.

Signed by series executives including Lee Daniels and Brian Grazer, the statement opens by saying, “The events of the past few weeks have been incredibly emotional for all of us.”

It continues, “Jussie has been an important member of our Empire family for the past five years and we care about him deeply. While these allegations are very disturbing, we are placing our trust in the legal system as the process plays out.”

However, the statement adds, “We are also aware of the effects of this process on the cast and crew members who work on our show and to avoid further disruption on set, we have decided to remove the role of ‘Jamal’ from the final two episodes of the season.”

The Empire star was arraigned on a class-four felony charge of disorderly conduct/filing a false police report Thursday and released on $100,000 bond. During his court appearance, Smollett maintained his innocence, denying he staged the January 29 attack. The actor claimed he was attacked by two men who hurled racist and homophobic epithets and put a noose around his neck, amd made reference to President Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan.

After Smollett’s arraignment, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie T. Johnson told reporters that the “phony attack” was “orchestrated” by the actor “to boost his profile” amid “a salary dispute.” 

Smollett was defiant upon his return to the set after being released —  TMZ is reporting he told castmates he “swore to God” that he didn’t orchestrate the hoax.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

If proven, Smollett allegations could be a ‘career killer’

Posted on: February 22nd, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Smollett is facing felony charges for filing an allegedly false police report.

Michael B. Jordan says a ‘Black Panther’ Oscar win would "inspire and motivate" future filmmakers

Posted on: February 22nd, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Marvel Studios(NEW YORK) — With the Oscars only days away, Black Panther star Michael B. Jordan is already envisioning what it would mean for the blockbuster Marvel superhero film to win Sunday night.

“It would definitely set the bar pretty high,” Jordan tells ABC Radio. “But, also to inspire and to motivate a future generation of filmmakers.”

Although Jordan says it would be exciting to see the film win and light a fire in other black filmmakers to create similar narratives, the Creed II star says the film being acknowledged on Oscar night goes deeper than just inspiration.

“To embrace their culture, and embrace who they are, and where they come from,” he declares. “No matter what they may be. And that, they won’t feel shy or feel like they wouldn’t get the media attention or the acknowledgement they may deserve.”

Of course, considering the Marvel superhero blockbuster is nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Jordan — who was lauded for his role as Black Panther‘s cunningly clever villain, Killmonger — admits “only good things can happen” with his film being recognized.

“To be acknowledged for putting your hard work and for especially for something so personal, and you know, with your history and your culture, and your heritage, to get recognized at the highest level, would be, obviously, [a] big deal,” he says. 

The 91st Academy Awards air Sunday, February 24 at 8:00 p.m. ET on ABC.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Michael Buble blown away by concertgoer’s rendition of ‘At Last’

Posted on: February 22nd, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

The “Feeling Good” singer gave a college student a chance to shine at his Madison Square Garden show.

‘How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World’ tops new movie releases

Posted on: February 22nd, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

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

* How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World — The third and likely final installment in the How to Train Your Dragon series — the film’s being billed as “The Epic Conclusion” —  follows Hiccup, again voiced by Jay Baruchel, and his dragon, Toothless, as they discover their true destinies and test the strength of their friendship like never before. The animated film also features the voices of Cate Blanchett, T.J. Miller, Kristen Wiig, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Kit Harington and F. Murray Abraham. Rated PG.

* Fighting with My Family — Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson produced and makes an appearance in this biopic based on the 2012 documentary The Wrestlers: Fighting with My Family. It follows the journey of professional wrestler Saraya “Paige” Bevis — played by Florence Pugh — from growing up in a household of professional wrestlers to winning the WWE Divas Championship in 2014. It also focuses on the the conflict with her brother, Zac, portrayed by Jack Lowden, who competed against her for a spot in the WWE and lost. Game of Thrones star Lena Headey and Vince Vaughn also star. Rated PG-13.

* Run the Race — This faith-based sports drama, executive-produced by former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow, follows a pair of high school brothers whose father abandons them after the death of their mother. Zach, an all-State high school football player — played by Tanner Stine — sees his promising college football career crushed by a devastating injury. His brother David — portrayed by Evan Hofer — laces up his track cleats to salvage their future and show what’s possible when you believe. Rated PG.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Jussie Smollett’s legal team criticizes "law enforcement spectacle"

Posted on: February 22nd, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images(CHICAGO) — Jussie Smollett’s legal team apparently isn’t happy with the way his case has been handled by investigators.

“Today we witnessed an organized law enforcement spectacle that has no place in the American legal system,” declares a statement issued by his attorneys Thursday afternoon, hours after Smollett was arrested and formally charged in Chicago for allegedly faking a hate crime against him last month. 

The statement goes on: “The presumption of innocence, a bedrock in the search for justice, was trampled upon at the expense of Mr. Smollett and notably, on the eve of a mayoral election.  Mr. Smollett is a young man of impeccable character and integrity who fiercely and solemnly maintains his innocence and feels betrayed by a system that apparently wants to skip due process and proceed directly to sentencing.”

After Smollett’s arraignment, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie T. Johnson held a press conference in which he criticized Smollett, saying in part, “Why would anyone, especially an African-American man, use the symbolism of a noose to make false accusations? … How can an individual who’s been embraced by the city of Chicago turn around and slap everyone in the city in the face with these false claims?”  He further called the accusations “a scar” that “Chicago…didn’t earn.” 

The Empire star was arraigned on a class-four felony charge disorderly conduct/filing a false police report Thursday and released on $100,000 bond.  During his court appearance, Smollett maintained his innocence, denying he staged the anti-gay attack January 29, supposedly at the hands of “racist” supporters of President Trump.  Investigators say Smollett staged the attack to boost his profile, and his pay on Empire.

Speaking of Empire, Smollett returned to the Chicago set of the Fox drama after his court appearance Thursday.  While Fox has issued statements in support of Smollett in the wake of the initial attack reports, their most recent statement declares, “We understand the seriousness of this matter and we respect the legal process. We are evaluating the situation and we are considering our options.”

TNT didn’t need much time to decide to postpone airing an already recorded episode of Drop the Mic featuring Smollett, saying in a statement to ABC News that they’re “pulling the episode in the interest of not being exploitative of an incredibly sensitive situation. We are holding on airing his episode for now and we are replacing it with the Raven Simon vs Ron Funches and Joey McIntyre vs Joey Fatone episode.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Time’s Up CEO resigns after son accused of sexual assault, organization says

Posted on: February 22nd, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Former Time’s Up president and CEO Lisa Borders decided to resign this week after her son was accused of sexual assault.

Monkees’ lovable bass-guitar player Peter Tork dead at 77

Posted on: February 21st, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Peter Tork, who rocketed to teen-idol fame in 1966 playing the lovably clueless bass guitarist in the made-for-television rock band The Monkees, has died at 77

‘The View’ co-hosts react to Jussie Smollett’s allegedly staged attack

Posted on: February 21st, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Ana Navarro feels “duped,” and “pissed” learning the recent developments in Smollett’s investigation.

How the other half shivs: $13,500 "Axe-throwing experience" part of this year’s Oscars gift bag bonanza

Posted on: February 21st, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

ABC/Randy Holmes(LOS ANGELES) — Sure, “it’s just an honor to be nominated,” as many Oscars hopefuls will be saying this weekend, but being recognized by the Academy — win or lose — is an easy way for celebrities to scoop up a ton of freebies.

The gifts included in the nominees’ SWAG bag this year includes more than $100,000 worth of goodies, according to Forbes — though Distinctive Assets, the company that packages all the nominees’ stuff, stopped counting after 2016, when the retail value of each was clocked at $260,000.

Among the goodies gifted by the company this year, Forbes explains, is a $40,000, 12-night Tanzania vacation for two, and a six-night and seven-day stay at Koloa Landing Resort at Poipu in Kauai, Hawaii.

However, that’s not the only SWAG bag in town. Nominees, Oscar attendees, and presenters staying at the Four Seasons in Los Angeles get their own bag of goodies, too, and ABC Radio has learned that in addition to the myriad gadgets and anti-aging creams and other A-List bric-a-brac, included will be a $13,500 VIP “axe-throwing experience” offered by Kick Axe, New York City’s first axe-throwing venue.

For that price, one would think you’d get the chance to chuck axes at real-life dragons, though a rep for the company says The VIP experience includes one-on-one training with an “axe-pert,” and a private party.

The establishment’s founder and owner Ginger Flesher-Sonnier noted in a statement, “We look forward to hosting many of them for a bout of post-award-season stress relief…To be selected to be included as the gift celebrities are given in their hotel room at the Four Seasons is very axe-citing for the growing company.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Judge sets $100,000 bond for Jussie Smollett, orders ‘Empire’ actor’s passport surrendered

Posted on: February 21st, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Chicago Police Department(CHICAGO) — A Chicago judge set Jesse Smollett’s bond at $100,000 on Thursday and ordered him to surrender his passport, hours after a Chicago Police Department press conference, where Superintendent Eddie T. Johnson blasted the Empire star, saying that Smollett’s alleged staging of a hoax attack was a “publicity stunt…to promote his career.”

Standing before Cook County Circuit Court Judge John Fitzgerald Lyke, Jr., Smollett appeared steadfast. He’s repeatedly insisted that the attack was real and that he is a victim.

When first assistant state attorney Risa Lanier told Lyke that the actor had picked up the two brothers who authorities say he hired to carry out the attack, and showed them the location of where he wanted it to take place, Smollett shook his head in disagreement.

When Lyke told Smollett that the allegations, if true, are “utterly outrageous,” the actor nodded his head in agreement — adn did so again when Lyke said the noose detail was the most despicable part of the alleged scheme.

The judge also ordered pre-trial monitoring of the actor, and ordered him to stay away from the two brothers with whom he’d allegedly conspired.

At the Thursday morning press conference, a visibly angry Johnson called out the actor for betraying his race and his city with such an incendiary false claim.

“Jussie Smollett took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career,” Johnson said. “I am left hanging my head asking ‘why?’ Why would anyone, especially an African-American man, use the symbolism of a noose to make false accusations?”

Johnson told reporters that Smollett staged the attack — after sending himself a threatening letter to Empire‘s studios —  because he was “dissatisfied with his salary.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

WATCH: ‘GMA’ Hot List: Ken Jeong dishes on his new Netflix special

Posted on: February 21st, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Plus, Alex Trebek shares some of his favorite “Jeopardy!” moments and park rangers are apparently concerned about people stealing cactuses from parks.

She’s back: Wendy Williams returns to her show on March 4

Posted on: February 21st, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

ABC(NEW YORK) — After a nearly three-month extended hiatus from her daytime talk show due to health issues, Wendy Williams is set to return to her namesake show next month.

The news of her return came on Thursday via a statement from the show’s production company, Debmar-Mercury, which was posted on the Wendy show Instagram page.

“Wendy Williams is an incredible talent with the most unique voice in daytime,” the statement read. “We can’t wait to welcome her back to her iconic purple chair on the set of her show on Monday, March 4th.”

The statement continues, “We so appreciate all of the guest hosts and panelists who filled in for Wendy during this time. These people are, and always will be, true family to the show. And we want to thank all of the loyal and supportive fans who have been with us for 10 years now.”

The statement also included a special note from Wendy.

“Salute to Debmar-Mercury for believing from the start and thanks to my staff for tirelessly holding it down for me,” it read.

As previously reported, Williams hasn’t returned to her show since it went on a holiday season hiatus in December. In mid-January, she first revealed that that she’d be delaying her return due to a fractured shoulder and “complications regarding her Graves’ Disease that will require treatment.”

Since then, the show has been airing repeats, as well as original episodes with a variety of guest hosts.

According to the announcement, the show will air repeat episodes during the week of February 25th and will then return with original episodes starting on Monday, March 4th.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Anna Paquin talks "amped-up" role in ‘Flack’; remembers "shocked" reaction to Oscar win at age 11

Posted on: February 21st, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

© 2019 Pop Media Group LLC. All rights reserved(NEW YORK) — On the new Pop TV series Flack, Anna Paquin plays Robyn, a publicist who cleans up high-profile messes but can’t seem to clean up her own messy life.

Paquin, who also serves as a producer on the U.K.-set series, says her character’s “amped-up” life mirrors the craziness of her chosen profession.

“As we all know, news cycles and the Internet happen instantaneously, so there’s no time to sort of think of things too much or dwell on things too much, the actress tells ABC Radio. Decisions have to be made immediately, crises have to be averted five minutes ago.

“[Robyn] also runs on sort of a crazy clock herself, just as far as some of her… let’s say, pastimes and less, uh, PG habits, Paquin continues. “So she’s a pretty amped-up person, sort of, already.”

Paquin says she she jumped at the chance to bring the story to the screen on a smaller network, where she could have creative freedom to bring this flawed character to life.

“I really like being involved from start to finish on something that I’m working on,” she says. “At this point, if I care enough about something to want to be in it, I probably wanna be more involved on the production side.”

Flack marks another new chapter for Paquin, who won the 1993 Best Supporting Actress Oscar at 11 years old for her role in The Piano. With the Oscars airing this Sunday, Paquin remembers her genuine reaction to winning at such a young age.

“A picture’s worth a thousand words,” she says. “So the absolutely shocked facial expression and speechless thing was pretty much…that’s what was going through my head: nothing. Just like, ‘oh wow.‘”

Flack premieres tonight on Pop at 10 p.m. ET.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

WATCH: Lisa Rinna’s ‘Real Housewives’ tagline

Posted on: February 21st, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

What would Michael and Sara’s “RHOBH” tagline be?

"I’m lost for words" — Tyler Perry, Octavia Spencer and other celebrities react to Jussie Smollett’s hoax, arrest

Posted on: February 21st, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Chicago Police Department(LOS ANGELES) — Celebrities are reacting to the arrest of Jussie Smollett, who’s been charged by Chicago PD with filing a false police report.  The Empire star falsely claimed he was attacked on January 29 by two men shouting racist and homophobic epithets.

Tyler Perry took to Instagram, writing, “I have personally spoken to Jussie, and he is adamant that he’s telling the truth. Also, everyone that I know who knows him says that he is not the kind of person who would make up such a horrible and awful thing. Yet the evidence seems to state otherwise.

He added, “I’m lost for words. To stoke fears and raise racial tensions is wrong in every situation on ALL SIDES! Yet my prayers are still with him and his family and our Nation. CAN WE PLEASE STOP THE HATE!”

Octavia Spencer reposted Perry’s words, and added some of her own.

“I’ve been trying to find the words and @tylerperry is elegant with his thoughts on this,” she wrote. “I’m seriously at a loss for words.”

Yvette Nicole Brown insisted her support for Jussie remains unchanged.

“I’ve been vocal about this situation & my love for Jussie & his entire family,” she tweeted. “I will continue to hope for the best for everyone involved as things continue to unfold. And I, like all of you, will watch them unfold. But believing victims is always the right choice.”

However, Ice Cube’s son, O’Shea Jackson Jr., voiced his frustration with Smollett, saying his claims could have led to actual violence.

“What upsets me about this Jussie situation is that people were genuinely worried about you man,” he tweeted. “And the things that you said happened could have led to some serious outcomes. People were prepared to fight for you bruh. Things coulda got ugly…… and you made it up.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

The "Honest Trailers" guys do the Oscars

Posted on: February 21st, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

© 2018 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved. (LOS ANGELES) — The folks behind Honest Trailers, which take a comedic view at coming attractions new and old, have focused their skewed view on this year’s Oscar contenders

Bohemian Rhapsody, is “brought to you by…er…a director” — poking fun of the persona non grata status of director Bryan Singer in the wake of sexual accusations against him. Meanwhile, the movie itself is celebrated as a tribute to “wigs and teeth.”

The Favourite, a period drama about England’s 18th century queen, Anne, is called the “other Queen biopic, that’s also about a difficult charismatic figurehead and the people who jockey for power around them.”

For Green Book, Viggo Mortensen’s character is compared to “one of the cartoon Italian chefs on the pizza box,” and the message of the film is described as, “Racism…now stay with me…is bad.” 

BlackKKlansman, from Best Director nominee Spike Lee — “yes, the guy at the Knicks games” — is described as a portrayal of racism in the past that “still relevant today…and really puts a damper on re-runs of That 70s Show” — thanks to Topher Grace’s portrayal of Ku Klux Klan member David Duke.

The oft-remade A Star is Born is described as a “film that comes along once in a generation — literally, like once in a generation since 1937.”

Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma, about a middle-class Mexican family and their maid, is described as a “sweeping, emotional” film, “that got Academy voters to wonder if their housekeepers were actual people.”

Other jabs: notoriously fickle comic book fans griping that Infinity War should have gotten a Best Picture nomination over Black Panther, and that Vice nominee Christian Bale has gone from “skinny, to fat, to Bat” on the big screen.

You can watch the whole thing now on YouTube.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Chris Hemsworth goes from Thor to Hulk…Hogan, that is

Posted on: February 21st, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

ABC/Randy Holmes(LOS ANGELES) — Chris Hemsworth is famous for playing Thor in the Marvel movies, but next, he’s been tapped to play a Hulk…Hulk Hogan, in fact. 

The Australian actor is attached to a proposed biopic chronicling the wrestling superstar’s rise to fame, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The film would reunite Todd Phillips and Scott Silver, the respective director and writer of the DC Comics’ upcoming Joker movie, while Bradley Cooper is on board to co-produce, along with Hemsworth.

Hogan — born Terry Gene Bollea — became a star of the World Wrestling Federation, which he parlayed into movie and TV appearances, endorsements and video games.

Hemsworth will next be seen reprising his role as Thor in Avengers: Endgame, opening nationwide April 26 from Marvel Studios, which is owned by Disney, the parent company of ABC News.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Jussie Smollett in custody; arrested for false report of hoax "attack"

Posted on: February 21st, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

ABC(CHICAGO) — Empire star Jussie Smollett has been arrested, and is currently in custody of detectives, according to Anthony Guglielmi, chief communications officer for the Chicago Police Department. 

Wednesday night, authorities filed a felony charge of disorderly conduct/filing a false police report against the actor, who falsely claimed he was the victim of an anti-gay hate crime at the hands of “racist” supporters of President Trump on January 29. 

Smollett’s story quickly unraveled, however, when investigators located two brothers known to Smollett. Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo reportedly told police that the actor paid them to orchestrate and carry out the fake attack, after a threatening letter reportedly directed at him wasn’t being taken seriously enough. 

The class 4 felony charge against Smollett is punishable for up to three years in prison.

Guglielmi said the arrest was the result of an, “an intense investigation that took a lot of police resources,” and insisted Smollett, “will be held accountable for that.” The spokesman added, “That was a pretty hateful allegation, and it really put a terrible look on Chicago. Chicago trusted this young man. We loved Empire. And we took this very seriously that something this hateful could happen in our city.”

Meantime, the FBI and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service are currently investigating whether Smollett played a role in sending the threatening letter himself, two federal officials confirmed to ABC News. If that’s confirmed, more charges against the actor are likely.

Following news of the false report charge last night, attorneys for Smollett said in a statement provided to ABC News: “Like any other citizen, Mr. Smollett enjoys the presumption of innocence, particularly when there has been an investigation like this one where information, both true and false, has been repeatedly leaked.  Given these circumstances, we intend to conduct a thorough investigation and to mount an aggressive defense.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Oscar-nominated stars of Netflix’s ‘Roma’ on their connection to the film

Posted on: February 21st, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

“Roma” star Yalitza Aparicio set aside her career as a teacher to audition, moved by her own mother’s sacrifices: leaving her own children to take care of others.

Gwyneth Paltrow’s accuser in skiing accident suit calls her countersuit "rife with errors"

Posted on: February 21st, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

ABC/Paula Lobo(NEW YORK) — Hours after Gwyneth Paltrow filed a countersuit against a man who claims he was injured by the actress while skiing in Utah, her accuser’s attorney has issued a response, claiming her counterclaim is “rife with errors.”

Utah man Terry Sanderson is suing Paltrow and the Deer Valley ski resort for $3.1 million, claiming a hit-and-run collision between him and Paltrow on February 26, 2016 left him with “a concussion, brain injury and four broken ribs.”

In the countersuit, filed Wednesday, Paltrow claims it was she that was struck by the plaintiff.

“Ms. Paltrow remembers what happened very clearly. She was enjoying skiing with her family on vacation…when Plaintiff…plowed into her back,” sustaining “a full ‘body blow,'” reads the complaint.  “Ms. Paltrow was angry with [Sanderson], and said so. [He] apologized. She was shaken and upset, and quit skiing for the day, even though it was still morning.”

The suit adds that a Deer Valley employee and Paltrow prepared a report stating that Sanderson had “taken [Paltrow] out from behind,'” meaning the collision was his fault.

In a response obtained by ABC, Sanderson’s attorney calls Paltrow’s counterclaim “rife with errors,” alleging she “skied into [Sanderson’s] back, breaking 4 of his ribs and leaving him with a concussion.”  Sanderson’s lawyer also claims they have a witness who can confirm that, as well as their assertion that Paltrow “left the scene of the collision.”

The statement further alleges Paltrow and her group “failed to notify ski patrol as required by a criminal statute in Summit County, Utah,” adding, “Failing to stay at the scene of the accident or ski collision is a violation of that law.”

Sanderson’s response also accuses Paltrow’s ski instructor of changing his story, first stating that he didn’t see the collision, then making false statement to cover it up.

The statement also contends the Avengers: Endgame actress’ pleading “misrepresents Dr. Sanderson’s medical records” by claiming that Sanderson, 69, “told his doctor about one year earlier that he was blind in his right eye, and that his vision in his left eye was decreasing. Just three weeks before the incident, Plaintiff told his doctor that Plaintiff had ‘gotten old all of a sudden.'” It also notes Sanderson had “15 other chronic medical issues.”

Paltrow’s countersuit claims that after the accident, Sanderson’s doctor tested him and did not find any “deficits in his cognitive functioning…” and that a friend insisted Sanderson “acted the same” after the collision as he did before.

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Jussie Smollett charged with filing a false police report about alleged attack

Posted on: February 20th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Bennett Raglin/BET/Getty Images for BET(CHICAGO) — Empire star Jussie Smollett, who claimed he was assaulted on January 29 in Chicago by two men who used racial and homophobic slurs, has been charged with disorderly conduct for filing a false police report, signaling that investigators believe the 36-year-old actor and singer fabricated the attack.

“The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office has approved a disorderly conduct charge on Jussie Smollett,” the office confirmed to ABC News.  A bond hearing for Smollett is set for 1:30 p.m. local time Thursday in Chicago’s Central Bond Court. 

Chicago PD spokesperson Anthony Gugliemi tweeted Thursday evening,Detectives will make contact with [Smollett’s] legal team to negotiate a reasonable surrender for his arrest.”

Gugliemi further told ABC News that Smollett’s attorneys “have not shared where he is at this point.”

“I know this can be difficult emotionally, and we hope [Smollett] doesn’t do anything terrible,” said Gugliemi.  “We want to make this as diplomatic as possible. In the end, this is only a class 4 felony. He will get through this and we want to make it as easy as possible for him to do it. But again, it is about accountability.”

Following news of the charge, attorneys for Smollett said in a statement provided to ABC News: “Like any other citizen, Mr. Smollett enjoys the presumption of innocence, particularly when there has been an investigation like this one where information, both true and false, has been repeatedly leaked.  Given these circumstances, we intend to conduct a thorough investigation and to mount an aggressive defense.”

Two brothers known to Smollett have reportedly told police that the actor paid them to orchestrate and carry out the attack.  According to Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo, Smollett was upset because a threatening letter directed at him, sent to Empire’s Chicago studios on January 22, wasn’t being taken seriously enough.   Chicago police reportedly have surveillance video of the brothers purchasing supplies for the alleged attack, during which Smollett claimed an unknown liquid was poured on him and a noose placed around his neck.

The FBI and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service are currently investigating whether Smollett played a role in sending the threatening letter himself, two federal officials confirmed to ABC News.

Despite an initial report that Smollett was being written out of Empire, Fox released a statement Wednesday, prior to Smollett being charged, that he’s still an important part of the series.  “Jussie Smollett continues to be a consummate professional on set and as we have previously stated, he is not being written out of the show,” said Fox and 20th Century Fox TV. 

Late Wednesday night, Variety reported that producers were now considering suspending Smollett from the series, in the wake of his indictment.  That report has not been confirmed.

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"Empire" star Jussie Smollett is now a suspect in his own attack

Posted on: February 20th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

ABC

(CHICAGO) — Empire star Jussie Smollett, who claimed he was assaulted on January 29 by two men who used racial and homophobic slurs, is now officially classified as a suspect in a criminal investigation by Chicago police.

According to a tweet by Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi, Smollett will be charged with filing a false police report, a Class 4 felony. Detectives are currently presenting evidence before a Cook County Grand Jury.

The news comes after Chicago police continued their investigation into the alleged attack on the Empire actor. ABC News confirmed that police and prosecutors met with Smollett’s attorneys in Chicago on Wednesday.

Guglielmi said that no evidence had been presented to a grand jury on behalf of the Smollett case on Tuesday. He also said he could not confirm reports that half a dozen subpoenas seeking Smollett’s cell phone and bank records have been issued.

Despite an initial report that Smollett was being written out of Empire, Fox has released a statement on Wednesday confirming that Smollett is still an important part of the series.

“Jussie Smollett continues to be a consummate professional on set and as we have previously stated, he is not being written out of the show,” said Fox and 20th Century Fox TV in a statement to ABC News.

The statement was issued prior to Smollett being named a suspect.

Two brothers known to Smollett have reportedly told police that the actor paid them to orchestrate and carry out the attack.  According to the brothers, Smollett was upset because a threatening letter directed at him, sent to Empire’s Chicago studios on January 22, wasn’t being taken seriously enough. 

The FBI and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service are currently investigating whether Smollett played a role in sending the threatening letter himself, two federal officials confirmed to ABC News.

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‘The View’ confirms Whoopi Goldberg is not hosting the Oscars

Posted on: February 20th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

“She’s not really even well enough to host the show right now,” Joy Behar says about Whoopi Goldberg’s absence from “The View.” “Much less the Oscars.”