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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Movies

The New Christopher Robin Trailer Will Give You All The Feels. Our first full-length look at Christopher Robin on the big screen is here! Star Ewan McGregor stopped by The Ellen DeGeneres Show to debut the exclusive full trailer of the upcoming Disney film. In the heartwarming live-action/CGI clip, we see Christopher Robin, played by McGregor, all grown up and living in London with a family of his own. He appears worn out and run down as he struggles to balance work and family. However, when he receives a surprise visit from Winnie-the-Pooh, he returns to Hundred Acre Wood and begins smiling again. It's then that Pooh and the rest of his childhood friends (Piglet, Eeyore, Tigger, Kanga, Roo, Rabbit and Owl) realize that it's finally their "turn to save Christopher." And so the beloved gang sets off on a journey to the city to reunite with their old friend and help him navigate his way through family, friendship and life. Christopher Robin is directed by Marc Forster and is based on characters from A.A. Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh book series. In addition to McGregor, the film stars Hayley Atwell as wife Evelyn, Bronte Carmichael as daughter Madeline and Mark Gatiss as Giles Winslow, Christopher's boss. The film also features the voices of Jim Cummings as Winnie-the-Pooh and Tigger, Brad Garrett as Eeyore, Toby Jones as Owl, Nick Mohammed as Piglet, Peter Capaldi as Rabbit and Sophie Okonedo as Kanga. McGregor, who recently won a Golden Globe for Fargo, has clearly become quite close with the childhood characters as he walked out to Ellen DeGeneres carrying his own Winnie-the-Pooh plush toy. "I got very used to seeing him every day at work over four and a half months, and I'm rather fond of him now," he explained of his furry friend. "Our story takes place, obviously, when Christopher Robin is my age -- which is older than seven," he continued. "So, he's older now, Pooh, and he's got a bit of wear and tear on him, which I think is lovely." Christopher Robin hits theaters Aug. 3. (Eonline)

Red Granite Missing From 'Papillon' Poster. The troubled company's name is absent from the credits of the big-budget remake that was the only film left on its slate after becoming embroiled in a multi-billion-dollar corruption scandal. The recently concluded Cannes film festival marked the seven-year anniversary of Red Granite Pictures' spectacular launch party, the near-legendary beach event where Kanye West sang Gold Digger with Jamie Fox to an audience including the likes Leonardo DiCaprio, Jon Hamm and Adrien Brody, and Pharrell Williams boldly declared that the new production company which had just announced The Wolf of Wall Street was to change the film industry "forever." Much did indeed change since that starry launch, but perhaps not the way Red Granite's founders had envisioned. On the newly-released poster for Papillon, Red Granite's bold remake of the 1973 classic and currently the only film on the company's upcoming slate, the words "Red Granite" don't actually appear at all. In fact, the film starring Charlie Hunnam and Rami Malek and being released by Bleecker Street in August is listed in the billing block at the bottom as being a "Joey McFarland Production." McFarland is the Red Granite co-founder, the Kentucky native who set up the company with Riza Aziz and, according to the U.S. Department of Justice, received funding of at least $60 million plundered from Malaysia's sovereign wealth fund 1MDB. Aziz, who happens to be the stepson of the recently ousted Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak, is thought to have fled the U.S. in late 2015/early 2016 (he hasn't been seen in public there since the Daddy's Home premiere in December 2015), and has reportedly been keeping a very low profile in Malaysia (although last year he was spotted in the background of his step-father's state visit to China). His name also doesn't appear on the Papillon poster. It's no secret that Red Granite has been dragged through the mud a little over the last couple of years. Since it became embroiled in the multi-billion-dollar 1MBD scandal arguably the biggest financial heist in history in which a sovereign wealth fund was allegedly used by Razak and his cohorts as a personal piggy bank to finance mansions, diamonds, private jets, handbags, yachts and, indeed, Hollywood films it has repeatedly battled accusations regarding the source of its finances and its association with Jho Low, the flamboyant financier at the heart of the corruption scandal. Following an audacious launch and the success of The Wolf of Wall Street, Daddy's Home and Dumb and Dumber To, it has shed staff, sales departments and even seen these three films targeted by the Feds as part of the DoJ's record-breaking forfeiture claim. Earlier this year, Red Granite agreed to pay $60 million to the U.S. government to settle claims it was funded by money siphoned from 1MBD, stating that it was "glad to finally put this matter behind us and look forward to refocusing all of our attention back on our film business." But the future of the company is now in serious doubt, with no new titles added to its slate since Papillon was announced in 2015. The absence of "Red Granite" on the poster for this film isn't a particularly promising sign. (It's worth noting that at Toronto, where the film had its world premiere, Papillon was very much listed and still is, according to the website as a Red Granite production). It also seems like the company itself is beginning to recognize its own mortality. Its once lively web site now boasts a solitary page featuring a list of its film credits, with the 'About Us' section (which featured McFarland, Aziz and various others) having recently been removed. As for McFarland, his Instagram profile now lists a company called McFarland Entertainment, the web site of which states it is in the business of "content development + production for film and television." The homepage map points to Louisville, Kentucky, the town where he was born and raised. Reps assure The Hollywood Reporter that there is no change to McFarland's status at Red Granite, which remains in business. But exactly what this company does any more is unclear. Of course, any movement regarding a production company in Hollywood pales in comparison to what's currently going on in Malaysia. With Razak having lost the election this month, the former prime minister and his wife Rosmah Mansour are now the focus of an intense investigation, have been banned from leaving the country and are expected to face arrest soon. Family members are also part of the probe, and Red Granite co-founder Aziz, given his inclusion as one of the central names in the first DoJ report, could possibly be included. As for Low, the man once thanked alongside Aziz and McFarland by DiCaprio and given a special mention in the credits for The Wolf of Wall Street, is now believed to be on the run in Taiwan. (Hollywood Reporter)

'Sesame Street' creators sue over Melissa McCarthy flick. The creators of "Sesame Street" are suing the production company behind a new Melissa McCarthy comedy which features "ejaculating puppets" that resemble the kiddie show's beloved characters, court papers said. Sesame Workshop filed the suit in Manhattan federal court claiming that the producers behind "The Happytime Murders" are making a "deliberate attempt" to appropriate the "Sesame Street" brand in order to promote a film for adults. "Defendants' widely-distributed marketing campaign features a just-released trailer with explicit, profane, drug-using, misogynistic, violent, copulating, and even ejaculating puppets, along with the tagline 'NO SESAME. ALL STREET,'" the lawsuit reads. "The threat of irreparable injury posed to Sesame's mark and brand cannot be overstated." The comedy, set to be released in August, is a murder mystery revolving around puppets who exhibit raunchy behavior. The film was directed by Brian Henson, the son of Jim Henson, and is produced by the Henson Alternative banner which features more mature themes. Sesame Workshop alleges that the misuse of its brand is intent on confusing the public and infringes on its "intellectual property rights." The company is imploring the movie to drop the "NO SESAME" slogan from their ads while seeking compensatory and punitive damages. A spokesman for the movie production company, STX, released a statement that expressed no regret for the film. "STX loved the idea of working closely with Brian Henson and the Jim Henson Company to tell the untold story of the active lives of Henson puppets when they're not performing in front of children," read a statement attributed to a puppet character Fred, Esq. "While we're disappointed that Sesame Street does not share in the fun, we are confident in our legal position. We look forward to introducing adult moviegoers to our adorably unapologetic characters this summer." (PageSix)

SAG-AFTRA is reconsidering Morgan Freeman's Lifetime Achievement Award after eight people came forward with accusations of sexual harassment. "These are compelling and devastating allegations which are absolutely contrary to all the steps that we are taking to ensure a safe work environment for the professions in this industry," a SAG-AFTRA spokesperson said in a statement to Us Weekly on Thursday, May 24. "Any accused person has the right to due process, but it is our starting point to believe the courageous voices who come forward to report incidents of harassment. Given Mr. Freeman recently received one of our union's most prestigious honors recognizing his body of work, we are therefore reviewing what corrective actions may be warranted at this time." The 80-year-old actor, who won the award in January, denied all allegations against him in a statement to Us earlier on Thursday. "Anyone who knows me or has worked with me knows I am not someone who would intentionally offend or knowingly make anyone feel uneasy," the Oscar winner said. "I apologize to anyone who felt uncomfortable or disrespected -- that was never my intent." Freeman's statement came in response to a CNN report based on interviews with 16 people claiming to have witnessed or experienced the Going in Style actor's alleged abuse. A senior production staff member on the 2013 flick Now You See Me claimed that Freeman inappropriately commented on her and her colleagues' bodies while on set. "We knew that if he was coming by ... not to wear any top that would show our breasts, not wear anything that would show our bottoms, meaning not wearing clothes that [were] fitted," she told the network. Even more, a production assistant who worked with Freeman on 2017's Going in Style alleged that he "kept trying to lift up my skirt and asking if I was wearing underwear." She claimed that Freeman didn't stop until costar Alan Arkin stepped in. CNN reporter Chloe Melas also accused Freeman of sexually harassing her at a press junket last year when she was six months pregnant. According to Melas, the Shawshank Redemption actor told her she was "ripe" and looked her up and down multiple times. A male employee at Freeman's movie production company, Revelations Entertainment, also alleged that his boss was "very inappropriate." "It's hard because on set he is the most powerful person on it," the former staffer told CNN. "It's weird because you just don't expect it from Morgan Freeman, someone who you respect." (US Weekly)

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