Movies

Bryan Singer's directing career may be dead. Bryan Singer -- the original director of "Bohemian Rhapsody," one of the most successful and critically acclaimed movies of 2018 -- will never work for a major Hollywood studio again, sources say. Although the Freddie Mercury biopic has grossed more than $800 million worldwide so far and garnered five Oscar nominations, including for its star Rami Malek, Singer -- long accused of having sex with underage boys -- is now as unemployed as Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey and Woody Allen. The only producer willing to work with Singer, 53, is Avi Lerner, whose Millennium Films churns out such genre movies as "Texas Chainsaw 3D," "The Legend of Hercules" and "The Expendables" and its two sequels. It was announced in September that Singer would direct "Red Sonja," a "Conan the Barbarian" comic-book spinoff that Lerner had been trying to develop for 10 years with such actresses as Rose McGowan, Megan Fox and Amber Heard in the title role. Lerner stood by Singer last week after the Atlantic published new accounts of four men who claimed they had sex with Singer when they were teenagers. Singer dismissed the story as "a homophobic smear piece." "I know the difference between agenda-driven fake news and reality, and I am very comfortable with this decision," Lerner said, in a statement. "In America people are innocent until proven otherwise." In 2017, an ex-employee accused Millennium Films of widespread sexual harassment. But Singer is only "attached" to the movie and doesn't have a contract yet. Sources said Lerner would be loathe to pay Singer the full $10 million reported to be his fee. "Avi is a bargain hunter," one movie veteran said. "He sees an opportunity to hire a top director at less than a top salary. They may be able to reach a deal." If Singer does direct, finding a star to play the lead will be difficult and big-name actresses are expensive. A rep declined to comment on the movie's contracts. (PageSix)

Jason Reitman's Ghostbusters sequel, Jared Leto's Morbius cement 2020 releases. On Friday, in the dead of night, as the frigid winter winds howled through the East Coast, Sony Pictures cemented dates for its comic book vampire movie and a ghost-hunting sequel. Jason Reitman's surprise Ghostbusters movie, planned for a summer 2020 release, officially hammered down July 10, 2020 for its theatrical bow, EW can confirm. Three weeks later, Morbius, the Spider-Man-based spin-off film starring Jared Leto as the soon-to-be vampiric antihero, will premiere on July 31, 2020. These new dates come amid a few scheduling shifts for various Sony releases, including, as Deadline reports, a flag pole planted for an undisclosed Marvel film on Oct. 2, 2020. Given the box office success of Venom, the planned sequel to the Tom Hardy symbiote flick feels like a solid guess, though the studio is also developing multiple other standalone films based on characters surrounding -- but not including -- Spider-Man, thanks to that deal to bring Tom Holland's web-slinger into Disney's Avengers world. EW exclusively broke the news that Reitman, son of original Ghostbusters helmer Ivan Reitman, who write and direct a new Ghostbusters movie set long after the events of the 1984 movie. It does not have any affiliation with Paul Feig's female-fronted Ghostbusters, which brought up sore feelings for the filmmaker and stars. "It is not a reboot. What happened in the '80s happened in the '80s, and this is set in the present day," Reitman said. Morbius, meanwhile, is based on Spider-Man comic villain Dr. Michael Morbius, a biochemist who inadvertently infects himself with vampirism after attempting to cure himself of a rare blood disease. Sony recently cast The Crown's Matt Smith to star opposite Leto in the film, which is directed by Daniel Espinosa. Sony's Greyhound also moved a year from March 22, 2019 to May 8, 2020, Black and Blue set a Sep. 20, 2019 release, and Mister Rogers film A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood moved from Oct. 18, 2019 to Nov. 22. (Entertainment Weekly)

Sundance: 'Ask Dr. Ruth' Director Says Documentary "Is Like a 'Forrest Gump'-Style Story." The doc follows 90-year-old sex therapist Ruth Westheimer, tracing her life from Holocaust survivor to beloved media figure. At age 90, Ruth Westheimer is plenty busy, what with teaching at Columbia University, writing a new edition of her definitive Sex for Dummies and starring in commercials for products like Sling TV. So, when producer Rafael Marmor called Dr. Ruth and asked her to collaborate on a documentary, the pint-sized sex therapist with a thick German accent said, "No thank you. I've had many, many offers, and I'm so busy," she recalls. But Marmor had a plan to team Westheimer with Emmy-nominated director Ryan White (The Case Against?8), so the feminist trailblazer who prides herself on "doing my homework" binge-watched White's docu -- series The Keepers and decided to participate in Ask Dr. Ruth, which made its world premiere Jan. 25. (Submarine has sold all North American rights to Hulu, which hired Magnolia to release it in theaters before the streaming window.) "This is like a Forrest Gump-style story," says White of his protagonist, a Holocaust survivor whose parents perished in the Nazi death camps. "She's intersected with so many important parts of world history that I don't know if there's a living person that has such a remarkable story." And though it's easy to find many pictures of Westheimer with her fellow '80s icon Donald Trump, the naturalized U.S. citizen refuses to weigh in on the president or his immigration policies. "I don't answer anything in politics. I vote. Every single opportunity since I became an American citizen. However, I'm very upset when I see pictures of children being taken from their parents because that reminds me of [when] my mother and grandmother brought me to the railroad station for the Kindertransport," she says. "But somebody who talks about sex has to stay away from politics." And with that, Dr. Ruth launches in with her advice for achieving the best possible orgasm. "Do not engage in sex [only] at night, but in the morning too. Go to the bathroom, have a little breakfast, and go back to bed, because the erection for men is easier in the morning," she says. "Also, it's not true that women don't like to have sex in the mornings after a good night's sleep." (Hollywood Reporter)

Anne Hathaway Just Gave a Major Update About The Princess Diaries 3. Sweet Genovia, it's all happening. Plans for The Princess Diaries 3 are very much intact and Anne Hathaway and Julie Andrews, who played Mia Thermopolis and Queen Clarisse Renaldi in the first two films, released in 2001 and 2004, are on board. In 2017, franchise creator and author Meg Cabot told EW that she had heard that there was a script for another sequel. On Bravo's Watch What Happens Live on Thursday, Hathaway, who had her breakout role in the first movie, confirmed this and gave an update about the third film's development. "There is a script for the third movie," the actress said, replying to a fan's question. "There is a script. I want to do it, Julie wants to do it, Debra Martin Chase our producer wants to do it. We all really want it to happen." "It's just, we don't want to do it unless it's perfect, because we love it just as much as you guys love it," Hathaway continued. "It's as important to us as it is to you and we don't want to deliver anything until it's ready. But we're working on it." In 2016, director Garry Marshall told E! News that he and Disney were in talks to make The Princess Diaries 3. "Well, you know, Disney is quite powerful," he said, "and they say they would like to announce -- not me -- but we are talking." He told People around the same time that he had spoken to Hathaway and that "it looks like we want to do The Princess Diaries 3 in Manhattan," adding he thought they would start working on the film after the actress gave birth to her son. But months after both interviews, Marshall, 81, died of complications from pneumonia following a stroke. "I think we might do it in honor of him," Andrews told BuzzFeed News in 2017, referring to the late director. "Annie had an idea that she wanted to pursue about it, and I'm all for it, so if she'd like to." (Eonline)

Anne Hathaway stands by new film despite critics. Anne Hathaway is having fun celebrating her new movie, "Serenity," which has been dubbed, "This year's first gloriously bad movie." She stars opposite Matthew McConaughey in the film, which according to one outlet "steps over the line between stupid and clever." But Hathaway -- who turned up to the Cinema Society premiere Wednesday -- could not care less. She posted on Instagram: "We keep it real around here: Some critics get 'Serenity' and, like me, find it interesting, moving, ambitious and different, and for some it just doesn't work. That's cool .?.?. not everyone has to like everything, and the critical response doesn't change my feelings about the movie." She added, "However, other people's time and money are not be taken for granted so I just want to be clear: I endorse the movie, many critics don't." She was joined by guests including Alves, Diane Lane, Famke Janssen, Adam Duritz, Huma Abedin and Candace Bushnell at Magic Hour rooftop bar. Hathaway added: "Wasn't my Givenchy skirt for the premiere rad?" (PageSix)

Carol Kane thinks 'The Princess Bride' should never be remade. While Hollywood has been busy remaking dozens of beloved movies such as "Overboard," "A Star Is Born," and "The Lion King," actress Carol King thinks "The Princess Bride" should not be one of them. "I don't think a movie remake [would work] because I think it's perfect," Kane, told Page Six at The Paley Media Center on Thursday. "I would gather that Rob Reiner [the movie's director] would say the same and everybody in it would say the same." In the 1987 film, Kane played Valerie, the wife of Miracle Max, who was portrayed by Billy Crystal. The rest of the cast was filled with other notables including Cary Elwes, Mandy Patinkin, Wallace Shawn, Andre the Giant, Christopher Guest, Fred Savage, Robin Wright, Peter Falk and more. The 66-year-old actress expressed that the film's writer, William Goldman, was such a genius that he couldn't be beat. "I think that I cannot imagine them doing a remake although now they're doing remakes of just about everything," she told us. "But why re-make something that's perfect the first time around? That's what I think." (PageSix)

Michael Jackson Documentary Leaving Neverland Draws Shock at Sundance Film Festival Screening. A new documentary about past allegations of child sexual abuse made against the late Michael Jackson drew emotional reactions after it premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival on Friday. Leaving Neverland, which the King of Pop's estate has denounced, focuses on accusations by two men, choreographer Wade Robson and computer programmer James Safechuck, and was directed by Dan Reed. The three took part in a Q&A after the screening of the four-hour film at the Egyptian Theatre in Park City, UT and received a standing ovation from the packed crowd, Deadline reported. Earlier, the Daily Beast's Kevin Fallon tweeted, "On a 10-min break halfway through Sundance's 4-hour Michael Jackson child sex abuse documentary. Whatever you thought you knew or were aware of, the content of this is more disturbing than you could imagine. And again, we're only halfway through." "It's halftime at the four-hour Michael Jackson doc and I'm already gonna need 400 showers to ever feel clean again. #Sundance," IndieWire film critic David Erlich tweeted. The Los Angeles Times' Amy Kaufman said there was an "incredibly emotional reaction from the audience." "One audience member says he was molested as a child and that Robson and Safechuck 'are going to do a lot more f--king good in the world than Michael f--king Jackson,'" she tweeted. Healthcare professionals were present in the theater lobby to help any audience members upset by the film's content. Two pro-Jackson protesters were spotted outside. A few police officers were stationed outside the theater, tweeted Variety's Matt Donnelly. In recent years, Robson and Safechuck filed lawsuits against Jackson's estate after the singer's 2009 death, claiming sexual misconduct by him. Their cases were dismissed. In a 2005 criminal trial, Jackson was acquitted of charges of molesting a different boy, at his Neverland ranch. "This is yet another lurid production in an outrageous and pathetic attempt to exploit and cash in on Michael Jackson," Jackson's estate had said about Leaving Neverland in a statement earlier this month. "Wade Robson and James Safechuck have both testified under oath that Michael never did anything inappropriate toward them. Safechuck and Robson, the latter a self-proclaimed 'master of deception', filed lawsuits against Michael's Estate, asking for millions of dollars. Both lawsuits were dismissed." "I'm here to stand up for him," one of the Sundance demonstrators, Canadian fan Brenda Jenkyns, told Variety. "It's important that people look at the facts, because the truth isn't black and white." Jackson's nephew Taj Jackson also came to his uncle's defense on Friday, tweeting, "After years of coaching and studying for these roles, I'm sure Wade (self-proclaimed "Master of Deception") and Jimmy both gave Oscar winning performances. Media, please do a 10 minute google search before you condemn an innocent man who is no longer here to defend himself." Taj has set up a GoFundMe page to raise money to produce another documentary that will "conclusively destroy decades of salacious myths which have been told and sold about Michael Jackson ad nauseam." As of Friday afternoon, more than $26,000 has been raised, with a goal of reaching $777,000. Robson had testified at Jackson's 2005 trial in the singer's defense. He stated in his complaint that he didn't think he'd been sexually abused until he suffered two nervous breakdowns and went to psychotherapy as an adult, according to the Los Angeles Times. "I don't feel that like there is anything I need to say to them except that I understand that it is really hard or them to believe," Robson at the Sundance Q&A said about Jackson's fans who don't believe him, according to Deadline. "Even though it happened to me, I still couldn't believe it and I couldn't believe that what Michael did was a bad thing, so I understand." Safechuck told the audience that "there was no money ever offered" for his and Robson's participation in the film, adding that he wanted to shine a light" on sexual abuse of children and what can be done to stop it. Leaving Neverland will premiere on HBO and the UK's Channel 4 this spring. (Eonline)

Lin-Manuel Miranda is peeved about this year's Oscars. Does Lin-Manuel Miranda have the power to change the Oscars? First the "Hamilton" creator saved the beloved Drama Bookshop in New York, and now he hopes to convince the Academy to let all Best Original Song nominees perform during the telecast, as is tradition, after a report claimed that only two of the five nominated songs would make the cut. Rumor has it that "The Place Where Lost Things Go," the nominated tune from Miranda's movie "Mary Poppins Returns," will be among those left out on Hollywood's big night. "The 1st time I stayed up to watch the Oscars, it was because I LOVED The Little Mermaid & they were going to sing songs from the movie I loved on The Oscars," Miranda tweeted Friday. "If true, and Poppins' song won't be performed, truly disappointing. Hostless AND music-less? To quote Kendrick: Damn." Earlier this week, Variety reported that only Kendrick Lamar and SZA's "All the Stars" from "Black Panther" and Lady Gaga's "Shallow" from "A Star Is Born" will be performed on Feb. 24. According to a Variety source, the decision is mostly due to the show having to be cut down to three hours on air. A rep for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences didn't immediately respond to Page Six's request for comment. (PageSix)

'Bohemian Rhapsody' pulled from GLAAD Awards over Bryan Singer accusations. "Bohemian Rhapsody" has been removed as a best original film nominee at this year's GLAAD Media Awards, following new accusations of sexual assault and misconduct against director Bryan Singer. The media watchdog told Variety exclusively it has pulled the film from contention for the prize, in a weighted decision that takes a stand for sexual assault victims. Singer has consistently denied misconduct and called the Atlantic story "a homophobic smear piece." "In light of the latest allegations against director Bryan Singer, GLAAD has made the difficult decision to remove 'Bohemian Rhapsody' from contention for a GLAAD Media Award in the Outstanding Film Wide Release category this year. This week's story in The Atlantic documenting unspeakable harms endured by young men and teenage boys brought to light a reality that cannot be ignored or even tacitly rewarded," GLAAD said in a statement to Variety. "Singer's response to The Atlantic story wrongfully used 'homophobia' to deflect from sexual assault allegations and GLAAD urges the media and the industry at large to not gloss over the fact that survivors of sexual assault should be put first," the statement continued. Reps for Singer and 20th Century Fox, the distributor of "Bohemian Rhapsody," had no immediate comment. The full list of nominations will be announced Friday morning live on Facebook at 10 a.m. E.T. Time's Up, the bellwether group formed in wake of Harvey Weinstein's downfall that is committed to legal support for accusers and gender parity in Hollywood, applauded the decision from GLAAD. "We are in the midst of a cultural reckoning. Though there was once a time when business as usual could continue amid credible allegations of sexual assault and violence, that era has ended forever. The recent allegations regarding Bryan Singer's behavior are horrifying and MUST be taken seriously and investigated," the group said in a statement. GLAAD had previously championed the film for its unflinching depiction of gay icon Freddie Mercury's sexuality and battle with AIDS. "The team that worked so hard on 'Bohemian Rhapsody' as well as the legacy of Freddie Mercury deserve so much more than to be tainted in this way. 'Bohemian Rhapsody' brought the story of LGBTQ icon Freddie Mercury to audiences around the world, many of whom never saw an out and proud lead character in a film or saw the impact of HIV and AIDS in fair and accurate ways. The impact of the film is undeniable. We believe, however, that we must send a clear and unequivocal message to LGBTQ youth and all survivors of sexual assault that GLAAD and our community will stand with survivors and will not be silent when it comes to protecting them from those who would do them harm," GLAAD said. The Atlantic report saw Singer accused of inappropriate groping and sexual relationships with young men. One, a 13-year-old extra on the Singer film "Apt Pupil," said the director fondled his genitals without consent. "Other films that involve Singer now or in the future should take note of the backlash to The Atlantic story and other previous allegations. The industry cannot let those who perpetuate harms against anyone especially vulnerable young people go unnoticed or unchecked any longer," GLAAD concluded. Three other accusers are identified in the story by pseudonyms. One, identified in the story as Andy, says that he had sex with Singer when he was 15. Another man, identified as Eric, says he was 17 when he began having sex with the director. Singer would have been 31 at the time. The third man, Ben, alleges that he and Singer had oral sex when he was 17 or 18. (PageSix)

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