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Millennium wipes ‘Red Sonja’ from production slate as it reconsiders hiring Bryan Singer

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Nearly two weeks after an exposé report detailing new sexual misconduct claims against director Bryan Singer was published by The Atlantic, it appears Millennium Films, the studio behind the filmmaker’s next project, is beginning to rethink their decision to hire Singer.

“The project is not on the slate at the moment and is not for sale at the European Film Market in Berlin,” a spokeswoman for Millennium told Variety in regards to the future of Red Sonja, a female-centered superhero film that Singer has been attached to direct since September and was expected to begin shooting later this year.

The spokeswoman’s remarks are surprising, to say the least, since it directly contradicts what Millennium CEO and Red Sonja producer Avi Lerner said last month on January 24, more than a day after the bombshell exposé was unleashed.

“I continue to be in development for Red Sonja and Bryan Singer continues to be attached,” Lerner said at the time, adding that he knows “the difference between agenda driven fake news and reality, and I am very comfortable with this decision. In America, people are innocent until proven otherwise.”

Lerner would later claim that the statement, which essentially called the dozens of accusers who have come out against Singer liars, was actually written by Hollywood PR and crisis expert Howard Bragman and that he did not read it before it was sent out to the media.

The Atlantic exposé, a joint 12-month investigation conducted by Esquire writers Alex French and Maximillian Potter, claims that Singer, who, in addition to directing several X-Men films over the course of his career, also directed awards frontrunner Bohemian Rhapsody, had sex with five underage boys, including a 13-year-old.

Singer, of course, denied the factuality of the story and referred to it as a “homophobic smear piece” in a statement.

So far, no legal action is being taken against the director.

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Daniel Kaluuya, Lakeith Stanfield in talks to star in drama about Black Panther Party leader

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Black Panther Party movie Daniel Kaluuya and Lakeith Stanfield
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Daniel Kaluuya and Lakeith Stanfield, who both starred in Jordan Peele’s psychological thriller Get Out in 2017, are set to reunite for the upcoming film Jesus Was My Homeboy, a historical drama detailing the controversial death of Black Panther Party leader Fred Hampton.

The film, which is being produced by Black Panther director Ryan Coogler and Charles King, will reportedly “follow the rise and untimely demise of Hampton as seen through O’Neal’s eyes,” according to Deadline.

Shaka King is directing and producing Jesus Was My Homeboy, working from a script he co-wrote along with Will Berson.

Kaluuya is in talks to play Hampton, while play Stanfield is in talks to play William O’Neal, a federal government informant who infiltrated the Black Panthers and provided authorities with key details about Hampton the layout of Hampton’s apartment.

Hampton and Mark Clark, another Black Panther Party member, would later be killed in Hampton’s Chicago apartment by a tactical unit of the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, who were carrying out orders from Chicago police and the FBI in December 1969.

While their deaths were ruled to be a “justifiable homicide,” a civil lawsuit filed on behalf of relatives of Hampton and Clark found otherwise, and the City of Chicago, Cook County, and the federal government were required to pay $1.85 million to the plaintiffs.

Sev Ohanian, Zinzi Coogler, Kim Roth, and Poppy Hanks are executive producing the film, which is expected to begin production later this year.

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New photo teases Tom Hanks and Matthew Rhys in Marielle Heller’s Mister Rogers biopic

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A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
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Tristar Pictures has released a new image from A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, the upcoming Mister Rogers biopic starring Tom Hanks in the role of the beloved children’s television show host. The film comes courtesy of Can You Ever Forgive Me? director Marielle Heller.

Per the film’s official synopsis, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is “a timely story of kindness triumphing over cynicism, based on the true story of a real-life friendship between Fred Rogers and journalist Tom Junod,” who you may have seen featured in the documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor? last year.

Written by Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster, the story begins when a jaded magazine writer (Matthew Rhys) accepts an assignment to write a profile piece on Mister Rogers, following him as he overcomes his skepticism about Rogers and learning about empathy, kindness, and decency from America’s most beloved neighbor in the process.

Marc Turtletaub, Peter Saraf, and Youree Henley are producing the film, which also stars Chris Cooper, Susan Kelechi Watson, Enrico Colatoni, Maryann Plunkett, Tammy Blanchard, Wendy Makkena, Sakina Jaffrey, Carmen Cusack, Noah Harpster, and Maddie Corman.

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood will open in theaters just in time for awards season on November 22, 2019.

You can check out the newly released image above.

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Amid an intense wave of backlash, the Academy has decided to air all Oscar categories live

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In the wake of an intense wave of backlash, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced Friday that they will be reversing their controversial decision to present four technical categories their awards during commercial breaks at the 91st Oscars ceremony next Sunday.

“The Academy has heard the feedback from its membership regarding the Oscar presentation of four awards – Cinematography, Film Editing, Live Action Short, and Makeup and Hairstyling,” the AMPAS board of governors said in a statement. “All Academy Awards will be presented without edits, in our traditional format.”

Sources familiar with the matter tell Silver Screen Beat that the Academy’s change of heart came after AMPAS president John Bailey and CEO Dawn Hudson met with members of the group’s cinematography branch Thursday evening to discuss the decision, which did not go over well with many Hollywood filmmakers and craftspeople.

“Relegating these essential cinematic crafts to lesser status in this 91st Academy Awards ceremony is nothing less than an insult to those of us who have devoted our lives and passions to our chosen profession,” read an open letter to the Academy signed by dozens of industry figures, including directors Martin Scorsese and Spike Lee and cinematographers Roger Deakins and Rachel Morrison.

The letter ends with a quote from Academy member Seth Rogen, who tweeted earlier this week, “What better way to celebrate achievements in film than to NOT publicly honour the people whose job it is to film things.”

The 91st Oscars will air live from the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on Sunday, February 24 on ABC.

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