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Dave Bautista will quit ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ if Disney doesn’t use James Gunn’s script

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It’s been more than two weeks since Disney announced their decision to fire James Gunn as director of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 after old, offensive tweets the filmmaker wrote nearly a decade ago began to resurface as part of a smear campaign led by right-wing blogger and conspiracy theorist Mike Cernovich. However, the discussion surrounding the company’s controversial decision hasn’t cooled down one bit.

Last week, the Guardians cast, including Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Karen Gillan, Sean Gunn, Pom Klementieff, and Michael Rooker, all signed an open letter in support of Gunn, who was set to begin shooting the third installment in the critically acclaimed franchise this fall.

Bautista has been particularly vocal about Gunn’s firing, writing on Twitter yesterday that he will do what he is contractually obligated to do with Disney, but “Guardians without James Gunn is not what I signed up for” and that “it’s also pretty nauseating to work for someone who’d empower a smear campaign by fascists.”

Cernovich was just one of the many people who actively promoted the fake “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory during the 2016 presidential election, which falsely claimed that Hillary Clinton and her campaign manager, John Podesta, were running a child sex trafficking ring out of a pizzeria called Comet Ping Pong in Washington D.C.

But what made Gunn a prime target for Cernovich’s latest smear campaign? It was his outspoken criticism of President Donald Trump, the entire current White House administration, and other Republican figures devoted to the “Make America Great Again” agenda. Some even saw Gunn’s firing as revenge for what happened to Roseanne Barr in a similar situation just a few months earlier.

In a recent interview with ShortList, Bautista talked about Gunn’s firing a bit more and revealed that if Marvel doesn’t use Gunn’s script for the next Guardians movie, he will begin exploring the option of being released from his contract with the studio.

“Nobody’s defending his tweets, but this was a smear campaign on a good man,” Bautista said. “I spoke to Chris Pratt the day after it happened and he’s a bit religious so he wanted time to pray and figure it out, but I was more like: fuck this. This is bullshit. James is one of the kindest, most decent people I’ve met.”

He added, “Where I’m at right now is that if [Marvel] don’t use that script, then I’m going to ask them to release me from my contract, cut me out or recast me. I’d be doing James a disservice if I didn’t.”

Despite the immense amount of backlash from fans and the film’s own stars, one source with insider knowledge tells Silver Screen Beat that, at this point, it doesn’t seem likely that Gunn will be rehired by Disney because the company “doesn’t want it to look like they can be pressured or pushed around” into making decisions.

If that really is the case, by responding to the demands of a radical right-winger like Cernovich and his horde of online trolls, Disney has already let the public know that they can be pushed around into making decisions, so what are they really worried about here?

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

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Oscars
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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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‘Star Wars: Episode IX’ officially wraps principal photography with an emotional cast photo

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Star Wars: Episode IX
LUCASFILM LTD.

Star Wars: Episode IX director J.J. Abrams announced today via Twitter that the highly anticipated final chapter in the Skywalker saga has officially wrapped principal photography, leading us to believe that our first look at the film could be just around the corner.

“It feels impossible, but today wrapped photography on Episode IX. There is no adequate way to thank this truly magical crew and cast. I’m forever indebted to you all,” Abrams wrote in his tweet this afternoon.

Abrams’ tweet also includes an emotional set photo featuring cast members Daisy Ridley, who plays Rey, John Boyega, who plays Finn, and Oscar Isaac, who plays Poe Dameron, embracing on their final day of shooting.

“That’s a wrap on Star Wars episode 9 and the end to a chapter of my life that I couldn’t be more thankful for,” Boyega wrote in a tweet of is own. “What a process! It really has been a joy to be in these movies surrounded by amazing people. JJ, thank you for making my dreams come true.”

Abrams, who launched a new era of Star Wars with The Force Awakens in 2015, will now take Episode IX to the editing bay, where it will remain in post-production for the next 10 months or so until its December 20 release date.

You can check out the tweets from Abrams and Boyega below.

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Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron strike up a hilarious romance in the first ‘Long Shot’ trailer

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Long Shot
LIONSGATE

Ahead of the film’s world premiere at the South by Southwest Film Festival next month, Lionsgate has released the first trailer for Long Shot, the eagerly awaited romantic comedy starring Charlize Theron and Seth Rogen from The Night Before and 50/50 director Jonathan Levine.

Long Shot follows Fred Flarsky (Rogen), an unemployed journalist who reunites with his first crush (and former babysitter) Charlotte Field (Theron), one of the most influential women in the world. As she begins eyeing a run for the Presidency, she hires Fred as her speechwriter, making him a fish out of water on her elite team.

However, despite Fred’s unpreparedness for her glamorous lifestyle in the limelight, sparks begin to fly as their unmistakable chemistry leads to a round-the-world romance and a serious of unexpected (and somewhat dangerous) incidents.

In addition to the dynamic duo that is Rogen and Theron, Long Shot‘s incredible ensemble cast also includes the likes of O’Shea Jackson Jr., Alexander Skarsgård, Andy Serkis, Ravi Patel, Randall Park, and June Diane Raphael.

Long Shot will have its world premiere at South by Southwest on March 9 before opening in theaters nationwide on May 3.

You can check out the newly released trailer for the film below.

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