Entertainment Headlines

Angela Weiss / AFP(LEBANON) -- Yes, the real Russell Crowe has stood up, after a "very generous" donation appeared on an online fundraising page for a beloved Beirut restaurant called LeChef, which suffered damage from last week's deadly explosion.

A journalist called Richard Hall was one of the fundraisers' organizers, and he tweeted that "someone called Russell Crowe made a very generous donation to our Le Chef fundraiser. But not sure if it's *the* @russellcrowe."

Turns out it was.

The restaurant was a favorite of the late Anthony Bourdain, who visited it in 2006 on his Emmy-winning No Reservations show -- and that evidently led the Oscar winner to pitch in.

"On behalf of Anthony Bourdain," Crowe said, confirming his identity. "I thought that he would have probably done so if he was still around. I wish you and LeChef the best and hope things can be put back together soon."

The Unhinged star donated $5,000 towards the fundraiser's goal of $15,000 -- it's only $800 away from that benchmark.

The Beirut blast killed at least 135 people, and injured thousands.

Bourdain died by suicide in 2018.

By Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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Mint Mobile(LOS ANGELES) -- With Disney , HBO Max, Peacock, and a host of other companies offering huge stockpiles of content, Ryan Reynolds has just launched his own -- which offers just one film. 

"Every tech company needs a streaming service," the actor and entrepreneur tweeted. "So… introducing Mint Mobile . The world’s most affordable streaming service!"

A promotional video invites users to "binge over 80 minutes of Ryan Reynolds" -- specifically, his movie Foolproof, presented in sumptuous "2003 DVD quality."

Of course, the post is just another clever gag from the Deadpool star and marketing master, who purchased Mint Mobile last year, and who has begun voicing and appearing in on-brand sarcastic spots for the wireless carrier.

In case you need further proof Reynolds isn't being fully serious, he followed the initial tweet with, "Two minutes after launch and our crack data team has already determined Mint Mobile should probably be shut down by the weekend. We’ll go back to focusing on premium wireless…"

By Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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Rooftop Films(NEW YORK) -- For residents of New York City, the summer usually means carefree days in Central Park and countless outdoor concerts and movie screenings -- but not in 2020. 

With COVID-19 keeping movie theaters closed and restricting the number of people who can gather at an event, the non-profit Rooftop Films has found success this summer with a retro classic that's becoming popular nationwide: the drive-in. 

Normally, the organization "engages and inspires the diverse communities of New York City by showcasing the work of emerging filmmakers and musicians" as part of its outdoor annual Summer Series, but in 2020, they're bringing the drive-in back to the fore in Queens and Brooklyn.

Their Queens Drive-In will kick off tonight with a screening of IFC Films' Tesla, starring Ethan Hawke. Other titles include the documentary thriller The Last Out; the classic family favorite The Muppet Movie; the Academy Award-winning feature film Mad Max: Fury Road, Stanley Kubrick’s enduring and visionary sci-fi masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey, and more.

Dan Nuxoll, the Artistic Director of Rooftop Films, tells ABC Audio, "[I]f done properly, [drive-ins] are really pretty much a completely safe way in these times to bring people together."

He adds, "[P]eople are really excited about it. You know, and obviously it's really one of the very few ways in which people can gather right now. So that's a big part of it. But I think also, you know, it's with movie theaters all closed, people are just missing that experience."

Nuxoll explains that the process, from ticket buying to check in is totally contactless, and of course, the patrons stay in their cars, listening to the movie's audio through their car's radio. "They just need to sit back and enjoy and watch the movies!"

By Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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FOX Image Collection via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Last month, Glee star Naya Rivera tragically drowned in California's Lake Piru; her four-year-old son was found safe in a boat.  Gloria Estefan played the mother of Rivera's Glee character, Santana, in two episodes of the hit Fox series and tells ABC Audio that while Rivera's loss is "brutal," she's left behind "a wonderful legacy."

"When I shot the first season, that show was at the peak of fame. So there was a lot of young people in that show that may have had a tougher time dealing with fame and weren't that friendly," Gloria recalls. "Naya always had her feet on the ground and was warm and welcoming and lovely."

Praising Rivera as a "triple threat" who could sing, dance and act, Gloria says that Naya was discussing a possible music career with her husband, producer Emilio Estefan.

"She was talking to Emilio...about doing music and then she got married and had her baby, so she got sidetracked...," notes Gloria. "But she was always lovely and warm and generous. We talked a lot on the set...[and] afterwards."

The "Conga" singer says when Rivera first went missing, she held out hope that she'd survived.

"Because I'm a boater and I'm a mom, I was hoping that maybe what had happened is that after she put the baby on the boat, maybe she'd gotten pulled away by a current and could somehow find her way to the shore," Gloria recalls.

"I can only imagine those last moments. It's brutal," she says sadly.

But, Gloria concludes, "She leaves behind a wonderful legacy. I've sent a lot of prayers and good thoughts to that baby boy and her family. She was very beloved on that [Glee] set and was a great human being." 

Gloria's new album Brazil305 comes out on Friday.

By Andrea Dresdale
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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Monty Brinton/CBS 2020 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.(LOS ANGELES) -- CBS has announced it has renewed the reality competition series Tough as Nails for a second season, a month after it debuted.

The Phil Keoghan-hosted show salutes everyday heroes, from fishermen to firefighters, by having them compete in a series of real-world physical, mental and skills challenges.

Keoghan tells ABC Audio that even though the show was conceived and shot before the COVID-19 pandemic brought home the importance of essential workers, Tough As Nails was conceived to celebrate the people that have always provided for us. The multiple-Emmy winning Amazing Race veteran explains the authenticity of the new series, and the contestants they choose, are key to the show's success.

"You're competing for real money," says Keoghan.  "And believe me, these people understand the value of a dollar. Every single one of them, because they work really hard."

Keoghan adds, "They're competing on real job sites. We haven't...built sets, or it's not an obstacle course or anything like that. It's it's real job sites. So we go to farms and we go to factories, we go to a pick-a-part. They are competing in real job sites, doing real jobs, building fences. And that's to me what has gives the show its authenticity."  

By Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic(LONDON) -- Acclaimed composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, like many in the entertainment industry, is looking forward to the day when theaters can reopen safely.  He also has made it known that he will do anything to save live theater. 

The Tony Award winner announced Wednesday that he's volunteered to help in the development of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Webber, 72, will officially join the vaccine trial helmed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca on Thursday, which has reportedly shown promising results.

"I am excited that tomorrow I am going to be vaccinated for the Oxford Covid 19 trial," the Cats composer announced in a tweet. "I’ll do anything to prove that theatres can re-open safely."

Webber has remained a staunch critic of theater closures in England, saying the extended blackout threatens their very survival.  

Already, there has been some casualties due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  In the U.S., Disney's Frozen on Broadway -- that opened in March 2018 --became the first Broadway giant to announce its permanent closure.

Thomas Schumacher, president and producer of Disney Theatrical Productions, cited the "industry-wide shutdown and resulting economic fallout" from the COVID-19 pandemic as to why the beloved show won't return once the Great White Way's lights turn back on in January.

Other Broadway shows that also announced their closures include Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Hangmen.

By Megan Stone
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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Credit: Mindy Tucker(LOS ANGELES) -- Author/comedian Sarah Cooper, who has become a viral sensation with her impersonations of President Donald Trump on TikTok, has landed her own Netflix special, titled Sarah Cooper: Everything's Fine, the streamer announced on Wednesday.

The special, directed by Orange Is the New Black alum Natasha Lyonne and executive produced by Saturday Night Live vet Maya Rudolph, will feature a "vignettes dealing with issues of politics, race, gender, class and other light subjects," according to Netflix.

Cooper, 42, will also be "joined by a fantastic array of special guests who will participate in short interviews, sketches and more shenanigans."

Cooper, whose satirical lip-sync impressions of the president have gained mainstream attention over the past several months, have earned her praise from Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Stiller, Halle Berry, Cher and Jerry Seinfeld, among others.

Prior to that, Cooper was a writer and correspondent on the CBS All Access pilot Old News, which was produced by Stephen Colbert, and wrote the best-selling books 100 Tricks to Appear Smart in Meetings and How to be Successful Without Hurting Men’s Feelings.

She also guest hosted Tuesday's edition of ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live!

Sarah Cooper: Everything’s Fine is set to premiere sometime in the fall.

By George Costantino
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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NBC(LOS ANGELES) -- Kelly Clarkson has taken over for Simon Cowell on America's Got Talent as he nurses a back injury but she may not be there for long. 

Entertainment Tonight spoke with AGT judges Heidi Klum, Sofia Vergara and Howie Mandel, and based on their feedback, it seems Cowell may be back sooner rather than later. 

Mandel, 64, shared, "We have been told he has been recovering tremendously. I would not count him out before the end of this season."

"He's had a six-hour operation and he is already on his feet, which is above and beyond expectation, so I am thrilled," he added. 

The judges also dished that, although Clarkson does a great job filling in, they can't help but miss Cowell. 

Klum, 47, admitted, "Obviously we miss the boss. There is no one who could actually take his place, even though Kelly did absolutely amazing today. [She did] an amazing job and she had so much fun, but no one is like Simon. That is just the way it is."

Mandel agreed and said, "I think that Simon is irreplaceable and Kelly was brilliant. She's done it. She's a pro. She brings something to the table."

Vergara, who is new to the AGT judging panel, echoed the same sentiment.

"I want Simon back. This is my first time. I want things to be normal," the 48-year-old actress said.  

As previously reported, Cowell broke his back in several places after crashing his e-bike on Sunday.  The media mogul remained in good humor over his injury, as he tweeted shortly after coming out of surgery, "Some good advice... If you buy an electric trail bike, read the manual before you ride it for the first time."

By Danielle Long
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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iStock/KLH49(LOS ANGELES) -- AMC Theaters is taking steps to reopen after shuttering its chain worldwide months ago due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.  

In an email release to the company's "A List" members on Wednesday, the theater chain announced that movies will once again light up their screens starting August 20. 

Should all go well, the company hopes to have roughly two-thirds of its franchises up and running once again by September 3.

The email states that "AMC Theaters are reopening" and that "We already have opened more than half of our theaters in Europe and the Middle East, safely and without incident, and will open all by August 26."

Turning its focus to America, the Kansas-based company attested, "Here in the United States, we will begin opening AMC with more than 100 theaters resuming operations on August 20, and continuing such that about two-thirds of our theaters across the country should be open no later than September 3."

The statement furthers, "The remaining AMC locations will open after we get further clearance from state and local authorities that it is safe to do so."

Those eager to watch a movie on the big screen can check the opening status of their local AMC starting Thursday on the company's website or by downloading its mobile app.

Among the spate of new movies the chain is readying to premiere are The New MutantsTenet and Unhinged

Due to several blockbusters pushing back their premiere dates or opting for the streaming route in light of the ongoing pandemic, AMC said it will fill the gaps in its schedules with hit films, like Beauty and the Beast and Inception.

By Megan Stone
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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Eric Espada/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Jake Paul is finally speaking out about why the FBI raided his home last week.

In a since-deleted YouTube video, the 23-year-old internet star slammed the "absurd" rumors he's heard regarding the incident. 

"Just to clarify things and set the record straight, the FBI raid is entirely related to the Arizona looting situation that had happened and it's an investigation," Paul said. "There are rumors about it having to do with so many other things that have nothing to do with me or my character and the s*** that people are making up is absolutely absurd." 

"That being said, when I become aware of someone around me who is doing malicious things they are immediately cut out of my life. I don't put up with bulls***, I don't surround myself with bad people. If someone does something bad, they will be removed from my life," he continued. 

"My goal right now is to continue to focus on my life, myself, boxing, music," the YouTuber added. 

As previously reported, ABC News confirmed that FBI agents obtained a search warrant and raided Paul's home located in Calabasas, California on August 5. 

At the time, a spokesperson for the agency said in a statement, "The FBI is executing a federal search warrant at a residence in Calabasas in connection with an ongoing investigation. The affidavit in support of the search warrant is sealed and we are, therefore, prohibited from commenting as to the nature of the investigation. No arrests are planned."

By Danielle Long
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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'S.W.A.T.' - Jordin Althaus/CBS ©2020 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved(LOS ANGELES) -- Today, CBS Television Studios, which airs hit police-themed shows like S.W.A.T. and Blue Bloods, announced it's partnering with the law enforcement and public safety advisory group 21CP Solutions to consult with the network's show writers. 

The decision comes in the wake of massive protests against police brutality following the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. 

The advisors from 21CP include, "former senior law enforcement officials, civil rights scholars, lawyers, academics, and community thought leaders in police reform and public safety," according to the network.

"Providing our writing staffs with the best and most knowledgeable technical advisers offers more inclusivity and perspective," said Tiffany Smith-Anoa’i, Executive Vice President, Diversity and Inclusion, ViacomCBS in a statement. "With deeper and richer narratives, our shows can convey experiences that are more authentic to the communities they depict."

By Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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Jeanna de Waal as Diana - Photo by Evan Zimmerman/MurphyMade(NEW YORK) -- Netflix has seemingly taken a cue from Disney 's hit filmed version of the Tony-winning play Hamilton, today  announcing it's bringing a musical about the late Princess Diana's life to streaming. 

Diana began previews on Monday, March 2 and was scheduled to open on Tuesday, March 31 at the Longacre Theatre on Broadway, but the Great White Way was, and remains, shut down over the COVID-19 crisis. 

The musical is now set to open on Broadway on Tuesday, May 25, 2021, but Netflix will premiere a filmed version early next year before the cast takes the stage for an audience. 

In a statement, Diana's producers announced, "We speak for the entire company when we say that we couldn’t be more excited to finally be able share our show with theater lovers everywhere. Though there is no substitute for the live theater, we are honored to be a part of the quality entertainment that Netflix provides its subscribers worldwide."

The production will be filmed without an audience on the stage of the Longacre Theater with its original Broadway cast including Jeanna de Waal as Diana, Roe Hartrampf as Prince Charles, and Erin Davie as Camilla Parker Bowles. Two-time Tony winner Judy Kaye stars as Queen Elizabeth.

By Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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Courtesy of Netflix(NEW YORK) -- Nia Long says she wanted to be a "part of something bigger" when she agreed to sign on as producer and star of the Netflix thriller A Fatal Affair.

"When you start off in this business, you don't get to sort of bring your ideas to the table when you're new," Long tells ABC Audio. "It's like just stand on your mark, do what you're supposed to do, and show me what you can do between action and cut."

Long explains that although she's wanted to offer her input and years of experience into the projects she's been a part of, there wasn't "a lot of collaborating until you get to a place where you've earned that."

"And I feel like we've both been doing it for so long that now we can actually -- whether we get the credit or not -- we are producers on the projects," she says, referring to her Fatal Affair co-star Omar Epps, who also has over 20 years experience as an actor.

"Because we've been proven to put out successful projects and things that have created the Black culture in the Black filmmaking movement," Long continues.

"So it's nice to feel that you're not just an actor, but that you're a part of something bigger," she says. "And I say that with the most humility and appreciation for the journey that we've both had."

While finally getting a producer credit on a film was a big incentive for Long, the actress admits she also had another, more selfish reason, to get on board.  

"And I wanted to make something for all my '90s girls who are, you know, like, 'Oooo, I love me some Omar Epps!'" she laughs.  

Fatal Affair, also starring Stephen Bishop, is now streaming on Netflix.

By Candice Williams
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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VH1(LOS ANGELES) -- It's been almost a month since ViacomCBS decided to cut ties with Nick Cannon but it hasn't been the last they've heard of him because Cannon is reportedly suing the network for $1.5 billion for his improv comedy series Wild 'n Out. 

In a statement to The Shade Room, the comedian's team said, "It is just that simple, 'Wild’N Out belongs to Nick!"

"The show was created by Nick Cannon with his idea and original thought. Wild’N Out has brought billions of dollars in revenue to Viacom since 2015. And Nick deserves and has earned everything it is worth," the statement continued. "From the platforms he provides for other entertainers, the jobs he creates for black youth, the time he gives to mentoring incarcerated men and women, to the money he gives back and puts into communities, homelessness, and people less fortunate. He is constantly evolving both spiritually and mentally, as well as, taking action in learning, education and bridging the gap within the Jewish and African American communities, so that it will allow us to build relationships, work together and learn from each other in order to move forward in equality."

"If Viacom believes in growth, equality, education, then Viacom will do what is right and pay Nick what they owe, and giving him his $1.5 brand," the statement concluded. 

ViacomCBS parted ways with Cannon on July 14 after he received backlash for making comments that were deemed anti-Semitic during a June episode of his podcast and YouTube series Cannon's Class. Following the outcry, the 39-year-old issued an apology.

Cannon remains the host of Fox's The Masked Singer. However, he has taken a break from his LA-based morning radio show and his upcoming daytime talk show has been delayed a year. 

By Danielle Long
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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Yahya Abdul-Mateen II in "Watchmen" - Mark Hill/HBO(LOS ANGELES) -- (NOTE LANGUAGE) In a new story in Men's Health, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II recalled a painful experience dealing with racism while he was a freshman at the University of California Berkeley. 

The Aquaman baddie and Watchmen Emmy nominee contributed his story to the magazine's report "Race, Racism, and Black Men’s Health."

"I studied architecture, and … it was common to spend the whole night working in the studio," Abdul-Mateen explained.  "One night, I left the studio around 1:00 a.m. to go to my dorm and get something to eat, and then I headed back … As I approached the building, there was a woman going inside, just a couple steps ahead of me.”

The woman reportedly told him, “'Stop, you don’t belong here'" the actor recalled. "I said, 'What are you talking about? I'm going to the studio. I’m going to the same place as you.'"

He recalled reaching for his student ID when the woman told him, "'I’m gonna call the police and tell them that you’re trying to rape me.'"

As Abdul-Mateen II tried to enter the building, "she began running and screaming at the top of her lungs." He said campus security responded, but "apologized and left," after speaking with him.

Abdul-Mateen writes, "I remember being so angry that I cried. It was frustrating. I deserved to be there. Period. That was my reminder that even if I did everything right … some things in life would be unavoidable. Because I was black. I was 18 years old. I did the only thing I knew to do. I cried, and I swallowed that s***."

By Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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