‘Confederate’ series facing vehement backlash, critics demand HBO scrap it

Published: Monday, July 31, 2017 @ 5:56 PM

A confederate flag is pictured here at a political rally in Wakefield, Va. HBO is taking heat over a planned series called ‘Confederate’ that explores the idea that the South did not lose the Civil War and that slavery still exists.
Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call,Inc.
A confederate flag is pictured here at a political rally in Wakefield, Va. HBO is taking heat over a planned series called ‘Confederate’ that explores the idea that the South did not lose the Civil War and that slavery still exists.(Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call,Inc.)

Any hopes HBO had that it had calmed the “Confederate” fallout last week were dashed big time on Sunday night. Foes of the future series from “Game of Thrones'” creators took to Twitter during the “GOT” season finale to make their feelings known.

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As the latest “Winter is coming” machinations played out onscreen, HBO came out with a formal statement about “Confederate,” a series set in some alternate universe where the South successfully secedes from the Union and slavery remains in place. In it, the prestige premium cable channel cited the GOT/Confederate team’s track record and urged people to wait to see the finished product before passing judgment.

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“We have great respect for the dialogue and concern being expressed around Confederate. We have faith that Nichelle, Dan, David and Malcolm will approach the subject with care and sensitivity,” the statement said. “The project is currently in its infancy so we hope that people will reserve judgment until there is something to see.”

That may be wishful thinking on HBO’s part, though. As of Monday morning, #NoConfederate was still popular on Twitter. A sample:

>> Related: Critics demand HBO scrap plans for ‘Confederate’ series

The actual Civil War ended in 1865, leaving more than 600,000 Union and Rebel troops dead. 

There’s apparently no Appomattox Courthouse scene in the new show. Instead, the HBO series assumes the fighting ended without reuniting the union, and instead the USA and CSA persist, a la North Korea and South Korea or East/West Berlin, with the Mason-Dixon Line serving as a DMZ.

“The story follows a broad swath of characters … freedom fighters, slave hunters, politicians, abolitionists, journalists, the executives of a slave-holding conglomerate and the families of people in their thrall,” Deadline reported.

>> Related: Atlanta History Center: Don’t tear down Confederate monuments

Programming president Case Bloys said during a Television Critics Association event that he hopes viewers will “judge the actual material versus what it might be,” according to the Hollywood Reporter. Network brass issued a statement saying they have “great respect for the dialogue and concern being expressed around ‘Confederate'” and are sure the creative team will approach the subject with care and sensitivity.”

>> Related: Across the South, confederate statues take their last stand

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'Guardians of the Galaxy' director James Gunn fired over offensive tweets

Published: Friday, July 20, 2018 @ 7:04 PM

‘Guardians Of The Galaxy’ Director James Fired Over Offensive Tweets

The director of the successful “Guardians of the Galaxy” movies, James Gunn, has been fired from the franchise’s third installment over offensive tweets about pedophilia and rape.

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The shocking tweets, which had been taken down, aren’t new and Gunn had apologized for them in the past, but conservative media personalities resurfaced the posts from 2008 - 2011 this week, causing a backlash against Gunn, who has been an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump.

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"The offensive attitudes and statements discovered on James’ Twitter feed are indefensible and inconsistent with our studio’s values, and we have severed our business relationship with him," Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn said in a statement Friday, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Gunn also issued a statement Friday, saying he’s a “very, very different” person than he was a few years ago and that he’s “developed as a person” since he posted the offensive tweets.

"My words of nearly a decade ago were, at the time, totally failed and unfortunate efforts to be provocative," he said. "I have regretted them for many years since — not just because they were stupid, not at all funny, wildly insensitive, and certainly not provocative like I had hoped, but also because they don't reflect the person I am today or have been for some time."

“I used to make a lot of offensive jokes. I don’t anymore,” he said.

>> Related: Disney: ′Star Wars Clone Wars′ will be back, announcement made at San Diego Comic Con

Gunn was fired before a scheduled appearance Friday at Comic-Con International: San Diego.

He was still writing the script for “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” and was expected to start shooting the movie this fall in Atlanta.

Disney and Marvel Studios saw huge successes with the “Guardian” movies, with the first one making more than $773 million and the second raking in $863, according to THR.







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Willie Nelson announces Frank Sinatra covers album, ‘My Way’

Published: Friday, July 20, 2018 @ 3:24 PM

What You Need To Know About Willie Nelson

Willie Nelson’s newest album will be one of Frank Sinatra covers.

Rolling Stone reported that the 85-year-old country music and songwriting icon will release “My Way” Sept. 14. It will be the second album he’s released this year. He released “Last Man Standing” in April.

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Nelson and the late Sinatra were good friends, having appeared in a TV spot for NASA in the 1980s. He first heard Sinatra at 10 years old, when he appeared on the radio show “Your Hit Parade.”

In an interview in the June/July issue of AARP magazine, Wilson said he learned from Sinatra.

“I learned a lot about phrasing listening to Frank,” Nelson said. “He didn’t worry about behind the beat or in front of the beat, or whatever — he could sing it either way, and that’s the feel you have to have.”

Before the release of the album, which contains songs made famous by Sinatra, fans can watch the music video for Wilson’s cover of “Summer Wind.”

Taste of Country reported that “My Way” is available for pre-order on vinyl, CD and digital formats. The track list for “My Way” is below.
  1. “Fly Me to the Moon”
  2. “Summer Wind”
  3. “One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)”
  4. “A Foggy Day”
  5. “It Was a Very Good Year”
  6. “Blue Moon”
  7. “I’ll Be Around”
  8. “Night and Day”
  9. “What Is This Thing Called Love” (with Norah Jones)
  10. “Young at Heart”
  11. “My Way”

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Jennifer Hudson, Taylor Swift to star in movie adaptation of 'Cats' musical

Published: Friday, July 20, 2018 @ 1:48 PM

Jennifer Hudson and Taylor Swift are set to star in a film adaptation of the musical
Jennifer Hudson and Taylor Swift are set to star in a film adaptation of the musical "Cats." (Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images, Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)(Jeff Spicer/Getty Images, Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s hit musical “Cats” is finally getting a film version.

Playbill reported that Jennifer Hudson, Taylor Swift, James Corden and Ian McKellen are set to star in the film adaptation.

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It was previously reported that the film would be directed by Oscar-winning director Tom Hooper, whose previous credits include “Les Misérables” and “The King's Speech.”

Variety reported that Oscar winner Hudson will play Grizabella, the “glamour cat” who sings the musical’s big number, “Memory.” The roles McKellen, Swift and Corden will play have not been announced. 

Production will start on the film in November.

Webber composed “Cats” based on T.S. Eliot’s “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats,” a poem collection released in 1939. The collection was about “Jellicle cats” and their secret world, according to Variety. The musical focuses on the cats as they choose which cat will go to the “Heaviside layer” and return to a new life. It originally opened on Broadway in 1982 and ran for 18 years there and ran for 21 years in London’s West End.

“Cats” was previously released as a direct-to-video film in 1998.

A release date for the new adaptation has not been announced.

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Stevie J, Faith Evans married in Las Vegas

Published: Thursday, July 19, 2018 @ 9:50 AM

Music producer Stevie J married singer Faith Evans in Las Vegas Tuesday. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for BMI, Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Netflix)
Joe Scarnici/Getty Images, Michael Loccisano/Getty Images
Music producer Stevie J married singer Faith Evans in Las Vegas Tuesday. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for BMI, Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Netflix)(Joe Scarnici/Getty Images, Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

Stevie J and Faith Evans reportedly applied for a marriage license in Las Vegas and tied the knot this week.

According to TMZ, The “Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta” star, born Steven Aaron Jordan, and the singer filed for the license in Clark County Tuesday. A spokesperson for Evans confirmed the news to Billboard Wednesday.

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According to TMZ, they got married in a hotel room Tuesday night. 

The couple took to social media to exchange messages to each other Tuesday afternoon. Stevie J tweeted, “I love you Faith Renee Jordan,” and Evans replied, “I love you back Steven Aaron Jordan.”

The two have discussed their relationship on the reality show “Leave It to Stevie.” While they broke up last year, they still remained friends. 

On July 27, the pair will release a new single called “A Minute.” A music video will accompany its release.

This marriage would be Jordan’s first and Evan’s third. She was previously married to the late rapper Notorious B.I.G. and music executive Todd Russaw. 

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