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Steven Spielberg, 'West Side Story' stars taking part in IMAX Fan Event

20th Century Studios

Steven Spielberg, and the cast of his remake of West Side Story, including Ansel ElgortAriana DeBoseDavid Alvarez and Mike Faist, will be on hand for a special IMAX Live Fan Event on Monday, December 6.

Ten IMAX locations in the U.S. and Canada will screen the special Q&A with the filmmaker and his cast, as well as showing the film. The event starts at 7 p.m. ET.

West Side Story opens nationwide on December 10, 2021, from  20th Century Studios, which is owned by Disney, the parent company of ABC News. 

Here is a list of participating theaters: 

Boston
Theater: AMC Boston Common 19

Chicago
AMC Oakbrook Center 12 (Oak Brook, IL)
Century 20 Daly City and XD
Regal Irvine Spectrum 21 + IMAX & RPX

Los Angeles
AMC Century City 15 IMAX

New York
AMC Empire 25 IMAX

New Jersey
AMC Garden State 16

San Francisco
AMC Metreon 16 IMAX

Seattle
Regal Thornton Place Stadium 14 & IMAX

Toronto
Cineplex Cinemas Winston Churchill & VIP (Oakville)

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


National Board of Review names Will Smith Best Actor, Rachel Zegler Best Actress, and 'Licorice Pizza' Best Film for 2021

"Licorice Pizza" -- Courtesy of Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures Inc.

The National Board of Review, which annually acknowledges excellence in film in a variety of categories, has announced its picks for its 2021 honorees, with its top awards going to Will Smith in the Best Actor category for King RichardRachel Zegler as Best Actress for West Side Story, and Paul Thomas Anderson's Licorice Pizza named Best Film.

Anderson was also hailed as Best Director for this year. 

The honorees will be feted at the NBR Awards Gala, hosted by Willie Geist, on Tuesday, January 11, 2022.

National Board of Review President Annie Schulhof commented in a statement, "In a moment of transition and uncertainty, there is nothing like Licorice Pizza to remind us of the joy, hope, and exhilaration that great cinema can inspire."

Other movies hailed by the organization as one of its "Top Films" of the year included DuneThe Last Duel, the Netflix environmental disaster movie Don't Look Up with Oscar winners Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence, and The Tragedy of Macbeth, which stars Oscar winners Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand.

Here is a list of the winners in the major categories: 

Best Film: Licorice Pizza 
Best Director: Paul Thomas Anderson, Licorice Pizza
Best Actor: Will Smith, King Richard
Best Actress: Rachel Zegler, West Side Story
Best Supporting Actor: Ciarán Hinds, Belfast
Best Supporting Actress: Aunjanue Ellis, King Richard
Best Original Screenplay: Asghar Farhadi, A Hero
Best Adapted Screenplay: Joel Coen, The Tragedy of Macbeth
Breakthrough Performance: Alana Haim & Cooper Hoffman, Licorice Pizza
Best Directorial Debut: Michael Sarnoski, Pig
Best Animated Feature: Encanto
Best Foreign Language Film: A Hero
Best Documentary: Summer of Soul (Or...When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) 
Best Ensemble: The Harder They Fall 
Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography: Bruno Delbonnel, The Tragedy of Macbeth
Freedom of Expression Award: Flee

Top Films (in alphabetical order)

Belfast
Don't Look Up
Dune
King Richard
The Last Duel
Nightmare Alley
Red Rocket
The Tragedy of Macbeth
West Side Story

Top 5 Foreign Language Films (in alphabetical order)

Benedetta
Lamb
Lingui, The Sacred Bonds
Titane
The Worst Person in the World

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Patrons of recent New York anime convention urged to get tested for Omicron variant after positive case

AnimeNYC

While "Omicron" sounds like a name that would be at home at an expo dedicated to anime, officials in New York say the less-fun version, the COVID-19 variant of the same name, may have paid a visit to the recent AnimeNYC convention, which ran from November 19 through 21.

In a statement, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio noted that a visitor to the festival who returned home to Minnesota had tested positive for the latest variant. That person's symptoms were mild and have since resolved, the mayor said.

The 53,000 people who attended the convention at New York City's Jacob K. Javits Convention Center -- home to the annual New York Auto Show and New York Comic Con, among others -- are being urged to get tested "immediately."

"We are working closely with the State and the CDC, as well as the Javits Center's event organizers, and our Test and Trace Corps will be contacting conference attendees," De Blasio's statement said.

As part of his controversial Key2NYC program, everyone attending the event -- or basically any other event in the Big Apple -- had to be masked and double vaccinated. 

Incidentally, Peter Tatara, the founder of AnimeNYC, recently sent an apology to guests for long lines and crowded conditions at the event. "Everything was packed much, much more," he said. "We underestimated how many fans would come early and spend every moment of the weekend in the convention center....This was Anime NYC's plan failing to meet our fans' demand."

 

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


"Something to remember me by": Scott Adkins tore Dolph Lundgren's bicep in their 'Castle Falls' fight scene

Shout! Studios

While stuntman and actor Scott Adkins and Dolph Lundgren are both no stranger to action on screen, their dust-up in the Lundgren-directed action pic Castle Falls proved painful -- for Dolph.

Adkins, a martial artist and veteran of Marvel movies like Doctor Strange, plays a down on his luck MMA fighter, who discovers that a building about to be demolished contains a stash of illicit money. Lundgren's character, who needs the dough for his daughter's medical care, also finds out about the loot, and the pair face off inside the structure. 

"Scott and I had a good punch-up," Lundgren recalls to ABC Audio, noting there's nearly 20 years between them. "I mean, he's a bit faster than me, so I have to keep up. And he's...done more of it lately. And then I ripped my bicep tendon...towards the end of the fight."

Adkins says with a laugh, "Something to remember me by."

Lundgren laughs, "Yeah, I do. Every time I watch the movie, I see it. It's when you crack my arm over your shoulder..."

Onscreen, their characters eventually unite against a team of crooks who also want to raid the cash. 

Adkins had worked with Lundgren before, so he was "well over" the fanboy element of acting with the star of films like Rocky IV and Masters of the Universe. He and called it a "no-brainer" when Lundgren asked him to star in a film he was directing.

"Of course he still is Dolph Lundgren, one of the action legends from the golden era," Adkins says. "I remember going to the cinema to watch He-Man at the tender age of whatever it was, but it's a pleasure to work with him..."  

Castle Falls will hit select theaters, on demand and digital Friday, December 3.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Dolly Parton, Sandra Oh, Simone Biles and America's Teachers named 'People' magazine's People of the Year

People

People magazine is releasing four covers for its 2021 year-end wrap-up, and each hails one of its People of the Year: Dolly PartonKilling Eve's Sandra OhSimone Biles and "America's Teachers" were all given the honor this year.

In the issue, which hits newsstands Friday, the iconic Parton was heralded for her philanthropy. Late last year she gave a million bucks to Nashville's Vanderbilt University to fund research for the Moderna vaccine. In October, flood-ravaged middle Tennessee benefited from $700,000 from her Dollywood Foundation, and her literacy effort, Imagination Library, has donated more than 170 million books to kids since it launched in 1995.

"I'm kind of addicted to the feeling of giving," Parton tells the magazine

The country legend admits, "I have to honestly tell you, I was a little bit skeptical of being put on the cover as one of the People of the Year, because that's a lot of pressure." She adds, joking, "I'm glad that I stand for enough stuff to where I'm not the worst person in the world."

Biles was hailed for bringing mental health to the forefront, when she decided to sit out part of the Tokyo Olympics.

"That's probably one of the first times in my career where I felt courageous and I felt like I had got to speak up for myself," the athlete, considered the Greatest of All Time in gymnastics, explains. "I fought hard. I survived."

Oh talked about wrapping up her Emmy-winning run Killing Eve, and boosting representation for Asian performers like herself.

"When I was growing up, I never saw my face on [People]," she says. "To be asked to be on the cover is a great privilege because it normalizes things for my nephews and nieces."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by People Magazine (@people)

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


See a life-sized house made of candy come to life on Hulu's 'Candified: Home for the Holidays'

Hulu

(NOTE LANGUAGE) If you're in the mood for something sweet this weekend, how does a thousand-square-foot house made of candy sound? Candified: Home for the Holidays is now streaming on Hulu, giving you the chance to see how candy artist Jackie Sorkin and her team pulled off the sweet feat. 

"We set out to impress this potential investor," Sorkin explained to ABC Audio.

Forget visions of sugarplums -- he was dreaming of a candy hotel. "This is a big daddy whale, and we had to create a giant candy house to show him our ability, our talent, our creativity, our scope, our team, our, you know, our bada**ness," says Sorkin, "and it's like we had to show it in a really big way and we did it again."

"So, yeah, six weeks to create a massive, life-sized candy house," Sorkin concludes. "It's kind of crazy. Can't believe we did it still."

It took hundreds of thousands of pieces of sugary pieces to bring the creation to life, from the front yard to candy lamps, furniture, and anything else you'd find in a home -- except it's all edible.

"The first 'wow' entry moment, a big front yard giant, dreidel, snowman plants, you know, the candy walkways, everything is just obviously candyfied and incredible," Sorkin enthuses.

"The interior, the living room, the spinning Christmas tree, the functional candy train that choo-choos around the living room with a massive candy couch. So many details that really make you enter this house and go, 'Oh my gosh, this is the entire house made of candy. This is real life Candyland!'"  

 

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Stoning in the Deep: Seth Rogen admits he got a little too high for Adele's concert

Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Vulture

Seth Rogen wanted to have a good time at Adele's One Night Only concert taping -- but then he set fire to the blunt.  

Appearing on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, the actor said he "smoked a ton of weed" when pre-gaming for the concert, but that decision blew up in his face.

"We pull up and we see cranes, camera cranes, there's drones flying around, there's an entire crew there, and I'm like, 'Oh no, we are at the filming of a television special,'" Seth recalled.  He insisted he had "no idea I was attending the taping" because the invitation advertised it as "a small Adele concert."

But it just kept getting worse for the Santa Inc. star, who was already kicking himself.

"I'm like, 'Maybe it's not that big a television special,' and then the first person I see is Oprah Winfrey," he groaned.  Then he and wife Lauren Miller were seated "in the front row of the Adele concert."

"We're in front-row center.  We're as close as you can fathomably be. I sit down there's a camera literally pointed at my face," the comic laughed. 

To make matters worse, Seth had better seats than A-listers like Drake and Leonardo DiCaprio. "I could just feel them be insulted that I had such a good seat," he recalled, and insisted he does not know Adele, so he couldn't explain why he was in the front row.  Neither did Adele's actual friends, as Seth admitted he felt "Drake's eyes drilling into the back of my head."

Unable to "slink into the background" and "sit in the back," Seth relied on his acting skills to get him through the night, "playing the role of just an undistracted, normal, cool guy trying to enjoy an Adele concert." 

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Sex and the City showrunner: Kim Cattrall was "never on the radar" for revival

HBO Max

Ever since Sex and the City fans learned that Kim Cattrall's Samantha would not be a part of the HBO Max revival, And Just Like That..., they wondered how the series could go on without her.

However, SATC showrunner Michael Patrick King tells The Hollywood Reporter, “And Just Like That... was never four [characters].”

“It never was on the radar as four because Kim Cattrall, for whatever reason, didn’t want to play Samantha anymore while we were doing the [third] movie,” King told the magazine.

While a script was created for a third film, Cattrall told producers to count her out. “I can’t. My heart isn’t in it anymore,” the now 65-year-old actress wrote on Instagram in 2017, replying to a user who asked her to “find a way” to make the follow-up to 2010’s Sex and the City 2.

“I’ve moved on. 61 isn’t 53 or 41,” she added.

The movie was ultimately scrapped, and King understood that it was unlikely that any future SATC-related project would ever feature Cattrall.

“I never thought, ‘Oh, there’s a hole I have to fill,’” he said about Cattrall not being on board. “Samantha doesn’t not exist in their lives. [And Just Like That...] was born of these three characters: What’s their life, and who can I bring in to inform it?”

And Just Like That... -- starring Sarah Jessica ParkerKristin Davis and Cynthia Nixon -- launches with two episodes on December 9, with the next eight being released each subsequent Thursday.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Airbnb letting you stay in the 'Home Alone' house for the holidays

Airbnb/Sarah Crowley

Just in time for Christmas, Airbnb is offering the perfect getaway for the holidays: the very Chicago home seen in the movie Home Alone

This time, just don't forget to take the kids -- all of them.

While the interiors of the McCallister home that Macaulay Culkin's Kevin McCallister vowed to protect were shot on a set, the exterior looks as it did in the 1990 hit. 

"During the stay, guests will enjoy a cozy holiday scene with twinkling lights and a perfectly trimmed tree in celebration of the season, booby traps galore, all the '90s junk food their hearts desire (including Chicago's finest pizza and a candlelit dinner of highly nutritious microwavable macaroni and cheese), a meet and greet with a real-life tarantula, and more!" a press release teases.

The release clarifies that you'll be setting the booby traps, not tripping them. Oh, and lodgers can also enjoy "Surprisingly searing splashes of aftershave and ample opportunity to scream into the mirror."

You won't even have to break the piggy bank to book it: Stays start at $25. 

What's more, Kevin's big brother Buzz himself, actor Devin Ratray, will welcome you there. "You may not remember me as particularly accommodating," Buzz says in the release in character, "but I've grown up, and I'd be happy to share my family home -- my pizza, even -- with you this holiday season."

He adds in Airbnb's announcement, "Just try not to let my tarantula, Axl, loose this time."

Bookings for an overnight stay on December 12 will open on Tuesday, Dec. 7 at 12 p.m. ET at airbnb/homealone.

The offering is timed to the recent release of Home Sweet Home Alone on Disney+, which will screen the night of your stay.

Disney is the parent company of ABC News.


 

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


'Breaking Bad' Emmy winner Aaron Paul expecting second child with wife Lauren: "We love you so much already"

Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images

There's nothing bad about this -- Breaking Bad's Aaron Paul and wife Lauren are expecting baby number two, and they couldn't be more excited. 

Lauren shared the joyful news to Instagram on Wednesday. Alongside an adorable photo of the couple's three-year-old daughter Story Annabelle rubbing her baby bump, she wrote, "We can't wait to meet you baby! We love you so much already."

The due date or sex of the child was not mentioned.

Aaron, 42, and his actress wife Lauren, 34, married in 2013 and previously opened up about their desires to expand their family. 

"I can't wait to have another baby, and I'm so excited to see what 40 has to offer," the Westworld actor told Haute Living last year. "I'm just excited to be around, to be alive. I'm just happy to be here. Life is good."

Aaron also enthused about being a parent and admitted that "fatherhood has definitely changed me."

"Having a child is the closest thing to magic that anyone can have," he said. "I see why people rush home to be there when they get home from school. You don't want to miss any of it."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Lauren Paul (@laurenpaul8)

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


'Spider-Man: No Way Home' seeing superheroic ticket pre-sales

©2021 CTMG/Matt Kennedy

It could turn out to be a very merry Christmas for movie theaters across the country, that is if advance ticket sales for Marvel's Spider-Man: No Way Home are any indication.

The online ticketing service Fandango is reporting Spider-Man: No Way Home has shattered the pre-sale records for 2021, beating out Marvel’s Black Widow. It’s even keeping pace with films that premiered prior to COVID-19, including 2019’s Avengers: Endgame

In fact, when tickets for the Tom Holland-led film went on sale on Monday, some online sites crashed due to the demand. Additionally, theater owners had to hastily add screenings, according to Variety.

A co-production of Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios, Spider-Man: No Way Home, co-starring Zendaya as MJ and Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange, hits theaters on Dec. 17.

Marvel is owned by Disney, the parent company of ABC News.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Wendy Williams says she's "doing fabulous" while leaving Miami wellness center

Lars Niki/Getty Images for New York Women in Film & Television

Wendy Williams appears to be doing well amid her on-going health issues. 

In a video clip published by The Shade Room on Wednesday, the talk show host is barefoot and wearing a red Versace robe as she exits a Miami wellness facility and makes her way to a black SUV with the help of her driver. 

Although Williams, 57, stays mum about the status of The Wendy Williams Show and if it's cancelled, she does say "thank you," when the paparazzi says "everyone does hope you feel better."

When asked about her recovery, she responds in third person stating, "Wendy is doing fabulous" and adds that fans can look forward to "lots more Wendy stuff."

As previously reported, Williams has been absent from her show since it was originally expected to return on September 20 for the start of its 13th season. Her return was delayed due to ongoing health issues, which included testing positive for a breakthrough case of COVID-19.

Since then, numerous guest hosts have filled in for her, including Sherri ShepherdLeah ReminiMichael Rapaport and Jerry Springer.

Williams previously addressed her absence from the show in a statement shared on November 8. 

“HOW YOU DOIN’? I MISS YOU ALL! As everyone knows, my health has been a hot topic," the statement reads. "I’m making progress but it’s just one of those things that’s taking longer than we expected."

She continues, “I’m a woman of a certain age, and I know enough to listen to my doctors and will return to my purple chair as soon as we all agree I’m ready. I want to thank all of my staff and our guest hosts for stepping up and stepping in while I can’t be there.”

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


"It's the moment I've waited for my entire life": Michael B. Jordan takes the reins of his career, and 'Creed III'

Randy Holmes/ABC via Getty Images

(NOTE LANGUAGE) In Black PantherMichael B. Jordan's battle-scarred alter-ego Erik Stevens/Killmonger famously faces off with Chadwick Boseman's T'Challa, saying, "I've lived my entire life, waiting for this moment!" In real life, Jordan is saying the same thing, in a feature piece with The Hollywood Reporter

The actor, producer and director of the upcoming Creed III isn't letting his moment pass, either.

"My ambition has intersected at this moment where I have the experience and knowledge to direct...and [the ability] to maximize it by having a production company," Jordan says. "It's my turn to make my impact while I have the energy and strength."

The 34-year-old adds, "It's the moment I've waited for my entire life. This is it."

Jordan, whose Outlier Society production company is backing the third Creed film, in addition to other projects, notes, "To be young, Black and successful -- and disruptive -- in this industry, there's a certain navigation to get to the place I need to get to." 

He adds, "This is the most open that things have been for somebody who's in favor right now, and you try to...stay in it for as long as you can."

Jordan explains that taking a leading role for director Denzel Washington in the December 25 release A Journal for Jordan was a chance to get a master class in both acting and directing before Creed III started shooting.

"Denzel perfected 'leading man,'" he says. "He was like, 'I'm going to f***ing dominate this one thing and master it." 

The actor also has another role model in Will Smith. "He says all the time that he doesn't feel like he's the most talented, but he works the hardest," Michael says.

Creed III opens November 23, 2022.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Awkwafina joining Nicolas Cage's Dracula in upcoming monster movie 'Renfield'

Walt Disney Pictures/Marvel Studios

Fresh off her role in the hit Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten RingsAwkwafina has reportedly taken a role in the monster movie Renfield, opposite Nicolas Cage, who will portray Dracula. 

Deadline, which broke the news of Cage's casting, also revealed the rapper-turned-Crazy Rich Asians scene-stealer's participation.

The movie, directed by The Tomorrow War's Chris McCay, centers on the titular henchman of the classic Dracula tales. X-Men movie veteran Nicholas Hoult will play the title character, a "zoophagic maniac," obsessed with eating living creatures to absorb their life force.

Based on the classic Universal monster movies, the story for Renfield was written by The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman, whose Skybound Entertainment company is producing. Rick and Morty veteran Ryan Ridley penned the script.

Incidentally, Renfield was first announced two years ago; at that point, actor-turned-Bohemian Rhapsody director Dexter Fletcher was set to direct. 

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Simone Biles named one of the People of the Year, 'White Men Can't Jump' remake, and more

Katharine Lotze/Getty Images

Record breaking gymnast Simone Biles is one of the People of the Year! The seven-time Olympic medal winner joins Dolly Parton, Sandra Oh from Grey’s Anatomy, and National Teacher of the Year Juliana Urtubey, on the list of People Magazine’s 2021 People Of the Year

At the 2020 Summer Olympic Games, Simone withdrew from several events. citing mental health issues. She still won a silver medal and a bronze medal. "Now [people] view me as human, which makes me so happy," she tells People. "I fought hard. I survived. I'm proud of myself."

In the other news, there will be a remake of the 1992 film White Men Can't Jump starring Wesley Snipes and Woody HarrelsonDeadline reports that Calmatic, who recently wrapped production directing the House Party reboot, will direct. Kenya Barris is producing and co-writing the script.

Finally, Gabrielle Union is joining the cast of the live reenactment of the 80s sitcom, The Facts of Life, according to Variety. Gabrielle will play Tootie, originally portrayed by Kim Fields. The Facts of Life live will air with a live reenactment of Diff'rent Strokes.

As previous reported, Kevin Hart will star as Gary Coleman's character, Arnold Drummond, and Damon Wayans will play his brother Willis, originally portrayed by Todd BridgesLive in Front of a Studio Audience: The Facts of Life and Diff’rent Strokes will air live Tuesday, December 7 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


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