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Life imitates art for Chinese superstar Andy Lau in 'The Movie Emperor'

L-R: Lau, Hao/ABC Audio

The Movie Emperor, the Chinese-language film featuring global star Andy Lau, had its well-received premiere at the 2023 Toronto International Film Festival in its Gala Presentations section on September 15. 

Ironically, Lau plays Lau Wai-chi, a famous star who badly wants some movie festival cred.

To that end, he's willing to shed his vanity and go native, so to speak, going on location to lend authenticity to playing a poor villager in an art house film.

However, he soon realizes how accustomed he's become to being a pampered star.

The comedy takes a satirical look at celebrity and the industry surrounding it, what with Andy's character having to put up with interviews from decades-younger "influencers" whose fame he doesn't understand — as well as your usual fizzy showbiz journalists.

"In real life I have encountered some that are much worse than in the film," Lau says with a laugh, through a translator. 

The movie was directed by Ning Hao, who plays the driven but oblivious director of Lau's movie-within-a-movie.

However, Hao explains playing a director, and actually directing at the same time, was "chaos" at times —especially during one of the movie-within-a-movie's fight scenes.

He explains that at one point, after yelling "cut," he found his crew hadn't shot anything: They thought he yelled "action" while playing the part of the director.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

'Man of Steel' writer David S. Goyer says Warner Bros. wanted to make 20 superhero movies to catch Marvel

Apple TV+

David S. Goyer knows a thing or two about the superhero genre: The Foundation writer and executive producer wrote Blade; co-wrote the Oscar-winning Batman movie The Dark Knight; and wrote Henry Cavill's hit 2013 Superman debut, Man of Steel, among others.

However, on the Happy Sad Confused podcast, he confirmed what many fans believed at the time — that Warner Bros. was so desperate to catch up to the Marvel Cinematic Universe that common sense started flying out the window, without Superman's ability to actually take flight.

"I know the pressure we were getting from Warner Bros., which was, 'We need our MCU! We need our MCU!' And I was like, 'Let’s not run before we walk,'" Goyer said.

"I remember at one point the person running Warner Bros. at the time had this release that pitched the next 20 movies over the next 10 years. But none of them had been written yet," Goyer said with a laugh. "It was crazy how much architecture was being built on air."

While none of those movies got made, he explained that the studio rushed 2015's Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice as a team-up movie to try to compete with Marvel's The Avengers.

The film was seemingly hastily announced at the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con, with DC movie actor Harry Lennix called to the stage to literally read a portion of Frank Miller's iconic The Dark Knight Returns — which saw the two heroes famously clash — from a piece of paper.

The Zack Snyder movie underperformed at the box office, and with fans, and the studio kept tripping on their heroes' capes into 2017's Justice League.

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

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Green light! New teaser for 'Squid Game: The Challenge' drops

Netflix/Pete Dadds

A real-life version of the massively popular series Squid Game is coming — and from the looks of a new teaser, it will be wild.

Squid Game: The Challenge will feature 456 players competing in a series of games inspired by the Korean-language drama for a grand prize of $4.56 million, which Netflix touts as "the largest cash prize in reality television history."

The final sum is a play on 45.6 billion won, the Korean currency jackpot in the original show that became a Netflix phenomenon. For the record, that translates to over $38 million.

Still, the jackpot here is nothing to sneeze at: "$4.56 million? People do a whole lot worse for a whole lot less," one contestant says in the teaser.

A synopsis for the 10-episode show promises "surprising new additions" for fans of the original series and teases that players' "strategies, alliances, and character will be put to the test while competitors are eliminated around them."

Squid Game: The Challenge premieres November 22 on Netflix.


Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Mike Sargent on going from director to film critic and back again with horror thriller 'From the Shadows'

Michael Tullberg/Getty Images

The indie thriller From the Shadows had its Los Angeles premiere this week, and thanks to a waiver from SAG-AFTRA, its cast was in attendance, including veteran character Keith David and Oscar nominee Bruce Davison.

Davison plays the leader of a supernatural cult whose members perish in a mysterious blaze. A skeptical colleague of his, played by David, goes missing, and afterward, an expert in debunking paranormal activity (Selena Anduze) tries to find the truth from the cult's survivors.

The movie was directed and co-written by Mike Sargent, who has gone from calling the shots on indie movies like Personals to working as a storyboard artist to a radio show host and movie critic. 

"François Truffaut and Rod Lurie — you know, they were film critics who became ... filmmakers," he joked to ABC Audio. 

"But I was actually the other way around. I was a filmmaker who became a film critic. And I will say, being a filmmaker and then becoming a film critic, it's sort of like being undercover. You know, 'Ahhh ... these are the people who are judging my work.'" 

Sargent says he's been a fan of X-Men alum Davison since the 1980 film The Lathe of Heaven. "Matter of fact, I used to play soundbites from that movie at the beginning of my radio show for, like, over a decade," he recalls.

He adds, "Then like 10 years ago, I actually had him live on my radio show ... And then 10 years later, now I got to direct him in the film," Sargent says, calling the situation surreal.  

From the Shadows is in limited release, ahead of an exclusive on-demand run on Vudu September 29 through October 28, just in time for Halloween.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Weekend Watchlist: What's new on streaming

Ready, set, binge! Here's a look at some of the new movies and TV shows streaming this weekend:

Sex Education: Find out how it all ends by watching the fourth and final season of the popular series.

Love is Blind: Five seasons later, and we’re still trying to figure out if Love is Blind. Meet the new contestants when the first four episodes of the season drop.

The D'Amelio Show: The D'Amelio's are back! Catch up with the family on their all new season.

American Horror Story: Delicate: Watch Kim Kardashian act alongside the season 12 cast of American Horror Story: Delicate, streaming Thursdays on Hulu.

No One Will Save You: Spooky season comes early with this new horror film about aliens who invade a young woman at her home.

Apple TV+
The Super Models: The most famous models in the world look back at their careers in this four-part documentary series.

Still Up: Check out this new comedy series about two best friends bonded by insomnia.

Prime Video
Cassandro: Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with this new film based on the true story of the wrestler who changed the sport forever.

Young Love: Issa Rae and more lend their voices to bring Matthew A. Cherry's prequel series to his Academy Award-winning short film Hard Love to life.

The Continental: This three-part experience will explore the John Wick universe through the eyes of a young Winston Scott.

Happy Streaming!

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Reality Roundup: Another breakup, 'The Traitors' cast reveal and more

Have no fear, your reality roundup is here! Here's a look at what's happened in the world of reality television this week.

Real Housewives of Orange County (Bravo)
Real Housewives of Orange County star Shannon Beador was arrested over the weekend for DUI and a hit-and-run early on the morning of Sunday, September 17, Newport Beach Police Department confirmed to USA TODAY. Beador was booked on two misdemeanors related to alcohol impairment and leaving the scene. In response, Beador's attorney, Michael L. Fell, said she's "extremely apologetic and remorseful," and emphasized her readiness to take responsibility for her actions. 

Love is Blind (Netflix)
Love Is Blind season 4 stars, Jackie Bonds and Josh Demas, have officially ended their relationship. Jackie Bonds broke the news in a candid TikTok Live session Monday, September 1 explaining that their breakup was prompted by Josh's ex-fiancée, Monica Rodriguez, with whom he had a prior engagement, according to Page Six. When Jackie and Monica decided to meet up to discuss their connections to Demas, something he was uncomfortable with, things went south. Despite her efforts to salvage the relationship, Jackie ultimately chose to part ways with Josh. 

The Traitors (Peacock)
The season 2 cast of Peacock's The Traitors has been revealed Deadline reports. This time, 21 competitors from reality TV and beyond will gather in Scotland to uncover saboteurs and vie for a grand prize. The supersized cast included, Love Island USA's Carsten “Bergie” BergersenThe Challenge's Chris 'C.T.' TamburelloReal Housewives of Miami's Larsa Pippen and her boyfriend basketball player Marcus JordanDancing with the Stars' Maksim ChmerkovskiyShahs of Sunset's Mercedes “MJ” Javid, Real Housewives of Atlanta's Phaedra Parks and more.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

A look inside 'The Continental': The Hotel Bar Experience in New York City

ABC News/Stephen Iervolino

Visitors can now step into the world of John Wick and its Peacock prequel series, The Continental, with The Continental: The Hotel Bar Experience.

Unlike similar themed pop-ups, the interactive experience takes place inside the actual onscreen setting for the hitman hotel: the Cocoa Exchange building on Beaver Street in Lower Manhattan.

Before visitors enter, they may encounter New York Herald Tribune beat reporter Maggie Lepps, who gives them the scoop: A big-wig has been murdered inside the building — against hotel policy.

Her business card has a tip line, 1-800-968-3005, if one has any clues.

Visitors then follow in the footsteps of Keanu Reeves' titular hitman up the "hallowed ground" of The Continental's staircase.

You can't get in without exchanging the only currency accepted there: those iconic gold coins; visitors can swap their boring old bills for some.

Inside, there are ample opportunities for Instagram bragging rights in the 1970s setting, from reprints of macabre paintings seen in the film to the mirrored gold chandelier made of rifles, and wallpaper decorated with revolvers.

However, as the reporter alluded to, the visit becomes a whodunit, complete with other actors mingling in with the patrons; they're keen to spill some tea about the spilled blood.

There's also food and beverages for sale, including Wick-themed drinks like the Gunpowder Gimlet, The High Table and The Excommunicado.

Good times aside, The Continental's manager wants to get to the bottom of the murder, and doing so leads visitors into the creepy bottom levels of the building, where they're quizzed as to what they know and whose side they're on.

The Continental: The Hotel Bar Experience is open through September 24. It will also re-open from September 27 to October 1 and October 4 to October 8.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Matthew McConaughey's mom explains testing now daughter-in-law Camila Alves with "rites of passage"

Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for SXSW

In August, Camila Alves made headlines when she revealed her now-mother-in-law Mary McCabe put her through the ringer when she began dating Mary's son Matthew McConaughey.

Now, "Mama Mac" is explaining why.

As reported, the Brazilian model and mom to the Oscar-winning actor's kids, Levi, Vida and Livingston, told the Southern Living’s Biscuits & Jam podcast, "She would call me by all of Matthew's ex-girlfriends' names, she would start speaking Spanish with me in a very broken way, kind of putting [me] down a bit. I mean, all kinds of stuff."

She later said she realized she was being tested, and they now have "the most amazing relationship."

To ET Canada, Mary McCabe admitted she was trying to rattle Alves' cage at first.

"My family is big on rites of passage and initiation, and you don’t get into the McConaughey family easily," she explains. "We test you. Oh, my family, we humbly wait, we make you cry, and then we pick you up and make your favorite drink," she continued.

"So there are initiations, rites of passage that my family’s always enjoyed," McConaughey's mom said.

For his part, actor and author McConaughey noted the moment that Alves broke through to his mom. "Camila goes, 'I'm not asking your permission anymore.' And basically, my mom was like, 'There we go. That's right.'"

That said, Matthew explained he's not sure if he and Camila will carry on that thorny family tradition when their kids start dating. Their son Levi is 15, daughter Vida is 13 and their youngest, son Livingston, is 10.

"We'll see," he offers. "Talk to me in about three years, and I'll have a better answer..."

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Rami Malek and Emma Corrin heat up dating rumors with a kiss in London

Karwai Tang/WireImage - Arturo Holmes/Getty Images

Rami Malek and Emma Corrin have seemingly confirmed their romance.

Photos obtained by The Daily Mail show the 42-year-old Bohemian Rhapsody actor and The Crown star, 27, kissing in London, while walking their dog.

Corrin wore a long taupe trench coat while sporting a new buzz-cut look. Malek chose a blue baseball cap and jeans.

Rami and Emma ignited dating rumors when they were spotted together at a Bruce Springsteen concert in July. They were also seen cozying up at the U.S. Open earlier in September.

Malek previously dated Lucy Boynton and they're rumored to have split earlier this year after five years together.

Corrin, who identifies as non-binary and uses they/them pronouns, was previously linked to design and art director Ibrahim "Ibby" Njoya in 2021, according to the outlet.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Director explains what got Bad Bunny into the ring for inspiring wrestling story 'Cassandro'

Courtsey of Alejandro Lopez Pineda © AMAZON CONTENT SERVICES LLC

The true story of a lucha libre legend comes to life in the new film Cassandro, available to watch on Prime Video Friday.

Directed by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Roger Ross Williams, the film stars Gael García Bernal as gay amateur wrestler Sául Armendáriz, and follows his journey to become Cassandro, an exótico who upends the macho wrestling world.

It’s a story so inspiring that Bad Bunny reached out and asked to be part of the film.

“He’s a really good actor," Williams said. “He contacted us. He loves wrestling, he wanted to be in the movie.”

Williams, known for his documentaries, knew instantly after meeting Armendáriz that he was someone special.

“The first time that I met Cassandro, I said, ‘You're my first fiction film. I just know it,’” Williams said. “He's an inspiration, a revelation. He's so positive. What he's done with his life and the way he's handled himself and done it on his own terms, it's so beautiful and inspiring to me.”

The film’s composer, Marcelo Zarvos, called Bernal’s portrayal of Armendáriz “infectious.”

“He eats up the screen whenever he's there,” Zarvos said. “He's done incredible performances – this definitely ranks among his top three, you know, if not the best. I think he's so good in it, he really owns it. And you feel like he really understands the character. He went for it.”

And with the film releasing during Hispanic Heritage Month, Williams hopes it will help people feel seen.

“I hope that all of the LGBT+ little Hispanic kids in America, all over the world, are inspired by Cassandro. His story, it's so important, because he basically conquered the Mexican world of lucha libre on his own terms as himself — authentic and beautiful.” 

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Negotiations between the WGA and studios to continue Friday

Mario Tama/Getty Images

In another positive sign in the nearly five month long strike, negotiations between reps for the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and Hollywood studio heads are continuing for a third day, Friday, September 22.

The WGA and The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), the trade association representing the major Hollywood studios, first met Wednesday, September 20, after what appeared to be a stalemate over issues including studios' use of AI and proper compensation for writers on streaming shows.

The talks continued into the following day and night, and the WGA negotiating committee informed its members in a statement on Thursday that they'd be back at the table for another day.

"The WGA and AMPTP met for bargaining today and will meet again tomorrow," the announcement read. "Your Negotiating Committee appreciates all the messages of solidarity and support we have received the last few days, and ask as many of you as possible to come out to the picket lines tomorrow."

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

'The Continental: From the World of John Wick' debuts Friday on Peacock


On Friday, Peacock launches The Continental: From the World of John Wick, the prequel series spun off of the movies starring Keanu Reeves' titular assassin. 

Albert Hughes, who along with his twin brother Allen directed genre classics like Menace II Society and The Book of Eli, went solo in directing two of the series' three chapters, the first of which is now streaming. 

He tells ABC Audio, "There was two projects I was considering. One was very similar to the stuff you've seen me and my brother doing the past, you know, social issues, inner city, race, generational trauma."

He adds, "And then I read this [project] and I go...My gut's saying, 'Let's just go have fun.'"

Colin Woodell plays a younger version of Ian McShane's Winston, the manager of the infamous hitman hotel. Newcomer Ayomide Adegun plays the younger concierge Charon, who was played in the four Wick movies by the late Lance Reddick.

 The roles were "both very difficult to find," Hughes admits.

"Colin Woodell...this guy has throwback movie star looks, and if you look at a younger Ian McShane, they're very similar." Albert adds his skills are "well beyond his years."

Hughes says another actor nearly was "almost" cast as Charon, "And then I get this call from the casting agent and says, 'We found this kid in drama school in Wales, and you should see this tape.' We [watched] like, 'Oh, my God, that's him'...And his first scene on set was against Mel Gibson, which I would crumble under that kind of pressure. But he was amazing."

Of Gibson, who plays the vicious New York Continental manager Cormac, Hughes gushes, "he was just the perfect fit for that role."

The filmmaker adds, "And sometimes with those type of actors [who] have been around, when they play villains, there's just something extra that comes out in them."

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

In Brief: 'America's Got Talent' running 'Fantasy League' spinoff, and more

NBC announced its next America’s Got Talent spinoff on Thursday, September 21 -- AGT: Fantasy League. Similar to a fantasy sports draft, the judges -- Mel B, Simon Cowell, Heidi Klum and Howie Mandel -- will each choose a roster of their favorite acts picking from winners, finalists, viral sensations and fan favorites from America’s Got Talent franchises around the world, all pre-selected by America in an initial vote, per the network. In a franchise first, the judges will mentor and guide their acts throughout the competition, in hopes of seeing one of them crowned the champion. Terry Crews returns as host. AGT: Fantasy League is set to premiere in 2024...

The action thriller Your Lucky Day, featuring one of the final performances of the late Euphoria breakout Angus Cloud, has landed a U.S. distribution deal with Well Go USA Entertainment ahead of its world premiere at Fantastic Fest on Saturday, September 23, according to Deadline. The film centers on a dispute over a winning lottery ticket that turns into a deadly hostage situation, leaving the witnesses to decide exactly how far they’ll go for a cut of the $156 million jackpot. Your Lucky Day hits theaters across the country on November 10 and arrives on digital November 14th...

The CW will debut Crime Nation, a 10-episode anthology series executive produced by former ABC News president James Goldston in early 2024. The series, per the network, will feature "ripped-from-the-headlines stories" -- including the Delphi murders, the Lori Vallow Daybell case and the Gilgo Beach murders -- with "shocking new details and exclusive on-camera interviews with those at the center of each of these cases"...

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

SAG-AFTRA backs 'DWTS' cast amid pressure from WGA: "They are required to go to work"


Amid pressure from striking writers and picketers gathering outside the Dancing with the Stars rehearsal facilities, SAG-AFTRA is backing the show and its cast members.

"Our members appearing on Dancing with the Stars are working under the Network Code agreement" and "are not in violation of SAG-AFTRA strike rules ... we support them in fulfilling their contractual obligations," SAG-AFTRA said in a statement to ABC Audio.

"The program is a SAG-AFTRA non-dramatic production under a separate agreement that is not subject to the union’s strike order, the statement continues. The majority of our members on Dancing with the Stars had contractual obligations to the show prior to the strike. Many are under option agreements that require them to return to the show if the producer exercises their option which the producer has done."

The statement goes on to explain that its members are also subject to a 'No Strike Clause' in the Network Code Collective Bargaining Agreement, which runs through June 30, 2024. This means the performers have agreed not to strike during the term of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

"By not showing up to work, our performers can be held in breach of contract and the Union is prohibited from advising them not to work."

" ... We stand with our union siblings across the industry as we also recognize our obligations under federal labor law," the statement concludes.

On Thursday, September 21, Matt Walsh, one of this year's celebrity contestants, announced he is pausing his participation in the show in light of the writers strike.

Dancing with the Stars season 32 is still scheduled to premiere Tuesday, September 26, on ABC and Disney+. However, ABC Audio has confirmed the network is making plans to postpone in light of the growing static the celebrities are experiencing.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Accidental overdose killed 'Euphoria' star Angus Cloud

HBO/Eddy Chen

Investigators have determined a cause of death for Euphoria star Angus Cloud on July 31, and it appears to have been a tragic accident.

A representative for the Alameda County coroner's office told ABC Audio that the actor's death on July 21 was caused by "accidental acute intoxication due to combined effects of methamphetamine, cocaine, fentanyl and benzodiazepines."

Incidentally, the cause of death is as his mother, Lisa Cloud, suspected.

In the wake of the actor's death, there was speculation that the 25-year-old may have died by suicide, as he was reportedly distraught about his father's death.

However, Angus' mother posted to Facebook on August 4 to say the actor "did not intend to end his life."

She said that despite the family tragedy, Angus was "joyful," and "spoke of his intent to help provide for his sisters at college" and help her through the tragedy.

She wrote, "When we hugged goodnight we said how much we loved each other and he said he would see me in the morning. I don't know if or what he may have put in his body after that. I only know that he put his head on the desk where he was working on art project's [sic], fell asleep, and didn't wake up."

Lisa added, "[W]e may find out that he overdosed accidentally and tragically," but it remains "abundantly clear that he did not intend to check out of this world."

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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