Entertainment

Ben Affleck says worries about drinking prompted his pass on 'The Batman'

Hector Vivas/LatinContent via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Having introduced his take on an older, battle-scarred Batman in 2016's Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and again in Justice League the following year, the plan was for Ben Affleck to not only star in, but also direct the stand-alone film The Batman.  Then in January 2019, he abruptly dropped out for reasons left largely unspecified.

Now Affleck tells The New York Times the decision was prompted by fears his drinking might do him in.

“I showed somebody The Batman script,” Affleck reveals in the feature story.  “They said, ‘I think the script is good. I also think you’ll drink yourself to death if you go through what you just went though again.”

The reference to "what you just went through" includes a mostly unhappy experience shooting Justice League, at the same time Affleck was estranged from wife Jennifer Garner, from whom he's now divorced.

Affleck confesses, "I started drinking more and more when my marriage was falling apart."

The Oscar-winning director, who describes coming from a family with a history of substance abuse, had by then already spent two stays in rehab to address his drinking, and recently completed a third.  He now candidly admits he's an alcoholic.

“You’re trying to make yourself feel better with eating or drinking or sex or gambling or shopping or whatever,” says Affleck.  “But that ends up making your life worse. Then you do more of it to make that discomfort go away. Then the real pain starts. It becomes a vicious cycle you can’t break. That’s at least what happened to me.”

Affleck tweeted good luck wishes to The Batman director Matt Reeves after bowing out.  Robert Pattinson will play the Dark Knight when The Batman debuts June 25 of next year.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


'Ellen's Game of Games' renewed for a fourth season

Mike Rozman/Warner Brothers/NBC(NEW YORK) -- If you just can't get enough of bubbles, slime and blindfolded musical chairs, fear not: NBC has renewed Ellen's Game of Games for a fourth season.

Host Ellen DeGeneres announced the news on her syndicated daytime variety-talk show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show

“I’m so excited.  I love this show so much,” said DeGeneres. “It makes me so happy. I love games.  It combines all my favorite things: prizes and surprises.” 

Ellen's Game of Games, based on the most popular games from DeGeneres' talk show, was primetime’s number-one game show, reaching more than 66 million viewers. 

Ellen's Game of Games airs Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker' streaming March 17, on Blu-ray March 31

Lucasfilm/Disney(NEW YORK) -- If you missed seeing Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker in your local theater, or if you're just jonesing to see it again, you don't have much longer to wait -- the blockbuster's coming to streaming and Blu-ray next month.

The final chapter in the generations-spanning Skywalker saga will be available digitally in HD and 4K Ultra HD and via Movies Anywhere on March 17, and on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD on March 31.

The digital and DVD home releases also include lots of the usual bonus material, including a feature-length, making-of documentary that not only goes behind the scenes with the cast and filmmakers from Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, but also explores the legacy of the Skywalker saga, which began with 1977's Star Wars: Episode IV -- A New Hope.

Since its December 20, 2019 release, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker has earned over $513 million domestically and more than a billion dollars worldwide.  It's currently the 14th highest-grossing film of all time domestically; Star Wars: The Force Awakens is top of that list, with $936.6 million.

Star Wars is owned by Disney, parent company of ABC News.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


"The beat goes on": Joe Mantegna talks tonight's 'Criminal Minds' series finale

Cliff Lipson/CBS(NEW YORK) -- After fifteen seasons, the crime drama Criminal Minds comes to a close tonight on CBS, with a two-hour series finale.  But don't expect star Joe Mantegna to drop any plot spoilers ahead of the final broadcast, other than he feels fans will come away satisfied.

"You owe something to your audience if you have a show that's been on 15 years," Mantegna tells ABC Audio.  "It's not something that's going to be like earth-shattering, that's far-fetched, but something that is probably very realistic."

He adds: "The best, maybe if I had to put it in one sentence is: The beat goes on.  You know?"

Criminal Minds, set within the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit, has undergone some significant cast changes over its 324 episodes.  Mantegna himself stepped in to replace original star Mandy Patinkin, who left the show after three seasons, while the only main cast members who've appeared in every season are Matthew Gray Gubler and Kirsten Vangsness.

But despite the turnover, Mantegna maintains the cast is "unbelievably tight. And you can't create that. The chemistry either happens or it doesn't happen.  I just feel so fortunate that it worked out that way. When we did that final episode not one of us would not have said, 'Hey, let's do fifteen more!'"

Mantegna's also grateful that the show has allowed him to spend time with his family over the years, including the eldest of his two daughters, who has autism.

"From the time she was born we made that decision...to make things as normal as we can," says Mantegna, noting that his family even traveled with him when the show shot on location.  "They went everywhere. ...[W]e kept the family unit together."

The Criminal Minds series finale airs tonight at 9:00 ET on CBS.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Weinstein trial jurors ask for clarification of charges, blueprint of apartment

Kena Betancur/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- After hearing from 35 witnesses over more than two weeks of testimony, the New York City jury in Harvey Weinstein’s rape and sexual assault case began deliberating Tuesday morning. 

Within the first hour of deliberations, the Weinstein jury sent a note to the judge, asking for legal clarification of the charges the movie mogul faces.

"We the jury request written legal definition of the charges being considered including forcible compulsion, consent, rape in the 1st and 3rd degree and criminal sexual act," the note read.  "We would also like an explanation of the law of why we may find the defendant guilty for predatory assault only and not other crimes. We would like the court to confirm whether we could find the defendant guilty of both counts 4 and 5, or whether we can just find him guilty of 3 or 4 or 5."

The note continued: "We would like the court to confirm that we can only find the defendant guilty of count 1, only if the state has proven him guilty of both Mimi Haleyi and Annabella Sciorra and that we can only find him guilty of count 3."

Some time later, the jurors then sent a second note asking for a blueprint of "the Soho apartment" which is in reference to Weinstein's former SoHo apartment on Crosby St. in Manhattan where Haleyi was allegedly sexually assaulted in 2006.

"We would like a copy of people’s exhibit #75 the blueprint of the Soho apartment. We would also like a copy of all the emails of certain women’s names are highlighted in red," the jury's note read.

The day ended without a verdict.  Deliberations are scheduled to resume today at 9:30 a.m. ET.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Kylie Jenner blasted on social media for daughter Stormi's hoop earnings

Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images for Netflix(LOS ANGELES) -- Kylie Jenner shared what she considered an adorable photo of her daughter Stormi wearing giant hoop earrings Tuesday on Instagram, but it didn't go over well with some fans who thought they posed a danger to the toddler.

"Go best friend," the 22-year-old Kylie Cosmetics mogul captioned a series of photos of Stormi, who is two, where one of which shows her looking at her reflection in a car door while wearing a set of personalized gold hoops.

"So no one around her informed her that putting hoops on a two year old is not good for their ears?" one fan criticized in the comments' section of the post. "They’re too young for something this heavy to be in their ears i thought everyone knew this."

"They are just one more thing in this world that can harm a child, why take the risk in the name of vanity??" another pointed out.

"The outfit cute the earrings are too big for her age. Let her be little girl Toddler with way smaller hoops," another suggested.

To be fair though, most fans didn't find anything wrong with the accessory, including one who wrote, "All you guys griping about her earnings I'm sure Kylie has them made of something really light weight so [sic] they're not pulling her ears..."

Kylie took a similar beating recently for posting a photo of herself wearing $1,500 Louis Vuitton mink fur slippers after expressing sympathy for the half a billion animals that perished in the Australian bushfires.

In an apparent attempt to redeem herself, she pledged a million dollars to various Australian wildfire relief efforts, according to People magazine.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Justin Bieber and James Corden wrestle and talk fighting Tom Cruise on "Carpool Karaoke"

Terence Patrick/CBS (LOS ANGELES) -- Justin Bieber joined James Corden for his first appearance in four years on The Late Late Show's popular segment "Carpool Karaoke."

They duo belted out a number of the pop star's hits as they drove* along, including his most recent singles "Yummy" and "Intentions," as well as, his songs "Love Yourself" and "I Don't Care."

At one point, Corden asked Bieber what possessed him to challenge Tom Cruise to a fight in June 2019.

The 25-year-old simply chalked it up to being stupid, before the two debated who would have won had it actually happened.

Corden put his money on the Mission Impossible actor which led to a hilarious arm wrestling competition between the talk show host and Bieber. (Spoiler alert: Bieber won.)

The "Yummy" singer also chatted about married life and what he and wife, Hailey Bieber like to do. As it turns out, they are just like the average couple and like to binge watch television with the iconic sitcom Friends being included on their list of shows.

Bieber and Corden capped off their trip by singing "One Less Lonely Girl," which he sang at his wedding.

*Should be noted that Corden was infamously busted while recording this segment after a fan caught him and Bieber being towed around the city instead of driving.  Corden came clean in January that it was due to safety reasons.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Jenna Dewan and Steve Kazee announce engagement

Robert Kamau/GC Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Jenna Dewan and Steve Kazee are engaged!

The couple announced the exciting news on Tuesday with an adorable picture of them embracing, which also happened to show off the gorgeous oblong ring on Dewan’s left hand.

“A lifetime to love and grow with you...you have my heart,” the 38-year-old Flirty Dancing host captioned her Instagram post, while Kazee opted for lyrics from the song “Let It Breathe” by the Water Liars.

“When you wake in the morning I will kiss your face with a smile no one has ever seen,” he wrote. “When you wake in the morning I will kiss your eyes and say it’s you I have loved all these years.”

The engagement come only a few months after Dewan and Kazee shared news that they are expecting their first child together. This will be Dewan's second child.

She's already mom to six-year-old daughter, Everly, who she shares with ex-husband Channing Tatum.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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Chris Pratt and Tom Holland muse over magical powers and birthdays at 'Onward' premiere

Rich Fury/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) --The highly anticipated Disney/Pixar animated film Onward celebrated its world premiere in Hollywood on Tuesday night.

Onward stars Tom Holland and Chris Pratt star as the Lightfoot brothers Ian and Barley, respectively, who are gifted a magic staff that can bring back their father, who they desperately want to meet as he died when they were too young to remember him. 

However, there's a 24-hour limit to the spell, so the brothers need to make every moment count.

The two also learn through a series of trial and error that the staff is capable of performing other magic spells, as well.

Pratt, while walking the blue carpet on Tuesday, was asked by ABC Audio what he'd do if the magic staff ever fell in his hands.  His answer was quite surprising.

"I would just, like, clean up the pollution," Answered a serious Pratt.  "I'd just get rid of the crap and the plastic in the oceans and, you know, make the environment better."

He also added that by using the staff, he'd also "stop forest fires."

However, it's not Pratt's character Barley who the magic staff is given to.  It's actually handed to Holland's character, Ian, upon his 16th birthday.

While the staff certainly makes Ian's sweet 16th one to remember, Holland revealed on the blue carpet that it wasn't the presents that made his 16th birthday memorable.

"I don't remember what I got," Holland sheepishly admitted, "I know I went water skiing. But, I don't remember what presents I got."  

Onward -- which also stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Octavia Spencer, Ali Wong, Lena Waithe and Mel Rodriguez -- drives into theaters on March 6.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Reese Witherspoon gets no rest in extremely relateable "sick day" photo

Theo Wargo/WireImage/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Anyone who's suffered through a sinus infection knows just how terrible they can be.  And, as any mom can tell you, there's no such thing as a sick day when there's small children around. 

Reese Witherspoon found that out the hard way after a sinus infection took her out on Tuesday.

The Morning Show star posted a hilariously relateable photo of her attempting to rest up on the couch -- complete with a warm cup of tea and cozy blanket -- but her seven-year-old Tennessee and two dogs had other ideas.

Witherspoon, who's wearing a pastel hoodie, stares wryly at the camera as her son wrestles the family dogs right on top of her.

"Is this how you cure a sinus infection?," Witherspoon sarcastically asks in the caption while using the hashtag "sick day."

The actress also took to her Instagram stories to field suggestions on how to overcome her illness.

Friends and fans were quick to offer the 43-year-old some sage advice, but the best comment came from daughter Ava Phillippe, who teased, "hope my hoodie is keeping you warm haha."  

"Your clothes always make me feel better," Witherspoon sweetly shot back.

On a lighter note, the Legally Blonde actress looks great even when sick, as actress January Jones helpfully pointed out, "Well at least you look 12."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Hayden Panettiere allegedly assaulted by boyfriend Brian Hickerson

Hollywood To You/Star Max/GC Images(JACKSON, Wyoming) --  Hayden Panettiere’s boyfriend, Brian Hickerson, has been arrested again for domestic violence.

According to documents obtained by TMZ, Hickerson was arrested around 2:30 a.m. on February 14 in Jackson, Wyoming after the Teton County Sheriff’s Office responded to reports of a disturbance at the residence.

Hickerson was booked for domestic battery and received an additional charge for interference with a cop after allegedly refusing to identify himself. Both are misdemeanor charges in the state.

Documents revealed that Hickerson was in the driveway of the residence when authorities arrived and that he told the officers that the former Nashville actress was inside "saying he beat the f*** out of me."

When asked if he had put hands on his girlfriend, Hickerson avoided the question.

Police stated that Panettiere had a red and swollen face as she explained that her boyfriend began punching her when the two were in their bedroom. She also sustained a scrape and swelling on her left hand.

Police concluded that Hickerson hit her "with a closed fist on the right side of her face."

This alteration comes just eight months after Hickerson was charged with one count of felony domestic violence against the 30-year-old actress. That case was ultimately dismissed, though, due to the prosecution’s inability to secure a witness.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Ben Affleck calls divorce from Jennifer Garner the biggest regret of his life

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Ben Affleck got real and raw as he opened up about his life and work in a recent interview published by The New York Times.

"The biggest regret of my life is this divorce," he revealed.

Affleck was married to actress Jennifer Garner for 13 years until they officially split in 2018 after three years of separation. The two share three children together.

As for what ended his marriage, the 47-year-old candidly admitted that his drinking played a role in its demise.

"You’re trying to make yourself feel better with eating or drinking or sex or gambling or shopping or whatever. But that ends up making your life worse," he explained. "Then you do more of it to make that discomfort go away. Then the real pain starts. It becomes a vicious cycle you can’t break. That’s at least what happened to me."

"I drank relatively normally for a long time. What happened was that I started drinking more and more when my marriage was falling apart. This was 2015, 2016. My drinking, of course, created more marital problems," he concluded.

Affleck also shared that it's not "healthy" for him to obsess over his imperfections, but it is important to "pick yourself up, learn from it, learn some more," and "try to move forward," which is what he has tried to do.

The Gone Girl actor has four films that will be released this year, starting with The Way Back, a sports drama about a high school coach who is described by The Times as a "puffy, willful, fall-down drunk who blows up his marriage and lands in rehab."

The role hit home for Affleck as he was able to draw from his own experiences to portray the character -- a process he found to be "very therapeutic."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Harrison Ford confirms new 'Indiana Jones' movie to begin shooting this summer

Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- That new Indiana Jones movie is one step closer to becoming a reality.  Harrison Ford himself confirms that shooting on it is scheduled to begin this summer.

The actor provided the update Tuesday on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, saying "We hope to start soon, this summer, this late summer" when Ellen pressed Ford for details.

Ford also confessed that he was "excited" to begin work on the film, declaring, "They're great fun to make."

The as-yet untitled Indiana Jones movie will be the fifth in the 39-year-old franchise.  Disney's already announced a premiere date of August 9, 2021, which gives the studio about 18 months to do their thing.

This will also probably be the last Indiana Jones film -- at least, the final one starring Ford.  The Indy 5 premiere date is about a month after Ford's 79th birthday, making the prospect of him donning his trademark fedora for a sixth Indiana Jones film unlikely.

Ford can next be seen starring in The Call of the Wild, debuting Friday, February 21.

Disney's the parent company of ABC News.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved. 


'Queen of Katwe' actress Nikita Pearl Waligwa dies at 15 of a brain tumor

Walt Disney Studios(NEW YORK) -- Nikita Pearl Waligwa, the Ugandan teen who starred as a chess whiz in the 2016 Disney film Queen of Katwe, died over the weekend from a brain tumor, according to her school.

Waligwa, 15, had been attending Gayaza High School in Kampala during her illness. The school tweeted a heartfelt announcement on her passing late Saturday night.

"You were a darling to many and we have lost you to [a] brain tumor at such a tender age," the school tweeted. "Rest in Perfect Peace dear."

Queen of Katwe is based on real-life Ugandan chess player Phiona Mutesi, who came from the slums to be one of the top players in the world. Waligwa played Gloria, Mutesi's friend and fellow chess player who says of chess, "the small one can become the big one."

The movie was a hit among Ugandan audiences, who saw local actors on the same screen as fellow Queen of Katwe Hollywood stars Lupita Nyong'o and David Oyelowo.

Oyelowo shared his condolences on Instagram Sunday.  "She was a ball of light in @queenofkatwemovie and in life," he wrote.

For her part, Nyong'o posted on her Instagram that Waligwa was a "sweet, warm, talented girl.... May she truly rest in peace. May it be well with her soul."

Disney is the parent company of ABC News.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


'SNL's' Kenan Thompson to host White House Correspondent's Dinner

NBC/Mary Ellen Matthews(WASHINGTON, D.C.) -- Saturday Night Live veteran cast member Kenan Thompson will host this year's White House Correspondents Dinner.

The announcement comes after the White House Correspondents Association took a year-long break from comedy following comic and former The Daily Show contributor Michelle Wolf's incendiary performance in 2018, during which she lambasted President Trump and his White House staff, to mixed reviews.  In response, the WHCA in 2019 tapped historian Ron Chernow to deliver a more sober lecture on the history of the presidency and the news media.

Also appearing as featured entertainer at the WHCA dinner will be Patriot Act host Hasan Minaj, who did the same in 2017.

Through presidents traditionally attend the White House Correspondents Dinner to show they have a sense of humor by taking a few shots from comics, and then delivering their own from the dais, President Trump has boycotted the annual event during his presidency and isn't expected to attend this year's.

The White House Correspondents Dinner happens Saturday, April 25.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved. 


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