Entertainment

ABC News celebrates Black History Month with Halle Berry and more Black female stars; Lisa Raye McCoy reveals she suffered an identity crisis from her breakout role

ABC/Matt Petit

ABC News will broadcast two primetime specials to celebrate Black History Month in February.

As part of the Soul of a Nation series, Halle Berry, Tessa Thompson, Debbie Allen, and more will be featured in Screen Queens Rising airing Thursday, February 3 at 8 p.m. The special will explore how Black actresses are making progress in Hollywood.

One hour later, X/onerated – The Murder of Malcolm X and 55 Years to Justice, will present the first interview with Muhammad Abdul Aziz, who was wrongfully convicted of Malcolm X’s assassination in 1965

Also for Black History Month, Good Morning America will feature a series about Black financial literacy. World News Tonight with David Muir will pay tribute to Black veterans, healthcare workers, teachers, and politicians within its “America Strong” segments. Nightline will take an intimate look at the first police academy at a historically Black college and university, and This Week with George Stephanopoulos will examine the impact of changes to voting rights legislation across the country.

In other news, LisaRaye McCoy reveals she suffered an “identity crisis” following her breakout role as a stripper in the 1998 film, The Players Club, starring Ice Cube, who was also the writer and director. “I felt like I had to have the long hair and look like my character, Diamond, in order to be recognized,” she told Page Six

"Players Club put me on the map… it made me a bonafide sex symbol, and when you are a sex symbol people think that you’re sexy all the time, and that stigma follows you,” she added. LisaRaye currently stars in A House Divided on ALLBLK.

Finally, Variety reports that Showtime has canceled Black Monday after three seasons. Don Cheadle and Regina Hall starred in the series about Wall Street traders in the 1980s.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Sean Penn says "cowardly genes" lead some men into "surrendering their jeans" for skirts

Cindy Ord/Getty Images for CORE

Sean Penn is already famous for speaking his mind, and he's apparently done so again, while promoting his new film Flag Day

"I am in the club that believes that men in American culture have become wildly feminized," the actor and activist, 61, told the UK-based publication The i.

Admitting he's "frustrated with the world," Penn explained, "I don’t think that being a brute or having insensitivity or disrespect for women is anything to do with masculinity, or ever did. But I don't think that [in order] to be fair to women, we should become them."

While some in Hollywood might backpedal in a subsequent chance to speak to the media, the Licorice Pizza supporting player attempted to explain his comments by telling the UK's The Independent, "There are a lot of, I think, cowardly genes that lead to people surrendering their jeans and putting on a skirt."

He added, "I have these very strong women in my life who do not take masculinity as a sign of oppression toward them."

The comments left the multiple Oscar nominee's 30-year-old daughter Dylan, his co-star in Flag Day, "quiet, staring into space," the interviewer noted.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


He "loved with everything he had" -- Bob Saget's daughter Lara posts tribute to her dad

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Bob Saget's daughter Lara remembered her late dad in a tribute she shared on social media.

In a letter addressed to "anyone afraid to love" she posted Thursday on Instagram, Lara wrote that "unconditional love is the greatest of gifts."

"My dad loved with everything he had. He had so many reasons to be scared to love," she said. "Instead of being scared, he loved more. I am beyond grateful to receive and to give that love. Love completely and be kind. Of all the lessons he taught me, these feel the biggest."

The heartwarming message was shared alongside a photo of Lara on a set as a kid, with her face pressed up against her dad's as she grabs his shirt.

Lara is one of three daughters Saget shared with ex-wife Sherri Kramer; she has an older sister, Aubrey, and a younger sister, Jennifer.

Kelly Rizzo, the Full House alum's widow, responded in the comments section of Lara's post by writing, "I love you forever, Lara."

Rizzo opened up about Saget's death on January 9 at the age of 65, in a recent interview with Good Morning America. Rizzo said the comedian had "the biggest heart."

"He just wanted to spread love and laughter, and he did it so amazingly, and I'm just so proud of him because he truly brought people together," she told GMA.

Rizzo, who married Saget in 2018 after three years of dating, added: "He was just so wonderful, and I was just so honored to be his wife and to be able to be a part of it and bring him any bit of happiness that I could because he deserved it so much."

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Alicia Silverstone takes to TikTok to flip off body shamers

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Having weathered slights like "Fatgirl" after filming 1997's Batman and RobinAlicia Silverstone isn't taking it anymore. 

The Clueless actress took to TikTok -- with the help of GAYLE's "abcdfu" and her own middle finger -- to express just what she thought of the caption of a candid photo of her that had been posted online. 

The picture she displayed was taken as she walked in the grass wearing a blue summer dress, and was described as, "Alicia Silverstone Candid Fat Photo." 

Between her smile and her middle digit, Alicia showed precisely how much she cared for -- and about -- the label. She also noted, "Damn. I think I look good," followed with a crying laughing emoji and a shrugging emoji.

To The Guardian in 2020, Silverstone recalled how the weight shaming on Batman and Robin, in which she played Barbara Gordon/Batgirl, was so hurtful she "stopped loving acting for a very long time."

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Jason Momoa reportedly looking to fight the family in 'Fast and Furious 10'

ABC/Rick Rowell

Deadline is reporting Jason Momoa could be the next in line to battle Vin Diesel's Dom Toretto and his "family" in the tenth installment of the Fast and Furious franchise. 

The trade notes the newly-single Dune star is joining the cast of the action pic, which opens May 19, 2023. F9's Justin Lin will be back to direct the 10th installment, though plot details are still under wraps.

The most recent installment of the Fast and Furious series made more than $726 million worldwide, earning the fifth spot on the chart of 2021's highest grossing films.

Meanwhile, Momoa's second stand-alone superhero movie, Aquaman and The Lost Kingdom, opens December 22 of this year.

 

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Valerie Bertinelli speaks about Eddie Van Halen's addiction, love, loss, and regret, in 'AARP The Magazine'

Jim Smeal/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Actress, cookbook author, and Food Network personality Valerie Bertinelli has opened up to AARP The Magazine's February/March issue about love, loss, and regret. 

The ex-wife of music icon Eddie Van Halen is frank in the piece, noting, "I don't buy it when someone says, 'I have no regrets. It’s made me who I am today.' That’s B.S."

She adds, "I regret not asking more questions and opening up with my mom. I was uncomfortable with her pain. It was selfish."

Regret came into play in discussing her 20-year marriage to Van Halen, as well, regarding how she dealt with his battle with addiction. The pair divorced in 2007, and Van Halen died of cancer in 2020. "I could have been so much more understanding with why Ed needed alcohol and drugs to deal with his pain," Bertinelli explains.

"That's what he was taught at a young age. They’re the only things he had in his toolbox. I took it too personally. Like, 'If you love me, you wouldn’t do this.' That’s not true."

Bertinelli adds, "He did love me more than anyone has ever loved me in my entire life. I was selfish in that I just wanted him to get better for me. As I got older, I just wanted him to get better for him."

The 61-year-old also mentions how she's trying to give herself a break, particularly in light of the recent loss of her friend and former Hot in Cleveland co-star Betty White. "I used to say, when I'm 88, I'm going to be like Betty...eating my hot dogs and Red Vines...and drinking vodka on the rocks with the lemon twist. So I recently had a hot dog, but I'm not as crazy about Red Vines. I prefer Twizzlers."

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


'The Afterparty' is "a love letter to murder mysteries," says director

Apple TV+

It’s time to go to The Afterparty! The new comedy series hits Apple TV+ today, and it stars Tiffany Haddish as a detective who is trying to solve a murder at the after party of a high school reunion.

The show was created by The Lego Movie writer/director Chris Miller, who tells ABC Audio that the series is "more of a love letter to murder mysteries" than a spoof of them.

"I think it was really important to us along the way that we never felt like we were doing a spoof or a parody," he explains. "I've been, you know, obsessed with murder mysteries my whole life. I grew up reading Agatha Christie books and watching Columbo and movies like Last of Sheila and Clue and all that stuff."

Haddish also LOVES a good murder mystery. In fact, she says it's just part of who she is.

"You know how men, they want to solve problems? They know what the problem is, and they try to solve problems. Women, we feel like it might be a problem. And we trying to figure out who is it? What is it? What’s going on? We always investigating. Especially our men. And children. And family members. And coworkers. That's me," she jokes.

However, the Girls Trip actress admits she's not always successful at figuring out the culprit.

"You know what movie got me? That Knives Out movie," she confesses. "I could not figure it out. Could not figure it out. I'm very upset."  

Sam RichardsonZoë ChaoBen SchwartzIke BarinholtzIlana GlazerJamie Demetriou and Dave Franco round out The Afterparty cast.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Cher, Tina Fey, Jay Leno and more will be 'Celebrating Betty White' on NBC

NBCUniversal

When Betty White died on December 31, just weeks shy of her 100th birthday, Cher was one of the celebrities who took to social media to mourn her loss. Now she'll be joining many other stars in helping to celebrate the award-winning TV icon in a new NBC special.

Celebrating Betty White, America's Golden Girl airs January 31 at 10 p.m. ET and will stream the next day on Peacock.  President Joe Biden, Tina Fey, Ted Danson, Valerie Bertinelli, Jimmy Fallon, Goldie Hawn, Jay Leno, Bryan Cranson, Ellen DeGeneres, Jean Smart and more will be also on hand to pay tribute.  

NBC notes, "Co-stars, friends, admirers and those who shared special moments with White recount their favorite memories and reveal untold stories to commemorate the life and legacy of the trailblazing television star. The telecast will include clips and never-before-seen footage that best capture White’s irreverent tone, spirit and impeccable comedic timing that are a hallmark of her decades-long career."

When White died, Cher tweeted, "I Watched Her on her first TV Show Life With Elizabeth When I Was 7 Yrs Old. When She Did [the] Sonny & Cher [show], I Got a Chance To Tell Her. I Was Embarrassed cause tears came to my eyes. She put her arms around me, & I Felt 7 again.

"Some Ppl Are Called ICONS, BETTY IS A TRUE ICON," Cher continued. She also posted a GIF of Betty shimmying, and wrote, "BELOVED ICON...YOU WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN." 

Incidentally, back on January 21, Cher apparently spilled the beans about the just-announced NBC special  by tweeting, "I’m So Relieved & Happy That there Will Be A Program Where We Will Talk About Betty. My one fear is…. I may cry."

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Wendy Williams not returning to talk show until at least March

ABC

It looks like Wendy Williams won't be returning to her daytime talk show for at least another month.

The show announced on Thursday that Williams' absence will continue through February and into early March, according to Page Six.

When asked if the 57-year-old TV personality is likely going to sit out the rest of the season, a rep told the newspaper, “Don’t overreach.”

Meanwhile, the show has announced the slate of guest hosts for the month of February, including comedian Michael Rapaport January 31-February 4.

Fat Joe and Remy Ma also make a return appearance as guest hosts from February 7-11, followed by Bevy Smith and Terrence from February 14-18 and Sherri Shepherd from February 21-February 25. Rapaport will return again as a guest host February 28-March 4.

Williams has been absent from her show since the start of this season; she was originally expected to return on September 20 for the start of the 13th season, but the premiere was postponed three times due to her COVID-19 diagnosis, as well as an ongoing battle with Graves' disease, an autoimmune disease that causes an overactive thyroid.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


In Brief: 'Licorice Pizza' and others hailed by Writers Guild; Christian Slater joins John Cena's 'Freelance,' and more

Mr. Robot's Christian Slater has been tapped to star alongside John CenaAlison Brie and NarcosJuan Pablo Raba in Taken director Pierre Morel’s action-comedy Freelance, according to DeadlineFreelance follows Cena as an ex-special forces operator who takes a job providing security for a journalist -- played by Brie -- who's hoping to salvage her career by interviewing a dictator. Things go awry when a military coup breaks out in the middle of the interview, and the mismatched duo, along with the dictator, escape to the jungle where they must survive the military and wild animals, as well as each other. Slater's role has not been revealed...

Being the RicardosDon’t Look UpThe French DispatchKing Richard and Licorice Pizza are all up for Original Screenplay trophies at the 74th annual Writers Guild Awards. CODADuneNightmare Alleytick, tick…BOOM! and West Side Story will face off against each other in the Adapted Screenplay. In the documentary category, Being CousteauExposing Muybridge and Like a Rolling Stone earned nods. The winners will be revealed March 20. The full list of nominees can be found here...

Netflix’s upcoming Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the direct sequel to the 1974 horror classic, is paying homage to the original film by bringing back John Larroquette to narrate the opening of the film, recreating the role that launched his career. “It felt important to honor the original TCM at every opportunity,” director David Blue Garcia told Variety via email, “John’s voice is iconic in the original opening and we thought it would help set the perfect tone in our own intro. It’s also a subtle way of letting the fans know they’re in good hands.” Also making a return appearance in the sequel is one of the original, working Poulan chainsaws from the original film. The 2022 Texas Chainsaw Massacre will launches February 18 on Netflix...

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


W. Kamau Bell says 'We Need to Talk About Cosby'... even though it's hard

Courtesy of Aundre Larrow

W. Kamau Bell is not afraid to have a tough conversation about the man once hailed as "America's Dad." Bell's new docuseries, We Need to Talk About Cosby, premieres Sunday and will provide an unflinching look at Bill Cosby’s groundbreaking legacy as well as his downfall for allegedly raping dozens of women.

Speaking to ABC Audio, Bell addresses how Cosby's camp has panned the upcoming series and called him a "PR Hack."  The 49-year-old admits the insult caught him off guard. "Of all the things I envisioned them calling me, that was not on my list. So, you know, I'll take it," says Bell.

While Cosby's camp made it clear to Bell they want the upcoming docuseries to focus only on the positive, the United Shades of America host said, "I think if they watch the doc, they'll see that we also highlight the good things he does while we have a different opinion of his innocence."

The docuseries balances Cosby's fall from grace with his legacy as a performer and educator.  It is a "difficult" discussion, Bell admits, but says "it's time" to have it because it's so "hard to talk about."  He says the docuseries "reckons with his legacy and all the good he did with all the things that I've come to believe that he did as far as assaulting and raping women."

"It was always a conversation about Bill Cosby, not a conversation with Bill Cosby," Bell continued. "And after you talk to so many survivors, it just feels like it's less and less a room for him to come in because that would feel like a betrayal to all the survivors."  

We Need to Talk About Cosby premieres Sunday, January 30, at 10 p.m. ET on Showtime.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Halle Berry has found true love with Van Hunt, 'Celebrity Big Brother' cast members revealed, and more

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Following three failed marriages, and then breaking up with Gabriel Aubry, father of her 13-year-old daughter NahlaHalle Berry was sour on relationships. However now she says, "I really believe I've found my person" with singer Van Hunt.

"I have this new amazing love in my life," the Oscar winner tells AARP Magazine. "Because of COVID we spent four months talking on the phone. We were forced to let only our brains connect and discover if we had a connection before our bodies decided to get involved. I'd never done it this way. I fell in love with his mind, his conversation."

"My son Maceo on his own did this little commitment ceremony for us in the back seat of the car. I think he finally sees me happy, and it's infectious," Berry adds. "It was his way of saying, 'This is good. This makes me happy.'"

"It was a very real moment for all of us," the Bruised star and director says about the family moment. "I teared up, Van was fighting back tears. Even Maceo knew he'd said something poignant. I have two children. Van has a son. As a mom living this modern, blended family, all I care about is that my kids are okay with my decisions."

In other news, Cynthia Bailey, Todd Bridges, and Lamar Odom are among the cast members for the new season of Celebrity Big Brother which begins Wednesday, February 2 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.

Finally, Remy Ma and her husband, Papoose, will be among the stars appearing in the VH1 special, Love & Hip Hop: Lineage to Legacy, airing Monday, February 7 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. They will take DNA tests to reveal their African ethnic group and country of origin.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


"Pro Choice" Marvel movie star Evangeline Lilly protesting vaccine mandates

VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images

In a post on her Instagram, Evangeline Lilly, the Lost veteran who plays Hope van Dyne/The Wasp in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, blasted COVID-19 vaccine mandates. 

Along with a picture of someone carrying a sign that read "Vaxxed Democrat for medical freedom" at last weekend's Washington, D.C. protest of mandating the jabs, Lilly posted that she was there, too. 

"I was in DC this weekend to support bodily sovereignty while Canadian truckers were rallying for their cross-country, peaceful convoy in support of the same thing," the actress conveyed. 

Lilly, who is Canadian, continued, "I believe nobody should ever be forced to inject their body with anything, against their will, under threat of: -violent attack -arrest or detention without trial -loss of employment homelessness -starvation -loss of education -alienation from loved ones -excommunication from society…under any threat whatsoever."

She continued, "This is not the way. This is not safe. This is not healthy. This is not love. I understand the world is in fear, but I don’t believe that answering fear with force will fix our problems."

She concluded with, "I was pro choice before COVID and I am still pro choice today."

Her post had more than 33,000 likes as of 5 p.m. Thursday evening.

In March of 2020, Lilly made headlines for refusing to socially distance, initially writing, "some people value their lives over freedom, some people value freedom over their lives. We all make choices."

She later issued an apology that read in part, "My direct and special apologies to those most affected by this pandemic. I never meant to hurt you. When I wrote that post...I thought I was infusing calm into the hysteria. I can see now that I was projecting my own fears into an already fearful and traumatic situation."

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


'Peacemaker''s streaming performance stuns even writer-director James Gunn

HBO Max

Sure, he wrote and directed Peacemaker, but even James Gunn was surprised to learn his small-screen spin-off of The Suicide Squad has become the biggest streaming show in the world.

With a shocked "Holy crap, this is incredible," Gunn retweeted a Business Insider story that explained HBO Max's Peacemaker became the most in-demand original streaming TV series in the world as of January 22, beating out heavyweights like Netflix's The Witcher, and The Book of Boba Fett on Disney+.

The article quoted data from TV analysts Parrot Analytics, which tabulates audiences' appetites for a given show -- and the series starring John CenaJennifer Holland, and Danielle Brooks, was "69.5 times more in demand than the average series," according to Parrot's numbers published by Insider.

In fact, demand for HBO Max Original shows has jumped 39.2%, compared to 10.3% for Netflix properties. 

The fifth episode of Peacemaker debuted today, and Gunn just told Deadline he's got a second Suicide Squad spin-off up his sleeve, but the Guardians of the Galaxy series writer-director "can't quite say" what it is yet.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


'The Fallout' tackles the trauma of school shootings

Warner Bros. Pictures/HBO Max

The aftermath of a school shooting -- that’s the focus of the new teen drama The Fallout that debuts today on HBO Max.

It was written and directed by actress Megan Park, in her first time behind the camera, and she talked to ABC Audio about her goal to move the needle" by showing "the after effects of what these kids are going to live with for the rest of their lives and maybe a different side of the story that we hadn't seen before."

Adds the 35-year-old actress, "I feel like obviously making a film about this subject matter is very tricky, and I didn't want it to be, you know, this kind of political statement."

Park didn’t have a personal connection to a school shooting, but says she did a lot of research to make it feel as authentic as possible.

"I spoke to both the survivor of a school shooting and also a mother whose daughter had been through a school shooting and survived," the Secret Life of the American Teenager alum explains. "And then I spoke with some organizations about how to kind of tackle...gun violence and stuff in a way that isn't triggering to people who had been through something like this."

"I even just had somebody send me a DM on Instagram and they said, you know, I went through a school shooting and I so appreciated like, it was really hard, but there were times when we would laugh, you know, a few weeks after it happened, but then feel weird about even laughing, " she continues," adding, "there is no right or wrong way to deal with something like this."  

The Fallout stars Jenna OrtegaMaddie ZieglerShailene Woodley and Julie Bowen.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


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