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Lee Daniels “Beyond Embarrassed” For Rushing To Jussie Smollett’s Defense.

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When Jussie Smollett said he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack on January 29, Empire co-creator and executive producer Lee Daniels made an impassioned statement in a since-deleted video on Instagram, saying it was “just another f*cking day in America.”

Now that Smollett has been publicly accused of orchestrating the attack, Daniels told Vulture he regrets rushing to judgment.

“I’m beyond embarrassed,” he said. “I think that when it happened, I had a flash of me running from bullies. I had a flash of my whole life, of my childhood, my youth, getting beaten.”

In the interview published online Tuesday, the Oscar-nominated director said Smollett is like a son, and he still has “some doubt” that the actor would stage an attack.

“Of course, there’s some doubt,” Daniels stated. “I’m telling you that because I love him so much. That’s the torture that I’m in right now, because it’s literally if it were to happen to your son and your child, how would you feel? You would feel, ‘Please, God, please let there be that glimmer of hope that there is some truth in this story.’ That’s why it’s been so painful. It was a flood of pain.”

The day of the attack, Smollett told police he was walking down a Chicago street in the dark, when two unknown offenders approached him and began yelling racial and homophobic slurs. The actor said the suspects beat him, wrapped a rope around his neck and said “this is MAGA country.”

Vulture reminded Daniels that Chicago police and the city’s local media alleged Smollett hired two friends to attack him, in hopes of getting a salary increase on Empire, leaving little doubt that the incident was a “hoax.”

“We weren’t there. I can’t judge him,” Daniels responded. “That’s only for the f*cking lady or man with that black robe and God. I had to detach myself and stop calling him, because it was taking away the time I have for my kids, the time I have for my partner. It was affecting my spirit and other shows, everything.”

Cook County prosecutors charged Smollett with 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct for allegedly filing a false police report. The actor maintained his innocence and pleaded not guilty. In a surprise move on March 26, the state’s attorney’s office dropped the charges.

The city is now suing him in civil court to recover more than $130,000 it claims to have spent on police overtime hours investigating the case.

Asked if he followed the breathless coverage in the Chicago Tribune, Daniels said there was no time.

“I didn’t read any of it,” he said. “I was too busy putting out fires.”

Following the attack, Smollett was written out of the final episodes on Season 5 of Empire.

Reports emerged last week that the embattled actor’s character, Jamal Lyon, was being re-worked into scripts for the Fox series’ sixth and final season. However, Daniels said the reports were absolutely untrue.

“Jussie will NOT be returning to Empire,” he tweeted on June 4.

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Spider Man: Jackson disappointed in Promoters.

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African-American actor and film producer, Samuel Leroy Jackson has expressed displeasure in the producers and promoters of the Spider-Man: Far From Home movie, as the newest marketing materials was marred with some series of errors.

The Marvel star reprises his role as former S.H.I.E.L.D. boss and flerken friend Nick Fury in the upcoming Spider-Man movie (in theaters July 2). Posters and trailers for the film have teased the first major meeting between Fury and Tom Holland’s Spider-Man, but as Jackson pointed out on Instagram, at least one poster portrays Fury with a major mistake

Jackson shared a side-by-side comparison of two Spider-Man posters, each with Fury’s signature eyepatch on a different eye. (For the record, as Jackson reiterates, Fury’s eyepatch belongs on his left eye, as that was the one he lost in a not-so-savage battle with Captain Marvel’s cat/flerken, Goose.)

© Instagram Samuel L. Jackson calls out Spider-Man: Far From Home poster that flips Fury's eyepatch

Far From Home marks Jackson’s 11th onscreen appearance as the super-spy, and the film follows him as he introduces Spider-Man to a new ally, Jake Gyllenhaal’s Mysterio. “It was great to have [Jackson] on set intimidating everyone,” director Jon Watts previously told EW, laughing. “It was just like Nick Fury was actually there, keeping everyone on their toes.”

And, according to film producers Naomi Ellen Watts, Far From Home also finds Fury struggling to pick up the pieces after the events of Avengers: Endgame.

“He’s been gone for five years, too,” Watts said. “He’s the guy who’s always known everything about everything. He’s the guy who created the Avengers, and now here he is, returning after five years and seeing a very, very different world. So that’s a situation we’ve never seen him in before. The guy who’s always been in control not having the same level of control is interesting.”

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‘Men in Black: International’ Heads for Disappointing $24 Million Launch

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Sony’s “Men in Black: International” is heading for a disappointing $24 million opening weekend in the top spot at a mild North American box office, early estimates showed Friday.

The fourth iteration of the sci-fi comedy franchise is performing well under modest expectations, which had been in the $30 million range at 4,224 locations. “Men in Black: International” stars Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson, replacing Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones as the black-suited agents dealing with a baffling series of alien attacks against Earth.

New Line’s launch of its “Shaft” reboot is also showing little traction at multiplexes with Friday estimates coming in around $8 million at 2,952 sites, far below forecasts in the $16 million to $24 million range for the weekend. And Amazon’s widened release of its Mindy Kaling-Emma Thompson comedy “Late Night” was also falling flat at about $4 million at 2,218 venues.

The sole bright spots for the weekend appear to be Universal’s second weekend of “The Secret Life of Pets 2,” declining about 53% to around $22 million, and Disney’s fourth frame of “Aladdin” with about $17 million. The live-action reboot of “Aladdin” should finish the weekend with approximately $262 million domestically.

“Men in Black: International” takes place in the same universe as the previous trilogy, with Emma Thompson reprising her role as Agent O. Kumail Nanjiani, Rebecca Ferguson, Rafe Spall and twins Laurent and Larry Bourgeois also star. The film, set in the London bureau of the top-secret Men in Black organization, is directed by F. Gary Gray and written by Art Marcum and Matt Holloway, based on the Malibu comic by Lowell Cunningham. The budget for “Men in Black: International” is $110 million, co-financed by Hemisphere and Tencent.

The previous three “Men in Black” films combined for more than $1.6 billion in worldwide box office. All three scored North American debut weekends of more than $50 million. “Men in Black: International” is also launching in most international markets. Reviews were dismal with a 25% score on Rotten Tomatoes.

“Shaft,” the fifth film in the franchise, stars Jessie Usher playing John “JJ” Shaft Jr., an FBI agent and a cybersecurity expert with a degree from MIT. Samuel L. Jackson plays his estranged father and Richard Roundtree plays his grandfather, the original Shaft, as he did in the first three “Shaft” movies in the early 1970s. Critics were unimpressed, resulting in a 35% Rotten Tomatoes score.

“Late Night” had generated forecasts in the $5 million to $9 million range. The film was acquired by Amazon following its Sundance premiere for a record $13 million and launched in four locations last weekend with a solid $246,035. It benefits from more positive reviews, sitting at 80% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Focus is seeing moderate returns on its launch of Jim Jarmusch’s “The Dead Don’t Die” with around $3 million at 613 locations. The zombie comedy, starring Bill Murray and Adam Driver, was the opening night film at the Cannes Film Festival last month. Reviews have been mixed with a 51% score on Rotten Tomatoes.

Year-to-date domestic box office as of June 12 has hit $4.93 billion, down 6% from the same point last year, according to Comscore. “Avengers: Endgame,” which has topped $826 million in seven weeks, and “Aladdin” had helped narrow the gap — which should widen again this weekend, thanks to overall business falling short of last year’s $182 million opening for “Incredibles 2.”

Disney’s “Toy Story 4” should rescue the box office next weekend. Early tracking had placed the animated comedy with a debut in the $150 million range.

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Janet Mock Signs History-Making Deal With Netflix

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Last year, Janet Mock made her directorial debut with the popular FX series Pose. Now, she's making history as the first trans woman of color to sign an overall deal with Netflix, where she'll direct and produce a slate of projects for the streaming giant.

"This deal is so bonkers,” she announced in a video posted to Netflix's Strong Black Lead vertical. “I, of course, will be writing and directing and developing a few hush hush projects that I can’t really talk about, but one of them is a half-hour drama and another is a college series. So I’m really excited for that.”

https://twitter.com/strongblacklead/status/1141330204285030400

According to Variety, Mock has signed a three year multimillion-dollar, which will give the streaming giant rights to her television series and first-look option on feature films. Mock will also executive produce and direct Ryan Murphy's upcoming series Hollywood, which Murphy previously described as "a love letter to the Golden Age of Tinseltown." Even though she's heading over to Netflix, Mock will continue to direct and write on Pose.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BuMRUe5BllB/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

“This is the first kind of deal of its kind for a trans person, no less a trans woman of color,” she continued in the video. "You know 84% of Americans say that they don’t know and or work with a trans person, and so there’s potential now with Netflix’s worldwide audience to introduce millions, hundreds of millions of viewers to trans people and showing people who may not understand us that we can tell our own stories.”

Source: ELLE

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Gina Rodriguez Had To Stop Filming ‘Jane the Virgin’ For Her Mental Health.

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Gina Rodriguez has been open about having anxiety, and with the final season of Jane the Virgin wrapping up this summer, Gina got candid about how she had to stop filming the show for her mental health.

During a discussion on mental health at The Kennedy Forum with NBC's Kate Snow, Gina said she can typically work through her anxiety and keep acting but wasn't able to this season. She explained:

"There was a point where I couldn’t…push through every single time anymore, and I’m one of those human beings…where they're just like, I’ll handle it later. I’ll deal with it later. I’ll figure it out later. I just have to do this now. All the while you’re dealing with your silent little dragon in your head. And it came to a point, and this last season was the first season where I had to stop production. I had a really tumultuous season, and I was unafraid for the first time to be like, ‘I can’t.’”


After hearing Kate's husband, Chris Bro, open up about depression and experiencing suicidal thoughts, Gina explained that she can relate.

Gina said she remembers having depression starting at age 16 and that it could be linked to her Hashimoto's disease, which is an autoimmune thyroid disorder.

https://twitter.com/TODAYshow/status/1140599621204566016

Thankfully, Gina said that once she started talking to other people about her mental health, "it just opened up a pathway that allowed me to talk about it freely, to seek help, to be unafraid."

Later, she explained that she wants to continue talking about mental health awareness because so many people look up to her. She said, "It has to be a part of the conversations I have with these young girls. I can’t just tell them to go out and make their dreams come true and then to ignore everything else.”

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