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Fred Duval/FilmMagic(LOS ANGELES) -- For fans of the beloved romantic comedy, there's a happy ending for Bridget Jones' Diary co-stars Hugh Grant and his onscreen love, Renée Zellweger.

"I love Renée. Uh, she's one of the few actresses I haven't fallen out with," Grant confessed on the SirusXM's The Jess Cagle Show. The actor adds, "...[W]e got on very well together and, we still exchange long emails."

The pair not only starred in the 2001 hit, but also its successful follow-ups Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason in 2004 and 2016's Bridget Jones's Baby.

Grant adds of the email exchanges between he and Zellweger, "Hers in particular, at least 70 pages each, interesting stuff, but quite hard to decipher."

He adds of the two-time Oscar winner, "she's a properly good egg and a genius."

Grant's affection for Zellweger also extends to her work. "Did you see her...Judy Garland? About as good as acting gets," he declared, referring to Zellweger's Oscar-winning performance in last year's biopic, Judy.

By Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved. 

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Disney (LOS ANGELES) -- Fans are still freaking out about Rosario Dawson's debut as former Jedi Ahsoka [ah-SOH-kah] Tano in the latest episode Disney 's The Mandalorian -- and she says they have an unknown fan to thank. 

Way back in 2017, a Twitter user posted a now-deleted split-screen photo that showed Dawson hugging her Shattered Glass co-star Hayden Christensen, who played Anakin Skywalker in two of the Star Wars prequels.  Next to it was an image of Ahsoka and her master Akakin from the animated Clone Wars series. 

In the new issue of Vanity Fair, Dawson says when she saw the pic, "I retweeted back and I was like, 'Absolutely, yes please' and '#AhsokaLives.'"

Long story short, her tweet caught the attention of the Clone Wars producers, with the casting idea years later making its way to The Mandalorian creator Jon Favreau, who knew Dawson personally.

Dawson, an admitted Star Wars fangirl, confessed she was "freaking out" during the audition, "trying to play it cool, but I was sweating."

Dawson got the part she loved, and the rest is history -- or, as she puts it, "[I]t just felt like the Force was at play."

Disney is the parent company of ABC News.

By Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved. 

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David Lee / Netflix(NEW YORK) --  (NOTE LANGUAGE) Colman Domingo is sharing a powerful scene from Chadwick Boseman's last film, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom.

In the August Wilson adapted feature, Domingo plays Cutler, one of Ma Rainey's band members. Colman says he experienced an emotional "moment" on set with Boseman, who plays Levee, after Cutler tells the story of a Black pastor being confronted by a group of white men.

"And then Chad comes in," Colman tells ABC Audio. "And he stopped in the middle of some words... which was about God's will and basically why do terrible things happen to people who believe. It touched him deeply, whatever it was."

Colman says he didn't want the scene to be cut so he started yelling at Boseman to, "'Tell me, tell me, tell me!'"

"And he finally exploded with those lines, "God hates n***** as much in his heart. God takes n***** wishes and throws them in the garbage. God don't care about your Black a**,'" he recalls Chad saying. 

"And that strikes fear in the heart of Cutler because it's... like, 'What if he's right?,'" Coleman continues. "And all Cutler can do is... throw blows at him. So we go to blows [and] George [C. Wolfe] calls 'Cut!" And we looked at each other and we just started crying and holding each other."

"And we were not only crying and holding each other as Levee and Cutler, but it was Chad and Colman," he explains. "And I think it was those things that touch us as Black men in the world."

Although Colman notes that he and Boseman are "very hopeful people...[who] believe in humanity" he admits he's not always sure.

"But I think there's also that little question... in the back of [our] mind that hurts us deeply to the core: 'What if it's all a lie?'" Colman adds.  

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom premieres on Netflix December 18.

By Candice Williams
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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GEOFF ROBINS/AFP via Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Oscar-nominated Juno star and Umbrella Academy lead Ellen Page has announced he's transgender.

"Hi friends," he begins an Instagram post. "I want to share with you that I am trans, my pronouns are he/they, and my name is Elliot."

His message continues, "I feel lucky to be writing this. To be here. To have arrived at this place in my life."

"I can't begin to express how remarkable it feels to finally love who I am enough to pursue my authentic self," the post continues. "I've been endlessly inspired by so many in the trans community. Thank you for your courage, your generosity and ceaselessly working to make this world a more inclusive and compassionate place. I will offer whatever support I can and continue to strive for a more loving and equal society."

The Inception star added, "I love that I am trans. And I love that I am queer. And the more I hold myself close and fully embrace who I am, the more I dream, the more my heart grows and the more I thrive. To all the trans people who deal with harassment, self-loathing, abuse, and the threat of violence every day: I see you, I love you, and I will do everything I can to change this world for the better."

Page came out as gay during a speech in 2014. 

For his part, Nick Adams, GLAAD's Director of Transgender Media, hailed Page's announcement, saying in a statement, "Elliot Page has given us fantastic characters on-screen, and has been an outspoken advocate for all LGBTQ people. He will now be an inspiration to countless trans and non-binary people. All transgender people deserve the chance to be ourselves and to be accepted for who we are..."

By Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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Union Station -- iStock/4kodiac(LOS ANGELES) -- An already overbooked COVID-19 testing site at Los Angeles' Union Station was briefly shuttered Monday to make way for a film shoot amid a spike in cases there -- and after that sparked outrage, nobody seems to know how it happened. 

After news broke that the testing would be halted for the She's All That remake shoot, in turn canceling over 500 scheduled appointments, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti took to Twitter to do damage control. 

"Working with @LAFD@Curative & @MetroLosAngeles, my team has worked to reopen testing at Union Station on Tuesday," Garcetti tweeted. "The 504 Angelenos who were scheduled for a test there can visit the kiosk as originally planned or any of the other 14 City sites, where we offer 38K tests daily."

So how'd it happen?  For its part, a representative for FilmLA, which handles film permitting for the city, claimed to ABC News, "Prior to this issue being brought to our attention, neither FilmLA nor the locations team for the production company had prior knowledge of a COVID-19 testing center operating on-site."

The rep also noted that their office didn't know who decided to shut testing down, but "production reps for the film offered to work with station representatives to restore access to the testing site [Tuesday]."

The news that the site had been shut down drew outrage both from residents and the local press, with most placing the blame on Garcetti's shoulders. The activist group the People's City Council posted a round-up of negative headlines, calling the situation an "embarrassment" and the mayor unfit to serve in office.

The remake, titled He's All That, will be a gender-swapped version of the 1999 movie, about a nerdy high school girl who transforms into a hottie, mostly by removing her glasses.

By Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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Virginia Sherwood/NBC(NEW YORK) -- Ice-T is hoping to convince more followers to mask up and take COVID-19 seriously after his father-in-law, 63-year-old Steve Austin, battled the infectious virus and is now permanently on oxygen.  

The Law & Order: SVU star revealed on Twitter that Austin was among the crowd of people who believed the fallacy that masks provide no protection against COVID-19.

"My father-in-law ‘Coco’s dad’ was a serious ‘No Masker’ COVID hit him," Ice-T explained on Sunday. "Pneumonia in both lungs.. 40 days in ICU close to death.. Now he’s on Oxygen indefinitely."

The actor also attested that the virus has made Austin "a Believer now" and warned fans via the hashtag, "#COVIDisNotAGame."

He added in a followup tweet that Austin was "close to death" and slammed those who thought his father-in-law's health ordeal was made up for attention.

T's wife, Coco, first alerted fans about her father's diagnosis over the summer, explaining via Instagram that he was in the ICU after he "developed Covid pneumonia in both lungs, and from there couldn't breathe and needed to be put on [an] oxygen machine."

Coco elaborated in a subsequent August update that her father's lungs were severely damaged by COVID-19 and that he had lost 30 pounds during his month-long hospitalization. 

"He said being in the hospital for a month was like jail.. No windows No visitors and laying in one spot and not being able to walk around was getting to him," she described. "He also adds you could hear people moan in pain during the night."

As for why Coco, in tandem with Ice-T, provided an unflinching look at Austin's COVID-battle, they hope to convince more people that the virus is not a hoax.

By Megan Stone
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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L-R - Similce Diesel, Meadow Walker -- Michael Kovac/Getty Images for DreamWorks Animation(LOS ANGELES) -- It's been seven years since The Fast and the Furious star Paul Walker unexpectedly died in a car crash at age 40. His daughter, Meadow Walker, took to Instagram yesterday to mark the solemn date and celebrate her dad's life.

Meadow, who is now 22, shared a sweet photo on Monday of her much younger self cuddled against her father's chest for a nap.  

"A silly day to remember in sadness," she noted in the caption. "Today’s a celebration of the love and happiness you brought to the world."

"Here’s a photo of my best bud & I napping," she signed off with.

Friends of her family immediately flooded the comment section with memories of the late actor and words of encouragement for the young woman.

Actress and fellow Furious series star Nathalie Emmanuel expressed to Meadow, "We miss him so much. Of all the things he gave to the world....... You are the most beautiful of them all!"

"We love you Meadow! We love you and miss your father everyday," wrote Tyrese "Uncle Ty" Gibson, another Furious alum. "Prayers love and light to you angel..... I know none of this has been easy especially days like this."

Paul Walker died on November 30, 2013, when Meadow was just 15.  

By Megan Stone
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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Peacock(LOS ANGELES) -- Following significant backlash, the Saved by the Bell reboot has removed the controversial scenes that poked fun at Selena Gomez's kidney transplant.  

TMZ is reporting that the Peacock streaming service edited the controversial episode by scrubbing all traces of the kidney jokes that many found offensive.  The updated episode is now streaming.

The now-deleted scenes were featured in the sixth episode of the reboot, where two characters argued over who donated a kidney to the "Wolves" singer.  The teenage girls wrongfully claimed it was either Justin Bieber's mother or Demi Lovato, neither of whom did. 

The volatile exchange was then followed by a scene that included graffiti that read "Does Selena Gomez even have kidneys?" spray-painted in bold black letters above the hallway lockers.

Gomez, who was diagnosed with lupus -- an autoimmune disease -- announced in 2017 that her best friend Francia Raisa saved her life by donating her kidney. 

Raisa criticized the Saved by the Bell reboot on Sunday, joining the leagues of fans demanding an apology for mocking Gomez's personal health struggles.

While fans demanded the Peacock series to apologize, Raisa said the show insulted all organ donors, telling ABC News, "We need people to become donors and I worry that continuing to dismiss them and minimize their contributions will have a negative impact."

Gomez has yet to personally respond to the controversy.  Instead, she has been using her time promoting her photo shoot for Vogue Mexico and teasing new products coming to her Rare Beauty makeup line.

NBC Universal, Peacock and the show's executive producers have since apologized, saying, "It was never our intention to make light of Selena's health. We have been in touch with her team and will be making a donation to her charity, The Selena Gomez Fund for Lupus Research at USC."

By Megan Stone
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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ABC(NEW YORK) -- ABC kicked off the holiday season with a dazzling display of star power for The Disney Holiday Singalong.  Hosted by Ryan Seacrest, who was seated comfortably in a giant leather chair in front of a roaring fire, Monday night's festivities united recording artists, actors, celebrities and Broadway talent alike to remind everyone watching at home that, even though Christmas will look different this year, the holiday spirit remains unchanged.  

Monday night's message also centered on the importance of family and kindness, as demonstrated by singers teaming with their siblings or young children for their performances.   

Highlights of the night included performances from Chloe x Halle, BTS, Pink and her nine-year-old daughter Willow, Adam Lambert, Leslie Odom Jr. and many others that helped ring in the holiday season.

Kicking off the official singalong was Hollywood power couple Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy, who attempted a vocal warmup for the audience watching at home that, unfortunately, went awry.  The camera shattered when the outspoken diva went rogue with the high notes.

R&B duo Chloe x Halle took over with their ultra-harmonized rendition of "Do You Want to Build a Snowman" from Disney's Frozen. The sisters joined hands as they danced around a winter wonderland, highlighted by white Christmas trees and snow flurries gently swirling around them.  

Another memorable performance came all the way from South Korea, when BTS teamed up with the official star of the Christmas season, Santa Claus himself, to help them perform "Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town." The K-pop group had a blast channeling the joy and wonder of the holidays by surrounding themselves with shiny presents and twinkling lights.  The band also shared several hearty laughs throughout the song.

With Santa busy in South Korea, Pink invited her young daughter Willow to help deliver a magical and heartwarming rendition of "The Christmas Song."  Pink's eyes filled with pride as her daughter showed off her impressive vocal talents and, at the end, happily waved over her three-year-old son, Jameson, to wave goodbye to the audience and close out their family performance.

Leslie Odom Jr. married the Halloween and Christmas spirits when tackling "What's This" from The Nightmare before Christmas.  His Broadway chops shined and made the ultra-energetic song all the more entertaining as the Hamilton star's voice crackled and popped with excitement, allowing him to effortlessly channel the animated Jack Skellington.

While some performers chose to highlight the jubilation of Christmas, others like Adam Lambert and Andrea Bocelli embodied the warmth of the holiday season with their intimate performances of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" and "Silent Night," respectively.

The most emotional performance, however, came from Broadway itself, when those who are part of Disney's impressive array of musicals came together in a show of unity to deliver an inspiring and modified version of Frozen's "Let It Go."  The group took over the New Amsterdam Theatre, located in the heart of Times Square, to promise Broadway's glorious return and encourage the audience to "fill this world with light and love."

Also helping to ring the Christmas cheer was perennial holiday favorite Michael Bublé performing "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas," Scandal star Kerry Washington, who belted out "Joy to the World" from her illuminated gazebo, Ciara and her children Sienna and Future rocking out to "Rocking around the Christmas Tree," Derek and Julianne Hough dancing up a storm to some holiday classics, and Katy Perry performing a medley of "Cozy Little Christmas" and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas."

Seacrest closed out the celebration by asking the audience to support Feed America, saying those who wish to donate can do so by visiting disney.com/feedthelove. 

Disney is the parent company of ABC News.

By Megan Stone
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic(LOS ANGELES) -- Former Desperate Housewives star Felicity Huffman will return to ABC with her first acting role since being released from prison after serving time for her part in the Varsity Blues college admissions cheating scandal. 

Deadline reports Huffman will play a widow who takes over her husband's minor league baseball team in the untitled comedy series. It's based on the real-life owners of the Sacramento River Cats, a AAA team that became the minor league's most valuable team after Susan Savage inherited the team from her late husband.

Huffman was sentenced to 14 days in prison and served 11 after pleading guilty in the scandal.  Also sentenced to prison after pleading guilty were actress Lori Loughlin and her husband, designer Mossimo Giannulli.

Zack Gottsagen, the actor with Down syndrome who starred alongside Shia LaBeouf in The Peanut Butter Falcon, will also star as Huffman's baseball-obsessed son, says Deadline.

By Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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ABC/John Fleenor(LOS ANGELES) -- Celebrity chef, restaurateur, and Ugly Delicious host David Chang snagged the top prize on Who Wants to be a Millionaire? on ABC Sunday night -- but it's restaurant workers who will benefit. 

Chang's jackpot will be donated to the Southern Smoke Foundation, which is dedicated to helping restaurant workers in need -- and thanks to the pandemic shutdowns, that's no small number. 

On the million-dollar question, Chang called upon ESPN personality Mina Kimes for help; she correctly advised him how to answer this: "Which U.S. president was the first to have electricity in the White House?" 

"No celebrity in the 20 years that this show has been on has ever won the million dollars," host Jimmy Kimmel warned before Chang pulled the trigger with the right answer Kimes gave: Benjamin Harrison.

In response, the charity tweeted its gratitude to Kimes and Chang, noting, "This is going to change so many peoples' lives for the better!" along with the hashtag, "#takingcareofourown."

 

By Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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Disney (NEW YORK) -- Over the weekend, Star Wars fans lost David Prowse, the towering former bodybuilder who filled the unmistakable black suit of Darth Vader in the original trilogy. He was 85. 

Standing 6'6' in his prime, and even taller thanks to Vader's hissing helmet, Prowse's presence sent shivers down the spines of millions of moviegoers when he first appeared in the opening moments of 1977's Star Wars: Episode IV -- A New Hope.

One of those moviegoers was Giancarlo Esposito, who, years later, has been passed the torch of Star Wars villainy, thanks to his role as the calculating Moff Gideon in The Mandalorian

Moff Gideon's black on black armor is reminiscent of Vader's, which was amazing, says Epsosito, who recently earned an Emmy nomination for his performance in the Disney series' first season finale.

"I was so excited to wear a cape!" the Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul vet enthused to ABC Audio. "You know, when I was a kid and watching Star Wars ... people with capes had a little bit of aristocratic power and were also able to really bring the characterization through the costume," he explained.

"My references were Darth Vader, who I really adored in the earlier movies just because of his powerful presence, and James Earl Jones' [voice] and that incredible costume, which is just so far out. A throwback to old times, or is it really throw forward to contemporary times?" 

A new episode of The Mandalorian drops Friday on Disney .  Disney is the parent company of ABC News.

By Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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Disney (LOS ANGELES) -- Gone, but not forgotten. That's the fate of "Jeans Guy," the name fans had given to a crew member who accidentally appeared in a frame of a recent episode of the Disney series, The Mandalorian: as we expected, he has been digitally deleted.

The crew member appeared in the background of a shootout between director/co-star Carl Weathers' episode of the series, "The Siege," and spawned immediate fandom in the form of mock action figures and potential cosplay.

Alas, he's no more -- at least officially. As of this weekend, he no longer appears in the show, thanks to some digital wizardry from the folks at Lucasfilm. 

Disney is the parent company of ABC News.

By Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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ABC News/Steve Iervolino(NEW YORK) -- After nearly 25 years, Johnny Brennan and his prank phone call alter egos Frank Rizzo, Sol Rosenberg and countless others are back, in a new self-titled Jerky Boys album. 

And it's not a minute too soon, the multi-platinum prankster and voiceover star tells ABC Audio. "You know, the crap going on, you know, all that unrest, you know, and the Jerky Boys -- it's just at the perfect time," Brennan says.

He explains, "You don't know how many thousands of emails I got over the years -- or people coming up to me and just saying -- 'Johnny, you have no idea how your work and the Jerky Boys got me through some really rough times.' And I really appreciate that."

Johnny is a regular on Family Guy, playing Mort Goldberg. He was hired by longtime Jerkys fan and Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane, which has only broadened the Jerkys fan base, Johnny B explains.

"It's funny, a lot of the younger ones now they're getting in through Family Guy, so they come in the back door kind of thing," says Brennan, "and a lot of them just grow up with parents that love to share the Jerky Boys with them. And so it's...just very cool."

He adds, "It really blows me away to see how the people have really loved this project, and I firmly believe it's because of the characters. You know, the characters are so endearing."

On the new album, Johnny occasionally plies his handiwork on a very deserving target: telephone scammers trying to bilk people out of their Social Security information, and also overseas customer service operators. "People have been asking me to get those guys for years," Brennan says with a laugh. 

The fifth Jerky Boys album is now available.

By Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved. 

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Warner Bros./HBO Max(LOS ANGELES) -- Anne Hathaway, who starred in the 2020 remake of The Witches, says she isn't upset by her performance being constantly compared to Anjelica Huston's, who played the Grand High Witch in the 1990 version of the movie.  

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph's Stellar magazine, the 38-year-old revealed how she kept herself from becoming emotionally invested in the constant comparisons.

"I just keep reminding myself that there have been, like, six Batmen and four Jokers and seven James Bonds," the 38-year-old Oscar-winner said. "We seem to get a little more into comparisons when it’s two women and we seem to get a little more excited when it’s two men."

"Anjelica’s performance is flawless and it’s iconic and it’s just right for the film she’s in. My hope is that my performance is just right for the film that I’m in," added Hathaway, who believes "each performance can be celebrated for what it is."

The Ocean's 8 actress continued that her version of The Witches is drastically different than the 1990 version, which called for her to make the character her own.

"When [director Robert Zemeckis] showed me that ear-splitting grin with the fangs, I thought: 'Oh, this isn’t something that you can get out of your head. This is terrifying,'" confessed Hathaway, who said she remedied that by making the character more comedic than scary to teach children that they can "laugh at evil."

As for whether or not Hathaway feared that fans would not enjoy seeing her play such a vile character, the Oscar winner shrugged, "I haven’t felt fear surrounding being labelled for a very long time" but admitted that she "was afraid of being boxed in as an actress" when she was a lot younger.

By Megan Stone
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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(*Bulletin)COVID-19 outbreak reported at Chautauqua Co. Jail... The Chautauqua County Sheriff's Department is dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak in the county jail in Mayville.  Sheriff Jim ...

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