Entertainment News

"You're rooting for her": Aubrey Plaza on her "questionable" character in 'Emily The Criminal'

Roadside Attractions/Vertical Entertainment

Parks and Rec veteran Aubrey Plaza has been earning raves for her portrayal of the title character in the new thriller she produced, Emily The Criminal

Plaza plays a former art student, crushed by her loans and working a dead-end job in Los Angeles to try to make ends meet in spite of a criminal record.

But when Theo Rossi's Youcef comes into Emily's life with a sketchy way out, she quickly learns how far she's willing to go. 

Despite this, it's easy to find yourself rooting for the character. "I think it's rare to have a female character that's so unapologetic," Plaza explains to ABC Audio.

"And the script and the movie [don't] try to make her likable. She's just, I think ... relatable. I think that what she's going through, I think really kind of touches on something that a lot ... of young people in today's ... society ... feel they're going through, as well."

"She's not from Los Angeles and she's just doing the best she can, and I think that there's just something about that that is likable," Aubrey says.

"The script really tracks her decisions; even though they're questionable, you kind of ... see the little tiny baby steps that she takes. And I think you're just rooting for her because she's just doing the best she can with what she's got. And I think everybody can relate to that."  

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Hulu's comedy series 'This Fool' launches Friday


Amid great reviews, Hulu launched its new comedy series This Fool on Friday. Based on the stand-up comedy and early life of comedian Chris Estrada, the show has him playing Julio, a straitlaced 30-year-old living in South Central Los Angeles with his strict mother.

Julio's cousin Luis, played by fellow stand-up Frankie Quiñones, has just gotten out of prison when the show begins, and the pair make for quite an onscreen odd couple.

The show was co-produced by former SNL star Fred Armisen, who explained what made him want to sign on. "First and foremost is Chris's sense of humor, the way he sees the world, his experiences," he tells ABC Audio.

"And for me, it was just an exploration of that culture in South Central Los Angeles. And by that ... I mean that there are so many dimensions and levels and depths and also lightness to it. So I just I wanted to see it, and then I would hope that everyone wants to see it."

Estrada explains, "When we pitched this, we pitched it as Friday, but directed by the Coen Brothers. So it was really cool to think about how to present this world ... and this point of view of this character in a way that felt cinematic and offbeat and a little and irreverent, as well."

The series also stars Sopranos vet Michael Imperioli, who runs a nonprofit for rehabilitating gang members called Hugs Not Thugs, and Michelle Ortiz, who steals scenes as Maggie, Julio's firecracker ex-girlfriend.

Estrada was already good friends with Quinones from the stand-up days, and he said the rest of the colorful cast was about finding people who felt "authentic" to the show's off-kilter world.

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Anne Heche declared brain-dead following fiery wreck

Anne Heche has been declared brain-dead following a fiery car crash into a Los Angeles home on Friday, August 5.

In a statement to KABC, a rep for the actress said Friday, "She was declared brain-dead [Thursday] night, but has been kept on life support for organ donation. Her heart is still beating."

Anne's family released a statement Friday that stated, "We have lost a bright light, a kind and most joyful soul, a loving mother, and a loyal friend."

It continued, "Anne will be deeply missed but she lives on through her beautiful sons, her iconic body of work, and her passionate advocacy. Her bravery for always standing in her truth, spreading her message of love and acceptance, will continue to have a lasting impact."

Heche's eldest son, 20-year-old Homer Laffoon, released a statement of his own, noting, "My brother Atlas and I lost our Mom. After six days of almost unbelievable emotional swings, I am left with a deep, wordless sadness."

He added, "Hopefully my mom is free from pain and beginning to explore what I like to imagine as her eternal freedom. Over those six days, thousands of friends, family, and fans made their hearts known to me. I am grateful for their love, as I am for the support of my Dad, Coley [Laffoon], and my stepmom Alexi [Laffoon] who continue to be my rock during this time."

He closed with, "Rest In Peace Mom, I love you."

On Thursday, it was revealed Heche suffered a severe anoxic brain injury -- that is, an injury caused by lack of oxygen to the brain -- and that she was not expected to survive.

Heche was initially said to be in stable condition after the crash, but the following Monday it was announced she was more seriously injured than previously thought.

In the meantime, the Los Angeles Police Department has announced it has closed its DUI investigation into the actress, who reportedly drove away from several fender benders in her blue Mini Cooper before the car was seen speeding down a Mar Vista street and into a home, where the car burst into flames and set the structure ablaze.

A GoFundMe for the destroyed home's tenant, Lynee Mishele, has surpassed $150,000.

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Mark Ruffalo shades 'Star Wars' in defending Marvel movies

Marvel Studios

Mark Ruffalo has joined Elizabeth Olsen and other Marvel movie stars in coming out swinging in defense of their recurring day jobs in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

In a chat with Metro UK to promote reprising his role as Bruce Banner/The Hulk in Disney+'s forthcoming She-Hulk: Attorney At Law, Ruffalo was asked if there's too much Marvel content out there.

"It's not something I worry about," Ruffalo, who has played the role for a decade, said.

"I understand that these things run their course and then something else comes along. But the thing Marvel has done well is that, inside the MCU, just as they do with comic books, they let a director or an actor sort of recreate each piece to their own style, their likeness. Marvel generally lets them bring that to the material."

He jabbed, "If you watch a Star Wars [project], you're pretty much going to get the same version of Star Wars each time." He allowed that some Star Wars projects "might have a little bit of humor" or "a little bit of different animation," but "you're always, really, in that same kind of world."

Instead, he offers, "with Marvel you can have a whole different feeling, even within the Marvel Universe."

As for his character, Ruffalo noted, he's closer to himself than some might think. "I really related to the Hulk as a kid and it's been the same way through my life -- you wrestle with anger and self-destructive behavior and then ... you think, 'Man, what was I doing?'"

She-Hulk debuts August 18 on Disney+.

ABC News' parent company, Disney, is the owner of Marvel Studios and Star Wars.

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'Prey' continues to slay on streaming

20th Century Studios

The 20th Century Films-release Prey bagged a trophy of its own, topping all new streaming titles for the week of August 4 through August 10, according to the latest rankings of streaming service aggregator app Reelgood.

The well-reviewed action film, which is available on Hulu, topped Netflix's much hyped comic adaptation The Sandman and also AMC+'s Better Call Saul, which, as the series winds up, ended up in third place on the weekly chart.

Apple TV+'s Black Bird, starring the late Ray Liotta, hung strong in fourth place, while a new release, the Ron Howard-directed Thai cave drama Thirteen Lives, debuted in fifth on Prime Video.

Two other new releases hit streaming over the past week, with the Tom Holland blockbuster Uncharted debuting on Netflix in sixth place, and the Disney/Pixar film Lightyear opening with a ninth-place finish in its first week on Disney+, according to data from Reelgood's 5 million users.

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Weekend Watchlist: What's new on streaming

Ready, set, binge! Here are some of the new titles available to stream this weekend:

Locke & Key: A new threat will be uncovered within the Keyhouse in the third and final season of the fantasy adventure series.

13: The Musical: All new-kid Evan wants is to make friends and have the best Bar Mitzvah ever in the film adaptation of the Broadway production. 

Day Shift: Jamie Foxx secretly hunts vampires with Dave Franco and Snoop Dogg in this new action-comedy film.

Never Have I Ever: The arrival of a new love interest may threaten Devi and Paxton’s relationship in season three of the romantic comedy series.

This Fool: Laugh along as Julio Lopez, a 30-year-old who still lives at home and has the same on-again, off-again girlfriend since high school, does everything in his power to avoid dealing with his own issues. 

Apple TV+ 
Five Days at Memorial: This new miniseries is based on the true events the employees working at a New Orleans hospital faced during Hurricane Katrina.

Prime Video 
A League of Their Own: This new comedy series is based on the classic film of the same name about women's professional baseball during World War II.

I Am Groot: The lovable little log from the Marvel movies stars in his own series of animated shorts, in this series that features the voices of Vin Diesel as Groot and Bradley Cooper, who reprises as Rocket.

Power Book III: Raising Kanan: Find out how Kanan, Racquel, and the rest of the Thomases deal with the aftermath of their lingering actions in season two.  

Happy streaming!

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'The Simpsons' will apparently reveal how the show predicts the future


The Simpsons has become eerily famous for seemingly predicting outlandish events that turned true, from Donald Trump running for president -- right down to his famous escalator announcement -- to a virus emerging from China that turns our world upside down.

Now Matt Selman, the long-running show's current executive producer and showrunner, tells Deadline that in an upcoming episode in the show's 34th season they will let the cat out of the bag.

"We have another crazy conceptual episode that explains how The Simpsons know the future. It's a conceptual episode with lots of crazy stuff in it, but it does an explanation of how The Simpsons can predict the future."

Sure, he's likely being tongue in cheek, though Yeardley Smith, who has voiced Lisa Simpson since the show began airing in 1989, once told ABC that the's show's prescience is uncanny.

"Maybe we're a modern day Nostradamus or Nostradami," she laughed.

"I've sort of joked always that the writers have a crystal ball in the middle of their table in the writer's room. I mean, if you think about collective consciousness ... there actually may be something to that, that's sort of unexplainable because it seems illogical and it's a little bit, like, feels like magic."

"I don't know. I don't know!" she laughed.

Smith did have a more grounded reason, however.

"The other thing is that we've been on so long. Think of all the things that we've also predicted that haven't come true. We're all only sort of cottoning onto the things that actually have come true!"

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'Power Book III: Raising Kanan' star MeKai Curtis talks "explosive" second season


Power Book III: Raising Kanan returns to Starz with season two on Sunday, and fans are in for one wild ride. 

After leaving fans with more than a few unanswered questions -- like will Kanan get caught for shooting an officer and is that officer his real father -- season two finds the Thomas family beginning to face the aftermath of their actions. MeKai Curtis, who stars in the titular role of Kanan, tells ABC Audio that his character is on the hunt for answers when he returns to the screen. 

"He's very weary of everything around. He wants more answers to questions that he has. And he's going to get those answers. You know, he's very strong and determined, just like his mother," Curtis explains, referencing Tony Award winner Patina Miller, who portrays Kanan's mother, Raquel "Raq" Thomas, in the series.  

"A lot of the just the way that Raq has raised him, you see that come to play in second season, you know, for better or worse," Curtis adds. "It's actually it's pretty fun to see how that plays out with them but that's the sort of space that Kanan is in in the second season...trying to figure out who he is after being who he thought he wanted to be."

Kanan's hunt for answers is just part of what makes for a wild season ahead -- a season that Curtis and Miller describe in four words: "Explosive, revealing, emotional...and complicated."

Power Book III: Raising Kanan, which has already been renewed for season three, also stars Omar Epps, London Brown, Malcolm Mays, Joey Bada$$, Hailey Kilgore, Shanley Caswell and Antonio Ortiz.

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In Brief: Apple TV+ gets more 'Physical', and more

Apple TV+ has renewed the dramedy Physical, starring and produced by Rose Byrne, for a third season, the streamer announced on Thursday. The dark comedy, which is set in the 1980s, follows Rose's character Sheila Rubin through her journey of self-discovery via teaching aerobics. Physical also stars Rory Scovel, Dierdre Friel, Paul Sparks, Della Saba and Lou Taylor Pucci. The White Lotus' Murray Bartlett joined the cast in season two as a successful aerobics instructor/entrepreneur. The renewal comes on the heels of the show’s second-season finale, which dropped August 5. The season-three launch date has yet to be announced...

20th Century Studios on Thursday announced that its romantic comedy Rosaline, starring Booksmart and Dopesick's Kaitlyn Dever, will stream October 14 as a Hulu Original. The film, per the studio, is "a fresh and comedic twist on Shakespeare’s classic love story Romeo & Juliet, told from the perspective of Juliet’s cousin Rosaline -- played by Dever -- who also happens to be Romeo’s recent love interest." Heartbroken when Romeo and Juliet, portrayed respectively by Kyle Allen and Isabela Merced, enter into a budding romance, "Rosaline schemes to foil the famous romance and win back her guy." Rosaline also stars Sean Teale, with Minnie Driver and Bradley Whitford...

Comedian Wanda Sykes will host Ring Nation, a series featuring viral videos taken from people's Ring doorbells, according to Deadline. The series will feature clips such as neighbors saving neighbors, marriage proposals, military reunions and silly animals. Sykes is currently starring in season two of Netflix’s The Upshaws, which she created, and will also appear in Hulu’s History of the World Part 2, starring opposite Mel Brooks...

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Anne Heche's family says actress "is not expected to survive"


The family of Anne Heche, who remains in a coma following a fiery car crash in Los Angeles last week, says the actress is not expected to live.

"We want to thank everyone for their kind wishes and prayers for Anne's recovery and thank the dedicated staff and wonderful nurses that cared for Anne at the Grossman Burn Center at West Hills hospital," the family wrote in a statement to KABC Thursday night.

"Unfortunately, due to her accident, Anne Heche suffered a severe anoxic brain injury and remains in a coma, in critical condition. She is not expected to survive," the statement continued.  The actress is also reportedly severely burned.

The family added that Heche, 53, had chosen to donate her organs, adding, "she is being kept on life support to determine if any are viable."

The statement closed by saying, "Anne had a huge heart and touched everyone she met with her generous spirit. More than her extraordinary talent, she saw spreading kindness and joy as her life’s work -- especially moving the needle for acceptance of who you love. She will be remembered for her courageous honesty and dearly missed for her light."

Heche was severely burned when her blue Mini Cooper crashed into a Mar Vista home August 5 and burst into flames, setting the house on fire.

ABC News learned on Thursday that a test of Heche's blood was positive for unspecified narcotics, though authorities said it wasn't yet known whether those drugs were illegal or whether they were administered by emergency personnel. Heche could face felony DUI charges for the accident should LAPD investigators refer the case to the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office.

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Debra Messing, Josh Peck and Rhea Perlman explain how '13: The Musical' breaks the mold

Alan Markfield/Netflix

13: The Musical is streaming now on Netflix and the movie's stars, Debra MessingJosh Peck and Rhea Perlman, spoke to ABC Audio about what makes this movie so special.

The film stars Eli Golden as Evan, a New Yorker who moves to Indiana following his parents' divorce. He's determined to make his bar mitzvah the talk of the town, fearing he'll become a social pariah if it fails.

The film expands on the Broadway musical 13, which only starred kids. The roles Messing, Peck and Perlman play were written specifically for this movie.

Peck stars as Rabbi, a role he says is "redefining" the rabbi trope by putting a "millennial spin" on it.

"Usually we imagine these older, stately fellows with long beards, sort of musing and stoic," he noted of his "cool" character, who guides Evan on his journey to adulthood. "We're pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone to accept [that] our preconceived notions aren't always right about people."

Aside from challenging stereotypes, Messing understands how "tricky" it is to adapt a Broadway musical into a movie that will satisfy its original fans. Despite the "little changes" that were made to the script, Messing is "fully confident" it'll live up to their expectations.

Added Golden, "It's hard to not smile while you're watching it."

Perlman noted the magic of the musical is its young cast: "They're everything in the movie." The legendary actress said 13: The Musical is nothing short of "remarkable" in terms of its cast, songs and dance numbers. 

Perlman, who stars as Grandma Ruth, joked the role was "natural" to her because "I've been a grandmother since before I was 40!" -- a reference to the character Carla she played on Cheers

13: The Musical is streaming now on Netflix.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Jamie Foxx and Dave Franco go vampire hunting in the Netflix action comedy 'Day Shift'


The vampire action comedy Day Shift hits Netflix Friday, starring Jamie Foxx and Dave Franco as two very different kinds of vampire hunters. The pair talked to ABC Audio about why they think people are fascinated with the fanged blood suckers.

"I think it's the immortality. I think...it's a sexiness," says Foxx. "Everybody that's played vampires, you know, has had a sexiness to it. Right?"

"For whatever reason, they're all sexy," Franco agrees.

Foxx is the lead in the film, which Franco thinks is only right. He says there's no one else you want as the number-one guy on set.

"He comes in, he's playing music every day, he's getting everyone hyped up," he explains. "He just makes you feel confident and comfortable and willing to take risks and willing to fall on your face. And that's when the best stuff happens."

Day Shift director J.J. Perry, agrees, adding that Foxx, 54, is also one of the most amazing physical specimens he's every seen.

"I watched him do 42 pull ups. He's my age," notes Perry, a stunt man with 149 credits to his name for movies ranging from the Fast and Furious films to John Wick, Django Unchained, and more. "...The strongest young stunt guy got to 24."

So it's no surprise that Jamie did almost all of his own stunts, according to Perry, who drew the line at "smashing" the Spider-Man: No Way Home star.

"There's a couple of times we smashed him through a wall. I used a stunt double just because I can't have him limping around on set," he shares. "But he wanted to do everything and he did 99.9% of his business."

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Kenan Thompson gets Hollywood Walk of Fame star

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

Ahead of hosting the 2022 Emmy Awards next month, nearly 20-year Saturday Night Live veteran Kenan Thompson was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame Thursday.

His former SNL co-star Leslie Jones was on hand to help unveil the walk's 2,728th star. They were also joined by comedian and actor JB Smoove, and Josh Server, who starred with a young Kenan on the Nickelodeon show All That.

"When we were kids, Kenan had this confidence," Server said while at the podium with Kenan and his young daughters, Georgia and Gianna. "So many of us spend years trying to find who were are, and what makes us unique and special ... Kenan just had that."

"We are brothers," Server said, "The world is a happier, funnier place because of those rare gifts you shared with us all."

For his part, Kenan said, "From the bottom of my heart ... It's really been my pleasure. I do comedy. It's fun, I don't see it as work ... I just wanna be a good partner in the world, a good human being."

He also promised to high-five all the fans who lined up along the famous street.

Thompson's star is located at 6627 Hollywood Blvd., "right next to the GOAT, Lorne Michaels," he said of his SNL boss.

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Blood screen reportedly shows Anne Heche had drugs in her system after crash


While actress Anne Heche remains in a coma and in critical condition at the hospital following her fiery car crash last week, ABC News has learned a blood test turned up positive for narcotics.

Heche was severely burned when her blue Mini Cooper slammed into a Mar Vista, Los Angeles, home at a high rate of speed, setting both the car and the home ablaze.

She has not been able to communicate since the crash. Los Angeles Police Department investigators say narcotics were found in her system -- but because she was tested after being admitted to the hospital, it needs to be determined if they were taken before the crash, given by the hospital, or some combination of the two.

The 53-year-old could face felony DUI charges for the wreck in the likely scenario LAPD investigators refer the case to the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office.

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Cast of 'Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella' will reunite for film's 25th anniversary special

ABC News

Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella turns 25 years old this year, and for its milestone anniversary, members of the original, star-studded cast will come together to celebrate.

On August 23, BrandyWhoopi GoldbergPaolo MontalbanVictor GarberBernadette PetersJason Alexander and Veanne Cox will convene for Cinderella: The Reunion, A Special Edition of 20/20. The one-hour program "dives into the film’s positive impact on representation in Hollywood" and features exclusive interviews, as well as BTS moments with the late Whitney Houston.

“We’re delighted that the 25th anniversary of this landmark incarnation of ‘Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella’ is being celebrated on its original network,” said Imogen Lloyd Webber, SVP at Concord Theatricals, on behalf of The Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization. “Rodgers & Hammerstein’s unforgettable score is truly timeless — still enchanting listeners 80 years after their partnership began and 65 years since their ‘Cinderella’ first charmed the largest audience in television history.”

Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella premiered on November 2, 1997, and put a spin on the traditional story, as it introduced America’s first Black Cinderella (Brandy) and Fairy Godmother (Whitney Houston). The revolutionary musical garnered critical acclaim and seven Emmy nominations following its release. It has since gained a new set of fans after its debut on Disney+ in February 2021.

Cinderella: The Reunion, A Special Edition of 20/20 will premiere on ABC at 8 p.m. ET, followed by the original film, which hasn't aired on broadcast television in more than two decades. The special will be available to stream on Hulu the following day.

Disney is the parent company of ABC News.

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