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Chris Hemsworth to play Hulk Hogan in biopic

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Actor Chris Hemsworth is likely to star as wrestling legend Hulk Hogan in a biopic which is in early stages of development at Netflix, reported The Hollywood Reporter.

The streaming platform has obtained the exclusive life rights and consulting services from Terry Gene Bollea, also known as Hulk Hogan. Todd Phillips, whose credits include War Dogs and The Hangover trilogy, is attached to direct the project from a script by the writing team of Scott Silver and John Pollono.

The project is expected to deal with the formative years of Hogan’s ascent into fame, starting with the Florida wrestling circuit in the late 1970s and becoming the face of the World Wrestling Federation during the 1980s.

The term “Hulkamania” was coined in 1984 with Hogan frequently referring to his fans as “Hulkamaniacs” in his interviews and encouraging them to focus on training, saying prayers, and eating vitamins.

Hemsworth is best known for portraying Thor in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, beginning with Thor in 2011, followed by The Avengers, Thor: The Dark World, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Doctor Strange, Thor: Ragnarok, Avengers: Infinity War, and the upcoming Avengers: Endgame, scheduled to be released in April.

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TV & FILM

Michael Jackson’s estate sues HBO for $100m over child abuse claims

Jackson, who died on June 25, 2009 after being given an overdose of the anesthetic propofol, faced multiple allegations of child sex abuse during his lifetime.

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Michael Jackson’s estate filed a $100 million lawsuit against HBO on Thursday over plans to air a documentary that alleges the singer sexually abused two young boys.

The 53-page suit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, claims HBO was violating a “non-disparagement” agreement by airing Leaving Neverland, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival this year.

“Michael Jackson is innocent. Period,” the suit says.

“In 2005, Michael Jackson was subjected to a trial – where rules of evidence and law were applied before a neutral judge and jury and where both sides were heard – and he was exonerated by a sophisticated jury. Ten years after his passing, there are still those out to profit from his enormous worldwide success and take advantage of his eccentricities,” it adds.

The four-hour, two-part documentary that is set to air next month includes the testimonies of two men, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who say the King of Pop sexually abused them when they were seven and 10.
In a statement, HBO said it planned to broadcast the documentary as scheduled.

“Despite the desperate lengths taken to undermine the film, our plans remain unchanged,” the statement sent to AFP reads. “HBO will move forward with the airing of Leaving Neverland, the two-part documentary on March 3rd and 4th. This will allow everyone the opportunity to assess the film and the claims in it for themselves.”

The lawsuit contends that HBO in 1992 aired a concert in Bucharest from Jackson’s ‘Dangerous’ world tour and at the time signed non-disparagement provisions that prevent the streaming service from harming Jackson’s reputation.

“In violation of both basic norms of documentary journalism and the explicit terms of the agreement, HBO has disparaged Jackson’s legacy by airing a one-sided hit piece against Jackson based exclusively on the false accounts of two proven, serial perjurers,” the suit states.

It asks the court to compel HBO to take part in a non-confidential arbitration that could cost the company $100 million if found liable.

Jackson, who died on June 25, 2009 after being given an overdose of the anesthetic propofol, faced multiple allegations of child sex abuse during his lifetime.

In addition to his 2005 acquittal the performer paid a $15 million court settlement in 1994 over allegations involving another child.

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ENTERTAINMENT

Load Wedding wins special award at Indian film festival

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Nabeel Qureshi and Fizza Ali Meerza’s romance-comedy film Load Wedding has picked up the Special Jury Award for Best International Feature Film at the fifth Rajasthan International Film Festival.

The festival took place in Jaipur from 19 to 23 January and featured a jury that included French actor/producer Marianne Borgo, actor Charles Thomson, Iranian filmmaker Hassan Nazer, film critic Ajit Rai and film consultant V.V. Maheshwar Rao.

The film was awarded alongside other foreign titles such as France’s La Douleur, China’s The Monkey King 2, Iran’s Katyusa, Syria’s Rain of Homes, among others.

Load Wedding is the story of Raja (Fahad Mustafa) who has loved Meeru (Mehwish Hayat) since they were children. But he could never get himself to confess his love for her, because he knew that he couldn’t marry her until his elder sister Baby (Faiza Hasan) is married. And that isn’t happening because Raja, being the head of the family after his father’s death, can’t get enough jahez to get a decent rishta. The film shows the actual stress, pain and unnecessary hassle behind making a wedding happen in the first place.

The film was also nominated at the Jaipur Film Festival in the Best Feature category, but did not win the top prize.

 

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ENTERTAINMENT

Oscars will go on without a host for first time in 30 years

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For the first time in 30 years, The Academy Awards will reportedly go on floors without a host.

According to Variety, the 91st Annual Academy Awards will have no host, since the organisation appears to have given up on finding a star to take on the role.

The entertainment news site reports that the Oscars will instead recruit stars for various stars in place of “one marquee name to kick things off in a monologue filled with Trump zingers.”

However, there are only six weeks until the show takes place live from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Calif. This looming deadline apparently has producers “scrambling” to find A-listers willing to take part in the star-studded show.

The actor Kevin Hart ruled out hosting this year’s Oscars because he no longer had enough time to prepare for the show, days after saying he was evaluating his December decision to step down over criticism of past homophobic comments.

He told ABC that he was no longer willing to discuss the anti-gay comments he had made on Twitter in 2010 and 2011, which caused the uproar that led him to step down as host, saying his previous explanations and apology were sufficient.

“I’m over it,” he said repeatedly to almost every question on the topic during a sometimes testy interview on ABC’s Good Morning America.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences named Hart as Oscars host in December, but he stepped down soon after amid criticism of his past tweets.

The debacle continued when Ellen DeGeneres invited the Night School star to do an interview on her talk show.

Hart apologised in December for “insensitive words from my past” and told DeGeneres last week in an interview on her talk show that he does not “have a homophobic bone in my body.”

During their discussion, the celebrated host implored Hart to host the Oscars, because she said the people who voiced their opposition are “a small group of people being very, very loud.”

“We are a huge group of people who love you and want to see you host the Oscars,” DeGeneres shared.

The host even went as far as calling the Academy herself to see if they would allow Hart to assume the position. She told Kevin, “You are apologising again right now. You’ve done it. Don’t let those people win. Host the Oscars.”

However, Hart once again said no to the job offer. He told Variety, “The moment came and it was a blessing and I was excited at the opportunity and I still am. In my mind I got the job, it was a dream job, and things came up that simply prohibited it from happening. But I don’t believe in going backwards.”

“No, I’m not hosting the Oscars this year,” he later confirmed in ABC interview. “It’s not in God’s plan right now.” He said he could not rule out hosting in future years.

Hart, known for his stand-up comedy and roles in films including Ride Along, said he would not have enough time ahead of the Feb. 24 ceremony in Los Angeles to prepare to do a professional job: “If I do something I want to give it my all.”

The Academy, which hands out the Oscar awards, has not announced a replacement host.

In one of his old Twitter posts, Hart had described an actor’s picture as a “gay billboard for AIDS.” In another, he said if his son were to play with a doll’s house, he would break it over the boy’s head and tell him to stop being gay.

“I’ve said everything I can possibly say and I’m over it.”

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