Gone with the Wind removed from HBO Max due to ‘racist depictions’

Hollywood epic Gone with the Wind has been temporarily removed from streaming service HBO Max due to its depiction of “ethnic and racial prejudices”. The historical romance drama is set in the American South and follows a couple, played by Clark Gable…

Hollywood epic Gone with the Wind has been temporarily removed from streaming service HBO Max due to its depiction of “ethnic and racial prejudices”.

The historical romance drama is set in the American South and follows a couple, played by Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh, who embark on a turbulent romance during the Civil War and Reconstruction era. The film was a critical and commercial success upon its release in 1939 and remains the highest-grossing movie of all-time, when adjusted for inflation.

On Monday, 12 Years a Slave screenwriter John Ridley called for the movie to be removed from HBO Max, which launched in May, as it “glorifies the antebellum south”, ignores the “horrors of slavery”, and perpetuates “some of the most painful stereotypes of people of colour”.

In response, an HBO Max spokesperson announced Gone with the Wind would be temporarily removed from the streaming service.

“Gone with the Wind is a product of its time and depicts some of the ethnic and racial prejudices that have, unfortunately, been commonplace in American society,” the statement reads, according to Deadline. “These racist depictions were wrong then and are wrong today, and we felt that to keep this title up without an explanation and a denouncement of those depictions would be irresponsible.

“These depictions are certainly counter to WarnerMedia’s values, so when we return the film to HBO Max, it will return with a discussion of its historical context and a denouncement of those very depictions, but will be presented as it was originally created, because to do otherwise would be the same as claiming these prejudices never existed. If we are to create a more just, equitable, and inclusive future, we must first acknowledge and understand our history.”

Gone with the Wind won eight competitive Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Supporting Actress for Hattie McDaniel, who became the first African-American to ever win an Academy Award.

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Lupita Nyong’o: ‘Acting comes with a lot of responsibility’

Lupita Nyong’o is well aware that her job as an actress “comes with a lot of responsibility”.Since she won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar in 2014 for her acting debut in 12 Years a Slave, the 36-year-old has starred in a number of critically-acclaim…

Lupita Nyong’o is well aware that her job as an actress “comes with a lot of responsibility”.

Since she won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar in 2014 for her acting debut in 12 Years a Slave, the 36-year-old has starred in a number of critically-acclaimed films, such as Jordan Peele’s horror Us and Marvel’s Black Panther.

Lupita reflected on her six-year career as she accepted the Montecito Award at the 2020 Santa Barbara International Film Festival in California on Monday, telling the audience that she feels honoured to have been offered the opportunities she has.

“It still feels early for me to be reflecting on a body of work, but I feel blessed to have had the diversity of experience I have had so far,” she gushed, according to local news website Noozhawk.com. “It’s something I have always wanted.

“As an actor, real freedom is having that choice, and it’s hard to get there because acting is reliant on many other things. Acting is a privileged thing. It’s luxurious to play all day, and have people look up at you… It’s a luxurious thing, and also a thing that comes with a lot of responsibility.”

The Little Monsters star previously explained to British Vogue magazine that she is seduced by projects which might have a cultural impact.

“I don’t get fulfilment from the number of zeros attached to a project,” Lupita explained. “What I’m seduced by is the potential to shift a narrative. That is very seductive to me, having social and cultural impact.

“I speak up for the things I can personally vouch for. There’s a lot going on in this world, a lot of causes that are noble. But I feel most useful when I have a personal connection. And the conviction to say something.”

Lupita can next be seen starring opposite Jessica Chastain and Diane Kruger in spy thriller 355 and leading the TV adaptation of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novel Americanah.

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Screenwriter claims studio boss wanted Julia Roberts to play Harriet Tubman

Harriet screenwriter Gregory Allen Howard has revealed a studio executive once suggested Julia Roberts play Harriet Tubman in the biopic.The film, starring British actress Cynthia Erivo as the African-American political activist and abolitionist Harrie…

Harriet screenwriter Gregory Allen Howard has revealed a studio executive once suggested Julia Roberts play Harriet Tubman in the biopic.

The film, starring British actress Cynthia Erivo as the African-American political activist and abolitionist Harriet Tubman, has been in the works for over a decade – with the premise first pitched in the early 1990s.

And as bosses debated which actresses should be in line for the titular role during a meeting in 1994, one unnamed “studio head” had a surprising suggestion.

“When I got in the business, I wanted to tell these historical stories by turning them into entertainment,” Howard said in a Q&A for Focus Features. “I didn’t want to give history lessons. I wanted to turn Harriet Tubman’s life, which I’d studied in college, into an action-adventure movie. The climate in Hollywood, however, was very different back then. I was told how one studio head said in a meeting, ‘This script is fantastic. Let’s get Julia Roberts to play Harriet Tubman.’ When someone pointed out that Roberts couldn’t be Harriet, the executive responded, ‘It was so long ago. No one is going to know the difference.'”

Erivo is already being tipped for awards season success for her role in the movie, which Howard said was only made following the release of films 12 Years a Slave and Black Panther.

“Two films really changed the climate in Hollywood to allow Harriet to be made,” he continued. “When 12 Years a Slave became a hit and did a couple hundred million dollars worldwide, I told my agent, ‘You can’t say this kind of story won’t make money now.’ Then Black Panther really blew the doors open.”

Roberts has yet to respond to Howard’s claim.

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Chiwetel Ejiofor to play villain opposite Mark Wahlberg in Infinite

Chiwetel Ejiofor has been cast as the villain opposite Mark Wahlberg in action-thriller Infinite. Infinite, to be directed by Training Day’s Antoine Fuqua, centres on a group of near-immortal men and women who are reincarnated over the centuries and ar…

Chiwetel Ejiofor has been cast as the villain opposite Mark Wahlberg in action-thriller Infinite.

Infinite, to be directed by Training Day’s Antoine Fuqua, centres on a group of near-immortal men and women who are reincarnated over the centuries and are known as “the Infinite.”

The British actor will play a member of the Infinite who has found a way to stop the reincarnation process and plans to use it on his own kind, according to editors at The Hollywood Reporter.

Wahlberg, who was drafted in to lead the project after Chris Evans dropped out, is set to portray Evan Michaels, a man with schizophrenia who realises his hallucinations are actually memories from past lives, and these will help him defeat the evil mastermind.

Ejiofor also joins The Maze Runner’s Dylan O’Brien and Kingsman: The Secret Service’s Sophie Cookson, who have been previously been cast in undisclosed roles, as well as Rupert Friend and Icelandic actor Johannes Haukur Johannesson.

Ian Shorr and John Lee Hancock are writing the script, which is based on D. Eric Maikranz’s 2009 novel The Reincarnationist Papers, while Lorenzo di Bonaventura is producing with Mark Vahradian and Bellevue Productions’ John Zaozirny.

Production is set to get underway in London at the end of September ahead of a cinema release in August 2020.

The 12 Years a Slave actor made his directorial debut earlier this year with The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind and recently lent his voice to the villain Scar in the remake of Disney’s The Lion King. He will next appear in Disney’s Maleficent: Mistress of Evil opposite Angelina Jolie and Elle Fanning, and recently wrapped filming alongside Charlize Theron in The Old Guard.

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Karen Elson ‘nervous’ to wear Lupita Nyong’o’s dress for photoshoot

Karen Elson was “nervous” to model the dress Lupita Nyong’o wore when she won her Oscar for a new photoshoot. To mark the 25th anniversary of U.S. InStyle magazine, Elson, Joan Smalls, and Amber Valletta have posed in 25 of the most iconic red carpet …

Karen Elson was “nervous” to model the dress Lupita Nyong’o wore when she won her Oscar for a new photoshoot.

To mark the 25th anniversary of U.S. InStyle magazine, Elson, Joan Smalls, and Amber Valletta have posed in 25 of the most iconic red carpet dresses, with the British model wearing gowns made famous by Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, and Julianne Moore, among others.

The 40-year-old beauty also sported the plunging pale blue Prada dress the Black Panther star wore when she collected the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for 12 Years a Slave in 2014, and can be seen wearing the iconic gown while resting on a sink in a public bathroom.

Sharing the image on Instagram, Elson revealed she was so anxious about wearing the outfit that hairdresser Lacy Redway sent a picture to the actress herself.

“This picture gives me the chills. The amazing hairdresser @lacyredway sent this picture to the beautiful Lupita Nyong’o as we were shooting as she wore this gorgeous @prada dress for the 2014 Academy Awards,” she wrote. “I was nervous that maybe she’d be freaked out that another woman was wearing something that was so iconic and specific to a time in her life.

“The point of this shoot is to pay homage to both the brilliant and powerful women who brought life into these gorgeous dresses and to the designers who created such timeless pieces. It’s this alchemy and collaboration between the actor and designer that made this shoot so special.”

Nyong’o is yet to respond publicly to the shoot, but Paltrow heaped praise on Elson for wearing the pale pink Ralph Lauren dress she wore when she won the Best Actress Oscar in 1999.

“You wore it better,” the Avengers: Endgame actress responded, adding a heart emoji, before the catwalk star quickly replied: “Oh no, that dress is all you, I was just lucky to wear it!”

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Lupita Nyong’o studied spasmodic dysphonia to come up with Us voice

Lupita Nyong’o came up with the creepy voice used by her evil doppelganger in hit horror movie Us by studying people who suffer from spasmodic dysphonia. The 12 Years A Slave star features alongside Winston Duke in the new film, about a vacationing fa…

Lupita Nyong’o came up with the creepy voice used by her evil doppelganger in hit horror movie Us by studying people who suffer from spasmodic dysphonia.

The 12 Years A Slave star features alongside Winston Duke in the new film, about a vacationing family haunted by a group of demon lookalikes.

Lupita had to distort her voice to portray her onscreen antagonist, Red, and she decided to borrow aspects of the neurological disorder after learning that it was something attorney and environmental activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. had once overcome.

“I was fascinated, and I started doing research,” she told The New York Times. “I met with people who have the condition and built it from there.”

Medical experts have yet to pinpoint the exact cause of spasmodic dysphonia, but that gave the Oscar winner flexibility in the way she developed her broken speech pattern.

“It could be a trauma in your life – someone dying, or a physical assault. It varies,” she shared. “For me, it felt very organic as an inspiration for Red, who’s had this kind of strangled past.

“Red’s character is very ID-driven, so one of the things that we were looking for was for that to come across in the quality of her voice – just the raw emotion, the raw rage.”

The sounds she began spewing as Red gave director Jordan Peele a chill, and he knew at that moment Lupita had perfected the part.

“I (had just) described it as a voice that hadn’t been used in years,” he recalled telling the actress. “She sat me down and said ‘Are you ready?’ It was like nothing I had ever heard. So creepy.”

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Lupita Nyong’o: ‘Emma Thompson is my red carpet inspiration’

Lupita Nyong’o channels Emma Thompson when she’s on the red carpet.English actress Emma famously photobombed the Kenyan-Mexican star at the 2014 SAG Awards, the year Lupita went home with the Best Supporting Actress gong for 12 Years a Slave.While Lu…

Lupita Nyong’o channels Emma Thompson when she’s on the red carpet.

English actress Emma famously photobombed the Kenyan-Mexican star at the 2014 SAG Awards, the year Lupita went home with the Best Supporting Actress gong for 12 Years a Slave.

While Lupita posed regally for photographers in a teal Gucci gown, Emma jumped in behind her making funny faces. Talking to PorterEdit about her fellow actress, Lupita admits she now takes a leaf out of Emma’s book when it comes to glitzy events.

“Emma Thompson, she’s the realest woman. Observing her on the red carpet and how free and irreverent she was,” Lupita recalled of their 2014 encounter. “She was like, ‘Don’t sweat it. We get to wear pretty dresses and prance around this red carpet, so enjoy it.’ That made it less pressure. I’m like, ‘Okay, I need to channel my Emma Thompson. This is a big moment in my life, but also it’s just a moment.’”

Lupita also bagged the Best Supporting Actress Oscar and BAFTA that year.

Since then, Lupita has become a red carpet regular thanks to roles in box office smashes like Black Panther, The Jungle Book and the Star Wars franchise.

Working with stylist Micaela Erlanger for her premiere and awards looks, Lupita has become known for her fearless fashion choices, and she’s now also experimenting with bold beauty looks too.

At the premiere of her new film with Jordan Peele, Us, at the South by Southwest Film Festival, she showed off eye make-up inspired by a look seen on Annie Lennox in the ‘80s, and a hairstyle based on one Snoop Dogg wore in the ‘90s.

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Chiwetel Ejiofor learned new language for The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

Actor-turned-filmmaker Chiwetel Ejiofor set himself the task of learning a new African language to add to the authenticity of his new movie The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind. The film is based on William Kamkwamba’s memoir of the same name, and revisits …

Actor-turned-filmmaker Chiwetel Ejiofor set himself the task of learning a new African language to add to the authenticity of his new movie The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind.

The film is based on William Kamkwamba’s memoir of the same name, and revisits his childhood growing up in Malawi, where he learned how to build a wind turbine to help save his village from famine.

The 12 Years a Slave star fell in love with the story following its release in 2009, and thought it would make a great movie.

“It’s such a deeply inspiring story of tenacity and optimism: a young boy in very challenging circumstances with his family and the community, but just really living in the solution and trying to find a way through this very difficult time,” Ejiofor marvelled.

It took him a decade to get the film to the big screen, and when he initially began developing the project as his directorial debut, the Brit thought he would be “too young” to play William’s father, Trywell.

“I was (in my)… early 30s or something, and I just felt like, he’s got two teenage kids, and my playing age (onscreen) is 25,” he told U.S. breakfast shot Today. “But then, over the years, slowly but surely, I sort of started to move right into the sweet spot and thought, ‘Oh, OK, now I can probably do it.'”

Ejiofor wanted to make sure he did the Kamkwamba family justice onscreen, so he and his castmates spent months mastering the local language of Malawi.

“I spent a lot of time learning Chichewa, which is the language in Malawi,” the 41 year old shared, “and just working with a lot of people on it. We cast a lot of people who are Malawians who speak Chichewa in the film, so that was very useful as well, but then I cast around.

“Aissa Maiga, who plays Agnes, my wife in the film, she’s from Paris; Lily Banda, who plays my daughter, she’s from Malawi, and then Maxwell Simba, who plays William Kamkwamba, he’s actually Kenyan, but an incredible young actor…, so (there was) a group of us learning Chichewa together, and trying to really find that family bond.”

The movie, which was filmed in Malawi, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah last month (Jan19), and is now set to be released in select U.S. and U.K. theatres and on streaming service Netflix on Friday (01Mar19).

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Chiwetel Ejiofor’s famine drama picked up by Netflix

12 Years a Slave star Chiwetel Ejiofor’s directorial debut has been picked up by Netflix bosses.The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind, which Ejiofor also adapted from William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer’s book, stars Maxwell Simba as a boy who dreams of buildi…

12 Years a Slave star Chiwetel Ejiofor’s directorial debut has been picked up by Netflix bosses.

The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind, which Ejiofor also adapted from William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer’s book, stars Maxwell Simba as a boy who dreams of building a windmill to save his Malawi village from famine.

The movie, which also features Chiwetel, was shot in Malawi, and now it has picked up a global deal with bosses at the streaming service.

The film will launch in 2019 on Netflix and in select cinemas in the U.S. and U.K.

Thrilled Ejiofor tells Deadline, “William’s story represents, what has to be, the future in countries like Malawi: developing countries, overflowing with beauty and harboring enormous potential. A global story, such as this, requires a global platform and I’m thrilled to be working with Netflix on bringing William’s extraordinary tale of determination and inventiveness to audiences worldwide.”

Meanwhile, Chiwetel recently wrapped work on the Maleficent sequel after joining Angelina Jolie and Elle Fanning for the Disney blockbuster.

The all-star cast also features Michelle Pfeiffer as Queen Ingrith, Ed Skrein, Robert Lindsay, and Harris Dickinson, while Sam Riley, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple, and Lesley Manville are all reprising their characters from the original.

The first movie opened to critical acclaim in May, 2014 and went on to haul in more than $750 million (GBP566 million) at the global box office.

Ejiofor will also appear in Disney’s The Lion Kin remake – he has been cast to voice villain Scar, opposite Donald Glover, Beyonce, James Earl Jones, Seth Rogen, and Alfre Woodard, among others.

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Viola Davis to present Steve McQueen with BAFTA’s John Schlesinger Britannia Award

Viola Davis will present Oscar-winning director Steve McQueen with BAFTA’s John Schlesinger Britannia Award in October (18).According to The Hollywood Reporter, BAFTA Los Angeles announced on Thursday (16Aug18) that the British director, who won a Best…

Viola Davis will present Oscar-winning director Steve McQueen with BAFTA’s John Schlesinger Britannia Award in October (18).

According to The Hollywood Reporter, BAFTA Los Angeles announced on Thursday (16Aug18) that the British director, who won a Best Picture Oscar in 2014 for movie 12 Years a Slave, would be this year’s recipient of the John Schlesinger Britannia Award for excellence in directing at the organisation’s 2018 Britannia Awards.

The filmmaker will be presented with the honour by Viola, who is the lead actress in his highly anticipated film Widows, which premieres at the Toronto International Film Festival next month, at the awards event in Los Angeles in October.

Previous recipients of the award include Ava DuVernay, Sam Mendes, Danny Boyle, Christopher Nolan, Quentin Tarantino, and Kathryn Bigelow.

The honour comes as McQueen’s fourth feature as a director – following 12 Years a Slave, Shame and Hunger – is building significant buzz in Hollywood, with the heist movie boasting a female-led cast including Viola, Michelle Rodriguez, Cynthia Erivo, and Elizabeth Debicki.

It is based on a 1980s British television series written by Lynda La Plante about a group of women who embark on a robbery after their husbands are killed.

The show made a big impression on the London-born director, who decided to follow up his 2013 Oscar-winning film with a woman’s story.

“I remember seeing Lynda La Plante’s TV show Widows at 13 years old,” McQueen told the Chicago Sun-Times. “The idea that these women achieved something no one thought they had the capability of doing left a big impression on me, especially at a time in my life when I was being judged in the same way,” explained McQueen, who has previously spoken of the institutional racism he experienced during his school years.

“Many years later, when I first came to Hollywood, I was struck by how many talented actresses weren’t working,” he continued. “I decided then that after I made a movie about slavery that I wanted to make a female-driven film.”

McQueen’s version has been relocated to Chicago and also stars Liam Neeson, Robert Duvall, and Brian Tyree Henry.

The 2018 Britannia Awards take place 26 October at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

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