Tracee Ellis Ross wanted to sing like Jennifer Hudson in The High Note

Tracee Ellis Ross originally wanted to sound like Jennifer Hudson when she made her singing debut in The High Note.The Black-ish star plays superstar musician Grace Davis, who hits a midlife crisis when she’s torn between recording a new album and doin…

Tracee Ellis Ross originally wanted to sound like Jennifer Hudson when she made her singing debut in The High Note.

The Black-ish star plays superstar musician Grace Davis, who hits a midlife crisis when she’s torn between recording a new album and doing a Las Vegas residency, in the new movie.

Tracee, who is the daughter of music icon Diana Ross, was nervous to make her singing debut in the film, and thought it would be a good idea to emulate one of her singing heroes while playing Grace.

“I wanted to sound like Jennifer Hudson,” she told musician Tyler the Creator for Interview magazine. “But then I realised how weird it would be if I opened up my mouth and Jennifer Hudson’s voice came out. People would be like, ‘What the f**k?'”

While she insisted that she doesn’t embarrass easily, she was fearful of not living up to her own expectations on stage.

“Part of my fear was I had an idea of what I thought I was supposed to sound like, as opposed to walking into it to discover what I sound like and let that be it,” she explained. “And what I realised is that singing and soul is not about sounding like something, it’s about telling the truth… We do all this pretzeling to try and be who we think the world wants us to be, but the practice, for me, was about getting out of my way.”

Tracee added that realising her potential and accepting she wouldn’t sound like her mother was pivotal to her playing the character truthfully.

“Stop trying to sound like something and let your voice out of your body, which is why it feels like, when you do sing, the truth is coming out of you,” she shared.

The High Note is available on demand now.

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Hugh Jackman turned down role in Cats

Hugh Jackman turned down the opportunity to appear in Cats. Tom Hooper’s movie adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical, starring Judi Dench, Idris Elba, Jennifer Hudson, and Rebel Wilson, was savaged by critics and audiences upon its release in De…

Hugh Jackman turned down the opportunity to appear in Cats.

Tom Hooper’s movie adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical, starring Judi Dench, Idris Elba, Jennifer Hudson, and Rebel Wilson, was savaged by critics and audiences upon its release in December.

But during a new interview with The Daily Beast to support his HBO movie Bad Education, Jackman revealed his good friend Hooper, whom he worked with on 2012 movie musical Les Miserables, had approached him about a role. However, he had to turn it down due to scheduling conflicts.

When the interviewer asked, “Did you turn down a role in Cats?” and he cautiously replied, “Umm… yep.”

When pushed for which cat he was approached to play, Jackman said, “You know, Tom rang me early on because we did Les Mis together, and there were a couple of options there based on availability and time, and I really… yeah, I just wasn’t available at the time.”

The reporter then asked if he was glad about his decision, given the ridicule the movie has received, the Australian actor stuck by his friend and refused to poke fun at the picture.

“I’m in the theatre, man, and I don’t want to be in the business of bashing people – or jumping on bandwagons. I haven’t seen it, and Tom Hooper’s one of the great filmmakers we have,” the 51-year-old stated.

Elsewhere in the interview, the X-Men star was asked if he would be interested in returning to the character of Wolverine now that Fox and Disney have merged, opening up more possibilities for the X-Men universe.

“If seven years ago that had happened I’d be like, ‘Oh yeah!’ but I knew it was the right time for me to leave the party – not just for me, but for the character. Somebody else will pick it up and run with it. It’s too good of a character not to,” he commented.

Jackman made his final appearance as Wolverine in 2017’s Logan.

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Visual effects artists spent more time on Cats trailer than whole movie – report

An anonymous visual effects artist has claimed the VFX team spent more time creating the trailer for Cats than the movie itself.Tom Hooper’s movie adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical, starring Judi Dench, Idris Elba, Jennifer Hudson, and Rebel …

An anonymous visual effects artist has claimed the VFX team spent more time creating the trailer for Cats than the movie itself.

Tom Hooper’s movie adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical, starring Judi Dench, Idris Elba, Jennifer Hudson, and Rebel Wilson, was savaged by critics, who slated the computer-generated effects, plot, and tone. The film was a box office flop upon its release in December.

But an anonymous source who worked in the Cats visual effects (VFX) department has now spoken out and given a candid account of the troubles the team experienced during production to The Daily Beast.

In the report, the source claimed the team spent six months making the film’s two-minute trailer, leaving them around four months to complete the entire film.

“It was pure, almost slavery for us, how much work we put into it with no time, and everything was difficult,” they said. “We were so rushed on the project that we’d have no time for anything. So when people say, ‘Oh, the effects were not good,’ or ‘The animation’s not good,’ or anything, that’s not our fault. We have no time. Six months to do a two-minute trailer and four months to do a film of an hour and a half. My math is pretty good… You could figure that doesn’t make any sense.”

The source allegedly worked 90-hour weeks for months to get the film complete, while others slept in the office to work on the projects for days. The insider was also critical of Hooper, calling him “horrible” and alleging he delayed the team by having them fully render works in progress or by asking to see videos of actual cats performing the same actions as their fictional ones.

The source also confirmed the rumour about the “butthole cut”, revealing that the movie was halfway complete when they noticed the feline characters had been given buttholes – so one VFX artist was hired to digitally remove them.

“When we were looking at the playbacks, we were like, ‘What the hell? You guys see that?!… There’s a f**king butthole in there’… There was nobody that said, ‘We want buttholes.’ It was one of those things that just happened and slipped through,” they added.

Representatives for Hooper and Universal have not yet responded to the comments.

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Aretha Franklin biopic Respect postponed until Christmas

The release of the Aretha Franklin biopic Respect, starring Jennifer Hudson, has been postponed until December.The highly-anticipated movie is directed by Liesl Tommy and features a star-studded cast including Oscar winner Forest Whitaker, Marlon Wayan…

The release of the Aretha Franklin biopic Respect, starring Jennifer Hudson, has been postponed until December.

The highly-anticipated movie is directed by Liesl Tommy and features a star-studded cast including Oscar winner Forest Whitaker, Marlon Wayans, Mary J. Blige, and Tituss Burgess.

It was announced on Thursday that bosses at MGM have decided to move the release date of the biopic from 9 October to a limited run starting on 25 December.

Respect will then expand on 8 January, ahead of a full release across the U.S. on 15 January, to kick off the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend, according to Deadline.

The move is thought to have been done in order to improve Hudson’s chances of landing an Oscar nomination for her performance as the soul icon.

Hudson, who won an Academy Award for her performance in Dreamgirls back in 2007, was personally picked for the role in the musical biopic by Franklin before she passed away in 2018 at the age of 76.

The movie was due to be competing against Kenneth Branagh’s Agatha Christie sequel Death on the Nile and Robert Zemeckis’ big-screen adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, The Witches.

However, release schedules for the year have been thrown into disarray due to the coronavirus outbreak, which has closed thousands of cinema chains across the world.

Movies including The Batman, Disney’s live-action The Little Mermaid, and Mission: Impossible 7 have had production halted amid the global pandemic, and Joel Coen’s adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth has also been affected.

The drama, starring Denzel Washington, Frances McDormand, and Brendan Gleeson, was set to begin filming in Los Angeles, but has been postponed as the city is on lockdown to stop the spread of the virus, according to the publication.

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James Corden has ‘no regrets’ over Cats role

James Corden doesn’t regret appearing in box office flop Cats.The talk show host appeared as Bustopher Jones alongside Judi Dench, Jennifer Hudson, Taylor Swift, and Jason Derulo in the big-screen adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s stage classic, whic…

James Corden doesn’t regret appearing in box office flop Cats.

The talk show host appeared as Bustopher Jones alongside Judi Dench, Jennifer Hudson, Taylor Swift, and Jason Derulo in the big-screen adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s stage classic, which was panned by audiences and critics alike and bombed at the box office following its release in December.

During a game of Spill Your Guts or Fill Your Guts with Justin Bieber on The Late Late Show with James Corden, the host was asked, “On a scale of one to 10, how much do you regret doing Cats?”

The star either had to eat a bit of cod sperm or answer the question and, after a few seconds deliberating, he said: “Well, here’s the thing, I had the loveliest time making that film. It took me six days and I loved every single second of it. So, I think you gotta decide things on your own personal experience, and I had a really great time.

“I don’t regret doing it all, because I decided to do it in the same way I decided to do many things. Some have worked, some haven’t. Some I’m going to put it at a solid 5… a 4.5.”

Corden previously mocked Tom Hooper’s movie at the Oscars earlier this month, when he and co-star Rebel Wilson donned furry cat costumes before making their way onto the stage to present the award for Best Visual Effects.

“As cast members of the motion picture Cats, nobody more than us understands the importance of good visual effects,” they quipped, referencing the criticism directed at the digital fur technology used to make them look like felines in the movie.

Officials from the Visual Effects Society took issue with the skit and released a statement in which they labelled it “immensely disappointing”.

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Jennifer Hudson celebrates completion of Aretha Franklin biopic

Jennifer Hudson has completed production on her upcoming Aretha Franklin biopic.The Queen of Soul handpicked the Oscar winner to play her in the film before her death at the age of 76 in August 2018, and Jennifer took the role so seriously, she passed …

Jennifer Hudson has completed production on her upcoming Aretha Franklin biopic.

The Queen of Soul handpicked the Oscar winner to play her in the film before her death at the age of 76 in August 2018, and Jennifer took the role so seriously, she passed on a return to U.K. talent show The Voice so she could focus on her performance.

And before she took to the stage at Sunday night’s NBA All-Star Game to perform a Kobe Bryant tribute, she confirmed reports that work on Respect had wrapped.

“It is officially a wrap on @respectmovie wrap it up, it’s done!” she wrote on Instagram. “Too overwhelmed to get into it right now but words can’t express how grateful I am to be chosen by the queen herself and to live out yet another dream! It was my honour to honour the Queen’s request!”

Hudson also posted a series of photos from the set of Respect, which is due to hit cinemas in October.

“I have to give credit where credit is due!” the 38-year-old captioned one shot of the cast and crew. “To every single cast and crew member who put your heart and soul into this project! It was beyond a joy and a pleasure to work side by side with each and every one of u! Lord knows if I could post every picture, I would but u know who u r (sic)!!

“From the director to the DP (director of photography), to hair and make-up, acting coach and extras too! To each and every driver and everyone in between! Much Respect to all of you!!!!”

Hudson will be hoping this film is better received than her last – the movie adaptation of stage musical Cats was one of last year’s biggest commercial and critical flops.

Directed by Liesl Tommy, Respect also features appearances from Forest Whitaker, Marlon Wayans, Audra McDonald, Tituss Burgess, Mary J. Blige, and Queen Latifah.

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Rebel Wilson jokes about failure of Cats during 2020 BAFTAs

Rebel Wilson poked fun at the failure of her movie Cats as she presented an award at the 2020 British Academy Film Awards (BAFTAs) on Sunday. The Pitch Perfect actress played Jennyanydots alongside the likes of Idris Elba, Judi Dench, and Jennifer Huds…

Rebel Wilson poked fun at the failure of her movie Cats as she presented an award at the 2020 British Academy Film Awards (BAFTAs) on Sunday.

The Pitch Perfect actress played Jennyanydots alongside the likes of Idris Elba, Judi Dench, and Jennifer Hudson in Tom Hooper’s movie adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical, which was savaged by critics and flopped at the box office following its release in December.

And as Wilson took to the stage at London’s Royal Albert Hall to present the award for Best Director while wearing a Prabal Gurung wrap dress that was half black and half glittery red, she made a joke at the film’s expense.

“Tonight is all about sustainability, so I made this dress from sewing my two old dresses together. The red is from that one time I didn’t win Miss Australia, and the black is from a funeral I just went to for the feature film Cats,” she said to laughter from the star-studded audience. “Cats. Strangely not nominated for any awards. I’m not sure if everyone here is across the controversy but this year there has been a distinct lack of nominations for felines. Yep, even in this Best Director ‘cat’-egory, no felines have been nominated. It’s really shocking.”

In her hilarious speech, one of the standout moments of the evening, Wilson reeled off the names of the Best Director nominees – Sam Mendes, Martin Scorsese, Todd Phillips, Quentin Tarantino, and Bong Joon Ho – and joked about the fact that they are all men.

“I look at the exceptional, daring talent nominated in this category and I don’t think I could do what they do,” the Australian star quipped. “Honestly, I just don’t have the balls.”

Mendes received the prize for 1917, which dominated the evening with seven wins, including Best Film and Outstanding British Film.

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Taylor Swift has ‘no complaints’ about Cats

Taylor Swift has “no complaints” about appearing in box office flop Cats. The music superstar played Bombalurina alongside Idris Elba, James Corden, Judi Dench, and Jennifer Hudson in Tom Hooper’s live-action adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s long-r…

Taylor Swift has “no complaints” about appearing in box office flop Cats.

The music superstar played Bombalurina alongside Idris Elba, James Corden, Judi Dench, and Jennifer Hudson in Tom Hooper’s live-action adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s long-running musical, while she also teamed up with the theatre mogul to create the original song Beautiful Ghosts.

The movie received overwhelmingly negative reviews from critics ahead of its release in December and is considered a box office bomb, having so far grossed $61 million (£48 million) on a budget rumoured to be as high as $100 million (£77 million).

When asked about Cats in an interview with Variety, Taylor insisted the divisive reaction hasn’t taken away from the positive experience she had filming it.

“I’m happy to be here, happy to be nominated, and I had a really great time working on that weird-a*s movie,” she declared. “I’m not gonna retroactively decide that it wasn’t the best experience. I never would have met Andrew Lloyd Webber or gotten to see how he works, and now he’s my buddy. I got to work with the sickest dancers and performers. No complaints.”

Her co-stars have remained quiet about the film since it was released in cinemas. However, following early reactions from the critics, Jason Derulo defended the movie, telling TMZ.com that “reviews don’t matter”.

“It’s an incredible piece of art done by some of the best people in the world,” he said. “I am just excited for the people to actually see it because reviewers, I mean, what the hell do they know? Have they made a film ever in their life?”

Swift and Lloyd Webber were nominated for a Golden Globe for Beautiful Ghosts but were beaten to the Best Original Song prize by Elton John and Bernie Taupin for (I’m Gonna) Love Me Again from Rocketman.

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Jennifer Hudson ‘overwhelmed’ by pressure of Aretha Franklin role

Jennifer Hudson is feeling “overwhelmed” by the pressure to perfect her performance as Aretha Franklin in an upcoming biopic.The singer is stepping into the Queen of Soul’s shoes for the upcoming musical movie, Respect, and told As If Magazine she “cou…

Jennifer Hudson is feeling “overwhelmed” by the pressure to perfect her performance as Aretha Franklin in an upcoming biopic.

The singer is stepping into the Queen of Soul’s shoes for the upcoming musical movie, Respect, and told As If Magazine she “couldn’t be more humbled, intimidated and excited” by the honour of portraying the “iconic” diva.

“It’s a blessing, but scary at the same time. I go to sleep listening to Aretha, and I wake up listening to Aretha. I just want to do her justice and do the best job I possibly can,” she said. “To take on the lifespan of the career and legacy of this iconic figure is a huge responsibility. Even the way she spoke was so beautiful. I’m trying to pay as much homage to her as I possibly can.”

The former American Idol contestant was close with the Think hitmaker, and revealed the star gave her “pieces into her life” before her death at the age of 76 in August 2018.

“When people are that iconic it’s easy to forget they had a life and that they are more than just an entertainer,” the 38-year-old shared. “They are a person, they’re a sister, they’re a child, they’re a wife, they’re a friend… In our conversations she was teaching me more about life than her life.”

Respect, also starring Forest Whitaker, Marlon Wayans, Mary J. Blige, Audra McDonald, and Tate Donovan, is expected to hit cinemas in October.

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Cats getting visual effects update – report

Universal executives are reportedly sending movie theatres an updated version of Cats with improved visual effects. Tom Hooper’s star-studded adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s stage musical received overwhelmingly negative reviews from critics ahead…

Universal executives are reportedly sending movie theatres an updated version of Cats with improved visual effects.

Tom Hooper’s star-studded adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s stage musical received overwhelmingly negative reviews from critics ahead of its opening on Friday, and it was subsequently a flop at the U.S. box office, coming in fourth with takings of only $6.5 million (£4.9 million).

According to a copy of a memo obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, Universal executives notified thousands of theatres on the movie’s opening day that they will be receiving an updated version of the troubled film with “some improved visual effects”.

The updated movie was available to download Sunday via a satellite server, while cinema exhibitors who don’t have access to the server technology will receive the version via hard drive by Tuesday. Universal executives reportedly asked cinema officials to swap the prints over as soon as possible. They stated the movie’s running time will not be affected.

Cinema operators and Hollywood bosses have claimed the move is unheard of for a title that is finished and already released. Insiders noted the switch was being done at Hooper’s request.

The Les Miserables director revealed to Variety at the Cats world premiere in New York City last week that he had only completed the film the day before.

“I finished it at 8am yesterday after 36 hours in a row of putting finishing touches on, so I’m very happy to be here with it fully finished and we’ll let the audience decide,” he said.

Sources told The Hollywood Reporter that the filmmaker wanted to make more tweaks to certain CGI effects.

The musical, which stars Idris Elba, Taylor Swift, Jennifer Hudson, Judi Dench, and Jason Derulo, is currently rated 18 per cent fresh by critics on review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes, while the audience score sits at 60 per cent.

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