KJ Apa and Sofia Carson to lead pandemic thriller Songbird

KJ Apa and Sofia Carson have been cast as the leads in the upcoming pandemic thriller Songbird.The Riverdale actor and Descendants star will play star-crossed lovers in the movie, which started filming in Los Angeles last week. They join a cast which i…

KJ Apa and Sofia Carson have been cast as the leads in the upcoming pandemic thriller Songbird.

The Riverdale actor and Descendants star will play star-crossed lovers in the movie, which started filming in Los Angeles last week. They join a cast which includes Demi Moore, Bradley Whitford, Craig Robinson, Jenna Ortega, Paul Walter Hauser, and Peter Stormare.

New Zealand-born actor Apa shared the casting announcement on his Instagram Stories and wrote in the caption, “Very excited for this. Such a strong team.” Carson also retweeted the news.

The independent thriller, produced by Michael Bay, is set two years in the future, when the current coronavirus pandemic is still raging and has become even more serious as the virus continues to mutate. The story follows an essential worker, played by Apa, who has a rare immunity. Like the vast majority of people, his girlfriend, played by Carson, is locked within her home, and the couple has no ability to physically be together. To be with the one he loves, he must overcome martial law, murderous vigilantes and a powerful, well-connected family, led by a matriarch played by Moore, who will stop at nothing to protect her family and maintain her way of life.

Songbird, which is being directed by Adam Mason from a script he co-wrote with Simon Boyes, is one of the first projects to go into production in America following with the lifting of the lockdown, although it was briefly shut down by actors’ union SAG-AFTRA.

Apa has played Archie Andrews in teen series Riverdale since 2017 and has also starred in movies such as The Hate U Give and I Still Believe. Carson, who lead the short-lived TV show Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists, was recently seen in Netflix dance movie Feel the Beat.

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Demi Moore and Craig Robinson to star in pandemic thriller

Demi Moore and Craig Robinson have signed up to star in a thriller based on the current coronavirus pandemic.It was announced in May that Transformers director Michael Bay would be producing Songbird, which is set two years in the future, when the pand…

Demi Moore and Craig Robinson have signed up to star in a thriller based on the current coronavirus pandemic.

It was announced in May that Transformers director Michael Bay would be producing Songbird, which is set two years in the future, when the pandemic is still raging and has become even more serious as the virus continues to mutate.

It has now been revealed by editors at Deadline that Ghost star Moore and This is the End’s Robinson will star in the movie alongside Richard Jewell actor Paul Walter Hauser and Fargo’s Peter Stormare.

The independent thriller follows an essential worker, a delivery man, who has a rare immunity. Like the vast majority of people, his girlfriend is locked within her home, and the couple has no ability to physically be together. To be with the one he loves, the protagonist must overcome martial law, murderous vigilantes and a powerful, well-connected family, led by a matriarch played by Moore, who will stop at nothing to protect her family and maintain her way of life.

Songbird, which will be in the same vein as found-footage thrillers like Cloverfield and Paranormal Activity, will be directed by Adam Mason from a script he co-wrote with Simon Boyes. It will begin shooting in Los Angeles “imminently” and is set to be one of the first films to begin production as Hollywood gets back on its feet following the coronavirus lockdown.

The cast and crew will abide by strict social distancing guidelines and the actors are reportedly being trained remotely by the production team.

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Jon Hamm defends Richard Jewell movie amid defamation battle

Jon Hamm and Paul Walter Hauser are standing by Clint Eastwood’s drama Richard Jewell amid allegations of defamation.Bosses at Warner Bros., the studio behind the film, have expressed their determination to fight the threat of a possible lawsuit from t…

Jon Hamm and Paul Walter Hauser are standing by Clint Eastwood’s drama Richard Jewell amid allegations of defamation.

Bosses at Warner Bros., the studio behind the film, have expressed their determination to fight the threat of a possible lawsuit from the publishers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper over the portrayal of late journalist Kathy Scruggs and her colleagues in the film.

The movie, directed by Eastwood, focuses on the events surrounding the discovery of a bomb at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia, and Jewell, the security guard who found it and ushered people to safety, but became a suspect after a media report suggested he planted the bomb.

Journalist Scruggs, played by Olivia Wilde, broke the story, and in the film, it’s alleged she traded sexual favours with an FBI agent, played by Hamm, in order to get her story.

At a screening of the movie on Tuesday, the former Mad Men star defended the depiction of Scruggs and other journalists in the movie.

“It’s my understanding that the people making these accusations haven’t seen the film yet,” Hamm said. “I kind of feel like the irony in that is sort of ridiculous. Kathy is portrayed by Olivia in this film as she was, which is an incredibly nuanced individual. To reduce her to this one thing is not fair.

“I think that there were certainly suggestions of impropriety with her character, but there are also some suggestions of impropriety with the character that I play and that’s part of the tragedy of this story.”

Hauser, who portrays the now-deceased Jewell, has also defended the film, stating, “I think the feeling is that it (lawsuit) sorta came out of nowhere. This project has been around for about five years. It was a very famous screenplay. It had Leo (Leonardo DeCaprio) attached to it at some point. They could have done their digging.”

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Warner Bros. bosses fire back at Richard Jewell movie defamation claims

Warner Bros. bosses have fired back at defamation claims aimed at Clint Eastwood’s new movie Richard Jewell.The publishers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper have threatened legal action over the upcoming film, which follows the real-life ev…

Warner Bros. bosses have fired back at defamation claims aimed at Clint Eastwood’s new movie Richard Jewell.

The publishers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper have threatened legal action over the upcoming film, which follows the real-life events surrounding the discovery of a bomb at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia.

Security guard Jewell, played by Paul Walter Hauser in Eastwood’s movie, saved many lives by evacuating spectators once he discovered the device, but was subsequently vilified by the press who suggested that he planted the explosive in the first place.

Bosses at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution are unhappy with the way their journalists – especially the late Kathy Scruggs, who broke the original story that falsely suggested Jewell was a suspect – are portrayed as “reckless” reporters who use “unprofessional and highly inappropriate reporting methods.”

Lawyer Marty Singer urged studio bosses and director Eastwood on Monday to “immediately issue a statement publicly acknowledging that some events were imagined for dramatic purposes and artistic license and dramatisation were used in the film’s portrayal of events and characters”.

But Warner Bros. executives have slammed allegations that portions of the movie are defamatory, and insisted they would be standing by their portrayal of Richard Jewell, an “innocent man whose reputation and life were shredded by a miscarriage of justice.”

“It is unfortunate and the ultimate irony that the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, having been a part of the rush to judgment of Richard Jewell, is now trying to malign our filmmakers and cast,” a statement added.

The film will feature a disclaimer which reads: “The film is based on actual historical events. Dialogue and certain events and characters contained in the film were created for the purposes of dramatisation.”

Richard Jewell will be released in cinemas on 13 December.

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Olivia Wilde defends depiction of journalist character in Richard Jewell

Olivia Wilde has defended the depiction of her journalist character in Clint Eastwood’s new movie Richard Jewell following criticism over the suggestion she slept with a source.The movie is based on the events of the 1996 Summer Olympics bombing in Atl…

Olivia Wilde has defended the depiction of her journalist character in Clint Eastwood’s new movie Richard Jewell following criticism over the suggestion she slept with a source.

The movie is based on the events of the 1996 Summer Olympics bombing in Atlanta, and focuses on the true story of security guard Jewell, played by Paul Walter Hauser, who saved thousands of lives during the incident, but is vilified by the press who falsely report that he was a terrorist.

Wilde portrays Kathy Scruggs, who was a reporter for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and in one scene, her character offers to sleep with FBI agent Tom Shaw, played by Jon Hamm, for information about the bombing. Kevin Riley, the current editor-in-chief of the publication, criticised the film for its portrayal of the late journalist, stating that the suggestion she traded sex for information was “offensive and deeply troubling in the #MeToo era.”

Wilde defended the depiction of Scruggs in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter on Monday.

“I have an immense amount of respect for Kathy Scruggs… I feel a certain responsibility to defend her legacy – which has now been, I think unfairly, boiled down to one element of her personality, one inferred moment in the film,” she said.

“I think people have a hard time accepting sexuality in female characters without allowing it to entirely define that character,” the actress continued. “We don’t do that to men, we don’t do that to James Bond – we don’t say James Bond isn’t a real spy because he gets his information sometimes by sleeping with women as sources. This is very specific to female characters, we’ve seen it over and over again, and I think that Kathy Scruggs is an incredibly dynamic, nuanced, dogged, intrepid reporter. By no means was I intending to suggest that as a female reporter, she needed to use her sexuality.”

Richard Jewell is released on 13 December.

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Kathy Bates joins Clint Eastwood’s The Ballad of Richard Jewell

Kathy Bates has joined the cast of Clint Eastwood’s upcoming drama The Ballad of Richard Jewell. According to editors at Deadline, the Misery actress has been cast in the role of insurance claims adjuster Bobi Jewell, the mother of Richard Jewell, a s…

Kathy Bates has joined the cast of Clint Eastwood’s upcoming drama The Ballad of Richard Jewell.

According to editors at Deadline, the Misery actress has been cast in the role of insurance claims adjuster Bobi Jewell, the mother of Richard Jewell, a security guard who was wrongly accused of planting the bombs he found in a bag during the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia.

Her casting comes days after it was revealed Vice actor Sam Rockwell would be playing the lawyer who defended Jewell in court, and Paul Walter Hauser, who recently had roles in I, Tonya and BlacKkKlansman, would be portraying Jewell.

In 1996, Jewell was hailed a hero for being the first to discover the suspicious abandoned backpack containing three pipe bombs and alerting the authorities, saving hundreds of lives. That soon changed when he was accused of planting it in the first place. He maintained his innocence throughout the ordeal and was finally cleared by FBI investigators after 88 days, but his reputation and health were forever damaged. Jewell, who became a police officer, died in 2007 at the age of 44 after suffering from severe heart disease, kidney disease, and diabetes.

The project will be directed and produced by Eastwood, while other producers include The Wolf of Wall Street co-stars Jonah Hill and Leonardo DiCaprio, who had both originally been attached to appear in the drama.

Billy Ray, who penned the screenplays for Captain Phillips and The Hunger Games, will write the script based on a Vanity Fair magazine article by Marie Brenner.

In addition to Eastwood’s film, Bates, who was most recently seen in Bonnie and Clyde drama The Highwaymen, has also been cast alongside Lil Rel Howery in Home, a drama about an ex-felon who returns home from prison and has to confront his past.

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