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Hillary Clinton Slams ‘Horrific’ Iran Regime: They’re Only in Power ‘Because They Oppress Women’



During Variety‘s Power of Women dinner, presented by Lifetime, on Wednesday, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton spoke, and the former secretary of state took the Iranian government to task.

“I could not stand up here tonight without also recognizing the brave women in Iran who are standing up for their rights, their freedom against a horrific regime who stays in power in large measure because they oppress women,” Clinton said. “And I could not stand here without thinking about the women in Afghanistan who are being deprived of education, or the women on the front lines in Ukraine who are trying to defend their country against the barbarity of Putin’s invasion.”

“So we have a lot of work to do,” she continued. “It’s work in our own country to keep our progress going and not let the clock be turned back, and it’s also caring about the rest of the world.”

The Clintons are in the midst of promoting “Gutsy,” the Apple TV+ series adapted from their 2019 “Book of Gutsy Women.” On the show, in which the mother-daughter pair appear and which they produced with their new HiddenLight shingle, luminaries from rap star Megan Thee Stallion to labor activist Dolores Huerta share their wisdom.

The series merges the former secretary of state and the health advocate’s cerebral energy with a dose of star power from outside politics. In an interview with Variety for the Power of Women issue, Clinton said, “When we interviewed the really well-known women, like Kim Kardashian, we didn’t want to focus on just her amazing success in business and everything else that goes with it, but on her efforts to help people caught up in the criminal justice system. That’s what was meaningful to us.”

She expanded on that idea Wednesday night, saying, “We showcase a lot of different kinds of women who have done all sorts of things. Some of their own choosing, some because they were challenged, but each of them having to dig down deep to find the resilience and the determination to find their own gutsiness — and not just about themselves, but trying to right injustice. Trying to solve problems for others as well. Because we’re at this moment of reckoning, not only in our country, but around the world, about human rights and women’s rights. It’s critically important that we tell these stories.”

Chelsea spoke directly to the experience of raising children in America in the era of Roe v. Wade’s reversal.

“I am full of palpitating rage as I look at my daughter and realize that she could have fewer rights than I had growing up in this country,” she said. “And I look at my sons and realize that they could, too, because while we’ve talked a lot about abortion tonight, it’s also the right to contraception. It’s the right to equal marriage. It’s the right to privacy. Truly, everything that has enabled all of us to lead our lives is under threat. And while that is acutely and urgently true for women, it is not exclusively true for women.

“This is an existential moment. We certainly need all of us to be gutsy, because I don’t want to go further back. I think a lot about the admonition of the great Coretta Scott King, and others who reminded us that progress has to be defended and protected in every generation. Sometimes we also have to win it back.”

Closing her speech, she added, “We certainly hope that you will take up the call to tell more stories of choice, of privacy, of equal marriage and equal rights because we need you to help defend them, to protect them, to win them back. Because I know I’m not the only parent here. And I know I’m not the only one who’s enraged. And I also know I’m not the only one who’s optimistic.”

Secretary Clinton also remarked on the idea of optimism: “It’s a choice to be optimistic. I have to end with one of the best answers that I ever heard from anybody, from my wonderful late friend and predecessor as Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright. When asked if she were an optimist, she paused and she said, ‘Yes. I’m an optimist who worries a lot.’ So let’s be optimistic. But let’s also make sure that we take our worry into action in order to beat back the dark forces that want to turn us back. Let’s be gutsy together.”

The Clintons, along with Elizabeth Olsen, Oprah Winfrey and Ava DuVernay, and Malala Yousafzai, are honorees at this year’s Power of Women event in Los Angeles.

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Amazon Studios Chief Jennifer Salke Adds MGM to Portfolio, Chris Brearton to Oversee Strategy, MGM+ and Unscripted TV



Amazon has settled on a new corporate structure for its expanded content operations, putting most of MGM under Amazon Studios chief Jennifer Salke while also promoting MGM veteran Chris Brearton.

Salke will oversee all aspects of scripted TV and film, distribution and marketing for MGM. Brearton will oversee MGM’s unscripted TV, the MGM+ streaming service and he will also hold the role of VP of corporate strategy for Prime Video and Studios. Salke and Brearton both report to Mike Hopkins, senior VP of Amazon Prime Video, Amazon Studios and MGM.

The moves were expected after months of speculation regarding how MGM would be integrated into the Amazon orbit. Hopkins confirmed the new hierarchy in a memo to staffers late Tuesday.

“Jen’s outstanding reputation in the creative community has earned her the respect of Hollywood’s top talent throughout the industry,” Hopkins wrote. “With Jen now having oversight of both studios – along with distribution and all creative marketing – creatives will have a single point of entry for the opportunity to showcase their content across all our platforms. Serving the creative community in this way will streamline and enhance the creative process, expand our growing stable of content, and strongly reinforce Jen’s commitment to being the home for talent.”

Amazon closed its deal to acquire MGM for $8.5 billion in March. The studio’s film leadership team of Michael De Luca and Pam Abdy exited weeks after the transaction. Mark Burnett, the famed producer who also ran MGM TV, confirmed his departure on Monday, which paved the way for the transition with Salke and Brearton.

Salke plans to hire a film executive to lead feature development and production. Julie Rapaport, who became Amazon’s sole head of movies in March, will continue in that role and “support the MGM film team as we continue to integrate,” Salke wrote in a memo. Among other changes, Sue Kroll, the Warner Bros. veteran who was hired last month to lead marketing for Amazon Studios, will also take on TV and film marketing for MGM. Vernon Sanders, who oversees TV for Amazon, will add oversight of MGM scripted TV.

Salke hinted at the shuffling to come in a lengthy interview for a Variety cover story last month. It’s expected that MGM will continue to produce content for outside buyers, in addition to serving Amazon’s growing number of platforms, including the ad-supported streamer Freevee and MGM+ (the premium cabler previously known as Epix).

Brearton joined MGM in 2018 after representing the studio for years as a lawyer with Latham & Watkins. Salke has been at the helm of Amazon Studios since 2018.

Here are the full memos sent Tuesday evening by Mike Hopkins, Jen Salke and Chris Brearton:

Hi team,

Nearly nine months ago when we acquired MGM, we said we would take a thoughtful and measured approach to the integration process. It was important to take the time to ensure the right people were in the right jobs for maximum collaboration, creativity, and innovation. We have made many important decisions during this time, and now have completed the essential work of setting up our organizational structure. I am pleased to share that effective immediately, Jennifer Salke will become head of Amazon and MGM Studios, adding oversight of MGM scripted television and film, distribution, and creative marketing. Additionally, I’d like to welcome Chris Brearton, who will take on a new role, VP, PVS Corporate Strategy, MGM+ and MGM Alternative Television.

Jen’s outstanding reputation in the creative community has earned her the respect of Hollywood’s top talent throughout the industry. With Jen now having oversight of both studios – along with distribution and all creative marketing – creatives will have a single point of entry for the opportunity to showcase their content across all our platforms. Serving the creative community in this way will streamline and enhance the creative process, expand our growing stable of content, and strongly reinforce Jen’s commitment to being the home for talent.

Chris Brearton has been running the business of MGM and leading its integration into Prime Video and Amazon Studios. In his new role, he will lead business planning and corporate strategy for PVS. He will also oversee MGM+ and MGM Alternative, where he will be responsible for accelerating the rebrand and spearheading the growth of the MGM + premium service, while also working closely with the seasoned MGM unscripted television team to continue their legacy of megahits, such as Survivor, Shark Tank and The Voice. Brearton will report to me and join my senior leadership team, effective immediately.

I appreciate all of the work on this integration and believe we are now better positioned to deliver on our ambitious vision with very best leaders at the helm. Throughout this process you have continued to deliver great entertainment to customers around the world. We released three MGM film titles to direct-to-streaming (DTS) releases on PV including Thirteen Lives, Anything Is Possible, and Samaritan, and the critically lauded theatrical releases of Till and Bones & All. We partnered on celebrating the 60th anniversary of the 007 franchise in October 2022.

We have new quality storytelling to bring to our customers in the coming weeks with Women Talking, Boys in the Boat, and Creed III, with even more in development for Prime Video. In addition to launches, we greenlit Road House with Jake Gyllenhaal and The Underdoggs with Snoop Dogg. In partnership with MGM Television, we greenlit and commenced production on Shelter (based on the bestselling thriller novel by Harlan Coben), The Consultant (starring Christoph Waltz), and A Road to a Million (a reality competition series featuring locales from 007 movies).

I am so appreciative of all the work you’ve collectively done this year, and look forward to all we can do together as we build the next phase of this rich legacy of amazing content. You will be hearing from Jen and Chris soon about their visions and goals for their respective organizations. Thank you all for your patience and commitment throughout this process.


Here is Salke’s memo:


Mike just shared some news about our organizational structure, and I wanted to say how proud I am to be named the head of Amazon and MGM Studios. It is a privilege to lead a team of such immensely talented people. We have such an exciting opportunity ahead of us as we continue to build out our best-in-class studios and entertain even more people all over the world.

With my added oversight of MGM’s scripted television and film, distribution, and creative marketing, I have some news to share on my leadership team. Vernon Sanders will continue to run Amazon television and will now have oversight of scripted MGM television with Lindsay Sloane and Rola Bauer. Julie Rapaport will continue to run the AOM team as well as oversee the MGM film team as we continue to integrate. Dan Scharf will add oversight of MGM’s BA and business operations as well as casting, music, and production. Amazon Studios newly appointed marketing head Sue Kroll will add MGM to her purview, and MGM’s chief marketing officer Stephen Bruno will now report to Sue. Brad Beale’s content licensing remit will now include MGM, with Chris Ottinger, MGM’s head of worldwide distribution and acquisition, now reporting to Brad. And Erik Lomis, head of theatrical distribution at United Artists Releasing, will report directly to me. I’d like to thank all of you for your patience as we integrate the talented teams at MGM. And we will have more announcements to share over the next few months.

These are dynamic times for all of us in the entertainment industry. And here at Amazon and MGM Studios, we have the best leaders, creatives, and talent in the business. I am proud to be a part of this amazing organization and look forward to all that we can – and will – do together.


Here is Brearton’s memo:


I realize that we’ve all been through a tremendous amount of change over the last few months. With the integration now complete, I am excited about the opportunity to harness and leverage all that Amazon can bring to our business.

We are now ready to embark on this journey together. With the leadership of Michael Wright as head of MGM+, Brian Edwards and Barry Poznick as heads of unscripted television, and Ted Lim overseeing corporate strategy and development, we continue to build on the legacy of MGM Studios. I have the utmost confidence in our team, along with the resources of Amazon and the leadership of Mike Hopkins and Jen Salke, as we continue to create brilliant content for global audiences.


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Jenna Ortega Shares How The Wednesday Team Made Up Thing Language



Exclusive: Jenna Ortega shares how Wednesday’s creative team made up Thing’s language and mannerisms, explaining that they were invented on the spot.

Wednesday‘s Jenna Ortega reveals how Thing’s language was established by the show’s creative team. Last week saw the highly anticipated premiere of Wednesday, Netflix’s new Addams Family spinoff series. Starring Jenna Ortega as the titular character, the show finds Wednesday enrolling in the mysterious Nevermore Academy and getting caught up in various mysteries. While Wednesday features a few appearances from prominent Addams Family characters, like Morticia (Catherine Zeta-Jones) and Gomez (Luis Guzmán), their roles are kept relatively small. The exception here is Thing, the family’s disembodied hand, who takes on the part of Wednesday’s silent sidekick as she navigates boarding school.


Ortega now shares how the Wednesday creative team designed Thing’s physical language on set. Throughout the series, Thing communicates with Wednesday using gestures and movements to convey thoughts and emotions. According to Ortega in an exclusive interview with Screen Rant, actor and magician Victor Dorobantu, who portrays the sentient hand in the series, worked with the team during filming to come up with the mannerisms on the spot. She also elaborates on the whole process of creating the special effect, explaining:

It was so funny, because the Thing language was just made up on the day. Every day we’d show up and go, “Ahhh…” [hand motions] “That looks right. I feel like I kind of know what he’s saying.” But Tim wanted it to be an actual actor like they did in the 90s films, so it was this magician named Victor [Dorobantu]. He would wear a full blue suit, and he would hide behind walls and underneath beds. Then they built this prosthetic on top of his hand so that it looked like a wrist knob, and he would walk around. Tim really liked his mannerisms, and he would spend hours in hair and makeup every day just getting that hand on. Then we’d shoot some stuff with him, and other times we would shoot with absolutely nothing there. We’d shoot with the stand-in hand there; never did the tennis ball. I was either working with an actor and responding to him or I was looking at nothing, and then at the end of every take, we would have to bring in these gray and silver balls and a color chart so that they could add CGI. Those scenes always took longer because of that.

How Addams Family Members Can Be More Prevalent In Wednesday Season 2

Jenna Ortega; Catherine Zeta-Jones; Luis Guzmán; Isaac Ordonez; Tim Burton

Though a second season has yet to be confirmed, Wednesday season 1 has already received generally positive reviews, which bodes well for the show’s future. The Wednesday showrunners have confirmed they have multiple seasons planned in case they get the greenlight, so the series could have a long run ahead. While Thing was prominently featured throughout Wednesday season 1, season 2 could be an opportunity to shine more of a spotlight on the rest of the Addams family. Since season 1 ended with Wednesday getting expelled from Nevermore Academy, the door is now open for a new setting or backdrop to Wednesday’s adventures in season 2, which could possibly feature more of the Addams family homestead.

Another potential avenue for Wednesday season 2 is a deeper exploration of the character’s new powers. In season 1, Principal Weems (Gwendoline Christie) reveals to Wednesday that the visions she has started experiencing have been passed onto her by her mother, Morticia. Wednesday’s visions are a new addition to the character in this version, and a season 2 could use this ability to focus more on her family ties and how Morticia’s and Wednesday’s shared powers will play into the younger Addams’ fate.

Wednesday has received a lot of attention so far, breaking records on Netflix by surpassing Stranger Things season 4 for most hours watched in a week. Audiences may be eager to see more of Zeta-Jones, Guzmán, and Fred Armisen as Uncle Fester, while some viewers may have also felt the absence of the family favorite, Cousin Itt. With a wealth of preexisting material in addition to the new world Wednesday season 1 has already built, the possibilities are endless for bringing in more classic Addams Family characters for a potential season 2.

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Ryan Eggold, Isaiah Mustafa Join Aldis Hodge in Alex Cross Series at Amazon



Ryan Eggold and Isaiah Mustafa have been cast in Amazon’s upcoming series based on James Patterson’s Alex Cross novels.

The pair join previously announced series lead Aldis Hodge in the series, which is titled “Cross.” Amazon ordered the show to series in October.

“Cross” is described as thriller mystery series. Per the official logline, “Alex Cross is a detective and forensic psychologist, uniquely capable of digging into the psyches of killers and their victims, in order to identify—and ultimately capture—the murderers.”

Eggold will play Ed Ramsey. The character is said to have “humble Midwest roots that are the core of his irresistible charm, but he’s got elbows sharp enough to carve out space in the elite social and political circles of DC and New York. Smooth, well connected, and devious, Ramsey can also be physically imposing when he needs to be – and he has some very dark secrets. While he’s initially a fan of Cross’s, he soon becomes a formidable adversary.”

Mustafa will play John Sampson, also known as “Two-John” and “Man-Mountain.” Sampson is described as “Alex’s partner on the force and best friend of 30 years. Full of swagger and larger than life, he believes that Cross is at a crisis point in his life and needs to seek professional help.”

Eggold currently stars in the NBC medical drama “New Amsterdam,” which is airing its fifth and final season at present. He is also known for his role in the NBC drama “The Blacklist” and the spinoff series “The Blacklist: Redemption.” His other notable credits include The CW series “90210” as well as films like “BlacKkKlansman” and “Fathers and Daughters.”

He is repped by Gersh, Entertainment 360, and Hirsch Wallerstein.

Mustafa is known for starring in the cult hit Freeform series “Shadowhunters” and in films like “IT: Chapter Two” and “Murder at Yellowstone City.” He got his big break onscreen in the Old Spice “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” advertising campaign, which was very well received by the public.

He is repped by APA, Megan Silverman Management, and Yorn Levine.

Variety exclusively reported that “Cross” was in the works in January 2020. Ben Watkins is writing and executive producing the series, and will also serve as showrunner. Hodge is a producer in addition to starring. Sam Ernst, Jim Dunn, and Craig Siebels also executive produce, with Patterson, Bill Robinson, and Patrick Santa executive producing for James Patterson Entertainment. David Ellison, Dana Goldberg, and Bill Bost executive produce for Skydance Television. Paramount Television Studios and Skydance are producing.

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