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Will Smith Appears on ‘The Daily Show’ in First Late-Night Interview Since Oscars Slap: ‘That Is Not Who I Want to Be’

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After a series of online statements and quiet public appearances over recent months, Will Smith took further steps back into the spotlight Monday evening, appearing for an interview on “The Daily Show With Trevor Noah.” Promoting his new historical drama “Emancipation,” Smith’s conversation with the late-night host naturally dug into his Oscars night controversy, in which he slapped Chris Rock onstage as the comedian was introducing the category of best documentary feature.

“I have been away,” Will Smith said, drawing a laugh from the crowd when the topic of his absence from the public eye came up. “What have y’all been doing?”

“That was a horrific night, as you can imagine. There’s many nuances and complexities to it. But at the end of the day, I just — I lost it, you know?” Smith continued. “I was going through something that night, you know? Not that that justifies my behavior at all… It was a lot of things. It was the little boy that watched his father beat up his mother, you know? All of that just bubbled up in that moment. That is not who I want to be.”

Noah interjected, offering his own perspective on the situation and recalling the discussions about the controversy that he had with peers.

“I love Chris. I’m friends with him. I love you, but this is fucked up… I know that as Black people, Black people get together and go, ‘What was Will doing? What the hell happened?’ A lot of Black people were like, ‘He should go to jail.’ Like, you need to relax yourself,” Noah said, earning a laugh from Smith. “Some people were overreacting, which made some people underreact.”

Smith shared an anecdote from the aftermath on Oscars evening, when he was already having to deal with the reverberations of his outburst in his private life.

“I was gone. That was a rage that had been bottled for a really long time,” Smith said, “My nephew is nine. He is the sweetest little boy. We came home. He had stayed up late to see his uncle Will and we are sitting in my kitchen and he is on my lap and he is holding the Oscar and he is just like, ‘Why did you hit that man, Uncle Will?’ Damn it. Why are you trying to Oprah me?”

Smith also discussed “Emancipation,” sharing the decision-making that led him to the project. Based on true events, the film stars Smith as a runaway slave who becomes known to the world as “Whipped Peter” after widely distributed photographs of keloid scarring on his back expose the extreme brutality of slavery.

“First seeing that image was one of the things that really got me excited to explore this, because you see the image, but you don’t know who he is. You don’t know what the story is,” Smith said. “American slavery was one of the most brutal aspects of human history… It is hard to understand the level of human cruelty. My daughter asked me, ‘Daddy, do we really need another slave movie?’ I said, ‘Daby, I promise you, I wouldn’t make a slave movie. This is a freedom movie.’”

In a recent interview with Vanity Fair, director Antoine Fuqua addressed the decision to release “Emancipation” eight months after Smith’s Oscars controversy, saying “the film to me is bigger than that moment.”

“400 years of slavery is bigger than one moment,” Fuqua stated. “My hope is that people will see it that way and watch the movie and be swept away with the great performance by Will and all the real hard work that the whole crew did.”

“Emancipation” will debut in select theaters this Friday before premiering on Apple TV+ on Dec. 9.

Watch Noah’s full interview with Smith below.



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Jailed ‘Scrubs’ Writer Eric Weinberg Faces 12 More Sexual Assault Lawsuits

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Twelve more sexual assault lawsuits were filed Friday against jailed “Scrubs” writer and producer Eric Weinberg, who is accused of being a serial rapist.

Weinberg, 62, is also facing 18 criminal charges involving five women. Two women also filed lawsuits against him in November, alleging that he sexually assaulted them on separate occasions in 2019.

The new lawsuits accuse Weinberg of sexually assaulting 13 women from 1998 to 2017. The women ranged in age from 18 to 35 the the time of the assaults, and most of them allege a common pattern. According to the complaints, Weinberg would meet women in a public place, such as a cafe or a grocery store, tell them he was a photographer and invite them to participate in a photo shoot.

Weinberg would have them come to his home, where he would begin taking photos. He would then encourage them to undress, and would sexually assault them, according to the lawsuits. Several of the lawsuits state that the women were in fear of being killed or seriously injured if they refused Weinberg’s commands.

Some of the suits allege that he would take photos of the women during the assaults. Afterward, he would sometimes plead with them not to go to the police. One woman alleged that he threatened to harm her child.

The lawsuits identify the plaintiffs by pseudonymous initials. One of the complaints covers two accusers, who allege that they went together to Weinberg’s house in October 2013, and that he sexually assaulted both of them.

Some of the women allege that he would show them pictures of his kids to put them at ease.

One woman alleges that Weinberg sexually assaulted her when she was working as an actor on the MTV show “Death Valley,” where he was a writer and producer. The suit alleges that Weinberg called her repeatedly in the weeks leading up to the assault and would talk about his penis and sex acts while masturbating.

The suit also alleges that Weinberg cornered her in an isolated part of the set, pinned her against a wall and groped her breast, hip and thigh. She stopped working on the show after that, and refused his invitation to participate in a photo shoot, according to suit.

The woman alleges that Weinberg approached her on the street years later, apparently not recognizing her, and complimented her looks and asked if she was an actress. She told him to leave her alone, and he allegedly became angry and grabbed her wrist and tried to force her into her car. The suit alleges that Weinberg approached her two more times in public places in later years, and that she reported him to the police and had to have security cameras installed at her home.

Another woman alleged that Weinberg met her through OKCupid, and they agreed to get a drink at a bar. The woman alleges that Weinberg drugged her drink, took her to her home, and raped her.

Weinberg was arrested in July and released on $3.225 million bail. He was charged on Oct. 5 and his bail was increased to $5 million. He has pleaded not guilty.

A judge revoked his bail on Oct. 25, after finding that the allegations suggest that Weinberg “cannot stop and will not stop his sexual assaults on women, and therefore he poses a danger to the safety of women.”

At the time, prosecutors said that the LAPD had received more than 70 tips about Weinberg.

He is currently being held at the North County Correctional Facility in Castaic.

Weinberg was first arrested in 2014, but prosecutors declined to file charges.

The plaintiffs are all represented by attorneys Micha Star Liberty and Amy Zeman of Oakland. The suits name Weinberg and his company, Guitar and Pen Productions, as defendants.

Weinberg worked on “Scubs” from 2001 to 2006. He also worked on “Veronica’s Closet,” “Californication,” and “Anger Management.”



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Poker Face Art Teams Natasha Lyonne With Columbo

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Natasha Lyonne’s Charlie meets her TV inspiration, Peter Falk’s Columbo, in new fan art celebrating Rian Johnson’s hit show Poker Face.


Poker Face art teams Natasha Lyonne’s human lie detector Charlie with Peter Falk’s classic detective Columbo. Rian Johnson brought back the whodunit movie with his sly and comedic murder mystery films Knives Out and Glass Onion. Now the acclaimed writer-director is doing the same for the classic TV detective show, with his hit Peacock series Poker Face, starring Lyonne as a seemingly average person who possesses the superpower to always know when people are lying.

SCREENRANT VIDEO OF THE DAY

In celebration of Johnson’s accomplishment with Poker Face, artist Readful Things has unleashed a new image that brings Lyonne’s Charlie together with her greatest TV inspiration, Lieutenant Columbo.

As can be seen above, Johnson himself took to Twitter to express his appreciation for the art, posting “Holy holy” in response to the image. Currently holding down a 98% score on Rotten Tomatoes while finally giving Peacock a buzzworthy original show, Poker Face is indeed well on its way to re-establishing the detective genre on the small screen as Johnson hoped. But back in the day, Columbo was the state-of-the-art when it came to TV detective stories, thanks in large part to its lead actor Falk.


How Columbo Inspired Poker Face

columbo peter falk poster

Poker Face creator Johnson has spoken extensively about his love of murder mystery writers like Agatha Christie, and how their works – and the films made from their works – inspired his own yarns like Knives Out and the recent sequel Glass Onion. While trying to bring back the classic TV detective story however, Johnson naturally turned to a small screen inspiration in Columbo. But it wasn’t so much the mystery side of Columbo that turned Johnson on. Rather, it was the idea of centering a mystery show on a charismatic lead performer whom the audience wants to root for. As Johnson told Screen Rant recently:

More than that though, the great characters like James Garner as Rockford or Tom Selleck as Magnum Pi or Falk as Columbo—those shows were more hangout shows than anything else. You didn’t really tune in for the mystery. You tuned in to hang out with Falk. And so when I became friends with Natasha and realized she could be that for a show, I got really, really excited. That’s where the whole thing started.

Shows like Columbo of course were mystery-of-the-week stories that did not concern themselves with ongoing arcs. Today however, the emphasis in prestige TV is on serialized stories. But Johnson chose to buck this big current-day trend by making each Poker Face episode self-contained, defying the binge model of TV releasing by encouraging viewers to not devour the entire season in one go. This approach received a lot of pushback from binge-model-fixated TV execs, but as Johnson explained to THR, he finally convinced Peacock to go with his old school storytelling style:

And I just kept coming back and hammering the notion that all the shows that I grew up watching were not about the cliffhanger at the end. They were about wanting to come back to hang out with this character that you love and see them win, and that’s equally addictive. And it’s also something I miss, and I bet a lot of people also miss.

Will Poker Face Get A Season 2

Natasha Lyonne as Charlie smiling in Poker Face Trailer

The widespread positive reception for Poker Face would seem to indicate that audiences and critics do indeed miss the old-fashioned episodic approach to TV as much as Johnson does. But will that translate into Poker Face receiving an order for season 2? Peacock has not yet asked for a second season, but it seems inevitable that the renewal will come. And if Poker Face season 2 does indeed happen, Johnson has already revealed his dream guest star, telling Screen Rant he’d love Jamie Lee Curtis to appear. Hopefully, Johnson will get a chance to unleash more Columbo-inspired mystery TV with Poker Face season 2.

Source: Readful Things/Twitter



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India’s Raveena Tandon to Headline Disney+ Hotstar Series (EXCLUSIVE)

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Indian actor Raveena Tandon will headline an upcoming series for streamer Disney+ Hotstar.

There are no further details at this stage from Disney+ Hotstar, which exclusively shared an image from the show with Variety.

Tandon said: “I’m extremely elated to be a part of the Disney+ Hotstar family. This show is going to be very special for me as I’ve always liked to challenge and reinvent myself with every character I’ve ever played and this show has given me just that, all I can say is, stay tuned for some fun.”

Gaurav Banerjee, head of content at Disney+ Hotstar, added: “It brings us immense happiness to announce our association with Raveena Tandon. She is and has been a superstar throughout her journey in the Indian Film Industry and together, Disney+ Hotstar and Raveena Tandon will soon bring some magic on the audience screens.”

Tandon, who was a top Bollywood star in the 1990s, is now known for her powerful performances. She headlined 2021 Netflix series “Aranyak” for which she won several awards in India. In 2022, she had a pivotal role in India’s biggest box office hit of the year, “K.G.F: Chapter 2.”

Disney+ Hotstar India has commissioned a slew of successful original series featuring A-list actors. Ajay Devgn starred in “Luther” Indian adaptation “Rudra: The Edge of Darkness,” Sushmita Sen starred in two seasons of “Aarya,” Abhay Deol headlined “1962: The War in the Hills,” R. Sarathkumar and Jagapathy Babu led “Parampara” and Tamannaah Bhatia starred in “November Story.”

“The Night Manager,” the Indian adaptation of the BBC series of the same name, is due in February. It stars Anil Kapoor and Aditya Roy Kapur.



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