72nd Cannes Film Festival - News conference for the film
FILE PHOTO: 72nd Cannes Film Festival – News conference for the film “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” in competition – Cannes, France, May 22, 2019. Director Quentin Tarantino attends the news conference. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

May 24, 2019

By Phyllis Xu and Fedja Grulovic

CANNES, France (Reuters) – Twenty-five years after taking the festival by storm with “Pulp Fiction”, Quentin Tarantino’s latest movie has already clinched an award at Cannes – thanks to a dog in a show-stealing fight scene.

“Brandy”, which was actually played by three different pitbulls, won the unofficial “Palm Dog” prize at the cinema showcase on Friday.

“I have to say I am so honored to have this,” Tarantino told the light-hearted ceremony to pick up the collar handed out to winners.

“I would like to dedicate this to my wonderful actress Brandy,” he added, drawing laughs from the crowd at the award that is made every year at the festival.

Tarantino said one of the dogs that took part in the fight scene was initially his favorite among the canine cast, but he said he had later been drawn to the expressive face of another of the pitbulls during the editing process.

The U.S. filmmaker said he would keep the award even though he does not have a dog, adding that he might get one some day but it would likely come from a rescue center if he did.

Tarantino said of the Palm Dog: “It will go on my mantelpiece, alright, my mantelpiece of honor.”

Set in the late 1960s, “Once Upon A Time In Hollywood” stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Rick Dalton, an actor struggling to come to terms with his fading career, and Brad Pitt as Cliff Booth, his stunt double.

Booth keeps a pitbull, with which he has one-on-one scenes, including comedy moments that include preparing an unappetising-looking dinner for his pet and training the dog to respond to commands.

The dog makes a comeback in the film’s final sequence. Tarantino has pleaded with critics who viewed the movie at Cannes not to reveal any major spoilers.

Tarantino won the top Palme d’Or film award at Cannes in 1994. He is vying against veteran directors including Ken Loach and Pedro Almodovar for this year’s prize, set to be announced on May 25.

(Writing by Sarah White; Editing by Edmund Blair)

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File photograph shows Spice Girls members arriving for the premiere of the musical
FILE PHOTO: Spice Girl members Melanie Brown (L-R), Geri Halliwell, Emma Bunton and Melanie Chisholm are seen arriving for the premiere of the musical “Viva Forever!”, based on the music of the Spice Girls, in central London in this December 11, 2012 file photograph. REUTERS/Toby Melville

May 24, 2019

DUBLIN (Reuters) – Nineties girl band the Spice Girls return to the stage as a foursome on Friday, kicking off a reunion tour in Dublin with happy wishes from their absent band mate Victoria “Posh Spice” Beckham.

The British pop group, which shot to global fame with their bouncy debut single “Wannabe” in 1996, announced last year they would perform together again. Beckham, now a successful fashion designer and part of a global celebrity family brand with soccer-player husband David, did not join them.

Melanie Brown (Scary Spice), Geri Horner (Ginger Spice), Melanie Chisholm (Sporty Spice) and Emma Bunton (Baby Spice) will play 13 dates over the next few weeks, starting with Dublin on Friday before performing in cities around Britain.

“TODAY IS THE DAY!” the band wrote on their Twitter page, with a poster for the “Spice World” tour showing most gigs, including Friday’s and the last three in London, as sold-out.

On Instagram, Beckham shared an old picture of the group, which formed in 1994, with the message: “Good luck to the girls today as they start their tour!”

The 13-date tour is the latest reunion for one of the world’s biggest girl bands which sold tens of millions of records, and is known for hits like “Say You’ll Be There”, “2 Become 1” and “Spice Up Your Life”.

Horner left the Spice Girls in 1998, while the group’s remaining members went their separate ways in 2000. The band got back together for a tour in 2007-2008 and also performed at the closing ceremony for the 2012 London Olympics.

Earlier this week, Brown told fans she had suffered a recent health scare of inflammations in both her eyes. Sharing a picture of a bandaged eye, she said she now had to get “a very cool Scary eye patch”.

The group have posted pictures this week of rehearsals, also giving fans a glimpse of their stage adorned with a huge globe-like structure and colorful lights.

“I can’t tell you how excited I am about getting this tour on the road!” Bunton wrote on Instagram on Thursday beside a picture of herself at Dublin’s Croke Park stadium.

(Reporting by Marie-Louise Gumuchian in London; Editing by Peter Graff)

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2019 Billboard Music Awards– Photo Room – Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., May 1, 2019 – Mariah Carey poses backstage with her Icon Award
FILE PHOTO: 2019 Billboard Music Awards– Photo Room – Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., May 1, 2019 – Mariah Carey poses backstage with her Icon Award. REUTERS/Steve Marcus

May 24, 2019

By Marie-Louise Gumuchian

LONDON (Reuters) – Pop rock band The 1975 were the big winners at the Ivor Novellos in London on Thursday, scooping two major prizes at Britain’s annual awards honoring songwriting and composing.

Chart-topper Mariah Carey and ballad singer Dido were also honored at the 64th edition of the awards named after the early 20th century Welsh composer, actor and entertainer.

The 1975’s George Daniel, Adam Hann, Matthew Healy and Ross MacDonald were named Songwriters of the Year, with presenters the Ivors Academy describing their album “A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships” as “stand(ing) out as a vivid picture of modernity.”

“These songs are a quintessential snapshot of the emotional complexities of life in the here and now, but with all the hallmarks of a body of work that will stand the test of time,” the Academy said in a statement.

Their record “Love It If We Made It” was named Best Contemporary Song. The band, currently in the United States on tour, were not able to collect the prizes in person.

Ben Howard’s “Nica Libres at Dusk” was named Best Song Musically and Lyrically while Best Album went to “Joy as an Act of Resistance” by punk rock band Idles.

Hit song “These Days”, by Rudimental and featuring Macklemore, Jess Glynne, Dan Caplen, won Most Performed Work.

U.S. megastar Carey was given a Special International Award, recognizing her as “an extraordinary global talent (and) an impactful songwriter.”

“I rarely get acknowledged for my songwriting which is the core of who I am, so I thank you so much for this incredible, incredible honor,” Carey said in a video message.

Dido, who was catapulted into the spotlight when her soft vocals featured on rapper Eminem’s hit song “Stan” in 2000, was given an award for Outstanding Song Collection.

“For me it is sort of the most important award in a way because…I started as songwriter who happened to end up singing the songs in the end,” she told Reuters.

Dido is on her first tour in 15 years after releasing a new album in March. “I’m having such a good time,” she said. “It’s really different this time, it’s sort of just really relaxed, really fun.”Deep Purple’s Ritchie Blackmore, Ian Gillan, Roger Glover and Ian Paice were honored with an International Achievement prize, with their keyboardist Jon Lord recognized posthumously.

(Reporting By Marie-Louise Gumuchian; additional reporting by Jayson Mansaray; editing by John Stonestreet)

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FILE PHOTO: Film producer Harvey Weinstein departs from a court hearing in New York
FILE PHOTO: Film producer Harvey Weinstein departs from a court hearing in New York, New York, U.S., April 26, 2019. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/File Photo

May 24, 2019

(Reuters) – Harvey Weinstein, women who accused him of sexual misconduct, his former film studio’s board members and the New York attorney general’s office have reached a tentative $44 million deal to resolve lawsuits and compensate alleged victims of the Hollywood producer, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, citing people it said were familiar with the matter.

The deal, if finalized, would resolve a civil rights lawsuit filed by the New York attorney general’s office last year that accuses Weinstein Co’s executives and board of failing to protect employees from a hostile work environment and Weinstein’s sexual misconduct, the Journal said.

A representative for Harvey Weinstein and Weinstein Co did not immediately respond to request for comment. Weinstein has previously denied having non-consensual sex with anyone.

(Reporting by Rama Venkat in Bengaluru; Editing by Bill Rigby)

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72nd Cannes Film Festival - The amfAR's Cinema Against AIDS 2019 event
72nd Cannes Film Festival – The amfAR’s Cinema Against AIDS 2019 event – Antibes, France, May 23, 2019. Dua Lipa poses. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

May 23, 2019

By Sarah White and Johnny Cotton

CAP D’ANTIBES, France (Reuters) – From Pamela Anderson to Dua Lipa, the great and good of the movie and music world mingled at the Cannes Film Festival’s most glamorous fixture on Thursday night, a fundraiser for AIDS research where stars including Mariah Carey were set to perform.

Reality TV star and model Kendall Jenner, actors Antonio Banderas and Andie MacDowell, and designer Tommy Hilfiger were among guests at the swanky AmfAR dinner on the French Riviera, put on by the U.S.-based Foundation for AIDS Research.

Attendees and AmfAR representatives said this year’s event, also set to feature a performance by crooner Tom Jones, was particularly poignant, following medical breakthroughs in trying to find a cure for AIDS.

An HIV-positive man in Britain became the second known adult worldwide to be cleared of the AIDS virus after he received a bone marrow transplant from an HIV-resistant donor, his doctors said in March.

“As optimistic as we are going forward, this disease is nowhere near finishing,” AmfAR board Chairman William Roedy told journalists ahead of the party on the grounds of the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc, an exclusive hotel on the Cap d’Antibes, which juts out into the Mediterranean along the coast from Cannes.

“We have to keep our foot on the pedal,” he said.

Australian actress Rebel Wilson presented one of the items on auction at the event, a marble Mickey Mouse statue, which sold for 450,000 euros ($503,235) after bids started at 50,000 euros.

A stay on a private island off Tanzania went for 100,000 euros.

A painting by Andy Warhol, a motorbike and a collection of designer dresses were also up for auction, as well as a stay in London that included a chance to meet Prince Charles and participate in events linked to his charitable foundation.

Movie mogul Harvey Weinstein used to be a staple of the AmfAR event in Cannes. Last year’s dinner was the first in his absence after he was embroiled in a scandal when more than 70 women accused him of sexual misconduct.

($1 = 0.8942 euros)

(Reporting by Sarah White and Johnny Cotton; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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UK premiere of the Elton John biopic 'Rocketman' in London
FILE PHOTO: Elton John and his husband David Furnish attend the UK premiere of the Elton John biopic ‘Rocketman’ in London, Britain, May 20, 2019. REUTERS/Simon Dawson

May 23, 2019

By Jill Serjeant

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Movies like “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Love, Simon” and “Deadpool 2” helped increase the numbers of gay and bisexual characters in Hollywood movies last year.

But a study by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning and/or queer (LGBTQ) advocacy group GLAAD on Thursday found that transgender characters were entirely absent from films released in 2018 for the second year in a row.

The GLAAD report found that of the 110 releases from the seven largest Hollywood studios, 20 included LGBTQ characters. That marked an increase from 2017 and the second-highest percentage of inclusive films in the seven-year history of the annual GLAAD report.

Yet more than half the LGBTQ characters had less than 3 minutes of screen time, and there also was not a single animated or family film that included an LGBTQ character.

“Bohemian Rhapsody,” which brought Rami Malek a best actor Oscar for his performance as the late bisexual Queen singer Freddie Mercury, “Deadpool 2,” with the first openly lesbian superhero movie characters, and teen comedy “Blockers,” featuring a teen girl with a crush on another girl, all proved box office hits last year.

“While the film industry should include more stories of LGBTQ people of color and transgender people, studios are finally addressing the calls from LGBTQ people and allies around the world who want to see more diversity in films,” GLAAD Chief Executive Sarah Kate Ellis said in a statement.

Upcoming movies include the musical biopic “Rocketman,” about gay icon Elton John, and high school comedy “Booksmart,” which has a lesbian lead character.

Yet the GLAAD report said the movie industry lags television, which last year broadcast shows like “Pose,” about 1980s New York drag culture, and “Supergirl,” which has a transgender superhero.

The report also expressed “real concern” over Walt Disney Co’s acquisition earlier this year of 21st Century Fox, particularly since it said that none of the 10 films released by Disney in 2018 had any gay characters. Fox 2000 Pictures, the production company behind critically acclaimed gay teen romance “Love, Simon,” is to be shuttered by Disney later this year.

“Studios may be more hesitant to invest in new types of content, and decisions on what gets green-lit and who is involved are made by smaller groups of people,” Ellis said.

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant in Los Angeles; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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FILE PHOTO: European premiere of Ocean's 8
FILE PHOTO: Cast member Rihanna poses for pictures as she arrives for the European premiere of Ocean’s 8 in London, Britain June 13, 2018. REUTERS/Simon Dawson/File Photo

May 23, 2019

By Pascale Denis

PARIS (Reuters) – Barbadian singer Rihanna has unveiled her new fashion brand with Louis Vuitton owner LVMH, a rare move by the French group to set up a label from scratch as it taps into soaring demand for celebrity collaborations in the luxury world.

Fenty – after the “Umbrella” hitmaker’s full name, Robyn Rihanna Fenty – will build on the singer’s existing joint venture in cosmetics with LVMH, with a full range of clothing, shoes and accessories.

“My fashion will be different and non-traditional, because I do not come from this industry,” the singer told a news conference Wednesday evening, saying she hoped to bring a “new vision of fashion”.

Presented in a store in Paris’ trendy Marais district, the clothes offer structured lines, white or beige jackets with wide shoulders or blazer dresses wrapping the body.

The collection is also for men with large denim jackets and parka coats.

The French group has increasingly exploited collaborations with celebrities as well as streetwear designers to attract young customers of luxury goods.

But most ventures of the sort have been restricted to limited editions, and LVMH is looking to steal a march on peers by taking its pairing with 31-year-old Rihanna to another level.

It will be able to rely on Rihanna’s social media credentials – the singer has amassed 70.5 million followers under her Instagram handle “badgalriri”.

Known for her bold fashion statements at red carpet events, Rihanna is followed almost as much for her style as her music, and had already worked with other labels including sportswear brand Puma on collections under the Fenty name.

In contrast to other LVMH brands, Fenty products will be sold at significantly lower prices.    

Prices range from 600 euros ($669.18) to 800 euros for a dress, 500 euros for sandals and 300 euros for costume jewelery.

The brand will be essentially an e-commerce-only venture, supported with temporary “pop-up” events rather than a store network.

The first “pop-up” store, Paris, will open on Friday for two weeks and the website on May 29. The brand will first be available in 14 countries, in Europe and the United States, and will open in Asia by year-end.

(Writing by John Irish; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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Actor Daniel Craig poses for a picture during a photocall for the British spy franchise's 25th film set for release next year, titled
Actor Daniel Craig poses for a picture during a photocall for the British spy franchise’s 25th film set for release next year, titled “Bond 25” in Oracabessa, Jamaica April 25, 2019. REUTERS/Gilbert Bellamy

May 22, 2019

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – James Bond actor Daniel Craig will undergo ankle surgery after injuring himself while filming the spy franchise’s latest installment, but the movie remains on schedule for an April 2020 release, producers said on Wednesday.

A posting on the official James Bond Twitter account said the surgery was minor and that Craig hurt himself while shooting in Jamaica.

“Production will continue whilst Craig is rehabilitating for two weeks post-surgery. The film remains on track for the same release date in April 2020,” the tweet said.

The still untitled movie, known by the working title “Bond 25,” will be Craig’s fifth go-around as Britain’s most famous fictional secret agent.

British media reported that Craig, 51, slipped and hurt himself on set last week while filming an action sequence.

The MGM spy franchise is one of the movie world’s most lucrative with 2015’s “Spectre,” directed by Sam Mendes, raking in $880 million at the box office worldwide, while “Skyfall” in 2012, also directed by Mendes, grossed more than $1 billion globally.

Bond 25 is being directed by American Cary Joji Fukunaga.

(Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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72nd Cannes Film Festival - Photocall for the film
72nd Cannes Film Festival – Photocall for the film “Parasite” (Gisaengchung) in competition – Cannes, France, May 22, 2019. Cast members Chang Hyae-Jin, Cho Yeo-jeong, Lee Jung-Eun and Park So-Dam pose. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

May 22, 2019

By Sarah White and Phyllis Xu

CANNES, France (Reuters) – “Parasite”, a thriller that doubles up as a wickedly funny satire about class struggles, has upped the ante at the Cannes Film Festival, with South Korean director Bong Joon-ho emerging as an strong contender for an award after impressing critics.

Bong, last at Cannes in 2017 with Netflix-produced “Okja”, revealed his darkly humorous exploration of social tensions at the cinema showcase on Tuesday evening.

Set in modern South Korea, the action switches between a crammed basement flat shared by a down-on-their-luck family of four – who have to resort trying to capture Wi-Fi signal from their neighbors – and the glamorous mansion they manage to infiltrate as one by one they con their way into jobs with a wealthy family.

Viewers are horrified and sympathize in turn as the protagonists feed the wealthy mother’s belief that her son is an art genius, or are subjected to cold disdain from the businessman father.

Suspenseful throughout, violent at times and searingly funny at others, the film is hard to neatly define – deliberately so, Bong said.

“I really want to enjoy the convention of genre … but at the same time, I really want to break it, destroy it,” he told a news conference on Wednesday.

The film was “giddy one moment, unbearably tense the next, and always so entertaining and fine-tuned that you don’t even notice when it’s changing gears”, IndieWire critic David Ehrlich wrote.

Variety’s Jessica Kiang said Bong was on “excoriating form in his exceptional pitch-black tragicomedy”.

The festival runs until May 25. Bong is vying for the top Palme d’Or prize along with other veteran directors such as Spain’s Pedro Almodovar or Britain’s Ken Loach, as well as newcomers like French promise Celine Sciamma.

(Reporting by Sarah White and Phyllis Xu; Editing by Frances Kerry)

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72nd Cannes Film Festival - Photocall for the film
72nd Cannes Film Festival – Photocall for the film “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” in competition – Cannes, France, May 22, 2019. Director Quentin Tarantino and cast member Leonardo DiCaprio pose. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier

May 22, 2019

By Sarah White and Hanna Rantala

CANNES, France (Reuters) – Quentin Tarantino said on Wednesday he didn’t tell Roman Polanski in advance about his latest movie, set in the run-up to the notorious 1969 Manson murders which claimed the life of Polanski’s wife at the time, actress Sharon Tate.

Tarantino’s “Once Upon A Time In Hollywood”, an ode to a bygone Hollywood era, stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Rick Dalton, an actor coming to terms with his faltering career and living next door to Polanski and Tate, who is played by Margot Robbie.

It was screened for the first time at the Cannes Film Festival on Tuesday evening, drawing often rapturous response from critics who praised its darkly comic moments, outrageous plot twists and evocative period atmosphere.

Asked at a news conference on Wednesday whether he had discussed his interpretation of events with Polanski at any point, Tarantino said: “No, I didn’t.”

He earlier said that he had met the Franco-Polish director “a couple of times” over the years, and was a fan of his work, including the 1968 psychological horror film “Rosemary’s Baby”.

Tate, aged 26 and eight months pregnant, was killed along with four friends at her Los Angeles home in August 1969 by members of a cult led by Charles Manson. Polanski was away on business in Europe at the time.

Manson, who was convicted of ordering the deaths of nine people in total, died in prison at age 83 in November 2017.

The murders carried out by Manson’s mainly young, female devotees shocked the world and badly damaged the peace-and-love, hippie ethos of the late 1960s – something which resonated with the cast of “Once Upon A Time”.

“In the time building up to that (point), there was a free love movement,” Brad Pitt, who plays Dalton’s stunt double and long time friend Cliff Booth, told the news conference. “It was a sobering dark look at the dark side of human nature, and that pivotal moment was a real loss of innocence.”


While the movie lingers on an encounter between Cliff and the creepy, young hippie drifters who made up the “Manson Family” on an abandoned desert ranch they had taken over outside Los Angeles, and Tate comes and goes, it’s more than anything a love letter to the film industry.

Tarantino – who issued a plea before the premiere asking for viewers to refrain from spoiler alerts – celebrates the industry’s kitsch moments, pays homage to spaghetti westerns and martial arts stars, and delves into the pains of being on a film set as well as the uplifting power of a performance.

DiCaprio said he was able to identify with Dalton’s feeling of being a Hollywood outsider, even in his position as one of the industry’s highest-grossing stars.

“I have a lot of friends in the industry and I know how lucky I am to be in this opportunity,” DiCaprio said, adding he’d “immediately connected” with the character. “This guy is seen not only struggling with his own pathos, his own ability to gain confidence and persevere and get that next job.”

Tarantino submitted “Once Upon a Time In Hollywood” just in time to compete for the Cannes festival’s top Palme d’Or prize, 25 years after pop culture classic “Pulp Fiction” won it.

Tarantino includes nods to his own movies in his ninth feature, which has been described by some critics as self-indulgent and overly long at times, even if nearly all found enough to like in its show-stealing scenes.

“It wasn’t meant to be ridiculously self-conscious, but there is a thing about summing up certain things, which I wasn’t necessarily trying to do, but they started appearing,” he said.

Tarantino said that one of his long-time collaborators and first people to see the new script had joked upon reading it: “Damn! Number nine is like all eight of them put together.”

“I hadn’t thought about it like that,” said Tarantino, whose other notable films include “True Romance”, “Jackie Brown” and “Inglourious Basterds”.

Tarantino bluntly shut down a journalist who said he had given Robbie very few lines in the film, even though she has screen time. “I reject your hypothesis,” he said.

(Reporting by Sarah White and Hanna Rantala; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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