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Courtesy of Samuel Goldwyn Films(LOS ANGELES) -- While you might not recognize actor David Dastmalchian's name, you've definitely seen him work: among many others, he stole scenes as a psycho Joker follower in The Dark Knight, and the Elvis-coiffed Russian hacker Kurt in the Ant-Man movie series.

He can also now be seen in theaters and streaming on-demand in a very different project, the intense drama All Creatures Here Below, which he wrote. He and another Marvel movie veteran, Karen Gillan, play a troubled couple who go on the run to their hometown of Kansas City, Kansas, after setting in motion a devastating chain of events.

"They are trying to make a family with a child that's not their own," he explains, "And in order to start over, they have to go back to the place where they're from, and confront the thing that they fear the most."

Kansas City is also Dastmalchian's hometown. As he explains, going home was the only way he could have pulled off the independent film, which deals with heavy issues including kidnapping, relationship and family abuse, and poverty. 

"Having my family there with me and being back in the home territory, an amazing crew and cast surrounding me -- it's a small team but a very close knit family -- just surrounding myself with people who I trust and love, that's the only way I think you can keep throwing yourself into the fire for three weeks straight and not just end up in critical condition."

Dastmalchian says he's "so blessed" to be able to pivot from small projects like All Creatures, to big studio films. "These are...giant movies where I get to play really fun characters, and I've worked with directors that have let me just go and get crazy, and then they've -- God, given me such amazing opportunities!"

He adds, "I'm such of...all these franchises...[A]nd now I'm just sneaking in somehow by the skin of my teeth as a character actor, getting to be on these sets. It's like I got the Golden Ticket."

He admits he has to keep his inner fanboy in check, however. "...[I'll] have to go do let's say a really intense scene with Jake Gyllenhaal or Evangeline Lilly, or...Paul Rudd -- Michelle Pfeiffer on Ant-Man and the Wasp, Michael Douglas! You show up to work and you have to be like pro and you can't act geeky or nerd out."

He's not always successful at the latter, he admits with a laugh.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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Photo by NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Lisa Kudrow has been in the public eye for decades, but being a celebrity hasn't always been easy.

The actress told WTF podcast host Marc Maron that during the production of Friends, she felt extra pressure to be thin. She said that she had been self-conscious acting alongside Courteney Cox and Jennifer Aniston, who are shorter than she is.

"My bones feel bigger. I just felt like this mountain of a woman next to them," the 5-foot-8 actress explained. By comparison, Cox and Aniston are a full three inches shorter.

"Unfortunately for a woman, if you're underweight, you look good and that's all I ever got," she told Maron, adding, "And when I was too thin, I was sick all the time: a cold, a sinus infection, some kind of flu. I was always sick."

She tells Maron she's long since embraced her body, particularly as she gets older.

Kudrow, 55, starred as Phoebe Buffay on Friends for 10 years; the show ended in 2004, but years before that, the five co-stars famously negotiated a $1 million per episode salary.

The actress told Maron that she's still being paid for her work on the sitcom, which is now streaming on Netflix and airing in syndication around the world.

She's also stayed friendly with Cox and Aniston, as well as her other co-stars David Schwimmer, Matthew Perry, and Matt LeBlanc.

"We had dinner [at Aniston's home] a couple years ago -- everybody -- for the first time since we were finished," she said. "We just laughed! It was really fun."

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ABC/Fred Lee(NEW YORK) -- Omari Hardwick is opening up about his unique relationship with Power co-creator 50 Cent, who, Hardwick admits, sometimes takes jabs at him online.

In a recent interview with ABC Radio, Hardwick says even with his close relationship to 50, he's still finds himself a target when the rapper decides to have a little fun on social media. However, when that occurs, Omari says he definitely holds his own.

"If you're raised like Omari or 50, then you're going to challenge each other," Hardwick explains. "Obviously, he challenges people. And as you know, Omari ain't afraid to go after people on Instagram either. So, sometimes I'll reach out and I'll say, 'Five, why do you do that?' And he gives me an explanation for why he did that. Which means that he respects me enough to give me an explanation, because he could really ignore. And he doesn't."

Omari explains that his and 50's relationship is built on trust and the fact that they have both survived adversity in their lives, including losing close loved ones to violence and growing up in tough urban settings. Hardwick says that it's those similarities that bring them together-- in addition to 50 being the main catalyst behind his critically-acclaimed role as Ghost on the hit crime drama Power.

"You're going to get a different level of respect for each other when, when each other sort of allows each other to be that thing," Hardwick explains. "50's fun man. At the end of the day, he's a fun, super intelligent cat, who again -- and I said -- he changed my life."

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Lionsgate(LOS ANGELES) -- You can say he's back -- again. Just days after his third film in the series debuted as the number-one movie in America, it's been confirmed that Keanu Reeves and his nearly unstoppable eponymous assassin John Wick will officially be back for a fourth film.

The news came via a text message to fans that referenced a catchphrase from John Wick: Chapter 3 -- Parabellum: "You have served. You will be of service. John Wick: Chapter 4 is coming - May 21, 2021"

That means the clock is ticking once again for Mr. Wick: He'll be back in theaters in 1 year and 364 days from right now.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/WireImage(LOS ANGELES) -- After serving his ex-wife, Amber Heard, with a $50 million defamation lawsuit back in March, Johnny Depp is now claiming the physical injuries the Aquaman actress says he inflicted on her were "painted on bruises."

The defamation suit was in response to a piece Heard wrote for The Washington Post about domestic abuse.

In a court document obtained by Deadline, Depp claims he never abused Heard or any other woman, adding, "She was the perpetrator, and I was the victim.”

“While mixing prescription amphetamines and non-prescription drugs with alcohol, Ms. Heard committed innumerable acts of domestic violence against me, often in the presence of a third-party witness, which in some instances caused me serious bodily harm,” Depp goes on to allege in the statement.

Depp's latest salvo in his ongoing battle with Heard comes at the same time the Buckley LLP lawyers, who helped him score a victory over his former attorney of 20 years, Jacob Bloom, are suing Depp over profits from his career they claim he owes them.

In a Monday court filing, Fredrick Levin, Michael Rome and Ali Abugheida claimed Depp hasn’t paid the $347,979.89 remaining on his already discounted $535,697.28 bill. The trio allege their firm was promised the cash by last week after Depp fired them in January, supposedly in an effort to cut his expenses.

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Walt Disney Studios(HOLLYWOOD) -- We've still got three days to wait before Disney's live-action remake of Aladdin opens, but a lucky few got to see it at Tuesday night's world premiere at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood.

Will Smith stars as the Genie in the film, the role originally made famous by Robin Williams in the 1992 animated original. On the purple carpet, Smith told ABC Radio he’s thrilled that two years of work is finally ready for us to see.

"This is a beautiful night, it's been a long time coming," said Smith. "Two years to get here, and I'm on this red carpet with a movie that I love and I'm excited to have the world see it."

Smith said he's equally excited about the updates made to the new Aladdin, compared to the original.

"I would say the number-one that I'm proud of is the additions to the Princess Jasmine character," Smith enthused.  "The idea that her character wants to rule -- that added such a new flavor to the interactions between Jasmine and Aladdin."

Smith added, "And then the new song, 'Speechless,' I think is the greatest accomplishment of this movie."

Aladdin -- also starring Mena Massoud in the title role, Naomi Scott as Jasmine and Marwan Kenzari as Jafar, opens Friday, May 24 from Disney, parent company of ABC News.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved. 


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Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic(LOS ANGELES) -- John Singleton's legacy will officially live on in his hometown of Los Angeles, California.

According to the Los Angeles Sentinel, Los Angeles City Council President Herb J. Wesson Jr. has declared May 21, 2019 "John Singleton Day" in Los Angeles.

The announcement is set to take place today at a celebration of Singleton's life at Bovard Auditorium at the University of Southern California, where Singleton studied film and graduated from the university’s School of Cinematic Arts in 1990.

Singleton died on April 29 in Los Angeles after suffering a stroke on April 17. His family chose to remove him from life support, and a spokesperson said Singleton passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family and friends. 

"There is not enough that can be said about John Singleton and the profound impact he made in his 51 years of life," said Wesson in a statement. "In a time and in an industry where all the odds were stacked against him, John overcame and became the best at his craft. And more than maybe anyone, he opened people's eyes to a reality and an experience of South Los Angeles that had been overlooked by society."

He continued, "Now in Los Angeles this day is a time to celebrate John and his legacy. It’s far sooner than we should have to, but there is so much to celebrate.”

Singlegton, who was well-respected in Hollywood for his work in both film and television, made history as the first black person and the youngest filmmaker ever to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director, for his critically-acclaimed film Boyz In The Hood. 

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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ABC/Eric McCandless(LOS ANGELES) -- (SPOILER ALERT) (NOTE LANGUAGE) It looks like former Game of Thrones star Jason Momoa wasn't too happy with the show's finale, either.

In a now-deleted Instagram video that a fan captured, Momoa records his reaction to the underhanded murder of his former onscreen wife Daenerys Targaryen, at the hands of Jon Snow. F*** you." the actor says plainly. "F***ing punk."

The video picks up later in the episode, with Dany's dragon torching the Iron Throne into slag. "F***!" Momoa screams, likely echoing millions of fans at that moment. "Ahhh!" he screams, in a war cry that could have come from his fearsome onscreen character Khal Drogo.

Momoa did not delete two videos of himself looking into the camera, seemingly frustrated and slightly teary eyed, as the HBO show's closing theme plays.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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Netflix(LOS ANGELES) -- Coca-Cola is leaning into what is considered among the biggest marketing misfires of all time by bringing back New Coke as a clever tie-in to the '80s-set Stranger Things.

AdAge reports that since the Netflix's show's third season is set in 1985, it's the perfect period for the soda to make a comeback. The trade noted that, "no money exchanged hands," between the soda company and the streaming service, which doesn't run commercials.

Barry Smyth, head of global partnership marketing at Netflix, tells the trade that bringing back the drink -- which only spent 79 days on the market before Coca-Cola reverted to its original formula -- started as a joke by Stranger Things creators Matt and Ross Duffer.

The third season of the acclaimed paranormal series hits Netflix on July 4 -- right around the time you can taste the soda giant's failure for yourself...for a limited time.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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L-R: director David Yarovesky, Producer James Gunn/Photo: Eric Charbonneau - © 2019 CTMG(NEW YORK) -- Guardians of the Galaxy series writer/director James Gunn is on the rebound, following his firing last year -- and eventual rehiring -- by Marvel Studios' parent company Disney for Vol. 3.

However, things weren't looking so bright last year, after his Marvel movie career came to a screeching halt when old, offensive tweets of his were unearthed.

Gunn apologized for the comments, and to fans, and to Disney executives. He also took a couple of jobs: writing and directing assignment for The Suicide Squad for Warner Bros. and producing the thriller Brightburn for director David Yarovesky and Sony Pictures. It hits theaters Friday.

The movie flips the Superman story on its head: an alien falls to earth as a baby, and is raised by human parents -- but instead of growing up to fight for truth, justice, and the American way, the kid in Brightburn uses his superpowers for evil.

The project was, "definitely something I could focus on," after the firing, the filmmaker tells USA Today. "I like to work, so Brightburn was a great help to me when I wasn't doing anything."

However, Gunn says he didn't produce Brightburn as a distraction from the drama. "Any time I feel like I'm using something as an escape, I usually feel like that's an unhealthy type of thing," says the filmmaker, who has been open about his struggles with addiction in the past.

"I just had fun making Brightburn. I was excited to make a movie with the people that I loved and cared about the most, with a concept that I thought was really dynamite," he adds.

Gunn was reinstated by Disney in March. There's no release date set yet for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.

Disney is the parent company of ABC News.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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HBO(LOS ANGELES) -- Love it or otherwise -- and the dust from that debate's definitely going to take some time to settle -- a whole lot of people tuned in to watch the series finale of Game of Thrones.

HBO says a series record 19.3 million people watched Sunday night's broadcast, when you add up the views on HBO, HBO GO and HBO NOW.  That handily beats the previous record 18.4 million people who watched the penultimate episode on May 12. 

HBO says the Game of Thrones series finale also set a single-telecast viewing record for any show in their history, topping the previous record-high 13.4 million people who watched the season four premiere episode of The Sopranos on September 15, 2002.

HBO's award-winning dark comedy Barry, starring Bill Hader and Henry Winkler, definitely benefited from the Game of Thrones lead-in Sunday.  Its season two finale, which aired immediately after GoT, posted a series record 2.2 million viewers, HBO says, more than four times what its first-season finale drew.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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Luke P. and Hannah; ABC/John Fleenor(NEW YORK) -- Monday’s episode of ABC's The Bachelorette was a wild night of drag queens, roller derby and chicken nuggets.

The first group date included Grant, Luke S., Mike, Jed, Jonathan, John Paul Jones, Dylan and Luke P., all of whom got to experience a little of Hannah’s world when they competed in “The Mr. Right Pageant.” First, each of the eight bachelors, coached by a trio of drag queens, strutted their stuff on the runway wearing nothing but a Speedo.  That was followed by a talent competition.

Luke P -- the clear winner of the runway portion of the competition -- had Hannah “sweating” as he paraded and flexed his well-chiseled body.

Jed, the Nashville-based singer/songwriter, seemed to have the talent portion locked up when he played guitar and serenaded Hannah with an original song about being her “Mr. Right.” However, Luke P stole Jed’s thunder by delivering a speech that ended with him telling Hannah that he was “genuinely falling in love” with her -- not exactly a talent, but enough to earn him the title of “Mr. Right.”

Luke’s speech may have won the competition but it didn’t sit well with the other guys, who thought it was way too soon to start throwing around the “L” word -- particularly Mike, who delivered an after-party toast to “people just being real, being honest” and not “overstepping your bounds.”

Hannah felt differently, telling the camera after speaking privately with Luke that she absolutely believed him and that he said “everything my heart needs him to say.”

Mike wasn’t finished with Luke, though, calling him a “dog” to his face and questioning how he could fall in love so quickly. Luke answered, “If I want something, I’m going to go and get it.”

Ultimately, it was Jed who scored the group date rose from Hannah, who said that he “calmed” her.

Back at the mansion, the first one-on-one date card went to Tyler G. It was a fairly non-eventful outing that consisted of the two riding through the mud on a pair of ATVs, followed by a rooftop dinner at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.  After opening up about their hopes and dreams, Hannah gave Tyler the date rose.

The second group date went to Devin Matteo, Daron, Connor J, Kevin, Dustin, Tyler C., Joey, Peter, and Garrett, all of whom who faced off in a roller derby competition hosted by comedian/actor Fred Willard and The Bachelorette’s Chris Harrison. Daron proved to be the superstar in this competition, leading his group to a decisive victory.

Afterward, Hannah and the guys settled down for what they thought would be a relaxing night, during which they could each get some time alone with Hannah.  However, Cam -- one of the only men who hadn’t been picked for a group date -- took matters into his own hands and crashed the party, irritating the other men who hadn't yet gotten time alone with Hannah.

Despite a scolding from Tyler C., Garrett and Kevin, Cam -- whose motto is ABC, “Always be Cam” – was unapologetic, telling Tyler, “We all signed up for this knowing that this comes with the territory, anybody could’ve done what I did. You don’t have to ask for permission, you’ve gotta follow your heart, dude.”

When order was restored, Dustin picked up the date rose, winning Hannah over with his “shy and quiet” personality.

Cam was only getting started, though. At the pre-rose ceremony cocktail party, he interrupted Kevin’s time with Hannah by having the three of them take part in a bizarre “chicken nugget ceremony” that consisted of them eating the nuggets surrounded by a bunch of rose petals lined up in the shape of a heart. He then pulled out what appeared to be a ring box, which actually contained honey mustard sauce.

Luke P. was also just getting started. After taking Hannah to another room and giving her a message -- and another look at his six-pack abs -- the two began making out. That led to an awkward encounter with the other Luke, who walked in on them.

At the rose ceremony, Hannah said goodbye to Connor J., Daron, Peter and Matthew.  It looked like the show was over, but Cam and Luke P. weren’t done.

After Cam made a toast to “Hannah Ayala” -- his last name, as he explained -- Luke walked in on Hannah as she was addressing the camera with some final thoughts to close the episode. Luke repeated his earlier claim that he “felt like everything in time stopped” when he looked in her eyes for the first time, and that everything he’d been telling her is “100 percent true.”

Hannah, who seems smitten with Luke, seemed to believe him, and the show ended with them wrapped in each other’s arms.

Here are the 18 remaining suitors:

Cam, 30, software sales from Austin, TX
Connor S., 24, an investment analyst from Dallas, TX
Devin, 27, a talent manager from Sherman Oaks, CA
Dustin, 30, a real estate broker from Chicago, IL
Dylan, 24, a tech entrepreneur from San Diego, CA
Garrett, 27, a golf pro from Birmingham, AL
Grant, 30, unemployed from San Clemente, CA
Jed, 25, a singer/songwriter from Nashville, TN
Joey, 33, a finance manager from Bethesda, MD
John Paul Jones, 24, John Paul Jones from Lanham, MD
Jonathan, 27, a server from Los Angeles, CA
Kevin, 27, a behavioral health specialist from Manteno, IL
Luke P., 24, an import/export manager from Gainesville, GA
Luke S., 29, a political consultant from Washington, DC
Matteo, 25, a management consultant from Atlanta, GA
Mike, 31, a portfolio manager from San Antonio, TX
Tyler C., 26, a general contractor from Jupiter, FL
Tyler G., 28, a psychology graduate student from Boca Raton, FL

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HBO/Helen Sloan(LOS ANGELES) -- While many Game of Thrones fans are still upset with the unexpected turn that Emilia Clarke's character Daenerys Targaryen took during the show's eighth and final season, the actress says she's only really concerned about one person's opinion: Queen Bey.

In an interview with The New Yorker, Clarke revealed that she met Beyoncé earlier this year at Jay-Z’s Oscars after-party at the Chateau Marmont. During the event, Clarke said Bey came up to her to confess her love for the Mother of Dragons, calling Clarke "brilliant."

During that moment, however, Clarke felt conflicted, considering she knew her character would soon go on a genocidal rampage, killing the citizens of King's Landing with dragon fire.

"All I wanted to scream was 'Please, please still like me even though my character turns into a mass-killing dictator!'” she said. "'Please still think that I'm representing women in a really fabulous way.'"

As for her character's dramatic shift? Clarke says she could understand why Daenerys decided to go rogue.

"We all have that thing," she said. "Whether it's binging on chocolate or drinking seventeen bottles of wine or having an affair."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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ABC/Lorenzo Bevilaqua(LOS ANGELES) -- Oscar winner Mel Gibson is reportedly trying to rustle up an A-List posse for his next directorial foray, a remake of Sam Peckinpah's seminal western The Wild Bunch.

According to Deadline, Oscar winner Jamie Foxx is on Gibson's radar, as is Academy Award nominee Michael Fassbender, and Game of Thrones veteran Peter Dinklage, for what's being called a "contemporized remake" of the film, which followed past-their-prime gunslingers looking for one last score.

Gibson's last job behind the camera was 2016's Hacksaw Ridge, which won two technical Oscars, and was also nominated for Best Picture and earned star Andrew Garfield a Best Actor nomination.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for THR(NEW JERSEY) -- Oprah Winfrey had a major surprise for a high school in Newark, New Jersey after she found out that its Lights On program is instrumental at keeping kids off the street. 

According to ABC News affiliate WABC, Winfrey surprised West Side High School's Principal Akbar Cook on Friday night by donating $500,000 to help keep his Lights On program up and running. 

The program is designed to offer students a safe place to hang out on Friday nights. Til 11 p.m., kids can shoot pool, play video games, hit the hardwood, practice cheers or even lay down tracks in a recording studio. 

"I haven't lost any more kids to gun violence since the start of the school year," Principal Cook said in April. 

He says those life saving results can't be ignored. 

Cook garnered headlines last summer when he installed a laundry room after some students were bullied because of dirty clothes which led to them consistently missing school. 

He says there has been a 10 percent increase in daily attendance since he opened the laundry room. 

Winfrey's gift will help the program operate three nights a week over the summer. 

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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