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The extraordinary inner world of Charles R. Saunders, father of Black ‘sword and soul’

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Known in Nova Scotia as a prominent Black journalist, legions of fantasy fans are mourning a literary giant

Those who knew Charles R. Saunders from the outside never would have guessed at the vast universes contained within him.

A big, solid man with a lion’s mane of beard and hair, he moved about his Dartmouth, N.S., neighbourhood like a cat, seemingly able to make his earthly frame disappear. One former colleague described Saunders as “the second-quietest journalist I’ve ever known.” Another thought he was dealing with a wizard.

Born in Elizabeth, Pa., in 1946, he earned a psychology degree from Lincoln University. In 1969, the U.S. draft summoned him to fight in Vietnam. Instead, he moved to Canada, living in Toronto and Hamilton before settling in Ottawa for 15 years. In 1985, he moved to Nova Scotia, where he lived for the rest of his life.

He worked as a civil servant and teacher until 1989, when he launched a career in journalism. Saunders died in May at 73, though word of his passing was only made public this month.

In his last years, he lived in a modest apartment on Primrose Street in Dartmouth, without an internet connection, without a landline, without a mobile phone. Once a week, he’d head to the local library and use their computers to catch up with his friends around the world. He lived with little money and told few about his failing health. 

People who knew him in Nova Scotia knew his newspaper journalism in the Halifax Daily News and non-fiction books like Black and Bluenose, a profile of contemporary African-Nova Scotian life. He also contributed to The Spirit of Africville in 1992, a landmark book on the destroyed community. Few Canadians knew about his other world. 

Inside, Saunders was a symphony of swords, beasts, heroes and villains, unfolding an epic adventure of an African warrior named Imaro in a world called Nyumbani, which is Swahili for “home.” He first thought up the idea for Imaro in 1969 — the year he was drafted — and worked for decades on fantasy novels featuring the character. The first book was published in 1981 and reprinted in the early 2000s.

Troy Wiggins, who lives in Memphis, Tenn., and is the publisher of FIYAH, an American magazine that publishes speculative fiction from Black authors, first read Saunders in the reprinted Imaro books. 

“How I describe him is a genius Black man writing sword and sorcery fantasy set in Africa,” he told CBC News over the phone from his home. “He’s the father of sword and soul.”

Wiggins grew up reading and rereading J.R.R. Tolkien and other fantasy classics. But just when he was totally immersed in those worlds, the white writers’ underlying racial — and often racist — beliefs wrecked it. 

“I stopped reading science fiction and fantasy in high school because I was tired of not seeing Black people,” he said.

“If Black people or brown people showed up in them at all, we were the antagonist, or the comic relief, or the secondary characters who didn’t contribute much to the story. Or we died.” 

All-Black world

Imaro changed all that. Wiggins could be working away in his day job as a civil servant, but his mind would be in Nyumbani, the West-African inspired setting for Saunders’s Imaro books. Everyone was Black: the heroes, the villains, the comic relief and the secondary characters. Wiggins loved it. 

“It was a world filled with people who could be my ancestors. I’m an African-American male and I remember feeling vividly the sensory information: how the air smelled, how the people looked, how they were very regal and how they were very human,” Wiggins said. 

He raced through the epic adventure as Imaro battled demons and beasts, and the dragging doubt that no one could see “that he was a man destined for great things.”

Wiggins began to write his own fiction and, feeling bold one day, sent it to Saunders. “He actually read my story and gave me comments. For a fan boy like me that was pretty amazing.”

His advice — to reshape a piece of anachronistic technology — turned out to be one of the most popular parts of the published story.  

“He had the ability to see through what I was trying to do and give me advice on how to rework it to better serve my story, which is something that great editors do.”

George Elliott Clarke helped start journalism career

Saunders began his journalism career in the late 1980s. George Elliott Clarke, the celebrated poet, had written a Halifax Daily News column focused on Black issues, but he had recently moved to Ontario. 

He told editor Doug MacKay he should hire Saunders to replace him. Saunders had no background in journalism, but MacKay met him and decided to take a chance. He hired him in 1989.

“Charles was a big, kindly, very gentle man with a huge interest in boxing. And he was a gifted writer. We saw that in a small way in his weekly column at the Daily News,” MacKay said from his home in Toronto.

“He did a brilliant job at it. He was covering Black Nova Scotia, in part, but he was also doing a remarkable job of explaining Black Nova Scotian life to predominantly white readers. He was doing in a way what Black Lives Matter has been doing this year in trying to explain the Black experience to white people.”

MacKay said Saunders was never afraid to write about tough racial issues dominating the headlines of the day. He knew how to get his message across, MacKay said: “The kind of gift a boxer has: you know when to punch and when not to.”

Bill Turpin, another Daily News colleague, said Saunders often also wrote the unsigned editorials.

“We would kick around a few ideas until Charles nodded his head and said, ‘Yeah. Yeah. I think I could do that.’ He never needed more than an hour to submit a beautifully written and logically impeccable editorial.”

When the Daily News was shut down in 2008, Saunders retired and seems to have become increasingly isolated. 

‘His voice is here right now’

On one of his weekly trips to the library, he got a message from a man in Georgia named Milton Davies. Davies is a research and development chemist by day and a publisher and writer of Black sci-fi by night. 

He operates MVmedia, which publishes books of “Afrofuturism.” He worked with Saunders for many years and together they edited and published Griots: A Sword and Soul Anthology.

He said when Imaro was first published, he was called the Black Conan, drawing comparisons to Robert E. Howard’s legendary barbarian. Howard was known as the “father of sword and sorcery.”

“Most people would put [Saunders] right up on the same level as Robert E. Howard and there are some people who would argue his work was really above that. His prose was just amazing,” Davies said. 

Davies thinks The Naama War, the fourth and final book in the Imaro series, was Saunders’s finest. 

“At this point you shouldn’t even be comparing Charles with Robert E. Howard, because he’s established his style and his voice, and it really resonates. It blew me away. This is nothing but Charles here. His voice is here right now. Imaro is fully formed.”

But like so many people who worked with Saunders, Davies never actually met him in person.

“My wife and I travelled to Toronto many years ago and I kind of had a plan that we could go visit him, but I didn’t realize how far Toronto was from Nova Scotia,” he said with a laugh. 

He said Saunders at times dropped out of the loop, but always popped up again. So he didn’t worry too much at first when he went silent in the COVID-19 spring. “But we always sent each other birthday cards, because his birthday was a day before mine. And this year I didn’t get one from him,” he said. 

He later learned Saunders’s health had been failing for the last year or so. “A lot of people there didn’t really know about his fiction. Here it’s just the opposite — a lot of us didn’t know what he was doing with the newspaper.”

Saunders’s death was a crushing blow for Taaq Kirksey, who lost a mentor and friend. He’s working flat-out to fulfil a promise he made to Saunders when they first started corresponding 16 years ago to develop a television series based on Imaro. 

“I told him … I will make it my life’s work to translate your vision to the largest possible audience I can. Charles being Charles, he was agreeable to it,” he said in a phone call from his home in Los Angeles. 

Like so many authors of Black fantasy, Kirksey grew up devouring the classics — and their often racist undertones. “You are expected to make a rough peace with the racial attitudes of the authors. Charles rectified that at the outset,” he said. 

Kirksey felt his life changing when he first read Imaro. “Charles reminded me of a wizard,” he said. “He kind of worked a certain magic that allowed you to really see and feel and experience the sentiments his characters were feeling or struggling against.”

Saunders created “lived-in” worlds where Imaro might slay a supernatural beast, but then have to struggle to keep his marriage together or be a good father to his children. 

“It was grown up in a way I had never seen this kind of fiction be. It was clearly wrought from the mind of someone who had lived a full life and it was a response both to things in Charles’s own life that might have been missing, and things in the wider culture that were certainly missing. It’s just beautiful.”

His fantasy worlds were deeply rooted in the human experience, he said. “Being a hero isn’t always riding off into the sunset. Sometimes there are real sacrifices, even for saving the world. I’ve never seen anyone articulate that — and certainly not with a face of colour, a face that looks like mine.”

Over 15 years, they worked together over the phone and online. A friendship blossomed. “It was not without its difficulties, because Charles could be so hermetic, so reclusive,” he said. 

In 2019, he sent Saunders a note that he was coming to visit. He was bringing him paperwork for a television project on Imaro, and a cheque. “It was a triumph for me because I felt I was finally in a place where I could help him financially,” he said. 

Saunders didn’t get the message. Kirksey turned up unannounced at his Primrose Street apartment.  

“I practically had to break into the place. I get into the vestibule, rang the bell, no response. Management let me into the building, I knocked on his door, no response. I went around the side — thank God he was on the first floor — and banged on his window. No response,” Kirskey said. 

He repeated the cycle a few more times. Finally, the door slowly opened, revealing the wizard himself. The two wordsmiths found themselves struck silent. “We didn’t say anything. We just smiled at each other and hugged. “

The friends spent a cherished day together. They talked, but mostly it was deeper than words, down in the lower chambers where fiction lives. 

Kirksey recently moved his young family across the U.S. to Los Angeles specifically to drive Imaro to completion. “The supervising producer, it’s a Black power couple and the pilot script is near completion. The hope is we’ll be able to get it sold before the end of the year,” he said.

Kirksey said Saunders’s death has devastated him and left him struggling to find a way to carry Imaro forward alone. He wanted so badly to be there when Saunders first watched his mythic hero come to life. But Imaro himself had to carry out his own mission after his mother was forced to leave him. Kirksey intends to do the same. 

He struggles to understand how Saunders lived a secluded life of apparent poverty on the outside, and of unimaginable wealth on the inside. 

“Here was this guy who clearly had this indelible mark, but I got the impression he didn’t leave his house much,” Kirskey said. “And it begged the question for me, how is he doing all these things? He was a wizard.”

For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.


Source: cbc.ca

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Helen Reddy, feminist hero and singer of ‘I Am Woman,’ dead at 78

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Helen Reddy, feminist hero and singer of

Helen Reddy, the feminist icon behind the hit anthem “I Am Woman,” passed away Tuesday at the age of 78, her family announced.

“It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved mother, Helen Reddy,” the singer’s children, Traci Donat and Jordan Sommers, said in a statement.

“She was a wonderful mother, grandmother and a truly formidable woman. Our hearts are broken. But we take comfort in the knowledge that her voice will live on forever.”

Reddy died Tuesday afternoon in Los Angeles, her family confirmed to USA Today. She had been dealing with “some health and memory issues” and living in an assisted care facility before her death, her daughter told the paper.

The Australian singer enjoyed several hits but the release of “I Am Woman” in 1972 catapulted her to stardom. The song earned her a Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and led her to become the first singer from the country to top the US charts.

Reddy famously punctuated her acceptance speech for the award by praising God “because She makes everything possible.” The song became the soundtrack to the women’s liberation movement.

Unjoo Moon, the director of a 2019 biopic of Reddy’s life called “I Am Woman,” shared a photo of her and Reddy Tuesday night on Instagram, reflecting on what Moon called an “amazing 7-year friendship.”

“I will forever be grateful to Helen for teaching me so much about being an artist, a woman and a mother,” Moon wrote. “She paved the way for so many and the lyrics that she wrote for I am Woman changed my life forever like they have done for so many other people and will continue to do for generations to come.

“She will always be a part of me and I will miss her enormously.”


Source: nypost.com

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Meghan loses latest court battle in privacy lawsuit against British newspaper

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Prince Harry’s wife is suing Britain’s Mail on Sunday over 5 articles published in 2019

The publisher of Britain’s Mail on Sunday newspaper can use the contents of a recent behind-the-scenes book about Prince Harry and Meghan in its legal defence in an invasion of privacy lawsuit brought by Meghan, a judge ruled Tuesday.

Judge Francesca Kaye gave Associated Newspapers Ltd. permission to amend its defence to add “further particulars” relating to the book, Finding Freedom, which was published last month.

The former Meghan Markle is suing the publisher over five February 2019 articles in the Mail on Sunday and on the MailOnline website that published portions of a handwritten letter she wrote to her estranged father, Thomas Markle, after her marriage to Harry in 2018. 

Associated Newspapers is contesting the claim in London’s High Court. Its lawyers argue that Meghan made personal information public by co-operating with the authors of the book “in order to set out her own version of events in a way that is favourable to her.”

Antony White, a lawyer for Associated Newspapers, said in written court submissions that the book appeared to have been written with Meghan and Harry’s “extensive co-operation.”

Meghan’s lawyers deny that she collaborated with the book’s authors, ELLE and Oprah magazine contributor Carolyn Durand and Omid Scobie, royal editor for Harper’s Bazaar.

Publisher’s defence ‘has no merit’

Law firm Schillings, which is representing Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, said after the ruling that the publisher’s defence “has no merit and is in fact false.”

“This latest hearing was unfortunately another step in a case that has already been drawn out by a defendant who uses the legal process to exploit the Duchess’s privacy and the privacy of those around her for profit-motivated click bait rather than journalism,” the firm said in a statement. A full trial in Meghan’s lawsuit against Associated Newspapers is expected to start in January.

The American actress, star of TV legal drama Suits, married Harry, one of the grandsons of Queen Elizabeth, in a lavish ceremony at Windsor Castle in May 2018. Their son, Archie, was born the following year.

Early this year, the couple announced they were quitting royal duties and moving to North America, citing what they said was the unbearable intrusions and racist attitudes of the British media. They recently bought a house in Santa Barbara, Calif.


Source: cbc.ca

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Spy drama ‘Tehran’ a nail-biting thriller

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Fans of the cloak-and-dagger genre will be intrigued by “Tehran,” an eight-episode Israeli spy drama from “Fauda” writer Moshe Zonder.

The series, which premiered on Israel’s Kan 11 network in June, is now available on Apple TV+ (with English subtitles) — and, like “Fauda,” it’s a doozy — from its topical plot line, to its frenetic pace to its three-dimensional portrayal of people on both sides of a long-simmering historical conflict warring with each other, and with their own personal demons.

Here, that conflict is between Israel and Iran. In the series premiere, Mossad agent Tamar Rabinyan (Niv Sultan) is sent undercover into Tehran in order to hack into an electrical plant’s computer system and cut the power to a radar station, enabling Israeli jets to fly in undetected and bomb an Iranian nuclear power plant. The mission starts smoothly enough, but soon goes awry when, through an elaborate chain of events, Tamar blows her cover, breaks contact with her handler, Masoud Tabrizi (Navid Negahban) — who she comes to mistrust — and endeavors to find a safe place in which to hide while being chased by relentless Home Guard security chief Faraz Kamali (Shaun Toub). Eventually, it’s learned that Tamar was born in Iran and moved to Israel when she was 6; as the series progresses, she rediscovers her roots, gets enmeshed in the country’s political scene and continues plotting her escape across the border.


Niv Sultan in “Tehran."

Niv Sultan in “Tehran.”

“Tehran” was filmed entirely in Greece, but you’d never know it. It’s easy to believe that it was shot in Tehran, with its atmosphere of menace permeating every nook and cranny of this nonstop game of cat-and-mouse, where a single misstep, however small, can mean the difference between life and death. Tamar is a tough cookie, but she’s human; her near-tears reaction to witnessing the aftermath of a public hanging — a bank manager who was said to have embezzled funds from his employer — speaks volumes about the dangerous situation into which she lands.

Zonder also endeavors to delve into the characters’ back stories; not just the stories of Tamar and her Israeli cohorts, but also Kamali, whose devotion to his job puts a strain on his marriage. It’s clear that he loves his wife, but choosing country over family forces him to miss a trip to France with his ill wife. She travels alone to Paris to undergo a serious operation, a cloud of guilt hovering over Kamali as a none-too-subtle reminder.


Niv Sultan in “Tehran."

Niv Sultan in “Tehran.”

“Tehran” is, admittedly, a little difficult to follow at first, and really hits its relentless stride midway through the opener once the plot points are clarified. From there, it’s a pulse-pounding journey, but be forewarned: There’s no bingeing allowed, since a new episode premieres each Friday (the series premiered Sept. 25). That programming strategy has paid huge dividends for “The Boys” on Amazon Prime — keep ’em wanting more — and should work for this exciting series.


Source: nypost.com

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Dennis Miller peeing on live TV and other insane tales from Comedy Central’s start

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In 1993, Art Bell, marketing head for the fledgling Comedy Central network, commissioned an ad campaign to run on New York City buses for a new show called “Politically Incorrect,” starring comedian Bill Maher. In his previous role as co-head of programming, Bell greenlit the show, giving Maher his big break.

Just after the campaign debuted, Bell took a call from a clearly irate Maher, who asked him, “What the f–k were you thinking with those bus ads?”

The ads featured politically incorrect statements on the side of buses directed at the passengers, such as, “Does this guy’s head look pointy to you?”

“If you think this is good advertising, then you obviously don’t know what the f–k you’re doing,” Maher said. “I’ve made some calls, and I’m trying to get you fired.”

Bell shares this and countless other anecdotes in his new memoir, “Constant Comedy: How I Started Comedy Central and Lost My Sense of Humor” (Ulysses Press).

Bell started thinking about an all-comedy network consisting of short, funny clips from movies and TV shows while pursuing an MBA at Wharton. While doing economic modeling for HBO in 1987, his dream became reality when he successfully pitched the idea to CEO Michael Fuchs.


“Constant Comedy: How I Started Comedy Central and Lost My Sense of Humor” (Ulysses Press).

“Constant Comedy: How I Started Comedy Central and Lost My Sense of Humor” (Ulysses Press).

Bell named it The Comedy Channel, and HBO lawyers negotiated with the major entertainment unions for the rights to air clips.

Fuchs announced the channel on May 17, 1989. But two days later, Bell’s excitement was quashed when MTV announced their own all-comedy network, which would feature old sitcoms, called HA! The TV Comedy Network. Then, eight weeks before The Comedy Channel’s launch, the Director’s Guild rescinded their permission to use clips. An organization board member balked, and it was “rumored to be Woody Allen.”

Bell’s entire strategy collapsed, as they could now only use clips that aired on HBO.

Over the next two months, Bell bought short film libraries and added original programming.

The Comedy Channel launched on November 15, 1989. Critics hated the repetitive content, with New York Magazine calling it “the biggest cable flop in years.”

While trying to keep the channel afloat, Bell also discovered the challenge of dealing with talent.

Their clip show “Short Attention Span Theater” was hosted by comedians Patty Rosborough and Jon Stewart. Channel executives quickly realized only one of them was necessary.

“We immediately recognized that Jon Stewart was a standout performer and destined for bigger things,” Bell writes. “He and Patty were cute together . . . but Jon was the show.”

But when Rosborough was fired, Stewart quit in solidarity. It was left to Bell to talk him down.


Jon Stewart

Jon Stewart

“You can’t do this!” Stewart yelled. “You can’t just fire Patty without even talking to me about it. We’re partners, we’ve been working together for three months. If Patty goes, I go.”

Stewart ultimately agreed to stay “. . . to be fair to you, and my commitment to SAST.”

Meanwhile, HA! launched on April Fools Day, 1990, also to poor reviews. Many called for the networks to merge, and it was little surprise when the merger was announced around Christmas.

Comedy Central debuted on April Fools Day, 1991.

In early 1992, they hired Al Franken to mock the State of the Union speech as it happened for a heavily-promoted special called, “The State of the Union: Undressed.”

This show became the first step toward Comedy Central developing a unique identity.


Art Bell

Art Bell

The night of the speech, Bell was at the studio watching Franken and producer Billy Kimball prepare. By 7 pm, Kimball said to Franken, “Al, you need to get to makeup. We go live in two hours.”

Franken shot Kimball a glance.

“Did you just say, ‘We go live?’” Franken asked. “I thought we were taping it. No way I’m doing this live.”

“He started walking toward the studio door and said to nobody in particular, ‘I’m calling my manager,’” Bell writes.

Bell thought he was kidding, but he wasn’t, and Bell watched him leave in “confused horror.”

Laurie Zaks, the network’s VP of Talent, hurried after Franken, and got him to return a few minutes later. She never revealed how.

And with that, Comedy Central had its first hit.

“As I watched, I felt we were entering unclaimed comedy territory and planting our flag,” Bell writes. “It was our first foray into using news and politics as a platform for comedy. That night was a turning point: we discovered what we were good at.”

Comedy Central covered political conventions and returned to the State of the Union. But the live broadcast format would also cause more problems.

The 1996 edition found Dennis Miller handling the comedy.


Dennis Miller hosts Comedy Central's third annual "State of the Union: Undressed" in 1994.

Dennis Miller hosts Comedy Central’s third annual “State of the Union: Undressed” in 1994.

The broadcast went smoothly until an hour in, when, Bell writes, Miller interrupted his commentary to tell the live TV audience, “I have to take a leak real bad.”

Once again, Zaks watched, then followed, as their host bolted out of the studio, but this time it was live on the air.

“Oh man, where’s the bathroom?” Miller said on live TV, still wearing his headset. “There’s gotta be a men’s room around here somewhere. Or a woman’s room. Hold on. This’ll have to do.”

The sound went dead as the audience at home watched the State of the Union, unmocked, while, Bell writes, Miller peed into a garbage can in the hallway.

Miller aced the rest of the broadcast, but when it ended, he “ripped off his headset, slammed it onto the desk, and stormed out of the camera frame.”

“F–k!” he screamed. “Oh God, what have I done?”

He ran into the men’s room, and Bell followed to talk him down.

“Dennis was sitting on the floor between the sinks and the stalls, his back against the wall, his head down, and his hands over his face,” Bell writes.

“What have I done? I just killed my career,” he said.


Dennis Miller on "Saturday Night Live" in 1988.

Dennis Miller on “Saturday Night Live” in 1988.

“You were great out there,” Bell said.

“Art, I took a leak into a garbage can. On TV. In front of what, two, three million people?”

“Audio only,” Bell replied, before finally convincing him the damage wasn’t that dire. They left, and Zaks gave Miller a comforting hug just as a woman who worked for her ran up and said, “Guess what? The switchboard’s lighting up like a Christmas tree — tons of people are calling about Dennis peeing!”

Despite this, the episode generated solid viewership, the reviews were positive, and Miller lived to pee another day.

But if Bell survived the debacle, outlasting entertainment industry politics was another matter.

Around this time, MTV executive Doug Herzog took over Comedy Central and brought his staff with him. Bell was fired shortly after.

He spent several years consulting before becoming president of Court TV and helping shape that network’s future.


Bill Maher in 1999.

Bill Maher in 1999.

Not only was Bell’s concept for a 24-hour comedy channel a great success, he also got some revenge on Maher.

While Maher was trying to have Bell fired, the bus ad’s creator, Allen Kay, informed Bell that the campaign was nominated for a Effie, the award for the most effective advertising in the industry.

That year’s Effie’s were hosted by Bill Maher.

As Maher read the nominees, a picture of each campaign appeared on screen behind him. When he read the name of his own show, he turned, saw the bus campaign, and said to the crowd, “Now that’s advertising!”

Then he read the winner: Korey Kay and Partners for ‘Politically Incorrect.’ ”

At the end of the night, Kay and Bell accepted congratulations as Maher walked by.

“From the corner of my eye I saw Bill walking through the crowd toward our table,” Bell writes. “I started to stand up. When he reached our table, Bill looked right at me, nodded slightly, and continued walking without saying a word.”


Source: nypost.com

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First trailer for ‘The Craft’ sequel shows Gen Z teen witch drama

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Relax, it’s only magic.

“The Craft: Legacy,” the forthcoming sequel of the cult-favorite 1996 film “The Craft,” has released its first trailer — and viewers can look forward to getting another dose of teenage witch drama.

The roughly 2-minute, 30-second clip, released Tuesday by Sony Pictures Entertainment, includes familiar nods to the previous movie’s most iconic scenes and quotes. They include an opening montage of the high school-age coven performing a levitation game as their “Light as a feather, stiff as a board” chant repeats twice, as well as a repetition of the classic “We are the weirdos, mister” line.

This new-generation movie, written and directed by Zoe Lister-Jones, stars Cailee Spaeny, Gideon Adlon, Lovie Simone and Zoey Luna as the new coven. Similar to the original film, Hannah (Spaeny) moves and has to change schools after her mother (Michelle Monaghan) remarries — earning Hannah a new stepfather (David Duchovny) and stepbrothers in his three sons. Also similar to the previous movie — which starred Fairuza Balk, Robin Tunney, Neve Campbell and Rachel True — this sequel also tells the story of teenage girls gaining newfound magical powers, but seeing them take a dark turn.


Gideon Adlon, Lovie Simone, Cailee Spaeny and Zoey Luna in "The Craft."

Gideon Adlon, Lovie Simone, Cailee Spaeny and Zoey Luna in “The Craft.”

For instance, Hannah — with the slight raise of her hand — throws a class bully into a set of lockers with force. Later in the trailer, Hannah is seen throwing her mother to the ground after a sudden raise of both hands. Hannah also discovers a Polaroid image of Nancy Downs (Fairuza Balk), who in the original film lost control of her dark energy, which caused the coven to unravel.

Originally designated for theatrical release, “The Craft: Legacy” — produced by Blumhouse and Red Wagon Entertainment for Columbia Pictures — will be available on-demand on Oct. 28.


Robin Tunney, Neve Campbell, Rachel True and Fairuza Balk in 1996's "The Craft."

Robin Tunney, Neve Campbell, Rachel True and Fairuza Balk in 1996’s “The Craft.”


Source: nypost.com

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Gabrielle Union, NBC settle dispute over racism allegations

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We’ve reached an amicable resolution,’ Union and network say in joint statement

Gabrielle Union and NBC said Tuesday that they have settled their differences in their dispute over her firing as a judge on America’s Got Talent, which she said was retaliation for her complaints that the show tolerated racism on the set. 

“We’ve reached an amicable resolution,” Union and the network said in a joint statement. “NBC Entertainment appreciates the important concerns raised by Gabrielle Union and remains committed to ensuring an inclusive and supportive working environment where people of all backgrounds are treated with respect.” 

Both sides declined further comment, and would not give further details. 

Union, known for her roles in the films Bring It On and Bad Boys II, appeared on the talent showcase created by Simon Cowell for a season, until she and fellow first-year judge Julianne Hough weren’t asked to return.

Variety reported soon after that Union, who is Black, believed she was fired because she had asked NBC and the show’s producers to respond to an environment that tolerated racist jokes and remarks from judges and producers.

Union gave detailed accounts of the issues in a complaint to the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing that she filed in June, saying she received criticism of her hair from producers that were rooted in racism. 

“Union, a Black woman, was singled out due to her physical appearance and discriminated against by NBC due to the fact that her hair did not fit within the white image that NBC apparently sought to convey to the audience,” the complaint stated, adding that a network executive and a show producer “informed Union’s manager that her hair was `too wild’ and that it needed to be `toned down.”‘ 

NBC said in May that outside investigators brought in by the network and producers found that Union’s allegations had no basis and no bearing on the decision to drop her as a judge. 

NBC said the investigation “found an overarching culture of diversity on the show.” 


Source: cbc.ca

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‘Lion King’ sequel officially in the works

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‘Lion King’ sequel officially in the works

The “Circle of Life” continues for Disney’s hit, “The Lion King.”

A little over a year since releasing the hugely profitable CGI reboot of the 1994 animated classic, Walt Disney Studios has confirmed a sequel is in the works.

Oscar-winning “Moonlight” scriptwriter/director Barry Jenkins will direct and Jeff Nathanson, who scripted the 2019 “Lion King,” will also write the sequel, Deadline reported.

“This. Yes, THIS,” Jenkins, 40, tweeted on Tuesday, linking to the Deadline article.

The new installment will use the same photo-realistic technology director Jon Favreau utilized for last year’s production and 2016’s “The Jungle Book” reboot.

There’s no word yet on when the release date will be or who will be in the cast. In 2019’s “Lion King,” voice actors included the likes of Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, James Earl Jones, John Oliver, Donald Glover, Amy Sedaris and Chance the Rapper, with original music by Pharrell Williams and Hans Zimmer.

While the original animated film’s 1998 sequel, “The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride,” focused on Simba’s daughter’s romance with a male lion from a pride once affiliated with Simba’s evil uncle Scar, the upcoming sequel will focus more on characters’ origins. Deadline reported that the story will “further explore the mythology of the characters, including Mufasa’s origin story.”

While the remake destroyed opening weekend records last July and topped a Disney-dominated box office, not everyone was a fan of its futuristic animation style. Some critics found it to be astonishing, but animators of the old-school original critiqued that the characters’ eyes lacked emotion and that the performances felt weak and wooden.

“There is a huge resentment against these 3-D remakes from the original 2-D crews,” one animator who worked on the 1994 film told the Huffington Post last summer. “Maybe if we got any kind of royalties it would be different,” an anonymous animator added.


Source: nypost.com

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Demi Lovato ‘trying to move on’ amid ex’s cryptic posts

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Demi Lovato

Max Ehrich posted messages to social media Tuesday seemingly alleging that ex-fiancèe Demi Lovato was being “abused,” but an insider told Page Six the singer is doing well and trying to move forward.

The “Young and the Restless” put up cryptic notes in an Instagram Story that said “#FreeDemi” then “#FreeDemetria,” followed by a third note saying “#FreeDemetria from people that have abused her,” according to screengrabs captured by twitter account #onlyforeverddl.

Ehrich also posted concerning messages to his Instagram about Jeffrey Epstein, which have since been deleted.

“‘Jeffrey Epstein’ me = Try to silence me for exposing the truth to the world,” he wrote.

To his Instagram Story, he added, “I’m so grateful for social media…  For it gives a voice to every human being. If used purposefully; It shines awareness on things that need to be addressed. I’ll be posting on here for updates every few hours with pics… In case people try to ‘Jeffrey Epstein’ me.”

But the insider told Page Six on Tuesday, “It’s unclear what Max is referring to with his posts,” and that “Demi is happy, healthy, and trying to move on from all this by staying busy with work.”

Last week, 28-year-old Lovato ended her engagement to Ehrich, 29, following Page Six’s exclusive report that there was trouble in paradise for the couple.

The actor then turned to social media to publicly beg Lovato to reconsider.

“I’m here in real time with y’all. I love Demetria and just want her to be healthy and safe,” he wrote on his Instagram Story, also sharing that they hadn’t spoken since their split. “I love you always,” he added.

Their breakup came after old posts by Ehrich surfaced of the actor confessing his love for several other celebrities including Selena Gomez and Miley Cyrus.

Lovato called the posts fake news but that didn’t stop the pair from heading to splitsville.

The exes got engaged in July, just a few months after they began dating.

Ehrich’s rep did not immediately return Page Six’s request for comment.


Source: nypost.com

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