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Austin Butler to star as Elvis in Baz Luhrmann-helmed biopic

NEW YORK (AP) — Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis Presley biopic has found its King. After a competitive casting contest, 27-year-old actor Austin Butler has been cast as Presley. Ansel Elgort, Harry Styles and Miles Teller all reportedly tested for the role ultimately won by Butler, who last year appeared in the Denzel Washington Broadway revival of “The Iceman Cometh.” Luhrmann says …

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Young ‘Lion King’ actors had Beyoncé-size shoes to fill

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — The pressure was on for young actors Shahadi Wright Joseph and JD McCrary when they got word that they’d been cast as the voices of young Nala and young Simba in “The Lion King.” Not only was it an ambitious remake of an iconic film, but it was their first major Hollywood project. Then they …

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Fox 2000 chief joins Sony after being jettisoned by Disney

Elizabeth Gabler

NEW YORK (AP) — Elizabeth Gabler, whose Fox 2000 produced acclaimed literary adaptations like “Life of Pi” and “Hidden Figures” before being axed in the aftermath of the Walt Disney Co. acquisition, has found a new home at Sony Pictures. Sony on Monday announced a new production deal with the former Fox 2000 president and her entire Fox 2000 team. …

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Oliver Stone writing memoir, scheduled for 2020

Oliver Stone

NEW YORK (AP) — Oliver Stone has some memories to share, not all of them happy. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt announced Monday that it had acquired a memoir by the Oscar-winning filmmaker. The book, currently untitled, is scheduled for Fall 2020. Stone is known for such provocative films as “Platoon,” ”JFK” and “Born On the Fourth of July.” According to the …

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‘Spider-Man’ does victory lap over ‘Crawl,’ ‘Stuber’

LOS ANGELES (AP) — “Spider-Man: Far From Home” is celebrating another weekend at No. 1, but non-franchise fare continues to struggle at the box office. Fresh studio-released counterprograming such as the horror movie “Crawl” and the action-comedy “Stuber” barely made a dent in the web-slinger’s earnings, although there is a glimmer of hope in the independent world. The “Spider-Man” sequel …

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Film airing on PBS recalls city’s dark deportation history

BISBEE, Ariz. (AP) — The darkest, most violent chapter in the history of Bisbee was an open secret for decades in the funky old Arizona copper town 7 miles (11 kilometers) north of the U.S.-Mexico border. But few residents knew the details of how about 1,200 miners, most of them immigrants, were pulled violently from their homes a century ago …

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Purl jam: Finland hosts heavy metal knitting championship

JOENSUU, Finland (AP) — Armed with needles and a yarn of wool, teams of avid knitters danced Thursday to the deafening sounds of drums beating and guitars slashing at the first-ever Heavy Metal Knitting World Championship in eastern Finland. With stage names such as Woolfumes, Bunny Bandit and 9″ Needles, the participants shared a simple goal: to showcase their knitting …

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Disney cancels premiere after death of star Cameron Boyce

Cameron Boyce

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Disney Channel has canceled the red-carpet premiere of its movie “Descendants 3” after the death of 20-year-old star Cameron Boyce. Disney Channel said in a statement Thursday that instead of the July 22 event, the telecast will be dedicated to Boyce’s memory and the Walt Disney Company will make a donation to the Thirst Project, a …

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Review: ‘Lion King’ returns but it’s harder to feel the love

Life moves in a circle, “The Lion King” tells us, and, increasingly, so does studio moviemaking. Close on the heels of “live-action” remakes of “Aladdin” and “Dumbo” and on the precipice of a reborn “The Little Mermaid,” ”The Lion King” is back, too. Round and round we go. Cue Savannah sunrise. Cue “Naaaants ingonyama bagithi baba!” The remakes have themselves …

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Valentina Cortese, Italian screen diva, dead at 96

ROME (AP) — Valentina Cortese, an Italian post-war screen diva who was nominated for a best supporting actress Oscar but lost out to Ingrid Bergman, died on Wednesday. She was 96. Milan Mayor Giuseppe Sala announced the death of the Milan-born actress in a tweet, thanking Cortese for having “given us marvelous and unforgettable” performances on the screen and stage. …

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