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George and Amal Clooney celebrating humanitarians with inaugural Albie Awards

ABC/Randy Holmes

Awards shows are sometimes criticized for being superficial, but Oscar winner George Clooney is looking to change that with the Albie Awards.

Clooney, his human rights attorney wife Amal and their Clooney Foundation for Justice have announced they're staging the inaugural event at the New York City Public Library on the evening of September 29.

South African judge, author and activist Albie Sachs -- for whom the awards are named -- will be honored with a lifetime achievement award at the event.

Filipino journalist Maria Ressa will be honored with the Justice For Journalists award; Dr. Josephine Kulea, of the Kenya-based Samburu Girls Foundation, will be singled out with the Justice For Women award.

iAct, which supports genocide survivors in refugee camps, will be presented with the Justice For Survivors award, and Belarusian human rights group Viasna will be honored with the Justice For Democracy Defenders award.

Michelle Obama, Meryl Streep, Oscar Isaac, Dua Lipa, Aloe Blacc, John Oliver, Julia Roberts, and Bruce Springsteen and Patti Scialfa will be among the newsmakers saluting the honorees.

In a statement, the Clooneys noted, "We believe that justice must be waged -- it doesn't just happen. So when journalists are locked up just for doing their job, we try to get them out of prison. When young girls are denied the right to study, work, or marry when they want, we help them fight for their rights through the courts. When minorities are targeted for genocide, we help trigger trials against the perpetrators."

"The Albie Awards add a new dimension to our work at CFJ: they are a way to shine a protective light on the many courageous individuals who, at great personal risk, have devoted their lives to justice," they conclude.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

"Batgirls get lonely, too": Leslie Grace shares more behind-the-scenes peeks at shelved movie


Leslie Grace is sharing more behind-the-scenes peeks at Batgirl, the now-scuttled film in which she played Barbara Gordon/Batgirl.

On her Instagram, and set to a song she apparently wrote with singer-songwriter Lauren LaRue that was initially called "Bad Girls Get Lonely, Too," Grace is seen being put through her paces on and off set.

Grace is shown training for her role as the titular heroine and bearing the bruises her character endures in the course of the movie. One shows her tangling with Firefly, the baddie who was played by Brendan Fraser.

There's also more lighthearted moments in between shots of time in the make-up chair or at the training gym. One shows Grace showing off a 3D printed ambigram -- the model displays "Leslie" or "Batgirl," depending on how it's positioned.

Another shows Leslie being offered a cookie in shape of her Batsuit's chest emblem.

Regarding the song, Grace explained she laughed at the fact that the lyrics sounded like "Batgirls are lonely, too." She noted, "in any case, over the last couple weeks, the song obviously took on a whole other meaning - as if it were written with all of the recent events in mind!"

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

'Stranger Things' star Caleb McLaughlin says "racism" from fans "took a toll" on him


At a comic convention in Belgium on Sunday, Stranger Things star Caleb McLaughlin revealed he has also weathered racist trolling, as did some of the actors of color in Game of Thrones, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.

One of the fans at Heroes Comic Con Belgium caught Caleb's unfiltered answer on video.

"It definitely took a toll on me as a younger kid," the actor, who plays Lucas on Stranger Things, said.

"My very first Comic-Con, some people didn't stand in my line because I was Black. Some people told me, 'Oh I didn't want to be in your line because you were mean to Eleven,'" McLaughlin said.

"Even now some people don't follow me or don't support me because I'm Black. Sometimes overseas you feel the racism, you feel the bigotry. Sometimes it's hard to talk about and for people to understand, but when I was younger it definitely affected me a lot."

He continued, "You're like ... 'Why am I the least favorite? Why don't I have the followers? I'm on the same show since season 1.' But then my parents had to be like, 'It's a sad truth, but it's because you're the Black child on the show.'"

"That's why with my platform, I try spreading positivity and love because I don't give hate back to people who give hate to me," Caleb said, to which the crowd applauded.

The video snippet has been viewed nearly 430,000 times.

Amazon Video claims its Rings of Power series has been review bombed by viewers taking issue with its Middle-Earth actors of color. Black actor Steve Toussaint vented about the racist trolls he's dealt with after he debuted as Corlys Velaryon in HBO's Game of Thrones spinoff House of the Dragon.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Kerry Washington-produced legal drama, 'Reasonable Doubt,' debuts on Hulu


The new legal drama Reasonable Doubt premieres Tuesday on Hulu.

The Onyx Collective series follows Jacqueline “Jax” Stewart, a high-powered attorney in Los Angeles loosely based on real-life celebrity lawyer Shawn Holley. When Jax isn’t challenging the legal system “through wild interpretations of the law and sometimes questionable ethics,” she’s dealing with a complicated personal life.

“The thing that really got me most about this show is the fact that this woman, we get to see a full life,”  Emayatzy Corinealdi, who plays Jax, tells ABC Audio. “It's not just about her work life. It's not just about her personal life. We get to see what makes the woman. And we know as women, there's so many moving parts.”

The show has strong women behind the camera as well, with Kerry Washington executive producing. She also directed the first episode.

“I love directing talented actors,” Washington tells ABC Audio. “And this cast is full of them. So to be able to help an actor find their best performance brings me so much joy. And I just, I really love directing. I love directing content that I like and that I want to watch. And that is definitely the case with Reasonable Doubt.”

Reasonable Doubt, also starring Michael Ealy, McKinley Freeman, Sean Patrick Thomas and Pauletta Washington, is out on Hulu now.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Gwyneth Paltrow literally goes for the gold with nude "birthday" suit snap


Gwyneth Paltrow turns the big 5-0 today, and she got herself some gold -- body paint, that is. The Oscar winner celebrated her milestone wearing only her birthday suit in an artfully posed nude snap in which she's glowing from head to toe with the shimmery stuff.

Paltrow was posed so that her modesty was mostly protected. She's seen in profile with her left arm draped over a white column as she leans on her right elbow, forehead in hand.

"50," she captioned the snap posted to her 8.1 million followers.

The post got more than 200,000 likes in the first hour it was up on social media.

For the actress and Goop CEO, it's just the latest picture to commemorate her 50th trip around the sun. Four days ago, she posted a black-and-white snap of herself wearing a bikini, smiling and doing a mid-air split.

The caption there was "musings on a milestone." Among those to reply to that one was Demi Moore, who called Gwyneth "a goddess."

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

"Yes" Man: 'Mad Men' Emmy winner Jon Hamm admits he happily didn't get paid for 'Bridesmaids'


(NOTE LANGUAGE) If you'd like to book Jon Hamm for your podcast, now's your chance. In a chat with Sirius/XM's Pop Culture Spotlight with Jessica Shaw, the Emmy-winning Mad Men star admits he's a pushover for the right project.

Hamm explained that he said yes to his comedic turn in Bridesmaids after getting on "like a house on fire" with Kristen Wiig when he hosted Saturday Night Live. She all but begged him to be in the movie, and he agreed.

Suffice it to say, his agents weren't too happy, the Top Gun: Maverick co-star star recalled.

"I did that movie before there was a part, before there was a script, I said 'yes' to it. And [my] agents went, 'Oh, well, s***. How do we, you know, ask for money?' And I was like, 'Don't worry about it. It just, let me let go have fun with friends."

Hamm's instincts were spot-on, as the 2011 comedy went on to make $288.3 million at the global box office.

"Mostly I drive [my agents] crazy because I say yes to everything, you know?" Hamm says. "I'm always showing up for people’s podcasts or what have you. But that’s what I like doing. I like engaging with the people that I work with and I've had some tremendous, fun experiences doing that."

The Confess, Fletch actor adds, "And things like that turn into other things. And, you know, those are the kinds of things you can't measure."

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Report: 'The Bachelor''s Peter Weber and Kelley Flanagan are "full-on back together"

ABC/Frank Micelotta

After calling it quits in 2020, The Bachelor's Peter Weber and Kelley Flanagan are back together, a source tells Us Weekly.

The two, who met while filming season 24 of The Bachelor “rekindled their romance this summer and have been spending a lot of time together since then,” says the supposed insider.

Weber, 31, and Flanagan, 30, have been planning "fun dates" and having "a lot of fun together" since reconnecting earlier this year, the source shares, adding, “Peter wants to be in a serious committed relationship and his feelings for Kelley never went away...They’re both happy and looking forward to where things go this time around.”

Flanagan was the fifth runner-up during Weber's The Bachelor season.

The pilot first proposed to Hannah Ann Sluss before breaking things off to pursue Madison Prewett. After that relationship went south, he and Flanagan went official in April 2020.

After dating for almost a year, they each took to social media to announce the breakup on December 31. After trying to "get back together” and “work on things” in January, Flanagan told Kaitlyn Bristowe in March 2021 on her Off the Vine podcast that their brief reunion came to an end after Valentine’s Day.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

In Brief: 'Jeopardy!' spinoffs under consideration, and more

There's good news for Jeopardy! fans. Deadline reports that on the heels of the Celebrity Jeopardy! revival, Executive Producer Michael Davies is considering expanding the franchise with other spinoffs, including a masters league featuring the show’s winningest players, and a possible version of the long-running game show focused solely on sports and pop culture trivia, he tells the New York Times. The franchise has already begun filming a Second Chance Tournament that will bring back promising contestants, as well as a revamped Tournament of Champions...

Following Netflix's announcement at Tudum on Saturday that Good Will Hunting actress Minnie Driver will be joining The Witcher: Blood Origin, the streamer debuted a first-look photo and details about her character on Monday, according to Entertainment Weekly. Driver will play Seanchaí, who, per series creator Declan de Barra, is "a shapeshifting storyteller that can travel between worlds and times. She's essentially a collector of stories that are forgotten. She believes this story needs to be told again in the modern Witcher world for progress to be made in the future." Blood Origin will premiere December 25...

Hannah Gadsby has inked a multi-title deal at Netflix, which will include a new stand-up special, in addition to another multi-comic special featuring gender-diverse comedians, according to Variety. Gadsby’s new hour-long special will premiere in 2023 and comes from the comedian's appearance at the Sydney Opera House. It will be Gadsby’s third stand-up comedy special for Netflix, following Nanette in 2018 and 2020's Douglas. The comic special will be taped next year. The move is surprising considering Gadsby had slammed Dave Chappelle for offensive jokes about queer and trans people in his controversial Netflix special The Closer last year, and also criticized Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos for posting the specials...

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Oscar-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black says he's recovering from "serious head injury"

(L-R) Black, Daley -- Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Without specifying how he was hurt, Oscar-winning Milk screenwriter Dustin Lance Black has revealed via Instagram he "sustained a serious head injury" that "put me out of commission."

"Showing little improvement, my doctors ordered me to shut off my brain in hopes of it healing," he continued. "This has been a challenging, frightening time for a creative type who depends on what's in his skull to work, care and love. And now I understand the road back will be long."

Black explained his husband, British Olympic gold medalist Tom Daley, whisked him away to the Greek Islands to recover and "to make me shut off."

Black, who produced the Emmy-nominated drama Under the Banner of Heaven, continued, "I can already feel this trip is a step in the right direction, and I finally feel safe sharing a bit again."

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

James Earl Jones reportedly putting Darth Vader's voice into the hands of tech wizards

John Atashian/Getty Images -- Lucasfilm

Obi-Wan Kenobi's description of Darth Vader being "more machine now than man" is coming true.

According to an article in Vanity Fair, James Earl Jones has signed off on Lucasfilm using the AI tech from a company called Respeecher to imitate his menacing voice for the black helmeted Dark Lord of the Sith from now on.

It's the same company that provided the voice for a 30-something Luke Skywalker, digitally de-aging 71-year-old Mark Hamill's voice for Luke's appearances in The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett.

Jones, 91, reportedly gave his blessing to the Ukrainian company's team up with Lucasfilm's Emmy-winning sound designer Matthew Wood, with the former using "machine learning" to recreate Jones' Vader voice for the Obi-Wan Kenobi series for Disney+.

"He had mentioned he was looking into winding down this particular character. So how do we move forward?" Wood commented to the magazine.

Likening the legendary actor to a "benevolent godfather," Jones guided Wood and his team as a very serious deadline fast approached: Respeecher is based in Ukraine, and the collaboration happened feverishly between its designers and Wood, even as the threat of Russian shelling grew.

Wood explained to Vanity Fair, the Respeecher team’s attitude was: "Let's work, let's work in the face of this adversity, let’s persevere.'"

Jones and his family were reportedly pleased with the results.

Lucasfilm is owned by Disney, the parent company of ABC News.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

"You keep her alive, and you set everything right": HBO releases chilling teaser to 'The Last of Us'


On Monday, HBO released a teaser to its anticipated series adaptation of the hit video game The Last of Us.

September 26 is known as Outbreak Day to fans of the PlayStation hit: According to the game, it's the day people began being infected by a deadly disease caused by the cordyceps fungus, which turns the infected into shambling, zombie-like predators.

The Mandalorian's Pedro Pascal stars as Joel and fellow Game of Thrones vet Bella Ramsay plays Ellie; as in the game, Joel is tasked with protecting the young woman at all costs.

The teaser, set to "Alone and Forsaken" by Hank Williams, gives some creepy peeks at the post-apocalyptic world in which they live.

There are shades of the COVID-19 pandemic in the footage -- something the PlayStation hit couldn't predict in 2013, when the first game came out. Tattered signs warning passersby of the symptoms of infection seem eerily prescient as Joel makes his way through deserted streets.

The smuggler is charged with leading Ellie out of a dangerous quarantine zone and across a post-apocalyptic United States. "You keep her alive, and you set everything right," someone urges him in voiceover.

Ellie is immune to the disease and may be the key to reversing the plague.

Also starring Nick Offerman, Gabriel Luna and Anna Torv -- as well as Ashley Johnson and Troy Baker, who respectively voiced Ellie and Joel in the game and its sequel -- The Last of Us is set to debut in 2023.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

KiKi Layne not worrying about getting cut from 'Don't Worry Darling'

Kiki Layne and Florence Pugh - Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

KiKi Layne has posted to Instagram that she's not sweating being mostly cut from Olivia Wilde's talked-about movie Don't Worry Darling.

Apparently, the If Beale Street Could Talk star was in good company: Tony and Grammy Award winner Ari'el Stachel's scenes also ended up on the cutting room floor. But the pair ended up together.

"The best thing about #DontWorryDarling is that I was lucky enough to meet @arielstachel," Layne Instagrammed on Sunday, along with a video of the new couple on set together.

"They cut us from most of the movie, but we thriving in real life," she continued, adding "Love you Ari," heart emoji, along with the cheeky #GotMyCheck#GotMyMan#EverythingHappensforaReason.

Satchel replied, "My love. You are a queen and your talent shines so bright. I was thirsty then and I'm thirsty now." He also returned the favor with a post of his own.

He told his followers, "This woman did phenomenal work and I was thirsty the second I met her," calling meeting her the "best part" of working on the movie.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Kevin Feige explains why T’Challa was not recast in 'Black Panther: Wakanda Forever'

Marvel Studios

When it was announced that another Black Panther movie was to come after the death of actor Chadwick Boseman, who portrayed the titular superhero aka T'Challa in the 2018 hit film, Marvel fans wondered how another story could be told without him.

Some even wondered if the franchise would continue with a different actor taking on the role; it was later revealed that T'Challa would not be recast in the film.

In a new interview with Empire, Marvel boss Kevin Feige explained the reason for the decision.

“It just felt like it was much too soon,” Feige said. “Stan Lee always said that Marvel represents the world outside your extraordinary and fantastical as our characters and stories are, there’s a relatable and human element to everything we do. The world is still processing the loss of Chad. And Ryan [Coogler] poured that into the story.”

Coogler, the writer and director of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, worked alongside Feige to create a story that honored Boseman. When it came to crafting it, Feige said that the conversations focused on figuring out “how could the legacy of Chadwick – and what he had done to help Wakanda and the Black Panther become these incredible, aspirational, iconic ideals – continue?”

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever releases in theaters on November 11.

Disney is the parent company of Marvel and ABC News.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Taylor Hale makes historic 'Big Brother 24' win

CBS ©2022 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

History was made when Taylor Hale was crowned the winner of Big Brother season 24 on Sunday night.

The 27-year-old current reigning Miss Michigan USA is the first Black woman to win the non-celebrity format of the game. In 2019, singer and television personality Tamar Braxton won the second season of the celebrity edition of the show, making her the first Black woman to win any format of American Big Brother.

This marks the second time a Black woman has sat in the final two chairs in the history of the regular format of the show. It first happened 20 years ago to the day of Hale’s win, when Big Brother legend Danielle Reyes lost season 3 in a 9-1 vote to first place finisher Lisa Donahue.

Hale beat out this season’s second-place finisher Monte Taylor in an 8-1 vote. In her passionate final speech to the jury, she said that she has come to understand that she is not a shield but a sword.

“I am not a victim; I am a victor. And if there is one word that is going to describe the entire season, it is resiliency,” Hale said. “If you are to ask yourself who the most resilient person of this season has been, it is me.”

In addition to winning the season, Hale became the first person to win both the game and the fan-voted America’s Favorite Player award. She wins $50,000 and a cruise trip for two along with her $750,000 grand prize. Because of both wins, Hale cemented herself as the player to have won the most money in the history of American Big Brother.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

John Cena now a Guinness World Record holder thanks to his 650th Make-A-Wish visit

John Cena in 2015; Noam Galai/Getty Images

Sure, he was a champion in the wrestling ring and has starred in blockbuster movies like Fast 9 and hit shows like Peacemaker, but John Cena is now officially a world record holder, for a great reason.

Guinness Book of World Records has certified that Cena has set the all-time record for most visits with patients in the Make-A-Wish charity, which grants once-in-a-lifetime requests for critically ill people aged 2-18. 

With 650 visits under his belt, Cena's giving back has officially made him a different kind of champion. 

Cena, who made his first Make-A-Wish visit in 2002, remains the most-requested celebrity, according to the organization.

For the record, it wasn't even close: In the 42-year history of the charity, the second-place finisher only managed 200 visits, according to Guinness.

As reported back in June, Cena traveled to Europe to meet with a young special needs fan whose family fled war-torn Ukraine. The star found out Misha Rohozhyn's mother told the non-verbal young man they had to leave the country to meet Cena, in an effort to comfort him. Even though it wasn't an official "wish" with the charity, the star made the fantasy happen for real.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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