For Sale! The Last Cinema Bus

Image via Jane Sanders
Up in that impressive glass dome is where the projectionist would have originally sat in the late 1960s, when a fleet of seven of these custom mobile cinema units toured Britain, promoting modern production techniques to the industry.

Britain’s then Minister of Technology, Tony Ben commissioned the customised Bedford SB buses to tour factories and screen films for the workforce about how to boost productivity with new technology. The ambitious idea was part of the government’s economic strategy to kick-start Britain into full recovery from the post-war economic gloom.

But the novelty of the wore off and in 1974, the government sold off the seven cinema buses and they just about disappeared into automobile history, all except for one…

image via Martyn Day

Flatpack 2011 - Vintage Mobile Cinema 

Several decades later, in 2005, Oliver Halls was drinking in the pub when his friend told him he should buy a cinema bus that was up for sale. The next day, Oliver purchased the last surviving cinema bus from a couple who had rescued it from a field. It had been stripped of its engine, 4 speed Turner gear box and gear stick. Olly paid £1,200 and would spend the next several years and up to £10,000 restoring it with his partner Emma Gifford, to its former glory.

Meshed Media

Today, the 7 tonne vintage mobile cinema is for sale on Ebay after spending the last five years as a touring picture house screening archive films at festivals and private events. The reserve price is £120,000, a fair price for an important piece of transport and cinema history, and an incredibly unique opportunity to start a fun lifestyle business.


The sale will include the logo, image rights, goodwill of the business and all website, social media accounts etc. Find the full listing details here.

Archival images thanks to Vintage Mobile Cinema

And check this video about the making of the Vintage Mobile Cinema:

NBC finds at least 10 Brian Williams embellishments

The in-house investigators assigned to look into Brian Williams' past reports have documented at least 10 instances of exaggerations and embellishments by the NBC anchorman.

CNN Money-The investigation is not yet complete, according to a person with knowledge of it, who described some of the findings on condition of anonymity. 

It is unclear whether Williams had had a chance to defend himself to his bosses. NBC has not allowed him to do so publicly.

NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke was briefed on the current findings at a Thursday morning meeting in New York. The meeting suggests that the network is nearing a decision about Williams' future.

Williams, the anchor of "NBC Nightly News" for the past 10 years, was suspended nearly three months ago when a scandal erupted about his recounting of an Iraq War mission in 2003.

His suspension is scheduled to end in August, but it is unclear whether NBC will reinstate him at that time. Lester Holt has been filling in.

The network has been under pressure -- both internally and externally -- to reach a decision about Williams and announce it well ahead of the August deadline.

That decision will be informed by NBC's internal fact-checking effort, which is being led by Richard Esposito, the news division's senior executive producer in charge of investigations.

All of the people involved are being incredibly tight-lipped, and NBC refuses to confirm anything about the investigation.

But The New York Times and The Washington Post reported new details on Friday night that painted Williams in a decidedly negative light.
The Times reported that Esposito's team has uncovered "discrepancies" in Williams' accounts of his reporting from Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt in 2011.
The Times said it was one of a "half-dozen instances" that have raised eyebrows internally.
The Post reported that the investigation has "turned up 11 instances in which the anchorman publicly embellished details of his reporting exploits."

It also said Thursday's meeting was attended by Burke; the man he recently appointed to oversee NBC News, Andy Lack, and the president of NBC News, Deborah Turness.

A spokesman for NBC did not respond to a request for comment on Saturday.
Earlier this week, CNNMoney reported that the fact-checking findings "may be a form of leverage -- to either say that Williams has been cleared of further embellishing, or that he's too damaged to return to the 'Nightly News.'"

If NBC executives believe he's too damaged, negotiations will have to ensue with Williams' lawyer. Last winter Williams signed a lucrative contract to remain the "Nightly News" anchor through the end of the decade.

In private conversations, TV agents and other industry veterans have speculated that the investigation's findings could be useful in a negotiation. NBC could offer to keep the investigation under wraps, or threaten to release it, depending on Williams' willingness to leave.

Jay Rosen, a New York University journalism professor who has followed the Williams case closely, said that "if the latest reports are accurate," they further complicate the picture.

If the executives "let Brian Williams return to NBC News, they have to calculate the effect on morale and the rough statement they would be making (essentially, 'your opinions don't count') to all the people in the news division who feel grave doubts and deep anger toward Williams," Rosen said. 

"Are they prepared to pay those costs? Maybe they are, I don't know."

Rosen suggested people at NBC may be "signaling their mood and intentions through the leaks."

Ben Affleck says he regrets asking PBS to edit out slave-owning ancestor

(Reuters) - Actor Ben Affleck said Tuesday he regretted asking a PBS documentary show profiling his ancestors to not include a relative who was an owner of slaves, saying he was embarrassed by the revelation.

Affleck's ancestry was traced by Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr, known as Skip, for an episode in the second season of his Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) series "Finding Your Roots," in which well-known personalities can discover more about their family history.

"I didn't want any television show about my family to include a guy who owned slaves. I was embarrassed. The very thought left a bad taste in my mouth," Affleck said in a statement on his Facebook page.

"I regret my initial thoughts that the issue of slavery not be included in the story," he added.

Representatives for PBS and Gates did not respond to requests for comment.

The issue came to light after anti-secrecy website Wikileaks released a searchable database of more than 30,000 documents that were stolen by hacker from Sony Corp's Sony Pictures Entertainment in a massive cyber attack last year.

Affleck said in his statement that Gates had final say in what was included in the episode, which aired last October, and he had "lobbied" Gates on what elements of his family history to use in the show.

The Oscar-winning actor-director added that he assumed the show "will respect your willingness to participate and not look to include things you think would embarrass your family."

"While I don't like that the guy is an ancestor, I am happy that aspect of our country's history is being talked about," he said.

(Reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

Gary Sinise Cast in ‘Criminal Minds’ Spinoff

Gary Sinise has been tapped to star in the “Criminal Minds” spinoff being developed by CBS. The potential series will center on a top FBI division that helps American citizens in trouble abroad.

Sinise (“CSI: NY”) will play Jack Garrett, a 20-year veteran of the bureau who oversees the FBI’s team for handling cases involving Americans overseas.

He will film an episode in mid-February, which will serve as a planted spinoff and will air later this season.

Mark Gordon, Erica Messer and Nick Pepper will serve as exec producers. Messer will also write the episode. ABC Studios will produce, in association with CBS Television Studios and The Mark Gordon Company.

Sinise is represented by Brillstein Entertainment Partners and CAA.

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Joss Whedon, Lionsgate Hit With Copyright Lawsuit Over 'The Cabin in the Woods'

by Austin Siegemund-Broka
The author of a 2006 novel has accused the 'Avengers' director and 'Cabin' director Drew Goddard of stealing his idea.

With just weeks until his box-office victory lap for Avengers: Age of Ultron, Joss Whedon is now facing a lawsuit accusing him of stealing the idea for the 2012 meta-horror movie The Cabin in the Woods.

Whedon produced and co-wrote the script for Cabin with director Drew Goddard, a writer on Whedon's Buffy the Vampire Slayer and a fanboy favorite in his own right, with credits that include 
Netflix's Daredevil (and reportedly may soon include Sony's upcoming Spider-Man projects). 

Whedon and Goddard are named as defendants, along with Lionsgate and Whedon's Mutant Enemy production company, in the complaint filed Monday in California federal court.
In the complaint, Peter Gallagher (no, not that Peter Gallagher) claims Whedon and Goddard took the idea for The Cabin in the Woods from his 2006 novel The Little White Trip: A Night In the Pines. He's suing for copyright infringement and wants $10 million in damages.

Gallagher is basing his claim on the works' similar premises: Both feature a group of young people terrorized by monsters while staying at a cabin in what is revealed to be (spoiler alert) a horror-film scenario designed by mysterious operators.

Gallagher also alleges similarities between the characters' names and personalities — his book's blond Julie and shy Dura and the film's Jules (Anna Hutchison) and Dana (Kristen Connolly), and handsome and scatterbrained men in both works — and certain scenes involving the characters finding strange items in their respective cabins and discovering hidden cameras.
In the complaint, Gallagher describes how he self-published the novel and “began grassroots efforts” to sell it on the Venice Beach boardwalk and on Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade. "[The defendants] currently reside and operate out of Santa Monica, California, a short distance from where the Book was sold," the lawsuit claims.

Gallagher alleges that he "was contacted by multiple credited entertainment industry producers who expressed interest in the Book," but he doesn't specify Lionsgate or Mutant Enemy.

A Lionsgate spokesman declined to comment. The Hollywood Reporter has reached out to representatives for Whedon and Goddard.

Tom Brokaw addresses Brian Williams controversy: 'really, really serious'

As speculation swirls about Brian Williams' fate at NBC, his predecessor is calling for patience.


In his first extensive public comments on the matter, Tom Brokaw, who held the anchor chair at "NBC Nightly News" for more than 20 years, called the controversy surrounding Williams' exaggerated tales a "really, really serious case." 

"There's a process underway," Brokaw said at an event held at the University of Chicago's Institute of Politics on Monday night. "And the important thing is that the process is very carefully constructed, and we owe it to everybody -- including Brian and his family and certainly the people who work at NBC News who risk their lives everyday, and to the integrity of what NBC News has stood for all these years -- to let the process play out, to hear what the final conclusions are and then deal with it at that point."

The "process" Brokaw cited is an internal fact-checking investigation into fibs and exaggerations told by Williams over the years. It is being led by Richard Esposito, the news division's head of investigations.
Last week Vanity Fair reported that "people who have spoken to Esposito say his group has compiled a number of other incidents that, taken as a whole, paint a portrait of Williams as a man who has consistently burnished his stories."

Brokaw's behind-the-scenes role has been a tremendous source of intrigue. He remains a highly influential voice inside NBC News. Back in February, he swatted down a report that he had called for Williams' firing.

Vanity Fair elaborated on the frosty relationship between the two men. One "friend of Brokaw's" was quoted as saying, "Tom will never say this for the record, but I've talked to him about this, and I can tell you for a fact Tom is livid about this. Tom didn't push Brian out, but he didn't try to save him, either."

At Monday's event, Brokaw said the article by Bryan Burrough was "completely unsourced," an apparent reference to the use of anonymous quotes.

Burrough "never talked to me," he said. "The reporter never ever picked up the phone and asked me whether I said something, how I felt about something. It was outrageous."

(In an email Tuesday afternoon, Burrough said that's not quite true. "I sought comment from Tom Brokaw from the NBC publicity department," he said. "I was told he would not be available for an interview.")

So what is Brokaw's relationship with Williams, then? Brokaw didn't explicitly deny what Vanity Fair reported. He described the relationship as "cordial" in the past tense.

"There's been way too much speculation about it," Brokaw said, adding, "I want to say two things. 

One is that Brian and I had a cordial relationship. You know, it was tricky because he succeeded me and I had my own strong feelings about how things should be done, but I never interfered with it. 

And I would make suggestions from time to time."

Brokaw also said that Williams wrote him a "wonderful note" late last year, around the time of Williams' 10th anniversary in the anchor chair.

"Having said all of that, this is a really, really serious case, obviously," Brokaw said. He also called it "a very, very difficult time" for NBC and the people involved.

The University of Chicago forum was moderated by Politico's Roger Simon. It can be viewed on YouTube.

Brokaw's comments come at a time of widespread speculation about whether Williams will ever return to the "Nightly News" anchor chair. He is about two and a half months into a six-month suspension. Lester Holt is filling in.

Williams' fate will ultimately be decided by Andy Lack, who returned to the network last week to serve as chairman of NBC News and MSNBC, and NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke.

At the event, Brokaw made a reference to another television star who's been embroiled in a storytelling controversy -- Fox's Bill O'Reilly.

Brokaw recalled that he had once been asked if network newscasts were doomed, and he responded that "if Bill O'Reilly, who's widely perceived by a lot of people to be the most popular guy on television news, if he were competing against the three networks, he'd be in a distant fourth place."

Brokaw continued, "He went nuts when that got out. 'I'm on cable, it's different and I'm the number one guy on cable' and, you know, he just attacked me for three nights running. I don't get in arguments with Bill O'Reilly because it's just not worth it, frankly."

The audience applauded, and Brokaw added, "He was right. He's number one in cable. But in the wider universe, much bigger than cable, he's way, way, way down the list."

News Corp. and Fox Said to Consider Move to World Trade Center Site

The News Corporation building, which houses The Wall Street Journal and The New York Post, at 1211 Avenue of the Americas. Credit Michael Appleton for The New York Times

News Corporation and 21st Century Fox, two giant media companies controlled by Rupert Murdoch, are considering building a joint headquarters in a new 88-story skyscraper at the World Trade Center, real estate executives and government officials said this week.

If a deal is struck, the move by the companies from Midtown Manhattan to a new tower downtown would complete the rebuilding of the office complex destroyed on Sept. 11, 2001. It would also solidify the transformation of Lower Manhattan into a technology and media hub and a lively residential community.

The companies, which include Fox News and The Wall Street Journal, have been in discussions for months with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the site and the developer Larry A. Silverstein, who has the rights to build the fourth and last office tower at the site, known as 2 World Trade Center, according to the real estate executives and government officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the deal had not been made final.

“This move would establish media hegemony in Lower Manhattan,” said Mitchell Moss, a professor of urban planning at New York University. “News Corp. and Fox are in everyone’s living room. It removes any uncertainty that the new trade center would be a major economic engine, and it validates the 15-year effort to rebuild the World Trade Center.”

News Corporation and 21st Century Fox would require a substantial revision to the long-planned 2 World Trade Center, at Vesey and Greenwich Streets, which the British architect Norman Foster designed. The companies want the base of what is now a cruciform-shape tower with a diamond crown to accommodate television studios.

Earlier in the year, Mr. Murdoch’s companies looked and passed on the Related Companies’ Hudson Yards project on the Far West Side of Manhattan. Mr. Murdoch’s companies are now housed at 1211 and 1185 Avenue of the Americas.

The discussions on the trade center are shrouded in a confidentiality agreement, but several executives who have been briefed on the plans say both sides are spending an enormous amount of time and money assessing the feasibility of the project.

Nathaniel Brown, a spokesman for 21st Century Fox, said on Friday that it and News Corporation “are each exploring options for their New York headquarters, and the process is ongoing.”

The two media companies would join Condé Nast, The Daily News, Time Inc., McGraw-Hill, American Media Inc. and MediaMath in moving to an area once known exclusively for its financial institutions.

The tallest tower at the site, the 104-story 1 World Trade Center, opened last year. Mr. Silverstein completed the 72-story 4 World Trade Center in 2013 and is now building 3 World Trade Center, an 80-story tower. But 2 World Trade Center, which is intended to have 3.1 million square feet, remained in the planning stages, without an anchor tenant to get the project off the ground.

Even as the new trade center has taken shape, the surrounding neighborhood in Lower Manhattan has undergone a major transformation. The area, which 20 years ago often looked like a ghost town at the end of the work day, is now home to upscale restaurants, luxury retailers and more than 60,000 residents.

The financial industry, which lent the neighborhood its name, still has a strong presence. The New York Stock Exchange remains on Wall Street. The Federal Reserve Bank is on Liberty Street, and Goldman Sachs is an important downtown firm.
In a rendering, 2 World Trade Center is the second tower from the left. Credit DBOX
But the industry’s footprint has been shrinking steadily. One Wall Street, the Art Deco home of Irving Trust and Bank of New York Mellon, is being converted into luxury apartments, as are many other older downtown office towers. Chase Manhattan Plaza was sold to a Chinese company.

Time Inc., and its stable of magazines and digital media properties, is moving to the five-building office complex that was once known as the World Financial Center. Merrill Lynch and Nomura, a Japanese financial firm, are gone from the complex, and its owners have renamed it Brookfield Place.

Mr. Murdoch is not unacquainted with life downtown.

 HarperCollins, the publishing division of News Corporation, is already in Lower Manhattan, at 195 Broadway. In 2013, News Corporation spun off 21st Century Fox, which includes television studios, Fox Entertainment Group and various broadcast units.

The two companies have about 4,000 employees at their offices on Avenue of the Americas.
Yet there are logistical issues at 2 World Trade Center, and the companies have a history of failing to pull the trigger on major real estate moves.

In 2008, News Corporation was a partner and anchor tenant in a bid by the Related Companies to buy the West Side railyards for a 26-acre residential and commercial complex. Related effectively dropped out of the bidding a month before the final selection after a shaky economy led Mr. Murdoch’s company to abandon the deal. Ultimately, Related did gain control of the railyards after the winning bidder refused to sign the deal.

Even earlier, News Corporation negotiated for six months in 1989 with the developer David Solomon to be the anchor tenant for a 42-story tower under construction at the north end of Times Square. The two sides failed to come to terms; Mr. Solomon tumbled into bankruptcy and lost his building.

The talks at the trade center began earlier this year. Initially, Mr. Murdoch’s companies had wanted to gain control of the site from Mr. Silverstein and build a smaller tower designed by their own architect. That proved undoable for various reasons.

The companies are now talking about taking about half of the building — 1.5 million square feet — designed by Mr. Foster, but they still may bring in their own architect for the changes.

Given that the foundation has been built, the two sides are assessing whether the structure can accommodate the changes they want for television studios.

If it proves possible, it is still unclear what kind of subsidy deal News Corporation and 21st Century Fox would want from the Port Authority, the city and the state. Generous sales tax breaks are available downtown, but there are no more tax-free Liberty Bonds, which were used to finance the other office towers at the trade center.
Correction: April 10, 2015
An earlier version of this article misstated the year that the building at 4 World Trade Center was completed. It was finished in 2013, not last year.

Homeland Security Releases Emails Showing Political Influence for Sony, Time Warner Projects

by Eriq Gardner 

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general has released hundreds of pages of emails plus other documents in support of its investigation of improper influence on the EB-5 immigration program. Many of the documents discuss hundreds of millions of dollars in financing for film and television productions from Sony Pictures and Time Warner with prominent politicians including former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendall and the office of former Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa interjecting in an effort to get approvals.

Since inception in 1990, the EB-5 visa program allows foreign nationals to become conditional permanent residents upon an investment of at least $500,000 for a qualifying project that creates American jobs. Entertainment studios begun to eye the program to get film investment capital, but some projects have been rejected. For example, in 2009, Lionsgate was denied funding from EB-5 investors because it was determined that the studio was not legally obligated to accept the funding.

After a whistleblower stepped forward, DHS's inspector general looked into whether Alejandro Mayorkas, former director of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, gave special treatment to politically-connected applicants and exerted improper influence in the adjudication of the EB-5 program. A core part of the investigation looked into Mayorkas' order reversing a decision denying funding of Sony movie projects. He's also said to have handpicked a review board to review a separate series of Time Warner movie projects.

Late last month, a report about the investigation was released. The report's discussion on how Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid intervened over some Las Vegas projects and how Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe interjected for an electric car company commanded the most press attention, but the report also dealt significantly with the proposed projects involving Lionsgate, Sony and Time Warner.

Sony was initially denied for the same reason that Lionsgate gate rejected. But then Mayorkas got lobbied.

According to one newly released email from Katherine Hennigan, senior policy director in the Los Angeles Mayor's office, she wrote of "an apparent misunderstanding of what the standard financing practices in the film/TV industry are" and urged cooperation as "delays are now starting to jeopardize the attractiveness of this vital program to our local Film Studios."

Rendell spoke to Mayorkas over the phone, according to several emails, and according to one financier, was assured of cooperation.

There are also many messages from CanAm Tom Rosenfeld going into more details about the Sony project. The studio was to get a $100 million loan, according to him, with agreement to spend double that on film and TV production in a high unemployment area in Los Angeles. He also says in another message that the USCIS verdict was so pressing that $21.5 million in funds from 43 investors was at risk if a decision in favor of Sony didn't come immediately.

According to the inspector general, Mayorkas directed his staff to stop denying petitions in the LA Film project, and upon more lobbying, Sony got approval in late 2011. One EB-5 official said headquarters' involvement in the applications was "not normal."

In 2012, the government immigration office began hearing a lot of lobbying on petitions dealing with 240 investors who were pledging $250 million for films from Time Warner. Again, Rendell and Rosenfeld made their pitches and described the situation as similar to Sony. According to the inspector general, the California staff was poised to deny the applications because there weren't specifics about the projects Time Warner would complete, no commitment from Time Warner to borrow the money, no sourcing on job creation estimates, insufficient evidence about job creation and problematic escrow agreements.

The immigration staffers are even said to have drafted a denial decision before Mayorkas shook things up with a new procedures and a new review board, which in 2013, was directed to look into the Time Warner case.

In March 2012, the board is described as having a teleconference with California staff recommending denial of the petitions. One adjudicator expressed the opinion, "We did not feel that the project was creating new jobs, and that [the project was] just using the money to replace other funds available to Time Warner, including cash reserves and their $5 billion revolving credit facility with Citibank. So the EB-5 money was not really resulting in any new projects that would not have otherwise been produced in the absence of EB-5 capital."

Two days later, according to the inspector general's report, the decision from higher-up to approve was passed along, leading to staff resentment and one member's description of a "mad rush" to approve the many petitions.

The inspector general says it can't determine Mayorkas' motives for intervention but says that actions taken "created an appearance of favoritism and special access."

Here's the complete set of emails, memorandum of activity, and an account of an interview with Mayorkas.

Scott Eastwood, Riding Towards Movie Stardom

Scott Eastwood is starving. On a recent afternoon, the 29-year-old heartthrob barrels into a conference room at Twentieth Century Fox after a morning of press for his new movie, “The Longest Ride,” where he plays a bull-wrangling cowboy. 

He eyes the lunch buffet, unwrapping tinfoil and stacking two plates with chicken, fish and vegetables, a potluck for one. Then he sits down and realizes he might need to devour this meal with his bare hands. “I don’t have a fork,” says Eastwood, the son of screen legend Clint. “I don’t know what’s going on here.” A publicist rushes over with silverware. “Ah, ah, woo-hoo! You got some forks for us,” Eastwood says.

Even though he’s acted for 12 years, mostly in smaller roles, Eastwood’s career is now on the upswing. Eastwood has just arrived in New York from Hawaii, where he plays a NSA agent in the upcoming Oliver Stone drama about Edward Snowden. Then he’ll jet to Toronto for an unspecified part in David Ayer’s “Suicide Squad.” Eastwood has read the script, but he’s not able to divulge any details about the comic book tentpole, where he’s rumored to play Wonder Woman’s boyfriend Steve Trevor. “It’s going to be something that no one has seen before,” he says. “It’s so f—ing cool.”

But he’s happy to chat about “The Longest Ride” — which opens in theaters on Friday — his first lead role in a movie. “I’m really proud of it,” he says. The tearjerker about a cowboy who falls in love with a local Southern girl (Britt Robertson) is adapted from a Nicholas Sparks novel, and could provide the same launching pad for Eastwood that “The Notebook” was for Ryan Gosling. Besides, Hollywood is experiencing a shortage of leading men, and Eastwood — with his strong screen presence (which he learned from his dad, who told him: “Don’t be afraid of doing nothing”) and pinup looks — fits the job description.

When asked about the kind of career he envisions for himself, Eastwood rolls through a list of A-listers that include his pal Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Wahlberg, Brad Pitt, George Clooney and Matt Damon. But his performance in “The Longest Ride” also brings to mind another young movie star on the verge of stardom — Channing Tatum in “Step Up.” “I think he will continue on this path,” says “Longest Ride” director George Tillman Jr.

Eastwood would have missed out on “The Longest Ride” if he’d landed a coveted part he auditioned for around the same time — as Chris Kyle’s brother in “American Sniper.” But the director of that film, who happens to be his dad, never contacted him after he submitted a tape. “I’ve auditioned for pretty much every one of my father’s movies,” says Eastwood, who appeared in “Flags of Our Father,” “Invictus” and “Gran Torino” (but got shot down for “J. Edgar”). For the movies where he’s not picked, he doesn’t even receive a gentle rejection letter. “You don’t get a phone call,” Eastwood says. “It’s nothing personal.”

When he was growing up in Monterey, Calif., where he discovered acting in high school, Eastwood was so conscious about not benefiting from nepotism, he took on his mom’s last name — as Scott Reeves. But he’s come to embrace the Eastwood brand. He was one of five leading men that Tillman Jr. saw for the part of Luke Collins. “When he came in, I thought it was his dad 25 years ago,” the director says. “He looked exactly like him. I said, ‘This isn’t going to work. People are going to think it’s Clint Eastwood in the movie.’” But Eastwood won him over after a chemistry test with his leading lady.

Despite his early film work, Eastwood was mostly anonymous until he appeared in a Town & Country cover shoot (baring his abs and biceps) in October 2013 that went viral. “For some reason, people made a big deal out of it, but I don’t see it,” Eastwood says. “There are a lot more in-shape guys, better-looking guys, than me.” Shortly after, he was in the running to play Christian Grey in “Fifty Shades of Grey” after Charlie Hunnam dropped out. But Eastwood refused to audition because Universal Pictures wouldn’t let him see the script first. “They wanted me to sign a deal before I went in and even tested for it, which to me is backwards,” Eastwood says. “I thought it could make a good movie. The problem is, if you don’t have a script, you don’t know what movie they are going to make.”

Even if he didn’t enter the Red Room, the Internet is swooning over his pictures on Instagram — where he’s often seen shirtless in San Diego. “I’m not trying to post shirtless photos,” Eastwood says. 

“The reality is, I’m from California, where it’s f—ing hot. I live by the beach. I’m at the beach all the time. I surf. I fish. I dive. These things on Instagram are really my life with my buddies doing my normal day-to-day stuff. I happen to be shirtless a lot.”

“The Longest Ride” benefits from his sex appeal. Eastwood appears sans shirt (and pants) in a love scene in the shower with Robertson. Tillman Jr. says that he wanted to make the scene racier than a typical Sparks movie, but ultimately had to tone down some of the footage — including nudity from Robertson — to land a PG-13 rating. The director made sure one important moment didn’t end up on the cutting room floor. “We kept Scott’s butt shot in the film,” Tillman Jr. says. “The test audience didn’t want to lose that.”

To play the part, Eastwood had to learn how to come across as a cowboy (his dad hasn’t seen the film yet). A stunt double was used for the bull-riding scenes, but Eastwood had to get on and off, which turned out to be a dangerous exercise. “You’re surrounded by metal,” Eastwood says. “There’s a 2,000 pound bull underneath your legs. It can buck up at any second with its horns.” After the three-month shoot in North Carolina wrapped, Eastwood convinced his stunt double to let him ride, ignoring the studio’s instructions not to do that. “They told me, ‘We need you to promote a movie and be alive,’” Eastwood says. He survived — for 2.5 seconds. But his time in Hollywood is sure to be a much longer ride.

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‘Furious 7′ Racing to Huge $140 Million Opening Weekend

Courtesy of Universal
Universal’s “Furious 7″ is speeding toward a record-setting opening weekend of nearly $140 million at 4,004 U.S. locations, according to revised Friday estimates.

“Furious 7″ blasted off with $58 million to $60 million on Friday — including $15.8 million in 3,069 Thursday-night showings that started at 7 p.m. in the U.S.

Recent estimates had placed the Friday-Sunday number at $115 million, which were revised upward early Friday to as much as $125 million. But Friday’s afternoon numbers — based on West Coast matinees and East Coast early evening screenings — indicated that the Easter weekend would finish between $135 million and $138 million.

The film, starring Dwayne Johnson, Vin Diesel and the late Paul Walker, will easily set a record for an April opening weekend should the estimates hold. The current April record holder, Marvel-Disney’s “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” opened with $95 million on the same weekend last year.

All signals now suggest that the “Furious 7″ opening will easily exceed that of “Fast and Furious 6,″ which grossed $97 million in its domestic debut weekend two years ago on its way to $238 million. It will also become the 29th movie with a $100 million-plus opening weekend in the U.S. and the first to do so since “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1″ opened in November with $122 million.

At $138 million, “Furious 7″ would tie “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1″ as the 11th highest domestic opener of all time. And it will exceed what had been the top opening of 2015 — the $85 million three-day launch of Universal’s “Fifty Shades of Grey” — by over 60%.

“Furious 7″ opened internationally with $60 million in its first two days on Wednesday and Thursday and will expand to 10,500 sites. It should take as much as $250 million from foreign moviegoers by the end of the Easter weekend.

The movie — replete with its trademark spectacular automotive stunts — is set in Los Angeles, London, Tokyo, Russia, Abu Dhabi and the Dominican Republic. Michelle Rodriguez, Jordanna Brewster, Tyrese Gibson and Chris “Ludacris” Bridges reprise their roles.

Critical reception for “Furious 7″ has been strong, with an 82% “fresh” rating on the Rotten Tomatoes aggregator site.

The durable franchise, which launched in 2001, generated more than $2.4 billion in worldwide box office from the first six movies. “Fast and Furious 6″ has been the best performer, with $238 million in domestic grosses and $550 million internationally.

Rival studios held off on launching another major release this weekend. DreamWorks’ second weekend of animated comedy “Home,” released by Fox, should lead the rest of the pack at roughly $30 million to lift its 10-day U.S. total to the $100 million vicinity.

Warner Bros.’ second session of Will Ferrell-Kevin Hart comedy “Get Hard” will likely see much of its core male audience opt for “Furious 7.″ The R-rated prison comedy has been forecast to decline 50% from its opening weekend numbers to finish around $17 million.

Disney’s fourth frame of “Cinderella” and the third weekend of Lionsgate’s “The Divergent Series: Insurgent” should each pull in around $10 million.

With “American Sniper” and “Fifty Shades” overperforming and “Furious 7” delivering at the high end of expectations, 2015 is shaping up as a considerable improvement over 2014. First-quarter U.S. box office rose 3% to $2.47 billion, and Disney-Marvel’s “Avengers: The Age of Ultron” is the next blockbuster set to launch, on May 1.

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MSNBC Ratings Crater To All-Time Lows, Fox News Tops Q1 Results, CNN Up


With just 145,000 viewers among the 25-54s on average over the December 29, 2014 – March 29, 2105 period, the once-proud flagship The Rachel Maddow Show hit an all-time quarter low with the worst result since its September 8, 2008 launch. Not only is Maddow down 46% in the demo, but her 9 PM show is also down 19% in total viewers. Fellow primetime show All In With Chris Hayes and Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell fell to their worst quarterly demo ratings since their respective 2013 and 2010 debuts. O’Donnell’s show also had its lowest total quarterly viewership results. And 7 PM’s Hardball With Chris Matthews had its lowest-rated quarter in the demo since 2Q 2005 with an average viewership of 126,000.

CNN logoDoes it even seem worth mentioning that CNN sister station HLN beat MSNBC for the fourth quarter in a row in total day demo? Or that MSNC lost out to its own sister station CNBC in primetime demo for the second quarter in row? Well, they did.
There was more good news for Jeff Zucker this quarter as CNN saw an 11% rise in the demo and a 7% bop upwards in total viewers (535,000) in primetime over Q1 2014. Now solidly No. 2 behind Fox News, Zucker’s CNN beat his old NBC colleagues at the cable news network in total day by the biggest quarterly margin in eight years in the news demo and since 3Q 2006 in total viewers. 

CNN had an audience of 466,000 in total day with 147,000 in the demo for a 22% and 20% rise over Q1 2014. MSNBC had 316,000 total day total viewers and 85,000 adults 25-54, a drop of 20% and a hard 38% from the same period last year. With 1.068 million total viewers and 209,000 in the total day demo, Fox News was fairly steady with a 3% and 7% dip from Q1 2014.

Bill O'Reilly Fox News ChannelRanked fourth in all cable in primetime and total day viewers, Fox News had the five top watched and rated shows on cable news for the quarter. With 2.836 million and 509,000 respectively, The O’Reilly Factor was tops for the 60th quarter in a row with a 2% rise in total viewership and a 19% jump in the demo. That’s its best result in the former category since Q2 2013 and its best in the former since Q4 2012. The Kelly File (2.246 million/413,000), The Five (2.160 million/338,000) Special Report With Bret Baier (2.079 million/333.000) and On The Record With Greta Van Susteren (1.860 million/315,000) filled out the rest of the top 5.

Coming behind an 11 PM Factor repeat and in 16th place, The Rachel Maddow Show was MSNBC’s top cable news offering in total viewers. CNN’s AC 360 was that network’s best in 17th place. In the 25-54 demo, Anderson Cooper’s show was 12th while Maddow was MSNBC’s best at No. 26.

LAPD trying to determine whether there was foul play in death of Andrew Getty

LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith, left, talks with Capt. William Hayes at the entrance to Montcalm Avenue in the Hollywood Hills, where the body of Andrew Getty was found. (Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles police investigating the death of Andrew Getty, an heir to the Getty oil fortune, are still trying to determine whether foul play was involved.

A law enforcement source told The Times Getty was found naked from the waist down in the bathroom of his Hollywood Hills estate Tuesday and appeared to suffer from some type of blunt force trauma. It's unclear whether the injury was caused by a fall or something else.

LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith, a department spokesman, cautioned it was still “very, very early in the investigation” but said that based on initial observations, “this does not appear immediately to be a criminal act.”

The death appeared to be natural or an accident, said Ed Winter, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County coroner's office. Investigators had not yet determined a time of death, Winter said.

Ann and Gordon Getty confirmed their son’s death in a statement, which asked for privacy during an “extremely difficult time.” Police and coroner’s officials have yet to release the name of the man whose body was found Tuesday afternoon at the Montcalm Avenue home. 

Coroner’s and investigators remained on scene late Tuesday, waiting for a search warrant that would allow detectives to enter the home and look for any evidence.

The source, who spoke on the condition of annoymity because the case was on going, caution it could take some type for police and the medical examiner to determine whether foul play was involved.

The LAPD’s elite robbery-homicide detectives are handling the case because of the high-profile nature.

Police were called to Getty's compound, located at the end of a narrow, leafy street, at 2:18 p.m., said Cmdr. Andrew Smith.

A woman who was present at the time of the death was escorted from the residence by police for questioning, Smith said. She is cooperating with investigators, Smith said.

Just two weeks ago, Getty had sought a restraining order against a woman, according to court records. His attorney declined to comment.

Andrew Getty, 47, was the grandson of oil baron J. Paul Getty and part of the Getty trust.
He is one of four sons of Ann and Gordon P. Getty, one of J. Paul Getty's three sons.

Gordon Getty has a net worth of $2.1 billion, according to Forbes magazine.

Getty’s death is the latest misfortune to befall the wealthy family, which has seen its fair share of illnesses, addictions, early deaths and eccentricities.

J. Paul Getty's fifth son -- the only child he had with his fifth wife -- died of a brain tumor in 1958 at age 12.

In 1973, J. Paul Getty III, the 16-year-old grandson of J. Paul Getty, was kidnapped and held for ransom for more than five months. He was released after the family, which had been sent the boy's severed right ear, paid the abductors $2.8 million.

Gordon Getty in 1999 confirmed that he had a second family living in Los Angeles, news that came to light after the three daughters born of another woman filed court documents requesting that their last name be changed to "Getty."

The news that the well-known music lover had a second family -- while remaining married to his current wife -- became tabloid fodder, but it was something of an open secret among elite social circles.

The home where Getty was found dead had a storied history. The 70-year-old villa, which he purchased in 1996, was previously owned by three-time Oscar-winning film composer Miklos Rozsa.