Tom Cruise reportedly bought robots to monitor COVID-19 safety on 'Mission: Impossible 7' set
The set of "Mission Impossible: 7" is starting to feel a whole lot like "Big Brother." That's according to a new report from The Sun, which claims Tom Cruise has plunked down "huge sums" of cash for a pair of "high-tech robots to enforce coronavirus safety protocols" and "administer spot tests" for COVID-19 on the movie's set in England. "Tom is so serious about making sure the shoot isn't shut down that he's splashed out on these robots as he can't be everywhere to ensure people are behaving themselves," an insider allegedly told the tabloid. Shooting resumes this week in the wake of Tom's screaming outbursts at crew last month, Page Six reports. He was set off by crew members who failed to follow safety protocols. Tom is said to have invested millions of his own dollars in moving the production to a former military site intended to serve as a COVID-free bubble for cast and crew.
Jennifer Lopez, Lady Gaga to perform at Biden-Harris swearing-in ceremonies
Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lopez are slated to help welcome President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris into their new roles at the inauguration on Jan. 20. According to CNN, Gaga will sing the National Anthem, while J.Lo will contribute a "musical performance," though no further details were available about what that might be. In addition to the singers' performances, Inauguration Day festivities, which have been dramatically scaled back in light of the coronavirus pandemic, will include a prime-time special hosted by Tom Hanks and featuring performances by Jon Bon Jovi, Demi Lovato, Justin Timberlake and Ant Clemons. the special airs Jan. 20 on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and MSNBC.
Macaulay Culkin responds to calls for Trump to be removed from 'Home Alone 2'
Macaulay Culkin is siding with "Home Alone 2" fans who want Donald Trump's cameo digitally removed from the film. Demands to have the president removed — or in the case of a slew of memes out there, replaced by anyone from Dolly Parton to Jar Jar Binks — surfaced over the holidays as Trump refused to concede he lost the 2020 presidential election to Joe Biden. On Wednesday., Jan. 13, the same day the House voted to impeach Trump a second time, Macaulay responded to a Twitter user who posted a call for a petition to nix Trump from the beloved holiday flick, according to THR. "Sold," wrote the actor, now 40. Responding to a post from someone who had done the honors and edited Trump out themselves, Macaulay wrote simply, "bravo." The president appears only briefly in the movie, playing the man Kevin asks for directions in a hotel. Director Chris Columbus said last month that Trump "did bully his way into" the appearance.
As this year's awards season slowly gets underway, organizations like the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences are actively working to create a more diverse film industry. It's a relatively new effort, though. When stars like Halle Berry, 54, were growing up, it was much harder to find stories about people who looked like her. That made her discovery of Black actresses and music stars even more meaningful. "I really struggled to to find images of Black women or women that I could identify with," Halle shares in the new PBS documentary "American Masters: How It Feels to Be Free," (via People). Tracing the career arcs of Lena Horne, Diahann Carroll, Abbey Lincoln, Nina Simone, Cicely Tyson and Pam Grier, the new doc looks at how each star's activism and fight to succeed in a whitewashed Hollywood helped inspire future movements like Black Lives Matter. "Early on, I remember seeing Lena Horne in 'Stormy Weather," Halle recalls. " … Seeing Diahann Carroll being the star of a show and playing a mother who was a nurse, who was educated, who was beautiful, just rearranged me and it made me realize I had value and I could turn to every week, a woman that looked like who I would aspire to be when I grew up," she explains. Raised by a white mother, Halle says she "didn't have those images in my household, adding that, "Finding them on television and through movies became very, very crucial to me." The special premieres Jan. 18 on PBS.
Siegfried Fischbacher of Siegfried & Roy dies at 81
Less than one year after illusionist Roy Horn died from complications of COVID-19, his longtime performing partner, Siegfried Fischbacher, has lost his battle with pancreatic cancer. Siegfried, 81, died in his home in Las Vegas on Wednesday, Jan. 13, his rep confirmed this week. Among the many fans who posted tributes to the late star following his death was David Copperfield, who called Siegfried a "legend in magic … who — together with Roy — illuminated Las Vegas with illusion."
Lisa Kudrow reveals she 'already shot something' for 'Friends' reunion
Lisa Kudrow just served up some good news for "Friends" fans — especially those who may have given up on the much buzzed-about, much delayed reunion special that's allegedly in the works for HBO Max. "We're going to shoot that in the spring, early spring," Lisa told Rob Lowe on the latest edition of his "Literally!" podcast this week. "I pre-shot something for it already. So we're definitely doing it because I already shot a little something," she assured listeners before reminding Rob that the special is framed as a reunion rather than a rebooted version of the long-running series. "It's not like a scripted thing," Lisa said. "We're not portraying our characters. It's us getting together, which doesn't happen a lot and has never happened in front of other people since 2004, when we stopped [filming 'Friends']." In addition to Lisa, original cast members Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, David Schwimmer, Matt LeBlanc and Matthew Perry have all signed on for the show, which has been postponed repeatedly due to safety concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic.
Armie Hammer's ex alleges emotional abuse amid graphic DM controversy
Over the weekend, Armie Hammer's name began trending following the leak of disturbing DMs the actor allegedly sent that appear to show him describing himself as a "cannibal." The private messages remain unverified, but a former girlfriend of the star is now also speaking out about their defunct relationship, which she says was abusive and involved threats that were in line with the cannibal comment. "He kind of captivates you and while being charming, he's grooming you for these things that are darker and heavier and consuming," Courtney Vucekovich told Page Six in a story published Thursday, Jan. 14. "When I say consuming, I mean mentally, physically, emotionally, financially, just everything." Courtney also alleged Armie went through a period of heavy drinking and drug use. "He put me in some dangerous situations where I was not OK, where he was heavily drinking, and I wasn't drinking that way and it scared me," she said. On Wednesday, Armie said in a statement to E! News that he's "not responding to these b——- claims." He also announced in the statement that he's dropping out of an upcoming movie out of concern for the safety of his children.
Liam Neeson is ready to retire from action films
Liam Neeson's just about ready to put his career as an action star to bed. "I'm 68 and a half. 69 this year," the actor recently told ET. "There's a couple more I'm going to do this year — hopefully, COVID allowing us — there's a couple in the pipeline and, then I think that will probably be it. Well, unless I'm on a Zimmer frame or something." Liam's latest action film, "The Marksman," hits theaters Friday, Jan. 15. "I love doing 'em. I love beating up guys half my age," he joked. Still, he said he's realized his age makes the genre feel a little off. "I've just finished one in Australia and I had a fight scene with a kid — lovely, sweet actor called Taylor — and halfway through the fight I looked up," Liam said. "I was breathless and it didn't cost him a cent. And I said, 'Taylor, what age are you?' He said, '25.'" Laughing, he added, "I said, 'That's the age of my eldest son!'"
Lily Allen gets candid about hitting rock bottom before she kicked booze, pills
For Lily Allen, the road to sobriety has been long and rocky. The singer, 34, opened up about her battle with drugs and alcohol in a recent edition of "The Recovery" podcast, where she reflected on how years of searching for "admiration and praise" — which she rarely found, even as a pop star — put her on a path of self-destruction. "When I think of my childhood, I don't see my mom and dad in it. Like, they weren't really around a lot," she said of her London upbringing, according to E! News. Lily revealed her drinking started in boarding school before she dropped out of school to pursue music full-time. By age 21, she had a major album out and a Grammy nomination, but found she was still unhappy. "All I wanted was affirmation and praise and I didn't even really get it then. I got it from strangers, but I didn't really get it from the people I wanted it from," she said. The singer also faced criticism from the press, with writers slamming her for her weight or dismissing her as untalented. "Of course, you know, when you're waking up to that news every day, you just want to escape it," she admitted. "And I very much used drugs and alcohol as a means of escaping that feeling." After taking a break from music to marry her first husband and have kids, she hit a financial wall and was forced to tour again. "I was 14 stones and just did not feel like a pop star at all," Lily recalled. "So, I started taking this drug called Adderall, which is like speed, to lose the weight. And then I got addicted to this drug because it made me sort of, like, invincible and I could work really long hours and be all the different people that I was required to be at the time." She was on the road with Miley Cyrus at the time and said the "sexualized" nature of the tour, as well as being the support act rather than the headliner, all made things harder, she said, so she started "acting out" by cheating on her husband and drinking all day. At one point, she recalls thinking, "'None of this acting out is working anymore. Maybe I should try heroin.'" Instead, she got help, though her sobriety was short-lived. It wasn't until she'd lost her marriage, her house and her friends that she finally kicked her addictions for good. "It's surrender, you know, more than anything," Lily said of her sobriety. "And acceptance and gratitude."
Florence Pugh defends Bella Thorne from trolls
Florence Pugh's fans are praising the "Little Women" star for defending her friend Bella Thorne from trolls. The trolling began on Wednesday, Jan. 13, with a slew of unprintably nasty comments that surfaced on a post Florence shared to show off the latest delicacy to come out of her DIY kitchen. "Mild chilli tomato sauced ravioli with a white wine, butter and herb poached lobster filling. NAUGHTY," Florence captioned the video. The attacks on Bella started when she chimed in to compliment Florence on the dish, writing, "Omg please come over and make food" alongside a pair of fire emojis. "… To all those negatively trashing Bella, I do not appreciate it or like seeing people being unnecessarily dragged on my page," Florence responded. "My page has NEVER been about that and I don't like seeing it. I always appreciate your love but not at the cost of bullying someone else." She signed off by quipping, "Enjoy the ravioli!" Her positive reply quickly earned the love and respect of fans. "AND THIS IS WHY I STAN YOU," wrote one user. "QUEEN."