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Hot Biopics Headed To The Big Screen (Pg. 2)

Sacha Baron Cohen as Freddie Mercury (currently untitled )

MercuryReel History: The story of rock titans Queen has currently been playing itself out for the past nine years on London’s West End in the play, We Will Rock You. And while Johnny Depp was also a name connected with the film story of the 70s/80s supergroup’s flamboyant frontman for several years, the casting choice of Sacha Baron Cohen has definitely widened the interest gap and scope to not only include fans of Queen, Freddie Mercury but also Cohen, whose traditionally known for his quirky brand of exposé type humor.

Hollywood Box Office Hit or Miss: Probable hit. Even though Cohen’s dramatic skills have not yet been tested, he got a chance to display some serious moments in Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby and proved that he could even sing in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Plus with the box office successes of Borat and Bruno, there's proof that Cohen can pack theaters and open a film in a big way all by himself. And while the Ali G star does not exactly share the height or physical build of Mercury (he’s taller and slimmer) Cohen does strongly resemble the rock icon, which could equal movie magic once this movie hits the screen. The Freddie Mercury film project is slated to begin production 2011.

Stamp of Approval: According to Deadline Hollywood, this movie has been sanctioned by the remaining members of the band Queen to the degree that they’ve licenced songs and publishing rights for the film. The band even formed company to serve as the movie’s producers.

 

Marlon Wayons as Richard Pryor in Richard Pryor: Is It Something I Said

WayansReel History: Like the Davis biopic, the Richard Pryor biopic also has 1990s feature film production roots. Back during the heyday of In Living Color, Damon Wayans, who parodied Pryor on the sketch comedy hit, was pegged to play the tortured comedic genius. However Damon explained to Tavis Smiley earlier this year that his Pryor project hit the skids because someone close to Pryor prevented it from being made. Eddie Murphy was also very recently attached to the Pryor biopic but fell out favor due to issues with Paramount Pictures, who were one of the original companies financing the film. Richard Pryor: Is It Something I Said will now be done with Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison Productions and Sony Pictures.Pryor

Hollywood Box Office Hit or Miss: A definite hit. Marlon Wayans has already exhibited the dramatic muscle, (check out his star turn in Requiem For a Dream) necessary to tackle such a role and reportedly blew producers away with his Pryor screen test.  Hair and makeup can flesh out any other resemblance issues but the fact that Wayans himself is a comedian should only lend itself positively in his spot-on depiction of late comic great. Richard Pryor: Is It Something I Said is written and directed by Bill Condon (Dreamgirls) and is scheduled for a 2011 release date.

Stamp of Approval: Pryor’s widow, Jennifer Lee is signed on as a producer (along with Chris Rock), so this production is not only endorsed and supported by the Pryor estate but by many comedians in the industry (like Sandler and The Wayans Family) who were both inspired and influenced by Pryor’s lifelong work.

 

 

 

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Jeff Spicer

Lizzo Surprises Hospital Staff Around The Country With Free Lunch

In a show of appreciation amid the ongoing spread of COVID-19, Lizzo treated hospital staff to free meals. The Grammy-winning singer donated meals to various hospitals around the country on Monday (March 30).

“We wanted to send lunch to hospitals around the county to show our appreciation for the medical workers,” reads a video message posted on Lizzo’s Instagram account showing photos of medical workers receiving their free meals.

The donation helped feed staff at Seattle’s University of Washington, M Health Fairview in Minneapolis, UW Health in Wisconsin, and Henry Ford Hospital, which is in Lizzo’s hometown of Detroit.

“I just wanted to say thank you for all that you’re doing during this pandemic it’s definitely not easy and you guys are putting yourself on the front line,” Lizzo said in a special shout out to Henry Ford Hospital. “Because of that, I wanted to treat ya’ll to a meal and I really hope that you guys enjoy the food. We did everything we could to keep it safe for ya’ll. Lunch on me. I love you guys thanks for being the heroes in this story.”

SURPRISE! @lizzo treated our ER staff at #HenryFordHospital to lunch today and shared a message of thanks to our #HealthcareHeroes on the front lines. #Lizzo, from the bottom of our hearts, thank you so much for making our day brighter with your generosity. 💙 pic.twitter.com/sM5H8DIImg

— Henry Ford News (@HenryFordNews) March 31, 2020

Along with her donation, the “Truth Hurts” singer also encouraged her Instagram followers to donate to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund benefitting the World Health Organization.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

S/O to our heroes ❤️ https://covid19responsefund.org/ 👈🏾to donate, if you can ❤️

A post shared by Lizzo (@lizzobeeating) on Mar 30, 2020 at 8:21pm PDT

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Michael Jordan speaks during The Celebration of Life for Kobe & Gianna Bryant at Staples Center on February 24, 2020 in Los Angeles, California.
Kevork Djansezian

ESPN's Michael Jordan Docuseries 'The Last Dance' Pushed Up To April

Basketball fans have been going through withdrawals since the NBA has suspended its season because of the coronavirus, but they'll get the next best thing. ESPN has announced that its Michael Jordan documentary The Last Dance would be released in April instead of June.

The Last Dance, a ten-part series, will now begin on April 19. It tells the story of Jordan and the Bulls' last championship season in 1997-1998, and includes never-before-seen footage from an NBA Entertainment crew that followed them around that year. ESPN also spoke to more than 100 people close to the team.

"As society navigates this time without live sports, viewers are still looking to the sports world to escape and enjoy a collective experience," ESPN said in a statement. "We've heard the calls from fans asking us to move up the release date for this series, and we're happy to announce that we've been able to accelerate the production schedule to do just that. This project celebrates one of the greatest players and dynasties ever, and we hope it can serve as a unifying entertainment experience to fill the role that sports often play in our lives, telling a story that will captivate everyone, not just sports fans."

The NBA suspended its season after two-time defensive player of the year Rudy Gobert, of the Utah Jazz, tested positive for the coronavirus. Had the season not been suspended, fans would be preparing for the NBA's playoff race. Other sports leagues followed suit after the NBA's decision, and other athletes, including Gobert's teammate Donovan Mitchell and Brooklyn Nets Star Kevin Durant, have also tested positive. Mitchell and Gobert have since been cleared of the virus.

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Exclusive: Will Smith And Martin Lawrence Discuss "Odd Couple" Energy For 'Bad Boys For Life'

It might seem like it was ions ago, but Will Smith and Martin Lawrence returned to the top of the box office in January with the third installment of the Bad Boys franchise. Bad Boys For Life brought our faves to the big screen with their classic banter and unmatched energy.

In an exclusive clip from the film's digital release, the two discuss what makes their chemistry so electric. For Lawrence, it was the mission to keep comedy at the forefront of the action-packed film. Elsewhere in the clip, the film's directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah share their experience working with the film veterans.

"I cannot even describe it when they're together something happens," Adil says. "Whatever they do is funny, cool and so interesting. We don't have to do a lot of directing, we just let them do what they do."

Bad Boys For Life grossed over $60 million in its opening weekend and $204 million globally. The film is officially available today (March 31) for digital release. It will land in 4K UHD, Blu-ray and DVD on Tuesday, April 21.

It was recently announced that Sony already kicked off plans to develop a fourth film for the franchise. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Chris Bremner, who worked on Bad Boys for Life, has been tapped to handle the script.

You can read out VIBE VIVA cover story with Bad Boys For Life co-star Nicky Jam here. 

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