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‘Silence of the Lambs’ director Jonathan Demme dies at 73

Academy Award winning filmmaker Jonathan Demme, best known for directing “The Silence of the Lambs” and “Philadelphia,” has died. He was 73.

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An unidentified source close to Demme’s family told IndieWire on Wednesday that Demme died of esophageal cancer and complications from heart disease.

Disney offers sneak peek ahead of ‘Pandora – The World of Avatar’ park opening

Disney was preparing to release information on the number of jobs that will be created and the impact on the economy its newest attraction, Pandora – The World of Avatar – will have on Central Florida when it opens on May 27.

The attraction will feature a bioluminescent rainforest, dining, shopping and two new rides – Avatar Flight of Passage and the Na’vi River Journey.

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Situated in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Pandora covers 12 acres and is part of the largest expansion in the park’s history, Disney said.

Park employees have undergone intense training to make the Pandora experience as real as possible, officials said. 

Among other things, cast members are learning the Na'vi language used in the movie.

The movie's gravity-defying floating mountains have been recreated for the Animal Kingdom attraction.

"The floating mountains that are here in the world of 'Avatar' are completely jaw dropping," Disney imagineer Matt Beiler said. 

"You can walk directly under them and they tower above your head. And what's really interesting is that you can walk completely around them and every view from every different angle is completely new and unique and amazing.”

>> Related: Disney get permit to add gondola rides at theme park

Disney hopes since the movie broke box office records, that excitement will translate into ticket sales at Animal Kingdom to view Pandora in real life.

“The emanating life from these things will provide this aura that will really take your breath away,” said Animal Kingdom vice president D’Juan Rivers.

Those behind Animal Kingdom’s biggest expansion said the project created 1,500 jobs between construction crews and the people who will interact with guests. 

‘Star Wars: Episode IX’ release date announced

It doesn’t have an official full title yet, and fans don’t know which new and old characters will appear in it, but now they know when “Star Wars: Episode IX” will hit theaters.

The last film in the third “Star Wars” trilogy will hit big screens on May 24, 2019. 

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The announcement was made Tuesday.

The second part of the current trilogy, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” will be in theaters in December.

"The Last Jedi” teaser trailer and poster were recently released at “Star Wars” Celebration Orlando.

 Episode IX is currently listed in development on IMDb.com. Included in the cast list are Mark Hamill, John Boyega and Lupita Nyong’o.

Tribute to Carrie Fisher will help 'Star Wars' fans say goodbye to Princess Leia

“Star Wars” fans are now able to say goodbye to the beloved Princess Leia.

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“Star Wars” fans gathered Thursday at the Star WarsCelebration Orlando in Orlando, Florida, and celebrated the life of the late Carrie Fisher, who brought Princess Leia to life in the series.

Fisher’s co-stars, including Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford, spoke of Fisher’s charm, wit and huge heart, for which they said fans will always remember her.

“She’s got real courage,” Ford said. “Real gall.”

>> RELATED: It looks like we now know where Prince Harry will be spending Easter weekend

“I love her,” Hamill said. “I love her when she drives me crazy and I love her when she makes me laugh. She’s just delightful.”

Fisher’s daughter, Billie Lourd, paid tribute to her late mother by sharing a few words with the audience.

“She was brilliant, and obviously well all miss her. But she’ll always be a princess who took command and never backed down, never was in jeopardy. She was always helping the other guys get out of the messes they created. We’ll all love her forever and ever,” Lourd said.

Jude Law to star as Dumbledore in ‘Fantastic Beasts’ sequel

Jude Law, who appeared in “Sherlock Holmes” and “The Holiday,” will star as a young Dumbledore in the next film installment of the Harry Potter series-based “Fantastic Beasts” movies.

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“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” a Harry Potter spinoff novel, play and film, debuted in theaters in November. 

The film, starring Eddie Redmayne and Dan Fogler, follows the story of Newt Scamander, a British wizard who searches New York City for magical creatures that escaped from his briefcase.

According to Variety, J.K. Rowling has already written the script for “Fantastic Beasts 2,” which will follow Scamander and his friends as they “have to decide on their allegiances.”

Law will play Dumbledore during the time when he served as a transfigurations professor at Hogwarts.

“Jude Law is a phenomenally talented actor whose work I have long admired, and I’m looking forward to finally having the opportunity to work with him,” director David Yates said. “I know he will brilliantly capture all the unexpected facets of Albus Dumbledore as J.K. Rowling reveals this very different time in his life.”

“As fans ourselves, we are thrilled to have Jude Law joining the ‘Fantastic Beasts’ cast, playing a character so universally adored,” Toby Emmerich, president and chief content officer of Warner Bros. Pictures, said, according to Variety. “Jude has been a member of the Warner Bros. family for years and we’re excited to embark on this new adventure with him.”

Johnny Depp will continue his role as Grindelwald. 

According to Variety, production of “Fantastic Beasts 2” will start this summer. The movie is set to be released Nov. 16, 2018.

 

Photos: ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ premiere

Let the saving of the galaxy begin! The stars of the latest “volume” of “Guardians of the Galaxy” hit the red carpet in Tokyo, Japan.

‘It’ angers professional clowns

Now that fans of the Stephen King movie about a killer clown have had time to digest the long-awaited remake, professional clowns are not happy that another horror movie depicting a murdering man in clown makeup is hitting the big screen.

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Clowns who put on funny faces for a living are saying that “It” will hit their bottom line.

“It’s a horror movie and it affects people’s thoughts and opinions on what a clown is,” Celine Harland told the BBC.

She said that clowns are just bouncing back after last year’s series of creepy clown sightings in the United States and in the United Kingdom.

Matthew Faint, a clown who goes by the name “Mattie the clown,” is hoping that people don’t take their children to go see “It.”

“There’s just so many horrible movies out there... clowns that eat people or whatever,” Faint told the BBC.

It” hits theaters in September. It stars Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise the clown.

Film academy will stick with accounting firm despite Oscars flub

Despite its culpability in a high-profile gaffe at this year’s Oscars, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will continue working with accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, officials told members.

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Among other duties, the firm is responsible for organizing results and monitoring the distribution of awards at the Oscars. It took responsibility for a flub that led presenters to name “La La Land” as the winner of this year’s Best Picture award instead of the actual winner, “Moonlight.”

In a letter sent to members Wednesday and obtained by the Los Angeles Times, academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs said the organization has been “unsparing in our assessment that the mistake made by representatives of the firm was unacceptable.”

“Throughout the last month, the academy team has worked hand in hand with PwC to review our wide-ranging relationship – everything from Oscars voting, auditing, and taxes – during which we asked them to lay out for us a path and a process (toward) ensuring that everything will continue to the high standards the academy expects and you deserve,” she wrote. “After a thorough review, including an extensive presentation of revised protocols and ambitious controls, the board has decided to continue working with PwC.”

Boone Isaacs said a number of new protocols were also agreed to Tuesday during a meeting of the academy’s Board of Governors.

Among other things, PwC agreed to add a third “allotting leader” who will sit in the control room with the show’s director during the ceremony and make sure the correct names are read for the correct awards.

The mistake at this year’s Oscars came after a PwC partner accidentally gave presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway the back-up envelope for the Actress in a Leading Role award.

The accounting firm apologized for the mix-up.

‘Get Out’ writer and director Jordan Peele honored with director of the year award

Jordan Peele, writer and director of the brilliant socially conscious horror film “Get Out,” is being honored as Director of the Year at CinemaCon, the gathering of the National Association of Theatre Owners, happening March 30 in Las Vegas.

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“With the phenomenon known as ‘Get Out,’ Jordan Peele has instantaneously become a force to reckon with as a gifted and enormously talented director and filmmaker,” CinemaCon Managing Director Mitch Neuhauser said in a statement. “He has audiences and critics around the globe enamored and spellbound, dare I say hypnotized, with his wildly inventive directorial debut, and we are ecstatic to be honoring him as this year’s ‘Director of the Year.’”

Related: Jordan Peele's directorial debut 'Get Out' makes impressive box office gross

“Get Out,” his directorial debut, is quite a departure from “Keanu” or the acclaimed Comedy Central sketch comedy series “Key and Peele.” The movie starts out hitting the notes of a romantic comedy, with Chris, played by Daniel Kaluuya, who is black, and Rose, played by Allison Williams, who is white, headed to a weekend at her parents’ home outside of New York and in the countryside.

Related: Jordan Peele’s “Get Out” takes on the horrors of racism

“I wrote this movie in the Obama presidency. It felt like race was not being discussed in a way I felt like it deserved to be,” Peele said during an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “For the past couple of years and especially now, racial tension and racial conversation is front and center in this country.”

The movie captivated audiences and made history when Peele became the first African-American writer-director to earn $100 million with his debut movie. Yet he knows all too well the persistent sting of racism.

“I’ve been asked to hang up coats” while attending black-tie events, he said.

“We have to look within ourselves constantly,” Peele said. “Racism is always going to be present in this country, and racism is not a one-sided dynamic. This isn’t just a black horror movie, this is a movie everyone is meant to enjoy. It’s a way to promote that conversation in a way that’s fun.”

Leonardo DiCaprio shares emotional tribute to 'Gilbert Grape' mom Darlene Cates

Leonardo DiCaprio is going to miss Darlene Cates.

Cates, who played DiCaprio’s mother in the 1993 film “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape," died in her sleep over the weekend. She was 69 years old.

>> Darlene Cates, 'What's Eating Gilbert Grape' star, dead at 69

On Tuesday, DiCaprio shared an emotional tribute to Cates on Facebook.

>> PHOTOS: Notable deaths 2017

“Darlene was the best acting mom I ever had the privilege of working alongside,” he wrote. “Her endearing personality and incredible talent will live on in the memories of those who knew her, and those who loved her work. My thoughts and prayers are with her family during this difficult time.”

>> See the post here

DiCaprio earned his first Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for his role as Cates’ mentally impaired son. She later went on to act in small parts in “Touched by an Angel” and “Picket Fences.”

(H/T E! News)

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