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Hollywood’s transgenders laud Scarlett Johansson

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Los Angeles, Hollywood’s transgender community has applauded actress Scarlett Johansson’s decision to withdraw from a project on a trans man after she courted backlash for taking on the role.

Johansson announced that she was exiting “Rub & Tug”, a film in which she was set to star as Dante Tex Gill, a transgender man.

The actress issued a statement, saying she had “decided to respectfully withdraw my participation in the project” following ethical concerns about her participation as a cisgender actress.

“Our cultural understanding of transgender people continues to advance, and I’ve learned a lot from the community since making my first statement about my casting and realise it was insensitive,” she added.

Transgender actors, filmmakers, artistes and activists, who were at The Hollywood Reporter’s office here for a discussion about representation in the entertainment industry, lauded her decision.

“You are awesome,” said Buck Angel, with others expressing relief that the public outcry on behalf of the trans community had been heard and acted upon.

“Scarlett deciding to pull out was a good example of listening to the community and that was the right thing to do,” said Rhys Ernst, an Emmy nominated producer and director known for his work on “Transparent”, “This is Me” and the upcoming feature “Adam”.

“Rub & Tug” tells the story of Dante ‘Tex’ Gill who operated a massage parlour and prostitution business in Pittsburgh in the 1970s and 1980s. When the project was announced on July 2 with Johansson on board, there was an immediate backlash online, both on social media and in various news outlets. The consensus was that the role should have gone to a trans performer, The Hollywood Reporter reported.

Jen Richards, known for creating the series “Her Story”, analysed Johansson’s well-received statement, one that included a troubling statistic from GLAAD about representation — “LGBTQ+ characters dropped 40 per cent in 2017 from the previous year, with no representation of trans characters in any major studio release — commented: “I’m going to assume what she says in the statement, which is clearly very well-crafted by a team of very smart people, was nonetheless in earnest.”

Zackary Drucker, an artiste, cultural producer and filmmaker who has worked on “Transparent”, said she is hopeful this is a turning point in Hollywood.

“We are so troubled and so ravaged by feeling ignored, by feeling exploited, by feeling that our stories are not our own,” she said.

For those who felt that the controversy and criticism grew from the transgender community attempting to police who should and shouldn’t be allowed to act in whatever project they choose, actress Alexandra Grey said: “What we’re saying is that actors should have the artistic freedom to play any roles. We’re not saying that you can’t portray these characters.

“We’re saying we just want to have the opportunity as well to go out for any types of roles. We’d like to be invited for anything that you got.”

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Chloe Grace Moretz makes her own lunch

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Los Angeles,  Actress Chloe Grace Moretz finds the catered meals provided on set too heavy and says she would rather make her own food at home and bring it in with her.

“I usually like to make my own lunch at home and then bring it. On my last movie, I got really into making frittatas. That was I could make a frittata for three or four days and that’s what I would have for lunch,” Moretz told Total Film magazine.

She added: “I do not love on-set lunch It’s hard to eat a full lunch and then go back to work, you end up feeling kind of sick because you are on your feet all day long.”

The 21-year-old actress needs to eat to keep her energy levels up when she’s working as the days can be very long and she once spent a huge 26 hours on set shooting a party scene for “Bad Neighbours 2,” reports femalefirst.co.uk.

“Every single film, you’re waking up at crazy hours but I’d say my longest day was on ‘Bad Neighbours 2’ – it was a 26-hour day. We showed up at 8am and left at 10am.
It was our very last day and we were filming this exterior party scene for literally 26 hours. It was 100 per cent the longest party I’ve ever been to,” she said.

The “Kick-Ass” star always tries to fit in a nap when she has a break between scenes.

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My heart has always been in acting: Selena Gomez

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New Delhi, Singer-actress Selena Gomez says music has been a dominating factor in her life, but acting has always been her first love. Asked if she sees herself as a singer, a performer or an actress, she said: “I don’t know. My heart has always been in acting.”

“But music has been extremely dominating in my life and I am grateful for both… I love both, but I would like to be more in acting,” Gomez said in response to an IANS query over email from Los Angeles while promoting her “Hotel Transylvania 3: Monster Vacation”.

So, if you have a choice in the next 10 years in your career, you would go for acting and voice-over, than recording?

“Yes,” she replied. Gomez, who found fame as a child through a Disney show “Wizards of Waverly Place”, doesn’t like to sing on her acting projects.

“I don’t like blending the two, to be honest. Though a huge fan of ‘The Greatest Showman’, I have to say that was really fun, but I don’t like blending it. I don’t know. Just doesn’t work,” she said.

She got her first acting job when she was seven on “Barney & Friends”, but became a household name with “Wizards of Waverly Place” and found stardom.

Be it her professional life, career as a singer, decision to take some time off, struggle with anxiety and depression, dealing with fame, life-threatening kidney transplant as a result of lupus or her relationship with pop sensation Justin Bieber and singer The Weeknd — Gomez has lived her life in the public eye.

She is known for making hits like “Come and get it”, “The heart wants what it wants”, “Bad liar”, “Wolves” and “Back to you”.

As an actor and a voice-over artiste, she has been a part of projects like “Another Cinderella Story”, “The Big Short”, “Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising”, “Monte Carlo”, “The Muppets” and the “Hotel Transylvania” franchise. The first part of the film came out in 2012.

The third part “Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation” has opened to positive reviews. Sony Pictures India released the film in the country on July 20. She has lent her voice for the character of Mavis.

Talking about the “Hotel Transylvania” franchise — which tells of how the world of monsters and humans come together, the 26-year-old said: “It’s nice I got to grow with her and the older she got, the more I got. I made a joke (that) I’m just the same person, now a little more jaded, it’s what happens when you are an adult.”

The third part is about taking a break, and Gomez says her idea of taking a break is indulging in some “me time”. “I like spending time alone. But I also like travelling. I like driving.”

Fast forward to 20 years, she hopes to be in “Hotel Transylvania 23”.

“It is cool because kids hold on to things for so long. You know, like the first one, I still get asked questions about the first one by kids. I”s cool because they are the ones that keep it alive to be honest. So, hopefully, yes.”

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Priyanka Chopra’s new Hollywood role opposite Chris Pratt

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Los Angeles, Actress Priyanka Chopra’s Hollywood kitty is on an expansion spree. She will play the love interest of Chris Pratt in “Cowboy Ninja Viking”.

The role in Universal’s big-budget tentpole was one of the more highly coveted, and Priyanka beat out a slew of talent after a chemistry test with Pratt went extremely well, reports variety.com.

Priyanka, who shot to fame in American showbiz with “Quantico”, is coming off the series’ final season. She most recently appeared in “A Kid Like Jake”, opposite Jim Parsons and Claire Danes, and the Dwayne Johnson-starrer “Baywatch”.

She can next be seen in the comedy “Isn’t It Romantic” with Rebel Wilson.

Priyanka was due to star in Indian period drama “Bharat” opposite Salman Khan, but opted out of it for “a very special reason” — as per the film’s director Ali Abbas Zafar — just last week. It fuelled speculations that she may have been engaged to singer-songwriter Nick Jonas.

“Cowboy Ninja Viking, which is in pre-production, is being directed by “Game of Thrones” fame Michelle MacLaren from a screenplay by Dan Mazeau, Ryan Engle, Craig Mazin, Paul Wernick and David Reese.

Based on the Image Comics graphic novel by A.J. Lieberman and illustrator Riley Rossmo, the story revolves around a counter-intelligence unit formed by psychotherapist Sebastian Ghislain, who transforms agents known as Triplets, a reference to multiple personalities.

Pratt is playing a formidable agent with the fighting skills and personalities of a cowboy, a ninja,and a viking.

The film, currently in pre-production, is slated for a June 28, 2019, release, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

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