Associated Press AP

No, The Hunt Was Never Named ‘Red State vs. Blue State’

The movie that was supposed to be the newest release from indie home Blumhouse, The Hunt, is now sitting on a shelf following Universal’s decision to not release the movie. With several mass shooting incidents taking place in recent days, the feeling was that now was not the right time to release a movie that included violence with a political slant. However, the studio is firing back at any implication that his movie was meant to add gas to the fire of political tension.

Craig Zobel, director of The Hunt, says that if he believed the movie was going to incite violence, he would not have made it. Instead the film, which featured “liberal elites” hunting “conservative deplorables” for sport, was designed to poke fun on those on both sides of the political divide. Universal released a statement to Variety which stated that a rumor that the movie was, at one time, actually going to be called Red State vs. Blue State, was simply untrue. According to the studio…

It’s certainly true that if there were ever plans to call the movie Red State vs. Blue State, then clearly the plan was to capitalize on the seemingly growing political divide for box office success. However, it appears that such a title was never even a consideration at any point. A movie called The Hunt could be about anything, the title itself isn’t looking to be controversial.

Of course, the movie was likely going to have to deal with some controversy, but it seems that ultimately, the film is actually about those on both sides tend to assume they understand those on the other side of the political spectrum without actually talking to them. The movie is about how we should not rush to judgment, which makes the situation regarding the political backlash to the film somewhat ironic, if unsurprising.

At this point, the fate of The Hunt is unclear. The film’s scheduled release has been canceled and its unclear when, if ever, audiences will have a chance to see the movie. Odds are even if the movie does still get a theatrical release down the road, it will be done quietly, with a minimal marketing push. Otherwise, we could see the film make the jump to a streaming service or a video-on-demand release.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Make History by Hiring an All-Female Senior Staff

As assistant private secretary for Markle and Prince Harry, Wong helps build strategic initiatives across issues like HIV/AIDS, youth engagement in the Commonwealth, and mental health. Prior to this job, she worked in the Obama administration as a political appointee.

Latham is a dual British and American citizen, and has a background in politics on both sides of the pond. She’s worked with Hillary and Bill Clinton, as well as Barack Obama, in addition to a major British public relations firm.

“Harry and Meghan have felt frustrated by the one-size-fits-all approach to being a working royal and are aiming their star far higher,” a royal source told Express UK. “It is clear they think Fiona is the person to do that. Internally, the hope is, as someone with enormous diplomatic experience, she will also understand that, whether you like it or not, there are limitations to being a royal for a very good reason.”

The Daily Mail reports that there are also two female press officers and a “team of female private office employees” on Markle and Harry’s official payroll. They do, however, reportedly have a man in charge of internal publicity, including the Sussex Royal Instagram account.

Taylor Swift Is Unraveling Some Of Lover‘s New Lyrics Early In New Spotify Playlist

Taylor Swift is releasing an entire palette of new music on August 23 when her seventh studio album Lover drops. Ahead of its release, she’s doling out clue after clue to fans, some we’ve already been privy to in recent music videos. But she’s taking it a step further with a new Spotify playlist, ‘Love Taylor: Lover Enhanced Album,’ that’ll share exclusive early access to lyrics and other kinds of goodies for fans that subscribe to it. Who else is giving their fans this kind of creative content? Sit back, relax, and tune into this collection of Swift’s new songs along with some surprising inclusions from other artists.

The curated playlist that is out today (August 20) is 21 tracks long and includes the previously heard tracks from Lover: “The Archer,” “Me!,” “You Need To Calm Down,” and the title track. It additionally features songs from other artists such as Clairo (“Alewife”), Nicki Minaj (“Come See About Me”), and more. The playlist is also unveiling new lyrics from the forthcoming LP every day leading up to its release that will come courtesy of audio messages. The first lyric reveal has been “I can’t talk to you when you’re like this/Staring out the window like I’m not your favorite town/I’m New York City.” This will continue throughout the week. When Lover drops, expect the playlist to have the LP in its entirety along with other magnificent goodies.

Swift released the album’s title track last week, along with the LP’s tracklist that features Brendon Urie and the Dixie Chicks. She will be performing at the 2019 VMA Awards when they kick off on August 26.

Listen to Taylor’s new playlist and jump into the road to Lover up above.

Underwater Trailer: Kristen Stewart’s Head Is Shaved In New Deep Sea Monster Movie

Kristen Stewart has fought vampires, evil queens and government agents, but in the 2020 action-thriller Underwater, the acclaimed actress takes a dunk and goes up against a deep sea monster, and with a fresh new haircut. The first trailer for Underwater has arrived so dive in and check it out below.

The first thing that the Underwater trailer establishes is that this crew of underwater researchers is going to the very deepest parts of the ocean. The trailer doesn’t let us in on the specifics of their objectives or what they are studying, but all we need to know is that these characters are about as far as a person could possibly be on this planet from the nearest help or hope of rescue. That sets the stage for what’s to follow.

Something shakes the entire subterranean research laboratory and Kristen Stewart’s head shaved character Norah sees what has to be the most terrifying thing you could see in a place that deep underwater: a leak. The whole thing begins to flood and when the crew regroups, that’s when we get the first idea of what exactly might be going on. It seems that like the Dwarves in the mines of Moria, they “delved too greedily and dug too deep” and freed or awoke…something.

When the crew has to walk across the bottom of the ocean to survival, they must contend with the deep sea creature or creatures that are now awake. Unlike last year’s The Meg, and despite having comedian T.J. Miller as part of the cast, Underwater seems like it will largely eschew campiness. Instead it goes for a true sci-fi horror vibe and it was hard not to think of Ridley Scott’s original Alien while watching the trailer.

The one thing I really like is that similar to something like James Cameron’s underwater science fiction mystery The Abyss, which is still not on Blu-ray for some reason, the trailer for Underwater really makes the deep ocean feel like a different world. Just like space, the depths of the oceans are strange, unknown and alien and therefore frightening.

The special effects in this trailer look solid and the visuals have a real horror quality to them and appear distinctive enough to help this movie stand out if it’s good. My only concern on that front is that Underwater is a January release and while it’s not necessarily as true as it once was, that month is historically a dumping ground for movies Hollywood studios have no faith in.

On the other hand, that rule has exceptions and perhaps Underwater could find itself benefitting from Kristen Stewart appreciation following her role in November’s Charlie’s Angels reboot. The Signal is the third film from director William Eubank, who previously helmed 2014’s The Signal with Laurence Fishburne. For Underwater he lined up a cast that in addition to Kristen Stewart and T.J. Miller, also includes Vincent Cassel and Iron Fist and Game of Thrones actress Jessica Henwick.

Underwater splashes into theaters on January 10, 2020. There’s still plenty to look forward to in 2019 though, check it all out in our premiere guide.

Ethan Embry Literally Shat Himself Filming That Thing You Do!

Over the years, Tom Hanks’ directorial debut That Thing You Do! has become a certified cult classic, with legions of loyal fans celebrating its innocence, its enthusiasm and its catchy-as-hell soundtrack. We don’t think anyone has ever actually soiled themselves because they were so excited about That Thing You Do! But now we know that one of the film’s stars crapped his own pants while filming an important scene in the movie, and the reason why is pretty outrageous.

Here’s the thread. Ethan Embry, who played the bass player of The Wonders in Tom Hanks’ jubilant rock-and-roll comedy, shared this story on social media in response to someone claiming to be a “Duck Dad.” It seems that Embry had a pet duck on the set of That Thing You Do! – which he awesomely named Salvador Ducky – but then he made some poor decisions… which led to the on-set shitting.

Man, that is beyond unfortunate. Stomach issues aside, not having your own bathroom is a serious issue. The Wonders were supposed to be bonding by playing an overnight-sensation band who strikes it big with a hit single. But if your bass player is crapping his pants because he let a baby duck eat out of his mouth, how much “bonding” is actually happening?

Maybe this is why The Bass Player (Ethan Embry didn’t even have a name in the movie) leaves the band mid-movie and gets written out?

And then he shares that story about Hollywood assistants having to lay down sheets of cardboard in Tom Hanks’ Airstream so that Embry could duck walk to the toilet without shit falling out of his pant leg. And really, who hasn’t been there, am I right?

These are the stories that I wish were shared at press junkets. Not how everyone got along, or how they improvised a few takes, but “the script was just so good.” Why do we have to wait decades to hear the real scoop on co-stars who shat themselves while filming live concert shots because they foolishly let a duck eat straight out of their mouth?

Well, anyway. We are contractually obligated to share this song every time that we write about the amazing That Thing You Do!

We will never think of Tom Hanks’ masterful movie musical the same way ever again.

Rogue One’s Ben Mendelsohn Is Still Arguing That Krennic Created The Death Star

Since Disney acquired Lucasfilm, the Star Wars franchise has been producing a variety of new and exciting content. In addition to the main sequels and upcoming Mandalorian live-action series, the House of Mouse broke new ground by introducing standalone movies to the galaxy far, far away. The first of these was Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, with Ben Mendelsohn starring as the villainous Orson Krennic. And despite Rogue One hitting theaters back in 2016, Mendelsohn is still arguing that his villainous character was the true creator of the Death Star.

Orson Krennic was the clear villain of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, helping to set up the conflict of the movie as well as the Empire as we knew it in A New Hope. But there is some debate about his role in creating the Death Star, as Mads Mikkelson’s Galen Erso was the man responsible for the weaponry (and weakness) in the space station. Ben Mendelsohn recently spoke to this debate, and is staunch about his feelings regarding Krennic’s role. As he put it:

You gotta hand it to Ben Mendelsohn, the man is determined. Because despite the years that have passed, he’s still defending his Rogue One‘s character in creating the planet destroyer known as the Death Star.

Ben Mendelsohn’s comments to GQ shows how much the actor truly cares about his tenure in the Star Wars franchise. Darth Vader may have had an epic role in the standalone film, but Krennic was the primary antagonist of the blockbuster. Mendelsohn thinks it would be weird for the film’s villain to be middle management, and therefore is giving the character credit for being the true mastermind behind the Death Star.

The Death Star is an iconic piece of Star Wars lore, serving as the primary weapon of the Empire during A New Hope and Return of the Jedi. Rogue One was focused on the mission for the Death Star’s plans, which contained a vital weakness thanks to Galen Erso. Audiences watched as the motley crew of rebels died one by one, eventually succeeding in getting the plans, which would allow Luke to destroy the space station in Episode IV.

All things considered, Ben Mendelsohn does have legs to stand on regarding Krennic’s role in creating the Death Star. The station is one big weapon, and the Imperial Officer was the Director of the Advanced Weapons Research during Rogue One. This makes the character’s death all the more poetic, as he was killed by that very same weapon when Grand Moff Tarkin fired it at the Imperial Base on Scarif.

Ready Or Not Has Screened, See What People Are Saying

The end of August is one of those periods of the film year when you’re never quite sure what you’re going to get. The summer blockbuster season has come to a close and we’re not quite ready to go fishing with Oscar bait. This is frequently when you’ll see a collection of very odd movies hit screens that studios aren’t quite sure what to do with. It’s not hard to see why Ready or Not is one of those movies.

However, sometimes, one of those movies that doesn’t quite fit anywhere else on the calendar, comes out and you discover the reason it doesn’t fit is because there’s simply never been another movie quite like it before. Ready or Not is that movie. I got to see it last night, and I’m still more than a little blown away but what I saw.

It’s a fairly unique experience to be surprised by a movie when you write about them every day. And yet, Ready or Not did exactly that. Whatever I thought I was getting from the film, I got something else, something more. Ready or Not is unapologetic in its willingness to try and be several different genres at once. It’s a black comedy, a bloody horror movie, and a tense thriller all at once, without compromising any of it.

I’m not the only one at CinemaBlend who feels that Ready or Not is something special. My colleague Eric Eisenberg also saw the film last night and was equally taken by it.

Samara Weaving, an actress you’re likely not too familiar with unless you watched the Showtime series SMILF, is absolutely phenomenal in this movie. Her performance really can’t be undersold. Ready or Not actually asks quite a bit of its star, and she handles it all expertly. Much of the praise for the new movie includes accolades for her.

The film stars Weaving as Grace, a woman who is about to marry into the Le Domas family. The family made its money making games, and so tradition requires any new member of the family to play a game with the others. Grace’s game is hide and seek, but the family version of the game is one in which the one who is hiding will be killed if discovered.

It’s an off-the-wall premise to be sure, but it might also be the least bonkers thing in the entire movie. Ready or Not turns the volume all the way up on this story and never looks back.

But the lunatics here at CinemaBlend aren’t the only ones who are excited after seeing Ready or Not. Most other critics did as well. The film has a near perfect score on Rotten Tomatoes. Griffen Schiller from The Playlist says the movie will far exceed any expectations and audience may have.

A movie like this that doesn’t have major star power and is an original story may have trouble finding an audience. It’s very likely this was the reason the movie found itself with a late August release date, but if positive buzz means anything, Ready or Not certainly has it. Atom Tickets’ Alisha Grauso simply says the movie is a “blast” and praises several member of the cast, Weaving among them of course.

With a rare Wednesday release, Ready or Not may be looking to get some people into theaters to start the word of mouth before the weekend hits. It appears the hype train has already started, as nearly every critic thinks the film is worth checking out. With no other major releases coming for the rest of the month, maybe Ready or Not is going to be the movie to beat.

HBO Max Is Making a ‘Practical Magic’ Prequel Series—Here’s Everything We Know

I consider Practical Magic to be one of the greatest (and perhaps underrated) Halloween movies around. So the news that HBO Max—the yet-to-launch streaming service that will also be home to Friends once it leaves Netflix—is developing a prequel is extremely good news. The story of sisters Sally (Sandra Bullock) and Gillian Owens (Nicole Kidman) who are born with magical powers they try to avoid—until they can’t—is the perfect mix of comedy, drama, romance, and horror. Oh, and it features some extremely great hair.

Variety reports that the streaming platform has ordered a pilot for the one-hour show called Rules of Magic. It will center around siblings Jet, Franny, and Vincent Owens who have “abnormalities that have kept them isolated.” They soon discover that they are descended from a line of witches.

Here’s everything we know so far.

The source material is based on a book. The series will be based on the Alice Hoffman novels Rules of Magic and Practical Magic, the latter of which was also adapted for the 1998 movie.

The setting won’t be Massachusetts, where the 1998 film mostly took place. According to the Variety report, Rules of Magic will be set in 1960s New York City.

There’s a strong connection to the movie. Fans of Practical Magic, of course, remember Kidman and Bullock’s magically powerful aunts from the movie, where they were played by Dianne Wiest and Stockard Channing. Rules of Magic is basically the Franny and Jet origin story. As for their brother, Variety says he will leave “an unexpected legacy.”

Dianne Wiest and Stockard Channing played the beloved aunts in the 1998 film Practical Magic.

©Warner Bros/Courtesy Everett Collection

The series’s writer has a history of developing strong female characters. Per Variety, the show will be written and produced by Jessica Jones creator Melissa Rosenberg.

The release date and cast are still unknown. The show is still in preproduction, so it’s unclear at this time when it will premiere—or who will be playing the main roles.

This post will be updated as new details emerge.

Kit Harington Was Just as Surprised About Jon Snow’s Fate on ‘Game of Thrones’ as You

This post contains spoilers for the final season of Game of Thrones. Consider yourself warned.

It’s been three months since HBO aired the series finale of Game of Thrones, and many people, including the show’s cast, are still processing the fates of their favorite characters.

In a new interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Kit Harington, who played Jon Snow, finally reveals how he felt about the decision to have Jon kill his lover/aunt Daenarys (Emilia Clarke) after she went “mad” and unleashed dragon fire across huge swaths of King’s Landing.

Harington went into the final table read for season eight without having read the ending, but with Clarke warning him that he was in for a surprise. “I didn’t realize what was going to happen the whole way through until maybe half a page before Jon kills Dany. I remember my mouth dropping open and looking across Emilia at the table, who was slowly nodding as I went, ‘No, no, no!'” he said. “It was a ‘holy fuck’ moment, pardon my language. Jaw-dropping. I was completely surprised by it, even though you can kind of see the path through the season of how it was getting there—and even the previous couple of seasons before that, once you can look back. But it was still a big shock to me.”

He says they shot the scene where Jon stabs Dany for almost three weeks, but that it was important to really get it right. And while Jon’s decision was a tough one, Harington saw the logic in his character’s choice. “But what it really comes down to, the real crux of it, is the decision is made when she puts it between her and his family,” he explained. “Jon essentially sees it as Daenerys or Sansa and Arya, and that makes his mind up for him. He choose blood over, well, his other blood. But he chooses the people he has grown up with, the people his roots are with, the North. That’s where his loyalties lie in the end. That’s when he puts the knife in.”

While many fans took issue with how the show ended, Harington disagrees.

“I loved it. When I read it [Jon leading the Free Folk back to the North], that bit really made me cry. What really made me cry was on the paper: ‘End of Game of Thrones,'” he said. “But as far as an ending for Jon Snow, this character that I loved for so many years and had grown so close to, and had meant so much to me…seeing him go beyond the Wall back to something true, something honest, something pure with these people he was always told he belongs with—the Free Folk—it felt to me like he was finally free. Instead of being chained and sent to the Wall, it felt like he was set free. It was a really sweet ending. As much as he had done a horrible thing [in killing Daenerys], as much as he had felt that pain, the actual ending for him was finally being released.”

The Funny Reason Why Ryan Reynolds Refused To Drive His Hobbs And Shaw Car

SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains minor spoilers for Hobbs & Shaw. If you have not yet seen the film, read on at your own risk!

Movie-goers love a good cameo, and this was a department in which David Leitch’s Hobbs & Shaw excels. It’s not more than a few minutes into the blockbuster that Ryan Reynolds shows up in a suprise role – and it actually turns out to be a fairly important part given that he’s the one who gives Dwayne Johnson’s Luke Hobbs. It’s a great little bit, but now we have learned not only that Reynolds’ role could have potentially been bigger, but could have included a pretty sweet ride.

Apparently the reason it didn’t happen, though, is because the Canadian actor didn’t fall in love with the design of the car.

This little bit of behind-the-scenes trivia (and it’s entirely possible that he’s joking), comes to us directly from Dwayne Johnson’s Twitter feed. It started when Ryan Reynolds followed-up to a response that Johnson gave to one of his fans, posting a picture of a classic red and white Chevy Camaro with Luke Hobbs’ face on it. This prompted another comment from Johnson, who revealed the origin of the vehicle:

Did Ryan Reynolds really not love the white stripes, or was he perhaps not enamored with the giant face on the hood? It’s possible that he was just sparing the feelings of his massic, muscular, A-lister friend, but that’s a truth that lies only with the Deadpool star.

It is worth noting that it would actually make all kinds of sense that Ryan Reynolds’ Hobbs & Shaw character would drive the car in question here. Agent Locke is a skilled and talented agent, but he is also totally obsessed with Hobbs – to the extent that he actually got a matching shoulder tattoo. The reveal that he also drives a car with his wannabe best friend’s visage on the front would have been an interesting escalation of that joke.

Furthermore, the possibility of us one day seeing this car in the future of the Fast & Furious franchise isn’t totally off the table. As we learned from our HeroBlend interview with David Leitch, part of the impetus for the cameos by Ryan Reynolds, Rob Delaney, and Kevin Hart in Hobbs & Shaw is opening the door for them to have even more significant roles in a sequel (which will almost surely happen now that the hit is coming up on making $450 million globally). Could the Hobbs Camaro possibly resurface – perhaps without the white stripes – in Hobbs & Shaw 2? We’ll have to just wait and see.