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Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story Remake Has Cast Its Lead Actor

With Ready Player One well behind him, Steven Spielberg was next expected to tackle Indiana Jones 5 and have it ready to go by July 2020. However, it was announced this past summer that the next Indy adventure was being delayed to July 9, 2021 due to script issues. Since we’ll have to wait even longer for Harrison Ford to don the fedora and wield the whip again, it seems that Spielberg is now turning to his other high-profile project, the West Side Story remake. The movie has taken a major step forward by casting Baby Driver star Ansel Elgort as its male lead.

Performing the same role once occupied by Larry Kert on stage and Richard Beymer in the 1961 cinematic adaptation, Ansel Elgort will play Tony in the West Side Story remake. Steven Spielberg has been spending most of the year looking for the actors to lead his version of West Side Story, and according to THR, there was concern that because the search was taking so long, the remake might be shelved, just like Spielberg’s other long-in-development project The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara. But now that Elgort has been secured, West Side Story is on track to start rolling cameras in summer 2019, and presumably we’ll learn who’s filling out the rest of the cast in the coming weeks and months.

Why Chicago Fire Wrapped Up Monica Raymund’s Story The Way That It Did

Warning: Spoilers ahead for the Season 7 premiere of Chicago Fire. Look away if you haven’t watched yet!

Anyone who’s seen the Season 7 premiere of Chicago Fire knows that we got a resolution to the relationship cliffhanger involving Monica Raymund’s Gabby Dawson and Jesse Spencer’s Matt Casey that we were treated to in last season’s finale. While it wasn’t the ending any Dawsey fans wanted for the long-running couple, Gabby and Matt decided to part ways, with her taking a permanent, full time job working with the relief efforts in Puerto Rico. But, why did the show decide to wrap her story up the way it did? Now we know. When I spoke with the show’s executive producer, Derek Haas, at One Chicago Day a few weeks ago, he revealed that how the story wrapped up was, well, basically his fault. Here’s what he had to say:

That took a lot of wrangling. Basically, I screwed that one up. Monica told me, in particular, that she was going to be leaving after Season 6. But, in my head, I thought it was just negotiating. Like, ‘Oh, ok. This is what they say when it gets close to the end of the season.’ Then I remembered that it’s Monica, and she’s brilliant at planning out her career and has ambitions beyond acting. And, then I realized, ‘Oh, shit. She’s actually doing this.’

So, while all of us, Derek Haas included, would have loved to see Gabby and Matt ride off into the Chicago sunset together, with Jesse Spencer deciding to sign on for another season, and Monica Raymund committed to leaving her paramedic jacket behind, the show wasn’t left with a lot of options. Of course, all of that was compounded by the fact that Haas and his writing team hadn’t been feverishly working out a way for a better resolution to Gabby’s story, especially with regards to her marriage to Matt.

All the “wrangling” Haas mentioned had to do with the moments of the premiere that likely came as quite a shock to many fans: when we got our last looks at Monica Raymund in character. She had two scenes as Gabby where she talks to Matt, once in a video call, and, during the final moments of the episode, in person. Haas had a very different ending in mind for this story, but once he fully realized that Raymund wasn’t coming back, he had to come up with a new plan.

We had this idea she was going to Puerto Rico to help with the relief effort there, but it wasn’t supposed to be the end. In my head, Casey was going to go back and get her, and then we’d go on with Season 7. I basically begged her for one more episode so I could at least, [well] it may not be the ending everybody wants, but [give] some type of more satisfying, more real conclusion to what their characters are.

I can appreciate that Derek Haas fully shoulders the responsibility for the way Gabby and Matt ended on screen, and at least did all he could to make sure we weren’t left up in the air with concern to their relationship. This might not have been the ending most Chicago Fire fans wanted for them, but can you imagine if she were in Puerto Rico and we only heard half-hearted things about she and Matt as the season went on…or nothing at all? That may have sucked even more.

You can see how Matt and the rest of the firehouse deals with the absence of Monica Raymund’s character when Chicago Fire continues this Wednesday on NBC at a special time, 8 p.m. EST. For more on what you can watch on the small screen, be sure to check out our 2018 fall premiere guide.

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Mayans M.C. Is Renewed For Season 2 Following Excellent Ratings

The long-awaited Sons of Anarchy finally hit the airwaves back in September with a whole new location and a whole new cast of main characters. Given that Mayans M.C. wouldn’t feature familiar faces from Sons of Anarchy (with a couple exceptions in the series premiere), it was difficult to predict how many people would actually tune in. Well, as it turns out, a lot of people decided to tune in, and FX has officially renewed the series for a second season following fantastic ratings.

Only four episodes of the freshman series have aired so far, so FX clearly has faith that audiences will continue tuning in through the rest of Season 1 and be eager to check out Season 2. The faith isn’t surprising given the numbers delivered by Mayans M.C. so far. In Live+7 day measurements, Mayans M.C. currently ranks as the top new cable show of 2018 in the key 18-49 age demographic, as well as in the 25-54 demo and all key male demos. The show is currently averaging 8.2 million viewers per episode across linear and non-linear platforms.

Not all of the numbers for the fourth episode are in yet, but Mayans ranks as the most-watched program in primetime on Tuesdays through the first three episodes. Notably, this includes primetime Tuesday shows on cable and broadcast television, which is a pretty big deal. Admittedly, the early September premiere date meant that Mayans hit the airwaves when most big broadcast network TV shows were still on summer hiatus, but a new cable show beating the big networks is still a big deal.

The biggest non-broadcast ratings of recent years have generally come from networks like AMC and HBO thanks to shows like The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones, respectively. No wonder Mayans M.C. scored a renewal so relatively early in its run! The second season will debut on FX at some point in 2019, although no details are currently available about just when. The wait until 2019 may feel pretty long once Season 1 ends later this year, but after the years between the end of Sons of Anarchy and the premiere of Mayans, waiting until some point in 2019 may not be too painful.

Mayans M.C. was actually already breaking records after its very first episode, and it quickly became clear that Mayans would beat Sons of Anarchy in delayed viewership. Admittedly, delayed viewership is much more common and convenient nowadays than it was during Sons of Anarchy‘s run, but it still bodes well for the future of the series. Mayans M.C. also boosted the Hispanic audience over what Sons of Anarchy won during its time on the air.

Tune in to FX on Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET to catch new episodes of Mayans M.C. in the fall lineup. If FX and the producers handle Season 2 production like they did Season 1, we may not want to count on too many spoilers leaking ahead of time.

Emma Stone Opens Up About Experiencing Her First Panic Attack at Seven Years Old

Emma Stone has always been very open about her anxiety. Way back in 2011, when she was first becoming known for her work in Superbad and Easy A and long before she became an Academy Award winner, she told Glamour about her mental health journey. “I had massive anxiety as a child,” she said at the time. “I was in therapy. From eight to 10, I was borderline agora-phobic. I could not leave my mom’s side. I don’t really have panic attacks anymore, but I had really bad anxiety.”

Ever since, she’s continued to speak openly and frankly about mental health. The latest example? On Monday, October 1, she appeared alongside Child Mind Institute cofounder and president Harold S. Koplewicz, M.D., for a discussion on mental health disorders and the stigmas that surround them. Titled “Great Minds Think Unalike,” the panel worked to shed light on the challenges of living with anxiety—which, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, affects 40 million adults each year (making it the most common mental illness in the U.S.).

Onstage Stone described the moment she had her first panic attack at seven years old. “Before I went into second grade, I had my first panic attack,” she said. “It was really, really terrifying and overwhelming; I was over at a friend’s house and all of a sudden I was absolutely convinced the house was on fire and it was going to burn down. I was just sitting in her bedroom, and obviously the house wasn’t on fire—but there was nothing in me that didn’t think we weren’t going to die.”

Emma Stone and Dr. Harold S. Koplewicz for the Child Mind Institute in New York City.

PHOTO: Jamie McCarthy/Getty

Suffering from what she and her mother later learned was a panic attack, Stone explains that these feelings of anxiousness continued for the next two years. “I couldn’t go to friends’ houses, I had deep separation anxiety with my mom…. I was so paranoid about everything,” she explained. “We truly thought I wasn’t going to be able to move out of the house and move away ever. How would I go to college? How would I do any of this if I couldn’t be at a friend’s house for five minutes?”

As she grew older Stone was able to better manage her anxiety, a skill she attributes to her supportive family and years of “transformative” therapy. It helped her realize that while the disorder was a part of her life, it did not define her. “It’s so normal,” she said. “Everyone experiences a version of anxiety or worry in their lives, and maybe we go through it in a different or more intense way for longer periods of time, but there’s nothing wrong with you.”

In fact, the Maniac actress said anxiety can be viewed in a positive light. “To be a sensitive person that cares a lot, that takes things in in a deep way is actually part of what makes you amazing, and is one of the greatest gifts of life,” she said. “You think a lot, you feel a lot, you feel deeply—it’s the best.”

When asked how she continues to manage her anxiety every day in the midst of her hectic production schedule, Stone explained that she sticks to a routine that works for her. “I go to a therapist, I meditate, and I talk to people very quickly now—instead of isolating I reach out.” Most of all, Stone said pushing herself outside of her comfort zone (as in: today’s panel) proves to be wholly restorative, especially if it means she’s able to help others. “[It’s] healing to just talk about it and own it and realize that this is something that is part of me, but it is not who I am,” she said. “And if that can help anybody…if I can do anything to say, ‘Hey, I get it, and I’m there with you, and you can still get out there and achieve dreams and form really great relationships and connections,’ then I hope I’m able to do that.”

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Emma Stone Opens Up About Experiencing Her First Panic Attack at 7 Years Old

Emma Stone has always been very open about her anxiety. Way back in 2011, when she was first becoming known for her work in Superbad and Easy A and long before she became an Academy Award winner, she told Glamour about her mental health journey. “I had massive anxiety as a child,” she said at the time. “I was in therapy. From 8 to 10, I was borderline agora-phobic. I could not leave my mom’s side. I don’t really have panic attacks anymore, but I had really bad anxiety.”

Ever since, she’s continued to speak openly and frankly about mental health. The latest example? On Monday, October 1, she appeared alongside Child Mind Institute Co-Founder & President Harold Koplewicz for a discussion on mental health disorders and the stigmas that surround them. Titled “Great Minds Think Unalike,” the panel worked to shed light on the challenges of living with anxiety—which, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, affects 40 million adults each year (making it the most common mental illness in the U.S.).

On stage, Stone described the moment she had her first panic attack at seven years old. “Before I went into second grade, I had my first panic attack,” she said. “It was really, really terrifying and overwhelming; I was over at a friend’s house and all of a sudden I was absolutely convinced the house was on fire and it was going to burn down. I was just sitting in her bedroom, and obviously the house wasn’t on fire—but there was nothing in me that didn’t think we weren’t going to die.”

Emma Stone and Dr. Harold S. Koplewicz for the Child Mind Institute in New York City.

PHOTO: Jamie McCarthy/Getty

Suffering from what she and her mother later learned was a panic attack, Stone explains that these feelings of anxiousness continued for the next two years. “I couldn’t go to friends’ houses, I had deep separation anxiety with my mom…I was so paranoid about everything,” she explained. “We truly thought I wasn’t going to be able to move out of the house and move away ever. How would I go to college? How would I do any of this if I couldn’t be at a friend’s house for 5 minutes?”

As she grew older, Stone was able to better manage her anxiety, a skill she attributes to her supportive family and years of “transformative” therapy. It helped her realize that while the disorder was a part of her life, it did not define her. “It’s so normal,” she said. “Everyone experiences a version of anxiety or worry in their lives, and maybe we go through it in a different or more intense way for longer periods of time, but there’s nothing wrong with you.”

In fact, the Maniac actress said anxiety can be viewed in a positive light. “To be a sensitive person that cares a lot, that takes things in in a deep way is actually part of what makes you amazing, and is one of the greatest gifts of life,” she said. “You think a lot, you feel a lot, you feel deeply—it’s the best.”

When asked how she continues to manage her anxiety every day in the midst of her hectic production schedule, Stone explained that she sticks to a routine that works for her. “I go to a therapist, I meditate, and I talk to people very quickly now—instead of isolating I reach out.” Most of all, Stone said pushing herself outside of her comfort zone (as in: today’s panel) proves to be wholly restorative, especially if it means she’s able to help others. “[It’s] healing to just talk about it and own it and realize that this is something that is part of me, but it is not who I am,” she said. “And if that can help anybody…if I can do anything to say ‘Hey, I get it, and I’m there with you, and you can still get out there and achieve dreams and form really great relationships and connections,’ then I hope I’m able to do that.”

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Samantha Markle Has Apologized To Meghan Markle For Family Drama

Previously, Samantha Markle, who also goes by Samantha Grant, has spoken out about her half-sister on various forums, including in some now-deleted tweets where she complained about Meghan Markle’s treatment of their father. She also responded to some comments Prince Harry had made about Meghan Markle joining the royal family, noting that Meghan Markle already had a family, and a large one, at that. She later clarified why she kept speaking out about Meghan Markle, blatantly saying that she’d previously worked in media jobs and knew she could get money for speaking out about her half-sister, even saying, “money makes the world go round, so if you want to call that cashing in, that’s fine.”

*Saved by the Bell* Star Tiffani Thiessen Almost Played Rachel on *Friends*

It’s hard to imagine anyone other than Jennifer Aniston playing Rachel on Friends, but apparently fans came very close to having an entirely different ’90s icon arguing on-screen with Ross over whether they were “on a break.”

In a new interview on Nikki Glaser’s podcast, You Up, Saved by the Bell star Tiffani Thiessen, a.k.a. Kelly Kapowski, revealed that she had auditioned for the role of Rachel. “Do you know I tested for Friends for Jennifer Aniston? I did,” she said.

Sadly, Thiessen wasn’t the right fit, she said, because she wasn’t quite as old as the rest of the cast members. “I was just a little too young,” she continued. “A little too young to the pairing of the rest of them.”

“That makes sense to me, because you are both such amazing comedic actresses,” Glaser told Thiesen, and the Saved by the Bell star agrees that Jennifer Aniston is “very, very funny.”

Thiessen isn’t the only star who almost replaced one of the core six in their spots on the Central Perk couches. 30 Rock‘s Jane Krakowski also auditioned for the part of Rachel, and Will and Grace‘s Eric McCormack tried out for Ross. Vince Vaughn tried out for Joey, Jon Cryer for Chandler, Leah Remini for Monica, and Kathy Griffin for Phoebe. Let’s just say Friends could easily have been a completely different show.

Though she didn’t wind up living in the iconic purple-walled apartment alongside Monica and the rest of the gang, Thiessen is now starring in a new sitcom on Netflix called Alexa & Katie, out now. All’s well that ends well.

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The Clever Way Lady Gaga And Bradley Cooper Use Songs to Build Story In A Star Is Born

The following may contain very mild spoilers for A Star is Born, so you might want to bail out now if this story is still new to you, and you want to stay preserved.

The music in A Star is Born acts like a separate character. The songs written by Ally (played by Lady Gaga) mesh with the established musical career of Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper, who also directs), and it gives their fledgling romantic relationship a foundation on which to build… even if it will lead to discontent before all is said and dine. What’s miraculous about A Star Is Born, though, is that it covers a wide range of musical genres, even though it’s focused on two singers, so when CinemaBlend sat down across from Cooper and Lady Gaga to discuss this film, we talked about how they made sure the musical stylings worked in tandem, and Cooper told us:

Both characters in A Star is Born go through life-altering transitions. Ally (Lady Gaga), to give an example, is plucked from obscurity — she works a thankless waitressing job while singing cover songs at a drag club — because Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper) recognizes her ability as a singer/songwriter. Her journey is emotional, and when Lady Gaga elaborated in Cooper’s answer to us, she explained:

Where will it pivot? Those of you who have seen the previous versions of A Star is Born will know. Even if you do know, though, you will connect with the performances in Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut more than you ever did in a previous version. Here, hear it from Cooper and Gaga, themselves:

Later this week, when A Star is Born opens in theaters, you should see it, then pick up a copy of the soundtrack on your way home. They’re perfectly paired, with the original songs telling the story of Jackson and Ally, and you will want to use them to remind yourself about this special movie once you’ve arrived back home. A Star is Born opens in theaters on October 4. It’s a must-see film.

The Walking Dead Reveals Another Death In New Season Premiere Clip

Death is one of the things that continually permeates The Walking Dead, and Season 9 is set to be no different. In a new clip that has been released ahead of the series’ ninth season premiere, Rick and the group can be seen paying a visit to the Sanctuary. While walking through, the mood already seems a bit heavy, and then Daryl makes a potentially devastating reveal after he asserts he will not be getting on stage to grandstand with a Negan-esque speech. Here are his words verbatim:

The group’s morale already seemed down when they entered, so when Daryl revealed that they’d just lost someone, those pieces snap into place. The question is whether The Walking Dead death that has unsettled everyone is a major or minor one for the show. There are arguments for both sides. When it comes to it being a major death, the evidence is there in the form of Daryl being particularly morose. If it was an extra or nondescript character nobody ever heard of, his mood makes a little less sense.

As stated earlier, death is an integral part of these Walking Dead characters. Therefore, Daryl and everyone else have had to grow somewhat accustomed to that aspect of their lives, especially since they have had to say so many bitter goodbyes. The time jump is meant to move beyond a relatively peaceful span that presumably had a smaller body count than other points in time. With Daryl seeming quite a bit irked, it stands to reason this was someone of greater importance to him. Watch the clip so you can better gauge Daryl’s reaction to help decide for yourself.

The case against this death being that of a major character is that a death has been disclosed in the first place, and for the season premiere of all episodes. One would initially think that the demise of a substantial character so early would be kept under wraps, even if it is as subtle a hint as this. Not to mention, reactions such as Daryl’s are going to lead to speculation. The other side is that The Walking Dead‘s creative teams could expect fans to think just that.

If the show goes ahead and divulges that a death is going to take place, fans could be less apt to suspect a significant character is being killed off. It is a move that would make such a death all the more shocking, considering that avid fans, paying attention to the previews, would be semi-prepared for it. It all depends.

What if Daryl just meant that they literally misplaced someone? That can’t be it, right? Right?

One thing we know for sure is that Rick is not the character who died, as he makes an appearance very early on in the clip, and he’ll be around for another four episodes. So, we can rule him out as a candidate, for now. Find out who died when The Walking Dead returns this fall, along with a ton of other shows. Season 9 will premiere Sunday, October 7 at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.