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Universal Cancels “The Hunt” After Mass Shootings in Ohio and Texas

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  • Following recent mass shootings in the U.S., Universal Pictures canceled the release of The Hunt, a movie where “liberal elites” hunt mostly Southern people from conservative states for sport.
  • President Donald Trump criticized the project on Twitter without naming it, saying “Liberal Hollywood is Racist,” and adding that the movie was created to “inflame and cause chaos.”
  • Many echoed concerns that the film promotes politically charged violence, but others said the canceling of a movie is less important than passing gun reform laws.

Universal Cancels The Hunt

Universal Pictures canceled the release of The Hunt on Saturday, saying “now is not the right time to release this film” after two mass shootings have increased political tensions across the country.

The Blumhouse film, starring Betty Gilpin, Hilary Swank, and Emma Roberts was set to release on September 27. It was co-written by Damon Lindelof, who helped create shows like Lost and The Leftovers.

The trailer opens with Gilpin’s character walking into a gas station and killing the owners after they try to shoot her when she tells them she doesn’t know where she is. From there, Gilpin’s character learns she has been kidnapped and must survive while being hunted by a mysterious group of people.

The film frames itself as a satirical take on the short story “The Most Dangerous Game” and presents mostly white, working-class people from conservative states as the prey of “liberal elite” hunters who are killing them for sport.

“Your idea is incredible,” a male elite says in the film’s trailer.

“I can’t argue with that,” Swank’s character tells him. “We pay for everything, so this country belongs to us.” 

“It’s just business: hunting human beings for sport,” the man says.

“They’re not human beings,” Swank’s character responds before laughing.

Characters in the film also refer to the people being hunted as “deplorables,” a reference to a statement made by then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election.

“You know, to just be grossly realistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call a basket of deplorables,” Clinton said.

During development, the movie went under the working title Red State, Blue State.

Critics of the project said the movie stokes the current U.S. political divide with violence Before universal announced the movie’s cancellation, President Donald Trump agreed with that sentiment and denounced the movie.

The movie coming out is made in order to inflame and cause chaos,” Trump tweeted. “[Liberal Hollywood] create[s] their own violence, and then try to blame others. They are the true Racists, and are very bad for our Country!

Universal’s Official Statement

The cancellation follows Universal’s decision to scrap promotional marketing only a week after releasing the trailer at the end of July. The trailer has since been deleted from the studio’s YouTube channel, but versions still exist online. The move also comes about a week after mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio.

While Universal Pictures had already paused the marketing campaign for The Hunt, after thoughtful consideration, the studio has decided to cancel our plans to release the film,” the film’s website reads. “We stand by our filmmakers and will continue to distribute films in partnership with bold and visionary creators, like those associated with this satirical social thriller, but we understand that now is not the right time to release this film.”

“I fully support the decision by Universal and the filmmakers regarding ‘The Hunt.’ It is a choice that I also personally felt was necessary,” Swank told USA Today after the cancellation. “I can’t comprehend the violence happening in our country right now. We should all focus on healing, and above all else, kindness, sensitivity and humanity.”

Universal hasn’t announced any plans to release the movie at a later date or in another way, though the cancellation has drawn parallels to The Interview, where James Franco and Seth Rogen infiltrate North Korea to kill Kim Jong-un. The film was similarly canceled back in 2014 after pressure from North Korea but is now available online for rent or purchase.

Responses

Following the cancellation, many still shared their concerns about the content depicted in the film, saying that violence does not mean satire.

Singer Charlie Daniels also referenced the belief that violent films and video games, in part, are connected to the increase in mass shootings across the country.

Actor Russell Crowe and others pushed back in different ways, saying that canceling a movie won’t solve gun-related issues the country already faces.

While I commend Universal and Blumhouse for their humanity,” the actor said. “This is not the solution.”

Crowe also tweeted that “any adult can still buy a military grade semi-automatic rifle.” While many adults can buy semi-automatic rifles, most can not access their military-grade variants.

Others still echoed similar thoughts.

See what others are saying: (Hollywood Reporter) (Deadline) (Washington Post)

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Tiger Woods Recovering From Surgery After Serious Car Crash

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  • Golf star Tiger Woods was rushed to a hospital in Los Angeles County Tuesday morning after he was involved in a single-car crash.
  • Authorities say Woods hit a median strip while traveling at a “greater than normal speed” on a downhill and curved two-way road. 
  • His SUV traveled several hundred feet, rolled over multiple times, and came to a rest in the brush on the opposite side of the road. 
  • By Tuesday night, a spokesperson said he was awake and recovering after undergoing surgery for broken bones in his lower right leg and ankle.

Tiger Woods Crashes

Golf star Tiger Woods was rushed to a hospital in Los Angeles County Tuesday morning after he was involved in a single-car crash.

Authorities say he was driving at a “greater speed than normal” on a downhill and curved road that is a known trouble spot for accidents.

Woods reportedly hit a median strip on the two-lane road, then traveled several hundred feet, rolled over multiple times, and came to a rest in the brush on the opposite side of the road. 

Representatives for Woods issued a statement on social media last night, saying he was awake and recovering in a hospital after undergoing a long surgery.

The Chief Medical Officer at UCLA Medical Center said in the statement that both bones in Woods’s lower right leg, the tibia and fibula, had been broken in multiple places and were “open fractures,” meaning they pierced his skin.

They said doctors had “stabilized” the breaks by placing a rod into the tibia. Additional bones in Woods’s ankle and foot were also injured and were “stabilized with a combination of screws and pins.”

The statement did not mention any injuries to Woods’s left leg, though the county’s fire chief said earlier in the day that Woods had suffered serious injuries to both legs.

Authorities Say He’s Lucky To Be Alive

After seeing the crash site, LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said it was “nothing short of a miracle” that Woods was alive.

Authorities believed Wood’s seat belt, along with safety features in his SUV, likely saved his life. 

Sheriff Villanueva also said there was no evidence of impairment and there was no effort to draw blood for a test at the hospital. 

The crash comes as Woods was recovering from his fifth back operation, which took place last month. It marks a devastating blow to the golfer, who was hoping to recover and compete in another tournament this April. 

See what others are saying: (The New York Times) (ESPN) (CNN)

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Zendaya Says Criticism of “Malcolm & Marie” Stripped Her and Co-Star John David Washington of Their Agency

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  • The Netflix film “Malcolm & Marie” faced criticism from viewers who said writer and director Sam Levinson used two Black actors, Zendaya and John David Washington, to voice his own personal opinions on race and identity politics in Hollywood.
  • However, Zendaya told The New York Times the criticism was unfair because both she and Washington helped Levinson craft the script and were producers of the film.
  • “I think a little bit of our agency was stripped away,” she said. “John David, I and Sam equally own this film.”
  • She later told the Los Angeles Times that she feels the conversations she had with Levinson about race came through in the film’s script.

“Malcolm & Marie” Faces Criticism

Zendaya is addressing the backlash and criticism that her film “Malcolm & Marie” has received for its discussions of race in Hollywood. 

The film, written and directed by Sam Levinson, co-stars Zendaya and John David Washington as a couple that spends the night arguing after getting home from the premiere of a film Washington’s character directed.

“Malcolm & Marie” is full of long and winding monologues not just about relationship troubles, but also about the roles race and identity politics play in the interpretation and criticism of film.

Ironically but perhaps intentionally, those monologues are at the center of the criticism the movie has received. Journalists have panned the film, and speeches delivered by Washington’s Malcolm in particular, for their trite and exhausting dialogue that ultimately runs in circles. 

Many have specifically taken issue with the fact that Levinson, a white man and the son of a famed director himself, seemingly inserted his own angers about film criticism into words uttered by two acclaimed Black actors. 

“There are many moments where it feels as if Malcolm, who is a Black Hollywood director, serves as a mouthpiece for Levinson’s own opinions on race and filmmaking,” Micha Frazer-Carroll wrote for The Independent.

In a piece for The Guardian, Robert Daniels wrote that the film uses Black actors to vent white frustration. Daniels suggested that Levinson could have used the character of Malcolm to discuss the way white critics interpret work by Black filmmakers, but instead, “uses Malcolm as a black shield for his real target, not the critics who analyze black works, but the ones who interpret his.”

“As ‘Malcolm & Marie’ unfurls, Levinson shifts Malcolm’s voice from a black one, to the white director’s own,” Daniels continued. 

Zendaya Addresses Backlash

However, Zendaya feels these criticisms are unfair and disregard the fact that both she and Washington produced the film and were heavily involved in every aspect its creation. Levinson and both of the stars have talked numerous times about how collaborative the set was and how Zendaya and Washington were part of the process of crafting the script and their characters.

“I think a little bit of our agency was stripped away,” she told The New York Times on Sunday. “Like this was just kind of Sam spewing things through us without realizing that we are not only actors in this, but we’re co-financiers and producers with P.G.A. marks. You can’t get those unless you actually do the job.”

“John David, I and Sam equally own this film,” she continued. “It’s not like it belongs to someone else and I just got cast in it. He wrote it for us too, and I think if you’re going to write something, you have to acknowledge experiences of the [Black] character you’re writing.”

In a Tuesday piece from the Los Angeles Times, she expanded on how personal producing this project felt to her.

“I’m putting my own money into it,” the actress explained. “I’m producing something, so I’m putting myself out there in a much more vulnerable position than I’ve ever been in.”

She also said that she spoke about Levinson about race and Hollywood and felt that her ideas did come through in the script.

“There’s conversations that I’ve had with Sam that reflect a little bit in things that Malcolm says about his creativity and being boxed in, specifically being a Black creative that feels like there’s a certain lens their work is looked through — those kinds of things,” she said.

Levinson has similarly dismissed criticisms made about him being white and making a film with Black protagonists. 

“I have faith in the collaborative process and in my partners that if I write something that doesn’t feel true, that JD or Z don’t respond to or feel to be honest, that they are going to say something and we’ll work it out,” he told Esquire. “I didn’t have anxiety in that sense because I have too much respect for the collaborative nature of filmmaking.”

See what others are saying: (Los Angeles Times) (New York Times) (IndieWire)

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DaBaby Responds To Claims That He Dissed JoJo Siwa

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  • Rapper DaBaby clarified Sunday that the lyric, “You a b*tch, JoJo Siwa,” in his song “Beatbox Freestyle” was not meant to diss the 17-year-old children’s entertainer.
  • After facing intense criticism, DaBaby tweeted at Siwa claiming his toddler is a big fan of hers, adding, “Don’t let em trick you into thinking id ever have a problem with you. My wordplay just went over their heads.”
  • Several outlets suggested that “JoJo” was a reference to himself since DaBaby’s real name is Jonathan.
  • Based on other tweets from the rapper, “Siwa” was intended to sound like “see why,” making the use of her name mean “Jonathan see why.”

DaBaby References JoJo Siwa in Lyric

DaBaby said he has no beef with JoJo Siwa after he was accused of dissing the 17-year-old children’s entertainer in a new song. 

DaBaby released the video for “Beatbox Freestyle” on Friday. Following its release, he was criticized for rapping the lyric “You a b*tch, JoJo Siwa (B*tch.)”

The lyric outraged many people who felt it was insulting and uncalled for. Popular YouTube creators including James Charles, Nikita Dragun, and Tana Mongeau all called him out for mentioning Siwa in the song.

“Can someone please explain why da baby is dissing jojo siwa when she’s 12 years younger, 10 times richer, and 2 inches taller than him,” Charles wrote on Twitter. 

DaBaby Says He Has No Issues with JoJo Siwa

In a series of tweets on Sunday, DaBaby cleared the air and said the lyric was not meant to attack Siwa herself. He tagged Siwa in one post and said his 3-year-old daughter is actually a big fan of the teen star. 

“Don’t let em trick you into thinking id ever have a problem with you,” DaBaby continued. “My word play just went over their heads. All love on my end shawty, Keep shinning!”

Entertainment Tonight explained that “JoJo” is short for DaBaby’s real name, Jonathan. He used “Siwa” as a shorthand for “see why,” so the lyric is effectively saying “Jonathan see why.” In several tweets, he referenced that wordplay and joked about how so many people misunderstood it.

“I don’t ‘Siwa’ they so mad either bae,” he wrote in one tweet. 

DaBaby also addressed the situation on Instagram, where he expressed frustration with outlets trying to suggest he might really be feuding with Siwa. 

“Y’all MFs sick lol,” he wrote in his story on Sunday. “Y’all okay w/ that child being tricked into thinking i got a problem with her. WE FUCK WIT YOU JOJO.”

Siwa has not yet responded to the lyric or DaBaby’s explanation of it.

See what others are saying: (Entertainment Tonight) (Billboard) (People)

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