Can You Believe Def Jam Passed Up On Signing Nas Over 20 Years Ago?

Faith Newman signed Nas to Columbia, but it could have been Def Jam.
By Adam Fleischer

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‘Fargo’ Reviews Are In: How Does The Show Compare To The Movie?

FX aims to re-create the genius of the classic movie on the small screen.
By Craig Flaster

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‘Heroes Reborn: Digital Series’ Launching In Conjunction With Reboot

NBC is expanding its original programming and its bringing back a fan favorite to get things started.

After announcing it would be bringing back the show "Heroes" in the form of a mini-series, the network revealed today its plans for a new online series that will serve as a prequel to the show. Titled "Heroes Reborn: Digital Series," its set to debut on NBC.com as part of the network's new original online video initiative. Also launching is an interactive series about the super fans who wait in the "Saturday Night Live" standby line, "Saturday Night Line."

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Johnny Weir, Victor Voronov Allegedly Reconcile With Sex Stipulations, According To Conflicting Reports

Conflicting reports over the status of Johnny Weir's relationship with estranged husband Victor Voronov continue to emerge.

On April 14, the U.S. Olympic figure skater was set to reconcile with Voronov, according to reports published in the New York Post, TMZ and the Daily Mail, among other media outlets. However, Weir refuted those claims in a statement to Access Hollywood later that day.

“I had hope and Victor and I were talking about reconciliation, but it was for not,” Weir said.

Weir's remarks, however, haven't stopped the media from speculating further on the state of the pair's marriage. According to a TMZ report published less than 24 hours after Weir's statement, the couple is reconciling -- but in doing so, Voronov allegedly must agree to a unique (and intimate) set of stipulations, spelled out by Weir in a five-page document.

The document, according to TMZ, "defines the type of cheating" that Weir will not tolerate. Included in the list are sex outside the marriage, sexting, mutual masturbation and the use of social media apps, including Grindr.

The couple will also agree to joint STD tests every six months, "with the results being read with both in the room," while a section called "Ultimatums" includes the line: "If I give you one more day to get your bank records to me, then I want to have a free f*** of anyone I want."

That alleged document, which was also cited by Radar Online, is reportedly a response to Voronov's earlier stipulations, which said Weir must publicly apologize for everything said about the split in the press. He must also agree, in writing, to no longer let his mother interfere with the couple's finances, TMZ reported earlier.

Either way, the conflicting reports are merely the latest twist in what has become an increasingly complex separation. Last month, Weir told Access Hollywood that he was "losing" himself and his life objectives by staying in the marriage, shortly after announcing the split on Twitter.

"My husband was behaving very erratically," Weir said following his well-received commentary stint with NBC at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. "The majority of the time off camera I was in tears." Nonetheless, he denied most of Voronov's accusations, noting, “The worst he could do would be to post naked photos that we have between each other and I look flawless."

News of the split came weeks after Weir reportedly appeared in a New Jersey courtroom on charges of domestic violence against his husband of two years. At the time, Voronov alleged that Weir had bitten him during a dispute. The charges have since been dismissed, according to Radar Online.


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Pamela Anderson Finally Starts To Remove Barbed Wire Tattoo

Pamela Anderson has finally come to her senses and is in the process of removing the barbed wire tattoo that wraps around her left bicep.

The 46-year-old actress got the armband inked back in 1995 specifically for the movie "Barbed Wire," telling the Los Angeles Times at the time, "The makeup people were going to paint this on my arm every day, but I had a tattoo artist just sketch it on me and I wore it around for a half a day to see how it looked. I decided I'd just go ahead and get it done. I love it. I think it's very feminine, for barbed wire."

Nineteen years later, it seems that Anderson has finally tired of the tattoo. The former "Baywatch" star was spotted at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas on April 12, and lo and behold, the tattoo is barely visible these days.

It's not the first time Anderson has regretted her ink. After she divorced Tommy Lee in 1998, the actress changed the tattoo on her ring finger to read "Mommy," instead of "Tommy."

pamela anderson

pamela anderson tattoo
Pam Anderson in 1996; March 11, 2014; and April 12, 2014.
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Kendall Jenner’s Sweatshirt Suggests She Has Something To Get Off Her Chest

Kendall Jenner made quite the statement with her sweatshirt as Coachella came to a close on Sunday evening, April 13.

After running around all day with a ridiculously oversized nose ring that took up about a quarter of her face, the 18-year-old model's sweatshirt just seems pretty par for the course.

kendall jenner
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Meet The Cast Of FX’s New ‘Fargo’ Series

Remember the Coen brothers' iconic 1996 dark comedy "Fargo"? Of course you do. The film has inspired a 10-episode-long FX series of the same name, but heck, don't ya go jumpin' to conclusions now. This isn't just another one of those movie remakes or sequels -- it's so much more.

"Fargo," which premieres on FX on April 15, is a completely different story with all new characters that merely borrows the setting and the mood of the Coen brothers' classic. Noah Hawley, who produced and wrote all 10 episodes, told HuffPost TV at the FX Upfront last week that the film and the series are different in every way "except the important ways." Hawley said, "If I'm lucky, you have the same feeling watching [the series] that you have watching the movie."

HuffPost TV chatted up the new "Fargo" cast to learn more about their Minnesota characters and what to expect of this new type of anthology series.

Martin Freeman - Lester Nygaard
fargo

What is the biggest difference between the film and series?
It’s a different thing, it’s different characters. Same world, of course, using that as a jumping off point. I love that film, I love [the Coen brothers’] films, but this wasn’t their film. It was our film. I think, and I hope, at some point during the first episode you stop thinking about the 1996 film and just enjoy this for what it is. The comparisons are obvious, but we’re not going to better [than] “Fargo.” We’re not going to do a better job of that 1996 film.

Did you rewatch the film before making this?
I can honestly say from the time I got the job I said, “What I’m not gonna do is watch ‘Fargo’ again,” because I didn’t want to be influenced by it. It’s not the same thing. The nearest thing to it -- there’s a character who’s the nearest to my character, but different name, different guy, but with certain similarities. No one needs a bad Bill Macy impression from me or anybody else. I was just playing my own thing.

Since it's an anthology series, was shooting it similar to shooting a movie?
It felt very filmic, and I think it looks very filmic, but so is the best telly now. I think everyone’s kind of acknowledged the last five or six years, the best telly competes with the best of anything. And the best of American TV is pretty fucking good. I’m hoping that this joins that.


Allison Tolman - Molly Solverson
fargo

Who do you play in the series?
My character’s Molly. She’s sort of a young, ambitious deputy in this little small town, sort of surrounded by, not just by men, but kind of inept men. She’s sort of always the smartest person in the room and is always swimming upstream all the time to get anything done in her day to day life.

Did you rewatch the film before shooting the series?
I didn’t. I waited until I was about five weeks in to watch it again. I didn’t want to psych myself out too much and do a Frances McDormand impression.

Do you think people will compare your character to McDormand’s Margie?
Absolutely. I think that’s totally a fair comparison to make. Once you’re just a few episodes in though, you’ll see the difference between the two and when [Noah Hawley is] drawing parallels between Margie and Molly, they’re really deliberate parallels that remind you of Margie on purpose. But for the most part, they’re really different women.


Billy Bob Thornton - Lorne Malvo
fargo

Did you rewatch the film before shooting the series?
No, I purposely didn’t. Any time you go to do something that’s either completely or loosely based on something, you kind of don’t want to start imitating anything. You don’t want to pick up habits. My character’s a brand new guy, I just wanted it to be completely its own thing.


Colin Hanks - Gus Grimley
fargo

The series has been described as a 10-hour movie. How was it different s from filming an actual movie?
In a strange way, the only thing that’s different is the amount of work that you do is 10 times more. You’re gone for about five months, and I’ve shot movies that take about five months to make, so the pace is a lot slower. When you’re doing a TV show and there’s 10 hours worth, there’s more pages that you gotta do each day, it’s much more of a grind.

Would you say the series is a good one to binge-watch since it follows more of a film arch?
Yeah, I think so. I mean we don’t necessarily play with the normal conventions of television. A lot of times in a pilot episode you gotta meet the first 10, 15 characters in the first 10 pages. In this one, my first scene in the pilot isn’t until the 40th minute of the show. So we do things that don’t get resolved within an hour and it just sort of plays out. If you watch live, I think it’s fun and adds an element of excitement, but if you binge-watch it I’m sure it would be pretty good too. It’s whatever your fancy is.

"Fargo" premieres Tuesday, April 15, at 10 p.m. EDT on FX.
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Future’s Honest Album: Stream It Here

The Atlanta rapper previews his album a week early.
By Adam Fleischer

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‘Fargo’ Review: A Frosty Treat From The Frozen North

Well, heck! Darned if "Fargo" didn't sneak up on me and make me like it. Ya sure, I almost didn't see that coming.

I wasn't quite sure about "Fargo" at first, despite its first-rate cast; perhaps appropriately, I warmed to its charms over time -- or perhaps the show thawed out a littled over the course of its first four episodes.

A project like "Fargo" requires almost scientific calibration: It's partly a satire of the flat accents and the flat, frosty prairies of northern Minnesota. (Real talk, geography edition: Despite the name, the 10-episode miniseries is mainly set in Bemidji, Minn., with some hot stuff occurring in Duluth. All locations are played, however, by various spots in and around Calgary. Having just survived one of Chicago's most brutal winters, that's one set-visit invitation I don't regret turning down.)

A comedy that mixes dry comedy and ugly undercurrents can work just fine in a two-hour movie, as we know from the Coen brothers' 1996 film. A movie doesn't necessarily require the viewer to invest all that deeply in the characters, providing everything else is working with perfect efficiency, as it did in the stark, memorable Coen film, which was anchored by a terrific performance from Frances McDormand.

"Fargo" on the small screen faces different challenges: A TV series, even one that only lasts 10 episodes, can't glide by on that same distanced wryness. Ya sure, in both versions, some of the characters are mockable rubes and throughout, many Midwestern addictions -- niceness, courtesy, thick sweaters, refined carbohydrates, etc. -- are viewed with arch bemusement.

But wisely, as the "Fargo" miniseries develops, it gives a few of its lead characters -- particularly a couple of dogged cops -- a good deal of warmth, nuance and texture. As it progresses, it refines its own slightly off-kilter blend of dryly comedic shenanigans and dark character journeys, and perhaps most importantly, the first half of the season displays a smart, frisky pace.

Newcomer Allison Tolman is a real find as Molly Solverson, a sweet, intelligent cop who has a great deal of that most Midwestern of traits: persistence. (You don't survive Midwestern winters without a possibly unhealthy level of tenacity.) Those who've seen the film will probably have a good idea of the crime Solverson investigates, so I won't go into that here, but Tolman gives Solverson real dignity and displays subtle comic timing to boot. She ends up working with Duluth cop Gus Grimly (Colin Hanks), a bumbling guy who is beaten down by his bosses but somehow taps into his own personal well of tenacity.

Speaking of guys who feel trapped, Martin Freeman plays Lester Nygaard, the parka-clad schnook who sets much of the story in motion. You could be forgiven for thinking that both takes on "Fargo" -- a story that obviously predates AMC's dramas -- are sort of condensed versions of "Breaking Bad." The new FX show certainly ticks a lot of the boxes on the "prestige-TV" list: Middle-class white guy who feels oppressed, a nagging wife, frustrations at home and work leading to transgression, widening repercussions, etc. Speaking of "Breaking Bad" parallels, Bob Odenkirk even roams through "Fargo" lending his pitch-perfect comic relief to this frozen Walter-Mitty-gone-very-wrong tale.

Freeman is fine and his upper Midwest accent is passable, but, partly due to the familiarity of Lester's arc, this nervous milquetoast is ultimately is less interesting than the louche weirdos and earnest squares who get pulled into his orbit. That said, the twitchy Lester functions well enough as the fulcrum around which the story spins.

The most enticing part of "Fargo" is the work done by Billy Bob Thornton, who is fascinating from his first moment on the show and steals the entire miniseries out from under everyone. Thornton doesn't just give one great performance, he gives a few, as his crafty character, the dead-eyed lowlife Lorne Malvo, cuts a swath of destruction through the frosty heart of Minnesota. It's a delight to witness the restrained malevolence that rolls off Malvo. Like Los Pollos Hermanos proprietor Gus Fring, Malvo is a man who knows exactly who he is and what he wants to do, and Thornton displays a similar level of coiled yet casual mastery.

Not all of "Fargo" is as smooth and as finely honed as Thornton's performance. In the early going, "Fargo" occasionally strains to reach the right tone, as evidenced by some forced dialogue and a few overwrought moments (Kate Walsh, for example, wildly overplays her character, a grasping widow). The arch, one-note depiction of Lester's wife and a few other characters can veer into grating, obvious territory. Hollywood, as I've noted before, has a habit of regarding Midwesterners as hobbits, more or less: We're usually depicted as genial, somewhat dim folk who love their food and are unacquainted with irony, something I actually find in abundance in flyover country.

But these are generally mild complaints, befitting a show that explores the unruliness that lurks under mild demeanors. "Fargo" develops into a solid pleasure; it's studded with telling details, excellent performances and satisfying subplots (particularly one involving a pair of bickering hit men). All things considered, it efficiently drew me in to a quagmire of bad choices that only partly has to do with the "cutthroat world of regional trucking," as one character put it. This miniseries has an intelligent curiosity about the clash between earnest cordiality and base, animal instincts, and it's smart enough to occasionally display a beating heart.

That heart, of course, is covered by layers of wool, cotton and the like, and topped by an unattractive yet perfectly sensible parka, ya, sure.

"Fargo" airs for 10 weeks at 10 p.m. ET Tuesdays on FX.
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At Tribeca Film Festival, Movies Are Only Part Of The Story

NEW YORK (AP) — The Tribeca Film Festival is now a teenager. And like most teens, its eyes are on a lot of screens.

The 13th annual New York festival, which debuts Wednesday night, will present not just 80-plus feature films, but also an "Innovation Week" that seems designed to capture some of the tech energy of South by Southwest. The festival will, for the second year, feature a category called Storyscapes, with transmedia exhibits that use multimedia techniques to tell stories. Video games, too, will be mixed in with the 11th annual Games for Change festival.

This year at Tribeca, which runs through April 27, movies are only part of the story.

"Our reality has changed," says Jane Rosenthal, who co-founded the festival with Robert De Niro and Craig Hatkoff. "Ten years ago, there was no Twitter, no Facebook, no Google. You have to find different ways as an artist, as a filmmaker to collaborate and tell stories effectively."

Critics have often cited the sometimes less than world-class movie offerings at Tribeca, which takes place between the more sought-after Sundance and Cannes film festivals. And while Tribeca, which features trademark outdoor screenings dubbed "drive-ins," has had success with documentaries and sports films (it features an ESPN-sponsored sports movie festival), it has struggled to live up to its ambitions in a crowded festival calendar.

But if the quality of Tribeca's films has occasionally been in doubt, its spirit of progressiveness and inclusiveness is unquestioned.

A free day of movie-going on April 25 has been added to festival screenings, courtesy of sponsor AT&T. The festival is also selling tickets for its opening night at the Beacon Theatre for the first time. The Nas documentary, "Time Is Illmatic," will premiere, followed by a performance by the rapper.

The addition of other forms of media, though, is also a way to open doors to new audiences. Geoff Gilmore, chief creative officer of Tribeca Enterprises, says festivals need to adapt to increasingly tech-savvy moviegoers.

"What is the new world of story for a new generation?" asks Gilmore. "We find it by showcasing work — including work that's transmedia, including work that's from the Web, including work that's gaming — but also in just different ways of thinking about it. That's the future of film festivals."

Innovation Week, which runs April 21-26, will kick off with a talk from Aaron Sorkin, author of "The Social Network," a not particularly positive old-media take on new media. The event will also include a four-day "hackathon" of workshops for interactive storytelling.

The technology push calls to mind SXSW, the annual conference in Austin, Texas, where the interactive festival has grown, along with the tech world, to arguably dwarf the film and music festivals. Is Tribeca looking to become an East Coast SXSW? Says Rosenthal: "I'm happy to be compared to having a little bit of South By. I think they do a great job."

Ingrid Kopp, director of digital initiatives at the nonprofit Tribeca Film Institute and programmer of the Storyscapes section, says Tribeca's increasing tech mindfulness is simply "being honest about how audience behavior is changing." One exhibit, "Use of Force Protocol," will feature virtual reality headsets.

"Even if people are a little confused or don't totally understand how these things all fit together, there's definitely now at least an acknowledgment that things are changing," says Kopp. "It's really important to look at what's happening and ask questions."

Tribeca is also adding financial muscle. Last month, Tribeca Enterprises sold a 50 percent stake to sports-and-entertainment company Madison Square Garden Co. Rosenthal says the move illustrates Tribeca's still-growing aspirations: "We're ambitious for what we do in New York, and how we can be the very best at what we do."

This year's slate is heavy on music-themed films. Alex Gibney's unfinished, untitled James Brown documentary will screen, as will the concert film "Bjork: Biophilia Live." The lineup includes documentaries on Alice Cooper ("Super Duper Alice Cooper"), the Grateful Dead's Bob Weir ("The Other One") and jazz trumpeter Clark Terry ("Keep on Keepin' On").

Tribeca closes with "Begin Again," a film about a music executive (Mark Ruffalo) and a young singer-songwriter (Keira Knightley) from director John Carney ("Once").

There are some notable films from earlier festivals making stops, including Roman Polanski's "Venus in Fur, Kelly Reichardt's "Night Moves" and Paul Haggis' "Third Person." Courteney Cox will make her directorial debut ("Just Before I Go"), and Joss Whedon will be on hand with a paranormal romance he wrote ("In Your Eyes").

Several big names will be profiled ("Regarding Susan Sontag," ''The Improbable Journey of Barney Frank"), and other films will present behind-the-scenes looks at artistic endeavor ("Ballet 422," ''NOW: In the Wings on a World Stage," ''Dior and I").

But at the 13th annual Tribeca Film Festival, traditional definitions of art forms are very much in flux.

___

Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jake_coyle

___

Online:


http://tribecafilm.com/festival/
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