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'Moana' star Auli’i Cravalho on how the film "lives on in so many different ways”

Disney

There was just no telling how far Auli’i [owl-LEE-ee] Cravalho would go after her star-making role as the titular Disney heroine in 2016’s Moana, but now we all know the answer: far, indeed.

In honor of Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Cravalho reflects on the legacy of the role that started her career.

Moana shaped me, first and foremost,” she tells ABC Audio. “I will always be grateful for her character traits of strength and resilience, and her adventurous nature. And I take them with me wherever I go.”

Cast in the role at age 14 and only 16 when the film was released, Cravalho has quite literally grown up as a Disney princess. Now 21, she understands how important it is for children to see “a young Polynesian heroine that doesn’t have a love interest.”

Cravalho was also given the opportunity to rerecord the film in Olelo Hawai’i, the official Hawaiian language. “Hawaiian is a dying language,” she said. “So, to have that representation, and to hear my cousins who are in Hawaiian immersion school – they [are able to] use that as a teaching aid for language.”

Nielsen consistently reports Moana at the top of its streaming charts. Although the film premiered three years before Disney+ was around, it was made available to stream on the service the day of its launch on November 12, 2019. When Nielsen released its Streaming Unwrapped 2021 data, Moana ranked #2 on the 2021 Top 10 Streaming Movies list.

That’s right – a film that was released in 2016 beat out movies that were released in 2021 – popular titles like Red Notice and Jungle Cruise.

Moana lives on in so many different ways,” Cravalho said. “And I can just only sit back and be just as grateful for it.”

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Johnny Depp-Amber Heard defamation trial hears closing arguments

Closing arguments in the high-profile dual defamation trial between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard began Friday.

The trial began April 11 in Fairfax, Virginia, and was presided over by Judge Penney Azcarate.

Depp, 58, sued Heard, 36, for $50 million over a 2018 op-ed she wrote for The Washington Post in December 2018. In the piece, she wrote about surviving domestic abuse without identifying her alleged abuser by name. Heard filed a $100 million countersuit against Depp in response.

In their respective testimonies during the trial, both Heard and Depp claimed the other abused them. The former couple, who met while filming 2011's The Rum Diary and were married from 2015 to 2017, denied each other's claims of abuse.

Depp's lawyer, Camille Vasquez, began Depp's closing arguments. She described Heard as "violent," "abusive" and a "deeply troubled person."

"What is at stake in this trial is a man's good name," Vasquez said. "Even more than that, what is at stake in this trial is a man's life -- the life that he lost when he was accused of a heinous crime, and the life he could live when he is finally vindicated."

Ben Chew, another member of Depp's legal team, ended the closing arguments for Depp's side of the case by saying this trial has never been about money or "punishing Ms. Heard" and instead is "about Mr. Depp's reputation and freeing him from the prison in which he has lived for the past six years."

Ben Rottenborn, one of Heard's lawyers, began closing arguments by asking jurors to think about the "message" he said Depp and his legal team are sending to Heard and victims of domestic violence.

"If you didn't take pictures, it didn't happen. If you did take pictures, they're fake. If you didn't tell your friends, you're lying...," he said in part. "And if you finally decide that enough is enough -- you've had enough of the fear, enough of the pain and you have to leave to save yourself -- you're a gold digger. That is the message that Mr. Depp is asking you to set."

Rottenborn added that jurors should also consider the First Amendment: "It's about freedom of speech. Stand up for it and reject Mr. Depp's claims against Amber."

Elaine Bredehoft, another member of Heard's legal team, asked the jury to hold Depp "legally responsible for his actions and to fully and fairly compensate Amber for what he has done by creating this concept of a hoax for the defamation that he has committed."

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Disney launches 'Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind' at EPCOT

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind / EPCOT - Walt Disney World Resort (Kent Phillips)

It’s save the galaxy time with Starlord and company! Only this time you’ll have to do it in central Florida. This weekend, Disney Parks debuts its 'Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind' attraction at Walt Disney World’s EPCOT -- based on the Guardians of the Galaxy films. It’s one of the longest enclosed roller coasters in the world and took almost six years to complete.

“We start you off feeling like you’re on a very conventional, roller coaster-type experience,” says Disney imagineer Tom Fitzgerald, telling ABC Audio it’s a far cry from the typical theme park ride, launching backward and catapulting riders into a 360-degree spin. “Without you even realizing it, we very subtly turn all the vehicles around and suddenly, if you’re in the first car, you’re in the back car!”
 
There’s also that trademark Disney storytelling attached as you board the ride. “Our hook is Peter Quill [Starlord] came to EPCOT when he was a kid, back in the '80s,” says Zach Riddley, lead creative executive for EPCOT. “The Xandarians say, 'Hey, we want to bring a message of our culture, technology to Earth. What’s the one place?' And they went to Starlord and he said, 'EPCOT.'”
 
And it wouldn’t be Guardians without a killer soundtrack. Six songs are showcased on Cosmic Rewind, including Blondie’s “One Way or Another” and Earth, Wind and Fire’s “September.” Choosing the playlist was no small feat, imagineer Spencer Lynn tells ABC Audio. But a fun one nonetheless. “We tested over 100 songs -- we would watch the cast members operating the attraction and if they were dancing, we were like, 'Let’s keep that one, it’s probably going to be good in the long run!'”
 
Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind opens May 27 at EPCOT. Disney is the parent company of Disney Parks and ABC News. 

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


'Top Gun: Maverick' director shares the hardest part of making the film

Scott Garfield. © 2019 Paramount Pictures Corporation. All rights reserved.

After a three-year wait, Top Gun: Maverick is finally in theaters this weekend! Director Joe Kosinski is thrilled the moment is finally here, telling ABC Audio that he feels like his life was leading up to this moment -- this was the film he was supposed to direct.

"I made model airplanes as a kid, radio controlled airplanes when I was in high school, I studied aerospace engineering in college," he shares. "So I've always been into it, like obsessed with aviation."

Speaking of aviation, Kosinaksi says that some of the most complex filming sequences came in the fighter jets, which he had very little control over in the moment and just had to have faith in the actors.

"So there's no way to communicate when they're up in the jets. So we built a six camera array," he explains, adding that they set up everything so that the actors only "had to turn them on." 

That wasn't the only complicated thing about making Top Gun: Maverick, though.

"I mean everything's hard on a movie like this, but...the script, the story is the most important. And until you crack that, everything else almost doesn't matter," Kosinski admits. "Everything was hard on this film. But it should be. You're making Top Gun, so you need to reach high."

Another thing that's high, according to Kosinski, is the bar set by the first film, so he hopes that he succeeded in making a film that is "a reason to go back to the movies." 

"We just wanted to make an emotional, exhilarating film that gives people a reason to go to the movie theater and makes them feel like they're a Top Gun pilot for two hours and entertain them," he says.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


'Obi-Wan Kenobi' debuts today on Disney+

© 2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™. All Rights Reserved.

Star Wars fans can finally say "Hello there!" to Obi-Wan Kenobi, the latest Star Wars small-screen series to debut on Disney+. 

The show takes place around 10 years after the events of Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith. Returning star Ewan McGregor's titular Jedi Master is in hiding on Tatooine, keeping an eye on a young Luke Skywalker from afar.

Meanwhile, he's trying to avoid the clutches of Darth Vader -- his fallen former student Anakin Skywalker -- as well as Vader's Jedi hunting Inquisitors. 

Actress Moses Ingram plays Reva [REE-vah], one of Vader's agents. She tells ABC Audio that the new character is "passionate about her job."

"She plays the offensive and she's got to be ten steps ahead. She's got to be first in line. And I think that drives a lot of what she does."

She calls seeing her onscreen boss in his iconic black suit -- played again by McGregor's Star Wars prequel co-star Hayden Christensen -- "crazy."

As for McGregor, acting opposite Christensen again was "lovely." 

"We spent such a lot of time together in Australia when we made Episode II and Episode III and a lot of time in the fight gym...you know, for Revenge of the Sith...for that epic fight sequence at the end, and that took months of training," he explains.

He said of the off-screen return of the Jedi, "I felt like the last 17 years hadn't happened at all."

The Emmy winner also threw cold water on some recent reporting that he'd "lost" his character's accent.

"It's been somewhat blown out of proportion...already," Ewan said with a hearty laugh. 

"I just went back to what I was going to do anyway, was listening to lots of Alec Guinness and I watched all of the movies from start to finish...Did a bit of The Clone Wars, and then I was sort of back into the right world."

Disney is the parent company of ABC News.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Weekend Watchlist: What's new on streaming

Ready, set, binge! Here are some of the new titles available to stream this weekend:

Netflix
Stranger Things: Everything turns upside down in Hawkins when Stranger Things returns with volume one of its long-awaited fourth season.

Somebody Feed PhilFollow Phil for a fifth season as he travels the world to take in the local cuisine and culture.
 

Hulu
Look At Me: XXXTenacion: Learn how a Florida teenager became one of the most streamed music artists on the planet.

Shoresy: This new sitcom is based off of the fan-favorite character from Letterkenny as he quests to never lose again.
 

Disney+
Obi-Wan Kenobi: In the new series set 10 years after the events of the Star Wars prequels Obi-Wan Kenobi must face his best friend turned rival Anakin Skywalker.


HBO Max
That Damn Michael Che: Season two of the sketch comedy series returns to explore new themes of what different scenarios are like from the comedian's point of view. 


Apple TV+
Prehistoric Planet: Witness the world’s most extraordinary creatures like you’ve never seen them before in this nature documentary series.

Happy streaming!

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Millie Bobby Brown teases independence for Eleven in 'Stranger Things' season 4

Courtesy of Netflix

The wait is over.

Stranger Things returns to Netflix on Friday with volume one of its fourth season. Star Millie Bobby Brown told reporters at a recent roundtable what to expect from Eleven this time around, especially after the loss of her character’s supernatural abilities back in season 3.

“Without her superpowers, who is she?” Brown said. “What does she have? What does she bring to the table? What does she know?”

That’s not the only thing she teases Eleven will be without this season. Previously, the character has been written as “dependent on her friends,” Brown said, insinuating that will change this season. “She’s also trying to figure out who she is without them, without Mike specifically.”

Even though it’s been almost three years since new episodes of Stranger Things dropped in the summer of 2019, Brown said the cast and crew embraced the passing of time instead of shying away from it. “I think the Duffer Brothers do a great job in talking about the time that has passed but also moving forward,” she said. “Our fans are very dedicated and are willing to wait that time out.”

And while it may seem like Eleven is losing a lot this season – her powers, her dependence on her friends – Brown assured that she is gaining just as much.

“These are all things that I think are really nice to explore this season, and, also, [are] really good timing,” she said. “You know, she’s getting older. The kids are all getting older, and with growing up, young people want to gain autonomy from not only their parents, but their friends, and really finding out who they are and searching for that. So, I think it’s quite nice to see Eleven do that this season.”

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


A galactic load of 'Star Wars' news just dropped at Star Wars Celebration

Disney+

Get ready for a whole load of new adventures set in a galaxy far, far away.

Disney+ released a bunch of new information about its upcoming Star Wars projects Thursday morning during Lucasfilm’s biannual Star Wars Celebration event in Anaheim, California.

The trailer for the new series Andor, a prequel to 2016’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story that focuses on fan favorite character Cassian Andor, portrayed by Diego Luna, dropped alongside a confirmed release date of August 31.

Andor will explore “a new perspective from the Star Wars galaxy, focusing on Cassian Andor’s journey to discover the difference he can make,” according to a press release.

Mando and Grogu will make their return next year. The highly anticipated third season of The Mandalorian will debut in February 2023. Those who attended the panel at the Anaheim Convention Center were treated to a teaser of the new season.

Additionally, Jude Law will star in Star Wars: Skeleton Crew, the new series that will be helmed by Spider-Man: No Way Home director Jon Watts. The series will shoot this summer, and its story will center around a group of kids lost in the Star Wars galaxy during the New Republic era.

Finally, Disney+ released the teaser trailer for Willow, a new live action fantasy-adventure series from Lucasfilm and Imagine Entertainment based on the classic 1988 film. The series will premiere November 30, and stars Erin Kellyman and Warwick Davis.

And in non-Star Wars news, the release date for Lucasfilm’s Indiana Jones 5 was also announced at the event with the help of Harrison Ford. It’ll hit theaters June 30, 2023.

Disney is the parent company of ABC News.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Lorraine Bracco, Jennifer Lopez and more pay tribute to Ray Liotta

Bennett Raglin/WireImage

Stars are paying tribute to actor Ray Liotta after the news of his death was announced Thursday. The Goodfellas actor died at the age of 67, ABC News confirmed.

Here are some of the messages remembering the late actor and his impact:

Lorraine Bracco: "I am utterly shattered to hear this terrible news about my Ray. I can be anywhere in the world & people will come up & tell me their favorite movie is Goodfellas. Then they always ask what was the best part of making that movie. My response has always been the same…Ray Liotta."

Jennifer Lopez: "Ray was my partner in crime on Shades of Blue … the first thing that comes to mind is he was so kind to my children... We lost a great today … RIP RAY … it’s so sad to lose you what seems way to soon … I will remember you always. Sending so much love and strength to your daughter Karsen, your family and all your loved ones."

Adam Sandler: "Tremendous actor. Sweetheart of a dad. Such a great funny man to know. Prayers are with his whole family."

Seth Rogen: "I can’t believe Ray Liotta has passed away. He was such a lovely, talented and hilarious person. Working with him was one of the great joys of my career and we made some of my favorite scenes I ever got to be in. A true legend of immense skill and grace."

Josh Brolin: "My buddy. My friend. How so soon? Why? I’ll miss you. I will think about seeing you at Gold’s often, talking about what to do next, how to find something together. I always looked up to you — the work was always so good, but the man you were always stood out among the rest of them. Yes, I will miss you, pal. Until we meet again, wherever they say that is. #riprayliotta"

Taron Egerton: "I stepped on the set of Black Bird in May of last year deeply excited that I would be working with Ray Liotta and even more excited that he would be playing my father....When I first saw our show I text him telling him that I felt his performance was beautiful and that I was very proud of our work. His response was: 'you made it easy to love my son.' Ray, the feeling was so, so mutual. I will miss you."

Jamie Lee Curtis: "Ray Liotta has died. His work as an actor showed his complexity as a human being. A gentle man. So sad to hear."

Viola Davis: "RIP Ray Liotta!! Loved your work"

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Camilla Luddington reflects on 'Grey's Anatomy' legacy as show marks 400th episode

ABC/Mike Rosenthal

Camilla Luddington may not be one of the original Grey's Anatomy stars, but she's a huge part of the series' history.

The British actress, 38, joined the ABC medical drama back in season 9 as Jo Wilson. More than 200 episodes later, she is part of the cast celebrating the show's milestone 400th episode -- which also happens to be the season 18 finale -- airing Thursday at 8 p.m. ET.

As it turns out, things could have been very different for Luddington, who missed her audition in 2012 because she was at San Diego Comic-Con promoting her role as Lara Croft in the Tomb Raider video game franchise.

Luckily, it all worked out in the end.

"Ten years later, here I am," she told Good Morning America on Thursday.

Luddington also spoke about how her character's storyline of becoming a mom this season mirrored her own life, having welcomed her son, Lucas, in August 2020. She also shares 5-year-old daughter Hayden with husband Matthew Alan.

"They're like, 'OK, so you're going to be really tired this season.' And I'm like, 'I got this,'" she said, laughing. "Like, her kid was teething, my kid was teething. This season was easy, the mom thing."

Luddington said showrunner Krista Vernoff is "very open" to the actors pitching stories for their characters. The actress also revealed one storyline she's keen to pitch herself: her vision for how Grey's Anatomy should end.

"Can we be on a beach? I just feel like there have been so many huge disasters. Can we just all survive, like, with a cocktail?" she suggested. "That's what I want. A cocktail on the beach. That's what I'll pitch next."

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Jennifer Aniston, Pink and Billie Eilish are Ellen DeGeneres' final guests on last episode of talk show

Michael Rozman/Warner Bros.

After 19 years in syndication, Ellen DeGeneres wrapped up her talk show for good on Thursday. Along with Jennifer Aniston, she was joined by two music superstars as her final guests: Pink and Billie Eilish.

Aniston was Ellen's very first guest on her very first episode, so it was fitting that she appeared on this final show. After Aniston's appearance came Billie, who first appeared on the show in 2018, when she was just 16. She told Ellen, "You started this show the year after I was born. This was in my house constantly. Every day. I would walk into the kitchen and my mom would be watching you.”

Ellen's great friend Pink was the final guest and musical performer. In addition to singing "What About Us," she also gifted Ellen with some things that will help her fill all the free time she'll suddenly have on her hands: a homemade sourdough starter; knitting needles and yarn; and binoculars for bird-watching.

Pink, who first appeared on the show in 2003, told Ellen, “I wanted to be a singer because I wanted to grow up and change the world and make it a better place. You’ve done that in so many ways. Maybe I help people find their pain. You help people find their joy.”

Ellen concluded the show by saying, "Thank you so much for being on this journey with me. I feel the love and I send it back to you. Bye.”

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


'Goodfellas' actor Ray Liotta dead at 67

Phillip Faraone/Getty Images

Goodfellas actor Ray Liotta has died at age 67, his publicist confirms to ABC News. 

No cause of death was given, though there are unconfirmed reports that he passed away in his sleep while shooting the movie Dangerous Waters in the Dominican Republic.

Liotta caught the attention of Hollywood in the 1986 film Something Wild, playing star Melanie Griffith's violent ex-con husband, a role for which he was nominated for a Golden Globe. He went on to appear as Shoeless Joe Jackson in 1989's baseball-themed classic Field of Dreams, with Kevin Costner, in which he delivered the memorable, oft-quoted line, "Hey, rookie! You were good!"

But Liotta's breakout role came in the 1990 Martin Scorsese classic Goodfellas, as part of an all-star cast that included Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Lorraine Bracco. Based in part on the life of former mobster turned government informant Henry Hill, which Liotta played, the film became a near-instant classic and launched Liotta to stardom.

Liotta most recently appeared in films including the Sopranos spinoff The Many Saints of Newark, Marriage Story and No Sudden Move. He also starred in TV shows including Shades of Blue opposite Jennifer Lopez, Amazon Prime’s Hanna and the upcoming Apple TV+ series Black Bird, alongside Taron Egerton.

In 2005, Liotta won an Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series for his role as Charlie Metcalf in an episode of ER called "Time of Death."

Liotta leaves behind a daughter, Karsen, and a fiancée, Jacy Nittolo.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Kevin Spacey charged with four counts of sexual assault in the UK

Nicole Harnishfeger-Pool/Getty Images

Kevin Spacey has been charged with four counts of sexual assault against three men in the United Kingdom, the U.K.’s Crown Prosecution Service confirmed Thursday.

Rosemary Ainslie, head of the CPS Special Crime Division, said in a statement, “The CPS has authorized criminal charges against Kevin Spacey, 62, for four counts of sexual assault against three men.”

"He has also been charged with causing a person to engage in penetrative sexual activity without consent,” the statement continued. “The charges follow a review of the evidence gathered by the Metropolitan Police in its investigation.”

The statement added, "The Crown Prosecution Service reminds all concerned that criminal proceedings against Mr. Spacey are active and that he has the right to a fair trial."

Since 2017, multiple men in both the U.S. and U.K. have come forward with sexual harassment or assault allegations against the former House of Cards actor. Spacey has maintained his innocence.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Jimmy Kimmel tearfully addresses Texas school shooting: "This is a time to be loud"

ABC/Jeff Lipsky

Jimmy Kimmel addressed the Texas school shooting in an emotional monologue on his late night-show Wednesday.

Speaking to the camera without the studio audience present, Kimmel immediately choked up as he grieved for “the little boys and girls whose lives have been ended and whose families have been destroyed.”

“Our leaders on the right, the Americans in Congress and at Fox News and these other outlets warn us not to politicize this,” Kimmel said, adding, “they don’t want to speak about it, because they know what they’ve done. And they know what they haven’t done and they know that it’s indefensible. So they’d rather sweep this under the rug.”

Kimmel then pointed out most Americans – both Democrats and Republicans – support “common-sense gun laws” that keep guns “out of the hands of criminals and children.”

“This is not a time for moments of silence, this is a time to be loud and to stay loud and not stop until we fix this,” he said.

Jimmy choked up again as he stated there have been 27 school shootings so far this year – and it’s only May. “How does this make sense to anyone? These are our children!” Kimmel said.

“If you care about this – and we all do, doesn’t matter what party we vote for – we need to make sure that we do everything we can, that unless they do something drastic, let’s make sure that not one of these politicians ever holds office again,” he declared.

On Tuesday, 19 children and two adults were killed at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas by an 18-year-old gunman, who also was killed.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


In brief: 'Mr. Malcolm's List' trailer, 'This Is Us' ratings and more

Bleecker Street on Wednesday dropped the trailer for its Regency-era rom-com, Mr. Malcolm’s List, starring The Handmaid’s Tale's Zawe Ashton and Gangs of London's Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù. Per Bleecker Street, the film follows Ashton's Julia Thistlewaite, who gets jilted after failing to meet an item on Mr. Malcolm's list of requirements for a bride. Feeling humiliated and determined to exact revenge, she convinces her friend Selina Dalton -- portrayed by Freida Pinto -- to play the role of his ideal match. Soon, Mr. Malcolm wonders whether he’s found the perfect woman...or the perfect hoax. Mr. Malcolm’s List is slated for a July 1st theatrical release...

A Speed Racer live-action series is in the works at Apple with J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot set to executive produce, according to Variety. Speed Racer centers on the titular character's adventures and his souped up car, the Mach 5. His team consists of his father and car builder Pops Racer, his little brother Spritle and his pet chimpanzee Chim-Chim and Speed’s girlfriend Trixie. Speed also frequently crosses paths with the mysterious Racer X, who is secretly Speed’s older brother Rex Racer. Speed Racer, which originated as a manga series created by Tatsuo Yoshida in the 1960s under the title Mach GoGoGo, was first adapted into an anime series that debuted in the United States in 1967. This would mark the second live-action version of the Japanese character, following the 2008 film starring Emile Hirsch in the title role...

Tuesday's This Is Us series finale scores the highest rating of the season, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The show ended its six-season run with a 1.3 rating among adults 18-49 and 6.4 million total viewers, according to Live + Same Nielsen data. It should be noted that last night’s runner-up CBS shook up its primetime last minute when the network decided to pull the season four finale of FBI from its schedule, following a shooting at a Texas elementary school that saw over a dozen children killed on Tuesday. The episode has been pulled due to the fact that the storyline concerned a school shooting...

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


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