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November 10, 2017
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Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson will write and direct a new Star Wars trilogy set in "a corner of the galaxy" that the franchise has "never before explored," Disney announced Thursday.

"Star Wars is the greatest modern mythology and we feel very lucky to have contributed to it," said Johnson in a joint statement with producer Ram Bergman. "We can't wait to continue with this new series of films." Johnson's first Star Wars film, The Last Jedi, is the second in the sequel trilogy and will be released Dec. 15.

Although Disney reported quarterly revenue that fell slightly short of analysts' expectations, the film studio and theme-park operator's stock gained about 1 percent after CEO Bob Iger made the announcement. Jeva Lange

September 22, 2017
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Former President Bill Clinton's forthcoming political thriller, which he co-authored with bestselling author James Patterson, is headed to the small screen, Variety reported Friday. Showtime has acquired the television rights for The President Is Missing, which won't even be published until 2018.

"Bringing The President Is Missing to Showtime is a coup of the highest order," Showtime president and CEO David Nevins told Variety. "The pairing of President Clinton with fiction's most gripping storyteller promises a kinetic experience, one that the book world has salivated over for months and that now will dovetail perfectly into a politically relevant, character-based action series for our network."

The President Is Missing "will offer readers a unique amalgam of intrigue, suspense, and behind-the-scenes global drama from the highest corridors of power," according to the press release. "It will be informed by insider details that only a president can know." Learn more about the forthcoming TV show at Variety. Jeva Lange

September 21, 2017

Director Wes Anderson returns in 2018 with Isle of Dogs, his first film since 2014's Grand Budapest Hotel, and the highly anticipated trailer has just landed. Isle of Dogs marks Anderson's return to stop-motion animation — his first since 2009's Fantastic Mr. Fox — and the voice roles are stacked: Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, Scarlett Johansson, Frances McDormand, Greta Gerwig, Bryan Cranston, Tilda Swinton, Yoko Ono, and Edward Norton are just some of the names on the bill.

Set in a dystopian future where Japan has banished canines, Isle of Dogs follows a boy, Rex (played by Norton), as he searches for his lost dog on a radioactive garbage island. Anderson has cited the influential Japanese director Akira Kurosawa as one of the inspirations for the film, although Isle of Dogs has sparked backlash for "whitewashing" its Japanese characters with white voice actors. Scarlett Johansson and Tilda Swinton, both a part of Anderson's cast, have faced such allegations before, for rolls in Ghost in the Shell and Doctor Strange, respectively.

Isle of Dogs will be in theaters in the U.S. on March 23, 2018. Watch the trailer below. Jeva Lange

September 20, 2017
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Sean Penn is slated to star in an upcoming Hulu original series about humanity's first mission to Mars. The series, called The First, was made by Beau Willimon, the creator of the Netflix original smash-hit series House of Cards.

This marks the two-time Oscar winner's "first regular role" on a television series, Variety noted. The show, set in the near future, "will depict the challenges a group of astronauts face while trying to achieve interplanetary colonization, while following the lives of their loved ones on Earth and the ground team overseeing the mission," Mashable reported. Penn's role has not yet been revealed.

The show is set to premiere next year. Becca Stanek

August 30, 2017

Apple is debuting three new iPhone models next month, one of which will sport the most changes to the company's signature device since it launched in 2007. People familiar with the new phone told Bloomberg that the iPhone 8 will get rid of the "home" button, with the front of the phone instead being nearly entirely filled by screen.

"Across the bottom of the screen there's a thin software bar in lieu of the home button," Bloomberg writes. "A user can drag it up to the middle of the screen to open the phone. When inside an app, a similar gesture starts multitasking. From here, users can continue to flick upwards to close the app and go back to the home screen."

The new phone will also have rounded corners, as opposed to square, and a "3D facial recognition sensor to unlock [the] phone and make payments." An infrared sensor will also make the camera capable of facial recognition in the dark.

The two other iPhone models will use "faster processors, but include the same screens as the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus," Bloomberg writes. The full details on all the devices will be available in September. Read more about what to expect at Bloomberg. Jeva Lange

August 7, 2017
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Comedian Amy Schumer will join a stacked cast for her Broadway debut this fall. Schumer is set to star alongside Tony winner Laura Benanti, Emmy winner Keegan-Michael Key, and Firefly actor Alan Tudyk in Meteor Shower, a play written by Steve Martin.

The play, directed by Jerry Zaks, follows the evening that unfolds after a couple invites another pair over to watch a meteor shower. While one of the couples (Schumer and Tudyk) are expecting a casual dinner, the other couple (Benanti and Key) "aren't looking for a casual evening of polite small talk with new friends," a press release foreshadows. "Eventually, the two couples find themselves in a marital free-fall matched in velocity and peril only by the smoldering space rocks tearing through the sky," the press release says.

Broadway World reported the play "broke box office records" when it debuted last year in San Diego. It later played in New Haven, Connecticut.

Previews on Broadway start Nov. 1, and the play will open at Broadway's Booth Theater on Nov. 29. Becca Stanek

July 24, 2017
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On Monday, House and Senate Democratic leaders will roll out the Democratic Party's newly developed economic agenda, "A Better Deal: Better Jobs, Better Wages, Better Future." The agenda is a response to Democrats' disappointing performance in 2016; Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has admitted "the number one thing that we did wrong is we didn't tell people what we stood for."

The middle class-focused agenda prioritizes fighting corporate overreach and proposes an extensive infrastructure plan, paid family leave, more federal funding for job training, and an independent agency to monitor prescription drug prices. "It's about reorienting government to work on behalf of people and families," Schumer wrote in an op-ed published in The New York Times.

Democratic leaders will unveil the agenda in Berryville, Virginia, the county seat of a district Democrats need to win back to gain control of the House. Becca Stanek

July 19, 2017
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Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner is going to take on President Trump. Kushner, who most famously tackled the AIDS crisis in his powerful two-part drama Angels in America, announced Wednesday that he is working on a play about Trump set two years before the real estate mogul was elected president, The Daily Beast reports.

"The nightmare is in high gear," Kushner said. "It certainly feels like folly that I or anyone else has a definitive understanding or comprehensive understanding of what [is] going on. I have my guesses like everyone else has, but it will take some time and a lot will depend on how it is resolved."

Plays about Trump do not always go over well — even when the play in question isn't actually about Trump. But Kushner said he wants to write Trump as more than just a metaphor: "He's the kind of person, as a writer, I tend to avoid as I think he is borderline psychotic," Kushner said. "I definitely think that incoherence lends itself well to drama, but he really is very boring. It's terrifying because he has all the power, but without the mental faculties he ought to have."

Kushner added, though, that he believes the story is worth the risk: "I gambled with Angels, which is set in the Reagan era but which I felt would be historically significant 30, 40, 50 years later, because something really fundamental had shifted under Reagan," he said. "The same thing is true with Trump." Read the full interview at The Daily Beast. Jeva Lange

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