The daily gossip: Critics say Timothée Chalamet is 'exceptional' in 'Wonka,' Zack Snyder defends Amber Heard, and more

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Timothée Chalamet at the 'Wonka' premiere
Timothée Chalamet at the 'Wonka' premiere
(Image credit: Jeff Spicer / Getty Images for Warner Bros. Pictures)

1. Critics say Timothée Chalamet is 'exceptional' in 'Wonka'

December will be a big month for Wonka wonks. Critics have started weighing in on "Wonka," the prequel starring Timothée Chalamet as a young Willy Wonka, and the first reactions are surprisingly glowing. Chalamet delivers an "exceptional" and "pitch-perfect performance" in the "super charming delight," said Collider's Perri Nemiroff, while writer Zoë Rose Bryant declared the film an "instant holiday classic" and a "truly magical time at the movies." Good Day Chicago's Jake Hamilton also said the "charming, heartfelt and pretty spectacular musical" is a "loving tribute to everything we love about the '71 original," and Chalamet is "unbelievably fun and charismatic" in the lead role. "Wonka" director Paul King previously helmed the "Paddington" movies, and critics noted it feels tonally similar to them. The positive buzz leaves "Wonka" well-positioned to dominate the holiday movie season, while DC's "Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom," which opens one week later, may be destined to sink. X

2. Zack Snyder would work with Amber Heard again 'in a second'

Amber Heard has a friend in Zack Snyder. The director defended Heard, whom he worked with on "Justice League," in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. "I just don't get it," Snyder said of the hatred surrounding Heard. The actress and her ex-husband, Johnny Depp, both accused each other of abuse in a high-profile trial last year, and they were each found liable for defamation. "If other people don't like her, I don't know what to say," Snyder said. "I would work with her in a second." Snyder noted he has kept in touch with a number of people he worked with at DC, including embattled actor Ezra Miller, who "did a great job in that 'Flash' movie." These days, though, the director has moved on from superheroes. He explained he doesn't "have the excitement for it that I used to have," although he would consider returning to DC for an adaptation of "The Dark Knight Returns." Get ready to fire back up those #SnyderCut hashtags. The Hollywood Reporter

3. Kate McKinnon is returning to 'Saturday Night Live' as host

Kate McKinnon is headed back to her old stomping grounds. The Emmy-winning comedian will return to "Saturday Night Live" on Dec. 16 as host of the final episode of 2023. She starred on "SNL" for a decade before leaving in 2022, but this will be her first time hosting the show. McKinnon's monologue will surely touch on her role as Weird Barbie in "Barbie," the highest-grossing film of the year. She'll be joined by musical guest Billie Eilish, providing some "Barbie" synergy considering the pop star performed the film's acclaimed original song "What Was I Made For?" This will be Eilish's third time as "SNL" musical guest. Meanwhile, "Ferrari" star Adam Driver is set to host on Dec. 9, meaning he'll soon be just one episode short of joining the five-timers club. His musical guest will be Olivia Rodrigo, who's returning to "SNL" for her second time. It will be a night for Driver and drivers license. NBC

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4. Taylor Swift, Spotify's top artist of 2023, debuts 'You're Losing Me' on streaming

Stop the Spotify Wrapped count! On the same day Spotify revealed users' top artists of the year, Taylor Swift has dropped one more new song — or at least a new-ish song. She was the top global artist of 2023, topping Bad Bunny, who earned that title for three consecutive years, according to Spotify. Miley Cyrus' "Flowers" was the top song of 2023, but Swift's "Cruel Summer" came in at number six despite debuting in 2019. Swift said being Spotify's top artist was "truly the best birthday/holiday gift you could've given me," so as a thank you, she finally released her song "You're Losing Me" on streaming. The track technically debuted in May, but it was initially exclusive to a "Midnights" CD available at New Jersey Eras Tour shows. It was later released digitally on her store. "You're Losing Me" is believed to be about the end of Swift's relationship with Joe Alwyn, making its streaming debut the perfect finale of sad girl autumn. Spotify

5. Jenna Ortega was reportedly seeking a raise before 'Scream' exit

Contract disputes are picking off "Scream" stars faster than Ghostface himself. After Melissa Barrera was recently fired from "Scream VII" over her posts about the Israel-Hamas war, Jenna Ortega was also confirmed to have exited the film, and we now have some new details. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Ortega was paid six figures for the previous "Scream" movies. Since filming "Scream VI," though, she became a massive star thanks to Netflix's "Wednesday." So she was "seeking high seven figures" for the seventh installment but "anticipated" production company Spyglass "would balk," the Reporter said. Deadline previously reported that Ortega left "Scream VII" before Barrera's firing due to scheduling issues. But the Reporter writes that Spyglass head Gary Barber has a reputation for being "cheap," and after "Scream VI" was a hit despite losing Neve Campbell due to a salary dispute, his "apparent takeaway is that neither stars nor large salaries are essential." Ghostface may want to start placing some calls about joining a union. The Hollywood Reporter

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