Following is a summary of current entertainment news briefs.
With jury picked, Johnny Depp opens U.S. libel case against ex-wife Heard
Lawyers for Hollywood star Johnny Depp on Tuesday gave a jury an overview of his U.S. defamation case against his ex-wife Amber Heard, the latest chapter in a long-running legal fight between the two Hollywood stars. Opening statements kicked off in a Virginia courtroom in a lawsuit Depp, 58, brought against Heard, 35, for $50 million in 2018.
Gilbert Gottfried, boundary-pushing comedian, dead at 67
Gilbert Gottfried, a stand-up comic with a screwy voice and a penchant for pushing boundaries with jokes about the Sept. 11 attacks and the Japanese tsunami, has died at age 67, his family said on Tuesday. Gottfried, a former cast member on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” and the voice of a sarcastic parrot in the animated Disney film “Aladdin,” suffered a long, unspecified illness, the family statement said.
Universal Music can’t help falling for Elvis Presley, to manage song catalog
Universal Music is adding the song catalog of the “King of Rock ‘n’ Roll”, Elvis Presley, including hits such as “Can’t Help Falling in Love” and “Jailhouse Rock”, under a publishing deal with Authentic Brands Group. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, although Universal Music Publishing Group said on Tuesday it would approve and collect revenue when Elvis’ songs are used in media, films or television.
Ugandan filmmaker eyes new Africa narrative after Disney animation deal
Ugandan film producer Raymond Malinga, whose work will feature in an upcoming Disney anthology of animated films from across Africa, hopes the project will bring African animation to the world. “Kizazi Moto: Generation Fire”, is a ten-part collection of short animations by producers from six African countries that is set to premier on the Disney Plus streaming platform later this year.
Spotify rebrands live audio streaming service
Spotify Technology SA on Tuesday re-branded its live audio-streaming service to Spotify Live and announced a slew of new content by top artists, as it doubles down on the format at a time when virtual events continue to attract audiences. Rolled out in June 2021 as Spotify Greenroom, the service will be available as a stand-alone app and as a livestream function on the main Spotify app.
Factbox-From Dylan to Springsteen, music greats sell rights to labels
Universal Music Group said on Tuesday it would manage the song catalog of the “King of Rock ‘n’ Roll” Elvis Presley, the latest such deal by global music labels to generate more revenue from royalties, licensing and brand deals. For big-name artists such as Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Sting, and Neil Diamond, the agreements offer a chance to reap the benefits of their catalogs, toward the end of their careers.
Hugh Laurie brings Agatha Christie murder-mystery to TV
British actor Hugh Laurie, best known for playing an eccentric doctor in the TV series “House” , brings what he says is his favourite Agatha Christie novel to the screen with his new TV show “Why Didn’t They Ask Evans?”. The three-part mini-series was written, produced and directed by Laurie, who also stars in a supporting role.
Kurt Cobain’s blue guitar in Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ video to be sold at auction
The iconic blue guitar Kurt Cobain rocked out with in Nirvana’s seminal 90s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” music video is expected to fetch up to $800,000 when it goes up for auction next month. With “Smells Like Teen Spirit” racking up more than 1.4 billion views on YouTube, the 1969 blue Fender is arguably one of the most famous in rock, said Martin Nolan, executive director of Julien’s Auctions.
Hit series ‘Russian Doll’ returns with more existential questions
Actress and writer Natasha Lyonne digs deeper into existential themes in season two of her hit Netflix show “Russian Doll”, this time sending her character Nadia and friend Alan to explore theirs pasts via a New York subway time portal. After successfully escaping a time loop that saw them repeatedly die in season one, Nadia and Alan go on a new journey spanning different eras. However, once again they will need to find a way out.
(With inputs from agencies.)
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