Entertainment briefs - August 1
Docs from Gibney, Burns topline TIFF
TORONTO — Profiles on former theatre mogul Garth Drabinsky, disgraced sprinter Ben Johnson and rapper Snoop Dogg are among the documentaries headed to the Toronto International Film Festival.
Festival programmers announced the documentary slate as well as the Midnight Madness and TIFF Kids selections this morning, touting a diverse array from around the world.
Non-fiction picks include Alex Gibney’s look at the Catholic Church in Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God, Ken Burns’ examination of a wrongful conviction in The Central Park Five and Daniel Gordon’s study of Canadian runner Ben Johnson’s scandal-plagued 1988 Olympic win in 9.79.
The Midnight Madness slate includes genre fare boasting star wattage from Abbie Cornish, Colin Farrell, Paul Giamatti, Selena Gomez, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, Eli Roth, Tom Waits and Christopher Walken.
Meanwhile, kid-friendly flicks include the big-budget animated Hotel Transylvania, about a lavish “five-stake” resort where monsters and their families can live it up without humans to bother them.
The Toronto International Film Festival runs from Sept. 6 to 16.
Gervais to launch Web series
Ricky Gervais wants to teach you English.
The comedian announced Tuesday on his blog that he’s working on a Web series called Learn English with Ricky Gervais. It co-stars Gervais’ frequent collaborator and foil Karl Pilkington.
Though Gervais didn’t describe the series, it can be expected to be more comedic than educational.
The comedian said he had finished the pilot episode and that he would post it online for free. After that, he said he may charge a few dollars from viewers or seek sponsorship. Gervais said he hopes to subtitle the show in “as many languages as possible,” including a Klingon version.
Snoop Dogg becomes Snoop Lion, readies reggae CD
NEW YORK — Snoop Dogg wants you to know that he’s tired of hip-hop, is Bob Marley reincarnated and is embracing reggae instead of the culture of guns he once rapped about.
Also, he’s got a new name: Snoop Lion.
The artist said at a news conference Monday in New York that he was “born again” during a visit to Jamaica in February and is ready to make music that his “kids and grandparents can listen to.”
The former gangster rapper is releasing a reggae album called Reincarnated in the fall. He said that in Jamaica, he connected with Bob Marley’s spirit and is now “Bob Marley reincarnated.”
Bob Marley’s son Rohan attended the conference and gave Snoop his blessing.
“I feel like I’ve always been Rastafarian,” Snoop said of the spiritual Jamaican movement. While there, he said, he visited a temple, was renamed Snoop Lion and was also given the Ethiopian name Berhane, meaning “light of the world.”
Snoop didn’t explain why he was switching from “Dogg” to “Lion,” but it’s likely a reference to the Lion of Judah, a religious symbol popular in Rastafarian and Ethiopian culture.
Later, he played five songs for a small crowd, including one called No Guns Allowed. It features his daughter and includes the lyrics, “No guns allowed in here tonight, we’re going to have a free for all, no fights.”
“It’s so tragic that people are doing stupid things with guns,” he said.
Snoop, best known for hits like Gin and Juice and Drop It Like It’s Hot, is an avid supporter of marijuana rights and has been banned from entering Norway for two years after trying to enter the country with a small amount last month.
He said that in Jamaica, where he stayed for 35 days, he grew closer to his wife, who saw his transition. He added that he’s excited to perform music that his family and children can listen to.
“As a 40-year-old man . . . I’ve got to give them something,” he said. “That’s what you do when you’re wise.”
Snoop Dogg said he’s not completely retiring from hip-hop but is “tired” of the genre because it is no longer challenging.
“Reggae was calling . . . it’s a breath of fresh air,” he said. “Rap isn’t challenging; it’s not appealing.”
The album was produced by Diplo and will feature Snoop singing. It will be released on Vice Records.
The Who fans disappointed by ’79 show cancellation
trade in tickets for concert 33 years later
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A group of hardcore fans of British rock band The Who will finally redeem tickets for a cancelled 1979 Rhode Island show.
The Who’s 1979 concert in Providence was cancelled by then-Mayor Buddy Cianci, who cited safety concerns after a stampede before a show in Cincinnati, Ohio, killed 11 people. The band hasn’t been to Providence since.
Now, the band plans to end its Quadrophenia tour in February at the same venue where its show was cancelled 33 years ago.
The Dunkin Donuts Center is honouring tickets for that cancelled show. A handful of fans have come forward to trade in their old tickets. They’ll make the trade Tuesday afternoon at the box office.
Any 1979 tickets redeemed will be donated to help raise money for the Special Olympics.
Cuba Gooding Jr. sought on warrant in New Orleans
NEW ORLEANS — New Orleans police say a warrant has been issued for actor Cuba Gooding Jr. after a morning incident at a French Quarter bar.
Police spokeswoman Remi Braden said the warrant issued Tuesday morning was for alleged municipal battery. She was working to confirm details.
Gooding is in New Orleans filming The Butler. His publicist said a statement would be issued later Tuesday.