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Brad Pitt skips film premiere to focus on 'family situation'

Brad Pitt is skipping his first public appearance after last week's split with Angelina Jolie Pitt. He says he won't attend the premiere of Terrence Malick's new documentary Wednesday night as scheduled.

Pitt, who narrates "Voyage of Time," said in a statement Wednesday that he's grateful to have been part of the project, but is "currently focused on my family situation and don't want to distract attention away from this extraordinary film."

Pitt has yet to file a response in the divorce case. Jolie Pitt cited irreconcilable differences in her Sept. 20 filing to end their two-year marriage. The couple share six children.

The FBI has said it is gathering information about allegations Pitt was involved in a fight aboard a private plane carrying his family on Sept. 14.

In 'American Honey,' finding family in a hopeless place

The face filmmaker Andrea Arnold makes at the thought of storyboarding her films is the kind of bitter, disgusted look most people reserve for a bath full of leeches.

Once her "Eww!" has receded, the British director leans forward and explains why she won't sketch her shots in advance. "I want to bring life into what I'm doing," she says. "I try to create that sort of atmosphere which involves not being too structured. If I start controlling it too much, I think the life goes."

Arnold pauses to consider and then concludes: "I quite like to get in there and see what's what."

Life rushes through Arnold's heartland odyssey "American Honey" with a freewheeling electricity that the Beats would have admired even if the tunes (Rihanna, Drake, Big Sean) were puzzlingly unfamiliar. An immersive and exuberantly sensory road movie, "American Honey" follows the cross-country road trip of aimless but colorful teenagers selling magazines door-to-door as a way to party across the Midwest.

"American Honey" has its own band of merry pranksters, too. Though the movie's actors include a few young stars (Shia LaBeouf, Riley Keough), Arnold mostly found her cast on her own research trips around the county, at spring break clubs on the Florida coast and county fairs in Appalachia.

"We were all real people, cast from the streets. All of the situations we were coming from were pretty bad," says Raymond "Ray Ray" Coalson. "We legitly became family because we were all misfits and this brought us together."

Just as the making of "American Honey" was unorthodox, so has its presence been on the festival circuit. In Cannes, where the film won the Jury Prize, the group danced down the red carpet to E-40's "Choice (Yup)." At the Toronto International Film Festival, they traversed the city in a party bus not unlike the van they ride in the film. Collectively, they are a dancing blur of tattoos, skateboards, hugs and tears.

Arnold, the 55-year-old director of "Fish Tank" and "Wuthering Heights," is the matriarch of their improvised family, shepherding her cast from nowhere and into one of the most acclaimed films of the year. Sasha Lane, then a Texas-native college student on spring break, now the film's breakout star, initially worried Arnold was casting for pornography. Then she watched her rescue passed out kids along Panama Beach.

"I witnessed her doing things like that," says Lane. "Her energy, for one, is very pure. And her telling me that I was beautiful the way I was, and seeing her help people on the street, you knew that she would have your back."

Arnold and Lane recently slid into a restaurant booth in Toronto, both still emotional from the ride they've been on the last year. Arnold may be in charge, but her pensive demeanor belies her eager playfulness. "The bus is the best," Arnold says before wondering if the loud music was disturbing Toronto citizens. "Quite rude with the Big Sean, actually," she says, referring to the hip-hop artist in their mobile mix.

Arnold came to the story of magazine-selling crews from a 2007 New York Times article . The itinerant journeys, from cheap motel to cheap motel, were filled with drugs, alcohol and sex. The world, and its surrogate families, appealed to Arnold.

"Here they are selling things on a minibus. It's kind of a little version of capitalism," Arnold says. "It's in a nutshell the biggest picture: selling and trying to find your place in this big country."

To write her script, Arnold traveled through West Virginia towns, emptied by mine closures, and through impoverished areas of the South and Midwest. The vision of America in "American Honey" is one of opiate addiction, highways and soda. In one memorable scene, the crew dances to Rihanna's "We Found Love" in a Walmart. (Arnold wrote the pop star a letter to get permission for the song.)

Arnold grants she witnessed a lot of poverty and hopelessness, but isn't inclined to make any pronouncement on the soul of America.

"Environment obviously affects us but we also have an impact on our lives too," says Arnold. "If you grow up in a certain situation but you don't believe in yourself, how do you get out of that? So it's complicated. I couldn't possibly say something simple about it."

During shooting, the cast and crew lived much like the magazine crews: piled into motel rooms, their destinations often chosen at the last minute. Michael Fassbender, who starred in Arnold's "Fish Tank," says her way of making a movie is uncommonly organic: "Andrea can create chaos and capture it so well," Fassbender says. "A lot of directors can create it and not capture it."

For movie novices like Lane, it was a strange baptism. "Every day I was reminded, 'This is not how normal movies are made, Sasha, by the way,'" says Lane.

Lane, who turns 21 Thursday, now has a budding movie career. Like her fellow cast members, her life has be forever altered by Arnold and "American Honey."

"She saved my life in a way because I know that part of America," says Lane, beginning to cry. "We all had something that we were looking for. She gave me this hope that you can have another life besides the one you grew up with. I went from hopeless to: No, you can shine."


Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at:

Disney is making a live-action version of 'The Lion King'

Following in the footsteps of 2016's "The Jungle Book" and 2014's "Maleficent," Disney is preparing to make a live action version of its 1994 animated blockbuster, "The Lion King."

According to a news release from The Walt Disney Co., Jon Favreau, who directed Disney's live-action "The Jungle Book," this year, will take the helm on the film.

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"'The Lion King' builds on Disney’s success of reimagining its classics for a contemporary audience with films like 'Maleficent,' 'Cinderella' and 'The Jungle Book,'" The Walt Disney Company said in a news release Wednesday. "The upcoming 'Beauty and the Beast,' starring Emma Watson as Belle, is already one of the most anticipated movies of 2017."

Favreau hinted at his next project in a tweet on Wednesday.

There is no release date set for the reimagined "Lion King." Favreau and Disney are also working on a sequel to the live-action "Jungle Book."

Disney to make live-action 'Lion King,' Favreau directing

The animated classic "The Lion King" will be the latest Disney film to get a live-action remake.

Disney announced Wednesday that Jon Favreau, who helmed the box-office hit "Jungle Book" remake, will direct the new "Lion King." He's also at work on a "Jungle Book" sequel.

The circle of life now inevitably leads to live-action remakes for Disney classics. The new "Lion King" follows in the wake of similar remakes for "The Jungle Book," ''Cinderella," ''Pete's Dragon" and the upcoming "Beauty and the Beast."

The original 1994 "Lion King" grossed $968.8 million and won two Oscars, including one for the Elton John song "Can You Feel the Love Tonight." The Grammy-winning soundtrack sold more than 14 million copies. And the hit Broadway musical has been running for 19 years.

The top 10 movies on the iTunes Store

iTunes Movies US Charts:

1. Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising

2. The Legend of Tarzan (2016)

3. Captain America: Civil War

4. 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

5. I.T.

6. Free State of Jones

7. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows

8. Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates

9. The Jungle Book (2016)

10. Me Before You

iTunes Movies US Charts - Independent:

1. I.T.

2. Dirty 30

3. Goat

4. Hunt for the Wilderpeople

5. The Phenom

6. My Blind Brother

7. Swiss Army Man

8. Citizenfour

9. The Lobster

10. Transpecos


(copyright) 2016 Apple Inc.

Review: A Holocaust denier is brought to justice in 'Denial'

Based on Deborah Lipstadt's book "History on Trial: My Day in Court With a Holocaust Denier," the film depicts when the unapologetically anti-Semitic historian David Irving brought a libel suit against Lipstadt for calling him a Holocaust denier in one of her books.

Because of the nature of libel cases in the United Kingdom (where Irving filed the suit), the burden of proof is on the defender, not the plaintiff. Hovering constantly throughout the trial — which ran eight weeks — is the question: Is it worthwhile to expend so much energy on such a loathsome liar?

It's a salient question with obvious relevance to a time where willful disregard for the truth increasingly runs rampant in national politics and social media streams, alike. Should trolls be taken to task or ignored?

"Denial" argues forcefully and convincingly for the vital necessity of confronting the perpetuation of dangerous falsehoods. It rises impressively to the wise and perhaps unpopular judgment that "not all opinions are equal." This is an honorable cause if not a particularly dramatic movie.

Just as the legal team behind Lipstadt's case brought a full array of firepower to the proceedings, so has Jackson in his film. The cast is littered with an impervious collection of British talent, in front of and behind the camera.

Rachel Weisz stars as the Queens-born Lipstadt. Her star-studded attorneys are barrister Richard Rampton (played by Tom Wilkinson) and solicitor Anthony Julius (Andrew Scott), famed for securing Princess Diana's divorce. Irving is played with snarling perfection by Timothy Spall. And the script is by playwright David Hare ("The Reader," ''The Hours").

Irving sets things in motion when he turns up a speaking engagement of Lipstadt's to heckle her from the audience. When he brings the lawsuit against her publisher, Penguin Books, the assembled legal team begins hashing out a strategy of how to argue history in a courtroom, how to prove the Holocaust.

What's partly on trial, though, is the notoriously byzantine British court system, itself. "Dickensian not Kafkaesque" is what Lipstadt says she's hoping for in her passage through its elaborate procedures.

Often, Lipstadt's experience is a frustrating one as she — more emotional than her lawyers — clashes with the stringently logical Rampton. They together visit Auschwitz where he reacts bitterly to the lack of an extensive forensics record. Despite Lipstadt's protests, the attorneys want neither her nor Holocaust survivors to take the stand to subject themselves to Irving's questions. (Irving represented himself in the trial.)

These strategic debates aren't much to hang a movie on, but the case doesn't supply much else in terms of suspense. "Denial" is carried less by the normal theatrics of courtroom dramas than a staunch sense of duty to protect the truth. It's an argument for the patient, methodical dismantling of fools.

"Denial," a Bleecker Street release, is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America for "mild action and some thematic elements." Running time: 110 minutes. Two and a half stars out of four.


Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at:

In 'Deepwater Horizon,' an ecological disaster's human toll

The name Deepwater Horizon is synonymous to most with environmental catastrophe and corporate negligence. For Mike Williams, who survived the April 2010 oil-rig explosion by plunging into the Gulf of Mexico from several stories up, it was about something else.

"My 11 brothers that got killed were immediately forgotten," Williams said, speaking from his Sulphur Springs, Texas, home. "We understand the oil. It's bad, yes. The birds are dying and the shrimp and the crabs and all that stuff. But those aren't brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, sons, daughters. Shrimp can come back. People, you can't bring those guys back."

Peter Berg's "Deepwater Horizon," which opens in theaters Friday, puts the spotlight of a big-budget disaster movie on the human toll of a real-life tragedy. Mark Wahlberg stars as Williams, a central figure in an earlier "60 Minutes" segment that focused on the Deepwater Horizon workers.

"There are probably several different ways you could tell this story or any story, but I liked this approach," says Berg ("Friday Night Lights," ''Battleship"). "I was very moved by the fact that 11 men lost their lives and I didn't even know that before the '60 Minutes' piece."

Made for over $100 million by Lionsgate, "Deepwater Horizon" gives the true story the kind of action-film treatment usually reserved for caped crusaders. A mock oil rig, 85 percent to scale, was built at an old Six Flags in Louisiana out of more than 3 million pounds of steel — one of the largest film sets ever erected. The film, based on a New York Times article that detailed the events surrounding the explosion, burrows into the details and politics of life on the rig leading up to the chaos-inducing blowout.

"It's great that the studio would take the risk to make a movie that has no sequel potential," says Wahlberg. "At a time when we get bombarded with superhero movies and other stuff that's pretty mind-numbing, it's nice to have a really smart, adult movie that has action."

Though director J.C. Chandor ("A Most Violent Year") originally helmed the project, Berg ("Friday Night Lights," ''Battleship") came aboard to lend the film a more movie star-based approach. "This film works on many levels and I think one of them is just a big-ass action film in the best possible way," Berg says.

Berg's last film, "Lone Survivor," similarly sought to pay tribute to a hardened community (the Navy SEALS) with kinetic verisimilitude. Many of the rig workers have small roles in the film or served as consultants, including Williams.

"Once the family members and loved ones heard that they were making a movie, they were all completely against it because they assumed that Hollywood was going to make a movie about the environmental disaster and their loved ones would be overlooked again," says Wahlberg. "Once we were able to communicate to them what our intentions were, what the movie was going to be, then they all came onboard. We wanted to honor those people."

Some may take issue that one of the largest environmental disasters in history has been reduced to a fiery action movie. "Deepwater Horizon" spends little time on the millions of barrels of oil that leaked into the Gulf of Mexico for 87 days after the explosion. Nor is there much scrutiny of BP, which was found primarily responsible for the spill by a federal judge in 2014. It has paid billions in cleanup costs, penalties and settlements.

"When it came down to who decided what, pointing figures, we didn't want to do that," says Wahlberg. "These guys do a very dangerous job."

The primary figure of corporate greed is encapsulated by rig supervisor Donald Vidrine (played by John Malkovich with a devilish Cajun accent), who was found guilty of a misdemeanor pollution charge for a shoddy pressure test that precipitated the explosion. In the film, a money-centric, behind-schedule BP is seen as recklessly rushing past safety regulations.

Williams, an electrician who has given up the oil business to homeschool his kids, says Berg told the story "right down the middle." He hopes the film makes people more aware of the "dirty, dangerous, potentially toxic business" that fuels their cars.

"More than likely, the people who see this film are going to get in a car and drive to the theater," he says. "Or even if they take public transportation, it still has to have some kind of fuel source. And even if it's electric-powered, it still has to have grease, it still has to have tires — all, of course, petroleum products. When they make that connection, it will be a deeper connection to the men that died."

"It's the least I can do to speak for them," says Williams, "because I'm still here and they're not."


Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at:


This story has been corrected to Sulphur Springs, Texas, from Sulfur.

'Deepwater Horizon' film stirs emotion in victims' families

Arleen Weise was apprehensive when she learned Hollywood was making a movie about the offshore explosion that killed her son, Adam, and 10 other men aboard the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig.

Watching an advance screening of the action film last month stoked her grief and anger, and the shock hasn't quite worn off yet. Weise said she's still struggling to decide how she ultimately feels about how "Deepwater Horizon" portrays the last day of her son's life before he died in the explosion off Louisiana's coast.

"The first viewing of it is shocking for a family member to see that," she said. "Hearing and seeing are always two different things."

While their reactions to the movie vary, Weise and other relatives of the 11 workers who died in the April 20, 2010, rig explosion hope it will remind people about the disaster's human toll. Many family members believe a focus on the catastrophic environmental damage from BP's massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico unjustly overshadowed their loved ones' deaths.

"They just swept the 11 men under the rug," Weise said.

The movie, directed by Peter Berg and starring Mark Wahlberg, Kurt Russell and Kate Hudson, is scheduled for nationwide release Friday.

The filmmakers already have privately screened the movie for relatives of the workers who died in the explosion triggered by the blowout of BP's Macondo well. The screenplay is based in part on an article by New York Times reporters who interviewed survivors of the blast, which led to the nation's worst offshore oil spill.

Berg reached out to family members after news of the production surfaced.

"I know how personal this story is to you," he wrote in a letter to Shelley Anderson, the widow of Jason Anderson. "The film is meant to honor and pay tribute to all the men and women who worked aboard the Deepwater Horizon, especially the heroic men, like Jason, who lost their lives."

Anderson believes Berg succeeded in honoring the 11 men. She said the actor who plays her husband captured some of his mannerisms, like the ways he crossed his arms or told a joke. But she had to close her eyes at times, and she burst into tears at others.

Anderson, of Midfield, Texas, said her 7-year-old son, Ryver, who was 15 months old when his father died, recently saw a trailer for the movie on television and asked, "Is that when daddy died?"

"Now he's going to remember seeing it on TV. I don't like that," she said. "It is so real to us that it hurts to experience it over and over again."

Relatives said photographs of the 11 men are shown on screen at the end of the movie. Besides Anderson and Adam Weise, they were Aaron Dale Burkeen, Donald Clark, Stephen Ray Curtis, Gordon Jones, Roy Wyatt Kemp, Karl Kleppinger Jr., Keith Blair Manuel, Dewey Revette and Shane Roshto. All 11 men are portrayed by actors in the movie.

"I do feel honored that they called my husband a hero," said Courtney Kemp Robertson, Kemp's widow. "I feel very proud of that, but I was already proud of my husband before a movie was ever made."

The filmmakers invited relatives to visit the set last year. Weise said she inadvertently snubbed actor John Malkovich, whom she mistook for a BP employee. Malkovich was dressed in a shirt with a BP logo and playing the role of Donald Vidrine, one of two BP rig supervisors charged with manslaughter over the workers' deaths.

Federal prosecutors, who later dropped the manslaughter charges, accused Vidrine and Robert Kaluza of botching a crucial safety test before the explosion.

Vidrine pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor pollution charge and was sentenced to 10 months of probation. A jury acquitted Kaluza, who also is played by an actor.

Shaun Clarke, Kaluza's attorney, said his client isn't concerned about his portrayal in the movie.

"He knows what the truth is, and he was vindicated at trial," Clarke said.

Weise, of Victoria, Texas, said the movie stirred up anger she has tried to suppress while grieving for her 24-year-old son.

"BP looks awful (in the movie), and that makes me so happy," she said.

Keith Jones, Gordon's father, praised Berg for striving to present an accurate account of the disaster.

"It was a fair portrayal of BP's decisions, and it left the viewer to decide why BP made those decisions. But it's obvious to me that BP made those decisions to save money," said Jones, an attorney based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Billy Anderson, Jason's father, said the film "really shows what those men went through."

"It actually helped me, seeing the way they handled it. It gave me a little bit of closure," said Anderson, of Blessing, Texas.

Review: Riveting 'Deepwater Horizon' captivates throughout

The story of the aftermath, even 6 years later, is still being written. The how-did-it-happen is another thing, and the point of director Peter Berg's intensely thrilling indictment of the greed and gross negligence that contributed to the horrific outcome.

Like the best true stories translated to film, this well-known ending works for Berg, not against him. He and writers Matthew Sand and Matthew Michael Carnahan know, as Ron Howard did with "Apollo 13" and James Cameron knew with "Titanic," that it's not about whether they live or they die or if the ship goes down or all are saved. It's about the process and those decisions, big or small, corrupt or well-intentioned, that made this disaster inevitable.

Based on a New York Times article, "Deepwater Horizon's Final Hours," the film is about the crew — the men and women aboard just doing their jobs. Mark Wahlberg anchors as Mike Williams, a no-nonsense engineer, who leaves his wife (Kate Hudson) and precocious daughter at home for his dangerous job on the rig. An early scene with a school science project spells out exactly what he and his co-workers do and foreshadows what will go wrong. It's the kind of set up that on paper likely seems too cutesy, but here, it not only works, it actually builds tension rather effectively.

"Deepwater Horizon" rises above expectations of what a movie like this is capable of at every turn — restrained where you think it might go too big or sentimental, and genuinely affecting when you think you're gearing up for an eye-roll. Wahlberg may be an easy punchline, but he's an underrated everyman and at his subdued best here. Even Hudson, in the generally thankless concerned-wife role, makes it seem worthwhile.

It's a welcome step up for Berg, too, whose patriotic bombast and cliche romanticism overwhelmed "Lone Survivor." Here, you really internalize the plight and rage of the workers, even though most people in the audience aren't likely to ever set a foot on an oil rig.

When Kurt Russell's crew leader Jimmy Harrell gets angry at the corporate brass for having neglected to perform some critical safety tests, you're angry right along with him. The execs like Don Vidrine (a perfectly slimy John Malkovich) see only that they're behind schedule and over budget and are cutting corners with abandon even as the rig seems to be faltering underneath them.

Jimmy and Mike eventually convince them to run a few tests — a white knuckle endeavor for everyone involved and, well, you can torture a statistic until it talks and it seems it might be the same for a pressure test. So they proceed, and, of course, things go spectacularly wrong.

It is a spectacle indeed — a must-see horror of fire and oil as this unbelievably massive structure explodes and crumbles around all the people we've gotten to know, like Gina Rodriguez's Andrea Fleytas, Dylan O'Brien's Caleb Holloway and Ethan Suplee's Jason Anderson. It's the rare film that can make you care about, and be able to tell the difference between, over a dozen characters.

I would have liked to have seen more of the rescue efforts from the Navy, more of the aftermath, but Berg keeps things focused, and the movie is likely better off for it. "Deepwater Horizon" achieves that impossible balance of being a tribute to the workers who both perished and survived that day and a searing critique of the rotten system that put them there in the first place.

"Deepwater Horizon," a Lionsgate release, is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America for "for prolonged intense disaster sequences and related disturbing images, and brief strong language." Running time: 107 minutes. Three and a half stars out of four.


MPAA Definition of PG-13: Parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.


Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter:

Associated Press buys British Movietone film archive

The Associated Press has purchased the film archive of British Movietone, bolstering the news cooperative's collection with historic video from World War II, the Beatles' conquest of America and the romance between King Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson.

The newsreels, acquired from Newsreel Archive, were originally shown in movie theaters twice a week and were the first to have sound and color. The archive includes the first recorded speeches of personalities such as Mohandas K. Gandhi and George Bernard Shaw, as well as the only footage of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer's wedding filmed in high definition on 35mm film.

"The British Movietone archive is a gem of visual heritage and an incredible resource for content creators," Gary Pruitt, AP's president and CEO, said Tuesday. "For AP to become its new custodian is a true privilege, and it perfectly complements AP's own extensive archive collection."

Most of the archive has been digitized and is available for licensing, but about 15 percent of the library has never been seen by the public. This footage includes material that failed to make it into news bulletins or was barred by censors during World War II. The Associated Press hopes to digitize and release the material over time.

The collection also includes features on social issues, entertainment, lifestyle and sports that became increasingly important during the 1950s and 1960s when television news began to replace newsreels in cinemas. The reports offer a glimpse of decades when change rocked society at an unprecedented pace, including advances in medicine and computers.

"By acquiring British Movietone, we are cementing our position as the foremost supplier of news and historical video," said Alwyn Lindsey, AP's vice president of sales for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

The AP had partnered with Newsreel Archive to make the British Movietone collection available internationally for the past five years — including a YouTube channel featuring a selection of Movietone films. AP clients will be able to access the material via the AP Archive. Once the sale is completed, Newsreel Archive PTY will act as AP's exclusive archive distribution partner in Australia and New Zealand.

"Through our many years of working with AP, we appreciate how the British Movietone archive collection will benefit from being further integrated within the vast AP network and made even more widely available than it is today," said Matthew Miranda, Newsreel Archive's CEO.

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