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Rebel Wilson sues Australian publisher for defamation

Rebel Wilson is suing an Australian publisher for defamation over a series of magazine articles the actress says cost her movie roles by painting her as a serial liar.

Wilson's lawyer, Renee Enbom, said during a court hearing on Friday that the Australian-born actress would present evidence that the articles published by Bauer Media in 2015 led to her film contracts being terminated.

Wilson's lawsuit, filed last year, accuses Bauer of damaging her reputation by printing articles that alleged she had used a fake name and lied about her age and upbringing in Australia. The articles appeared online and in print in several Australian magazines including Woman's Day and The Australian Women's Weekly.

The lawsuit claims that Wilson was humiliated and lost out on roles because of the stories. On Friday, her lawyer told the Victoria state Supreme Court in Melbourne that the articles tarnished Wilson's reputation in Hollywood as a fair and honest person.

Justice John Dixon ordered Wilson to provide the court with her film contracts and evidence of all her earnings since 2011.

The actress, known for her roles in comedies such as "Pitch Perfect" and "Bridesmaids," is seeking unspecified damages from the publisher. She did not appear in court on Friday but is expected to give evidence at the trial, which is scheduled to begin on May 22.

Bauer Media did not immediately respond to a request seeking comment.

'Bobbi Jene,' 'Keep the Change' top Tribeca Film Fest awards

"Keep the Change," a romance about a couple who meet at a community for people on the autistic spectrum, and "Bobbi Jene," a documentary about an American dancer in the Israeli dance company Batsheva, were the top winners at the 16th Tribeca Film Festival.

In the awards, announced in a ceremony Thursday night, Rachel Israel's debut feature, "Keep the Change," won the Founders Award for best narrative feature. The jury called it "a heartwarming, hilarious and consistently surprising reinvention of the New York romantic comedy, which opens a door to a world of vibrant characters not commonly seen on film."

Tribeca co-founder Jane Rosenthal happily noted that all five feature film awards went to movies directed by women. The festival also gives an award, named after Nora Ephron, to a female director. That prize went to Petra Volpe, writer-director of "The Divine Order," a drama about women's suffrage in Switzerland.

"Bobbi Jene," which follows the dancer Bobbi Jene Smith as she moved back the U.S., took the best documentary award and honors for its cinematography and editing. The jury praised director Elvira Lind's film for "pushing nonfiction intimacy to bold new places."

Best international feature went to Elina Psykou's Greek drama "Son of Sofia."

The director of the best narrative short, Kaveh Mazaheri, for "Retouch," said he was unable to attend the festival because of Republican President Donald Trump's proposed travel ban. Mazaheri, an Iranian filmmaker, said in a video message that he and his crew were unable to get visas for Tribeca. He said his absence was "a pity" due to Trump's "fascinating decisions."

Courts have halted Trump's bid to stop immigration from six predominantly Muslim counties: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Trump has appealed the courts' rulings, saying he's trying to keep the United States safe.

Former 'Miracle' actor and Army sergeant dies near Seattle

Michael Mantenuto, a former actor best known for his role in the Disney hockey movie "Miracle" and who later joined the Army, has died in the Seattle suburb of Des Moines. He was 35.

The King County Medical Examiner's Office in Seattle said Mantenuto died of a gunshot wound to the head Monday. It ruled his death a suicide.

Des Moines police says he was found in his car at Saltwater State Park in the city Monday afternoon.

Army First Special Forces unit commander Col. Guillaume Beaurpere said in a Facebook post that the Army staff sergeant will be remembered "for his passionate love for his family and his commitment to the health of the force." A spokeswoman with Joint Base-Lewis McChord, where Mantenuto and his family lived, confirmed the post.

Beaurpere said Mantenuto is survived by his wife and two children.

Review: In 'Casting JonBenet,' reliving a tabloid sensation

It has, recently, seemed like all the stories that once dominated our tabloids are now cramming our screens. O.J. Simpson, Anthony Weiner, Amanda Knox. It's as though we're haunted by the ghost of nightly-news past.

That's not say that many of the films haven't been good. Ezra Edelman's "O.J. Made in America" was a brilliant, expansive Tolstoy novel of a film. And, certainly, our media coverage and our collective slavish attention to these cases deserve continual reckoning — even if some of these films trade on the same sensationalism that got the presses humming in the first place.

Kitty Green's "Casting JonBenet," a film that debuts on Netflix on Friday, returns us to the tragic, unsolved case of the child pageant queen JonBenet Ramsey, the blonde and blue-eyed 6-year-old found dead in the basement of her family's Boulder, Colorado, home on December 26, 1996.

The case and its bizarre backdrop — the world of child pageantry — brought endless speculation over her death and who might have done it. Theories abounded over her parents John and Patsy Ramsey, and even their son, Burke, who was 9-years-old at the time.

"Casting JonBenet," however, is not a procedural or an investigation, and it makes no attempt to answer that sad, lurid whodunit from the '90s. Instead, it uses the Ramsey story as a prism for documenting our rabid rumor-mongering and far-away judgments of personalities hoisted onto a media stage. It is, oddly enough, about acting.

Without comment or introduction, "Casting JonBenet" sits us down with a number of Colorado actors who are ostensibly auditioning for a drama based on the case. Speaking into the camera, often in costume, they relate their presumptions about the case and the motivations of their would-be characters. Most are to play either Patsy or John.

All have their suspicions, most pure gossip, others more reflective. The details of the case, including the lengthy ransom note found in the home, leave plenty of room for theories of all kinds. Given the circumstances, one participant notes wisely, "Any theory in this is kind of cracked."

It's a clever premise, but maybe not one that leads in profound directions. That was also an issue with another recent film that attempted to use acting as a method for finding a deeper understanding about an old media sensation. In Antonio Campos' "Kate Plays Christine," the director followed one actress' attempts to get into the head of Christine Chubbuck, the 1970s TV reporter who committed suicide on the air.

Green's film is simpler than Campos', but it arrives somewhere more genuinely moving. Gradually, as the actors get closer to their roles, they begin finding empathy for the Ramseys. They go, tenderly, from hearsay to sympathy, from hypotheses of child pornography rings to speaking about their own related challenges in life. One woman speaks about being sexually abused as a girl. Another talks of alcoholic parents. A man talks about his battle with cancer.

Green culminates "Casting JonBenet" by filling a soundstage of rooms modeled after the Ramseys' house with the many actors all at once performing their version of events. It's a small but affecting moment of compassion, acted out long after all the drama disappeared from the tabloids.

"Casting JonBenet" is an unrated Netflix release. Running time: 80 minutes. Two and a half stars out of four.


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Review: Clunky 'Sleight' showcases new lead Jacob Latimore

Key to this is 20-year-old Jacob Latimore, who shines in his first starring role. He plays Bo, a science whiz who performs street magic around Los Angeles. When his mom unexpectedly dies, Bo skips out on the college scholarship he earned to stay home and look after his little sister. The street-magic hustle doesn't bring in enough money, so he sells drugs on the side.

Dule Hill, deliciously playing against type, is Angelo, the local drug kingpin who brings Bo into his fold. Angelo is a classic sociopath: charming, icy and exacting. He metes out justice with bullets and a cleaver.

Bo doesn't like the drug work, but because he only sells cocaine and party pills to club kids in Hollywood, he justifies to himself that it's harmless. His challenge is to juggle his magic dreams and drug-slinging reality while protecting his sister, and Latimore embodies the tenderness, fear and determination such a balancing act requires.

Meanwhile, Bo is devoted to improving his magic skills, which are secretly aided by an electromagnet he's built into his arm.

You read that right: Bo is like a self-made Iron Man, with an electro-charged arm that can move metal objects without touching them.

"Anyone can learn a trick," Bo says. "But doing something no one else is willing to do makes you a magician."

This is how he explains a fierce-looking wound on his arm to his impossibly idealized girlfriend, Holly (Seychelle Gabriel). Holly is the kind of fictionalized female construct that can only exist in the male imagination: She's smitten at first glance, ripe for rescuing and willing to give her hard-earned life savings to a cute magician she just met.

She and the other female characters, including Sasheer Zamata as Bo's caring neighbor, Carmen Esposito as a seen-it-all club manager and Storm Reid as Bo's beloved little sister, aren't developed beyond their relationship to Bo.

"Sleight" is Bo's story, which is why Latimore's casting is crucial. His performance is so compelling that it smooths over the shortcomings in the script, direction and budget. And Hill is a hoot as a man completely off the hinges, even if he almost veers into caricature.

Though the film suffers from pacing issues that make it feel longer than its 90-minute running time, and the drug-dealing subplot is heavy-handed and stereotypical, it's a promising start for first-time director J.D. Dillard, who co-wrote the screenplay with producer Alex Theurer. Dillard is equally unafraid of gore and emotion, and the use of magic here feels fresh.

"Sleight" succeeds with its creation of a modern quasi-superhero in Bo and the launching of an electric new leading man in Latimore.

"Sleight," a BH Tilt release, is rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America for "language throughout, drug content and some violence." Running time: 90 minutes. Two and a half stars out of four.


MPAA definition for R: Restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.


Follow AP Entertainment Writer Sandy Cohen at .

Weinstein Co. and MPAA settle ratings dispute

The Weinstein Co.'s transgender drama "3 Generations" has been reclassified with a PG-13 rating after the distributor made slight tweaks to the movie.

The Weinstein Co. said Thursday that it made "some edits to the film as a compromise" after the Motion Picture Association of America gave "3 Generations" an R-rating. Harvey Weinstein criticized that decision. The Weinstein Co. co-chairman has frequently battled with the MPAA over ratings, often with the benefit of generating inexpensive publicity.

"3 Generations" stars Elle Fanning as a teenager who is transitioning. Susan Sarandon plays the youth's lesbian grandmother, and Naomi Watts co-stars as the mother.

The LGBTQ advocacy group GLAAD, which participated in the making of the film, applauded the ratings change. It called the movie "a film that all families should be able to see."

Roman Polanski's latest movie added to Cannes Film Festival

Roman Polanski's latest film is heading to the Cannes Film Festival.

The French festival announced a few additions to its lineup on Thursday. Polanksi's "Based on a True Story" will play out of competition. The French-language thriller, which Sony Pictures Classics has already acquired for North American distribution, stars Emmanuelle Seigner as a Parisian author who meets a mysterious woman, played by Eva Green, at a book signing.

The film is Polanski's first feature since 2013's "Venus in Fur." A Los Angeles judge recently rejected Polanski's bid to end his long-running underage sex abuse case without the fugitive director appearing in court or being sentenced to more prison time.

Polanski had been set to preside over France's Cesar Awards in February, but withdrew after the protests of feminist groups.

Festival organizers also announced the addition of "The Square" by Swedish director Ruben Ostlund ("Force Majeure") to the Cannes competition.

In VR land rush, creators unlock an 'empathy engine'

On a plain, overcast day in Poland, Holocaust survivor Pinchas Gutter walks toward the Nazi concentration camp Majdanek.

He stands in the railway car that delivered him and his family to the camp. He walks to the gas chamber and the showers. Some rooms he can't bear to go in. He shares his recollections and tries to remember what he can of his family. All he can really visualize of his sister is the fleeting image of her golden braid of her hair.

Walking with Gutter in Majdanek is an undeniably powerful way to make the Holocaust tangible, and to see it through a survivor's eyes. Now, being Gutter's companion as he revisits his painful past is an experience anyone can have just by putting on a headset.

The virtual reality piece "The Last Goodbye," made from 3-D video and thousands of photographs at Majdanek, is being billed as the first Holocaust survivor testimony in room-scale VR. It premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, where the medium's growing ambitions have been on display over the past week.

What "The Last Goodbye" and other works show is that virtual reality, while still very much in its early days, has a potent ability to foster empathy. In transporting you to an intimate space with someone, it gives that old expression, "walk in my shoes," a new, high-tech, physical dimension.

That's literally the concept behind Katheryn Bigelow and Imraan Ismail's "The Protectors: Walk in the Ranger's Shoes," an 8-minute, 360-degree visit with the Garamba National Park rangers. They defend the Democratic Republic of the Congo park from waves of poachers.

Ismail, whose earlier, award-winning VR experience, "The Displaced," followed three child refugees, says of virtual reality: "It enables empathy because it enables a kind of presence in someone else's space. And breaking through apathy."

"For me, it's exactly that. It's empathy," says Bigelow. "Here are these individuals who put their lives on the line in order to thwart the problem. Sometimes they pay the ultimate price. In order to be able to help, you have to be very well informed."

Big names filmmakers and actors are increasingly experimenting in VR, a fast-growing new media landscape that the investment bank Citi last fall forecast will be a trillion-dollar industry by the year 2035. Jon Favreau ("Iron Man") and Justin Lin ("Fast & Furious") have tried their hand in it, and in May, "Birdman" director Alejandro Inarritu will premiere a virtual reality project at the Cannes Film Festival. He has called it an effort to "allow the visitor to go through a direct experience walking in the immigrants' feet, under their skin, and into their hearts."

Jennifer Brea turned to VR for an accompanying experience to her Sundance entry film, "Unrest," about her battle with chronic fatigue syndrome. In the VR experience, the viewer feels what it's like to be bedridden in her room. Brea calls virtual reality "an engine of empathy."

A sense of growth was palpable at Tribeca, which increased the size of its VR arcade this year. Loren Hammonds, a film and experiential programmer at Tribeca, sees a rapidly progressing medium where artists are continually reexamining their notions of how to orient the viewer.

"The rules are being broken," says Hammonds. "There are constantly these sets of rules that keep being presented to creators: you can't move the camera or you can't cut. And the minute someone breaks it and it works, well, no more rule."

Creators, many eyeing the neighboring booths in the Tribeca arcade, acknowledge there's a competitive atmosphere in VR that can feel like a land rush. Technology is one race, and all agree virtual reality is going to get exponentially smoother and crisper. "The Last Goodbye" has been "future-proofed," meaning that more detailed photography and video has been set aside for when the tech catches up, says Patrick Milling Smith, chief executive of VR production company Here Be Dragons.

But storytelling is a race of its own in VR, a medium many call a combination of cinema and gaming. Should the viewer have agency to move and shape their experience? If so, to what degree? How do you guide them?

For inspiration, Baobab Studios co-founder Eric Darnell, an animation veteran who co-directed the "Madagascar" films, has studied how magicians manipulate the eyes of their audiences. Baobab's first VR work, "Invasion!" supplied the viewer a partner — a little white bunny — for an alien arrival.

"Now everyone is doing that," says Maureen Fan, chief executive of Baobab. "But a lot of people debated us on that. We felt that as a user, why are you there if you're a fly (on the wall) verses if you're a bunny? If you have a role to play, how much more do you feel for that character and feel immersed in that world?"

At Tribeca, Baobab premiered the first chapter of an ambitious multi-part series, "Rainbow Crow," in which John Legend voices a mythical, sonorous bird forever changed by a cosmic adventure. "It's about love. It's about inclusion. It's about community," says Legend.

The creators of the choose-your-own-adventure, live-action "Broken Night" wanted to take go further. In it, Emily Mortimer plays a woman with a hazy memory recounting a violent encounter with an intruder in her home. At various points in the story, viewers are given a choice to follow different paths in the story, which they select by looking to one side of the action or the other.

"The problem with live-action VR today is it's not interactive," says co-director Tal Zubalsky. "Kind of the whole promise of VR is to get you to a different place. But if you get there only as an observer and not as a participant, then you're not really there."


Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at:

'Wonder Woman' director finds herself in rare summer role

Director Patty Jenkins first expressed interest in making a "Wonder Woman" movie over 10 years ago. She'd just made "Monster," which won Charlize Theron an Oscar, and was doing the rounds at various studios talking about what she'd like to do next. Richard Donner's "Superman" was a film that changed her life, and it occurred to her that there still hadn't been a "Wonder Woman" movie.

"Wonder Woman," Jenkins remembers saying. "Let me make 'Wonder Woman.'"

It happened, though not without a few detours along the way, including a pregnancy, Jenkins almost directing the sequel to "Thor," and another director initially getting the "Wonder Woman" job.

Now Jenkins' "Wonder Woman" is barreling toward its big release on June 2. And unfairly or not, there's a lot at stake. Not only is it the first-ever big screen movie about one of the most popular superheroes of all time, it's also the first female-led superhero movie in over a decade, following the financial disasters of "Catwoman" and "Elektra." On top of all that, it's a rare big budget blockbuster from a director who happens to be a woman. No pressure, right?

The story of "Wonder Woman" is a dozen stories tied into one film. It's the story one director who loved "Superman" getting to realize her lifelong dream of directing a classical superhero origin story. It's the story of an industry taking another long-delayed gamble on a female-led film in a historically male-dominated genre. And it's the continuing story of female directors fighting for a place at the blockbuster table.

This summer there are a number of female-directed films coming out, but most are independent, few are wide-releases and all are one-offs. Among them are Stella Meghie's teen drama "Everything, Everything" (May 19); Lucia Aniello's bachelorette comedy "Rough Night" (June 16); Sofia Coppola's Civil war pic "The Beguiled" (June 23); and Kathryn Bigelow's 1967 riots drama "Detroit" (Aug. 4). Jenkins has the sole tent-pole, an industry term for a big budget movie intended to support a studio's lower-earning films.

In fact, Jenkins is one of the few women who have ever been granted a budget of over $100 million. Bigelow got one for "K-19: The Widowmaker," and Ava DuVernay has one for "A Wrinkle in Time." It's not unreasonable to assume that "Mulan's" Niki Caro and "Captain Marvel" co-director Anna Boden will get that too. But it's a void that's especially notable during the summer, when there are a seemingly endless string of male-directed films with $200 million-plus budgets in theaters each week.

It's not that women don't direct summer blockbusters. In the past ten years of top studio summer releases there's been Elizabeth Banks' "Pitch Perfect 2," Phyllida Lloyd's "Mamma Mia" and Anne Fletcher's "The Proposal," all of which grossed from $287.5 million to $609.8 million on budgets under $52 million. They're just often not afforded blockbuster budgets.

"When the money is there, there are fewer women," said Melissa Silverstein, publisher and founder of the website Women and Hollywood.

Writer, director and actress Zoe Lister-Jones whose indie "Band Aid" also comes out June 2, said she doesn't see the same amount of risk being taken on women as men to handle tent-pole and franchise films.

"That should be the focus of where we look at gender inequity in this industry for female directors," she told The Associated Press earlier this year.

Experience is a Catch-22 for women. Lucasfilm chief Kathleen Kennedy got into hot water last year when she said that while finding a female director for a "Star Wars" film is a priority, they want to make sure that they're set up for success. "You can't come into them with essentially no experience," Kennedy told Hollywood trade Variety.

Jenkins is "as stunned as anybody" that there have been so few — especially because she and many of her female peers regularly handle comparable budgets working in television.

"A pilot that you shoot in 9 days for $10 million ends up being a very big parallel to this. It's the same dollar per day," Jenkins said. "So many men have crossed over ... it's the same job, just on a larger scale."

"Wonder Woman," Jenkins said, is even on the higher end of superhero pic budgets — not, as many have reported, in the $100 million to $120 million range.

Jenkins is well aware of the pressure to succeed, not only for her movie and reputation, but for all female directors. It's part of the reason she walked away from directing "Thor: The Dark World" and why she was especially cautious to take on "Wonder Woman." She needed to be sure that she and the studio, Warner Bros., were on the same page as to what movie they were making.

That clarity of vision is what "Catwoman" producer Denise Di Novi said they lacked in 2004. The Halle Berry starrer was a critical and commercial flop, making only $82.1 million worldwide against a $100 million budget.

"One of the reasons that movie failed was we were trying to have a female superhero movie be like a male superhero movie. It was too soon," Di Novi said. "We weren't able to really give it the integrity of being one of the first female superhero movies. We were trying to make it like all the other movies. And it shouldn't have been."

But that's when the buying power of teenage boys dictated everything. Because of hits like "The Hunger Games," and the diversity (and success) of content being produced by Amazon, Hulu and Netflix, Jenkins thinks things are changing.

Even though "Wonder Woman" is only her second feature, Jenkins' work has always been steady. Hollywood has never stopped trying to get her to make films.

There are already talks about a "Wonder Woman" sequel, but nothing she can discuss publicly yet. Dwayne Johnson has her on his shortlist to direct the Disney pic "Jungle Cruise," too, although he's not sure she knows that yet.

"Patty has that really cool edge ... I felt like she could be a really cool choice for a movie like 'Jungle Cruise'," Johnson said. "Plus, you know what? I'm just a big fan."


Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter:

India Bollywood actor Vinod Khanna dies of cancer at age 70

Vinod Khanna, a dashing Bollywood actor turned politician, has died of cancer, a hospital official said. He was 70.

Tushar Pania, a spokesman for Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital, said Khanna died Thursday due to bladder carcinoma.

Khanna made his Bollywood debut in 1968 and acted in more than 100 films. His popular performances included "Mere Apne" (My Own), "Mera Gaon Mera Desh" (My Village, My Country), "Gaddaar" (Traitor), "Kachhe Dhaage" (Delicate Thread) and "Amar Akbar Anthony." He acted with top stars Amitabh Bachhan and Dharmendra in several Hindi movies.

In 1982, Khanna temporarily quit the film industry to join spiritual guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. He resumed his film career after five years.

He entered politics in 1997 as a lawmaker with the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, representing the Gurdaspur constituency in northern Punjab state in Parliament. He also served as junior external affairs minister and culture and tourism minister.

He married his first wife, Geetanjali, in 1971 and the two had two sons, Rahul Khanna and Akshaye Khanna, who also became Bollywood actors. The marriage ended in a divorce, and he married his second wife, Kavita, in 1990. They had two children, a son and a daughter.

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