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Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Actor John Heard [herd], perhaps best known as the dad in the first two Home Alone movies, and for an Emmy-nominated role in TV’s The Sopranos, died Friday.  California’s Santa Clara County medical examiner’s office confirmed his death to ABC News. Heard was 71, according to the medical examiner, though other sources give his age as 72.

Heard's rep did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment, and the details of his death remain unknown.

Born John Matthew Heard in Washington, D.C., Heard’s more than four-decade career included hundreds of film, television and stage appearances -- making him one of those actors whose face was instantly recognizable, even if you couldn’t quite recall his name. 

He launched his career with a role in a 1974 off-Broadway production of The Wager, followed by a series of Broadway roles, including his Obie Award-winning performance in Shakespeare’s Othello in 1979.

The role that gave Heard his greatest exposure came when he portrayed dad Peter McCallister in the 1990 family comedy Home Alone and its 1992 sequel, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. He also earned an Emmy nomination in 1999 for his guest role on The Sopranos, where he portrayed crooked police Detective Vin Makazian.

Heard's film career also included roles in 1980s and 1990s classics like Big, Beaches, and The Pelican Brief.  Recent TV appearances includes guest roles on NCIS: Los Angeles, Elementary, MacGyver and APB.

Heard, who lived in Studio City, California at the time of his death, is survived by three children.

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(L-R) David Benioff and D. B. Weiss -- Getty Images/Steve Granitz(LOS ANGELES) -- When HBO announced it would be producing a new series, Confederate, involving an alternate timeline in which the south has seceded and slavery still exists, backlash was pretty severe.

Supergirl actor David Harewood tweeted, "Good luck finding black actors for this project." And writer Roxane Gay tweeted, "It is exhausting to think of how many people at @HBO said yes to letting two white men envision modern day slavery. And offensive."

But the show's creators, Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss -- and their partners in Confederate, the African-American husband and wife writers and producers Nichelle Tramble Spellman and Malcolm Spellman -- are defending the show and its premise. 

Speaking with Vulture, the team said they expected to take fire.  "We all knew it was coming in one form or another," Benioff said.  And Malcolm Spellman recalled reacting to the premise by saying, "You're dealing with weapons-grade material here."

"It goes without saying slavery is the worst thing that ever happened in American history," Weiss said.  "It's our original sin as a nation. And history doesn't disappear.  That sin is still with us in many ways."

But Confederate, he said is a "science-fiction show," and as such  "...can show us how this history is still with us in a way that strictly realistic drama ever could...."

Nichelle Spellman, who worked on The Good Wife, recalled the team's original meeting, saying, "I just remember being so excited -- and absolutely terrified at the same time."

"In this futuristic world, you could have this conversation in a straightforward manner without it being steeped in history," she said.

Nichelle understands people's concerns but adds, "I wish their concern had been reserved to the night of the premiere..." after they'd seen the program, none of which, the team adds, has even been written yet.

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(LOS ANGELES) -- With the second season of Insecure set to premiere on Sunday, the cast of the hit HBO series is weighing in on their connection to their characters. In addition to sharing how the show takes a page out of their everyday lives, Issa Rae is also offering her thoughts on how her character Issa Dee will now deal with being single.

"We're just going to see her kind of filter it a bit more and realize who she doesn't want to be," Rae tells ABC Radio. "Given her new single status she's feeling kind of vulnerable-- so we'll see how she adjusts to her vulnerability."

Jay Ellis, who plays Issa's now former boyfriend Lawrence on the show, says even though he and his character have different ideas when it comes to relationships, Lawrence's character traits are very familiar.

"When I look back at how Lawrence started out, there are a lot of things," Ellis says of the similarities. "There are the the discourage traits, the down on yourself -- those moments when your constantly getting told 'no' -- where things aren't going the way you want them to and...you're not really sure which way to go."

But, like his character, Ellis says he's learned how to "bounce back" and "how you get off the ground and go fight the next day."

Yvonne Orji goes further saying her character Molly's narrative is taken straight from her experiences.

"We..talked to the writers and we just thought we were having a casual conversation with friends and I think some of the things we shared openly...made its way into the season," she says.

The actress adds, "Before you know it, your life is in episode four!"  

Insecure returns Sunday at 10:30 p.m. ET.

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(L-R) "Valerian" director Luc Besson, Rihanna -- Credit: Eric Charbonneau

(LOS ANGELES) -- Rihanna Navy, get hyped: your girl is landing at your local multiplex this weekend.

The singer stars in Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, a sci-fi epic from director Luc Besson, based on a popular comic book series.  Rihanna plays Bubble, a shape-shifting alien.  She says when Besson described the part to her, she was hooked.

"Sci-fi movies are always really fun and this one has such a modern twist," Rihanna says. "There’s a lot of reality in this world that’s not real, and that’s why I think I was [attracted] to it."

Rihanna also liked working with Besson, the director of The Fifth ElementThe Professional and Lucy, because she says he gave her a lot of help on set.

"He is very patient when it comes to working and directing me because I’m very new to the movie world and he’s very considerate of that," she explains.  "He knows exactly how to get what he wants out of you and that’s what a director is."

As for Bubble, when we first meet her, she's being forced to perform for patrons in a space cabaret called Glam Club.

"She’s in this place and she has to perform and the thing that makes her feel free is her performing, her being an artist, her becoming whatever and making people happy in that way," says Rihanna of Bubble. "She’s an entertainer...She’s very sensitive about her art, as all artists are."

Rihanna's previous films include 2012's ill-received Battleship, and the animated movie Home, in which she voiced the main character.  She also had cameos in Annie and This Is the End.

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Getty Images/Taylor Hill(LOS ANGELES) -- Kerry Washington is set to be honored for her significant contributions in film and television.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Washington is one of three recipients of the sixth annual Woman Making History awards, an honor given by the National Women's History Museum to women who have made noticeable contributions in their fields.

In addition to Washington, Instagram COO Marne Levine, and SpaceX President and COO Gwynne Shotwell will be honored for their work and their "philanthropic endeavors that support young women."

The three women will be honored on September 16 during a special brunch event at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

“We are extremely proud to honor three women with such innovative and extensive bodies of work,” said NWHM board chair Susan Whiting in a statement. “Kerry Washington broke barriers by becoming the first African-American woman to headline a network TV drama since 1974,” she said of the actress’ role as Olivia Pope on Scandal.

Past honorees include Viola Davis, Tracee Ellis Ross, Sophia Bush, Rachel Zoe and Rita Moreno.

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Disney Channel - 2017(LOS ANGELES) -- Sometimes it’s good to be bad. The Villain Kids -- aka VKs -- are back for more wicked fun in Descendants 2, the sequel to Disney Channel’s popular 2015 film following the sons and daughters of infamous Disney villains.

The story centers around Mal, Evie, Carlos and Jay, teens who left their lives on the Isle of the Lost in favor of a better life on the magical land of Auradon. This time around, Mal -- Maleficent's daughter, played by Dove Cameron -- finds herself facing off against her nemesis Uma, the daughter of Ursula.

China Anna McClain joins the cast in this film as the scene-stealing Uma.

“Uma is very angry that the four VKs were taken off of the Isle and now get to live in Auradon and have all of this promise and all of this opportunity and she still doesn’t have that,” McClain says. “So, now she’s coming for blood in this movie. She’s getting her revenge.”

Meanwhile, Evie -- The Evil Queen's daughter, played by Sofia Carson -- realizes she doesn't need a prince to give her a happy ending.

"This time around I think she learns a lot about her herself and faces her fear of going back to the Isle and realizing that she can never be ashamed to be who she is,” Carson says.

Director and choreographer Kenny Ortega, who also helmed the popular High School Musical franchise, promises more action, adventure, music and dancing.

“It’s the biggest Disney Channel movie I think we’ve ever made!” Ortega says. 

The film, which also stars Cameron Boyce as Carlos the son of Cruella de Vil and Boo Boo Stewart as Jay the son of Jafar, airs tonight at 8 p.m. ET on multiple networks and platforms including Disney Channel, ABC, Freeform and Lifetime.

Disney is the parent company of ABC News.

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Universal - 2017(NEW YORK) --  Kofi Siriboe can confidentially say that one of the highlights of his young life is playing Jada Pinkett Smith's love interest in the new romantic movie comedy, Girls Trip.

Girls Trip stars Pinkett Smith, Regina Hall, Queen Latifah and Tiffany Haddish as four lifelong friends who travel to New Orleans for an exclusive getaway to reignite their wild sides.  Kofi plays Malik, a twenty-one year college kid who becomes Pinkett Smith's boy toy. He still can't get over the experience of working with his childhood "crush."

"It's been such an experience to work with her so intimately... I've watched her since I was a kid," Siriboe tells ABC Radio. "I have the hugest crush on...Jada Pinkett...Like, that was an amazing experience."

Siriboe says scoring the role was a much needed "change up" from the "social issues" in Queen Sugar and the serious characters he's played in the past.

"You know I gave it everything. Because it's a simple role and it's a lot lighter than like Ralph Angel [from Queen Sugar] or Kicks -- anything that I've really done," he explains. "It's just like it's fun. It's really fun-felt -- more than anything my role in the film."

How does Siriboe sum up his Girls Trip role?  "I play twenty-one years old, like, this college frat dude, who's trying to get him some cougar love!"

Girls Night, which also stars Larenz Tate, Kate Walsh and Mike Colter, is in theaters now.

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Getty Images/Albert L. Ortega(SAN DIEGO) -- At Comic-Con, everyone's a fan, even multimillionaire celebrity superstar actors like Will Smith.  Smith was on hand at the annual event in San Diego to promote his new project, Bright -- Netflix's first big foray into splashy action movie territory.  But he couldn't help geeking out about Star Wars like any other Comic-Con attendee.

Smith said his world changed when he saw Star Wars when he was about 10, and he'd never seen anything like it.

“For this generation, you've already seen magnificent things in movies and the special effects and what people can do, but when Star Wars came out it was impossible,” the star said. “Like, there weren't special effects -- you couldn't do that. So, it's like, we were just completely blown away and for my entire life I've been chasing and trying to give that feeling to, to fans.”

He added, emphatically, “I have never been smashed like that in a movie theater. It was like my mind was boggled.”

Smith said he's built his career on trying to give fans the same experience he had when he first saw Star Wars.

“There was nothing that I had ever experienced in my life that, that matched that point of ecstasy. And, I had sex a few years later, and that was pretty... it was close, I mean close, but no Star Wars, you know, so...”

Smith’s Suicide Squad director David Ayer debuted the full trailer for Bright, which he also directed. Ayer said he loved working with Netflix, while seemingly slamming Suicide Squad, which underwent extensive retooling from Warner Bros. before it was released.

"This isn't like some b******* PG-13 standard-issue studio movie, I mean, this is like, I was able to do my s*** here, right?" he said.  "I was able to really tell a f****** story, OK? I was able to, like, do my thing."

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(L-R) HARRY STYLES as Alex, ANEURIN BARNARD as Gibson and FIONN WHITEHEAD as Tommy in the Warner Bros. Pictures action thriller "DUNKIRK," a Warner Bros. Pictures release.(LOS ANGELES) -- Opening nationwide on Friday:

Dunkirk -- Christopher Nolan's latest thriller tells the true story of Operation Dynamo, which in 1940 evacuated British, Belgian, Canadian and French soldiers from Dunkirk, France, where they were surrounded by the German army. Starring Mark Rylance, Kenneth Branagh, Tom Hardy and One Direction's Harry Styles in his acting debut. Rated PG-13.

Girls Trip -- Four lifelong friends -- played by Regina Hall, Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith and Tiffany Haddish -- rediscover their wild side during a trip to New Orleans for the annual Essence Festival. Rated R. (TRAILER CONTAINS MILD PROFANITY AND SEXUAL CONTENT)

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets -- This sci-fi adventure, based on the popular comic book series, centers on an unknown force that threatens Alpha, home to species from a thousand planets. Special operatives Valerian and Laureline -- played by Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne, respectively -- must find the threat and eliminate it. Also starring Clive Owen, Ethan Hawke and Rihanna. Rated PG-13.

 

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Lucasfilm - 2017

(LOS ANGELES) -- Star Wars actor John Boyega is calling out fantasy shows like Game of Thrones for what he describes as their lack of diversity.

"There are no black people on Game of Thrones," he said in a new cover story for GQ magazine.

To be fair, HBO's hit fantasy drama has featured at least two black actors: Jacob Anderson and Nonso Anozie. The series has also cast other actors of color, including Nathalie Emmanuel and Jessica Henwick.

And although Boyega’s hit film fantasy franchise, Star Wars, has featured African-American actors such as Billy Dee Williams and Samuel L. Jackson, he said it's important for such franchises to think about representation on the big and small screens, especially in completely made-up universes.

"I ain't paying money to always see one type of person on-screen," the 25-year-old British actor, who was born to Nigerian parents, said. "Because you see different people from different backgrounds, different cultures, every day. Even if you're a racist, you have to live with that. We can ruffle up some feathers."

Author George R.R. Martin, whose fantasy novels where adapted into the Game of Thrones series, has previously addressed the issue in connection to his written stories.

“Westeros around 300 AC is nowhere near as diverse as 21st century America, of course,” he wrote about the fictional Game of Thrones world on his blog in 2014 , “but with that being said, I do have some 'characters of color' who will have somewhat larger roles in [his forthcoming novel] WINDS OF WINTER. Admittedly, these are secondary and tertiary characters, though not without importance.”

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Getty Images(NEVADA) -- O.J. Simpson, who's been behind bars for the past eight years in Nevada, has been granted parole.  The earliest the former football star could leave prison is October 1.

Simpson, 70, was sentenced in 2008 to a minimum of nine years without parole for the botched 2007 robbery of Bruce Fromong, while trying to recover memorabilia Simpson claimed was his. Fromong said before the hearing that he supported Simpson's release. Simpson's record during his incarceration was also reportedly unblemished.

The parole hearing was streamed live and carried by multiple networks, and there were well over 150 reporters outside of the prison while the panel announced its decision.

Simpson has loomed large in our pop culture consciousness, even while behind bars. In February 2016, his murder trial was resurrected in the FX true crime anthology, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story. The series, which starred Sterling K. Brown as Christopher Darden, Sarah Paulson as Marcia Clark and Cuba Gooding Jr. as Simpson, won nine Emmy awards, as well as two Golden Globes.

Also in 2016, ESPN Films released of the five-part docuseries O.J.: Made in America. Released in July of 2016, it followed O.J.'s life from his early football career through his murder trial, acquittal and subsequent conviction for armed robbery 13 years later.  It received widespread critical acclaim and won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature at the 89th Academy Awards.

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Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation - 2017/Giles Keyte(SAN DIEGO) -- 20th Century Fox has released the second official trailer for the sequel to its massive 2014 sleeper hit Kingsman: The Secret Service.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle sees Taron Egerton's newly minted super-spy Eggsy in the States after the destruction of Kingsman HQ. While across the Pond, Eggsy and his former trainer, Mark Strong's Merlin, meet up with a Stetson-wearing Agent Tequila -- Channing Tatum -- and the rest of the Statesmen, the American cousins to Eggsy's U.K. spy organization.

For an action comedy, the movie has some serious Oscar cred: Jeff Bridges stars as Agent Champagne, the head of the cowboy-themed group, which boasts another Oscar winner, Halle Berry, playing Ginger, the Yankee counterpart to Strong's brainy gadget-guy.

Together, the Kingsmen and the Statesmen must take on a common enemy, played by yet another Academy Award-winner: Julianne Moore, as the movie's big bad. 

While the first trailer was set to Frank Sinatra's "My Way," the new trailer features a remix of The Who's My Generation.

And while Elton John is reportedly in the film, he's not seen in the trailer -- but a sharp-eyed viewer might catch a movie marquee featuring the name of one of his hits, "The Bi*ch is Back," in the background of an action scene.

Matthew Vaughn is back to direct Kingsman: The Golden Circle, due out September 22.

Incidentally,an animated Archer crossover has just been released, showing how a boozy meet-up with H. Jon Benjamin's Sterling Archer and Egerton's character leads to his trip to the U.S.

 

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ABC/Ida Mae Astute(LOS ANGELES) -- Kevin Hart doesn't seem fazed by his rumored cheating scandal.

After a video surfaced online of the actor allegedly making out with an unidentified woman in the backseat of a car, the actor has shared a photo of himself laughing.

"At the end of the day, you just gotta laugh at the BS," reads the border text of the Instagram photo Hart posted Wednesday. "#LiveLoveLaugh ..... SMDH," he added.

Hart and his wife, Eniko Parrish, were married last August and announced on Mother's Day that they were expecting their first child together. Although Parris has yet to comment on the allegations, the soon-to-be mother did post a new selfie of herself on the same day.

"Much hasn't really changed," she wrote in the caption, referring to her growing baby bump. "I'm still in the gym 3-5 days a week and I feel GREAT!"

This will be the first child for the couple, but  the third child for Hart. He has two children, Hendrix and Heaven, from a previous relationship.

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©2017 CTMG, Inc.(NEW YORK) --Sony is wasting no time trying to build on the success of Spider-Man: Homecoming’s blockbuster opening weekend -- the movie, starring Tom Holland as the web-slinger, grossed more than $480 million worldwide to date.

A stand-alone film starring Tom Hardy as Spider-Man supervillain Venom is already in the works, as well as Silver & Black, which will pair Spidey universe characters jewel thief Black Cat with mercenary Silver Sable.

A licensing agreement Sony inked with Marvel Comics in the early 2000's, includes rights to roughly 900 characters, and Sanford Panitch, president Columbia Pictures -- which is owned by Sony -- tells Variety that he's been, "immersing himself in the Spider-Man comic books and boning up on the backstories of Peter Parker’s various costumed adversaries."

“With the Sony universe of Marvel characters, our mission is only to do what’s the absolute best for each individual property. I just want to honor the original DNA,” he adds.

Spider-Man: Homecoming marked an unprecedented collaboration between Sony and Marvel, with Marvel producing the film, as well as collecting a licensing fee. That deal gave Sony access to stars like Robert Downey, Jr. as Iron Man. In return, Spider-Man was featured in Captain America: Civil War and will be in the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War.

One key caveat here for fans: Marvel Studios, which has a flawless box office record with Marvel characters, unlike Sony Pictures, won’t be involved in Venom or Silver & Black, and Sony isn't making predictions on whether or not Spider-Man will appear in Venom.

However, Panitch says “If we get lucky enough to make more than one [Venom film] and continue the franchise, there are lots of opportunities.”

It should also be noted that Sony was fast-tracking other Spidey-free Spider-Man films, like the all-villian Sinister Six, before the poor box office performance of The Amazing Spider-Man, which starred Andrew Garfield as Peter/Spidey, put the character's fate in jeopardy.

It took Marvel Studios' intervention, its casting of Holland for Civil War -- and the performance of Homecoming -- to get the property back on track.

While Disney-owned Marvel Studios won't be involved with Venom or Silver & Black, Sony and Marvel will team up again for the 2019 sequel to Homecoming, which could be directed by Homecoming's Jon Watts, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

ABC News is owned by parent company Disney.

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Getty News Images(NEVADA) -- He's spent nine years behind bars, but O.J. Simpson could be granted his freedom today. 

Simpson is scheduled for a parole hearing today at the Lovelock correctional facility in Lovelock, Nevada, where the former football star and actor has been doing time since 2008 for the botched 2007 robbery of Bruce Fromong. The crime reportedly occurred when Simpson tried to recover memorabilia from Fromong that O.J. claimed was his. 

Experts believe that Simpson will earn his parole because of his age -- he's 70 -- and the fact that he has an unblemished prison record.   

In addition, Fromong supports Simpson being paroled, and says he'll testify before the parole board on O.J.'s behalf. The prosecutor who helped secure Simpson's sentence of 33 years for armed robbery, nine of them without parole, also expects he'll be released.

If OJ Simpson's 1994 trial for the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman was called the trial of the century, you could call this the parole hearing of the century. It'll be streamed live and carried by multiple networks.  There also will be well over 150 reporters outside of the prison while it happens.

Simpson has loomed large in our pop culture consciousness, even while behind bars. In February 2016, his murder trial was resurrected in the FX true crime anthology, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story. The series, which starred Sterling K. Brown as Christopher Darden, Sarah Paulson as Marcia Clark and Cuba Gooding Jr. as Simpson, won nine Emmy awards, as well as two Golden Globes.

Also in 2016, ESPN Films released of the five-part docuseries O.J.: Made in America. Released in July of 2016, it followed O.J.'s life from his early football career through his murder trial, acquittal and subsequent conviction for armed robbery 13 years later.  It received widespread critical acclaim and won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature at the 89th Academy Awards.

Comedian Dave Chappelle took a shot at O.J.'s tumultuous life in his recent Netflix stand up special, Age of Spin. In the special, Chappelle describes four humorous encounters with O.J. during the height of his celebrity and after his acquittal for murder. At the end of the special, Chappelle tells the crowd that he and fellow comedian Chris Tucker declined to take a photo with Simpson.  As Chappelle explained, "Sorry Juice -- my career's too flimsy to survive a picture with you."

Then earlier this month, JAY-Z referenced a famous Simpson quote, in the song "The Story of O.J." from his new album 4:44. On the track, JAY raps: "O.J. like, 'I'm not black, I'm O.J.' …okay." The song is a meditation on race and wealth in America.

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