News Round-Up: December 26, 2019

(image via Instagram)

Some news items you might have missed:

InstaHunks: Fitness guy Nik (above) says “six-packs are overrated – especially after Christmas!” I second that notion 🙂

Instinct Magazine: A Manhattan school teacher says he was fired for being gay and for standing up for a non-binary gender-nonconforming student.

Hulu: A trailer has been released for the latest installment of Hulu’s Into The Dark, a monthly horror event series. Each feature-length installment is inspired by a holiday. The latest episode – Midnight Kiss – stars Scott Evans and premieres on December 27. According to the official synopsis, “A group of longtime gay best friends head to a beautiful desert home to celebrate New Year’s Eve. One of their annual traditions is to play MIDNIGHT KISS, a sexy but ultimately dangerous challenge to find that special someone to help you ring in the New Year. As friendships have grown strained with secrets, jealousy and resentment, the group faces another challenge when a sadistic killer wants in.”

NBC News: Donald Trump said Tuesday he wouldn’t rule out pardoning Republican operative Roger Stone, describing what happened to his former confidant as “very tough” and criticizing federal prosecutors and investigators as “dirty cops” and “evil people.”

Out: Dame Judi Dench says her “Deuteronomy” in the now-infamous film version of Cats is transgender.

• CNBC: Trump supporters were outraged to hear a version of Home Alone 2 aired on Canada’s CBC network which omits Donald Trump’s cameo in the film. Chuck Thompson, the CBC’s head of public affairs, said in a statement that the edits to the film “were done in 2014 when we first acquired the film and before Mr. Trump was elected president.”

Instagram: Madonna canceled her final ‘Madame X’ tour date in the U.S. due to “indescribable” pain.


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I was in tears from the pain of my injuries, Which has been indescribable for the past few days With every song I sang, I said a prayer that I would make it to the next and get thru the show. My prayers were answered, And I made it. I consider myself a warrior I never quit, I never give in, I never give up!! However this time I have to listen to my body And accept that my pain is a warning I want to say how deeply sorry I am to all my fans. For having to cancel my last show I spent the last two days with doctors Scans, ultra sounds, Xrays Poking and probing and more tears. They have made it very clear to me that if l’am to continue my tour— I must rest for as long as possible so that I don’t inflict further and Irreversible damage to my body. I have never let an injury stop me from performing but this time i have to accept that there is no shame in being human and having to press the pause button………….. I thank you all for your understanding, love and support. As the Words to Batuka go……….. It’s a Long Road……….Lord Have Mercy🙏🏼. Things have got to change. And they will because MADAME ❌. is a fighter!! Happy Holidays to Everyone ♥️🎄 #madamextheatre #thefillmoremiamibeach

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Trailer: CATS The Movie

Jennifer Hudson as ‘Grizabella’ in CATS

The trailer for the upcoming live-action movie of CATS the musical has landed.

I think it has some amazing visuals going on, although the anthropomorphic/naked cat look will take a bit of getting used to.

Along the way, there looks to be some fantastic casting with Rebel Wilson as ‘Jennyanydots,’ Sir Ian McKellen as ‘Gus the theater cat,’ Dame Judi Dench as ‘Deuteronomy,’ and James Corden as ‘Bustopher Jones.’

Oh, and Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson belts out the show’s hit tune, “Memory,” throughout.

Judi Dench in CATS

In theaters this Christmas. Take a look below.

Longtime readers of The Randy Report may recall being cast in the national touring company of CATS back in the mid-80s was my first big gig after moving to New York City.

Ah yes, ‘the magical Mr. Mistoffelees’…

There Is Nothing Like A ‘Dame’

Dames Maggie Smith, Joan Plo

Truly, no one throws friendly shade like a Dame.

And by ‘Dame,’ I mean those delicious British divas, Dames Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Joan Plowright, and Eileen Atkins, who are featured in the upcoming documentary, Tea with the Dames.

Set in a British country house, the four actresses spend a day together allowing cameras to capture friendships dating back more than half a century. The four icons chat on their careers and spill the ‘tea’ a bit.

The film has a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

In a one-minute teaser below, Judi Dench shares her belief that “We’re going to work forever, if we’re asked.”

Without a pause, Maggie Smith, who knows how to drop a good line, replies, “But, you’re always asked first, if I may say so.”

“I’m turning on you, it’s all coming out now,” Smith says with a hint of smile.

Plowright, after adjusting her hearing aid, chimes in saying her American agent has told her in the past that they are always on the lookout for “a nice cameo that Judi Dench hasn’t got her paws on.”


EW also reports that the grand ‘Dames’ didn’t go easy on the film crew either.

The session gets off to a shady start right from the get-go as the women pose for a photo while cutting the crew down to size.

“That’s an awful angle. It’s not fair to old ladies,” Atkins quips as Smith cackles before asking an off-camera photographer, “Is it your first day?”

When asked about working with their husbands, Plowright admits, “Obviously mine was the most difficult.”

Smith, again with the dry retort, “Well, we all found him tricky.”

For those who miss Smith’s drop-dead delivery, you’ll be happy to know the upcoming Downton Abbey movie has announced a release date of September 20, 2019.

Here’s the full trailer for Tea with the Dames. Take a break and enjoy the shade with the ‘Dames.’

Tea with the Dames is in limited release on September 21.

Trailer: “Philomena” starring Judi Dench

Judi Dench stars in the title role of Philomena Lee, a woman determined to recover a son she was forced to give up for adoption in the 1950s, when she bore the child out of wedlock within a conservative Irish Catholic community.

With the assistance of a reporter from the BBC (Steve Coogan), Philomena embarks on her quest for reunion and redemption with a grown son, who, as she discovers, is a gay politician.

Based on a true story, the film has garnered acclaim from critics, who hail Dench’s performance as well as the screenplay, written by Coogan, which moves the audience to both laughter and tears.

Philomena premieres this weekend in New York and Los Angeles. Watch the trailer below.

(via Advocate)

Actress Judi Dench battling blindness

Academy Award winner Judi Dench said in an interview published Saturday that she had been diagnosed with macular degeneration, an eye condition which can cause blindness, and that her eyesight was already so bad that she couldn’t even read her own scripts.

The 77-year-old told the Daily Mirror that she was relying on friends and family to keep her up to speed with her lines.

“It’s usually my daughter or my agent or a friend and actually I like that, because I sit there and imagine the story in my mind,” she told the newspaper during an interview at a London hotel. “The most distressing thing is in a restaurant in the evening I can’t see the person I’m having dinner with.”

She won an Academy Award for her role as Queen Elizabeth I in “Shakespeare in Love” and is best known to international audiences as intelligence boss M in the James Bond series.

However, my favorite performance is this one: a reprisal of her “Desiree” from A Little Night Music: