Friday Feb 27, 2015

Stark Sands, Meagan Good on board for ‘Minority Report'

The TV adaptation of "Minority Report" has cast Stark Sands and Meagan Good in lead roles.Sands ("NYC-22," "Inside Llewyn Davis"), revealed the Hollywood Reporter, will play identical twin brothers Dash and Arthur, "Precogs" who are able to see into the future, while Good ("Think Like a Man")...
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TV

Stark Sands, Meagan Good on board for ‘Minority Report'
Friday Feb 27, 2015
Stark Sands, Meagan Good on board for ‘Minority Report'

The TV adaptation of "Minority Report" has cast Stark Sands and Meagan Good in lead roles.Sands ("NYC-22," "Inside Llewyn Davis"), revealed the Hollywood Reporter, will play identical twin brothers Dash and Arthur, "Precogs" who are able to see into the future, while Good ("Think Like a Man") will play a detective "who just may help him find a purpose to his gift." As previously reported, Fox is launching the pilot based on Steven Spielberg's 2002 sfi-fi film, with Spielberg bringing in "Godzilla" screenwriter Max Borenstein to work on the series. The TV drama will be set 10 years after the events of the film. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

‘Arrow'/'Flash' spin-off may be coming to CW
Friday Feb 27, 2015
‘Arrow'/'Flash' spin-off may be coming to CW

A DC Comics spin-off based on the hit shows "Arrow" and "The Flash" is being developed at the CW network.According to Deadline, creators of "Arrow" have teamed with the network for what's being described as a superhero team-up. Brandon Routh ("Arrow"), Victor Garber ("The Flash") and Wentworth Miller ("The Flash") would reprise their roles, while Caity Lotz would appear in an unknown role, her "Arrow" character having been killed off. Deadline also reports that the series would include three major DC Comics characters who have yet to appear in a TV series. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Netflix's 'House of Cards' returns in full for 3rd season
Friday Feb 27, 2015
Netflix's 'House of Cards' returns in full for 3rd season

NEW YORK (AP) — Michael Kelly did everything he could to stay under the radar. "For a year, I've had to keep everything so secret," he said. "I feel awful for having to lie, but what else could I do?" So lie he did. And if you don't know what he lied about, you might want to stop reading right here. Kelly, of course, rode strong on Netflix's political thriller "House of Cards" in its first two seasons as the sotto-voce psycho Doug Stamper, the glowering henchman to Francis Underwood (series star Kevin Spacey) in his rise from House Whip to vice president to POTUS. But as Underwood schemed his way into the White House at the tail end of last season, an even more startling thing occurred: Stamper was bashed in the head with a rock by an assailant and left for dead. Now it can be told: Stamper lives! And he, in Kelly's staunch portrayal, resumes his driven, devilish mission as "Cards" unveils its 13-episode third season Friday on the Netflix website. Stamper's survival was a secret that, against all odds in this post-secret era, almost went the distance. A consensus held firm among the "House of Cards" faithful: Stamper was dead, with Kelly regrettably out of the series. In Baltimore, where "Cards" was shooting its third season, Kelly had taken pains to wear a hat and contact lenses rather than his usual glasses when out in public, and if approached with the inquiry, "What are YOU doing here?" he'd explain, "I'm a producer" or "These are my friends I'm coming back to visit." That was then. "To be able to speak freely! It's been a year," said Kelly over omelets with a reporter recently. It was his first chance to break his silence, his first chance to explain to "Cards" fans (whose gratitude that Stamper was alive might be unsettled by annoyance at having been misled) that his survival was no cheap trick. When the scene was shot with Stamper unconscious on the ground in woods outside Washington, Kelly said he got clear directions: "You're breathing. It's very, very shallow breathing," and he demonstrated his near-death status for his breakfast companion, complete with a microscopic twitch of an eye. From February 2014, when Season 2 premiered, the secret held. That is, until Netflix let its own cat out of the bag. Just a few days after the chat with Kelly, Netflix inadvertently posted new episodes online in what it termed a "technical glitch," very briefly but long enough for alert Web surfers to pounce, turning a leak into a social-media geyser. As a handful of viewers glimpsed then, and everybody else can behold now, Stamper begins the season in a hospital battered and bruised and suffering from severe brain damage. He faces lengthy rehabilitation, a state all the more cruel for keeping him sidelined from his cherished role as the president's right-hand man. "He's so different now from the character I played the first two years!" said Kelly. "But when someone suffers a brain injury, the variables of what can happen to that person are so vastly different. Playing him, I was more challenged than I've ever been as an actor." It was a bit more rudimentary when Kelly won the part. "('Cards' creator) Beau Willimon told me, 'Here's the deal: I don't want to ever see you emote,'" Kelly recalled with a laugh. "I said, 'OK, I can do that.'" Born in Philadelphia, Kelly, 45, grew up near Atlanta and, after college in South Carolina, headed to New York and studied at the Actors Studio while making ends meet with jobs that ranged from waiting tables and construction to working in a consignment shop for high-end designers "where women brought in Hermes bags they no longer wanted." He landed roles in such films as "Man on the Moon," ''Changeling," ''Now You See Me" and "Man of Steel," and the HBO miniseries "Generation Kill," as well as being a regular on "Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior." This fall he will be seen in "Everest," a historical action-adventure film in which he stars as Jon Krakauer opposite Josh Brolin, Jake Gyllenhaal and his "Cards" co-star Robin Wright. He modestly described his career as a slow build, "little step by little step." But it was a giant step into "House of Cards" and the chilling anti-hero he brought to life. Meanwhile, Kelly's own manner — animated, easygoing — is unexpected evidence of his skill for transformation. "Every interview I've ever done, they say, 'You SMILE!'" Kelly noted with amusement. "But you want to know the truth? That's all I ever do. I feel so blessed to be doing what I do, it's pretty easy for me to smile." ____ EDITOR'S NOTE — Frazier Moore is a national television columnist for The Associated Press. He can be reached at fmoore@ap.org and at http://www.twitter.com/tvfrazier. Past stories are available at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/frazier-moore _____ Online: http://www.netflix.com Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Frazier Moore from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Kardashian reality show gets $100m deal
Friday Feb 27, 2015
Kardashian reality show gets $100m deal

The Kardashian family is setting up for another four seasons' worth of reality TV broadcasts under the "Keeping Up With The Kardashians" name.Kim, Khloé, Kourtney alongside Kendall and Kylie Jenner are all signed on as well as mother Kris, who concluded a $100 million deal with E!, according to Page Six. Kim's husband, hip-hop mogul Kanye, isn't included in the arrangement, but he'll still be part of "Keeping Up With The Kardashians." The agreement is also believed to include expanded opportunities for the "Keeping Up" stars, with E! interested in continuing and further increasing their involvement with the network outside of their ensemble show. Stepfather, 1976 Olympic gold medallist, and Kris's ex-husband Bruce Jenner has already inked a separate deal with the network. "Keeping Up With The Kardashians" was first broadcast in 2007 and has since seen nine seasons' worth of programming, as well as spin-off series that had Kourtney and Kim visit Miami and New York, Kourtney and Khloé going to The Hamptons, and another featuring Khloé and then-husband, NBA player Lamar Odom. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Ari Gold of 'Entourage' is your next business guru
Friday Feb 27, 2015
Ari Gold of 'Entourage' is your next business guru

The fictional Hollywood powerhouse Ari Gold, agent to the stars on HBO series "Entourage," is penning a book of business and leadership tips called "The Gold Standard: Rules to Rule By."Due out in May, the book -- announced via a tongue-in-cheek press release from Hachette Books that ignores the author's fictional status -- is to include Ari Gold's "unique, effective and, some would say, outrageous philosophies on running a successful business, client management, employee motivation, keeping a happy home life, and other keys to his many successes."According to his publisher, Gold graduated from Harvard University before earning his MBA at the University of Michigan. The co-founder, former Senior Partner and co-CEO of Miller/Gold Talent Agency and former owner of Terrance McQuewick Agency lives in Los Angeles with his wife and children. Despite having retired from his career as a Hollywood agent in 2011, Ari Gold will be back on screens in June, when the feature film based on the seven-year, eight-season series that made him a star hits theaters. Gold -- that is, Jeremy Piven -- Adrian Grenier, Kevin Connolly and other regular actors on the show will return alongside new cast members Billy Bob Thornton and Haley Joel Osment."The Gold Standard: Rules to Rule By" will be published May 12 and, for the tech-savvy and on-the-go professionals among us, will be available in electronic and audio editions. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Movies

Watch: Disney offers a sneak peek at Pandora attraction
Friday Feb 27, 2015
Watch: Disney offers a sneak peek at Pandora attraction

Disney has posted a video that gives a glimpse into the land of Pandora, being created at its Animal Kingdom theme park in Orlando, Florida.Disney announced back in 2011 that it had entered into a partnership with the "Avatar" franchise to bring attractions based on James Cameron's blockbuster to its parks. Now a video posted to the Disney Parks blog provides a look at what the mythical land will look like. "Pandora: The Land of Avatar" is expected to open in 2017. Watch: www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQm4B2UYGY8 Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Stark Sands, Meagan Good on board for ‘Minority Report'
Friday Feb 27, 2015
Stark Sands, Meagan Good on board for ‘Minority Report'

The TV adaptation of "Minority Report" has cast Stark Sands and Meagan Good in lead roles.Sands ("NYC-22," "Inside Llewyn Davis"), revealed the Hollywood Reporter, will play identical twin brothers Dash and Arthur, "Precogs" who are able to see into the future, while Good ("Think Like a Man") will play a detective "who just may help him find a purpose to his gift." As previously reported, Fox is launching the pilot based on Steven Spielberg's 2002 sfi-fi film, with Spielberg bringing in "Godzilla" screenwriter Max Borenstein to work on the series. The TV drama will be set 10 years after the events of the film. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Lights, camera, blossom! Disney films inspire floral fantasy
Friday Feb 27, 2015
Lights, camera, blossom! Disney films inspire floral fantasy

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Lights, camera ... blossom! Floral and garden designers are paying homage to Disney and Pixar films at the Philadelphia Flower Show, which opens Saturday with the theme "Celebrate the Movies." Meticulously landscaped exhibits have been inspired by more than a dozen features, from "Frozen" and "Finding Nemo" to "Cars" and "Cinderella." Visitors enter through a huge, art deco theater facade as if they were attending a red carpet premiere. Palm trees, roses and lilies help recreate the ornate interior of a 1920s movie palace, while moss, jewels, fabric and other blooms cascade down from "chandeliers" overhead. Billed as the nation's largest and longest-running flower show, it covers 10 acres and dates back to 1829. Organizers hope this year's family-friendly theme will help a new crop of gardening enthusiasts establish roots at the annual extravaganza, which runs through March 8. "Introducing that new generation, that younger generation to the flower show is something that we want to do," said Drew Becher, president of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, which sponsors the show. Children and adults alike will surely recognize the large orange clownfish in the exhibit by J. Downend Landscaping of Ridley Park, in the Philadelphia suburbs. With a boat suspended above the display to mark the "water line," workers created a dry version of Nemo's world with petals and leaves shaped like creatures such as seahorses, jellyfish and stingrays. "The idea is to create an underwater seascape using all landscape plants that would be found from Florida to Maine," said designer Tom Morris. "We've got hardy, tropical, annual, bulbs and everything in between." In another tableau, headlights shine from rusted vehicles seemingly embedded in an overgrowth of ferns, all surrounded by flowering cherry trees, whitespire birches and white and pink azaleas. "We just loved the movie 'Cars.' Our kids loved it ... my brother and I are car buffs. So it was a natural fit," said Kevin Burke of Burke Brothers Landscape Design/Build of Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania. The horticultural society is hoping for a big box office — at least 240,000 people, which would be about 10,000 more than in 2014. The floral fantasia serves as the organization's biggest fundraiser, taking in about $2 million to help fund a range of local programs. The event features plant judging, a butterfly garden, interactive exhibits and craft workshops. New this year is "Fido Friday" — an evening when guests can bring their dogs. In keeping with the cinema theme, John Wayne's son Ethan Wayne will attend Saturday and display some of his father's memorabilia. Actor Dan Aykroyd will make an appearance March 6. The flower show comes just in time for a region that can't seem to thaw out from a brutal winter. Philadelphia has indeed been "Frozen" — the average temperature for February has been a measly 25 degrees, according to preliminary figures from the National Weather Service. That's about 10 degrees below normal. "Having flowers blooming in the beginning of March in the Northeast is a challenge in itself," said Sam Lemheney, who oversees the show. "Our experts and our growers here do an amazing job of turning this place into spring every year." Lemheney worked as a horticulturalist at Disney's EPCOT Center in Florida before coming to Philadelphia. The flower show's local TV partner, WPVI, is an ABC affiliate owned by Disney. A Disney representative did not immediately return a request for comment. ___ If You Go... PHILADELPHIA FLOWER SHOW: Opens Saturday and runs through March 8 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, 12th and Arch streets, Philadelphia. General admission tickets range from $15 for children to up to $32 for adults, depending on the day and point of purchase; packages also are available. Details and hours can be found at http://www.theflowershow.com. ___ Follow Kathy Matheson at www.twitter.com/kmatheson Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Kathy Matheson from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Harrison Ford to reprise role in 'Blade Runner' sequel
Friday Feb 27, 2015
Harrison Ford to reprise role in 'Blade Runner' sequel

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Harrison Ford is set to reprise his role as Rick Deckard in a sequel to the dystopian, neo-noir "Blade Runner," more than 31 years after the film first premiered. Ridley Scott directed the 1982 movie, which was adapted from the Philip K. Dick novel "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep." Alcon Entertainment announced Ford's role Thursday and said Scott will serve as an executive producer on the sequel. Production on the film will begin in the summer of 2016. Hampton Francher, who co-wrote the original, and Michael Green have written a script based on an idea from Francher and Scott. The story will take place several decades after the events at the conclusion of the 1982 film. A director has not yet been confirmed for the project. Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Ari Gold of 'Entourage' is your next business guru
Friday Feb 27, 2015
Ari Gold of 'Entourage' is your next business guru

The fictional Hollywood powerhouse Ari Gold, agent to the stars on HBO series "Entourage," is penning a book of business and leadership tips called "The Gold Standard: Rules to Rule By."Due out in May, the book -- announced via a tongue-in-cheek press release from Hachette Books that ignores the author's fictional status -- is to include Ari Gold's "unique, effective and, some would say, outrageous philosophies on running a successful business, client management, employee motivation, keeping a happy home life, and other keys to his many successes."According to his publisher, Gold graduated from Harvard University before earning his MBA at the University of Michigan. The co-founder, former Senior Partner and co-CEO of Miller/Gold Talent Agency and former owner of Terrance McQuewick Agency lives in Los Angeles with his wife and children. Despite having retired from his career as a Hollywood agent in 2011, Ari Gold will be back on screens in June, when the feature film based on the seven-year, eight-season series that made him a star hits theaters. Gold -- that is, Jeremy Piven -- Adrian Grenier, Kevin Connolly and other regular actors on the show will return alongside new cast members Billy Bob Thornton and Haley Joel Osment."The Gold Standard: Rules to Rule By" will be published May 12 and, for the tech-savvy and on-the-go professionals among us, will be available in electronic and audio editions. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Events

Hong Kong film festival to open with Sylvia Chang's 'Murmur'
Friday Feb 27, 2015
Hong Kong film festival to open with Sylvia Chang's 'Murmur'

HONG KONG (AP) — Sylvia Chang's return to the director's chair will open the Hong Kong International Film Festival, which will screen 14 films from the veteran Taiwanese actress and director. "Murmur of the Hearts," Chang's first directing feature after a five-year hiatus, tells the struggles and challenges of a young boxer, a painter and a tour guide living in Taipei. The film stars Malaysian actress and Chang protege Lee Sinje, Hong Kong actress Isabella Leong and Golden Horse Award nominee Joseph Chang. In Hong Kong to announce the film festival's lineup, Chang said she's waiting anxiously for the film's release. "It's like giving birth to a baby, and then showing the baby to the world," she said at Thursday's news conference. "Of course we hope that you won't say the baby is ugly. Of course, it's with anticipation that we hope people like the film, or just for people to watch it, regardless if they like it or not." Chang, 61, has been acting, producing, writing and directing for four decades. Her well-known films include Ang Lee's Oscar-nominated "Eat Drink Man Woman" and "20 30 40," which she starred in, wrote and directed. "I think my films are different than the other mainstream films," she said about her feature opening the festival. "I hope everyone can calm their hearts and watch a drama like this. A drama that's a little different. I hope everyone will have the tenacity to see it." The film also marks the return of Leong, last seen on screen seven years ago in her Hollywood debut, "The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor." She took a break from acting and gave birth to three boys with Hong Kong businessman Richard Li. Chang said that Leong steps into a more mature role in this film. "This role is different from the roles she's played before. Of course, she's matured a lot. So I think everyone will see a very different side of her," the director said. The Hong Kong festival runs from March 23 to April 6 and will show over 260 films from 56 countries. Up-and-coming director Philip Yung helms the closing film, "Port of Call," which stars Aaron Kwok and takes a close look at two families whose lives are torn apart by a heinous crime. Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

'House of Cards' dealt Netflix a winning hand
Friday Feb 27, 2015
'House of Cards' dealt Netflix a winning hand

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Even if it never wins another award, "House of Cards" already ranks among the most influential series in television history. The political drama launched Netflix's expansion into original programming two years ago, a risky bet that might have toppled the Internet video service had "House of Cards" flopped and squandered its estimated $100 million investment. Instead, the show was an immediate hit with viewers and critics, giving Netflix the financial clout and creative firepower to further transform how we watch and define "television." And it spurred other online services such as Amazon.com Inc. and Google's YouTube to spend more on their own original content to create shows that rival those produced by broadcast and cable channels. Season three debuted early Friday, giving fans a chance to see Frank and Claire Underwood continue their machinations, now from a hard-won White House perch. The show marks just one of more than 20 original series or movies that Netflix is scheduled to show this year. Producing that much original content would have seemed like a long shot before "House of Cards" first established Netflix as more than a convenient and cheap way to watch recycled TV series and movies previously released on DVD. Launched in February 2013, "House of Cards" was among the first major series to release an entire season at once, a move that fed into viewers' desire to devour several episodes at a time instead of having to wait a week to see another installment. Many analysts now view "House of Cards" and Netflix's other award-winning series released a few months later — "Orange is the New Black" — as turning points in the company's evolution, similar to the impact "The Sopranos" and "Sex and the City" had for HBO. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings now regularly likens the company to the HBO of the Internet. Just how many Netflix subscribers have watched "House of Cards" remains a mystery because the company has refused to reveal the viewership of any of its series. But this much is clear: "House of Cards" came along at a pivotal juncture for Netflix. The Los Gatos, California, company was still recovering from a subscriber backlash triggered in mid-2011 by a dramatic increase in its prices and a bungled attempt to spin off its DVD-by-mail service. Undaunted, Netflix continued to commit billions of dollars to long-term licensing agreements with movie and TV studios while also spending heavily on an international expansion. Some analysts questioned whether the company could survive. Wall Street's doubts have dissipated, and Netflix's service has become an entertainment staple around the world. Since "House of Cards" was released, Netflix's stock has nearly tripled to about $480 while its Internet video service has grown subscribers by 24 million subscribers to 57 million. Half of those gains have come in the U.S. The momentum emboldened Netflix last year to raise its monthly streaming prices by a $1 to $9. There was little blowback from customers this time. Netflix's widening appeal may have also contributed to HBO's decision to begin selling its channel as a separate Internet service later this year. HBO hasn't yet announced its prices for the HBO Go service. The next challenge for Netflix will be proving that it can consistently deliver series as good as "House of Cards," which has received 22 Emmy nominations and won four awards so far, and "Orange Is The New Black," which has collected three Emmy awards among its 12 nominations. While some of Netflix's other original programs, such as "Hemlock Grove" and "BoJack Horseman," have attracted enthusiastic followings, they haven't proven to be a subscriber drawing card like "House of Cards," said Rosenblatt Securities analyst Martin Pyykkonen. "Netflix needs to get to the point where it's showing three or four high-quality shows like 'House of Cards" every quarter if it wants to retain subscribers," he said. Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Michael Liedtke from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Kanye West tweets apology to Beck for Grammys disruption
Friday Feb 27, 2015
Kanye West tweets apology to Beck for Grammys disruption

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kanye West is saying he's sorry to Beck on Twitter. The incendiary 37-year-old hip-hop artist took to the social media site Thursday to publicly apologize to the 44-year-old musician who won four trophies at the Grammys earlier this month. He also says he's sorry for remarks he made about 29-year-old singer-producer Bruno Mars. It appeared West was attempting to steal the moment from Beck when he briefly jumped on stage after Beck won album of the year at the 57th annual Grammy Awards. He quickly sat back down but later slammed the recording academy for not honoring Beyonce with the award. West infamously interrupted Taylor Swift when she won the award for best female video at the MTV Video Music Awards in 2009. Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

From 'Pulp Fiction' to Oscar meme, Travolta's highs and lows
Friday Feb 27, 2015
From 'Pulp Fiction' to Oscar meme, Travolta's highs and lows

NEW YORK (AP) — Since strutting onto the big screen in "Saturday Night Fever," John Travolta has had a career marked by dramatic ups and downs, from comeback king to Internet meme. Travolta's latest step back into the spotlight at Sunday's Academy Awards was uneasy. He's been widely pilloried for his touching of Idina Menzel's face while he cooed "You, you my darling, my beautiful, my wickedly talented Idina Menzel." "Apparently I played with her chin too much," Travolta told Jimmy Kimmel about his reunion with Menzel. At the conclusion of the Oscars, host Neil Patrick Harris predicted Travolta (booked to redeem himself for his infamous mangling of Menzel's name the year before) will be back at next year's show to apologize again for "all the face touching." Images of Travolta kissing Scarlett Johansson in front of photographers on the red carpet also went viral, turning the star into a social media punch line. Johansson, however, defended Travolta in a statement to The Associated Press on Thursday, saying, "There is nothing at all strange, creepy or inappropriate about John Travolta" and called the photo "an unfortunate still-frame from a live-action encounter that was very sweet and totally welcome." The Oscar incidents come at a time when Travolta, 61, is prepping a handful of projects and ahead of the release of an explosive documentary on Scientology that focuses considerably on Travolta's relationship with the organization. Should that upcoming film, "Going Clear," from the Oscar-winning documentarian Alex Gibney, go on to be Oscar nominated, as many expect it to, it could again make Travolta a part of next year's Academy Awards, albeit in a much different way. But Travolta has long navigated the ebb and flow of celebrity, relying on his boyish charisma and a few good dance moves for numerous revivals. Here's a look at his highs and lows: HIGH: Already known to TV viewers of "Welcome Back Kotter," Travolta emphatically debuted as a leading man in the 1977 disco sensation "Saturday Night Fever." He pronounced: "This is dancing, not that Fred Astaire thing. I just move and strut, and THAT'S DANCING!" He followed it up as Danny Zuko in 1978's "Grease," forever immortalizing his high voice and pomade-slicked hair. LOW: The 1980s weren't nearly as good to Travolta as the '70s. He worked consistently, but in a string of flops like "Perfect," in which he played a Rolling Stone reporter, and "Two of a Kind," which reteamed him with "Grease" co-star Olivia Newton-John. Many of the films he turned down (like "American Gigolo") were more successful than the films he chose to make. HIGH: Though the "Look Who's Talking" comedies restored Travolta's popularity, his resurrection was undoubtedly due to one man: Quentin Tarantino. The director specifically sought out Travolta, even though Daniel Day-Lewis, fresh off his Oscar win for "My Left Foot," reportedly wanted the part. Travolta's performance as Vincent Vega earned him his second Oscar nomination and brought on a rush of work, including the acclaimed Elmore Leonard adaptation "Get Shorty." LOW: The "Pulp Fiction" rejuvenation did not last long, though Travolta's track record ("Michael," ''Face/Off," ''Primary Colors," ''A Civil Action") was better in the late 1990s than it was in the '80s. He even had a notable cameo in Terrence Malick's "The Thin Red Line." But in 2000, he starred in perhaps the biggest bomb of his career: "Battlefield Earth." The futuristic science-fiction film was partly based on a novel by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. It was made by independent production company Franchise Pictures (which was later convicted for inflating the budget to "Battlefield Earth" and went bankrupt), with Travolta putting up money of his own. It's frequently ranked among the worst movies of the decade. HIGH: Travolta perhaps never recovered after "Battlefield Earth," but he continued to co-star in big-budget releases that received mediocre reviews and did modest box office: "Swordfish," ''The Punisher," ''The Taking of Pelham 123." More recently, Travolta has lined up several films: "The Forger" (a crime drama due out in April), "Criminal Activities" (a mob thriller directed by Jackie Earle Haley) and "In a Valley of Violence" (a Western co-starring Ethan Hawke). Most intriguingly, he's to play O.J. Simpson defense attorney Robert Shapiro in the upcoming FX series "American Crime Story" by Ryan Murphy ("Nip/Tuck," ''American Horror Story"). LOW: Travolta's recent years have been marred by tragedy, lawsuits and increased attention to his long-held religion. His son, Jett, died in 2009 of a seizure at age 16. In 2013, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author Lawrence Wright published "Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief," a thoroughly researched expose of the Church of Scientology, that Travolta joined in the '70s. The book and Gibney's upcoming documentary, made with Wright, are critical of Travolta for being a public face to the controversial organization. Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Jake Coyle from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Johansson: Nothing 'creepy or inappropriate' about Travolta
Thursday Feb 26, 2015
Johansson: Nothing 'creepy or inappropriate' about Travolta

Scarlett Johansson defended John Travolta on Thursday, calling the actor "a class act" and denouncing the image of the two on the Academy Awards red carpet as "an unfortunate still-frame" that doesn't reflect a "totally sweet and totally welcome" encounter. In an exclusive statement to The Associated Press, Johansson said "there is nothing strange, creepy or inappropriate about John Travolta." Travolta greeted Johansson at Sunday's Oscars with a kiss and his arm around her waist. The photo has since been turned into an Internet meme, adding to an impression furthered by Travolta's touching of Idina Menzel's face while presenting at the Los Angeles ceremony. "The image that is circulating is an unfortunate still-frame from a live-action encounter that was very sweet and totally welcome," said Johansson. "That still photo does not reflect what preceded and followed if you see the moment live. Yet another way we are misguided, misinformed and sensationalized by the 24-hour news cycle. I haven't seen John in some years and it is always a pleasure to be greeted by him." Johansson and Travolta co-starred in the 2004 drama "A Love Song for Bobby Long." Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by The Associated Press from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.