"Oh, it's fantastic!" Diane Lane loves the fans prompting the release of the 'Justice League' "Snyder Cut"

Warner Bros. - 2017(NEW YORK) -- Oscar-nominated actress Diane Lane is excited about the forthcoming "Snyder Cut" of Justice League.

"Oh, I think it's fantastic!" Lane gushed to ABC Audio about the birth of the new version. "A one-way street became a two-way street in terms of the fans responding to the material, and then it takes on its own life."

Lane played Martha Kent, Clark Kent/Superman's adoptive mom, in Man of Steel and Justice League. ABC Audio asked her what she thought of the developments of the project, which began with the viral fan-borne hashtag #releasethesnydercut, and will culminate in March with HBO Max's release of the the film as a four-part series, re-cut by its original director, Zack Snyder.

"I mean, it's so larger than the little old me," Lane says humbly, adding, "I love Martha in terms of what she presents as a pillar of humanity in a world where so many things are larger than life."

Snyder was forced to step away from the project following a family tragedy in March 2017. Avengers director Joss Whedon took over and substantially retooled the film, which delivered a disappointing $657.9 million worldwide, and ignited disappointed fans' curiosity as to what Snyder's version would have looked like.

"I can't wait for it to to come out and see how it how it does," Lane says, adding with a laugh, "I'm sure there's a lot of feedback that we're going to get on it. Everybody's got a review, right? Isn't that how the world works?"  

Lane can currently be seen next in the acclaimed dramatic thriller Let Him Go, available to own on digital Tuesday, January 19. The movie incidentally re-teams with her Man of Steel husband, Kevin Costner.

By Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Bets on, bets off: Online gambling site already taking wagers on 'Cobra Kai' season 4

CURTIS BONDS BAKER/NETFLIX © 2020(LOS ANGELES) -- After fans binged the recently-dropped third season of the Karate Kid spin-off Cobra Kai, its cliffhanger ending left them aching for more -- so much so that the online sportsbook My Bookie is taking wagers on what will happen in the show's forthcoming fourth season.

In the cliffhanger, former enemies Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence, played respectively by Ralph Macchio and William Zabka, team up to take on Martin Kove's Sensei John Kreese, and whupped him handily enough that he called an old Army buddy for back-up. It's not stated in the show, but Karate Kid fans are already predicting the return of actor and martial artist Thomas Ian Griffith's Terry Silver, one of the baddies in Karate Kid Part III

It's so likely Silver will return that My Bookie makes it a -500 bet -- meaning if you bet $500 that he shows up, you'll make just $100. On the other hand, betting $100 against Terry's return would net you $200, because it's considered unlikely he won't join the fight. 

Want to score on a long shot? Fans can also bet whether or not Oscar-winner Hillary Swank, who starred in 1994's The Next Karate Kid, will return to the Karate Kid universe. A hundred-dollar bet would net you $550, according to My Bookie's odds. 

Another long-shot return is Jaden Smith, the star of the panned 2010 reboot of The Karate Kid. That's considered so unlikely that a $100 bet would win you $900. Betting $100 that his character Dre Parker wins the All Valley Karate Championship will score you $2,000.

You can even bet on how many times people say the series' iconic line, "Sweep the leg."

Here are some other wagering possibilities for the fourth season of Cobra Kai and their corresponding money line bets, according to MyBookie: 

Who wins the All Valley Karate Championship?
(Winner must be announced in season 4)

Miguel Diaz:  110
Robby Keene:  150
Eli “Hawk” Moskowitz:  300
Samantha LaRusso:  400
Kyler: 600
Tory Nichols:  650
Demetr: 800
Mitch: 1500
Dre Parker: 2000
Anthony LaRusso: 2200
All other fighters: 500

All Valley Karate Championship -- Match Winner
(Fight must take place at tournament)

Samantha LaRusso: -140
Tory Nichols: 110

Does Terry Silver make an appearance in Season 4?
Yes:  -500
No: 200

Does Mike Barnes make an appearance in Season 4?
Yes: -230
No: 160 

Does Hillary Swank make an appearance in Season 4?
Yes:  550
No: -2000

Does Jaden Smith make an appearance in Season 4?
Yes:  900
No: -3000 

Does Hawk return to Cobra Kai?
Yes: -140
No: 110

Total times "sweep the leg" will be mentioned in Season 4
Over 3.5 times: -130
Under 3.5 times: 100

By Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Liam Neeson reveals his plans to retire from action films

ABC/Randy Holmes(LOS ANGELES) -- Liam Neeson has acquired a very particular set of skills over the course of the years as an actor and now, he's thinking about laying them to rest. 

While speaking with Entertainment  Tonight, the Taken series star revealed that retirement is in the near future. 

"Oh, yeah. I think so," he said.

"I'm 68 and a half. 69 this year. There's a couple more I'm going to do this year -- hopefully, COVID allowing us -- there's a couple in the pipeline and, then I think that will probably be it. Well, unless I'm on a Zimmer frame or something," he added. 

Despite admitting that he's ready to hang-up the towel on action films, it seems that one role may have piqued his interest and may keep him in the game a little bit longer. 

When informed that fans are campaigning for the actor to reprise his role as Zeus from 2010's Clash of the Titans in Wonder Woman 3 and asked if he was "up for it," Neeson responded, "I guess so, sure. I mean, I'm very flattered!"

"I wasn't aware that the ancient Greek gods appeared in Wonder Woman. I have to say, much to my chagrin, I haven't seen... the Wonder Woman movies," he shared, and after being told that Zeus is actually Wonder Woman's dad he smirked, "I'll call my agent!"

Neeson can currently be seen in the action film The Marksman.

By Danielle Long
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

'Cobra Kai' star Martin Kove had to be "persuaded" to join the 'Karate Kid' reboot

CURTIS BONDS BAKER/NETFLIX © 2020(NEW YORK) -- Actor Martin Kove, who reprises his role as villainous karate instructor John Kreese in Netflix's Karate Kid reboot Cobra Kai, says he had to be "persuaded" to accept the role.

"I was only interested in doing this role if he was a multifaceted character," he tells the New York Post.

The current third season of Cobra Kai, which launched earlier this month, delves into Kreese's backstory, which includes a rough childhood and a traumatic experience as a soldier in the Vietnam War.

Regarding his character, a Vietnam veteran who preaches "no mercy" to his students, the 74-year-old actor says, "I don't see him as a villain."

Karate Kid fans seem to be warming up to the character as well.

"People don’t really hate my character, especially now they have a fuller understanding of what made him the way he is."

By George Costantino
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Ben Affleck details racism Jennifer Lopez endured when they were dating

James Devaney/WireImage(LOS ANGELES) -- (NOTE LANGUAGE) Ben Affleck revisited his "Bennifer" days and detailed the racism Jennifer Lopez endured during their brief engagement.

Speaking Thursday to The Hollywood Reporter for its Awards Chatter podcast to promote his upcoming film The Way Back, the 48-year-old actor recalled the abuse tabloids hurled at Lopez when news broke of their romance.

"There's always a story of the month, and me dating Jennifer Lopez happened to be that tabloid story at the time," the Gone Girl star explained. "They needed something to write about and we were that thing."

"People were so f****** mean about her... sexist, racist," Affleck continued. "Vicious s*** was written about her in ways that, if you wrote it now, you would literally be fired."

"Now it's like, she's lionized and respected for the work she did, where she came from, what she accomplished --- as well she f****** should be," the two-time Oscar winner quipped, noting how hard Lopez worked to be where she is today.

Added Affleck, "I would say you have a better shot -- coming from the Bronx -- of ending up as like [Justice Sonia] Sotomayor on the Supreme Court than you do of having Jennifer Lopez's career and being who she is at 50 years old today."

The two began dating in the early 2000s and announced their engagement in 2002.  During their whirlwind romance, they starred in two movies together, Jersey Girl and Gigli.  Lopez even invited Affleck to star alongside her in her 2002 music video "Jenny from the Block."

The couple were set to wed in 2003, but postponed their nuptials and, the following year, ended their relationship.

By Megan Stone
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

'The Mandalorian' becomes first streaming show to top Netflix numbers in streaming

Disney (LOS ANGELES) -- Disney 's The Mandalorian has become the first program on a streaming platform other than Netflix to top on Nielsen's streaming rankings, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The Star Wars series created by Iron Man director Jon Favreau drew 1.34 billion minutes of viewing time in the week of December 14-20, for its finale -- its highest weekly total to date. 

The Mandalorian also notched its record eighth consecutive week in the top 10, according to Neilsen numbers -- moving ahead of last week's #1 show on streaming, NBC's The Office, which logged 1.31 billion minutes of viewing. Netflix's The Crown finished third. 

It should be noted that streaming platforms contend that Nielsen's methodology doesn't capture the full scope of viewing on devices other than TV sets, and only measures U.S. audiences, not those in other countries.

Disney is the parent company of ABC News.

By George Costantino and Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Lisa Kudrow spills more details on 'Friends' reunion

Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.(LOS ANGELES) -- Nearly a year after HBO Max announced that Friends cast members Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, David Schwimmer, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and Lisa Kudrow had agreed to a Friends reunion, the special finally seems to be back on track.

During an appearance on Rob Lowe's podcast Literally! With Rob Lowe, on Thursday, Kudrow gave an update on the project, which was delayed after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March.

The 57-year-old actress, who played Phoebe on the series which aired between 1994 and 2004, revealed the special is definitely on and shooting will begin in the "early spring."

"I pre-shot something for it already," she added.  "So we're definitely doing it because I already shot a little something."

Kudrow also offered a few deets on the anticipated reunion, confirming, "It's not a reboot."

"We're not portraying our characters," she explains.  "It's us getting together, which doesn't happen a lot and has never happened in front of other people since 2004, when we stopped [filming Friends]."

Perry also took to Twitter back in November to announce that the Friends reunion had been rescheduled for the beginning of March.

"Looks like we have a busy year coming up. And that's the way I like it!" he wrote.

By George Costantino
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Anthony Mackie and Damson Idris explain why previous roles didn't influence their 'Outside the Wire' characters

Netflix(NEW YORK) -- Anthony Mackie brought more than his superhero experience when playing Captain Leo, a super powered android, in the new Netflix sci-fi thriller Outside the Wire.

Along with co-star Damson Idris, who plays drone pilot Lt. Thomas Harp, the two developed a natural chemistry that allowed Mackie to ad-lib certain lines like, "I can do this all day" -- a very direct tease to another Captain role in a forthcoming project. 

"That was me," Mackie laughs, confirming to ABC Audio that he intentionally added the infamous Captain America phrase. "Once Damson and I got on set, the script evolved massively just because of our relationship and because of our personality. And the two of us being together."

While Mackie's inserted line serves as a quick nod to his past work, the actor assures fans that Captain Leo is nothing like his Marvel character Sam Wilson/Falcon.

"With this character and with all the other physical characters I've played, the only thing they have in common is the physicality of the role," he explains. "The way they look at the world... around them is vastly different. Sam would never be able to do those things or look at the world the way Leo does in this movie. So, it's just a completely different character reacting to the world around him in a completely different way."

Mackie's co-star Idris agrees, noting that, with his character of Harp, there wasn't many connections to his Snowfall character of Franklin Saint, a Los Angeles drug dealer.

"Everything was from a beginning stage," Idris says. "To go from a crack cocaine dealer to a drone pilot is a big shift. So it was just about reading and understanding the mind state of someone who has that job."  

Outside the Wire is now available on Netflix.

By Candice Williams
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Macaulay Culkin joins petition to edit Donald Trump out of 'Home Alone 2'

Erik Voake/Getty Images for Adult Swim(LOS ANGELES) -- Fans aren't the only ones who are on board for editing President Donald Trump out of Home Alone 2, so is the movie's star Macaulay Culkin.

It all started when a fan of the 1992 holiday classic put the idea forward on Sunday, tweeting, "Petition to digitally replace trump in ‘home alone 2’ with 40-year-old macaulay culkin." 

Culkin replied to the notion on Wednesday with a simple, "Sold."

The former child star portrayed Kevin McAllister in the beloved Christmas film, which featured a brief cameo by Trump. In the clip, Kevin finds himself in New York's Plaza Hotel where he stops a stranger -- aka Trump -- and asks where the lobby is. "Down the hall and to the left," Trump answers before walking away. 

The call to clip this section of the movie comes after the riots at the U.S. Capitol that occurred on January 6. However, it seems the scene had already been cut out years prior by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). The day after Christmas in December 2019 many fans took to Twitter to express their thoughts on Trump's absence from the film. 

"As is often the case with feature films adapted for television, Home Alone 2 was edited for time. The scene with Donald Trump was one of several that were cut from the movie as none of them were integral to the plot," the CBC said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. "These edits were done in 2014 when we first acquired the film and before Mr. Trump was elected President."

By Danielle Long
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

'WandaVision' debuts today on Disney+

Marvel Studios/Disney (LOS ANGELES) -- The Marvel Cinematic Universe makes its official first foray to the small screen today with the debut of WandaVision. The series stars big screen MCU heroes Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch, played by Elizabeth Olsen, and her onscreen android love interest Vision, played by Paul Bettany, and drops them into classic sitcom settings a la the Dick Van Dyke Show, Betwitched, and The Brady Bunch

However, there's something darker afoot to explain why the pair find themselves in the suburban TV bliss that only American TV could create. 

Bettany tells ABC News, "Two super powered beings have been dropped into a idyllic black and white 1950s...sitcom...until Vision begins to think, 'It's got to be something wrong here.'"

There is indeed, but Marvel Studios is playing those twists very close to the vest.

Bettany adds, "My hope for the show is that it's going to be incredibly satisfying for...dyed-in-the-wool Marvel fans, because they're going to get to see the Marvel universe in a whole new light."

For her part, Olsen tells ABC News that even hardcore fans will be surprised. "I think the DNA through and through in our show is 100% Marvel. I believe the way we are unraveling a story about these two characters is completely unique, and unlike what we're used to."

For Olsen, who like Bettany shows off some solid comic chops in the show, she says she adored the sets as the couple finds themselves hurtling from decade to decade. "I mean, I had more wigs in this one show than I have had in all of my Marvel movies combined," she laughs. "It was the attention to detail in all Marvel movies is just pretty spectacular." 

Disney is the parent company of ABC News.

By Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Joanne Rogers, widow of Mister Rogers, dies at 92

Jeff Swensen/Getty Images for "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood" Pittsburgh Special Screening(LOS ANGELES) -- Joanne Byrd Rogers, the beloved wife of the late TV personality Fred Rogers, has died at 92.

Fred Rogers Productions delivered the heartbreaking news of Joanne’s passing in a social media post Thursday.

“Fred Rogers Production is deeply saddened by the passing of Joanne Rogers,” the organization shared on Facebook and Twitter. “Joanne was a brilliant and accomplished musician, a wonderful advocate for the arts, and a dear friend to everyone in our organization.”

“We extend our heartfelt condolences to Joanne’s family and the thousands of people who had the privilege of knowing and loving her,” it added.

For 50 years, Joanne was married to Fred Rogers, the iconic TV personality behind the popular children's TV show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood from 1968 to 2001.

The couple, who married in 1952, met at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida, where Joanne was studying music on a scholarship and Fred had transferred to from Dartmouth College. The two bonded over their love of music.

“Music meant a lot to both of us,” she said during an interview with TEDxPittsburghWomen in 2019. “We had that in common and we talked often of, ‘How do people live without music?’”

After her husband lost his battle to stomach cancer at 74 in 2003, Joanne continued to keep his legacy alive by sharing his messages of kindness and by serving as the honorary chair of the advisory council for the Fred M. Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media.

Joanne was also the chair emerita of the board of directors of Fred Rogers Productions, which was founded by her husband in 1971 and was aimed to create media for children. It was initially founded as Family Communications, Inc.

By Megan Stone
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

'Saved by the Bell' star Dustin Diamond has Stage 4 cancer

Noel Vasquez/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Dustin Diamond, best-known for playing lovable nerd Samuel "Screech" Powers on the 1990s TV series Saved by the Bell, has received a Stage 4 cancer diagnosis, his rep tells Entertainment Weekly.

The 44-year-old actor, who was hospitalized in Florida over the weekend, will remain there "for awhile" as he undergoes tests and will release a statement after a formal diagnosis has been made, according to the rep.

"He's undergoing chemo so he will be there at least another week and then we will figure out when he gets to come home," the rep continues.  "By next week, we'll have a much better understanding of the severity of his condition and what treatments he will need so that he's comfortable."

Diamond is feeling "fine" today though he was not doing so great when he was admitted to the hospital, adds the rep.  "He was fading in and out, feeling sleepy and tired.  On top of all this he also has shingles, so he's been in a lot of pain."

Another rep for the actor tells EW that Diamond's medical problems began with "a huge lump on his throat."

Diamond played Screech for close to 13 years, from the flagship Saved by the Bell series, through its final incarnation, Saved by the Bell: The New Class.

By George Costantino
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Liam Neeson praises 'The Marksman''s touching immigration story: "It's a film full of heart"

Courtesy of Open Road(NEW YORK) -- Liam Neeson found a project "full of heart" when he signed on to the Robert Lorenz-directed action thriller The Marksman.

In the film, Neeson plays Jim Hanson, an ex-marine turned rancher, who does "have a particular set of skills" -- when it comes to protecting his ranch. Neeson tells ABC Audio that besides the "finely written script," he was drawn to the relevancy of the project. 

"It deals with the border question, which has been in the headlines and newspapers here for the past three or four years," he says. "You know, 495 children unaccounted for, split from their families, which is just appalling."

Neeson explains that in his role as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, he receives "facts and figures and statistics," about border crossings and family separations. The actor says that the film -- which follows his character as he decides to help an immigrant family being hunted by the Mexican cartel -- was an opportunity to share another perspective of an important story.  

"To get the chance to tell a story with that as the basis -- illegal border crossings -- I just thought it was a fine script," Neeson says.  "And yes, it's a kind of modern-day Western. Yes, it's a kind of a road movie. But it's a film full of heart."

The Marksman, also starring Katheryn Winnick, Jacob Perez, and Juan Pablo Raba, is available in select theaters on Friday.

By Candice Williams
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Tyler Perry to receive Oscar for his humanitarian efforts

Steve Iervolino/ABC News(LOS ANGELES) -- The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) announced Thursday that its Board of Governors voted to present the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award to actor, filmmaker, writer, producer, and philanthropist Tyler Perry in recognition of his charity efforts. 

The Board of Governors also announced that the Motion Picture & Television Fund (MPTF) will also be so honored this year.

"There has been such widespread generosity in our industry that limiting the Hersholt Humanitarian Award to one recipient, this year in particular, was impossible. So, we are breaking with tradition and giving two awards to honor that spirit,” said Academy President David Rubin in a statement. 

He declared, "Tyler’s cultural influence extends far beyond his work as a filmmaker," adding, "He has quietly and steadily focused on humanitarian and social justice causes from the beginning of his career, caring for people who are most often ignored."

Perry's 330-acre studio in Atlanta employs hundreds and was one of the first production houses to get back to work last July, after adopting rigorous COVID-19 safety protocols.

Regarding the MPTF, Rubin declared it "has gone above and beyond to help our community. The sheer number of individuals and families -- from every corner of our industry’s workforce -- aided during the pandemic and over the last 100 years is nothing short of extraordinary."

The Oscar statuettes will be presented at the 93rd Academy Awards telecast, which airs live on ABC and broadcast outlets worldwide on Sunday, April 25, 2021.

By Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

'C.S.I.' vet Gary Dourdan talks training to be a one-man army in 'Redemption Day'

Saban Films(LOS ANGELES) -- In his new film Redemption Day, former C.S.I. star Gary Dourdan plays a U.S. Special Forces vet suffering from PTSD, who gets back into the action after his wife is kidnapped by terrorists. 

Dourdan's super-fit in the film and while he was already familiar with firearms, he tells ABC Audio how he prepared to accurately play the character before the cameras rolled in Morocco.

"What I do is I go to a...Thai boxing camp in Thailand, and I take as much time as I possibly can to just get my fight training...top-notch, and also get my my cardio there," the laid-back actor explains.

"But while I was there, I also got to get gun training because...they have strict gun laws in Morocco and you just can't be working around firearms unless you're shooting that day," he adds. "So I made sure I got a bunch of training in Thailand."

He laughs, "They're a bit more lax with the heavy artillery in Thailand."

Once Redemption Day started shooting in Morocco, Gary explained he brushed up on-set with the firearms master.

"But everything happened so fast," Dourdan explains, "So before you know it, you got stuff exploding around you and you're doing flips and whatever else is going on and you're diving away from the fragments that are being blown at you."  

Redemption Day, which also stars Ernie Hudson, Andy Garcia, Tenet's Martin Donovan, and Marvels' The Inhumans vet Serinda Swan, is now in theaters and streaming.

By Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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