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Deborah Raffin Dies at 59, Audiobook Entrepreneur and Actress

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Deborah Raffin Divorce

Deborah Raffin passed away on Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center due to leukemia. According to her brother, William, she was diagnosed with having blood cancer about a year ago.

The 59-year-old had starred in a variety of films as well as many appearances in television miniseries. Some would say, however, that her major accomplishment was as an entrepreneur. Her company, Dove Books-on-Tape, ended up being a huge force in regards to the audio book industry.

Deborah Raffin was the daughter of Trudy Marshall, who worked at 20th Century Fox during the 1940s as a contract player and Philip Raffin, a restaurateur and meat broker. Deborah was born on March 13, 1953 in Los Angeles and grew up in Bel-Air and Beverly Hills. She graduated from University High School and was in her second year at L.A. Valley College when a talent agent discovered her in an elevator.

The California-born, blond actress became noticeable during the mid-1970’s as she was known for playing “pretty girl” roles in movies such as “Once Is Not Enough” that was based on the salacious novel by Jacqueline Susann and “Forty Carats” with Liv Ulman. It was during this time in 1974 where she met Viner, a music producer, on a blind date. Four months later, the two would end up getting married.

During the 1980’s, things began to thrive for Raffin as she landed more substantial roles but in television miniseries. In 1980, she starred in “Haywire” and played legendary actress Brooke Hayward and in 1988, played a businesswoman in “Noble House” that was based on James Clavell’s saga of intrigue and love in Hong Kong.

While her acting career was moving along, it was during this time that she and her then-husband, Michael Viner, decided to launch Dove from their Coldwater Canyon home. It started out in their garage as a hobby but matured into a multimillion-dollar business that offered a mix of low-brow-and-high titles. These titles ranged from physicist Stephen W. Hawking’s opus on the cosmos, “A Brief History of Time,” which was the first bestseller for Dove, to Sidney Sheldon’s bestseller “The Naked Face.”

The launch of the Dove Books-On-Tape company was in 1985 and they later would expand in book publishing as well as television and movie production.

The origin of their books-on-tape company actually originated as the result of a backgammon game. During the game, novelist Sidney Sheldon had lost $8,000 to Viner. Viner decided he did not want to take Sheldon’s money but was able to arrange producing two of Sheldon’s bestsellers into audio books.

The name for the company was inspired by one of Raffin’s films, “The Dove,” that was made in 1974 and starred Joseph Bottoms. Others who later performed on audio books for Dove were Ruby Dee, Jason Robards, Roger Moore, William Conrad, Elliott Gould and Burt Reynolds. Unfortunately, the couple was forced to sell Dove in 1997 as a result of financial setbacks.

Though they later decided to launch together New Millennium Entertainment, Viner and Raffin ended up divorcing in 2005; Viner died of cancer in 2009.

Raffin is survived by her brother, William in Malibu, her sister Judy Holston and her daughter Taylor Rose Viner, both of Brentwood. It has been reported that services will be held in Culver City on Sunday, 1 p.m., at Hillside Memorial Park.

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Taika Waititi Confirmed To Direct Thor 4

Thor 4 is a go now that Taika Waititi is reported to take the helm as director again.

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Thor 4 | Source: ABS-CBN News

After the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s glorious end to Phase 3 with Avengers: Infinity War, details have been meek regarding the future of our beloved original Avengers cast. Fortunately, it is recently confirmed that Taika Waititi will be directing and writing the upcoming Thor 4 movie.

For quite a while, since Infinity War, the only thing sure about the original avengers was solely about the upcoming Black Widow movie that is set to be Natasha Romanoff’s (played by Scarlett Johansson) origin story. Additionally, the other sequels continuing are no-brainers like Black Panther 2, Doctor Strange 2, and Guardians of the Galaxy 3.

A fourth standalone Thor film was unheard of since MCU has never done it before with Robert Downey Jr.’s and Chris Evans’ portrayals of their MCU characters with only three standalone films each. Thor 4 will mark the first time any single character has gone that far. Now, with Waititi confirmed to return to the Thor franchise, fans can start looking forward to seeing Thor back in the big screen.

Significantly, Waititi was the director behind 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok, which was a blockbuster hit and saw great success by earning a whopping $854 million worldwide while critics’ raves put the movie at 93 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. The move also rejuvenated what had been a rare declining franchise performer for Marvel.

At the time, the two middling outings for the God of Thunder in Kenneth Branagh’s Thor and Alan Taylor’s Thor: The Dark World did not see the same high earnings as other avengers stand-alone films such as Iron Man and Captain America. It was only during Waititi’s take over of the franchise had it delivered the most well-received installment in Thor‘s solo series. 

Furthermore, Waititi was involved more than directing Thor: Ragnarok and even played a character called Korg, who was Thor‘s companion while being imprisoned in the garbage planet of Sakaar. Fans well-received Korg with his dumb wit and overall humorous character.

It would be a no-brainer to bring Waititi back in the Thor franchise and see Korg again in Thor 4. In other news, the golden hero of Asgaard, Thor, is presumably set to return to the franchise despite him saying in the past that he is done playing the character with the sole exception when there’s “another great script that comes along.”

How the untitled Thor 4 will pan out is still very much in the dark along with most of the movies slated in the MCU’s Phase 4. Particularly, the last time we saw Thor was in Avengers: Endgame, helping his fellow original members of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes defeat Thanos once and for all. The film ended with Thor and the Guardians of the Galaxy setting off on a quest to find Gamora, indicating Hemsworth’s character may appear in James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 

Based on how Spider-Man: Far From Home closed the book on Phase 3, we can expect that Thor 4 will pick up after the events of Endgame. According to Screen Rant, “Thor 4 may be ready to hit theaters by 2021, or 2022 at the latest unless Marvel prioritizes other movies first – which is a possibility. It’s also unclear whether Thor 4 would take place before or after Guardians 3, depending on how soon after the events of Endgame that movie picks up.”

Fans, for now, will have to wait until the weekend during Marvel Studios’ 90-minute panel at the San Diego Comic Convention this weekend.

On the other hand, The Holywood Reporter said that with Waititi’s upcoming involvement in the Thor 4 movie, his work with Warner Brother’s long in development movie, Akira, will have to be pushed back.

Akira is Warner Brother’s supposed to be an adaptation from the Japanese Manga, which Waititi was also set to direct. It was penciled for a May 21, 2021 release with Waititi already on a worldwide search for its casting but got eventually delayed due to script-writing difficulties.

Now that Waititi’s two projects are brushing too close with another in shooting dates, the director is forced to take priority and Thor 4 will take Waititi’s number 1 spot.

Warners’ next step for Akira is unclear. Several sources have said that Warners is keen on keeping Waititi involved for the long-term and hopes to see him pick up Akira after Thor 4, THR says.

For 2019, we can expect Fox Searchlight’s Jojo Rabbit, from the direction of Waititi, which is a satire about a young boy whose mother houses a Jewish girl to hide her from Nazis. Waititi plays the boy’s imaginary friend, Adolf Hitler and is set to release on Oct. 18.

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Disney’s The Little Mermaid: Musical-Focused With Harry Styles As Prince Eric

Harry Styles in tandem with Halle Bailey is a musical waiting to happen on the big screen

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Disney's The Little Mermaid: Musical-Focused With Harry Styles As Prince Eric | Z6Mag

Harry Styles is in early talks of playing the iconic Prince Eric role in the upcoming Disney live-action remake of the 1989 original classic, The Little Mermaid. And people over Twitter could not contain their excitement even though none of this is final as of the moment. Seemingly, Disney is taking on a more musical-centric route for the movie.

Styles is a former member of the world-renowned band One Direction who disbanded a couple of years back to their fans’ dismay; but all five members of which struck out to have solo singing careers.

Zayn Malik, who is another of Styles’ former band member, performed the latest rendition to Aladin 2019’s A Whole New World along with Zhavia.

Quite interestingly for Styles, however, is that he also ventured into the realm of acting with his debut in Dunkirk, Christopher Nolan’s World War II drama that grossed over $526 million worldwide and earned several Oscars awards.

The budding actor had been rumored to have been looking for a new acting bit for quite some time now after his success in Dunkirk and even auditioned for the lead in Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis biopic. That part went to Austin Butler earlier this week.

Nevertheless, the British singer and actor have captivated his fans through his talented singing career and charismatic acting on the big screen (all on top of his prince charming good looks) that quickly convinced people on Twitter that he would be an excellent Prince Eric.

LMFAO ok if harry styles is cast in a live action of the little mermaid I apologize to everyone in the theater who’s going to have to hear me groan every five minutes muttering “he’s so hot”

— brandy (@brandaliine) July 16, 2019

GIVE HARRY STYLES THAT DAMN ROLE I DESERVE TO SEE THAT

— rabia (@sincerelyrabia) July 16, 2019

In contrast, in the 1989 original animated movie, Prince Eric voiced then by Christopher Daniel Barnes, didn’t have any musical moments. Prince Eric was the man Ariel decided to fall love in first sight with after saving him from drowning.

Furthermore, he was simply Ariel’s prince charming who she deliberately bargained her excellent voice and tale with Ursula in exchange for legs to meet and spend time. However, the prince does make a key role in defeating Ursula in the end.

Related: Will Melissa McCarthy Play Ursula In ‘The Little Mermaid’ Live Re-Make?

Styles’ imminent casting for the role says otherwise for how Prince Eric will be seen in the upcoming live-action remake. Primarily, Disney has already announced its cast for Ariel with Halle Bailey, who’s a protege of Beyoncé Knowles-Carter as a member of R&B duo Chloe x Halle.

In other words, Disney is seemingly taking a more musical-focused direction with The Little Mermaid soon. Add that to the fact that Disney’s favorite musical genius will again lead the musical scores in The Little Mermaid, Alan Menken, who has produced some of the classics such as Be Our GuestBelle from Beauty and the Beast (1991), A Whole New World, and Friend Like Me from Aladdin (1992).

Recently, Menken collaborated on the remakes live-action songs. Reportedly, he will also give new twists with his songs for The Little Mermaid live-action movie such as Oscar-winning Under the SeaPart of Your World, and Kiss the Girl.

Also, helping Menken with the songs (and probably new songs) is Lin-Manuel Miranda and La La Land producer Marc Platt.

There is a significant possibility that Prince Eric finally gets to sing in the live remake version and who knows, Menken might probably make new songs to suit the singing Prince Eric-Ariel tandem.

Can’t wait to hear the soundtrack for #TheLittleMermaid if @Harry_Styles styles is casted as Prince Eric and confirmed Ariel @HalleBailey it’s gonna be amazing pic.twitter.com/eqLp1l9XKk

— princess 👑💋 (@princesspucker) July 16, 2019

I’m personally not a fan of the Disney remakes but the thought of seeing halle bailey and harry styles together as ariel and eric makes me so fucking excited 

— Madisen (@frenchietoth) July 16, 2019

Rob Marshall will be taking the helm of the live-action movie as the director. The director is not new to working with Walt Disney Studios movies as he also directed Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and Into the Woods. Meanwhile, David Magee wrote the latest script for the reboot after Jane Goldman.

The Little Mermaid live-action movie follows after Disney’s latest move with other classics such as the recently-released AladdinBeauty and the Beast, Dumbo, and most recently, The Lion King which stars Donald Glover as Simba and Beyoncé as Nala.

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A ‘Jack Reacher’ Series Is Coming To Amazon Prime

News Alert: Tom Cruise will not be Jack Reacher.

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Photo: John Finkelstein | Pexels | Free to use license

Amazon Prime Video is investing in another best-selling novel adaptation. The streaming giant received the rights to the famous Jack Reacher book series after competitive bidding.

Nick Santora of the Scorpion TV series fame will be joining in adapting the novels to a TV series format. Santora will be the showrunner and will be joined by Child, Don Granger, and Christopher McQuarrie as its executive producers.

The novels written by Lee Child has been popular since the late 1990s. Lee Child is a pseudonym created by James Dover Grant, a British author.

The Jack Reacher book series is about a former major in the United States Army who takes odd jobs and offers investigative services. The book series follows Reacher in parts of America and Europe where his adventures and investigations take place. The first novel was the Killing Floor, which debuted last March 1997. The latest book was released in November 2018 titled Past Tense.

Amazon Studios will be collaborating with Skydance Television and Paramount Television. Both production companies have experience in producing Jack Reacher series with two films released in 2012 and 2016.

Talks of moving the adaptation to a streaming service have been shared by Child, himself, since last year. Talking about the future of the Jack Reacher film franchise, Child said, “So what I’ve decided to do is – there won’t be any more movies with Tom Cruise. Instead, we’re going to take it to Netflix or something like that.”

The novel’s first video-format adaptation was made in 2012 starring Tom Cruise under the title Jack Reacher. The movie’s plot was based on Child’s “One Shot” off of the book series. The film was successful with a gross earning of $5.1 million on its opening day in the US and Canada. Cruise acted alongside Rosamund Pike and Werner Herzog with McQuarrie both directing and writing the screenplay.

In 2016, another stand-alone film was released under the title Jack Reacher: Never Go Back. The story follows Reacher as he rescues his friend, Major Susan Turner, from being wrongly accused of treason. Colbie Smulders joined Cruise as Major Turner after her success in Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Paramount Pictures and Skydance Media produced both films.

Cruise-less Jack Reacher

Though no cast has been shared, one question is will Cruise reprise his role as Reacher in the Amazon-led series?

Despite the film series’ success, fans have criticized the films for casting Cruise as Jack Reacher. In the novels, Reacher’s height is six feet and five inches; which is a considerable discrepancy from Cruise’s height of five feet and seven inches.

Fans of the novels did not think that Cruise was towering enough to embody the buff ex-military man that was Reacher. In 2018, Child finally admitted that Cruise might be too short.

“The idea is that when Reacher walks into a room, you’re all a little nervous just for that first minute. And Cruise, for all his talent, didn’t have that physicality,” Child shared.

Lee Child also called on the fans to share their idea of who could portray the lead of the famous novel series. He said, “And I want all those readers who were upset about Tom Cruise to help me out – participate in choosing the right actor for the TV series. We’re rebooting and starting over, and we’re going to try and find the perfect guy.”

Though the series is moving on from Cruise, Child has acknowledged Cruise’s talent in portraying the titular character, and the ease of working with him. “I really enjoyed working with Cruise. He’s a really, really nice guy. We had a lot of fun,” the world-famous novelist recalls.

Other Amazon Novel-to-Series Adaptations

Amazon is continuously investing in the Novel-to-Series type of adaptation.

Last May, the streaming giant released Good Omens, an adaptation of the novel of the same title written by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. The miniseries gained praise from fans, who clamored for a sequel.

Amazon also adapted Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch novels titled Bosch. It has been the platform’s longest-running original TV series.

Another big hit that Amazon worked on is the Jack Ryan series starring John Krasinski. The series is based on Tom Clancy’s novels featuring the titular character, a former US Marine and stockbroker who occasionally works for the CIA. The series is praised for its action scenes and likable cast.

Fans speculate that with the addition of Jack Reacher into the Amazon video platform, a collaboration between Reacher and Ryan may be feasible in the future.

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