Henry Cavill is all-in on his Netflix fantasy series "The Witcher," but he says the "door hasn't closed"on a return as Superman in the DC cinematic universe.
Cavill last played the superhero in 2017's "Justice League" and it's unclear whether any upcoming movies will feature the character. There are several films based on DC superheroes in the works, including sequels to "Wonder Woman" and "Aquaman."
Cavill dons a long white wig to play monster hunter Geralt of Rivia in "The Witcher," an ambitious eight-episode adaptation of Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski's books. With intense magic, scheming political factions and epic battles, it's targeting the audiences that made "Game of Thrones" a worldwide phenomenon.
"I live in the fantasy genre anyway, that's my hobby. And so for me, it was always — it was always obvious. It was like yes, of course, these shows can be popular," Cavill said. "It was always a target. I always wanted to bring things like this to to the screen in one way, shape or form."
The show premieres on Netflix on Dec. 20, and production begins early next year on a second season.
The series features Cavill's Geralt engaging in intricately choreographed swordplay, relaxing in a bath and talking to his horse — all recognizable moments for fans of the acclaimed hit 2015 role-playing game "The Witcher 3." Cavill says his horse chats recalled his real-life dialogue with his American Akita dog Kal, who shows up regularly on his Instagram feed.
"That's exactly what I was channeling when I was interacting with Roach (the horse), it was 100 percent the relationship Kal and I have," he said. "Geralt may be a little harder. Generally, he's been living in a harsher world and hated by a lot of people for longer than I have."
Cavill was a fan of "The Witcher 3" before he landed the series. He says he imagined himself in the role while playing the game, which runs for dozens of hours.
"What CD Projekt Red did with the game was extraordinary," he said of the company that created the game series. "And so all the work is kind of done for you. It's all visualized in a spectacular world."
He added: "Every time I played the games, all I thought was how can I recreate this in a certain way? And where would it be possible? How is it possible? Is there anywhere in the world that looks like this?"
Billie Eilish will be the first recipient of the Apple Music Award for global artist of the year, one of three honors for the pop singer.
Apple announced Monday that Eilish's "When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?" has been named album of the year. Eilish and her brother Finneas will also receive songwriter of the year honors.
Eilish will perform a live-streamed concert from the Steve Jobs Theater at Apple's campus in Cupertino, California, beginning at 6:30 p.m. PST on Wednesday.
Lizzo has been named the breakthrough artist of the year.
Lil Nas X's "Old Town Road" is the company's pick for song of the year.
The company says its album and song of the year honors are determined by streams on its Apple Music service. Other awards are determined by Apple Music's editorial team.
Noah Baumbach's "Marriage Story" was the resounding winner at the IFP Gotham Awards, taking four awards including best feature at the annual New York awards-season kickoff.
By the end of the night on Monday, Baumbach, having long ago exhausted his one prepared speech, stood at the podium exhorting cast members Adam Driver and Laura Dern to lend him help. Having already given their own speeches — Driver for best actor, Dern as a tribute honoree — they demurred, content to watch Baumbach squirm again while he improvised a few remarks.
Baumbach turned, ultimately, to his actors — "My special effect, my everything is the cast," he said — and to Netflix for what he called its "unconditional" support of his film, a portrait of divorce starring Driver and Scarlett Johansson. Earlier, Baumbach thanked Netflix, too, for saving the Manhattan single-screen Paris Theatre, which the streaming company purchased last week.
Praise for Netflix and its chief content creative officer Ted Sarandos, who was also in attendance, was a common refrain throughout the evening. The streaming service, which filled up numerous tables at the banquet at Cipriani's Wall Street in downtown Manhattan, also celebrated wins for Ava DuVernay's Central Park Five series "When They See Us," (DuVernay was additionally singled out for tribute) and the documentary "American Factory."
The Gothams, now in their 29th year, are the premier New York gala for independent film, a kind of earlier East Coast corollary to Los Angeles' Independent Film Spirit Awards in February. Put on by the nonprofit Independent Film Project with nominees selected by committees, Gotham winners can diverge from seasonal favorites. Last year, Chloe Zhao's lyrical western "The Rider" took best feature.
But a recent stretch of Gotham winners went on to land best picture at the Academy Awards, including Barry Jenkins' "Moonlight," Tom McCarthy's "Spotlight" and Alejandro Inarritu's "Birdman."
And "Marriage Story," which begins streaming Friday after playing for several weeks in theaters, seems sure to continue a long march through awards season. Acclaim has been heaped on its leads and its ensemble, and it's been celebrated as a crowning achievement for the 50-year-old Baumbach.
While not a surprise to others, the most shocked winner of the evening was easily Awkwafina, who took best actress for her performance in Lulu Wang's family drama "The Farewell."
"Oh my god. I never won anything. I can't even win an argument in the Instagram comments," said Awkwafina.
A handful of movies up for best feature — "Uncut Gems" with Adam Sandler, "Hustlers" with Jennifer Lopez — went home emptyhanded. Trey Edward Schultz' ambitious family melodrama "Waves," also up for best feature, scored an award for Taylor Russell as breakthrough actor.
The Gotham Awards liberally sprinkle in tributes throughout the ceremony. This year's honorees included Dern, DuVernay, Sam Rockwell, FilmNation chief executive Glen Basner and Jason DaSilva, a filmmaker and disability rights activist. DaSilva's Emmy-winning documentary "When I Walk" chronicles his own experience with multiple sclerosis.
DuVernay shared her tips for directing, among them: treat actors and crew the same, don't be afraid to say "I don't know" and change your socks at lunchtime.
Both Baumbach and Greta Gerwig presented Dern with her award, donning what they called "Laura Dern sweaters" for the occasion. The two filmmakers, aside from living together as a couple with a son, share Dern in their latest movies. In "Marriage Story," Dern plays a ruthless divorce attorney. In Gerwig's "Little Women" (an upcoming Sony Pictures release ineligible for the Gothams), she plays Louisa May Alcott's benevolent matriarch Marmee.
Gerwig and Baumbach swapped their speeches, which resulted in Baumbach declaring that he loved Dern "even more than Leonardo DiCaprio, who I sincerely believed I would someday marry."
The Gothams reliably serve as pep rallies for independent cinema and those that toil in the ever-threatened lower-budgeted realm of moviemaking. Presenter Natasha Lyonne, whose Netflix series "Russian Doll" was nominated for best breakthrough series in episodes less than 40 minutes, evoked that sense of indie pride with more than a touch of sarcasm.
"If there's one thing everyone in the room can agree on," Lyonne said while presenting, "it's that we can never have enough Batman movies."
Riley Wolfe gets his kicks executing spectacular robberies that no one else would even contemplate. His victims are always the super-rich, whom he despises as "smug, do-nothing, self-loving leeches."
This anti-hero makes his debut in "Just Watch Me," a supremely entertaining new thriller by Jeff Lindsay that promises to be the first of a series.
The plot combines the intricacies of caper movies such as "The Thomas Crown Affair" and "To Catch a Thief" with the creepy sensibility of the hit TV show "Dexter." The latter is no surprise since the show was inspired by Lindsay's eight novels featuring Dexter Morgan, a serial killer who preyed only upon other serial killers. Unlike Dexter, Wolfe takes no pleasure in murder, but he displays no qualms about dispassionately dispatching anyone who gets in his way.
The opening of the story finds Wolfe taking no satisfaction from his spectacular heist of a 12-ton sculpture, swiped in broad daylight at its dedication ceremony. For him, the spectacular has become ordinary, and it bores him. He craves a caper that is "beyond impossible, something ridiculous, unthinkable."
He finds it when the government in Tehran, hoping to thaw its relations with the United States, lends the Iranian crown jewels to a New York City museum. There, the multi-billion-dollar treasure is guarded by the latest in high-tech security systems and by both American-trained mercenaries and a "trigger-happy" contingent of Iranian Revolutionary Guards.
Meanwhile, Wolfe is being tracked by Frank Delgado, a clever FBI agent who has been after him for years, always a step or two behind. Now, the agent has decided that the only way to catch Wolfe is to uncover his weakness — one that must have its roots in Wolfe's upbringing.
So Delgado crisscrosses the eastern half of the United States, digging into Wolfe's long-buried family history. Readers who know how caper stories usually work will have little doubt who is going to win this cat-and-mouse game, but the agent's fine detective work succeeds in unearthing the influences that turned Wolfe into the man he has become.
"Just Watch Me," then, is both an exciting crime story and a revealing exploration of the psychology of a master criminal. The writing is tight and vivid, the characters are convincingly portrayed and the action is nonstop.
The concrete bench in a small northern Cincinnati suburb depicts a guitar, with the message "My Generation" just below it.
In the background are plaques with the faces of three teenagers, Jackie Eckerle, Karen Morrison and Stephan Preston, frozen in time 40 years ago. Bricks in the plaza around the bench carry eight other names.
All 11 were killed in a frantic stampede of people trying to get into the British rock band The Who's concert on Dec. 3, 1979, at Cincinnati's Riverfront Coliseum. The city of Finneytown suffered disproportionately, and its three losses included the two youngest victims, 15-year-olds Eckerle and Morrison. Their schoolmates say well over 100 other people from Finneytown were there.
"Everyone's connected to it, everywhere you go around here," said Fred Wittenbaum, who was a freshman at Finneytown High School then but did not attend the concert. "Either they went to the concert, or they had a friend or a family member who was there."
Since then, the community of around 12,000 people, many living in ranch-style homes built years before the concert, has been inextricably linked with The Who, which was already well on the way to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with such hits as "Won't Get Fooled Again," "Can't Explain," and "My Generation," an anthem of rebellious youth.
Most of the blame afterward focused on the first-come, first-served arrangement for seating that saw thousands of fans line up for hours ready to charge toward the coveted floor spots, and on confusion over and lack of preparation for when the doors were opening. Besides those trampled in the stampede, some two dozen other fans were injured.
Frontman Roger Daltrey and guitarist Pete Townshend, the last survivors of the original band, say they have struggled emotionally over the years with the concert carnage, which they didn't know about until their show was ending.
"Because there's always a certain amount, 'If I hadn't been doing this, it wouldn't have happened,' you know," Daltrey said during an unpublicized visit last year to the Finneytown memorial site. "That's just human nature. That's what we carry with us."
"It took a long time for us to get a sense that this was not just about the 11 kids, it was about the community," Townshend told The Associated Press in a recent interview in New York.
The sad stories and traumatic memories among Finneytown alums evolved three decades later into a plan to memorialize their friends.
John Hutchins was playing an acoustic set at a nearby venue in December 2009 and dedicated songs such as The Who's "Love Ain't For Keeping" to those who died at the concert. Hutchins was at The Who concert; he skipped school that day, got to the coliseum nearly seven hours early to be among the first in line, and got close enough to the stage to see The Who's song list.
Fellow Finneytown High alum Steve Bentz, who wasn't at the concert, approached Hutchins after his performance with a thought, that "we should do something." The thought soon grew into the memorial bench.
They joined with Wittenbaum and Walt Medlock — who remembers being pressed tightly against Preston before making the possibly life-saving decision to work his way out of the crowd — to create the P.E.M. scholarship fund, using the last-name initials of their three schoolmates.
"We wanted to take what was a terrible tragedy and try and turn it into something that could be looked at as good," Wittenbaum explained. "We wanted to pay it forward."
Launched in 2010, the scholarships reward three Finneytown students with $5,000 each for the study of music or any other arts. There have awarded 27 so far.
Auctions and raffles at an annual December show featuring music by alumni at the school's performing arts center help pay for the scholarships. The Who became involved in the third year, making an exclusive DVD for showing at that year's benefit with comments from the band about the tragedy and new concert footage.
More aid from the band followed. Last year, Wittenbaum drove Daltrey from a private airstrip near Dayton to view the Finneytown memorials that include artwork, personal items and photos of the three in a Who-donated display case. Daltrey also met with relatives of those killed and with fans who attended the concert.
"It's been a really cathartic process for everybody," Wittenbaum said.
Daltrey-autographed books, albums, guitars and other items have been sold online, including on the band's official site, to add to the fund. The P.E.M. leaders' next goal is to see Daltrey and Townshend perform in Cincinnati for the first time since the deadly concert. In the AP interview, Townshend said the band plans to return to Cincinnati.
An announcement is expected Tuesday night, after a 40th anniversary documentary featuring interviews with Daltrey and Townshend airs on WCPO-TV in Cincinnati.
Alleson Arnold, 18, among the latest scholarship winners, moved to Finneytown several years ago and soon learned about the pain the community has felt. She said she is "very grateful" for the fund that will help her study fashion and design.
"It's heartbreaking to know that I'm the same age as many of them," she said. "I get to do the things that I want to be doing, but all that was taken away from them."