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Neil Gaiman Apologizes After Flouting Travel Warnings During Lockdown – Variety

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British author and screenwriter Neil Gaiman has apologized after being reprimanded by Scottish police for traveling from New Zealand to the Scottish island of Skye — a journey that has rattled residents of the 10,000-strong community who have been trying to self-isolate.

Police Scotland confirmed to Variety that the “American Gods” author had been approached by local officers on Sunday after Gaiman detailed his late April trip from Auckland to the Scottish island — which included two flights and a lengthy drive — in a May 14 blog post. Gaiman wrote of flying “masked and gloved” halfway around the world: “Both flights were surreal, especially the flight to London. Empty airports, mostly empty planes. It reminded me of flying a week after 9/11: everything’s changed.”

Inspector Linda Allan said of Police Scotland’s visit to Gaiman’s Skye residence: “Officers have visited Neil Gaiman and spoken to him about his actions. He has been given suitable advice about essential travel and reminded about the current guidelines in Scotland.”

Early Tuesday, Gaiman published a post apologizing for defying travel warnings. “So. I did something stupid. I’m really sorry. The last blog I wrote, about how I had been here for almost three weeks, turned into news — and not in a good way. ‘Man Flies 12,000 Miles to Defy Lockdown’ sort of news. And I’ve managed to mess things up in Skye, which is the place I love most in the world.

“I want to apologize to everyone on the island for creating such a fuss,” he wrote. “I also want to thank and apologize to the local police, who had better things to do than check up on me. I’m sure I’ve done sillier things in my life, but this is the most foolish thing I’ve done in quite a while.”

Gaiman explained that his home and work life had been “turned upside down” by the coronavirus lockdowns. The writer had been in New Zealand with wife, singer Amanda Palmer, and their young son Ash, after traveling there in March from Australia, where Palmer was touring. Gaiman said he needed “some space” from his partner after a turbulent period.

“I was panicked, more than a little overwhelmed and stuck in New Zealand,” wrote Gaiman, who explained he then sought government advice for foreign nationals online. “I’ve been living in the U.K. since 2017, and all of my upcoming work is here — so ‘you are strongly advised to return now’ looked like (the) most important message. I waited until New Zealand was done with its strict lockdown, and took the first flight out.”

The writer also noted that Skye has had a COVID-19 outbreak at a local care home in the time he has been back on the island. “It’s not set up to handle things like this, and all the local resources are needed to look after the local community,” he said. “So, yes. I made a mistake. Don’t do what I did. Don’t come to the Highlands and Islands unless you have to.”

Scotland has reported just over 2,000 deaths related to coronavirus. Lockdown measures are to be eased only on May 28.

Gaiman struck an overall deal with Amazon Studios in late 2018. The streaming giant premiered his adaptation of “Good Omens” last year. Most recently, he adapted his series “The Sandman” for Netflix — a long-gestating project currently listed as in pre-production.

A film adaptation of his novel “The Graveyard Book” is also in production.


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Why Nicole Avant Made Doc About Her Father – Variety

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When Nicole Avant was growing up in Beverly Hills in the 1970s and ’80s, her father, Clarence Avant, was one of the most connected and successful African American power brokers in the music industry. He launched record labels, owned radio stations and became a key figure in politics and the civil rights movement.

The Avant home was always buzzing with a stream of Hollywood and Washington insiders coming and going. “I knew that he was very powerful because the phone rang constantly and I always heard him fixing something or giving advice,” says Nicole, who made her producing debut with Netflix’s “The Black Godfather,” a documentary about her father. “And then I did see him on ‘Soul Train’ one day, and he was giving an interview with Don Cornelius. …That’s when I thought, ‘Oh, he must be a big deal because he’s on television.’”

That point is driven home by the documentary, which features interviews with Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Jesse Jackson, David Geffen, Jamie Foxx, Sean “Diddy” Combs and the late Bill Withers, whom Avant signed to his Sussex Records while the singer was still working as an aircraft assembler.

Nicole Avant, who is married to Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos, says she had plans to shop the doc around before her husband snapped it up for the streamer. “I actually had this idea in my head since I was a little girl. I really did,” Avant, who served as Obama’s ambassador to the Bahamas, says on this week’s episode of the Variety and iHeart podcast “The Big Ticket.” “I had told Ted, even when I was dating him, there’s this idea I have for this film, and I said to him, ‘I’m going to take it to HBO.’ Once I started getting the interviews and everyone started confirming, Ted said, ‘Do you really have all these people saying yes?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, for sure.’ He said, ‘Let me take a look at it again.’ And then at that point, Ted is a part of the family, and he saw a solid film, and he saw an important film, and he actually wanted to tell the story just as much or even more than I did.”

What do you want people to know about your dad?

I really wanted people to take away that it’s important to have a strong sense of self. It’s important to keep moving forward. It’s important to pay back. It’s important to move the needle. Also, it’s very important to take risks in life. Sometimes you’re going to fail. Sometimes people are going to say no. So what? It’s a part of life. You keep going. You pick yourself back up again.

What did you learn about your dad while making the documentary that you didn’t know already?

I took it for granted how hard his childhood was and how abusive it was — having a stepfather, really beating up my grandmother in front of him and in front of the other children. My dad didn’t really have a childhood, and he took care of seven kids because everyone was working and they were so poor.

How hard was it to hear those stories?

Very hard for me. And it made a lot of sense when everything did fall down for him and everything blew up at one time and we lost everything. I think everything triggered to his childhood again of not having things he didn’t have or anybody to really rely on.

Tell me about a time in which someone really big turned up at the house and you were like, ‘What is this person doing here?’”

The one time I was very star-struck was when Whitney Houston showed up one day and I had just been listening to the “Greatest Love of All.” I’d sing it in the car like I was Whitney Houston. I was floored; I stood at the front door and I thought, “Oh, my God, this is a real celebrity. This is a big deal.”

If you were to make a scripted narrative about your dad, who would play him?

Forest Whitaker could play him because he knows him and he could “get” him actually.

This interview has been edited and condensed. Hear it in its entirety below. You can also listen to “The Big Ticket” at iHeartRadio or wherever you find your favorite podcasts.


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Even Prince William Has To Deal With This Classic Family Dinner Challenge

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There’s no question about it: lockdown has changed our lives and transformed the way we work. And that goes for royals, too. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have adapted, taking their royal duties online, via a number of zoom calls. But not everything has changed… On his latest call, Prince William revealed that even he has to deal with this classic family dinner challenge.

Speaking to representatives of the PEEK Project, a Glasgow-based charity, on May 20, the Duke of Cambridge said the success of his family meal depend very much on “what’s on the table”. Joking with community chef Charlie Farrally, Prince William agreed that dinner time can be very challenging: “If parents put something on that children love, dinner time goes very well,” he said. “But if you put something on the table they don’t want to do, that’s another ball game.”

PEEK Project, Possibilities for Each and Every Kid, have been working throughout COVID-19 to provide balanced, and hot meals for families in need. The Duke of Cambridge praised them for their work and pointed out the immense pressure that parents are under as well.

The PEEK project has been supported in it’s work throughout the pandemic by the National Emergencies Trust Coronavirus Appeal. Were it not for lockdown, the Duke of Cambridge would have been in Scotland this week to meet representatives at the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. Obviously, this couldn’t go ahead face-to-face, but he still spoke to the chefs, volunteers, and the CEO via a video call. “I hope when I find myself up in Glasgow in the near future I can come and see you guys in person and congratulate you,” he added.


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Ozark’s Esai Morales to Replace Nicholas Hoult As ‘Mission: Impossible’ Villain – Find Out Why

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Esai Morales, known for his work in Ozark and How to Get Away with Murder, is joining the cast of Mission: Impossible 7 and Mission: Impossible 8, director Christopher McQuarrie revealed on his Instagram on Thursday (May 21).

However, Deadline is now reporting that Esai, 57, is actually replacing Nicholas Hoult in the movie in the villain role for the films.

The reason why Nicholas is being replaced? The Coronavirus pandemic has delayed production of tons of movies and television shows across the globe. As a result, the “delay put Hoult in conflict with another commitment.”

The film currently has a release date of July 23, 2021, but that could change as many films have had to alter release dates due to the global health crisis.

If you missed it, Nicholas just made a super rare comment about his two-year-old son.


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