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January 13, 2021

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Nicole Kidman, Javier Bardem in talks to play Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz in new film

Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem are in talks to play Hollywood couple Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz in a new film.

The Hollywood Reporter confirmed Monday that Kidman, 53, and Bardem, 51, are in negotiations to portray Ball and Arnaz in Being the Ricardos, written and directed by The West Wing creator Aaron Sorkin.

Being the Ricardos is set during one week of production of Ball and Arnaz's beloved show I Love Lucy. The couple face challenges that could end their careers and their marriage.

Variety said Sorkin will direct the film for Amazon Studios and Escape Artists. Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal and Steve Tisch will produce, with Jenna Block, David Bloomfield, Stuart Besser, Lucie Arnaz, Desi Arnaz, Jr., and Lauren Lohman as executive producers.

It is unclear when Being the Ricardos will begin production due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kidman recently starred in the HBO series The Undoing and the Netflix film The Prom. She will star in a Hulu adaptation of Nine Little Strangers.

Bardem will star in Denis Villeneuve's Dune and Disney's live-action remake of The Little Mermaid.

Bill Burr defends Boston accent in 'Mandalorian' on 'Tonight Show'

Click MeBill Burr defended his Mandalorian character, Migs Mayfeld, having a Boston accent, while appearing on The Tonight Show.

"'I've never heard a Boston accent in outer space,' is what they say. And I always just go like, 'Oh yeah? What about English?'" Burr told host Jimmy Fallon on Monday.

"Isn't that a little weird? If you went to a galaxy far, far away and you get off and somebody's like, 'Hey, how's it going?' and you totally understand him. What about the fact that Han Solo is talking to a Bigfoot?" he continued before also pointing out how Star Wars character C-3PO has an English accent.

Burr, in addition to appearing in The Mandalorian, also recently starred in Judd Apatow's The King of Staten Island with Pete Davidson.

"Pete Davidson is just a really special dude that I met on the way up and we were always tight. And then that movie just really, totally solidified our friendship. So I ended up, you know, gaining a lifelong friend out of doing that," the comedian said.

Burr also acted as a life coach on The Tonight Show, offering advice to viewers who sent in questions about breaking up and confronting a roommate who doesn't clean their dishes.

"I would just start scraping the food off his plate and put it in his pillow case. But I'd be nice and I'd leave a post-it. I'd say, 'Hey you know, you keep forgetting your food on the plate, so I figured I'd put it in a place where you'd remember it,'" Burr said.

Five music biopics to look forward to

A six-part limited series about Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones is just the latest musical biopic to be announced as studios work to chronicle the lives of various music icons.

Films based on Aretha Franklin, Elvis Presley and more are currently in development or set for release in 2021 and beyond.

Here are five music biopics coming to theaters and your TV.

'Respect' -- Aretha Franklin

Jennifer Hudson stars as the late Aretha Franklin in this biopic from director Liesl Tommy, set to be released on Aug. 13. Respect will follow the rise of Franklin's career from singing in her father's church choir to international superstar. Forest Whitaker, Marlon Wayans, Audra McDonald, Marc Maron, Tituss Burgess, Saycon Sengbloh, Hailey Kilgore, Skye Dakota Turner, Tate Donovan and Mary J. Blige also star.

'Elvis' -- Elvis Presley

Austin Butler takes on the role of late icon Elvis Presley in Elvis, slated to hit theaters in November. Tom Hanks will portray Presley's manager Colonel Tom Parker, with Maggie Gyllenhaal, Olivia DeJonge, Rufus Sewell and Yola also starring. Director Baz Luhrmann penned the script with Craig Pearce. The biopic will cover Presley's career over 20 years and his relationship with Parker.

'I Wanna Dance with Somebody' -- Whitney Houston

Naomi Ackie will play the late Whitney Houston in biopic I Wanna Dance with Somebody, set for a Thanksgiving 2022 release. The film, from Stella Meghie, will showcase Houston's life and career. Houston's catalog including her vocals, will be featured in the film with the backing of the Houston estate. Anthony McCarten (Bohemian Rhapsody) penned the script, with Houston's manager and sister-in-law Pat Houston producing.

'Maestro' -- Leonard Bernstein

Bradley Cooper is producing, co-writing, directing and co-starring in Maestro, a biopic about celebrated composer Leonard Bernstein. Cooper will star as Bernstein in the film, which will begin production this year. Bernstein is behind musical hits such as West Side Story. The film will span 30 years and focus on Bernstein's relationship with his wife, Felicia Montealegre.

Madonna

Madonna will direct a film based on her life, which she is co-writing with Diablo Cody (Juno). Madonna is additionally producing the untitled project along with Amy Pascal (Little Women, Spider-Man). The film does not have a set release window. Madonna said she wants to convey her incredible journey as an artist, musician, dancer and human being.



'Property Brother' Jonathan Scott explores solar power controversy

On the HGTV series Property Brothers, Jonathan Scott renovates people's homes with his twin brother, Drew Scott. His own home renovation project led him to make the documentary, Jonathan Scott's Power Trip, in which he explores controversies surrounding solar energy.

"If something just smells wrong, I'm the person who just won't let it go," Jonathan Scott told UPI in a recent phone interview.

After installing solar panels on the roof of his Las Vegas home in 2015, Jonathan Scott found out that he would not receive credit for powering his own home. The Nevada Public Utility Commission phased out net metering, the process by which homeowners receive a credit for power they generate.

He began filming Power Trip while still in production on Property Brothers, and the building competition series Brother vs Brother. Jonathan Scott said he would conduct interviews for the documentary on his days off from television production.

"It was a passion project and it was a hell of a lot of work," he said.

Drew Scott executive produced Power Trip with him, but agreed that the film should portray Jonathan Scott's individual journey through the energy industry.

The deeper Jonathan Scott delved into research, he learned that there are interests lobbying against solar energy. In Nevada, eliminating net metering allowed NV Energy to be the sole provider of power in the state.

In other states he visited, utility companies are incorporating solar and wind power. However, those utilities still do not want individual homeowners to have their own solar panels.

"They don't want other people to be able to produce their own energy," Jonathan Scott said.

He said he approached the solar energy issue in a similar way as he approaches construction issues on Property Brothers. He calls himself "the construction Columbo," referring to the way Peter Falk questioned suspects. By asking people who initially opposed solar energy to explain themselves, Jonathan Scott said he actually changed some minds.

"You could actually see people's opinions turning and their opinions changing once they heard it coming from themselves," Jonathan Scott said.

He had to take the Columbo approach in every state, as each state has different energy regulations. Power Trip advocates for a more unified energy policy.

"We should have one federal energy policy so that people can understand on a national level how they can embrace clean energy," Jonathan Scott said.

Power Trip is not intended to be solely a pro-solar documentary. The film's ultimate goal is to inform people that they have more choices about power than utility companies afford them.

"People should have the choice to make the decisions that are best for them and for their families," Jonathan Scott said. "Right now, most people don't realize that their choice is being taken away."

The film acknowledges pros and cons of solar energy. Power Trip presents scientific evidence that solar energy is less harmful than coal to the environment and to people exposed to fossil fuels in their community.

However, he said, for many families, installing solar panels is cost prohibitive. If there is net metering in one's state, it can allow some homeowners to recoup their investment in solar panels.

"We need to find a way that it's accessible and affordable to everybody and not allow individual, very, very wealthy corporations to control who has access to it," Jonathan Scott said.

Power Trip also highlights the job opportunities in rooftop solar panels.

"There are more jobs created in rooftop solar than any other type of energy," Jonathan Scott said.

He intended Power Trip to begin a conversation about renewable energy. If viewers want to get involved, they can find more resources on Powertriptruth.com. The website includes more facts about solar power and ways to reach their legislators.

"I want people just to be better informed and feel that they actually do have the ability now to take that next step and be heard," Jonathan Scott said.

The current season of Property Brothers remains in flux due to COVID-19 protocols. Renovations slowed during the pandemic, displacing families from their homes.

Jonathan Scott said construction continued during the pandemic, as it was deemed an essential service. However, renovators operated with smaller crews, and the pandemic affected their supply chain.

"We have almost all of our homeowners back in their homes," Jonathan Scott said. "[There were] severe delays on some projects and that's to be expected."

Filming has not completed on the latest season, and Jonathan Scott said they will not begin new renovation projects until it proves safe to resume construction and television production.

Jonathan Scott's Power Trip is available on DVD, Blu-ray and digital video-on-demand services.