Big Drama on Big Little Lies

-Indiewire just published a bomb of an article to lead us into the weekend. According to their sources, HBO and David E. Kelley took the show away from Season 2 director Andrea Arnold (who was told she had free creative reign) without warning and got executive producer (and Season 1 director) Jean-Marc Vallée to reshape her footage and do reshoots to align it with his Season 1 style. The optics on this are BADDDD. As the article states: “A show dominated by some of the most powerful actresses in Hollywood hired a fiercely independent woman director – who was now being forced to watch from the director’s chair as scenes were shot in the style of her male predecessor.” Arnold is an Oscar, BAFTA and three-time Cannes jury-winning director and it feels like HBO used her auteur cred for publicity, only to turn around and say “but let’s make sure men decide the final product.” Diversity and inclusion doesn’t just mean hiring token new people; you need to allow them to succeed. Otherwise, it’s just hollow, performative BS.

-This goes a long way to explaining why, after the first few episodes where we were all wrapped up in the “OMG it’s Meryl” buzz, this season has felt really disjointed and off. Last week’s episode was especially messy. I watched that montage from the last 5 minutes twice and still felt like I didn’t get it. There are only two episodes left and really, what’s this season *about*?

Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman, who publicly supported Arnold’s vision, are exec-producers on the show — which is leading to lots of questions about if they knew what was happening and if they were overruled.

-Anyway, I saw Arnold present her sprawling (and very weird) American Honey at TIFF a few years back and despite its 3 hour runtime and the Shia LeBeouf of it all, I was totally charmed. This scene of Shia dancing to Rihanna in a Kmart to impress a girl remains one of my fave meet-cutes.

-I’m not really sure what type of movie Gunpowder Milkshake is going to be, but judging by their bts videos, no one has ever had more fun making a film than Michelle Yeoh, Angela Bassett, Carla Gugino, Lena Headey, and Karen Gillan.

-How To Get Away with Murder is ending this season – -which means Viola Davis is free  of it!

Sophie Turner just ended the #BottlecapChallenge.

Ed Sheeran just confirmed that he’s a married man. In case you were wondering.

-This is a really fun article about how much effort it took to recreate an 80s mall for this season of Stranger Things.

-I wasn’t online yesterday so I missed Jason Momoa getting ridiculed for his “dad bod.” Dads, if this is how you look, feel free to slide into my DMs.

R. Kelly was arrested on federal sex charges Thursday night nearly five months after he was released on bail.

Kumail Nanjiani had to cancel his appearance on last night’s Conan through no fault of his own (he was stuck filming Silicon Valley) with a 1/2 hour to go before showtime, so Conan ended up interviewing his assistant — who was a delight!

Jeremy Renner has released a video for his new song and it’s as bad as you assumed it would be.

-Buckingham Palace confirmed that Meghan and Harry will be on the carpet for the Lion King premiere on Sunday. Beyonce is also attending. The photo possibilities!!

-The more I see from the Beverly Hills: 90210 revival, the more I don’t really understand — but I’m still here for it.

Milla Jovovich menaces Emma Roberts in Paradise Hills trailer.

Are Ashley Benson and Cara Delevingne Engaged?

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Ashley Benson and Cara Delevingne have been spotted wearing what looks like engagement rings.

-People are up in arms because Meghan Markle wore jeans to Wimbledon. Other (smarter) people are starting to notice that a Meghan scandal gets trotted out whenever another royal family member needs to deflect.

-Millennials trying to show their Gen Z kids pop culture icons and the kids not knowing Buffy is tragic. What are they teaching in history class these days?!

-I really appreciate the Jam Session podcast’s deep dive into whether or not this is proof that Jake Gyllenhaal is running an Instagram account for his cat.

-Every TV critic I follow is livid that Hulu’s publicity team sent them a “don’t reveal this Veronica Mars spoiler in your review” email — and then proceeded to spoil the finale before many got to watch it.

Michelle Williams has perfected the “no comment” when asked about Beyonce.

-Speaking of Bey, there were a whole lotta lewks on the Lion King red carpet last night.

-Is Jaden Smith slowly transforming into the best Smith? He talks to Teen Vogue about his “solution-based activism,” which includes installing a water-filtration system in Flint, Michigan (after sending cases of his JUST Water bottles for a time), that can clean up to 10 gallons of water at once for families, takes about 60 seconds and is free for public use.

-Does the world need a live-action Dora movie? Cause it’s getting on anyway!

Ariana Grande Recalls “Frivolous and Fun” Relationship with Pete Davidson

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-In her new Vogue cover story, Ariana Grande reflects on her short-lived relationship with Pete Davidson. “My friends were like, ‘Come [to New York]! We’re gonna have a fun summer.’ And then I met Pete, and it was an amazing distraction. It was frivolous and fun and insane and highly unrealistic, and I loved him, and I didn’t know him.” She also released a new video.

-In her Cosmopolitan cover storyMariah Carey talks about getting married to music executive Tommy Mottola when she was 23 and he was 44. “You might want to picture a child bride. There was a conscious effort to keep me as this all-American, whatever that means, girl. It was very controlled. There was no ­freedom for me as a human being. It was almost like being a prisoner.”

Serena Williams‘ cheeky Harper’s Bazaar cover photo is amazing – and unretouched!

-The September edition of Vogue is a very big deal — and Meghan Markle is set to guest edit the British version.

Katherine McPhee and David Foster‘s wedding got a Vogue spread. Huh. I would have bet on People magazine.

Aziz Ansari’s Netflix special starts and ends with reflections on getting caught up in the #MeToo movement — but in between he seems to pretend it never happened.

Evan Rachel Wood thinks Chief Hopper on Stranger Things is a problematic TV love interest. I mean, sure he was really grumpy this last season, but out of all the morally questionable dudes on TV right now, this seems like a strange target.

-I love this clip of Winona Ryder refusing to listen to David Harbour make fun of his size.

Kristen Bell says she will keep making Veronica Mars as long as they let her. And we’ll keep watching it!

-It took a while, but Nicki Minaj eventually decided to cancel her concert in Saudi Arabia following backlash.

Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul debuted their tequila collab and everyone’s like “cool but what about Breaking Bad tho?”

-Netflix just took another big (but expected) hit: Friends is officially leaving Netflix and moving to WarnerMedia’s streaming service — the terribly named HBO Max. As the TV critic for the New York Times tweeted: “The fact that the biggest story in TV over the next year will be a competition among the decades-old sitcom reruns on streaming TV services really sums up something about pop culture right now.”

-I’m pretty over the Disney remakes, but good on them for not making the new Mulan movie a shot-for-shot remake, and for dropping the original’s problematic characters and songs.