“You’re rooting for her”: Aubrey Plaza on her “questionable” character in ‘Emily The Criminal’

Roadside Attractions/Vertical Entertainment

Parks and Rec veteran Aubrey Plaza has been earning raves for her portrayal of the title character in the new thriller she produced, Emily The Criminal

Plaza plays a former art student, crushed by her loans and working a dead-end job in Los Angeles to try to make ends meet in spite of a criminal record.

But when Theo Rossi's Youcef comes into Emily's life with a sketchy way out, she quickly learns how far she's willing to go. 

Despite this, it's easy to find yourself rooting for the character. "I think it's rare to have a female character that's so unapologetic," Plaza explains to ABC Audio.

"And the script and the movie [don't] try to make her likable. She's just, I think ... relatable. I think that what she's going through, I think really kind of touches on something that a lot ... of young people in today's ... society ... feel they're going through, as well."

"She's not from Los Angeles and she's just doing the best she can, and I think that there's just something about that that is likable," Aubrey says.

"The script really tracks her decisions; even though they're questionable, you kind of ... see the little tiny baby steps that she takes. And I think you're just rooting for her because she's just doing the best she can with what she's got. And I think everybody can relate to that."  

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Hulu’s comedy series ‘This Fool’ launches Friday

Hulu

Amid great reviews, Hulu launched its new comedy series This Fool on Friday. Based on the stand-up comedy and early life of comedian Chris Estrada, the show has him playing Julio, a straitlaced 30-year-old living in South Central Los Angeles with his strict mother.

Julio's cousin Luis, played by fellow stand-up Frankie Quiñones, has just gotten out of prison when the show begins, and the pair make for quite an onscreen odd couple.

The show was co-produced by former SNL star Fred Armisen, who explained what made him want to sign on. "First and foremost is Chris's sense of humor, the way he sees the world, his experiences," he tells ABC Audio.

"And for me, it was just an exploration of that culture in South Central Los Angeles. And by that ... I mean that there are so many dimensions and levels and depths and also lightness to it. So I just I wanted to see it, and then I would hope that everyone wants to see it."

Estrada explains, "When we pitched this, we pitched it as Friday, but directed by the Coen Brothers. So it was really cool to think about how to present this world ... and this point of view of this character in a way that felt cinematic and offbeat and a little and irreverent, as well."

The series also stars Sopranos vet Michael Imperioli, who runs a nonprofit for rehabilitating gang members called Hugs Not Thugs, and Michelle Ortiz, who steals scenes as Maggie, Julio's firecracker ex-girlfriend.

Estrada was already good friends with Quinones from the stand-up days, and he said the rest of the colorful cast was about finding people who felt "authentic" to the show's off-kilter world.

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Anne Heche declared brain-dead following fiery wreck

Anne Heche has been declared brain-dead following a fiery car crash into a Los Angeles home on Friday, August 5.

In a statement to KABC, a rep for the actress said Friday, "She was declared brain-dead [Thursday] night, but has been kept on life support for organ donation. Her heart is still beating."

Anne's family released a statement Friday that stated, "We have lost a bright light, a kind and most joyful soul, a loving mother, and a loyal friend."

It continued, "Anne will be deeply missed but she lives on through her beautiful sons, her iconic body of work, and her passionate advocacy. Her bravery for always standing in her truth, spreading her message of love and acceptance, will continue to have a lasting impact."

Heche's eldest son, 20-year-old Homer Laffoon, released a statement of his own, noting, "My brother Atlas and I lost our Mom. After six days of almost unbelievable emotional swings, I am left with a deep, wordless sadness."

He added, "Hopefully my mom is free from pain and beginning to explore what I like to imagine as her eternal freedom. Over those six days, thousands of friends, family, and fans made their hearts known to me. I am grateful for their love, as I am for the support of my Dad, Coley [Laffoon], and my stepmom Alexi [Laffoon] who continue to be my rock during this time."

He closed with, "Rest In Peace Mom, I love you."

On Thursday, it was revealed Heche suffered a severe anoxic brain injury -- that is, an injury caused by lack of oxygen to the brain -- and that she was not expected to survive.

Heche was initially said to be in stable condition after the crash, but the following Monday it was announced she was more seriously injured than previously thought.

In the meantime, the Los Angeles Police Department has announced it has closed its DUI investigation into the actress, who reportedly drove away from several fender benders in her blue Mini Cooper before the car was seen speeding down a Mar Vista street and into a home, where the car burst into flames and set the structure ablaze.

A GoFundMe for the destroyed home's tenant, Lynee Mishele, has surpassed $150,000.

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Mark Ruffalo shades ‘Star Wars’ in defending Marvel movies

Marvel Studios

Mark Ruffalo has joined Elizabeth Olsen and other Marvel movie stars in coming out swinging in defense of their recurring day jobs in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

In a chat with Metro UK to promote reprising his role as Bruce Banner/The Hulk in Disney+'s forthcoming She-Hulk: Attorney At Law, Ruffalo was asked if there's too much Marvel content out there.

"It's not something I worry about," Ruffalo, who has played the role for a decade, said.

"I understand that these things run their course and then something else comes along. But the thing Marvel has done well is that, inside the MCU, just as they do with comic books, they let a director or an actor sort of recreate each piece to their own style, their likeness. Marvel generally lets them bring that to the material."

He jabbed, "If you watch a Star Wars [project], you're pretty much going to get the same version of Star Wars each time." He allowed that some Star Wars projects "might have a little bit of humor" or "a little bit of different animation," but "you're always, really, in that same kind of world."

Instead, he offers, "with Marvel you can have a whole different feeling, even within the Marvel Universe."

As for his character, Ruffalo noted, he's closer to himself than some might think. "I really related to the Hulk as a kid and it's been the same way through my life -- you wrestle with anger and self-destructive behavior and then ... you think, 'Man, what was I doing?'"

She-Hulk debuts August 18 on Disney+.

ABC News' parent company, Disney, is the owner of Marvel Studios and Star Wars.

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‘Prey’ continues to slay on streaming

20th Century Studios

The 20th Century Films-release Prey bagged a trophy of its own, topping all new streaming titles for the week of August 4 through August 10, according to the latest rankings of streaming service aggregator app Reelgood.

The well-reviewed action film, which is available on Hulu, topped Netflix's much hyped comic adaptation The Sandman and also AMC+'s Better Call Saul, which, as the series winds up, ended up in third place on the weekly chart.

Apple TV+'s Black Bird, starring the late Ray Liotta, hung strong in fourth place, while a new release, the Ron Howard-directed Thai cave drama Thirteen Lives, debuted in fifth on Prime Video.

Two other new releases hit streaming over the past week, with the Tom Holland blockbuster Uncharted debuting on Netflix in sixth place, and the Disney/Pixar film Lightyear opening with a ninth-place finish in its first week on Disney+, according to data from Reelgood's 5 million users.

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‘The Simpsons’ will apparently reveal how the show predicts the future

Fox

The Simpsons has become eerily famous for seemingly predicting outlandish events that turned true, from Donald Trump running for president -- right down to his famous escalator announcement -- to a virus emerging from China that turns our world upside down.

Now Matt Selman, the long-running show's current executive producer and showrunner, tells Deadline that in an upcoming episode in the show's 34th season they will let the cat out of the bag.

"We have another crazy conceptual episode that explains how The Simpsons know the future. It's a conceptual episode with lots of crazy stuff in it, but it does an explanation of how The Simpsons can predict the future."

Sure, he's likely being tongue in cheek, though Yeardley Smith, who has voiced Lisa Simpson since the show began airing in 1989, once told ABC that the's show's prescience is uncanny.

"Maybe we're a modern day Nostradamus or Nostradami," she laughed.

"I've sort of joked always that the writers have a crystal ball in the middle of their table in the writer's room. I mean, if you think about collective consciousness ... there actually may be something to that, that's sort of unexplainable because it seems illogical and it's a little bit, like, feels like magic."

"I don't know. I don't know!" she laughed.

Smith did have a more grounded reason, however.

"The other thing is that we've been on so long. Think of all the things that we've also predicted that haven't come true. We're all only sort of cottoning onto the things that actually have come true!"

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Kenan Thompson gets Hollywood Walk of Fame star

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

Ahead of hosting the 2022 Emmy Awards next month, nearly 20-year Saturday Night Live veteran Kenan Thompson was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame Thursday.

His former SNL co-star Leslie Jones was on hand to help unveil the walk's 2,728th star. They were also joined by comedian and actor JB Smoove, and Josh Server, who starred with a young Kenan on the Nickelodeon show All That.

"When we were kids, Kenan had this confidence," Server said while at the podium with Kenan and his young daughters, Georgia and Gianna. "So many of us spend years trying to find who were are, and what makes us unique and special ... Kenan just had that."

"We are brothers," Server said, "The world is a happier, funnier place because of those rare gifts you shared with us all."

For his part, Kenan said, "From the bottom of my heart ... It's really been my pleasure. I do comedy. It's fun, I don't see it as work ... I just wanna be a good partner in the world, a good human being."

He also promised to high-five all the fans who lined up along the famous street.

Thompson's star is located at 6627 Hollywood Blvd., "right next to the GOAT, Lorne Michaels," he said of his SNL boss.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Kenan Thompson gets Hollywood Walk of Fame star

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

Ahead of hosting the 2022 Emmy Awards next month, nearly 20-year Saturday Night Live veteran Kenan Thompson was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame Thursday.

His former SNL co-star Leslie Jones was on hand to help unveil the walk's 2,728th star. They were also joined by comedian and actor JB Smoove, and Josh Server, who starred with a young Kenan on the Nickelodeon show All That.

"When we were kids, Kenan had this confidence," Server said while at the podium with Kenan and his young daughters, Georgia and Gianna. "So many of us spend years trying to find who were are, and what makes us unique and special ... Kenan just had that."

"We are brothers," Server said, "The world is a happier, funnier place because of those rare gifts you shared with us all."

For his part, Kenan said, "From the bottom of my heart ... It's really been my pleasure. I do comedy. It's fun, I don't see it as work ... I just wanna be a good partner in the world, a good human being."

He also promised to high-five all the fans who lined up along the famous street.

Thompson's star is located at 6627 Hollywood Blvd., "right next to the GOAT, Lorne Michaels," he said of his SNL boss.

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Blood screen reportedly shows Anne Heche had drugs in her system after crash

Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

While actress Anne Heche remains in a coma and in critical condition at the hospital following her fiery car crash last week, ABC News has learned a blood test turned up positive for narcotics.

Heche was severely burned when her blue Mini Cooper slammed into a Mar Vista, Los Angeles, home at a high rate of speed, setting both the car and the home ablaze.

She has not been able to communicate since the crash. Los Angeles Police Department investigators say narcotics were found in her system -- but because she was tested after being admitted to the hospital, it needs to be determined if they were taken before the crash, given by the hospital, or some combination of the two.

The 53-year-old could face felony DUI charges for the wreck in the likely scenario LAPD investigators refer the case to the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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Blood screen reportedly shows Anne Heche had drugs in her system after crash

Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

While actress Anne Heche remains in a coma and in critical condition at the hospital following her fiery car crash last week, ABC News has learned a blood test turned up positive for narcotics.

Heche was severely burned when her blue Mini Cooper slammed into a Mar Vista, Los Angeles, home at a high rate of speed, setting both the car and the home ablaze.

She has not been able to communicate since the crash. Los Angeles Police Department investigators say narcotics were found in her system -- but because she was tested after being admitted to the hospital, it needs to be determined if they were taken before the crash, given by the hospital, or some combination of the two.

The 53-year-old could face felony DUI charges for the wreck in the likely scenario LAPD investigators refer the case to the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office.

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