Casey Affleck to skip Academy Awards in wake of #MeToo movement

Casey Affleck would have been expected to present the award for best actress as the reigning best actor winner. (AP)
Updated 26 January 2018
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Casey Affleck to skip Academy Awards in wake of #MeToo movement

LOS ANGELES: In another apparent consequence of the #MeToo movement, last year’s best actor Oscar winner Casey Affleck will not be presenting at or attending the 90th Academy Awards.
Affleck’s publicist said Thursday that the actor would not be at the ceremony on March 4 where, traditionally, he would have been expected to present the award for best actress as the reigning best actor winner. A film academy spokesperson said they “appreciate the decision to keep the focus on the show and on the great work of this year.”
The “Manchester by the Sea” actor faced sexual harassment allegations in 2010 in two public civil suits during the production of the mockumentary “I’m Still Here.” The suits were settled for undisclosed sums and Affleck has said that the terms of the settlement prevent him from discussing the matter.
While the lawsuits were covered in the press at the time, the allegations gained additional attention in 2016 following the ruination of “Birth of a Nation” director and star Nate Parker’s awards chances after past rape allegations surfaced against him. Many wondered if there was a racially related double standard that would allow Affleck, despite past allegations, to go on to win the best actor award at the Oscars. Actress Brie Larson famously did not clap when presenting Affleck with the award at the 2017 ceremony.
When the Me Too movement exploded in October and the film academy revoked Harvey Weinstein’s membership, the spotlight turned back to Affleck and other academy members who have been accused of misconduct.
John Oliver even took a moment on his HBO show talk about it.
“Yes, finally — the group that counts among its current members Roman Polanski, Bill Cosby and Mel Gibson has found the one guy who treated women badly and kicked him out,” Oliver said in October. “So congratulations, Hollywood. See you at the next Oscars where — and this is true — Casey Affleck will be presenting Best Actress.”
Hardly any aspect of the awards season has been unaffected by the Me Too movement, from who gets nominated to the content of acceptance speeches and red carpet interviews. No one knows exactly how the film academy plans to handle this moment of reckoning during the ceremony on March 4, but, with Affleck stepping down, one of the biggest questions has been answered.


After conquering Broadway, ‘Hamilton’ eyes global tour

Updated 16 June 2019
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After conquering Broadway, ‘Hamilton’ eyes global tour

  • Created by Lin-Manuel Miranda, the show charts Caribbean-born Hamilton who rises through his smarts and determination to become a key military aide to George
  • The push for more overseas performances comes as “Hamilton” mania remains as strong as ever in its home market

NEW YORK: After triumphing on Broadway, the lower 48 states and London’s West End, “Hamilton” is eyeing its first non-English production as well as tours throughout Europe and Asia.
The much-decorated musical, currently being staged nightly in London and New York as well as four other US cities, last month announced plans to launch in Sydney in early 2021 in a production expected to tour Australia before going to Asia, its producer said in an interview.
The “Hamilton” team is also working with a German hip-hop artist and playwright to develop a German-language version of the work.
The show, which is performed by a mostly non-white cast and mixes pulsating rap numbers with ballads and traditional musical numbers, has been credited with invigorating Broadway, thrilling audiences of all ages and across the political spectrum.
Producer Jeffrey Seller told AFP he sees a lot of international interest in the show. Australians frequently stream its soundtrack, Germany has long been receptive to American musicals and a Mexico City show, perhaps in Spanish, is also a possibility.
“My hope is that our story is resonant to people all over the world as a story of revolution, as a story of ambition, as a story of self-realization,” said Seller, who has been called the “CEO of Hamilton Inc.”
“I think Alexander Hamilton’s journey is universal.”
The push for more overseas performances comes as “Hamilton” mania remains as strong as ever in its home market.
Created by Lin-Manuel Miranda, the show charts Caribbean-born Hamilton — introduced as “a bastard, orphan son of a whore” — who rises through his smarts and determination to become a key military aide to George Washington during the American Revolution and later the architect of the US financial system in the republic’s early days.
Hamilton was killed in a duel in 1804 by Aaron Burr, a foil throughout the show and the character who sings “The Room Where It Happens,” a jazzy show-stopper about political horse-trading.
Nearly four years after its Broadway debut, the show completely sold out during the just-ended 2018-9 season, garnering almost $165 million, or nine percent of Broadway’s total in a record-setting season.
Business is also brisk for three national touring companies, which typically perform three- and four-week stints in American cities of varying size.
The “Angelica” touring company — named for Hamilton’s sister-in-law in the musical — made its Louisville premiere earlier this month at the Kentucky Center. The venue seats 2,400, about 1,100 more seats than the musical’s Broadway home at the Richard Rodgers Theater.
Anticipation for the show boosted subscriptions for touring Broadway shows in Louisville this season by nearly 20 percent, said Leslie Broecker, Midwest president for Broadway Across America, who calls the show a “catalyst” in attracting new audiences.
Shannon Steen, a University of California professor specializing in performance studies and race theory, attributes the show’s domestic success to Miranda’s skill at blending musical genres while appealing to diverse political constituencies.
The show “confirms this idea that America can serve as a city on a hill for global democracy,” a theme that resonates with conservatives, Steen said.
At the same time, signature lines such as “immigrants get the job done” have emerged as applause points for critics of US President Donald Trump’s harsh immigration policies, which parallel similar debates in other markets.
The show’s themes about immigration “will likely not resonate in the same way (as in the US), but it will be interesting to see how those things are taken up by audiences in other countries,” Steen said.
International investments will be tailored by market. Seller expects an English-language version of “Hamilton” to play in Paris perhaps for an eight- or 10-week run as part of a European tour around 2022-23.
He said the French have not shown much hunger for past American musicals, but that this show — which features a prominent French character in the Marquis de Lafayette — could spawn a French-language version if it sells well.
But Germany has for years been a robust market for US musicals, including “Wicked” and “Lion King,” and “they have the population to support it for a long run,” Seller said.
Stephan Jaekel, a spokesman for Stage Entertainment in Germany, which has been overseeing auditions for “Hamilton,” said the aim is to open in the fall of 2020 in Hamburg, but that a final deal has yet to be signed.
“We much look forward to presenting it to German audiences and hope to be able to start ticket sales soon,” Jaekel said in an email.
Seller hopes to announce the show in the coming months.