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Cynthia Erivo Says Her Remake of ‘The Rose’ Is Like ‘if Tina Turner and Florence Welch Had a Baby’

Cynthia Erivo Variety Cover Story
Gizelle Hernandez for Variety

When Cynthia Erivo was approached by Searchlight Pictures to star in a remake of “The Rose,” one of the first things she did was email Bette Midler, who shot to fame for her portrayal of a rock star destroyed by drugs and alcohol in the original 1979 movie. “I guess I was just searching for a blessing, and I got exactly what I wanted,” Erivo tells me during the taping of an upcoming Variety Streaming Room interview. “And she was wonderful and really lovely, and she said some really lovely things.” Erivo, who earned an Emmy nomination for her work as Aretha Franklin in “Genius: Aretha,” is putting a contemporary spin on “The Rose.” “Right now, my brain is saying as if Tina Turner and Florence Welch had a baby,” she says. “That’s sort of how I see my Rose.”

Marc Maron doesn’t care if he loses fans because he’s requiring proof of vaccination at his standup shows. “It’s not meant to antagonize any patriots,” he says, “but if the only right you’re fighting for is the right to die like a moron, well … it’s misguided.”

Nine Perfect Strangers

 

Nicole Kidman insisted that most of the cast of “Nine Perfect Strangers” wouldn’t meet her until she was in character as Masha — the mysterious leader of a wellness center who uses questionable treatments and practices on her clients — on the first day of filming. “It felt like we were the characters waiting for her arrival and entrance,” Regina Hall, who plays a housewife whose marriage has fallen apart in the Hulu series, tells me, adding, “There she was with this Russian accent, and I actually did not hear Nicole and what she actually sounded like until she wrapped.” You can watch more of my chat with Hall as well as interviews with Kidman and cast members Melissa McCarthy, Bobby Cannavale, Samara Weaving, Manny Jacinto, Asher Keddie, Grace Van Patten and Melvin Gregg this week at variety.com.

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SIGHTINGS: Ellen Pompeo, Laura Dern, Jean-Marc Vallée, Laura Harrier, Sam Claflin and Alessandra Ambrosio enjoying sushi — including caviar hand rolls —at the Audi Design Loft opening celebration at Nobu in Malibu.

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Todd Snyder

“It’s a celebration of the others from the start. It’s literally the antithesis of ‘Pose’ in that regard.” That’s Billy Porter talking about “What If?,” his directorial debut about a Black transgender girl in high school. “We start at joy with it. We start at celebration with this one, and it’s really powerful to be in a position where I get to tell the next version of what- ever our story should be,” the Emmy winner says. “It’s time to tell a different story. It’s time to tell a new story. I came out as HIV-positive. The shame is gone. It’s time for Billy to tell a different story. And this speaks to that in such a profound way. I am totally in my bliss.”

Kate Hudson plays a self-help mogul on the second season of Apple TV Plus’ whodunit series “Truth Be Told.” “I thought a lot about Tony Robbins,” the actor says of preparing for the role. However, don’t ask Ms. Hudson about her work in Rian Johnson’s “Knives Out” sequel. “I don’t want to say anything,” she says. “I’m scared. I’m just scared that I’m going to get a call from Rian.”

Scott Huver contributed to this column.

Have some news to share? Reach out to me at mmalkin@variety.com.