Music Observer

Ana de Armas Says She ‘Felt Very Protected and Safe’ While Filming ‘Blonde’

Ana de Armas has never been without Marilyn Monroe in her life.A native of Cuba, she has seen movies starring Monroe on television.

“I wasn’t aware at that age that she was Marilyn Monroe,” the 34-year-old actress said in an interview with EW. 

When she moved to Madrid at the age of 18 and started studying film, she realized that Monroe was the beautiful woman she was so interested in as a child.

And now de Armas is playing an icon. More specifically, she stars in Netflix’s Blonde, portraying Norma Jean Mortenson, the real-life woman behind Marilyn Monroe.

The film is currently in theaters (it premieres on Netflix on September 28). However, since the earliest speculation about the film, it has sparked a few controversies amid conflicting opinions. And like completely lighting the spark, Blonde is inspired by a novel by author Joyce Carol Oates, an iconoclast, and not a typical non-fictional biography. 

De Armas, on the other hand, witnessed everything from backlash against her version of Marilyn’s voice to feedback questioning the film’s capitalization of a woman exploited for her figure.

De Armas is topless for several parts of the three-hour film. Moreover, her Marilyn undergoes a series of humiliations: being raped by Fox studio head Daryl F. Zanuck, aborting a fetus (with a camera shot from inside her vagina), and a depiction of Monroe giving President John F. Kennedy a blowjob. 

These high demands from actresses require a level of vulnerability and exposure that most people can’t afford…but de Armas insists the only way out is through. Unlike the film version of Monroe, she felt in complete control of every scene.

“It’s harder for people to watch [those scenes] than for me to make them because I understood what I was doing and I felt very protected and safe,” de Armas claimed. 

“I didn’t feel exploited because I was in control. I made that decision. I knew what the movie I was going. I trusted my director. I felt like I was in a safe environment. We had hundreds of conversations about these scenes. Everyone felt a deep respect for the movie we were making. And in that sense, I had no fear.” 

Read also: Ye Explains Latest YZY Sunglasses

De Armas Was Comfortable

The scene on the blowjob, specifically, will possibly earn some raised eyebrows – it has already made the film a rare NC-17 rating. But to de Armas, it was a necessary scene to carry the message that she and writer-director Andrew Dominik laid out to give the crowd – a sense of sad dislocation. 

“We actually did two takes of that scene only,” she recounts. 

“We had an intimacy coordinator with us all the time, and she was very helpful. But I wouldn’t even say these scenes were more difficult than any other scene. It was just part of a whole story.

“I knew exactly what the show was going to be. I knew exactly what was going to be seen, what was not going to be seen, and it felt like it was the right thing to do.” 

Apart from the explicit parts of the movie, de Armas was given a job to make both a believable version of Monroe, the Hollywood star, and peeling the façade to show her true self as Norma Jeane. 

She dug for information and studied for nine months, watching films, meeting with a dialect coach, and talking to Dominik about their version of the superstar. 

According to de Armas, she was committed to giving all of herself to her Blonde performance in working for something real. 

“That openness goes to everything,” she said. “You’re open not just to give but to receive and be perceptive.”

Read also: Greyson Chance Discloses Problems with Ellen DeGeneres

Photo: EW

Ye Explains Latest YZY Sunglasses

Ye’s latest sunglasses have her daughter’s approval.

“I put these glasses on Chicago last night, and she was like, ‘These are my glasses now.’ She didn’t want to take them off,” said Ye. 

The Chicago nod meant a lot to Ye. He loves that she likes YZY SHDZ.

“She was able to throw the shades in the air, and they fell on the ground, and I wasn’t running like, ‘You’re going to break the prototype!’” 

The style made waves on social media and was worn by Kim Kardashian and North West. Ye created them with the help of Demna, the equally anonymous designer of Balenciaga.

“Both Virgil [Abloh] and Demna worked on Yeezy season one, and now with losing Virgil, I wasn’t able to work with him when he was at Louis Vuitton, so that’s why I think it’s so important that me and Demna still get to work together,” he said. 

“We collectively present new ideas for our species, you know?” 

The idea he was talking about materialized in campaign images by contributor Nick Knight. Here, Candice Swanepoel is pictured bald wearing silver sunglasses tied at the back with a string and nothing else.

Recently, Ye and Swanepoel went to London to shoot with Knight (the bald head, as a matter of fact, is Knight’s and not Swanpoel’s – it was photoshopped). 

“I can send them out to any modeling agency now and be employed for the top of my head only,” Knight said. 

The two have collaborated with various projects, such as the short film of Jesus is King, the music video “24” and the YZY SPLY website. Consequently, Knight and YE developed a decent professional relationship.

“Unlike virtually any other person I’ve worked with, he very much wants to make sure he sees what he wants to see. Not in a nasty way at all; it’s very inspiring to work with someone who cares that much about how the imagery should work,” Knight added. 

Knight pointed out that they had to look back to choose the perfect shade of gray-blue.

Since seeing her at a party 12 years ago, Ye had wanted to collaborate with Swanepoel. And according to Knight, she is “one of those models who just wants to get a great image and will work to do so.” 

Swanepoel added that the feeling is mutual, saying, “The vision for the shoot was so clear but also allowed me to contribute my perspective on it. Moreover, it was exciting being a part of something I knew would instantly become iconic.” 

Read also: Greyson Chance Discloses Problems with Ellen DeGeneres

Ye, Knight, and Swanepoel Masterpiece

The sunglasses have the ability to make anyone – either it is Lil Uzi Vert or Lisa Rinna – look like they’re from the year 3022. But Ye seems to have mixed emotions about the word futuristic

“Saying something is in the future takes out the accountability of it needing to exist in our reality, and the fact that it’s 2022 and we don’t have the future we thought we were going to have,” he said. 

“Certain things are more futuristic, and a lot of things are less futuristic than we thought we would have. Obviously, I’ve been defined as a futurist. I’ll put it like this, it’s going to rhyme, it’s going to be poetry: Since we’ve been defined as futurists, we will define what the future is.” 

Per Ye, the conversations he, Swanepoel, and Knight had on the shoot were focused on having a better world for the generations to come. 

“People are so quick to think it’s going to be so dystopian, but I feel it’s going to be James Turrell spaces and Nick Knight photos and foods from localized farms with no pesticides,” he said. 

Although the photos show sunglasses, the collaborators had bigger visions. 

In another photo, Swanepoel stands with a massive backpack under what seems to be a solar eclipse. Together, they are like an ad for a science fiction film but with a twist. 

“Having spent some of my life with the man, I believe that is his fundamental thing: He wants to make the world a better place,” Knight said of Ye. 

“He said to me the other day it should be like a dystopian movie, but with a happy ending. Why do those movies always have a sad ending? Why can’t there be one where it works out, and it’s a better place?”

Read also: Shakira Against Spain: Tax Evasion Case

Photo: LinkedIn

Greyson Chance Discloses Problems with Ellen DeGeneres

Greyson Chance will not give Ellen DeGeneres any more second chances.

In 2010, when the singer was in sixth grade, a video of his high school performance of Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi” went viral on YouTube. It quickly became an online sensation.

The footage was immediately noticed by DeGeneres, who asked him to appear on her daytime talk show, associated him with top executives, and signed him with her record label, all in less than a year.

However, in an interview with Rolling Stone published on Thursday, the 25-year-old singer-songwriter revealed that the superstar fame and glamor had suddenly vanished as DeGeneres took charge of his career.

“My whole week, my whole month, my whole year could change [with] one text message from her,” he said. “That was horrible.” 

After joining the DeGeneres label, Chance said she started becoming “domineering and way too controlling,” making decisions for him with everything, like his stage outfits.

“She would come in and look at a rack, yell at stylists, berate people in front of me and say, ‘This is what you’re wearing on the show,” he told the outlet. “She was just degrading to people.” 

Additionally, Chance told Rolling Stone that DeGeneres “completely abandoned” him and stopped taking his calls following the flop of his 2012 EP. In the same year, he was ditched by his label and team.

Though he later released his own music independently and made several appearances on The Ellen DeGeneres Show through 2019, Chance indicated that his encounters with the host became a little less friendly.

Read also: Shakira Against Spain: Tax Evasion Case

No More Chance

Recalling his last appearance on the show, Chance referred to the studio as a “place of active trauma” and criticized DeGeneres for talking about his sexuality during their interview. 

“[When I came out,] I hadn’t spoken to her in years… That’s so messed up that you’re now showing the world as if we’re so tight. We’re so good,” Chance stated. “And behind the scenes, you are this insanely manipulative person.” 

Chance’s claims about DeGeneres directly contradict her previously clean public image and “Be kind” motto. But the singer is not the only person to slam her closed-door behavior. 

In 2020, former and current Ellen workers rebuked the show for promoting a “toxic work environment” with racism, intimidation, and fear. As a result, an internal probe occurred, three execs exited the show, and DeGeneres issued apologies to her staff many times. 

And in May 2021, DeGeneres revealed that her show would come to an end following its 19th season. The last episode was released in May of this year. 

Chance told Rolling Stone that Ellen showrunners urged him to go back to the show one last time on the final season. However, he rejected the offer. 

“How in the world am I supposed to sit down and say I’m so thankful and let her take that moment?” he asked. 

Chance further said, “I couldn’t do that. So, I turned down a national-TV gig on the eve of an album release, which is probably not a smart thing to do, but I had to do it for my integrity.”

Read also: Maren Morris May Not Attend the CMA Awards Over Brittany Aldean Clash

Photo: Hype 

Olivia Wilde on ‘Don’t Worry Darling’ Fuzz: Media Coverage ‘Always Seems to be Different’

Photo: Facts Five

Olivia Wilde is now wondering if the enthusiasm for Don’t Worry Darling would be different if she were a man.

The filmmaker noted during an appearance on The Kelly Clarkson Show on Wednesday that media coverage of her films “always seems to be different” than that of her male counterparts.

“I mean, am I envious of my male colleagues in the way that they seem to be able to live their lives without as much judgment? Yeah, I think about it,” she stated. “I’m like, ‘That must be nice to be that guy. Everybody’s just, like, applauding just every move he makes.” 

In part of the interview, Wilde confessed that she always knew filmmaking was a “male-dominated” field.

“It has been for a long time,” she shared to host Kelly Clarkson. 

“Being a female director, there’s not that many of us, not for lack of talent, just for lack of opportunity. There’s a lot of great young filmmakers that are out there that are women. So, I’m like, prepared for that.” 

But Wilde explained that the most annoying thing about it is when the verdict comes from another woman.

“I’m just like, ‘Can we just give each other the benefit of the doubt and just have each other’s backs?’” she said. “Wouldn’t that be great?” 

Read also: ‘Big Sky’ Returns with Reba McEntire and Jensen Ackles in the Third Season

Wilde Film Controversies

The director’s TV appearance comes while she is under scrutiny for rumors of drama between her and the film’s cast – particularly actress Florence Pugh – both on set, in leaked clips, and at the Venice Film Festival this month. 

Pugh referred to the social media buzz on the show as a “soap opera” and revealed how she’s trying to handle the so-called “noise” online. 

“My stuff is out there, but I’m alive, and my kids are alive, and that’s what gets me through,” she revealed. “I remind myself of that every single day.” 

Wilde also said she is stepping away from the internet and social media as well, describing it as “a losing battle.” 

“Focusing on what’s real – your trusted circle of friends… things that make you happy, people you love, people who love you, and just keeping your mind on what’s real – I think that’s how I get through it,” she stated. 

“I think, ‘God, it could be a lot worse, and we’re alive, and everything’s gonna be okay.”

Read also: Don’t Worry Darling Press Con in Venice Stops Shia LaBeouf Question

Shakira Against Spain: Tax Evasion Case

Photo: Walls Desk

Shakira may currently be in the “darkest hours” of her life. However, she’s paving her way through the light. 

Before dropping her first new music album in five years, the singer told Elle Magazine about the tax fraud case filed by the Spanish government, spelling her with up to eight years imprisonment. 

Shakira declined a settlement offer – the specifications had not been revealed, blasting the tax fraud case to trial. 

Previously, she was claimed to have failed to pay $15 million in taxes between 2012 and 2014 in Spain, a time in which the superstar claims she was not residing in the country. 

Per the court documents seen by Reuters, Shakira was inhabiting there during that period due to the record of her buying a home in Barcelona in 2012. (Her official address was listed as the Bahamas.) 

Aside from imprisonment, the filing urges a fine of $24 million should she be convicted. 

The star repulsed the Spanish government’s allegations as “false accusations,” sharing with Elle that she plans to stand against the case as a “matter of principle.” 

Shakira claims she didn’t live in the country for the necessary period of time for tax purposes, 183 days, due to her being “busy fulfilling my professional commitments around the world.” 

“I’ve paid everything they claimed I owed, even before they filed a lawsuit,” she stated. 

“So, as of today, I owe zero to them. And finally, I was advised by one of the four biggest tax specialist firms in the world, PricewaterhouseCoopers, so I was confident that I was doing things correctly and transparently from day one.” 

Read also: Maren Morris May Not Attend the CMA Awards Over Brittany Aldean Clash

Shakira Says It’s the Country’s Strategy

Shakira argues everything is equal for the course when we talk about the Spanish tax authorities and the strategy they are utilizing against her, other prominent personalities, and the “regular taxpayer.”

“However, even without evidence to support these fictional claims, as they usually do, they’ve resorted to a salacious press campaign to try to sway people and apply pressure in the media along with the threat of reputational damage in order to coerce settlement agreements,” she elaborated. 

“It is well known that the Spanish tax authorities do this often not only with celebrities like me (or [Cristiano] Ronaldo, Neymar, [Xabi] Alonso, and more), it also happens unjustly to the regular taxpayer.

“It’s just their style. But I’m confident that I have enough proof to support my case and that justice will prevail in my favor.” 

No date has been announced yet for Shakira’s trial.

Read also: Anne Heche Finishes Memoir Before Death

Kelly Clarkson Rebuffs Simon Cowell During ‘American Idol’ Days

Photo: Bustle

Kelly Clarkson didn’t really listen to Simon Cowell as she competed for a spot on American Idol.

The musician, who claimed the music contest’s first season triumph in 2002, revealed the reason for her active avoidance of former Judge Cowell throughout her time in the contest when she received her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Tuesday.

Cowell attended Clarkson’s awards ceremony with fellow judges Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul. In a ticklish speech, he remembers being rejected by the “Breakaway” singer during their first meeting.

“I went up to you afterward because, obviously, I was thinking, ‘I think you’re gonna win this show.’ I said, ‘I just want to say, that was amazing, Kelly, and I am here,’” he shared. 

“You turned around to me and said, ‘Simon… Without being rude, I would rather we didn’t talk – seriously – until the end of the series.” 

Clarkson’s incredible and uncommon gesture confused the judge.

“I’m like, ‘Wow, what does that mean?’” he raised the question while Clarkson started laughing with him. “It means, ‘Stay away from me. I know what I’m doing. I’m focused.’”

Clarkson stepped in and stole Cowell’s microphone to clear things up.

“I didn’t wanna talk to anybody involved that was voting us through. I was just trying to be respectful of the environment,” she set the records straight. “Also, I didn’t want you getting in my head – you mess with all those people. I was like, ‘No, bro, you get out of my head!” 

Read also: Sex Pistols’ John Lydon Doesn’t Like the Band’s “God Save the Queen” Promotion

Clarkson Baffles Cowell

Cowell replied with a joke. 

“It’s taken her 20 years to get that out, my God,” Cowell jested. “It’s like a therapy session.” 

The X-Factor creator stated that Clarkson deserves her success after the show. 

“She’s one of those people who, from day one, was respectful to the people who voted for her, who bought her records, who bought her tickets – and she’s never lost that,” Cowell revealed. “The Kelly you see in front of the camera is that Kelly you see behind the camera.” 

Earlier this month, Clarkson took to Instagram to contemplate the 20th anniversary of her American Idol triumph and how it “forever changed the course of my life.” 

“That moment was the door that opened up so much access and opportunity, and creative partnerships that I will be grateful for all of my days,” Clarkson wrote on her post. “The family and friendships I have created over these 20 years in music and tv are priceless to me.”

Read also: MTV VMAs of the Year Winners

Maren Morris May Not Attend the CMA Awards Over Brittany Aldean Clash

Photo: Sounds Like Nashville

Maren Morris, who received a nomination for the CMA Awards, communicates her sensation of distress in going to the big occasion while she is in a quarrel with Jason Aldean’s significant other, Brittany, a conservative social media influencer.

Although her third studio album, Humble Quest, is nominated for album of the year, Morris seemed to have not yet decided to attend country music’s biggest night in an interview with the Los Angeles Times published Tuesday. 

“I’m very honored that my record is nominated. But I don’t know if I feel [at] home there right now,” she stated when asked about a possible encounter with the Aldeans. “So many people I love will be in that room, and maybe I’ll make a game-time decision and go.” 

But for now, “I don’t feel comfortable going,” said the country music artist.

“Some nights are fun. Others, I’m just crawling out of my skin. I’m not good at those events because I’m awkward. But this time, I kind of feel peaceful at the notion of not going.” 

Morris and Aldean’s clash began after her Instagram makeup tutorial post in August, where the influencer drew attention for her transphobic comments.

“I’d really like to thank my parents for not changing my gender when I went through my tomboy phase,” she captioned. “I love this girly life.” 

Morris tweeted about Brittany’s comments, saying, “It’s so easy to, like, not be a scumbag human? Sell your clip-ins and zip it, Insurrection Barbie.” 

Read also: Gisele Bündchen and Tom Brady Now Lives Separately, According to a Source

Morris vs. Aldean

Later, in September, Aldean guested on Tucker Carlson’s Tucker Carlson Tonight to deal with her transphobic comments once and for all. During her introduction by the host, Carlson referred to Morris as a “lunatic” and “fake country music singer.” 

As a reply to the remarks, Morris made a t-shirt with “lunatic country music person” print on it. She also announced that the proceeds would be transferred to a non-profit, Trans Lifeline and GLAAD’s Transgender Media Program. 

“I don’t think I lost any fans over this,” Morris told the Times about the dispute. 

“I’ve been very clear from the get-go. It sucks when artists stay quiet, stay quiet, stay quiet, and then they finally reach their breaking point and have to say something because something is so unjust and disgusting. And then they lose half their crowd because they stayed quiet. 

“I try to tell my husband this, because he’s still building: Let people know where you stand. The ones who don’t get it will fall away, but the ones that stick with you will know what they’re contributing to.” 

The CMA Awards will premiere on November 9 at 8 p.m. EST on ABC live from Nashville.

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‘Big Sky’ Returns with Reba McEntire and Jensen Ackles in the Third Season

Photo: EW

Big Sky returns. This time with Reba McEntire and Jensen Ackles.

With the TV season culminating in the fall, it’s just the right time to return to Helena, Montana, and Dewell and Hoyt’s private detectives.

On Wednesday night, ABC’s Big Sky will officially release its third season at 10pm. Plus, they’ve got a dose of new mystery with some flashy and fresh series regular characters.

Currently renamed Big Sky: Deadly Trails, the third season chronicles the journey of policewoman Jenny Hoyt (Katheryn Winnick), Beau Arlen (Ackles) – temporary sheriff, and Cassie Dewell (Kylie Bunbury) – a private investigator, as they dive into a group of new mysteries, most notably the case of a missing backpacker.

In the midst of their investigation, they come across Sunny Barnes (McEntire), the director of a family business in the outback who appears to have an intriguing number of missing persons links.

Ahead of the series’ return, EW asked producer Elwood Reid for an update on what to expect when things get worse in the Montana wilderness.

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‘Big Sky’ Mystery

In an interview with EW, Reid revealed the central mystery of the third season. 

“There’s a glamping outfit in Montana that is run by Sunny Barnes and Buck Barnes [Rex Linn]. In this family-run glamping outfit, a bunch of guests come up missing. We begin to realize, as the season progresses, that the Barnes family has a lot of secrets. They may or may not have something to do with some of these disappearances, and in true Big Sky fashion, the people that disappear also have some secrets and may not stay disappeared,” he shared. 

“This season we are also doing little runner mysteries, case-of-the-week formatting, in addition to our big mystery. One of the biggest reasons we’re doing that is we’ve Jensen Ackles. He’s an amazing asset and we wanted him and Jenny Hoyt to get out there and be solving cases the week of, and also, get involved in a big mystery for the season.” 

Additionally, Reid shared how he decided to cast McEntire and Ackles. 

“Jensen is one of those guys that I’ve always wanted to work with. He’s one of those guys that I’ve always loved. He’s someone my daughter and my wife likes, and a lot of guys like. There’s not a lot of people out there that tick all those boxes. And I’d heard nothing but raving from people who worked with him — what an amazing guy he was, what a professional he was,” he said. 

“Mutual friends put us in touch. He’s from Texas. So, I pitched this Texas-type character that finds himself up in Montana. I can’t say enough good things about him. He walks on the set and it changes.”

He added, “Reba is someone who a lot of us grew up with. I had written a character, and I described her as ‘Reba McEntire, circa Tremors.’ I always loved that character. So, I called her and pitched her the character.”

Read also: Jacob Elordi to Star as Elvis Presley

Sex Pistols’ John Lydon Doesn’t Like the Band’s “God Save the Queen” Promotion

Photo: Getty Images

John Lydon released another statement on the late Queen Elizabeth II.

“John Lydon wishes to distance himself from any Sex Pistols activity which aims to cash in on Queen Elizabeth II’s death,” the Sex Pistols singer said. 

“The musicians in the band and their management have approved a number of requests against John’s wishes on the basis of the majority court-ruling agreement.” 

It is neither indicated nor clear which business Lydon is referring to. The band did not post any “God Save the Queen” promotional material on its social media platforms in the days following Queen Elizabeth’s death on September 8.

Furthermore, the Sex Pistols have not spoken publicly about the queen’s death. The Sex Pistols, while the queen was still alive, had previously unveiled a “God Save the Queen” NFT commemorative coin.

When asked for comments, a Sex Pistols representative told Pitchfork, “We cannot understand what he would be referring to. Other than a couple requests for use of imagery or audio in news reports on the Queen and her impact on culture, there’s nothing relating to ‘God Save the Queen’ being promoted or released in any way.” 

Lydon and his former bandmates were in court over licensing rights. The band took legal action against Lydon after he refused to license their music for Danny Boyle’s Pistol.

The band won court favor after it was determined that, under the terms of a 1988 agreement, no member of the Sex Pistols has a veto on licensing rights, which a majority vote can grant.

Read also: Jennifer Hudson and Simon Cowell Talk American Idol Elimination

John Lydon Complete Statement: 

“John Lydon wishes to distance himself from any Sex Pistols activity which aims to cash in on Queen Elizabeth II’s death. The musicians in the band and their management have approved a number of requests against John’s wishes on the basis of the majority court-ruling agreement.


 In John’s view, the timing for endorsing any Sex Pistols requests for commercial gain in connection with “God Save the Queen” in particular is tasteless and disrespectful to the Queen and her family at this moment in time.


 John wrote the lyrics to this historical song, and while he has never supported the monarchy, he feels that the family deserves some respect in this difficult time, as would be expected for any other person or family when someone close to them has died.”

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Anne Heche Finishes Memoir Before Death

Photo: EW

The memoir of the late film and television star Anne Heche has been in the works for the past year and is set for release in January 2023.

Billed as “part memoir and part self-acceptance workbook,” Call Me Anne explores how Heche came to the spotlight in showbiz, her history of childhood sexual abuse, and consists of personal anecdotes about his relationship with Ellen DeGeneres in the 1990s when they were one of Hollywood’s first openly gay couples.

The book is a sequel to Heche’s 2001 autobiography Call Me Crazy.

“I was labeled ‘outrageous’ because I fell in love with a woman,” Heche said in Call Me Anne, per an excerpt revealed by the Associated Press. “I had never been with a woman before I dated Ellen.” 

The excerpt adds: “I did not, personally, identify as a lesbian. I simply fell in love! It was, to be clear, as odd to me as anyone else. There were no words to describe how I felt. Gay didn’t feel right, and neither did straight. Alien might be the best fit, I sometimes thought.

“What, why, and how I fell in love with a person instead of their gender, I would have loved to have answered if anyone had asked, but as I said earlier, no one ever did. I am happy that I was able to tell you in this book – once and for all.” 

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Heche Gives Manuscript to Weisfeld

Jared Weisfeld, president of New Jersey-based Start Publishing, said in an interview with The Associated Press that he signed a deal with Heche in May. And the actress gave him the manuscript just before she died in a car accident in August. She was 53 years old.

Call Me Anne will reminisce how the star’s Six Days, Seven Nights co-actor Harrison Ford became her mentor, lay out an encounter with disgraced showrunner Harvey Weinstein, navigate her relationship with God, and other personal stories and poems.

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