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Chris Meloni on returning to Law and Order and his hilarious x-rated scene on Maxxx

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Chris Meloni has been enjoying his career in the nine years after he left Law & Order: SVU. From True Blood to Pose to Handmaid’s Tale, among many other projects, he has really shown range.

Just take a look at his latest series Maxxx, streaming on Hulu. In the British comedy, the show’s creator O.T. Fagbenle stars as the title character, a washed-up former boy band star who enlists a legendary music manager named Don Wild (Meloni) to help him make a comeback.

Meloni transformed into the hard-partying Don by dying his hair jet black and wearing tons of jewellery and outrageous outfits, including a kilt.

Chris Meloni
Chris Meloni spoke with Marc Malkin from Variety about his latest series Maxxx and returning to Law and Order. (Variety)

READ MORE: Everything we know about the Law & Order: SVU spin-off with Elliot Stabler

In one of the show’s most eye-popping scenes, Maxxx has a threesome with Don and his wife. Their bedroom romp includes the use of a very large sex toy.

“Thank God we had rehearsals because that’s where we really let it rip,” Meloni said during an appearance this week on the Variety After-Show. “Everybody goes, ‘OK are we going to calm down now and focus on telling the story?'”

Chris Meloni in the Hulu series Maxxx (Hulu)

When TV production resumes after being stalled due to the coronavirus pandemic, Meloni will return to playing his iconic Law & Order: SVU character, Detective Elliot Stabler in a new instalment of the hit franchise, Law & Order: Organised Crime.

“My reps thought it was a call to have me come back to SVU to kind of wrap up his story, four episodes of something like that,” Meloni said. “But they just came out of the blue with a new show.”

Meloni didn’t hesitate about revisiting his old stomping grounds. “I think I maybe wanted to be less of a journeyman or a nomad because I’ve been doing that. It’s been great… but after a while you’re like, ‘Let’s look for a home base again for a while.”

Chris Meloni on Law & Order.
Chris Meloni on Law & Order. (Getty)

Meloni says that Stabler will have to face the changes happening in law enforcement today since he left in 2011.

“I thought he was a guy well aware of his faults,” he said. “I think he was a guy on the right side of justice. Nowadays that’s commendable, but you can’t use that as an excuse to go outside the boundaries just because you think my cause is the just cause because these lines have been — not blurring — they have been broken and people are fed up.”

Speaking of fed up, Meloni has made no secret of his dislike for President Trump, as evidenced by his many tweets blasting the commander-in-chief. “I feel as there are authoritarian actions taking place, corruptness is being enabled and the ineptitude is being glorified and sanctified,” he said. “I see things crumbling before me that I never thought would happen. I think we’re on the edge of very bad things.”

Meloni recalled seeing Trump at an NBC party during the early days of The Apprentice.

Christopher Meloni and Mariska Hargitay reunited ahead of the Law & Order spin-off series (Instagram)

“What I saw was this big, slumbering guy. He walks in the room, he looks around to see who’s watching him,” Meloni said. “I just remember thinking, ‘What a…’

“Then I was very curious. If you’re that rich and you’re that known, what is this behaviour? I was kind of fascinated by it. I was kind of studying him and he’s just looking around to see who’s looking at him,” Meloni said. “I was like, ‘Wow, that is like a bundle of insecurity.”

Meloni also talks about “breaking the Internet” with Instagram photos of himself and Mariska Hargitay, how he feels about being called a “zaddy” and more.

Watch the full video here.

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Steve-O Taken Down After Duct-Taping Himself to Billboard

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“Jackass” star Steve-O had a team duct-tape him to a Los Angeles billboard — prompting a respond by the Los Angeles Fire Department — on Wednesday.

The stunt was an advertisement for his new comedy special, “Gnarly,” currently available to stream on his website. He posted about it on Instagram, publishing a selfie from his vantage point and expressing the safety precautions he took to ensure no city resources would be expended in efforts to help him off the sign.

“I’m attached to a billboard right now (swipe to see the whole thing) and want to emphasize that a team of real professionals rigged everything safely,” he wrote. “There is zero chance of me falling, and it’s important to me that we not waste any valuable city resources on this.”

Despite the star’s insistence that the stunt was safe, the LAFD responded later that day, with a video on CBS Los Angeles showing him being removed from the sign. An alert from the LAFD said 21 responders were dispatched to the scene, which it called “an apparent behavioral emergency.” It said the event did not require hospital transport by ambulance.

The comedy special that Steve-O was promoting, “Gnarly,” shows him duct-taped to the side of a truck as it travels from Las Vegas to Colorado. His friends also feature in “Gnarly,” as they discuss some of the over-the-top things the star has done throughout his life.

The multimedia special is written and executive produced by Steve-O, alongside executive producers Lux Wright, Sam Macaroni and Scott Randolph. It is directed by Mark Ritchie.

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25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World 2020 Presented by FilmFreeway

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What makes something or someone cool is nearly impossible to articulate. It’s like what Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart said about obscenity: “I know it when I see it.”

We can all agree that 2020 is not cool. In fact, it’s obscene. COVID-19-induced cancellations, postponements, and pivots have made this annual list much less fun to compile than it usually is. But we look forward to the festivals still scheduled for later this year — in some form or another — and for other festivals’ triumphant returns later — whenever it’s safe.

To compile this list of the 25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World, our panelists scanned the globe for the fests with the most forward-thinking programming, unique locations, and well-executed events. Some have obviously made huge changes recently for the greater good. That’s one of the coolest things we can imagine.

2020 Panel of Cool

Ela Bittencourt is a critic, writer, and programmer with bylines in Film Comment, Harpers, Hyperallergic, Sight & Sound, The Hollywood Reporter, and Village Voice. She has over fifteen years of experience in arts management and philanthropy, and she consults for a number of festivals, including Giornate degli Autori / Venice Days.

Garrett Bradley works across narrative, documentary, and experimental modes of filmmaking to address themes such as race, class, familial relationships, social justice, Southern culture, and the history of film in the United State. Bradley received The Directing Award: U.S. Documentary at Sundance 2020 for Time.

Sky Hopinka is an artist from the Ho-Chunk Nation/Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians whose video, photo, and text work centers around personal positions of Indigenous homeland and landscape, and looks at the ways language can be used to express culture through various types of documentary film, photography, and writing.

Eran Polishuk is an independent producer and promoter of films and film. He has worked with top festivals, distribution companies, and philanthropic organizations as well as film and education institutes. In January, Eran launched Chapter Two Films — a distribution and media strategy company dedicated to representing independent filmmakers.

Ryan Werner runs Cinetic Marketing, which promotes independent films. Its recent campaigns included Parasite, Portrait of a Lady on Fire, Moonlight, Hereditary, Marriage Story, First Cow, American Factory, The Lighthouse, Cold War, O.J.: Made in America, and Free Solo. He is also a programmer-at-large for BAMCinematek in Brooklyn.

Athena Film Festival

Feb. 18-21, 2021 / New York City, NY

Known for its Athena List, this festival highlights three to five screenplays focused on female leaders that have yet to be produced. Its track record includes the Sundance-prize winning Clemency, RGB, and On the Basis of Sex, among many others. “The Athena Film Festival at Barnard College is one of the few film festivals dedicated to challenging and changing how our society views and values women leaders. It’s a space to embrace your badass lady-ness in all its glory,” panelist Eran Polishuk says. “There are networking events for filmmakers, an awards ceremony that draws high-profile people, and so many young people — because it all takes place in NYC on the campus of Barnard College.”

Athena

(L-R) Gloria Steinem, Lorraine Toussaint, Effie T. Brown at the 2020 Athena Film Festival awards ceremony. Photo by Lars Niki / Getty Images

BAMCinemaFest

June 2021 / New York City, NY

BAMcinemaFest stands out in a crowded NYC scene as a premiere space for indie newcomers. Last year’s fest included screenings of Liza Mandelup’s social media doc Jawline, Lulu Wang’s The Farewell, and Jong Ougie Pak’s Sunrise/ Sunset. The fest was one of many sidetracked by COVID-19 this year, but count on director of film programming Ashley Clark and head of film programming Gina Duncan to lead the fest back. The two have “set a new standard for the curation of classic cinema both new and old,” says panelist Garrett Bradley.

Berkshire International Film Festival

June 3–6, 2021 / Great Barrington, MA

Panelist Ryan Werner describes Berkshire as a “well-programmed festival that mixes docs, foreign language, and American independent films,” and while the 15th iteration has been bumped to June 2021, there are plans for some drive-in screenings in late summer 2020 amidst the rolling green hills and idyllic villages of Western Massachusetts. In typical years, Werner notes, that BFF is “as much about the films as hanging out at places like the Red Lion Historic Inn, or getting pizza at Baba Louie’s.”

Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival

Sept. 17 – Oct. 11, 2020 / Berwick-upon-Tweed, United Kingdom

This festival in the upper eastern reaches of England makes a strong effort “to include the town and the landscape and history into the programming,” says panelist Sky Hopinka, who calls it “a remarkable accomplishment” that aids with its “friendly and welcoming atmosphere.” In April, the fest added programmer Ana David, a veteran of IndieLisboa, Berlinale, and BFI London Film Festival. She says Berwick “strikes me as a gathering of like-minded film and moving image passionate practitioners.” Last year, Filipino master of contemporary slow cinema Lav Diaz flew 17 hours to attend a screening of his 2016 film A Lullaby to the Sorrowful Mystery. If that level of commitment by one of our greatest living moviemakers isn’t a ringing endorsement, we’re not sure what is.

Coolest Film Festivals in the World

Photo by Erika Stevenson

Cinema South Film Festival

Sept. 14-17, 2020 / Sderot, Israel

“How magnificent this is,” Polishuk reminisces about the closing night screening at Cinema South, in which festival patrons sang and danced throughout a documentary about a Moroccan musician. Run by students and faculty of Sapir College’s School of Audio & Visual Arts, the festival has a reach far outside of Israel. Since its founding in 2002 its satellite programs have expanded in the U.S. and across Western Europe.

Continue for more of MovieMaker‘s 25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World, 2020

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Report: The Seahawks Cut A Rookie For Trying To Sneak A Woman Dressed In Team Gear Into The Hotel

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NFL teams have begun training camps around the country, steadily working their way into a return to football while also trying to thread the needle of doing so during a pandemic without seeing outbreaks among teams.

For this to work, teams must be diligent about testing, tracing, and having protocols in place to mitigate the risk for players. But most importantly, players have to do the right things when they are outside of the facility. Positive tests are inevitable, but the league and teams are hopeful they can isolate those cases and not lead to baseball-like team-wide shutdowns. Whether that’s possible outside of a bubble remains a point of contention, but the league is insistent on giving it a go and teams are taking their protocols very seriously.

Seahawks rookie cornerback Kemah Siverand learned exactly how serious all this is when he was cut this week for reportedly trying to sneak a woman into the team hotel disguised as a player by dressing her in team gear, per Tom Pelissero of NFL Network.

Given the situation, this is a serious issue and one teams and players have to call out, because the risk of transmission in a locker room is incredibly high and players bringing in someone from the outside isn’t just selfish, but threatens the entire start of the season. As such, a player without any tenure in the league is not going to get any sort of benefit of the doubt in a situation like this, and now, the undrafted rookie out of Oklahoma State is out of a job before he even got a chance to try and secure his place in the league.

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