Its Friday, and now that you have opened this newsletter, it will drop into a shredder.
Hello from Los Angeles, where were following Harvey Weinsteins legal machinations, learning what Johnny Depp really is sorry about, and welcoming Ryan Coogler back to Wakanda.
A POINT FOR HARVEY
Nearly a year to the day after bombshell news stories about Harvey Weinstein ignited the #MeToo movement, the disgraced producer got a rare piece of good news in a Manhattan courtroom Thursday, when a judge dismissed one of the six charges against him. The dropped charge involved accuser Lucia Evans. Evans had testified to a grand jury that Weinstein forced her to perform oral sex during a meeting in his office in 2004, but a letter unsealed Thursday revealed that a friend of hers disputed that account in an interview with an N.Y.P.D. detective that he never passed along to the District Attorneys office. Though prosecutors vow that theyre “moving full steam ahead” on the other five sex-crime charges Weinstein faces (Weinstein has denied all allegations of sexual misconduct), the revelation about the Evans witness could potentially imperil the broader indictment. “Now they are questioning [Evanss] credibility, and the credibility of the detective who was investigating the case,” New York criminal-defense attorney Julie Rendelman told me. “When youre the D.A., youd better be dotting your Is and crossing your Ts. You dont want something like this coming.” Evanss attorney, Carrie Goldberg, expressed frustration with the D.A.s office, telling the A.P., “Let me be clear: the decision to throw away my clients sexual assault charges says nothing about Weinsteins guilt or innocence. Nor does it reflect on Lucias consistent allegation that she was sexually assaulted with force by Harvey Weinstein. It only speaks volumes about the Manhattan D.A.s office and its mishandling of my clients case.” You can read my full analysis of the case and where its headed next here.
A lot of people questioned how beloved and oft-progressive Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling could defend casting Johnny Depp in the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them sequel after the actor was accused of physical and emotional abuse by actress Amber Heard, his ex-wife. Depp has denied Heards allegations, but it still hit many Rowling fans hard that the author stood by his participation in the film, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. Now Depp has told Entertainment Weeklys James Hibberd how the events felt for him. “Ill be honest with you, I felt bad for J.K. having to field all these various feelings from people out there,” Depp said in an interview for this weeks E.W. cover story on the film. “I felt bad that she had to take that. Ultimately, there is real controversy. The fact remains I was falsely accused.” Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald opens November 16, but dont expect the Depp saga to blow over then. The actor has also said next month he plans to fight British tabloid The Sun in court over its coverage of the allegations. Yohana Desta has the story.
BACK TO THE THRONE
Ryan Coogler is set to return to Wakanda. According to The Hollywood Reporters Borys Kit, the Blank Panther director has quietly closed his deal to write and direct a sequel to his groundbreaking, $1.3 billion-grossing Marvel movie. Sources tell Kit that Coogler will spend next year writing the script, and will aim to begin production in late 2019 or early 2020. As Desta notes, the director has been “in an enviable position,” with “precious leverage” after the explosive box office, effusive reviews, and Disneys decision to campaign the film in the best-picture race. For his part, Coogler will be busy. Before returning to Black Panther, the filmmaker will develop the education drama Wrong Answer with his frequent collaborator Michael B. Jordan, and produce Space Jam 2 with LeBron James.
David Gordon Greens Halloween hits theaters next week, the 11th film in the long-running horror series. Vanity Fair contributor Simon Abrams spoke to seven men who have played the seriess real star, masked killer Michael Myers. “The funny thing about that mask: its so blank that everybody projects onto it what they want to see, and how he should behave,” said Rob Zombie, who directed the 2007 Halloween remake. “Sometimes, Id get pushback along the lines of, Michael Myers cant do that. According to who? The Michael Myers Handbook? I never got a copy of that.”
ONE BAD TIME
Not even Chris Hemsworths chiseled abs can make a good time out of Bad Times at the El Royale, according to Richard Lawson. In his review, Lawson writes that the Drew Goddard thriller, about seven strangers hiding secrets at a shady hotel on the California-Nevada border, “flattens itself into a dull, and easily answered, moral and religious inquest—gradually eschewing all complexity, painstakingly clarifying its gray areas.”
Thats the news for this week on the Hollywood and awards beat. Tell me what youre seeing out there. Send tips, comments, and Michael Myerss mask to Rebecca_Keegan@condenast.com. Follow me on Twitter @thatrebecca. If you received this e-mail from a friend and would like to subscribe to the newsletter, head on over here.
Get Vanity Fairs HWD NewsletterSign up for essential industry and award news from Hollywood.Rebecca KeeganRebecca Keegan is a Hollywood Correspondent for Vanity Fair.