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'The L Word: Generation Q' builds on the barriers broken by the original, says Jennifer Beals

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ABC/Paula Lobo(NEW YORK) — Fifteen years after the groundbreaking original show began, Showtime’s sequel series The L Word: Generation Q, debuts Sunday. To show how much things have changed in this country in the years since the show first aired, gay marriage wasn’t even legal at that time, and now, queer representation on TV is no longer out of the mainstream.  

The show’s original cast is back, including Jennifer Beals, who plays Bette. She tells ABC Audio that she and co-stars Katherine Moennig and Leisha Hailey are friends who, “see each other all the time,” but she adds, “we don’t see each other as ‘Bette’, ‘Shane’ and ‘Alice’, right? So that first day on set was truly surreal.”

Beals adds, “[I]t really wasn’t until I put my cufflinks on that I really kind of could feel Bette come back.”

So what’s Bette been up to? “Masking disaster,” the former Flashdance actress jokes. “She’s had a really challenging past two and a half years.”

As the series begins, Bette decides to run for mayor of Los Angeles.

Beals adds that while the original show opened doors, it continues to break down barriers.

“I really love how inclusive the cast is…And, you know, there is a wider embrace to the trans characters and trans characters are played by trans actors,” says Beals. “There are some trans actors who play cis characters. And so that’s interesting…to me because it makes us all really rethink gender identity.”

She comments about the show’s return: “While…I’m very, very excited that [the show] gives visibility…to an entire community, I’m also really excited that those people who aren’t part of that community get to experience the beauty of that community.”

The L Word: Generation Q debuts Sunday at 10 p.m. on Showtime.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Felicity Jones rises to new heights — and gains a fear of heights — in 'The Aeronauts'

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Todd Williamson/January Images(NEW YORK) — Felicity Jones is rising to new heights in the new inspired-by-true-events film, The Aeronauts.

The Oscar-nominated actress plays 19th century balloon pilot Amelia Wren opposite her Theory of Everything co-star Eddie Redmayne, who plays meteorologist James Glaisher. Together, they embark on a dangerous journey to fly higher than anyone in history.

Most of the film takes place within the confines of a gas balloon during its ascent into the clouds. Jones and Redmayne even filmed some scenes thousands of feet in the air in a real balloon, while director Tom Harper watched from a nearby helicopter.

“I was fine before the film and then afterwards… Now I’m not so good with heights,” Jones tells ABC Audio.  “It’s quite a gradual ascent as you go up…so it doesn’t strike you. It’s actually coming down in the landing where it…can be a bit more rocky.”

While Amelia is a fictionalized character, she was heavily based on real-life pioneering aeronaut Sophie Blanchard and serves as a role model for young women.

“She was a massive inspiration for Amelia Wren,” Jones says. “It’s so important to have those characters when you’re growing up and watching films and go, ‘These things that I’m told might be impossible to do, I can do them if I put my mind to it.’”

Now, Jones is onto her next adventure. Earlier this week, People confirmed that the actress is expecting her first child with husband Charles Guard.

The Aeronauts hits theaters today and will be available on Amazon Prime Video starting December 20.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

'Spies' in real lives: Will Smith says he and his 'Spies in Disguise' co-star Tom Holland dominated an escape room

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20th Century Fox/Eric Charbonneau(LOS ANGELES) — Maybe it’s not surprising considering one of them is Spider-Man, and the other’s been an action hero since the Spidey star’s been in Underoos, but Tom Holland and Will Smith reportedly crushed an escape room.

The pair can be heard as unlikely partners in the upcoming animated movie Spies in Disguise, but they never met until recently, when they decided to bond in one of those interactive environments.

“We were wanting to figure out if we really could do the stuff that we did as spies,” Smith explained to Entertainment Weekly at the premiere of the film. “We got out. It was a 1-hour escape room, and we were out in 24 minutes.”

“I think Will got the majority of the clues,” Holland confessed to EW. “I’ve never actually escaped an escape room so the secret of escaping an escape room is do it with Will Smith because he’s really good at it.”

In Spies in Disguise, Smith plays a 007-like character who accidentally gets turned into a pigeon while looking for a disguise from his gadget man, voiced by Holland.  

For Holland, who in real life is an accomplished acrobat who does most of his Spider-Man flips and falls, voicing an animated character presented him with a challenge.

“[Y]ou can’t move from the mark that you’re on,” he explains. “So Walter will be falling off a building after he’s tried to do some parkour, and I’ll be doing all the moves but just not moving. …[I]t is one of the most tiring things I’ve ever done. But it’s so rewarding and I’m so proud of the movie.”

Spies in Disguise, also featuring the voices of Rashida Jones, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel‘s Rachel Brosnahan, and Avengers and Jumanji veteran Karen Gillan, opens December 25.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

"Anything is possible!" A very pregnant Ashley Graham talks about her "almost" solo Vogue cover

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Annie Leibovitz/ Vogue(NEW YORK) — Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue model and body positivity advocate Ashley Graham is celebrating the new year by appearing on the latest cover of Vogue, cradling her very prominent baby bump in a shimmering copper Oscar de la Renta caftan.

Her January issue cover, shot by famed photographer Annie Leibovitz, is the second powerful female to be featured as part of the magazine’s “Vogue Values” issue: Fashion designer Stella McCartney was the first cover revealed, and Little Women director Greta Gerwig will also be featured.

Graham first appeared on American Vogue in 2017, sharing the splash with Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid and other top fashion models.

For her part, Graham tells ABC Audio she’s stoked she’s got the cover to herself…sort of. “It’s almost my first solo Vogue cover,” she said, laughing heartily — considering her unborn son with Justin Ervin is also sharing the spotlight.

The honor reminds her, “…anything is possible for those who work hard and ask to get to where they are.”

Graham explains that even as someone who knocked down doors for body acceptance, being pregnant meant an attitude shift. “Oh, my gosh, it’s so ridiculous. I know, my kid isn’t even here yet and I’m already thinking about like, ‘What’s my body supposed to look like?'” 

She adds, “I’ve been so thankful for the [mommy] community online because…this has not been an easy process for me, watching my body change. And the…mommy community has embraced me so much and I’m so thankful for them, because the tears that I have cried watching new stretch marks form, back fat form….But every mommy has said, ‘It’s OK, everything’s gonna be fine.'” 

As for the photos, Ashley admits she’s lucky: “I know, my first baby pictures, Annie Liebowitz shot me!”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Paula Abdul, Green Day to perform on 'Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2020'

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ABC/Jeff Niera(NEW YORK) — Paula Abdul and Green Day are among the artists who’ll be ringing in the New Year on Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2020.

Both acts are performing on the West Coast portion of the annual December 31 special, which will be hosted from Hollywood by pop and R&B star Ciara.

The West Coast celebration also will feature performances from pop singer Dua Lipa, country artists Dan + Shay and Kelsea Ballerini, indie-pop group SHAED and rappers Salt-N-Pepa and Megan Thee Stallion, among others. The fun gets underway at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

Ryan Seacrest will host additional performances from New York City’s Times Square with co-host Lucy Hale, and lead the traditional countdown to the New Year, while Billy Porter will host from New Orleans, and lead the countdown in the Central Time Zone.

Performers for New York and New Orleans will be announced soon.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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