UN Photo/John Isaac(NEW YORK) -- In the hours after Nelson Mandela's death was announced, many celebrities, some of whom had a connection to the former South African president, expressed their condolences and paid tribute.
Here's a sample of the reactions, ranging from statements released by reps to comments published on social media: Idris Elba, who plays the title role in the current film Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, which had its London premiere Thursday: “What an honor it was to step into the shoes of Nelson Mandela and portray a man who defied odds, broke down barriers, and championed human rights before the eyes of the world. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
Naomie Harris, who plays Winnie in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom: "I am deeply saddened by the loss of one of the greatest inspirational leaders of our time. Today South Africa lost its spiritual father. Too often violence and oppression lead to further violence and retribution. He taught us to fight back with peace....While no single film can replicate a person's life, I am very proud to be part of our tribute to this extraordinary man. His accomplishments and approach to peace are lessons that will live on for generations."
Harvey Weinstein, whose Weinstein Co. made Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom: “We count ourselves unspeakably fortunate to have been immersed in Nelson Mandela’s story and legacy. It’s been an honor to have been granted such proximity to a man who will go down as one of history’s greatest freedom fighters and advocates for justice. I have had the privilege of spending time with President Mandela and I can say his sense of humor was as great as his optimism. We are deeply saddened by his loss; our hearts go out to his family and the entire South African nation.”
Morgan Freeman, who played Mandela in the film Invictus: "Today the world lost one of the true giants of the past century. Nelson Mandela was a man of incomparable honor, unconquerable strength, and unyielding resolve -- a saint to many, a hero to all who treasure liberty, freedom and the dignity of humankind. As we remember his triumphs, let us, in his memory, not just reflect on how far we've come, but on how far we have to go. Madiba may no longer be with us, but his journey continues on with me and with all of us."
Dennis Haysbert, who played Mandela in the film Goodbye Bafana: "Portraying Nelson Mandela, in the film Goodbye Bafana was a defining moment in my life and my career. We as a society, have been blessed to live in a time that Nelson Mandela has lived, loved, and led. What he has done for his country, his countrymen, and everyone on this planet may not be achieved again...ever."
Jennifer Hudson, who played Winnie in the film Winnie Mandela: "The Mandela family is in my thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. Mr. Mandela fought for freedoms and equality that changed the face of South Africa and the world. We can all learn from his extraordinary journey."
Oprah Winfrey: "One of the great honors of my life was to be invited to Nelson Mandela's home, spend private time and get to know him. He was everything you've ever heard and more – humble and unscathed by bitterness. And he always loved to tell a good joke. Being in his presence was like sitting with grace and majesty at the same time. He will always be my hero. His life was a gift to us all."
Charlize Theron, a native of South Africa: "There will never be words to say what I'm feeling right now. I am saddened to the depths of my soul. Truly."
Kerry Washington: "RIP Nelson Mandela. God Bless You."
Tyrese Gibson: "His heart will still beat for the world even in heaven....Winnie and the family my deepest condolences to you I'm sending my energy and prayers to you and your family... Just know that while he was with us he SERVED his God given purpose and saved millions while doing so."
Jamie Foxx: "Rest in Peace Mr. Nelson Mandela. A fearless leader, incredible human being, inspiration, a REAL hero. Truly one of a kind. God bless you. Thank you for your mark you left on humanity Mr. Mandela. Prayers to his family, friends and the people of South Africa."
Samuel L. Jackson: "Never met a better person in my life than Nelson Mandela. My sympathy to his family & his country."
Steve Martin: "You have to love the Mandela life."
Eva Longoria: "Today the world lost one [of] its greatest leaders. Rest in peace Mandela..."
Mark Ruffalo: "Sad Day. We will miss you...." Whoopi Goldberg: "I want 2give the world a hug I was told Mandeba just passed. Nelson Mandela R.I.P. Time for a well earned sleep. Condolences to his family."
Relativity(NEW YORK) -- Only one movie opens nationwide on Friday: Out of the Furnace, a drama starring Christian Bale, Woody Harrelson and Casey Affleck.
Bale stars as Russell, a steel mill worker who spends time in jail. After he's released, he sets out to save his brother -- Affleck's character, Rodney -- from a crime ring. Harrelson plays the leader of the ring.
Forest Whitaker, Zoe Saldana, Sam Shepard and Willem Dafoe also star in Out of the Furnace, which was written and helmed by Crazy Heart director Scott Cooper. The film is rated R.
Another option this weekend is Lee Daniels' The Butler. The summer hit returns to theaters, just in time for awards season.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire has been the box office champ the last two weekends. It made $74 million during the three-day Thanksgiving weekend.
Nino Munoz/NBC(NEW YORK) -- NBC on Thursday night presented the three-hour live event The Sound of Music Live, featuring Carrie Underwood and True Blood’s Stephen Moyer as Maria and Captain Von Trapp.
This adaptation of the Rogers and Hammerstein classic, about a young novice who falls in love with the Captain and his seven children, with Nazi-occupied Austria serving as the backdrop, was broadcast live.
NBC’s decision to remake the classic movie, which starred Julie Andrews as Maria, drew criticism from die-hard fans, who questioned whether Underwood could match Andrews’ performance in the 1965 film, as well as how the live element of the show would be handled.
The presentation had the occasional audio issue. Underwood earned kudos for her singing, but mixed reviews for her acting on social media.
Eamonn McCormack/WireImage(LOS ANGELES) -- California cops have arrested an 18-year-old man and another will reportedly surrender in connection to the alleged theft of a piece of the doomed 2005 Porsche Carrera GT that crashed in Santa Clarita on Saturday, killing Fast and the Furious series star Paul Walker and his friend, Roger Rodas.
The Santa Clarita Sheriff's Department said in a press release that after the wreck was removed Saturday evening, a witness spotted a particular vehicle tailing the truck towing what was left of the demolished car.
When the truck stopped for a traffic light, one suspect jumped out of the car and "grabbed a piece of the wrecked Porsche off the tow truck bed" before the pair drove off.
The tow truck driver reported the theft to the police, and soon investigators obtained a warrant and allegedly found the red panel in the possession of Jameson Witty and arrested him at his home Thursday.
Then again, all investigators needed to do to confirm they apparently nabbed the right guy was check Witty's Instagram posts that night. There, they would have seen a hand holding up the red roof panel, along with the caption, "Piece of Paul walkers car, took it off a tow truck at a stop light @anthonyjanow #paulwalker #rip #comeup."
Witty was booked at the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station, and bail was set at $20,000. He's expected to face charges of felony grand theft and tampering with evidence. The other suspect, said to be 25, is reportedly making arrangements to surrender.
The Los Angeles County Coroner's Office reported Wednesday that Rodas, the Porsche's driver, was killed on impact, while his passenger Walker died from the "combined effects of traumatic and thermal injuries" caused by the fiery wreck. The cause of the crash is still under investigation.
Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC(NEW YORK) -- The Writers Guild of America announced its nominees for the 2014 Writers Guild Awards in the television categories on Thursday. Nominees include new series such as Orange is the New Black, House of Cards, Ray Donovan, Masters of Sex and The Americans.
Breaking Bad and 30 Rock received nominations in their last year of eligibility, while 2013 nominees Girls and Game of Thrones didn't get nominated at all this time around.
The awards will be given out on Feb. 1, 2014, at simultaneous ceremonies held in Los Angeles and New York. The list of TV nominees is posted on the official Writers Guild website. Movie nominees will be announced on Jan. 3.
Columbia Pictures(NEW YORK) -- "Every day, I wake up knowing that the more people I try to save, the more enemies I will make. And it's just a matter of time before I face those with more power than I can overcome."
That's the first thing we hear Peter Parker, aka Spider-Man, says in the new trailer for The Amazing Spider-Man 2. And a multitude of super-villains is exactly what Spidey is facing in this sequel to the reboot that introduced Andrew Garfield as everyone's favorite web-slinger.
In the trailer, we're introduced to Peter's good buddy Harry Osborn, played by Dane DeHaan, who may or may not turn out to be the new Green Goblin, Spidey's biggest foe. There's also Jamie Foxx as Electro, who mocks, "Soon everyone in this city..will know..how it feels to live in a world without power. Without mercy. Without Spiderman!”
In addition, we see a glimpse of Paul Giamiatti as The Rhino, and some hints that there will be, at some point, future appearances by both Doctor Octopus and The Vulture.
There's also Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy, Peter's great love, telling him, "This is bigger than you." And Peter discovering that his late father had some sort of involvement with the villainous Oscorp, the company run by a dying Norman Osborn, Harry's dad, played by Chris Cooper.
"Not everyone has a happy ending," he says.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 hits theaters in May of 2014.
Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images(LONDON) -- News of Nelson Mandela’s death at the age of 95 made its way to the London premiere of the highly anticipated biopic, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, about the former South African president and liberator.
After the Mandela photo montage played over the credits, the house lights came up at the Odeon Leicester Square theater and an announcement was made and a moment of silence was observed by the cast, including the film’s star Idris Elba, who played Mandela, ABC News sources report.
Elba, 41, released a statement after hearing about Mandela’s death.
“What an honor it was to step into the shoes of Nelson Mandela and portray a man who defied odds, broke down barriers and championed human rights before the eyes of the world. My thoughts and prayers are with his family,” he said. “I am stunned at this very moment, in mourning with the rest of the world and Madiba’s family. We have lost one of the greatest human beings to have walked this earth, I only feel honored to be associated with him. He is in a better place now.”
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were also on hand for the premiere and apparently learned of Mandela’s death while the movie was in progress. They left after the credits.
ABC/Matt Brown(LOS ANGELES) -- At 32, Jennifer Hudson is in full stride — the Oscar-winning actress can be seen in three vastly different movie roles this year.
"I spent my twenties figuring out what I wanted to do, and trying everything," the singer-actress said in Essence magazine's January issue. "But by 30, my foundation was set. I became confident and clear about the path I wanted to take. … Now I've really settled into myself. And I'm stronger than I've ever been."
That strength has allowed Hudson to stretch her acting chops like never before. Playing iconic figure Winnie Mandela in the big screen biopic of the same name, Hudson first had to master a South African accent.
"I was so nervous about doing a good job that I started working on the accent a couple of months before I even got there," she told Essence.
Then, she had leave fiance David Otunga and son David Jr. to go film in South Africa. "I was like, 'Oh, my God, you want me to leave my baby and my man?'" she said.
On top of all that was the pressure to live up to the living legend.
"So much was done to suppress Winnie's voice, to keep her quiet. Winnie's story needed to be told," Hudson said.
Hudson’s next role, playing a prostitute addicted to heroin in The Inevitable Defeat of Mister & Pete, was a big stretch for her. "The drugs, the tattoos, the prostitution — her life is so different from my own," she said.
To research the part, she visited rehab centers and met with addicts.
Hudson can also be seen in Black Nativity, a film adaptation of Langston Hughes' 1961 Off-Broadway musical, with Angela Bassett and Forest Whitaker.
Director Kasi Lemmons told Essence, "I wrote the role for her. She has such a unique combination of fragility and strength."
As for her personal life, Hudson said she's in no hurry to marry Otunga.
"Yes, there was a date set, and that date has come around again every year," Hudson said. "In fact, the date may keep rolling around. … When I'm ready to be married, I will be married. It's that simple. Everyone should just chill. Our relationship is very strong. We're both huge family people, and I'm only going to get married once. So I'm not rushing into anything."
ABC/Mark Levine(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) -- Hayden Panettiere is ready to plant some roots — the Nashville star is buying a home in Tennessee.
"After a year and a half of living here, I felt that I had enough personal investment here, that I want to have a grounding here, even if something happens to the show," the 24-year-old actress and New York native told People magazine. "Knock on wood it won't! But I have amazing friends here and this just feels good as a home base."
Panettiere, who is engaged to boxer Wladimir Klitschko, said her 6-foot-6-inch Ukrainian fiancé should have no trouble fitting in either.
"He fits in anywhere. He's a very worldly man!" she told People.
Asked about whether she's planning their wedding yet, Panettiere replied, "With both of our schedules, it's crazy trying to schedule anything, much less a wedding."
Plus, the young star is still trying to get comfortable with the idea of being the center of attention.
"I'm very shy in some ways," she told People. "Obviously I'm in the spotlight professionally, but to be that vulnerable, standing up in front of people doing something so personal, that's kind of a new thing for me and not exactly in my comfort zone."
"There are many ways to get married and we'll figure one out that is comfortable for both of us," she added.
ABC/Todd Wawrychuk(NEW YORK) -- The Von Trapps found out last spring that The Sound of Music, the movie based on their real-life family that fled Austria to escape the Nazis during World War II, was being remade after almost 50 years into a live television event.
Myles von Trapp Derbyshire is the great grandson of Maria von Trapp, the matriarch of the family, who was played by Oscar-winner Julie Andrews in the 1965 film.
Even though Von Trapp Derbyshire told ABC News he doesn't understand why anyone would try to remake this classic film, his biggest problem is the casting of Grammy-winner Carrie Underwood for Thursday night's NBC special.
"It's just upsetting that this could potentially be the final broadcast of our story," he said. "And although her voice is amazing, she doesn't have acting experience…. It's just the overall image, she's a country star, she won American Idol, she's very public in kind of a tabloid way."
The 28-year-old New Yorker is very proud of his family’s legacy and said, "Now we have this very glossy, tabloid figure playing this role."
He explained that Andrews and also Mary Martin, who originally played Maria von Trapp on Broadway in the 1950s, were both well-respected actresses.
"[Our family has] had the conversations of who could play this role better and it was Anne Hathaway, for example," he said. "Here's someone who just won an Oscar for a similar situation [in Les Miserables]. She was able to act and sing."
Myles's aunt Francoise von Trapp even went as far as to blog, "Carrie Underwood as Maria? Seriously?" when she heard of the casting for Thursday night's remake.
Underwood, 30, recently told Entertainment Weekly that fans have gone as far as to send her hate tweets for taking on the role. She added that the acting part is her biggest apprehension about the live musical.
"I think so many people out there still don't understand what we're doing and, therefore, they do have this incredible ownership over the movie, like 'You can't remake that movie!' I get hate tweets and stuff like that and like, 'You're not Julie Andrews!'" she told EW. "I know I'm not — nobody is, and I would never pretend that I was. I know my place, you know?"
A request for comment from Underwood wasn’t immediately returned to ABC News.
To be fair, Myles admits no one should be sending Underwood nasty messages over this.
"I did feel badly that she’s been getting a lot of mean tweets from fans of the movie," he said.
As to whether he’ll watch the show tonight, Von Trapp Derbyshire is on the fence. The original idea was to boycott the broadcast, but he said after speaking with his mother, who is trying to be positive about the situation, she might have convinced him to watch.
"We need to be educated," he said. "We can't walk in Friday morning to work or into a conversation without knowing what happened."
ABC/ RON TOM(LOS ANGELES) -- Simon Cowell now has his pregnant girlfriend all to himself. Lauren Silverman's divorce from her estranged husband, Andrew Silverman, was finalized in New York on Wednesday, according to E! Online.
Lauren and Andrew Silverman reached a settlement in their divorce last August, a couple of weeks after her pregnancy was revealed. Reportedly, they agreed to joint custody of their 7-year-old son.
According to E! News, a baby shower for Lauren Silverman will be held at a private home in Los Angeles this weekend.
James White/CBS(LOS ANGELES) -- Sharon Osbourne often tells it like it is, and she didn’t hold anything back in an open letter she wrote to her estranged brother, David Arden, and posted on her Facebook page earlier this week.
The Talk co-host accused Arden of trying to “make money off” her son Jack Osbourne’s 2012 multiple sclerosis diagnosis by selling an article to Britain’s Mirror.
“That’s as low as it gets, making money off my son’s MS,” Osbourne, 61, wrote in a Facebook post. “Jack was diagnosed in 2012, where have you been the last 18 months? You know how to reach me. You know how to reach the Osbournes.”
Arden, 62, has MS himself. He told the Mirror that he’s “the only other person in the family” with the disease.
“I know when I was first diagnosed I wanted to speak to fellow MS sufferers,” he said, adding, “I’m sure Jack feels the same.”
But Osbourne insisted Jack, 28, had a strong support system.
Addressing Arden in the open letter, Osbourne wrote about Jack, “He is a married man with a daughter and a loving family. You were only in his life for a handful of years, he doesn’t know you.”
Osbourne went on to list a number of ways she tried to help Arden out financially, saying she “realized after all these years that I cannot buy your respect or love.”
She also responded to his claims in the Mirror article that she bad-mouthed their parents, listing examples of how their father, the late music producer Ron Arden, allegedly used her as a “financial shield” and how she “spent years paying off his bills because they were in my name.”
Osbourne also addressed Arden’s statement to the Mirror that he’s “prepared to make peace with her for the sake of Jack.”
While making it clear that she’s not interested in reconciling with her brother, she wrote, “I really do wish you and your family well.”
Steve Granitz/WireImage(LOS ANGELES) -- Amanda Bynes has finished her inpatient treatment and is already thinking about her next move.
The attorney for her mother, Lynn, told People magazine that Bynes is out of the treatment center in Malibu, Calif., and now recovering at her parents’ Los Angeles home.
“She’s now looking at various colleges with the intention of majoring in fashion design,” a statement from attorney Tamar Arminak said. “She’s mentioned before she’s interested in creating a clothing line.”
The lawyer added that while Bynes is out of the treatment facility, the Hairspray actress will continue an outpatient program and is “very happy to reestablish the loving relationship with her family that she once shared.”
Bynes, 27, was first detained by police earlier this summer after an incident where she allegedly started a fire in a residential driveway. After spending time in the psychiatric wing of UCLA Medical Center, she was moved in late August to a Malibu rehab facility.
“Amanda and her entire family would like to thank everyone who’s contacted them with good thoughts and wishes for Amanda’s recovery,” Arminak’s statement continued. “Amanda has completed her inpatient rehabilitation and she’s feeling better every day.”
Lynn Bynes will remain in control of Amanda’s care and finances while she continues to recover, People reported.