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HBO/Helen Sloane

Ten years ago this weekend – April 17, 2011 -- viewers got their first notice that winter was coming, as Game of Thrones debuted on HBO. Based on A Song of Ice and Fire, the book series by George R. R. MartinGame of Thrones went on to become one of the most acclaimed, popular, and controversial, series in TV history.

Here are five fascinating facts about Game of Thrones:

5. Before George R.R. Martin allowed producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss to adapt his books, he insisted that they tell him who they thought Jon Snow’s real mother was. Though her identity hadn't been explicitly revealed in the books, they answered correctly, and got the job.**

4. Game of Thrones was the most pirated show on TV for six consecutive years: 2012 to 2017. In 2019, the season eight premiere was pirated 55 million times in just 24 hours.

3. You can learn the Game of Thrones languages Dothraki and High Valyrian -- created specifically for the show -- online through Living Language and Duolingo, respectively.

2. During Game of Thrones’ run, the names Daenerys, Khaleesi, Arya, Brienne and Sansa rose in popularity as names for baby girls, while parents named baby boys Tyrion, Bran, Sandor and Theon.

1. Peter Dinklage, who played Tyrion Lannister, is the only Game of Thrones star who ever won an Emmy for their role in the show, and he won four times.

As previously reported, HBO, HBO2 and HBO Max are running a month-long 10th anniversary event that includes an episode marathon, special collectibles and a Game of Thrones spotlight page.

**Spoiler alert: Jon Snow's real mother was Lyanna Stark, Ned Stark's late sister. His father was Rhaegar Targaryen, the late elder brother of Daenerys.

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Marvel Studios

Days after directors James Mangold and Antoine Fuqua announced they were moving their respective projects out of Atlanta in protest of a controversial voting law, Ryan Coogler says he and Black Panther 2 are staying put. 

Mangold was to have directed the fifth Indiana Jones movie in Atlanta, and Fuqua was to call the shots on the Will Smith slavery-themed drama Emancipation.

Coogler's decision does not mean the Academy Award-nominated filmmaker isn't angry about the measure, however.

In a message posted to the website Shadow and Act, Coogler noted in part, "The fight for full enfranchisement is fundamental to the African-American struggle in this country... . As an African-American, and as a citizen, I oppose all attempts, explicit and otherwise, to...reduce access to the ballot."

That said, Coogler noted, "...I have come to understand that many of the people employed by my film, including all the local vendors and businesses we engage, are the very same people who will bear the brunt of [the measure] SB202."

He added, "For those reasons, I will not be engaging in a boycott of Georgia. What I will be doing is using my voice to emphasize the effects of SB202, its shameful roots in Jim Crow, and doing all I can to support organizations fighting voter suppression here in the state."

Coogler's concern for the hundreds of Georgians who would be put of of work if productions pull away from what has become a major filmmaking hub has been echoed by others, including Dr. Bernice King, who recently tweeted that #BoycottGeorgia "would hurt middle class workers and people grappling with poverty...And...increase the harm of both racism and classism."

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Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for BMI

Snoop Dogg, Meagan Good and more have joined Jamie Foxx in J.J. Perry's directorial debut, Day Shift. 

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Netflix thriller follows Foxx's character as a hard-working dad, who simply wants to give his daughter a good and stable life, "but his mundane San Fernando Valley pool cleaning job is a front for his real source of income, hunting and killing vampires as part of an international union of vampire hunters."

How to Get Away with Murder's Karla Souza has also joined the Day Shift cast, which includes Dave Franco and Eric Lange.

Deadline reports esteemed singer Deborah Cox has been selected for a recurring role on the forthcoming HBO Max sci-fi series Station Eleven, based on the international best-selling novel from author Emily St. John Mandel.

Lastly, the latest film in the Fast & Furious saga is headed global. Ahead of its North American premiere, F9 is set to debut in China and Taiwan on May 21st, according to Variety. Starring Vin Diesel, John Cena, Ludacris and more, the film hits theaters in North America on June 25.

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Gisela Schober/Getty Images

(NOTE LANGUAGE) There is truth behind the phrase "Trust your instincts."  Actress Patricia Arquette says she's sure glad she listened to hers when things became uncomfortable during a second date.

Responding to a Twitter chain where users spoke about their most awkward dates, the Medium actress recalled the time she dated a future convicted murderer.

Arquette, 53, decided that chain was the perfect opportunity to talk about her one-time fling with pro-skateboarder Mark Anthony Rogowski -- professionally known as Gator.

"Second date. Pro skateboarder. Really cute. Friends with my friends," the Oscar winner reminisced on Wednesday. 

The date supposedly went well, but things came to a screeching halt after she leaned in for a kiss.

"We made out but something about how he kissed me freaked me out," reflected Arquette. "I gave him a fake number. Years later he killed his girlfriend."

Rogowski was convicted for the 1991 assault, rape and murder of Jessica Bergsten, a 22-year-old model, and was sentenced to 31-years to life in prison.  He is eligible for parole in March 2023.

When Twitter users asked the Boyhood actress to explain why the kiss disturbed her, she explained in a follow up tweet, "It felt aggressive. Like pushing me back hard with his jaw and it felt like it was angry."

Arquette also recalled another time she was subjected to another aggressive kiss -- opting not to identify the mystery man -- and revealed after he bit her, "I started choking him and told him don’t ever f***ing do that to a woman again."

And while the actress joked that her experiences made her "overprotective" of her 18-year-old daughter Harlow, she ended her recollection by urging fans, "Moral to the story- Trust your instincts."

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ABC/Temma Hankin

John Corbett says he will reprise his role as Carrie Bradshaw’s ex-fiancé, Aidan Shaw, in HBO Max's highly anticipated Sex and the City revival, And Just Like That...

The 59-year-old actor broke the news during a recent interview with the New York Post, saying the news was “very exciting.”

Corbett didn't get into specifics on the extent of his involvement in the revival other than he might be in "quite a few" episodes.

Original stars Sarah Jessica ParkerCynthia Nixon and Kristin Davis have all confirmed they will be returning for the reboot as Carrie, Miranda Hobbes and Charlotte York, respectively.  Kim Catrall, who played the salacious Samantha Jones, confirmed she will not take part in the new series.

Corbett can currently be seen in in the Rebel, the Erin Brockovich inspired drama, opposite Katy Sagal.

Rebel airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.

 

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ABC/Byron Cohen

Well, that didn't take long. 

Less than a month after she left the social media platform, saying, "This no longer serves me as positively as it serves me negatively," Chrissy Teigen is back on Twitter. 

"Turns out it feels TERRIBLE to silence yourself and also no longer enjoy belly chuckles randomly throughout the day and also lose like 2000 friends at once lol," she told her 13.1 million followers in her first post-hiatus post.

She added, "I choose to take the bad with the good."

When one of those followers asked what the 35-year-old former model and mom has been up to, Chrissy quipped, "I've just spent weeks saying tweets to shampoo bottles."

While her post garnered overwhelming fan support, as always, there are more than her share of naysayers. One replied with a gif reading, "Here's that attention that you ordered."

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Alex Livesey - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

It appears Amazon is sparing no expense for its upcoming Lord of the Rings streaming series.

Although the company won't confirm it, Stuart Nash, minister for economic development and tourism for New Zealand -- where Peter Jackson's Oscar-winning trilogy was shot -- spilled the beans to Radio New Zealand

"What I can tell you is Amazon is going to spend about $650 million [NZ] in season one alone," said Nash.  That's around $465 million USD -- enough to impress even Smaug.  What's more, Amazon's investment in New Zealand made it eligible for a massive rebate of more than $114 million from the government. 

As it did with Jackson's trilogy, the country's Board of Tourism will use some of the footage for promotion. "This provides the opportunity...to promote New Zealand as the 'Home of the Lord of the Rings series, timed to coincide with the airing of the first season on international screens," Nash said, calling it. "the largest series of all time."

Little is known about the forthcoming series' plot, except that it will explore Middle-Earth before the events of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Fellowship of the Ring.

The international cast includes Maxim BaldryRobert AramayoOwain ArthurNazanin BoniadiTom BudgeEma HorvathMarkella KavenaghMegan Richards, and Daniel Weyman.

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Warner Bros.

Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman was inspired by Princess Diana.

Gal, 35, has been portraying the superhero since 2017, and during Vanity Fair's Cocktail Hour Live! event she revealed that the late royal and her character share similar characteristics. 

"I remember watching a documentary about Princess Diana and there was a part where they said she was full of compassion and always cared for the people and that was like, 'Ding, ding, ding,' that should be the Wonder Woman we have," the actress shared. 

Perhaps, it's no coincidence that Wonder Woman's name is Diana Prince. In any case, Gal added that she wanted her portrayal of the role to show "vulnerabilities and heart."

"… How can you connect to a goddess that’s super strong and has it all and [is] super perfect?" she said of Wonder Woman. "I wanted to show her vulnerabilities and heart."

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Starz

Courteney Cox has gone viral again, proving on Instagram that she's really Monica Gellar IRL. That is to say, the former Friends star took part in the "Tell Me Without Telling Me" social media game by confirming her meticulous kitchen would be indeed approved by her fastidious former Friends character.

"Tell me you're a Monica without telling me you're a Monica," Cox says to the camera.

"I'll go first," she continues, before opening a cutlery drawer that's arranged as meticulously as a surgeon's tray.  She also displays spotless, well-stocked spice stations and an orderly pantry. 

"I know," she then says apologetically. "Am I the only one?" she captioned the video.

The post had more than 1.4 million likes as of noon Friday, and counting. 

Meanwhile, Cox has recently wrapped production on the forthcoming HBO Max Friends reunion, and signed a deal to star in the horror comedy series Shining Vale for Starz. She'll play the mom in a dysfunctional family that moves from the city to a spooky house where "terrible atrocities have taken place." Her character, who's in recovery and was a formerly best-selling author of "Lady Porn" books -- think 50 Shades of Grey -- is convinced either the house is haunted or she's going crazy. Not the best environment to raise her typically unimpressed teenagers. 

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Gilbert Carrasquillo/GC Images

Jeannie Mai and Jeezy recently tied the knot, but on Thursday, the Talk co-host revealed the adorable way her husband got down on one knee and proposed to her.

Appearing on the new episode of Overserved with Lisa Venderpump, Mai, 42, disclosed a few never-before-heard details about her engagement to the "Put On" rapper.

"He was going to propose to me in Vietnam and because of the pandemic, he ended up recreating a kind of Vietnamese experience," the 42-year-old stylist gushed, saying he whisked her away on a date night in April 2020 and asked him to wait outside his home. "So I finally open the door and the entire condo had been filled with authentic lanterns... I could smell the foods of all of Vietnam. So sweet!"

Mai said Jeezy, 43, then led her by hand to the fireplace and got down one knee to ask her the big question.

After he told her "some beautiful things," Mai grinned, "The next thing I know I was screaming 'Yes!'"

The Dancing with the Stars alum expanded on what Jeezy said to her during the romantic proposal, recalling, "He just said how healing it is to find somebody who could love him and bring out the parts of him that he wanted to work on."

Mai and Jeezy tied the knot in an intimate ceremony on March 27, revealing they had to change their original plans because of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the February passing of Jeezy's mother, Denise Jenkins.

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Courtesy of Warner Bros.

John M. Chu's adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda's Tony-winning musical In the Heights will open the 20th anniversary installment of the Tribeca Film Festival on June 9.

The event, which runs through June 20, will be the first major North American film festival to be held in person since the start of the pandemic.

In the Heights' unveiling will be hosted in the New York City neighborhood in which the film takes place: the United Palace Theater in Washington Heights. The pandemic-delayed Warner Bros. movie's launch will also represent another first for the festival: Tribeca's opening night festivities will be screened simultaneously across all five New York boroughs in multiple open-air venues. 

In a statement, Chu noted, "We are thrilled to be partnering with Tribeca for a city-wide takeover of In the Heights. New York, and specifically Washington Heights, is the lead character in our film -- its vibrancy and energy are unmatched."

He adds, "How incredible that after a year of isolation, New Yorkers from across all boroughs will have an opportunity to see it first, together, and join us in the celebration of life coming back." 

For his part, Miranda said of the festival, "We’re so excited to welcome them uptown! This will be an unforgettable night at the United Palace. We can’t wait to share this musical love letter to our community, with our community, in our community."

The Tribeca Film Festival was founded by Robert De Niro, with partners Jane Rosenthal, and Craig Hatkoff in 2001 in an effort to spur economic growth following the terror attacks on the World Trade Center.

 

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ABC/Randy Holmes

(NOTE LANGUAGE) Dwayne Johnson believes he would not be where he is today had it not been for one "life changing" handshake.

On Thursday, the Jumanji star shared a clip from his television show Young Rock, which honors his old football coach who taught him the importance of second chances.

"The handshake that changed my life," wrote Johnson, 48. "I was 15yrs old and just moved to Bethlehem, PA and just started attending Freedom High School."

The former WWE star revealed that his life took a dark turn after moving into the area, admitting, "Within a month I’d already been arrested as well as suspended for fighting.  I had an incident with a teacher/football coach named Jodi Cwik in the teachers lounge where we almost came to blows."

"I acted like a real [jerk] to him," reflected the actor. "The next day I found him so I could apologize eye to eye and face to face."

Cwik accepted the young Johnson's apology with a firm handshake, with the former footballer laughing in the caption, "When he wouldn’t let my hand go, I thought he was gonna deck the [heck] outta of me... but instead he said something to me that would forget change the course of life."

In the Young Rock clip, Coach Cwik -- played by Andrew Buchanan -- expresses to Johnson that "we all deserve a second chance" when offering him a spot on the football team.

When Johnson starts to decline the offer, the coach continued, "You live out on the East Side, right?  I grew up around there, too."

While expressing that football can open the doors of opportunity "for guys like us," Cwik urges, "Give yourself a chance... If you got the talent, sky's the limit."

Young Rock airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by therock (@therock)

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Courtesy of Epix

Vincent D'Onofrio, who plays Italian mob boss Vincent "The Chin" Gigante in Epix's Godfather of Harlem, says the second season return of the show will offer plenty of "unexpected" surprises.

"I don't want to tell too much about it, but it gets very cool in an unexpected way," D'Onofrio tells ABC Audio.

"And then, of course, because we're doing a drama, complications happen and it gets worse after that," he reveals. "It's about my character... and Forest Whitaker's character, Bumpy Johnson -- they're playing a game of chess the whole season."

According to D'Onofrio, Bumpy Johnson, who is his character's archenemy on the series, proves to be very challenging to eliminate. To that effect, the actor says that the "stuff between Forest Whitaker's character and [his own] is going to be surprising for the audience."

"I think we're going to show you many colors, so to speak, of what could happen between two men being such opposing figures," D'Onofrio says. "I would keep in mind for the second season, you're going to see these guys together more, looking at each other and having more conversations. And it's dangerous."

"And yet, there's a whole new thing coming as well," he teases.

Season two of Godfather of Harlem premieres April 18 at 9 p.m. ET on Epix.

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Jerod Harris/Getty Images for Tubi

Colton Underwood is fully embracing his life since coming out as gay earlier this week. 

On Wednesday, the former Bachelor came out as gay on Good Morning America. Since his announcement, a clip from his season on the show where Billy Eichner appeared as a guest has resurfaced. 

In the clip, which Billy reposted to his Instagram on Wednesday, shows him joking, "I'm gay. I know that's a shock, Colton. And that, I think, you should look into. Maybe you're the first gay Bachelor and we don't even know!" 

The comedian added in the caption, "Congrats @coltonunderwood. If you're gay, be gay! I've been gay forever and I love it!"

And, it seems Colton loves it too. In the comments, the 29-year-old said, "Love you. Love this (now) and now I love being gay," to which Billy responded: "See you at the club, Colton!"

Colton was the lead for Season 23 of ABC's The Bachelor where he met and began dating Cassie Randolph. The two split May 2020.

 

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HBO

Game of Thrones is now a decade old.

The fantasy epic, perhaps the definitive YV show of the 2010s, first premiered on HBO April 17, 2011, 10 years ago this Saturday.

Based on the A Song of Ice and Fire book series written by George R.R. MartinGoT told the story of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, which are ruled by whomever sits upon the coveted Iron Throne. A world of dragons, ice zombies and seemingly endless war served as a backdrop to an increasingly complicated familial and political drama that would rival any soap opera.

Fans quickly became attached to characters such as Emilia Clarke's Mother of Dragons, Daenerys Targaryen, Kit Harrington's noble bastard, Jon Snow, and Peter Dinklage's hard-drinking, smooth-talking Tyrion Lannister. That love was matched by utter hatred for characters including Lena Headey's conniving Cersei Lannister and her sadistic son, Jack Gleeson's Joffrey Baratheon.

GoT launched the careers of actors including Clarke and Harrington, as well as Sophie TurnerMaisie WilliamsJason MomoaNikolaj Coster-WaldauGwendoline Christie and Pedro Pascal, among many others.

As its popularity grew, GoT exploded into a social media phenomenon, with Twitter becoming a spoiler landmine on Sunday nights, especially when yet another beloved character would suddenly be killed off. 

GoT was not without controversy. It was criticized for its excessive gore, which ranged from beheading to eye-gouging, as well as its use of nudity and its depiction of sexual violence. The term "sexposition" was even coined to describe the show's frequent habit of delivering heavy backstory with naked women onscreen.

Still, GoT was critically adored, and won the most Emmys of any drama in TV history.

Controversially, the TV series ultimately moved beyond the story in Martin's books, culminating in the show's much-maligned eighth and final season in 2019.  Many fans felt it didn't deliver a satisfying conclusion, despite show producers' claims that the action had Martin's blessing.

But while Game of Thrones may be over, its watch hasn't ended quite yet. Multiple spin-off series are in the works at HBO, as is a GoT-inspired Broadway play.

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