News Column

Another 'Rocky'? 'Creed' it and weep

July 25, 2013


July 25--IN FILM CRITIC Gary Thompson's recent interview with "Fruitvale Station" first-time director Ryan Coogler, Coogler joked that even though "Station" had been getting great acclaim, no one had asked him to direct an "Avengers" movie yet.

How about a "Rocky" movie?

According to, Coogler will reteam with his "Station" star Michael B. Jordan for "Creed," a "Rocky" spin-off about the grandson of Apollo Creed.

The one-and-only Rocky, Sylvester Stallone, will reportedly return as young Creed's not-so-eager trainer.

'Avenger' schools Taliban

Warner Bros./DC hasn't been able to get a Wonder Woman movie off the ground, but maybe someone will have more luck with the Burka Avenger.

No, she's not one of the Avengers (although she could be Head-To-Toe Black Widow) -- she's a mild-mannered teacher with secret martial-arts skills who uses a flowing black burka to hide her identity as she fights local thugs seeking to shut down the girls' school where she works.

In Pakistan.

The Taliban have blown up hundreds of schools and attacked activists in Pakistan's northwest because they oppose girls' education. The militants sparked worldwide condemnation last fall when they shot Malala Yousafzai, a 15-year-old schoolgirl activist, in the head in an unsuccessful attempt to kill her.

Action in the "Burka Avenger" cartoon series, which is scheduled to start running on Geo TV in early August, isn't quite so serious. The bungling bad guys evoke more laughter than fear and are no match for the Burka Avenger, undoubtedly the first South Asian ninja who wields books and pens as weapons.

The Urdu language show is the brainchild of Pakistani pop star Aaron Haroon Rashid -- known to many as simply Haroon -- who conceived of it as a way to emphasize the importance of girls' education and teach children other lessons, such as protecting the environment and not discriminating against others. This last point is critical in a country where Islamist militants wage repeated attacks on religious minorities.

"Each one of our episodes is centered around a moral, which sends out strong social messages to kids," Rashid told the Associated Press. "But it is cloaked in pure entertainment, laughter, action and adventure."

The Avenger is also cloaked, but Rashid said her burka is "not a sign of oppression. She is using the burka to hide her identity like other superheroes. Since she is a woman, we could have dressed her up like Catwoman or Wonder Woman, but that probably wouldn't have worked in Pakistan."


--"Late Night" host Jimmy Fallon and his wife, Nancy Juvonen Fallon, welcomed a baby daughter Tuesday morning.

A Fallon publicist says the first-time parents are "overjoyed" and to the best of our knowledge they did not name their baby girl George.

That was some other kid.

--The stolen van containing $70,000 worth of equipment belonging to the 1980s band Flock of Seagulls has been found in Southern California -- but it was empty.

What the Flock?

--Israeli film officials say Israeli-American actress Natalie Portman will direct her first feature film, based on an autobiographical novel by celebrated Israeli writer Amos Oz.

Yoram Honig, of the Jerusalem Film Fund and a publicist for the film, said yesterday that Portman wrote the screenplay and also will star in the movie as Oz's troubled mother.

They say Portman is to arrive in October in Israel to cast local actors. The movie, set around the time of Israel's founding, will be filmed in Jerusalem in 2014.

--A Virginia man has admitted embezzling at least $400,000 from Dave Matthews Band violinist Boyd Tinsley.

Court documents say Getty Andrew Rothenberg pleaded guilty Tuesday to wire fraud in federal court in Charlottesville.

The documents say the 39-year-old Richmond man embezzled the money while working as a personal assistant and financial manager for a person identified only as "CBT." The U.S. Attorney's Office confirmed the person was Tinsley.

Rothenberg's duties included paying personal bills and expenses and directing investments. He submitted fraudulent or inflated bills and used the excess money for personal use.

Rothenberg faces up to 30 years in prison. Sentencing is set for Sept. 17.

--Dule Hill ("Psych," "The West Wing") will showcase a talent besides his "super-smeller" when he joins Broadway's "After Midnight," a musical celebrating Duke Ellington's years at the famous Cotton Club nightclub in Harlem.

Producers said yesterday that the tap-dancing Hill will play the host of the show, presenting the sound and glamor of the Harlem Renaissance.

Performances start Oct. 18 at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre, with an official opening night set for Nov. 3.

--USA Today says Chuck Palahniuk is working on a sequel to Fight Club. The first rule of a sequel to Fight Club is: You do not talk about a sequel to Fight Club. The second rule of a sequel to Fight Club is: you do not talk about a sequel to Fight Club!

- Daily News wire services contributed to this report.


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