72nd Cannes Film Festival - The amfAR's Cinema Against AIDS 2019 event
72nd Cannes Film Festival – The amfAR’s Cinema Against AIDS 2019 event – Antibes, France, May 23, 2019. Dua Lipa poses. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

May 23, 2019

By Sarah White and Johnny Cotton

CAP D’ANTIBES, France (Reuters) – From Pamela Anderson to Dua Lipa, the great and good of the movie and music world mingled at the Cannes Film Festival’s most glamorous fixture on Thursday night, a fundraiser for AIDS research where stars including Mariah Carey were set to perform.

Reality TV star and model Kendall Jenner, actors Antonio Banderas and Andie MacDowell, and designer Tommy Hilfiger were among guests at the swanky AmfAR dinner on the French Riviera, put on by the U.S.-based Foundation for AIDS Research.

Attendees and AmfAR representatives said this year’s event, also set to feature a performance by crooner Tom Jones, was particularly poignant, following medical breakthroughs in trying to find a cure for AIDS.

An HIV-positive man in Britain became the second known adult worldwide to be cleared of the AIDS virus after he received a bone marrow transplant from an HIV-resistant donor, his doctors said in March.

“As optimistic as we are going forward, this disease is nowhere near finishing,” AmfAR board Chairman William Roedy told journalists ahead of the party on the grounds of the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc, an exclusive hotel on the Cap d’Antibes, which juts out into the Mediterranean along the coast from Cannes.

“We have to keep our foot on the pedal,” he said.

Australian actress Rebel Wilson presented one of the items on auction at the event, a marble Mickey Mouse statue, which sold for 450,000 euros ($503,235) after bids started at 50,000 euros.

A stay on a private island off Tanzania went for 100,000 euros.

A painting by Andy Warhol, a motorbike and a collection of designer dresses were also up for auction, as well as a stay in London that included a chance to meet Prince Charles and participate in events linked to his charitable foundation.

Movie mogul Harvey Weinstein used to be a staple of the AmfAR event in Cannes. Last year’s dinner was the first in his absence after he was embroiled in a scandal when more than 70 women accused him of sexual misconduct.

($1 = 0.8942 euros)

(Reporting by Sarah White and Johnny Cotton; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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UK premiere of the Elton John biopic 'Rocketman' in London
FILE PHOTO: Elton John and his husband David Furnish attend the UK premiere of the Elton John biopic ‘Rocketman’ in London, Britain, May 20, 2019. REUTERS/Simon Dawson

May 23, 2019

By Jill Serjeant

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Movies like “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Love, Simon” and “Deadpool 2” helped increase the numbers of gay and bisexual characters in Hollywood movies last year.

But a study by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning and/or queer (LGBTQ) advocacy group GLAAD on Thursday found that transgender characters were entirely absent from films released in 2018 for the second year in a row.

The GLAAD report found that of the 110 releases from the seven largest Hollywood studios, 20 included LGBTQ characters. That marked an increase from 2017 and the second-highest percentage of inclusive films in the seven-year history of the annual GLAAD report.

Yet more than half the LGBTQ characters had less than 3 minutes of screen time, and there also was not a single animated or family film that included an LGBTQ character.

“Bohemian Rhapsody,” which brought Rami Malek a best actor Oscar for his performance as the late bisexual Queen singer Freddie Mercury, “Deadpool 2,” with the first openly lesbian superhero movie characters, and teen comedy “Blockers,” featuring a teen girl with a crush on another girl, all proved box office hits last year.

“While the film industry should include more stories of LGBTQ people of color and transgender people, studios are finally addressing the calls from LGBTQ people and allies around the world who want to see more diversity in films,” GLAAD Chief Executive Sarah Kate Ellis said in a statement.

Upcoming movies include the musical biopic “Rocketman,” about gay icon Elton John, and high school comedy “Booksmart,” which has a lesbian lead character.

Yet the GLAAD report said the movie industry lags television, which last year broadcast shows like “Pose,” about 1980s New York drag culture, and “Supergirl,” which has a transgender superhero.

The report also expressed “real concern” over Walt Disney Co’s acquisition earlier this year of 21st Century Fox, particularly since it said that none of the 10 films released by Disney in 2018 had any gay characters. Fox 2000 Pictures, the production company behind critically acclaimed gay teen romance “Love, Simon,” is to be shuttered by Disney later this year.

“Studios may be more hesitant to invest in new types of content, and decisions on what gets green-lit and who is involved are made by smaller groups of people,” Ellis said.

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant in Los Angeles; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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FILE PHOTO: European premiere of Ocean's 8
FILE PHOTO: Cast member Rihanna poses for pictures as she arrives for the European premiere of Ocean’s 8 in London, Britain June 13, 2018. REUTERS/Simon Dawson/File Photo

May 23, 2019

By Pascale Denis

PARIS (Reuters) – Barbadian singer Rihanna has unveiled her new fashion brand with Louis Vuitton owner LVMH, a rare move by the French group to set up a label from scratch as it taps into soaring demand for celebrity collaborations in the luxury world.

Fenty – after the “Umbrella” hitmaker’s full name, Robyn Rihanna Fenty – will build on the singer’s existing joint venture in cosmetics with LVMH, with a full range of clothing, shoes and accessories.

“My fashion will be different and non-traditional, because I do not come from this industry,” the singer told a news conference Wednesday evening, saying she hoped to bring a “new vision of fashion”.

Presented in a store in Paris’ trendy Marais district, the clothes offer structured lines, white or beige jackets with wide shoulders or blazer dresses wrapping the body.

The collection is also for men with large denim jackets and parka coats.

The French group has increasingly exploited collaborations with celebrities as well as streetwear designers to attract young customers of luxury goods.

But most ventures of the sort have been restricted to limited editions, and LVMH is looking to steal a march on peers by taking its pairing with 31-year-old Rihanna to another level.

It will be able to rely on Rihanna’s social media credentials – the singer has amassed 70.5 million followers under her Instagram handle “badgalriri”.

Known for her bold fashion statements at red carpet events, Rihanna is followed almost as much for her style as her music, and had already worked with other labels including sportswear brand Puma on collections under the Fenty name.

In contrast to other LVMH brands, Fenty products will be sold at significantly lower prices.    

Prices range from 600 euros ($669.18) to 800 euros for a dress, 500 euros for sandals and 300 euros for costume jewelery.

The brand will be essentially an e-commerce-only venture, supported with temporary “pop-up” events rather than a store network.

The first “pop-up” store, Paris, will open on Friday for two weeks and the website on May 29. The brand will first be available in 14 countries, in Europe and the United States, and will open in Asia by year-end.

(Writing by John Irish; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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Actor Daniel Craig poses for a picture during a photocall for the British spy franchise's 25th film set for release next year, titled
Actor Daniel Craig poses for a picture during a photocall for the British spy franchise’s 25th film set for release next year, titled “Bond 25” in Oracabessa, Jamaica April 25, 2019. REUTERS/Gilbert Bellamy

May 22, 2019

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – James Bond actor Daniel Craig will undergo ankle surgery after injuring himself while filming the spy franchise’s latest installment, but the movie remains on schedule for an April 2020 release, producers said on Wednesday.

A posting on the official James Bond Twitter account said the surgery was minor and that Craig hurt himself while shooting in Jamaica.

“Production will continue whilst Craig is rehabilitating for two weeks post-surgery. The film remains on track for the same release date in April 2020,” the tweet said.

The still untitled movie, known by the working title “Bond 25,” will be Craig’s fifth go-around as Britain’s most famous fictional secret agent.

British media reported that Craig, 51, slipped and hurt himself on set last week while filming an action sequence.

The MGM spy franchise is one of the movie world’s most lucrative with 2015’s “Spectre,” directed by Sam Mendes, raking in $880 million at the box office worldwide, while “Skyfall” in 2012, also directed by Mendes, grossed more than $1 billion globally.

Bond 25 is being directed by American Cary Joji Fukunaga.

(Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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72nd Cannes Film Festival - Photocall for the film
72nd Cannes Film Festival – Photocall for the film “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” in competition – Cannes, France, May 22, 2019. Director Quentin Tarantino and cast member Leonardo DiCaprio pose. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier

May 22, 2019

By Sarah White and Hanna Rantala

CANNES, France (Reuters) – Quentin Tarantino said on Wednesday he didn’t tell Roman Polanski in advance about his latest movie, set in the run-up to the notorious 1969 Manson murders which claimed the life of Polanski’s wife at the time, actress Sharon Tate.

Tarantino’s “Once Upon A Time In Hollywood”, an ode to a bygone Hollywood era, stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Rick Dalton, an actor coming to terms with his faltering career and living next door to Polanski and Tate, who is played by Margot Robbie.

It was screened for the first time at the Cannes Film Festival on Tuesday evening, drawing often rapturous response from critics who praised its darkly comic moments, outrageous plot twists and evocative period atmosphere.

Asked at a news conference on Wednesday whether he had discussed his interpretation of events with Polanski at any point, Tarantino said: “No, I didn’t.”

He earlier said that he had met the Franco-Polish director “a couple of times” over the years, and was a fan of his work, including the 1968 psychological horror film “Rosemary’s Baby”.

Tate, aged 26 and eight months pregnant, was killed along with four friends at her Los Angeles home in August 1969 by members of a cult led by Charles Manson. Polanski was away on business in Europe at the time.

Manson, who was convicted of ordering the deaths of nine people in total, died in prison at age 83 in November 2017.

The murders carried out by Manson’s mainly young, female devotees shocked the world and badly damaged the peace-and-love, hippie ethos of the late 1960s – something which resonated with the cast of “Once Upon A Time”.

“In the time building up to that (point), there was a free love movement,” Brad Pitt, who plays Dalton’s stunt double and long time friend Cliff Booth, told the news conference. “It was a sobering dark look at the dark side of human nature, and that pivotal moment was a real loss of innocence.”


While the movie lingers on an encounter between Cliff and the creepy, young hippie drifters who made up the “Manson Family” on an abandoned desert ranch they had taken over outside Los Angeles, and Tate comes and goes, it’s more than anything a love letter to the film industry.

Tarantino – who issued a plea before the premiere asking for viewers to refrain from spoiler alerts – celebrates the industry’s kitsch moments, pays homage to spaghetti westerns and martial arts stars, and delves into the pains of being on a film set as well as the uplifting power of a performance.

DiCaprio said he was able to identify with Dalton’s feeling of being a Hollywood outsider, even in his position as one of the industry’s highest-grossing stars.

“I have a lot of friends in the industry and I know how lucky I am to be in this opportunity,” DiCaprio said, adding he’d “immediately connected” with the character. “This guy is seen not only struggling with his own pathos, his own ability to gain confidence and persevere and get that next job.”

Tarantino submitted “Once Upon a Time In Hollywood” just in time to compete for the Cannes festival’s top Palme d’Or prize, 25 years after pop culture classic “Pulp Fiction” won it.

Tarantino includes nods to his own movies in his ninth feature, which has been described by some critics as self-indulgent and overly long at times, even if nearly all found enough to like in its show-stealing scenes.

“It wasn’t meant to be ridiculously self-conscious, but there is a thing about summing up certain things, which I wasn’t necessarily trying to do, but they started appearing,” he said.

Tarantino said that one of his long-time collaborators and first people to see the new script had joked upon reading it: “Damn! Number nine is like all eight of them put together.”

“I hadn’t thought about it like that,” said Tarantino, whose other notable films include “True Romance”, “Jackie Brown” and “Inglourious Basterds”.

Tarantino bluntly shut down a journalist who said he had given Robbie very few lines in the film, even though she has screen time. “I reject your hypothesis,” he said.

(Reporting by Sarah White and Hanna Rantala; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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72nd Cannes Film Festival - Screening of the film
72nd Cannes Film Festival – Screening of the film “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” in competition – Red Carpet Arrivals – Cannes, France, May 21, 2019. Director Quentin Tarantino poses with his wife Daniella Pick. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

May 22, 2019

CANNES, France (Reuters) – Quentin Tarantino, who once suggested he was too focused on movie-making to marry, said on Wednesday that his recent wedding to Israeli singer Daniella Pick had made him “take stock” from a different perspective.

After unveiling “Once Upon A Time In Hollywood” in Cannes, Tarantino and the cast were asked whether the film — about an actor worried he is becoming a has-been — had made them look differently at their own lives and careers.

“I can honestly say that my taking stock is different than it would have been three years ago, four years ago or even 10 years ago,” Tarantino, 56, told a news conference.

“I just got married six months ago … I’ve never done that before and now I know why. I was waiting for the perfect girl.”

Pick, 35, was sitting in the room. She has accompanied Tarantino on the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival in recent days, and also has a role in his new movie.

The film, set in Hollywood in the late 1960s, stars Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio and received warm praise from critics following its Tuesday evening premiere.

Tarantino said in a 2009 interview that when he was making a film, it took precedence over everything else in his life, one of the reasons he had never married.

“When I’m doing a movie, I’m not doing anything else. It’s all about the movie. I don’t have a wife. I don’t have a kid. Nothing can get in my way,” he was quoted as saying in GQ magazine.

(Reporting by Sarah White and Hanna Rantala; Editing by Catherine Evans)

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72nd Cannes Film Festival - Screening of the film
72nd Cannes Film Festival – Screening of the film “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” in competition – Red Carpet Arrivals – Cannes, France, May 21, 2019. Director Quentin Tarantino and cast members Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio and Margot Robbie arrive. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

May 21, 2019

By Sarah White and Johnny Cotton

CANNES, France (Reuters) – With Hollywood stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt in tow, Quentin Tarantino unveiled his latest opus in Cannes on Tuesday, a story about movie magic and acting pains that wowed many critics – at least in parts.

Set in the late 1960s, when spaghetti westerns ruled the screen, “Once Upon A Time in Hollywood” was one of the most hotly anticipated premieres at the film showcase – not least because it only made it to the competition at the last minute.

Tarantino, a Cannes darling, won the festival’s top Palme D’Or prize for “Pulp Fiction” 25 years ago, and his latest offering is not short of big names, with Australian actress Margot Robbie and Al Pacino also in the line-up.

Centered on Ricky Dalton, a TV actor wracked by self-doubt played by DiCaprio, the film is a love letter to the world of cinema, from its glamorous parties to the highs and lows of being on set.

Dalton and stunt double Cliff Booth, played by Pitt, roam the studios of Hollywood, pondering their careers and getting into scraps, running into hippies and martial arts stars.

Ominously, however, it also takes place in the run-up to the notorious Mason murders – the gruesome killings orchestrated by cult leader Charles Manson, which claimed the life of pregnant actress Sharon Tate, married at the time to filmmaker Roman Polanski.

The film’s evocative atmosphere, flashes of violence that Tarantino is known for, and darkly comic moments elicited some early rave reviews following the premiere.

“It’s shocking, gripping, dazzlingly shot,” The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw wrote, giving it five stars.

The finale was “entirely outrageous, disorientating, irresponsible, and also brilliant,” Bradshaw added.

In a message sent out on social media by the movie’s promoters ahead of the premiere, Tarantino asked the media and those at the premiere not to ruin the film, his ninth, with any spoilers.

“The cast and crew have worked hard to create something original,” the director said. “I only ask that everyone avoids revealing anything that would prevent later audiences from experiencing the film in the same way.”

Some critics highlighted the movie’s patchier, more self-indulgent moments, but they still found enough to like in show-stealing scenes and strong performances by DiCaprio and Pitt in particular.

Entertainment site TheWrap called it “big, brash, ridiculous, too long, and in the end invigorating.”

“It’s fun but … it’s too long for a small story in fact,” Joachim Lepastier, a journalist from France’s Cahiers Du Cinema, told Reuters after leaving a screening.

Tarantino, who arrived on the French Riviera last week and has been spotted at several screenings and premieres, hit the red carpet on Tuesday alongside his wife, Israeli singer and model Daniela Pick, who also has a role in the film.

DiCaprio, Pitt and Robbie also put in star turns on the Croisette at the glitzy premiere.

The Cannes Film Festival runs until May 25. Tarantino is vying for the top award alongside veteran filmmakers like Britain’s Ken Loach or Spain’s Pedro Almodovar, and newer ones including French promise Celine Sciamma.

(Reporting by Sarah White and Johnny Cotton; Editing by Frances Kerry and Richard Chang)

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The premiere of Disney's live-action 'Aladdin' in London
Cast member Will Smith attends the premiere of Disney’s live-action ‘Aladdin’ in London, Britain May 9, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

May 21, 2019

By Rollo Ross

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Will Smith was initially worried about playing the genie in Disney’s live action version of “Aladdin” after the celebrated performance by the late Robin Williams more than 25 years ago, but says it eventually became a joy.

“What Robin Williams did with this character – he just didn’t leave a lot of room to add to the genie. So I started off fearful but then when I got with the music, it just started waking up that fun, childlike, silly part of me,” Smith said.

“This was the most joyful experience of my career,” the actor, 50, said ahead of the film’s release worldwide this week.

“Aladdin,” directed by Guy Ritchie, marks Smith’s first time doing a Walt Disney Co film. The remake features many of the elements of the 1992 animated original, for which Williams won a Golden Globe for his voice work.

“I like the original movie so I’m aware I don’t want to contaminate the nostalgia of the first one,” said Ritchie. “What you want to do is embellish.”

“My principal job was to entertain my five kids and my Disneyphile of a wife,” said Ritchie, who is better known for action adventure movies like “Sherlock Holmes” and adult crime caper “RocknRolla.”

Naomi Scott who appeared in “The 33” and “Power Rangers” plays Princess Jasmine. Mena Massoud, who appeared in last year’s “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan” series, plays the title role in the movie.

“Aladdin” is the latest Disney remake of its animated family film classics. It follows a live action version of flying elephant tale “Dumbo” in March, the upcoming July reboot of “The Lion King,” and “Mulan” due for release in 2020.

(Reporting by Reuters Television; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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Chef Jamie Oliver poses during a photocall at the annual MIPCOM television programme market in Cannes
Chef Jamie Oliver poses during a photocall at the annual MIPCOM television programme market in Cannes, France, October 15, 2018. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

May 21, 2019

By Alistair Smout

LONDON (Reuters) – British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver’s restaurant chain went into administration on Tuesday, threatening around 1,300 jobs in the latest blow for Britain’s high street.

Oliver, 43, a well-known figure in Britain and beyond for his popular TV shows and top-selling cookery books, founded his Jamie’s Italian brand of high street restaurants in 2008.

“I am deeply saddened by this outcome and would like to thank all of the staff and our suppliers who have put their hearts and souls into this business for over a decade,” he said.

About 1,300 jobs across 25 branches will be put at risk by the administration, a form of protection from creditors. The Jamie Oliver Group said it had appointed KPMG as administrators.

Barbecoa, a steakhouse and Jamie Oliver’s Diner are also hit by the administration, which includes the London branch of Fifteen – Oliver’s first restaurant which he founded in 2002, a social enterprise designed to train young unemployed people.

Alin Ciocan, 28, was preparing to start his shift at London Victoria’s branch of Jamie’s Italian when he heard that the branch would not be opening and he had lost his job.

“I didn’t believe it at first,” he said, adding he was unsure if he would stay in the sector.

“I really, really enjoy serving people, but it’s a strange time at the moment, and all the casual dining and high street restaurants are in decline.”

Oliver’s chain is the latest victim of a brutal trading environment on Britain’s high streets.

In March, Boparan Restaurant Group (BRG) said it planned to close more than a third of its Giraffe and Ed’s Easy Diner outlets, while Carluccio’s, Prezzo, Strada and Gourmet Burger Kitchen closed branches in 2018.

Changing customer habits have seen a rise in appetite for takeaway apps such as Just Eat and Deliveroo and favoring faster food service over high-street staples such as Jamie’s.

There were almost 5 million fewer trips to full service restaurants in the 12 weeks to March 24, compared with a year earlier, data from Kantar showed. Sales in such restaurants declined by 6% in the year to March 24.

Oliver, who started cooking at the age of eight at his parents’ pub in Essex, northeast of London, was discovered by BBC television while working as a chef in London’s River Cafe in the late 1990s.

His “Naked Chef” show, which was broadcast in dozens of countries, made him a household name at the age of 21.

His recruitment of youngsters for Fifteen won him an honor from Queen Elizabeth in 2003, and he used his reputation to put pressure on politicians to combat growing child obesity problems by campaigning for healthier school meals.

Fifteen Cornwall, operated under a franchise, is unaffected, as is Jamie Oliver’s international restaurant franchise business.

(Reporting by Alistair Smout; Editing by Stephen Addison and Alison Williams)

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72nd Cannes Film Festival - News conference for the film
72nd Cannes Film Festival – News conference for the film “Rocketman” Out of Competition – Cannes, France, May 17, 2019. Cast member Taron Egerton poses for pictures. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

May 21, 2019

By Sarah White and Johnny Cotton

CANNES, France (Reuters) – Actor Taron Egerton said on Friday he’d developed a close friendship with Elton John while preparing for the biopic “Rocketman”, adding to the emotion after a glittering premiere where few of its stellar attendees were left dried-eyed.

The musical spectacular, which features one Elton John hit after another as it tracks the highs and lows of his journey to superstardom, made its debut at the Cannes Film Festival on Thursday, with the singer in tow on the red carpet.

Egerton said he was already an avowed fan of the singer – even auditioning to get into drama school by singing “Your Song” – and had gotten to know John well during filming, making it “borderline overwhelming” to step into his shoes on-screen.

“I’m very proud to call him a friend. He is the kindest, most interesting, warm man. That has made it feel very important to me,” Egerton told a news conference on the French Riviera, choking up at moments.

The British actor, also known for his role in spy comedy “Kingsman”, said he had delved into Elton John’s repertoire to prepare.

“You immerse yourself in his music. The invaluable thing was .. I was able to spend a lot of time with him and talk about anything,” he added.

The movie, which is not competing for awards at the cinema showcase, veers into traditional Hollywood musical territory. It mixes in elements of fantasy, as the hitmaker floats above the stage during a frenetic concert or descends into a drugged-fueled haze surrounded by a writhing dance troupe.

“The response has been so wonderful … you made a young man from Aberystwyth incredibly happy and a 72 year-old rockstar even more happy,” Egerton said, fresh from performing “Rocketman” the night before alongside Elton John at a glitzy afterparty.


Directed by Dexter Fletcher – who contributed to making Freddie Mercury biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody” – the movie has so far drawn mixed reviews, with some critics questioning its sugary edges while praising the energy of the musical numbers.

“Fletcher has fashioned an ebullient monument to pop superstar Elton John that’s cliched in the telling, but gets by on the strength of his early catalog,” Variety critic Peter Debruge wrote.

The film was about John’s “lust for life”, Fletcher told the news conference, adding that it was not meant to show the singer as perfect.

“There was no dark corner where he didn’t want us to shine a light,” Fletcher said.

“Rocketman” also stars Jamie Bell as lyricist Bernie Taupin, and Richard Madden as the singer’s former lover and manager John Reid.

Madden, who has been talked up as a contender to play James Bond when Daniel Craig takes a step back from the franchise, brushed off the rumors on Friday – fueled by his dapper red carpet appearance the night before in a white tuxedo.

“It’s very flattering to be involved in that conversation. It’s all just talk,” Madden said. “I’m sure next week it will be someone else.”

(Reporting by Sarah White and Johnny Cotton; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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