Rian Johnson to helm 'Star Wars' after J.J. Abrams

Posted: June 24, 2014

TATTLE INTERVIEWED filmmaker Rian Johnson a couple years back at the Toronto International Film Festival and he was giddy with excitement over the release of his film "Looper."

The man behind "Brick" and "The Brothers Bloom," two artfully crafted indies, had finally gotten big studio money (by his standards) to make the sci-fi time-traveling "Looper," starring Bruce Willis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Emily Blunt.

Well, Johnson must be bouncing off the walls now. He not only has the money and muscle of Disney and Lucasfilm behind his next venture, he has the Force.

Johnson has been tapped to write and direct "Star Wars: Episode VIII," reports deadline.com, the second installment in the new "Star Wars" trilogy to be kicked off by J.J. Abrams.

He will also write the script for "Episode IX."

'Think' like a hit

Local guy Kevin Hart's "Think Like a Man Too" won the box-office battle this weekend, taking in an estimated $30 million. It edged out the second weekend of both "22 Jump Street" ($29 million) and "How to Train Your Dragon 2" ($25.3 million). The debut of "Jersey Boys" finished fourth with $13.5 million.


Selena Gomez's stalker - and it's not Justin Bieber - has been ordered to undergo psychiatric treatment.

L.A. homeless man Che Thomas Cruz will spend many hours with a shrink after pleading no contest to stalking Selena.

Los Angeles County prosecutors say Cruz entered the plea Friday and was told to spend six months in a residential treatment facility followed by a year of psychological treatment.

He'll also have to stay 200 yards away from Selena and her home for 10 years.

Authorities say Cruz went to Selena's home twice and was arrested in March for breaking into her guesthouse.

He pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor trespassing charge, spent two days in jail and hours after his release jumped a fence at Selena's home and was rearrested.

Casey Kasem's family and close friends celebrated him in the same way much of America did - by listening to his unmistakable radio voice.

Mourners at a small private memorial Saturday for Kasem heard his old radio shows, including "American Top 40," where he introduced music from Jimi Hendrix, Joni Mitchell and the Bee Gees.

The ceremony came a week after Kasem's death in Gig Harbor, Wash., at age 82.

Family representative Danny Deraney tells the Associated Press that about 100 family members, close friends and business associates gathered at the memorial at a church in the Bel Air neighborhood.

Kasem's three children all spoke, and pop music arranger David Campbell played a violin version of Stephen Sondheim's "Send in the Clowns," one of Kasem's favorite songs.

Judy Collins' version of "Clowns" cracked the Top 40 in both 1975 and 1977.

* Music luminaries honored Pete Seeger on the shore of the Hudson River at Saturday's Clearwater Festival, the first of the annual music and environmental program he started to be held after his death.

Folk artists Tom Paxton, Tom Chapin, Holly Near, Dar Williams and others performed together to honor Seeger, who died in January at age 94. Sets were planned centered on music of the Weavers and Almanac Singers, both bands that featured Seeger, and highlighting the banjo, which Seeger frequently picked in concert.

Lucinda Williams, Rufus Wainwright, Richard Thompson, the Mavericks, Norah Jones and Josh Ritter were among the headliners at the two-day festival expected to draw about 25,000 people.

Beyond the collection of folkies, organizer Steve Lurie said several festival events were designed with Seeger in mind. They include an old-fashioned square dance like the one where Pete met wife Toshi Seeger. One music set was to feature songs Seeger wrote in honor of Americans who served in the Spanish Civil War.

* In yet another blow for print journalism, Disney Theatrical Productions said yesterday that Broadway's "Newsies," the high-energy musical about newsboys, will stop its presses after the Aug. 24 performance.

In two years, the show, which cost $5 million to produce, grossed more than $100 million, way more than the 1992 movie on which it's based.

A national tour starts in October.

Luke Bryan is developing a rep for playing big, loud concerts with a party atmosphere.

A little too much atmosphere if you ask the mayor of Pittsburgh.

Mayor Bill Peduto said public safety officers responded to more than 300 incidents related to Bryan's concert Saturday at Heinz Field.

It was part of the That's My Kind of Night tour.

But not for the police. Peduto said authorities answered 154 calls to 9-1-1, broke up 15 fights and made at least seven arrests.

About 50,000 people attended the stadium show, and tailgaters began arriving up to nine hours before the show.

And they weren't drinking milk.

Peduto says fans left behind mounds of trash in parking lots and in the Allegheny River. He says public-works employees were still cleaning up yesterday morning.

The mayor says the city will begin billing concert promoters and other private parties for funds spent on cleanup and public safety efforts.

Bryan plays the Linc, Aug. 15, Mayor Nutter.

- Daily News wire services

contributed to this report.

Email: gensleh@phillynews.com

Phone: 215-854-5678

On Twitter: @DNTattle

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