Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse Originally Included A Doctor Strange Cameo

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is a delight for fans of the web slinger and Marvel in general, full of webheads from across the multiverse, packed with references and even featuring a cameo from the late Stan Lee. But the film originally included another cameo that would have been a huge surprise for Marvel fans, none other than Doctor Strange. Producer/screenwriter Phil Lord explained where the Master of the Mystic Arts would have come in, saying:

That is a pretty cool ending and it certainly would have come as a shock to audiences who were expecting to just see a Spider-Man film and only know Doctor Strange from his live-action adventures in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The arrival of the Sorcerer Supreme would have also been one heck of a mic drop right before the credits rolled.

A Doctor Strange cameo would have made sense too considering that Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse deals with multiple universes, a realm that Doctor Strange has a great deal of experience in.

So it would have made sense from a story perspective and the fun interactions between Tom Holland’s Spider-Man and Doctor Strange in Avengers: Infinity War gave us a taste of what these two wildly different heroes could be like together. The question is would Benedict Cumberbatch have voiced Doctor Strange in the movie, thus becoming the character across the cinematic multiverse?

Speaking to Den of Geek, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse producers Phil Lord and Chris Miller didn’t explain why exactly Doctor Strange was taken out before the final script or what his appearance would have portended for the sequel, but it is very interesting to know the character was considered at all.

This cameo would have further established that Into the Spider-Verse is part of a Marvel universe where other heroes exist. It would have also teased the world opening up. Fortunately, it is not like there won’t be plenty of opportunity to include Doctor Strange — and perhaps other non-Spidey Marvel characters — in future films.

Before its release, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse already has a sequel and a spinoff movie in the works. In addition to the live-action universe started by Venom, it looks like Sony will also have an animated cinematic universe on its hands. The fact that Doctor Strange could have been in Into the Spider-Verse fuels the imagination with possibility at what future films in this franchise could hold. Maybe we’ll even get the Spidey/Daredevil team up the live-action realm seems determined to deny us.

But before we worry too much about the future of the animated Spider-Verse, we still have this film to enjoy. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is poised for a win at the box office opening weekend and it is buoyed by universal acclaim and enthusiasm.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse swings into theaters on December 14th. Check out our 2019 release schedule for all the biggest movies arriving next year, including a couple that may feature a certain wall-crawler and maybe even a wizard.

Marvel Was So Paranoid About Spoilers, Jude Law’s Kids Had To Sign NDAs

By now, if you’ve paid one iota of attention to Marvel and its inner workings, you should know the people on the backend are huge spoilerphobes, ready to throw out NDAs around each and every corner. Or at least hiding around corners is how I imagine them. Perhaps Jude Law’s kids even have nightmares about these NDA-oriented Marvel employees because Law recently revealed the paper pushers couldn’t “jump” on his kids fast enough to get them to sign paperwork about Marvel.

During a recent appearance on The Late Late Show with James Corden, Jude Law talked a little bit about his upcoming role in Captain Marvel. In particular, he talked about a day he brought his kids around on set and people had to be really clear to said kids that they were not allowed to talk about what their daddy was up to on set, especially when space ships were involved.

Since, we didn’t learn much about Jude Law’s potential character before a recent toy leak, it seems as if Marvel and Jude Law’s kids did their respective jobs.

In the time since Jude Law was filming for the female-led flick, we’ve learned quite a bit about Captain Marvel. Trailers have dropped for the movie and has featured plenty of footage, including a look at Annette Bening’s character and more. Thanks to the aforementioned toy leak, there’s an indication Jude Law will be playing Yon-Rogg, as well.

As for the actor himself, he was very clear on The Late Late Show to note that he keeps his mouth shut where Marvel is involved, lest he spoil something particularly important. Jude Law said:

Perhaps that’s a note the likes of Tom Holland should be taking as Sony ramps up to release Spider-Man: Far From Home.

You can hear more about Captain Marvel and what Jude Law would do if he really were in space by taking a look at the full interview, which also features Steve Coogan, below.

In addition, you can catch Jude Law in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald in theaters now. Captain Marvel will officially hit theaters on March 8, 2019, which means there is still plenty of time for Jude Law to make a spoiler slip.

Aquaman Reviews Are In, Here’s What Critics Are Saying

The DC live-action universe has already had its fair amount of peaks and valleys, as Warner Bros. attempted to create its own massive franchise to compete with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But while there’s plenty of fan interest and money to be made, DC has only had one critical success in its first few years of filmmaking: Wonder Woman. James Wan’s Aquaman is the next blockbuster to hit theaters, with fans hoping it would be the shared universe’s second critical darling.

Reviews for Aquaman have just arrived, teasing what to expect when the aquatic blockbuster arrives in theaters. CinemaBlend’s Sean O’Connell gave the movie a favorable 4.5 stars, praising James Wan’s direction as the reason for the movie’s quality. As he tells it,

Hiring James Wan is the key to Aquaman‘s success. The Conjuring director fearlessly embraces everything that comes with the hero, figuring out how to effectively stage underwater action, and choreographing impressively fluid fight sequences both on the land and in the sea. Water is integral to Aquaman’s story, and I’m certain there came a point when Wan got sick of everything having to be so wet on this set. But this movie plunges us into Aquaman’s realm, and it’s supremely effective.

James Wan was tasked with created Atlantis, after the DC setting briefly appeared in a sequence in Justice League. Wan made the world his own, changing the rules and crafting a truly colorful underwater world teased in the trailer. IGN‘s Jim Vejvoda praised the world building of the movie, with:

There’s so much cool world-building in Aquaman, with Atlantis and its many regions receiving distinctive treatments. While we do get to see some Atlanteans who aren’t royals or guards, it would be nice to see Atlantean civilization and its citizens explored even further in future films, much as the Thor films gradually opened up Asgard by the end of that trilogy.

Of course, it wasn’t all blind praise thrown at Aquaman. The movie’s does have faults, with some outlets finding them more crippling than others. Specifically, the dialogue has been criticized for being clunky and sometimes downright cheesy. Indiewire‘s review took special umbrage with the screenplay, comparing to Marvel movies with:

Hobbled by a messy screenplay, paper-thin characters, and a hodgepodge of unimaginative showdowns stretched across bloated running time, Aquaman is the latest example of a franchise that keeps chasing its competitor’s tail.

Variety‘s Peter Debruge also criticized the script, but did have some kinder words to say. Mainly, that Aquaman was self-aware, despite its script issues. As the review maintains:

The script is anything but elegant, full of eye-rolling lines that make the dialogue contained in your average comicbook speech balloon sound almost Shakespearean by comparison (e.g. “Where I come from, the sea carries our tears away”), although Aquaman clearly has a sense of humor about itself.

Indeed, Aquaman has been getting some praise for its bravery and ability to cram tons of crazy concepts into one blockbuster. Screenrant‘s Matt Singer enjoyed how ambitious James Wan’s DC movie was, saying:

There are some legitimate criticisms you can level against Aquaman. You could never say, however, that this movie doesn’t go for it. It goes for everything — maybe too much, when all is said and done. Just because you can turn wine into flying wine knives doesn’t mean you can make actual miracles happen.

Collider‘s Vinnie Mancuso also praised Aquaman’s ambitious scale. Furthermore, it has some similarities to beloved franchise of yore like the Indiana Jones movies. As he tells it,

The refreshing thing about Aquaman is, for all its technical wizardry, the plot is surprisingly old-school, owing a lot to the adventure serials of the 1930s and ’40s that later birthed the Indiana Jones movies. It’s a MacGuffin-seeking treasure hunt, with Arthur and Mera globe-hopping to collect clues; one scene in a desert crypt almost feels like the rare bright spots of the early Tomb Raider movies.

You can judge for yourself when Aquaman arrives in theaters on December 21st. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your trips to the movies in the New Year.

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Aquaman Review

Through no real fault of his own, Aquaman’s status on the contemporary superhero landscape has been that of a punchline. His powers — breathing underwater, communicating with fish — aren’t exactly intimidating. Zack Snyder and Jason Momoa chose to present their Arthur Curry as more of an ex-jock Frat bro, rather than a majestic king with royal blood. Plus, a running joke regarding James Cameron’s Aquaman on the HBO series Entourage contributed to the DC’s hero’s whipping-boy reputation.

So there’s a delicious irony to the fact that James Wan’s epic, visually arresting and badass Aquaman movie — an adventure built around this ridiculed and meme-friendly savior — is the first DCEU feature to convince me that Warner Bros. and DC Comics finally are taking their contemporary comic-book properties seriously.

Let’s shower Aquaman with praise, and get all of the water-based puns out of the way. With James Wan captaining this massive ship, Aquaman sails through a colorful high-stakes adventure that plunges audiences into a vibrant, sci-fi-inspired deep-sea world. While connected to the overarching DCEU, Aquaman wisely branches off into its own unique corner of this universe and fills in its undersea world with eye-popping creatures, sleek space crafts and rarely-seen environments that reward a viewing on the biggest screen possible.

Jason Momoa, meanwhile, is given the opportunity to dive into the surprising depths of this previously superficial character, and the actor seizes the hero’s arc presented in this story. Aquaman also will make a massive splash at the box office, proving that DC should continue to explore rousing solo adventures for its unique superheroes (instead of foolishly chasing the shared universe model dominated by Marvel).

Aquaman serves as an origin story, not just for Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa), but for the world he represents. We learn how his mother, Queen Atlanna of Atlantis (Nicole Kidman), fell in love with surface dweller Thomas Curry (Temuera Morrison), and produced a child who’d have qualities of both worlds.

Under the sea, Shakesperean drama bubbles up as Arthur’s half-brother, Orm (Patrick Wilson), launches a scheme to convince the seven kingdoms that it’s finally time to rise up and show the land citizens the power of those who occupy the water. Orm needs to unite all of the kingdoms if he’s to inherit the title of Ocean Master, giving him full control of the forces of the sea.

Orm’s job becomes much more difficult if Arthur should ever return to reclaim the throne that is his birthright. But as we saw in Justice League, Arthur’s content to bum around the coastal towns of our planet, drinking the equivalent of his body weight in stout beer and performing the occasional heroic act.

Two events change Arthur’s mind. First, Orm launches an attack on the surface, putting Arthur’s beloved father in danger. Mera (Amber Heard) uses this as motivation to guilt Arthur to finally return to Atlantis and challenge Orm for the throne. Secondly, a new threat in the form of the pirate Black Manta (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) rises, giving Aquaman a legit foil we expect will be explored in future movies.

Hiring James Wan is the key to Aquaman‘s success. The Conjuring director fearlessly embraces everything that comes with the hero, figuring out how to effectively stage underwater action, and choreographing impressively fluid fight sequences both on the land and in the sea. Water is integral to Aquaman’s story, and I’m certain there came a point when Wan got sick of everything having to be so wet on this set. But this movie plunges us into Aquaman’s realm, and it’s supremely effective.

Jason Momoa, meanwhile, eventually won me over as Arthur Curry. Without abandoning his “Bro-seidon” personality (Arthur Curry’s swagger is DC by way of the WWE), Momoa shoulders the cartoonish aspects of Aquaman — I mean, soldiers ride into battle on gigantic sea horses here, so c’mon people — and we begrudgingly accept the silliness of it all as Curry learns to embrace it.

Can the film tip too far into camp? You better believe it, and there certainly are eye-rolling moments and misguided laugh lines that thud, usually because Momoa’s comedic timing isn’t razor sharp. At one point, he describes himself as a blunt instrument, and the movie reduces itself to his simplicity every so often (but never enough to derail the swashbuckling adventure for any extended period of time).

Basically, Aquaman does what these DC solo movies should have been doing all along, which is celebrating what makes the hero in question unique, and dedicating all available resources into creating a vibrant, liveable world in which audiences will want to get lost (and return). Halfway through James Wan’s feature, I secretly wished that beneath the surfaces of our own oceans, an army of neon-glowing soldiers actually were riding sharks into battle with a platoon of crusty crab monsters, while a yellow-and-green warrior darted through the depths with his glowing trident, fighting to bring unity to a massive yet divided kingdom. In other words, I bought fully into the mythology that Wan and his team brought to the big screen, and what bigger compliment can one pay?

In a nutshell, Aquaman is a fun, exciting, imaginative, occasionally silly but undoubtedly epic adventure that establishes an incredibly rich new cinematic world and helps DC and Warner Bros. right their comic-book ship.

Rating:
movie reviewed rating
3.5/5

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What’s Happening With Criminal Minds At Midseason On CBS

Criminal Minds is one of the longest-running current drama series in primetime, but its future has been uncertain ever since the end of Season 13 when CBS took its sweet time giving the renewal order. The initial order was for only 15 episodes, which is well short of the usual 20+ episode count for new seasons. Now, CBS has an update on the episode count, and it gives an idea of what to expect with Criminal Minds in midseason.

CBS made the official decision not to order any more episodes on top of the initial 15, according to PopCulture.com, which will likely disappoint fans who hoped for a back order based on some of executive producer Harry Bring’s comments on social media. It also means that fans can’t count on months of new episodes in 2019, as they’ve gotten with Criminal Minds in the past. There are two directions the show and CBS could really go with for what is left of Season 14.

The first direction is for the second half of Season 14 to pick up as expected in early 2019 as part of the midseason lineup and then simply come to an end earlier than usual. The Futon Critic currently lists the next episode as airing on December 12 before the show goes on break for a couple of weeks, then picks up again with an episode on January 2. If the dates are correct, episodes will air weekly in January, meaning the end of Season 14 by January 30. Ouch!

A second direction that is likely less appealing to fans is for CBS to hold off on debuting the second half of Season 14 and simply premiere it later in 2019, allowing it to come to an end in late April or May, as usual. It’s not unprecedented for a network to give a series a very long midseason break, and it’s a possibility for Criminal Minds. Still, I’d put my money on Criminal Minds premiering its second half of Season 14 in early January and then ending its run whenever it runs out of episodes.

I do have to wonder now how Criminal Minds will handle the end of Season 14, especially if the folks behind the scenes were counting on a back order for more episodes. Will there be a cliffhanger, or was the production team planning on a spectacular finale with a killer cliffhanger in later episodes that they only recently learned for sure aren’t happening?

It’s also worth wondering if the decision not to order more than the initial 15 episodes is a sign that CBS is ready to give Criminal Minds the axe. Things haven’t looked too hot for the procedural for a while now, and even though it survived the scandal surrounding Thomas Gibson and the subsequent departure of Hotch, the end may be nigh for Criminal Minds. Hey, at least the NCIS franchise is still going strong on CBS, right? And Prentiss will get a little love coming up!

The next episode of Criminal Minds airs on Wednesday, December 12 at 10 p.m. ET on CBS. Be sure to tune in just in case Criminal Minds really is ending for good in the not-too-distant future.

Queen’s Brian May Wasn’t Sure Bohemian Rhapsody Would Ever Get Made

The electrifying cinematic chronicle of iconic rock band Queen, Bohemian Rhapsody may come together effortlessly on the silver screen; however, don’t let the glitz and glam fool you. The remaining band members of Queen were involved in the project for almost a decade, with so many shake-ups and odds against the project in the beginning that guitarist Brian May had some doubts about it ever seeing the light of day. In his words:

While the film may have been a struggle to get the project together, the theatrical release of Bohemian Rhapsody has been so warmly received by audiences that Brian May should be able to turn back and smile at the long road as the means to success. Bohemian Rhapsody is now the highest-earning music biopic to date, per Box Office Mojo, plus it’s nabbed two Golden Globe nominations.

When Queen was first approached about a film about the band’s beginnings, the remaining members were reluctant as to how and who would be able to do their frontman Freddie Mercury justice. Sacha Baron Cohen was among the past stars attached to playing the rocker, but he left due to creative differences with the band who wanted to make a film about the family aspect of the band over a tell-all tale about the tumulus life of a rock star surrounded by drugs, sex and rock n’ roll.

In his interview with Louder Sound, Brian May said that when Mr. Robot star Rami Malek came along, Queen suddenly had a great feeling about the direction of the project. The actor had a deep passion to bring justice to Freddie, and if you’ve seen Bohemian Rhapsody there’s little debate that he didn’t deliver.

Rami Malek received an outpouring of support from the band Queen throughout the process, with Brian May even being vocal about how he deserves an Oscar nomination for embodying his bandmate so believably. It wasn’t always clear the movie would get here. There were bumps to getting the project made and more bumps during production on Bohemian Rhapsody as the film shot Live Aid first and original director Bryan Singer had to exit the project midway through and Dexter Fletcher stepped in to keep things running.

Now that it’s out, the film continues to dazzle on the big screen and with a chance at award season recognition, Queen can rest easy that the band’s story has finally been told the way the group intended.

John Cena Wants To Be A Toilet Transformer

Transformers notoriously transform into vehicles. 18-wheelers. Sports cars. Fighter jets. Sure, certain Transformers, over the years, have been able to morph into everyday items, but usually, they are cars. If Bumblebee co-star John Cena had his way, however, he’d have the power to transform into something totally unexpected. He’d love to be a toilet. At the press day for Bumblebee, John Cena told CinemaBlend:

As John Cena says, let’s not be too quick to flush this idea. A toilet Transformer can infiltrate some pretty dirty areas, so turning them into a spy where they can sneak behind enemy lines makes sense (in a twisted sort of way).

Clearly, John Cena has had a lot of time to reflect on his role as a possible toilet Transformer. While we’re fairly certain that the idea of a toilet Transformer didn’t make it into any of the cartoons — though you KNOW Michael Bay’s mad that he didn’t come up with this idea — we did find this incredible video that someone made as a proof of concept. We can pull this off, Hollywood, and John Cena can help!

In the actual Bumblebee movie, John Cena fills a totally different role. He’s an agent of Sector 7, a top-secret government agency that monitors extraterrestrial activities. Naturally, Sector 7 is overly concerned about the ongoing war between the Autobots and the Decepticons, and if there’s a possibility that the battle could be coming to Earth, they will want to intervene and cut that off.

The Transformers movies have always drawn a dividing line between Human and Robot (in Disguise), with some characters bleeding over. Shia LaBeouf, for example, would be a human protagonist who sacrifices everything to help the Autobots. Hailee Steinfeld appears to be the next human character willing to risk her life to assist a robot character.

Where does John Cena fall? It’s a bit of a mystery for right now, which is why we are sitting on a few of his spoilery details, and instead letting his map out his elaborate plans for a Transformers toilet character. Here, we’ll just let Cena lay out his ambitious plans. It sounds so much better coming from him!

Bumblebee is actually getting outstanding reviews, with many calling it the best Transformers movie yet. See for yourself when Bumblebee opens in theaters on December 21.

Birds Of Prey Just Added Another Batman Villain

DC’s live-action universe is a fascinating place, mostly because it’s such a mystery. While Warner Bros. has announced countless projects for the shared universe, only a handful of movies have concrete release dates, or seem to actually be moving forward in a major way. Aquaman and Shazam! may be the next two blockbusters coming down the pipe, but there’s also two more exciting movies focused on Gotham City: Joker and Birds of Prey.

Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of one Harley Quinn) is moving forward rapidly, as director Cathy Yan accrues her production team and cast. The upcoming blockbuster is currently shooting for an R-rating, and will focus on a group femme fatales as they come to blows with Gotham mob boss Black Mask. But now there’s another villain included as well: Victor Zsasz.

Victor Zsasz is a Batman rogue with an especially dark backstory. Rather than a superpowered villain, he’s more of a traditional serial killer. What’s more, his murder is connected with his own self-mutilation. Because for every soul Zsasz takes, he carves a tallymark somewhere on his scarred body. The character is absolutely covered in these cuts, showing just how many people the supervillain has murdered with his own two hands.

In the comics, Victor Zsasz’s story is largely unremarkable, and shows how one man can just snap one day mentally. He was once a successful business man in Gotham, before he gambled everything away and lost to The Penguin. While attempting to throw himself off a bridge, he’s attacked by a homeless man and murders the man out of self defense. This inspires him to kill as many people as possible; Zsasz believes that human life is meaningless. Like I said, dark stuff.

The inclusion of Zsasz in Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of one Harley Quinn) shows that the movie will still be plenty dark, despite Harley Quinn’s inclusion and the long and humorous subtitle. Gotham City is a dangerous place with a thriving criminal underworld, and it’ll be great to get a deep dive into that world with Birds of Prey. Black Mask may be largely a typical Mob Boss, but Victor Zsasz provides a psychological threat, as well as physical.

Given the character’s backstory in the comics, DC fans are no doubt wondering if Penguin might be showing up in Birds of Prey as well. The early rumors for the project indicated Penguin might be the big bad of the movie, but that’s a role being occupied by Ewan McGregor’s Black Mask. Perhaps Zsasz’s backstory will simply pivot the focus on Black Mask, and make him the reason for the serial killer’s financial problems and psychotic break.

While actors like Josh Gad have thrown their names into the conversation to play Penguin, Warner Bros might not want to make the beloved Batman villain into a supporting role. As such, it seems unlikely that he’ll pop up in Birds of Prey. Still, having to take down both Black Mask and Victor Zsasz should be enough for the titular team of female characters to focus on.

Birds of Prey has actually already found its Victor Zsasz, as Deadline reports he’ll be played by 44 year old actor Chris Messina. Messina is a film and TV actor, and has been in a variety of high profile projects over his career in the public eye. On TV, he’s perhaps best known for playing Danny in a whopping 90 episodes of The Mindy Project. He also recently had a major role in HBO miniseries Sharp Objects, and recurring roles in Damages and The Newsroom.

Movie fans will likely recognize Chris Messina’s face from a variety of supporting roles throughout his career. Notable movies include Live By Night, Julie & Julia, Away We Go, and Vicky Christina Barcelona. Now he’ll get the chance to be bonafide villain, and bring a new darkness to the DC live-action universe.

Victor Zsasz’s inclusion in Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of one Harley Quinn) will surely excite Batman fans, although it further makes the film’s tone and rating a mystery. Before the cast and crew was assembled, it was revealed that director Cathy Yan was aiming for an R rating. And considering Huntress’ violent history in the comics and the focus on a mob boss, it seemed like the blockbuster was going to be ultra serious.

But Harley Quinn is also a main character, and the villain is a character rooted in her inherent comedy and offbeat personality. The long subtitle of Birds of Prey hints that there is going to be some offbeat humor involved. Furthermore, Margot Robbie maintained the female focused blockbuster isn’t a super serious movie. So how much drama and comedy will the project balance?

Still, anticipation for Birds of Prey has been steadily building. While news of a female-focused superhero ensemble film is exciting enough, DC is actually moving forward with the movie’s development, and it even has an official release date. Director Cathy Yan has a script assembled, and has been bringing together an impressive cast– most of which are women.

Considering how many casting a movie announcements have been made by DC that never came to fruition, moviegoers are thrilled that Birds of Prey is actually moving forward, and heading to theaters in 2020. Warner Bros. is known for making tons of announcements regarding DC’s future, without actually releasing a schedule. As such, it seems that no DC blockbuster is really happening until production begins.

But Birds of Prey will bring Gotham City back to the silver screen, something that DC fans are eager to see. Batman is one of the most popular comic book characters of all time, so all of his rogues, allies, and locations are iconic. And with Ben Affleck’s future in the DCEU unknown, Birds of Prey is the way that DC fans can go to the Bat’s hometown, and see how hard it truly is to keep crime off the streets of Gotham.

Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of one Harley Quinn) will arrive in theaters on February 7th, 2020. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your trips to the movies in the New Year.

 

The Story Behind Leonardo DiCaprio Being Ordered To Turn In Oscar

For years we all wondered when Leonardo DiCaprio would finally win his much-coveted Oscar. Then, after four nominations, the fifth time paid for all when he won the Best Actor prize for his role in The Revenant. Leonardo DiCaprio still has that Oscar, but the acclaimed actor was ordered to turn in another of the golden statues. And the web of crime and intrigue behind it is as crazy a story as any you’d see in one of the actor’s films.

The Oscar in question is the Best Actor statue won by Marlon Brando for his role as Terry Malloy in Elia Kazan’s 1954 film, On the Waterfront. Leonardo DiCaprio received this statue as a gift, but the actor has since handed the Oscar over, after being ordered to do so by federal investigators. According to Entertainment Tonight, that’s because the man who gave Leonardo DiCaprio the Oscar, is one of the subjects in a massive investigation that spans the globe and involves billions of dollars in embezzled money.

Somehow, Marlon Brando’s first Oscar wound up in the hands of a memorabilia dealer, who sold it for $600,000 to a Malaysian financier by the name of Jho Low. Jho Low gave the Oscar, as well as a Picasso painting, to Leonardo DiCaprio as a gift. But the source of the money that paid for the Oscar is the matter in question.

It all starts with the Malaysian investment fund called 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). 1MDB was established in part by former (he was voted out and arrested) Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak. The fund had the purported goal of raising and borrowing money with the goal of helping ordinary Malaysians.

However, that does not appear to be what actually happened, as the money was allegedly used as a personal piggy bank for Najib Razak and his inner circle, including Jho Low. Through a complex network of bank accounts and shell companies, billions of dollars were siphoned from 1MDB and went to all kinds of lavish purchases.

The $600,000 Oscar was chump change compared to some of the items reporetedly purchased. The laundered money was used to buy a $27.3 million diamond necklace and $200 million was used just to buy artwork, according to The New York Times. There was also a $35 million jet and a $250 million yacht, in addition to over a dozen properties around the world.

Some of the embezzled money was also allegedly used by Najib Razak’ stepson, Riza Aziz, to found Red Granite Productions and fund its films, including Daddy’s Home and in an instance of life imitating art that imitated life, The Wolf of Wall Street. Red Granite Productions has since, without admitting to any wrongdoing, agreed to pay the U.S. government $60 million to settle a lawsuit stemming from the potential illegality of how it financed its films.

As the United States has pursued the case, authorities have been investigating around the globe and seizing Jho Low’s many opulent assets that were supposedly purchased with the embezzled money, and that includes the Oscar he gave to Leonardo DiCaprio. Meanwhile Jho Low is still at large and believed to be hiding out in China.

It doesn’t look like Leo will get the Oscar back either, as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has the right to buy it back from the government for $1.

Fortunately for Leo, he got an Oscar of his own for The Revenant and who knows, he stars in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood next year and is also attached to Martin Scorsese’s Roosevelt as Theodore Roosevelt, so he’ll probably have another statue for his mantle sooner or later.

For all of next year’s biggest movies, check out our 2019 Release Schedule, and for the inevitable news that this story is being adapted in to a feature film or a limited television series stay tuned to CinemaBlend.

Why Steve Harvey Got Rid Of His Iconic TV Mustache

If you’ve been keeping tabs on TV veteran Steve Harvey lately, you may have noticed he’s changed up his facial hair quite a bit. Instead of a sleek black mustache, the man’s grown a full beard. And he’s not dyeing it anymore.

This week, Steve Harvey headed to Ellen to talk about his life, his career and most importantly, his facial hair change. He said it started out as a complete accident, but as he put it, his wife told him to ‘keep it.’

It’s a change for sure for the longtime Family Feud and daytime TV host. For years and years, Steve Harvey has been known for, OK well a lot of things, but among those things are making pointed faces and rocking a gigantic black mustache.

The new look is certainly different for the longtime host, and he told Ellen DeGeneres that the new look reflects the number of years he’s been on this earth. While Ellen mentioned on her show she liked the beard, Steve Harvey also said that he has encountered some negative comments about the new look online.

Steve Harvey has been around for a long time. His roots are in stand-up and he’s noted for hosting Showtime at the Apollo starting in 1990. So, it’s no real surprise that he is currently in his sixth decade of life, even if he was dyeing his mustache for a long time. Regardless, apparently it was a shock for some “haters” on the Internet who don’t think of him as a salt and pepper kind of guy.

For more Steve Harvey-isms, you can take a full look at Steve Harvey on Ellen, below.

While he might have been around for decades, Steve Harvey still has a lot going on in the TV realm. If you’d like to catch Steve Harvey in action, Little Big Shots recently has a holiday special coming up on NBC and Harvey also has big plans for New Year’s Eve this year on Fox. To see what else is coming up, take a look at our midseason TV premiere schedule.