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Award-winning sports writer Frank Deford dies at 78

He died Sunday in Key West, Florida, his family said Monday.

Deford was a six-time Sports Writer of the Year and a member of the National Association of Sportscasters and Sportswriters Hall of Fame. He wrote and spoke with a lyrical touch and this month retired from NPR's "Morning Edition" after 37 years as a contributor.

"Frank was dealing with an audience that doesn't turn to the sports pages first thing," said Tom Goldman, an NPR sports correspondent who recently spent time with Deford in Key West. "And he was proudest of the many comments he got over the years from people saying, 'I don't really like sports, but I like what you did, and you made me more interested in it.'"

He was the first sports writer awarded the National Humanities Medal. In 2013, President Barack Obama honored him for "transforming how we think about sports."

"A dedicated writer and storyteller, Mr. Deford has offered a consistent, compelling voice in print and on radio, reaching beyond scores and statistics to reveal the humanity woven into the games we love," Obama said at the time.

Deford called the award the one he is most proud of.

His long profiles, covering all corners of sports, were for years a showcase in Sports Illustrated.

"He could watch the grittiest game and zoom in on the moment that made it important," said Jim Litke, a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. "Nobody was better at connecting sports to the culture at large. He dressed up every event he attended."

He also dressed up in a more literal way, always sharply attired and cutting a debonair figure at 6-foot-4 with his shock of dark hair and thin mustache.

Deford was a prolific book author, including several novels, and contributed commentaries to HBO's "Real Sports" program and hosted documentaries on the cable network.

Among Deford's books were "Heart of a Champion," which chronicles the career of athletes who appeared on Wheaties boxes, and a biography of tennis great Bill Tilden.

His wit always was on display. Among Deford's gems: "I believe that professional wrestling is clean and everything else in the world is fixed."

And he understood why the games have such a hold on so many.

"To see the glory in sport, where somebody comes from behind and does something, sinks a shot in the last second or throws a touchdown pass or hits a home run, there is a beauty in that, and at the end of the day, that's why we love sports more than anything else."

Deford grew up in Baltimore and graduated from Princeton. He joined HBO Sports in 1995 and his first report chronicled life in Augusta, Georgia, outside the Masters. It was called "The American Singapore." He delivered 119 segments for the show and was a feature reporter at Wimbledon in the 1990s.

He was editor-in-chief of The National, the nation's first sports daily that was founded in 1990 and folded the following year. Its final front page read: "We Had A Ball: The fat lady sings our song."

Bryant Gumbel, host of "Real Sports," said Deford joked with him a week ago about finally being released from the hospital.

"In addition to being an immense talent, he was a consummate gentleman, a dear friend, and a beloved, original member of our 'Real Sports' family," Gumbel said. "Frank was a giant in the world of sports. His loss is immeasurable."

Deford is survived by his wife, the former model Carol Penner; two children; and two grandchildren.

Tiger Woods issues statement on DUI arrest, says no alcohol involved

Tiger Woods is apologizing to family, friends and fans following his DUI arrest early Monday in Juniper, Florida.

“I understand the severity of what I did and I take full responsibility for my actions,” the pro golfer said in a statement Monday night, according to The Associated Press.

>> Read more trending news

Woods clarified that “an unexpected reaction to prescribed medications,” not alcohol, was a factor in the arrest.

“I want the public to know that alcohol was not involved. What happened was an unexpected reaction to prescribed medications. I didn’t realize the mix of medications had affected me so strongly.

“I would like to apologize with all my heart to my family, friends and the fans. I expect more from myself too.”

Related: Tiger Woods arrested on drunken driving charges in Florida

The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office said Woods, 41, was arrested around 3 a.m. ESPN reported he was booked at 7:18 a.m. People reported that he was released on his own recognizance at 10:50 a.m.

Woods said in a blog post on his website last week that, following a recent surgery on his back, he is focusing on short-term goals rather than a fast return to golf.

“Presently, I’m not looking ahead,” he wrote. “I can’t twist for another two and a half to three months. Right now, my sole focus is rehab and doing what the doctors tell me. I am concentrating on short-term goals.”

“It was instant nerve relief,” Woods said of the surgery. “I haven’t felt this good in years.”

The surgery was the fourth done on his back since spring 2014.

Woods said that “the long-term prognosis is positive” for a return to golf.

Read Woods’ full statement, from USA Today, below:

I understand the severity of what I did and I take full responsibility for my actions. I want the public to know that alcohol was not involved. What happened was an unexpected reaction to prescribed medications. I didn't realize the mix of medications had affected me so strongly. I would like to apologize with all my heart to my family, friends and the fans. I expect more from myself too. I will do everything in my power to ensure this never happens again. I fully cooperated with law enforcement, and I would like to personally thank the representatives of the Jupiter Police Department and the Palm Beach County Sheriff's office for their professionalism."

Actors Chris Pratt and John Krasinski commemorate Memorial Day by honoring a fallen Navy SEAL

Chris Pratt and John Krasinski aren’t letting being out of the country on Memorial Day stop them from showing off their patriotism.

>> Read more trending news

The actors are both in the United Kingdom, but they made sure to save some time to commemorate the holiday by completing The Murph Challenge, an exercise routine that was created in honor of the late U.S. Navy SEAL Lt. Michael P. Murphy, who was awarded the Medal of Honor, the U.S. military’s highest decoration, for his actions during the War in Afghanistan.

RELATED: Soldiers complete a 70-year Memorial Day tradition, placing flags on the headstones of fallen service members

“It’s a day like today when we commemorate those fallen heroes and say thanks for all you do to make our dreams come true,” Pratt said on Instagram.

“So today, whether you do a Murph Challenge or just take some time to say thank you and remember, remember that’s what today is all about,” Krasinski added.

RELATED: Take a look at this moving memorial dedicated to soldiers who lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan

Each Memorial Day, people across the country perform the workout: a 1-mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 air squats and another 1-mile run while wearing a 20-lb. body vest. The challenge raises money and awareness for the Lt. Michael P. Murphy Memorial Scholarship Foundation.

We'll always have Van Nuys: Hangar from 'Casablanca' saved

The airport hangar facade from the opening scene of "Casablanca" has found a home a decade after being saved from the wrecking ball.

The arched facade dating to the 1920s has been in a Los Angeles parking lot since it was removed during 2007 renovations at Van Nuys Airport.

The hangar with 95-foot doors appeared in movies including the 1939 Laurel and Hardy comedy "The Flying Deuces." Most famously a plane lands in front of it in 1942's "Casablanca," starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman.

Christine Dunn, who with her late husband recovered the hangar 10 years ago, told the Daily News on Sunday (http://bit.ly/2qv0Y9L ) that it'll be moved to Valley Relics Museum, home to many pop culture items.

The goal is to restore it as part of a Moroccan-themed restaurant at Van Nuys Airport.

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Information from: (Los Angeles) Daily News, http://www.dailynews.com

Bruce Springsteen surprises audience at Van Zandt concert

Bruce Springsteen has surprised concert-goers in New Jersey with a performance during the encore of a Steven Van Zandt show.

Count Basie Theatre executive Jon Vena said Monday the crowd "erupted" when Van Zandt introduced Springsteen during the Saturday show as "a friend who's out of work."

Springsteen emerged on stage during the encore and played four songs, including "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out" and a cover of Marvin Gaye's "Can I Get a Witness."

Van Zandt and the Disciples of Soul were playing at the theater in Red Bank to mark the release of Van Zandt's album "SOULFIRE."

Van Zandt is a member of Springsteen's E Street Band.

It's not the first time the New Jersey native Springsteen has surprised audiences. In April, he played a two-hour jam session at the Asbury Park Music & Film Festival.

Robert De Niro: Once inspiring, US now tragic dumb comedy

Robert De Niro says that "in movie terms," the country was once "an inspiring uplifting drama" but now has turned into "a tragic dumbass comedy."

The two-time, Oscar-winning actor spoke to Brown University graduates Sunday at the Ivy League school's commencement ceremonies. He urged them to "work to stop the insanity" and to strive to make the world better.

De Niro received an honorary doctorate of fine arts.

Actor and rapper Daveed Diggs, who won a Tony Award for his role in the phenomenon "Hamilton," also was among those who received honorary degrees. Diggs told the graduates that the country needs their new ideas "because the old ones have made a mess of things."

Tiger Woods arrested on drunken driving charges in Florida

Tiger Woods spent part of Memorial Day in jail in Jupiter, Florida, after his arrest on drunken driving charges in Palm Beach County early Monday morning.

Woods was stopped and arrested around 3 a.m. on suspicion of DUI, according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.

He was released on his own recognizance later in the morning. 

>> Read more trending news 

Woods, who lives on Jupiter Island, is charged with DUI-unlawful blood alcohol.

In an interview with the Palm Beach Post, Jupiter Police spokeswoman Kristin Rightler said she did not know which tests were performed on Woods at the scene or in jail, but that more information on the arrest and charges should be available on Tuesday.

Social media erupted over the news, with some questioning why Woods didn’t call a Taxi or Uber.

Woods, 41, has battled medical issues in recent years, including multiple back surgeries. He last hit the links professionally in February, playing the Dubai Desert Classic, but pulled out of that tournament.

Tiger Woods is one of the greatest golfers of all time. He dominated the sport for almost 20 years with 14 major wins and 79 PGA Tour victories, according to the Golf Channel. 

Related: Tiger Woods issues statement on DUI arrest, says no alcohol involved

He was voted PGA Player of the year 11 times.

In a blog post last week, Woods wrote about the pain of his back injury

“It has been just over a month since I underwent fusion surgery on my back, and it is hard to express how much better I feel. It was instant nerve relief. I haven’t felt this good in years,” Woods wrote.

>> Related: Tiger Woods status for Honda Classic uncertain after latest injury

“I could no longer live with the pain I had. We tried every possible non-surgical route and nothing worked,” he added.

Woods said he’s looking forward to returning to competitive golf as soon as he’s able. 

The Palm Beach Post contributed to this story.

Standing Rock film festival centers around pipeline protest

A film festival on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation aims to bolster the anti-pipeline movement that blossomed there last year while also fostering connections between the Native American community and the film industry.

The inaugural Standing Rock Nation Film and Music Festival, which runs this coming Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the tribal casino near Fort Yates, will showcase the talent of Native American filmmakers and musicians. It also features films about American Indians and provides a venue for those who opposed the $3.8 billion Dakota Access oil pipeline to reminisce.

"It was the most amazing coming together of people from all over the country, all over the world," said festival producer Tricia van Klaveren, an independent filmmaker in San Francisco who spent time in a protest camp in southern North Dakota that held hundreds and sometimes thousands of people between August and February. "Standing Rock represents, people really came together and united. History was created."

People in the camp dubbed themselves "water protectors," a reference to the fear that oil and gas pipelines threaten water sources. They couldn't stop Dakota Access — the line to move North Dakota oil to a distribution point in Illinois is set to go into commercial service on Thursday — but the movement has spread to other pipeline projects around the country.

Organizers hope some people will make a return trip for the festival, though the casino has a capacity of only 1,000 people. Many events and panels will be live-streamed online.

"It is our goal that this weekend festival will empower, enlighten, and entertain the Native community and all global citizens," said Mitchell Zephier, a member of the Lower Brule tribe in South Dakota and the festival's founder and executive director.

Among the films being screened are "AWAKE, A Dream from Standing Rock," which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York in April, and "Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World," a documentary about Native musicians. That film, which won an award at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah, is an example of another purpose of the event.

"Part of the festival is creating a bridge between the Native community and film industry," van Klaveren said. "Telling more of the stories that haven't been told, and telling them through the Native American lens, the Native American perspective."

The festival is free, though donations are encouraged so there's money to continue the event in future years, van Klaveren said. This year's festival is being funded by the tribe and volunteer labor, she said.

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Follow Blake Nicholson on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/NicholsonBlake

John Williams serenaded with his biggest hits, a cappella style during Harvard’s commencement

Hearing the “Star Wars” theme or the song from “Indiana Jones” never gets old for some and members of Harvard’s Din and Tonics a cappella group put a new spin on the iconic instrumentals in front of the music’s creator, John Williams.

>> Read more trending news

Williams was at the Ivy League university for Harvard’s commencement on Thursday. He was not only given a unique performance of his music, he also received an honorary doctor of music degree, Entertainment Weekly reported.

Watch the video of Din and Tonics’ performance below or click here.

Mark Zuckerburg addressed the Harvard graduates during commencement ceremonies Thursday afternoon. He was granted an honorary degree Thursday morning. Zuckerberg had attended Harvard, but dropped out to start Facebook.

Prince William talks of sadness that family can't meet Diana

Prince William says he is sad his wife and two young children can't meet his late mother, Princess Diana.

In an interview with the magazine British GQ, the heir to the throne opened up about his feelings about his mother's 1997 death in a Paris car crash.

William told the magazine he would have liked having his mother's advice and for her to meet his wife, Kate, and to see her grandchildren grow up.

Diana died long before 3-year-old Prince George and Princess Charlotte, who recently turned 2, were born.

The interview with former Tony Blair spin doctor Alastair Campbell focuses on William's strong support for charities working on mental health issues.

William says his chief goal is "smashing" the taboo surrounding mental health discussions.

‘Jetsons’ movie ready to blast off production

A piece of our childhood may be coming to the big screen.

Warner Bros. has tapped director Conrad Vernon to helm its planned animated film “The Jetsons,” Variety reported.

>> Read more trending news

Vernon has co-directed hits like “Shrek 2” and “Monsters vs. Aliens.” He also voiced the Gingerbread Man in the “Shrek” films.

“The Jetsons” has been on the planning board for years after Warner Bros. hired Matt Liberman to pen the script in 2015, Variety reported.

The original “Jetsons” tv series aired for one season in prime time on ABC in 1962-63, Smithsonian reported.

This isn’t the first feature film for the space-age family. Universal released an animated “Jetsons” film in 1990 which was directed by Joseph Barbera, co-founder of Hanna-Barbera studios and one of the creators of the series.

Paris mayor says 'solution' found for black feminist event

The mayor of Paris said Monday that a "clear solution" has been found with organizers of a festival for black feminists, an event that had aroused her ire because four-fifths of the festival space was to be open exclusively to black women.

Mayor Anne Hidalgo had strongly criticized and threatened to cancel the upcoming Nyansapo Festival a day earlier because it was "forbidden to white people."

In a new series of tweets on the topic, Hidalgo said her "firm" discussion with organizers had yielded a satisfactory clarification: the parts of the festival held on property would be open to everyone and "non-mixed workshops will be held elsewhere, in a strictly private setting."

MWASI, the Afro-feminist collective sponsoring the three-day event, responded to the mayor's latest comments by saying it hadn't changed the festival program "an inch."

"That's what was planned from the beginning," the collective said of how the public and private spaces would be assigned.

Anti-racism associations and far-right politicians in France both had criticized the event over the weekend for scheduling workshops limited to a single gender and race.

France defines itself as a country united under one common national identity, with laws against racial discrimination and to promote secularism to safeguard an ideal that began with the French Revolution.

On Sunday, Hidalgo had said she would call on authorities to prohibit the cultural festival and might call for the prosecution of its organizers on grounds of discrimination.

"I firmly condemn the organization of this event in Paris (that's) 'forbidden to white people,'" Hidalgo had written.

Telephone calls to MWASIwere not immediately returned Monday.

The group describes itself on its website as "an Afro-feminist collective that is part of the revolutionary liberation struggles" and is open to black and mixed-race women.

The program for the first annual Nyansapo Festival, which is set to run July 28-30 partly at a Paris cultural center, stated that 80 percent of the event space only would be accessible to black women.

Other sessions were designed to be open to black men and women from minority groups that experience racial discrimination, and one space was scheduled to be open to everyone regardless of race or gender.

Organizers said on the event's website that "for this first edition we have chosen to put the accent on how our resistance as an Afro-feminist movement is organized."

Prominent French rights organization SOS Racism was among civil rights groups condemning the festival, calling it "a mistake, even an abomination, because it wallows in ethnic separation, whereas anti-racism is a movement which seeks to go beyond race."

The International League Against Racism and Anti-Semitism (LICRA), meanwhile, called the festival a "regression" and said American civil rights icon "Rosa Parks must be turning in her grave."

Identity politics remain a recurrent hot potato in a nation where collecting data based on religious and ethnic backgrounds is banned and the wearing of religious symbols — such as face-covering veils — in public is prohibited.

This approach, known to the French as "anti-communitarianism," aims to celebrate all French citizens regardless of their community affiliations.

Last week, several women attempting to stage a "burkini party" were detained in Cannes after a ban against the full-body beachwear favored by some Muslim women was upheld in a fresh decree.

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Philippe Sotto contributed to this story. Thomas Adamson can be followed at Twitter.com/ThomasAdamson_K

J.K. Rowling updates fans on ‘Fantastic Beasts’ sequel

J.K. Rowling has updated fans on the status of the latest movie in the Harry Potter universe.

>> Read more trending news 

The author announced on Twitter that she has finished writing the sequel to “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” NME reported.

Rowling whet the appetites of the Potter faithful in February when she gave them a sneak peek of the script.

Filming is expected to begin later this summer with Eddie Redmayne reprising his role as Newt Scamander, Screen Rant reported. Callam Turner will join the cast as Newt’s brother. Johnny Depp will continue in his role as Gellert Grindelwald following his cameo in the first film. Ezra Miller and Zoe Kravitz are also returning. Jude Law will join the cast as young Albus Dumbledore, Screen Rant reported.

It is scheduled to hit theaters in November 2018.

International flamenco festival set to mark 30 years

Dancers from across the U.S. and Spain will gather in New Mexico for the 30th anniversary of a preeminent international flamenco festival.

The event organized by the world-renowned National Institute of Flamenco will be held June 10th through the 17th in Albuquerque.

Flamenco is a form of Spanish dance and folk music that developed from Romani music and dance more than two centuries ago.

Festival Flamenco Internacional De Alburquerque will feature internationally known flamenco dancers, along with workshops, history lectures and events for children.

Here are some things to know:

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THE PERFORMERS

Nearly 60 dancers, singers and musicians are scheduled to perform in theaters at the University of New Mexico and the National Hispanic Cultural Center. They include award-winning dancers Marco Flores and Rosario Toledo, of Spain.

On some nights, the artists will finish the evening at Tablao Flamenco Albuquerque, a new venue at a hotel in the city's Old Town where dancers and musician give spontaneous performances.

Workshops at the annual festival include beginner to advanced classes in repertory, costuming, castanets and guitar.

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THE IMAGES

This year's gathering also will showcase the work of the late photographer Douglas Kent Hall. He worked with the National Institute of Flamenco to document the event by capturing a number of images of dancers from some of the first festivals.

On June 17, National Institute of Flamenco executive director Eva Encinias-Sandoval will give a free flamenco lecture at the National Hispanic Cultural Center encompassing the event's history. Twenty photographs by Kent Hall will be on display during the speech.

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THE FIRE

The National Institute of Flamenco is located in Albuquerque, which was founded by Spanish settlers and is considered the flamenco capital of the U.S.

The institute's mission is to preserve and promote flamenco's history and culture through performance and education.

In December 2013, a fire destroyed its offices, including decades of festival photos, documents and clothing.

The institute then took part in many fundraisers and garnered support from Albuquerque businesses to eventually land a new home near the University of New Mexico on historic Route 66.

The organization continues to operate a conservatory and now runs Tablao Flamenco Albuquerque.

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Follow Russell Contreras on Twitter at http://twitter.com/russcontreras.

How Hollywood is giving its biggest stars digital facelifts

Johnny Depp is 53 years old but he doesn't look a day over 26 in the new "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie — at least for a few moments. There was no plastic surgeon involved, heavy makeup or archival footage used to take the actor back to his boyish "Cry Baby" face, however. It's all post-production visual effects, and after a decade of refining the process since Brad Pitt ran the gamut of time in "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," it's becoming commonplace in major Hollywood movies.

Depp is just the latest mega-star to get the drastic de-aging treatment on screen, joining the ranks of Robert Downey Jr. (in "Captain America: Civil War"), Michael Douglas (in "Ant-Man"), Kurt Russell (in "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2") and scores of others getting digital facelifts to play younger versions of themselves. In the old days, a lucky unknown lookalike (or look enough alike) could have scored the part of young Jack Sparrow or Tony Stark. Now, if the film has the budget, the stars get to have it both ways — and audiences get a nostalgic flashback.

Lola Visual Effects is responsible for Depp's transformation, and most of the Marvel tricks, which have included making Chris Evans scrawny for the original "Captain America" and Hayley Atwell some 70 years older for the sequel.

Lola was the pioneer behind "Benjamin Button," too, and sells their services to all the major studios. It's one of a handful of vendors that have gotten in the so-called "beauty work" business. It's often meant to go unnoticed (like removing a blemish), and is generally buried under mountains of confidentiality agreements.

In the case of Depp, and most of Lola's de-aging work, the process starts with capturing a performance from the actor and then manipulating it. This isn't always necessary — "Rogue One" recreated the late Peter Cushing's Grand Moff Tarkin without him, and Carrie Fisher's Princess Leia using doubles — but it was critical for "Pirates."

"No one else can be Jack Sparrow," said Gary Brozenich, the Oscar-nominated VFX artist who oversaw visual effects for the film. "Trying to do a digital approximation ... audiences would see right through it."

Brozenich and the filmmakers decided to bring Depp back to how he looked around the time of "21 Jump Street" and "Cry Baby" and went through a number of iterations, over the course of six months, to arrive at the perfect age (roughly 26) — which Depp, Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer had to sign off on. The final shots, of which there are 20-25, took about 15 artists a year of work.

That Depp has been famous since that age was both a blessing and a curse for the production. They had numerous reference points to work with, but, so would the audience.

"Working on the human face is one of the, if not the most challenging thing to do," said Trent Claus, the visual effects supervisor for Lola VFX. "People can tell when there is something amiss. Even if they can't put their finger on what is wrong, they can tell that something is wrong."

And while the artists have gotten better over the years and have mostly managed to avoid drifting into the dreaded uncanny valley — the term used to describe the eerie feeling you get when looking at a digital person who is near-lifelike, but not quite enough — there are still trouble spots.

"One of the things that we struggle with is the bottom of the chin. As you get older there tends to be a lot of sag and extra skin that develop underneath the jaw," Claus said. "It is unfortunately not just a simple task of removing the wrinkles because the skin isn't going to be responding the same as it did when you were younger. You have to change not only the way it looks on the outside but how it moves and reacts to movement and expressions."

To counteract this, productions will often shoot a younger double to mimic an actor's performance, which they will use as a reference point for how the younger skin should behave and look in certain lights.

"We're constantly fighting making it look lifelike. One of the advantages of the process that we use is by keeping the original actor, we have that starting point of life, of reality," Claus said.

It makes the whole process harder, but, "It's worth it."

Reactions, lately have been mixed, ranging from nostalgic delight and "how'd they do that" curiosity to dismay and wariness about its future.

New York Magazine critic David Edelstein wrote that the "recreations" are "far more disturbing in their real-world implications than the fictional destruction of planets and galaxies."

For New York Times critic Manohla Dargis, Russell's younger visage was "weird" and "disrupting."

"It makes you contemplate whether this Benjamin Button-style age-reversing is going to become an increasingly standard (and creepy) industry practice," she wrote.

"Pirates 5" co-director Espen Sandberg isn't as dark about it.

"For me it's just another storytelling tool and I think it's really cool," he said.

And for the VFX artists, it's only the beginning.

"Right now what we're using it for is a very nuts and bolts solution to a problem. There's a different and more creative future for it," Brozenich said. "There can be even crazier, more creative uses for it ... maybe a hybrid of several actors."

He thinks the next step is a digital character that plays a larger part, and not just a flashback. After all, the young Han Solo movie isn't using a de-aged Harrison Ford or Billy Dee Williams — they've cast Alden Ehrenreich and Donald Glover.

"We have digital characters that are a primary part of (films), like Rocket and Groot from 'Guardians of the Galaxy' ... But they're never a full-on human performer that plays a key role throughout the duration of a feature film," he said. "I think that that's really the Holy Grail."

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AP Entertainment Reporter Ryan Pearson contributed to this report.

Soderbergh says filming 'Logan Lucky' made him a NASCAR fan

Steven Soderbergh was never a big NASCAR fan despite growing up in the South.

But the Academy Award winning director has become one after working on his new film "Logan Lucky," depicting a theoretical heist at Charlotte Motor Speedway during the Coca-Cola 600.

"NASCAR was kind of mystery to me," Soderbergh said in an interview with The Associated Press on Sunday prior to the start of the Coca-Cola 600. "I only had a very superficial knowledge of it. ... I knew the big names. I would watch the Daytona 500, but I wasn't following it.

"But the fun of this project has been learning a new sport and talking to people at all levels of the sport about the various layers that are underneath the superficial layer that someone like me would see when they watch the race on television."

Soderbergh said he found NASCAR drivers to be fun and "very unpretentious." Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Ryan Blaney and Kyle Larson all have cameos in the movie, though none play NASCAR drivers.

Busch, for instance, plays a state trooper.

"The complete lack of cynicism was refreshing, because in my business you run into people who have a jaded attitude about what they're doing," Soderbergh said. "It's fun to talk to people that are that engaged."

Channing Tatum stars in "Logan Lucky," which will premiere on Aug. 18. Tatum said he liked the idea of the film right away.

"It is basically a bunch of good ol' boys robbing NASCAR and that got a pretty good giggle out of me," Tatum said.

NASCAR has been heavily involved in the movie.

Zane Stoddard, NASCAR vice president of entertainment marketing and content development, is serving as an executive producer. Stoddard wanted to make sure that NASCAR was portrayed in the right light — and he said Soderbergh has captured that in the film.

"One of the things that was important to us is that even though the characters are down on their luck, lovable loser kind of characters, the vision that Steven and Channing laid out is that NASCAR is going to be this big huge event that is separate from the tone of the characters — and that was important to us," Stoddard said. "The thing that is most important when we partner in these projects is there is a level of trust between us and the filmmakers. ... That trust was there from the beginning and they made it very easy."

This is not Soderbergh's first venture into a heist move. He also directed Oceans 11.

But he feels this movie is different.

"When I read (the script) it felt like it was a kind of film that I like to watch, the kind of film I like to make," Soderbergh said. "It was different. It didn't feel like a repeat of the Oceans movie. It's in the same universe, but in a different galaxy."

After meeting and talking with so many people in NASCAR, Soderbergh has become a fan. He even finds himself rooting for the drivers he has met during the production of the film.

"Now when I watch it, it makes sense to me," Soderbergh said.

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More AP auto racing: http://racing.ap.org

WATCH: Massive crash at Indy 500 sends car airborne, landing in fiery explosion on track 

 

A major crash at the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday sent a race car airborne, careening out of control, before landing in pieces on the track. 

>> Read more trending news

The drivers of the two cars involved, Jay Howard and Scott Dixon, were fine, but the violent smash-up caused moments of panic in the pits and in the stands. 

Horrified crew members and spectators gasped as Howard lost control, slamming into Dixon’s car, which exploded as it collided with the barrier.

Dixon credited safety protocols for the lack of injuries.

The race was halted for almost 20 minutes as crews cleaned up the track.

In the end, Takuma Sato of Japan won the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Modern-day revolution celebrated in Philadelphia street art

Seeking to appeal to visitors more familiar with the words of "Game of Thrones" heroine Daenarys Targaryen than the writings of James Wilson, Philadelphia museums and historic sites are thinking differently, using creative art exhibitions and adding online components to their offerings.

"Revolutionary: A Pop-Up Street Art Exhibition," on display until July 4, features 13 artists who created 13 works that challenge the status quo. On display throughout downtown, the exhibition includes paintings, weavings, photographs — and a knit and crochet installation featuring Targayen quotes like "I will answer injustice with justice."

Meanwhile, "American Treasures" at the National Constitution Center showcases drafts of the U.S. Constitution written by lesser-known founding father James Wilson. After seeing an online version of the Constitution garner more than 10 million hits in 18 months, museum leaders decided to also feature the rare drafts online, where visitors will learn how one draft called for the U.S. president to be addressed as "His Excellency."

"Letting them see the words themselves has been a way to engage young people," said the organization's president and CEO Jeffrey Rosen. "It's a way to bring history and ideas alive."

Colonial history is enjoying a resurgence thanks to the success of Broadway's "Hamilton." A group of fourth graders last week ran through the newly unveiled Museum of the American Revolution singing the show's songs and looking for historic highlights they'd learned through music.

The "Revolutionary" exhibition — funded by Visit Philadelphia, the city's tourism arm — was curated by Conrad Benner, founder and editor of streetsdept.com, a website that promotes urban art and exploration.

Benner said he looked for artists whose work challenged the status quo.

"All revolutions start with people looking at the world around them and asking, 'What can we do better for ourselves and our neighbors?'" Benner said. "It's very powerful to have those ideas in public spaces."

The artists in the Revolutionary exhibition approached the subject in different ways.

El Salvador-born artist Carlos Lopez Rosa created a portrait of a South American freedom fighter few people would recognize, but the image is powerful because of its canvas: It is painted on a machete, which represents conflict, he said.

Well-known yarn-bomber Ishknits was inspired to make a crochet and knit work bearing quotes from "Game of Thrones" character Daenerys Targaryen, including, "I will answer injustice with justice."

Yasmine Mustafa, whose family came to the U.S. from Kuwait during the Persian Gulf War, was one of the creative minds behind "Birth Lottery," a poster that depicts stork flying over houses.

The image is meant to showcase the randomness of where one's life begins, Mustafa said. "We don't choose our country, our race, our economic class but these are the things that shape our lives."

The Latest: Ostlund's "The Square" wins Palme d'Or at Cannes

The Latest on the Cannes Film Festival (all times local):

8:15 p.m.

The Cannes Film Festival jury has awarded its coveted Palme d'Or award to Ruben Ostlund's "The Square."

"Oh my god! OK," the Swedish filmmaker exclaimed after he bounded onto the stage to collect the prize.

He led the crowd in a cheer, too.

Ostlund previously won the Jury Prize in the 2014 festival's Un Certain Regard section for "Force Majeure."

Dominic West, Elisabeth Moss and Claes Bang star in "The Square."

Bang plays the curator of an art museum, who sets up "The Square," an installation inviting passers-by to altruism.

But after he reacts foolishly to the theft of his phone, the respected father of two finds himself dragged into shameful situations.

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8:05 p.m.

Sofia Coppola has won the Cannes Film Festival best director prize for "The Beguiled," her remake of Don Siegel's 1971 Civil War drama.

The French AIDS drama "120 Beats Per Minute" won the Grand Prize from the jury. The Grand Prize recognizes a strong film that missed out on the top prize, the Palme d'Or.

The jury also presented a special prize to celebrate the festival's 70th anniversary, to actress Nicole Kidman.

Kidman wasn't at the French Rivera ceremony, but sent a video message from Nashville, saying she was "absolutely devastated" to miss the show.

Jury member Will Smith made the best of the situation, pretending to be Kidman.

He fake-cried and said in halting French, "merci beaucoup madames et monsieurs."

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7:55 p.m.

Diane Kruger has been named best actress and Joaquin Phoenix best actor at the 70th annual Cannes Film Festival.

Kruger was honored for her performance in Fatih Akin's "In the Fade."

She told the star-studded audience she was "overcome." Kruger said. "Thank you a thousand times."

Phoenix was recognized for his role in Lynne Ramsay's thriller "You Were Never Really Here."

He played a tormented war veteran trying to save a teenage girl from a sex trafficking ring.

Phoenix wore sneakers on stage as he collected the prize. He said his leather shoes had been flown ahead of him.

He apologized for his appearance, saying the prize was "totally unexpected."

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7:50 p.m.

The Cannes Film Festival jury has awarded two — not one — screenplay awards this year — for "The Killing of a Sacred Deer" and "You Were Never Really Here."

Jury president Pedro Almodovar said as he announced the selection on Sunday night, "We have our first surprise."

The jury prize went to Russian director Andrey Zvyagintsev's "Loveless."

The Palme d'Or award for short films has gone to the 15-minute-long Chinese movie "A Gentle Night" by Qiu Yang.

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7:20 p.m.

The Cannes Film Festival awards show is underway, with Italian actress Monica Bellucci as host.

In her opening speech, the Italian actress defended the role of violence in movies, saying they only reflect the violence of the real world.

Bellucci said, "Cinema takes its inspiration from reality."

"Nothing is more violent than reality," she added. "Cinema only plays its role as a mirror."

The festival has handed out its first award: the Golden Camera prize to Leonor Serraille for her French movie "Young Woman."

The Camera d'Or is awarded to the best first film, with 26 films vying for it this year.

Bellucci also spoke out about the representation of women in the world of cinema. Three female filmmakers have movies among the 19 in competition this year for Cannes' highest honor, the Palme d'Or.

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7:10 p.m.

Among those spotted on the Cannes red carpet ahead of the award ceremony was filmmaker Robin Campillo. His AIDS drama "120 Beats Per Minute" earned some of the best reviews of the festival.

Campillo told French broadcaster Canal Plus he had returned to Paris after the screening of his film, but returned after getting a call asking him back for Sunday's award ceremony.

Does that suggest a possible Palme d'Or? Time will tell.

Campillo's movie centers on the activist group ACT UP in Paris in the 1990s during the AIDS crisis.

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7:05 p.m.

The red carpet at Cannes is humming with stars ahead of the ceremony that will award the coveted Palme d'Or prize.

Two-time Academy Award nominee Jessica Chastain, looking fabulous in a white dress with red patterning on the front, said she and other members of the jury led by Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar wrestled Sunday with "a very difficult choice."

The actress told broadcaster Canal Plus, "We saw beautiful films."

Fellow jury member Will Smith was bubbly as ever, saying: "I'm ecstatic. This has been a beautiful experience."

Diane Kruger, in a sober black dress, said: "My heart is beating very, very fast."

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5:51 p.m.

The Cannes Film Festival Jury has done its job. But its president isn't letting slip which film it has picked for the coveted Palme d'Or award.

Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar told a French BFM television reporter who managed to squeeze a few words out of him that the award deliberations Sunday were "very fast."

Almodovar said: "We did our work."

But for the names of the winners: Stay tuned.

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4:41 p.m.

The Cannes Film Festival is gearing up to award its prestigious Palme d'Or at a glitzy award ceremony.

No single movie has emerged as the clear favorite among the 19 in competition for the coveted prize being awarded Sunday evening.

Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar presided over the competition jury. Almodovar has made clear that he doesn't want the Palme d'Or, the festival's top prize, to go to a movie that isn't shown on big screens.

That could bode ill for Bong Joon-ho's "Okja" and Noah Baumbach's "The Meyerowitz Stories," the first Netflix releases ever selected to be in competition for the Palme d'Or.

Regarded as cinema's most prestigious festival, Cannes is celebrating its 70th anniversary. Organizers have declared that next year, streaming-only films will not be accepted for the competition.

'Pirates of the Caribbean' tops box office, 'Baywatch' sinks

It was smooth sailing to the top spot at the box office for "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales," but the waters were choppier for the Dwayne Johnson comedy "Baywatch."

Studio estimates on Sunday say the fifth installment of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise commandeered $62.2 million in its first three days in theaters.

The Johnny Depp-starrer is projected to take in $76.6 million over the four-day holiday weekend.

It was the second-lowest domestic opening for the nearly $4 billion franchise, but the latest film, which cost a reported $230 million to produce, has massive international appeal. Its four-day global total is expected to hit $300 million.

Having the majority of profits come from international receipts is not worrying Walt Disney Studios.

"This is a trend that we've seen play out over the course of these films," said Dave Hollis, executive vice president of distribution for Disney. "'Pirates' is a huge spectacle film of the kind that international audiences continue to be drawn toward ... but the domestic response also shows that the audience for this film is clearly there."

The R-rated "Baywatch," meanwhile, is sinking like a rock. The critically derided update of the 1990s TV show earned only $18.1 million over the weekend against a nearly $70 million price tag. Including Thursday earnings, the film is projected to collect $26.6 million by the close of Memorial Day.

Even "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" did better in its fourth weekend. The space opera added $19.9 million to take second place ahead of "Baywatch" at the box office.

The "Baywatch" miss could be attributable to a couple of factors. Even with the star power of Johnson, R-rated Hollywood updates to family friendly television shows have a dubious track record, ComScore senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian said.

Earlier this year, Dax Shepard's R-rated update of "CHiPs" tanked, netting only $18.6 million domestically against a $25 million budget.

This month's box office has also been tough on nearly every film except "Guardians of the Galaxy."

"'Baywatch' doesn't stand alone as a casualty in this marketplace," Dergarabedian said. "It's joining a cadre of other films that have underperformed."

Even the decently reviewed "Alien: Covenant" dropped an uncommonly steep 71 percent in its second weekend in theaters to take fourth place with $10.5 million. The teen romance "Everything, Everything" rounded out the top five with $6.2 million.

"Hollywood needs June to save the box office world," Dergarabedian said.

First up to that challenge: "Wonder Woman."

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to comScore. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.

1."Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales," $62.2 million ($208.4 million international).

2."Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2," $19.9 million ($8.6 million international).

3."Baywatch," $18.1 million.

4."Alien: Covenant," $10.5 million ($10.8 million international).

5."Everything, Everything," $6.2 million.

6."Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul," $4.4 million ($2.4 million international).

7."Snatched," $3.9 million ($1.4 million international).

8."King Arthur: Legend of the Sword," $3.2 million ($10 million international).

9."The Boss Baby," $1.7 million ($2.9 million international).

10."Beauty and the Beast," $1.6 million ($3.8 million international).

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Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at international theaters (excluding the U.S. and Canada), according to comScore:

1. "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales," $208.4 million.

2. "Alien: Covenant," $10.8 million.

3. "Dangal," $10.6 million.

4. "King Arthur: Legend of the Sword," $10 million.

5. "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2," $8.6 million.

6. "Get Out," $7.3 million.

7. "Our President," $4.3 million.

8. "God of War," $4.2 million.

9. "Beauty and the Beast," $3.8 million.

10. "The Fate of the Furious," $3.3 million.

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Universal and Focus are owned by NBC Universal, a unit of Comcast Corp.; Sony, Columbia, Sony Screen Gems and Sony Pictures Classics are units of Sony Corp.; Paramount is owned by Viacom Inc.; Disney, Pixar and Marvel are owned by The Walt Disney Co.; Miramax is owned by Filmyard Holdings LLC; 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight are owned by 21st Century Fox; Warner Bros. and New Line are units of Time Warner Inc.; MGM is owned by a group of former creditors including Highland Capital, Anchorage Advisors and Carl Icahn; Lionsgate is owned by Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.; IFC is owned by AMC Networks Inc.; Rogue is owned by Relativity Media LLC.

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Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/ldbahr

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