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An animated Fast & Furious series is headed to Netflix. It is the first series in an expansion of an ongoing multi-year deal between Netflix and DreamWorks Animation Television for original animated kids and family programming. The expansion, following Comcast-NBCUniversal’s acquisition of the animation studio, includes a first look at DreamWorks Animation animated series based on Universal film properties. First off is Fast & Furious, based on Universal’s multi-billion dollar franchise. The series is executive produced by Vin Diesel, Neal Moritz and Chris Morgan, producers on the live-action movies. DreamWorks will also continue creating series based on original and acquired IP.
In the Fast & Furious animated series, teenager Tony Toretto follows in the footsteps of his cousin Dom when he and his friends are recruited by a government agency to infiltrate an elite racing league serving as a front for a nefarious crime organization bent on world domination. Tim Hedrick (DreamWorks Voltron Legendary Defender) and Bret Haaland (All Hail King Julien) will serve as executive producers and showrunners.
“We are thrilled to take our fantastic partnership with DreamWorks Animation to the next level with new opportunities from the vast library of Universal Pictures,” said Melissa Cobb, Netflix’s VP of Kids and Family. “The Fast & Furious franchise is a global phenomenon beloved by audiences of all ages, and we can’t wait to get started on the new animated series that will capture the action, heart, humor and global appeal of the feature films.”
The actor's family confirmed Troyer's death on Instagram. "It is with great sadness and incredibly heavy hearts to write that Verne passed away today," the family wrote.
"Verne was an extremely caring individual. He wanted to make everyone smile, be happy, and laugh. Anybody in need, he would help to any extent possible. Verne hoped he made a positive change with the platform he had and worked towards spreading that message everyday. He inspired people around the world with his drive, determination, and attitude."
While no cause of death was revealed, the family wrote of "recent time of adversary" the actor faced. "Verne was also a fighter when it came to his own battles," they wrote. "Over the years he’s struggled and won, struggled and won, struggled and fought some more, but unfortunately this time was too much… Depression and suicide are very serious issues. You never know what kind of battle someone is going through inside. Be kind to one another."
One of the world's shortest people – achondroplasia dwarfism caused Troyer to stop growing at 2'8" – Troyer initially entered show business as a stunt person; in 1993, he played the stunt double to the infant in Baby's Day Out.
"[Troyer] inspired people around the world with his drive, determination, and attitude. On film & television sets, commercial shoots, at comic-con’s & personal appearances, to his own YouTube videos, he was there to show everyone what he was capable of doing," the actor's family continued. "Even though his stature was small and his parents often wondered if he’d be able to reach up and open doors on his own in his life, he went on to open more doors for himself and others than anyone could have imagined. He also touched more peoples hearts than he will ever know."
However, in recent years, the actor battled health issues and alcoholism, with Troyer requiring a hospital earlier this month due to alcohol poisoning and suicidal threats. "Asking you to keep Verne in your thoughts and prayers," a person connected to Troyer wrote on Instagram earlier this month. "He’s getting the best care possible and is resting comfortably. Appreciate the support from family, friends, and fans around the world."
Actress Allison Mack, best known for her role as Clark Kent's clever confidant Chloe on CW's "Smallville," was indicted on Friday on charges of sex trafficking, sex trafficking conspiracy and forced labor conspiracy, according to a statement released by the Justice Department.
Mack's arrest is related to her alleged involvement with an organization called Nxivm (pronounced NEX-ium), a group that claimed to be a self-help program but was, in reality, a pyramid scheme in which some recruits were exploited "both sexually and for their labor, to the defendants' benefit," according to U.S attorney Richard P. Donoghue. Nxivm's founder, Keith Raniere, also known within the group as Vanguard, was also indicted on Friday.
"As alleged in the indictment, Allison Mack recruited women to join what was purported to be a female mentorship group that was, in fact, created and led by Keith Raniere," Donoghue stated. Officials allege that Nxivm, based in Albany, New York, encourages recruits to pay thousands of dollars for courses to rise through the ranks of the organization and recruit others to do the same. Officials say Mack, 35, is the co-creator of a program within Nxivm called The Source, which was targeted toward actors.
Mack and Raniere's charges stem from what officials say were activities that took place as part of a secret society within Nxivm called "DOS," in which women recruited others under false pretenses to perform sexual acts. Raniere was the sole male in DOS and the leader. Until women recruited others, they were called "slaves." Those who successfully recruited were called "masters."
The indictment claims many so-called slaves were branded on their pelvic areas using a cauterizing pen with a symbol which, unbeknownst to them, incorporated Raniere's initials. Mack is being accused by two unnamed women, identified in official documents as Jane Does 1 and 2, of directly or implicitly requiring them to engage in sexual activity with Raniere. Mack allegedly received financial and other benefits from Raniere in exchange for the women's cooperation with their demands. The women claim they were blackmailed into complying, as DOS has compromising information about them.
If convicted of the crimes charged, Raniere and Mack each face mandatory minimum sentences of 15 years' imprisonment, and up to life imprisonment.
This year's 20th issue of Shueisha's Weekly Shonen Jump magazine revealed on Monday that the Boruto: Naruto Next Generations television anime series will switch timeslots. The anime has been airing on Wednesdays at 5:55 p.m., but will switch to Thursdays at 7:25 p.m. The show's 54th and 55th episodes will air as normal on Wednesdays, and then the 56th episode will air the next Thursday.
A new arc that debuted this spring centers on the Chūnin Exam story that was told during the Boruto -Naruto the Movie- film.
The anime is based on Ukyō Kodachi and Mikie Ikemoto's Boruto sequel manga, which launched in Weekly Shonen Jump in May 2016.
Anime director and Studio-Ghibli co-founder Isao Takahata passed away in a Tokyo hospital on Thursday. He was 82.
The Japanese websites Sanspo and NTV News 24 reported the news, and both cited unnamed related parties who said that Takahata had been in declining health since last summer.
Studio Ghibli President Kiyofumi Nakajima and Studio Ghibli producer and co-founder Toshio Suzuki both issued statements on Friday regarding director Isao Takahata's passing.
Nakajima offered more details on Takahata's passing, noting that Takahata died due to lung cancer at 1:19 a.m. on Thursday at the Teikyo University Hospital. Nakajima added that the wake and funeral service for Takahata will only be for close relatives. The family is politely refusing all offers of messages or gifts of condolence. However, Ghibli will hold a more public farewell gathering for Takahata on May 15, with exact details to be decided and announced later.
Suzuki's statement noted that Takahata had many things he had planned to do, so his death is undeniably regrettable. Suzuki added that he consulted with Hayao Miyazaki, and decided that the studio would hold a grand farewell gathering in remembrance of Takahata.
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