Huffman, best known for her role in ABC’s “Desperate Housewives,” was implicated in the massive college admissions cheating scandal along with other wealthy and famous parents who allegedly paid millions to have their children placed in elite universities.
A source told the Los Angeles Times that Huffman and other defendants had recently received notice that they might face arrest. Sources familiar with Huffman’s arrest told the paper that FBI agents with guns drawn showed up at the actress’ home at 6 a.m. to take her into custody.
Felicity Huffman was reportedly greeted by FBI agents with their guns drawn Tuesday morning at her Los Angeles home. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)
The FBI did not use a tactical team to arrest Huffman, but had their guns drawn as a precaution “based on the circumstances during the execution of any warrant,” Laura Eimiller, an FBI spokeswoman, told the LA Times.
Huffman made a brief court appearance later Tuesday afternoon where the judge asked her: “I’m not asking you to admit or deny the charges against you but do you understand what the government claims you did?” She replied: “Yes.”
Her husband, actor William H. Macy, sat in court as the judge ordered her released on a $250,000 bond. Huffman is scheduled to appear in court March 29 in Boston.
Actress Felicity Huffman walks towards the door in the lobby of a Los Angeles court after she is released on a $250,000 bond Tuesday. (AP Photo/Rick Taber)
Huffman, 54, allegedly paid $15,000, disguised as a charitable donation, so her daughter could take part in the college entrance-exam cheating scam, according to court documents.
Court papers said a cooperating witness met with Huffman and Macy at their Los Angeles home and explained to them that he “controlled” an SAT testing center and could have somebody correct her daughter’s wrong answers. The person told investigators the couple agreed to the plan.
Their daughter, Sofia, an aspiring actress who attends Los Angeles High School of the Arts, allegedly took the test in Dec. 2017 and got a score of 1420, a 400-point improvement from her first test, the LA Times reported.
Huffman and several other defendants were charged with conspiracy to commit fraud, punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Macy was not charged; authorities did not say why.
Actor William H. Macy arrives at the federal courthouse in Los Angele, on Tuesday. Macy was not charged; authorities did not say why.
(AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)
David Mamet, Oscar-nominated writer of “Wag the Dog” and “The Verdict,” came to their defense in the form of an open letter, citing the double standards that exist in the admissions process and calling many of its policies a “corrupt joke,” Deadline reported.
“The unqualified may be accepted for many reasons, among them, as Legacies, and on account of large donations made by their parents,” Mamet wrote. “I do not see the difference between getting a kid into school by bribing the Building Committee, and by bribing someone else. But, apparently, the second is against the Law. So be it.”
The 50 parents ensnared in the massive cheating scandal allegedly funneled money to William Rick Singer, the California man pinpointed as the scheme’s “ringleader.” The money was allegedly used to bribe athletic coaches or for help cheating on entrance exams so their children could be admitted into prestigious schools, including Yale, Georgetown, Stanford, and University of Southern California.
No students have been charged, with authorities saying that in many cases the teenagers were unaware of their parents’ plans. Several of the colleges involved made no mention of taking action against the students.
Another big celebrity name on the list was actress Laurie Loughlin, known for playing Aunt Becky on the family sitcom “Full House.” Loughlin and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, both face charges for allegedly giving $500,000 to have their two daughters’ athletic records falsified.
Giannulli was released on a $1 million dollar bond and had his travel restricted to the continental United States. Loughlin was expected to surrender Wednesday, according to a report.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Anna Faris Opens Up About The Aftermath Of
Happily divorced exes Anna Faris and Chris Pratt are working toward the “fantasy idea” of spending the holidays together, the actress recently revealed. During an appearance on the “Divorce Sucks” podcast with famous Hollywood divorce attorney Laura Wasser, Faris spoke about her relationship with Pratt, with whom she shares a son, Jack. “Our goal was…
During an appearance on the “Divorce Sucks” podcast with famous Hollywood divorce attorney Laura Wasser, Faris spoke about her relationship with Pratt, with whom she shares a son, Jack.
“Our goal was to have group Thanksgiving dinners together and to be at that place,” she said. “Do we do that sooner or later? Grudge-holding is not something that Chris and I do.”
“So we wanted to make sure, of course, that Jack was happy but that we were happy and supportive of each other and that we could have this fantasy idea of, do we all spend Christmas together? Do we all vacation together?” she asked. “How do we make sure that everybody that we love feels safe and that we also respect the love we have for each other?”
Faris added that “throughout all of these uncoupling circumstances,” she and Pratt have been able to maintain “kindness and love” toward each other.
The actress added that he called her before he proposed to his now-fiancée, Katherine Schwarzenegger.
“So, he was so sweet, as he always is. He called me like, ‘So, I’m going to ask Katherine to marry me. I just wanted to give you a heads up.’ And I was like, ‘That’s awesome!’ and I told him that I was an ordained minister,” Faris said.
Since splitting with Pratt, she has been dating cinematographer Michael Barrett, whom she met while filming the remake of “Overboard.” The two were first linked in November 2017 after vacationing together in Italy.
Avenge the Fallen with New Avengers: Endgame Character
Avenge the fallen with new Avengers: Endgame character postersWith Avengers: Endgame set to debut in theaters in one month, a bunch of new character posters have been released by Marvel, highlighting those who survived Thanos’ infamous snap in color with those turned to ash in black and white. Check out the new posters in the gallery…
Avenge the fallen with new Avengers: Endgame character posters
With Avengers: Endgame set to debut in theaters in one month, a bunch of new character posters have been released by Marvel, highlighting those who survived Thanos’ infamous snap in color with those turned to ash in black and white. Check out the new posters in the gallery below and prepare to avenge the fallen on April 26!
Last year’s Avengers: Infinity War saw the titular superhero team take the fight to Thanos in order to stop his attempt at exterminating half of the universe’s population with the Infinity stones. But it was to no avail, as he was able to successfully collect them all and snap his fingers, wiping out half of all life from existence in a cloud of ash.
The grave course of events set in motion by Thanos that wiped out half the universe and fractured the Avengers ranks compels the remaining Avengers to take one final stand in Marvel Studios’ grand conclusion to twenty-two films, “Avengers: Endgame.”
Confirmed cast members for the untitled fourth Avengers film so far include Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Sean Gunn, Paul Rudd, Brie Larson, Karen Gillan, Katherine Langford and Josh Brolin.
Avengers: Endgame will open on April 26.
Dumbo Review: Tim Burton’s Remake Never Takes Flight
Some stories are best left as they are. This is a fairly unavoidable takeaway from Tim Burton’s unnecessary live-action/CG remake of the Disney animated classic Dumbo. Though not remotely as noxious and garish as his 2010 version of Alice in Wonderland, Burton has not solved the puzzle of figuring out a halfway decent creative reason…
Some stories are best left as they are. This is a fairly unavoidable takeaway from Tim Burton’s unnecessary live-action/CG remake of the Disney animated classic Dumbo. Though not remotely as noxious and garish as his 2010 version of Alice in Wonderland, Burton has not solved the puzzle of figuring out a halfway decent creative reason for this film to exist. An A-list cast, high budget, and all the other trappings of a modern blockbuster can’t get this thing off the ground.
Much of the first half of this Ehren Kruger-penned story will be recognizable to anyone who remembers the 1941 film. There’s a ramshackle circus at which an elephant gives birth to a baby with inexplicably large ears that enable it to fly, to everyone’s delight. Now, though, a circus worker (Colin Farrell) and his two kids are charged with looking after the cruelly nicknamed Dumbo. (This version of the story concocts a painfully flimsy reason for anyone to call the elephant Dumbo, and not Jumbo Jr.) Once a world-renowned impresario (Michael Keaton) with a flashy circus/theme-park hybrid gets word of a flying elephant, it’s up to Farrell’s single dad and his kids to help the eponymous flier out.
Unlike Alice, Dumbo often rises to the level of tolerable. That is, of course, a woefully low bar to clear, but with the help of two weird, energetic performances as well as Rick Heinrichs’ production design, Dumbo never sinks into the same badness that Burton’s previous Disney remake did. But the core of the story is poorly fleshed out. Once, Jumbo Jr. (AKA Dumbo) was the stoic, sympathetic and silent lead. Here, he’s a supporting player, rendered in CG that’s never as able to evoke emotion as the hand-drawn iteration from the 1940s did.
Instead, Dumbo is just part of the drama of whether or not a lonely veteran/widower can reconnect with his kids, including a daughter who is obsessed with science. It should be here noted that Disney may deserve kudos for using its recent live-action fare to promote portrayals of young women who have more on their minds than romance. But it would be nice if the screenplays to these films crafted fully realized characters, instead of creating a sense of checking off boxes. Here, the young girl is a scientist in the making who carries around a key given to her by her now-dead mother, which is essentially the same as the lead character from last year’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms. The second time is not the charm in this case.
The human characters in the original film, for both budgetary and creative reasons, are mostly non-entities. Given a larger scale and much bigger budget, the new film hasn’t figured out a way to make most of them any more interesting. Two campy exceptions are Burton’s old friends Batman and the Penguin. Keaton and Danny DeVito, the latter as the ringmaster of a chintzy circus where Dumbo first takes flight, are hamming it up to hog heaven here. Keaton’s diving into each line of dialogue like it’s a four-course meal; it’s difficult not to find Keaton saying “You beautiful one-armed cowboy” hilarious. And DeVito is cutting loose as the ringmaster in the early going, chewing up the green-screened scenery as much as Keaton.
The rest of the cast, though, is saddled with a storyline that leans too hard on the treacle while backgrounding the elephant that ought to be at the forefront of the emotion. Farrell does the best he can as a physically disabled World War I veteran who doesn’t know how to talk to his kids, but the combination of character tropes is just too familiar, in a story that thrives on the bizarre. Dumbo does hit some of the familiar beats of the original film, from a sorrowful rendition of “Baby Mine” to the hallucinatory “Pink Elephants on Parade”, but does so in ways that simply serve as reminders of how much better the animated film does it. (Burton’s film, wisely and unsurprisingly, sidesteps the original film’s racism in a number like “When I See an Elephant Fly,” but the way in which the new movie quotes that song is…baffling.)
To date, the best remake of an older Disney film is David Lowery’s 2016 retelling of Pete’s Dragon. That film has one major advantage that none of the others boast: a lack of a passionate fanbase. Not many people hold the original Pete’s Dragon in high regard, which enabled Lowery and his crew to take the basic premise of the 1977 original — of a boy who has a dragon companion — and build an entirely new story around that. Dumbo is famously one of Disney’s shortest films, so it’s unsurprising that a good chunk of the remake is telling an entirely new story. But that new story is uninspired, and shackled to enough shoehorned-in flourishes from the original, that the overall result is weird without being consistent, off-beat while being mildly off-putting.
All that said, Dumbo has a couple of decent qualities — the design of the theme park/circus run by Keaton’s character is remarkable, even if it’s inexplicably meant to take place in 1919 when such technology was impossible. So you could say that this is technically Tim Burton’s best film in at least a decade, which is more of a backhanded compliment than anything else. Burton’s recent films include the misbegotten Alice in Wonderland and Dark Shadows, late-stage blemishes on a filmography that began with such promise. There are flashes of intrigue in Dumbo, but also dull, uninspired details and characters. Throughout long chunks of this film, I had the same persistent thought: if only they made a version of this story that was all about the elephant, and not the humans. Good thing they already did.
/Film Rating: 4 out of 10
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