Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Mariska Hargitay, 53, and Brooke Shields, 52, look similar as they pout and pull supermodel poses on Law & Order: SVU set


Brooke Shields and Mariska Hargitay have been friends for years. And when the 52-year-old former supermodel filmed an episode of her 53-year-old pal's show Law & Order: Special Victims Unit on Tuesday they almost looked alike. Shields went cheek to cheek with Hargitay then they both pulled supermodel poses as they got playful with their little co-star, Ryan Buggle, aged seven.

The star tucked in a navy top into a set of dark pants. Her ensemble was complete with a law enforcement badge, boots and a black trench coat. 
Brooke, who stars as the biological, maternal grandmother of Olivia's adopted son, wore a light blue cable sweater layered underneath a plum puffer jacket.  
In the series, Mariska's character adopts a son named Noah Porter-Benson.
Noah's late paternal mother claimed that both of her parents were dead, but her mother is actually alive. 
When casting for the role of her adopted son's biological grandmother, Mariska immediately suggested pal Brooke. 'I was not thinking of Brooke Shields,' showrunner Michael Chernuchin began to The Hollywood Reporter.  'I was thinking of an older woman and right when I pitched it to Mariska — I give her so much credit — she said, "Brooke's going to play the part."'
Brooke and Mariska became friends after meeting at an AIDS benefit in California, and continuing to cross paths. 
Mariska would later approach the star about the SVU role.
Brooke told THR: '[Mariska] sat me down and said, "We have this really great arc and we need a strong female character that can stand up to me, and really unsettle me.
'"It's someone in her personal life who really challenges her to find a way to parent her little boy." I [as the grandmother] come out of nowhere and basically presented a very obstacle for her in doing that.
'I've never played a grandmother before and I have to say, I practically punched Mariska in the face when she said, "Oh, and by the way, you're playing a grandmother." I was like, "Oh, that's great,"' she joked.  


Tuesday, October 24, 2017

HBO film about untested sexual assault kits screened at Kansas Bureau of Investigation


Documentary “I Am Evidence” to be released next year

About 100 people watched a film Monday at the Kansas Bureau of Investigation highlighting the issue of unsubmitted and untested sexual assault kits.
The HBO documentary “I Am Evidence” was produced by “Law and Order SVU” actress Mariska Hargitay and will be released next year. The film also features the stories of four rape survivors, KBI spokeswoman Melissa Underwood said in a news release.
The event, attended by advocates and other professionals, included a discussion led by Kym Worthy, the Wayne County, Mich., prosecutor. In 2009, Worthy discovered more than 11,000 sexual assault kits in a Detroit police property storage facility. The discussion centered on the value of testing sexual assault kit evidence and establishing a victim-centered approach to sexual assault.
In 2014, law enforcement agencies in Kansas began taking inventory of unsubmitted kits. The Kansas Sexual Assault Kit Initiative, a multidisciplinary working group, also was established.

According to End the Backlog, an initiative of the Joyful Heart Foundation which Hargitay founded, 2,220 kits in Kansas are in the process of being tested. More than 200,000 untested kits have been identified across the nation.
The film screening was sponsored by the KBI, Kansas Coalition Against Sexual & Domestic Violence, and YWCA of Northeast Kansas Center for Safety and Empowerment, in partnership with the Joyful Heart Foundation.
Victims of sexual and domestic violence can reach the Kansas Crisis Hotline at 1-888-363-2287.

LAW & ORDER SVU Season 19 Episode 5 Photos Complicated


A ten year-old kidnapping case is reopened when a young woman is found wandering Central Park alone. Starring Mariska Hargitay (Lt. Olivia Benson), Ice T (Det. Odafin Tutuola), Kelli Giddish (Det. Amanda Rollins), Raúl Esparza (ADA Rafael Barba) and Peter Scanavino (Det. Sony Carisi). Guest starring Brooke Shields (Sheila Porter), Peter Hermann (Trevor Langan), Ili Ray (Emma Lawrence), Mike Faist (Glenn Lawrence), Jane Houdyshell (Judge Ruth Linden) and Isaiah Thomas (as himself). LAW & ORDER SVU Season 19 Episode 5 Photos Complicated.



Thursday, October 19, 2017

SLIFF 2017 – Rape Documentary I AM EVIDENCE Screens November 8th at The St. Louis International Film Festival


I AM EVIDENCE screens Wednesday, November 8th at 6:30pm at The Plaza Frontenac Theater (1701 S Lindbergh Blvd # 210) as part of this year’s St. Louis International Film Festival. Co-director Trish Adlesic and subject Kym L. Worthy, prosecutor of Wayne County, Michigan will be in attendance. This screening is sponsored by “Culture Shock”: A Film Series for Helping Kids Together and by Safe Connections. Ticket information can be found HERE.

After an unthinkable crime, followed by an unimaginable and degrading test, it’s heartbreaking to think that the only evidence that could put your rapist behind bars is left to collect dust on a shelf or worse, be destroyed entirely. Yet for thousands upon thousands of victims of rape, primarily women, who have had the ability, wherewithal and courage to endure the process of reporting the assault and then submitting their battered bodies to an invasive and often traumatizing evidence collection, this is the repeat violation. The documentary I AM EVIDENCE, directed by Trish Adlesic and Geeta Gandbhir, centers around the tens of thousands of rape kits across this country that sit in a backlog, going untested, because, according to various officials in law enforcement and the judicial system, there is a lack of resources available to test them, both financial and human. Others say that victims’ reports never make their way to a prosecutor because the responding officer(s) didn’t believe the victim’s story, either due to her behavior or some other perceived lack of credibility.

A powerful indictment of the criminal-justice system’s seeming indifference to the crime of rape, I AM EVIDENCE exposes the shockingly large number of untested rape kits in the United States today. Despite the power of DNA to solve and prevent crimes, hundreds of thousands of kits containing potentially crucial DNA evidence languish untested in police evidence storage rooms across the country. Behind each of these kits lies an individual’s unresolved sexual-assault case. Produced by “Law & Order: SVU’s” Mariska Hargitay — who also appears in the documentary — I AM EVIDENCE tells the stories of survivors who have waited years for their kits to be tested and chronicles the efforts of the law-enforcement officials who are leading the charge to work through the backlog and pursue long-awaited justice in these cases. The film reveals the high cost of the lingering lassitude surrounding rape investigations in this country, and the positive effects of treating survivors with the respect they deserve.


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

NBCUniversal Short Film Festival Finale Will Celebrate Diversity



The festival celebrates diverse stories while finding the next generation of storytellers. Admission to the screening and awards is free and open to the public but requires a ticket that can be obtained at the festival web site,
Awards in eight categories will be presented to winning filmmakers by Essence Atkins (Marlon), Stephen Bishop (Imposters, Being Mary Jane), Ester Dean (Pitch Perfect 3), Chrissie Fit (Pitch Perfect 3), Akbar Gbajabiamila (American Ninja Warrior), Manny Jacinto (The Good Place), Jameela Jamil (The Good Place), Hana Mae Lee (Pitch Perfect 3Love Beats Rhymes), Allen Maldonado (Black-ish, The Last O.G.), Nico Santos (SuperstoreCrazy Rich Asians), Victor Turpin (Shades of Blue) and Kelvin Yu (Master of None).

The festival has also partnered with America Ferrera’s advocacy organization Harness for the “Harness Social Impact Award,” to be given to the short that best represents a social issue. Harness is an advocacy organization founded by Ferrera, Ryan Piers Williams and Wilmer Valderrama that connects artists, influencers and grassroots leaders to inspire action and change. Harness will present the award in conjunction with the NBCUniversal Social Responsibility division.
“Part of our mission at Harness is to increase representation of diverse voices in entertainment as a means to expose audiences to new perspectives and to create more empathy in the world,” said Ferrera. “Partnering with the NBCUniversal Short Film Festival gives us an opportunity to honor an up and coming filmmaker whose work shows a unique point of view on a critical social issue.”
The festival is also introducing the “Critics’ Choice Award,” with an 18-member jury of film and television critics and entertainment writers voting on the short they feel makes the most impact. The award will be presented by the president of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, Claudia Puig, a former USA Today critic who also served as an inaugural jury member.
“The passionate response from artists such as Kym and our amazing presenters, organizations like Harness and respected journalists to be part of our festival signifies how widespread the desire is to increase representation in entertainment,” said Karen Horne, SVP of Programming Talent Development & Inclusion, NBC Entertainment and Universal Television. “We are proud that our short film festival is not only a platform for diverse stories, but also a place to develop up and coming storytellers who are already creating work that reflects our society.”
The festival will also award filmmakers in the Outstanding Drama, Outstanding Comedy, Outstanding Director, Outstanding Writer, Outstanding Actor and the Audience Award categories.
The awards will be determined by the festival’s first-ever ambassadors, including Ferrera (Superstore), Mariska Hargitay (Law & Order: SVU), Chrissy Metz (This Is Us) and Lena Waithe (Master of None), as well as a judging panel. That panel includes NBC Entertainment President Jennifer Salke, Universal Television President Pearlena Igbokwe, Debra Martin Chase (The Princess DiariesJust Wright), Sakina Jaffrey (Timeless, The Mindy Project),Allen Maldonado (Black-ish, Survivor’s Remorse), Victor Turpin (Shades of Blue) and Masi Oka (Hawaii Five-0, Heroes).

12th Annual Short Film Festival


By David Wiegand

There’s a big event in Hollywood that I wish I could attend, and that’s a sentence I rarely utter. But NBC Universal will host the screening and awards ceremony for its 12th annual Short Film Festival tonight at the Directors Guild of America building. Actress-comedian Kym Whitley (pictured) will host the event, and a panel of actors and NBC Entertainment President Jennifer Salke and Universal Television President Pearlena Igbokwe will determine the awards. Other panel members include Mariska Hargitay, Chrissy Metz, Lena Waithe, Debra Martin Chase, Masi Oka, Victor Turpin, Allen Maldonado and Sakina Jaffrey.

This year, for the first time, the festival will award a Critics Choice award, based on votes by an 18-member jury including representatives of BuzzFeed, Entertainment Weekly, Hearst Digital Media, Los Angeles Times, TV Guide, Vogue and, yep, The San Francisco Chronicle. I was honored to have been asked to judge, but I have to say, it was hard work. The dozen short films in contention are superb. And I know that’s what people say at awards ceremonies, but I really mean it. I actually felt that I was getting a preview of great and important filmmakers.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

I Am Evidence Wins the Victor Rabinowitz & Joanne Grant Award

I Am Evidence, directed by Trish Adlesic and Geeta Gandbhir, and produced by Mariska Hargitay, received the Victor Rabinowitz & Joanne Grant Award for Social Justice. Rabinowitz was a civil rights lawyer, and Grant was an author, filmmaker, and journalist. 

Mariska Hargitay, Brooke Shields on the Law and Order: SVU Twist That's "Excruciating" for Benson to Navigate

Brooke Shields Says Mariska Hargitay Is 'Single-Handedly Responsible' for Her 'SVU' Guest Role


[Spoiler Alert: Only read ahead if you've watched "Contrapasso," the Oct. 11 episode of Law & Order: SVU. Spoilers are discussed below.]
Brooke Shields is back home with her NBC family. The Suddenly Susan star has a new guest role on Law & Order: SVU (for a 5-episode arc) and causes a lot of heartache and headache for Mariska Hargitay's Olivia Benson.
Shields plays Sheila Porter, Noah's biological maternal grandmother, who's been searching for him for years. To refresh, Benson adopted Noah when he was an infant after she rescued him from child pornographers. His mother is Ellie Porter, who was a prostitute and became pregnant after Johnny Drake, a sex trafficker, repeatedly raped her. Both biological parents are now deceased.
During a press junket, Shields told TV Insider all about her new role and what kind of turbulence Sheila causes during Season 19.

Why is this the right time in your career to do this, and what are you looking forward to?
Brooke Shields: I feel lucky. Mariska is single-handedly responsible for it. She saw a guest spot that I had done for Ali Wentworth's show called Nightcap with Jimmy, and it was a sort of disturbed—more comedic, but a very disturbed—sort of multifaceted character, and she said on that day, 'We’ve got this storyline.'
When [Mariska] explained to me what we are working towards is sort of this modern view of, how do we parent? It’s not just about rights, and it’s not about ego. [Mariska and I] are both fighting each other, and yet we’re fighting for the same thing, but we can’t make it about one winning. There’s so many different ways of raising families, and what does family really mean? And who’s entitled to what? And very often it’s the child that gets lost in it. We make it a very big, strong point that Noah is first and foremost.
Is there room for your character to grow?
It depends on what kind of demise I come to at the end. It will probably dictate whether I just go to jail … I’m told that things evolve, and I think there probably is a trial period. It involves Noah. I’m banking on the humanity because at this point for Sheila—that all she has. Because she’s coming in, and it’s really questionable as to what she deserves.
What can you tell us about Sheila’s characteristics?
She’s not well-to-do, but she would have had enough to hire private investigators. She’s a widow. She’s neat. There’s a structure to her, but you get the feeling that that’s been put on over years of guilt of losing her daughter, and where is she culpable in that?

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Mariska Hargitay Honored Manhattan DA Vance Who Dropped Weinstein Sexual Assault Investigation


After years of starring as detective Olivia Benson on Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, Mariska Hargitay turned into a real-life sex-victims advocate. Hargitay founded the Joyful Heart Foundation to educate, heal and advocate for victims of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse. In May, she honored Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. for his work helping to investigate rape cases — but Vance may not have been the victims' rights champion that he seemed.
At a Joyful Heart Foundation gala, Hargitay awarded the 2017 Heart of Gold Award to Vance for his “dedication to testing backlogged rape kits across the United States.” The award came after Vance allocated $35 million to eliminate the backlog of rape kits. Hundreds of thousands of the kits go untested across the country, hindering effective prosecution of sexual abusers and rapists.
“To have hundreds of thousands of rape kits untested is unacceptable,” said Vance. “Rape victims nationwide deserve to know that the invasive examination they underwent has a purpose and the resulting kit was not left to gather dust on a forgotten shelf.”

Hargitay called Vance’s promise “the biggest investment anyone has made in the U.S.” to adequately deal with the backlog.
“The commitment you have made here today is nothing more than heroic,” Hargitay said of Vance. “At long last survivors hear the message, ‘You do matter, what happened to you matters, your cases matter.’ And testing communicates to criminals that they are no longer able to offend with impunity.”
But new reports show that Vance dropped an investigation into sexual assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein. The DA's office declined to prosecute Weinstein in 2015 over sexual assault allegations leveled against him by Italian model Ambra Battilana. Vance’s office said that “after analyzing available evidence, including multiple interviews with both parties, a criminal charge is not supported.”
In the months after he declined to prosecute the case, Vance received a $10,000 contribution from David Boies, an attorney who had worked for Weinstein and his company, according to a review of campaign finance documents by International Business Times.  Boies has represented Weinstein since at least 2005, but he "did not represent Harvey Weinstein in 2015 during the criminal investigation,” Joan Vollero, communications director for Vance, previously told IBT in an email.
Hargitay’s publicist did not respond to an IBT request for comment.

Correction, 10:00 p.m.: This story has been changed to clarify that Boies did not repesent Weinstein in the 2015 investigation. In addition, a quote from a DA office spokesperson referring to other cases, erroneously included in the original story, has been deleted. 

Monday, October 9, 2017

'Law & Order: SVU' Season 19 Episode 3 Spoilers: Benson Receives Bad News


Benson (Mariska Hargitay) may lose custody of her adopted son in the next episode of "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit."
In the episode titled "Contrapasso," the synopsis (according to CarterMatt) reveals that Langan (guest star Peter Hermann), the high profile defense attorney, will deliver some bad news to Benson. In the last episode, the lieutenant was questioned about her inability to take care of Noah (Jack Nawada-Braunwart). Her past record in hurting a suspect was rehashed by the court, heavily insinuating that this violent side of her might put her son's life in danger.
Hargitay talked to TVLine about her character's reaction to the accusation. According to her, Benson was not used to being the one questioned regarding abuse and violence over children. Usually, she and the SVU were the ones who did the interrogation. According to Hargitay, more problems would crop up for the lieutenant. By then, viewers would see exactly how a mother like her would react to the implication that she should never have adopted Noah.
"That's why I'm like, 'I'm the one, I'm the arbiter of justice. I'm the truth-teller. You don't question me ever, and that's what it is,'" Hargitay said of her character. "I have to defend myself, and at first, you're like, 'Keep your s–t together.'"
"It was also, 'How dare you?' Like, 'How dare you question my integrity and how much I love my kid?' The crazy lady comes out, and it's powerful," the actress teased.
Meanwhile, the promo for the episode shows an interesting case. Three women have bonded to perform a bloody crime. They castrated a man and left him for dead. Rollins (Kelli Giddish) and Carisi (Peter Scanavino) will track down the perpetrators and send them to prison, but the trio is not talking. It looks like they only want to explain their side to Benson.

Friday, October 6, 2017

LAW & ORDER SVU Season 19 Episode 3 Photos Contrapasso


BROOKE SHIELDS GUEST STARS – When a man is found castrated and left for dead, Rollins (Kelli Giddish) and Carisi (Peter Scanavino) uncover three female suspects with possible motives. Meanwhile, Langan (guest star Peter Hermann) brings devastating news for Benson (Mariska Hargitay). Also starring Ice T (Det. Odafin Tutuola) and Raúl Esparza (ADA Rafael Barba). Also guest starring Paul Fitzgerald (Jason Karr), Annabeth Gish (Carolyn Rivers), Betsy Beutler (Julie Wade), Jeannine Kaspar (Nora Galen) and Kathleen Munroe (Evelyn Bundy).
The “Law & Order” brand has tremendous global appeal and to date, “SVU” has been sold to more than 250 territories around the world.
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” is a Wolf Films production in association with Universal Television. Dick Wolf is creator and executive producer. Michael Chernuchin, Julie Martin, Mariska Hargitay, Arthur Forney and Peter Jankowski are executive producers.





Thursday, October 5, 2017

Don't Worry, Olivia Benson (aka Mariska Hargitay) Is Not Leaving 'Law & Order: SVU' Anytime Soon!


Dun dun. Fans turned into mini detectives after it was rumored that Mariska Hargitay aka Olivia Benson was leaving Law & Order: SVU. However, the mystery has been solved — and viewers can breathe a sigh of relief.
Mariska, 53, is currently in the middle of Season 18 of the popular police procedural and she has reassured everyone that her character is not going anywhere anytime soon. "I'm still here because it's still challenging and interesting to me. I feel like we keep going deeper and mining out these new places. After 12 years [of doing SVU], I thought, 'What are we going to do after 12 years?' It was such an education for me because I had no idea,'" she said according to TV Guide. "I'm newly invigorated and newly excited to have a new vision on the show, and the consistency and excellence of someone who understands it so deeply, and someone who loves us enough to want to join 18 years later."

She continued, "It's very exciting to me ... and it still feels utterly fresh." Rumors reached a fever pitch last season when Olivia was asked to step down from her position in the Special Victims Unit. However, after a few super tense episodes, she was reinstated. It also wouldn't be the first time a main character from the show has quit.
In 2011, Detective Elliot Stabler, played by Christopher Meloni, left the show, breaking the hearts of SVU loyalists everywhere. He revealed he left the show due to contract negotiations breaking down. However, he still keeps in touch with his partner. "She was always ready for anything new…There was always an unspoken shorthand to what we were doing. That makes it just so much easier, and off camera as well," he said on Inside the Actors Studio. "There's a lot to be said for that when you're working with someone for 16 hours a day, you better get along when the cameras aren't rolling as well as when it is. That was priceless, I think for both of us."

As for what SVU fans can expect this season, Olivia is dealing with the death of Dodds, played by Andy Karl, who was killed last season after Olivia left him alone with a suspect. With the loss of her partner, fan favorite Fin (Ice-T) will step into a leadership role on the show. 

SVU's Mariska Hargitay Talks Liv's Abuse Battle, Teases More Trouble: 'The Crazy Lady Comes Out'


Like she said in the season premiere, Law & Order: SVU‘s Lt. Olivia Benson is the one who usually asks the child-welfare questions — not the one under pressure to answer them.
So when the lieutenant found herself fielding suspicious questions from a District Attorney’s Office investigator in this week’s episode, portrayer Mariska Hargitay noted at a recent press event, Benson went from uncomfortable to hopping mad before she could help herself. “That’s why I’m like, ‘I’m the one, I’m the arbiter of justice. I’m the truth-teller. You don’t question me ever, and that’s what it is,'” she said.
When the investigator asked if Olivia had been abusing her son, “I have to defend myself, and at first, you’re like, ‘Keep your s–t together,'” Hargitay said. But when the woman questioned Liv about her sessions with Dr. Lindstrom, then insinuated that the way Olivia had beaten her attacker William Lewis was an indicator of overall anger issues, things quickly got heated.
“It was also, ‘How dare you?’ Like, ‘How dare you question my integrity and how much I love my kid?'” Hargitay adds, teasing that things will only get more intense in coming episodes. “The crazy lady comes out, and it’s powerful.”

Monday, October 2, 2017

Law & Order SVU Season 19 Episode 3 "Contrapasso" Guide

NBC has released the description for the Oct. 11th installment of Law & Order SVU titled "Contrapasso." 
Head over to Law & Order SVU Spoilers page for the latest news. 

When a man is found castrated and left for dead, Rollins (Kelli Giddish) and Carisi (Peter Scanavino) uncover three female suspects with possible motives. Meanwhile, Langan (guest star Peter Hermann) brings devastating news for Benson (Mariska Hargitay). 

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