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William H. Macy makes directing debut at Sundance

by The Associated Press on January 25, 2014 10:39 AM

PARK CITY, Utah (AP) — The aftermath of an American school shooting relates to William H. Macy’s directorial debut.

The award-winning actor premiered his first feature-directing effort at the Sundance Film Festival Friday, where he received a standing ovation from the capacity crowd.

“One of the many gifts that have come to me from directing ... is that I’ve fallen in love with this business all over again,” the 63-year-old said before his film’s world premiere.

“Rudderless,” which Macy helped write, tells the story of a father who discovers and performs his son’s original songs after the college student dies in a campus shooting. Billy Crudup, Anton Yelchin and Macy’s wife, Felicity Huffman, star in the drama that screened as the festival’s closing-night film.

Co-writers Casey Twenter and Jeff Robison, both new dads, said they “wanted to write a story that could be an example of unconditional parental love.”

Macy said they didn’t want to make a movie about gun control.

“I have the feeling that if I gave a handgun to every single person in this room, that the chances of something bad happening go up pretty exponentially,” he said. “On the other hand, I love to shoot. I love to plink, and I have nothing against hunting. It’s a complex problem.”

He was so excited to unveil his film at Sundance that he took several photos of the audience from the theater stage before the screening began. He told the crowd to raise their hands and yell, then said, “You won’t mind if that’s what I say you did at the end of the film.”

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LOS ANGELES — It’s official: Madonna will perform at the Grammy Awards.

A Friday news release from The Recording Academy had no other details about the seven-time Grammy winner’s appearance, however, which has been a rumor for some time.

Also added to the performance lineup are nominees Miranda Lambert and Billie Joe Armstrong. They will sing a tribute to the late Phil Everly of The Everly Brothers. Juicy J and Trombone Shorty have also been added to the roster.

They’ll join a star-studded lineup that includes most of today’s top pop stars and leading nominees Jay Z, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Pharrell Williams and Kendrick Lamar.

The 56th annual Grammy Awards hosted by LL Cool J will air live Sunday night from the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

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BATTLE CREEK, Mich. — A woman accused of stabbing the father of singer Mary J. Blige has been arraigned on a charge of attempted murder.

A judge set $500,000 bond Friday for Cheryl White, of Battle Creek. Police say she stabbed Thomas Blige, 63, in the neck Thursday outside his Battle Creek apartment. He’s in critical condition at a Kalamazoo hospital.

Police say Blige was attacked while confronting White, who was deflating his vehicle tires.

Defense attorney Jeff Schroder says self-defense will be White’s likely defense.

Schroder told the Battle Creek Enquirer that White and Blige had dated for five years.

Mary Blige is a Grammy award winner whose hits include “Real Love,” “No More Drama” and “Family Affair.”

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