ICYMI: The Top End Wedding and Lion King sequels, the most moving Kurt Cobain tribute and more (2024)

Hello and happy Monday!

The ABC Entertainment team is back to help you ease the transition into the new week with another lovingly curated round-up of the entertainment and pop culture news you may have missed over the weekend.

This week's stories:

  • Miranda Tapsell is returning to the Northern Territory for Top End Bub
  • Kristen Wiig joins SNL five-timers instar-studdedepisode
  • Orville Peck and Willie Nelson put out a cover of Cowboys Are Frequently Secretly Fond of Each Other and it rules
  • Black actress Francesca Amewudah-Rivers will play Juliet opposite safe white man Tom Holland's Romeo and the internet cannot handle it
  • There's a Lion King sequel… and Sonic the Hedgehog fans want to bury it
  • Netflix made a PG version of Bridgertonjust for Nicola Coughlan's parents
  • Beyoncé is the first Black woman to lead thetop country albums chart
  • Frances Bean Cobain's tribute to father Kurtonhis death anniversary

Top End Wedding is getting a spin-off series

Miranda Tapsell is returning to the Northern Territory for Top End Bub, an eight-part series revisiting her character from rom-com Top End Wedding.

Need a refresher? Released in 2019, Top End Wedding was co-written by Tapsell and Joshua Tyler, drawing upon the actor's experiences growing up in Darwin as a Larrakia woman. In it, Tapsell plays Lauren, a lawyer who returns to the Top End with her fiancé Ned (Gwilym Lee) to get married.

ICYMI: The Top End Wedding and Lion King sequels, the most moving Kurt Cobain tribute and more (1)

Top End Bub is created, executive produced and written by Tapsell and Tyler, with both Tapsell and Lee returning to their roles. The premise? Top End Bub sees Lauren and Ned relocating to the Top End from Adelaide to raise Lauren's eight-year-old niece. They struggle to adjust to sudden parenthood and a change of scenery.

"Words can't describe how excited I am to bring Lauren, Ned and the Top End back to your screens!" Tapsell said in a press release. "We all love a happy ending but what happens after happily ever after? We can't wait for you to find out!"

The show, set to screen on Prime Video in Australia, will start production this May, with no release date announced just yet. It'll be shot in both Adelaide and Darwin, and produced by Goalpost Pictures, with support from Screen Australia, Screen Territory and the South Australian Film Corporation.

— Jared Richards

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Kristen Wiig joins SNL's five-timers club with a heap of celeb cameos

Kristen Wiig is already among the most famous of recent Saturday Night Live cast alumni, but this weekend she joined the coveted five-timers club too, returning as host while on the publicity trail for Apple TV+ series Palm Royale.

In her opening monologue Wiig talked about her excitement to get her ceremonial five-timer jacket, before being interrupted by a string of cameos. First came fellow five-timer Paul Rudd — and then, a fair few people wearing the ceremonial jackets despite not reaching the milestone, including Fred Armisen, John Hamm, Will Forte, Martin Short, Matt Damon and Ryan Gosling (who is hosting next week).

"Lorne said the first time I hosted was so good it counted for three," said Damon, "And the second time, not quite as good, that only counted for two. But by my maths, that's five, baby!"

Other highlights? A game night where Wiig's character is terrified of being Jumanji'd (i.e. being sucked into a board game), plus a scene where Wiig and cast member Heidi Gardner play wacky secretaries, with Hamm sticking around to add a dash of Don Draper to the scene.

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Unlike many returning cast members, Wiig didn't rely on old characters or fan favourites — but if you're desperate to revisit Target Lady, she recently graduated to featuring in actual Target ads.

— Jared Richards

Cowboys are frequently, secretly gay and Willie Nelson agrees

We're in a new era of country music (just ask any member of the Beyhive), but over the weekend we got a reminder that country has always been a bit gay, thanks to Orville Peck, Willie Nelson and their cover of Cowboys Are Frequently, Secretly Fond of Each Other.

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Nelson first covered Ned Sublette's queer country anthem all the way back in 2006, spurred on by the release of Ang Lee's gay cowboy masterpiece Brokeback Mountain.

Speaking to Rolling Stone, Peck, who is openly gay but performs under mask and pseudonym, said that Nelson felt the time was right to revive the tongue-in-cheek tune.

"Willie kept talking about how the subject matter in this song was more important than ever," Peck said.

"With all the rhetoric surrounding the LGBTQIA+ community these days, it is so encouraging to have real allies like Willie that aren't afraid to stand proudly next to us."

Nelson, 90 (!!!), also appears alongside Peck in the romantic music video where they appear to be having a competition for who has the sickest suit embroidery.

The single is the first taste of Peck's forthcoming duets album Stampede, the cover art of which feels like a magic eye that gets gayer the more you look at it.


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— Velvet Winter

Black actress Francesca Amewudah-Rivers racially abused after being announced as Juliet opposite Tom Holland's Romeo

Francesca Amewudah-Rivers's casting as Juliet in Jamie Lloyd Company's new West End production of Shakespeare's tragedy has resulted in a barrage of "deplorable racial abuse".

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In a statement released on Friday (local time), the theatre company said: "This must stop. We are working with a remarkable group of artists. We insist that they are free to create work without facing online harassment.

"We will continue to support and protect everyone in our company at all costs. Any abuse will not be tolerated and will be reported.

"Bullying and harassment have no place online, in our industry or in our wider communities."

Freema Agyeman, Michael Balogun, Tomiwa Edun, Mia Jerome, Daniel Quinn-Toye and Ray Sesay also star in the show, which runs at Duke of York's Theatre in London from May 11 until August 3.

It has already sold out.

— Yasmin Jeffery

There's a new Lion King movie… and Sonic fans want to bury it at the box office

After diving into the nostalgia mines for 2019's photo-realistic remake of The Lion King, Disney is now producing a prequel. Mufasa: The Lion King winds back to focus on the young cub adventures of Simba's James Earl Jones-voiced daddy.

The news came as a surprise to film buffs, especially since Mufasa will be directed by Barry Jenkins, the Oscar-winning writer-filmmaker behind complex dramas Moonlight and If Beale Street Could Talk.

The bigger surprise? Fans of a certain speedy blue hedgehog are ready for a Barbenheimer face-off with the House of Mouse.

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Sonic the Hedgehog 3, the latest entry in the successful adaptations of the Sega video game series, is hitting screens on December 20, 2024 — the same day as Mufasa: The Lion King.

The dual box office premiere is already stoking online chatter about which CGI animal will outperform the other, including some spicy memes and fighting words from Team Sonic.

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It might seem foolish to take Disney head-on. But, remember, this is the same fanbase that successfully campaigned for a drastic re-design of the video game mascot's silver-screen portrayal for the first Sonic movie. And the 2022 follow-up performed even better critically and commercially, raking in more than $608 million ($US400 million) and becoming the ninth highest-grossing film of the year. Anything could happen…

— Al Newstead

Nicola Coughlan says her Netflix contract includes a PG cut of Bridgerton specifically for her parents and could we love her any more?

Irish actress Nicola Coughlan — who plays Penelope Featherington in the steamy Netflix period hit Bridgerton — has revealed the impressive lengths she went to to ensure her parents don't see any of her sexy scenes.

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In an interview with SiriusXM Hits 1, Coughlan said the streamer is contractually obliged to provide her parents with a PG version of the show's upcoming third season, which will focus on Penelope and her love story with Colin Bridgerton (Luke Newton).

"It's literally written into my contract. People think I'm saying it as a joke," the Derry Girls star said.

"I just don't want to. We grew up Irish Catholic. That's just not how we vibe."

Coughlan added that when her mother first saw Bridgerton, "she didn't know it was going to be saucy".

"And then you get a bottom, Jonathan Bailey's lovely bottom, about two minutes into the first episode ever.

"And she was like, 'What is this?' But then, now she thinks it's fantastic and really funny, and she keeps talking about bottoms."

Part one of Bridgerton season three will drop on Netflix on May 16, with part two arriving a month later (sigh) on June 13.

— Yasmin Jeffery

Beyoncé becomes first Black woman to top Country Albums chart

Y'all knew this was coming right?

After breaking worldwide streaming records (and the internet), Cowboy Carter has now yee-hawed Beyoncé to the top of the Billboard Country Albums chart, where she makes history as the first Black female artist to be the #1 queen of the rodeo.

It comes after lead single Texas Hold 'Em made her the first Black woman to top Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart, despite some backlash from country radio programmers and genre purists.

If that wasn't enough, Cowboy Carter is Beyoncé's eighth consecutive number-one solo album debut on the US charts. She's now surpassed Janet Jackson with the fourth-most #1 albums among women, catching up to Madonna (nine), Barbra Streisand (11) and, at the top, Taylor Swift (13).

Oh, and you bet there's going to be more history made come awards season, too…

— Al Newstead

'I wish I could've known my Dad': Kurt Cobain's daughter pens moving tribute to her father

April 5 marked the 30th anniversary of Kurt Cobain's death and, while the wider music world offered reflections on the influential Nirvana frontman's cultural impact, the most touching honour of them all came from his daughter.

Frances Bean Cobain, the child of Cobain and Courtney Love, was just 18 months old when her 27-year-old father died by suicide. "I wish I could've known my Dad," wrote the now-31-year-old in a heartfelt Instagram post accompanied by a carousel of family photos.

"In the last 30 years my ideas around loss have been in a continuous state of metamorphosing," she wrote.

"The biggest lesson learned through grieving for almost as long as I've been conscious, is that it serves a purpose. The duality of life & death, pain & joy, yin & yang, need to exist along side [sic] each other or none of this would have any meaning. It is the impermanent nature of human existence which throws us into the depths of our most authentic lives. As it turns out, there is no greater motivation for leaning into loving awareness than knowing everything ends."

The full post, which quotes a letter Cobain wrote for his daughter before she was born in August 1992, is well worth your time. Just be sure to have some tissues nearby.

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Several pop culture figures have commented on the post, including the daughters of Nirvana drummer/Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl, Violet and Harper, as well as pro skater Tony Hawk and his son, Riley Hawk, who recently married Frances in a ceremony officiated by her godfather, R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe.

"Oh Frances, you possess a grace and glorious wisdom that stops me in my tracks from time to time, and today is most certainly one of those times," Stipe wrote.

— Al Newstead

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ICYMI: The Top End Wedding and Lion King sequels, the most moving Kurt Cobain tribute and more (2024)
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