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Curtis Jackson also goes by the name 50 Cent, but despite the moniker suggesting otherwise it seems the star doesn’t do things by halves.

When he put out his first album Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ it became the best-selling debut hip-hop record ever, while his TV show Power has been one of the most successful series on premium pay television in the US, according to network Starz.

It led to four spin-off series being commissioned and the latest, Power Book III: Raising Kanan, focuses on how Jackson’s character in Power, drug dealer Kanan Stark, became the man he did.

Curtis '50 Cent' Jackson in Power. Pic: Myles Aronowitz/ Starz
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Curtis ’50 Cent’ Jackson starred in the original Power series, and now narrates a spin-off. Pic: Myles Aronowitz/Starz

Jackson tells Sky News he requested to the show’s creator Courtney A Kemp that he wanted to play “the worst character that they’ve seen on television – so if I play a bad guy, I want to play a real bad guy”.

But the prequel shows how he ended up that way, with Jackson narrating the story of Kanan’s younger years.

“To go into the prequel on his character is to show all of his trauma and all of the things that he – the things you go through make you who you are, I believe that – and the things that he went through and his experiences that hardened him to the point that he was that guy that we saw in Power at the beginning,” he says. “So you kind of see the things that he’s gone through that turned him into that.”

In order to give the character authenticity, Jackson borrowed from his own experiences growing up in the borough of Queens in New York City.

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Mekai Curtis stars as Kanan in Power Book III: Raising Kanan, while Curtis '50 Cent' Jackson narrates. Pic: Nicole Rivelli/ Starz
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Mekai Curtis stars plays a young version of Jackson’s character Kanan in Power Book III: Raising Kanan. Pic: Nicole Rivelli/ Starz

One of the show’s opening scenes sees a young Kanan running home to his mother after being beaten up, but instead of comforting him she tells him he needs to learn to fight back and accompanies him for the rematch.

“These are real things, like, I really experienced being roughed up in the park before my mom sent me back to the park, and I was just more afraid of her than the kids in the park, so I ended up going back to fight them instead of dealing with my mom,” he says.

“And you deal with that and it kind of changes your perspective, like, I’m not going to go back whining to my mother for her to send me back, I’ll just handle it before she finds out that I’m scared or afraid of the other person, so it kind of changed a part of my character in the very early stages.

“It was probably the biggest thing to describe what my relationship with my mom was like fairly early on, you know, because she was the only provider, so she was like the source of everything that’s good; if she’s angry with you then nothing good is around, you know what I’m saying, and you’re like, wow, no, just take me back to the park, I’d rather fight than deal with this.”

Curtis '50 Cent' Jackson in Power. Pic: Myles Aronowitz/ Starz
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Jackson narrates the story of Kanan’s upbringing. Pic: Myles Aronowitz/Starz

As a father himself now, Jackson recognises that idolising of parents by their children from the other side of the relationship.

“There’s a point where kids view their parents as superheroes because they don’t understand everything else in life that they have to do, work and everything else to create the comforts.

“My little guy now, he sees me like that, he thinks, ‘my dad could do it – there’s no question my dad could do it’, like if somebody can jump further and he’ll say ‘my dad can jump that far’, he thinks I can do everything, and it’s amazing.”

Jackson’s own mother passed away when he was eight, and he went on to be raised by grandparents. There, he was one of nine and there wasn’t a lot of money to go around, but his mother’s friends kept him in their lives; the star says it was them who inspired him to do whatever it took to make money.

“I look at my journey, some of the decisions that my mom made have guided mine, and it’s because people from her life had what was a representation of financial freedom, they had those nice things in front of me,” he says.

“They got everything that you would want, so it kind of led me down the same path of the hustling and going to do different things, and, you know, I just hit the roof of that and wanted to do more, so I got involved in music and entertainment where we do things that exceed that level of success, completely.

“Like, that [what his mum’s friends had] is the smallest thing, you know what I mean, it just felt big at that point, when I was little.”

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Jackson has returned to the studio to make new music for Raising Kanan. The tracks see him collaborating with up-and-coming artists – mirroring his own experiences of starting out in the music industry, when he worked with Eminem and Dr Dre – but now it’s Jackson who’s the experienced one boosting the profile of others.

The start of his career was strange to negotiate, he says. “My first album Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ was the largest debuting hip-hop album – still – 13 million records sold on the first album. If your first record is that big – you know that saying, you never have a second chance at a first impression – so people will never really appreciate you as much as they did at that point.”

With a second series of Power Book III: Raising Kanan commissioned before the first even aired, another Starz show called Black Mafia Family and a series for Netflix in the works, Jackson has plenty to keep him busy.

He says that in terms of his TV career, he was inspired to make his own shows by someone he looks up to.

“Sylvester Stallone’s career is my hero career, and it’s because he made the projects that made his career work. He made Rocky, he made Rambo, made Escape Plan – he makes these franchises himself, comes up with the right idea that could work for him and writes the project and everything.”

“So I like that, to develop the things that I’m involved in, that I feel passionate enough about the project after I’ve gone through it step by step.”

Power Book III: Raising Kanan is out now on streaming service Starzplay

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Avatar is back after 13 years – but will the sequel live up to the original?

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Avatar is back after 13 years - but will the sequel live up to the original?

Thirteen years on, James Cameron’s mega-budget Avatar sequel opens in cinemas next week, hoping to illicit that same appetite in cinemagoers for the 3D magic of the first.

While the medium has fallen out of favour, it remains Cameron’s preferred choice of viewing.

But not only will cinemagoers need 3D glasses – coming in at a whopping three hours and 10 minutes, it also requires stamina.

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With production costs totalling around £285m (up there with the most expensive films ever made), to make it worth Disney’s while, the epic has to at least end up making it into the top five highest grossing movies of all time.

To do so, it needs audiences to want to see it more than once, which perhaps isn’t too unreasonable when you factor in that a huge amount of the money generated in both of Cameron’s previous blockbusters – Titanic and the first Avatar – came from cinemagoers paying to see the film’s multiple times.

But in a cost of living crisis do we have the cash now?

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The film sees Sam Worthington return to the role of Na’vi leader Jake Sully and is rooted around the family he now has with warrior Neytiri, played by Zoe Saldana.

“The movie’s mighty,” Worthington told Sky News.

“It’s a mighty film, and very heart-wrenching.

“We all went through a pandemic together as a whole world, and that’s a connection that we all have to each other… and it’s about us being connected as individuals – I think that’s very important to relate to and really take to heart.”

Thanks to the magic of motion capture, Sigourney Weaver returns, playing Jake Sulley’s adoptive teenage daughter.

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‘I needed to see it twice’

“It’s an experience so immersive and also takes your breath away,” she told Sky News, adding that she will need to see the film once more to get the full experience from it.

The sequel also features Kate Winslet in the cast as the matriarch of an ocean-bound clan.

Sigourney Weaver in Avatar: The Way Of Water. Pic: 20th Century Studios
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Sigourney Weaver in Avatar: The Way Of Water. Pic: 20th Century Studios

For the Oscar-winning actress it was a chance to work, once again, with the filmmaker who put her on the Titanic:

“He (Cameron) asked and I said yes. Why on earth would I not?,” she told Sky News.

“Also, my children would never have allowed me to. They were like… just do it.”

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Kate Winslet on accepting Avatar role

Cameron, who overtook his own movie, Titanic, with Avatar as the highest grossing film ever in 2009, has already set the wheels in motion for the next films in the franchise – and spent much of the last decade preparing.

“It was a lot of time spent working on the script for four movies, production design for four movies, a bunch of new technology we needed,” he said.

“And then we started at full tilt five years ago… and then we shot two movies, actually part of the third one.”

Kate Winslet (L) in Avatar. Pic: 20th Century Studios
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Kate Winslet (L) in Avatar. Pic: 20th Century Studios

Cameron also describes his new sci-fi epic as a “love letter to the oceans”.

“A lot of people [in 2009] picked up on the messaging around the rainforest and around the plight of indigenous cultures around the world.

“We have that in spades now because nothing has really got that much better – in the meantime, this one is my love letter to the oceans and a cry for people everywhere to be responsible for guardianship of the oceans.”

Right now the Na’vi’s survival might just depend on what happens off-screen more than on.

Avatar: The Way of Water is in cinemas on 16 December.

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Stephen Bear: Reality TV star on trial accused of sharing garden sex tape on OnlyFans

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Stephen Bear: Reality TV star on trial accused of sharing garden sex tape on OnlyFans

A reality TV star has appeared in court accused of sharing a garden sex tape on the online subscription platform OnlyFans.

Stephen Bear is accused of voyeurism and two counts of disclosing private, sexual photographs and films.

The 32-year-old, who won Celebrity Big Brother in 2016, came to Chelmsford Crown Court wearing a pink suit and fur coat. He denies the charges.

The trial heard Bear had sex with his ex-girlfriend Georgia Harrison in his garden before sharing footage of it – caught on his CCTV cameras – on OnlyFans.

Georgia Harrison arrives at Chelmsford Crown Court, Essex, where her former partner Stephen Bear is charged with voyeurism and two counts of disclosing private sexual photographs or films. The 32-year-old reality TV star, who appeared in Ex On The Beach, is accused of secretly recording himself having sex with a woman and posting the footage online. Picture date: Tuesday December 6, 2022.
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Georgia Harrison has appeared on TOWIE, Love Island and Olivia Meets Her Match

Ms Harrison, who has appeared on several reality shows including The Only Way Is Essex (TOWIE), waved her right to anonymity in relation to the case.

Jacqueline Carey KC, opening the prosecution case, said: “In August 2020 the complainant Georgia Harrison met up with her former boyfriend Stephen Bear.

“They had some lunch and had some drinks and ended up back at his house in Loughton (in Essex).

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“They engaged in consensual sexual intercourse in his garden.

“What she didn’t know but he did was Mr Bear had CCTV cameras in his garden that recorded them having sex.”

The barrister said that later that day Bear told Ms Harrison and showed her the footage.

“She told him never to send it to anyone and made it plain how upset she would be if he did,” said Ms Carey.

She went on to say that Bear sent the footage to someone on WhatsApp that night “despite knowing how upset she would be if the footage were to get out”.

She told the court that Bear later uploaded the footage “either himself or had it uploaded to OnlyFans and profited financially”.

Stephen Bear with his partner Jessica Smith arriving at Chelmsford Crown Court
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Bear arriving at Chelmsford Crown Court with his current girlfriend Jessica Smith

Ms Carey added: “The defendant was effectively selling the footage to get money”.

OnlyFans is a platform known for adult content, which enables fans to pay creators for their photos and videos.

Bear, of Loughton in Essex, arrived at court with his current girlfriend Jessica Smith, in a chauffeur-driven white Rolls Royce.

He wore a pastel pink suit, fuchsia tie, black fur coat and dark sunglasses.

The alleged offences are said to have taken place in August 2020 and in November 2020.

Bear was arrested in January 2021 at Heathrow Airport following a trip to Dubai, and charged in May 2021.

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The case had originally been scheduled for February this year but was pushed back.

Bear won Celebrity Big Brother in 2016 after finding fame on Ex On The Beach. He went on to co-present just Tattoo Of Us with Charlotte Crosby on MTV in 2017, and has appeared on Celebs Go Dating for Channel 4 and Eating With My Ex for BBC Three.

His former girlfriend, Ms Harrison, 27, has appeared on shows such as Love Island and Olivia Meets Her Match.

The trial, which is expected to last at least four days, continues.

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Kirstie Alley: Cheers star dies after short illness

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Kirstie Alley: Cheers star dies after short illness

Kirstie Alley – who shot to fame after appearing in the US sitcom Cheers – has died at the age of 71.

In a statement, her children said: “We are sad to inform you that our incredible, fierce and loving mother has passed away after a short battle with cancer, only recently discovered.

“She was surrounded by her closest family and fought with great strength, leaving us with a certainty of her never-ending joy of living and whatever adventures lie ahead.”

Alley was best loved for her role as Rebecca Howe in the long-running US comedy Cheers, in which she appeared as the on-off love interest of Boston bar owner Sam, played by Ted Danson.

She also starred alongside John Travolta in the successful 1989 romantic comedy Look Who’s Talking.

The actor paid tribute to her on social media. “Kirstie was one of the most special relationships I’ve ever had. I love you Kirstie,” he wrote on Instagram, alongside a photo of the late star. “I know we will see each other again.”

Actor John Travolta (C) holds his Supporting Actor award he received with presenter actress Kirstie Alley (L) and his wife actress Kelly Preston (R) backstage at the Hollywood Awards gala held by the Hollywood Film Festival in Beverly Hills, California October 22, 2007. REUTERS/Fred Prouser (UNITED STATES)

From 1997 to 2000 she had her own sitcom on US network NBC, Veronica’s Closet.

Later, in 2018 she took part in UK Celebrity Big Brother, in which she finished as runner-up.

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