Megan Thee Stallion has at last debuted her new album, Suga, in a release that’s as anticipated as it was contested—and in fact, made possible only by a temporary restraining order. Earlier this year, the Houston rapper’s “Hot Girl Summer” gave way to a litigious spring: Megan sued her record label, 1501 Certified Entertainment, claiming it had blocked her from releasing any new music while she sought to renegotiate a contract that she found to be aggressively one-sided. This week, the suit kicked off a contentious—and very public—back-and-forth between Megan and 1501 head Carl Crawford, who’s become particularly territorial about his artist ever since she found new management at Jay-Z’s Roc Nation. And while their dispute is far from over, this week a Harris County judge granted Megan the right to release Suga anyway, citing the statute that it’s been too damn long without something fire to twerk to. (Or probably some kinda legalese—who am I, Jeffrey Toobin?) Anyway, you can go listen to it right now on Spotify or iTunes, and legally no one can stop you!
— HOT GIRL MEG (@theestallion) March 6, 2020
Tony Romo Is Now the Highest-Paid Sports Analyst Ever
Thankfully, Tony Romo’s own contract renegotiation has been a much happier story: the former Dallas Cowboys quarterback has just re-upped with CBS as a broadcaster at the hefty price of $17 million per season, for an indefinite period described only as “significantly” more than five years. The deal makes Romo the highest-paid sports analyst in history—and if you’ve spent any time these past two seasons watching Romo break down football games with both expertise and uncommon empathy, you know it’s well worth it. CBS swatted away ESPN’s attempt to steal Romo earlier this year, renewing his contract well before he was due to become a free agent. Of course, it also reportedly tried hedging its bets with an offer to Peyton Manning, until Manning’s hesitation prompted the network to go all-in on Romo. But now Manning has the leverage to ask for more money (if he ever makes up his mind), Romo gets to stay where he is, and everyone’s happy—while some are both happy and exceedingly rich.
William Jackson Harper Gets His First Movie Lead
Like a soul ascending from some pleasant, if slightly repetitive purgatory to seek its rich reward, William Jackson Harper is moving on from NBC’s The Good Place to claim his first lead movie role. The Garland actor, who just wrapped four seasons of stealing scenes from Ted Danson, has been cast in the indie romantic comedy We Broke Up alongside Aya Cash, late of FX’s You’re the Worst. According to Deadline, Harper and Cash will play a couple that, as the title suggests, breaks up right before Cash’s sister’s wedding, but who graciously resolves to pretend they’re still together until after the weekend’s over. Harper and Cash have both demonstrated great talent for playing funny, lovably neurotic people who are just this side of irritating, so they should have a natural chemistry.
Thirtysomething Sequel Casts Houston Actor
Deadline also reports that Houston actor Kendrick Sampson has been cast as one of the leads in ABC’s upcoming Thirtysomething(else), the decades-later sequel to its hit eighties drama Thirtysomething. The followup to the groundbreaking series about sad yuppies will follow a whole new generation of self-obsessives who were born somewhere in the nineties. Among them is Sampson’s Brad, an affordable housing activist and the “formidable and handsome” boyfriend of Odette Annable’s Janey Steadman. If the original series is any indication, he is probably lamenting the slow fade of his youthful ideals. He’s definitely grappling with Janey’s “volatility,” the report says, seeing as the now-adult daughter of Michael and Hope Steadman (Ken Olin and Mel Harris, both reprising their roles) seems to have inherited all the angst and flakiness that made her parents so frustrating yet oddly compelling to watch.
Texas Love Story The Lost Husband to Debut in April
More from Deadline: April sees the limited theatrical release of The Lost Husband, the adaptation of the novel from Houston author Katherine Center that was filmed in and around Austin back in late 2018. Leslie Bibb stars as a recent widow who moves her children to her estranged aunt’s goat farm, where she finds an unexpected new spark with a ranch hand played by Josh Duhamel—who appears to have grown a salt-and-pepper beard and donned a lot of Carhartt to play a proper cowboy. Even beyond that, The Lost Husband is suffused with Texas: Director Vicky Wight worked shots of the Brazos River and the Texas Hill Country into what she calls her “love letter” to the state, while several actors, including all of Bibb’s kids, were cast around Austin. It’s also the first film to really pay tribute to the state’s estranged-aunt-goat-farm industry, the backbone of Texas agriculture.
David Lowery’s The Green Knight Slated to Premiere at SXSW
(Updated 11:05 p.m: Austin mayor Steve Adler declared a state of disaster in Austin, thus canceling SXSW 2020). Before SXSW was cancelled on Friday over coronavirus fears, the undaunted Austin festival had continued to add more marquee events throughout the week—among them the world premiere of Irving-bred director David Lowery’s new medieval fantasy The Green Knight. The film, which recently dropped its first trailer, stars Dev Patel as Sir Gawain, the brash nephew of King Arthur who embarks on an epic quest to confront the titular green-skinned monster, battling ghosts, giants, and myriad other symbolic challenges along the way. The film’s wide release is scheduled for May 29, 2020.
Guy Clark Documentary Gets a Trailer
SXSW also would have seen the world premiere of Without Getting Killed or Caught, a documentary about the life of Texas singer-songwriter Guy Clark as told from the perspective of his wife, painter and songwriter Susanna Clark. In the recently released trailer, actress Sissy Spacek lends her authentically Texan voice to read from Susanna’s personal diaries, narrating the tale of how the Clarks and their best friend Townes Van Zandt became an inseparable trio, inspiring beautifully uncompromising music in one another before Van Zandt’s tragic spiral. The film features plenty of archival footage alongside new interviews with other revered Texas artists like Steve Earle, Rodney Crowell, and Terry Allen. If the preview is any indication, it’s going to be a tearjerker.
THIS WEEK IN MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY
It is a testament to the unique pull of Matthew McConaughey that the guy can talk for about an hour and yield a week’s worth of headlines, like he did with last Saturday’s appearance at Carnegie Hall. As we noted last week, McConaughey was in New York as part of A+E’s HISTORYtalks event, discussing his career, his personal life, and his new role as cultural guru to Austin and beyond. The discussion yielded a predictable a bounty of revelatory quotes. Notably, McConaughey opened up about his “un-branding” phase—“not a rebranding phrase, an un-branding phase,” he clarified—that he entered after the birth of his son, when he finally decided it was time to move away from being “the shirtless guy on the beach in a rom-com” and pursue meatier, more dramatic roles. He also set the tabloids ablaze with his half-joking comment that, were his wife Camila Alves on board with it, he would have “eight more kids.” Just imagine the eight different career renaissances that would mean!
Unfortunately, it wasn’t McConaughey’s words on stage but some on social media that got the most attention. The actor shared a backstage photo with his fellow speakers Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, with the Minister of Culture captioning his pic with the former presidents, “Two sides of the aisle, one side of values – M.O.C. #BillClinton #GeorgeWBush.” Right-wing outlets like Breitbart and The Daily Mail were quick to admonish McConaughey over Clinton’s “values,” reminding him of Clinton’s impeachment, his affair with Monica Lewinsky, and the many other accusations of sexual misconduct. Meanwhile, others filled McConaughey’s comments with their distaste for Bush’s war record and just his general existence. All told, it was an attempt at bipartisanship that managed to piss everyone off—illustrating, perhaps more clearly than ever, the awkward divide that McConaughey has always straddled between stoner bohemian and urban cowboy. It also demonstrated why he (mostly) tries to stay out of politics.
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Anyway, it’s little wonder that McConaughey declined to elaborate any further. Instead, he just retreated to hyping up both Texas sports and the comforts of his Airstream trailer—shared values that the Minister can proselytize to anyone.