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13 Years Ago: Gretchen Wilson Hits No. 1 With 'Redneck Woman'

On May 29, 2004, Gretchen Wilson earned her first No.1 hit with her debut single, "Redneck Woman," from her album 'Here for the Party.'

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Soderbergh says filming 'Logan Lucky' made him a NASCAR fan

Steven Soderbergh was never a big NASCAR fan despite growing up in the South.

But the Academy Award winning director has become one after working on his new film "Logan Lucky," depicting a theoretical heist at Charlotte Motor Speedway during the Coca-Cola 600.

"NASCAR was kind of mystery to me," Soderbergh said in an interview with The Associated Press on Sunday prior to the start of the Coca-Cola 600. "I only had a very superficial knowledge of it. ... I knew the big names. I would watch the Daytona 500, but I wasn't following it.

"But the fun of this project has been learning a new sport and talking to people at all levels of the sport about the various layers that are underneath the superficial layer that someone like me would see when they watch the race on television."

Soderbergh said he found NASCAR drivers to be fun and "very unpretentious." Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Ryan Blaney and Kyle Larson all have cameos in the movie, though none play NASCAR drivers.

Busch, for instance, plays a state trooper.

"The complete lack of cynicism was refreshing, because in my business you run into people who have a jaded attitude about what they're doing," Soderbergh said. "It's fun to talk to people that are that engaged."

Channing Tatum stars in "Logan Lucky," which will premiere on Aug. 18. Tatum said he liked the idea of the film right away.

"It is basically a bunch of good ol' boys robbing NASCAR and that got a pretty good giggle out of me," Tatum said.

NASCAR has been heavily involved in the movie.

Zane Stoddard, NASCAR vice president of entertainment marketing and content development, is serving as an executive producer. Stoddard wanted to make sure that NASCAR was portrayed in the right light — and he said Soderbergh has captured that in the film.

"One of the things that was important to us is that even though the characters are down on their luck, lovable loser kind of characters, the vision that Steven and Channing laid out is that NASCAR is going to be this big huge event that is separate from the tone of the characters — and that was important to us," Stoddard said. "The thing that is most important when we partner in these projects is there is a level of trust between us and the filmmakers. ... That trust was there from the beginning and they made it very easy."

This is not Soderbergh's first venture into a heist move. He also directed Oceans 11.

But he feels this movie is different.

"When I read (the script) it felt like it was a kind of film that I like to watch, the kind of film I like to make," Soderbergh said. "It was different. It didn't feel like a repeat of the Oceans movie. It's in the same universe, but in a different galaxy."

After meeting and talking with so many people in NASCAR, Soderbergh has become a fan. He even finds himself rooting for the drivers he has met during the production of the film.

"Now when I watch it, it makes sense to me," Soderbergh said.

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More AP auto racing: http://racing.ap.org

WATCH: Massive crash at Indy 500 sends car airborne, landing in fiery explosion on track 

 

A major crash at the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday sent a race car airborne, careening out of control, before landing in pieces on the track. 

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The drivers of the two cars involved, Jay Howard and Scott Dixon, were fine, but the violent smash-up caused moments of panic in the pits and in the stands. 

Horrified crew members and spectators gasped as Howard lost control, slamming into Dixon’s car, which exploded as it collided with the barrier.

Dixon credited safety protocols for the lack of injuries.

The race was halted for almost 20 minutes as crews cleaned up the track.

In the end, Takuma Sato of Japan won the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Who Is Brinn Black? 5 Things You Need to Know

Get to know rising country singer-songwriter Brinn Black.

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#LetTheGirlsPlay Cover: The Chainsmokers, 'Paris' [Watch]

Five Song Suffragettes took on a pretty outside the box musical challenge at a recent #LetTheGirlsPlay show in Nashville, offering up a stripped-down version of the Chainsmokers' "Paris." Continue reading…

Modern-day revolution celebrated in Philadelphia street art

Seeking to appeal to visitors more familiar with the words of "Game of Thrones" heroine Daenarys Targaryen than the writings of James Wilson, Philadelphia museums and historic sites are thinking differently, using creative art exhibitions and adding online components to their offerings.

"Revolutionary: A Pop-Up Street Art Exhibition," on display until July 4, features 13 artists who created 13 works that challenge the status quo. On display throughout downtown, the exhibition includes paintings, weavings, photographs — and a knit and crochet installation featuring Targayen quotes like "I will answer injustice with justice."

Meanwhile, "American Treasures" at the National Constitution Center showcases drafts of the U.S. Constitution written by lesser-known founding father James Wilson. After seeing an online version of the Constitution garner more than 10 million hits in 18 months, museum leaders decided to also feature the rare drafts online, where visitors will learn how one draft called for the U.S. president to be addressed as "His Excellency."

"Letting them see the words themselves has been a way to engage young people," said the organization's president and CEO Jeffrey Rosen. "It's a way to bring history and ideas alive."

Colonial history is enjoying a resurgence thanks to the success of Broadway's "Hamilton." A group of fourth graders last week ran through the newly unveiled Museum of the American Revolution singing the show's songs and looking for historic highlights they'd learned through music.

The "Revolutionary" exhibition — funded by Visit Philadelphia, the city's tourism arm — was curated by Conrad Benner, founder and editor of streetsdept.com, a website that promotes urban art and exploration.

Benner said he looked for artists whose work challenged the status quo.

"All revolutions start with people looking at the world around them and asking, 'What can we do better for ourselves and our neighbors?'" Benner said. "It's very powerful to have those ideas in public spaces."

The artists in the Revolutionary exhibition approached the subject in different ways.

El Salvador-born artist Carlos Lopez Rosa created a portrait of a South American freedom fighter few people would recognize, but the image is powerful because of its canvas: It is painted on a machete, which represents conflict, he said.

Well-known yarn-bomber Ishknits was inspired to make a crochet and knit work bearing quotes from "Game of Thrones" character Daenerys Targaryen, including, "I will answer injustice with justice."

Yasmine Mustafa, whose family came to the U.S. from Kuwait during the Persian Gulf War, was one of the creative minds behind "Birth Lottery," a poster that depicts stork flying over houses.

The image is meant to showcase the randomness of where one's life begins, Mustafa said. "We don't choose our country, our race, our economic class but these are the things that shape our lives."

The Latest: Ostlund's "The Square" wins Palme d'Or at Cannes

The Latest on the Cannes Film Festival (all times local):

8:15 p.m.

The Cannes Film Festival jury has awarded its coveted Palme d'Or award to Ruben Ostlund's "The Square."

"Oh my god! OK," the Swedish filmmaker exclaimed after he bounded onto the stage to collect the prize.

He led the crowd in a cheer, too.

Ostlund previously won the Jury Prize in the 2014 festival's Un Certain Regard section for "Force Majeure."

Dominic West, Elisabeth Moss and Claes Bang star in "The Square."

Bang plays the curator of an art museum, who sets up "The Square," an installation inviting passers-by to altruism.

But after he reacts foolishly to the theft of his phone, the respected father of two finds himself dragged into shameful situations.

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8:05 p.m.

Sofia Coppola has won the Cannes Film Festival best director prize for "The Beguiled," her remake of Don Siegel's 1971 Civil War drama.

The French AIDS drama "120 Beats Per Minute" won the Grand Prize from the jury. The Grand Prize recognizes a strong film that missed out on the top prize, the Palme d'Or.

The jury also presented a special prize to celebrate the festival's 70th anniversary, to actress Nicole Kidman.

Kidman wasn't at the French Rivera ceremony, but sent a video message from Nashville, saying she was "absolutely devastated" to miss the show.

Jury member Will Smith made the best of the situation, pretending to be Kidman.

He fake-cried and said in halting French, "merci beaucoup madames et monsieurs."

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7:55 p.m.

Diane Kruger has been named best actress and Joaquin Phoenix best actor at the 70th annual Cannes Film Festival.

Kruger was honored for her performance in Fatih Akin's "In the Fade."

She told the star-studded audience she was "overcome." Kruger said. "Thank you a thousand times."

Phoenix was recognized for his role in Lynne Ramsay's thriller "You Were Never Really Here."

He played a tormented war veteran trying to save a teenage girl from a sex trafficking ring.

Phoenix wore sneakers on stage as he collected the prize. He said his leather shoes had been flown ahead of him.

He apologized for his appearance, saying the prize was "totally unexpected."

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7:50 p.m.

The Cannes Film Festival jury has awarded two — not one — screenplay awards this year — for "The Killing of a Sacred Deer" and "You Were Never Really Here."

Jury president Pedro Almodovar said as he announced the selection on Sunday night, "We have our first surprise."

The jury prize went to Russian director Andrey Zvyagintsev's "Loveless."

The Palme d'Or award for short films has gone to the 15-minute-long Chinese movie "A Gentle Night" by Qiu Yang.

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7:20 p.m.

The Cannes Film Festival awards show is underway, with Italian actress Monica Bellucci as host.

In her opening speech, the Italian actress defended the role of violence in movies, saying they only reflect the violence of the real world.

Bellucci said, "Cinema takes its inspiration from reality."

"Nothing is more violent than reality," she added. "Cinema only plays its role as a mirror."

The festival has handed out its first award: the Golden Camera prize to Leonor Serraille for her French movie "Young Woman."

The Camera d'Or is awarded to the best first film, with 26 films vying for it this year.

Bellucci also spoke out about the representation of women in the world of cinema. Three female filmmakers have movies among the 19 in competition this year for Cannes' highest honor, the Palme d'Or.

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7:10 p.m.

Among those spotted on the Cannes red carpet ahead of the award ceremony was filmmaker Robin Campillo. His AIDS drama "120 Beats Per Minute" earned some of the best reviews of the festival.

Campillo told French broadcaster Canal Plus he had returned to Paris after the screening of his film, but returned after getting a call asking him back for Sunday's award ceremony.

Does that suggest a possible Palme d'Or? Time will tell.

Campillo's movie centers on the activist group ACT UP in Paris in the 1990s during the AIDS crisis.

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7:05 p.m.

The red carpet at Cannes is humming with stars ahead of the ceremony that will award the coveted Palme d'Or prize.

Two-time Academy Award nominee Jessica Chastain, looking fabulous in a white dress with red patterning on the front, said she and other members of the jury led by Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar wrestled Sunday with "a very difficult choice."

The actress told broadcaster Canal Plus, "We saw beautiful films."

Fellow jury member Will Smith was bubbly as ever, saying: "I'm ecstatic. This has been a beautiful experience."

Diane Kruger, in a sober black dress, said: "My heart is beating very, very fast."

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5:51 p.m.

The Cannes Film Festival Jury has done its job. But its president isn't letting slip which film it has picked for the coveted Palme d'Or award.

Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar told a French BFM television reporter who managed to squeeze a few words out of him that the award deliberations Sunday were "very fast."

Almodovar said: "We did our work."

But for the names of the winners: Stay tuned.

___

4:41 p.m.

The Cannes Film Festival is gearing up to award its prestigious Palme d'Or at a glitzy award ceremony.

No single movie has emerged as the clear favorite among the 19 in competition for the coveted prize being awarded Sunday evening.

Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar presided over the competition jury. Almodovar has made clear that he doesn't want the Palme d'Or, the festival's top prize, to go to a movie that isn't shown on big screens.

That could bode ill for Bong Joon-ho's "Okja" and Noah Baumbach's "The Meyerowitz Stories," the first Netflix releases ever selected to be in competition for the Palme d'Or.

Regarded as cinema's most prestigious festival, Cannes is celebrating its 70th anniversary. Organizers have declared that next year, streaming-only films will not be accepted for the competition.

Rascal Flatts' Career Regret? Not Saying 'No' More Often

Rascal Flatts explain why they are not touring as heavily in 2017.

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'Pirates of the Caribbean' tops box office, 'Baywatch' sinks

It was smooth sailing to the top spot at the box office for "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales," but the waters were choppier for the Dwayne Johnson comedy "Baywatch."

Studio estimates on Sunday say the fifth installment of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise commandeered $62.2 million in its first three days in theaters.

The Johnny Depp-starrer is projected to take in $76.6 million over the four-day holiday weekend.

It was the second-lowest domestic opening for the nearly $4 billion franchise, but the latest film, which cost a reported $230 million to produce, has massive international appeal. Its four-day global total is expected to hit $300 million.

Having the majority of profits come from international receipts is not worrying Walt Disney Studios.

"This is a trend that we've seen play out over the course of these films," said Dave Hollis, executive vice president of distribution for Disney. "'Pirates' is a huge spectacle film of the kind that international audiences continue to be drawn toward ... but the domestic response also shows that the audience for this film is clearly there."

The R-rated "Baywatch," meanwhile, is sinking like a rock. The critically derided update of the 1990s TV show earned only $18.1 million over the weekend against a nearly $70 million price tag. Including Thursday earnings, the film is projected to collect $26.6 million by the close of Memorial Day.

Even "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" did better in its fourth weekend. The space opera added $19.9 million to take second place ahead of "Baywatch" at the box office.

The "Baywatch" miss could be attributable to a couple of factors. Even with the star power of Johnson, R-rated Hollywood updates to family friendly television shows have a dubious track record, ComScore senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian said.

Earlier this year, Dax Shepard's R-rated update of "CHiPs" tanked, netting only $18.6 million domestically against a $25 million budget.

This month's box office has also been tough on nearly every film except "Guardians of the Galaxy."

"'Baywatch' doesn't stand alone as a casualty in this marketplace," Dergarabedian said. "It's joining a cadre of other films that have underperformed."

Even the decently reviewed "Alien: Covenant" dropped an uncommonly steep 71 percent in its second weekend in theaters to take fourth place with $10.5 million. The teen romance "Everything, Everything" rounded out the top five with $6.2 million.

"Hollywood needs June to save the box office world," Dergarabedian said.

First up to that challenge: "Wonder Woman."

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to comScore. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.

1."Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales," $62.2 million ($208.4 million international).

2."Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2," $19.9 million ($8.6 million international).

3."Baywatch," $18.1 million.

4."Alien: Covenant," $10.5 million ($10.8 million international).

5."Everything, Everything," $6.2 million.

6."Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul," $4.4 million ($2.4 million international).

7."Snatched," $3.9 million ($1.4 million international).

8."King Arthur: Legend of the Sword," $3.2 million ($10 million international).

9."The Boss Baby," $1.7 million ($2.9 million international).

10."Beauty and the Beast," $1.6 million ($3.8 million international).

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Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at international theaters (excluding the U.S. and Canada), according to comScore:

1. "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales," $208.4 million.

2. "Alien: Covenant," $10.8 million.

3. "Dangal," $10.6 million.

4. "King Arthur: Legend of the Sword," $10 million.

5. "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2," $8.6 million.

6. "Get Out," $7.3 million.

7. "Our President," $4.3 million.

8. "God of War," $4.2 million.

9. "Beauty and the Beast," $3.8 million.

10. "The Fate of the Furious," $3.3 million.

___

Universal and Focus are owned by NBC Universal, a unit of Comcast Corp.; Sony, Columbia, Sony Screen Gems and Sony Pictures Classics are units of Sony Corp.; Paramount is owned by Viacom Inc.; Disney, Pixar and Marvel are owned by The Walt Disney Co.; Miramax is owned by Filmyard Holdings LLC; 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight are owned by 21st Century Fox; Warner Bros. and New Line are units of Time Warner Inc.; MGM is owned by a group of former creditors including Highland Capital, Anchorage Advisors and Carl Icahn; Lionsgate is owned by Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.; IFC is owned by AMC Networks Inc.; Rogue is owned by Relativity Media LLC.

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Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/ldbahr

Kidnapping survivor, author, advocate Elizabeth Smart shows off new baby

Kidnapping survivor Elizabeth Smart has posted photos of her new baby boy on Instragram.

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The photos feature her husband Matthew Gilmour, daughter Chloe, 2, and newborn son James.

“These people are my whole world,” Smart wrote in a caption of a family portrait. “Whenever I look at them I realize how fortunate I am. I hope I never forget what a blessing a safe, healthy, happy family is.”

Earlier this month, the proud parents took baby James to get a “special blessing.”

“The sunshine made today the perfect day for an adventure with great Granny and Grandpa, and great uncle Neville!” she wrote in a photo caption of the family visiting with Gilmour’s parents in Scotland, where he’s from.

Another photo shows Chloe and James snuggling.

“Nothing better then seeing my two babies love on each other!” Smart wrote.

Smart was kidnapped from her bedroom in her home in Salt Lake City in 2002 when she was 14 by a homeless man, who her father had employed as a handy man, and his wife. She was rescued nine months later by police just 18 miles from the family home. 

Suspect, Brian David Mitchell, and his wife, Wanda Ileen Barzee, were eventually convicted in the Smart kidnapping and assault case. 

 

 

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