Damon Lindelof Calls Axed ‘Star Wars’ Script a ‘True Labor of Love’

Welcome to this week’s “Just for Variety.”

In his first comments since it was revealed that he and Justin Britt-Gibson are no longer writing the script for director Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy’s “Star Wars” movie, Damon Lindelof tells me the project was a “true labor of love.” “Peaky Blinders” creator Steven Knight is now penning the script. “The movie is still happening, but unfortunately not with me,” Lindelof said at the premiere of “Mrs. Davis,” the offbeat Peacock dramady he is shepherding with showrunner Tara Hernandez. “I wish them all the best of luck. Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy is an incredible director, and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with.”

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As for “Mrs. Davis,” it is one heck of a ride. I’ve watched the first two episodes and it is completely bonkers, twisted and so much fun. Betty Gilpin stars as a nun searching for the Holy Grail while battling a mysterious AI. Gilpin’s performance is pure Looney Tunes genius and will hopefully earn her lots of awards attention.

The Batman

THE BATMAN, Colin Farrell, as Oswald Cobblepot / the Penguin, 2022. © Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

Michael Keaton may be reprising his role as Batman in the “The Flash,” but Danny DeVito says there’s no chance he’ll return as the Penguin in the DCU. “Colin Farrell is the Penguin now,” DeVito told me at the Breakthrough Prize gala. “He’s a brilliant actor. I love him. He’s a good friend. He’s a good man.

“I loved seeing him as the Penguin. I thought he was great,” DeVito added before cracking, “He reminds me of a couple of my relatives back in Jersey.”

Farrell is filming “The Penguin,” an eight-episode spin-off of 2022’s “The Batman,” for HBO Max, which will officially become Max next month.

Lionel Richie says he first met King Charles in the 1980s. “We’re about the same age,” the 73-year-old singer says. “I don’t want to say we grew up together, but we’ve been in and out of each other’s lives for a long time. So now to see him step into his rightful place, it’ll be very interesting to see what his reign will be.” It was announced last week that Richie will be among the artists to perform at the king’s coronation concert on May 7. “You’re told the palace is calling and you think, ‘Am I being punked?’” Richie says. “No, it was not that way at all. It was much more formal than that. And, of course, the answer was ‘Yes,’ no matter what else I may have had planned. This only happens once in a billion years, as far as I’m concerned.”

Ari Aster and Joaquin Phoenix at the Los Angeles premiere of "Beau Is Afraid" held at the Director’s Guild of America on April 10, 2023 in Los Angeles, California.

Ari Aster and Joaquin Phoenix at the Los Angeles premiere of “Beau Is Afraid” held at the Director’s Guild of America on April 10, 2023 in Los Angeles, California.

Ari Aster is known for horror movies “Hereditary” and “Midsommar” and the new black comedy “Beau Is Afraid.” But he wouldn’t mind directing lighter fare. “I love rom-coms,” he tells me. His favorite? Albert Brooks’ 1991 “Defending Your Life”: “It’s great. It’s the best.”

Aster hasn’t started writing a rom-com … yet. “Give me a few years,” he says.

Beef. Young Mazino as Paul in episode 102 of Beef. Cr. Andrew Cooper/Netflix © 2023

Young Mazino as Paul in episode 102 of Beef. Cr. Andrew Cooper/Netflix © 2023

Get to know Young Mazino. The Maryland native plays Paul on Netflix’s “Beef.” The actor reveals that his father wasn’t exactly thrilled when he told him he was drop- ping out of college to pursue acting. “I just remember the way he put his spoon down and just looked at me,” Mazino tells me. “There was some friction over the years when I was struggling to make it in New York. I had some bitterness and resentment — which was so foolish of me — because we couldn’t see eye to eye. I couldn’t come to terms with the fact that he just wanted me to be safe and stable.” His father, a cybersecurity and computer systems expert who has several master’s degrees and a Ph.D., called him after watching “Beef.” “He is a man of few words, but he said, ‘You’re a good actor,’” Mazino recalls, smiling. “That was a really cool thing.”

He’s not only getting kudos for his acting, but when Mazino popped onto social media to see what viewers were saying about his performance, he discovered his body was getting lots of attention, too. “I made the mistake of going to Twitter and my ass is all over the place and people are saying some of the most lewd things I’ve ever read,” Mazino says, laughing. “I was horrified but also fascinated.”

He adds, “I hope people will look towards my acting more so than my abs and booty.”

Check out the best celebrity party and event pics of the month here.

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