Naya Rivera Among The Celebrities Featured in Chris Barker’s Annual Beatles-Style Tribute to 2020’s Biggest Losses

Naya Rivera is getting a special tribute…

British artist Chris Barker‘s annual Beatles-style tribute to lost celebrities features some of 2020’s biggest losses, including the late half-Puerto Rican actress/singer and Glee star, who drowned in July while on an outing with her son on California’s Lake Piru, as well as soccer legend Diego Maradona, Little Richard, Chadwick Boseman and Van Halen guitarist Eddie Van Halen.

Naya Rivera

Barker, who has been meticulously crafting his homage to the infamous cover of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band since 2016 as a tribute to dearly departed pop culture icons and newsmakers — said his initial idea was to start with a blank slate in January and just add faces as the year went on.

The approach would’ve simply meant swapping out some images for more prominent ones as the year went on for a more “interactive” art project. But as this year just kept getting worse, he was glad he didn’t switch up his style.

Chris Barker's 2020 Sgt. Peppers Tribute

“Early spring I thought the devastating wildfires in Australia would be the defining moment of the year but, goodness me, 2020 just kept piling it on,” he tells Billboard. “So I had a couple of options of how to show this year was a year like no other. My immediate thought was social distancing; to have the characters all really spread out. But that would have proved really impractical.”

Instead, he stuck to the template of cramming as many singers, actors, athletes, public figures and news events as possible into the image, which this year includes everyone from police violence victim George Floyd to actors Kirk Douglas, Dave Prowse (Star WarsDarth Vader), Sean Connery, Diana Rigg, Monty Python‘s Terry Jones, Fred Willard and Jerry Stiller, as well as musical icons Florian Schneider (Kraftwerk), Peter Green (Fleetwood Mac), Kenny Rogers, Adam Schlesinger (Fountains of Wayne), reggae great Toots Hibbert, Neil Peart (Rush), Ronald Bell (Kool & the Gang), DJ José Padilla, Bonnie Pointer (Pointer Sisters) and Afrobeat star Tony Allen, among many others.

Barker’s next idea was to include a nod to how important masks were this year during the pandemic, but that would have made the concept way too complicated to pull off. After starting work a month earlier than usual (in September), he realized masking the figures would make many of them unrecognizable, and posting it around the American election as he usually does would likely leave too many important figures off in a year when the devastating hits just kept on coming.

“Who knew what else could be just around the corner? It has been such an awful, bleak year,” he said, revealing that his original background was a red sky with burning forests in a nod to the devastating Australian and American wildfires. But with Joe Biden‘s victory over one-term President Donald Trump last month and talk of a COVID-19 vaccine right around the corner, suddenly there was a glimmer of hope. And instead of sticking the Biden/Harris logo “in the middle of a burning hellscape,” the Trump campaign gave him an unexpected gift with lawyer Rudy Giuliani‘s legendarily disastrous presser at Four Seasons Total Landscaping.

“The surreal backdrop perfectly encapsulates the final nail in the coffin of the nightmarish Trump administration that inspired this whole project,” Barker said. “When I first did the 2016 montage, the loss of such an overwhelming number of iconic heroes was undoubtedly one of the defining stories of the year — even overshadowing Brexit and Trump. But this year, obviously the huge number of deaths from coronavirus is far more significant.”

With the real human cost of losses from COVID-19 piling up every day, Barker decided that the chalky floor of the Four Seasons parking lot was the perfect backdrop for an homage that also includes the losses of nearly 1.5 million worldwide to COVID, Trump’s presidency, Spencer Davis, Jeopardy host Alex Trebek, drag queen Chi Chi DeVayne, directors Alan Parker and Joel Schumacher, magician Roy Horn, Glee‘s Rivera, Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, Vera Lynn, Kelly Preston, and Gone With the Wind star Olivia de Havilland.

“Every line a reminder of a life taken, a family ripped apart. Every time I do this montage it is an emotional journey, however detached I may get from the subject matter while I’m in the thick of the Photoshop, when I put the list together for the key at the end and look at it, it is a quite sobering moment,” he said. “I know a lot of people who have lost family members this year and I always try to remember that all the people I am including have left people behind too. I have to try to be respectful to everyone and to pay tribute to them and the way they lived their lives.”

There are always a few losses that hit Barker the hardest, and this year for him it was Kraftwerk’s Schneider, Game of Thrones star Rigg and Python’s Jones.

All he asks is that if you are moved by his work, donate to the UK’s NHS charities this year.

Colman Domingo Signs First-Look Deal with AMC Studios

It’s a new deal for Colman Domingo

The 50-year-old Guatemalan American actor, playwright and television/stage director has signed a first-look deal with AMC Studios, the studio behind Domingo’s zombie drama series Fear the Walking Dead.

Colman Domingo,

Domingo made his debut as Victor Strand in a two-episode guest arc during the first season of Fear the Walking Dead, a spinoff from The Walking Dead.

He was made a series regular at the start of Season 2. He made his directorial debut on the show and has directed two episodes to date.

“From the moment AMC viewers first saw Colman Domingo as the mysterious and dynamic Victor Strand in season one of Fear The Walking Dead,they haven’t been able to look away, and neither have we,” said Sarah Barnett, President of AMC Networks Entertainment Group & AMC Studios. “He has become a core character of the series and, as anyone who knows him knows, his talents go far beyond that one character in that one show. He is a writer, producer and performer who can move effortlessly between film, television and the stage and we are thrilled to be expanding our relationship with this extraordinary talent and individual through this first-look deal with AMC Studios.”

Domingo is currently in production on the upcoming sixth season of Fear the Walking Dead and stars in A24’s Zolawhich premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. He’s also had a recurring role on HBO’s Euphoria and will be seen in Jordan Peele’s spiritual sequel to the 1992 gothic horror film CandyMan, as well as opposite Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman in the Netflix film adaption of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,produced by Denzel Washington.

Domingo, 20-year veteran theater director, co-wrote the book for the Broadway musical Summer: The Donna Summer Musical and for the Lights Out: Nat “King” Cole  musical.

At AMC, he developed a series based on his play Dottwo years ago.

Domingo’s film acting credits also include Barry Jenkins’ If Beale Street Could TalkSelma, Lee Daniels’ The Butler,  Steven Spielberg’s LincolnFirst Matchand Spike Lee’s Miracle At St. AnaRed Hook Summerand Passing Strange

Javier Bardem to Present at This Year’s Oscars

Javier Bardemhas a date with Oscar…

The 49-year-old Spanish actor has been added to the list of presenters for the 91st Oscars show later this month.

Javier Bardem

Bardem, won the Academy Awardfor Best Supporting Actorfor his role as the psychopathic assassin Anton Chigurh in the 2007 Coen Brothersfilm No Country for Old Men, joins a roster of new additions that includes Angela BassettChadwick BosemanEmilia ClarkeLaura DernSamuel L. JacksonStephan JamesKeegan-Michael KeyKiKi LayneJames McAvoyMelissa McCarthyJason Momoa and Sarah Paulson.

They join previously announced AwkwafinaDaniel Craig,Chris EvansTina FeyAllison Janney,Brie LarsonJennifer LopezFrances McDormandGary OldmanAmy PoehlerSam RockwellMaya Rudolph,Amandla StenbergCharlize TheronTessa Thompson and Constance Wuat the show, set for February 24 live on ABC.

The presenters have added interest in a year in which the Oscars is going host-less, with Academy president John Bailey saying as late a week ago the show remained “in flux.”

“The array of talent anchoring the show this year has brought some of the most indelible moments in recent cinematic memory to audiences around the world,” said producer Donna Gigliotti and co-producer and director Glenn Weisson Monday in the announcement. “They join together to reconnect us with the nominees, their tremendous movies, and outstanding performances.”

Cardi B to Make Her “Saturday Night Live” Debut in April

Cardi B is headed to Saturday Night Live

The 25-year-old Dominican American rapper/singer will make her SNL debut on April 7.

Cardi B

Carbi B has been tapped as the guest performer that night.

She’ll share the stage with Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman, who will be the host.

Cardi B has managed to crush records thanks to the might of her hit singles “Bodak Yellow” and “Bartier Cardi,” as well as collaborations that have kept her topping both the Billboard Hot 100 and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop charts.

Martinez to Star in the Revenge Thriller “Message From The King”

It’s a King’s landing for Natalie Martinez

The 30-year-old Cuban American actress has landed a role in Message From The King, a revenge thriller from director Fabrice Du Welz.

Natalie Martinez

The film stars Chadwick Boseman as Jacob, a South African man who descends into the Los Angeles underworld in an attempt to avenge his younger sister’s death and rescue her stepson from the immoral world into which he’s been sold.

Martinez will portray Trish, the former neighbor of Jacob’s missing sister Bianca who he recruits to help find the woman’s murderer.

Teresa Palmer, Luke Evans and Alfred Molina also star.

Filming is expected to begin this month in Los Angeles.

Martinez currently plays Jess Murphy on ABC’s midseason Sunday drama Secrets And Lies, and her other recent credits include multiple episodes of Under The DomeCSI: NY and Detroit 1-8-7.

She will next be seen in the Focus Features summer pic Self/Less starring Ryan Reynolds and Ben Kingsley.

Brühl Cast in Marvel Studios’ “Captain America: Civil War”

Prepare to Marvel at Daniel Brühl

The 36-year-old half Spanish actor and Golden Globe nominee has joined the cast of 2016’s Captain America: Civil War.

Daniel Brühl

In a statement accompanying Marvel Studios’ announcement, studio president Kevin Feige cited the actor’s “ability to deliver intense, nuanced performances” as the reason behind his joining a cast that already includes Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr. and Chadwick Boseman, making his Marvel debut as the Black Panther ahead of the 2017 solo feature for the character.

Jeremy Renner has also been rumored to be attached to the project.

No details have been given about the character Brühl will play in the film, to be directed by Captain America: The Winter Soldier‘s Joe and Anthony Russo, beyond the fact that he’ll play the villain in the movie — a potential break from the original Civil War comic series, which features pits Captain America and Iron Man against each other without a villain behind it all.

Brühl’s previous credits include his critically acclaimed performance in Rush, as well as 7 Days in Havana and Inglourious Basterds.

Captain America: Civil War is scheduled for a May 6, 2016 release.