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How Vin Diesel and John Cena redfine Fast family in F9

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Vin Diesel has come a long way in the 21 years since he walked onto this Universal soundstage for the first table read of The Fast and the Furious (then known as Redline). He wasn’t that far removed from spending his nights working as a bouncer at a New York City club, and his days attempting to get his big break. It was that struggle as a multiracial actor that inspired him to write, direct, and star in his 1995 short film Multi-Facial, which earned him a champion in Steven Spielberg – the legendary filmmaker created a role specifically for Diesel in 1998’s Saving Private Ryan. Roles in Iron Giant and Pitch Black followed, but it was his turn as street racer Dominic Toretto, an outlaw with an honor and a code, that was the star-making vehicle.

Fast-forward nine movies, one spin-off (with more expected), and $6 billion at the box office later, and Diesel holds the keys to the unlikeliest series of blockbusters ever. Now, he returns to this life-changing location on the Universal lot, becoming so “flooded with memories” that he briefly pauses EW’s F9 cover shoot to make an impromptu, nostalgia-fueled speech that touches on Fast & Furious, family, and the late Paul Walker. It’s a rare moment for the forward-thinking world builder. “I don’t reflect enough,” admits Diesel, 53, weeks later over the phone. “For some reason, I believe in order to pull this off I need to apply all my energy into pushing [Fast] up the hill. And maybe that’s not the best route, and I should take a minute and reflect on how far we’ve come.”

It’s easy to wonder if any franchise has ever come farther. Forget the jokes and the recent Jurassic ParkFast crossover memes for a second. Truly, how is it possible to go from a modestly-budgeted, scrappy action film featuring a group of not-yet movie stars as underground racers stealing DVD players to a globe-trotting, world-saving, space-traveling (don’t worry, we’ll get back to that), A-list-stuffed phenomenon whose ninth installment has already made $300 million overseas and been pegged as “the blockbuster Hollywood needs”? Oh, and did we mention, 26 years after presenting Multi-Facial as a young filmmaker at the Cannes Film Festival, Diesel will have a full-circle moment when F9 screens in July at the glam beachside fest? Not a bad start for a film finally hitting stateside on June 25.

The secret to that success: “Fast takes the unrealistic and makes it commonplace,” posits superfan and new Fast family member John Cena, 44. “A film could try to do what Fast does, but it will be unbelievable because it hasn’t earned that. It’s almost like the audience winking at the screen being like, ‘Of course you guys are going to do that.’ And Fast isn’t afraid to occasionally wink [back] at the audience to say, ‘Thanks for allowing us to do this,’ which is a really good trait of any form of entertainment – never take yourself too seriously.”

Still, no one saw this coming. Diesel himself asked Universal not to make a sequel after the first film became a surprise hit, fearing “they would compromise the ability for it to be a classic.” Without him, Fast drove on, with Walker returning as cop-turned-fugitive Brian O’Conner alongside Tyrese Gibson‘s fast-talking Roman Pearce for 2003’s 2 Fast 2 Furious, and then came a complete reboot with 2006’s The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. But a final scene cameo in the latter from Diesel (which he did in exchange for the rights to his Pitch Black character Riddick) paved a new road to the past and future. Diesel, Walker, and fellow original stars Michelle Rodriguez and Jordana Brewster (who play Dom and Brian’s ride-or-die love interests, Letty Ortiz and Mia Toretto) reunited for 2009’s Fast & Furious, which also brought back Drift director Justin Lin and his breakout scene-stealer Sung Kang as Han, setting the then-April record for highest-grossing weekend. 

Fast never looked back, getting bigger and bigger with each sequel, whether it came to high-profile cast additions (Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Charlize Theron), stunts (flying cars, jumping skyscrapers, racing submarines), or box office (2017’s The Fate of the Furious racked up more than $1.2 billion).

Even so, “we always feel like we have to earn it,” Diesel says. “This has never been IP with preexisting comics and books; it’s been built from the ground up, and we’ve never taken anything for granted.”

It hasn’t been an easy road for John Cena, the actor. In the early 2000s, the college football player-turned-wrestler burst onto the WWE scene, first as a trash-talking rapper, then as the clean-cut, charismatic face of the company. Following the Hollywood transition made by the artist formerly known as the Rock, the WWE had similar plans for Cena, making him the signature star of its newly-launched WWE Studios. But films like The Marine and 12 Rounds flopped. He spent years going through the motions, feeling more like a cog in a business model than an actor. “I did it for the wrong reasons,” Cena says candidly during a lengthy Zoom conversation in early May. “All those times I was sitting idly on a movie set, from 2004 to 2009, I wanted to be on the canvas. I remember being like, ‘I’m never doing movies again.'” Until he made a conscious decision to play against type: Instead of once again attempting to be an action hero, the mammoth of a man found an unexpected niche earning laughs in comedies like Sisters (opposite Amy Poehler and Tina Fey), Daddy’s Home (opposite Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg), and baring it all in Trainwreck, as Amy Schumer’s workout-obsessed boyfriend.

“I’ve been given a second chance at the movies – who the hell gets a first chance?” says Cena, who has gone from hoping film audiences could see past his WWE persona to embracing it. “I never ever want to shake the ball cap-wearing, T-shirt, double wristband, jorts, sneakers, John Cena. It’s part of who I am. I think a great parallel would be to ask Vin if he ever wants to shed himself of Dom Toretto. I don’t think he’ll ever get tired or fed up with being known as Dom, because he knows the contribution has stuck with people.”

Cena’s relationship with Fast started as a fan. He’d then find himself positioned as the WWE rival of Johnson, who had just debuted as Luke Hobbs in 2011’s Fast Five. The two highest-profile wrestlers-turned-actors faced off in 2012 and 2013 as the headlining match at Wrestlemania. But Cena’s fate in the Fast & Furious may have been sealed in an unlikely place. In the 2018 hit comedy Blockers, Cena starred as an overprotective father trying to stop his daughter from losing her virginity on prom night; a mini-van chase scene ended with a crash and a Fast joke. A March 2018 interview between this reporter and Cena veered into his favorite franchise. “That stuff is beyond my control, but I would absolutely love that opportunity,” Cena said at the suggestion of him joining Fast. “That, for me, would be a dream.”

After taking Fast to new heights while directing installments three through six, Lin walked away content, never imagining he’d back behind the wheel of the franchise. And yet, without having even seen Furious 7 or The Fate of the Furious, the two films made in his absence by James Wan (Aquaman) and F. Gary Gray (Straight Outta Compton), he suddenly woke up one day with an idea that would forever shake the foundation and theme of Fast: Who better to force Dom, the man always preaching about family, to confront his past than a forsaken brother? (Want a good drinking game? Take a sip of Corona every time we or Fast use the word “family.”)

“It was a very interesting concept,” says Diesel of Lin’s pitch. “Even the person that is the spokesman for brotherhood could have a broken brotherhood in the past.” But Diesel always viewed the introduction of a new Toretto as being more about fatherhood than brotherhood. Before Elena (Elsa Pataky) was killed by Cipher (Theron) in Fate of the Furious, both Dom and the audience learned that she had given birth to Dom’s son, who would later be named Brian as a tip of the hat to Walker’s character.

F9 finds Dom adjusting to his new life as a parent, all while reliving the tragic circumstances of his own father’s death, details of which he shared with the elder Brian in the first film. “You needed to uncover something that surrounded that story Dom tells Brian in the garage 20 years ago,” Diesel says. “Now being a father, Dom has to take a hard look at his father, his father’s death, the past, and all the decisions that surround it.”

The prospect of introducing Jakob Toretto for a bloody family reunion (little sister Mia returns in F9 in a major way) instantly re-energized Lin and Diesel, no strangers to adding high-profile stars like Johnson and Statham as adversaries. “The next thought was just pure 100 percent fear,” admits Lin, 49. “Like, holy crap, how are we going to [cast] this?” Diesel also says he experienced “a moment of anxiety” when thinking about casting, until he realized what was once his biggest hindrance to becoming a working actor was now his biggest asset. “What was very challenging in the last millennium for me to get work was the fact that I’m multicultural,” he remarks. “Going into this millennium, it ended up being something that was a godsend. You could literally have cast anybody to be my brother – there’s no stretch too far. Because of that, once it came time to cast Jakob Toretto, all the men came rushing in from every race, every nationality.”

However, only one man ever was in serious consideration. Lin’s first and only meeting for Jakob was Cena, and after 30 minutes, the director thought, “Okay, good, I can breathe.” Lin immediately called Diesel to tell him they had to connect. Cena was summoned that same day to what Diesel calls his “Dom shrine,” where he goes to work out and get into “that Dom state of mind.” Cena still didn’t know the details of the Jakob character or the Toretto connection, and was simply there to soak up as much as he could from Diesel. But there was no shaking the fact that he was talking to the Dominic Toretto: “I literally remember seeing the [signature Toretto necklace] for the first time, and I’m like, what the f— is going on?'” He wasn’t prepared for what happened next. Without warning, Diesel pulled out his phone and recorded a video hinting at the possibility of Cena joining the saga, which he then posted to his 70 million followers on Instagram.

“I didn’t really think about it that much, because I don’t know if anyone will ever believe me, but I literally just, for some reason, felt like Paul had sent him,” says Diesel of “Pablo,” as he called his Fast costar and friend, who died in a car crash in 2013. Walker is also the reason why Diesel named his daughter Pauline. “There’s no bigger message than that. And I didn’t think about it for a second, I didn’t ask [Cena] to read anything, I didn’t need to look at anything. I just told him it was going to be super, super challenging, and felt like I had to warn him what he was walking into. I had no other way to explain it. If you go back to that day and you read that post, I said, ‘Thanks, Pablo,’ because, like always, he had a way of removing my anxiety.”

For Cena, who was already prepared to give this “life-changing opportunity” everything he had, Diesel’s words about Walker only intensified the motivation. “It’s really difficult to conceptualize something like that,” he explains. “I never had the chance to meet Paul, but, man, the outpouring of emotion for this individual that had such dedication to the franchise, to his craft, to fans, to cars, it’s not lost on me. There are now tremendous expectations set on your shoulders – and that’s the way I like it.”

The Instagram post from Diesel, who – along with his sister Samantha Vincent – is a Fast producer, may have been the unofficial job offer, but it wasn’t until Cena got his hands on the script that he discovered the magnitude of what he signed up for. “They said they wanted me to specifically read Jakob, and you read very early on that Jakob is a Toretto,” says Cena. “The last name alone is going to make viewers around the world ask questions.” Luckily, he had the No. 1 Toretto expert at his disposal in Diesel, who is so invested in Fast lore that, according to Lin, he’s got a wall at his house with strings connecting every character in the universe. “It’s like one of those serial killer movies,” the director says with a laugh. Diesel alludes to plenty of “deep conversations” between the two actors about the family history, but at a certain point, “[Cena] had to do his own soul searching to find that character.”

And loyal Fast fans will have to do some searching of their own to accept the explanation of how Dom, the ultimate family man, could have a brother whose existence has never been acknowledged. Hell, in the fourth film, Fast & Furious, as Dom prepares to leave on a revenge mission, Mia asks him, “How do you say goodbye to your only brother?” Lin assures that “everything’s going to be accounted for,” adding, “we’re going to earn that line, I promise you.”

The filmmaker behind some of the most beloved Fasts, including the universally recognized No. 1 Fast Five (think Avengers meets Ocean’s Eleven, but with the Rock), also promises that F9 is the best yet. The latest installment picks up with Dom and Letty having retired from living their lives a quarter mile at a time in order to safely raise Brian. But their peaceful new existence is interrupted when an unexpected threat, that somehow involves Cipher (Theron), Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell), and the previously assumed dead Han (Kang), pits the team up against Jakob, the most skilled assassin and high-performance driver they’ve ever encountered. 

Cena says Jakob is a “great polar opposite to Dom,” all smoothness and planning, as opposed to Dom’s “bull in a china shop… last minute, last second, diffuse a bomb, get out of harm’s way somehow” kind of guy. But even far removed from wrapping production, Cena is still at a loss for words when asked about filming the pair’s first showdown, as Cena looked across at Diesel as Dom, and looked down at himself and saw the necklace gleaming against his chest.  

“Think of the thing you’re most passionate about – the show or the form of entertainment, music, whatever. And then you come face-to-face with the pinnacle of that [thing] you are passionate about, and you are given a relic that defines that pinnacle, and you are treated as equals,” says Cena. “I always compare everything to WWE, and that would be like face-to-face with the Rock. There’s no denying that Dom Toretto is an iconic character and that was really special. That’s a main event at WrestleMania.”

Long before he ever became Dominic Toretto, Diesel grew up with a father who was part of the Actors Studio and theater scene in New York, so dinner time often included a wide array of thespians and dialogue about the art of acting. “What he recently said to me was, one of the things that none of them ever really discussed was how you carry a character over multiple decades,” shares Diesel. “That has never been brought up in a Stanislavski book, or mentioned at Actors Studio. You do a movie, you let the character go, you find a new character. To be the vessel of a character to this degree for decades, what you end up finding is that you’re pulling from your real life, it becomes that personal. It’s like when Paul used to say how much he loved being called Brian. That means for so long he’s played this character, he’s adopted part of the character and the character’s adopted part of him. And maybe in this Fast universe, as complicated as it is, life is a little simpler.”

A lot of real-life events found their way into F9, from conversations between little Brian and Dom that Diesel says he had with his own children, to #JusticeForHan, the online movement that began with fans expressing outrage over how the aftermath of the beloved Han’s Fast 6 death was handled and ended with Han being revived… again. But amid miracle resurrections and evil long-lost brothers is the most out-of-this-world plot point. For years, it seemed like the internet’s favorite joke was that the only logical thing for Fast to do next was go to space. Well, it turns out Lin was listening.

“Oh my God, I had so many mixed emotions,” Diesel says with a deep laugh of the F9 plot point that finds Roman and Tej (Chris “Ludacris” Bridges) taking one giant leap for Fast. “Then I had this Cheshire grin on my face. Like it’s so bold and blatantly outrageous. And you go, ‘No, no, no, no, no!’ And then you go, ‘Wait a minute, maybe, yes, yes, yes, yes!’ I was like, ‘If we pull it off, we’ll pull it off. And if not, we tried.'”

Cena has the same thought process about Jakob’s future post-F9. “There have been instances where I go out for WWE and I think I crushed it and it’s the worst performance I’ve ever had, the audience doesn’t get it,” says the now in-demand actor, who will also be seen this summer in James Gunn’s superhero sequel The Suicide Squad and Hulu’s raunchy comedy Vacation Friends. “So why don’t I just enjoy the now, and if the moment is good enough where fans are like, ‘We’d like him back,’ what a cool thing that is. And if they’re like, ‘Eh, good try, but he’s not Fast material,’ cool, I got to touch the sun for a hot second.”

The wait for the verdict has been longer than anyone could have expected. It was January 2020 when the F9 cast took over Super Bowl Weekend in Miami for a concert event to unveil the action-packed debut trailer. As momentum built towards the May release, fans were abuzz with the big reveals of Jakob’s lineage and Han’s status as a suddenly living person. And then the world shut down. By March, the coronavirus pandemic set off a chain of film delays, and while many studios initially moved their projects just a few months, Universal was aggressive in postponing F9 almost a full year to April 2021, and eventually June 25. The last 15-plus months has further expedited the conversation over the future of movies and, specifically, movie theaters, with many tentpoles either being pushed to streamers or rumored to be. That was never the case for F9, with Diesel being a vocal proponent of the theater experience, as demonstrated by his recent PSA that earned the honor of a Saturday Night Live spoof. (“Movies!”)

“We got here, we’ve proven our resilience, all of us, collectively, and we’re going to return to that past time that we love,” Diesel says. “The theatrical experience is critical. It’s one of the few places where we congregate and cheer and gasp and laugh together – and there’s a magic to that. I think it’s something that society needs, and I’m happy to be a part of the theatrical salvation.”

Like Diesel, Cena believes F9 “symbolizes what going to the movies is all about.” He says, “I couldn’t think of a better vehicle, absolute pun intended, to get people to come together.” 

After the extended wait for F9, like always, it’s full speed ahead for Diesel, who’s already prepping for a January start on Fast 10, the first of two films from Lin that will complete the main series.

Diesel says 10 is always what he and Walker talked about ending on. “It’s bittersweet,” admits Diesel, “but every book needs its last chapter.”

Motion and still photography by Mark Leibowitz for EW.

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‘Betrayal’ Author Calls Trump ‘Essentially Anti-Democratic Candidate’

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  • ABC News Chief Washington Correspondent Jonathan Karl is already thinking about a possible Trump 2024 run.
  • The author of “Betrayal” told outlets that reporting on a second Trump campaign would be challenging.
  • “You’re covering someone who is running in a system, that is trying to undermine that very system,” he said.

Journalists gearing up for the 2024 presidential election are already starting to prepare for the possibility of a second Trump campaign — a prospect that could pose the “greatest challenge ever facing campaign reporters,” according to ABC News’s chief Washington correspondent and author Jonathan Karl. 

The longtime reporter and author of “Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show” offered his thoughts on the hypothetical in a series of media interviews earlier this month while promoting his new book, which details the final year of Donald Trump’s tumultuous presidency.

In a lengthy interview with Deadline and in an on-air appearance with CNN’s Brian Stelter, Karl discussed the challenges of reporting responsibly on Trump, whom he called “essentially an anti-democratic candidate.” 

“How do you cover a candidate who is running both against whoever the Democratic candidate is but also running against the very democratic system that makes all of this possible?” Karl posited during the Deadline interview.

The media struggled to cover Trump — a never-before-seen kind of American executive — during both his candidacy and presidency. Meanwhile, Trump himself stoked outrage toward and skepticism of journalists and news outlets in order to discredit negative stories about himself.

Throughout his time in office, Trump averaged multiple lies per day, ramping up his rhetoric and misinformation, particularly surrounding the 2020 election, until it culminated in the deadly January 6 Capitol attack. 

But Trump’s continued obsession with “the Big Lie” and his numerous attempts to overturn the 2020 election have journalists and experts alike worriedly wondering what a Trump 2024 campaign might look like.

“I think it’s tremendously challenging, because…he is just saying things that are not true, that are designed to misinform, that are designed to erode credibility and belief in our electoral system,” Karl told Deadline. “And it’s actually dangerous.”

“So how do you cover a debate? How do you cover a speech? How do you sit down for a long live interview with him as a candidate?” he added.

Karl, who served as Chief White House Correspondent for ABC News from December 2012 through the end of Trump’s administration, made similar comments during his CNN appearance earlier this week.

“You’re covering someone who is running in a system, that is trying to undermine that very system,” he told CNN’s Stelter. “Somebody who is going to be perpetually lying.”

“He is consumed and obsessed with 2020 and trying to convince the world that that election was somehow corrupt, that it was filled with fraud, that he actually won it,” he continued. “As journalists, we can’t be a conduit for that lie.”

Trump made headlines over the weekend when he once again hinted at a possible 2024 run.

“I think if I run, I’ll get it,” he said on a Fox Business appearance. “Look, I have a 94, 95%, even in the CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference), I had a 98% approval rating. So if I decide to run, I’ll get it very easily.”

“Most people have said if I run, they won’t run against me so I think that’s good,” he added.

But Karl has his doubts about whether the onetime president will really make another run for the top seat.

“I think he wants to make us believe he’s running because it keeps him relevant, keeps him generating attention for himself,” Karl told CNN. “But I’m not sure he really wants to do it again.”

“For all his delusions about 2020, the last thing he really wants to do is lose again,” he added.

A spokesperson for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Covid: two schools tested as health officials battle to contain Omicron variant | Coronavirus

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At schools, a church and a branch of KFC, public health officials have been scrambling to track people infected by Omicron, in a stiff new test of the UK’s widely criticised £37bn test-and-trace programme.

On Monday, new cases of the Covid “variant of concern” emerged in two London locations, bringing the running UK total to 11, and testing was launched at a school in West Bridgford in Nottinghamshire and at Larchwood primary school in Brentwood, where one class was sent home. Customers, staff and delivery drivers at the KFC in the Essex town’s high street last Friday afternoon were also urged to get tests, as were the congregation of the nearby Trinity church.

The Essex case is linked to one in Nottingham and travel in southern Africa. Two separate cases were announced in Camden and Wandsworth in London, both with links to travel to South Africa, after a case was detected in Westminster, and four further cases have been found in Lanarkshire and two more in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde areas of Scotland. None of the Scottish cases have any travel history, said Scotland’s deputy first minister, John Swinney, suggesting community transmission is under way.

The push to track the spread of the virus is casting renewed focus on the test-and-trace scheme, which Boris Johnson promised would be “world-beating”.

Only half of the UK’s main laboratories used for community testing are currently capable of detecting the Omicron variant with a test that shows whether a key “S” gene is missing, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said. The Essex director of public health, Dr Michael Gogarty, said on Monday that it took seven days to receive confirmation of its case after the person noticed symptoms and was tested on 20 November. They are said to be unwell, but not seriously.

Illustrating how long the new variant has been in the UK, Gogarty said the Essex case caught it from another person, who in turn caught it from someone who arrived from southern Africa about two weeks ago. One factor making detection harder is that only a minority of people with Covid symptoms typically request a test – just 18%, according to a study by academics at King’s College London earlier this year.

Dr Jenny Harries, the chief executive of UKHSA, said on Monday it was “critical that anyone with Covid-19 symptoms isolates and gets a PCR test immediately”. It said it should take between 24 and 48 hours to get a PCR result and an additional 24 hours to determine whether it is likely they have Omicron. A final confirmation could take another two days, bringing the whole process to up to five days.

Official data shows turnaround times for PCR tests have been getting worse in England. Only 68% of in-person test results were received within 24 hours in the latest week, down from 77% the previous week.

UKHSA, which is overseeing testing and tracing Omicron cases, said all “close contacts of suspected and confirmed Omicron cases will have samples priority-tested for S-gene target failure and will also have whole-genome sequencing”. Suspected cases of the new variant will be routed to laboratories that could run the genetic tests, and it is “rapidly developing and rolling out a genotyping assay to give an early indication of a probable variant case” to labs that don’t yet have the capacity.

Total UK PCR testing capacity has fallen from 900,000 a day in mid-October to just over 700,000 a day last week. It follows the suspension of testing at a lab run by Immensa after it emerged that 43,000 people may have been given incorrect negative PCR tests. However, before Omicron arrived, the system had capacity to process about 250,000 more tests a day than were needed.

Asked about the preparedness of the test-and-trace system, one director of public health in the north of England said that while Omicron’s transmissibility in a highly vaccinated population remained unclear, “we are in pretty good shape”.

From 4am on Tuesday passengers arriving in the UK will be required to take a PCR test by the end of their second day from entry and isolate until they receive a negative test. UKHSA said it was trying to find out how many private travel testing laboratories, relied upon to check all international arrivals, would be able to test for Omicron.

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Shannon Beador on ‘RHOC’ Cast Shakeups: Kelly Dodd, Tamra Judge

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Housewives shakeup! The cast of Real Housewives of Orange County will look a little different in season 16 — and Shannon Beador is on board with the changes. Well, most of them.

The RHOC star exclusively told Us Weekly that she was “very surprised” by the decision to let Kelly Dodd, Elizabeth Lyn Vargas and Braunwyn Windham-Burke go from the show — but she wasn’t all that upset by it either.

“Let’s just say I agreed with some of [the choices] and I didn’t with others,” the Real to Real founder said. “With one, I didn’t necessarily agree with — but it’s all good. I’m actually very happy with the cast that we have right now.”

Following the season 15 reunion in January, Andy Cohen teased that the first show to kick off the hit Bravo franchise could use a “reboot.” The Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen host later clarified his comments, telling E! News In March, “I think that show’s really important to a lot of people and it’s the mothership of all the Housewives, and so we just want to take our sweet time.”

Shannon Beador on Surprising RHOC Cast Shakeup
Tommy Garcia/Bravo

However, when the trailer for season 16 dropped in November, Kelly, 46, Elizabeth, 46, and Braunwyn, 44, were nowhere to be found. Meanwhile, Heather Dubrow had returned after previously leaving the series in 2017.

Shannon told Us that she “felt bad” for Kelly after hearing she would not be returning to the show. “But she’s doing well right now,” the reality star continued. “She’s moving on and doing well.”

While she stays in touch with Elizabeth — “We’ll text sometimes,” Shannon told Us — she has no plans to make nice with some of her other former costars including Tamra Judge, who left RHOC in 2020.

“I don’t think I would enjoy it,” Shannon told Us when asked whether she’d like to see her former friend, 54, rejoin the reality series. “I feel like I’m in a happy place right now and I think you’ll see that this season.”

Shannon Beador on Surprising RHOC Cast Shakeup

Shannon Beador and Tamra Judge.
MediaPunch/Shutterstock

She added, “I mean, we had fun together so I would suppose I’d say I’d miss that part of [her being on the show], but with the way things are now. There are a lot of untruths being said continually — like years now.”

Shannon is “still choosing not to engage and address” her feud with Tamra, which escalated after Shannon became close with Kelly. “We were friends and sadly we’re not anymore,” she told Us.

While Shannon might not be interested in seeing the real estate agent back on the show, Heather, 52, exclusively revealed to Us that it almost happened in season 16.

“I actually invited Tamra to a party this season and, unfortunately, it didn’t work out,” Heather said. “But I think that this season is … transitional and it’s interesting. It ends in a very surprising way and I honestly don’t know where it’s going to go from here. … So I’m going to leave that up to the producers.”

The Real Housewives of Orange County season 16 premieres on Bravo Wednesday, December 1, at 9 p.m. ET.

Reporting by Christina Garibaldi

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