Mykelti Williamson won't step foot in the restaurants named after his most famous character ... because he's got issues with corporate giant Viacom.
Of course Mykelti played Bubba in "Forrest Gump" -- which inspired the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. chain of restaurants, so we brought it up with him at LAX on Tuesday ... only to discover he's NEVER eaten there.
MW first told us how he celebrated the recent 20th anniversary of 'Gump' -- but quickly launched into a rant about the movie studio's parent company and its ties to the restaurants, and big oil ... of which he's not a fan.
Only problem is he's mistakenly referring to Gulf Western Oil, which has nothing to do with Viacom. A company called Gulf + Western DID merge with Paramount (and eventually Viacom) ... but is NOT an oil company.
Glad we could clear that up. Now make a reservation, Mykelti.
Don't Ask Hercules How Much He Benches!
That's Sooo High School
7/23/2014 12:10 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
When ya see a guy the size of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson … one obvious question pops in your head, but whatever you do -- do NOT ask it out loud … as our camera guy learned.
The Rock -- so damn huge he's playing "Hercules" -- was in NYC Tuesday when our pap fell into gym meathead mode and asked, "How much are you benching?"
You gotta see Rock's initial reaction to the question (which he must hear 100 times/day) -- but he does eventually hit the photog with the perfect answer … for the smartass question.
Our guy shoulda learned from Alex Pettyfer -- who made the same screwup on Muscle Beach last weekend.
Robin Thicke & Paula Patton
House Up for Sale
Can You Say, Final Nail?
7/22/2014 3:30 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
If Robin Thicke's begging ever works, and he actually gets back together with Paula Patton -- they'll be living somewhere new -- their Bel Air home is officially on the market.
TMZ has confirmed the 3,158 square foot home was listed Monday with an asking price of $2,985,000.
It was originally purchased by Robin's dad, Alan Thicke back in 1990 for a paltry $910,000 -- though we're told Robin's name is now on the deed.
We're told neither Paula or Robin has officially moved out of the 2-story crib -- with awesome views over Sunset Blvd -- though we know they haven't slept under the same roof since separating in February.
The pad includes a recording studio where Robin may have worked on songs like "Blurred Lines," "Lost Without You," and "Get Her Back" -- which he obviously hasn't.
The question: If you're a newlywed couple looking for a house -- would you dare?
Thanks for Finding My Wallet ...
Guy Who's Never Heard of Me
7/22/2014 3:35 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Mark Ruffalo has one less reason to Hulk out -- "The Avengers" star lost his wallet in Chicago, but it was returned by a total stranger ... who had no idea he was dealing with a big time celeb.
Ross McHale tells TMZ he found the wallet in a cab last Friday ... and saw Ruffalo's name on an ID, but didn't recognize the name so he Googled it.
McHale's clearly not fan of the Hulk, "Zodiac," or "54" ... because he says Mark's creds still didn't ring any bells. But he did get enough info to reach out on Twitter, where Mark eventually responded ... "Thank you! Wow! Another point for the decency in people."
Ruffalo didn't offer a reward, but Ross is hoping for a pay-it-forward kinda deal. He tells us ... "If [Mark] ever finds my wallet I expect him to return the favor."
I'm Sober Now
And Brad Pitt Is Helping Me
7/22/2014 10:30 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Shia LaBeouf has a dangerous addiction to the bottle ... and Brad Pitt may be the cure.
The two are set to co-star in the upcoming World War II blockbuster "Fury" and Shia could use all the help he can get to handle the stress from his first worldwide media blitz since "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" in 2011.
We're told he's taking his outpatient alcohol treatment program seriously. But there's something more ... the thought of embarrassing Brad is especially sobering for him.
His recent run of drunken debauchery is well-documented ... picking a fight outside a strip club, banned from an L.A. restaurant for pissing on it, and booted from a Broadway show.
The movie is a good change of pace ... getting tanked in a good way. It does seem ... Shia is serious about diving back into the acting game.
Richard Pryor Jr.
Fires off Legal Threat ...
I'll Sue if Stepmom Goes Forward with Biopic
7/22/2014 12:30 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Richard Pyror was dying and mentally incapacitated when his wife duped him into signing over the rights to his name ... so claims Pryor's son, who's trying to shut down a movie about his dad.
Richard Pryor Jr. has fired off a cease and desist letter to Jennifer Lee Pryor, demanding she stop production of the Lee Daniels directed biopic immediately.
TMZ obtained a copy of the letter in which Richard Jr. accuses Jennifer of using "illegal, fraudulent" activity to get the rights. The document isn't more specific about the alleged fraud.
Richard Jr.'s lawyer tells us her client believes Pryor was in poor mental and physical health when he signed over the rights in 2005. Pryor died in December of that year.
Jennifer has been battling Pryor's children over the film -- including who should play Pryor.
Richard Jr. is threatening legal action if the movie goes forward. We reached out to Jennifer for comment ... so far no word back.
Disney Star Bella Thorne
Scare The Crap Outta Me
For 3 Grand A Week
7/22/2014 12:20 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Disney star Bella Thorne stands to make a small fortune from her new horror flick, "Amityville" ... but there's one perk even Bella couldn't get from producers -- fresh underwear.
The 16-year-old "Shake It Up" star is shooting the latest reincarnation of "The Amityville Horror" ... and according to her contract -- obtained by TMZ -- she's raking in $3,276 a week.
The contract obviously says producers will provide all costumes for the flick, with one exception -- undergarments ... an essential in a horror film.
But here's the real poop ... Bella gets a series of $25K bonuses if the movie does well -- up to $150K if it passes the $100M mark.
And if there's a sequel -- with 12 Amityville flicks, the odds are good -- she'll collect an additional $125K ... and bonuses of up to $300K.
That's underwear money to burn.
Ready to Show Hillbilly Mema
A Goooood Time!
7/22/2014 12:02 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Love is in the air, or maybe that's just the backwoods -- but Herbert “Cowboy” Coward from “Hillbilly Blood” is about to hook up with Mema from "Hollywood Hillbillies."
And Mema's got a real charmer on her hands. You can tell from HC's famous scene in the movie “Deliverance.” Yes ... THAT scene!
Dead at 86
7/19/2014 11:23 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Legendary actor James Garner -- star of "The Rockford Files" and "The Notebook" -- has died ... TMZ has learned.
Law enforcement sources tell us an ambulance was dispatched to the actor's home in Los Angeles around 8PM Saturday evening ... and he was found dead when they arrived on scene.
James died of natural causes.
Garner was one of the first actors to amass success in both television and film ... and he starred in a long list of classic films -- as well as a co-starring role in the '94 big screen version of "Maverick" starring Mel Gibson. Garner was the original Bret Maverick from 1957-1960 ... as well as the same character in a short lived '80s remake.
Garner, who was 86 years old, also played the older version of Ryan Gosling's character in "The Notebook."
'The Purge: Anarchy' Actor
I Got Robbed
They Never Said I'd Be on Billboards
7/20/2014 12:55 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
"The Purge: Anarchy" actor featured on billboards across the country says producers hoodwinked him ... because no one said he'd be the face of their ad campaign -- and now he wants to be paid.
Emmanuel Howell says he worked 5 days on the shoot as an extra and made less than a grand. He expected to only be in the background of shots ... but months later, he started seeing his mug pop up on billboards.
Howell tells us he reached out to production asking for more dough -- but they said to kick rocks ... because he should be happy for the honor. Instead, they offered him free digital movie posters.
Howell says he contacted multiple lawyers because it felt like a slap in the face ... but so far, they've all said he doesn't have a case.
The billboard star explained his entire situation to our photog ... and you can't help but feel bad.
Welcome to Hollywood!
'The Patriot' Star
Skye McCole Bartusiak
Dead at 21
7/19/2014 5:39 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
1:00 PM PST: Skye reportedly had been suffering from seizures and on Saturday morning her boyfriend came home and found her sitting up in bed in her parents converted garage. The family believes she had a seizure and choked to death.
Skye McCole Bartusiak -- who played Mel Gibson's daughter in the 2000 hit movie, "The Patriot" -- is dead.
We do not know the cause of death. We're told Skye died at her home in Texas Saturday.
Skye was only 7 when she starred opposite Mel in the historical war film.
Skye starred in only one other movie in recent years -- "Sick Boy." Other than that she had roles in various short films.
Sources say Skye struggled after doing "The Patriot" ... trying to establish a foot print in Hollywood, but it was largely a frustrating and unsuccessful experience.
We’re told police found her dead in the garage apartment behind her home around 9AM Saturday. Right now, no foul play is suspected and it’s being treated as a natural causes death -- pending autopsy results.
Law enforcement sources tells us ... there are no "obvious signs" she took her own life ... however, our sources say toxicology reports could change their operating theory.
Heated Argument with Bodybuilders
At Venice Beach
7/19/2014 8:00 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Alex Pettyfer pissed off a group of jacked up dudes working out at Muscle Beach in Venice ... and we got video of their heated exchange.
Pettyfer was passing the famous weight lifting hangout when he asked the guys working out how much they lift. For some reason, a few of the lifters took offense ... and both sides started arguing.
In the video, one of the lifters accuses Alex of talking "s**t" ... which the "Magic Mike" star adamantly denies.
The musclehead who mainly argued with Alex tell us ... it started when the actor asked him how much he lifted. The dude lashed back, "How much do you make?" For some reason that triggered the argument.
Eventually Alex left after the two sides worked things out.
Shortly after the incident, the lifters told our photog it was just a misunderstanding ... and they've got nothing but love for Pettyfer.
Whitney Houston Biopic
New Version of 'Bodyguard' Classic
It's ... A. Amazing B. Sucky
7/19/2014 1:00 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
The highlight of the upcoming Whitney Houston biopic is obviously her singing "I Will Always Love You," and TMZ got hold of the re-created new version of the song and it's, well ... different.
Whitney's family is at war with Lifetime, trying to block the movie because they don't think it properly honors her. Obviously the family has blocked the network's ability to use authentic Whitney tracks.
So they hired a chick named Deborah Cox to voice Whitney's hits, and we got audio from the set, recorded this week, where Deborah belts out "The Bodyguard" hit.
There's a huge division in our newsroom. Some people think Deborah -- who's famous for "Nobody's Supposed to Be Here" -- has a voice that's indistinguishable from Whitney's. Others say it's a travesty to pretend Deborah and Whitney are in the same league.
So, we gotta ask ...