The Great Interview Magazine Caper

Andy Warhol’s magazine is dead. No wait, it’s back! Inside Peter Brant’s latest magic trick.
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Colbert Mocks Giuliani’s Bonkers Fox News Interview: ‘Rudy, You’re Not Helping!’

Today’s “Stormy Watch” finds Hurricane Rudy “making landfall on Fox News.”
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Twitter Loses It Over Rudy Giuliani’s Bonkers Fox News Interview About Trump

“Rudy Giuliani never got his hush money.”
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11 things we learned from Kim Kardashian’s Ellen interview

Tristan’s cheating, no phone rules and Kanye playing Connect 4 during the birth of Chicago.
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Kanye West Says Slavery Was a ‘Choice’ in Bizarre TMZ Live Interview

Kanye West took a break from tweeting to stop by TMZ’s Los Angeles, Calif. newsroom and share his opinion that slavery was a “choice.” During a conversation on “TMZ Live” with Harvey Levin and Charles Latibeaudiere, West said, “When you hear about slavery for 400 years. For 400 years?! That sounds like a choice. You was […]

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Macaulay Culkin Tells Ellen Why He Won’t Watch ‘Home Alone’ In Rare Interview

Don’t even think about asking him to do “the face.”
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Chris Pratt Says ‘Divorce Sucks’ In First Interview About Anna Faris Split

The actor assured fans that he and Faris are “probably doing better.”
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Jim Carrey Stuns Jeff Daniels By Crashing His Interview On ‘Conan’

It was a magical “Dumb and Dumber” reunion.
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The Controversy Behind the Lost O.J. Simpson Interview That’s Getting Another Look

O.J. Simpson, 1995No matter how many other decades-old murders there are to mine for entertainment (albeit of the serious, ideally teaching-society-a-lesson-about-itself variety), nothing will ever entertain quite…

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Michelle Obama Gets Real While Comparing Buckingham Palace to The White House in Hilarious Interview

Michelle Obama Michelle Obama is spilling all the tea when it comes to the White House and Buckingham Palace.
In a hilarious interview while speaking at Klick Health’s MUSE event in New York on…

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Rolling Stones’ Ronnie Wood: The full interview

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I know who killed JFK: Quincy’s outspoken interview

Music mogul and rock n’ roll legend Quincy Jones has made a series of outspoken remarks about some of the industry’s biggest names.
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Quentin Tarantino interview about Roman Polanksi ‘rape’ resurfaces

Audio emerges of Quentin Tarantino arguing that Roman Polanksi didn’t rape a 13-year-old girl.
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Will Ferrell Channels Ron Burgundy to Crash Interview With Roger Federer

Will Ferrell, John McEnroe, Roger Federer Roger Federer has had his fair share of harrowing experiences on the tennis court, but last night’s awkward and hilarious court-side chat with Will Ferrell at the Australian Open was…

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Interview: No Longer Writing, Philip Roth Still Has Plenty to Say

In an exclusive interview, the (former) novelist shares his thoughts on Trump, #MeToo and retirement.
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Sigrid interview: ‘Making pop is like a treasure hunt’

Norwegian pop sensation Sigrid started singing in a circus and ended up winning the BBC’s Sound of 2018.
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Colbert Delivers Hardest Hitting Fake Interview With President Trump

Fake, but it feels real tbh.
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Bella Hadid Gave The Most Awkward Interview And Twitter Noticed

YIKES.
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Stephen Colbert Shares ‘Exclusive Look’ At Steve Bannon’s ’60 Minutes’ Interview

(Spoof) spoiler alert.
Comedy
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Proud Big Sis Tracee Ellis Ross Crashes Her Brother Evan Ross’ E! News Interview and Gushes Over His ”Many Talents”

Tracee Ellis Ross, Evan Ross, Ashlee Simpson Here’s something you may not know: Evan Ross is a talented artist!
Yes, not only is Diana Ross’ son an actor as well as a musician, he’s also skilled at drawing and painting….

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Angelina Jolie One-Ups Brad Pitt With Emotional Interview About Split

“I think it’s very important to cry in the shower and not in front of [my children].”
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Colbert’s Fake Kellyanne Conway Interview Is Just As Productive As A Real One

“No information that was meaningful and helpful was gained from this.”
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This 1997 Interview with Amazon’s Jeff Bezos Shows Off His Astounding Vision

He was tracking you before anyone else was tracking you.

Lifestyle – Esquire

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The Daily Show Calls Bullsh*t on Megyn Kelly’s Putin Interview

You can’t ignore her Fox News roots.

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Report: Jeter furious over joint A-Rod interview (Yahoo Sports)

Report: Derek Jeter

There was definitely tension in the air as the two former Yankees teammates shared an awkward appearance on CNBC together.



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Erika Jayne & Charo Reveal Their Plans For Dancing With the Stars Domination in This Must-Watch Joint Interview

Erika Jayne, Charo, Dancing With the StarsGet ready to learn the cuchi-cuchi and how to pat the puss, Dancing With the Stars fans!
When Erika Jayne and Charo hit the ballroom floor for the start of season 24’s competition,…

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‘Spinal Tap’ Spoof Of Donald Trump’s ABC Interview Turns It Up To 11

Donald Trump’s first television interview as president has received a glorious “This Is Spinal Tap” makeover.

BuzzFeed editor Jesse McLaren dubbed audio from the 1984 comedy’s iconic “up to 11” scene over Wednesday’s footage of Trump discussing the size of the crowds at his inauguration with ABC News anchor David Muir.

The resulting clip, which McLaren posted to Twitter on Thursday, is hilarious:

McLaren said the inspiration for the parody came from filmmaker BenDavid Grabinski, who posted a joke on the same theme to Twitter.

Watch the clip above, and see the original scene from Rob Reiner’s movie below:

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TV Ratings: Donald Trump Interview Lifts ‘Hannity’

An interview with President Donald Trump delivered a sizeable ratings bump for Fox News’ “Hannity” Thursday night. Trump’s sit down with host Sean Hannity drew 4.8 million total viewers and 1.2 million in the 25-54 demographic — the core demo for television news — according to Nielsen live-plus-same day numbers. In total viewers and the… Read more »

Variety

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Nicole Kidman Clarifies Her Controversial ‘Support’ For Donald Trump In New Interview

Nicole Kidman is clarifying her controversial comments encouraging all Americans to accept President-elect Donald Trump in a new interview. 

The “Lion” actress came under fire this week for declaring that it’s time to support the reality-TV-host-turned-politician now that he’s been elected because “that’s what the country’s based on.”

Many considered Kidman’s statements to be dismissive of the potential problems of a Trump presidency, especially in light of her “Hours” co-star Meryl Streep’s Golden Globes appeal to “safeguard the truth” during this political moment.

“I was trying to stress that I believe in democracy and the American Constitution, and it was that simple,” she told Access Hollywood on Saturday. 

When asked to comment further on the backlash, the Oscar-actress refused to elaborate on her stance. “I’m out of it now,” she added. “That’s what I said and it’s that simple.”

Speaking with the BBC in her initial interview, Kidman explained that she was “reticent to start commenting politically” and prefers to keep her opinions about U.S. and Australian politics to herself. Kidman, who was born in Hawaii, is a dual citizen of both countries. 

However, the actress maintained that her passion for advocating for women’s rights like the fight against ovarian and breast cancer remains resolute. 

“I’m issue-based,” she said. “I’m very, very committed to women’s issues.”

Kidman is currently starring in “Lion,” which is in theaters now. 

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

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Vin Diesel Can’t Stop Hitting On Brazilian Journalist During Cringeworthy Interview

During a recent press junket at the Comic Con Experience 2016 in Brazil, Vin Diesel gave what might be 2016’s most cringeworthy interview. 

The actor sat down with Brazilian journalist Carol Moreira to promote his upcoming film “xXx: Return of Xander Cage.” However, the only thing he seemed to want to talk about was Moreira’s appearance, making her feel extremely uncomfortable. 

Moreira uploaded the interview to YouTube Wednesday, adding a short commentary to the clip in which she said she “did not like” what took place, according to Gossip Cop. Moreira explained that she was excited to meet with Diesel but didn’t know how to react to his advances, so she kept laughing. She also explained that she was upset he kept interrupting her. 

During the interview, Diesel was extremely distracted with Moreira’s looks, stopping the conversation on multiple occasions to comment on her appearance.

“God, you’re so beautiful,” he said (around the 4:49 mark in the video), before motioning to members of the crew off-camera. “My God, she’s so beautiful, man. Am I right or wrong? Look at her. How am I supposed to do this interview? Look at this woman. She’s so beautiful. Talk to me, baby!”

Moreira tried her best to get the interview back on track, laughing off the remarks though it was clear she was uncomfortable. 

When she tried to keep the conversation going, Diesel went on, totally oblivious to her discomfort: “Tell me your story! Let’s get outta here,” he said. “Let’s go, let’s go have lunch. My God, I love her. Look how beautiful she is. God, wow, man.” 

“You guys think this is a joke. How am I supposed to sit over here looking at such beauty?” Diesel asked the people off-camera again. “C’mon guys. She’s so beautiful. I’m in love. I’m in love with the interviewer.” 

According to a source who spoke to Gossip Cop, Diesel “tries to make everybody feel comfortable” in interviews, adding, “He doesn’t just sit there and give ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers. He’s lively. He’s more animated. It’s just how he does junket interviews.” 

Being lively in interviews is one thing, but hitting on an interviewer who’s just trying to do her job is another.

Diesel, though not married, is in a long-term relationship with Paloma Jimenez, the mother of his three kids, which makes the whole situation seem ickier, for lack of a better word. 

The Huffington Post has reached out to a representative for Diesel for comment and will update this post accordingly. 

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Robert Durst’s Lawyer Believes Interview About Meth Use Was Improperly Obtained

Robert Durst’s statement to Los Angeles prosecutors that he was high on methamphetamine during the filming of the HBO series The Jinx was improperly obtained, his lawyer tells PEOPLE exclusively.

Attorney Dick DeGuerin says prosecutors interviewed Durst without his lawyers present, and the interview should therefore be ruled inadmissible at his upcoming murder trial.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Durst allegedly agreed to speak with prosecutors after his arrest on March 14, 2015 for the murder of his longtime friend and former publicist, Susan Berman.

In the interview, Durst, 73, allegedly said he “had to be… swooped” and “speeding” during some of the more than 20 hours of interview he gave during the filming of The Jinx.

“I was on meth, I was on meth the whole time,” he said, according to a transcript obtained by The Times. “And, when I looked at the little pieces of it, I was going like this and like that. And it was — and it should have been obvious.”

While he refused to address the specific contents of the Los Angeles Times piece, DeGuerin told PEOPLE he suspects the entire interview will be “tossed out” by the judge when Durst’s murder trial begins. (DeGuerin successfully defended Durst in 2003 while he was on trial for allegedly killing and dismembering his Texas neighbor, Morris Black.)

“This interview was given at a time when they should have contacted his lawyers, especially since they know full well who his lawyers are,” DeGuerin says, adding he has already started drafting a motion to suppress the substance of Durst’s interview.

“I am concerned by the prosecution’s actions,” DeGuerin adds. “Even though they have criticized us for talking to the press, they put this interview out there. I feel this is an effort by the prosecution to influence the jury pool.”

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office responded in a statement to PEOPLE that read, “This motion is being litigated in a public forum and involves information that is relevant, material and necessary to refute the false allegations and mischaracterizations made by the defense in their opposition.”

• Pick up PEOPLE’s special edition True Crime Stories: Cases That Shocked America, on sale now, for the latest on Casey Anthony, JonBenét Ramsey and more.

According to the Los Angeles Times article, Durst allegedly spoke with prosecutors for nearly three hours. He even allegedly answered questions about why he didn’t flee the country after learning he was wanted in Berman’s killing.

Durst told the prosecution “inertia” kept him from going on the run.

“I just didn’t really, really, really think that I was gonna end up arrested,” he told them, before saying, “I was the worst fugitive the world has ever met.”

Durst was charged with Berman’s murder in March 2015. His apprehension in New Orleans preceded the airing of the damning final episode of The Jinx, which focused on the 1982 disappearance of Durst’s first wife, Kathleen Durst, while examining Berman’s execution-style killing.

• Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.

In the HBO finale, he is heard muttering to himself in a bathroom, “There it is. You’re caught! What the hell did you do? Killed them all, of course.” He was allegedly unaware the filmmaker’s microphones were still recording at the time.

Durst was extradited to Los Angeles in early November, where his impending murder trial will begin in 2017, according to DeGuerin.

He is the only suspect to face charges for Berman’s execution-style shooting death. Her body was discovered inside her home in Beverly Hills, California, in 2000.

Durst pleaded not guilty to her killing in November.

DeGuerin tells PEOPLE Durst has a pre-trial hearing set for Wednesday in Los Angeles, and says a preliminary examination of the evidence in the case must happen no sooner than Feb. 15.


PEOPLE.com

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The Interview Coach: Teach Yourself

The Interview Coach: Teach Yourself


Interviewing made easy with a step-by-step program If you need to go on an interview for a job, this book will help you achieve successful results. With a combination of practical tried-and-tested advice, and unique interactive exercises, The Interview Coach has everything you need to know to highlight your strengths and show why you should be hired-immediately! Other books only tell you what to do, butThe Interview Coach accompanies you every step of the way with an engaging and interactive Workbook Method. By the end of this book you will be fully prepared to give an outstanding interview: Identify your strengths and weaknessesUnderstand what interviewers are looking forPractice your answers to typical questionsBuild your confidence to tackle any situationGet the job you want

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Woody Allen Is Creepy AF About His Marriage To Soon-Yi In New Interview

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter published on Wednesday, Woody Allen has yet again waxed paternal about his marriage to wife (and former sort-of-adopted-daughter) Soon-Yi Previn. Spoiler alert: the entire interview is all kinds of creepy and condescending. 

A bit of background: In 1992, Allen’s relationship with actress and activist Mia Farrow crumbled under the revelation that he had had an affair with her 21-year-old adopted daughter Soon-Yi Previn. Previn and Allen were married in 1997. More recently, in February of 2014, his adoptive daughter Dylan Farrow published a letter accusing Allen of sexually assaulting her when she was a child. The original accusations of this abuse in 1993 were “part of a sensational story about the celebrity split between Allen and his girlfriend, Mia Farrow,” according to letter’s introduction by Nicholas Kristof. 

Allen continued to make movies throughout both scandals, and his career and reputation have remained largely unscathed. In his most recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, in anticipation of the premiere of his new film, “Cafe Society,” Allen was asked about how his wife has changed him. Perhaps unsurprisingly, he was quick to outline the ways in which he has changed her: 

Oh, well, one of the great experiences of my life has been my wife. She had a very, very difficult upbringing in Korea: She was an orphan on the streets, living out of trash cans and starving as a 6-year-old. And she was picked up and put in an orphanage. And so I’ve been able to really make her life better. I provided her with enormous opportunities, and she has sparked to them. She’s educated herself and has tons of friends and children and got a college degree and went to graduate school, and she has traveled all over with me now. She’s very sophisticated and has been to all the great capitals of Europe. She has just become a different person. So the contributions I’ve made to her life have given me more pleasure than all my films. 

Ignoring the fact that it was actually Mia Farrow who had adopted Soon-Yi with her then-husband André Previn — Allen did not heroically rescue her from Seoul’s trash cans as he implies — the interview serves as a reminder of the eerie role that Allen has played in the lives of his female family members. 

The Hollywood Reporter’s Stephen Galloway asked Allen twice more how Previn had changed him, before Allen finally answered: “Changed me? I don’t know if you could say she changed me… I might be the same person I was when I was 20.”

Read the whole interview here

H/T Jezebel

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Khloe Kardashian Dishes on Lamar Odom, Sex, James Harden & More in Revealing Interview: Watch!

Lamar Odom, Khloe Kardashian, James HardenKhloe Kardashian continues to open up about her personal life.
The 31-year-old is currently on a promotional tour for her new FYI show Kocktails With Khloe, so she’s doing a lot of…

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Read This And Die!: An Interview With R.L. Stine

In a two-story house in suburban Ohio, something was lurking.

Was it a strange presence in the attic, whipping around corners and rattling the floorboards, that lent the house an air of eeriness? Or was it a shadowy figure sitting stone-still in a dark basement, patiently awaiting the next underground visitor?

More likely, neither of these mystical beings were present in the childhood home of horror writer R.L. Stine. It was the absence, rather than the presence, of such scary creatures that allowed him to dream them up over the course of his storied career.

And what a storied career. Stine has written hundreds and sold millions of books over the past few decades, most of them belonging to his beloved Goosebumps and Fear Street series, made popular by TV and movie adaptations. He’s still writing Fear Street books and scary adult stories — in his most recent, The Lost Girl, a yearbook from decades earlier clues a clan of kids into a classmate’s spooky identity. 

Stine’s life as a writer of the weird and wicked will be celebrated in a kid’s movie starring Jack Black, highlighting the nostalgic monsters from Goosebumps books.

“He’s a good R.L. Stine. He’s a lot more sinister than I am, Jack. He’s a lot more evil,” Stine said in an interview with The Huffington Post.

He’s right: Stine might’ve shown up to meet me wearing all black, but nothing else about his appearance alluded a witchy interior life. The creator of stories that haunted so many ’90s kids’ childhoods was mostly kind, if matter-of-fact. “Kids are always disappointed when I visit schools and come out,” he said. “They expect me to be evil or maybe wear a black cape or have fangs or something, and then this old guy walks out and they say, ‘Oh, no.’”

For our full interview with R.L. Stine, listen to the audio clip.

Though capeless, Stine offered me anecdotes from his childhood, and insights into the decidedly practical writing process that would lead to such whimsical tales of horror and intrigue as Night of the Living Dummies and Say Cheese and Die. In the latter book — a philosophical story as far as Goosebumps goes — a mythical camera has the power to cast its subjects forever into the afterlife, or at least give those who pose for it minor injuries. Like many of Stine’s books, there are cultural references embedded within it. In fact, Stine got the idea for the book from a similar episode of “The Twilight Zone” called “A Most Unusual Camera.”

“A lot of the Goosebumps titles are from these ’50s horror movies my brother and I saw every week,” Stine said. “‘It Came from Beneath the Sea’ became a Goosebumps book called It Came from Beneath the Sink. That kind of thing.”

Aside from the horror movies he saw on Sundays with his brother — which, it’s worth noting, Stine found more funny than scary — his childhood was typical. Beyond being bullied as a kid, there wasn’t much for him to be afraid of, at least within the walls of his own home, where Stine would stake out for hours, typing feverishly on his aunt’s typewriter.

“I was like nine years old, and I’d be in my room, typing, typing up joke magazines and funny little comics,” Stine said. “I never planned to be scary, I always just wanted to be funny. And I’d be typing up these funny stories, but I don’t know why. And my mother would be outside my door, and she’d say, ‘What’s wrong with you? Go outside and play!’ And I’d say, ‘It’s boring out there!’ Someone asked me what’s the worst advice anyone ever gave you, and I had to say, it’s my mother saying, ‘Stop typing and go outside and play.’”

Stine had been writing humor magazines for decades, developing his voice while contributing to Ohio State University’s satirical paper The Sundial in the mid-’60s, before he fell slantwise into writing scary books. Under the pen name of “Jovial Bob,” he wrote 101 School Cafeteria Jokes, The Cool Kid’s Guide to Summer Camp, and, yes, 101 Silly Monster Jokes, and many others until he wrote his first horror story in 1986. Even with his Goosebumps and Fear Street series, Stine insists that it’s never his aim to write straightforwardly scary books; his stories are, in his opinion, a combination of humor and fear.

“It’s the same kind of guttural reaction,” Stine said, adding, “I’m kind of odd because scary stuff doesn’t scare me. Horror always makes me laugh. I’m always the one in the movie theatre and the shark comes up, and it chews the girl up — I’m always the one laughing. I don’t know why.”

Perhaps its his ability to view scary situations as an objective outsider rather than a participant. When Stine describes how he began writing Goosebumps books, or where he gets his ideas for his scariest scenes, he’s notably hard-nosed. He has no illusions about divine inspiration or the uniqueness of his ideas. Instead, it’s clear that Stine views writing as a job, and his celebrated series as his successful business.

“I was so pleased with myself,” Stine said about the day he conceived of his first horror series. “I had individual titles of teen horror, I was just starting out. The first one was called Blind Date. The next was called Twisted. And the publisher wanted one a year, and I thought, gee, one a year? There must be a way to do a series. And then we started thinking about location and that kind of thing, and I thought, if I can think of a good name for the series, I’ll be off to a good start.”

The name popped into his head, a punchy-sounding packaging: “Fear Street.” From those words, he came up with a concept: rather than a recurring cast of characters, which would be impractical for a genre that concerns itself with killing off protagonists, the events would all center on a cursed residential street — one that could exist in any suburban town.

“Of course, I always wonder why they don’t move to Happy Street,” Stine joked, adding that it was essential to him that the setting be Midwestern. Although he promptly moved to New York City after college, and still lives there with his wife and son Matthew, Stine won’t set a horror book there on principle.

“It’s a superstition,” Stine said. “I’ve never done it. A lot of kids don’t know New York. They know a nice suburban backyard, but they don’t know New York City. It’s kind of elite in some ways, I think. I think it would make the stories more obscure for kids.”

So, guided by his principles about relatable storytelling, Stine was sure to set each Goosebumps and Fear Street book in a nondescript, middle-class kitchen or basement. This virtue-driven approach echoes throughout his entire approach to writing: Stine praises the merits of a detailed outline, and of writing the titles and the endings to his scary stories first, “so I know how to fool the reader and keep them from getting to the end [before me].”

“I work backwards from most authors,” Stine said. “Most authors have an idea for a book, they write, they’re writing, later on they think of a title. I have to start with a title. It leads me to the story. Kids always ask — everyone asks — ‘Where do you get your ideas?’ I wanna say, ‘Where do you get your ideas?’ Because we all get ideas. Mine actually come from thinking of the title first. The first of the new Fear Street books — Party Games — I had that title, and I thought, it lead me to the story. There’s a party. Maybe it’s a birthday party. Maybe they’re playing some kind of games and the games get out of hand.”

Next, Stine painstakingly drafts a 15-20 page outline that includes plot and dialogue before he sets out to fill in the holes. The biggest point of deliberation that he dwells on is making sure the scares in his works are suitable for the age group he’s writing for.

“I’m very careful in Goosebumps,” Stine said. “I have to make the kids know that what’s happening in the book couldn’t really happen. That it’s just a fantasy. And then when I write a Fear Street book or an adult book, I have to make people think it could happen. It’s kind of the opposite.”

Still, he insists that most fears are universal, existing from when we’re young and gullible, through the travails of adulthood.

“I think we all have the same kind of fears. And it’s the one thing that doesn’t change. Fear of the dark, fear there’s something in the closet, fear there’s someone under your bed waiting to grab your ankle when you sit up,” Stine said. “People always say, ‘How’ve kids changed? Over all the time you’ve been writing these books, how have they changed?’ And I always say, well, the technology has changed but the fears don’t change.”

Stine, the master of crafting scary scenarios, counts himself exempt from these universal fears. When I asked him what he was scared of, he said, “Not a thing.”

Laughing, he added, “Normal adult things. All these years and I don’t have a good answer for that question. That’s terrible, isn’t it?”

 

Also on HuffPost:

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Causing Rukus With Buscabulla: An Interview With Puerto Rican Band Buscabulla

2015-10-06-1444167389-5274479-unnamed.jpg

I found Buscabulla’s music while studying abroad after searching for music from my island that I could show my English friends. Buscabulla — which is slang for “troublemaker”– is an experimental pop, Brooklyn-based band formed by Puerto Rican couple Raquel Berrios and Luis Alfredo Del Valle. Their sound is different from anything in the Latino indie scene, as it contains elements of funk, soul and electric music in it. Their lyrics are all in Spanish, paying homage to their roots, as both Raquel and Luis grew up in the island.

Besides standing out within Latin music for their sound, they also released a beautiful music video for Métele, which gives viewers a glimpse into the lives of trans women in the island. This is a side of Puerto Rican culture that not many have seen, yet is absolutely important.

I had the opportunity to chat with Raquel Berrios and learn about her musical influences, the story behind the band, and her involvement with Antonio Santini’s documentary Mala Mala.

This interview was translated from Spanish to English.

Your music style is very different from other genres that predominate the island’s musical culture, such as salsa and reggaeton. What inspired your interest in playing music that falls more into the category of electropop and soul?

I grew up in Puerto Rico and studied at UPR (Universidad de Puerto Rico) but left the island in 2005 to do my master’s degree in Rhode Island at RISD (Rhode Island School of Design) to study textiles. I grew up in a very musical household. My dad was a musician. He didn’t play in bands while I was growing up, but he played in a brass band when I was a child. He plays guitar, knows a lot about music and has an excellent record collection. My mother was also very into music. I’ve always had a nice mix of influences that are both Puerto Rican and Latin, while also some that are not. I think being exposed to music highly influenced my life, as I was a DJ at first and collected records. Many of those records were of Latin music, including salsa, because I thought those records were worth collecting.

I became fascinated with adding records to my collection that were Brazilian, Latin American, and Caribbean. Some weren’t in Spanish but were somehow connected to my Caribbean roots, such as Jamaican records. When I began experimenting with my own music, I decided to sing in Spanish. I thought it was a refreshing take on the music I wanted to make. I had seen other bands in Puerto Rico create music in Spanish and I thought that it would help me stand out, as many popular bands sing in English. From the beginning, I wanted to have a good combination of things that have influenced me at the moment, from old funk records to Drake, Beyoncé and salsa. I think my music has a varied mix of elements but singing in Spanish allowed me to combine my island roots with other types of music that aren’t typically played in Spanish.

Your lyrics in Métele are reminiscent to those used in reggaeton yet the context is different and it sort of seems like a feminist take on sexist lyrics. What message were you trying to create with that?

Before Luisfre and I joined together to create Buscabulla, my friends and I in New York had a band called N’Tetas (N’Tits). It was a punk/folk group and we wrote songs that were meant to poke fun at stuff. At that time, we were all single, so we would curse and sing about sex and drugs. We added themes from our lives and reality, but we also meant for the songs to be humorous takes on these aspects. Métele was a song that I wrote while I was in that group and met Luisfre. The song contains the lyrics “Métele bellaco” (which translates to “Give it to me hard” in a sexual context), which can be considered to be sexual, but can also mean to give it your all in your work and in life, so that’s the story behind the song.

How did you and Luis form Buscabulla?

During the time that I was in N’Tetas, we wanted to create our own rehearsal space because we wanted to play instruments in the band. When I went to buy the drum kit, I sort of knew Luis already and I asked him if he would help me pick a drum kit. Coincidentally, he had been a drummer in Puerto Rico before moving to New York. I bought one part of the drum kit and he already had the other part I needed. We asked him if he would like to be the drummer for N’Tetas and he became involved with our band. I started showing him my own work and experiments during its beginning stages, which then became more serious. Eventually, I told him I wanted to form Buscabulla and he helped me out with the recording of my music and development of my songs, until we officially formed the project.

The music video for the song is absolutely stunning and very important, as it presents the life of trans people and drag queens in the island. How did you end up exploring this theme in the music video?

My friend Antonio Santini, who is also Puerto Rican, graduated from NYU and was making a documentary with his friend, Dan Sickles, which is called “Mala Mala.” That documentary came out a year ago and premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. He told me about the documentary and he had us involved in the soundtrack. He wanted us to to have a song in the opening credits, so we used Métele. After our involvement in the soundtrack, he told me that he was going to film some additional footage in the island and asked me if I wanted to make a music video for the song. It was a nice exchange. Toñi set up excellent footage and we used the editor from the film, whom is excellent as well.

The way that Toñi (Antonio) filmed that documentary was incredible because he had to gain the trust of the people in the drag and trans community in Puerto Rico. When he started filming, a lot of people did not want to be filmed, because they were questioning his intentions. After filming for two years, he managed to gain the trust and love from the community, which welcomed him and allowed him to see a very personal side of their lives. For us, it was an incredible experience because it allowed us to get involved in that subject in the way that Toñi and Dan Sickles did. We benefitted from it because it’s a super underground side of Puerto Rico that not many people know about. I think there’s something beautiful about revealing that side of the island that is both dark and fascinating.


Do you think you’ll continue to explore themes of social issues in a way that is similar to your collaboration with Antonio Santini and Dan Sickles?

I’ve been thinking about the next round of songs I want to put out and I am brave enough to say that I am the one who writes all the lyrics and I do not take the literal approach when it comes to discussing topics about social issues in songs. However, I definitely do think that my music tries to break stereotypes. We are always trying to combine things that maybe don’t go together and find a way of breaking preconceived notions. I think Mala Mala and our music video for Métele is trying to break the stereotypes and show that these people are not outcasts, but rather an important part of our society. There is nothing wrong with being a trans person. I think that Mala Mala shares the characteristic of breaking stereotypes with our music.

While the music scene in Puerto Rico is changing, it seems like it’s still very patriarchal and women are often cast in the sidelines. Do you think that will ever change?

I am definitely noticing that there are more women involved in the music scene of the island. I’m not sure if they’re involved in a way that is revolutionary, since women have always been involved in the music scene in Puerto Rico. What happens is that they fall more into genres that are a bit more traditional, rather than being iconoclasts. I think there’s still a lot to be done in order to change this, same as there should be a change in Latin music in general. There have definitely been more talented women in the indie music scene in Europe and the US for years. I wouldn’t necessarily say they’re all feminists, but they do show some different angles of what it is like to be a woman in society and the way women’s roles are changing. I am different from other female singers that you may have seen.

For me, the idea is to change that and I think it’s not necessarily feminist, but it’s a discourse that discusses being able to sing how I want, do what I want, look however I want, discuss whichever topic I want in my music without thinking “that’ll be a hit.” Yes, I am a woman. Yes, I may look pretty. Yes, I choose to appear in my videos. While there is plenty left to do to change the portrayal of women in the music industry, I think there are some young women in Puerto Rico exploring punk music and other forms of expressing themselves that have nothing to do with the typical singer/songwriter or sexualized women, especially within the stereotype of Latina artists.

There are two or three notable female performers who are starting out in the music scene in Puerto Rico and showing lots of promise. I think that in other Latin American countries, such as Argentina and Mexico, there are more notable women in music. Maybe there will be some women from Puerto Rico who can become popular and make a stronger statement internationally in the future.

Who are some female Puerto Rican artists who people outside of the island should know of?

I’ve always considered Yarimir Cabán (Mima) to be one of my biggest inspirations. Within the genre in which she belongs, she has always differentiated herself in, not only the way she presents herself, but rather her personality and the music she plays. She’s taking that genre that is mostly dominated by men and she’s starting to create her own music. It’s exciting to know that she’s making some great changes in music as an artist.

There’s also another girl named Pequeña Vera, who used to be part of a band called Dada Berlín. She’s incredible as a performer and she’s like a gothic/punk Iris Chacón. She can be sensual and humorous in a moment, yet strong and rough in the next. I think she’s in her early 20s. I see young women like her and it’s exciting because I think it’s great that she’s so young and has such strong ideas. I like seeing young women with more confidence within themselves in their projects and art. Other notable women in the indie Puerto Rican music scene are Rebecca Kill and Laira Díaz from Los Manglers.

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Donald Trump Just Won’t Give Up His Birther Fantasy In Colbert Interview

Donald Trump has been coming under fire for refusing to distance himself from the “birther” movement he helped fuel, which claims President Barack Obama wasn’t born in the United States.  On Tuesday night’s “Late Show,” host Stephen Colbert offered the GOP frontrunner a chance to put the question behind him once and for all. 

“I’m going to throw you a big fat meatball for you to hit out of the park right now,” Colbert said. “This is the last time you’ll ever have to address this question if you hit the ball.” 

“I want to hear this one,” Trump said.

“Barack Obama, born in the United States?” Colbert asked.

When Trump hesitated, Colbert tempted him with the “meatball.”

“It’s a meatball, it’s hanging out there,” Colbert said, mimicking a batter’s home-run swing. “Right there — c’mon.”

But for Trump, it was a swing and a miss. 

“I don’t talk about that anymore,” he said.

“You don’t talk about it?” Colbert asked.  

Trump said he would rather talk about jobs and veterans, but Colbert cut him off. 

“The meatball is now being dragged down subway steps by a rat,” Colbert said, referring to the now-famous pizza-stealing rat. “You missed the meatball.”

The response is in line with what Trump offered on Sunday to a similar question on “Meet the Press.”

“I just don’t want to discuss it,” Trump told host Chuck Todd, calling it a “long, complex issue.”

After taping his Colbert appearance, Trump tweeted that the birther movement began with Hillary Clinton: 

FactCheck.org reports that while the issue was raised by diehard Clinton supporters in 2008, there is nothing to link Clinton, her campaign or her staff to the issue.

Trump is set to appear on national TV again on Sunday on “60 Minutes.”

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Joe Biden Speaks Candidly About Grief, Loss And Faith In Revealing Stephen Colbert Interview

In an emotional interview, Vice President Joe Biden spoke candidly on Thursday about the recent death of his son Beau, extensively discussing his grief and how it has made it difficult for him to commit to a potential presidential bid in 2016 despite growing calls for him to run.

“I don’t think any man or woman should run for president unless, number one, they know exactly why they would want to be president; and two, they can look at folks out there and say, ‘I promise you have my whole heart, my whole soul, my energy and my passion,'” he told comedian Stephen Colbert in an interview that will air Thursday night on CBS’ “The Late Show.” 

“I’d be lying if I said that I knew I was there. I’m being completely honest,” Biden continued. “Nobody has a right in my view to seek that office unless they are willing to give it 110 percent of who they are.”

Biden has repeatedly indicated that his family is the primary factor in his decision whether or not to run and has said that he is unsure if he possesses the “emotional energy” to run.

He spoke at length about his grief on Thursday, recounting memories of Beau and frequently appearing close to tears.

“I was a hell of a success. My son was better than me. He was better than me in every way,” he said of Beau, who died in May after battling brain cancer.

The vice president also spoke about how his Catholic faith has helped him cope with Beau’s death, saying that religion gives him “enormous sense of solace.”

“I go to mass and I’m able to be just alone, even in a crowd,” he said. “It’s just a place you can go.” 

He revealed that he feels “self-conscious” about the outpouring of support he received, noting that “so many people who have losses as severe or maybe worse than mine and don’t have the support I have.”

“No one owes you anything,” he said. “You gotta get up. And I feel like I was letting down Beau, letting down my parents, letting down my family if I didn’t just get up. I marvel at the ability of people who absorb hurt and just get back up.”

 

Colbert eventually asked Biden about the mounting rumors that he may pursue a presidential bid.

“I want to talk about the elephant in the room, which in this case is a donkey. Do you have anything to tell us about your plans?” he asked.

“I think you should run for president again, and I’ll be your vice president,” Biden quipped, referencing the time Colbert briefly was a presidential candidate in 2008.

Biden also joked about his tendency to speak out of turn as vice president when his microphone suddenly shut off at the beginning of the interview.

“By the way, they do this to me at the White House all the time — shut my mic off,” Biden said.

But most of the interview covered serious matters. Colbert, who himself has experienced immense loss, losing his father and two brothers in plane crash when he was just 10 years old, seemed to support a Biden candidacy, arguing that Biden’s experiences would give him a unique perspective.

“It’s going to be emotional for a lot of people if you don’t run,” he told Biden. “Your example of suffering and service is something that would be sorely missed in the race.”

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Divinity: Original Sin 2 Backstabbing Your Teammates (PAX 2015 Interview)

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There are plenty of uneasy alliances in Original Sin II. We chat with the CEO of Larian Studios about the insane amount of options available to the player in this anticipated, Kickstarted sequel.
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LawBreakers PAX 2015: Fighting Over A Shattered World – Cliff Bleszinski Interview

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Andrea caught up with Cliff Bleszinski at PAX Prime 2015 for details on the newly revealed multiplayer shooter LawBreakers.
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Should You Wear a Ring to an Interview?

Despite identifying as a strong independent woman, I feared wearing my wedding ring to a job interview. My wedding ring was the first ring that I’ve worn on that finger (no engagement ring). I was so proud of the man I married, yet still harbored something inside me that felt less valuable to this work team because I was a married woman.

Thoughts raced through my head about potential bosses not wanting me because a married woman might pop out a kid at any time (single women have working ovaries too you know) and maybe couldn’t be a full team player in their eyes. I wondered if instead of hearing that I grew tired of living in hotel rooms in my last job that they would translate it to mean I wasn’t up for a challenge and that I had settled into stable family life.

The worst part of the interview was feeling like I was staring in the mirror, with only one slight difference. Though my network, I knew one of my interviewers was only a couple years old than I, and he was also recently married. I was on a similar path at the interviewer, only he was male. It tore me up inside because I doubt he carried my same fear of being viewed as less valuable based on his marital status. Statically speaking, married men make 11 percent more money than their single counterparts. So his recent vows might just give him a leg up in the workplace, meanwhile I was worried about falling into the static that shows that employers prefer childless women.

Just hours before my interview I sat spinning my wedding band, contemplating what it meant if I took it off and how easy it would be to just slip it into my coin purse. I was so newly married that the ring hadn’t worn a pattern in my finger yet. It would have been so easy to be someone else. Then I was reminded of wise words a friend told me, choosing to be your authentic self feels so much better than trying to fit into something you are not. I am a married woman, I know that at the end of the work day that I want to come home and bask in the fact that I got to be myself all day without wearing a mask.

So I went into the interview with renewed self-confidence, properly installed ring (engineering joke), but knowing in the back of my head that the interviewers may not want me because I might be seen as an eminent baby-making-machine. And if they did see me in the way I feared? Then it wasn’t a place I wanted to give my time and talent to. After all, an interview goes both ways. I could not like this job for as many reasons as they potentially didn’t like me.

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INTERVIEW: Patricia Clarkson on Learning to Drive

The first time I saw Patricia Clarkson onscreen was in her feature film debut in Brian De Palma’s 1987 crime epic The Untouchables. The subsequent decades have seen the hugely talented Clarkson rack up a truly impressive list of credits working alongside some of the most popular and well-respected actors and filmmakers of all time, in the process garnering considerable acclaim for her work on both big screen and small (she took home two well-deserved Emmy Awards for guest appearances on the HBO skein Six Feet Under).

For her latest project, the luminous Clarkson stars in Isabell Coixet’s Learning to Drive, a charming slice-of-life fable co-starring Sir Ben Kingsley. The film, inspired by a 2002 New Yorker article by Katha Politt, casts the actress as Wendy, a recent divorcee who forms a unique and unlikely bond with Darwan (Kingsley), a Sikh driving instructor. What follows are some highlights from my conversation with Clarkson about the film, her relationship with Kingsley, and the continuing difficulties for women in Hollywood:

I was just talking to my colleagues about how we don’t get these kinds of stories very often. I know this film spent something like 10 years in development.

I spent nine years trying to get this movie made alongside Dana Friedman. The wonderful Dana Friedman. It was a journey.

Talk to me about that. What was it about this story that you said, “I will stick with it.”

I was so enamored of the essay in The New Yorker, and I love Katha Pollitt. She’s many things but she’s a poet at heart to me. She’s written one of favorite poems of all time, called “Small Comfort”. Read it sometime. You’ll see.

I’ll seek it out.

But I was so enamored of this story. It resonated. It stayed with me. Then I found that Dana Friedman had commissioned a script by Sarah Kernochan. Sarah Kernochan really took the short story and ran. I think she had Katha Pollitt’s blessing to just…She took this story and made it a movie.

It kept the integrity of Wendy…The character in the essay was Filipino, the driver. But Sarah Kernochan had friends in the Sikh community, and decided to make the driver Sikh, which I thought was very beautiful. The culture, I knew a little of and now I know a lot of, which is something that will stay with me for the rest of my life.

I just thought she captured…Sarah had the heart of Katha in her, the essence of Katha, and really made it a movie. Made it a funny, witty, poignant movie in equal doses of comedy and tragedy. And I just thought it was unusual. It was surprising, and unusual, and had beauty to it. Great comedy. Like, real. I thought some of the circumstances in this film were genuinely funny, that grownups would find funny.

It’s funny: as the film has opened and people have seen this, I know this is is an adult film, but my nieces and nephews have seen it and loved it. I’ve had some young friends go to see it and they love it. Love it. So, I do think, while this is a movie about middle-aged people, it resonates far greater. But I just…I wanted this story to be seen. I wanted people to laugh and hopefully cry, simultaneously.

I knew I just wanted to be a part of this and I didn’t give up. But it’s a tough movie to get made. But it was worth the journey. It was worth the journey. It really was. I actually arrived at a better place to play Wendy nine years later. I really did. [laughs] I had nine more years of life and love and loss. I was ready to play Wendy by the time we started rolling that camera, when I don’t know that I really was nine years ago.

This is a contention that I have, and I’d love for you to confirm or disconfirm it. I think that Hollywood does not allow us to be a part of the process that women go through as they get older, in the same that way that we have the opportunity with men. For example, we’ve seen Robert De Niro go from young man to distinguished older actor. We’ve seen that entire process. I feel like those same opportunities are not available to women.

They’re not as abundant as they are to men. And that’s sadly just the nature of this industry. It is a male-dominated industry. It is an ageist industry. That will never change, sadly. I mean, it’s changing. Maybe a hundred years from now, somehow the scales will tip and it’ll be all female, female-dominated and driven films. Maybe, you know. God, I wish I could stay alive another hundred years.

You can bemoan it, but you also have to just accept it, rise above, and make your own opportunities. I do think that with the rise of independent film, and not just…I grew up in the heyday of independent film with all these beautiful distributors, Miramax and October Films, the rise, the real hotbed of independent filmmaking. But what’s happened now is something better.

Independent films have started to become commercial. They’ve started to enter the Oscar race. They’ve started to enter all of these award races. They’ve started to become the hot films of the year. They’ve lifted…More people now go to art films than before. It really was a very select group. And now cities all over the country have art houses. It used to be really New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago. It was just the big urban cities.

But now there are more and more art houses, and people go! And so with the commercial aspect of these films, the financial wooing and winning of these films, it has made independent viable. It’s opened up doors. More doors have opened up, and so more doors have opened up to women. Women, we have great stories to tell. And people go to see them. People want to see them.

I have to tell you, this film: I’ve had more people wanting to see this film than any film I’ve done in a long, long time just because. First of all, our incredible distribution company, we have an amazing distribution company, and we have these amazing producers who stepped in and got the film made. Because of them…They’ve actually invested in this film, which is even better. They’ve decided to put their money where their mouth is.

Briefly, I’d love for you to discuss how you formed your relationship that’s just so beautiful and poignant with Ben Kingsley. What was that process like, the give-and-take?

What it starts from is a very deep and mutual respect that Sir Ben and I have for one another. We’ve known each other for a long time. We worked together on Elegy, a beautiful film we made. Have you ever seen Elegy?

I have, yeah. It’s fantastic.

A beautiful film we made together. We played lovers, and if you ever want to bond with someone, play their lover. [laughs] So, we have mutual respect and admiration for one another and a friendship that came out of that and a love for Isabel Coixet that came out of that. We worship Isabel Coixet. We really do. She is delicious and divine.

Out of all of that, out of the process of Elegy, we formed this bond, and I wanted to bring that bond to this movie because I knew we had to rock and roll. I knew we didn’t have a lot of time, a lot of money. We had to be joined at the hip in a way but to keep our disparate world. We had to keep our separate worlds in this film, which was essential, that we didn’t blur Patty and Sir Ben with Wendy and Darwan, that we kept distinct lives, separate lives in this little, tiny confined space, which is very hard to do.

But Sir Ben and I showed up, ready-to-go. I had this film in me for nine years. We had the blessing of the whole Sikh community. Anyway, he came ready. I remember the first time I saw him in the turban in the mirror, and I looked over, and he looked so beautiful. I said, “Oh my God.” I looked at him and I said, “We’re shooting a film.” There’s Darwan. I had my hair in my ponytail. I was in my green dress. I looked at him. I said, “Oh my God.”

 ”Is this real?”

“You’re here. We’ve arrived. We’re ready to shoot.” [laughs]

That’s amazing.

It was just a long time coming, you know? It was hard. It was a long process to get to, but that’s what I love most about this film, is that it has all of these remarkable women involved in it, as you know. Thelma Schoonmaker, Sarah Kernochan, Katha Pollitt, Isabel Coixet, Dana Friedman, our producer.

But it was two very young men named Gabriel and Daniel Hammond, starting a new company, who chose…They could have made any hot film. They could have had hot stars, hot people. They chose to make this beautiful film as their first film. They chose to write a check, a big one, for a small movie, and chose to be our producers and come on board. And that’s how this film got made, in one stroke.

And so that’s why I continue in my life. I continue in this business because somebody will say yes. They will. [laughs]

****

Many thanks to Patricia Clarkson for her enthusiasm, her candor, and her time. Learning to Drive is now playing in select theaters, and I heartily recommend seeking it out for a quirky, unique, and ultimately satisfying experience. For more movie talk, be sure to check out the latest episode of the MovieFilm Podcast at this link or via the embed below:


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Cara Delevingne Pokes Fun At That Painfully Awkward Interview

Last week, the world collectively cringed after watching Cara Delevingne’s painfully awkward interview with two tone-deaf morning show hosts while she was promoting her new film, “Paper Towns.”

After calling her the wrong name, the hosts asked Delevingne if she “needed a nap” when she looked understandably disenchanted when asked if she had read the book the film is based on.

The model-turned-actress took to Twitter to defend herself, and Paper Towns author John Green suggested that it was sexist of the hosts to ask Delevingne if she had read the book.

Now, it looks like Delevingne is ready to laugh the whole thing off, as she seemingly poked fun at the incident on Instagram on Saturday: 

I JUST FOUND THIS BOOK! ITS AWESOME!

A photo posted by Cara Delevingne (@caradelevingne) on

Got ’em!

In other Delevingne news, the 22-year-old was spotted rocking pink tresses at her girlfriend St. Vincent’s show in Montreal over the weekend. It’s probably just a wig, but she’s totally pulling it off either way.

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Paying Homage to India: An Interview With Pushcart Prize Nominee, Leeya Mehta

A fundamental concern for others in our individual and community lives would go a long way in making the world the better place we so passionately dreamt of.
-Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela Day was celebrated around the world on July 18th. It is a day to remember the greatness of a man who dedicated his life to helping the world understand democracy, freedom, equality, diversity, reconciliation, and respect.

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Recently, I had the opportunity to connect with, Leeya Mehta, She was a child when Nelson Mandela was released from prison in 1989 after serving his 27-year sentence.

The movement for a democratic South Africa was felt greatly in India whose own independence was achieved just 15 years before Mandela’s sentence began. Leeya Mehta’s school invited leaders of the ANC to come talk to the children. Mehta felt rooted in a culture of nonviolent resistance for change, surrounded by the energy of a new India, and a witness to its diverse cultural and religious traditions.

After earning a Master’s in economics and politics from Oxford University she traveled throughout the world eventually settling in Washington, DC. She was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize for her poem, “The Abduction,” published by the Beloit Poetry Journal.

Here she shares her reflections as a writer and her hopes to pay homage to the diverse cultures, religions, social movements, countries and the people who weave their complexities and contradictions, along with her own, through her poems and essays.

Poem: “David & The Hummingbird”
For Nelson Mandela

Essay: “What kind of society do we want to live In?:
A reflection on crime & punishment.”

Writer’s Process: The Diction of Death & Violence

Poem: ” The Towers of Silence” and Writing For & As The “Other”

Inspiration: India As A Muse

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Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth E3 2015: The Seas of Space (Interview)

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The creators of Civilization: Beyond Earth take a deep dive with their upcoming expansion.
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INTERVIEW: Dana Nachman, Patricia Wilson and Mike Jutan on Batkid Begins

In 2013, the family of a little boy named Miles, suffering from cancer, made a request to the Make-a-Wish Foundation. He wanted to be Batman. From that simple hope of a sick child, an entire social movement was born: Batkid had begun. With the entire city of San Francisco heeding young Miles’s call, an army of volunteers, well-wishers and Batman fans mobilized to turn his wish into a reality, in the process, making for a social media moment unlike any other.

This amazing experience has now been documented in director Dana Nachman’s Batkid Begins, which presents a heartwarming portrait of one city’s efforts to make one very special day for one very special little hero. I recently had the chance to talk to Nachman, as well as Make-a-Wish Foundation’s Patricia Wilson, who orchestrated the entire event, and Mike Jutan, who portrayed Batman baddie the Penguin during the event. Here are some highlights from our conversation.

Patricia, I think a little bit of background would be helpful here. How do we end up at turning San Francisco into Gotham City from the wish request that you got?

Patricia: So, we work with children’s medical hospitals in the area, and our referrals come that way, and Miles was referred through his hospital in the course of treatment. And then we work with 550 volunteers just here in Northern California, and two people went out to his home and interviewed him to see what his one true wish was. And in the case of the interview, they came out and said, “Wow, he wants to be the real Batman.”

So, that kind of began the wish process, and then I had to figure out what the real Batman was to this five-year-old, and think about how we would go about doing a very whimsical wish. And we’ve done public wishes and group wishes before. I had a child who wanted to be a famous singer. I had a child who wanted to be a San Jose Shark this past year. So, there are a variety of wishes that we’ve done, but this one took off in a way that I still don’t quite…I’m trying to — it took the documentary, I think, for me to really get what happened that day.

Well, what do you attribute that to? Because Make-A-Wish, the work that you guys do is very well known, and yet, certainly, I’ve never seen this global reach we saw.

Patricia: The vast majority of wishes we do are very private and intimate and beautiful just for themselves, and it wouldn’t be appropriate to have public involvement. This was one of the rare wishes we do that I call a public wish. And I just think because it was childlike and whimsical, because it was San Francisco, I think there was a certain amount of fatigue from bad news, and people were ready for a good news story. I think some of that is just the planets are aligned, and it was kind of the perfect storm, that this was just a sweet story. And we weren’t — it wasn’t a fundraising campaign. We just asked people to come and hold up signs and make him feel like a superhero.

And Dana, at what point did the idea of turning this into a documentary kick in?

Dana: About the day after the event. I missed the whole thing. I was not one of the two billion people who followed it online. I was out of state in a cave somewhere where I was not on social media or watching on the news that week. I was editing something else, and I was really immersed in what I was doing. So, after it happened, I thought, god, that would’ve been a great documentary. I wish I could’ve done it.

And then kind of forgot about it, and then a week later, my friend, who I used to job share with at NBC, called. I said, what are you working on? She’s like, “I’m trying to get an interview with the Batkid.” And I said, that would’ve been great. She’s like, “Well, when I hang up, I’m going to call the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Do you want me to ask if they’ll meet with us about a documentary?” I said, yeah, why not?

So, next day, we’re in the Make-A-Wish office and then Patricia walks in. We talked for about two and a half hours, I think it was, and basically, the thing that really struck me was when I asked: what did you intend to happen? And she said, “We wanted 200 people to show up.” And then, obviously, I know that 25,000 people showed up and two billion people followed it online, and so, because of that — what the intention was and what actually happened — that’s why I wanted to really get involved in telling the story.

Watching the documentary, so much of the footage is in the moment. I just assumed they were there.

Dana: Right. When people say that, I’m so happy because we didn’t indicate my lack of total…the zeitgeist that I missed.

Patricia: And it’s true. I couldn’t have coped. Honestly, we…there was no way.

Mike: Our goal was for the wish to be successful, the day of. We weren’t trying to process it. Everyone’s like, “How did it feel?” It’s like, well, we weren’t thinking about what we were doing. We were just trying to stay alive, as Patricia says.

Dana: But to your point, they had hired a videographer to shoot it for a fundraising video for after the fact. So, that’s how we got lucky with that. We also got — Comcast SportsNet, a local station, gave us their footage, and then a few other sources. And then a big source, which I think was some of the best footage, was from the Scotts, who shot home video, and then we went back. So, the first half of the film, we went back and kind of recreated, even though it doesn’t seem like it’s recreated, but we did.

Mike, you alluded to this idea that you were just kind of in it. At what point did it cross your mind that, hey, this is way bigger than I had planned?

Mike: Actually, the infamous tweet day, apparently, when I sent out this tweet of E.J., Eric Johnston, who played Batman, with his cape flapping – one of the things that started the ball rolling in terms of our Internet explosion over there. That was the day we were touring AT&T Park for the first time, and Patricia’s like, “And here’s where the news helicopter’s going to be.” News helicopter? “Here’s where the fireboats are going to be.” We have fireboats?

So, when I was asked to…when E.J. and Sue — Sue played the damsel — came to my apartment, it was in August or September, and they’d said, “What are you doing November 15th? Just say yes.” And I hadn’t even looked at my phone. I was about to look through it, and I was like, yes! Because it’s them; whatever they’re doing is going to be epic. They said, “We want you to get dressed up as a bad guy, and get chased around by a five-year-old for charity.” I was like, sounds like a perfect use of my time, quite literally.

I didn’t even know it was a work day. It’s all good. Everyone at work is very supportive, which is great. So, I agreed to it when I didn’t even know what it was, let alone what I was agreeing to, and he said, “Don’t worry. It’s just a small thing.” And so, getting about two or three weeks out, it was very clear it was going to be huge, and I started having this sense of: one, I don’t want to screw it up, and two, how do we now represent a much larger thing now that it’s become so big.

People are coming with expectations, and it was the night before, when I was having a mild meltdown, and my girlfriend said, “The only thing that matters is Miles. All these people are coming, every news agency ever is coming. There’s five helicopters. The only thing that matters is fulfilling Miles’s wish. That’s the goal. That’s always been the goal.

If there were 50 people there, you would do exactly the same thing.” And so, that was a really great grounding moment of why we were doing it, who it was really for. Then, sort of delaying those feelings, then two or three weeks later, starting to think, what did we do? What did we, as a city, just say to the entire world, literally? And so, it was just really amazing when Dana came on and helped spread the larger message that we sort of unintentionally sent.

Do you think this could have happened the same way in any other city?

Patricia: Absolutely not.

Why not?

Patricia: I just don’t think there’s a city that has as much compassion and come together. We had a mayor who is amazing. We had a police chief who’s supported Make-A-Wish since the beginning of time. These are just great, caring, compassionate people, and not to say that other mayors aren’t, but I think that they are so loved by the rank and file. It was so interesting. Greg Suhr has been with the force 33 years, right?

The rank and file actually told him, “We’ll come in for free. We’re volunteering.” Where else does that happen? I think the level of volunteerism and spirit that happens in this city, it can happen nowhere else. And we’ve had a fair amount of folks from New York saying, “It would never happen here.” So, I think it speaks very highly of San Francisco, whether you’ve left your heart here or whether you think of yourself as a San Franciscan because it was a beautiful, beautiful thing.

Also, one thing that…when Mike and I first met — I first met with Make-A-Wish, and then the second person I met with was Mike, and one thing that we talked a lot about, and Mike kind of alerted me to, was the concept that he learned at — it was Pixar, right?

Mike: At Pixar, yeah, Ed Catmull. As an intern there, we amazingly got to participate in these speaker series, and we got to have lunch with Ed Catmull, the president and co-founder of Pixar and current president of Disney Animation. It’s amazing to be in a room with him because this guy founded computer graphics, founded Pixar. It’s like, oh, my god. He was at Pixar when Pixar was still a pet project of Lucasfilm.

And that is very striking to me, that in the first — maybe it was the first week of our job, I think — he said, “I want to tell you about the spirit of this company.” He said, “This is a ‘yes and’ company; this is not a ‘no, but’ company, and everyone is here, everyone is top of their game, and it’s your job here to construct things on top of what everybody else is doing, construct things together. And if someone has an idea, take what they’re doing and run with it, and build it into something. If you have a totally different idea, add it into the mix as opposed to diverting it in a different direction.” And I feel like the whole city did that here.

It’s a “yes and” city.

Patricia: Exactly.

Mike: All the companies, all the people, all the city staff, all the volunteers, all the just…all the people of San Francisco said: yes, I don’t want to go to work, and I’m coming dressed up.

Dana: Yeah, and when Mike just told me about this “yes and,” for the rest of the time until we came up with “Batkid Begins,” that was like, the working title. It was never going to be the real title, but that was the spirit in which the film was made because that was the spirit in which San Francisco worked. So, to me, the whole time, it was called “Yes…And.”

And I had a scene at some points that was called “Yes…And,” and I just think that kind of dovetailed into your question about San Francisco, I think because all those people were trained in the way that Mike was describing, to make Twitter, to make Facebook, to make these companies that changed the way we live. And so, that’s the spirit in which San Francisco lives, and so I think…of course, it could happen in other cities, but they’d have to start…

Mike: This place is angry about the status quo. It’s like if something is going a certain — Hans Zimmer talks about that in the movie. He says, “It’s like you’re tired with how the world runs, and you want it to run better,” and I feel like the entire spirit of this area is built that way. It’s what literally yanked me here from Canada. My sights were always set on San Francisco as an area to live in, and there’s a magnet here. It’s because there’s those kind of people.

Dana: And that was the words that people used when we interviewed them, who flew in. They said, “There was a magnet pulling me.” I think three people said that in interviews, “There was a magnet pulling me.”

Patricia: Plus, there’s no “no” in Make-A-Wish. I mean, come on. There’s a child who was diagnosed at 18 months, and if you think about that, to think that from 18 — he’s a baby and has cancer. Oh, my god! What is that like?

Mike: And young parents, too. It’s just so hard.

Patricia: And a six-hour drive to the hospital each time, so the hardship on the family is incredible, and you think, I want to help them. And what will give him back a little bit of his childhood, and what will fuel him in some of his darker days? And who can say no to that? It’s a beautiful thing. My favorite statistic with Make-A-Wish is we grant 100% of the wishes of the children who qualify, who have a life-threatening medical condition, and we do each one with the level of creativity and love and compassion that we did Miles’s with.

Well, when we talk about the “yes and” sensibility, I feel like the exemplar of that is E.J. I’d love for you to talk to me about him.

Mike: A shining monument to humanity.

Dana: Not to put him on a pedestal.

Mike: Not to put him on a pedestal, but this is what humanity should aspire to.

Patricia: Oh, no kidding!

He is Batman.

Mike: Hands down.

Dana: He is Batman!

Mike: He is also Bruce Wayne, which is hilarious.

Patricia: When I was working with the family, and putting this together, they were very concerned because Miles — well, Miles was five, but he was also shy, and so I presented the idea of having a full-sized Batman, and he would be a mini-me. I didn’t want to take the focus away from him but the parents said, “Oh, my god. That’s perfect,” and I said okay, and the first person that came to mind was E.J.

I worked with him literally ten years before on Ben’s Game, which took our website down that time, too. So, I just knew the level of creativity that he adds to it, and he’s a former stunt double, he’s an inventor, and he is so amazing with children. So, he was my guy, and it was too funny. His wife saw the email first, and he goes, “I don’t have a choice in the matter, do I?” and she said, “Nope.” And then, essentially, reached out to her and asked her if she’d be the damsel, and she said, “I’d be honored,” which is kind of funny because Sue’s the most accomplished badass.

Dana: My favorite line in the movie is from E.J. Well, now I’ll botch the line, but basically, the part when he says that his computer breaks, he broke the projector, and he says something like, “My whole life I will have known — Miles will know no different, but my whole life, I will know I could have made it better.” Who thinks like that? Do you know how hard it is making a projector that goes in broad daylight, that you can actually see? What he was doing was kind of magnificent in itself.

I think what this event illustrates…partially, it shows how people are willing to come together to help out a sick child, but I think a key factor, also, is Batman. Batman is beloved. What did you learn about Batman, having gone through this?

Dana: Everything, because I was not a Batman person, so I learned everything about it, and I understand now. I see it through my children’s eyes because we were more of a Star Wars family, less of a Batman family or superheroes in general, and now we just everything, and it’s just the goodness in that character, and the goodness in everyman’s man — with a little money but everyman’s man, it’s an amazing character. And he doesn’t have any superpowers, so Miles was the one that you that, and said, “That’s why I like him because he’s just a regular guy.”

Mike: Yeah, he just rises the the occasion, right? He’s the hero we need, as Chris Nolan says in the trilogy. I saw a really great documentary called “Tales of the Knight.” It’s a small, crowd-funded documentary, but it’s really cool because it shows how that character touches people. It’s really interesting, just the history of comic books, in general, invented generally by Jewish immigrants here coming to a safer world.

And talking about people using their own strength and power and skills to become the best part of humanity, and an ideal that — if you look at Superman, an ideal that humanity is supposed to aspire to, and it’s supposed to represent all the goodness in the world. And so, it’s very, very interesting. i think there’s some very big themes that, obviously, why we see superhero movies doing so well. People love that kind of stuff, sort of an example of the best of humanity, and I think San Francisco offered that.

In the film, at the end, you talk a little bit about how Miles may not necessarily have the full awareness of the extent of this event…

Patricia: When he’s 30, he might understand.

What do you hope his memory of this experience is?

Patricia: Well, right now, his memory is he saved San Francisco. He was really Batman. I love…his family texted me on Sunday because Sunday, the Chronicle reprinted the front page, and it said “Batkid Saves City,” and he saw that in the newsstand and said, “I’m available. You need to save lives today, too.” When he’s…I don’t know that…it’s taken me a long time to process. I was really oblivious to how moved people were, or that it’s the kind of event where people would approach me and remember what they were doing that day. You know, like, “I still remember the coverage…”

What are some of the most memorable reactions you’ve had from people who’ve seen the documentary?

Patricia: I think there’s two themes that people take away with it that we’ve heard the most, and most consistently. One is it renews their faith in humankind. How incredible is that? And the second is: it’s the best thing to happen to San Francisco. So, it’s inspiring, it’s fun, you’ll laugh. You might cry but it’ll be happy tears if you do, and it’s just a truly entertaining, great thing to see. The story is about all those volunteers and all the people who came together to make the world a better place, and if you can’t be moved by that, right? It’s just pretty incredible.

Dana: There’s a lot of laughter that I didn’t expect, like the first time we watched it with an audience, and I said to my partner, I think we made a comedy! Because people were just laughing, and there was also a lot of cheering, and then I had one time I was sitting next to a rabbi who just was tearing — he had Kleenex out and was just totally tearing up the whole time, but mostly it’s laughter and cheering.

Patricia: And allow me to tell you the other amazing thing. Everything was a wow moment, right? Wow, wow, wow, wow! Well, Dana has dedicated the last 18 months of her life as a volunteer, and she’s donating her proceeds to the Batkid Fund. Who does that, right? So, we hope that people go see it, and we hope that that influences how many more theaters that it comes in, and more people can enjoy the love and share in it.

Mike: And we’re really excited that — I’m really excited, anyway, that this is sort of an opportunity for the folks involved to be able to direct the conversation about what the Batkid Day means. I think on the day of, the people were the filmmakers, so you know, you had news, you had traditional media as well, and helicopters, and fireboats, and so on, but the people were the newsmakers. Everyone had an iPhone; everyone was tweeting, Instagramming, Facebooking, yada, yada.

So, I think people…there were two sort of major things on that day. I think there was the emotion of the event, of people coming together, and people saying, “I’ve never seen anything like this. I’ve never felt anything like this.” But there were also people documenting the sort of spectacle of it. It’s big, it’s crazy. There’s 10,000 people in Union Square. There’s Lamborghinis driving out. It’s exciting.

That’s great, too, but I think one of the things that I was really excited about when hearing that Dana was involved and there was a movie, a documentary happening, was that it was an opportunity for the people involved to speak about what it meant to us, what we think is important about local volunteerism, why we think it’s important to support your community, and talk about some of those issues that we really care about and we think other people should also care about.

I think San Francisco planted a huge flag in the ground, and said: this is what’s possible when people come together, and it’s insane. It’s truly insane! So, I feel like we made the statement, and now we get to, with the movie, we get to talk about why it matters.

Many thanks to Dana Nachman, Patricia Wilson, and Mike Jutan for being so generous with their time. Batkid Begins is currently playing in select theaters. To hear some more of my thoughts on the film, catch the latest episode of the MovieFilm Podcast via the embed below, or at this link:


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Reflections on the Soul of Washington, DC: An Interview With Thomas Moore

On July 4th the nation will celebrate its 239th Independence Day. Around the country citizens will celebrate with fireworks and barbeques, vacation getaways, and more somber ceremonies to honor the nation’s veterans. But Independence Day is important in another way: as a time to contemplate the deeper meaning of America. In the following interview with psychotherapist Thomas Moore, bestselling author of Care of the Soul, he reveals the deeper symbolism contained within our American myths and symbols of freedom and independence, especially as they are reflected in the monuments and memorials of the nation’s capital–a place Moore describes as “sacred.” The following is an excerpt from that interview as it appears in my new book, America on the Couch: Psychological Perspectives on American Politics and Culture. (Lantern Books).

Pythia Peay: Can you explain what “soul” means to the layperson?

Thomas Moore: Generally speaking, the spirit is the “upper half,” the part of us that is looking for transcendence, or to evolve, grow, or improve. Whether a city or a person, it’s an orientation toward the future, the eternal afterlife, or those universal values that are above individual circumstances. But the soul is always particular: it’s about family roots, memory, and the past. Spirit is more interested in planning, and the soul is more interested in remembering. The soul works through mood, emotion, reverie, and dreams: all those things are proper to the soul.

So, soul also has a lot to do with those invisible currents that are in the background of everything that’s going on. And one thing that’s always going on in the background is the history of a place.

PP: Washington, D.C. would be even more significant from a soul perspective, then, because it’s the city of our national memory. It’s also rich with images around democracy and the story of the country’s beginnings.

TM: Exactly. The monuments and memorials are extremely important, not just for the city, but for the nation. When I travel throughout the states — and it doesn’t matter what’s going on politically — I find that people feel very deeply and strongly about Washington. The people who have power and money will come and go, but the memorials will remain. So to me, Washington is one of our nation’s treasures, and its primary job is to act as a guardian for the nation’s memory.

PP: I have to admit that sometimes the city feels more like a tourist destination than one of our nation’s sacred treasures.

TM: I wouldn’t call those visitors “tourists.” They’re clearly pilgrims. People are not going to D.C. as tourists the way they would visit another city. [But] what these tourists are doing as they tour the monuments and the city is an aspect of civil religion: it’s honest to goodness deep, deep, soul religion. That’s different even from the spiritual dimension of religion.

PP: So how would this apply to Washington, D.C., and what would a “soul” and a “spirit” approach to the nation’s capital feel like?

TM: The spirit part is to make everything function well, and to be efficient. . .With spirit, there’s a tendency to be educational and to explain everything, rather than letting people have the simple experience of the images and the memories they evoke.

A soul approach would be to visit an old building, for example, and go into a room where an old document was signed, without having to listen to someone give a lecture about it… So when someone is standing in front of a monument, or is in some historic room or building, they need to allow their imagination time and quiet.

PP: D.C. is so rich with statues and images carved into its buildings. Is there a particular figure that to you embodies something of the soul of the city?

TM: The art of weaving things together is a very traditional image of soul. The Goddess Athena, who was the patroness of Athens, and who is the patroness of all cities, was a weaver: I see Athena in all of the buildings, and particularly in the Statue of Freedom atop the Capitol. Being able to weave together cultures and personalities and all sorts of peoples and religions–that is the work of Athena, and that is the work of the city and of the government. So she is the patroness of the soul of the city: not the running of it, but the weaving.

PP: When we think of Dallas, we think of cowboys and Stetson hats and cattle. When we think of Los Angeles, we think of Hollywood. What comes to mind when you think of Washington, D.C.?

TM: When I come to Washington, I feel as if I’m in a whirlpool, or a vortex. In Washington there’s the sense that this is the place where the country and the world holds together. It’s a city where you’re not just thinking of the place itself, you’re thinking of the rest of the country and the world in a way that I don’t feel anywhere else. When I’m in D.C. there’s that sense that people everywhere are looking to the city for their wellbeing: by that I mean peace, justice, and the democratic ideals. That’s what all those institutions, the exalted language carved on the monuments and the great documents that are kept there, are really all about.

The average person in Nebraska or California doesn’t have to think about that kind of life and death stuff as much… Even the monuments and memorials are about wars and battles and great figures, so the city raises us to a level of great reflection. Other places don’t have the opportunity — or the burden — of having to think about these matters.

PP: It’s interesting that you use the word burden. Often people living in the Washington area feel it’s kind of a heavy place to be, even if they’re not in politics. I know I feel physically lighter when I leave the city.

TM: When Lincoln was president, the weight he felt almost stooped him over physically… But the soul is always found in the underworld, among the heavier things like depression and suffering. I think that to be able to carry that burden and not defend against it would be the sign of a mature society in the city of Washington.

There is no way to live in Washington without being affected by what goes on there. That city is a place in the dream life of people in cities and capitals around the world: Washington, D.C. has a place in their imagination, more prominently than other places in this country. So I don’t think you can be a citizen of that city without carrying the weight of that projection.

PP: One of the recurring themes that often comes up around the city’s future is the conflict between the old and the new, and the desire to break free of the past. So there’s a tension; periodically people talk about changing the image of the city… and making it a city of the future, and not the past.

TM: Please save us from that! However, I understand the flight from the past–especially if it’s full of painful memories. I lived in Dallas many years ago, and at one time there was a movement to tear down the Texas Depository Building, because it was such a blight on the image of the city. In fact, the building was a painful burden for the city, because there were so many bad memories associated with it around President Kennedy’s assassination. But it was still important to keep it as a landmark.

PP: Why?

TM: Well, imagine if a person came into therapy and said I want to forget about all the bad things that happened to me in the past and start from scratch all over again. Any decent therapist would say that person is headed for trouble because we have to own our own life: it’s part of becoming a mature person.

PP: Do you mean in the sense that we can learn from the mistakes of the past?

TM: No. It’s that our character is made from the suffering and experiences of the past. To pretend that those experiences are no longer relevant is a repression of the past. So to say, “Let’s move on and become a new city” is also a repression of the past. It’s not really moving ahead — it’s an aggressive thing to do; it’s anti-soul, and it’s a movement against the past. It can lead to nothing but trouble.

PP: Of course, America is founded on leaving the past behind. We left Europe, and then we left the east coast for the Midwest, and the Midwest for California.

TM: That’s the country’s strength; but it has a big shadow. In everything we do–every country does this, but we do it to absurd lengths — we continue to try to be new and to get rid of the past. But in a part of our national psyche, we’re still fighting the Revolution, and we’re still trying to shed the old king! So we have to learn to see ourselves as part of a long spectrum. We can demonize the past and all the mistakes that have been made. But that kind of abrupt movement away from the past is an adolescent kind of behavior that doesn’t want anything to do with all that “old stuff.”

PP: But what’s interesting is that our national memory and national history celebrates revolution. It’s as if that abrupt break from the “old country” is what our very identity as Americans is based on. So we immediately run into a paradox.

TM: My first thought to what you said is that we have all these cities [and states]–New London, New York, New Boston, New Hampshire — that are both new but that also echo back to the old country… So even though some people rebelled against England in forming the country, at an underlying level the connection remained there anyway. And if we identify with the rebels and romanticize the Revolution, which we tend to do, we’re only talking about half of the story. Hardly anyone talks about the violence of the Revolution, or the people who were killed in the process, as if there might have been another way to separate from the Fatherland. That kind of reflection on the Revolution would be more sobering; we wouldn’t want to go out and celebrate that all the time.

PP: What do you feel about the Vietnam Memorial?

TM: It’s very effective, because it’s not representational. The names on the wall mean the memorial is about the individual, rather than the group: soul is local and individual, as opposed to universal. It’s a place that favors a kind of walking meditation; it invites people in because it doesn’t explain or tell them what to do. So it’s where visitors can make up their own rituals, which they do daily by placing objects and crying at the wall.

PP: What about the monuments and memorials that are built around Lincoln or Jefferson or George Washington?

TM: These images aren’t just representations: they’re presences. There’s a big difference between representing something and making a presence. When a monument is done well and carefully with some depth to it, a certain spirit of personality comes through and is present. A monument is really “working,” for instance, when we see the crowds that are drawn to it, and how the people are behaving. When we see people being quiet in the presence of a place, or crying or talking softly to each other, or coming up with their own rituals, for instance, then we know that there is a real presence there that allows a person to be there with their own soul.

PP: Do you have certain rituals of your own when you visit the capital?

TM: I come with some regularity, and often stay at some older hotel that’s right in the center of town. I want to be in a place where there is memory, even in a building. I also go for long walks, and make a circle around the White House. I meditate and go around the Capitol very thoughtfully, feeling the presence of what the place is, where it is in the world. I feel a tremendous sense of responsibility, and an increased sense of my place in the world.

PP: People often talk about “power” as part of the myth of D.C. But you seem to describe it as more “power-full.”

TM: Right: it’s full of power, but not in the way we might say that a person has great power…. In my view, Washington is the spiritual center of the country. I don’t mean that in terms of a church or beliefs. I mean that in the very real sense of a religious way of being. Those who work and serve there could be compared to priests and priestesses. I think politicians get into trouble because they think of themselves as managers, and they view the whole operation as purely secular — but it isn’t. To have the role of leader and to be someone who decides these great issues of democracy and government: that is a religious role. They’re speaking for the spirit of democracy, which is much greater than themselves or their personal philosophies.

PP: By using the word religious, do you mean something different from church-related religiosity?

TM: What I’m suggesting is that what holds our nation together is beyond any individual’s power to control… So the only way democracy is going to work is if politicians realize that they’re serving something that’s beyond their individual power. It’s also important that they accept the “rituals” of politics. The special robes worn by the Supreme Court Justices, and the ceremonies when the President enters the Capitol building: these vestiges of the past in our modern-day society are hints that what government and politicians are doing have profound religious dimensions. If we don’t recognize these rites and roles as sacred, then our government and politics will turn into a personal operation, and that’s where it falls apart. The monuments and stories of our Founding Fathers and the founding of the country are mythic. These are our heroes, and this is our American mythology.

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Life is Strange E3 2015: Choice vs Consequence (Interview)

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The crew tries hard to not spoil the story while discussing the cerebral episodic with Co-Director Michelle Koch of Dontnod Entertainment!
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Lara Croft GO E3 2015: Bringing Big Names to Mobile (Interview)

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The team from Square Enix Montreal drop by our GT Live studio during E3 2015 to discuss their latest mobile project!
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Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst E3 2015: A Rebirth (Interview)

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Mike Huber caught up with Senior Producer Sara Jansson during E3 2015 to get the full story on the return and rebirth of Faith in Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst.
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XCOM 2 E3 2015: A New Threat (Interview)

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XCOM 2 is becoming bigger and better in almost every way, and the details begin to emerge as we sit down with Art Director Greg Foerstch of Take-Two Interactive.
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Street Fighter V E3 2015: Interview

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We learn what makes Street Fighter V tick and how it’s distinguishing itself from the rest of the seminal series.
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Watch ‘OITNB’ Stars Hilariously React To Sexist Interview Questions

Uzo Aduba, Natasha Lyonne and Samira Wiley know exactly how to answer some very boring and very sexist interview questions.

The three “Orange Is The New Black” stars sat down with Brazilian comedian Rafael Cortez on June 15 at Netflix junket and reacted to his sexist questions like the champs that they are. From Aduba’s face to Lyonne’s fierce response to a seriously sexist question — it’s clear these ladies don’t take sh*t from anyone.

Telling by their faces, the women were a bit taken aback at first:

Cortez begins the interview by asking Aduba if she thinks the series needs “a guy inside the jail with [her] doing things that just one guy can be able to do.” When Aduba quickly points out that there are indeed men in the show, Cortez replies: “No I mean guys, men, roar! Do you see my muscles? Would you like to see?” To which she says, “No.”

He continues on his weird, sexist, ambiguously satirical interview when he asked Lyonne and Wiley if their beauty gets in the way of their work. Lyonne was definitely having some trouble answering the question — or for that matter, believing it was even real. “I feel like [the question] is accidentally maybe a little bit misogynistic,” she told Cortez.

“Despite great beauty on the show, everybody is professional and talented and very capable,” Lyonne went on. “So I don’t think that really anybody is really thinking about something as meaningless as their beauty when they’re at work or certainly not this show.”

Shut. Down.

H/T Cosmopolitan

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The 9 Most Shocking Revelations From the Duggar Interview

After news broke in mid-May that Joshua Duggar, the eldest sibling of the Duggar family (stars of TLC's 19 Kids and Counting), had confessed to molesting five underage girls as a teen (including his sisters),…




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Jill And Jessa Duggar Say Brother Was ‘A Little Too Curious About Girls’ In Fox Interview

Jill Dillard and Jessa Seewald, stars of “19 Kids and Counting,” have spoken out and revealed they were two of the five minors whom their oldest brother, Josh Duggar, molested.

But, in the conclusion of Megyn Kelly’s two-part interview with the Duggar family, airing Friday at 9 p.m. EST, the sisters defend their brother’s actions to “The Kelly File” host.

“Josh was a boy, a young boy in puberty, and a little too curious about girls,” Jessa, who married Ben Seewald in November and is expecting her first child, told Kelly. “And that got him into some trouble. And he made some bad choices, but, really, the extent of it was mild — inappropriate touching on fully clothed victims, most of it while [the] girls were sleeping.” (Via the police report: [Jim Bob Duggar} said that [Josh] had told him that [he] had been touching [redacted] on the breast and vaginal areas while [they] were sleeping.” Later in the report [Jim Bob] said there was another incident in March 2003. [Jim Bob] said that [Josh] was reading to [redacted] and [she] was sitting on [his] lap, [Josh] had touched [redacted’s] breasts and vaginal area…sometime during this timeframe [Josh] had been standing in the laundry room and [Josh] had put [his] hand under [redacted’s] dress.”)

Jill, who married Derek Dillard in 2014 and welcomed a son in April, echoed what their parents had told Kelly on Wednesday — that they “didn’t even know” about the molestation until Josh had confessed to their parents. “None of the victims were aware of what happened until Joshua confessed,” she said. Jessa added, “My parents took [us] aside individually, and they said, ‘Here’s what happened,’ and of course at this point, you’re shocked.”

While Jessa said she thinks that giving her brother the label “child molester or a pedophile or a rapist,” is “so overboard and a lie.” Jill admitted that she was “scared,” and added that she was “sad” to learn of what Josh had done, “because this is my older brother, who I love a lot. It’s conflicting.”

Meanwhile, Jessa also is quick to defend Josh (who before his confession was the executive director at the conservative, anti-gay group Family Research Council Action) against those calling him a hypocrite.

“It’s right to say, ‘Here’s what I believe, here’s my values,’ even if you’ve made stupid mistakes or failures,” she told Kelly. “If you’ve had failures in your past, it doesn’t mean you can’t be changed. I think that’s where … I think the real issue is people are making this sound like it happened yesterday.”

The Duggar parents have been heavily criticized since they revealed they didn’t seek any sort of help for Josh until the third time he confessed his behavior to them — the breaking point, they said, was when he admitted to touching his youngest sister, who was only 5 years old at the time. The sisters, however, contend certain “safeguards” were implemented by their parents after their brother confessed to the abuse.

“Locks on the doors. You know, everybody’s in bed,” Jill explained. “Girls in the girls’ room. Boys in the boys’ room — as a mother now I look back, and I think, you know, my parents did such an amazing job for me. Even when we went through the DHS investigation they complimented my parents on what an amazing job they did through that process.”

In the interview, Jill also said, “My parents have always actually stated … we are not a perfect family. We are just a family.”

“The Kelly File” airs June 5 at 9 p.m. EST.

Need help? In the U.S., visit the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline operated by RAINN. For more resources, visit the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s website.

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Disney Infinity 3.0 Edition E3 2015: Rise Against the Empire Interview

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Mike Thompson, Art Director at Avalanche Software, talks about the perils of bringing a galaxy far, far away to a Disney Infinity Playset near you at Judges Week for E3 2015.
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Sheryl Underwood Slams The Duggars On ‘The Talk’ After Fox Interview

“19 Kids and Counting” stars Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar broke their silence in an interview with Fox News’ Megyn Kelly on Wednesday, and it brought out a very powerful and emotional response from “The Talk” host Sheryl Underwood on Thursday.

During their interview, the Duggars revealed they didn’t seek any sort of help for their oldest son Josh until the third time he confessed to them that he had molested five minor girls. The breaking point, they said, was when Josh admitted to touching his youngest sister, who was only 5 years old at the time. Sisters Jessa, 22, and Jill, 24, spoke out near the end of the interview, confirming they were two of Josh’s victims.

Underwood, who is a survivor of sexual abuse, did not accept what many saw as excuses from the Duggar parents.

“I went through that [at] 3, 4, 5 years old … you know something is wrong and if nobody listens to you and nobody is going to stop it whether I’m asleep or not. I didn’t sleep. I learned how to stay up as long as I could. I may sleep at school, because nobody is going to protect me, so I had to protect myself,” she said.

She continued, “Aisha you said that it didn’t help [the Duggars] to do this interview. What it really did was it helped us, the world, to see what happens to people when they’re in some type of family structure when the people you’re supposed to trust to protect you seem to be your co-conspirator in your violation.”

During their interview with Kelly, the Duggars made sure to state that, “As parents, you aren’t mandatory reporters,” also noting, Josh “was still a kid and he was still a juvenile. He wasn’t an adult … This wasn’t rape or anything like that.”

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Robert Plant Led Zeppelin interview released by Bob Harris

Former Old Grey Whistle Test presenter releases never-before-heard interviews with music legends.
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My Tomas Vu Interview

After the television debut of his artwork on Season 3 of House of Cards, Tomas Vu sat down with Sara Zielinski to talk about his surfboards, revolution, and being in the faux oval office with Kevin Spacey. In 2011, Vu made his first laser-engraved wooden surfboard, setting out to make 210, one for each of the Beatles’ songs.

You have a long history with surfing, starting in your childhood in Vietnam. Tell me about your introduction to surfing and its relationship to this project.

In Vietnam, I had a little business where I took care of all of the GIs’ surfboards. I was 10. I had a little posse of four and we had boards for anyone who was interested in surfing. We lived near the beach so my mother, who was an interpreter for the American military, gave me access to the base for business.

One GI in particular – it was 1973 is when I first met Young American. California boy. He was a sniper. How did I know? Because in his barrack, the gun he cleaned was a sniper’s rifle.

And he only listened to The Beatles. Every time I was around him, The Beatles was what he would either sing or listen to. So that’s the really early, formative experience. This is when all of that started happening for me, the awareness of surfboards and The Beatles, that connection for the first time.

Musical influences recur throughout your different bodies of work.

Music, in general, is always a signifier for the soundtrack to your life. Sometimes I have forgotten about something and then a song will instantly bring me back to that moment, to that period. I think we all have this. I kept with the Beatles for a long time because I always wanted to, perhaps, go back to that period. We’re all trying to do that, right?

During the war, it was wonderful for a child to live in that landscape. I lived in the heart of the action, the war, the jungle, the beach. Then I got plucked from there and dropped into the middle of a dirt patch. The contrast between El Paso, Texas and Vietnam was extreme. I remember flying in to El Paso – it looked like we were landing on Mars because it was all brown and red dirt. When we got off the plane, I remember seeing tumbleweeds go by. You couldn’t get a more western landscape than that. The extreme dislocation, that’s what I remember.

That fits back into the surfboards. On the front are pieces of your unique landscapes, which come from Vietnam, from El Paso, from a futuristic place…

Yes, it’s all three. If you merge the three together, that’s the new landscape, or my landscape.

There’s something – maybe not apocalyptic – but dystopian, there’s anxiety there.

Yeah, unfortunately the apocalyptic genre is everywhere these days. You can’t escape it. Perhaps we’re glancing into the future. I think that tells a narrative about who we are. It’s not very promising at times.

I remember my first sci-fi movie, The Last Man on Earth. It was the scariest thing I’d ever seen. Then in El Paso, one of the first movies I saw was Planet of the Apes. Those are the kinds of movies, same as the music, that lay down the foundation of how we see the landscape, the world.

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How do you make the surfboards?

These are called Alaia boards. The wood that I’m using is called Paulownia. I had to learn how to shape these boards from a plank of wood. There’s something about going back to the hand. My work deals with the idea of anti-machine, that future world. I want to go back to something very pure. The Alaia boards represent this.

So the wooden boards are shaped by hand and then you use a laser to burn in the images. That’s in direct contrast to the hand-shaped board.

Right, because I want to use the machine again. The idea is that I have control of the machine; it doesn’t have control of me. There’s something at the heart of this about not losing the human in us. Using the machine to make us human again, I suppose. That sounds a bit poetic, but that’s the gesture anyway.

Shifting gears, you personally delivered your board to the set of House of Cards. What was it like to be on set?

It was surreal. You walk into this gigantic warehouse and when you go inside, it’s like you’re in the White House. It’s another way of being disoriented. There’s the Oval Office -it was very impressive, down to the details. I was overwhelmed by just the sheer production of it. When you watch TV, you don’t see the labor. You take it for granted, but you have no concept of what it takes to make a scene until you’re on set.

It’s quite surreal, too, to have Kevin Spacey say your name.

So much of your work draws on themes of rebellion and courage. Thich Quan Duc, Alan Turing, and Ted Kaczynski are among many iconic individuals included in your ongoing portrait series. Were you happy that your piece was featured in an episode that also starred members of Pussy Riot?

Yeah. [Laughter] When Beau Willimon, writer of House of Cards, told me it was going to be in the same episode as Pussy Riot, I just thought – how fitting is this, that the board is represented in the same spirit as what Pussy Riot is doing. It’s as an act of rebellion. I think sometimes today art doesn’t speak out enough. And for me, that’s where it always lives.

Tomas Vu’s surfboards and other projects can be found at www.tomasvu.com.
An earlier interview between Sara Zielinski and Tomas Vu, conducted for Annual Magazine 6, can be found at www.annualartmagazine.com/issue/tomas-vu.

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An Unpublished Interview with Roy Scheider on “Jaws”

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Roy Scheider, visited by a Great White on the Orca in “Jaws.” [photo by Paul Iorio]

Forty years ago next month, the summer movie blockbuster was born.

And its name, at birth, was “Jaws,” released June 20, 1975, in an at-the-time jaw-dropping number of theaters, expanding from 409 to 675 screens for a mega-premiere made possible by the proliferation of malls and multiplexes.

I was 17 years old and an usher at one of those multiplexes — the University Square Mall theaters in the suburbs of Tampa, Florida — on the opening day of “Jaws.”

Huge event. Had to get to work early to deal with the crowds. Had to get a fellow usher to clean the vomit off some front row seats after an audience member threw up when Robert Shaw’s character spit blood near the end.

The theater was packed and there was shrieking and general terror that day. Truly, the successor to “The Birds” and “Psycho” had arrived.

Many years later, as a journalist, I interviewed some of the stars of the film, among them the late Roy Scheider, who so memorably played the role of police chief Martin Brody and uttered one of the most memorable lines in the film: “We’re gonna need a bigger boat.”

I telephoned Scheider — who died in 2008 at age 75 — on May 15, 2000, for a 25th anniversary piece on the film (though no publication had yet formally assigned me to do such an article). I eventually sold it to The San Francisco Chronicle, which published it on May 28, 2000. Here’s a link to that story: http://jawsbyiorio.blogspot.com

But I used only 150 words of my audiotaped conversation with Scheider, fresh off a career uptick that included roles in “The Rainmaker,” “The Myth of Fingerprints” and “RKO 281.” The rest of the Q&A has never been published or posted anywhere.

So, here, for the first time, is a transcript of my exclusive Q&A with Scheider on “Jaws,” director Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of the best-selling novel by Peter Benchley, co-scripted by Carl Gottlieb (and Benchley) and starring Scheider, Shaw and Richard Dreyfuss.

Paul Iorio: I heard that [other actors] were vying for the part of Chief Brody in “Jaws”?

Roy Scheider: Well, if that was so, I didn’t know anything about it. I got a call from Steven Spielberg and he thought it was a good idea to have a city type of guy put into that ocean community. And he had seen “The French Connection” and remembered my performance and thought that would be the kind of guy he wanted to put into Amity.

Iorio: Right, kind of displaced –

Scheider: A fish out of water, if you’ll excuse the expression! [laughs]

Iorio: An apt way of putting it! So, you’re trying to assimilate in this seaside community.

Scheider: He’s a guy who doesn’t understand the community, is afraid of water, the least likely hero, and that makes him the everyman…

Iorio: How was it that you and Steven Spielberg were able to create this character?

Scheider: Well, a very fortuitous thing happened on that film: the shark didn’t work! And that left us with weeks and weeks and weeks to shoot, polish, to improvise, to discuss, to enrich, to develop, to experiment with all the other [non-shark] scenes that, in a movie like that, would usually get a cursory treatment.

What happened was, [Robert] Shaw, [Richard] Dreyfuss and Scheider turned into a little rep company. And all those scenes, instead of just pushing the plot along, became golden in developing the characters. So when the crisis came, you really cared about those three guys. And as wonderful as [Peter] Benchley’s book was, those characters were not that likeable in the novel.

Iorio: They were very different in the book.

Scheider: Yes, yes. With all my problems, my character was a cuckold as well!

Iorio: Because Hooper had an affair –

Scheider: Yes, yes!

Iorio: [The adultery sub-plot] was jettisoned after a time. And then you did the legendary 159 day shoot —

Scheider: You had a very talented, imaginative, young director and three very fine actors who were quite suited for what they were playing.

Iorio: What about the classic sequence that begins with the scar comparing –

Scheider: In the script, that was just Shaw showing his scars from the U.S.S.

Iorio: Indianapolis.

Scheider: That sank. And that he was the victim of a shark. But I and Dreyfuss couldn’t take anything too seriously, so we had our way with that! [laughs] We don’t want this to get too heavy, now, do we? [laughs heartily] Like everything starts off as a joke. And then the director says, “Wait a minute, we can do that, we’ll use that!”

I remember one night we were having dinner up at Steven [Spielberg]’s cabin and we’d all have dinner up there and sit around the table and bullshit. And then we talked about the scene when we first fight the shark. We’re running around the boat and the Dreyfuss character is trying to get a picture of it.

Someone said [at the dinner table], you tell me to go out there to end of the boat. And I’ll say, “What for?” And he’ll say, “Just go out there, just go out there…so I can get a picture so I can see how small you are and what size the shark is.”

Iorio: [quoting from the movie] “Foreground my ass!”

Scheider: [roaring with laughter] And I go, “Fuck you, I’m not doing that.” That’s the playful nonsense that went on.

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“Foreground my ass!” shouts Brody to Hooper, who wants him to pose with the shark. [photo by Paul Iorio]

Iorio: What about the Indianapolis scene? I hear that [Robert] Shaw was drunk –

Scheider: There was no reference to [the Indianapolis] in the original script. But Spielberg’s friend, director John Milius, was shocked to find out that Steven didn’t know about the boat that delivered the bomb. And the story of the 300 some odd guys who stayed in the water [and were eaten by sharks]. So he had Milius write up something, then Carl [Gottlieb] wrote up something and then Shaw contributed something. And then everyone else contributed a few lines. My line was that sharks had “the doll-like eyes.”

Iorio: That was yours?

Scheider: Yes, that was my contribution. And Robert [Shaw] was an alcoholic and he had to be watched on certain days. And that’s a very difficult [monologue] that Shaw gives. And there are sections of that speech where he’s absolutely ripped. Shot over a period of two or three days.

Iorio: You have one of the most memorable lines that absolutely brings down the house: “We’re gonna need a bigger boat.”

Scheider: That was in the script. The first time he sees the shark…But I liked the line so much, it amused me so much, that I said, “I bet I could work this in in a few other places.” So I worked it in two more times.

Iorio: [Carl] Gottlieb told me that you improvised that line.

Scheider: I don’t know if I did or not. I might have. I’d have to check the original script. It seems so long ago now.

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“We’re gonna need a bigger boat,” Brody says after glimpsing the mega-shark. [photo by Paul Iorio]

Iorio: Yeah, it was 25 years ago. What kinds of things did Steven Spielberg tell you to direct you –

Scheider: For instance, he had a plan of how he wanted these characters to develop. And every aggressive and macho impulse I had for my character, he would grab me and pull me back and say, “No, no, don’t talk that way, don’t step forward like that, you are always afraid. Just Mr. Humble, all the time.”

[Spielberg] would say, “Because here’s what we want to do, which is gradually, slowly, carefully, humorously build this guy into being the hero of the movie.” And I’m sure he spoke the same way to Dreyfuss and Shaw. For instance, we would build Shaw from this crazy lunatic to a guy with a real reason to hate sharks. And, of course, he would wind up in the mouth of one. So that all the ironies would work.

Iorio: What about the one point during the scar-comparing when you lift up your shirt –

Scheider: That was my improv. I said, here are these two guys showing huge scars and what’ve I got? There’s a little tiny appendix scar.

Iorio: During the shoot, there was a lot of talk that this movie was going to tank.

Scheider: It’s not that it was going to tank, but that it was going to get pulled because it was costing too much money. Back in those days, if you went over $ 10 million dollars — wow! It was a big deal. That was ’74.

Iorio: And this was like $ 12 mil –

Scheider: And after months of preparation and the shark not working, we got to that figure pretty quickly. Even so, I don’t think the picture went over $ 12 [million]….The threat that was hanging over Steven’s head all the time was that he was going to have his picture taken away from him.

Iorio: Was there one point where you felt, this is really taking off…this is really something special?

Scheider: …I remember one day, they pulled the damn thing [shark] out and put it on the cables and ran it past the boat and it was as long as the boat and I said, “Oh, my god, that looks great.” I remember that day. We all probably lit cigars!

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Scheider (l) and Carl Gottlieb (far right), who co-wrote the “Jaws” screenplay and also appeared as an aide to the mayor (center, played by Murray Hamilton). [photo by Paul Iorio] .

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Interview With Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is an internationally known spiritual teacher whose Art of Living programs and humanitarian efforts have affected millions of lives. I had the opportunity to interview him during his recent visit to Los Angeles. Here are excerpts from that interview. (The photo was taken on a previous occasion.)

Q: The International Day of Yoga is June 21. Where will you be?

Sri Sri: New York. I’ll be speaking at Lincoln Center. I think it’s very much in the DNA of America to do yoga. It can bring health, sharpness of intellect, creativity, emotional stability and a broad vision, which America has always stood for. The U.S. is a very progressive country, very dynamic, very forward thinking.

Q: What would you like people to know about Yoga?

Sri Sri: Yoga is like a vast ocean. You can just go for a breeze, or you can go with an oil rig and drill for oil … Yoga offers many things to different people at many different levels–whatever they aspire for: union with the cosmic consciousness, or physical health, mental clarity, emotional stability, spiritual ecstasy — all this is part of yoga.

Q: Does it concern you that people think of Yoga only as asana [the familiar physical postures]?

Sri Sri: Not really, because at that moment that’s what they understand. But once they start doing asana they start seeing there is something beyond that. If interest for meditation gets kindled, then they are on the right track. But if it stops at exercise … it’s not bad, but they will not reach the goal.

Q: When people think of the classic eight limbs of Yoga

Sri Sri: I knew you would ask about that. Unfortunately, people think the eight limbs are eight steps, one after another. You know, when a baby is born it’s not that one limb develops after another. All the limbs develop simultaneously. The eight limbs of Yoga are so interconnected, if you pull one all the others will come along with it.

Q: Some people think you have to master the yamas and niyamas before you can do the others. [The yamas and niyamas — five behaviors to avoid and five to engage — constitute the first two limbs.]

Sri Sri: The limbs are not sequential, they are all together. The practice of the others contributes to the ability to observe the yamas and niyamas. When we teach meditation in prisons, we see that the moment they have a taste of meditation, their whole thought process and behavior pattern changes. They start on the path of non-violence. They become very truthful, and the tendencies to cheat disappear. So the yamas and niyamas start happening in people’s life just when they begin meditation.

Q: How do your Art of Living programs fit into the eight limbs of classical Yoga?

Sri Sri: Yoga would be incomplete if even one limb is absent from it. All the eight limbs coexist. Our program is the same way. We do some asana, and some pranayama-breathing exercises-and meditation that leads to samadhi [the 8th limb; not a practice but a state of consciousness transcending thought].

Q: Dharana and dyana are the sixth and seventh limbs. How do you explain the subtle distinction between the two?

Sri Sri: One leads into the other. Dharana is having the attention on a particular thing, and dyana is how the mind from there dissolves into samadhi.

Q: A lot of people translate dharana as concentration.

Sri Sri: Absolutely not. Concentration is an outcome of meditation. Dharana is attention — not tension; in concentration there is tension [laughs].

Q: Have you run into opposition or resistance in the U.S.?

Sri Sri: In the beginning we had a lot of resistance, and prejudice. But it’s much better now. Yoga is much more accepted. Today, car companies use meditation and yoga postures to sell their products.

Q: How is the acceptance of India’s spiritual traditions in India itself, as the country modernizes?

Sri Sri: The younger generation is taking to it now. One generation previous was a little skeptical. The media also played a role. Now it’s different. People see the practical benefit.

Q: There is a lot of concern in the press about the protection of religious minorities in India.

Sri Sri: I think the fear is unfounded. Minorities have always been in good favor in India. For centuries they have been protected. The people-to-people connection is very good. There is a certain amount of polarization for sure, but not to the extent that minorities should be afraid of anything.

Q: What about the conversion issue?

Sri Sri: I think conversion should be from head to heart, not from one religion to another religion. I feel people should become more spiritual — rise above the religious differences and come together in the spirit of vasudhaiv kutumbikam: The world is one family.

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

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Robert Downey Jr. Walks Out Of Interview After Being Asked About ‘Dark Periods’

Robert Downey Jr. is not down to talk about his past while promoting “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” During an interview with Channel 4, Krishnan Guru-Murthy asked him about his “dark periods,” bringing up his relationship with his father and past drug use. It did not go over well.

“The reason I’m asking you about the past is that you’ve talked in other interviews about your relationship with your father and the role of all of that in the dark periods you’ve been to, taking drugs and drinking and all of that,” Guru-Murthy said. “I’m wondering if you’re free of all of that or if that’s something you…”

Downey Jr. then cut him off and said, “I’m sorry, what are we doing?” A moment later, he stood up, said goodbye and left, saying, “It’s getting a little Diane Sawyer in here.” Watch it all go down in the last 90 seconds of the video below.

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This Is The ‘Daily Show’ Interview Jon Stewart Regrets Most

Jon Stewart spent 16 years behind the desk of “The Daily Show,” but there’s only one interview he really regrets.

In a discussion with The Guardian, the host said he wishes he questioned former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld harder about his role in the Bush administration’s post-9/11 conflicts. Rumsfeld visited “The Daily Show” in 2011 to discuss his memoir Known and Unknown.

I should have pushed, but he’s very adept at deflecting,” Stewart told The Guardian. “That interview with Rumsfeld went shitty, but it’s still just an interview. He’s the one who has to live with the repercussions of what he really did, so there’s nothing that could happen on my show that carries that same level of regret.”

The host went on to say the reason behind his choice to leave “The Daily Show,” noting that it had nothing to do with the show not working any longer. “It was more, ‘Yup, it’s working. But I’m not getting the same satisfaction.'”

“Daily Show” correspondent Trevor Noah will take over hosting the show later this year when Stewart steps down. Back in March, Stewart joked that he was so thrilled for Noah that he might even consider returning as a correspondent.

For the full interview, head over to The Guardian.

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

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Bitter Beer and Burning Whisky: An Interview With Musician Jeremy Mage

2015-01-04-May19.04JeremyMage0211.jpg

With the release of his latest music video, psychedelic singer-songwriter Jeremy Mage offers up a year-end toast to the “hell of a year” of 2014. Featuring Reggie Watts (incoming house band leader for CBS’s The Late, Late Show) on background vocals, and a host of Hungarian shoe puppets, Waste This Year is a darkly comic, commercially successful poke in the eye to unbridled avarice.

Recently I chatted with the Grammy award-winning Mage about his latest musical endeavor.

Stroud: You describe Waste This Year as a “wounded but not dead, apocalyptic but hopeful goodbye to 2014.” Why?

Mage: A lot of things came to a head in America this year. Somehow the combination of social media, a rollercoaster global economy, and very real racial tensions — combined with having a black President — seems to have brought up a lot of the divisions in America. Stuff is coming to a head and a lot of people are feeling even though we’re more connected, we’re more apart than we’ve ever been. Although I don’t know if that perception is actually true, because I think that it’s just easier to encounter the people that we disagree with now.

Stroud: What inspired you to write this song?

Mage: The melody came first and it just came with those words. Then I had to write backwards and figure out what I was talking about. Because I’m not a nihilistic person, I had to figure out what could it mean, how Waste This Year could actually be a positive thing. So I ended up writing a drinking song, basically a toast and a little bit of throwing up hands, about making a difference. But at the same time, it’s a call to community and recognition of a common enemy.

Stroud: Who’s the enemy?

Mage: In the song, the enemy is greed – greed and social control. I imagine some kind of pub in a mining town, maybe in a Road Warrior future, and this is what they’re singing. They can’t outright call the masters to task, but they can sing and the subversive content is bubbling underneath.

Stroud: What’s your favorite line in the lyrics?

Mage: I guess “fill my veins with pomegranate wine” is one of my favorites, or “the winking dollar casts his eye on everything.” When I’m singing it live, my favorite line is “If you know the enemy, you’ll recognize your friends” because it lets me look out at the audience and indicate to them that I consider them, in that moment, my friends.

Stroud: Comedian and musician Reggie Watts sings background vocals. How did he become involved?

Mage: An artist that I work with, [Afro-beat queen] Wunmi, brought me on tour to Australia. We did that country’s biggest festival circuit, which is The Big Day Out. It’s amazing — hundreds of bands from Indie rockers all the way up to the biggest global names. We were on what’s called the Lily World stage. Reggie Watts was one of the other acts, so we got to spend quite a bit of time together. He’s a genius, just as funny off-stage as he is on, but also very tenderhearted and very considerate with a lot of humility.

We ended up going to an after party, really late at night, and finished in my hotel room. It was about 3:00 in the morning. Reggie led the others in singing Waste This Year. I got a great take that ended up being in the final mix.

Stroud: What’s next for you?

Mage: I’m supporting my record on Tummy Touch, which is Jeremy Mage and the Magi, self-titled. Waste This Year is one of the tracks and it has been a really successful single in Europe, where it’s been getting a lot of play on the radio.

Stroud: Anything more you’d like to share with readers?

Mage: The spirit of the song, the reason I say “apocalyptic but hopeful,” is because that’s the kind of crossroad humanity is at right now. We’re facing some stark choices for our survival as a species on the planet. We stand on the precipice with one foot already hanging over, but I think that the spirit of community and sharing can ultimately triumph over greed.

Jeremy Mage’s Waste This Year Video

Reggie Watts, Bloody Beet Root and Jim Jones sing Jeremy Mage’s Waste This Year

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The Interview Movie – Available Now in US & Canada!

Only one movie has the whole world talking. The Interview is now available to purchase online!
Find out more at www.TheInterview-Movie.com

In case you missed it, watch The Interview and follow along with Seth Rogen, James Franco and Evan Goldberg’s hilarious live tweets! http://bit.ly/INTlivetweets

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Genre: Comedy / Action
Cast: James Franco, Seth Rogen, Lizzy Caplan, Randall Park
Directors: Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg
Screenplay by Dan Sterling
Story by Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg & Dan Sterling

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The Interview – Red Band Trailer (Final)

Watch the final red band trailer for the one movie that captured the world’s attention.
The Interview is now available to purchase online! Find out more at www.TheInterview-Movie.com

In case you missed it, watch The Interview and follow along with Seth Rogen, James Franco and Evan Goldberg’s hilarious live tweets! http://bit.ly/INTlivetweets

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Genre: Comedy / Action
Cast: James Franco, Seth Rogen, Lizzy Caplan, Randall Park
Directors: Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg
Screenplay by Dan Sterling
Story by Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg & Dan Sterling
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North Korea Blames U.S. For Shutting Down Its Internet, Says Obama Was Behind ‘The Interview’ Release

HYUNG-JIN KIM, Associated Press

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea called President Barack Obama “a monkey” and blamed the U.S. on Saturday for shutting down its Internet amid the hacking row over the comedy “The Interview.”

North Korea has denied involvement in a crippling cyberattack on Sony Pictures but has expressed fury over the comedy depicting an assassination of its leader Kim Jong Un. After Sony Pictures initially called off the release in a decision criticized by Obama, the movie has opened this week.

On Saturday, the North’s powerful National Defense Commission, the country’s top governing body led by Kim, said that Obama was behind the release of “The Interview.” It described the movie as illegal, dishonest and reactionary.

“Obama always goes reckless in words and deeds like a monkey in a tropical forest,” an unidentified spokesman at the commission’s Policy Department said in a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency.

He also accused Washington for intermittent outages of North Korea websites this week, after the U.S. had promised to respond to the Sony hack.

There was no immediate reaction from the White House on Saturday.

According to the North Korea commission’s spokesman, “the U.S., a big country, started disturbing the Internet operation of major media of the DPRK, not knowing shame like children playing a tag.”

The commission said the movie was the results of a hostile U.S. policy toward North Korea, and threatened the U.S. with unspecified consequences.

North Korea and the U.S. remain technically in a state of war because the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty. The rivals also are locked in an international standoff over the North’s nuclear and missile programs and its alleged human rights abuses. The U.S. stations about 28,500 troops in South Korea as deterrence against North Korean aggression.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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The Interview Movie – Freedom Prevails!

Christmas came early and you can now get The Interview on digital HD! See Seth Rogen and James Franco in their hilarious new comedy.

Watch the Full Length Movie:
http://www.theinterview-movie.com

Places to Watch:
Google Play: http://play.google.com/
YouTube Movies: http://youtube.com/movies
Xbox: http://video.xbox.com/
Kernel: http://SeeTheInterview.com/
-For the best mobile experience check out Google Play or Kernel
-Currently available in the US only

See The Interview in select theaters:
bit.ly/INT_Theaters

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https://twitter.com/TheInterview

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The Interview Movie – Now Playing on Digital HD!

Christmas came early and you can now get The Interview on digital HD! See Seth Rogen and James Franco in their hilarious new comedy.

Watch the Full Length Movie:
http://www.theinterview-movie.com

Places to Watch:
Google Play: http://play.google.com/
YouTube Movies: http://youtube.com/movies
Xbox: http://video.xbox.com/
Kernel: http://SeeTheInterview.com/
-For the best mobile experience check out Google Play or Kernel
-Currently available in the US only

See The Interview in select theaters:
bit.ly/INT_Theaters

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https://twitter.com/TheInterview

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All the Places You Can Stream The Interview

The Interview has taken us on one helluvan emotional roller coaster: You can see it, you can see it at your own risk, you can't see it, just kidding you can see it again (!!)—but…




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The Interview Movie – Now Playing Online & in Select Theaters!

Christmas came early and you can now get The Interview on digital HD! See Seth Rogen and James Franco in their hilarious new comedy.

Watch the Full Length Movie:
http://www.theinterview-movie.com

Places to Watch:
Google Play: http://play.google.com/
YouTube Movies: http://youtube.com/movies
Xbox: http://video.xbox.com/
Kernel: http://SeeTheInterview.com/
-For the best mobile experience check out Google Play or Kernel
-Currently available in the US only

See The Interview in select theaters:
bit.ly/INT_Theaters

Follow us for updates:
https://www.facebook.com/TheInterview
https://twitter.com/TheInterview

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Google’s Christmas Doodle Contains A Plug For ‘The Interview’

It appears Google really wants you to spend your Christmas watching “The Interview.” Just check out the note at the bottom of its festive Doodle.

google doodle

Yesterday, Google began streaming “The Interview” on Google Play and YouTube, a week after Sony allegedly approached the search engine giant asking for help distributing the film. The comedy, starring Seth Rogen and James Franco, is also available on Microsoft’s Xbox Video and on SeeTheInterview.com. It will be playing on Christmas Day at about 300 movie theaters across the country.

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The Interview – From the Guys (ft Seth Rogen & James Franco)

In Select Theaters on 25 December 2014 (United States)

Genre: Comedy / Action
Cast: James Franco, Seth Rogen, Lizzy Caplan, Randall Park
Directors: Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg
Screenplay by Dan Sterling
Story by Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg & Dan Sterling

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‘The Interview’ Will Reportedly Be Available On VOD Via YouTube

A day after Sony authorized screenings of “The Interview” in a limited number of theaters, it was revealed that the studio may also release the film via video-on-demand. “The Interview” will be available to rent on YouTube, according to CNN’s Brian Stelter, who reports that the deals are still in negotiations. Stelter also reports that YouTube will probably not be the only service to offer the film this way. A representative for Sony was not immediately available for comment.

Last week, it was unclear if people would ever see “The Interview.” Following terror threats made by hackers against theaters that planned to show the film, major chains like AMC Entertainment, Regal Entertainment, Cinemark, Cineplex Entertainment and Carmike Cinemas pulled “The Interview” from schedules. Sony then dropped the film from its release schedule.

Soon after, Sony was criticized by members of the Hollywood community and President Barack Obama, who called the cancellation “a mistake.” On Tuesday, Sony flipped its decision and announced that the film would make it to select theaters on Christmas Day, its previously scheduled release date. Independent movie theaters around the country amended their schedules to add showtimes.

On Tuesday, TheWrap reported that an on-demand release for “The Interview” was forthcoming to coincide with plans to show the film in more than 200 theaters nationwide. (Here’s a list of all the theaters showing “The Interview.”) There were also rumors that Sony would release “The Interview” via Crackle, the streaming video service the company owns, but that speculation proved untrue. BitTorrent also said it would allow Sony to release the film via its platform.

Co-directed by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, “The Interview” focuses on what happens when the C.I.A. enlists an entertainment journalist (James Franco) and his producer (Rogen) to assassinate Kim Jong Un (Randall Park). You will likely now be able to watch the comedy as Rogen and Franco probably always intended: at home with a joint.
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‘The Interview’ Porn Parody Is Really Going To Upset Kim Jong-Un: Hustler Boss

Nothing screams freedom of speech like a good ol’ American parody porn film.

Hustler boss Larry Flynt announced that he’s producing a parody version of ‘The Interview’ as a response to the film being pulled from theaters amid threats by hackers linked to North Korea.

Sony’s move was criticized by President Barack Obama, as well as Hollywood A-listers like George Clooney and Sean Penn.

But Hustler Video is not backing down. The parody, which is titled “This Ain’t The Interview XXX,” will be released first quarter of 2015.

In “The Interview,” Seth Rogen and James Franco travel to North Korea in a plot to kill leader Kim Jong-un with an exploding tank shell that blows off the dictator’s face. What raunchy surprises will the Hustler treatment of the film have in store?

“If Kim Jong-un and his henchmen were upset before, wait till they see the movie we’re going to make,” Hustler founder and chairman Larry Flynt said, according to AVN. “I’ve spent a lifetime fighting for the First Amendment, and no foreign dictator is going to take away my right to free speech.”

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‘Dark Knight Rises’ Murders Hung Over ‘The Interview’ Decision

LOS ANGELES (AP) — When a group claiming credit for the hacking of Sony Pictures Entertainment threated violence against theaters showing “The Interview” earlier this week, the fate of the movie’s big-screen life was all but sealed.

Even though law enforcement didn’t deem the threats of violence credible at the time, theater owners and Sony undoubtedly considered the 2012 massacre of a dozen people in a Colorado movie theater. That attack came without warning, and at the time there was no precedent for such mass violence against a U.S. movie audience. The theater’s owner contends it could not have foreseen the bloodshed, but it still faces 20 lawsuits over the mass shootings and survivors and victims’ families asserting more should have been done to protect those who went to see a midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises.”

Experts say the defense used by Cinemark Holdings, Inc couldn’t be used if violence broke out at a showing of “The Interview.”

“It wasn’t worth the risk,” said Eric Wold, a movie exhibitor analyst with B. Riley & Co.

Despite the legal liability, at least one notable lawyer disagrees with the decision to cancel “The Interview.” President Barack Obama said Friday that it was a mistake for Sony to scrap the film, and he wished executives had consulted with him first.

“We cannot have a society in which some dictatorship someplace can start imposing censorship,” Obama said.

Some Hollywood notables, including actors Rob Lowe, Steve Carrell and director Michael Moore, have also criticized Sony’s decision.

Diplomatic and creative considerations aside, scrapping “The Interview” was not a huge financial consideration for theater owners, who would ultimately be responsible for any lawsuits over violence. The film, starring Seth Rogen and James Franco, was expected to account for less than two percent of fourth quarter earnings for movie theaters, Wold said.

Due to digital projections, theater owners can quickly re-program their screens to show other movies, such as new releases “The Hobbit 3” or “Night at the Museum.” ”It’s the press of a button,” Wold said.

The alternative could have been serious injuries to moviegoers as well as multiple lawsuits if the group calling itself the Guardians of Peace, or a copycat, attacked a cinema, said Jonathan Handel, a lawyer and professor at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law.

“That’s a lot of liability hanging over the theater chain,” Handel said.

He noted that mall owners and other studios had pressured Sony to cancel the Christmas Day release of “The Interview,” which stars Seth Rogen and James Franco. “They don’t want the movie-going experience on Christmas Day to resemble check in at LAX,” he said.

The film features an assassination plot against North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and the nation has denounced the movie. The FBI said Friday that it had determined North Korea was responsible for the hacking of Sony’s servers, which resulted in the theft of unreleased films, scripts, financial and medical information on employees and other corporate data.

It was only a matter of hours after hackers threatened massive violence against any theater showing “The Interview” that exhibitors started dropping the film. And no wonder.

“If, God forbid, something happened, they’re the ones who would be responsible for any lack of security or decisions that were made that led to the incident,” said entertainment attorney Uri Fleming of the firm Kleinberg Lange Cuddy & Carlo.

Sony cited the theater owners’ decision to drop the film as the reason for its pulling of the movie.

“Without theaters, we could not release it in the theaters on Christmas Day. We had no choice,” the company wrote in a statement. Sony said it was looking for alternative distribution channels for the film.

It remains unclear how a jury will perceive the case against Cinemark, which operated the Aurora, Colo., theater that James Holmes attacked in July 2012 during a midnight screening of the final installment of the latest Batman trilogy.

In court filings, lawyers for victims of the shooting have noted that Cinemark deployed extra security at some of its midnight “Dark Knight Rises” screenings and had employed a security firm to assess the risk of a drug cartel attacking a theater along the U.S.-Mexico border.

In an August ruling rejecting a motion by Cinemark to throw out the Aurora victims’ suits, U.S. District Court Judge R. Brooke Jackson wrote that whether the company could have been expected to deploy extra security without a threat against its theaters “is not an easy question to answer.”

However, the judge noted that moviegoers are especially vulnerable to attack.

“Although theaters had theretofore been spared a mass shooting incident, the patrons of a movie theater are, perhaps even more than students in a school or shoppers in a mall, ‘sitting ducks,'” Jackson wrote.

Fleming, the entertainment attorney, said Sony and the theater chains are unlikely to face any significant repercussions from pulling “The Interview.”

“Business relationships are the glue that bind (Hollywood),” he said.

___

Anthony McCartney can be reached at http://twitter.com/mccartneyAP
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In The Wake Of ‘The Interview,’ A Brief Look At America’s Film Censorship Through The Years

As we’re bombarded with developments surrounding Sony Pictures’ decision to cancel the release of “The Interview” in the wake of terrorism threats, we’re reminded of America’s long history with film censorship — one that, thankfully, doesn’t often rear its head anymore. Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s comedy stars Rogen and James Franco as journalists ordered to assassinate North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un after landing a rare interview with him. It’s an (almost) unheard-of case of executives electing to pull a movie; historically, it took a court order to strong-arm studios into cutting their losses over a controversial project. This is, after all, an entertainment industry that operated under the Motion Picture Production Code (aka the Hays Code), which regulated what could be seen onscreen from 1930 to 1968. That set of regulations brought about an onslaught of imbroglios over what did and didn’t violate standards. We’ve compiled a list of several movies that act as precursors to the censorship questions being raised with the “Interview” controversy. It only skims the surface of film restrictions in American history, but it’ll give you an idea of some of the battles filmmakers and distributors have faced over the years.


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The Interview ESPN Promo Blake Griffin pitches Space Jam to Seth Rogen

ESPN Promo featuring Blake Griffin
Looks like Blake has a great idea for a sports movie! See what Seth Rogen & James Franco think about his pitch.

For more, go to http://theinterviewmovie.tumblr.com/

Release Date: 25 December 2014 (United States)

Genre: Comedy / Action
Cast: James Franco, Seth Rogen, Lizzy Caplan, Randall Park
Directors: Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg
Screenplay by Dan Sterling
Story by Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg & Dan Sterling

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Seth Rogen & James Franco – PubLIZity Interview

Seth Rogen & James Franco interview a new publicist and things get interesting.

Comedy Central, The Kroll Show and The Interview team up for a hilarious partnership! For more, visit www.theinterview-movie.com

Release Date: 25 December 2014 (United States)

Genre: Comedy / Action
Cast: James Franco, Seth Rogen, Lizzy Caplan, Randall Park
Directors: Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg
Screenplay by Dan Sterling
Story by Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg & Dan Sterling

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Hollywood Slams Decision To Cancel ‘The Interview’

(Reuters) – Hollywood filmmakers and actors voiced outrage on Wednesday after Sony Pictures pulled the release of North Korea parody “The Interview,” following threats from hackers who waged a massive cyberattack on the movie studio.

Actors Ben Stiller, Steve Carell, Rob Lowe, late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel and filmmaker Judd Apatow, all friends of “The Interview” stars Seth Rogen and James Franco, criticized the decision made by movie theaters and Sony.

Lowe, who has a cameo in the film, tweeted “Wow. Everyone caved. The hackers won. An utter and complete victory for them.”

Raunchy satire “The Interview” follows a hapless TV host (Franco) and producer (Rogen) who score an interview with the elusive North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and are recruited by the CIA to assassinate him.

Sony Pictures canceled the film’s Dec. 25 release as major U.S. theater chains decided to postpone screenings after hackers forced an apparently unprecedented change of plans for a major movie release.

Kimmel, writing on Twitter, called the decision “an un-American act of cowardice that validates terrorist actions and sets a terrifying precedent.”

Stiller, who directed and starred in 2001’s “Zoolander”, about a male fashion model brainwashed to assassinate a fictional prime minister of Malaysia, called “The Interview” cancellation “a threat to freedom of expression.”

Carell, who has starred alongside Rogen in numerous comedies, said “Sad day for creative expression,” with the hashtag #feareatsthesoul.

Both Carell and Stiller also tweeted pictures of Charlie Chaplin playing his Adolf Hitler parody in 1940 film “The Great Dictator.”

Franco and Rogen, who directed, produced and wrote “The Interview” with filmmaking partner Evan Goldberg, did not make any public statements on Wednesday.

A U.S. government source said investigators had determined North Korea was behind last month’s cyber attack on Sony Corp’s movie studio, leaking documents that drew global headlines.

One Texas cinema chain, Alamo Drafthouse, said early on Wednesday it planned to show “The Interview”, even as other theaters bailed.

When Sony pulled “The Interview,” the chain said it would screen at its Dallas-Fort Worth theater the 2004 puppet-comedy “Team America: World Police” in which a U.S. paramilitary force tries to foil a plot by then-North Korean leader Kim Jong Il.

Sony said it had no plans to release “The Interview” on DVD, video-on-demand or online streaming platforms, despite support of the idea from fans on social media.

(Additional reporting by Eric Kelsey and Lisa Richwine; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)
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The Interview Movie Clip: The Sneeze (ft. Seth Rogen & James Franco)

Yup, there is a zero percent chance this will work.

Release Date: 25 December 2014 (United States)
In the action-comedy The Interview, Dave Skylark (James Franco) and his producer Aaron Rapoport (Seth Rogen) run the popular celebrity tabloid TV show “Skylark Tonight.” When they discover that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is a fan of the show, they land an interview with him in an attempt to legitimize themselves as journalists. As Dave and Aaron prepare to travel to Pyongyang, their plans change when the CIA recruits them, perhaps the two least-qualified men imaginable, to assassinate Kim Jong-un.

Genre: Comedy / Action
Cast: James Franco, Seth Rogen, Lizzy Caplan, Randall Park
Directors: Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg
Screenplay by Dan Sterling
Story by Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg & Dan Sterling

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The Interview – ‘Gangster’ TV Commercial – In Theaters 12/25!

Release Date: 25 December 2014 (United States)
In the action-comedy The Interview, Dave Skylark (James Franco) and his producer Aaron Rapoport (Seth Rogen) run the popular celebrity tabloid TV show “Skylark Tonight.” When they discover that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is a fan of the show, they land an interview with him in an attempt to legitimize themselves as journalists. As Dave and Aaron prepare to travel to Pyongyang, their plans change when the CIA recruits them, perhaps the two least-qualified men imaginable, to assassinate Kim Jong-un.

Genre: Comedy / Action
Cast: James Franco, Seth Rogen, Lizzy Caplan, Randall Park
Directors: Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg
Screenplay by Dan Sterling
Story by Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg & Dan Sterling

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The Interview

The Interview Opens Thursday, Dec 25, 2014

In the action-comedy The Interview, Dave Skylark (James Franco) and his producer Aaron Rapoport (Seth Rogen) run the popular celebrity tabloid TV show “Skylark Tonight.” When they discover that North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un is a fan of the show, they land an interview with him in an attempt to legitimize themselves as journalists. As Dave and Aaron prepare to travel to Pyongyang, their plans change when the CIA recruits them, perhaps the two least-qualified men imaginable, to assassinate Kim Jong-un.

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The Interview Final Trailer – Meet Kim Jong-Un

Dave Skylark has landed the Interview of a lifetime as they head to North Korea to interview Kim Jong-un.

Release Date: 25 December 2014 (United States)
In the action-comedy The Interview, Dave Skylark (James Franco) and his producer Aaron Rapoport (Seth Rogen) run the popular celebrity tabloid TV show “Skylark Tonight.” When they discover that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is a fan of the show, they land an interview with him in an attempt to legitimize themselves as journalists. As Dave and Aaron prepare to travel to Pyongyang, their plans change when the CIA recruits them, perhaps the two least-qualified men imaginable, to assassinate Kim Jong-un.

Genre: Comedy / Action
Cast: James Franco, Seth Rogen, Lizzy Caplan, Randall Park
Directors: Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg
Screenplay by Dan Sterling
Story by Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg & Dan Sterling

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Shia LaBeouf Gives Strange Silent Hour-Long ‘Interview’

Celebrate your Thanksgiving by watching Shia LaBeouf be silent for an hour. In the Winter 2014 issue of Dazed, writer Aimee Cliff chronicled her time arranging an “interview” with LaBeouf. They emailed at length about his recent projects including the “I Am Sorry” installation in LA, “Fury,” “Nymphomaniac” and “his newfound affinity with metamodernism.” He suggested that when they met in person, they wouldn’t speak. When they finally did sit down in a London hotel, LaBeouf and Cliff strapped Go-Pros to their heads and sat for an hour in silence.

During these emails, LaBeouf also wrote that he had been raped during “I Am Sorry,” the exhibit in which he met people one by one (also in silence) for five days. His account of the incident is below:

One woman who came with her boyfriend, who was outside the door when this happened, whipped my legs for ten minutes and then stripped my clothing and proceeded to rape me…There were hundreds of people in line when she walked out with dishevelled hair and smudged lipstick. It was no good, not just for me but her man as well. On top of that my girl was in line to see me, because it was Valentine’s Day and I was living in the gallery for the duration of the event – we were separated for five days, no communication. So it really hurt her as well, as I guess the news of it travelled through the line. When she came in she asked for an explanation, and I couldn’t speak, so we both sat with this unexplained trauma silently. It was painful.


Watch the whole “interview:”

INTERVIEW from Rönkkö / Turner on Vimeo.

To read the whole story, head over to Dazed.
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The Interview – Final International Trailer

Release Date: 25 December 2014 (United States)
In the action-comedy The Interview, Dave Skylark (James Franco) and his producer Aaron Rapoport (Seth Rogen) run the popular celebrity tabloid TV show Skylark Tonight. When they discover that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is a fan of the show, they land an interview with him in an attempt to legitimize themselves as journalists. As Dave and Aaron prepare to travel to Pyongyang, their plans change when the CIA recruits them, perhaps the most unlikely candidates, to take out Kim Jong-un.

Genre: Comedy / Action
Cast: James Franco, Seth Rogen, Lizzy Caplan, Randall Park
Directors: Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg
Screenplay by Dan Sterling
Story by Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg & Dan Sterling

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Uploads by Sony Pictures Entertainment

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The Interview: Character Featurette – Meet Sook

Release Date: 25 December 2014 (United States)
In the action-comedy The Interview, Dave Skylark (James Franco) and his producer Aaron Rapoport (Seth Rogen) run the popular celebrity tabloid TV show “Skylark Tonight.” When they discover that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is a fan of the show, they land an interview with him in an attempt to legitimize themselves as journalists. As Dave and Aaron prepare to travel to Pyongyang, their plans change when the CIA recruits them, perhaps the two least-qualified men imaginable, to assassinate Kim Jong-un.

Genre: Comedy / Action
Cast: James Franco, Seth Rogen, Lizzy Caplan, Randall Park
Directors: Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg
Screenplay by Dan Sterling
Story by Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg & Dan Sterling

Subscribe to Sony Pictures for more great content: http://bit.ly/SonyPicsSubscribe
Uploads by Sony Pictures Entertainment

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The Producer’s Work: An Interview With Park Chan-wook

The Producers’ Work is an experiment created for the sole purposes of this blog. We want to take a closer look at the producers working in different areas of the art and entertainment industry. Why? Mainly because we are curious! These powerful and yet mysterious personalities are strongly mythologized by the society. We would like to know more.

Who are they?

What do they do?

What responsibilities do they have?

We do know that the producers are a group of outstanding, creative and charismatic personalities. That is why we would like to introduce to you The Producer’s Work!

We would like to welcome Park Chan-wook, director of cult classic Oldboy and producer of Snowpiercer which recently came out on Blu-Ray and DVD.


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Park Chan-wook © Masha Kuvshinova [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], Wikimedia Commons

Przemyslaw Dobrzynski: Why have you decided to get involved with the production of the Snowpiercer movie as a producer?

Park Chan-wook: It was already some time ago, when I started my own production company. I’ve met with director Bong Joon-ho, who is my close friend and he asked me if we would do something together. At that stage, Bong had planned to start with two projects, the first was Mother, and the second was the Snowpiercer. He asked me, in which of the two I would like to get involved, and, being a fan of science fiction, I was much more interested in Snowpiercer. I got into the hands of graphic novel Le Transperceneige, on which the movie is based, and then decided to bring it to the big screen.

P. D.: Why did you cast Chris Evans in the leading role? He is associated with some other type of productions, and physically he’s almost the embodiment of the typical American Boy.

P.C.: Chris has been willing to work on some serious project for a long time. He is now at the point of his career, which generates fears that the role of the Captain America may cling to him permanently. On the other hand, his current position provides a great amount of freedom about choosing out of next proposals that are being sent to him. We were impressed by his determination to do something that differs from his current resume. In addition, he was familiar with all of the films, director Bong Joon-ho did in the past, so we knew that Chris knows what he wants and that he is aware of what he is signing for.

Marcin J. Sobczak: Have you seen Chris in Captain America before the casting?

P.C.: No, I have not seen this film, but I watched The Avengers and I really liked it.

P.D.: You mentioned that you are a big fan of science-fiction movies. What are your favorites?

P.C.: I love science fiction as a genre, not just in film, but mostly in books to be honest. What’s more, I believe that cinema is not able to compete with the sci-fi literature at any level. That being said, for me, the best film of this genre has always been the Blade Runner by Ridley Scott.

P.D.: Were you inspired by this film while working on Snowpiercer?

P.C.: At some point I certainly thought about the original Planet of the Apes in the context of the strong cliffhanger at the end. On the other hand, in the case of Namgoong Minsu character I was thinking about some similarities between him and Han Solo from Star Wars. He is not the main character, but it’s not a supporting role either. And if we are talking about the action of the film, sealed in a narrow, confined space, the obvious inspiration was Alien if I would have to compare it to something.

P.D.: For a time you worked as a film critic. Don’t you miss that?

P.C.: No, not at all. But not because it was a bad job or something like that. I just always wanted to be a director. My first films weren’t successful, so I was forced to seek other work which would, temporarily, allow me to make a living. So I started working as a film critic. However, it was not a free choice I wanted to make myself, but rather a necessity, and that’s why I do not miss it too much.

M.J.S.: As a director and producer at the same time, tell me, why the brutal violence, so often associated with Korean cinema, meets with greater tolerance of the audience in your country than in other parts of the world?

P.C.: It’s not quite as you’re saying. It’s a strange phenomenon, that of all the movies that are created in Korea, the international disturbance is given to those containing a huge dose of violence. And they are neither numerous nor have any great successes in our cinemas. I do not think that Korean audiences are more tolerant towards violence than the rest of the world. Just looking at the box office in Korea, we see that the most successful films are comedies – movies that entertain. Violent films are quite niche, really.

M.J.S.: You had the opportunity to work on film sets in both Korea and America. I remember that one time you used a quote from Ang Lee who said that: “In Asia, the director is a king, and in America – a president.”

P.C.: This is due to the different work ethos and how it is perceived in this two countries. In Korea director really is like a king, he has a decisive opinion on any matter concerning the film and also determines how it will look in the final stage. In the United States, the director is often regarded as one of the artisans, who reports directly to the producers. Obviously this is not always the case, but it seems to me that in Asian cinema both parties are more willing to compromise.

P.D.: You have achieved a lot in the international arena. What did you learn doing your debut in Hollywood with Stoker?

P.C.: Gearing up to my English-language debut in Hollywood I did not expect anything great, on the contrary, I wanted to do something very inconspicuous and ephemeral. In all my previous films, the only level where I hit on the linguistic or cultural barrier between diverse audience from around the world was the humor. Creating an English-language film finally gave me a chance to try to reach a Western audience, which this time will understand all the funny scenes that I had in mind. Of course, in a movie such as Stoker, which is quite dark thriller, there are not too many funny moments, but for me, as an artist, there is nothing more frustrating than a situation in which the audience does not understand all my intentions.

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Still from Snowpiercer. Courtesy of Radius TWC

M.J.S.: Watching your previous films: Old Boy, Lady Vengeance and most recently Stoker, it is easy to conclude that you’re attracted by dark stories, which, however, are beautifully filmed. Why do you think this type of dichotomy is important in your own storytelling?

P.C.: Despite the fact that I live a very quiet and peaceful life, without any major problems, I’m always interested in finding the other “me”, who craves more negative emotions such as revenge or jealousy. This “dark half”, hidden somewhere inside me, stimulates me to reflect on how to take it with me. One of the reasons why I make this type of films is probably self-analysing this phenomenon of my own personality. And if I want to be interested in including a wider audience, I want to show it in a beautiful, for no one would be interested to look at ugly and horrible images. When something repulsive and dark is shown in a beautiful way, then we have to deal with irony. Then we can easily take care of discovering the complexity of the human nature.

P.D.: Your main characters are not only men but sometimes also women. How do you manage to come into their psyche and reliably show them on screen so that the audience sympathize with them?

P.C.: It is said that every person has a masculine and feminine side of personality. I’m not a woman, but in such cases I try to wake up this feminine element within me. Aside of that I have a daughter who is the same age as the character played by Mia Wasikowska in the movie Stoker. It was also one of the reasons why I became involved in this project. Above all, I draw the handful of conversations with my wife – most of my inspirations come directly from my conversations with her.

M.J.S.: Have you seen remake of your own Oldboy, directed by Spike Lee?

P.C.: No, I have not seen it yet. When it appeared in theaters in Korea I’ve been too busy working on Snowpiercer. But I’m really curious and want to see it sometime in the nearest future on the DVD.

This interview was made and written by Przemyslaw Dobrzynski, Marcin J. Sobczak and Bruno Lekki.
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ReThink Interview: Jake Paltrow, Writer/Director of Young Ones

When I was a kid, it always frustrated me to read a movie critic’s best-of-the-year list to find it full of movies I’d never heard of, usually foreign films or small independent ones that weren’t advertised on TV and didn’t make it to the multiplexes in the suburbs where I lived. “Surely if these movies were that great, I would’ve at least heard of them,” I thought, assuming that critics were including these lesser-known films so people would think they were too cool for more mainstream fare, regardless of its quality.

As I got older, I realized that sometimes the best movies (and I’m not even including documentaries) simply don’t have the star power, mass appeal, or marketing muscle to break into the public’s consciousness. And with time, I grew to relish stumbling upon one of these hidden gems that could have been so easily missed. It makes you feel both lucky to have found it and grateful that filmmakers devote so much to making something so idiosyncratic and special that it actually reduces the film’s chances of a wider audience. Being surprised by an unknown movie you absolutely love is one of life’s great, simple, rare treats, with all the thrill of knowing a big secret but with the fun of having a guilt-free license to blab about it.

I guess I’m saying that now I understand those list-making lovers of obscure films, and to prove it, I’d like to express my affection for Young Ones, a film written and directed by Jake Paltrow that you almost certainly haven’t heard of but definitely shouldn’t miss. Set in a not-too-distant future where hearts, minds, and politics have been hardened by years of brutal drought, Young Ones goes way beyond the sci-fi Western categorization it’s been given to address timeless themes like family, economic struggle, regret, revenge, and adulthood. Watch my review of Young Ones below.

I had the chance to meet Jake Paltrow, and we talked about the film and how frustrating it is to feel like critics are missing the point.

On why the film is entitled Young Ones and Paltrow’s thoughts on the resiliency of youth:

Jake Paltrow: It feels like, and now as a father, I see that kids are sort of built to survive. I remember Roman Polanski talking a bit about, as a boy in the ghetto, how the kids didn’t know anything else, so they just created a life from what was available. There’s a naturally heroic thing in that even when you don’t intend it, and especially if it’s not something you’re choosing. So I was sort of reflecting on his point of view about his own youth, and I think that idea really drove the S.E. Hinton books, which were the first things that got me really excited about writing a movie like this when I reread “Rumble Fish” and “The Outsiders”. And the way she treated kids, told their stories, and the way the kids could sort of survive in those stories felt like something we hadn’t seen in a while.

On how the production came up with the design of the “dooley” rifle/shotgun:

JP: That’s one of those things that feels like a practical evolution of home defense down the road a bit, a long-range and short-range gun built into one thing. But I just liked it as a way to develop these small things within the film that let you know that it’s not contemporary, it’s not the way things are in life now, they’re a little bit different. I just thought it would have an emotional quality where you’d never have to point at it or say anything about it but the audience would just look at it, know what it is, and maybe think it’s cool.

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The dooley rifle/shotgun.

On why Paltrow cast Nicholas Hoult (who plays Flem Lever, one of the film’s three main characters):

JP: I loved him in Tom Ford’s movie A Single Man, and you meet him in that and you’re not sure who the kid is, and even as the film unfolds you’re wondering, “Is he a hustler? Or is he an angel?” And Nick has such a natural warmth that I had a hunch he could be this enigmatic force in the movie, but at the same time make the character of Flem much more complex, and that’s exactly what happened. He elevated that character quite a bit in terms of complexity from the way it was written in the screenplay.

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Nicholas Hoult plays Flem Lever.

On why critics who call Young Ones “dystopian post-apocalyptic sci-fi” are missing the point:

JP: To me the world isn’t apocalyptic at all, especially in what that means to people now where there are so many of these movies where the post-apocalyptic thing always seems to take on a supernatural quality, like a nuclear holocaust or an unnamed event, where something has happened and we’re not going to talk about it but here’s the world because of it. I think for this movie what we’re really dealing with is an extrapolation of an environmental and political landscape we’re living through right now in California, and this sort of ratchets it up to an extreme, but not an extreme that’s sitting on something fictional.

Jonathan Kim: It’s not even extreme!

JP: Of course! The water agreements between all these western states are really complicated and really weird and they’ve been changed through the years starting in the 1920s, and there’s a potential conflict in place. I think in the 1930s the governor of Arizona sent the National Guard troops he had in his state to this dam that was being built out of fear that too much water was being siphoned off and sent in the wrong direction. There’s a history of this almost armed conflict over water issues, especially between Arizona and California. And in the late 60s Arizona made a concession to Phoenix and Tucson that, in case of a catastrophe, they would put themselves last on the list for water, and we’re almost there. We’re at this point now where, in this agreement, those cities would lose 50% of their water before California would lose a drop. And the fictional aspect of the film is that if you end up with some ambitious, despotic governor who says he wants to shore up the water reserves and no more water is coming to California, our movie shows the reaction by the federal government which is to treat that offending state like Zimbabwe and sort of freeze it out completely, and these are the people left behind. So this isn’t happening everywhere, this is happening in sort of a fictional version of Colorado meets Arizona, mixing the political landscape and topography, but these are all things that aren’t so off base.

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Interview With Demi Lovato: Using Her Tour and Platform to Empower Others

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Many popular young stars resist or rebel against the role model label. Not platinum-selling recording artist Demi Lovato, who has not only embraced it, but has taken it to a whole new level. In addition to candidly sharing her own personal story of overcoming obstacles when she does interviews and during her performances, she has also created her own pioneering campaigns that shine an impactful spotlight on causes that are dear to her heart, which she has incorporated into her current Demi World Tour.

Her latest campaign was sparked on her 21st birthday. When Lovato turned 21, she decided to do something transformative for herself and others by going on a volunteer trip to East Africa with Me to We, “an innovative social enterprise that transforms people into world-changers, one action and experience at a time.” On the trip, Lovato helped build an X-ray clinic and hauled water for the women living in the drought-stricken rural community. She also joined in a traditional beading circle with Me to We Artisans Maasai Mamas. Meeting the Maasai Mamas moved Lovato to create the Limited Edition Demi Lovato Rafiki Friend Chain. This special edition piece will be sold at all of her tour stops for $ 15 with 100 percent of the proceeds going toward Lovato’s goal to fund the building of a Women’s Empowerment Center in Kenya. The center will offer skill training workshops aligned to local culture and traditions, provide access to computer labs and offer a space to accommodate local artisans who are participating in the Me to We Artisans program, giving women the autonomy and capacity to create strong economic futures for themselves and their families.

As an additional feature to empower audiences on her world tour, Lovato has added renowned Me to We motivational speaker Spencer West, who lost both his legs at a young age and garnered international media attention in 2012 when he reached the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro. West, whom Lovato had befriended on her Africa trip, shares his courageous story and inspires Lovato’s fans to overcome obstacles and redefine what’s possible.

Lovato has also been stepping up as an outspoken advocate for mental health issues, specifically bipolar disorder, with which she was diagnosed and has talked openly about. She recently announced her involvement with The Mental Health Listening & Engagement Tour at which she will connect with some of the nation’s leading experts and advocates over a series of discussions to speak about her own life experiences, encouraging and inspiring others with her own journey. Lovato had released a PSA video when she announced the tour, in which she explains, “Bipolar depression really got my life off track, but today I’m proud to say I am living proof that someone can live, love, and be well with bipolar disorder when they get the education, support and treatment they need.”

Lovato also uses her writing as a tool to inspire others. Her #1 New York Times-bestselling book book, Staying Strong: 365 Days A Year was a compilation of advice, quotes and affirmations that helped guide her personally along her journey. Her follow-up to this book, which comes out today, is Staying Strong: A Journal, a writing journal for readers to capture and reflect on how they are feeling, which features new quotes chosen by Demi throughout to help inspire and motivate expression: “happiness, sadness and everything in between.” Says Lovato, “To stay strong every day it’s important to express yourself.”

I talked with the multi-talented Lovato about all her various projects and why she feels so passionately called to use her platform to help and inspire others.

Tell us about your trip to Kenya with Me to We for your 21st birthday. Why did you decide to spend that milestone birthday that way and how did that trip impact you?

My 21st birthday was a big milestone for me, but not in the way that our society has conformed to. For my birthday, I wanted to spend my time doing something meaningful and empowering by giving back. It was such an incredible and exciting experience that I will never forget.

What was the original inspiration behind your decision to help fund the building of the Women’s Empowerment Center? What are you hoping to achieve, and what is the vision for the Center?

I have always found it really important to educate and empower other women. The goal with the Women’s Empowerment Center is to provide new opportunities to women I’ve found to be so inspiring where they will be able to get training and resources they need to create a better future for themselves and their families.

Tell us about the Maasai Mamas. What was your experience like getting to know and working with those women?

The Maasai Mamas are amazing! They are incredibly hard-working women who are truly inspirational. The whole experience of meeting them and getting to know them was truly rewarding because they pursue their dreams while still supporting their families and taking care of their households. It was an honor to work alongside them in their beading circle and learn about their lives.

What lessons do you think can be derived by traveling the world getting to know people of different cultures?

Traveling and getting to know others can really help you learn about different cultures and also establishes amazing connections between people who would have never met under other circumstances. For me, getting to work so closely with the people in this culture helped me grow as a person and was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.

Tell us about the Rafiki Friend Chains and the other ways people can support the Women’s Empowerment Center and generally get involved?

I got to work with the Maasai Mamas in their beading circle, where they hand-make “friend chains.” The chains are strings of glass beads that you can wear as bracelets, necklaces, or however you want. All of the proceeds for the Rafiki Friend Chains will go to building the Women’s Empowerment Center. You can buy them at any of my shows on my World Tour, or online.

My daughters are huge fans of yours–they just saw your show in Albany and said it was fantastic. What are you most excited about with this tour? And how do you see your evolution as an artist and performer?

Whenever I’m on tour, I’m always excited about connecting with my fans! I want to make each show a fun, personal and inspirational experience! Over the years, I’ve grown so much personally and professionally. That transition has definitely been reflected in my music and as an artist.

You include Spencer West as a speaker on this tour. What resonated with you about his story and why did you decide to have him join you? What do you hope your audience comes away with from hearing him speak?

Spencer’s story is really moving. When I saw him speak at We Day, I saw how he was so inspiring to the audience. I hope that my audience will take away how he overcame his challenges to achieve his dreams.

I also saw your recent announcement and PSA about your Mental Health Listening and Engagement Tour. What can you tell us about that initiative and how that developed?

The initiative is working to help people find their strength and get the help they need. You can learn to live well with mental illness by finding the right treatment plan, and I want people to know that it’s okay to seek help.

I love your book “Staying Strong”. Do you have a favorite quote or philosophy that you live by?

I think that’s it – stay strong! There are so many inspirational quotes that I live by, but what also helps me get by every day is writing down my thoughts, experiences and feelings – which is why I have a follow up Journal (Staying Strong: A Journal) to coincide with my book, Staying Strong: 365 Days A Year.

Oftentimes people think that helping others is something that has no personal rewards for oneself. What do you get out of giving back?

I am grateful that I’ve been given the platform to help others by sharing my story and love to meet my Lovatics and hear their encouraging stories as well. For me, nothing is more rewarding than helping others.

For more information about Demi’s World Tour, please visit: www.demilovato.com and for details on the Demi Lovato Rafiki initiative visit www.metowe.com/demi-lovato.

Marianne Schnall is a widely published writer and interviewer whose writings and interviews have appeared in a variety of media outlets including O, The Oprah Magazine, CNN.com, EW.com, the Women’s Media Center and many others. Marianne is a featured blogger at The Huffington Post and a contributor to the nationally syndicated NPR radio show, 51 percent The Women’s Perspective. She is also the co-founder and executive director of the women’s website and non-profit organization Feminist.com, as well as the co-founder of the environmental site EcoMall.com. She is the author of Daring to Be Ourselves: Influential Women Share Insights on Courage, Happiness and Finding Your Own Voice based on her interviews with a variety of well-known women. Marianne’s new book is What Will it Take to Make a Woman President? Conversations About Women, Leadership, and Power. You can visit her website at www.marianneschnall.com.
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Fela Kuti in an Unpublished Interview Conducted After His Release From Prison

The release of Alex Gibney’s new documentary on the late Nigerian pop star Fela Kuti spurred me to sift through my own personal journalistic archives to find an audiotaped interview I conducted with Fela in 1986.

And here it is, a transcript and audio clip of my mostly unpublished interview with Fela, perhaps the first one-on-one he granted after being released from prison in ’86.

On June 17, 1986, seven weeks after his release from Nigeria’s toughest prison, Fela spoke exclusively with me. And, bravely, he remained defiant against the military regime in Nigeria that had imprisoned him.

As is the case with many interviews that I conducted as a writer for music trade weekly Cash Box, the Q&A remained unpublished (except for a few lines published in the June 21, 1986, issue of that magazine).

Kuti is probably best-known today as the inventor of Afropop, a massively influential musical form that mixed jazz, rock, funk and revolutionary politics.

Fela was also famous for having fought against oppression in Nigeria. In the early ’80s he was imprisoned by his country’s autocratic regime for three years on what appear to have been politically motivated charges.

After he was released from prison in April 1986, he visited New York City, appearing at a Manhattan press conference on June 13, 1986 (my interview was not a part of that conference) before performing for Amnesty International at Giants Stadium in New Jersey on June 15.

Here’s an edited version of the conversation I had with Fela on June 17, 1986. (And here’s a link to audio clips of my conversation with him.)

Paul Iorio: It must be a big change for you to be out of prison now.

Fela Kuti: Yeah, it’s a big change for me. It’s a good change.

Iorio: Did you write a lot of songs in prison?

Fela: No. I just kept my brain blank. I left my mind blank in prison.

Iorio: You were transferred to Kirikiri. Was that, as they say, Nigeria’s toughest prison? And was it tough on you?

Fela: [Kirikiri] is one of the toughest prisons, but it was not tough on me. I lived through it. It was tough on the body. I lived through it….

Iorio: Do you think your spirit is stronger because of this experience?

Fela: Much more stronger.

Iorio:There was a period when you were in the hospital and they transferred you over to Maiduguri prison. At that point nobody heard anything from you for about six weeks. What happened to you?

Fela: They just took me to the prison … and it was very, very uncomfortable, very far away from everybody. And visitors weren’t allowed for me for about five months.

Iorio: Were you afraid for your life?

Fela: No, no, no, I was never afraid for my life…. We just try to face the government….

Iorio: Are you still going to speak out against the Nigerian government? … You’re not going to back down?

Fela: No, I’m not going to back down. I still intend to [protest the government]. I’m not backing down….

Iorio: Would you ever consider getting involved in Nigerian politics … ?

Fela: Yes, definitely.

Iorio: You mentioned that some of the military people have your records and like your music.

Fela: Oh, yes. Everybody in Nigeria likes my records.

Iorio: Do you think Amnesty International had a lot to do with getting you out of prison?

Fela: Not much. They tried to make people aware of it. But there’s not much they could do….

Iorio: While you were in prison, what was the worst thing that happened to you?

Fela: The worst thing that happened to me [while I was in prison] was that my record was produced by somebody else, Bill Laswell. And that really fucked me up in prison.

Iorio: That was “Live in Amsterdam”?

Fela: No, no, “Army Arrangement” … destroyed me completely, fucked my mind up…. When you’re in prison, you can’t do anything about what’s happening outside.

Iorio: But at the same time, people were being carted out dead every day; there were beatings.

Fela: Oh, yes.

Iorio: But it never happened to you?

Fela: No.

Iorio: Was that because everybody knew who you were?

Fela: Yes, exactly.

Iorio: You were more than disappointed with “Army Arrangement.”

Fela: Yes, Bill Laswell’s production. I had a production [before I went] to prison. So they abandoned my production and put in a new one…. They knew that [I’d given] instructions that it not be produced by anyone. They knew how I felt about it.

[I was unable to contact Laswell for comment on this claim. Of course, Laswell is welcome to give his side of the story in the comments section here.]

Iorio: How about “Live in Amsterdam”? Do you harbor any bad feeling that EMI released that instead of releasing “Perambulator”?

Fela: EMI did so many bad things. They didn’t look out for my interest at all…. They just wanted to rush something out…. “Live in Amsterdam” wasn’t a good recording. I only [made] it happen because the system wanted it, because the company complained … and demanded a live album.

[Any executive from that era of EMI is free to rebut Fela’s statements in the comments section.]

Iorio: Is there a Fela record that you consider is your best?

Fela: No, I don’t.

Iorio: Do you think that you could live a better life as a musician if you were to leave Nigeria?

Fela: I could never leave my home…. It inspires me a lot.
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The Spoken Word: Recollections of Dryden History, The Early Years (NASA SP-2003-4530) – Scott Crossfield Interview, Muroc, NACA Research, X-1 Project

The Spoken Word: Recollections of Dryden History, The Early Years (NASA SP-2003-4530) – Scott Crossfield Interview, Muroc, NACA Research, X-1 Project


Since the founding of the Dryden Flight Research Center History Office in 1996, its staff has conducted nearly a hundred interviews with retired and serving employees. Their recollections represent a unique resource in understanding the development of aerospace technology in the second half of the 20th century. Their personal experiences, insights, and opinions allow the reader to gain an understanding into what it was actually like to have been involved with some of the milestone events in aerospace history. These interviews have been edited and assembled into this monograph, so that a wider audience can also share in their experiences.This study covers the early years of what eventually became the Dryden Flight Research Center. It spans the period between the arrival of Walter Williams and the first group of NACA engineers at Muroc in 1946, and ends with the establishment of NASA in 1958. This timeframe encompasses the breaking of the sound barrier, the pivotal inertial coupling research, the first use of computer simulations, the transformation of the NACA facility from a pair of old hangars into a state-of-the-art research center, and the dawn of the space age. These events took place against the background of the end of World War II, the start of the Cold War, and the twin technological revolutions of jet propulsion and supersonic flight. They are told by the people who participated in these events, in their own words.The foundations of the Dryden Flight Research Center date back more than a half century, to a time when aviation faced revolutionary technical changes. When the first NACA contingent arrived in September 1946, they found the Muroc Army Air Field to be an isolated and barren outpost. The post-war demobilization had left the hastily constructed base facilities in a poor state of repair. Palmdale and Lancaster in the late 1940s were rough desert towns lacking many of the conveniences to which the new arrivals from Langley (and their spouses) had been

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An Interview with Andrei Sannikov on the HBO Documentary, Dangerous Acts Starring the Unstable Elements of Belarus

The tensions between Ukraine and Russia make the news daily, but in Belarus, a regime has been in place for 20 years, imprisoning opposition, or eliminating it altogether. Andrei Sannikov, now in exile in Warsaw, Poland, attempted to run against President Alexander Lukashenko. After participating in a protest, he was imprisoned and tortured. On June 24, in Warsaw’s Museum of the History of the Polish Jews, I had the opportunity to talk to Andrei Sannikov about his exile in Poland and the documentary film about the suppression of free speech in his home country, Dangerous Acts Starring the Unstable Elements of Belarus, directed by Madeleine Sackler, to air on HBO.

What are you doing here in Warsaw?

I am in exile now, at first I was in the UK, but now I am here to stay closer to Belarus. My friends are here. My team is here. Some key people had to flee the country. Some people were lucky to escape before they were arrested. One of the journalists, an editor in chief of one of the most popular websites, Charter 97, was under house arrest but she escaped. I never thought I would ever think about leaving my country. We are not in control of our lives anymore.

The government knows you are here. Do they demand your return?

Formally, I am not under any legal obligations. Formally, I was released. I did not escape from prison. Of course they follow what I am doing. They might think at some moment they could demand some proceedings against me. So far no. Belarus is my subject, since I am a trained diplomat I am used to using my contacts to explain my situation. I am writing, working on a book now. It will be published in Belarus. In prison I wrote fairy tales for my son, and I did not think that even fairy tales would be published in Belarus.

What made you agree to participate in Madeleine Sackler’s film?

I did not agree. I was not asked. She came to my sister in London, near where I was living, for an interview. I have to promote the case for free speech, for freedom in general in Belarus. You should ask me, what made me do a Skype interview at 2:30 in the morning, for the D.C. premier. But I negotiated because they wanted me to speak after the movie, at 4 AM. We agreed on an intro.

So, what did you say to introduce the film?

There is no freedom in Belarus, but there are freedom fighters, and you see them in the movie, people in the streets of Minsk demanding freedom. There is no doubt that the origins of the Kremlin regime are the same. Now we see the situation in the Ukraine where there is suffering because of the war the Kremlin unleashed there. And the world needs to help them defend their freedom. There will be no freedom until such regimes are put down, even for the Ukraine. The goal is obvious. We have to do everything to free Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, and it is doable, because even though in Belarus there is a ruthless dictator, it is possible. At the end I said that I hope if we will be serious in our efforts, and if we succeed, then Madeleine will make another movie called “Coming Home,” meaning Belarus coming to Europe. This is the issue because Russia wants to take us to Eurasia.

A provocation: Isn’t political theater propaganda, antithetical to art?

I know what propaganda theater is. The regime took authors approved by the Communists like Mayakovsky or others who are not dissidents and show their fight for creativity and freedom. I don’t have this division. Theater is theater, if talent is shown, even if it promotes things I cannot agree with. The Belarus Free Theater did not start with political theater, and even then, they could not do it officially. Dictators do not trust independent artists, so every independent artist is a potential threat. All artists have to be approved by the regime: therefore, there is a union of writers, a union of artists, a union of musicians, composers, and only those members are permitted to function. So from the beginning they did not allow Belarus Free Theater to do anything legally, so they started underground theater.

The question is strange. Would you consider Havel a propaganda playwright? He was writing about politics, life under a totalitarian system. Propaganda has a negative connotation but it actually promotes some values. I am all for it. I went to the Belarus Free Theater performances in Minsk, in a small space, maybe 30-40 people. But I saw the reactions of the people, the emotions. That was very important to me, especially in our situation which is quite gloomy. When people come to see something that is very alive and can make you think and get you to react emotionally it is very important.

In Belarus in the mid-1990’s, with the breakup of the Soviet Union, there was so much promise for freedom. What happened?

I too was encouraged in the mid 90’s: the general trend was quite incredible, and then we overlooked the dangers of a dictatorship. We have a man in power for 20 years. He was not taken seriously, but he started to build his dictatorship very early. He started to kill his opponents. The regime killed all the opponents who were more popular than Lukashenko.

What do you hope the film, Dangerous Acts Starring the Unstable Elements of Belarus will accomplish?

To let the world know. This is the 21st century, the time of the Internet. To realize there is a dictatorship that does not allow you to live in your country! I was born in Minsk. At my age, I don’t like to be in a foreign country no matter how nice it is. I love Poland, the UK, America but I want to live in Minsk.

I know that everything is possible. I was in the foreign ministry in the mid ’90’s, doing a lot in the state. We had friends. Now we have enemies. Unfortunately, we have to continue to do what Solidarity in Poland did, what the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia did. But I now realize, without help from the democratic world, it will not be possible to achieve the same results. Will we have maidans in Belarus?, I am often asked. That is the square in Ukraine where demonstrations took place. We had huge protests for several years, ignored by the world. Unlike Ukraine, the world did not get involved.

You said you are traveling tomorrow. Where to?

I am going to the 3rd biggest theater festival, in the Czech Republic. They will perform the play based on the fairy tale I wrote in prison for my son, called “Flying Through the Rainbow,” about a little mouse who dreams of flying through the rainbow and all his friends help to realize this dream. My son was 3 ½ when I started writing. Seven now, he is going to see it for the first time, but he knows the contents.

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The Hopping Vampires Will Getcha: Rigor Mortis Director Juno Mak – The CFQ Interview

2014-07-04-Rigor_Mortis_CGI_Still_FightScene2_410.jpgEven in the anything-to-get-your-adrenaline-pumping world of Hong Kong cinema, Rigor Mortis stands out. The story of a famous actor, Chin Siu-Ho (played by actual famous actor Chin Siu-Ho — your heard us), who has to contend with a seedy apartment building whose walls reverberate with echoes of his most famous film, the hopping vampire horror-comedy Mr. Vampire — including mysterious spirits, a mystical warrior-cum-resterateur (played by Mr. Vampire cast-mate Anthony “Friend” Chan), and, yes, a hopping vampire — the film plays as both a tribute to, and a dark and dizzyingly intense reimagining of, a beloved sub-genre. Director Juno Mak makes his feature film debut with this visually stunning, shockingly violent, and at times surprisingly moving, effort, and we were eager to discuss the roots of the project in the legendary Mr. Vampire franchise, and the challenges of creating this effects-laden feast.

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Rigor Mortis Director Juno Mak: The CFQ Interview

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Emmanuelle Seigner in Venus in Fur: The Interview

Most theater does not translate well into film. The film genre invites expansion and theater can feel claustrophobic. Unless claustrophobic is what you want as in the case of Roman Polanski’s adaptation of David Ives’ stage play inspired by Sacher-Masoch’s novel, Venus in Fur, a kinky two hander involving a theater director at the end of a brutal day of auditions, and an actress who barges in at the last minute demanding attention. In the recent Broadway production Nina Arianda and Hugh Dancy faced off in these roles, but now on film, Roman Polanski cast his wife, the voluptuous Emmanuelle Seigner in a tour de force performance with Mathieu Amalric, whose Thomas could double for the director Polanski. The casting is adventurous in another way as Seigner brings a mature sexuality to Vanda: she is goddess, earth mother, a sex kitten to rival Bardot, a muse, tease or threat. Turning on a dime, her character sizzles. In an interview last month at the Soho Grand Hotel, Seigner spoke about her performance in this movie, working with her husband, and why this was such a good role for her.

How would you describe Venus in Fur in Roman Polanski’s oeuvre?

This film is different from The Pianist, more like his early movies, Knife in the Water, Cul de Sac, and Repulsion. I love The Pianist, The Ghostwriter, Tess, the later more academic work. I like his early work more because it was more insolent, arrogant, and punk. I like this film for that reason.

In his last two films, Polanski seems more fascinated with theater. Is that a trend?

Carnage is a good movie, but I don’t think it is like a Polanski movie. Anyone could have done it. Carnage and Venus are similar only in that they come from plays. Venus in Fur is very Polanski: you have the knife of Rosemary’s Baby, you have Thomas disguised as a woman as in The Tenant, when Vanda puts makeup on him, it’s like Cul de Sac; the dress of Tess and other details that are very Polanski. He fell in love with the play because it was so much him.

What is it like working with your husband?

It is not a question of husband or not; it is a question of working with a good director. Roman is a very good director. When you work with someone who knows what he is doing, it is great. If my husband were a bad director, it would be a nightmare.

But then maybe you wouldn’t be married to him?

Maybe I would. You marry someone for reasons more mysterious than that. It’s great to work with a good director, on a good role, and there are not so many of them.

Did his intimate knowledge of you help to bring out this performance?

Yes. You know that the person loves you and will film you well. He knows your angles, when you look good and when you don’t, so you know the person is going to put you in the best position.

Who is your character, Vanda?

We don’t know. Maybe she is from his mind. Like in Rosemary’s Baby, at the end you can think, maybe she dreamt all that. Or maybe she is a goddess, or an actress that wanted to teach the director a lesson. Who knows? I like that it is open and mysterious.

Do you think this role utilized all your talents?

I think it is the best I have ever done. I like others, but this is my big role.

Did you know David Ives’ play before you got involved with this film?

No. I didn’t see the play. Then when it was playing in New York, I didn’t want to be influenced, because I knew it was very different from what we did. I would love to see it now.

How was it working with Mathieu Amalric?

Great! We worked together before, in Julian Schnabel’s The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. He is a great actor and a nice man, the type of actor who would throw the ball to you in the right position, so it is easy to work with him. It flows. It’s fun.

How was it working with Schnabel?

Great. Julian is a good friend. We became close. It is very different from working with Roman, who is very precise, obsessive and slow. Julian is all improvised and suddenly changes his mind, more like a painter. They are both great but different. Julian is so fast: we had a scene on the beach. We had five days to do it, and we did it in one.

Were any scenes shooting Venus in Fur memorable in the same way?

Roman does a lot of takes, and he’s precise: you have to have your head like this and your hand like that. He’s from the same school as Orson Welles; the frame is important. Like a painter, but a different kind of painter than Julian, who is abstract and messy. Julian is like free jazz, Roman is like classical music. I love both.

Do you have another project?

No. Everything given me to read is boring, or plain. After Venus, I want to do something good. There are very good roles for men and for very young girls, but it’s hard to find a good role for women.

How long have you been an actress?

I come from a family of actors. My grandfather was like a Laurence Olivier with the Comedie Francaise. Since I was four I went every week to the Comedie Francaise. My aunt and grandmother were there, but my grandfather was a big star. My sister, Mathilde, is an actress, but more like a French Jennifer Aniston. She’s famous just in France. She’s very commercial, and does big comedies. So, acting was part of my family, and that’s how I was raised.

Would you encourage your children to act?

I’m sure my children will be artists. I hope they will direct because it is much more interesting. Acting is great and I love it, but it is very passive, and it depends on other people’s desire, and you depend on others all the time. It is hard for me to be passive. But to be an actor and be happy at it, you have to be totally neurotic, or stupid. It’s frustrating.

Do you think you bring that frustration about acting into the role of Vanda?

I think that’s why that role was so right for me. She is a character looking for control. She wants power. I’m the same. I hate to be controlled. That’s not my personality.

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INTERVIEW: John Lloyd Young, Erich Bergen, and Michael Lomenda on Jersey Boys

For his new film Jersey Boys, legendary director Clint Eastwood translates the blockbuster jukebox musical about the rise and fall (and rise) of singer Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons from the stage (where it’s been a global phenomenon since its debut in 2006) to the big screen. When it came time to fill out the cast of his celluloid songsters, Eastwood didn’t wander too far from the project’s stage roots, selecting veteran players from the many lives of Jersey Boys for three of the leads: Tony-winning John Lloyd Young, who originated the role on Broadway, as Valli, and actors Erich Bergen and Michael Lomenda as singer/writer Bob Gaudio and bassist Nick Massi, respectively. (Boardwalk Empire‘s Vincent Piazza plays group founder Tommy DeVito).

I had the chance to talk with Young, Bergen, and Lomenda during their swing through the San Francisco Bay Area promoting the film, and one thing that became amply clear with all of them was how surreal it was to be in the middle of a whirlwind that’s seen them rocket from relative obscurity to headlining a movie directed by Clint Eastwood. In addition to reminiscing about previous visits to the city, I talked to them about the play’s long journey from conception to completion, what it was like to perform a play when you know Clint Eastwood is in the audience watching, and the experience of making the movie after doing it for so long on stage. Read on for the transcript of our conversation:

So, how are you guys doing? How is the tour going?

Erich Bergen: Good. This is it, this is the last stop, today.

I was thinking as I was parking, you guys are living what your characters were living in the film.

Bergen: Better hotel accommodations.

John Lloyd Young: Except, Warner Bros. is paying for our rooms. We’re not paying off a million dollars of debt to the mob.

Bergin: Yes, and we are sort of going out and telling this story now, and living that a little bit. And Michael and I were actually on tour with Jersey Boys, the stage version. I opened the tour here and he closed the tour here in San Fran. So, we’ve all lived versions of the art that we’re imitating in various ways.

So, you guys all did the stage tour. You did not do it at the same time.

Michael Lomenda: No. We knew of each other. My first introduction to Jersey Boys was seeing John Lloyd on the Tonys, winning his Tony Award, and seeing their performance on the Tonys.

Young: I never did the tour. I did the Broadway version.

And the last time you did it was five years ago, I believe?

Young: I did the first two years, and then after several years away, I was asked back to do it, and so I did for a few months at the end of 2012, beginning of 2013, and that’s when Clint came and saw it. And I just did it again in London after we wrapped the movie. They asked me to do six weeks in London.

When you were doing it the first time, did it even enter onto your radar that you would be starring in the film version?

Young: I say yes, not out of any sort of retroactive presumptuousness or arrogance or anything. I say yes only because when the show was becoming a big hit on Broadway, Hollywood started to really try to compete for the rights to it. So much to an extent that I was a neophyte actor making his Broadway debut, and I was at the opening of a Hollywood film in New York, and one of the major studio heads came up to me at a party and cornered me and said, “You have to convince [one of our writers] Marshall Brickman to give us the film rights.” So, yes, right in the beginning, I thought, “Wow, they are all over this movie, and this cast, we could end up in it.” But, that didn’t happen.

It grew into this international hit over several years. No one really got the movie that early on. Something happened, I think probably Bob Gaudio and Frankie Valli, who are now executive producers, were holding out for some more involvement or something. So, it was several years later that, finally, in 2010, that Graham King, who was our originating producer, won the rights in a bidding war, and then it started to ramp up to the point that, by the time I was back on Broadway and Clint was attached, he was able to see me. So, Michael, who was on tour, and Eric Bergen just has a reputation for being the best Bob Gaudio – according to the real Bob Gaudio. So, when Clint was casting, Clint told me this on set that he asked Bob Gaudio, “Who is the most like you?” and Bob said, “Erich Bergen.”

Wow, that’s high praise.

Bergen: Yeah, it is. It’s also one of those things where, I mean, thank God he said that, because I wasn’t seen by Clint and the producers. I was no longer in the show, and if you ask any actor, “Did you ever think…blah blah blah,” and they can sit back and say, “Well, you know, I always felt…” But, I think, as actors, we all go through that back-and-forth of yes and no every day, right? We sit there and we go after a job that we want.

When they started auditioning for this movie, I said to my agents, “How do we just make sure that I’m really seen, and how do we campaign for this, and how do we do it?” But, if I hadn’t got the job, if it had gone to someone else, they’d be saying the same thing, and I would be sitting back, going, “Well, I’m very happy with my next thing.” So, you sort of make light of whatever happens to you.

Young: But, aren’t you glad we don’t have to see someone else play these roles that we love so much? Someone else do them? I’m so relieved.

Bergen: Correct. By the way, I saw great actors play my role who would have been wonderful. I was picked to do it, but I don’t know. I just know that, yes, I wanted it, yes, I thought I really have a shot at this, yes, I think I was the best person for the role, but did I ever think it would actually happen? Like, really actually happen? I don’t know. I don’t know. I want to say, “Yeah, I always felt.” But, I don’t know.

Young: Even having won a Tony Award for the original production, and being on the cast album of the original production, presuming that you would get the role, period, feels almost just like you’ll jinx yourself. I even thought, “Who am I to decide who the studio is going to choose?” I just hoped that whoever they choose is not really bad, so that I don’t have to spend the rest of my life looking at this legacy that I started with an original cast, and say, “God, if only they had let me play it, I could have shown them this or this or this, and instead, they made a mistake.” So, I’m happy that I don’t have to know what that feels like.

Bergen: Not to be in the position of Carol Channing when they remade Hello, Dolly! into a film with Barbra Streisand…

Young: Or how about the most famous one ever, Julie Andrews with My Fair Lady.

Bergen: Right. And you know what Carol says about Hello Dolly! “What do you think about the movie of Hello, Dolly!” and she goes “Is there a movie? I didn’t know there was a movie.” So, I’m glad we don’t have to…

You don’t have to get that line out there.

Bergen: No, not so much.

Young: She ended up doing fine for herself, because she got an Oscar nomination for Thoroughly Modern Millie, and Julie Andrews then won an Oscar for Sound of Music. It ended alright for them.

Bergen: And there are people who didn’t get these parts that go to the next thing. It’s one of those things where, at the end of the day, it is a job, and it’s a career-making job, and we love it, but we’re all ready to do whatever comes next.

Young: You know what’s even more rare? An actor of the thousands, the tens of thousands of actors who are professional actors who hold union cards, so they’re professional actors. Of the tens of thousands of actors that are out there, there are only a few dozen of us who get to say that we played lead roles for Clint Eastwood and it doesn’t even really matter that it was Jersey Boys. That’s its own thing.

That was actually my next question, and it really is for all three of you, but John and Michael, you knew Clint Eastwood was in the audience, watching you. What was the immediate emotion that you feel at that moment?

Lomenda: I refused to believe that that was actually happening. It wasn’t until I saw a picture that one of our swing sent that he had taken in the lobby with Mr. Eastwood, that I sort of had to realize it was true. Frankly, the movie was really off my radar. I thought it had already been cast. I thought that he was just there brushing up before he started shooting, and so I met him backstage, obviously, thrilled to meet a legendary icon.

But, I shook hands and I didn’t expect to get a call a couple of weeks later to audition. I’m Canadian, with limited-to-no film or TV experience, and so honestly, this is literally just the most crazy thing that’s ever happened to me in my entire life. And then, to then get that call saying that I was going to be working with Mr. Eastwood, it was just mindblowing in every way. And, to be honest with you, ever since that call, every single experience with this whole movie has been that way for me. It’s just far beyond anything I could have fathomed. So, I’m just grateful for it all.

Young: When Clint got attached, well, through the years, after originating the Broadway production and winning the awards and watching it, over the years, become a hit all across the English-speaking world, hearing of the movie here and there over the years, my emotions would go up and down, because no matter what, first of all, it’s a privilege for any actor to become well-associated with a role, or to be starring in a hit show or whatever. When, before, you were just a struggling actor like everybody else, right? Suddenly, you’re well-known.

Then, you start to realize you have a legacy in something and it starts to grow all over the world, and it’s a strange feeling to see it come together and change in ways, and then to know that you have no control over what happens with the movie and yet, in my case, I wanted to make my legacy permanent somehow and do the role, if I could, but I had to spend a lot of years as the movie was coming up, and then it was going down. It was, “Are people going to make it?” Then, it wasn’t going to be made.

After awhile, I became used to the idea that I have no control, and I know that it’s gonna be awkward to have to see someone else come, to give the baton to someone else and watch them play this role for posterity. But, I came to a point where I accepted that possibility and I was very calm about it. It took awhile, but I got there. By the time that Clint was attached, I got to that point where I just felt the equanimity. So, when I found out Clint was in the audience, I knew, “Well, this is what’s going to either get me the part or not. I have no control over it.”

I know I’m good in this role on stage. I’ve seen audiences react to my performance on-stage, by that point, for about 1,200 times, and I’m just really joyful. I felt just joyful that this guy, who’s got dominion in Hollywood and clearly is a leader in his territory, was seeing me in the one thing in my life, so far, where I knew was in my territory, playing Frankie Valli on stage, on Broadway, and I felt, this is great. Whatever happens will happen, but how wonderful to show Clint Eastwood how at-home I am in this role, today, for this two-hour performance.

And, Erich, what’s your Clint Eastwood story?

Bergen: Who? (laughs) Every time you say it, it’s always like, “Why are you asking me? Oh right.” It’s still a lot to get used to. I think what I will always take from working with Clint was that he let us be us. I didn’t know what to think. I never thought I would be in a Clint Eastwood movie. I always loved Clint Eastwood films.

That’s not something most people think.

Bergen: No! I also wasn’t one of those actors, like, I remember when I was in college for acting, every guy wanted to be Marlon Brando and every guy wanted to do these gritty, masculine things. I was like, that is just not my speed. I just came from a different world. So, as much as I loved Clint Eastwood films, it wasn’t on my bucket list. So, I knew nothing. I truly knew nothing about going to work with him, other than his finished products.

Working with him, I was so thrilled to find out, first of all, how much fun he is, but what I will always take away is the confidence he instilled in me. Because, I walked on that set with the mindset of, “How do I please the director?” What he gave back to us was, “You don’t have to worry about pleasing me. We’re all making a movie here together.” And, the reason why he hired us, specifically the three of us but even including Vincent [Piazza], was what we did either in the audition room or what he saw us do on stage.

That’s why we got the job. So, for us to all of a sudden do something different now made no sense, and to instill in us the confidence to just continue doing what we had always done, that’s something that I never had any director give me before. I’m so used to being micromanaged.

Young: “You’re good enough. That’s the thing. You’re not only good enough, but you’re the best one, and I chose you.” Being chosen by Clint Eastwood, when he can have any actor he wants in the world in his films and he chose unknowns, ’cause he liked our performances, how can you not rise to the occasion?

Bergen: Yeah, that’s definitely what I will take away. I was talking to Mike Doyle, who plays Bob Crewe in this film, and Mike’s one of these guys that you might not know his name but he’s been in everything. He’s that guy from everything. One day, on set, we were sitting in the back of one of those golf carts on set, and I said to him, “Alright, what is your greatest experience, of all the things you’ve ever done? What was your best film or show or whatever?” and he said, “This.”

I said, “You can’t be serious. Really? After all of everything? This, what we’re doing right now, is your greatest?” And, he said, because I forget who of us, there were a couple of us in the car, and he said, “You guys don’t know what you’re doing. You have no clue how important this is. You have no clue how good this is. You are spoiled rotten with this, and it is all downhill from here.”

Hopefully not! (Laughs)

Bergen: (Laughs) No, he didn’t mean that literally, but in the sense that…

It’s a pretty good entrée into everything.

Bergen: If this guy, who has been in everything, is telling me that, just from his experience on this film, that this is the best, most fun experience he’s ever had, then I don’t know if we’ll ever be able to fully take in what we’ve done until maybe years from now.

Lloyd: I have friends from the South that have an expression that I think is very charming: “We fell into the honey pot.”

**********

Many thanks to John Lloyd Young, Erich Bergen, and Michael Lomenda for their time. Jersey Boys is now playing in a theater near you. For the audio of this conversation, listen to the latest episode of the MovieFilm Podcast at this link or via the embed below:



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Pan’s Labyrinth’s Doug Jones: The CFQ Interview

2014-06-06-DustofWarDougJones2_410.jpgThe speaker of the Louisiana State Senate. An agoraphobic starfish. Two copies of Playboy with their centerfolds torn out. These are probably the only things actor Doug Jones hasn’t been in his variegated career. In makeup and out, whether playing an amphibious scholar, a benevolent alien, or a mute, demonic organ harvester, Jones has managed to create roles that have been at once vivid, evocative, and memorable.

It happens to be a good time for Jones. Not only was there the recent video release of the ultra-violent grindhouse action film, Raze — in which Jones plays the entitled overseer of an all-female death-match — but the complete third season disc set of Falling Skies, where Jones is the alien ambassador Cochise, has just come out, and now Jones appears as a wandering (and canny) minstrel in the dizzyingly eclectic post-apocalyptic/Road Warrioresque/alien invasion/western, Dust of War, which just became available on VOD. We’re thrilled to be able to talk with Jones about all of this, and more, as we kick off our second season of The CFQ Interview. Click on the player to hear the show.

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Pan’s Labyrinth’s Doug Jones: The CFQ Interview

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Did This Dutch Interview Just Go Horribly Wrong?

When conducting an interview, it’s often best to test the waters.

Then again, if you’re looking to make a splash, the all-in method is surprisingly effective. Just ask this Dutch host, who was filming a promo for “Sail Kampen,” a ship festival in the Netherlands, when things went horribly wrong.

As the clip above shows, after filming the introductory portion of the promo on the aft section of a ship, the unnamed interviewer approaches Kampen Mayor Bort Koelewijn to ask a couple of questions about the festival. Halfway through, though, she seems to lose her balance and proceeds to flail, then fall, into the water below.

The panicked mayor drops to his knees and seems to offers her his medallion, while a member of the film crew offers the boom mic. Someone then throws her a life preserver.

It’s an attention-grabbing video, no doubt — so good that some are questioning its authenticity. Rotterdam’s Algemeen Dagblad newspaper was quick to point out the host works for IJsseldelta Marketing, which, conveniently, is helping promote Sail Kampen.

What do you think: real or fake?
Comedy – The Huffington Post
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Interview: Dr. John’s Wishes for a Blessed Mardi Gras

Music legend Dr. John, also known as New Orleans native son Mac Rebennack, Jr., probably gets more phone calls on Mardi Gras Day than the whole rest of the year so I got mine in early. Before the revelry hits full gear, here are his wishes to everyone for Mardi Gras 2014, and some memories of the city’s neighborhood traditions.

KDB: I remember how Wardell Quezergue used to talk about the Bone Gangs waking the neighborhood up at the crack of dawn, and he’d run and hide. What’s the first time you saw them?”

Dr. John: One of the first things I remember about the Bone Gangs, my Pa took me out to look at them and I don’t remember the name of the bone gang in the Third Ward, I just remember that they scared the hell out of me. They was all talking about stuff that people could get killed doing so it was a good thing in its way, but as a little kid you just don’t know how to relate to that.

KDB: The North Side Skull and Bone Gang has those aprons that say: “You’re next.” That could be alarming.

Dr. John: Sunpie (Barnes) and some of the guys that was in the Bone Gangs, I like them as cats. But that was a lot later. The first thing I remember back in the game is them guys used to wear real bones with meat. And that was just a weird thing. They would wear them bones and have all that meat hanging off of it, it was just a trip.”

KDB: And then you’ve got the Baby Dolls with their bloomers and cigars, that’s another tradition
.

Dr. John:
The Baby Dolls, they was a lot easier to take than the Bone Gangs. Back then the Baby Dolls and the Gangster Molls, they was two gangs that had the (walking) sticks. They was all from somewhere like Perdido Street, and I used to see them come out. One year my Pa took me, and by the end I saw it all.

KDB: Of course there are the Mardi Gras Indians.

Dr. John
: There was so many great Mardi Gras Indians. I mean, I remember the Red White and Blues, and the Golden Blades. I remember I think that the Red White and Blues snuffed one of the Golden Blades and just left him hanging on the branch of a tree. That’s a long time ago though, probably in the ’40s.

KDB: Before Big Chief Tootie Montana came out against the fighting, and made it about the artistry.

Dr. John: If it wouldn’t have been for Tootie Montana, they would have still been doing all that stuff. Tootie had a beautiful way of trying to pull everything together. It’s funny how stuff like that will always stick in your memory banks, even when you don’t have memory banks left.”

KDB: You have a bank full. I love that your song Big Bass Drum (All on a Mardi Gras Day) gives a shout out to so many of the chiefs.

Dr. John: Certain guys stick out, like the guy they used to call Soulful Pete. He was the Big Chief I think of the Black Eagles, but boy they were hip. He always had all these different kind of patches that was like from ancient Egypt or all kinds of weird stuff that he would put on his patches. It wasn’t at all like the other guys’ patches. That guy had so many different names, about 20 that people would call him. But he was a bad sucker for sowing them patches, that’s what I remember.

KDB: It’s great that the traditions are still being handed down.

Dr. John: “Yeah, It’s like I know Big Chief Little Charles (Taylor) from the White Cloud Hunters, and the Spirit of the Fi Ya Ya, they all slammin things to me.

KDB: I’m glad New Orleans is holding onto that. I think a lot of towns would have lost part of that culture by now.

Dr. John: I think it’s a blessing to keep everything they can keep into the whole picture.

KDB: You rarely get to enjoy it here in New Orleans though, it seems like you’re always touring on Mardi Gras.

Dr. John: But I’ll tell you, more people have called me up to wish me a Mardi Gras, that’s kind of special.

KDB: What’s your wish to everyone on this Mardi Gras Day, 2014?

Dr. John: Well I hope they all have a blessed Mardi Gras and do something that will be fun for them. And don’t hurt nobody. Tootie would have like that.

KDB: Amen. It’s supposed to be a cold day outside, but we’ll be warming up our insides.

Dr. John: Hey, if they dress warm enough they’ll be warm.
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The Art of Y: An Interview With Fashion Designer Catherine Litke

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With this new interview series I, Alex Schattner, hope to shed light on Millennials who are striving toward creative goals. Who am I? Read my personal story/manifesto here.

On Jan. 23, I spoke with fashion designer Catherine Litke at her studio near Union Square, New York City. Ms. Litke and I attended high school together. In 2012, she founded LITKE, her self-named fashion house. Read on to learn about her journey, and what it’s really like to start out in the fashion industry.

_________________________________________________________

Catherine Litke in her studio

Ms. Litke in her studio. Photo taken by Alex Schattner

A: When did you know you wanted to be a fashion designer?

C: I really wanted to be a designer my whole life, but I didn’t know it would lead to starting my own line until about two years ago. I studied studio art at NYU, really concentrating on video art, but then my last year at school I fell into a job as a stylist’s assistant under Tina Chai. She really taught me how the industry works, and I admire her aesthetic and work ethic more than I can put into words. We worked with Band of Outsiders on all of their shows, and Tina’s collaboration with designer Scott Sternberg was always really inspiring, because the brand has such a strong identity. That kind of clear, concise, vision is something I really aspire to, even if my style is a bit different. Fashion is about creating a story, and everything needs to work together, no matter how many references you may be working with.

After graduating, I worked freelance for almost five years for different editors. As a fashion assistant, I helped create and coordinate stories for all different magazines such as Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and InStyle, among many others. Working with so many editors and designers was an amazing experience, but I realized that I didn’t necessarily want to be on the stylist side — even though it gave me an amazing chance to travel all over the world in my early twenties.

A: What’s it like being in the industry?

C: I love constantly being surrounded by creative people who are also very involved in the business aspect of the fashion world. I think people assume that this industry is filled with a lot of over-privileged people playing dress up and buying expensive clothing. That’s definitely not the case. One of the things I value most about this industry is that everyone works long hours and is really talented at what they do. If you put in the work, people in this business notice and appreciate it.

A: But you do have to be the face of your brand, right?

C: I don’t necessarily think it is about being the face, but it is important to really believe in the products you are creating. I’ve always admired designers — especially women — who embody their brand in a genuine way.

A: Like Betsey Johnson?

C: Betsey Johnson definitely embodies her brand in a way I don’t know if anyone else could.

I really look up to women like Isabel Marant, Stella McCartney, and Phoebe Philo. They put their DNA and style into everything they create. They also seem to love wearing the pieces they make, which I think about a lot when I’m designing. Working with editors taught me to create things that are both beautiful and commercial. There is a fine line, but generally my gauge is whether I myself would love to own something if I saw it out of the context of the collection. My past work experiences have taught me to edit. This has been very helpful in keeping the collection substantial, but not unmanageable to produce.

An outfit from Ms. Litke's S/S Line 2014
A design from Litke’s S/S look book. Taken by Jake Jones

A: How would you describe your brand?

C: My brand is focused towards a younger customer, 20-35, and the shapes are a bit boyish, but also super feminine. I don’t subscribe to the idea that something super sexy also needs to be tiny and tight.

One of my favorite films is Belle de Jour, and Catherine Deneuve is just the most perfectly dressed character. She wears these amazing straight, 1960s, coats that are very restrictive, but also beautiful and feminine. I also love most French New Wave so that is usually somewhere in the back of my head.

More specifically, for my first collection I was fascinated with Mennonite quilting and the retro futurism images, specifically the movie Barbarella. This past season, I spent a lot of time looking at 1950s photos of children’s dance classes and Indian Illustrations, which made for an interesting juxtaposition. For F/W 2014, I’ve been pretty obsessed with Louise Bourgeois’ Fabric Works series, which I think really worked well in its translation into clothing.

A: If LITKE could have any celebrity spokesmodel, who would it be?

C: I really love women like Elle Fanning and Kirsten Dunst, who are obviously really feminine and beautiful, but also don’t dress for men. You can tell they really love fashion in the clothing choices they make, and that is really admirable in the entertainment industry where there is so much pressure to fit into a mold.

A: How do you produce and distribute your designs?

Continue reading on my blog.

Photo courtesy of Alex Schattner and Jake Jones.
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Russia Today: A Short Interview with Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812’s David Abeles

It’s hard to put into words what it’s like to witness Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 in person. You’re sort of crashing the party just by turning up on their set. Don’t expect anything you’ve ever seen before. The satirical opera — as if that’s a thing — is chock full of jokes but also emotional and inspiring moments. Put plainly, It isn’t your traditional dinner theater. I sought to get some additional insights from David Abeles, who stars as Pierre:

What a wild and wonderful experience. Show doesn’t really do it justice. What drew you to it initially?

Abeles: I think my first experience was similar to most of our audience members’. I knew almost nothing going in and was just swept away. I’d never seen anything like it. Dave Malloy’s score and libretto is so rich, complex and truthful, and Rachel Chavkin’s direction and staging is engaging and playful, I was transported. Also, I just love the depth and humanity of Pierre, so the chance to dive into this gift of a role was obviously a big draw.

For the role of Pierre, you largely lurk in the shadows and come into your own in the latter portion of the play. Why’s that so effective?

Abeles: Well, without giving too much away…Pierre is very much in the throes of a powerful existential crisis throughout much of our show, and it’s not really until the latter portion of the play that events beyond his control basically propel him into action and into taking account of the things he finds important and meaningful. I would hope the most affecting thing about this long arc is seeing Pierre go through such a whirlwind of inner turmoil – and finally surprise himself with a newfound outlook and a newfound humanity.

You demonstrate a rare talent for both theatrics and music, playing several different instruments along with the band during the show. Is it hard to stay in character and do it all at once?

Abeles: Actually, I think it’s the opposite – I find it easier to stay in character while playing the instruments. And I think this is especially true with the accordion, which I did have to learn for the show. I think Dave’s writing for the accordion is just right for Pierre and feels so fitting – it just feels like an instrument Pierre might play. Since I’ve played music from a young age, and have been in several actor/musician productions, I’m gratefully pretty comfortable behind an instrument and I love discovering the extra layers it can provide to exploring the character and the storytelling.

The choreography and staging takes up so much space I’d argue that the audience is really sitting on the stage. How does that make your job harder, and what’s the effect for the show overall?

Abeles: I think it’s one of the most brilliant and, equally, challenging aspects of the piece. It’s a strange dichotomy because although the scope and the emotions are very heightened, the audience is all around you and close enough to touch at all times. So, the playing of the material has to have the urgency of life and death stakes, along with the nuance of playing moments naturalistically. For me, it’s absolutely thrilling to have an audience so close that they are literally a part of the scene being played – we get to truly share the experience and it’s hugely rewarding.

This show is set 200 years ago in Moscow. Are there any universal lessons you hope the audience takes away?

Abeles: There are many – and I hope each person is able to glean something personally meaningful from the show. I do, however, love a Tolstoy quotation that I believe is still posted outside of our tent: “We are asleep until we fall in love!”
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#HelpMeClinton – What to Wear to a Job Interview

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Dancing in the Streets: A Short Interview with Motown’s Saycon Sengbloh

One of the most enjoyable things on Broadway this season is Motown: The Musical which does more than just offer a revue of the famous hits from another era. In addition to offering a host of new songs to go alongside the nostalgia, the show gives a wonderful glimpse into the ups and downs of Berry Gordy’s quest to make this “black music” transcend and be accepted by audiences of all races, ages, and locations. One of the many standouts in the show is Saycon Sengbloh, who plays Martha Reeves and sings the signature song “Dancing in the Street.” Sengbloh responded to a few of my questions via email:

What initially drew you to this show? Are you a fan of Motown music?

Sengbloh: From my audition for the first reading of the script, I knew I wanted to be a part of this show! I’ve been a Motown fan since I was a kid, I love everyone from the Four Tops to the Jackson Five.

How did you enjoy working with Berry Gordy on this production? Did his input and recollection of real-life events help frame anything for you?

Sengbloh: It was simply brilliant to have the man who lived it in our midst. Often we would research stories and ask him about the details and he would tell us some of the behind-the-scenes details. There were too many stories to name.

This show isn’t just about music, it covers an important period of modern history. How do you think the music shaped the era?

Sengbloh: This music is sort of like a soundtrack to all of our lives. Many people don’t realize that Martin Luther King was a Motown recording artist; his speeches were recorded for Motown. And people bought those records to help support the civil rights movement.

You play a number of roles in this incredibly choreographed, busy, and plotted-out production. Was it hard to learn the many roles and songs, and to keep up?

Sengbloh: It wasn’t hard at all to learn the show – so much of this music is inside of me. I’ve been hearing it since I was a child. It can be difficult with any Broadway schedule with there being 8 shows per week. But having this type of opportunity is sort of once in a lifetime, so you do anything to make it work, and try to take care of yourself and prepare the other aspects of your life and career to keep up with the show and keep up with personal projects too!

Are there any lessons you hope the audience takes away from the story?

Sengbloh: I just want them to be happy and enjoy themselves and take away the feeling of the memories they had each time they heard a song they loved and recognize that there is a lot of hard work wrapped up into building this type of company. Music heals!
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An Interview With Photographer Leonard Nimoy

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Jason Landry: Where does Leonard Nimoy the photographer go for inspiration?

Leonard Nimoy
: It pops up. I don’t go to any particular place looking for it. It has to arrive. It’s the kind of thing that has to touch something in me when I read or see or hear something that’s relevant.

It’s unpredictable, as it should be. I try not to force an issue because then the work feels forced, too intellectual, and not spontaneous — not out of the subconscious or the unconscious. I’m working very hard at trying to be in touch with the creative process rather than the intellectual process.

JL: From what I have read, you started making photographs as a teenager and built a darkroom in the family bathroom. At what were you pointing your lens back then?

LN: Family members, mostly. I still have a photograph that I did of my grandfather on the banks of the Charles River. I shot it with a camera that I still have, a bellows camera called a Kodak Autographic. It was one of these things that used to flop open when you pull the bellows out on to the track. These cameras were made with a little lid on the backside that you could open and inscribe something on the back of the film as a kind of a memory of what the photograph was. I never used the autographic feature, but I did use that camera to take pictures with, then I built an enlarger using that camera as the heart of it. I found a suggestion for that idea in a Mechanix Illustrated magazine: how to build your own enlarger using a metal lunchbox. For the light housing, I used one of those lunchboxes that had a dome-shaped top and I put a sock in there and a seventy-five-watt light bulb and cut a hole into the bottom of the lunchbox, mounted it onto a make-shift wooden frame, mounted the camera onto that, and then used a couple pieces of glass for the negative holder. I was able to take a photograph with that camera and then enlarge it with that camera.

JL: Going back to Robert Heinecken, was there anything specific that he taught you or might have said to you that left a lasting impression?

LN: Yes. As I mentioned, he was very strong on “theme,” and if you wanted to be a photographic artist, you should not be just shooting pictures willy-nilly, and at anything you just happened to see or come across, but stick to his or her thematic thrust. And as an example, he said if you are walking down the street with your camera, and you see a person falling out of a high building, you don’t shoot a picture of that falling person unless the theme of the work that you’re working on has to do with the affect of space on the human figure. If you simply shoot it because it was happening, you have moved to photojournalism.

JL: “There’s poetry in black and white.” You said that in an interview once when describing black and white photography. Is the use of black and white a nostalgic thing, or a way that photographs should be displayed based on the subject matter?

LN: It has to do with nostalgia and subject. I grew up doing my own printing. Always enjoyed it, always enjoyed going into the darkroom and experimenting with a print. I did not move into developing or processing color. I stayed with black and white. I still think to this day that I prefer to work in black and white if it has to do with poetry or anything other than specific reality. I have worked in color when I thought it was the appropriate way to express the thought that I was working on. My Secret Selves project had to be in color. It was so specific to the individual and what they were bringing to the portrait session. Color is more specific and black and white is more poetic.

JL: For many years you were on the other side of the lens. How does it feel to be behind the lens directing your subjects through photography?

LN: It’s liberating for me. I don’t have to perform — don’t have to take on other identities. It’s using a different part of my creative process, which I enjoy. It’s refreshing.

JL: What is the most important lesson that you’ve learned through photographing people?

LN: How to make a subject or model comfortable in front of my camera. The other is that people come in all shapes and sizes in their psyche, and not just in the physical and metaphysical sense, but in their psychological condition. And it’s a search — you are searching constantly to find out who this person is. What is it that you want to extract from this person? There was this wonderful video of Richard Avedon taking a portrait of an actor, and he said to his subject (paraphrasing), “think of nothing…just let your mind go totally blank.” And he takes the picture. And then I asked myself, what is Avedon looking to show here? Is he thinking that by telling this person to think of nothing that something wonderful or something special is going to emerge? Thinking of nothing could also make for a very dull picture. It could also create a blank canvas for people to project into. Every photographer has to find their own way into this territory. It’s a life-long search. I don’t think anyone every perfects it and is done with it. It’s a work of art and it’s never complete.

JL: If you were advising a young photographer today, what would your words of wisdom be?

LN: Stop worrying about the nature, design or qualifications of your equipment. Master your equipment so you know how to get the shot you want, but above all, search for the reason to be taking pictures. Why are you taking pictures? Why do we shoot pictures? I say the same thing to actors who want to develop a career as an actor. You must master your craft and then put it aside and concentrate on the more difficult aspect of the work. What is it that you want to do with that craft? What do you want to express? What do you want to explore? What do you want to find out? What do you want to present to people? Those are the issues that you have to search for.

Check out the rest of this interview in the book: Instant Connections: Essays and Interviews on Photography.

And check out Leonard Nimoy’s photographic projects at the R. Michelson Galleries in Northampton, MA.

(Portrait of Leonard Nimoy with Shekhina. Courtesy the Artist and R. Michelson Galleries.)
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Zappos.com interview with Kenneth Jay Lane!

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While in New York, we recently met up with Kenneth Jay Lane for an exclusive interview!
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Zappos.com interview with Genetic Denim!

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Ali Fatourechi certainly knows jeans. We caught up with the Genetic Denim founder and creative director and got the scoop on what inspires him as well what it means to have his own denim brand.
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Zappos.com exclusive interview with Micah Cohen!

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