Women villains as role models


Tired of lady villains being given pathetic, exploitative backstories to justify and explain their wicked ways? Sarah Gailey writes In Defense of Villainesses: women who are flawless, ruthless and require no pathological explanation.

We love her and we hate her in equal measure. We feel that way because she revels in being all the things that we are told we aren’t allowed to be. She is confident, and she has wrinkles, and her nose isn’t a formless nonthreatening comma in the middle of an ill-defined wide-eyed face—it’s a knife, or an arrow, or a scythe. She frowns. Everyone in the audience and on the internet wants to talk about whether or not she’s sexy but they’re asking the wrong questions and she’s laughing at them for it. She wears bright colors, nonprimary colors that coordinate with her green skin or her purple eyeshadow. She’s too good for this game, too smart for her boss, tired of getting stepped on. She gets mad and she gets even.
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Are Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert Downey Jr white enough to star in a Hollywood biopic of medieval Muslim poet Jalaluddin al-Rumi?


The producers of a Hollywood biopic about 13th-century poet Jalaluddin al-Rumi hope to cast Leonardo DiCaprio in the role—and they're eyeing Robert Downey Jr. for the part of "enigmatic mystic" Shams of Tabriz. Read the rest

Elijah Wood says Hollywood has a major pedophile problem


Before we knew him as Frodo Baggins in Peter Jackson's blockbuster Lord of the Rings film trilogy, Elijah Wood was a child actor. In a recent interview with Britain's Sunday Times, Wood spoke out on sexual abuse of young actors in Hollywood, and says “a lot of vipers” roam the upper echelons of the entertainment biz, preying on naïvete and eagerness for fame.

“Clearly something major was going on in Hollywood. It was all organized. There are a lot of vipers in this industry, people who only have their own interests in mind,” he told the Times.

“There is darkness in the underbelly. What bums me about these situations is that the victims can’t speak as loudly as the people in power. That’s the tragedy of attempting to reveal what is happening to innocent people: they can be squashed, but their lives have been irreparably damaged.”

“If you’re innocent, you have very little knowledge of the world and you want to succeed,” he added. “People with parasitic interests will see you as their prey. What upsets me about these situations is that the victims can’t speak as loudly as the people in power.”

Wood is now 35. As a child, he performed with fellow child star alongside Macaulay Culkin in “The Good Son,” and had a part in the “Flipper” remake. He said his mother, Debra, protected him from predators back then, and he “never went to parties where that kind of thing was going on.”

Here's a non-paywalled report that quotes extensively from the Times: Elijah Wood Calls Out Hollywood's Pedophile Problem [the daily beast]

The paywalled Sunday Times interview was booked to promote his latest film The Trust, which tells the tale of corrupt cops who plan to steal drug money. Read the rest

David Letterman almost starred in Airplane!

David Letterman screen-tested for the role of Ted Striker in my favorite comedy film of all time, Airplane! (1980). I'm serious, and don't call me Shirley.

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George Clooney's neighbor threw a $27/plate Sanders fundraiser to counter Clooney's $33K/head Hillary event


99 Cents Only store magnate Howard Gold lives next to George Clooney. On Saturday night, both of them threw political fundraisers for would-be 2016 Democratic presidential candidate. Read the rest

Incredible Hollywood home with outdoor movie "theater"


Belzberg Architects built the magnificent "Skyline Residence" on a ridge in the Hollywood Hills. The 5,800 home consists of two separate structures, a main house and guest house, with a gathering space between them to watch a film outside.

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Read Gene Wilder's feedback on Willy Wonka costume concepts for the 1971 film

After Gene Wilder saw early sketches of his costume for the 1971 film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, he had some strong opinions to share with director Mel Stuart. From Letters of Note (via Dangerous Minds):

July 23rd

Dear Mel,

I’ve just received the costume sketches. I’ll tell you everything I think, without censoring, and you take from my opinion what you like.

I assume that the designer took his impressions from the book and didn’t know, naturally, who would be playing Willy. And I think, for a character in general, they’re lovely sketches.

I love the main thing — the velvet jacket — and I mean to show by my sketch the exact same color. But I’ve added two large pockets to take away from the svelt, feminine line. (Also in case of a few props.)

I also think the vest is both appropriate and lovely.

And I love the same white, flowing shirt and the white gloves. Also the lighter colored inner silk lining of the jacket.

What I don’t like is the precise pin pointing in place and time as this costume does.

I don’t think of Willy as an eccentric who holds on to his 1912 Dandy’s Sunday suit and wears it in 1970, but rather as just an eccentric — where there’s no telling what he’ll do or where he ever found his get-up — except that it strangely fits him: Part of this world, part of another. A vain man who knows colors that suit him, yet, with all the oddity, has strangely good taste.

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See Spiderman in the new Captain America: Civil War trailer

I like how cartoony Spidey looks but he's got nothing on his late-1970s predecessor seen below.

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The unlikely actor who played Ridley Scott's Alien


In Ridley Scott's classic 1979 science fiction/horror film Alien, the terrifying creature was played by a 6'10" Nigerian named Bolaiji Badejo. It was Badejo's only film credit. In fact Badejo, who died of sickle cell disease in 1992 at age 39, wasn't even an actor. He was studying graphic arts in London when casting agent Peter Ardram spotted him in a pub. From CNN:

"As soon as I walked in Ridley Scott knew he'd found the right person," Badejo said in a rare interview for the French film magazine, Cinefantastique, in 1979...

"I could barely see what was going on around me," Badejo recalled in 1979, "except when I was in a stationary position, while they were filming. Then there were a few holes I could look through... It was terribly hot... I could only have it on for about 15 or 20 minutes at a time. When I took it off, my head would be soaked."

Bolaji Badejo: The Nigerian giant who played 'Alien' (CNN)

Below, Badejo's surreal screen test that I've previously posted:

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Watch these celebrities swap faces with Leonardo DiCaprio after Oscars win

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When Vanity Fair asked a bunch of celebrities at the Oscars to “swap faces with Leo DeCaprio” with the MSQRD app, their responses were pretty funny. Larry David's was very Larry David. “No.”

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Rooney Mara regrets playing whitewashed native American


Rooney Mara has found her guilt regarding her lily-white turn as Tiger Lily in the derided and disastrous Peter Pan prequel "Pan," which set fire to about $200m all told.

Even before Joe Wright’s live-action retelling of Peter Pan hit theaters, the production came under fire for casting Rooney Mara as the Native American Tiger Lily, and thousands signed a petition objecting to Mara’s casting. Now, less than a week before the Academy Awards and in the middle of the #OscarsSoWhite controversy, Mara has opened up about her own involvement in the whitewashing debate in a new interview with The Telegraph.

“I really hate, hate, hate that I am on that side of the whitewashing conversation,” she told The Telegraph. “I really do. I don’t ever want to be on that side of it again. I can understand why people were upset and frustrated.”

Tell me, o internet, how Mara came to hate, hate, hate, hate being on the wrong side of the conversation, but only after the movie became a career-blighting bomb. Read the rest

Celebrity gossip site TMZ runs more like a global spying operation

Harvey Levin

How does TMZ get the videos and photos that celebrities want to hide? Because like any good intelligence operation, their spies aren't above paying for intelligence. TMZ pays its sources good money for tips on the dirty-doings of the rich and famous, and operates in Hollywood with the reach and stealth of an effective surveillance outfit.

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Miles Davis biopic trailer and interview with director/star Don Cheadle


Don Cheadle directed and stars in Miles Ahead, the film portrait of the jazz legend that opens in theaters April 1. How did Cheadle get the role? Well, he never auditioned or even talked to anyone about it before he was cast. Rather, Miles's nephew Vince Wilburn declared that Cheadle would play his uncle. Entertainment Weekly interviewed Cheadle:

The film jumps around, but the main thread of the plot is set around 1979. Why did you chose to focus on that time period? Just the fact that he wasn’t playing. The fact that he hadn’t played for five years, up to that point, and in a way, was either chomping at the bit to figure out what to say again, if to say again, or he was going down towards death very quickly. He was standing on that knife’s edge at that point, and I don’t think he even know which way it was gonna go. So for us, when we got to the period in all the research about how Miles didn’t play for five years, we were like, “What?” [Laughs] That was the part that was the most interesting from a human being standpoint to me. Musically and what he did with his art form was amazing to me all the time, for the most part. But for me, as a human and an artist and someone who’s a creative person, what happens when you just stop for five years? That’s why we picked that moment to sort of be the departure point: him on the verge of talking again, basically.

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Watch the late Alan Rickman have a very dramatic cup of tea

From David Michalek's "Portraits in Dramatic Time." RIP, Alan Rickman.

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Glorious new trailer for High-Rise, based on JG Ballard's novel

The new trailer for High-Rise, director Ben Wheatley's film based on the 1975 novel by one of my all-time favorite writers JG Ballard, looks absolutely fantastic. And dig the use of Tangerine Dream's track "Love on a Real Train" (famously first heard in Risky Business)! I can't wait to see this.

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Watch Dead Kennedys' Jello Biafra's acting reel

Punk icon Jello Biafra's acting showreel, used as a resume-of-sorts in the TV/movie business, features his moments in Portlandia, Death and Taxes, Tapeheads, The Hipster Games, and others. (via Dangerous Minds)

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Trippy trailer for "Alice Through the Looking Glass"


"Alice Through the Looking Glass" is director James Bobin's sequel to Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland" (2010). Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Mia Wasikowska, Helena Bonham Carte, Alan Rickman, Stephen Fry, Michael Sheen, and Timothy Spall are once again down the K hole, I mean the rabbit hole.

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