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At a recent convention for the show, a fan asked Doctor Who queen Billie Piper which American series she'd love to guest on. Her answer, without hesitation, was Girls.
Make this happen, Lena Dunham! We can totally see Piper hanging out with the ladies in Brooklyn. Maybe she's a cool, cosmopolitan friend from Jessa's travels, an actress co-starring with Adam in a short film who rubs Hannah the wrong way, or a TA who befriends Shoshanna. Hell, we'd even take her in a cameo as an impossible-to-please coffee shop patron. Though she deserves a multi-episode arc, at the very least.
For one, the effortless beauty could teach the girls something or two about boho-chic fashion. Rompers, slouchy maxi dresses, high-waisted jeans. She would rock them all. And since Billie is a survivor of teen pop and the scrutiny that comes with it, she and Lena can bond over the ludicrous amount of attention paid to everything Dunham wears or doesn't. Thanks to her lead role in Secret Diary of a Call Girl, we know Piper can handle Girls and its frank sex scenes. But it's Billie's range and choices that set her apart from the ingénue set. While "Belle du Jour" was an uber-fab Cher Horowitz of the sex industry, Piper de-glammed in the 100% improvised 2012 miniseries True Love to play a teacher who starts a relationship with a female student. As is required of all British actresses, she has taken her turn in a Jane Austen adaptation. But — unlike some of her contemporaries — Piper is just as comfortable in modern or period pieces. Must be all that time she spent traveling through time and space with the Doctor.
We'll see Piper next in the upcoming Showtime thriller Penny Dreadful. And after that, perhaps a party in a Greenpoint warehouse? Time will tell.
Actor Jake Gyllenhaal gave onlookers an eyeful while filming mountain thriller Everest in Rome, Italy over the weekend (08-09Mar14) after disrobing for a nude scene. The bearded star, who portrays real-life adventurer Scott Fischer in the film, was photographed completely naked during one take, with just a small piece of black material taped to his crotch to cover his manhood.
The movie is based on author Jon Krakauer's book Into Thin Air, which documents the tragic 1996 Mount Everest disaster that claimed the lives of eight climbers, including Fischer, and left several others stranded.
Krakauer himself was a survivor of the tragedy.
Zero Dark Thirty star Jason Clarke will play Hall, while Josh Brolin is also part of the cast.
Gyllenhaal is no stranger to stripping off on camera - he previously disrobed for Brokeback Mountain and Love and Other Drugs.
Gabrielle Union is having a very big year, with the success of the super-hot, super-fascinating new BET series Being Mary Jane. As a result of of this new surge in her career, all eyes are on her and that can often be a big responsibility. Recently, Union made an appearance on The View, discussing her experience with sexual assault. Some found her words empowering, while others found them hugely problematic. In case you missed it, here's a clip from the show:
Here is a part of the statment that some viewers took issue with:
Being a victim is so comfortable...When something catastrophic happens in your life, everyone rallies around you. You're getting all of the attention and love and support that you've always wanted, but it's not for something positive. And I hated that. I hated feeling like a victim.
Now part of the problem with this statement is that many, many victims do not experience such rallying around after a sexual assault. While it's great that Union clearly had the support of family and friends during an impossibly difficult time, some people felt that it was insensitive of her to speak as if this is the typical situation for most victims.
As far as how she moved on, Union went on to say the following:
I was like, 'I want to embrace being a survivor, because that's who I am.' I wasn't raised to be coddled. I was raised to be an independent woman, standing on my own two feet.
On the one hand, it's easy to see why people — including other survivors of sexual assault — might take offense to this. Union, whether she meant to or not, implies that being independent is on the opposite end of the spectrum from being a victim and being supported. Her use of the word "coddled" can work to demonize the search for help following an experience with sexual assault or rape, instead opting to endorse "toughening up" exclusively. Of course that is only one way to interpret it, but it is a ready interpretation.
There's a good chance that Union was merely speaking for herself and describing her personal experience. She, at a certain point, was ready to draw on her own strength and embrace survivorhood. And the fact that she is able to speak out about this today is huge. Union was attacked when she was 19 years old at her place of employment, Payless ShoeSource, by another former employee. She went on to sue the chain for negligence, as this wasn't the first attack of its kind. Her rapist had actually robbed the store before and raped another employee.
It seems like evey time a survivor of rape speaks out, we take issue with the way they describe their experience, or we question its validity entirely. Although words like the ones Union used can have complicated implications, ultimately we need to show support for the very act of speaking out. We need to foster an environment wherein subjects of attack feel comfortable coming forward with their stories, so we must give brave people like Union nothing but support and encouragement, especially as she is attempting to support and encourage other survivors to speak out as well.
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The Amazing Spider-Man star Andrew Garfield joined a young leukaemia survivor at Disneyland in California on Monday (03Mar14) after a planned superhero segment featuring the pair was axed from the Oscars ceremony. The actor had initially been booked to appear as a presenter at the Academy Awards and producers wanted him to take part in a separate sketch, in which five-year-old Miles Scott, known as Batkid, would be made an official superhero.
The skit was cut from the live prizegiving on Sunday (02Mar14), and Garfield was a no-show at the high-profile event, sparking false reports suggesting he had dropped out of the gig and snubbed Scott.
However, a spokesperson from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the organisation behind the Oscars, has now cleared the story up, blaming time constraints for Batkid's absence.
The representative tells Foxnews.com, "Due to the nature of a live show, hard decisions sometimes must be made which require the Academy to cut segments due to the logistics of production.
"Andrew Garfield understood that his segment had to be omitted, and he drove to Disneyland on Monday to spend time with five-year-old Miles Scott and his family."
Scott hit headlines in November (13) when he took to the streets of San Francisco, California with more than 11,000 volunteers and organisers from the Make-A-Wish Foundation to turn the place into fictional Gotham City, where Batman fights crime.
The youngster, who was dressed up as a mini-Batman, teamed up with city officials to help 'save' San Francisco from ruin.
Actor Mark Wahlberg has dropped 61 pounds (27.7 kilograms) for his new role in The Gambler. The Lone Survivor star slimmed to just 135 pounds (61.2 kilograms) to play a literary professor with addiction issues in the new film.
He tells People magazine, "I started at 196 and got down to 135... I began with a liquid diet. Then I completely changed my training programme and gave up wine, bread and pasta. Now I'm eating small portions of protein throughout the day and jumping rope a lot."
The Gambler is set to hit theatres next year (15), and could land Wahlberg an Oscar nod - Matthew McConaughey just won gold for playing an emaciated AIDS victim in Dallas Buyers Club.
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HOLLYWOOD SHOULD STOP MAKING HOLOCAUST MOVIES
If the recent release of The Monuments Men proves anything, it's that Hollywood should stop making Holocaust movies.
There's no denying that The Holocaust was a horrific event, and that we should make every effort to remind young generations that terrible tragedies can occur when individuals become corrupted by power. However, just as disturbing is Hollywood's endless need to exploit this tragedy for the pursuit of profit.
It was Theodor Adorno who once said, "To write poetry after Auschwitz is barbaric." Adorno's point is especially relevant when we consider the constant circulation of Holocaust movies like The Monuments Men. In order to understand the problem, it's important to realize that George Clooney and his co-stars are cashing in on this movie, as are the major Hollywood studies that produce it. Hollywood is a business after all, and we all know that there's no better way to attract moviegoers than to release another "important" story about the Holocaust. In this particular case, we follow a group of American soldiers who are sent to rescue artwork from the Nazis, because apparently artwork is more important than people.
There was a time when it was necessary for Hollywood to make Holocaust movies. Film is popular entertainment, and it has the potential to enlighten the masses about this brutal event in history. However, we already have Schindler's List (1993) and The Pianist (2002), and there are hundreds of excellent, important documentaries worth renting. What we don't need, and what Hollywood keeps giving us, is American movie stars like Clooney and Matt Damon engaging in witty banter through World War II rubble. We aren't going to benefit from Kate Winslet hanging herself at the end of the The Reader (2008). And we especially aren't going to be moved by Brad Pitt's collection of Nazi scalps in Inglorious Basterds (2009). It appears that Hollywood failed to understand that they were only supposed to make one or two important movies about the Holocaust. Instead, they've unleashed a genre.
Hollywood has made movie after movie about the Holocaust to the point where audiences become so distant from the real event that they only think about it in terms of cinematic conventions. Last year, for example, critics and audiences panned The Book Thief (2013) for being too "sappy" and "precious." And maybe it was, but we've gone too far if we're judging Holocaust movies by the same standards that we judge a Nicholas Sparks adaptation.
The Holocaust was a horrific, brutal event, and we must remember and honor its victims. To do this, Hollywood must stop making Holocaust movies.
HOLLYWOOD SHOULDN'T STOP MAKING HOLOCAUST MOVIES
If the recent release of George Clooney's film The Monuments Men — based on Robert M. Edsel’s book The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History — proves anything, it’s that Hollywood can still create emotional and compelling films about the Holocaust.
Though World War II is a dark time in the world’s history that many would like to forget, we shouldn't. Of course, many fans of cinema will tell you that we have enough movies focusing on this period of time. Some might even say Hollywood should have stopped after creating Schindler’s List. However, the Holocaust will never stop being part of the world’s history, and Hollywood should never be told to stop creating films based on the subject.
History shouldn’t just be taught by school teachers or textbooks; history can be taught by survivors, by those choosing to tell the survivors' story. History can be learned through any medium whether it's a factual first account or a fictional retelling, like Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds.
Perhaps some moviegoers see mentions of the Holocaust as cheap plays on sentimentality, but it also shouldn't be a topic Hollywood wholly avoids — especially in non-historical films. Two specific movies come to mind: The Avengers makes a brief allusion to the World War II and Magneto’s revenge story in X-Men: First Class deals with a survivor’s story — a very fictional survivor who can control metal with his mind, but still.
However, both these films are impactful in different ways. The scene in The Avengers that references the Holocaust is amazing. An old man stands up to Loki, who presumes to be Earth’s one true ruler, and tells him he is nothing special; there will always be men who wish to subjugate humankind and they will always be defeated. Similarly, Magneto’s storyline in X-Men gives the character agency so that he is not simply a one-dimensional victim archetype.
The fact that we can still be moved by the Holocaust — whether it’s in a superhero flick or a serious drama like The Monuments Men — is an important factor to respecting and immortalizing history. Holocaust films should not be disregarded simply because someone is tired of remembering something uncomfortable.
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With Divergent is hitting theaters on March 21, the theme of teens fighting for survival on the big screen is at the forefront of our minds. It's one that has resonated through the decades in cinema, and we're taking a look at some of our favorite examples.
I'm talking about the 1984 original, not the forgettable reboot. As someone who was born in the 1970s and was growing into teenager-hood in the 1980s, the sight of those parachuting Russians in the film's opening made me want to crawl under my blankets and hide forever. Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev's steps toward Glasnot years later couldn't come fast enough. This was a bloody movie that featured many up-and-coming stars like Patrick Swayze, Charlie Sheen, and C. Thomas Howell. The film hit towards the end of the Cold War, allowing USSR to play an effective Hollywood villain. The film saw America become a Russian state; the band of teenagers who fought back against the Red Menace made all of us look like sad-sack couch potatoes. To this day, you can yell "Wolverines!" at any person over the age of 35 and you'll much more than likely get a knowing nod back... and not just on the campus of University of Michigan.
By now, nearly everyone in the world knows who Katniss Everdeen is. For the very few uninitiated, Everdeen is a teenager who has to go and hunt other teenagers in a dystopian future that takes its cues from The Running Man more than anything else. Everdeen is tough, resourceful, cunning, and also one hell of a shot with a bow an arrow. She shows people that teens can take matters by the horns and do what it takes to win, and still not entirely sacrifice their humanity. There are those why decry the things she does, but in the long run, she is a good role model for being a strong female lead, which is something the movies have been lacking quite often. Everdeeen isn't one to quake and let a male take over or win or make her compromise herself. Yes, this series of movies shows kids murdering other kids, but the underlying message beneath is one that can't be ignored either.
Released in Japan in 2000, the movie comes from a different culture and as such institutes different tropes into its school-aged characters. The film centers around the students of a ninth-grade class that are made to fight each other to the death. Even more brutal than the American films, it shows what people are capable of when they have their backs to the wall and are being forced to commit atrocities in the name of their own government. I'd be seriously scared to get a note from my son's school in the future about something like this.
What kid hasn't wondered about the true demonic motives of his or her teachers? This 1998 horror/thriller boasts a cast full of comedic powerhouses like Bebe Neuwirth and Jon Stewart, as well as heartthrobs like Josh Hartnett and Jordana Brewster... and, yes, Usher. Running on the theme of teens versus adults, The Faculty becomes an intense and interesting cinematic experience. Beyond its horror aspects, the uniqueness of the overall movie made it better than something like Halloween or Friday the 13th. If you haven't seen it, it'll make you look at the Daily Show host in a totally different light.
Lord of the Flies
The original teen survivor movie, adapted in 1963 from William Golding's award-winning novel. We meet a group of school kids who get stranded on a desert island, and initially band together to survive... before anarchy starts to take over as the veneer of civilization gets stripped further and further in the movie. It's quite harrowing, and a sobering reminder of what can happen when we let the rules of society slip away. And if you've somehow managed to get this far without reading the novel, we highly recommend it. I read it in seventh grade, and had this weird thing about conch shells for a while after that.
Divergent hits theaters March 21. You can check showtimes and purchase advanced tickets here.
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Dean Koontz has really struck a gold mine with the character of Odd Thomas: a young out-of-work fry cook in the fictional Californian town of Pico Mundo who has the ability to see and communicate with the dead. Koontz has written seven novels starring Thomas (using the character more than any other protagonist) as well as a graphic novel. And now, Odd Thomas is setting up to hit the big screen. The film will be based the eponymous first novel to feature Odd Thomas, with Anton Yelchin playing the character and Willem Dafoe playing his friend Chief Wyatt Porter. 50 Cent is listed as a cast member too, which should make it interesting.
What makes Thomas so different from the other heroes from Koontz's books is his humility and willingness to poke fun at himself, and we're hoping this, more than anything, carries through in the film. Read any of the Odd Thomas novels and you'll pick up a definite sense of self-deprecation. He freely admits that he's just an ordinary person trying not to get killed by bad guys while he also tries to better understand his ability. This is why people have really latched onto the character and his girlfriend Stormy (though Koontz still has the trouble of picking good names for the people in his books), and it's an element that needs to be present for a screen adaptation to work.
Another favorite feature of the books: dead celebrities. In the stories, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra and Alfred Hitchcock show up to see if the young man can discern exactly what it is that killed them and how they can cross over to the other side. I didn't see anybody listed on the cast page for roles like that, so I'm hoping for an uncredited appearance. Not having these people show up would be as bad as leaving the gods out of Troy... and we all know how THAT went.
There have been several stabs at Koontz novels: Phantoms with Rose McGowan, Ben Affleck, and Liev Schreiber. Hideaway with Jeff Goldblum. Sole Survivor with Billy Zane. Something just seemed off with these adaptations on the big screen, though; the spirit of the novels weren't really captured. The characters in those books never seemed to leap off the page the way Thomas does. In fairness, there was a good TV movie adaptation of Intensity, which had a pre-Dr. Cox John C. McGinley as a homicidal murderer who also happened to be a police chief. But we're hoping for "great" with Odd Thomas.
Koontz has not had as much luck in the celluloid world as the person he's most compared to, Stephen King. It hasn't seemed to bother him as he continues to write what seems like two books or more a year. After several years in limbo thanks to dueling production companies, we'd like to see Odd Thomas really take proper form on the big screen.
Odd Thomas hits theaters on February 28.
Former The Office star Jenna Fischer is pregnant. The actress and her husband, screenwriter Lee Kirk, are expecting their second child this summer (14).
Fischer and Kirk are already parents to son Weston Lee, who was born in 2011.
The couple wed in 2010 in a ceremony officiated by TV presenter and Survivor host Jeff Probst.
The pregnancy news comes just days after Fischer's former on-screen husband John Krasinski welcomed his first child, daughter Hazel, with wife Emily Blunt.
Alice Herz Sommer, the oldest-living Holocaust survivor and subject of Oscar-nominated film Lady In Number 6, has died at the age of 110. Herz Sommer passed away in London on Sunday (23Feb14).
Her death comes just one week before the Academy Awards, in which Lady in Number 6: How Music Saved by life, is up for Best Short Subject Documentary.
Herz Sommer, an accomplished music teacher, survived the Holocaust at Theresienstadt concentration camp by playing the piano for the Nazis. She performed more than 100 concerts for her captors until she and her son were liberated in 1945.
She lost her husband during her time at Theresienstadt.
Confirming her death, Lady in Number 6 producer Nicholas Reed says, "All of us are in shock. Alice had such a strong life force and her spirit was so strong that I could never imagine her not being around. She had been sick a few times over the last few years, but her indomitable spirit always pulled her through.
"The fact that we were able to capture Alice's lessons for all the generations to come makes us feel very proud. When things got tough, we would always ask ourselves, 'What would Alice say?' So, in that spirit, I am sad but I am happy that she had such a full life, a life that helped and inspired so many people, that brought such beauty into the world."