Articles on this Page
- 08/22/13--18:00: _Lady Gaga’s Smile: ...
- 08/22/13--18:00: _Pompeii Trailer
- 08/22/13--18:14: _MasterChef Episode ...
- 08/22/13--18:14: _Victoria Beckham, W...
- 08/22/13--18:21: _Ben Affleck is 'Bat...
- 08/22/13--18:31: _Pirates of the Cari...
- 08/22/13--18:49: _Blake and Ryan in t...
- 08/22/13--18:50: _A Socio-Cultural An...
- 08/22/13--18:55: _First you see me, t...
- 08/22/13--19:06: _Degrassi: 13B promo
- 08/22/13--19:31: _Excerpts about Pete...
- 08/22/13--19:32: _Chris Brown tweets
- 08/22/13--19:52: _Celine Dion joins T...
- 08/22/13--19:52: _Lady Gaga releases ...
- 08/22/13--19:59: _Paris Hilton and he...
- 08/22/13--20:00: _King of the Nerds (...
- 08/23/13--16:14: _ Liam Payne Recalls...
- 08/23/13--16:27: _John Mayer Aiming f...
- 08/23/13--16:27: _Leigh-Anne Pinnock ...
- 08/23/13--16:28: _Lady Gaga revealed ...
- 08/22/13--18:00: Pompeii Trailer
- 08/22/13--18:14: MasterChef Episode 20 ReCap!
- 08/22/13--18:14: Victoria Beckham, Working Girl - for Times Magazine
- 08/22/13--18:21: Ben Affleck is 'Batman' for 'Man of Steel' Sequel
- 08/22/13--18:31: Pirates of the Caribbean 5 Title Revealed
- 08/22/13--18:49: Blake and Ryan in their upstate New York garden
- 08/22/13--19:06: Degrassi: 13B promo
- 08/22/13--19:31: Excerpts about Peter Capaldi from the new Doctor Who Magazine issue
- 08/22/13--19:32: Chris Brown tweets
- 08/22/13--19:52: Celine Dion joins Twitter!
- 08/22/13--19:52: Lady Gaga releases Applause Remixes
- 08/22/13--19:59: Paris Hilton and her Quad!
- 08/22/13--20:00: King of the Nerds (and some other cool people) on the Cover of EW
- 08/23/13--16:27: John Mayer Aiming for No. 2 Debut on Billboard 200
- 08/23/13--16:28: Lady Gaga revealed a new song title "Donatella" for ArtPop
Last week, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry both dropped singles off of their new albums, and in a feat that caused the pop-culture Internet to raise its collective over-painted eyebrow, Perry’s single dominated the charts. Her “Roar” was downloaded more than Gaga’s “Applause” by 525,000 to 225,000. (At the time, our Josh Duboff imagined Gaga’s reaction to this news.)
Over the weekend, my boyfriend, Cub, and I took a road trip and spent some time listening to the radio. We were agog, as we are every time we get in a car, at the repetitiveness of Top 40 stations everywhere. If we heard “Blurred Lines,” “Get Lucky,” and “Same Love” one time, we heard them 30. “Roar” was rolled out once or twice, but we didn’t hear “Applause” a single time. I played it for Cub on my phone, and he said he actually preferred the latter, even though it seemed like no one else did. I myself like “Roar”—it’s got “last stretch of a painful morning run” written all over it.
“But just wait,” I told Cub. “Lady Gaga will release a video, she’ll come up with a little dance to go with it, and before you know it all the gays will be doing choreographed clap routines to ‘Applause’ at clubs and weddings all over the country.” Is there anything that sells a song better than gay men doing a group dance to it at a straight wedding? (Well, topless models dancing to it, I guess.)
Lo and behold, this morning the pop star released the video to “Applause,” directed by photographers Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin. It basically looks like a moving photo shoot for Interview magazine, except with more sanity. And if you fast-forward through the standard Gaga nonsense (face-paint smearing, a bikini made of hands, a giant severed leg that’s also a bouquet of flowers, Gaga’s head on the body of a black swan, etc.), there’s a bit of a catchy dance routine around minute 1:50. Who doesn’t love a syncopated overhead clap?
I’m already practicing for a wedding I have in three weeks. Are you?
But beyond the dance, the video features something else that gives me hope about this new album: a smile. You can see hints of it starting 50 seconds in. It’s not a full grin, but it’s a hint that—gasp—Lady Gaga is actually having fun.
When was the last time we saw a smiley Lady Gaga video? I can tell you; I just re-watched all of them. It was in 2009, with “Eh, Eh (Nothing Else I Can Say),” a cheesy, pastel-tinted homage to the great, rolling-around-in-bed Mariah Carey videos of the 1990s. In it, Gaga prances up and down what appears to be Manhattan’s Little Italy, hanging out with friends and eating carbohydrates while wearing a big bow made of hair. (Remember that phase?) That was a full four years ago, our last real Lady Gaga smile.
(That’s if you don’t count the robotic, frightening grimace she gives after killing Alexander Skarsgard in 2009’s “Paparazzi.” Which I don’t, because I can’t reward that. Gaga also smiles briefly in a corn field while she’s serenading a male version of herself in 2011’s “You and I.” But since the video also involves her drowning and getting electrocuted in a barn, I don’t really qualify it as “smiley.”)
Now, smiling isn’t really what Lady Gaga is about, is it? Costumes and sky-high torture shoes? Yes. Social commentary? Sure. Art, even? All right, fine. It’s all campy, but not exactly a laugh riot. So then is it weird that I still want to know that our gal Gaga is having fun?
One of my favorite televised Gaga performances was her 2010 Grammy appearance with Elton John. In an evening of incredible live performances (including Pink’s acrobatic “Glitter in the Air,” Beyoncé’s fiery cover of “You Oughta Know,” and a Michael Jackson tribute that featured Celine Dion, Jennifer Hudson, Usher, Carrie Underwood, and Smokey Robinson), the Gaga/John duet stood out because you could see in her face that she was performing with one of her musical idols. It’s not usual that you can look into a pop star’s eyes and see a dream coming true. And though she tried to hide it, in spite of herself, Gaga smiled.
(Compare that with the night’s cringe-inducing Taylor Swift/Stevie Nicks duet, in which an off-key Taylor looked like she was all alone, singing “Rhiannon” in her bedroom mirror. For the 100th time.)
The lyrics to “Applause” give us a hint that Gaga is ready to admit that she’s having a good time, and that the crazy, skeleton-filled haunted hayride that is her life is actually fun, in its way. She compares the applause from a crowd to sex and straight up begs for it. “Give me that thing that I love,” she says. “I live for the applause, live for the way that you cheer and scream for me.”
This is one of those oft-repeated sentiments that pop stars don’t realize doesn’t translate to listeners. Not many of us have stood in front of thousands of people screaming and cheering our names, after all. From what I imagine, this is probably a terrifying thrill akin to Motorcross racing or playing Russian roulette and not losing. It’s probably really, really great. But saying so comes across as egomaniacal, even desperate.
Or it would in Gaga’s case if she weren’t smiling when she said it. The smile says, “I know, I know. But this is fun. Trust me.”
I like it. And with an album name like Artpop and new friends like Marina Abramovic, I was worried Gaga would be taking herself way too seriously this time around. But looks like we’re in for some good times in the next few months.
So from where I’m sitting, bubblegum queen Katy Perry shouldn’t get too comfortable on top of the charts. She may be the Glinda to Gaga’s Wicked Witch of the West, but the Lady’s still got a few surprises tucked up in her severed-leg bouquet.
if this was too much for you to read you probably havent completed your ged yet!
Mods this is Vanity Fair not some random blog!
Kit Harington goes shirtless and shows off his ripped six pack abs in the teaser trailer for his new film Pompeii.
Here is the film’s synopsis (via Yahoo! Movies): Pompeii “centers around the ancient Roman town-city near modern Naples that was mostly destroyed and buried under 13 to 20 feet of ash following the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. … an event that makes the love affair between a slave (Harington) and young maiden (Emily Browning) even more complicated.”
Pompeii, which also stars Kiefer Sutherland, Carrie-Ann Moss, Jared Harris, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, and Jessica Lucas, will hit theaters in February 2014.
Not what I was expecting at all! For some reason I thought this was going to be some little indie, but looks like they're trying to do Immortals 2.0 or something. I hope my fave Emily Browning finally has a smash. Flop or no?
Performing in a professional restaurant kitchen at this high a level is always a turning point for our remaining home cooks. The pressure, the heat, the almost impossibly fast pace at which you need work – this is the reality of working in the culinary industry. This is what professional chefs do night after night.
The world of food and wine now exudes a sense of celebrity that we didn't have in years past. And while that glamorization has had a positive impact in our industry, it gives me pause with regard to our home cooks. There is a small fear that creeps up during the audition round when we judges first get a look at our top 100. I can't help but wonder, are they in love with cooking, or in love with the limelight? There's only one true way to tell, and it's trial by fire – to literally throw them into a dinner service, and let them sink or swim. Krissi most definitely sank.
She was by no means in an easy situation – these were complicated, technical dishes – but I was surprised at how she just broke. Truth be told, I believe her teammates where very closely behind her. Neither Bri nor James stepped in to help salvage the shrimp entrees – not even to save themselves – and I think it was because they were just as lost as she was.
Once again I have to hand it to Natasha. After a rough start, she lead a much stronger and more cohesive team. Neither she nor Luca had any trouble shaking off the initial flub with the steamer, leaving them free to concentrate on putting out killer entrees. Bri was right – they all banged out their first high-stakes dinner service and got the room fed ... for the most part. All in all, we judges were proud of their performance.
The calamari elimination was another story. No one performed at the anticipated level. Given her obvious breakdown at WP24, everyone up on the balcony had their money on Krissi departing, but what's fair is fair, and Bri's plate was indeed the worst of the three.
Bri has a promising future in food. She is really just a baby – 22 years old! Making it to the top five in the MasterChef kitchen is something she should always be proud of.
Next week features a very special episode: Gordon, Graham and I will welcome our sons to L.A. to help us choose the ingredients for our top five's next mystery box challenge. Tune-in as we are joined by Conrad, Miles, Jack and Ethan in the MasterChef kitchen! Thanks for reading!
David does the cooking? “Yes, he’s really good,” his wife said. When David was playing soccer in Italy a few years ago, she explained, the family was living in L.A., and he was left alone on his days off. “So he decided to go to culinary school.”
This is a long article so just some excerpts:
She knows her product intimately — she often says she designs clothes that she herself fantasizes about wearing — and they reflect her tastes: nothing busy, very few prints, color used sparingly, lots of calm clean grays, creams, navys, blacks. Her first collection evoked the work of Roland Mouret, one of whose dresses she made famous when she wore it to David’s official introduction ceremony with the Los Angeles Galaxy, but she has gradually acquired a new boldness, the confidence to find her own style. Her current collection for fall is widely considered one of the standouts of the season, with masculine-influenced coats, long hemlines and skirts and trousers that skim the body rather than cling to it.
Beckham’s ready-to-wear collection is still purposely small, but she is thinking big. She has branched out into sunglasses, handbags and denim. She has started a younger, less expensive line, Victoria, Victoria Beckham, which features clothes that are less tailored, more casual, more colorful. She has taken her brand global and is expanding most rapidly in the Asian markets, particularly China. Her company, based in Battersea, south London, already employs 90 workers, and is due to expand its office space soon. It recently started an e-commerce site, and there is talk of opening the first Victoria Beckham stand-alone store, in central London.
Here she is at the center of all this, a tiny dynamo in skyscraper heels who gives off an aura of calm — how real it is is anyone’s guess — while everything spins around her. Her ambition is endless. “I want to reach as many women throughout the world as I can,” she said. “There are more categories that I want to enter into. I have five categories at the moment. But at some point I would love to do shoes, I would love to do fragrance, I would love to do makeup, I would like to do underwear. There are so many things I want to do.”
At the moment, though, it was time to eat lunch. (Yes, she eats, though on the other hand she spends a large chunk of time each day doing a Tracy Anderson workout with a personal trainer.) We moved to the table. On one wall was a huge collage-y Julian Schnabel; on another, a David Beckham original: a blown-up black-and-white photograph of the four children bouncing together on a bed. The house is a rental, and Beckham said she missed Los Angeles, where the family lived most recently — the climate, the openness, the work ethic. “I am very career minded, and I think my personality is more suited to America,” she said. “I am a working mum.”
Lunch — corn soup followed by a salad of greens and fruit for Beckham; sushi for Beckham’s assistant and me; and a fruit platter for everyone — was prepared and served by a chef. “You are going to think this is real — this is what I get every day!” Beckham said. But it is not, apparently. “Chris” — that is the chef — “comes in a couple of days a week and might make a giant lasagna so I can put it in the freezer and then do it myself,” Beckham said. “David does the cooking.”
Beckham said that she has never missed a birthday, and that it is important to her to keep the children grounded and unspoiled. Both she and David come from close, hard-working families: David’s father was a gas-company engineer, and hers was an electrical wholesaler. She contrasted her attitude toward that of some of their friends in L.A.
“We have what I consider to be normal birthday parties,” she said.“I’ve been to parties in L.A. that are mind-blowing. I mean, quite literally mind-blowing. People get cellphones in the party bag, that sort of thing. Fabulous, fabulous parties. Ours aren’t like that. They are normal kids’ parties. We’ll have a bouncy castle, a face painter.”
Teller has shot Beckham before. He was responsible for the witty 2008 Marc Jacobs ads in which, among other things, she lay inside a shopping bag, with only her splayed legs visible — and she appreciates his no-fuss approach. “Normally in a fashion shoot you’d be plastered in makeup, in amazing clothes,” she said. “I find it embarrassing when you don’t look like yourself, when you’ve had tons of retouching.”
At the same time, Beckham is incredibly controlling of her image. Even in supposedly candid photographs, she is invariably shown posing as if she were on the red carpet: one leg in front of the other, body leaning back so that her hips jut forward and emphasize the slenderness of her form.
She never smiles — it is almost as if someone once told her that she looks better scowling — and instead affects a mien of distant hauteur that can come across as snobbishness but in person reads more like shyness and insecurity.
“I dunno,” she said, when asked about the no-smiling phenomenon. “I smile in family pictures.” Perhaps, she mused, the reputation she got for being moody during the Spice era stuck. Also, she said, “When you’re in a position to be paparazzi-ed just walking down the street, you’d look a little daft if you were smiling all the time.” (Apparently, the eternally sunny-seeming Kate Middleton never got that particular memo).
For the shoot, Beckham reclined on her office floor, surrounded by fashion chaos: swatches of fabric, soda cans, sketches. She declined the suggestion to include a plate of grapes or some such in the picture. “We don’t want anyone to know I eat,” she said. “Why ruin that?”
They work well together, she said, and then began talking without irony about the brand — the brand she and David have fashioned together, along with Simon Fuller, creator of “American Idol”— as if being part of a brand was the most normal thing in the world, as if that is simply what people do.
“You know, we don’t look at it as a big brand,” she said. “It is, but it happened very, very naturally. It seems that now everybody wants to make a brand; everybody wants to build a brand. Ours happened very organically.” And then she said: “The most important thing is each other and the children.”
The Beckham brand is one thing; the Victoria Beckham brand is another. “I just wanted to create beautiful clothes, good quality clothes I wanted to wear myself,” she said. “And then I wanted to create handbags, because I couldn’t find the right handbag that I wanted to carry. Then I couldn’t find the right sunglasses, so I decided to make my own sunglasses.”
There is no stopping her. “I want to get bigger and bigger,” she said. “I absolutely want an empire.”
Entire article at source
it's worth a read. love her. sorry about the source, mods.
Argo director and star Ben Affleck is set to play Batman in the Man of Steel sequel pitting the two super heroes against one another.
The announcement was made by Warner Bros. this afternoon.
“Affleck and filmmaker Zack Snyder will create an entirely new incarnation of the character in Snyder’s as-yet-untitled project—bringing Batman and Superman together for the first time on the big screen and continuing the director’s vision of their universe, which he established in ‘Man of Steel,’ writes Warner Bros. in a press release.
Said Greg Silverman, President, Creative Development and Worldwide Production at Warner Bros. stated, “We knew we needed an extraordinary actor to take on one of DC Comics’ most enduringly popular Super Heroes, and Ben Affleck certainly fits that bill, and then some. His outstanding career is a testament to his talent and we know he and Zack will bring new dimension to the duality of this character.”
Director Zach Snyder said, “Ben provides an interesting counter-balance to Henry’s Superman. He has the acting chops to create a layered portrayal of a man who is older and wiser than Clark Kent and bears the scars of a seasoned crime fighter, but retain the charm that the world sees in billionaire Bruce Wayne. I can’t wait to work with him.”
Added Sue Kroll, President, Worldwide Marketing and International Distribution, “We are so thrilled that Ben is continuing Warner Bros.’ remarkable legacy with the character of Batman. He is a tremendously gifted actor who will make this role his own in this already much-anticipated pairing of these two beloved heroes.”
Batman VS Superman will hit theaters July 17, 2015. The announcement of a film starring both huge comic characters was made at San Diego Comic-Con last month. Henry Cavill will reprise his role as Superman for the movie.
Pirates of the Caribbean 5 Officially Titled Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
Taking a cue from the original Disneyland theme park attraction upon which it's based, Pirates of the Caribbean 5 is officially titled Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. No story details have been released, but Johnny Depp is confirmed to return as Captain Jack Sparrow.
Directors Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg (the Oscar-winning duo behind the international thriller Kon-Tiki) confirmed the title today during an interview with This Is Infamous.
Both directors were said to be genuinely enthused about the upcoming sequel, though they weren't able to offer any more insight into the film. They did, however, reveal that this latest chapter will serve as a stand-alone adventure while tying into the overall mythology of the franchise as it currently stands.
The infamous line "Dead Men Tell No Tales" has been the introduction on the Pirates ride at Disneyland since it first debuted in 1967.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales comes to theaters July 10th, 2015 and stars Johnny Depp. The film is directed by Espen Sandberg, Joachim Rønning.
Blake, 25, wore pale blue jeans and a cream cotton sweater teamed with navy blue shoes as she strolled around the garden accompanied by a brown dog on Wednesday.
While Blake enjoyed a sun soaked stroll, Ryan kept himself busy, sporting gloves to lift several items off a truck including what looked like a large garden umbrella and a hammock. Ready for some heavy lifting duties, Ryan wore beige trousers, a green T-shirt and brown boots.
But he also made time for some relaxation, later taking to a motorbike to zoom around the lawn.
That film is Snowpiercer or, as I would prefer it to be called, Bong Joon-Ho’s Snowpiercer, all words italicized (which is how I’ll refer to it throughout this entire post). Much like Guillermo Del Toro’s Pacific Rim (again, my preferred title of that movie), Bong Joon-Ho’s Snowpiercer is the work of a true auteur, and had anyone else’s thumbprints been on the story or the vision, it would have been a snowball to its face. This is his creation and no one else’s, and those that assisted him in his creation, including the creators of the source material on which it is based, Le Transperceneige, should be sincerely praised for their skills and hard efforts.
From head to toe, this is a film about a revolution with an ending that might dishearten the optimistic cliché-seeker, but this is in tune with the status quo of the human condition: we want to be controlled. A pre-ordained place in a hierarchical train from front to back is our destiny. Each revolution will always end with a new leader who sets up a new foundation of subsequent inequality. This circle will essentially repeat itself again and again and again. What is the solution, therefore? The solution, ultimately, would be a swift purge of learned values and the preservation of innocence that has not been schooled in class but, instead, in love and friendship.
And this is why Bong Joon-Ho is a genius. Like Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now, all the film has in common with its source material is the premise, while the story and the arc therein belongs to the brilliant mind of its writer. And in both cases, the films were fortunate enough to be steered by the singular vision of their directors. Bong has painted the world as a train, symbolic of how humanity operates, and at its climatic, heartbreaking end, has shown us the futility of revolutions as we know them. The real, true revolution is the one that takes us back to the basics, our beginning, so that we may start over on a clean slate.
It seems that every film about self-reflection leads to Ed Harris, and in Bong Joon-Ho’s Snowpiercer he plays the train’s captain and builder of its sacred engine, Wilford, a man flawed by his brilliance. In a conversation between him and Curtis, played by Chris Evans (who delivers a performance in this film that places him in the same league of actors we consider Oscar-caliber), at the film’s climax, he asks him a question that serves as the film’s question to the audience: “Have you ever been alone on the train?”
Suddenly, we have a leader who is as ashamed of his actions that brought him to this point, while he is proud, at the same time, of the cause that he has led. When Curtis looks back over his shoulder when he has finally reached the engine, he sees himself in the savagery of what he has inspired, and realizes that the end to humanity’s suffering is literally to accept its situation. He thereby must choose to become yet another Wilford-like tyrant and maintain order with an iron fist over the bloodthirsty masses following in his footsteps, or to end humanity entirely.
It is furthermore profound, but also as expected, that Wilford would ask Curtis, responsible for the chaos from the tail of the train to its head, to be the one to take the wheel after him. To understand this, one must first make sense of the train through allegory. Although plaintively obvious to scholars of history, the significance of the train being a flow diagram for the constructs of humanity cannot be ignored: we always want and seem to justify our need to wear a shoe (figuratively speaking that is). So, remove the shoe and you become a shoe to be worn. A class, therefore, will not revolt until they feel themselves to be a shoe, therefore if no freeloaders existed on the train and the tail section were occupied by the economy class, they would revolt on the premise that there is nothing for them to stand on.Then there are the elitist meth heads – or kronole, in this case – at the front, clouded in a façade of ecstasy, blind and ignorant to the structural inequalities at play as well as to their own preordained position.
Thus, Curtis’ journey across the length of the train, being the only human to have ever done so, justifies Wilford’s request: he’s been a shoe, and now as a hat, he can truly witness the repercussions of his actions and see method in the madness, that the pot must always be stirred once in a while to create and invent chaos if it itself does not arise from the preordained insanity. Insanity, as Wilford eloquently puts it, is required to accept this and live at peace with oneself on the train. Tilda Swinton’s memorable Mason acts as humanity’s rationalization for this insanity.
That Curtis would, even for the slightest of moments, consider this ironic request of Wilford’s is indicative of a trait that sums up the hypocritical nature of the human condition, and that is that our desire to be controlled and our desire to control are one and the same – they are innate. We require order (an “engine”) to make sense of the world (the “train”) that we live in. At the same time, we want to be at the head of that order for, if “we control the engine, we control the world.” Essentially, we all want to be Wilford, echoed in Curtis’ final lines: “There isn’t a soul on this train that wouldn’t trade places with you.”
We loathe our corrupt governments and hate our two-faced presidents and iron-fist dictators, but by seeking to overthrow them as a result of our unhappiness, we become them. Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak’s overthrowing in 2011, only to be replaced by Mohammed Morsi and the oppressive Muslim Brotherhood, which has now been overthrown with the threat of the return of a regime similar to that of Mubarak’s (which is what spawned the revolution to begin with), is history’s most recent example of this truth.
Both Curtis and Song Kang-Ho’s Namgoong Minsu character, after being at odds with each other throughout the film, have this beautiful realization. At the final explosion, they decide to shield the innocence of Yona and Timmy with the love still present in their corrupted bodies. Left at the end after the purge are these two unlikely survivors that become humanity’s last hope: a teenage girl and a young boy.
While the Adam and Eve metaphor is unavoidable, it does recall what I said earlier, and that is that we are given a second chance to start over on a clean slate. Even though this farfetched ideal is unwanted, “the horror” that Marlon Brando’s Colonel Kurtz spoke of in his dying breath at the end of Apocalypse Now, echoed by Wilford in Bong Joon-Ho’s Snowpiercer, is alive within us all and while the purge may never become imminent, we can find an alternative solution within ourselves to shield us from this inherent evil: love and the preservation of innocence.
That the audience is expected to believe that scientists would not have tested this Earth-altering chemical ad nauseam before it is unleashed into the stratosphere is ludicrous. Even more ludicrous is the fact that the audience is told to believe that the one thing that not only survives but also supports what is left of humanity in this freezing hell is a train that is running around the world non-stop. Snowpiercer is a good sci-fi film just as much as Animal Farm is a reliable farmer’s almanac. That being said, just like Animal Farm is a wonderful allegorical story, so is Snowpiercer. There are those who might say that Snowpiercer is bad allegory because it doesn’t resemble the real world that we live in today. Those critics are not wrong. The movie doesn’t resemble the real world that we live in today. However, Animal Farm didn’t resemble real life 1940s English society that the English used to live in either.
I watched Snowpiercer about two weeks ago and when the movie ended, two thoughts occurred to me. The first thought that occurred to me was that I had just witnessed a very rare find – a movie that respected the audience’s intelligence. The second thought that occurred to me was that most people are seldom ever honest about what we know and almost always dishonest about what we don’t know. In other words, most things that most people claim to know, especially in regards to the social sciences (such as politics, economics, and philosophy; themes that this movie touches on), are a pretense of knowledge. As such, because this movie operates on the assumption that the audience is intelligent, and then proceeds to touch on themes that are, unfortunately, subjected to mind numbing subjectivity, the conclusion that I reached was that there were going to be many people who were going to watch this movie through the lens of very dumbed down current event stories that they might have watched on the news.
That there are only a small number of movie reviews for Snowpiercer that claims that the main theme that the movie focuses on is class warfare, a far too simplistic overview, is most likely due to the fact that Snowpiercer has yet to be shown in movie theaters outside of Korea just yet. It’s only a matter of when before harebrained newspaper columnists who see themselves as enlightened populists decide to hail this movie as a rallying call for the Occupy Movement. Yes, class warfare is certainly one of the topics that the movie explores but there is so much more than what meets the eye. Like Animal Farm, what Snowpiercer does is to challenge totalitarianism and all of the little despotisms that exist within it. Taking on the position of opposing totalitarianism while not living in a totalitarian state hardly seems edgy. However, another more subtle criticism that the movie deals with is the morality (or the lack thereof) of political leadership regardless of what stripe it comes in. More on this later.
Throughout the whole movie, there isn’t a single element that has not been somehow affected by the totalitarian nature of the train’s leadership. From the very beginning of the movie, the audience is made to dive right in to the deep end of the tense environment that surrounds the tail section of the train – the claustrophobic Dickensian world that is home to the train’s poorest inhabitants. Crammed into a tight, squalid space, these individuals, including the movie’s main protagonist, Curtis (played by Chris Evans), live, if it can be called that, a miserable existence. People who claim that this movie is an allegorical indictment of the inherent injustice that exists in capitalism are missing the point of not just the movie but the very nature of capitalism itself.
Many anti-capitalists would jump to tell anyone who is willing to listen that income mobility that is claimed to exist in a capitalist economic system is a myth – that one’s economic fate is predetermined by the socioeconomic status that one is born into and has no opportunity whatsoever to move up that proverbial ladder. The fact that there are immigrants who arrive in developed countries with very little money and very little knowledge of the local language, who nevertheless persevere and rise in those societies or that many of their children excel in school and go on to obtain professional careers and establish businesses does not seem to detract those anti-capitalists from their religion. The fact that economic classes exist in capitalist societies is undeniable. However, the anti-capitalists’ insinuation that the members who make up those classes are static is nothing less than willful ignorance.
Whereas the thing that anti-capitalists claim to fight against does not actually exist in real life societies that practice capitalism, it does exist in Snowpiecer’s world. In Snowpiecer’s world, one’s socioeconomic fate is preordained by the tickets that everyone had purchased (or not purchased) before the train embarked on its non-stop seventeen-year journey – first class, economy, and the freeloaders. Even the children of those who are born on the train, long after the events that initially took place for this story to be set in motion, are forced to live in the stations that their parents had first found themselves in. “The people at the front of the train are the head and those at the back of the train are the feet,” claims Mason (played by Tilda Swinton), one of the movie’s deliciously evil antagonists, who hisses with authoritarian finality, “Know your place, keep your place!” The social system that the train operates on is based on a medieval feudalistic system, which is enforced by brutal violence. This is hardly a capitalist society. When people watch this movie without thinking more deeply into it, it becomes easy to assume that it is about a war between the haves and have-nots, a situation that capitalism purportedly permitted to exist. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Capitalism, by its very nature, requires political freedom, which includes, among other things, the opportunity for socioeconomic mobility. Snowpiercer was not an indictment of capitalism, but rather an indictment of tyranny.
In another sign that this movie’s challenge is toward tyranny rather than capitalism, the audience is shown how the tail enders receive their food. During meal time, the tail enders who are constantly hungry and malnourished are assembled by the guards and counted each time so that they may be rationed the appropriate amount of food – brown gelatinous bars, which are simply referred to as protein bars. It is later revealed that none of the tail enders was informed what those protein bars were made of – mashed cockroaches (the movie never explains where all those cockroaches came from). In the real world, since the mid-nineteenth century, the countries in the world where famine occurred have been the countries that were run by tyrannical regimes that attempted to control, distribute, and ration food and farming based on political decisions. Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe, the Kim Dynasty’s North Korea, Mao Tse Tung’s China, Mengistu Haile Mariam’s Ethiopia, Mohamed Farrah Aidid’s Somalia. In the past one hundred and fifty years, every single famine that the world has bared witness to has been the result of, to use a euphemism, political mismanagement. However, toward the end of the movie, it is later revealed that the tail enders’ diet did not consist of only these mashed cockroach bars. When Curtis explains his motivation for wanting to take his revolution all the way to the front of the train, he reveals that there was a time when he was forced to eat human flesh.
In the frantic early days when the train was about to begin its journey as it raced against the oncoming Ice Age, the tail enders who didn’t buy a ticket but were fortunate enough to board the train were left with no food to eat. As a result, when hunger set in, they began to cannibalize each other. Curtis mentions that he knows what human meat tastes like and that “babies taste the best.” He confesses that when Edgar (played by Jamie Bell), his second-in-command, was a baby, Curtis almost killed and ate him but was prevented from doing so by Gilliam (played by John Hurt), the tail enders’ elder leader and Curtis’ mentor and father-figure, who cut off his own hand for the hungry tail enders to eat in exchange for letting Edgar live. It was only after many people had been cannibalized and had voluntarily amputated their own limbs to feed each other that they were provided rationed protein bars.
In Snowpiercer, the train is the country, which is ruled by a tyrant; the people forcefully imprisoned in their stations under the penalty of death. The people’s malnourished state and their being forced to eat bugs and each other is a story that we have seen far too many times on the news. As Curtis recounts his past experience in having eaten human flesh, he says that though it makes intellectual sense for the tail enders to show gratitude for being allowed to board the train and live, considering the hell that they were forced to live through, it was impossible to feel one iota of gratitude. It is impossible not to sympathize with him. Another theme that the movie touches on is the manner in which the train’s leaders treat the tail enders. Early on in the movie, a mysterious, plump looking woman who wears a bright yellow coat, in stark contrast to the sooty grey that surrounds the tail end of the train, enters the scene with several armed guards. Carrying a simple tape measure, she measures the height and width of two small children and wordlessly whisks them away to the front of the train. Before the woman can take the two children away, however, one of the child’s parent throws his shoe at the woman, reminding the audience of a similar event that occurred in real life when a desperate man threw his shoe at the most powerful man in the world.
Such lawlessness, of course, cannot go unpunished. The train’s inventor and chief engineer and Dear Leader, the mysterious Wilford (played by Ed Harris), sends Mason to punish this act of rebellion. Before the shoe-thrower’s sentence can be carried out, a punishment which appears to be a method that the Saudi government would have adopted had the Arabian peninsula been covered in permafrost as opposed to sun-scorched sand, Mason gives a speech, which the audience feels has been given to the tail enders many times before. In the first sign of Wilford’s cult of personality, not unlike the kind of praise that is showered on North Korea’s Kim Dynasty, Mason offers glorious praise to Wilford, stating that he is merciful and kind. Therefore, any sort of rebellion against such mercy and kindness is that much more magnified and thus cannot go punished. “Know your place, keep your place!” It is later revealed toward the end of the movie that the woman in the yellow coat took those children to the front of the train in order to work as slaves. Wilford explains that in the train’s seventeen-year journey, parts have needed to be repaired and replaced. However, in that time, parts that are needed to keep the train running have “gone extinct” and that therefore, small children are needed to crawl into tight spaces that no adult can squeeze into in order to manually repair the train constantly. In other words, the tail enders are treated no better than cattle. They’re fed just enough to be kept alive, they are “disciplined” when the need arises, and they are used as beasts of burden.
As for Mason, she offers a microcosmic view of what abusive political power can do to a human being. No one in the world is born evil. As such, Mason must have, at one point in her life, been a sweet, innocent, and good-natured child. Had Mason possessed any of these characteristics, however, none of it was present by the time she makes her first appearance in the movie. Mason is shown wearing large spectacles that gives her an insect-like appearance, sports a thick Yorkshire accent, and her lips are drawn in with only a pale edge of flesh left around the imperious line of their opening; a mouth to issue orders. Everything about Mason– her looks, her dress, her mannerisms, her speech – shows that she is the end product of having possessed despotic power over the lives of others for a long period of time. She is cruel, mean, petty, and expects the people that she stomps on and treats like trash to be grateful to her. It is the price that tyrants have to pay – sacrificing their humanity for power, and reason for delusions. The movie could have offered just a simple solution – “The tail enders succeed in their revolution and once the tyrant and the haves have been taken out, all the tail enders whose rights as human beings had been stripped away live happily ever after.”
But once again, the movie treats the audience like intelligent adults. In a short scene, after Gilliam listens to Curtis’ plan on how he plans to lead his ragtag revolutionaries to the front of the train, he slowly and cryptically asks“And then what?” It is a deep philosophical question that has no easy answers. However, Curtis has no time for all that. “We kill Wilford,” he says without hesitation; as though somehow that is the solution to all of their problems. But that is a question whose weight has been far too understated in this movie – “And then what?” This same question is currently being asked in Egypt and other Arab nations. So the mob finally fought back and showed the world that Hosni Mubarak was nothing more than a paper tiger. And then what? So the mob got back together and showed the world that Mohamed Morsi wasn’t even half the paper tiger that Mubarak was. And then what? Judging from what we see on the news, it hardly seems that the Egyptians have found their happily ever after fairy tale ending.
“And then what?”
As Curtis and his ragtag team of revolutionaries fight their way into one car after another, they begin to see whole new worlds that the tail enders had not even known to exist in their wildest dreams. And with each progression they make, the more decadent the scenery becomes. Initially, we see a whole train car that has been fitted to serve as a horticultural orchard that grows fruits. In another car, the entire car is used as an aquarium that the front enders harvest twice a year that they may eat fresh fish while at the same time making sure that the fish are culled in moderation in order to avoid population crashes. This theme gets explored again later. In other cars, people enjoy Swedish saunas and in others, they binge on alcohol and drugs as they rave the night and day away. However, the most surreal car that the revolutionaries enter is the school car. In this car, which is designed as a preppy grade school classroom, an overly cheerful and hyper teacher (played by Alison Pill) leads about a dozen or so students in their lessons. However, the lessons have less to do with maths or grammar but instead focuses on singing adulatory praise for Wilford; again, not unlike the education that we find in tyrannical regimes like in North Korea.
Although this movie is certainly an allegorical tale that criticizes tyranny, and not capitalism as anti-capitalists would have people believe, it is difficult to know for sure what kind of economic system exists on this train. We never get to see a trade transaction. We see food being rationed out, which implies that production is centrally planned but the scene where the decadent rich binge excessively on alcohol and drugs implies that, assuming that production is centrally planned, there is an underground economy of sorts that circumvents the central planning authority, which seems impossible considering the fact that they are all on a train which no one can get off of. What we do know for sure is what had been hinted to us earlier at the aquarium scene and later spelled out toward the end of the movie – population control is enforced and based on extreme Malthusian principles that would have made Paul R. Ehrlich proud.
What’s important to remember about the aquarium scene is that the fish in the aquarium are culled in moderation twice a year that the upper class may enjoy eating fish while avoiding crashing the aquarium’s fish population. When Curtis finally meets Wilford for the very first (and the very last) time at the engine room, whose design looked like a minimalist version of a Plaza Hotel suite, Wilford reveals that Curtis’ revolution had been planned and orchestrated all along by him. Throughout the movie, Curtis receives notes from an anonymous source from the front of the train, which goad him to keep fighting on. It turned out that the person who was sending Curtis those notes of encouragement was none other than Wilford himself.
So why would Wilford foment a violent revolution that is aimed at himself? He explains that he did so in order to ensure that the violent proletarian revolution would occur, thus requiring both the tail enders and the upper class to kill off one another so that the population of the train, both the tail enders and the elites of the upper-class section, is kept in check. Wilford reveals to Curtis that he had to make this choice because he could not wait for natural selection to take its course; had he done so, the exponential population growth would have outpaced the arithmetical level of food production, which would have caused everyone to slowly starve to death. In the real world, Malthus limited his apocalyptic prediction to limited food production. However, despite the fact that those predictions were proven to be false even within Malthus’ own lifetime, his views never really went away. In fact, neo-Malthusianism has been the rallying call for many of the world’s modern-day environmentalists, such as the aforementioned Paul R. Ehrlich who made a similar (debunked) prediction in his 1968 bestseller, The Population Bomb. In his book, he predicted that hundreds of millions of deaths would occur per year throughout the 1970s and he insisted that the only way to avert this catastrophe was through mass population control “by compulsion if voluntary methods fail.”
However, as we all know, instead of the global-scale famine and widespread death that Ehrlich predicted, the 1970s witnessed a modern agricultural revolution, which continues to this day. Despite a doubling of the world’s population, food production continues to grow as technological innovation creates more and more food on each acre of farmland. As mentioned earlier, the people in the world who suffer from starvation and famine suffer not because of a lack of food but because of, again with the euphemism, political mismanagement. In the real world, Malthus, Ehrlich, and other similar-minded people have been debunked. But what about aboard the Snowpiercer? Does Malthus’ apocalyptic prediction bear any weight for the train’s inhabitants? Sadly, yes. Firstly, food production can only occur in the train, which, unlike fertile farmland, cannot be expanded or tilled. Secondly, and more importantly, as the only human beings left on the planet are all located inside the train, trade with the outside world is impossible. What that means is that food production is clearly limited and that the train’s inhabitants have no choice but to be self-reliant.
In some ways, the situation that the train’s inhabitants find themselves in is similar to North Korea’s juche system, an ideology which all but destroyed North Korea’s economy and social systems. Considering the heavy security apparatus that Wilford employs (which bears parallels to North Korea’s million-man army) who mostly carry rifles that have no ammo (which bears parallels to North Korea’s ammunition shortage) whose job it is to pacify (which bears parallels to North Korean soldiers being used to terrorize the people into submission) the hungry tail enders (who bear parallels to North Korea’s hungry citizens), the fictional world of Snowpiercer bears striking resemblance to the Malthusian reality that is North Korea’s juche ideology. Under such conditions, not only does the culling of people become possible, it becomes necessary. It is the full blossoming of Jeremy Bentham’s utilitarianism, the philosophical school of thought that calls for “the greatest good for the greatest number,” which when one thinks about it, one begins to realize that it is one of the most vicious slogans ever foisted on humanity. Utilitarianism is a horror because it never defines “good” except that it is whatever is good for the greatest number. Who, in any particular issue, decides what is good for the greatest number? And why does numerical superiority immediately mean that it is the good? It is a horrific philosophy but in North Korea and aboard the Snowpiercer, its horrors take a backseat to its necessity.
The difference between the leadership that oversees the Snowpiercer and their real-life counterparts in North Korea is that the former was forced into its predicament by a rapidly changing climate that was no longer conducive to human survival whereas the latter voluntarily chose to create its own hell. Differences in matters of choice aside, however, it does not change the fact that both leaders are guilty of overseeing the mass murder of their own peoples. This was the movie’s stance on Mathusianism; it is a philosophy that legitimizes mass murder and one that is only possible in a tyrannical regime. Lastly, the movie touches on the morality of the two leaders of the train – Wilford who rules with an iron fist from the front of the train and Gilliam who preaches (and practices) self-sacrifice from the back of the train. Of the two, Wilford is easier to analyze.
When Wilford and Curtis meet for the first time, besides admitting that Curtis’ revolution and all the previous revolutions that came before were pre-planned efforts at keeping a check on the train’s population, Wilford tells Curtis that everyone on the train has their place; it just so happens that his is at the front of the train. He then says something remarkable to Curtis. While wearing what appears to be a silk robe and cooking a steak dinner in his engine room, which, again, looks like a minimalist version of a Plaza Hotel suite, Wilford says to the clearly exhausted, soot-covered, malnourished, and bleeding Curtis that he, too, has to bear a cost for being at the front of the train; that contrary to what Curtis might think, Wilford isn’t very happy with his lot in life either. The audience could easily sneer at the irony of Wilford’s self-pity. However, I doubt that Wilford was being disingenuous. In fact, it is very likely that Wilford is the most self-aware and honest character in the entire movie. Unlike Mason, Wilford doesn’t suffer from any kinds of delusions. He knows what he wants and he knows the price that he has to pay for it.
What he wants is power; he simply wants to rule. The cult-like manner in which his henchmen worship him is proof of this. He is not destined for happiness; and he knows this. He simply wants to rule. In order to rule, Wilford had to design the world that he wanted. It wasn’t just the train that he designed. He designed a world of obedience – a world where the thought of each man will not be his own, but an attempt to guess Wilford’s thoughts. A world where no man will hold a desire for himself, but will direct all his efforts to satisfy Wilford’s desires. However, Wilford’s thoughts and desires and everyone else’ desire to fulfill his thoughts and desires is nothing more than a circular logic. He wishes to rule and they wish to be ruled. And the wheels of the bus go round and round. But to get what he wants, he has to pay a price. The price that he has to pay is that he has no purpose except to keep the people, the very people whom he despises, contented. He has to lie, flatter, praise, and inflate their vanities and vulgarities. He has less independence than even the mediocrities that he rules over. At least his henchmen rule over the tail enders and torture them for whatever sadistic pleasure that they derive from it. Wilford, however, is far too intelligent and self-aware to stoop to that level of stupidity and barbarism. He merely uses people for the sake of what he can do for them. It’s his only function. He has no other private purpose. It’s the price that he has to pay for power.
Gilliam, on the other hand, is a more complex case study. Contrary to Wilford’s regal appearance, Gilliam looks disheveled and wears what appears to be sackcloth. In some ways, it’s what I have always imagined John the Baptist to look like. Furthermore, due to his message of self-sacrifice, which he also practices, at least an arm and a leg have been voluntarily amputated to feed the tail enders before they were provided with their mashed-cockroach protein bar rations. His arm has since been replaced by what looks like a crook handle from an umbrella while his leg has since been replaced by a broomstick. For all intents and purposes, Gilliam seems to be Wilford’s polar opposite. However, during Wilford’s fateful meeting with Curtis, it is revealed that both Wilford and Gilliam were actually friends and had been cooperating with one another from the very beginning; Wilford running things from the front of the train and Gilliam from the back of the train. Though they seldom met face to face, it is revealed that they spoke to each other regularly on the phone in the middle of the night. This was how Wilford knew to send those notes to Curtis to incite his revolution. This is when we realize that Gilliam and Wilford are not actually polar opposites, but, in fact, are mirror images of one another. They are the two sides of the same coin.
In essence, whereas Wilford was demanding that everyone sacrifice their thoughts and their desires to his will, Gilliam was demanding that everyone sacrifice their thoughts and their desires to each other. The difference is whom people are being demanded to sacrifice to. However, it doesn’t change the fact that the people are being demanded to make sacrifices. And it stands to reason that where there’s sacrifice, there is someone collecting sacrificial offerings. Where there is service, there is someone being served. The man who speaks of sacrifice, speaks of slaves and masters and he intends to be the master. However, Gilliam’s idea of ruling over the masses is more perverse than Wilford’s. According to Gilliam’s notion of self-sacrifice, the world that he envisions is one where the thoughts and desires of each man will not be his own, but an attempt to guess the thoughts and desires of the man next to him who in turn will have no thought or desire of his own. It is a world where everyone is subjugated to the will of everyone else. It is a world where people are slaves to each other, a world that does not even offer the dignity of serving a master. Wilford’s message was that the individual has no rights; that the Führer, him, is all that matters. In the order that Wilford offers, no private motive is permitted. The only motive that he permits to exist is that of service to him. On the other hand, Gilliam’s message is that the individual has no rights; that the collective is all that matters. In the order that Gilliam offers, no private motive is permitted. The only motive that he permits to exist is that of service to the masses.
Both men fixed the game from the very beginning. Heads – sacrifice. Tails – sacrifice. It doesn’t matter whether they give up their soul to the Führer or to each other; so long as they give it up. So long as the people accept that self-abnegation and self-denial are considered uncompromisable and sacred values. Self-sacrifice, however, cannot continue to exist without a leader to collect the alms. In the real world, traditionally, there have been two kinds of leaders who collected these alms. As different as they were, however, like Wilford and Gilliam, they have always been but mirror images of each other. The leaders have always been either God or Society. The people who reaped the alms for the leaders could not, however, be mere mortals. We are mere mortals and no one knows better than us just how imperfect that we can be. The reapers had to possess a certain kind of moral or political authority over the rest of us. As a result, they have been given various names over human history – Priests, Commissars, Kings, Parliamentarians, etc.
So long as individuals are not free to choose to live our own lives the way we see fit, it doesn’t matter whether we serve God or the Führer or the Proletariat. At the end of the day, we are all just slaves waiting for our turn to be called to the altar. That is the ultimate question that Curtis had to answer. Is the human race worth saving if we’re nothing more than slaves to each other? The only correct answer is “No.” After the train is destroyed, we see that all the main characters, the good, the bad, and the ugly, are all dead. It’s all well and good. All of those characters’ hideous morality were the end result of a putrid philosophy. No good could have possibly come out of their survival. The only two survivors are a young boy and a slightly older girl, two characters who were born on the train and whose total combined screen time couldn’t have been more than twenty minutes. With the train and its contents destroyed and everyone who had been on board dead, the odds of survival are overwhelmingly stacked against these two young children. However, whether or not the human race survives is irrelevant. What is relevant is that they are free and that their survival depends on their own independent minds. This is the movie's final message: the importance of freedom; damn the odds.
From what I have read online, not only has this movie yet to be released outside of Korea, there isn't even a release date. Furthermore, according to Collider.com, the Weinstein Company, which owns the rights to distribute Snowpiercer in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, wants to cut twenty minutes from the movie, specifically from the bits that give character details, ‘to make sure the film will be understood by audiences in Iowa... and Oklahoma.’ Though I am not sure how this movie will change when it is released in the rest of the world, I sincerely hope that the changes will not detract too much from the movie’s overall philosophy. This movie is special because it is intelligent and because it treats the audience as though we were intelligent. To lose that would be to sacrifice what makes this movie special in the first place. And that would be a terrible shame.
SOURCES ( UN ) et ( DEUX )
Well, damn... This makes me want to see "Snowpiercer" all the more based on the in-depth analysis from these two thought-provoking articles. Like... so much socio-political dystopian drama, I can't even...
And for those who weren't all TL;DR up in this bitch, would you still see "Snowpiercer" despite all that happens in the film?
Preview Clip: Charlie confronts Bello
Graceland Q&A: Vanessa Ferlito On Charlie’s Dangerous Association
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. -- Vanessa Ferlito’s Agent Charlie DeMarco is on a serious quest to take down Odin, and it appears to be leading her into a dance with the devil on “Graceland.”
Charlie has been forced to team up with Federale Rafael Cortes (Vincent Laresca) tocontinue her investigation into the mysterious Odin (who she thinks will get her Jangles) heading into this week’s all new episode of the USA drama. Secretly pairing up with Rafael might not be to her benefit as last week’s episode revealed that he is actually Jangles in disguise.
It’s another tough twist headed the way of Vanessa’s character, who has seen more than her fair share of troubles in Season 1. She lost an informant she cared for (Whistler), and jumped on the heroin train twice.
To play the role of the tough FBI agent, Vanessa, a vet of “CSI: NY” and “24,” spoke with people who do the job for real, and she has a lot of respect for those who have to go undercover.
“In my opinion it’s one of the hardest professions,” she told AccessHollywood.com in a new interview. “You have to be really crazy, or really love what you do because you put your life on the line like that.”
In this week’s episode, Charlie again puts her life on the line – unknowingly – thanks to her association with Rafael/Jangles. Vanessa hinted at what’s ahead.
AccessHollywood.com: So, Rafael– the audience knows he’s a bad guy, but Charlie doesn’t know. Should we be concerned for your character?
Vanessa Ferlito: Absolutely! … It gets pretty bad. … I was actually really shocked. You know? I mean, I know it’s cable, but still.
Access: I’m surprised you’re shocked considering that when the show started to get really dark, your character was one of the first to take that dark twist with the heroin.
Vanessa: But that was like self-sabotage. That was hurting myself… I guess every episode I was just like ‘Wow, wow, wow, really? OK.’
Access: Why do you think Charlie trusts Rafael?
Vanessa: I don’t think she trusts him. Trust is a very big word. I think he’s a Federale, she’s FBI. He wants Jangles as badly as she does, or so he pretends that he wants Jangles as bad as she does, so she teams up with him. Nobody else is showing an interest. Mike is doing his own thing with Bello, Briggs keeps shutting her down, Johnny’s telling her she’s crazy… So she just kind of jumps head first with this guy and takes a chance. That’s how desperate she is… She’s like, he’s Federale. Let me use this guy to my advantage and use what he knows about it… I mean, nobody else would bite.
Access: The cast handles a lot of weapons on the show. Was learning how to shoot fun for you?
Vanessa: Yeah! I don’t love guns. I have to be honest, I don’t love guns. [Some people say they] get a thrill, they get a rush when they shoot them. I’m just like, ‘It’s really loud.’ … You pull the trigger, it’s loud. It made me a little nervous sometimes because you don’t know if it could backfire or whatever. I have the best shot out of the boys, FYI.
Vanessa: I broke my metal stand. I shot the metal. Mine broke in half.
Access: Aaron Tveit, who plays Mike Warren, is supposed to be the best shooter on the show because his character was undercover, training Bello’s men in previous episodes.
Vanessa: Acting wise! Really, life wise, I’m the better shot.
Access: What did the guys think of that?
Vanessa: They laugh. They think I’m crazy. I was gonna say before that, anything that I had to do with them was fun. We all just get along so well. I love them dearly and we’re all really tight and anything we had to do together, we had a blast, whether it was gun training, or we went to the, what’s the other kind of training? Like house [clearing]… [It’s] when you clean a house of drug dealers and stuff. It was me and the boys… When things pop out and you have to shoot it. Manny [Montana, who plays Johnny] and I were killing everything – anything that popped out, we were just like lighting the place up.
Access: Beyond the weapons training, was there a ‘Graceland’ gym on set?
Vanessa: Absolutely not. Why because everybody’s ripped?
Access: Everyone looks pretty good.
Vanessa: I do Yoga, but they’re pretty ripped. They’re all like on, ‘Who doesn’t eat carbs? Who doesn’t eat gluten? Who doesn’t eat meat?’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, OK. I’m hungry.’ Although I’m trying really hard. I want to be really ripped for [a] second season, but no, there’s not a ‘Graceland’ gym. No, we just kind of all do our own different kind of workouts. Who boxes? Who goes to Crossfit? I do Yoga, I’m pretty dedicated.
“Graceland” continues Thursday at 10/9c on USA. Catch old episodes of the show through On Demand.
BUZZWORTHY: MANNY MONTANA
Manny Montana is ready for his close up. And the time is now for this seasoned artist, star of the much buzzed about USA drama GRACELAND. Playing fun-loving prankster and FBI Agent Johnny Turturro, Montana stretches himself, crafting a layered character that will have you hooked.
THE MONTANA FILES
HOMEGROWN OR FOREIGN LADIES: Hmmm, tough one [laughs]… if I have to choose… I always root for the home team!
AN OLD FASHIONED OR A GOOD ‘OL BEER: Old fashioned for sure!! Honestly, I have never finished a beer, don’t really like them. But my true drink of choice is a ‘Honey Jack Daniel’s & Coke’ or a ‘Hennessey & Coke.’
THE GREAT ESCAPE: Costa Rica!!! Love that place with a passion! Great surf, great food and great people. All I need to be happy!
I NEVER LEAVE HOME WITHOUT: My student I.D. from SCHOOL! I still try and get bargains everywhere I go [laughs]! Movies, Yoga, Rock climbing, etc. Sorry, ghetto upbringing [laughs]!
ACTOR THAT MOST INFLUENCED YOU: Heath Ledger. That dude was THE actor to me. Everything he did was gold. I borrow so much of how he was and how he approached acting. I PRAY to be as good as he was someday. God rest his soul.
LAST TWEET: “Sunday night fish fry with my brother and Breaking Bad_AMC viewing party. Good day. Thanks for frying up the fish @iceman_so_cold.”
GUILTY PLEASURE: I love musicals. People always think I’m joking when I say that, but my grandma used to make me watch a VHS recording of ‘GREASE’ with her every day after elementary school [laughs]! I would sit there with a ‘Cup o’ Noodles’ and drift away into this pretend world where for some weird reason people would break into songs out of nowhere [laughs]! To this day, I know that movie word for word and I have songs from musicals on my IPOD!
FRIDAY NIGHT I’D FIND YOU… On the sidelines of a football field trying to help my kids. I’m the receiver’s COACH at my old high school of Long Beach Jordan.
YOU – IN 3 WORDS: Tough. Sensitive. Giving.
HYDROGEN MAGAZINE: What were your early years like?
MANNY MONTANA: Amazing! I loved my childhood. I always had people around – my brothers, my aunts, cousins, mom and dad. I’m Latino so of course my family is HUGE! All I did was play football and go to school. That was my life. Was it always great? Of course not, but the good far outweighs the bad.
HM: When did acting consume you, where you knew this was the path you would take?
MM: I was at football practice at school and my shoulder had just dislocated for the 8th time. I knew I had to make a change. I made the 6 hour drive from Sacramento back home to Long Beach, and decided that if I was ever going to chase this dream I’d put off and been so scared of for so long, now was the time. I took a chance, and the rest is history.
HM: You got your break with the award winning short, El Primo. Tell me about that role and what it meant to you?
MM: I almost blew off the audition [laughs]! In the beginning, I did a lot of STUDENT FILMS so I could gain experience. But many of those never amount to anything and it becomes discouraging. But EL PRIMO was that 1 in 10,000. A great script, passionate director, crew, and cast! I will forever be grateful for that experience. It launched my career.
HM: You’ve found success in a tough industry with shows from E.R., Cold Case, and Lie to Me to CSI: NY, and Cybergeddon. Not a bad resume. Give us a couple of memorable experiences from these shows.
MM: Honestly, the people… There’s a lot of competition in this game which I think breeds a lot of insecurities, which in turn makes it hard to meet true friends. But I’ve been EXTREMELY lucky!!! I’ve met some of my closest friends on sets such as THE CHICAGO CODE, CYBERGEDDON, and of course GRACELAND. I talk to these people on the regular. They know my family, they’ve been to my house, we’ve played basketball together! That, more than anything is what I take away from my experiences.
HM: Let’s talk about Graceland. What’s the premise of the show?
MM: GRACELAND is about an elite group of undercover FBI agents who are all living in an amazing government seized beach front mansion trying to deal with the craziness of their job and the craziness
of living with 6 people in one house
HM: You play FBI Agent Johnny Turturro who is quite the cheeky character. Tell us about him. What makes him tick?
MM: Johnny is just a really fun character to play. He’s always in a good mood and very upbeat, but he’s also extremely sensitive, so it makes for a lot of great layers to play. My cast mates and the writers are so amazing! No character stays the same. Everyone is always evolving and you never know who to trust! I’m a genuine fan of the show and think we can go far!
HM: There’s a lot of testosterone on set with all you guys! Any scuffles so far or is it all happy families?
MM: HA!! Not even close. This is one of the tightest groups I’ve ever been a part of. Ask anyone in the cast, we’re a family! We’re always around each other on and off set. No lie, it’s just a fun set to be on!
HM: Funniest moment behind the scenes…
MM: Too many to choose from [laughs]! Literally, all we do is joke around every day! Just try and get us to do a scene after lunch, its impossible! We’re like kids going to class after lunch break!
HM: What goes down on a typical day off?
MM: Well, we shoot in Florida, so that means I’m 3,000 miles away from my family and friends back
home in Long Beach. So, if I’m not hanging out with one of my cast mates, I’m either working out, at the beach, or just at home reading getting ready for the next day. It’s a great life!
HM: What does your family make of all your success?
MM: I think they’re really proud. They saw me start from square one, making no money on sub-par projects, having successes and failures, but always pushing forward. I don’t think they knew what to make of this crazy dream, because nobody in my family had ever done something like this before. I’m part of the first generation in the country so a lot of things seem very far-fetched to a poor little kid from Long Beach. But my family is the s**t! They never made me feel like it wasn’t possible. They’re my biggest supporters and my biggest critics. They keep me humble and sane when things gets crazy.
HM: What’s the long game?
MM: Honestly, just more of the same. I want to be working on GRACELAND for several seasons! I want to work on great movies while on hiatus and have my career reach places I’ve never dreamed of. I want to grow and get better every day. And, I want to coach football at my old high school. That’s it. That’s what I want for my career. There are a lot of things I want out of this life. I want to give all of me, everything I’ve got. Even if sometimes it wears me thin, at least someone will walk away with a piece of me that will live on forever.
Graceland's Aaron Tveit: Mike's Confession to Paige "Changes Everything"
Aug 21, 2013 09:11 PM ET
by Kate Stanhope
The first rule of Fight Club is that you don't talk about Fight Club. And the same can likely be said for pretty much any undercover investigation at the FBI.
So when Mike blabbed to Paige about his investigation into Briggs on last week's episode of Graceland, it's safe to say he broke a few rules. "That is a very, very big thing and that changes everything," star Aaron Tveit tells TVGuide.com. "That was the first moment we see weakness in Mike."
After getting stabbed by the notorious Jangles — aka the key man — and waking up in a hospital bed, a morphine-induced Mike told Paige (Serinda Swan) that he was placed in the house to look into fellow FBI agent and house leader Briggs (Daniel Sunjata). "He really feels like he's a man without a country in that moment," Tveit says. "Mike didn't just want to say, 'I'm here to investigate Briggs.' In my head, he was trying to say, 'I'm here to investigate Briggs, but this has happened and I need all your help. I don't know what to do.'"
Unfortunately, Mike got no such guidance from Paige, who quickly left Mike's hospital room. In Thursday's episode (10/9c, USA), Mike will have to deal with the fallout of his bedside confession. "The beginning of this next episode, Mike walks into the house and he has no idea who she's told what, if she said anything, if everyone knows, if no one knows," Tveit says. "He has no idea what he's walking into."
However, after checking himself out of the hospital against doctor's advice, Mike won't be home on disability for long. In addition to going undercover in prison to keep close to Bello (Gbenga Akinnagbe), Mike's investigation into Briggs will take a dramatic turn. In the wake of the murder of his controlling officer, Juan (Pedro Pascal), Mike will have to answer to a much higher power — the Regional Director of the Southern California FBI. "Juan, in a way, was misleading Mike and had his own vendetta. Mike's reports weren't being shared with the FBI — they've only seen some of it. So Mike now has to reassert himself with this person, who is actually one of his big bosses," Tveit says. "Now Mike is really getting an assignment so it gets even more intense and more official."
That assignment will also get decidedly tougher as the clues begin to come together about Juan's murder. As viewers saw last week, Juan dressed as Jangles to try to elicit a confession from Briggs, whom Juan believed had previously killed several FBI agents. However, a drunken Briggs murdered Jangles to protect himself. "That is definitely going to come up and really put a wrench into things," Tveit says. "The FBI is going to come to Mike with their theory about what happened to Juan, and that's going to blow this thing wide open."
So what will Mike do if, or when, suspicions turn to the man who has now saved his life twice? "I never thought that Briggs was a bad guy, as Aaron reading it, and as Mike. I just made the decision that I never thought Briggs was an evil person. He just got into these circumstances and he was basically trying to get through it and overcome these other agents being killed," Tveit says. "From my perspective, no matter what happens with Briggs — if Mike needs to bring him in, if the evidence is there — Mike is trying to get this guy help because he is his friend and he does respect him and he does care about him."
But how far is Mike willing to go to save his friend? Tveit admits that Mike's idea of right and wrong has changed dramatically since he was first placed in Graceland. "He's also learned a lot from Briggs that, to be a good undercover agent, it can't be all by the book," Tveit says. "As we get to the end of the season and hopefully move forward, I'm hoping that Mike has learned that sometimes you do have to bend the rules and work in that grey area and be OK with it."
Although Tveit jokes that Mike will need "to go to therapy about five years from now" to deal with some of the brutal things he's seen as an undercover agent, such as Eddie's suicide, Graceland may now be more than just a temporary assignment for Mike. "At the end of the season, certain things are going to happen, and I think he's going to have to reevaluate what he really wants and what he really sees for himself," he says. "He's discovered that he's actually good at this and that he can hack it as a field agent and has a certain skill set that really lends itself to this undercover game."
Maybe even, Tveit hopes, as Briggs' full-time partner. "Not to make it like some buddy thing, but I think he and Briggs are a great team," he says. "If Mike does end up at Graceland for a long time, hopefully Briggs is there too. Mike probably knows that, once they figure all this stuff out, they can probably do a lot of good together."
Graceland airs Thursdays at 10/9c on USA.
Aaron Tveit Goes Undercover On “Graceland” — But He’s Not Leaving Broadway Behind
On USA Network’s Graceland, Aaron Tveit has found his first starring role on television, but Broadway audiences have known about him for years from his work in musicals like Next to Normal and Catch Me If You Can. Tveit talks about making the transition from theater to TV, and why he’s not turning his back on Broadway.
posted on August 22, 2013 at 12:07pm EDT
TV audiences are just getting to know Aaron Tveit on Graceland, USA Network’s freshman series about a team of undercover law enforcement officers living together in a beach house. But Tveit’s name recognition has been rising for the past few years, especially among theatergoers who were wowed by his roles as Gabe inNext to Normal and Frank Abagnale, Jr. in Catch Me If You Can. His crossover to film and TV began with guest spots on Gossip Girl and The Good Wife, and last year, he played Enjolas in the big-screen adaptation of Les Misérables.
I spoke to Tveit about making the move from live theater to a TV series, whyGraceland spoke to him, and how he’s adjusting to life off the stage.
I want to start off with a very basic question, which is, what first drew you to Graceland and the role of Mike?
Aaron Tveit: You know, I’d just finished doing Catch Me If You Can on Broadway, and it was the first time in a few years that I wasn’t attached to another Broadway show. So I knew that I was completely available for the first time, and I didn’t really have a plan that television would be the next thing, but I basically said, whatever I read that I like, I’m just gonna go for that.
I had read the script. The script was sent early, I think in October, so pilot season hadn’t even started yet, but I read it and I absolutely loved it. A lot of the guest star work that I’d done on television before, I kind of had always played some not-so-nice guys. I kind of came in and acted like an asshole and whatever, which was great for what it was, but I really liked how I thought Mike was a nice guy with a really great set of morals and right and wrong. He saw things as black and white. And then knowing what I knew about undercover work, there was a lot of room there for potential conflict later on. Since he had a sound moral structure, that he would definitely be pushed throughout the work, and there was room for him to either change or not based on what was gonna happen in the season. And also, I thought right away all the relationships in the pilot were very clearly defined, which is hard sometimes. And I was a fan of White Collar. I read a lot of stuff that’s not great, so to read something that’s good was really exciting, especially really one of the first things that I’d read.
And also, I was like, listen, if the thing goes to series, it’s gonna shoot by a beach somewhere, so that’s not a bad job to have.
No, that’s a great perk. In terms of doing a weekly series, did you have any reservations about taking on a TV show, which is obviously a different time commitment?
AT: No, I didn’t! I was really excited for it. I mean, I was intrigued and excited for the challenge. When you work on a movie or when you work on a play, you have one script and you do all this work on it and you do it for a long time, but this is like, you get to go through that process every week. Every week you get a new script, you get a new story to tell. And also, I think because of what I was just saying, what I was immediately drawn to about the character, I saw there was room for growth and room for change, and I was excited to hopefully go on that journey with this guy and these people to see how it could change. And, you know, I’m a huge fan of television myself. I watch a lot of TV, so I was excited to be a part of that from the other side; you really get to learn who these people are and how their stories evolve much more on television.
OK, as a fan of your musical theater work, I have to ask — have there been any discussions about how to get Mike to do a full musical theater number on Graceland? Past the script, what conversations did you have with the writers about the character of Mike before you began filming?
AT: That’s the other great thing about this show — and about Jeff Eastin and the other writers — they really encourage collaboration, encourage us to bring our own ideas to these people, which is not always the case. A lot of stuff you go on, they want you to be exactly word perfect on what’s written, and they really encourage us to kind of ad-lib dialogue and really bring ourselves to it.
So we had a lot of conversations about Mike’s backstory for me. I remember Jeff and I had a conversation before we shot the pilot, and I said, I want to talk to you — I wanted to pick his brain about what he thought Mike’s life was before this, where he came from. Because you hear all these things like number-one in your class, but I was doing a lot of research about what that really means to be number- one in your class at the FBI Academy, because nowadays, the people who go to the FBI Academy already have college degrees, already have master’s degrees. These are really, really smart people. So I kind of was trying to build up where Mike came from, and I had this idea that he wasn’t from some upper-crust rich family, that maybe he had to work his whole life to get where he got. So we basically bounced a lot of ideas off of each other, and it was interesting. There was a lot of overlap of what we had thought. Some of that has bled out in the story about where Mike has come from, but I wanted to hold a lot of that back and not tell a lot, so hopefully more will come out later. But he was really super-encouraging about that, and then also, really every script to ask questions and give my ideas about what I thought changes could be. And that’s a really rewarding experience because you feel like you’re being heard and affecting the story, too.
You talked a little bit about being able to show Mike’s development throughout the season. I was curious how you distinguish playing him in his off hours versus playing him when he’s undercover, when he does have to be a lot darker.
AT: I was constantly thinking of ways instead of telling — because they say all these things about how smart Mike is and how good of a potential agent he is, so I was constantly looking for ways for that to come through. And I thought one way would be that basically — it’s really great in the show that I get to have scenes with everyone. I have this really interesting relationship with Juan, who’s kind of my point person at the FBI. The relationship with Bello develops. It’s a really interesting relationship, and a really close relationship. And I have this relationship with Briggs. I basically wanted to have Mike deal with everyone differently. I thought that that would be a way to tell that story, and yeah, it’s interesting. The thing with Briggs is really complicated obviously, but with Bello, it’s like, yeah, I know this guy’s a bad guy, but I really like the guy. I kind of have compromised a lot of my beliefs to stick around and keep the investigation going with him. So, yeah, I tried to just really deal with everyone completely differently, and I thought that would be a way to show how Mike is different in every circumstance that he steps into. That’s kind of the way that I looked at it, or tried to look at it.
As you said, the relationship with Briggs is very complicated. At this point, do you think that Mike’s loyalties have shifted, or is he still doing the job he’s supposed to be doing?
AT: I think it goes back and forth. The most recent episode is when I walked out of Juan’s office and said I’m not gonna do this, when I found out he had these ulterior motives of why he was going after Briggs. And I thought about this while we were shooting — and the next couple episodes, you’ll see this more and more — I don’t think that Mike ever thinks that Briggs is a bad guy. I don’t think that Mike thought [Briggs] was out to hurt anyone. He got caught up in this, and he got thrown into this situation where they made him this drug user, so I think he was painted into a corner and trying to get out. All these things happen and there was collateral damage, but I never thought he was a bad guy. So from that, ultimately I’m trying to help him. That’s how the investigation shifts a little bit. I think once I find out what’s really going on, I’m not trying to nail him to the wall. I’m trying to get the guy help. At least that’s what I told myself. So I think that it kind of changes that I start to then seek out how to help him, how to get him out of the situation, which ultimately may be turning him in but in the guise of him finally getting some help.
OK, as a fan of your musical theater work, I have to ask — have there been any discussions about how to get Mike to do a full musical theater number on Graceland?
AT: [laughs] A lot of people have asked me that, but no, we haven’t talked about it. I think it’s a funny idea. I really don’t know…
Tonally, it might not work.
AT: That’s the thing. It would be funny, but I can’t see how they would fit it in, just with the rest of it.
I mean, do you miss that? Or do you just view Graceland as a different kind of job?
AT: It’s just different, yeah. I definitely miss singing when I’m not singing. But we finished shooting the show in March, and I did six concerts in New York in May, so that was a time where I was like, I miss singing, I’m just gonna do this myself, I have an opportunity, I’m gonna put a show together. That was a tremendous success, and I was so fulfilled by that. I have an album that’s coming out because of that — we made a live album of that. So yeah, I definitely miss it when I’m not doing it, but something like that, I’ve found other ways to do it myself when I’m not.
That’s great. You see so many Broadway actors on TV, and it’s always a mixed blessing, because you want to see more of them but you also want to see them performing on stage.
AT: I definitely miss being on stage. One nice thing about Graceland, too, is — hopefully we run a few years, but it’s a cable schedule, so it’s only half a year. I have half a year feasibly to do other things and be on stage or do a movie or sing. It keeps me able to do a lot of different stuff, which is great for me.
Since we’re talking about theater, I have to ask about Next to Normal, which is one of my favorite musicals. I’m sure you get asked about it all the time.
AT: It’s tremendous to look back on it now. We opened on Broadway four years at this time, which is insane to think about, because it doesn’t seem like it was that long ago. It was great, because it was one of those things where we started off-Broadway; the show needed a little work but we all knew there was something there, something really special about it. It was received well off-Broadway, but not exactly in the way we thought it would be received. Then the fact that we all stuck with it and went out of town and then brought it back, and then when it opened on Broadway and people finally embraced it — granted, after we did the work that needed to be done on it — it was amazing. It was such a powerful show. So many people while we were doing it would come up to us and say, “Thank you, I have a family member who has a mental illness.” Mental illness in our country is something that people don’t like to talk about, so it was fascinating to be a part of that and see how many people were touched by that for that reason. And also that it was the first show that I had been in the original cast of and got to really work on that role for a few years beforehand, it was tremendously rewarding.
What I love about the character of Gabe is that different actors have very different approaches to him. Obviously you originated the role, but can you talk about what you were trying to accomplish there?
AT: I guess my main goal was just to get my dad to say hello to me, you know what I mean? I just wanted some kind of acknowledgment from my dad. That’s kind of what I made it about. Because ultimately that’s what happens at the end, so I guess it was a set-up for myself to get there.
But also, when I’m on stage, I end up always constructing five-act plays for myself… like, I had so many silent moments in that show, so many moments where I was just sending energy to Alice [Ripley] across the stage. But also the nature of how I was so physically everywhere on that set, I had created all these things where, in my head, Gabe was basically the puppet master making all these fucked-up things happen to this family. And I kind of just set that up for myself, like when I would literally physically touch a pole or touch the set that something else would happen because of it, almost like the set was like this organism, too, that this whole family was being revolved around and messed with. So I kind of built a lot of stuff like that around it, which just constantly kept me engaged and busy for myself, especially when I had so many moments when I wasn’t busy and just had to be there. So that’s kind of the way that I went for it.
And ultimately, there’s kind of a darkness to him, but I tried to approach it from the point of, I just want — yes, my dad to acknowledge me — but I wanted to be with my mom. I wanted her to not turn her back on me. I wanted to help her, even if that ultimately meant for her to commit suicide and be with me, but I thought that that was helping.
It’s a heavy show! I guess on a lighter note, you did Catch Me If You Can after that. That was a role people knew already, both from the real-life person and the movie. How did you go about making it your own?
AT: Yeah, I think because of the framework that we did that — it starts at the end, the show started at the end of the play — because of Frank [Abagnale] the real person and the character’s imagination, he has this idea. [Director] Jack O’Brien said something that always stuck with me: “It’s as if you were telling someone a story about your life, and you got to a point in the story that was really hard for you or painful, and then you just decided, you know what, I’m not gonna tell that part of the story. I’m gonna change it, or I’m gonna create something that’s not painful.” And that was kind of this image that always stuck in my head. Frank’s about to get caught at the end of the show, and he just says, “You know what, I’m just gonna try this,” and he kind of blows everything open, and then we go on this story but he tells it his way, until finally he can’t run away from his own story anymore, and it catches up to him in the end.
Because ultimately, I was dealing with the fact that it was this broken family and my father was dead, and I didn’t want to believe that my father was dead, so I just didn’t want to deal with it. So I just approached it that way, that I just wanted to try to get everyone to buy into my fantasy. I just wanted to everyone to believe in the story I was creating in my mind, and then ultimately in the end, I couldn’t run away from it anymore.
Obviously, there’s a major difference between going up on stage for three hours six nights a week and working long TV hours five days a week. How has your day-to-day life changed in transitioning from Broadway to Graceland?
AT: It’s interesting, because, yeah, when you’re doing a show on stage, you only work 27 hours a week or 30 hours a week, but it’s so physically and emotionally demanding in a way. And also, because literally, when I’m doing a show, every morning when I wake up I have to check and make sure my voice is there. Especially a show like Next to Normal or Catch Me If You Can, where I was singing the whole show and you kind of have to keep your voice there. Everything is like getting ready for the show and then recovering from the show to get ready for the next day. You only have one day off. Most people get two days off, which is like, one day you do everything you need to do, and then the second day you rest. But when you’re doing a show, you only have one day to do that.
But on the other hand, doing five months of a television shoot where you’re working 12, 14 hours a day — again, it’s five days a week so you do kind of have two days off, which is nice. But I approached it knowing, I knew how to keep my stamina up from doing theater work. So I kind of said, OK. I tried to treat it the same way. This is how I need to keep myself healthy and keep myself physically ready to work every day. It is a little different and working on set is a little easier than working on stage, but still, because I was used to working on stage, I was able to transition to those kind of long hours a little more easily.
When you’re acting in Graceland or a film, how do you get what you would otherwise get from a live audience?
AT: Yeah, you can’t. That’s the thing. You really can’t. A television show, you might see it a couple months later. Movie, you see it a year later from when you shot it, and it’s like, “Oh, yeah, I remember when we did that.” But on set, if it’s a funny moment, no one can laugh, because everyone has to be quiet, and things like that. But that’s the thing about stage: It’s something you can’t find anywhere else. It’s a two-and-a-half, three hour experience, and it’s a real relationship. You’re sending out energy from the stage, but the audience is giving you back so much also, so that’s also lifting you and pushing you forward as you’re performing and giving you so much energy. You can’t find it anywhere else, and that’s why people get addicted to being on stage, and when they’re not on stage are kind of looking for that and constantly searching for it.
So you’re not turning your back on Broadway.
AT: Absolutely not. No.
Do you feel like TV and film is a goal for most Broadway actors, or is it just a matter of wanting to try different things?
AT: Yeah, I don’t know. For some people it may be, but it never was — I said before, I didn’t know what was going to be my next thing after Catch Me If You Can. I’ve been really, really fortunate in the last five years or so that I’ve gotten to work on stage, on television, and on film, which I think up until recently, you kind of got pigeonholed into one thing, so I’ve been really grateful that I’ve been able to do all three. And that’s really just my goal. I just wanted to have a career doing this, and I want to be able to just do that for the rest of my career, to go back and forth. I can’t wait to get back on stage. I don’t know what it’s going to be. I’ve said it before, but I’m excited ‘cause I know one day I’m going to walk into the rehearsals room for a new show and have to learn new music and learn the script, and that’s going to be really, really thrilling.
Now that you’re doing Graceland and you did the film adaptation of Les Miz, have you noticed a difference in terms of how often you’re getting recognized?
AT: A little bit, yeah. A little bit. Doing a lot of Broadway shows in New York and living in New York, there’s a lot of fans of Broadway shows, and I’ve had that experience of getting recognized on the street in New York, especially in the theater district. That’s something that has happened before, and now it seems to be in more places than it was before. Before, if I was walking to a show, walking to my show, of course people were going to see shows. But now it’s randomly on the subway or people who might not be theater fans. So it’s a little more frequent but similar to what it was before.
Broadway fans are a special breed. Is there a difference in how they treat you as opposed to TV fans?</ AT: No, I mean, everyone’s really great and really gracious. It’s a weird thing to get used to, at first, when people say that, but at the end of the day, it’s people who are just complimenting you on your work and happy with the work you’ve done, so it’s such a flattering thing. It’s really, really nice whenever it happens or has happened. So no, I haven’t noticed a big difference. Everyone’s really nice! [laughs] And I’m very happy for that, that it’s not the alternative. <b>You’re not on Twitter, though. There must be a reason for that.
AT: I kind of missed it when it started. I used to be on Facebook years and years ago. I was in college when Facebook started, so I had Facebook when it was just my college, and then it became, you can join the New York City network. But it was interesting. The whole thing with Facebook and social media — I started to be friends with directors and casting directors on Facebook that I knew in New York. And I kind of said to myself, wait a minute, I need to audition for these people, and they need to suspend some disbelief to who I am. So I just felt like them knowing anything about me or seeing pictures of me and my friends, well then, how do I walk into a room and convince them I’m someone else if they see me as this?
So that’s kind of why I went off Facebook originally. And then right as I was going off Facebook is when Twitter was starting, and I was like, why would I jump on something else right away? But now it’s like, I’m happy not to be on it. I know it’s great for information, the way that stuff happens there before it’s on CNN — it’s just instant information. But it’s also, I think there is something to still, that I would like to keep certain things private, and that if I’m not in the forefront and people aren’t seeing things about me, that hopefully they’ll be able to believe the work that I do more. I do believe that that’s true. And I think that that’s something that’s worked for me. And also, I’m not a comedian, I’m not a writer. Because of that, I don’t have things to say on a daily basis. It’s just a personal choice for me.
I mean, that’s kind of refreshing. I think a lot of actors feel pressured into doing it, and then they don’t have anything to say
AT: Yeah, and I haven’t felt that I’ve missed anything by not being on it, so that’s something, too. If I felt that I was, then I probably would think about it again, but no, I don’t think it’s anything like that, so I’m happy not to be on it. And it also distances me, too, from a lot of stuff that’s been beneficial. It allows me to focus on — I became an actor because I love to do this. I wasn’t in this to get some notoriety. It might sound cliché, but I just wanted to work.
Graceland airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. on USA.
Steven Moffat on discussions about Twelve's costume:
“We’ve had conversations over dinner. He came round to my house the other night, and I cooked him dinner. We had to do that because we couldn’t be seen out together. It’s been like having an affair! So he came round, and I had to cook. Oh the glamour! I made him a curry, and we discussed costumes in the lightest terms. But in the end, having sort of pratted about a bit in that area last time round with Matt, I discovered myself to be inept at costume discussions, so I tend to step away from that. I think it’s really important that the actor chooses what makes them feel like the Doctor, which is what Matt did in the end. He just tried on things until one day - very, very late - he discovered what made him feel the part. I fell in love with it later.”
Did the team get Peter and Jenna Louise Coleman together at any point, to see how they got on?
"No we didn’t do that," Steven confirms, "although we had all sorts of plans to do stuff like that. I said we’d get Peter round to my house to do the first audition, and after that we’d probably go ahead and do something with Jenna. But it was just irrelevant really. He’s such a great actor and he was so good, we just thought ‘Well, let’s not be silly, of course we’re going to cast him.’ Great actors always find their chemistry together, so they’ll be fine."
Russell T Davies reaction to Peter Capaldi's casting:
"I’d kept Peter’s number after we worked together on The Fires of Pompeii and Torchwood," Russell tells DWM the following morning. "And to be honest, you don’t do that with many actors. Life moves on. But I loved him as an actor, and a writer, and a director, I was actually in awe of him, and so clung to his number, in a slightly stalkerish way. Quite apart from his five million wonderful appearances on screen, I think that the scene in Episode 3 of Torchwood: Children of Earth, where Peter’s character faces the 456 for the first time, is one of the finest performances in anything ever. Seriously. Anything. Ever. But then I was as surprised as anyone on Sunday night! I’d heard rumours about Peter in the weeks beforehand, but I’d convinced myself it couldn’t be true, because he’s in The Musketeers. In fact, I was quite sad, because I thought about him a lot, and realised how good he’d be, and now we’d never get to see him. Damn. So the moment Zoe Ball said his name was actually quite mind-blowing. I still find it difficult, even now to find adjectives big and bold enough to describe how brilliant this is!
"So I texted him on Sunday, saying ‘Oh my God’. And imagine, just imagine how many texts he got that night. But then today, the phone went ping, and there he was. Doctor Who. On my mobile. And a new golden age begins! That’s four golden ages in a row now!"
Steven Moffat recounts his first meeting with Peter Capaldi in 2005:
"I was at a BBC party in a nice basement somewhere, with loud music and a lot of sweaty middle-aged people complaining about the loudness of the music. I was feeling a bit good about myself, because The Empty Child (which is now so long ago, Quatermass is in it) had gone down rather well, and people thought I could write drama. And at events like this people would always talk to me about Doctor Who, which I loved so much. People, I say - not generally Comedy Gods.
A saturnine figure detached himself from the shadows, and in a moment Malcolm Tucker was looming over me, extending his hand and for some reason insisting on the name Peter Capaldi.
I loved - and still love - The Thick of It. I was in awe. Because this extraordinary actor, this star several times over, knew my name! That sort of thing never happened to me, and I couldn’t understand it - but very soon everything became clear.
"Peter Capaldi is a Doctor Who fan," I told my wife in the taxi a few hours later.
“You mean he watches it.”
“No I mean he’s a fan. Like me.”
“Not like you.”
“Yes like me.”
“…were you drinking?”
“Beside the point.”"
Moffat recounts how Peter Capaldi is still a fan of Doctor Who:
"Every now and then I’d bump into Peter at daft events - the Comedy Awards, the Scottish BAFTAs, the British (and therefore also Scottish) BAFTAs, and we’d always chat, and it was always about Doctor Who. Even in the months when Sherlock first went out, when everybody mentioned The Other Show first, Peter came looming up and said 'I know I should be talking about Sherlock, but I just love Matt Smith.'"
Moffat on the cast of Peter Capaldi:
"He was on Andy Pryor’s list, of course. He was at the top of mine. Brian Minchin sucked his pen a bit, because he’d worked with him on Children of Earth, and for a moment it was a bit of a leap - but only a moment! Capaldi! Capaldi was suddenly our big idea.
I asked my old friend Mark Gatiss to make me a list, and right at the top, again, was Peter Capaldi.
Cometh the moment, cometh the Doctor. You don’t have ideas - they just let you know when they’re ready.
No guarantees he’d go for the plan, of course. The man had a career on stage and screen, was a proper distinguished thespian, he’d probably want - ‘- to come and see us.’ Andy told us. Well, no Andy didn't tell us that at all. He emailed us at ten o’clock in the morning, informing us that he’d phone at three in the afternoon with exciting news. Then he told us.
Oh how that day flew by!
We were being top secret, of course, so the audition was held at my house. Oh and did you enjoy our Top Secrecy, by the way? No-one knew it would be Peter. Except the betting shops, the newspapers and people. There were as many photos of Peter in the papers the day before the reveal, as the day after. To the uninformed it must have looked like the continuing story of a man who shaved off his beard.
But anyway, I digress. Back in sequence, Moffat, enough of the Timey Wimey. The audition: it was one of those moments - the Doctor was in the room, and the search was over. Ben Stephenson and Faith Penhale agreed, and a phone call was made to the set of The Musketeers, to inform the great man that a big blue box was about to close around his life forever.
And so it was, on a very special day in Prague, that a Doctor Who fan, dressed as Cardinal Richelieu, who was probably wondering who the next Doctor would be, discovered to his great joy, than the Doctor, at long last, was him."
Letter from Peter Capaldi to Doctor Who Magazine:
Most of the rap niggas make me sick! All political! It's hip hop. All that gangsta shit y'all talk in y'all records... Boof!— Chris Brown (@chrisbrown) August 23, 2013
Grow some balls and y'all not being fashionable wit y'all grandmother's curtains on. Any problems... See my "by myself"— Chris Brown (@chrisbrown) August 23, 2013
I don't give a fuck no more. My hands work just fine!— Chris Brown (@chrisbrown) August 23, 2013
Nigga done 6 months community service wit police and the DA racist ass crying to the judge that I didn't do it. Fuck the SYSTEM!— Chris Brown (@chrisbrown) August 23, 2013
How about y'all take care of all the homeless kids and families on skid row. Promote helping people that are really fucked up in your city!— Chris Brown (@chrisbrown) August 23, 2013
Family first! The LAW...last— Chris Brown (@chrisbrown) August 23, 2013
I paint pics of monsters because its a reflection of u bitchass niggas and this bitchass system!— Chris Brown (@chrisbrown) August 23, 2013
I ain't gotta @ no niggas. If u feel offended... Fuck u.— Chris Brown (@chrisbrown) August 23, 2013
Hello Twitter! How are you? Excited to talk to you more...— Celine Dion (@celinedion) August 22, 2013
source and why you should follow ha!
Applause - DJ White Shadow Electrotech Remix
Applause - DJ White Shadow Trap Remix
Even though I love the original beat, her signing is less grating on these versions of the song. I can't decide which one I like better though, probably the Electrotech Remix. What about you? What do you think ONTDers?
Paris Hilton is used to travelling in luxury and sitting in fancy sports cars, but while on holiday in Ibiza it seems she prefers getting around on a quad bike! The pulchritudinous popstar and superstar socialite was in Ibiza for a DJing residency at club Amnesia and of course, to have some fun in the sun too!
lmao her instagram vids are my favourite.
also, bless the 22nd is/was the 7th Anniversary of PARIS. #JusticeForParis
Geek icon Joss Whedon graces his first Entertainment Weekly cover for a surprising, wide-ranging conversation about his career, and a behind-the-scenes of his eagerly anticipated new ABC series Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Over the course of the candid, 10-page EW interview, Whedon details his 24-year career in Hollywood, from his first writing job on the chaoticRoseanne to convincing The WB to let him make cult-hit Buffy the Vampire Slayer to the heartbreak of Fox’s Firefly to his triumphs with online smash Doctor Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog and last year’s mega-hitThe Avengers. Plus, Whedon gives us some scoop on Avengers 2, offers his blunt take on pop-culture touchstones (from The Empire Strikes Backto Twilight), and reveals the one story he never should have told.
“I never wanted to take a job because I needed money and I never have,” Whedon says. “I saved my money so when I went, for instance, to the The WB with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I said, ‘This is Buffy the Vampire Slayer. If you want something LIKE Buffy the Vampire Slayer, god bless, I’m outta here. If you want THIS, this is what I’m doing.’ Never sit at a table you can’t walk away from.”
Then we’re off to the top-secret set of S.H.I.E.L.D., which brings the sprawling Marvel universe to television for the first-ever live-action series in the company’s 74-year history. But instead of starring Hulks and Thors, the show focuses on the “other guys” of the Marvel universe, with Clark Gregg playing a resurrected version of his affable government bureaucrat Agent Coulson, who gathers a team of highly skilled (and easy-on-the-eyes) young agents to protect humanity from super-powered threats.
“This is basically a TV series of ‘The Zeppo’ [episode of Buffy], which was a very deliberate deconstruction of aBuffy episode in order to star the person who mattered the least,” Whedon says. “The people who are ignored are the people I’ve been writing as my heroes from day one. There’s a world of superheroes and superstars, they’re celebrities, and that’s a complicated world — particularly complicated for people who don’t have the superpowers, the disenfranchised. Now obviously there’s going to be hijinks and hilarity and sex and gadgets and all the things that made people buy the comics. But that’s what the show really is about to me, and that’s what Clark Gregg embodies: the Everyman.”
For more with Whedon — including his love-hate relationship with Twitter and why he’s worried about our sequel culture — pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, on stands Friday, August 23.
Liam Payne is doing his hardest to prove that he is no longer the boring Gary Barlow of One Direction, revealing that he got “really drunk” while in an impromptu recording session with Miguel recently.
The 'Best Song Ever' hitmakers have spent the last month in America performing on their 'Take Me Home' world tour but have also managed to squeeze in time to record their upcoming third album, building temporary recording studios in their hotels.
Liam Payne claims he's been getting drunk more often recently! (WENN)
It would seem that the band's album may sound a lot different to their previous pop offerings, with Liam teaming up with 'Adorn' singer Miguel to record a track and it sounds like it was a fun session!
“I was really drunk in the studio recently. I met Miguel. I think he's so good, we got on and so he said, 'Come to the studio.' We did a track together but I was really, really drunk,” Liam told The Sun.
“I went to see him the next day and had to ask him to tell me what kind of things I was saying. Although, don't expect the track to end up on 1D's album as Liam, 20, seems to be keen to push it onto another artist.
Miguel and Liam apparently recorded a "really good dance song" (FayesVision/WENN)
“I want to try to give it to someone because I think it's a really good dance song. Don't worry, I've listened to it sober! “ he revealed.
We can't wait to hear the track, Liam! Meanwhile, the heartthrob has revealed that he is no longer the sensible and, dare we say it, boring member of One Direction with the singer claiming to be "letting loose" a lot more.
"It's a new dawn for Liam. I'm having a laugh now. I've let loose in the sense that I haven't got that much to worry about any more. I'm still quite mature but whether I'm sensible I'm not so sure," Liam told The Sun.
"The first year or so, I used to just get up, go to work, go to the hotel and go to the gym and that was it. But I'm up for it now."
After premiering their new movie 'This Is Us' at London's Leicester Square on Tuesday, One Direction have jetted into New York where they will perform on the Today show as part of their summer concert series.
John Mayer is on course for a No. 2 debut on the Billboard 200 albums chart next week with his new album "Paradise Valley." Industry sources suggest the set -- his sixth studio effort -- might sell around 150,000 copies by the end of the tracking week on Sunday, Aug. 25.
The new Billboard 200 chart's top 10 will be revealed on the morning of Wednesday, Aug. 28.
He will likely be blocked from the top slot by the reigning chart champ, Luke Bryan's "Crash My Party." The album debuted at No. 1 this week with 528,000 copies sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
Even if "Crash My Party" erodes by 70% in its second week, it would still sell more than what Mayer is projected to move. (The last three No. 1-debuting albums all fell by between 63% and 68% in their second week. Bryan's last album, the No. 1-starting "Spring Break… Here to Party," dropped by 59% in its second frame.)
All of Mayer's five previous studio sets have reached the top 10, and the last two have bowed at No. 1. His last effort, 2012's "Born and Raised," opened with 219,000 just over a year ago. Previous to that, 2009's "Battle Studies" launched with 286,000.
Mayer has additionally clocked a top 10 with the live album "Where the Light Is: John Mayer Live in Los Angeles," which reached No. 5 in 2008.
Other albums eyeing big bows on next week's chart include TGT (the superstar trio of Tyrese, Ginuwine and Tank) with its debut set "3 Kings" (65,000 or so) and Jimmy Buffett's "Songs From St. Somewhere" (55,000).
did you buy or listen to any new albums this week ontd? oh and can i add that idgaf about country music, but luke bryan is cute af.
Lady Gaga has revealed a new song title from her forthcoming album ARTPOP
exclusively to JustJared.com – “Donatella“!
“‘Donatella‘ is my love letter to Donatella [Versace],” she told Just Jared on
Friday afternoon about the 58-year-old Italian fashion designer. “The song is an
incredible crazy fun pop song with really raising electronic beats that I did
with [producer] Zedd. It’s about being a fearless female and not caring what
people say about you – being proud of who you are and walking the walk no matter
When asked if Gaga would liken this song to Jay-Z‘s “Tom Ford”, she responded,
“No, it’s not so much about Donatella as a brand as it is Donatella the person,
about me as a person, that idea of what the public wants from you.”
Gaga continued her explanation of the song to JJ: “Donatella, maybe she’s a
bitch, maybe she’s too skinny, maybe she’s too rich, maybe she’s too out there.
Or, maybe she’s brilliant, maybe she’s intelligent, maybe she’s strong, maybe
she’s everything, maybe she’s Donatella.”
We can’t wait to hear all about “Donatella“!