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Joan Collins on working in Hollywood in the 1960s: “The very thought was utterly repugnant”

<p>TV and screen legend Joan Collins appeared on CBS recently and opened up about many aspects of her life, including her career and courtships, to roles such as <em>Cleopatra</em> and the casting couch.</p> <p>The actress, 85, was candid about her experiences as a film star in the light of the #MeToo movement. She revealed she was promised one of the biggest roles in film history as long as she slept with the producer.</p> <p>“There were some very, very big people who promised me this role if I would be ‘Nice’ to them,” she explained.</p> <p>“This was the casting couch. I was dancing with one of the men who was the head of the studio. And he said, ‘I can put you up in a nice little apartment and I will come and visit you and you’ll not only get all the best roles at Fox, but we will see that you get <em>Cleopatra</em>.”</p> <p>Collins revealed in a column for <em>The Daily Mail</em> in 2017 that this man was Buddy Adler, the then head of 20<sup>th</sup> Century Fox.</p> <p>Collins responded quick-wittedly: “I said, ‘Great idea, and I am here with my agent, Jay Kanter, let’s go talk to him about it.’”</p> <p>Collins was questioned on whether she was aware of her actions of denying these propositions and Collins explained she had long held firm on her values.</p> <p>“I was never, ever, ever going to settle for giving my body to some old man for a role, or even a young man or anybody. I would never do that, ever, ever,” she reiterated.</p> <p>In the column she recalled Adler’s response to this remark. He said “Honey, you have quite a sense of humour.”</p> <p>She replied with the same wit, saying, “And a sense of humour is all you’ll ever get from me.” This response cost her the role of <em>Cleopatra</em>, as Elizabeth Taylor landed the coveted gig playing the Egyptian Queen.</p> <p>Collins further discussed her experience in a column for <em>The Daily Mail</em>.</p> <p>“The head of 20<sup>th</sup> Studio Fox at the time, Buddy Adler, and the chairman of the board – a Greek gentleman old enough to be my grandfather – bombarded me with propositions and promises that the role was mine if I would be ‘nice to them,’” Collins wrote for <em>The Daily Mail</em>.</p> <p>“It was a euphemism prevalent in Hollywood. I couldn’t and I wouldn’t – the very thought of these old men was utterly repugnant. So, I dodged and I dived, and hid from them around the lot and made excuses while undergoing endless screen tests for the role of Egypt’s Queen.”</p> <p>Collins further opened up about her romances, from her love affair with Warren Beatty and on-set romance with Harry Belafonte to ranking her five husbands in the interview.</p> <p>Collins alluded to Warren Beatty as one who relished in his press.</p> <p>“We used to stop on Sunset Boulevard at the newsagents and Warren would look through modern screen and see if we had pictures in a magazine,” she recalled.</p> <p>The screen legend was asked if she was in love with Beatty and replied: “I think so. It’s like Prince Charles said, ‘Whatever love is.’”</p> <p>Later, on the set of <em>Island In The Sun</em>, Collins met Harry Belafonte and romance soon followed. Although Collins revealed John Forsyth on <em>Dynasty</em> wasn’t her biggest fan.</p> <p>“John didn’t like me,” Collins revealed. “John is old school and misogynistic, and a bit sexist. He frankly didn’t like this English woman and every person saying that she made the show.”</p>

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How Martin Scorsese entwines music and movies

<p>Music and movies are umbilically entwined in the films of Martin Scorsese. It’s almost impossible to think of his cinema without the propulsive accompaniment of a track by The Rolling Stones, Muddy Waters, Eric Clapton, a Neapolitan street singer or any number of other smaller and even obscure doo-wop, Latino, Brill Building and r'n'b wonders of the 1950s, 60s and early 70s.</p> <p>Although Scorsese has memorably employed the services of great film composers like Bernard Herrmann and Elmer Bernstein on iconic movies such as <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0075314/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1">Taxi Driver</a> (1976) and <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0106226/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1">The Age of Innocence</a> (1993), it is the music of his adolescence and early adulthood that dominates the dense, highly subjective, hyper-masculine and combative worlds of many of his best and most fondly remembered films.</p> <p>Most of the music documentaries he has made – such as <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0077838/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1">The Last Waltz</a> (1978), <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0367555/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1">No Direction Home: Bob Dylan</a> (2005) and <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0893382/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1">Shine a Light</a> (2008) – equally expose these formative tastes.</p> <p>This is personal and reflects Scorsese’s upbringing in the crowded neighbourhood of Little Italy with its melting pot of sounds leeching across spaces and situations. Some of the numbers in his protean first feature, <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0063803/?ref_=fn_al_tt_3">Who’s That Knocking at My Door</a> (1969), were even supplied from the filmmaker’s own collection. The signature music of Scorsese’s films comes to us with his “fingerprints” all over it.</p> <p>This fascination with the everyday history, materiality and atmosphere of popular music – the way it seeps into and scores the world around us – gives Scorsese’s films a musicological dimension that rhymes with his obsession with film history.</p> <p>Although his use of popular music appears more organic or sociological than Quentin Tarantino’s, it still has the sense of the archivist-collector about it.</p> <p>When the Melbourne Cinémathèque sought Scorsese’s permission to screen his documentary <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0071680/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1">Italianamerican</a> (1974) in the early 1990s, all he asked for in return was that we send him a complete CD edition of Bob Dylan’s [Masterpieces](then only available in Australia) to add to his collection.</p> <p>Although Scorsese is deeply attuned to specific, mostly urban forms of popular music from the mid-20th century, he has also found his inspiration in the groundbreaking found soundtracks of Kenneth Anger’s homo-erotic <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0058555/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1">Scorpio Rising</a> (1964) and Stanley Kubrick’s classical-modernist <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0062622/?ref_=nv_sr_1">2001: A Space Odyssey</a> (1968), as well as his experience as a cameraman and editor on <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0066580/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1">Woodstock</a> (1970). The latter, he has said, was a life-changing event that made him shift from slacks to jeans.</p> <p>The music in Scorsese’s earlier features sits alongside the pioneering compilation scores of <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0061722/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1">The Graduate</a> (1967) and <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0064276/?ref_=nv_sr_1">Easy Rider</a> (1969), but his work represents a less nostalgic (in comparison to, say, Woody Allen) and temporally shallow notion of the musical “past”.</p> <p>This is a lesson well learned by Scorsese acolytes such as Tarantino, Wes Anderson and Paul Thomas Anderson. The golden rule in Scorsese’s films is that the music must have been released by the time a particular scene is set – but it should also reflect the depth of music history.</p> <p><strong>How Scorsese uses music in film</strong></p> <p>Scorsese often conceives a sequence or moment with a particular song in mind.</p> <p>For example, a key motivation for <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0163988/?ref_=nv_sr_1">Bringing Out the Dead</a>(1999) was the opportunity to use Van Morrison’s fetid, churning T. B. Sheets as a leitmotif. This song weaves around intense and strung-out tracks by REM, Johnny Thunders and The Clash, a reminder perhaps that an earlier vision of <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0217505/?ref_=nv_sr_1">Gangs of New York</a> (2002) prominently featured the British group (a Scorsese favourite).</p> <p>Scorsese also plays music on his movie sets to get at the rhythm and feeling of a specific moment.</p> <p>The coda of Derek &amp; the Dominos’ Layla was played on the <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0099685/?ref_=nv_sr_1">GoodFellas</a> (1990) set from the first day of shooting and lyrically scores the sequence of the bodies being uncovered. It also intimates the excess and decadence that will be the gangsters’ ultimate downfall.</p> <p>The necessary inspiration of popular music is also playfully referenced in the frantic, epic expressionist strokes of Nick Nolte’s painter working to the blisteringly loud strains of Procol Harum and Bob Dylan and The Band in <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0097965/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1">Life Lessons</a> (1989).</p> <p>Although this use of popular music reflects the director’s own tastes, upbringing and fondness for counterpoint, it is also deeply enmeshed in the worlds and subjectivities of his characters.</p> <p>The downbeat at the opening of The Ronettes’ Be My Baby ushers in the immersive world of Scorsese’s breakthrough feature, <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0070379/">Mean Streets</a>, entreating us to experience and even share the excitement, danger and periodic abandon of a group of small-time, would-be gangsters who then light up the screen.</p> <p>As critic Ian Penman has argued, the music does not seem to operate as a soundtrack in the traditional sense, but appears</p> <p>to be released into the air by breaking glasses or moving bodies.</p> <p>It is sound as much as it is music.</p> <p>When we see Robert De Niro’s Johnny Boy sashay into a bar in slow motion to the intricately timed and edited adrenaline rush of Jumpin’ Jack Flash, we cannot really determine where the music is coming from: is it the heightened sound of the jukebox (a fixation of the director’s cinema) or from somewhere inside of Johnny Boy himself?</p> <p>Mean Streets, like such later masterworks as GoodFellas and <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0112641/?ref_=nv_sr_2">Casino</a> (1995), has something of the jerky propulsiveness and programmed randomness of the jukebox. The music also drops in and out, rises and falls, in a way that reflects and galvanises the cramped bar interiors that are Scorsese’s abiding milieu. Its use of music feels programmed and even curated but also organic and intuitive.</p> <p><strong>Chelsea Morning</strong></p> <p>There is a wonderful sequence in one of Scorsese’s most underrated films, <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0088680/?ref_=fn_al_tt_2">After Hours</a>(1985), which features the lead character retreating to the apartment of a beehive-haired and go go booted cocktail waitress played by Teri Garr. Unworldly Paul (Griffin Dunne) has become lost down the rabbit-hole of late night Soho and is trying to find a way to get home to the safety of his mid-town apartment.</p> <p>As he unburdens himself of the nightmare of his evening, Garr’s ’60s-revivalist sympathetically changes records from the initially peppy pop confection of The Monkees’ Last Train to Clarksville (he has just missed his train) to the introspective wistfulness of Joni Mitchell’s more geographically apt Chelsea Morning.</p> <p>This moment is remarkable in Scorsese’s work, as it is one of few where characters consciously recognise and respond to the music.</p> <p>It also provides a critique of Scorsese’s own practice and how he locates songs that illustrate an emotion, a situation or work in counterpoint to the onscreen action.</p> <p>This scene shows us – in a very unselfconscious fashion – the mechanics of Scorsese’s use of popular music and the way it can shift the tone and atmosphere, create a narrative arc and embed itself into the lives of its characters.</p> <p>The use of Chelsea Morning is also one of the few times that Scorsese draws upon the early ’70s singer-songwriter tradition. Another occurs in the pivotal moment in Taxi Driver where De Niro’s profoundly solipsistic Travis Bickle watches forlornly, lost as he takes in couples slow dancing around a pair of empty shoes on American Bandstand scored by Jackson Browne’s mournful Late for the Sky (or is this only in Travis’s head?)</p> <p>In some ways, this moment seems all the more powerful due to its isolation and incongruity – Travis has earlier misread the lyrics of Kris Kristofferson’s <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JlGZ93XcmhI">The Pilgrim, Chapter 33</a> – illustrating he has no understanding of or affinity for popular music.</p> <p>Scorsese’s characters often seem to take music with them, but Paul and Travis are so out of place they cannot imbibe the music around them other than, in the latter case, through the isolating darkness of Herrmann’s ominous score.</p> <p>After Hours features a bracingly eclectic soundtrack that reflects the gear-shifting nightmare and occasional respite of Paul’s downtown odyssey. For example, after leaving a nightclub, he returns only a short time later to find it has miraculously transformed from hosting a hedonistic, crowded and threatening “Mohawk” theme night, scored by <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=thnb3UlH2zE">Bad Brains’ Pay to Cum</a>, to an abandoned space with a singular middle-aged customer and a jukebox sympathetically playing Peggy Lee’s Is That all There is?</p> <p>(Once again an unusual choice consciously selected by the uncharacteristically self-aware protagonist).</p> <p>By using a soundtrack less beholden to his own tastes, Scorsese is able to stretch out.</p> <p><strong>The Italian-American gangster trilogy</strong></p> <p>Nevertheless, it is the three films that make up Scorsese’s Italian-American gangster trilogy – Mean Streets, GoodFellas and Casino – that best illustrate the full potential of his use of “found” popular music to score and populate his films.</p> <p>These movies can also be described as essentially musicals. It is important to note that music is not a constant presence in these movies, even though that may be the lasting impression we are left with.</p> <p>Music is pointedly dropped out or even abandoned at particular moments – such as during the final section of GoodFellas where the gangster’s world comes tumbling down. All that is left is the memory of Joe Pesci firing into the camera and the final ragged, debased strains of Sid Vicious singing My Way.</p> <p>Both GoodFellas and Casino use music to chart the rise and fall of their characters and the rarefied enclaves they occupy.</p> <p>In Casino this is signified by the shift from the gaming table friendly Italian-American-derived songs of Louis Prima and Dean Martin to the pointed use of Devo’s truly frustrated version of <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jadvt7CbH1o">(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction</a>, B. B. King’s The Thrill is Gone and The Animals’ The House of the Rising Sun to plot the changing demographics and economies of Las Vegas.</p> <p>In many ways, Casino represents something of an endpoint for Scorsese. The energy of Mean Streets and GoodFellas is depleted by the manically expansive “found” song soundtrack, the blunt violence and the forensic detail dedicated to mapping Las Vegas and the failed relationships between Ace, Ginger and Nicky.</p> <p>The operatic, tragic dimensions of this demise are signposted by bookending Bach’s St. Matthew Passion and Georges Delerue’s melancholy cues from Jean-Luc Godard’s <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0057345/?ref_=nv_sr_1">Contempt</a> (1963). Where do you go after that?</p> <p>Over the last 20 years, Scorsese’s work has only ever intermittently matched the multiple highpoints of his earlier career. Films such as Gangs of New York, <a href="http://www.imdb.com/find?ref_=nv_sr_fn&amp;q=The+Departed&amp;s=all">The Departed</a> (2006) and his return to form, <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0993846/?ref_=nv_sr_1">The Wolf of Wall Street</a> (2013), do feature further intriguing examples of the use of popular music – and expand the director’s reach in terms of ethnicity – but don’t really develop this aspect or create truly memorable combinations of image and sound.</p> <p><strong>The documentaries and Vinyl</strong></p> <p>During this time, Scorsese’s major contributions to the nexus between popular music and cinema and television have been his somewhat conventional compilation documentaries and concert films and the recent HBO drama series, <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3186130/?ref_=nv_sr_1">Vinyl</a>, co-created by Scorsese, Mick Jagger and Terence Winter.</p> <p>Although Scorsese’s documentary on <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1113829/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1">George Harrison: Living in the Material World</a> is commendable, and The Rolling Stones’ concert film Shine a Light provides a shared portrait of resilience, easily the best of these documentaries is No Direction Home: Bob Dylan.</p> <p>An archivist’s project the filmmaker took on as compiler and editor, it features some stunning audio-visual combinations as it explores Dylan’s explosive and mercurial early career.</p> <p>But it is with Vinyl that Scorsese’s concerns and abiding preoccupations come full circle.</p> <p>The first episode, the only one directed by Scorsese so far, takes him back to the early 1970s and the drug-fuelled, propulsive and heightened impressionism of his earlier work.</p> <p>The soundtrack features an eclectic array of period specific tracks including Mott the Hoople’s All the Way to Memphis – used 40 years earlier in Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore (1974).</p> <p>It is only during the staging of the collapse of the downtown Mercer Arts Center – anachronistically, while the New York Dolls are playing Personality Crisis – that the episode comes to imaginative life. You can almost imagine De Niro’s Johnny Boy waiting for the building to fall.</p> <p><em>Written by Adrian Danks. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/friday-essay-it-felt-like-a-kiss-movies-popular-music-and-martin-scorsese-59231"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>.</em></p>

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Hugh Jackman reveals: The “pretty simple but powerful choice” that saved my marriage

<p>Hugh Jackman, 50 and his wife, Deborra-lee Furness, 63, are one of Hollywood’s most successful couples.</p> <p>Jackman, who is currently in Australia on his<span> </span><em>The Man. The Music. The Show.</em><span> </span>tour, recently revealed the “simple but powerful choice” that he made to his wife back when they were younger and before they had children.</p> <p>In an extract from <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.the-father-hood.com/article/incoming-the-father-hood-book-is-ready-to-drop/" target="_blank"><em>The Father Hood: Inspiration for the New Dad Generation</em></a>, a new book about fatherhood with letters penned from various celebrities, Hugh made a pact with his wife. The extract was published in this week’s <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.who.com.au/" target="_blank">WHO</a> magazine.</p> <p>He wrote: <span>“Before we had kids, Deb and I made a pretty simple but powerful choice to look each other in the eye at every crossroads in life. Those crossroads are sometimes big, sometimes they're small, sometimes you don't even realise they are crossroads until you look back.</span></p> <p>“But at those moments, we said we'd ask each other, ‘Is this good or bad for our marriage?’ Or, now that we've got kids, ‘Is this good or bad for our family?’</p> <p>“And as often as possible, we do the thing that is good for our family.”</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/BzsaCAtn0Gz/" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BzsaCAtn0Gz/" target="_blank">When somebody loves you ... #mydebs</a></p> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A post shared by <a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/thehughjackman/" target="_blank"> Hugh Jackman</a> (@thehughjackman) on Jul 9, 2019 at 4:11am PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Jackman revealed to <em><a rel="noopener" href="https://people.com/movies/hugh-jackman-says-intimacy-secret-to-long-marriage/" target="_blank">People Magazine</a> </em>that “intimacy” is key to a happy marriage.</p> <p>“Without a doubt, it is the most important thing.</p> <p>“People talk about intimacy and assume that means in the bedroom. Of course it is that, but really, intimacy is being able to share everything together – good, bad, fears, successes.</p> <p>“Deb and I had that from the beginning. We've always been completely ourselves with each other.”</p> <p>The book features chapters written by Osher Günsberg, Mark Wahlberg, Ben Stiller, David Beckham, Tim Cahill, John Krasinski, Steve "Commando" Willis and many more other prolific celebrities who explain how fatherhood has changed and shaped their lives.</p>

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How the international market is taking over Hollywood

<p>Marvel’s “<em><a href="https://www.nbcnews.com/news/asian-america/marvel-s-first-asian-led-superhero-film-shang-chi-finds-n983196">Shang-Chi</a></em>” – the studio’s first Asian superhero movie – is a sign of the times.</p> <p>Destin Daniel Cretton, <a href="https://www.buzzfeed.com/alisonwillmore/28-asian-american-filmakers">who is of Asian descent</a>, will be directing the film, which will feature a Chinese superhero who originally appeared <a href="https://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/aN4AAOSwUElcl7nZ/s-l640.jpg">in one of Marvel’s 1973 comics</a>.</p> <p><a href="https://books.google.com/books?id=9Cm6ugEACAAJ&amp;dq=weiko+lin&amp;hl=en&amp;sa=X&amp;ved=0ahUKEwjGho3on57jAhVPmVkKHTQoB-cQ6AEIKDAA">As a bilingual screenwriter with projects in the U.S. and China</a>, I see “Shang-Chi” as yet another example of an exciting trend in Hollywood.</p> <p>More than ever before, studios are realizing that diverse casts and stories are just as profitable – if not more so – than the traditional Western narratives that dominated Hollywood for decades.</p> <p><strong>More “comps” for inclusive stories</strong></p> <p>When pitching a film to studios, writers and producers will commonly use what are called “comps.” These examples of previously released films that are similar in style or content bolster the feasibility of a film project; if a version of a pitched script has been successfully pulled off in the past, the studio might worry less about sinking money into it.</p> <p>A dearth of financially successful comps with diverse lead casts has made it tough to pitch films with nonwhite main characters. And that’s one of the reasons why inclusive stories were only sporadically green-lit for major studio productions.</p> <p>For years, if you were to pitch a story to a major studio with an all-Asian cast, you would have had almost no comps other than “<a href="https://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=joyluckclub.htm"><em>Joy Luck Club</em></a>.” That critically acclaimed film pulled in US$32.9 million at the U.S. box office on a $10.5 million budget. While that’s a respectable profit, it was no blockbuster, and it didn’t trigger an onslaught of movies starring Asians.</p> <p>Then “<em><a href="https://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=crazyrichasians.htm">Crazy Rich Asians</a></em>” happened. The 2018 romantic comedy wildly surpassed expectations by earning $238 million around the world with a $30 million budget, making it the <a href="https://ew.com/gallery/highest-grossing-rom-coms/">top-grossing romantic comedy in 10 years</a>, surpassing both “The Proposal” and “Sex and the City: The Movie.”</p> <p>Other successes have followed. “<em><a href="https://uproxx.com/movies/netflix-most-viewed-to-all-the-boys-ive-loved-before/">To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before</a></em>” features a Korean American teenager whose secret love letters are mailed to her crushes. “<em><a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt7374948/">Always Be My Maybe</a></em>” is about two Asian American childhood friends who fall for each other as adults.</p> <p>The same thing is happening with films that feature African American leads.</p> <p>Just in the past few years, “<em><a href="https://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=blumhouse2.htm">Get Out</a></em>,” “<em><a href="https://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=untitledjordanpeele.htm">Us</a></em>” and “<em><a href="https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/box-office-black-panther-becomes-top-grossing-superhero-film-all-time-us-1097101">Black Panther</a></em>” were blockbusters that starred black lead actors.</p> <p>Now, any screenwriter who wants to pitch a horror and superhero movie starring black actors or a romantic comedy with Asian characters has a handful of highly profitable comps at their disposal.</p> <p><strong>A new definition of “star power”</strong></p> <p>Some claim the lack of representation on screen could be attributed to a simple fact: <a href="https://slate.com/culture/2017/03/filmmakers-and-actors-keep-defending-casting-controversies-but-here-s-why-their-arguments-fail.html">Movies need star power</a>, and very few A-list movie stars were people of color.</p> <p>Aside from actors like Denzel Washington or Jennifer Lopez, it was rare for an actor of color to be able to “carry” a film. That reasoning doesn’t hold water anymore. Today, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who identifies as <a href="https://www.huffpost.com/entry/dwayne-the-rock-johnson-mtv-movie-tv-awards_n_5d083713e4b095327838fc03">black and Samoan</a>, is the <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/film/2016/jul/13/dwayne-the-rock-johnson-worlds-highest-paid-actor-reasons-why">world’s highest-paid</a> movie star.</p> <p>But one of the interesting aspects of films like “<em>Crazy Rich Asians</em>” is that they were huge successes at the box office without any marquee movie stars.</p> <p>This has done two things: It showed studios that star power isn’t as necessary as it was once thought to be. And it has allowed a new crop of diverse actors to emerge, with these films acting as a springboard to stardom.</p> <p>Studios have since realized it’s less of a financial risk to hire unknown actors, who they can then cultivate and, if all goes well, leverage for future projects.</p> <p>Netflix is doing just that with talents like <a href="https://www.imdb.com/name/nm4399227/">Ali Wong</a>. After two successful Netflix stand-up comedy specials, she co-wrote and starred in her first feature role in “<em>Always Be My Maybe</em>” for the studio.</p> <p>The same thing happened to <a href="https://www.imdb.com/name/nm2257207/">Daniel Kaluuya</a> of Universal Pictures’ “<em>Get Out</em>.” Before the film, he was a relative unknown. Now he’s starring in the upcoming “<em><a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8722346/">Queen and Slim</a></em>” from the same studio.</p> <p><strong>The expanding Chinese market</strong></p> <p>But why is all of this happening now?</p> <p>Ticket sales at U.S. cineplexes <a href="https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/hollywood-hopes-reversal-fortune-worst-early-slump-6-years-1201963">are at a six-year low</a>, while marketing costs <a href="https://variety.com/2017/biz/news/hollywoods-soaring-marketing-cost-dilemma-1202530305/">are soaring</a>. As a result, studios are increasingly relying on international markets to reach profitability. Films like “<em><a href="https://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=pixar1117.htm">Coco</a></em>” – which is set in Mexico – and “<em><a href="https://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?page=intl&amp;id=furious8.htm">Fate of the Furious</a></em>” – which features Hispanic and African American lead actors – have global appeal.</p> <p>The most tantalizing market is China.</p> <p>“Coco” is the highest-grossing animated movie ever in China; it pulled in <a href="https://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?page=intl&amp;country=CH&amp;id=pixar1117.htm">$189 million</a> at the box office, which almost matched the <a href="https://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?page=main&amp;id=pixar1117.htm">$209 million</a> it earned stateside. And “Fate of the Furious” actually made <a href="https://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?page=intl&amp;country=CH&amp;id=furious8.htm">$392 million</a> in China, easily overtaking the <a href="https://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?page=main&amp;id=furious8.htm">$226 million</a> it earned in the U.S.</p> <p>China is presently Hollywood’s biggest foreign market. According to <a href="https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/china-film-market-eclipse-us-next-year-study-1215348">projections by PricewaterhouseCoopers</a>, this year the Chinese box office will rake in $11.05 billion, compared to ticket sales in the U.S. of $12.11 billion. Next year, however, China is expected to surpass the U.S. for the first time and be crowned the world’s largest film market.</p> <p>Chinese audiences love superhero flicks. “Avengers: Endgame,” for example, earned more than $600 million in <a href="https://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?page=intl&amp;country=CH&amp;id=marvel2019.htm">China</a> alone. But films with modest budgets can also do well there. With a $10 million budget, the 2016 Bollywood hit “<em><a href="https://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?page=intl&amp;id=dangal.htm">Dangal</a></em>” made $193 million in China, almost tripling its $77 million take in India.</p> <p>As for the future? Disney’s upcoming live-action “<em><a href="https://www.insider.com/mulan-live-action-cast-vs-animated-2018-4">Mulan</a></em>,” which is based on a classic Chinese folk tale with an all-Chinese cast and a budget <a href="https://time.com/4707055/mulan-disney-remake-niki-caro/">exceeding $100 million</a>, has the potential to shatter box office records.</p> <p>For too long, doors to mainstream Hollywood have been closed off to stories set in diverse cultures and precluded inclusive lead characters in popular movies.</p> <p>But now, thanks to a powerful global market, those doors are cracking open and studios are rolling out the red carpet.</p> <p>The result is happy shareholders and, for audiences, refreshing stories that more accurately reflect the world we live in.</p> <p><em>Written by Weiko Lin. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/a-booming-international-movie-market-is-transforming-hollywood-118743"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>.</em></p>

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"My little hatchling!" Nicole Kidman shares first look at daughter's Hollywood debut

<p>Nicole Kidman’s youngest children are choosing to follow in her footsteps. </p> <p>The 52-year-old actress and mother of four celebrated her eight-year-old daughter’s voice role in the new kids movie <em>Angry Birds 2</em>. </p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B0mjbsXgPP0/" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B0mjbsXgPP0/" target="_blank">My little hatchling Faith in the #AngryBirds2Movie 💕</a></p> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A post shared by <a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/nicolekidman/" target="_blank"> Nicole Kidman</a> (@nicolekidman) on Jul 31, 2019 at 6:09pm PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>"My little hatchling Faith in the #AngryBirds2Movie," the <em>Big Little Lies</em> star wrote on Instagram, with a short clip from the animated movie attached alongside.</p> <p>The movie features both Faith Margaret and her big sister, Sunday Rose, 11. </p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="/media/7829198/nicole-kidman.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/5bd049cb97944986921ef4d52507ba5e" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>Left to right: Faith Margaret, 8, Sunday Rose, 11, Nicole Kidman</em></p> <p>The two girls whose father is Keith Urban will play young hatchlings in the film alongside <em>Wonder Woman’s</em> Gal Gadot’s daughter.</p> <p>The celebrity children appearances do not end there though as Viola Davis’ seven-year-old daughter, Genesis will play a role in the film as well. </p> <p>This also isn’t the first time Faith Margaret and Sunday Rose have gotten a taste of what it's like to be on set as they intially made their acting debut earlier this year in two episodes of <em>Big Little Lies</em>. </p> <p>"They're not coddled on the set. And that's good for them,” Nicole told <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.you.co.uk/nicole-kidman-interview-2019/" target="_blank"><em>You</em> </a>magazine earlier this year. </p> <p>“It's given them a stronger understanding of what I do. It's made us all closer.”</p> <p><em>Angry Birds 2</em> is Nicole’s little girls first major roles. </p> <p>Kidman met musician Keith Urban in 2005 and they married the following year. In 2008, she gave birth to Sunday Rose and later in 2010 welcomed Faith Margaret via surrogacy. </p>

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Space Oddity at 50: The novelty song that became a cultural touchstone

<p>When the 22-year-old David Bowie penned Space Oddity, a song that would ultimately become a <a href="https://bowiesongs.wordpress.com/2009/11/11/space-oddity/">recognised</a> classic, he was a burgeoning pop artist without a record deal. A folk singer without a gig, a sometime mime, and a purveyor of <a href="https://youtu.be/NUiboPRPOzo">ice creams</a>. His first serious relationship, with the actress <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/feb/01/david-bowie-girl-mousy-hair-muse">Hermione Farthingale</a>, was in free fall.</p> <p>It was December 1968, and Bowie’s manager Kenneth Pitt was collating a promotional film to pimp his client’s wares to London television and film producers. He requested Bowie pen a “special piece of new material” to contemporise the otherwise retrospective nature of the film.</p> <p>And then, on Christmas Eve, astronaut Bill Anders captured his iconic photograph of Earth from the Apollo 8 spacecraft while circumnavigating the Moon.</p> <p>The Earthrise image was still resonating in the public’s imagination when Bowie retreated to his room in Clareville Grove, London to write his space cabaret. Composing on a 12-string Hagstrom guitar with a little sonic weirdness from a Stylophone given to him by <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marc_Bolan">Marc Bolan</a>, he came up with Space Oddity.</p> <p>A blatant commercial object, a “pragmatic” turn by a fledgling artist, the song would become an anthem for space exploration for decades (and for TV news obituaries on the occasion of Bowie’s <a href="https://youtu.be/mH3-HV2WDdQ">death</a> in 2016).</p> <p>Space Oddity tells of an astronaut Major Tom, launched into space in a manner akin to the Apollo missions. Yet in this instance all does not go according to plan and he is left adrift in the abyss of space, “floating ‘round my tin can, far above the Moon.”</p> <p>At the time it was considered a “novelty song” to hang alongside other opportunists riding the vapor trails of the <a href="https://www.nasa.gov/audience/forstudents/5-8/features/nasa-knows/what-was-the-saturn-v-58.html">Saturn V</a>. (<a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/29/fashion/watches-omega-speedmaster-moonwatch-anniversary.html">Omega</a> watches, <a href="https://www.orlandosentinel.com/space/apollo-11-anniversary/os-ne-apollo-11-tang-20190704-ahrgsi5hmfdunfy4ldazrgvkr4-story.html">Tang</a>, <a href="https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/first-energy-bar">Space Food Sticks</a> etc). Bowie was acutely aware of the commercialisation of the space exploration story, of course. “You have really made the grade, and the papers want to know whose shirts you wear,” exalts ground control as Tom hurtles towards the heavens.</p> <p>Eschewing the typical pop song template, Bowie designed the piece as if it was a dramatic play. “I think I wanted to write a new kind of musical,” he <a href="https://slate.com/culture/2015/12/david-bowie-and-enda-walsh-musical-lazarus-reviewed.html">reflected</a> in 2002, “and that’s how I saw my future at the time.”</p> <p>The song – one of his earliest and perhaps most outrageous musical assemblages – is also indicative of the artist he would become, a restless creative magpie perched by the wireless, plucking phrases and vocal stylings from the inbound radio waves.</p> <p>The definitive version, recorded in late June 1969 at Trident Studios, was pressed and released as a single within three weeks – on July 11 – to leverage the hype of the impending Apollo moon landing. It also sealed a new recording deal with Mercury Records. Bowie was back.</p> <p>However, his long-time producing partner <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tony_Visconti">Tony Visconti</a> refused to work on the song, citing it as a distasteful departure from the singer’s hippie folk leanings. Visconti’s unease led him to recommend <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gus_Dudgeon">Gus Dudgeon</a> (who would later work with Elton John) as producer. The song’s adventurous orchestration and unsettling harmonics owe much to Dudgeon’s ambition.</p> <p>Through resonance, tone and unexpected harmonic shifts Bowie and Dudgeon achieved a meta-pop song full of cultural and musical references. There are lyrical and tonal references to the Bee Gees’ <a href="https://youtu.be/S43YhQ_eGTw">New York Mining Disaster 1941</a> while an acoustic passage signposts <a href="https://youtu.be/gP3-TU6xPvc">Old Friends</a> by Simon &amp; Garfunkel. Even the metallic chimes of the Stylophone recall the pulsating intro of the Beatles’ <a href="https://youtu.be/t1Jm5epJr10">I Am The Walrus</a>. This was music for space, both inside and out, an experimental sonic palette that would open up a whole <a href="https://www.technologyreview.com/s/613762/space-music-drugs/">new genre</a> of musical art direction.</p> <p>Of course, Kubrick’s <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0062622/">2001: A Space Odyssey</a> hangs heavily over proceedings. The two works are not only linked by name, but by their respective critiques of the cultural zeitgeist of “space fever”.</p> <p>A sense of melancholia and detachment permeates Bowie’s recording. Yet, Major Tom’s predicament – floating in a tin can far above the world – is perhaps not the perilous event we might suspect. He seems quite OK with it all. Even his observation that there is “nothing I can do” comes across as somewhat of a relief.</p> <p>We are never really sure whether the communication breakdown with ground control was accidental or by design. In Norman Mailer’s Apollo 11 chronicle <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/238970.Of_a_Fire_on_the_Moon">Of a Fire on the Moon</a>, he notes that the “obvious pleasure” of the astronaut, “was to be alone in the sky”.</p> <p><strong>Rushing towards the stars</strong></p> <p>Still, in a 1980 <a href="https://www.npr.org/sections/therecord/2017/10/06/555850186/how-ashes-to-ashes-put-the-first-act-of-david-bowies-career-to-rest">interview</a>, Bowie revealed Major Tom’s dilemma was a comment on what he saw at the time as the limits of American exceptionalism:</p> <p>Here we had the great blast of American technological know-how shoving this guy up into space, but once he gets there, he’s not quite sure why he’s there. And that’s where I left him.</p> <p>For such a challenging work, the press reaction in Britain to Space Oddity was largely positive, Tony Palmer, writing in the Observer, appreciated the song’s cynical air at a time when “we cling pathetically to every moonman’s dribbling joke, when we admire unquestioningly the so-called achievement of our helmeted heroes.”</p> <p>Music journalist Penny Valentine’s review for the ensuing album, which would feature Space Oddity as the lead track, observed that Bowie had captured “the rather frightening atmosphere we all live in as the backdrop to his songs.”</p> <p>Indeed, come July 1969, the promise of the sixties and the hippy trip of the free love movement were a few festivals and a bunch of ghoulish murders away from coming to an end. The sense of being adrift like Major Tom was not just a fantasy construction any more.</p> <p>The song’s television debut would be on July 20 when the BBC aired the track during the Apollo broadcast, albeit after the Lunar Module had safely touched down. A scenario that even surprised Bowie – “of course, I was overjoyed that they did”.</p> <p>Despite its contrived beginnings, Bowie designed a cultural touchstone for a historic moment of human engineering and blind courage. Even 50 years hence, he appears to us fully formed on Space Oddity as a moonstruck balladeer and completely in synch with the times.</p> <p>The immaculately dressed changeling who would go on to hit the glam rock jackpot with his alien stage persona <a href="https://youtu.be/3qrOvBuWJ-c">Ziggy Stardust</a>. A character who captured the abrasive temperament of the moment as he straddled the jet-trails of our collective rushing towards the stars.</p> <p><em>Written by Mitch Goodwin. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/space-oddity-at-50-the-novelty-song-that-became-a-cultural-touchstone-120071"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>.</em></p>

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“I’m old and fat:” Kelly McGillis opens about why she's not in the Top Gun sequel

<p>The 62-year-old actress is best known for playing Charlie Blackwood – a beautiful astrophysicist and love interest to Tom Cruise – in the 1986 film <em>Top Gun. </em>However, Kelly McGilis has not been asked to come back to any role in the sequel set to release later this year. </p> <p>The Golden Globe-winning actress wasn’t too surprised, however, and believes the reason is that she is “too old and fat”.</p> <p>The<span> </span><em>Top Gun</em><span> </span>star told <em>Entertainment Tonight</em>: “I’m old and I’m fat and I look age appropriate for what my age is and that is not what that whole scene is about.</p> <p>“To me, I’d much rather feel absolutely secure in my skin and who and what I am at my age as opposed to placing a value on all that other stuff.”</p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="/media/7829150/kelly.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/6db5a0f80e9b4f2b9f9f3e7f59452e77" /></p> <p>In the upcoming film, 57-year-old Tom Cruise will play the role of Pete “Maverick” Mitchell once again, with Jennifer Connelly, 48, starring as his love interest. </p> <p>Since her time as an actress, McGillis said she left Hollywood after a while to “get sober” and to “figure out who the hell she was".</p> <p>"It was very challenging for me to have any kind of sense of self or self-identity or real self-worth other than what I did for a living," she said. </p> <p>"And it just – it didn't become a priority; what became the priority initially was raising my girls and being the best sober parent I could be."</p> <p>These days, McGillis spends her time with her two daughters Sonora and Kelsey Tillman. </p> <p>"I think just my priorities in life changed," she said. "It wasn't like a major decision that I made to leave, it was just that other things became more important. </p> <p>“I love acting, I love what I do, I love doing theatre, but I don't know. To me, my relationships to other people became far more important than my relationship to fame."</p>

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So grown up! Nicole Kidman's daughters just landed major Hollywood roles

<p>They’re so much like their mother already! Nicole Kidman’s daughters with husband Keith Urban, Sunday, 11, and Faith, eight, have just landed their very own major movie roles for an upcoming film. </p> <p>Their very first role is one in a film likely to be seen by many excited children in September – <em>Angry Birds 2</em>.</p> <p>Sunday will be playing a bird called Lily, while her little sister Faith is voicing a bird named Beatrice.</p> <p>The young girls are sure to be knockouts considering their talented bloodline. It's not their first time in front of the camera either, after they joined their mother in playing extras on a TV series she was shooting in New York.</p> <p>Pictures of Kidman in her character for the HBO series <em>The Undoing</em> were captured of her on set, with her two young daughters standing alongside her.</p> <p>Both Sunday and Faith were wearing school uniforms in a street in Manhattan’s Upper West Side.</p> <p>It’s quite clear Nicole likes to keep her two youngest children by her side – and that includes in-between shoots or even when she is working.</p> <p>Nicole told <em>E! News</em> last year that her eldest daughter Sunday had gotten her own small role at school – hinting she might want to take after her talented mother.</p> <p>“My daughter just got cast in her school, so that's been the main priority, learning lines with her,” Kidman said.</p> <p>The Golden Globe winner has opened up in the past about her unconventional parenting methods – admitting she doesn’t let either of them have a phone.</p> <p>Next to that, neither of her girls are allowed to use social media, including Instagram.</p> <p>Even despite being “unpopular” in her daughter’s eyes, she still tries to “keep some sort of boundaries".</p> <p>Nicole told<span> </span><em>E! News</em><span> </span>last year that her eldest daughter Sunday had gotten her own small role at school – hinting she might want to take after her talented mother.</p> <p>“My daughter just got cast in her school, so that's been the main priority, learning lines with her,” Kidman said.</p> <p>Scroll through the gallery above to see Nicole and her two daughter's spending a day on set together in New York – and how much Sunday and Faith have grown!</p>

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The secret to making movies memorable

<p>Quoted in one of the many <a href="http://www.theaustralian.com.au/arts/film/cinemas-most-influential-thumb-film-reviewer-roger-ebert-dies/story-e6frg8pf-1226612986736">tributes</a> following his recent death was film critic Roger Ebert’s remark: “I have seen untold numbers of movies and forgotten most of them…”</p> <p>I haven’t seen untold numbers of films, but I’ve seen my fair share. And like Ebert, I’ve forgotten most. Of the dozens I’ve seen just this year, I remember virtually nothing of <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qilrVR0miPU"><em>Gangster Squad</em></a><em>, </em><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31_NVBkdOzo"><em>Alex Cross</em></a> or <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bgw394ZKsis"><em>The Impossible</em></a>. Hell, it’s only been days since I saw <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Tyhvd6t75A"><em>Cheerful Weather for the Wedding</em></a> and it’s already wiped from memory. Completely.</p> <p>Dubbing a film forgettable is quite possibly the worst indictment I could give. And yet sadly, most are. Forgettable and completely and utterly forgotten.</p> <p>And it was this idea of forgettability that I was thinking about when I attended a screening of <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B3DcWtkKeIY"><em>The Neverending Story</em></a> (1984) at Melbourne’s <a href="http://www.astortheatre.net.au/">Astor</a> recently.</p> <p>Generally speaking, I don’t see films twice. My rationale for this is twofold:</p> <p>I will never live long enough to see every film I want to, so justifying a repeat viewing is tough.</p> <p>Seeing an adored film, a second time inevitably destroys some of that virgin magic.</p> <p>My main reason for a <em>Neverending Story</em> repeat was that I’d never been to the Astor. That, and I hadn’t seen the film since primary school so assumed I only remembered the gigantic flying “labrador” and the Limahl song.</p> <p>And yet, from the very first scene the film was as familiar as any James Patterson novel. I knew every scene inside out. I knew every one of Barret Oliver’s (Bastian) over-delivered lines. I was awaiting every single hokey special effect.</p> <p>How?</p> <p>There’s good, solid - if OCD - reason why I can recite nearly all the dialogue from <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vkZcYMy85lY"><em>The Wizard of Oz</em></a> (1939), <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5nZl-AyVH3Q"><em>Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory</em></a> (1971) and <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wzWmxjYNfz4"><em>Grease</em></a> (1978). I had VHS tapes of each and every day after school would put one on and play with my Barbies.</p> <p>And yet I’d only seen <em>The Neverending Story</em> once and it was scene-for-scene familiar. Nearly two decades on.</p> <p>Which got me thinking about why. Why did I remember <em>The Neverending Story</em> when I can barely remember anything beyond paying $18 to see <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UELonDEqAMw"><em>The Company You Keep</em></a> last weekend?</p> <p>And no, dementia isn’t the answer.</p> <p>If there were something cinematic that could make an average film memorable, the studios would have long exploited it.</p> <p>Instead, I’m convinced that films that should, in all good sense, be forgotten can be salvaged through the happenings around them. That they get remembered because of the experience of seeing them.</p> <p>My parents alternate between claiming that <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=taMnCjzKgd8"><em>ET</em></a> (1982) was the first film I ever saw at the cinema to suggesting it was <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-bB_GiB1j20"><em>Fantasia</em></a> (1940).</p> <p>I doubt I’ve seen either.</p> <p>The first film I remember seeing at the cinema was <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HFK_i5r1WJk"><em>Dirty Dancing</em></a> (1987). And even at 7 I knew that it wasn’t appropriate fare for a 7-year-old. Which, of course, is precisely why I loved it. Not a good film in the way I’d judge one today but seeing it clandestinely with an aunty who I thought was cool, made it momentous.</p> <p>I don’t remember, for example, whether I liked <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QEh0kwDqZZ0"><em>Ladyhawke</em></a> (1985). I doubt I did. I do however, remember the Year 8 school excursion to see it at the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valhalla_Cinema,_Melbourne">Valhalla</a> on a very tinny bus with a driver that looked like Michael Jackson. I remember my friend, sitting next to me, reminding me that Navarre (Rutger Hauer) _also _starred in perhaps the shonkiest film of all time, <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rgnlJ38ntQw"><em>Blind Fury</em></a> (1989).</p> <p><a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0096945/">A blind Vietnam vet, trained as a swordfighter, comes to America and helps to rescue the son of a fellow soldier.</a></p> <p>My laughter, as it often did, got me a swift reprimand.</p> <p>I don’t think I liked <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5sQhTVz5IjQ&amp;bpctr=1366970061"><em>Inglourious Basterds</em></a> (2009). It’s memorable though, because I saw it with a man who had heard me on the radio before meeting me and thought he liked me. And who I, during that screening, thought I liked too. (<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BX3bN5YeiQs">cue foreboding music</a>).</p> <p><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_U2LUsfeMwg"><em>The Killer Inside Me</em></a> (2010) would normally have been forgotten. Forgotten except for the fact that the guy with me held my hand throughout. Lovely normally, but he kept holding it throughout a very violent rape and murder scene. Which confused me completely.</p> <p>Seeing <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j4C0szpgokQ"><em>Malèna</em></a> (2000) with my grandmother who apparently decided it was perfectly okay to yell things out at the screen. (Not as embarrassing as when she did this at a live Fiddler on the Roof peformance.).</p> <p>Seeing <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A1Qz2x94q6A"><em>24 Hour Party People</em></a> (2002) in Manchester, in the bed of a man much more memorable than the film.</p> <p>Seeing <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XIdulY5N2rY"><em>L'ultimo bacio</em></a> (2001) and becoming a first-time shusher when the elderly couple behind me unwrapped their 43rd package of brown-papered deli meat.</p> <p>That I remembered <em>The Neverending Story</em> centred simply on the protracted lead up. My teacher spent what felt like a year reading the book to our class. Every scene was already underpinned by my imagination and a good dose of anticipation.</p> <p>Not every film can be great - most, in fact, aren’t even good. But my love of a story - a quality anecdote - can make a flick memorable in spite of the shoddiness.</p> <p><em>Written by Lauren Rosewarne. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/making-movies-memorable-13478"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>.</em></p>

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Director’s cuts: Are they better than regular movies?

<p>Ridley Scott and James Cameron did it, and George Lucas never stops. Directors ceaselessly return to their work to tweak, tinker, chop and change.</p> <p>Extended Cut, Definitive Version, Special Edition: the list goes on.</p> <p><a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt10643608/">Apocalypse Now: Final Cut</a>, Francis Ford Coppola’s supposedly definitive version of his 1979 epic Vietnam war film, will be released in Australia today. But are these new versions just an excuse for obsessive tinkering and self-indulgence?</p> <p>The director’s cut refers to a version of the film that remains closest to the director’s original vision, rather than the theatrical version officially released by the studio. In an era of DVD and streaming services, these alternative cuts are becoming increasingly attractive to studio boss, director and movie lover alike.</p> <p>These “new” films, often only fractionally altered, throw the commerce versus art equation that has underpinned Hollywood for more than a century into sharp relief. The studio gets another chance to market a beloved film, the fans can endlessly debate the differences between the old and new version, while the director can once more return to the editing studio, elusively seeking perfection. In that sense, everyone wins.</p> <p>With director’s cuts, the romantic myth of the brilliant (usually male) director battling against numbers-obsessed Hollywood is also reinforced.</p> <p><strong>The good and the bad</strong></p> <p>Director’s cuts often seek to rectify an injustice. Studio executives will often demand last-minute edits or reshoots if test screenings go badly. Directors who bitterly complained about how studios altered their vision can now go back and showcase the film as it was meant to be seen.</p> <p>For example, director David Ayer <a href="https://screenrant.com/suicide-squad-cut-david-ayer-different/">recently acknowledged</a> his original cut of the dark superhero film <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1386697/?ref_=nv_sr_1?ref_=nv_sr_1">Suicide Squad</a> was radically different to the studio-sanctioned release. The studio requested significant reshoots to lighten the tone and inject more comedy – but the “Ayer cut” only can be accessed on DVD and Blu-ray.</p> <p>Other director’s cuts improve on the original version by bolstering visual scope, narrative continuity and emotional engagement. For example, the 17 minutes of deleted footage from James Cameron’s <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0090605/?ref_=nv_sr_1?ref_=nv_sr_1">Aliens</a> (1986), since restored to the 1990 Special Edition, are a masterclass in building tension and deepening character.</p> <p>Ridley Scott’s endless reworking of the science-fiction/neo-noir <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0083658/?ref_=nv_sr_2?ref_=nv_sr_2">Blade Runner</a> remains the gold standard. First released in 1982, Scott oversaw a new version ten years on, and then the so-called Final Cut in 2007 (re-released on Blu-ray in 2017). He removed the ponderous voice-over from Deckard (Harrison Ford), axed the happy ending and inserted opaque dream sequences that continue to nourish the film’s philosophical ambiguities.</p> <p>But some directors just do not know when to stop. To coincide with the 20 year anniversary of <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0076759/?ref_=ttmi_tt">Star Wars</a> in 1997, George Lucas created a digitally remastered Special Edition (spruced up versions of <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0080684/?ref_=nv_sr_1?ref_=nv_sr_1">The Empire Strikes Back</a> (1980) and <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0086190/?ref_=nv_sr_1?ref_=nv_sr_1">Return of the Jedi</a> (1983) followed a few weeks later). Lucas stuffed the trilogy with reinstated scenes, polished up degraded images and sound and reaped extraordinary success (<a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/scottmendelson/2017/02/01/20-years-ago-star-wars-special-edition-made-star-wars-special-again/#2835bb712a61">US$472 million</a> at the global box office was mightily impressive for a trilogy nearly two decades old).</p> <p>There was only one problem – the Special Editions were castigated by fans. Many resented the retrofitted visuals and jarring CGI enhancements; for others, the most egregious alteration – having bounty hunter Greedo now shoot Han Solo first in a Mos Eisley cantina – compromised Han’s character arc from rogue to hero across the trilogy.</p> <p>Lucas’s incessant meddling (he returned to the trilogy again in 2004 and 2011) has been seen as a way of perpetually monetising the much-beloved originals. All along, <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qm1zaTUnoTE">his response</a> to such criticism has been consistent – he was waiting for technology to catch up to his original vision.</p> <p>As for Coppola, he has been here before. In 2001, he presented <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apocalypse_Now_Redux">Apocalypse Now: Redux</a> to ecstatic reviews during the Cannes Film Festival. Nearly an hour of footage cut from the 1979 version was reinserted, including the famously woozy “French plantation” scene. This new version was hailed as extraordinary – “redux” means “a work of art presented in a new way”.</p> <p>But Coppola clearly was not done. Apocalypse Now: Final Cut premiered in New York back in April, 19 minutes shorter than Redux. In Final Cut, <a href="https://www.tribecafilm.com/filmguide/apocalypse-now-2019">Coppola has</a> finessed the colour balance and sound design, no doubt hoping to add to the film’s hallucinogenic qualities.</p> <p>Despite the important contributions of <a href="https://theconversation.com/apocalypse-now-turns-40-rediscovering-the-genesis-of-a-film-classic-113448">writer John Milius</a>, cinematographer Vittorio Storaro and sound designer and editor Walter Murch, this latest version reinforces the romantic idea of the director as the sole auteur.</p> <p>Coppola’s fingerprints are all over Final Cut. Here is a powerful director who, like Spielberg, Lucas and Scott, has been given endless opportunities to refine his vision. This tells us a lot about Hollywood’s commodification of the auteur and the ongoing importance of the director’s name in selling a product.</p> <p>“A work of art is never completed, only abandoned”, noted the French poet Paul Valéry. Apocalypse Now: Final Cut is the latest exhibit to suggest films are never really finished – the artistic process is endlessly reworkable.</p> <p><em>Written by Ben McCann. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/from-star-wars-to-apocalypse-now-directors-cuts-are-all-the-rage-but-do-they-make-the-films-any-better-120755"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>.</em></p>

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Robin Williams' son marries on late dad's birthday – and shares touching tribute

<p>The son of Oscar-winner Robin Williams got married on what would have been the late actor’s 68th birthday on July 21. </p> <p>On Sunday, Cody Williams – the 27-year-old son of Robin and film producer Marsha Garces – tied the knot with the love of his life Maria Flores in a private ceremony at his childhood home, where he grew up with his famous father.</p> <p>Cody’s sister and Robin’s daughter, 29-year-old Zelda, also shared a tribute to her late father in an Instagram post on Tuesday. </p> <p>“The 21st of July has meant many things to me over the years,” she wrote alongside pictures of her with the happy couple and her other brother Zak Pym Williams.</p> <p>“It’s the birthday of one of my favorite souls still on this earth, [actress Juno Temple]. It’s the day Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon (as a space nerd, that’s pretty damn important).</p> <p>“And it was the day my Dad was born, and the last day I got to see him.</p> <p>“That last one had begun to usurp the joy of the first two in recent years... that is, until two days ago, when it became something new. On the 21st of July, 2019, it became the day I officially gained a new sister!”</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B0RdeocAuKR/" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B0RdeocAuKR/" target="_blank">The 21st of July has meant many things to me over the years. It’s the birthday of one of my favorite souls still on this earth, @junotemple. It’s the day Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon (as a space nerd, that’s pretty damn important). And it was the day my Dad was born, and the last day I got to see him. That last one had begun to usurp the joy of the first two in recent years... that is, until two days ago, when it became something new. On the 21st of July, 2019, it became the day I officially gained a new sister! To @mariaaafloresssswilliams and Cody, you are a light in all of our lives. I’m so grateful to have paid witness to your love over the years, to have watched you grow and care for each other in ways we should all be so lucky to experience. You were already part of the family in my eyes, but now there’s an official slip of paper somewhere that agrees! Zak, Mom and I love you both dearly, and I think I can speak for all of us when I say CONGRATULATIONS TO THE BRIDE AND GROOM!!! 🎊🥂🍾🍰💫🕊 ♥️ Photos by @cassievalentephoto</a></p> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A post shared by <a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/zeldawilliams/" target="_blank"> Zelda Williams</a> (@zeldawilliams) on Jul 23, 2019 at 1:33pm PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Robin died by suicide in August 2014 at the age of 63. Ahead of the fifth anniversary of his death, Zak shared to <a rel="noopener" href="https://chicago.suntimes.com/2019/7/18/20699512/robin-williams-son-zak-mental-health-suicide-interview" target="_blank"><em>Good Morning Britain</em></a> that it was difficult to see his father continue working even as he struggled with his mental health.</p> <p>“It was heartbreaking because he still went out and wanted to share his feelings of laughter and humor with the world,” Zak said. </p> <p>“And while he was suffering and struggling, he still went out and performed. I admire him and loved him so, and having to share him was hard.”</p>

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Just like mum! Uma Thurman and Andie MacDowell’s daughters show off their red-carpet style

<p>She has earned praise from critics around the world for her portrayal of Robin in the highly popular series, <em>Stranger Things</em>.</p> <p>And now, Maya Hawke has grabbed the attention of Quentin Tarantino as she graced the red carpet for the premiere of <em>Once Upon a Time In Hollywood</em> in Los Angeles on Tuesday.</p> <p>The daughter of Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke looked picture perfect as she was accompanied by another rising star with well-known parents – Andie MacDowell’s daughter, Margaret Qualley.</p> <p>The 21-year-old opted for a plunging corset top and chic black trousers. The young star was towering above everyone as she wore sky-high heels. She finished off the look with a black blazer and a dazzling gold headband.</p> <p>Maya made her acting debut in 2017’s<span> </span><em>Little Women</em><span> </span>but recently gained mainstream fame with her role in Netflix’s <em>Stranger Things</em>.</p> <p>She is set to play the role of the Flower Child in <em>Once Upon a Time In Hollywood</em>.</p> <p>Margaret also appears in Tarantino’s latest film as a Manson girl.</p> <p>She appeared on the red carpet wearing a risqué two-piece outfit.</p> <p>The 24-year-old showed off her slim figure in a Prada jewelled net dress and a pastel blue tube top and mini skirt.</p> <p>She completed the look with a pair of silver stilettos and earrings.</p> <p>The daughter of actress and model Andie MacDowell kept her hair and makeup simple and fresh, with her brunette locks tied in a loose braid.</p> <p>Scroll through the gallery above to see the celebrity offspring show off their incredible style.</p>

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A biologist reveals what he thinks of The Lion King

<p>Last week saw the release of the rebooted <em>The Lion King</em>, an attempt to capitalise on the billion-dollar success of the 1994 original. With a star-studded cast, the reboot closely follows the plot of the first movie (spoilers to follow, obviously).</p> <p>Mufasa, king of the lions (and of every other creature in his territory), raises his son Simba to follow in his footsteps. But Mufasa is murdered by his jealous brother Scar, and his young heir is chased into the desert. Years pass, and eventually Simba reclaims his rightful place as the ruler of Pride Rock.</p> <p>The remake is likely to be the box office hit of 2019. But in my job as a big cat biologist, I spend plenty of time with Pride Rock’s real-life counterparts. While Disney was somewhat accurate, the real life dynamics of a lion pride in Uganda or Tanzania’s national parks can be far more Game of Thrones than The Circle of Life.</p> <p><strong>Sarabi’s pride: The anchors of lion society</strong></p> <p>The key to survival in lion society is strength in numbers, and lionesses are the anchors of lion prides. They form a matrilineal society, and generally stay in the territory of their birth. It is the males that leave.</p> <p><em>The Lion King</em> gets the fundamental premise of pride society right: its strength is the <a href="https://science.sciencemag.org/content/293/5530/690">number of lionesses</a> in a pride.</p> <p>You might assume this would be for successful hunting, but far more fundamentally, it is the key to successfully raising young. Lionesses will often give birth at a similar time (usually a few months apart). This means they can suckle each other’s cubs.</p> <p>Genetically, this makes sense, as they are related as mothers, sisters, aunts and nieces. If one lioness dies, a relative will raise her offspring. Moreover, the strength of numbers means lionesses can defend their cubs from males trying to kill them.</p> <p>Males (typically not the father) will kill cubs to force their mothers back into heat. Infanticide is one of the the leading causes of death for young lions; about <a href="https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2013/08/serengeti-lions/">25% of all lion cubs</a> will die in this way. It is perhaps understandable why Disney chose to omit this aspect of lion society from their children’s films.</p> <p><strong>Scar and Mufasa would be partners – not enemies</strong></p> <p>Where <em>The Lion King</em> takes a turn towards fiction is in the relationship between Scar and Mufasa. In the film they are brothers, and enemies. But in real life they would be partners and rely intimately on each other.</p> <p>In lion society, young males are evicted from their mothers’ pride once they mature. To survive they <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/282839a0%E2%80%8B">band together</a>, looking for a new pride they can take up residency in and sire offspring.</p> <p>The more males in a coalition, the higher the likelihood they will secure tenure in a new female pride. Yes, Mufasa and Scar may have had the odd squabble over mating rights to females in the pride, but they wouldn’t kill each other.</p> <p>Instead, their fight would be with other males. Arguably the best example of this was seen in the mid-2000s in South Africa’s Sabi-Sands game reserve. A coalition of six adolescent males, <a href="https://africageographic.com/blog/the-legend-of-the-mapogo-lions/">known as the Mapogos</a> (meaning rogues or vigilantes), joined forces to rule an area of 170,000 acres for six years.</p> <p>They sired a multitude of offspring, but killed at least 40 cubs, females and adult males during their reign, before finally being dispatched by two other lion coalitions (the Majingilanes and the Southern Pride).</p> <p>Interestingly, in the 1994 original Scar was the bearer of a gorgeous, black mane, far darker than his brother Mufasa’s. Seminal experiments with dummy lions showed lionesses <a href="https://science.sciencemag.org/content/297/5585/1339%E2%80%8B">prefer males with darker manes</a>.</p> <p>Those same dark-maned males feature more testosterone and can heal up quicker after big fights. Rather than the outcast Scar is made out to be, his black mane would be an important indicator of fitness and very sexy to lionesses!</p> <p><strong>Run away and (really) never return</strong></p> <p>One of the key moments in <em>The Lion King</em> is Simba leaving his mother’s pride, fuelled by guilt over Mufasa’s death.</p> <p>The act of leaving is dead right, but it would not have been voluntary. Adult lions cannot stand the presence of young and upcoming males in their areas, although they will tolerate young cubs to a degree. When males are between two and a half and about four, they are forcibly evicted by their fathers, uncles and other pride members.</p> <p>I recently saw one of my favourite Ugandan lions, a 3-year-old male called Jacob (pictured below), get swatted around by a coalition of three massive mature males. Jacob immediately submitted, laying on his back and cowering. Simba’s journey away from home would not have been a smooth one.</p> <p>When lions leave their birth pride, they’re setting out on a long, arduous journey (which makes it all the more important to have your brother or cousin with you).</p> <p>Lions can move hundreds of kilometres in search of a new “home”, a new pride they can challenge the incumbent males for. They can cross electrified fences into new reserves, move across cattle farms and even <a href="https://www.cambridge.org/core/services/aop-cambridge-core/content/view/CDE002EC458890809D81DDE543821D99/S0952836902003126a.pdf/reduced_dispersal_and_opportunistic_territory_acquisition_in_male_lions_panthera_leo.pdf">international borders</a>.</p> <p>The likelihood of Simba returning to his mother’s pride are next to none, barring some extreme event resulting in the males dying (for example trophy hunters or poachers). Of course, if he did return, it would be to mate with as many lionesses as he could, many of whom – if not all – would be closely related to him.</p> <p>While I personally revel in the opportunity to study lion society in its totality, even the fights and hardships, I can understand why Disney chose to skim over some of these aspects of lion life in favour of fantasy.</p> <p>Although the story of <em>The Lion King</em> is ultimately positive, African lions are thought to have undergone a <a href="https://theconversation.com/dynasties-lions-may-disappear-without-urgent-funding-for-conservation-107116">50% decline</a> since the original film. The new <em>Lion King</em> gives us all an opportunity to be inspired by this magnificent cat and help its conservation in the wild.</p> <p><em>Written by Alexander Richard Braczkowski. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/its-sarabis-pride-mufasa-just-lives-there-a-biologist-on-the-lion-king-120660">The Conversation</a>.</em></p>

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The MAJOR change coming to James Bond

<p>Something incredible might be happening to James Bond: a separation, a personal Brexit of sorts. According to the <a href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7244671/Thought-007-never-woman-black-shes-James-Bond-hand-number-over.html"><em>Daily Mail</em></a>, while Daniel Craig will return as Bond in the next film, Bond may not return as 007. There will, reportedly, be a new 007 in town, and she’ll be black. And a woman.</p> <p>At this stage, the rumour that 007 will be played by British actress Lashana Lynch is unconfirmed, sourced from tabloid “insiders”. But if this claim is true (and it does have more than a hint of authenticity to it) what does it mean? A dangerous fragmentation of the franchise? Or a necessary evolution?</p> <p>As a lifelong Bond aficionado, I hope the news is true for the simple reason that it’s about bloody time. I love Bond, but he has only ever moved with the times on the most surface of levels – like a cool uncle who continues to buy the latest tech, but no longer quite understands how to use it. For the entirety of its life, the franchise has been the epitome of conservatism.</p> <p>The first Bond film I saw was <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0076752/"><em>The Spy Who Loved Me</em></a>. The action, adventure, humour, gadgets and “coolness” of the alpha-male in action was intoxicating, and I burned voraciously through the movies, novels and short stories.</p> <p>It should be said that there are two distinct Bonds: one of the page and one of the screen. The book Bond, created by Ian Fleming in 1953, actually worked in an office. The novels were a fulfilment fantasy of the (male) office clerk, one who was still experiencing the effects of rationing from WWII and had no opportunity for international travel.</p> <p>Bond had a (female) secretary and did mundane paperwork until he got the call from M, who would send him on impossibly glamorous and global secret missions. The books were unashamedly equal parts thriller and travelogue. Written in the <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/genres/pulp">pulp tradition</a>, the symbolism of the stories was deliberately obvious; heroes had names like “Trueblood”, with the villains usually foreign and most often “half-breeds”.</p> <p>Even now, the racism of the books tends to be classified as what critic and cultural commentator <a href="http://my.fit.edu/~rosiene/eco%20bond.pdf">Umberto Eco</a> once indulgently called just “a cautious, middle-class chauvinism”, with Fleming guilty of nothing more than portraying attitudes prevalent and unexamined at the time. However you label the variety of racism, it dated the books badly, sealing them in a time capsule of the 1950s.</p> <p>Bond himself was never given racist attitudes, instead the equally “of their time” sexist ones. Whereas the racism of the books did not translate directly to the screen, the misogyny carried over wholesale.</p> <p>The movie Bond is an always-active spy: a dashing, tough, charismatic man’s man (yes, even Roger Moore) who knew how to both charm and manipulate women. And this, apart from some cosmetic updating, is still essentially the Bond we have today.</p> <p><strong>Deceiving the zeitgeist</strong></p> <p>The clearest example of Bond attempting to deceive the zeitgeist comes from <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0113189/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1"><em>Golden Eye</em></a>. It was 1995, and Bond was back after a six-year gap, with Pierce Brosnan in the lead. Much was made of the film series keeping up with current attitudes: there was now not only a female “M” (played by Judi Dench), but she got to call Bond a “sexist, misogynist dinosaur,” to much publicity (and in the trailer too).</p> <p>But this was merely lip-service: Bond was proven to be misunderstood (it seemed “M” mistakenly thought him a playboy dilettante), and the film simply carried on with its normal value system, including having a character called Xenia Onatopp who killed men during sex with her thighs. This was not just a missed opportunity, it completely missed the point.</p> <p>The old 20th century Bond films have become like the original books – dated cultural products that need context. However, the new Craig-era films are far more problematic.</p> <p>Full disclosure: I hate this Bond. Notwithstanding that this iteration has been rewritten not just as proto-Bond (<a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0381061/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1"><em>Casino Royale</em></a>), but also dumb-Bond (<a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1074638/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1"><em>Skyfall</em></a>) and eventually just inept-Bond (<a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2379713/?ref_=nv_sr_1?ref_=nv_sr_1"><em>Spectre</em></a>), the series started as a reactionary scramble to copy the success of the <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0258463/?ref_=nv_sr_1?ref_=nv_sr_1">Bourne franchise</a>. This Bond might have had a vulnerable side, but he has been moulded not as a man-of-his-time, but a man-out-of-time.</p> <p>The problem is that he is still paraded as a figure to be idolised, a heroic role model for the new generation. This extends to one of the most questionable scenes of any Bond era: his sexually exploiting a sex slave who has come to him for help in <em>Skyfall</em>. Don’t get me wrong, sex scenes are completely welcome, a core genre convention, but the moment is barely consensual yet depicted simply as impressive sexual conquest.</p> <p>No-one wants a Bond rewritten as an asexual pacifist, but neither should he be defined by misogyny. The brilliant Phoebe Waller-Bridge, only the second woman since 1962 to be brought in to work on a Bond script, believes rightly that it is important the films evolve and <a href="https://deadline.com/2019/05/phoebe-waller-bridge-bond-1202624860/">treat women better, even if Bond doesn’t</a>. I hold a slightly different view - if Bond always exists in the always-present “now”, and his attitudes are simply indicative of the time, then there is no need to cling to outdated worldviews.</p> <p>This is why the prospect of a potential radical new era is so thrilling. If Lynch becomes 007, it will be a brilliant, yet still somewhat conservative move, as the makers are very late to the now market-tested “woke” table, but we may finally get a truly authentic contemporary Bond. One that still has plenty of gratuitous sex and violence, whether or not those engaging in it are black, female or 007.</p> <p><em>Written by Darren Paul Fisher. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/a-black-female-007-as-a-lifelong-james-bond-fan-i-say-bring-it-on-120419"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>.</em></p>

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Just like mum! Liz Hurley’s son follows in her footsteps with sultry modelling campaign

<p>Liz Hurley’s son Damian has followed in the footsteps of his famous mother as he debuted his modelling skills in a glamorous new video for makeup artist Pat McGrath.</p> <p>The 17-year-old has clearly taken after his mum as he showed off his chiselled bone structure, perfect pout and voluminous hair.</p> <p>Damian worked the camera in his first ever campaign, which was announced on Wednesday.</p> <p>Keeping his look simple, the teenager opted for a leather jacket and a plain white T-shirt as the focus was kept on the natural makeup look he was sporting.</p> <p><span>His mother was known as a bombshell during her younger years – and still is at the age of 54 – and with his striking blue eyes, Damian seems to be heading in the same direction.</span></p> <p>Both Liz and Damian are signed with the same London-based modelling agency, TESS management.</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B0B97lPlXte/" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B0B97lPlXte/" target="_blank">SIMPLY SKINGENIUS™️ ⚡⚡⚡ FEAST YOUR EYES on the DIVINE @damianhurley1 in #SublimePerfection: The System photographed by the LEGENDARY Steven Meisel. _______ Damian wears #SublimePerfection Primer, Foundation Shade 'LIGHT-MEDIUM 13' &amp; Powder Shade '2' — ALL AVAILABLE at PATMcGRATH.COM 7.26.2019. Sign up NOW for EXCLUSIVE early access — #LinkInBio Starring #McGrathMuse @DamianHurley1 Photographed by #StevenMeisel Styled by #JoeMcKenna Hair by @GuidoPalau #makeupbypatmcgrath #teampatmcgrath</a></p> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A post shared by <a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/patmcgrathreal/" target="_blank"> Pat McGrath</a> (@patmcgrathreal) on Jul 17, 2019 at 1:09pm PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Damian is Liz’s only son, who she shares with ex Steve Bing, a millionaire US businessman.</p> <p>The duo appear to be very close as they both feature heavily on each other’s social media pages.</p> <p>Liz has also previously mentioned that the photographer behind her saucy Instagram snaps is none other than Damian himself.</p> <p>She defended the controversial revelation, saying he’s studying photography, so he has an eye for what looks good.</p> <p>“When we’re on holiday together, sure he’ll take some pictures,” she said.</p> <p>“And you know, he’s got a really good eye, and he’s studying photography and it’s ridiculous.”</p>

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The big mistake in The Lion King remake: "It'll be off-putting for some"

<p>When <em>The Lion King</em> hit the cinemas in 1994, it quickly made waves among whole generations of moviegoers. The animated film became the second-highest grossing film of all time upon its release,</p> <p>That is why the 2019 remake by director Jon Favreau could not escape comparisons.</p> <p>Other remakes or adaptations of movies, such as <em>The Last Airbender</em> (2010) and <em>Dragonball Evolution</em> (2009) have received flak for straying too far from the source material – however, reviewers believe that the new <em>Lion King</em>’s doom lays on the fact that it follows the storyline of the original flick too closely.</p> <p>While the photorealistic animation makes for grand visuals, it does not fit well with the playful story that the movie sticks with, said Wenlei Ma, film and TV critic at <a href="https://www.northernstar.com.au/news/the-lion-king-remakes-big-mistake/3781652/"><em>news.com.au</em></a>. She noted how some musical numbers, such as <em>I Just Can’t Wait to Be King</em>, seemed to be slowed down “to accommodate the photorealism”, making them feel “flat” and dull.</p> <p>“Though by no means a disaster or even a bad movie, <em>The Lion King</em> would’ve been better off trying to be more of its own movie, do something different in terms of story and character,” she wrote.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr">To be clear, I'm not inherently against remakes in general, or even a remake of The Lion King. It's just baffling that they tried to stick SO CLOSE to the original's beats and tone but in a new format so ill-suited to it.</p> — Dana Schwartz (@DanaSchwartzzz) <a href="https://twitter.com/DanaSchwartzzz/status/1150140136283238401?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">July 13, 2019</a></blockquote> <p>Helen O’Hara of <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/the-lion-king-2019/" target="_blank"><em>Empire</em></a> also said the movie suffers from an “emotional gap” due to the visual effects technology. </p> <p>“What we gain in realism we lose in expression, even in their limpid eyes; it’s distinctly jarring when these cats speak, and even more when they break into song,” she wrote.</p> <p>“You can’t help but mentally impose the performances of their 2D predecessors and see far more, well, animation in the older characters.”</p> <p>Luke Goodsell of the <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-07-17/the-lion-king-review-disney-live-action-remake-is-majestic/11312854" target="_blank">ABC</a> was more supportive of the naturalistic design. </p> <p>“There’s an unusual dissonance to the photorealistic animals, who have only a fraction of the expression of their cel-animated counterparts, speaking with the voices of the human actors,” he wrote.</p> <p>“It’ll be off-putting for some, as though the original voice soundtrack had been dropped into a wildlife documentary, but it can be refreshing, too – at least for those who sometimes find Disney’s anthropomorphic animals a bit cloying.”</p> <p>But for some reviewers, fresh visuals do not suffice. Yasmin Omar of <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.harpersbazaar.com/uk/culture/culture-news/a28393880/the-lion-king-film-review/" target="_blank"><em>Harper’s Bazaar</em></a> said apart from the impressive computer-generated imagery, the new version offers nothing more.</p> <p>“Despite following the original plot to a tee, Favreau’s reinterpretation of<span> </span><em>The Lion King</em><span> </span>(or should that be ‘interpretation’?) is simply a regurgitation, drawing on digital technology designed to enhance viewer enjoyment,” she wrote.</p> <p>“This film is a digitally enhanced clone of the first. It feels like nothing more than an empty ploy to line the pockets of studio execs.”</p> <p>While the animated classic earned a rating of 93 per cent on review-aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the new version only managed to score 59 per cent.</p> <p>Nevertheless, the movie seems to be <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.cinemablend.com/news/2476483/will-the-lion-king-still-hit-1-billion-after-disappointing-reviews" target="_blank">on track to make more than US$1 billion worldwide</a>. Another of Disney’s 2019 remakes, <em>Aladdin,</em> has made US$960 million so far.</p>

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5 best Oscar acceptance speeches

<p>We are revisiting the best Oscar acceptance speeches ever. When Meryl Streep won the Best Actress Oscar for <em>The Iron Lady</em> in 2012 she just made us love her more when she quipped; “When they called my name, I had this feeling I could hear half of America going, 'Oh no. Come on. . . Her, again?' You know. But, whatever." Which quote is your favourite?</p> <p><strong>1. James Cameron – 1997</strong></p> <p>“I don't know about you but I'm having a really great time. Every director that ever stood up here had his cast to thank, and I had a killer cast. They really threw down for me. So, Kate, Gloria, Leo, Kathy, Frances and Billy, Bill, Suzy, Lewis, and about eighty others, you guys gave me pure gold every day and I share this gold with you. Everybody else that I was going to thank either got an Oscar or a nomination so they're covered, except for my fellow producers Rae Sanchini and Jon Landau; Josh McLaglen; Rod Lurie; my brother Mike Cameron, who built the deep diving camera system. My lovely wife Linda, our two beautiful children, Dalton and Josephine. And my original producers, my parents, who are here tonight, Phillip and Shirley Cameron. Mom, Dad, there is no way that I can express to you what I'm feeling right now, my heart is full to bursting, except to say, ‘I'm the king of the world!’”</p> <p><strong>2. Roberto Benigni – 1999</strong></p> <p>“Thank you! This is a terrible mistake because I used up all my English. I don't know! I am not able to express all my gratitude, because now, my body is in tumult because it is a colossal moment of joy so everything is really in a way that I cannot express. I would like to be Jupiter! And kidnap everybody and lie down in the firmament making love to everybody, because I don't know how to express. It's a question of love. You are really -- this is a mountain of snow, so delicate, the suavity and the kindness, it is something I cannot forget, from the bottom of my heart. And thank you for the Academy Awards for the, who really loved the movie. Thank you to all in Italy, for the Italian cinema, grazie al Italia who made me. I am really, I owe to them all my, if I did something good. So grazie al Italia e grazie al America, land of the lot of things here. Thank you very much. And I hope, really I don't deserve this, but I hope to win some other Oscars! Thank you! Thank you very much! Thank you!”</p> <p><strong>3. Grace Kelly – 1955 </strong></p> <p>“The thrill of this moment keeps me from saying what I really feel. I can only say thank you with all my heart to all who made this possible for me. Thank you.”</p> <p><strong>4. Sandra Bullock – 2010 </strong></p> <p>“I would like to thank the Academy for allowing me in the last month to have the most incredible ride with rooms full of artists that I see tonight and that I’ve worked with before and I hope to work with in the future, who inspire me and blaze trails for us.”</p> <p><strong>5. Bob Hope – 1965 </strong></p> <p>“Welcome to the Academy Awards - or as it's known at my house, Passover and for the first time ever, you can actually see the losers turn green.”</p> <p><em>Republished with permission <a href="https://www.wyza.com.au/articles/entertainment/are-these-the-best-oscar-acceptance-speeches-ever/">Wyza</a>.</em></p>

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Diane Keaton reveals she hasn't dated anyone in 35 years: "Men never ask me out"

<p>Diane Keaton might be one of the world’s most iconic rom-com stars, but apparently love does not come easily to her in real life.</p> <p>In a recent interview with <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.instyle.com/celebrity/diane-keaton-august-feature" target="_blank"><em>InStyle</em></a> magazine, the 73-year-old actress shared that she has not had a date in 35 years.</p> <p>When asked if men ask her out, Keaton said, “Never. All right? Let’s just get that straight.”</p> <p>She added, “I haven’t been on a date in, I would say, 35 years. No dates.”</p> <p>Keaton said she has only had men as friends in recent years. </p> <p>“I have a lot of male friends. I have a lot of friends, but no dates,” she said.</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/BzxygePglQr/" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BzxygePglQr/" target="_blank">A post shared by instylemagazine (@instylemagazine)</a> on Jul 11, 2019 at 6:21am PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Despite her past relationships with some of Hollywood’s biggest names such as Warren Beatty and Al Pacino, the <em>Annie Hall </em>star has never married.</p> <p>Keaton – the adoptive mother of Dexter, 23 and Duke, 18 – told <a rel="noopener" href="https://people.com/movies/diane-keaton-on-why-shes-glad-she-never-married/" target="_blank"><em>PEOPLE</em></a> in May that she did not mind her single status. </p> <p>“I’m 73 and I think I’m the only one in my generation and maybe before who has been a single woman all her life,” she said.</p> <p>“I don’t think it would have been a good idea for me to have married, and I’m really glad I didn’t.”</p>

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Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban welcome new addition to the family

<p>Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban have welcomed a brand new addition to the family and have shared him with the world in the sweetest social media post.</p> <p>The couple shared an adorable picture of their new furry friend – a Cavoodle dog who’s name is yet to be revealed.</p> <p>“My first puppy... actually my first dog. Been waiting my whole life for this!” Nicole wrote on Instagram.</p> <div> <div class="replay"> <div class="reply_body body linkify"> <div class="reply_body"> <div class="body_text "> <p>In the adorable happy snap taken of Nicole and her newest family member, the mother-of-four was caught in a private moment with her forehead in line with the little pup who is wagging its tongue to lick its proud owner.  </p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/BzwHA--JKmH/" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BzwHA--JKmH/" target="_blank">My first puppy... actually my first dog. Been waiting my whole life for this! 🐶</a></p> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A post shared by <a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/nicolekidman/" target="_blank"> Nicole Kidman</a> (@nicolekidman) on Jul 10, 2019 at 2:42pm PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>The couple were quick to receive congratulations from their celebrity friends with Isla Fisher noting the new furry friend was “so cute.”</p> <p>“Best, best thing you’ll ever do! It’s a love like no other,” added Aussie star Deborah Hutton.</p> <p>The new pet who is yet to be named is sure to live a happy life surrounded by Nicole, Keith and their two children Sunday Rose, 11 and Faith, eight.</p> <p>Kidman’s other two children Bella and Connor Cruise might not get as much play time in as their two younger siblings as they are both famously devoted to Scientology alongside their father Tom Cruise.</p> <p>Earlier this week, the 52-year-old made headlines after reports emerged revealing the lengths the<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/entertainment/music/placido-domingos-daughter-in-law-reveals-scientology-secretsthe-celebrities-exposed" target="_blank">church had gone to in the past to influence Nicole’s relationship with her two older children.</a></p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div>

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