Master phone user Erykah Badu got the Soul Train Awards awards to a brilliantly shady start. In her opening monologue, Badu, who just released a track with Andre 3000 and is working on a phone-centric mixtape, pretend to call up celebrities to give them invitations to the show. When she called Iggy Azalea, well, things got a little cutting: "Uh yes? Who is this? Iggy Azalea?" Erykah began, "Yeah, hey. Oh no no no no, you can come, 'cause what you doin' is definitely not rap."
Another year, another David O. Russell movie starring Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper. This time, the weight of Joy falls squarely on Jennifer Lawrence's $20 million shoulders, as she plays the lead character, Joy Mangano, Long Island mom and inventor of the Miracle Mop — an ingenious product that made her a millionaire many times over. Bradley Cooper plays an executive at HSN and Robert De Niro plays Joy's father. The film opens on Christmas Day, when it will ask Santa for all of the Oscar nominations. Until then, you have the full-length trailer (above) to tide you over.
“Can we get a shot of the napkin?” Adam McKay asked his director of photography, pointing toward the table where an uncharacteristically angry-looking Steve Carell was seated, doodling fiercely. The cocktail napkin in question bore the name of Okada, the glitzy Japanese restaurant in the Wynn Las Vegas where New York hedge-fund manager Steve Eisman first encountered Wing Chau, a smug manager of collateralized debt obligations (investment vehicles composed mostly of home loans), in January 2007. It was Chau’s ignorance of the toxicity of these products that cemented Eisman’s belief that the housing market was doomed and ultimately persuaded Eisman to double down on his bet on its collapse, a bet that was later immortalized in financial journalist Michael Lewis’s best-selling book The Big Short.
Brad Pitt on Producing and Starring in The Big Short, the Financial Crash, and What Keeps Him Up at NightBy Jessica Pressler
Adam McKay’s new financial-apocalypse comedy The Big Short — the subject of this week’s Vulture cover story — was produced by Brad Pitt, who also took a small role in the film to help ensure the production got properly funded. Here, Pitt talks about his sideline as a genuine prestige-movie mogul (with his company Plan B), what it means to team up with author Michael Lewis again, and his personal outrage in 2008.
Ryan Gosling on The Big Short, Finding the Humor in the Financial Meltdown, and Why He’ll Probably Never Wear a Wig AgainBy Jessica Pressler
Adam McKay’s The Big Short — the subject of this week’s Vulture cover story — stars Ryan Gosling as a version of Greg Lippmann, a slick Deutsche Bank trader (he also gives some interstitial, direct-to-camera informative narration). We spoke with him about how to play a guy who bets against the American economy, how to order drinks like a “Tony Robbins on His Day Off,” and the importance of his hairpiece.
How do you make an exuberant comedy about the financial apocalypse of 2008 that also manages to elucidate — with documentary-like rigor — the labyrinthine fraud at the heart of the U.S. economy? It’s a challenge that the director Adam McKay leaps to in The Big Short (see our story here), which he adapted (with Charles Randolph) from Michael Lewis’s book on the collapse of the subprime-mortgage market. It’s a rollicking bad time!
The Big Short Author Michael Lewis on Watching His Book on the Big Screen and What Hasn’t Changed Since the CrashBy Jessica Pressler
This week’s Vulture cover story, on Adam McKay’s The Big Short, asks whether America is angry enough for a Hollywood version of Occupy Wall Street, and if McKay’s brand of dick jokes can actually teach us something about the financial crisis and what went wrong in 2008. The man who really knows what went wrong is Michael Lewis, the author of the book on which the movie is based and a few other masterworks of financial journalism. Here, he talks about the Hail Mary long shot of making of the movie, its chances to make audiences furious about bailouts, and why no one really got all that furious the first time around.
Adam McKay’s The Big Short — the subject of this week’s Vulture cover story — stars Christian Bale as Michael Burry, a California doctor who, despite having only one functioning eye, saw the crisis before anyone else. Here he talks about his character research, shadowing real-life subjects, and his performance in the film, hailed by Big Short author Michael Lewis as “borderline creepy."
It can't be easy to start off your career in the heart of a multi-billion dollar franchise. In an new interview with Glamour UK (via NME), 23-year-old Ridley revealed director J.J. Abrams criticized her for her "wooden" acting when she first started filming The Force Awakens. "He probably doesn’t remember telling me that my performance was wooden," she said, "This was the first day! And I honestly wanted to die. I thought I was gonna cry, I couldn’t breathe. And there was so many crew there, because obviously all the creatures [had stand-ins], and there were loads of extra crew making sure everyone was safe ’cause it was so hot. It was awful." Things seem to have improved as shooting continued, however, and Ridley said that "My experience has been incredible," both with the rest of the cast and crew, and with Disney's PR team. "I’ve felt supported and respected the whole way through. I’ve not been told not to do anything. My Instagram has not been ... what it’s called when they keep tabs on it? Yeah, it’s not monitored.” This is wonderful news, as Ridley's Instagram is a Great British Bake Off–filled delight. Let's hope she sticks to the advice of her co-star/interview mom Carrie Fischer and remains as candid as ever.
Just before the final preview of New York Animals last night, Eric Tucker, the show’s director, warned the audience that the “glamorous and exacting” play about to begin was still being rewritten, reworked, and even recast. This seemed odd for a piece that had been in development for many years. The playwright Steven Sater’s first version of it, with four actors and no songs, was written in the early 2000s, before his immense success as the librettist for Spring Awakening in 2006. He then reconceived the material as a television series for FX; a pilot and six episodes were written but never aired. In 2010, a three-week workshop in Los Angeles developed the play further, but plans for a full production were scrapped. When it next popped up, New York Animals had not only acquired a berth in the current season of the much-praised Bedlam Theatre here, but had grown to include a different artistic team, one more cast member, five musicians, and Burt Bacharach, who at 87 would be providing new material in a New York production for the first time since Promises, Promises in 1968. But unlike Bacharach’s artistry — his four or five songs, with lyrics by Sater, are fresh as a fall evening — the play itself seems to have aged poorly. It suffers not so much from insufficient work, as Tucker suggested, but, like toughened pie dough, from too much.
"So, uh, how long is this gonna take?" Al McWiggin asks in Toy Story 2. "You can't rush art," replies Geri the Cleaner. That seems to be what the producers of the Toy Story films think, as it took them 11 years to make Toy Story 3, and it was totally worth it. Now, five years later, Tom Hanks has some big news that was also worth the wait. While speaking with Graham Norton (as well as Peter Capaldi — why hasn't anyone made a buddy comedy with Tom Hanks and Peter Capaldi yet?), Hanks said, very matter-of-factly, almost as an aside, that he's recording his lines for Toy Story 4, and the film will be out in 2018. More specifically, he has a recording session on December 2. Watch the video below, in which Hanks impersonates an excited child as well as the excited child's mother, and shares a story of the time he told off a Disney lawyer. To 2018 ... and beyond!
Forget turkey, stuffing, and those weird, amorphous, jiggly piles of canned cranberry sauce that your mom continues to put out every year even though no one likes it: This Thanksgiving weekend, moviegoers feasted on Mockingjays and Dinosaurs. Also a boxing movie, but it sounds kind of weird saying moviegoers feasted on boxers. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay— Part 2, the final installment in the massive movie series that certified Jennifer Lawrence's universal box-office appeal, finished in first for the second straight week, earning $51.6 million for a $198.3 million cume. Pixar's The Good Dinosaur nom-nom-nomed $39.1 million in its first week for a second place finish, while the acclaimed Creed slugged moviegoers for $30.1 million. Spectre made $12.8 million in its third week for a $176 million domestic cume; it's slightly underperformed in the US, but is about to break $750 million worldwide, which ain't too bad. The Peanuts Movie rounds out the top five with $9.7 million, $116.7 million domestic cume.
Creed has quickly become a critical and box office darling since its release earlier this week (generating a sweet, sweet amount of Oscar buzz in the process), which inevitably raises the question currently rushing through every Hollywood overlord's mind: Will there be a sequel? If you ask Michael B. Jordan, who stars as the titular "Donnie" Creed in the film opposite Sylvester Stallone's "Rocky" Balboa, he's definitely interested in reprising the role. "A character so rich as this, and the world he's in, I want to see what happens to him next and what he does," Jordan said in a recent interview with the Associated Press. "Especially the way it ends off, it's pretty cool. I think with success and time and circumstances, it would be exciting to come back and work with (co-stars) Sly (Stallone) and Tessa (Thompson) again." Cue the motivating music.
When it comes to climate change, Thom Yorke isn't scaremongering. This is really happening, happening. The Radiohead frontman signed a letter on Friday urging word leaders who are converging at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (which begins Monday in Paris) to reach an understanding on the severity of climate change. (David Bowie and Bjork also signed the letter, in case world leaders needed any more convincing.) Yorke also DJed on the Greenpeace float at London's Climate March parade this weekend, battling wild winds that felt exceedingly appropriate for the march. You can watch snippets of Yorke's parade set below.
Irish singer Sinead O'Connor posted a letter on Facebook on Sunday that may be a suicide note, saying she "has taken an overdose" and is staying in a hotel in Ireland under a false name. O'Connor has been posting about her trouble with Donal Lunny, the father of her youngest son, Shane. O'Connor says Shane requires psychological treatment, but Lunny won't allow O'Connor to see him. An Irish news site reports that O'Connor is "safe and sound" and receiving medical attention. You can read her post below:
It's assassination day on the season finale of The Man in the High Castle. As the first season ends, we learn more about the power of the films, but we're also left with a series of somewhat disappointing cliffhangers that set the stage for a very-likely second season. It's a good ending to an occasionally great season, and I'm convinced its sophomore outing will be even more confident and creative.
One of the big questions in the run-up to The Force Awakens (other than "WHEN CAN I SEE IT?") centers on Mark Hamill's Luke Skywalker, who is back for the Star Wars sequel, but not pictured in any of the film's promotional materials. This has led, among other speculation, to a whole fan theory built around the idea that Luke is evil now, an idea Hamill may have pitched to Abrams himself in a 2005 Dinner for Five episode. Anyway, in a recent interview with Empire (via Slashfilm) it seems that Hamill may have slipped a few hints past Abrams's Trade Federation–like embargo on spoilers. “There are lots of surprises in this movie. You’re going to love it,” Hamill said, which, so far, is the company line, but then, while elaborating on his memory of shooting the film, he revealed he had some time to think on set: “It reminded me of when I was in Tunisia on the salt flats. If you could get into your own mind and shut out the crew and look at the horizon, you really felt like you were in a galaxy far, far away. I had that same wave of emotion happen to me when I was on Skellig Michael in Ireland. I wasn’t anticipating it.”
When Carey Mulligan first heard of the movie Suffragette, she dismissed it. Speaking with Deadline, she said, "I naïvely had this idea it was tea-drinking ladies chatting, but by page three I was so invested and shocked by all the things that these women did." She went on to star in the film, which has incited conversations on labels and what "feminism" means in 2015: "I’ve been between America and London [promoting the movie] and I don’t think the definition of feminism is different between the two locations. Recently, it has felt like a new word … People are afraid of labels and I think this year they’re starting to reclaim what the word originally meant, in a positive way that’s interesting."
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