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Watch the Explosive, Robotless Trailer for Michael Bay’s Fiery Benghazi Project, 13 Hours

In an alternate dimension with no Pam, Jim Halpert and Roy Anderson have grown epic beards and decided that nobody should mess with them. (Actually, there are a lot of beards in here. How many can you count?) That's kind of how this trailer goes — plus some cryptic teasers ("When everything went wrong, six men had the courage to do what was right") and the wonderfully explosive montages of Michael Bay doing his thing sans robots. The film, based on Mitchell Zuckoff's Thirteen Hours: A Firsthand Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi, is already generating politically charged articles, as well as comparisons to American Sniper (wow, that was fast!). Timing-wise, it makes sense: The film is slated for the same release window as Sniper, and it'll come as a Benghazi reminder right as the 2016 election kicks into gear. As with the book, Bay's 13 Hours will retell the true story of how six "secret soldiers" responded to the infamous attack on a Special Mission Compound and CIA annex in Benghazi on the 11th anniversary of 9/11; it comes out January 15.

  • Posted 7/27/15 at 3:38 PM
  • Primer

A Timeline of the Abuse Charges Against Bill Cosby [Updated]

Thirty years ago this fall, The Cosby Show debuted on NBC, and its star was catapulted into the comedic stratosphere. The timing is prime, then, for the release of a sprawling biography. Written by former Newsweek editor Mark Whitaker, Cosby: His Life and Times documents the man’s rise from the Philadelphia projects, while also detailing the creation of his family sitcom and the murder of his son Ennis in 1997.

The book is notable, however, for its complete avoidance of sexual abuse allegations that have dogged Cosby for more than a decade. In a statement to Buzzfeed's Kate Aurthur, Whitaker says, "I didn’t want to print allegations that I couldn’t confirm independently." Regardless, their absence is glaring. Consider the following timeline an appendix to the book.

"Tamara Green, a lawyer, alleges that Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted her in the 1970s." »

John Green on Lonelygirl15, Rushmore, and 10 Other Things That Influenced His Work

John Green isn't the kind of author you only glimpse on the back of a book jacket. Since The Fault in Our Stars was successfully adapted from his best-known novel, the 37-year-old Green has seen his profile skyrocket. He has one of the most devoted fan bases in YA literature, plus a millions-strong YouTube following, and today's release of Paper Towns (adapted from his 2008 book) represents Hollywood's latest attempt to court Green's coveted audience. Since Green's own cultural impact is fast on the rise, we decided to ask about the movies, books, and other pop-cultural totems that influenced him on his way up.

Including Toni Morrison and Jimmy Stewart. »

James Franco’s Infatuation With Lana Del Rey Has Reached Its Scrapbook Phase

James Franco has been obsessed with Lana Del Rey for a while, and now his fascination has been taken to its logical conclusion: He's writing a book about her! Maybe also with her; it's hard to tell. The book's called Flip-Side: Real and Imaginary Conversations With Lana Del Rey, and it seems like a lengthier version of Franco's V magazine tribute from earlier this year. There, Franco revealed the singer refused to be interviewed for a book, telling him, "Just write around me; It's better if it's not my own words. It’s almost better if you don't get me exactly, but try." So either she changed her mind, or these will be entirely imaginary conversations, or truth is an illusion and only performance is real.

Bill Cosby’s Alleged Teen Sexual-Assault Lawsuit Is Moving Forward, With the Possibility of a New Deposition

Bill Cosby's team will no longer be able to stave off Gloria Allred and Judy Huth, both of whom are using an underage sexual-assault allegation to push the embattled comedian toward a new deposition. Huth sued Cosby for sexual battery last year, claiming he molested her at the Playboy Mansion in 1974, when she was 15. Cosby had been trying to ward off this suit to avoid answering questions under oath, but on Wednesday, according to multiple reports, the California Supreme Court without comment quashed his latest attempt to stall. (NBC News reports that Cosby had filed a petition to review earlier rulings in the suit because of "procedural errors.") With an unimpeded path, Allred is gunning to question Cosby "as soon as possible within the next 30 days."

"We are looking forward to Mr. Cosby answering questions under oath at his deposition and we will continue to seek justice for our courageous client," Allred, Huth's attorney, said in a statement, according to Reuters."It's a very big victory." L.A. authorities had been investigating Huth's claims, but Cosby was ultimately not criminally charged or prosecuted because of California's statute of limitations. If Allred nails down a deposition date, it will be Cosby's first time addressing sex-assault allegations since Andrea Constand's 2005 lawsuit — portions of that transcript were unsealed earlier this month and have stirred an ethical maelstrom all their own. Aside from denying the many accusations against him, Cosby and his team have been mostly mum on the matter.

His biography, Mark Whitaker's Cosby: His Life and Times, is also in trouble. »

From the Archives: Author E. L. Doctorow on His Childhood in New York

This article appeared in the April 8, 2013 issue of New York Magazine.

In the dark Bronx days of the Great Depression, I lived on a street named after the brook or burn that once flowed through it. I came down the front steps of my house into a world that was sunny, warm, and clean. Nobody in the neighborhood owned a car, and so the street belonged to the kids. It was our stickball field, our flea market. We flipped pennies against a wall, traded baseball cards, played skelly with soda-bottle caps; we opened our hands for the delicate art of box ball, and abandoned ourselves to the wild neighborhood wars of ringolevio. An eminence who lived on our block was a captain in the Sanitation Department, which is why every other day in summer, the water wagon came grinding up the street, spraying from the sides of its tank a beautiful spreading arc of glistening rainbows that seemed ethereally to be herding this beast of a truck like a pair of angels. And when the water wagon turned the corner and was gone, the street was suddenly quiet except for the bubbling rivulets of water running along the guttered curbs, carrying with it our fleets of walnut shells and ice-cream sticks as we scurried along to see how far they would go before running aground.

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  • Posted 7/22/15 at 12:47 PM
  • Books

How Dr. Seuss’s Editor Helped Finish His Lost Book, 24 Years After His Death

“I don’t really believe in this stuff,” says Cathy Goldsmith, “but I feel like sometimes he sends me answers when I’m stuck.” Goldsmith, the associate publishing director of Random House’s Golden Books Young Readers Group, was the last editor to work with Theodor Geisel, a.k.a. Dr. Seuss, before he died in 1991. In 2013, when his widow found the sheets of a complete book, What Pet Should I Get?, Goldsmith was charged with figuring out how to publish the work. In shepherding along the book, which will be available on July 28 and has a first print run of a million copies, Goldsmith relied on her knowledge of Seuss’s preferences on everything from endpapers to punctuation. Here, she explains how one of the original sketches was turned into finished pages.

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  • Posted 7/21/15 at 9:04 PM
  • R.i.p.

E. L. Doctorow, Author of Ragtime and Writer of Historical Fiction, Has Died

E. L. Doctorow, the award-winning New York author who was renowned for his historical fiction and penned such unique works as Ragtime, Billy Bathgate, City of God, and The Waterworks, died Tuesday in Manhattan. The New York Times reports the cause was "complications from lung cancer." He was 84.

He recalled his Bronx upbringing for New York Magazine in 2013. »

  • Posted 7/19/15 at 8:00 PM
  • Books

How Go Set a Watchman Solves the Mystery of Harper Lee

Tourists come to Monroeville, Alabama, for one reason: to visit the real-life model of To Kill a Mockingbird’s Maycomb and the birthplace and current residence of its author, Harper Lee. Invariably, they come to the well-preserved county courthouse, which looks a lot like the place where Atticus Finch defends a black man falsely accused of rape, and they visit a stone wall, next to a shake-and-burger shack, that used to separate the houses where Lee and her childhood friend Truman Capote (Mockingbird’s “Scout” Finch and Dill Harris) played and plotted.

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If You Hated Feeling Happy at the End of Return of the Jedi, You’ll Love This New Star Wars Book

Say, what happened to the Emperor's forces at the end of Return of the Jedi? In the old Expanded Universe canon, the Empire collapsed quickly after the downfall of its central government, with the Imperial remnant scattering about under dozens of petty warlords. But with the coming of the new trilogy, all that history's been wiped clean, and sci-fi novelist Chuck Wendig has been brought aboard to create a trilogy of books filling in the three-decade gap between Jedi and The Force Awakens. EW has an exclusive excerpt from the first book, Aftermath, and as it turns out, in this version, the Imperial forces don't go down without a fight. It's an ending that has much more in common with our post–Iraq War sensibilities, while also syncing up perfectly with the need for entertainment franchises to have continuous stories with no concrete endings.

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What Critics Are Saying About Go Set a Watchman

Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman, the first draft of what turned into her much-beloved To Kill a Mockingbird, was released today. Ever since Michiko Kakutani used her review to tell the world that Harper Lee’s beloved Atticus was perhaps more complicated than we always believed, most people’s attention has focused on the jarring idea that this paragon of racial tolerance was actually a bigot. But what else are critics saying about this highly anticipated novel? Though the reviews have been mixed, one overarching theme that many critics have zeroed in on is that there is a lot to learn from the novel, as both a writer and a reader.

"Go Set a Watchman is kind of a mess..." »

Listen to Harper Lee Receive a Copy of Her Newly Published Book, Go Set a Watchman

Surrounded by publishing acquaintances, Harper Lee lunched in Monroeville, Alabama, roughly two weeks ago to celebrate the release of her long-lost, 58-year-old novel Go Set a Watchman. What made the outing extra special was the presence of filmmaker Mary McDonagh Murphy, who nabbed exclusive video footage and pics of the elusive author for PBS — a first since news broke months ago about the writer's exit from the one-hit-wonder book club. In this American Masters web video, Murphy & Co. shed more light on the book's torturous publishing journey in one-on-one video interviews with Lee's lawyer, agent, and friends.

"It's not Mockingbird," Lee's lawyer, Tonja Carter, says. "Anybody expecting the wonderful, flowing flower of Mockingbird might be disappointed, because this is a first submission. It is a complete book, but it is not edited." In a 1950s-dated note from Lee's original agent to an editor, Watchman is called an "eye-opener for many Northerners, as to Southern attitudes, and the reasons for them in the segregation battle." It was reportedly Lee's attempt at "a race novel, a Victorian novel, a novel about Monroeville." Lee's voice can be heard (sans footage) in quick sound bites throughout the clip. In one instance Michael Morrison, president of HarperCollins, presents Lee with a copy of Watchman, to which she replies: "Wonderful. ... Thank you." When asked if she ever thought she'd see the novel get published, you can also hear Lee remark: "Of course, I did — don't be silly." Watchman (first chapter available here) comes out tomorrow.

Harper Lee’s Lawyer Teases Possible Third Book

Harper Lee's lawyer Tonja Carter was instrumental in the publication of Lee's new book, Go Set a Watchman, and for her next trick, Carter hints that Lee might have another unpublished manuscript in store. In an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal called "How I Found the Harper Lee Manuscript," Carter reveals how she accidentally found the Watchman manuscript in Lee's safe-deposit box in 2011, during a Sotheby's appraisal of the author's assets. At first, she writes, she thought the manuscript was simply an earlier Mockingbird draft, but after learning of the existence of Watchman from Lee's family, she went back to the pages and realized she had an entirely new novel on her hands. With the new book set for publication, Carter says she recently went back to the safe-deposit box to sift for more literary gold. "What we found was extraordinary and surprised even me," she writes: the original draft of Mockingbird, a Watchman manuscript, and also a "significant number of pages" of something else. "Was it an earlier draft of Watchman, or of Mockingbird, or even, as early correspondence indicates it might be, a third book bridging the two?" Carter indicates a group of experts are currently investigating the pages — all, of course, under Lee's "direction."

Let’s Talk About That One Heartbreaking Sentence in Go Set a Watchman

Spoilers for Go Set a Watchman below.

Near the end of the first chapter of Harper Lee's Go Set a Watchman, after the grown-up Jean Louise "Scout" Finch has made her way by train back to Maycomb County, comes a throwaway mention of the fate of a beloved literary character, one who, in this telling, doesn't even get a name:

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It’s Time to Read the First Chapter of Harper Lee’s New Book, Go Set a Watchman

Happy Friday: The Wall Street Journal and The Guardian have exclusive excerpts of Harper Lee's Go Set a Watchman, the author's first release since To Kill a Mockingbird. The book, slated to hit shelves July 14, was reportedly Lee's first attempt at a novel. Both outlets have published the first chapter of Watchman on their respective websites for your previewing pleasure. The text has received "a very light copy edit," according to Jonathan Burnham, publisher of HarperCollins’s Harper imprint. Whether you believe that or not, it's about time you met Scout in her 20s. What are you waiting for? Go set that watchman! (If you're trying to figure out which place to read chapter one, WSJ offers more background on the excerpt, while The Guardian has a nifty interactive, with cool art and ambient sound. Both give you the option to listen to Reese Witherspoon read you the chapter. Enjoy!)

Watching the Series of Unfortunate Events Teaser Is Like Playing an Unfortunate Game of I Spy [Updated]

It's been a while since we've heard anything about Lemony Snicket and his forthcoming Series of Unfortunate Events endeavor — but (un)fortunately that changed over the long weekend when YouTube user Eleanora Poe uploaded a teaser for what looks to be Netflix's 2016 adaptation of the books. Just as the YouTube user's handle is a reference to something from the delightfully dismaying story, so is almost everything else in this eerie 35-second teaser: There's Sunny's birdcage, Violet's ribbon, Klaus's cracked glasses, a leech, a copy of The Daily Punctilio, and lots and lots and lots of eyes, among many other cryptic gems. Oh, and don't forget Count Olaf. Help.

8 Books You Need to Read This July

Each month, Boris Kachka offers nonfiction and fiction book recommendations. You should read as many of them as possible.

If you’re going to read one polyphonic 1,300-page war saga this month … »

The Rewriting of David Foster Wallace

Nobody owns David Foster Wallace anymore. In the seven years since his suicide, he’s slipped out of the hands of those who knew him, and those who read him in his lifetime, and into the cultural maelstrom, which has flattened him. He has become a character, an icon, and in some circles a saint. A writer who courted contradiction and paradox, who could come on as a curmudgeon and a scold, who emerged from an avant-garde tradition and never retreated into conventional realism, he has been reduced to a wisdom-dispensing sage on the one hand and shorthand for the Writer As Tortured Soul on the other. 

For someone who has long loved Wallace’s writing, as I have, one of the ironies of this shift is that, whether he intended to or not, Wallace started the process himself. First, he embarked on a series of publicity campaigns in which he performed his self-conscious disdain and fear of publicity campaigns, a martyr to the market culture and entertainment industry he was satirizing in his books. Then there was a treacly commencement speech at Kenyon College in 2005 that became a viral sensation and later, a few months after his death, a cute, one-sentence-per-page inspirational pamphlet, This Is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, About Living a Compassionate Life. And now comes a bromantic biopic, The End of the Tour, starring Jason Segel as Wallace and Jesse Eisenberg as David Lipsky, the novelist Rolling Stone sent to write a (later abandoned) profile of Wallace in 1996. The movie’s theme is the bullshit-ness of literary fame — which Wallace, the permanently unsatisfied overachiever, nonetheless craved (not to mention it might get him laid, which he also thought would be a phony achievement). The movie is based on Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself, the book of transcripts Lipsky published in 2010. And since much of its dialogue is transferred directly from the tapes, it does have a claim on the authentic Wallace.

None of this is entirely new; Wallace has always been an unstable commodity. »

E.L. James Encounters Twitter Users’ Singular Taste for Trolling

Like many a celeb before her, E.L. James launched a promotional Twitter Q&A on Monday without quite realizing how many people there dislike her work. James likely intended #AskELJames as publicity for her new Fifty Shades of Grey spinoff, but the hashtag was quickly overtaken by accusations that her books promoted stalking and sexual abuse and were poorly written, to boot. It's almost like, deep within James's psyche, was an unspoken desire to be ... punished.

How the Back to the Future Cast and Crew Knew Eric Stoltz Would Be Fired

As any true Back to the Future fan knows, Michael J. Fox was not the first actor cast as Marty McFly. That honor went to Eric Stoltz, at the time an up-and-coming young method actor with significant buzz. Only a few weeks into filming, director Robert Zemeckis and writer Bob Gale realized something was wrong: Stoltz was a fine dramatic actor, but he wasn't bringing the screwball energy the film needed. They came to the studio head Sid Sheinberg with a proposition: Let them fire Stoltz, and replace him with Fox, whom they had wanted all along. Sheinberg agreed, but the transition couldn't take place right away — Stoltz was forced to labor on, unaware his days as Marty were numbered. In this exclusive excerpt from Caseen Gaines's new book, We Don't Need Roads: The Making of the Back to the Future Trilogy, the people behind the film reveal what those odd few weeks on set were like.

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