In our current political climate, many people have looked forward to this month’s premiere of The Handmaid’s Tale, which stars Elisabeth Moss as a forced reproductive concubine living in a misogynistic dystopia, on Hulu. Naturally, that topic was bound to come up at the show’s panel at the Tribeca Film Festival on Friday evening, but the conversation soon took an abrupt turn when a discussion about feminism was tossed around instead. Per the AV Club, when asked if she considered the story, like that of Peggy Olson in Mad Men, to be feminist in nature, Moss was dismissive of such a reading. “I mean, they’re both human beings. They’re the same height,” she said. “Honestly, for me it’s not a feminist story — it’s a human story, because women’s rights are human rights. I never intended to play Peggy as a feminist; I never intended to play Offred as a feminist. They’re women and they are humans. Offred’s a wife, a mother, a best friend. She has a job, and she is a person who is not supposed to be a hero. She falls into it and she kind of does what she has to do to survive to find her daughter. It’s about love, honestly, so much of this story. For me, I never approach anything with any sort of political agenda. I approach it from a very human place, I hope.”
Owing to numerous sexual-harassment allegations filed against him by women at Fox News, it was announced yesterday that Bill O’Reilly has been let go from the cable-news channel and his popular talk show The O’Reilly Factor. While Fox announced Tucker Carlson will be taking over O’Reilly’s time slot starting Monday, the rest of the media hasn’t yet let go of its fascination with O’Reilly’s rise and subsequent fall from grace, and there’s one particularly eerie bit of information that’s resurfaced. While you may know that O’Reilly has penned the historical Killing series, his first book was a fictional thriller titled Those Who Trespass: A Novel of Television and Murder. The book is a suspenseful psychodrama that chronicles the life of a newsman named Shannon Michaels at the “Global News Network” who begins murdering his former colleagues when he’s fired from the network. Here’s the plot description:
Forgive me father, for I have sinned by withholding the details surrounding the latest book deal from Late Show extraordinaire Stephen Colbert. The CBS host will release his third book — coming to print and audio — this September. It’s based on the popular recurring Late Show segment “Midnight Confessions,” which, as you may deduce, features Colbert in a confessional booth repenting his silly sins. (“I tell people I don’t believe in casual sex, but the truth is I sometimes don’t wear a tie.”) Per the publisher, the book will consist of Colbert’s “favorite confessions along with some audience submissions” for a guilt-filled narrative. Start sweating in Catholic anticipation now.
Alec Baldwin Continues Trolling Trump, Says Trump Should Win an Emmy for Being ‘The Head Writer’ of SNLBy Hunter Harris
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was Alec Baldwin’s Nevertheless memoir press tour. Never one to miss a moment to bait the real-life subject of his SNL impressions, Baldwin went all-in on provoking POTUS during an event at George Washington University on Wednesday. “Trump is the head writer of Saturday Night Live. Him and [White House press secretary Sean] Spicer,” Baldwin said according to The Hill. “They’re going to win an Emmy this year,” he said with a laugh. Baldwin joked that he’d give a billion dollars to both the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities if he were president, but he’s uninterested in running. Anyhow, he’s got Twitter wars to wage.
We may not have heard our last report from Gilead. After diving deep into the eerily familiar totalitarian theocratic regime that is Gilead in the bulk of The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood ends the 1985 novel by skipping ahead to a symposium presentation on its main character. We learn Offred, who will be played by Elisabeth Moss in Hulu’s upcoming adaptation, recorded an account of her experience on audiotapes, which scholars have since pieced together. The novel ends with Professor James Darcy Pieixoto discussing those tapes, the so-called “Handmaid’s Tale,” and then turning to the audience and asking, “Are there any questions?” In a new special edition audiobook, Atwood has extended her story by providing ten new questions from the audience and their answers.
Alec Baldwin Is Still Mad That Harrison Ford Replaced Him As Jack Ryan, and 4 Other Things We Learned From Baldwin’s New Memoir, NeverthelessBy Jackson McHenry
Not surprising given that it’s written by our country’s most famous Donald Trump impersonator, much of Alec Baldwin’s new memoir Nevertheless is dedicated to politics. Vanity Fair already excerpted many of Baldwin’s key thoughts on the president, as well has his first introduction to Tina Fey, so those looking for more dishy insights into Baldwin’s high-profile SNL gig aren’t going to get a lot of new material. Nevertheless, Nevertheless offers a collection of other anecdotes from Baldwin’s career, and ends up being a comprehensive collection of his grudges, crushes, and confessions. Here are some of the best stories.
Debt and depression — surely these demons don’t haunt writers any more than they do the rest of the population, but it falls to writers to describe the experience of poverty or melancholy in ways that bankers or doctors never will. That becoming a writer requires something alternately called confidence or courage or self-delusion lends the sting of penury extra venom and makes the paralysis of depression all the more existential. If you can command words on a page that editors want to publish, why is your bank account empty? If your name is on the cover of books people buy in shops, why can’t you get out of bed in the morning?
It’s been a decade since Jay Asher released Th1rteen R3asons Why, a young-adult novel that sparked conversations about suicide and bullying nationwide. (Quick recap: High schooler Hannah Baker kills herself, leaving behind tapes to tell 13 people, a.k.a. “reasons,” the role they played in her suicide.) After years of rumors about movie deals, Selena Gomez produced a Netflix series based on the best seller. The 13 hour-long episodes clock in at twice the length of the audiobook, and about 25 times as long as the audio of Hannah’s tapes (which you can listen to here). With all that screen time, as Gomez and Asher have explained, they’ve added loads of backstory (some important, some not), and plenty of new, dramatic plots that fans of the book will either love or hate.
Philipp Meyer was only partway through writing his second novel, a lit-gritty multigenerational saga about a South Texas cattle-and-oil dynasty, when he let two old friends from the University of Texas at Austin’s writing program talk him into adapting it with them. Lee Shipman and Brian McGreevy were busy developing McGreevy’s novel Hemlock Grove for Netflix, and after reading early drafts of Meyer’s work-in-progress, The Son, they “dragged me into” the world of TV production, Meyer says. By the time his novel was published, in 2013, the three were partners in a new company: El Jefe. Meyer was living off his $1 million advance for that novel and an option from Universal on his first book, American Rust, and he turned down a “huge offer” on The Son from a major studio, opting to adapt it with his buddies instead. He thought the process would take one year. It took four.
That adaptation of Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels we heard about last year is really, truly happening. Per the New York Times, Saverio Costanzo (Hungry Hearts) has signed on to direct and help write the 32-episode series, which will cover the elusive Ferrante’s four linked novels My Brilliant Friend, The Story of a New Name, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay, and The Story of the Lost Child. The adaptation will be shot in Italy, in Italian, and written by a team of Italian writers with the help of Ferrante herself, whom Costanzo plans to talk with via email. Italian producer Wildside, which also produced The Young Pope, is in talks with American and Italian broadcasters. The series is expected to air in 2018.