David Lipsky beat out D.T. Max for the first David Foster Wallace biography book deal in 2009, shortly following the writer's suicide, and now Lipsky is getting a movie deal too. According to The Wrap, Lipsky’s book Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip With David Foster Wallace will be made into a movie called The End of the Tour next year. The Spectacular Now director James Ponsoldt is currently attached, as are Jason Segel (as Wallace) and Jesse Eisenberg (as Lipsky). As in the book — and the Rolling Stone article before it — expect to see “Lipsky accompanying Wallace across the country on a book tour promoting Infinite Jest, just as Wallace starts to become famous. Along the way, jealousy and competition bubbles up between the two writers as they discuss women, depression and the pros and cons of fame.” So yeah, we’ll be seeing it.
Britney Spears’ latest album, her eighth, is also her lowest selling, according to this week's Billboard numbers which show that Britney Jean debuted at number four its first week out, selling only 107,000 copies. That puts it just a hair ahead of the six-week-old Duck the Halls: A Robertson Family Christmas, a surefire holiday classic from TV’s Duck Dynasty clan. For a still-harsher perspective, recall that 2011′s Femme Fatale opened in first place with 276,000 albums. As The Wrap points out, “Spears has not been doing much promotion — and hasn’t performed live on TV yet — which may have drummed up anticipation of her newest offering.” She’s instead prepping her Planet Hollywood residency in Vegas — the show opens December 27 and runs through 2015 — so maybe that’s what everyone is saving their money for?
American Horror Story’s Gabourey Sidibe on Queenie’s Fate, Twerking on Kathy Bates, and Sundance PerksBy Denise Martin
Obligatory spoiler warning: If you haven’t watched Wednesday’s episode of American Horror Story: Coven, “Head,” come back later. Damn, Queenie better not be gone for good. Voodoo witches can totally shoot themselves in the head and come back from it, right? Gabourey Sidibe, who plays the lonely but big-hearted Queenie, says if it’s the end, she’s had a good time doing “kickass” things like ripping the black heart out of a rapist’s chest and propositioning a minotaur. Unable to accept the demise of Coven’s resident B*A*P*S fan — but realizing this is AHS, so we’ll probably see her again — Vulture rang up Sidibe to talk about everything from tinkering with the scripts to that time Kathy Bates asked for twerking lessons.
Ryan Murphy Talks Self-Policing, Jessica Lange’s Exit, and What’s Next on American Horror Story: CovenBy Denise Martin
[Spoilers ahead] Even for a show where doomed witches can be resurrected with magic mud and the dead can live on as ghosts, last night’s American Horror Story: Coven was brutal. “Head,” the season’s last episode until January, culminated in a blood-soaked montage set to “Oh Freedom” that featured the gruesome ends of many including Queenie, Hank, Luke, and several of Marie LaVeau’s cohorts. (There was also the melonballing and carving up of Council members Pemby and Quentin, but that was fabulous.) Still, it begs the question: Does death mean anything on this show? We went to series co-creator Ryan Murphy to discuss his larger plans for the season, and along the way we heard about the best historically inaccurate ad lib ever, what the actors can and can’t get away with, and the reason we were all deprived of Denis O’Hare’s butt. (But maybe on the DVD, Murphy says!) Plus: His takes on Jessica Lange wanting to leave the show after next year, and the grand and glorious Stevie Nicks.
FX has given a series order to Tyrant, the network announced today. The show comes from Homeland producers Howard Gordon and Gideon Raff (who created the Israeli series Hatufim, on which Homeland is based) and producer Craig Wright, and follows an American family that gets caught up in a Middle Eastern revolution. Barry is the youngest son of a Middle Eastern dictator who has fled his past and made a life in the U.S. for the last twenty-odd years. But when his nephew back home gets married, Barry reluctantly attends (and brings his wife and children) — and, of course, things go awry. Pilot scripts are not perfect indicators of how good or bad a show will be, but we'll say this: The script for Tyrant is fantastic. High hopes, summer 2014!
If you have watched a single trailer for Saving Mr. Banks, the story of how Walt Disney attempted to convince the stubborn author P. L. Travers to sell him the movie rights to her book Mary Poppins, then you will already have put together that this is not a "warts and all" take on the mythical mogul. "He wasn't a warty guy," Tom Hanks, who plays Disney in the film, told The Hollywood Reporter. "There was the labor issues that were in the forties and stuff like that. But by and large, no.” That will come as a surprise to anyone who has read mentions of Walt Disney's alleged anti-Semitism, or his cryogenically frozen head, or any of the other rumors that swirl around the icon. So in order to get things straight, here is a factual analysis of all the many charges laid against Walt Disney in real life. Spoiler alert: He is not buried beneath Pirates of the Caribbean.
At the Cosmo 100 luncheon at Michael's earlier this week, we were simultaneously thrilled and terrified to realize we'd be eating right next to Tracy Anderson. (Anderson didn't appear to judge as those around her nibbled gluten-laden crusty French rolls, but did mildly shame CNN anchor and morning-show host Kate Bolduan when she revealed a devotion to SoulCycle.) Naturally, we wanted a progress report on The Restart Project, the new web series she is hosting alongside Gwyneth Paltrow.
If you've been on social media lately, you may have heard what Macaulay Culkin is up to these days: He's in a band that plays pizza-themed cover versions of Velvet Underground songs. For real. The Pizza Underground is the brainchild of musicians Phoebe Kreutz, Matt Colbourn, and Deenah Vollmer, all veterans of the East Village anti-folk scene. They were introduced to Culkin through a mutual friend, and in November, the whole band went to his house to record a medley of songs bearing the titles "I'm Waiting for the Delivery Man," "All the Pizza Parties," and "I'm Beginning to See the Slice." (You can download the MP3 here.) This past weekend, Buzzfeed put the Pizza Underground on its front page, and the members of this jokey side project are now weighing offers to perform their saucy tunes around the world. Vulture spoke with glockenspiel player and vocalist Phoebe Kreutz about the band's origins, what they have planned for the future, and whether there's a full-length version of "Pizza Day."
1. The Flick
The slacker staff of a down-at-heels cinema, doing nothing much beyond cleaning up popcorn, paradoxically provided the most spellbinding three hours of theater this year. How? I couldn’t tell you; Annie Baker, abetted by director Sam Gold, is sneakily crafting an entirely new dramaturgy for the millennial stage.
Netflix announced its next original series today: BoJack Horseman is a cartoon about a horse (voiced by Will Arnett) who was the star of a beloved '90s sitcom called Horsin' Around. Now he's all washed up — but with the help of his former TV sidekick (Aaron Paul) and cat agent/ex-lover Princess Caroline (Amy Sedaris), perhaps things are looking up. The show premieres in a twelve-episode chunk some time in the middle of next year, so when you need a break from season two of Orange Is the New Black, there will be a whiskey-loving cartoon horse waiting for you.
Universal certainly has a tough situation on its hands. How does the studio finish a film into which it has already sunk $150 million following the death of one of its lead actors. Not to mention the fact that said actor died in a car accident — a little too close to home for the Fast & Furious franchise, which is on its sixth sequel. The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that writer Chris Morgan is already "crafting revisions" to the Fast & Furious 7 script, as executives hope they can "retire Walker's character from the series using scenes already shot." "Almost exactly half of [Walker's] role" is in the can, and based on fan reactions, "there is support for completing the version of the movie that was underway."
The latest in the "Girls"-Goldieblox saga: the Beastie Boys have sued the toy company for "a systematic infringement of intellectual property." The suit claims that the GoldieBlox ad — which uses a parodied version of the band's 1987 song "Girls," and was removed from the Internet last month — is not fair use and that the company continues to benefit from "the Beastie Boys' perceived affiliation." You kind of knew this was coming.
Let's speak plainly: Britney Jean, the latest, "most personal" album from one Britney Spears, is not good. It has its campy moments (namely, "Work Bitch"), and, yes, I spent the better part of the weekend singing the one-note chorus of "Perfume," but neither song is destined for the Britney Pantheon. The rest is "dull and outdated," as New York's Jody Rosen put it, "full of blundering bottle-service club beats and way too many sodden ballads." It is the kind of album you listen to exactly once, out of obligation, before retreating back the Britney songs you actually like.
Back in 1982, cable-pioneer Ted Turner was so impressed with what he'd accomplished — CNN! SuperStationTBS! — that he hired a country-music band to record a song about his exploits, "He Was Cable When Cable Wasn't Cool." Three decades later, cable couldn't be any cooler: Once-tiny networks such as Sundance and BBC America are churning out critical gems; others are setting new ratings records with reality shows (Duck Dynasty) and miniseries (The Bible); and the year's number-one TV show among viewers under 50 is a cable hit (The Walking Dead). Still, not every cable network can be a winner. There are some channels that, despite years of trying or the random semi-hit, just seem to limp along. (And sometimes, they just disappear: A&E Networks today announced that its longtime also-ran Bio Channel is going away, replaced by something called FYI.) These networks aren't necessarily financial failures: The economics of cable are such that even little-seen outlets can eke out a profit through a mix of subscriber fees, low overhead, and lots of infomercials. What makes these channels disappointments is that they don't contribute anything of value to the pop-culture landscape, nor do they seem to make any particular niche audience very happy that they're around. They just sort of exist. Given how often we document cable's triumphs, Vulture thought it appropriate to identify five of these laggard networks — and try to figure out where they've gone wrong.
The Coen brothers have been very open about the various influences behind their new film, Inside Llewyn Davis. Most prominent, the film’s titular character is inspired by legendary folk-musician Dave Van Ronk. The Coens mined Van Ronk’s memoir, The Mayor of MacDougal Street, for details, but — despite some minor similarities (his album cover for Inside Dave Van Ronk is identical to Llewyn’s, and inspired the film’s name) — Van Ronk’s personality and career were very different from those of Llewyn. To find out what else in the Coen brothers’ world rang true or false, we consulted two people who lived through the real thing — Terri Thal, Van Ronk's first wife, and Sylvia Topp, wife of Tuli Kupferberg, author, poet. and lead singer of political-rock band the Fugs.
In the first trailer for Edge of Tomorrow, based on the Japanese sci-fi novel All You Need Is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, Tom Cruise is stuck in a time loop — fighting aliens, getting killed, and then waking up a day before that same battle. Every single day. Luckily, he finds Emily Blunt and she "gets it," so now they're stuck attempting to figure out how to break the loop and "win the war." This is only director Doug Liman's third movie since 2005's Mr. and Mrs. Smith (the other two being Jumper and Fair Game), so hopefully he hasn't been trapped in the same damn time loop. Wake up, Doug!
Mark Wahlberg told us last week that he thinks his upcoming reality show Wahlbugers will surprise people in a "positive way." We shall see! Here's the first trailer for the A&E series, which follows Mark, Donnie, their mother, older brother Paul, and assorted family friends as they open their restaurant, Wahlburgers, in Massachusetts. At this point, all doc-style reality shows look and sound pretty much the same, and there's something almost impressive about the fact that no matter how many Oscars you've been nominated for, your show will still blend in with the dozens of other shows on A&E, TLC, Discovery, etc.
Jason Clarke, better known as the gung ho CIA operative from Zero Dark Thirty and "That Evil Guy" from Gatsby and White House Down, is in early talks to play John Connor. While we're at it: Emilia Clarke and Brie Larson are rumored for Sarah Connor. Arnold is still expected to play the Terminator. Look, it's all coming together.
On the day of the National Book Awards, the novelist Rachel Kushner strolled through the Guggenheim’s retrospective on “post-conceptual” painter Christopher Wool, whose big exhibit had coincided tidily with an astronomical spike in the value of his work. In a few hours, Kushner would have her own shot at posterity, her second; The Flamethrowers, probably the most heatedly discussed book of the year, was a finalist, making Kushner the first writer ever nominated for her first two novels. But as we sauntered past Wool’s monumental silk-screened canvases of squiggles, splotches, and inscrutable directives, she didn’t seem particularly eager to talk about conventional notions of success, hers or Wool’s. “I don’t pay attention to auction prices,” she said. “Nothing interests me less. One of the benefits of not being an artist is I don’t have to navigate the social hierarchies of the art world as a person of desire. I don’t need anything. I live in a different way.”
"The Time Lord has entered the trap." Man, this Doctor Who teaser sure is ominous! (Prepare ye Tumblrs while there's still time, Whovians.) This year's Christmas special, "The Time of the Doctor," will mark the end of the Matt Smith era and inaugurate Peter Capaldi as the new Doctor, so perhaps that impending doom feeling is appropriate? That's not a knock on Capaldi's potential — it's just sad any time a Time Lord goes off into the great beyond. Exterminate, exterminate, etc.
- 1. Sons of Anarchy’s Kurt Sutter on the Season-6 Finale and What’s Next for Jax and Gemma
- 2. Sons of Anarchy’s Maggie Siff on Tara and Jax, and the Heartbreaking Season-6 Finale
- 3. Sons of Anarchy Season-6 Finale Recap: Owning Your Place
- 4. Fact-Checking the Age-Old Rumors of Walt Disney’s Dark Side
- 5. And This Year’s SAG Award Nominees Are ...
- 6. Ebiri on The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug: Still Bloated, Yet a Massive Improvement on the First
- 7. Kanye Is Taking His Grammy Snub Pretty Well
- 8. Identity Crisis: 5 Cable Networks That Badly Need New Brands
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