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Date: Thursday, 24 Apr 2014 14:06

NFL cheerleaders are putting down their pom-poms and demanding a better deal.

In 2014, the cheerleaders revolted. This January, rookie NFL cheerleader Lacy T. kicked things off when she filed a class action lawsuit against the Oakland Raiders, alleging that the team fails to pay its Raiderettes minimum wage, withholds their pay until the end of the season, imposes illegal fines for minor infractions (like gaining 5 pounds), and forces cheerleaders to pay their own business expenses (everything from false eyelashes to monthly salon visits).

Within a month, Cincinnati Bengals cheerleader Alexa Brenneman had filed a similar suit against her team, claiming that the Ben-Gals are paid just $2.85 an hour for their work on the sidelines. And Tuesday, five former Buffalo Bills cheerleaders filed suit against their own team, alleging that the Buffalo Jills were required to perform unpaid work for the team for about 20 hours a week. Unpaid activities included: submitting to a weekly “jiggle test” (where cheer coaches “scrutinized the women's stomach, arms, legs, hips, and butt while she does jumping jacks”); parading around casinos in bikinis “for the gratification of the predominantly male crowd”; and offering themselves up as prizes at a golf tournament, where they were required to sit on men’s laps on the golf carts, submerge themselves in a dunk tank, and perform backflips for tips (which they did not receive). The Buffalo Jills cheerleaders take home just $105 to $1,800 for an entire season on the job.

Why are NFL cheerleaders putting down their pom-poms all of a sudden? Cheating cheerleaders out of a living wage is an American tradition almost as old as football itself. The dual exploitation of cheerleaders—you’ll perform our jiggle test, and you’ll do it for pocket change!—is nothing new. When I reported on thelong hours and low pay of the Washington, D.C. football team’s cheerleaders in 2011, nobody seemed too upset about the fact that the cheerleaders made just $75 a game while working for a team that brings in $76 million a yearespecially not the squad members themselves, who told me they appreciated the opportunity to cheer, regardless of the monetary benefits. When I sat down with CNN to talk about the issue last year, reporter Shannon Travis ended the interview by telling me I was the only one who seemed to care. (The notable exception is ESPN columnist Gregg Easterbrook, who has been railing against cheerleader pay, while admiring cheerleader bikini shots, for years).

Dallas cowboys Cheerleading squad

First, it’s worth examining why NFL teams everthought it was OK to treat cheerleaders this way. When cheerleaders first took to the professional football field in the early days of the NFL, it was a volunteer position staffed by local high school and college squads (many of which were co-ed), and football players and coaches weren’t making bank, either. But after television turned football into big business, cheerleading got serious: In the 1970s, the Dallas Cowboys led the league by transforming NFL cheerleading from an extracurricular activity into professional sideline entertainment, and other teams followed with their own glam squads. And yet, cheerleading wages remained scandalously low. That’s partly because labor organization in the NFL focused on the rights of the players, and since they’re the main product of a most dangerous game, that makes sense. (The Players Association does not represent cheerleaders.) It’s also because the job description of the modern cheerleader is a hyper-glamorized version of what American women were traditionally expected to do for free, before they entered the workforce en masse: namely, look pretty and support their men.

NFL teams stepped easily into the creepy patriarch role. Today, they enforce expectations for the way their cheerleaders look (according to the suit, the Jills’ guidebook mandates everything from the cheerleaders’ nail polish color to how they clean their vaginas) while rewarding them, not with money, but with the supposed prestige of appearing as one of their city’s most desirable women. (While some cheerleaders go on to model or act, just marrying a player or a politician is enough to cement a woman’s status as one of the most “notable” cheerleaders of all time.) NFL teams like the Raiders extend the patriarch metaphor by encouraging cheerleaders to see the team as a “family” (not an employer), refer to their squad mates as “sisters” (not co-workers), and implying that they’ll break the “sisterhood bond” if they step out of line. Cheerleaders are constantly reminded that they are letting their teammates down when they are benched and fined for weight gain, and, by the way, hundreds of women would be happy to take their spot for free. The old stereotype of cheerleaders as bimbos has also worked in the NFL’s favor. NFL cheerleading is such an obviously raw deal, some might assume that women must be stupid to agree to it. (Tell that to Dr. Monica Williams, who cheered for the Tennessee Titans while fulfilling a research fellowship at Vanderbilt.) That’s not a stigma that, say, coal miners fighting against unfair working conditions have to overcome to get what they’re owed.

Oakland Raiderettes

So what’s changed? “It’s a reflection of the Occupy Movement,” Frank Dolce, a lawyer for the five Buffalo Jills, posited to me. “There’s an increasing public realization of the tremendous unfairness of America’s present economic situation, and as we grow more and more unequal as a society, those tensions are becoming more pronounced. Professional cheerleading is symbolic of the abuse of workers everywhere by the powerful, greedy people who control the purse strings.” —who are forced to look so sunny and glamorous while making so little—presents a particularly ironic hook for telling this story.And the plight of the cheerleaders

It helps that the cheerleader lawsuits are hitting at a time of intense scrutiny of the NFL overall. Football fans are concerned about the league’s response to rampant head trauma among its players; they’re upset about the Washington team’s offensive nickname; they’re pissed about escalating prices for parking, concessions, and ticket fees. The contrast between the NFL commissioner’s $44 million annual salary and the Buffalo Jill who brings in just $105 is too rich to ignore—for sports journalists, if not for fans. (The photo opportunities don’t hurt, either).

Alexa Brenneman of the Bengals

Lacy T of the Oakland Raiderettes

There’s another reason it’s taken so long for the cheerleaders to speak up: feminism. Professional cheerleaders have always presented a dilemma for the traditional feminist movement. On the one hand, feminism is committed to fighting for fair pay for women in all areas where they are discriminated against because of their gender. On the other hand, this particular kind of labor—one where women, not men, are enlisted to jiggle their assets at the local golf tournament—suggests another kind of gendered exploitation, and one that’s hard for some feminists to rush to defend. (No it isn't) (Headlines about the recent spate of cheerleader lawsuits may focus on the scandalous details, but looking sexy for men is a feature of the job, not a bug.) Lately, it seems the feminist movement has caught up to the cause; it’s no longer particularly controversial to stand up for the legal rights of the women who perform work that nevertheless fails to reflect the ideal, gender-equitable society. Earlier this year, over 100,000 people signed a Change.org petition urging the NFL to give cheerleaders a raise. (Still, one former Raiderettes cheerleader—who opposes the class-action suit because she fears it will compel teams to disband their cheerleading squads instead of paying up—told me that she thinks these lawsuits are a feminist conspiracy to attempt to end cheerleading for good.)

Ultimately, though, the culture of silence around NFL cheerleading was broken by the courage of one woman—28-year-old Raiderette Lacy T.—who took personal risks to stand up for all of the workers in her field. "I [cheered] for the love of dance, not for money,” says Sarah G., another former cheerleader for the Raiderettes. But until she read Lacy’s lawsuit, “I just had absolutely no idea it was illegal.


This constitutes entertainment, right? SPORTS! DANCING! :D
Author: "--" Tags: "sports / athletes"
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Date: Thursday, 24 Apr 2014 14:05

Source: Survivor Youtube

Please use the LJ spoiler tags if you are going to discuss any future episode spoilers. People have requested that we please keep comment threads marked with spoilers so those who want to actively avoid spoilers can participate in discussion as well~
Author: "--" Tags: "spoilers, reality show, survivor (cbs), ..."
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Date: Thursday, 24 Apr 2014 14:04

Film and TV script writer Tom Bidwell is jetting off to America this summer, to work on the US version of a hit drama he has penned for the past couple of years.

Channel 4’s My Mad Fat Diary is an adaptation of a real diary from an obese 16-year-old girl who lives in Australia, and Tom says writing the script helped him overcome some traumatic experiences from his own teenage years.

The news that MTV has commissioned a pilot for an American version of the show is even more exciting, as it coincides with an announcement that the UK series has been nominated for a BAFTA (British Academy Film and Television Award).

Tom says: “The success of series one meant that Channel 4 wanted a second series, and that’s just finished on TV now.It was quite stressful writing that series because there wasn’t much time, but it was worth it in the end. The first episode of the second season was the most Tweeted-about programme on Twitter – it had 76,000 Tweets about it. It’s got a really big following and people have been uploading photographs online of artwork they have done with quotes from the show, which is really touching. We’ve received a lot of letters from teenagers too, saying that the programme has helped with their self-esteem issues; that’s the most rewarding part of it. The BAFTA nomination is nice, but the best bit is hearing from these viewers who have really taken something from the show. It’s very touching. Sometimes you forget what you’re doing this for, and seeing those letters and the artwork is very humbling and moving.”

Tom, 30, is no stranger to feeling like an outcast, as he went through something most teens would never imagine facing when he was a pupil at Balshaw’s High School. At the age of 14, he was diagnosed with a cancer called Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, after doctors found a tumour in his shoulder. He underwent eight months of chemotherapy and lost his hair in the process – so he now feel as though he can relate on some level to the isolation the character in My Mad Fat Diary experiences.

Tom has been in contact with the girl who wrote the diary, Rae Earl. “We got the character and the humour from Rae,” Tom explains. “But it was my job to come up with the stories, and I relied on some of my own memories to do that.“I don’t really think it’s possible to write and not put part of yourself into it.”

And the work turned out to be more rewarding than Tom expected, as it helped him overcome some unresolved issues from when he was fighting cancer. “I was quite ill for about six months, a couple years ago,” he says. “I hadn’t dealt with my own ordeal properly, and I had a bit of a breakdown. Doctors thought I had ME because the symptoms for ME are very similar to anxiety, but really I was struggling to deal with the issues I’d gone through as a teenager. I used to be embarrassed about writing about my cancer, I don’t know why. I was ashamed I suppose. But I talked to a therapist and talked about my past, and then writing My Mad Fat Diary really helped. I think to write a good drama, there needs to be some truth in there.It was painful but it was very cathartic. I feel like I can move on from it all now.  I don’t want to disassociate myself from what I went through – it’s part of who I am and I’m proud to be a cancer survivor. But I’m in a much better place now. I’ve never felt better.”

Tom, who achieved five GCSEs at Balshaw’s as well as A-levels in theatre studies, English and media studies at Runshaw College, now feels he can enjoy the upcoming BAFTAs ceremony in London on May 18 - something he is “massively pleased” about.

He was nominated for an Oscar in 2011 for a short film he wrote about a teenage cancer patient - again drawing on his own experiences – but admits now that he wasn’t in the best frame of mind to enjoy the experience properly.

“It was a lot of pressure. It was when I wasn’t well, but I’m really looking forward to the BAFTAs next month – that will be a real treat.  I’ve learnt so much about myself and I feel much more relaxed and less worried about things now. I just take life as it comes. I’m not sure if we’ll win – we’re up against some really great shows like Broadchurch, the Village and Top of the Lake, but being named as one of four of the best drama series of the year is a real privilege.”

Next on the agenda is a trip to America – probably LA – in the summer to film the pilot of the US version of My Mad Fat Diary. “They do it differently over there. They’ll just make the pilot and see if they like it enough to make a whole series.They’re also doing 30-minute episodes rather than an hour, so there are a lot of differences. I’m working on the story now and will be working on the script over the next couple of months. I’m going to be the lead writer and show-runner. They’ll have a full writing team out there, but I’ll be in charge of managing that, so I’m really excited about it. It’s often more difficult to write shorter scripts I think, because you’ve got to fit in a lot. I expect the American version to shift more towards the comedy than the drama, so it’s our job to make sure it doesn’t head too much towards the comedy. It’s a serious subject matter and we know what response it’s had from teenagers here.”

One thing Tom will need to be on top of is making sure his Northern-isms don’t slip into the US script – but he says his American girlfriend Lorraine will keep him in check. “I suppose I’ll have to get to get used to saying ‘coffee’ instead of ‘brew’, but it shouldn’t be too hard,” he laughs. “I’ll be working with people out there too who will be able to help with the cultural differences. A guy called Jeff Greenstein is involved, who has worked on a number of really successful American TV shows such as Friends, Will and Grace, and Desperate Housewives, so that will be a great honour.”

And being in good company will also be a boost for Tom, who admits that working from home can sometimes get a bit lonely.

“I enjoy working from home because I get to be with my dog – and my girlfriend ! That part of it is really fun and it’s great to get paid to do something I love. It can be a very isolating job. It just takes practice, it’s like any profession. You learn to be disciplined and the more you do, the better you get at it. And you realise that you’ll always be learning and always improving, which I think is a really exciting thing.”


I don't get the rush to do an American remake at all. I made a post in February about a possible remake and now they are already planning to film it.
Now I'm not sure we'll get a third season since he'll be the lead writer and showrunner for this remake.
I'm sure it'll we be like Skins US and The inbetweeners US : a disaster  :(

Author: "--" Tags: "television - british, my mad fat diary (..."
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Date: Thursday, 24 Apr 2014 14:03

Inside Information...

Our journey to make The Hobbit Trilogy has been in some ways like Bilbo's own, with hidden paths revealing their secrets to us as we've gone along. “There and Back Again” felt like the right name for the second of a two film telling of the quest to reclaim Erebor, when Bilbo’s arrival there, and departure, were both contained within the second film. But with three movies, it suddenly felt misplaced—after all, Bilbo has already arrived “there” in the "Desolation of Smaug".

When we did the premiere trip late last year, I had a quiet conversation with the studio about the idea of revisiting the title. We decided to keep an open mind until a cut of the film was ready to look at. We reached that point last week, and after viewing the movie, we all agreed there is now one title that feels completely appropriate.

And so: "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies" it is.

As Professor Tolkien intended, “There and Back Again” encompasses Bilbo’s entire adventure, so don’t be surprised if you see it used on a future box-set of all three movies.

Before then however, we have a film to finish, and much to share with you. It’s been a nice quiet time for us—Jabez and I happily editing away in a dark cave in Wellington—but those halcyon days are quickly coming to an end. It will soon be time to step into the light. Expect to see and hear much about The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies in the coming months.

And there’s also The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Extended Cut, which we’re in the process of finishing, with over 25 mins of new scenes, all scored with original music composed by Howard Shore.

It’ll be a fun year!


Author: "--" Tags: "film - in development, film director, lo..."
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Date: Thursday, 24 Apr 2014 14:03

Joan Rivers doubled-down Wednesday on a joke she made Tuesday on the 'Today' show, saying her daughter's guest room was smaller than the basement the three captives shared in Ariel Castro's dungeon. She refused to apologize for the joke and even took it farther.

Joan Rivers has no sympathy for the women locked in Ariel Castro’s Cleveland “house of horrors.”

One day after Rivers compared on the "Today" her daughter’s cushy Malibu guestroom to the three women’s decade-long plight — “Those women in the basement in Cleveland had more space” — she doubled-down Wednesday on the inappropriate joke and called the victims freeloaders.

“They got to live rent free for more than a decade,” a defiant 80-year-old Rivers told TMZ on Wednesday.

The TV host and reality star brushed off the “little, stupid joke” on Wednesday, telling the Cleveland Plain Dealer, “I’m a comedienne.

“There is nothing to apologize for. I made a joke. That’s what I do. Calm down. Calm f------ down. I’m a comedienne. They’re free, so let’s move on,” Rivers told the newspaper.

The comments Tuesday drew grimaces from the “Today” hosts, prompting Rivers to ask, “Too soon?”

For the women, it was. Attorneys for Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus, two of the former captives freed May 6, called the “unfortunate comparison” both “shocking and disappointing."

“Our clients are strong, private women who have endured unwanted and often painful media attention for quite some time,” lawyers James Wooley and Heather Kimmel wrote in a statement. “They now have to endure this, which is a new low, and we believe a sincere apology is warranted.”

Rivers refused to apologize, telling TMZ the women are practically celebrities.

“One of them has a book deal. Neither are in a psych ward. They’re OK,” she said. “I bet you within 3 years one of them will be on ‘Dancing with the Stars.’”


Author: "--" Tags: "comedy / comedian, i can't, this bitch"
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Date: Thursday, 24 Apr 2014 14:03
Jessica Chastain dresses her hair up with flowers while heading into a castle to film a scene for her new movie Crimson Peak on Wednesday (April 23) in Toronto, Canada.
Joining her on set that day were her handsome co-stars Charlie Hunnam and Tom Hiddleston, as well as Mia Wasikowska.
While greeting fans after filming was over, Jessica reportedly confirmed that she will be playing the legendary Marilyn Monroe in the upcoming movie Blonde!

Author: "--" Tags: "tom hiddleston, charlie hunnam, mia wasi..."
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Date: Thursday, 24 Apr 2014 13:39
Author: "--" Tags: "candids, taylor swift"
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Date: Thursday, 24 Apr 2014 13:39

Danny Wheeler For Prom King!
Derek Theler shares a sweet dance with Chelsea Kane in this new still from Baby Daddy.
In last night's episode “Livin’ on a Prom”, Bonnie (Melissa Peterman) is tired of not being appreciated for everything she does for the boys and Emma and decides to go on strike. When it’s quickly obvious they can’t survive without her, Ben (Jean-Luc Bilodeau) realizes the best way back into his mom’s good graces is to take her to the Bon Jovi concert.
But when Tucker (Tahj Mowry) unknowingly buys fake tickets, Bonnie must get through time in Bon Jovi jail, a tough security guard (Gary Anthony Williams) and a little dilemma in the green room if she hopes to meet her idol.
Meanwhile, Riley (Kane) and Danny (Theler) return to their high school to chaperone prom and run into Vice Principal Peters (Kim Coles), who’s still inappropriately enamored with Danny.


Author: "--" Tags: "television - abc family, television prom..."
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Date: Thursday, 24 Apr 2014 13:38
Author: "--" Tags: "television - cw, television promo / stil..."
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Date: Thursday, 24 Apr 2014 13:37

Author: "--" Tags: "film poster, katy perry, music video"
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Date: Thursday, 24 Apr 2014 13:19
Lily Allen has labelled Cheryl Cole "docile pop rubbish" on her new Sheezus search engine.

The star has launched the humorous new search engine - which leads to articles about various tabloid celebrities - on her official website.

When searching for Cheryl, the Sheezus search engine responds: "Did you mean 'docile pop rubbish'?"

What's more, other results include an article on parenting advice by Katie Hopkins and the search term: "Did you mean 'has azealia banks released an album yet'?"

Allen has a long-standing feud with Cheryl Cole from the mid-noughties, while she clashed with Banks on Twitter last year after the rapper called her husband "a thumb".

The star's third studio album Sheezus will be released on May 5 and includes her singles 'Hard Out Here', 'Air Balloon' and 'Our Time'.

Watch the music video for 'Our Time' below:

Author: "--" Tags: "lily allen, cheryl cole, celebrity feud,..."
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Date: Thursday, 24 Apr 2014 11:21
Author: "--" Tags: "television promo / stills, arrow (cw)"
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Date: Thursday, 24 Apr 2014 11:20

Sometimes, it’s hard to be King Henry’s bastard son, and other times, there are worse things you could be. Just ask Bash, who has had a pretty turbulent run during Reign‘s freshman season, from falling for his brother’s girl to almost getting her to having to watch her consummate her marriage to his brother. Oh, and let’s not forget the moment his crazy father forced him to marry Kenna, the woman Henry had been sleeping with all season.
But enough with the memories! Let’s focus on the future, about which we have some good news: Things are looking up for Bash and Kenna! After the married couple shared their first real kiss last week, we’ve got an exclusive look at a very sexy (half-shirtless) meeting between the two from this week’s episode.
Ladies and gents, we give you Bash and Kenna’s sexy time

video won't embed watch at the source
Author: "--" Tags: "spoilers, reign (cw)"
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Date: Thursday, 24 Apr 2014 06:12

Bravo's “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” brawl on Sunday's reunion special saw double-digit increases in viewership year-over-year.

Also, the ratings are in for OWN's “Lindsay” finale, USA Network's “Chrisley Knows Best” season-ender and “Lifetime's “True Tori” premiere.

The first installment of the “RHOA” three-part reunion earned 4.1 total viewers and 2.3 million in the advertiser-coveted Adults 18-49 demographic. That represents a 14 percent increase in total viewers (vs. 3.6 million), but there was a slight 4 percent decrease in the advertiser demo over last season's first reunion special (vs. 2.4 million viewers).

Another headline-making story on Sunday was generated by the finale of OWN's “Lindsay,” in which Lindsay Lohan said she suffered a miscarriage during the shooting of the series. The finale didn't perform as well as one would expect considering the buzz that it generated.

The revealing two-hour finale was watched by 406,000 total viewers and a .37 rating with OWN's key demo Women 25-54. That's a 12 percent decrease in total viewers (vs. 468,000) and a 20 percent decrease in the key demo (vs. .46) over the previous week's one-hour penultimate episode.

On Tuesday, USA's comedic reality series, “Chrisley Knows Best,” ended its first season with a ratings high. It earned 890,000 viewers in the advertiser demo Adults 18-49 and 803,000 viewers in USA's target demo Adults 25-54, which represent a 10 percent and 19 percent increase over the previous week's episode, respectively.

“Chrisley Knows Best,” which features the unique fathering stylings of Todd Chrisley, has already been renewed for a 12-episode second season.

While that show was ending its first season, Lifetime's “True Tori” debuted on Tuesday. “True Tori,” which documents the travails of Tori Spelling and her cheating husband Dean McDermott, attracted 1.2 million total viewers. It also averaged 625,000 viewers in Lifetime's key demo Adults 25-54 and 615,000 viewers in the 18-49 advertiser demo.


Author: "--" Tags: "television - lifetime, television - usa ..."
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Date: Thursday, 24 Apr 2014 05:50


BTS of the People shoot.


Author: "--" Tags: "lupita nyong'o, fashion, black celebriti..."
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Date: Thursday, 24 Apr 2014 05:16

Demi Lovato loves to snap a makeup-free selfie every now and then, proudly showing her admirers what she looks like without any beauty products. And in this specific instance, what she looks like when she wakes up from a deep slumber.

The 21-year-old pop star proudly shared a naturally sultry snapshot on her Instagram account on Wednesday.
"I woke up like dis.......... at 4 pm," the "Skyscraper" crooner captioned the close-up photograph of herself giving the perfect pout while she relaxes in bed.

Lovato isn't shy about talking about her appearance and she recently took to Twitter to shut down a tweeter who called the singing sensation a "fatty," and then encouraged her followers to fight back at bullies with a little bit of love.


I've been going out makeup free lately; it feels good
Author: "--" Tags: "demi lovato"
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Date: Thursday, 24 Apr 2014 05:11
Michael B. Jordan and Victor Cruz attend the Dick's Sporting Goods 'We Could Be King' Premiere during the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival at Sunshine Landmark on April 23, 2014 in New York City.


Victor Cruz

Melissa and Joe Gorga

Author: "--" Tags: "reality show celebrity, sports / athlete..."
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Date: Thursday, 24 Apr 2014 04:54

Should you ever find yourself having to choose the most galvanizing play of the last 30 years, you wouldn't be wrong to name The Normal Heart, Larry Kramer's scalding 1985 drama about the HIV/AIDS epidemic then decimating the gay community in America. Written at a time of appalling official apathy, it tells the story of Kramer's fictional alter ego, Ned Weeks, as he tries to rouse a hostile political and medical establishment to take action against AIDS while desperately urging his fellow gay men to come out of the closet and fight for their lives. At once a manifesto, an indictment, and a cri de coeur, the play has gone from being a searing call for action to a cultural landmark.

"This play is comparable to Uncle Tom's Cabin," says playwright Tony Kushner, the author of another groundbreaking play about AIDS, Angels in America. "It's one of the rare works of American art that had a direct political impact. And it's still relevant today for many, many reasons, including the silence still surrounding the world pandemic of AIDS."

The Normal Heart is so undeniably important - 36 million people have died of HIV so far - that it seems incredible nobody ever managed to film it. One who was incredulous is Ryan Murphy, the writer-director-producer best known for creating Nip/Tuck, Glee, and American Horror Story. "I grew up loving the play, he says, "and I remember thinking, Why has this movie not been made?

And so he made it.

On May 25, nearly three decades after The Normal Heart premiered at Joseph Papp's Public Theater in a production directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg, HBO will air Murphy's screen adaptation, which stars Mark Ruffalo, Jim Parsons, Taylor Kitsch, Matt Bomer, and Julia Roberts. Scripted by Kramer, the story carries us from the sun-drenched pleasures of gay parties on Fire Island in the early eighties into the pitch-black of the nascent AIDS epidemic, with its young bodies being devoured by lesions from a virus made all the more terrifying because nobody could explain it. As our heroes - and Robert's feisty doctor - try to halt its spread, the film bristles with still-fascinating arguments about how to change the world: Is it more effective to work within the system or confront authority? And it captures the irony in the idea that just at the moment when gay men felt liberated to have sex as they chose, they were being asked to curtail it - or die.

In a choice that may well be controversial, Kramer's play has been substantially retooled, and softened, for a present-day America, where ideas that once made Kramer seem like a revolutionary firebrand have become so mainstream that according to a recent survey, the majority of Americans now support gay marriage. If the film lacks the original's provocative incandescence, its nuanced performances bring to life the personal dimension of a trailblazing political movement.

"It's no longer as angry," says Murphy of this gentler new version, which harks back to the terror and sadness of an era when gay life often looked like a death sentence. "It's not agitprop. It's stories about different kinds of love."

Some of that love is on display in a private dining room at Warner Bros., where I have lunch with Murphy and the male leads from the cast. The room brims with a genuine warmth and enthusiasm, and it's clear that the actors feel bound by having played a diverse group of gay men who work, flight, love, and grieve in the face of the greatest crisis of their lives. "I would never seriously compare acting to going to war," says Jim Parsons in the distinctive tones made famous by his role as Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory, "but we do feel like we went to battle together."

Leading the charge was Mark Ruffalo, an actor brilliant enough to have made the Incredible Hulk into an interestingly nuanced character. Himself a political activist on environmental issues, Ruffalo feels a clear affinity with Ned, a well-known writer who helps found a gay health group to deal with the AIDS epidemic, only to have his cofounders accuse him of being too aggressively outspoken in public. "Every movement has that guy," says Ruffalo, "and they need him." Yet as Ruffalo plays him, Ned's fabled stridency is less striking than the sensitivity he shows as he feeds, comforts, and even bathes his dying lover, Felix Turner (Matt Bomer). "You realize that it cost gay people to love at that time," Ruffalo says. "There were already so many things going against them - and then you add the disease."

The story really hit home for Bomer, the startlingly handsome star of TV's White Collar, who plays Felix, a genteel, sweet-smiled New York Times reporter whom we (and Ned) watch waste painfully away. One of the movie's best surprises, Bomer first read the play as a gay teen in Texas - "I knew it was part of my story," he says simply - and knocked himself out to land the part of Felix, even charting for Murphy the way AIDS would make Felix's muscle mass decompose. "It's the first great role I've had the opportunity to do," he tells me, adding that the experience was profoundly emotional. After shooting their climactic hospital scene, he and Ruffalo hugged and sobbed for so many minutes that everyone left them to be alone on the set.

If Felix casts Bomer in a rich new light, the movie marks a happy return to character work for the charismatic Kitsch, who's knack for exploring the wayward corners of troubled masculinity (obvious on Friday Night Lights) got lost in misbegotten blockbusters like John Carter and Battleship. Here he plays Ned's friend Bruce Niles, a corporate type whose poise and martial goods looks should make him the perfect front man for a gay organization - except he's professionally closeted and believes it's safer for gay people not to come out. "I'm kind of the villain," Kitsch says with a wry little smile. "But I found Bruce incredibly relatable. He's scared and doesn't know the truth about why people are dying, and he thinks he's doing the right thing."

So does the movie's most practical and even-keeled character, Tommy Boatwright (Parsons), who floats above all the furious arguments about tactics, closeting, and sexual liberation that divide the other activists. Parsons, who played the same role in the 2011 Broadway revival, says that what really connects him to Tommy is less their sexual orientation than their common personality traits: "I do tend to take a somewhat analytical view of things," he says, "so I like that Tommy's a peacekeeper who can get along with everyone."

Oddly enough for a film whose actors are so emotionally naked, nobody exposed himself more on The Normal Heart than the man behind the camera, Murphy. "Ryan can be so clever, so jaded, even world-weary," says Ruffalo, "that it can keep him from being vulnerable. But with us he created the atmosphere of vulnerability we needed."

Murphy says that tackling Kramer's play was daunting, and not simply because it is a modern classic. "The project scared me because it meant so much to me. I came of sexual age in 1982, so that feeling of 'I'm gonna die, I'm gonna die, I'm gonna die' has never left me. I now realize that there was a lot of stuff I didn't deal with as a young man. Making it was a very cathartic experience, and I hope it is for people watching it."

For Murphy, the movie is both about the past - it allows those who lives through that time to finally see their story being told - and about today, when countries like Russia and Uganda target gayness and many governments prefer to think that the HIV/AIDS crisis is over even though, on average, 6,300 men and women a day still contract HIV. At the same time, as an openly gay man, he thinks the struggle against the virus depicted in The Normal Heart offers reason for hope.

"Larry and the other organizers were true heroes," he says. "I have a wonderful life. I'm married, I have a kid, I have freedoms that as a child I never thought I would have. And I don't think I would have those freedoms without those guys. So I was interested in paying them tribute." He gives them a little nod: "Thank you for my life."


Author: "--" Tags: "television - hbo, magazine covers and ar..."
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Date: Thursday, 24 Apr 2014 04:42

The mother has a voice: Meg Ryan has been cast as the narrator for CBS’ How I Met Your Mother spin-off.

The actress has landed the unseen vocal role in the How I Met Your Dad pilot, which is considered an obvious front-runner for a series order for CBS’ schedule next season. She’ll supply the voice of “future Sally” (played during the series in flashback by Greta Gerwig), the same way Bob Saget supplied the voice for future Ted in HIMYM. Like Saget, her character will never be seen.

Ryan is one of the original modern-day rom-com movie stars, having launched her carrier in 1989 with the hit When Harry Met Sally. She’s since appeared in Sleepless in Seattle, In the Cut, and had a recurring role on Showtime’s Web Therapy. How I Met Your Dad is her first major prime-time TV series regular role. CBS and studio 20th Century Fox TV had no comment.

Author: "--" Tags: "how i met your mother (cbs), television ..."
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Date: Thursday, 24 Apr 2014 04:22

So, let's start with the caveats. This is a rumor, and it's coming from the folks at Schmoes Know, who in the last little while have been okay with their track record concerning this kind of stuff. That said, this could still totally be off base and wrong, but it's intriguing enough to consider.

According to the site, Jessica Chastain is being sought for a starring role in "Mission: Impossible 5" with Tom Cruise, and has received an offer. It's not known what the role would be, but it wouldn't be the first time these two have tried to work together. You might have forgotten but Chastain was originally attached to "Oblivion," but scheduling forced her drop out, and she was replaced by Olga Kurylenko. And theoretically, Chastain would be able to fit this movie into her schedule. Though she just signed up for Andrew Dominik's "Blonde,"that movie (last we heard anyway, which was a while back) is aiming to shoot in August. As for "Mission: Impossible 5," it does have a Christmas Day 2015 release date locked down, so presumably it will be rolling before the year is out.

A lot of things need to happen before this rumor parses out (if it's true) including contracts, and scheduling and all that sort of thing. But, considering 'Ghost Protocol' was the most success entry in the series worldwide to date, director Christopher McQuarrie shouldn't have too hard a time lining up big talent for the next adventure, no matter who it is.


Author: "--" Tags: "film - in development, jessica chastain,..."
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