Certainly one of the more unexpected properties to serve as the basis for a narrative feature, Deadline reports that Just Born, Incorporated's marshmallow Peeps are being targeted for the big screen. Underdog scribe Adam Rifkin has secured the rights to the sugary treats and will be providing the screenplay.
The Peeps movie is planned to take place on the eve of the annual Peeps diorama contest. The heroic lead Peep will have to journey through various other dioramas (and their respective fantasy environments) to return to its rightful home. Likened to The LEGO Movie, the Peeps film hopes to also make use of other intellectual property characters, although none have as of yet been revealed.
Originally created in 1952, Peeps have become a mainstay of Easter baskets and are now available in a number of different flavors and varieties.
what other unlikely property will Hollywood adapt next?
One Direction fans have failed to help the band beat Miley Cyrus’ VEVO 24-hour record with their brand new music video.
Miley clocked up more than 19 million views in just a day when she released her controversial clip last year, but Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne and Niall Horan fell quite a bit short of her achievement in April 2014.
The 1D hunk donned a casual checked shirt (that you just know cost more than our month’s wages!) and his usual hat and looked totally delectable as he stopped to chat with a little fan. Look how his curls perfectly frame his perfectly, perfect face.
Dedicated to klippshaw ʕ´•ᴥ•`ʔ
"That was pretty intense."
Understatement of the TV season much?! That's what Game of Thrones star Natalie Dormer had to say to E! News about the controversial rape scene that went down between Cersei (Lena Headey) and Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) in the HBO hit's latest episode.
And while the scene on its own was already shocking, given that the brother and sister had sex next to their dead son, King Joffrey's (Jack Gleeson) corpse, the fact that it was originally a consensual sex scene in the books that showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss decided to change for the small screen made it even more so.
And similar to fans of the series, Dormer reveals to E! News' Alicia Quarles that her costar Lena Headey also had "mixed feelings" about the scene debated 'round the Internet.
"I remember talking to her in the makeup trailer the day before she had to shoot that, she had mixed feelings about it for obvious reasons," Dormer, who plays Margaery Tyrell, Joffrey's recent widow, says. "But as an actor, those scenes are the ones you really get to sink your teeth into, so there's sort of a perverse enjoyment in exploring those really dramatic moments as well." Watch our interview with Dormer above for more of her thoughts on the scene, as well as scoop on the "good stuff" coming up for Margaery and Cersei.
video interview at SOURCE
excited for the cersei/margaery stuff tbh. thats one thing that i think the show may do well.
The series regular behind the Fox drama's latest death talks to THR about the brutal demise ("It was like 'Buffy'"), ending on a tragic note and knowing who survives the season.
The deaths just keep on coming.
After Lily Gray died at the hands of Michael Weston in last week's The Following, loyal Joe Carroll follower Emma Hill suffered a similar fate in Monday's episode, "Silence." (But was she the only major character to die? Michael Westen's fate was left up in the air as we heard a gunshot as the screen faded to black.)
Here's how it all went down: After Claire Matthews sent a cryptic message informing Joe that she was alive, the serial killer/cult leader drafted Emma to meet Claire instead. Their meeting is explosive, to say the least, as the two engage in a showdown to end all showdowns. In a climactic moment, Claire throws Emma out a third-story window (after stabbing her, of course), causing Emma's demise. Or so we think! Emma attempts one last fatal blow, but it's Claire who has the last laugh and, in true execution style, stakes Emma with a piece of wood. R.I.P. Emma.
For Valorie Curry, who has played Emma on The Following since the pilot, the death was a question of when, not if. As she tells The Hollywood Reporter exclusively, "You have to eliminate certain elements in order to let the show be something new next season, and I think the story between Emma and Joe had run its course." In an in-depth chat with THR, the actress recalls the moment she first learned of Emma's fate, tells why her demise was very Buffy the Vampire Slayer-esque, and defends Emma's "callous" actions "to the end."
When were you first informed that Emma would die?
I found out while we were shooting episode 13 ["The Reaping"]. We didn't have a script yet for 14, but our executive producer, Marcos Siega, told me on set. He already had an idea of how it was going to happen and who was going to kill Emma. There was a little bit of warning; it's frankly more than some people have gotten on the show, because things move so quickly. (Laughs)
What was your initial reaction when he told you of Emma's fate?
I honestly was expecting it at this point because of the way this story was going. I've seen enough people go down that road in this show. You could see the writing on the wall. We were gearing up toward the end, and last season a lot of people died near the end. I was in my dressing room. I get a knock on my door before we start shooting, and there's Marcos and he's just looking so apologetic and scared. He didn't even say anything, and I was like, "I know. It's OK, I know." (Laughs) I wasn't really surprised in terms of the story. My reaction was more personal, because this cast and crew has been very much like a family the past couple of years. It's been important for me in terms of my career and my life. It's been home base, it's been a consistent thing, and that's what made me sad. I'm sure I'll work with everyone lots more.
Are you satisfied with how Emma dies?
I hope that it is as meaningful as I've wanted it to be. I knew that she was going to die at some point -- I know what show I'm on. All I wanted was a death that was poignant and meaningful for the character, as I felt Jacob's was [in season one]. I think that the fans will be really satisfied, especially because it's Claire bringing everything full circle. It doesn't have the intimacy of the Jacob-Emma scene -- it is a knock-down, drag-out fight to the death, and [Emma] doesn't go down easily. Instead of it being about her relationship with Claire, it's the intensity of fighting for her life, which is ironic, because what I found in reading the script is by the time it happens, Emma realizes she's ready for it to be over. She's in a miserable existence of loving this man she can't escape, and when she was on her own she didn't exist, really, and she can't exist without [Joe]. She just wants the peace. That's what I felt was really lovely. There's a scene where Emma speaks more than she's ever spoken where she talks about that and about what death is. It broke my heart when I first read it. As a person who loves Emma, I'm glad for her. She's found her peace now.
You mentioned that Emma doesn't go down easily. I love that there's a moment where you think Emma's dead after Claire pushes her out the window, but not so fast, she's back!
Oh yeah! We did that good horror movie shocker moment where you think she's dead and then the hand reaches out and grabs her and brings her down. But it could go any way, because at that moment, both of these women are equally strong and equally fueled. Emma gets stabbed, then she gets thrown out a window, then she gets staked like a vampire. It's very vampire, zombie-esque; remove the head or destroy the brain is the only way to kill Emma. (Laughs) It was like Buffy -- [Claire] picks up a piece of wood from a broken window frame and impales her.
How difficult was it shooting that fight sequence? As I understand, it was near zero degrees in New York.
It was ridiculous. We were at Bear Mountain in upstate [New York], and it was between 15 to 20 degrees and we were shooting pretty much all night outside. It's been the nature of season two, though, because we've been battling this New York winter. It was a weird meditative state to have to lay there dead, staring up at the sky, thinking "Don't move, don't move," and you want to cry because it's so cold. But it fueled us and gave us more adrenaline.
Were there other things you hoped Emma would have gotten to do or people you would've liked her to have interactions with?
We've done two seasons, and Shawn Ashmore [who plays Michael Weston] and I have never worked together once. (Laughs) That would've been nice. I never worked with Jess[ica Stroup, who plays Max Hardy]. What I said going into season two is still true, that I was excited because I knew Emma was going to be on her own, and I was looking forward to seeing who she was going to become -- what would fill that void without Joe Carroll. What we found is that she doesn't exist without him, and that's the tragedy to me of Emma in season two. She could have been someone so strong and so capable, and without Joe, even with Joe, she's given up too much of herself and too much of her life for him, and there's nothing left. James [Purefoy] and I always joke about this: "Does he really love her? Don't tell me. I don't want to know." Emma knew the truth, but at the same time she'd rather bask in the proximity than be away from him.
If Emma had never met Joe, would she have been better off?
I wonder about that because of the life she was living with her mother at that point. Up until the end, she wasn't a bloodthirsty killer -- she wasn't violent by nature. She was utterly callous, a sociopath. I don't think she would have become some serial killer or anything like that, but I don't know, because he was the person who empowered her. She was so disenfranchised and weak and vulnerable living with her mother in that abusive household. She traded one abusive parent for another. I don't know what would have become of her. I'd like to think that she'd like to be some high-powered literary publisher, ruthless in her business dealings -- I think that'd be the best possible outcome for her. It's still probably rather unlikely. It would have been a sad life for her in any case, which is tragic.
There have already been a few big deaths this season. How grim are things for Ryan and Co. as we march toward the finale?
I do know who lives and who dies...at this point, we'll see. That's the thing, anyone could go at any moment. The actors know it, the characters know they're in life and death circumstances and they're willing to put their lives at risk for what's important for them, whether that's justice or revenge or their own agenda. I think it's pretty dire. At the end of the episode, it's set up like nobody could come out of this alive.
What are you going to miss most about Emma?
I love Emma. I defend her to the end, and I love getting into arguments where they're like "I hate her! She's the worst!" It has been an eye-opening experience to play a female villain and to see a lot of double standards in the audience's reaction to the men versus the women. I will miss the humor of her dryness, which can be so absurd. I won't miss the weight that she always had to carry, especially in season two. I'm happy that she's come to an end and that arc is finished and she's in a better place, maybe...probably not. It's a character that would be exhausting to live with for a very long time.
What's next for you?
I'm open to a lot of things, which is very exciting. And everything that I'm looking at is very different from Emma, so whether that's TV, film, theater, which I'd love to get back to, which is perfect in New York because now I'm staying. This is my adopted city now. Doing something other than calculating villain is what I'm excited about, something a little bit more empathetic. I think it'd be a hard time getting somebody to put me in a rom-com. (Laughs)
The Hollywood Reporter
In last night’s episode of Mad Men, a swift turn of events placed Don Draper’s African-American secretary in a power position few (especially Bert Cooper!) could have predicted: Dawn Chambers is now SC&P’s office manager, effectively becoming Joan Harris in a smart blazer and hoop earrings, with a tart tongue to match. While Joan moved into an account management role more suited for her partnership status, Dawn’s ability to seamlessly juggle Don’s secrets and new boss Lou Avery’s nonstop belittling was finally rewarded at the end of the episode when she took her seat in Joan’s old office.
For Teyonah Parris, who has played Dawn since the start of Season 5, this episode was an actor’s dream come true, filled with meaty scenes and opportunities to show off Dawn’s strong side. Flavorwire got on the phone with her first thing this morning to chat about this major turn of events for her character.
Flavorwire: Congratulations! Dawn is now the office manager at Sterling Cooper & Partners! That is awesome!
Teyonah Parris: YES! It is, it is!
What went through your mind when you first got this script? Dawn has had some juicy scenes before, but nothing like this.
Well, while I was reading it, I went through just as many emotions as the audience when they’re watching it. Because you just don’t know what happens, so first of all, I speak badly to Lou – I was like, “Oh, OK.” This is who she is, this is who she’s grown into. She’s become comfortable enough to do something like that. OK. She’s standing up for herself. And then [laughs] I get demoted to the front desk – I said, “Oh, God! All right, Dawn, good seeing you, we’ll never see you again!” Then when Bert comes in and says to Joan, “She can’t be up there,” I was like, “OK, she’s really going to get fired.” And to see her actually get a promotion after all of what she just went through, that was pretty awesome. And very emotionally draining. All those ups and downs. But it was so much fun to do, though!
I’m sure. Can you even pick a favorite scene of yours from this episode? You mouthed off to Lou, you had a hilarious interaction with the idiotic receptionist Meredith, you were playing office spy for Don…
Stephanie Drake, the actor who plays Meredith, she’s hilarious. She is so good as Meredith. We would be filming, and that was our first time getting to film together, and it was so hard to keep a straight face every time because she plays that kind of brainless, or, mind-of-a-child-type character so well. And I remember just busting out laughing while we were trying to do that scene because it was just so funny.
But I would say one of my favorite scenes, because I had many this episode, was the one in the kitchen with Shirley (Sola Bamis). That was fun – it felt like just a little peek into what we talk about, like [each of us] always being mistaken as the other one, and just making light of it, and you really get to see Dawn and Shirley both without having to have that filter of a smile.
On Twitter, I saw plenty of buzz for a Dawn-and-Shirley spin-off. Are you game?
Yes, I am all for that!
Now that Shirley is Lou’s secretary and Dawn has been promoted, do you think there’s going to be some friction between Dawn and Shirley?
I really don’t know. It’s always interesting when you go from being peers to someone’s superior, so it’s possible the relationship between Dawn and all the secretaries could change, and it’s possible that it could work to Dawn’s favor in knowing everything that the secretaries go through and maybe being able to handle it differently than Joan has in the past. I think what’s exciting is seeing, if they decide to address things like that, how they’ll handle it.
How would Dawn handle things differently than Joan?
I think it’s a little difficult to answer because I haven’t had the power that Joan has had. But even in the office where we’re addressing Lou, you see Joan as very much, “Let’s sit on this – let’s put everything through that filter of a smile. This is not the appropriate time.” And Dawn just kind of goes for it. And I think it was just so much happening – she’s working for two people and she’s doing a great job at both: she’s at Don’s house at all hours of the night just to give him information, to keep him abreast, and doing her entire job at the office, and buying perfume for her other boss’ wife. It’s just so much, and for Lou to flip out at Dawn for not being there [when Sally showed up] when she was out doing stuff for him, I don’t even think she thought about it. It was just that gut reaction [that] came out. That’s how Joan and Dawn are different.
Well, I think it worked in her favor. I think Joan saw something in her in that moment, and that’s what helped push her toward that promotion.
I think you’re right! I would agree with that! [Laughs.]
How has Dawn changed throughout the seasons?
I think when we first met Dawn she was a bit timid, and really, really you could almost physically see her keeping her head down, just trying to stay out of the way and do what was needed. And I think in the last three seasons now, we’ve watched her grow and she’s become a bit more comfortable in her skin as well as in this office. Now, since she first started, there are more black people there, so I think it’s been cool to see her, with the help of time and getting to know the people and the job, just ease into this role and be really good at it in an effortless way. I think she continues to excel at everything she does and juggle multiple balls, so to speak, and she does well with it. And it’s been fun to see her grow – now she’s able to go into her superior’s office and actually stick up for herself in a way that we haven’t really seen her do before. When she got in trouble with Joan last season, you just kind of see her tuck her tail and run to her girlfriend and spill everything to her. And now, here, this season, we see her actually standing up for herself. I think it’s really cool.
How do you think Bert Cooper is going to react to this new arrangement?
Well, people can’t see me from the other offices, so hopefully he’ll be OK with it [laughs].
HBO has renewed the comedy series Veep for a fourth season and Silicon Valley for a second one.
Veep kicked off its 10-episode season on April 6 and stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Vice President Selina Meyer. The cast also includes Tony Hale, Anna Chlumsky, Reid Scott, Matt Walsh, Timothy C. Simons, Sufe Bradshaw and Kevin Dunn.
Silicon Valley is from Mike Judge (Office Space,) and is partially inspired by his own experiences as a valley engineer in the late ‘80s. It began its eight-episode first season on April 6.
Four years have gone by since we last saw Berk on the big screen. This summer, writer/director Dean DeBlois and star Jay Baruchel return with How To Train Your Dragon 2. The duo participated in a press conference during WonderCon, where they had some things to say about the upcoming sequel, Cate Blanchett‘s role in the film, and how the franchise will continue to evolve.
Question: Can you talk a little bit about how things have changed since the first movie?
Dean DeBlois: Well, we’ve advanced the story five years after the first film because Hiccup had everything he wanted at the end of the first movie. He had the admiration of his father and the respect of the town and the affection of Astrid. So when we looked to give him a new problem, we looked at our own journeys through life and realized that there’s that moment when you look back at childhood with longing and realize that the future is daunting because you have to become an adult. Hiccup is being groomed to become a chief, and that seems like a very dull and unexciting future. So it’s really about discovering the other half of his soul and he expresses that by constantly mapping and exploring uncharted islands and finding new dragons and finding new conflicts.
Q: Sequels tend to be more ambitious. How has the scope of this movie changed from the first film?
DeBlois: The scope gets really big in this movie. What Hiccup discovers while he’s out mapping the world is that there’s a brewing conflict, that conflict being incited by a very ambitious conqueror, Drago Bludvist, who’s looking to build a dragon army and he’s played by Djimon Hounsou. He employs dragon trappers. And one of the self-declared best dragon trappers is Eret, Son of Eret, played by Kit Harington. He’s a guy with some misplaced loyalty. And then there’s the third character, Valka, Hiccup’s mom, played by Cate Blanchett, who’s waging this one-woman war against Drago by rescuing those dragons and whisking them back to a sanctuary where she mends them back to health.
Q: Could you talk a bit about Cate Blanchett’s involvement and how she comes into the story?
DeBlois: We had hoped that that was going to remain a secret until people saw the movie. I think Hiccup realizing that a part of him is missing is drawn from the first movie, this idea of his mother and ‘Where is she?’ We thought it’d be interesting if she was missing for 20 years, and in those 20 years she’s been living with dragons and learning their ways and discovering their secrets and becoming their fierce protector. And if Hiccup were to run into this interesting, exciting person who’s living this dragon-centric life, how would he react? It’s really about him expanding his own self-discovery.
Q: How does the television series factor in to the movie franchise? Will the stories intersect at some point?
Jay Baruchel: One of the cool things about the TV show is that we get to go into everyday life. What the TV show gives us is the opportunity to put the audience in that neighborhood and the islands and see what life is like every day.
DeBlois: The idea of doing a sequel needed to be necessary to me. I think there were enough unanswered questions in the first movie that there was more story to be told, but my pitch was that it be a trilogy and the second movie would be like the middle act of a three-part story. It will culminate in a very finite way.
Q: Jay, how did you become involved with the TV series?
Baruchel: Well for me there was no question. I didn’t want anyone else to play the role. I think part of the actor’s job is to take ownership of the character and to be defensive and protective and all that stuff. So when it was first mentioned that Hiccup might have a life on television, I was very interested. What was cool about the TV show is that it takes place in between the two movies, so when we’re done with the franchise we’ll have given the world a very full, complete story. Selfishly, it’s kept me in that mind space. A lot of people have been asking me what it’s like to come back to this world and my answer is, “I never left.” I love that we’re creating this full, bulky multimedia world.
Q: Is there anything you do differently to prepare to do voice-work?
Baruchel: My getting ready involves waking up, taking a shower and going in there. Sometimes I don’t even shower, because I don’t have to. I don’t have to put makeup on or a costume or anything. Sometimes I give myself a mission to not shower for two weeks if I’m going to be in a room with [Dean] for a few hours. I adore it. When I started acting I was 12, and one of the first gigs I had was dubbing shows from French to English in Montreal. Dubbing is about as thankless and labor intensive as voice acting gets. This is just a dream. I love it because I have a pretty overactive imagination and I’m a chronic daydreamer, and being in that booth that’s what’s required because there are no actual dragons in front of me… nor in the world, I suspect.
Q: Was it challenging to do the voice acting with the other actors?
Baruchel: No. I think in this one I was in the same room with another actor once. But here’s the thing, this is a fairly international cast and a big cast so some of us are in Australia, some of us are in Canada, some of us are in the States, in different parts of the States. One of the cool things about voice acting is that sort of stuff doesn’t step in the way of things. We can still find a way to create with one another and all that stuff. For me, I’m usually in isolation.
DeBlois: It’s nice when we can get actors together because you can let them run the scene and step on each other’s lines and sometimes go off script if it feels right. I think the voice acting in animation is the only spontaneous element. Everything else is so meticulously planned and executed and happens over the course of several years. I encourage it whenever I can.
Q: What is the process of creating the dragons in the movie?
DeBlois: We have a group of dragons that were designed to fill the backspace, because Valka has a dragon sanctuary filled with dragons she’s rescued. And we actually came up with a modular system for it by pairing different bodies with wings and tails and coming up with endless varieties that way. They are the background in a sense, these thousands of new dragons. Featured, there are about the same number of dragons as from the first film who have hero moments that really well-rigged and well thought out.
Q: Having played the character for so long, are you allowed a certain amount of input?
Baruchel: I’d like to think so. They could be humoring me for all I know.
DeBlois: Hiccup is so similar to Jay that whenever I have a question about how or what he might say, I give up the fight because I know I may have heard it a certain way in my head, but that’s just me second-guessing him. He’s the greatest authority on the character. I try to get it in the neighborhood and he takes it home.
Q: Dean, do you do any of the voices in the film?
DeBlois: No. I do a lot of the temporary voicing. In fact, I’m the temporary voice of Hiccup until Jay comes in. It’s horrible and embarrassing and I’d never let any of you hear it. I’m not an actor and I’m very happy to hand it over to Jay.
Baruchel: [grinning] It makes my life wonderful. I look forward to it so much. His temp work in this—[bursts into laughter]. It’s the reason I get up the morning, are you kidding me?
Q: What’s the plan for the franchise going forward?
DeBlois: I know that they’re preparing for a third season of the TV show, but I don’t know if it’s been greenlit yet. The idea of the third season would actually begin to help set up the second movie. They’ve done two seasons that intentionally weren’t stepping on our toes in terms of the surprises and reveals that we have, and now that the second movie will be out there, the third season could get closer to setups of those things and hopefully create a seamless narrative. I know there has been talk about expanding the universe with young adult novels that would explore different characters and different backstories. That’s all stuff to come, and there’s a lot of ambition to keep developing the world and going as far as we can.
How To Train Your Dragon 2 will arrive in theaters June 13, with the third movie slated for June 17, 2016.
If you haven't seen the first five minutes of How to Train Your Dragon 2 in the theater yet, the clip is now available on Yahoo Movies! There aren't any big spoilers because most of the action has been released before in other clips – it's just in context this time.
Can't embed so click on the image :/
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Diane Kruger and Joshua Jackson attended the second weekend of Coachella Valley Music Festival wearing matching outfits.
JustJared | DailyMail | JustJared
It looks like ☆Jennifer Lawrence☆ is saying goodbye to short hair.
On Monday the 23-year-old actress showed off longer blonde locks as she walked into the studio that houses Good Morning America in New York City. The Oscar-winning beauty first cut off her long mane in November after confessing it had become 'fried' from being 'dyed too much.'
The Hunger Games actress also revealed toned pins in a flirty mini dress with high heeled sandals making her gams look even more slender.
☆Jennifer☆ teamed her flirty frock with a white bolero jacket adorned with silver metal pieces throughout and a tan leather clutch.
She was also snapped on set at LIVE with Kelly and Michael!
Every week we take a peek back at the best of the hair, makeup, and naillooks we saw on the blog, and this one is no different. Here's the cream of the crop:
Look 1) Rihanna's glowing beachy hair and makeup look at the MTV Movie Awards.
Look 2) Camilla Belle's bubble-gum-pink lips.
Look 3) Candice Swanepoel's sexy gold eyeliner.
Look 4) Emma Stone's very on-trend blue eyeshadow.
Look 5) Kim Kardashian's adorable Audrey Hepburn ponytail (on a commercial shoot).
Have any of you guys tried or bought anything new this week to change your look?
"In those days, there used to be men whose hands would linger on your waist" ... "it just became what men did"
The actress Joanna Lumley has spoken out against historic sexual assault claims, saying things have “gone quite far now”.
In an interview with The Times Magazine, the Absolutely Fabulous star said that it was a “difficult” issue but suggested that certain actions were a product of their time.
Ms Lumley said: “In those days, there used to be men whose hands would linger on your waist. That always went on. As for being insulted, you learn graceful ways to get round it.
“This is not dissing the women who have had their lives wrecked, although why some took 50 years to say it, I don’t know. It’s difficult. Of course we want people who have been raped to be treated seriously at the police station, which I don’t think they were [back then], but I think it could have gone quite far now."
She added: “Being patted on the bottom, no. It’s not assault.”
Ms Lumley, who is 68 next month, began her career as a model in London in the 1960s, when many of the alleged offences are said to have taken place.
Asked whether she had ever suffered from “wandering-hand syndrome”, Ms Lumley said “it just became what men did”.
And she suggested that women should also take responsibility for men’s behaviour towards them.
Referring to a speech delivered by Sister Elizabeth at her convent school, Ms Lumley recalled: “She had never known a man in the biblical sense, but was tremendously wise and when we were in the fifth or sixth form, she said, ‘Don’t lead men on because they get to a point when they really can’t stop, and it’s not fair, so don’t do it and don’t be silly. They are different from us in that way’.
“I thought, ‘What a wise thing.’”
The glamorous actress, who recently played Aunt Emma alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in Martin Scorsese’s Wolf of Wall Street also said that while she views herself as a feminist in terms of “equal pay for equal work”, she also sees fundamental differences between men and women.
"This revolution was bound to come, that women are the same as men, but I don’t think women are the same as men.
“I just feel that we think differently, achieve things by different methods. I think women like chitter-chattering together and I don’t think men do. I think men like board meetings, and I am not sure women love them quite so much. I think women tend to use fewer utensils when cooking than men. I think women like buying new things rather too often while it is hard to get men to part with an old friendly garment."
She added: “But I don’t even think of myself as a woman, just a person. Not even a person: a pair of eyes on a periscope stick.”
A number of high-profile figures have appeared in court on historic sexual assault charges. Last summer former BBC broadcaster Stuart Hall, 84, was sentenced to 30 months for sexually abusing girls between 1967 and 1985.
If you value your sanity ... I'd avoid the comments at source
In the beginning of April, Sydney-based photographer Rohan Anderson found himself embroiled in a nasty back-and-forth with the band Red Jumpsuit Apparatus over a photo of his they had used without credit or permission.
Often, when you let someone know they’ve infringed on your copyright, you get an apology and an offer to make things right. This is not what happened to Anderson.
The story begins with Anderson running across one of his images — cropped, lowered in quality and filtered for Instagram — posted without credit on the Red Jumpsuit Apparatus Facebook.
You can see the cropped version and the original below:
In most circumstances, Anderson explains in a lengthy blog post about the ordeal, most bands who post his photos on social media without first asking credit or thank him and so he will just let it go. But given that the photo had been altered, the watermark cropped out and the quality degraded, he requested via email that the band take the photo down or pay to use it.
He and some of his friends also commented on the image — comments that were quickly deleted — which led to this minor change:
This was not enough in Anderson’s opinion. Adding credit wasn’t what he had requested and he still hadn’t heard back from his previous email. So he tried again and, for good measure, sent a Facebook message to the band as well.
Here’s his message and their less than professional reply:
This was followed by a reply to his email that read:
"You have no legal claim as the photo is credited and is not posted for a monetary gain and features our likeness and image not yours. Also you have just got your self banned from any festival or show we ever play again in that region for life! Congrats!"
-Sent from my iPhone
Anderson was stunned. “Usually I receive an email saying something along the lines of ‘Sorry! We weren’t sure of the original owner, we’ve taken it down for you.’” he writes on his blog. “The fact that they decided to “ban” me from any future shows simply for standing up for my intellectual property absolutely stuns me.”
He wrote the band back pointing out that this wasn’t how copyright for an image worked, asking that the image be removed and they apologize for their unprofessional conduct thus far, and explaining that he would be taking legal action if those things didn’t happen.
He was greeted by this response:
We welcome the “lawyer” and his response. As for the lol it was funny, life is funny. If you want to take it any other way that’s fine with us. As for the “tables turning” remark our music is everywhere illegally and we let it go like all other “professionals” try it out sometime. Most unknown photographers are happy to have world wide known bands use their photos and consider it an honor, you are clearly an example of the opposite.
Don’t send anymore threats or you’ll be hearing from our Lawyer!
Have a nice day ;)
- Sent from my iPhone
The back and forth — which you can read in detail on Anderson’s blog — continued in this manner. The image was eventually removed, but at that point Anderson felt he was well within his rights to demand an apology and payment, to which he received a threat of legal action.
The band also got in touch with the editor of the publication he had photographed their show for and presented a less-than-accurate version of events to try and get Anderson in some sort of trouble. This was cleared up fairly quickly when Anderson sent the editor their entire e-mail conversation and the company instead blacklisted the band:
As I suspected, you have been entirely professional against a barrage of unprofessional and juvenile behaviour from the band… rest assured that the band is now blacklisted from (removed). It’s a shame that they’ve acted in this manner. (Removed) supports you 100% on this.
This is where the story stopped until yesterday when his blog post exploded on r/photography garnering well over 1,000 upvotes and attracting a lot of attention. Last night, we got in touch with Anderson for permission to share this story and his photographs/screenshots and emailed the band for comment before turning in.
We received no reply from the band, but it seems they did find out about Anderson’s post because they linked to it (yet another classy move) in the following tweet. The tweet has since been deleted:
Surprisingly, a few hours after this tweet went up, the band apologized and agreed to pay Anderson. We have no way of knowing, but based on some of the replies on their Twitter and the timing of it all, we would guess that their tweet that was meant to shame Anderson for protecting his copyright backfired at least in part.
Responses along the lines of “he should know that Instagram is going to crop his photo and should watermark appropriately #rohanisatool” did come in, but the band’s apologetic tweet — complete with a #sorryrohan tag — and agreement to pay seems to indicate that either the response wasn’t positive, or a PR manager finally got involved.
If you’d like to read the entire story from Rohan’s perspective and get more details (he has reproduced the email convo in its entirety) you can head over to his blog by clicking here.
As he himself said in an update to the post early this morning, “I think this is a big win for not only me, but all photographers around the world.” It’s nice to see the little guy win a copyright bout… especially one that started as nasty as this one did.
Vladimir Labissiere sits off Sunset Boulevard in his new black Mercedes E350. He's monitoring the competition – OK, he's calling them fucking cock-blowers – and talking about the time Woody Harrelson jumped his ass and said he was a zombie.
He is parked in an alley across from the London hotel, one of his favorite haunts. Labissiere spends a lot of time in alleys waiting for his shots. That's when he's not trailing behind celebrity SUVs that are taking tots home from play dates.
The 40-year-old Vlad is six feet three, but he's no zombie. His something more monstrous in the eyes of stars like Harrelson. He's a pap, singular for paparazzi, the despised shooters who bring you all the video and pics you claim to loathe but actually stare at online for hours. Vlad's Mercedes is hidden on purpose; he doesn't want another pap to jump his shot because that kills its value. Paps are known by their nicknames – Bam-Bam, Zazy, Top Hat Rick and Mexican Vlad, not to be confused with our Vlad, who is also known as the Black Russian.
He's one of hundreds of Angelenos who represent a tripped-out rainbow of the American dream – Haitian-Americans like Vlad, aviator-wearing Persians, Brazilians with questionable immigration status, Mexican-Americans in broken-down vans, Eurotrash in leather jackets and the occasional Caucasian dude on a motorcycle – trying to make a living on anywhere from $10,000 to $150,000 a year by photographing every move an A-, B- or D-lister makes, short of using the toilet. (Bathroom shots are probably just a year or two away.) Some of the stars hate them, some of the stars use them in a now-estimated billiondollar business, where millions of insatiable readers scan websites, magazines and television shows for the tiniest scrap of information on the second lead in a Lifetime reality show. The paps struggle not to get squished by TMZ, the Godzilla of the tabloid world, which has the influence, sources and cash to swamp a pap working on his own.
Vlad is one of the last of the lone wolves. Right now, he's waiting on British pop star Jessie J to emerge and head to a nearby recording studio. Vlad checks her Instagram page and sees that she's at the rooftop pool, so it will be a while. He starts talking about his encounter with Harrelson in 2009, as hip-hop blasts from his radio. Vlad's gone solo since, but at the time he was shooting for TMZ. He caught Harrelson and his daughter coming off a flight. "I'm asking questions, trying to keep it light. 'Hey, Woody, so how you feelin', man? I know you must be a little out of it, but . . . are those pants made out of hemp?' And the dude bum-rushes me and smashes my camera to shit. I'm like, 'Woody, that's assault, that's assault.'"
It was Vlad's first meltdown with a star, but it wouldn't be his last. There have been run-ins with Robert De Niro's driver; Hopper Penn, Sean's son; and Amanda Bynes in the past four years. He stops talking. Another pap is walking up, a smile on his face. Vlad won't roll down the window.
"That dude is a leech," says Vlad. "He's a virus, yo, a parasite motherfucker. Every fuckin' day this cock-blower just runs around, jumpin' on shit. But his bitch ass will have a fuckin' cow if you jump on his shit." He slips into a decent Cockney accent: "Eh! Come on, mate, you're jumping my shot."
Vlad speaks in his own personal English Esperanto, an oft-obscene language with made-up phrases – e.g., "funky pumper" for a woman's backside – blended through a childhood split between Port-Au-Prince and Flatbush, Brooklyn. The Brit trudges away. Vlad goes back to talking about Woody. Luckily, he had another minicam and started filming Harrelson with that. This did not endear him to Woody. "He fuckin' jumps on my back. Now I'm like, 'Dude! Seriously? Come on!' The asshole is piggybacking on me, punching at me. I'm like, 'Word?'"
Paps live on situational awareness – a sixth sense anticipating what is going to happen next. Vlad spies a double-decker bus heading down Sunset. But this one is different from the tour buses trawling through West Hollywood on the lookout for Kanye and Kim leaving the Chateau Marmont. On the side is a Playboy logo; the upstairs seats are filled with dozens of bunnies. Vlad throws the Mercedes into drive.
The Brit follows in his SUV. Vlad is displeased. He cuts the dude off and barks more creative obscenities. He catches up to the Playboy bus on Sunset. He jumps out of the car and starts shooting bunnies. The girls wave and blow kisses.
"Hey, girls, looking lovely." He locks eyes with an Asian bunny. "I like you."
It all takes three minutes. The Brit trails behind. He shoots Vlad an isn't-that-something look, but Vlad just curses, spits and piles back into the car. A phone call comes in from Dominic, a 19-year-old pap from Zurich. Dominic works the celebrity quadrant from West Hollywood to Beverly Hills on a bike because he lost his license for reckless driving back in Europe. Vlad started out on his bike when he first came to Los Angeles in 2010, so he treats Dominic semi-nicely, in a Fagin-Oliver kind of way. They talk six or seven times a day, trading info on stars who are heading in one another's direction. Dominic has just checked in on the 9 a.m. SoulCycle class on Sunset where Olivia Wilde and Ashley Benson sweat it out on the bike. He's trying to tell Vlad something, but Vlad talks over him, still pissed off about the Brit.
"This motherfucker, yo, comes and jumped. I hate him. . . ."
"Hey, did you hear what I just said?"
"There's this kid on Sunset parked right by the fucking gym, sitting in his car, doing coke at 10 in the morning. He's doing it off his knee!"
"No way! You see some of the weirdest shit in the early morning, son. First you see a dude beatin' off in Hollywood. You come to fuckin' West Hollywood, you see some dude doin' coke."
Dominic clicks off, and Vlad takes the Mercedes back to the London hotel. Oh, yeah, Woody. After Harrelson finally stalked away, Vlad called in to the TMZ office. He told them he'd been attacked, but the home office had other concerns. They wanted to know if he had video. (He did.) Vlad's face sags a bit. "This dude just attacked me, and all I hear back is, 'Did you get the shot?,' not 'Are you OK?'"
Afterward, Harrelson semiseriously claimed he'd just come from wrapping Zombieland and thought Vlad was, uh, a zombie. No charges were filed. Vlad is still bummed by TMZ's reaction. "It's like they only cared that I got the picture."
The Mercedes is now back in position. Vlad stares at the hotel-lobby entrance. And he waits.
In the two weeks that I followed Vlad, he abandoned me and his Mercedes on Sunset Boulevard on a Saturday night so he could shoot Molly Shannon, thought he saw former stripper Blac Chyna but declared her ass not big enough, berated me for bringing a banana into his ride, fell at Chaka Khan's feet, and shot George Clooney on his way to picking up his girlfriend for date night. He also called Ashley Tisdale a name not uttered in polite society after the star used her niece as a shield to ward off Vlad and other paps.
But let's not get ahead of ourselves. I first met him at King's Road Cafe in West Hollywood, a quiet restaurant that Vlad semi-hates because he's had to shoot Jane Lynch there repeatedly.
"She's always like, 'Again?'"
Well, "had to" is a relative term; paps like Vlad are an OCD bunch of characters. If they see a celeb, they pathologically need to shoot them, even if they just nailed them four hours ago, which is why no celeb believes a pap when he says, "Just one shot, and I'm gone."
It was a few days after Vlad had been pulled over by the Beverly Hills Police Department while tailing Amy Adams. Across the street is a West Elm where Vlad recently shot Isla Fisher. Like many famous people, Fisher has an intuition about paps and somehow sensed Vlad's presence parked outside. She induced a sales clerk to walk out in front of her and even slid in on the passenger side of her car. Vlad still got the picture.
"Bbrrraaatt," says Vlad, making a noise that sounds like semiautomatic gunfire. "That picture sold, son, for about 500 bucks." He has an imaginary conversation with Fisher. "You blocked. It sold. Clap. Thank you!"
Bbrrraaatt. The images whir by. A long-lens shot of a topless Jackie Onassis. Sean Penn landing a crisp right. Britney Spears' bare skull. Paris Hilton's bare vagina staring back at us. Justin and Cameron kissing on a surfboard. Topless Kate Middleton.
These notorious photos are brought to you by the paparazzi. Federico Fellini named a photographer Paparazzo – conjuring the sound made by an annoying, buzzing insect – in his 1960 film La Dolce Vita, and the name stuck, morphing into the plural of paparazzi, an essential tweak since paparazzi tend to clump on celebs like horseflies on road apples.
It's not an easy life, and it's getting harder. New legislation went into effect in California on January 1st, preventing paps from shooting kids in an alarming or terrorizing manner based on their parents' fame. This sucks for the paps, since mom-and-kid shots sell best. The new law was spearheaded by Halle Berry after being swarmed by paps at LAX last year leading her to scream, "Jesus, what is wrong with you people? That's a child here."
In January, Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell, the parents of a one-year-old, went a step further, launching a campaign against what they named, regrettably, the pedorazzi, and proclaimed their refusal to do interviews with outlets that use unauthorized shots of stars' kids.
This has confused paps on multiple levels: (1) Who knew Dax Shepard had juice? (2) Many celebs trot out their kids for publicity when it suits their needs. "It's hilarious," says Rick "Top Hat Rick" Mendoza, a pap best known for suing Britney Spears after she ran over his foot. "Kristen comes up with a new hate word – pedorazzi – and goes on this campaign just as her movie Veronica Mars is coming out," says Top Hat Rick. "What a coincidence! Now who's manipulating who?"
So where's the line? Here's a story. There's a popular Halloween spot in West Hollywood called Mr. Bones Pumpkin Patch. Glammed-up celeb moms parade their children down slides and past face-painting stands, while paps get their shots from a designated shooting pen. It's quite the scene. There are now at least 35,000 shots of celebs cavorting in Mr. Bones Pumpkin Patch in photo archives. Stars like Matt Damon – who scrupulously guards his kids' privacy – simply don't take them to pap hot zones like Mr. Bones. But Berry has brought her daughter there many times. That's her right, of course, but it doesn't suggest she's trying to keep a low profile with her kids.
"Halle can take her kid there," says Mendoza. "But if she does, I have a right to shoot them. That's America."
Comically, this is all happening as the world gets smaller. There is less big game like Jackie O and Michael Jackson out there, replaced by a bewildering galaxy of feral reality stars, former criminals and famouspeople spawn – like Jackson's son Prince, whose martial-arts lessons regularly attract a dozen paps. Events now move quicker than Vlad's shutter. In the 1990s, you might get a shot of, say, Madonna looking ragged, and you'd have a few days to start a bidding war before selling it to People. Now it's a race to beat the celeb from posting her own photo on Instagram or another pap from uploading the photo to INF or Splash, two of the largest photo agencies, and then the agency selling your competitor's photo before you've even pressed send. You think texting and driving is dangerous? Vlad and other paps shoot, drive and upload simultaneously.
"It's become the Wild West out there," says one of Hollywood's top publicists. "Now you have so many more paps trying to bait the client into a fight. I tell my clients, 'Let cool heads prevail.' In L.A., don't try to outrun them, don't fall into their trap. It's exponentially worse than 10 years ago. I've had paps shoot down on the roof of my client hanging out with her babies. It's just nuts, and someone is going to get killed. Maybe the paps help B- or C-listers get something out of the attention, but the stars get nothing, just harassment."
TMZ has not helped. (The company got its name from the "30-mile zone," the area of celeb-rich L.A. spinning out from West Hollywood.) TMZ founder Harvey Levin was a lawyer who made his bones reporting on television for the O.J. trial before moving on as a legal analyst for the revamped People's Court and creating Celebrity Justice, an early practitioner of tabloid television that focused on the legal snafus of the stars. Starting up TMZ in 2005 was a logical next step.
Levin has a Warhol portrait of Mao in his L.A. office and sees himself as an iconoclast. He has made spasmodic attempts at respectability – succeeding with a report that Northern Trust, a bank that received $1.6 billion in federal bailout money, was spending lavishly at L.A. hot spots, and failing miserably when TMZ leaked purported photos of JFK sunning himself as naked women jumped off a boat that turned out to not be JFK but from an old Playboy shoot.
Levin has started TMZ Sports and is rumored to be trying to expand his empire, but his primary revenue is still original recipe TMZ – his website and a nightly television show that, interestingly enough, is syndicated by Warner Bros., the employer of many of the stars that TMZ stalks.
Ironically, TMZ made paps players in the game; I watched as tourists photographed paps because they've seen them on TMZ and think they're famous. They also provide revenue for the creepy pics and video no one else is interested in, e.g., an elderly Steven Tyler and an unknown woman riding topless in a jeep through Hawaii.
TMZ took the illusion of privacy away. Now the paranoid star just assumes someone is always there. Decoy cars and false itineraries are floated to throw TMZ off the scent. And then there's the money. TMZ has tons of it. TMZ has the cash to buy off valets and info like flight lists or even the limo list of what celeb is being picked up where and when. Now paps feel like they can make just as much money from tipping off TMZ as from selling their photos. Fellini's buzzing flies have become TMZ's serfs.
Still, Vlad loves his work. Well, except when Hopper Penn called him the n-word and a vicious gay slur while he tracked his father, Sean, in the 90210 last year. Besides, Vlad has standards. Mind you, those standards may be slightly different from yours or most of Western civilization's, but they are still standards.
A little after 1:00, Jessie J finally appears. An SUV pulls out of the London hotel and Vlad follows. Jessie J is in the back seat. He trails her to Record Plant studios, powering by her on Melrose so he can arrive a minute or two early and set up. He's already on the sidewalk and shooting when a security guy asks him to let Jessie's mom pass. Vlad consents and then snags Jessie wearing a wig and a tired smile.
"Jessie's huge in England," he says. "I'll shoot her every day, and I'll have a complete story to sell. It's not about one picture – it's about the whole story."
He drives away, but screeches the brakes as a white Range Rover buzzes through an intersection. He flips a U-turn. "Hold on, hold on, hold on, look at it. . . . Yeah, it is! Get the fuck outta here. January Jones!" Vlad squints at the license plate and urges other cars to get out of his way. "Yeah, '047.' Move, nigga, get the fuck outta the way. Come on, drive, bitch! Come on!"
The best paps have hundreds of license plates committed to memory – Dominic once rattled off to me the numbers for almost every $125,000 Mercedes G wagon in Los Angeles. Some celebs know it and constantly switch cars; Vlad claims he's seen Harry Styles driving a half-dozen different vehicles. He sticks close to Jones, but not close enough to spook her.
"If she has the kid, she's going to, whatchamacallit, a play date. If she's with the kid, it's even better."
Vlad might make about $500 for an exclusive Jones shot, but could make twice that for one with her kid. The Rover pulls up to a house in a nondescript neighborhood. Vlad can see a toddler in a car seat. Nothing happens for a while. Vlad notices a spot on his shorts. Vlad likes to look as good as the people he shoots. He debates going home to change after this chase ends.
"Man, I'm getting dirty and shit, yo. I don't like that. I work really hard to fucking stay clean."
Many paps see themselves as simple hacks, grinding out pics of whatever celeb is in front of them, often not knowing who they've shot until later. That's not who Vlad wants to be. Sure, he can come across as Vlad the Barbarian, jumping in the face of celebs and sitting here behind Jones and her kid, but he wants something more from his pap life than shooting 50 sets a week and working six 12-hour days. He studies the glam photos of Jackie O stalker-pap Ron Galella and gets excited.
"That's what I want to do, get beautiful full-framed shots."
But the exact goal is blurry. Sometimes it's to work for the AP. "I'd like assignments, just one day to know where exactly I'm going," says Vlad. Sometimes it's to work the easy side of the rope line; he never seemed more relaxed than while shooting a Saturday-night baby shower thrown for Vanessa Simmons at Sugar Factory, a posh candy store. The party's guests included her uncle, Russell Simmons. Vlad lights up when he mentions Simmons. "Russell thinks I should shoot a pilot about me and my little girl, Kaydence, The Pap and His Daughter."
Over and over, he tells me he's not just trying to grab a quick photo; he's trying to build pap long-form. He feels a kinship for the Kardashians. He recently saw the HBO movie Cinema Verite, about the Louds, TV's first reality family, and loved it.
"The Kardashians are the living embodiment of the Louds," says Vlad. "I get to be a part of that – not to say I'm part of the family, but I get to document it."
The documentation is not always successful. We sit for 15 minutes, and a woman gets out of the Range Rover, but it's not Jones or her child. She drives off, and we follow some more. Jones creeps a few miles under the speed limit. Vlad giggles.
"I love when people know that you're following them and they drive a certain way."
Eventually, Vlad breaks off the chase, reasoning Jones is heading home to Los Feliz, and that won't work. Vlad's been to Jones' house before, and it has an automatic gate. He knows he won't get anything good. He takes a left and heads for Beverly Hills, where he heard from Dominic that Mark Wahlberg is walking around in a sharp suit. Wahlberg's Lone Survivor is the number-one film in the country, so it's a no-brainer. But as he heads down Melrose, he sees a crowd of paps gathered outside the Urth Caffé, a trendy health-food restaurant. He jumps out, and the paps whisper Kylie Jenner is on her way. She is the half-sister of Kim Kardashian, which seems slightly less on the fame scale than a movie star, but not in the pap marketplace, where 42-year-old Wahlberg is ancient. "Fuck Mark Wahlberg," shouts Vlad as he joins a scrum. "This is worth 10 times that."
Jenner arrives with a friend in a Mercedes, but she pulls her hair down over her face like Cousin Itt. No one gets a good shot. Vlad is pissed. It's a commonplace attitude of the paps – moral indignation when a target refuses to give it up.
"Bitch, stop covering up. Let motherfuckers shoot you and get it over with," mutters Vlad. "All this fucking attitude – 'Ooh, I don't wanna be shot.' Someone like Angelina Jolie would just give us the shot – she's beautiful." Vlad doesn't mention that Jenner is 16 and Jolie is 38.
On the other hand, Vlad does have a point. Celebs that hit the West Hollywood/Beverly Hills quadrant and places like the Urth Caffé are not exactly trying to keep a low profile; it's sort of like if LeBron James went to an ESPN Zone and then whined about being hounded for autographs. Probably 90 percent of pap shots in L.A. are taken in West Hollywood and Beverly Hills, and where Vlad trawls – the London, Urth Caffé, Sunset Boulevard Equinox, the playground near Coldwater Canyon – resembles a magical place called Pappyland, where the stars' makeup is always perfect and their kids are freshly scrubbed and immaculate in brightly colored clothes.
The ugly secret is, some stars want to be hunted. During the Great Britney Spears Hunt of 2007, the Normandy of pap history, she would reportedly call select paps right before moving. Kim Kardashian routinely tipped off the paps in her early days. Someone falling off the fame radar, like Denise Richards or Tori Spelling, will make arrangements for paps to come over and shoot them with their kids.
But it's not just the desperate. Back in the early days of TomKat, paps were notified that the usually reclusive Cruise and Holmes would be arriving at the Ivy, a swanky actor-friendly lunch spot. A small army got the shot. "Sometimes publicists tip off the paps without telling their clients," says Scott Cosman, owner of the photo agency FameFlynet. "They think their client needs the hit, but the star might think it's beneath them, so they just leak the information without telling them."
Sometimes it's about reframing the narrative. Before Angelina Jolie became a humanitarian, she was best known for wearing a vial of blood around her neck and kissing her brother. After she adopted seven-month-old Maddox from a Cambodian orphanage, Jolie carefully orchestrated a photo shoot with an approved pap that repositioned her image from troubled goth to responsible adult. After she started dating Brad Pitt, it was leaked to a photo agency that they would be taking their first big vacation at Kenya's Diani Beach, not exactly a pap hangout. The pictures rocked the tabloid world. (Now the couple are among the toughest celebs to snap, vacationing where paps can't get to without an AmEx black card and a helicopter.)
Many celebs simply like the cash. Lindsay Lohan has tipped off paps about her next stop in return for a gratuity. Ryan Reynolds is known to have an antagonistic relationship with the paparazzi, but recently he has been "captured" eating Chobani yogurt, carrying a Burger King bag, smiling at a Nespresso cafe and caressing a Can-Am motorcycle, all in apparently preplanned shots. The last photo is Reynolds driving away on the motorcycle.
Vlad isn't concerned with such philosophical matters. He's too busy waiting on Jenner and staring down the U.K. guy from earlier today. "This fucking cock," Vlad says. "I'd slit his fucking throat, fuck him! He keeps jumping shit."
In the fungible ethics of pap life, there's no point mentioning to Vlad that actually he's the one who jumped the Jenner shot. Soon, there are 20 to 25 paps outside the restaurant. They're all looking for the one shot that differentiates from what is charmingly known in the pap business as a gang bang. (Paps got a group shot of Paris Hilton, back when the world cared about her, on the street carrying two books – but Jennifer Buhl's photo was the only one where the words "Holy Bible" could be clearly read. She got the big payday.)
Meanwhile, Jenner's car pulls around back, and she sneaks out before anyone gets a clear shot. Now everyone's pissed. Vlad guns his car up Melrose a few blocks ahead of Jenner and the pursuing mob.
Vlad sees her in his rearview window and pulls in right behind her. He stays on Jenner's bumper until the car makes an abrupt right into the parking lot of a posh nail salon. In a minute, a dozen cars disburse 20 paps. But there's no shot, and she disappears inside. A horde of paps hems in a car driven by a Jenner fan, who had followed the paps from the Urth Caffé. He yells at them to move and not touch his car. No one listens. The driver hits the horn and pulls out a long knife – more like a mini-machete – from under his seat. He is just a kid. Vlad screams at him.
"Fuck off! What happened? Yeah! Pull it out! You ain't gonna do a single thing."
He's right; the kid puts the blade away and drives off. The other paps give Vlad space. He stalks back to his car. He says it's no big deal. "Get the fuck out here, you pull a humongous knife? I've had motherfuckers flash guns. He wasn't gonna do shit."
Here is a good place to offer a disclaimer. This all might sound creepy and gross, and it is, but like Justin Bieber egging his neighbor, in the moment it's kind of a blast. You know it's wrong, but there's a camaraderie and an adrenaline rush, a modern version of a gang of Dickensian pickpockets. Morality is placed in a blind trust.
Half the guys split, but the others dig in like it's the pap Alamo. They're not going to make any money – an exclusive shot of Jenner might make you a grand; a gang-bang shot with hair in her eyes might make you 100 bucks – but now it's a matter of principle. Day turns to night. Finally, three hours later, Jenner emerges from the nail salon. She slinks out with a half-wave but with her hair still over her face. About a dozen paps have hung on, including Vlad. He gets an almost usable shot before she gets into the car. The camera flashes light the night and, for a moment, blind Jenner. She's disoriented and almost backs into a pole. A video pap named Malibu Rich yells at her.
"You're about to run over a kid on a bike!"
There's no bike, no kid. The paps crack up. Jenner is impassive in the driver's seat. The Mercedes pulls away, and the paps head for home or nighttime stakeouts of clubs and restaurants. Vlad drives in silence. He passes graffiti spray-painted on the side of a gas station reading STOP MAKING DUMB PEOPLE FAMOUS. He doesn't notice.
Understandably, Vlad sometimes self-medicates. He chases away the stress with weed, a nice pasta salad at Fred Segal and his shiny Mercedes. Vlad claims he paid $35,000 cash for his Mercedes, and he wouldn't be the first pap to buy a car beyond his means. If you were following around a $200,000 Ferrari with Harry Styles in it every day, you'd get sick of chasing them in an Elantra too. The hunter wants to be on equal footing with the hunted.
One day, Vlad took his eight-year-old daughter, Kaydence, to a playground in Beverly Hills and looked through his online account. (He also has a 19-year-old daughter, Kasie, in college.) He shoots for Splash, one of the largest photo agencies, and gets a 60-40 split on all sales. But except for the obvious stuff – a shot of, say, Bieber emerging from a car in a cloud of weed smoke – it's maddening trying to figure out what will sell. A good Gerard Butler shot earned Vlad only 60 bucks, but a crummy photo of Jessica Alba scored him $900 last month. Why? Alba is carrying a Christian Dior bag, and Christian Dior bought the picture. Other photos, like Jessie J, have almost no value in the States but will be huge sellers overseas, maybe worth a few thousand dollars. Sometimes, it's dumb luck. Top Hat Rick found himself immersed in a crowd in Hancock Park when Prince William and Kate Middleton emerged from the British ConsulateGeneral's house in 2011, and he made $20,000. Older paps make money on their archives, but Vlad has been doing this for only a few years, so there's no iconic shot in his catalog bringing in dough every month.
That's why he's out every day. The morning after the Jenner fiasco, Vlad recognizes the license plate on a Tesla as Jeremy Renner's and chases the American Hustle star around the canyons of Hollywood – but ends up with nothing to show for it. He's now one-for-two for the day, after capturing a pregnant Olivia Wilde on Sunset entering the gym. That went fine – Wilde is always charming and accommodating – except for the sneaker incident.
"I fuckin' spazzed on this fucker 'cause he stepped on my shoes," Vlad says about another pap. "There was only two people there, so how's that happening?" Vlad's anger issues were an indirect reason for his exile to Los Angeles. He'd spent much of his twenties and early thirties in New York, doing street marketing for hip-hop tours and clothing lines like Bad Boy Productions and Phat Farm. He started taking pictures of his clients and their parties and found he loved it. A mutual friend introduced him to someone at TMZ in 2008, and they gave him a camera. On his first day, he used his height to hoist his camera over a wall and shoot Madonna as she left her house. He was hooked.
Vlad became a TMZ star, scoring some of the first pictures and video of a smiling Rihanna after Chris Brown beat her. But the aggressive style that got him noticed as a quick riser in the pap life also became his downfall. A few months after the Harrelson run-in, TMZ fired him because he seemed to enjoy talking to the press. TMZ might be snark kings, but they prefer not to piss off big stars too much.
Vlad soon moved out to Los Angeles with his daughters and their mother because of the weather and the sheer density of celebrities. His kill-or-be-killed attitude followed him. Vlad's blend of persistence and aggression made him more than $100,000 last year, which is on the high end of the pap-salary scale. In September 2012, he was eating at a Mexican restaurant on Sunset when he saw Amanda Bynes coming out of her gym. Bynes had her license suspended after a DUI and two alleged hit-and-run incidents, so she was hot in the pap world. Vlad grabbed his camera from the seat next to him. He ran in front of her and started shooting. Bynes was pissed and started scratching at Vlad's arms and neck. He didn't mind – he had a precious exclusive, and the photographs and video made him $85,000, according to Vlad.
But there is a noble goal at the end of Vlad's amorality. One day, while driving through Beverly Hills, Vlad pulls the car over and whips out his camera. No one is there, just a yard sign for a two-bedroom apartment. "I want to give my daughter a princess room," whispers Vlad, whose right leg is covered in a guardianangel tat with both his daughters' names spelled out. "Her own little nook in life."
Currently, Vlad lives in West Hollywood so he can step out and shoot stars the moment he wakes up, but he only has a one-bedroom. He takes Kaydence to school and picks her up in the afternoon, but she usually sleeps at her mom's. That doesn't mean father and daughter aren't close – they are, in a pap way. There's footage of a Brad Pitt stakeout outside an American Girl in L.A. where the actor was hosting a birthday party for his daughter. You can see Kaydence on Vlad's shoulders in the mob; they'd been shopping at the same store. On a recent Sunday, Vlad chased after Jenner again, with Kaydence in the front seat, watching cat videos on her iPad.
"She once spotted Katy Perry for me," says Vlad. "She loves it."
It's a few days later, and Vlad has a tip from someone at LAX.
"The airport. Kim is back in town."
That would be Kim Kardashian. Every generation gets the primo pap target they deserve, and America has gone from Jackie to Madonna to Britney to Kim Kardashian, queen of the reality world. It's a progression we really shouldn't dwell on. Kardashian is flying in from the Paris fashion shows on a Delta-Air France nonstop. Delta is problematic for celebrities. An ex-pap showed me a sample of daily e-mails that TMZ acquires, listing all the stars flying on the airline. It eventually trickles out to the rest of the pap world.
Vlad pulls into LAX, and it's a full gang bang, maybe 40 paps, but he's here because she's the most famous pap target of his career and he hopes that through some miracle he can get a special shot.
Everyone crowds toward the VIP customs exit that is maybe five feet wide. In minutes, Kardashian is going to be a posh camel trying to pass through the eye of a very dirty needle. A gaggle of Japanese tourists adds to the congestion. Suddenly, Malibu Rich bolts toward another exit a hundred yards away. Half the paps stampede after him. Vlad is torn but holds his ground. Turns out it is just Alec Baldwin.
A few minutes later, someone screams.
"Here she comes."
And there's Kardashian, all in black, except for a fur-lined tan coat. She's wearing big sunglasses. This is a good thing because the subsequent onslaught of camera flashes could obliterate retinas. The walk to her car is only 100 feet, and it moves like a shimmering amoeba under a microscope. Paps are shouting questions.
"Kim, is Bruce going to have a sex change?"
"Kim, is your family Shakespearean?"
Vlad's face bobs above the sea of humanity, but he doesn't have a shot. So he peels off and runs out through the sliding doors and jumps up on a concrete barrier and shoots downward, ripping off 70 frames. In 30 seconds, it's over. Kim is stashed in a black SUV and is gone.
Vlad frantically scans through his pictures. A giant smile breaks across his face, and he skips away, pirouetting in a crosswalk. It's the happiest I've ever seen him. He sits in the Mercedes and looks closer. The simultaneous flash of 50 cameras has lit Kardashian in an ethereal way. Today, she looks like a movie star. Vlad has a couple of killer shots of her from head to toe. He starts crowing.
"Got her, full fucking frame! And the winner is . . . me! Trix are for kids! They always want to wolf-pack around her, so I got above them." He flips through the frames quickly. "Nothing, nothing, and then opening, and there you go, Bbrrraaatt."
Vlad heads back toward Hollywood, still buzzing. Kendrick Lamar is rapping, "Everybody gon' respect the shooter, but the one in front of the gun lives forever." We're stuck in traffic on the 405, but Vlad doesn't care. By the time he gets back, the Daily Mail, a well-trafficked British website, will have a story up with all his pictures. He says he might make $10,000 once resales are factored in. This is unlikely – agencies will be flooded with gang-bang photos of Kim from LAX and will be happy to go with a slightly crappier photo to save some bucks, undercutting the value of Vlad's pristine shot. Later, once the adrenaline wears off, he admits he'll make only $1,000.
He drives in happy silence for a while before telling me another story. A few days ago, Vlad was trailing Kim's brother, Rob, in Beverly Hills. Rob is part of the collateral damage of the Kardashian story – Bruce Jenner's sanity is the other – putting on 50 pounds last year after breaking up with his girlfriend Rita Ora, the British singer. According to the tabloids, his family is disgusted by his weight gain. For Vlad, he's still a good "get."
Eventually, Rob pulled over and Vlad approached his car. In a calm voice, Rob told Vlad he was trying to get his life together and wasn't even on the show this season.
"I just want to show your growth and how you're losing the weight," said Vlad.
But Rob politely said no again. Then Vlad did a very un-Vlad thing. He said OK, catching Rob by surprise. The pap and subject looked each other in the eye.
"Look, you guys have helped me achieve something I couldn't in a nine-to-five," Vlad said. "I would have never seen half the money I make now."
And then Vlad let him drive away.
"Why did I do it? I don't want to be the bad guy."
Two months later, Vlad had his camera temporarily seized by Beverly Hill cops for taking unauthorized shots of Hilary Duff's kid at a playground. But right now, he jerks the Mercedes into the breakdown lane and passes a dozen cars. He rolls down the windows and laughs loudly.
"Fuck being the bad guy.
The Viacom-owned network has picked up The Keke Palmer Project, a daily talk show covering topics including fashion, pop culture, social issues, sex, celebrity interviews, on the street and undercover segments.
Produced by Warner Bros. Television's syndication division Telepictures, Judge Greg Mathis is on board as an executive producer on the new series via his Mathis Productions banner. The series will launch in July and air Mondays-Fridays in the afternoon for a four-week trial.
The Keke Palmer Project (working title) will join a three other daily syndicated talk shows at BET: The Wendy Williams Show and The Queen Latifah Show, both of which were picked up for second windows on the network, as well as Telepictures' upcoming talk show The Real (which debuts in the fall).
The series will begin production in Los Angeles in the summer and target millennials. The show, BET said, is the next logical step for Palmer, who is very connected with her fans via social media. "I like to read quotes that touch on how I am feeling. If I am dealing with confusion, I will read quotes about clarity and peace of mind," Palmer said in a release announcing the news Monday. "I started posting these quotes on my Twitter page, and fans responded so positively! I realized that many of them were dealing with similar issues, and the quotes helped to open up a genuine dialogue between us."
With the series pickup, Palmer -- who starred in Akeelah and the Bee and True Jackson, VP -- becomes the youngest talk show host in history. The actress is also a four-time BET Awards nominee, winning its YoungStars award in 2010. She's repped by WME, Laron Entertainment and Hertz Lichtenstein. She next stars in features Animal, Brotherly Love, Imperial Dreams and has a multiple-episode arc on Showtime's Masters of Sex.
With the premiere of her superhero sequel, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, just weeks away, and plenty of other top-tier projects in the works (including a Woody Allen movie and untitled Cameron Crowe project), Emma Stone would seem to be the antithesis of dull.
However, in her May 2014 cover story for Vogue (on stands on April 29), the bottle-redhead, 25, cops to calling herself a "bland basic bitch." Why? She discovered the insult after Googling herself, and found it to be rather comical.
"I don't usually like what I find," she told Vogue of searching for her own name. "But some of it is really funny." After a commenter threw out the "diss" in question, the Arizona-born star quickly latched onto the moniker, calling herself "that bland basic bitch" on a regular basis.
As companions go, these two -- who will reprise their roles as Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy in the highly-anticipated Marvel sequel -- can't get enough of each other.
I think I've learned a lot by being around him," Stone said of Garfield. "And, you know, he is an incredibly important person to me. It's been fun working with him just because of who he is as an actor and person. I think it would be fun no matter what."
Fans and those who worked on the film have also praised the real-life couple's onscreen chemistry. "You can't fake it," Spider-Man director Mark Webb told Vogue. "There are so many tiny nonverbal cues that they are issuing each other and picking up on."
lmaoooo, she TOTALLY stumbled upon one of her ONTD posts lbr