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‘Downton Abbey’ Movie: 8 Possible Storylines To Pursue Even After Everybody’s Had Their Happy Ending

52 minutes ago

Downton Abbey” ended on the best possible note possible when it wrapped up after six seasons in 2016. Every character that fans cared about had a happy ending. People paired off — even the ones downstairs — and some had babies or babies on the way, a new business venture was started – and better yet, nobody was accused of murder.

Now comes word, according to a recent report, that a “Downton Abbey” movie will likely start cranking into production in 2018. Creator Julian Fellowes has been diligently working and reworking the script, and the cast has publicly stated that they’re game to return to Downton.

But where can it go from here? Short of resurrecting Matthew (Dan Stevens) from the grave for some creepy zombie triad love story, this was as tidy and pleasant an outcome as a fan could hope for. It will be intriguing to see what conflict the movie brings as a matter of course while storytelling but not tarnish the happiness that was granted the characters after so many hard times.

Read More: ‘Downton Abbey’ Creator Julian Fellowes Reveals He’s Working on a Film Version

With very few clues to go on though, it’s not clear what will be in store for the Crawleys and friends when they return. The series’ timeline ended around 1925, and Fellowes had stated that he didn’t want to bring the story into the 1930s, so that leaves a window of five years for a time jump. Based on our knowledge of the characters and of general history, here are some of the things we’d want to see in the “Downton Abbey” movie:

The Crawleys in the Workforce

This was already in the works with Tom (Allen Leech) and Henry (Matthew Goode) teaming up to be used cars salesmen. Hopefully that business is flourishing, and maybe even Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) will get involved because of course she’s not going to be a very involved mother even though she’ll have two (or more?) kids by the time the movie rolls around. We could see her taking charge of some innovative business ideas like learning to drive herself to bring in female customers or arranging motor tours to Downton.

Mary Softens

Mary has been and can be a really garbage person at times, but Matthew brought out the best in her. It’s no accident that Mary only after she’s with Henry, that she commits a completely selfless act by not stealing Edith’s wedding-day thunder to reveal she’s pregnant.

A Really Good, Modern Nanny Arc

With the exception of the horrid Nanny West, who had called poor little Sybbie a “wicked little cross-breed,” the nannies haven’t been part of the fold either upstairs or downstairs much. Although it’s accepted that the nobility don’t really have a hand rearing their children, this could all change. Edith is far more involved with her daughter Marigold anyway, and who knows how Tom’s experiences in America may have changed his views. Mary is probably the most traditional, but with the lines blurring between classes, the nanny or nannies could become an indispensable family friend. Or it could be a friend they have already.

Stop Before the Great Depression

Given that this is probably going to be the last time we’ll see the “Downton” cast together since they’re no longer under contract and have been scattered to the winds on different projects, let’s not end on a really depressing (heh) note or cliffhanger. Besides, 1929 is also when frozen food was invented, and we really don’t want the knowledge of that to send the Dowager Countess (Maggie Smith) into an early grave. That said, the age of innovation can’t stop, won’t stop, and we’d love to see someone talking about the wonders of TV or talkies.

Ripped From the Headlines

While we don’t want to see the Great Depression happen, it’s always intriguing to see events of the day pierce the Crawley bubble. We can’t imagine that Edith (Laura Carmichael), the new Marchioness of Hexham, will fully give up journalism, especially since she’ll want to be a good role model to Marigold, and so we could see her getting involved with the biggest news items in some form. The British occupation of Shanghai and the resulting protests could create some new dramatic situations in which lines are drawn about imperialism. And we could see someone, maybe Daisy (Sophie McShera) or Edith getting pulled along the tide of women’s suffrage when women over 21 finally get the vote. Oh, and since Princess Elizabeth is born in 1926, there must be some diehard royalists who will be obsessed with her every move and appearance.

Read More: The ‘Downton Abbey’ Series Finale Brings All the Ships Into Port

Thomas Barrow Tries to Find Love

Sadly, this wishlist item is probably one of the most difficult storylines to make happen given the time period. As with Rose’s interracial romance that “Downton” tried and failed to make happen, a straightforward romance for Thomas (Robert James-Collier) would be improbable or at least incredibly difficult, and we do not wish Thomas any more pain. Homosexuality at that time was seen as indecent and criminal, consent not even part of the discussion, and it’s no wonder Thomas had issues. That said, despite society’s condemnation, queer people still existed and yes, even loved. We’ll leave the logistics to Fellowes.

Anna and Bates Will Continue to Live Happily Ever After

Nothing bad can or will happen to them ever again. They get as many babies at they want and are very, very happy. We don’t care if that makes for boring storytelling. With rape, accusations of murder, jail time – and hey did we mention rape? – they’ve been through enough already. Ok, maybe some new medical treatment can give Bates (Brendan Coyle) some false hope about losing his limp, but it doesn’t, and Anna (Joanne Froggatt) can tell him how much she loves him because of his bum leg anyway. But that’s it.

The Requisite Giant Celebration

It’s not “Downton Abbey” without a really big set piece gathering everyone together. While we wouldn’t say no to a ball, a picnic or outdoors village activity might be the best because that would mean the servants wouldn’t be required to work too much, even though so many of them have their own separate lives now. A picnic is more egalitarian. But for old times’ sakes, maybe Mrs. Patmore (Lesley Nicol) and Daisy could bake something up again. And we’re not exactly sure what a happy and married Mr. Carson (Jim Carter) and Mrs. Hughes (Phyllis Logan) would look like, but we imagine them dancing and maybe partaking in some drinks. Who else? Lord and Lady Grantham (Hugh Bonneville and Elizabeth McGovern) doting on their grandchildren, and Cousin Isobel (Penelope Wilton) finally enjoying a life of her own with Lord Merton (Douglas Reith) would be essential, with wry commentary by the Dowager Countess of course.

What would you want to see in a “Downton Abbey” movie?

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- Hanh Nguyen

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‘The Handmaid’s Tale’: Finding Lenses (and Cameras) to Create the Unfamiliar World of Gilead

2 hours ago

“The Handmaid’s Tale” presented a brain-twisting production challenge for cinematographer Colin Watkinson and Reed Morano, an executive producer and director of the first three episodes. The show takes place in a near-future Gilead, where enslaved women forced to reproduce for the aristocracy wear costumes that reference a puritanical time — but the show isn’t a period piece. They needed to create a world that was “other” and could serve as sharp contrast to present-day flashbacks.

Morano and Watkinson explain how they achieved the show’s unique look.

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Compositions

Watkinson: Reed had a very specific directorial look book with very clear indications of which way she wanted to go, and how we were going to separate the worlds with compositional and shooting style.

Morano: I didn’t want it feel like a period piece. That was my fear with the costumes and everything. I pushed very hard that all the uniforms in Gilead had modern elements to them. Period would defeat the purpose. There are women in the world who experience these things today, and this story is a warning it could happen here just like that. It needed to be and feel other.”

Watkinson: Gilead was going to be incredibly formal, tableau-like compositions with a very considered static camera, the camera only moved when it was deemed to moved. Tableau, Kubrick-esque type frame is what Reed asked for, but with off framing, lots of headroom, and sometime asymmetrical as well.

The flashbacks were to be what Reed called “cinema verite” — a very visceral type of camerawork, to really put you in the moment. We wanted the flashbacks to feel as real as possible. The reason being even though they are flashbacks in the story, you are looking at today in the world and we wanted people to feel,”That’s right now.” That’s what I think makes it more horrific as you go along. The world changes so quickly. You’ve got to look up from your phone because tthis could happen quickly and right in front of your face.

A Pov Show

Morano: The book calls for us to be in Lizzy’s [Elizabeth Moss, who plays Offred] head, which sometimes comes with voiceover. Trying to put yourself in someone’s head — how do you visualize that? One of the ways I always thought we’d visualize that was by putting the camera physically closer to her for her close-ups, be on a wider lens because it feels a little bit more uncomfortable and there’s something a little bit more unsettling about that. It makes the audience close the person in much more uncomfortable way.”

Read More: How ‘Stranger Things’ Created That Awesomely Retro Title Sequence

Watkinson: We adopted a particular lens for Offred because being a Pov-type show, we wanted to be inside Offred’s head and make the viewer feel like every nuance Elizabeth made we’d be capturing. They’d be close enough to feel every movement. We were shooting on Canon K-35s for most of the show, but we had a 28mm Zeiss 2.1 that had a perspective that was different on either side of it. It’s very particular. It was her special lens.

Morano’s Handheld

Morano: As a cinematographer myself, I knew to stay out of Colin’s way. I told him, “I’ll treat you better than you are use to being treated by other directors. There is one thing I do want, though.”

Watkinson: In our first interview she broached it right away. “I like to get the camera on my shoulder and operate.”

Morano: Most good operators know you don’t want to do some kind of change while an actor’s delivering lines, but it’s hard to not know what you can get away with if you aren’t the director. If you are directing and you are the one cutting it and telling the story, you can take more risks with the operating.

Read More: The ‘Mr. Robot’ Experiment: Can a TV Show Be Shot Like an Indie Film?

Watkinson: There’s a special process going on there. She has unique vision and style. She brings an immediacy and a real feeling with her camera. I tried to get a feel for how and when she’d want to go handheld to access those emotions, and tried to emulate because we’d need to try to copy that with other directors after Reed left.

Interior Depth

Watkinson: I was constantly impressed by [production designer] Julie Berghoff’s paint work. Not only did she have the color right, but the depth of the color she’d create on the walls was amazing. You’d walk up to walls and admire the depth — there was color on color, but all the same color. I really feel that you feel that. The backgrounds are little bit dark, there’s a fall-off to them, and the light catches them because there’s so much texture. It was such pleasure to light, because I want to feel that depth in darkness.

I stole a term that exists in the 3-D world: They call it “volumetric lighting.” I wanted layers in the light. I saw (Morano’s feature) “Meadowland,” so I knew Reed really liked atmosphere. I wanted textured light layers, to go with the layer’s of Julie’s background and the layers of the costumes.

I want you to feel the light coming from the outside, so it’s based in a reality, but it’s a hyperreality. I used Df-50 to put a lot of atmosphere in the air, with 10K mol beams that create a sharp line then fade away. You can play with how strong that beam of light is based on the angle. Then there’s options of using blinds and other things to play with to create more layers.

Exterior

Watkinson: We knew Gilead had this throwback element. We knew it had to have a certain softness to it to match that otherness. We were always going to use vintage lenses, testing to figure out which ones got us the exterior softness was crucial.

We wanted shallow and soft look for the exterior. The lenses we used were very fast. They were 1.3, 1.4 lens and we would play the daytime shots as wide open as we could to really drop the depth of field.

Read More: The Best Indie Film Directors are Working on One Hulu Show, and Most Just Happen to be Women

We were trying to do anything that put movement in the light. We let light hit the camera — were totally happy for veiling to happen, so the light could hit the lens. Flare was part of the look. Then we’d push color into the blacks and highlights in the grade. We had a power Dit on set, to give it that otherworldliness. We shot on three Arri Alexa Mini, which did a great job with our colors and was perfect for going handheld, but also was 4K, which Hulu demanded.

Editor’s Note: This feature is presented in partnership with Arri, a leading designer, manufacturer and distributor of motion picture camera, digital intermediate (Di) and lighting equipment. Founded by two filmmakers 100 years ago, Arri and its engineers have been recognized by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for contributions to the industry with 19 Scientific and Technical Awards. Click here for more about Arri.

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- Chris O'Falt

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How ‘The Beguiled’ Star Kirsten Dunst Took Control of Her Career by Owning Her Taste for Depressives, Smart Directors, and Powerful TV

3 hours ago

Welcome to Career Watch, a vocational checkup of top actors and directors, and those who hope to get there. In this edition we take on Kirsten Dunst, who steals the show from Nicole Kidman and Colin Farrell in Cannes director-winner Sofia Coppola’s Civil War potboiler “The Beguiled” (June 23, Focus Features). It’s her fourth collaboration with Coppola.

Bottom Line: Dunst steered toward playing strong women from an early age, with films that include political comedy “Dick” with Michelle Williams, John Stockwell’s “Crazy/Beautiful” with Jay Hernandez, and Peyton Reed and Jessica Bendinger’s cheerleader sleeper “Bring It On,” shot the year she graduated from Los Angeles’ Catholic high school Notre Dame. She has never settled for The Girlfriend or romantic lead, although she made a memorable Mary Jane Watson in the “Spider-Man” franchise. “Looking back, I’m proud of the choices that I’ve made,” she said. “A long career is up to you. It’s your barometer of taste and the choices you make as an actress inform how other people look at you and if they want you in their movies. So you have to be wise.”

Career Peaks: A model from the age of three, the child actress shot out of a cannon when she won a worldwide search for 11-year-old Claudia, starring opposite Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt in “Interview with the Vampire,” Neil Jordan’s fabulously kinky 1994 take on the Anne Rice classic. Dunst has long leaned into women’s subjects and directors, from Gillian Armstrong and Robin Swicord’s “Little Women” and Leslye Hedland’s raucous “Bachelorette,” to Coppola’s Cannes breakout “The Virgin Suicides,” shot when she was 16.

That film marked her segue to more adult roles. “I was sexualized,” Dunst told me, “but through her lens, which was such a wonderful way to be transitioned. There was nothing grotesque, even though I was doing things in that film that I was uncomfortable doing. I’d stress out about ‘Oh, I have to make out with that boy on the roof,’ but Sofia would just have me nuzzle into the side of their face. Even though I was blossoming, it was not something I was comfortable with yet. She really opened that door for me.”

Dunst went on to star for Coppola as a coquettish queen in the title role “Marie Antoinette,” and cameoed in “The Bling Ring.”

Assets: Beyond sexual allure, Dunst brings depth and mystery. She can play the girl next door (“Spider-Man”), a drunk bride peeing on the lawn in the moonlight in her wedding dress (“Melancholia”), an imperious 18th-century queen (“Marie Antoinette”), or a racist Nasa administrator (“Hidden Figures”). She has a steely edge, as well as a wicked sense of humor. Her career pivot came before 2010 Ryan Gosling two-hander “All Good Things,” when she started to meet with acting coach/therapist Greta Seacat (who also works with Coppola).

While Dunst always picks projects based on directors, she credits Seacat with a total game change “in terms of acting and how I approach things,” said Dunst. “And now it’s all about me. It’s cathartic for me. It’s my thing, it’s my experience, it’s nothing about pleasing anyone else but myself. And it all comes from me, so I have so much more control than anybody else; it’s all about my own inner life. By the time I get to set, I’m so prepared no one needs to direct me. No one needs to tell me anything. I feel so powerful with what I have to bring, that making movies is for myself now and it’s like getting rid of poisons. Like if you went to a therapist all the time, but I get to do it by acting out anything I want to, so that’s a powerful tool.”

She draws the line at too much nudity, and turned down a sexy role in another Lars von Trier movie. “I would work with him again,” she said. “It just depends on the part because he loves exposing… like Charlotte Gainsbourg, she has a less curvaceous body, so it’s less assaulting to see than if someone with larger breasts and more womanly-shaped did some of the things she did in movies.”

Biggest Problem: As she has come into a strong sense of her own identity, Dunst is making career choices for herself, not her fans. She’s not looking to please anyone else or playing the movie-star game, as evidenced by her maverick choices, from “Melancholia” to “Fargo.” “Only Lars and Pedro Almodovar write these incredible, messy roles for women,” she has said.

Awards Attention: She won Best Actress at Cannes for her hilariously depressed bride in Lars von Trier’s comedic end-of-the-world tragedy, “Melancholia,” after being quick enough on her feet to survive a disastrous Cannes press conference when her director went off the rails. While she earned plaudits and a Golden Globe nomination for Season Two of “Fargo” as the deeply flawed murderess Peggy Blumquist, she’s never earned an Oscar nomination. “The Beguiled” could be her first — she’s earning raves across the board.

Next page: Dunst scribes her character in “The Beguiled”: “Edwina would be me at my worst, working on a film that I don’t want to be on.”

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- Anne Thompson

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‘Better Call Saul’: Why That Blockbuster Video Scene Was Important, But Also a ‘Nail-Biter’ to Make

5 hours ago

[Editor’s Note: Mild spoilers for Season 3, Episode 10, “Lantern” follow.]

It’s at times easy to forget that “Better Call Saul” is a period piece, if only because its 2002-2003 setting isn’t always noticeably distinguishable from the present day. But then every once in a while, creators Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould slap us in the face with a reminder that this show is happening in the past. It can be as simple as a trip to a video store — but not just any video store.

Read More: ‘Better Call Saul’: The 7 Times Jimmy and Kim Kissed On Screen, And How That Makes It The Most Rewarding Romance on TV

It’s something we all accepted as routine, just 15 years ago: Want to watch a movie? Go to Blockbuster Video. So in the Season 3 finale, “Lantern,” Kim (Rhea Seehorn) asks her assistant Francesca (Tina Parker) for a ride to what was once the dominant source for Americans in search of movie rentals, and we then get to see her browse the aisles in search of the perfect comfort viewing, following her near-fatal car accident the episode prior.

Executive producer Gennifer Hutchison, who wrote the season finale, told IndieWire that the decision to have Kim visit a video store came in the writers’ room, as the team discussed what Kim might possibly do after deciding to relax following her accident. “I just really loved the idea of her renting a bunch of videos and sitting around watching movies and eating junk food. Just because it’s something I relate to, it’s something I like to do when I destress. And I feel like it’s not something you see a lot of on TV and in movies,” she said.

And as a result, Gould — who directed the finale — got very excited about the idea of Kim going to not just any video store, but Blockbuster in particular. However, don’t think that this was an easy choice for the show — because according to production designer Michael Novotny, “it was a total nail-biter.”

Novotny told IndieWire that as soon as he received word that “Saul” wanted to recreate a Blockbuster, he got his team to work — specifically, the graphics department. “I can always do a set. A set’s the easy part. The hard part is the graphics and all of the art work you’re going to turn out,” he said.

But that process started before the show had actual permission to recreate a Blockbuster. “We started to build it without approval. That’s part of the nail-biting process,” he said. “It wasn’t until the day before we shot it that we got approval.”

This is because, as anyone who works in production might tell you, trying to depict a real brand on screen can be an incredibly difficult task. And the “Saul” team want to actually use Blockbuster iconography, which isn’t the easiest thing given that it’s a brand name you haven’t probably seen in the wild in years.

Blockbuster went bankrupt in 2010, and “roughly a dozen” stores currently exist today. Thus, the set was built on one of the show’s Albuquerque soundstages, and in fact, a great deal of what was on screen was made from scratch by the “Saul” production team, including the big Blockbuster sign hanging in the wall and the period-accurate movie covers.

One thing they were able to buy: the shelving units came thanks to an ironic stroke of luck and an Albuquerque video store that was going out of business. The production was thus able to buy those displays, which Novotny made sure were shortened so that, as they shot the scene, Kim and Francesca could be seen walking through the aisles. That framing was based on Gould’s storyboards, which were altered slightly during the production process, but otherwise didn’t require any major additional construction.

But really, here’s what people care about — the movies that are being considered, as Kim prepares for an epic binge in the pre-Netflix days. None of the titles are fake; and Novotny did work carefully with his team to carefully curate the movies that appeared on screen during the scene, all of which were drawn from a list provided by Peter Gould and the writers.

Here are just some of the ones we happened to spot while freeze-framing:

“A Knight’s Tale” “Lawrence of Arabia” (the 40th anniversary special edition) “Love Liza” “The Mothman Prophecies” “Punch-Drunk Love” A Richard Pryor stand-up special “Beverly Hills Ninja” “The Cheap Detective” “Hanky Panky” “Blue Thunder” “American Sledge” “Darkness Falls” “Night of the Living Dead

They’re all movies that feel appropriate to the era at least within a year or two or as classics, though unfortunately a quick Internet search can reveal whether a film in question would have been available on DVD in the year 2003. Perhaps the most glaring oversight is the appearance of Tim Burton’s “Big Fish,” which was released in theaters December 10, 2003 and made available on DVD April 27, 2004 — something Hutchison’s husband (who actually worked at Blockbuster in the past) noticed while watching the final product. “We don’t always get it right,” she admitted.

Novotny acknowledged the “Big Fish” error, but he was relatively zen about it, given the intense pressure of making the scene happen in the first place. “It really was a down to the wire thing,” he said. “If that’s as much as I’m wrong… I’m sad to hear that but at the same time I’m happy that it went as good as it did.”

Update: On Twitter, Gould offered a little clarity as to why “Big Fish” might have time traveled back a year:

And that #BigFish they mention? Could be a shoutout to my former student @johnaugust… #YesYouReadThatRight

Peter Gould (@petergould) June 23, 2017

Hutchison couldn’t remember every one of the 10 films Kim officially rented, though such a list was made during production. Beyond “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “Monty Python,” she said the rest were mostly legal dramas, though she did make sure to include the Luc Besson sci-fi romp “The Fifth Element.” “That was one for some reason I was really stuck on making sure was in her stack,” Hutchison said.

While hardly the most memorable scene of the finale, it still sticks in the mind because of how it triggers memories of an experience we’ve largely lost, traded in for the convenience of Netflix.

“I like the idea of physically walking around and choosing movies,” Hutchison said. “There is something about actually going into a store, having everything broken down by genre. Sometimes with the streaming services it’s a little overwhelming, but having that physical space… I don’t know. It was like a ritual.”

And depicting that ritual was just more proof that “Better Call Saul” will always find a way to surprise us with the seemingly mundane.

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- Liz Shannon Miller

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‘Person to Person’ Trailer: Michael Cera Stars In A Summer Indie That Evokes the Best of Woody Allen

6 hours ago

Dustin Guy Defa has been making a name for himself on the indie circuit with acclaimed short films like “Review” and his 2011 feature “Bad Fever,” but his profile is about to get a huge boost with the release of “Person to Person.” The movie was a Sundance highlight earlier this year and finds the writer-director evoking the best of Woody Allen’s scrappy New York City days.

Read More: ‘Person To PersonReview: Tavi Gevinson And Philip Baker Hall Shine In This Charming New York City Mosaic

Person to Person” is set during a single day in New York City and follows a disparate group of characters all facing various emotional obstacles. Abbi Jacobson plays an investigative reporter trying to get through her first day on the job with help from her misguided boss (Michael Cera). Tavi Gevinson plays a rebellious teen attempting to balance her feminist ideals with other desires. Other story threads follow a young man seeking to reconcile with his ex-girlfriend and an avid music lover searching for a rare vinyl.

In his B+ review out of Sundance, IndieWire senior film critic David Ehrlich said, “Dustin Guy Defa’s ‘Person to Person’ is a gentle summer breeze of a movie that’s set during an early fall day. Amiably unstuck in time without feeling anachronistic, Defa’s second feature pulls off the trick of offering an analog version of New York in a digital age.”

The “Person to Person” ensemble includes Isiah Whitlock, Michaela Watkins, Olivia Lucciardi, Ben Rosenfield, Buddy Durress, Bene Coopersmith, George Sample III and Philip Baker Hall.

Magnolia Pictures will release “Person to Person” in theaters, on iTunes, OnDemand and Amazon Video July 28. Watch the trailer below.

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- Zack Sharf

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‘Game of Thrones’: 7 Things You May Have Missed From the New Season 7 Trailer

6 hours ago

Game of Thrones” is entering its highly anticipated seventh season with much fanfare but an equal amount of mystery — more so than with Season 6 even, which was the first season that went off book for the series. This year, the convergence of everyone back on the same continent promises several epic clashes, but also unexpected betrayals and partnerships.

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The second full trailer dropped for Season 7 on Wednesday, and to be honest, we couldn’t stop watching it. It should be noted it also sounded great because of the song, “Light of the Seven,” which is part of last season’s score by theme song composer Ramin D Jawadi. As we pored over each frame, a few thoughts came to light, as if the Red God illuminated our way:

Jon Snow Wants to Bury the Hatchet

The King in the North knows that another battle is coming, and it’s not necessarily for the Iron Throne. With the Night’s King leading the White Walkers southward, this will be a threat to every person regardless of House alliance. In the trailer we can hear Jon Snow (Kit Harington) making a plea and warning to someone, perhaps Daenerys (Emilia Clarke), whom we see has touched down on Dragonstone. “For centuries our families fought together against their common enemy, despite their differences together,” he says. “We need to do the same if we’re going to survive because the enemy is real. It’s always been real.” Fortunately, he has one of the best advisers by his side, Davos Seaworthy (Liam Cunningham). As for Dany, as we saw last season, she has some new allies: Yara (Gemma Whelan) and Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen). They no doubt helped her on her journey over the water, and will be invaluable when it comes to how this world works. She may believe she’s the rightful queen, but she hasn’t built up any goodwill with the Westerosi yet.

But He May Have a New Enemy

While Jon Snow is busy fighting off White Walkers and forging new alliances, Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) is whispering in Sansa’s (Sophie Turner) ear. “Don’t fight in the north or the south. Fight every battle, everywhere, always in your mind,” he advises while skulking in the shadows. Later, Sansa’s own words don’t sound like solidarity with her half-brother (but really cousin) at all: “When the snows fall and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies but the pack survives.” This may sound like Sansa is about to stab him in the back for the greater good, and we really hope this isn’t true (although Sansa didn’t seem to pleased when he was hailed as King in the North last season). What gives us hope is that this is only part of a bigger quote that Ned Stark (Rip) had told his daughter Arya (Maisie Williams). The rest plays out as such: “Summer is the time for squabbles. In winter, we must protect one another, keep each other warm, share our strengths. So if you must hate, Arya, hate those who would truly do us harm.” Let’s just hope that Ned also taught this lesson to Sansa.

Much Dragon. So Toothy

Daenerys has brought her babies to war with her, and they seem right at home flying alongside the Dothraki and breathing fearsome fire. Last we saw though, Dany hadn’t quite figured out how to control them, so how will they know who’s friend or foe? For that matter, is that something or someone in his teeth? Please note the difference between this photo (4 out of 5 Valyrian dentists agree that fire fights plaque) and the one at the top of the story.

Bran May Be Waging War by Warging

This may be completely due to the magic of trailer editing but it certainly looks like Bran has warged into a raven that is flying overhead and has caught the attention of the Night’s King who glances up. As the one who has greensight and the best connection to the old magics, Bran is a key player when it comes to opposing these ancient enemies. And hey, it looks like he has a new wheelchair and mentor to help him out.

Read More: ‘Game of Thrones’ Spinoffs: George Rr Martin Hints at Fifth Pilot in the Works

Oh Yeah, But Does Your Sword Do This?

The oft-resurrected Beric Dondarrion (Richard Dormer) is back with his flaming sword, and he’s in the North along with The Hound (Rory McCann)… and possibly Jon Snow. While we see some flaming weapon fighting alongside Jon Snow in this scene, the hair doesn’t look the same from afar. Regardless, it appears that he’ll be fighting off the White Walkers and resurrected wights in the name of the Red God. Could this be yet another alliance? And what happens when Arya comes on the scene. After all, she has both Beric and The Hound on her hit list.

Cersei Could Have One New Ally

Remember Euron Greyjoy (Pilou Asbaek, aka the Danish Joshua Jackson)? He’s Yara and Theon’s uncle who took over Pyke and got crowned, even though he killed his own brother for it. He had intended to go to Daenerys and offer her an alliance, but since his niece and nephew beat him to it, our money is on him siding against them with Cersei (Lena Headey). He’s also a psychopath, so they should get along nicely.

And history has told us that Jaime Lannister (Nicolaj Coster-Waldau) will support his lover and sister no matter what and that he’s pissed at brother Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) for killing their father, who deserved it. Early photos also show Jaime by Cersei’s side. But history has also told us that Jaime took a stand against a mad, power-hungry tyrant that wanted to burn everyone with wildfire, which is exactly what Cersei did last season. Can he support her in this megalomania? Especially when their last remaining child committed suicide as a result? Jaime has shown some of the best character growth over the seasons, and his riding into a fiery battlefield, possibly set aflame by a dragon, could be the hint that he’s chosen his side.

Grey Worm Could Get His Big Eunuch Sex Scene

The romance between Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson) and Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) has been developing over the seasons. “Game of Thrones” tends to use its sex scene for violence or character development, but could it actually try to show a pure and tender moment this season? Grey Worm also features heavily in the trailer in his new helmet and heading into battle. We hope that means that he is just getting more screen time because he’s important, not because he’s going to die (which is possible for anyone on this show, we suppose).

What else did you see in the trailer? Take another look:

Game of Thrones” returns for Season 7 on July 16 on HBO.

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- Hanh Nguyen

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How TV Critics Began To Have a Bigger Impact on the Emmy Race — Screen Talk Emmy Podcast

7 hours ago

The Television Critics Association’s TCA Awards nominations are out, and it looks a lot like the Emmy race.

That wasn’t always the case, as TV critics and Television Academy voters were traditionally on very different pages. But that has changed in recent years, as Emmy nominations began to recognize more critics faves, such as “The Americans” and “Orphan Black” star Tatiana Maslany (who even won last year).

On this week’s “Screen Talk Emmy Edition,” we look at the TCA Award nominees, plus go through IndieWire’s list of 10 shows that Emmy voters ought to take a second look at before filling out their ballots. And later in the episode, we examine the best comedy series odds.

Read More: 10 TV Shows Emmy Voters Need to Watch Before They Fill Out Their Ballots

Just like last year, IndieWire’s Screen Talk podcast will continue its weekly Emmy edition over the next few months to highlight the most interesting storylines and races. IndieWire editor-at-large Anne Thompson and executive editor Michael Schneider will banter each week, and also bring on the occasional guest. Here’s Episode 3.

Listen to the full episode above.

Screen Talk is available on iTunes.

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You can subscribe here or via RSS. Share your feedback with Anne Thompson and Michael Schneider on Twitter or sound off in the comments. Browse previous installments here. Check out the rest of Indiewire’s podcasts on iTunes right here.

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- Michael Schneider

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‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’ Co-Creator Aline Brosh McKenna on the Song From the Show That’s Stuck In Her Head

7 hours ago

In a TV world that often asks for creators and series to make sacrifices to get on the air, “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” has always felt like a show that fights to keep its best parts intact. What other serialized TV show could squeeze in a shanty about alcoholism, a riff on “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,” an elaborate tap duet, a forlorn Disney princess ballad and a relationship exit interview version of “My Way,” all in the span of three episodes?

It’s a specific brand of energy that powers this CW gem, one that persisted all the way through to a fateful, seismic season finale written and directed by the show’s co-creator, Aline Brosh McKenna. As she explained in a recent interview, one of the season’s best moments almost didn’t happen.

“We didn’t have a song in there for a very long time and it was going to be a more straight-up, dramatic episode for us,” McKenna said.

Still wanting to find a place for another comedy song, the answer came in a surprise revelation from the show’s star — and other co-creator — Rachel Bloom.

Read More: 10 TV Shows Emmy Voters Need to Watch Before They Fill Out Their Ballots

“We were all in the writers room, working on a rewrite and Rachel kind of busted into the door and said, ‘Oh I know how to do this! We should do death metal,'” McKenna said.

Yes, in the middle of a momentous episode where its main character, Rebecca Bunch, is on the precipice of her dream wedding, “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” delivered the Rammstein-adjacent headbanger “What a Rush to Be a Bride.”

For McKenna, the best part is that this wasn’t simply a tossed-in gag meant to be funny simply because it was contradictory. The choice came from a place of odd truth. “What I love about it is that there is something about being a bride which is really aggro and hostile and ‘Fuck you, give me my stuff!’ and ‘Watch me wear this dress!’ And I think that, by finding that genre, [Rachel] really pulled out this hilarious hostility of being a bride and how controlling that is,” McKenna said.

It’s also indicative of the kind of jokes that McKenna wanted for a finale that could survive on its own merit and not merely the goodwill it had built up from fans over its sophomore season. That approach meant that Rebecca’s wedding morning song (“It’s magic hour lighting, which doesn’t make a heaping amount of sense, but who cares? It’s gorgeous,” McKenna explained) having two season’s worth of reprises built in proved to be a tricky balance.

“My goal always with the show was not to ever do a joke or a reprise that you can only enjoy if you were a fan of the show. Rachel and I talked about it a lot and what I came to realize is that it was an acting piece for her. She performed it like a dramatic monologue, without any sense of musical comedy cutesiness. She really, I thought, brought it to life in this way that was very real and emotional where you really saw her struggle and you really feel her pain,” McKenna said.

That ability to bring real emotion and consequences into this semi-heightened world is a running theme of the series. Even though Rebecca has gone through multiple iterations of being the show’s title character, she’s brought just as much out of her fellow West Covinians.

“Her presence in town has caused everyone to change their life and has had a profound effect on everyone’s approach,” McKenna said. “Darryl realizing he was bisexual, Valencia finding a new job, Josh breaking up with Valencia, Greg leaving town, all those things would not have happened had Rebecca Bunch not shown up. That’s kind of a running theme in the show, that she’s inadvertently helping people transcend in their own life as she’s struggling to transcend herself.”

Even though these past two seasons have been a special roller-coaster for Rebecca, McKenna is adamant that she and the show’s writers still want the best for the character. They don’t want to give her an unrealistic shortcut to happiness, but he understands what it’s like to want to see a protagonist escape a cycle of unfortunate events.

Read More: ABC’s Live ‘Little Mermaid’ Should Just Use the Cast Of ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

“She’s struggling and I think you always know and sense that she’s trying really hard and she means well and doesn’t want to hurt anybody, even when she’s doing terrible things. Fans care about her and so I completely understand where that comes from. I know myself as a viewer, the shows that I binge, that sometimes I’m feeling like on ‘The Americans,’ Phillip seems really bummed out and I’d like for him to be happy. I get that,” McKenna said.

Now that the show is prepping for Season 3, that means figuring out how to utilize the show’s impressive ensemble after the finale’s reshuffling. While juggling the fate of all of these beloved characters is a tall task, sometimes it’s the show’s tracklist that can inspire the biggest personal reaction.

“There’s always people that we’d love to get in the show more and song genres that we love, but because the seasons are so different, there’s usually not a ton of carry-over. Except I was insisting that we were going to do ‘Heavy Boobs,’ no matter if it had anything to do with the story or something or nothing. It just was going to be done,” McKenna said. 

Does that mean that McKenna gets certain songs stuck in her heads, just like fans do? Of course.

“I’ve literally had things where I’ve had to have a glass of wine before bed because the songs will get wedged in my brain from working on them,” McKenna said. “And then I can’t function because I’m walking around singing, ‘They’re probably straightforward niiiipples…‘ to myself, which is not good for anybody. That’s not what anybody wants. Nobody wants to be around someone who’s singing that. No one. It’s a little bit of an occupational hazard.”

Read More: ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’ Welcomes New Cast Regulars the Only Way It Knows How: Through Song

In an early run of episodes that had the catchiest date prep, fatherly appreciation, and friendship celebration songs imaginable, memories of one particular Season 1 entry still linger, over a year later.

“You know what was the worst for me? Like, I almost had to go to the hospital? The ‘Dream Ghost’ song from Season 1,” McKenna said. “‘We pay out of pocket for cleeeeeanings!‘ Oh my God. I literally walked around, saying to people, ‘We pay out of pocket for cleanings’ for no reason. It was terrible. If we’ve done that to other people, I apologize.”

A small price to pay for one of the best comedies on TV.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” Season 2 is currently available to stream on Netflix. 

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- Steve Greene

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‘Roar’: Watch a Wild Behind-the-Scenes Look At Notorious Accident From Hollywood’s Most Dangerous Film

7 hours ago

Hollywood loves hyperbole, but when it comes to talking about Noel Marshall’s wild “Roar,” it’s hard to overstate just how crazy, dangerous, and just plain nuts the film’s production was.

For 11 years, producer-director Marshall; his wife, the actress Tippi Hedren;  and their children, including then-fledging actress Melanie Griffith, lived, ate and slept in the company of 150 lions, tigers, cheetahs, and jaguars. (Yes, this sounds like a bad enough idea already, but wait for it.) Eventually, Marshall and Hedren came up with the idea to use their own life — and cats! — as the basis for a film meant to bolster their love for animal conversation. It did not work out very well.

Read More: ‘Roar’: Tippi Hedren Reveals How Many People Were Actually Hurt While Filming Legendarily Insane Movie

The film’s shoot was plagued from the start, both by financial difficulties (Marshall and Hedren sold almost everything they had to finance it), and a series of horrific, seemingly random plagues, including floods, wildfire, and disease. And that’s to say nothing of the injuries.

When Drafthouse Films re-released the film back in 2015, the forward-thinking distributor sold the feature with a canny (and true) tagline: “No animals were harmed in the making of this movie. 70 members of the cast and crew were.”

As IndieWire detailed at the time: “Some of the injuries sustained in the course of production: cinematographer Jan de Bont was scalped, requiring 220 stitches; Griffith was mauled by a lion, which required facial reconstructive surgery; an A.D. narrowly escaped death when a lion missed his jugular by an inch; Hedren, who was also attacked by birds on the set of ‘The Birds,’ endured a fractured leg and multiple scalp wounds; and Marshall himself was wounded so many times that he was hospitalized with gangrene.”

Read More: ‘Holy F*cking Sh*t’ Discovery of ‘Roar,’ the Most Dangerous Movie Ever Made

Those injuries and upheavals are just part of the upcoming behind-the-scenes documentary, “Roar: The Most Dangerous Movie Ever Made,” which dives deep into the film’s troubled production, complete with exclusive interviews and never-before-seen footage. “Roar,” it seems is still dangerous, and now there’s even more of it.

In our exclusive clip, various cast and crew members (including Marshall’s son John, who starred in the film) detail the circumstances surrounding perhaps the most notorious injury to happen during production: the scalping of de Pont at the hands (paws) of some very angry big cats. Check it out below.

Roar: The Most Dangerous Movie Ever Made” will debut on Animal Planet (too good) on Saturday, June 24 at 10Pm Et.

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- Kate Erbland

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Chloë Sevigny and Her Mom Don’t Talk About ‘The Brown Bunny,’ and 7 Other Wild Stories From the Indie Actress’ Career

7 hours ago

Few acting resumes include as many visionary, boundary-pushing auteur filmmakers as Chloë Sevigny’s. A selected list of the directors she’s worked with could easily fill an IndieWire top ten: Harmony Korine, Vincent Gallo, Lars Von Trier, Whit Stillman, Kimberly Peirce, Olivier Assayas, and David Fincher — to name a few. In fact, as IndieWire co-founder Eugene Hernandez put it at a sit-down with the actress at the Provincetown International Film Festival last weekend, Sevigny was at the epicenter of the independent film renaissance of the late 1990s and early 2000s that inspired IndieWire’s creation in the first place.

Read More: Why Chloe Sevigny Waited 20 Years To Make Her Directorial Debut With The Female-Friendly ‘Kitty

“It was the work of Chloe and so many of her collaborators…that inspired the site we created. So without even knowing it, Chloe, you were part of what helped inspire us to do what we did at IndieWire,” said Hernandez in his introduction.

Sevigny was in Provincetown showing her short film, “Kitty,” the actress’ first foray into directing. It’s a visually lush and fantastical film based on a short story by Paul Bowles, whose work once led her to travel to Marrakech with Korine in the mid-’90s, “Just kind of following in his footsteps.” As the festival presented her with their Excellence in Acting Award, Sevigny and Hernandez sat down for a career-spanning talk that included some eyebrow-raising anecdotes from her days working with indie cinema’s most lauded (and eccentric) directors.

Read More: Sofia Coppola On Female Sexuality In ‘The Beguiled’ And Why She Hopes Gay Men Find Colin Farrell Sexy

Here are seven things you may not have known about Sevigny’s most memorable films, and some of the greatest (and most controversial) indies of the last twenty years, according to her:

1. Before “Boys Don’t Cry,” Drew Barrymore wanted to play Brandon Teena, and she asked Harmony Korine to direct it. 

Drew Barrymore had actually approached Harmony and she wanted to play [Brandon Teena] and she wanted me to play Lana in her version. There were some weird initial meetings around that, which obviously didn’t go very far. She sent in these kind of Herb Ritts photos of herself done up as a boy. She looked really attractive, but it wasn’t gonna work. And then I actually went and auditioned for the [Brandon Teena] part. Kimberly Peirce said, ‘You’ve never wanted to be a boy, have you?’ And I said, ‘No,’ and she was like, ‘Why don’t you come back in and try out for the other part?’ So I did, and I got it.”

2. Sarah Polley was Kimberly Peirce’s first choice to play Lana in “Boys Don’t Cry.”

“I only got the part because Sarah Polley passed. That happened to me a lot in the ’90s. She got a lot of parts that I wanted.”

3. The reaction to that infamous blow job scene in Vincent Gallo’s “The Brown Bunny” still haunts her.

“I thought it would just kind of play to an art house audience, I don’t know why I thought it would just go under the radar. Vincent’s a real character. I love ‘Buffalo 66.’ I put my faith in him, believed in him. He’s also very seductive, as you can imagine… I think it was a way of kind of reclaiming myself, which sounds odd, but after the celebrity and stuff, being like: ‘No, that’s not who I am, I’m this other thing, and this is what I stand for.’ Or wanting to push the envelope. Like John [Waters], who’s here.” Sevigny gestured to Waters, who called out from the audience: “I loved the ‘The Brown Bunny’! The insects on the windshield…”

Read More: ‘Lizzie’: First Look at Kristen Stewart and Chloe Sevigny in Gothic Historical Murder Mystery

4. “The Brown Bunny” didn’t hurt her career, but it did hurt some relationships. 

“I got my first studio film after that. I’d never been offered a studio film. It was ‘Zodiac.’ I don’t think it really hurt me, necessarily. I mean, it hurt me, in a lot of ways… Some relationships have had trouble with it. Of course, my mom and I don’t talk about it.”

5. Whit Stillman is terrifying.

“He’s very precise, and he also likes to do things a lot… It becomes surreal. Not as much as Fincher — he does full takes. Whit just wants you to say one line or one word again and again and again in a series. It’s terrifying. So scared of that man. And yet I keep going back. Glutton for punishment.”

6. Lars Von Trier spanked her on the set of “Dogville” (often). 

“I think that Lars tortures the main actresses, and the supporting players get a free ride. He was really into spanking me. But in a playful way. He’d always tease me, like I had to be punished. And he knew I was into Black metal so he was always teasing me about like going off and burning churches. We had a funny rapport. But I think he was harder on Nicole [Kidman].”

7. The Chloe videos hurt her feelings. 

“Ugh, I have a really complicated relationship with those. I don’t want to say I’m offended, ’cause that’s such a strong word. But I don’t enjoy them. I think because he’s a comedian. If he was more of a drag performer, I would feel like less – they hurt my feelings. Maybe I should be tougher, I don’t know. But they do.”

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- Jude Dry

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‘Glow’ Producers Didn’t Want to Cast Alison Brie — Here’s How She Fought to Change Their Minds

8 hours ago

Life often imitates art, but Alison Brie’s “Glow” story is kind of amazing.

Brie’s character on the new Netflix original series — from creator Liz Flahive (“Nurse Jackie”) and executive producer Jenji Kohan (“Orange is the New Black”) — is an actress whose resiliency is rewarded with the role she needs. But the connection between artist and art is a touch more specific than that.

Ruth spends the first scene of “Glow,” and much of the first episode, auditioning. The first scene is an audition, and she’s quickly rejected. Another audition, another rejection. It’s a pattern in the pilot, and it was a pattern for Brie when she was trying to be a part of it.

“They did not want me to have this part,” Brie said, remembering the long, challenging audition process while sitting next to Flahive and co-star Betty Gilpin (“American Gods”). “I’ve never felt more like Ruth than when I was auditioning for this show.”

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The first hurdle: Flahive and casting director Jen Euston were looking for an unknown to play Ruth, the lead in the series, and that meant the former star of “Community” and “Mad Men” wasn’t an option.

“I think we had an idea in our head that [Ruth] was somebody who hadn’t been cast; who you hadn’t seen,” Flahive said, noting they got past it by watching Brie’s auditions. “[Casting] was a combination of seeing people again and again and again, and the other roles where it was just, ‘There’s only one person. This is the person.'”

Brie and Gilpin fell into the former group, as the duo had to come in repeatedly to try out for their parts.

“It felt like a series of tests,” Brie said. “‘But will she come in and do a pre-read for casting?’ And I was like, ‘Absolutely, I’ll wear no makeup.’ ‘Will you fly to Toronto and read with Betty in front of no one?’ ‘Yes, absolutely, whatever you want me to do.'”

In total, Brie and Gilpin went on four auditions — two individually and then two together to test their chemistry. The first step was reading for Euston, and the second was in a “very cold, weird, silent room” with producers. Even when they got the call to come in together, they were filmed “alone in a room with like two casting assistants who were not working on this project,” Brie said.

“[It was] like a stoned 16-year-old who they found on the street to press record,” Flahive said, laughing.

Read More: ‘Kingdom’ and ‘American Gods’ Star Jonathan Tucker Bled for His Art, and That’s Just the Beginning

Because of these oddities, each actress developed individual rituals to keep their expectations in check.

“Every audition for Debbie, I thought of it as the last time,” Gilpin said. “I would say goodbye to her every time because I was like, ‘You cannot take this dream all the way in.'”

“I cried in my car after every audition,” Brie said. “I would sit in my car like Ruth and sob. And we were both listening to the same Ultimate ’80s mix while auditioning, so “Flock of Seagulls” was playing [while we were sobbing].”

Their final audition was in Los Angeles “five days before my wedding,” Gilpin said. Flahive said they needed to see the two of them together again because “[Ruth and Debbie] is the relationship of the series,” but it was all more than worth it to the actors because of the script’s unique opportunities.

“I’ve been in this strange sweet spot of making my living as an actor but not doing crazy big shows like this,” Gilpin said. “I’ve auditioned for a lot of what’s out there, which is like squinty cop in tight outfits who aren’t taking any shit in the first scene and in the second scene they’re naked and blowing the captain of the police force. And I tried really hard to get those parts because I want my future children to go to school and have appetizers at dinners.”

“So when this came along I was just shaking reading it because I hadn’t really allowed myself to dream of a part like this,” she said.

Brie agreed, taking it one step further. “It was amazing to get the opportunity to prove myself the way that Ruth also does,” she said of the audition process. “But I also had this dream criteria in my head where I was ready to sign off on certain shows that checked like two of the six boxes, and I was like ‘Two whole boxes!’ And then ‘Glow’ came in, and it really did check every box.”

“It was indescribable when I first read it, in the same way that Betty described: the fear and excitement at reading it and being like, ‘Oh my God. This is the thing!'”

But even now, with the season wrapped and rolling out on Netflix and plenty of prestige TV in their past, these actors are still nervous for the next audition.

Do you feel like there’s been a tipping point? Was there a moment where you thought, “Ok, I’ve got this. I feel like I’ve broken through?”

Gilpin: Absolutely not, no.

I hope you feel that way now.

Gilpin: I don’t!

Soon, though, maybe?

Brie: We never do.

Gilpin: But there is a feeling on set, in every department on “Glow” that everyone has sort of paid their dues and gritted their teeth through certain jobs to get to this one.

Brie: To be rewarded with this.

Gilpin: That this is the passion project.

If art does imitate life, may this piece last as long as Brie, Gilpin, and Flahive care to live in it.

Glow” premieres Friday, June 23 on Netflix.

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- Ben Travers

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Indie Film Has Saved the Romantic Comedy — These 11 Movies Prove Why

8 hours ago

In 2009, Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds propelled “The Proposal” to nearly $165 million at the U.S. box office. The summer before, Cameron Diaz and Ashton Kutcher spun a profit with “What Happens in Vegas,” which earned $80 million on a $30 million budget. In 1998, Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan amassed $115 million for “You’ve Got Mail,” while Julia Roberts and Richard Gere pulled in $152 million for “Runaway Bride” a year later.

Read More: 11 Great Movies That Prove Indie Film Saved the Romantic Comedy

All of this is to say that there was once a time when the romantic-comedy genre was a slam dunk when it came to turning a profit at the box office. But in the age of superhero movies and big-budget tentpoles, there’s hardly room for rom-coms. And yet the genre never really died, it just went indie.

The last several years have made one thing very clear: Indie film is the savior of the rom-com. Click through the gallery for 11 great films that prove why.

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- Zack Sharf

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11 Great Movies That Prove Indie Film Saved the Romantic Comedy

9 hours ago

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- Zack Sharf

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Vimeo Staff Picks: How to Get Your Film Seen By Hollywood Producers and Brands

9 hours ago

With more than 240 million monthly viewers, Vimeo has grown into one of the best online platforms for filmmakers to share their work with the world and discover other talented artists. The site’s flagship channel, Vimeo Staff Picks, features the best videos on Vimeo, and is billed as a “never-ending film festival” that runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

The benefit of a Staff Pick can be getting your short film, music video or other short form work seen by production companies, advertising agencies and brands looking for emerging talent. Filmmaker Patrick Jean’s short film “Pixels” was chosen as a Staff Pick, went viral, and attracted the attention of Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison Productions, which hired Patrick to direct the feature-length version. Though Happy Madison ultimately brought Chris Columbus on board to direct, Patrick stayed on as an executive producer and co-writer of the script.

Timelapse cinematographer Drew Geraci’s “District Nights” similarly landed him a job shooting the opening credits sequence for Netflix’s “House of Cards,” while Daniel Mercadante’s two-minute short “Laughs” led to Volkswagen hiring him to shoot a second version for a TV commercial. Other Staff Picks alumni who have gained critical exposure through Vimeo include “Swiss Army Man” co-directors the Daniels (12 Staff Picks) and “Kong: Skull Island” filmmaker Jordan Vogt-Roberts (2 Staff Picks).

Read More: John Early and Kate Berlant’s ‘555’ Just Raised the Bar for Every Short Form Comedy Ever

Curated by a five-person in-house team, Staff Picks is comprised of the core verticals of Drama, Comedy, Action Sports and Documentary, and also includes Music Video, Animation, Travel and Eye Candy. Vimeo selects around four Staff Picks per day and features the videos on its homepage. Out of the tens of millions of videos uploaded to Vimeo on a yearly basis, roughly 1,000 are chosen as Staff Picks. The site also selects around 10 “Best of the Month” videos per month.

Though Staff Picks are free to watch, Vimeo on Demand offers filmmakers a way to monetize their work via a 90/10 split, with 90 percent of revenue going to the creators. Launched in 2013, the site’s VOD content features more than 50,000 videos with more than 1 million paying customers. If a filmmaker wants to earn revenue off of his or her Vimeo Staff Pick, the film can be moved to the subscription-only platform.

So how can you secure a coveted Vimeo Staff Picks badge for your film? Here are five key factors paraphrased from a presentation by Meghan Oretsky, one of the company’s five curators, during an event at the company’s New York office.

Exceptional craft

Staff Picks should look good and sound amazing, but filmmakers should also ask themselves whether their work innovates and pushes the medium to a new level. Check out “Analogue Loaders” by from Raphael Vangelis.

Conversation starting

To get people talking about a short film, it should present provocative ideas and visuals that ideally appeal to a millennial audience. Vimeo knows a video is a winner when the curators anticipate it being shared and sparking conversations amongst friends. Check out “Black Holes” by Noodles.

Engaging storytelling

Stories should draw the viewer in, elicit an emotional response and ultimately be something that people want to the share with their friends. A good example is the short film “Con Amor” by Cole Webley.

Originality

Vimeo creators should have a unique style and story. A good question to ask is, have we seen this story told time and time again? If so, are they bringing any new ideas or a new voice to the genre? Check out Ilya Naishuller’s music video for Leningrad’s “Kolshick.” 

Read More: Danny Devito’s Short Film ‘Curmudgeons’ Launches Vimeo’s Staff Pick Premieres

Diverse Voices

Vimeo’s curators attend niche festivals in order to find content from female filmmakers, the Lgbtq community, people with disabilities, the indigenous community and more. Check out David M. Helman’s music video for Michael Kiwanuka “Cold Little Heart.”

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- Graham Winfrey

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New York Asian Film Festival: The Best in Modern Asian Cinema Gets a Badass New Trailer — Watch

9 hours ago

Fans of Asian cinema are in for a very big treat when The Film Society of Lincoln Center and Subway Cinema roll out their annual New York Asian Film Festival, known as North America’s leading festival of popular Asian cinema, later this month.

This year’s edition will showcase 57 feature films, including 3 International Premieres, 21 North American Premieres, 4 U.S. Premieres, and 15 films making their New York City debuts, including titles like “Bad Genius,” “Birdshot,” “A Double Life,” “The Gangster’s Daughter,” “Kfc,” “Jane,” and “With Prisoners.”

Read More: Ambitious South Korean Actioner ‘The Villainess’ Just Might Be This Year’s ‘Train to Busan’ — Film Festival Roundup

The festival will present five awards, including the Star Hong Kong Lifetime Achievement Award to Eric Tsang, two Star Asia Awards, the Screen International Rising Star Award to Thailand’s Chutimon “Aokbab” Chuengcharoensukying as announced on June 5, and the Daniel E. Craft Award for Excellence in Action Cinema to South Korea’s Jung Byung-gil.

“We were seeking a range of original films from young, first-time directors, films that represent the diversity of filmmaking from Asia, stories that say something both very local and specific to their countries of origin and something very universal: we hope we achieved at least some of this with our inaugural competition selection, which includes films from seven countries/cities in the region in a broad variety of genres,” Nyaff executive director Samuel Jamier said in an official statement.

Read More: Whitewashing Isn’t the Only Problem for Asian American Actors, Who Must Play Offensive Stereotypes

He added, “It’s important for us to champion new filmmaking from Asia, and the diversity of film made there at a time when other festivals in North America seem to be reducing the size of their Asian lineups.”

Check out our exclusive trailer for the festival below, showing off some of the badass titles festival-goers can check out at this year’s edition.

The New York Asian Film Festival is curated by executive director Samuel Jamier, deputy director Stephen Cremin, and programmers Claire Marty and David Wilentz. It is co-presented by Subway Cinema Inc and the Film Society of Lincoln Center.

The festival is held at the Film Society of Lincoln Center (June 30 – July 13) and the Sva Theater (July 14 – 16).

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- Kate Erbland

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Ron Howard’s ‘Star Wars’: We Debate the New Choice For Lucasfilm’s Han Solo Movie

9 hours ago

With the news that Ron Howard is taking over the production of Lucasfilm’s young Han Solo movie, the IndieWire team traded emails about the shift.

Anne Thompson: Lucasfilm czar Kathleen Kennedy is siding with the writer — long-time “Star Wars” consigliere Lawrence Kasdan —over a carefully-selected director team with a strong voice. Phil Lord and Chris Miller, if you think about it, have become accustomed to running their own show. They have a little production studio humming along at Bricksburg in Hollywood, born from the blockbuster “The Lego Movie,” and they’re used to being in charge. They are stars. And they know it.

Whatever went wrong here, it’s clear who Lord and Miller are, what they can do. For one thing they are comedy directors — “21 Jump Street,” “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs,” “The Lego Movie” — not to mention the upcoming “Lego Ninjago Movie,” “America: The Motion Picture,” “Mib 23,” the Untitled Spider-Man Project, and a gaggle of TV series. They’re running their own factory parallel to the Lucasfilm universe and ran headlong into the juggernaut that is “Star Wars.” Kennedy’s purpose is to stay on course — as Kevin Feige does with Marvel — and keep the “Star Wars” universe humming and intact as it spins into many orbits. She can take responsibility for miscasting in this case, because Lord and Miller are who they are and, once hired, should be able to do what they do.

Read More: ‘Star Wars’: The Han Solo Movie We Will Never Get to See

When less established indie hire Gareth Edwards went off track on “Rogue One,” he had to step aside as “Bourne” franchise writer-director Tony Gilroy helped to reshoot and reorganize the final product. The trick with Jj Abrams or Rian Johnson or Colin Trevorrow is selecting directors who are team players capable of keeping the larger goals in mind, and not drawing outside the lines. That, apparently, Lord and Miller did not do—running with a different interpretation of Han Solo than Kasdan. In this case, a reinvention of the Han Solo character for a new generation was not in the cards. Of course Ron Howard is a superb competent director (“Apollo 13,” “A Beautiful Mind,” “Rush”) who can execute with the best of them. He knows what to do and will do it well. But like Edgar Wright’s “Ant Man,” I  suspect the movie we will never see was more exciting and unexpected than the one that will hit global screens in 2018.

Kate Erbland: There’s no question that after the massive upheaval of Lord and Miller leaving the project with just a few weeks left to go in principal photography, Lucasfilm is desperate for anything resembling stability. Howard is a good guy for that, a seasoned professional with plenty of blockbuster experience and two Oscars to boot, and he’ll likely be able to soothe frazzled nerves and get the mechanics of the filmmaking process running smoothly in no time. That’s the draw here: He’s a safe choice, and what was so exciting about the initial hiring of Lord and Miller was that they weren’t.

Howard will surely make a perfectly serviceable feature, delivered on time and with a minimum of drama, but the fallout from this will always eclipse that final product. Not just in terms of the Han Solo movie we’ll never see — though that stings, too — but because it shows that Lucasfilm and “Star Wars” aren’t ready to take a real gamble on unique talents just yet, even when they seem so happy to keep telling us that they are.

Zack Sharf: It’s also worth pointing out that Howard’s a Hollywood veteran, so fans should rest assured this will remain a polished, maybe even elegant production. But he’s also an old-fashioned, traditional storyteller, which means anyone hoping for some narrative edge to this spinoff will most likely wind up disappointed.

But given all the news that has broken since Lord and Miller’s firing earlier this week, the real question isn’t whether or not Ron Howard is a good replacement, it’s whether or not his hiring even matters. It’s become apparent that Kennedy and Kasdan are the real directors at play here, even though their titles may not official indicate such a job. It’s why Lord and Miller were fired. It’s why Tony Gilroy was brought on to oversee Gareth Edwards’ massive “Star Wars: Rogue One” reshoots. The latter was no fluke, and the former is an alarming new wake up call to the real people calling the shots on these movies.

Directors often come and go from projects — just look what’s happening with “The Flash” over at Warner Bros. — but very rarely are they fired months into production. It makes you wonder how much these movies can have any real directorial signature. Whether it was Ron Howard or Guillermo del Toro, for instance, we might wind up with the same end product. Kennedy and Kasdan may have the perfect template for this movie, but that doesn’t mean it requires a talented filmmaker.

Chris O’Falt: I think the big thing with Howard is he can have a light touch when necessary.  He’s the rare studio director who can do intense drama, action, but is more than capable of doing comedy or building in comedic elements. He’s the best choice for preserving — and salvaging — some element of Lord and Miller’s comedic elements and while delivering a component action-adventure film. Howard is congenial and beloved, in addition to being a component producer and respected presence on set.

Read More: Han Solo Upheaval: Here’s Everything You Need to Know About Phil Lord and Chris Miller’s ‘Star WarsExit

As Kate said, when this movie comes out, Lord and Miller will be part of the story.  Who would you rather have out front with your “it all worked out” version of things?  Who do you want sitting with Colbert or on the Today Show rehashing this awkward situation? Howard knows how to diffuse a bomb.

Eric Kohn: There’s a bigger question behind all this: What do we want from our “Star Wars” movies? Personally, I was satiated a long time ago (in a movie theater far, far away, on the other side of the country, watching the original trilogy in its late-nineties rerelease). This franchise has been with us for so long that we take its existence for granted. Say what you want about George Lucas’ prequels, but this former aspiring experimental filmmaker was constantly thinking outside the box. The latest “Star Wars” movies, while proficient as entertainment, have also shown a kind of conservatism with respect to mainstream entertainment. Give the audience what they want — a big, slick space opera that’s easy to consume and loaded with relatable characters. The only thing truly daring about “Rogue One” was its grim finale – and I bet the Lucasfilm execs won’t let the franchise go that direction ever again.

I love the idea of hiring visionary filmmakers to play around with studio dollars, but frankly am more intrigued by the wacky possibilities of Luc Besson’s “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” than Han Solo’s backstory. (For what it’s worth: The “Star Wars” comics, which are canon, already do a fine job of filling in some of those details.) The more I consider the possibilities of a Han Solo prequel, the less exciting they become; this character has become such a fully-formed pop culture icon that the very idea of more cinematic adventures strikes me as redundant.

Here’s an idea: Take Han Solo’s name out of the script and let Ron Howard make a fast, fun space western about characters who have barely received much attention in the past. Why not give Lando Calrissian top billing? Donald Glover’s overdue for action stardom. Or, for that matter, maybe Howard could channel his penchant for music films into a concert film about Mos Eisely cantina fixtures Figrin D’an and the Modal Nodes. I’d be first in line.

Wishful thinking, I know. We’re getting a Ron Howard movie about young Han Solo. As others have said, it’s a safer bet, and not the least bit surprising. Maybe it’ll be fine. But I have a strong feeling that will also be familiar.

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- Eric Kohn, Zack Sharf, Kate Erbland, Chris O'Falt and Anne Thompson

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‘Stronger’ Trailer: Jake Gyllenhaal and Tatiana Maslany Look Incredible in Boston Bombing Drama

10 hours ago

David Gordon Green didn’t exactly knock it out of the park with his last feature, the 2015 Sandra Bullock misfire “Our Brand is Crisis,” but he’s got what looks to be one powerhouse of a comeback on his hands with “Stronger.”

Read More: ‘Nightcrawler’ Director Dan Gilroy Reteaming With Jake Gyllenhaal and Rene Russo for New Film

The Boston Marathon Bombing drama stars the very appealing duo of Jake Gyllenhaal and Tatiana Maslany and is based on the 2014 memoir of the same name by Jeff Bauman. Gyllenhaal plays Bauman, a victim of the bombing who lost his legs.

Maslany plays Bauman’s girlfriend, Erin Hurley. The supporting cast includes Miranda Richardson, Clancy Brown and Frankie Shaw.

Stronger” is the second major motion picture to focus on the Boston Marathon Bombing after Peter Berg and Mark Wahlberg’s “Patriots Day,” which was released last December. While that film took a detailed look at the manhunt to capture the terrorists behind the attack, “Stronger” looks to be a more intimate look at the lives affected.

Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions will release “Stronger” in theaters September 22. Watch the debut trailer below:

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- Zack Sharf

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‘Star Wars’: Ron Howard Set to Take Over as Director of Embattled Han Solo Spinoff

11 hours ago

Updated: When Lucasfilm says “soon,” they mean soon. Just two days after directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller left the long-gestasting Han Solo standalone spinoff project, a new director has already been named, according to new reports. When Lord and Miller left the film on Tuesday, an official statement from the pair and Lucasfilm promised that a new director would be named soon. Soon is today.

Both THR and Variety report that Ron Howard, rumored over the past two days to be the frontrunner for the project, will take over as director Asap. An official announcement is expected later this morning.

Update: The official Star Wars website has now shared the news that Howard is on board to direct the feature. In their official statement, Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy commented, “At Lucasfilm, we believe the highest goal of each film is to delight, carrying forward the spirit of the saga that George Lucas began forty years ago. With that in mind, we’re thrilled to announce that Ron Howard will step in to direct the untitled Han Solo film. We have a wonderful script, an incredible cast and crew, and the absolute commitment to make a great movie. Filming will resume the 10th of July.”

The still-untitled feature was reportedly about 75% done with principal photography, with about four weeks left in the shoot and five weeks of reshoots already planned for later this summer (a standard move on such a massive feature film).

Read More: Han Solo Upheaval: Here’s Everything You Need to Know About Phil Lord and Chris Miller’s ‘Star Wars’ Exit

THR reports that Howard “will meet with the actors — Alden Ehrenreich is playing the iconic smuggler, Donald Glover is playing Lando Calrissian, with Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke and Thandie Newton also on the roll call — to soothe a rattled set and will pore over a rough edit to see what the project has and still needs.”

Variety adds that “Howard will begin work immediately” on the film and “the exact amount of time and money that it will take to actually complete the production…will vary depending on how much rewriting and reshooting Howard deems is necessary after reviewing the script and shot footage.”

Read More: ‘Star Wars’: The Han Solo Movie We Will Never Get to See

Howard is already a part of the Lucasfilm fold, having worked with the studio on the George Lucas-penned 1988 fantasy “Willow.” He even appeared in Lucas’ “American Graffiti” in a small role. THR also shares that “Howard also revealed on a podcast in 2015 that Lucas had approached him to direct 1999’s ‘Star Wars’ prequel ‘The Phantom Menace,'” a gig that Lucas himself ultimately took on.

The filmmaker is a clearly a safe choice for a situation that seems destined to go down as an all-timer of a mess, yet the two-time Oscar winner’s filmmaking career has lately seemed to flatline. His last four narrative features have each made less than $50 million at the domestic box office, though his “Inferno” was a worldwide smash (it made over $220 million internationally). His last bonafide box office hit was 2009’s “Angels and Demons,” earning $133 at U.S. box office and nearly half a billion worldwide.

It is also still unclear how credits for the final film will shake out, a decision that ultimately rests with the Directors Guild of America.

The film’s release date is still tentatively set for May 25, 2018.

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Related storiesRon Howard's 'Star Wars': We Debate the New Choice For Lucasfilm's Han Solo Movie'Star Wars': The Han Solo Movie We Will Never Get to SeeHan Solo Upheaval: Here's Everything You Need to Know About Phil Lord and Chris Miller's 'Star Wars' Exit »


- Kate Erbland

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‘Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later’ Trailer: Camp Firewood Reopens Once More This August

11 hours ago

Only two years have passed since we last took a trip to Camp Firewood in the prequel series “Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp,” but we’re about to take a big 10-year jump in the sequel series, which of course bares the title “Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later.”

Read More: ‘Wet Hot American Summer: Fantasy Camp’ Is The Roleplaying Game of Your Wet Hot Dreams

Netflix has released the first official trailer for David Wain and Michael Showalter’s next run of eight episodes, and it takes everything you love about the original and puts an amazing (or disturbing, depending on how you look at it) 1990s spin on things. The new installment is set in 1991 and centers around the 10 year Camp Firewood reunion. Expect very odd things to go down.

Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later” debuts on Netflix August 4. The ensemble cast includes Amy Poehler, Chris Meloni, Chris Pine, David Hyde Pierce, Elizabeth Banks, Janeane Garofalo, Jason Schwartzman, Kristen Wiig, Paul Rudd and many more.

Watch the official trailer below.

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- Zack Sharf

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Radiohead Combines Two Amazing Long Takes into One in ‘Man of War’ Music Video — Watch

11 hours ago

Radiohead is celebrating a milestone this year as their groundbreaking 1997 album “Ok Computer” turns 20 years old. To celebrate the anniversary, the band is releasing “Oknotok,” a deluxe reissue that includes three unreleased tracks. The group has debuted the music video for the second of these tracks, entitled “Man of War,” and it’s as ambitious and head-spinning as you should expect from Radiohead at this point in their career.

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The clip is directed by Colin Read and features a paranoid man walking down the street being followed. Read shot the same long take twice at different points in the day and then edited them together to give off the surreal impression of one shot that switches between night and day but never breaks its long take effect.

Similar to “Birdman” and the opening of “La La Land,” neither take is a pure one shot, but the editing to mask the cuts has been done so effectively that the sensation of watching a one take remains. And let’s just say it’s thrilling to behold.

“Man of War” is the second unreleased track off “Oknotok” after “I Promise,” which received a music video from “All These Sleepless Night” director Michal Marczak earlier this month. Watch the new music video below.

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- Zack Sharf

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