Lady Gaga Is Lonely But Not Alone In Her New Documentary

At one point in Lady Gaga’s new documentary, Gaga: Five Foot Two, the singer laments that people are “touching me all day, and talking at me all day.” But, she adds, eventually those people leave — “and then I’ll be alone.” The quiet-LOUD-quiet of living famously means silence when all the stylists, makeup artists, bodyguards, producers, handlers, masseuses, physical therapists, family members, musicians, consultants, assistants, fans, and dancers pack up for the day.

Five Foot Two not only reveals Gaga’s occasional “Lucky” perspective, but also serves as a wonderful and moving montage of, truly, how stardom like hers — from the arenas to the Super Bowl to the top of the charts — actually takes a village. And that village needs a piece of her at every turn.

Throughout the 100-minute documentary, which is out Sept. 22 on Netflix, director Chris Moukarbel shows how everybody touches Gaga all day but she doesn’t have a partner when she lays down at night. There are various modes of touching in Five Foot Two from nurturers and entourage members who help to keep the lights on in the various houses of Gaga (and Haus of Gaga). From the kinetic squeezes with her producer Mark Ronson, to the gentle brushing of fingers as a blunt is passed around in a car, to a side-hug of a reporter, to the aggressive physical therapy when her chronic pain from fibromyalgia freezes her up, she rarely has a solitary waking moment.

In one scene, as she discusses business with a few style specialists on her sunny patio, Gaga takes her bikini top off mid-thought, as though it’s a totally normal thing to do, like brushing one’s teeth or cracking one’s knuckles. The camera focuses on her long enough to capture the surprising moment, but doesn’t linger on her bare breasts, cutting away so as not to gawk. Later, in a doctor’s office, she lightly adjusts a paper-thin hospital gown to cover herself up as she receives needle injections into her shoulders on one side of her body, while makeup artists do their thing on the other. These moments are among the many juxtapositions in the superstar’s daily life: There are times when she has total control over who looks at and touches her, how many people and for how long. And sometimes, she has no choice.

In one of the most vulnerable scenes of the film — which made its premiere at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival earlier this month — Gaga cries out in pain from a spasm while attendants massage her hip and back. “I’m just so embarrassed,” she sobs, seeming to allude to the high level of care she requires for one uncontrollable moment. During her public appearances, paparazzi and fans reach out and touch her arms or her head, demanding a photo or a kiss on her cheek before she’s shuffled into a waiting car.

Lady Gaga has always been someone who wants you to want her, especially during the promotional cycle for her last album, Joanne, with her luxurious long blonde hair, the exquisite collection of denim shorts, and those eye-catching tattoos that cover her beautiful skin. But Stefani Germanotta has her own ideas of physical intimacy, which she sees also as a powerful tool. “I just want Madonna to push me up against the wall and kiss me and tell me I’m a piece of shit,” Gaga says of the artist to whom she’s most frequently compared. (In the film, she also talks cautiously about famous women whose personal boundaries broke down: Marilyn Monroe, Anna Nicole Smith, and “you know who,” ostensibly her contemporary Amy Winehouse, who died in 2011.)

For as much power as Gaga’s acquired over the last decade — since “Just Dance” dominated radio in 2008 — she feels like there’s an inverse relationship between her popularity and her intimate relationships. “I sold 10 million [records] and lost Matt [Williams]. I sold 30 million and lost Lüc [Carl]. I did a movie and lost Taylor [Kinney],” she mourns, talking of her exes and referring to A Star Is Born, her forthcoming film with Bradley Cooper. As she employs more and more people in the business of Gaga, men she’s loved have left.

Her melancholy may be a little hard to appreciate, given her cushy pads and glamorous surroundings in nearly every minute of this film. Right before the Super Bowl halftime show in February, she tries to explain herself, initially referring to it as a “sad day,” as she saw the performance as the peak of her accomplishments, with no other pinnacles to traverse, no other ground to break. However, people who surround her in that moment convince her there is still work to be done and she changes her tune. When her feet leave the ground to ascend to the top of the dome on Houston’s NRG Stadium, her crew is below her. When she gets to the top, there is a crew up above. And as she makes her leaping descent back down into the stadium, 111.3 million people watched on TV.

It’s in moments like this that it’s important to remember that our favorite stars — like Taylor Swift, Beyoncé, Britney Spears, and Gaga — can be lonely, but they aren’t alone when they (or the team surrounding them) send out those strategic tweets or shift sonic directions or dramatically reveal their music videos. The biggest stars touch millions, and it requires hundreds of people touching them to operate on that level — and even then, it can still be lonely.

Why Bill Clinton And George W. Bush Are Portrayed In A Tom Cruise Movie About An Infamous Drug Smuggler


David James / Universal Pictures

Tom Cruise in American Made.

American Made stars Tom Cruise as Barry Seal, a real-life former airline pilot who embarked on a wildly successful cocaine smuggling operation between Colombia and a tiny airstrip in Mena, Arkansas, in the 1980s. Seal’s exploits brought him into close contact with infamous figures like Medellín cartel kingpins Pablo Escobar and Jorge Ochoa and Panama dictator Manuel Noriega — and he was abetted, the film argues, by the CIA and DEA.

The most eyebrow-raising moments in American Made, however, come when Seal crosses paths with two other major historical figures: Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

American Made screenwriter Gary Spinelli (Stash House) was interested in the Mena, Arkansas, story as possible fodder for a screenplay, and in his research, he kept coming across Seal. Along with Seal’s wildly successful drug smuggling operation, and his subsequent cooperation with the DEA as an informant against the Medellín cartel, Spinelli discovered allegations that Seal was also flying missions for the CIA’s campaign to support Contra rebels in Nicaragua — all of which transformed into the Iran-Contra scandal, and dominated President Ronald Reagan’s second term.

As is to be expected from purported involvement in clandestine operations, Seal’s work with the CIA remains in dispute. But in their interviews with BuzzFeed News, Spinelli and director Doug Liman (Edge of Tomorrow, The Bourne Identity) said that they were totally comfortable connecting Seal with the CIA based on the basic deduction that Seal could not have pulled off the massive scale of his drug smuggling operation without outside help. “He was flying in and out of the country, unbeknownst to all law enforcement, and it’s pretty improbable that he would be able to do that on his own,” said Spinelli.


Universal Pictures

Director Doug Liman and Cruise on the set of American Made.

Seal was murdered in 1986, by Colombian nationals allegedly carrying out a contract on his life — a fact that, coupled with the fuzzy details surrounding his possible collusion with federal intelligence officials, makes him terrific fodder for a different kind of storytelling, and is ultimately what led the filmmakers to include Clinton and Bush in American Made.

“Barry Seal is like a conspiracy theorist magnet for the left and the right,” said Liman.

For example, Spinelli said, “one of the big conspiracy theories around Barry is that he was [George] H.W. Bush’s personal pilot, and when Barry was killed, he had Bush’s phone number in his back pocket.”

Neither filmmaker felt it was appropriate to include that unsubstantiated theory, but they also knew that astute audience members might already be familiar with it. Which is how American Made, which opens Sept. 29, ended up with a scene in which Seal is waiting for a meeting at the White House while sitting next to a young George W. Bush (Connor Trinneer) as they exchange small talk about piloting planes.

“I just wanted to put a little fun thing between Barry and George W. Bush to just sort of say, ‘We’re not ignorant of those allegations,'” said Liman. “‘We’re not going to put them in the movie, but we’re not making this movie in a vacuum, either.'”

Spinelli said that since Seal reportedly did visit the Reagan White House, he was OK with placing him next to Bush, who also regularly visited the White House when his father was vice president. “You know, there’s dramatic license there, but both [Seal and Bush] were pilots, and I just thought it would be a cool moment to have [H.W. Bush’s] son meet Barry in the hallway,” he said. (Representatives for George W. Bush did not respond to a request to comment.)


Bettmann / Bettmann Archive; Rich Pilling / Getty Images

Left: An early photo of Bill Clinton, governor-elect of Arkansas. Right: George W. Bush in an undated photo in Arlington, Texas, speaking during a Texas Rangers game.

Seal’s connection to Clinton, meanwhile, is even more fraught with conspiracies: Some claim that, as governor of Arkansas, Clinton actively participated with the CIA in smuggling cocaine into the US. Googling Clinton’s and Seal’s names together produces reams of stories with screaming headlines like “Mena Coverup – Bill & Hillary Clinton’s Arkansas Cocaine Operation” and “EXPOSED: Clinton’s Trafficked MASSIVE CIA Shipments of Cocaine” and “SNOW JOB: THE CIA, COCAINE, AND BILL CLINTON.”

Before American Made went into production, Liman actually cut allegations in Spinelli’s original script that the CIA was directly trafficking in cocaine with Seal — in part because, as fate would have it, the chief counsel for the Senate’s investigation into the Iran-Contra scandal was Liman’s late father, Arthur L. Liman. “My father’s deputy said he had looked into those specific allegations and found them so without merit that he didn’t even put it in the report to deny it because that gives it some weight,” Liman said.

But both Spinelli and Liman understood that, as with the Bush family, they couldn’t tell Seal’s story and not at least tip their hats to the cottage industry of fringe Clinton conspiracies involving him. So they included a scene in which, after Seal has been arrested by multiple agencies, the attorney general of Arkansas fields a call from then-governor Clinton. Afterwards, Seal is released from custody and immediately whisked away to the White House — the implication being that Clinton had been asked by the Reagan administration to cut Seal loose so he could begin informing for the DEA.

Clinton never appears in the scene — we only know it’s him on the phone after the state attorney general calls him “Bill” — but the filmmakers claim that this event, or at least something like it, did happen.

“We knew that somehow Barry was operating with immunity. The CIA was operating with immunity in Arkansas. So there had to have been some involvement of the governor’s office,” said Liman. “There is a prosecutor in Arkansas who was told to back off. And so we combined that with the fact that the CIA was for sure operating in Arkansas and Clinton was the governor, to condense it down into one specific moment.”


Universal Pictures

Cruise in American Made.

In a 1994 press conference, President Clinton was asked specifically about how much he knew about the CIA’s alleged operation in Mena, Arkansas. “They didn’t tell me anything about it,” Clinton said. “The airport in question and all the events in question were the subject of state and federal inquiries. It was primarily a matter for federal jurisdiction. The state really had next to nothing to do with it. … We had nothing — zero — to do with it. And everybody who’s ever looked into it knows that.” (A representative for Clinton did not respond to a request seeking further comment.)

While both Spinelli and Liman stand by American Made’s assertions, they ultimately set out to make an entertaining movie — and by having Seal narrate his own story, they can couch their narrative in his subjective point of view. “He really is telling you his version of it,” said Spinelli. “What the facts are of the record don’t matter as much as what Barry thought had happened.”

“Nowhere does the film deal with the consequences of Barry’s actions,” added Liman. “Barry doesn’t tell you the part of the story where, say, American inner cities are being decimated by the influx of drugs. That’s not part of Barry’s narrative. … We’re not making a biopic. We’re more interested in the mechanics of how an operation like this works, and the kinds of people that get involved. Because it’s really fun.” Particularly when it potentially involves former presidents.

Thumbnail photo credits: Bettmann / Bettmann Archive; David James / Universal Pictures; Rich Pilling / Getty Images

Adam B. Vary is a senior film reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.

Contact Adam B. Vary at adam.vary@buzzfeed.com.

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A Super Dark Sabrina The Teenage Witch TV Show Is In The Works

Following the success of Riverdale, The CW’s Archie comics adaptation, the network is looking to bring another iconic comic book character back to life: Sabrina the Teenage Witch.

It was just announced that the team who gave Archie abs — Greg Berlanti, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Sarah Schechter, Lee Toland Krieger, and Jon Goldwater — is developing a series with Warner Bros. Television based on The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. The eight-issue comic was written by Aguirre-Sacasa, who also penned Afterlife With Archie (which Riverdale fans have some theories about).

Described as a dark drama in the horror genre, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina would be a coming-of-age story for Sabrina that “traffics in the horror, the occult, and, of course, witchcraft,” according to WBTV’s press release. “Tonally in the vein of Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist, this adaptation finds Sabrina wrestling to reconcile her dual nature — half-witch, half-mortal — while standing against the evil forces that threaten her, her family, and the daylight world humans inhabit.”

The one-hour show is only in development, so don’t set your DVR quite yet, but should it move forward, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina could air on The CW as early as Sept. 2018.

Of course, it wouldn’t be the first time Sabrina headlined her own TV series: Melissa Joan Hart memorably starred in Sabrina the Teenage Witch, which first aired on ABC from 1996 to 2000 before moving to The WB, where it wrapped up its seven season run in 2003.

We can only hope Salem will be back too.

Jarett Wieselman is a senior entertainment editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles. Wieselman writes about and reports on the television industry.

Contact Jarett Wieselman at jarett.wieselman@buzzfeed.com.

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17 Moments From Kid's Movies That Probably Scarred You As A Child

“The scene that got me the most is when the troll, who must kidnap children to keep himself alive, sneaks into a girls room, and as she rolls over onto her side in her bed, THERE’S THE FUCKING TROLL. I have slept on my back from that day forward (20-something years later), and to this day I am still nervous to sleep on my side.” —angelav45d8cf1a3

Finally, A Streaming Service Has Won An Emmy For Best Series

Blessed be the fruit: The Handmaid’s Tale, one of several favorites in the Emmys’ highly competitive best drama category, took home the top honor on Sunday night — and now Hulu is the first streaming service ever to win an Emmy in a best series category.

Before this year, Hulu had received two Emmy nominations: one for writing on its election special Triumph, and another for visual effects for its limited series 11.22.63.

In July, The Handmaid’s Tale received 13 Emmy nominations, and at Sunday’s ceremony, the show dominated. In addition to Outstanding Drama Series, the show won Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series (Elisabeth Moss), Outstanding Supporting Actress (Ann Dowd), Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series (Reed Morano), and Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series (Bruce Miller). At the Creative Arts Emmys last weekend, The Handmaid’s Tale won for production design and cinematography. And Alexis Bledel — who will be a series regular in the show’s second season — won Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series, bringing the show’s final tally to eight wins.

The Handmaid’s Tale sweep for Hulu was a shocking turn of events for a relatively new player in the Emmys and in quality scripted content.

The dystopian drama premiered on Hulu in April, and was seen as incredibly timely in this political climate, despite being based on Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel. The story of June (Moss), renamed Offred by the show’s oppressive society of Gilead, reflected many Americans’ current anxieties about eroding rights (of women, of minority groups), a looming threat of war, religious intolerance, and environmental threats.

None of the show’s winners delivered political speeches Sunday night, but The Handmaid’s Tale creator, Bruce Miller, closed the show by saying, “Go home, get to work, we have a lot of things to fight for.”

In the Emmys press room, executive producer Warren Littlefield said, “Our partners at Hulu are fearless. They took a very controversial book and said they wanted to do it. Each and every day they encourage us to go for it, and that kind of support for all of us as artists is exceptional.”

Hulu’s rival streaming service, Netflix, has been in the Emmys game since 2013, after the inaugural season of House of Cards, when it first began its full-court press into original content. That year, Netflix got 14 nominations, breaking into the major categories immediately, with nominations for Outstanding Drama Series, Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series (for Kevin Spacey), and Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series (Robin Wright). Jason Bateman was also nominated that year for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series for the Arrested Development reboot. Even the horror thriller Hemlock Grove got two nominations (for its main title theme and visual effects). Netflix has increased its nominations total every year since, drawing 91 in 2017 (second only to HBO’s 111), and has spent millions to do so, launching campaigns this year for all of its shows. Netflix famously has had a $6 billion budget for original content in 2017.

Yet Netflix has not been able to break through in the Outstanding Drama Series or Outstanding Comedy Series categories, despite having two strong contenders this year, with The Crown and Stranger Things. Along with The Handmaid’s Tale and NBC’s This Is Us, those four series were thought to be the main contenders in the drama category.

As the Emmys reflect, television’s delivery system stayed the same for its entire existence — and then it changed quickly. The first non-network show to win an Emmy in a best series category was in 2001 when HBO’s Sex and the City won Outstanding Comedy Series. Next was The Sopranos (also HBO, obviously) in 2004 for Outstanding Drama Series. The Sopranos won again in 2007, which was then followed by Mad Men‘s four-year run in that category — the AMC drama was the first basic cable show to win an Emmy in a best series category. After that, Showtime’s Homeland won in 2012, and then AMC’s Breaking Bad then won twice, in 2013 and 2014. Since Breaking Bad‘s two wins, and since ABC’s Modern Family ended its five-season streak in Outstanding Comedy Series in 2015, HBO has dominated both series categories, with Veep and Game of Thrones winning last year and the year before.

Whether Hulu’s win will open the floodgates for streaming services to dominate the Emmys as they dominate original television content remains to be seen. (Amazon is a player here as well.) After all, next year, Game of Thrones will once again be eligible for Outstanding Drama Series.

Susan Cheng contributed to this report.

Kate Aurthur is the chief Los Angeles correspondent for BuzzFeed News. Aurthur covers the television and film industries.

Contact Kate Aurthur at kate.aurthur@buzzfeed.com.

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People Criticized Sean Spicer's Appearance At The Emmys

In his capacity as White House press secretary, Spicer said in January, “This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, PERIOD, both in person and around the globe.”

At the Emmys, during Colbert’s monologue, Spicer came out onstage with a mobile podium reminiscent of the one Melissa McCarthy used in her impersonation of him on Saturday Night Live and said, “This will be the largest audience to witness an Emmys, PERIOD, both in person and around the world.”