Meet Black Femme Film: The Ava DuVernay–Approved Film Collective

What do Black Panther and A Wrinkle in Time have in common? Apart from the fact that the two big-budget films have been successful and groundbreaking in their own right and were directed by black American directors (Ryan Coogler and Ava DuVernay respectively), that’s pretty much where the comparison begins and ends.

Both films do, however, also serve as the starting point for the London-based film collective Black Femme Film, or BFF. The collective, who host film screenings and afterparties for “black and mixed women and femmes” so far have sold out screenings of A Wrinkle in Time, Paris Is Burning, and Ocean’s 8, as well as a talk at UK Black Pride, and secured a panel place at this year’s BFI Woman With a Movie Camera summit — an amazing feat considering BFF only came into existence in March 2018 through Twitter.

The five women who make up the collective (some of whom had known each other beforehand, while the rest simply followed one another) are Monique Monrowe, Martha Nakintu, Alegría Adedeji, Stephanie Ozuo, and Nabilla Doma. They cite Black Panther and A Wrinkle in Time as the reasons why they started BFF. Speaking to BuzzFeed UK, Adedeji says that the collective really started in support of Ava DuVernay (who had just become the first black woman to direct a film with a budget of $100 million) — a sentiment that the four other cofounders share. To them, it was obvious. “We need to support black female filmmakers because there’s not that many of us,” Adedeji said.

Doma recalls what it was like going to see Black Panther, being “excited about a black film with a black cast and black people behind the cameras”. More than anything, she stresses that what really made the film was being able to watch it with other black people.

Each member is vocal in their belief that “no one is going to support black women the way we support ourselves”, a view that most, if not all, black women can relate to. That spoken and unspoken, innate sense of support stands as one of the many reasons why Black Femme Film was created — that and a need for a “safe space for black and mixed women”. For Ozuo, Black Femme Film’s importance lies in its ability to allow black British women to be completely themselves among other black women. She says: “It’s a time for black British women to just be. There’s so much healing in that. It’s not just about, [your] proximity to your oppression and [the] layers of what you’re going through, it’s just like you’re able to have fun and just be.” BFF is the sort of place where you don’t need to worry about your wig falling off and where you’ll feel comfortable enough to walk around in a bra, make new friends, and not worry about attending by yourself — all things that the cofounders casually recall happening at previous events.

The members, known among themselves and avid attendees as the BFF 5, have allowed room for that and much more. Aside from the collective and their day jobs, the five wear many hats: Ozuo has her own careers advice company, Cover My CV, Doma writes and is cofounder of the sex-education initiative Let’s Talk Project and content lead for Diary of a Black Girl, Adedeji is a director for an upcoming miniseries called There’s Rice at Home and cohosts a podcast called Carry Dem Go, Monrowe is a writer and food blogger, and Nakintu has her own YouTube channel. Despite juggling all those projects, though, they run Black Femme Film with what can only be described as a genuine passion to create what they once wished had existed.

“Black women enjoy film,” says Monrowe. “It doesn’t need to be a specific genre.” Her words ring true, as is clear from the black women who turn out in droves to each event and the support BFF has received, including from DuVernay herself, who privately contacted the collective in March during their screening of A Wrinkle in Time. Although what exactly the director said remains a secret, Monrowe did say it felt like a big moment for them. “We felt super proud as well because we didn’t actually think that we would get the recognition. And the fact that she reached out so many times as well, it kind of put into perspective what we’re doing.”

Having started in March, the cofounders very much consider Black Femme Film to be their “child”, as Nakintu puts it. It’s with that same love that they affectionately refer to attendees as “the girls”. One thing is obvious: BFF is a sisterhood through and through.

At its core, Black Femme Film aims to represent a broad base of Black Girl Magic, says Adedeji, adding that “black women are not a monolith”. A scroll through the collective’s Twitter or Instagram and a look at all the black women having a good time is enough to see that this is definitely true.

As for the future of Black Femme Film, they’ve got big plans. From film festivals to international collaborations, what they always want to do is make sure they “champion black and mixed women in to the film industry, [both] onscreen and offscreen”. They’ll also be hosting a Halloween special at the end of October.

For now, though, they’re just grateful for the impact they’re having, and for their place in black British culture. As Doma puts it: “A current black renaissance is going on and it feels so good to contribute to that in any way that we can.”

Opinion: “A Star Is Born” Is A Very Good Movie Produced By A Very Bad Company

Besides being a romantic tearjerker, A Star Is Born is a tribute to the power of live music, and a cautionary tale for artists tempted to compromise their vision by chomping at the poison apple dangled by the star-making machine.

Rich is the irony for those who stick around to watch the closing credits to see “Executive Producer Michael Rapino” and “Live Nation Productions.”

Don’t recognize those names? Live Nation/Ticketmaster is the global conglomerate determined to monopolize the concert industry — a strategy of “crush, kill, destroy,” as one internal email put it — by swallowing independent competitors and driving ticket prices ever higher.

Some of Live Nation’s own employees call it the Death Star, and Rapino is its CEO, president, and Darth Vader. Seeing these guys credited at the end of A Star Is Born is like finding out that The Handmaid’s Tale was produced by Donald Trump and the angry old white men of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Much has been made of Bradley Cooper’s performance as the grizzled, alcoholic country-rocker Jackson Maine, which he pulled off while directing the film and practicing his singing and guitar-playing. But the movie belongs to Lady Gaga. As Ally, it’s no surprise she shines in her musical turns, from channeling Édith Piaf to joining Cooper for an alt-country duet on “Shallow.” Finally, she allows herself to be remade as a dance-pop diva by a slimeball from Interscope Records. (Irony-oblivious product placement: Interscope is releasing the soundtrack on Friday.) Gaga is a magnetic actress — a movie star is born, indeed.

The “you had me at hello” moment comes when a smitten Maine asks Ally to linger for a second after their first meeting. “I just wanted to take another look at you,” he says.

While the Live Nation/Ticketmaster story has been told before, it’s not well-known to music lovers who don’t read the business press. So let’s take another look at that.

The story starts in the late ’90s with entrepreneur Robert F.X. Sillerman. Flush with $2 billion in cash from selling the chain of bland corporate radio stations he’d built, he began gobbling up regional concert promoters with a similar Pac-Man-like strategy of corporate consolidation — the nice way of saying monopolizing the industry.

By 2000, SFX Entertainment was the world’s largest concert promoter. Then he sold that company, too, netting $4.5 billion from Clear Channel, the third largest radio chain in the US, and a big player in outdoor advertising.

The corporate vision was one of marketing synergies, or what normal people would describe as an Orwellian nightmare. We get in our cars and listen to one of the company’s radio stations playing the company’s advertising. Between all the ads, the stations play music by artists the company has anointed as its stars, and we nod our heads to them while driving past the company’s billboards before eventually arriving at one of the company’s concert venues. There we see more company advertising, in between performances by the same stars whose music the company has blanketed over the airwaves.

Along with impossibly dull commercial radio stations, ever-rising ticket prices, and minimal concern for the quality of the concert experience, this leads to some pretty chilling scenarios. In the wake of 9/11, an insider leaked a list of songs the company had “suggested” its 1,200 radio stations remove from the air, including John Lennon’s “Imagine,” “Rescue Me” by Fontella Bass, and everything by Rage Against the Machine.

By 2005, the beast had grown too big too fast, so it split into three separate mega-companies. Clear Channel Outdoor does billboards; iHeartMedia (formerly Clear Channel Communications) controls much of American radio, and Live Nation is determined to own the concert market.

Things got even worse in 2009 when Live Nation announced plans to merge with the second most-reviled entity in the concert business: Ticketmaster.

Founded in 1976 by two Arizona college students, Ticketmaster secured market dominance in the early ’90s by buying all its rivals. It locked up venues from the enormodomes down to small clubs like the one where Maine meets Ally, introducing mafia-like requirements that venues can only sell tickets through its system, regardless of what the artist wants.

The service and “convenience” fees levied by Ticketmaster add as much as 50% to the cost of a ticket, according to industry studies — and that’s for a basic, mostly online transaction that generally takes less than a minute. Ticketmaster kicks back a portion of those fees to the promoter, the venue, and sometimes the artists — if the artists have enough clout, don’t mind milking fans, and are hip to the scam. That list includes even superstar do-gooders like U2.

These practices prompted an investigation by the Clinton Justice Department in 1994. When Ticketmaster added a $3.50 service fee to $18 tickets for two Pearl Jam shows in Chicago, the band balked and announced it would boycott venues controlled by the company. The feds approached the group to testify about the evils of Ticketmaster — Pearl Jam didn’t go the Justice Department, as is often misreported — and band members soon found themselves at televised hearings on Capitol Hill.

The Clinton administration ultimately decided Ticketmaster wasn’t a monopoly, and it kept doing business as usual. For two years at the height of the band’s career, Pearl Jam couldn’t perform almost anywhere in the US. Eventually, Eddie Vedder and the boys caved and got in bed with Ticketmaster too.

Live Nation’s coupling with Ticketmaster prompted another round of hearings on Capitol Hill during the Obama administration. “The merger would create the most powerful and influential entity the music business has ever known,” warned Billboard. “As manager, ticketer, venue operator, merchandiser, and more, this giant would tap into revenues, if not outright control them, from virtually every source in the chain: live performance, merchandising, ticketing, content, sponsorships, licensing, and digital.”

The few remaining indie promoters protested loudly, as did artists like Bruce Springsteen. They got support from both sides of the political aisle, even making unlikely allies of Sens. Chuck Schumer and Orrin Hatch. (The latter recorded several albums of Mormon spirituals and considers himself an artist.) The deal was approved regardless.

Worth noting: Obama’s Harvard classmate and friend Julius Genachowski sat on the board of directors of Ticketmaster before being tapped by the president to chair the Federal Communications Commission in 2009. Ari Emanuel, the brother of Obama’s first chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, sat on the board of directors of Live Nation.

By the time of the merger, ticket prices for the top 100 concert tours had risen 142% over the last decade. In the years since, ticket costs have kept skyrocketing, thanks in part to scams such as “dynamic pricing” (fans bidding against each other for seats instead of buying them at a fixed cost) and set-asides for the “secondary market” (that is, scalpers). These shady dealings endure — witness this recent exposé by CBC — and Live Nation/Ticketmaster is now so big that in many cities, artists either work with the Death Star, or they have nowhere else to play.

A Star Is Born is a pleasant diversion at a time when we certainly need one. But if you care about live music, and resent corporations, like Walmart, Google, or Facebook, that are determined to eliminate choice and competition, it’s tough to see the name of another ruthless monopolist attached to it.

Live Nation/Ticketmaster only recently entered the movie business, after testing the waters with a few documentaries, including Gaga: Five Foot Two in 2017. A Star Is Born is shaping up to be its first Hollywood blockbuster, complete with Oscar buzz. But it’s impossible to imagine a company more at odds with the values of authenticity and independence championed in the film it bankrolled.

An uncompromising individualist like Maine couldn’t find a stage to perform on in the Live Nation/Ticketmaster world, and though the movie ends with Ally reclaiming her soul after a Faustian bargain, that’s hard to accept when you watch the closing credits. It’s enough to bring a tear to your eyes.

“A Star Is Born” May Not Get Pop Music Right, But It Gets That It Matters

Warner Bros.

Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga in A Star is Born.

Bradley Cooper plays a bronzed and battered rock god named Jackson Maine in A Star Is Born, his directorial debut. Lady Gaga plays Ally, a striver with a big voice and a gift for songwriting who Jackson sees performing at a drag bar one night. Later, they sit in a grocery store parking lot under the bright fluorescents and talk about music, and he coaxes out snippets of a song she’s been working on that then, suddenly, comes together like magic. It’s the magic of movies, sure, but also of two people who are, in that moment, creatively sympatico, utterly enraptured with each other and with each other’s talents.

Jackson tells Ally that she should perform her own work, that he thinks she’s beautiful and shouldn’t pay any attention to people who say otherwise. (That thing from the trailer, where he runs his finger along her nose to prove how much he loves it? It’s weirdly sexy-sweet in context.) And then, a day later, he pulls her onstage during his show and she belts out the chorus of the song she’d sung to him, a song you’ll have stuck in your head for the rest of the year, and he laughs with the sheer joy of it all as the crowd roars its approval, and for a second it seems like it could be just that easy — just that easy to be loved.

It doesn’t stay that way, though. Not just because Jackson has alcoholism and doesn’t know how to live when he’s not onstage. And not just because Ally starts carving out a career for herself as a pop star with a new look and backup dancers, far enough outside of Jackson’s guitar-and-grit sensibilities that he’s inclined, in his drunker moments, to suggest that she’s selling out. It’s not easy because this is A Star Is Born, a parable about how fame can warp you and ruin you, and about how it’s still the only dream worth having — Hollywood’s favorite story about itself, a movie that’s been made and remade four times now over the span of eight decades.

Every iteration portrays show business as callous, compromised, and as likely to cannibalize its own as to celebrate them. But then where else are you going to go? You’re going to live your life out of the spotlight, like a schnook, when there’s a chance that hoards of fans could be screaming your name?

Warner Bros.

Bradley Cooper in A Star Is Born.

Those first two movies were about the movies, with Janet Gaynor in 1937 as a naive North Dakota farm girl with actorly aspirations and Judy Garland in 1954 as a singer who’s been touring with a band, and Fredric March and James Mason played respective versions of the love interest, a leading man with a drinking problem. In the 1976 Barbra Streisand remake, the story flipped to being one about musicians, with Kris Kristofferson as a forever-unbuttoned rock star who definitely provided inspiration for Cooper’s version of the character. But while the fashions and the details change, the basic outline remains the same (spoiler warning for this oft-told tale):

There’s a woman who’s trying to make it big, and a man who already has. When their paths cross, he offers her the break that launches her into orbit just as his own career starts falling apart. They fall in love and marry, and she get made over by the machine while he struggles with his substance abuse and professional decline. When she wants to sacrifice her success in order to help him, he kills himself (or sets himself up to die) rather than do what he considers to be holding her back. She mourns and then reemerges to take her place at center stage — in the spotlight, but also permanently shadowed by tragedy.

The reason people keep going back to A Star Is Born has always seemed to have as much to do with its inherent uneasiness as with its swoony sadness.

This movie has everything: a swept-off-your-feet romantic fantasy, an underdog-makes-good journey, a wrenching substance abuse drama, and an industry cautionary tale combined. The studio-maimed 1954 musical is an incontestable classic; the new version is, doubters be damned, an absolute banger; and even the iteration that really isn’t good, the 1976 Streisand vehicle, manages to be mesmerizing. But it’s also kind of a fucked-up fable, what with the whole dying-to-preserve-your-loved-one’s-career thing. The reason people keep going back to A Star Is Born has always seemed to have as much to do with its inherent uneasiness as with its swoony sadness, the way it feels like it’s not quite broken, but still needs to be fixed. It is an unstable narrative compound in need of being reformulated every two decades or so to be made sharper and truer to our particular moment.

Each iteration of this movie is a reflection of where we stand, with regard to the way it treats fame, addiction, and gender. And, in 2018, it’s filtering those questions through the lens of pop music — which makes sense, given that the movie stars a famous pop diva in her first big movie role, and also doesn’t make sense, because Cooper and his cowriters Eric Roth and Will Fetters don’t quite seem to get pop music.

They try, though, or at least try to acknowledge their own lack of understanding, and A Star Is Born may be a more interesting movie for it. It actively grapples with its own bemusement about the idea that pop stardom can have its own artistic legitimacy, and with the possibility that industry forces are a complex ecosystem that can be navigated instead of just surrendered to or fought against.

Warner Bros.

Lady Gaga and Anthony Ramos in A Star Is Born.

In one sense, A Star Is Born has arrived over a decade late to the cultural conversation about taking pop music seriously. It was back in 2004 that Kelefa Sanneh wrote in the New York Times that “Rockism means idolizing the authentic old legend (or underground hero) while mocking the latest pop star; lionizing punk while barely tolerating disco; loving the live show and hating the music video; extolling the growling performer while hating the lip-syncher.”

And it was in 2009 that Gaga herself told an interviewer who asked about the saltiness of her lyrics: “If I was a guy and I was sitting here with a cigarette in my hands, grabbing my crotch talking about how I make music because I like fast cars and fucking girls, you’d call me a rock star. But when I do it in my music and videos, because I’m a female and I make pop music, you’re judgmental and say it’s distracting.”

In 2018, this fight — a battle, to use the same term as the choreographer Ally starts working with — feels pretty fought and won, which may be why this A Star Is Born, title aside, is an elegy as much as it’s a story of teary, tragedy-basted triumph. In this latest retelling, A Star Is Born has become a tender, conflicted saga for the age of poptimism, seen through the (sometimes blurry) eyes of a character who has resigned himself to vanishing with the old world order.

When Bradley Cooper did a screen test with Lady Gaga for A Star Is Born in 2016, he came at her with a makeup wipe first, taking off whatever she had on in order to see her bare face. “Completely open. No artifice,” the LA Times quotes him as saying. If it sounds like it could be a scene in a movie, it is — the 1954 A Star Is Born, in which Judy Garland’s character gets worked on by studio pros before her own screen test, and informed of all the things they perceive to be wrong with her features. She emerges, confidence shattered and so extremely made over that James Mason, playing her movie star love interest Norman Maine, laughs when he sees her, then slathers cold cream on her and tells her to “take every bit of that junk off [her] face” before she goes in front of the camera.

Warner Bros.

Judy Garland in A Star Is Born, 1954.

The Star Is Born scene lightly echoes the real-life cruelty Garland experienced during her career; repeatedly told she was ugly and fat, she was given pills by the studio from an early age to keep her weight down and her energy up, sending her into a lifetime of substances abuse issues. But Gaga isn’t Garland, and any attempt to free her from the “artifice” of makeup would be a serious oversimplification of the pop star’s relationship with image and beauty, which over the years has taken her from playing around with the surreal and grotesque alongside more traditional glamour.

Makeup and fashion are not obscuring her work; they’re part of it. And appearing bare-faced, as she does in the first parts of the movie, in not a sign of her being stripped down to some more essential truth, but a look at another persona: Gaga, serious actor. She turns out to be a startlingly good one, playing Ally as gifted but guarded, someone who’s lived long enough to be bruised by the industry, but who keeps singing, and who’s smart enough to know that this hard-living celeb is going to hurt her, but who falls in love with him anyway.

Ally will, eventually, get a manager and an album deal. She will dye her hair a Gaga-esque orange and learn to dance. She will write a song about butts and perform it on Saturday Night Live. The butt song is the biggest mystery in A Star Is Born — is it supposed to be bad? Good? The way the story is structured would suggest it’s meant to signal Ally has started making soulless, synthetic music in order to secure the spotlight. We watch her from the sidelines of the SNL soundstage in a way that emphasizes the practiced performance of it all, a stark contrast to the way cinematographer Matthew Libatique’s camera gets up close and intimate when Ally is onstage with Jackson. At the same time, it doesn’t sound that bad or that outlandish — certainly not embarrassing, which is what Jackson calls it and her, mystified by the idea that someone would ever aim to make a bop.

Stardom has always been an artificial construct, a mass delusion in which we feel a deep connection with someone we in fact know very little about. The first A Star Is Born is lightly satirical about this charade, with Norman selling Esther Blodgett (Janet Gaynor) to the studio by talking up how she has the “sincerity and honestness that makes great actresses.” Of course, once she’s signed, her personal history is rewritten by a press agent, and she’s christened with a new name (“Vicki Lester”), instructed in a new way of speaking, and given new eyebrows.

Warner Bros.

Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson in A Star Is Born, 1976.

In the second A Star Is Born, Garland’s Esther sometimes seems in danger of getting ground up by the system, something you never worry about in Streisand’s version. Her Esther holds on to her name and belts songs that are right for her and so woefully out of place for the rock audiences she’s supposed to be winning over that even her frequently sidelined love interest points out that their music doesn’t really belong on the same stage. She doesn’t act in the movie so much as mold it around herself (“Ms. Streisand’s clothes from…her closet,” the credits read), and the result is both terrible and a fascinatingly unapologetic document of a star’s own self-image.

Ally is different from all of these Esthers. She is a very 21st-century portrait of a pop star, one engaged in ongoing negotiations with her management about everything from her hair color to whether she should use the backup dancers provided to her; her career is a collaborative effort. The second half of the movie pushes her rise to fame into the background, in part to focus on Jackson’s decline, but also because it seems uncertain of how to treat these developments, or how to resist wagging a finger at them as evidence of artistic compromise.

Jackson’s relationship to fame is reluctant (though when he’s made to play backup to a younger artist later in the movie, he’s upset). He wants to drink unbothered at the cop bar he likes while everyone pretends not to know who he is, and he talks about having to make peace with doing the occasional corporate gig for cash. But Ally is portrayed as simultaneously being an artist and doing a job, and unlike Jackson, she doesn’t seem to see a contradiction in that.

A Star Is Born has a touch of the fairy tale to it, but it’s Jackson Maine who is actually its most fanciful figure, at least in the intensely fragmented, pop and hip-hop–dominated reality of today’s music industry — a rootsy, still youngish rocker so famous that he plays arenas and gets widely recognized in public. Cooper’s talked about pulling some inspiration from Eddie Vedder, but there’s really no present-day equivalent for Jackson. The keepers of his sort of troubled musical artistry now are more likely to be SoundCloud rappers with an array of facial tattoos and a record of openness about their mental health issues. Jackson is more an embodiment of long-established ideas of rock ‘n’ roll authenticity — dusted with road grit, voice like gravel, unstintingly personal in his work, and unable to deal with the distance created by the devices he’s supposed to wear to guard his hearing, even though going without them is causing even more permanent damage.

A Star Is Born is an elegy for Cooper’s character, but also for the brand of hypermasculine rock deity he represents.

When he and Ally are alone, writing songs together, they’re on the same page. It’s when they go out into the world and contend with the careers they want to have that they diverge, and she won’t follow him down his path of self-destruction, where substance abuse signals creative realness. The movie doesn’t let his damage look romantic — even in their first night together, after a delirious round of post-show celebration, he turns out to be too drunk to do anything more than pass out and be put to bed like a child.

But, while A Star Is Born pokes at the mythology of artistic legitimacy that Jackson represents, and even though the story is about him being shuffled off the stage, it still values his musicality. It’s not just that he gives Ally a chance to pull a runaround on the industry gatekeepers who’d previously rejected her; his endorsement of her work has meaning to her, and by extension, to us. He may not understand the kind of performer she becomes, but he appreciates her talent.

A Star Is Born is an elegy for Cooper’s character, but also for the brand of hypermasculine rock deity he represents — one who isn’t going to blink out of existence, but who has certainly gone out of style. Ally couldn’t really be like him, even if that’s what she wanted. Being whiskey-soaked, road-worn, and incapable of pretense wouldn’t wear the same way on her, because those tend to be seen as markers of legitimacy on men and signs of being unappealing, difficult, a mess on women. The rock/pop divide in A Star Is Born isn’t entirely gendered, though that’s a central part of it — and you never feel it more than in Jackson’s lack of understanding as to why it isn’t enough that he believes Ally is beautiful, because he isn’t the one who’s been denying her opportunities based on her looks. To be indifferent about being liked or about how you look are privileges that aren’t often afforded to women, especially when they’re starting out.

Warner Bros.

Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper in A Star Is Born.

It feels telling that the turning point in the central relationship, in every version of A Star Is Born, takes place during its female lead’s first big moment of professional recognition. In the first two, it’s at the Oscars, where the male lead drunkenly interrupts his wife’s acceptance speech to steal her spotlight and give an embittered rant about his own decline. To add injury to insult, in both of those scenes he ends up unintentionally belting her across the face, a sequence of such awfulness that the very experience of watching it feels masochistic. Cooper’s interpretation of the scene, which, like the 1976 version, takes place at the Grammys, excises the inadvertent violence and heaps all the humiliation on Jackson. It’s deftly done, but just as agonizing.

This moment feeds into the sense that, even in what is a rockist’s retreat, the rock star is not going to go entirely gently. The ending of the movie, the same as all the previous versions, is still a tragedy, and it’s also still a man doing what he thinks of as saving a woman from herself. A Star Is Born is, in some ways, a story about a woman trying to make it in a world that is still controlled at every access point by men. The irony of its tragic ending is that it sets up this terrible decision she has to make, and then allows the man she loves to make it for her, for her own good.

Every iteration of A Star Is Born is informed by the belief — the fear, really — that public attention and affection are finite resources, and that the creation of new celebrities requires older ones to be discarded. In this new version, pop stars are coming into the forefront and pushing rock stars of the sort Jackson represents out of the spotlight, as they sing songs of their own obsolescence (“Maybe it’s time to let the old ways die”). It’s fine, it’s fine, except it isn’t, because he has to die along with those old ways — a sign that even in its fourth iteration, this story is still one in which it’s better to vanish entirely than stick around to see someone else claim the spotlight. ●

Warner Bros.

Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga in A Star Is Born.

This Is What The Cast Of “Miss Congeniality” Looks Like 18 Years Later

Following her role as Kathy Morningside, Bergen went on to appear in Sweet Home Alabama, Sex and the City, Bride Wars and Boston Legal.

Memorable character moment: Earlier in the movie, Kathy corrects Gracie’s “Yeahs” to “Yeses” as it sounds more ladylike. But when she’s caught at the end, it’s Gracie who ends up correcting Kathy’s “Yeah, yeahs.”