Laura Linney and Cynthia Nixon are attempting a rare feat on Broadway: They’re switching roles every performance. In the Manhattan Theatre Club’s revival of Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes, the actors alternate between playing the lead role (the cunning, assertive Regina Giddens) and a supporting one (Regina’s timid, abused sister-in-law, Birdie). And sometimes — when there’s a matinee and an evening performance — they play both parts in one day.
This is not the first time Nixon has performed two roles simultaneously: When she was a college freshman in 1984, she managed to appear in two Broadway shows at the same time, The Real Thing and Hurlyburly, running from one theater to the other between performances. Nevertheless, The Little Foxes is a daunting test for both actors. “We’re both making a lot of mistakes, and we’re both learning from the mistakes that we made and watching someone explore something on their own,” Linney said. “I got to a point like the week before we moved into the theater when my brain basically exploded. I could not remember anything. It’s like my brain just started to reject everything, because it had been so much to take in. Fortunately I worked past that.”
Linney and Nixon have both garnered acclaim for their range and their ability to master two roles. Both earned Tony Award nominations: Linney for Regina, and Nixon for Birdie.
In a free-flowing conversation at BuzzFeed’s New York headquarters, the actors talked about taking on this unique challenge, as well as their thoughts on the theater at large, aging, and roles for women over 40.
On sharing the lead role
Cynthia Nixon: You know, Laura was the person who was really cast in this play, and then she very amazingly invited me in. So I also—
Laura Linney: I just thought they made a mistake and they should have cast you in this play.
CN: But I also had to get over the idea, which I’m still getting over a tiny bit, but it’s hard to get over the idea that this is not really Laura’s production, you know what I mean? And nobody made me feel that way, but it was such an amazing thing to be invited, and such an unexpected thing and lovely thing, but intimidating.
LL: Oh, Cynthia.
CN: Well, little bit.
On when they first became aware of each other
LL: I was aware of her long before she was aware of me, because Cynthia was a legend growing up. If you were a theater kid in New York City, I mean, you wanted to be her. You just did. She was doing two shows at the same time. She was a professional actress before any of the rest of us were. And it was dazzling. And I remember seeing you in both Hurlyburly and The Real Thing. … So I was aware of Cynthia very, very early on.
CN: Laura, I never told you this, but I passed on two roles at Manhattan Theatre Club, and it was Beggars in the House of Plenty and Sight Unseen.
“Everything that I hold to be good and true and worthy, I learned in the theater.”
LL: Thank you!
CN: And I passed on these two parts, and she got ’em. I saw her in both of them, she was amazing in both of them, and I could never catch her after that.
LL: MTC [Manhattan Theatre Club], which is where we are now.
CN: Which is where we are now!
On getting their starts in theater
LL: It’s the foundation of how I live my life, actually. My father was a playwright, so I was around it all the time and loved to talk shop with him, just loved it. And basically everything that I hold to be good and true and worthy, I learned in the theater. So not even just about the work, but just about life. Discipline, problem solving, creativity, how to get along with people.
LL: Collaboration. … For me, it has informed every move I’ve ever made. And it saved me in many ways and still does. When things get hard, you can cling to the work.
CN: My mother was a failed actress, but that was our bread and butter — what we loved most to do was to go to the theater and talk about it and dissect it and understand it. I think that speech that Meryl Streep made at the Golden Globes recently, that just really hits it on the head in terms of why the arts — and just the arts in general, you know, movies-slash-theater-slash-television, the medium where you pretend to be somebody else and other people watch you do that — in terms of teaching you empathy for other people. And, whether you’re the actor or the audience, trying to lose yourself in somebody else’s story.
I think what Laura was saying about teaching her all the lessons, you know, as a child actor, right, that’s a whole ball of wax. That’s a really mixed bag of stuff. I look at so many people that I knew personally or didn’t know personally but who have ended badly, have died young, have been destitute — there are a lot of bad child-actor-gone-wrong stories, a very high percentage, but I think the thing about it is that a lot of those are Hollywood stories, and you don’t have that same kind of a thing in the theater. And you have people like Sarah Jessica Parker — and it’s also because of her mother and where she came from and all that stuff — but how you’re taught to be responsible for yourself rather than endlessly people waiting for you and bringing you things.
On competition (or the lack thereof)
LL: There’s a real passing down in the theater, almost ad nauseam. You have to listen to older people talk about their experience, but it makes you very aware of what has come before you or what is coming after you — that you’re a part of a link in a chain. It’s not all about you. I know that actors and actresses have a great reputation for being very, very selfish, and in some cases, that’s very true. But in the theater I find it doesn’t help you to be selfish. You sort of have to be selfless in the theater, and the more selfless you are — that doesn’t mean don’t take care of yourself — but the more you sort of surrender to the work, I find, the better the work is. That’s just my experience.
“I still know I have an awful lot to learn.”
CN: And not to bash LA, but there is always a feeling in LA of where your stock is. Are you the top of the heap at the moment or do you have the blockbuster, did you get cast in that thing? And in New York — not to say New York isn’t a competitive place — but there’s much more of a sense of, we’re all here and some of us are up and some of us are down and some of us are in the middle, but we have a longer view of history and how it works, rather than just this week.
On taking on smaller projects
LL: I think we just want to do good work, and you want to get better. I still know I have an awful lot to learn, and I hope I’m put in whatever situation it is that’s gonna help me learn it, or that I’ll get to watch really good people do what they do. Cynthia has Quiet Passion that’s just come out, and I have The Dinner that’s just come out, and these are both low-budget movies that are certainly not summer popcorn films, but I think movies that we’re both very proud of and make us feel good to be a part of. … And some big movies are terrific, and some aren’t. They’re made for different reasons, and they have different impacts and they’re very different experiences making them. But if they’re good, if you’re with good people, then hooray.
CN: I mean Laura’s been in a lot more big films than I have, but there’s a way in which I feel like, when you’re on an enormous film and there’s an enormous crew and there are three cameras and there are like 20 setups for every scene, first of all, it’s very… I find it very intimidating. And it’s also sort of deadening in a way.
LL: Yes, you get totally depersonalized.
CN: It’s like, you have to wait for the camera to come to you. It’s also so much then about the camera and about the fancy things they’re doing, and you’re like a cog. When you’re on a lower-budget film, with one guy who maybe has a camera strapped to him, you’re a much bigger part of that pie. You can be a sliver in a big Hollywood movie, but you can be a quarter of that [indie movie] pie. And I feel like, first of all, there is a real freedom that you feel from that, because it’s like, you know what, if this is terrible, nobody’s gonna ever see it, so I can be more brave.
On where the best roles are for women over 40
CN: I feel that the thing about film and particularly about TV, actually, is it’s being created now.
LL: We’re living in the best time, actually.
CN: We’re living in the best time so far because there are many more women writing and women directing, women producing, and people are finally catching on to [the fact that] women want to go and buy tickets to see female characters and more than one in a film. So I actually think it’s a very fertile time to be a woman over 40. But having said that—
“I never felt like a happy-go-lucky ingenue to begin with.”
LL: Do you wish there was more? Of course.
CN: Of course. So theater is still catching up. So roles like Regina that are in the canon, they’re few and far between, ’cause it’s written 80 years ago or whatever. There’s Phaedra, there’s Regina, there’s Medea. But there’s really a handful, and when you think about film actresses and film roles that there have been lately, there are many more. But as an actress, you can play a role that you are 22 years too old for and you can get away with it onstage.
On the privilege of aging
LL: I just find it a big relief. I never felt like a happy-go-lucky ingenue to begin with.
CN: We’re serious people, god help us.
LL: And parts are written better when you’re older. When you’re young, you’re written to be an ingenue, and you’re written to be a quality. You’re actually not written to be a person, you’re written for your youth to inspire someone else, usually a man. So I find it just much more liberating.
And I don’t mind aging. I mean, my whole thing is, it’s just a privilege to age. I’ve had too many friends die, I’ve watched too many people suffer, it is a total privilege to age. And I get very, very, very irritable with people who complain about getting old, because I know a lot of people who would gladly trade places with us. I’m not saying it’s easy, I’m not saying it doesn’t hurt your feelings, I’m not saying it’s not painful — and physically as well as mentally and spiritually — and it’s frightening at times. However, people have really lost perspective, and it’s a really bizarre topic of conversation that it’s become a cultural peg in our world that aging is a bad thing. It’s not logical to me.
CN: As the population is, in general, aging, there is more interest in what a 50-year-old, a 60-year-old, a 70-year-old, an 80-year-old is like. And one of the things that just naturally started to happen as I got older — and I could feel younger people looking up to me in a certain way and wanting to know things that I knew — I got interested in the women, in particular, who were 20 years older than me. Because when I was a kid, I wasn’t interested in them — I maybe was like dazzled by them, but now, when I meet women in their sixties and their seventies, I’m really interested in hearing from them. Because I understand in a way that I didn’t 20, 30 years ago, how much they know.
LL: You also just have much more to offer. You have a lot more to give, the older you get. And you want to give it. I mean, some people want to give it. But there is a desire to pass down, to have a hand in the past and a hand in the future. There’s a continuum.
1. The satirical comedy War Machine, out on Netflix and in select theaters on May 26, is the latest film from Brad Pitt.
2. The movie tells the story of General Glen McMahon (Pitt), who tries to “win” the war in Afghanistan.
War Machine is based on The Operators, a non-fiction book by the late BuzzFeed News reporter Michael Hastings. The Operators is about Hastings’ experience following General Stanley McChrystal around Afghanistan in April 2010, and it became a New York Times best-seller after its release in 2012.
3. On Tuesday, Pitt answered questions about War Machine during a BuzzFeed News-presented screening and panel discussion.
Pitt, who produced the film alongside his Plan B production company partners, was joined on the panel by director David Michôd, political analyst Elise Jordan (who’s also Hasting’s widow), and Plan B co-president Jeremy Kleiner. The taped panel was moderated by BuzzFeed News’ Nancy Youssef.
4. The actor said he’d previously made a trip to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, and talking with soldiers in the hospital became part of his motivation for getting involved with adapting Hastings’ book into a movie.
5. “The impetus for this film for me was a visit to Walter Reed, and seeing the sacrifice and really looking at it from the point of view as a father,” Pitt said.
6. “I met as noble and heroic of individuals as I’ve ever met, and I walked away going, ‘Why? Why? For what? Why?’”
7. The actor continued, “It’s what made me want to …. and what made us in our discussions, to follow through with a film of this nature.”
8. BuzzFeed News
3. Well, one of the biggest unsolved Spongebob mysteries has been about Pearl’s parentage.
4. Did Mr. Krabs adopt Pearl as his whale baby? Is she his step-daughter? Is she his biological daughter? WHAT’S THE DEAL?
5. There’s a theory going around that’s about to ruin your childhood as you know it. While the origin appears to be this Reddit thread, it’s had a resurgence on Twitter this week. You ready for it?
Mr. Krabs isn’t Pearls real dad, he’s her SUGAR DADDY! Why do you think she only calls him “daddy” & all she ever wants is money to shop
— jordan sadler (@jordansadlerrr)
8. But also, HMMMMMMMM? Could it be…true? There’s no denying Mr. Krabs has plenty of cash to spare:
9. And Pearl definitely really likes both spending money and asking Mr. Krabs for it…
10. People on Twitter are very *mixed* about whether or not this theory is actually plausible. Some have pointed out that Mr. Krabs uses the word daughter on the show…
@jordansadlerrr From the episode “tutor sauce” on the spongebob wiki
— Brandon (@Veil_SSB)
11. But that might not really mean anything…
@Veil_SSB @jordansadlerrr To be fair that’s still not definitive evidence. In some sugar baby relationships they us… https://t.co/lKti9BJahm
— 🐝Norman🐝 (@Chuck_Normis)
12. Others point out that Nickelodeon doesn’t shy away from dirty jokes:
@Veil_SSB @Chuck_Normis @jordansadlerrr Spongebob has all kinds of crude jokes though it’s not like they can outrig… https://t.co/BVP8DhVNYh
— .•°• VC •°•. (@gobthoIemew)
13. But, then again, there is this *slightly* damning evidence…
@jordansadlerrr ok i hear you but…
— berry soto (@sunsetbae)
Katherine Waterston plays a character named Daniels in Alien: Covenant, the second in director Ridley Scott’s series of Alien prequels that began with 2012’s Prometheus. Daniels is a new character with some familiar touches: She’s a crew member on the Covenant, a spaceship containing terraforming equipment and 2,000 colonists suspended in hypersleep, bound for a planet on which the workers and passengers hope to establish a unspoiled home together.
“Like pioneers,” she says, citing her husband’s description of the future they’ve embarked on. The crew consists mainly of couples, on a journey only meant to be one-way — though their shared dream starts going terribly wrong almost immediately.
Nevertheless, Daniels persists, through a briskly brutal personal tragedy and having her opinion overruled by the ship’s freshly minted captain, Oram (Billy Crudup), in what turns out to be a fateful decision to set down early and suss out whether a suspiciously perfect planet that’s much closer than their original destination could be a place for them to settle.
Competent, capable with heavy machinery, crop-haired, and continually overruled by querulous men? Daniels bears all the marks of being Alien: Covenant’s knockoff of Ellen Ripley, the action lead played by Sigourney Weaver in the first four Alien films and a landmark heroine against whom few have measured up.
The less-than-distinctive Daniels doesn’t come close to Ripley’s iconic arc as an inadvertent warrior, in the same way that Noomi Rapace’s Dr. Elizabeth Shaw fell short when she was set up to invite the same comparison in Prometheus.
But the more Alien: Covenant unfurls of its great, grim story, the more these evocations of a stronger, more compelling character start to feel intentional, like it’s a feature and not a bug. Like, maybe Daniels isn’t as compelling as Ripley because she was never meant to be, because she’s not the hero of this story. Maybe it’s not the humans, flailing their way through the discovery that the misty, pristine-looking planet they stumbled upon is actually a very bad place on which to land, to whom Alien: Covenant belongs.
Alien: Covenant — written by John Logan and Dante Harper — is, like all of the Alien films, a survival saga about a tenacious individual dealing with a rapacious life form intent on spreading itself across the universe. But at its center isn’t Daniels but David, the android aesthete introduced in Prometheus and played again in Alien: Covenant by an extraordinary Michael Fassbender.
It’s David who dramatically turns up on the new planet, revealing himself to have been stranded for years after he and Shaw made their way there in a borrowed spaceship at the end of Prometheus, camping out in the ruins of an Engineer city. If anybody is an answer to Ripley in these prequels, it’s David. And the invasive species — well, that would be us.
Scott’s 1979 haunted-house-in-space movie Alien and James Cameron’s brawnier 1986 Aliens (and their less reliable follow-ups) are movies about human perseverance in the face of a perfect predator, a nightmare creation capable not just of killing but of implanting itself in someone — of turning a living body into an incubator and a carrier of what’s essentially a weapon. These films were celebrations of the strength of this regular woman and her ability to be not impervious to terror, but able to act in spite of it.
They made you invest in their collection of mostly doomed characters, something Alien: Covenant and, in a less clear way, Prometheus never ask of the audience. Alien: Covenant characters are also mostly doomed, destined to get offed in vividly disgusting ways, but they’re treated, almost impatiently, as fodder.
Or maybe it’s more accurate to say that they’re considered at a curious, cruel remove, like a kid burning ants with a magnifying glass. In Alien: Covenant, all the displays of emotion typically used as a way to bring us closer to the characters onscreen instead play as distancing irritants. The crew members’ insecurities, fears, and love for one another seem to inevitably drive them into unsound decisions, like dragging an infected colleague back to the ship for treatment.
The film’s main plot begins with a baker’s dozen or so of the crew, with Demián Bichir, Carmen Ejogo, Danny McBride, Amy Seimetz, and Jussie Smollett among the actors playing them, and the die-off starts almost immediately, not all of it due to extraterrestrial causes. They’re forever courting oblivion with their bold acts of faith, their insistence on taking care of the hurt instead of leaving them behind, and their poorly timed canoodling. Their messy humanity comes across as so inefficient.
From the point of view of a synthetic — a humanoid robot — like David, it is. And it is, tellingly, David with whom Alien: Covenant begins, in an Earthbound flashback in which Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce) awakens his newly created synthetic and tells him about his desire to find meaning behind mankind’s creation. David responds that he doesn’t share these questions, given that his creator is in front of him, and that he isn’t able to share Weyland’s experiences with mortality either.
“You will die, I will not,” David says, a factual observation, but nothing the god complex–suffering Weyland Corp CEO wants to hear. Displeased, he demands David bring him some tea — a reminder that David was built in some ways to be superior to mankind, but also to serve and not outdo it.
And yet David is still too close to human — “too idiosyncratic,” in the words of Walter, another android played by Fassbender, who takes care of the crew on the Covenant. “You disturbed people,” Walter tells David in one of their scenes together, which are consistently the best in the film.
Walter is a more recent model of synthetic who has intentionally been made more robotic — he grinds his vowels a little, in one of the more convenient ways of telling the two apart. Walter is David, lessened, reined in, neutered in order to be less threatening to the species that created him. David — grandiose and effete and quite possibly a little mad from his experiences of use and isolation — has no such limitations.
Prometheus netted Scott criticism for his shift from a story about monstrous extraterrestrials to one about mythology and the origins of mankind (with the occasional monstrous extraterrestrial); he appeared to be attempting to respond to questions no one seemed to be asking. But the stronger, bleaker Alien: Covenant clarifies Scott’s grander vision for these films, and in particular his themes about the relationship between creators and the created.
Prometheus and Alien: Covenant are films about faith, both by way of the religiousness expressed by characters like Shaw and Oram, and via Weyland’s more science-filtered insistence that there must be a purpose to humanity — and a way to extend its existence. Weyland in particular is so presumptuously certain that his makers would welcome and assist him that he doesn’t really hear the point that David makes to him in Alien: Covenant’s opening sequence: that David has already met his maker, and that it wasn’t all that fulfilling.
There are no benevolent gods in Alien: Covenant, and no answers coming — at least not from the Engineers, that enigmatic, highly advanced race shown to have been responsible for humanity’s development in Prometheus. There’s only creation, which is an act of individuality and of ego. Maybe it’s because Alien: Covenant is the work of an older filmmaker revisiting his past, but there’s an embittered, amusing outrageousness to both Alien: Covenant’s terrible beauty and the way Scott flips around his established classic, with its admired heroine, surrounding it in a context of epic human effrontery.
It’s an Alien movie for our times, one in which mankind isn’t just under the thumb of an oppressive corporation but sewing the seeds of its own destruction on a more sweeping scale. When a xenomorph, in its classic form, finally does make an appearance in Alien: Covenant, we see it not from a horrified human perspective but from the clinical point of view of a synthetic. It’s a forebear of doom, but it also feels like a dark moment of triumph.
Joss Whedon’s “crushing depression” began in November, when election results swung the United States to the right. But in mid-March, the writer-director behind Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Avengers, and Avengers: Age of Ultron was resisting despair as he worked through the last day of a three-day shoot for Unlocked, his short film promoting Planned Parenthood.
That afternoon, Whedon’s crew was setting up a scene in which a woman with breast cancer collapses in pain in her kitchen, dropping her groceries on the floor. The fictional character’s illness had gone undiagnosed because she had no access to preventive screenings — her local Planned Parenthood health center had been shuttered.
“Women’s health care is so much just about women’s humanity,” Whedon told BuzzFeed News from the Los Angeles set. “It is about whether they have control over their bodies and whether they have control over their minds and their education and their decisions. It’s all wrapped up.”
Planned Parenthood first approached Whedon to propose a film project about a year ago, he said. He and the organization’s president, Cecile Richards, discussed doing something celebratory for its centennial in October of 2016.
But that conversation happened in a different world: Though Republicans have tried to defund Planned Parenthood before, they didn’t always control the White House and Congress. When Whedon started shooting this spring, a male lawmaker had recently wondered aloud why prenatal care should be required from health insurers; days after the shoot ended, a male senator would flippantly say — and quickly regret saying — “I wouldn’t want to lose my mammograms.” The Congressional Budget Office reported that the first version of the American Health Care Act would cut federal funding according to four criteria that were met only by Planned Parenthood and its affiliates. “The people most likely to experience reduced access to care would probably reside in areas without other health care clinics or medical practitioners who serve low-income populations,” the CBO concluded.
The newest version of the AHCA — which aims to replace the Affordable Care Act — also eliminates Medicaid reimbursements for Planned Parenthood, effectively blocking low-income Americans who receive Medicaid benefits from accessing care at the nonprofit. This version passed the House on May 4 and is currently being debated in the Senate.
Whedon launched the promotional short film in anticipation of Senate deliberations over the fate of the bill — and Planned Parenthood. A significant portion of the 2.5 million people who seek its services each year have very limited options, he said, and in Unlocked he tried to reflect the health care provider’s broad array of services, including breast cancer screenings, sex education, and access to birth control.
Though he wrote and directed Unlocked, everything in it “has been generated from the women of Planned Parenthood and the stories they told me. … It’s not my voice that should be the last one heard, and I would be very happy if it were not even necessary to be a part of it. But we haven’t gotten there yet.” Whedon urged men to actively support women’s causes; he’s trying to contribute by directing and financing the video. (He also previously partnered with Planned Parenthood for a fundraising initiative in 2015.) “I think the role of men is — like any ally — to help, to observe, and act in the world in a way that’s helpful. To speak up when it’s time to speak up and to shut up when it’s time to shut up, which is the one we’ve never mastered.” (It’s a lesson he also had to learn for himself.)
Since Donald Trump has become president, many progressive issues have returned to the fore. After the election, “it wasn’t as easy for me to go, ‘Let us take up arms!’” — Whedon had spent months during the presidential campaign making a series of ads indirectly promoting the Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. “I was just tired.”
But he hopes his short film can help bring some focus back to women’s reproductive health care and Planned Parenthood specifically. He does not consider himself an activist, though: “Because I will speak out, and because I have for a long time, I think I get mistaken for a real activist. But then you meet them,” he said, referring to people like the Planned Parenthood volunteers he’d encountered while researching the short. “You meet people who are truly informed and truly articulate and truly have dedicated themselves and given things up for the cause, and you’re like, ‘Okay, I made a video, so I’m cool too.’ … I really am just kind of a worker bee in this particular instance, trying to help the people who are doing the actual work.”
1. This is Harmonia Rosales, a 33-year-old artist living in Chicago.
She’s been in tune with her abilities since she was very young. “I’ve been creating art since my motor skills kicked in,” she told BuzzFeed News.
2. “I was raised in a creative environment,” she said. Rosales also noted that “artistic expression was floating in the air” in her household growing up. Her mother is an artist and her father, a musically inclined guy, played the congas.
Rosales credited her parents for sparking her interest in the arts. “Kids imitate their parents and my parents were great models for me. I repeated visuals of my mother hunched over her art table churning out illustration after illustration starting with a blank canvas and a vision of a full one. I often would crawl under my mother’s art table and track her movements, her brushstrokes, her ideas, her illustrations. She would let me experiment with all her expensive oils and brushes, never once telling me what to paint or how, but letting me find my own style.”
3. One of Rosales’ pieces, which she calls “The Creation of God” recently went viral.
The piece is based on Michaelangelo’s “The Creation of Adam,” famously displayed in the Sistine Chapel. “I wanted to take a significant painting, a widely recognized painting that subconsciously or consciously conditions us to see white male figures as powerful and authoritative and flip the script, establish a counter narrative,” she told BuzzFeed News, elaborating on why she decided to make reimagine the well-known work of art with black women.
4. Says Rosales, “White figures are a staple in classic art featured in major museums. They are the ‘masters’ of the masterpieces. Why should that continue?”
“Replacing the white male figures — the most represented— with people I believe have been the least represented can begin to recondition our minds to accept new concepts of human value. … If I can touch even a small group of people and empower them through the power of art, then I’ve succeeded in helping to change the way we see the world. … And when you consider that all human life came out of Africa, the Garden of Eden and all, then it only makes sense to paint God as a black woman, sparking life in her own image.”
5. “In the essence of Picasso, my whole life,” Rosales said when asked how long it took her to create her latest piece. “Every skill, life experience, and emotion has led me straight to this particular piece and every piece thereafter.”
6. And the way in which her ideas form, and the way she’s acted on them, is a very organic process.
“I have an idea, it might not be fully thought out, but first the idea. Then I let it marinate. Often I’ll place a blank canvas by my bed so that I may wake up and sleep to it. And, while I sleep, it speaks to me,” Rosales said. She also said that she doesn’t sketch her creations, everything happens at once on the canvas by which they are brought to life. “My subjects morph and their expressions change as they speak to me and reveal themselves to me. Sometimes I will go over an area multiple times until they virtually come to life.”
7. Rosales’ work definitely has a recurring theme: women of color. “I paint women darker then me because I want no one to mistake who I’m representing. I paint what I know, who I identify with,” she told BuzzFeed News.
“We have been underrepresented and misrepresented for so long that I feel I should paint to empower us. We need powerful images for our youth to see.”
8. Her daughter is another reason why Rosales is passionate about the work she does. “I want my daughter to grow up proud of her curls and coils, her brown skin, and for her to identify as a woman of color, a woman of value.”
9. “What I do with my art contributes to the way she and all other little girls like her will come to recognize themselves.”
10. Rosales’ “The Creation of God” will be part of an exhibited series in the near future.
She also plans to work with fellow artist Aldis Hodge on a series about persecution that will debut at the end of the year. “This particular series will relate to the masses,” she said.
It’s been just over a year since American Idol, the landmark reality competition series that transformed Fox as a network, came to an end.
That’s why it was a bit of a shock when news broke that ABC would be bringing it back after just one TV season without it. During a conference call with press on Monday, Dana Walden, co-CEO and chair of Fox Television Group, said the network is sad to see it leave the Fox family, but she said they actually did have plans to bring it back— just not this soon.
“It feels sad that it’s coming back on another network,” Walden said of Idol, which aired on Fox for 15 seasons. “We spent about $25 million sending a clear and persistent message that it was the farewell season and fans responded and the ratings picked back up.”
According to Walden, FremantleMedia, the production company behind Idol, was eager to bring the series back, but Fox wanted to give fans time to breathe. “It felt to us sitting in those initial meetings with Fremantle like it would be extremely fraudulent to bring the show back quickly — that our fans would not appreciate being told one thing and then have the show brought back right away,” she explained. (Fremantle did not immediately respond to BuzzFeed News’ request for a response to Walden’s comments.)
While the farewell season finished strong in the ratings, Walden said “the ratings over the four years prior to the final season had dropped almost 70%.” “The network was losing an enormous amount of money and we had asked [Fremantle] if they could make trims, and they felt, which is very much their right, that they didn’t want to make significant trims,” Walden said. “They didn’t want to try to test out a new panel. They felt it took a long time to find the chemistry that existed with Jen [Lopez], and Harry [Connick Jr.], and Keith [Urban], and they ultimately said to us they would rather rest the show after this season than make any changes and try out a different panel, and we respected that.”
Fremantle then took the show to NBC, which made sense to Walden given that both Lopez and former head judge Simon Cowell had deals with NBCUniversal. Walden said Fox was hopeful they could resolve things with Fremantle, but Fox “did not see the fan excitement and enthusiasm for that show to come back that Fremantle did.”
Still, Fox made one last-ditch effort and, Walden said, “tried to engage Fremantle in conversations about bringing it back in ‘20, which is what [they] thought would be an appropriate amount of time off the air and give the creators and producers an opportunity to make some changes to present the next generation of Idol, and they just weren’t interested in it.”
That’s where ABC comes in. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, ABC Reality Chief Roberts Mills said that ABC had passed on Idol when the bidding war happened in January, but then Ben Sherwood, the president of Disney-ABC Television Group, ran into an agent for one of the Idol co-owners and decided to talk to Mills and ABC President Channing Dungey about making a deal.
“There were some very early conversations that were floated,” Dungey told reporters during a conference call on Tuesday. “Some of the ideas that we were discussing in the initial proposal didn’t feel like it was the right for us.”
Ultimately, however, Fox and Fremantle were able to get on the same page. When asked if it was indeed too soon to bring Idol back to television, Dungey said, “From where we sit, we feel like it’s the perfect time to bring the series back.” She went on to say that the competition is all about “heartfelt, uplifting stories of people who make their dreams come true and that’s our sweet spot at ABC. That makes it feel like the perfect home at the perfect time.”
Since the show’s logistics are still very much being hammered out, Dungey couldn’t elaborate on how the show would be updated for 2018, but she did hint that there would be noticeable changes. “This is going to be ABC’s version of American Idol,” she said. “It’s going to have a very clear ABC hallmark and brand on it.”
In his interview with THR, Mills offered a hint of what that could look like when he said they are not looking at Idol from an ABC perspective, but from a Disney perspective. That involves “showing them all of our platforms: We can have auditions in the parks; we can amplify, not just at ABC, but with Disney Channel and Freeform.” ABC also now has longtime Idol host Ryan Seacrest as the new co-host of Live With Kelly and Ryan. “He’s giving it some serious thought,” Mills said of Seacrest returning to Idol. Dungey added during the conference call that ABC is “in a number of different conversations, but we don’t have anything to announce at this time.”
The real question is, however, will viewers return? Contrary to Walden’s opinions, Mills said that “if it returns at the levels it left, it’s going to do really well for us.”
1. As you probably already know, this is Donald Trump. He’s the 45th president of the United States.
2. And this is Elle Woods of Legally Blonde, arguably one of the smartest people to ever graduate from Harvard Law School.
3. On Monday night’s Tonight Show, the worlds of these two collided when host Jimmy Fallon edited clips of President Trump giving a speech that seemed quite similar to that of our beloved fictional character Ms. Woods.
Tonight: Trump plagiarized his commencement speech from Elle Woods in Legally Blonde
— Fallon Tonight (@FallonTonight)
On Saturday, the president delivered a commencement speech to the graduating class at Liberty University, which is where Fallon got the footage for his video.
4. There were a few things Trump said in his speech that sounded just like Elle’s, like this line:
6. Even right down to the word “passion.”
7. Perhaps the president was inspired by how eloquent Elle’s words were.
10. Online reaction to the footage was rife with plenty of expressive GIFs.
@FallonTonight #ElleWoods rules. Always.
— Andy Glass (@imandyglass)
11. “Jimmy Fallon nailed that,” another user tweeted.
@FallonTonight Oh-ho. Myy. God. Haha. Jimmy Fallon nailed that.
— Haley Gresham (@Halestorm210)
12. “Genius,” another called it.
@FallonTonight @jimmyfallon Whoever made this is a Genius!!! 😂
— celia♣️ (@CeliaWilB)
13. No one can escape becoming a meme, not even the sitting president, who experienced quite the meme-riddled weekend.
1. As a Golden Girls super fan, this past week when I was finding comfort by watching every episode again for the millionth time, I was shocked to notice something I’d never seen before.
2. How is it possible I could miss something so bizarre? Something right on the wall, of MY BEST FRIEND’S house!
3. Picture it, 2017, I’m watching The Golden Girls as usual.
4. It’s a typical episode, some cheesecake in the kitchen, etc.
8. I know what you’re thinking, “girl chill, that’s probably a lobster or something.”
11. “Enhance better!”…Wow, TV quality has really changed…
13. Upon closer inspection it appears to be either hanging cherries or a very ornate penis.
Is the pan in question shaped like a penis?
No way, get your mind out of the gutter!
Of course it’s a penis, The Golden Girls are hilarious and Rue Mcclanahan probably picked it out.
That’s a poorly designed headless lobster.