August 11, 2018 - August 17, 2018
Film Review: Bask in the effervescent insanity of ‘Mamma Mia 2’
shows (from left) Jessica Keenan Wynn, Lily James and Alexa Davies in a
scene from “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.” (Jonathan Prime/Universal Pictures
Los Angeles (AP) -
“Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” is a wholly ridiculous movie that I thoroughly
enjoyed. It’s the kind of movie that feels and sounds like a summer vacation
should: Fizzy, lively, low-stakes and soundtracked by ABBA.
This is a world where
things generally just work out, where folks are kind and willing to help,
where everyone has perfect beach hair, where characters just
(asterisk)know(asterisk) they’re pregnant after one bout of morning
sickness, and where old flings and family members are not only welcome to
suddenly sail back into lives they’ve abandoned but greeted with joy and a
song. Who’s got time for bitterness and jealousy in these Greek isles?
The dialogue may be
ridiculous, the plot may be questionable, and the musical numbers may be
staged and stitched together like a manic fever dream (including a uniquely
crazy rendition of “Waterloo” with Lily James and Hugh Skinner prancing
around a French restaurant). But “Mamma Mia 2” wears its happy heart so
earnestly on its fringed suede sleeve that it almost doesn’t matter. Like an
all-inclusive resort, it might be a little cheesy and there is surely some
cooler and more authentic option out there with less green screen and more
character development, but easy can be its own kind of fun.
And this all-inclusive
resort has Cher. And Andy Garcia. And Colin Firth playing Leonardo DiCaprio
to Stellan Skarsgard’s Kate Winslet at the bow of a boat packed to the gills
with a mass of people singing “Dancing Queen.” And minimal singing from
Pierce Brosnan. And a final show-stopper that’s so fun, you might be
disappointed there isn’t an encore.
But the real reason
this bonkers movie works so well is the incandescent Lily James. She plays a
younger Donna (who 40 years later is played by Meryl Streep), during a very
eventful summer in 1979 where she both finds her calling and meets (and
sleeps with) the three men who all could very possibly be the father of her
daughter, Sophie (Amanda Seyfried). It should be said that two of the three
suitors are uncomfortably overeager to get Donna into bed as soon as they
The flashback portions
are told in tandem with what’s happening in the present day, where Sophie is
preparing for the grand opening of the hotel Donna. Seyfried is good, if
underserved, and her story picks up considerably when Tanya (Christine
Baranski) and Rosie (Julie Walters) arrive, but it’s the ’79 portion that
you want to keep going back to (at least until Cher shows up for the last 10
James, who is always
strong no matter how big her role (from “Cinderella” to “The Darkest Hour”),
gets a real star turn here. She also has a sweetly appealing voice that’s
(thankfully) more 90s Disney than modern folk singer. And with some more
talented singers in her male counterparts, young Bill (Josh Dylan), Harry
(Hugh Skinner) and Sam (Jeremy Irvine), you find yourself actually looking
forward to their songs instead of bracing for them. Jessica Keenan Wynn and
Alexa Davies also shine as young Tanya and Rosie, although I would like a
word with whoever decided that they would have the exact same haircuts 40
and director Ol Parker took over directorial duties and slowed the pace
considerably from Phyllida Lloyd’s impossibly energetic “Mamma Mia!” where
there was rarely a scene where someone was running, skipping or bounding
with joy. In “Here We Go Again,” which almost sounds like a threat, or at
least bemused resignation, there is actually downtime and breathing room,
which can drag at times. This is a movie that very much requires you to be
in the “right mood.”
And perhaps the most
surprising thing about this whole sequined bell-bottomed experience is you
might even find yourself getting a little emotional. But not too much, this
is vacation after all.
“Mamma Mia! Here We Go
Again,” a Universal Pictures release, is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture
Association of America for “for some suggestive material.” Running time: 114
minutes. Three stars out of four.
Art of illusion: Face paint
transforms Serbian makeup pro
make-up artist Mirjana Milosevic, known professionally as ‘Kika’, looks at
her transformation in a mirror in her studio at her home in the central
Serbian town of Smederevo, Serbia. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
(AP) — It took Mirjana Milosevic less than an
hour to transform into a zombie. The Serbian makeup artist also can turn
into a skeleton or a genie and make body parts disappear.
Milosevic, 36, has
attracted fans around the world for the illusions she creates on and with
her own body. She records the whole process and posts videos on YouTube and
social networks under the professional name Kika.
Milosevic creates her
videos, which have gotten millions of views, in a studio in her home in the
central Serbian town of Smederevo. There, in front of a dressing table and
surrounded by mirrors, she picks the tools that will immerse her in a new
With makeup pencils,
brushes and face paints, Milosevic slowly creates an image that completely
changes her appearance. Flawless black lines appear as contours, then
symbols resembling neck tattoos. An outline colored in with white becomes a
mask that reveals hollowed-out and sharp teeth.
A zombie is born.
Her signature skin
illusions take longer, Milosevic says. She puts in days of contemplation and
planning, followed by hours and hours of work, to put a hollow in her
stomach or to appear without a head.
The artist says she
always liked to draw, but never on paper. As a young girl, Milosevic drew on
walls, tables and her legs and arms.
“My parents say I
learned to draw before I could walk,” Milosevic said.
Milosevic says her
favorite self-imposed illusion is the ‘Wooden Puppet Doll’ — a blue-haired
doll with a string for a stomach and wood body parts — that in 2016 won her
an award sponsored by makeup brand NYX and opened doors.
“The wooden puppet
changed my life,” she said.
Thailand to host 2018 Miss Universe pageant
Aniporn Chalermburanawong caused a stir at the 2015 Miss Universe contest
when she appeared in a tuk-tuk dress. (AP Photo/File)
Bangkok (AP) —
Thailand will host the 2018 Miss Universe beauty pageant, organizers said
The Miss Universe
Organization said in a statement that it has granted “sole proprietorship”
to a Thai investment firm to host the pageant this December.
Thailand has hosted the
competition twice before, most recently in 2005, when it was won by Miss
Universe Canada, Natalie Glebova. She afterward settled in Thailand.
Thai Prime Minister
Prayuth Chan-ocha welcomed the organizers’ choice of Thailand.
“It’s a good thing that
their officials see Thailand’s potential,” Prayuth said. “If we can organize
it and there are no problems with various agreements, then the government is
happy to support it.”
Prayuth said the
Ministry of Tourism and Sports would be responsible for overseeing the event
and arranging details of how it will be organized.
Organizers said Miss
Universe 2018 will be a three-hour event broadcast live on Dec. 16.
Artist to auction sculpture of late
Tham Luang Cave diver to assist family
Krisana Napulphol holds a sculpture of former Thai Navy SEAL Saman Kunan at
his studio in Nakhon Pathom.
“An independent Nakhon
Pathom artist has sculpted a likeness of former Thai Navy SEAL Saman Kunan
to be auctioned off on behalf of his family after he lost his life during
the recent operation to save the Moo Pa Academy youth football team stranded
in Tham Luang Cave in Chiang Rai province.
The clay sculpture was made by Krisana
Napulphol and was named “My Hero” in honor of the sacrifice of Saman Kunan.
The artist explained that he had known
the former Thai Navy Seal from cycling events and that he was shocked to
hear of his death. The sculpture is based on a photograph of Saman that
Krisana found while mourning the passing of the rescuer raising a fist in
triumph following the discovery of the 13 members of the youth football
team. Krisana said he was inspired by Saman’s eyes and demeanor in the
The artist has also sculpted likenesses
of the commander of the rescue operation, chairperson of the Thai Water Well
Association and of Thai Navy Seals. He is to assemble the sculptures for
display at his personal gallery as well as auction several pieces so that he
may forward proceeds to Saman Kunan’s family. (NNT)
World premieres at Venice for Gosling, Cooper movies
will star as astronaut Neil Armstrong in the world premiere of the movie
“First Man” at the 75th Venice Film Festival later this month. (AP
Rome (AP) —
The Venice Film Festival will feature plenty of Hollywood star power,
including premieres for a biopic of astronaut Neil Armstrong starring Ryan
Gosling, a period western by the Coen brothers with Liam Neeson, and Bradley
Cooper’s directorial debut starring Lady Gaga.
The 75th edition of the
world’s oldest film festival opens on Aug. 29 with the world premiere of
“First Man” by Damien Chazelle. Like his previous film “La La Land,” which
also opened the festival and earned six Oscars, it stars Gosling, who plays
“The Ballad of Buster
Scruggs” is the new offering from the Coen brothers. It started out as a
television series before being turned into a movie featuring Tom Waits.
Emma Stone, Olivia
Colman and Rachel Weisz star in an irreverent royal comedy set in the early
18th century called “The Favourite,” by Yorgos Lanthimos, which also makes
its debut on the Lido.
Tilda Swinton and
Dakota Johnson are paired in the horror movie “Suspiria” by Luca Guadagnino,
who earned acclaim for last year’s “Call Me By Your Name.”
Among other films being
shown for the first time are “Roma,” Alfonso Cuaron’s first film since
“Gravity;” Mike Leigh’s “Peterloo,” about an 1819 massacre in northern
England; and “Sunset” by Hungarian director Laszlo Nemes, who captured the
2016 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film with “Son of Saul.”
Debuting out of
competition for the Golden Lion are Bradley Cooper’s “A Star is Born,” in
which he stars alongside Gaga, and the police abuse drama “Dragged Across
Concrete” with Mel Gibson and Vince Vaughn.
Golden Lions for career
achievements will be presented to British actress Vanessa Redgrave and
Canadian filmmaker David Cronenberg at the festival, which runs through
August 4, 2018 - August 10, 2018
Film Review: Tom Cruise thwarts the apocalypse on a broken ankle
shows (from left) Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Tom Cruise and Ving Rhames
in a scene from “Mission: Impossible - Fallout.” (David James/Paramount
Pictures and Skydance via AP)
Los Angeles (AP) -
And so, fellow moviegoers: Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask
what Tom Cruise can — and will — do for you.
The answer is anything.
The man will do anything to entertain you. At age 56, when the rest of us
are making chiropractor appointments and upping our corrective lenses,
Cruise will jump out of a plane for you, into a lightning storm. He’ll learn
to fly a helicopter for you, all for one nausea-inducing helicopter piloting
stunt — yep, he’s piloting AND acting — that sends him into a death spiral
in “Mission: Impossible - Fallout.”
One day, if this
continues, it will surely seem silly. One day, people will chuckle
sympathetically at the exploits of this well-meaning but wrinkled movie
star, perhaps in his 80s then, putting his life in danger to please his
fans. Now, though, is not that day. With his partner, returning
director-writer Christopher McQuarrie, Cruise delivers all the above in the
ridiculously entertaining “Fallout,” his sixth outing as Ethan Hunt.
As for the plot, well,
you may chuckle in confusion. It gets unnecessarily complicated. For most
movies, this would be a much bigger problem. But because “Fallout” moves so
quickly from one crazy stunt to another, it doesn’t matter. You’ll think,
“Hmm, what?” But then, “Whoa! Is Tom about to jump off that building?”
We begin, as always,
with a new mission — this time, it arrives in a hollowed-out copy of Homer’s
“Odyssey,” perhaps a reference to Hunt’s own journey. We’ll try to boil it
down: The evildoers are the Apostles, terrorists who aim to nuke the world’s
top religious sites — the Vatican, Jerusalem and Mecca — and bring on an
apocalypse. They’re in league with Solomon Lane (Sean Harris), the criminal
mastermind from the last film, who stayed alive and now wants revenge
against Hunt, not to mention the global destruction thing.
Hunt must get his hands
on three missing plutonium cores. He actually manages this, for a second —
but has to give them up to save a cherished team member. Thus is launched an
overarching dilemma of this installment: Should Hunt save one life that is
dear to him over millions of others?
We don’t get much time
to ponder. Hunt has to start from scratch. His IMF team includes, as always,
loyal Luther (Ving Rhames), and tech whiz Benji (the wonderful Simon Pegg),
who provides needed levity. It’s safe to say that never before has Benji’s
life hung so precariously in the balance.
IMF secretary Alan
Hunley (Alec Baldwin) is back, clashing with Erika Sloane (Angela Bassett),
certainly the most stylish person ever to head the CIA, onscreen or off.
Sloane forcibly injects her own agent, the very handsome but shady Walker
(Henry Cavill), into Hunt’s operation, causing all sorts of complications.
Crucially, we also have
former MI6 agent Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson, who made such an impression
in the last film). She’s back, but working for whom, exactly? Regardless,
it’s fun to watch her take down a succession of brutish men. A welcome
newcomer is Vanessa Kirby (“The Crown”) as the mysterious White Widow.
Of course, it’s the
stunts that really matter. And the scenery. Paris has always been beautiful,
but there’s a certain frisson you get when arriving with Cruise by way of a
plummet from a plane onto the roof of the Grand Palais. And that motorcycle
chase around the Arc de Triomphe? Let’s just say that getting through that
traffic circle alive on a real-life day is a Mission: Impossible.
Then we’re off to
London, where Cruise shattered his ankle bone filming a rooftop chase. At a
recent screening, McQuarrie explained that most of what we see the actor
doing here, including that sprint, was done after the injury. Feel free to
consider that as you watch.
The most dramatic
stunts were filmed in New Zealand, standing in for Kashmir. Many people go
bungee-jumping there; probably relatively few do it from a moving
helicopter. We also see Cruise piloting another helicopter into a seemingly
irreversible plunge. A climactic physical fight was shot in Norway, on a
cliff that drops into a fjord. And Cruise’s 25,000-foot jump from a plane
was filmed in Abu Dhabi.
Much ink has been spent
analyzing this enduring phenomenon called Tom Cruise, and what motivates
him, onscreen and off. “I just want to entertain people,” he said recently.
That’s one mission he can still nail.
“Mission: Impossible -
Fallout,” a Paramount Pictures release, is unrated by the Motion Picture
Association of America. Running time: 147 minutes. Three stars out of four.
Titanic director Cameron backs bid
for 5,500 items from ship
Aoise Taggert, aged nine, looks at a model of
the Titanic at Titanic Belfast, Northern Ireland, Tuesday July 24. (Niall
Carson/PA Wire(/PA via AP)
Ballard, who discovered the wreck of Titanic in 1985, speaks in Belfast,
Northern Ireland, Tuesday July 24. (Niall Carson/PA via AP)
London (AP) —
Filmmaker James Cameron and Titanic discoverer Robert Ballard are backing a
bid by a group of British museums to acquire a collection of 5,500 artifacts
from the sunken vessel.
The campaign announced
last week aims to raise $20 million (15 million pounds) to buy the items
from a private American company that salvaged them from the wreck.
The director of the
1997 blockbuster “Titanic,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet,
said there are grave concerns that the collection will be broken up and sold
privately because that company has filed for bankruptcy.
“That’s why people who
feel some protective role have stepped up and kind of linked arms,” Cameron
said. “It’s an incredible piece of history, an object lesson about human
hubris. If it gets sold into private hands, it disappears from the public
eye. It would be broken up and could never be reassembled.”
He said his expeditions
to the undersea site have made him feel a responsibility to honor those who
lost their lives on its doomed voyage in 1912.
The objects include a
section of the ship’s hull and a bronze cherub decoration from the ship’s
grand staircase. They were recovered from the wreck site during seven deep
sea expeditions between 1987 and 2004.
The bid for the
artifacts comes from the Royal Museums Greenwich, National Museums Northern
Ireland, Titanic Belfast and Titanic Foundation Limited. The National
Geographic Society has pledged $500,000 to help fund the project — both
Cameron and Ballard are National Geographic Explorers in Residence.
The bid was announced
July 24 in Belfast, Northern Ireland, at the location where the ship was
designed, built and launched.
Ballard, who discovered
the wreck in 1985, said the campaign is the “only viable option to retain
the integrity” of the artifacts. He said the collection “deserved to be
returned home to where its journey began.”
The Titanic sank in the
North Atlantic on its maiden voyage in 1912 after hitting an iceberg. More
than 1,500 passengers and crew died.
Airman who inspired ‘Good Morning, Vietnam’ film dies at 79
Cronauer is shown in this October 1987 file photo.
(AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Norfolk, Va. (AP) —
Adrian Cronauer, the man whose military radio antics inspired a character
played by Robin Williams in the film “Good Morning, Vietnam,” passed away
last month. He was 79.
Mary Muse, the wife of
his stepson Michael Muse, said Cronauer died July 18 from an age-related
illness. He had lived in Troutville, Virginia, and died at a local nursing
home, she said.
Actor Robin Williams is shown in a scene from the 1987
movie, “Good Morning, Vietnam.”
During his service as a
U.S. Air Force sergeant in Vietnam in 1965 and 1966, Cronauer opened his
Armed Forces Radio show with the phrase, “Goooooood morning, Vietnam!”
Williams made the
refrain famous in the 1987 film, loosely based on Cronauer’s time in Saigon.
The film was a
departure from other Vietnam war movies that focused on bloody realism, such
as the Academy Award-winning “Platoon.” Instead, it was about irreverent
youth in the 1960s fighting the military establishment.
“We were the only game
in town, and you had to play by our rules,” Cronauer told The Associated
Press in 1987. “But I wanted to serve the listeners.”
The military wanted
conservative programming. American youths, however, were “not into drab,
sterile announcements” with middle-of-the-road music, Cronauer said, and the
battle over the airwaves was joined.
In the film, Williams
quickly drops Perry Como and Lawrence Welk from his 6 a.m. playlist in favor
of the Dave Clark Five.
Cronauer said he loved
the movie but much of it was Hollywood make-believe. Robin Williams’
portrayal as a fast-talking, nonconformist, yuk-it-up disc jockey sometimes
gave people the wrong impression of the man who inspired the film.
“Yes, I did try to make
it sound more like a stateside station,” he told The AP in 1989. “Yes, I did
have problems with news censorship. Yes, I was in a restaurant shortly
before the Viet Cong hit it. And yes, I did start each program by yelling,
‘Good Morning, Vietnam!’”
The rest is what he
delicately called “good script crafting.”
Cronauer was from
Pittsburgh, the son of a steelworker and a schoolteacher. After the
military, he worked in radio, television and advertising.
In 1979, Cronauer saw
the film “Apocalypse Now” with his friend Ben Moses, who also served in
Vietnam and worked at the Saigon radio station.
“We said that’s not our
story of Vietnam,” Moses recalled. “And we made a deal over a beer that we
were going to have a movie called ‘Good Morning, Vietnam.’”
It wasn’t easy.
Hollywood producers were incensed at the idea of a comedy about Vietnam,
said Moses, who co-produced the film.
“I said ‘It’s not a
comedy — it’s the sugar on top of the medicine,” Moses said.
Writer Mitch Markowitz
made the film funny, and director Barry Levinson added the tragic-comedy
aspect, Moses said. Williams’ performance was nominated for an Oscar.
Moses said the film was
a pivotal moment in changing the way Americans thought about the Vietnamese
and the war.
July 28, 2018 - August 3, 2018
Film Review: ‘Adrift’ is a woman vs nature tale for the #MeToo era
released by STXfilms shows Shailene Woodley (right) and Sam Claflin in a
scene from “Adrift.” (Photo STXfilms via AP)
Los Angeles (AP) -
Woman vs. nature. It certainly has a ring to it, especially when woman wins.
But there are too few such stories in our popular culture, and certainly on
our movie screens.
Enter “Adrift,” based
on the harrowing, real-life story of Tami Oldham, who sailed off on a
romantic voyage from Tahiti to San Diego in 1983 with her fiance, Richard
Sharp, and ran into a brutal hurricane. Oldham wrote of the ordeal — 41 days
on the open seas in a damaged 44-foot sailboat — in her book, “Red Sky in
Mourning,” and if you haven’t read it yet, good: Stop Googling and see the
film first. You’ll be glad you didn’t know all the details beforehand.
Off the bat, “Adrift,”
by Icelandic action director Baltasar Kormakur (“Everest”), has several
things going for it. First of all, Kormakur is a lifelong sailor, and he
chose to film on the open ocean off Fiji, lending the proceedings an obvious
visual urgency. Second, the story is simple and thrilling — because it’s
true. And third, Shailene Woodley, one of the most naturalistic young
actresses working today, is hard not to root for in any film, and certainly
here as Tami, a relaxed California girl suddenly caught in an elemental
battle to survive.
Where the film could do
better is in painting the characters with nuance and complexity. This is
less necessary in the scenes on water — we have all the excitement we need
there. But the scenes on land seem rather perfunctory, if still pleasing and
romantic (nothing wrong with watching two attractive, tanned young people
fall in love.)
We begin with Tami
waking up after an obvious catastrophe, the boat practically destroyed.
Stumbling around the wreckage, she comes to the devastating realization that
Richard (Sam Claflin), the more experienced sailor of the two, is nowhere to
Flashback to five
months earlier, when Tami arrives in Tahiti, a 23-year-old free spirit with
no clear life plans. All she wants to do is see the world. She gets an odd
job at the marina, where one day she meets Richard, a handsome young Brit
who built his own boat and spends his life sailing.
These two good-looking
creatures are immediately drawn to each other, and spend idyllic days
sailing, cooking, drinking wine. Staring at the crimson sky one day, Tami
proclaims it to be red. Richard quickly corrects her: Its “beet-dyed
pomegranate,” OK, we get why she’s falling in love.
Then an irresistible
opportunity arises: An older couple wants Richard to sail their boat back
from Tahiti to San Diego. The terms are too attractive to pass up. Tami
overcomes her initial reluctance to cut short her own, independent journey,
and they head off into the deep blue.
And then disaster
strikes, and suddenly these exceedingly capable people seem helpless against
the ferocity of nature. At the worst moment, Richard fastens himself in, and
shouts to Tami through the raging winds to go down below, where she’ll be
The action toggles back
and forth between happy scenes on land, and the ordeal at sea, which show
Tami figuring out a way to stop the boat from sinking, then pulling a badly
injured Richard from the waters and caring for his wounds while she tries to
navigate, using nautical maps and her own desperate creativity. The land
scenes provide some intermittent relief; on the other hand, they do stall
The couple’s risky goal
is to reach Hawaii, and Tami knows that if she makes an error, they’ll die.
She also must figure out how to ration the fresh water and meagre food
supplies, which consist of sardines, some Spam, a jar of peanut butter. A
committed vegetarian, she must cope with the reality that if she can’t kill
and eat fish, she probably won’t make it.
unfussy performance seems perfectly tailored to the script by Aaron Kandell,
Jordan Kandell and David Branson Smith. Claflin makes Richard a dashing,
sensitive romantic partner. The story is not complicated — nor does it need
to be. Woman vs. sea. Woman triumphs. An apt story for 2018.
“Adrift,” an STX
Entertainment release, is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of
America “for injury images, peril, language, brief drug use, partial nudity
and thematic elements.” Running time: 120 minutes. Two and a half stars out
‘Downton Abbey’ movie to shoot this summer
publicity photo shows characters from the TV series, “Downton Abbey.” (AP
Photo/PBS, Carnival Film & Television Limited 2012 for MASTERPIECE, Nick
New York (AP) —
Three years after going off the air, “Downton Abbey” is coming back as a
Focus Features said
that it will this summer begin production on a “Downton” film that will
reunite the Crawley family on the big screen. Series creator Julian Fellowes
wrote the screenplay and will produce.
The long-rumored film
adaptation is likely to be released sometime next year. The primary cast
members are all set to return.
Over six seasons,
“Downton Abbey” became a global hit, airing in at least 150 countries, and
setting a record for non-U.S. television shows with 69 Emmy nominations.
Brian Percival, who
directed the series’ pilot, will direct the film.
Scarlett Johansson pulls out of trans drama after backlash
(Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
New York (AP) —
Scarlett Johansson has withdrawn from the film “Rub & Tug” after her
plans to portray a transgender man prompted a backlash.
In a statement,
Johansson said she was pulling out from the project “in light of recent
ethical questions raised surrounding my casting.” Johansson was lined up
to star as Pittsburgh 1970s and ’80s prostitution ring leader Dante
“Tex” Gill, who was born Lois Jean Gill but identified as a man.
actors and advocates questioned the casting, Johansson initially
responded with a statement that criticism “can be directed to Jeffrey
Tambor, Jared Leto and Felicity Huffman’s reps.” All are cisgender
actors who won acclaim for playing transgender characters.
“While I would have
loved the opportunity to bring Dante’s story and transition to life, I
understand why many feel he should be portrayed by a transgender person,
and I am thankful that this casting debate, albeit controversial, has
sparked a larger conversation about diversity and representation in
film,” the actress said.
previously came under fire for playing an originally Asian character in
the 2017 film “Ghost in the Shell.” That film’s director, Rupert
Sanders, was set to also helm “Rub & Tug.”
It’s not clear if
the film, which Johansson was also producing, will go forward. A
representative for Johansson didn’t respond to an email. A spokesman for
New Regency, which was set to produce “Rub & Tug,” said it’s uncertain
what will happen with the film.
Some critics have
argued that trans roles should be played by trans actors.
“Actors who are
trans never even get to audition for anything other than roles of trans
characters,” Jamie Clayton, a transgender actress who stars in Netflix’s
“Sense8.” ‘’That’s the real issue. We can’t even get in the room.”
Jen Richards, trans
activist and creator of the web series “Her Story,” praised Johansson
for stepping down.
“If you’re tired of
hearing about it, you can’t imagine how tired trans actors are of
talking about it,” Richards said on Twitter. “We just want to work. And
with more trans and nonbinary people, of all kinds, participating, the
work will be a better and richer representation of our world. This is a
Stevie Nicks and LeAnn Rimes share heartbreak in new duet
combination photo shows Stevie Nicks (left) and LeAnn Rimes. (AP Photo)
Pablo Arauz Pena
Los Angeles (AP)
— Stevie Nicks cried on her living room floor
when she first saw LeAnn Rimes perform “Borrowed” on her TV in 2013.
The song, about an
intimate, yet fleeting romance between Rimes and her lover, came out on
Rimes’ “Spitfire” album when Nicks became enamored with it. The
Fleetwood Mac singer knew then that she wanted to sing it with Rimes
“It was very easy
for me to try to be in that same sad, deeply tragic, passionate place
where she was when she wrote that song because I had been there. I had
lived there for a long time,” Nicks said in an interview with The
Associated Press from Mexico, where she was on vacation.
Nicks heard from
mutual friend and producer Darrell Brown, who co-wrote “Borrowed,” that
Rimes was planning to touch up some of her hits for her “Re-Imagined”
EP, and she jumped at the chance to record a duet version with Rimes.
“Being able to have
another artist really kind of get you on so many levels in that
authenticity and from that space is really magical,” said Rimes.
The new version,
released last month, balances Nicks’ soft croon to Rimes’ striking
vocals. Like in the previous version, a cool and fading steel guitar
compliments the rhythmic melody and calming percussion.
Even though Nicks
has been singing and recording long before Rimes was on the scene, she
said working with her is like going to singing college.
“She doesn’t brush
over anything,” said 70-year-old Nicks. “You have to sing every single
word with her; otherwise it won’t be a good duet because she would leave
you in the dust.”
Rimes, 35, became a
star as a teen and launched hits such as “Blue,” ‘’How Do I Live” and
“Can’t Fight the Moonlight.” She won the best new artist Grammy at age
Both singers come
from different musical backgrounds. Nicks is a rock ‘n’ roll magnate
from Phoenix and Rimes has country roots in Texas, but their voices
reflect on a shared passion where heartbreak isn’t bound by place, time
Rimes said she came
up with the idea for the song during an emotionally troubling moment on
an airplane when she noticed someone reading a tabloid magazine with her
on the cover. She started to cry when the stranger’s husband came to her
“I honestly feel
like that guy was an angel,” she said. “Some things came over me at that
moment and I just remember thinking that title (“Borrowed”) to myself.”
The first line of
the song came to Rimes: “I know you’re not mine. Only borrowed.” From
there, she took it to the studio where she fleshed out the rest of the
“It’s a very
honest, authentic moment and capturing a piece of me that I really
didn’t know existed until I wrote this song,” said Rimes.
Rimes is currently
on a summer tour and Nicks is hitting the road with Fleetwood Mac in the
fall. Both singers said they hope to perform the song together someday.
“I would love to do
a record with LeAnn,” said Nicks. “I’m hoping that for some reason we’ll
get to go onstage and sing this song together.”