I’m Already Obsessed With Christopher Nolan’s Newest Cast

Elizabeth Debicki and John David Washington have been cast in Christopher Nolan's mysterious new movie

Christopher Nolan has a film coming out in 2020 and that’s about all we know. Nolan is keeping this film close to the chest, with no word on a title or plot. The film has been described as both an innovative action film and as a romantic thriller, but that’s about all we have to go on. Still, Nolan’s spoilerphobia can’t stop the casting news from leaking out, and the three leads of the film might be the best way to drum up hype without revealing a word of the plot.

The film will star John David Washington (BlacKkKlansman) and Elizabeth Debicki (Widows). If I’m correct, this is the first time that one of Nolan’s films has starred anyone other than a white man, so I’m already excited. Robert Pattinson (who we know from Twilight but whose career has progressed somewhat beyond that), is also tapped to join the film, and I’m sure we’ll get cameos from Nolan favorites like Cillian Murphy and Michael Caine.

Nolan is a genius when it comes to casting. He was the inspired soul who cast Heath Ledger in his Oscar-winning turn as the Joker in The Dark Knight, and who saw a glimmer of talent in Harry Styles in a gamble that turned out quite well for Dunkirk. Pattinson might invoke the same reaction as those did for those who only know him as Edward Cullen, but on a scale this large, he has the chance to reshape his image in the public eye outside of his indie film work.

Washington and Debicki might not be household names yet, but they’ve already proven themselves to be talented and an asset to any cast. Washington is fresh off an awards circuit run and received raves for his turn as the lead in BlacKkKlansman. Debicki has proven herself to be a talented supporting actress; her most recent turn in Widows should have garnered her awards attention. I am looking forward to seeing how these actors play off each other, in whatever setting Nolan has created.

And what world will they inhabit? Will Nolan make a return to sci-fi with a film similar to Inception or Interstellar? Will it be another snapshot of history like Dunkirk, the film that earned him his first Best Director nod? Or will Nolan branch out and try something new, like Memento or The Prestige?

Don’t expect much by way of spoilers until the film’s release day; I’m sure the trailer will have Avengers: Endgame level shrouding of the plot. Still, with this cast, Nolan is probably looking at yet another smash hit. Let the reddit theories fly until opening day.

(via Variety, image: Warner Bros/Focus Features)

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Zachary Levi Is Not Here for Toxic Fans Pitting Shazam! Against Captain Marvel

zachary levi is shazam.

If you’re are a lady who has expressed opinions about Captain Marvel on the internet, chances are you’ve been trolled by some neckbeard angry about girls ruining his comic book movies. The troll army was quick to do everything they could to tear down the film and harass fans, including bombing the audience interest section on Rotten Tomatoes and making complaint videos on YouTube, so much so that both platforms implemented changes to their policies to prevent the toxic response.

A curious subset of trolls cropped up, who declared that, in defiance of Captain Marvel, the would be taking their dollars elsewhere: mainly to Alita: Battle Angel and Shazam!. Which is … totally okay. No one is holding you at gunpoint and forcing you to watch Captain Marvel. Besides, she’s doing plenty fine on her own. The film has already cleared $760 million worldwide and is quickly on its way to the billion dollar mark (so much for that boycott).

Another person not stressed about the success of Captain Marvel is Shazam himself, Zachary Levi. In an interview with the Associated Press, Levi said the following:

Levi said, “And I’m not affiliated … I’ve known Brie over the years and I think she’s delightful and talented. And, by the way, she doesn’t need anybody sticking up for her, it was me trying to talk to people that thought they were doing me a favor. They were like, ‘We’re not gonna go see [Captain Marvel], we’re gonna go see Shazam!.’ I was like, you can just say you wanna come see Shazam!. You don’t have to go and speak ill of somebody else in order to raise me or this movie up. That’s not okay. Yeah, so, I just felt like I had an opportunity to speak truth.”

Several MCU actors have spoken out in support of Larson and the film, and it would be nice if more of DC’s big screen superheroes lent their support as well. Not that she or the film needs it, but it would be a lovely show of solidarity for fans everywhere. After all, they may be different studios, but both service the same fan base.

Levi has also posted on Twitter in support of both films:

Many so-called fans latched onto Shazam! as the anti-Captain Marvel because both characters share the same name in the comics. When asked about it, Levi promised the film would address the name issue saying, “Honestly, you’ll have to wait until April 5, 2019 to find out the answer to that question, my friend. I don’t know what to tell you. There’s fun that’s had.”

Given that Shazam! is a family-friendly comedy, that explanation will likely be a meta-joke of some kind. We’re excited to see Shazam!, which has all the makings of a charming fun film. Will you be seeing Shazam! when it hits theaters next month?

(via CBR, image: Warner Bros.)

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Here Is an Exciting Page From the Avengers: Endgame Script I Totally Did Not Write

Avengers: Endgame poster art

Can you believe, despite all of Marvel Studios’ secrecy, that I managed to find a scene from the much-anticipated Avengers: Endgame script while digging through Mark Ruffalo’s trash in the West Village? Guess the MCU got Ruffalo’d again!

What follows is an extremely real and entirely legitimate scene from the forthcoming Avengers: Endgame, courtesy of actor Mark Ruffalo’s trash can. I thought you of all people would have known to recycle, Mark.

FADE IN:

INT. AVENGERS COMPOUND – DAY

The AVENGERS and ASSORTED HEROIC TEAMMATES are ranged around a conference table, looking exhausted and somewhat scorched. There is an air of grimly satisfied TRIUMPH in the room.

THOR

Time travel is the worst.

HAWKEYE

You can say that again.

THOR

Time travel is the worst.

(a beat)

Everyone I love remains dead without hope of resurrection.

A moment of AWKWARD SILENCE. Then CAPTAIN MARVEL affectionately thumps THOR’s MASSIVE BICEP.

CAPTAIN MARVEL

At least we found out that Thanos punches like a weak little baby. I’ve fought tougher babies.

WAR MACHINE

I don’t think he appreciated it when you said so, Carol.

ROCKET RACOON

Defeating Thanos feels anti-climactic. Where’s our parade? You said there’d be a parade.

BLACK WIDOW

But we did it, you guys. We constructed our own Infinity Gauntlet in the past and beat Thanos at his own tricks. We pulled it off.

NODS of approval around the table. CAPTAIN AMERICA slowly gets to his feet.

CAPTAIN AMERICA

We haven’t won yet. Half of all the life in the universe is still missing. Bucky Barnes is still missing. This is personal. Killing Thanos didn’t bring Bucky back.

HAWKEYE

Or my family.

CAPTAIN AMERICA

The point is, we can’t rest until Bucky is safe.

PROFESSOR HULK

No clothes fit Hulk. Trapped in spandex suit forever. Unflattering.

IRON MAN

Much as it pains me to admit it, Cap’s right. This isn’t over yet. We’re in … the endgame.

The ORCHESTRAL SCORE SWELLS.

ANT-MAN

Am I the only one hearing that?

(aside, to OKOYE)

Ant-sense.

OKOYE

You are not wearing your suit, Lang.

CAPTAIN AMERICA

We know what has to be done. It was always building to this. We have to use the Gauntlet ourselves. Unsnap the Snap.

BLACK WIDOW

That’s a death sentence for whoever wears it.

IRON MAN

(getting up to face CAPTAIN AMERICA)

Suppose you think you’ll be the one taking the ring to Mordor, huh, Bilbo Baggins?

PEPPER POTTS

(long-suffering)

Frodo.

CAPTAIN AMERICA

It has to be me, Tony.

IRON MAN

You’ve been waiting to make the sacrifice play since New York. Don’t deny it.

IRON MAN is pointing across the table at CAPTAIN AMERICA. The LOVE THEME from CIVIL WAR PLAYS.

THOR

(gently)

My fragile mortal friends. I have lived fifteen hundred years and fought as many monsters. I will wield the Gauntlet one last time.

PROFESSOR HULK

Can’t live like this. Hulk take Gauntlet. Death a release.

CAPTAIN MARVEL

I’m pretty much a god. Give it here.

ROCKET RACOON

Well, I’m definitely not doing it.

A chorus of arguments erupts. CAPTAIN AMERICA and IRON MAN are SHOUTING.

CAPTAIN AMERICA

This isn’t a debate. I’m taking the Gauntlet. I know now that it’s the reason I woke up here. I’m meant to do this.

(slides his shield into place on his arm)

You’re my friends, but I will fight you to make sure that I’m the one.

The room falls silent. CAPTAIN AMERICA nods gravely.

It’s been a great pleasure serving with you all. When he comes back, tell Bucky that I love—

CAPTAIN AMERICA has been lifting a SUSPICIOUSLY LIGHT SATCHEL. Now he SHAKES IT.

Where the hell is the Gauntlet?

Most of the room is now on their feet, looking confused and stricken. ROCKET RACCOON is on the table to stay at the same height.

HAWKEYE

Uh, has anyone seen Nebula?

PANDEMONIUM. CAPTAIN AMERICA sprints out the door, with CAPTAIN MARVEL and IRON MAN fast on his heels. The rest of the AVENGERS and ASSORTED HEROIC TEAMMATES rush after, leaving only THOR behind. THOR sits at the table in a contemplative, brooding sprawl.

CUT TO:

A single TEAR trickles down THOR’s cheek.

THOR

I too once had a duplicitous blue sibling.

_

At this point I was forced to grab what I could from Mark Ruffalo’s trash and run, since he spotted me through the French windows and was about to call the police. Unfortunately, there were a few pages in there I didn’t get the chance to read, so I’m still in the dark about how this whole Endgame thing wraps up. At least we now know the direction where our heroes are headed. Mark Ruffalo’s carelessness is our gain, my friends.

(image: Marvel Studios)

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Stranger Things 3 Gives Us the Max and Eleven Friendship We Deserve

Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) and Max (Sadie Sink) bond over ice cream in Stranger Things 3.

In season two of Stranger Things, it seemed as though women were physically incapable of talking to one another. Every major female character—Eleven, Joyce, Nancy, and Max—was in a love triangle, and because Eleven saw Max flirt with Mike at one point, she was cold and standoffish towards her. However, it seems as though the Duffer Brothers have heard our complaints and fixed the Max and Eleven problem for season three.

The first trailer for Stranger Things 3 dropped this morning, with enough trademark mystery to remind us that the series is a Stephen King-inspired romp but with enough focus on character growth to remind us all of why we keep tuning in. Friendships are highlighted—though it would be nice to see Nancy and Joyce exist beyond “lovestruck teen” and “traumatized mother”—and one such friendship is Eleven and Max.

We see the two girls hanging out in a photo booth, enjoying time together with their friends, and also hanging out in one of their bedrooms just being teenagers. It’s such a welcome respite from Eleven’s dismissal of Max’s offer of friendship in season two that I can hardly believe it. Stranger Things is not particularly friendly to women not named Eleven, so to see Eleven get a female friend her own age is a delight.

The first season of Stranger Things played with Eleven being “one of the boys,” as she was the only female character her age. Season two saw her on a similarly isolated journey, though she had the chance to meet her sister and try to develop a relationship there. (Say what you will, but I loved that episode.) Max, on the other hand, either faced rudeness from Mike or was the object of Lucas’s and Dustin’s affections; she didn’t really have a chance to grow on her own.

This is not to say that I dislike Stranger Things. It’s one of my favorite bingeable shows, but it has some issues that need to be addressed, and I hope to see them addressed in the coming season. It would be great if both Nancy and Joyce got friends as well, or at the very least moved beyond their relationships to the men in their lives.

This is not a solo Stranger Things problem either. Too often, women are just one of the boys when it comes to major genre projects—emphasis on the “one.” The Avengers (at least, the original lineup of Avengers) and the DCEU’s Justice League both featured only one woman on their teams. Women who are “one of the boys” are prioritized over others in a way that’s not really positive. While things are changing, the more female friendships we see in genre TV, the better things will be.

The third season of Stranger Things looks just as intriguing as the previous two, but the addition of strong friendships between all the teen characters really makes me happy. I hope Max and Eleven get to bond a great deal, and that their friendship becomes as key to the show as Mike and Will’s friendship, or Steve being Dustin’s older brother/babysitter.

(image: Netflix)

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Why Are Rabbits Cute, but Also Kind of Spooky?

Us Lupita Scene

Roger Rabbit, Bugs Bunny, the Hare from The Tortoise and the Hare … throughout media, the rabbit/bunny and members of the Leporidae family have occupied a very cool space of being a trickster, a symbol of fertility, and also existing as the ultimate prey. With both The Favourite and Us using rabbits as part of their imagery (not a spoiler, no worries), it had me wonder why it is that rabbits exist as both cute pets, but also sort of haunting creatures, depending on the framing.

As a piece in Nylon explains, “Bunnies have an interesting history on film, having embodied everything from the idea of innocence and goodness (Thumper in Bambi), to the destruction of said innocence (that boiled bunny in Fatal Attraction), to pure evil wrapped up in a cuddly package (Monty Python and the Holy Grail), to the looming specter of death (Donnie Darko).”

In The Favourite, the bunnies that Queen Anne keeps are there as a representation of the deaths of her many children, a practice Sarah finds “macabre,” and at the time the movie is set, rabbits were seen as either pests or food. In Western culture, rabbits have mostly come to represent fertility/rebirth and are associated with spring and Easter. This is because, as the saying goes, rabbits reproduce a lot and very quickly, because they reach breeding age around seven months, and then it’s all bunny babies all the time.

The connection to innocence with the rabbit mostly comes from the fact that they are helpless little fluffy turds. Unlike hares, they are born blind and without fur, so they spend their early youth pretty much dependent on their mother for everything. In the wild, rabbits, due to being a victim of everything, have evolved to sleep with their eyes open so that any sudden movements can awaken them.

Juxtaposed with that innocence is also the implication of a short, vulnerable life. The average age of an eastern cottontail, for instance, is less than one year. Even domesticated rabbits are quick to startle and are prone to heart attacks. Hell, picking up a rabbit the wrong way can trigger the panic response of attacking you.

Being a bunny is a hard life, which is why we are so affected seeing Abigail in The Favourite stepping on one. It can’t do anything to fight back and is truly helpless.

Out of what I can only assume is pity for these small creatures, mythology and folklore have transformed the rabbit into a trickster figure. Bugs Bunny may be the most well known modern version of it, but characters like Brer Rabbit started the American vision of rabbits as witty and crafty in order to survive.

Brer Rabbit comes out of African trickster figures, particularly the hare. The trickster is dangerous because they use their perceived innocence to take advantage of others for no reason other than boredom.

As the 1972 film Night of the Rabbits tried to highlight, the creepy aspects about rabbits is their numbers, the ability to keep reproducing to an overwhelming amount, but also the white rabbit. The white rabbit, not just in Alice in Wonderland, is a particularly creepy visual because of its white fur against its red eyes that look slightly demonic.

Rabbits have also been portrayed as familiars, as symbols of death, or symbols of coming destruction. Just as they symbolize fertility that doesn’t come from the joys of sex, it comes from evolving to deal with a very short, cruel life in which fear of death has literally been programmed into their being. It’s the irony of the rabbit’s foot being lucky, but not for the rabbit.

So, when you look at the fluffy white bunny, which do you see first? Its soft white fur or its red eyes?

(image: Monkeypaw)

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Jennifer Lopez, Cardi B, and Constance Wu to Star in Stripper Revenge Film Hustlers

jennifer lopez, cardi b and constance wu star in the stripper heist film Hustlers.

STX is assembling an all-star cast for Hustlers, a film that follows the exploits of a group of Manhattan strippers who set out to scam Wall Street bros out of their cash. The film is based on the a 2016 New York Magazine article, “The Hustlers at Scores” by Jessica Pressler.

So far, the film has attached an incredible cast which includes Jennifer Lopez, Cardi B, and Constance Wu. This will be Cardi’s acting debut, but it shouldn’t be much of a stretch as was a stripper prior to becoming a rap superstar. Also joining the film is Lili Reinhart (Riverdale), Keke Palmer (Scream Queens), and Julia Stiles. In addition, Mercedes Ruehl (The Fisher King) and Trace Lysette (Transparent) are joining as well.

The article followed the exploits of a group of strippers working at the famed Scores in New York, who saw a downturn in clientele after the 2008 financial crisis. Under the tutelage of a senior stripper, the girls started reaching out to wealthy club-goers and partying with them, before convincing them to hit a strip club, where they would then get a cut of the money spent at the club.

The scheme escalated, with the women drugging the men’s drinks with ketamine and MDMA in an effort to part them from their money. At their height, the crew was scamming tens of thousands of dollars off of these men in a single night. Think Ocean’s 8 but with way more body glitter. Lopez will play the ringleader of the group.

The film is written and directed by Lorene Scafaria (The Meddler), who said of the project, “The film is an empathetic look at women and men, our gender roles, what we’re valued for, what we’ve been told is our value in every movie, TV show, every corner of culture … Men have been told they’re worth the size of their bank accounts. Women have been told they’re worth the symmetry of their faces, their bodies, their beauty and that’s what this film is based on. The rules of the club are the rules of the world.”

This looks it has the potential to be a lot of fun, and not exploitative considering it has a wome behind the camera and a talented and diverse cast of actresses. We’re tentatively excited to see where this all goes.

(via Deadline, image: Frazer Harrison/Ethan Miller/Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)

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Forget Myers-Briggs: What Your Joy Luck Club Cry Scene Says About You

the mothers and daughters of the joy luck club.

There are plenty of personality tests out there: Myers-Briggs, the Winslow personality profile, and a myriad of Buzzfeed community quizzes designed to tell you who you are based on your favorite Harry Potter book/ice cream flavor/sex position. But we’ve engineered the most niche, most accurate test based on one of the greatest women’s films of all time: The Joy Luck Club.

Wayne Wang’s seminal 1993 film, based on the bestselling novel by Amy Tan, follows the lives of four Chinese women who immigrated to America, and the trials and tribulations they face with their four Chinese-American daughters. The film was a critical hit and remains beloved by generations. It is especially poignant for mothers and daughters of all backgrounds, as its themes of parental pressure, high expectations, and generational divides transcend culture.

It was also one of the few studio films to feature an almost entirely Asian cast, a feat that wouldn’t be replicated until 25 years later with Crazy Rich Asians. The Joy Luck Club is an emotional drama, and you don’t find yourself crying at some point during the movie, you may need to see a doctor and have your tear ducts examined.

But everyone has their own particular crying scene; the one that hits them in the feels every time. And it got me thinking, what does a someone’s JLC cry scene say about them? So I’ve compiled the list below, along with my highly unscientific personality assessments. Take a look below:

Waverly Quits Chess

“This power I had, this belief in myself, I could actually feel it draining away. I could feel myself becoming ordinary. All the secrets I once saw, I couldn’t see them anymore. All I could see was, were my mistakes, my weaknesses. The best part of me just disappeared. But I can’t put it all on my mother. I did it to myself. I never played chess again.”

You’re a type-A high achiever who sets rigorous standards for yourself. Despite your many successes, like Waverly, you are hung up on your perceived failures. You internalize insults and mean Twitter comments while ignoring praise. While you may come from high pressure parents, you put most of the pressure on yourself. While you thrive in intense work situations, it’s important to take time for self-care. Turn off your phone, put on some soothing music, and treat yourself to a nice bath. The world will still be waiting for you to conquer it when you’re finished.

Ying-Ying and Lena, “Tiger in the Trees”

“All around this house I see the signs. My daughter looks but she does not see. This is a house that will break into pieces. It’s not too late. All my pains, my regrets, I will gather them together. My daughter will hear me calling, even though I’ve said no words. She will climb the stairs to find me. She will be scared because at first her eyes will see nothing. She will feel in her heart this place where she hides her fears. She will know I am waiting like a tiger in the trees, now ready to leap out and cut her spirit loose.”

You are a problem solver, someone who can see so clearly the problems of others, but you’re blind to your own problems. While everyone has struggles, they must figure it out for themselves. You’re a terrific and loyal friend, but be careful not to overstep boundaries. Instead of trying to fix their problems, try to listen and be supportive. Don’t spend your excess energy trying to fix everyone else around you. You mean well, but your actions may be seen as controlling or bossy. Try to channel your do-gooder energy into charity work or folks who actually need your help.

An-Mei and the Broken Pearls

“I tell you the story because I was raised the Chinese way. I was taught to desire nothing, to swallow other people’s misery, and to eat my own bitterness. And even though I taught my daughter the opposite, still she came out the same way.”

You are naturally reserved and not one to make a fuss. But you can only be pushed so far before you strike back. Your quietness masks a deep belief in justice and fairness, and nothing angers you more than people underestimating you or those you love. While you are calm on the surface, you’re a warrior underneath. When young An-Mei smashes the fake pearls her stepmother gives her, she is calling her out for the fraud she is. Don’t be afraid to stand up and make your voice heard.

Suyuan and June, “Worst Quality Crab, Best Quality Heart”

“That bad crab, only you tried to take it. Everybody else want best quality. You, your thinking different. Waverly took best-quality crab. You took worst, because you have best-quality heart. You have style no one can teach. Must be born this way.”

While you may not be the social butterfly of the group, you have a good heart filled with generosity. You compare yourself unfairly to others (they’re prettier/more successful/have better luck in love) but you are downplaying your strengths. Being kind, thoughtful and giving are wonderful qualities, which make the people in your life value and adore you. You are more than enough, just as you are. Just don’t be so hard on yourself, yeah?

June Meets Her Sisters

“I’m your sister, June. I’ve come to take our mother’s place. I’ve come to bring you her hopes.”

I don’t really have a personality analysis for this scene. It’s the final scene in the film and the emotional climax of the story. If you haven’t cried yet, this is where the floodgates open. Congratulations, if you cried at this scene you are indeed a human person with feelings.

What’s your favorite JLC cry scene? Share in the comments!

(image: Buena Vista Pictures)

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Captain Marvel/Valkyrie Is Fire, but Let’s Also Ask for More Canonical LGBTQ+ Characters

Lashana Lynch and Brie Larson star as Maria Rambeau and Carol Danvers in Captain Marvel.

Since the new Endgame trailer ended with Captain Marvel getting the seal of approval from Thor, there have been two camps: those who ship Thor/Carol, and those who ship Carol/Valkyrie, with Thor playing the role of matchmaker between them. There’s even fan art that’s so good that both Brie Larson and Tessa Thompson approve of it.

Confession time: I have yet to see Captain Marvel. I’m a bad feminist, but also, to be quite frank, it’s just not a character I’m interested in, and other than Maria/Monica/Gemma Chan, there isn’t really a lot I’m coming into it excited about. That doesn’t mean I don’t like it or that I won’t see it, just that I’m not rushing to see it, and since it’s doing well, it clearly doesn’t need my money.

Still, the question I was asking my fellow Sue-writers when it came out was “How gay is it?”

The response was that there was a lot of subtext that could be read as queer-coded, and that Carol wasn’t inherently portrayed as straight, therefore it could be that she is a lesbian or a queer woman, since her most important relationship is with a woman—which, for me, is not enough.

That’s not to say I’m not 100% here for the “her strap is huge” memes, or am inherently opposed to straight women being queer icons (shoutout to Piper Perabo, Halle Berry, and Rachel Weisz), but I do want, among all the fandom awesomeness, to also still hold Marvel’s feet to the fire about actually giving us a queer female lead who is queer in the film and not just in between the lines.

Marvel has had too many opportunities with Loki, Valkyrie, the Dora Milaje and others for them to get away with it with only subtext, or confirming their queerness outside of the film, and their promise that the Eternals movie will feature a gay male lead. I have no idea who the Eternals are, nor am I going to Google them to find out, but it doesn’t make sense to me that we need to wait for a new franchise with new characters when we have a cast of over a dozen characters already here and not all coupled up.

Just make it happen. Stop prolonging it, stop teasing. Just have Loki and Grandmaster kiss. Just have Valkyrie flirt with a lady and the lady flirt back. Big damn kisses when Bucky, Steve, and Sam are reunited.

There’s just too much gay possibility already here for them to tap into that, even though I’m happy that Carol and her fictional strap are getting attention, I’d love for the “God of Lesbians” to actually be a lesbian. I don’t put that on fans; I put that on the studios, because they love to promote and support things knowing that audience will enjoy it, but when it comes time to make it work onscreen, they cop out.

They have nothing to lose, so every movie they don’t do it, we should let it be known that it’s because of us, and not because of them, that we have a fandom that makes the MCU gay as hell. They don’t get credit for our meta.

(image: Marvel/Screengrab)

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Natalie Portman Gets Lost in Space in the Lucy in the Sky Teaser

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from movies about fictional astronauts, it’s that being in space will mess you up. Whether you’re fighting off aliens or having existential conversations with the ghost of George Clooney, some mind-melting stuff if going to go down once you enter orbit. That’s the impression I get from the first teaser trailer for Lucy in the Sky, starring Natalie Portman.

According to the official synopsis, Lucy in the Sky follows “An astronaut returns to Earth after a lengthy mission and begins an affair with a fellow astronaut. She heads into a downward spiral as she loses her connection to her family — a condition that can afflict those who spend a long time in space — and when her lover begins another affair with an astronaut trainee, the bottom drops out.”

The film, which also stars Jon Hamm, Dan Stevens, and Zazie Beetz, is directed by Noah Hawley, the creator behind Legion and the Fargo television series. Hawley seems to be bringing the same psychedelic energy to the film that he brought to Legion, one of the most original (if confusing) series of the past few years.

The film is loosely based on the bizarre story of real-life NASA astronaut Lisa Nowak, who was a mission flight engineer on the space shuttle Discovery in 2006. In 2007, she drove Houston to Orlando, sporting some NASA-issue diapers, to confront her ex-lover William Oefelein, who had started a relationship with fellow engineer Colleen Shipman. Nowak attacked Shipman in her car, spraying her with pepper spray and trying to force her way into the car before Shipman escaped.

Nowak was arrested for attempted kidnapping and murder, burglary with assault, and battery. After a lengthy court trial, she was sentenced to one year of probation and received an “other than honorable” discharge from the navy. The case quickly caught national attention and became a late night punchline.

Lucy in the Sky appears to be exploring the mental and emotional disconnect that occurs after Lucy’s space mission. Portman says in the trailer, “I go up there and see the whole universe and everything here looks so small.” Hamm follows up, “you got to see the vast celestial everything, and it blew your mind, so now nothing makes sense.”

While we’ve had plenty of movies about astronauts in space, we’ve seen little of their adjustment and return to normal life once they come back down to earth. It’s fascinating subject matter: do astronauts experience a sort of PTSD or alienation after their journeys? How does space travel affect one’s mind?

This is rich territory to explore, and Portman is a more than capable actor to handle it. She won an Oscar for her exploration of obsession and madness in Black Swan, and this film could easily be another award-winning performance from her.

What do you think of the Lucy in the Sky trailer? Are you excited for the film?

(via First Showing, image: screencap)

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Genderqueer, Deaf Actor & Activist Chella Man Cast as Jericho for DC Universe’s Titans

Jericho in DC Comics and the cast choice for him on Titans, Chella Man.
Despite its ups and downs, I think, when it comes to Titans, I fall into the “it wasn’t perfect, but I enjoyed it” camp, and I am certainly getting more and more intrigued with its casting choices. Most recently, its casting for Slade Wilson—a.k.a. Deathstroke the Terminator, a.k.a. Daddy—and his son, Joseph Wilson, a.k.a. Jerchio.

Playing Deathstroke is Esai Manuel Morales, Jr., the Brooklyn-born Puerto Rican actor whose credits include: NYPD BlueHow To Get Away With Murder, and Ozark. In the role of Jericho is Chella Man, a Jewish/Chinese-American actor who is deaf, genderqueer, and a queer artist/model. Both of these casting choices are amazing, not only because of the show making diverse choices, but it’s so rare that we see a person with disabilities play a character who has disabilities.

For those unfamiliar with the character of Jerchio, as he is probably less mainstream than his dear ol’ dad, he first appeared in Tales of the Teen Titans #43 (June 1984) as a creation of Marv Wolfman and George Pérez. He was the youngest son of Wilson, and his vocal cords were severed during a kidnapping. He communicates through sign language and has the power to possess people through eye contact.

In the DC Rebirth relaunch, he was modified to have a slightly “edgier” personality and was bisexual. I’d like to think the two aren’t connected, because being bisexual doesn’t seem edgy. It’s probably more an ode to the creators, who did originally want to make Jericho gay, but thought it would be too stereotypical for “the sensitive, artistic, and wide-eyed character with arguably effeminate features” to be gay.

This is character description for Jericho from the producers of Titans:

“Son of the infamous DC villain Deathstroke (played by Esai Morales), Joseph Wilson is the Titan known as Jericho. Mute after his father failed to rescue him from having his vocal cords severed by assassins, Jericho has the unique ability to possess anyone just by making eye contact. This gentle natured yet proud hero has proven himself a formidable Titan.”

I’m excited to see what Titans will do with Slade and Jericho. Both have been a part of epic storylines concerning the Titans, but at the same time, I’m worried of the show repeating the mistake of having too many pots on the burner at once. We already have Trigon, Superboy, Hawk and Dove stuff (I guess), and a bunch of other threads that a 10–13 episode series might get overwhelmed by.

Still, I have DC Universe, and I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next. If it does, as I suspect, end up leading to an adaptation of The Judas Contract, it’ll be interesting to see how they choose to tackle that messy narrative.

What do you guys thing of this casting? What are you looking forward to more of in season two of Titans?

(via Deadline, image: DC Comics/David Livingston/Getty Images)

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