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Dane Cook on the Moment Brad Pitt & Jennifer Aniston Logged On for ‘Fast Times’ Table Read

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We’ve all seen the photo by now: that first picture of Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston working together again at the virtual table read for the 1982 teen drama “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.” The special is set to stream Thursday after being rescheduled from last month.

Dane Cook, who shared the image on social media, organized the event to benefit REFORM Alliance and Sean Penn’s nonprofit CORE. “Extra’s” Jenn Lahmers caught up with Dane to find out more!

“The first moment we see everyone together on-screen—especially when Jen and Brad logged in and they were testing their equipment, getting their mics ready—seeing them see each other and realizing there is gonna be a lot of anticipation and curiosity because they are megastars,” Dane said.

“They are so charming. They are so beautiful and charming. Beyond talented,” he added. “Some people just have that thing. That moment they got on-screen, I immediately felt like I was back in junior high school, like I was a wallflower. They are the cool people and I’m over here.”

He continued, “We capture that moment. You get to see the script read but see all the stuff that happens that’s unrehearsed… It just feels good.”

Dane also revealed what it was like to be part of the production team, adding, “To put this together and play and participate… In a lowlight year, it’s a highlight moment.”

Click here for all the details!

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Is Netflix’s Rebecca based on Daphne du Maurier’s book?

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Is Netflix’s Rebecca based on Daphne du Maurier’s Gothic novel of the same name?

Netflix recently released the trailer for Rebecca, a Netflix original movie premiering Oct. 21, 2020. But is Netflix’s Rebecca based on the classic book by Daphne du Maurier?

Rebecca: The book

In 1938, Daphne du Maurier published Rebecca, a Gothic romantic suspense novel about a young woman who’s a paid companion for an upper-class American,  Mrs. Van Hopper. During a holiday in Monte Carlo, the pair crosses paths with wealthy widower George Fortescue Maximilian “Maxim” de Winter, who is much older than the young, naive and unnamed companion.

Speaking of, while the companion is the heroine of the story and kindles a romance with Maxim that results in her marrying him, we never know her name. Mrs. Van Hopper mostly refers to her as “dear.” Maxim never refers to her by name either during their courtship in Monte Carlo. At best, he might call her “darling” or “you little fool.”

Once they’re married, she does become known as Madame de Winter, or Mrs. de Winter, or even the second Mrs. de Winter, but we still never learn her first name.

It doesn’t really matter in one respect. Her name isn’t as important as the ghost that haunts her new home, Manderley, or the secrets that led to the first Mrs. de Winter’s death. Or, rather,  Rebecca as she’s most often referred to.

Rebecca is everything the new Mrs. de Winter is not, as Mrs. Danvers, the de Winter’s longtime housekeeper, likes to remind her. Rebecca was vivacious, confident, stylish and beloved.

Mrs. Danvers never misses a chance to compare the new Mrs. de Winters to her predecessor. It’s no wonder she can’t help but become obsessed with Rebecca also. Especially because even though Mrs. Danvers assures her Rebecca was the love of Maxim’s life, Maxim refuses to talk about her.

Why? How exactly did Rebecca die? Was Maxim involved? Is the new Mrs. de Winter’s life now in danger?

Hitchcock’s Rebecca

In 1940, Alfred Hitchcock adapted the novel into a movie of the same name starring Laurence Olivier as Maxim de Winter and Joan Fontaine as Mrs. de Winter.

Judith Anderson starred as Mrs. Danvers and George Sanders played Jack Favell, Rebecca’s cousin and lover. (Yes, he’s a bit slimy, but his love for Rebecca was sincere. Hers wasn’t, though. For anybody or anything. In truth, she wasn’t actually a very nice person, even though Mrs. Danvers idolized her.)

Netflix’s Rebecca

The Netflix adaptation of Rebecca will follow Hitchcock’s footsteps and base this rendition on the novel too.

It stars Armie Hammer as Maxim de Winter, Lily James as Mrs. de Winter and Kristin Scott Thomas as Mrs. Danvers.

It won’t be “modernized” either. Meaning, it will stay true to its original time period, the late 1930s.

Next: 50 best Netflix movies to watch right now

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Love Nature greenlights buzzy doc “A Bee’s Diary”

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Blue Ant Media’s Love Nature has commissioned a new feature documentary from German prodco Taglicht Media.

A Bee’s Diary, a 90-minute film which follows two honeybees from birth to death, is produced by Taglicht Media in association with CBC and WDR Germany. It will premiere on Love Nature’s global linear and streaming platforms this fall, followed by a U.S. premiere on the Smithsonian Channel and a UK premiere on Sky Nature.

The doc is written, directed and produced by Dennis Wells, with Niobe Thomson serving as producer. Executive producers are Love Nature’s James Manfull, Smithsonian Channel’s Tria Thalman and David Royle, and Taglicht’s Berndt Wilting.

Production on A Bee’s Diary, which took place in Germany over two years, recently wrapped. Wells used 4K technology to make the film as well as proprietary macro-imaging technology and CGI to create the doc, with images accompanied by first-person narration.

“Love Nature is always looking for ways we can bring captivating stories and compelling, strong wildlife characters to our audience, creating a meaningful and heartfelt connection between them and the natural world,” said Carlyn Staudt, global general manager, Love Nature. “With Taglicht Media’s innovative technology and filmmaking prowess, A Bee’s Diary unpacks the lived experience and life’s work of these tiny superheroes, a species that has fascinated humans for centuries.”

A 50-minute version of the documentary was released by CBC this summer through its long-running docuseries The Nature of Things.

Blue Ant International oversees global licensing for A Bee’s Diary, excluding Canada and Germany, and will premiere the film at MIPCOM next month. The doc received financial support from Filmstiftung NRW, DFFF, the Canada Media Fund and Alberta Film.

From Playback Daily’s Kelly Townsend

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Politics Is a Metaverse. The Trump-Biden Debate Was Metahell

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Earlier this week, which is to say Sunday night, the New York Times dropped a bombshell, an almost-October-surprise just a couple days too early: President Trump’s taxes. Long a white whale of political journalism, the documents obtained by the Times showed that, among other things, Trump paid just $750 in federal income tax in 2016, the same amount in 2017, and no federal taxes for 11 of the 18 years for which the paper had secured returns. In any other election year it would be the kind of thing that Trump’s opponent, Joe Biden, could leverage for weeks on the campaign trail. But this is 2020, and to paraphrase Drake, nothing is the same.

Not that Biden and the Democrats aren’t trying. In the lead-up to the first presidential debate tonight, the campaign released a video calling Trump’s taxes to attention, and set up an online calculator: “Do you pay more or less in federal income taxes than our ‘billionaire’ President?” Biden also released his own tax returns Tuesday afternoon. Republicans mostly kept quiet about the news. Trump tweeted about it. Pundits speculated about how the issue would play during the debate.

As it turned out, the president’s taxes were about the least confrontational aspect of the evening. The remaining 90-ish minutes were a barrage of interruptions during which very little sense was made. Each candidate got in their zingers—Biden telling Trump to “shut up” turned some heads—but for the most part, it felt like a Reddit thread turned into a play written by an AI trained entirely on misplaced snippets from Aaron Sorkin scripts. Points were made about Covid-19, about the economy, about climate change, but in the end they didn’t make much sense.

But here’s the thing: No one knows if Americans will still be talking about Trump’s tax returns in a week, or two weeks, or tomorrow. Same goes for health care, or jobs reports. In 2020, news moves fast, and the conversation around it—which, during the pandemic, is happening online more than ever—never stagnates. Moreover, thanks to filter bubbles, these conversations never seem to be happening in conversation with each other. One recent poll found just one percent of voters are undecided; polls should always be viewed with skepticism, but it still seems likely that Americans have found their place on the playground and plan to stay there, talking amongst themselves. In separate spheres what’s sounding in the echo chambers is often based on different assumptions, different interpretations of the facts. (And sometimes “alternative facts,” but that’s a story for another time.)

Americans are, in many ways, living in a political metaverse: a real world enhanced by 24-hour news tickers, reaction GIFs, Twitter threads, TikToks, and countless other points of commentary, most of it tangentially related to what actually happens in the corridors of Washington. Trump and Biden may have been the ones standing and breathing on that stage, but in the end they were avatars—rolling out tweet-ready lines just before getting cut off again, millions of indistinguishable voices yelling back at them from the digital abyss. Lots of folks took Fox News’ Chris Wallace to task for his moderation, or lack thereof, but really, has any social network ever managed to do better?

Earlier today, science-fiction writer (and friend of WIRED) Charlie Jane Anders released the latest chapter of her new book Never Say You Can’t Survive on Tor.com. The book is a how-to guide for storytellers and also contains bits about ways to flourish “in the present emergency.” The latest chapter relishes the necessity of weirdness. Sharing it on Twitter, Anders noted “the trick the people in power always like to do is to gaslight you and make you think their weird shit is ‘normal’ and ‘sensible.’ Which makes you feel even weirder for not seeing how much sense their garbage clearly makes. Weird stories can help protect us from that nonsense.” The point, she said, was that for years, writing weird stories was a way of standing up to oppressive structures. Now, they’re a form of comfort, a way of knowing that “you can still be yourself without being smashed like a bug.” Put another way, out-weirding the chaos may be the only way to stay sane.

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