Connect with us

Entertainment

‘Truth Be Told’ Adds Kate Hudson to Cast for Season 2

Published

on

Golden Globe-winning actor Kate Hudson is joining Apple TV+’s drama series Truth Be Told for Season 2, slated to begin production October 26. She plays Micah Keith, a lifestyle guru and longtime friend of true-crime podcaster Poppy Parnell, played by Octavia Spencer. As a new case that involves both women unfolds, their relationship will be put to the test.

Hudson is best known for roles in big-screen films such as Almost Famous, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Marshall, and Bride Wars. She also had a recurring guest role in Glee‘s fourth season.

Season 1 follows Poppy as she reopens a murder case that made her show a national sensation. She comes face-to-face with Warren Cave (Aaron Paul), a man she may mistakenly have helped put away behind bars, leaving her to grapple with the consequences of her pursuit for justice.

truth be told octavia spencer

(Credit: Apple TV+)

Based on Kathleen Barber’s novel, Are You Sleeping, the TV series is produced by Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine, Chernin Entertainment and Endeavor Content.

Stay tuned for more news about Season 2 as Truth Be Told goes back into production, and binge the first season now on Apple TV+.

Truth Be Told, Season 1, Streaming now, Apple TV+

Entertainment

Josh Hartnett: ‘People genuinely thought I’d been thrust on them’ | Film

Published

on

By

Josh Hartnett is sitting at home in Surrey, thinking about the time he was asked to play Superman. “I had this idea that because he lives in this world where he can’t touch anything without it flying across the room, he has become almost afraid of himself and his own power. He doesn’t know how to be Superman any more. He’s so afraid, he has become almost neutered by the experience of living on Earth, where he can blow things up just by looking at them.”

The studio demurred – “They didn’t really want a fear-based character at the centre of their movie,” he says wryly – and Hartnett walked away. But his Superman concept now feels like a metaphor for what was happening at the time in his own life, as he became increasingly overwhelmed, even horrified, by his status and the hysteria that surrounded it. Twenty years ago, the hottest young male actors in Hollywood were Leonardo DiCaprio, Will Smith, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck – and Hartnett. Michael Bay, who directed him in Pearl Harbor, put it bluntly: “He’s going to be fucking huge.” The actor grimaces at the mention of that. “Huge was never something I aspired to,” he says.

This is partly due to the dazzling Antoine Olivier Pilon, star of Xavier Dolan’s psychodrama Mommy. He plays a real-life petty drug dealer who was sentenced to life in a Thai jail after being set up by Canadian police. Hartnett is solid in the less showy, meat-and-potatoes role of the journalist Victor Malarek, who fought to expose the truth. In this capacity, he gets to perform the time-honoured All the President’s Men routine of storming into his editor’s office, tossing a newspaper on the desk and demanding to know where the hell his story is.

Hartnett does his homework. On The Virgin Suicides, it wasn’t enough to play what the director Sofia Coppola had written; he also raked over his character, a dreamy high-school stud, with Jeffrey Eugenides, who wrote the original novel. On Brian De Palma’s film noir The Black Dahlia, Hartnett trained as a boxer for several months, simply because his character, a cop, used to be one. Naturally he met with the real Malarek before playing him. Why? “I wanted to see if he was full of shit.”

Malarek, he explains, has been accused by his critics of putting himself at the forefront of his own stories. “Ultimately, Victor is a humble man, but he does think of himself as someone who stands up for people in vulnerable positions. He likes to insert himself into a situation, though in my opinion what he’s really doing is putting himself in the line of fire. In a way, he almost downplays his own contribution.” Malarek has said that he had no idea who Hartnett was. As someone who has spent the last 15 years or so running from fame, this must have pleased him. “I didn’t assume he’d know me,” he says. “My interest in going to meet him was not to have flowers laid at my feet.” So he didn’t take along a signed Pearl Harbor poster? “I should have done. That would have been a great introduction. ‘Hi, I used to be somebody …’”

Quite. At the end of the 90s, Hartnett was everywhere. He starred in back-to-back horror hits – the aliens-in-high-school romp The Faculty and the sequel-cum-reboot Halloween H20 – and resembled a walking shampoo commercial in The Virgin Suicides, where he sashayed in slow-motion to the sound of Magic Man by Heart.

“It’s a little bit heartbreaking to see all that time has passed,” he says. “I was a child. I was 19. The Virgin Suicides felt like a group of friends all pulling together. I think I’m still looking for that experience whenever I make a film.”

The Faculty and Halloween H20 were produced by Dimension, the horror arm of Miramax, making Hartnett part of the Weinstein brothers’ stable of talent. “I was a kid who they felt they should invest in, but I didn’t spend a ton of time with them,” he says. “We had a sort of antagonistic relationship because the contract I signed for those first two films guaranteed me to be a part of, like, five more or something. They’re called contract extensions. I was told at the time that nobody ever uses them, but then I guess I became popular and they decided to, um, exercise that right. What they did a few times was to jump on other projects I was working on already and become co-producers.” These included O a modern-day Othello with Hartnett impressively coiled as the Iago figure, and the comic thriller Lucky Number Slevin, in which he seemed to be poking fun at his own image by spending the first half-hour scampering around in nothing but a towel.

He shifts uneasily when I ask whether he was surprised by the revelations about Harvey Weinstein. “There are all sorts of rumours about guys like that which permeate the business and you think, ‘That’s awful.’ The casting couch was a thing people joked about when I was first in the industry, so it was an open secret that this business is a little bit fucked up.”

When he was offered Pearl Harbor, his instinct was to turn it down. “I didn’t necessarily want things to change that much,” he says. “I was happy with the amount of fame I had and the types of roles I was getting. At the same time, I asked myself: ‘Am I just afraid that by doing Pearl Harbor, I’m going to enter a new category of film-making that I might not be ready for?’ I ultimately chose to do it because turning it down would’ve been based on fear. Then it defined me, which means I was right to fear it.”

As well as his own misgivings about the project, there was the heightened press attention, including a splashy Vanity Fair interview with him from the set of Ridley Scott’s Black Hawk Down. “Oh, that was an awful piece,” he shudders. “Was there even a quote from me in it, or was it just everyone talking about how hot I was? People got a chip on their shoulder about me after that. They genuinely thought I’d been thrust on them. It was a very weird time.”

It was around then that he plotted his calculated retreat. After Superman, there were reports that he had also turned down Batman; in fact, he didn’t get any closer to that part than a conversation with Christopher Nolan. But the perception of him in Hollywood began to change. “They looked at me as someone who had bitten the hand that fed me. It wasn’t that. I wasn’t doing it to be recalcitrant or a rebel. People wanted to create a brand around me that was going to be accessible and well-liked, but I didn’t respond to the idea of playing the same character over and over, so I branched out. I tried to find smaller films I could be part of and, in the process, I burned my bridges at the studios because I wasn’t participating. Our goals weren’t the same.”

He has put his movies where his mouth is, working with idiosyncratic directors such as Tran Anh Hung on the thriller I Come With the Rain and Atsuko Hirayanagi on the comedy Oh, Lucy. Nor is he averse to the mainstream: he will next be seen alongside Jason Statham in Guy Ritchie’s Wrath of Man. But it’s a measure of how unusual it is for a star to withdraw so early in his career that by the time Hartnett made The Black Dahlia in 2006, GQ magazine was already referring to it as his comeback.

“I’m happy to be done with that era and to be making films that are more personal to me,” he says. “Directors are coming to me to play characters as opposed to versions of a hero I played in a movie once.”

He is nothing if not conscientious. A few days after our Zoom conversation, he phones me because something has been bothering him: he doesn’t feel he made his feelings about Weinstein clear. This time, he puts it as plainly as he can. “I wasn’t surprised he was a creep,” he says. “But I guess I was surprised at the extent of his creepiness.” He’s concerned, too, about what comes next. “The shameless seem to be finding it easy to make a comeback. Louis CK has been pretty shameless. Harvey Weinstein, if he had the tiniest bit of daylight in there, would find a way to get back in. Those are situations that freak me out.” But there are, he says, visible changes taking place. “Different things are expected of the way people act on set. There’s an open line of communication now for anyone who feels they’re being harassed. And there’s less of the so-called locker-room humour that people used to hide behind.”

Was he ever harassed as a young actor? “The last thing I want to do is come across like … You know, I’ve been in situations where I’ve been uncomfortable with my boss’s behaviour but I’m not gonna say …” He changes tack. “That’s not my experience and it’s not my place to claim that. It makes me feel icky to try to do so.”

He also tells me that he went back to that Vanity Fair article and realised it wasn’t so bad after all. “It’s just that it happened at a time when I wasn’t that famous, and it seemed to already be asking whether I should be or not. I felt like: ‘Oh my God! I’m not the tallest poppy yet – don’t cut me down!’ I was being compared to Tom Cruise and Julia Roberts and that’s insane. It was a set-up-to-fail moment.” He gives a sigh. “It was actually an interesting look at the nature of fame. If only it wasn’t about me.”

Read More

Continue Reading

Entertainment

Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Letter to You’ Effectively Combines Mortal Musings With Musical Comfort Food: Album Review

Published

on

By

If you predicted that, in the fall of 2020, Bon Jovi would release an album about the malaise of Trumpian politics and the demise of the American dream, while fellow Jersey son Bruce Springsteen would put out a record that barely alludes to social justice or the national mood … raise your hand and collect your prize. Springsteen’s not shy about expressing electoral feelings in interviews, and in his best 21st-century album, 2007’s “Magic,” he did respond rather forcefully, if metaphorically, to the Bush years. But on the new “Letter to You,” he’s just responding to … the years. Mortality, it may not surprise us to learn, is even bigger, scarier and more creatively motivating than Donald Trump.

The “service” he’s providing isn’t so much for dearly departed E Streeters Clarence Clemons and Danny Federici, although they are memorialized, and toasted, in Zimny’s documentary. As Springsteen explains in the film, he was motivated to write this batch of songs by the death two years ago of George Theiss, the last other surviving member of his 1960s New Jersey quintet, the Castiles. Even without filmic verification, fans could readily figure out that’s what this album’s “Last Man Standing” is about from the title, and there are three more songs about the thin veil between life and death where that came from: “Ghosts,” “I’ll See You in My Dreams” and “One Minute You’re Here.”

If devoting a third of a 12-song collection to eulogies sounds a bit much, fear not: the opening “One Minute You’re Here,” presented as a somber, synth-backed prelude about impermanence, is pretty much the only non-corker on the entire album. From that outlier on, no matter how quietly the other songs may open, you can count on Max Weinberg to suddenly interrupt the quiet with his cherry-bomb-style introductory snare battering. Springsteen is nothing if not committed to overloading these mortal-coil meditations with as many of this visceral Weinberg fills as possible, along with blaring triplicate guitars, as proof of life.

If you miss his sociopolitical perspective, it does show up, cloaked in symbolism, in one cynical track, “Rainmaker,” a metaphorical rage against the machine that’s a direct descendent of the title track of “Magic,” in which he again casts politicos as hucksters. The album is otherwise bereft of that kind of commentary, but it’s also devoid of the character songs that filled “Western Stars” last year. Those two albums are his high-water marks, post-“The Rising,” for a reason, and their more literary flourishes are sometimes missed as he keeps things surprisingly personal here. The slow-drawling voiceover of the documentary sometimes makes it seem as if he had a lot of alternate takes from the script of “Springsteen on Broadway” that he still wanted to get out of his system. He hasn’t gotten out of that mode yet, post-Broadway, and maybe he never will: Watching some of his friends and cohorts disappear seems to have given him a different kind of urgency that’s taken away his desire to disappear into character.

There are one or two moments in the album when he seems a little too eager to please with the sonic tropes of the E Street Band —— actually, those couple of moments may all be in the title tracks, which is one of the album’s lesser entries — but many more where the core elements of the band are firing on full cylinders. And amid all the death talk, Springsteen still has some sexy-talk left in him, with “The Power of Prayer” representing this album’s semi-erotic reverie and one of its more glorious moments. You can say he’s written more consistently great albums this century, but the crispness of the recording as well as the performances ensures that “Letter to You” is the best-sounding album he’s made since the 1980s.

“Age brings perspective,” Springsteen says in one of many voiceover monologues in the Zimny film — and his perspective right now seems to be: You can go home again … even if it’s just a warm-chill way station along the route to a greater beyond.

Bruce Springsteen“Letter to You”Columbia Records

Credits: Producers: Ron Aniello with Bruce Springsteen. Mixed by: Bob Clearmountain. Musicians: Bruce Springsteen, Roy Bittan, Nils Lofgren, Patti Scialfa, Garry Tallent, Stevie Van Zandt, Max Weinberg, Charlie Giordano, Jake Clemons

Read More

Continue Reading

Entertainment

Five Exchanges That Defined the Final Debate of 2020

Published

on

By

The first debate was pandemonium. The second was canceled after the president was hospitalized with Covid-19. The third and, mercifully, last debate was a relatively sedate affair. It took place a week and half before what we call Election Day, but already 50 million Americans have locked in their votes across the country. Moderator Kristen Welker of NBC News kept unflinching command of the contest at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, even as Trump insisted to the black moderator that he was the “least racist person in the room.”

Trump, the incumbent, repeatedly tried to play the insurgent, frequently attacking Biden as a “politician,” as though Trump himself had not been constantly campaigning for office since 2015. Biden repeatedly called out Trump on both substance (the stain of separating children from their parents at the border) and character (mocking him for repeatedly comparing himself to Abraham Lincoln while pursuing a brazenly bigoted agenda as president).

The contest did not feature any knock-out punches, and only a few blows below the belt. It’s unlikely it will be remembered as a game changer in the 2020 election. But it succeeded in showcasing the contrast between the candidates. Trump was Trump, a bundle of his grievance and conspiracy, shameless skating through the debate on lies. Biden was Biden, dutiful, decent, at times ineloquent, but quick to call out “malarkey.”

Here are five of the most memorable moments from the final debate of the 2020 election:

“I take full responsibility. It’s not my fault.”

Journalists have written millions of words trying to pin down the psychology informing Trump’s approach to the presidency. Trump did it himself in one sentence Thursday night while attempting to defend his record on Covid-19. “I take full responsibility, it’s not my fault.”

When Biden called out Trump for his explicit refusal to take responsibility for his administration’s response to the pandemic, Trump reflexively countered Biden before immediately reverting to his default state of blaming everyone but himself for the devastation the pandemic has wrought on America.

Trump in one breath: ‘I take full responsibility, it’s not my fault’

— NowThis (@nowthisnews)

That devastation will continue absent any sort of coherent plan to stop it, but when asked for specifics about what he intends to do, Trump could only recycle the same tired points about how he barred people from entering the United States from China, how the virus will “soon be gone,” and how a vaccine that experts say may not be widely available until 2021 is “ready” and would be announced “within weeks.” When Welker followed up, Trump admitted that a few weeks might not be accurate. No shit.

To quell any lingering concerns, Trump reminded Americans that he understands vaccine development better than the scientists. “My timeline is more accurate,” the president said.

Biden, by contrast, stressed the need to wear masks, promised he would invest in rapid testing, and said he would work to set nationwide standards for how businesses can open safely. “We ought to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time,” Biden said when Trump accused him of wanting to “close down the country if one person in our massive bureaucracy” tells him to.

Biden also promised to be transparent with the American people, citing the moment Trump admitted on tape that he deliberately downplayed the severity of the virus in order to prevent people from panicking. “Americans don’t panic,” Biden said. “He panicked.”

“It’s not about his family and my family, it’s about your family.”

Biden swiped back at Trump, hitting him over the revelations that he has a previously undisclosed bank account in China, and his ongoing refusal to publicly release his tax returns. “What are you hiding?” Biden said. “Release your tax returns or stop talking about corruption.”

Trump trotted out the old excuse that he is under audit, and added a new set of claims he “prepaid” “tens of millions of dollars” of tax returns. Oh, and that $750 dollars that his leaked tax returns show he paid in 2017 and 2018? That was just a “filing fee.”

Biden, though, seemed to cut through the noise when addressed the camera directly. “There’s a reason why he’s bringing up all this malarkey. There’s a reason for it: He doesn’t want to talk about the substantive issues. It’s not about his family and my family, it’s about your family,” Biden said. “If you’re a middle class family you’re getting hurt badly right now… We should be talking about your families, but he doesn’t want to talk about that.”

“Typical politician!” the president spat back, as if it were a bad thing to care about constituents’ concerns. “I’m not a typical politician,” Trump said. (Fact check: true.)

“I see the United States”

Trump’s outburst against states that do not support him electorally gave Biden an opening, and he seized the moment to tar Trump for governing as a hyperpartisan. “I’m a proud Democrat,” Biden said, “but I’m running to be an American president. I don’t see red states and blue states,” he continued, “I see America. I see the United States.”

“I’m going to be an American president. I don’t see red states and blue states. What I see is America, the United States.”

This is what a President sounds like.

— American Bridge 21st Century (@American_Bridge)

Biden returned to this theme of national unity in his closing remarks, pledging again to be “an American president. I represent all of you, whether you vote for me or against me.” Pledging to restore hope after four years of Trump, Biden insisted: “What is on the ballot here is the character of this country,” vowing he would lead America in a spirit of “decency, honesty, respect… and making sure everyone gets an even chance.”

“They terminated it, so we don’t have to worry about it anymore, Joe!”

One of the strongest contrasts of the evening came when Welker asked about the Trump  administration’s policy of separating undocumented children from their parents at the Southern border. The administration was forced to retract the policy under heavy criticism, but according to a recent report, more than two years later, 545 of the more than 2,000 children have still not been reunited with their families. That includes about 60 children who were under the age of five when they were forcibly removed from their parents. Welker wanted to know how the president would reunite those families. Trump didn’t answer that question, choosing instead to speak about the “coyotes” and “cartels” and “gangs” that use children to cross into America.

Biden called out that evasion. “These five hundred plus kids came with parents. They separated them at the border to make it a disincentive to come here … Coyotes didn’t bring them over, their parents were with them. They got separated from their parents … And it violates every notion of who we are as a nation.”

Two-thirds of the parents who are still missing their children are believed to have been deported, while their children remain in U.S. custody; a committee in charge of reunification has said the parents of  as many as 470 children may be “unreachable.” “Let’s talk about what we’re talking about,” Biden emphasized Thursday. “Parents, their kids were ripped from their arms and separated. And now they cannot find over five hundred sets of those parents and those kids are alone. Nowhere to go. Nowhere to go. It’s criminal.“

“They terminated it, so we don’t have to worry about it anymore, Joe!” Trump said.

“ — And you have [545] kids not knowing where they are going to be and lost their parents,” Biden replied.

“I’m the least racist person in this room, OK”

The Exonerated Five were not a topic of conversation during the 2016 campaign. Hillary Clinton’s campaign never brought up in a meaningful way Donald Trump’s very public and unmistakably racist condemnation of the five innocent teenagers in the 1989 Central Park jogger case. This was curious because Trump, as recently as 2019, refused to apologize for placing an ad that demanded the restoration of the death penalty just weeks after the incident and didn’t accept that they were proven to be innocent of the crime. “You have people on both sides of that,” he said when asked about the case at the White House. “They admitted their guilt.”

The 1989 death penalty ad was Trump clearing his throat for Charlottesville. That we knew who this president was with regards to his attitudes towards black people does not soften the blow when he speaks of us, repeatedly in the most patronizing terms. And with Joe Biden, the regretful author of the infamous 1994 crime bill, he believes that he has a soft target.

But as Trump berated the former Vice President Thursday night over his record of incarcerating black men, what he conveniently ignored is that his own persecution of those five New York City schoolchildren helped fan the national flames for that crime bill just five short years later. If Trump wants to pin a medal on himself for commuting just 20 sentences — Barack Obama commuted nearly 1,400, more than any other president — we can’t stop him.

However, it was appropriate that Biden took the president’s patronizing praise for himself and turned it on its head, pointing to him and saying “Abraham Lincoln over here.” It was even more telling that Trump took such offense and clearly didn’t understand that he was being mocked. He doesn’t have enough good sense to recognize that freeing Alice Johnson, Matthew Charles, and a few other black people from prison via the FIRST STEP Act, that flawed and middling piece of civil-rights legislation, doesn’t suddenly transform it into the second coming of the Emancipation Proclamation. But we should.

(And as much as Trump would like to have made the case that he was the true white savior on the stage, the pied piper of white supremacy looked all the more ridiculous when he tried to claim that “I’m the least racist person in this room, OK?” in front of Welker, the first black woman to moderate a presidential debate solo since Carole Simpson in 1992.)

Biden, thankfully, didn’t repeat Clinton’s mistake. In the midst of listing Trump’s own lust for the carceral state, Biden said that “this is a guy, with the Central Park Five, five innocent black kids” — one, Raymond Santana, is Latino — “he continued to push for making sure they got the death penalty. None of them, none of them, were guilty of the crimes that were suggested.” Trump didn’t respond. He had nothing to say.

Read More

Continue Reading

Hot Stories