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The Hollywood Reporter - May 16, 2018

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M OO N V E S ’ N U C LE A R O PTI O N
H O LLY WOO D’S 100 - DAY WAR
TH R ’S CAN N E S D IARY 2018
CBS’ last-ditch plan to fend off Viacom
The writers strike, 10 years later
Deals, reviews and glitz at a muted fest
May 16, 2018
THE ACTRESS AND THE
S E X C U LT
Smallville’s Allison Mack stands accused of human trafficking and
branding women. How the dark world of Nxivm engulfed a budding star
2
F OR YOU R E M MY ® CO N S I D E R AT I O N
OUTSTANDING INFORMATIONAL
SERIES OR SPECIAL
AND ALL OTHER CATEGORIES
we believe in women who keep the faith.
FOR YOUR EMMY
C ONSIDE R AT ION
®
TONI BRAXTON
OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS
IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE
FAITH UNDER FIRE
THE ANTOINETTE TUFF STORY
Issue No. 17, May 16, 2018
FEATURES
38 Her Darkest Role
How Smallville actress
Allison Mack morphed
into an alleged sex slaver:
a THR exploration of
the pernicious effect of
cults in Hollywood.
46 Cannes Diary 2018
THR’s cameras roamed the
Croisette to capture the
fest’s most glamorous stars,
from jury president Cate
Blanchett to Penelope Cruz
and Carey Mulligan.
52 100 Days That
Changed Hollywood
Ten years after writers
went on strike over digital
pay, key players reflect on
the tension and “traitors,”
strategies and solidarity, picket-line romances
and the ultimate deal that
impacts the town today.
58 ‘My Worst Day Is
My Day Of’
With her fierce return to
Broadway at 82, Oscar
winner Glenda Jackson is
a virtual lock for her first
Tony, and Hollywood can’t
lure her from the stage.
Photographed by Fabrizio Maltese
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
2
M AY 16, 2018
46
Clockwise from top left: Marion Cotillard (Angel Face) was
photographed May 13 at Five Seas Hotel in Cannes;
John Travolta (Gotti) was photographed May 14 in the
Grace Kelly suites at the Carlton Hotel in Cannes; Wanuri
Kahiu (director, Rafiki) was photographed May 11 at the
Palais des Festivals in Cannes; and Ben Foster (Leave No
Trace) was photographed May 14 at Plage 45 in Cannes.
CONGRATULATIONS
TO OUR 77TH ANNUAL
PEABODY AWARD WINNERS
LAST WEE TONIGHT
WITH JOHN OLIVER
®
INSECURE
®
VICE NEWS TONIGHT
CHARLOTTESVILLE: RACE & TERROR
INSECURE
HBO Entertainment in association with Issa Rae Productions,
A Penny For Your Thoughts Entertainment and 3 Arts Entertainment
®
LAST WEEK TONIGHT WITH JOHN OLIVER
HBO Entertainment in association with
Sixteen String Jack Productions and Avalon Television
®
VICE NEWS TONIGHT - CHARLOTTESVILLE: RACE & TERROR
HBO Entertainment in association with VICE
WARDS BOARD OF JURORS
FOR OUR 3 WINS AND FOR YOUR RECOGNITION
©2018 Home Box Office, Inc. All rights reserved. HBO® and related channels and service marks are the property of Home Box Office, Inc.
Matthew Belloni
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Under the leadership of Dean David Bridel,
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We’ll give you the role of a lifetime:
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FILMMAKING
MUSIC
The Re ort
Sports
UFC Deal
Why Ari Emanuel hasn’t
found linear TV takers. p. 8
↑ Television
Behind the Headlines
Upfronts Spin
Five narratives the networks
are selling now. p. 10
Heat Index
ON THE COVER, TODD WILLIAMSON/GETTY IMAGES FOR AMAZON STUDIOS. THIS PAGE, STRANGELOVE: COLUMBIA PICTURES/PHOTOFEST. MOONVES: AXELLE/BAUER-GRIFFIN/FILMMAGIC. REDSTONE: TODD WILLIAMSON/GETTY IMAGES. SAMBERG: FREDERICK
M. BROWN/GETTY IMAGES. COOK: JUSTIN SULLIVAN/GETTY IMAGES. STEPHENSON: MICHAEL COHEN/GETTY IMAGES FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES. SKIPPER: DREW ANGERER/GETTY IMAGES. VANDENBERG: ALBERTO E. RODRIGUEZ/GETTY IMAGES.
Tim Cook
The Apple CEO reveals Apple
Music has hit 50 million users,
still behind Spotify’s
75 million but up 10 million in
2018: “We are very interested
in the content business.”
Randall Stephenson
The AT&T CEO admits a
“serious misjudgment” when
the company paid $600,000
to Donald Trump’s personal
lawyer Michael Cohen, whose
ofice was raided by the FBI.
John Skipper
Six months after leaving
ESPN amid a cocaine extortion
plot, the former president
lands a job overseeing a Len
Blavatnik-owned sports
streaming service and the
Sporting News website.
Les’ ‘Nuclear Option’:
A Boardroom Brawl
Spills Into Court
The fate of CBS-Viacom is in uncharted territory as Moonves
places a last-ditch bet on a Redstone legal showdown, or is he
hoping to get fired and collect a $280 million golden parachute?
BY KIM MASTERS AND ERIQ GARDNER
Veronika Kwan Vandenberg
The longtime Warner Bros.
distribution exec is leaving as
the studio looks to remake
itself under the leadership of
Toby Emmerich.
Showbiz Stocks
$56.93 (+7%)
AMC NETS. (AMCX)
The TV networks company
beats expectations amid
momentum for Killing Eve on
BBC America, Brockmire on
IFC and The Terror on AMC.
$0.68 (-68%)
HELIOS AND
MATHESON (HMNY)
The parent of MoviePass says
it is spending $21.7 million
monthly on the ticket service
while it has $16 million banked
and is owed $28 million.
I
s Shari Redstone the protagonist in a drama that could
be titled “Daddy Dearest,” in
which her domineering father
years ago quietly devised a
method to block her from eventually taking control of his media
empire? Or is CBS Corp., which
stunned Redstone by suing
May 14 to prevent her from forcing a merger with Viacom,
just playing the long odds with an
audacious legal argument? Has
CBS chairman Leslie Moonves calculated that even if his side loses,
he’ll be paid handsomely to leave
while sparing himself a possibly
futile struggle to make a success of the combined companies?
Those are among the looming
questions now that Moonves,
68, has launched open and potentially very personal warfare with
Redstone, 64. CBS is arguing that
a largely unknown (until now)
provision in its charter allows the
company to dilute the Redstones’
long-standing control by issuing
new voting shares to stockholders. The implication is that
in 2005, when mogul Sumner
Redstone split his media empire
into two stand-alone companies
— CBS and Viacom — he slipped
in a provision giving the respective
boards a way to block his daughter should she eventually try to
impose her will.
The Redstones’ National
Amusements holding company
May 7-14
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
7
M AY 16, 2018
says it “strongly disagrees” with
the CBS interpretation of the provision in question and that there
never was any intention of forcing
a merger.
Clearly Shari recoils at any
suggestion that her now-ailing
father meant to stymie her.
While certainly Sumner did not
always express a fond parent’s
faith in his daughter’s ability to
succeed him, she takes the position that Sumner supported her
in 2005 when the companies
were split and supports her today.
(Whether Sumner, now a frail 94
and unable to speak, is capable
of expressing an opinion on this
issue could become a very sensitive part of the dispute.)
When Shari seized control of
Viacom in 2016, then-chairman
Philippe Dauman did not attempt
to invoke the so-called “nuclear
option,” choosing instead to take
a very large check (about $72 million) to go away. But to many
observers, Dauman had long
appeared to be phoning it in and
stashing the cash while Viacom
drifted deeper and deeper into difficulty as its cable channels (MTV,
Nickelodeon) and Paramount
studio faltered and the media
landscape changed.
At the same time, Moonves —
also richly remunerated (he made
$69.3 million in 2017) — has long
been the undisputed master
of his domain and has delivered
good results even in turbulent
times for CBS and the broadcast
industry. He commands the
loyalty of his board and the support of many, though not all, Wall
Street analysts.
Under pressure to deliver scale
in an advertising market increasingly dominated by Google and
Facebook, Shari has decided the
best path for her family empire
is to merge CBS and Viacom into
one $32 billion company. But
Moonves’ insistence on maintaining control does not come as
a surprise to anyone who knows
him. And Shari was willing to
The Report
CBS claims Shari Redstone (with father Sumner in 2012) “acted to undermine
the management team, including … talking to potential CEO replacements.”
leave him in charge of a combined
company — for now — though
initially she insisted on some
meaningful role for Bob Bakish,
her handpicked Viacom CEO.
Some observers thought she had
in effect blinked when she then
agreed that Moonves didn’t have
to give Bakish, 54, a top job as
long as he got a board seat. But
CBS apparently saw that as allowing the camel to poke its nose into
the tent, as lawyers like to say.
Now CBS has rejected the whole
idea of a merger, opting instead
to go to war. In legal papers filed in
Delaware, the company questions
Shari’s earlier tactics in taking
control of National Amusements
and Viacom and explicitly
argues that she “presents a significant threat of irreparable
and irreversible harm” to CBS. It
also claims Shari stymied a
potential acquisition of CBS —
sources say the suitor was Verizon
— that would have benefited
CBS shareholders. In response,
National Amusements says it
“is outraged by the action taken
by CBS and strongly refutes its
meaning the family’s
super-majority voting
control, has long been
viewed by Wall Street
as “a potential cloud
and depressant on
the market value of
CBS stock.” In other
words, CBS shareholders suffer under
Redstone rule, so the solution
should be independence. Pointing
to registration and proxy statements through the years, CBS
claims the company has been held
out to regulators and anyone buying common stock as an entity
that would be governed by an independent board. The first test of
this bold theory comes at a hearing May 16 in Delaware Chancery
Court. But that’s only the beginning. It won’t settle the big issues
such as Moonves’ continued role at
CBS and Shari’s potential fiduciary-duty counterclaims against
the CBS board.
And, of course, a deal could still
be in the cards. As top Delaware
corporate lawyer Francis Pileggi
notes, “A lot of the time, litigation
is used as a negotiating tactic.”
Especially when it comes to the
Redstone empire.
characterization of recent events.
NAI had absolutely no intention of replacing the CBS board
or forcing a deal that was not
supported by both companies.”
The move to dilute the
Redstones’ 80 percent voting
power certainly is unusual,
according to legal experts. “I don’t
know if it’s going to work,”
says University of Pennsylvania
law professor Jill Fish. “Maybe
nobody’s ever thought of it.”
Columbia Law School professor
John Cofee agrees CBS’ move
is “radical” and references two
other corporations with dualclass share structures designed to
ensure voting power. “Remember,
if this can happen at CBS, it could
happen at Facebook or Google
years from now.”
In the suit, CBS argues that the
so-called “Redstone discount,”
Or Moonves may have another
goal in mind. One longtime
industry insider — the veteran
of his own Redstone wars —
says the odds of CBS prevailing
in court seem to be so long that
“it smells to me like Les wants
to get canned, collect his pay
and go home.” That go-away fee
could be much larger than
Dauman’s, between $180 million
and $280 million, according to
an analysis of recent SEC filings.
And the clock is ticking. Unless
a deal is reached, the nuclear
war could take an additional toll
on two companies struggling
to keep pace with digital goliaths.
Viacom disclosed about 100
additional cost-cutting layoffs
on May 15.
Analyst Steven Cahill warns
that if Redstone goes to the mat to
keep control and push through a
merger, that could lead to “names
being dragged through the mud
and uncertainty over leadership
and corporate structure for some
months or even years as legal
cases play out, likely with a fair
amount of name-calling along the
way.” The only sure thing: The
lawyers will prosper and Moonves
will, too.
Ari’s Uphill Fight for UFC Deals
While Disney’s $750 million digital pact for ESPN+ is a start, Emanuel
has yet to spur a bidding war among TV networks for the league
BY MARISA GUTHRIE
hen UFC and Disney revealed on May 8
W
that they had reached a five-year, $750 million deal to make the ESPN+ platform the mixed
$175 million annually. And Emanuel has apparently
been unable to spur a bidding war for linear TV
rights. One industry insider puts it bluntly: There is
martial arts league’s digital rights holder, many
“zero linear interest. Zero.”
industry watchers called it a win-win. UFC — and
Mark Shapiro, IMG co-president, disputes
its parent Endeavor, run by Ari Emanuel, which
this, and NBC reportedly has kicked the tires on
also includes WME-IMG — scored a rich
a linear deal. “We’re in conversations now
rights agreement. And ESPN+ got a needed
with several providers. But we’re not in a
stream of content for its $5-a-month OTT
rush to strike anything,” Shapiro tells THR,
ofering. At a May 15 upfronts presentation,
adding, with regard to the ESPN+ pact,
ESPN chief Jimmy Pitaro stated his
“It was important for us to be compensated
Emanuel
aim for ESPN+ “to be the destination for
in the upper echelon of sports properties.”
combat sports.”
Shapiro has called UFC the new “anchor tenant”
The deal is notable, say industry insiders, given
for ESPN’s digital service. But the OTT landthat UFC has been on the market for several
scape is largely unproven. BTIG analyst Richard
months. Fox Sports, which is nearing the end of its
Greenfield estimates that ESPN+, which launched
$115 million annual deal to carry UFC (the top bouts in April, has about 100,000 subscribers, “far
still remain on pay-per-view), has balked at a hefty
below ESPN’s expectations.” ESPN will promote
increase, allowing its negotiating window to expire UFC on its linear networks; but name-brand
in the fall. Sources say Fox Sports’ ofer is around
fighter ranks have thinned, with Conor McGregor
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
8
M AY 16, 2018
UFC fighter McGregor is one of the league’s top stars.
sidelined by assault charges and Ronda Rousey
defecting to WWE. Ratings for UFC on Fox’s
FS1 were down double digits last year. Still, the
Disney deal will get Emanuel close to a $300 million annual rights target needed to amortize
the $4 billion Endeavor paid for UFC in 2016. “He
definitely pulled a rabbit out of his hat,” says
an insider. “That’s Ari at his best; so relentless he
gets something done.”
REDSTONE: KATY WINN/INVISION FOR LA FRIENDLY HOUSE/AP IMAGES. EMANUEL: ILYA S. SAVENOK/GETTY IMAGES FOR FAST COMPANY. MCGREGOR: STEVE MARCUS/GETTY IMAGES.
Behind the Headlines
Ray Kappe, FAIA
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Reboots, Comedies
and Lethal Intrigue at
TV’s $9B Cash Grab
Upfront pitches center on the next Roseanne even as nets
scale back ambitious, edgier fare: ‘We can’t try to be cable anymore’
W
ith as much as $9 billion in advertising
revenue on the line,
the broadcast networks trotted
out their new series, their biggest
stars and a whole lot of spin during the annual dog and pony show
known as the broadcast upfronts.
Five key narratives dominated
conversations as Hollywood began
crisscrossing Manhattan the week
of May 13.
1. THE ROSEANNE EFFECT As one studio chief says, “We can’t try to be
cable anymore.” Indeed, in a 500show universe, audiences have too
many other places to find edgier,
serialized fare. It’s among the reasons the broadcast networks have
returned to ultradigestible, economical multicamera comedies
(Fox ordered three) and closedended dramas. Another reason:
the breakout success of ABC’s
Roseanne, which with 21 millionplus weekly viewers even has
ABC’s rivals doling out praise.
2. RETOOLING FOX’S COMEDY BRAND
Plenty of time is being spent trying to read the tea leaves at Fox,
which remains several months
away from its still-murky postmerger reality. (A throwaway line
from P. Diddy about sharing the
stage with Fox TV Group chairman Dana Walden again at next
year’s upfront prompted whispers since her own future is
similarly unclear.) In the meantime, Walden’s network made
some eyebrow-raising programming decisions, wiping clean
its edgier, single-camera comedies (Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The
Last Man on Earth and The Mick)
and picking up only two of six halfhour pilots to make room for the
rebooted Last Man Standing and a
CBS-style multicam companion,
The Cool Kids. The moves didn’t sit
well with the network’s comedy
team, with sources suggesting the
group was fuming heading into
the net’s May 14 presentation. At
least one took to social media to
lament internal “challenges.”
WINNER
3. SHAKE-UPS APLENTY Much was
made about Brooklyn’s move to
NBC (with one insider suggesting
Walden made a case to Fox higherups to keep the pricey comedy)
and Last Man Standing’s switch
from ABC to Fox. What got considerably less airtime: Lethal Weapon,
which replaced fired star Clayne
Crawford with Seann William Scott
days ahead of the Fox presentation. (It was enough time to have
Scott, who was offered and passed
on the role two years ago, gladhanding at the postparty.) Walden
said the decision was not Fox’s
but rather a reality presented
by Warner Bros., which was sitting on a thick complaint file on
Crawford. Still-furious co-star
UPFRONTS BY THE NUMBERS
37
Total scripted
series orders at the
Big 5, down from
54 five years ago
24
Total number of
drama series
orders, down slightly
from 26 in 2017
18*
Shows from 2017-18’s
freshman class that
are getting second
seasons (*so far)
Damon Wayans posted a picture of a poster calling Crawford
an “emotional terrorist,” while
Lethal showrunner Matthew Miller
was over in Paris reconceiving
the drama. In that eleventh-hour
scramble, producers are said to
have approached Karl Urban and
Johnny Knoxville; both passed.
4. WHAT’S OLD IS NEW (AGAIN) “At
this point, there are two kinds of
development execs: ones who
develop new ideas and ones who
rummage through the storage
closet trying to see if we still have
the ALF puppet,” Seth Meyers
quipped at NBC’s May 14 upfront.
The joke landed in part because,
well, every other former hit is
being resuscitated (see Murphy
Brown, Magnum P.I. and Charmed).
Of course, not every reboot
scored a pickup, with NBC passing
on its Bad Boys spinoff starring
Gabrielle Union and Jessica Alba
(it was “good, not great,” says one
source), ABC saying no to Greatest
Laura Ingraham’s Advertisers Haven’t Fully Returned
Despite strong ratings, the Fox News host is suffering from a boycott spurred by a Parkland student BY JEREMY BARR
n March 28, after Laura Ingraham tweeted
O
mockingly that David Hogg, an 18-yearold survivor of the Parkland, Florida, high school
shooting, had been rejected by colleges, dozens
of corporate advertisers — including Hulu, Honda
and Expedia — abandoned her Fox News show,
which airs nightly at 7 p.m. PT. Despite Ingraham’s
March 29 tweeted apology to Hogg, which he
spurned, many advertisers have not yet come back
to the program.
During the first week of May, The Ingraham Angle
averaged 12 ads per night, down from the 35 aired
in the three days preceding the boycott, according to data provided by Kantar Media to THR. And
the show averaged just more than seven minutes of
nightly advertising for the same week, down about
50 percent, the analytics firm found. (A source
close to the show put the number higher, between
nine and 10 minutes on an average night.) Ingraham
Angle, however, has maintained its strength in the
ratings, drawing an average 2.7 million total viewers
for the week of May 7, and also rebounded somewhat in the same week, averaging 21 ads per night.
Fox News says it isn’t worried about the drop in
sponsors, with a spokesperson noting, “Advertisers
are returning, and we expect things to return to
normal.” Ingraham’s show has skewed toward
direct marketers, with pillow retailer MyPillow
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
10
M AY 16, 2018
remaining the top advertiser (the company is led
by a strong Trump supporter).
Yet Angelo Carusone, president of the left-leaning Media Matters for America, says of shows that
have been added to its clients’ “Do Not Run” lists,
“No one’s going to put themselves on the
line to advocate for going back on the program.”
At the very least, it will be an uphill battle
for Fox News, notes Kantar chief research oficer
Jon Swallen: “The advertisers who declared a
boycott have held firm in their avoidance of the
program.”
→ Ingraham has called the boycott of her Fox show an attempt
by “the bullies on the left aiming to silence conservatives.”
LAST: ABC/PHOTOFEST. BROOKLYN: JOHN P FLEENOR/FOX. LETHAL: RAY MICKSHAW/FOX. HASTINGS: DOMINIQUE CHARRIAU/GETTY IMAGES. FITHIAN: ALBERTO E.
RODRIGUEZ/GETTY IMAGES FOR CINEMACON. INGRAHAM: ALEX WONG/GETTY IMAGES. ROSEANNE: ABC/ADAM ROSE. HAVES: COURTESY OF OWN. EXPANSE: RAFY/SYFY.
AVENGERS: CHUCK ZLOTNICK/MARVEL STUDIOS. PARTY: HOPPER STONE SMPSP/WANRER BROS. ENTERTAINMENT. WRINKLE: ATSUSHI NISHIJIMA/DISNEY.
WINNER
BY LESLEY GOLDBERG AND LACEY ROSE
The Report
Behind the Headlines
LOSER!
Box Office
Broadcast TV
Cable TV
Domestic
International
Gross Cume % Chg Gross Cume
18-49
Live+3
Viewership
Live+3
Total
Avengers: Infinity War DISNEY
62.1 548.1(3) -46 281.3*55 1.06B 1.6B
1.
The Marvel mash-up has become the No. 1
superhero film of all time at the worldwide
box ofice after passing 2012’s The Avengers
($1.518 billion, not adjusted for inflation).
1.
Audience
Live+3
Roseanne ABC
14.6M
4.0
Roseanne is assured its victory as the
biggest hit of the season, with a
5.7 rating in the key demo and 20.1M
viewers in live-plus-7 through the first
six episodes — No. 1 on all counts.
↑ From left: Last Man Standing,
Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Lethal Weapon
5. GROWING PAINS AT SONY TV In its
first upfront with new chiefs Jef
Frost, Jason Clodfelter and Chris
Parnell, Sony TV went 0-for-5.
Among the season’s most surprising pilot passes: Union and Alba’s
L.A.’s Finest, which sources say
the studio tried to package with
Norman Lear ’s passion project,
Guess Who Died?, and a potential
third season for last year’s miracle
pickup, Timeless. (At press time,
both pilots were passed over; Sony
plans to shop both. Timeless is on
the bubble at NBC.) The trio’s lone
new series joining the schedule?
The Goldbergs spinoff Schooled,
developed a season earlier by the
execs’ predecessors, Zack Van
Amburg and Jamie Erlicht.
Fear the Walking Dead AMC
3.6M
2.
The Good Witch HALL
2.7M
3.
Westworld HBO
2.4M
4.
The Haves and Have Nots OWN
2.0M
With one year left at OWN before
Tyler Perry makes his big Viacom move,
his flagship drama stumbles in its
midseason return — of 31 percent from
the previous opener.
Life of the Party WARNER BROS.
17.9 17.9(1)
2.9*8 2.9
2.
20.8
Melissa McCarthy sufered her worst opening
since becoming a breakout star. The comedy
also came in well behind Sunday estimates
($18.5 million) to nearly lose to Breaking In.
2.
The Big Bang Theory CBS
3.6
16.5M
3.
Young Sheldon CBS
2.8
14.6M
4.
Grey’s Anatomy ABC
9.3M
2.6
5.
5.
Empire FOX
2.3
The Terror AMC
1.7M
6.9M
6.
6.
NBA Playoffs ABC
6.4M
2.3
Into the Badlands AMC
1.6M
7.
18.6
7.
American Idol ABC
2.1
9.8M
Billions SHO
1.5M
8.
40.7
8.
Survivor CBS
2.0
The Last O.G. TBS
1.4M
9.
The Middle ABC
2.0
7.7M
Krypton SYFY
1.4M
3.
Breaking In UNIVERSAL
17.6 17.6(1)
1*5
4.
Overboard PANTELION
9.9 29.4(2) -33 8.2*12
5.
A Quiet Place PARAMOUNT
6.5 169.6(6) -17 2.8*55 100.4 270
9.
6.
I Feel Pretty STX ENTERTAINMENT
3.8 44(4) -25 3.5*14 15
10. Modern
7.
Rampage WARNER BROS.
3.5 89.8(5) -25 6.4*64 307.4 397.2
11.
Tully FOCUS/UNIVERSAL
2.2
7(2)
-32 N/A
12.
The Voice NBC
1.9
9.9M
13.
Chicago Fire NBC
1.8
8.8M
14.
Law & Order: SVU NBC
8.1M
1.8
15.
NCIS CBS
1.7
8.
1
11.3
551K
19.9
7.6
Black Panther DISNEY
2.1 696.3(13) -36 N/A 646.7 1.3B
9.
10. RBG MAGNOLIA
1.2
2(2)
+106
N/A
N/A
2
A Wrinkle in Time DISNEY
1.16 96.8(10) +182 N/A 31.6 128.4
11.
Ava DuVernay’s A Wrinkle in Time will lose
$100 million-plus for Disney, but it did manage to
enjoy a Mother’s Day boost when increasing its
theater count timed to the holiday.
2.0
Closer
Look
9.3M
10. The
1.4M
Family ABC
6.6M
Mom CBS
1.9
10.5M
15.2M
Americans FX
One to Watch
The Expanse SYFY
Syfy pulled the plug on the space
drama after it dipped below 1 million
viewers during its third season. (The
producer is shopping it elsewhere.)
Digital Video Ad Dollars Way Up
Revenue in the U.S. has doubled since 2015
1st half year
12.
Blockers UNIVERSAL
1.11 58.1(6) -36 1.2*39
26.9
($ Billions)
American Hero with Hannah
Simone (“too off-brand”) and CBS
hitting the brakes on Cagney &
Lacey (“too soft”).
1.
85
Isle of Dogs FOX SEARCHLIGHT
1.07 30(8) +33 1.9*38 24.7
54.6
Super Troopers 2 FOX
983K 27.4(4) -48 N/A
N/A
27.4
Truth or Dare UNIVERSAL
916K 39.7(5) -52 7.5*55
30.8
70.5
13.
2nd half year
$8.9
$5.9
$11.9
$6.7
$5.1
$3.3
$2.6
$3.8
FY ’15
FY ’16
$5.2
FY ’17
14.
Source: Internet Ad Revenue Report by PricewaterhouseCoopers
15.
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
11
Box-ofice source: comScore; estimates in $ millions; ( )Weekends in release; *Territories.
Broadcast source: Nielsen, live-plus-3, week of April 30. Cable TV source: Nielsen, live-plus-3 scripted series, week of April 30.
M AY 16, 2018
The Report
7 Days of DEALS
Who’s inking on the dotted line this week
CANNES BU Y ERS SEND
A DEFI ANT MESSAGE:
W HO NEEDS NETFLIX?
Cannes’ showdown with Netflix initially looked like
a matchup between David and Goliath.
The festival had stood up to the streaming giant,
banning it from competition for debuting films
on its platform without allowing them to screen in
French theaters first. The enforcement pleased
local exhibitors as well as some auteurs (including
Christopher Nolan, who hailed Cannes as “the festival that cares most about cinema”). In response, the
company pulled its titles from the festival altogether, and in addition, sources say it plotted to buy
as many Cannes titles as possible, a not-so-subtle
F-you to festival director Thierry Fremaux.
But a funny thing happened on the way to the
Croisette: Sellers balked at Netflix’s overtures.
On at least three occasions, the streamer lost out
to distributors with much smaller wallets: The
opening-night drama starring Penelope Cruz and
Javier Bardem, Everybody Knows, went to Focus;
the Mads Mikkelsen starrer Arctic to Bleecker
Street; and the Colombian drug trade drama Birds
of Passage to The Orchard. Netflix wanted Birds
so much — perhaps as companion programming to
Narcos, its most successful series worldwide — that
it made a low-seven-figure offer for the Spanishlanguage film. But no dice.
One top sales agent cites the streamer’s desire
to own worldwide rights as a deterrent. “You’re
giving up theatrical and every ancillary revenue
for a just slightly better upfront fee,” he adds. In
contrast, Netflix landed last year’s hottest Cannes
Arctic
From left: Cruz, Cotillard, Chastain, Nyong’o and Fan.
Bening
acquisition, paying nearly $20 million for worldwide
rights to Taika Waititi ’s stop-motion film Bubbles,
about Michael Jackson’s pet chimp.
The dealmakers for this year’s splashiest pact,
the $75 million-plus female-fronted spy pic 355,
decided early against seriously entertaining a
Netflix offer, holding out for a theatrical release.
Universal beat other players that could offer that —
namely Lionsgate and Donald Tang’s upstart Global
Road Entertainment — in a U.S. rights deal
valued at $20 million (Huayi Brothers paid $20 million for China rights to the film, which stars Cruz,
Jessica Chastain, Marion Cotillard, Fan Bingbing and
Lupita Nyong’o). “We went this route because
Jessica felt really good about how it worked for Molly’s
Game, and we all wanted as much creative control
and sense of ownership as possible,” says 355 director
Simon Kinberg of why the film opted for the traditional presales approach.
As of press time, Netflix had made just one acquisition at Cannes 2018, plunking down $30 million
for the animated pic Next Gen. Still, the film itself
generated far less buzz given that the voice cast —
headed by Charlyne Yi and Jason Sudeikis — is far
less known than 355’s fab five.
Ultimately, Netflix remains the most powerful
buyer, but it picked a fight with the festival that only
underscores the streamer’s most glaring downside —
that it doesn’t offer a proper theatrical release. Says
IFC Films/Sundance Selects CEO Jonathan Sehring,
“There’s no reason why Cannes should change for
Netflix.” — TATIANA SIEGEL
Rights Available! Hot new books with Hollywood appeal
TRUE (LITTLE A, JUNE 1)
FILM
Meryl Streep (CAA,
Gendler & Kelly), Gary
Oldman (APA, Douglas,
Loeb & Loeb) and Antonio
Banderas (Paradigm,
Hirsch Wallerstein) will
star in Steven Soderbergh’s
Panama Papers drama The
Laundromat.
Winston Duke (Abrams
Artists, Management
360, Hansen Jacobson),
Lupita Nyong’o (CAA,
Del Shaw) and Elisabeth
Moss (WME, the U.K.’s
Independent, Ribisi) are
in talks to star in Jordan
Peele’s Us for Universal.
Dan Stevens (WME,
the U.K.’s Julian Belfrage,
Peikoff Mahan) will
join Natalie Portman in
the drama Pale Blue Dot.
Timothy Olyphant (UTA,
Brillstein) is in talks to
star opposite Brad Pitt in
Quentin Tarantino’s Once
Upon a Time in Hollywood.
BY ANDY LEWIS AND TATIANA SIEGEL
Catch and Kill (LITTLE, BROWN AND CO., TBD)
BY Karl Taro Greenfeld AGENCY Aevitas Creative
BY Ronan Farrow AGENCY WME
The Ray Donovan scribe, journalist and author of an acclaimed
memoir about his autistic brother pens a coming-of-age novel
about the best teen soccer player of her generation competing for
a spot on the U.S. national team while her family crumbles.
The book is pitched as his “deeply personal” take on reporting
on sexual abuse for NBC News and The New Yorker. Pulitzer
co-winners Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey’s upcoming Harvey
Weinstein exposé was sold to Annapurna and Plan B.
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
12
M AY 16, 2018
CRUZ: NICHOLAS HUNT/GETTY IMAGES FOR THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. BENING: MIKE MARSLAND/WIREIMAGE. ARCTIC: COURTESY OF CANNES FILM FESTIVAL. TRUE: COURTESY OF LITTLE A.
DUKE: EMMA MCINTYRE/GETTY IMAGES. DERBEZ: STEVE GRANITZ/WIREIMAGE. RUPAUL: TAYLOR HILL/FILMMAGIC. WONG: PAUL ARCHULETA/FILMMAGIC. CASEY: COURTESY OF CAA.
Deal
of the
Week
DIGITAL
RuPaul (CAA) wil star
in, write and exec produce an hourlong
comedy series, AJ and
the Queen, for Netflix.
James Marsden (CAA,
Authentic) is in talks
to star in the Netflix adaptation of Stephen King
thriller In the Tall Grass.
Duke
Derbez
RuPaul
Annette Bening (CAA,
Gochman) has joined
Marvel’s Captain Marvel.
Keanu Reeves (WME,
Ziffren Brittenham)
and Alex Winter (CAA,
Forward, Sloss Eckhouse)
will return for a third Bill
& Ted movie.
Lee Daniels (CAA,
Untitled, Hansen
Jacobson) has renewed
his overall deal with 20th
Century Fox Television.
Bradley Cooper (CAA) will
star in, co-write and direct
a Leonard Bernstein biopic
for Amblin and Paramount.
Beauty and the Beast writer
Evan Spiliotopoulos (WME,
Fourth Wall, MARKS) will
write a G.I. Joe Snake Eyes
stand-alone for Paramount.
David Gordon Green
(CAA) is in final negotiations to direct Universal
Pictures’ reimagining of
Friday Night Lights.
Andy Garcia (CAA,
Brillstein, Loeb & Loeb)
and Walton Goggins
(ICM, Darris Hatch) have
joined the drama Words
on Bathroom Walls.
Martin Donovan
(Buchwald, Canada’s
GGA) has joined the cast
of Fox 2000’s The Art
of Racing in the Rain.
Bad Boys 3 scripter
Chris Bremner (UTA,
Kaplan Perrone)
will adapt Pulitzer finalist Hitler in Los Angeles
for Bruce Cohen.
TELEVISION
Josh Schwartz
(WME, McKuin Frankel)
wrote and will produce
a Paramount TV limited
series based on John
Green’s Looking for Alaska.
21st Century Fox will
acquire seven TV
stations from Sinclair
Broadcast Group.
Bravo has picked up
Project Runway for its
17th season.
Eugenio Derbez
(UTA, Behr Abramson)
and his 3Pas Studios
have signed a multiyear
overall deal with
Lionsgate Television.
Christiane Amanpour
(ICM) will anchor the
late-night public afairs
program Amanpour &
Company on PBS.
Greg Berlanti (WME,
Felker Toczek) will exec
produce DC Comics’
Doom Patrol series for
Warner Bros. Digital
Networks.
Guillermo del Toro
(WME, Exile, Hirsch
Wallerstein) created
and will write and direct
episodes of the horror
anthology series 10 After
Midnight for Netflix.
REAL ESTATE
David Geffen sold his
New York co-op apartment in an of-market
deal for $24.5 million.
BOOKS
Portfolio will publish
Michael Ovitz’s memoir,
Who Is Michael Ovitz?
— COMPILED BY MIA GALUPPO
AND REBECCA SUN
$
800M
The amount Jeffrey Katzenberg’s
startup, NewTV, has raised in
Big
Number funding from backers that include
21st Century Fox and Warner Bros.
Rep
Sheet
Ali Wong has signed
with UTA in all areas.
Hamilton alum Anthony
Ramos, who stars in
Netflix’s She’s Gotta Have
It, has signed with CAA .
Mumford & Sons has
signed with WME.
Singer and designer
Jessica Jung, formerly
of K-pop group Girls’
Generation, has signed
with UTA .
Alex and David Pastor,
who created Syfy’s
Incorporated, have signed
with Verve.
Next
Big
Thing
Daniel Casey
REPS CAA, Write Large,
Hansen Jacobson
WHY HE MATTERS
Casey has been
tapped to pen the ninth
installment of the Fast
& Furious franchise.
While the majority of the
scripter’s past work
is short films, Casey’s
first studio feature —
Lionsgate’s Kin — will
hit theaters this summer.
Kin got the attention of
J.J. Abrams, who tapped
Casey to pen superhero movie The Heavy
for his Bad Robot banner
and Paramount.
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Clockwise from left: Harry and
Markle announced their engagement
Nov. 27. The queen in 2011 after
Prince William and Kate Middleton’s
nuptials. The wedding will take
place at St. George’s Chapel, where
Prince Charles and Camilla Parker
Bowles’ union was blessed in 2005.
T H E R O Y A L W E D DI N G
Should Showbiz Celebrate an Actress Princess?
‘There’s a thin line between royalty and Hollywood royalty,’ says one Brit-born producer as Meghan Markle’s
industry pals jet to London and champagne pops from New York (Hugh Dancy) to Berkshire (Emilia Clarke) By Alison Brower
e have the queen, and you
champagne, cucumber sandwiches, Victoria
have Donald Trump,” says Nigel
sponge cake,” she says. Producer Cassian
Lythgoe. The U.K.-born
Elwes says he’ll watch with “a toast of
reality producer won’t be
rosé” from Cannes. “Someone of color
and a star to boot is marrying into
attending Prince Harry and Meghan
the royal family,” he says. “It’s a reflecMarkle’s May 19 wedding. But as a close
tion of where humanity should be
royal observer and occasional collaboraLythgoe
heading and a reflection that there
tor (for the Royal Variety Performance,
is a thin line between royalty and
an annual televised fundraiser), he’s toastHollywood royalty.”
ing the modern match. “An American
Not to say that seven seasons on
commoner being invited into the royal
USA’s
Suits elevates Markle, 36, to
family,” he says. “It’s wonderful.”
Clarke
Hollywood royalty, but the indusLongtime publicist Bumble Ward, who
try will make a bigger-than-usual splash
recently moved home to England from L.A.,
at the Windsor nuptials. (Markle’s first
will enjoy “a viewing party with girlfriends,
MARKLE: KARWAI TANG/WIREIMAGE. QUEEN: TOM STODDART/GETTY IMAGES. CHAPEL:
CHRIS YOUNG/AFP/GETTY IMAGES. CLARKE: TAYLOR HILL/GETTY IMAGES. LYTHGOE:
FRAZER HARRISON/GETTY IMAGES. HURLEY: SANTIAGO FELIPE/GETTY IMAGES.
W
→ “She’ll make a perfect princess,” Elizabeth Hurley says of Markle.
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
15
M AY 16, 2018
husband, manager-producer Trevor Engleson
— they divorced in 2013 — has been fending
off Daily Mail reporters since the engagement.)
Suits castmembers and showrunner will pile
into the pews at St. George’s Chapel, as will
NBCUniversal cable entertainment group chair
Bonnie Hammer and the royal fiancee’s
key reps: Gersh’s Nick Collins, attorney
Rick Genow, business manager Andrew
Meyer and Sunshine Sachs’ Keleigh
Thomas Morgan. Pal Priyanka Chopra
also is attending. (Markle’s father,
Thomas, a onetime TV lighting
director who was to walk her down
the aisle, no longer will attend
About Town
‘The Worst
Hosting I Have
Ever Seen’
People, Places,
Preoccupations
after apparently staging photos
with paparazzi.)
Luke Parker Bowles, chairman
of BAFTA New York and nephew
of Camilla, is organizing (with the
British consul general) a viewing party for 250, including Hugh
Dancy, Claire Danes
and director Tom
Hooper, at Harry’s in
Manhattan. “I’ve
witnessed the ups and
Parker
downs, given the
Bowles
tough time that my
aunt and Charles went through,”
says Parker Bowles of royal life.
“But it’s a real break from the norm
and something that no studio
can create.”
Not every Hollywood Brit
is making a fuss. Elizabeth Hurley
will be on a plane, though she
curated a special Words With
Friends dictionary (crikey!) for the
occasion. “Sadly my invite was
lost by the Royal Mail,” says manager Sarah Jackson (clients
Will Ferrell and Molly Shannon
take their Rose Parade
alter egos to Windsor Castle
By Bryn Elise Sandberg
S
the pond to host HBO’s coverage of
the royal nuptials in character as TV personalities Cord Hosenbeck and Tish Cattigan. From
Ferrell’s Funny or Die, The Royal Wedding Live
With Cord and Tish! marks the pair’s second
gig after their coverage of the 2018 Rose Parade
for Amazon (“This was the worst hosting I
have ever seen,” wrote one of many disgruntled
reviewers who didn’t quite get the joke. “Cord
was rude and even cut one of the co-hosts off
and dug into an old girlfriend. He should be
fired!”) Luckily, the duo won’t face
pesky online commenters when
they go live May 19 at 7:30 a.m. ET.
Hosenbeck, ostensibly a TV and
radio host and author dedicated
Meadows
to physical and mental wellness,
and Cattigan, a former Miss Arizona who’s
apparently known for her two-episode stint as
an assistant DA on L.A. Law, also will have
correspondent Tim Meadows along for the trip.
Hammer (left)
with Markle at
a New York
fundraiser for
the UJA in
June 2015.
include Morena Baccarin). “I’ll
wait for The Crown season 15.”
But Piers Morgan, for one, will
watch with his “staunch royalist”
mum in the south of England.
Royals “have the worst job in the
world,” he says. “Does [Markle]
really know what she’s letting
herself into? But let’s not be churlish on the eve of such a happy
day.” And Emilia Clarke will tune
in from Berkshire. “My village
is actually having a party,” says the
Solo star. “I just want to see the
dress. Do you know what I mean?”
Stephen Galloway, Marisa Guthrie,
Natalie Jarvey and Peter Kiefer
contributed to this report.
tep aside, Savannah Guthrie. Will
Ferrell and Molly Shannon are crossing
“I think if I spot Hugh Grant out there I might lose my mind,”
Shannon’s Cattigan (with Ferrell’s Hosenbeck) tells THR.
Why cover this event, and why the move to HBO?
CORD HOSENBECK Are you kidding me? We were
planning on covering this wedding even if we
didn’t have a broadcast partner!
TISH CATTIGAN Then HBO came along! We basically will work with any network out there, so
it was a natural fit.
HOSENBECK It’s true, we treasure our relationship with anyone willing to put us on air.
Why should viewers tune in to the wedding?
CATTIGAN That’s easy! The pageantry, the gowns,
the luxury! It’s all so romantic!
HOSENBECK Kings and queens and lords and
ladies, come on, that’s why we do this!
Tish, how will you choose your hat?
CATTIGAN I have no idea what kind to wear.
MEET ‘PRINCE GEORGE,’ THE KING OF INSTAGRAM
TV writer Gary Janetti plots imagined insults — from the mind of a
scathingly Markle-averse 4-year-old potentate — like a sitcom By Michael O’Connell
N
obody seems less enthused about the
royal wedding than Prince George
— or, at least, the catty persona that
one Instagram account has cultivated for the
4-year-old since September.
As rendered by Family Guy
producer and scribe Gary
Janetti on his personal stream,
the mini-Machiavelli is dripping with disdain for his
future aunt. “There’s ONE star
in this family, bitch,” read a
post the day the match was
announced. Janetti’s follower
count has surged from 70,000
to 350,000 (including the
likes of Lisa Rinna, Kaley Cuoco
and Lea Michele) this year, and
he now looks at the account
→ Janetti’s (@garyjanetti) Prince George parody on Instagram
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
16
M AY 16, 2018
as a sitcom unto itself; May 19 will be a very
special episode. “I find Meghan Markle super
appealing,” says Janetti, 52, whose credits
include the original Will & Grace and ITV’s
Vicious. “The irony is that
this is my way of celebrating her. It’s a bit twisted.” As
to whether he’ll head to the
U.K. with his stylist husband,
Brad Goreski, who’s covering
the nuptials for E!, “No
comment,” says Janetti. “Infer
from that what you will.”
Any idea what George might
wear to the wedding?
I hope not what he wore to
Pippa Middleton’s wedding.
I need a new look.
These British women can staple some fake
birds to a paper plate and clip it on sideways
and call it a hat. … So the options are limitless.
What did you learn from covering the Rose
Parade that will help you on Saturday?
HOSENBECK Tish and I have covered that parade
for the last 23 years. In some ways, the wedding
won’t be any different. If you think about it,
Meghan and Harry are just one big float passing us all by.
Are you rooting for “Harkle”?
CATTIGAN “Harkle,” “Mary,” “Frickle,” “Frackle”
— if they are in love, I say hooray to that!
HOSENBECK As someone who is single by choice,
I can only say, “Goooooood luck!”
BURBERRY TO GUCCI,
WHICH DESIGNERS SAW
A BRIDE-TO-BE BUMP
Starting from her engagement day,
the ‘Markle Sparkle’ took effect
By Carol McColgin
Network Stars and
Their Royal Ringers
193%
Wedding coverage drop-ins
include Tina Brown and
Meghan Markle’s drama prof
increase in purchases of
Mackage peacoats
Markle wore a navy “Elodie”
coat (about $750) with
Harry on Dec. 1, driving a
buying spree on fashion
resale site Poshmark.
By Jeremy Barr
ABC
Anchors Robin Roberts, David Muir
The morning star and World News Tonight
anchor lead live coverage starting at 5 a.m.
ET on Good Morning America (Michael
Strahan also will be in the U.K.). 20/20 airs
hourlong specials May 18 and 19.
Royal ringer Biographer Andrew Morton,
author of Meghan: A Hollywood Princess
What kind of access are you getting?
HOSENBECK It’s actually surprising we haven’t
received our official press credentials.
England is 24 hours ahead of us here in L.A.,
so maybe we just haven’t gotten them yet?
What other events do you hope to cover?
HOSENBECK We’ve had a lot of great ideas from
our fans on Twitter, everything from the
Olympics to the St. Paddy’s Day parade. I personally would love the Westminster Dog Show.
CATTIGAN It’s my dream to cover the
Victoria’s Secret fashion show or the Met Gala.
Will the Brits have a sense of humor about you?
HOSENBECK Tish and I can be a laugh riot,
that’s for sure, but this will be a serious broadcast, so no need to worry about that.
95%
Mulberry satchels
She carried a small
navy Darley bag ($925) for
Commonwealth Day
at Westminster Abbey on
March 12, her first oficial
event alongside the queen.
CBS
Anchors Gayle King, Kevin Frazier
CBS This Morning’s and
Entertainment Tonight’s
co-hosts will broadcast
live from 4 a.m. ET, and a
two-hour special, Royal
Romance, airs at 8 p.m. ET.
King
Royal ringer Ex-Vanity Fair
editor and Diana biographer Tina Brown
214%
Gucci mini bags
On April 19, she clutched a
Dionysus mini ($830). In
the U.S., Poshmark shoppers
in Georgia are the most
influenced by Markle’s style,
followed by Massachusetts.
PARKER-BOWLES: NOAM GALAI/WIREIMAGE. HAMMER: LAURA CAVANAUGH/FILMMAGIC. CORD: COURTESY OF HBO. MEADOWS: MATT WINKELMEYER/GETTY IMAGES FOR VENICE FAMILY CLINIC.
INSTAGRAM: GARY JANETTI/@GARYJANETTI/INSTAGRAM. JANETTI: FREDERICK M. BROWN/GETTY IMAGES. GUTHRIE: COLIN HUTTON/NBC. KING: BEN GABBE/GETTY IMAGES FOR TIME. SMITH: ROBIN
MARCHANT/GETTY IMAGES. PEACOAT: SAMIR HUSSEIN/WIREIMAGE. PURSE: MAX MUMBY/INDIGO/GETTY IMAGES. GUCCI: CHRIS JACKSON/AFP/GETTY IMAGES.
Source: Poshmark
There isn’t a wealth of George photos available.
It forces you to be creative, having limited
resources. I’ve got to use what’s available to
tell a story. When his brother was born, and
there were new photos of George going to
the hospital, I was like, “Thank God! I need
more expressions!”
The wedding should give you new visuals.
Yes! To me, the holy grail will be a
picture of Meghan with George. There’s
never been a photo of them together.
Have you gotten any negative feedback for
portraying him as so scathing?
Sure, but it’s all meant with affection. It’s fun.
Even though he says horrible things, it’s done
in a way that’s meant to be so ridiculous that
you couldn’t possibly take it seriously. I’ve
given him these Shakespearean ambitions and
thoughts to use this forum to tell that story. I
think of him as a character in any series.
Will you keep it up after the wedding?
The royal wedding is a season finale.
There’s never been a plan, but I’m treating the Instagram account as if it’s a
What makes her such a target for George?
Janetti
TV series. It has an arc, there are little
The spotlight had been on George since he
storylines that play out independently, and
was born. Everybody was so consumed with
there are standalones. But I think of each post
George as the star of the show. Then, here
as an episode. I’m trying to play with the form.
comes this beautiful American woman, and
he’s relegated to the sideline in his mind. He’s
eaten alive by jealousy, that’s how I see it. The
If George is the star and Meghan is his main foil,
closer we get to the wedding, the bigger she
who’s No. 3 on the call sheet?
becomes, and the more intense this gets. The
Probably the queen. I’m obsessed with The
fact that she is so appealing and winning is
Crown, and for me, this is a modern-day comic
what’s so galling to George.
The Crown.
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
17
Guthrie (left) and Kotb rode around London in
preparation for NBC’s May 16 primetime special.
M AY 16, 2018
CNN
Anchors Anderson Cooper,
Alisyn Camerota, Don Lemon
Live from 4 a.m. ET, the trio will welcome
contributors including Meghan Markle’s
onetime Northwestern theater prof
(now a Boston U dean), Harvey Young.
Royal ringers Along with CNN’s Max
Foster, Harry biographer Angela Levin
FOX NEWS
Anchors Shepard Smith, Sandra Smith
Starting at 6 a.m. ET, the chief news anchor
and America’s Newsroom co-anchor
will be joined by Ainsley
Earhardt (co-hosting
Fox & Friends from the U.K.
from May 17 to 19).
Royal ringers Diana pal
Harry Herbert and former
Smith
Buckingham Palace communications oficer David Pogson
NBC
Anchors Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb
“It’s not every day you get to cover an
American princess,” says Guthrie. Adds
Kotb, “We have our fascinators. ... Pinkies
out!” The Today duo will broadcast from an
“exclusive vantage point” starting at 4:30
a.m. ET, with Megyn Kelly and Kathie Lee
Gifford at a nearby pub. Sharing a parent
with USA, home of Markle’s former show,
Suits, NBC gained access to her Hollywood
circle — including NBCU’s Bonnie Hammer,
who spoke about the star’s commitment
to women’s causes and more — for a May 16
special, Inside the Royal Wedding.
Royal ringers Historian Andrew Roberts
and Diana bodyguard Ken Wharfe
About Town
Yes, I Did Say That!
Quotes
A look at who’s saying what in entertainment
Compiled by Seth Abramovitch
“It’s horrifying.
I left. Multiple Physical
Assaults.”
PAULEY PERRETTE
The NCIS star, who departed the CBS series on
the May 8 season finale, hinting on Twitter at what
led to her departure after 15 seasons.
ANNA WINTOUR
Vogue’s editor, on The Late
Show With Stephen Colbert,
endorsing Johansson’s Marchesa
gown at the Met Gala (designed
by Georgina Chapman, who
is divorcing Harvey Weinstein).
“They don’t care.
They don’t want
to know.”
“There were
factions within the
band that had lost
their perspective.”
TED SARANDOS
The Netflix content chief, telling
a UBS conference that his
streamer’s two new mega-producers
— Shonda Rhimes and Ryan
Murphy — will find “great comfort”
in not having access to ratings.
LINDSEY BUCKINGHAM
The musician, addressing
a Democratic fundraiser, on
what led to his firing from
Fleetwood Mac after 43 years.
“Oprah has also
smoked a little
marijuana,
too, I don’t mind
saying.”
“Collective hysteria
of the kind that
sometimes happens
in the society.”
ROMAN POLANSKI
GAYLE KING
The director, a fugitive from the U.S.
after the 1977 statutory rape of a
13-year-old girl, criticizing #MeToo to
the Polish edition of Newsweek.
The CBS This Morning co-host,
revealing on The Ellen DeGeneres
Show that her best friend, Winfrey,
occasionally indulges in pot.
NINENINE
IS JUST
FINE,
FINE
Stars took news of Fox’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s
cancellation hard, from Lin-Manuel Miranda
(“I ONLY WATCH LIKE 4 THINGS”) to Mark Hamill
(“I’m SO not ready to say #ByeBye99”). But after
NBC saved the show, actor Terry Crews thanked
Hamill and “the force” for bringing it back.
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
ANN CURRY
The former Today co-host,
contradicting an NBC News report
that its investigators had “a
discussion” with her regarding
Matt Lauer’s alleged behavior
toward female stafers.
18
M AY 16, 2018
“You know a
network has some
range when they
have a black Jesus
and Megyn Kelly.”
SETH MEYERS
The comic at the NBC upfront,
noting that his network claims
both Jesus Christ Superstar starring
John Legend and the former
Fox News star, who once said
“Jesus was a white man.”
PERRETTE, SARANDOS: PAUL ARCHULETA/FILMMAGIC. KING: KEVIN MAZUR/GETTY IMAGES. MEYERS: JAMIE MCCARTHY/GETTY IMAGES. CREWS: DIA DIPASUPIL/GETTY IMAGES.
“It was a great
gesture of
support on Scarlett’s
part to wear a
beautiful dress like
that on such a
public occasion.”
“I have not
participated in
any formal
investigation
by NBC on sexual
harassment.”
ADVERTISEMENT
MPAA member companies had a
year to solve Hollywood’s most toxic
problem. Only a few days remain.
The US Surgeon General
reports that R-rating future
movies with tobacco imagery can be
expected to reduce youth smoking by 18
percent. The CDC projects the R-rating
would avert one million future tobacco
deaths among US children alive today.
2014
N
ine decades after Big Tobacco started
exploiting movies, we gave the major
studios a year to start R-rating movies
with smoking. It wasn’t their first chance:
The studios first heard
the R-rating for smoking
proposed fifteen years ago, at a special
Los Angeles briefing attended by the
major studios’ production chiefs, state
Attorneys General, and health researchers.
The studios took no action.
2003
Harvard School of Public
Health, commissioned by the
MPAA to recommend a solution to the
risks posed by on-screen smoking, tells
the studios to “take effective action to
eliminate depictions of tobacco smoking
from films accessible to children and
youths, and take leadership and credit
for doing so.” The studios didn’t do it.
2007
Thirty-three state Attorneys
General told the studios, “It is
clear that every time the industry releases
another movie that depicts smoking, it
does so with the full knowledge of the
deadly harm it will bring to children who
watch it.” By this time, the MPAA claimed
that it “considered” smoking as a rating
factor. But MPAA/NATO’s official Rating
Rules didn’t even mention tobacco or
smoking—and they still don’t.
2009
The US Surgeon General
concluded, in the strongest
possible language, that exposure to onscreen smoking “causes” young people
to start smoking and reported that an
R-rating would reduce youth smoking.
2012
One little letter
This public health statement is endorsed by:
• American Academy of Pediatrics
• American Academy of Family Physicians
• American Cancer Society
• American College of Obstetricians and
Gynecologists
The World Health
Organization (the UN’s
health arm) advised 180 countries and
territories party to the global Framework
Convention on Tobacco Control, the
world’s first health treaty, that to stop
tobacco promotion they must address
entertainment products, including films.
Policy tools include adult film ratings and
making media productions with tobacco
ineligible for public subsidies.
2016
Tobacco in PG-13 films, 2003-2017
PG-13 films with smoking
(% of all top-grossing PG-13 films)
Comcast
68 (54%)
Disney
27 (38%)
Fox
69 (56%)
Sony
102 (65%)
Time Warner
74 (47%)
Viacom
55 (56%)
Independents 141 (59%)
TOTAL
590 (56%)
Tobacco
incidents
Audience
impressions
2,330 21.9 billion
700 11.7 billion
1,640 16.2 billion
2,600 25.9 billion
2,075 28.3 billion
1,575 22.0 billion
3,960 18.9 billion
14,880 144.8 billion
Domestic, in-theater tobacco impressions, not including home media. In addition,
WRSJURVVLQJ*3*ɞOPVZLWKWREDFFRLQFLGHQWVGHOLYHUHGELOOLRQ
audience impressions. Source: Breathe California Onscreen Tobacco Database
The US Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC)
began posting annual data on smoking
in US top-grossing films, by distribution
company. With smoking on the rise
in PG-13 films, the CDC observed that
“individual company policies alone
have not been shown to be efficient at
minimizing smoking in movies.”
2013
Reacting to a CDC report
that the US film industry, as
a whole, had made no progress against
toxic tobacco content since 2010, US
medical and public health groups started
a one-year countdown for the industry
to adopt the R-rating for future films with
smoking. The June 1, 2018, deadline is
now just days away.
2017
O
n-screen smoking is toxic to kids. It’s
reasonable and effective to update
the film industry’s voluntary ratings to
protect kids’ lives—not preserve the
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with smoking, except those that exclusively depict smoking by actual people
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biopics) or that realistically depict the
health consequences of tobacco use.
will save a million lives.
• American College of Physicians
• American Heart Association
• American Lung Association
• American Medical Association
• American Public Health Association
• Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights
• Assoc. of State and Territorial Health Officials
• Breathe California Sacramento Region
• Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
• Los Angeles County Dept. of Public Health
• Trinity Health
• Truth Initiative
This advertisement is sponsored by Smokefree Movies, UCSF, San Francisco CA 94143-1390 | smokefreemovies.ucsf.edu
View the CDC’s latest tracking report on movie smoking (April 2018) Źbit.ly/cdc-smokingmovies-2018
About Town
The Red Carpet
Cannes Film Festival
Cannes, France, May 8-14
2
Fan
Bingbing
1
Francois-Henri Pinault, Patty
Jenkins and Carla Simon
4
Benicio Del Toro
(left) and Denis
Villeneuve
6
Laura Harrier and
Corey Hawkins
Julianne
Moore
10
9
THR editorial director
Matthew Belloni
and Jessica Chastain
7
UCLA’s Teri Schwartz (left) and Nadja
Swarovski at THR and Swarovski’s event for the
documentary Waterschool at the Carlton Hotel.
5
Salma Hayek
Pinault
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
20
M AY 16, 2018
Party
Crawler
A Serious Fest
12
From left:
Alden Ehrenreich,
Kathleen Kennedy
and Ron Howard
13
Solo: A Star
Wars Story
Hollywood, May 10
8
Lupita Nyong’o (left)
and Marion Cotillard
11
Martin
Scorsese
JENKINS: VITTORIO ZUNINO CELOTTO/ GETTY IMAGES. STEWART: ANDREAS RENTZ/GETTY IMAGES. HAWKINS: DAVID M. BENETT/GETTY IMAGES. SCORSESE, MOORE, BINGBING: TONY BARSON/FILMMAGIC. SWAROVSKI, BELLONI: NICHOLAS HUNT/GETTY IMAGES. DEL TORO: COURTESY OF LIONSGATE. PINAULT:
VENTIRELLI/GETTY IMAGES. HOWARD, SUOTAMO: ALBERTO E. RODRIGUEZ. CLARKE: ALEX J. BERLINER/ABIMAGES. IGER: CHARLEY GALLAY/GETTY IMAGES. MCCORMICK, REYNOLDS: MICHAEL LOCCISANO/GETTY IMAGES. NYONG’O: ANTHONY GHNASSIA/GETTY IMAGES. BEETZ: HECTOR RETAMAL/ AFP/GETTY IMAGES.
3
From left: Kristen Stewart, Lea
Seydoux, Khadja Nin, Ava DuVernay,
Cate Blanchett and Agnes Varda
Emilia
Clarke and
Woody
Harrelson
15
14
Bob Iger (left) and
Donald Glover
Joonas Suotamo (right),
fiancee Milla Pohjasvaara
and Chewbacca
When jury president
Cate Blanchett (3)
opened the 71st Cannes
Film Festival, she said
that her leading philosophy would be to “check
our agendas, preconceptions and expectations
at the door.” Attendees
had to engage a similar
mind-set as the focus this
year fell more on cinema
and less on soirees. That
said, highlights included
Kering’s Women in Motion
Awards honoring Patty
Jenkins (1), where
Salma Hayek Pinault (5)
sang “Besame Mucho”
and danced with Agnes
Varda (3); THR and
DirecTV’s gathering for
Jessica Chastain’s (9) film
355 at the Majestic Hotel;
Nikki Beach’s series of parties where Carey Mulligan
and Luke Evans danced
well into the evening; and
the Women’s March organized by French movement
5050x2020. At the march,
Blanchett delivered remarks
with Varda, saying that in
Cannes, like Hollywood,
the time for change is now.
— CHRIS GARDNER
Going Solo
“It feels like I get to be a
part of the Bible or something,” Donald Glover (14)
told THR at the world premiere of Solo: A Star Wars
Story. The Millennium
Falcon flew in for the Dolby
Theatre event, where stars
Alden Ehrenreich (12),
Emilia Clarke (13), Woody
Harrelson (13) and director
Ron Howard (12) walked
the carpet, while Harrison
Ford — the O.G. Solo
— was missing in action.
Deadpool 2
New York, May 14
16
Zazie
Beetz
— MIA GALUPPO
Deadpool Duo
18
17
Blake Lively and
Ryan Reynolds
Executive producer Kelly
McCormick and her husband,
director David Leitch
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
21
M AY 16, 2018
“We had no preconceived
pie-in-the-sky notion
that we would ever get an
opportunity to do Deadpool
2,” star Ryan Reynolds (18)
told THR at the sequel’s
AMC Loews Lincoln Square
screening. Meanwhile,
Reynolds’ onscreen rival
Josh Brolin confessed:
“I’m just an anxiety-ridden
guy. I like the pressure of
telling a story.” Terry Crews
and Zazie Beetz (16),
among others, also walked
the carpet. — HILARY LEWIS
“Can I bring
you a
Birkin Bag?”
Ratner’s Cannes Pizza Run
Brett Ratner has kept a low profile
since being accused last fall of
sexual misconduct by a half-dozen
women, including actress Olivia
Munn. But the director and former
Warner Bros. financier was
spotted by THR spies in Cannes
during the festival, noshing on
pizza al fresco at around 3 a.m.
Three young women were enjoying a slice on the Cafe Roma
patio across from the Palais with
Ratner, who might not have been
recognizable but for the Warner
Bros. hat he wore.
Forty-two years ago, exiting Lionsgate chair Wachsberger was British-French icon Birkin’s driver.
BlacKkKlansman Star’s Secret
Sex and the City Obsession
Rambling Reporter
By Chris Gardner
Jane Birkin’s Farewell to Her Former Driver
On May 11, some of Cannes’ heaviest hitters watched transfixed as
British-French icon Jane Birkin serenaded Patrick Wachsberger at
the Hotel du Cap to honor the exiting Lionsgate Motion Picture Group
co-chairman. “Patrick and Jane have a backstory,” Lionsgate CEO
Jon Feltheimer told THR. “It was his first job, and he was her driver.
That’s why she performed tonight.” Wachsberger, 66, and Birkin,
mother of actress Charlotte Gainsbourg and the inspiration for the
eponymous Hermes bag, met in 1970 when Wachsberger was 19 and
a second assistant director on the set of Cannabis. “While I may take
a few moments to enjoy the Mediterranean this summer, this is not
a retirement party,” Wachsberger told the crowd. “There is much I
intend to do between Lionsgate and pearly gates.” In attendance were
Christopher Nolan, Jim Gianopulos, Simon Kinberg and Doug Liman.
— TATIANA SIEGEL
John David Washington — star
of Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman,
which is vying at Cannes for the
Palme d’Or — boasts a hidden
talent. The Ballers actor can quote
verbatim from all 94 episodes
of Sex and the City. “Ask me trivia
on Sex and the City, and I will
know it,” dares Washington. “I
rewatch it every year. Samantha?
Charlotte? Those are my girls.”
As for his other, more publicized
talent, breaking tackles as a former St. Louis Rams running back,
Washington says he learned
all about acting rejection through
football, recalling a general manager who “told me I’d never play
in the NFL again, and he ended
up being right. I sat waiting for almost an hour for him
to tell me that. So when you get
rejected from a casting agent or
they don’t want you for an audition, it doesn't compare to that
feeling. I was ready, I was ready
for rejection.” When asked if, as
Denzel’s eldest son, he’s auditioned for parts he hasn’t gotten,
Washington says: “All the time.
I’m zero for about a hundred right
now.” — T.S.
Happy 15th to Brown Bunny,
From Cheryl Tiegs
Vincent Gallo’s NC-17 The Brown
Bunny debuted 15 years ago in
Cannes, shocking with an unsimulated oral sex scene starring
the filmmaker and 2018 Cannes
Critics Week jury member Chloe
Sevigny. Cheryl Tiegs, the film’s
other lead, recalls how she ended
up in the movie. “I didn’t know
who Vincent Gallo was,” says the
HO T
R
NEW
URA
E S TA
NT
Hitched, Hatched, Hired
Weddings
Births
Congrats
Nicole Riley, ICM
Kirsten Dunst and her
fiance, Jesse Plemons,
IFC president and GM
Jennifer Caserta has
been named chief transformation officer at
parent company AMC
Networks, while IFC
exec vp brand marketing Blake Callaway
has been tapped as exec
vp and acting GM.
Partners vp television
business affairs, married Jordan Peagler,
partner at MKP Law
Group, on April 28 at
Falkner Winery in
Temecula, California.
1
1 Riley and
Peagler
2 Reif and
Strause
Jackie Strause, The
Hollywood Reporter’s
East Coast digital
lead editor, married
Alex Reiff, vp at Rand
Luxury, at the RitzCarlton Philadelphia
on May 5.
Got tips? Email rambling@thr.com
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
22
M AY 16, 2018
welcomed a son, Ennis
Howard Plemons, on
May 3 in Santa Monica.
2
Dick Clark Productions
promoted Rika
Camizianos to vp creative
content and postproduction, Magdalena Mango
to vp brand strategy and
LIMO: ISTOCK. BIRKIN: ANITA BUGGE/WIREIMAGE. WACHSBERGER: ALBERTO E. RODRIGUEZ/GETTY IMAGES FOR CINEMACON. HOTEL:
AFP/GETTY IMAGES. SOMNI: JILL PAIDER. TIEGS: MICHAEL LOCCISANO/GETTY IMAGES FOR ELLE. KIDDER: WARNER BROTHERS/
PHOTOFEST. MCCLURE: STEVE GRANITZ/WIREIMAGE. COATES: AMANDA EDWARDS/WIREIMAGE. AYVAZ: COURTESY OF COMEDY
CENTRAL. RILEY: L PARKER PHOTOGRAPHY. STRAUSE: PHILIP GABRIEL PHOTOGRAPHY. ROSEMONT: COURTESY OF DAVID ROSEMONT.
Inside the industry’s celebrations and news
About Town
He’s a very good kisser.” Though
she’s watched the film several
times, she doesn’t always make
it through. “Vincent told me about
[the oral sex scene] many, many
times. I feel comfortable doing it,
just not watching someone else do
it. I wish he hadn’t included that
scene because it might’ve hurt the
film,” says Tiegs, who runs into
Gallo infrequently, “but I know he
doesn’t care.”
Tiegs
onetime supermodel. “He told
me, ‘If you don’t know who I am,
watch Buffalo 66,’ [and] oh my
God, I loved the film so much.”
After Tiegs signed on, Gallo drove
straight to her summer rental
home in Minnesota, where they
filmed her one scene from a
highway rest stop. “Vincent said
he wanted to shoot in silence,”
recalls Tiegs. “So he comes in,
sits down and we started kissing.
All that we did all day was kiss.
A screenwriter named Henry
C. King rented out billboards
(right) — one on Cahuenga
Boulevard across from Universal
Studios and another on Venice
Boulevard in Culver City — to
advertise his spec script, Van’s
Best Friend. The billboard teases
that it’s “available at The Black
List” (not as a pick of the annual
list that selects the year’s best
Somni
integrated marketing
and Michael Nieporent
to vp brand, marketing
and digital strategy on
May 8.
Christopher S. Spicer
Principato-Young
Entertainment
rebranded as Artists
First on May 10.
LAMF (Los Angeles
Media Fund) hired
Alisa Tager as head of
creative May 11.
was tapped as head
of Akin Gump’s entertainment and media
practice May 7.
Kidder died May 13 at her
home in Livingston, Montana.
She was 69.
“What goes around, swims around.”
1948-2018
a Reddit thread and backlash,
Scully defended himself, tweeting, “He blew a ton of cash on
public requests to read his script,”
likely $2,000 to $15,000. “I
responded just as publicly to a poor
script loaded with sexism, misogyny and racism.” The billboard
company, Outdoor Advertising, did
not return requests for comment,
and attempts to track down King
were unsuccessful. Black List
founder Franklin Leonard says that
the script has since been removed
from the site.
added to the
name of the law firm
Jackoway Tyerman,
which is now titled
Jackoway Austen
Tyerman Wertheimer
Mandelbaum Morris
Bernstein Trattner
& Klein.
FremantleMedia
upped Joni Day to
senior vp alternative programming
and development
and hired Colin Nash
and Jean Shi in the
same role May 11.
Deaths
Partners Jef
Bernstein and Darren
Trattner have been
Norman Rosemont,
an Emmy-winning
producer who brought
movie classics to
Vedia Ayvaz joined
Comedy Central
as senior vp brand
creative May 8.
Heard Around Hollywood
When a Wannabe Writer’s
Marketing Goes Too Far
The Quick Pitch A decade after Jose Andres opened The Bazaar
at the SLS Beverly Hills, he’s rechristened the experimental
Saam — his tasting-menu-only restaurant-within-a-restaurant — as Somni. Basque chef Aitor Zabala, an Andres disciple
who has helped his boss teach a cooking course at Harvard, is in
charge. (Zabala also has worked under Ferran Adria at El Bulli.)
Expect ultramodernist interpretations of everything from tomato
bread to mocha rice pudding.
The Inside Dish The striking animal head sculptures at Somni are
by the noted Spanish pop surrealist artist Okuda San Miguel.
465 S. La Cienega Blvd. — GARY BAUM
Ayvaz
unproduced screenplays but on
the portion of the website that
hosts, reviews and distributes
scripts). In mid-April, prompted
by the billboards, writer-producer
Brian Scully (not The Simpsons’
and Family Guy’s Brian Scully)
started live-tweeting his reactions to the material, which
includes a dog that may have been
reincarnated as a shark. After
eviscerating the script, inspiring
television, died
April 22 at his home in
Scottsdale, Arizona.
He was 93.
Coates
Anne V. Coates, the
Rosemont
prolific film editor who
won an Oscar for her
work on the 1962 classic
Lawrence of Arabia
and most recently cut
Fifty Shades of Grey,
died May 8 in Woodland
Hills, California. She
was 92.
Margot
Kidder
Marc McClure, who
played Jimmy Olsen in
the Superman movies,
remembers his co-star
who rose to fame
as Lois Lane and died
May 13 at 69
argot was one
of the strongest women I’ve
ever known. She and
Christopher Reeve were
polar opposites — he was
a Juilliard-trained actor
and she was a cowgirl. She
came from a farm. It was
like city meets country, but
she spoke her mind. She
was so tough. She stood
up for people and even
protected me on the set —
I was just a kid at the time.
She stood up for Richard
Donner, too, [specifically]
when he got fired after
the first Superman, right
before we
finished
shooting
Superman 2.
You barely
see her in
McClure
Superman 3
— Lois Lane gets a bikini
and goes on vacation
in that movie — because
Margot was so upset about
what happened to Richard.
We were all like a family.
All of us who’ve survived,
we stayed in touch. Forty
years later, Margie and
I were still friends. That
doesn’t happen very often
in this business. — AS TOLD
M
TO BENJAMIN SVETKEY
To submit, send email to hhh@thr.com
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
23
M AY 16, 2018
The Business
Creative Space
Jim Bankoff
The Vox chief talks about the
future of the digital media
business, his Hollywood ambitions
and what he learned when
the dot-com world went belly-up
By Natalie Jarvey
AOL’s Live 8,
on which Bankof
served as an
exec producer, won
an Emmy for
video content for
nontraditional
delivery platforms.
including podcasting and television production. Already this year,
NBCUniversal-backed Vox has
sold the docuseries Explained to
Netflix (May 23), the food travel
series No Passport Required to PBS
(July) and the four-part show
American Style to CNN (2019).
The company — which in March
reached 78 million unique visitors — has begun selling access
to its technology and advertising
platform to third-party media
partners, including Funny or Die
and Bill Simmons’ The Ringer.
THR caught up with the
father of three (his wife is Diane
Elson Bankoff, the founder of
rug designer Elson & Co.) on one
of his weekly trips to Vox’s New
York headquarters from his
home in Washington, D.C., where
the company also has an office.
Photographed by Annie Tritt
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
24
M AY 16, 2018
↑ “The optimist in me looks around and
says, ‘Wow, what an amazing, inspiring
time we’re in,’ ” says Bankof, photographed
May 10 at Vox’s New York headquarters.
How have Facebook’s news feed
changes impacted your business?
It’s still early to tell. There are
fewer stories being surfaced
generally, so everyone is seeing
a decline in traffic. But there’s
an uplift for “quality,” too, and
our brands are considered quality.
[Facebook head of news partnerships] Campbell Brown and others
have used us as an example of
GROOMING BY KOREY FITZPATRICK FOR EXCLUSIVE ARTISTS USING BAXTER OF CA
A
s an AOL executive in
Silicon Valley in the early
2000s, Jim Bankoff witnessed firsthand what happens to
an industry after it goes bust.
“I learned that it’s one thing to
get a lot of traction and a whole
different thing to build a business
with a strong foundation,” recalls
the Vox Media chairman and CEO,
who during his seven years with
the internet portal oversaw such
brands as Mapquest, Moviefone
and TMZ. It’s a lesson that stayed
with him when he took control of
a small collection of sports blogs
just after the financial crisis with
the goal of turning that three-person startup into a modern media
company. And it’s something he
still references as he focuses on
helping the now-1,000-employee
Vox Media — publisher of such
sites as The Verge (science and
culture), Eater (food and dining)
and Recode (tech) — weather
the storm brewing in media amid
growing competition for digital
ad dollars from the likes of Google
and Facebook. Rivals BuzzFeed
and Vice missed 2017 revenue projections, and The Wall Street
Journal reported in February that
Vox was slightly unprofitable last
year, though it did meet
revenue targets. “We try to
spend money on things that
matter,” says Bankoff, 49.
“I don’t have an assistant,
which I think annoys people
more than delights them.”
In February, Vox laid off
about 50 employees, mostly
social video producers —
a response to Facebook’s
de-prioritization of content
from media brands. It was
a rare move for the company,
and Vox is now hiring again.
Amid this challenging time for
media, Vox also faced its own
#MeToo moment when, in the
fall, it fired editorial director
Lockhart Steele over misconduct
allegations.
Looking ahead, the company
is expanding into new formats,
Shaquille O’Neal’s
agent gave
Bankof (then at
AOL) this jumbo
shoe as they
explored a partnership
that didn’t come
to pass.
protected is the top of that list, and
fake news. All those are legitimate, important discussions. At
the same time, the work has never
been better. So the optimist in
me looks around and says, “Wow,
what an amazing, inspiring time
we’re in.” Our position vis-a-vis
our peers is: We’re outperforming
them, but that doesn’t mean that
we will forever if we’re not smart.
Our approach, which was to always
focus on quality and focus on
scale, has led to some good results
during a very difficult time where,
unless you are a major platform,
none of us really has a precise
understanding of how the future
is going to unfold.
You recently conducted the first
major layoffs in Vox’s history. Why?
It’s such a fast-moving industry, and you hire people with
particular skill sets, and then
the industry moves. When you’re
a small startup, you can often
just be like, “Oh, instead of doing
that, do this.” But as you get to be
1,000 people, it’s harder. If business models change, and you don’t
adjust your allocations, you’re
going to get into trouble over the
long haul. So we wanted to make
sure to not act that way. At the
same time, we’re hiring this year,
three times as many people as
we laid off. And we’ve hired probably 500 people in the past couple
of years. That hyper growth
in and of itself is a lot to manage.
Fashion site Racked was hit hard
in the layoffs. What’s the future of
that brand?
people who are doing it right.
But we view the Facebook feed
as more of an awareness and
marketing platform as opposed to
a consumption platform. So we’re
not building our business around
Facebook. We never have. We’re
considerably bigger than any of
our digital peers, and we don’t
rely on any one platform for that.
What’s missing from the discussion
about the challenges that digital
media companies are facing today?
How data and privacy are
Racked had a big social video
program, and that was an area
where we had to make a tough
call. It was a really talented team,
but it just didn’t make sense
to invest to create a big Racked
video presence in social right
now. I will say, the Racked content
is doing better than it ever has in
terms of audience numbers, even
post the layoffs. We’ve been able to
invest in the really talented journalists on that team. It’s not going
anywhere. It’s going to evolve;
I don’t have answers on how yet.
RÉSUMÉ
CURRENT TITLE
Chairman and CEO,
Vox Media
PREVIOUS JOB
Senior adviser, Providence
Equity Partners
BIG HIT
Vox’s YouTube channel
recently passed 4 million
subscribers as Vox
prepares to debut its first
Netflix show, Explained.
What’s an area of growth for Vox?
companies were spending a lot
of money to achieve high growth.
We wanted to find that balance
between being aggressive but not
being reckless.
Early on, Vox was more conservative
about expanding into Hollywood
than some peers. Why?
You saw a lot of companies make
announcements or rush into
things and not have anything of
value or stumble along the way.
We wanted to set things up and do
it the right way, to make sure that
we had strong stories and were
working with strong partners. All
that stuff takes a little bit of time.
We’re starting to really see the
fruit of that work, and it’s starting to accelerate now. I suspect
we’ll have hits and misses just like
everyone else. But we’ve certainly
had a lot of success in launching
great creative concepts. And we’re
considerably past any one of our
peers in our success in the first
half of this year.
As a veteran of the AOL-Time
Warner merger, what do you think
of the consolidation happening in
Hollywood today?
Will Vox be profitable this year?
You see companies seeking scale
in different ways. You just have
to make sure that the integration will lead to something truly
transformative. It will be hard
to compete against Google just by
having twice as much undifferentiated advertising banners as
you had before your merger. So
all these companies, in their quest
for scale, also should make sure
they have something that allows
them to compete in a unique way.
Yes. We’ve always taken financial discipline pretty seriously,
even when other venture-backed
How has #MeToo impacted the
culture at Vox?
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
We’re taking anti-harassment very
seriously, making sure we have
a code of conduct that applies to
the company and that everyone
understands they’re accountable
for their behavior and there will
be consequences if they’re not.
And we’re making sure the people
who manage them know how to
report when they see something,
know how to deal with people
who may be victims of abuse or
alleged abuse.
25
M AY 16, 2018
Podcasting. We’re having enormous success with Today
Explained, which is a real hit out
of the gate. It’s doing things in a
different way than some of the
other daily podcasts. We have Ezra
Klein’s show and Kara Swisher
with Recode Decode. The Verge and
SB Nation are doing great work
in audio and building up a really
strong podcast network. Then,
we’re starting to see real traction
in what I’ll call affiliate commerce
work. Our Chorus platform has
a reputation [as] the best kind of
media and publishing platform
in the industry. If we can come in
and, for half the cost, provide a
better platform so that a company
can funnel those costs into creating content, everyone’s going to be
better off.
You spend many hours on the train
between D.C. and New York. How
do you pass the time?
I’m a big podcast consumer.
[Vox’s The Weeds and Recode Media
are some of Bankoff’s favorites.]
I always try to walk to work just so
I can catch up on podcasts. I also
like to keep up on what’s going on
in the world. I’m the same media
nerd I was growing up, so I’m a
voracious reader of the media
reporters who focus on the stuff
that happens in our industry.
A hat from the
early years of
SB Nation, the group
of sports blogs
that served as the
foundation for
what would become
Vox Media.
The Business
Analysis
LEGAL | ERIQ GARDNER
Is Stormy Daniels Getting Her Money’s Worth?
Attorney Michael Avenatti is the toast of cable news, turning his client into the most famous adult film star on the planet.
But is he advancing her court case against Donald Trump — or is the real winner just Michael Avenatti?
A
t THR’s annual New York party on
April 12, by far the most popular media
star was Michael Avenatti, the fasttalking 47-year-old lawyer who has become
— together with his client, adult film actress
Stormy Daniels — a household name. In a
room packed with anchors and cable news
hosts, Avenatti was swamped by admirers
expressing the same sentiment: “Thank you
for your service to the country.”
But just how much service is Avenatti providing his client? For all his constant TV
appearances and expert trolling of the president on social media, is he really mounting
the best possible legal case for Daniels?
He’s turned a skirmish with Trump over an
iffy hush agreement about a decade-ago
affair into a high-stakes political battle with
the White House. And most observers assume
the more Daniels is in the headlines, the
more Avenatti is succeeding. “If both of their
ERIQ GARDNER is The Hollywood Reporter’s
senior editor, New York.
interests are to maximize publicity in order
to enhance future income, then he’s doing an
excellent job,” notes entertainment litigator
Howard King.
But many lawyers believe Avenatti’s strategy is risky. His argument — Trump didn’t sign
the contract with the nondisclosure agreement, so it isn’t valid — isn’t terrible, but it’s
no slam dunk. After all, Daniels did accept
$130,000 for her silence and hasn’t returned
any of it. But if Avenatti ends up losing, the cost
to Daniels could be ruinous. One court document suggested the damages owed to Trump
might reach as high as $20 million.
That high risk is one reason Avenatti’s media
ubiquity is something few lawyers would
recommend. Indeed, in the early days of the
case, a federal judge took a not-too-subtle
dig at Avenatti, declaring that the Daniels suit
was “not the most important matter on the
court’s docket.” That same judge later ruled
against Avenatti by delaying Daniels’ case
after the office of Trump’s onetime personal
lawyer Michael Cohen was raided by federal
Illustration by Læmeur
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
26
M AY 16, 2018
agents, allowing Cohen’s potential future
criminal trial — with its Fifth Amendment
complications — to slow Avenatti’s civil
proceedings.
Avenatti, though, makes no apologies for
his tactics. He believes his daily (sometimes
hourly) CNN and MSNBC appearances ultimately will win the day. “You can argue with
me about a lot of things,” he tells THR, “but
you can’t argue that the media strategy hasn’t
worked. We’re crushing it on the PR front.
The strategy has elevated my client’s stature
— she’s revered now across many demographic groups. It’s elevated the importance
of her lawsuit. And it’s resulted in damaging
information being provided to us by members
of the public who have heard about the case
through the media strategy.”
Nor is he letting up. On April 30, he filed
a defamation suit against Trump on behalf of
Daniels after the president dismissed as a
“con job” her claims that she’d been threatened
in 2011 to keep silent about the Trump affair.
Then, on May 8, Avenatti released documents
that accused Cohen of getting $500,000 from
a Putin-connected Russian billionaire, raising
the question of whether some of that money
was used to pay Daniels’ hush fee.
Avenatti has been successful in highlighting
the murky nature of that $130,000 payment,
but it’s not clear he’s advanced his stated goal
to invalidate her contract. He hasn’t won any
significant point in court, and he can’t truly
take credit for the actions of New York prosecutors investigating Cohen. If the real strategy
is to embarrass Trump and Cohen enough that
they’ll let her out of the hush deal, he hasn’t
achieved that yet either.
On the other hand, nobody has been helping
Avenatti’s cause more than Trump himself.
The fact that the president has not been able
to keep his story straight about the Daniels
payment — first he didn’t know about it, then
he did — has provided immeasurable assistance to Avenatti’s PR push. If Avenatti did
indeed plan to nudge Trump into a minefield
of potential campaign finance violations and
bank fraud laws, then Trump fell into his trap.
The president simply could have let Daniels
tell her story (as she’s been doing anyway), and
the Stormy headlines would have fizzled out
after a couple of news cycles. An old affair
Dedicated to the noble pursuit of
unmaking the world a better place.
There are two types of people. Those who accept
the world for what it is, and those who refuse to see it
for anything less than what it could become. Here at
economic and cultural future by diving headfirst
the University of California
into people’s memories of its oppressive past.
San Diego, we tend to attract
More? Professor Robert Brill made Broadway
the latter. The ever-curious ones.
do a double-take by building sets that incorporate
The defiant. These are the
audiences directly into classic stage productions,
mischievous minds who will
someday change our world simply
because it demands change. We call them Breakers.
Why? Because they’re convinced that the only way
to truly solve a problem is to first break it apart, and
examine every angle to discover what makes it tick.
Take the most recent global financial crisis. And how
our very own Professor Rae Armantrout wielded
her poetry like a spiked club
to crack Wall Street’s greed
wide open. Dictatorial injustice?
Well, literature professor Luis
Martín-Cabrera is fighting to
protect Latin America’s political,
ADVERTISEMENT
like Cabaret. Of course, it’s unconventional thinking
like this that each bright-eyed
student should expect. It’s in
the air here, literally. Listen and
you could catch the sounds
of Professor Roger Reynolds.
He’s famous for mashing together
music and technology to create experiences that
engage on multidimensional levels — something
smack dab in our collective “Breaker” comfort zone.
ucsd.edu/breakthingsbetter
The Business
5 Urgent Things
to Know About
Michael Avenatti, Esq.
Analysis
The Newport Beach-based
lawyer is more than Stormy’s
mouthpiece. He’s sued
Paris Hilton and the NFL and
raced with McDreamy
even as Giuliani has copied Avenatti’s tactics
by going on TV at every opportunity (although
with considerably less flair; Trump is rumored
to be already vexed with his new attorney
for numerous on-air blunders). A more accurate assessment, though, is that Avenatti is
another Gloria Allred, litigating in the press
(or, in this case, cable news) and seizing a platform for himself in a nonstop media age that
demands constant punditry. For now, Avenatti
is advocating for Stormy Daniels, but it’s not
hard to see The Avenatti Show expanding to
other clients and causes for future seasons —
er, cases. To corner this business, the depth of
his legal acumen or the wisdom of his strategy
hardly matter. Avenatti can keep boasting that
he’s winning, and these days, with this president, that seems to be all that’s necessary.
The Math of a Nonstop Media Blitz
Michael Avenatti hasn’t yet pulled of a Full Ginsburg — the media hat trick named after Monica Lewinsky’s onetime
lawyer William H. Ginsburg, who appeared on all five Sunday news programs in February 1998 — although he’s come
close. On May 6, Avenatti shuttled among NBC, CBS and ABC to press Stormy Daniels’ case against Trump lawyer Michael
Cohen. His appearance with Daniels on 60 Minutes on March 25 scored a decade-high 22 million viewers, while their
April 17 appearance on The View (Daniels’ first live interview) brought in 3.34 million viewers, a three-month record. Now
it’s on cable news where Avenatti can be found most nights. Below, THR counts his recent guest spots:
40
9
30
appearances on CNN, including
seven on Anderson Cooper 360º,
six on The Situation Room With
Wolf Blitzer and three on The Lead
With Jake Tapper.
1
appearance on Fox News for
Shannon Bream’s late-night Fox
News@Night. Avenatti was set
for Martha MacCallum’s The Story but
canceled, leading to a feud with Fox.
Source: THR research
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
28
HE’S SUED TRUMP BEFORE
Back in 2005, Avenatti represented a
producer named Mark Bethea, who
claimed he’d come up with the idea for The
Apprentice. His version was called “CEO,”
but it, too, involved
contestants competing in a corporate
environment, and
Bethea even proposed Trump as the
host. The case was
settled out of court.
HE SUED PARIS HILTON …
One of his clients, actress
Zeta Graf, alleged in 2005
that Hilton had been planting
negative stories about her
in the media. The case settled out of court.
Hilton
… AND THE NATIONAL
FOOTBALL LEAGUE …
In 2013, Avenatti represented customers who had
purchased tickets for
Super Bowl XLV who ended
up not getting their seats
because of construction at
Cowboys Stadium. The case
was settled out of court.
Total cable news appearances from March 9 to press time
appearances on MSNBC,
including four spots on The Last
Word With Lawrence O’Donnell,
three on Morning Joe and one on
The Rachel Maddow Show.
Daniels and
Avenatti
on The View
on April 17.
HE DRIVES REALLY, REALLY FAST
Between filing motions and appearing on
cable news, Avenatti races sports cars,
especially Porsches and Ferraris. At one
point, he was on a racing team with Patrick
Dempsey, but he and Dempsey appear to
have had a falling
out (the actor sued
him over a dispute
about a shared
business venture
with Tully’s Cofee).
“He’s an adrenaline junkie,” says
Avenatti’s GWU law
school professor
Jonathan Turley.
M AY 16, 2018
… AND JIM CARREY
Just before taking on
Stormy Daniels as a client,
Avenatti represented the
family of Cathriona White
in a wrongful death suit
Carrey
against the comedian, who
had dated White before she committed suicide. White’s family withdrew the
suit. — E.G.
VIEW: HEIDI GUTMAN/ABC. BARCELONA: HOCH ZWEI/CORBIS/GETTY IMAGES. APPRENTICE: NBC/PHOTOFEST. HILTON: JON KOPALOFF/GETTY IMAGES. STEELERS: MIKE EHRMANN/GETTY IMAGES. CARREY: ERNESTO RUSCIO/GETTY IMAGES.
with a porn star would today be the least of
the president’s troubles.
But that hasn’t happened, and Trump is
nothing if not stubborn and litigious. He and
Cohen could play this whole case out, enduring the negative press and intrigue with an eye
on winning the ultimate case and potentially
sticking Daniels with a massive judgment that
would generate its own headlines. (Avenatti
insists his bills are being paid by Daniels, real
name Stephanie Clifford, or by crowdfunded
donations, and any suggestion he’s backed by a
left-wing PAC is “utter bullshit.”)
And even as he takes risks for his client,
Avenatti seems to be positioning himself for
a bright future. Vanity Fair reported that he
approached MSNBC president Phil Griffin
about getting his own show, although Avenatti
later claimed it was the other way around.
Regardless, Avenatti’s profile-boosting posturing certainly will be a win for him. “This
ceased being about ‘the law’ and ‘her rights’
about three seconds after they filed the lawsuit,” says Robert Schwartz, a litigation partner
at Irell & Manella. “There is no meaningful
downside. The coverage will drive business to
him for years.”
Rudy Giuliani, who (for the time being)
has the gig of Trump’s personal lawyer, has
been calling Avenatti an “ambulance chaser,”
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Mora straw
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Eugenia Kim
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Emily-London
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T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
33
M AY 16, 2018
Style
Fashion
AFTER
BEFORE
How commentators
embody both personal
and cable-news
aesthetics on-air
Press Corp
Makeovers
for the Trump
News Cycle
KIMBERLY GUILFOYLE
Costa’s jacket makeover from July 2017 to May 6 on MSNBC,
talking Robert Mueller’s threat to subpoena Trump.
music videos were for rock musicians; [it’s] impossible
to ignore their presentation.” (Ironically, print journalists don’t like to appear concerned about it, as they and
their publicists declined to comment.)
Even cable-news hosts are noticing the uptick in their
guests’ appearance, though they are, by and large,
operating without stylists and buying their own clothes.
“Maggie Haberman is developing great style,” says CNN
Tonight anchor Don Lemon. Exhibit A: The Times’ White
House correspondent recently appeared on CNN looking coolly telegenic in a sleek navy jacket and magenta
T-shirt the day after Trump attacked her on Twitter for
a story she wrote about his relationship with attorney
Michael Cohen. It was a dramatic sartorial shift from
earlier in the administration, when she was photographed
clad in perfunctory office slacks and top. Likewise, the
Post’s Costa, who also hosts PBS’ Washington Week, has
leaned out and sharpened his style since Trump took
office, trading poorly fitting jackets for tailored suits
on shows like MSNBC’s The 11th Hour With Brian Williams.
Carter says he constantly scans cable news for new
Real Time guests. “We are visual animals, and in the first
15 seconds of a broadcast, you make a judgment about
that person’s appearance — often you aren’t even listening
to what they say,” he says. New York wardrobe consultants Jesse Garza and Joe Lupo, who style media stars as
founders of Visual Therapy, say the advent of HDTV has
allowed for a greater latitude of on-camera style. Men “can
wear patterns; you can wear pinstripes without it being
distorted,” says Lupo, but “you don’t want to wear a microcheck.” Garza advises against getting
too creative, though, citing those
who “go overboard with accessories.”
AFTER
Wine-Banks’ love of brooches might
be the exception, having inspired a
Twitter meme with its own hashtag,
#jillspin. Her pins range from an eagle
to symbolize patriotism and a seal
for Washington’s “three-ring circus”
to her witch collection telegraphing
“that this is not a witch hunt,” despite
Trump’s protests. She deadpans,
“I could wear that one almost every
Haberman’s orange top worn during the Obama administration gets upgraded
day now.”
to a trim navy blazer to discuss Trump’s relationship with Cohen on April 23 on CNN.
he hourly barrage of headlines generated by
President Trump’s administration (Mueller!
Russia! North Korea summit!) has raised up a
small army of print journalists and legal commentators
serving as de facto, on-call correspondents for Fox News,
MSNBC and CNN. Reporters from Maggie Haberman,
Matt Apuzzo and Jeremy Peters of The New York Times; to
The Washington Post’s Robert Costa, Ashley Parker and
Phil Rucker; to the Boston Herald’s Kimberly Atkins and AP’s
Jonathan Lemire are having to file a print scoop, then rush
into the studio to do a cable-news hit to discuss it — or
are called in to comment on what the president did, said
or tweeted (or on someone’s reaction to what he did, said
or tweeted) that same day. “Every hour there is something
breaking, and every hour it has been insane,” says Jill WineBanks, a former Watergate prosecutor turned MSNBC legal
analyst who says she often goes on-air several times a
day. “I go to the studio prepared to talk about the 14th or
Fifth Amendment, and the producer says: ‘Forget everything. Rudy Giuliani just went wacko.’ You’re commenting
live, there’s no prep, and that’s just how it is.”
From the breakneck pace of Trump’s
Twitter feed to panel discussions that act
as nightly programming cornerstones,
so-called ink-stained wretches have had
to step up their style game to keep apace
with their increased appearances. Scott
Carter, executive producer of HBO’s
BEFORE
Real Time With Bill Maher, says, “Cable
news has become to journalism what
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
34
M AY 16, 2018
stuck to the Fox
News playbook
while discussing N.Y.
Attorney General
Eric Schneiderman’s
resignation with
a body-con dress in
patriotic blue.
RONAN FARROW
punched up his
preppy style with a red
necktie on CNN as he
discussed breaking
the Schneiderman story
in The New Yorker.
KIMBERLY ATKINS
of the Boston Herald
favors prints when
discussing Michael
Cohen finances on
MSNBC.
CHARLES HURT
of The Washington
Times wore a
dapper brown suit
and mint patterned
necktie as he parsed
a Trump immigration
deal on Fox News.
JILL WINE-BANKS
donned one of her
signature brooches while
commenting on the
Cohen case on MSNBC.
COSTA: BENJO ARWAS/CONTOUR BY GETTY IMAGES. PRESS: WILLIAM B. PLOWMAN/NBC. HABERMAN: MARK VON HOLDEN/INVISION/AP.
As all eyes lock on cable news,
print reporters upgrade
their wardrobes for pundit duty:
‘Maggie Haberman is developing
great style’ By Vincent Boucher
T
24/7 Politico
Style
Style
Real Estate
HOT
LOTS
Malibu
Just Sold
FIRST
LOOK
$12 M
1
2
3
1 An exclusive rendering of one of the five houses that will make up Gillen’s
The Case, which will come to market in 2020. Each home will range from 10,500 to
13,500 square feet and boast stunning views. 2 The living room inside the main
house of Johnny Carson’s onetime estate, which sits on 4 acres and is listed for
$82 million by Chris Cortazzo of Coldwell Banker and Linda May of Hilton & Hyland.
3 The Agency’s Sandro Dazzan holds the $21 million listing on this Malibu Colony
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Selling in Malibu? ‘Now’s the Time’
A string of eye-popping deals (including an L.A. County record $110 million sale) has made
the ‘coveted parts’ of the 20-square-mile beach enclave hotter than ever By Peter Kiefer
the highest price ever paid in L.A. County — for now.
or anyone with property in Malibu, it’s making
“A door has opened up with these recent sales that has
less and less sense to sit on the fence. Take Debbie
given greater value than we have seen in the past,” says
and Damon Fisher. Whatever hesitation the couple
The Agency co-founder Paul Lester, who is listing designer
had about selling their 11-acre equestrian property was
erased after a recent series of head-spinning real estate
and builder Scott Gillen’s The Case, a five-home developdeals. “The market is just so hot — now’s the time,” says
ment atop a bluffside tract next to Malibu Colony. The Case
Debbie, who purchased the ranch on Winding Way from
homes were planned to be in the $40 million to $60 milAcademy Award-winning director George Roy Hill (Butch
lion range, but that pricing is being re-evaluated.
It’s not just the super-luxury market that’s hot. In the
Cassidy and the Sundance Kid) in 2001 for $2.3 million
first three months of 2018, Malibu sales were up 36 per(they later added an adjacent parcel for about $1.5 million);
cent over the same period last year, according to Douglas
the property is now listed for $14 million.
Elliman. And with high-end sumLocals were floored after David
mer renters often turning into
Gefen’s estate sold last May for
buyers, no one is predicting a cool$85 million, a (brief) Malibu record.
ing off. Coldwell Banker’s Susan
Then came news in December
that Kurt Rappaport, co-founder of
Monus, a 28-year Malibu resident,
predicts new records could be set
Westside Estate Agency, had sold
by the end of year. “We are talking
his Carbon Beach home (including
about 21 [square] miles, and there
furnishings and much of the art)
are only small pockets within that
to Canadian billionaire Daryl Katz
that are coveted parts and they
for $120 million. Weeks later, Hard
don’t shake loose very often,” she
Rock Cafe founder Peter Morton
says. “People know if they leave
sold his Richard Meier-designed
The Fishers’ Sundance Ranch is listed for $14 million by
they can’t get back in.”
Carbon Beach home for $110 million,
The Agency’s Craig Knizek and Denise Snanoudj.
F
NBA great Kevin
Durant purchased this
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oceanfront terraces.
On the Market
3510 CROSS CREEK LANE
Five-time Emmynominated producer
Josh Donen (House
of Cards) is selling his
3,300-square-foot
midcentury four-bedroom home (with pool
and spa) in the guardgated enclave known
as Serra Retreat, via
The Agency’s Cooper
Mount, for $5 million.
Malibu
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Like many in Hollywood, Smallville actress
Allison Mack sought spiritual guidance outside
the mainstream, a desire that led her to check
out a women’s empowerment seminar by
Nxivm. But 12 years later, she stands accused
of human trafficking with the group’s founder.
Through interviews with close friends and
ex-members, THR reveals how a charismatic
fan favorite morphed into an alleged sex slaver
and explores the persistent allure and
pernicious effect of cults on entertainment
By Scott Johnson and Rebecca Sun X Illustration by Leonardo Santamaria
ONE SATURDAY MORNING IN LATE 2006,
Mack arrived for her bail hearing in Brooklyn on May 4.
According to one of her alleged sex slaves, Mack threatened
that if she refused sex with Raniere she would be destroyed.
several dozen people filed into an unremarkable hotel conference room in Vancouver,
British Columbia, for a two-day introduction
to Jness. The program was billed as a “women’s movement” within Nxivm (pronounced
NEX-ee-um), an umbrella organization
offering a host of personal growth courses
attended by thousands of people around the
world. Chairs were arranged classroom-style
in the room, coffee and tea on offer in the back.
Nxivm’s president, Nancy Salzman, a bespectacled brunette with a bob and acute, sharply
drawn eyebrows, rose to speak. Salzman, a
nurse who co-founded Nxivm in 1998 with its
leader, Keith Raniere, began with a brief history of gender relations. “She talked about
how women have been raised to be monogamous and how men’s general nature is to
be more polygamous, to spread their seed,”
recalls Susan Dones, a Nxivm member at the
time. “I found it really archaic.”
Dones wasn’t some recent Nxivm initiate.
She was a “field trainer” with her own Nxivm
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
center in Washington state, where she
still lives, and had taught courses in Ireland
and Mexico. She embraced the teachings of
Raniere, who had adopted the title “Vanguard”
from a favorite arcade game he’d played as a
kid, in which the destruction of one’s enemies
increased one’s own power. As Dones listened
to Salzman that morning, she deduced that
“they were introducing the idea of polygamy,
but with a soft sell, laying the groundwork.”
Dones, who would leave Nxivm in 2009, knew
from personal experience that Raniere maintained a harem of more than a dozen women.
In private conversations, Salzman had repeatedly told Dones, a lesbian, that “the world
wasn’t ready” for Raniere’s radical ideas about
polygamy, incest, sociopathy and power.
For this particular Jness weekend, Raniere
had dispatched key members of his senior
team. Sara Bronfman — who, along with her
sister Clare, was an heir to the vast Seagram
Co. fortune and a source of substantial financial backing for Raniere — had flown out on
her private jet. Salzman’s daughter Lauren,
38
M AY 16, 2018
In April, 12 years after that first meeting,
federal prosecutors in New York indicted
Mack, 35, and Raniere, 57, on three felony counts
of sex trafficking and conspiracy to commit
forced labor, alleging that Nxivm provides cover
for a brutal, coercive sex ring that requires its
subjects to turn over sexually compromising
pictures and other damaging “collateral” as
a form of insurance against breaking with the
group. Raniere was arrested in March after a
six-week manhunt led FBI investigators to a
lavish $10,000-a-week compound near Puerto
Vallarta, Mexico, where he and several women,
including Mack, had been staying. Federales
hauled him away in a blue sedan while Lauren
Salzman and Mack chased after them. Mack
returned to Brooklyn, where she’d been living
since 2012; she was arrested there April 20.
Prosecutors believe that the actress with the
bubbly charisma was also the leader of a secretive sex cult within the Nxivm structure called
DOS, which stands for Dominus Obsequious
Sororium, or Master Over Slave Women. (Other
reports have called it “The Vow.”) In this group,
Mack allegedly occupied the second-mostsenior position (only Raniere was above her)
as a “master” and recruited “slaves” from
within Nxivm who were held down by other
slaves and branded with a hot cauterizing
pen. Prosecutors say this was done forcefully
and without consent, and also without telling the victims the nature of the scar that would
form: a ragged, stamp-size welt that turned
out to be an amalgam of Mack’s and Raniere’s
initials: K, R, A and M.
In early May, Mack waived her right to a
speedy trial, opening up the possibility of making a plea deal, although none has yet been
struck. A source familiar with the case says
prosecutors remain open to talks. Mack was
released on $5 million bail into her parents’
custody. In the years since her first exposure to the Jness women’s empowerment
seminar in Vancouver, she had traveled to
the nether reaches of the Nxivm identity
and into the darkest recesses of Raniere’s
pathology. The trial is set to begin Oct. 1.
If convicted, both Mack and Raniere face at
least 15 years behind bars.
THE HISTORY OF HOLLY WOOD IS SHOT
through with stories of cults’ allure and
destruction, from the long reign of the Manson
family to the hippie-ish spiritual sect called
Full Circle, founded by former Party of Five star
Andrew Keegan. Hollywood attracts creative,
artistically minded people with an openness
to unconventional spirituality whose careers
and sense of self-worth are often bound up in
esoteric, even arcane searches.
“I find that the vast majority of people who
join these groups are extremely intelligent,
open-minded, kind, loving people,” says Jodi
Wille, who has spent years researching cults
and who directed The Source Family, a feature
film about Father Yod and the radical sex-,
drugs- and rock ’n’ roll-fueled sect he ran in
the 1970s. It doesn’t help that Hollywood is
filled with vulnerable, empathic artists, many
of whom “are lost or damaged, and so if you
get a predator in the mix, whether it’s Harvey
Weinstein or the leader of Nxivm, they’re
going to go for it,” says Wille. “They offer other
forms of support that you can’t get from your
agent or your manager.”
Cults, like companies or NGOs or virtually
any product, benefit from celebrities embracing their brand. “Cults seek out people in
Hollywood because those people have cultural
influence,” says Chapman Way, who directed
1 Actress Edmondson showed of the brand she was given as a DOS sex slave, an account she detailed in The New York
Times. 2 A 2009 photo of Raniere in Albany, New York, where Mack bought a house to be closer to the Nxivm founder.
3 To most members, Nxivm was not a nefarious sex traficking cult but the sponsor of a self-improvement course called
Executive Success Programs (ESP), which also had its ofices, pictured here, in Albany.
2
1
3
PREVIOUS SPREAD: JEMAL COUNTESS/GETTY IMAGES. THIS SPREAD: EDMONDSON: RUTH FREMSON/THE NEW YORK TIMES. NXIVM: NATHANIEL BROOKS/THE NEW YORK TIMES. RANIERE: PATRICK DODSON.
a high-ranking member, also came. The reason for the charm offensive: They knew that
Allison Mack, then 23 and an actress on The
CW’s Smallville, would be in the audience,
brought by co-star Kristin Kreuk, who had
recently joined the group.
This wasn’t the first time Nxivm had rolled
out the red carpet (Dones calls it “love-bombing”) for VIPs. They’d done it for Dynasty star
Linda Evans and for the uber-wealthy sons and
daughters of disgraced Mexican politicians,
who had been flocking to Nxivm in droves.
Mack wasn’t the first Hollywood catch, but she
was a big one — a fan favorite with vivid green
eyes and a bubbly charisma. This was her first
exposure to Nxivm, and the group’s senior leaders wanted to make it special.
Dones says that Lauren Salzman attached
herself to Mack that weekend, eating meals
with her. “By the end of the weekend, Lauren
and Allison were like best friends,” she says.
When the seminar concluded, Mack accepted
an invitation to fly on the Bronfmans’ private
jet back to Albany, New York, to meet Raniere
in the flesh. They told her Raniere could help
her with her acting career. This was a rare
development, even for a VIP; most high-profile
initiates had to complete at least one 16-day
“intensive” at a cost of $7,500 before being
granted an in-person meeting with Vanguard.
A couple of weeks later, when Dones traveled
to Nxivm’s corporate offices and training
facility in Colonie, north of Albany, she was
surprised to see Mack still there. One Friday
night, when Raniere gathered his followers,
male and female, in a nearby public gym for
a weekly game of volleyball, she found Mack
sitting in the bleachers, smiling contentedly
at the players. “She said she was having a great
time,” says Dones.
“HER CELEBRITY WAS HER APPEAL.
SHE WAS SOMEBODY WHO COULD
REALLY SELL IT. SHE WAS THE TOM
CRUISE OF NXIVM.”
CULT DEPROGRAMMER ROSS, ON MACK
the recent Netflix cult docuseries Wild Wild
Country with his brother Maclain. In 1955,
Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard announced
an initiative called “Project Celebrity,” encouraging his adherents to “hunt” a list of some 60
luminaries, including Walt Disney, Greta Garbo
and Orson Welles, like “quarry.”
Wild Wild Country, about the Rajneeshpuram
commune in Oregon in the mid-1980s, touches
briefly on the story of Francoise Ruddy (ex-wife
of Godfather producer Albert Ruddy), who rose
to the sect’s highest levels. “If you’re successful in Hollywood, you’re a rare breed who has
achieved your goals,” says Chapman Way.
“When people find that success doesn’t bring
them the absolute fulfillment they thought
it would, they go on these journeys, and cults
often fulfill that vacuum.” Jessica Goldberg,
who created the Hulu drama The Path, starring
Aaron Paul as a cult follower, found herself
asking whether actors might be particularly
susceptible. “You have to wonder what that
kind of adoration does,” she says. “There’s a
need to feel like your life is more important
than everyone else’s.”
By the time Mack joined Nxivm in 2006,
she had spent 20 years — nearly her entire
life — in show business. “She was so hungry
for something bigger, some kind of sign [that
would show] the purpose and meaning of
life,” says Step by Step actress Christine Lakin,
who was friends with Mack as a fellow child
actor in the ’90s. Mack also was undeniably
famous, with a capacity to draw in others.
“Her celebrity was her appeal,” says Rick Ross,
a self-proclaimed cult deprogrammer
who has been involved in decades of litigation
against Nxivm and Raniere. “There were
other women who were pretty, but she was the
one who was so poised, so good on camera. She
was somebody who could really sell it.”
The middle child of three, Mack was born in
1982 to American parents in Preetz, Germany,
where her father was performing as an opera
singer. Two years later, the family moved
to Southern California, where at age 4 Mack
started acting in commercials. She enrolled at
the famed Young Actors Space in Los Angeles,
training ground of Keri Russell, Elijah Wood
and Leonardo DiCaprio, and made her film
debut in 1989’s Police Academy 6. Steady work
followed, and by 16 she had moved from northwest Orange County to L.A., where she lived
with friends in an apartment complex. “It was
as normal as ‘normal’ can be in this business,”
says someone who worked closely with Mack
throughout her career and who, like many of
the more than a dozen people who spoke to
THR about her, asked to remain anonymous.
“Her parents were just like, ‘This is what she
wanted to do.’ ”
After high school, Mack was planning to
study theater abroad when a casting director persuaded her to audition for Smallville,
a new WB drama about Superman’s teenage
years. “I was 18, recently in love and getting
ready to go to theater school in London,
so my life was going in a very specific direction … and it wasn’t a TV show that filmed in
Vancouver!” Mack recalled in a 2011 interview.
But she booked the part of Chloe Sullivan,
a proto-Lois Lane who becomes the best
friend of a young Clark Kent. She relocated to
Canada, where the show was shooting, and
seemed to settle into a stable, healthy routine. But some of her friends say she also was
insecure about having missed college, and
compensated by seeking alternative sources of
wisdom. “I have a tendency to say I am stupid.
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
I [have become] very comfortable chalking
things up to the fact that I don’t have a ‘proper
education,’ ” Mack wrote on her blog in 2007.
“The truth is … I am an eternal student, and I
am loving all the opportunities I have to grow.”
Meanwhile, Nxivm’s push into
Vancouver’s film and TV community had
been spearheaded by Barbara Bouchey,
a businesswoman and senior Nxivm executive who dated Raniere for several years.
One of Bouchey’s first targets was director
Mark Vicente, whose film What the #$*!
Do We (K)now!? explored the meaning of life.
Bouchey had courted him aggressively. “I
helped enroll these people,” says Bouchey,
who left Nxivm in 2009. Vicente, in turn,
had recruited Sarah Edmondson, a Canadian
actress based in Vancouver who, with
Bouchey’s help, opened up doors to locally
filmed productions like Battlestar Galactica
(whose actors Grace Park and Nicki
Clyne were also recruited) and Smallville.
By the time of that first Jness meeting, Mack was into her fifth season of the
show. She began taking Nxivm intensives
more regularly. In the early days of her
Nxivm membership, she hosted a dinner
at her apartment overlooking Vancouver’s
Coal Harbour. She had adorned her place
with the trappings of a spiritual seeker: art
from the subcontinent and many Buddhas.
Bouchey was one of the guests.
“It was really Bouchey that put her under
her spell,” says Mack’s former roommate. “I
heard three years of how wonderful Barbara
Bouchey was and how she was so great with
business. Allison had such a desire to be
a strong businesswoman and have a mentor.”
During dinner, Mack told her guests that
“she grew up in a more progressive, uninhibited environment,” recalls Bouchey, trying
to make sense of Mack’s later trajectory. “Maybe
the more bizarre sexual things didn’t seem so
bizarre to her.”
N XIV M DIDN’T EXPOSE MOST OF ITS
followers to anything overtly sexual. Raniere
had designed it that way, with a curriculum that ranged from childhood education
to an acting studio called The Source.
Nxivm’s flagship enterprise was its Executive
Success Programs (ESP), which melded
courses on business with self-help philosophy. Advancement through levels (and fees)
promised increasing knowledge and achievement, much like Scientology.
Prosecutors allege that Raniere ran Nxivm
like a pyramid scheme, as he had done in the
1990s with his previous company, Consumers’
Buyline. Officials in New York had shut that
down after a long investigation. Nxivm was
more deliberately New Agey, with an emphasis on self-expression and personal growth.
Raniere espoused a philosophy that he
invented called Rational Inquiry, based on
41
M AY 16, 2018
NXIVM’S OTHER ACTRESSES
From left: Kreuk, Clyne, Park
likens the coercive method to one used by
Warren Jeffs, the Mormon polygamist.
According to a March letter from
Department of Justice officials to a federal
judge, Raniere had a “history of sexual
assault and other abuse of girls and women”
dating back to the 1980s, when he was in his
20s. In one instance, he is alleged to have
had sexual intercourse with a 12-year-old girl;
in another, with a 15-year-old. “Keith said
to me multiple times that it was OK for little
girls to pleasure their fathers sexually,”
recalls one former harem members. “He
thought that was fine.”
Raniere had a philosophy he called The Fall,
which, as a former Nxivm member described
it, taught that “it felt really good to do bad
things,” while doing good things “felt really
bad.” Other former students had similar
experiences. “There was an obsession with discussing people who didn’t have a conscience,”
says another ex-Nxivm member, “and I saw
people develop less and less of a conscience
and less and less empathy as time went on.” In
early May, a Nxivm doctor and Raniere devotee,
Brandon Porter, was arrested on charges of
experimenting on humans by forcing them to
watch horrifically violent rape and snuff films
while filming them. “Porter was breaking all
kinds of research and medical laws,” says someone who knows him well and warned him to
stop on several occasions. But Porter, allegedly
a devout follower of Raniere, wouldn’t listen.
“He’s mad at the whistleblowers; he’s totally
brainwashed.”
Those who do speak out are subject to
harassment and litigation. After her 2009
“ALL OF KEITH’S WOMEN DROP
WEIGHT. THEIR HEADS GET TOO BIG
FOR THEIR BODIES SO THEY BECOME
BOBBLEHEADS. IT’S SCARY-LOOKING.”
exit, Bouchey endured years of lawsuits by
Nxivm and the Bronfmans, who claimed
Bouchey had caused them harm by releasing
their private financial information (all
have been dismissed). It’s estimated that the
Bronfman sisters, whose family once owned
Universal, have shelled out upward of $150 million and have even borrowed against their
future inheritance to back Raniere’s needs
and bankroll lawsuits against detractors.
The imperative was to keep the movement
growing or, as Nxivm often said, to keep “the
mission” moving forward.
Around 2009, one former member close to
Raniere says that he actively tried to replicate
Scientology’s outreach tactics to improve the
profile of ESP as a legitimate class. (While
Scientology is recognized as a religion in many
countries, including the U.S., Nxivm is not.)
Nxivm had gotten some bad press that year
and saw a wave of defections. Its website was
shoddy, the marketing poor. “The group’s leaders were studying Scientology and saying they
wanted to be more like them — more visually appealing, more streamlined, more like
the cool kids,” says this former member. “And
they wanted people who were attractive and
compelling; that’s why they went after people
like Allison Mack.” As Ross says, “She was the
Tom Cruise of Nxivm.”
MACK WAS AN ENTHUSIASTIC
proselytizer, convincing even her parents
to take courses. “She told me about Jness
and ESP within 30 or 40 minutes of meeting
her,” says one woman whom Mack hired as
a consultant. “She said she only wanted ‘ethical people on her team.” Mack, though, was
clearly already aware of the organization’s
controversial reputation; she told her new
staffer to google the group by way of inoculating her against the critiques. “You might find
all kinds of bad information out there, and
I just want you to go in aware and informed,”
Mack told her. “Rick Ross is just trying to
[push us down].” The woman ended up in
Nxivm for six years. “The mistake I made is
that I believed Allison over everybody else.”
A close friend and former roommate of
Mack’s, who previously had rebuffed her solicitations, agreed to have lunch with her, only
to find that the rendezvous was actually an
ESP recruitment meeting. “They wanted to
have an image of success, so it was at a multimillion-dollar property overlooking the ocean
in the Pacific Palisades,” he says. “You drive
up and immediately see the wealth.” Mack
told him that she would pay for his courses.
Instead, he confronted her and told her she
was in a cult. “If you used that word, you
were done,” he says. “You were excommunicated from her life.”
Raniere deployed his young TV stars to
recruit college students, dispatching Mack,
Kreuk and Clyne to emcee A Cappella
42
KREUK: ARAYA DIAZ/WIREIMAGE. CLYNE: BOBBY BANK/WIREIMAGE. PARK: MIKE COPPOLA/GETTY IMAGES FOR ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY. WILD: NETFLIX. PATH: JEFF NEUMANN/HULU.
the idea that deeply held convictions formed
in childhood often were wrong and needed
changing. Some of his other ideas were more
fringe. One of his many bizarre patents, this
one filed in 2007, purports to be a method to
“rehabilitate a type of sociopath … who commits destructive acts.” Raniere deems these
sociopaths “Luciferians,” writing that “a
Luciferian realizes his desires by any means —
without consideration for others and without
remorse. A Luciferian is a person lacking in
conscience and loyalty to others. He commonly
employs manipulation and deceit to achieve
his desired end and is therefore capable of acts
that could be highly destructive to those that
interact with him. A Luciferian, therefore, typically experiences pleasure or gratification
in situations where ‘normal’ people would be
repulsed or disturbed.”
In hindsight, Raniere could have been
describing himself. According to several
sources, he demanded that the women in his
harem be thin to the point of near-starvation.
He required that they restrict themselves to
diets of 900 calories or less a day and insisted
that they report their weight status daily. A
former harem member says that if Raniere
had difficulty getting an erection, which was
often, he blamed it on her weight. She says
he told his followers that Oprah Winfrey was
not an ethical human being because she was
fat. According to several reports, he preferred
ample pubic hair and asked women not to
shave or wax. Raniere didn’t seem to adhere
to the same dietary restrictions he imposed
on others — in numerous public videos, he
appears, if not exactly chubby, at least amply
proportioned. “That’s his sacrifice for humanity,” quips the former harem member. “He
doesn’t have time to work out because he’s
working so hard for everyone else.”
Raniere told the women in his harem
that they were all connected via his sperm.
In practice, this created opportunities for
psychological manipulation because “if one
woman is having an issue, it hurts Keith,
and if he’s hurting, you’re hurting,” explains
the former harem member. “So if you do
something he doesn’t like, you get an army
of women, sister wives, coming after you.
You get ostracized. No one wants to socialize
with you unless you get back in line.” She
Innovations, a festival for university singing groups that, according to comments left
on an online forum right after the event, left
several attendees “unsettled” over the hosts’
repeated requests for personal information,
such as Social Security numbers. The outreach
wasn’t entirely successful. “The college kids
got uncomfortable,” says Bouchey. “Students
felt pressured to join the club.”
Mack tried landing other stars too.
7th Heaven alum Beverley Mitchell revealed
on Lakin’s Worst Ever podcast that Mack
once tried to get her to take a Jness seminar.
The two had known each other since they were
kids. Mitchell declined, and Mack later wrote
her a sorrowful email lamenting her response.
(She also attempted to entice Kelly Clarkson
and Emma Watson over Twitter, to no avail.)
As Mack drifted away from any friends
who declined to join Nxivm, her social circle
grew increasingly insular. With her role on
Smallville winding down, she purchased
a house in Clifton Park, near Albany, expanding Nxivm’s presence there and dedicating
herself to Jness. “She really believed that teaching the difference between men and women
was good, that it was pure and noble,” says her
former consultant. “I don’t think any of us
saw where it was going, that it was teaching
women to be subservient.”
Several sources close to Mack say that before
Nxivm, she was driven by genuine humanitarian impulses. That started to change soon after
she joined. In 2007, her fans donated more
than $4,000 as a 25th birthday gift to benefit
a cause of Mack’s choosing, a microfinance
organization to help female entrepreneurs in
Mexico. The donation was ready to go when
Mack suddenly redirected the funds to World
Audience Productions, a company owned by
Lauren Salzman. A source familiar with the
transaction suspects Raniere got involved, adding that he taught against giving to charities.
“Her personality [increasingly] turned
inside out,” the former employee says, adding
that Mack began berating and humiliating
her for small infractions. If Mack’s critiques
of others were scathing, her own self-esteem
wasn’t much better. She told her employee
she would never choose to have kids of her own
because she was “so fucked up.”
One woman who had been a member of
Raniere’s harem for years but declined to be
named out of fear for her safety recalls running into Mack after an ashtanga yoga class
around 2010. “I took one look at Allison, and I
knew she was involved romantically and sexually with Keith,” says the woman. “She had a
gray pallor that was common to Keith’s women
because they all start to get a little sickly. I
know I did. They drop weight. Their heads get
too big for their bodies so they become bobbleheads. It’s scary-looking.”
Smallville ended in 2011, after 10 seasons.
Mack continued acting, nabbing a recurring
The Religious Fervor to Find
the Next Wild Wild Country
The industry has long mined cults, but Netflix’s buzzy docuseries, combined
with Nxivm headlines, has heated up the market BY BRYN ELISE SANDBERG
C
ults have long been
fodder for television and film, from
dramatic depictions like
Paul Thomas Anderson’s
2012 The Master and Hulu’s
recently canceled The Path
to silly treatments, like
Netflix’s Unbreakable Kimmy
Schmidt, which will launch its
fourth and final season May
30. The past year alone saw
American Horror Story: Cult
and Paramount Network’s
Waco, starring Taylor Kitsch
as David Koresh.
Still, recent NXIVM headlines, combined with the
buzz surrounding Netflix
docuseries Wild Wild
Country, from Jay and Mark
Duplass — which explores
an ’80s Oregon cult led by
Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh
— have made guru-themed
projects especially hot.
There’s already a fictionalized Nxivm series in the
works at Megan Ellison’s
Annapurna, which optioned
the rights of The New York
Times’ October exposé
“Inside a Secretive Group
Where Women Are Branded.”
“Cults are absolutely
in the zeitgeist,” says Justin
Benson, who co-directed,
with Aaron Moorhead, sci-fi
horror film The Endless,
about a UFO death cult,
which premiered at Tribeca.
Other cult content in the
pipeline includes the second
season of USA’s anthology
series The Sinner, which stars
Below: Sheela, the Rajneesh cult’s second-incommand, in Wild Wild Country, from executive
producers Mark and Jay Duplass. Right: Aaron
Paul preaches to the converted in The Path.
Carrie Coon as a spiritual
seeker who becomes the “de
facto leader of a mysterious
commune.” Breaking Bad’s
Vince Gilligan has a limited
series in development at HBO
about Jonestown, the religious sect led by Jim Jones
in Guyana that ended in mass
suicide. Jake Gyllenhaal also
plans to tell the Jonestown
story in a scripted cult
anthology that A+E Studios
is shopping.
Though Charles Manson
died in November, the
horrific murders his followers committed continue
to captivate the industry. Quentin Tarantino is
finishing casting Once
Upon a Time in Hollywood,
starring Leonardo DiCaprio
and Brad Pitt, set against
the backdrop of the Manson
murders, with Margot Robbie
in talks to play Sharon Tate.
role in FX’s Wilfred in 2012, but the world she
turned to increasingly belonged to Raniere.
“If she did something well, it was [all credited
to] Keith,” says Mack’s business associate.
“She’d say that Keith has unconventional ways
that no one really understands.”
MACK’S INCREASED PRESENCE IN ALBAN Y
turned out to be a pivotal move. In the coming years, Raniere would suffer several blows.
The women he trusted most — Dones calls
this group “the wolf pack” — began to disappear. One trusted confidante, Barbara Jeske,
died in 2013. Another adviser, Kristin Keeffe,
defected in 2014, taking Raniere’s child, Gaelen,
and reams of Nxivm documents with her. And
a third confidante, Pam Cafritz, the daughter
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
43
M AY 16, 2018
Hilary Duff is set to portray the murdered actress in
the upcoming horror film
The Haunting of Sharon Tate,
while Matt Smith stars as
Manson in the indie Charlie
Says. Emma Cline’s debut
novel, The Girls, which offers
an account of the Manson
family told from the perspective of the women in the
cult, recently was acquired
by producer Scott Rudin.
Meanwhile, Wild Wild
Country itself may be getting a scripted retelling.
Sources say prominent Indian
actor Aamir Khan has bought
the life rights for Rajneesh
acolyte Ma Anand Sheela.
“Our feeling is we kind of did
what we wanted to do,” says
Chapman Way, who made the
docuseries with his brother
Maclain. “But I’d be really
excited for someone to take
the ball and run with it.”
of D.C. socialites and perhaps Raniere’s most
trusted and loyal lieutenant, died of cancer
late in 2016. “These three were his best, most
stabilizing women,” says Frank Parlato, who
was the first person to expose the DOS group
on his blog, which led to a damning exposé
in The New York Times in October. Parlato, who
has spoken with several of the women who are
now part of the case prosecutors are building
against Raniere, believes Mack stepped into
this void.
After leaving Nxivm, Keeffe called Bouchey,
telling her, “Keith had set his sights on Allison
and was thinking about bringing her into
the inner circle.” Keeffe also told Bouchey that
Raniere was getting “more intimate” with
Mack. “She never had what Cafritz had, the
Yet “if you read her blogs, you could see her
mind shattering over time,” says the former
consultant. In a series of missives posted last
summer, Mack seemed to be crying for help:
“Cold sweats. Constantly. The anxiety of being
caught makes my heart thrum like a hummingbird. Someday I will be discovered. I will
be found out!”
After Raniere’s arrest in Mexico, a close
friend of Mack’s texted her: “This sounds
crazy; I hope you’re OK.” Her response: “I’m
home and I’m safe.”
BY MOST ACCOUNTS, N XIV M IS NOW IN
disarray. People once closely associated
with the group are quietly disavowing their
connections. The actress Kreuk has refused
to speak to the press, referring people to an
anodyne statement in which she says she
departed five years earlier. Battlestar Galactica
actress Park has remained silent. “Some
people are starting to say, ‘What I learned
was good, the technology was good, but
as with Scientology and David Miscavige, the
leader is bad, Keith Raniere is bad,’ ” says
Ross, who says he is in touch with a number
of the recent defectors.
There are real questions about how Mack
should be understood within the Nxivm universe. Was she herself, as many believe,
a victim? “I don’t think she was thinking she
was actually trafficking girls,” says the former roommate. “It doesn’t mean she doesn’t
deserve punishment, but I think she had
drunk enough Kool-Aid to really believe that
these girls were going to save the world with
[Raniere’s] super-sperm.” This was similar to
the line of defense used, generally unsuccessfully, by many members of the Manson family
for their role in the Tate murders, as well
as by Patty Hearst, who was kidnapped by the
Symbionese Liberation Army and later convicted for her role in a bank robbery. Do Mack’s
alleged horrific actions likewise preclude her
from the sympathy normally afforded to those
who fall into brainwashing?
Friends and former Nxivm followers
once close to Mack, as well as those who have
observed her, harbor a fear, based on many
members’ continued loyalty to Vanguard even
after his arrest, that Mack may try to exculpate
Raniere by taking full credit for DOS, claiming that he had no knowledge of it. “If Allison
testifies that Keith didn’t know, that’s a crock
of shit,” argues Bouchey.
Throughout the history of Hollywood,
cults have drawn in sensitive, soul-searching
people and bound them to their leaders with
ideas that have been nurtured for years. These
are hard patterns to sever. During a recent
court appearance in Brooklyn in which Mack
and Raniere were both present, Mack steadfastly refused to look at him. But as she left the
court, she turned to Raniere’s lawyers, smiled
and waved. And then she was gone.
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
44
M AY 16, 2018
Hollywood
Loves a Guru
Before Nxivm was making headlines
for turning actresses into alleged sex
traffickers, these three lesser-known
sects had their own industry ties
The Source Family (Years active: late ’60s to 1975)
Founded by an ex-Marine named James Edward Baker
(“Father Yod”) whose Sunset Strip health food restaurant
was a popular hangout for stars including Warren Beatty
and Don Johnson. He preached the virtues of marijuanaenhanced sex, especially with him.
The Children of God (Years active: 1968 to present)
Started in Huntington Beach, California, and infamous
for leader David Berg’s promotion of underage sex. Its
membership included the parents of Rose McGowan and
those of Joaquin and River Phoenix, who once said of the
group: “They are ruining people’s lives.”
Full Circle (Years active: 2014 to present)
A spiritual group founded by 7th Heaven star Andrew
Keegan. The Venice Beach HQ was raided by the feds in
a 2015 kombucha sting, though Keegan was not present.
SOURCE: COURTESY ISIS AQUARIAN ARCHIVES/DRAG CITY. CHILDREN: ANL/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK. CIRCLE: VLUV/AJAX/SPLASH NEWS.
ability to be an excellent body servant or valet,”
says Parlato. “But she had the ability to bring
women to Raniere’s bed. She procured some
startling beauties.” Parlato did PR for Nxivm
briefly and also is engaged in a lawsuit with
the Bronfmans, who have sued him for fraud,
which led to an FBI investigation against him.
He says the DOS group Mack ran had more than
50 slaves, the same figure cited by prosecutors.
The final months of Mack’s journey through
Nxivm were characterized by dissonance and
a double life. To some, nothing seemed amiss.
According to one close friend, she and Mack
enjoyed coffee and chatted pleasantly at The
Four Seasons in Beverly Hills in March, just
before Raniere’s arrest. They spoke daily by
phone, and nothing about their conversations
struck this friend as alarming. “I didn’t think
she was part of a cult because you think of
cult members as cutting themselves off from
family and friends,” she says. “She didn’t do
that [with me.]”
But another woman who spoke with two of
Mack’s alleged DOS slaves at length says that
during the very same period, Mack was deep
into her role as a “master” of DOS and running the organization with brutal efficiency.
“These slaves said Mack was incredibly intimidating, cruel and punitive,” says this woman,
who declined to speak on the record because
of the ongoing case. The slaves told her that
Mack threatened to release the collateral she
had gathered on them if they didn’t sleep with
Raniere. “You made a lifetime vow!” she says
Mack screamed at them. “She berated them
and told them they were worth nothing,
that they were weak and couldn’t uphold their
word,” says the woman. She told them if they
refused her orders, dated other men, left the
group or refused sex with Raniere, they would
be destroyed. Both women were in Mack’s
“slave pod,” and both were eventually branded.
During the summer of 2017, Parlato and
Catherine Oxenberg, a former Dynasty star
whose daughter India is reported to have
been a slave in Mack’s pod, called Mack’s manager, Sheila Wenzel. (Simon & Schuster will
publish Oxenberg’s book, Captive, about her
attempt to rescue her daughter from Nxivm,
in August.) They had learned about DOS,
though it was not yet public, and wanted to
alert Mack’s closest friends and confidants.
The manager seemed upset during the call,
according to Parlato. “I think she had an intuition something was drastically wrong,” he
says. “I think she was tormented by this.” But
when Wenzel brought up Oxenberg’s allegations with Mack later, she says Mack shrugged
them off, saying, “This stuff is not true; these
crazy things are not true.”
“Allison’s an actress,” says the former roommate. “Even when she’s been in pain, she’s
good at pretending things are OK. It doesn’t
surprise me that she could make it seem like
things were fine.”
Access to safe water (at schools), as part
of the Swarovski Waterschool program
SWAROVSKI AND UCL A TF T ARE
PROUD TO UNVEIL WATERSCHOOL.
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1
er
Fabrizio Maltese • By Chris Gardn
d
an
ski
La
r
ife
nn
Je
by
ced
du
Pro
Photographed by Fabrizio Maltese •
2
THR’s cameras caught the A-listers and
jury members bringing a touch of glitz to a more muted
festival that still delivered glamorous moments
46
y 2018
1.
3
Javier Bardem,
Ricardo Darin,
Penelope Cruz
May 9 | 4:15 p.m.
While the critical reception to
the Spanish thriller Everybody
Knows (which stars Bardem,
Darin and Cruz) was mixed,
the opening-night film was
scooped up by Focus Features
for North America and Hishow
Entertainment for China.
2.
Marion Cotillard
May 13 | 4:20 p.m.
Cotillard packed in a busy
schedule, promoting femaleaction package 355 (also
starring Jessica Chastain,
Penelope Cruz, Fan Bingbing
and Lupita Nyong’o) and
debuting her motherhood
drama Angel Face.
3.
Cate Blanchett
May 12 | 3:50 p.m.
The jury president, photographed at the Carlton Hotel’s
Yves Montand Suite in Armani
Prive and Chopard, posed for
THR before she joined 81 other
women for the 5050x2020
march, organized by a French
version of Time’s Up. “Women
are not a minority in the
world, yet the current state
of our industry says otherwise,” she said.
4.
Jessica Chastain
May 10 | 1:35 p.m.
Chastain, photographed
at THR and DirecTV’s event
for 355, will star in and
produce the spy film, which
was bought by Universal for
$20 million.
4
1
1.
Carey Mulligan
May 9 | 12:45 p.m.
The actress stars in Paul
Dano’s directorial debut,
Wildlife, a 1960-set family
drama adapted from a
Richard Ford novel that first
debuted at Sundance.
2.
Sheila Munyiva
May 11 | 11:40 a.m.
Munyiva stars in Rafiki,
the Un Certain Regard selection centered on two teen
girls who become romantically
involved. Ahead of its debut in
Cannes, it was banned in
director Wanuri Kahiu’s home
country of Kenya.
3.
Tahar Rahim
May 11 | 3:50 p.m.
The breakout of Hulu’s
The Looming Tower plays a
gambling addict in Marie
Monge’s Treat Me Like Fire.
“Tahar has just never really
been thought of in this way.
I don’t know if it’s a lack
of imagination or what,” says
Monge of casting Rahim.
4
5
4.
Sofia Boutella
May 14 | 3:20 p.m.
Boutella, star of 2017’s
The Mummy and this year’s
Directors’ Fortnight entry
Climax, hit the red carpet
with Michael B. Jordan to
promote their HBO movie
Fahrenheit 451.
5.
Denis Villeneuve
2
May 12 | 1:38 p.m.
The Blade Runner 2049
helmer, who sits on the jury,
has had four of his previous films play in Cannes.
6.
Michael Shannon
May 13 | 12:15 p.m.
Also in town to promote the
HBO movie Fahrenheit 451,
the actor proved to be up
for anything during his photo
shoot at the Carlton Hotel,
cruising through the setups
with a smile and playfully
pretending to dodge faux
paparazzi at the hotel.
7.
3
Chloe Sevigny
May 13 | 1:55 p.m.
PREVIOUS SPREAD: CHASTAIN PHOTOGRAPHED BY TODD WILLIAMSON. ATMOSPHERE PHOTOGRAPHED BY JENNIFER LASKI.
PHOTO ASSISTANTS: VANNI BASSETTI, HADRIEN FRIOB. SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER: JENNIFER LILES. FLOWERS: ISTOCK.
6
7
A festival regular, Sevigny
(whose directorial debut, the
short-film Kitty, debuted
in Cannes in 2017), serves
on the jury for the Critics’
Week sidebar.
1
5
1.
John Travolta,
Kevin Connolly,
Kelly Preston
May 14 | 1:15 p.m.
Connolly, who helmed Gotti
(which stars Travolta as
Gambino crime family head
John Gotti and Preston as
his wife, Victoria), was nervous
ahead of the film’s Cannes
debut: “I’m holding it together
now, but when I’m getting
dressed and it really hits me,
my hands will be shaking.”
2.
Diane Kruger
May 14 | 2:35 p.m.
4
Kruger, serving as Chopard’s
2018 Godmother, is back at
the festival one year after
earning the best actress prize
for In the Fade. Photographed
in the Martinez Hotel’s
Chopard Suite wearing
Chopard, she says of winning
in 2017: “It was kind of a
blur, it was so overwhelming.
I remember going up the
steps that night, and it felt like
the first time. It’s hard to
describe what the feeling is.”
3.
Zhao Tao
May 13 | 3:40 p.m.
Director Jia Zhangke
reteamed with his wife, Zhao,
for Ash Is Purest White,
the story of a woman putting
the pieces of her life together
after being imprisoned
five years for protecting her
gangster beau.
4.
2
Mads Mikkelsen
May 12 | 2:05 p.m.
In the survival drama Arctic
(acquired for North America
by Bleecker Street during
the fest), the Danish actor
plays a plane crash survivor
stranded in the Arctic who
must decide whether to stay
in the safety of his camp or
embark on a dangerous trek.
5.
Barbara Lennie
May 10 | 5:30 p.m.
The Madrid native is doing
double duty at the festival
this year, starring as the
heroine in Petra and as the
wife of Javier Bardem’s
character in Everybody Knows.
6.
Topher Grace
May 14 | 11:45 a.m.
The actor has two major
American titles at the festival
— he plays David Duke in
Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman
and opposite Andrew Garfield
in David Robert Mitchell’s
Under the Silver Lake. But the
new father, photographed
at the Carlton Hotel, says he’s
getting more rest than he
would be at home. “My wife
can’t know that I’m getting
eight hours of sleep here,” he
says. “I’m telling her, ‘Oh, it’s
terrible. I’m tossing and turning
all night long.’ Meanwhile, I’m
sleeping like a log.”
6
4
3
100 Days That Ch a
Ten years after writers went on
strike over digital pay, THR gathers
key players to reflect on the
tension and ‘traitors,’ strategies
and solidarity, picket-line romances
and the ultimate deal that still
impacts how the town runs today
BY
Rebecca Ford AND Lacey Rose
t was early 2006 when Damon Lindelof headed down to
the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica to see
advertisements for his television series Lost, then in its
second season on ABC, blanketing the Apple Store. In
that moment, he was tickled by the cachet of having his
sci-fi creation be among the first series to roll out on
Apple products. A few hours later, however, he got what
his 11-year-old refers to as the “uh-oh” feeling. “It’s when your body is
telling you that something is wrong,” he explains. “People were downloading Lost and paying $1.99 an episode. … I didn’t quite make the leap
to, ‘I don’t get compensated for this at all.’ ”
A year and a half later, he would. As would 12,000 other screenwriters who joined Lindelof on picket lines in Los Angeles and New York,
as the Writers Guild of America waged war on the Alliance of Motion
Picture and Television Producers largely over pay for work that’s distributed via the internet, iPods, cellphones and other new media. The
work stoppage — the industry’s first in nearly two decades — ultimately lasted 100 days and, according to the Milken Institute, took a
$2.1 billion toll on the L.A. economy.
Now, 10 years later, THR gathers more than three dozen people
involved to share their recollections of the charged period and answer
the complicated question of whether it was all worth it.
I
On Nov. 2, 2007, after three months of negotiations,
the Writers Guild announced that its members would
strike if a deal was not reached by 12:01 a.m. Nov. 5.
MATTHEW SIMMONS/WIREIMAGE.
SHAWN RYAN, THEN THE SHIELD SHOWRUNNER AND WGA NEGOTIATING
COMMITTEE MEMBER The final day of negotiations was at the Sofitel Hotel.
We all felt like, “We’re going to make a deal today.” But by about 3 or 4
o’clock that afternoon, it became clear to us that the other side wasn’t
really interested in making a deal that day.
DAVID A. GOODMAN, THEN FAMILY GUY WRITER AND WGA BOARD MEMBER Their
point of view was, “We don’t know what [the internet] is yet.” But Hulu
went live [a month after] the strike ended. They knew where the business was going.
BARRY MEYER, THEN CHAIRMAN OF WARNER BROS. These new-media models
were beginning to emerge. We said, “Let’s see what develops in three
years. If there’s something really there, we’ll address it then.” It sounded
perfectly logical to us, but there was a credibility issue that we had with
the guilds because we’d made that same speech related to home video,
and they had to fight for years to achieve their goals.
PATRIC VERRONE, THEN PRESIDENT OF WGA WEST It was brinkmanship. They
were just going to call our bluff, and we weren’t bluffing. Next morning,
we were out on strike.
STEVE LEVITAN, THEN BACK TO YOU SHOWRUNNER AND UNITED SHOWRUNNERS
LEADER In past strikes, some showrunners worked as producers through
the [stoppage]. But our goal was to make this one as short as possible,
Writers marched on Hollywood Boulevard in November 2007 in support of the WGA strike, which lasted
100 days; 92.5 percent of membership voted to end it Feb. 12, 2008. A new deal was ratified Feb. 26.
anged Hollywood
so anything that made the companies keep
going, we felt would be detrimental. I’d worked
at Leo Burnett in the ’80s, so I volunteered to
do an ad with pledges from all of the biggest
showrunners not to work in any capacity if we
went on strike. The ad led to some showrunner meetings. Five minutes before the first big
one, we were in a circle; it was Matt Weiner,
me, I can’t remember who else, and someone
said, “We need somebody to run this meeting.” Everybody turned and looked at me. In
my mind, I thought, “Oh, fuck.”
SETH MACFARLANE, THEN FAMILY GUY SHOWRUNNER
Those showrunner meetings were interesting
because you didn’t have any hierarchy. It was a
roomful of people who were each used to being
the final voice in their respective rooms.
LORENZO DI BONAVENTURA,
PRODUCER There was
a total panic to get
things moving as fast
as we could in the
hopes that the strike would not derail the
movies we were putting together. For G.I. Joe,
we brought on three writers and split up the
script. It was really a Rubik’s Cube of trying to
map out a process that I had never done before
— and I have never done since.
BILLY RAY, SCREENWRITER I was doing a movie
called State of Play. On the last day before the
strike, everybody was arguing about the ending.
I knew I couldn’t write another word starting
the next morning, so I wrote 10 endings, and
sent them all in and said, “Take your pick.”
FINDING LOVE ON THE PICKET LINE
Alone Together showrunner Hunter Covington met future wife and Black-ish
executive producer Stacy Traub during the walkout: ‘It’s so silly but here we are’
Hunter Covington
We had a very gungho strike captain on
our staf at My Name
Is Earl, and I said, halfjoking, “If you did a
singles picket, people
would go.”
Stacy Traub I’d just
gone through a pretty
gnarly divorce in July.
I’ve got a 4-month-old
and a 3-year-old, and
then the strike hits. So,
when the thing comes
up about the singles
picket, everyone who
knew me said: “You
have to go to this. You
may meet the love of
your life.”
Covington Also, writers being writers, you’re
doing it for the irony.
Traub I remember putting some efort into
what I was going to wear
that day.
Covington I don’t
know if I put any efort
into what I wore.
Traub No, I don’t
think you did. (Laughs.)
So then we get to the
Galaxy Way gate at Fox,
and it was a pretty
good turnout. Like, 20
or 30 people.
Covington You’re
just walking around with
picket signs, and everyone’s sort of looking at
each other.
Traub How do you
start a conversation? It wasn’t pretty.
I remember going
to the bar [at the
Intercontinental] and
getting a drink with my
friend who pointed out
Hunter. After that, we
all moved over to picket
on Pico [Boulevard].
That’s when Hunter
and I wound up walking
together and talking.
Covington Then
we got Philly cheesesteaks afterward.
Traub A lot of writers
were having get-togethers because we all
had nothing to do. So
we saw each other at
one of those and then we
started dating lightly.
Covington Timidly.
She had a very complicated situation. …
Traub Let’s just call it
what it was: I came
with a lot of baggage. So,
we dated for a couple
weeks and then Hunter
was like, “I kind of can’t
deal with your situation.”
I said, “I can’t deal with
it either.” But we stayed
in touch on Facebook.
Covington During
the strike, everyone was
on Facebook. Then a
year later, we got back
together. [A year
later,] we got pregnant.
Traub When our
daughter was 1, I was
working on this Mandy
Moore pilot, it’s February,
and I come home
from a hard day, and
Hunter’s like, “I got the
nanny to stay late,
KEVIN FALLS, THEN JOURNEYMAN SHOWRUNNER
Journeyman was my first show on the air. I
had talked Kevin McKidd, who had just finished
Rome, into moving his wife and family to
the U.S. from England to be the lead, and I felt
responsible for now upending his life.
MARTI NOXON, THEN PRIVATE PRACTICE SHOWRUNNER
I was running Private Practice with Shonda
[Rhimes], and part of us was so tired that we
were like, “Please, let’s have a strike.”
BEN SILVERMAN, THEN NBC CHAIRMAN I had been
named chairman of NBC [five months earlier],
and I remember asking [then CEO] Jeff Zucker,
“What are we planning if there’s a strike?” The
basic feeling there and in town was, “There’ll
never be a strike.” Then bingo, it happens.
The first thing hit were our late-night shows,
where we built no contingency. We were superwell-positioned otherwise. I knew Biggest
Loser could expand, I greenlit Phenomenon and
American Gladiators. Then I came up with the
idea of doing Celebrity Apprentice. I reached out
to Mark Burnett, who said, “There’s no way
Donald [Trump] will want to be around other
celebrities. He has to be biggest celebrity.”
And I said, “Actually, he’s going to be the biggest celebrity because he’s going to be the
boss.” I called up Trump and he agreed, and
we relaunched to huge ratings.
Hundreds and sometimes thousands of
writers took to the picket lines, held
daily outside the major studios in L.A. and
corporate headquarters in New York.
GREG DANIELS, THEN THE OFFICE SHOWRUNNER I was
Covington married Traub in May 2013.
they’ve extended the
Presidents Day sale at
Room & Board, let’s go
get a new couch.” This
was, like, the best news
you could’ve told me.
Covington So, I go in
the bathroom and put
on my red strike shirt
with a big fucking wool
dress coat over it, and
I button it up all the way.
She’s like, “What are
you doing in there?”
Traub Hunter starts
taking a weird route to
Room & Board, but I’m
not gonna complain. ...
Covington She was
definitely complaining. “You’re on Olympic
[Boulevard]. Why
the fuck are you on
Olympic?”
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
Traub Then I
notice he’s driving
to Galaxy Way. …
Covington Once
we get on Avenue
of the Stars, she starts
to put it together.
She’s like, “Holy shit.
Holy shit.”
Traub By then, I
knew we weren’t going
to Room & Board.
So, we walked over to
Galaxy Way …
Covington … and
across the street …
Traub … to exactly
where we met. He
opened his coat,
and I saw the strike
shirt. Then he got
down on one knee
and asked me to marry
him. — L.R.
54
M AY 16, 2018
the first writer to picket because I had to get to
our set at 4 a.m. to try to prevent the Teamster
caterers from crossing the line.
MICHAEL SCHUR, THEN THE OFFICE WRITER Steve
Carell decided that if The Office couldn’t be produced with the writer-producers on set then
he wasn’t going to make the show. So even
though the “Dinner Party” episode was done
and ready to be filmed, he just didn’t show
up, and everything came to a grinding halt. The
NBC lawyers and very high-powered suits
pressured him like crazy, but he just calmly
told them he wasn’t interested.
J.J. ABRAMS, SCREENWRITER-DIRECTOR It was ridiculous. In the morning, I’d go to picket at
Paramount as a writer. Then when my call time
happened, I would have to put down the signs
and go in as a director and work on a movie
[Star Trek] that we couldn’t rewrite because the
script had to be locked.
JANE ESPENSON, THEN BATTLESTAR GALACTICA WRITER
I remember young writers — aspiring writers — approaching me to walk beside me on
the picket line. It’s a strange situation, to give
1
2
1 “It wound up being a rainy, fun afternoon,” says Howard of picketing in Manhattan on Nov. 15, 2007. 2 Leno, pictured at Universal
Studios, irked many when he announced he would be writing his own monologue during the strike. 3 “It was an opportunity for the
studios to clean house in a way that was startling,” says screenwriter Akiva Goldsman of the force majeure sweep during the strike.
4 Michael Winship (left) and Verrone announced the decision to go on strike Nov. 2.
TRAUB: COURTESY OF SUBJECT. HOWARD: BRUCE COTLER/GLOBE PHOTOS/ZUMAPRESS. LENO: IAN WEST/PA IMAGES/GETTY IMAGES. PICKET: GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/GETTY IMAGES. WINSHIP: DAVID MCNEW/GETTY IMAGES.
advice about getting into a business while
you’re in the process of protesting conditions
within that business.
RENE BALCER, THEN LAW & ORDER SHOWRUNNER
Some development guy at Fox nudged his car
through the line and bumped into me. He
came out yelling. The police who investigated
it called it mutual combat and decided not
to press charges against him. Then I turned it
into an episode of Law & Order, where there
was a strike and some loudmouth gets run
over. Yep, I monetized my experience.
ELENA TROPP, THEN SCREENWRITER My daughter
Rosie was born in August 2007, so she came
with me. We thought it would be funny to make
signs for her, like, “Stop milking us.” The plus
of wearing your baby while you’re doing this
is that a lot of people came up to us, like Mindy
Kaling, who asked to take a picture with my
baby. Then we were on Defamer. The headline
was, like, “Strike Baby spotted!” Once we knew
we had an audience, we thought, “Let’s have
some more fun with it.”
NOXON People who were single kept asking
for introductions to other single writers [on
the picket line]. It was Tinder before Tinder.
TONY GILROY, SCREENWRITER-DIRECTOR We were
looking for names to [picket]. I didn’t really
know Ron Howard, but we shared an agent, so
I called him and said, “Hey, man, is there any
way ...?” The guy was there in an hour.
RON HOWARD, DIRECTOR I was in the WGA, but I
also had a production company so I wasn’t sure
how they’d feel about me. They might feel my
sympathy was on the other side. But I was very
much welcomed.
KERRY EHRIN, THEN FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS WRITER
I remember we were having a motherson event at the school in my neighborhood,
and this woman, who was the wife of an
agent, just pointed at me: “She’s one of them!”
It was funny and awful — like we were
just a few steps away from the torches and
pitchforks.
LEVITAN I remember at one point being at a
rally where people were chanting these childish things aimed at the executives, and I’m
thinking, “We’re not doing ourselves any favors
here.” I just felt like it was beneath us. There
was one sign that still makes me laugh, though:
“Gary Newman’s wine has too many tannins.”
Now, that was funny.
JOHN WELLS, SCREENWRITER AND FORMER WGA
WEST PRESIDENT I remember walking the Fox
4
picket with people chanting, “Hey, Chernin,
what you earnin’?” after the executive [pay at
Fox] came out, which was pretty great. I ran
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
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M AY 16, 2018
3
into [then News Corp. COO Peter] Chernin,
and he thought it was fabulous, too.
ZAK PENN, SCREENWRITER My wife was a studio
executive at New Line, and people were yelling
at the execs as they were driving [onto the
lot]. It left a bad taste in my mouth since I was
sleeping with the other side.
MACFARLANE There was this animosity
between showrunners who shut their shows
down, like we did, and those who didn’t. But
writers are so passive-aggressive, it came in
the form of grumbling to each other.
Talks between the WGA and AMPTP
broke down Dec. 7, after the two groups
remained far apart on the key issue of
new media.
MICHAEL LYNTON, THEN SONY CEO There came a
moment where I was encouraged by a number
of people to go visit [WGA executive director] David Young at the Writers Guild. I sat in
the waiting room at the appointed time. And
waited and waited. After 45 minutes, the receptionist called for the second or third time up to
Young, and I could hear him say, “You should
allow Mr. Lynton to wait there a while longer.”
When I finally got into his office, it resulted in
absolutely nothing.
LEVITAN I was really optimistic that a deal was
going to happen before the holidays, and then
I heard on the way to this Hanukkah dinner
that [talks had broken down]. I was crushed. I
get to this dinner, and [Disney CEO] Bob Iger
and Michael Lynton are also there. I’m friends
with those guys, and I make eye contact with
them. The first moment that we could break
off, the three of us walked off to a side room.
I remember going, “What the fuck happened?
Why can’t we solve this?”
LYNTON Running into friends who were writers
in living rooms and kitchens was much more
awkward than crossing a picket line.
LEVITAN Bob had this theory on what the problem was. He thought it had to do with WGA
management and their negotiating tactics, and
I took issue with that, but I quickly realized
that they wanted to sit down and negotiate
with a Hollywood insider.
VERRONE Management kept hammering, “David
Young doesn’t understand the entertainment
industry.” They said, “We’ll meet with you if
you bring in an entertainment lawyer.” So, we
called in Alan Wertheimer.
“The only
hard part
were the
diaper
changes”
says Tropp
of carrying
daughter
Rosie, now
10 (inset),
at protests.
ALAN WERTHEIMER, THEN OUTSIDE COUNSEL FOR
THE WGA I got the call from David Young while I
was at the Sundance Film Festival. I didn’t say
yes right then. I knew if I got into this, I’d be
out of the office for quite a while, and I needed
to talk to my colleagues. What I had heard
was that things had reached an impasse and
that the parties didn’t like each other.
As the strike threatened to drag into
the new year, many late-night hosts
announced they’d return, largely
sans writers, as early as Jan. 2. The
65th Golden Globe Awards, slated
for Jan. 13, was canceled, with the
winners announced at a no-frills
press conference instead.
JIMMY KIMMEL, JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE! HOST The strike
basically wiped out all my savings because
I was paying a lot of the staff that was out of
work. That’s a big reason why I had to go back
on the air. I wasn’t making a ton of money at
the time, and I couldn’t afford to do it anymore.
I also felt if we stayed off the air, it was going
to do permanent damage to our shows.
VERRONE We decided to make a side deal with
David Letterman’s company [Dec. 28] so that
[The Late Show and The Late Late Show] could
go back to work. That was rife with complications, not the least of which was the fact
that Jay Leno’s writers suddenly said, “What
about us?” But they were employed by NBC,
while Letterman employed his writers directly.
STEVE BODOW, THE DAILY SHOW WRITER It wasn’t
an easy time. After years of us being in battle
together every day making this show, for the
first time we were on the opposite side of
something. Jon [Stewart] was very frustrated
— he’d worked out a deal with somebody to
offer the same terms Letterman had, but the
deal wasn’t accepted [by the guild]. It was
uncomfortable because, in general, Jon was
very loyal to the writers and the writers were
loyal to Jon, and this tested that.
KIMMEL For the most part, it brought a lot of
us [hosts] together, especially when the CBS
shows got to go back [with writers] and we
didn’t. That really made everyone mad. For the
record, that was not a good idea. But we were
all talking. Nobody wanted to be the first back.
We all wanted to go back at the same time.
JORGE CAMERA, THEN PRESIDENT OF THE HFPA We
tried every which way we could [to still have
the Golden Globes]. I was even told I should
go chain myself to the Writers Guild and not
leave until they let us have them. Once the
actors joined the strike and would not cross
the picket line, there was no choice for us.
SILVERMAN I got in all of this trouble because I
went on the radio and said, “It’s like the guys
who weren’t invited to the prom are canceling
prom even though the Golden Globes have nothing to do with the strike.” I was not only furious
because it was the only awards show canceled
that year and the network was being leveraged
horribly and hurt financially but also I was
nominated for three shows [as a producer] and
I wasn’t going to be in that awesome room.
On Jan. 14 , dubbed by the media “Black
Monday,” the major studios axed more
than 40 writer-producer overall deals,
citing the “force majeure” clause, which
allows a party to break a contract in
the wake of an unforeseeable event. The
loss of millions of dollars roiled the WGA
membership, with some groups pushing
for a swift end to the strike.
FALLS There was talk that the studios might
force majeure writers’ overall deals, but I
naively thought I wasn’t going to be one of
them. Then my agent called and told me I
was being “forced.” I thought he was joking.
Then Jennifer Salke [then at 20th Century
Fox TV] beeped in, and I knew I was a goner.
HOWARD MICHAEL GOULD, SCREENWRITER AND
THEN WGA NEGOTIATING COMMITTEE MEMBER I was
told that there was a group [nicknamed The
Dirty 30] that had been meeting. They were
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
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M AY 16, 2018
1
concerned about the direction things had been
going. They were upper-middle-class writers,
and I was told they were going to go public
with a statement demanding that the Writers
Guild pledge, even before the DGA deal was
sealed, to accept the parameters of that deal. I
was given a name and a number and I called.
VERRONE To this day, I have no idea who was in
The Dirty 30.
JONATHAN PRINCE, THEN CANE SHOWRUNNER Am I
the only one admitting I was in it? I remember
we left this one meeting and there were fliers
on each of our cars that basically said, “You’re
a traitor, I know who you are.”
GOULD I negotiated a sit-down. Robert King and
I went to Jonathan Prince’s house. There
were about three dozen of them. And they were
furious. They tore into us for two hours. Our
message to them was, “We know you’re hurting, but there’s nothing to be accomplished
by doing what you’re going to do before the
DGA makes their deal. If you do this, it will
undermine the DGA’s negotiation.”
PRINCE We never undermined the negotiations.
I know that in order to make any gains, there
must be pain. We just thought that the pain
should have been ours, the writers, it shouldn’t
have been others’ to bear. And getting a bigger
piece of the backend of this future technology doesn’t trickle down to [nonwriters]. How
would that have helped my caterer who lost her
mortgage or my greensman who had to move
out of L.A.? We weren’t traitors. By day, we were
walking the picket line and reporting to our
strike captains; and by night, we were saying,
“How do we get this thing to end?”
RAY We were really afraid that the DGA would
begin to negotiate their deal while we were
still out there. It was all anyone talked about:
Is the DGA going to torpedo us?
KEN ZIFFREN, OUTSIDE COUNSEL FOR THE DGA There
was pressure put on by the Writers Guild. But
the DGA firmly believed if you make a deal sufficiently ahead of time to take the pressure
off of management, you’re going to make a better deal than if you stumble into it last minute,
or even after a short period of strikes.
AKIVA GOLDSMAN, SCREENWRITER The emotional
fuel for the strike had started to outpace the
potential gains. We were sitting around [at
Attanasio’s house] going, “Let’s get our hands
in this in a more direct way.”
MEYER Leslie [Moonves], [Chernin], [Iger] and
I met fairly regularly to talk strategy. We had
a standing table at the Bel Air Hotel.
RYAN The issue was we were a group of decisionmakers who were empowered to make a deal
and we spent months in a room with people
who weren’t — people who then had to go back
to some room and call [the CEOs].
VERRONE So we said, “In exchange for us
bringing Wertheimer, you’ve got to bring
in CEOs.”
WERTHEIMER Once we were close to the finish
line, those guys [Iger and Chernin] started
showing up. Then we made some progress.
VERRONE Chernin and Iger represented the
two factions of the AMPTP. Chernin was the
There was a sense that some on the board
might hold out for animation or DVDs. My feeling was we needed a win, and we needed to
be unified. I was getting phone calls from labor
leaders all over the country throughout saying, “Labor’s taking a hit. You have to win this.”
A public split would have been a disaster.
After 100 days, on Feb. 12, 2008, more
than 90 percent of the WGA voted
to end the strike. On Feb. 26, WGA membership approved a three-year
contract, with the Writers Guild winning a piece of digital revenue.
WINSHIP I had decided to go ahead and have the
[WGA East] awards because I thought it would
be good for morale. It turned out to be this
incredible fortuitous coincidence. We had the
meeting to announce the end [of the strike],
immediately followed by this party.
GOLDSMAN Our business — how deals worked,
how writers worked within the system — has
never been the same.
BRYAN FULLER, THEN PUSHING DAISIES SHOWRUNNER
2
3
TROPP: COURTESY OF SUBJECT (2). HORROR: MATTHEW SIMMONS/WIREIMAGE. MACFARLANE: NOEL VASQUEZ/GETTY IMAGES. MEYERS: JOE KOHEN/WIREIMAGE.
1 Horror writers at Warner Bros. on Nov. 27, 2007. 2 MacFarlane spoke at a Nov. 9 rally at Fox Plaza with 4,000 protesters.
3 With Saturday Night Live dark for the strike’s duration, Seth Meyers and Rachel Dratch attended a Dec. 6 rally in New York.
The DGA signed its new deal Jan. 17,
2008. After that, key factions within the
WGA pushed aggressively for the strike
to end. Both sides returned to the table in
an attempt to hammer out a contract.
WELLS Once the DGA made that deal, our bargaining position was significantly reduced.
MICHAEL WINSHIP, THEN WGA EAST PRESIDENT That
was a low point. God bless ’em, they got a deal,
but we felt strongly that they fell on our backs.
GILROY I was very disappointed in the Directors
Guild, and angry. If we could’ve pressed just a
little bit further and really threatened to shut
down the Academy Awards. ... I would have
been willing to not go to the Oscars.
AARON SORKIN, SCREENWRITER Paul Attanasio
called and asked if I’d come to a meeting at his
house. There were about 20 people, including a
former president and a former vice president
of the Guild. The DGA had just approved their
contract, and people in the room who knew
what they were talking about felt that the terms
were the best we were going to get.
hard-liner who represented Fox, NBC and
Warner Bros. The other side was Iger, whose
best interest was in making sure the Academy
Awards went off in a few weeks, and Moonves,
who was looking to make a deal much earlier
than anybody else.
RYAN If we had been negotiating only with
CBS, there never would have been a strike. It
didn’t make sense for them. For a company
like Fox, which didn’t have as many hours of
programming and relied very heavily on
American Idol at that time, they had a different perspective.
VERRONE Those final negotiations took about
a day and a half. We were at the Luxe Hotel
under a press blackout.
JOHN BOWMAN, WGA NEGOTIATING COMMITTEE
CHAIR At the end, there was a lot of confusion
about what we would settle on. I’m not sure
we even knew what our bottom line was. The
negotiating committee was made up largely
of showrunners, and the board had a slightly
more proletarian, workaday-writer feel.
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
57
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It’s no exaggeration to say there was a punitive cloud that wove across writers rooms and
interactions with studios for years. There was
a lot of blame going around.
TROPP I stopped writing not that much longer
after the strike. It became so much harder to
get jobs. Rosie’s in the fifth grade now, we live
in South Carolina, and we showed her some of
those old pictures from the picket line. She’s
going through a social justice phase, so
it was a nice entree to, “This is a union and this
is what unions do. I’m sorry that at the end of
that strike there wasn’t room for me writing
movies anymore, but that’s OK, too.”
FALLS Journeyman never got a second season.
But for Kevin McKidd, I’m relieved to say,
it turned into a pot of gold. The next year he
started his first of 10 seasons on Grey’s
Anatomy. He also learned to surf. …
VERRONE We absolutely didn’t get everything
we wanted, but getting the jurisdiction in
new media completely changed the way writers, actors, directors and the entire industry
are employed. If we hadn’t done that, Netflix
wouldn’t be what it is today, which is the company that employs something like a third of
our members now.
WELLS Patric and some of the other leaders,
who did a courageous job running this strike
and standing up to tremendous pressure,
were later punished electorally. But they were
planting seeds for the future.
RYAN I don’t know that you can look at the
landscape in 2018 with everything that’s playing online and not see that us caving and not
winning jurisdiction over the internet would
be anything other than an utter disaster for the
creative community.
Additional reporting by Michael O’Connell.
‘My Worst
Day Is My
Day Of f ’
WITH HER FIERCE RETURN TO BROADWAY AT 82, OSCAR-WINNING LEGEND
GLENDA JACKSON IS A VIRTUAL LOCK FOR HER FIRST TONY, AND HOLLYWOOD
CAN’T LURE HER FROM THE STAGE: ‘NOTHING HAS GRABBED ME UP TO NOW’
By Frank Scheck • Photographed by Heather Hazzan
I
was never a star,” declares Glenda
Jackson of her storied film and theater career. But such dismissals are
belied by the theatergoers flocking
to see her Tony-nominated performance in the Broadway revival of
Edward Albee’s 1994 drama Three Tall Women,
which has grossed nearly $8 million so far.
Jackson’s return to the Great White Way at
the age of 82 is a certified event for many
reasons. The two-time Academy Award winner (1970’s Women in Love and 1973’s A Touch of
Class) — whose other notable credits include
the films Sunday, Bloody Sunday; Mary, Queen
of Scots; Hedda; and the television miniseries
Elizabeth R, for which she won two Emmys —
stepped back from acting in the early 1990s to
enter politics. She represented Hampstead
and Highgate in Parliament for 23 years, until
her retirement in 2015. And to some, perhaps her greatest-ever performance is a 2013
speech she gave after the death of Margaret
From left: Pill,
Jackson and
Metcalf onstage
at the John
Golden Theatre
in Three Tall
Women, set to
close June 24.
Thatcher, bitterly decrying the late prime
minister for treating “vices like virtues” and
favoring greed over compassion.
After leaving government, Jackson returned
to performing with a vengeance, playing
the title role in a gender-bending production
of King Lear at London’s Old Vic. In typical
Jackson fashion, she disdained the rapturous
reception when she came onstage to receive the
Evening Standard Award for her performance.
“Oh, come on, we don’t do standing ovations in
England!” she chided the crowd.
Her road to New York started with producer
Scott Rudin, a fan since he saw her onstage in
1965 in Marat/Sade. Though she’d turned down
a role he offered in the 2006 film Notes on a
Scandal (eventually played by Judi Dench), she
couldn’t resist Albee’s “A,” a flinty woman facing the end of her life. Playing opposite Laurie
Metcalf and Alison Pill as younger versions of
her character, Jackson delivers such a spellbinding turn that she’s got a virtual lock on the
Tony. Jackson, who’s long divorced with one
son, Dan Hodges, a newspaper columnist, has a
well-earned reputation for not suffering fools
gladly. But she is friendly and engaging — and
as passionate about liberal politics as ever —
while chatting with THR at an Upper East Side
tea shop on the day her Tony nomination (her
fifth; no wins) was announced.
What did you think of Three Tall Women
when you first read it?
I’m ashamed to say, I didn’t even know the
play existed until Scott Rudin sent me a
copy. I thought, “This is a radio play!” There’s
almost no physical movement. But he was
“The older we get,
the more gender
barriers begin to
fray,” says Jackson,
photographed
May 4 at the
Westside Theatre in
New York City.
T ON Y S
D
AWA R w
P r e v ie
1
a bloody good writer! The simplicity of the
words [Albee] chooses to use … it’s a big trap,
actually. Because he uses certain words a lot.
But he puts them in a different place. There
is an energy to the play, but you have to dig it
out. And I think we have found that energy
in our production. You hardly ever get to act
with other actresses. Certainly not in contemporary stuff. Usually there’s only one good
woman’s part. To have the opportunity to work
with actresses of this caliber was a big thing
for me. I’d seen Laurie’s work on television, and
she can play anything. I didn’t know Alison,
but I think she’s just marvelous in this play. It’s
the underwritten part that she’s playing. And
she absolutely nails it.
Did you have trouble relating to the character?
One of my rules of engagement is that you
cannot judge the character you play. You have
to see the world through their eyes. And she
saw her world very clearly. (Chuckles.)
playing a man’s part. Not at all. One of the
things that I found useful was that the older we
get, the more gender barriers begin to fray.
You’ve had an incredibly varied film career. Not
too many actresses could have had successful collaborations with both director Ken Russell
(Women in Love, The Music Lovers) and Walter
Matthau (House Calls, Hopscotch).
He was completely closed off. I don’t think I
ever saw him smile.
I find it puzzling that you find it puzzling. They
may have externally been different, but they
weren’t actually. Because they both had a third
eye. Ken could create a climate that you could
actually work in. He was completely humanbeing oriented. Walter was exactly the same. He
was funny, but he was also very serious about
the things that mattered to him. Oh, God, did I
enjoy working with him!
When you first returned to acting — after
decades off the stage and screen — instead
of easing back in, you chose King Lear.
Do you ever look at such contemporaries as
Judi Dench and Maggie Smith and envy their
James Bond or Harry Potter money?
The Old Vic approached me, wanting me to do
something. I didn’t like the play they wanted
me to do. I said I wanted to play Lear, and they
said fine. What was interesting to me was
that nobody ever raised the issue of a woman
No. I was offered M, or whatever part Judi
played in the Bond films.
You starred in a 1989 Los Angeles production of
Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? directed
by the writer. What was it like to work with him?
Why did you turn that down?
Because it was boring.
3
How did you get into politics?
I’d always been supportive of the Labour Party,
certainly since the mid-’70s. I campaigned for
candidates. I would go to fundraising dinners,
write begging letters, that kind of thing. Out
of the blue one day, the constituency party of
Hampstead rang me up and said, “We’re having
trouble selecting a prospective candidate, will
you put your name in the hat?” And anything I
could have done that was legal to get Margaret
Thatcher and her government out, I was
prepared to have a go at. My country had been
destroyed! Every single shop doorway was a
bedroom, bathroom and sitting room for some
homeless person. And in many cases, they were
Harry Potter’s Charmed Trio
THE LITTLE-KNOWN STARS OF HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD ARE WINNING CRITICAL
KUDOS, HOLLYWOOD FANS AND EVEN A LITTLE RESPECT FROM THEIR KIDS By Suzy Evans
Only Parker
has a Broadway
credit:
History Boys.
G
etting cast in Harry
Potter and the Cursed
Child is a bit like receiving an owl-delivered acceptance
letter from Hogwarts: All of a
sudden, you’re magical. That’s
what happened to Jamie Parker,
Noma Dumezweni and Paul
Thornley, who went from West
End players to worldwide names
overnight when they landed the
roles of Harry Potter, Hermione
Granger and Ron Weasley in the
blockbuster London production.
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
“Normally you spend the play
convincing people of the world
and the characters,” says Parker,
38. “On this one, you hit the
ground running because they
know and love it.”
Now the trio are robing up
at the Lyric Theatre, where the
two-parter set a Broadway play
box-ofice record in its first full
week of previews at $2.1 million. It hasn’t let up since, with
top tickets going for nearly
$300, and it’s nominated for
60
M AY 16, 2018
10 Tony Awards, including noms
for Dumezweni and Parker — the
most of any new play this season.
The story picks up at the
epilogue of Harry Potter and
the Deathly Hallows and follows
Harry, his friends and their kids
as they navigate parenthood
and a new generation of wizards.
With the worldwide recognition comes immense pressure,
and fans have opinions about
who the characters should be.
“I need a bit of help to ginger
Is there anything I can do to persuade you
to become a U.S. citizen and run for Congress?
I’m afraid not.
PREVIOUS SPREAD: HAIR AND MAKEUP BY KRISTY STRATE FOR IT COSMETICS AT ENNIS INC. THREE: BRIGITTE LACOMBE. THIS SPREAD: HARRY: MANUEL HARLAN/
BROADWAY PRODUCTION PHOTOGRPAHY (2). BRUCE: ROB DEMARTIN. QUEEN: PA IMAGES VIA GETTY IMAGES. LITHGOW: COURTESY OF CENTER THEATRE GROUP.
FEY: MICHAEL LOCCISANO/GETTY IMAGES. SCHUMER: AXELLE/BAUER-GRIFFIN/FILMMAGIC. GARFIELD: WALTER MCBRIDE/GETTY IMAGES.
2
1 Two days
after Thatcher’s
death, Jackson
accused her of
“heinous social and
economic damage.”
2 With the queen
(left) in 2003.
3 From left: John
Lithgow, Jackson,
Center Theatre
Group’s Gordon
Davidson, Brian
Kerwin and Nixon
all worked on
a 1989 production
of Albee’s Who’s
Afraid of Virginia
Woolf?
also mentally ill. Everything had just fractured
before your eyes. What I had been taught were
vices, she said were virtues, such as greed. She
said there’s no such thing as a society. That so
infuriated me I walked into my closed French
windows and almost broke my nose!
Did you have trouble getting people to take
you seriously? A movie star with no political
experience?
I thought I might. But you know, I was
never a star, in that sense. Certainly not in
my home county.
You were a two-time Oscar winner …
But that doesn’t make you a star. A star is
someone people go to see because of who they
are. No one came to see me because of who I
am. They came to see me act. It’s not the same.
Did you grow up in a leftist household?
Not particularly. My parents voted entirely
on how well they thought the government
had been doing for them. My grandmother
voted conservative all her life. I never got
into a political argument with her! (Laughs.)
You worked with Cynthia Nixon in that 1989
production of Virginia Woolf. Have you been following her gubernatorial race?
Cynthia came to see the play! She doesn’t look
a day older than she did when I last saw her. I
said to her, “If you want me to go knocking on
doors, let me know. I have Mondays off.” I hope
she does well. I think it’s terrific.
What are your thoughts on the #MeToo movement in Hollywood and beyond?
When it all broke, I mean the Harvey Weinstein
stuff, I thought to myself, “Two women die
in my country every week at the hands of
their partners. That’s never front-page news
or caused the creation of a movement.” The
idea that this kind of behavior is exclusive to
certain professions or people with certain
amounts of money is bullshit. It is endemic, it
is constant.
Now that you’ve re-established yourself, any
desire to do film or television? It’s certainly less
grueling than eight shows a week.
Oh, for God’s sake! We’re not digging coal!
That’s par for the course, you do it eight times
a week! My worst day is my day off. I would do
something if the script was good. Nothing has
grabbed me up to now.
You should get plenty of offers. We are, after
all, living in an era in which older women
are experiencing a renaissance when it comes
to acting.
Come on! No, they’re not. I’m sorry, they’re not.
I mean, why is it that contemporary dramatists
don’t find women interesting? That has never
changed since I first set foot on a stage.
BRUCE HEADLINES
A $1.6B SEASON
W
hen Sara Bareilles and Josh Groban step
onto the Radio City Music Hall stage
June 10 to present the Tony Awards, Broadway
producers in the audience will be sitting pretty:
With the 2017-18 season wrapping May 27,
grosses already have hit a record high north of
$1.6 billion, a sizable hike of 14.4 percent from
last year. That’s the good news. The cautionary
note: Admissions are nearly flat, increasing by
just 1.6 percent over the previous season, when
attendance was pumped by peak Hamilton fever,
SRO demand for Bette Midler in Hello, Dolly!
and hot-ticket entries like Dear Evan Hansen.
Attendance for the current season is 13.2 million with about two weeks to go,
meaning those new dollars are
coming from premium tickets, not
additional butts in seats. Still, as
little as 10 years ago it was rare to
see more than a handful of shows
Fey
crack the $1 million mark on a
standard nonholiday week; in the week ending
May 13, 17 productions topped that, with three
(Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Hamilton
and Springsteen on Broadway) exceeding $2 million and The Lion King missing that mark only
because it had seven performances instead of
eight. Broadway’s newest MVP is Springsteen,
whose concert memoir (pictured above) has
grossed more than $59 million since its October
opening, even with hiatus periods and short playing weeks. Premium tickets also have pumped
grosses for Mean Girls (with a book by Tina Fey,
who wrote and starred in the film), Harry Potter
and the starry revival of The Boys in the Band,
which opens May 31 (outside Tony eligibility) and
hit a promising $1 million in its first preview
week. If producers are concerned that audience
growth isn’t keeping pace with box ofice, few
are complaining. — DAVID ROONEY
Handicapping Tony’s
Hollywood Hopefuls
up,” says Thornley, 43, of Ron’s
signature red hair. Each of the
three actors has a child in
the series’ target zone. “If the
babies who love the books
like it, we’re going to be fine,”
adds Dumezweni (who says
she’s “40bla” — that’s Brit for
40-something). Adds Thornley,
“Most of the time, being an
actor for your children is really
annoying. For once we’ve
got a little currency. We’re in
Harry Potter.”
They’re gaining currency with
Hollywood, too. Brooke Shields,
← “It was the greatest risk I have taken by
saying yes to this,” says Dumezweni (left),
onstage with Thornley (third from left).
Glenn Close, Darren Criss
and Whoopi Goldberg attended
opening night (Goldberg in
wizarding robes), and the films’
Emma Watson and Rupert Grint
saw the play on the West End.
While the production
hasn’t changed since London,
one thing has been added on
Broadway: entrance applause.
When Parker walks downstage as Harry in the opening,
the crowd goes wild. “It’s not
me, it’s the character,” he says,
visibly uncomfortable as he
acknowledges, “I’m growing to
like it.” Adds Thornley, in true
Ron fashion, “He’s our very own
Bette Midler.”
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
61
M AY 16, 2018
Best Actor, Play
Andrew Garfield
is favored for his
turn in Angels
in America. Denzel
Washington also
earned strong
reviews and a nom
for a revival, The
Iceman Cometh.
Best Actress, Play
Amy Schumer
scored a surprise
nomination for
Meteor Shower, and
Billions’ Condola
Rashad is in the
running for Saint
Joan, but Three Tall
Women’s Glenda
Jackson has a lock.
Best Actor, Musical
Critics loved Tony
Shalhoub in
The Band’s Visit,
but look for
SpongeBob’s Ethan
Slater or Carousel’s
Joshua Henry
to take this prize.
Best Actress,
Musical Lauren
Ambrose earned
kudos for her
empowered spin
on My Fair Lady’s
Eliza, but The Band’s
Visit’s Katrina Lenk
has the edge here.
Reviews
Film
The Best of
Cannes (So Far)
Among THR critics’ faves just past the halfway point
are a tempestuous Polish romance, a Colombian crime
epic, the latest from Spike Lee and Gaspar Noe’s
shocker about dancers descending into madness
2
1
ASH IS PUREST WHITE
(Competition)
Chinese director Jia Zhang-ke
was never going to make a conventional jianghu underworld movie,
and even if genre elements and
hard-edged character details are
woven into this textured, unhurried drama, it’s of a piece with
the auteur’s contemplative body
of work. Spanning 17 years, the film
provides a transfixing lead role for
Jia’s wife and muse, Zhao Tao, as
a woman from a coal-mining town
in love with a local mobster (Liao
Fan), their relationship unfolding
against the backdrop of a changing China. — DAVID ROONEY
COURTESY OF CANNES FILM FESTIVAL (3)
BIRDS OF PASSAGE
(Directors’ Fortnight)
Cristina Gallego and Ciro
Guerra’s Colombian crime epic
is like an indigenous Godfather,
revealing the slow and steady
destruction of a close-knit native
family that gets caught up in the
international drug trade in the
’70s. Both ethnographic chronicle
and thriller, this is a superbly
crafted, patiently paced film from
the team behind 2016 foreignlanguage Oscar nominee Embrace
of the Serpent. — JORDAN MINTZER
BLACKKKLANSMAN
(Competition)
A true story told in a boisterously
exaggerated way, this is Spike
Lee’s most entertaining film in
a while. Telling the tale of a
rookie Colorado cop (John David
Washington) who teams up
with a Jewish colleague (Adam
Driver) to infiltrate the local
KKK chapter, the director takes
the shenanigans to cartoonish
levels of humor at times — but
also has a full barrel of ammo,
and uses it. — TODD MCCARTHY
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
3
BORDER
(Un Certain Regard)
This gripping thriller, adapted
by Danish-Iranian director
Ali Abbassi from a novella by
Let the Right One In creator
John Ajvide Lindqvist, blends
supernatural folklore with contemporary social realism in a
parable about fear of the other.
While the premise — an attraction between two Swedish
outcasts with facial deformities
— shares DNA with the superfreak allegories of the X-Men
series, the naturalistic presentation has more in common with
the downbeat grit of Nordic noir.
1 Climax 2 Ash Is Purest White
3 BlacKkKlansman
Inferno, so intensely does it
portray a dance troupe’s druginduced descent into agony.
Pairing his boundary-pushing
sex-and-drugs fixation with
a vital presentation of exuberant choreography, Noe has
made a film that’s seductive
in its rhythms and bold in its
visualization of his young subjects’ sometimes beautiful,
other times brutal somatic
expressiveness. It’s the work of
someone ready to startle and
impress again. — T.M.
— STEPHEN DALTON
COLD WAR
CLIMAX
(Directors’ Fortnight)
The latest from French enfant
terrible Gaspar Noe might just
as easily have been called Gaspar’s
63
M AY 16, 2018
(Competition)
The new film from Pawel
Pawlikowski (2015 foreignlanguage Oscar winner Ida)
is a bittersweet and lovely
Reviews
1
ballad of lovers who can’t stand
to stay apart but also can’t stand
each other. Achingly romantic,
though wryly realistic about the
destructive power of eros, the
drama spans from the ’40s to the
’60s, tracking the tempestuous
relationship between pianist
Wiktor (Tomasz Kot) and singer
Zula (Joanna Kulig) as they shuttle
back and forth across the Iron
Curtain, from Warsaw to Paris
and beyond. — LESLIE FELPERIN
— is nuts in the best way, imagined, assembled and played with
wacky panache. — BOYD VAN HOEIJ
DIAMANTINO
SHOPLIFTERS
(Critics’ Week)
Directed by the Portuguese
Gabriel Abrantes and the
U.S.-born Daniel Schmidt, here
is a movie that takes you completely by surprise. Following
the out-there adventures of a
sweet but dimwitted Portuguese
soccer star (modeled on Cristiano
Ronaldo), the film — which
features a woman posing as a
teenage boy, African refugees,
right-wing extremists, nuns, evil
sisters and long-haired lapdogs
(Competition)
In his typically subtle and tender
new offering, Japanese filmmaker
Kore-eda Hirokazu contrasts the
frigidity of traditional society
with the warmth and happiness
of a lower-class family in which
money is tight and all methods
of obtaining it are permissible.
A thoughtful addition to parables
about happy and unhappy clans,
the film is studded with memorable characters and believable
performances. — D.Y.
2
(Competition)
Sensuality and mortality commingle defiantly in the radiant
and wrenching new film from
French writer-director Christophe
Honore — his best yet. Tracing
the intertwining lives of a 35-yearold gay writer with AIDS and a
22-year-old student in the heat
of his queer awakening, it’s a
vibrant, novelistic tale of sex and
death, desire and disease, love
and friendship. Set in 1993, the
movie is also a period-specific
examination of gay male identity,
or identities, luminously acted
by leads Pierre Deladonchamps
and Vincent Lacoste. — JON FROSCH
Deadpool 2
Marvel’s foul-mouthed antihero
learns to play nice with others in a
laugh-stuffed sequel By John DeFore
Reynolds is back for a second installment that finds Deadpool
fighting of a new villain with a motley crew of mutant sidekicks.
Good news from sequel land: Deadpool 2 is just
as entertaining (and funny) as its predecessor.
As we start, Ryan Reynolds’ Wade Wilson/
Deadpool is where you’d expect him to be: using
his new powers to slice and dice much bigger opponents, taking out gangs of bad guys
and getting jobs through the divey bar Sister
Margaret’s. Wade still lives with girlfriend
Vanessa (Morena Baccarin); they’re talking
about having kids.
Before long, a shocking attack has brought
Deadpool so low that he’s ready to follow Logan
into the Marvel-hero hereafter. Colossus
(the CG metal hulk voiced by Stefan Kapicic)
wants to cure Deadpool of killing people and
make him an X-Man. But on their first outing,
Deadpool gets into trouble trying to rescue an
emotionally disturbed young mutant, Russell
(Julian Dennison, of Hunt for the Wilderpeople),
who calls himself Firefist for reasons that will
be self-evident.
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
1 Cold War 2 Sorry Angel
SORRY ANGEL
64
M AY 16, 2018
WOMAN AT WAR
(Critics’ Week)
Icelandic auteur Benedikt
Erlingsson’s second feature
(following Of Horses and Men) is a
very skillfully crafted and surreally told story of an ecological
“terrorist” who sabotages her
country’s power grid in order to
preserve its breathtaking landscapes. With emotional depth,
exquisite visuals and sharp, timely
political undertones, the movie
starts off on rather playful footing
but gradually builds into something more thrilling, and moving,
as our heroine goes on the run. — J.M.
Long and twist-filled story short, Wade goes
it alone, trying to save Russell from Cable,
a time-traveling cyborg soldier played by Josh
Brolin. To help, Wade recruits new superpowered oddballs for a crew he dubs X-Force. Most
exciting of these is Domino (Atlanta’s Zazie
Beetz), whose mutant power is that she’s lucky.
You may share Wade’s fourth wall-breaking
concern that this gift will be hard to dramatize
onscreen, but director David Leitch (Atomic
Blonde) puts those worries to rest in one of the
pic’s more enjoyable episodes.
There’s action aplenty, but Deadpool 2 doesn’t
bog down in it as many overcooked comicbook sequels do. With Reynolds’ charismatic
irreverence at its core, the film moves from
bloody mayhem to lewd comedy and back fluidly and with panache. If sequels built on
the backs of X-whatever mutants are going to
thrive into the future, this installment needs
to convince its loner protagonist that a family
of trusted partners isn’t something to fear.
And after one surprisingly moving version
of A-ha’s “Take on Me,” it manages just that.
OPENS Friday, May 18 (20th Century Fox)
CAST Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Morena Baccarin,
Zazie Beetz, Julian Dennison, Karan Soni, T.J. Miller
DIRECTOR David Leitch
Rated R, 119 minutes
COLD, ANGEL: COURTESY OF CANNES FILM FESTIVAL. DEADPOOL: COURTESY OF TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX. GLOVER: MICHAEL TRAN/FILMMAGIC. D’ELIA: JB LACROIX/WIREIMAGE. SMITH: JON KOPALOFF/FILMMAGIC. BELL: JASON LAVERIS/FILMMAGIC.
Film
THR’S SOCIAL CLIMBERS
A ranking of the week’s top actors, comedians
and personalities based on social media engagement
across Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and more
This
Week
1
↑ I
Last
Week
-
This
Week
Actors
I
Donald Glover
Glover’s 1,426 percent leap
in Twitter mentions stems
not just from his May 5
debut hosting gig on SNL
— he also released the song
“This Is America” under his
moniker Childish Gambino,
with its much-discussed
music video arriving during
the SNL broadcast.
Last
Week
Comedians
1
↑ I
8
I
Roseanne Barr
2
↑ I
9
I
Chris D’Elia
D’Elia, who debuted
on the chart at No. 9 last
week, jumped another
77 percent in Twitter likes
to 970,000. The comedian
got into a Twitter spat with
online personality Logan
Paul beginning May 1 that
continued into the latest
chart-tracking week.
MFA PROGRAMS IN THEATRE
2
↑ I
8
I
Zendaya
3
↑ I
11
I
Ryan Reynolds
3
←
→ I
3
I
D.L. Hughley
4
↑ I
17
I
Mark Hamill
4
↑ I
6
I
Tommy Chong
ACTING, DIRECTING, DRAMATURGY, PLAYWRITING,
5
↑ I
15
I
Robert Downey Jr.
5
↓ I
2
I
Kevin Hart
STAGE MANAGEMENT, THEATRE MANAGEMENT & PRODUCING
6
↑ I
16
I
Roseanne Barr
6
↑ I
-
I
Ricky Gervais
7
↓ I
3
I
Cole Sprouse
7
↑ I
-
I
Colleen Ballinger
8
↓ I
4
I
Priyanka Chopra
8
↑ I
-
I
Mike Epps
9
↓ I
6
I
Lin-Manuel Miranda
9
↑ I
-
I
Bill Maher
10
↓ I
1
I
Will Smith
10
↑ I
-
I
Kathy Grifin
11
↑ I
-
I
Alyssa Milano
12
↑ I
-
I
Tia Mowry
13
↓ I
12
I
Tommy Chong
14
↓ I
2
I
Dwayne Johnson
15
↓ I
9
I
Eugenio Derbez
16
↑ I
21
I
Gal Gadot
17
↓ I
5
I
Kevin Hart
18
↑ I
-
I
Zooey Deschanel
19
←
→ I
19
I
Ricky Gervais
20
↑ I
-
I
Madelaine Petsch
21
↓ I
20
I
Chris Pratt
22
↑ I
-
I
Chris Evans
23
↑ I
-
I
Jada Pinkett Smith
This
Week
Smith makes her debut
due in large part to 189,000
Facebook likes and 75,000
shares as she posted May 7
the premiere episode of her
new video series, Red Table
Talk. It featured husband
Will Smith’s ex-wife Sheree
Fletcher and discussed
co-parenting.
24
↑ I
-
I
Lili Reinhart
25
↑ I
-
I
Seth MacFarlane
Last
Week
Offering joint JD/MFA with Columbia Law School. Actors’ Equity
membership eligibility for all third-year Acting students and two
Stage Management students per year.
VISIT ARTS.COLUMBIA.EDU/THR-MFA FOR MORE INFORMATION.
TV Personalities
1
↑ I
2
I
Jimmy Fallon
2
↑ I
3
I
Steve Harvey
3
↓ I
1
I
Mike Huckabee
4
↑ I
5
I
Jake Tapper
5
↑ I
8
I
Chris Hayes
6
↑ I
10
I
Bill Maher
7
↓ I
4
I
Jimmy Kimmel
8
↑ I
9
I
Stephen Colbert
9
↑ I
-
I
W. Kamau Bell
TRAIN AT
THE OLD GLOBE
www.GraduateActing.com
The host of CNN’s
United Shades of America
live-tweeted the show’s
May 6 episode, discussing
the history and culture
of the religion of Sikhism
and interviewing Sikhs living
in America. The comedian scored 227,888 Twitter
likes, up 538 percent.
10
↑ I
-
I
Joanna Gaines
Data Compiled By
Source: The week’s most active and talked-about entertainers on
leading social networking sites Facebook, Google Plus, Instagram,
Twitter and YouTube for the week ending May 8. Rankings are based
on a formula blending weekly additions of fans as well as cumulative
weekly reactions and conversations, as tracked by MVP Index.
THE OLD GLOBE & UNIVERSITY OF SAN DIEGO
SHILEY GRADUATE THEATRE PROGRAM
FULL-TUITION FELLOWSHIPS AND STIPENDS
65
Ajinkya Desai and Suzelle Palacios (MFA ‘17) as Touchstone and Audrey in
AS YOU LIKE IT. Photo by Daren Scott.
Backlot
Innovators, Events, Honors
Drama
Schools
Top 25 Schools for an Acting Degree MFA programs
ranked by Hollywood alums, instructors, influencers and
pros throughout the industry By Seth Abramovitch
here are a lot of new deans and directors on drama school
campuses this year (including one with a role in Ocean’s 8).
As a new generation of instructors takes over MFA programs across the country, new courses are also being introduced to
train the next generation of actors in innovative ways (one university
recently brought in Anna Faris to teach podcasting; another added
a class where students act opposite an artificial intelligence machine).
To keep tabs on the latest dramas at the best programs, THR has
again consulted with academics, industry professionals, alumni and
other experts for its ranking of the top 25 schools that take acting to a
higher degree.
T
YALE
1
NEW HAVEN, CONNECTICUT
If you saw Black Panther
— and a good chunk of the world
did — then you’re familiar with
the work of two recent grads:
Lupita Nyong’o and Winston Duke
(both class of 2012). You’ve
probably also heard of some of the
school’s more seasoned alums,
including Meryl Streep, Sigourney
Weaver, Angela Bassett and
Frances McDormand (who picked
up yet another acting Oscar for
the school this year). Yale has
always attracted the very best
teachers — and the very best
young talent, which is why it
once again tops this list.
3
JUILLIARD
2
NEW YORK
There’s a new drama
queen on campus — longtime
Yale professor and Obie-winning
stage director Evan Yionoulis
takes over the program in July —
but the mission remains the
same: to be the premier acting
school in the nation (or at least
south of New Haven). The MFA
program is only 6 years old,
but Juilliard has been churning
Illustration by Pete Gamlen
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
out superstars for 50 years,
from Robin Williams to Viola Davis
to Jessica Chastain.
66
M AY 16, 2018
NYU TISCH SCHOOL
OF THE ARTS
NEW YORK
Unlike NYU’s sprawling undergrad program, the MFA track
accepts just 16 students a year. A
full half-semester curriculum
is now dedicated to working
with NYU’s legendary graduate
film program. The downside:
Tuition is a hefty $60,000 a year,
and that doesn’t include the
cost of living in New York. Still,
it may be worth it: Two very
recent grads — Jin Ha (class of
’16) and Carvens Lissaint
(’17) — already have appeared
in Hamilton.
UC SAN DIEGO
4
Recent graduate Myles Bullock
(class of ’17) has appeared
on CBS’ S.W.A.T., while Benjamin
Curns (also ’17) guest-starred
on Quantico.
COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY
It’s a big year for actor
does he take over as head of the
acting program in the fall, but he
also has a part this summer in
Ocean’s 8. Thanks to its association
with the La Jolla Playhouse —
where scores of Tony-winning
hits have been born — this school
continues to produce supersuccessful alumni, like recent grad
Angela Reed, who’s starring in
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
on Broadway.
BROWN UNIVERSITY
LOS ANGELES
UCLA offers a course
in which students act with an
artificial intelligence machine
(for when Skynet takes over
Broadway). The more traditionalminded can take a class in
Ancient Greek Choral Speaking,
land a part in one of the prestigious film school’s productions or
learn to sew from designer in
residence Mark Bridges (Phantom
Thread). Mariska Hargitay and
George Takei are alumni.
LONDON
In England, an acting school
doesn’t achieve “institution”
status until well into its second
century — and LAMDA, the
oldest school in the U.K., turns
157 this year. Unlike its U.S.
counterparts, LAMDA’s students
(who include such stars as
Benedict Cumberbatch to Chiwetel
Ejiofor) earn their degrees in just
two years.
PROFESSIONAL CONSERVATORY TRAINING
NEW YORK
Applications have
doubled since last year, when this
Ivy League school was dead last
on THR’s list; so has financial aid.
A new theater, built by Academy
Museum designer Renzo Piano,
opened in September, continuing
Columbia’s expansion into
North Harlem. And the emphasis
of the program has shifted more
from theory to practice. Things
are looking up.
13
LONDON ACADEMY OF
MUSIC & DRAMATIC ART
@RUTGERS
USC SCHOOL OF
DRAMATIC ARTS
LOS ANGELES
This nimble program located in
the heart of the entertainment
industry is always evolving. Last
year, Anna Faris taught a podcast class. Joining the faculty in
2017 was Scandal’s Kate Burton,
who teaches acting. The school’s
ties to George Lucas (who donated
$175 million for an expansion in
2006) lead to visits from the likes
of Mark Hamill, who recently
popped by to share some Jedi mind
tricks for actors.
PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND
Angela Brazil, a longtime actor and director with
the school’s Trinity Repertory
Company, recently took over as
director of this program, which
accepts 14 to 16 actors per class
and splits each of its three years
into different themes: realism,
verse and style. Best of all, Brown
recently became the only Ivy
League drama school to offer full
tuition for the acting and directing MFA programs.
7
8
9
A scone’s throw from the
University of London, this iconic
conservatory has produced some
of the most legendary actors
of all time, including John Gielgud,
Peter O’Toole, Anthony Hopkins
and Ian Holm. Four of this year’s
Tony nominees — Mark Rylance,
Jamie Parker, Glenda Jackson and
Diana Rigg — are grads.
12
UCLA
ROYAL ACADEMY
OF DRAMATIC ART
LONDON
6
in a Broadway revival of The Boys
in the Band, is an alumnus.
SAN DIEGO
Richard Robichaux. Not only
5
festival. The Big Bang Theory star
Jim Parsons, currently starring
UNIVERSITY OF
NORTH CAROLINA
THE NATIONAL
INSTITUTE OF
DRAMATIC ART
KENSINGTON, AUSTRALIA
10
The renowned acting school
Down Under has produced scads
of global superstars — Cate
Blanchett, Toni Collette — and
students regularly land roles
in visiting Hollywood productions. Last year, alumna
Judy Davis directed students
in a play, and George Miller
and Margot Robbie stopped by to
advise students.
LONDON
Although not quite as prestigious
as RADA or LAMDA, it’s the U.K.’s
biggest, most diverse acting
school, with 900 students from 70
countries. Among the Brits who’ve
passed through its Barbican
Center-adjacent campus: Daniel
Craig, Jude Law, Orlando Bloom,
Ewan McGregor, Lily James and
Damian Lewis.
CALARTS
15
CHAPEL HILL
Its affiliation with PlayMakers Rep,
a professional theater in residence consistently named among
the country’s best regional stages
(actor/folk music great Loudon
Wainwright III and Orange Is the New
Black’s Annie Golden are company members) make this program
an attractive one for students
hoping to enter the workforce with
a guaranteed Actors’ Equity card.
14
11
THE OLD GLOBE
AND UNIVERSITY OF
SAN DIEGO
SAN DIEGO
Just seven students are chosen
each year (their tuition is covered)
and are immersed in a comprehensive acting curriculum, which
is then put to practical use in
multiple productions; students
also have the opportunity to
perform at a summer Shakespeare
GUILDHALL SCHOOL
OF MUSIC & DRAMA
ACTING
Yearlong residency for actors at
Shakespeare’s Globe in London
VALENCIA, CALIFORNIA
“It’s controversial,
always has been,” says a veteran
acting teacher of this program, which leans into the more
experimental end of the drama
school spectrum. But a disrupter
education might be just what the
profession calls for when companies like Netflix are upending
conventions. Plus, Saturday
Night Live’s Cecily Strong and
GLOW’s Alison Brie both attended.
ACTING AUDITIONS:
New York City; Chicago;
Los Angeles;
New Brunswick, NJ
40 MINUTES FROM NEW YORK CITY
WWW.MASONGROSS.RUTGERS.EDU
admissions@mgsa.rutgers.edu
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
67
M AY 16, 2018
Backlot
annual living stipend and experience at the Cleveland Play
House. Mad Men’s Rich Sommer
is an alumnus.
Drama
Schools
19
KNOXVILLE
21
DALLAS
New York stage actor, has put this
program on the map. The entire
class of eight students gets a free
three-year education and roles
at the Clarence Brown Theatre.
Recent grads include Tramell
Tillman, who just landed a part in
AMC’s upcoming Dietland.
The late, great James Houghton
— former director of Juilliard’s
drama division who died of
stomach cancer in 2016 at age
57 — earned his MFA here.
The three-year program is affiliated with the Tony-winning
Dallas Theater Center.
17
SAVANNAH COLLEGE
OF ART AND DESIGN
SAVANNAH, GEORGIA
At the only school on this list
with its own in-house casting
office — which comes in handy
for Hollywood productions
shooting in Georgia — many
students start collecting IMDb
credits even before graduating. Alumni include DeRon Horton
and Briana Weiss.
NEW BRUNSWICK, NEW JERSEY
Yes, it’s in New Jersey
— there’s nothing anybody can
do about that — but a performance center is being built in New
Brunswick that will open up two
theater spaces in 2019. In 2020,
the school will add a BFA in musical theater to its roster of degrees.
Some recent grads: Mike Colter
(star of Netflix’s Luke Cage series)
and Sebastian Stan (Avengers:
Infinity War).
UC IRVINE
20
SEATTLE
The most illustrious actor incubator in the Pacific Northwest
has an impressive track record on
the national stage: Joel McHale
graduated from the program in
2000. The following year, so
did Ron Simons — who went on
to win three Tonys.
18
RUTGERS UNIVERSITY
23
SOUTHERN
METHODIST
UNIVERSITY
Jed Diamond, an experienced
UNIVERSITY
OF WASHINGTON
include Elizabeth Banks,
Annette Bening, Benjamin Bratt
and Denzel Washington.
IRVINE, CALIFORNIA
This conservatory-style
program, just an hour’s drive
from L.A., puts plenty of emphasis
on on-camera acting. Recent
CASE WESTERN
RESERVE UNIVERSITY
CLEVELAND
Getting into Case Western is a
little like hitting the acting school
lottery. If you’re one of the eight
accepted students out of 800
applicants, you get a full threeyear tuition waiver, a generous
22
AMERICAN
CONSERVATORY
THEATER
SAN FRANCISCO
This 53-year-old Bay Area school
gets a new dean this summer: Tony-winning stage
director Pam MacKinnon
takes over from Carey
Perlof, who stepped down
after 25 years on the
job. But MacKinnon is
unlikely to change what’s
been a winning formula
of basic training by a
strong faculty of workingartist teachers (this year,
voice coach extraordinaire Christine Adaire
joins the faculty). Alumni
DEPAUL UNIVERSITY
24
CHICAGO
Located in the heart of
Chicago’s theater scene, DePaul
picks 10 students a year for annual
scholarships of between $14,000
and $17,000. Recent grads
include Westworld’s Olga Aguilar.
25
FLORIDA STATE
UNIVERSITY
SARASOTA
A three-year program offering
a reasonably solid acting foundation, a full-ride scholarship and
a professional work environment
at the Asolo Repertory Theatre.
Oscar-winning Moonlight director Barry Jenkins graduated
in 2003.
… AND 5 TOP UNDERGRAD PROGRAMS
Just beginning an acting career? The best schools for a bachelor’s degree
CARNEGIE MELLON
UNIVERSITY
Josh Gad and Megan Hilty
trained at this Pittsburgh
institution. Class of 2012’s
Grey Henson stars in Mean
Girls on Broadway.
Gad
JUILLIARD
NYU
The undergrad program
predates the master track
by 44 years — and remains
among the world’s best.
Grads Oscar Isaac and
Adam Driver felt its Force.
Consistently tops Playbill’s
list of schools represented
on Broadway (43 former
students in 2017). Crazy
Ex-Girlfriend’s Rachel
Bloom graduated in 2009.
UC SAN DIEGO
UNIVERSITY OF
NORTH CAROLINA
Top-tier education that
produced Mary-Louise
Parker, Kristin Chenoweth
and Broadway director
Joe Mantello.
Parker
This B.A. program’s afiliation with La Jolla
Playhouse and flexibility
(students can take liberal
arts classes, too) make
for an attractive option.
PARKER: DIMITRIOS KAMBOURIS/GETTY IMAGES FOR DAVID LYNCH FOUNDATION. GAD: KARWAI TANG/WIREIMAGE.
16
UNIVERSITY OF
TENNESSEE
grads include Beth Malone (who’s
joining the cast of Angels in
America on Broadway) and Quinn
VanAntwerp (also on Broadway in
The Play That Goes Wrong).
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NO AWARDS
NIGHT
NERVES FOR
THESE
WINNERS
Awards
Spotlight
‘It Doesn’t Feel Like
Work’ Carol Burnett
on her new Netflix
show and funny ladies
she loves, from Lucy
to Kristen Wiig By Andy Lewis
Announced ahead
of the event, timely
shows and docs are
among the honorees
ENTERTAINMENT
WINNERS
I
n the 56 years since Carol Burnett landed her first
Peabody Award in 1962, the legendary comedian has
won just about every other honor possible, including
a handful of Emmys and a Grammy. So, having exhausted
the pool, it is fitting that Burnett, 85, is the first recipient of the Peabody Career Achievement Award, which will
be handed out at the May 19 awards ceremony (hosted by
comedian Hasan Minhaj, also a winner this year) in New
York. Burnett, who revisited her most iconic hit with CBS’
The Carol Burnett 50th Anniversary Special in December
and debuted her new Netflix series, A Little Help With Carol
Burnett, on May 4, spoke with THR about the tiny stars of
her new show, her friendship with Lucille Ball and the funniest people she’s ever met.
↑ A SERIES OF
UNFORTUNATE EVENTS
Netflix
AMERICAN VANDAL
Netflix
BETTER CALL SAUL
AMC
↑ Burnett dominated television from 1967 through 1978 with The Carol Burnett
Show, which nabbed 25 Emmys (she personally has won six).
9 because they don’t censor themselves at that age. They
come up with such ideas — they’re so smart!
You just had a birthday April 26, which has a bittersweet
memory attached to it since it’s also the date your friend
Lucille Ball died in 1989. What was your friendship like?
She called me “kid.” Every year she’d say, “Happy
Peabody
birthday, kid.” She never gave me advice, but I
How does it feel to have received a Peabody at the
Awards
watched how she handled herself and handled
beginning of your career and now?
May 19
everybody. She gave me a baby shower for my secWhen I got the first one, I was gobsmacked. Now, it’s
Cipriani
ond baby. It was a black-tie affair, and the men
amazing to be the first one to get this one. I don’t
Wall Street
were invited. She was married to Gary Morton, who
mean to brag, but it’s quite an honor.
was the emcee. He opened the baby gifts and did a monologue about each one. When the party broke up, the men
The Carol Burnett Show celebrated its 50th anniversary in
said: “Wow, you girls … these baby showers are so fun!”
2017, but the primetime variety show, once a network staple,
HASAN MINHAJ:
HOMECOMING KING
Netflix
INSECURE HBO
LAST WEEK TONIGHT
WITH JOHN OLIVER
HBO
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE
NBC
THE HANDMAID’S TALE
Hulu
THE MARVELOUS
MRS. MAISEL
Amazon
has pretty much disappeared.
One old Hollywood adage
is never to work with kids
or animals, but your new
Netflix show features a cast
of young kids. How did that
come about?
↑ From left: Burnett, Ball and Mary
My friend and manager
Jane Croft on The Lucy Show in 1966.
said, “You remember those
kids shows? Maybe we should do something like that;
would you be comfortable with that?” I said, “Let’s go for
it.” There’s a panel of five kids, and they range from 5 to
Who is the funniest person you’ve known?
Tim Conway and Robin Williams — they’re totally different.
And there are women today that make me laugh: Kristen
Wiig, Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Jane Lynch, Maya Rudolph. It’s
so wonderful to see so many women now being funny and
being accepted.
Many stars who are active into their 80s and 90s have lots of
younger friends. How does that happen?
I just think, “I’ve made another new friend.” It’s just like
anything, its chemistry. With Amy [Poehler], it was lovely —
same with Jane Lynch and Maya. I haven’t really met Kristen
Wiig, but I’m sure we could get along.
DOCUMENTARY
WINNERS
↑ AMERICA
REFRAMED: DEEJ
World Channel
CHASING CORAL
Netflix
INDIVISIBLE Fuse
LAST MEN IN ALEPPO
PBS
MAYA ANGELOU:
AND STILL I RISE
PBS
Not many people are taking on new jobs in their 80s. What
keeps you working?
NEWTOWN PBS
It doesn’t feel like work. If it did, I don’t think I’d want to do
it. I still go on the road and do my one-woman Q&A show.
And I enjoy that because I never know what anyone is going
to ask — it keeps the old gray matter ticking. You have to be
on your toes. It’s not like I’m sitting at a desk from 9 to 5. I
think keeping busy is the thing.
PBS
Photographed by Ramona Rosales
T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
70
M AY 16, 2018
OKLAHOMA CITY
THE ISLAND AND
THE WHALES
PBS
TIME: THE KALIEF
BROWDER STORY
Spike TV
LUCY: CBS PHOTO ARCHIVE/GETTY IMAGES. UNFORTUNATE: EIKE SCHROTER/NETFLIX. DEEJ: © 2017 ROOY MEDIA LLC AND DAVID JAMES.
You couldn’t do [now] what we did back then. We did
a mini Broadway musical comedy revue — 65 costumes
a week. Today, you would only see that on Broadway. And
CBS left us alone. If I were doing this today, they’d never
let me hire [actress] Vicki
Lawrence. She was 18, right
out of high school, never
had any professional experience. But the network let
us take the chance.
Storytellers made here
X-Men. The Fast and the Furious. The Walking Dead. Game of Thrones.
SCAD faculty members and more than 12,000 alumni from entertainment
arts and digital media work on today’s hottest film franchises and hit
TV series. They are leaders, stars, and Emmy® and Oscar® winners.
Find your role. scad.edu/performing-arts
SCAD alumni Matt Nickley (M.F.A., performing arts, 2016) and
Shasta Ford (M.F.A., film and television, 2017) won a Student
Emmy Award for the SCAD-produced sitcom, The Buzz.
UCI Drama... over 50 years of
training Broadway professionals.
Photo credit: Paul Kennedy
89 Years of THR
Memorable moments from a storied history
199 2 7
1 9 288
1929
1933 0
1933 1
1933 2
1933 3
1 9 34
4
1 9 35
1936
1937
1938
1933 9
1940
199 41
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43
199 4 4
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1946
199 47
Hedy Lamarr, the Starlet Who Helped Invent Wi-Fi
↑ Lamarr starred in 1941’s Ziegfeld Girl.
The Hollywood Reporter, Vol. CDXXIV, No. 17 (ISSN 0018-3660; USPS 247-580) is published weekly; 39 issues — two issues in April, July, October and December; three issues in January and June; four issues in February, March, May, August and September; and five issues in November — with 15 special issues:
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T H E HOL LY WO OD R EP ORT ER
72
M AY 16, 2018
EVERETT COLLECTION/COURTESY OF KINO LORBER
History and Hollywood conspired to make Hedy
Lamarr’s life a bit too interesting. She was born
Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler to Viennese Jewish parents in 1913. She became internationally famous
as the nude actress in the 1933 Czech film Ecstasy
and wed the third-richest man in Austria, a fascist arms maker 30 years her senior (Mussolini
once came to dinner). She eventually fled her
husband and sailed from England to America
on a ship with MGM’s Louis B. Mayer, who gave
her a seven-year, $500-a-week contract ($8,600
today) along with a new glam name and the title
the Most Beautiful Woman in the World. Within
a year of arriving in Culver City — and still just
24 — Lamarr made Algiers in 1938 with Charles
Boyer. THR said “she had more sex, more rare
beauty than the screen has seen for many days”
and predicted she was “destined to reach great
heights if given the proper material.” That didn’t
happen, but other successes did. Most curious
is that she and composer George Antheil patented a device that made radio frequencies jump
around — technology used today in GPS and
Wi-Fi. “Unfortunately, she didn’t make a dime off
it,” says Alexandra Dean, director of Bombshell:
The Hedy Lamarr Story, which airs May 18 on PBS.
Lamarr’s last good film was 1949’s Samson and
Delilah (“The wine of parting is bitter, Samson,”
is one of her lines). She married five more times;
sued Mel Brooks for naming the Harvey Korman
character in Blazing Saddles Hedley Lamarr (“She
did it for the money, she was broke,” says Dean.
“And Mel loved her, so he paid her”); and had her
last big splash in the press when she was arrested
in 1966 for shoplifting $86 in merchandise
from May Co. department store (soon to be the
Academy museum). She died in 2000 at age 85;
her ashes were spread in Austria’s Vienna Woods,
per her wishes. — BILL HIGGINS
“A
MASTERSTROKE
FOR JASON BATEMAN.”
F O R
Y O U R
E M M Y® C O N S I D E R A T I O N
OUTSTANDING DRAMA SERIES
OUTSTANDING DIRECTING
FOR A DRAMA SERIES
OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR
IN A DRAMA SERIES
JASON BATEMAN
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