Cliché: You started out as a dancer! How does dancing compare to acting and what made you decide to make the shift to acting?
Dance and acting are actually very similar. They both involve beats, musicality, and rhythm. My favorite part of dance, ballet specifically, was always the storytelling. In that way, the transition to acting felt pretty organic. When I am learning the blocking of a scene, I learn it in my body the same way I learned choreography as a dancer.
If you weren’t an actress, what would you want to be?
I’m low-key and obsessed with sharks. Actually, not even low-key. Just obsessed. I thought for a long time I may go into marine biology or animal behavior psychology. I’m just waiting for my chance to play a marine biologist in a film so that I can have the best of both worlds.
You’ve had some pretty memorable roles so far in some enviable shows, including Atlanta and Stranger Things! What were those experiences like for you?
I feel so lucky that Atlanta was my tv debut. Working with Zazie Beetz, Donald Glover, and Hiro Murai on my first ever tv set was a pretty charmed experience. Everyone was so welcoming and so much fun to work with. I especially loved working with Zazie. She was so down to earth and smart and GOOD in our scene…I loved watching her work. Seeing her career blow up since Atlanta debuted has been so much fun.
Stranger Things is the first show I ever booked that I was already a fan of. When you’re filming, you have to take your fan hat off and really focus on the work…but there were definite moments of feeling overwhelmed by the experience. I think it really hit me the first time I saw my hair and makeup. Sarah Hindsgaul and Amy Forsythe transformed me.
Talk about your new show, Outer Banks, and your character, Rose.
I can’t say much about Outer Banks, because I don’t want to give anything away! I can tell you that it is a real life, high stakes treasure hunt…and the show is visually stunning. We had so much fun making it!
Rose is a young stepmom, married to one of the most powerful men in town. She didn’t grow up in wealth, and now that she is surrounded with it, she isn’t going to let it go. She also has the most fabulous wardrobe of any character I’ve ever played!
Rose has a ruthlessness to her! How do you channel that side of yourself into your performance?
When I’m playing Rose, I don’t think in adjectives. She may seem ruthless on the page, but my job is to get in her head and justify each of her actions. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking through why she makes some of the decisions she does, and over the course of the season, I actually got really protective and defensive of her decisions!
Can you relate to Rose at all?
I relate to Rose’s drive and determination…and we both love clothes! Although, her heels are a little higher than mine.
Tell us about your upcoming movie, Like A Boss.
Like A Boss is a story about female friendship and entrepreneurship. My favorite thing about the film is that none of the story lines revolve around a man or a romantic relationship. The conflict has everything to do with their friendship and business.
Was it fun starring alongside Tiffany Haddish and Rose Byrne?
Of course! It was my first time doing extensive comedy improv on a film set…so to be doing it with Tiffany and Rose was wild. You have to stay so focused and connected with one another and be really know the script to be able to riff like that…and then you have to be able to recreate the magic each time they move the cameras. Our director, Miguel Arteta, gave us a lot of great structure and ideas to get us started, and then just let us play. It was rewarding to see so much of our improv make the final cut. I’m also glad there weren’t any close ups of me chopping any vegetables…no one would have believed a professional chef would chop that poorly.
You’re very passionate about supporting Planned Parenthood. Why do you think it’s so important right now to be a visible advocate for the services Planned Parenthood provides?
#IStandwithPP because they are allies to women and the LGBTQ community. I am a firm believer in women’s reproductive rights and PP provides sexual and reproductive healthcare to many women and teens that wouldn’t have access otherwise. 1 in 5 women will rely on PP in their life. They also offer support groups for LGBTQ teens. For me, supporting PP is a huge no brainer.
‘Stranger Things’ stars Natalia Dyer and Charlie Heaton have been a confirmed couple since December 2017. Months prior, the two did not respond to the romance rumors. With an off-screen romance as well as an on-screen one, it’s hard not to root for the pair. The young stars—Dyer, 21 and Heaton, 24—were out in West Hollywood on Thursday night to attend the Miu Miu party. Arriving hand-in-hand, Dyer and Heaton definitely squashed any circulating rumors about their romance being over. The two even appear to have coordinated outfits for the event: Dyer in a rhinestone denim jacket and skirt set and a leopard top and Heaton in a blue striped shirt paired with grey trousers and a sophisticated blazer.
‘Stranger Things’ Stars Natalia Dyer and Charlie Heaton on their way to the Miu Miu event. Photo Credit: Alla, Backgrid
See Natalia Dyer and Charlie Heaton in the Third Season of ‘Stranger Things’
Returning to Netflix this fall, Natalia says that the ‘Stranger Things’ cast has a lot of fun together. “He’s great. It’s a lot of fun, we goof off a lot,” Dyer said of her boyfriend Charlie. “The whole cast does. We’re all very close so we always have a great time on and off [set],” the ‘Stranger Things’ actress told US Weekly. The casts’ chemistry is certainly obvious on-screen! If you want to get all of the current details on the upcoming season of ‘Stranger Things,’ check out NME.
Maybe you didn’t know that Finn Wolfhard had other artistic outlets besides acting in “Stranger Things.” But Wolfhard doesn’t just act! He sings and plays rhythm guitar in his indie-rock band, Calpurnia. Calpurnia just released their debut EP, ‘Scout,’ this June. If you didn’t catch July 23rd’s episode of “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” then you missed Calpurnia’s TV debut. In an article by NME, Finn discussed his band, the fans, and how “Stranger Things” impacts his musical pursuits.
What Finn Wolfhard Has to Say About Calpurnia and “Stranger Things”
15-year-old Finn Wolfhard from ‘Stranger Things’ told NME about his band Calpurnia’s experiences so far. Wolfhard says that he and his bandmates have made peace with the fact that most of Calpurnia’s current fan-base are also fans of the hit Netflix original “Stranger Things.” The loved Sci-Fi series is undoubtedly great for the band’s notoriety. However, Wolfhard makes it clear that he wants Calpurnia’s music to be a separate entity, too. Finn recalls shutting a fan down “in a nice way” at a show in Toronto: “They said something like, ‘I love Stranger Things’ and I was like, ‘Cool man, I also like music, which is what’s happening right now.’” Props to the young actor-musician for knowing the importance of keeping artistic endeavors separate. Staying true to both of his career aspirations, Wolfhard is very wise for his age. Any musician wants their fans to appreciate their music for their music, just like any actor wants their craft to be taken seriously.
Watch Calpurnia’s performance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” from Kimmel Live’s official YouTube Channel
Awards season is fast-approaching. This year’s list of Emmy nominations dropped Thursday and it’s becoming clear that top networks like HBO have something to worry about. Netflix’s vast expansion of original streaming content is growing and growing. And with that, so are the Emmy nominations. Netflix has nabbed a total of 112 noms for their originals, which just beat HBO’s 108. It’s impressive to say the least. Thanks to their originals—such as GLOW, The Crown, and Stranger Things to name a few—Netflix has jumped from their 2015 bottom spot on the nomination list to the top in 2018.
Why Netflix is Now a Top Contender for The Emmys’
It took Netflix about five years since they debuted their first original to climb to the top of the nomination charts. According to an article from The Verge last year, Netflix “has only climbed the ladder by strategically playing the odds. The company is almost doubling its nomination count every year, but it’s also producing a mind-boggling 600 hours of content and spending $6 billion a year to do so.” The success can also be attributed to the streaming interface allowing Netflix to track viewer habits, and thus provide more original content based upon viewer preferences. Well played, Netflix, well played.
WARNING: This article contains major spoilers for Stranger Things 2.
Beyond the flashier elements of demonic child possession and psychic tantrums, one of the more impactful scenes of Stranger Things 2 was a very quiet, understated moment. Overcome with loneliness and longing for Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) risks safety to return to Hawkins Middle School. In a classic but infuriating trope, Mike just misses seeing Eleven in the hallway, with the two mere seconds and a head turn away from being in the other’s direct line of sight. Eleven finally spots Mike in the gym talking to new girl Max (Sadie Sink)—of course, at the exact and only moment that their frosty interaction thaws just enough to be misconstrued as flirtation. Consumed by jealousy, Eleven uses her powers to make Max take a hard fall off her skateboard. Confused but unfazed by the sudden invisible force, Max explains to Mike that it felt like a magnet was pulling on her board. Eleven slinks back into the shadows glowering and devastated, and by the time Mike connects the dots and rushes outside, all that’s left to reunite with is an eerily abandoned hallway and self-doubt about his own grip on reality.
Eleven is crushed, assuming Mike has moved on with Max.
That scene really resonated with me for a variety of reasons, not only because it’s agonizing as a viewer who just wants Eleven to be happy, goddammit (El’s temper and occasional brattiness aside, Millie Bobby Brown really goes for broke in portraying the depth and nuance of her anguish with all the fragile hope of an abused 13-year-old desperately yearning for any scrap of affection in ways that systematically shatter every individual piece of your heart), but serves as a microcosm of all the problems with female characterization and interaction that this season had. Chief among them: there was barely any female/female interaction to begin with! Max doesn’t actually lay eyes on Eleven until the finale and receives a non-greeting so over-the-top passive aggressive that Max and Mike look like BFFs by comparison. Significantly for a show that seems to actively court and anticipate praise for having strong female characters, all of Stranger Things 2‘s female protagonists are isolated from each other to facilitate their respective male-driven subplots: El is hidden away clashing with new paternal figure Hopper (David Harbour) as she pines for Mike; Joyce (Winona Ryder) continues to fret over Will (Noah Schnapp); Max is unwittingly caught between Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) and Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin); Nancy (Natalia Dyer) teams up with Jonathan (Charlie Heaton) to get #JusticeForBarb in what is equal parts fanservice and an elaborate pretext for them to finally hook up.
Max gets a cold reception from El when the gang finally reunites.
That’s where the dudebro starts to seep in. And, much like Eleven’s “magnet,” an invisible force seems to be conspiring to keep all the ladies apart. “Strong female character” has become so vacuous and watered down a term that it’s basically the media’s new dog whistle for “not like other girls.” It’s empowerment light for men who ostensibly support feminism but still can’t get enough manic pixie dream girl. The Duffer brothers have made it clear that Stranger Things is a love letter to their ‘80s childhood, and while I would stop short of claiming malicious intent or deliberate sexism in their writing, the thematic trends in gender interaction and apparent recurring impulse to keep female characters physically apart or antagonistic is baffling at best. On one hand, the very premise of this show is that a middle school boy finds a girl raised in a lab with zero social contact and hides her in his basement until they fall in love, so I understand handwaving a lot of things to enjoy the story, which I thoroughly do. On the other hand, having four main female protagonists share approximately two scenes together feels like the proverbial “bar” isn’t just on the floor—it’s buried far underneath that damn cabin.
Joyce and Eleven share an emotional 20 second reunion, a painful reminder of all the sweet moments we missed out on this season.
Whether intentional or not, the fact that the writers seem to have all of the main women and girls on vindictive marionette strings is particularly frustrating because all of the actresses are phenomenal and their storylines would have so much potential if they were simply allowed to develop organically. Instead, the women and girls feel like they’re written by men who express a theoretical interest in complex female characters, only to lose interest as soon as those characters have a chance to develop outside of male/female dynamics. In other words, they’re aware female characters are important but they just don’t seem to know or care how they feel or interact with each other beyond buoying male protagonists. The deep aversion to allowing female characters to bond or even spend time in the same room together is especially bizarre, as the writers perform exhaustive narrative gymnastics to ensure that they stay segregated and polarized. At every opportunity for female independence or camaraderie, the invisible hand goes to work again. You thought Eleven and Max would be friends? (Imagined) romantic rivalry! You thought Max would be her own character with an autonomous arc? Love triangle! You thought that Joyce and Eleven would get to bond more and develop the maternal dynamic El craves? Break out everyone’s favorite Cabin of Boredom!
Remember when Max’s uncanny skill at Dig Dug felt like it would have obvious relevance to defeating the tunnel-based evil growing under Hawkins? And then it turned out to be a throwaway detail just to spark the boys’ infatuation with her? Good times.
Sadie Sink brings an unaffected swagger to the gang as Max, a tomboyish videogame aficionado who also skateboards. Yeah, I’m pretty sure her initial characterization is the kitchen sink answer to “how can we introduce a new girl that the boys would be both intimidated by and immediately attracted to?” Nonetheless, Sink gamely breaks into the ensemble, putting a sarcastic yet vulnerable spin on a guarded girl determined to hide her turbulent home life at the hands of her abusive brother, Billy (Dacre Montgomery). Unfortunately, Max is engulfed by El’s shadow from the second she arrives, and Mike’s hostility towards her does no favors in propelling her above being perceived by both the audience and the narrative itself as an obvious El placeholder. In spite of all her “cool girl” bells and whistles, poor Max is soon reduced to a manic pixie trojan horse in tomboy’s clothing. She predictably becomes a source of romantic conflict between Lucas and Dustin, ultimately choosing Lucas so that 1) Dustin can continue serving as comic relief and go off on his marvelous Steve subplot and 2) the writers could get out of giving Max or Lucas actual storylines of their own, I guess? While the Duffer brothers achieve their stated purpose of making Billy a human antagonist, the abuse plotline also quickly runs out of gas in terms of giving us much insight on Max, as she merely illustrates the extent of Billy’s controlling nature.
Dustin and Lucas happen to witness Max and Billy fighting while secretly spying on her with binoculars. Filed under: quirky ’80s tropes that have not aged well in a 2017 context.
The similarities between Max and El make the deliberately avoided opportunity for friendship all the more disappointing. If anyone would be able to understand each other, it’s these two (we’ll get to Kali in a minute). They’re both outsiders who have never had a stable home life or consistent group of friends. They’re both physically and emotionally abused by male familial figures who wield a disproportionate amount of power over them. They should be the two with the strongest friendship in the entire party! Yet El, who presumably has hardly seen a girl her age for almost a decade, immediately views Max as a rival because the writers are incapable of writing girls as anything other than love interests or vehicles of self discovery for the boys she smiled at her crush. And look, I get that Mike was the first person to show her kindness and middle school infatuation runs deep. It would be fine if it was just a throwaway moment of preteen angst, but El’s icy staredown of Max’s earnest attempt at a handshake indicates that this tired conflict could be dragged out into next season. It’s arguably one of the few plot points that doesn’t actually hinge on a real love triangle and the girls are still divided over it! Plus, it’s been pointed out that Lucas and Dustin had several episodes to explore and resolve their rivalry, whereas Max and El have to settle for one unsatisfying scene of the silent treatment.
My face each time I realize we’re still wasting scenes in this cabin-shaped shallow grave of narrative momentum.
Which brings us to the dreaded Cabin of Plot Purgatory. Even Millie said they were the most boring scenes to film because she was by herself doing an endless loop of repetitive activities, which is coincidentally an accurate description of how I felt being forced to watch scene after scene of her sitting alone in this godforsaken cabin. It’s both telling and symbolic that the writers have to lock Eleven up because they, like Hopper, have no idea what do with her now that she’s separated from the boys, effectively benching her from the narrative until she’s required to close the gate—minus a few underwhelming side quests. Luckily, Hopper pops in occasionally for some drive-by character growth and to learn how to be a dad again. The chemistry between David Harbour and Millie Bobby Brown is undoubtedly one of the highlights of the season, but again, I wish it wasn’t at the expense of keeping El isolated for so long.
“Listen kid, if your idea of sisterhood involves not immediately being recruited as a child assassin, you need to speak up now.”
Notably, the times when she disobeys Hopper’s instructions and leaves the cabin are all instances of bitter disappointment at the hands of women. The first time is Flirtgate and the second is when she runs away to find her biological relatives and hang out with her superpowered sister, Eight (aka Kali, played by Linnea Berthelsen) in Chicago. The heartbreak is swift and manifold: she finds her mother lobotomized; she discovers her aunt reporting her to the authorities; it turns out Kali wants to weaponize El’s powers for her own benefit. Kali is weirdly cold and outright abusive to El for the amount of time they hyped up their alleged psychic connection, especially since she is the only person in the Stranger Things universe thus far who could fully empathize with El, doubly so because they spent time together in the lab as small children before a supposedly traumatic separation. Every time El reaches out to a woman in her life for comfort or support, the narrative slaps her wrist and punishes this optimism with escalating betrayal and manipulation. To be clear, Eleven was raised in a lab and tortured by men her whole life, escaped to the woods and then conveniently found more than a half-dozen male characters to befriend without issue, but somehow women are the ones she needs to learn to be suspicious of? Sure, Jan. El is so deeply disillusioned following her encounter with Kali (and a hackneyed Breakfast Club makeover) that she hops a bus back to Hawkins to fulfill her true destiny as an on-call dues ex machina for her embattled lads.
I recognize that Stranger Things is, at its core, a nostalgic reflection by the Duffer brothers on their own childhood and perhaps who wish they could’ve been or become. But if the boys can be the heroes of their stories, why not the girls? If Hopper can find renewed purpose after grief and Will can fight a demon from the inside and reformed douchebag Steve can help Dustin gain self-confidence, why can’t Joyce and Max and El have the same depth and complexity to their journeys? And why on Earth wouldn’t they lean on each other? Yes, they are all superficially involved saving the day, but the road to get there relegates them to passengers of their own narratives. Surely government conspiracy and imminent apocalypse trumps shipping and love triangles.
For a show where the fate of humanity hangs on the intervention of a young girl, we could certainly use a little more girl power.
Fall is upon us and so is the ever-anticipated cuddle weather! What better way to enjoy the season of change than by spending some time inside snuggled up with your honey…or yourself! Break out the junk food and comfy clothes as I fill you in on some binge-worthy Netflix fall favorites to get you ready for the perfect binge-a-thon for your next Netflix and Chill session.
Short and Sweet (For the bingers on a time crunch)
Stranger Things (1 season) For the lovers of the supernatural and mystery, this Netflix-original drama stars Winona Ryder as Joyce Byers, a woman who lives in a small Indiana town set in 1983 when her 12-year-old son, Will, goes missing. She makes it her mission to launch an investigation into his disappearance with the local authorities. As they search for answers, they unravel a series of extraordinary mysteries involving secret government experiments, unnerving supernatural forces, and a very unusual little girl.
Making a Murderer (1 season) For those into the real-life drama, the documentary Making a Murderer may be right up your alley. With season two to be released in late 2016/early 2017, follow the court trials of Steven Avery. Exonerated after spending nearly two decades in prison for a crime he did not commit, Steven Avery filed suit against Manitowoc County, Wisconsin, and several individuals involved with his arrest. Shortly after, however, Avery found himself behind bars again, this time accused of the murder of 25-year-old photographer Teresa Halbach, who was last seen on Avery’s property, where she was to photograph a vehicle. Avery and nephew Brendan Dassey were tried and (spoiler alert) convicted of the crime, but the story doesn’t stop there…
Master of None (1 season) Feel the commandery with Aziz Ansari’s character Dev in the comedy Master of None as he goes through the trials and tribulations as a 30-year-old New Yorker trying to find his way both personally and professionally in life, love, and career, but getting it all wrong.
Keep Me Entertained (Committed, but not for the long haul)
Bloodline (2 seasons) Built on family secrets, Bloodline is a dramatic thriller that explores the demons lurking beneath the surface of the Rayburns. A past full of dark secrets that they hoped would remain buried, paranoia and mistrust build as lies pile up, alliances are shattered, and an unthinkable crime takes place. The tight-knit family’s formerly harmonious relationship deteriorates, and they become good people who are forced to consider doing very bad things.
House of Cards (4 seasons) The scripted Netflix original, boasting a number of real-life media figures making cameo appearances, follows U.S. Rep. Francis Underwood of South Carolina starting out as a ruthless politician seeking revenge after being promised the post of Secretary of State in exchange for his support and his effort to ensure the election of Garrett Walker to the presidency. Walker changes his mind before the inauguration, telling Underwood he’s too valuable in Congress. Outwardly, Underwood accepts his marching orders, but secretly he and his wife, an environmental activist, make a pact to destroy Walker and his allies. This series is based on the U.K. miniseries of the same name, but the U.S. version offers a look behind the scenes at the greed and corruption in American politics.
Once Upon A Time (5 seasons) Coming off the Netflix summer release of season 5 and season 6 airing on ABC September 25, Once Upon a Time takes you through an everlasting fantasy in which fairytale legends and modern life collide. Emma Swan, played by Jennifer Morrison, is comfortable in her life as a bail bonds collector when Henry—the child she gave up a decade earlier—suddenly shows up. He is convinced that she is the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming, who sent her away before the Evil Queen could cast a spell, freezing the fairytale world in time and bringing them to present-day Storybrooke, Maine. After taking Henry home, Emma decides to stay in the town to keep an eye on him, and she discovers he may not be wrong after all.
Shameless (6 seasons) Sex, love, and a lot of alcohol. William H. Macy stars as Frank Gallagher, a single father of six who spends much of his free time drinking at bars. The Gallagher children—led by eldest daughter Fiona, who takes on much of the child-rearing responsibility due to her mother’s absence—manages to raise themselves in spite of Frank’s lack of parenting and unusual parenting style when he does choose to act like a father. This isn’t your typical Chicago family and they have no desire to be.
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