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Neil deGrasse Tyson explains why designer babies are a bad idea


The future of genetics might someday open up and allow us to create children in a lab, designed to our exact specifications. But astrophysicist and "StarTalk Radio" host Neil deGrasse Tyson doesn't think that's such a good idea.

Produced by Darren Weaver and Kamelia AngelovaAdditional production by Kevin Reilly.

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StarTalk Radio is a podcast and radio program hosted by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, where comic co-hosts, guest celebrities, and scientists discuss astronomy, physics, and everything else about life in the universe. Follow StarTalk Radio on Twitter, and watch StarTalk Radio "Behind the Scenes" on YouTube.

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The unbelievable backstory of the 18-year-old classified ad that refuses to die


In 1997, John Silveira was asked to come up with fillers for unsold ad space in the magazine he was writing for. The clock was ticking, and he decided to just place two ads of his own. He needed to get the page filled up fast and get on with his day.

The first ad Silveira placed was a personal ad he'd written in hopes of finding a girlfriend. For the second, he chose a fake "wanted" classified. In it he included the opening lines of a sci-fi novel he'd been working on.

Here's the ad:

Time Travel Ad

It reads:

WANTED: Somebody to go back in time with me. This is not a joke. P.O. Box 322, Oakview, CA 93022. You'll get paid after we get back. Must bring your own weapons. Safety not guaranteed. I have only done this once before.

Posting the ad in the magazine was hilarious, an inside joke Silveira had with himself. He figured no one would really notice it.

He was wrong.

The ad led to an explosive volume of letter responses, a series of internet memes with millions of views. It was the inspiration for a critically acclaimed indie movie in 2011, "Safety Not Guaranteed," starring comedian Aubrey Plaza, 14 years after the ad ran.

And it still won't die.

Letters from prison

We heard about the story of the "Safety Not Guaranteed" meme, as it's known, on "Reply All," a podcast about the internet produced by Gimlet Media. Co-hosts PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman give a peek inside the madness of the meme's origin.

You can listen to their episode here:

It inspired us to dig deeper into the layers of its popularity. Lynn Levy of Radiolab interviewed Silveira and found out about the unintentional consequences the ad had on his life.

So first, that magazine Silveira was working for. It was called Backwoods Home Magazine, a small Oregon publication specializing in "practical ideas for self-reliant living." It's still active today and publishes six issues a year. Its website is a tribute to '90s internet; there's an animated American flag and Comic Sans MS headers. It's surprisingly kept up to date with select material that the editorial team puts online.

It has a small but seemingly loyal readership. Topics Backwoods Home covers include weaponry and home canning. It has, Levy says, a "survivalist vibe." It's not People or US Weekly or Vogue, and it definitely does not have the audience of a renowned print publication.

It was the night before the September 1997 issue was to go to print when Silveira and his boss ran into the space issue in the advertising section. There was room for two ads and barely any time to fill them, so Silveira threw in his own — the "Safety Not Guaranteed" ad being one of them.

It was brief and intriguing, and Silveira expected a handful of funny responses to the P.O. Box he listed.

He got tons of replies, from curious to desperate to potentially crazy. Silveira read some of his favorite responses to Levy during their interview.

"How are we going? Why is it dangerous? Why do we need weapons? What kind of weapons should I bring?" one reply read.

Another asked if there would be toilet paper — or "do I have to bring my own?"— while another was penned by a bunch of felons writing from prison. "We would like to go back and not get caught."

The joke ad, the space-filler, became a weird beacon of hope for readers who had major problems or devastating histories. Silveira said the letters from prison were especially tough.

He told Levy:

Dozens, in prison, asked me to go back in time and talk them out of committing the crime that put them away. Others (and not a few) were from people who begged me to go back and save a loved one from a tragic death. Those letters were so heartbreaking I almost couldn't read them and I felt a certain amount of shame for not anticipating the false hope I placed in so many hearts.

This emotional can of worms was an unanticipated consequence of Silveira's flash decision to post the ad.

The responses went on for a few months, but eventually letters were no longer overflowing Silveira's mailbox. It seemed as if the madness was coming to an end.

But not so fast.

'You're the man now, dog!'

It’s tough to trace incidences of the "Safety Not Guaranteed" ad appearing between 1997 and the early 2000s, but we know it was read on NPR's "Car Talk" radio program on March 31, 2001, though we don't know what sparked the show's producers to choose to include a four-year-old meme in that particular installment.

Silveira claims it was featured in a "Tonight Show" monologue, but the internet has turned up no proof of that.

So now it's 2004, and a new internet sensation was gaining popularity: YTMND.com. The acronym stands for "You're The Man Now, Dog"— a quote from the movie "Finding Forrester."

In this bizarre moment from the movie, Sean Connery’s ornery character barks the line at his black protégé.

You're the man now dog

A man named Max Goldberg heard the quote in the movie’s first trailer, and "immediately recognized the power of the catchphrase." He purchased the domain and went to work.

The original page features a tiled photo of Sean Connery and WordArt-era text, with a sound loop of the ludicrous quote, and to this day the site remains home for a perfect formula for internet humor: static image + text + sound = unlimited possibility.

The rules seemed simple. Choose a photo, pair it with audio that enhances the level of weird humor, and give it a catchy URL.

So how does this involve "Safety Not Guaranteed"? OK, stay with us.

People loved"You're The Man Now, Dog." Remember that trope from a few years ago, "Shit ______ say"? It was kind of like that. With YTMND, other people began creating inspired spin-offs, hosted on their own sites, but with the same formulaic approach to get the same punch line. Goldberg began archiving all of the spin-off sites in another section of the original YTMND URL, giving all of the inspired meme-makers ultimate visibility on his already major platform.

So on October 27, 2005, user "AxlBonBach" created an inspired YTMND site titled "Safety Not Guaranteed." Using the URL www.timetraveler.ytmnd.com, he Photoshopped a serious-looking man with a mullet next to the ad, and chose "Push it to the Limit"— the popular montage song from "Scarface"— as the audio.

People loved it. "LMAO," one user wrote. "This is bound to be an instant classic."

Chunes comments on Safety Not Guaranteed

While "Safety Not Guaranteed" as it appeared on YTMND was many folks' first time seeing the ad, some users criticized the post, claiming that it was plagiarized or simply old news (they had supposedly seen the ad on Jay Leno).

AxlBonBach paid no mind to the critics. He'd never claimed he created the ad itself, and the site continued to flood with fans of "Safety Not Guaranteed."

Don LaFontaine gets involved

The popular YTMND formula paid off for the classified ad. The added mullet-man and jazzed-up soundtrack had successfully spawned an army of replicas and iterations, bringing us to January 2006, when a user who went by "Scrow" claimed he had found a Civil War-era photo in his attic that looked eerily similar to the time-traveling mullet-man.

He made his own YTMND site to publicize his findings (pictured), which breathed new life into the nearly 10-year-old "Safety Not Guaranteed" classified ad.

Civil War Safety Not Guaranteed

From there, a user named "Blackadders2" emailed Don LaFontaine, the iconic voice actor who had recorded more than 5,000 film trailers, asking him to create a movie-trailer style reading of the ad.

LaFontaine came through, and once again another YTMND site was made featuring an iteration of "Safety Not Guaranteed," this time with a sloppily Photoshopped image of LaFontaine's face over the mullet photo and the newly recorded trailer as the audio sample.

YTMND users were stunned and impressed, many of them convinced the voice they were hearing was not LaFontaine's.

Blackadders2 replied to comments calmly, maintaining he had simply emailed the guy and hoped that he'd play along.

LaFontaine Safety comments

When LaFontaine died in September 2008, that particular YTMND page resurfaced and amassed tons of traffic. A new generation of internet users visiting the site after LaFontaine's death had never seen it, nor had they heard of the "Safety Not Guaranteed" meme.

Around that time a screenwriter named Derek Connolly saw the Don LaFontaine version of the "Safety Not Guaranteed" meme and was inspired to write a script for a movie. He, like most everyone who became a fan of the meme through YTMND, didn't know the ad's backstory. He told IndieWire he "immediately wondered if it was real."

Regardless, Connolly wrote the script for "Safety Not Guaranteed" in 2010, and a man named Colin Trevorrow was signed on to direct the film.

Neither had ever heard of John Silveira.

Silveira writes again

It's important to remember that throughout the 13 years the meme had taken on a life of its own, Silveira had stayed silent on his role as the creator. And he also didn't know anyone was writing a script based on the ad. So it seemed serendipitous when Silveira chose to write the story of the "Safety Not Guaranteed" ad as he knew it for Backwoods Home Magazine in 2010.

This was the first time he publicly declared he was the author of the ad.

Backwoods Home Magazine Screenshot

Silveira, amused by the whole thing, explains the story.

He goes through the issue of the unfilled space and the responses he got. The only mention that YTMND and the "meme-ification" receive is this statement: "Some guy with a bad mullet has run the ad with his picture as if it's his."

From there, Trevorrow — who has already committed to directing the "Safety Not Guaranteed" movie and who has already lined up producers, financiers, and the actors — comes across Silveira's tell-all on Backwoods Home Magazine. It's unclear as to how. Unless Trevorrow is an avid reader of Backwoods Home Magazine, the idea that he happened to stumble upon the article is unlikely, so maybe they had alerts out for the phrase "Safety Not Guaranteed" or similar.

Regardless, Trevorrow is blown away. He needed to call Silveira, who, remember, has no idea this movie is in the works.

Trevorrow recalled that moment in a 2012 Wall Street Journal essay:

We could have simply changed the words in the original ad, moved a few sentences around to create a cheap knock-off of the real thing. But I wouldn’t do it. Not just because it would be a cynical and inauthentic move — but because the source material was flawless.

Trevorrow calls up Backwoods Home and is put through to Silveira. It wasn't long before the two of them met for a meal and got to know each other better.

Trevorrow described Silveira as very different from the "Mullet Man: [Silveira isn't] acid-washed jeans tucked into action hero boots, whittling something lethal with a hunting knife while telling me in no uncertain terms to go to hell."

Instead, he met a gray-bearded poet from Oregon with a soft voice.

Safety Not Guaranteed

The two bonded over their ideas of who the fictional man behind the ad would be.

Silveira, after all, had written it as part of a sci-fi novel. They both agreed, "He’d be a real man, one who has experienced true loss and pain. He’d be erratic, possibly brilliant, and full of contradictions—an outcast who hates being misunderstood while simultaneously not giving a damn. He’d be a survivalist and a poet. And, yes, he’d bring his own weapons."

The movie was made, and in 2012 it made its debut at Sundance Film Festival. At the premiere, Silveira was introduced and received a standing ovation from the crowd.

Loyal YTMND users remembered the life of the "Safety Not Guaranteed" meme before it became "Safety Not Guaranteed" the movie, and discussion was rampant online about this next-level meme installation, truly, the finale it deserved after so many of its iterations appeared on the internet over the past 15 years.

Before "Safety Not Guaranteed" the movie became mainstream (it lived on Netflix for a while), the trailer was posted to Reddit, where a majority of the comments made references to the meme's pre-Hollywood life: mullets, "Push it to the Limit," and YTMND.

Reddit users comment on Safety Not Guaranteed

The movie had moderate success, and Trevorrow went on to direct the blockbuster hit of 2015, "Jurassic World." Now he's slated to spearhead one of the new "Star Wars" movies

And as for Silveira? He still writes for Backwoods Home Magazine, publishing articles about climate change, the Second Amendment, and the benefits of homeschooling.

Silveira summed up the life of his ad, the tiny one used to fill some space one night in September 1997: "What lies in the future? ... for all the writing I've done, they are probably the only words I've written that will outlive me."

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Here's why memes are so much more than just funny internet photos – straight from the man who coined the term

Richard Linklater's 'sequel' to 'Dazed and Confused' is already a classic in the making


Everybody Wants Some

How do you live up to something like the Oscar-winning “Boyhood”? If you're writer/director Richard Linklater, you go back to your roots, even if you never strayed that far from them in the first place.

“Everybody Wants Some!!” has been called a “spiritual sequel” to “Dazed and Confused,” one of Linklater's earliest and most cherished films, and that line isn’t just spin. In fact, it's so similar that some of the characters even look and act the same.

The film is set in the fall of 1980. Jake (Blake Jenner) is ready to start his freshman year on the baseball team at a college in Texas. Jake and his new family of jocks enjoy one last weekend of freedom before the first day of classes kicks off. There's a lot of hazing, a lot of drinking, and a lot of discussion of Pink Floyd.

This is everything Linklater is comfortable with: a specific time, the state of Texas, and lots of partying. But at first, the characters come off as unlikable, probably because of the amount of times they shout “lesbian!” whenever a girl won’t talk to them. Some movies tap into an older time through clothing and hairstyles. “Everybody Wants Some!!” doubles down on the attitudes of its period.

Everybody Wants Some

But then a minor cinematic miracle happens: You grow attached to these characters, and then you grow to love them. “Everybody Wants Some!!” goes deeper into clique culture than any other college movie I can remember. By the end of the surprisingly long (for this genre) two-hour running time, you’d be happy to spend a whole other movie with these characters. It is wondrous what a little bit of empathy can do.

What follows is an absolute delight. Like Linklater's “Dazed and Confused,” “Before” trilogy, and “Boyhood” before it, “Everybody Wants Some!!” is essentially about nothing. But two hours of nothing is rarely this enjoyable.

The characters sit around and talk and talk. Some conversations are deep, and some aren’t as deep as the characters think they are. At one point, they pass a bong around and Willoughby (Wyatt Russell) discusses his theories on music. A weaker director would be laughing at the characters. Linklater, rather, plays the scene sincerely (it is still hilarious, though), and it feels more like a memory than a joke.

Everybody Wants Some

There are many points in the movie when you think something bad will happen. At the beginning of the movie, the coach tells the team that there's no drinking or girls in the house. You immediately suspect that they’ll get caught by the film’s end. Linklater, however, is all about plants rather than payoffs. There are no villains here, just people who occasionally act out and are later forgiven — as in most of real life. Once you realize this, you can just relax and enjoy this big hangout.

“Everybody Wants Some!!” doesn't tread on any new ground. It is essentially “Dazed and Confused” but with fewer authority figures around. Hey, I’m not complaining. The film's optimism, its lively soundtrack, and the way it gleefully exists in the moment ("L-I-V-I-N" as it goes in "Dazed") left me with a big smile on my face. I could watch about 100 more of these plotless movies from Linklater.

"Everybody Wants Some!!" is now playing.

SEE ALSO: RANKED: Every actor who's played Batman, from best to worst

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NOW WATCH: 'Batman v Superman' is a complete trainwreck, and director Zack Snyder is to blame

25 things we learned about the making of 'Batman v Superman'


batman v superman

"Batman v Superman" is in theaters now. Say what you will about the movie, but no one can claim director Zack Snyder and his production team lack attention to detail. 

Tech Insider went through two making-of books, "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice — The Art of the Film" and "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice — Tech Manual" to learn about the making of the suits, the filming locations, the gadgets, and more.

Keep reading to see what went into making the superhero movie come to life.

Batman wasn't originally going to be in the movie.

"Originally it was going to be a straight Superman movie," explained Snyder. "One of the ideas was that at the end of the movie, a crate of kryptonite would be delivered to Wayne Manor. That didn't happen, but once Batman was mentioned, he wouldn't go away. It couldn't be undone."

There were over 20 different Bat symbol designs looked at for the chest of the Batsuit.

I think they ended up with one of the three best.

Batman's cowl (the mask he wears) is made up of an outer costume cowl and a tech cowl underneath.

It allows Ben Affleck's Batman to have better control over his neck movements, something which was a problem with previous incarnations of the Batsuit.

"In the past it's been difficult for the actors who play Batman to turn their head, because of the way the cowl is connected to the piece that lays across the shoulders. So that's really the innovation — we were able to create this really thin membrane that allows the actor to look around," Snyder said.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Not even the biggest batman fan liked 'Batman v Superman'



Well, this is a little awkward. 

Weeks after co-hosting a special on the CW network hyping the release of "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice," writer/director Kevin Smith is joining critics in panning the film. 

"It didn't really have a heart," he said on the March 25 entry of his Hollywood Babble-On podcast.  

Smith, regarded among fans as a genuine comic enthusiast, is a well-known Batman superfan and hosts "Comic Book Men," an unscripted AMC show about comic books and fan culture. Leading up to the release of "Batman v Superman," Smith co-hosted a special on the CW network alongside Geoff Johns, Chief Creative Officer at DC Comics.

Smith said the film "is missing joy" and, like many critics, pointed to director Zack Snyder as the source of many of the movie's faults.

“There seems to be a fundamental lack of understanding of what those characters are about,” he said. “It’s almost like Zack Snyder didn’t read a bunch of comics, he read one comic once, and it was Dark Knight Returns, and his favorite part was the last part where Batman and Superman fight.”

batman v superman

Smith repeated his disappointment with the characterization of both Superman and Batman. And although he enjoyed Affleck's portrayal of the character, he said overall this version of the Bat is "... certainly not the 'world's greatest detective' ... [he's] more like Bat-Trump."

As many critics have, Smith praised both the visuals and Gal Gadot's debut as Wonder Woman, but said the film ultimately fails to present interesting, well rounded versions of the superheroes that fans know and love. The resolution of the battle between the titular characters was especially disappointing for him. (We won't spoil it here.)

"Wow. $250 million riding on that [and] that's your moment?" he asked.

batman v superman zack

Despite disastrous reviews ("Batman v Superman" is the lowest-rated Batman film since 1997's "Batman & Robin") the movie had a stellar $400 million opening weekend worldwide. Warner Bros. is already hyping up marketing for its next DC film, "Suicide Squad." An international trailer was just released for the August 5 film which will debut Jared Leto as Joker set in the same DC universe.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Neil deGrasse Tyson reveals how Batman can really beat Superman

Jesse Eisenberg explains why he never watches any of his own movies


jesse eisenberg

Jesse Eisenberg looks like he doesn't want anyone to see him. He's tucked away in a posh hotel in downtown Manhattan, where people do all they can to stand out, tucked in a corner, leaning against a wall with his hands in his windbreaker, awaiting yet another round of press.

If it seems like he's not looking forward to it, well, he has a reason: For weeks he’s been on an intense global press tour for the biggest movie on the planet at the moment, “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" (he plays madman Lex Luthor).

But he’s actually doing press for another movie, the indie film “Louder Than Bombs” (opening April 8), in which he plays Jonah, a new father who must return to his childhood home to prepare an exhibition for his war photographer mother, who recently died.

Known for jumping back and forth from Hollywood movies like “The Social Network” and “Now You See Me” to smaller-scale fare like “Night Moves” and “The End of the Tour,” Eisenberg sees it all as the same work. He doesn't get carried away by any hype.

In fact, he says he's never seen a single movie he’s starred in.

Business Insider talked to Eisenberg about why he's so quick to move on to the next thing (he’s also a playwright and a contributor for The New Yorker), why interviews make him uncomfortable, and why playing Lex Luthor is an actor's dream.

batman v supermanBusiness Insider: How did you get out of doing press for “Batman v Superman”?

Jesse Eisenberg: I was told that the Mexican premiere would be "heroes only," which is a euphemism for, "There's not enough room on the plane to have the bad guy." Which is fine with me because the schedule was unbelievable. 

BI: And it's not like you're taking a break. You're right here doing press for another movie. 

Eisenberg: Exactly. [Laughs] My hope is to never act again and just do press.

BI: It's hard to peg you to one type of role or movie. Has that been intentional?

Eisenberg: No. It's a total accident. I view myself in the narrowest possible terms, but I don't watch anything I've been in and I don't read reviews or analysis of movies I've been in, or my plays. So I'm kind of shocked any time somebody hires me and even more shocked any time somebody hires me to play a character like Lex Luthor, which I only knew from the public consciousness of him being a bald, brooding villain who is older than me. 

BI: So you didn't even use Gene Hackman's Luthor as a reference point?

Eisenberg: I actually did see some of that.

BI: This is going to sound weird, but you in some ways you are the comic relief in both “Batman v Superman” and “Louder Than Bombs.”

Eisenberg: Yeah. I feel things can always be funny, but that's probably because I have some kind of leftover childhood need to make people laugh. For somebody like me, that's the thing you excel at. I played basketball all the time, but I was nowhere near the best on the team, so you make fun of the guy who is the best on the team in a way that also seems to invite him in and suddenly you have friends. 

Louder_Than_Bombs_The Orchard

BI: With all of your insight into your characters, you still don't want to see the finished product on-screen.

Eisenberg: Yeah. 

BI: So if the director called you and asked if you wanted to see some rough assembly of the movie, you’d say no?

Eisenberg: Yeah, anything. Because I have a very specific feeling about what I do. I really like thinking that you're working in this bubble and I can experience these personal emotions without thinking that it's going to be scrutinized by, in some cases, a lot of people, in some cases, a small group of people. To take that burden off yourself of thinking about how it's going to be perceived by other people or myself has kind of made me feel that much more comfortable.

BI: So, zero interest in catching a glimpse of yourself as Lex Luthor?

Eisenberg: I would say the parallel allegory is when you go away for the weekend with your family and you get all of the pictures back. You've taken a hundred pictures and you only like two of the pictures and you send them to all of your friends and the rest you're totally mortified by how you look. The side of your face, that Speedo you decided to wear — that's the experience for me. Two percent of a project I feel so comfortable with and proud of, and the rest of it I feel very self-critical of. I'm doing this willingly, of course, but if you can project that kind of feeling about those 98 pictures of yourself on to a massive scale of a movie that a lot of people are not just going to see but scrutinize, you can understand.

BI: There are actors who love seeing themselves on that big screen, so what's the joy you get out of this business? What's the payoff?

Eisenberg: The payoff for me is the experience itself. I really do love it. I think there are probably a lot of actors like me who I think probably struggle to feel comfortable in their own lives and acting in some ways provides a safe context for them to live out emotions that they possibly repress or live out experiences that they are not afforded by virtue of circumstance. So all that stuff for me is the real joy.

BI: The joy of living in someone else's skin. 

Eisenberg: Exactly. I mean, I loved doing “Louder Than Bombs” and “Batman v Superman” partly because those characters wear wigs. I know it sounds petty, but what that actually does is allow me to further invest in the artifice of what I'm doing and forget myself in a way that I cherish. 

BI: But can you find any satisfaction from doing the press side of the business?

Eisenberg: Ten percent of it is a real joy in being able to be the kind of, let's say, public face of a thing you feel proud of. Ninety percent of it is concern that I'm going to misspeak, because I have in the past, and that seems to be the overriding narrative regardless of the intention or relevance. So that's a lot of what this is. [As an actor] you’re looking to crawl into a anonymous fictional person's skin, but then you have the ironic obligation to promoting the movie in such a public way that it almost undermines the initial intention of going under the radar. 

BI: At a certain point, can you play hardball with a studio and say, "I'll do a couple of talk shows and that's it"?

Eisenberg: It's always a negotiation, and I think I'm in the majority when I say all that stuff is nerve-racking. As nerve-racking as the movie is. That in some ways can be more nerve-racking, going on the talk shows. That said, I understand the economics of the system and I feel so honored to be a part of this system. It's an industry that has given me so much. And I'm not talking about some kind of financial compensation, although it's good to have a job. 

BI: You have to pay the bills. 

Eisenberg: Yeah. But it also has given me this wonderful feeling of not only doing something I love, but being integrated into a community that I really respect of people who are in the arts and hopefully progress cultural discussions through fiction. I think there's nothing more wonderful than using fiction to reflect real-world cultural ideas.

BI: What's the creative release you get from writing? Whether it's a play or book or doing the New Yorker pieces?

Eisenberg: It's quite similar, except it's done in solitary confinement. But it's a similar feeling of self-expression, of thinking what I have to say is not necessarily important but worthy of enough of a discussion for me to feel comfortable putting it on. Let's say at minimum funny and at maximum contemplative and insightful in some way, which is an aspiration. So I guess I can only say I'm compelled to do it in the morning rather than compelled to do other things in the morning. And then the weird struggle to get the play on, and you have to deal with all this weird other stuff that I'm not good at — ticket sales and promotional. But the other stuff is why you wake up.

BI: Is there any motivation to rattle the cage? I specifically mean the fictitious film review you did in The New Yorker, which critics didn’t find funny

Eisenberg: Not only is there zero motivation to do that, but it's actually something I make a concerted effort to avoid doing because of my public exposure that, in my opinion, was a mortifying experience that I hope to never repeat again. Where I feel something that I had written was misinterpreted in a way that made people feel bad, that is absolutely horrifying to me. I feel so embarrassed and I feel ashamed that I should make people feel bad. People who have actually been really great to me, because my career has benefited greatly from critics because I do movies like “Louder Than Bombs,” which doesn't have a marketing campaign in the billions and relies on positive notice from smart journalists. That was not only a mortifying experience, but one I absolutely hope to never repeat again. 

BI: It was funny, though. 

Eisenberg: It's not worth it to me. No one should be offended, that's not my style. 

BI: Has it dawned on you that you're in the biggest film in the world? I'm sure every press person has reminded you of this.

Eisenberg: That's the only time I ever hear about it because I stay away from it. I live in New York City, where, if you're in a movie at a popular independent theater, you think you're king of the world, because you're in a bubble. So there's no way for me to properly conceive of the attention that the movie gets in a way that doesn't make me confused. I feel so honored to be part of a movie where I got to play, in my opinion, such an interesting character on a grand scale. As an actor, the part I played in that movie is the part you look for in 100-seat theater plays. A character that's eccentric and funny but also dangerous and also increasingly disturbed. All that stuff is the stuff you look for when you're working Off-Broadway, so I feel really honored and proud people get to see it. 

batman v supermanBI: But it must not have been fun to be in that water all the time.

Eisenberg: [Puzzled look

BI: The scene where you’re in the water in General Zod's ship.

Eisenberg: Oh yeah, that's funny, that's right. Yes. Far be it from me to complain to work on an awesome movie set, but I've been on unusually uncomfortable movie sets. That wasn't one of them. I did this movie "The End of The Tour" in the coldest winter on record in the coldest state, and we didn't sleep for two weeks because we were traveling while we were shooting. But to me, all that stuff is wonderful because it actually brings an emotional momentum to a fictional story in a way that's totally impossible to replicate. Like on a play, if I get no sleep the night before a show, I feel that performance is the best one. Your emotions are unhinged in the proper way, you're not self-conscious or second-guessing yourself because you don't have the mental fortitude to do it. I actually don't mind doing that stuff. 

BI: Well, I hope you get to see some of your films at some point in your life.

Eisenberg: Yeah, we'll do a retrospective. 

BI: You can do it like Shia LaBeouf. We’ll give you a theater, and you'll watch them all in reverse chronological order.

Eisenberg: Oh, that's how he did it?

BI: And we live-stream your face reacting to it all.

Eisenberg: Oh, interesting. That's a fun idea.

SEE ALSO: Warner Bros. is planning 11 more superhero movies after "Batman v Superman"— here they all are

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Larry David returned to 'Saturday Night Live' to reprise his role as Bernie Sanders

'Batman v Superman' still isn't Ben Affleck's worst movie by far — here's what is


ben affleck as batman final

Chances are you have some opinion about the body of work of Ben Affleck.

He has been inescapable. The actor has close to 50 credits to his name over a career that has quite a few highs and as many lows.

And in a career not lacking for sharp criticism (whether over his questionable ascent to leading-man roles or his work opposite onetime fiancée Jennifer Lopez), his latest dive into superhero-dom, "Batman v Superman," must be giving him flashbacks of earlier critical pans.

Sad Ben Affleck shouldn't worry, though. He still hasn't topped his worst. Here are Ben Affleck's worst — and to be fair, best — performances in his career:

SEE ALSO: RANKED: Every actor who's played Batman, from best to worst

WORST: 5. "Reindeer Games" (2000)

In what can be explained only as a favor to the Weinsteins for making "Good Will Hunting" (this was released by the company's genre arm, Dimension), Affleck stars in this campy thriller/love story in which he plays an ex-con who is forced into robbing a casino.  

WORST: 4. "Surviving Christmas" (2004)

When a movie with "Christmas" in the title comes out in October, you know something is wrong. In fact, this comedy starring Affleck as a millionaire who spends Christmas in the house he grew up in (along with the family that currently lives there) was supposed to come out around Christmas 2003, but it got pushed back.

We're guessing test screenings weren't favorable, because there's a reason you don't see Affleck in comedies like these anymore: He's just not good at them.

WORST: 3. "Runner Runner" (2013)

It's understandable why Affleck was drawn to the role of a crooked entrepreneur who runs an offshore betting site: He's a big fan of poker. But why Justin Timberlake or anyone else followed along is anyone's guess. Perhaps because the movie was written by the same guys who did "Rounders," but the end result this time is a messy story with laughable dramatic moments.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Jared Leto compares his Joker to actors who have taken on Hamlet


joker suicide squad

One of the big reasons for the excitement surrounding the release of Warner Bros.’ next comic-book movie, “Suicide Squad” (opening August 5), is seeing Oscar winner Jared Leto play the Joker.

The buildup to him playing the clown prince of crime has been massive, from stories of the actor sending his castmates disturbing gifts to even director David Ayer being “freaked out” by him on-set.

Leto admits to Entertainment Weekly that he hasn’t been able to articulate his approach to playing the character, but he seems to have had some deep thoughts about it anyway.

“You just knew you had to do something different. You had to make it your own," he said. "That happens all the time. Whether you’re a composer working on a piece of music that was written a century ago, or you’re an actor on stage, reinterpreting a play, it’s very common these days. Directors take on great works of cinema, actors reinterpret roles, that’s been going on for a great deal of time. From 'Scarface' to 'Hamlet.' In some ways it’s really interesting to reinterpret, redefine.”

Leto is referring to the already memorable performances of the character by the likes of Jack Nicholson in Tim Burton’s “Batman” and Heath Ledger in Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight,” which earned the late actor an Oscar.

From the small glimpse of Leto’s Joker that we’ve seen in trailers, it certainly looks like he’s putting a different spin on the character.

SEE ALSO: Jesse Eisenberg says he doesn't know if his Lex Luthor will be back for another movie

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Each episode of 'Game of Thrones' season 6 costs a crazy amount


Game Of Thrones Emilia Clarke"Game of Thrones" is not just one of the most popular shows on TV — it's on its way to becoming the most expensive show ever made, too.

Adapting the enormous fantasy series of "A Song of Ice and Fire" was never going to be cheap, and reports began rolling in around season two that each episode cost and average of $6 million to produce

But that staggering number has only risen as "Game of Thrones" grew in popularity and began to tackle larger battle scenes and gigantic CGI dragons. 

In an exclusive "Game of Thrones" feature in the April print edition of Entertainment Weekly, reporter James Hibberd mentions the latest bank-breaking budget for season six of the series: "The show easily costs north of$10 million per episode at this point — not that you'll hear HBO complain."

This $4 million increase is a surprise considering back in 2012 showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss told GQ they had an "awkward" conversation asking HBO executives for an additional $2 million in order to film the famous "Blackwater" battle scene for season two. That brought the total episode cost up to a reported $8 million.

Blackwater bay ship battle Game of Thrones"We went down on bended knee [to HBO],"Benioff told EW. "'Just this once. Please.' We were genuinely nervous about [the episode] for the whole time until we finally wrapped it."

Season six of "Game of Thrones" will have 10 episodes. Do the math, and that's $100 million for the entire season. 

How does "Game of Thrones" stack up against other show budgets?

It's pretty high.

In its final season, "Friends" cost $10 million per episode (a lot of that budget went to many of the stars' $1 million/episode paychecks). NBC paid $13 million an episode to keep "E.R.", which starred George Clooney, on TV from seasons four to six.

Apparently, four years of smashing success is all HBO needs to up its series budget by millions, no begging required on the showrunners behalf. Along with the enormous CGI'ed Drogon spotted in the trailer, a huge battle scene taking place in season six is probably partially responsible for the upped average cost per episode. The upcoming battle is set to rival the epic "Blackwater" episode. 

"The mysterious battle ... represents the show's first-ever attempt at doing what producers call 'a proper battle,'" Hibberd writes. "As in, there are hundreds of human soldiers on one side of a field and another army on the other side, with a classical campaign of engagement that is highly tactical and shown from start to finish."

We can't wait to see what the added budgets have allowed the set designers and directors to produce. "Game of Thrones" returns to HBO on April 24. Tune in to see how their $10 million budget translates into epic television.

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NOW WATCH: This popular 'Game of Thrones' fan theory could come true in the next season

'Suicide Squad' is getting an expensive reshoot to make it more fun — here's why


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One of the biggest complaints about "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" from critics and comics fans alike is that it's simply too miserable. The Zack Snyder-directed blockbuster is missing the fun element that draws readers to the comic books and masses to Marvel's lighter-toned movies like "The Avengers" and "Guardians of the Galaxy."

Now the studio behind "Batman v Superman," Warner Bros., is reportedly trying to remedy the problem for its future comic book movies.

According to Birth Movies Death, the studio has requested reshoots of its summer DC Comics adaptation, "Suicide Squad," that would give the film a playfulness that fans reacted positively to in its trailer.

It turns out, all the jokes in the movie have already been revealed in the trailer, according to Birth Movies Death.

This might not mean you will see cast members Will Smith, Margot Robbie, and Jared Leto throw out one-liners, but director David Ayer will most likely shoot some more fun interactions among the characters to give viewers more chances to giggle than they did while watching "Batman v Superman."

"Suicide Squad" opens in theaters August 5.

SEE ALSO: Ben Affleck has written his own "really cool" Batman script that might get turned into a movie

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NOW WATCH: These are the most expensive movies ever made

One of the most successful agents in Hollywood makes 300 calls a day


Ari Emanuel Michael Kovac Getty

You would think when you’re up in the rarefied air that William Morris agency co-CEO Ari Emanuel inhabits, there’s time to sit back and enjoy life.

Turns out it really means you have to work even harder.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Emanuel — whose client list includes Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Charlize Theron, Mark Wahlberg, and Oprah Winfrey (he’s also the inspiration behind the loud-talking, aggressive Ari Gold on “Entourage”) — reveals that he still hustles for his clients.

The story points out that Emanuel makes about 300 short calls a day to check in with his massive Rolodex and is often up at 4 a.m.

Even if he works a long 12-hour day, that would mean 25 calls every hour. Which seems a bit nutty. But then again, Emanuel always seems to be working.

“When I get in my office at 7:30 in New York, he’s the only one I can call — and he’s in LA,” CBS chairman Leslie Moonves told THR.

"Ari is often calling just to say, 'Can I help? All good? You need anything?'" said HBO CEO Richard Plepler of Emanuel.

In an era when text messaging and email have become the norm for quick catchups, it goes to show that if you want to be that successful, being personable is key.

SEE ALSO: Ted Cruz casually jokes about running over Donald Trump with his car

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NOW WATCH: Watch the cast of 'Hamilton' perform the most inspiring song from the show at the White House

The 26 best comedy movies you can stream on Netflix right now


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Whether it's this insane election year or the everyday stress of work or gearing up for Hollywood's unloading of its best summer comedies in the coming months, there's always a need to have a good laugh. And thankfully, Netflix has some great comedies that you can watch right now to brighten up your day.

Whether it be a classic like “Groundhog Day” or an under-the-radar gem like “Sleepwalk with Me,” there’s something to stream for all comedy tastes.

Here are 26 we highly recommend.

SEE ALSO: 12 celebrities you didn't realize are absurdly rich

1. “Adventureland”

Nothing beats a good coming-of-age romantic comedy, and this is one of the better ones. Directed by Greg Mottola ("Superbad"), it follows James (Jesse Eisenberg) working his summer job at a broken-down amusement park who encounters a summer crush (Kristen Stewart).  

2. “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure”

The fact that many of us get excited whenever Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter say they are willing to do another "Bill & Ted" movie proves how great this movie still is. The two play dim-witted high school students who must travel through time in a phone booth to ace their history presentation, and save the world (sort of). Bill S. Preston, Esq. (Winter) and Ted "Theodore" Logan (Reeves) are so likable that we can't help but laughing with them through their adventure.

3. “Boogie Nights”

Paul Thomas Anderson's glimpse inside the adult-film world of the late '70s/early '80s is still one of Mark Wahlberg's best performances, as he plays "gifted" newcomer to the industry Dirk Diggler. The dark comedic moments throughout the film are what make it stand out: It never takes itself completely seriously.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

This is Hollywood's favorite new kind of movie, from 'Batman v Superman' to 'Star Wars'


batman v superman

Hollywood's done the remakes, reboots, prequels and three­quels. The latest obsession: the "requel," a movie that's both a reboot and a sequel, blending old with new in an effort to extend the life of a franchise and, in the best cases, reinvent it for a "universe" of follow-up movies.

When it works, it's a potent combo. During the March 25-27 weekend, "Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice"— a reboot of the Batman franchise in the post-"Dark Knight" era that's also a sequel to Zack Snyder's "Man of Steel" Superman movie — debuted to a March record $166.1 million in North America and $422.6 million globally, making it the No. 1 superhero launch to date. That's despite withering reviews, a "Sad Ben Affleck" web meme, and fanboy ire.

At this pace, the Warner Bros. tentpole could earn more than $800 million globally as CEO Kevin Tsujihara launches the DC Entertainment universe in a battle to rival Disney's Marvel franchise. Two "Justice League" movies, "Suicide Squad," and a "Wonder Woman" solo outing are a few of the films in the works before 2020.

Unlike "BvS," most "requels" revive franchises that have been dormant for years, if not decades. Steven Spielberg struggled for years to bring "Jurassic Park" back from extinction but couldn't find a way in. Finally, Spielberg, producer Frank Marshall and "Jurassic World" director Colin Trevorrow embraced the 1993 original and returned the action to the fictional Isla Nublar with new dinosaurs and stars Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard. "Jurassic World" roared to $1.67 billion globally.

the force awakens daisy johnSix months later, an even bigger requel arrived in "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," J.J. Abrams' love letter to 1977's "Star Wars" that shrewdly paired new actors with original stars Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill. The Disney/Lucasfilm movie has earned a mammoth $2.06 billion globally and, more importantly, set the course for a series of follow-ups and spinoff movies. "With 'Star Wars' or any project that revisits a world or characters that are known and beloved, it's essential to remember and honor what made the original resonate with people in the first place — otherwise you wouldn't be going back — but it's equally important that you bring something fresh and relevant," says Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn. "There has to be a way in for today's audience."

For years, Hollywood relied on origin stories to revive sagging franchises such as "Spider-Man,""Star Trek,""X-Men," and "Planet of the Apes." Some were successful, and some were not. Sony's "The Amazing Spider-Man" series, for example, is a stark reminder of the bad things that can happen when trying to give new life to a franchise by telling the same story over again.

Smaller films have also tried to make a comeback after a long gap, but lack a new element to broaden their appeal. In 2015, "Hot Tub Time Machine 2," released five years after the original, bombed with $13.1 million. And earlier this year, "Zoolander 2," starring Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, and Will Ferrell 15 years after the first film, was also a major disappointment. One exception in terms of box-office returns was "Dumb and Dumber To," reteaming Jeff Daniels and Jim Carrey after a 20-year gap. Released in 2014, the movie laughed its way to $169.8 million worldwide; however, there's no obvious follow up.

Then there are the pure remakes (think numerous versions of Peter Pan and King Kong, for example). But the requel is different in that it nods to and exploits goodwill toward the past while launching a new generation of actors and stories. Imax Entertainment CEO Greg Foster compares the concept to a mulligan in golf, where a player is informally allowed to replay a stroke. "You get to keep the best of both worlds," he says. "If something has been played out but people really like it, you can cherry-pick and keep what works and what people responded to and cared about."

harrison ford indiana jonesSpielberg and Ford will get their chance at a mulligan when making the recently announced "Indiana Jones 5." In 2008, "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" strayed from the series' mythology by introducing aliens and quickly was forgotten despite earning $787 million globally. There has been no word on what writer David Koepp's next installment will be about, but insiders believe Disney will "requelize" the franchise with a younger actor (or even several actors who could be the focus of a universe of Indy films).

Another high-stakes requel, Fox's "Independence Day: Resurgence" (June 24), debuts two decades after Will Smith's original. Smith isn't returning, but co-stars Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Judd Hirsch, and Vivica A. Fox are, alongside newcomers Liam Hemsworth and Jessie Usher. "There was a lot of love for this property, and we wanted to get it right," says Fox domestic distribution president Chris Aronson. Adds box-office analyst Jeff Bock: "At least with a reboot that is also a sequel, the lineage of events stays intact. Bridging the old and the new is an easy way for studios to link generations of fans together and continue to grow an audience, all without having to market and sell a whole new world to ticket buyers. In other words, it's easy money."

Maybe. Sony's female "Ghostbusters" opens July 15 amid debate as to whether the film, hitting 32 years after the original, is a requel. Director Paul Feig says it's a reboot, not a sequel, but the new film is set in the same world and features appearances by original stars Bill Murray, Sigourney Weaver, and Dan Aykroyd. Even writer Katie Dippold says the "spirit of the original is in it, but the storyline is not." Regardless, Sony would like the film to launch several sequels and spinoffs.

Other high-profile requels in the works include Alcon's untitled "Blade Runner" film (2018), which teams original star Ford with Ryan Gosling. (Harrison Ford is clearly the king of the requels between "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," "Indy 5," and "Blade Runner.")

There's also "xXx: The Return of Xander Cage" (2017), starring Vin Diesel. And some would argue Warner Bros.' "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" (Nov. 18) is a requel because it is set in the world of "Harry Potter" but with a new story.

There's certainly risk in requels. In "Terminator: Genisys," Arnold Schwarzenegger reprised his iconic role with a new cast, but the $155 million movie struggled and Skydance yanked two follow-ups. "You have to come up with a good idea, even if there is a nostalgia factor," says MKM Partners analyst Eric Handler. "'Star Wars' was a good story. 'Terminator' wasn't."

SEE ALSO: Jesse Eisenberg explains why he hates watching his own movies

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There are 7 deleted scenes on the 'Star Wars' Blu-ray — here they all are


star wars stormtroopers

"Star Wars: The Force Awakens" is finally available for purchase, at least on digital HD. 

As fans are starting to dig through the special features, including an hour-long documentary on the making-of the film, diehard fans will pour over the film's seven deleted scenes.

If you don't plan on getting your hands on a copy of "The Force Awakens," a physical Blu-ray and DVD will arrive April 5, here's what's in store.


1. “Finn and the Villager”

In this 31-second scene from the start of the film, we see an extended shot from Finn's point of view. One of his fellow Stormtroopers has just been killed, leaving a bloody handprint on his mask. Terrified and confused, he runs into a Jakku villager. Instead of killing her on sight, as instructed, he hesitates, scared, and let's her go unharmed.

2. “Jakku Message”

This 47-second clip would have introduced General Leia Organa (formerly Princess Leia) and C-3PO into the film much sooner. After Poe's captured by Kylo Ren, Leia learns the Jakku village where she sent Poe was destroyed by the First Order. Instead, Organa orders the Resistance to focus its efforts on finding BB-8, who may hold the key to Luke's whereabouts.

There's also a brief appearance by Greg Grunberg, asking about his comrade Poe.

3. “X-Wings Prepare for Lightspeed”

The 22-second scene is an extended version of the X-Wing fighters arriving to Maz Kanata's castle after the First Order attacks and kidnaps Rey. This would have marked the first time we saw Poe Dameron back on screen after he was believed dead on Jakku. 

The scene, with unfinished visual effects, shows Poe with BB-8 in space, getting ready to head into lightspeed. It was probably best for this scene to be cut. Seeing Poe again for the first time in space feels less rewarding than finding out he survived crash landing on Jakku from Finn's point of view as he flies over head.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

9 things you probably missed in 'Batman v Superman'


batman v superman wbCaution: Spoilers for "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" are in play. Bookmark this story and come back once you’ve seen the film.

When you’re watching a movie like "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice," there tend to be a lot of cameos, cast members, and easter eggs scattered throughout the film. So many, in fact, that they’re kind of hard to catch up with when watching a film as intense and action packed as DC Comics’ smash hit from this past weekend. Well, as luck would have it, there were nine things that we couldn’t help but notice during our respective viewings of the film.

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Jimmy Olsen in Africa

The first item on our "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" easter egg list comes from a first act cameo that has already been confirmed during this weekend’s news blitz. When we pick up with Lois Lane at the beginning of the film, she’s on assignment in Africa and accompanied by a photographer that we later learn is a CIA associate. That undercover agent turned out to be none other than ace photographer for the Daily Planet, Jimmy Olsen. Confirmed by Zack Snyder himself, Michael Cassidy played the role this time out, and we’ll be seeing more of him in the forthcoming Ultimate Cut.

A fitting epitaph

"If you seek his monument, look around you." It’s a somber statement that sums up everything Superman meant to Metropolis, which finds itself scrawled upon his memorial site in the city that he loved. The hidden meaning behind the quote is, quite possibly, even more astounding than its presence itself. "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" is not only furthering the thematic connections between the Man of Steel and Jesus, they’re also paying tribute to the man who in some ways built the city into something greater than it once was. We say this, because the quote comes from the inscription of the monument to famed architect Sir Christopher Wren, who was best known for, "rebuilding 52 churches in the City of London after the Great Fire in 1666." In the face of destruction, both men rebuilt in the name of something higher, and the world will forever remember their efforts.

Lex Luthor’s prison inmate number

After being apprehended by the FBI in a deleted scene, "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" sees its mad villain, Lex Luthor, being taken into custody and locked away. Amidst the shaving and preparations that our boy millionaire has to go through to be entered into the system, he picks up an interesting inmate number: "16-TK-421" While the "16" could very easily be a reference to the year that the film was being released, "TK-421" is either an infinitesimally odd coincident, or more likely it’s a classic film reference to 1977’s "Star Wars." In George Lucas’ legendary Sci-Fi film, TK-421 was one of the guards overseeing the detention block on the Death Star that [was] housing Princess Leia.

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Investigators believe money to finance 'The Wolf of Wall Street' came from a Malaysian state fund


the wolf of wall street

It took years for Leonardo DiCaprio and Marin Scorsese to make "The Wolf of Wall Street," the 2013 adaptation of the book by former stock broker Jordan Belfort that highlighted his debauched exploits and the illegal actions that led to him going to prison for fraud.

But according to a piece in The Wall Street Journal, global investigators believe much of the movie's $100 million budget was diverted from a Malaysian state fund that was established to spur local economic development. 

Investigators in two countries believe that 1Malaysia Development Bhd., or 1MDB, which was set up seven years ago by the prime minister of Malaysia, Najib Razak, moved $155 million into Red Granite Pictures, one of the production companies behind "The Wolf of Wall Street."

Razak's stepson, Riza Aziz, is the chairman of Red Granite Pictures. The company was set up in 2010.

The FBI has issued subpoenas to several current and former employees of Red Granite and a bank and accounting firm the company used, according to The Journal.

The way Red Granite Pictures, a company that had financed only a few independent films before "Wolf," got involved in the passion project of the biggest actor in the world involves encounters that could have come from the pages of Belfort's book.

Kanye West Andrew H Walker Getty finalAccording to The Journal, Red Granite came on the Hollywood scene at the Cannes Film Festival in 2011, when it threw a million-dollar beach party that included fireworks and performances by Kanye West and Pharrell Williams.

Soon after, Jho Low, a Malaysian financier who was a fixture in the LA, Las Vegas, and New York party scenes with the likes of Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan (and would play a role in setting up the fund that became 1MDB), connected DiCaprio with Red Granite.

Red Granite, founded by Aziz and Joey McFarland, strengthened the bond with DiCaprio after cameras began rolling on "Wolf of Wall Street," when they gave the actor Marlon Brando's Oscar for best actor in "On the Waterfront" as a birthday present. According to The Journal, it was acquired for around $600,000 from a New Jersey memorabilia dealer.

Aziz and Low were also with DiCaprio, "Wolf" costar Jonah Hill, and actor Jamie Foxx to ring in the new year on December 31, 2012, where they partied in Australia and then rented a jetliner and flew to Las Vegas to celebrate again, according to The Journal.

Then six months after "Wolf" opened in theaters, DiCaprio, Aziz, and Low attended the World Cup in Brazil and spent time on the Topaz, a 482-foot yacht owned by Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, chairman of the Abu Dhabi sovereign-wealth fund IPIC. (According to The Journal, Sheikh Mansour wasn't there).

Joey McFarland Riza Aziz Andreas Rentz Getty finalRed Granite's main financier is Abu Dhabi businessman Mohamed Ahmed Badawy Al-Husseiny. At the time of the making of "Wolf" Al-Husseiny headed Aabar Investments PJS, an arm of IPIC that did business with 1MDB.

In 2012, 1MDB reported in corporate filings that it sent $1.4 billion to Aabar Investments as collateral.

Investigators believe the money never got to Aabar and instead went to a separate, almost identically named company that Al-Husseiny helped set up in the British Virgin Islands, called Aabar Investments PJS Ltd.

According to The Journal story, $155 million of the $1.4 billion to Aabar flowed to Red Granite Capital, a firm Aziz formed to fund the film company. From a loan agreement reviewed by The Journal, $50 million was to fund "The Wolf of Wall Street." The loan has been repaid.

Since "Wolf," Red Granite has produced studio comedies "Dumb and Dumber To" and "Daddy's Home." It's also working on a film on George Washington.

Investigations of 1MDB will not affect Red Granite's ability to develop projects, according to The Journal.

Read the complete Wall Street Journal story here.

SEE ALSO: Jesse Eisenberg explains why he hates watching his own movies

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20 actors who completely transformed themselves into music legends


jamie foxx ray

The larger-than-life musicians we worship have been brought to the big screen for decades, in biopics that range from transformative to middling.

And finding actors who can accurately portray those artists often requires musical training, studying mannerisms, and physical transformations.

While some roles merely require learning some choreography and slight makeup, others are more intensive, such as Jamie Foxx having his eyes glued shut to portray Ray Charles. 

This year, a number of musical biopics are hitting the screen, including one with British actor Tom Hiddleston as Southern musician Hank Williams and Don Cheadle as jazz artist Miles Davis. 

Here are 20 of the most notable transformations: 

SEE ALSO: Here's how 'Daredevil' star Charlie Cox got ripped to be a superhero

Tom Hiddleston — Hank Williams

The English actor transformed into the folk singer, Southern drawl and all, for "I Saw the Light." Hiddleston stayed with singer-songwriter Rodney Crowell for five weeks and was coached in Williams' mannerisms and singing style. The film hit theaters March 25. 


Don Cheadle — Miles Davis

Cheadle was first roped into this project back in 2006 when Miles Davis, who died in 1991, was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Afterward, Davis' nephew said Cheadles would play his uncle in a film of his life. Cheadle eventually cowrote a script, signed on to direct, and portrayed the jazz musician in "Miles Ahead," which will be released April 6. 

(Cheadle also portrayed Sammy Davis Jr. in 1998's “The Rat Pack,” for which he won a Golden Globe.)

Jason Mitchell — Eazy-E

Jason Mitchell's transformation into the late N.W.A rapper Eazy-E for "Straight Outta Compton" blew critics away. The relatively unknown "consistently out-acts the rest of the performers," a New York Times review said. Mitchell, who has a similarly built frame to Eazy-E, gained weight, practiced a South Los Angeles accent, and learned how to rap for the role, according to the Los Angeles Times. Corey Hawkins became Dr. Dre and O'Shea Jackson Jr. transformed into his father, Ice Cube, for the film.


See the rest of the story at Business Insider

One of the best films of 2015 will have a sequel


sicario blunt

Last year's critically-acclaimed thriller, "Sicario," starring Emily Blunt as an FBI agent who is thrust into the dirty war on drugs at the border between the US and Mexico, is going to get a sequel.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, upstart production company Black Label Media, which has had an impressive start with movies like "Sicario," and soon-to-be-released titles "Demolition," starring Jake Gyllenhaal, and "La La Land," starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, confirmed that "Sicario 2" is a go.

"We're in full development with the studio. I just got a draft [of a script from writer Taylor Sheridan], and we're really excited," said co-founder Molly Smith.

Blunt, along with co-stars Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro, will be returning.

sicario benicioThe first film ends with Blunt knowing the true reasons why she was enlisted to be a part of the team to take out the head of a major Mexican drug cartel, and we also learn why Del Toro's character is such an asset.

Though the Black Label team wouldn't get into the sequel's plot, co-founder Trent Luckinbill is excited to see Del Toro's character explored further.

"You have such a great character with Benicio, who was as dark as he was and still so loved," he said. "That character resonates so well with audiences. People want to know what happened to him, so it's a perfect foray for us to explore."

It's unknown who will direct the sequel, as "Sicario" director Denis Villeneuve is currently making the sequel to "Blade Runner," but it will be a lot of pressure for whoever takes the job.

"Sicario" was one of the surprise hits of 2015. Not just loved by critics but earning over $80 million worldwide (it had a budget of $40 million).

Fans of the movie will have high expectations.

SEE ALSO: One of the most thrilling scenes for "Sicario" almost didn't get made

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'Batman v Superman' drops 81% in second-Friday box office


batman v superman

What Warner Bros. feared looks to be coming true.

"Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" took in an estimated $15.35 million on Friday at the box office, that's an 81% drop from its record-breaking opening last Friday (including $27.7 million in Thursday previews).

The film is projected to take in $50 million this weekend.

In a weekend where there is no competition for "Batman v Superman" to worry about, this is an disappointing development and proves that word-of-mouth from audiences that saw the movie last weekend isn't good.

The drastic drop in second weekend sales is a historic one for superhero movies. According to Deadline, "Batman v Superman" now owns the steepest decline for a movie in the genre, beating out the 69% drop "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" had in 2009.

It seems Warner Bros. is on damage control of its DC Comics franchise, which has Batman and Superman returning next year in "Justice League Part 1."

It's next superhero movie, "Suicide Squad," is currently doing reshoots, according to reports, to give the film more of a fun feel that its trailer had.

A major criticism of "Batman v Superman" is that it's too serious and dark compared to the other superhero movies that currently dominate the box office.

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There's as much as an hour of unused 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' footage we may never see


zuvio star wars

The April 5 release of the "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" Blu-ray will include seven deleted scenes in addition to hours of behind the scenes footage. But according to Neal Scanlan, the puppet master who oversaw the design of many of the creatures and aliens in the film, there's much more unreleased footage you won't see on the home release. 

In an interview with Nerdist, Scanlan revealed that director J.J. Abrams filmed much more footage than what viewers see on film or on the Blu-ray. 

Via Nerdist:

Scanlan believes there could be a cut of the film an hour longer that would work, and that he would love to watch. He calls the theatrical cut “so fine to the wire” in the way it hit the allotted running time while keeping as much of the good stuff as possible.

Director J.J. Abrams has said there are no plans for an extended cut of "The Force Awakens," but Scanlan told Nerdist that the opening scenes in Jakku alone had multiple characters cut. 

“There was an awful lot of stuff that we shot,” Scanlan says. “Background stuff. Things that are happening in Jakku in the background, in the desert, and all of those things. And sometimes the roll of dice is in order to tell the story the way that they need to tell it, and J.J. wanted to tell it. Some things there just isn’t the screen time for them. So he exists on film somewhere. Whether we’ll ever see him, who knows?”

Among the deleted material is Constable Zuvio, a peacekeeper living in Jakku. There was even a toy released of Zuvio and Lucasfilm went as far as to cast, costume, and film scenes in Morocco with the character.  

jj abrams zuvio

According to StarWars.com, Zuvio is described as the leader of Niima Outpost's militia who are supposed to protect visitor starships from locals and thieves.

No official word on when or if we'll ever see the characters and costumes that didn't make the film. But with four more film set in the "Star Wars" universe over the next few years, maybe the ideas will be used by future directors. 

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