TIME Books

Exciting News for The Fault in Our Stars Fans

John Green Looking For Alaska

The same team who perfected Hazel and Gus on the big screen will tackle Looking for Alaska

The writing duo that adapted John Green’s beloved young adult novel The Fault in Our Stars is teaming up again to take on Green’s first, and arguably most beloved novel, Looking For Alaska.

Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber will write the screenplay for the story that follows Miles Halter’s experiences at prep school in Alabama, where he falls for an elusive and beautiful girl named Alaska. The book recently celebrated 10 years of publication with a special edition.

Weber and Neustadter are also behind the adaptation of Green’s Paper Towns, set to hit theaters in June. It was previously reported, and confirmed by Green, that filmmaker Sarah Polley would be writing and directing the Alaska adaption. Though Green confirmed the latest screenplay news, it remains unclear whether Polley will still direct the film.

Regardless, fans can trust that Neustadter and Weber will do the book justice. When adapting The Fault in Our Stars, Weber explained the mindset behind adapting a story so many treasured.

“Our attitude resembled the fans who thought this might get screwed up,” Weber said in 2013.

The team is also responsible for the original screenplay of 500 Days of Summer. The pair are also adapting the bestselling novels Where’d You go Bernadette and Me Before You.

TIME Television

Watch Downton Abbey Stars Sort Their Characters Into Hogwarts Houses

Downton Abbey Season 5 on MASTERPIECE on PBSPart EightSunday, February 22, 2015 at 9pm ETSomeone tries to derail Rose and Atticus’s happiness. Mrs. Patmore gets a surprise. Anna isin trouble. Robert has a revelation.(C) Nick Briggs/Carnival Films 2014 for MASTERPIECEThis image may be used only in the direct promotion of MASTERPIECE CLASSIC. No other rights are granted. All rights are reserved. Editorial use only. USE ON THIRD PARTY SITES SUCH AS FACEBOOK AND TWITTER IS NOT ALLOWED.
Nick Briggs—Carnival Films/Masterpiece/PBS

Maggie Smith's Dowager Countess is in Gryffindor because of course

As Downton Abbey‘s latest season comes to an end in the U.S., Masterpiece Classic has revealed the final episode was shot at an (unnamed) location from the Harry Potter films.

So a few cast members of the British period saga sorted the show’s beloved characters into Hogwarts houses. “I think Edith would probably be in Ravenclaw,” says Laura Carmichael, who plays Lady Edith Crawley. “I know people are going to want to say Slytherin, but she’s not that bad!”

Both Carmichael and Hugh Bonneville, who plays the Earl of Grantham, agree that Sybil, the show’s beloved youngest sister whose death had many fans in tears, would be Gryffindor “through and through.”

“Violet would have to be Gryffindor,” Bonneville adds, an obvious choice considering the character is played Maggie Smith — who also played Head of Gryffindor House Professor McGonagall in the Harry Potter movies.

Rob James Collier, who plays wily footman Thomas Barrow on the show, chimes in with his thoughts as well. And the three take it so seriously, it’s equal parts hilarious and magical. Where will Lady Mary end up? Find out by watching the full video at PBS.

TIME movies

Sorry, Haters: America Loved Lady Gaga at the Oscars

87th Annual Academy Awards - Show
Kevin Winter—Getty Images Lady Gaga performs onstage during the 87th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on Feb. 22, 2015 in Hollywood, Calif.

The pop star goes from popular to praised

Some were skeptical when they heard Lady Gaga would be honoring the 50th anniversary of The Sound of Music. After all, the star is better known for elaborate pop spectacles than for her vocal dexterity, and the movie’s songs demand a certain irony-free commitment it was unclear if Gaga could pull off.

But from the second she started singing a medley of songs from the 1965 Oscar-winning musical, it seened clear she was quite worthy of the honor. Even Julie Andrews, the star from the original film, praised Gaga for her performance.

And TIME readers agree, voting in a poll 97% to 3% that they loved the performance. Though Gaga’s performance seems to be one of the few uncontroversial aspects of an unpopular ceremony, it’s not too late to register your dismay, or hop on the Gaga bandwagon.

TIME Music

Lady Gaga’s Oscar Performance: Love It or Hate It?

Julie Andrews loved Lady Gaga's performance at the Oscars, but did you?

Fans were skeptical when they learned Lady Gaga would be honoring The Sound of Music at the Oscars with a medley of songs from the musical that’s set to celebrate its 50th anniversary next month.

Reactions on social media were mixed, though Julie Andrews, the film’s original star, seemed pleased with the variety of songs that included “The Sound of Music,” “My Favorite Things,” “Edelweiss,” and “Climb Every Mountain.”

Check out the performance below and cast your vote.

Read next: Lady Gaga’s Performance at the Oscars Could Redefine Her Career

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TIME Television

The True History Behind Downton Abbey’s Anti-Semitism Storyline

© Nick Briggs/Carnival Film and Television Limited 2014 for MASTERPIECE Atticus Aldridge and Lady Rose MacClare

“I am very alarmed by the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe," the show's creator tells TIME

Contains spoilers for the episode of Downton Abbey that aired in the U.S. on Feb. 22, 2015

The latest ritzy wedding on Downton Abbey was an unusual one—and not for reasons the show’s viewers are used to. There were none of the exhales of finally that came with Lady Mary and Matthew’s nuptials, and none of the raised eyebrows that accompanied Lady Sybil’s upstairs-downstairs marriage to Tom, the family’s chauffeur.

Lady Rose MacClare and Atticus Aldridge come from similar socioeconomic backgrounds but different religions—though they’ve changed their name and acquired a noble title, the Aldridges are Jewish—and neither family is thrilled about the engagement. In typical Downton fashion, when it comes to love there is, as the Dowager Countess puts it, always something: Despite the fact that Rose’s aunt Lady Grantham’s father was also Jewish, the match is still not fully accepted within the household. The show has a solid track record of incorporating real-life historical moments; the Aldridge family’s struggle to be accepted mirrors the experience that a wealthy Jewish-British family might have faced in the real 1920s, and the real Rothschild family gets a shout-out during the episode.

But, in this case, the true story behind the fiction doesn’t actually go back quite so far in time. Rather, for Julian Fellowes, the creator and sole writer of the Emmy-award winning show, the plot line is a familiar one.

“In my own youth I went out with a girl for some time from a very prominent, grand Jewish family,” Fellowes tells TIME. “And it was one of my only times when I have been considered ineligible and not a sort of desirable party.”

In the latest episode both families protest the wedding, with Atticus’s father Lord Sinderby calling Rose a shiksa—a derogatory Yiddish term meaning gentile woman—and Rose’s mother staging a scene that makes it look as though Atticus is cheating. Fellowes explains that he had wanted the show to have a romantic storyline in which the disapproval went both ways. The timing of this story airing in the U.S. amid a rise of anti-Semitism in Europe is simply coincidental. (Similarly coincidental was the tragic death of the Grantham family’s dog, who some theorized was killed off because she was named Isis; “[The connection with ISIS] never occurred to us until it appeared in the paper,” Fellowes says.)

Still, though the story was not planned in response to current events, Fellowes acknowledges that the issues raised by this particular Downton wedding aren’t a matter of history only. “The situation is not as simple as one had hoped and these emotions are still rampant,” he says. “All of this stuff is pretty fundamental and we are still looking for solutions to a lot of it. I think, at least I hope, it’s useful and helpful to be reminded that these divisions have had to be addressed and resolved since the beginning of history.”

Likewise, the characters’ fears of assimilation and anti-Semitism are worthy of empathy in any time period. “When [Lord Sinderby] explains why he doesn’t want to have non-Jewish grandchildren, you do—or I hope you do—slightly understand his point of view and you slightly sympathize,” Fellowes says.

This season, which has just one episode left for U.S. viewers, was the first to mention Hitler and the Nazis. In fact, “Nazi thugs” supposedly murdered Lady Edith’s now-deceased beau Michael Gregson. But, though the show is known for jumping ahead in time, Fellowes notes the show’s timeline won’t make it all the way to World War II, by which time George—Lady Mary’s son—would be old enough to fight on the front lines.

“George would have fought in that war because he was born in 1921, I think,” he says. “He would be called up by 1941 or 1942. We’d have to hope he’d get through it. Of course fewer people died in the Second World War [than the First] but people did die, and we have to just hope little George gets through.”

TIME celebrities

This Is What Dakota Johnson Took Home From the Fifty Shades of Grey Set

From the red room to the red carpet

Fifty Shades of Grey‘s leading lady Dakota Johnson isn’t nominated for an Oscar, but she’s already generating buzz on the red carpet. The actress, who’s a presenter at the 87th Academy Awards, arrived with her date for the night: mother Melanie Griffith, who’s already said she won’t be seeing her 25-year-old daughter’s steamy role on the big screen — as it would probably make both mother and daughter uncomfortable.

So it was good Griffith wasn’t within earshot of Johnson’s interview with Ryan Seacrest when the E! host asked her what she took home from the set of the film. “A flogger,” she said, then quickly followed it up with. “Can I say that on television?” Too late.

TIME

Why Every Woman Should Travel Alone

woman travel alone
Getty Images

Traveling solo doesn't always mean you'll be lonely

When I started telling people I was going to Mexico for a week, everybody’s first question was the same: Who are you going with? When I said I was going on my own, their reactions were all very similar. “Wow, that is very brave of you!” “Aren’t you scared?” “Will it be safe?” “Alone? I could never do that.”

It’s 2015. Women have made strides in politics, in business, in tech, in culture. But even those friends I considered forward-thinking questioned my decision to travel by myself.

My trip wasn’t even as courageous as it could have been—after all, I wasn’t truly by myself, at least not once I arrived in the small town of Puerto Morelos. I booked a weeklong yoga retreat through The Travel Yogi, a company that creates adventurous albeit relaxing yoga retreats all over the world. I didn’t have the typical concerns of finding a hostel or making friends, but still people who learned my plans seemed baffled.

As a single 26-year-old living in New York, I was sick of seeing my friends with significant others post photos of incredible journeys. And any time I tried to get a group together for an exotic trip, it was too difficult to nail down a date—and especially a price—that worked for everyone. So when I found this trip, where I’d stay in a beachside boutique hotel that held daily yoga classes and served delicious vegetarian food, I didn’t check with anyone, I just booked it.

I’ve been quite a champion at being independent: I live by myself in a studio, I’ll go to Broadway shows by myself, I’ll see movies at times that work for me even if they don’t work for others. But taking this leap felt much different. And my friends’ reactions made me feel like they felt bad for me, like I had no one to travel with.

“I think people are afraid of looking like a loser,” says Kristin Newman, a TV writer and author of the travel memoir What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding. “It’s the same how people don’t want to eat dinner alone. I think people are afraid of being lonely, of being scared, of looking like they didn’t have anybody.”

She’s right—a thousand questions weighed on me when I landed. Even after I met the people at my hotel who I’d be spending time with, I went to bed thinking, “What am I going to do with myself all week?”

Well, I’d be meeting locals and eating dollar vegan tacos, watching men chop open coconuts with machetes to make fresh coconut water, getting massages on the beach, snorkeling with barracudas and lobsters and eels, diving into freshwater caves, spotting spider monkeys in trees, reading in a rooftop hammock, sipping micheladas on a regular basis and making incredible new friends. Despite all my fears, I’ve never felt less alone than when I was traveling alone.

Jennifer Hoddevik, one of the Travel Yogi founders, says about 80 percent of the people who sign up for their trips are going solo and 85 percent of them are women. Hoddevik traveled by herself for years while working as a travel agent before she founded Travel Yogi and had plenty of experience with safety, a big concern among solo female travelers. She and her team scout the locations where retreats are held when they are traveling as women who are alone.

“We really do want people to pay attention to their intuition when traveling, but knowing what it’s like personally, at night in Reykjavik or Guayaquil, is something our travelers count on,” she says. “Safety when traveling solo is a fair concern, but traveling solo doesn’t always mean ‘alone’.”

Yoga, or any other active focus of a trip, will have you bonding with people instantly, which I found on my trip–specifically when we worked on partner poses in class. If your yoga or fitness studio doesn’t advertise its own trips, there are plenty of options to find more. Yogascapes, similar to The Travel Yogi, hosts a trove of wellness retreats that include yoga, surfing and, sometimes, even wine. Eat.Pray.Move puts works with a handful of retreats in places like Marrakesh, Croatia, Tuscany and Iceland, some of which include Give-Back retreats, where 10% of the profits are donated to charity. And, if you keep your eye on websites like Groupon and Gilt, you might even find a retreat offered at a discount.

Newman, whose travels include Patagonia, Buenos Aires, Israel, Iceland, and many others, says for safety, you have to be smart but also lucky. “I feel so safe everywhere I go now because I trust my instincts and because I think being able to maneuver all those places is such a powerful thing to give yourself as a woman.”

If being lonely while traveling solo is part of your concern, Newman has expert advice on how to handle. “Night life is the hard part,” she says. “Always sign up for a day tour to do something adventurey so you can meet a buddy on a day excursion.” She also advises against certain countries that can make you feel more devastated and secluded. “Italy is pretty rough both from the fact that people are going to be on a lot of romantic holidays and Italian men can be difficult to deal with.”

My own advice is to take the plunge. Once you land wherever you decide to go, you’ll feel empowered enough that all your concerns about feeling lonely will wash away. I channel the zen from my trip whenever I feel stressed out–and it’s true that wanderlust is contagious. I’ve already booked my next trip.

Read next: 10 Destinations That Got a Lot Cheaper to Visit in 2015

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TIME

Pitch Perfect 2 Pitch Slaps Fans With a Brand New Trailer

You better acca-believe it

The Barden Bellas are back, people! The new Pitch Perfect 2 trailer is packed with acca-mazing covers of Miley Cyrus and Beyoncé (bow down, Bellas, bow down). And while details on the sequel’s plot are still scarce, we now know the team is suspended after Rebel Wilson’s Fat Amy shows a little too much skin during a performance. Alas, very little holds these girls down, even the world.

Pitch Perfect 2 hits theaters May 15, 2015.

Read next: Watch the Bellas Go Into Battle in This New Pitch Perfect 2 Trailer

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TIME Books

J.K. Rowling Just Answered Four Revealing Harry Potter Questions

Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling poses
AFP—AFP/Getty Images Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling during the launch of Pottermore in central London on June 23, 2011.

Finally we learn what happened to Fluffy

The Boy Who Lived got his own holiday in the UK on Thursday as fans gathered for Harry Potter Book Night. After the event, which was created by Bloomsbury, the publishing house behind the beloved series, J.K. Rowling took to Twitter to thank fans.

But she also surprised some lucky Tweeters by answering their burning questions about the series. And in typical Rowling fashion, she didn’t hold back on the snark, either.

The first question was about why the Horcrux inside of Harry was not destroyed when he was bit by a basilisk in the Chamber of Secrets. To Potterheads, the answer is pretty obvious, which Rowling seemed to think as well.

Rowling also shared what happened to Fluffy, the three-headed dog who guards the Sorcerer’s Stone in the first book.

She later revealed why 12 Grimmauld Place, headquarters for The Order of the Phoenix, was in the middle of a Muggle neighborhood.

And fans who sought loopholes in the science of Horcruxes were treated to answers.

When Rowling responds on Twitter, she adds a character in front of the user’s handle, making sure each Tweet is seen by her entire following. The author has been quite active on social media and her site Pottermore in the last year, surprising fans with new stories and information about the future of her favorite characters. She signed off on Friday by saying she didn’t have time for more than a few HP answers. Maybe if we all drink Felix Felicis she’ll be back to answer more.

Read Next: Everything J.K. Rowling Revealed About Harry Potter in 2014

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TIME

Watch a Deleted Scene From Parenthood‘s Finale

This scene, in typical "Parenthood" fashion, will make you cry

Parenthood‘s finale brought the show’s story full circle, perfecting the art of the family drama.

Fans bid farewell to the Bravermans with a tear-jerking wedding, the death of the family’s patriarch, an adoption and plenty of other life changes, while viewers got to see what the future would hold as well. Series creator Jason Katims, also known for Friday Night Lights, told Entertainment Weekly about a handful of scenes that were cut from the finale, including one starring John Corbett that fans can now watch themselves.

“That was a scene that had to be cut for time, and that was one I regret having to cut because it was a moment that, if you were a fan of the show over the years, John Corbett has done such great work, so it was a shame to have to lose that,” Katims said.

Watch the deleted scene below.

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