TIME

Nick Kroll Says All Movie Characters Shouldn’t Sound Like 30-Year-Old White Guys

The "Adult Beginners" star on sibling dynamics, the importance of strong female voices and his dream to be on "The Real Housewives of Atlanta"

Nick Kroll has played a radio host called The Douche (Parks and Recreation), a spin instructor named Tristafé (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) and a German foosball enthusiast named Juergen (Community). But in the new movie Adult Beginners, which hits theaters (and iTunes and video on demand) Friday, Kroll plays a character that’s a little less hyperbolic and a little more relatable.

In the film, viewers meet Jake, a failed entrepreneur who moves in with his pregnant sister (Rose Byrne) and her husband (Bobby Cannavale, Byrne’s real-life boyfriend), and becomes a nanny to their young child. The story was inspired by Kroll’s own experience as the youngest of four siblings and uncle to a dozen nieces and nephews. After developing the idea with Mark Duplass, his co-star from The League, he enlisted husband-and-wife team Liz Flahive and Jeff Cox to write the screenplay.

“I wanted to have a female voice in helping to put the script together, because it’s really as much about me as it is about my sister in the movie,” he says. “A lot of movies are written by 30-year-old white guys, and you don’t want your characters all to sound like 30-year-old white guys.”

Fans who know Kroll from his recently retired Comedy Central sketch show Kroll Show, on which he played characters like the tuna-loving Gil Faizon and craft services extraordinaire Fabrice Fabrice, may be surprised by how normal a character Jake is. But Kroll insists that the gulf between Faizon and Jake is not so gaping, after all.

“The goal is to create something that just feels really believable, whether it’s a grounded character in a dramedy or a toilet baby who has been forced into becoming a father himself. How does that guy talk, how does he walk, how does he feel about his mom, how does he feel about his sister,” Kroll explains. “I’m trying to do the same homework regardless.”

TIME Rwanda

Scars and the Smell of Grass: One Survivor’s Lasting Reminders of Genocide

Survivors of the Rwanda genocide in 1994, which left hundreds of thousands of people dead, still grapple with its brutal legacy

More than two decades after the Rwandan genocide, the smell of grass in the summer still gives Consolee Nishimwe nightmares.

Between 250,000 and 500,000 women were raped during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, according to the United Nations. At 14, Nishimwe survived a brutal attack that left her emotionally and physically scarred for years. As a result of the assault, she is now HIV positive. Her father and brothers—aged 18 months, 7 and 9—were all killed.

“I will never forget what happened to me,” Nishimwe, who has vivid memories of hiding in the bushes from Hutu militias, told TIME in a recent interview. “Physical violence happened to me, and also living with HIV as a result of that, it’s something I will never forget—that will never go anywhere, that I have to live with.”

This week, as Rwanda’s government commemorates the 21st anniversary of the genocide, many survivors like Nishimwe are faced with unavoidable reminders of the physical and emotional toll of the conflict.

When asked about forgiveness, Nishimwe, who now lives in New York City, spoke of a work in progress. “That’s a really difficult word,” she said. “I think I did… I think 20 years is still early to me.”

Nishimwe’s book, Tested to the Limit: A Genocide Survivor’s Story of Pain, Resilience, and Hope, is an account of her experience as a survivor.

TIME relationships

Here’s What One Woman Learned From Taking a Year Off From Her Marriage

Lessons from a year spent sowing wild oats

Robin Rinaldi did what many women dream of but few actually do: she took a year off from her marriage and made an agreement with her husband that they could both sleep with other people for a set period.

Rinaldi’s book, The Wild Oats Project, is a summary of what she learned during the year she spent in an open marriage. The idea came to her when her husband got a vasectomy after a long battle over whether they would have children — she wanted them, he didn’t. Faced with a future without a family, Rinaldi made a decision: “I refuse to go to my grave with no children and only four lovers,” she wrote, “If I can’t have one, I must have the other.”

That’s when she embarked on the Wild Oats Project. Rinaldi and her husband had three rules: no serious relationships, no sex with mutual friends and no sex without condoms. Both broke multiple rules over the course of the year, and it eventually took a toll on their relationship, but Rinaldi says the project wasn’t as much a choice as “a calling.”

“It was unlike me to act that way,” she says. “I had always been a very cautious and somewhat anxious person, I had always played by the rules. It was something instinctual, and something very female driving me to do this. It wasn’t really planned and strategized as much as felt.”

Still, Rinaldi found that, while many of her friends were supportive, some people thought her project was threatening, even terrifying: “The tale of a woman giving up security, even in an above-board way and allowing her husband to do the same thing, giving up all that security in pursuit of passion and adventure, is a scary idea for a lot of people,” she says. “I certainly didn’t write it to intentionally push anyone’s buttons.”

And ultimately, for Rinaldi and her husband, this was their last chance at saving their marriage. “We knew how risky it was, and we might not make it through, but it was really the only choice we had,” she says. “So we both agreed, two consenting adults, to try this first.” Ultimately, she and her husband went their separate ways, but Rinaldi says the project taught her much more than a simple divorce would have.

The biggest thing Rinaldi says she learned from the Wild Oats Project is that she was putting too much pressure on her husband. “Expecting your spouse to provide passion and security and purpose, it’s a lot,” she says. “I was asking too much of that one person… So now, as a result, I don’t look to someone else to kind of unfairly provide all of those things. That’s the biggest thing I learned from it, and I couldn’t have learned it unless I actually went through it.”

She also learned a lot about sex, and about her own body. Rinaldi spent much of the project in new-age sexual workshops and orgasmic meditation classes, so she came away a greater awareness of her sexuality. “The sex was the classroom, but the sex was not the lesson,” she says. “Your body has wisdom, that is very powerful and can kind of show you your path, and you don’t always have to think it through or necessarily act based on other people’s rules.”

Still, Rinaldi wouldn’t necessarily recommend that other women take exactly the same path she did. Instead, she’d advise younger women to “sow your wild oats before you settle down — that’s a no-brainer.”

Read next: Who Needs Marriage? A Changing Institution

TIME Music

How Death Cab for Cutie Did Things Differently for Their New Album Kintsugi

The band tells TIME about the inspirations for their new album

Rarely does word of a band’s new album inspire such conflicted feelings among loyal listeners. Last summer, Death Cab for Cutie die-hards were thrilled to find out the band was putting the finishes on their eighth studio album—but they were heartbroken to learn the album would also be the last with founding member Chris Walla, who was leaving the band after 17 years.

Instead of distancing themselves from his departure, however, the remaining members—frontman Ben Gibbard, bassist Nick Harmer and drummer Jason McGuerr—made it part of the album’s story. The band named the album Kintsugi, a Japanese ceramic repair technique that finds beauty in the object’s cracks and flaws by filling them with gold and silver. “When Chris left the band we saw it more as an opportunity than as a breakage,” frontman Ben Gibbard tells TIME about Kintsugi, out March 31. “Right now we all see this as a really exciting time for us: we have a new record we’ll be proud of, we get to go out in the world and play these songs we’re really proud of, and we’ll figure out what the next step is when we come to it.”

On bringing in an outside producer for the first time: “It was something that we were all really excited about doing,” Gibbard says. “All of us have certain tropes that we tend to remain comfortable in, things that we gravitate towards. Bringing in [Rich Costey] to cut through what we were comfortable with—like, ‘No, you guys always do it like this, but we need to try something new here’—was really inspiring. This record would absolutely not be the record it is if we had done things the way we’d historically done them.”

On loving music the way you did in high school: “I think it’s absolutely possible to continue to have, as you get older, those really intense relationships with records—it just happens less frequently,” he says. “When I was 16 years old, music was everything in my life, and everything I heard was brand new. Now I’m 38. I’ve heard a lot of music. But there are still these moments where these records come along that just come out of nowhere and blow my mind. It doesn’t happen as often as it once did, but it still happens. You can’t have your mind blown every time you put a record on.”

On drawing lyrical inspiration from Los Angeles: “Los Angeles obviously is a hotbed of character study,” Gibbard says of the new songs, many of which appear to address his divorce from actress Zooey Deschanel. “The swath of people that you run into is fairly wide and interesting. A lot of these songs on the record were inspired by people that I came across in my time living there. It’s a really interesting place. There are some things I love about it, but I don’t think I would ever go back—no, I would never move back.”

On aging as a band: “We all feel very fortunate that these records that we made now some 10-15 years ago, people still care about them,” he says. “That is one thing that is fairly rare these days. There’s so much music coming at you all the time. You have access on streaming services to every record almost ever made. Every day there are websites that are updating with 10 new exciting bands that you should check out. The fact that we have made some albums that now at this point people are still asking us to play feels really good.”

TIME Music

Why Marina and the Diamonds Wrote a Song About Rape Culture on Her New Album

The singer talks to TIME about her song "Savages," her new album Froot and the state of pop music

Marina and the Diamonds once critiqued the dangers of fame and celebrity by pretending to have succumbed to them. On her 2012 album, Electra Heart, the Welsh singer-songwriter born Marina Diamandis worked with some of pop’s biggest hitmakers and wrote from the perspective of Electra Heart, a fictional, vapid diva who embodied the worst parts of pop culture. “I suppose it was an effort to make a commercial pop record in a subversive way,” she tells TIME.

But for her third album Froot, out now, she shed the wigs and persona, scaled down her collaborators — she wrote all the songs herself and had just one co-producer, David Kosten — and looked inward instead of out. “It’s more reflecting on what’s happened in my life and what’s kind of brought me to this point,” Diamandis says. “[The title] felt symbolic of how I feel now: ripe and ready as an artist and as a person, like I’m ready to really enjoy things. I feel very confident.”

On the song “Savages”: “I’m not a political person at all, but I am interested in society. And seeing rape culture explode over the past few years and be pretty much in the news every single day is sickening. It’s more about trying to start a conversation on why these things are in our human traits. Because they are natural to us even though it’s really hard to hear. No one wants to say that rape is natural, but it’s something that’s been embedded in us, and it’s horrendous. So that inspired that song.”

On how she gets inspired: “My relationship with songwriting is purely based on having something to say. If I don’t, then I just don’t write. It’s definitely not a songwriting camp: [write] 50 songs and then pick the 12 good ones. If I get off tour, usually it’s just getting my sh-t together, relaxing, seeing my friends. And then whatever’s happening in your life feeds into your thoughts and into what inspires you in the end. It’s a very relaxed, normal process.”

On her relationship with her fans: “It’s distinctive, and it feels real and special. They’re very intense, but maybe that’s because I am as well! They’re incredibly supportive and quite protective. ‘Primadonna’ garnered a lot of fans for me, but even though I’m going off into a more left-field, alternative direction, they are with me. Growing up with your fans is really amazing.”

On how the media treats female pop stars: “If I got into an artist who was playing a character and then realized that they have another body of work, you’re like, ‘So who is it, then?’ [That happens] particularly with female artists, maybe because identity is such a shaky thing — it feels like you’re constantly trying to be defined. A song on the album, “Can’t Pin Me Down,” is about that. Maybe it’s because we can change the way we look so easily compared to male artists. I always get the impression that media are like, ‘She’s not really the artist, someone else is creating that.’ With this album I want to make a point about writing the whole thing because [then] you can’t say anything — you know I’m the sole creator. There aren’t many of those artists anymore.”

TIME psychology

This Is Why You Overshop in Ikea

We take you through the popular furniture and home goods store to show you how the layout affects your buying habits

It’s easy to overshop. But at Ikea, it’s almost impossible not to spend more than you originally budgeted.

That’s because the Swedish furniture retailer designs its stores to trigger impulse purchases while making it difficult for shoppers to make a mad dash for the exits. It’s a way to take advantage of Americans’ changing shopping habits, which TIME’s Josh Sanburn detailed in this week’s magazine.

Our current phase of overconsumption began about 30 years ago, when Americans began committing close to half of their annual expenditures to nonnecessities. It was the beginning of a gradual decline in the cost of consumer goods, the growth of everyday credit-card use and the rise of big-box stores and discount retailers that pushed their way into communities nationwide, forcing down prices and profits for those competing around them.

In the past decade, the cost of cell phones, toys, computers and televisions has plunged, thanks in part to overseas manufacturing. The rise of “fast fashion”–popularized by the growth of clothing outlets like Gap, Forever 21 and American Eagle selling $10 T-shirts and $30 jeans–is now driven by low-cost imports H&M and Uniqlo. Today the average U.S. household has about 248 garments and 29 pairs of shoes. It purchases, on average, 64 pieces of clothing and seven pairs of shoes annually, at a total cost of $1,141 a year, or $16 per item.

“When the question is why do we have so much stuff, one reason is because we can,” says Annie Leonard, executive director of the environmental group Greenpeace USA and the creator of The Story of Stuff, an animated video about excessive consumerism. “For a huge percentage of this country, there is no longer an economic obstacle to having the illusion of luxury. It’s just that this stuff is so cheap.”

Watch the video above to go inside one Ikea store in Brooklyn and see how its strategy works, and read more here.

Read next: My House Is Ground Zero in the Clutter Wars

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TIME Television

Kyle Chandler Isn’t Ready to Ditch Coach Taylor Just Yet

The actor says his new show, Bloodline, will play with Friday Night Lights fans' expectations

When I ask Kyle Chandler if he’ll ever be able to re-create the chemistry he had with his Friday Night Lights co-star Connie Britton on a future show, with a different actress — maybe even his upcoming Netflix drama Bloodline, which premieres March 20 — he answers bluntly.

“I hope so. I mean, we’re just actors. It wasn’t real. I’m just pretending. Come on, kid. Stick with me here,” he says, laughing.

Yes, it’s clear that it wasn’t real. But just barely.

Maybe it’s knowing that he lives in Texas with his wife and daughters. Maybe it’s that he describes acting as a sport where actors “take swings at each other.” Or maybe it’s the way he squints his eyes when he delivers his answers with a slight drawl. But Kyle Chandler still seems a lot like Eric Taylor, the strict but beloved Dylan Panthers football coach he played for five years on Friday Night Lights.

Chandler, 49, picked up Coach Taylor easily, thanks to show creator Pete Berg. On the first day of shooting, Chandler and Berg walked into a gymnasium filled with the men who would play football players — most of them college kids who towered over the 6-ft. 1-in. Chandler.

“Pete goes, ‘Hey, go down there and tell everyone to shut the f-ck up and get against the wall.’ So I walk down there, and I say, ‘Hey! Everyone quiet and get up against the wall.’ They didn’t do anything. I started to get a little pissed off, I guess, and I let loose. ‘Hey! What did I just say? Get against —’ And they did. And I turned and looked at Pete, and it was one of those things. He gave me the character right there.”

Chandler had only played football for two years in high school in Georgia. “I was a short, fat kid the first year and got the hell beat out of me. And the second year I was tall and skinny. That was the year my pop died. So that was the end of my football career,” he says matter-of-factly. But he continues to follow the Georgia Bulldogs and Chicago Bears, as Chandler’s early years were spent in the Chicago suburb Lake Forest. For Chandler, the bigger challenge was learning how to act in front of a handheld 16-mm camera: there were no marks and the cameramen moved at will. It gave Friday Night Lights a shaky docudrama quality that fans alternately praised and loathed.

Though the NBC show struggled with ratings — so much so that Berg struck a deal to air the final season on DirecTV — it had a dedicated cult following that shipped lightbulbs to NBC in a bid to keep the program alive. And it’s gained a new generation of fans thanks to Netflix, which is why a handful of smaller roles in high-profile films like The Wolf of Wall Street have done nothing to convince audiences (to say nothing of this interviewer) that Kyle Chandler and Coach Taylor aren’t one and the same.

Chandler says the creators of Bloodline — who wrote the part for Chandler, much like they tailored a part for Glenn Close in their last show, Damages — hope to use those audience preconceptions to their advantage. “Coach Taylor was an honest man,” says Chandler. “They like that because they can manipulate the audience. I have this foundation of honesty. Then, when my character does bad things, people will still think, ‘Cut him a break. He must have a reason.’”

Bloodline, like Netflix’s most successful shows House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black, promises to go to dark places. Chandler plays a sheriff in the Florida Keys whose family secrets begin to unravel when his black-sheep brother returns home. But unlike Damages, the show is meant to be a little more relatable. “Think of three things in your family right now that are dark secrets that you really are ashamed of,” Chandler says. “You’ve already got three of them.” Even the seemingly perfect Taylor family, he muses, had skeletons in its closet.

Chandler has been looking to return to TV ever since the final episode of Friday Night Lights aired in 2011. But nothing felt quite right, including an offer to star in Homeland and a dropped pilot he filmed for Showtime called The Vatican.

Instead, he took a series of smaller roles in big films with prestigious directors, like Ben Affleck’s Argo, Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty and Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street; all three films went on to be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars. As with both Friday Night Lights and Bloodline, he always played some authority figure — a White House chief, a CIA agent, an FBI agent. He says that his penchant for these roles has become a joke among his friends and family, who say he’s never exuded that much gravitas offscreen.

Chandler’s return to television is more a matter of comfort than of artistic integrity; he dismisses the popular notion that television is in a golden age where it’s finally surpassed film as an art form. There is, he says, a lot of bad television out there.

“I just grew up in the television world. I understand it. When I am working on a show, I get to know these people, and we’re all comfortable and friendly,” he says. “When I walk on to a film set, it makes me kind of nervous. It’s like jumping onto a train that’s already zipping along and you know you’re going to be pushed off before the train stops because you’re just one piece.”

He adds a caveat: “I’ve never been a lead in a film, so I don’t know what that would be like. Maybe you own it, then.”

It’s true that Chandler is mostly a leading man on the small screen — but there, he calls the plays. He even admits to fighting against directors who wanted to soften Coach Taylor on Friday Night Lights.

“In one scene, Coach Taylor was supposed to say to one of the players, ‘Son, you lied to me, but you know what? You go talk to Counselor Tami and we can work it out,’” he recalls. “But the kid lied right to my face. So I said, ‘No, kid, you’re done.’ The director was pulling his hair out saying, ‘You can’t do that!’ I didn’t realize I was getting the kid fired from the show — his character was gone so he was gone — but Coach wouldn’t have let that slide.”

Bloodline is being billed as Chandler’s big return to television — the moment when fans will finally learn whether he can shed Coach’s baseball cap and shorts (which, by the way, he’s not allowed to wear on the new show). But despite the stakes, Chandler doesn’t seem too concerned. If it succeeds, great. If not, that’s fine too. And if people keep calling out “Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose,” to him on the street, he won’t try to run away from one of the coolest characters in television history. But, remember, it’s all just an act.

“I wish my dad had stayed alive because he used to call me a faker when I was a kid. If he knew what I was getting away with right now with this job, he’d call me something else. But that’s what we do. We get to lie on-screen. It’s not real.” He pauses. “I’m not a good person. I’m done with this interview.”

Read next: Here’s How Long It Takes to Binge Watch Your Favorite TV Shows Without Bathroom Breaks

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TIME movies

Ethan Hawke: ‘I’ve Been Accused of Being Pretentious My Whole Life, Rightfully So’

The actor-director talks to TIME about his new film Seymour — and reveals what he was thinking at the Oscars

Ethan Hawke, the actor recently nominated for an Oscar for Boyhood, is back in theaters—but this time he’s behind the camera.

The documentary Seymour: An Introduction is Hawke’s latest unexpected creative endeavor, after two novels and several stints onstage. The actor, who got his start as a teenager in Dead Poets Society, uses his new film to show the virtue of stepping out of the limelight. Seymour is Seymour Bernstein, Hawke’s friend and a celebrated concert pianist who left performing behind in order to teach. The film, in theaters March 13, depicts Bernstein’s memories of a long life well-lived, as well as the bond between Bernstein and Hawke; the actor confesses to Bernstein his career anxieties and struggles with stage fright.

Hawke is an open book. Asked how he responds to charges that his various less-than-commercial endeavors add up to James Franco-ish pretensions, the actor is forthcoming: “I’ve been accused of being pretentious my whole life, rightfully so.” As for whether or not he, like Bernstein, will eventually recede from public life? “I think there’s a healthy part of anyone who’s a professional actor that has a little Greta Garbo in them. You know, if you want it too bad, you have another set of problems.” For now, though, he’s never been more productive—or more successful.

Read next: 10 Questions With Ethan Hawke

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TIME movies

J. K. Simmons Will Be Only the Latest Villain to Triumph as a Best Supporting Actor

From Javier Bardem to Joe Pesci, evil wins at Oscar time

Veteran actor J. K. Simmons is considered the overwhelming favorite for the Best Supporting Actor Oscar this year for his performance as abusive jazz teacher Terrence Fletcher in Whiplash, and it’s thanks to a confluence of factors. Simmons, who’s been in everything from TV’s Oz to Spider-Man to M&Ms commercials, is widely respected among the acting community; his performance in Whiplash is very strong and he’s spent a lot of time promoting it. But one factor elevates him, perhaps, above the rest: He’s a villain.

The Oscars’ Best Supporting Actor category has lately been susceptible to the charms of a well-drawn nemesis. For three years running at the end of the last decade, trophies went to Javier Bardem as Anton Chigurh in No Country for Old Men, Heath Ledger as the Joker in The Dark Knight, and Christoph Waltz as Col. Hans Landa in Inglourious Basterds. Each of these performances were so exultantly evil as to practically necessitate mustache-twirling, and Simmons’s, with its flagrant verbal abuse, is much the same.

Of course, it’s been five years since the streak of villains in this category came to a temporary end; the intervening years saw Christian Bale win for The Fighter, Christopher Plummer for Beginners, Christoph Waltz again for Django Unchained, and Jared Leto for Dallas Buyers Club. But these performances help show us why Oscar’s villains tend to triumph. With the exception of Bale’s character, who suffers only semi-nobly, all of the past four winners are as uncomplicatedly good as the three who preceded them are uncomplicatedly evil. Not just any villain can take the trophy: Last year saw Leto, playing a near-saint, defeating Barkhad Abdi in Captain Phillips and Michael Fassbender in 12 Years a Slave, both of whom played their films’ principal antagonists. Both Abdi’s and Fassbender’s performances were uncomfortably real. Abdi’s performance as a Somali pirate was informed by what we understood to be his character’s real-life poverty. Fassbender’s was informed by something that looked too much like madness.

It’s easier to honor a villain when he is charming or cinematically unrealistic. Ledger, Waltz, and now Simmons all played characters whose allure lay in their way with words, drawing viewers in even as they committed emotional, or real, violence. It was a playbook followed by past winners including the murderous Joe Pesci in Goodfellas and the mendacious Kevin Spacey in The Usual Suspects. As for Bardem’s character, his violence was so outlandishly beyond what we could comprehend, much like Simmons’s verbal abuse, that it didn’t feel like voters were rewarding a sort of evil that could exist in the real world.

Perhaps the only surprise to Simmons’s win is that his type of character doesn’t triumph yet more frequently. After all, a villain role allows a competent actor juicier lines and a thicker air of mystery than anything else on film; it also, no matter how much screentime the actor actually gets, puts him on equal footing with the hero. The award may be for a “supporting” actor, but villains steal the show.

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