TIME movies

Watch the First Trailer for Stonewall

From the director who brought you Independence Day

Forty-six years after the Stonewall riots in Greenwich Village, action flick director Roland Emmerich offers his own version of the pivotal moment in the gay rights movement in the Sept. 25 movie Stonewall.

It’s an unexpected pairing—the director responsible for over-the-top movies like Independence Day and White House Down—and the most pivotal moment in history of the gay rights movement. Detractors on social media have already questioned whether a film with such heavy material has been handed to the man who coached Will Smith on how to punch an alien in the face.

But apparently it was a passion project for the director who has said in interviews that he was forced to make budget cuts (and even move filming from the historically accurate New York City to Montreal) in order to get the film made. He also had to squeeze the production in before he turned his attention to Independence Day 2.

The movie follows a fictional young man named Danny who is kicked out of his parents’ house because of his sexuality and begins to live on the streets in New York City. Danny befriends a group who spend their nights at the Stonewall Inn, a gay-friendly club run by the mafia. When police repeatedly raid the bar and harass and physically abuse its patrons, tensions rise.

Let’s take it as a good sign that Stonewall is slated for the Toronto Film Festival in September.

TIME movies

Everything You Need to Know About Deadpool

The trailer for the Ryan Reynolds X-Men spinoff premieres Tuesday night on Conan

Ryan Reynolds has been talking about wanting to make a Deadpool movie since 2005. The character — part of the Marvel comics universe, which includes both the X-Men and the Avengers — was first introduced on the big screen in 20th Century Fox’s Wolverine: Origins. There’s a good chance you never saw him because the film flopped at the box office. But now a highly anticipated trailer for the standalone movie is finally premiering on Conan Tuesday night. Before you watch, here’s everything you need to know about Deadpool’s mercenary past, incredible healing powers and bizarre romantic entanglements.

Deadpool, also known as Wade Wilson, has become a fan favorite because he’s, well, crazy. He often breaks the fourth wall, addressing the reader directly — even commenting on the fact that he’s a comic book character. He also engages in witty banter with the many voices inside his head. Mentally unstable, sure, but definitely fun.

Wade Wilson grew up with abusive parents and ran away as a teenager. He was eventually trained as an assassin and worked as a mercenary. After being diagnosed with cancer, Wilson volunteered to let a government research lab experiment on him as part of the “Weapon X” mutant weaponization project, where Wolverine got his Adamantium skeleton.

MORE: This Map Shows How All the Future Marvel Movies Are Connected

Wilson eventually became the experimental subject of the sadistic Dr. Killbrew, and his assistant, Ajax. During painful testing, he gained super-healing abilities that cure his cancer (similar to Wolverine’s restorative powers) but also intense scarring all over his face and body — hence the full-body suit and mask. Though the healing powers prevent him from dying — Deadpool has literally lost his head in the comics only to survive by simply growing a new one — they also reject any medicine or drugs he puts into his body. That’s bad news for someone mentally unstable.

While Wilson was being experimented upon, a group of subjects began a “dead pool,” betting on who will be the last to die at the hands of the researchers. Wilson eventually leads an escape, taking the name Deadpool and vowing to have his revenge. Dr. Killbrew will likely be the main villain in the film.

After leaving the Weapon X project, Deadpool took odd jobs working as a fighter and assassin for various people in the Marvel comic book universe, always making wisecracks as he killed. He’s fondly referred to in the books as “the Merc with the Mouth.”

Characters in Deadpool’s life include Blind Al, an old woman he kidnapped and keeps as a sort of friendly hostage, and Weasel, Deadpool’s friend and weapon supplier who will be played by Silicon Valley’s T.J. Miller in the movie.

Deadpool has also cycled through many love interests, including Copycat, a shape-shifter played by Firefly’s Morena Baccerin in the upcoming film. She is similar to X-Men character Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), except stronger because she can take on the powers of whomever she’s imitating. But Deadpool’s most interesting relationship has been with the literal incarnation of Death herself, a character in the Marvel universe. Deadpool tries to kill himself over and over to be with her, which makes for some hilarious scenarios — remember that it’s basically impossible for him to actually die.

Sadly Death will probably not show up in the Deadpool film. Avengers villain Thanos (the guy with the purple face) is also in love with Death, and in the Marvel Studios films, he’s been busy gathering Infinity Stones to destroy the world and impress her — a storyline that will come to a head in Avengers: Infinity Wars, Parts I and II. In the comics, Deadpool has battled Thanos for Death’s affections. Since Fox only owns the rights to certain X-Men characters and Marvel Studios has the rights to the Avengers characters, it’s unclear whether Fox can or will allude to this relationship in the film.

Deadpool has fought with many different villains and good guys (he is a mercenary for hire, after all). The synopsis for the film seems to suggest that Deadpool will battle Dr. Killebrew and Ajax. At one point in the comics, he begs to become a part of the X-Men, a storyline which will likely fold him into the greater X-Men universe in the upcoming movies.

There are many reasons to be excited for this spinoff, not the least of which is the teaser for the trailer already took shots at the poorly received Wolverine: Origins and the inexplicable decision to sew Deadpool’s mouth shut in that movie. Reynolds and Fox have promised a movie true to the comic, so it will likely break the fourth wall and have an R rating.

TIME celebrities

Will Smith: ‘Jada and I Are Not Getting a Divorce’

2015 Black Girls Rock! - Show
Gilbert Carrasquillo—FilmMagic Actor Will Smith (R) presents his wife, actress Jada Pinkett Smith with the Star Power award onstage during 2015 'Black Girls Rock!' BET Special at NJ Performing Arts Center on March 28, 2015 in Newark, New Jersey.

The actor denied rumors of a split on his Facebook page

Will Smith is putting a stop to the rumor that he and his wife of 17 years, Jada Pinkett Smith, are getting a divorce. “In the interest of redundant, repetitious, over & over-again-ness… Jada and I are… NOT GETTING A DIVORCE!!!!!!!!!!!!!” the 46-year-old actor wrote in a Facebook post on Monday.

The actor wrote his response after a report from Radar Online said that the Hollywood couple planned to split. The Smiths, who have three children together, have been plagued by rumors of an impending breakup for years. In June, Jada Pinkett Smith addressed gossip that her husband had been unfaithful to her while promoting her latest movie, Magic Mike XXL, on the Howard Stern Show.

“You’ve got to trust who you’re with,” she told the radio personality. “And at the end of the day, I’m not here to be anybody’s watcher. I’m not his watcher. He’s a grown man.”

Read Will Smith’s full response to rumors below:

Pinkett Smith then chimed in on Twitter.

TIME Television

UnREAL and the Arrival of the Totally Dark, Utterly Irresistible Female Anti-Hero

James Dittiger—Lifetime Constance Zimmer and Shiri Appleby in UnREAL

The creators and stars of the drama that goes behind-the-scenes on a reality dating show talk why audiences are finally ready for unlikable ladies

The first time we see Rachel, the protagonist of Lifetime’s new show UnREAL, she is lying on the floor of a limousine nestled among the stilettos of group of women about to compete for a man’s heart on a Bachelor-like reality dating show called Everlasting. She is wearing a “this is what a feminist looks like” t-shirt. Within minutes of that shot Rachel, a producer on Everlasting, is plying these women with alcohol and preying on their insecurities in order to elicit the sort of breakdown that qualifies as “must see TV.”

If she manages to coax tears or screams out of the ladies, she earns a cash bonus from her boss, Quinn, who is busy in the control room labeling the show’s contestants “wifey” or “slut.” By Monday’s finale of UnREAL’s first season, the two producers will be at least in part responsible for several public humiliations, a sexual assault and even a death.

The show has broken ground by simultaneously skewering a genre that pits women against women and upending the prince myth with a selfish dolt. But perhaps most revolutionary of all, it offers a manipulative female lead who’s not just a villainous foil, but the central protagonist. Rachel is not a victim turned bad. She’s just a woman who is frighteningly good at her exploitative job.

“There are other examples of female anti-heroes on TV,” says the show’s co-creator, Marti Noxon, whose long resume as a producer includes Buffy, Mad Men and Grey’s Anatomy. “But we wanted to push it to the limits and say, ‘That’s not despicable enough.’”

Rachel and Quinn’s predecessors—Nancy Botwin from Weeds, Ellen Parsons from Damages and Piper Chapman from Orange Is the New Black—were all likable women when we first met them. But unfortunate circumstances—the death of a partner or imprisonment—revealed their true, selfish and much more interesting characters. Like Walter White in Breaking Bad, we watched their evolution from victim towards evil. Not so for Rachel and Quinn, who much more closely mirror Don Draper and Tony Soprano—men who were deemed “bad” or “difficult” from their pilot episodes.

“We threw the idea of likability out before we even began,” says co-creator Sarah Gertrude Shapiro, a self-described feminist who worked as a producer on The Bachelor for seven years before threatening self harm in order to be released from her contract with the show. “We don’t subscribe to the idea of likability because we don’t think it’s applied to men.”

But writing female anti-heroes is more complicated than turning Don Draper into Donna or Tony Soprano into Tonya. Perhaps more important than the characters are the conflicts they face, and those of UnREAL are uniquely tailored to the modern woman. The problem is stated outright on Rachel’s shirt in the first episode—a bold move in the era of “sneaky feminism” on TV shows like Inside Amy Schumer and Broad City. Rachel believes in high-minded principles, but as Shapiro felt herself while working on The Bachelor, she’s had to sacrifice them for the sake of money and the future of her career. As women still grapple with whether to prioritize ambition over likability, it’s liberating for a female audience to watch a character who doesn’t even try to be nice.

These new anti-heroes made their debut on Lifetime, long branded as the gauzy “women’s network” and best known for its overdramatic movies featuring victimized women in various states of distress. The creators were initially hesitant to partner with Lifetime on a show that could have easily been at home on HBO or Netflix. But in an effort to rebrand, executives offered Shapiro and Noxon carte blanche to write the darkest, most complex story they could.

“Lifetime wants to redefine what ‘television for women’ means,” says Noxon. “The most popular shows among female viewers are all dark: things like Sons of Anarchy, True Blood and Breaking Bad. The executives suspected rightly that there would be an appetite for females who were behaving despicably as well.”

This Is What A Feminist Anti-Hero Looks Like

The Rachel and Quinn dynamic is not a new one to media. The Devil Wears Prada or Damages relationship between cold mentor and naive mentee has cemented itself in pop culture. Amy Schumer’s recent rom-com, Trainwreck, even parodied the “bitchy boss.” But Shapiro and Noxon hoped to complicate that connection.

“For Quinn, a really easy place to go with the character is Disney evil queen—older, bitchy, arch, mean, kind of jealous. It could read that way on the page, and a ton of people we saw did that. But it was wrong,” says Shapiro. “Constance [Zimmer] inhabits that character in a way that has so much humanity and humor underneath that we don’t necessarily forgive her, but we understand her.”

She’s had practice: Zimmer has built a career playing tough women in supporting roles on shows like Entourage, House of Cards and The Newsroom. But all that experience hasn’t alleviated the fear that people will associate her with her characters’ cruelty. “I was so terrified to play Quinn in the first couple of episodes,” says Zimmer. “When they say cut, I’m apologizing to everyone around me, all the extras. I want to make sure everyone knows I’m not like Quinn. I’m super goofy and silly.” The creators may have thrown out the term “likable” from their script, but in the real world, the expectation that women be genial persists.

Still Zimmer recognized the opportunity to build a character arc for the kind of caricatured woman who usually only gets a couple biting lines. “I like playing strong women, but this is different because with the other characters, we never went home with them. With Quinn, we get to see how insecure she is, how she has her own struggles and see that she’s just much better than others at putting on armor,” she says.

Rachel, too, defies the typical female character genres—and even the typical female anti-hero. She is a master of manipulation, and even the actor who plays her, Shiri Appleby, was sometimes confused as to whether Rachel was being genuine or calculating when she uttered her lines.

“She’s a character that doesn’t really have a lot of friends or anyone to talk to about her emotions. You don’t see her express herself, you just see her actions, which is rare for a female character,” says Appleby. It’s the sort of mystery more often seen in male characters like Don Draper.

And conflicts between her ambition and her ethics come to a head in a way rarely seen on screen. Shapiro compares Rachel’s life to a more realistic Devil Wears Prada, where the protege (played by Anne Hathaway in the film) can’t get out from under her cruel mentor’s thumb.

“A moment that comes up a lot in the writers’ room is the end of Devil Wears Prada. We always joke about the end of the movie where Anne Hathaway’s character throws her phone into the fountain and leaves the miserable job. In the UnREAL version of that scene, she would be grabbing the phone out of that fountain, putting it in a bag of rice until it dries out and texting her boss asking for her job back,” says Shapiro.

Somewhere along the way, the mentee became an expert and Rachel began taking pride in her ability to cleverly tear others down. Like Tony and Don and Walter, she’s good at doing something poisonous.

The Girls’ Club

Noxon says that with UnREAL she has entered a small community of female television producers, which includes her sister-in-law and creator of Weeds and Orange Is the New Black Jenji Kohan, Scandal and Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes and Transparent creator Jill Soloway, among others. “Everyone talks about the boys’ club—there’s starting to be a little bit of a girls’ club too,” says Noxon. “We can call each other for support.”

With rave reviews from critics, UnREAL has taken its place in a small but growing pantheon of shows created by women about women who are as complicated and conflicted as men have always been on TV.

“My mom was a card-carrying feminist lesbian. She literally told me shaving my legs was giving in to the patriarchy,” Noxon says. “I think the idea that feminists have to be strident really turns people off. There were all these rules to being a good feminist, when the truth is, we’re just as conflicted as anybody else.”

Shiri Appleby has had some experience with conflicted women. Before she played Rachel, she guest-starred as the girlfriend of Adam (Adam Driver) on Girls, a show that’s taken plenty of flack for featuring unlikable female characters—though Lena Dunham’s Hannah has probably never reached the level of true anti-hero.

Appleby draws parallels between Dunham’s methods and those of UnREAL writer Shapiro. “They both write about women in a way that isn’t pretty their work is considered groundbreaking,” says Appleby. “Neither of them want to please people. If anything, they want to make the audience uncomfortable and question their values and morals by telling these real stories about women.”

But even though Appleby recognized how rare it was to be cast in projects with a woman’s voice on television, that didn’t prepare her for the fan response. “I didn’t think any of the things we shot on UnREAL were going to be controversial. But then I go online and I see there are these articles and discussions about the episode that begins and ends with Rachel masturbating. That’s fascinating because, like, women use vibrators. They just do. But because TV shows only talk about the way men please themselves, it’s a big deal.”

It’s an evolution that comes thanks to disruptors like Hulu and Netflix, which are challenging channels to reach outside their comfort zone by commissioning original series that break away from TV norms. Lifetime is not alone in its effort to enter the race for best prestige drama. This summer, USA Network—defined by dramatic but ultimately sunny serials like Suits, Burn Notice and Psych—offered Sam Esmail the opportunity to turn his strange, edgy movie script about an anti-social, drug addicted vigilante hacker called Mr. Robot into a TV show that critics are now calling one of the best of the year. And last year, the CW took a risk on a critically-acclaimed telenovela spoof Jane the Virgin that earned the network its first Golden Globe for star Gina Rodriguez.

Though these shows may not earn Big Bang Theory ratings, neither did Mad Men. The people tuning into these high level dramas are generally doing so via DVR or streaming services like Netflix or Amazon. Not only do the shows earn cachet for the Networks, but they up their value with these streaming service providers as more households cut their cable TV cords.

“I couldn’t have gotten this show made five years ago,” says Noxon. “Now television is so targeted. You’re not going for Grey’s Anatomy numbers. You’re doing for a specific demographic.”

And although networks may long for shows that can bring in 10 million viewers as Rhimes does for ABC, small, targeted shows can have a massive impact on the culture. The Girls finale drew fewer than 1 million watchers, but the show launched Lena Dunham’s book to the New York Times bestseller list and inspired a thousand think pieces. Netflix doesn’t release how many people tune in to Orange Is the New Black, but one of its stars, Laverne Cox, has made a national impact, landing on the cover of TIME as a leader of the trans movement.

How UnREAL might change television has yet to be seen—though it’s clearly already gotten under the skin of Chris Harrison, longtime Bachelor host. But while it’s unlikely that the grim Lifetime show has convinced longtime reality TV devotees to defect, Noxon and Shapiro have proven that there’s room for both the bright-eyed contestants of The Bachelor and the scheming producers of UnREAL on TV. When conducting research for UnREAL, the creators found that the women who tune in to reality romances have an average income of $150,000. Many members of the largely female audience work 90 hour weeks and hold advanced degrees.

These career women sometimes like to indulge in the Prince Charming fantasy—and sometimes they want to watch it torn down. Female viewers deserve characters that are just as complicated and contradictory as they are themselves. Those characters have finally arrived.

Read Next: Review: In UnREAL, Art Imitates Life Imitating Life

TIME Companies

Red Bull’s Blackface Video Stirs Controversy

The video, filmed in Russia, features people with blackface

Red Bull is under fire for a video posted on its website featuring people in blackface. The footage, shot during a Red Bull event in Moscow where contestants launched themselves in flying machines on July 26, features a man in a President Obama mask and two others in blackface chasing a banana in front of a banner that reads “Red Bull.”

The company posted the video first to its Russian language page on July 28 and then to its English page. Red Bull has since removed the video from the site.

Vadim Shevchenko, a spokesman for Red Bull, told The Guardian that the act was not intended to be racist. He said the man in the Obama mask in the video was part of a team that also consisted of a man in a Vladimir Putin mask and another in a Xi Jinping mask. The man in the banana suit participated in another team.

“Of course it’s not an expression of racism,” Shevchenko said. “If you had been there you would understand. The situation was absolutely friendly and happy.”

Critics disagree.

Red Bull issued a statement to TIME on Friday afternoon. “The organizers of the Red Bull Flugtag in Russia regret our oversight in allowing these participants to tarnish what was otherwise an enjoyable event,” Red Bull said in the statement. “It is never our intention to give a platform which would promote an offensive message. For the future, we will take more effective measures to prevent this sort of thing happening again.”

TIME beauty

Ronda Rousey Has the Best Response to People Who Think Her Body Is Too Masculine

Her body isn't designed to please men. It's designed to take care of herself.


MMA fighter Ronda Rousey is giving critics of her body an one-two-punch (around 6:18 in the video). Throughout her career, some have called Rousey’s body “huge” and “masculine.”

The athlete, who has also appeared twice on the big screen this summer in Furious 7 and Entourage, fired back at critics in a UFC video promoting her Aug. 1 fight with Bethe Correia. She said every muscle has a purpose and that her body isn’t designed to please anyone:

I have this one term for the kind of woman my mother raised me to not be, and I call it a do nothing b—. A DNB. The kind of chick that just tries to be pretty and be taken care of by someone else. That’s why I think it’s hilarious if my body looks masculine or something like that. Listen, just because my body was developed for a purpose other than f—ing millionaires doesn’t mean it’s masculine. I think it’s femininely badass as f— because there’s not a single muscle on my body that isn’t for a purpose because I’m not a do nothing b—. It’s not very eloquently said but it’s to the point and maybe that’s just what I am. I’m not that eloquent, but I’m to the point.

Rousey’s defense of her own body comes just three weeks after J.K. Rowling slammed a tweeter who said tennis star Serena Williams was “built like a man.” Posting a stunning picture of Williams in a dress, the Harry Potter author wrote, “Yeah, my husband looks just like this in a dress. You’re an idiot.”

TIME Minnesota

Dentist Who Killed Cecil the Lion Writes Letter Apologizing to His Patients

"I deeply regret that my pursuit of an activity I love and practice responsibly and legally resulted in the taking of this lion"

The Minnesota dentist who is the target of international outrage for killing a beloved lion in Zimbabwe wrote a letter to his patients this week apologizing for any inconvenience the media attention has caused.

Dr. Walter Palmer lured Cecil the lion with a dead animal attached to a car during a hunting trip with guides. The lion was shot with a bow and arrow and then a gun before he was beheaded and skinned. In the letter, published by Fox 9, Palmer explains that he had no idea the lion was part of a study and that he will cooperate with U.S. and Zimbabwean authorities.

Here is the letter’s full text:

To my valued patients: As you may have already heard, I have been in the news over the last few days for reasons that have nothing to do with my profession or the care I provide for you. I want you to know of this situation and my involvement. In addition to spending time with my family, one of my passions outside dentistry is hunting. I’ve been a life-long hunter since I was a child growing up in North Dakota. I don’t often talk about hunting with my patients because it can be a divisive and emotionally charged topic. I understand and respect that not everyone shares the same views on hunting.

In early July, I was in Zimbabwe on a bow hunting trip for big game. I hired several professional guides and they secured all proper permits. To my knowledge, everything about this trip was legal and properly handled and conducted. I had no idea that the lion I took was a known, local favorite, was collared and part of a study until the end of the hunt. I relied on the expertise of my local professional guides to ensure a legal hunt. I have not been contacted by authorities in Zimbabwe or in the U.S. about this situation, but will assist them in any inquiries they may have.

Again, I deeply regret that my pursuit of an activity I love and practice responsibly and legally resulted in the taking of this lion. That was never my intention. The media interest in this matter – along with a substantial number of comments and calls from people who are angered by this situation and by the practice of hunting in general – has disrupted our business and our ability to see our patients. For that disruption, I apologize profoundly for this inconvenience and promise you that we will do our best to resume normal operations as soon as possible. We are working to have patients with immediate needs referred to other dentists and will keep you informed of any additional developments. On behalf of all of us at River Bluff Dental, thank you for your support.

Sincerely, Walter J. Palmer, DDS River Bluff Dental

River Bluff Dental has taken down its Facebook page and website. The dentist’s Yelp page is filled with hate messages from people accusing Palmer of murder.

The Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority said in a statement that the killing of Cecil was likely illegal: “Ongoing investigations to date, suggest that the killing of the lion was illegal since the land owner was not allocated a lion on his hunting quota for 2015. Therefore, all persons implicated in this case are due to appear in court facing poaching charges.”

TIME Television

Actor Who Played Joffrey Thinks the Misogyny on Game of Thrones May Be ‘Unjust’

Jack Gleeson would also advocate for more male nudity on the show

Jack Gleeson, who played the cruel, woman-torturing Joffrey Baratheon on Game of Thrones, weighed in on the misogyny debate that has plagued the HBO show this season.

Since his character was one of the main perpetrators of the violence and sexual abuse of women on the show, Gleeson had a unique perspective on whether it should depict those actions as often as it does. In an interview with the Daily Beast, Gleeson said that he has not watched the series since he left because he cannot suspend his disbelief after being on set, so he cannot comment on the infamous Sansa rape scene. But Gleeson admitted that past representations of sexual violence may been “unfair.”

MORE: Maisie Williams on How Game of Thrones Treats Women and Her Dream Superhero Role

When asked if he found it difficult to film some of the scenes where he abused women, Gleeson replied:

Yeah, of course; it’s a tricky thing when you are representing misogyny in that way because I wouldn’t say the show ever implicitly condones misogyny or any kind of violence towards women. But, perhaps, it’s still unfair or unjust to represent it even if the gloss on the representation is a negative one.

Obviously as a 23-year-old man, I can never put myself into the mindset of a woman who has been sexually assaulted, but I think that sometimes you have to represent awful things happening onscreen even if they’re for entertainment because you have to expose the brutality of them, because the chances are you’re not going to see that anywhere. So there’s a chance it engages some kind of empathy but it is a gray area. It might be very traumatic and stressful to watch those scenes.

The show has also come under fire—like many HBO shows before it—for excessive female nudity. Despite not being a regular viewer, Gleeson said he supports the instances of male nudity he’s heard about from friends and colleagues.

As I say, I don’t watch it so I can’t really comment, but I have heard that there is male nudity — so I think that is one good thing, to not just objectify women but also objectify the beauty of the male genitalia! We’re all objects together.

The 23-year-old Gleeson said last year that he plans to retire from acting.

MORE: Sophie Turner on Defending Sansa Stark and Her Surprising Dream Role

[Daily Beast]

TIME Television

Marvel Will Release a New Netflix Show Every 6 Months

Barry Wetcher— Netflix, Inc. Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock in the Netflix Original Series “Marvel’s Daredevil”

Jessica Jones will premiere before the end of 2015

Though the next Marvel film, Captain America: Civil War, won’t premiere until May, more Marvel heroes are coming to your streaming queue—and soon. Netflix announced at the Television Critics Association summer meeting on Tuesday that it will be rolling out a new Marvel superhero series every six months.

Marvel and Netflix teamed up to bring five separate shows to the streaming service, focusing on a group of comic book heroes called The Defenders, a street-level Avengers team. The first in the series, Daredevil, premiered in April. Jessica Jones will be the next superhero to get a Netflix treatment before the end of 2015, followed by Iron Fist and Luke Cage, according to the Associated Press. After each has starred in their own series, all four will join forces for a Defenders show.

The announcement comes as anticipation for Jessica Jones, the first female superhero to headline her own Marvel project, grows. “I’ve been coming to Comic-Con for 12 years, and I think a lot of fans here have been eager to see more women onscreen for a long time,” Dawn Keiser, a 30-year-old Californian told TIME at San Diego Comic-Con in early July. “I was really happy to see the characters Karen and Claire become these heroes on Daredevil, but I really can’t wait for Jessica Jones to be the hero of her own show.”

Krysten Ritter, star of Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 23, will portray the first major female character with superpowers in a Marvel Studios project. Though Captain America character Peggy Carter stars in a 1940s-set Agent Carter on ABC, she has no powers—nor does Black Widow, the only female Avenger in the films. The first Marvel female superhero movie, Captain Marvel, won’t hit screens until 2018.

If the tone of Daredevil is any indication, Jessica Jones and the other Marvel Netflix shows will be much darker and bloodier than the one audiences know from films like Iron Man and The Avengers.


TIME Television

Another Period Shows How Historical Millionaires Were Just Like Reality Stars

The show's creators, Natasha Leggero and Riki Lindhome, explain the inspiration for their new series

After years on the comedy circuit, comedians Natasha Leggero (Chelsea Lately) and Riki Lindhome (Garfunkel and Oates) wanted to work together on a TV show they themselves would want to binge-watch. They had two ideas: a satirical reality show or a riff on a period piece. And then they thought: why not combine them both?

The concept for Another Period—think the Kardashians meets Downton Abbey—struck a chord with some of the best humorists in the biz: the two recruited for roles Drunk History creator Jeremy Konner to produce and the likes of Jack Black, Ben Stiller, Paget Brewster, Michael Ian Black, Chris Parnell and—as a servant that the Bellacourt sisters rename Chair—Mad Men’s Christina Hendricks. Snoop Dogg even agreed to do the theme music.

TIME caught up with Leggero and Lindhome to talk about how turn-of-the-century millionaires lived like rappers, how TV shows can survive in the YouTube era and skewering the “rape joke” debate.

TIME: You did a lot of research to make sure the show was going to be accurate. What were some of the most surprising things you learned about the turn of the century?

Riki Lindhome: In the last episode, there were a bunch of things based on reality that were all surprising to me. Our brother is appointed to be a senator. I didn’t realize the senate wasn’t elected then. It was just appointed. And then Sigmund Freud diagnoses our brother as homosexual, and he uses masturbation therapy to cure us of our hysteria. Those are all based on real things.

Natasha Leggero: When we went to Newport and would visit these houses that were around in the Gilded Age—it was this time period from 1900 to 1910 before there was income tax—people would live in these houses that would need 30 indoor servants and 20 outdoor servants just to keep it working. So you’d go see these places, and they wouldn’t want the servants to be seen, so sometimes they would be in the basement. But this one house we went to, they had them on the third floor of this mansion, and so that no one would see them they built a brick wall around all their bedroom windows so that when they would open up their windows they would just see brick.

Did you worry that there would be ludicrous aspects to the show that the audience wouldn’t believe was historically accurate even though they were?

Lindhome: We were at Comic-Con a few weekends ago, and I just ran into a few people I know. Somebody literally said, “It’s funny how you guys did no research and just made it all up.” I said, “What? No, that’s all real.” People definitely think we made more up than we did.

Having said that, there are definitely aspects you did make up or exaggerated for comedic effect.

Lindhome: Of course. So, for example, black face was a big entertainment thing at the time. It just felt overused and inappropriate. So we made up a thing called McFace because there was also a big prejudice toward Irish people at the time. We have a McFace performance where Natasha’s character wears a light face with freckles and a red nose and a Raggedy Ann wig.

Leggero: Most of the servants came from Ireland, Australia, France—so there was a lot of prejudice.

Your cast is a who’s who of comedy right now. What was your pitch to them?

Leggero: I think people saw it and saw it was funny. We got together with Jeremy Konner, who really helped us with the vision of it.

Lindhome: We made a 10 minute short of the show before we pitched it just because we knew what the tone was, but it was hard to necessarily tell what it was on the page. So we would send that around to people and send parts that we specifically wrote for them. We got very lucky. We got all of our first choices, which is really rare.

I don’t know how much overlap there is among the people who watch reality TV and people who watch BBC period shows. When you were conceiving the show, who did you decide your audience would be?

Leggero: Riki watches both of them. But I think that Riki and I started this show because we wanted to be in something that we would both watch. As we look at all the shows we’ve been a part of, how many of these would we actually stay home and watch? There were some, but not anywhere near a large enough percentage for how many credits both of us had. We wanted to make a show that we thought would be funny and the people we would perform for would think was funny.

Lindhome: It’s for smart people who like comedy more than a certain demographic.

Leggero: It’s not TV for people who just want to watch TV and turn their brain off. It’s entertaining and satirical and hilarious. We have all these amazing comedy performances. I think it’s for people who get comedy and want to see their favorite comedians.

Comedy Central has really had a renaissance in the last five years or so with these must-watch shows like Inside Amy Schumer and Key & Peele in addition to The Daily Show. But the thing that’s gotten these shows a lot of attention are viral YouTube clips of a one-minute sketch or a two-minute Jon Stewart bit. Is it harder for narrative comedies like yours to stand out in this world where fewer people are watching TV live and more people are surfing YouTube?

Lindhome: It is harder, and I think for us, it’s going to be more of a slow burn. I think we’re going to pick up fans as we go. Word of mouth has really been helping us. As far as viral videos go, it’s hard for a narrative show to have viral videos. But there’s a lot of hit narrative shows that don’t. Broad City on Comedy Central, or on network TV something like Big Bang Theory doesn’t have viral videos.

Leggero: There’s also a lot of very funny clips online. You probably lose a little something if you’re not watching the entire show, but we’re hoping that those clips are good enough on their own to get people to seek out the show.

We sat in the writers’ room for 10 weeks. We have 13 characters and would spend a whole week on one character and exhaust every possible storyline. Everything comes back around, and there’s this intersecting of story lines and an operatic element. So it’s worth checking out the relationships between these characters and their arcs.

We want people to get invested with these characters and take a break from watching people fight at the DMV. My boyfriend’s always watching these videos, and it’s always people fighting at a checkout or on a bus or babies twerking. I get it. That’s what we do online all day. But this so isn’t that. There’s nothing better than renting a season of a show and just lying in bed and watching the whole season and getting it. It’s such a great thing to be able to watch a series of something.

Lindhome: We want people to fall in love with our show the way they fell in love with Mad Men or Downton or Breaking Bad.

Leggero: Or Last Man on Earth or Transparent or Kimmy Schmidt. These aren’t shows where you want viral videos online of them.

The show has done a really good job of addressing modern day issues. In one episode where a character is raped or as they say, “ravished,” two other characters discuss whether “ravishing” jokes are ever appropriate and where the line is, which is obviously a big debate right now. Do you feel like it’s easier to talk about those issues in a historical show?

Lindhome: I think it does, in the same way that The Colbert Report has that same advantage of him taking the extreme right-wing view, and by doing that, arguing for the left-wing point. We take the view of certain people of that time period and show how ridiculous it was by vehemently going for it from that point of view. Like, the Bellacourt sisters are anti-suffragist. We just make it ridiculous.

Leggero: Because you know, those women existed at the time. But we also have the advantage where history is cyclical. Just in the same way the Gilded Age was this 10-year period where no one paid income tax and people were living like rappers—Carnegie had money in the billions in 1900—and then you look at today and see that people have legally figured out how to not pay income tax anymore. It’s like we’re entering this rich person gilded age again. Not to get too political, but it’s all repeating itself.

Final question: If you could choose a historical figure to give a reality show now, who would it be?

Leggero: Maybe Marie Antoinette? She seems excessive.

Lindhome: That’s kind of the inspiration for the show anyway.

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