TIME celebrities

Caitlyn Jenner Celebrates Her Independence in July 4 Post

"At least I am free to be me"

Caitlyn Jenner took to her Twitter account Saturday to wish her followers and fans a happy Independence Day.

And the former athlete, whose coming out as a woman sparked a social media phenomenon and gave fresh visibility to transgender Americans, paid tribute to the United States as a beacon of freedom and tolerance.

“Proud to be an American,” she wrote, in a twist on Lee Greenwood’s famous patriotic song, “where at least I am free to be me.”

TIME Culture

Former Disney Chief Says Beautiful Women ‘Usually Not Funny’

Michael Eisner disney
Sylvain Gaboury—AP Michael Eisner arrives for opening night for "An American In Paris," at the Palace Theater in New York City on April 12, 2015.

Attractive, humorous women are "impossible to find" in Hollywood, Michael Eisner says

Michael Eisner thinks that funny, beautiful women are hard to find.

That’s what the former Disney CEO told an audience Thursday at the Aspen Ideas Festival, according to The Atlantic.

During an onstage conversation with Goldie Hawn, he theorized on why she’d been so successful: “From my position, the hardest artist to find is a beautiful, funny woman. By far. They usually—boy am I going to get in trouble, I know this goes online—but usually, unbelievably beautiful women, you being an exception, are not funny.”

For her part, Hawn replied that she might owe her comedic talents to the fact that she thought of herself as an “ugly duckling” when she was young.

“You didn’t think you were beautiful,” Eisner said. “I know women who have been told they’re beautiful, they win Miss Arkansas, they don’t ever have to get attention other than with their looks. So they don’t tell a joke. In the history of the motion-picture business, the number of beautiful, really beautiful women — a Lucille Ball — that are funny, is impossible to find.”

Eisner, who served as CEO at Disney from 1984-2005, also held senior posts at ABC and Paramount Pictures.

This article was originally published at The Hollywood Reporter

TIME movies

Ava DuVernay Confirms She Won’t Direct Black Panther

2015 Sundance Institute Celebration Benefit Ava DuVernay
Michael Tran—Getty Images Ava DuVernay arrives at the 2015 Sundance Institute Celebration Benefit held at 3LABS on June 2, 2015 in Culver City, Calif.

Sorry, Selma fans

The first major black superhero movie won’t be directed by the most prominent African American female director in Hollywood.

Selma director Ava DuVernay told Essence she considered directing Marvel’s Black Panther movie, but ultimately decided the project wasn’t for her.

“I think I’ll just say we had different ideas about what the story would be,” she told the magazine at the Essence Festival in New Orleans. “I love that they reached out to me.”

Black Panther will star Chadwick Boseman as the titular superhero and is due for release in July 2018.

Read the entire story at Essence.com

TIME movies

Here’s How Ben Affleck Reacted When He Got Cast as Batman

He was more than a little surprised

Batman is a sacred role. I mean, this isn’t kid’s stuff. It’s not like just anyone can put on a mask with pointy ears, act with their chin, and growl things like “Where’s Joker?” and “I’m the goddamn Batman.”

When it was announced that Ben Affleck would be the fifth actor ever to play the character on the big screen — sixth if you count Adam West in the 1966 movie based on the TV series — there was somewhat more than the expected speculative grumbling on the part of the Comic-Con chattering classes. Some wondered whether the filmmakers had made the right choice, and Affleck was one of them. “My first reaction was, ‘Are you sure?’ ” Affleck says. “At the time I was 40, 41, and had just finished Argo, and I felt like ‘This seems like a strange way to get to Batman.’ But Zack convinced me.”

Read more at Entertainment Weekly

TIME Music

Thousands Truckin’ to Chicago for Final Grateful Dead Shows

Deadheads are shelling out for one more ride

(CHICAGO) — The Grateful Dead is closing the lid on its storied half-century of concerts this weekend in Chicago, where a museum has captured the band’s prankster heart by displaying its artifacts, skeletons-and-roses iconography included, in the shadow of a world-famous dinosaur.

Soldier Field, which was the last place legendary guitarist Jerry Garcia played with the band before his death in 1995, is hosting the final three shows of the short “Fare Thee Well” tour in what the remaining core members — rhythm guitarist Bob Weir, bassist Phil Lesh and percussionists Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann — say will be the last.

The lakefront stadium, just south of the Field Museum and the bones of Sue the Tyrannosaurus rex, will be a sea of tie-dyed shirts, and the sounds of bootleg concert tapes will fill the air in the parking lots. Certainly, there’ll be young people who never saw Garcia play among the tens of thousands of fans, but they’ll likely be outnumbered Deadheads who display more than a touch of grey.

Many of those who followed the band around decades ago — and can recite the exact number of shows they’ve seen as easily as they can their Social Security numbers — have become lawyers, accountants and, in at least one case, a member of the U.S. Senate.

“Yes, my wife and I are coming for the Saturday and Sunday shows,” said former comedian and avowed Deadhead Al Franken, who now represents Minnesota in Washington. “To me they represent a big part of my life, they are a touchstone for a long time and they still are.”

The Democrat began seeing the Dead about the time he was getting out of college in the early 1970s, and later became friends with Garcia and other members of the band when they appeared on “Saturday Night Live,” on which Franken was a cast member.

“I still listen to them pretty much every chance I get,” he said.

That so many older fans are coming in may help explain why the city heard few complaints after it nixed the idea of overnight camping sites near Soldier Field.

“I would not even have a car back in my San Francisco State days (and) I would find people to hitch rides with and find homes to sleep on the couch or on the floor,” said Rick Wolfish, a 59-year-old partner in a large accounting firm in Burlington, Vermont. “This trip I’m flying to a concert and staying at a Hilton hotel five blocks from Soldier Field.”

Deadheads are shelling out for one more Saturday night — from $100 Dead-themed dinosaur posters at the Field Museum created and signed by longtime Dead artist Stanley Mouse to pricey hotels. Hotel bookings are up more than 120 percent from last year’s July Fourth weekend, and the rates are 77 percent higher on average, according to travel booking website Orbitz.

The centerpiece of the Field Museum’s exhibit is Garcia’s favorite guitar, “Tiger.” On Tuesday, fans wore the same look of wonder on their faces as one sees in the people looking at the skull of Sue.

“This is history,” said Rebecca Ostrega, a 49-year-old Deadhead who brought her 10-year-old son. They both wore tie-dyed Dead shirts she bought at the museum and she had purchased several of the Mouse posters.

Tickets for the main attraction — where Trey Anastasio of Phish will tackle Garcia’s guitar parts alongside keyboardists Bruce Hornsby and Jeff Chimenti — were no higher than $199 at face value, both through the old-style mail order system or Ticketmaster. For those seeking to get into the sold-out shows, tickets on the secondary market StubHub ranged from $295 to $5,000 for one night, with an average price of about $600. Wolfish paid $200 total for three nights behind the stage — a “miracle,” he said.

No matter the price, fans say it’s worth the chance to reconnect with both an important band and the family-like community.

“More than anything this is going to be a celebration of the whole Grateful Dead thing, the camaraderie, the outlook of life,” said Bill Stanley, who is a director of the Gantz Family Collections Center at the Field Museum.

He’s attended more than 100 shows, including Garcia’s last one. He not only recalls those “magical” experiences, but the loneliness he felt when he was in the mountains of Tanzania in August 1995 and received an airgram from his girlfriend that read, “I hope you are sitting down. We lost Jerry.”

“Everybody here was able to call the person who turned them onto the Dead (but) I had no one to reach out to,” he said.

This weekend, though, he expects all those old feelings a Dead concert used to elicit to return: “People are going to be walking past, thinking, ‘Look at those old hippies. I’ll be grateful when they’re dead.'”

TIME Music

Meghan Trainor Postpones Tour Dates Because of Vocal Cord Hemorrhage

Meghan Trainor Performs At Le Trianon
David Wolff - Patrick—Redferns/Getty Images Meghan Trainor performs at Le Trianon on May 28, 2015 in Paris, France.

The singer will reschedule concerts in New Jersey and Connecticut

Ticketholders to Meghan Trainor’s concerts in New Jersey and Connecticut this Fourth of July weekend will have to find new plans: the “Dear Future Husband” singer has postponed the two tour dates after a vocal cord hemorrhage caused her doctors to put her on complete vocal rest.

The singer announced the news on Instagram, writing, “I have never missed a tour date before so this is killing me. I love you all very much and want to get healed quickly so I can show you this amazing tour we’ve been working on.”

Though the Friday and Saturday concerts are canceled, Trainor plans to reschedule them. Her website lists her next live performance on Tuesday in Lansing, Mich.

Trainor later posted a video to Instagram with more apologies to her fans:

TIME celebrities

Arnold Schwarzenegger Writes Sweet Letter to a Fan’s Sick Dad Who Loved Terminator Genisys

"I am honored that my silly smile in Terminator made you smile"

For one Arnold Schwarzenegger fan, the new Terminator Genisys provided exactly the kind of movie magic he needed to get his sick father to smile again.

Reddit user bizzyjay posted about how he got his dad to watch a movie despite recent serious mental health issues that made the 72-year-old irritable, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The two had a tradition of watching Terminator movies together, and when they saw the latest installment, he said his father smiled for the first time in months.

Schwarzenegger, who is known for being active on Reddit, responded to the post himself, saying, “This is so touching. Thank you for sharing. I’d like to say ‘this is why I do this’ but you should know it was you who made your father smile.”

He then posted a handwritten note to the father, writing, “I am honored that my silly smile in Terminator made you smile, but I hope you find real joy and strength in what a wonderful child you have brought into this world and raised.”

He signed the note “Arnold” with a heart.

[The Hollywood Reporter]

TIME movies

Watch Katherine Heigl and Alexis Bledel as a Couple in the Trailer for Jenny’s Wedding

The movie shows a family unwilling to accept their daughter's sexuality

Katherine Heigl is starring in another wedding movie, but this time the premise is quite different from 27 Dresses. In Jenny’s Wedding, Heigl plays a lesbian whose family has been in the dark about her sexual orientation, and when they find out she plans to marry her partner, played by Alexis Bledel, they’re blown away that two have been more than roommates all these years—and not very quick to accept the news.

Tom Wilkinson, Linda Emond and Grace Gummer round out the cast of the film, which opens in theaters July 31.

TIME Television

Conan Does His Best Stripper Dance for Magic Mike XXL

And it's not great

When Conan O’Brien’s female colleagues heard their boss would be joining them for a midnight viewing of Magic Mike XXL, they may not have expected him to bust some moves to match the stripping action up on the screen. But being Conan, of course that’s exactly what he did.

The late-night host may not totally get the appeal of a movie about male strippers, but he does know how to do that tearaway track pants trick… to reveal jeans underneath.

TIME movies

Cartel Land Documents Vigilantes North and South of the Border

A new documentary shows that the fight between good and evil isn't always so clear-cut

When director Matthew Heineman set out to make Cartel Land, he thought he was telling a classic Western tale: a “simple hero/villain story of guys in white shirts fighting against guys in black hats,” he says. But very quickly, he saw that the folks combatting powerful drug cartels on both sides of the Mexican border were not the clear-cut good guys they seemed.

Cartel Land, in theaters Friday, documents two groups: the Autodefensas, a Mexican force to combat violence by the Knights Templar cartel, and a group of unofficial border patrollers in Arizona who try to keep cartel operatives from crossing into the States. While both work to fill roles they felt their respective governments had neglected, their efforts aren’t immune to their own corruption.

Heineman landed himself in some hairy situations tagging along with his subjects, including witnessing (and filming) shoot-outs. “It was scary being in those situations,” he says, “but I actually found that focusing on the craft of filmmaking—focusing, exposing—sort of calmed me down in those really intense moments.”

Witnessing these life and death situations made him ask himself what he would do if violence came to his own doorstep. “What would I do if my sister was raped or my brother was left hanging from a bridge? Would I take up arms? Would I fight violence with violence? Is that just?”

Ultimately, the film doesn’t paint vigilantism as a viable answer to the war on drugs; even despite “noble intentions” among the leaders of the groups he followed, Heineman says, “on both sides of the border we see people within the ranks who might have ulterior motives.” That flaw, he says, “is one of the things that inherently makes vigilantism unsustainable.”

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