TIME

Mark Wahlberg Could Be Starring in a Movie About the BP Oil Spill

Celebrity Sightings In Boston - August 08, 2014
Mark Wahlberg is seen on the set of 'Ted 2' on August 08, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts. Stickman/Bauer-Griffin—GC Images

He would play the part a manager who rescues his crew members

Mark Wahlberg may be offered a role in a forthcoming movie based off of the 2010 BP oil spill. Deepwater Horizon will be directed by J.C. Chandor for Liongate’s Summit Entertainment, industry news site Deadline Hollywood reports.

The Hollywood Reporter also says that Wahlberg is in talks with Lionsgate, and says the parties have not begun negotiating a deal.

The movie, which will be a dramatization of a New York Times article entitled Deepwater Horizon’s Final Hour, details the 48-hours leading up to and shortly after the disaster, Deadline Hollywood reports.

The BP oil rig exploded off Louisiana’s coast in the Gulf of Mexico, killing 11 people and injuring 16 others, in what is considered the worst marine oil spill in history.

Wahlberg, who recently played in Lorenzo di Bonaventura’s Transformers: Age of Extinction, would star as a manager who tries to rescue his crew after the rig explosion. The film will be produced by di Bonaventura and Mark Vahradian and is set to begin production by the summer of 2015.

TIME NFL

5 Best Reactions to the NFL’s ‘Pay-to-Play’ Superbowl Halftime Scheme

An Aerial View Of Super Bowl XLVIII
Fireworks light up MetLife Stadium at the end of the halftime show of Super Bowl XLVIII between the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos on Feb. 2, 2014 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. John Moore—Getty Images

Based on no scientific rubric at all

The National Football League is planning to introduce at least one significant change to its halftime show at the Superbowl: in order to perform, superstar acts will pay for the privilege.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the league is considering three acts for its next halftime extravaganza in early 2015: Katy Perry, Rihanna and Coldplay. But unlike in previous years, these performers have been asked to shill out dough in the form of post-Super Bowl tour income or another “financial contribution.”

The news was not received well in some quarters, but some met it with more humor than others. And so, we bring you: the 6 best reactions on Twitter to the NFL’s new “pay to play” scheme, based on no scientific rubric at all and entirely on this writer’s whim.

 

TIME

Taylor Schilling to Star Opposite Peter Dinklage in Off-Broadway Play

Taylor Schilling and Peter Dinklage Getty Images (2)

Women's prison meets Westeros

Game of Thrones star Peter Dinklage and Orange Is the New Black star Taylor Schilling will team up to star in a 2015 Off-Broadway production of Ivan Turgenev’s A Month in the Country.

Dinklage will portray Mikhail Rakitin, the friend and unrequited admirer of Schillings’ Natalya, the bored wife of a landowner. Dinklage’s wife, Erica Schmidt, will direct, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Given that Peter Dinklage and Taylor Schilling’s shows are set in the coldly unforgiving world of Westeros and the often ruthless environment of Litchfield Prison, respectively, it seems they’ll be able to lend some interesting perspective to the 19th century Russian material.

The play will run from January 9 to February 15 next year, at the Classic Stage Company in Manhattan’s East Village.

TIME Television

The Real Wolf of Wall Street Is Co-Writing a TV Show

Jordan Belfort is co-writing a show about the excesses of Wall Street

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The man behind the Academy Award winning movie The Wolf of Wall Street is co-writing a TV show based on the excesses of Wall Street in the 1980s.

Jordan Belfort, the man on which the movie is based, is writing the show with Rush Hour director Brett Ratner and Australian billionaire James Packer. Belfort told The Australian that “The idea was to come up with a show about that period with really interesting characters.”

Aside from writing this TV show, Belfort is also a motivational speaker and author.

TIME Television

Watch Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul Reunite in the Hilarious ‘Barely Legal Pawn’

Oh, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus is there too

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It’s been a long, cold 11 months since Breaking Bad aired its final episode, but stars Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul have finally reunited for a lengthy Emmys promo-cum-Audi commercial — and they brought Veep‘s Julia Louis-Dreyfus along for the ride.

For all intents and purposes, the sketch is basically the brightest timeline version of Breaking Bad, wherein Walter White and Jeese Pinkman abandon their meth empire and instead open up a pawn shop while running an adorable side-business in the back of their shop. They spend their days pretending not to recognize celebrities when Hollywood A-listers show up in their store and making inside jokes about the relative merits of various Emmy awards. It’s probably for the best that Vince Gilligan didn’t go that route, but now he’s got at least one idea if Better Call Saul! doesn’t pan out.

TIME movies

Home Movies: Who’s the Bigger Criminal, Whitey Bulger or the FBI?

Whitey
Mugshot of James "Whitey" Bulger. Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary. Magnolia Pictures

Joe Berlinger's fascinating true-crime film suggests that the legendary crime boss may not be the most corrupt guy in Boston

In the Irish-American neighborhood of South Boston, parents wanted their children to excel. Kevin Weeks, whose brothers both went to Harvard, matriculated instead into organized crime. Weeks recalls that, as he prepared to commit his first murder, he promised himself, “I’m gonna be the best at it that I can.”

Whitey Bulger’s younger brother Billy was, as one journalist notes, “the most powerful politician in Massachusetts”: he ran the state Senate from 1978 to 1996, then served seven years as the President of the University of Massachusetts. Whitey served in juvenile jail, the Atlanta Penitentiary, Lewisburg and Alcatraz. Back home in the mid-’60s, he took over the Winter Hill Gang and, with Weeks as his enforcer, became the most famous and feared gangster in New England. Before Bulger was arrested with his girlfriend Catherine Greif in Santa Monica on Jun. 22, 2011, having lived on the lam for 15½ years, he ranked No. 2 on the FBI’s Most Wanted list, just behind Osama bin Laden. As America’s top homegrown criminal, the kid from Southie had made it big.

How did Bulger run the Boston mob so long and with such impunity? (As his defense attorney Hank Brennan says, “He was never charged with even a misdemeanor.”) And how did he manage to elude the law when he went into hiding? Joe Berlinger’s engrossing documentary Whitey: The United States of America v. James J. Bulger, argues that he was shielded from prosecution by James J. Sullivan, Bulger’s FBI contact and an old Southie pal — perhaps in exchange for inside information, perhaps not. Either way, the government enabled him. The film’s subtitle could be The United States of America in cahoots with James J. Bulger.

Whichever side you take, Whitey is a must-see. On VOD, where the film is widely available, viewers can savor each betrayal, replay the enormity of Bulger’s (and perhaps the FBI’s) crimes and study the eloquent pain of the victims. Sticking to the facts, this documentary is still a much movie-r movie than, say, Martin Scorsese’s Oscar-winning The Departed, starring Jack Nicholson as a fictionalized Bulger, or other Boston-based dramas like Mystic River and The Town, with famous actors doing their darnedest to mimic the distinctive Southie accent. (Next year we’ll see an official Bulger bio-pic, Black Mass, with Johnny Depp as Whitey and Benedict Cumberbatch as his brother Billy.) There’s truth, not art, in the handsome, meaty faces and broad vowels of the men and women Berlinger interviewed. The tears these tough people shed come not from the Method but from memories of what the ogre did to them and their loved ones.

(READ: Corliss’s review of The Departed)

For Bulger returned to Boston like a dreaded ghost from the bedroom closet of a child’s nightmares. One difference: this scary figure left lasting scars on the victims and their families. Stephen Rakes recalls Bulger and Weeks visiting him in the ’70s, shortly after he opened the South Boston Liquor Mart; they dropped by to convince him to accept the mob as partners. If he didn’t, Whitey said, “I’ll stab ya and I’ll kill ya.” When Rakes declined the proposal, Bulger looked at the man’s year-old daughter and noted, “It’d be terrible for this kid to grow up without a father.” Rakes says he was never the same, but is now eager to testify against Bulger: “Thirty years ago he scared me to death. He don’t scare me to death no more.”

Rakes’ partner in grief is Steve Davis; he believes Whitey killed his sister Debbie, who had been a girl friend of Bulger hit man Steve Flemmi. (You need a scorecard to sort out all the Steves, Debbies and John J.’s in this movie.) “Steve and I,” says Davis, referring to Rakes, “we have something in common: this psychotic individual. We’re gonna bring justice. It has to be done” — as if they are the villagers who consider it their solemn duty to take communal revenge on the monster. Yet later, after Rakes is taken off the witness list, he is found dead seven miles from where his car was abandoned. He seems to have been the victim of a business dispute that had no connection with the Bulger case.

Weeks (who in Black Mass will be played by Jesse Piemons) has the roguish bravado of an insider who can rationalize crimes against anyone: the feds, or civilians caught in the crossfire, or his old boss. Of FBI agents, he says, “They have a badge that [identifies them as a] Special Agent. But there’s nothin’ special about them. They’re regular people. If you find their weakness, or their needs, or if they have a problem and you can solve it for them, you can corrupt them” — with payoffs of between $25,000 and $50,000 per transaction. He shrugs off the death of Michael Donahue, whose crime was to have shared a ride with one of Whitey’s enemies. Rules of the game, says Weeks: “You wanna spend time with gangsters and wise guys, this is what happens.” A serial perjurer who admits, “I’ve been lyin’ all my life,” Weeks defends his decision to inform on Whitey: “You can’t rat on a rat.”

Berlinger, who spent nearly 20 years on his Paradise Lost trilogy documenting the unjust convictions of the West Memphis Three, lets Bulger’s lawyers lay out the defense: that, yes, Whitey was involved in drug-dealing, bookmaking and loan-sharking but, no, not murder. He says Weeks, Flemmi and John Martorano committed the crimes, then turned informants to get shorter sentences. At issue in his trial, as Bulger saw it, was not his freedom — 83 when the trial convened, he knew he would spent the rest of his life as a guest of the state — but his legacy. On the phone with defense attorney J.W. Carney, he stoutly avers, “I never, never, never cracked [informed].” Says Fred Wyshak of the prosecution team, “He doesn’t want to be called an informant. Because where he came from, in Southie, that’s the worst thing you can be.”

(READ: Joe Berlinger on the West Memphis Three)

That, and a literal lady-killer. Bulger also strenuously denies the charges that he strangled Deborah Hussey and Steve Davis’s sister Debbie. “Whitey Bulger cannot have people think he murdered those two women,” says Kevin Cullen, a Boston Globe columnist who coauthored two books on Bulger. “And he cannot have people think he was an informant. This is not about getting acquitted. This is about changing the narrative back to the one he spent years cultivating. And that narrative is he is a good bad guy. He is a gangster with scruples; he is a criminal with standards. And gangsters with scruples do not murder women and bury them in shallow graves. Criminals with standards don’t turn on their friends.”

“Criminals with standards” are still criminals, while the feds are supposed to be the good guys. Yet long-time Boston journalists insist the FBI protected Whitey in exchange for information on the local Mafia. Agents John Connolly and Jeremiah O’Sullivan are said to have let the Bulger gang run unfettered for decades. One unsullied agent, Bob Fitzpatrick, who tried to bring the mob boss to justice and was determined to testify to the unholy alliance between Bulger and the feds, is treated nearly as a hostile witness by the prosecution. “I think the FBI is worse than the Mafia,” says Michael Donahue’s surviving son Tommy. “They’re the most organized crime family on the planet.”

“The real story here is that our government enabled killers to run free in this city,” says David Boeri, senior reporter for WBUR radio and a consultant on the film. So compromised was the FBI, Boeri claims, that it became “the Bulger Bureau of Investigation. And it was because they [the feds] were all crazed about getting the Mafia that they enabled the Irish godfather to run the show here. And he was far more dangerous than the Italians.” In the end, Weeks and his lieutenants wore out their loyalty to Whitey and agreed to help bring him down. As Steve Davis notes, “The Irish mob, every one of them, they were stumbling over each other, just to rat.”

One thing Boston mobsters and their victims have in common: they love to talk. The charm and blarney, the threats and alibis, form a spectacular symphony of verbal belligerence, which Berlinger listens to and sorts out for viewers. The director gives more screen time to the defense than to the prosecution, perhaps because he buys their assertion about government corruption, perhaps because they’re just better bullshitters. At the end, though, we learn that “The FBI declined to be interviewed for this film.” In this complex weave of Southie malfeasance, the Agency’s silence may be its own indictment.

TIME movies

Here’s What Ant-Man Will Look Like

Check out the concept art for the latest Marvel movie superhero

Paul Rudd joins the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Ant-Man in an eponymous movie set to release in the U.S. on July 17, 2015. Take a look at some concept art of what Ant-Man will look like.

TIME movies

Take Your First Look At Paul Rudd As Marvel’s Ant-Man

Ant-Man
Paul Rudd as Scott Lang, aka Ant-Man Marvel

What is he, a superhero for ants?

Paul Rudd is set to become the latest Hollywood star to get a superhero makeover in Marvel’s upcoming Ant-Man, which began principal photography in San Francisco on August 18, with additional filming to take place in Atlanta.

In the film, Rudd plays con-man Scott Lang, who becomes Ant-Man, a superhero with the ability to shrink or enlarge at will, in order to help out his mentor, Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), the creator of the Ant-Man suit.

Ant-Man is set for U.S. release on July 17, 2015.

TIME Video Games

Take a Gander at Swing Copters, the Next Game from Flappy Bird’s Creator

Instead of tapping the screen to flap sideways, you tap the screen to propel yourself up.

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The creator of Flappy Bird‘s next game is upon us, and it’s called Swing Copters. It’s another single-tap game from designer Dong Nguyen that’ll arrive this Thursday, August 21. It’s free to play with ads, or if you like, Nguyen will let you pay $0.99 to remove them.

In the game, you play a little bug-eyed dude wearing a Tweedledee propeller hat. Above you lie open spaces between girder-like platforms that jut from the screen’s edges. Tap the screen and up you go, slewing to one side or another so that you have to course-correct continuously.

On either side of the opening hang hammers that threaten your passage, swinging to and fro like blunt pendulums. The hammers seem like the later stages of certain Flappy Bird vamps, specifically even more insanely difficult versions of that game where the pipes moved up and down.

TouchArcade laid hands on the game ahead of its rollout, putting up a video illustrating what it looks like in action (that’s it above). The object is braincell-stupefyingly simple: clear gates, then trump your gates-passed score, just like your pipes-passed one in Flappy Bird. There’s a medal system, too, presumably bronze, silver or gold, though the guy in the video never manages to clear enough gates to clinch one.

It does look harder than Flappy Bird, but then try flipping your screen on its side as you watch the video, and I suspect you’ll agree that it looks an awful lot like a vertical remaster of Flappy Bird.

TIME politics

Watch John McCain Dance The Robot Like No Politician Has Danced The Robot Before

ABC, we have your next cast members for Dancing with the Stars.

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If there was ever a case for Dancing With the Stars: Politicians Special, it was Saturday night’s Apollo in the Hamptons benefit, where showstoppers John McCain and Chris Christie could have danced all night. And if you’re watching the above video of McCain doing the robot with an in-awe Jamie Foxx, you’ll wish they had.

While the Senator pulled off stellar Mr. Roboto moves, getting most literally down in front of high rollers ranging from Bon Jovi to Harvey Weinstein to AmEx CEO Ken Chenault.

Christie, meanwhile, went a little more Electric Slide/Chicken Dance fusion.

“Christie really held his own,” Jack Nicholson told the Post. “I told him, as he walked back to his seat, ‘Governor, you can’t let New Jersey down.'”

Apparently Apollo in the Hamptons is the event of the season. Last year, Foxx reportedly got Colin Powell to sing “Blurred Lines.” While that magical moment wasn’t caught on video, at least we have the former Secretary of State’s DWTS audition tape to make up for it:

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