TIME Culture

Jessica Chastain Says These Were the Only 2 Roles for Women When She Got Her Start


"The slut or the wife"

Jessica Chastain has tackled complex roles ranging from a CIA operative in Zero Dark Thirty to an astrophysicist in Interstellar. But in InStyle’s January cover story, the actress remembers her early days of acting when, “there were two kinds of roles for women.”

“You are either the girlfriend, incredibly beautiful but not much going on, or the victim, like the weird neighbor,” she said. “It’s like the two ideas of women that are talked about: the slut or the wife. And that’s not so interesting.”

Read more at Instyle

TIME viral

George Lucas Might Be the Only Person Who Hasn’t Seen the New Star Wars Trailer

"I don't know anything about it"

It seems like just about everyone has watched the trailer for J.J. Abrams’ new interpretation of Star Wars, which has been viewed over 45 million times on YouTube since its late November release. Well, everyone except original Star Wars creator George Lucas.

When the New York Post asked Lucas what he thought of the trailer, the famed director responded: “I don’t know anything about it. I haven’t seen it yet.”

And he isn’t planning on watching it, “Because it’s not in the movie theater,” he explained. “I like going to the movies and watching the whole thing there. I plan to see it when its released.”

MORE: 5 takeaways from the new Star Wars trailer

In case spoofs aren’t off limits, Lucas can tide himself over with this hilarious Saturday Night Live reinterpretation that aired over the weekend:

TIME Television

Eaten Alive Viewers Outraged Man Wasn’t Actually Eaten Alive

Eaten Alive Rosolie Snake
Paul Rosolie on 'Eaten Alive' Discovery Channel

Discovery had refused to say how much Rosolie was actually consumed

Apparently the only thing worse than promising a man will be eaten alive by an anaconda is for a man to not be eaten alive by an anaconda.

Many viewers felt Discovery had pledged adventurer Paul Rosolie would be utterly consumed by an anaconda on his special Sunday night. After all, the show was called Eaten Alive and its official programming guide description told viewers that a man “enters the belly of an anaconda.”

What viewers eventually saw during the two-hour special was a large anaconda attack Rosolie, coil around him, then start to eat his helmet. That’s when Rosolie had to call in his team to rescue him, saying his arm was being crushed. “I started to feel the blood drain out of my hand and I felt the bone flex, and when I got to the point where I felt like it was going to snap I had to tap out,” he said.

MORE: The 11 Most Influential Animals of 2014

As we pointed out in our in-depth Q&A, Discovery had refused to say how much Rosolie was actually consumed. When we asked Rosolie how much he was “eaten,” he told us, “the story of this is an attempt. When you say Nik Wallenda is going to cross the Chicago skyline, they didn’t promise he was going to make it; they promised he would attempt it. So the show is called Eaten Alive and that’s what we worked as hard as we could to do. As for what happens, you’ll have to watch.” Rosolie also said he spent months recovering from the encounter.

TIME Opinion

Girl Gone Wild: The Rise of the Lone She-Wolf

Fox Searchlight

A woman on a solitary journey used to be seen as pitiful, vulnerable or scary. Not any more.

The first few seconds of Wild sound like sex. You hear a woman panting and moaning as the camera pans across the forest, and it seems like the movie is starting off with an outdoor quickie. But it’s not the sound of two hikers hooking up: it’s the sound of Cheryl Strayed, played by Reese Witherspoon, climbing a mountain all by herself.

It lasts only a moment, but that first shot contains everything you need to know about why Wild is so important. It’s a story of a woman who hikes the Pacific Crest Trail for 94 days in the wake of her mother’s death, but more than that, it’s a story of a woman who is no longer anything to anybody. We’re so used to seeing women entangled with other people (with parents, with men, with children, in neurotic friendships with other women), that it’s surprising, almost shocking, to see a woman who is gloriously, intentionally, radically alone.

When it comes to women onscreen, the lone frontier is the last frontier. It’s no big deal to see women play presidents, villains, baseball players, psychopaths, superheroes, math geniuses, or emotionally stunted losers. We’ve even had a female Bob Dylan. But a woman, alone, in the wilderness, for an entire movie? Not until now.

Which is unfair, considering all the books and movies dedicated to the often-tedious excursions of solitary men, from Henry David Thoreau to Jack Kerouac to Christopher McCandless. Audiences have sat through hours of solo-dude time in critically acclaimed movies like Castaway, Into the Wild, Life of Pi, 127 Hours, and All is Lost. America loves a Lone Ranger so much, even Superman worked alone.

In fact, the only thing more central to the American canon than a solitary guy hanging out in the woods is a guy on a quest (think Huckleberry Finn or Moby Dick). The road narrative may be the most fundamental American legend, grown from our history of pilgrimage and Western expansion. But adventure stories are almost always no-girls-allowed, partly because the male adventurer is usually fleeing from a smothering domesticity represented by women. In our collective imaginations, women don’t set out on a journey unless they’re fleeing from something, usually violence. As Vanessa Veselka writes in her excellent essay on female road narratives in The American Reader: “A man on the road is caught in the act of a becoming. A woman on the road has something seriously wrong with her. She has not ‘struck out on her own.’ She has been shunned.”

MORE: The Top 10 Best Movies of 2014

The ‘loner in nature’ and the ‘man on the road’ are our American origin stories, our Genesis and Exodus. They’re fables of an American national character which, as A.O. Scott pointed out in his The New York Times essay on the death of adulthood in American culture, has always tended towards the boyish. Wild is the first big movie– or bestselling book, for that matter–to re-tell that central American story with a female protagonist.

But Wild is just the most visible example of what’s been a slow movement towards loner ladies onscreen. Sandra Bullock’s solo spin through space last year in Gravity was the first step (although her aloneness was accidental, and it was more a survival story than road narrative). Mia Wasikowska’s long walk across Australia in Tracks this year was another. But Wild, based on Strayed’s bestselling memoir and propelled by Witherspoon’s star power, is the movie that has the best shot at moving us past the now-tired “power woman” towards a new kind of feminist role model: the lone female.

Because for women, aloneness is the next frontier. Despite our chirpy boosting of “independent women” and “strong female leads,” it’s easy to forget that women can never be independent if we’re not allowed to be alone.

For men, solitude is noble: it implies moral toughness, intellectual rigor, a deep connection with the environment. For women, solitude is dangerous: a lone woman is considered vulnerable to attacks, pitiful for her lack of male companionship, or threatening to another woman’s relationship. We see women in all kinds of states of loneliness–single, socially isolated, abandoned–but almost never in a state of deliberate, total aloneness.

Not to mention the fact that women’s stories are almost always told in the context of their relationships with other people. Even if you set aside romance narratives, the “girl group” has become the mechanism for telling the stories of “independent” women– that is, women’s stories that don’t necessarily revolve around men. Think Sex & The City, Steel Magnolias, A League of Their Own, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Girls: if a woman’s not half of a couple, she must be part of a gaggle.

When Cheryl Strayed describes her experience of “radical aloneness,” she’s talking about being completely cut off from human contact–no cell phone, no credit card, no GPS. But her aloneness is also radical in that it rejects the female identity that is always viewed through the lens of a relationship with someone else. To be alone, radically alone, is to root yourself in your own life, not the role you play in other people’s lives. Or, as Strayed’s mother Bobbi wistfully puts it, “I always did what someone else wanted me to do. I’ve always been someone’s daughter or mother or wife. I’ve never just been me.”

MORE: The Top 10 Best Movie Performances of 2014

And that’s the difference between aloneness and independence. The “independent woman” is nothing new– if anything, it’s become a tired catchphrase of a certain kind of rah-rah feminism. “Independence” implies a relationship with another thing, a thing from which you’re severing your ties. It’s inherently conspicuous, even performative. Female independence has become such a trope that it’s become another role for women to play: independent career woman, independent post-breakup vixen, independent spitfire who doesn’t care what anyone thinks. And usually, that “independence” is just a temporary phase before she meets a guy at the end of the movie who conveniently “likes a woman who speaks her mind.”

Aloneness is more fundamental, and more difficult. It involves cultivating a sense of self that has little to do with the motherhood, daughterhood, wifehood or friendship that society calls “womanhood.” When interviewed by the Hobo Times about being a “female hobo,” Strayed says: “Women can’t walk out of their lives. They have families. They have kids to take care of.” Aloneness then, isn’t just a choice to focus on one’s self– it’s also a rejection of all the other social functions women are expected to perform.

In 1995, when Strayed hiked for 94 days, that would have been hard. In 2014, it’s even harder. Thanks to the internet, our world is more social now than ever before, and it’s even harder to escape other people. But aloneness is at the root of real independence, it’s where self-reliance begins and ends. So these days, if you want to be independent, maybe you can start by trying to be alone.

Read next: Reese Witherspoon Isn’t Nice or Wholesome in Wild, and That’s What Makes It Great

TIME Music

Why John Lennon’s Death Was the End of an Era

John Lennon cover
The Dec. 22, 1980, cover of TIME TIME

The killing, on Dec. 8, 1980, marked a major social shift

John Lennon’s death 34 years ago today triggered the same shock and outpouring of grief as the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and John F. Kennedy. So wrote critic Jay Cocks for his 1980 TIME cover story about the legacy of the late Beatle and his death by the hands of Mark David Chapman. The touching tribute — comments from Bruce Springsteen that are included in the piece may bring tears to your eyes — featured one memorable quote from Lennon’s wife, Yoko Ono: “This is not the end of an era,” she said in the days after he was killed. “The ’80s are still going to be a beautiful time, and John believed it.”

But in his piece, Cocks makes the case for why Ono’s words were more wishful thinking than a truthful declaration.

The band had broken up a decade before, but Lennon’s death signaled a shift more serious than the Beatles’ dissolution ever did. After all, the music of the Beatles would be around indefinitely, whether or not the band continued to record together.

When Lennon died at age 40, however, everyone who had grown up with the Beatles was approaching middle age too. In addition to their sadness about Lennon’s death, they could not ignore their own mortality. “For everyone who cherished the sustaining myth of the Beatles,” Cocks wrote, “the murder was something else. It was an assassination, a ritual slaying of something that could hardly be named. Hope, perhaps; or idealism. Or time. Not only lost, but suddenly dislocated, fractured.”

There was an innocence and idealism to Beatles songs, Cocks explained, that stood in stark contrast to how Lennon died. Even kids could sense the loss: “I recognize the end of an era — my mom’s,” 16-year-old Gretchen Steininger told TIME. In the days after Lennon died, a Florida teenager and a 30-something man in Utah committed suicide and left notes behind that referenced depression over Lennon’s death.

Mark David Chapman is still alive. He’s now 59, and he’s been denied parole eight times — the most recent was August of this year — since he was imprisoned in 1981. (Ono has publicly campaigned against his release.) “At that time, I wasn’t thinking about anybody else, just me,” said Chapman, who can try again in 2016, at this year’s hearing. “But now, you know, obviously through people’s letters and through things I hear a lot of people were affected here. I am sorry for causing that type of pain. I am sorry for being such an idiot and choosing the wrong way for glory.”

Read the full 1980 cover story about John Lennon, here in the TIME Vault: When the Music Died

Read next: Paul McCartney Thankful for Repaired Friendship Before John Lennon’s Death

TIME movies

Boyhood Wins Best Picture From the Los Angeles Film Critics Association

Boyhood, Sundance Film Festival 2014
Diaphana Films

The film is cleaning up on the awards circuit

The Los Angeles Film Critics Association on Sunday awarded Boyhood four prizes, including Best Picture, in the latest coup for the coming-of-age movie.

The awards — which also include Best Actress (Patricia Arquette), Best Director (Richard Linklater) and Editing — made the film the association’s standout favorite.

Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel was the runner-up for the Best Picture title.

Just a day earlier, the Boston Society of Film Critics honored Boyhood with five awards, also including Best Picture. The film also last week took the Best Picture prize, plus awards for best director and supporting actress, from the New York Film Critics Circle.

Boyhood follows its characters during the youth of protagonist Mason (Ellar Coltrane), who ages from 5 to 18. It was a favorite for the awards circuit when it was released over the summer to reviews calling it “as real as magic gets” and worth “a thousand more superlatives.”

TIME Video Games

The Father of Video Gaming Dies at 92

Ralph Baer Dead Video Games
Ralph Baer an engineer for Sanders Associates, Inc., of Nashua, N.H. watches his TV hockey game on Feb. 3, 1977. CM/AP

Over the course of his career, Ralph Baer accumulated over 150 patents and won many awards and honors

Ralph Baer, the man known for creating the first-ever video-game console, which continues to serve as a blueprint for the Xboxes and PlayStations of today, has reportedly passed away.

The news of the 92-year-old inventor’s death was confirmed to gaming website Gamasutra by sources close to him.

Baer, a German immigrant, built a device he called the Brown Box in the late 1960s, which hit the market in 1972 as the Magnavox Odyssey. It consisted of a main electronic unit that connected to a television screen, two player control units that enabled user interaction, and insertable electronic cards that held different games. Sound familiar?

Over the course of his career, Baer accumulated over 150 patents and won several awards and honors — including the 2006 National Medal of Technology from President George W. Bush, and an induction into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2010.

“I can never thank Ralph enough for what he gave to me and everyone else,” reads a quote from Apple Computers co-founder Steve Wozniak prominently displayed on Baer’s website.

Right until his final days, Baer retained a passion for creating new products. “I still get a big charge out of making something work,” the Verge quoted him as saying in a 2012 interview.

TIME Television

Listen Here, Internet Girl: The Newsroom Rapesplains It All


The show's latest episode couldn't have been much better timed, or much worse made.

Spoilers for the latest episode of The Newsroom below:

The timing of the second-to-last episode of The Newsroom ever, “Oh Shenandoah,” was perfect. It included a subplot about campus rape and the ethics of reporting rape accusations, which have been everywhere in the news–from the Rolling Stone University of Virginia rape investigation (which the magazine just embarrassingly walked back) to the re-emerging Woody Allen and Bill Cosby rape accusations. (And that’s even before you get to the parallels between ACN’s new tech-zillionaire “disrupter” owner Lucas Pruit and The New Republic’s Chris Hughes.)

But the timing of “Oh Shenandoah” was also terrible, because “Oh Shenandoah” was terrible.

Its arguments about whom to “believe” in the case of rape accusations were terrible. Its arguments about reporting said accusations were terrible. Its reliance on preachy strawman arguments was terrible. Its cranky obsession with the evils of the Internet was terrible. And it added up—in a final season that began with the promise of the series becoming better and subtler in the end—as a terrible episode even by the standards of the series’ earlier, most terrible ones.

Let’s begin with Don’s visit to Mary, the rape accuser. Mary–and credit to Sorkin for resonance with current events–says that she was raped, that she reported it to college authorities and the police, and that none of them did anything about it. So she’s set up a website through which women can anonymously report rapes. This unsettles Don; he’s worried about the potential for a guy’s career to be ruined by a false accusation. Mary answers that he seems a lot more concerned about that than the statistically far more likely possibility that a woman will get raped and her attacker will get off scot-free. It’s a canned dialogue and more than a little mansplain-y on Don’s part, but it is, at least, an actual discussion going on in the news today.

Then we get into the issue of “belief” and he-said-she-said, and it gets worse. So much worse. Asked who he believes, Don, with visible discomfort, says that she’s credible and has no reason to lie; the student she’s accusing seems sketchy and has every reason to lie. But, he says, morality tells him that “I’m obligated to believe the sketchy guy.”

OK, what the hell? Don’s not saying that he can’t know whom to believe yet. He’s not saying that he doesn’t have hard proof. He’s not saying, “We don’t know enough to say.” He’s saying that, lacking proof, he has to affirmatively believe the story of one of his subjects–a less credible one–over the other. Forget journalists–many men’s rights movement advocates don’t even go that far.

The journalistic-ethics part of his argument is even more confused. Don is ostensibly worried about Mary’s website and the danger of anonymous accusations. So he wants Mary to turn down the ACN interview–in which she’s not only not making an anonymous accusation but in which the accused will have the chance to defend himself. This is literally the opposite of the criticism of the Rolling Stone story–that the magazine’s reporter did not speak to any of the accused gang-rapists, or attempt to track them down, or even explain what it did or did not do about them. ACN has done all that, and Don wants to scuttle the story anyway, because he doesn’t like the website. Because “there’s no way” some woman won’t use it to make a false rape accusation. Because think of the theoretical Stanford Medical School applications!

For this “Oh Shenandoah” makes him a hero.

And that gets to the larger problem of the episode, and The Newsroom in general. The Newsroom is a didactic show, by which I mean, when it presents an argument, it hints pretty clearly which side it believes is right. It works in heroic, not antiheroic mode. This is a trait of Aaron Sorkin’s TV shows, and it’s not automatically bad. The Wire is the greatest drama in TV history, and it was plainly didactic about its argument against the war on drugs.

But when you make an episode as didactic, as righteous, as sanctimonious as this, you own what it preaches. Its rape subplot is not saying, “Here are a couple sides of a difficult issue. What do you make of it?” Like most such Newsroom parables, it gives you obvious clues–tone, cadence, music, camera angles, who gets the better speeches–to lead you to the path of virtuous and true thinking. And although Mary is sympathetic too, what dominates the story is how committed Don is, how terrible he knows the situation is, how damn hard it is for him (he spends most of it with his eyes watering), but how he has to make this call anyway, even if it breaks his heart, even if it gets him fired, because right is right, dammit.

And the rape story is only the most attention-getting subplot in an episode loaded with awful sermons. Except for Jim and Maggie’s romance on the Snowden Express, every storyline here is a screed about how the Internet and wrongheaded populism are threatening truth, privacy, justice, journalism and civil society.

It’s ironic that the Internet is the one topic that reliably makes Sorkin reach for the CAPS LOCK button like a blog commenter. Combine that with a woman character and it’s a perfect storm, something foreshadowed in real life during the first season when Sorkin dismissed a female reporter with, “Listen here, Internet girl.” In The Newsroom the Internet is silly, gossipy–and thus, in its view, feminine, not unlike reality TV, which Will said in season one turns us into “old ladies with hair dryers on our heads.” (See also everything this season involving Hallie, who first gets fired from ACN for a tasteless tweet about the Boston Marathon bombing, then lands a job with a website that gets her to write a personal essay dishing about a fight with her boyfriend Jim.)

So Mary’s story is an extension of The Newsroom‘s woman problem. But it’s also is of a piece with all the other storylines in the episode, crying that digital culture, its anonymity, its renegade Redditors, its insistence that passion equals truth, and its ability to bypass the filter of expert judgment, has bought us all a ticket on the Acela straight to hell.

Mary–who at least gets in some potent arguments–is arguably the most generously treated antagonist in the episode. Elsewhere, Jailhouse Will argues about Eastern establishment elitism with his cellmate, an imaginary stand-in for his abusive dad, who gets in a few good points–except he’s a wife-beater who hates the Jews, so there’s that. Sloan vivisects the tech guy who’s created a celebrity-stalking app (a practice even Gawker has dropped), a gross, smug troll given only a few limp clichés (“They signed up for this!”) to defend himself with. And Pruit turns out to be exactly the crass, bullying philistine everyone was afraid he’d be, raving and threatening to fire the entire office for breaking his beautiful surveillance app. This is all too much for Charlie–for some reason he’s spent most of the episode as fiercely carrying out Pruit’s philosophy as he earlier fought it–who, under the strain of holding it all together, actually drops dead.

That’s right, folks: The Internet killed Charlie Skinner! And you did, and I did, all of us with our shallow obsessions and demands for cheaper, faster, more gossipy news! Are you happy now, are you?

The most baldly offensive thing in “Oh Shenandoah” was watching Don mansplain rape to a woman. But to focus only on that would be to diminish the sheer, monumental, top-to-bottom -splaininess of this episode. Will McAvoy is so good a mansplainer he can even mansplain to another man. Then Sloan Sloansplained privacy and the rights of celebrities. And Charlie, in the climax of The Newsroom‘s worst episode ever, finally and unanswerably deathsplained the demise of journalism.

RIP, Charlie. At least you got out.

TIME celebrities

Paul McCartney Thankful for Repaired Friendship Before John Lennon’s Death

Lennon was shot to death in 1980 at age 40

Paul McCartney says his bitter rift with Beatles bandmate John Lennon may have drawn headlines, but their real story at the end was one of forgiveness, as the two put aside differences to bond over fatherhood and “bread-making recipes.”

On Saturday’s episode of The Jonathan Ross Show, McCartney told the host that he’s thankful the musical legends had reconnected before Lennon was tragically shot to death in 1980 at age 40.

“The story about the break-up, it’s true but it’s not the main bit, the main bit was the affection,” the musician, 72, lovingly recalled days before the Monday anniversary of Lennon’s murder outside the famed Dakota apartment buildingin Manhattan.

“I’m so glad because it would have been the worst thing in the world to have this great relationship that then soured and he gets killed, so there was some solace in the fact that we got back together. We were good friends,” McCartney shared.

Looking back, the moment when he heard the news remains staggering.

“I just for days couldn’t think that he was gone,” McCartney recalled of his sadness and how tough it was to pass on the news to his own family. “It was just a huge shock.”

“I was at home and I got a phone call,” he explained. “It was early in the morning. … It was just so horrific, you couldn’t take it in and I couldn’t take it in. … For me, it was just so sad that I wasn’t going to see him again and we weren’t going to hang.”

McCartney had tough words for convicted killer Mark David Chapman, noting his shock that the shooting was just so “random” and senseless.

“The phrase kept coming in my head ‘The jerk of all jerks,’ ” he said of Chapman, who remains jailed after pleading guilty to second-degree murder in 1981. “It was just like, ‘This is just a jerk. This is not even a guy politically motivated, it’s just some total random thing.’ ”

RELATED: Ringo Starr Shares Never-Before-Seen Photos of The Beatles

This article originally appeared on People.com

Read next: ‘The Art of McCartney': The Making of a Massive Tribute Album

TIME celebrities

Marilyn Monroe’s Love Letters Sell for Thousands

"Marilyn Monroe: The Lost Archives" Press Preview
Love letters from Joe DiMaggio displayed at the "Marilyn Monroe: The Lost Archives" press preview at The Ross Art Group on Nov. 25, 2014 in New York City. John Lamparski—WireImage/Getty Images

Including ones from Joe DiMaggio and Arthur Miller

Some really do like it hot.

Marilyn Monroe’s love letters and personal items sold for sky high prices Saturday when Julien’s Auctions in Beverly Hills put pieces of celebrity history up for auction.

PHOTOS: What’s at Stake in the Marilyn Monroe Auction

As part of its Icons & Idols series, the auction house offered an array of items ranging from James Bond memorabilia and a nude sculpture made by Farrah Fawcett to a slice of Prince William and Kate‘s wedding cake. Among the most spectacular were sales from the “Lost Archives of Marilyn Monroe.”

A love letter from Joe DiMaggio to the screen siren after she said she was divorcing him went for $78,125, while a letter from Arthur Miller to the star pulled in $43,750.

Her black velvet opera coat went for $93,760, and one of her pendant necklaces drew in $34,375. But items that the public didn’t see were just as intriguing to fans. Monroe’s white lacy brassiere sold for $20,000, her small lip brush for $10,000 and a makeup compact for $46,875.

One of the most surprising items was a piece of the 8-tier wedding cake from the 2011 royal wedding, which pulled in $7,500. Silicon Valley entrepreneur Gee Chuang (who founded the online marketplace Listia) took home that treat.

But the biggest ticket item in the sale was the burgundy Caroline Charles coat dress that Princess Diana wore while carrying a young William at the Aberdeen airport – its price was a cool $125,000.

This article originally appeared on People.com

Your browser, Internet Explorer 8 or below, is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites.

Learn how to update your browser