TIME movies

Sports at Cannes: Wrestling with Foxcatcher, Scoring With Red Army

Steve Carell and Channing Tatum star in Foxcatcher, a strange, distant story of an Olympic wrestler and his patron, while in Red Army, Slava Fetisov radiates star quality on and off the ice

Wrestling is the most solitary and elemental of sports: one man grappling another in intimate combat. Ice hockey, meanwhile, is pure teamwork, especially as played by the Red Army team in its dominant decades before the collapse of the Soviet Union. It follows that Foxcatcher, about a wrestler, his brother and their coach, is an investigation of men less comfortable in speaking than in expressing themselves through physical activity that can turn violent — and that the documentary Red Army, focusing on defenseman Viacheslav “Slava” Fetisov, brims with camaraderie: high spirits and a few verbal high sticks.

Thanks to its star cast of Steve Carell, Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo and its director Bennett Miller (Capote, Moneyball), Foxcatcher was among the most eagerly anticipated selection at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Red Army, from first-timer Gabe Polsky, is simply one of the best.


On Jan. 26, 1996, John Éleuthère du Pont, scion of the gunpowder and chemicals fortune, shot and killed the wrestler Dave Schultz. Du Pont, 57, ran a wrestling school called Team Foxcatcher at his Newtown Square, Pa., estate, where Dave, 36, served as a coach. Dave’s brother Mark, 35, also lived and practiced at the estate. They are the only two brothers in U.S. wrestling history to win both Olympic and World championships.

Why did John kill Dave, whom he had treated as a friend and close colleague? Du Pont’s friends were baffled by a gentle man’s heinous eruption. At John’s trial, neither the prosecution nor the defense provided a reason. He pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity but was convicted of third-degree murder, and died in 2010 in the Laurel Highlands State Correctional Facility in Somerset, Pa. He was 72.

(READ: Bennett Miller and Philip Seymour Hoffman on Capote)

Foxcatcher, from a screenplay by E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman, also declines to spell out a rationale. As Miller said at today’s press conference, his directorial style “is not so much telling a story as observing a story.” The movie, which saves the true story’s famous, fatal act of violence for the climax, is a murder mystery in which the killer’s motive remains a mystery. That makes Foxcatcher, for all its closeups of the main trio, a chilly, distant view of an enigma festering into an atrocity.

Truman Capote, as captured in Miller’s first feature by Philip Seymour Hoffman, was profligately articulate. Billy Beane, the Oakland A’s General Manager played in Moneyball by Brad Pitt, communicated clearly in words, stats and caroming body English. The Foxcatcher men have no such eloquence; Bennett describes their mode of discourse as “repressed male noncommunication.” John du Pont (Carell) may have been bred to reticence; raising one’s voice on the Foxcatcher estate was simply not done. As for the Schultzes, they articulate their fury, grudges and superb skills in their sport.

(READ: Richard Corliss’s tribute to Philip Seymour Hoffman)

A marvelous early scene shows Dave (Ruffalo) leading Mark (Tatum) in a warmup exercise — a series of embraces, pats, grips and flips that eventually draws blood — and all to make Dave a more formidable wrestler. Beautifully choreographed and performed, and revealing emotional vectors that the rest of the film withholds, the scene in the wrestling circle is equally a fraternal fight and a love match.

John (Carell) wants into that circle. An accomplished ornithologist who authored several academic studies on the birds of the South Pacific, he chafes in the imperious shadow of his mother (a wonderfully haughty Vanessa Redgrave) and the 32,000 trophies and ribbons she has amassed as an equestrienne and stable owner. John considers horses “dumb. They eat and shit. That’s all they do.” His mother’s take on wrestling: “A low sport.” Perhaps eager to compete in the sports arena, he founds Team Foxcatcher — his own stable, with manflesh replacing horseflesh — and collects wrestlers dependent on his largesse. (Wrestling and boxing are the only two Olympic sports requiring amateur standing of its participants. The athletes must take side jobs or find a patron.)

(READ: The inside-baseball dish on Bennett Miller’s Moneyball)

“I have a deep love for the sport of wrestling,” John tells Mark when he flies the young man East for an interview. Dave, with a wife (Sienna Miller) and young child, wants to stay put; and Mark feels stranded without his guide and sparring partner. But John dangles this promise: “Without your brother you can accomplish anything you put your mind to.” The movie portrays a rivalry between John and Dave, to be Mark’s mentors. Dave had played that role since he and his brothers were the children of a fractured family. Dave eventually brings his family to Foxcatcher, where he trains other wrestlers and, in the process, wrests from John the role of father figure.

Tatum’s Mark is a gentle galoot, so lacking in introspection that he seems not to understand his resentment as being John’s pawn; if he had taken revenge on his host, the killing would be as understandable as John’s shooting of Dave. And Ruffalo is fine as the more gregarious Schultz. Carell gives the big performance — in startle quotient, not in sweeping gestures or fuming arias, which he avoids.

(READ: Steven James Snyder on Channing Tatum in Magic Mike)

The nice-guy correspondent for The Daily Show, who graduated to star comedy roles in Evan Almighty and The 40 Year Old Virgin, and as the voice of Gru in the Despicable Me animated franchise, Carell has a melancholy suitable for lovable losers and, here, a lonely aristocrat. His delicate, creepy work occasionally obscured by a large prosthetic nose, he plays John as gray and graceless, an inert entity. John has repressed so many of his family anxieties, as well as his urges to watch muscular men wrestle for his pleasure, that he is nearly dead, emotionally, by the middle of the movie. Killing Mark may be the one way John has to prove he’s still alive.

Really, though, we have to guess at most of this, because Foxcatcher is almost as withholding as its characters. True to his directorial creed, Miller has acutely observed the collision of its three men’s temperaments. It remains for the viewer to tell, or guess at, the full story. —R.C.


More than any form of filmmaking, the documentary demands star quality — a charismatic force at its center to drive home the political or human message. Polsky, director of Red Army, found his star in Slava Fetisov, part of the legendary Green Line of the U.S.S.R. ice hockey team. During his 13 seasons, the Red Army squad won seven World Championships (out of a possible 10) and two Olympic gold medals, losing only in 1980 to the U.S. team in the “Miracle on Ice” semifinal game. Defying the Soviet hierarchy, he left Russia for North American to play for the National Hockey League, spurring an exodus of other Soviet and European stars to the NHL. Many of his fellow Russians joined him on the Detroit Red Wings, which in 1997 and 1998 won the Stanley Cup.

Those are just Fetisov’s statistics. The man is even more impressive: a dominant presence off the ice and in front of Polsky’s camera, whether declaring his political independence, misting up at the memory of his first coach or, when the mood strikes him, giving his director a middle-finger salute. At the evening screening of Red Army, Cannes artistic director Thierry Frémaux praised Fetisov as “this incredible actor, this character, this champion!” He is all of that in this exuberant, affecting film portrait, which could escape the niche of documentaries and become a popular attraction on the order of Searching for Sugar Man. The film has similar heart, humor and unbelievable-but-true narrative twists.

In the NHL, star players often skate freely toward the goal, a one-man show. In Soviet hockey, “The man with the puck is the servant of the other skaters.” Their coaches stressed teamwork, as developed in a decade of junior-league training, until the intricate weaving of the Green Line skaters approached the choreography of the Bolshoi Ballet or the chess mastery of Garry Kasparov. (One NHL announcer calls them “the Soviet Symphony.”) The long years of excruciating practice forged a comradeship, in the best sense, of Fetisov and his mates. Surviving the 1980 Lake Placid humiliation, and weathering disagreements that seemed like betrayals, the Green Liners were a band of brothers. Some of them reunited with Fetisov in the NHL years later, after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Fetisov, who speaks excellent English from his decade in North America, is still a Russian at heart. He returned there, at the urging of Vladimir Putin served as Minister of Sport from 2002 to 2008. Fetisov deflects some of Polsky’s questions by saying, “I’m a politician now.” As a Soviet skater, he was also a political and social force: he and his team lifted the U.S.S.R. at a time when the West was the best at everything but hockey. As one Russian commentator notes, “The story of hockey is the story of our country.”

Ice hockey is not America’s story, and at the moment Russia is not the most popular foreign power. But this playful, poignant film presents a human story that transcends decades, borders and ideologies. —M.C.

TIME Music

The 7 Female Rappers You Should Be Listening To Right Now

Rapsody, left, and Tiffany Foxx Imeh Akpanudosen—Getty Images; Paras Griffin—Getty Images

There are more talented femcees out there than just Nicki Minaj and Iggy Azalea

Hip-hop bible XXL recently announced their 2014 Freshman Class of 12 up-and-coming rappers. The annual list featured incredible talent like Chance the Rapper, Jon Connor and Ty Dollar $ign. One thing the list didn’t have, though? Women.

In light of that, it seemed like a good time to revisit the subject of female MCs — particularly so because female-fronted hip hop is on the cusp of a resurgence. Not only does Nicki Minaj have her third studio album slated to drop by the end of the year — and the femcee promises a return to her fiery hip-hop roots — but rapper Iggy Azalea has found mainstream success in her collaborations with both Ariana Grande and Charli XCX. Artists like Angel Haze, Jean Grae and Azealia Banks are all working hard, too, to make it in the male-dominated world of hip-hop, and they aren’t alone.

Here are seven incredible female rappers that you should be listening to right now:

Lee Mazin

Taliyah Smith a.k.a. Lee Mazin started making waves with her Lovelee mixtape, which she followed up with last year’s In My Own Lane. Her efforts behind the mic garnered her back-to-back wins for “Female Artist of the Year” at the Philadelphia Hip-Hop Awards (2011 and 2012). She’s opened for some of the biggest names in rap, including Talib Kweli, DMX and Young Jeezy, and now has become the first female rapper signed to Meek Mill’s Dream Chasers Records.

Listen: “Yesterday” Ft Lil Snupe

Sasha Go Hard

Yaneisha Franklin a.k.a. Sasha Go Hard started rapping at 11 years old, hitting the Internet jackpot with her self-produced single “Why They Mad.” Her affiliation with Chief Keef’s Chicago-based GBE crew shows in her hard-edged raps and monstrous sound, but she’s got a style all her own. She’s earned herself some big name fans along the way, and they’re now collaborating with her, including Diplo: he produced her Round 3 mixtape, which features guest appearances by both Le1f and Kreayshawn.

Listen: “Trouble” feat. Tink (another rising rapper discussed here):

Noname Gypsy

In the middle of Chance the Rapper’s Acid Rap track “Lost” was a memorable verse by an up-and-coming Chicago rapper named Noname Gypsy. The 22-year-old’s real name is Fatimah Warner and despite her nom de guerre, she’s making a very big name for herself with her laidback flow and poetic lyrics. Think MC Lyte meets Lauryn Hill by way of Gwendolyn Brooks. While her debut mixtape Telefone hasn’t been released yet, she has the seasoned poise of a veteran.

Listen: “Paradise” Feat. Queen SheCago

Nyemiah Supreme

Producer-to-the-stars Timbaland has adopted Queens rapper Nyemiah Supreme as his latest protégé. When the man behind Aaliyah, Justin Timberlake and some of Beyoncé’s biggest hits turns his attentions on you, the pressure’s on — and if their inaugural collaboration “Rock & Roll” is any indication, Supreme is up to the challenge. Her EP There Can Be More Than 1, executive produced by Timbaland, shows the rapper bringing the heat while keeping it cool.

Listen: Rock and Roll ft. Timbaland

Tiffany Foxx

Tiffany Foxx came up as the protégé of Lil Kim, on Kim’s International Rock Star Records, but the St. Louis emcee has been rapping her way out of Kim’s shadow with her hard knocking rhymes. Her latest record “Young N Thuggin” shows Foxx holding her own against collaborators like Pusha T and Young Thug with her relentless flow and determined demeanor. Plus, hanging out with Miley Cyrus can’t hurt an up-and-comer’s career.

Listen: “Twisted” Feat. Lil Kim


Rapsody is one of the hardest working rappers in the business, cranking out five mixtapes in the last three years. Her She Got Game mixtape (download it here), featured collaborations with Chance the Rapper, Common, Raekwon, Mac Miller and more, showcasing her impressive vocals skills. The North Carolina native, whose real name is Marlanna Evans, has a soulful style that garners her well-earned comparisons to Lauryn Hill with her melodic flow, laconic beats and irrepressible rhymes.

Listen: “Dark Nights”

Gifted Gab

While Macklemore and Ryan Lewis have finally made people pay attention to the Northwest’s hip-hop scene, groups like Common Market, Nacho Picasso, Blue Scholars and Moor Gangs have all been working in the city’s rap trenches for years. In their ranks is Gifted Gab, a Seattle rapper, with a throwback flow and a way with words. She has made no secret of the fact that Queen Latifah is her biggest inspiration — in fact, she named her debut album Queen La’Chiefah.

Listen: “Dead Wrong”

MORE: 14 Music Festivals to Check Out In 2014

MORE: Listen to Lizzo Get Tough On “Luv It”: Song Premiere


TIME movies

This Is What Going to the Movies Is Like If You’re Blind

Yes, vision-impaired people do go to the movies

It’s right there in the name: the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

But, as this new video from the Academy — the folks who bring you the Oscars — makes clear, you don’t need to see the pictures in order to enjoy a movie. The Academy (AMPAS) has just launched a new video series of documentary-style looks at some little-known aspects of movie-making. This particular video, one of the first to kick off the series, explains what it’s like to go to the movies if you’re unable to see what’s on the screen.

It’s an experience that the sighted might not ever consider. After all, even those who can’t see describe going to the movies as seeing or watching a movie. But, as Tommy Edison of BlindFilmCritic.com explains in this video, the images are a relatively small fraction of what makes up a movie.

To fill in the gaps where images are necessary to explain the story, some theaters and films offer video description, an audio track on which the visual elements are described out loud during breaks in the dialogue. Around 2:10 in the video above, you can experience what it’s like to “watch” a movie when you can’t see anything — and, though the visual elements are certainly exciting, it’s easy to understand how you could enjoy it without them.

“I enjoy [movies] just like you do,” Edison concludes, “and I love them and I always have and I always will.”

TIME Music

VIDEO: Jason Mraz Announces New Album, With An Exclusive Acoustic Performance

The crooner performs an exclusive rendition of his new single "Love Someone"

Jason Mraz has just announced that his next album, YES!, will drop July 15 — and the I’m Yours singer-songwriter recently dropped by TIME’s office to discuss the album and treat us to a solo acoustic performance of the lead-off single “Love Someone,” which is available today.

But what exactly is Mraz saying “yes” to?

The New Age-minded musician does believe that saying “yes” to other things can open an internal door to creativity, and he tries to say “yes” about things in his own life — but he tells TIME that the album title is mostly a reference to the other people who have said “yes” to him. The most important among those are the four musicians known as Raining Jane, a long-time backing band for Mraz who are his full-fledged collaborators on YES! Mraz says he maintained veto power, but it was a refreshing change to shift the focus on the album away from just himself.

Take “Love Someone,” for example: the song isn’t about a specific personal relationship; instead, the love in question is a more general feeling of being lucky, especially as relates to music. “When I let go in a song I feel like the mental chatter, anything that might show up as doubt or fear, that tends to fall away,” he says. “You just lock into one beautiful thing, which I feel is love, and when I sing to someone or with someone I feel that’s giving the love away. You get it back in return with how amazing you feel.”

Mraz — whose arm bears a “BE LOVE” tattoo — says that he believes that all of us “are” love, and that as soon as one recognizes that it’s easy to be open and giving.

That humble side isn’t just an act, at least in one area: though Mraz is known for his fedoras and is often seen sporting a baseball or trucker cap, he’ll readily admit that he doesn’t have the best hat collection in the music business. “I think Pharrell’s hat collection would win,” he says. “He’s got some pretty awesome hats.”

Watch the full acoustic performance of “Love Someone” here:

TIME Music

M.I.A. Debuts the Video for “Double Bubble Trouble”: Watch

Orwell references abound in M.I.A.'s latest clip

M.I.A. has released an uncensored video for the dubstep inspired track “Double Bubble Trouble” off of her 2013 LP Matangi.

The video was released this afternoon, after M.I.A. tweeted: “My label has my video , they havnt uploaded for 4 days > they wont let me upload > whats is the point? smh”

M.I.A. directed the politically-charged video, which is the first video she’s made on her own since the one she directed for Elastica’s “Mad Dog God Dam,” according to Twitter.

She uses her three-plus minutes of screen time to explore the question of living in a world where people can 3-D print guns. “What if you could make weapons like these in your own home using what’s called a three-dimensional printer?” narrates a voice at the top of the video. “This sounds like science fiction, but to some, it’s not so far-fetched.”

The clip mashes up images of mask-wearing gangsters and others wielding guns of their choice, blanketing an important political message under neon effects and a lo-fi feel. Alongside the parrots, monkeys and gun-toting kids, the video includes references to Orwell’s 1984 — although Orwell probably didn’t imagine all the psychedelia and strobe effects.

MORE: Listen to Lizzo Get Tough On “Luv It”: Song Premiere

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TIME Music

Led Zeppelin Is Getting Sued Over ‘Stairway to Heaven’

Led Zeppelin Perform Live At Madison Square Garden
Richard E. Aaron—Redferns/Getty Images

Fans have noted the similarity to Spirit's "Taurus" for decades

You may have never heard of the band Spirit, but Led Zeppelin has.

Not only did they play shows with Zeppelin in 1969, but Spirit has also now sued them for allegedly lifting what may be one of the most famous riffs in rock history — the opening notes of “Stairway to Heaven.”

“It’s been a long time coming,” attorney Francis Alexander Malofiy said in Bloomberg Businessweek. Malofiy is representing a trust for writer Randy California, the deceased Spirit guitarist who wrote “Taurus,” the instrumental track that appeared on the band’s eponymous 1968 debut album and from which the chord progression is allegedly lifted.

Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page allegedly wrote “Stairway to Heaven” in 1970, two years after “Taurus” was released and a year after the band shared stages at gigs across the U.S. in 1969. According to the band’s bass player, Spirit always included “Taurus” in their sets. “It was such a pretty moment,” said Mark Andes to Businessweek. “It would typically come after a big forceful number and always got a good response.”

In 1997, California went public with his claims about the origins of “Stairway to Heaven.” “I’d say it was a ripoff,” California said in Listener magazine. “And the guys made millions of bucks on it and never said ‘Thank you,’ never said, ‘Can we pay you some money for it?’ It’s kind of a sore point with me.” However, California and Spirit never sued, even though fans had noted the similarity between the songs for years. “Nobody had any money, and they thought the statute of limitations was done,” Mick Skidmore, who manages California’s trust, explained to Businessweek.

Now, as Led Zeppelin prepares to release remastered deluxe versions of their original albums, including “Stairway to Heaven,” California’s trust is finally springing to action with a copyright-infringement suit and an injunction that would block Led Zeppelin IV’s reissue.

“The idea behind this is to make sure that Randy California is given a writing credit on ‘Stairway to Heaven,'” Malofiy said. They are most likely seeking monetary reparations as well. Businessweek quotes an estimate that by 2008, “Stairway to Heaven” had earned at least $562 million.

Led Zeppelin and Warner Music had no comment on the story.

Take a listen and judge for yourself:

It sounds familiar, right?


MORE: 11 Suspiciously Soundalike Songs

TIME Television

Mad Men: A Brief History of the Real-World Burger Chef

Trevor Einhorn as John Mathis and Elisabeth Moss as Peggy Olson - Mad Men _ Season 7, Episode 6 - Photo Credit; Justina Mintz/AMC
Mathis and Peggy stand outside a Burger Chef franchise. Justina Mintz/AMC—© AMC Film Holdings LLC.

A closer look at the rise and fall of the client that Peggy, Don and the rest of SC&P have been chasing during Mad Men's seventh season

If there’s one thing that Sterling Cooper & Partners (and its earlier iterations) has a knack for, it’s landing clients that never quite reach the pinnacle of its industry. From Richard Nixon in 1960 to Mohawk airlines and the doomed Chevy Vega, Don Draper and Co. always seem a half-step behind the times. That’s never more true than in the case of Burger Chef, the firm’s latest target as well as a company that likely had the show’s younger viewers scratching their heads and Googling the fast food relic.

That the name Burger Chef is all but lost to history isn’t particularly surprising — in a world dominated by ubiquitous fast food chains (McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, etc.), even regional powers like Carl’s Jr. and Dairy Queen have some difficulty raising their profile on the national stage. Back in 1969, however, Burger Chef was very much a player in the fast food industry, and certainly a client that would bring in plenty of billings for SC&P — even if it wasn’t quite the behemoth that McDonald’s is. And if their slogan from that era (“Burger Chef goes all out to please your family”) is any indication, Peggy is certainly on the right track.

Born in the spring of 1958, Burger Chef, whose name was reportedly chosen to present the new restaurant as a more highbrow version of Burger King, got its start in Indianapolis. It was first to market what has since become a fast food staple: the burger-fries-and-drink combo meal, dubbed the “Triple Threat” and sold for just 45 cents. The chain spread quickly, with franchises opening in Des Moines and Louisiana, but Burger Chef took steps to ensure that the rapid expansion did not diminish quality. According to Flameout: The Rise and Fall of Burger Chef, the training process was a remarkably rigorous one by today’s standards: “New franchises were sent to Indianapolis to learn first-hand how to do everything from refilling catsup dispensers to conducting employee interviews to accounting. Potential employees received personality tests, and often needed to be taught how to be proper, dependable and dress neatly.”

By December 1967, Burger Chef had become the second largest restaurant chain in the entire country, trailing only the golden arches of McDonald’s. In 1969, after being acquired by General Foods a year prior, Burger Chef opened its 1,000th restaurant. (The chain would eventually peak at 1,200 restaurants two years later — just 100 fewer than McDonald’s at the time.) Though General Foods had enjoyed success with some of its other brands, including Jell-O, its management style didn’t fit particularly well with the well-developed Burger Chef culture. General Foods issued an ill-advised redesign of the logo and attempted to revive a handful of stalled initiatives that had been abandoned years prior.

If Don and co. can land Burger Chef with Peggy’s family-oriented pitch, it’ll come not a moment too soon. In the real world, McCann Erickson got the Burger Chef account (and its $2.5 million in billings) in 1968, but resigned it in 1971, when Ogilvy & Mather picked it up. By 1982, when Burger Chef was sold to Hardee’s, it had just over half of the 1,200 restaurants it had at its peak in 1971. For comparison’s sake, McDonalds had reached 4,177 restaurants in 21 countries by 1976. In 1996, the final Burger Chef franchise in Cookeville, Tenn. was converted into a “Pleasers” restaurant.

Of course, in the Mad Men world, it doesn’t so much matter what happens to a client after it’s landed — the landing is what counts. And perhaps no pitch has been so important for the show’s protagonists as this one. Either Peggy and Don will finally find a way to work together and flourish as they once did (albeit with a markedly different power structure), or SC&P will likely meet a fate similar to that of the fast food chain it so badly wishes to sign.

TIME movies

Watch an Action-Packed New Trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy

The second trailer for the upcoming Marvel superhero movie continues to showcase its off-beat sense of humor (and Chris Pratt's abs)

If Hollywood hasn’t already reached peak superhero, studios are certainly getting close. But the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy movie is trying to offer something different amid the influx of spandex, power suits and caped collectives infiltrating theaters — sheer goofiness.

The first trailer from the movie, which debuted in February, offered an introduction to the intergalactic gang: Chris Pratt as heroic outlaw Peter “Star-Lord” Quill; Zoe Saldana as alien assassin Gamora; Dave Bautista as Drax the Destroyer; Bradley Cooper as a genetically engineered raccoon; and Vin Diesel as an arboriculturalist’s worst nightmare.

Now with ice breakers out of the way, a second trailer that premiered Monday teases much more of what awaits moviegoers come August: action, adventure and explosions galore.

TIME movies

MH370 Movie Plumbs New Depths of Bad Taste at Cannes

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 and the 239 people aboard haven't even been found yet, but an opportunistic filmmaker is already shopping a movie in Cannes telling the "true" story of what happened to the vanished jet

If the Cannes Film Festival had an award for most squirm-inducing production, it would surely go to the producers of a new thriller telling the “real” story of the still-missing Malaysian Airlines jet.

The Vanishing Act: The Untold Story of the Missing Malaysian Plane is the brainchild of Indian film company Rupesh Paul Productions, and purports to tell the hidden story of Flight 370 based on an investigative report that was widely discredited, as the director himself remarked to CNN. “It is definitely controversial,” said Rupesh Paul.

Little more than two months have passed since the Malaysia Airlines jet vanished with 239 people on board, and in that time the film production team has given the film a title, printed 8-page promotional brochures, edited a trailer and, according to Paul, courted interested investors from China and Malaysia.

Paul’s previous productions include the “epic of all epics” Kamasutra 3D and Saint Dracula 3D.



TIME Television

The Physics of the Game of Thrones “Moon Door”

Game of Thrones: Lysa, Littlefinger
Mind the gap! Helen Sloan / HBO

Would a person really break into pieces after being dropped from the Moon Door?

Spoilers for the Game of Thrones episode “Mockingbird” (Season 4, Episode 7) follow

When Game of Thrones fans first met the Moon Door, it was described as an “elegant” solution to the problem of administering justice. When Tyrion Lannister arrived in the Vale and was made to stand trial for his non-crimes, Lysa Arryn explained that those found guilty in her mountainous realm were disposed of via gravity, not swords or ropes. The Moon Door, a hole leading to uncounted feet of air and then the rocky ground below, is the preferred method of execution. (In the books, it’s a standing door with a crescent moon carved into it, but the nothingness is probably more visually effective when the camera is looking down rather than out.)

As Lysa would later explain to Sansa in the episode “Mockingbird,” which aired May 18, people who leave through the Moon Door break apart on the rocks below. Sometimes an intact body part will be found, but the person essentially snaps.

Of course, it was Lysa, not Tyrion or Sansa, who would eventually get to experience that wild ride first hand.

But would Lysa’s death really go down — no pun intended — the way she thinks it would?

Not necessarily, according to Jim Hamilton, who runs the Free Fall Research Page, a compendium of information about falls from great heights. Though we don’t know the exact height of the Moon Door, he says that if it’s more than 2,000 feet up, the faller would reach 125 miles per hour, which means broken bones and near-certain death — but not necessarily breaking into pieces.

“I’ve never actually been asked that question,” Hamilton tells TIME, in response to the query of whether someone in Lysa’s situation would snap apart like a twig. “It would depend on the surface you hit. Maybe if you hit a rocky beach. People who fall into meadows or marshes or sand leave a human-shaped impression on the ground. They almost tend to bounce sometimes. I would think that would be more likely than breaking apart.”

And what about the Moon Door’s “elegance” as an executioner? It turns out that, as unlikely as it sounds, such a fall wouldn’t be a 100% guarantee of death. Hamilton cites the fact that during World War II, for example, there were lots of people falling out of burning airplanes — and, though many of them died, a lucky few survived, often thanks to a combination of factors that slowed their falls. Hamilton’s website chronicles the stories of several such people who survived falls from great heights.

Still, don’t look for a twist wherein Lysa comes limping back. Despite stories of long-odds living, Hamilton says she’s probably done for — even if she’s still in one piece.

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