TIME celebrity

Here’s the Unusual Way Donald Sutherland Landed His Role in The Hunger Games

"The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1" - World Premiere - Red Carpet Arrivals
Donald Sutherland attends the world Ppremiere of "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1" at Odeon Leicester Square on November 10, 2014 in London, England. Anthony Harvey—Getty Images

He wrote a passionate letter to the director about the script, and THEN they offered him the part

When watching a Hunger Games movie, it feels like Donald Sutherland was born to play Coriolanus Snow, the menacing president of Panem. But the film’s creators didn’t initially have him in mind for the role — and the trilogy could have turned out quite differently if he hadn’t taken the initial steps to nab the part.

“Nobody asked me to do it. I wasn’t offered it,” he says in a recent interview with GQ. “I like to read scripts, and it captured my passion.” So he decided to write a letter, which eventually made its way to director Gary Ross. After reading the script, Sutherland decided this was “an incredibly important film,” and he wanted to be part of it.

“I thought it could wake up an electorate that had been dormant since the ’70s,” he said.

Sutherland admitted that he was inspired even though he had never read the books. In fact, he didn’t know they existed at all. Still, his passion was palpable, and Ross soon offered him the role of President Snow. Boom. That should teach us all a thing or two about being aggressive and proactive and going confidently in the direction of our dreams or whatever.

Read Sutherland’s full letter over at Business Insider.

TIME Culture

These Are the Most Visited Tourist Attractions in the World

Grand Bazaar in Istanbul
Grand Bazaar in Istanbul Michael James O'Brien

Embrace the wisdom of crowds by adding the world’s most-visited tourist attractions to your bucket list

For nearly 500 years, the emperors living within Beijing’s opulent Forbidden City dictated who could enter and leave. Well, the gates have opened, and tourists are pouring in to see it all for themselves. Attendance is up by 2.5 million since 2010.

The Forbidden City is a dream destination for some Americans, but most have never researched a trip to Everland or Lotte World. Yet these South Korean theme parks also rank among the world’s 50 most-visited tourist attractions—beating out the Eiffel Tower (nearly 7 million), the Great Pyramids (4 million), and Stonehenge (1 million). And there are more surprises.

Where we choose to spend our vacation time says a lot about what we value. Despite—or perhaps because of—what the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) calls “global economic challenges,” more travelers are hitting the road than ever. International tourist arrivals increased by 5 percent in 2013, according to the UNWTO. That translates to a record of more than one billion trips. With its population of 1.36 billion, China became the second-largest exporter of tourists. Russia, now the fifth-largest outbound market, increased travel spending by 26 percent.

Like it or not, theme parks clearly have worldwide appeal. France’s Disneyland Park draws about the same number of visitors (10.5 million) as Sacré Coeur, and four of the world’s 20 most-visited tourist attractions are Disney parks.

Many inspiring and iconic places can’t quite keep up. The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum narrowly missed the top 50, as did the British Museum in London (6.7 million), the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (6.3 million), and the Roman Colosseum and Forum (5.1 million each). The Berlin Wall Memorial Site logged only 500,000 visitors in 2013, though extra crowds are arriving in November 2014 for the 25th anniversary of its fall.

Accessibility can be a factor. It takes extra effort to reach Yellowstone National Park (3.2 million) or the Terracotta Army in Xi’an, China (4.8 million). And Peru’s Machu Picchu has restricted tourism to help maintain the site’s integrity; only 2,500 can enter per day, or 912,500 per year.

So what is the most-visited tourist attraction in the world? And can 91 million people be wrong? Read on to see the results—and an explanation of our methods for calculating it all.

The Methodology: To tally up the world’s most-visited attractions, we gathered the most recent data supplied by the attractions themselves or from government agencies, industry reports, and reputable media outlets. In most cases, it was 2013 data. Attractions that don’t sell tickets gave us estimates as best they could.

We defined “tourist attractions” as cultural and historical sites, natural landmarks, and officially designated spaces. So Boston’s shop-filled Faneuil Hall Marketplace (est. 1742) made the cut, but not Minnesota’s Mall of America, which, with 40 million annual visitors, would otherwise have tied for No. 4. Short walkways and plazas also fit our definition of tourist attractions; that disqualified the Blue Ridge Parkway. We also omitted beaches, bridges, and sites that draw almost exclusively religious pilgrims.

No. 1 Grand Bazaar, Istanbul

Annual Visitors: 91,250,000

Hand-painted ceramics, lanterns, intricately patterned carpets, copperware, gold Byzantine-style jewelry, and more eye-catching products vie for your attention within this 15th-century bazaar’s vaulted walkways. It has since expanded and become increasingly touristy, but locals, too, are among the millions of bargain hunters. To haggle like a pro, lowball your starting offer and don’t be afraid to walk away. And if it all gets overwhelming, break for a succulent doner kebab or strong cup of Turkish coffee.

No. 2 The Zócalo, Mexico City

Annual Visitors: 85,000,000

Formally known as the Plaza de la Constitución, the enormous Zócalo thrums with activity. It hosts military parades, cultural and political events, concerts, exhibitions, fairs, and public art installations. Metropolitan Cathedral and the National Palace flank this historic public square, and an imposing Mexican flag, raised and lowered daily, waves over the scene.

No. 3 Times Square, New York City

Annual Visitors: 50,000,000

Tourists flock to New York’s neon heart for the flashing lights, Broadway shows, megastores, and sheer spectacle—including costumed characters eager to pose for photo ops. Pedestrian-only areas with café tables introduced a few years ago have made it easier and more appealing to hang out here. Times Square can even be a convenient, if chaotic, base, thanks to hotels at every price point and easy access to public transportation: subways, rails, buses, and more yellow taxis than you can count.

No. 4 (tie) Central Park, New York City

Annual Visitors: 40,000,000

New York has larger green spaces, but none is more famous than Central Park, which stretches across nearly 850 acres of prime Manhattan real estate—an oasis for both tourists and locals. You can ride in one of the horse-drawn carriages, check out the modest-size zoo, climb to the top of 19th-century Belvedere Castle, or take a break from pounding the pavement to sprawl on the Great Lawn, gazing at the skyscrapers above.

No. 4 (tie) Union Station, Washington, D.C.

Annual Visitors: 40,000,000

Opened in 1907, this busy station shuttles some 12,500 passengers daily in and out of the city. But it also handles millions of tourists who pass through to take in the impeccably mixed architectural styles throughout the colossal building: from Classical to Beaux-Arts to Baroque. More than 70 retail outlets make Union Station a shopping destination, and it’s also a jumping-off point for many D.C. tours.

Read the full list HERE.

More from Travel + Leisure:

TIME apps

This App Is Supposed to Prevent You from Sending Drunk Tweets

bottles of alcohol
Getty Images

You have to input how many hours you plan to be drunk—between one and ten

This article originally appeared on Food & Wine.

A drunk text can wreak havoc on a single relationship, but a drunken social media post can ruin hundreds of connections (maybe even thousands if you’re particularly popular) with just a tap on your touchscreen. Now there’s an app to stop you from becoming an inebriated social media nightmare. Drunk Message Blocker will completely shut down your access to social media. No Facebook, no Twitter, no Instagram, no Snapchat. It’s not the first app designed to protect the drunk smartphone user, but what sets it apart is that it’s the first one to stop you from using your social networks. It’s also incredibly strict. Even if you delete the app from your phone you still aren’t going to be able to put up that embarrassing picture on Facebook.

As with other apps designed to avoid drunken mistakes you’ll later regret, this one does require some advanced planning. You have to input how many hours you plan to be drunk—between one and ten (if you’re going to be drunk for ten hours you should probably just leave your phone at home because there is a 100 percent chance you’re going to lose it). But until your phone can detect your blood-alcohol level through your skin, there will always be a manual component. Still, an app that can keep you from messing up your life in 140 characters is something we could all use from time to time.

Drunk Message Blocker is free in the Google Play store.

More from Food & Wine:

TIME Videos

Baby Can’t Stop Dancing To Magical Birthday Card

Hamsterdancing all the way to nap time.

There’s an old truism that babies usually prefer playing with the wrapping paper to the actual present, but some kids never even make it to the gift.

Take the tiny tyke in this video, who seemingly never quite got around to opening the present, because she is too darn busy busting a move to the chipper tune blasting out of the birthday card.

As “The Hamsterdance” plays from the musical card, the baby shows off her diaper-shaking dance moves until she gets a little too exuberant and accidentally causes the card to close. She quickly figures out what needs to happen to keep the party going …at least until nap time.

TIME celebrity

Anna Kendrick Makes Getting Locked Out Look Like Fun

The actress, who will play Cinderella in the movie Into The Woods, uses her Kate Spade shopping haul to kill time while she waits

Anna Kendrick, star of Pitch Perfect and Up in the Air, knows how to have fun, even when she’s locked out of her apartment. In a new ad for Kate Spade, the actress checks out her purchases while she waits to get back in. She tries on new clothes from the designer, chats on the phone and sips champagne with a straw. Finally, when she’s had enough, she uses the Kate Spade clothes to build a rope to access the fire escape.

TIME society

You Can Buy Mr. Darcy’s House

61st Berlin Film Festival - The King's Speech - Photocall
Actor Colin Firth Sean Gallup—Getty Images

The British estate that inspired Jane Austen is up for sale

You might not be able to live out the rest of your days with Pride and Prejudice’s fictional Mr. Darcy, but you can spend them at his British estate.

Wentworth Woodhouse — the residence that reportedly inspired Jane Austen’s depiction of Darcy’s home, Pemberley — is reportedly going on the market for a mere $10.9 million. A spokesperson for U.K. estate agency Savills told the Daily Mail that the manor will go on the market “in the new year.”

The estate will serve as the perfect muse for all that Pride and Prejudice fan fiction you’ve been dying to write.

The estate, which has five miles worth of corridors, was home to the fourth Earl Fitzwilliam, who reportedly inspired Darcy himself.

While $10.9 million might seem like a bargain, keep in mind that there is an estimated $65.6 million of required repairs.

Worth it.

TIME Music

Watch Lykke Li Put a Beautiful New Twist on Drake’s ‘Hold On, We’re Going Home’

The "I Follow Rivers" singer successfully takes on an R&B track

During a show in London Thursday night, Swedish indie pop artist Lykke Li surprised fans by performing a version of Drake’s hit “Hold On, We’re Going Home.” She simply explains that she loves the song before launching into her haunting take.

To be fair, fans who follow Li on Instagram probably weren’t surprised by this, as last week she shared a video of her practicing:

TIME viral

This Cat’s Laser Focus and Determination as He Flicks a Piece a Paper Is Commendable

After a full minute he finally takes a break and just cuddles up with it

This is Paper Cat. All we really know about him is that he’s really into paper — or at least, he’s really into this one specific piece of paper. He flicks at it with the type of curiosity and determination that teachers dream of. His human tries a few times to get him to stop, but he’s all, I have a mission and I will not rest until it is completed.

After about a minute, though, he does rest, cuddling up with the paper and making sure to protect it – probably because he plans to continue his mission in a few minutes.

TIME technology

Mark Zuckerberg Made One of Those Cheesy Facebook ‘Thanks’ Videos for His Wife, But It’s Kind of Cute

Let's all raise a glass to Mark and Priscilla

You may have noticed a new trend on Facebook that allows you to thank your friends for being your friend with a personalized video documenting said friendship.

It’s also entirely possible you haven’t noticed this yet. Based on some initial tests we ran, it yields some cheesy and/or weird results. Also, as my discerning colleague Victor Luckerson points out, “I just find the chasm between the emotional sentiment of the videos and the effort put in by person saying ‘thanks’ really, really funny.” (You really don’t have to do anything at all other than type in your friend’s name and hit play.)

But Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg seems determined to make this feature a thing, so he promoted it by sharing the video documenting his relationship with his wife. He did put in a little extra effort by adding a personalized note and elaborating on why he’s thankful for her.

Check it out:

Read next: 7 Things You Didn’t Know About Facebook From Mark Zuckerberg’s Q&A

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