TIME celebrities

Aaron Sorkin Confirms Christian Bale Will Play Steve Jobs

"We needed the best actor on the board in a certain age range and that’s Chris Bale."

Christian Bale didn’t have to audition to win the role of late Apple CEO Steve Jobs in an upcoming biopic, says screenwriter Aaron Sorkin.

“Well, there was a meeting,” Sorkin told Bloomberg Television in an interview confirming that the Dark Knight star will play Jobs. “We needed the best actor on the board in a certain age range and that’s Chris Bale.”

Sorkin, the writer behind television shows like The West Wing and The Newsroom, is adapting Walter Isaacson’s 2011 biography for the big screen, four years after rendering Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, in the film The Social Network.

The Academy Award winning Bale was rumored to have won the role over other possible contenders, including Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and Leonardo Dicaprio, according to The Verge.

But Sorkin confirmed in the interview posted Thursday that Bale will fill the challenging role.

“He has more words to say in this movie than most people have in three movies combined,” Sorkin said. “There isn’t a scene or a frame that he’s not in. So it’s an extremely difficult part and he is gonna crush it.”

Read next: Remembering Steve Jobs, the Man Who Did Almost Everything Right

TIME Humor

I Spook People on Halloween for a Living

Jack-o-lantern
Getty Images

Life in the Scare Zone

I always knew that writing and visual arts would be unpredictable career paths. But I’ve discovered that there is one thing that I can always count on: dead bodies.

As the art director for the “Scare Zones” at Universal Studios Hollywood’s Halloween Horror Nights, I oversee the zombies and ghouls that overtake sections of the park every October. I was just 18 when I started working at Universal. In the fall of 1980, I graduated from high school in the Highland Park neighborhood of Los Angeles and was trying to find a job. My sister heard the theme park was hiring so I went in for an interview. Later that same day, I was being fitted for a costume for a full-time job playing the Phantom of the Opera.

It was a perfect job for me: I grew up on horror movies and made haunted houses in backyards and basements with my childhood friends. Over time, my character resume grew to include the Wolfman, a mummy, and my crowning achievement, Beetlejuice.

Over the years, the park grew and so did the creative opportunities. I started building props for the performers and created a few small street shows. At the time, we had a lot of classic Hollywood look-alike performers. So my job could involve finding a giant rubber fish for “Laurel and Hardy” or enlisting park guests to do a screen test with “Humphrey Bogart.”

A seed for my current work was first planted in 1996 when I saw an Ed Kienholz exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art downtown. Kienholz was an installation and assemblage sculptor who took found objects—car parts, broken dolls, damaged furniture—and reassembled them into works of art. He relied on a screw gun, not a paintbrush. That was a concept I could wrap my hands around. I started to create my own assemblage work.

By the early 2000s, I was a part of a small department at Universal called Entertainment Production that creates special displays and events in the park. No event is more special than our annual Halloween Horror Nights, where I have the opportunity to scare up to thousands of people a night.

In addition to the usual rides, weekend nights in October feature mazes based on movies or TV shows, such as The Walking Dead, Alien vs. Predator, and An American Werewolf in London.

There are also five Scare Zones that act as “warm ups” to the mazes. Scare Zones are dimly lit, fog-filled streets overrun with actors who have one job and one job only: to scare the crap out of you. And it’s my job to ensure that happens.

That’s where the dead bodies come in.

In mid-May or so, I meet with the event’s creative director and the head art director to hash out ideas. They oversee the creative content for all the mazes as well as the Walking Dead Scare Zone. As with the mazes, our first options are films or television shows related to the studio, which is one reason why New York Street has been overrun for the last two years by crazed mobs inspired by the Purge films. Occasionally our marketing department plays a role in the process: Halloween fans got to vote on a theme for our French Village Street this year. Sometimes I’ll do Internet searches on the history of London, disasters, notorious criminals, or ghost stories to get ideas. This year, the overwhelming favorite zone was an idea I pitched: “Dark Christmas.” Evil elves, Krampus (the half-goat demon who frightens children into being nice), and a scary Santa Claus all ran amok down our version of London’s Baker Street.

My budget is tight so I reuse a lot of stuff year after year. For example, I once repurposed some killer clowns into zombie hookers. Some of our dead bodies are brand new, but we also have “veteran” bodies held together with tape and hot glue. There is nothing you can’t accomplish with a screw gun, a roll of gaff tape, and a bag of zip ties.

I often work high-art or folk-art flourishes into the designs. The concept that received the most audience votes for French Street this year was “Mask-A-Raid”: a horde of cannibals masquerading as French aristocrats. I arranged French aristocrats at a massive table laden with fruits, vegetables, and human body parts in the spirit of 17th century Dutch still-life paintings and the grotesque tableaux of contemporary photographer Joel-Peter Witkin. A string quartet of skeletons is playing violins and cellos behind them. In 2010, I created a Scare Zone inspired by the Mexican folk legend “La Llorona,” the “Weeping Woman” who is searching for her dead children.

This year’s Halloween event is winding down. All I do now is periodically walk through to check for damage and readjust the lights. I can relax until November when it all gets packed up for next year.

Patrick Quinn is a mixed-media artist living in Los Angeles. More of his art can be seen here. Universal City’s Halloween Horror Nights continue through Nov. 2. He wrote this for Zocalo Public Square.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME politics

Walt Disney, Ronald Reagan and the Fear of Hollywood Communism

HUAC quote
Director Sam Wood, quoted in the Oct. 27, 1947, issue of TIME TUNE

Oct. 20, 1947: The House Un-American Activities Committee opens hearings into communist infiltration of the motion picture industry

Concern over the corrupting influence of the media is nothing new.

On this day — Oct. 20 — in 1947, members of the House Un-American Activities Committee began an investigation into alleged communist influences in the film industry as the post-World War II “Red Scare” ramped up towards its peak. (Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy, the namesake of an era marked by anti-communist paranoia, was not involved with the Congressional committee, although their aims overlapped.) Fearing a conspiracy that would inject propaganda into productions and recruit movie-going Americans to communist causes, the committee subpoenaed more than 40 actors, directors, writers and studio executives, whom they grilled about their political affiliations and asked to name names of other Hollywood communists.

And while 80 celebrities — including Lauren Bacall, Humphrey Bogart, Gene Kelly and John Huston — signed a petition denouncing the committee as un-American itself for probing the politics of individual citizens, the anti-communist momentum of the day carried the hearings forward.

Some of those subpoenaed cooperated fully with the committee, confirming its fears that subversives were at work in Hollywood. These “friendly witnesses” included Ronald Reagan, who testified that a “small clique” of communists “have attempted to be a disruptive influence” within the Screen Actors Guild, and Walt Disney, who declared that they had been behind a strike at his studio. Disney felt particularly vulnerable to the Red Menace, according to his testimony, in which he alleged that one communist agitator, the union organizer Herbert Sorrell, swore “he would make a dust bowl out of my plant if he chose to.” Disney knew Sorrell was a communist, he said, because of “having seen his name appearing on a number of Commie front things,” which then went on to smear Disney’s name.

On the other hand, ten screenwriters and directors refused to testify, arguing that the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guaranteed the freedom to belong to any political organization they chose. Congress didn’t see it that way, and a month later the men were cited for contempt and ultimately sentenced to a year in prison each.

In prison, one of the Hollywood Ten, as they came to be known, discovered warmer feelings for the committee. Director Edward Dmytryk testified a second time in 1951, outdoing even Reagan and Disney in his friendliness. As TIME reported in its coverage of the hearing:

This time Dmytryk not only admitted membership in the party in 1944-45; he also gave the committee a longer list of party members (26) than any other witness to date and the best summary yet of the Communists’ ‘Operation Hollywood.’

Those names joined a blacklist that destroyed hundreds of film careers. Dmytryk, however, speaking “with the surprised air of a man discovering sin for the first time,” said he believed the names should be known, and communism routed.

“This is treason and it means the party is committing treason,” he testified. “For this reason, I am willing to talk today.”

Read TIME’s 1951 coverage of Dmytryk’s change of heart, here in the archives: Operation Hollywood

TIME Television

Guardians of the Galaxy is Headed to TV

Guardians of the Galaxy
Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy Marvel

The animated show will air on Disney XD in 2015

The Marvel sci-fi film Guardians of the Galaxy is headed to the small screen after a blockbuster summer at the box office. Disney Channel XD will launch an animated version of the show in 2015, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The announcement came Friday at New York Comic Con.

Like its live action predecessor, the new show will feature Peter Quill as Star-Lord and document his efforts to save the universe.

“We’re looking forward to working with the great team at Marvel Television to deliver an engaging animated series that fans can enjoy each week,” said Marc Buhaj, a Disney XD executive.

Guardians of the Galaxy ruled the box office this summer, grossing more than $300 million.

[THR]

TIME Books

Anne Helen Petersen on How to Build (and Bury) a Hollywood Scandal

9780142180679_ScandalsofCl-CVF.indd

The author and expert on all things scandalous talks to TIME about her new book

Everyone loves a scandal — and no one did scandal better than old Hollywood. In her new book, Scandals of Classic Hollywood: Sex, Deviance and Drama From the Golden Age of American Cinema (out Sept. 30), writer Anne Helen Petersen delves deep into the back stories of some of old Hollywood’s most famous stars, including Elizabeth Taylor, Montgomery Clift and Mae West.

Yet Petersen doesn’t just dish the dirt; as a “Doctor of Celebrity Gossip,” with a PhD in media studies, Petersen also provides insightful historical and cultural context to stories behind the gossip. TIME spoke with Petersen about the nature of a scandal, how gossip repeats itself and how Hollywood has changed.

TIME: What defined a scandal in old Hollywood?

Anne Helen Petersen: The thing about scandals that I always say is that no action is de facto scandalous. It only becomes scandalous when it trespasses or transgresses the lines of the status quo. So something in the late ‘40s — like when Ingrid Bergman had an affair with her director and then had a child out of wedlock, she was denounced as an instrument of evil on the Senate floor. If you did that today, [the reaction would be different].

Right. And a lot of actors and actresses had affairs, the public just never heard about. How much of that secrecy was a factor of the old Hollywood system, where stars had contracts with studios that were in turn invested in keeping their images clean?

The studio system functioned in symbiosis with the gossip apparatus — so the gossip magazines, the gossip columnists, the people who were in charge of mediating the information about the stars. It was never down on paper, but it was understood that [the gossip media] toed the studio line and in exchange for that they received a constant stream of information— maybe not true information, it was often times very fabricated information — about the stars.

Elizabeth Taylor Hulton Archive/Getty Images

In a lot of your writing you connect certain scandals that took place in old Hollywood with the scandals that take place today. In particular, I know you’ve compared coverage of the Elizabeth Taylor/Eddie Fisher/Debbie Reynolds love triangle with the ongoing Jennifer Aniston and Brangelina tabloid saga. I’m wondering if scandals in Hollywood have actually changed at all since the golden era?

I think certain tropes of what we expect of a woman or of a man or of a relationship have shifted over the last 100 years, but we’re still very much engaged in policing those [expectations] as a society. So the reason it’s so easy to relate scandals that are happening now to scandals that have happened historically is that it’s the same sort of policing taking place. So while the specifics of the scandal may change, the actual ways that society and media treats it has not.

Were there any differences in the types of scandals that actors versus actresses faced?

In the book, some scandals aren’t scandals at all. With the story of the affair between Clark Gable and Carole Lombard or the relationship between Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, it’s a story of how something didn’t become scandalous. Because if you were a white straight male, you could handle a scandal. Unless you were a white straight overweight male like Fatty Arbuckle.

Fatty Arbuckle Library of Congress

But the real tragedies of the book are all women. Today [it's not quite so bad]. When Kristen Stewart was caught cheating with a director, it was a scandal, but [not in the same way it was for] Ingrid Bergman, where it ruined her career.

What effect has the rise of entertainment media had on Hollywood?

Even in classic Hollywood there were always people who wanted to know the dirt and tried really hard to get it. But what happened with the demise of classic Hollywood — and you see this in my book in the last section about Montgomery Clift and Marlon Brando and James Dean — is that there were these stars who weren’t on studio contracts and that allowed for all sorts of scandalous material to come out about them.

Marlon Brando Library of Congress

As I see it, there are the two modes of reporting on celebrities: you have the people who want to serve up stories that affirm that celebrities are exactly who we think they are. And then there is the mode that kind of tears down the celebrity. There are just more outlets on either side, whether they are bolstering or tearing down stars. So it makes it harder to have a really coherent image of a particular celebrity. I think that’s the reason that people really seem to like Jennifer Lawrence, because she’s just so on message.

‘On message’ is an interesting concept. Do celebrities have more control over their own image today because of things like social media or a more savvy awareness of branding?

Well, we think we have more access to the stars with social media, like there’s this real semblance of authenticity and that we somehow have a direct conduit to everything that a star is doing. But actually I think that it’s a way that they can control their brand message even tighter.

The way I think of the history of Hollywood is this cycle of control and rupture, control and rupture. So in old Hollywood everything is locked down, as with the studio system. And then there’s the rupture of the 1950s, [where actors were beginning to work without long-term contracts]. In the ‘80s and ‘90s, everything was very controlled and locked down again by these incredible publicists. Then, with the rise of digital technology, you have TMZ and gossip bloggers like Perez. The crazy gossip period of 2005 to 2008 is again this time where people are trying to reconfigure [celebrity]. Now, a star thinks, People can take a picture of me anywhere and I can connect with my fans directly through Twitter. How do we [make this work for] our message?

Scandals of Classic Hollywood is based on your popular column over at The Hairpin. What can your regular readers expect from the book?

It’s based on the same concept as the column but it’s all new content. My goal for the book — and really for all of the writing I do now — is to do this hybrid, where I take the ideas that I know from academia and then write them in a way that’s accessible to a wider audience.

Dorothy Dandridge Library of Congress

What’s next for you?

I think that my next book will take contemporary icons — people like Jennifer Lawrence or Kanye West or Beyonce — and look at their antecedents from, say, 20 years before. So I’ll look at Princess Diana in the 1980s and then I’ll look at Kate Middleton. Then there will be the tortured genius, so I’ll look at Michael Jackson and Kanye West. It will still use the historical context, but it won’t go as far back in history.

TIME celebrities

From Goofy Teen to Dashing Groom: George Clooney’s Life in Pictures

In honor of the sexiest man alive becoming the sexiest husband alive, here's a look back at Clooney's life, loves and long career

TIME celebrities

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt Got Married in France Last Weekend

Finally

Superstar couple Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt were secretly married in France on Saturday, a spokesperson told the Associated Press on Thursday.

The duo reportedly first came together on the set of Mr. and Mrs. Smith about a decade ago, but they were only engaged in 2012. Now, their marriage is official.

Jolie and Pitt were married in Château Miraval in the south of France in a small ceremony attended by family and friends, including the couple’s six children, the AP reports.

The couple is set to get back together on the screen next year in a drama that Jolie wrote and will direct called By the Sea, set for release next year.

[AP]

TIME movies

Lake Bell to Direct Film Adaption of The Emperor’s Children: Reports

Actress Lake Bell arrives at the 2014 Film Independent Spirit Awards in Santa Monica
Actress Lake Bell arrives at the 2014 Film Independent Spirit Awards in Santa Monica, California on March 1, 2014. Danny Moloshok—Reuters

The budding director is set to tackle her next project following the success of her debut In a World

Actress and promising auteur Lake Bell is booked to direct the film adaptation of Claire Messud’s 2006 novel The Emperor’s Children, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

The feature is set to be produced by Brian Grazer’s Imagine Entertainment, while the screenplay has reportedly been penned by indie-film stalwart Noah Baumbach. There is no word yet on when the movie will hit theaters.

The narrative follows the lives of three affluent but struggling late-20-somethings leading up to and after 9/11, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The novel was long-listed for the 2006 Man Booker Prize and picked up the 2007 Massachusetts Book Award for fiction.

The Emperor’s Children will be Bell’s second feature film to direct following the success of her helmer debut In a World.

[Hollywood Reporter]

TIME Television

See What’s Next For Jennifer Lopez’s Love Life

The 45-year-old actress told Chelsea Handler, "I need to plan better"

Jennifer Lopez opened up about her relationship life on Chelsea Lately Thursday. Lopez told outgoing E! host Chelsea Handler, “I don’t really plan things out” when referring to her love life. Lopez also confirmed her status as being single, despite the rumors that she may be back together with her actor ex-boyfriend Casper Smart.

Prior to her relationship with Smart, Lopez was married to musical artist and television producer Marc Anthony. Lopez told People in May in an article about her divorce that she “went through a tremendous low, but I wouldn’t change anything [about my past] because it made me who I am.”

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