TIME movies

The Short List of Possible Spider-Man Directors Is All Men

Columbia Pictures Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man in The Amazing Spider-Man 2

The Marvel-Sony Spider-Man reboot is set for July 2017

Amidst debate about whether female directors are being deliberately boxed out of the superhero genre, Deadline has published a new short list of reported directors in the running to direct the Marvel-Sony Spider-Man reboot. And—unsurprisingly—everyone on the list is a man.

The directors in contention to direct the film about the teenage crime fighter—which, according to Deadline, is going for a superhero-meets-Ferris Bueller vibe—are Warm Bodies writer Jonathan Levine, St. Vincent director Ted Melfi, Pitch Perfect director Jason Moore, Napoleon Dynamite director Jared Hess and Vacation directors John Francis Daley and Jonathan M. Goldstein.

MORE: The New Wonder Woman Director Means Warner Bros. Is Listening

Though this list may not be all-inclusive, it’s nonetheless frustrating to see no women in the running. In a decade that’s seen almost 50 superhero films, not a single woman has directed a major project. (Lexi Alexander, who directed the comic book-inspired Punisher: War Zone in 2008 came closest, but the box office potential for that film was nothing close to a movie like Spider-Man or even Wonder Woman.)

A recent study showed that women, and especially Hispanic women, are summer’s most frequent moviegoers—and big franchise movies that do include a woman’s perspective and feature kick-ass female characters do better at the box office. (That’s not to say that male directors can’t do that—but having a woman at the helm definitely helps.) The Jennifer Lawrence pic The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 and Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy were the second and third highest-grossing film of 2014. Guardians also happened to be Marvel’s first movie written by a woman, Nicole Perlman, and featured a strong female hero in Zoe Saldana’s Gamora.

There is nothing inherently “masculine” about superhero movies—and a coming-of-age hero story in particular. The few women given the opportunity to do so have proven capable of running action franchises and even surpassing their male counterparts. The best example, of course, is Zero Dark Thirty and Hurt Locker director Kathryn Bigelow, but Catherine Hardwicke also had huge success with Twilight. Michelle MacLaren, for example, was attached to the Warner Bros. and DC Wonder Woman movie after having directed some of the best episodes of testosterone-laden shows like Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead.

But even MacLaren isn’t guaranteed a spot in the superhero world. The director left the first major female superhero film after reports of “creative differences.” Following quick accusations of sexism, Warner Bros. signed Monster director Patty Jenkins to replace her.

Female directors in general are underrepresented in big, blockbuster films. Last year, only 7% of the 250 highest-grossing films were directed by women, according to the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University.

Spider-Man seems like the perfect opportunity to diversify the blockbuster genre. This is the third reboot of the franchise since 2002, and the last installment was a box office disappointment. Bringing on a female director might add much needed perspective and a new appeal. It might even help make characters like Mary Jane and Gwen Stacey (Spider-Man’s two girlfriends and frequent damsels in distress) three-dimensional.

But unlike DC, Marvel has yet to give a female director any of their films. The lack of female heroes and female directors attached to their movies is so criticized by fans that SNL spoofed the issue last weekend with a rom-com version of a Black Widow movie that included the tagline “Chill. Marvel gets women.”

Marvel’s first female-led superhero movie, Captain Marvel, is due out in 2018 and is being written by female writing team Nicole Perlman (Guardians of the Galaxy) and Meg LeFauve (Inside Out). Given Captain Marvel’s feminist outlook in the comic books, it’s likely that Marvel choose a woman to helm that film.

But it would be even more exciting to see Marvel take a “risk” on a woman on one of its many future franchises—instead of just relegating them to “female films.”

Read Next: This Map Shows How All the Future Marvel Movies Are Connected

TIME movies

The Men Head to Myrtle Beach in New Magic Mike XXL Trailer

You know what's coming, and you love it

If the advertising campaign for Magic Mike XXL is one thing, it’s not subtle, and that is a blessing. #ComeAgain? Yeah.

Enjoy the blatant innuendo in the latest trailer for the movie, which highlights some of that plot—if it even matters. The men are on their way to Myrtle Beach for a convention, and Mike’s encouraging them to innovate: “If this really is our last ride, what if we we make up some new routines?” So this edition of the Mike saga seems to have a little bit of the Bring It On/Pitch Perfect spirit.

Also featured? The big name women in the cast, including Andie MacDowell, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Elizabeth Banks, and new, male addition Donald Glover.

Oh, and some body rolls. Duh.

TIME movies

Meet the Man Behind Sesame Street‘s Big Bird

Caroll Spinney is the legendary puppeteer behind Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch

The documentary I Am Big Bird, out on May 6 in theaters, VOD and iTunes, takes a look at the life of Caroll Spinney, the man who has brought life to Sesame Street‘s Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch since the first season of the show in 1969.

Take a look back at the legendary puppeteer’s career playing these iconic characters.

TIME movies

This Is What It’s Like to Play Big Bird on Sesame Street for 45 Years

Caroll Spinney has spent nearly half a century donning a big yellow bird suit. Now, he's the subject of the new documentary I Am Big Bird

Something has been happening to Caroll Spinney lately that hasn’t happened in his half-century in show business: He’s getting recognized on the street. And not as Big Bird, but as Caroll Spinney. Spinney has spent 45 years hidden inside the feathery costume of the most recognizable children’s character this side of Mickey Mouse. And now that a new documentary, I Am Big Bird, tells the story of the man behind the bird, the bearer of some of the most endearing vocal chords on television is getting his due.

The documentary, directed and produced by Dave LaMattina and Chad Walker and out May 6 in theaters, VOD and iTunes, paints a portrait of a man who’s been dedicated to puppetry since the moment he first learned what a puppet was. Drawing on hundreds of hours of footage taken by Spinney and his wife Debra—whose love story gives the film much of its heart—it’s a behind-the-feathers look at the soul of Sesame Street.

Spinney spoke to TIME about the moment he fell for puppetry, how Big Bird evolved into the bird he is today and his hopes for the big yellow bird’s future.

TIME: What was it about puppets that entranced you as a child?

Caroll Spinney: I saw my first [puppet] show when I was five years old, and I thought it was fabulous they were telling a story using little things on their hands. A few years later, I saw another show at a little festival and that really clinched it for me. For Christmas, [my mother] built me a little theater, and after I saw the puppets, my eyes popped out. She didn’t realize she was giving me my career that day.

And you also did animation work early in your career?

I discovered after four years that I really did not enjoy doing animation. I discovered how boring it can be. I’d work all week on an animation and then we’d film it and it went by in about 2-and-a-half seconds. With performing, you can hear the applause. TV is so exciting—all my early shows were always live.

In the documentary, there’s a lot of talk about you and Big Bird being one and the same. Where does Big Bird end and Caroll Spinney begin?

Well of course, he’s a puppet. He was initially a goofy kind of guy. But it wasn’t long into the show that it occurred to me that it would be better if I played Big Bird like he was a great big child—he’s 8-feet-2—and that way he could be learning the alphabet. Within two weeks he was fully transformed into a 4-and-a-half-year-old. Within a year the writers had made him smarter, so I decided he was six. And there he remains—he’ll always be six.

How do you play a character that’s a child as you get older?

I have a strong memory of my early childhood. I can remember life before I was two. I remember being toilet-trained like it was last week—and it wasn’t last week. I can still speak an octave or so higher in speech, so I just speak a little higher. I don’t mean to be cute—it just seems to come out that way.

What’s it like to play a character that is universally recognized, but not necessarily have a face that gets recognized on the street?

I’m almost never recognized. Lately because of the publicity for the movie, a few people have come up to me in airports. But I’d been asked, years ago, didn’t it bother me to have Big Bird be so famous and me totally unknown. I thought of that as one of the positives, that you’re not bothered because nobody knows who you are. You’re just another person.

What’s one of the greatest lessons you learned from Jim Henson?

You can exaggerate with puppets. You’re not trying to look like real people. The way the Muppets are designed is really appealing. Puppets are best if they’re exaggerated creatures.

What are your hopes for Big Bird in the future, after you stop playing him?

For about 18 years I’ve had a stand-in, named Matt Vogel. The irony of that is “vogel” is the German word for bird. He’s a very patient man because he still doesn’t play Big Bird all the time. Lately he’s doing it while I still do the voice. Occasionally I still climb into the bird, but I must admit, I was 35 when I got the job and now over 45 years later, I’m getting to be somehow in my 80s. What a surprise.

Do you think that Big Bird will change?

Eventually Matt will be taking over, and the voice will be slightly different. Big Bird is based on what I learned as a child. We put some of ourselves into it, so I’m sure that the bird will change a little bit. Jim talked about that the day he hired me. He said, I hope these characters can live on beyond our own lives. Most people don’t hold a job for 45 years. They pass on or want to retire. I don’t want to retire. My real goal is to do 50 years on Sesame Street, and I only got 4-and-a-half years to go.

TIME movies

Why Citizen Kane Almost Didn’t Happen

Citizen Kane
Silver Screen Collection / Getty Images Orson Welles speaking at a lectern with a large portrait of himself in the background in a publicity still issued for the film, 'Citizen Kane', 1941.

Afraid of angering William Randolph Hearst, Hollywood considered pulling the plug

On the 100th anniversary of his May 6, 1915, birth, it’s hard to imagine a version of the Orson Welles story that didn’t involve Citizen Kane. The actor and director took his time crossing over to Hollywood, but his first foray into feature-length filmmaking was destined to become one of cinematic history’s high points. The 1941 Kane is a regular denizen of best-movies-ever lists (including TIME’s) and one of the defining moments of Welles’ career.

But there was a moment when it looked like it might never get its theatrical release.

It was March of 1941, and filming was done, advertising had begun and three-quarters of a million dollars—a lot at the time–were already spent. Though the only people who had seen it so far had done so in private settings, word got around to media mogul William Randolph Hearst that the title character bore more than a little resemblance to his real-life self. As TIME noted, it was brash of Hearst to try to stop a film that was being hailed as landmark:

The objection of Mr. Hearst, who founded a publishing empire on sensationalism, is ironic. For to most of the several hundred people who have seen the film at private showings, Citizen Kane is the most sensational product of the U. S. movie industry. It has found important new techniques in picture-making and storytelling. Artful and artfully artless, it is not afraid to say the same thing twice if twice-telling reveals a fourfold truth. It is as psychiatrically sound as a fine novel but projected with far greater scope, for instance, than Aldous Huxley was inspired to bring to his novel on the same theme. It is a work of art created by grown people for grown people.

It seemed that Hearst would still try. By the end of the month, TIME reported that Hollywood had collective goosebumps at the thought of Hearst-owned papers going on the attack and releasing all the pent-up gossip reporters had collected. Louis B. Mayer of MGM was reportedly summoning the studios to remind RKO, Kane‘s studio, that its competitors controlled (and could stop) distribution. There was even talk that the other studios, eager to avoid angering Hearst, were willing to chip in to pay RKO back for the money it had spent on Citizen Kane.

But the fear was all for naught. In a decidedly un-Hollywood fashion, Hearst eventually acknowledged that he just didn’t care that much.

Read a 1985 obituary for Orson Welles, here in the TIME Vault: The Man Did Make Movies

TIME movies

Martin Freeman Joins Captain America: Civil War

Actor Martin Freeman at the 67th BAFTAS in London on Feb. 8, 2015.
Hubert Boesl—AP Actor Martin Freeman at the 67th BAFTAS in London on Feb. 8, 2015.

The actor's role has not been announced

Martin Freeman has just taken his next step toward conquering all factions of fandom. The star of The Hobbit and Sherlock has joined Captain America: Civil War in an unknown role, according to a statement from Marvel.

“From his roles as Bilbo Baggins and Doctor Watson to Tim in The Office, Martin’s range from the dramatic to the comedic has consistently impressed us,” said Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige. “We couldn’t be more honored or excited to have such a talented actor join the Marvel Cinematic Universe.”

Martin joins a cast that’s already brimming with heroes and villains from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In addition to Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr. as clashing Avengers, the film also stars Scarlett Johansson, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Frank Grillo, Daniel Bruhl, Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Olsen, and Chadwick Boseman, making his first appearance as Black Panther. It’s also likely that Civil War will make the first appearance of the rebooted, MCU-approved Spider-Man.

Captain America: Civil War hits theaters on May 6, 2016.

This article originally appeared on EW.com.

TIME movies

Marvel CEO Says in Leaked Email That Female Superhero Movies Have Been a ‘Disaster’

Marvel/Disney Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow

The leaked email comes in the wake of accusations of sexism against Marvel

A new exchange dug out of the trove of leaked Sony emails suggests that Marvel Entertainment CEO Ike Perlmutter questioned the profitability of a female-led superhero film just months before the company announced the upcoming Captain Marvel movie.

As Disney and Marvel have faced increasing criticism for their failure to highlight female heroes in previous movies, Indiewire found a message from Perlmutter to Sony executive Michael Lynton listing female superhero films that have failed. The context of the summer 2014 email is unclear: Perlmutter could be enumerating the films as proof that female superhero movies bomb at the box office, or he may be optimistically hoping to break the pattern. (Marvel declined to comment.)

Read the email below:


As we discussed on the phone, below are just a few examples. There are more.



1. Electra (Marvel) – Very bad idea and the end result was very, very bad. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=elektra.htm

2. Catwoman (WB/DC) – Catwoman was one of the most important female character within the Batmanfranchise. This film was a disaster. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=catwoman.htm

3. Supergirl – (DC) Supergirl was one of the most important female super hero in Superman franchise. This Movie came out in 1984 and did $14 million total domestic with opening weekend of $5.5 million. Again, another disaster.


MORE: Marvel President Tries to Explain Lack of Female Superhero Movies

Despite Perlmutter’s apparently negative view of previous female-led superhero movies, Marvel scheduled its first such film, Captain Marvel, for 2018. Sony also announced last year that they were planning to create a movie based on a woman character from the Spider-Man universe (though they have yet to say which character).

Yet this revelation comes in the wake of several accusations of sexism against Marvel. Fans expressed disappointment with the decision to exclude Wasp, a female founding member of the Avengers, from both the Avengers films and the upcoming Ant-Man movie. Criticism reached a fever pitch two weeks ago when Avengers: Age of Ultron actors Chris Evans and Jeremy Renner joked during a press junket that the character Black Widow (played by Scarlett Johansson in the films) was a “slut” and a “whore.” Over the weekend, Saturday Night Live spoofed the Marvel scandal with a trailer for a rom-com version of Black Widow that contained the slogan “Chill. Marvel gets women.”

Assuming the worst, fans are already criticizing the Perlmutter email on social media, aptly pointing out that plenty of male superhero movies that have tanked as well (see: Green Lantern, Green Hornet, Daredevil). The email is particularly alienating to the comic world’s female fan base, which has expanded dramatically since the films Perlmutter lists premiered. About half of Comic Con attendees are now women, and more than 40% of the audience for Guardians of the Galaxy—Marvel’s biggest hit last year—was female.

Read Next: Watch Scarlett Johansson Satirize Marvel’s Lack of Female Superheroes

TIME movies

Disney Is ‘Talking About’ the Next Indiana Jones Film

Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones in "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom."
Paramount Pictures/Lucasfilm Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones in "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom."

Producer Kathleen Kennedy says Disney 'will one day' make an Indy movie

Ever since Disney acquired the Indiana Jones film rights in 2013, there has been an assumption that some plans for another installment in the franchise would be forthcoming sooner rather than later. Now, producer Kathleen Kennedy has made it quite clear that Disney fully intends to keep Indy’s spirit alive on the big screen.

Speaking with Vanity Fair, Kennedy said that an Indiana Jones movie “will one day be made inside this company,” though she couldn’t give specifics about when exactly the movie would ever come together. According to Kennedy, there’s no script being worked on “but we are talking about it.”

There were recently rumors that Jurassic World star (and erstwhile Burt Macklin) Chris Pratt was being considered for the role made famous by Harrison Ford, but Kennedy did not address whether those rumors have any validity.

Kennedy is, of course, busy with another major franchise revival for Disney—Star Wars, which you can read all of EW’s continuing coverage here before The Force Awakens arrives later this year.

This article originally appeared on EW.com.

TIME movies

Anna Kendrick on Making Pitch Perfect 3: ‘I’m Not One to Count My Chickens’

Pitch Perfect 2
Richard Cartwright—Universal Pictures Anna Kendrick stars in Pitch Perfect 2

"I just want to see how this one does," the actress tells TIME

Pitch Perfect 2 doesn’t come out until May 15, but chatter about a possible third installment already feels as ubiquitous as, well, “Cups” circa 2013. Rebel Wilson, who plays the scene-stealing Fat Amy, said she’s already signed on to be in another installment, though the studio hasn’t confirmed that another is even happening. Elizabeth Banks, who is making her feature-film directorial debut with the movie, recently told Entertainment Weekly, “I’m really focused on putting this movie out and then letting the audience tell us what to do next.”

But what about Anna Kendrick, whose role as surly new recruit Beca helped turn the modest box-office success into an international sleeper hit that spawned a top 10 Billboard single? She, like Banks, is waiting to see what happens with the new film before making any plans. “I’m not one to count my chickens, so I just want to see how this one does and find out if there’s an appetite for that before I even think about it,” Kendrick tells TIME. “I’ll drive myself crazy.”

Kendrick was initially hesitant about participating in Pitch Perfect 2, worried that a follow-up to the 2012 film about the quirky world of collegiate a capella would go the way of other half-assed comedy sequels. But what drew her back to the franchise, she says, was the participation of her original co-stars. “I didn’t know if they were just going to do a sloppy seconds version of it, and that was the thing that made me nervous,” she said. “When I found out it was really going forward and it was going to be a real movie and everybody was coming back—there was no way I was going to miss out on that.”

But don’t let the trailers and their pillow fights fool you: working closely to learn the new songs and choreography is nothing like hanging out with your college pals. “You get as close during the rehearsal process as you would get working in an office,” Kendrick says. Aca-scuse me? “There’s so much of it that’s mundane that I wish it was pillow fights and campfire stories, but it’s a lot of banality and getting the job done and asking questions. I always feel like I’m letting people down when I’m like, ‘You know, it’s a job!’”

Though Pitch Perfect 2 helps kick off the summer movie season, Kendrick says part of the film’s appeal lies in how little it has in common with other blockbusters and their penchants for explosive action and car chases. “Even though the stakes are really high for these girls, the stakes in the grand scheme of things are super low,” she says. “My inspiration for the first movie, and hopefully for the second movie, was always Dodgeball. The universe of the movie is built on really low stakes, but I find that really charming! It doesn’t have to be like, the city’s going to blow up if we don’t defuse the bomb. It’s just people wanting to win.”

TIME movies

Louis C.K. Is Working on a New Movie Called I’m A Cop

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon - Season 2
Douglas Gorenstein—NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Images Comedian Louis C.K. on the Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, April 7, 2015.

He'll write, direct and star in the indie film

Louis C.K. has proven himself a capable triple threat in his FX series Louie, earning Emmy nominations for his acting and directing and winning for his writing. He’ll take all three skills to his new movie I’m a Cop, which will have a powerful producer in Scott Rudin.

The indie film will tell the story of a volunteer police officer who goes full-time after the death of his mother—a highly decorated retired officer herself, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Considering C.K.’s skills as a social satirist, plus the nuanced problems surrounding modern policing, here’s hoping the movie will resemble Louie more than 21 Jump Street.

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