And in a now-viral thread that Dan Fogelman, creator of “This is Us,” recently shared on Twitter about his friend and “Game of Thrones” superfan Alex Hanan, it seems that life imitates art.
“It was the stuff that really only happens in a movie,” Fogelman told HuffPost. “But on top of that, for Alex’s sheer larger-than-life personality to have willed the connection to happen … it made it all a little magical.”
In honor of the HBO hit show’s eighth and final season on Sunday, Fogelman tweeted about Hanan, whom he described as “handsome and charming as hell, with the best head of hair you’ve ever seen” and also “obsessed w Game of Thrones like no one you’ve ever known.”
Hanan loved to give away spoilers about the show, Fogelman told HuffPost.
“He would announce that he wasn’t going to tell you something, then tell you because he couldn’t help it,” he said.
Fogelman began his story by explaining that he and Hanan were meeting up to see Bruce Springsteen’s Broadway show about a year ago. Hanan got to the show early and called Fogelman while he was on his way over in a cab.
He’s talking a mile a minute. While waiting outside the theater, he has spotted George R. Martin. He says he’s going to go talk to him. I beg him not to. He hangs up on me.
“…[Hanan] never listens to anyone so I just KNOW he’s going to go accost George R. Martin,” Fogelman wrote.
Ends up, Hanan did exactly that.
I arrive at the theater. Alex is waiting, bursting with energy as always. He tells me he approached George. Got a picture. And, somehow – miraculously – got George R Martin’s cell phone number. George was with his wife and told Alex they usually go for pizza after a show.
During the entire show, Fogelman said, Hanan fretted about whether to text Martin. Fogelman said he tried to discourage his friend because he didn’t think Martin would text back and Hanan would be disappointed.
Despite Fogelman’s best efforts, he said, Hanan did exactly what he wanted to do.
The Springsteen show ends. It’s amazing. Alex, as I knew he would, immediately texts George. And to my absolute shock… George R Martin writes Alex back! He tells us to meet them at a local pizza joint.
Fogelman said they showed up at the pizza place and that he was convinced Martin would ghost them, but thought, “At least it will be a funny story.” Plus, the pizza was bound to be good, since Martin is a huge NYC pizza fan.
But then … Martin and his “lovely wife” arrived, Fogelman recalled.
We eat pizza for an hour or two. George and I talk shop. Alex tries to play it cool, only makes a few nerdy Thrones references. At meal’s end, George gives Alex a Westeros coin. Alex reacts stronger than is appropriate for a 40-something man.
Here’s what George R Martin didn’t know that night. My handsome, well-haired, larger than life pal Alex is battling a random case of stage 4 lung cancer. He will pass away a year later. I will dedicate then S3 premiere of This Is Us to him.
“Alex had been having a tough year. He refused to wallow in it (or even admit it) but his health was failing,” Fogelman told HuffPost. “I think it was a real spark for him at a time when he needed one.”
Fogelman stressed how much the dinner meant to his friend.
“After the night with George, Alex occasionally texted with George,” Fogelman told HuffPost. “Nothing about his health — I don’t think George ever knew — just an occasional message here or there. George always wrote him back, never knowing Alex was sick.”
But for that entire year, Alex never stops talking about his night with his hero. And, in turn, I will never stop telling that story. Or, bigger picture: Alex’s story.
For our friends, watching this season’s GOT will be bittersweet without Alex texting us annoying spoilers.
Fogelman said he learned an important lesson from that experience.
But it will also be a reminder of our friend, who we miss terribly. And for me; not just a reminder of the power of storytelling. But also also a reminder of the importance of kindness (for no other reason than being kind) these days.
Fogelman also noted to HuffPost that he kept in touch with Martin himself, and their interactions have had a lasting effect on him.
“George and I kept in contact. Not a lot, but I’d see him at awards shows a few times, or we’d exchange texts, and it was always such a treat for me,” he said. “Not just because he’s such an icon and invented my favorite characters on TV, but because hearing from him instantly reminds me of one of my favorite people ever, and one of the favorite nights of my life.”
Now, excuse us while we grab some tissues.
This story has been updated with additional comments from Fogelman.
WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 21: Alex Trebek speaks during a rehearsal before a taping of Jeopardy! Power Players Week at DAR Constitution Hall on April 21, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images)
The singer and actress, who’s fittingly set to receive the 2019 CFDA Fashion Icon Award on June 3, has been experimenting with fashion since she first came on the scene in the late ’90s. In those days, JLo gravitated toward crop tops and slinky silhouettes. As she became more famous, her style became a little more sophisticated, though no less sexy.
We all witnessed a turning point when Lopez attended the Grammys in 2000 wearing that Versace gown. You know the one: blue and green chiffon with a V-neckline down to there. It takes a certain type of person to pull off that dress and, clearly, Lopez is that person. Since then, she’s cemented her status as a daring style star who hasn’t met a naked dress she doesn’t like.
“Jennifer Lopez uses clothes as a way to express confidence and power. Both designers and fans look forward to her fashion statements,” CFDA chairwoman Diane von Furstenberg said in a statement Tuesday.
Lopez is a red carpet staple who never fails to command our attention with her ensembles. To celebrate her upcoming CFDA honor, we’re taking a look back at the performer’s most memorable style moments over the years.
Jeffrey Mayer via Getty Images
Lopez wears a Badgley Mischka dress for her first Oscars ceremony in 1997.
Ron Galella, Ltd. via Getty Images
Lopez wears a slinky, backless black dress at the California Fashion Industry Friends of AIDS Project Los Angeles benefit dinner and fashion show honoring Tom Ford on June 5 in Santa Monica.
Jim Smeal via Getty Images
Lopez wears a silver top and long black skirt at the 7th annual MTV VMAs.
Jeff Kravitz via Getty Images
The performer wears an off-white ensemble with cowboy hat for the 1999 MTV VMAs in Los Angeles.
Rose Hartman via Getty Images
Lopez wears a silver minidress for the Notorious magazine party at the Limelight Club in New York.
Frank Micelotta Archive via Getty Images
Lopez performs in an embellished bra top and sparkly skirt at the 1999 Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas.
Kevin.Mazur/INACTIVE via Getty Images
Lopez wears a white crop top, bandana and matching pants at the 2000 MTV VMAs in New York.
Scott Gries via Getty Images
Lopez wears her famous Versace gown at the 42nd Grammy Awards in Los Angeles.
Frank Micelotta Archive via Getty Images
Lopez wears a Versace gown at the 74th annual Academy Awards at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood on March 24.
Frank Micelotta via Getty Images
Lopez wears a Valentino gown and Harry Winston jewelry at the 75th annual Academy Awards at the Kodak Theater on March 23 in Hollywood.
SGranitz via Getty Images
Lopez attends the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards on April 3 in Westwood, California.
Jean Baptiste Lacroix via Getty Images
Lopez wears a ruffled dress for the NRJ Music Awards in Cannes, France.
Patrick McMullan via Getty Images
Lopez wears a sparkly minidress at the 2006 MTV VMAs at Radio City Music Hall on Aug. 31 in New York City.
Mark Mainz via Getty Images
The singer and actress wears a green vintage gown by Jean Dessès at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party on March 5 in West Hollywood.
Jon Kopaloff via Getty Images
Lopez wears a double-breasted white suit during the Us Weekly presents Us’ Hot Hollywood 2007 at Sugar in Hollywood, California.
Kevin Winter via Getty Images
Lopez wears Marchesa at the 64th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton on Jan. 15.
Steve Granitz via Getty Images
Lopez wears a gold Marchesa dress at the 66th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Jan. 11.
Steve Granitz via Getty Images
Lopez wears Armani Privé for the 82nd Academy Awards on March 7 in Hollywood.
Kevin Mazur via Getty Images
Lopez wears a Gucci gown for the “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty” Costume Institute Gala at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 2 in New York.
Lester Cohen via Getty Images
Lopez wears Zuhair Murad at the 84th Oscars on Feb. 26 in Hollywood. (Fun fact: This look has been immortalized in Barbie form.)
Larry Busacca via Getty Images
Lopez wears a Michael Kors dress for the 2013 Met Gala celebrating the “PUNK: Chaos to Couture” exhibition on May 6 in New York.
Jon Kopaloff via Getty Images
The singer wears a glittering Charbel Zoe dress for the 2014 MTV VMAs on Aug. 24 in Inglewood, California.
Jason Merritt/TERM via Getty Images
Lopez wears a Zuhair Murad cape-gown at the 72nd Golden Globe Awards on Jan. 11 in Beverly Hills.
Axelle/Bauer-Griffin via Getty Images
The singer wears a gown by Zuhair Murad couture for the 2015 Vanity Fair Oscar Party on Feb. 22 in Beverly Hills.
Steve Granitz via Getty Images
The entertainer wears an Elie Saab gown at the 87th annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on Feb. 22 in Hollywood.
Jamie McCarthy via Getty Images
Lopez wears an Atelier Versace dragon-embellished dress for the “China: Through The Looking Glass” Costume Institute Benefit Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 4 in New York.
Jason Merritt/TERM via Getty Images
The “I’m Real” singer wears a Giambattista Valli gown for the 73rd annual Golden Globe Awards on Jan. 10 in Beverly Hills.
John Shearer via Getty Images
Lopez wears a purple Ralph & Russo gown for the 59th Grammy Awards on Feb. 12 in Los Angeles.
Sergi Alexander via Getty Images
Lopez wears a black cutout dress by Julien Macdonald for the the Latin Billboard Awards at Watsco Center on April 27 in Coral Gables, Florida.
Axelle/Bauer-Griffin via Getty Images
Lopez wears a silver gown by Atelier Versace for the 2018 MTV VMAs on Aug. 20 in New York.
Axelle/Bauer-Griffin via Getty Images
The “Booty” singer wears a bright pink gown by Georges Chakra for the the 2018 American Music Awards at Microsoft Theater on Oct. 9 in Los Angeles.
Nicholas Hunt via Getty Images
Lopez wears Giambattista Valli couture for the premiere of “Second Act” on Dec. 12 in New York.
Jon Kopaloff via Getty Images
The performer wears a Ralph & Russo ensemble for the 61st annual Grammy at Staples Center on Feb. 10 in Los Angeles.
Steve Granitz via Getty Images
Lopez wears a Tom Ford dress for the 91st Academy Awards in Los Angeles on Feb. 24.
Keeping up with the Kardashians is hard enough, but for Kendall Jenner, growing up with them was a whole other story.
The supermodel revealed she often felt like she “didn’t fit in” with sisters Kim, Khloe, Kourtney and Kylie in a candid interview with The Telegraph because she doesn’t share the family’s trademark body type.
“My sisters are a lot curvier than me,” Jenner told the outlet. “They have boobs and I don’t have boobs. Growing up being this little twiggy girl, I saw my sisters and always thought, ‘Oh no, am I supposed to be more sexy like them?’ I almost felt like I didn’t fit in for a part of my life.”
The supermodel previously spoke about how as a child she gravitated away from stereotypically girly things, which she credited to being raised as a Jenner, not a Kardashian.
“I was a huge tomboy,” she told Harper’s Bazaar last year. “I had a phase where I wore boys’ clothes. I was always hanging out with guys. I’ve always connected with guys more.”
Jenner has taken a bit of a different path than her famous family members, rocking runways around the world on a regular basis and preferring to keep most of her drama off-camera.
“I’m not necessarily a lot like them,” she told The Telegraph about her sisters. “I like that I have a different vibe to everyone. I like to do different things. And that’s OK.”
That holds especially true for her personal life, which she keeps very much private. Jenner has been reportedly dating Philadelphia 76ers forward Ben Simmons for months now, but has played coy in the press when asked about their romance.
“I’m in relationships for myself, for me and that other person, not for anybody else, so I don’t find the need to be flexing it like that,” she said on a radio show in February.
She added: “Everything is so magnified and everyone wants to know things, especially about your love life. A lot of the relationships that I’m in, I’m in it, and I’m in it with that one person and I’m a very loyal person once I’m fully in it.”
Much like organized crime families or pop star fan bases, the Kardashians prioritize loyalty over just about everything ― and we don’t exactly blame them, since they’ve been betrayed more times than anyone on “Game of Thrones.”
And everyone in their increasingly closed-off circle is wary of rocking the boat after Khloe Kardashian’s onetime boyfriend Tristan Thompson was accused of cheating on her with longtime family friend Jordyn Woods.
That’s why reports of Kim Kardashian’s best friend Larsa Pippen flirting with Kim’s ex-husband Kris Humphries at a party during the first weekend of Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival raised a few more internet eyebrows than usual.
Coachella is, of course, the motherland for KarJenner types ― Kendall Jenner and Jordyn Woods even reportedly had an “awkward” run-in ― so it’s no surprise it would be ground zero for more drama.
Pippen and Humphries were reportedly spotted getting “playful” and “standing next to each other” while talking at the festival, according to Us Weekly.
The Kardashians have a contentious relationship with Humphries, who in 2011 tied the knot with Kim in a lavish televised ceremony, only to call it quits 72 days later. Family members have since spoken harshly about the former NBA player, with Khloe Kardashian describing him as a “fucking loser” in a 2016 interview.
Thankfully, it seems like we don’t have another Jordyn Woods scenario in the making, as Pippen has since set the record straight.
The model, who was one of the first people to call out Woods over the cheating scandal, was just as quick to shut down the rumors that she was potentially cozying up to Humphries.
“The convo lasted all of 3 min. He told me he’s known Scottie since he was 14 and that he loves him and I said so do I,” she commented on an Instagram post. (Larsa Pippen was married to NBA legend Scottie Pippen for more than 20 years; the couple separated in November 2018.)
Honestly? We’re glad this mess cleared up quickly, because who knows if we could handle any more drama from this family… at least until the new season of their reality show premieres.
While much has been speculated about Ivanka Trump’s relationship with her stepmother, first lady Melania Trump, Ivana Trump seemingly settled things once and for all in an interview with The Atlantic published Friday.
Ivana said that the two get along fine “because [Melania] didn’t cause me to break up the marriage like the other one — I don’t even want to pronounce her name,” she said, referencing Marla Maples.
Stephanie Grisham, spokeswoman for Melania, told The Atlantic that the first lady and Ivanka have “always shared a close relationship and still do today.”
Melania spoke of her four stepchildren in a Harper’s Bazaar interview in 2016.
“They are grown-up,” she said. “I don’t see myself as their mother. I am their friend, and I’m here when they need me.”
Ivanka has said sweet things about her stepmother on numerous occasions, even praising her in the dedication section of her book, Women Who Work.
“Melania, you are an unbelievable mother with a heart of gold. You give generously of your time and attention and I appreciate your support and friendship,” Ivanka said.
She also tweeted out a message for Melania on her birthday in 2017, writing “Happy Birthday to our First Lady (and my incredible step-mom!) Melania Trump. A wonderful example of kindness and grace for us all!”
If you’re looking for a healthy dose of black girl magic this month, “Little” has got you covered.
The film, which released nationwide on Friday, stars 14-year-old Marsai Martin, Issa Rae and Regina Hall. It follows Jordan Sanders (Hall), CEO and founder of a tech company and painfully tough boss, who is magically reverted into her 13-year-old self (Martin). With the help of her assistant April (Rae), the CEO embarks on a fun, insightful journey to get in touch with her inner child.
This film is hilarious. But it’s more than just another body swap film. It is history-making. In one scene, Rae’s character jokingly says it’s impossible that Jordan is now a child because “that’s for white people.” She’s not wrong, as the trope has historically been in films reserved for white actors, with the exception of “Seventeen Again” starring Tia and Tamera Mowry. But the “Black-ish” star wants to shake Hollywood up, starting with “Little.”
When Martin was 10, she began to plant the seeds of becoming the youngest person ever to executive produce a film in Hollywood. She fired an agent who tried to limit her and joined forces with Hall, who’s also an EP, Rae and director Tina Gordon. Written by Tracy Oliver, this film is an example of the kind of representation we need to see in front of and behind the camera.
Even beyond representation, “Little,” a Will Packer production, is the product of an ecosystem that makes sure everyone eats. And laughs. Through Martin, Rae and Hall, a sisterhood exists where the “Insecure” and “Black Monday” stars lovingly tease the 14-year-old as if they grew up in the same home. Through the jokes, however, you can tell they have each others’ backs.
The trio spoke with HuffPost about Marsai’s history-making film, being inspired by Nipsey Hussle’s legacy and advice they would give themselves at 13-year-old. (Spoiler alert: Issa’s is “stop being so thirsty.”)
Marsai, you’re the youngest person in history to executive-produce a film. How does that feel? Was that a goal that you set out to accomplish?
Marsai Martin: You know, it wasn’t necessarily a goal. I think it came naturally, in a way, to where I get to create things that I love to create. I feel like I didn’t even know what producing meant when I first started. Then I was like, “Oh, snap! I have to do this and get to work with these type of people.” No, it’s lots of fun. I’m beyond grateful to have the opportunity to.
Issa and Regina, you both have these amazing careers. Issa, you’re like just this budding icon. Regina, you have been in the industry for so many years doing the damn thing. What was it like just working on this film executive-produced by Marsai?
Issa Rae: I mean, that’s what appealed to me the most. Regina hit me up about the film to begin with. We’ve been trying to figure out a way to work together. She was like, “Oh, I’m EPing this script. What do you think?” I loved the story because I grew up on “Big.” Then, hearing that Marsai was not only in it, but it was her idea, it came from her, I was just like, “Oh, I want to be a part of this. This is history.” I didn’t know that she was the first, not just the youngest black girl EP, but that she was the youngest EP in film history. That is just magical.
It really makes me tear up to think about everyone who’s going to just look at her name in the history books and see what is possible, especially young black girls. I was like, if she was around when I was younger, you couldn’t tell me anything. I’d be like, “Oh, Marsai did it, so I can do it too.” That’s just so powerful to me.
Regina Hall:I’m a big fan of Issa. I have wanted to work with her for a long time. A huge fan of Marsai as well. The idea was great. And I just thought, what an incredible way to be able to have this amazing talent [and] be able to support her in anyway, and be able to work with someone whose work I love. I think Issa, comedically, is … the first time I saw her … Well, we tried. God knows we tried. We wrote a picture. We tried.
Rae:We pitched a movie everywhere in Hollywood. They said no.
Hall:They said no.
Rae:Meanwhile, they were saying yes to Marsai. That’s good. It was all good. We failed so she could win.
Hall:That’s right, that’s right. Even though we wouldn’t have been the youngest … we might have got the most “nos.” We might have set a record over here.
What was the movie?
Rae:You know, we’re not …
Hall:It’s okay. We’re not even gonna … but it was good.
Rae:It was good. It was so funny.
Hall:It’s still funny and we laughed.
Rae:It didn’t make them laugh, but it made us laugh.
Hall:It made us laugh and still does. I think, too, in this time with women really being empowered to see it, I’m like Issa to see her do this at such a young age and just have an idea, not just have it and sit on it, but put it together, vocalize it, pitch it and go in that room and do what we didn’t, and get it done and get it made. To work with two such incredible women, and Tina, our director, so three incredible women, I was excited for that.
“Little” discusses this idea of not shrinking yourself through Issa’s character, April. Marsai, you let your agent go because she was like, “I want you to chill a little bit during this hiatus.” Can you talk about that and how did you come to that decision, especially at such a young age?
Martin: I feel like it was more than just, “Chill, you’re on ‘Black-ish,’ relax. You can always chill. Vacations are fun.” It was more of they didn’t trust the story that I had when I said I wanted to create something. Like I said, we had this huge meeting. They brought out a pile of scripts and papers to tell us all the stuff that I wasn’t in, or I don’t belong in, which is basically saying all the opportunities for young black girls like me don’t have the chance to come out here and do amazing things such as other people do. That’s why we fired them.
It was more of like a family situation, too, because I was 10 at the time. It was more of a family decision. We wanted to move forward. It’s something that we really worked really hard on. Of course, with “Little,” we wanted to do something where it was for everyone and everyone could feel welcomed. I didn’t get the chance to have that when I was that age.
Can you talk about the importance of hair having a huge presence in the film?
Martin: With hair, I feel like it also defines who I am, or who we are as a person too. Sometimes, us, as black women, they’d be like, “Why is your hair like that?” They don’t understand the culture or the natural hair type fill. I feel like when we wanted to create little Jordan, we wanted to create someone that was a strong, intelligent black kid. I felt like that was all in the hair too because they kind of tore us down with that also. We wanted to bring that back too and make it more of a statement.
What age, Regina, Issa, did you feel fully comfortable in bossing up and being, taking control of yourself and your destiny?
Hall:I feel like, for me, it’s always a work in progress.
Rae:Yes. I was gonna say 30.
Hall: Yes. I feel like you get to one level and you’re comfortable. Then, you get to the next level and you got to readjust for that next level. I think it’s always a process.
Rae: I agree. I don’t want to be 50, 60 being like, “Oh, I don’t give AF.” I don’t care. I want to be able to have that now. Like Regina said, it is about leveling, taking one step at a time in terms of shedding your Fs.
What advice would you give to your 13-year-old self, all of you?
Rae: I guess, chill, calm down. I’d say stop comparing yourself to others. Everybody’s path is not your path. Stop being so thirsty.
Martin:I was 13 last year …
Hall:EP-ing. Yours should be “work harder.”
Hall:That’s my advice for you at 13.
Martin:How am I slacking?
Rae: It’s just like, you’re 14 now and you’ve EP’ed one movie?
Hall:Yes. You’re not trying. You got it to screen in May. Come on!
Martin:Hey, look. I’m trying, guys. You know, I’ve got a production company.
Rae:You just got a production company? Can you imagine! I had nothing at that age. I probably would have if I … you know.
Hall:I would have told myself you’re not going to marry Prince. That’s what I thought was happening. I was like, “Mommy, I’m not going to need to do this, this and this, because when Prince sees me, he’s going to marry me.”
Rae:You thought he was going to marry you at 13 years old?
Hall:I hadn’t thought about the age yet. We weren’t in the movements like now. Nobody was focused.
Rae:You weren’t in the movements? You didn’t know that Prince should not be with a 13-year-old?
Hall:All I know is that’s what I thought was happening. I could see who would have shattered my dreams, though. I’m glad I didn’t know.
Rae:You’re glad you didn’t have me as a friend. I’d be like, “Girl, you shouldn’t go after Prince. You’re 13.”
Hall:You’d be like, “Stop being so thirsty.” I would have been like, “Issa, come with me.”
I would have been like, “You’ve got a shot.” I was thirsty at 13.
Rae:13! That must be a thing. That has to be something right?
Martin:I wasn’t thirsty at 13.
Rae:You weren’t thirsty at 13?
Rae:You talked about your boys obsessions, right?
Martin:But I’m 14. I never, at 13, I never had that.
Rae:Your parents are around so we’re not gonna but you on blast, but I heard some things.
Hall:It was that last month at 13, too. That’s when I started to turn up. Right before you turn 14. You were still legally 13. It was a …
Rae:Fast 14. That’s what they say. Thirsty 13, fast 14.
Martin:We’ll see at 15, because I turn 15 this year.
Martin: Oh my god!
Hall:Be careful. No, no, no.
Martin:Get off my back, guys.
Hall:No, no, no, no. We’re not.
[Earlier we spoke about] giving back to communities and uplifting. You all posted about Nipsey Hussle. Can you just speak to his influence and importance of giving back to your community and uplifting and how that model is fueling your work today?
Rae:What was special about Nipsy was that he cared. He was a representation of the community. He came from the community. You don’t get to see examples of people who make it out and then really just stay and dedicate their entire being to making that community better.
Hall: On every level.
Whether you were a fan of his music or not, you saw the impact that he had, like buying property in Slauson. I heard him doing that on Slauson and Crenshaw, which was my bus stop growing up. To see that and to know that the community was in his hands as opposed to other developers buying it up and turning it into whatever for non-black people. You just knew that he was invested. To hear him doing that when I was in college and post-college was just like, “Oh, man! I should do that. When I get a coin, I want to do that too.” Just his impact, it’s such a loss. You get a glimmer of hope in some of these people, these leaders. Then, they’re taken away from us due to senseless violence. That’s the biggest tragedy of all.
He wanted to speak against that violence. Having someone who knows it from so many parts. Actually, when I heard it, it made me think of “The Hate You Give,” and that character, Russell Hornsby. You want to stay in your neighborhood. You want to influence. It’s just, you think of him as a father. You know what I mean? As a partner. It’s incredibly tragic to be a young man who was building, building himself, building his family, building his community. It’s really sad.
You all are at very different stages in your career, but making such huge impacts. What story haven’t you told, or hasn’t been told yet that you want to tell?
Hall:There are a million stories.
Martin:There’s a lot of them. For me, it’s just the beginning of creating things that I want to see, and for other people to look up to also. I mean, there’s a lot of genres that need to be filled.
Hall:I want to help other people who have stories want to tell their stories, too. You know?
Rae:I guess, more specifically, I was talking about how I miss teen movies and how there wasn’t, we didn’t really have a black teen genre. I can think of “The Wood,” which was …
Hall:Yes, kind of.
Rae:Well, yes, between adulthood and teen. I can’t think of many black teen films. I’m like, “I want to see that. I want to see that coming-of-age story.”
Hall:Like a “Sixteen Candles.”
Rae:Or even like those John Hughes types.
Hall:That’s what I mean. We don’t have that. I’m saying we don’t have that. Yes. The Molly Ringwald. Those movies, we didn’t have those.
Rai:Marsai, hurry up! Get to work. God!
Martin:You don’t even know what I’m doing. You guys, you all haven’t come to the office, or else you guys would have known.
Rae:You done with us?
Martin:No. I’m not done with you all! I’m sitting right next to y’all.
“I heard ‘Dancing on My Own’ for the first time, and it struck me in multiple ways,” the star of “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “The Social Network” said. “I think it’s incredibly cinematic. It’s both poppy and extremely sad, a very strange dichotomy. I wrote the sequence you see in the movie to that song, and then it kind of stemmed from there.”
Robyn’s 2010 smash features prominently in Minghella’s musical drama, a coming-of-age tale set against the backdrop of a singing reality competition series. The film follows Violet Valenski (played by Elle Fanning), a shy Polish teen who seeks an escape from her dreary life in rural England. Fortunately, she’s been blessed with an extraordinary set of pipes, and her talents soon catch the eye of a former opera singer (Zlatko Burić), who offers to serve as her mentor when she lands a spot on an “American Idol”-like competition in London.
Fanning gives “Dancing on My Own” an astonishing, note-perfect makeover in a key sequence (and did all of her own singing to boot). The rest of the “Teen Spirit” soundtrack is just as impressive, featuring versions of beloved songs by Annie Lennox, Ariana Grande and Ellie Goulding.
For his part, Minghella made no apologies for being so pop-oriented in his music tastes. “I like to go big, and I love the hits.”
Before the release of “Teen Spirit,” which hits theaters Friday after it made a 2018 Toronto Film Festival debut, Mingle spoke to HuffPost about taking no credit for Fanning’s remarkable performance and about his future ambitions behind the camera.
We live in a world now that’s so heavily dominated by reality TV. What made you think there was a coming-of-age story to be told within a competition series specifically?
I think the reality competition element of the film is, weirdly, the least important part of it. It’s the structure through which we experience the story, but I’m much more interested in what happens behind the curtain and what we’re not allowed to see on television. I’m a deeply voyeuristic person; I love hearing the things I’m not supposed to hear. And I think that my movie is really much more interested in the space off-camera than the space on.
Although “Teen Spirit” is set in England, the film is very much focused on a Polish woman and her family, who are very insular within their own community, which gives it a unique poignancy that it might not have had if you’d featured a British protagonist.
Growing up in England, I didn’t see a lot of English people. [Editor’s note: Minghella is the son of director Anthony Minghella, who was of Italian origin. His mother, Carolyn Jane Choa, was born in Hong Kong.] It’s a place that’s a conglomerate of ethnicities, and it’s weird how little we see that portrayed on film. It’s also very unusual for a British film to focus on different cultures. I felt like that was true to my experience. It’s much more distinct to me to talk about people who are outside of the bubble and not inside it.
The film boasts such a unique performance by Elle Fanning, who also did all of her own singing. What was it like working with her?
It was very humbling. Every day the entire crew felt extremely grateful to have this person captaining the ship and really carrying the movie along. It was an insane amount of work — every day she’d work 12-13 hour days, go home, do an hour of Polish lessons. She had to take three months of vocal training and do choreography almost every day. She was probably getting two hours of sleep every night and yet delivering one of the most nuanced performances by a young person I’ve ever seen. It’s a remarkable achievement. I take less than zero credit for it.
The musical sequences are such a strong element of the film. What was your visual concept there?
It all came from listening to music on my headphones and then dreaming — which I think we all do, right? We all listen to songs and let our imagination run wild. So it’s a slightly more focused version of that. It was just closing my eyes and listening to that extraordinary instrumental delight, writing down all the images that came to mind and then shooting them.
After “Teen Spirit,” can we look forward to seeing you behind the camera more in the future?
I’d love to keep getting to make movies. It’s so much fun. There’s often a big separation between the movies I’m excited to go and see and the movies I actually like, you know what I mean? I get excited to go see big blockbuster movies and then I tend not to enjoy them as much as I want to, and then I’ll fall in love with something I get dragged to. And “Teen Spirit” is, I think, bridging the gap between those two ideas.
I know how difficult it is for a film to get made, and it took us nearly 10 years to get “Teen Spirit” together. I’d love to do it again. We’ll see if we can. I don’t have any kind of specific ambitions in terms of a story that I need to tell or a genre I need to explore. It’s more about wanting to create big theatrical experiences that are worthy of going to movie theaters.
Justin Bieber often waxes poetic about Hailey Baldwin, but he took it to the next level on Monday when he posted an actual poem he wrote for his wife on Instagram.
The 25-year-old posted a black-and-white image of Baldwin in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, along with a longwinded caption about how much he loves the 22-year-old.
“Sunlight falls into the Abyss / Just like i fall into your lips / Waves crash onto the shore / My love for you grows more and more,” reads the poem. “Sound of the crickets a true meditation / I think about you, Gods greatest creation. / As i fall into this blissful state / I ponder on how you’re my one true SOULMATE.”
The poem goes on to say that Baldwin has given Bieber “so much strength, support, encouragement and joy” and that he “just wanted to publicly honor” his wife.
Bieber is extremely active on social media, often posting missives about what he’s up to, his clothing line and musings about his wife.
Bieber shut that down, calling the commenter “immature” and “absurd.”
“Why would I dedicate my whole life to someone in marriage to get back [at] my ex, anyone who believes this is mean spirited or 10 years old or younger because a logical person doesn’t talk or think this way u should be ashamed of yourself really,” said Bieber.
He also added that while he “absolutely loved” Gomez and that she will always hold a place in his heart, he is head over heels in love with his wife.
“She is absolutely the best thing that has ever happened to me,” wrote Bieber, adding that he “will never respond again to a message like this.”