“Neil Gaiman’s “American Gods” is Frighteningly Relevant”

“There’s a scene early on in American Gods, the best-selling 2001 fantasy novel by Neil Gaiman, where someone accuses a man of being a “hustler.” “But that is the least of what I am,” the man replies. “On the whole, I make my money from people who never know they’ve been taken, and who never complain, and who will frequently line up to be taken when I come back that way again.” Gaiman, himself, is that same sort of hustler-plus — a weaver of fictions who slips past your mental defenses and toys with your thoughts, not just stealing the minds of his legions of fans, but making them beg him to steal them again and again.

The 56-year-old Englishman got his start writing thoughtful twists on superhero comics in his native country, then broke big with his surreal fantasy-comic epic Sandman in the late 1980s and early ’90s. Since then, he’s amassed a worldwide following for his prose, penning best seller after best seller: Anansi Boys, Coraline, The Graveyard Book, Good Omens(with the late Terry Pratchett), The Ocean at the End of the Lane, andFragile Things, just to name a few.

But American Gods is perhaps the best-known of the bunch. It follows the tribulations of Shadow Moon, an ex-convict who wanders the U.S. — Gaiman’s adopted country for more than two decades — alongside a mysterious con man named Mr. Wednesday. Along the way, Wednesday and Shadow link up with ancient gods from an array of Old World pantheons, all of whom are living in obscurity in the hidden corners of a decaying America…”

http://www.vulture.com/2017/04/neil-gaiman-american-gods-is-frighteningly-relevant.html

“Marvel Releases First Cast Image of the Runaways Series”

“Following the announcement [earlier] of the cast for Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger, Marvel has made another big reveal about their TV productions with the lineup for the title heroes of their series Marvel’s Runaways! The Marvel’s Runaways cast includes:

  • Ariela Barer (New Girl, One Day at a Time) as Gert Yorkes, a purple-haired, bespectacled, contemporary riot grrrl. Never passing up a moment to stand on a soapbox, Gert sometimes wields her persona as a brash social justice warrior to mask her true feelings.
  • Lyrica Okano (The Affair, Unforgettable) as Nico Minoru–tough, intelligent, and independent–embodies teenage angst. A budding “Wiccan,” Nico’s carefully crafted goth appearance isolates her from her peers and family, but maybe what she really needs is someone to talk to.
  • Rhenzy Feliz (Teen Wolf, Casual) as Alex Wilder is a loud-and-proud nerd. Admittedly a bit of a loner, Alex spends much of his free-time playing video games, but deep down, what he wants most is to reunite his childhood group of friends.
  • Gregg Sulkin (Faking It, Don’t Hang Up, Anti Social) as Chase Stein is a lacrosse-playing, high school heartthrob. While many write him off as a dumb jock, Chase exhibits flashes of untapped brilliance in engineering, not unlike his wildly successful father’s.
  • Virginia Gardner (Goat, Little Bitches) as Karolina Dean, model-perfect exterior with a lot going on behind her professionally whitened smile, is burdened by the lofty expectations and responsibilities put upon her by her parents. Underneath her veneer of privilege and perfection, Karolina is experiencing a newfound eagerness to explore her identity and pursue her own desires.
  • Allegra Acosta (100 Things to do Before High School, Just Add Magic) as Molly Hernandez, the youngest and most innocent member of her friend group, is known for her peppy positivity and a deep yearning to belong…

http://www.comingsoon.net/tv/news/810247-marvels-runaways-cast-revealed

“15 Weaknesses You Didn’t Know Wonder Woman Had”

“The new Wonder Woman film, starring Gal Gadot as the title character, is in theaters soon. We were first introduced to Gadot’s Wonder Woman in Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, where she was one of the few bright spots the film had. Many want to see a Wonder Woman movie done well, as her television show and comics are cultural touchstones.

Wonder Woman’s live-action feature film debut could not come soon enough, as her legacy is amazing and they have decades of stories they could redo or simply tell word for word in a script. This will be the first major superhero movie with a female hero as the protagonist. Wonder Woman is a feminist icon, but she did not get there easily. She honestly wasn’t one to begin with. Her story is great, but she has some weaknesses that few of male characters would ever be given by their creators– some are understandable while others were downright sexist to say the least.

We at Screen Rant wanted to do the kind of digging normally reserved for construction workers, to bring you 15 Weaknesses You Didn’t Know Wonder Woman Had.

15. A POKE TO THE EYES

You may be wondering, why in the world would this even be a weakness anyone would bring up? People need to know something obvious about Wonder Woman. Similar to Hercules, she is a Demigod. This makes her basically human, yet blessed with amazing abilities due to her God-like half. However, the human element of Wonder Woman was played up a lot in the comics and one of the most glaring things we learned is that Diana can be a victim to the same weaknesses the every day human might have – one of which is a poke to the eyes…”

http://screenrant.com/wonder-woman-biggest-weakness-didnt-know-trivia/

“The Year Disney Started to Take Diversity Seriously”

“Mira Nair didn’t know it, but for years, she lived just 15 minutes away from the subject of her next film—chess champion Phiona Mutesi, a prodigy from the slums of Kampala, Uganda. It took the attention of one particularly dedicated Disney executive, Tendo Nagenda, to introduce Mutesi and Nair, then shepherd through the studio a film: Queen of Katwe, a movie that looked almost nothing like anything else from the company that brings you Avengers, jedis, and pirates.

“I’ve never had a guardian angel in any film in a studio,” Nair tellsVanity Fair. “[Tendo] is truly one because he made it happen.”

Katwe is a film about a young African girl, with essentially no speaking roles for white characters, directed by an Indian woman. It’s an anomaly even in an industry that prides itself on having an imagination. But it’s also one of many examples of how Disney is diversifying its array of upcoming films, presenting more inclusive visions of everything from classic musicals to a galaxy far, far away.

In the near future, we’ll have a Christmas movie starring Kevin Hart as Santa Claus, an adaptation of The Nutcracker starring Misty Copeland and Morgan Freeman, and a surprising reimagining of The Rocketeer starring a young black girl. Ice Cube is working on a hip-hop version of Oliver Twist. Moana, Disney’s first Polynesian princess movie, is set for a Thanksgiving-week release. Lin-Manuel Miranda (Disney’s latest go-to music man, who also penned songs for Moana) will co-star in a Mary Poppins sequel.

The upcoming Rogue One: A Star Wars Story presents an intergalactic rebellion from the likes ofForest Whitaker, Riz Ahmed, Diego Luna, and Donnie Yen—and all led by a woman, Felicity Jones. Between 2016 and 2018, about 24 percent of the studio’s live-action releases will feature ethnic minority leads, Disney says…”

http://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2016/11/disney-films-inclusive

“‘Luke Cage’ Season 2 Release Date: 7 Things We Want To See In The Second Season”

“The first season of Luke Cage ended on a really sad note. The Harlem hero parted ways with his new lady, Claire Temple, and headed back to Seagate Prison. Even though Cottonmouth is out of the picture, Black Mariah and Shades are still running the streets. Even more of a threat is Diamondback, who last we saw, was in Dr. Burstein’s hands. Luke Cage Season 1 took care of Power Man’s origins, but there’s still a lot more story to tell in Season 2. Here’s seven things we’re expecting to see.

Coffee With Claire Temple

Since we’ll see Luke again before the next season of his solo series, (maybe in Iron Fist but definitely in The Defenders ), it’s safe to say Claire is tagging along. Not only could The Defenders use someone to patch their wounds, she’s Luke’s only trusted ally at this point. Last we saw her, she was already working on getting Luke out of prison.

She’s also the first person he’s going to call once he gets out. In fact, that’s what we could be seeing in recently released The Defenders set photoswhere Claire and Luke passionately embrace against a chain-linked fence. It could be the first time they’ve seen each other since that night in the hospital where they shared their first kiss and Luke was taken away by police.

Misty Knight ‘got coffee’ with Luke in the first episode of Luke Cage. Jessica Jones and Luke also ‘got coffee ’ in Jessica Jones Season 1. It’s only right we’ll see him and Claire ‘get coffee’ in The Defenders. Jessica being part of the team does throw a wrench in things, especially since she and Luke haven’t spoken since the whole Kilgrave ordeal that killed Reva. Jessica and Luke end up having a baby together in the comics, but this is Marvel-Netflix and they’re known to switch things up. The history between Luke and Jessica may end up being too painful to work past…”

http://www.idigitaltimes.com/luke-cage-season-2-release-date-7-things-we-want-see-second-season-570039

“Tilda Swinton: ‘Doctor Strange’ Whitewashing Controversy Is Bigger Than Just One Movie”

““Doctor Strange,” the latest entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, follows eponymous hero Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) as he navigates his way through an unlikely origin story that heavily involves the teachings of an enlightened elder – known as The Ancient One – who sets him on the path to both righteousness and cape-clad ass-kicking. In the original comics, The Ancient One is portrayed as an older gentleman of Tibetan descent. In director Scott Derrickson’s film, the character is played by Tilda Swinton.

Unsurprisingly, the project has faced continued criticism for its casting of Swinton as the character, though Marvel brass and the film’s creative team have long maintained that their casting choice came after the character was already changed with the express purpose to avoid racist undertones. As Swinton explained to IndieWire in a recent interview, the “Doctor Strange” team aimed to circumvent the original character by radically changing many of his trademark attributes.

“Scott [Derrickson] will tell you that he made this very clear decision with Kevin Feige and the whole team to change The Ancient One from the rather, what they considered, offensive racial stereotype in the comic books,” Swinton explained. “This kind of Fu Manchu, ancient man sitting on top of a mountain called The Ancient One. They made this decision to not perpetuate those racial stereotypes.”

Those changes made it possible to cast someone like Swinton – a white woman – ostensibly in hopes that by radically changing the character, it would not be perceived as racist. That’s not what happened, though Swinton’s recollection of the controversy is different.

“As far as I understand it, and I wasn’t completely up to speed on it, but I’m told that when my casting was announced, everyone was pretty stoked about it and there wasn’t an outcry at all,” Swinton said. “And then there was the first trailer, which people were also supportive of.”

When Swinton’s casting as the Ancient One was announced back in May of 2015, fans were mostly excited about yet another talented performer joining the MCU fray, though there was some initial confusion about how she would play a role originally imagined as a male Tibetan mystic…”

http://www.indiewire.com/2016/11/tilda-swinton-doctor-strange-whitewashing-controversy-ghost-in-the-shell-1201742228/

“Riz Ahmed Talks His ‘Rogue One’ Character, Says ‘Star Wars’ Is ‘Leading the Way’ for Hollywood Diversity”

 

Riz Ahmed, whose breakout role was in this year’s HBO drama The Night Of, stars in December’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The new movie has the most diverse cast of any Star Wars film to date, also starring Forest Whitaker, Donnie Yen, Diego Luna, and Sharon Duncan-Brewster, to name just a few. Ahmed spoke about this diversity in a recent interview, and also provided some insight into his cargo pilot-turned-rebel character Bodhi.

Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter about The Night Of and Rogue One, Ahmed talked a bit about how he approached his character for the new Star Wars movie and gave him a pretty fantastic background story.

Bodhi is someone who’s been running away his whole life. His planet gets occupied, so he goes, ‘How do I get out of here?’ And the way was by becoming a long-distance cargo pilot. But, of course, that comes with guilt. If you look down and you’re wearing the same Imperial uniform with the same insignia that the people occupying your planet are wearing, it’s guilt and a lot of running away. I had the idea that this character is jittery. He’s jumpy. There’s a restlessness to him. This comes from the trauma and guilt.

THR then asked him how he felt about the fact that this is the most diverse cast of any Star Wars movie ever, to which he replied that he feels extremely positive.

I feel like Star Wars is leading the way. I like to think we are all heading in this direction. Some people are kicking and screaming or dragging their feet. Some people are sprinting. It’s really a credit to [Lucasfilm president] Kathleen Kennedy and the team there that they want to embrace the future and the reality of a global film market. It feels contemporary, it feels global. Culture is a space for us to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes, so why don’t we just have as many different kinds of shoes as possible..?”

http://screencrush.com/riz-ahmed-rogue-one-diversity/