definitely the coolest part of working there was seeing all the behind the scenes stuff

why a sana season will be AMAZING

sana bakkoush was my first favourite character on the show, as it was the iconic first bus meeting in ep3 of s1 that really sold me on this show! this post is really just all my positive thoughts and feels about my girl sana possibly getting a season and it is waaay too long, but it turns out i love sana a lot ok?? ok:

  • probably most important: a muslim hijabi girl as a main character. 
    • amazing representation that young hijabi girls deserve. 
    • also in the current political climate in europe and the us, this is so important
    • the show is and should be targeted at norwegian teens, and muslim girls are a group of norwegian teens that are rarely represented in our media
    • i want to know more about sanas relationship with islam, what does it mean to her? we know a bit and i would love to know more
    • also related to that, how does islam fit into norwegian cultures and traditions and how sana interacts with that?
    • im a culture nerd, literally that is what i study atm, so: culture in our global multicultural society is ever-changing and closely related to our identities and how chose to take part in different communities. sana is a perfect character to explore this: 
      • obviously, she choses to wear the hijab which right away signals to others her faith
      • she doesnt want to drink or hook up, her faith is more important
      • but she actively wants to take part in a russebuss, a tradition very closely related to some of those things she isnt interested in
      • she also wears the traditional costume of norway, either bunad or festdrakt
      • basically, sana is representative of so many people in our society today, who challenge the outdated way many people think about culture as something static and clearly defined (looking directly at some right wing politicians in norway, who talk like they only know the 1960s definitions of culture)
    • the show smacking down on islamophobia - i am READY to see that on my screen and on the most popular show in norway atm
    • the lovely @imansmeskinis​ wrote a very good post about things she wants to see explored wrt sana and islam, if you haven’t: read it!!
  • and obviously: more sana - who is undeniably a Badass character who has had some of the best moments of this show tbh
    • when she took over that first bus meeting, with a “well-functioning plan”, leaving all the girls shook and very ????? and sana goes: “i think this well good..” with that knowing look. ICONIC SCENE imo
    • that time she apparently asked one of the penetrator guys if his nose was bigger than his dick!!???”!?
    • actually got at least vilde and eva to believe that her hijab was magical, that she was psychic and that she could see the ghost of kasper lol
    • getting the guys’ weed out of evas house while the police was there, then use it to blackmail isak into going to kosegruppa while still keeping 10% of the drugs, because it’s “good to have”
    • wrapping said 10% as a christmas gift for isak
    • what a legend!!
    • imagine a season where every clip has the potential for this level of greatness!

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Jay Baruchel Talks How To Train Your Dragon 2
From The Human Centipede to the origin of ‘Useless reptile’

Jay Baruchel is an immensely engaging human being. Smart as a whip and with a mouth that can spit words quicker than a Hookfang can blast flame, he is a journalist’s dream interview: funny and not afraid of the odd swear or two. Here, in an interview that ran in part in issue 160 of Empire back in February, the voice of Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III talks about everything from the word “bud” to what the original version of the first How To Train Your Dragon was going to be like before the new directors, Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders, came in and changed almost everything…

How was the original How To Train Your Dragon first pitched to you when it was that initial incarnation?
Oh, holy Moses. Going back six years or maybe more. It was a lot lighter and a bit sillier. It did have any of the gravity or nuance that the movie eventually had. I don’t have a ton of memories of what it was like back then, but it wasn’t half the epic that it became.

And back then Toothless was very small, and Hiccup didn’t fly him?
That’s right. The whole thing was just a bit goofier in a lot of ways. I don’t want to be disparaging, because I was interested in it in the first place. That being said, I guess in its first incarnation it would have been diversion, at best. Then once [co-directors] Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois got involved, it became a proper movie.

Would it be fair to say you stumbled into this? You signed on for one thing and it evolved into this epic…
[Laughs] No, it’s pretty awesome. I am very, very aware of that fact. I’m so absolutely psyched. To be honest, if you want to get real macro about it, every gig is something of a crapshoot. Some you have a better idea of what it could be going in, others you’re just winging it. The chances of any movie succeeding are about the same in my experience. Although by “succeeding” I don’t necessarily mean financially, I just mean them being… good. But yeah, I signed up for something that I thought would be kind of fun, something I hadn’t done before, and I ended up getting to be a part of this pretty massive flick that means a great deal to a lot of people.

In the very beginning, I would never have imagined that it could be somebody’s favourite movie. That’s not to say that I thought it would be bad. It’s just… that kind of impact just wasn’t even a possibility, and then it came out, and went off like an atom bomb.

Okay, well, not the first weekend but the second weekend it caught fire, and everybody started to connect to it. Then I had this wonderful realisation about movies that I dug when I was a kid… that experience is like nothing I like I have now. When you’re into something when you’re a child you just love it – you connect to it in such a pure, impactful way. And what you’re really passionate about when you’re little, it often steers you towards what’ll eventually be your life, your career. When I saw the way that How To Train Your Dragon connected with people, it blew me away. I had a small hand in making something that a lot of kids would dig and mean something to them… All this to say, I’m a lucky motherfucker.

When you see fans, do they recognise you? And how do they talk to you? Obviously, you’re not Hiccup, but people must want you to be. Yeah, the little ones want me to be Hiccup, anyway. I’ve left a few voicemails and may have recorded a few videos for kids of people that I know. No, it’s weird, there seem to be two ways that I get recognised – one is that it’s either kids see me (or people, period, see me) and they’re like “Oh, it’s that fucking guy from all those things.”

But what’s happened in the last couple of years that’s even weirder is that people that won’t even be looking at me and they’ll know “who I am”. I’ll just be out in public and I’ll ask “Where’s the washroom?” or “Can I get a Big Mac with large fries and a coke?” and then I’ll see people turn towards me from my periphery.

For better or worse, my voice is… distinct if nothing else. [Laughs] All the same, there aren’t that many people out there who sound as nasal and Canadian as I do, I suppose. So, yeah, it’s been kinda weird. The most awkward, though, is when I’m with friends of mine, friends who have kids who have seen and loved the movie, and the parents will ask them “Hey, do you recognise this voice?” And the kid is just like “What the hell? What? What do you mean? Why would I recognise…?” And then they’re like “Say something!” So I’m say, er, “How’s it going? Pass the pickles.” I don’t know what I’m supposed to say, y’know. Sometimes I get it, sometimes I’m just like “Why are you asking?” And then the kid is just on the spot, devoid of answers, asking “Why’s everyone staring at me?” Nobody wins in those situations.

And there’s no Hiccup catchphrase to help…
No, I know! The closest thing I have is “Thanks for nothing, you useless reptile”, which usually seems to make a few bells go off.

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How To Train Your Dragon 2: Hiccup and Toothless in full flight

When the project got reimagined by Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders, how did they explain their new take?
There were omelettes involved… I mean, it was over a breakfast, when they told me these things. Okay, it wasn’t an omelette, but it was definitely something good and eggy. Anyway, I think they just started talking about the different angles they wanted: the coming-of-age aspects, making it more Star Wars-y, all that Joseph Campbell-y stuff they wanted to put into it. How they saw that it could be really cute and funny, and still be this big adventure. It was like the movie went from being in 4:3 to widescreen.

Once the first film was a success and the franchise evolved into a trilogy, how did Dean expand upon this original pitch?
We had talked, years before the first one even came out, because there’s a whole bunch of books. I think the series goes on for a bit. There was always talk that there was more of this world and Hiccup’s life to be explored. But when he first starting telling me about How To Train Your Dragon 2, it was clear that – and being a filmmaker myself I knew this already, and I need to put this in quotations – the sequel would be “the darkest” one of the series. And when I say “the darkest”, there are no decapitations, or necrophilia, there’s nothing fucking awful. No-one’s mouths are being sewn to strangers’ anuses. But, all the same, it’s the second act, and so it’s a bit more complicated.

It’s just that the answers aren’t as easy, and we have to amp everything up. So, in every way that the first one succeeded, the second one has to succeed more. The basement of this one has to be as good as the first one, ideally better. The best thing about the first movie was that it’s fun, it’s really charming and incredibly compelling, but also unexpectedly heavy at parts. And so all those same things are the essence of the second one, but amped up. The stakes are higher. We knew that we were doing our Empire Strikes Back.

Dean DeBlois has mentioned that there was idea originally that Hiccup would be facing off against his mother towards the end of the second film, before he realised you can’t really have a kid fight his mum.
Yeah, no, no, um. If it was a Dogme 95 movie or something, then potentially. But not with this particular franchise, no! [Laughs]

What is it like when you’re being directed in the sound booth?
Well, what’s awesome is that over the years that I’ve gotten to know Dean we’ve obviously developed something of a shorthand. Actually, we’d be pretty fucked if we hadn’t by this point.

So I kind of know what he wants and can push back on some stuff. I mean, obviously he knows these movies better than anyone, but I also wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t take ownership of my character. Which is what he wants. So in the moments when I feel it’s not exactly the way it should be, or could be, then he allows me to chime in with that stuff. It all depends on what the scene requires. It sounds really hokey and company line-ish to say this, but the truth is that we’re all just serving this story. So whatever the story requires we work backwards from that.

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How To Train Your Dragon 2

With Dean being a writer-director, do you have much opportunity to put in lines of your own or put twists on his words?
Oh god, yeah. That’s one of the coolest things. Unfortunately, much to the chagrin of whoever hires me, that’s part of the deal. Whether or not they choose to use any of it – the shit that I spool out, I mean – is completely up to them. But I’ll be ad-libbing pretty much regardless. I just can’t help it, I have a real big mouth.

Throughout the first one and this one I was always encouraged, if I had my own way of saying things or my own ideas, to chime in with them. It was neat-slash-weird seeing your ad-libs in a massive movie, where people had to take the time to animate the mouths to say to say this stupid spiel. It’s just cool. It’s just really crazy and cool.

Was “reptile” one of yours?
Er… fuck. That’s a good question. It might have been, it actually might have been. You know, yeah, I think that one might be.

Are you behind “bud”?
Oh, god, of course, yeah. That’s just like the Canadian version of “man” or “dude”. That a great example of one of my hooserisms working their way into the movie.

Do you have a similar level of influence in the TV show?
I mean, in terms of how Hiccup reacts and the way he communicates, yes, definitely. They’ve been really cool about that. I was Hiccup before there was a TV show. And to everybody who was involved in that show’s credit, I was always viewed as an attribute, as a benefit to the show.

So I wasn’t ever sitting there fucking holding my arms going “You know, guys, Hiccup wouldn’t do that…” Once or twice that would come up, but I would tell them why “No, I can’t say this, because this is not how he communicates. This is the guy that we’ve created. This is the guy we’ve cracked.” So as a result there hasn’t been too much of a distinction, and that way the TV show connects to the movie in a very good way. We’ve allowed it to have a certain kind of continuity because they were cool enough to just let me be Hiccup.

Have you been given notes on what might happen in the third film?
Yeah, sort of. It’s an ongoing conversation over the better part of the last six years. I have inklings, I kinda know where it’s meant to go. I know where the books end up, I know some of the mile markers, I know what the end results will be. How we go about getting there though, that’s all the fun part to look forward to, once Dean is done creating.

WORDS: Ali Plumb

North American Tour week 1

Our first week of our seven in North America has been a frantic affair but we’ve many stories to tell. Now that South By South West is over and done with I felt the first blog was due.

 We began at Heathrow on Sunday 7th March, where after mummifying our guitars and a few cases with baggage wrapping, we ate a fried breakfast whose price to size/quality graph featured a strong negative correlation. The waitress almost threw a tantrum at our request to split the bill, something we have yet to encounter over here, where the service is sublime and the tipping reflects this.

Taffel demonstrates the travelling stoner look, with mummified bag to the left.

Taffel unwrapped his birthday presents with an unusual ferocity. 

The flights themselves were relatively painless, despite their length. The excitement felt by all kept us in high spirits, despite essentially travelling back in time. I had a mild seizure upon our arrival after discovering that the airline had put my bag on the flight after the one we actually flew on. Once I’d recovered we had soon arrived in our hotel in Nashville. After so long confined in tin cans 30,000 feet up in the air it was great to be able to spread all four limbs as far as possible on a master bed. Taffel and I then ordered a burger that instantly became the best we’d ever had (this has happened thrice since). I managed to have an accident with a freakishly high-pressured ketchup sachet that exploded into my face, hair and onto the mirror behind me. This gave me the appearance of a gunshot victim before I’d even had the chance to irritate any American into drawing a weapon.

Ketchup: Heinz, face: model’s own.

After a dab down we headed into town to a bar called Soulshine that upon entry smelled like a cheese factory. The music that had drawn us took the form of a blues jam night and the standard was ferociously high. Every fifth male in Nashville looked like ZZ Top’s Dusty Hill in a trucker hat and all were steeped in the blues. After a couple of hours we fell into bed and attempted to cheat the jet lag.

Picture drawn by me in the van. 

The next day we picked up the mighty vessel we will call home until 1st May. With its plush leather seats and onboard wifi, this is a van like none we’ve driven before and we’re pretty pleased with it. The fact that we were still saying that after a 14 hour journey down to Austin is testament to its charms.

On Tuesday we ventured into town for our first taste of SXSW. After a remarkably smooth accreditation process we were in need of sustenance. Several of our party had heard that the International House of Pancakes (IHOP) was a decent eatery and a branch was was conveniently located just over the road. Unfortunately, IHOP was a major let down. Luckily the food since has been a blur of supreme medium rare beef and all things Mexican, which we’re now very well acquainted with after meeting some East LA Latino homeboys who gave us a detailed description of all their native food stuffs. They also promised us that they’d have our backs if we ever came to hang with them in their part of town. Having since discovered that their hood is about as safe Compton or Watts, we’ll be passing them up on their gracious offer.

American cuisine at its finest.

SXSW was a mass of humanity, with people trekking from far and wide to converge for the near-constant noises being emitted by the city. With the US music industry generally split between New York and LA (save the country hub of Nashville), Austin, Texas was a warm and welcoming middle ground where close to a thousand acts peddled their wares to any available ears. Brass bands, lone drummers and magicians lined the streets, and that was before you’d even got inside one of the myriad venues. We played a couple of sterling full shows as well as acoustic sessions, and almost featured in a Hip Hop video. No really. At an acoustic gig in a house just outside the heart of town we were peeping through the garden fence at an entire rap crew who were the absolute real deal, miming out a yard scene for their latest release. After enthusiastically inviting us to be involved they made their way over the road but unfortunately our packed schedule was against us and we just missed out on becoming the awkward-looking extras that the rest of the guests became. We did manage to complete another teen dream a few days later though, where at the same locale we played fully amped up in the front room of a house party, complete with the mythical red cups that we’ve all grown up seeing in the movies. 

Our amps, on loan from Orange, back up the local phrase that ‘everything’s bigger in Texas’ (thanks Orange!).

Taxis were hard to come by at SXSW. One night a trio of our troupe were out raving hard till late and had no option but to hitch a lift. With everyone being so much friendlier in the USA than in London, this wasn’t a problem. Here’s a transcript of what followed:

Ben (sheepishly): Can we pay you chaps $30 for a lift back to our hotel please sir?

Cody the driver (straight-faced): No problem man, but if you pull a knife on me I will shoot you.

As it turned out, Cody and his buddy Emerson were two of the coolest guys we could have hoped to meet, both self-titled ‘roughnecks’ who made a killing working on the Texan oil fields, and as such didn’t accept our money. They were also armed to the teeth, their pick up truck like an NRA convention on wheels. They came to our gig the next day and took Taffel out for several whiskeys, which resulted in him acquiring a small tattoo of the state of Texas on his upper back, which was classy.

Ladies and gentleman, I present to you Josh 'Texas’ Taffel.

Our first week here can’t be accounted for without our accommodation getting a Trip Advisor-style mention. Austin Suites was the kind of place you would never book if you had any sort of a budget. The rooms were generally fine, although their whites wash could’ve done with around 100% extra bleach. A more pressing concern was the clientele. One man we met was a hardcore nicotine addict, asking us all nightly for a hallowed cigarette. It wasn’t until we were about to leave that we found out his name was Kevin but went by the alias of Igadda Bigadda. He claimed he’d been abducted by aliens, tried to give us drugs (‘I wanna help y’all party but don’t drive on these’) and carried a spray bottle around with him filled with chemicals that he’d aim at the eyes of any potential assailant before they could land their sucker punch. This is the type of person who hung around the gloomy, bloodstained landings of the Austin Suites hotel. As much as we’d enjoyed Austin there was definitely a part of us all that couldn’t wait to leave.

Our friend Kevin, also drawn by me in the van, who looks a lot less like Bob Dylan in reality.

We’re now heading north and if you’re an American or Canadian who fancies watching us, here’s where you can still do it:

I’ll speak to y'all soon.

^JP