part of the transformers film series

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One of the biggest TRANSFORMERS products of 2017 was just revealed at the Beijing and Guangzhou Midnight Sales Event—the OPTIMUS PRIME MPM-4 figure, the latest figure from the MASTERPIECE MOVIE SERIES line!

TRANSFORMERS MASTERPIECE MOVIE SERIES OPTIMUS PRIME MPM-4 Figure

(Ages 8 years & up/Approx. Retail Price: $99.99/Available: Summer 2017)

Get in the action with the latest figure from the MASTERPIECE MOVIE SERIES, the OPTIMUS PRIME MPM-4 figure! Co-created by Hasbro and Tomy, the figure is inspired by the iconic OPTIMUS PRIME character in the original 2007 TRANSFORMERS film and celebrates the 10th anniversary of the TRANSFORMERS movie franchise.

Pay homage to the great AUTOBOT leader with all the detail you expect from a MASTERPIECE product, including die cast parts! The OPTIMUS PRIME MPM-4 figure converts from robot to classic truck mode and showcases Earth’s greatest protector with eye-catching detail, articulated fingers and an interchangeable mask – perfect for fans and collectors alike. The sleek, signature flame design is emblematic of his inextinguishable drive to fight for freedom.

Converts in 43 steps and comes with a Matrix of Leadership accessory and other exciting weapon accessories.

telegraph.co.uk
Dan Stevens
Dan Stevens may have been an ‘unruly’ child, but he still played Macbeth at 14.

Dan Stevens may have been an ‘unruly’ child, but he still played Macbeth at 14. Little wonder the doomed hero of Downton Abbey  is now a fully fledged film star. Sally Williams meets Disney’s latest leading man

Having spent three years playing the ill-fated Matthew Crawley, the accidental heir to Downton Abbey, Dan Stevens seemed fixed in the public’s perception as a thoroughly well-bred chap: a purveyor of good manners, good looks and period dramas. He was so suave in his tailcoats and white bow ties that one critic likened his ‘floppy-haired, Oxbridge burnish’ to a young Hugh Grant.


But in recent years Stevens seems to have  done all he can to obscure his fine features.  He dyed his hair black and appeared ravaged  as a heroin trafficker in the thriller A Walk  Among the Tombstones. He wore heavy armour and a melting nose as Sir Lancelot in the comedy  Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb.

And in High Maintenance, a cult series about a weed dealer in New York, he was a cross-dressing  stay-at-home dad.  Now he is the Beast in the live-action remake of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, in which he spends the best part of two hours disguised as a 6ft 10in leonine monster.


The film, about a prince who is transformed into a brute as punishment for his arrogance, is much-anticipated (the trailer alone broke records, with 127.6 million views in its first 24 hours online). Stevens’ startling blue eyes are still apparent – particularly when he is face-to-face with Belle (Emma Watson), whose love he must win to become a prince again – but the rest of him is concealed under bad teeth, demonic horns and a Lycra muscle suit.

I felt pretty monstrous on that gorgeous set. It was incredibly lavish

You  don’t even hear his normal voice (which, as fans  of audiobooks will know, is beautiful – he has narrated over 30 titles, from Agatha Christie to Roald Dahl), because he does something clever with his larynx to make it particularly growly.  It’s all part of a post-Downton period of exploration, he explains: ‘I realised I hadn’t been  challenging myself.’

Bio

We meet at a hotel in London, where he appears in a pork-pie hat and a hipster cardigan. Now 34, he is much leaner than in his Downton days, and his hair is back to its natural chestnut brown. Having moved from London to New York in 2013, he lives among artistic types in Brooklyn with his wife, Susie Harriet, a South African jazz singer, and their three children, Willow, seven, Aubrey, four, and Eden, 10 months.

Stevens is polite, extremely likeable and laughs easily, but what is most striking is his intellect. He won a scholarship to Tonbridge, an independent boarding school; speaks French and German; and studied English literature at the University of Cambridge.

In 2011 he was the quick-witted guest host of an episode of Have  I Got News for You (crammed in while filming Downton; his co-star Hugh Bonneville, who played the Earl of Grantham, declined because  ‘I am only an actor’ and ‘not sharp enough  to compete with the regular panellists’). The  following year he was a judge for the Man Booker Prize, for which he had to read 147 novels.

The move to New York, he says, marked  ‘a different approach to a lot of things. My own personal health was one.’ He swims, does yoga and goes to the gym, and his diet is dairy-free  (he orders black coffee). ‘I didn’t take very  good care of myself when I lived in London,’ he admits. ‘Under three layers of tweed, you can hide a lot of ills.’

He works hard as an actor, researching roles, exploring the psychology of his characters. And during the five-month shoot for Beauty and the Beast at Shepperton Studios, Surrey, he went to the gym every day. Stevens says he needed to strengthen his legs to withstand the punishment of performing on 10in stilts – ‘metal, elevated platforms that were extremely painful and hard to walk in’, he explains. ‘I also developed really good core strength. It helped with the breathing, it helped with the singing.’

Emma was looking gorgeous in this immaculately conceived creation and then I come lumbering in in this grey, Lycra muscle suit

He did the film because the VHS was part of his childhood – he was eight when the animation came out and had ‘a much-watched copy’ – and because the role was exciting. ‘It was a brilliantly intriguing character to tackle. I thought, “Wow, I get to be the Beast!”’  Creating the Beast was exactly the kind of technical exercise Stevens now thrives on.

He talks of how he had to give two different performances – one neck-down and one neck-up. First, he acted out the movements of his character on-set with Watson, wearing the muscle suit and the stilts, which, he admits, could be alienating.

‘I felt pretty monstrous on that gorgeous set. It was incredibly lavish – the ballroom was based on the Palace of Versailles but turned up to 11, excessive opulence, beautifully lit. Emma was looking gorgeous in this immaculately conceived creation – it took something like 10,000 hours of work to make that dress. And then I come lumbering in in this grey, Lycra muscle suit.’

He has only praise for his co-star. ‘It was  fascinating doing the scenes with Emma. I don’t think there’s another actress on the planet  who is more experienced at working with this level of new technology,’ – after the high-scale visual effects of Harry Potter films – ‘and she was totally unfazed.’

Every 10 days or so, he would sit in a booth with his face covered in ultraviolet make-up  and give his second performance, re-enacting the scenes from the previous days in front of  a bank of cameras. This footage was used to create the Beast’s face.

‘It’s never been done before,’ he says proudly.  There was also another reason for taking the role, he adds. ‘Beast is for my children, for my wife, for my family.’

Dan Stevens was born in 1982 in Croydon, to a mother he never knew. At the age  of seven days he was adopted by two schoolteachers. It’s a subject he has rarely discussed publicly. He was later joined by a brother (no blood relation), who was also adopted.

The family lived in Marlborough, Wiltshire, then Chelmsford, Essex, and when Stevens was eight moved to Brecon, in Wales.  He says his parents – ‘warm, lovely, good people’ – were always open about him being adopted.

‘People like to pathologise adoption, but actually there is no conventional way to be brought up. People can have biological parents who are absent for whatever reason during their childhood, and their parenting can be replaced by any number of people. Adoption is just one of many ways that children get nurtured and loved and end up as human beings who are every bit as interesting and whatever as regular children.’

The circumstances of his birth, he admits, do raise a question mark over his acting ability.

‘It’s quite possibly a genetic thing; it’s quite possibly a nurture thing. The parents that raised me weren’t actors, but they loved going to the theatre and they watched television and movies, so  I was raised on a cultural diet of books, of literature, and also of performance, of watching great movies and plays.’

‘Distracting’ is how Stevens describes himself at primary school; that’s what most of his reports said, ‘either because I was bored or because I was just being an idiot’. The solution was to put him on stage. ‘It was almost presented as a punishment that I was going to be in the school play,’ he says. Acting became ‘a vent for something’.

At the age of 13 he won that scholarship to Tonbridge School. ‘My parents, as teachers, knew about that kind of thing, and I wish more people did really, because I was given some incredible opportunities and am very grateful for that. There is a system out there that champions curiosity in kids, and it doesn’t matter if your grandfather went wherever.’

And yet the change was traumatic. ‘These schools are built like castles. They have imposing façades and are run on very  old English principles, and they are all trying  to be echoes of each other.’ Stevens became ‘unruly’ – smoking, getting suspended, going  on demonstrations. But expulsion was averted  by a teacher.

‘My English master, Jonathan Smith, was one of those magical teachers who could  spot a kid in trouble and know the right thing  to say to him,’ he has explained. ‘I owe him a  tremendous amount.’


A novelist, writer and teacher, Smith was head of English at Tonbridge for 17 years. His former pupils include the poet Christopher Reid, who won the 2009 Costa Book Award, and Vikram Seth, author of A Suitable Boy. His son, Ed, is an author and former England cricketer.

Smith and the drama teacher Lawrence Thornbury ‘were this incredible duo, and it was just like an oasis of creativity and a real escape from the rest of it’, Stevens says. ‘They championed what I was good at and recognised where  I needed to be directed towards, and offered guidance. Even if it was just, “You are having  a moment, read this book.”

‘I got very into the Beat poets, William Blake, Seamus Heaney – it was almost like feeding  a curiosity, feeding certain passions. Whatever  it was, it was like, “Oh, there is something more out there. I can get into this.”’

A turning point was being cast as Macbeth when he was 14. What did they see in him?  ‘Precociousness, probably.’ He explains his urge to perform very simply: ‘The most nervous I ever get is when I have to go and be me somewhere.  If I’ve got a nice costume and some lovely lines  to say, I know I’ll be all right.’

Stevens would later use his Downton fame to help make a film adaptation of a book written by Smith. Summer in February is the tale of a real-life love triangle between British artist Alfred Munnings, his friend Gilbert Evans and the woman they both loved, artist Florence Carter-Wood.

The book was first published in 1995, and the film was released in 2013, starring Stevens as Evans and Dominic Cooper as Munnings. Was that a thank you? ‘There are easier ways of saying thank you than trying to make an independent film of somebody’s book, but yes, subconsciously it was. It was a real labour of love.’

Downton seemed to be in every country in the world. There was no rhyme or reason as to why it caught fire as widely as it did. We were all surprised

It was Smith who encouraged Stevens to go to Cambridge, which he loved, meeting like-minded people for the first time and starring in student productions. Many of his friends were alternative comedians – Mark Watson, Tim Key, Stefan Golaszewski – and he started doing  stand-up, even seeing a future on the comedy  circuit.

The theatre director Sir Peter Hall spotted him acting alongside his daughter Rebecca  in an undergraduate production of Macbeth. Six months after graduation, Hall cast them both in a touring production of As You Like It. ‘I wasn’t buying a house off the back of that job, but it felt like a success in that I had always wanted to do professional Shakespeare and learn about verse speaking,’ Stevens says.

He toured England and America and won critical acclaim, being nominated for an Ian Charleson Award in 2004. Success followed success.

In 2006 he starred as Nick Guest in the BBC adaptation of Alan Hollinghurst’s novel The Line of Beauty (‘I have not seen Dan Stevens before but from now on  I will be on the lookout for anything else he appears in,’ wrote one reviewer); and in 2008 he played Edward Ferrars in an adaptation of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. But it was an audition later that year that changed everything.

Julian Fellowes, the creator of Downton Abbey, has explained, ‘We were looking for a young man who was handsome, of course, but who conveyed a real sense of uprightness. Not an anti-hero but  a real hero – someone who, at the same time, seemed strong and rigorous and interesting.’

When did Stevens realise Downton was a phenomenon? ‘I happened to have been in the States and I flew back to Heathrow, and someone came up to me at the airport who was obsessed with the show, and that was only four episodes in.  I thought, “That hasn’t happened before.”’


Americans were especially fascinated – the series won a Golden Globe in 2012. ‘And it wasn’t just there,’ Stevens says. ‘Downton seemed to be in every country in the world [at its peak it played in 250 territories]. Like in Spain, it become one of the biggest foreign shows there for 20 years. There was seemingly no rhyme or reason as to why it caught fire as widely as it did. We were all surprised. Even Julian.’

It has been five years since he left Downton – or rather didn’t renew his three-year contract. ‘It’s called an option for a reason and I chose not to continue,’ he explains. He remembers his days on-set with nostalgia.

‘The dining room scenes were a torture to shoot, but as a result there was  a kind of gallows humour that we all developed. You are eating all day, increasingly cold peas and congealed gravy, and there are 20 of you sat around a table. We used to play wink murder. Maggie Smith [who played the Dowager Countess] is unbelievably good at wink murder.’

Stevens says the decision not to continue was made with his wife. ‘We’d just had our daughter Willow when I started the show and we thought, “OK, a three-year engagement.”

Then by the end of three years I was ready to try something else.’  Family is at the centre of his life. He was 23 when he met Harriet – they were working at different theatres in Sheffield – and was in the thick of marriage and babies ahead of his contemporaries. He was 26 when Willow was born.

‘If it feels right, it feels right. We fell in love and that was it. 

Three children on and it’s still magical.’  He is a doting father, changing nappies, though he admits he’s ‘not the best’ at getting up in the middle of the night. Harriet has put her career is on hold, he says. ‘But there is still a lot of singing in our house.’

His biggest indulgence is travel. ‘We enjoy taking our kids to see beautiful natural spots. Wherever we are in the world, we always try to find something like that.’

As an actor, Stevens’ ambition is to keep trying new things. Future projects include a portrayal  of Charles Dickens in The Man Who Invented Christmas, a film that charts the creation of  A Christmas Carol; and he is about to start shooting Apostle, a dark thriller about a religious cult.

‘When I left Downton, a lot of people would levy questions like, “What are you doing? What are you going to do?” And I guess the last few years have been about answering those questions in a number of different ways.’

Beauty and the Beast is released on 17 March

I gotta say this....

I am watching the first Transformers movie and you know what? It still held itself pretty well. I still had goosebumps on some decent action scenes. Optimus Prime still gave me a butterflies I stomach whenever he was in screen, he was the truly the character I fell in love with and this movie was the reason I became a fan of Transformers. Whether or not people still find films dumb, I am grateful for this series for being part of the fandom. I even got a chance to see Peter Cullen and Frank Welker because I learned about the franchise after seeing the film. So, happy 10 years of the series. Thank you for giving me the series I needed and wanted.

anonymous asked:

ehy archy! could you explain something about Rem Koolhaas' Maison à Bordeaux?

The Maison à Bordeaux by OMA is a private residence of three floors on a cape-like hill overlooking Bordeaux. The lower level is a series of caverns carved out from the hill, designed for the most intimate life of the family; the ground floor on garden level is a glass room – half inside, half outside – for living; and the upper floor is divided into a children’s and a parents’ area. The heart of the house is a 3x3.5m elevator platform that moves freely between the three floors, becoming part of the living space or kitchen or transforming itself into an intimate office space, and granting access to books, artwork, and the wine cellar.

subtilitas said:

There was also a documentary film on the house called “Koolhaas Houselife” which was told through the lens of the maid and others who maintain the property; interesting and pretty funny.

bruniquel said:

It’s perhaps relevant to add that the reason for the elevator is the house was built for a disabled man. The elevator allows him to move between the various levels of the house.

Keep reading

My Chemical Romance’s Gerard Way is taking his comic book series to the screen

A graphic novel series penned by My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way is to be transformed into a 10-part TV show next year.

His award-winning comics, The Umbrella Academy, are illustrated by Brazilian artist Gabriel Ba but will be filmed in live action before streaming on Netflix.

The series tells the tale of an estranged and dysfunctional family of superheroes trying to solve the mystery of their father’s death while tackling their own personal differences.

É hoje o 1º DIA DO QUADRINHO GRÁTIS! Entre as publicações que serão distribuídas no dia, está uma edição de 32 páginas do Umbrella Academy com duas HQs: “…Mas o Passado não perdoa.” e “Mon Dieu”, ambas presentes no “Suíte do Apocalipse”, além de outros desenhos e rascunhos. O eventos acontecerá em lojas de todo país. Veja a lista completa de lojas e mais informações no link: http://diadoquadrinhogratis.com.br #diadoquadrinhográtis #umbrellaacademy

A post shared by Gabriel Bá (@gabriel_ba) on Nov 19, 2016 at 4:46am PST

The Helena singer said: “I am thrilled that The Umbrella Academy has found a home at Netflix.

“I couldn’t think of a better place for the vision Gabriel Ba and myself had when creating the comic, and cannot wait for people to experience that world as a live action show.”

Way, 40, has been exploring his passion for writing since the US cult rock band wound down in 2013, following the release of their last studio album Danger Days: The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys in 2010.

Cindy Holland, vice president for original content at the streaming service, said: “What drew us to The Umbrella Academy is that it’s wholly unique, visual and stylised.

Way is known by fans both for his song and comic writing (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

“These aren’t the usual superheroes, and this series will embrace the singular tone of the graphic novels – dark yet humorous, supernatural yet grounded in reality.

“We’re excited to see this world and introduce these unforgettable heroes to Netflix members around the globe.”

The singer will act as co-executive producer on the show with the pilot script adapted from the original story by Jeremy Slater.

How Castlevania producer Adi Shankar turned his own game fandom into a Netflix series
The history of video game adaptations in movies and television is littered with failure, from the now-infamous 1993 Super Mario Bros. film to the more recent Assassin’s Creed, which was praised in part for not being completely terrible. One surprising success story, though, has been Netflix’s new take on Castlevania, which transforms the gothic adventure game into a dark, violent, four-part series. According to executive producer Adi Shankar, part of the reason the new series works is that it was made by a team that understands and respects the source material. Read more
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New Anime【Bungō Stray Dogs】 Cast and Characters

Pictured above are the designs from some of the characters from Kafka Asagiri and Sango Harukawa’s Bungō Stray Dogs manga which will get an anime adaptation in the new future.

The “battle action” story Bungō Stray Dogs centers around a league of literary figures with supernatural powers. For example, in real life, Ryūnosuke Akutagawa wrote acclaimed stories that inspired Akira Kurosawa’s Rashōmon film and the Aoi Bungaku Series anime’s Jigoku Hen (Hell Screen) arc. In Bungō Stray Dogs, he has the power to transform and manipulate his cloak into a monster-like entity. Together, these writers solve mysteries as part of the “Armed Detective Agency.”

The series mainly features Japanese authors. I’ve captioned who’s who in the above pictures, along with their VA’s. Also featured are contemporary Japanese authors such as Yukito Ayatsuji (Tsukidate no Satsujin) and Natsuhiko Kyogoku (Requiem from the Darkness, Mōryō no Hako, Tōfu Kozō, Loups-Garous), as well as overseas authors such as Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Agatha Christie, and Dan Brown.

Takuya Igarashi and Yoji Enokido, the director and screenwriter team behind Ouran High School Host Club and Star Driver, will helm the anime at Studio BONES.

My 2 cents: Two of my favorite seiyuus, Hiroshi Kamiya and Kensho Ono, will be in this anime. So hearing these two lovely voices in the span of 30 mins will be an absolute treat, just as it was when the two starred as Akashi Seijuro and Kuroko Tetsuya in Kuroko no Basuke.

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Thai artist Anchalee Saengtai has created an amazing series of Transformers sculptures from old, recycled car parts.

Yumi’s (Anchalee Saengtai) business started in the back of a garage, in 2002.The company founder Yumi and her sister Fon take care of the shops in Bangkok, and her brother coordinates the design and construction. With the construction-teams in place, every month 4 to 5 big statues can be produced, together with dozens of medium sized ones and about a hundred smaller sized statues.

Fabric Magazine interview with Amanda Abbington

AMANDA ABBINGTON

I’ve had transformative conversations before, sure. But I think I may’ve just come out of an hour with Amanda Abbington a better person.

“Just be nice. Be nice, be nice. That’s what I say to everybody. That’s my mantra – just be nice. Pay it forward, send it out into the ether, be decent. It’s such a simple thing.”

She’s not holier-than-thou, all warm and wide-eyed and wringing her hands; Amanda is just very convincing about being nice. She’s even zen about cyberbullies (she’s faced her fair share on her ascension): “You meet it with, ‘Ok, that’s alright, you’re entitled to your opinion.’”

“It counts for a lot. Be nice and civil and respectful. I think we’ve lost that a bit. But I think, ‘I’m gonna set the benchmark a little higher, and at least say thank you.’”

Could I by any chance be talking to a parent? Someone in the midst of setting an example, say? “We do have a high moral code in our house – just about being considerate. I try to be a good parent, but who knows…”

Joe and Grace – Amanda’s children with partner Martin Freeman – aren’t here to vouch for Mum’s parenting skills, but the verdict’s back on one thing: ask any opinion of her, and you’re likely to get the same reply. “I love her!” I heard again and again. “I bet she’s really nice.”

Which is weird, when you think about it, because the last time most people would have seen Amanda Abbington, she was either at the powerful end of a pistol as the newly-wedded Mrs Mary Watson in Sherlock; copping off with a handsome young Belgian in Mr Selfridge; or as educational piety incarnate, Sali Rainer, in the Royal Court’s God Bless the Child. None of them nasty, but none straightforwardly ‘nice’.

But, of course, before a parent, Amanda was first an actress – one fast becoming a familiar face of British television. Until the offers dried up. Just as Freeman’s career was taking off (there was no resentment, though: “I can’t exactly play Tim from The Office”), the phone stopped ringing. “Stopped dead overnight. But I kept going.”

And things improved – but not, perhaps, her confidence. “I called it The Curse of Amanda Abbington,” she says. “Everything I ever did finished after one series. But it’s picking up a bit now – we’ve done three series of Mr Selfridge, and it’s my second run of Sherlock. So I think I’ve finally broken the curse.”

Indeed, if there ever was a Curse of Amanda Abbington, it seems to have lifted. This month sees her return to our screens in slick period drama Mr Selfridge as the ever-lovelorn head of accessories, Miss Mardle – who, now “an independent woman of means” with a love avowal under her neatly-belted belt, finally seems to be having a better time of it.

Amanda-Abbington-2Equally, last year, Amanda defied critics to portray the perfect third wheel as Mary Morstan-turned-Watson in Sherlock. As Watson’s real-life partner and a potential obstruction to the adored Sherlock-Watson dynamic, Amanda faced much online opposition. When offered the part, in fact, she thought she’d been called on to advise on a good match for Martin (Emilia Fox or Maxine Peake, FYI). But there’s no doubt she’s proven her worth. With filming begun this month, Amanda goes into Sherlock series four as the strong, surprising Mary (for which she just received the Best Supporting Actress dagger at the Crime Thriller Awards) – transformed from Conan Doyle’s barely there bit part to an integral element of the show’s dynamic.

“It’s absolutely about John and Sherlock. It should be; it’s about their adventures. But I liked that there was this third wheel, and she was female and strong and could hold her own – she wasn’t there just to accommodate them. But, then, I think all the women in Sherlock are like that.”

Mr Selfridge’s Miss Mardle, too: “Beneath the wrong-footed exterior, she is determined, ambitious. And she shows that you can be ambitious and have a heart. She certainly holds her own. Mary and Miss Mardle are both strong women, and I don’t think they facilitate men – they’re there as equals.”

Is this something that’s evolved since her career began? “Yes, but I still think there’s a long way to go. If you play strong women, they have to be slight lunatics. You can’t have a funny, strong character without an element of strangeness.”

“But in this play [God Bless the Child, a smart educational satire directed by the Royal Court’s artistic director Vicky Featherstone], there are four women who don’t talk about men. Just four women on stage, none mad. It’s so healthy.”

The play marked Amanda’s first theatrical turn in ten years – and to say she was apprehensive is like saying 221B Baker Street is just an address. “I was terrified. I was pre-kids the last time I did it. You’re more fearless when you haven’t had children – I felt more fearless. I think your emotions come to the surface more. It makes everything so accessible.”

So which is scarier, parenthood or acting? “They’re both terrifying, but I’m more in control of acting. With parenting, you’re basically winging it – hoping you don’t cause too much permanent damage.”

And how do the kids feel about Mum and Dad’s line of work? “They love it – they find it fascinating. They’ve been on a film set or at a theatre since day dot, so they think parents who go to an office are really weird.”

“They love Mary. Grace wants to be Mary when she grows up. I said, ‘No, you can’t really be an assassin…’ And they love Bilbo [Freeman’s role in The Hobbit], just love him being Bilbo.”

And they can expect to enjoy a lot more Mum on screen soon: Mr Selfridge will take us through to autumn, then Sherlock kicks off with a special next Christmas, while she comes straight here from a read-through for a BBC sitcom, which, if it comes off, will be “so much fun”.

“I love doing comedy, I don’t know if I’m particularly good at it, but I love it. And theatre. And after ten years off, I’ve got the bug again. I think what Vicky’s doing [at the Royal Court] is fantastic: bucking trends, doing stuff that’s challenging. I love people that take risks, that aren’t afraid of saying something controversial – something thought-provoking.”

A sentiment clear in her wish list: “I’d love to work with Abi Morgan, she’s amazing; Simon Stephens I love; Shane Meadows; Jack Thorne – they’re such brilliant writers. They have guts. And I’d love to do a horror film, like The Babadook. That’s on my wish list. Lady Macbeth is on my list too.”

Which, with a plethora of parts both actual and potential, plus Martin’s busy career, means getting time together can be tricky. “Family is much more important to us, but we also both want to work. It’s finding that balance. It’s hard work, making time for each other. But when you do it’s wonderful.”

Of course, filming Sherlock helps, but a studio isn’t quite the same. Quality time is, instead, spent at home in Hertfordshire or in town: “I love London – it’s where I grew up. Coming in on the train, going to the theatre, seeing the lights, was such a big deal. I love to look at it with fresh eyes. What we have here is amazing: parks, history, that skyline – it’s gorgeous. If I don’t see it too often, I miss it, I miss all it does.”

It’s this that makes Amanda’s ‘do unto others’ axiom so irresistible; adult and parent she may be, but she can be as sincerely awed as a child. And, sometimes, just the right side of childish. She seems as loved up as a teenager (“Martin’s my favourite actor,” she borderline gushes. “I’m desperately proud of him.”); argues with prepubescent trolls on Twitter; loves sneezing panda YouTube videos (this she acts out for me); and is just as amazed at London as she was at eight.

“A teacher once gave me the best piece of advice: ‘In London, always look up.’ Because you’ll see so much beauty. It’s quite a good metaphor for life, actually – always look up!”

With this final charge, Amanda heads backstage, and I buoyantly out onto the street – head tilted dutifully skywards – and into a postbox. With my newfound niceness, naturally I’m profusely apologetic, but I do wonder: is this, perhaps, the new Curse of Amanda Abbington?

Mr Selfridge airs on ITV this month

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Screencaps from Madhusree Dutta’s Scribbles on Akka (2000) and 7 Islands and a Metro (2006). The former had actors like Seema Biswas and others provide impersonations and theatrical readings of the life and poetry of Kannada bhakti poet Akka Mahadevi while the latter had Vibha Chibbar and Harish Khanna play two characters  based off of the legendary Urdu writers Ismat Chughtai and Saadat Hasan Manto providing monologues as they traversed through Mumbai/Bombay. Dutta talks about her choice in including the scenes and scenarios within these documentaries below.

Documentary Acts: An Interview with Madhusree Dutta by Bhaskar Sarkar, and Nicole Wolf in BioScope: South Asian Screen Studies, vol. 3 (1) (2012):

Q: Your work provides a very productive canvas to discuss the performance of the self within a documentary mode. As you say, it bypasses a critique of authenticity and goes straight to activating the space that a documentary screen can provide for multiple ways of imagining oneself. We would like to delve a bit deeper into your distinctive use of the theatrical. Working with actors and performance elements goes even further, cutting through the seduction of the real, the seduction of an aesthetic of the real—of violence, for example. A lot has been said about documentary realism and its strategies of authentication being very melodramatic, for instance in the foregrounding of a victim story, a narrative with chance events while delineating a clear dichotomy between good and bad or at least pointing toward a predecided destiny. And the idea that the spectator of a documentary film gains virtue from being told the truth: politics devolves into moralities. How would you locate the motivations for your deployment of theatrical and melodramatic tropes for a decisively different end? As you have used the friction of genres and disciplines since the mid-1990s with Memories of Fear, as recounted earlier, and you are now further experimenting and expanding it within Cinema City.

DUTTA: This reminds me of a story: Georges Méliès commented after he had attended one of the Lumière shows in the last years of the 19th century that the audience was mesmerized by the movement of the objects—dust, train, ship, waves—but was not interested in the moving people on screen. My reading of this is that the people in silent films appeared less real than they did in, say, operas and plays. But the mute objects moving provided the novelty in performance and the proof of the “real” as against the staged in theater. Since then we are suffering from this “dust flying” syndrome that has come to be the high classicism of documentary practice and over the years it became heavily codified. This practice of coded norms responds directly to the agenda of eventually arriving at a point of destiny—the purpose or rationale behind a documentary. Like melodrama, documentary has got burdened with the task of pedagogy, morale, evidence, revelations, and destiny. In both, there is a passion to harness a “fault factor” whereby meaning can be constructed out of the malfunctioning of human behavior.

My need to use theatricality in documentary stems from this—it is a device to de-iconize the “dust flying” by intercutting another, older iconic practice. In a way, it is an attempt to achieve iconoclastic transformation of the “real material” through the classical iconicity of contrived performances with the hope that they will counter each other. In 7 Islands and a Metro, it is a series of soliloquies and in Scribbles on Akka, it is a series of impersonations. Both these are part of the repertoire of melodrama, the very basic characteristics of epic narratives, instances of frontal performance. As expected, these interruptions have worked against the smooth viewing of the films. Some described it as overtly formalist, some accused it of excess and yet others considered it to signal a lack of disciplinary rigor. Interestingly, they are often read as an act of disrespect toward the historicity that the “real people” are expected to provide in a documentary. This means that a belief in the autonomy of the real people appearing in front of the camera and in the permanence of their testimonies is built into the system. This argument of autonomy on behalf of the interviewee for the sake of etching out a past in order to navigate the present, again, comes very close to the manual of melodrama where the interviewee is to be replaced by the protagonist. This, clearly then, is a case of conflict between two practices of melodrama…

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NaLu Kiss in FT Movie 2?

Okay, I’d like to begin by stating that this post is purely speculative in nature. Obviously, like everyone else, I have no idea as to what will actually happen. I simply want to share my thoughts with everyone, as I’ve been toying around with this idea since the second FT film was announced. 

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anonymous asked:

I'm a bit disappointed about the new ghostbusters... It was more like one long SNL scene. It's not terrible, just lazy and uninspired. Just as many complained prior to release, it feels like something a bunch of marketers and businessmen came up with in hopes of riding the feminist wave to disguise how little effort went into the film itself. The characters were stereotypes, and I'm disappointed because I expected more from these girls, they're my idols. I'm a girl I should add, no hate please.

I don’t understand what you want from me, Nonnie. I really, really loved the movie, and I can’t help that you didn’t like it. I personally didn’t feel like the characters were stereotypical (other than Patty, I’ll give you that. However, even though much of her part was stereotypical, Leslie managed to make her character distinct, fun, and essential to the team). Can you explain how you thought it was lazy and uninspired? I feel like it’s extremely easy to make those broad comments about a movie but not have any specific claims.

Might I add, the original idea for the new Ghostbusters movie was as a third part to accompany the original and the sequel. When the idea was given to Paul Feig, however, he decided a reboot would be much better, and that the team should be transformed into a team of badass, yet hysterical women instead of yet another team of men; that’s what would’ve been lazy and uninspired, considering teams of men are all we see nowadays (Avengers, The A Team, Now You See Me, The Hangover Series,… need I continue?). I don’t think that the film had some sort of agenda to trick the feminist movement. Even if it did, congratulations! They tricked me! Oh man, what’ll I do? Now I have a movie that I really, really love! Dang they’re sneaky.

Paul Feig and Kate McKinnon did a very wonderfully informative interview about the film and its origins, as well as Paul’s drive for creating movies about women that don’t revolve around scoring a man (Bridesmaids, The Heat, Spy, Ghostbusters). His track record with that is stellar compared to others. Maybe after checking it out you’ll have a little more insight to the origins of the movie. I’m 99.999% sure this film had good intentions, and I’m even more sure that those good intentions produced a film that will open many people’s eyes to the future of film- where protagonists can be something other than white cis men.

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The Hyper-realistic body painting of: Alexa Meade.

Alexa Meade thinks completely backwards. Most artists use acrylic paints to create portraits of people on canvas. But not Meade - she applies acrylic paints on her subjects and makes them appear to be a part of the painting!

Meade is an installation artist based in the Washington, DC area. Her innovative use of paint on the three dimensional surfaces of found objects, live models, and architectural spaces has been incorporated into a series of installations that create a perceptual shift in how we experience and interpret spatial relationships.

I was lucky enough to catch up with Meade and ask her about her thought process. Here is what she said:

“I paint representational portraits directly on top of the people I am representing. The models are transformed into embodiments of the artist’s interpretation of their essence. When captured on film, the living, breathing people underneath the paint disappear, overshadowed by the masks of themselves.”