When Lin-Manuel Miranda was a 10-year-old kid with wild daydreams of Academy Awards success, he used to boast to his mother that he was going to bring her as his Oscar date.
On Tuesday he was nominated for his first Oscar as composer of the best original song How Far I’ll Go from Disney’s Moana.
Good to his word, Miranda is already focusing on making sure his mother looks great on the red carpet.
“We gotta get my mom a dress. I’ve promised her she was coming with me to the Oscars since I was 10,” Miranda says. “Obviously the first priority, is getting my mom looking nice. I can wear any old penguin suit.” (x)
Sad to see anyone battling mental health issues, of course. But, hey, at least the man doesn’t have immediate and easy access to the biggest military nuclear arsenal in the world and could wipe out life as we know it in mere minutes.or anything.
There are two important things to know about Sam Heughan: He’s as nice as his social media persona and work on Outlander suggest. And he is that attractive in real life.
Even after a week of nonstop appearances promoting the third season of the hit Starz fantasy drama, (Sundays, 8 ET/PT), he’s all winks and Scottish charm, joking about getting bad takeout salad stuck in his teeth and fanboying over Whoopi Goldberg.
“We’re going on The View, and I’d say 75% of people there were Outlander fans and they were just so enthusiastic, and I’m like, ‘There’s Whoopi Goldberg’!” Heughan, 37, laughs.
He still genuinely seems shocked by how many fans the show has amassed — and there are many — but he’s quick to praise them.
“They were just really happy to see us. I felt very lucky,” he says. “I’m beginning to realize, I don’t think every other TV show has that kind of support.“
It’s as if he was plucked from a hilltop in Scotland and dropped into Hollywood. And fans, as well as casting directors and major brands, are eating it up.
"Why did we do it? We met him a little over a year ago in New York at an event we were hosting and he’s just such a nice guy,” says Barbour general manager Tom Hooven about signing Heughan as the fashion brand’s first global ambassador.
The partnership has worked so well they’ve signed him for two more years, and are releasing a collection he helped design later this month.
His lack of pretense may stem from the fact that his 2013 casting in Outlander, the historical fantasy series set in Scotland and based on the best-selling books by Diana Gabaldon, came asHeughan was questioning his career choice.
“I was a little like, not disillusioned, but certainly looking at my life. I was 30, maybe 33. I had toured a lot, did bit parts in TV and theater, was just coming back from America where I tested on a lot of big TV shows and films but still not sort of broken that barrier yet,“ he says. "I think I was just looking at life going, 'Is this what i’m going to be doing for the next 10 to 20 years?'”
Turns out, he was on the precipice of a major change. He got a call from his agent, after returning to Scotland following a string of rejections in L.A., with a script for the part of Jamie Fraser, the highlander who falls in love with Claire, a nurse from the 1940s who has traveled back in time after touching standing stones while on vacation outside Inverness.
“I read it, and I just knew that I knew that character.”
He was quickly brought onboard, and helped with the casting of his co-star Caitriona Balfe. The pair’s chemistry has helped the show become a ratings boon for the premium-cable network and a social media phenomenon.
It also got him the attention of director Susanna Fogel, who hired him, alongside Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon, for feature film The Spy Who Dumped Me, due next summer, after an audition via iPad as he was shooting Outlander’s new season in South Africa. It was enough, however, to convince producers he was ready to break out from the historical fantasy genre for a high-budget comedy thriller.
Heughan plays a federal agent in the film, which follows two 30-year-old best friends Audrey (Kunis) and Morgan (McKinnon) in Los Angeles, who unwittingly become entangled in an international conspiracy when Audrey’s ex-boyfriend shows up at their apartment followed by a team of deadly assassins on his trail.
“Sam is that rare actor with such a breadth of talent that he can effortlessly move between genres. In our film, we asked him to do it all, and he did,” Fogel said via email from Budapest, where filming is nearly complete. "He’s a bona fide action star one minute, a grounded dramatic actor the next, and a comedic foil for Kate McKinnon and Mila Kunis throughout.“
The film may be the next break he was waiting for, hurtling him to a permanent place on the silver screen and giving fans a full-blown movie star to fawn over.
"It was exciting to give him an opportunity to explore a different tone and dynamic in his work and watch him master it like he did, and I can’t wait to see what he does next,” Fogel says.
Promoting a new album is hard work, and for Harry Styles, that work involves gamely commenting on One Direction fan-fiction theories.
“Oh, is that a thing?” he said, amused by the internet chatter linking his new song Sweet Creature to his 1D bandmate Louis Tomlinson. “Well, whatever it is that it makes one feel. But I think if you listen to the lyrics, you can work out what it’s about.”
Styles’ charming, British-accented modesty aside, the 23-year-old One Direction singer is poised to become one of the world’s biggest pop stars with the release of his self-titled debut album (out Friday), a collection of music that Styles describes as “songs about stories, and another group of songs delving into, ‘Why did I feel like that.’”
His first single Sign of the Times was a Biblically-epic debut, drawing comparisons to David Bowie and Elton John, a logical progression from the classic-rock nostalgia heard on One Direction’s final two albums. But Styles, and his similarly-aged fans, grew up in an era of music where genre distinctions have melted together, and his album spends just as much time dabbling in twangy folk and modern alt-pop than the stadium-rock of his former band.
I’d be lying if I said it wouldn’t be hard for me, but the passing of time and the passing of torches is part of the experience. Nothing lasts forever. There’s a beauty in that departure, even if it can be sad at times. It’s also joyful.
Chris Evans on another actor potentially taking over as Captain America in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. (x)