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Hollow in the Land – Official Trailer (2017) Dianna Agron, Shawn Ashmore

The Martian: how the audiobook hit rocketed to film glory

In 2011, after a long search for an agent, Andy Weir gave up on big publishing. He had a small and dedicated following as a longtime writer and webcomics artist. So he just posted a book he’d been writing, called The Martian, to his personal website. His readers wanted to be able to read it on their e-readers, so then he added it to Amazon.

The next thing he knew, the thing was climbing the charts. And now, his book is the basis of an Oscar-nominated film with Matt Damon. Weir, in short, is living the dream of many self-published authors.

He acknowledges that his path was unusual, of course. “Everything went backwards from the normal way books get made,” Weir told the Guardian. “I didn’t think anyone would be interested in giving me a print deal. Obviously I misjudged that. Heh.”

In fact, one of the strangest items in the Martian origin story is who first approached Weir for a proper deal. It wasn’t print publishers or film producers. It was a small Canadian audiobook company called Podium Publishing. Run by a pair of friends, James Tonn and Greg Lawrence, the company produces what it calls “award-winning quality” audiobooks “for indie-minded” authors.

Tonn and Lawrence had once hoped to run a music label together, but the advent of Napster and iTunes quashed that dream. They were both attracted to artists who wanted to work outside of the mainstream channels to success – and they wanted to run something that served that community.

When, as an audio engineer, Lawrence began working in audiobooks, the fit seemed natural. “Audiobooks were an auxiliary business,” Lawrence told the Guardian.


“They were tacked on to the end of a publishing deal. Publishers would really only do an audiobook if [the print book] was so big that they were looking for ways to make money.” Lawrence and Tonn thought they could change that, by working with the sort of writer who was interested in publishing their audiobook independently.

Image result for The Martian

Lawrence was the one who actually found Weir’s book, on Amazon. He is a big science fiction fan and says he was attracted to the story, of course, but also simply felt that the way the book was written helped its audiobook prospects. The book is structured such that the narrator, Mark Watney, is recording logs of his time on Mars. “That’s a dream for audio,” Lawrence said on the phone.

The company initially bought both print and audio rights, although they promised Weir they’d return the print rights if he got a deal with a big publisher. (They kept that promise.) They enlisted RC Bray, a popular audiobook narrator, to record it. It was the first fiction project they chose. The product became a top-seller on Audible, and promptly began winning industry awards, including a 2015 Audie. While no one releases audiobook sales figures, some measure of the audiobook’s popularity might be gauged by the fact that it now enjoys over 100,000 reviews on Amazon. “A great book,” reads one. “Out of hundreds of books in my library this is one of the best.”

Part of The Martian’s success as an audiobook is undoubtedly timing. Originally conceived as a narrow industry serving the blind, the audiobook business has exploded in the past few years. In 2015, the Audio Producers Association reported that more than 25,000 audiobooks were published in 2014, compared with about 6,700 in 2010. Podium itself plans to double its production of audiobooks – it has done about 200 so far – within the next year.

Some of the increased interest is undoubtedly about the ease of buying and listening to audiobooks in the age of easily accessible digital audio. But, like podcast producers, audiobook producers also trace some of the success of their products to the way they can be listened to while engaged in some other activity – like cleaning the house, or knitting, or driving home from work. “It’s not so much what you’re doing, but that you’re trying to work reading into your life, whatever you’re doing,” Tonn said.

It remains to be seen whether “independent” audiobooks can follow The Martian’s path. Self-publishing has been a dubious challenge to traditional publishers, at best. And although the Amazon book sales rankings often see self-published books cracking the bestseller lists, audiobooks from the self-published don’t usually seem to crack the Audible Top 10.

But Lawrence sees a real future for such writers. Podium doesn’t contract with large publishers to produce audiobooks; it will remain strictly indie for now. They say they work best with authors like Weir. “He had to have his hopes and his dreams dashed against the rocks,” Lawrence said. “He spent a lot of time trying to get an agent, and he just couldn’t do that. That experience made him think differently about writing, and about getting his work out to people.”

As for Weir, when asked if he was surprised by the way things turned out, he said he was. “Yes I was. But it worked out really well. The audiobook proceeds have been far more than I ever anticipated.”



‘Blade Runner 2049’ Arrives With $50M Overseas; ‘It’ Tops $600M WW

The numbers we’re seeing internationally are in line with where Sony had BR2049debuting ahead of the weekend. Predictions from outside the Culver City lot’s gates were pegged closer to the mid-$50Ms. But industry sources see the $50.2M bow as pretty good internationally, particularly the UK and Australia figures which are higher than expected given the U.S. opening.


The top market was the UK with an $8M launch, on par with comp Interstellar and ahead of Mad Max: Fury Road (+15%). Prior to release in the UK last week, folks at industry gatherings were buzzing about the fantastic reviews on the Ryan Gosling/Harrison Ford-starrer, particularly The Guardian’s 5-star praise party. The film, however, did not score No. 1s in all markets this session, notably France where a local title from the Intouchables guys landed on top, and in other hubs where IT refuses to quit.

Despite all this activity, the No. 1 international movie this session hails from Chinawhere the National Day holiday period has wrapped. Leading proceedings is Never Say Die from the Mahua Fun Age troupe with about $66M for the FSS. The movie crossed $220M on its second Sunday in the Middle Kingdom.

Turning back to BR2049, Asian play will be key for the film. The best markets ultimately should include a mix of the UK, Korea, Japan, China and France. China is dated for November 10 while Japan, a huge market for Blade Runner 2049, is going October 27. Korea is October 12 and in Europe, it will have a chance to build if it can keep screens — the next major release on the horizon is Thor: Ragnarok starting October 24.

Next week is about expansion internationally. There are a number of film festivals running and so awards season movies are getting a push, but there is no major wide rollout. Blade Runner heads to Korea, notably, while Kingsman: The Golden Circlewill bow in France and Fox’s War For The Planet Of The Apes finally hits Japan. Universal/Blumhouse’s Happy Death Day gets a head start in such markets as Brazil, Taiwan and the Netherlands and STX’s interplanetary adventure The Space Between Us lands in China just as its Foreigner bows Stateside.


‘Blade Runner 2049’ Arrives With $50M Overseas; ‘It’ Tops $600M WW; ‘Despicable 3’ Hops Past ‘Zootopia’ – Intl Box Office

DC’s heroes unite in the new Justice League trailer

A new trailer for DC’s superhero ensemble movie Justice League has arrived, and it paints a bleak picture for the post-Superman world we were left with after the events of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Superman’s death looms heavy over the trailer. It opens with Lois Lane dreaming about becoming engaged to Clark Kent in Kansas, only to wake up and find him still missing. We then get a glimpse of how the rest of the world is feeling his loss. TV newscasters say that violence, war, and terrorism is on the rise. But there’s darker things on the horizon. Bruce Wayne tells Diana Prince that he’s been dreaming of something dark coming for the world, and they begin to recruit other heroes to unite fend off the coming Parademon invasion. The trailer shows off a bit more of the battles that we’ve seen teased in other trailers. “Divided, we are not enough,” Bruce Wayne tells the other heroes, “the world needs Superman, and I made him a promise, which is why I’ve brought you together.”

Justice League is coming after DC said that it was scaling back its interconnected superhero universe after it has largely underwhelmed audiences and at the box office. The future of the universe will likely follow in the steps of this year’s wildly successful Wonder Woman, with films that only lightly connect to one another, rather than continuing to follow in the same model as that of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe.

The film will hit theaters on November 17th.




‘Pacific Rim: Uprising’ Takes Place Surprisingly Long After the First One

For those of you who’ve been waiting to see more skyscraper tall mechanical monsters clash with the flesh and blood variety, we’ve got some good news for you. The next chapter of Guillermo del Toro’s massive mechs versus monsters saga, Pacific Rim 2, just took a huge, lumbering step forward.

Talking to Yahoo, del Toro, who delivers his gothic haunted house horror film Crimson Peak later this year, revealed that, after many false starts and pushed release dates, Pacific Rim 2 will indeed begin filming this November. And just in case you were wondering, it’s going to be big, and end big. He said:

We have an epic battle at the end [that] we started designing a couple weeks ago.

As it stands, we don’t know much about the plot of Pacific Rim 2, and probably won’t for some time. It reportedly picks up a few years after the first film, and has more of a focus on the monstrous Kaiju, the creatures from another dimension. Presumably this means that, after thinking they were banished back to where they came from on the other side of the interdimensional rift at the bottom of the ocean, they have found a way to come back and once again we need to turn to the Jaegers, the giant mechanical suits designed to combat this particular menace.


To be fair, I don’t care too much about the specific plot subtleties and dynamics. That wasn’t really Pacific Rim’s strong suit, and I still loved it. Whatever we get is gravy, but as long at Guillermo del Toro is at the helm, and this film has the same feeling of glee, like a small kid playing in the dirt, smashing his toys into one another, and making explosion noises with his mouth, that’s all I need.

There hasn’t been any casting news to speak of in regards to Pacific Rim 2, so it remains to be seen if we’ll encounter any familiar faces. Del Toro has given strong indications that we will see the return of Charlie Day’s Kaiju obsessed Dr. Newton Geiszler and Burn Gorman’s Gottlieb, but we don’t know if Jaeger pilots like Charlie Hunnam’s Raleigh Beckett and Rinko Kikuchi’s Mako Mori will be back. Both Hunnam and Gorman are in Crimson Peak, so they at least have a current working relationship with del Toro that could pay off.

There are going to be some interesting questions to be answered. Like what are Geiszler and Gottlieb up to now that they don’t have Kaiju to study? What do you do with the Jaegers when there is no threat (fingers crossed it turns out like Robot Jox)? Are they just rusting away somewhere? Are the pilots just homeless and unemployed now? I can see the two scientists cooking up some wacky scheme to peer into the other dimension to check up on the monstrous horde, only to have it backfire and allow them back into our world, but that’s pure supposition.

However the story turns out, we’ve got a while to wait, as production for Pacific Rim 2was halted indefinitely, and now the release date is set for February 23, 2018.



‘Once Upon a Time’: Chinese fantasy-romance features complex plot, crazy visuals

Personal identity is as complicated as the plot in “Once Upon a Time,” a CGI-heavy Chinese fantasy-romance. Heroine Bai Qian (Liu Yifei) is a goddess who can transform into a multi-tailed white fox. She’s also the exact double of Susu, the lost love of Prince Ye Hua (Yang Yang), who looks just like — well, that’s supposed to be a surprise.

The movie was directed by Zhao Xiaoding and Hollywood special-effects veteran Anthony LaMolinara (whose credits include 2004’s “Spider-Man 2”). The elaborately costumed actors travel through a computer-generated magical universe and interact with animated characters (mostly realistic, although one incongruously resembles Sprout, Green Giant’s former spokes-vegetable). The imaginative visuals upstage the battle scenes and amorous intrigues.

Image result for ‘Once Upon a Time’: Chinese fantasy-romance features complex plot, crazy visuals

“Once Upon a Time” derives from a Chinese novel, “Three Lives Three Worlds, Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms” (published in English as “To the Sky Kingdom”). The story is so involved that a recent Chinese-TV adaptation of the book ran for 58 episodes. This movie’s condensed telling is somewhat bewildering, although the essentials eventually become clear. But then they’re really just a pretext for such fairy-tale wonders as an underwater city, a living island and a hummingbird air force.



John Wick To Become a Cinematic Universe

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Lionsgate has come out the winner of a bidding war for a female-centric spec action script titled Ballerina — beating out the likes of Warner Bros. and Universal — and that the studio plans to use it as a spring board as a possible John Wick spinoff (aka creating a cinematic universe based on Keanu Reeves’ badass character).

Written by Shay Hatten, Ballerina is described as being similar to La Femme Nikita, the 1990 female-centric assassin movie that launched Luc Besson’s career, but with a “more pulpy, hyper-stylized bent a la Quentin Tarantino or Matthew Vaughn.” Basil Iwanyk will produce the movie through his Thunder Road banner, which also produces the John Wick movies.


Details about the movie are being kept under wraps, but the story will apparently center on a young woman raised to become an assassin who goes on the hunt for the ones (other assassins) that killed her family. The script hit the studios last week and sources say Lionsgate saw in Ballerina the potential to further expland its successful John Wick movie franchise, which currently has a third film in the works.

Cinematic universes are all the rage right now. Marvel and Disney kickstarted everything with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Warner Bros. followed suit with their DC Extended Universe as well as one based on James Wan’s The Conjuring, Universal has united its monster movies under a Dark Universe oh, and let’s not forget Paramount’s Transformers cinematic universe and so on.

What do you think of a possible John Wick cinematic universe?

How War For The Planet Of The Apes’ Bad Ape Is Important For The Franchise’s Future

Among the new characters War for the Planet of the Apes is introducing is Bad Ape (played by Steve Zahn), a chimpanzee who’s smart like the apes in Caesar’s tribe, but has been living on his own. The War trailers have presented Bad Ape as being eccentric because of his time in isolation, but according to director Matt Reeves, the character is important to the future of Apes reboot series because he represents the wider world of Apes beyond Caesar and his followers. Reeves explained:

There are apes who grew up without the benefit of Caesar’s leadership and they might not just be pockets of one or two, there might be actually colonies, and might that be where future conflicts come for Caesar’s apes? They have the benefit of the integrity that he’s instilled in them, so what’s going to happen when they encounter others who didn’t have that?

When Caesar released the ALZ-113 gas at the primate shelter, he boosted the intelligence of all its inhabitants, and most of those apes have been the core members of his tribe in the years following. But as the ALZ-113 virus (contracted by Will Rodman’s neighbor, Douglas Hunker) spread across the world and killed off most of the human population, it would also seem that it functioned just like the concentrated gas and increased the intelligence of all apes elsewhere, whether they were wild or lived in captivity. So Caesar’s tribe is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg when it comes to ape society in this brave new world, but as Caesar learned when he battled Koba in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, just because apes are all smart doesn’t mean they’ll all get along. You know, like how it is with humans.


Matt Reeves also laid out to Yahoo Movies that while this reboot series is still a long ways away from meeting up with the original Planet of the Apes movie, War for the Planet of the Apes does set up how Earth as we knows it is on a trajectory to turning into the alien-like world seen in the 1968 blockbuster. Reeves continued:


You realize that evolution — 5000 years of evolution — after the humans have destroyed themselves, have allowed the apes to take over the planet. That’s accelerated and changed dramatically through the ALZ-113 in Rise (the manmade virus that decimated humans), so they’ll never meet up, but what it does is it tells the end of the story in a way that is taking all of these stories and removing the question of ‘what happened?’ and instead focussing it on the ‘how?’ So this ends up getting to be a blockbuster that’s all about character and all about the sort of thematic, of us holding the mirror up to ourselves.

War for the Planet of the Apes will wrap up the conflict between apes and humans that began at the end of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, with Caesar leading the apes and Woody Harrelson’s Colonel McCullough leading the humans. Bad Ape will presumably aid Caesar to the best of his ability during the story, and the outcome of this war will determine what becomes the dominant species on Earth.



Among the new characters War for the Planet of the Apes is introducing is Bad Ape (played by Steve Zahn), a chimpanzee who’s smart like the apes in Caesar’s tribe, but has been living on his own. The War trailers have presented Bad Ape as being eccentric because of his time in isolation, but according to director Matt Reeves, the character is important to the future of Apes reboot series because he represents the wider world of Apes beyond Caesar and his followers. Reeves explained:

There are apes who grew up without the benefit of Caesar’s leadership and they might not just be pockets of one or two, there might be actually colonies, and might that be where future conflicts come for Caesar’s apes? They have the benefit of the integrity that he’s instilled in them, so what’s going to happen when they encounter others who didn’t have that? When Caesar released the ALZ-113 gas at the primate shelter, he boosted the intelligence of all its inhabitants, and most of those apes have been the core members of his tribe in the years following. But as the ALZ-113 virus (contracted by Will Rodman’s neighbor, Douglas Hunker) spread across the world and killed off most of the human population, it would also seem that it functioned just like the concentrated gas and increased the intelligence of all apes elsewhere, whether they were wild or lived in captivity.


So Caesar’s tribe is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg when it comes to ape society in this brave new world, but as Caesar learned when he battled Koba in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, just because apes are all smart doesn’t mean they’ll all get along. You know, like how it is with humans. Matt Reeves also laid out to Yahoo Movies that while this reboot series is still a long ways away from meeting up with the original Planet of the Apes movie, War for the Planet of the Apes does set up how Earth as we knows it is on a trajectory to turning into the alien-like world seen in the 1968 blockbuster.


Reeves continued: You realize that evolution — 5000 years of evolution — after the humans have destroyed themselves, have allowed the apes to take over the planet. That’s accelerated and changed dramatically through the ALZ-113 in Rise (the manmade virus that decimated humans), so they’ll never meet up, but what it does is it tells the end of the story in a way that is taking all of these stories and removing the question of ‘what happened?’ and instead focussing it on the ‘how?’ So this ends up getting to be a blockbuster that’s all about character and all about the sort of thematic, of us holding the mirror up to ourselves. War for the Planet of the Apes will wrap up the conflict between apes and humans that began at the end of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, with Caesar leading the apes and Woody Harrelson’s Colonel McCullough leading the humans. Bad Ape will presumably aid Caesar to the best of his ability during the story, and the outcome of this war will determine what becomes the dominant species on Earth. You can watch the video below to learn about Bad Ape’s background before catching the third Apes reboot entry.



xXx 4 finds funding, Vin Diesel returning as Xander Cage once again

xXx: Return of Xander Cage, the third instalment in the Triple-X franchise, was met rather tepidly by American audiences, taking just $44.9 million from an $85 million budget.

However, thanks to an impressive Chinese haul — partly thanks to marketing putting actor Donnie Yen before Vin Diesel on posters — taking the total takings to $346.1 million, a sequel is coming.

New launched Los Angeles-based production-financing entity H Collective is backing the project, along with numerous other films, including Aaron Paul’s thriller The Parts You Lose.

Return of Xander Cage director D.J. Caruso is currently working on the fourth instalment, confirming Ruby Rose, Nina Dobrev, Deepika Padukone, and the majority of the main cast will reprise their roles.

“In today’s Hollywood, it requires strong partners to produce and finance such big-budget movies as the xXx series, and The H Collective is a welcome and exciting new company that we look forward to working with,” the film’s producer Joe Roth told Variety.

The production company hopes to release four projects every year, one of those being action-comedy White House Chef, which will see a Chinese chef working for The White House ‘save the First Family after he becomes unintentionally involved in a secret terrorist plot targeting an important state dinner’. 



Power Rangers director believes PG-13 rating hurt its box office

Unfortunately, the film disappointed at the box office, grossing just $140 million worldwide, leaving a second instalment looking very unlikely (although there has been some talk that a sequel could still happen due to impressive toy sales).

Speaking to Screen Rant, director Dean Israelite has reflected on the film’s underperformance at the box office, stating that he believes it was harmed by its PG-13 rating.

“Yes, definitely,” said Israelite when asked about the rating. Definitely. And not only do I think it, but there’s been market studies on it, and the findings have been that if the movie were rated PG- I don’t want to go into the specific numbers- but if the movie had been rated PG, there would have been more traffic. I think parents were unsure if they could bring their kids to the movie, which surprised me, because the movie is a tame PG-13.”


“We did a lot of preview screenings, and to me, it felt like a seven-year-old might be scared, but in a good way,” he continued. “They liked that they were scared of Rita, but they still came out of the movie enjoying it, they liked what was going on. I think we really tread that line well, so it was disappointing that parents didn’t know that they could take their kids to it. I’m hoping now, with it coming out on DVD and Blu-ray, and On Demand, that parents will feel more comfortable. That maybe they’ll check it out for themselves and then see that it’s suitable.”

Given that the Power Rangers franchise is typically targeted towards younger children, Israelite could well have a point that the rating impacted its box office haul, although there are plenty of PG-13 movies that enjoy huge success, so perhaps that doesn’t tell the full story.

Why do you think Power Rangers failed at the box office? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below…



My Cousin Rachel International Trailer #2 (2017)

‘Wonder Woman’ breaks record with $100.5 million debut

Aside from bringing in over $100.5 million, the film has been dubbed the biggest domestic opening for a film directed by a woman.

Shattering the glass ceiling in Hollywood didn’t come easy for the Patty Jenkins directed film. Before the film even hit theaters, there was controversy surrounding the heroine, Gal Gadot’s lack of body hair, talks of the film not being feminist enough and concerns over female-only screenings.

Despite the drama, Wonder Woman went on to receive a 93% certified fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes as well.

People all over social media couldn’t help but bask in the success of the film and acknowledge the possibilities it could provide to other women directors on the rise.



ROUGH NIGHT Official Movie Trailer (2017) Scarlett Johansson

‘Wonder Woman’ set to break the box office — and could put to rest this myth about superhero movies

Just days before its debut, “Wonder Woman” is gathering momentum, suggesting it could exceed expectations at the box office — and finally put to rest what analysts say is a tired notion: That audiences are reluctant to see female superheroes on the big screen.

“Wonder Woman” is the most anticipated film of the summer, beating out titles such as “Spider-Man: Homecoming” and the latest “Pirates of the Caribbean” installment, an annual survey from ticket-seller Fandango showed this week. Meanwhile, “Wonder Woman” is also one of the most talked-about movies on social media.

The latest tracking figures have “Wonder Woman” hauling in about $65 million in its North American debut this week, but some think that estimate is too conservative. BoxOffice.com currently forecasts a $90 million opening and believes it could be even bigger.

“Strong social media buzz, generational awareness, and notable interest from women alongside the usual fan audience are driving our expectations beyond previously conservative levels,” said Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at BoxOffice.com. “A domestic opening close to $100 million is looking more and more possible, and that may not even be the ceiling at this point.”

With an estimated $120 million production budget, “Wonder Woman” is the biggest bet yet on a film featuring a standalone female superhero. Studios have not gambled on a major release on a super-heroine since Twentieth Century Fox’s “Elektra” and Warner Bros.’ “Catwoman” — both of which bombed more than a decade ago.

“The way Patty Jenkins has directed this, there’s just so much depth to it. You feel that somebody really loves this character and understands her dynamic, her point of view”-Paul Dergarabedian, comScore senior media analyst

At least some influential executives have taken that to heart. In a 2014 email made public in a massive breach of Sony’s communications, then Marvel Entertainment CEO Ike Perlmutter highlighted these failures, though the context of his comments was unclear.

Alisha Grauso, editor-at-large at genre website Movie Pilot, said studio executives have long been out of step with the fan community on this point. At the same time Hollywood has simply failed to make good films based on women superheroes, it has been more forgiving of male-focused movies, she said.

“You also have male-led superhero movies that bombed as well, but they kept getting made,” Grauso told CNBC.

“But when a female-led superhero movie flopped, it’s because, ‘Oh, people don’t want to see a female-led superhero movie.'”




War for the Planet of the Apes Official Trailer #3 (2017)

I’ve locked three Bollywood films: Priyanka Chopra

Mumbai: The press conference of Priyanka Chopra’s Hollywood film ‘Baywatch’ was held amidst enough galore in the city on Wednesday.

Priyanka Chopra, who returned from the US to the city for merely five days, was quite enthralled to interact with the Indian media.

However, the main lead actor Dwayne Johnson, who couldn’t make it physically to the press conference, was virtually present there.

The conference began with his heart-warming message through a video.

He expressed his grief of not making it to India, and said that he is missing India a lot.

Dwayne, popularly known as ‘The Rock’ further joked with the Indian media, to not ask any questions to PeeCee about Zac Efron or other ladies, but only about him.

Taking charge of the press conference solely, Priyanka was asked her opinion about the  much-in-debate Akshay Kumar’s National Award win.

To which, the actress didn’t pay any heed to let the journalist even complete her question. Squashing her question, she laughingly said, “I was in America, I do not know anything.”

Priyanka was asked the most expected and obvious question about she missing Bollywood and her upcoming films, to which the actress shared her feelings saying, “I am listening to many scripts, but once I know what my schedule is, then only I can figure out when I can do a film. I can tell you for sure I have locked three films! But I can’t announce them till I know my dates. And I don’t know when I will do it, this year or next year. Actually after June, I really don’t know what I am going to do! And I definitely missed Hindi film industry. I am meeting people here also. So yes, it feels wonderful.”

When questioned about Indians or browns being welcomed warmly and accepted by Hollywood, the ever-so-humble diva replied, “You can’t be so entitled as being from Hindi film industry. We can’t say that if we are stars in India we will be stars everywhere. I am okay to walk into a room and introduce myself as,  ‘Hello, I am Priyanka Chopra. I am an Indian actor.’ There’s nothing small about it, our achievements are quite big. Of course, people didn’t know me then. I never thought they were mean except a few. But I think American press was wonderfully accepting of me. In fact, I haven’t seen them being that good to any other Indian actor. They have been loving, friendly and encouraging of me. So, I can’t say about brown skin. I can’t generalise.”


We are all aware about filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s admiration for Priyanka, hence when asked if she would be seen in his next ‘Padmavati’ in any role, she admitted, ” No! just because I am Sanjay sir’s favourite (laughs), I am joking… We have spoken about other films, but not ‘Padmavati’.”

Priyanka’s home production Marathi film ‘Ventilator’ bagged three National Awards, on which the elated diva joked that for some reason whenever she receives an honour from the Government of India, she happens to always be in New York.

Elaborating about her happiness on the win, she further added that she was very happy as this was her first film under her production house Purple Pebble Pictures.

Daddy’s little girl Priyanka said, “I made this film for my dad. The entire sequence happening outside the ICU, while my dad was on ventilator, is the story of ‘Ventilator’.”


She was asked about the difference in freedom of speech there in Hollywood, where the celebrities are in more power to criticise the authority and perhaps, the Indian celebrities here hesitate.

“It’s a cultural difference maybe. I say what I feel. I’ve always had my opinion. When I don’t want to say anything, I just don’t. Maybe controversies get…when public figures say anything there and over here they get into trouble,” she concluded.




Unacknowledged – An Expose of the Greatest Secret In Human History

‘The Fate of the Furious’ Nabs $100.2M in U.S for Record $532.5M Global Start

Universal’s Fast and the Furious franchise is showing no signs of running out of gas on the world stage.

The Fate of the Furious, directed by F. Gary Gray, raced to an estimated $532.5 million global debut over Easter weekend, including $100.2 million domestically and a $432.2 million overseas.

If those estimates hold when final numbers are tallied early Monday, Furious 8 will eclipse Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($529 million) to boast the biggest worldwide opening of all time. Either way, it is assured of scoring the top international launch of all time, surpassing fellow Universal title Jurassic World ($316.7 million).

Furious 8 had the advantage of opening day-and-date in China, where it earned a massive $190 million, the biggest three-day bow in history. Overall, the tentpole debuted at No. 1 in all 63 foreign markets, and it did more business than any previous installment in 32 of those.

In North America, Furious 8 scored the second-biggest launch of the franchise behind Furious 7‘s $147 million. Furious 7 (2015) was the final film in the series to star Paul Walker, who died in a tragic car crash in November 2013. Globally, Furious 7 launched to $397.7 million (it didn’t open in China until a week later). 

“This franchise is showing no sign of wear and tear,” said Universal international distribution chief Duncan Clark. “Fate of the Furious is satisfying audiences on many different levels.

Added Universal domestic distribution president Nick Carpou: “Considering this is the second-highest opening domestically out of eight films speaks to the fact that people continue to be interested in the storyline.”

Long heralded for its diverse cast, Furious 8 played to audiences of all ethnicities and nabbed an A CinemaScore. Domestically, Caucasians made up 41 percent of the audience, followed by Hispanics (26 percent), African-Americans (21) percent, Asians (11 percent) and Native American/Other (3 percent), according to comScore’s exit polling service PostTrack. The pic skewed male at 58 percent, far more than the last film at 51 percent.

Gray is making his franchise debut after helming Straight Outta Compton for Universal. Fate of the Furious once again stars Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Nathalie Emmanuel, Elsa Pataky and Kurt Russell. Newcomers include Charlize Theron, Helen Mirren and Scott Eastwood. The story follows a villainous superhacker (Theron) who turns Diesel’s character against his crew.

The Fast and Furious movies have collectively grossed more than $3.9 billion globally. Furious 7 was far and away the biggest earner and the only installment to cross $1 billion on its way to finishing its worldwide run with $1.516 billion.



Is Facebook trying to lure content creators away from YouTube?

  • Six months ago Facebook allowed verified pages and profiles to share branded content and it now will allow all users to apply to get access to the branded content tool, as reported by VentureBeat.


  • Branded content lets users monetize Facebook content including text, photos, videos, Instant Articles, links, 360-degree video and live video.


  • Facebook also changed the label for branded content to the more direct “paid,” but doesn’t claim that disclosure necessarily meets FTC or other regulatory standards. “Publishers will be still responsible for complying with any relevant advertising regulations in the markets, including providing necessary disclosures indicating the commercial nature of the content they post,” the blog post states. 

Micro-influencers and other users with a large number of followers who didn’t make it to verified status on the platform will see the most immediate benefit, as Facebook’s move greatly democratizes the ability to earn revenue for content on the platform. The move does come at an interesting time as Google is facing serious backlash for the wild west nature of content it hosts on platforms like YouTube with brands and agencies alike pulling ads until Google can gain more control over ads appearing next to offensive or sensitive content. Giving more influencers an opportunity to earn money on Facebook could attract them away from YouTube, where reports suggest they have been losing money during the brand boycott. 

Just how safe the Facebook environment is for brands is unclear. Facebook appears to be leaving it up to sponsors to make sure they aren’t paying for content that might appear next to other, potentially offensive content on the user’s profile.

Facebook’s statement on disclosure is interesting in that it put the onus on sponsors and the sponsored content to ensure the post meets standards. The FTC has not been entirely clear with its guidelines and recently has shown propensity to take action in sanctioning brands, although it’s unknown how the agency will handle enforcement under the Trump administration. 



2017 Oscar Nominated Short Films

If you need a distraction from fighting about “La La Land,” cheering at “Hidden Figures” or weeping about “Moonlight” — all of which might have been distracting you from other things — there are 15 Oscar-nominated movies quietly soliciting your attention, along with that of the academy voters. The short-film nominees are often unsung awards-season highlights, too easily overlooked except for office-pool balloting purposes. This is a shame, since in about the time it would take to watch “Arrival” three times or “Toni Erdmann” twice, you could take a remarkably wide-ranging tour of world cinema.

Even in a generally strong year like this one, the shorts display a cosmopolitan breadth and a stylistic variety that the other categories often lack. The animated nominees include handmade as well as digital productions, and dark, adult themes as well as child-friendly charm and whimsy. The live action and documentary candidates tackle painful real-world material with compassion, courage and imagination (though sometimes also with conventional sentimentality). All of the films arrive in theaters in New York on Wednesday and nationwide on Friday and will be available Feb. 21 on many streaming platforms (though several can be found on various sites now). Here is a brief critical guide.


Audible to Release Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Audiobook Narrated by Eddie Redmayne

Audible, the Netflix of digital audiobooks, has just announced they’re releasing an audiobook of J.K. Rowling’s Hogwarts library book Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and that it will be narrated by Academy Award-winner and the star of 2016’s film, Eddie Redmayne. The audiobook will be released on March 14, and will feature six new beasts, a new foreword by Newt Scamander and an elaborate sound design.

Redmayne expressed his excitement over the announcement in a statement, saying:

Before I was cast in the film, David Yates told me about Newt and this textbook. I found it so funny and so enchanting and really wittily written. But it wasn’t until I started reading it out loud for the audiobook that I realized how tricky and poetic J.K. Rowling’s use of sounds and language can be. There are some really great tongue twister words in here! Occasionally, I had to stop recording just because I was incapable of saying the words without either laughing or getting my tongue in a muddle. I enjoyed the challenge and hope listeners can sense that in my narration.

This is a pretty exciting announcement for fans of both the film and the book, allowing them to dive even deeper into the Potterverse than they they might have otherwise. It’s also a smart move for Audible to cash in on some of that Potterverse fever, because it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Said Audible’s Chief Content Officer Andy Gaies in a statement:

We are thrilled to offer Audible listeners, the most voracious readers there are, the opportunity to enjoy a brilliant performance of yet another essential component of J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World seamlessly through the Audible service. We look forward to bringing even more listeners to this richly imagined universe through our effortless and affordable service. Ever since we first made the Harry Potter series available on Audible in 2015, they have been consistently among the highest rated, most downloaded, and most listened to audiobooks in our store.



‘Fifty Shades Darker’ Dominates Social Media Buzz

Universal’s “Fifty Shades Darker” topped social media buzz last week with an impressive 152,000 new conversations, according to media-measurement firm comScore and its PreAct service.

The studio released the soundtrack listing on Jan. 12, three days after Taylor Swift also posted a “first look” of her soundtrack music video with Zayn Malik. PreAct estimates that a total of 1.12 million new conversations have been generated for the sequel, which opens on Feb. 10.

The sequel depicts an escalating romance between the characters played by Dakota Johnson (Anastasia Steele) and Jamie Dornan (Christian Grey) with plenty of steamy scenes and shadowy figures from Christian’s past emerging. “Fifty Shades Darker” also led the “most talked-about movies” chart during the previous week in the wake of releasing an extended trailer during the season premiere of “The Bachelor.”

Disney-Pixar’s “Cars 3” generated 59,000 conversations, thanks to the release of an extended teaser on Jan. 9 — five months ahead of its June 16 debut.

The upcoming film will focus on Lightning McQueen, voiced by Owen Wilson, enlisting his new friend Cruz Ramirez as a technician to compete against a new generation of racers. The characters Mater (voiced by Larry the Cable Guy), Sally (Bonnie Hunt), and Ramone (Cheech Marin) will return.

Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” produced nearly 31,000 new conversations in the wake of the Jan. 11 announcement that John Legend and Ariana Grande would collaborate on the title track. The studio also released a featurette on Jan. 13.

“Beauty and the Beast” has now generated over 644,000 conversations since the studio began promoting the live-action film, starring Emma Watson. It opens March 17.

Paramount’s “xXx: The Return of Xander Cage” generated 27,100 new conversations last week. The action sequel, starring Vin Diesel, opens nationwide on Friday.

Universal’s horror-thriller “Split,” directed by M. Night Shyamalan and starring James McAvoy as a man with 23 different personalities, generated 14,000 new conversations last week. It also opens nationwide on Friday.

Warner Bros.’ “The Lego Batman Movie” produced nearly 12,000 conversations in the wake of being featured in a joint TV spot with Chevrolet on Jan. 14. “Lego Batman,” a spinoff of 2014’s “The Lego Movie,” opens on Feb. 10.


‘Fifty Shades Darker’ Dominates Social Media Buzz

29 books to read before they become movies in 2017

Just note that new movie release dates tend to be added or shuffled around throughout the year, so some of the dates here might change.

Keep reading to see the book-to-movie adaptations coming out this year.

Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey try to have a “normal” relationship in “Fifty Shades Darker,” based on the novel by E.L. James. We’ll see how that works out.

Release date: February 10


The Wolverine solo movie “Logan” is inspired by the “Old Man Logan” X-Men comic series, with the superhero in a postapocalyptic future.

Release date: March 3The YA novel “

Before I Fall” by Lauren Oliver is about a teenager who relives the day of her death seven times while she tries to discover the mystery of her death. Zoey Deutch stars in the movie adaptation.

Release date: March 3

“The Shack” was self-published back in 2007, but it became a huge hit. It’s about a man who loses his daughter on a camping trip, and then returns to the site a few years later where he finds her with physical manifestations of Jesus, God the Father, and The Holy Spirit.

Release date: March 3

Julian Barnes’s award-winning novel “The Sense of an Ending,” about a man dealing with secrets from his past, is getting a weighty movie adaptation starring Jim Broadbent.

Release date: March 10

Disney’s version of “Beauty and the Beast” — this one starring Emma Watson as Belle — is far from faithful from the original French fairy tale by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve.

Release date: March 17

Scarlett Johansson stars as a version of Major Motoko Kusanagi, a cyberterrorist hunter in a futuristic Japan, in “Ghost in the Shell.” It’s based on a popular manga series which later become an anime television series and film.

Release date: March 31

“The Zookeeper’s Wife” is the true story about how the Warsaw Zoo saved hundreds of Jews from the Nazis by hiding them in empty animal cages after the zoo was bombed. The movie adaptation stars Jessica Chastain and Daniel Brühl.

Release date: March 31

Stephen Chbosky — himself the author of YA hit “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” — is adapting fellow YA author Raquel Jaramillo’s novel “Wonder” into a movie. It’s about a boy with a facial deformity trying to fit into school.

Release date: April 7

“The Lost City of Z” promises to be a swashbuckling adventure about explorers who search for a lost Mayan city. It’s based on the true story of Percy Fawcett, as chronicled by New Yorker writer David Grann in his book of the same name.


Release date: April 21Emma Watson, Tom Hanks, and John

Boyega star in “The Circle,” an adaptation of the Dave Eggers novel about an employee who works at a massive tech company at the center of a surveillance society.

Release date: April 28

Based on Herman Koch’s bestselling novel, “The Dinner” is a thriller about two parents who have dinner with Dutch politicians who suspect their children of terrorism.

Release date: May 5

Guy Ritchie’s “King Arthur: The Legend of the Sword” movie looks like it’ll be a loose and fun adaptation of the classic Arthurian legend.

Release date: May 12

The adaptations of Jeff Kinney’s “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” books continue with “Long Haul.”

Release date: May 19

“Everything, Everything” is based on a novel by Nicola Yoon, about a young woman who has a disease that doesn’t let her leave the house, but she falls in love with a boy who moves in next door.

Release date: May 19

Dav Pilkey’s beloved book series about two kids who hypnotise their school principal into thinking he’s an underwear-slinging superhero finally gets its movie due with “Captain Underpants.”

Release date: June 2

The “Wonder Woman” movie is following DC Comics’s “The New 52” reboot, where Diana is the daughter of Zeus.


Release date: June 2

The stark Victorian drama “Lady Macbeth” isn’t directly based on Shakespeare — it’s based on the 1865 novella “Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk” by Nikolai Leskov.

Release date: June 2

The 1951 Daphne du Maurier novel “My Cousin Rachel” was already adapted once in a movie starring Richard Burton, and it’s getting another big-screen adaptation, this time focused around Rachel Weisz.

Release date: July 14

Luc Besson’s films are always interesting, and his upcoming sci-fi opus “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets,” based on the French comics series, looks like his most ambitious effort yet.

Release date: July 21Graphic novel “

The Coldest City” by Antony Johnston is a double-agent spy thriller that takes place on the eve of the collapse of the Berlin Wall. The movie adaptation will star Charlize Theron and James McAvoy.

Release date: July 28

It’s been a long journey to the screen for Stephen King’s “The Dark Tower” epic, and it’s finally almost here. The adaptation will star Matthew McConaughey and Idris Elba.


Release date: July 28

Stephen King’s other high-profile adaptation this year is “It,” starring Bill Skarsgård as Pennywise The Dancing Clown.

Release date: September 8

The book “Victoria and Abdul” told the surprising story of Abdul Karim, who became a clerk for Queen Victoria at the age of 24. Stephen Frears, who directed “The Queen” and “Florence Foster Jenkins” is directing a movie adaptation starring Judi Dench and Ali Fazal.

Release date: September 22

Tomas Alfredson is adapting “The Snowman,” a detective thriller based on the bestseller by Norwegian author Jo Nesbø.

Release date: October 13

Charles Martin’s romance-thriller “The Mountain Between Us” is about a surgeon and writer who survive a plane crash and get stranded in the mountains. The movie will have a rock-solid cast, with Idris Elba and Kate Winslet.

Release date: October 20

The book “Same Kind of Different As Me: A Modern-Day Slave, an International Art Dealer, and the Unlikely Woman Who Bound Them Together” is about — well, the subtitle is long enough to explain it.

Release date: October 20

John Green is a YA star with novels like “Paper Towns” and “The Fault in Our Stars.” His short story collection “Let it Snow” is getting adapted into a film about interweaving romances that come together on Christmas eve.

Release date: November 22

Kenneth Branagh takes on Agatha Christie’s classic novel “Murder on the Orient Express,” which has been adapted once before into a 1974 film.




Which 5 Book Genres Make The Most Money?

The struggling, famished writer is a bit of a hackneyed stereotype but research shows it’s a truism, nonetheless. British newspaper The Guardian recently released a rather daunting article stating that most full-time professional writers make a  paltry £600 a month – that’s under $1000 U.S. dollars. But of course, the authors we know about – those who come to the public attention – have already become celebrities, selling millions of books and making millions in the process. From the talented aspiring writer struggling to make the distant ends meet, to the world-renowned author winning international awards and making serious bank: What differentiates the two? Is it even possible to pin down the seemingly intangible nature of what makes one wordsmith successful over another? In an attempt to answer this question, perhaps we ought to look at certain celebrated writers – J.K. Rowling, E.L. James, and John Grisham, for example – and query what they have in common?

The answer is not immediately obvious. They all come from widely varying backgrounds, their novels are incomparable, and their styles disparate. However, each of these writers have one area of common ground; their successful novels are specifically ‘genre’ works. These authors are know, respectively, for fantasy, romance and mystery – and if the statistics show us anything it’s that genre books sell better than your average literary piece, short story collection or poetry. Literary novels, those which can ill be pinned into one genre, tend to attract a niche audience, the sort of people who label themselves ‘readers’, perhaps frequenting vintage bookstores and grand libraries in their spare time. Genre readers, however, might be more likely to browse through their Kindle and purchase the latest novelty at the click of a button. This is, of course, a generalisation and not true of all genre or literary readers; but the fact is, genre readers have a voracious appetite and it’s genre novels which are driving the publishing industry today.

The question of whether writers should limit themselves to a genre if they want to make a living depends, of course, on passion and investment. A writer, involved in the work for love over money, will write about what interests them. Sometimes, this will fit neatly into a popular genre. Genre writing, though, is notorious for having a rather formulaic checklist of things that need to be incorporated into the novels. Fantasy, for example, will need some form of magic, good and evil at war, and usually a hero or heroine. If you’re a budding writer or a curious reader, and you’re considering delving into the world of genre literature, you may well want to know which genres are the most popular – and which make the most money? With the increase in popularity of e-books, self-published authors now account for 20% of sales in the genre market – so this question isn’t just one for the industry people. Now, it’s relevant for any budding author with an internet connection! So, we’ve collated information on leading authors’ earnings and reports of industry trends to bring you this list of the 5 most valuable, highest-earning genres in the book business – according to the Romance Writer’s of America Association’s reported figures of Simba Information Estimates.

With genre leader Stephen King said to have a net profit of $400 million and Dean Koontz with $125 million, horror’s clearly a popular genre – but it’s undeniably a smaller niche than some of the popular genres, valued at under $80 million. Readers enjoy being scared and they’re loyal to their favourites, which is perhaps why King and Koontz – although having both written out of the genre – have been particularly prolific writers, each releasing fifty plus novels throughout the course of their career.

King generally publishes at least one book every year, including genre classics like ‘The Shining’, ‘Salem’s Lot’, and ‘It’. Horror can explore shocking subjects, often incorporating romance, fantasy and action along the way – but many people simply don’t have the stomach for it, making this one of the less popular genres.

With fantasy books such as ‘Harry Potter’, ‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hunger Games’ being turned into blockbusters, it stands to reason that this genre would be a money spinner. With an estimated $590.2 million, the fantasy genre owns huge names. Writers like Suzanne Collins and J.K. Rowling are topping rich lists, and these writers target a fanatical audience, often falling under the now hugely popular ‘Young Adult’ fiction umbrella. Fan sites and forums are rife with discussion on J.K. Rowling’s books and the hunger for information is just as incessant among Hunger Games fans. And for the more mature male and female audience, there’s the A Game of Thrones series byGeorge R.R. Martin which also falls under this category and has an enormously popular television show serving to promote it.

The fact that fantasies are commonly written in sagas may have much to do with this genre’s popularity. Fans of the fantasy world seem to enjoy staying with the characters for as long as possible, being left with cliffhangers. As long as there are more books, more movies and more fantastical worlds to be discovered this genre is likely to maintain its popularity.

It’s common knowledge that the bible is the ultimate bestseller, topping record lists across the globe as the longest-standing, most-translated and widest-distributed book in the world. So, doubtless, that little number does a lot to boost the religious and inspirational genre. However, inspirational writers like Paulo Coelho – whose international bestsellers like The Alchemist have been hailed as transformative to the religious and inspirational genre – and Deepak Chopra, have kept the genre relevant in the 21st century. While many malign the ‘self-help’ section of their local bookstore, it’s a booming industry and one that helps keeps the world of publishing afloat; to the tune of an estimated $720 million in revenue in 2012!

Similar to fantasy, the crime and mystery genre is often built on sagas. Although the same set of characters might not be present in every part of a writer’s series, there’s usually a protagonist that the readers connect with and travel alongside. Readers become the Watson, working alongside Sherlock, dissecting every clue and racing to the end before moving onto the next case. Crime is a way into the minds of murderers, something forbidden but intriguing; and often, the ‘true crime’ stories are the most popular.

Some of this industry’s big names include John Grisham with a staggering net worth of an estimate $200 million, and the deceased Stieg Larsson who gained $50 million with his ‘The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’ series. In fact, the publishers of Larsson’s books have hired a ghostwriter to continue the ‘Dragon Tattoo’ series, extending it to entertain readers and create more money.

Industry analyst the Bookseller has been reported as expounding, in their 2012 report, that erotica was ‘cannibalising’ the genre industry – at least in the United Kingdom. And what better example of this than the enormously popular ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’, which boomed its way into the publishing world and made E.L. James a star. To date, she’s worth $60 million – having only written a trilogy, but with a lucrative film deal in the works. The trilogy, initially self-published by James online as Twilight fan fiction before it was picked up by a publisher, became known as “mom porn”: It explored S&M through characters that women read and related to. The books seemed to epitomise escapism, and perhaps for this reason they became a phenomenon. The genre was ripe to be explored, and erotica showed a huge increase in Kindle purchases as people were too shy and embarrassed to buy the books in stores.

For similar reasons, romance novels contribute to the money-making power of the romantic / erotic genre. With the biggest name in the genre being Danielle Steel – with $610 million to her name – the genre is undeniably popular. Steel, herself, is known for publishing a number of books a year, sometimes working on five projects at a time. The writing of romance books is almost a science – certain story-lines need to be featured, the same kinds of endings and so on. Steel’s books have been noted to have a format to them which readers enjoy. Readers of the romantic genre are similar to the erotic, in the sense that they want to stick to what they know but the romantic genre reader is less willing to move onto a different author, this is why Steel is so popular. Last year, the romance genre gained $1.438 billion and by the looks of things it’s not going anywhere any time soon.



Why Anne Rice Is Still in Love with Lestat 40 Years Later

Today, we think of vampires as sexy Byronic figures accompanied by a heady aura of sex, tragedy, and mystery. But without Anne Rice, their fascinating human qualities would still lurk in the shadows. When Rice first published Interview with the Vampire in 1976, she singlehandedly transformed the age-old myth. Without Lestat, there would be no Angel or Spike, no Eric Northman or Edward Cullen, no Only Lovers Left Alive or Penny Dreadful. Bram Stoker might have given widespread life to the vampire myth, but their modern legacy belongs to Anne Rice.

Rice’s Vampire Chronicles series has continued in the ensuring years, with over ten novels and several film adaptations, the most famous being Interview with the Vampire starring Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise. Her latest work is Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis. Rice spoke to Inverse about how she’s seen the genre change, what keeps her coming back, what she likes to read and watch in her spare time, and more.

The vampire genre has changed a great deal since you first wrote Interview with the Vampire. How have you seen it evolve during your career?

The concept of the vampire is rich and powerful, and I have been delighted to see so many authors unpacking that concept in so many different ways. I suspect we’ll continue to see new and distinctive “vampire” novelists. I love seeing it go in the romantic direction, as I have always found vampires to be intensely romantic. Twilight made me think of Bronte’s Jane Eyre in a way — the innocent young girl attracted to the powerful “dark” figure with whom she feels safe even though he is potentially menacing.


It’s been 40 years since I published Interview with the Vampire, and I never dreamed that there would be a series of novels growing out of that experience or that Lestat would become the hero of that series. I’m marveling at how things have worked out. I love writing from Lestat’s point of view, and I’ve been profoundly grateful for the reception to this latest novel, Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis. I am at work on a new “Prince Lestat” novel which might make something of a “Prince Lestat” trilogy out of the reboot of the series that began with Prince Lestat in 2014. I never plan these things. I see them in retrospect.

What’s been the most challenging part of following Lestat, on and off, for 40 years of your career? The most rewarding part?

It’s been absolutely wonderful. Lestat is my soul, my hero, my inner self, my ideal self. I feel an intensity when writing about him that I get with no other character … almost. Lestat reflects my ups and downs, so I would have to say writing about him as defeated, despairing, miserable — that’s the hardest challenge.


Top 10 Romance Movies of All Time

We’ll start this list off with something a bit different. Edward Scissorhands is by no means your average romance movie. This movie is all about a man who has scissors for hands and his love for all things cutting. His appearance is startling, but he is a very gentle and kind man who finds himself falling in love with a local girl. The movie is all about his acceptance into this new community after living by himself for so long. Johnny Depp and Winona Ryder star in this film that won 1 Oscar and several other awards during its time in theaters.

The epitome of a romance movie, The Notebook is about a man who falls in love with woman, but the only thing that is keeping them from being together forever is their differing social statuses. Starring Gena Rowlands and James Garner, The Notebook was one of the most watched movies when it was released, grossing well over 81 million dollars during its weekend launch. This movie did not win any Oscars, but it did win a bunch of other awards and is definitely one of the more iconic modern romance movies.


Fiddler on the Roof stars Topol and Norma Crane. Fiddler on the Roof follows a Jewish peasant who is trying to marry off three of his daughters, all the while his town is pressuring him. This is an instant classic and might even deserve to be higher on this list. This is definitely one of my favorite movies on the list and is great for a movie night. Fiddler on the Roof is another one that is different on this list because it is a romance, drama, and a musical all rolled up into one great movie. If you haven’t seen this classic before, I think this is one of the first ones you should check out.


What kind of list would this be if we didn’t include a Disney movie? As many of you know, Beauty and the Beast tells the tale of a beast who was transformed from a prince into a beast. Belle offers herself to the beast in order to save her father. Eventually, the two come close together and she is the only thing that can set him free from this curse that was bestowed upon him. This is a classic romance movie that is probably at the top of everyone’s list, but to keep things a bit different, I put it at number seven on our list. No matter what, this movie will go down as one of my personal favorite Disney movies, and being that it is somewhat of a romance movie, it deserves its spot on our list.


Her might be the strangest romance movie on this list. This movie stars Joaquin Phoenix and takes a different take on a romance movie. Instead of the typical relationship seen in these types of movies, the story follows a writer who falls in love with an artificial intelligence that is installed in his home and on his phone. He grows a connection to it and falls in love with it. This is definitely a movie that is different than all of the rest on this list, and I think this is one that everyone should check out. I praise this movie for being different and going against the grain, and that is why it takes a spot on our top ten list!


Gone with the Wind stars Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh in this romantic drama movie. Named one of the best during its time period, Gone with the Wind is all about a southern belle who is having an affair and all of the controversy that comes along with that. This movie won 8 Oscars since its release and has been named as one of the top movies of all time and on countless must watch lists. If you have not seen this movie before, I definitely recommend this one as it is a timeless classic that everyone should watch if they consider themselves a movie buff.


Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind stars Jim Carrey as a man who is in a relationship that eventually falls through. The couple decides the only logical thing to do is to remove each other from their memories. Through this, they find out about what they had and what they were missing out on by not having each other in their lives. This movie is a great example of a modern romance movie as it shows a great relationship between two people who fall apart, and come back together only after experiencing life without each other. This movie won 1 Oscar and many other awards during its time. Rated number 85 on IMDB’s top movies list, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind takes the number four spot on our list.


Directed by Alfred Hitchcock, Vertigo is another classic, but this time, it’s not just a romance movie, but a romantic thriller. In the typical Hitchcock fashion, Vertigo will take you on an adventure with a police officer who is suffering from a harsh case of acrophobia. For Hitchcock fans, you will surely love this movie like all of his others, and for those who haven’t seen this movie, it is most definitely a must watch film. Though it didn’t win any awards during its time, Vertigo is still a well referenced movie in pop culture today.


American Beauty stars Kevin Spacey in this romance and drama movie. American Beauty isn’t your conventional romance as it follows a frustrated father who is having a midlife crisis and is becoming slowly obsessed with his teenaged daughter’s best friend. This movie won 5 Oscars and a ton of other awards. If this is one you haven’t seen before, I definitely recommend checking it out as it takes a spin on the classic romance genre and makes it very unique. You won’t find another romance movie like this on the list, and for that reason, it takes the number two spot on our top ten list.


Casablanca is without a doubt the most timeless romantic movie on this list. Since its release in 1942, Casablanca has continued to be shown as a timeless piece of American history in the film industry. Many consider this to be one of the best movies of all time, with leading actors Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. Casablanca has won 3 Oscars and many other awards since its debut. It has also been voted as the number 33 movie of all time on the internet movie database for films. Without a doubt, Casablanca will always be one of the best romance movies of all time, and movies will continue to copy its style and the way the movie was made. For that and more, Casablanca has earned its rightful spot at our number one spot on our top ten best romance movies.

No matter what, romance movies will always be made because everyone likes the movie that makes them feel something that does not line up with everyday feelings. Dive deep into a movie about two people falling in love and lose your sense of reality in these movies. If you are not all that familiar with the genre, this list is a great place get you started on some of the better ones that have been made in the past hundred years!




‘Hidden Figures,’ the book, soars up USA TODAY’s list

Awards-season buzz has sent Hidden Figures, the book that inspired the new movie about black women mathematicians at NASA who helped launch the space race, rocketing up USA TODAY’s Best-Selling Books list.

Margot Lee Shetterly’s history is No. 5 this week, up from No. 24 last week. (The full list will be published on Thursday.)

The movie, which stars Octavia Spencer (nominated for a Golden Globe), Taraji P. Henson and Janelle Monáe, went wide on Jan. 6 and was the weekend’s box office champ with $22.8 million, winning a squeaker over Rogue One.

Hidden Figures, set during the era of segregation, was published in hardcover in September and at the time got to No. 104 on USA TODAY’s list. The publication of the movie tie-in edition in early December (the book is also sold as an e-book) gave it new life.

Shetterly, an executive producer on the movie, sold the film rights and was working on the book as the movie was being made, a rather unusual confluence.

A young readers’ edition of the “untold true story” was published in November. Hidden Figures, which is also a tale about civil rights and women’s rights, focuses on “human computers” Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson and Christine Dardenand their work doing calculations that helped propel the space program.

“It’s nice for us to see such an uplifting story get so much attention,” says Kate Schafer of publisher William Morrow. Shetterly “did incredible research for the book.”

At a recent press event for the movie, Shetterly said: “It took a long time for us to see these women and to value their contributions and to say, ‘You know what? It’s time that they get their moment in the sun.’ We’ve seen John Glenn’s great moment, but we didn’t really get to see Katherine Jackson and Mary Johnson, and now we do. So, as hard as it is that it has taken this long, the thing that I am so excited about is that they’re here, we’re all here celebrating them, and these women are never, ever going back into the historical shadows. Not ever.”



‘Harry Potter’ event draws more than 2,500 museum visitors

Displaying her scarlet and gold tie, Georgia Isherwood got ready to craft her own magic wand out of pipe cleaners and feathers Saturday.

The 27-year-old stay-at-home mom from Gainesville wore her Gryffindor uniform to attend a “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”-themed event at the Florida Museum of Natural History.Isherwood said she has been a “Harry Potter” fan for 19 years.

“Anytime anything ‘Harry Potter’ is going on, I always have to go to it,” Isherwood said. “This is what I like to do when I’m not with the kids.”


Isherwood was one of more than 2,500 people dressed as wizards, witches and muggles who attended the event. They participated in answering “Harry Potter” trivia, completing a scavenger hunt, crafting their own wands and tasting oddly flavored jelly beans, similar to the candy the movies’ characters eat.

“It was definitely one of the highest-attended events in the past few years,” said Eve Rowland, a museum volunteer program assistant and the event’s main organizer.

To tie the event into “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” the recent sequel to the “Harry Potter” series, participants matched real-life animals with similar magical beasts.

Six Gainesville high-school students with the museum’s Youth Leadership Board helped come up with ideas for the event. Rowland, a 19-year-old UF zoology freshman, said she needed the assistance since she knew nothing about “Harry Potter.”

As visitors arrived, they were sorted into one of the four “Harry Potter” houses — Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Slytherin — scoring points for their houses with each activity. At the end, Gryffindor won.


Visitors bought specially designed snacks from the fantasy universe, including pretzels and walnuts shaped like cockroaches, or “cockroach clusters,” and non-alcoholic JellO shots representing “polyjuice potion.”

Ally Williams, a UF psychology and event management junior, said she loves “Harry Potter” because all types of people can relate to the story. The 20-year-old said it was the first time she attended a museum event.

“I like that there are a lot of people who seem excited, like-minded people,” she said.



Trolls becoming the new vampires as Amanda Hocking’s Trylle books head to big screen?

Over the past few years we’ve been deluged with a never-ending supply of vampire movies and television shows. And whilst the Twilight saga and Buffy the Vampire Slayer may have been momentarily entertaining, they’re nothing compared to the ghoulish delights that could await if the emergent troll phenomenon really takes off.


Already there’s been an impressive range of fiction, movies and even casino games that suggests that the Nordic monsters may be finally about to kick Dracula off his mantle of being the most prolific horror of the 21st century!

Movies about trolls have been in existence for quite a while with 1986’s Troll being one of the most unintentionally amusing thanks to a fairly daft plot and some comically low-budget special effects. But one of the most widely-celebrated instances of troll-mania occurred recently when the Norwegian cult movie Troll Hunter came to Netflix in the UK and recruited a legion of fans who saw the monstrous potential of these mythical beings.

A big part of the success of the movie was the way that it used the concept of ‘found-footage’ to maintain the mystery surrounding the towering trolls, and with an American version of Troll Hunter already in the pipeline and an upcoming Dreamworks Trolls kids film, it looks like the excitement surrounding trolls will continue to grow.

Although the massive lumbering trolls might not be quite as physically attractive as many of pop culture’s vampiric offerings, there’s hope for troll culture yet thanks to Amanda Hocking’s Trylle series of books. These offer a suitably teenage take on the troll concept by locating a tribe of the monsters somewhere in remote Minnesota and placing a young girl in their midst with all manner of spooky and romantic escapades that follow.

Whilst it may be some time before this project reaches the dizzying heights of the Twilight franchise, it’s worth mentioning that the Trylle series was snapped up by District 9 screenwriter Terri Tatchell and there are plans afoot to make this piece of cult fiction into a major Hollywood blockbuster.

So with all manner of troll-based casino games, teen fiction and cult movie releases, it’s time for the vampires to make way for the rise of the troll!



Carrie Fisher’s second life as a writer

The actress did have best sellers, beginning in 1987 with her first novel, Postcards From the Edge, a semi-autobiographical tale that made a big splash and then became a movie starring Meryl Streep and Shirley MacLaine. (Fisher wrote the screenplay.) Postcards is the story of a young Hollywood actress named Suzanne Vale who’s in drug rehab and her relationship with her overbearing mother (in real life, Debbie Reynolds).

The New York Times called the novel “at once harrowing and hilarious.” During an interview when the book was published, Fisher, then 30, said she had first been approached about writing a humorous memoir. Instead, her “material” from rehab evolved into fiction.

”It was an extreme situation I made funny to myself while going through it,” she told The Times. ”That’s when I need humor: when there’s nothing funny. I was in the worst place I could be and not be dead.”

Fisher wrote more novels (The Best Awful, Surrender the Pink, Delusions of Grandma) and eventually decided sardonic memoirs were OK after all. Her druggie past and electroshock therapy all became game in Wishful Drinking (2008) and Shockaholic(2011).


She acknowledged that shock treatments caused some memory loss. “For all I know, they could have dressed me in a ball gown, surrounded me with dancing dolphins, and married me off to Rush Limbaugh,” she wrote in Shockaholic.

For Fisher, writing openly about her real life, ironically, allowed her more artistic freedom, some critics found.

In a review of Wishful Drinking, Entertainment Weeklysaid: “Fisher’s voice is freer, now that she’s no longer hiding behind the coy scrim of calling her perky howls of pain ‘novels’ (as she did with Postcards From the Edge and The Best Awful).”

Three of Fisher’s books made USA TODAY’s best-seller list, which launched in fall 1993: Delusions of Grandma, which peaked at No. 122; The Best Awful (No. 135); and Wishful Drinking (No. 105).



Lion to Namesake: Hollywood Films Based on Books by Indian Authors

Books have always inspired a lot of filmmakers to make films globally, and not just Bollywood movies but many Hollywood movies too have been adapted from both fictional and non-fictional books. It is amazing to know there are many award-winning movies made in Hollywood which are based on books penned by India authors, some which are awaited and some which have gone on to become iconic hits for their content. Below are few of the such movies:

Lion: Lion starring Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman and an ensemble of Indian cast member is based on a true story of Saroo Brierley who lost his parents and found them after years with the help of google maps. This movie is based on a non fiction book called A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley.

Slumdog millionaire: Slumdog millionaire is a story of a boy who is a participant of kaun banega crorepati and answers all questions correctly and is accused of cheating recounts his history, illustrating how he is able to answer each question and this movie is adapted by the novel Q & A (2005) by Indian author and diplomat Vikas Swarup.

Victoria and Abdul: Victoria and Abdul starring Ali Fazal and Dame Judi Dench is based on a novel written by Shrabani Basu and is a true story of Queen Victoria and his servant Abdul and about their relationship between them and Abdu;’s journey to becoming one of the most influential court men in the Victorian Empire.

Namesake: Namesake is based on the novel of the same name by Jhumpa Lahiri, who appeared in the movie. It’s about a couple and their child and their life struggle.



Can Movies Replace Books in Reading Class?

Can students’ time in reading class be spent as profitably with a bowl of popcorn and a movie as with a novel and notebook?

In central New Jersey, a former school board member and parent are raising questions about the Hamilton Township School District’s policy of allowing teachers to use movies for instructional purposes and teaching students reading skills through short excerpts instead of whole books or stories. 

While the awards-season critique of the role of movies in the classroom is certainly intriguing, this dispute is, at its heart, part of a long-running debate about the increased emphasis on “close reading” that’s come along with the Common Core State Standards in English/language arts and how teachers should approach it.  

Sulaiman Abdur-Rahman reports from the Trentonian that officials in the Hamilton school district, near Trenton, say that these practices are nothing new: “Teachers have been working with close reading and analyzing portions of text for several years now,” Sylvia Zircher, the instruction director at the school district, told the newspaper.

She said that teachers might screen movies or portions of movies in order to stimulate discussion, but that the movies wouldn’t be part of the teacher’s approach to teaching reading skills.

The district’s superintendent, Thomas J. Ficarra, told the paper that “we still read whole novels, but we do this (close reading of excerpts) as a part of the new thrust behind the national standards as well as New Jersey standards to get children to read critically.”

New Jersey adopted a revised version of the Common Core State Standards last year, replacing the original standards, which the state had adopted in 2010. While the phrase “close reading” doesn’t appear in the common core, the introduction to the standards states that “students who meet the Standards readily undertake the close, attentive reading that is at the heart of understanding and enjoying complex works of literature.” The first anchor standard for literacy asks students to “read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.” In many cases, teachers have taught “close reading” by having students deeply probe shorter texts for meaning without first turning to outside sources. The idea is that this approach leads to a greater understanding of the text. 

But George Fisher, a former district school board member, argued in an email to the Trentonian that teachers should not use films to supplant, rather than to supplement, novels, and that asking students to read excerpts instead of whole texts is depriving them of important context.  

Fisher said this approach could lead to ignorance among students. From his email to the paper: 

“Text is most certainly not simply a part of a text or a work. It is the book, the work, itself,” he added. “A student assignment may well be to analyze a part of the book and compare it to/contrast it to, fit it into the whole of the book. It is not to analyze that ‘part’ in isolation. How can one do the required analysis of a part without knowing the whole?!”

Fisher writes that, while middle school standards for literacy ask students to be able to analyze live or filmed dramatizations of literary works, they wouldn’t permit teachers to entirely replace reading a novel with watching its movie incarnation. 

The Trentonian piece doesn’t describe individual instances of teachers screening, say, the 1996 film Emma after students had read just a few pages of the original Jane Austen novel. It’s difficult to tell from this piece just how much of students’ time is spent on excerpts instead of whole works or whether teachers really are relying too heavily on movies. 

But the common core’s expectation that students be able to “close read” texts has drawn critics and concerns from early on. In 2012, district leaders were concerned teachers weren’t well-prepared to teach students how to close-read, while others questioned whether the approach took into account students’ varied levels of background knowledge. Of course, the approach also has strong proponents, who argue that close reading builds critical thinking skills.



Books Made Into Movies In 2017; 8 Titles You Have To Read Before They Hit Theaters

Every reader knows that the book is better than the movie, but that isn’t going to stop many from heading to the theaters. They might want to stop at the book store first, though. Plenty of book adaptations will hit the big screen in 2017, and you can prepare by adding these to your reading list before they hit theaters!

“Fifty Shades Darker” — Feb. 10 — Ana (Dakota Johnson) and Christian (Jamie Dornan) are back in this steamy flick! The adaptation of E.L. James’ second novel will show the two getting back together with a new agreement. However, Christian’s past will complicate their lives.

“Hidden Figures” — Jan. 6 — John Glenn (Glen Powell) was the first astronaut launched into space. But it wouldn’t have been possible without three smart black women working at NASA: Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe). The movie is based on the true story told in Margot Lee Shetterly’s book “Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race.”

“Wonder” — April 7 — Auggie (Jacob Tremblay) has a facial deformity that prevents him from going to normal school until fifth grade. When he finally goes to class, Auggie will find out if his peers accept him. Julia Roberts plays Auggie’s mother Isabel in this flick, which is based on R.J. Palacio’s novel.

“The Circle” — April 28 — Emma Watson stars as a young woman working at a social media company. As she becomes more successful, she learns that it could be dangerous how much they are invading people’s privacy. David Eggers wrote the novel on which the movie is based, and the adaptation also stars Tom Hanks, John Boyega, Karen Gillan and Patton Oswalt.

“Lost City of Z” — April 14 — Percy Fawcett (Charlie Hunnam) was a British explorer looking for a lost city in the Amazon. The movie is an adaptation of David Grann’s book of the same name, which is based on a true story. Robert Pattinson, Tom Holland and Sienna Miller also star.

“Murder on the Orient Express” — Nov. 27 — Agatha Christie’s 1934 novel comes to life again in this mystery movie. Detective Hercule Poirot (Kenneth Branagh) investigates a murder on the world’s most famous train in the film, which has an all-star cast. Johnny Depp, Daisy Ridley, Penélope Cruz and Judi Dench are just a few of the actors involved.

“Annihilation” — TBA — Jeff VanderMeer’s sci fi novel hits the big screen in 2017. A biologist (Natalie Portman) goes on an expedition into an environmental disaster zone after her husband disappears. Her all-female team includes women played by Gina Rodriguez, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Tessa Thompson.