Tom Hiddleston who played as a Loki in several Marvel movies does not want to share his personal life publicly. Especially with Taylor Swift. The British actor, centered around his next role in Harold Pinter’s Betrayal on Broadway, it’s noted that the journalist was not allowed to ask about his romance with Taylor Swift as per New York Times.
It’s been three years since the Thor actor and the Grammy winner embarked on a whirlwind romance, which reportedly inspired songs on Swift’s reputation album. The duo traveled all over the world together, from Australia to Italy, but after a number of headline-making adventures—including an “I ❤ TS” shirt—Hiddleston and Swift called it quits in Sept. 2016.
Now that it’s been three years, NYT writer Laura Collins-Hughes noted in the profile that she did not plan on asking about Swift following a publicist’s request to steer clear of the romance talk.
“It’s not possible, and nor should it be possible, to control what anyone thinks about you,” Hiddleston shared in the profile. “Especially if it’s not based in any, um…if it’s not based in any reality.”
Discussing what he’s learned about fame, Hiddleston explained the he knows “to let go of the energy that comes toward me, be it good or bad.”
The 38-year-old star continued, “Because naturally in the early days I took responsibility for it.”
“And yes, I’m protective about my internal world now in probably a different way,” Hiddleston added. “That’s because I didn’t realize it needed protecting before.”
Hiddleston also spoke candidly about trust, sharing, “To trust is a profound commitment, and to trust is to make oneself vulnerable. It’s such an optimistic act, because you’re putting your faith in the hands of someone or something which you expect to remain constant, even if the circumstances change.”
“I’m disappearing down a rabbit hole here, but I think about it a lot,” he continued. “I think about certainty and uncertainty. Trust is a way of managing uncertainty. It’s a way of finding security in saying, ‘Perhaps all of this is uncertain, but I trust you.’ Or, ‘I trust this.’ And there’s a lot of uncertainty in the world at the moment, so it becomes harder to trust, I suppose.”
To read more from Hiddleston’s interview, head on over to the NYT.
V for Vendetta knew our future would be a bleak one
The Verge is a place where you can consider the future. So are movies. In Yesterday’s Future, we revisit a movie about the future and consider the things it tells us about today, tomorrow, and yesterday.
The movie: V for Vendetta (2006) directed by James McTeigue
The future: In V for Vendetta, a lot has gone wrong very quickly, and it doesn’t seem like there’s much to be done about it. The film is set in 2020, and London is now under the authoritarian rule of the fascist High Chancellor Sutler (John Hurt), the leader of the extremely Nazi-looking Norsefire party.
The parallels to real-world 2020 are alarming: the “St. Mary’s virus” has unleashed a pandemic on the world, crippling the United States (which doesn’t really factor into the film’s London-centric plot) and sending it on a path to economic ruination and civil war. The Norsefire party, which rode in on a wave of neoconservative support, locks up gay citizens, anyone who practices a religion other than the state-sanctioned church, and is supported by state-run media. Surveillance is almost casual, with government vans regularly sweeping the streets to listen in on citizens.
This is the world in which we meet Evey Hammond (Natalie Portman), an unassuming employee of the British Television Network. One night, she is threatened with sexual assault by secret police and is subsequently saved by V (Hugo Weaving), a superhuman terrorist in a Guy Fawkes mask. Like Guy Fawkes, V has a plan to blow up Parliament and assassinate several members of the government responsible for the Norsefire takeover and, it’s revealed, his own creation. The film ends before we find out if he’s successful, but not before the citizens of London are inspired to also don his mask and take to the streets.
The past: V for Vendetta, while not as mean a work as the comic by Alan Moore and David Lloyd it’s based on, is a movie that is unapologetically about a terrorist. In March 2006, this felt radical for a blockbuster movie that was written by the Wachowskis as their first big project after the Matrix trilogy. Reviewers were fascinated by this.
“The cleverest aspect of the film is the way it turns a terrorist into a crusading hero while remaining politically correct,” Guardian film critic Philip French wrote in his review. “What it doesn’t manage is to create a credible future or avoid pomposity.”
“By all rights, this should be the worst time imaginable to release V For Vendetta, a film with — there’s really no polite word for it — a terrorist hero prone to saying things like ‘Violence can be used for good,’ and ‘Sometimes blowing up a building can change the world.’” begins Keith Phipps’ review for The A.V. Club. “So why does V For Vendetta play as such a crowd-pleaser?
Only five years removed from 9/11 and just as many years into the US War on Terror, a blockbuster film valorizing a terrorist felt radical in a way that was almost immediately arresting. The film softens this very obvious edge with overt allusions to 1984, making it feel as much of an homage to George Orwell as it is to Lloyd and Moore.
Alan Moore, the writer of the comic on which the film is based, refused to have his name appear in the film or on any materials promoting it. (Moore has made it abundantly clear that he objects to any adaptation of his work out of principle, regardless of quality.) Purists would object to the film reducing the source material’s very specific response to Thatcherite England to a metaphor of Bush-era America (in a story where America is specifically sidelined) or the way the movie turned V into more of a dashing hero than a died-in-the-wool extremist. But time had a way of rendering all of these points effectively moot. The movie comes across much differently now.
The present: In retrospect, both the great strength and weakness of V for Vendetta is in its lack of specificity. Its Orwellian aesthetics give it a sort of timeless veneer, and its arguments about fascism and the creeping death of liberty are old ones that become painfully relevant whenever there is a new attempt to undermine democracy by those in power.
The movie’s most enduring symbol is a mask, one that was adopted as a sign of real-world protest by the hacktivist group Anonymous in the early 2010s when Occupy Wall Street was the most widely known activist movement in the United States. Unfortunately, a grinning Guy Fawkes mask meant to denote an anonymous solidarity glossed over something vital about institutional oppression: it isn’t applied equally.
In 2020, attacks on democracy are brazen and blunt, and we know painfully well that subtlety is not a hallmark of authoritarianism’s reach. In fact, as critic Scott Meslow wrote in 2018, while V for Vendetta has more bite than it did upon release, you could now say it doesn’t go far enough.
“It imagines a universe in which a single shooting death of an innocent little girl could inspire an entire society to stand up against a militaristic police force,” Meslow writes. “It imagines the resistance to an anti-democratic political movement rising up, in part, from powerful but principled members of that political movement. A modern adaptation might dismiss all those plot points as too optimistic.”
V for Vendetta isn’t particularly concerned with the details — creeping concessions to fascists are recounted in a bleak cascade, and resistance is sparked by a single dramatic act. The film’s universe is small; the only perspective outside of Evey’s is that of Finch (Stephen Rea), a Scotland Yard inspector who is on V’s trail and discovers that the government engineered the crisis that led to its power grab. Through Finch, we piece it all together, and in the film’s best touch, it’s all portrayed in one dramatic montage: corruption, domination, and revolution existing side by side as events the film depicted are intercut with scenes that are about to happen over the movie’s final 30 minutes.
It’s very affecting, but it glosses over how much work it is to defend democracy — how much the people you need to stand beside you in protest actually prefer the rule of fascism as long as the fascists align with them, how institutions aren’t built for democracy but for normalcy, and how the people running them will always choose the latter over the former.
Who wouldn’t want their Echo Dot to look like Baby Yoda?
There are plenty of things I could tell you about Otterbox’s new stand for the third-generation Amazon Echo Dot smart speaker. I could tell you about its “durable materials” or how it’s designed to “securely” hold on to your Echo device. The Amazon listing even claims its “precision-fit, non-slip base” is “engineered for optimal audio output.”
But you and I both know that none of that really matters, because what’s really important here is that this base adds little tiny Emmy-nominated Baby Yoda* ears to the sides of your Echo Dot. If you want to pretend that you’re actually speaking to The Mandalorian character every time you ask Alexa to set a timer, then this is (probably) the easiest way to do it.
The stand is made by Otterbox, a company best known for its smartphone cases, but which has also put out a number of interesting gadget accessories over the years. There’s the stackable wireless chargers that it announced last year, or the phone cases that came with built-in PopSockets-style PopGrips.
OtterBox’s Baby Yoda Amazon Echo stand is available for pre-order on Amazon now, with a release expected on August 20th, for $24.95. For those keeping track, that’s a little under half the cost of the Amazon Echo Dot itself. The stand is only designed to work with the third-generation smart speaker.
*Yes, I know the character is technically called “The Child” but please, I implore you, live a little.
AMC and Universal agree to let movies go from theaters to digital rentals much sooner
AMC Theaters and Universal have reached a new agreement that dramatically shortens the theatrical exclusivity window — the amount of time that films have to play in theaters before they’re allowed to be sold or rented in other places, like iTunes, Amazon, or AMC’s own On Demand service — down to just 17 days (ensuring that the films will hit at least three weekends in theaters).
The new deal marks a radical shift from the standard theatrical release window, which has typically been between 70 and 90 days in recent years, and could vastly alter the landscape of both theatrical and digital film.
Universal and AMC had previously been feuding over release windows after Universal — spurred on by the direct-to-digital success of films like Trolls: World Tour, which had skipped theaters due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic — planned to release future films on both digital and theatrical platforms. AMC Theaters CEO Adam Aron responded by calling Universal’s plan “unacceptable,” and threatened to ban all future Universal releases from AMC Theaters (although, given that theaters have yet to reopen, AMC never actually had to make good on that threat).
It’s not a completely straightforward shortening of the theatrical window. According to Variety, the deal only allows Universal to offer “premium on-demand” rentals in the roughly $20 range — regular priced $3 to $6 rentals (which could vastly undercut theater tickets) will still have to wait 90 days after the theatrical debut. That term would seem to also undercut the possibility of films jumping earlier to streaming services, like NBCUniversal’s new Peacock service. Additionally, Aron notes that AMC will “share in these new revenue streams” and get a cut of those early rentals, although the two companies haven’t revealed any details.
“The theatrical experience continues to be the cornerstone of our business,” commented Donna Langley, chairman of Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, in a statement to CNBC. “The partnership we’ve forged with AMC is driven by our collective desire to ensure a thriving future for the film distribution ecosystem and to meet consumer demand with flexibility and optionality.”
Universal has the opportunity to offer early releases for any of its films, although the company isn’t expected to dramatically shorten the theatrical run of big blockbusters like the upcoming Fast & Furious or Jurassic Park sequels (which historically have been huge, $1 billion blockbusters). But it does give Universal the flexibility to release its smaller films earlier, and it gives customers the option to choose where they’d like to see those films (something that will likely be important as gradual reopening of theaters begins).
Right now, the new shortened window is just between Universal films and AMC, although by setting the precedent, it’s hard to imagine that other major studios like Disney, Warner Bros., Sony, and Paramount won’t try to negotiate similar terms in the future, too.
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