Stargirl Season 1 Episode 8 Recap: Shiv Part Two

by Kylie Hemmert

Stargirl Season 1 Episode 8 Recap: Shiv Part Two

Stargirl Season 1 Episode 8 Recap: Shiv Part Two

In the eighth episode of DC Universe’s Stargirl, after Courtney gets herself into some trouble, Pat decides they need to come clean to Barbara. Meanwhile, Yolanda, Beth, and Rick lead an investigation into a classmate.


The episode begins with Pat speeding through town in his Buick, eventually crashing into a light pole. Meanwhile, Barbara is out of town on business with Jordan as the two have dinner after a successful sale. Jordan has to excuse himself early from the meal in order to take care of private business. Back home, Pat observes the destruction to his Buick before calling Barbara to tell her there’s been an accident as Pat is using the car wreck as a cover for Courtney’s injuries.

Courtney wakes up in the hospital and Pat, a little bruised up himself now, explains the situation to her. Courtney is surprised he was willing to total the Buick because she knows he loves the car, but the vehicle is the least of his concerns. Pat tells Courtney he’s going to take her home to rest and then he plans on looking into Cindy Burman and her family, wanting to confirm who her parents are and if they belong to the ISA. He then reminds Courtney that nothing is worth her getting hurt. He wants to come clean with Barbara, to stop lying to her. Courtney says they should wait until they stop the ISA and it’s safe in Blue Valley.

Cindy triumphantly tells her father that she did what the ISA couldn’t and went after Stargirl. Dr. Ito already knows and is pissed that Stargirl is still alive and that Cindy didn’t try to contact him sooner. He’s mad she risked exposure and that he has to explain her actions to the other ISA members. Ito dismisses his daughter, threatening to remove his hood if she doesn’t leave.


At Pat’s shop, Rick is raging that he, Yolanda, and Beth are just standing around after Cindy tried to kill Courtney. Beth and Rick argue about the smart way to approach the situation, including finding out whose Cindy’s parents are. Yolanda takes Beth’s side and Rick finally gives in. As Pat wheels Courtney out of her hospital room, the pair come across Henry sitting at his dad’s bedside. When Courtney tries to say hi, he shuts the door on them.

At home, Courtney rests in bed while Mike brings Courtney some snacks. He apologizes for what he said at the homecoming game, how Pat is his dad and not hers. He explains he’s not used to having to share his dad with anyone, but he thinks it’s pretty cool Courtney is his sister. In the basement, Pat chats with the Cosmic Staff and tells the sentient object that he knows the staff wants justice for Starman but Courtney could have died and he wants the staff to protect her, including taking her away from the danger instead of towards it if it becomes too much.

Barbara arrives home and checks on Courtney, who has fallen asleep. Before Pat can talk with her about anything besides the accident, Barbara says she wants to get some sleep, too. Elsewhere, Jordan confronts a man named Mr. Reilly, the VP of Firebrand Chemicals, and tells him he wants the country free from companies like his who poison the earth and the people in it, like his dead wife, Christine. Jordan then freezes Mr. Reilly to death.

Unwelcome Visitor

At his house, Henry is struggling to deal with his growing telepathic abilities. After dropping a prescription bottle, Henry sees that he’s somehow causing one of the pills to float in the air. At the Burman’s house, Pat catches Beth, Yolanda, and Rick staking out the place. Pat finds himself drawn into Beth’s plan and pretends to be Beth’s stepdad when they meet Cindy’s “mother” Bobbie, who invites the two inside as Yolanda and Rick watch from the bushes.

Still at home in bed, Courtney is bored and trying to text Yolanda. Barbara then invites Cindy inside, who says she heard about the crash and wanted to check in on her. Cindy says she doesn’t ever do this, but she owes Courtney an apology for snapping at her the day before when Courtney decided she wanted to postpone their hang-out for the dance. Cindy admits she overreacted and says she’s sorry. Courtney is speechless.

Inside the Burman’s home, Pat and Beth discover the shelves are full of fake books. Beth throws on the goggles and learns that Chuck cannot identify Bobbie, that her origin is “unknown.” Pretending she has to go to the bathroom, Beth begins searching the house while Pat distracts Bobbie. Beth finds a keypad by the basement door and Chuck helps her to open it.

While Cindy continues to chat up Courtney, the latter can’t help but feel uncomfortable knowing Cindy’s the one who attacked her. Cindy thinks they have a lot in common and tells Courtney she could really use a friend. When Cindy goes to leave, she drops the bomb that she knows Courtney is Stargirl and that she’ll keep her secret for now, but she’ll be back after she kills her friends.

War Criminal

Beth makes her way down into the tunnels below the Burman’s house but loses connection with Chuck as well as Yolanda and Rick outside. While Yolanda and Rick wait for Pat and Beth, concerned, Yolanda gets a text from Courtney telling her that Cindy knows her true identity. After Beth hears a loud roaring in the tunnels, she quickly runs back upstairs and decides to search Cindy’s room instead. Yolanda tries to tell Beth she and Pat need to get out when Cindy arrives back home, but Beth is determined to find something they can use.

Cindy walks in and realizes that Bobbie has someone fixing up their sink, but she’s unaware that the man is Pat as he’s out of her line of sight. Beth notices a picture of Dr. Ito; Chuck tells her that Dr. Shiro Ito is a controversial scientist who was formerly a member of the Japanese military during the ’30s and ’40s and creates conventional and biological weapons. Dr. Ito was tried for war crimes and was executed in 1947.

When Beth hears Cindy on her way to her room, she panics to find a place to hide. Yolanda, dressed up as Wildcat, taps on the window and literally throws Beth out of it, into the waiting arms of Rick who catches Beth no problem thanks to the hourglass. Back down in the kitchen, Pat quickly flees when he realizes Bobbie is trying to flirt with him and sees the other three kids run away from the house outside of the window. Beth shows Pat the picture of Ito and Pat, recognizing him, quickly ushers the kids away from the Burman residence.

Communication Issues

Courtney rushes to the basement to collect the Cosmic Staff, but the staff refuses to budge, only giving in when Courtney says the JSA are in trouble and they need help, leaving Courtney confused as to why the staff reacted that way. At his house, Henry continues practicing his power of telekinesis by using it on a key that he floats around his dad’s office, trying to figure out what it unlocks. Henry eventually discovers a secret door with his father’s Brainwave outfit inside, along with stacks of files (including one of Cindy) and a picture of his mother.

Henry reads Cindy’s file, including a note from Dr. Ito to Dr. King thanking him for agreeing to his proposal and learning that Cindy was sent to keep an eye on Henry. In the letter, Ito adds he’ll alert Dr. King of any changes. Henry rushes out of the room.

At Cindy’s house, Courtney suddenly flies into Cindy’s room dressed up as Stargirl demanding to know what she did to her friends. The fight ends up on the street where the girls land in front of Henry’s car. Cindy pins Courtney to the ground and Henry becomes overwhelmed with both of their thoughts as Cindy urges Henry to help her kill Stargirl and thinks about wanting to join the ISA while Courtney thinks about how she can’t die. The noise becomes too much for Henry, who suddenly builds up a ton of power that explodes from him, sending Cindy and Courtney flying from each other.

Cindy is then grabbed by a few of her father’s drones and carried down into the tunnels. Henry goes to confront Stargirl but can still hear all of her thoughts. While Courtney realizes Henry has the same powers his dad, Brainwave has — inadvertently dropping that revelation on Henry — Henry once again becomes overwhelmed by everything happening and takes off in a run after realizing Courtney is Stargirl. Dr. Ito watches the exchange from a surveillance setup, saying Cindy was wrong. Henry does have his father’s powers.

What did you think of the new episode of Stargirl? Let us know in the comment section below!

CS Plays: The Last of Us Part II Walkthrough Video Part 2

by Jeff Ames

CS Plays: The Last of Us Part II Walkthrough Video Part 2

CS Plays: The Last of Us Part II Walkthrough Video Part 2

Hey gamers! We’re back with the Podcast 426 members Bryce Carlile and Josh Ames with another video charting our gameplay through Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us Part II.

RELATED: CS Plays: The Last of Us Part II Walkthrough Video Part 1

Here’s the thing: this is a really long game. A majority of the gameplay focuses on exploring the vast world; and watching extended cut scenes. In other words, The Last of Us Part II plays more like an extended film than a traditional video game, and so, while there are some truly epic moments within the game itself, they are spread out over the course of the story’s 30+ hour run time.

Click here to order The Last of Us Part II!

Click here to order the Collector’s Edition!

Click here to order the Ellie Edition!

That said, Part 2 of our walkthrough shows off more of the sequel’s gorgeous environments as our characters make their way through the ruins of downtown Seattle. It’s amazing to behold. Plus, there are a few brief skirmishes to give you a feel for the actual gameplay mechanics.

RELATED: The Last of Us Part II Review

No, we are not going to record the entire game, but Part 3 of our coverage (next week) will follow the more exciting adventures of Abby, and her dealings with the infected.


CS Video: Palm Springs Interview with Andy Samberg & Cristin Milioti

by Grant Hermanns

CS Video: Palm Springs Interview with Andy Samberg & Cristin Milioti

CS Video: Palm Springs interview with Andy Samberg & Cristin Milioti got the opportunity to chat with Golden Globe winner Andy Samberg (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) and Cristin Milioti (Made for Love) to discuss their roles in the upcoming sci-fi comedy Palm Springs. Our interview can be viewed in the player below!

RELATED: Palm Springs Trailer Starring Andy Samberg & Cristin Milioti

When carefree Nyles (Andy Samberg) and reluctant maid of honor Sarah (Cristin Milioti) have a chance encounter at a Palm Springs wedding, things get complicated when they find themselves unable to escape the venue, themselves, of each other.

Alongside Golden Globe winner Samberg (Brooklyn Nine-Nine, SNL), Palm Springs also stars Cristin Milioti (The Wolf of Wall Street), Oscar winner J.K. Simmons (Whiplash), Meredith Hagner (Search Party), Camila Mendes (Riverdale), Tyler Hoechlin (Superman and Lois), and Peter Gallagher (Grace and Frankie).

Palm Springs is directed by Max Barbakow and written by Andy Siara. The film is produced by Andy Samberg, Becky Sloviter, Akiva Schaffer, Jorma Taccone, Dylan Sellers, and Chris Parker, and Gabby Revilla Lugo serves as executive producer. The film is produced by Limelight and Lonely Island Classics with Neon serving as the theatrical distributor.

RELATED: Finding Yourself Is a Risk Worth Taking in Hulu’s Love, Victor Trailer

The film had its world premiere earlier this year at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival and is set to premiere on Hulu on Friday!

Palm Springs

Stump the Editor Episode 3: Baron Vaughn!

by Max Evry

Stump the Editor Episode 3: Baron Vaughn!

Stump the Editor Episode 3: Baron Vaughn!

Welcome to the latest episode of’s podcast, Stump the Editor! This week actor and comedian Baron Vaughn (Grace and Frankie, Mystery Science Theater 3000) drops by to duel with CS editor Max Evry for movie trivia domination! Vaughn appeared on the show to promote his directorial debut in Shudder’s horror anthology film Scare Package, as well as he and Open Mike Eagle’s new Funny or Die talk show Call & Response.

Join host Kristy Puchko (Pajiba, The /Filmcast) as she pits’s Managing Editor Max Evry against a string of celebrity guests in a grueling round of movie trivia. Then, in the second round, the guests get to turn the tables on Max by asking him trivia questions about their own career! Listen or download the podcast via the player below!

Click here to watch the critically-acclaimed Scare Package on Shudder right now!

RELATED: CS Interview: Noah Segan on Making Directorial Debut in Scare Package

In Scare Package, Chad, the owner of Rad Chad’s Horror Emporium, recounts a series of bone-chilling, blood-splattered tales to illustrate the rules of the horror genre to his newest employee. Each story takes aim at different tropes, paying homage to and subverting the timeless clichés of the beloved genre with a cast that includes Noah Segan (Knives Out), Baron Vaughn (Mystery Science Theater 3000) Chase Williamson (Beyond the Gates), Jocelyn DeBoer (Greener Grass), Jeremy King (Camera Obscura), wrestling legend Dustin Rhodes, Toni Trucks (SEAL Team), Hawn Tran (Watchmen) and more.

Click here to watch Vaughn’s 2017 documentary Fatherless!

Led by a diverse group of up-and-coming genre filmmakers, Scare Package features the directorial debuts of actors Segan and Vaughn. Emily Hagins (Netflix’s Coin Heist), Anthony Cousins (The Bloody Ballad of Squirt Reynolds), Chris McInroy (Bad Guy #2, Death Metal), Courtney and Hillary Andujar (Production Designers of The Girl On The Third Floor, Bloodline), and Aaron B. Koontz (Camera Obscura, the upcoming The Pale Door) round out the collection of filmmakers.

RELATED: Baron Vaughn Talks Playing Tom Servo on the New MST3K

Call & Response (watch here!) is a new show designed to respond to the changes and activism of our time. Each day, Baron and Mike will invite their favorite Black creators — activists, comedians, musicians, actors, visual artists, and more — to riff on current events, discuss the present momentum, and speak about their work and struggles.

Previous Episodes:

Stump the Editor Episode 1: Jonah Ray!

Stump the Editor Episode 2: Scott Adkins & Jesse V. Johnson!

What guests would you like to hear on future episodes of’s Stump the Editor? Let us know in the comments below!

(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

CS Interview: Toya Turner Talks Netflix’s Warrior Nun

by Jeff Ames

CS Interview: Toya Turner Talks Netflix’s Warrior Nun

Warrior Nun, now streaming on Netflix, is definitely worth checking out thanks to a solid cast and a kick-ass storyline that delves deep into religious mythology and the battle between Heaven and Hell. To promote the new series, one of the show’s main stars, Toya Turner, who plays the appropriately named Shotgun Mary, spoke with about her character and her hopes for a second season.

Inspired by the manga novels, Warrior Nun revolves around a 19-year-old woman (Alba Baptista) who wakes up in a morgue with a new lease on life and a divine artifact embedded in her back. She discovers she is now part of an ancient order that has been tasked with fighting demons on Earth, and powerful forces representing both heaven and hell want to find and control her.

RELATED: Warrior Nun Trailer Previews Netflix’s Newest Action-Fantasy Series Hey Toya, how’s it going?

Toya Turner: It’s going really, really good!

CS: Are you absolutely ecstatic about the show?

Turner: Yeah, I was just like, it’s coming in three days. It’s coming in three days. I’m just like, it’s happening in three days. It seems like it’s happening so fast, yeah.

CS: So what’s your life been like since you’ve been a part of this project?

Turner: I mean, everything professionally and personally has changed. I officially moved to LA. This is like the biggest role that I’ve ever booked, so it’s just, it’s changed my perspective in everything.

CS: How were you introduced to Warrior Nun? And what was your first reaction when reading the script and learning about the synopsis?

Turner: So the first scene that I received was the script from my manager. My manager was like, “There’s the script right now and there’s this role in there called Shotgun Mary and I think that you’ll be right for it.” And he sent it to me and I read it. And I was like, oh, this is — sci-fi is my favorite genre, first of all. And I was just like, oh, there’s a lot of heart in this script, too. And there were a couple of parts, especially some of the things that one of the lead characters go through, and it just made me really, really sad, sad and happy at the same time. It just made me cry. And yeah, then I auditioned for it and I fell in love with it and I was just like, “How many girls are in this script that are leading? How many?” I was like, oh, it’s not just one or two? It’s like, five, six? And that made me very excited, and I just went at it.

CS: So were you familiar at all with the original comic book?

Turner: No, I wasn’t. I had Googled it during the audition time, and once I booked it, I picked up a couple of volumes and I read them. And that’s when I became more familiar with them. But when I first read — I was like, what is this? Warrior Nun? I was like, okay.

CS: Okay, so Shotgun Mary. Talk about that role, because she’s a badass who wields shotguns. 

Turner: Yes, Jeff. You get it. You get it. Okay, yes. I was like, Shotgun Mary? Are you kidding me? That name alone, are you kidding me? I was just like, she’s everything. She’s the dream role that I want. You know what I mean? Like she’s the role that I’ve been looking for. She carries around a shotgun. She rides a motorcycle. She’s telling people to fuck you, fuck this. I’m like, I’m just like, I love her.

CS: Had you ever ridden a motorcycle before?

Turner: So I have never actually driven a motorcycle before, but I’ve ridden on the back of one. And as far as shotguns, though, I have actually shot firearms and shotguns and you know, rifles and stuff before. So I have gone to the range. And but I don’t think I’ve ever had to hold one with one hand. So that was a little difficult to do. My arms were very shaky and wobbly because a lot of them were not replicas. So it was the actual ones. But and then the motorcycling, I learned how to ride for the show. So it was so cool.

CS: Okay, so what’s it like to shoot a shotgun?

Turner: Yeah, the first time I shot a really heavy duty firearm, I want to say it was an assault rifle, I think. And it was really, really big and they just kept telling me, you know, push the handle, the butt of the gun to your shoulder because it could kick back and it could end up like, hitting you in the face because of how much power it has. It’s terrifying to do it. So you pull the trigger and then you’re like, oh okay. Then it’s like this rush that happens. Yeah, you should try it. You should go to the range and try it.

CS: I know. I need to try it. I’ve shot smaller guns before, but never the big stuff. That’s a bucket list thing.

Turner: Yeah, you have to.

CS: When did you finally become comfortable with the role? 

Turner: Oh, to be honest, I don’t think I really, really got comfortable in it until like, episode five or six. And I don’t think I was officially settled. And I think that I was no longer learning new things because we had did the training with the guns. We had did the training with the team. We had did the training with the motorcycle and I was like, okay, I have my lines and things like that. But I don’t think Mary really got settled until episode five. And then she kind of takes off from there. I think Shotgun Mary was kind of doing her own thing. She was kind of speaking through me instead of me just like, doing the part.

CS: Interesting.

Turner: Yeah, but the first day? The first day we actually had to do a huge CGI fight scene. That was our first day. It was a fight scene.

CS: Oh wow.

Turner: And it was a lot. It was definitely a lot. But it was fun, though. They threw us into it, for sure.

CS: How comfortable are you with the CGI and the green screen and stuff?

Turner: How comfortable am I with the — I’m better. I’m a little bit better, but when i first started, I was like, okay, so where’s anything, just anything, anything to place a piece of tape or something? And sometimes, they would have, sometimes, I don’t know. Am I supposed to give away the magic of it all? Is that done?

CS: I guess we could put on there spoilers just in case, but yeah, sure. Go for it.

Turner: Yeah, it’s just like, you know, there was like this man on stilts, I’ll say that, walking around. And he helped a lot. So if it wasn’t for him, yeah, I don’t know what I would be looking at.

CS: So I’ve always wondered about that because people always say it is challenging to work with a green screen, but did you feel like it affected your performance at all? 

Turner: Yeah, I think you just get more comfortable as you go along, you know what I mean? You just start adapting and you start growing into it, but it takes a minute to adjust for sure.

CS: So this show deals a lot with religion — the battle of heaven and hell and all that kind of stuff. And there’s a very spiritual aspect to it. Is that something that drew you to the project as well? And what do you think audience reaction to that will be? Because we don’t get a lot of religious type of content anymore, you know what I mean?

Turner: Absolutely. Especially not in like, the comic book world at all. There’s like a mild commentary they’re making, even though our world is like, based in fantasy. There’s this commentary that they’re kind of making on the religious belief that I think is very, very interesting, like about idolatry. You know what I mean? And I was like, oh, they’re going there, okay. Okay, let’s go there. I thought it was really, really interesting, yeah. It was different.

CS: Yeah, and that’s the thing, that’s what I noticed when I was watching the show, it felt like something I hadn’t seen before, and I liked the mythology that’s crafted from that. So obviously, you’re still waiting for season one to come out, so we can’t really jump into too many details about season two. But have you guys discussed season two? And where would you expect that to go?

Turner: Tricky, no one knows what I know. I think maybe they’re definitely going to go further with what they’ve done with the series. Like after you watch the series, you’ll be like, oh, they’re going to go further on this. I think they’re definitely going to push it further, if that’s not a spoiler.

CS: And so, what are you most excited for audiences to see from this first season?

Turner: Is it bad to say me? I’m really excited for people to see me. I’m like, oh god, yeah, I’m really excited for people to see me, see my work, see like, all of these kickass women, you know what I mean? Seeing women in roles that you’ve probably never seen them in, like where they’re not good, they’re not bad. You know what I mean? They’re just human, you know? Yeah, that’s what I’m most excited about. And just how diverse the show is, yeah. There’s so many shows where I’ve been like, oh my God, they’re doing the mythology. They’re going back into time. They’re wearing this beautiful armor with like a Joan of Arc show. And it’s just not diverse, you know? So I’m excited for people to see that. They can really see themselves in this show. That’s what makes me excited.

CS: Speaking more about that, how important do you think it is to have shows jay feature an all-female cast or a very diverse cast, and you have characters like Shotgun Mary kind of leading the helm? How important is it for audiences to see this type of show?

Turner: I think it’s very important. Representation is very, very important. So I know for me growing up, like seeing Angela Bassett leading in her films, like if I could’ve seen her in a comic book movie or a comic book show when I was growing up, oh my goodness. But I had to just see her as the warrior that she was in everything she did. You know what I mean? I think it’s very, very important and things can get really repetitive sometimes if you keep doing the same thing. This is something different and I think that’s very important, yes.

CS: How would you pitch this show to a general audience?

Turner: I think this show is like a genre-bender show. It blends the best of sci-fi, period, fantasy, action, YA fiction. You’re going to get life, you’re going to get some love, it’s going to be about family, sisterhood, all that. And then, you know, ass-kicking, too.

CS: Is there a specific scene that you’re really excited for people to see?

Turner: Okay, so my favorite scene — there’s actually a lot of scenes in episode five that I like. There’s a lot of ass-kicking in that one. You can just take your pick on whichever scene that was. And five and six are my favorite episodes. They’re my favorite episodes, so anything from them will do.

CS: That’s awesome.

Turner: Yeah, and you’ll see why. You’ll see why. Oh my goodness, there’s a scene in two I want to say, in two and it’s where I like, kick this dude’s ass in this alley. That’s a good scene.

CS: I’ve seen that scene. And then you interrogate him on the cliff, right?

Turner: Yeah. Oh, there’s another one, too.

CS: That was awesome.

Turner: Oh thank you.

Turner: As with like, many of the good ones, it’s so many. Any one where I’m kicking some dude’s ass, that’s my favorite one.

CS: I appreciate you reaching out to us and good luck with the show. I hope it’s a big success for you.

Turner: Yes, thank you so much, Jeff, for the opportunity and your time. It was really, really great.

Our Favorite Scores From Ennio Morricone

by Jeff Ames

Our Favorite Scores From Ennio Morricone

Our Favorite Scores From Ennio Morricone

How do you write about a legend? Ennio Morricone was one of the most influential film composers of all time. The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, The Mission, The Thing, The Untouchables, Days of Heaven — Masterpieces, all of them. Each crafted with a unique style, sound, and beauty, unlike any other soundtrack. Such scores defined my youth.

Sadly, Morricone passed away on Monday in Rome at age 91. His legend will continue thanks to his masterworks, which inspired the likes of Hans Zimmer, Jerry Goldsmith, John Williams, and James Horner and continue to inspire composers to this day. Morricone’s contributions to the world of film music are astonishing. If you need proof, here are some of my favorite tracks from his vast body of work. Feel free to post yours in the comments!

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Perhaps the greatest and most recognizable western score of all time, Morricone’s work on Sergio Leone’s The Good, the Bad and the Ugly challenged the traditional sound of the Hollywood cowboy pic thanks to its exceptional mix of vocals, guitar, flutes, drums, whistling, gunfire sound effects, and ocarina. A true classic.

Purchase The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (Original Soundtrack)

The Untouchables

Morricone utilized five different themes for his stunning work on Brian De Palma’s violent 1987 crime drama The Untouchables. The first, a more traditional, even adventurous action theme that defines Elliot Ness and his crew; the second, a menacing series of electronic beats accompanied by an eerie harmonica that permeates Al Capone and his crew (the harmonica sound always freaked me out as a kid, mainly because I associate with the scene in which Sean Connery’s character gets blown away in gruesome fashion); a third, much cozier theme plays over sequences of Ness with his family; the “Death Theme” is appropriately downbeat and plays over the numerous tragic moments in which our heroes are gunned down; and finally, the extravagant Al Capone theme. Each carries its own distinct style and work astonishingly well in the classic film.

Purchase The Untouchables (1987 Film) Soundtrack Edition (1990) Audio CD

The Mission

My favorite of Morricone’s scores, The Mission has so many beautiful themes and is such a magnificently constructed work of pure emotion and heart that it quite literally overwhelms the soul. I imagine this is the music playing in the hereafter to greet Morricone at this very moment. (Side note: Listen to this score while reading The Lord of the Flies. It will change your life.)

Purchase The Mission: Original Soundtrack From The Motion Picture

The Thing

The brilliance of Morricone’s score for The Thing lies in its minimalist approach. A majority of the score comprises of rhythmic beats and synthesizers; and yet, it works surprisingly well in the finished product and remains one of the better horror scores of all time.

Purchase The Thing (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Two Mules for Sister Sara

I grew up watching this gritty western comedy starring Clint Eastwood and Shirley MacLaine and as a result harbor a deep love of Morricone’s score. Listen to the main theme and tell me that isn’t the most random, wild, but ultimately badass intro for any film!

Purchase Two Mules for Sister Sara / Days of Heaven

Finally, here are a couple of Morricone-inspired cues from other composer’s works just so you can get an idea of how influential the composer truly was.

Purchase The ‘Burbs -1st Varese CD Club Issue

Purchase Pirates Of The Caribbean 3 (Intl. Version) O.S.T.

(Photo by Roberto Serra – Iguana Press/Redferns via Getty Images)

July 7 Blu-ray, Digital and DVD Releases

by Max Evry

July 7 Blu-ray, Digital and DVD Releases

July 7 Blu-ray, Digital and DVD Releases

Welcome to’s July 7 Blu-ray, Digital HD and DVD column! We’ve highlighted this week’s releases in detailed write-ups of different titles below! Click each highlighted title to purchase through Amazon!

New Movies on Blu-ray/DVD

Trolls World Tour
In an adventure that will take them well beyond what they’ve known before, Queen Poppy (Anna Kendrick) and Branch (Justin Timberlake) discover that they are but one of six different Troll tribes scattered over six different lands and devoted to six different kinds of music: Funk, Country, Techno, Classical, Pop and Rock.

A young NASA JPL scientist is abducted by extraterrestrials, but when no one believes his story he becomes obsessed with finding proof, which leads him on a journey of discovery.

Shocking deaths on the US/Mexico border lead a special agent toward an ancient demon.

Hope Gap
Grace (Annette Bening) lives an idyllic life until her 29-year marriage to Edward (Bill Nighy) abruptly ends, leaving their only son (Josh O’Conner) to pick up the pieces. As life unravels, Grace discovers it’s never too late to be happy.

Blood & Money
A retired veteran (Tom Berenger) hunting in the Allagash backcountry discovers a dead woman with a duffle bag full of money. He soon finds himself in a web of deceit and murder.

Burden (DVD)
Based on a powerful true story, an unlikely friendship is formed when an African American reverend helps a KKK member disavow his racist past and leave the Klan.

No Small Matter (DVD)
The first feature documentary to explore the most overlooked, underestimated, and powerful force for good in America today: early childhood education. Through poignant stories and surprising humor, the film lays out the overwhelming evidence for the importance of the first five years.

Criterion Corner

The War of the Worlds
A mysterious, meteorlike object has landed in a small California town. All clocks have stopped. A fleet of glowing green UFOs hovers menacingly over the entire globe. The Martian invasion of Earth has begun, and it seems that nothing—neither military might nor the scientific know-how of nuclear physicist Dr. Clayton Forrester (Gene Barry)—can stop it.


Spaced Invaders
EARTH WILL NEVER BE THE SAME! It’s a close encounter of the hilarious kind when five of the universe’s coolest aliens crash-land on planet Earth! Piloted by an ultra-hip Martian, the cosmic crew ends up in a sleepy Midwestern town. Unfortunately, it’s Halloween night, and as the local radio station replays Orson Welles’ 1938 War of the Worlds broadcast, the citizens mistake these little space invaders for harmless trick-or-treaters. Instead of the global invasion they planned on, these misguided Martians bungle their way into a series of madcap misadventures!

The Flesh and the Fiends
More Fearsome Than Frankenstein… More Demonic Than Dracula! Edinburgh, 1827. Irish immigrants Burke (George Rose, A New Leaf) and Hare (Donald Pleasence, Halloween) hit upon the idea of selling the bodies of the recently deceased to eminent surgeon Dr. Robert Knox (Peter Cushing, The Skull).

The Day the Earth Caught Fire
When the United States and the Soviet Union simultaneously set off nuclear explosions, London’s Daily Express begins to report on bizarre weather changes around the world. But when the reporters dig deeper, they discover that the blasts have knocked Earth off its axis and sent it hurtling towards the sun.

P.O. Box Tinto Brass/IsTintoBrass
Italian director Tinto Brass is known as the absolute master of erotica, creator of works such as ALL LADIES DO IT, FRIVOLOUS LOLA and PAPRIKA. His gift of perfectly portraying the beauty of the female body has made him celebrated by both men and women. And it is precisely the latter category that sends him boxes full of fan letters. P.O. BOX TINTO BRASS is a collection of those letters, photos and videos of female sexual fantasies.

Inferno of Torture
Exploitation legend Teruo Ishii (Horrors of Malformed Men, Orgies of Edo) delivers one of his most extreme visions of violent eroticism in this, the sixth in his abnormal love series.

In an audacious feat of cinematic bricolage, Jess Franco utilized footage from three decades of filming to craft a unique story that pays homage to the morbid poetry of Edgar Allan Poe, while indulging the director’s personal obsessions.

New On Digital HD

The Outpost
Based on true events. A team of U.S. soldiers stationed at the deadliest outpost in Afghanistan are relentlessly attacked by an overwhelming force of Taliban insurgents. Their fight for survival is the ultimate display of American valor.

John Lewis: Good Trouble
This intimate account of legendary U.S. Representative John Lewis’s life and legacy takes us through his more than 60 years of activism-from the bold teenager on the front lines of the Civil Rights’ movement to the legislative powerhouse he is today.

TV on Blu-ray and DVD

Murdoch Mysteries: Season 13
Detective Murdoch (Yannick Bisson) and his team continue to tackle Edwardian Toronto’s toughest mysteries, from the serious and historic to the comic and unusual.

Snowpiercer Season 1 Episode 8 Recap: These Are His Revolutions

by Kylie Hemmert

Snowpiercer Season 1 Episode 8 Recap: These Are His Revolutions

Snowpiercer Season 1 Episode 8 Recap: These Are His Revolutions

In the eighth episode of TNT’s Snowpiercer, Revolution has finally come. As Layton leads the lower classes forward in armed rebellion, Melanie’s house of cards collapses.

Calling the Shots

Ruth serves as the introductory narrator in this episode, commenting about how generous and wonderful Mr. Wilford is, and that he is the only reason they’re alive. She doesn’t understand why other passengers challenge him or take for granted his “miracle.” At the front of the train, Miles let’s LJ into the Engine quarters (once she gives him the “Eat the Rich” password). After LJ takes a moment to get a rush off of being creepy, the kids go into Melanie’s room and LJ loses it over the fact that there really is no Mr. Wilford and that Melanie is running everything. She snags a photo of Melanie with her dead daughter before leaving.

In Third Class, Layton, Till, and their group are putting their plans for revolution into place. As everyone gets into position, Till tells Layton she doesn’t know which side the Brakemen will land on, reminding him how stubborn Roche is. Layton tells her that no one wants a fight with the Brakemen but that there will be casualties. Till speaks with Jinju, asking her to stay away from Third and to stay home, but not wanting to tell her why. When Jinju accuses Till of lying, Till reminds Jinju she’s keeping her own secrets to protect Melanie, who just tortured Josie to death.

In First, Ruth meets with the Folgers and Commander Grey, who seem to think that Ruth has something to hide as LJ has told them that Mr. Wilford is not on the train and Melanie is running Snowpiercer. Ruth tells Grey he’s lost his mind. Grey tells Ruth to gather the First Class Committee so they can get to the bottom of it.


In the Engine, Melanie shows Miles how the train runs. Miles asks about Melanie’s daughter, who says she was smart and sweet. Melanie’s daughter didn’t make it on the train, and neither did her grandparents. Miles says that his parents didn’t make it either, but he has his Tail mom, Josie, unaware she is dead. Later, Melanie faces the wrath of First Class over the rumors that Mr. Wilford is not aboard the train. Grey tells Melanie he’s no longer taking orders from her and calls on more Jackboots to head uptrain to First.

In Third, Till handcuffs Layton to lead him through the cars as they send out the signal for their plans to begin. In the Tail, the group is making weapons when they receive the message confirming it’s time for their revolution. With Layton’s head covered by a hood, Till leads him through the train as Grey tells the First Class citizens they are to remain in their quarters while Melanie is locked up.

Melanie asks one of the Jackboots if she can grab a photo of her daughter, but uses the distraction to send a signal to Ben, Javi, and Miles to lockdown the Engine car. Ben is forced to kick Javi out of the room and lock him out when Javi disagrees with the move. Javi is arrested by Grey and his men as he tells Ruth the truth that Wilford is dead and has been dead since departure while trying to maintain his innocence that it was all Melanie’s idea. Ruth cries in Melanie’s quarters before closely examining her room, stunned by the news that Wilford has been dead for years. She tells Grey she wants Melanie to pay.

One Train

Layton’s rebellion begins teaming up throughout the train and respectively play their parts as Till gets Layton back to the Tail, uncuffing him once it’s clear. Layton reassures his people that Till is one of them now before delivering a rousing speech to spur them into action, to fight for a future that will finally include them. They march for their dead, for all they have lost, for their failed rebellions, and for those willing to lay down their lives for the Tail. The Tail section begins chanting “One Train” as they move together back uptrain.

Osweiller and a group of Brakemen run into a couple of the revolutionaries and realize the comms are down. Elsewhere, Miss Audrey enlists Dr. Klimpt’s help to release a few Tailies from the drawers, including Strong Boy. Grey is alerted by one of the Brakemen that the Tailies are loose and the commander sends all units downtrain as Ruth goes to where Melanie is locked up to confront her.

Ruth tells Melanie she made a fool of her. Melanie claims their friendship was real. Melanie calls Wilford a fraud, saying she built the train, not him. All Wilford wanted was to live as well as he could for as long as he could; he wasn’t interested in saving humankind. So, she took Snowpiercer and left Wilford trackside to die. Melanie apologizes for lying but that she’s fighting to do what she knows is right. Ruth calls her a liar and a murderer and says order will be restored. The next day, Melanie will be executed for her betrayal.

The Fight Begins

Roche, Osweiller, and the Brakemen are ready to hold the Tailies in Third Class, blocking their path. Eventually, Till and Layton are able to talk them down, saying their fight is not with the Brakemen and that the rumors are true: Wilford is not on the train and now it’s up to them to decide who will take charge of Snowpiercer. Roche tells the Brakemen to stand aside.

Back at the drawers, Klimpt continues working on waking up the Tailies. In an interesting development, Strong Boy, who doesn’t speak, suddenly begins speaking Mandarin after he wakes up. Meanwhile, the fight officially kicks off when a few of the Tailies attack Grey and his Jackboots with their highly effective makeshift weapons, killing and wounding Grey’s frontline. Grey takes a group through another path into the Nightcar. Layton, Till, and their group attack Grey and the rest of his Jackboots.

The Nightcar turns into a bloody massacre with multiple limbs and lives lost on both sides before Layton hears Grey call for his Jackboots to retreat. Just when they think they’ve got the upper hand, a few Jackboots appear and gas the car. The Tailies retreat to safety and Layton learns that Big John was one of the Tailies who were killed at the barricades.

Back at the drawers, it’s discovered that Tailie Pike (Steven Ogg) is missing. Turns out, he’s having a meal in First Class and is being questioned by a bloodied up Grey about Layton. Pike seems willing to give up information for more quality grub. Elsewhere, Layton is feeling overwhelmed by the bloodied mess that is his people. Pike tells Grey that Layton’s an idealist who doesn’t have the stomach for sustained cruelty. He says that if Grey keeps grinding, Layton will crumble.

What did you think of the latest episode of Snowpiercer? Let us know in the comments below!

The Twilight Zone Season 2 Episode 2 Recap: Downtime

by Kylie Hemmert

The Twilight Zone Season 2 Episode 2 Recap: Downtime

The Twilight Zone Season 2 Episode 2 Recap: Downtime

In Episode 2.02 of The Twilight Zone, after a recent promotion to hotel manager, Michelle (Morena Baccarin) feels like she’s on top of the world, but any cause for celebration is short-lived when the nature of her reality is called into question. Colman Domingo and Tony Hale also guest star in the episode written by Jordan Peele.


After officially receiving her promotion as hotel manager from her newly-retired boss Reggie, who tells her she picked the right life, Michelle celebrates with the rest of the hotel staff before jumping into her new role. That role includes dealing with difficult guests, such as Mr. Desmond and his wife. After reminding her employee Geoffrey that you have to be extra reasonable even with the most unreasonable clients, Michelle chats with her husband Carl over the phone about mastering her new job as “Miss Manager.”

When Michelle hangs up, though, she suddenly experiences a searing headache and her heart begins to pound. When the episode passes, she notices that people all around her have all stood up and are staring at a singular point in the sky. When Michelle spots the large orb hovering above them, she’s confused why none of the onlookers are running. Instead, they are responding as though the existence of the blinking sphere is completely natural. A woman asks Michelle how long Downtime is supposed to be before she, too, stares at the orb and goes into a trance.

Peele, as our narrator, officially introduces the episode: “Michelle Weaver is a woman who’s worked her entire life to get where she is in the world. Now, as this new chapter begins, it’s the world itself that’s about to change. She’s about to take a break from life as she knows it and book an extended stay here in The Twilight Zone.”

Sleepaway Avatars

Michelle runs into a cop on her rush back home. He explains that the red orb is there for scheduled “world maintenance” before falling into the trance himself. Michelle finds Carl inside their home, seemingly okay, and tries to explain to him what is happening outside. Suddenly, Carl begins speaking in a very thick Irish accent, saying that he completely forgot about the scheduled Downtime signal and then tells Michelle his name is Danny and he’s going outside to “wake up.”

When Michelle expresses more confusion at this game Carl, or Danny, is playing, he realizes she doesn’t remember who she is. Carl tells Michelle he’ll send someone to help her, before he stares up at the blinking light and falls into the Downtime trance. Michelle goes back into her house and is followed by two men who claim to be customer service who are there to diagnose the issue. When they realize that she doesn’t know who she is, they ask her to watch a video.

The video introduces Michelle to Sleepaway package, the newest in identity tourism. Essentially, it’s an alternate reality, monitored and controlled by their servers with people’s brains being used as the computer. The only rule is you have to stay in character as you inhabit your character’s avatar.

S. Phineas Lowell

Michelle is told that her character is being played by a man named S. Phineas Lowell, who had a heart attack during gameplay and is now in a coma, which is why Michelle doesn’t remember being Phineas and that she is actually an avatar. The customer service reps say they can do a force-unsync, but Michelle demands to know what that means for her, because she is Michelle Weaver, not Lowell.

Ellen, Phineas’ emergency contact (and his wife) comes into the room to try and help “wake” Phineas up. Ellen demands that customer service leave Michelle alone and says she wants to speak with her in private. Michelle tells Ellen she’s not leaving and is going to wait until the Downtime signal is over. Ellen says she understands why Phineas wanted to experience Michelle because the avatar is strong, brave, in control, and beautiful. Ellen warns that if Phin doesn’t unsync before Downtime is over, he’ll be lost forever.

Ellen kisses Michelle and tells her that she can feel him and believes her husband of 15 years, father of her two kids, is simply trapped. Michelle finally gives in, saying she’s willing to try and see if they can wake Phineas up. At the last second, though, Michelle backs out, while Ellen has already slipped into Downtime.

Downtime Ends

Michelle attempts to hide during the last few minutes of Downtime as customer service searches for her. A bird spots Michelle in a window and lets out a high-pitched roar that draws more customer service reps to Michelle’s location, who are determined to find her within the next five minutes before world maintenance ends.

On the hotel’s roof, Michelle meets Tom, escalated priority customer service, who apologizes for the inconvenience. Tom says that when Downtime ends, players are going to be logging back in again, millions all over the world. He tells Michelle that if she wants to stay, she can, she just needs to sign a waiver. Michelle bristles at the thought of Phineas being swept under the rug, but Tom says his family is taken care of. Michelle decides she can’t live in the world knowing she isn’t real and that Phineas has a real life with family out there. Tom tells her that Phineas drank a “sleeping pill smoothie” causing the heart attack and that if she logs out, there’s nothing to go back to because Phineas has since passed away.

Michelle says she thinks he can feel Phin now, though; Tom encourages her to play the game and continue running the hotel as she wants. Michelle signs the waiver as Tom tells her the only rule is she has to stay in character. Michelle doesn’t understand the point of playing anymore. But, Downtime ends, the orb disappears, and the game begins anew. Michelle continues as the hotel manager and happily welcomes back Ellen, who checks in as a guest hoping to stay for a few weeks.

Our narrator closes out the episode: “How would you feel if you spent your life making your dreams a reality, only to find out that reality itself was a dream all along? You can never know what makes something real but today Michelle Weaver has found meaning in an otherwise synthetic world. And that’s good enough for her, here, in the Twilight Zone.”

What did you think of Episode 2.02 of The Twilight Zone? Let us know in the comments below!

POLL: Who Should Play Live-Action Zatanna?

by Grant Hermanns

POLL: Who Should Play Live-Action Zatanna?

POLL: Who should play live-action Zatanna?

This week brought the potentially exciting news that Warner Bros. was moving forward on developing a live-action film centered on magician superheroine Zatanna Zatara that would be separate from the upcoming Bad Robot-produced Justice League Dark series at HBO Max. has put together a list of potential actresses to portray the DC Comics character and is asking our readers to vote in the poll below on who they feel would be best fit!

Vote in the poll below, or let us know in the comments if you don’t see your dream star on the list!

RELATED: Live-Action Zatanna Movie Reportedly Moving Forward at Warner Bros. 


Who Should Play Live-Action Zatanna?

Ana de Armas

Eiza Gonzalez

Tatiana Maslany

Jessica Henwick

Rosa Salazar

Nathalie Emmanuel

Camila Mendes

Candice Patton

Odeya Rush

Diane Guerrero

Created with SurveyMaker

RELATED: POLL RESULTS: What Pre-MCU Heroes Should Be in the MCU Multiverse?

Created by Gardner Fox and Murphy Anderson, Zatanna Zatara made her first appearance in the Hawkman comic books in November 1964. She is the daughter of a famous stage magician named Giovanni Zatara, who have debuted during the Golden Age of Comics. Naturally, Zatanna inherited his father’s magical powers and career as a professional stage magician. Some of her cool powers are the ability to control the elements, telekinesis, telepathy, teleportation, and manipulation of reality.

Click here to order Zatanna by Paul Dini!

Even though she hasn’t yet made her live-action film debut, she had first made her live-action appearance in popular DC series Smallville and was portrayed by Serinda Swan. However, DC fans got more familiar with her through her appearances in various animated series such as Batman: The Animated Series, Batman Beyond, Justice League Unlimited, and Young Justice as well as in most recent TV shows DC Super Hero Girls and Harley Quinn.

If the solo Zatanna movie would later be confirmed by Warner Bros., it would officially become a part of the studio’s growing list of ongoing live-action projects including James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad, Matt Reeves’ The Batman, Andy Muschietti’s The Flash, Dwayne Johnson’s Black Adam, Ava DuVernay’s New Gods and more.

(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

CS Interview: Creator Jami O’Brien on AMC’s NOS4A2

by Grant Hermanns

CS Interview: Creator Jami O'Brien on AMC's NOS4A2

CS Interview: Creator Jami O’Brien on AMC’s NOS4A2

In attending this year’s virtual SeriesFest, got the opportunity to chat with Jami O’Brien, creator and showrunner of AMC’s adaptation of the Joe Hill novel NOS4A2 and discuss the horror series’ newly-premiered second season and the well-received first chapter!

RELATED: CS Interview: Co-Creator Megan Ganz on Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet

In comparing the pace of the first season to the second, with the former focusing more on a slow-burning character development heavy story, O’Brien describes the second season as being very much “more” of a lot of elements in the first season not utilized as heavily.

“Season two is, I think, faster, scarier, and has more action than season one,” O’Brien described. “And you know, that really is a result of us realizing in the writer’s room when we first kind of all got together that season one in many ways was about unraveling various mysteries in terms of the supernatural story. You know, in addition to the family drama, we were learning about Vic learning about her powers. She was learning about her powers. She was learning about Charlie Manx. She was learning about Vic. They didn’t know each other yet. And they didn’t know one another’s strengths and weaknesses, or even really Vic didn’t know her own strengths and weaknesses. And what we realized as soon as we started breaking season two, we realized that all that mystery is over, really. Vic and Manx are very aware of one another. They know one another’s strengths and weaknesses. And so, given that they know one another so well already, it automatically meant that the story was going to move much more quickly. We just start off with a lot more gas in the tank.”

When the writer’s room came to the realization that the characters “were going to be kind of at one another’s throats” in a much quicker fashion than the first season, O’Brien noted that one of the goals they had was to ensure that they did “preserve the character drama in the midst of all the plot action.”

“That was one of the things that we really were careful with in the writer’s room, you know, thematically, we wanted to talk about — eight years have gone by,” O’Brien explained. “A question we had was, we kind of saw Vic’s coming of age story last season. Has she really grown up? What kind of a parent is she? Has she been able to move past Charlie Manx? Is she going to fall into some of the same traps that her parents fell into that we kind of already saw her starting to pick up at the end of season one? And you know, what kind of mom is she going to be, and what kind of partner is she going to be? And as kind of a foil to that, we realized Charlie Manx also has a child. Eight years have gone by for him. And I guess we have some of the same questions for him. What kind of a dad is Charlie really? I mean, we heard him talk a lot about what his worldview was in season one, how much he loves kids. And in season two, I think we wanted to kind of interrogate that and ask, is that really true? Is Charlie’s version of events really true? Does he really believe that? How good of a dad is he? Is he somebody who’s able to change for the better? And so, we’ve kind of got, in season two, these two parents with two kids. And they’ve both kind of got vengeance on the mind towards the other. And also, protecting their own children from the other in addition. So yeah, that’s where we found ourselves and what we’re exploring a lot this season.”

REALTED: NOS4A2 Season 2 Sneak Peek: Vic McQueen Gets Reminded of the Past

Despite this extra gas in the tank helping fuel its extra action, in looking to keep the character drama in place, O’Brien and her staff also strived to find a way to “ground all of the supernatural elements” of the story while simultaneously amplifying them all.

“The approach to that was always, you know, Vic can’t open up her bridge just because she feels like going to the mall,” O’Brien joked. “You know? Any time that she opens up her bridge, it’s coming from a character need and a strong emotional need. And the same with Charlie Manx. You know, he’s going after Vic because he has a real emotional charge about her in general and Vic specifically. And so, that was kind of the bar that we set in season one, and I strive to maintain it in season two. There is still a character drama. You do still see Vic’s family. I can say that you’ll see Chris and Linda come back. And in season two, I guess the difference is, is that everybody, in addition to telling these family stories, the family story is folded even more deeply into the plot. So kind of everybody is all moving towards the same goal, by mid-season.”

With the source material featuring multiple time jumps in its story, the creator discussed that they knew ahead of time “they wanted this” and had planned it even while writing the first season, knowing that “the second part of the story really is about…the fight for Wayne’s soul, Vic’s son’s soul, and in the show also Millie Manx’s soul.”

“I thought that it was really an exciting creative challenge, because it’s almost like repiloting the show, in a certain way,” O’Brien opined. “You know, we pick up these characters. They’re all folks that we know and have met before, but they are in different places in their lives. And so, it’s almost like it’s a whole new start to the series, in a way, that we were really excited about.”

The latter episodes of the first season saw the introduction of FBI psychologist Tabitha Hunter, portrayed by Ashley Romans, and with the finale hinting at a bigger involvement from the character, O’Brien confirms audiences will get to see a lot more of the latest team member and that her and the writer’s room were “really excited about making Tabitha a series regular in season two.”

“One, we love the character from the book, and two, we really love Ashley Romans, who plays Tabitha, so we were excited to find an expanded role for her in season two,” O’Brien warmly described. “And yeah, when we meet her, she’s living with Maggie and the two of them have a partnership, a romantic partnership. So that relationship will continue to develop over the season. I think it will be tested by Vic McQueen and her insistence on kind of dragging Maggie back into the supernatural adventure. And Tabitha is going to have some feelings about that, and also, of course, she is equally invested in bringing Bing Partridge to justice as Vic and Maggie. So we’ll see her get involved in the plot as well, like everyone else. I think Tabitha is a true believer. You know, she saw Maggie’s scrabble bag in action at the end of season one. And you know, kind of made the choice to believe her own eyes. And so, I think in the eight-year time jump, in that time that she fell in love with Maggie and the two of them moved in together and explored their relationship, she’s aware of Maggie’s powers. And so, I think by extension, she is aware of Vic’s power. So I don’t think that there’s any more convincing that Tabitha needs. In the first episode, when we learn that Charlie Manx is dead and Vic doesn’t believe it, I think Tabitha also, I mean, Tabitha believes that Charlie Manx is dead. So she doesn’t have the information yet. She hasn’t seen the beating heart that we see at the end of episode one. So I think that that is still a point of skepticism for her. But she is a believer in the supernatural, when we come back in season two.”

One of the most exciting elements of the series’ first season saw Manx visit the mysterious bar Parnassus in the eighth episode, in which audiences were treated to a number of Easter eggs for both the works of Stephen King, Hill’s father, as well as other horror icons. This is very much carried over from the source material, as Hill connected his novel to others of his and King’s, and Parnassus was one of many Easter eggs littered throughout the first season. In looking at season two, O’Brien says there are “absolutely” a few more Easter eggs this time around, including specific characters fans may know before, though keeping her lips sealed on exactly who.

“I guess I’ll say we definitely, I can say we definitely go back to Parnassus, the bar that you mentioned before,” O’Brien noted. “And we meet some new folks there.”

With the novel being comprised of 720 pages and multiple timelines and characters, O’Brien expressed her love for its “vast world of strong creatives and inscapes” and though nothing is set up just yet for a third season, she does have ideas about how to continue the series should it get renewed while expressing her excitement for audiences to see the “hard work” her and her writer’s room put in on this season.

“I don’t want to say how much of the novel we eat up in season two, because I feel like it’s kind of a spoiler,” O’Brien stated. “But I will say that I think that Joe left us a pretty big canvas to continue telling stories, even in the event that we do finish the book. So yeah, right now, we don’t have a season three pickup from AMC yet. But in success, I do think that there are lots of stories to tell in this universe.”

NOS4A2’s second season picks up eight years after the events of season one. Vic McQueen (Ashleigh Cummings) remains more determined than ever to destroy Charlie Manx (Zachary Quinto). Charlie, having faced his own mortality, emerges desperate for revenge against Vic. This time, he sets his sights on the person who means most to Vic — her eight-year-old son Wayne. The race for Wayne’s soul sends Vic and Charlie on a high-speed collision course, forcing both to confront the mistakes of their pasts in order to secure a hold on Wayne’s future.

The series also stars rising star Ashleigh Cummings, along with Jahkara Smith, Olafur Darri Olafsson, Ebon Moss-Bachrach, Virginia Kull, Jonathan Langdon, Ashley Romans, Jason David, and Mattea Conforti.

RELATED: AMC Acquires Rights to Anne Rice’s Literary Catalogue

Based on Joe Hill’s best-selling novel of the same name, NOS4A2 is executive produced by showrunner Jami O’Brien (Fear the Walking Dead, Hell on Wheels), and Hill. The series is produced by AMC Studios in association with Tornante Television.

(Photo by Phillip Chin/WireImage)

CS Video: Irresistible Interview with Rose Byrne

by Grant Hermanns

CS Video: Irresistible Interview with Rose Byrne

CS Video: Irresistible interview with Rose Byrne got the opportunity to chat with Rose Byrne (Mrs. America, Like a Boss) to discuss her role in Jon Stewart’s political satire Irresistible, in which she stars alongside Steve Carrell (The Morning Show). The interview can be viewed in the player below!

RELATED: CS Video: Irresistible Interview with Chris Cooper & Mackenzie Davis!

From writer/director Emmy winner Jon Stewart (Rosewater, The Daily Show, The Colbert Report) comes the comedy of a Democrat political consultant (Steve Carell) who helps a retired ex-Marine colonel (Chris Cooper) run for mayor in a small Wisconsin town.

Click here to rent Irresistible on Premium VOD now!

Irresistible stars Academy Award nominee Steve Carell (Foxcatcher, The Office, Battle of the Sexes), Golden Globe nominee Rose Byrne (Damages, Mrs. America, Spy), Academy Award winner Chris Cooper (Adaptation., August: Osage County, Homecoming), Topher Grace (BlacKkKlansman, Under the Silver Lake, The Hot Zone), Golden Globe nominee Natasha Lyonne (Russian Doll, Orange Is the New Black, American Pie), and Mackenzie Davis (Halt and Catch Fire, Terminator: Dark Fate, The Turning).

RELATED: Jacob Chase’s Come Play Pushed To October 2020

The movie is produced by Plan B Entertainment, Stewart, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, and Lila Yacoub and is available on digital platforms now!

CS Interview: Tobin Bell on Chilling Possession Pic Belzebuth

by Grant Hermanns

CS Interview: Tobin Bell on Chilling Possession Pic Belzebuth

CS Interview: Tobin Bell on chilling possession pic Belzebuth got the opportunity to chat with horror icon Tobin Bell (Saw franchise) to discuss his role in the possession pic Belzebuth, which is coming to shelves on Blu-ray and DVD from Shudder on July 7 and can be pre-ordered here!

RELATED: Belzebuth Review

In looking back at getting the offer to do the film and choosing to sign on, Bell cited co-writer/director Emilio Portes as the biggest draw for wanting to be a part of the project, crediting the Mexican filmmaker’s “very strong visual sense” and his “clear ideas” about the film and Bell’s character.

“He showed me storyboards about how he planned to shoot the film and the idea of being in Mexico City for nearly three weeks was fascinating to me as I hadn’t spent any time there,” Bell explained. “When you have an opportunity to do that, that’s enriching and the marriage of demonology with conventional Catholic religion was fascinating to me. Having been raised a Catholic, I was drawn to explore that, so Emilio’s enthusiasm was what got me going.”

The 77-year-old star described the opportunity of getting to work in Mexico City as “amazing” and describing the area as having “a rich history of filmmaking” that he’s been eager to explore in his 40-plus year career, also expressing excitement of getting to film at an iconic location.

“Mexican filmmaking has been going on since the 1930s and there’s a very strong commitment to high-quality filmmaking in that country and when you travel to foreign countries, you end up learning a lot about how artists the work there and the kind of craftsmanship,” Bell described. “I’ve had that kind of experience in Mexico and the Czech Republic, the quality of the artists there from makeup to scenic designers to carpenters was amazing and being at the Churubusco Studios, which is a historic stage in Mexico City. I was very touched and proud to have worked at Churubusco.”

Though well-known to general audiences as the mastermind behind the events of the Leigh Whannell and James Wan-created Saw franchise, Jigsaw, Belzebuth sees Bell take on a much more protagonist role and though it’s different than what he’s brought before, he found there wasn’t much of a change in his own development of his character.

“I always try to bring something positive to what I play,” Bell explained. “Bad guys don’t really look at themselves as bad, there’s always some kind of justification for their behavior, so I was trying to find those justifications and sometimes they’re stronger than others. I’m always looking for the opposite direction from what’s on the page, what’s on the page will reveal itself because it will play out in the movie, whatever the character does is whatever the character does and you will see that as a viewer. But what an actor can bring is what’s not on the page and what’s going on inside the character, what motivates him to do what he does and in this case, he’s a pretty potent guy. He finds that his job, there are these evil forces that are looking for this child so he gets into bed, shall we say, with these evil forces so that they are convinced that he is one of them. As you can see from his look in it, with the tattoos that he does it quite convincingly and with a huge commitment and I won’t say whether he’s successful or not, when people see the film they’ll find out.”

One of the biggest elements of the film that Bell found to be fascinating and a big draw to be a part of the production was its exploration of demonology, which he describes as “the occupation of the innocent” and discussing his own dive into the concept.

“Half the time in demonology it’s possession, the person that you see in front of you is not the person that you are seeing, but an occupying spirit in that person,” Bell noted. “That’s one of the things that’s so different in this film and I love that, I love anything that has to do with spirituality and belief on certain levels and shamanism and things of that sort, and it’s ancient, it’s not like something we’ve discovered in the 2020s, it’s ancient. I think in some ways, there’s something about the timing of this release is really fascinating, given what’s going on out there in terms of this pandemic going on and the kind of evil force that’s surrounded us all, it’s kind of chilling in a way.”

Though the film premiered on AMC’s horror-tinged streaming service last summer, Tuesday marks the first time the film is getting a proper home media release in the US and when Bell first heard word that Shudder had acquired the film for streaming and physical release, he recalled he found it to be “great,” especially as much of audience’s watching habits today are “about streaming.”

“Now, everyone’s at home, so I think that a lot more people have the opportunity of having time on their hands and have the opportunity to take a look at something new, so I think it’s very wise of Shudder to do that and to open up the conventional horror market to the sort of relatively new look at Emilio Portes’ approach to this genre,” Bell warmly opined. “He’s got some pretty good credentials in other genres, but I think this is one of his first ventures into this genre and he’s very committed to horror, so I think he did a marvelous job.”

RELATED: CS Video: You Should Have Left Interview with Kevin Bacon & Amanda Seyfried

I think it’s great because everything has come to some extent about streaming Belzebuth, Special Agent Emanuel Ritter leads a police investigation into a series of shocking deaths. But after a priest from the Vatican finds a link between the murders and an ancient demon, a descent into horror ensues.

Portes directs a script he co-wrote with Luis Carlos Fuentes and a cast that includes Bell, Joaquín Cosio (Narcos: Mexico, The Lone Ranger) and Tate Ellington (Sinister 2). The film is available to stream on Shudder now and is set to hit shelves on Blu-ray and DVD on July 7!

Mandatory Streamers: Esmé Creed-Miles Returns as Hanna in Season 2

by Kylie Hemmert

Mandatory Streamers: Esmé Creed-Miles Returns as Hanna in Season 2

Mandatory Streamers: Esmé Creed-Miles Returns as Hanna in Season 2

Welcome to Mandatory Streamers, our column covering the best new streaming content coming your way every week! For the week of June 29, Esmé Creed-Miles returns as Hanna in the eight-episode second season of Amazon’s action-drama series adaptation where our titular heroine will finally get to know her ‘sisters’. Check out the best shows debuting and returning online this week as well as the latest renewal announcements below, and be sure to visit our mother site Mandatory by clicking here!

Amazon Prime Video

Hanna, Season 2 Premiere: Following her discovery at the end of Season 1, Hanna now knows she is not the only young woman with unparalleled skill and elite training. In the second season, Hanna risks her freedom to rescue her friend Clara (Yasmin Monet Prince) from the clutches of the Ultrax program, now run by John Carmichael (Dermot Mulroney). and his second in command Leo Garner (Anthony Welsh). Hanna finds help in the unlikely form of her previous nemesis, CIA agent Marissa Wiegler (Mireille Enos), who must protect both herself and Hanna from the ruthless organization she once trusted. As Hanna delves deeper into the elusive world of The Meadows and meets others like herself, she begins to question her role in the larger context of Ultrax’s assassin program and ultimately, where she truly belongs. The second season is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.


Warrior Nun, Series Premiere: Based on Ben Dunn’s manga-style graphic novels, the series follows a young girl who wakes up in a morgue with a new lease on life and a divine artifact embedded in her back, which grants her inexplicable powers, caught in the middle of an ancient war between good and evil. Her search for answers brings her to The Order of the Cruciform Sword, a secret society of warrior nuns sworn to protect the world from evil. While juggling her responsibilities as the chosen one with the normal obstacles of a teenage girl, this mysterious fantasy drama is full of mystery, action, adventure, and teenage romance, proving our main character might fight in the name of good, but she’s no angel. The first season is now streaming on Netflix.

JU-ON: Origins, Series Premiere:  The series adaptation of the iconic Japanese horror franchise will focus on paranormal investigator Odajima and television star Haruka Honjo, with the latter finding herself haunted by the disturbing sounds of footfall in her apartment in the middle of the night. They both find themselves drawn to the iconic cursed house, which Odajima begins to investigate. The series is streaming now on Netflix.

Unsolved Mysteries, Series Premiere: The revival of the iconic true crime documentary series from Shawn Levy and original show creative John Cosgrove and Terry Dunn Meurer offers a 12-part modern take that uses reenactments in a documentary format to profile real-life mysteries and unexplained paranormal events. The series is streaming now on Netflix.


Ozark, Season 4: Netflix has renewed its crime drama series for an expanded fourth and final season! Season 4 will consist of 14 episodes, split into two parts consisting of seven episodes each. The first three seasons are available to stream now.

Never Have I Ever, Season 2: Netflix has renewed Mindy Kaling and Lang Fisher’s coming-of-age series for a second season! Inspired by Kaling’s own childhood, the 10-episode first season is available to stream now.

The Great, Season 2: Hulu has renewed Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult’s comedy drama series for a 10-episode second season! The first season, which was originally intended to serve as a limited series, is available to stream now.

The Kominsky Method, Season 3: Netflix has renewed the acclaimed dramedy for a third and final season! The first two seasons, starring Michael Douglas and Alan Arkin, are available to stream now.

Curb Your Enthusiasm, Season 11: HBO has renewed their Emmy and Golden-Globe winning comedy created by and starring Larry David for the eleventh season! The first 10 seasons are available to stream on HBO Max.

Doom Patrol Season 2 Episode 4 Recap

by Tiffany Gustanski

Doom Patrol Season 2 Episode 4 Recap

Doom Patrol Season 2 Episode 4 Recap

In the previous episodes of DC Universe’s Doom Patrol, Dorothy accidently broke Danny the Brick, and Jane was jailed in the Underground. In Doom Patrol Season 2 Episode 4, the Doom Patrol and the Dannyzens throw a party to help Danny the Brick.

Little Girl

Dorothy was upset about what happened to Danny the Brick. Though she had lived on Danny the Street for years, she hadn’t been allowed above ground. The Dannyzens arrived to help get Danny the Brick back together and eventually make them a street again. Maura Lee Corrupt suggested throwing a party.

Rita put makeup on Dorothy when she asked after confirming that, while she was eleven years old, she had lived a hundred and seventy-five years. Niles didn’t like it, but Dorothy assured him she was older than he thought. The party started like a quiet cocktail party, but things picked up after Dorothy sang “Pure Imagination”. However, it was her bedtime, and she had to leave the party.

The Candlemaker taunted Dorothy and her other imaginary friends like Hershel.

Clear Mind

Doom Patrol Season 2 Episode 4 Recap

Rita was having trouble controlling her powers. Flex told her she needed a clear mind She asked Flex to use his powers to help her orgasm again like he had done on Danny the Street to help her clear her mind. We saw in her past that she had witnessed her mother sleeping with someone to get her part. Rita ended up echoing her mother’s words when Dorothy asked her if she was beautiful.

Sex Men

Doom Patrol Season 2 Episode 4 Recap

As the night progressed, the party got wilder. Larry was awkward when trying to dance with a man and ended the night feeling lonely. Niles offered to dose Cliff with Ecstasy. While Cliff was high, he found himself dancing with a shadow. It turned out to be a sex demon, who’d been attracted to the party because of Rita’s orgasm. The Sex Men, Kiss, Torture, and Cuddles, arrived to stop it from birthing a baby whose cry would eliminate all the children of the world.

Though Jane was still locked up in the Underground, her other personalities had attended the party. When Dr. Harrison heard that children were in trouble, she braved Flex’s powers, presumably for Kay. It was Hammerhead who saved the day by shoving the baby back into the sex demon. When Cliff hugged her, Hammerhead let Jane out, and she was back as the primary.

Danny the Tire

Doom Patrol Season 2 Episode 4 Recap

Dorothy asked Danny if they were friends when she went back down to the party. They had been keeping her prisoner for Niles when Dorothy lived in Danny the Street. Danny confronted Niles and refused to take her again. At the end of the episode, Danny was a tire and took the Dannyzens with them.

What did you think of this episode of Doom Patrol? Let us know in the comment section below?

CS Recommends: Thor Comics, Plus Video Games & More!

by Max Evry

CS Recommends: Thor Comics, Plus Video Games & More!

CS Recommends: Thor Comics, Plus Video Games & More!

Stuck inside? Don’t know what to watch/read/play/listen to? has got you covered. In this week’s CS Recommends our staff gives you solid tips on the best media to consume during your downtime, including Thor by Jason Aaron: The Complete Collection & more. Check out our picks below!

RELATED: June 30 Blu-ray, Digital and DVD Releases

MAX EVRY’S RECOMMEND: Thor by Jason Aaron: The Complete Collection

Click here to purchase Volume 1!

Click here to purchase Volume 2!

I want to make a confession: I was a regular reader of the Thor comics by Jason Aaron for awhile, and was loving every issue. Then when they introduced the concept of Lady Thor I immediately reacted like the book jumped the shark and stopped buying the floppies from my homebase comic book store, Midtown Comics in NYC.

Then Taika Waititi announced he was making Thor: Love and Thunder based on this very run that I had stopped reading, so I decided to take the plunge and read it and… IT’S GREAT! The artwork by artists like Esad Ribic and Russell Dauterman (among others) is iconic, and the story of Jane Foster inheriting Mjölnir/the power of Thor while battling cancer is touching and powerful. This is Marvel Comics at its very best, with lots of great mythic detours involving Frost Giants, the Roxxon corporation, Malekith and more. Highly recommended before the new movie comes out! The Lady Thor stuff begins in Volume 2 of The Complete Collection.


Click here to purchase!

The BioShock franchise is probably my absolute favorite of any video game series. The collection consists of the first two games, BioShock and Bioshock 2 in the underwater city of Rapture, as well as the third game, BioShock Infinite, which takes place in 1912 in the flying city of Columbia. The original will probably always be my favorite, the one that really cemented my love of the first-person shooter with a story as unique as its characters and settings, but all three games are vastly entertaining and worth a playthrough. Between the design, story, and gameplay style including plenty of choices and hacks for the player to navigate in the FPS/RPG hybrid (with a bit of survival horror mixed in), the titles offer a lot in immersive gaming.


Click here to purchase the movie!

Click here to purchase the soundtrack!

As we close June and Pride Month, we also come to the 50th anniversary of the first Pride march in New York City and though there are a number of important and eye-opening dramas and documentaries audiences should go watch, I believe one of the best ways to celebrate the day is to dive into the powerful and exhilarating Elton John biopic Rocketman. The long-developed project is an unashamed look at the highs and lows of the legendary musician’s 50-plus year career and finds a beautiful way to weave his Grammy-winning catalogue of songs into the story without simply being concert performances or studio recordings. The unique structure and stellar direction from Dexter Fletcher aside, the film is carried by what should’ve been an Oscar-winning performance from Taron Egerton, who also performs every song on the soundtrack depicted in the story in such an impressive manner it’s almost impossible to distinguish between the 30-year-old star and his real-life subject. Unlike a certain other four Oscar-winning musical biopic that mishandled its portrayal of its lead character’s sexuality, Rocketman is willing to fully embrace every element of John’s struggles with whether he was bisexual or gay and even features the first gay male sex scene to come from a major film studio. In choosing to celebrate John’s life, both professional and personal, good and bad, the film is, for the most part, an honest and wonderful representation of a legend and is not only a magnificent film to visit to honor Pride Month, but one of the best music biopics to ever grace the screen, and the fact it earned one lone Oscar nomination/win while that other movie-that-shall-not-be-named earned five is criminal. And once you’ve finished the film, dive right into the soundtrack, because Egerton’s renditions of John’s iconic sings are works of art to revisit time and again.

MAGGIE DELA PAZ’S RECOMMEND: Father of the Bride (1991) and Father of the Bride Part II (1995)

Click here to purchase!

Starring Steve Martin and Diane Keaton, Father of the Bride is a comedy film that follows the story of a successful businessman named George Banks, whose perfect and happy life gets suddenly disrupted when her 22-year-old daughter Annie announces that she is engaged to someone she had only been dating for three months. As an overprotective father, George didn’t take the news lightly and immediately disliked Annie’s fiancé Bryan for taking his daughter away from him, even though Bryan’s a nice guy and comes from a wealthy family. Throughout the film, George gets unwillingly dragged into the madness and expensiveness of wedding preparation all the while reminiscing through his and Annie’s father and daughter moments.

This 1991 film is a remake of Vincente Minnelli’s 1950 film of the same name. Overall, it is a really entertaining and heartwarming film about parents learning how to accept the reality of their children’s inevitable path towards growing up. I definitely consider Father of the Bride as one of my most favorite family comedies because it’s a feel-good classic that you can rely on a bad day.

What I love the most about the film is the scenes involving Steve Martin and Martin Short where their dynamic comedic chemistry transcends throughout their scenes together even though their characters are always at odds with each other. If you haven’t got the chance to watch Father of the Bride, I guarantee you that you won’t get disappointed with this 90s classic. However, in case you’ve already seen this film, you should also check out its 1995 sequel, which is equally fun and entertaining as the first one.


Click here to purchase!

If you’re looking for some wacky summer fun, check out Joe Dante’s 1989 classic The ‘Burbs, starring Tom Hanks before he became Academy-Award winner Tom Hanks. The story is simple: a weird family moves onto the Universal Tour backlot block and causes the local residents to go berserk. There are crazy situations involving sardines, power lines, garbage, gas lines, infrared scopes … all told from Joe Dante’s clever, if not dark, perspective; and brought to life by Jerry Goldsmith’s terrific score and a wonderful cast that also includes Carrie Fisher, Bruce Dern, Rick Ducommun, Corey Feldman, and Wendy Schaal.

As a side, and this is a spoiler in case you haven’t seen the movie, the original ending revealed that Hanks’ character had lost his job, which added to his stressful state; and the finale absolved the Klopeks of any crimes, which fits the narrative a little better if you ask me. As it turns out, the Klopeks were just weird people; and it was Hanks and his buddies who were the lunatics. Another ending had Ray murdered by Dr. Klopek in the ambulance and a final shot showing trash bags being stuffed into the back of the Klopeks’ car, which would have been darkly humorous but a little too … much. In any case, the ending as is works just fine, even if it runs counter to the themes of the film. recommends all readers comply with CDC guidelines and remain as isolated as possible during this urgent time.

I Wish I Made That: Valley Girl & Vampire’s Kiss

by Kylie Hemmert

I Wish I Made That: Valley Girl & Vampire’s Kiss

Welcome to this month’s edition of’s I Wish I Made That, in which filmmakers Ted Geoghegan (We Are Still HereMohawk) and Victoria Negri (Gold Star) each pick a film they wish they had actually made! This discussion focuses on the Nicolas Cage comedies Valley Girl (1983) and Vampire’s Kiss (1988). Check out their conversation below!

RELATED: I Wish I Made That: Airplane & Clue

Victoria Negri is an actress, producer, writer, and director known for The Walk (2020) and The Fever and the Fret (2018). Gold Star, her 2017 debut feature as director, served as the final onscreen performance by noted actor Robert Vaughn. You can purchase Gold Star by clicking here!

Negri just announced that her horror-themed short film The Walk will be screening as part of June’s virtual edition of New Jersey’s Lighthouse International Film Festival!

Ted Geoghegan studied screenwriting under the tutelage of the late Carroll O’Connor. After writing numerous genre features in Europe and The United States, he made his directorial debut with the 2015 horror film We Are Still Here, then followed it up with the Native American revenge movie Mohawk (2017). Click here to purchase We Are Still Here, and click here to purchase Mohawk!

Geoghegan recently began a well-received podcast titled “This is Not a Story About…” Each episode of the program begins as the story of someone or something in the world of film that cinephiles know very well, but transforms into an expertly-researched tale about a new topic: one that can be closely-related or worlds away from where its story began. You can listen to the podcast by clicking here!

RELATED: I Wish I Made That: Willow & The NeverEnding Story


Victoria Negri: Hey Ted! I’m excited to chat with you for this edition of “I Wish I Made That” about films with Nic Cage. The man, the myth, the acting legend. You chose another film I’ve never seen “Valley Girl” and I picked the cult film “Vampire’s Kiss”. Two very different movies. It was crazy watching them back to back. Tell me about “Valley Girl”. What made you pick that one? I loved it, by the way!

Ted Geoghegan: Oh, I’m so glad you dug it! I picked it because it was always a film that I enjoyed as a kid, and it held up as I got older. I like that it feels very innocent and pure. And, I admit, I also picked it because it was recently remade!!!

Negri: I noticed that! Yeah, I haven’t seen the remake. But I want to. I loved that it was quite clearly an 80’s version of “Romeo and Juliet”. They really don’t shy away from that. The characters are literally standing underneath the marquee saying “Romeo and Juliet”.

Geoghegan: Yeah, the film doesn’t quite understand subtlety. But it’s sweet.

Negri: I’m all for it though. Go for it!

Geoghegan: I was drawn to that sweetness when I picked a Nic Cage movie I wish I’d made. Even though I love horror movies, I’m kind of a big softy.

Negri: Yeah he’s done such a huge range of films, especially when he was younger. I almost picked “Moonstruck” because I’m also a softy.

Geoghegan: On the other end of that spectrum, you picked “Vampire’s Kiss” – which might be one of the meaner Cage movies he’d ever made! It always rubbed me the wrong way, both as a child and an adult! Yeah, it’s the first film for this series that by “I Wish I Made That” what I really want to do is go in there, tear it up and make something that’s not so I guess repulsive in many ways.

Negri: The concept is so interesting to me though.

Geoghegan: The concept, on its surface, works for me. But the execution is so mean. Cage’s Peter Lowe is all-time uncomfortable example of a toxic dude. It’s legit hard for me to watch him in that film.

Negri: Yeah he’s awful. The way his character is written, he’s screaming at women for 90 percent of the film, and just violent.

Geoghegan: So, before I dive into the cuteness of “Valley Girl”, tell me more about how and why you want to deconstruct your title!

Negri: Yeah I mean, I want to deconstruct everything about it. I feel like this could become a big rant… But…To me what’s interesting in the concept is this person who hates himself so much that he wants to be something else, something people are afraid of to keep others away. Also, this psychosis through sexuality that’s touched on but just kind of tossed off with sexualized vampires. What’s that about? I would RATHER change it to have a woman play the leading Nic Cage role, and have her fall down this rabbit hole of hiding beneath the belief that she’s a vampire. The thing to decide is whether the character gets lost in this world (a la Joker) or if there’s light at the end of the tunnel and they realize the vampire persona was a cloak (pun intended) because of their fears of society. I think too many people watch the film like — oh Nic Cage is so crazy! Hilarious! But there’s a lot to talk about beyond his over the top performance.

Geoghegan: I totally get you. I feel like the toxicity of the role is almost completely overlooked by its fans. Gender-swapping it would be a great step in flipping the script, but the nastiness would have to be toned down, regardless of its lead’s sex.

Negri: Totally.

Geoghegan: The character, as its currently written, would be reprehensible as a woman too.

Negri: Peter really is vile.

Geoghegan: I think the deeper dive that you spoke of is the first step. Asking why this character is so awful and why they choose to live this life… that’s interesting.

Negri: Exactly. What are they hiding from and why are they pushing people away?

Geoghegan: And a lot more fun, as a viewer, than watching someone in power scream at the people who work for them.

Negri: Yeah the power screaming. Not a good look. And the plot of the film doesn’t even matter as it’s written.

Geoghegan: Sexuality in the film is a huge focus, but also something that doesn’t get the attention it rightfully deserves. Showing it as both a drug and a crutch would be key to making the character more relatable.

Negri: Yeah and that’s what makes me interested in making the protagonist a woman also, exploring that through a female perspective. And giving the character some back story to aid in all of this — who is this person?

Geoghegan: So, Victoria’s version sees a real, honest-to-God woman with ample power, believing she’s been bitten by a vampire and delving into a new world to sex and power. But how do you keep that concept funny in 2020? …Or do you drop the humor?

Negri: Hmm… Yeah, keeping humor in it would be challenging but I think it’s important to have something in there for levity. Maybe another character that pulls her out of it, someone that can keep her grounded. A family member or mother character. Somebody to point out how ridiculous it is. Or, maybe she does dive into the vampire world and joins some kind of really dedicated club of people that are fun and she believes they’re actually vampires, but they’re not. I also really like “What We Do in the Shadows”, but that’s tonally such different vampire humor haha.

Geoghegan: Also a superfan, but yeah, tonally quite different.

Negri: I think it’s through another character that throws her off somehow.

Geoghegan: I think there’s a world in which the humor around this can be found, even in our current landscape. It’s kind of sad and scary, what the film’s lead goes through, but if handled properly, it could be funny. Maybe that’s what I’ve always had an issue within the film. It *could* work.

Negri: Yeah. What would you do with it to keep it funny? Or not keep, but give it humor, I should say.

Geoghegan: I feel like the film would have worked much better with its original lead. Dennis Quaid was supposed to star in it, but dropped out last-minute after getting “Innerspace”. I love Cage, but I think Quaid playing the part with less rage and more humanity would have been a huge help.

Negri: Oh! I had no idea!

Geoghegan: Quaid’s also got a sense of humility that I think the role required.

Negri: Yeah I agree, that would’ve been much more interesting to see. Maybe some subtlety.

Geoghegan: Yeah, it wasn’t originally conceived as Cage going bonkers. He brought all that, himself.

Negri: He’s like a crazy hurricane in the film.

Geoghegan: And again, big Cage fan. But when I think of the film with Dennis Quaid in the lead, it reads completely differently.

Negri: Yeah I wonder why Cage went as big and angry as he did. I wonder why he often does that in a lot of his work. He’s never not interesting, at least!

Geoghegan: I think this perfectly brings up something I wanted to address, which is “When did Cage get big and angry?” He’d always been over-the-top, but at a certain point, it was almost as though he lost the ability to play anything but crazy.

Negri: Yeah I loved some of his other over the top choices, like using different character voices, etc., that weren’t big/angry. I don’t know.

Geoghegan: I feel like it was after “Leaving Las Vegas” in ’95. He was playing an out-of-control drunk, and he won an Oscar for it. After that, I think he was just like, “Oh. This is what they want? Fine, then.”He’d done plenty of gonzo parts before then – including “Vampire” – but I feel like that Oscar changed everything.

Negri: Yeah I think it’s self-perpetuating, like, oh, this works. This is what people expect. I think you’re right.

Geoghegan: He’s forever chasing that second Oscar nod by getting sillier and sillier…

Negri: Yeah. He’s got to choose something different. Although I loved “Mandy”. So I’ve been thinking about anything that could link our films together in thinking about, okay, well what about these parts would makeCage want to play them? And they’re both people that are in worlds that aren’t their own, like people who are out of place. Maybe he’s drawn to parts like that? Although maybe now it’s money? But back in the day, these are characters out of their element.

Geoghegan: I think that’s a very fair assumption. He wants to play characters that are outsiders. And that’s very charming. If you remade “Vampire’s Kiss”, where would you put Cage in it? What outsider role could you dream up for him that isn’t the lead? I thought about that with “Valley Girl” and was amused by the idea of him playing a yuppie dad in the 1980s. I’d love to see him play against type… however hard that might be to accomplish.

Negri: Oooooo awesome question. I think the foil to the lead. Like maybe he plays the version of Alva or a love interest to the woman who is the Peter character rewritten. Maybe he’s trying to be in her world and it doesn’t work. A yuppie dad in the 80s would be amazing. Yeah, I think he’s fully embraced his outsider-I-go-bonkers persona. So tell me more about “Valley Girl”. What if anything would you change about it? How would you update it for 2020? I loved that New Wave soundtrack, by the way.

Geoghegan: Well, my thoughts regarding “Valley Girl” are peculiar because I could never remake it. They tried recently and I hear it’s not bad, but I picked this title because, as the column’s title goes, “I wish I made it.”I wish that I was of-age when the film was shot and that I could experience those moments for real – not re-imagine them.

Negri: Yeah there’s something so innocent and nostalgic about it. As we were talking about, it’s like “Romeo and Juliet”, with very little of the dark aspects of it. Just some of the friend gossip that happens. When did you first see it? And how was it re-watching in thinking about wanting to experience those moments and how that may have evolved for you over time?

Geoghegan: I first saw it shortly after it came out, but I was in grade school. Still, it resonated with me. I’d never been to California, but it seemed magical. I wanted to hang out these people. I wanted to be in their world.

Negri: Yeah it’s very cool.

Geoghegan: And as I grew up, visited California, and watched the world change, I always hung onto that sweet little slice of cinema.

Negri: Yeah it made me want to go back in time and be that person that goes to a party and then runs off with someone new, that discovery of young love in a place that feels magical. California always seemed exotic and magical — that’s where movies are made — to me growing up in Connecticut.

Geoghegan: It’s the perfect example of a film that I desperately wish I could have made, but would never try to now. It’s a time capsule. And I think the idea of making a time capsule is pretty special.

Negri: Yeah what would be a time capsule now that holds onto this feeling, like an ode to it? A modern-day “Romeo and Juliet”? Where would you set it? Still California?

Geoghegan: God help anyone who wants to make a time capsule of 2020…

Negri: I know, I was just thinking, how would you even make a movie like that today?

Geoghegan: That innocence is, in many ways, gone.

Negri: Yeah even before 2020 hit, I feel like the internet and cell phones ruined so much of what make those movies magical.

Geoghegan: The 80s were *not* an innocent time, but a lot of their storytelling techniques were.

Negri: What about the storytelling to you was innocent?

Geoghegan: The stakes are high, but they’re not scary. It can be life or death, but it somehow also feels safe. It’s daring, but… not too daring. I think it’s why so much 80’s cinema resonates with people. It feels like true escapism. And a lot of cinema these days has lost that.

Negri: Yeah it really rides a line. I really appreciate that in “Valley Girl”. Tommy adds tension in trying to break up the romance, but unlike “Romeo and Juliet”, Julie’s parents are really supportive of her and the relationship, which was so awesome to see. I had so much fun watching it.

Geoghegan: If I was to make a feel-good time capsule movie of “right now” (not 2020), I think it would need to be about little kids. Something like “Good Boys”, which I thought was sweet and hilarious.

Negri: Yeah I have to check that movie out. Kids would work, before they realize all the awful stuff going on, before they’re completely corrupted by technology and social media.

Geoghegan: People become adults too quickly now. The teens in “Valley Girl” feel like children, yet 13-year-olds in2020 are practically grown-ups.

Negri: And there’s this mystery about getting to know new people that I really like. You can’t Google people. You can’t stalk their social media accounts. It takes more time. It’s so refreshing to see that. I’m really ripping into the internet despite it bringing a lot of good.

Geoghegan: Here’s to no digital stalking… or any stalking, for that matter!

Negri: None of it!

Geoghegan: Agreed. I’m a digital addict, but I hate what it’s done to the world.

Negri: Yeah I try to lessen its hold over me. Put my phone away when watching movies. It’s why I miss watching movies in theaters, because you can’t just turn on your phone and be like, hmmm what’s happening over here. Also something I really love about “Valley Girl”, how Julie really defends Nic Cage’s character to her friends. She takes action. She’s not a passive character. None of them are, they’re all moving towards something. When she got in that car with him I was like YES!

Geoghegan: Again, I think it’s why it resonated so strongly. It’s sweet-yet-powerful. It makes you wanna cheer on its heroes… warts and all. They’re all a bit off, and that’s what makes them so good. I’d like to think that’s why Cage wanted to do it.

Negri: Yeah he still gets to be kind of a weird outsider and it works. It’s charming.

Geoghegan: This conversation feels a bit different than our past ones, and I think it’s because we’ve both dug so deep into the existing films, good or bad, to talk about why we’ve chosen them. We’ve turned into armchair critics.

Negri: I know! I was thinking that when I was ripping into “Vampire’s Kiss”. I was like, oh no. People made this movie and tried and anyone who makes a movie deserves a huge WELL DONE because it’s a feat in itself. And I feel like we could sidetrack and talk about cinema of the 80s overall in this mindset, too.

Geoghegan: I don’t think you were ripping into it as much as you were pointing out what you’d do differently, both for yourself and for the mercy of your audience. And I think that’s a fair notion for any director to have.

Negri: Appreciate that. Yeah, I always get a bit iffy when I point out what I don’t like in other filmmakers’ movies publicly because we’re all, you know, sensitive artists. And again, making movies is HARD.

Geoghegan: And kudos for choosing a film that you weren’t gushing about, as I’ve done every column. I need to be bold next time and pick something that I disagree with!

Negri: I love that you keep picking such great films. “Valley Girl” is one I’ll go back to when I need to smile.

Geoghegan: Making movies *is* hard, and I’m sure that making a movie with someone as eclectic and incredible as Nic Cage is a journey not soon forgotten.

Negri: I know! I wonder how the director worked with him and what that was like on that film. Interesting, to say the least.

Geoghegan: My hat is off to anyone who takes that plunge! And you’re very welcome! You’re seeing deep into my psyche!

Negri: And you, mine! I’m like – let me pick the films about the strange outsiders.

Geoghegan: I always appreciate your insight, and I love the ideas that you’ve got bouncing around inside your head. While you’ll never be able to travel back to 1989 and right all of the wrongs in “Vampire’s Kiss”, I have faith that you’ll be able to give the world something even more amazing in the future!

Negri: I hope so! And thank you! I want to see a Ted version of “Valley Girl”, not a remake, but something similar.

Geoghegan: Tell you what… Let’s add vampires and we can both make it.

Negri: Hell yeah.

Geoghegan: I suppose our time has come, but it’s always a joy talking to you – and thank you again for the spirited chat. I can’t wait to get nerdy with you again.

Negri: Yes, until next time! Such a pleasure! Can’t wait for the next one!

Click here to purchase Valley Girl!

Click here to purchase Vampire’s Kiss!

CS Interview: Co-Creator Megan Ganz on Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet

by Grant Hermanns

CS Interview: Co-Creator Megan Ganz on Mythic Quest: Raven's Banquet

CS Interview: Co-creator Megan Ganz on Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet

For this year’s virtual SeriesFest, got the opportunity to chat with Megan Ganz, co-creator of Apple’s hit video game workplace comedy Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet, to discuss the acclaimed first season, the masterful quarantine episode and her excitement about getting back to shooting the second season!

Warning: Some Spoilers Lie Ahead for Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet Season 1 and Quarantine Episode

RELATED: CS Interview: Charlotte Nicdao on Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet

Ganz looked back at the inception of the series as co-creator and star Rob McElhenney being approached by video game publisher Ubisoft to craft a comedy series that delves into its industry, namely in a workplace setting, and notes how when many studios and producers find out you’re a comedy TV writer, they often come to writers with a specific pitch.

“As a comedy writer you get a lot of people coming up to you and saying, ‘Oh my work place would make a great show,’ and the reality is that Ubisoft was correct in that, they came to Rob and said, ‘Hey we think that there’s a comedy in the world of gaming that hasn’t been explored yet’ and they invited him to go up to Montreal to go and see their studio and he went up there,” Ganz explained. “Basically when he came back from that trip, he spoke with Charlie and then after that me and basically said, ‘I really think that there’s a show to do here’ and so that’s how the concept got started.'”

After finding their angle and running with it, the duo, alongside co-creator and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia star and executive producer Charlie Day, began developing a series that would receive acclaim from critics and audiences alike for its honest and hilarious exploration of many of the problems with the gaming community, alongside many of its better qualities, and despite having plenty of the former, they found no pushback from Ubisoft in penning their scripts.

“They were very much encouraging of us to tackle these different things that the industry is wracking with, be it problems with women in the workplace or crunch, which is basically overworking the staff, and union issues and all sorts of things that we had heard about in our research and wanted to explore and they were very, very supportive of that,” Ganz noted. “Which was awesome, but they were behind the concept of the show, which is we wanted it to be very different than Sunny, which is a satire through and through, the characters aren’t real people, they are like prisms through which we satirize western culture. This show, we wanted them to feel like real people, and in order to do that we needed the world they live in to also feel real, so it would’ve felt disingenuous to not touch on those things, but thankfully Ubisoft has always been behind us exploring those subjects where there’s room to grow.”

Ganz is a former associate editor of satirical news organization The Onion and writer on a number of network series, but had yet to find herself working with a streaming platform coming into Mythic Quest and though she found a difference between the two, she thought it “was really great” working with Apple and found it very akin to working for a cable network, as she did on Sunny.

“I had been on a ten-episode season, which I really prefer the shorter seasons because it allows you to write the entire season first and then shoot it, which is really great,” Ganz opined. “In the first season, for example, we found things later on in the season that we were then able to go in and inject earlier on in order to make the arcs more impactful. For instance, once we came up with the ‘Dark Quiet Death’ episode, we then realized thematically how nicely that aligned with what Poppy and Ian are struggling with and we were able to sort of lay that theme throughout the season a little bit more. On a network show, you’re always being chased by production, so you’re trying to get episodes out before you have to shoot them and it doesn’t allow for that much conceiving of the entire season at once, so that was a major change. Also, the fact that the show airs in over 100 countries on the same day is pretty crazy, to see feedback on Twitter and whatnot in Germany of people watching the show in many different languages and that they like it, that’s a huge advantage. As far as creative partners, it was pretty equivalent in the sense that Apple, they’d give us notes, but if we felt very strongly about something, they would back off and respect our vision for the show and so it was really delightful. There was quite a big gap between when we wrote and filmed the first season and when it aired, because they were launching the service and everything and we were looking forward to that not being the case with the second season, but now that will very much be the case because we were one week into shooting when we had to shut down for quarantine.”

One of the many notable stops in her career highway came in the form of NBC’s Community, on which she was a staff writer and executive producer for three years and began her working relationship with star Danny Pudi, who starred in the Dan Harmon-created series as lovable nerd Abed and stars in Ganz’s series as the sociopathic head of monetization Brad. Though she says she and the rest of her creators didn’t have the 41-year-old comedian in mind to play the role while developing him, she knew when reaching out to him “he had the chops” to bring this borderline unlikeable character to life.

“I knew Danny would be able to do something like this because during Community, I was blown away, I think if you just watch that show, you’re not aware of how good of an actor he is, because you don’t see what Danny is like when he’s not playing Abed, which is the sweetest, most affectionate, most upbeat, he’s not at all that character,” Ganz warmly recalled. “So once you meet him, you realize, ‘Oh my god, you’re a really good actor,’ because his character felt so real and like it was a part of him. I didn’t know how interested he was in playing a character like this, I know that actors typically like going against type of whatever they were playing before, just to show their range, so I thought it might interest him. When we started talking about Brad as a character, we were talking about him as he was the one everybody hates but there’s always that thing where you don’t want the audience to hate him, it’s fine for everyone in the show to not like the monetization guy, but obviously you want the audience at home to. Once I started thinking, ‘Who’s a person I think could play a jerk but still be very, very likable,’ Danny popped into my head and then basically sent him a text and said ‘Would you be willing to read this script and check out this character?’ Thankfully we had a really good working relationship on Community and so he agreed and came in and that was it. He came in and read once and we were like, ‘Great’. It’s been a real delight to work on this project with him, when I first met Danny I was a staff writer, I was like 25 years old or something like that, now it’s ten years later and, I keep coming back to this, on Community, I remember we were shooting an episode and he had to leave set because his wife went into labor and now his kids are like ten years old and I see them and it’s just so crazy that we’re working together again. Danny’s just a true delight and he’s always game for figuring out the character together, and we have some really exciting things for Brad in season 2. Season 2 is always kind of where you flesh out the ensemble and we’ve got some really cool things for him that I’m really excited to see Danny do.”

The quarantine episode took many fans by surprise, as not only was it the first series across streaming and cable platforms to actually tackle the current issue and a retooled version of the season finale, but it also saw a much more serious character development than most of its previous episodes had tackled, namely in Charlotte Nicdao’s Poppy finding herself emotionally struggling in isolation after having completed the only work needed to be completed. Though this felt different than many previous episodes, Ganz found that the first season had actually set themselves up to “have that muscle” in which they can balance a tone that will veer “into serious places” while also delivering plenty of “very silly comedy,” while also pointing out that Poppy wasn’t the only character expressing some kind of struggle in the episode.

“You want to represent it accurately, and the accurate representation of quarantine is not that it’s sad all the time or that people are struggling constantly, it’s that there are these moments of hardship and then there are intense moments of levity and kinship and people supporting each other,” Ganz described. “So we definitely wanted to show both sides of that and a lot of that just came from us talking about our personal experiences of what we were going through in the quarantine and how different the various struggles are, what forms they take. I definitely sympathize more with Poppy’s struggle of once work’s gone away just withdrawing from people and I really enjoy my work and I would say that most of my friendships have been work-based or surrounding work and so when that went away it was really hard and I found myself struggling to continue to make contact with people, whereas Rob was very much the opposite. He almost went into overdrive and started making new projects and having all these meetings, but we wanted to represent both of those sides in Poppy and Ian because it’s not that Ian isn’t struggling, it’s that his struggle takes a more active form and so maybe in watching it, people didn’t notice as much the way it was affecting him as much as it was Poppy, but I think it was important to us that both characters needed that hug when it came for different reasons. But we also knew that we wanted to end on a moment of triumph because ultimately that’s what we feel coming out of this quarantine is people being alone but also together and they are supporting each other and that great things can come out of this time period. One of those things for me was the quarantine episode, so we had the feeling at the end of making the quarantine episode, like the characters did when they got their Rube Goldberg going and successful, it seems like such a silly thing, but they’re not celebrating because the ball made it all the way to the chip bag and that Dana ate a chip, they’re celebrating the fact that they’re all together and despite the obstacles that they manage to accomplish something. So I think balancing those two stories was really the key and making sure that we ended on a real triumphant note, because these people are ultimately there for each other and always will be.”

After Ashly Burch’s Rachel, Imani Hakim’s Dana and Craig Mazin’s Lou reluctantly team up to improve on the two testers’ passing of items across screens to one another, they bring the idea of crafting a virtual Rube Goldberg to the rest of the group, resulting in, as Ganz called it, a “triumphant” ending to the episode. Though she was unable to recall just how exactly her, McElhenney and co-writer and star David Hornsby came to the conclusion to make the Rube Goldberg be the finale, the 36-year-old screenwriter described how much of it came from looking at the visual format they would be utilizing in the episode.

“Rob and David and I met on Zoom a lot and we were just playing around, we kept looking at that format knowing we were going to be using that visual style of the gallery view where you can see all three of us on the screen at the same time,” Ganz illustrated. “I think that we were just joking around and doing something about poking each other and doing stuff through our screens and I think it just spoke to that feeling you have on these video conferencing systems where it’s like people, but it’s not people, it’s the approximation of social encounters without actually being it. I think when playing with that, we started with just the idea of Rachel and Dana flirting by passing this chip back and forth and thinking, ‘Oh, of course the young people find a cute way to use the technology to be adorable and they figured out how to make this look funny and cute’ and from there it just escalated into, ‘How could we make this even more interesting?’ I personally always just love Rube Goldbergs, I watch videos of them all the time, I just think that they’re so fun to watch, once we got going and thinking about that, then it was just off to the races of having our VFX department and our set dec build all these various machines so that the ball would move through a 4X3 grid in a very pleasing way. It was easier to conceive of the idea than it was to execute it [laughs].”

RELATED: CS Interview: Noelle Stevenson Talks She-Ra’s Final Season

With only having completed one week of shooting prior to being shut down due to the global pandemic, Ganz and the rest of the creators and writer’s room have been utilizing the downtime to tweak and polish the scripts for the next season, only having to make minor changes in some places, though having to drastically change the one episode they were able to shoot.

“We have to make some pretty significant changes in some places because the one episode we did shoot, the plot of that episode was that the characters went to E3, which didn’t happen this year,” Ganz revealed. “There are some things as big as that, there are some as small as you can’t have a character say to another character, ‘What have you been doing for the last six months?’ Because everybody knows what everybody’s been doing for the last six months, so we definitely have been going through the scripts and have been updating them, not so that they’re all about the quarantine, because obviously that’s why we made a quarantine episode was to touch on that, but they have to be set in a world that did go through the quarantine for us to still feel that the characters are grounded. We’ve been using this time to our advantage to go back through and make the scripts even better and make them more relevant to the current state of the world.”

In looking at what fans can expect from the next season, Ganz describes it as “a really great time” both from an audience perspective as well as a writer’s perspective as they have the opportunity to “explore the ensemble a lot more” and branch out from the first season’s story that “definitely focused on Poppy and Ian’s story,” given their “central relationship” to the series as a whole.

“Season two, we definitely brought up the ensemble in the mix where we have really interesting character development stuff, we’re definitely going to mix up the characters in really fun and interesting ways, have pairings that you didn’t see last season,” Ganz excitedly explained. “Part of the cool thing about our show is that in being very reflective of what the current video game industry is going through and what the demographics are currently, but we tried to do it in a way that was realistic to the current situation. For instance, Poppy is the lead designer, but people talk about it like she’s an exception, not the rule, so she’s a woman who is very high up in the company, but we treat her like that’s a special thing and not the norm. The other women in the show, other than Carole who’s in HR and Sue who’s the community manager, the other women that work on the tech side are in the low-ranking positions, it’s the testers who have no power and Jo who is an assistant, and I think moving forward with the show, we definitely want to try to have those women go through the experience of trying to work their way up within the industry and all the challenges that they’ll face in trying to do that. So we’re trying not to paint too rosy of a picture, but also still have characters that we still get to watch succeed and try and fail and put passion and creativity into what they do. There’s lots of exciting things, I can not wait to get shooting again, because we have ten scripts just waiting for these actors to bring them to life.”

Co-created by McElhenney, Day, and Ganz, Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet follows a team of video game developers as they navigate the challenges of running a popular video game. The first season is now streaming globally on Apple TV+ and has already been picked up for a second season.

Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet is executive produced by McElhenney and Day under their RCG banner; Michael Rotenberg and Nicholas Frenkel on behalf of 3Arts; and Jason Altman, Danielle Kreinik and Gérard Guillemot for Ubisoft Film & Television. Hornsby (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) and Ganz (Modern Family, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) also executive produce. The series is produced by Lionsgate and 3Arts Entertainment and Ubisoft.

(Photo by VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images)

CS Interview: Leslie Odom Jr. Explores World & Himself Through Hamilton Lens

by Kylie Hemmert

CS Interview: Leslie Odom Jr. Explores World & Himself Through Hamilton Lens

CS Interview: Leslie Odom Jr. Explores World & Himself Through Hamilton Lens

When the COVID-19 crisis reached America’s shores, Tony-award winning actor Leslie Odom Jr. had only just begun a nationwide tour in support of his album Mr., released late last year. The first album to include songs he penned himself, Odom Jr. didn’t hesitate to cancel all his remaining shows, even before his hometown of New York had itself issued a shelter-in-place order.

Throughout his career, Odom Jr. has made decisions where he trusted in himself, and his talent, to see him to his goal. He once turned down a starring role in Aida on Broadway in favor of completing his undergrad degree. After seeing an early staging of Hamilton at Vassar College, the confidence with which he pursued the role of Aaron Burr was more reminiscent of Burr’s relentless rival Alexander Hamilton, than of the character Odom Jr. would later portray so magnificently.

“Adversity is a teacher,” Odom Jr. said, following his announcement to postpone nearly all of the dates on his Stronger Magic tour. From this adversity has also come opportunity. Disney decided to move its premiere of the Hamilton movie, a filmed version of the stage show from 2016 featuring the original Broadway cast, from a theatrical release in October into the homes of Disney+ subscribers just in time for the July 4th weekend. It seems that, in the end, Odom Jr.’s singing will be heard across the nation this summer after all. got to speak with the man, who brought a complex historical figure to glorious life in Hamilton, about his memories of the show, and the conversations it has inspired in both his personal and professional life.

RELATED: CS Interview: Phillipa Soo Talks Hamilton & Playing Leading Lady Eliza Leslie Odom Jr., hello! It’s such a pleasure to speak with you.

Leslie Odom Jr.: My pleasure. The pleasure’s all mine.

CS: So I first just wanted to ask, four years ago at this point, what do you remember most about your early days working on Hamilton?

Odom Jr.: Oh man, my early days were spent both in bliss, in just sheer creative bliss that I was getting to work on something so extraordinary, and so special. And then, it was like half that, and then it was also — nervousness and fear all the time because I just wanted to be as good as it was. I just wanted to be as good as the people I was standing next to, namely Lin and Daveed and you know, and Phillipa and the rest of the company. I just wanted to earn my spot amongst them, you know?

CS: So what’s it like then revisiting this show specifically while America is in the middle of another revolution, what some are calling the largest civil rights protest in history?

Odom Jr.: Well, I think that part of that I’m waiting to see myself. As an artist, you don’t get to decide how your work is received or what mark it makes — you don’t get to decide that. And so, I was a part of a collective of people that made this, I think there’s 21 of us in the movie? And if you asked all 21 of us, there would be common ground for sure, but there would be also slightly different answers about what we hoped the movie was able to do and who it’s able to reach. So I think some of that is, as an artist you just make something that you love and that you believe in. And then, you have to wait and see how — if it matters. You have to wait and see if it matters if it’s going to resonate.

So I don’t know what it’s going to say to the streets, if it’s going to speak to the streets. I hope it does. I really do. You know, what I do know — and maybe this is enough — I hope it’s more, truly, but I do know: having seen it, they gave us the opportunity to screen it, I do know that it’s damn beautiful. And beauty, especially Black beauty and Brown beauty, those images are still political. They are still necessary. You know, I’m raising a kid right now. If you can imagine: my kid, we want my kid to watch movies, too. We want my kid to read books, too, okay?

CS: Right.

Odom Jr.: And you think about all of the art that’s been created and you think about your childhood and my childhood. Do you know how much of that stuff is white-centric? It is like, we’re indoctrinated. These kids are indoctrinated with these images, so early on, that are subtly telling them they’re not enough, they’re not important. They’re not centered in their own narrative.

So that’s first and foremost what I told Thomas Kail, from the bottom of my heart, is thank you for shepherding images of Black and Brown beauty into the world, because it is still necessary. As a father raising a kid, I search every day for things to show her that look like her, that are a reflection of who she is. And it’s like, don’t try to go back 30 years. Because the list is, you know what I mean? The list is small.

CS: You portrayed Aaron Burr, who was a slaveholder, who later fought for emancipation. And I wondered what that conflict was like for you, inhabiting that person as an actor and personally?

Odom Jr.: What a great question, what a great question. There’s dissonance. There’s dissonance and there is discomfort there, I have to tell you. But what I trusted was that that would make the performance and the show more interesting. Maybe I knew that it might sicken some people, that it might — I knew that it would be a part of a conversation. There is a tension in that piece, in the fact that we are playing slaveholders and we’re playing men — and there’s some women playing men, too, you know, some soldiers — we’re playing men that did some pretty indefensible things. But as you know, as an artist, I was obviously willing to take on the challenge for I think the greater symbolic victories of the piece, which are simply: it’s confronting, it’s challenging. It’s really the first question that needs to be asked is, okay, whose history is this?

CS: Right.

Odom Jr.: Who gets to tell the stories? Let’s start there. Okay, you say this is a history, right? Well, who gets to tell it? We’re telling it this time and we’re using our own words, our own language to tell it. That’s the first step. The next step is we’ve looked at this history through such…there has been a very concerted effort to tighten that iris, to make sure that we are only looking at it, as it is told by the victors or the perceived victors. And so that iris is so small.

You open that thing up a little bit and you go, yes, where were the women? Were they just throwing parties for the men who did all these wonderful things? Like where are the statues of the women again? We were all there, right? And then you open that iris a little bit and you go, what were the Black people doing? I’m sorry, wait a second, there were Black people here, right? And were there no Black heroes? So there’s no Black heroes in my neighborhood? Where are the Black people? You know what I’m saying?

CS: Yes, I do.

Odom Jr.: Lin, he started with, he started the conversation of, “Well, this is the history that we’ve all agreed on, right?” Okay, so these are the facts: as you’ve told them to me again and again. Okay, great. The first step is, now we’re going to take them and we’re going to tell the story in our own words. Are you okay with that?

Now let’s see what else we can talk about. Let’s see what else. So it’s really getting everybody to the table. Hamilton got so many people to the table because it’s so joyous and brilliant. And it set the table for us to have this conversation we’re having in the streets. It set a table for us. It’s common ground because so many people enjoy it, some people like it. And so, we end up all at the same Hamilton party. And what are you going to talk about once you’re at that party?

CS: You know, living in the Bronx, I saw hundreds of local high school students on their way to see Hamilton. It’s something the show worked really hard to facilitate. And I wonder, kind of jumping off what you were just saying, what were some of the most interesting questions they asked of you? Do you have any memories of that?

Odom Jr.: Yeah. I remember it was a little bit after I left, there was this young girl in Philadelphia who worked very hard to get to me. She was like, sending me private messages and she ended up finding a voice teacher of mine who was texting me. I was a little busy, but this young girl really wanted to ask me a question. And I finally got on the phone with her and she said, “So my friends and I talk about Hamilton a lot. And we feel like this show actually isn’t revolutionary at all. It’s just a bunch of People Of Color standing on the stage telling White people stories. What do you think about that?”

So you know, I loved it. I love stuff like that. I’m like, please bring it on, you know? So I love that she worked hard to get to me to ask me that question, to grill me a little bit. And all I could say to this young girl, this young revolutionary, was: Lin wrote the show that was on his heart to write. There is no doubt in my mind that in some time, someone is going to write the show that makes Hamilton look quaint. I have no doubt in my mind. I hope I live long enough to see that show. I said to her, “It’s your job.”

All Lin did was take the baton. Lin created an opportunity for himself and his brothers and sisters that never existed for him. Lin, a young Puerto Rican artist, a young talented actor, and musician. I mean, there are two shows for Lin to do, in the canon of musical theater, in the whole canon. Before he wrote [In the Heights and Hamilton]. You know, there’s literally nothing for him to do.

So all Lin did was take the baton from somebody. He ran his leg of the race, and now it’s your job to run your leg. You write the show that makes Hamilton look quaint. You write the show that answers all the questions that Hamilton didn’t have the courage to, or that you feel like it didn’t have the courage or the bravery to ask. Well, now that’s your responsibility.

RELATED: Disney Debuts Special New Look at Hamilton!

CS: It seems to me that a running thread in your career has been how you trusted in your own worth, even when this may have put other opportunities that you had at risk. And that’s an easy thing to talk about, but hard to do. And I wondered what’s your secret?

Odom Jr.: You know, faith.

CS: Faith?

Odom Jr.: Yeah, I’ve talked to young artists, men, just about not ignoring some sort of spiritual practice. And it’s not unrelated to what we see in the streets. It’s not unrelated. This thing, it works all of our lives. I know I’ve found as a man, there are going to come times where you can’t untie it, where you’ve done all that you can, where you’ve run your leg of the race. And in those situations in my life, I have depended on a God who has helped me through those moments, who has seen me through those moments, and the universe has only ever met me halfway. You know what I mean? More when I take one step for myself, God, the universe, takes two. It is the real stuff.

CS: So faith in something greater than yourself, trusting the process kind of a thing?

Odom Jr.: Absolutely. Absolutely. And I don’t pay lip service to a thing like that. It’s a real practice in my life.

(Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images)

CS Video: Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet Interview with F. Murray Abraham

by Grant Hermanns

CS Video: Mythic Quest: Raven's Banquet Interview with F. Murray Abraham

CS Video: Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet interview with F. Murray Abraham

With getting to take part in this year’s first-ever virtual SeriesFest, got the opportunity to chat with Academy Award winner F. Murray Abraham (Amadeus) to discuss his work in Apple’s hit workplace comedy Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet. The interview, in which he talks about the quarantine special, season two and making jokes about improvised moments he thought up but didn’t put forward, can be viewed in the player below!

RELATED: CS Video: Irresistible Interview with Chris Cooper & Mackenzie Davis!

Co-created by McElhenney, Day and Ganz, Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet follows a team of video game developers as they navigate the challenges of running a popular video game. The first season is now streaming globally on Apple TV+, and has already been picked up for a second season.

Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet is executive produced by McElhenney and Day under their RCG banner; Michael Rotenberg and Nicholas Frenkel on behalf of 3Arts; and Jason Altman, Danielle Kreinik and Gérard Guillemot for Ubisoft Film & Television. Hornsby (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) and Ganz (Modern Family, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) also executive produce. The series is produced by Lionsgate and 3Arts Entertainment and Ubisoft.

RELATED: CS Video: The King of Staten Island Interview With Pete Davidson & Judd Apatow

The entire first season and quarantine episode is available to stream on Apple TV+ now!

monitoring_string = "df292225381015080a5c6c04a6e2c2dc"