Reddit user Turm0il26 recently proposed the idea that once Bran comes to terms with the fact his powers are the reason Wylis becomes Hodor, who then goes on to one day save his and Meera’s lives, Bran will wrongly assume he can go back in time to stop the White Walkers from ever existing in the first place. With the Night King and his army already doing serious damage to Jon Snow’s forces, it’s possible that Bran will get the idea in his head in season eight that the only way to put an end to the war between humans and White Walkers is by preventing the creation of the Night King (although it’s worth noting that Bran doesn’t seem interested in helping anyone these days). To accomplish this, he’d have to travel far enough back in time to stop the Children of the Forest from ever plunging dragonglass into the heart of one of the First Men, which is how the first White Walker comes into existence.
We already know that the two share an intense connection, since we see Bran experience the touch of the Night King while warging in season six. If you subscribe to Turm0il26’s theory, the reason the Night King and Bran could be so drawn to each other is because they are the same exact person, only at different stages of their lives. «Bran goes back all the way to where the Night King was created, to warg into the human that later is going to become the Night King,» the Redditor writes. «He wargs into him to instead stop the ‘dragonglass into the heart’-event from happening. Only he doesn’t think of that the Children of the Forest won’t recognize him from the future . . . He tries to go back in the current timeline, but can’t because he’s too deep into the past and stayed too long . . . From here Bran gets stuck in the past and becomes the Night King.»
In all fairness, most of the characters on Game of Thrones wear some variation of armor, black leather, and fur. Still, from the shape of their garments to their walk, the similarities are pretty striking. Could this be our first solid clue that Bran is well on his way to becoming the Night King? (Or technically, already is?) Here’s hoping the season seven finale answers some of our questions.
The Bachelorette on ABC at 8:00pm ET. Three-hour 13th season finale. You guys. Three hours. THREE HOURS. And you know that, like, two hours and forty-five minutes of that will be *footage of people talking* *cut to talking head* «So when we were standing there talking about stuff, I was thinking ‘stuff’ and it was obviously really emotional.» *cut to footage of two people looking around blankly.* I mean, damn folks, even the Game of Thrones season finale is bringing it in under 90 minutes.
Preacher on AMC at 9:00pm ET.
Will on TNT at 9:00pm ET.
Brillo Box on HBO at 10:00pm ET. Special presentation. This is a documentary about an Andy Warhol piece that looked like a Brillo pad box, which was sold at auction in 2010 for more than $ 3 million. Whoever bought it is going to be so embarrassed when they realize that Brillo pad boxes don’t cost anywhere near that much.
Listen, it’s Friday, I just got a job, and everyone needs a drink (I’m pretty sure that’s how that quote goes). But as much as I’d like to leave you with something light and funny, we need to talk about Trump’s incredibly loose grip on reality. We always knew he wasn’t great with policies or words, but I always thought he might have a basic understanding of what is real and what is not. His recently leaked phone conversations prove otherwise. We learned for instance, Trump believes:
— New Hampshire is a drug den (as Seth points out, it’s clearly a drug inn. Or a nice drug B&B).
— That refugees held in detention centers are criminals (oh boy).
— And that talking on the phone is the same as talking in person.
These are not things that people with a rudimentary understanding of reality believe. But the bigger question is: what other shit does he think is true? I’ll bet you didn’t know Trump thinks:
— Cesar Chavez is one of those fancy salads cut up real small.
— South Virginia is the elusive 51st state where the fat guy in his parents’ basement is hiding Hillary’s emails.
— The Golden Globes are found only in the most reputable cosmetic surgeons’ offices.
— That «Chief of Staff» title was a pretty good joke they pulled on Priebus. Hehe. Staff.
— Part of the reason China won’t just hurry up and fix that North Korea problem already is that they’re terrified of war what with them being made of glass and everything.
— Dow Jones is an asshole whose stock market isn’t even that great. Trump could make a much biglyer stock market if he weren’t busy saving the U.S. from Mexico and whatever is beyond Mexico. Plus Dow is a stupid name.
— The female orgasm. (JK. He knows it’s fake, amirite?)
— But seriously, he does actually think kisses are facial handshakes for the womenz.
— [Insert joke about «golden showers»]
— He believes the members of his golf clubs are actually his friends (that one’s sad because it’s true).
And I even heard a crazy, satire site said Trump thinks exercise shortens your life. It’s almost like his insanity is infecting the rest of us, and makes us distrust our own realities. HAHAHAHAHAHA. *Sob*
But seriously, what else does Trump think is true?
There are certain narratives in Hollywood that are as old as the industry itself: The child star all grown up; the sexy reinvention; the celebrity power couple love story; the Earth mother evolution. The first fan magazines were chock full of glowing reports on the lives of the rich and famous, from their slimming techniques to their enviable marriages. You can find variations of those narratives in every iteration of gossip, be in the scandalous tabloids or the more respectable glossies. These are the stories needed to keep a star famous, and to hook the interests of audiences who have grown used to new faces every week. It’s fascinating how little these moulds change. We’re still shocked by child stars going adult in the most risque manners possible, and we still get excited when two famous people pair up to marry, have babies and suddenly form an interest in lifestyle branding. Everyone in the public eye will go through at least one of these narratives, but it’s rare to see one star embody them all, and to so little fanfare.
Jessica Biel has done it all: She shed her painfully pure youthful image through a raunchy photoshoot; she rose to prominence through middling roles that gave her enough visibility to become a sex symbol; she dated eligible bachelors and married one; then she took on the celebrity mother persona with real zeal and increased profit margins. Now, as the age of Peak TV sees the medium become a welcoming home for actors big and small, Biel is moving into the possibilities of a new age with her role in The Sinner. You probably didn’t think about her that way, or really care, but such is the fate of the sex symbol.
Biel got her start, like many child actors, in TV and print adverts but it didn’t take long for her to be cast in the pilot for the WB family drama, 7th Heaven, in the role of daughter Mary. The show was a massive success, running for 11 seasons and giving the WB its best ratings ever. It’s still the most watched series on the network and holds the record for their most watched hour of TV, an impressive 12.5m viewers. Nowadays, that’s Game of Thones ratings, but for a mid-90s clean-cut family drama that now airs on the Hallmark Channel in syndication, those were some astounding numbers. The notoriously censorship friendly Parents Television Council loved the show, frequently citing it as one of the most family-friendly shows on-air, although it’s hard to see how a conservative think-tank would ever be disapproving of a show about a good Christian family working their problems out together. Even when the show took on darker subjects, it remained a sweet and syrupy watch. The acting’s varied in quality, the production values look cheap (despite the show costing a surprising amount to run), and it embodied the textbook definition of ‘uncool’. By the late 90s, the WB were actively trying to court a younger, hipper audience with shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Roswell, but it was 7th Heaven that brought them the ratings they craved.
It wasn’t much of an acting boon for Biel, who is decent in the show but has very little to work with. Movie roles were also thin on the ground, although she did make her feature debut in the Oscar nominated drama Ulee’s Gold alongside Peter Fonda. Being the vaguely cool rebel on a show as apple pie wholesome as 7th Heaven would probably have felt smothering for a young talent like Biel. Unfortunately, the industry has few options for young women to make the jump into adulthood without being heavily sexualised. For Biel, this took the form of an infamous nude shoot with the now defunct Gear magazine, founded by none other than Bob Guccione Jr., son of the Penthouse founder Bob Guccione. Guccione Jr pitched Gear as a successor to more upmarket titles like GQ, who balanced top journalism and expensive style with the occasional nude woman. Advertisers saw it differently and sold it more like a lads mag, which has much cheaper connotations. Biel’s cover for Gear, captioned with the headline ‘Fallen Angel’, is very much a 2000 cover: The come hither pose, the Jennifer Aniston haircut, the vaguely seedy air around the entire pose, which evokes Page 3 models.
Biel is trying to do sexy, but she looks so uncomfortable. She was also only 17 at the time (which is why I’m not posting the photo). 7th Heaven producers were furious, and costar Stephen Collins claimed the photos were child pornography (Collins would later admit to ‘inappropriate sexual conduct with three female minors’ over the course of 20 years). Her role on the show was bumped down to a reoccurring guest part. Even without the misogynistic response, the experience was a horrible one for Biel. In an interview with Esquire, she would admit, ‘A lot of people said to me, That was the bravest thing I’ve ever seen anybody do. But I was miserable. It was horrible. I was humiliated. I just wanted my family to forgive me… I was taken advantage of in so many ways.’ The shoot may have signalled her arrival as an all grown up beauty in Hollywood, but like so many of those narratives, the end result was a far darker experience for the women involved.
As an adult now, free of the good clean family fun confines of 7th Heaven, Biel could move fully into the world of film. First came a rom-com with men of the moment Freddie Prinze Jr. and Matthew Lillard, then the adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’s The Rules of Attraction, where she played a promiscuous college student, followed by the token horror film part. Being a scream queen feels like its own part of the Hollywood woman narrative, although we see less of the hysterical half-nude young women in these roles nowadays than we did from Friday the 13th onwards.
The 2003 remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is pretty terrible — Michael Bay produced it, after all — but like most of the Platinum Dunes remakes, it made major bank at the box office. Never mind that it seemed to miss the entire point of the original film; why bother with such things when you can make back over 10 times your budget? Biel played Erin, the Final Girl and most recognisable face in the young cast. Reviews weren’t kind. Roger Ebert himself called it ‘contemptible’, but none of the critics had much to say about Biel. It wasn’t a role where she had to do much beyond scream, run and look gorgeous in a belly skimming tank-top. The movie is almost self-aware about how much it objectifies her. There are more than a few shots of her arse as she walks, and as the sweltering Texas heat increases, so does the glisten of sweat on her collarbone, which the camera loves as much as the murders it documents.
Blade: Trinity was similarly shameless in its midriff exposing focus, although at least in that film, she gets to shoot some vampires with a bow and arrow. Stealth, one of the biggest flops in cinematic history, cannot help but frame Biel in very sexualised terms, even as the narrative insists her character is a tomboy and just as capable as her two male counterparts. She still needs to be rescused and still ends up the love interest of a much blander actor by the end.
The roles may have been lacklustre, with the box office responses to match, but Biel was never more publicly visible. In 2005, Esquire named her The Sexiest Woman Alive, and accompanied the glowing article with a semi-nude photoshoot. She’s never as exposed in these photos as she was with the Gear shoot, but the intent is the same and the article supremely unnerving in its fetishistic gaze. It opens with the journalist saying this:
‘I know the body climbing out of that SUV alarmingly well. I know it better than the body of any other human being, with the possible exception of my wife’s. I’ve been staring at this body for weeks now — thinking about it, scrutinizing it, asking lots of probing questions about it.’
It takes him several paragraphs to even give ‘the body’ a name. The entire article is steeped in this creepiness. The journalist tries to offset it by bringing his wife and baby son along for the interview, but every moment focused on Biel is on her body and appeal as a sexual object: From the description of the clothes on ‘an impressive body’ to him describing his 17 month old son’s reaction to Biel as ‘a common enough reaction by men.’ He’s eager to reassure the readers that ‘she seems far older than a girl who still can’t rent a car’. All of this makes it even more uncomfortable once the subject of her Gear photoshoot is brought up. She talks about the pain, the regret, the lessons learned, and the journalist then seems impressed she’d pose for Esquire. She admits that ‘The shooting of that photo was very hard’ but feels ‘really happy with the outcome’. The interview doesn’t reveal much about Biel herself. Its concerns lie in her body, and whether she will go nude in the future. It’s not about Biel; it’s about ‘the body’.
For the next few years, Biel alternated between big-budget and indie roles, but none of them seemed to break out in any tangible way. Many of the former films seemed to scream out ‘We hired her because she’s hot’, and took any opportunity to showcase that, from the shameless breast grabbing in I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry to her boobs being centred on the poster for Next. Her indie work varied but she’s actually pretty good in a lot of those less showy roles: She’s striking in period roles like The Illusionist and Easy Virtue, particularly in the latter where she gets to show off some real comedic capabilities; She makes her mark as Vera Miles in the Psycho making-of biopic Hitchcock; She’s even good fun in The A-Team, as much as the film works to keep her in a vaguely defined party-pooper role. The main problem is that, over the course of a solid decade, very few of these films, regardless of how good she is in them, were given a second thought by audiences. There wasn’t any hunger for Jessica Biel the actress.
Jessica Biel the celebrity, however, still had some impressive mileage. After six years in an on-off relationship with pre-Captain America Chris Evans, she began dating Justin Timberlake. This was the Justin of ‘SexyBack’ and ‘LoveStoned’. This was the Justin who proved the critics wrong and became a post-boyband smash success. His romance with Cameron Diaz had fizzled out, and now he was on the way to a new level of fame via film roles, sellout world tours and ceaseless public visibility. Timberlake is super easy to love but equally easy to be aggravated by. He’s the theatre kid gone big, the guy who turns every moment into a performance and is just always on. The pair married in October 2012, and even the People Magazine exclusive knows who the star of the show is. Biel’s beautiful pink dress is barely on show as she dutifully sits on the ground while her new husband hogs the screen. Whatever the goings-on in their marriage, they’ve lasted a decade together, with young son Silas, and being Mrs Timberlake is a solid occupation for Biel. She knows he’s the bigger star and seems happy to stand by his side as he makes his mark on every red carpet.
For a brief moment in the early to mid 2000s, we were in the age of the Jessica. Imagine our current Chris situation, but with a more discomfiting lens of objectification. This trio of women — Biel, Alba and Simpson — were never framed in terms of talent or personality (with the exception of Simpson for the latter, but that was more as a means of mockery over her perceived stupidity). The focus was on beauty and its appeal to a young male demographic. Biel had her photoshoots, Alba had her Sin City stripping, Simpson had the Daisy Dukes. It was the era of the Blonde, land-marked by the breakout of Paris Hilton and the growing domination of the upmarket boho look pushed by stylist Rachel Zoe. By contrast, Biel was never really a good fit for either the Jessica crowd or the public Blondes. She is certainly beautiful but has an earthy appeal that doesn’t gel with the pin-up mould she was constantly pushed into. She wasn’t even blonde for most of this time anyway. Whatever the case, the era of the Jessica wrapped up quickly and the trio scattered into better roles: Alba was settling into her newfound success as a businesswoman with The Honest Company, and Simpson had forged a billion dollar empire with her shoes. Biel hasn’t dipped her toes into the wellness market or fashion industry, but she has her own very curious business venture.
Au Fudge doesn’t seem to know what it wants to be. Ostensibly, it’s meant to be a restaurant for mothers and their kids, a ‘Soho House for kids’, as it was pitched to Page Six, but the end result is like a fever dream of a harried mother operating on 2 hours sleep. It’s a kid friendly restautant with cocktails for parents with names like ‘First Base’ and ‘MILF’; it’s a clubhouse with space for kids to ‘be creative’ while mummy orders a $ 15 salad. Do yoga with the kids then let the staff look after them while you enjoy a ‘Jessica Rabbit’s Rabbit’ (which actually sounds really tasty). If this all seems like an odd mix to you, it’s probably because you’ve never needed to multi-task in this manner. This is Hollywood mothering and it knows that. It’s confusing and kind of exhausting, but if you’re a millionaire with an au pair, this probably makes a lot of sense.
In that sense, Biel knows her audience. It’s a far smaller scale business investment than a major company like Alba’s or Simpson’s, but it’s a safer bet for a smaller name like Biel’s. It’s a means to use her own motherhood as a jumping off point for the next part of her career narrative — from sex symbol to wife and mother, because patriarchy hates seeing the two mix — without having to commodify her own kid. Silas Timberlake is pretty absent from her Instagram account, his face hidden or obscured when it does, although the Biel-Timberlake clan did use a family moment to plug Justin’s filmTrolls (and help out with his very driven Oscar campaign for the movie’s song). You’re more likely to see Silas on his dad’s Instagram. Indeed, it’s on his page that we see him in a selfie with mum. Social media is a good way for celebrities to rein in narratives about their private lives and families. A strategically posted loved-up pic can get more public traction than a tabloid rumour about marriage troubles these days. Biel’s social media presence, combined with that of her husband’s, helps to toe that line, but those Instagram pics are more focused on giving her a carefree, fun-loving public image. After years of being reduced to nothing but ‘the body’ by the media and industry, it’s Biel herself who has the power to reclaim her personality.
There’s not much about Jessica Biel that inspires fervent excitement these days. She’s still beautiful, her project choices are more interesting but no more memorable, and her private life keeps bringing in the column inches, always with a positive glow. Yet there is so much about Biel that exemplifies what women can and must expect when they dare to grow up and get involved in an industry that simultaneously loves and shames sexual beauty. Her life has inadvertently become a model for Hollywood as a narrative, and there’s real credit to be given in her managing to navigate such treacherous waters and come out of it in one piece.
You don’t get through two decades in the business without learning a few lessons, and Jessica Biel is nothing if not self aware. In a hilarious guest appearance on Netflix’s BoJack Horseman, Biel played a version of herself as Mr. Peanutbutter’s glamorous second wife. It’s a pretty merciless mockery of her career and the forgettable nature of it all, defined almost exclusively by her being ‘the girl from 7th Heaven who took of all her clothes for that magazine.’ Biel herself even asked the writers to go meaner with their depiction. She knows who you think she is and she’s got no qualms with that.
During the Television Critics Association’s press tour in Pasadena, California on Wednesday, HBO president of programming Casey Bloys confirmed their deal with Ali to star in True Detective‘s third season.
«I have read five scripts for a third season,» he said. «I’m very very impressed and excited about what I’ve read. I don’t want to give away the storyline, but I really think they’re terrific.»
Bloys’ comments follow his previous statements about wanting to continue on with Emmy-winning anthology series created by Nic Pizzolatto (who has an overall deal with the network through 2018). In March, news broke that Deadwood creator David Milch might come on board to take the reigns from Pizzolatto, and there’s a good chance that might still happen. «We’re open to someone else writing it with Nic supervising it; it’s a really valuable franchise for us,» Bloys revealed last Summer. «It’s not dead, I’m just not sure we have the right take for a third season — yet.»
In addition to captivating audiences on the silver screen, Ali has also done his fair share of work on «prestige» TV shows like House of Cards and Luke Cage. In other words, he’s a perfect fit.
True Detective is (probably) coming back and it’s got a brand new face and that face is fine as hell. Mahershala Ali (Moonlight, House of Cards, Hidden Figures, Luke Cage) is in talks to star on the third season of the HBO drama.
During Wednesday’s Television Critics Association’s press tour in Pasadena, California, HBO president of programming Casey Bloys confirmed the network has a deal with the Oscar-winning Moonlight actor to star in a potential third season of the anthology series.
Casey Bloys says he’s read five scripts so far and that HBO is currently looking for a director. The addition of Mahershala to the cast is great news, since the last season was one of the least sexy shows I’ve seen for a long time. I’m looking forward to Mahershala walking around in tight detective slacks, sleeves all rolled up, giving just a glimpse of bicep as he leans down to poke around at some evidence with his pen. My dream partner for him is Nicolas Cage. I think they’d be an amazing team if Nic can dial it back a notch. But I’m clearly getting ahead of myself here. As much as I loved the first season, season two betrayed me like no other. I won’t put myself through that again.
At their TCA panel yesterday, HBO made a number of exciting announcements (welcome back Jon Stewart!), but perhaps the biggest news is that Oscar winner and newly-certified Pajiba 10 hottie Mahershala Ali has signed a deal to star in the potential 3rd season of True Detective. Though the show isn’t a done deal yet, it’s getting close to receiving a greenlight — HBO programming chief Casey Bloys said he has read 5 finished scripts for the new series, and that they are «terrific.» Show creator Nic Pizzolatto has been working on the new season with HBO veteran David Milch… which is probably a good thing. No directors have been confirmed, though it sounds like the show won’t move ahead with any directors involved in the previous installments.
And speaking of David Milch, the panel also included an update on the long-awaited Deadwood movie. Bloys said he is very pleased with the script that Milch has turned in, which he had wanted to work as a stand-alone thing, accessible to Deadwood fans and people who had never seen the original series. Though he cautioned that there are still several roadblocks to overcome before the cameras can roll on the film: nailing down a budget that makes sense, finding the right director, and managing to get the cast together again for it. And that last one is a crucial piece, as the sprawling cast included actors Ian McShane, Timothy Olyphant, Molly Parker and John Hawkes — not to mention the late Powers Booth.
Regarding the controversy surrounding the recent announcement that HBO would be picking up Confederate, the new series from Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, Bloys admitted that they could have handled it better. «If I could do it over again,» Bloys said, «our mistake was thinking that we would be able to announce an idea that was so sensitive and require so much care in a press release. That was misguided on our part.» He knew that news of the show, which will depict an alternate United States in which the South successfully seceded from the Union and slavery still thrives, would be controversial — especially since journalists and the public at large didn’t have the benefit of sitting in a room with the producers and hearing their full concept in context. However, he assured everyone that the series wouldn’t be as over the top as it seems at first glance. «It’s not whips and plantations. It’s what they imagine a modern day institution of slavery would look like.» So… I guess we’ll have to see how THAT shakes out.
In Game of Thrones news, Bloys said it’s unclear whether the final season would air in 2018 or 2019. To which I have to say: fuck you very much, Mr. Bloys. It’s a reduced episode count. Don’t string this shit along any further than you have to. Give us our goddamn dragons and our goddamn white walkers and let’s just be done with it, mmmkay? Thanks.
And finally, Larry David and other cast members were there to talk about the upcoming new season of Curb Your Enthusiasm, which returns to the channel in October. And based on the quotes, it sounds like it was a typical Larry David-esque affair (and probably just the respite the journalists needed, as those panels can DRAAAAG). On why he is decided to do another season, David said, «I got tired of people asking me, ‘Is the show coming back?'» He also apparently found out he actually IS distantly related to Senator Bernie Sanders (whom he impersonated for SNL during the election season), thanks to an upcoming episode of Finding Your Roots. Which just goes to show that there really is an order to the universe!
Melissa McCarthy has been vacationing in Europe with husband Ben Falcone, and on Tuesday, the comedian had a surprise Gilmore Girls reunion with costar Yanic Truesdale in Greece. Melissa and Yanic — who play Sookie and Michel, respectively, on the show — made our dreams come true when they posed for a cute pool selfie together. «I love when this happens! By coincidence, we both booked a vacation at the same time in Greece! #magicaltiming #bestvacations,» Yanic captioned the snap. Sadly, Lorelai Gilmore — er, Lauren Graham — wasn’t there to join in on the fun, but she wasn’t forgotten. In another tropical snap, Yanic posted a photo of himself reading Lauren’s new book, Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls. We’re still keeping our fingers crossed for a second season of Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life!
Nelsan Ellis has died at age 39, The Hollywood Reporter confirms. The actor, best known for his role as Lafayette Reynolds in HBO’s True Blood series, passed away after complications with heart failure, according to his manager, Emily Gerson Saines.
«We were extremely saddened to hear of the passing of Nelsan Ellis,» HBO said in a statement. «Nelsan was a long-time member of the HBO family whose groundbreaking portrayal of Lafayette will be remembered fondly within the overall legacy of True Blood. Nelsan will be dearly missed by his fans and all of us at HBO.»
True Blood‘s creator, Alan Ball, also issued a statement, writing, «Nelsan was a singular talent whose creativity never ceased to amaze me. Working with him was a privilege.»