Actor Viggo Mortensen Uses a Word He Shouldn’t

November 13, 2018

What happens when concern about racism is focused on policing the words that antiracist people use, rather than the acts of actual racists? Americans have a serious and complex problem with the notion of free speech. While everyone accepts the dogma that freedom of expression is an absolute...

Meryl Streep Defends the Big Three: Hollywood, Foreigners and the Press

January 10, 2017

Donald Trump’s persistent divisive rhetoric provoked Meryl Streep to take a stance. Sunday night saw the Hollywood elite honored at the 74th Golden Globes Awards, but the upheaval caused by the election of Donald Trump as US president remained center stage. While several actors made subtle...

Hollywood in Black and White

October 06, 2016

Hollywood has no place for ethnic minorities.  As a “person of color”—and how I hate being identified this way—in the acting field, I couldn't feel any sympathy for the #OscarsSoWhite protest. Forget about not being nominated for the Oscars; we, the people I talk about here, the other...

Defining Casablanca’s Modern City Brand

June 13, 2016

The economic powerhouse of Morocco's Casablanca is light years away from the image created in a Hollywood studio 70 years ago. Our story starts in 1942 with Europe in the midst of war. We find ourselves in the dusty North African outpost of Casablanca, where a motley assortment of refugees,...

The Pioneering Fashions of Lady Duff Gordon

In this guest edition of The Interview, James Blake Wiener talks to author Randy Bryan Bigham. In the late 19th and early 20th century, one woman broke multiple social barriers to become the leading designer of haute couture: Lucy Duff Gordon (1863-1935). While her name is virtually unknown...

China’s Film Industry: A Blockbuster in the Making

February 20, 2016

Amid China’s economic slowdown, one industry is doing well: filmmaking. China is ambitiously expanding its reach to moviegoers at home and boosting its Hollywood holdings. While stories about China’s economy centers on a slowdown, the country’s passion for movies—at home and...

May the Forced Be With You

December 20, 2015

For Hollywood cinema, sequels and prequels, reboots and remakes are the order of the day. In 1977, as an excited 7-year old, I queued up outside the Gaumont Cinema in Birmingham, England, with my father and a cousin. We were waiting to see Star Wars, a film that had taken both audiences and...

It’s Back to the Future Day, So What Are the Next Future Predictions?

The movie got some predictions right on what Doc and Marty would find when they arrive in the “future” today. But what could they find if they took another 30 year leap into the future? When Doc and Marty traveled forward in time from 1985 and landed the DeLorean on October 21, 2015, they...

Terminator Genisys and the Mind-Bending World of Alternative History

July 11, 2015

The latest Terminator film marks a recovery from its predecessors, but its treatment of time travel is still implausible. Franchise reboots using alternative timelines are currently all the rage, blurring the lines between sequels and prequels on screens across the globe. J.J. Abrams’...

Omar Sharif Didn’t Have to Play a Terrorist

July 11, 2015

Egyptian actor Omar Sharif was a citizen of the world, someone who crossed cultural boundaries with apparent ease. Omar Sharif has died at 83. Born as Michel Chalhoub in Alexandria to Lebanese Christian parents in 1932, he changed his name and converted to Islam in 1955 in order to marry his...

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