Writer and director Leslye Headland’s Bachelorette is a female ensemble comedy that culminates in a wedding, but Headland doesn’t want it confused with Bridesmaids or any of the other recent pack of funny-lady flicks. In fact, she’d rather not be thought of as a female writer at all.
“When I first started getting read and I started having [meetings] and Bachelorette made The Black List [a peer-nominated Hollywood list of the best unproduced screenplays], it was like, ‘So you’re a female Neil LaBute!’” Headland, who made her name as a playwright, said. “And you wouldn’t say, ‘You’re a gentile Neil Simon,’ you know what I mean? You wouldn’t say, ‘You’re a white John Singleton.’ Women are actually the majority in this country, so why are you using that adjective to describe my writing? Why can’t you just say it’s like Neil LaBute, which I would take as a huge compliment?”
Such is the mess where Elizabeth Banks finds herself in “People Like Us,” which hits theaters this Friday. Here, she plays Frankie, a single mom trying to make ends meet. Starring alongside Banks is Chris Pine as Sam, the half-brother Frankie’s music-producing dad chose over her and her mother. After their father dies, Sam entangles himself in the lives of Frankie and her son, all the while wondering when to reveal his true identity — and the bag of cash he’s been dragging around with him.
Of course, Banks is only playing a part — one of many this year. On top of “People Like Us,” the actress also starred in “The Hunger Games,” “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” “Man on a Ledge,” and had a recurring role on NBC’s “30 Rock.”
Banks recently sat down with Moviefone in New York to answer our burning (sorry) questions about “Catching Fire,” “People Like Us,” and reveal the particular set of skills she has that would help her as a Hunger Games tribute.
There’s a reason Aubrey Plaza keeps getting cast as interns — as eyerolling Pawnee Parks Department lackey April Ludgate on NBC’s Parks and Recreation and as the defeatist, toilet-scrubbing Seattle Magazine intern in the upcoming Safety Not Guaranteed, and in real life as well, in NBC’s famed page program. According toSafety director Colin Trevorrow, the 27-year-old actress is an everygirl, a face for the masses of underpaid, overeducated young workers of the world.
“Aubrey represents a whole generation of young women who are very disaffected,” Trevorrow said. “Not just women, a whole generation. And disaffected for a reason. They don’t see anything out there for them, and this is not a world for them, and they have every reason to want to go back to a time when everything was a little bit easier and there were more opportunities and they weren’t treated like shit as an intern somewhere.”
“My favorite drink to make is whatever is going to make the person who’s going to drink it the happiest,” she told The Daily. “If somebody really likes strong coffee, I’ll make them a French press. I’m in the business of making people happy. I’m not trying to force what I like onto them.”
The 28-year-old barista’s easygoing answer may not surprise the casual observer — after all, serving coffee isn’t usually viewed as a demanding or controversial profession — but Carguilo has an array of awards under her belt that certify her as a Grade A coffee snob, most recently capturing the title of Northeastern Regional Champion in the country’s most prestigious barista competition. At the end of April, she will head to Portland, Ore., to compete for the national title.
It may feel like “Girls” has been on the air for months already, but the series actually doesn’t premiere on HBO until April 15th. Its creator, writer and star is Lena Dunham, about whom, if you’re reading this, you probably already have an opinion—although it’s difficult to come up with an opinion or observation about Dunham that she has not already anticipated, heard or joked about herself. Her 2010 feature, Tiny Furniture, released when she was 23, was just added to the Criterion Collection. Now there’s “Girls,” a comedy about four 20-something women puzzling out adulthood in the city, executive produced by Judd Apatow. Dunham and I met recently in New York to discuss the show, although we ended up talking about a lot of other things as well, from Hoda and Kathie Lee, to entitlement and jealousy and hate-reading, to which is more awkward to do on screen: have sex or be weighed?
Kase Wickman: So just to get my token Britney Spears reference out of the way: are you a girl, not yet a woman? Are you a girl, a woman or a lady?
Lena Dunham: I think I’m a girl, not yet a woman. I think I’m somewhere in the in-between. Yeah, I’m not a girl, not yet a woman. That’s my favorite song. Was that from her Crossroads phase?
The only hint of their presence in Midtown’s Hotel Pennsylvania—the lobby still garlanded for the holiday season and crowded with milling tourists—was a 20-something guy shuffling around in medium-rinse jeans and a lackluster black leather jacket. He might have been one of the tourists himself were it not for the fluorescent pastel sign he held reading: THIS WAY TO BRONYCON! Pictured on the sign was a pink and purple pony in a green field.
The so-called Bronies—a herd of mostly male, mostly white, mostly mid-20s fans of the animated TV show “My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic”—have had plenty of press coverage of late, but this in-your-face mass gathering was not so typical. Although BroNYCon is held several times a year, Saturday’s was the biggest one to date.
Operation Iraqi Freedom ended last week, but for the families of the four Americans still officially categorized by the U.S. government as missing in Iraq, the ceremonies marking the war’s end by no means meant the end of their search.
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ahmed Altaie and contractors Timothy Bell, Adnan al-Hilawi and Kirk von Ackermann are not home for Christmas. Nor do their families have answers about their disappearances, according to the government agency responsible for overseeing prisoner-of-war and missing-in-action cases.
By Kase Wickman and Karen Keller
He’s the archangel of the layaway angels.
When Dave Wilson heard about a new trend of anonymous donors paying off strangers’ holiday layaway balances at retail stores, he decided to find out if he could help a few families have a happier Christmas.
He ended up paying off the bills for 260 families, spending nearly $16,000 to settle their tabs at a Kmart in Costa Mesa, Calif. A Kmart spokeswoman said it was the largest gift she could recall.
Anonymous donors are walking into retail stores around the country and paying off the layaway balances on strangers’ holiday purchases. It started with one woman at a Kmart in Grand Rapids, Mich., and has now become a bona fide phenomenon.
Ted Straub, manager of a Kmart in Omaha, Neb., said about 40 of what he calls “layaway angels” have visited his store since last Saturday, paying for thousands of dollars of merchandise and dozens of families’ holiday presents.
Lacquered red drums, glittery blue marching band type bass drums, bongo drums, tambourines and a cowbell, an overturned bin painted streaky red and hand-lettered with “OCCUPY WALL STREET,” slapped at with palms and mallets and drumsticks, anything really.