Andreja Pejić Will Star in ‘The Girl in the Spider’s Web’

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Groundbreaking trans model Andreja Pejić has landed her first role in a major motion picture, in The Girl in the Spider’s Web, Deadline reports.

The movie is the sequel to the acclaimed The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011), which saw Rooney Mara in the badass role of Lisbeth Salander and Daniel Craig as the journalist Mikael Blomkvist. Seven years later, The Crown’s Claire Foy is set to take over the lead role of Salander, an edgy, outcast queer cyberhacker. Craig’s role will now be played by Swedish actor Sverrir Gudnason. No word yet on who exactly Pejić will be playing.

The original American film earned Mara an Oscar nomintion for Best Actress – before that, the entire series was made into Swedish films that became instant cult classics; and those are, of course, adapted from the novels by Stieg Larsson. Spider’s Web is adapted from a novel by David Lagercrantz, continuing the legacy of the late Larsson.

Pejić has walked in fashion shows for major labels including Galliano, Marc Jacobs, Raf Simons, Paul Smith, and Jean Paul Gaultier, and also appeared in the David Bowie music video The Stars (Are Out Tonight) alongside Tilda Swinton.

The Girl in the Spider’s Web is directed by Fede Alvarez, set for release October 19.

Madonna To Direct Film About Sierra Leone Orphan-Turned-Ballerina

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Madonna will direct a film about the true story of Michaela DePrince, an orphan from Sierra Leone who went on to become a world-renowned ballerina.

DePrince was three years old when her father was shot and killed in the war torn African nation – her mother died just a week later from sickness and hunger. She was then sent to an orphanage and adopted by Americans – one of 9 children the family adopted – and encouraged to pursue ballet. At age 17 she made her debut in the Joburg Ballet in South Africa, before going on to appear in the documentary First Position, as well as Beyoncé’s Lemonade. She’s now a soloist at the Dutch National Ballet.

With her mother, DePrince wrote and published a memoir in 2014, titled Taking Flight: From War Orphan to Star Ballerina. The Taking Flight film will be adapted by Camilla Blackett (The Newsroom) and will be Madonna’s third film in the director’s chair. She’s previously helmed the 2008 comedy Filth and Wisdom and the 2011 film W.E. 

She’s also currently co-writing and will direct The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells, from the novel of the same name, and produced and wrote the documentary about Malawi orphans, I Am Because We Are.

“Michaela’s journey resonated with me deeply as both an artist and an activist who understands adversity,” said Madonna in Deadline‘s report. “We have a unique opportunity to shed light on Sierra Leone and let Michaela be the voice for all the orphaned children she grew up beside. I am honored to bring her story to life.”

MUNA Release Acoustic EP To Celebrate One Year Since ‘About U’

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To celebrate a year since the release of their fantastic debut album, About U, queer LA-based trio MUNA today have dropped an acoustic EP covering three of their most popular hits.

About U: One Year On was recorded live on February 2, exactly a year after they initially unleashed their debut. The three-track EP sees acoustic renditions of “Crying On The Bathroom Floor,” “If U Love Me Now,” and “I Know A Place.”

“Recording this live EP was almost like reading a letter you’ve written to your future self,” says singer Katie Gavin. “Our lives are different than they were last year, partially because of these songs and largely because of the way that other people have made these songs their own. Arranging and playing them acoustically was a way for us to come alive to that fact. The music changes us and then we change the music and it goes on like that.”


Resist! Elle Exxe’s Fierce New Single ‘Queen’ Honors International Women’s Day

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We fell in love with brassy Scottish songstress Elle Exxe when we premiered her fiery new single “Catapult” back in November. No surprise, she’s back on our playlists with an equally intense new song, “Queen,” that honors International Women’s Day (which is today, actually).

The powerfully visceral track begins with Elle passionately insisting, “I will not bow down / I will earn my crown / I’m the queen of my own destiny” over a dramatic sweep of strings. It then builds explosively into an anthem of determined self-possession, as she asserts, “Self doubt’s your only enemy / But it’s one you will defeat.”

It’s enough to give us chills.

For the occasion, she’s also created this fiercely femme-tastic Spotify playlist, which includes tracks by the likes of Kelis, Janis Joplin, Janelle Monae and Lady Gaga.

Perhaps most importantly, part of the proceeds from the single and from merch sales on her upcoming tour with go to support HeForShe, the UN organization which encourages the advancement of women via the support of their male counterparts.

Her live shows are not to be missed. And she’ll be taking the stage at NYC’s Arlene’s Grocery tonight at 7:45pm – before heading south for two SXSW appearances next week.



Catie Lazarus Celebrates 9th Anniversary of ‘Employee of the Month’

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Photo courtesy of Employee of the Month


It’s been nine years since Catie Lazarus debuted her beloved talk show Employee of the Month. In that time, she’s interviewed and honored such names as Greta Gerwig, Jon Hamm, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Jon Stewart, Maya Rudolph, Rachel Maddow, Gloria Steinem…the list goes on.

As a host, it’s Lazarus’ wit and charm that has kept them coming back over the years. And it’s her depth and candor that keeps the show interesting, never shying away from the tough questions. Whatever she’s doing must be working, as it’s the longest running talk show ever hosted by a woman.

This Thursday at 8pm, Slate Live helps Lazarus celebrate; she’ll be joined by Emily Mortimer (Mary Poppins Returns), Hannibal Buress (Broad City), composer Alex Lacamoire (Dear Evan Hansen), and the Resistance Revival Chorus. The first of two special shows will take place at Gramercy Theater, with another taking place April 7 at Abrons Arts Center.

As a woman hosting a talk show, what kind of struggles have you faced? 

Too many to mention, but showbiz has notoriously rewarded those who fail upwards, even helping them land in The White House. If and when Hollywood is ready for a talk show host with chops, chutzpah, humor, no cavities, and a genuine moral compass, will you tell them where to find me?

What’s been your favorite guest or moment over the last nine years?

Fame or celebrity certainly does not determine how interesting someone is, but the more honest and forthcoming a guest is, the better. I really appreciated hearing Martha Plimpton share some poetry she wrote for pharmaceutical ads, to Daveed Diggs expressing how hard his day job at Pier 1 was, and to how Cynthia Nixon stayed sane, despite being an actor and breadwinner, since she was a kid. I still smile when I think about Wally Shawn’s explanation as to why he didn’t become a cab driver, and Tituss Burgess and Patti LuPone singing.

A lovageatrois #pattilupone #titussburgess #threesome #menageatrois #frenchisfun

A post shared by Catie Lazarus (@catie_lazarus) on

How has the show evolved since it began?

Honestly, I thoroughly enjoy engaging in-depth, nuanced conversations, while mixing in music and mischief. My talk show has a variety show feel, which I think is just what the doctor ordered, especially with the state of the world. (Please note I am not a doctor. If you are having an emergency and can emigrate to Canada, I highly recommend it. They have affordable health care and a stable genius, well, bright leader.)

There’s more of a journalistic quality to your show than most. What made you take that approach?

I dropped out of my doctorate in psychology to write comedy, but never lost my insatiable appetite to get to know others or for pizza. Since I’ve have had to cut back on the latter, I focus on the former. I ask questions I don’t know the answer to already. I don’t want to waste my time or that of my guests, and truly hope that they and the audience enjoy themselves. If I do too, well that’s this secular Jewish girl’s version of the holy trinity. If it somehow involves pizza, even better.

What can fans expect from your ninth anniversary show and what’s to come in the next nine years?

There will be a few surprises, music and cameo wise, but otherwise, I have a ton of questions. And speaking of which, I better go get to them.

Tickets are now available for the special ninth anniversary show of Employee of the Month online. Use discount code, LazarusSpecial at checkout.

Twitter Is Dragging Betsy DeVos After Her Painful ’60 Minutes’ Interview

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Image courtesy of CBS and 60 Minutes


Betsy DeVos, United States Secretary of Education, sat down for an illuminating 13-minute segment on 60 Minutes last night with correspondent Lesley Stahl.

The interview was excruciating to watch, as DeVos seemed to have little to no understanding of basic principles of U.S. education policy, would also not say if the number of false accusations of sexual assault on campuses is as high as the number of true accusations, and could not defend her claim that the U.S. government has seen “zero results” from putting money into education.

Naturally, Twitter has not let DeVos get off easy, and have dragged her over her lack of knowledge. Even Stahl, who, of course, had to remain objective while interviewing her subject, couldn’t help but paint DeVos as a fool, simply by asking questions like “Have you seen the really bad schools?” to which Devos replied, “I have not intentionally visited schools that are underperforming.”


Take a look.






Watch the entire cringeworthy interview below.


Beyoncé & Jay Z Are Going On Tour Together Again

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Beyoncé and Jay Z seem to have sorted out any problems they had with their marriage: the ultimate power couple have announced the On The Run 2 tour, another worldwide stadium show to follow-up from 2014’s On The Run.

When the pair first did a global show together, they’d each just released major albums: Beyoncé’s iconic self-titled album and Jay-Z’s Magna Carta Holy Grail. Since then, news of less-than-happy moments in the marriage have become public knowledge, as both Beyoncé and Jay-Z explored the pain of the latter’s infidelity on their latest records, Lemonade and 4:44, respectively.

Jay-Z rapped about the former tour on his 4:44 track “MaNyfaCedGod,” revealing that there was great strife behind-the-scenes of the seemingly euphoric show, which revealed intimate wedding and baby footage. Jay sang:


“On the Run, we took a hundred together / More than the money, it was the fact that we done it together / Uh, healing in real time / ‘Song Cry’ to ‘Resentment,’ that was real crying.”


Since then, though, the couple have had a pair of twins and Beyoncé is set to perform at Coachella this April, her first live show since singing pregnant at the Grammys.

On The Run 2 begins June 6 in the UK and ends in October in Canada, making its way through the States from July through September. Tickets go on presale this Wednesday here.

10 Female-Directed Films for International Women’s Day

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It’s officially the year of women in Hollywood. Amid numerous sexual assault scandals, actresses and others within the industry are making their voices heard. This awards season, Frances McDormand and Natalie Portman were just a few of the big names to draw attention to the lack of diversity and recognition for women in the still prevalent in the film biz.

Meanwhile, female directors are still fighting to make their visions come to life. Although it remains largely a man’s game, a growing number of women have been staking their claim and making their considerable creative mark. For International Women’s Day, we look back at some of these fierce talents, from sports flicks to biopics to period pieces – these are some of the great films both by and about women.



Directed by Barbra Streisand

Having already established herself as a singer and actress, Barbra Streisand took to her first role behind the camera with Yentl. Also portraying the titular character, she gave a stellar performance as a young Jewish woman who disguised herself as a boy to undergo religious training.



A League of Their Own

Directed by Penny Marshall

One of the most beloved films of our time featured a strong female ensemble, as well as a woman behind the camera. Penny Marshall’s A League of Their Own was inspired by the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, a group of women who kept the sport going while men served in World War II.



I Shot Andy Warhol

Directed by Mary Harron

One of the more radical feminists in recent history was portrayed in Mary Harron’s I Shot Andy Warhol. The film followed Valerie Solanas (Lili Taylor) on her New York journey from aspiring writer to sex worker to attempted assassin of Andy Warhol – before writing her feminist classic, SCUM Manifesto.




Directed by Julie Taymor

Taymor brought the exalted artist’s life to the big screen with this visually striking biopic. Starring Salma Hayek as Frida Kahlo, the film covered her tempestuous love affair with Diego Rivera (Alfred Molina) and the eccentric personality that sealed her legend.




Directed by Patty Jenkins

The notorious serial killer Aileen Wuornos (Charlize Theron) was immortalized by director Patty Jenkins (Wonder Woman). Working as a prostitute, she kills a customer in self defense, which turns into a series of murders that became her downfall.



The Secret Life of Bees

Directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood

After facing abuse from her father, Lily (Dakota Fanning) runs away with her friend and caregiver, Rosaleen (Jennifer Hudson) to a town in South Carolina, hoping to learn about her mother’s past. There, she finds a sisterhood with the Boatwright sisters (Queen Latifah, Alicia Keys, Sophie Okonedo) who teach her about beekeeping.



Whip It

Directed by Drew Barrymore

In Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut Ellen Page plays Bliss, a Texas teenager pressured into the world of pageantry by her mother (Marcia Gay Harden). But after meeting a roller derby team, the Hurl Scouts, she discovers a group of friends and where her true passion lies.




Directed by Dee Rees

Director Dee Rees tells the story of Bessie Smith, an American blues legend of the ’30s. Queen Latifah portrays the singer during her rise to the “Empress of the Blues.”



The Beguiled

Directed by Sofia Coppola

Coppola’s most recent film utilizes a powerful female ensemble to tell a gripping story of female rivalry. When a Union soldier (Colin Farrell) is injured, he seeks refuge at an all-girls boarding school. But sexual tensions lead to dangerous rivalries among the young women.



Lady Bird

Directed by Greta Gerwig

Inspired by her own Sacramento adolescence, Greta Gerwig’s sophomore directorial project secured her an Oscar nomination, only the fifth female director to earn the accolade. Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf also earned nominations for best supporting actress and best actress for their performances as a bickering mother and daughter who have more in common than they’d like to admit.


Viola Davis Will Play Lupita Nyong’o’s Mother in ‘The Woman King’

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Lupita Nyong’o and Viola Davis will star alongside each other in the upcoming film The Woman King, with the former playing the latter’s daughter.

It will follow the true story of the African Kingdom of Dahomey in the 18th and 19th centuries, as they defend themselves from colonization by the French, and from the attacks of neighboring tribes enslaving their citizens.

Davis will play the role of Nanisca, the general of Dahomey’s all-women military called the Amazons. Lupita will play Nawi, who fights in her mother’s army.

Hannah Mingella, president of TriStar pictures (who have just acquired worldwide rights to the film) commented in Deadline’report: “The Woman King is the powerful true story of an extraordinary mother-daughter relationship. And there’s no-one more extraordinary than Viola Davis and Lupita Nyong’o to bring them to life.”

The script comes from Maria Bello, and will be produced by Cathy Schulman’s Welle Entertainment, as well as Davis and Julius Tennon of JuVee Productions and Bello of Jack Blue Productions.