R-Patz Dating Songstress FKA Twigs

Having been out of the public dating game for a while, the world has obviously been anxiously awaiting Robert Pattinson’s return to romance. And now it appears, according to Us Weekly that the vamp heartthrob turned art house It boy has been enjoying himself with fellow Brit and rising star of the music world, Tahlia Barnett—AKA the brilliant FKA Twigs. 

According to Us they were spotted at The Bowery Hotel last week and, “It’s early [on] but they’re having fun.” A musician himself, the two have “bonded over their love for music,” having met through mutual friends. 

Here’s hoping for a duet in their future!

Inside the Heart of Robert Pattinson

In honor of Robert Pattinson’s 28th birthday, here’s a look back on our cover story with him from 2012, written by Joshua David Stein.

I am Robert Pattinson’s beating heart and I am speaking to you from my home within his thoracic cage. We are at rest now. I beat 70 bpm, which is fairly typical for a 26-year-old white male who, like Robert, is in good but not superhuman shape. Rob, I should mention, has been going through, what he calls, “a thing.” “I’m on an all-liquid diet,” he explains to an interlocutor in the non-plummy London accent that surprises so many people who haven’t realized that Robert Pattinson isn’t actually a vampire named Edward Cullen. “I had to be shirtless for a photo shoot,” Rob explaints, “so I asked a nutritionist what’s a diet in which you can still drink as much as you want. She said a liquid diet.” Further proof that Rob isn’t a vampire. Vampires, in general, shy away from photo shoots since their sparkle, exacerbated by the camera flash, confounds even the most skilled photographer. Also vampires rarely have body image issues and they never drink. (Their blood doesn’t circulate.)

Not uncommonly, Rob and I are alone and what few other people there are in this room–a very hot club hidden behind a Papaya King in West Hollywood which is, being a hot sunny afternoon, very quiet–are all paying attention to us. Rob is, after all, the world’s biggest heartthrob, and I am the heart that beats within. I can sense other hearts speed up when they approach us, like the heart of the hot dog jockey from out front who asks, as he delivers the mango juices and kraut dogs in their jaunty paper sleighs, for Rob to sign a strip of waxy receipt paper. “My girlfriend loves you,” he says, almost apologetically. I don’t speed up as Rob scrawls his name and hers (it’s Mallory) and hands it back like a bill of lading for a cargo ship full of unlikely sexual fantasies. Rob is dressed, as usual, according to that unwritten Hollywood code by which the higher one is paid the less attention one pays to his or her external aspect. And though we’re worth 62 million dollars, in Rob’s case, I can tell you, the nonchalance is genuine. This baseball cap, those black running sneakers, the denim shirt, the sort of young Ron Howard thing going on; these are our garments. This gangly lope, a tad idle with the same slack jaunt rhythm as James Dean in Giant; this is our gait.

We arrived here in a white SUV chauffeured by a guy named Jeff. He’s from Phoenix and he’s our driver. He showed up a few years ago wearing a boxy suit and a thick tie.“Classic temp look,” says Rob. Now he wears tight black t-shirts. From inside the tinted windows of the SUV on the way to the club, Rob scanned the stores that line Hollywood Boulevard. They read like a game of scummy Duck Duck Goose: Souvenir shop. Souvenir shop. Souvenir shop. Strip club. The latter boasts, “1000s of Attractive Girls. 3 Ugly ones.” I wonder what it must be like to be the heart of one of the ugly ones. I’ll never know. I’m one of the lucky ones. In the windows of more than one souvenir shop, Rob sees himself on calendars, on posters, on keychains manufactured in some Chinese industrial hinterland by a laborer who stares at Rob’s face and his large blue eyes and his lupine teeth peeking from behind his pouting lips and yet he has no sense of me, Rob’s beating heart. And I have no sense of the worker or his heart either. Passing the cheap junk with Rob’s face on it doesn’t make me beat faster, wither. The thought of what keys people attach to Rob’s trinketed face, what chambers they open and what secrets are kept therein, does accelerate me slightly, since we rarely meet anyone outside of the “industry” these days, and even if we did, it would never be me and only rarely be Rob they see. It would be Edward Cullen, that heartless vampire who has lorded over me since 2008 and won’t released his grasp until this November, at which point he can’t die because he’s already dead, but we can because we were made in his image, or he in ours. Either way, we’re so entwined that the separation could kill Rob and break me.

Rob and I spend a lot of time sitting in the back of cars these days, shuttling from press junket to interview to set to press junket. So much sitting makes me slightly nervous. A sedentary lifestyle is a leading cause in cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes. So is smoking which, happily, Rob just quit. Now he carried these silly glowing electronic cigarettes and sits in the backs of cars sucking them, watching this face, still in the reflection and gliding by outside, as he is driven around. Rob does, of course, know how to drive. He took a ten-hour course in Oregon for, I think Breaking Dawn. I could be wrong; they all blur together. He’s a terrible driver. “I learned by people crashing into me,” he explains. Funny story, this is how he tells it: “The first time anyone said anything about my being famous was when I tried to buy a car a few years ago. It was an ’89 BMW convertible for $1,000 I found on Craigslist. I went out to the hills to take it on a test drive and, of course, almost crashed. A few days later I went back to pick it up. I had said I was an actor and the guy had looked me up. When I went back, he said,’Dude, do you realize you’re #2 on IMDB?’ I thought, ‘Shit, now I can’t ask for the 200 bucks off.’”

Our latest film, Cosmopolis, also takes place largely in the back of a car, albeit a very long one. David Cronenberg directed it. Rob plays Eric Packer, an exceedingly bored, borderline autistic billionaire who traverses Manhattan latitudinally from east to west in a specially designed limousine. During this commute he loses many of his billions in ill-advised currency speculation on the yen while the world descends into chaos around him. This chaos, of course, is largely due to his ill-advised currency speculation. He spends a lot of time watching his face, still in reflection, and the chaos is causes, gliding by in silence. (The car has been “Prousted,” with cork. Google to understand the reference.) In the end he is either shot to death or not shot to death by a disgruntled former employee played by Paul Giamatti. Whether he is or isn’t doesn’t matter a whole lot. Eric doesn’t really care since he has a hard time connecting to the world beyond numbers. He does, however, have lots of sex. Some of it is with Juliette Binoche. That scene got me going when we filmed it, but less from thrusting than from laughing. “Juliette kept on hitting her head on the top of the car,” recalls Rob. I can feel the rush of endorphins as he breaks into a wide smile that instantly turns him from a brooding heartthrob into another nice English lad you’d meet down at the pub. For that reason, he rarely breaks into it. Smiling isn’t on brand. The film is based on a book by Don DeLillo, so it’s confusing.

The first line is like all those that flow from it, both profound and absurd. “We want a haircut,” says Eric, stepping from an office building. Confusion, though, we like. “I’m easy to please,” Rob says. “When I don’t understand something, I’m immediately interested.” Confusion piques me. So does confrontation. When Cosmopolis premiered at Cannes in May, I beat the hardest I have in a long time. “I was kind of shitting myself,” says Rob. Having spoken to his colon, I’ve concluded this is a bit of hyperbole. Nonetheless, it was exciting. There’s a caesura between when the credits finish rolling and when the lights go up, a moment of silent grace, punctuated only by my deafening thrum. This is the instant before which the audience either claps or boos, when our post-Twilight career was, like a Shrodinger’s cat, simultaneously both alive and dead. And in that moment, I pittered, pattered, and battered in Pattinson’s chest a million times a minutes. “I lost my mind,” Rob says. “I was preparing myself to fight with 1,500 people. I was so amped up.” The stakes were high for him. He had fallen into Twilight by what he calls “luck.” And, since he had signed a contract, he was carried by the tide. You might say he was chauffeured, or at least driven.“I was just kind of running around with my pants down and my shoelaces untied and, amazingly, not falling. Until this. I thought, ‘Oh fuck!’ Most people get 15 years of doing movies nobody sees. Now I’m at Cannes.” In that moment, before the wave of equation of our career collapsed into actuality, it’s worthwhile to note that Rob’s very callowness is, in part, what landed him the role of Edward Cullen. As the authors of the essay “Twilight and the production of the 21st Century Teen Idol” notem that was kinda the point. “[The studio’s] marketing strategy is to develop Pattinson’s celebrity as a commodity, produced and marketed by media and publicity industries. The commodification took the form of fusing Edward’s appeal to Pattinson’s celebrity… The actor’s lack of public recognition was used by [the studio] to fuse the real people to the Twilight characters they were hired to portray, thus making them celebrities.” So, that moment after the final credit rolled at Cannes and before judgment had been passed was the moment of painful divorce between Edward Cullen’s bloodless heart and me, Rob’s beating one. I had no idea how long credits were. There was a pause and then a clap, a clap unleashing a torrent of claps until the entire auditorium was applauding. Were they applauding us? Were they applauding David? Were they applauding Paul? I didn’t care. One thing was certain: they were not applauding Edward.

Though I set other hearts athrob, there are very few things or people or activities that affect me. The chemical imperative of fight-or-flight, brought on by confusion and confrontation, do the trick. Then there are a few other things: I got going recently when Rob learned how to skateboard. But wasn’t really the landing of a kickflip that set me a-flutter; it was, as Rob says, the absurd fact that “I could have been sued for $800 million.” (Vampires don’t wear casts or sprain their ankles.) I was also recently excited about peeing. “I was so impressed with myself yesterday,” says Rob, “I took a pee that was four minutes long.” Cindy, his bladder, tells me it’s the liquid diet. We get thrilled with scandals, too but, as Rob laments, these days they’re hard to come by. “I once started a rumor on Entertainment Tonight that there was a deleted scat sex scene in Twilight and it didn’t even get picked up. I thought, ‘What the fuck? I’m giving you this stuff!” The scat thing, by the way, was especially close to me since when we first moved to Los Angeles we lived in the Oakwoods, an apartment complex between Burbank and Hollywood off the 101, populated almost exclusively by washed-up child actors who hang out all day by the pool. It was, also unsurprisingly, where Screech lived, and also where his own scat video was filmed. What else can one do to keep me going at press junkets, those brutal gauntlets of recycled air? As Rob laments, “You try to say things in the perfect way but you know unless you say something stupid, from which people will make you look like a dick, you’re not going to have sound bites. And if you don’t say anything stupid, someone’s going to make something up anyways.”

Take Rob’s girlfriend, Kristen Stewart. She is one of the few things that does get me racing. Our romance is, happily, sanctioned by the Twilight Industrial Complex. As “Twilight and Production” puts it, “Fans appear willing to accept a romantic involvement that takes Pattinson off the market if it literally translates into their beloved characters.” And so Kristen’s heart and I get together nearly everyday. But we’re not sworn to each other until death do us part. Rob read that in a tabloid recently and he thought its ridiculous. “There was a magazine, with these pictures, saying I was getting married. No one ever knows what is true or what isn’t,” he says exasperatedly. “Even my own mum called to ask me if it was true.”It’s not. At least, not yet. But it is true that Kristen has always done something to me that others haven’t.

Though Lord knows Rob hasn’t been a missed when it comes to carnal love, even when we laid with others, I have remained behind a closed door. When he first came to Los Angeles, he went out with a coterie of very attractive women he knew to divey places like the Bronson Bar, but Rob would shun the madly batting eyelashes to smoke outside with a hoodie pulled over his eyes. He was writing songs for Kristen Stewart. At the time, I was filled with yearning to the point of breakage, so they were sad songs that sounded as if they could have been lifted off a Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks. “In fact,” admits Rob. “I was just trying to rip off Van Morrison.” Sometimes he took these songs to open mics at places like the Pig ‘n Whistle and the Rainbow Room to perform them in front of two or three performers, plus of course, the waitresses who, he says, became his only friends. I still get nostalgic thinking of those days, and it makes me light and tender to think if only those two-sad sack singer-songwriters yelping through “Hallelujah,” or those waitresses with the Oklahoma accents and nice tits know he was or what Rob would become. I wonder if he knew.

After Twilight hit, things changed. Rob, as they say, broke. “My circle of friends narrowed pretty quickly.” Says Rob, “I like to be the parasite, not the other way around.” We stopped going out. We stopped performing at open mics. Now I hardly ever race anymore. Now, when he’s not being Edward or Eric or someone else, Rob lives like the Hermit of Silver Lake. He wakes up and makes himself some juice. He reads synopses of books on Amazon for a few hours. He makes himself soup and peruses some scripts. Largely these are just words, congealed and bland like day-old porridge, microwaved rehashes of other supernatural epics. Ocasionally, I spike when something he reads intrigues me. Like his next drama by the French-Liberian director Jean-Stephane Sauvaire, whose last film, Johnny Mad Dog, is about Congolese child soldiers. This one will be filmed entirely in Iraq. We leave next month. Perhaps there, the bullets whistling by, or at least the possibility that a bullet could whistle by, will cause me to throb. Until then, we’ll bide our time in the back of a car, idling at an intersection and waiting for the light to change. Jeff asks if we’d like to go anywhere in particular, but we’re not sure. “I never go anywhere.” Rob says matter-of-factly, “I don’t even know where anywhere is.”

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Photography by Autumn De Wilde

 

Katy Perry, Kristen Stewart: Seen & Heard at Coachella Weekend 2

Contrary to popular belief, the second weekend of Coachella was not a ghost town. In fact, famous faces turned up in droves to take in the music fest’s final bow and were treated to steadier weather than the first weekend. Speaking of the heat, the desert was scorching with scantily clad celebrities attempting to stay well-ventilated in 100-degree weather. From Emma Roberts in a bikini to Kristen Stewart in microscopic cut-offs to a shirtless Joe Mangianello—if you thought Coachella style was naked before, brace yourself. 

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There certainly wasn’t a drought in star couples this weekend, as dynamic duos like Zoe Kravitz and Penn Badgley and Stewart and Robert Pattinson hit the scene without a bodyguard in sight. And while their love was well-documented by the bevy of photogs in the house, there’s no denying that the buzziest of buzz sightings was Katy Perry frolicking from show to show, hand in hand with her new fling (and Ryan Gosling doppelgänger), Robert Ackroyd. The pop star and Florence + the Machine guitarist were heavy on the PDA, proving that Perry has very much moved on from both her former husband Russell Brand and her Chanel boy toy from Paris Fashion Week, model Baptiste Giabiconi. 

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There’s more: former BlackBook cover star Alexander Skarsgård swung by the SKYY Infusions Coconut Escape Pool Party in a simple black tee and jeans, Rosie Huntington-Whitely graced the fest grounds in a white J Brand shirt, nude bikini top, and Christopher Kane denim shorts. Even Melanie Griffith make an appearance this weekend, pairing a black tee with floral trousers and cat-eye sunnies while smoking cigarettes and downing beer. Rock on.

Photos: Popsugar, Hollywood Life, Red Carpet Fashion, Daily Mirror

Robert Pattinson Has A Type: The Riley Keough-Kristen Stewart Resemblance

What happens when you stick Elvis Presley’s granddaughter Riley Keough into a car with Twilight star Robert Pattinson? A whole lot of dating rumors and an obvious immersion of a type.

When the two were spotted this past weekend driving back to his L.A. mansion (afternoon rendezvous?), it became clear that Pattinson is moving on to Kristen Stewart: Part 2. The same-shaped face, dainty features, understated beauty, and tossed-to-the-side tresses make this romance the sequel every Twilight fan is going to hate. 

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A Blurry Look at Robert Pattinson’s Dior Fragrance Ads

Remember when I told you that Robert Pattinson signed a crazy, $12 million mega deal with Christian Dior to be the face of the iconic French fashion house’s line of men’s fragrances for three years? Well, the results are finally starting to turn up, thanks to some really blurry Instagram shots from a Dior event at West Hollywood Soho House last night.

E! Online reveals that the Dior Homme campaign ads were lensed by Nan Goldin and are accompanied by a film by French director Romain Gavras. Although the film is currently available to view in Europe and Asia, this is the first time that anyone has seen the outcome stateside.
 
From the looks of it, R Patz’s ads will have a melodramatic vibe similar to what we saw in Brad Pitt’s turn for Chanel, which will definitely get YouTube commenters talking. (Look at the Twilight star in deep thought below. Is that a girl or a guy next to him?)

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Book It Now: Where To Eat, Stay, & Play At Cannes Film Festival

On May 15th, the two-week, invite-only film festival lands in Cannes. While the Cannes Film Festival honors films worldwide and across all genres, it’s historically honored the following: nipple slips on the Oscar-worthy red carpet, magazine cover-worthy poses by Selma Hayek at the annual Vanity Fair party, and covert make-outs between Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson. But of greater concern is what you will be doing: where you will eat, stay, and play while attending (or observing from your beach umbrella) the festival. Here are Cannes’ most in-demand hotels, restaurants, and clubs. Book them now. 

Pop-Culture Parody Musicals Are as Meta as We Get

Growing up in the ‘90s and early ‘00s, I had really weird taste in music. Sure, I liked whatever the Top 40 pop hits were, but I also belted out showtunes, and I had every word memorized of “Weird Al” Yankovic’s song parodies. Through his ode to food “Eat It,” I learned how badass young Michael Jackson was. Likewise, I would never have known what “MacArthur Park” without the cheeky "Jurassic Park.”

In a 2003 interview with NPR, Yankovic mused on how his fellow artists would respond as he prepped each album of song parodies. “At this point I’ve got a bit of a track record,” he said. “So people realize that when ‘Weird Al’ wants to go parody, it’s not meant to make them look bad… it’s meant to be a tribute.”

While it seems as if “Weird Al” has hung up the accordion for the time being, there are plenty of creative teams who have adopted that same motivation of writing silly lyrics to poke fun at pop culture and elevated it to the next logical incarnation—the musical. In the past few years, more and more pop culture parody musicals have popped up on the Internet, in universities, and even off-Broadway. They’ve launched the careers of stars like Darren Criss (who played the starring role in A Very Potter Musical), and even famous folks like Joss Whedon (with Doctor Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog) have joined in.

Pop culture has passed into an incredibly self-reflective and meta phase. We can’t watch a TV show or political debate without immediately reacting through GIF form and then scrutinizing our reaction. We’re compelled to interrogate the highbrow and especially the lowbrow works that capture our attention. But it gets boring and one-dimensional to use the same medium that we’re discussing in our analysis. We’re constantly turning our opinions over and over, seeking out the smart new angle that someone hasn’t thought of. Enter this new breed of musical.

We’re lucky that many of these productions have tested the waters in New York City, where you can stage an outrageous parody for even just a weekend. In the past year, I’ve taken in four shows that probe the boundaries of good taste and challenge the books, actors, and even religious institutions they mock. Last Christmas, I joined the throngs of theatergoers laughing so hard they were crying at Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s The Book of Mormon. Since the, I’ve also giggled my way through song-and-dance parodies of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series, its offspring Fifty Shades of Grey, and the ‘90s thriller The Silence of the Lambs.

Whether each show’s attack is sweet or snarky, there is indeed that sense of tribute that Yankovic mentioned—cheeky nods to the genre of musical theater itself, or a hat tip to the impact Clarice Starling or Anastasia Steele has had on pop culture. In fact, 50 Shades! The Musical pokes fun less at Ana’s whirlwind romance with Christian Grey, and more at the way Americans have gobbled up E.L. James’ erotic fanfiction.

“I think anything that is so popular that everyone knows about it, you can start to home in on certain details,” said Emily Dorezas, one of the 50 Shades co-writers. “That’s why, as soon as the presidential election starts, everybody can laugh at the same things about the different candidates. Fifty Shades of Grey is just this brand that doesn’t go away. Even if you know nothing about it, you know everything about it. Part of what we’re doing is making fun of the phenomenon of it. [Audiences] can laugh at that because they’ve seen it in their house, with their wives and girlfriends.”

Twilight: The Musical employs a similar shorthand: They’re betting on audiences’ familiarity with the movies so that they can skewer not only Bella Swan and Edward Cullen, but also Robert Pattinson’s insanely dramatic delivery and Kristen Stewart’s penchant for lip biting. The more layers you can work through, the better you’re rewarded, like when Edward and Bella’s literary contemporaries Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger pop in to declare a wizards-versus-vampires war.

When you’re addressing the young adult fiction booms of the past fifteen years, of course you have to poke fun at the consumers who waited in line at midnight for the new books and movies. But how do you mock a solid film classic from the ‘90s that’s entirely straight-faced and even rather terrifying? You make it self-aware.

What most struck me about Silence! The Musical (which has existed online and onstage since 2002) is that it follows the movie beat-for-beat. I was especially aware because I had watched the film for the first time just a few weeks prior. Aside from the addition of a lamb chorus—paralleling the ancient Greek chorus and performing the same duty of commenting on the action onstage—the musical starts and ends where the movie does. Watching it, you’re delightfully surprised to realize that it is kind of ridiculous to start a movie with Jodie Foster huffing and puffing through the woods near Quantico, and that most of Anthony Hopkins’ dialogue is snarky one-liners. The cast turns even the most innocuous phrasing into a punchline; currently, Pamela Bob amps up Clarice’s unfortunate lisp to an art form.

The decision to do a shot-for-shot spoof had less to do with the movie itself and more with how co-writers Jon and Al Kaplan write all of their parodies. “We’re very detail-oriented,” the brothers said of what began as a collection of songs and evolved into a screenplay. “We focus on details and blow them up. It’s meant to be a love letter to the movie; we want to tailor it to people who are big fans.” It helped that Hunter Bell, who wrote the book for the stage show, and original director Christopher Gattelli had the same M.O.: “They love the movie and wanted to focus on the details—sometimes different details [from us].”

To be fair, the brothers were wary of audience reaction to some of the songs. But when the original movie brings Lecter and Clarice together after another inmate comments on her vagina, how can you not give Lecter a love song called “If I Could Smell Her Cunt”? However, it wasn’t until Book of Mormon opened in 2010 that the Kaplans felt more secure about their bawdier musical numbers.

“I think we’re proudest of Lecter’s song,” the Kaplans said. “It’s not the typical song you would expect from him, the ‘liver and fava beans’ number. It’s the moment where the audience really has to buy into the concept or not buy into it. It has to be well performed; Lecter has to really sell it as a love song. We’re also proud of Buffalo Bill’s song ‘I’d Fuck Me’ because it came late in the game. We felt like we had already written our Buffalo Bill songs.”

”I’d Fuck Me” represents perhaps the closest adherence to the source material. Our audience was on the edge of their seats during this swirly burlesque number because we all knew the iconic sequence from the film and were waiting with bated breath to see if David Ayers would attempt the infamous dick tuck. When he did, that prompted the most cheers out of any point in the show. Honestly, we wouldn’t have respected the creative team if they hadn’t included that moment.

Each of these shows has unlocked a new take on the source material through the medium of the musical. The visual nature of a stage show has been most beneficial for 50 Shades! The Musical. One of the book’s most ludicrous elements was Anastasia’s “inner goddess,” the subconscious manifestation of her repressed horniness. Sadly, she was absent from the New York production, but Dorezas said that she showed up in Chicago in “a scene with Christian and Anastasia, [where] the inner goddess comes in and basks to have this whole moment to herself,” and that she’ll appear in future iterations.

Some of the most fun that the 50 Shades! The Musical cast and creative team had was subverting the audience’s expectations of the characters’ appearances. For the past year or more, fansites have cast achingly smoldering types like Ian Somerhalder and Alexis Bledel for Christian and Ana, but what makes Chris Grace and Amber Petty’s portrayals so refreshing is that neither are stereotypical beauties. They play up the comedic contrast between the prose and their onstage looks and behavior.

“It was totally a conscious decision,” Dorezas confirmed. “I don’t think anybody’s gonna be 100 percent satisfied with whatever Christian Grey they choose [for the movie]. We just wanted to go the complete opposite direction, but Chris plays it so sexy, and he owns it! There’s a certain point where it’s like, ‘This is our Christian Grey, and everyone in the audience is sold on it.’

”It’s always my favorite when he walks onstage for the first time, ‘cause you see the audience pointing at each other like, ‘Oh my God, this isn’t what you said!’ I know they think Ryan Gosling is gonna come out there. I think in Chris’ mind, he thinks he’s Ryan Gosling. And Amber as Anastasia—she’s so funny. We wanted it to be more of a wink at these characters, not the actual characters. I think if we went for super hot and sexy, we’d lose funny.”

Similarly, the writers grappled with the first draft because if they gave in to the temptation to absolutely skewer James’s admittedly ridiculous novel, they wouldn’t be able to keep an audience. “I think the first round, we felt like there was just too much punch and not enough heart to it,” Dorezas said, citing their shared experience in the comedy world. “We wanted the audience to want these two people to be together outside of a bondage/S&M situation.”

The parody can’t just be about the content; the creative teams must also consider conventions of musical theater itself. One of the first big laughs in The Book of Mormon is “Hasa Diga Eebowai,” a seemingly joyous African chant that brings to mind The Lion King’s “Hakuna Matata” but actually translates to “Fuck You, God.” Mocking religion was one thing, but dragging the esteemed medium of musical theater into the mix? That’s when audiences realized that no one was safe.

In the New York production of 50 Shades! The Musical, the inner goddess got sacrificed in favor of a big, Les Miserables-esque ensemble number. “We just had to find another place for the inner goddess, ‘cause we all were like, ‘Ah, we want this moment where everyone’s having doubt and not sure what to do,’” Dorezas said. “There’s a nod to Phantom of the Opera in the show, as well. We definitely put little things in there that even if you’re not a fan of Fifty Shades of Grey, if you’re a fan of musicals you’ll appreciate the moments as well. If some of the moments are too insidery—you don’t know who Jose is when he walks in, you don’t know Christian is against type—there’s still something for you.”

The Kaplan brothers’ nods to musical theater occur more in the fabric of the musical’s choreography: “It’s just integrating little homages here and there. There’s A Chorus Line in ‘In the Dark with a Maniac,’ [with] the dance move that Clarice does before she shoots Buffalo Bill. There’s also [elements from] The King and I.”

Now, a lot of the musical theater greats are dead and can’t defend themselves against this mockery. But how about the creators of the books and movies parodied? Despite the hard-R nature of Silence! The Musical, the Kaplans said that several of the people involved with the movie found it uproariously funny.

For one, director Jonathan Demme decided to celebrate his twenty-year crew reunion by going to the show. “We sat behind them, and they were laughing their heads off,” the Kaplans said. “It was a real kick… We thought he was gonna be a really serious guy, just sitting there scowling, but he’s got a real sense of humor.” They can’t vouch for Jodie Foster’s reaction, since she attended a different show. However, “Anthony Heald, who played Dr. Chilton, was very enthusiastic, said he would love to play his character in a future reincarnation of the show. Anthony Hopkins, as far as we know, hasn’t gone.”

”We did look toward Silence! The Musical a little bit in terms of what they were able to get away with,” Dorezas said. Because the original production of 50 Shades! The Musical debuted at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, they’ve been caught up with UK copyright laws, combined with the reaction from James’ people. “For the UK opportunities that we are currently discussing, we could change some things around with the show that would make it fall under safe parameters,” Dorezas said. “If the parody laws change in our favor, then we would not have to do that. We have an idea of what we can do, but we’re kind of waiting to see how it changes.”

Musical parody reinvigorates seemingly played-out stories because it’s such an unexpected medium. It’s likely that the first time you saw Clarice Starling or read about Christian Grey, you never dreamed that either would break into song. These pop culture parody musicals crack these seemingly solemn characters and give them the added dimensions to ensure their endurance in the zeitgeist, whether they’re twenty or two years old. As the Kaplans confessed, “We never thought we’d be talking about this eleven years after the fact.”

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Here’s What Not to Get Your Significant Other for Valentine’s Day

Let me just clarify something: there’s absolutely nothing wrong with reading and loving fluffy vampire lit. Reading anything at all is (usually) ultimately good for you. There is, however, something wrong with impressionable teenagers being marketed a major book and movie franchise idealizing an abusive relationship and said teenagers thinking that’s okay. But there’s already enough on the Internet both intelligently criticizing and tearing down the Twilight series at large, so today, we’re just going to focus on this one really terrible piece of Twilight-inspired merchandise, and with Valentine’s Day around the corner, there’s going to be a lot of awful crap like this for sale.

Wall decals are kind of a hit-and-miss enterprise anyway, but this one is just a particular degree of terrible. I could understand wanting birds or swirly patterns or fleurs-de-lis or whatever, or one of those Fatheads of a sports team you like maybe (but not an actual athlete because who wants Kyle Beckerman on their wall gross) stuck to your walls, but a life-size silhouette of vampire in broody teen body form/girlfriend abuser Edward Cullen that stands in a broody pose over your bed watching you sleep? What? No. Of course not. Why would anyone buy this? Here’s the description, from Etsy seller vinylfruit:

“Let everyone know what team you’re on by giving Edward a home! Or you can keep him to yourself… put him on the back of your bedroom door so he can be intrigued while you sleep! He’ll be keeping an eye out for any roving carnivorous vampires searching for a snack, while reminding you to ‘Be Safe.’”

It’s not exactly clear what’s the creepiest part of this. The silhouette wall decal so it always looks like someone is standing menacingly over your bed and providing fairly high octane nightmare fuel, the fact that it’s supposed to be watching you sleep, the fact that it’s depicting a popular character who perpetuates textbook symptoms of domestic abuse, the ominous and almost threatening “Be safe,” or the fact that this is all supposed to be romantic? Romantics of the world, if your partner is really into Twilight, that’s fine, whatever, and I’m not going to tell you how to live your life, but please don’t drop $60 on a gift that says “Happy Valentine’s Day, baby! Here’s your Stockholm Syndrome!” 

David Cronenberg Reunites with Don DeLillo to Star in ‘Body Art’

As one could have foreseen, confounding writer Don DeLillo and director David Cronenberg are melding worlds yet again. But this time sans Robert Pattinson. After their creative success with last summer’s perplexing and guttral, Cosmopolis, the two are collaborating once more to bring another one of DeLillo’s acclaimed works to the screen. Cronenberg will star in the cinematic adapation of The Body Artist, reports Variety. At the helm will be Italian filmmaker Luca Guadagnino, whose incredible keen sense of authentic, subtle dramatics and beauty brought us the richly powerful I Am Love. He will also be penning the adaptation, now titled Body Art. The film will center around Isabelle Huppert (recently seen in Amour), as well as the man of many faces, Denis Lavant (who just gave one of the best performances of the year in Holy Motors). 

DeLillo’s novel is a phantasmagoric story that explore’s the abnormal grieving process of Lauren Hartke, a performance artist whose husband has recently commited suicide. Described as a "ghost story" due to the engimatic presence of a figure that appears to be living in the upstairs room of her home, DeLillo’s complex tale provides the perfect vehicle for Huppert’s raw, visceral, and always slightly strange acting style. She will take on the leading role with her male counterparts in their respective parts in what sounds like material these actors were made for. With this storyline and this cast, one can almost envision myriad variations on the film now—lurking between the worlds of Michael Haneke, Leos Carax, and Cronenberg himself—which is truly a delight for the imagination.

Shooting is said to begin this summer and don’t worry, we’ll be keeping a close eye on this one. So here’s a video of interviews from 1983 on Videodrome to indulge in your Cronenberg passion for the day.