On Wednesday, Feb. 17, Netflix confirmed that Tim Burton‘s live-action coming-of-age comedy centering around Wednesday Addams has been given an eight-episode order. The upcoming series, aptly titled Wednesday, follows Morticia and Gomez Addams’ death-obsessed daughter as she attends the peculiar Nevermore Academy.
Netflix further described the series: “Wednesday attempts to master her emerging psychic ability, thwart a monstrous killing spree that has terrorized the local town, and solve the supernatural mystery that embroiled her parents 25 years ago—all while navigating her new and very tangled relationships of the strange and diverse student body.”
Wednesday, which has been described by Netflix’s Original Series Director Teddy Biaselli as “a sleuthing, supernaturally infused mystery,” will be Burton’s directorial debut for television. Burton is best known for directing Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Batman, Corpse Bride and many more films.
The Brooklyn show girl, raised in a lower-middle-class household by a striving mother and an unsuccessful lawyer dad, had one ambition drilled into her: Live in the pocket of a wealthy man.
Davies succeeded — aligning herself with one of America’s richest, most powerful media barons, William Randolph Hearst. He inspired the title character in Orson Welles’ unflattering “Citizen Kane,” while Davies was thought to have been the model for Kane’s mistress, Susan, an untalented social climber.
“Welles admitted that he made Marion look worse than she was,” David Nasaw, author of “The Chief: The Life of William Randolph Hearst,” told The Post. “Welles created a fictional character that had nothing to do with Marion, except that she did jigsaw puzzles. That was the hint to insiders. It was cruel.”
Now, 60 years after her death, Davies is getting a posthumous Hollywood do-over. Amanda Seyfried plays her in the Netflix movie “Mank,” which centers on screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz and his alcohol-fueled creation of “Kane.” The film received six nominations for the 2021 Golden Globes — more than any other this year — including best dramatic film and best supporting actress for Seyfried.
“Amanda brought dimension to the role,” Laray Mayfield, the movie’s casting director, told The Post. “She showed that Marion was not just a funny girl who drank too much at parties. She had integrity and that is what made Hearst feel safe with her.”
A golden-haired beauty with a stammer, Davies started young, leaving school to be a chorus girl like her three older sisters; her first credited Broadway appearance, in the musical “Chin-Chin,” came at age 17.
But it was two years later, while dancing in the Ziegfeld Follies at 42nd Street’s New Amsterdam Theatre, that everything would change for Davies.
William Randolph Hearst, then 53 and owner of the influential New York American and New York Evening Journal newspapers, was already married to a former showgirl, Millicent, when he attended the “1916 Follies.” He was there with his publishing buddy Paul Block, who seemed to be having a fling with Davies. But the relationship was winding down and Hearst was clearly taken with the 19-year-old.
Backstage, as described in “Marion Davies: A Biography” by Fred Lawrence Guiles, Hearst gave Davies an exquisite gold watch from Tiffany. In short order, she lost it. When she was afraid to tell Hearst, a friend took the initiative. A fresh watch — albeit a little less exquisite — was delivered.
The romance between Davies and Hearst quickly took off, as the illicit couple dined at hot spot Delmonico’s and enjoyed rendezvous at his hideaway near Bryant Park. He moved Davies and several of her family members into a 25-room townhouse on Riverside Drive. The lavish digs conveniently placed her near the 86th Street mansion Hearst shared with his wife and five sons.
Hearst stoked Davies’ career, making sure she was featured in his newspapers. “Hearst wanted the world to see her as he did: as an angel,” said Lara Gabrielle, who’s writing a Davies biography, “Captain of Her Soul,” for 2022 publication.
Screenwriter Anita Loos remembered lunching with Hearst and Davies one afternoon, then sharing dinner with the publisher and his wife that night. Hearst told Loos: “Well, young lady, we seem to be sitting next to each other in rather diverse locations, don’t we?”
By all accounts, Davies was a handful. She lived nocturnally and drank like a fish, refusing to let Prohibition get in the way. Though Hearst frowned upon alcoholic excess, he financed her indulgences. When she toured the country with the musical “Oh, Boy,” Davies stayed in suites and threw at least one bash with bottomless champagne and caviar.
In 1919, Hearst launched Cosmopolitan Productions, a motion-picture company through which he could boost Davies’ Hollywood profile. She would appear in 29 silent movies and 17 talkies for the company. It also provided excuses for the two of them to spend time together. “Hearst was in love with Marion — and jealous,” said Nasaw.
And the movies, he added, “were not a vanity project. Many of her films made money. Marion was a terrific actress.” Vintage film expert Steve Massa, author of “Slapstick Divas: The Women of Silent Comedy,” characterizes “Show People” and “The Patsy” as two of her best.
Cosmopolitan merged with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1924, and Davies signed a $400,000 ($6 million today) contract for 40 weeks. But when Lillian Gish got MGM’s only female dressing room with a lavatory, Hearst arranged to build what he called a “bungalow” for Davies. (Nasaw described it as “a 14-room mansion on the lot.”)
With Millicent still in New York, Davies ruled as the queen of Hearst’s legendary “castle” in San Simeon, Calif. He also bought her an estate in Beverly Hills. “She had her own home, her own servants and her own life,” said Nasaw.
Her estate was party central, with lavish dinners and rivers of illicit booze served to 100 or so guests, multiple nights each week. Her crowd included John Barrymore, Rudolph Valentino and Charlie Chaplin — with whom Davies was said to be having an affair.
If Hearst was put off by Chaplin, you wouldn’t know it. He invited the actor on jaunts aboard his 250-foot yacht, including a 1924 costume party during which a guest walked in on Davies and Chaplin having sex.
A week later, when producer Thomas Ince fell ill and was carried off of Hearst’s yacht before dying at home, rumors swirled. One of them — fueled by secrecy around the death — according to the Los Angeles Times, was that Hearst mistakenly shot Ince rather than the intended target: Chaplin.
The less juicy tale, according to Gabrielle, is that Ince suffered from an ulcer and angina and “became violently ill” after consuming booze and salty food. Said Nasaw: “It’s a ridiculous idea that Hearst killed him. They tried to keep everything secret because of prohibition.”
Nasaw also does not think Davies took advantage of the man she called “Pops” in good times and “Droopy Drawers” during bad: “She didn’t have to take advantage. He happily gave her everything she wanted.”
But Hearst couldn’t provide sobriety. “Marion started drinking at 12 years old and never stopped; her major problem was that she was a drunk,” said Nasaw. “Hearst tried every quack cure to get her sober. He also tried to restrict drinking at San Simeon, but Marion’s friends smuggled in liquor for her.”
As the 1930s wore on, Davies lost her ingénue status. Hearst refused to let her take femme fatale roles — all the rage at the moment— and she faded from Hollywood. At the same time, Hearst’s publishing empire was collapsing. A poor money manager, he had been hit hard by the Depression. And his right-wing politics, according to Nasaw, alienated readers. Hearst found himself more than $100 million in debt.
Davies did the little bit she could to help. “She hocked her jewels,” recalled Gabrielle. “In less than 48 hours she produced a check for $1 million. It couldn’t save the company. But it helped.”
Marion’s impressive New York properties
After World War II, Hearst’s business regained its footing. And in the end, the relationship made her wealthier than acting ever could: By the time of his death in 1951, she held 30,000 shares of robust Hearst stock, as well as her own money and real-estate holdings.
But her looks had faded — “because of the drinking,” said Nasaw, “she did not age well” — and, two months later, she entered into a rotten marriage with a merchant marine, Horace Brown. “After Hearst’s death, a part of her soul was gone,” said Gabrielle. “She so badly wanted to marry Hearst but was never able to do it. This was her opportunity to be a married woman. Additionally, Horace looked just like Hearst. But her relationship with Horace was difficult. There was emotional and verbal violence.” Nevertheless, they stayed together.
Davies was diagnosed with cancer in 1959 and made one of her last public appearances in January 1961 at the inauguration of John F. Kennedy. Nasaw described her “sitting with the [Kennedy] family: a puffy-cheeked blond woman with sunglasses.” She was there because, through Hearst, she knew Kennedy patriarch Joseph. On Sept. 22, 1961, Marion died from jaw cancer that had been exacerbated by a botched dental procedure.
Veteran actress Lorraine Toussaint can be seen on several TV platforms in the coming months.
She plays Judge Sara LeBlanc in Showtime’s “Your Honor,” which wraps its season next Sunday, and co-stars in “The Equalizer,” a reboot of the classic series (and 2014 movie) with Queen Latifah in the title role. It’s premiering Sunday night on CBS in the coveted post-Super Bowl slot before moving to its regular time (8 p.m.) on Feb. 14.
Toussaint, 60, also co-stars opposite Idris Elba in the movie “Concrete Cowboys,” streaming this spring on Netflix. She spoke to The Post about all three projects.
“Your Honor” took a long hiatus because of the pandemic shutdown. Was it hard to get back into gear when you returned?
We owed several episodes when we shut down, so it was a matter of, how do we get back to that? It was not an easy feat. We all went into COVID hiding — the hair was different, do the wardrobes still fit? It’s no joke. It was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. It was very surreal. We were doing something called “block shooting,” which means we were shooting three episodes at the same time…and we had to track where we were in all three episodes from where we left off months ago. It was a real head-squeezer.
When did you start shooting “The Equalizer?”
“Your Honor” shut down [last March] and we were three days away from starting “The Equalizer” when [CBS] pulled the plug. We came back in November and luckily we were starting from scratch. It was easier than having to pick it up from before [a shutdown]. We shot in New York and I was committed to being here because my daughter is a dancer at Alvin Ailey…and I wanted to make sure that, unlike [Queen Latifah’s “The Equalizer” character, Robyn McCall], mama stays home with her teenager. All of these things came together in a lovely package and it was hard to say no.
In “The Equalizer,” you play Robyn’s Aunt “Vi” Marsette.
I play her “very young” aunt. I did see the original franchise and I’m a big fan. I enjoyed the TV show in the ’90s. Because the characters were so very very brooding and male and odd — bordering on psychotic loners with deep dark demons in their past — we reinvented that a bit. Robyn is a black woman [a former CIA operative] who clearly has been, and continues to be, at the top of her game. She left her family life behind while traveling the world taking care of the bad guys, and now she’s come home to a 15-year-old who she doesn’t quite know how to mother anymore, because that’s what [Aunt Vi] has been doing while she was gone. It’s a rough road getting back into the good graces of a 15-year-old who doesn’t trust you anymore, so my part is helping these two characters navigate their way back to each other and to operate as Robyn’s internal moral compass.
My character is a bit of a bohemian. She’s a painter and an artist and well-traveled; she may have some questionable parenting skills but she’s that favorite auntie we all have — she’s irreverent, has been a roadie and toured with a band, and you know she’s got a stash of weed in her room.
What can you tell me about “Concrete Cowboy?”
It’s about a little-known community in urban Philadelphia, a cowboy community that’s existed since the 1800s. These are horse-loving, cowboy-living, urban women and men who still have horses and stables. This community has existed and has been saving children’s and young people’s lives by bringing them to the stables to care for the horses instead of being in gangs. Many of the actual community and cowboys and cowgirls are in the film and play lead roles. I play the co-owner of the stables with Idris Elba’s character. It’s a family drama in an unlikely setting: his teenage son gets dropped off at the stables because his mother has some issues. This is a boy who doesn’t know his father and vice versa. They’re going to find their way to each other through these horses.
“Bling Empire” is the latest reality TV sensation — and it has generated buzz about its stars’ pocketbooks.
The Netflix series, which came out mid-January and is now streaming, is essentially a real-life version of the best-selling book (and movie starring Henry Golding) “Crazy Rich Asians.” Hailing from “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” producer Jeff Jenkins, “Bling Empire” follows a group of uber-rich friends in Los Angeles who are all Asian.
There’s socialite and billionaire’s daughter Anna Shay; up-and-coming model Kevin Kreider; Singaporean billionaire’s son Kane Lim; Beverly Hills housewife Christine Chiu (who threw a million-dollar first birthday party for her son and claims her husband could be the descendant of Chinese emperors); DJ Kim Lee; hair colorist Guy Tang and more.
Here’s your guide to the “crazy rich” cast — and just where their wealth comes from.
Guy Tang: Just over $2 million
The hairstylist, 39, who grew up in Oklahoma and has a Chinese father and a Vietnamese mother, reportedly has a net worth of just over $2 million — which is low compared to his “Bling” castmates. The bulk of his fortune comes from revenue he’s drawn in from his YouTube channel and from his hair product line called Mydentity.
Kevin Kreider: Around $19 million
The model, 37, who was adopted from Korea by a white family in Pennsylvania, reportedly has a net worth of $19 million — although Kreider himself later denied that to Eonline.com, and declined to share his real net worth. Regardless, his wealth comes from various gigs in the often-lucrative wellness industry. He’s been a personal fitness coach, he’s the CEO of Taejin Entertainment LLC, and he’s a motivational speaker for Beyond Muscle.
Kane Lim: Around $20 million
Born to Singaporean billionaires, Lim, 30 got his fortune from a mix of family money and his own entrepreneurial pursuits. His exact net worth is reportedly around $20 million. His parents’ business is a mix of real estate, including malls and commercial buildings in Thailand and Singapore, as well as shipping. Meanwhile, his own business is in real estate investment and fashion brand development for Leighton&Kane. His shoe collection is reportedly worth $300,000, according to Women’s Wear Daily.
Christine Chiu: About $50 million
Chiu, 38, is the wife of celeb plastic surgeon Dr. Gabriel Chiu. Of Taiwanese descent, her net worth, combined with her husband, is reportedly in the neighborhood of $50 million, and she’ll regularly shell out $100,000 for a dress. She and her husband are the founders of Beverly Hills Plastic Surgery and the Anti-Aging Institute of Regenerative Medicine in Beverly Hills. They also rub elbows with the British royal family. In 2019, they opened a foundation with Prince Charles (the Prince’s Foundation Chiu Integrated Health Programme in Cumnock, Scotland). On the show, she has said that if dynasties were still given weight in China, her husband would be the son of the emperor.
Kelly Mi Li: $5 million
Mi Li, 35, is of Chinese descent and is reportedly a self-made millionaire worth $5 million. She started as a managing partner at talent management company East West Artists, founded Organic Media Group, and is an investor in startups such as popular petition site Change.org. She’s also moved into TV production and is one of the producers of “Bling Empire.”
Kim Lee: $10 million
Lee, 31, who’s half of DJ duo KimKat, is of French-Vietnamese descent and reportedly has a net worth of $10 million. Her money comes from a variety of high-profile gigs she’s had. She’s been a model featured in the likes of Vanity Fair and Maxim, and has appeared in music videos for Kanye West and the Far East Movement. As a DJ, she did a residency in Las Vegas, and she’s appeared in “Entourage” and “The Hangover Part II.”
Shay, 60, is half-Japanese, half-Russian and lives in a $16 million mansion in Beverly Hills that might be haunted. Where’d she get the money? She was born into it. Her exact net worth is unknown but she’s the daughter of Japanese pearl exporter Ai-San Say and American defense company founder Edward Shay. When she and her brother sold their late father’s company (Pacific Architects and Engineers) in 2006, it went for $1.2 billion, according to Newsweek.
Jaime Xie: $50 million
Xie, 23, is the daughter of a cybersecurity entrepreneur and the founder of Fortinet. The fashion influencer and former equestrian champion is reportedly worth $50 million while the wealth of her her father, Ken Xie, is reportedly estimated to be in the neighborhood of $3.9 billion.
Calling all Bridgerton fans: Lady Whistledown has major news for you!
The fan favorite Netflix series has officially been renewed for a second season, the streaming service confirmed on Thursday, Jan. 21. Alongside footage from the show, the Netflix Twitter account announced, “Prepare for another social season! @Bridgerton shall be back for Season 2!”
Executive Producer Shonda Rhimes also shared the exciting news with her social media followers on Thursday, posting a letter from the Lady Whistledown herself. “The ton are abuzz with the latest gossip, and so it is my honor to impart to you: Bridgerton shall return for a second season,” her message stated. “I do hope you have stored a bottle of ratafia for this most delightful occasion.”
Lady Whistledown’s message also noted that the cast, which includes Phoebe Dynevor and Regé-Jean Page, will also be back for season two, which will start filming in the spring.
“It was so much fun,” Nicole Coughlan, aka Penelope, told Variety. “We had to film that in the middle of COVID. I had to be super, super secret. I had to be flown over from Ireland, and tested and tested and tested, and do the fitting. It was hyper secret; I couldn’t let anyone know I was there or what was going on. But it was so much fun to film that.”
That pivotal scene, the actress said, was the only Bridgerton scene filmed during the COVID era. She explained that season one wrapped at the end of February, at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
When asked if there will be a second season, Coughlan said, “We all really hope [so]. It’s a real joy to make and the response has been beyond our wildest dreams.”
If you thoughtLove is Blind was juicy, just wait until you watch Netflix’s latest reality series, Bling Empire.
Netflix released the show’s trailer on Jan. 8 to introduce its stars: several wealthy friends in Los Angeles who “have the whole world at their disposal.”
Dropping on Jan. 15, Bling Empire follows “a wildly wealthy group of Asian and Asian-American friends (and frenemies)” as they attend starry parties in Beverly Hills and check out mansions that are “only” $19,000 per month.
As the streaming site describes, “While their days and nights are filled with fabulous parties and expensive shopping sprees, don’t let the glitz and glamour fool you.”
Phoebe Dynevor (Daphne Bridgerton), Regé-Jean Page (Simon Basset) and Nicola Coughlan (Penelope Featherington) are among the incredibly stunning cast. Additionally, veteran actress Julie Andrews is featured in the narrator role as Lady Whistledown.
Rhimes, 50, was a big fan of the Bridgerton books prior to developing it for Netflix. “I remember I was almost scaring people, like, ‘We have to get these crazy romance novels — they’re hot and they’re sexy and they’re really interesting,” she recalled to The Hollywood Reporter in an interview posted on Friday, December 25.
In making the series, creator Chris Van Dusen wanted to give it a modern twist that would appeal to today’s viewers.
“We knew we wanted to make the show reflect the world that we live in today,” he explained to Collider on Saturday, December 26. “And, even though it’s set in the 19th century, we still wanted modern audiences to relate to it, and see themselves on screen no matter who they were. And, that’s something having worked in Shondaland for so long, since Grey’s Anatomy really, it’s what we do.”
Van Dusen continued, “We cast the best actors for roles in ways that represent the world today. And, we knew we’d had that same chance to do the same thing, and to do a similar thing with Bridgerton. Color and race is a part of the show, and it is a part of the conversation and it is, you’ll find it, written in the text or the scripts, just like class and gender and sexuality are.”
Since Bridgerton offers an abundance of characters across its eight-episode-long season, it’s understandable if it’s hard to keep up with who is who. Scroll through the gallery below to get to know the show’s many beautiful stars!
“It’s the journey, not the destination” is a popular lie that’s printed on inspirational posters in guidance counselors’ offices all across America. The reassuring phrase is particularly egregious, however, when applied to movies, in which a bad ending can make the preceding two hours feel like a humongous waste of your time.
So it goes with “The Midnight Sky,” a good-up-to-a-point science-fiction film directed by and starring George Clooney. At the film’s most entertaining heights, it recalls the novels of Ray Bradbury and the Matt Damon flick “The Martian.” But its final twist is an extremely implausible, easy way out.
You want your money back, but it’s on Netflix.
Running time: 122 minutes. Rated PG-13 (some bloody images and brief strong language). On Netflix.
Much has been said about Clooney’s 28-pound weight loss for the part, and deservedly so. The stud looks nothing like his old heartbreaker self, more closely resembling David Letterman after he retired from “The Late Show” and grew that crazy fisherman beard.
Clooney’s grizzly character is a scientist named Augustine who chooses to remain on Earth even as it faces an environmental apocalypse. He’s dying of cancer and would rather finish out his last days working out of his Arctic base.
Settling into his bachelor routine — Clooney clearly prepared for this role for decades — Augustine discovers a little girl named Iris (Caoilinn Springall) hiding in a laboratory: She was been accidentally left behind when her family fled the planet. He needs to contact the spaceship her parents are on to come get her, so the pair dangerously embarks across the Arctic Circle to reach a powerful satellite communication base.
That plot is standard fare in the grand scheme of sci-fi, but it is undeniably well-directed by Clooney. He has a keen grasp of isolation and vastness, and the quietest moments are like black holes. Clooney builds suspense, too. Even though Augustine is (almost) the only person left, you always feel someone else might be lurking around the corner — thanks to both his performance and direction.
There are two other interwoven plots that come to be frustratingly important to the rotten resolution. Felicity Jones plays an astronaut named Sully who is returning to Earth with her crew, including David Oyelowo, after discovering another planet that can support human life. They should have stayed there! And some scenes are flashbacks involving Augustine and a fling named Jean (Sophie Rundle).
All of them are engrossing until the lame ending scene. Clooney’s film blasts off, but doesn’t land.