Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog

Oct. 21 2016 6:36 PM

Donald Glover Will Officially Play Lando Calrissian in the New Han Solo Movie

It’s official: After several months of rumors, Donald Glover has joined the Star Wars universe and will play a young Lando Calrissian in the upcoming new Han Solo standalone series.

It’s a curious casting choice, considering that the self-proclaimed “black nerd,” who tends to portray similarly nerdy characters on screen, feels pretty far removed from the smooth-talking rogue portrayed by heartthrob Billy Dee Williams in the original films. (Not that it would be the first time he’s set out to join an action film: Glover once publicly campaigned to play the similarly nerdy Peter Parker aka Spider-Man in the newest films.)


But actors deserve the chance to stretch their wings—or X-Wings, in this case—and there’s a chance that writer-directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller (21 Jump Street, The Lego Movie) want to go in a more comedic direction with the new film. Indeed, Han Solo himself will be played by Alden Ehrenreich, who showcased his own comedic chops in his breakout role in Hail, Caesar! Or perhaps young Lando was actually a late bloomer and only evolved into the rapscallion we all know and love in his later years. We shall see!

The so far untitled new movie is set to come out in 2018.

Oct. 21 2016 5:58 PM

Bill Murray Crashes a White House Press Briefing in a Very Bill Murray Way

Bill Murray, who has a knack for turning up in unexpected places, crashed the White House press briefing on Friday, because why not? Murray, who was in Washington, D.C. receiving the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor from President Obama, took the podium and addressed the (mostly empty) room. He even fielded a question about the Cubs’ chances of winning the World Series. Turns out, he’s an optimist.

Notably, Murray didn’t even blink at being called “Mr. President.” Now there’s an idea for 2020.

Oct. 21 2016 4:12 PM

Aimee Mann on How She Got Inside Donald Trump’s Head for Her New Song

This interview originally appeared on the Trumpcast, Slate’s podcast about the national emergency we call Donald Trump.

Oct. 21 2016 3:49 PM

Be a Genius, Do This One Thing, Have Better Soups All Winter

This post originally appeared in Genius Recipes from Food52.

There’s one surprisingly simple thing you can do tonight (or tomorrow, or Saturday afternoon) that, all winter long, will give you the soup-making power of homemade vegetable broth in—snap!—the time it takes to make hot water.

Oct. 21 2016 1:38 PM

The Extended Trailer for Planet Earth II Is Bigger, Better, Earth-ier

If you weren’t already psyched for the BBC’s follow-up to Planet Earth, this gorgeous extended trailer for the series should do the trick. No matter what kind of nature documentary you’re looking for, it looks like Planet Earth II will have every herd, swarm, pack, pride, litter, colony, or flock you could possibly imagine (and some you couldn’t), all shot in 4K ultra-high def. Like the first trailer for the new series, the extended cut features all the splendor of nature, from luminous mushrooms that bloom before your eyes to sparring wild horses to a bear scratching its bottom against a tree. Truly majestic.

David Attenborough will resume his duty as narrator while Hans Zimmer is providing the awe-inspiring score you hear in the trailer. We still don’t know exactly when the new series will be premiering on BBC One or coming to the U.S., but it’s not soon enough.

Oct. 21 2016 10:50 AM

Imagine a Bruce Springsteen Ballad in a Harry Potter Movie, Because That Almost Happened

Bruce Springsteen: rock icon, working-class hero, and apparently, wannabe Harry Potter songwriter. In an interview with BBC Radio 2’s Simon Mayo, Springsteen confirmed the longtime rumor that he had written a song for Harry Potter, one that (obviously) never made it into any of the movies. Springsteen explained that the song, titled “I’ll Stand by You Always,” was originally written for his eldest son, and that it wasn’t necessarily what you might expect from the Boss. “It was a big ballad that was very uncharacteristic of something I’d sing myself.”

Springsteen didn’t specify which Harry Potter movie he wanted “I’ll Stand by You Always” to wind up in, but he filed a copyright for the song in 2001, right around the time of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, so it might well have been the original. Why didn’t the ballad make the cut? Springsteen says “you’ll have to ask them,” but we can probably guess why director Chris Columbus went with “Hedwig’s Theme” instead, since Springsteen’s style seems like an extremely weird fit for Harry Potter.


Despite the rejection, Springsteen mentioned that he still thought the ballad was “pretty good” and that he’d like to get it into another children’s movie. Maybe one set, oh, I dunno, in 1920s New York City? One that’s a little bit grittier than the early Potter movies were? One with four sequels already in the works? Just a suggestion.

Oct. 21 2016 10:25 AM

“Weird Al” Yankovic Moderates the Final Presidential Debate, in Song

Fox News’ Chris Wallace deserves a lot of credit for, however imperfectly, dialing down the spectacle of the 2016 presidential campaign for a solid 90 minutes during the final debate. Indeed, debate moderator can be a tough gig these days—a fact that “Weird Al” Yankovic learns the hard way in his new song “Bad Hombres, Nasty Women,” a title taken directly from the most memorably offensive lines spoken by Donald Trump during Wednesday night’s matchup.

The video, which was made with the help of the Gregory Brothers (the autotune experts behind the theme for Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, the “Bed Intruder Song,” and other songified news) reassembles footage of Trump and Hillary Clinton’s insults in rhyme. For example: “Putin has a very clear favorite in this race/ He’d rather have a puppet as President of the United States.” At least our national nightmare sounds a little better in autotune?

Oct. 21 2016 8:32 AM

Bond or Not, Daniel Craig Is Setting Himself Up Nicely for the Future

This article originally appeared in Vulture.   

As great a gig as playing James Bond is, it doesn’t lend itself that well to a life post-007. Audiences come to identify you too closely with the role of suave British super-spy, which you got because of how naturally you fit that persona in the first place. Afterward, any decision to cast you comes with that added baggage. Only one of the first five actors to play Bond, Sean Connery, remained a major draw after he hung up the tuxedo. Two others, Pierce Brosnan and Timothy Dalton, continued to work productively, but in lower-wattage roles. The other two, George Lazenby and Roger Moore, basically saw their careers end with Bond.

All of this is likely on the mind of Daniel Craig, who starred in his fourth Bond film, Spectre, last year, and has not yet given a concrete answer about whether he’ll return to the role. During the Spectre press tour, Craig claimed he’d rather “slash [his] wrists”than play Bond again, but at a recent appearance, he didn’t seem quite ready to hang up the role, telling the crowd, “I’ll keep doing it as long as I still get a kick out of it.” Still, he said, he had had “no conversations” with the film’s producers about the next film: “Everyone’s a bit tired.” If he does decide he’s had enough of the 12-month shoots and NFL-level injuries that come with the role, Craig will have to face down the same dilemma that Connery, Lazenby, Moore, Dalton, and Brosnan faced before him: How do you convince the public that you aren’t James Bond anymore?

Oct. 21 2016 8:02 AM

What Don Giovanni, an Opera About a Charismatic Rapist, Can Teach Us About Don Trump

This Saturday the Metropolitan Opera’s Don Giovanni will air live on over 2,000 movie screens across the world. Undecided American voters might consider attending. The opera opens with Donna Anna raging against Don Giovanni because, as my college textbook once put it, “He had his way with her.”  Accompanied by a full orchestra, she drags him out of her house. “Like a desperate fury,” she sings, “I’ll know how to pursue you.”

Later she sings her story to her fiancé Don Ottavio.  After a tremendously loud (by eighteenth-century standards) orchestral opening, she starts singing alone; no noodling violins, no big sounds. “With one hand he tried to silence me and with the other gripped me so tightly that I thought I must succumb,” she sings, telling a story that will sound familiar to many women. “And then the shame, the horror of such a vile attack gave me so much strength that by struggling, twisting and turning, I managed to free myself.” Don Ottavio has trouble believing this of such a noble and charming man. But eventually he, and everyone else, hears through the superficial charm of the rich rogue and listens to the violent actions beneath the surface.

Oct. 21 2016 7:33 AM

Black Mirror’s Stars and Writers on How They Made the Most Disturbing Season Yet

Bryce Dallas Howard has barely been talking for a minute when I hear the laugh: Lacie’s laugh. Once you’ve seen “Nosedive,” Howard’s episode from the new season of Black Mirror, you can’t forget the high-pitched flutter that Howard gives her character, a desperate social climber whose bottomless need to be liked is enhanced by the fact that she lives in a society where people are ranked like restaurants on Yelp, and that ranking determines everything in their lives: who they talk to, where they live, even what buildings they can enter.

Like most episodes of Black Mirror, whose third season premieres on Netflix this Friday, “Nosedive” takes a familiar aspect of the human character and gives it a technological twist. It’s the real world, enhanced, the way Howard took her own “absurd” laugh (as she described it to me) and tweaked it into Lacie’s “operatic giggle.” Howard recalls reading Mason Currey’s book, Daily Rituals: How Artists Work, and realizing that even in centuries past, people would set aside hours of their day to devote to the maintenance of their public self. “People would have time to write or work or do whatever they were doing, and then there was always a time of the day that was for for writing letters or entertaining visitors,” she says. “I was like, oh, everyone always needs to do email. Some version of emails has always happened.”