Film: Southpaw (2015). Young Actress: Oona Laurence, age 11.
Billy Hope (Jake Gyllenhaal, Brothers) is a professional boxer who has it all: a mansion, championship career, a loving wife who's always supportive and wears a lot of tight clothes (Rachel McAdams, The Time Traveler's Wife), and an adorable daughter (Oona, who was 11-12 during filming but looks younger). But after his wife suddenly dies, Billy makes a string of bad decisions, including driving drunk and crashing into a tree. His newly-motherless daughter Leila finds him unconscious and bleeding and calls 911. Billy hits rock-bottom, losing his house and custody of Leila, and has to fight his way back to the top.
That plot should sound pretty by-the-numbers, and the movie is, too. In its attempt to be gritty and realistic, the script runs into a lot of cliches and over-the-top angst. Billy's wife bleeds to death in his arms from a gunshot wound, while he frantically pleads, "Look into my eyes, baby, just look into my eyes." Later, Leila yells at him that he should've died, instead of her mom. There are also too many long, technical boxing scenes that offer nothing to viewers who aren't fans of the sport.
Probably Oona's longest scene is of Leila at Billy's big finale fight. She begs him to take her along, and he eventually relents. (His wife never let Leila come to the fights because they were too violent.) The fighting is interspersed with cuts of Leila watching it on TV in Billy's dressing room, cheering him on when he does well, or wincing and crying for him when he gets knocked down. But in all likelihood, the fight hadn't been filmed yet, and Oona was just reacting to descriptions of it from the director. That's difficult for actors of any age, and I think the difficulty shows.
A tearful, triumphant Billy carries Leila out of the locker room after winning his last fight. Who didn't see this ending coming?
For more about Rachel McAdams's role in Southpaw, see Why Rachel McAdams Never Became a Movie Star.
Here's Lana, Sophie, and Jennifer at a global fan screening of X-Men: Apocalypse, held on May 9 in London. The film is set for American release on May 27.
X-Men: Apocalypse is the very first acting gig for young Vietnamese-American Lana Condor, who plays the mutant Jubilee. She had these candid words about her character and minorities in film: "She's just so cool, way cooler than I am. I was having this discussion with Bryan, our director, about how she represents Asians in general. X-Men have always been outsiders – minority groups, gays and lesbians. It's like the outsiders banding together to be one. So they never really had another Asian, except for Blink, so Jubilee gets to represent the Asian outsiders who haven't really had the easiest time fitting into society. And that's cool. A lot of my followers are Asian or Hispanic. People are excited: 'A real Asian is in the film?' It's funny but it's kind of true." X-Men: Apocalypse is the first major film role for British TV starlet Sophie Turner, 20, who has been working on HBO's Game of Thrones since age 14. She said that she was a fan of the X-Men franchise before being cast as the telepathic young mutant Jean Grey: "I was a big fan. I've watched all the movies. I read a couple of the comics when I was younger as well. I just really wanted to do it. Also the cast is a big draw. People would kill to work with that cast and Bryan [Singer], who I think is amazing. I saw The Usual Suspects a few years ago and was like, 'Who is this director? He's amazing.' And then I found out he did all the X-Men and I thought, 'Wow. Amazing! I have to do it.'"
And Apocalypse is the last X-Men film for Jennifer Lawrence, 25, who reprises her role as the shape-shifting mutant Mystique for the third and final time in this installment. During filming, she cited the body suit and blue paint that she wears for Mystique as part of her reason for leaving: "I love working with Bryan, and I love these movies. It's just the paint. Fumes and toxins. Now I'm almost 25 and I'm like, 'I can't even pronounce this and that's going in my nose? I'm breathing that?' I can't sit down, so I have to pee out of like a funnel, and I just can never get it right. There is no way to do it and not drip on yourself."
While the annual Nylon Young Hollywood Party recently took place in Los Angeles, the 69th Annual Cannes Film Festival has been in full swing in southern France. A few adorable child actresses and several grown-up ones are there this year!
Here's Korean child actress Soo-an Kim with her castmates at the premiere of Train to Busan on May 13. The film is an apocalyptic thriller about a zombie outbreak in South Korea. Eleven-year-old newcomer Ruby Barnhill has attended a few events at Cannes to promote her very first film The BFG. Here she is at a photocall on May 14...
...and at the premiere, with director Steven Spielberg and his wife Kate Capshaw, on the same day. Set for American release on July 1, The BFG is an adaptation of the classic children's book about an orphan girl (Ruby) who meets a "big friendly giant." French-American starlet Lily-Rose Depp, 16, couldn't look breezier at this photocall for La Danseuse on May 13. The film is a period drama about a dancer who becomes a muse for Auguste Rodin and Toulouse Lautrec.
Here's Lily-Rose at the premiere, also on May 13. Elle Fanning was initially attached to play Lily-Rose's part; The Neon Demon, her film with Jena Malone is also debuting at Cannes this year. Kristen Stewart, who turned 26 last month, has been at Cannes before (her movie Clouds of Sils Maria debuted there in 2014). This year, she's there for Café Society, and on May 11, she attended this photocall with director Woody Allen and costar Blake Lively. Kristen dyed her naturally dark hair platinum blonde for Cannes, saying, "I want to f-ck up my hair." Kirsten Dunst, who turned 34 last month, also has a role in Café Society. Here she is at the film's premiere on May 11. Jodie Foster, now 53, shares a laugh with costar Julia Roberts at a photocall for Money Monster on May 11. At a Women in Motion panel at Cannes, Jodie spoke out against male filmmakers overusing rape for female character development: "It was ridiculous. It was every single movie I saw. If you really got to what was the overriding motivation, it was always rape because for some reason men saw that as this incredibly dramatic thing. 'Well, that,s easy! I can just pluck that one out of the sky and apply it to her.'"
Previous posts on the Cannes Film Festival: 2015, 2014.
Film: Insidious: Chapter 3 (2015). Young Actress: Stefanie Scott, age 17.
Like the Paranormal Activity franchise, these horror movies started out decently and went downhill. Insidious 2 was a sequel to the 2010 original, but this installment is actually a prequel. Although it's supposedly about Stefanie's character, it's more concerned with foreshadowing and setting up the events of first movie. As a result, Insidious 3 is a prequel only, too weak to stand up as its own film, and if you haven't seen the first movie, then a lot of it probably won't even make sense.
Stefanie's character, the newly-motherless Quinn, is being targeted for possession by a demon living in the air ducts of her apartment building. She gets hit by a car, thrown out of a wheelchair, yanked out of a window, and generally slammed around by the demon. So Stefanie screams in pain and cries for help a lot, but the role doesn't allow for much acting beyond that. Still, she does make a stronger effort than Dermont Mulroney (Bastard Out of Carolina), playing her dad.
People's Choice Awards: Nominated for Favorite Thriller Movie.
Selena Gomez, 23, touched on a lot of subjects during her interview for last month's issue of GQ Magazine. The article can be read in full here, and below are some of my favorite extracts. Selena on the red carpet at the Met Gala, May 2One obstacle that remains, she says offhandedly, is her face. And it’s true. She looks like a child in a painting; her face is so round and Raphaelite that she might as well be peering skeptically out of the corner of the Sistine Madonna. It’s given her a lot in life, her face: She acknowledges that. But she’s also sort of done with it. “I’m young, and I look younger. So the roles that I want to go for, it’s all about how the face is. I can play like I’m 16 still. Doesn’t really work for the things I want to do.”
What are the things you want to do? “I want to have an experience that I would go a little bit stir-crazy with. I like people pushing a little bit.”
Around this point, she excuses herself to use the bathroom and leaves her phone behind, and there’s something so trusting about that gesture, so simple and nonchalant, that I find myself thinking about it days later. It’s guileless in a way that’s almost frightening, and at the same time a kind of deeply considered “fuck you, I dare you.”
She tells me a story — the story of the first time she told a stranger about being diagnosed. I almost hesitate to retell it, because it’s an anecdote about a celebrity visiting a children’s hospital, which is a very admirable thing, but neither of us is naive, nor particularly inclined to live up to our respective clichés. But this is what Selena Gomez does.
Selena meeting fans at WE Day in Inglewood, April 7
“And there was this kid that wouldn’t look me in the eye at all. And I wear my emotions on my face, as you just have witnessed. And I don’t care, that’s who I am. I wanted to get his attention, even though maybe it was too much. So I just said, ‘Ask me anything you want.’ And he was the first person that I told, besides my best friend and family, because he asked me, ‘Have you ever dealt with anything like this?’ And I said, ‘I have lupus. I was in the ICU for two and a half weeks. I was in this exact same room.’ And it was the first time that he looked at me.”
That transition from being a relatively well-known teen star to being an adult — why is that so hard? What is the demon or darkness that’s waiting for you guys?
Selena backstage at the iHeartRadio Music Awards, April 3
She’s been patient, controlled, friendly enough, but now, I can hear the pure anger in her voice. “We’re easy targets. Every single kid who was brought up like this is an easy target. It’s disgusting, because it’s interesting to grown adults that these kids go through weird things because they’re figuring out, ‘Do I like this? Do I love this? Maybe I love this person. Oh, I’m exposed to this, people are reporting my every move and this and that because of Instagram and Twitter and you can find out everything.’ There’s a difference between being a fan — there’s a difference between that and what you have to do.”
SO many young actresses attended this year's Met Gala, held on May 2 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Since this event focuses so heavily on fashion, I've decided to discuss the starlets who were there with some non-fashion news.Willow Smith, 15, reflected on her hit single Whip My Hair (released in 2011, when she was just 10), in a recent interview: "After Whip My Hair and all the publicity, after going on tour in the UK, after saying no to the Annie film [which eventually went to Quvenzhane Wallis], all of this crap was going on in my life, and I had to sit down and say, Who are you? On a real note. Are you this or this? During that time of figuring it out, I was lost and super insecure. But then I stopped trying to find myself in these other inanimate objects, people, and ideas. I realized it isn't about finding yourself - it's about creating yourself." Like Willow, Lily-Rose Depp, 16, is the daughter of celebrity super-couple, Johnny Depp and his French girlfriend Vanessa Paradis (they separated in 2012). About being constantly photographed for most of her life, she recently said, "I wonder who finds this interesting - the same photos of me wearing the same clothes, the same pose. It's ridiculous. I've decided not to care. I'm not going to stay shut in a cage. It's out of the question for them to poison my life." At only 17, Hunger Games starlet Amandla Stenberg has already become known for her wise takes on social and racial issues. She made a recent lengthy Tumbler post about gender identity: I have had a lot of discussions lately with my closest [non-binary] feminist friends about this and the fundamental thing we have all agreed on is that there is a conversation that badly needs to be had more often about how, even if you don’t feel 100% female, even if you never did feel 100% female, the world begins treating you as female from a very young age and that is always, no matter how you end up defining yourself, going to have shaped your life experience. I was mocked ruthlessly for the crushes I had on boys because I was fat and not conventionally attractive; I didn't even recognise the crushes I had on girls for years because I was never made aware that that was possible. I was told I couldn't be angry because girls can't get angry; I couldn't shout because girls aren't supposed to want to; I couldn't fight because only boys were allowed to. this is not a sob story, or unusual - but it is my lived experience and it was the experience of a girl. Elle Fanning, who just turned 18, has a new film, The Neon Demon, set for release at the Cannes Film Festival later this month. Elle plays an aspiring model in the drama/horror film, which costars Jena Malone, and a trailer was released last month with images of Elle covered in blood. Around the same time, Elle posted this adorable selfie to her new Instragram account, of herself yawning in her school uniform on the first morning back to school after Spring Break. Zendaya Coleman, 19, is reportedly one of four finalists being considered for the lead role in James Cameron's sci-fi comic-book film Battle Angel. She's up against Bella Thorne, 18; Maika Monroe, 22 (Independence Day: Resurgence); and Rosa Salazar, 30. Chloe Moretz, 19, always seems to have several upcoming projects. Right now, there's Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (out next month and costarring Selena Gomez), murder mystery November Criminals, and Disney's latest live-action, The Little Mermaid. Chloe has also wrapped filming on Brain on Fire, based on the memoir of a young woman with a rare brain disease; for this role, she replaced Dakota Fanning, who dropped out due to scheduling issues. Hailee Steinfeld, 19 and fresh from her performance at the Radio Disney Music Awards just two days ago, talked in a recent interview about balancing her acting and singing careers: "It's not easy. It can be frustrating when it comes to picking one, but it's been done, so I will continue to do both and do whatever I can to make it work. Right now, music is my main focus and it's where every part of me is at. So I'm working on my album, I'll be going on tour this summer with Meghan Trainor, and we'll see what happens." Saoirse Ronan, who just turned 22 and already has two Oscar nominations under her belt, recently moved from the screen to the stage. Right now she's rehearsing on Broadway in a new production of Arthur Miller's The Crucible, where she has the lead role as Abigail Williams. "I think it's been the biggest undertaking for me as an actor to not only just do a play, but take on a character like that because she's so complicated. I find her quite fascinating, I think she's very intelligent and focused and kind of abandoned."Demi Lovato, 23, and her touring partner Nick Jonas just became the latest stars to cancel performances in North Carolina after the state's controversial bathroom law. They said in a joint statement via Twitter: "One of our goals for the tour has always been to create an atmosphere where every single attendee feels equal, included, and accepted for who they are. North Carolina's discriminatory HB2 law is extremely disappointing, and it takes away some of the LGBT community's most basic rights and protections." Kristen Stewart, 25, will make her directorial debut this year, as part of Refinery 29's series of short films with female directors. Chloe Sevigny, Gabourey Sibide, and America Ferrera will also be directing with the series. Few details have emerged about Kristen's short film yet, but she's said that she's long wanted to direct: "I really want to. I started working when I was nine. I love this industry. I love what movies can do, so I'll find my story." Emma Watson, 26, wore a fitted, off-the-shoulder, black-and-white top with black pants that had an attached skirt and long train. And the pants were made out of recycled materials - specifically, plastic bottles - and Emma plans to recycle even further by wearing them to more events. "It is my intention to repurpose elements of the gown for future use. The trousers can be worn on their own, as can the bustier, the train can be used for a future red carpet look. I'm looking forward to experimenting with this. Truly beautiful things should be worn again and again and again."Mary-Kate & Ashley Olsen, 29, are the subjects of a new exhibit at a Brooklyn museum, The Olsen Twins Hiding from the Paparazzi. It consists of several paintings by Chicago artist Laura Collins of paparazzi shots of the twins, along with vintage videos and merchandise from their child-star heyday. But when asked to distinguish Mary-Kate and Ashley, Collins said, "I have no idea who's who. I wanted it to be like they're kinda interchangeable. We almost don't care who's who."Claire Danes, 37, just wrapped performances in Dry Powder, an off-Broadway play with a limited run. Her enormous white gown, which glowed in the dark and was so big that designer Zac Posen had to travel in a separate vehicle, one of the most talked-about of the night.
Previous posts on the Met Gala: 2015, 2014, and 2011.
The 2016 Radio Disney Music Awards
Held April 30, 2016, at Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. Hosted by Alex Aiono & Brooke Taylor.
Sabrina Carpenter, 16, performed "Smoke and Fire," won Best Anthem for "Eyes Wide Open," and also presented.
Hailee Steinfeld, 19, performed a medley with Joe Jonas's band DNCE, "Love Myself / How I Want Ya / Rock Bottom."
Laura Marano, 20, performed "Boombox," and her big sister Vanessa, 23, presented. Ariana Grande, 22, performed "Dangerous Woman" and was nominated for Best Song to Dance To for "Focus."
Sofia Carson, 23, performed "Love Is the Name" and presented.
Yara Shahidi, 16, and Marsai Martin, 11, from Black-ish. Marsai's shirt read Selfie or it didn't happen.
Katherine McNamara, 20, and Emeraude Toubia, 27, from Shadowhunters
Skai Jackson, 14, from Bunk'd, and Dove Cameron, 20 (with her fiance, Ryan McCarten, 22), from Liv & Maddie
Trinitee Stokes and Veronica Dunne, 21, attended to support Zendaya, 19, their TV big sister and best friend on Disney Channel's KC Undercover. Zendaya, who hosted the awards last year, was nominated for Artist with the Best Style, but she lost to Becky G and didn't attend.
From Best Friends Whenever, Anna Grace Barlow, Landry Bender, and Lauren Taylor
From Bizaardvark, Madison Hu, DeVore Ledridge, and Olivia Rodrigo
Previous posts on the Radio Disney Music Awards: 2015.
Film: Fear (1996). Young Actresses: Alyssa Milano, 23, and Reese Witherspoon, 19.
It's hard to pinpoint even one minute of this movie that isn't completely over-the-top and ridiculous. The plot is an absurd, badly-written love story turned horror story between 16-year-old Nicole (Reese) and David (a young Mark Wahlberg, The Lovely Bones). He's all charm and good manners at first, but quickly turns abusive and controlling. He tattoos Nicole's name on his chest, stalks her, builds an altar to her in his house, and kills her male friend, but the police are too incompetent to do anything, leaving Nicole's dad Steve (William Petersen) to protect her. Unfortunately, he's pretty incompetent too, while David is a criminal mastermind with a gang of bikers at his command, ready to do his dirty work.
See what I mean about over-the-top? But if you lower your expectations and just go with it, this movie can be pretty fun.
Nobody gives a good performance here, but in their defense, nobody has good material to work with, and the movie is still watchable in an amusingly bad way. There's also a very '90s feeling to it, especially in throwbacks like Nicole's clothes, her huge carphone (remember those?), and the fact that David is able to follow her into her high school cafeteria, despite not even being a student there. Apparently back in the days before school shootings, campuses had no security. Another highlight for is Alyssa's role as Nicole's best friend Margo. The close-up shot of her screaming, "You're my only friend!" at Nicole has to be one of the biggest eyeroll moments of the whole eyeroll-worthy movie.
A promo still of Nicole (Reese) and her best friend Margo (Alyssa) at a party
A lot of it is humorously bad, but the movie is uncomfortably bad in the cheap way that it sexualizes its young star. Nicole and David never actually have a sex scene, but David does brag to Steve about "busting her cherry," and he maintains eye contact with Steve while kissing her. Nicole spends most of the movie shifting between her father and her boyfriend's influences over her, never actually standing up for herself. And for some completely pointless reason, the poster is of Nicole shirtless against David's chest. (Wow, how classy.) In a better film, maybe this wouldn't have felt so cheap and insulting, but in a low-quality movie like Fear, it's the most shallow kind of shallow shock value.
The 2016 MTV Movie AwardsHeld April 10, 2016, outdoors at Warner Brothers Studio. Hosted by Kevin Hart & Dwayne Johnson.
Unfortunately, the MTV Movie Awards were fairly underwhelming this year. For some reason, MTV decided to focus on YouTube stars and Internet celebrities, inviting many of them to the red carpet in place of film or TV stars. Several starlets that I expected to see weren't there. Hailee didn't attend to support Pitch Perfect 2, which had four nominations, and Willow didn't attend to support Mockingjay 2, which had three. Just Jared Jr. reported, "While not a ton of stars hit the red carpet, those that did, slayed it." New star Daisy Ridley, 24, had a lot to celebrate. Not only was the show held on April 10, her 24th birthday, but her movie Star Wars: The Force Awakens had the most nominations: 11 total! She accepted the Movie of the Year award together with director JJ Abrams and also won for Breakthrough Performance, but lost Best Hero to Jennifer Lawrence. Daisy later posted on her Instagram: Bringing in my 24th year with JJ @mtv Movie Awards! Thank you so much to everyone that voted for Breakthrough and Movie!!!!
Cara Delevingne, 23 (pictured), and Margot Robbie, 25 (who skipped the red carpet), attended to present the trailer to their upcoming supervillain movie Suicide Squad, set for release in August. Not many celebrities were at the show this year, but nobody was surprised that Ariana Grande, 22, attended. She performed her number "Dangerous Woman" during the show.
Laura Marano, 20, from Disney Channel's Austin & Ally, attended together sister Vanessa Marano, 23, from ABC Family's Switched at Birth, to support her new single "Boombox," which dropped earlier in the week.
Previous posts on the MTV Movie Awards: 2015, 2014, 2011, and 2010.