Archive for April 4, 2020
Logan Williams, who played young Barry Allen on The Flash died this week at the age of 16. Williams was integral to the start of the series, appearing in eight episodes across the first two seasons. The flashbacks to Barry's childhood helped audiences relate to the character and provided insight into how he became the superhero he was as an adult. Williams' last full appearance on the show was in 2015, though he did appear via archival footage in a 2016 episode as well. Around that time, the series began using flashbacks to Barry's childhood less often.
News of Williams death was reported by Tri-City News, who spoke with the actor's mother, Marlyse Williams. Williams passed away unexpectedly on April 2. The Flash star Grant Gustin, who plays adult Barry Allen on the CW series, reacted to the news in a touching Instagram post, sharing a photo of the two taken while filming the pilot episode of The Flash. Gustin spoke highly of Williams, saying, "I was so impressed by not only Logan's talent but his professionalism on set." He also extended thoughts and prayers to Williams' family and urged others to do the same.
In addition to The Flash, Williams appeared on a host of other TV shows, including fellow CW series Supernatural. He starred in the TV movie The Color of Rain and also guested for two episodes on ABC's The Whispers in 2015. Most notably, he played Miles Montgomery on the Hallmark series When Calls the Heart, appearing in a total of 13 episodes between 2014 and 2016.
What happened to Luke Ryan, the Massachusetts defense attorney from How to Fix a Drug Scandal? Directed by Erin Lee Carr, the four-part Netflix docuseries depicts the criminal investigation of two drug analysts - Sonja Farak and Annie Dookhan - who manipulated the legal process for self-serving reasons.
In How to Fix a Drug Scandal on Netflix, Ryan is the primary on-camera interviewee. As a defense attorney, he discusses the importance of understanding client backstories, as opposed to focusing on a "narrow" timeframe that typically interests prosecutors. The Netflix docuseries follows Ryan's attempts to learn the full truth about Farak's drug use and tampering at the Morrill Science Center from 2004 to 2013, and Ryan experiences a major setback when the Attorney General's Office refuses to hand over evidence that's deemed "irrelevant." A judge concludes that Farak's drug use commenced in 2012, but Ryan believes it may have started years before. Overall, How to Fix a Drug Scandal deconstructs a cover-up that prevented attorneys from receiving the exculpatory evidence they needed to properly defend clients.
How to Fix a Drug Scandal on Netflix portrays Ryan as highly-motivated defense attorney and reveals that he was finally able to examine evidence that shows Farak's tampering began in 2004 - just three months into her job. As a result, over 35,000 cases were ultimately dismissed because of Farak and Dookhan's collective incompetence. But what happened to Luke Ryan after How to Fix a Drug Scandal's story concluded?
Ryan's LinkedIn profile shows that he's been part of the firm Sasson, Turnbull, Ryan & Hoose since January 2011. He graduated from Western New England Law, and currently works in Southampton, Massachusetts, the same city where Farak lived while working at the Morrill Science Center. In 2018, Rolling Stone published an drug-themed expose about Ryan's work entitled "And Justice For None: Inside Biggest Law Enforcement Scandal in Massachusetts History," and the author, Paul Solotaroff, appears in How to Fix a Drug Scandal as well.
In 2020, Ryan continues to defend people involved with drug cases. As noted in How to Fix a Drug Scandal, though, he's fully invested in providing the whole story about his clients and how they wind up in positions where they're forced to make difficult decisions. The legal system initially failed Ryan during the Farak case - evidenced by the cover-up involving assistant attorneys general Kris Foster and Anne Kaczmarek - but the system ultimately succeeded by identifying a "fraud upon the court" and a major miscarriage of justice. "They've gotta prove it," Ryan says in the Netflix docuseries. "If the government wants to convict a defendant, then the government and all of its actors have to be above reproach."
The Mandalorian found his real-world counterpart as a photo of a healthcare worker bears a visual similarity to the popular Star Wars character. Airing on Disney+, The Mandalorian is based in the Star Wars universe and follows a mysterious bounty hunter who finds himself caring for a young child possessing a powerful connection to the Force. The show is incredibly popular, mainly due to the look and design of The Child, aka Baby Yoda.
The current pandemic has impacted the entire world due to the spread of COVID-19. As countries urge citizens to stay inside and quarantine themselves, essential workers continue to work and put themselves at risk for contracting the virus. Healthcare workers are hailed as heroes, doing their best to treat others in a time of crisis. Pedro Pascal, who plays the Mandalorian Din Djarin, recognizes this in full. In a photo he posted on his Twitter account, Pascal compares an image of his character with a healthcare worker, with the caption "This. #Warriors2020." You can see the image below.
The visual similarities between the bounty hunter and the healthcare worker are striking. The worker's face is covered by sunglasses and a mask, as the Mandalorian's face is hidden by his helmet. They both have a recognizable look due to their occupation, with the healthcare worker's scrubs, pouch, and walkie-talkie mirroring Djarin's armor, tools, and weapons. Even the way they turn their heads to the side is the same.
In a time where the future our world is uncertain, it is crucial to recognize the people making sacrifices for the safety of others. They are warriors in the fight to end the spread of coronavirus, and they deserve to be treated as such. It's great to see Pascal, a fiction hero on The Mandalorian, take the time to recognize a real one.
Source: @PedroPascal1 via Twitter
Vikings has many elements related to Norse mythology, with some characters believed to either be descended from them or be gods in disguise. When taking a closer look at the main characters of the series, they surely have some traits in common with a couple of Norse gods – and here’s which one each character represents. Created by Michael Hirst (The Tudors), Vikings debuted on History Channel in 2013, and even though it was originally planned as a miniseries, it was quickly renewed for a second season.
Since then, Vikings has built its own fan base that has stuck around for years and through many deaths and heartbreaking moments, and the series is now in its sixth and final season. Vikings initially followed legendary Norse figure Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel) and his travels alongside his Vikings brothers. As the series progressed and Ragnar’s story got more complicated, it shifted its focus to Ragnar’s sons – Bjorn Ironside, Ivar the Boneless, Ubbe, Hvitserk, and Sigurd – and their own journeys, making them the protagonists.
Vikings is currently on a midseason break and it's unclear when it will come back. In the meantime, it’s worth taking a look back at the characters that have shaped the series and the inspiration behind them. Vikings takes a lot of elements from Norse mythology, and the characters have even shared their devotion to them, but as it turns out, the main characters share some traits with a couple of Norse gods.
Odin is quite present in Vikings in different ways: Ragnar (and Bjorn as well) was visited by ravens (implied to be Huginn and Muninn, Odin’s companions), Harbard is believed to be Odin in disguise, and Ragnar was said to be a descendant of the Allfather. Whether he was a son of Odin or not, there are many details that point at him being, at least, a representation of the Allfather, as the ravens followed him around, he served as king for a while – as Odin was believed to have been a real person, specifically a king, and only became a God when he died – and had many visions throughout the series. Odin is associated with wisdom, healing, death, royalty, war, victory, and knowledge, and is mostly known for having many sons, including Thor and Baldr – Ragnar can also be associated to those things (some in a bigger capacity than others, of course) and even though he didn’t have as many sons as Odin, four sons and one daughter are enough.
Floki is one of Ragnar’s closest friends and a very skilled shipbuilder, but he’s also a prankster and the most eccentric of the group. That, along with his name, have made many fans believe he could either be a descendant of Loki, the god in disguise, or a representation of him, which could be right – to an extent, as he also shares some characteristics with another Norse figure. His similarities with Loki go beyond his eccentric personality and his name being almost the same: following the murder of Athelstan, Floki was imprisoned in a cave by Ragnar, very much like Loki in the Norse tale “The Binding of Loki”, where the god was imprisoned for his role in the death of Baldr.
However, many viewers have pointed out that Floki could also be Heimdallr. Floki often acts as a “gatekeeper” in the sense that he saves people from death, and Heimdallr is a gatekeeper figure for Asgard. The god also had foresight, which many link to the Seer’s reaction to Floki: when Floki went to see him, the Seer licked Floki’s hand, instead of Floki licking his, as everyone else did as it’s a sign of respect. Many Vikings fans believe Floki will become the new Seer, which would definitely fit with the Norse god Heimdallr.
There has been some debate among viewers as to which Norse goddess Lagertha represents – Freya or Frigg – but looking beyond her links to Ragnar/Odin, Freya would be the one. This goddess is associated with love, beauty, and fertility, and was sometimes represented as a war-goddess. As such, she’s the leader of the valkyries, female figures who choose those who may die in battle and those who may live, and in the context of Vikings, the valkyries would be her army of shield-maidens. Freya is considered the feminine counterpart of Odin, and she receives half of those who die in battle, while the other half goes to Odin’s hall, Valhalla. During Lagertha's funeral, she was shown joining Ragnar, supporting the idea that she represents Freya.
Björn Ironside is the son of Ragnar and Lagertha (though in reality, he’s said to be the son of Ragnar and Aslaug), and he could represent two Norse gods: Baldr and Thor. Baldr (also called Balder and Baldur), is the son of Odin and Frigg and brother of Thor. Baldr is known for his courage and honor, but his most memorable story is that of his death. His mother had prophetic dreams about it, and so she made every object on earth vow never to hurt Baldr, and they all agreed except for one, which wasn’t even approached by Frigg: the mistletoe. Loki learned about this and made a mistletoe spear, tricked Baldr’s blind twin brother Hödr into shooting it, and killed Baldr on the spot. His death is reminiscent of Björn’s, as he was attacked by his brother Ivar (though not his twin) and was most likely killed.
Björn also has some similarities to none other than the god of thunder, Thor. The god is associated with lightning, storms, strength, and the protection of mankind, and was known for his relentless slaughter of his foes and battles with the monstrous serpent Jörmungandr (who, by the way, is Loki’s child). Björn’s warrior side is more fitting to the figure of Thor, but he also has a lot of Baldr in him. Whether these similarities between the characters from Vikings and Norse gods are intentional or not is unknown, but they’re fun details that make the series even more interesting.
Karyn Kusama's cult classic, Jennifer's Body, explored the pitfalls of demonic possession in an already vapid high school girl and grossed-out audiences with a sequence of black, projectile vomit - how did they accomplish this feat without CGI?
Initially released in 2009, Jennifer's Body didn't pick up steam until almost ten years later, when it became a cult classic. This was certainly no indication of the talent involved both in front of and behind the camera, as the film starred Megan Fox, of Transformers fame and Amanda Seyfried, who has starred in everything from Les Miserables to Mamma Mia! and even Ted. The script for Jennifer's Body was penned by Juno writer, Diablo Cody, and director Karyn Kusama has been behind movies like Aeon Flux, The Invitation, and more recently, she directed Nicole Kidman in Destroyer. Kusama has also recently been tapped with directing Universal's next Dracula movie after the success of standalone films within their Dark Universe, which was proven to be the proper path by Leigh Whannell with his 2020 take on The Invisible Man.
Jennifer's Body explored the aftermath of a botched virgin sacrifice by members of an indie band when they attempted to murder high school student Jennifer Check (Fox) in order to achieve fame. Though the movie certainly borders on sharp, dark horror-comedy, one of the more horrific sequences is toward the beginning of the film, when Needy (Seyfried) discovers her best friend, Jennifer, in her kitchen after her attempted murder, raiding the fridge and exhibiting violent and other disturbing tendencies that point to things not being anywhere near normal.
The vomit scene came upon audiences suddenly, with the emotional weight of Needy being traumatized by her childhood best friend being covered in blood, raiding her fridge in the middle of the night. Needy was already on-edge after being subjected to a massive fire at a local bar, Melody Lane, which went up in flames unexpectedly while she and Jennifer were attending a rock show. However, her concerns were amplified when Jennifer left with the band members, disappearing into their van willingly; though she seemed confident about the situation, Needy clearly wasn't so sure about her friend's decision.
However, the shock of the moment - Jennifer bloody, with torn stockings and a feral visage - came to a head when she started spewing black, unctuous vomit all over Needy's kitchen floor, as well as all over her. The moment was frightening, disgusting, and simultaneously heart-wrenching as Needy ended up cleaning the mess after Jennifer left, clearly wondering what had happened to her friend and how it was even possible for her to be so suddenly inhuman and monstrous. Though the effect was brutal, it was relatively simple to pull off, and even sounded like it wasn't that unpleasant for those involved. According to Fox, she was primed with a bottle of chocolate syrup, and did several takes where she screamed and sprayed the syrup out of her mouth, onto the floor and onto her co-star.
Additionally, a rig was created to go behind Fox's ear, and tubing was applied to create a projectile effect for the fake vomit in the scene, achieved by Fox biting down on the tube, which rested near her face to complete the effect. While this sort of gag isn't anything new to horror movies - in fact, it has become iconic in films like The Exorcist - the suddenness of the vomit coupled with the tar-like black texture of it added to Jennifer's Body pulling off something even more vile without any CGI.