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THR Investigates

The Many Lives and Dying Words of Aesop Aquarian

When Aesop Aquarian returned from acting class to discover an acquaintance dead of a gunshot wound in his spare room, he let it go. Perhaps it had been a game of Russian roulette, or a suicide. At least these were the theories offered to him by his new Venice Beach housemates, members of what the […]

‘Rust’ Rallied Hollywood, But Has Spurred Limited Action So Far

More than eight months after the Rust tragedy put a spotlight on gun safety on set — especially at the lower-budget level — there’s increased awareness, but real change has been limited and halting. What modest shifts are detectable appear to be propelled by the newfound liability concerns of business affairs departments at the studio level. And […]

Who Killed Mae West’s No. 1 Fan?

Late in 1971, a shaggy, 23-year-old college student and aspiring screenwriter was toiling away at his master’s thesis at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. Born Feb. 2, 1948, in Waukegan, Illinois, David Ray Johnson displayed nothing particularly remarkable at first glance. He stood about 5-foot-7, had long brown hair and a thick mustache, and […]

Post-Dramatic Stress: Ex-Students Decry Nightmare Acting Coach

The students thunderously applaud — an ovation of rapture, beaming smiles on eager faces. At last their acting teacher has arrived. For years, Gloria Gifford, 75, has been relied on to keep the faithful waiting at her conservatory. How long? Maybe 30 minutes. Perhaps an hour, even two. Pre-pandemic, she choreographed each day’s grand entrance […]

Netflix’s Big Wake-Up Call: The Power Clash Behind the Crash

Before we get to the deep dive on the internal drama at Netflix — the internecine battles among top leadership that more than one source calls “the Hunger Games” — let’s pause to let the town enjoy this moment. The thing about schadenfreude is that the freude (joy) is usually savored when the schaden (the […]

Unhoused Sweeps Become Flashpoint for Film Shoots in Los Angeles

“Stop the sweeps! Stop the sweeps! Stop the sweeps!” On March 17, a group of protesters chanted at downtown L.A.’s James K. Hahn City Hall East complex, holding handwritten signs reading “Stop War on the Poor” and “Encampment Eviction Kills.” Then a director called cut on this scene from Freeform’s drama Good Trouble, about 20-somethings […]

The Real Mission Impossible: Saying “No” to Tom Cruise

Investors who heard Tom Cruise speak via video at Paramount’s Feb. 15 investors’ event must have come away thinking his relationship with the company was all harmony. Calling Shari Redstone his “dear friend,” he lavished praise on the studio and noted his “over 37-year relationship with Paramount that I’m very proud of and very grateful […]

Did Oscar Winner Asghar Farhadi Steal the Idea for ‘A Hero’?

Questions of ethics and motive, the gap between public and private morality, run through A Hero, the latest drama from acclaimed Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi. The feature, which won the Jury Grand Prize at 2021’s Cannes Film Festival, was picked up by Amazon for U.S. release in January. A favorite for the 2022 Oscar race […]

Puppet Makers Rise Up Against the Puppet Masters

On his first day on set in November 2019, a puppet wrangler on Disney+’s Earth to Ned — a talk show spoof starring an alien puppet and produced by The Jim Henson Company — was told by another, more senior wrangler not to address one of the show’s star puppeteers, Kevin Clash, directly. “Amongst other […]

How Saudi Arabia Misappropriated a SXSW Doc for “Nefarious Purposes”

At a press conference on Jan. 8, Saudi Arabian Brig. Gen. Turki Al-Maliki, spokesman for the Arab coalition fighting for control of Yemen against the Iran-backed Houthi rebels, presented video evidence that he alleged justified an imminent attack on the Red Sea port of Hodeidah. The port serves as a lifeline for humanitarian aid into […]

Beverly Hills Spy: How a WWII-Era James Bond Betrayed the Allies

On Oct. 21, 1940 — a little over a year before Japan launched a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, hurtling the U.S. into war — two men ambled down Sycamore Avenue to the Masquers Club, a still-active actors’ club founded by British expats in Hollywood in 1925, for its annual Trafalgar Day dinner. One of […]

Chris Noth Accused of Sexual Assault by Two Women

Note: This story includes graphic descriptions of alleged sexual assaults. It was the revival of the television series that had made him such an iconic character that was triggering for the two women. Zoe, now 40, and Lily, now 31, both allege they were sexually assaulted by actor Chris Noth. The two women — who […]