‘You were so freaked out that I was like well, I gotta make her do it now,’ co-showrunner Ross Duffer told newcomer Sadie Sink, who recalls being ‘stressed out’ on set.
The inevitable Stranger Things 2 backlash is a cautionary tale for anyone trying to salvage a scrap of joy out of this unbelievably terrible year. The Netflix phenomenon began as a pure pop-culture confection; a thrilling piece of pastiche that starred some cute kids and Winona Ryder. Now, over a year later, Stranger Things fans are learning the hard way that nothing good can ever stay. Stranger Things 2 has arrived and so has the end of our communal innocence, between Charlie Heaton’s cocaine bust and the first wave of tepid reviews. The Daily Beast’s Kevin Fallon acknowledged that the second season of the Netflix original was faced with “monstrously high expectations,” and concluded that the latest Duffer brothers offering “doesn’t live up to the hype.”
But while Stranger Things may not be immaculate, it’s still a feel-good series—as evidenced by the adorable cast of kids who can now be spotted grinning in formalwear on red carpets. Watching the real-life Stranger Things gang adapt to their whirlwind fame was one of the purest joys of 2016—so I guess we should have known.
This season of Stranger Things culminates at a Hawkins Middle School “Snow Ball” dance. The wintery wonderland apparently proved a rich source of inspiration for the Duffer brothers, who decided to add a last-minute, unscripted kiss between Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) and new addition Max (Sadie Sink). While a relatively chaste kiss might seem like fair game for two professional child actors, the circumstances surrounding the scene, which were openly discussed in an episode of Netflix’s Beyond Stranger Things after-show, has raised red flags on social media.
In the relevant clip from Beyond Stranger Things—itself a gimmick that’s only accelerated Stranger Things’ inevitable overexposure—the 15-year-old Sink sits down with her fellow middle school dance attendees and Duffers one and two. Ross Duffer opens a discussion of the kiss by telling a visibly worked-up Sink that the scene was “all [her] own fault.” Sadie points out that “the kiss was not written in the script.” She recalls, “I get there, the first day of Snowball… one of you, I think it was you Ross, you say, ‘Ooh, Sadie, you ready for the kiss?’ I’m like, ‘What! No! That’s not in the script… that’s not happening.’” She continues, “So the whole day I was like stressed out, I was like oh my god, wait, am I gonna have to… and it didn’t happen that day, but then the second day of Snow Ball.” At this point, Duffer explains, “You reacted so strongly to this—I was just joking—and you were so freaked out that I was like well, I gotta make her do it now… that’s why I’m saying it’s your fault.” And no wonder Sink was so “stressed out”; as she goes on to describe, the kiss was filmed in front of a full room of extras, plus “their parents, and the crew, and my mom.”
The entire conversation, in which Sink repeatedly recalls feeling caught off-guard while the Duffers giggle, strikes an odd tone, particularly in light of ongoing conversations in Hollywood regarding the exploitation of underage actors and issues of consent. The Duffers’ response to Sink’s initial pushback against the kiss—to insist upon the unscripted scene and then mine it for laughs during their after-show—feels deeply insensitive, grown men essentially bragging about their decision to ignore a 15-year-old girl’s justified discomfort. As Teen Vogue noted, “Many are now taking to social media to discuss this decision and question why the director didn’t comfort the actress, leave the kiss unscripted, or work with Sadie to capture the scene in a way that was comfortable and worry-free for her.”
Making matters worse—or maybe just more embarrassing—is the fact that Stranger Things actor Finn Wolfhard recently left his agency after sexual assault accusations surfaced about his now-former agent. (Representatives for Sink and Netflix did not return requests for comment.)
Of course, this strange interlude isn’t happening in a vacuum; as the entertainment industry continues to be upended by sexual assault and harassment allegations, Netflix in particular has come under scrutiny.
Earlier this week Netflix shut down production on House of Cards in the wake of actor Anthony Rapp’s sexual abuse allegations against Kevin Spacey. Today, the streaming service announced it is going a step further, and will no longer work with the actor in any capacity whatsoever.
“Netflix will not be involved with any further production of House of Cards that includes Kevin Spacey,” a Netflix spokesperson said in a statement. “We will continue to work with MRC during this hiatus time to evaluate our path forward as it relates to the show. We have also decided we will not be moving forward with the release of the film Gore, which was in post-production, starring and produced by Kevin Spacey.”
In a statement, Media Rights Capital says that Spacey has been suspended from the production, effective immediately.
Production on the show’s sixth season was well underway before Rapp’s allegations surfaced in an interview with BuzzFeed. Spacey responded by coming out as a gay man publicly on Twitter, in what was widely criticized as an attempt to divert attention away from the accusations. Soon thereafter, word broke that the sixth season had already been planned to be the last hurrah for the political drama. On Halloween, both Netflix and production partner Media Rights Capital decided to put production of the series on hold. In the days since, an increasing number of people have come forward with sexual harassment allegations against the actor, with a report from CNN detailing multiple incidents during production of House of Cards itself.
The show’s producers have reportedly been considering ways to move forward, either by killing off Spacey’s character, or perhaps moving to spin-off shows. As for Spacey himself, a representative for the actor said on Wednesday that he is “taking the time necessary to seek evaluation and treatment.” The actor was dropped by both his publicist and talent agency CAA on November 2nd.
The drama could join ‘Star Trek’ on the network’s SVOD platform.
The Twilight Zone is entering a new dimension.
CBS Corp. CEO Leslie Moonves on Thursday announced during the company’s earnings call that CBS All Access is readying a new take on the iconic sci-fi anthology. It’s unclear at the moment if it’s a straight-to-series order or just development.
The Rod Serling-created series ran for five seasons on CBS from 1959-1964. Producers CBS Television Studios retained the rights to the cult classic and will executive produce the new take. Sources say the show hails from Jordan Peele’s Monkeypaw banner, with Marco Ramirez (Netflix Marvel dramas The Defenders and Daredevil, Sons of Anarchy) is set to pen the script and serve as showrunner. CBS All Access declined comment on Peele and Ramirez’s involvement as official details have not yet been revealed beyond Moonves’ initial announcement.
The news comes as CBS All Access has found success with its revival of Star Trek: Discovery, which the streamer said drove record subscriptions to the platform and has been renewed for a second season. The Twilight Zone joins a roster of CBS All Access scripted originals that also includes dramas The Good Fight (a spinoff of The Good Wife), Strange Angel, $1 and comedy No Activity.
Peele found success with the horror feature Get Out, which many have described as an African-American version of The Twilight Zone.
CBS last tried to revive The Twilight Zone in 2012 when the studio teamed with  X-Men‘s Bryan Singer to develop, exec produce and potentially direct a new version of the anthology. The network revived the series in the 1980s that ran for three seasons and again in 2002 for a season on UPN with host Forest Whitaker. The franchise has also been licensed to a new stage play set to premiere in December at the Almeida Theatre in London and run through January. The original series won three Emmys during its 156-episode run and explored topics including humanity’s hopes, despairs, prides and prejudices.
The Twilight Zone revival arrives as individual episodic anthologies have become increasingly popular following shows like Netflix’s Black Mirror, HBO’s Room 104 and TBS’ The Guest Book. In a crowded landscape of nearly 500 scripted shows, individual episodic anthologies are easier to consume.
Meanwhile, reboots and revivals continue to be in high demand as broadcast, cable and streaming platforms look for proven and easy to market IP in a bid to cut through the cluttered landscape. Key to the reboots is having the original producers attached, with would be CBS Television Studios in the case of The Twilight Zone.
Peele, whose credits also include Netflix’s Big Mouth, Comedy Central’s Key and Peele and TBS’ The Last OG, as well as the feature Keanu, is repped by CAA, Principato-Young and Morris Yorn. Ramirez is repped by UTA.
Celebrities are incensed over Kevin Spacey’s “sincerest apology” to Star Trek: Discovery actor Anthony Rapp.
Rapp told BuzzFeed that when he was 14, the House of Cards star, inebriated at a party thrown at Spacey’s apartment, made a sexual advance on the then-underage actor. Rapp said Spacey placed him on a bed and climbed on top of him but Rapp was able to leave before the encounter could go further.
In a statement on Twitter, Spacey also came out about his sexuality, explaining “I choose now to live as a gay man.”
While House of Cards creator Beau Willimon called Rapp’s story “deeply troubling,” and said he was never aware of any misconduct by Spacey during their time working together on the Netflix political drama. (Willimon left the show after Season 4.)
“I neither witnessed nor was aware of any inappropriate behavior on set or off,” he told USA TODAY in a statement provided by his representative Rachel Aberly. “That said, I take reports of such behavior seriously and this is no exception. I feel for Mr. Rapp and I support his courage.”
Zachary Quinto, who, like Rapp, is a member of the Star Trek franchise family through his role as Mr. Spock in J.J. Abrams’ films, wrote “It is deeply sad and troubling that this is how Kevin Spacey has chosen to come out. Not by standing up as a point of pride — in the light of all his many awards and accomplishments, thus inspiring tens of thousands of struggling LGBTQ kids around the world — but as a calculated manipulation to deflect attention from the very serious accusation that he attempted to molest one.”
Quinto, who came out in 2011, continued, “I am sorry to hear of Anthony Rapp’s experience and subsequent suffering. And I am sorry that Kevin only saw fit to acknowledge his truth when he thought it would serve him — just as his denial served him for so many years.”
He concluded, “May Anthony Rapp’s voice be the one which is amplified here. Victims’ voices are the ones that deserve to be heard.”
Rose McGowan, who is one of dozens accusing Harvey Weinstein of sexual misconduct, urged the media to BE THE VICTIM’S VOICE” and maintain a focus on Rapp. “Help us level the playing field,” she tweeted.
She later added, “Bye bye, Spacey goodbye, it’s your turn to cry, that’s why we’ve gotta say goodbye.”
Wanda Sykes chastised Spacey for what she says was an attempt to “hide under the rainbow.”
Lance Bass scolded Spacey on Twitter.
“Being gay should never be equated with sexual assault or pedophilia. Thanks for giving the homophobes more ammo #KevinSpacey,” he tweeted.
American Idol Season 2 runner-up Clay Aiken, who came out as gay himself in 2008, told Spacey, “You can choose to act like a pervert; you can’t ‘choose’ to be gay.”
Larry Wilmore deemed Spacey’s statement “wrong on so many levels.”
Billy Eichner tweeted, “Kevin Spacey has just invented something that has never existed before: a bad time to come out.”
Singer Richard Marx called the allegation “disgusting. Period.”
Actress Louise Brealey believes “Spacey trying to hide behind coming out & offering drunkenness as an excuse for jumping on a child shows his breathtaking arrogance.”
Comedian Paul F. Tompkins said, “Thus with one statement ‘Carson impression at the 2017 Tonys’ moves down to 3rd on the list of the worst things Kevin Spacey has ever done.”
It seems TV viewers were more offended by Adam Sandler touching The Crown star Claire Foy’s knee during Friday’s episode of the BBC’s The Graham Norton Show than she was.
The actress issued an official comment saying she took “no offense” after viewers in the U.K. suggested that the actor’s gesture made Foy and fellow interviewee Emma Thompson uncomfortable.
The episode is set to air in the U.S. this Saturday and no clip of the segment in question has been officially released yet.
After having his hands folded in his lap for the majority of the show, Sandler, 51, placed his hand on Foy’s right knee while telling a story, something he has also done to men. She then picked it up and put it back on his own leg.
For readers unfamiliar with Norton’s show, the host brings all of his guests out at once and they share the same couch while drinks flow freely.
Foy, 33, did not appear to harbor any lingering ill will afterward.
USA TODAY has reached out to Foy’s camp for comment.
In a statement to USA TODAY, Sandler’s rep Cindy Guagenti described the incident as “such a non-story” and noted that he did something similar during an interview with Dustin Hoffman on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon earlier this month.
However, Sandler’s gesture triggered viewers at home, who tweeted their concern.
“He was trying to seduce me,” Anthony Rapp told BuzzFeed News. “I don’t know if I would have used that language. But I was aware that he was trying to get with me sexually.” Meanwhile, Spacey apologized, saying he’s choosing “now to live as a gay man.”
Star Trek: Discovery actor Anthony Rapp has accused Kevin Spacey of making a pass toward him when he was only 14. In response, Spacey tweeted his “sincerest apology” late Sunday night and came out as a gay man.
Rapp told BuzzFeed News in a story that posted online Sunday that the two met in 1986 when both were appearing in Broadway shows (Rapp in Precious Sons and Spacey in Long Day’s Journey Into Night). One night, Spacey invited Rapp to his apartment for a party; later, Rapp says, he found himself bored and watching TV in Spacey’s bedroom when he realized that he was the only one left in the apartment with the actor, who was 26 at the time.
Spacey then appeared and “sort of stood in the doorway, kind of swaying. My impression when he came in the room was that he was drunk.”
Rapp, now 46, claimed that Spacey then “picked me up like a groom picks up the bride over the threshold. But I don’t, like, squirm away initially, because I’m like, ‘What’s going on?’ And then he lays down on top of me.”
Rapp alleged that Spacey was holding him down while tightening his grip on Rapp, who was able to get away after some time.
“He was trying to seduce me,” Rapp said. “I don’t know if I would have used that language. But I was aware that he was trying to get with me sexually.”
Rapp then went into the bathroom and closed the door.
“I was like, ‘What is happening?’” he told BuzzFeed News. “I saw on the counter next to the sink a picture of him having his arm around a man. So I think on some level I was like, ‘Oh. He’s gay. I guess.’ Then I opened the door, and I was like, ‘OK, I’m going to go home now.’ He followed me to the front door of the apartment, and as I opened the door to leave, he was leaning on the front door[frame]. And he was like, ‘Are you sure you wanna go?’ I said, ‘Yes, good night,’ and then I did leave.”
Rapp said he feels lucky that nothing more happened but is still incredulous that he had that experience at age 14. He said he thought about reaching out to Spacey afterward but ultimately decided not to.
The two later crossed paths at the 1999 Tony Awards, where Rapp was performing and Spacey was nominated. He isn’t sure if Spacey has any recollection of the alleged encounter.
Said Rapp: “He looked at me, and I thought I saw some form of recognition, and I quickly looked away. I passed him and went out the door.”
Spacey, now 58, tweeted a statement late Sunday night in response, apologizing for “what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior.” He said he does not remember the encounter but is “beyond horrified” to hear Rapp’s account.
He also notes that he’s had romantic relationships with both men and women, and he’s now choosing “to live as a gay man.” Read his full statement below.
Many were quick to criticize Spacey’s statement on Sunday night. And on Monday morning, GLAAD released its own statement ripping Spacey and reminding the public and the media that the focus should be on Rapp’s tale of survival and his decision to speak out.
“Coming-out stories should not be used to deflect from allegations of sexual assault,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD. “This is not a coming-out story about Kevin Spacey, but a story of survivorship by Anthony Rapp and all those who bravely speak out against unwanted sexual advances. The media and public should not gloss over that.”
For his part, Rapp said he was motivated to share his story following the numerous sexual harassment and abuse accusations coming to light against Harvey Weinstein, James Toback, Mark Halperin, former APA talent agent Tyler Grasham and others in the industry.
“Not to simply air a grievance, but to try to shine another light on the decades of behavior that have been allowed to continue because many people, including myself, being silent.… I’m feeling really awake to the moment that we’re living in, and I’m hopeful that this can make a difference,” Rapp said.