Beginning to Make Toys Right with #WheresRey

(Image Credit: LucasFilm)

(Image Credit: LucasFilm)

When Star Wars fans headed to stores for memorabilia, many of us couldn’t find the character we were looking for. Like Marvel’s Gamora and Black Widow before her, new heroine Rey had been left out of too many toy sets. Most egregious were a set of action figures that featured male leads Finn, Poe Dameron and Kylo Ren, along with Chewbacca and a generic pilot and Stormtrooper and the Millennium Falcon playset that featured Finn, Chewbacca and BB-8, even though Rey is the one to fly the ship in The Force Awakens.

But in spite of the growing hashtag campaign #WheresRey, the lack of Rey went largely unnoticed by the general public until recently when a tweet, featuring a letter from an 8-year-old who wanted toy manufacturer Hasbro to know “girls matter,” went viral. The letter was in response to Rey’s absence from the company’s Star Wars Monopoly game, where you can play as Finn, Kylo Ren, Darth Vader or Luke Skywalker (the latter two of whom either don’t or barely appear in the new movie).

Finally, Hasbro was forced to address the issue, but their official statement raised more questions than it answered. They told Entertainment Weekly: “The Star Wars: Monopoly game was released in September, months before the movie’s release, and Rey was not included to avoid revealing a key plot line that she takes on Kylo Ren and joins the Rebel Alliance.”

Admittedly, spoilers for The Force Awakens were a BIG DEAL in the days leading up to and directly following the film’s December release, and Disney even claims they planned this lack of Rey toys to avoid spoilers. In an interview, Paul Southern, head of licensing for Lucasfilm, said, “The fact that she was the ultimate heroine of the film was one of the significant plot points we did want to protect.” This makes a kind of sense, except apparently, the fact that Finn is also a hero of the movie wasn’t considered too spoiler-y.

As many fans have pointed out, including Rey in her scavenger outfit (which she wears almost all of the movie) shouldn’t have been considered a spoiler. Rey was a key figure in The Force Awakens’s trailer, and it only made sense that she was an important part of the movie. If this was solely related to the fact that Rey ends up with Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber and it awakens the force within her, the lightsaber didn’t have to be included in early-release toys.

Southern admits that the passion for Rey toys – which are selling “exceptionally well” at Target – caught Disney by surprise, saying, “The excitement around her is a lot more than we were expecting it to be.” Admitting there’s a problem is a good first step, and with Disney now releasing more Star Wars toys that feature Rey because The Force Awakens spoilers are less of a problem, it may seem like our worries over the missing Rey were unfounded.

But #WheresRey proved a point that fans have been making for years: we want female characters in our merchandise. If Disney – and by extension, Marvel – can finally see that in profit, the language they speak best, maybe we won’t need any more hashtag campaigns. Although I’ve got a bad feeling about leaving it up to the companies, we have made our voices heard. Disney and Hasbro have commented on this issue, so they have no more excuses.

While we wait to see if anything has been learned, rejoice in the Rey merch (new and old)! I picked out a few things that I need to run out to the store and get ASAP, so take a look at my list or check out Entertainment Weekly’s full rundown to figure out what you want.

Rey’s Speeder – Lego

Released prior to The Force Awakens, this Lego set helps you recreate Rey’s speeder from her time on Jakku. It comes with extra studs for you to shoot – although it’s probably not recommend you do what I would do and shoot them at people – and an adorable Rey Lego figure. Plus, the price isn’t half-bad for a Lego kit.

Bladebuilders: Rey’s Lightsaber – Hasbro

When I was kid (and honestly, also now), the number one thing I wanted was a lightsaber, and this one lights up and makes noises! This toy may just be a dream come true, as long as the price is right.

Itty Bittys: Rey – Hallmark

I already have several of these itty bitty stuffed animals, so I may be a little biased on this one. But take one look at Rey’s super cute face and tell me you don’t want one. Just go ahead and try.

Rey 3.75-inch Action Figure – Hasbro

The new Rey action figure features her in her “Resistance outfit” that she wears at the end of the movie, and it comes with a lightsaber for her to hold. Whether you end up getting this one or the scavenger version released in September, it’s a win for you either way.

Rey and BB-8 Elite Series Die Cast Action Figure – Disney

The latest version of Disney’s Rey action figure has her lightsaber, but it’s extra cool that you get her staff too. Besides, BB-8 comes along too, and how can you not want a tiny, adorable droid?

In all the controversy surrounding #WheresRey, perhaps TIME contributor Darlena Cunha said it best when she wrote:

“Little girls need to see themselves as heroes. Little girls need to see that they can grow up to be powerful and good. Little girls deserve a chance to imagine strength and perseverance in their own gender. They deserve someone to look up to.

Just as important, so do little boys. Little boys need to see that women are strong and fierce, and that women characters are just as magnetic as men characters. And they need confirmation of their inner monologue when they see a movie that shows just that. The merchandise should match that experience.”

Welcome to the world, Rey. Sadly, because of the current lack of diversity in toys, you may be our only hope at changing things around. But with any luck, in the future, you won’t be alone. May the Force be with us all.

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What’s the big deal about…Tom Hiddleston?

Tom Hiddleston is like that kinda cute guy friend who you’ve never paid too much attention to, but all of a sudden it dawns on you years later that they are literally the perfect man and have been right under your nose all along, but you were just too dumb to pick up on it.

DUMB.

So. Dumb.

When I first saw Tom in Thor, he honestly didn’t phase me. I’m sorry to those of you who have been on the Hiddleston bandwagon forever and are shooting laser beams out of your eyes as you read this. I know, I was blinded by Chris Hemsworth as Thor. Loki was, to me, like a whiney little brother jealous of his older sibling who went way too heavy on the hair gel to get it into such a slicked back style. I got it, he was supposed to be the villain we love and hate at the same time, and I kinda liked and kinda hated him, but I just wasn’t gungho. When The Avengers franchise hit theaters, I began to get it more. Yeah he was hot, yeah that evil grin was pretty sexy, but something still wasn’t hitting the mark.

Flash forward to the present after a viewing of Crimson Peak, and yeah, I get it. Hear that, fangirls? I get it. Tom Hiddleston is now the object of all my affections. So what if it took a period piece and 19th century get up for the Hiddleston awakening to occur? It’s happened and life will never be the same. If you haven’t figured out why Tom is so great, let me enlighten you.

Tom, the Actor

Tom is an amazing actor. I’m not just saying that because we’re getting married someday, but because it’s the straight up truth. His versatility is quite remarkable, going from a maniacal Norse god to a vampire to a destitute Victorian inventor with a murky past to the voice of a loveable pirate. He’s believable in every role, not allowing the trace of any of his other characters shine through. But Tom’s not just great on film. He’s a wonderful stage actor as well, and has had starring roles in a number of Shakespeare productions, proving both his knowledge and understanding of the classics in addition to his badassery as a number of physically demanding characters on the screen. The intensity he can bring with a single stare is welcomed on both platforms.

Tom, the Humanitarian

While there are many celebrities who donate time and money to numerous charities and relief organizations, Hiddleston rises above many with his level of dedication. Hiddleston is incredibly involved with UNICEF UK. He’s made several trips to suffering African nations in order to raise awareness, and regularly writes pieces on what can be done to improve conditions in Western Africa. Need an example? Check out this moving piece he recently wrote about how the leaders of the world need to answer the call-to-action in South Sudan. In addition to his humanitarian efforts in West Africa, he’s participated in Live Below the Line (living on roughly $1.50 for a week), spoken out about ALS, and is a self-proclaimed feminist.

Tom, the Brit

For those of us who adore everything and everyone British, you can’t get much better than Tom. First, let’s talk about that accent. I don’t care if it’s a shallow follow up to his humanitarian ways, his accent is perfection. Tom is your quintessential British gentleman, a modern day Darcy if you will (and God knows so many of us are restlessly tossing and turning waiting for our Darcy to show up). Having a soft spot for Cambridge due to a study abroad trip, it delights me to no end to picture Tom strolling around its quaint and lovely campus during his days as an undergrad. To top it all off, Tom later studied at London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (whose notable alumni include Sean Bean, Kenneth Branagh, Ralph Fiennes, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Anthony Hopkins, Matthew Macfadyen, Peter O’Toole and Alan Rickman, just to name a few). So Tom, what do you say to a cuppa?

Tom, the Lovable Goofball

To round out the package of an intellectual, talented in many ways, and caring humanitarian, Tom also has a fantastic sense of humor, wonderful singing voice and smashing dance moves. The personality on this man seems astounding. In any interview, Tom captivates the entire audience. Whether he’s sharing a joke about the text message he received from a friend, showing off his dance moves, singing the bare necessities or imitating a velociraptor, he always manages to remind fans that he’s a down-to-earth, goofy guy worthy of our love. To top it all off, Tom is always down to dress up as Loki and amuse unsuspecting kids.

So, if you’re like me and late to the Tom Hiddleston party, hopefully I’ve convinced you to give him more than a passing glance. Be warned, if you do watch Crimson Peak, you will fall in love because he so convincingly falls in love, and you too will find yourself wanting a doting Englishman with a (spoiler alert) nice tush. You keep being the wonderful human you are, Tom.

Giveaway: ‘The 5th Wave’ Movie Tie-In Prize Pack

Has anybody else been counting down the months until the release of the movie adaptation of Rick Yancey’s YA alien invasion novel, The 5th Wave? The book is seriously fantastic, and all signs point to the movie being fantastic as well. It seems like it’s been a long wait, but we’re finally in the home stretch. A full trailer for the movie debuted recently, and now you can pick up a movie tie-in edition of the book.

To celebrate both the release of the movie tie-in book and the upcoming release of the film, we’re featuring a giveaway of some seriously fantastic goodies.

2 winners will each receive:

  • 1 copy of The 5th Wave movie tie-in edition book
  • 1 paperback copy of the sequel, The Infinite Sea
  • 1 Fandango gift certificate for $25 (so you can lock down your 5th Wave movie tickets ASAP!)

You can enter the giveaway below, and don’t forget to preorder your copy of the final book in the series, The Last Star, which will be out May 24th, 2016. I know, I know, it’s a long time to wait to find out the fate of Cassie and her crew, but hey, at least you’ve got the movie to look forward to in the meantime!

 

5thwavemoviecover

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Open to US addresses only. Giveaway closes 12/3/15.
Check out Rick Yancey on Twitter @RickYancey or at his official website.

An Interview with ’10 Days in a Madhouse’ Actress Caroline Barry

CarolineBerryBannerAfter talking with actress Caroline Barry, it’s no surprise that she was a perfect fit for the role of iconic journalist Nellie Bly in the film 10 Days In A Madhouse: The Nellie Bly Story. Barry’s enthusiasm about acting and the role she plays could only be rivaled by her ability to take a great story on the surface and make it exceptional by imparting her passion for telling it. But much like Bly, there is more than meets the eye with Barry – like her passion for martial arts and her love of working with children.

The Daily Quirk had the opportunity to sit down with Barry and discuss her upcoming film, some of her hobbies and what advice she would give to budding journalists after living the life of Nellie Bly. Read the full interview below.


 

The Daily Quirk: I noticed you have done a lot of theater performances. Is that what it was that made you decide to start acting, or were you always in tune with acting as a career choice?

Caroline Barry: I started acting when I was really, really young. I started performing in my parents’ living room when I started talking [laughs]. My first play was when I was five and I was just in love with it. I was just a shy kid and I didn’t really like talking very much, especially not to adults, and so plays were a great way for me to have a script and to get to talk and express myself. I loved it and I kept doing it and thought, well I might be kind of good at this, and I had done it for so long that it was never a question if I wanted to do it when I grew up, I just assumed [laughs]. I never really had many other things I wanted to do. I maybe wanted to be an architect at one point but then I was like, why would I want to be an architect when I could be an actor? [laughs] So yeah, I’ve always loved it and it always came naturally and I wanted it to be come a career.

 

TDQ: I know you’ve been working on a film called 10 Days In A Madhouse, which is the story of journalist Nellie Bly, so can you tell us a little bit about the film?

CB: Yeah, of course! So 10 Days In A Madhouse is the story of Nellie Bly, who was the first undercover reporter and she went undercover into an insane asylum in 1887 on Blackwell’s Island, which is in New York. That was one of her first assignments for Joseph Pulitzer, who we all know for the Pulitzer Prize, so she went in to him and said “I want to write for you, I’ll do anything.” And he said “Okay, go into this asylum.” [laughs] And she’s fearless. She went in and didn’t even hesitate and risked everything. She went in to find out what was happening to these women in Blackwell’s.

 

TDQ: And you actually play Nellie Bly, so can you tell us a little more about that character and the journey you took with her?

CB: Well, when I first got the audition I had never heard of Nellie Bly. I had done a lot of history classes and writing classes but I had never heard of her. So once I started researching her I was stunned that she wasn’t a household name. She was incredibly approachful [sic] in not only in journalism, but the strides that she made for all the things that she reported on. From mental illness to poverty to women’s rights, she was extremely influential in all of those. She even invented the 55-gallon oil drum, which is still used today in the oil industry, which is incredible. So what I really loved about her is that she is an absolute optimist, she was always smiling – she smiled through everything; that was her armor and I really loved that about her. She really saw the best in people, and was very compassionate, and always wrote about people that didn’t have a voice. So I really, really connected with that and was beyond thrilled that when I got the role that I got to portray that. She really became my hero.

 

TDQ: What was it about this movie and this character that stood out to you and made you want to take part in the project?

CB: Well first I think Nellie Bly being such an interesting, complex and fearless character who was such a role model for everyone is something that I think stood out to me. Also, 10 Days In A Madhouse, the women that went through this… Reading Nellie Bly’s book 10 Days In A Madhouse was a really difficult book. Once I talked to the director, Timothy Hines, he was really passionate about making this movie; about honoring the women in Blackwell’s as well as Nellie Bly, and really telling it through their eyes. So once I talked to him about that I was dedicated and committed to the movie and I was so excited. Nellie Bly, the director and the approach to her story is what made me want to do this.

 

TDQ: Were there any moments on set that stood out to you as being particularly fun or exciting or even grueling to film?

CB: Oh, yeah, which one? [laughs] There were so many! We shot in Salem, Oregon in an abandoned insane asylum, and there was no electricity so we had to use generators; it was freezing cold and it was 10 degrees on average. There were shots where you couldn’t see us but you’d just see the breath, so that was exciting and grueling but it really brought everyone together at the same time. It was kind of like being in a weird summer camp except it was freezing and you were in an abandoned insane asylum [laughs]. But it was really cool. In between takes you got to go exploring around all of it because they cleaned out part of the building, but the rest of it was still totally abandoned and [had] stuff hanging from the ceiling. Everything was broken and it was really haunting so that was a cool behind the scenes thing.

 

TDQ: This film is based on true events that actually happened, and now that you’ve played this role and lived that life, what kind of advice would you give to budding journalists about doing what Nellie Bly did?

CB: I think what really makes Nellie Bly standout, especially in journalism, is that she was absolutely passionate about every story that she told. She really got to know the people in her stories and her articles. She really, really made a personal connection with them and I think that’s not something you generally see because journalists try to keep it objective. Nellie Bly cared about the objective but also knew that there was an emotional side that if she connected with the person emotionally she could get to another level with those people and really find out the core truth of what was going on. So I think that’s the advice she would give.

 

TDQ: If you had to give three words to describe this movie to make people want to come to see it – as if the story itself wasn’t already enough – what words would you choose?

CB: Oh, oh words! [laughs] Oh I need a thesaurus… I would say… Gosh, I’m being really picky about my words because I think the movie is just… It’s enthralling, it’s inspiring and it’s moving. I think that’s the main word I would use. It’s moving.

 

TDQ: You are also working on a film called Battleborn, which is currently in post-production. Can you tell us a little more about the film and your character Eva Streed as well?

CB: Oh, yeah! So, that film is about a girl who is…she’s struggling with, well, her brother is a politician and she finds out that she is pregnant. So she and her brother have to go through his public life and her private life and that clash[es]. It’s a really great drama and I’m really excited about it.

 

TDQ: Other than 10 Days and Battleborn, do you have any other upcoming projects you can tell us about?

CB: Yeah! Timothy Hine is the director of 10 Days In A Madhouse and he and I are actually collaborating on a second movie that I’m really excited about. I don’t have too many details I can share right now, but I’m really, really excited to work with him again.

 

TDQ: What other hobbies do you have and what do you like to do in your spare time?

CB: When I’m not acting I love the outdoors. I’m from Colorado so I love being outside and hiking. I also love working with kids and I’ve done a lot of anti-bullying workshops with kids, and right now in my free time I teach kids martial arts. So I teach kids karate when I can. I think kids are so inspiring and refreshing and yeah, I just really love it.

 

TDQ: Well this actually is a perfect segue for our last question because here at The Daily Quirk we like to always end with something quirky, so what are three things people would never know about you just by looking at you? For example, that you teach karate to kids?

CB: That I have a black belt, a lot of people don’t expect that [laughs]. And I’m a pretty good skier. Growing up in Colorado my dad always told me that was a requirement [laughs].

 

The Daily Quirk would like to thank Caroline Barry for taking the time to talk with us. 10 Days In A Madhouse premieres first New York on November 11 and then nationwide on November 20. For more information on the movie and to buy tickets, you can visit the 10 Days In A Madhouse website.

‘Sleeping With Other People’ – a comedy that balances romance and cynicism

SLEEPING WITH OTHER PEOPLE (Image Credit: Linda Källérus / IFC Films)

SLEEPING WITH OTHER PEOPLE (Image Credit: Linda Källérus / IFC Films)

The Daily Quirk caught up with the stars of Sleeping with Other People at Tribeca Film Festival. The movie tells the story of Lainey (Alison Brie) and Jake (Jason Sudeikis) who are both giant failures when it comes to romantic relationships. As young adults, they lost their virginity to each other. Then in an odd twist of fate, they’re brought back together through a counseling group. Together they set out to be just friends, without the romantic stuff, to help each other. Continue reading

Director Reed Morano and the cast of ‘Meadowland’ discuss the film’s hope and humanity

Reed Morano (image Credit: John Johnson)

Reed Morano (image Credit: John Johnson)

Director Reed Morano walked the Tribeca Film Festival red carpet for her haunting new drama, Meadowlandalong with the film’s stars, Olivia Wilde, Giovanni Ribisi and Mark Feuerstein and we’re bringing you the inside info. Continue reading

‘Bleeding Heart’ proves to be a heart pounding Tribeca Premeire

Zosia Mamet and Jessica Biel in BLEEDING HEART (Image Credit: Aaron Epstein)

Zosia Mamet and Jessica Biel in BLEEDING HEART (Image Credit: Aaron Epstein)

In Diane Bell’s sophomore feature, Bleeding Heart, Jessica Biel stars as May, a reserved yoga instructor whose life is thrown off course when she meets her half-sister, Shiva (Zosia Mamet), for the first time.  Spiritual and sweet May quickly gets swept up in trying to save sex-worker Shiva not only from herself, but also from her abusive pimp boyfriend, leading to dangerous results. Continue reading

Flame On! The ‘Fantastic Four’ Rise from the Ashes

FANTASTIC FOUR (Image Credit: 20th Century Fox)

FANTASTIC FOUR (Image Credit: 20th Century Fox)

The early 2000s saw a huge boost in superhero movies, and among this early set was the nearly universally-panned film Fantastic Four (2005). Now, although I was only 14 when the movie came out, I’d like to think my movie taste wasn’t terrible, and I liked the movie so there must have been a special something about that particular story because I agree that the sequel was terrible. Continue reading

VIDEO: An Exclusive Interview with ‘Growing Up and Other Lies’ Writer/Directors Darren Grodsky and Danny Jacobs

Darren Grodsky and Danny Jacobs (Image Credit: Sean Torenli / The Daily Quirk)

Darren Grodsky and Danny Jacobs (Image Credit: Sean Torenli / The Daily Quirk)

Growing Up and Other Lies is the anti coming of age comedy of this generation. The film follows four friends in an epic adventure– walking the entire length of Manhattan in just one day. As their journey unfolds, so do many other issues of past, present and future concerns. The Daily Quirk sat down with the writer/directors of Growing Up and Other Lies, Darren Grodsky and Danny Jacobs, to bring you the inside info on what inspired the film, the impressive cast (Adam Brody, Amber Tamblyn and Jacobs play leading roles) and what it was like for long-time friends Grodsky and Jacobs to work on the project together. Check out the interview below! Continue reading

‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’ Celebrates Its 40th Anniversary at Tribeca Film Festival

MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL (Image Credit: Sony Pictures)

MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL (Image Credit: Sony Pictures)

One of the greatest comedies ever made will be honored at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the release of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. In addition to hosting a special screening of the cult classic comedy, Tribeca Film Festival will feature the international premiere of the documentary Monty Python – The Meaning of Live. Continue reading

Are you excited for ‘Zoolander 2’?

ZOOLANDER (Image Credit: Paramount Pictures)

ZOOLANDER (Image Credit: Paramount Pictures)

Paris Fashion Week resurrected two of the most iconic male models of our time in the most noticeable and very marketable way – Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller) and Hansel (Owen Wilson) took to the runway and closed out the Valentino show. To say I was excited to read that headline would be an understatement. Continue reading

VIDEO: An Exclusive Interview with the Producers of ‘Miss India America’ at Cinequest

Saurabh Kikani and Megha Kadakia (Image Credit: Allison Anilao / The Daily Quirk)

Saurabh Kikani and Megha Kadakia (Image Credit: Allison Anilao / The Daily Quirk)

The Daily Quirk talked with Saurabh Kikani and Megha Kadakia, the producers of Miss India America, on the red carpet of the Cinequest Film Festival. The comedy, which made its world premiere at the festival, is about Lily’s attempt to win the beauty pageant “Miss India America” in order to try to win her boyfriend back. Watch the full interview below to hear Kadakia’s history with the screenwriter Meera Simha and why Kikani said the film “represents pure American independent filmmaking but also new South Asian American voices.”

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What we know from the ‘Crimson Peak’ trailer!

(Image Credit: Universal Pictures)

(Image Credit: Universal Pictures)

The recently released Crimson Peak trailer doesn’t give us much story context, but boy, does it do a good job of selling the movie. Atmospheric and haunting like the titular house in which the movie is set, the trailer sets up a lot of weird stuff, some of it ghostly. Considering what little we know of the film makes it out to be a haunted house movie, that’s definitely a good thing. Continue reading

VIDEO: A Red Carpet Interview with the Actors of ‘Forever Into Space’ at Cinequest

(Image Credit: Allison Anilao / The Daily Quirk)

(Image Credit: Allison Anilao / The Daily Quirk)

The Daily Quirk talked with the actors of Forever Into Space on the red carpet of the Cinequest Film Festival. Kelly Sebastian stars in the black-and-white drama as Audrey Harrington, a 20-something film blogger trying to make sense of her life in today’s world. Watch our full interview below with Harrington, James Anthony Tropeano III, who played Henry Vittelli, and George Nicolaidis who played the apartment broker shark, to hear them all rave about the director Greg Locke and to know why Tropeano III said he felt like he was 5-years-old at the festival.

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