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Emily Blunt Was Ready To Make Disney Movies After A String Of Heavy Dramas

Being an actor is a tricky profession. You live in someone else’s skin for a series of months, before leaving the role behind and moving on to a next project. And when you’re a dramatic actor, this process can be doubly exhausting. That was likely the case with Golden Globe nominee Emily Blunt, who did a slew of dramatic films over the past few years.

Emily Blunt gets to take a decidedly lighter journey in Rob Marshall’s Mary Poppins Returns, a direct sequel to the 1964 original movie. I recently had the chance to speak with Blunt about her practically perfect role, as well as her next project, Disney’s Jungle Cruise. When I asked if these comedies were a nice departure after being in so many dramas, she said:

Well, can you blame her? Emily Blunt’s career has spanned both comedies and dramas, with Mary Poppins Returns marking her second movie musical. And while she likes to paint with all different colors, it seems that her duo of Disney films may have been influenced by the ultra serious dramas she recently worked on.

After a star-making moment in The Devil Wears Prada, Emily Blunt has done a variety of different movies. But over the past few years, the work has required Blunt to go to very dark places. The Girl on The Train earned the actress a ton of critical acclaim, as she played protagonist Rachel. Based off the novel of the same name, her portrayal of alcoholism was heart-wrenching and visceral.

Meanwhile, A Quiet Place took her to another extreme, as her character Evelyn attempted to survive the apocalypse. Particularly, the scene where she is forced to give birth in complete silence, as one of the aliens tried to find her though their sense of sound. Suffering has been a regular part of her past two characters, so it must be fun to play someone so practically perfect as Mary Poppins.

You can check out my conversation with Emily Blunt below.

Mary Poppins Returns will definitely help bring Emily Blunt to the light, as she gets to sing new songs, fly on a kite, and even appear in an animated musical sequence. Of course, there will also be plenty of heartbreaking moments, as the upcoming sequel will focus on loss and death, with Michael Banks and his children mourning their wife/mother.

Mary Poppins Returns will arrive in theaters on December 19th. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your trips to the movies in the New Year.

Style Director David Thielebeule’s Gift Guide: The Great Indoors

1. The Row Sweatshirt

If you are going to relax in a sweatshirt, make it the very best sweatshirt. This perfect version from The Row’s newly launched menswear collection is made of mélange double-faced cashmere jersey. If you’re feeling extra luxurious, there is even a matching pant. $1,495, barneys.com

2. Dior Bois D’Argent Candle

This refined Dior candle perfectly mixes amber, musky and woody fragrances. Its clean and masculine scent brings the outdoors to you. $85, dior.com

Ronin: What We Know About The Character From The Comics

The Avengers: Endgame trailer finally arrived in time to break the internet last week. While it was light on plot details, the trailer did deliver the single most requested thing from fans: Hawkeye! Yes, Hawkeye is in this movie, and he is not doing OK. Rather than his trademark bow and arrow, Hawkeye is in a brand new costume wielding a sword, and it’s implied that he knows how to use it. This change might seem sudden to moviegoers, but comic book fans will recognize this as Clint Barton adopting his other alter ego, Ronin.

It’s long been rumored that Clint would be taking on a new costumed identity in Endgame thanks to some set photos of Jeremy Renner in costume. Other leaked promotional material backed this up, and now the trailer pretty much confirms it. But who is Ronin, and why is this at all significant? For superhero movies, the answer lies in the comics.

While Clint Barton is known in the Avengers franchise for being the bow and arrow guy, the character in the comics has actually adopted a few personas over the decades. For a time, he used Pym Particles to become a size-changing hero called Goliath, but his most famous alter-alter-ego was the ninja and samurai Ronin.

The origins of Ronin actually begin with an entirely different character. Ronin was first introduced in 2005’s New Avengers #11 and was created by Brian Michael Bendis and Joe Quesada. The character was teased on a few different covers before then as Marvel was building up a mystery around the identity of the person under the mask. The popular theory was Daredevil (which it was originally going to be), but it was instead revealed to be Maya Lopez, otherwise known as Echo.

For a quick and probably unfair synopsis on Echo, she’s kind of like the deaf Daredevil. The New Avengers met her in Japan investigating the Silver Samurai, and after the adventure, she joined the team as Ronin. However, as was customary on Bendis’ run at the time, her tenure was short-lived as the writer had to move on focus on the bigger Marvel crossover events.

Maya Lopez returned to Japan to spy on former Daredevil flame Electra Natchios, who was rumored to be the new leader of The Hand, a terrorist ninja clan. Long story short, Lopez was killed, resurrected, and brainwashed by The Hand after the conclusion of Civil War. The New Avengers (now boasting a different lineup) came to rescue her, but they had a surprise guest: Ronin.

Say whaaaat?

This time it was Clint Barton under the mask, and he assumed the Ronin persona to help free Maya Lopez from The Hand. At the time, Barton had abandoned his Hawkeye identity due to complicated, existential reasons.

Let’s back up. In 2005, several Avengers were killed in a storyline called Avengers: Disassembled. Hawkeye died in an attack from a Kree invasion, which ended up being created by an insane Scarlet Witch. However, Scarlet Witch would eventually bring an amnesiac Clint Barton back to life in a new parallel world she created in a story called House of M. She ended up killing him again after his memories returned and tried to assassinate her, but she still did him a solid by resurrecting him when she set the world back to normal (minus most of the mutants).

Dying a bunch of times and the fallout of Civil War had wrecked Clint pretty hard at this point, and he fell off the map to collect himself. After doing some wandering, Clint decided to enter the fold once again to help the fugitive Avengers who were wanted for violating the Superhero Registration Act. However, he didn’t want to be Hawkeye anymore and instead became Ronin.

Ronin exchanged arrows for katanas and is known to be a much more close-range fighter than Hawkeye was. Clint Barton was trained by Captain America in close-combat, and this is where he uses the majority of those skills. Other than being really good at fighting, he has no other powers to speak of.

Clint Barton’s time as Ronin has usually signified a dark time for the character. Clint’s tenure as Ronin was during a bleak time for Marvel’s heroes, who had to deal with the fallout of Civil War, a Skrull invasion, and Norman Osborn taking over S.H.I.E.L.D. Clint would eventually leave Ronin behind and become Hawkeye again once all the problems were solved, and it was a brighter time for the Avengers.

As for why Ronin is making his movie debut, it’s not looking cheery. Rumor has it that things are pretty dark for Clint in the film. One has to figure it has something to do with half of all life fading away with the snap of a finger. The popular theory is that Clint lost his entire family in The Decimation — kids and all. This would obviously have a huge emotional impact and would explain why he’s taken to chopping down bad guys.

In the context of the movie, it makes a bit more sense for Clint to become Ronin than he did in the comics. He kind of just became Ronin because it was available. However, ronin is a Japanese term for a lone warrior. This could mean that Clint goes solo in the movie, shunning away his teammates. It makes more sense than in the comics, where he was on a team the entire time he dressed as a lone warrior.

Getting Nora Durst-ed (that’s a The Leftovers reference) would mess anybody up, but at least the bright side is that the switch to Ronin could signify that Clint is finally getting the spotlight. He’s never really been a main character in these movies, but hopefully, Clint will get the screentime and character arc that he deserves.

Not a whole lot else is known about Clint’s role or much of anything else about Avengers: Endgame. The movie will close the chapter on a lot of fan-favorite characters, and this could be Hawkeye’s last chance to shine. You can catch it when it hits theaters on April 26, 2019.

Blended From Around The Web

 

How Vox Lux’s Big Ending Reveal Affected Natalie Portman’s Performance

SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Vox Lux. If you have not yet seen the film, please bookmark this page and return after your screening!

Brady Corbet’s Vox Lux has a legit bombshell ending, dropping a reveal that forces you to rethink everything you just watched. Specifically, we learn that Celeste’s success and career as a singer was a result of not amazing talent and/or fortuitous timing, but instead a literal deal with the devil she made during her near-death experience. Knowing this forces you to reexamine everything that you think you know about Celeste, but what makes it even more interesting is that it was a key detail that Natalie Portman kept in the back of her mind throughout her entire performance:

The ending of Vox Lux was one that kept my brain spinning for a while after I walked out of the film, and my curiosity continued until the next day when I had the pleasure of sitting down with Natalie Portman and co-star Raffey Cassidy to talk about their work on the movie. After a discussion about their very different approaches they each took towards playing the same character, I brought up the end reveal and inquired about its impact on their performances.

It turns out that it was something Portman was very much thinking about, and it resulted in her accessing some parts of the character she may not have otherwise.

The big reveal arrives just minutes before the end of Vox Lux, with Willem Dafoe’s voice over narration starting up in the midst of Celeste’s Vox Lux concert. It’s said that when Celeste was shot in the neck at the start of the movie that she not only died, but made a deal with the devil in exchange for her life, allowing her to not only live, but also become one of the biggest celebrities in the world. Furthermore, it’s strongly implied that Jude Law’s character — the unnamed Manager — is either the devil making Celeste’s dreams come true, or at least an agent of evil.

Not only does this have an effect on the way you view the life trajectory of Celeste, but also multiple other details throughout the movie. For starters, it explains Celeste’s half-confession – “I think I’ve done something terrible” — while in the hospital in the first act, but it also further explains why she was so entirely horrified to find her sister (Stacy Martin) and manager sleeping together (on beyond the normal reasons).

You can watch Natalie Portman discuss Vox Lux and the impact of Celeste’s devilish deal by clicking play on the video below:

Following its premieres at Venice, Toronto, AFI Fest and more, Vox Lux is now out in limited release, so check your local theaters for screenings.

Zayn Drops Yet Another New Song, And It’s His Most Upbeat One In Ages

Another day, another new Zayn song.

The 25-year-old has released the umpteenth buzz track from his long-awaited sophomore album, Icarus Falls, which arrives this Friday (December 14). The other singles have really run the gamut, genre-wise — he’s given us R&B, rock, and beyond — and today’s offering, “There You Are,” is no exception, as Z dabbles in some anthemic ’80s pop.

“Can’t see when I’m falling, losing myself / But then I hear you calling / There you are, there you are / You’re there with open arms,” he sings, taking flight on the emotional chorus. The upbeat banger is a far cry from the paranoia of “Rainberry” and the remorse of “Good Years,” and only confirms we’re in for an eclectic ride with Icarus Falls.

For those keeping count, “There You Are” marks the ninth song we’ve heard from Icarus Falls thus far. That’s a lot, sure, but the Mind of Mine follow-up will span a generous 27 tracks, so fans will have plenty more music to hear come Friday.

Following his latest song’s release, Zayn took to Instagram to further hype the new album by sharing its dramatic artwork — check that out below.

Gabbie Hanna Fully Embraces Her ‘What If I’m A Monster’ Meme Status

Gabbie Hanna asked the world to become a meme back in 2015, and the world has finally made it happen.

A brief clip of Hanna’s Verified episode for Genius, in which she belts out the chorus of her October single “Monster,” inspired fans to replace the YouTuber’s vocals with, well, any kind of sound you can imagine.

Someone subbed in a high-pitched squeal, likely from an animal, while another inserted a vintage Windows launch sound effect. And with entire “what if I’m the monster” compilation videos being made, it started to feel like Vine all over again.

Shortly after the “Monster” memes really started taking off, Hanna made reference to them on Twitter as she recreated the more-demonic versions of the meme in text form.

But Hanna’s now fully embraced the craze. She even changed her Twitter display name to “monsTEeeEeRRRRR” and bantered with fans about some of her favorite recreations.

On Monday (December 10), Hanna uploaded a video about the memes on her YouTube channel as a sort of official response. In the 15-minute video, the singer starts by explaining what led to her blowing out the microphone in her Genius episode.

“Before I scream ‘monster,’ they use the boom mic that was directly above me,” Hanna explained. “And for the part where I yell, they use the audio from, I believe, the camera. So it sounded not meshed.”

But as an artist who emulates the pop-punk music she loved growing up, Hanna doesn’t feel bad about her performance. In fact, she has a pretty positive outlook on it, laughing along as fans poke fun at the video with their wildly creative recreations.

For the rest of the video, Hanna reacts to a bunch of the best “Monster” memes, even recording a set of follow-up reactions as she continued to find new versions. See some of the best memes — and Hanna’s take on them — in her video below.

That Time Jennifer Lopez And Will Smith Were Going To Do A Star Is Born

The classic Hollywood story, A Star is Born has pierced nearly every generation, with its dramatic story between a rising star being propelled into fame by a troubled big name who soon stumbles to his downfall. This generation’s retelling will unmistakably be the electric musical collaboration between Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga.

Before the pair found the perfect on-screen partnership in each other for one of this year’s most memorable films, quite a few other Hollywood names were rumored to be in talks about being a part of a remake for A Star is Born, including Jennifer Lopez and Will Smith. J-Lo recently told Extra why this version just wasn’t written in the stars, with these words:

Oh, what could have been! Jennifer Lopez certainly isn’t taking that attitude toward the role that A Star is Born never was, as she continued by expressing how proud she is of her friend Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut along with the incredible performance Lady Gaga brought to the role of Ally. Lopez said she thinks everything has its own “divine” timing and the 2018 A Star is Born turned out perfect.

That’s not to say Jennifer Lopez couldn’t pull off a dazzling performance in A Star is Born version. The actress memorably played Queen of Tejano music Selena Quintanilla in 1997’s Selena which she earned a Golden Globe nomination for. Along with Lopez’s many acting credits, she is also a chart-topping pop star herself.

Will Smith as the Jackson Maine character instead of Bradley Cooper might have been a good choice too. Considering Smith is best known for his rap music; their A Star is Born might have tackled the hip-hop landscape and have produced original tracks much more suited for pop radio than the emotional stripped-down tracks such as “Shallow” and “I’ll Never Love Again” found in the recent release.

Since the project with Jennifer Lopez and Will Smith never went past early talks, there really is no way of knowing what it could have been, or it would be dominating award season conversation as the new one likely will. When A Star is Born was in development hell, many other stars were attached, with Beyoncé set to star and Clint Eastwood as director at one point . Bradley Cooper also recently revealed that he had his eye on White Stripes’ rocker Jack White to take on his role at some point when he took the helm.

There is something completely uniquely special about A Star is Born with Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga. It was a project that both the stars were completely all in on and it highlights their talent in a way we’ve never seen them before and has given this generation an especially beautiful iteration of a timeless tale.

Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse Originally Included A Doctor Strange Cameo

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is a delight for fans of the web slinger and Marvel in general, full of webheads from across the multiverse, packed with references and even featuring a cameo from the late Stan Lee. But the film originally included another cameo that would have been a huge surprise for Marvel fans, none other than Doctor Strange. Producer/screenwriter Phil Lord explained where the Master of the Mystic Arts would have come in, saying:

That is a pretty cool ending and it certainly would have come as a shock to audiences who were expecting to just see a Spider-Man film and only know Doctor Strange from his live-action adventures in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The arrival of the Sorcerer Supreme would have also been one heck of a mic drop right before the credits rolled.

A Doctor Strange cameo would have made sense too considering that Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse deals with multiple universes, a realm that Doctor Strange has a great deal of experience in.

So it would have made sense from a story perspective and the fun interactions between Tom Holland’s Spider-Man and Doctor Strange in Avengers: Infinity War gave us a taste of what these two wildly different heroes could be like together. The question is would Benedict Cumberbatch have voiced Doctor Strange in the movie, thus becoming the character across the cinematic multiverse?

Speaking to Den of Geek, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse producers Phil Lord and Chris Miller didn’t explain why exactly Doctor Strange was taken out before the final script or what his appearance would have portended for the sequel, but it is very interesting to know the character was considered at all.

This cameo would have further established that Into the Spider-Verse is part of a Marvel universe where other heroes exist. It would have also teased the world opening up. Fortunately, it is not like there won’t be plenty of opportunity to include Doctor Strange — and perhaps other non-Spidey Marvel characters — in future films.

Before its release, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse already has a sequel and a spinoff movie in the works. In addition to the live-action universe started by Venom, it looks like Sony will also have an animated cinematic universe on its hands. The fact that Doctor Strange could have been in Into the Spider-Verse fuels the imagination with possibility at what future films in this franchise could hold. Maybe we’ll even get the Spidey/Daredevil team up the live-action realm seems determined to deny us.

But before we worry too much about the future of the animated Spider-Verse, we still have this film to enjoy. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is poised for a win at the box office opening weekend and it is buoyed by universal acclaim and enthusiasm.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse swings into theaters on December 14th. Check out our 2019 release schedule for all the biggest movies arriving next year, including a couple that may feature a certain wall-crawler and maybe even a wizard.

Surviving College-Application Season in One Piece

Many teens labor to meet January college application deadlines under the watchful eye of their parents.
Many teens labor to meet January college application deadlines under the watchful eye of their parents. Photo: Getty Images

It’s a monthslong ordeal that could change the course of a high school senior’s life, leading to a choice that could cost tens of thousands of dollars or more. No wonder the college-application season can torpedo the holidays for teens and their parents.

Many students labor to meet early-winter deadlines for college applications, often under the anxious eyes of their parents. The resulting stress can damage family relationships if parents fail to set good boundaries and keep their own anxieties in check.

“Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks can pretty much be ruined by a poor college-application process,” says Stephanie Meade, an educational consultant in Sherman Oaks, Calif. “Parents talk about how it’s the last year the student will be living under their roof, and the last thing they want to do is to be fighting with them.”

The path is often rockiest for the oldest child. Pavanaja Reddy of New York was frustrated when her older daughter, now 20, resisted her suggestions on where to apply. “She could get into the Ivies. But that’s not what she had in her mind. It was a really bad time for both of us,” says Dr. Reddy, a physician. “There was a constant struggle with me telling her, ‘I’m the parent, I know what’s best for you,’ and her saying, ‘I know what’s best for myself.’ ”

Looking back, Dr. Reddy says, “I was thinking about what I would do rather than what she would do.” She sees now that her daughter, a junior at Case Western Reserve University, was well-informed and well-equipped to make her own decision.

When her second daughter, now 18 and a freshman at Rice University, applied last year, Dr. Reddy turned the decision over to her. Like a growing number of parents, she hired an independent educational consultant to support her. “I was having a glass of wine every day. I was totally relaxed,” she says. “We didn’t fight once.”

The application process is becoming more competitive. Students are applying to more schools and colleges are marketing their services more widely. Admission decisions are less predictable, as less competitive colleges reject more applicants who don’t show strong interest in an effort to lower their acceptance rates, a mark of selectivity and prestige. Meanwhile, getting into schools like Harvard and Stanford has never been tougher.

All this makes it hard for parents to resist meddling when teens are making such a significant decision. “The shift in responsibility from parent to child during college applications is almost a microcosm of the transition that takes place when the teenager leaves home,” says Julie Raynor Gross, president of Collegiate Gateway in New York. She coached Dr. Reddy’s daughter.

It’s also a rich opportunity for teens to learn decision-making strategies, from listing pros and cons to assessing how they feel on campus.

Some parents try to control the process in hopes of sending their child to an elite school, giving them bragging rights at cocktail parties. “They say, ‘The process is too important for it to be a learning experience. We have to manage it,’ ” Ms. Meade says. “I don’t agree. There are 3,000 four-year colleges in this country and most are wonderful places to get an education, if the student wants to work.”

Other parents get tempted to step in and speed things up a bit by taking charge of routine tasks. “It’s so easy to do something and check it off. It’s much harder to allow the student the time to fumble a bit,” says Jane Shropshire, an educational consultant in Lexington, Ky.

For much of the spring and summer, 18-year-old Maddie Orr didn’t feel like talking to her parents about college. This was true even though she spent nearly all her time prepping to take both the ACT and SAT exams twice, researching colleges and writing her essay on an emotional topic, a serious illness that temporarily disabled a close friend. “It was always on my mind, but I didn’t want to talk about it. I was still figuring everything out,” Maddie says.

“It’s hard to watch your kid struggle like that,” says her mother, Jane Orr of Rumson, N.J. But she and her husband kept a respectful distance while Maddie polished her essay and had other adults look it over. They’ve helped in other ways, accompanying Maddie on campus visits and offering encouragement. Still, hearing other parents talk about the admissions frenzy, Ms. Orr wondered if she and her husband were doing enough. Maddie is expecting word soon from two top choices.

Christine DiCenso of Boston and her daughter Caroline, 19, a college sophomore.
Christine DiCenso of Boston and her daughter Caroline, 19, a college sophomore. Photo: DiCenso Family

Colleges have placed more importance on applicants’ essays as an indicator of their values and character. Parents are often tempted to rewrite or edit them heavily. Such meddling is usually obvious to admissions officers, however, who have a keen eye for teenagers’ authentic, and often imperfect, prose.

It also undermines students’ confidence. “This says to the student, ‘I don’t trust you to do this, so let me do it for you,’ ” says Ann Rossbach, a Rumson, N.J., educational consultant. “It’s demoralizing.” Parents should limit their role to helping brainstorm possible essay topics, she says.

While authenticity helps essays, bad grammar in emails to admissions officers is unwelcome. If students aren’t familiar with email protocol, provide a little coaching in advance on suitable greetings, punctuation and capitalization, says Joan K. Casey, president of Educational Advocates, a Brookline, Mass., consulting firm. Parents also should make sure students have a system for organizing all the steps and deadlines, perhaps a spreadsheet, she says. The skills needed for such projects don’t fully develop in some students until they’re in their 20s.

Students are usually most satisfied when they own the outcome—even if they wind up at their parents’ top choice. Christine DiCenso of Boston carefully avoided pressuring her daughter Caroline to attend her and her husband’s alma mater, Boston College. Caroline says she challenged her mother, saying, “Come on, tell the truth. You want me to go to BC,” but her mother stuck to her position, arguing that going someplace new would be exciting for Caroline.

Caroline agreed—until she got into her top choice, a Midwestern university, and toured the campus. She was surprised by its sprawling size and rural surroundings. “There are silos there. I had never seen one,” she says.

Now 19, Caroline is a sophomore at Boston College. ”I made my own decision,” she says—and she loves it.

When Your Teens Apply to College

• Help them plan the high school courses that give them the best odds for admission.

• Give them experience managing and meeting deadlines before senior year.

• Calculate what colleges will expect parents to pay on FinAid or Fafsa4caster.

• Have a conversation with them by sophomore year about paying for college.

• Help plan and arrange campus visits.

• Take your cues from them, asking how you can help.

• Avoid recycling your own college dreams with them.

• Encourage them, reminding them of their strengths and positive qualities.

• Help them brainstorm essay topics.

• Avoid writing, rewriting or heavily editing their essay.

• Make sure they have a system to track and meet deadlines.

• Consider limiting talk about colleges to one afternoon or evening a week.

• Help them practice admissions interviews with a knowledgeable adult.

• Seize on opportunities to teach them decision-making strategies.

Work & Family Mailbox

Q: Your column on more employers’ valuing humility as a leadership trait [from Oct. 9] was intriguing. I’m job hunting and have had to take personality tests, such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator or the DISC profile, as part of the screening process. It seems to me the results of these tests might vary depending on how you feel when you take them. What do you think about the effectiveness of these exams?—M.B.

A: Most candidates don’t try to manipulate personality-test results by skewing their answers, but it’s certainly possible to do so. Also, neither the Myers-Briggs nor the DISC profile, which measures dominance, influence, steadiness and conscientiousness, is intended for use as an employment-screening tool. The tests don’t measure specific skills or aptitudes that predict how a person will perform in a specific job. Instead, they clump test-takers into groups based on similarities in personality traits, motivation, values or work styles. Many types of people can excel at the same job for different reasons. Although most people think salespeople should be extroverts, for example, an introvert might excel at sales because he’s a good listener and takes time to understand customers’ problems.

The employers you encountered were probably using the tests to predict how you would fit into their workplace culture. Others want to create a more diverse or balanced workforce, with a mix of personality types. Both uses are risky, because it’s extremely difficult to predict how people will react and interact when thrust into a new job and setting. Such tests are more useful to help people who are already working together understand each other and work together more smoothly.

Q: I enjoyed your column on impromptu speaking [on Dec. 3] and benefited from the tips you provided. I always freeze when asked to speak off the cuff. Can you guide me to any training programs or books that might help?—K.T.

A: Two big providers of online classes, Udemy and Coursera, offer public-speaking courses that require from a few hours to several months to complete. The nonprofit Toastmasters International has helped many members with speaking and leadership skills. Check its website to find a local club, tips and instructional videos. The website Six Minutes by Andrew Dlugan, a coach and trainer, offers articles, tips and free critiques of great speeches.

Among helpful books, see “Speaking Up Without Freaking Out” by Matthew Abrahams, or “Communicate to Influence” by Ben Decker and Kelly Decker. Many speakers also find it helpful to learn principles of improvisational theatre, as suggested by author Patricia Ryan Madson in “Improv Wisdom.”

Write to Sue Shellenbarger at sue.shellenbarger@wsj.com

More From Work & Family

Marvel Was So Paranoid About Spoilers, Jude Law’s Kids Had To Sign NDAs

By now, if you’ve paid one iota of attention to Marvel and its inner workings, you should know the people on the backend are huge spoilerphobes, ready to throw out NDAs around each and every corner. Or at least hiding around corners is how I imagine them. Perhaps Jude Law’s kids even have nightmares about these NDA-oriented Marvel employees because Law recently revealed the paper pushers couldn’t “jump” on his kids fast enough to get them to sign paperwork about Marvel.

During a recent appearance on The Late Late Show with James Corden, Jude Law talked a little bit about his upcoming role in Captain Marvel. In particular, he talked about a day he brought his kids around on set and people had to be really clear to said kids that they were not allowed to talk about what their daddy was up to on set, especially when space ships were involved.

Since, we didn’t learn much about Jude Law’s potential character before a recent toy leak, it seems as if Marvel and Jude Law’s kids did their respective jobs.

In the time since Jude Law was filming for the female-led flick, we’ve learned quite a bit about Captain Marvel. Trailers have dropped for the movie and has featured plenty of footage, including a look at Annette Bening’s character and more. Thanks to the aforementioned toy leak, there’s an indication Jude Law will be playing Yon-Rogg, as well.

As for the actor himself, he was very clear on The Late Late Show to note that he keeps his mouth shut where Marvel is involved, lest he spoil something particularly important. Jude Law said:

Perhaps that’s a note the likes of Tom Holland should be taking as Sony ramps up to release Spider-Man: Far From Home.

You can hear more about Captain Marvel and what Jude Law would do if he really were in space by taking a look at the full interview, which also features Steve Coogan, below.

In addition, you can catch Jude Law in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald in theaters now. Captain Marvel will officially hit theaters on March 8, 2019, which means there is still plenty of time for Jude Law to make a spoiler slip.