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How Would the First Female U.S. President Dress? Just Look to TV.

When you think back on everything that you’ve watched on television in 2018, are there any emerging themes that comes to mind? So often, we see our real-life interests reflected back at us on screen (all those royal references in entertainment right now.) Other times, they’ll offer us a glimpse of an alternate reality, one not too far off from what we know—like how, in 2018, more shows envisioned what a female U.S. president might look like.

After a landmark year for women not only running for political office in the U.S., but also winning elections, this subject was more prescient than ever. The memory of Hillary Clinton’s loss was still fresh—and though she was certainly not the first to run for the highest political office in the land (Shirley Chisholm did so in 1972, as did Victoria Woodhull a full century before her), she broke new ground as the first female candidate nominated by a major party and as winner of the popular vote. Globally, there are and have been plenty examples of women leading countries, from German Chancellor Angela Merkel to British Prime Minister Theresa May. And what we’ve seen for them and female political leaders stateside is that, unlike their male counterparts (save for the time Barack Obama donned a khaki suit on Easter), their wardrobes play a significant role in the public’s perception of them and their performance. We may not have had a female POTUS yet, but we can imagine what kind of scrutiny she would face for her fashion choices.

6

PHOTO: David Giesbrecht/Netflix

President Claire Underwood in House of Cards.

In 2018, we’ve seen various interpretations of how this would play out—and how she would dress—on television. On the sixth and final season of Netflix’s House of Cards, Claire Underwood (played by Robin Wright) has settled into the role of POTUS, after her husband, Francis Underwood (Kevin Spacey), was killed off—a result of the actor’s firing following allegations of sexual abuse. The role is a significant change for the Underwood matriarch: She was Vice President in season five, but this new position bestows her with more power and as much force and fire as ever. It also gives viewers a sense of what politics might look like in the U.S. if a woman was in charge. Yes, that means a lot of suits.

“We knew Claire was going to be president at the end of season five, so I immediately started researching past and present world leaders, both men and women,” says Kemal Harris, who has dressed the character since the show’s third season and also styles actress Wright in real life. She looked at what White House employees would wear day in, day out, to inform what President Claire Underwood’s “everyday suit” would look like: “It was still form-fitting, with easy pieces like a suit jacket and skirt or pants and dresses, but with militaristic details, like gold buttons.”

“Whereas in the past we’d go for three-quarter sleeves, I went for a higher neckline and longer sleeves,” Harris continues. “This season, she’s ready for battle.”

6

PHOTO: David Giesbrecht/Netflix

President Underwood in House of Cards.

President Underwood takes the classic suiting look, but wears it in her own way: tailored to uplift and showcase the female form, accented with those military-esque elements that reflect the battle for power that she would have to wage, and very high-fashion for a highly-visible leader (though never in a way that detracts from her purpose.) These aren’t simply pantsuits—they’re sartorial weapons, used to convey power, but also to persuade.

“For Claire, it’s always been about power, control, trust, trying to win everyone over to her side,” Harris adds. “She wants to be streamlined and unfussy and her wardrobe really reflects that.”

This is but the latest as-seen-on-TV female POTUS wardrobe: Underwood joins Homeland’s President Elizabeth Keane and Scandal’s President Mellie Grant, which have paved the fictional landscape before her. And viewers will recognize a lot of the same sartorial references on House of Cards as they saw on Homeland and on Scandal.

To outfit President Keane, costume designer Katina Le Kerr says that, like Harris, she looked at the clothing of current politicians, as well as that of female leaders from different industries— “community leaders across the country, Washington D.C. pros, international leaders, and Fortune 500 CEOs”—throughout history. “I studied which women wore pant suits, which wore skirt suits,” she recalls.

702-Rebel Rebel

PHOTO: Antony Platt

President Elizabeth Keane, left, in Homeland.

Lyn Paolo, who was responsible for all things fashion on Scandal, focused on transitioning Mellie from First Lady to President Grant, much like Underwood and Harris are doing now: “We went from a lot of dresses with shrug cardigans to more of a suited look with a jacket and a dress combination,” she explains. “After her election win—and once she stood on the Seal of the US, in her Oval Office—we made a transition to a pantsuit.”

When it comes to mimicking a presidential wardrobe, it’s about the small but consequential details that ensure the costumes read as authentic. “One thing I noticed about all of the past presidents and leaders is that they never carry a briefcase and you never see them with their roller bag,” Harris says. “Women in positions of political leadership don’t carry handbags, so I made a conscious decision to go without handbags for Claire in season six. She’s the president—she’s got people to carry her ID and her lipstick for her now.”

Then, there were the cufflinks: “In the past, the White House has made special cufflinks for each President, and you can buy replicas at the White House gift shop. So I reached out to figure out what was up with these cufflinks, because they were so intriguing—I didn’t even know they existed.” The White House Gift Shop sent her a prototype of a cufflink that had the presidential seal, but hadn’t been customized for any past president, so they became Claire’s. “She’s wearing them in almost every scene for every outfit,” Harris adds.

6

PHOTO: David Giesbrecht/Netflix

President Underwood in House of Cards.

But of all the items in their fictional closets, it’s the pantsuits that feel the most on the nose. For women in Washington, they’ve become a symbol of authority (thanks, in part, to Clinton and her penchant for suits of all kinds.) But the classic blazer-pant combo has gone from Capitol Hill to the red carpet in recent years, and is increasingly marketed by contemporary brands as a “power look” for shoppers who want to feel more in control. The language surrounding it can be complicated for some costume designers, though—as Le Kerr notes: “That word ‘power’ surfaces strangely, only when there’s a discussion about women wearing suits. When a man wears a suit, we don’t think of him wearing a ‘power’ suit—he’s just wearing a suit. The power is implied. With women having not had political power for so long…Well, someday we won’t be having these discussions.”

Still, Le Kerr believes that the pantsuit will continue to be the agreed-upon look of politicians, both male and female, both real and fictional. “Even if a woman has a certain style proclivity, the political arena isn’t the place to fully express it,” she says. “It’s an extension of the business world, where expressing personality takes the back seat to conveying intelligence, qualities of character, and leadership skills.”

Across all three characters, there’s a deliberate shunning of traditional “feminine” clothing, of the stuffy pencil skirts and pearl necklaces. That doesn’t mean femininity doesn’t play a role in imagining these women—in fact, it’s central to the way some of them communicate and assert their power. It’s just done in a much more subtle way.

ABC's "Scandal" - Season Seven

PHOTO: Richard Cartwright

President Mellie Grant, left, in Scandal.

“She has this kind of quiet sensuality about her, without ever being in your face—you’ll never see [her in] a plunging v-neck or a mini skirt,” Harris says of Underwood. “We’re showing this disarming strength through her wardrobe without ever having to flash it in your face… That’s one of the ways Claire manipulates people around her.”

President Keane, on the other hand, was “a woman in a dark suit with very little time to stand in front of her closet wondering what she was going to wear,” according to Le Kerr. “Her wardrobe didn’t evolve—that was my intent. We dropped into a slice of this woman’s life and focused on her words and actions.” Harris also made an effort to make President Underwood an outfit repeater “because she’s a world leader now and it would look conspicuous if she showed up in a brand-new fancy suit everywhere she goes.”

This strategy is more reflective of how we imagine past (male) presidents’ approach to their wardrobe. It’s a double standard that Michelle Obama has talked about. “[Keane’s] costumes weren’t flashy, but that was the goal,”Le Kerr adds; her wardrobe was to be “believable and powerful.”

710-Clarity

PHOTO: Antony Platt

President Keane in Homeland.

The conversation about how women in politics use their wardrobe is top of mind as a new class of Congresspeople are sworn in this January. For so many of them, how they dress speaks to their identity—like Ilhan Omar, who wears a hijab and was one of two Muslim women elected to the House of Representatives in November. It’ll also continue to play out on the small screen: The reigns of Presidents Grant, Keane, and Underwood are now over (for now—you can’t rule out a reboot), but a new female leader will be coming to Netflix, as Jennifer Aniston and Tig Notaro have signed on to play POTUS and FLOTUS , respectively, in the forthcoming movie First Ladies.

Though we know women lead and lead well whether they’re in a suit or a pair of sweats, the more we speak our power into existence, the more it will come to fruition. Here’s to more women leaders everywhere—no matter what they’re wearing.

How Would the First Female U.S. President Dress? Just Look at TV.

When you think back on everything that you’ve watched on television in 2018, are there any emerging themes that comes to mind? So often, we see our real-life interests reflected back at us on screen (all those royal references in entertainment right now.) Other times, they’ll offer us a glimpse of an alternate reality, one not too far off from what we know—like how, in 2018, more shows envisioned what a female U.S. president might look like.

After a landmark year for women not only running for political office in the U.S., but also winning elections, this subject was more prescient than ever. The memory of Hillary Clinton’s loss was still fresh—and though she was certainly not the first to run for the highest political office in the land (Shirley Chisholm did so in 1972, as did Victoria Woodhull a full century before her), she broke new ground as the first female candidate nominated by a major party and as winner of the popular vote. Globally, there are and have been plenty examples of women leading countries, from German Chancellor Angela Merkel to British Prime Minister Theresa May. And what we’ve seen for them and female political leaders stateside is that, unlike their male counterparts (save for the time Barack Obama donned a khaki suit on Easter), their wardrobes play a significant role in the public’s perception of them and their performance. We may not have had a female POTUS yet, but we can imagine what kind of scrutiny she would face for her fashion choices.

6

PHOTO: David Giesbrecht/Netflix

President Claire Underwood in House of Cards.

In 2018, we’ve seen various interpretations of how this would play out—and how she would dress—on television. On the sixth and final season of Netflix’s House of Cards, Claire Underwood (played by Robin Wright) has settled into the role of POTUS, after her husband, Francis Underwood (Kevin Spacey), was killed off—a result of the actor’s firing following allegations of sexual abuse. The role is a significant change for the Underwood matriarch: She was Vice President in season five, but this new position bestows her with more power and as much force and fire as ever. It also gives viewers a sense of what politics might look like in the U.S. if a woman was in charge. Yes, that means a lot of suits.

“We knew Claire was going to be president at the end of season five, so I immediately started researching past and present world leaders, both men and women,” says Kemal Harris, who has dressed the character since the show’s third season and also styles actress Wright in real life. She looked at what White House employees would wear day in, day out, to inform what President Claire Underwood’s “everyday suit” would look like: “It was still form-fitting, with easy pieces like a suit jacket and skirt or pants and dresses, but with militaristic details, like gold buttons.”

“Whereas in the past we’d go for three-quarter sleeves, I went for a higher neckline and longer sleeves,” Harris continues. “This season, she’s ready for battle.”

6

PHOTO: David Giesbrecht/Netflix

President Underwood in House of Cards.

President Underwood takes the classic suiting look, but wears it in her own way: tailored to uplift and showcase the female form, accented with those military-esque elements that reflect the battle for power that she would have to wage, and very high-fashion for a highly-visible leader (though never in a way that detracts from her purpose.) These aren’t simply pantsuits—they’re sartorial weapons, used to convey power, but also to persuade.

“For Claire, it’s always been about power, control, trust, trying to win everyone over to her side,” Harris adds. “She wants to be streamlined and unfussy and her wardrobe really reflects that.”

This is but the latest as-seen-on-TV female POTUS wardrobe: Underwood joins Homeland’s President Elizabeth Keane and Scandal’s President Mellie Grant, which have paved the fictional landscape before her. And viewers will recognize a lot of the same sartorial references on House of Cards as they saw on Homeland and on Scandal.

To outfit President Keane, costume designer Katina Le Kerr says that, like Harris, she looked at the clothing of current politicians, as well as that of female leaders from different industries— “community leaders across the country, Washington D.C. pros, international leaders, and Fortune 500 CEOs”—throughout history. “I studied which women wore pant suits, which wore skirt suits,” she recalls.

702-Rebel Rebel

PHOTO: Antony Platt

President Elizabeth Keane, left, in Homeland.

Lyn Paolo, who was responsible for all things fashion on Scandal, focused on transitioning Mellie from First Lady to President Grant, much like Underwood and Harris are doing now: “We went from a lot of dresses with shrug cardigans to more of a suited look with a jacket and a dress combination,” she explains. “After her election win—and once she stood on the Seal of the US, in her Oval Office—we made a transition to a pantsuit.”

When it comes to mimicking a presidential wardrobe, it’s about the small but consequential details that ensure the costumes read as authentic. “One thing I noticed about all of the past presidents and leaders is that they never carry a briefcase and you never see them with their roller bag,” Harris says. “Women in positions of political leadership don’t carry handbags, so I made a conscious decision to go without handbags for Claire in season six. She’s the president—she’s got people to carry her ID and her lipstick for her now.”

Then, there were the cufflinks: “In the past, the White House has made special cufflinks for each President, and you can buy replicas at the White House gift shop. So I reached out to figure out what was up with these cufflinks, because they were so intriguing—I didn’t even know they existed.” The White House Gift Shop sent her a prototype of a cufflink that had the presidential seal, but hadn’t been customized for any past president, so they became Claire’s. “She’s wearing them in almost every scene for every outfit,” Harris adds.

6

PHOTO: David Giesbrecht/Netflix

President Underwood in House of Cards.

But of all the items in their fictional closets, it’s the pantsuits that feel the most on the nose. For women in Washington, they’ve become a symbol of authority (thanks, in part, to Clinton and her penchant for suits of all kinds.) But the classic blazer-pant combo has gone from Capitol Hill to the red carpet in recent years, and is increasingly marketed by contemporary brands as a “power look” for shoppers who want to feel more in control. The language surrounding it can be complicated for some costume designers, though—as Le Kerr notes: “That word ‘power’ surfaces strangely, only when there’s a discussion about women wearing suits. When a man wears a suit, we don’t think of him wearing a ‘power’ suit—he’s just wearing a suit. The power is implied. With women having not had political power for so long…Well, someday we won’t be having these discussions.”

Still, Le Kerr believes that the pantsuit will continue to be the agreed-upon look of politicians, both male and female, both real and fictional. “Even if a woman has a certain style proclivity, the political arena isn’t the place to fully express it,” she says. “It’s an extension of the business world, where expressing personality takes the back seat to conveying intelligence, qualities of character, and leadership skills.”

Across all three characters, there’s a deliberate shunning of traditional “feminine” clothing, of the stuffy pencil skirts and pearl necklaces. That doesn’t mean femininity doesn’t play a role in imagining these women—in fact, it’s central to the way some of them communicate and assert their power. It’s just done in a much more subtle way.

ABC's "Scandal" - Season Seven

PHOTO: Richard Cartwright

President Mellie Grant, left, in Scandal.

“She has this kind of quiet sensuality about her, without ever being in your face—you’ll never see [her in] a plunging v-neck or a mini skirt,” Harris says of Underwood. “We’re showing this disarming strength through her wardrobe without ever having to flash it in your face… That’s one of the ways Claire manipulates people around her.”

President Keane, on the other hand, was “a woman in a dark suit with very little time to stand in front of her closet wondering what she was going to wear,” according to Le Kerr. “Her wardrobe didn’t evolve—that was my intent. We dropped into a slice of this woman’s life and focused on her words and actions.” Harris also made an effort to make President Underwood an outfit repeater “because she’s a world leader now and it would look conspicuous if she showed up in a brand-new fancy suit everywhere she goes.”

This strategy is more reflective of how we imagine past (male) presidents’ approach to their wardrobe. It’s a double standard that Michelle Obama has talked about. “[Keane’s] costumes weren’t flashy, but that was the goal,”Le Kerr adds; her wardrobe was to be “believable and powerful.”

710-Clarity

PHOTO: Antony Platt

President Keane in Homeland.

The conversation about how women in politics use their wardrobe is top of mind as a new class of Congresspeople are sworn in this January. For so many of them, how they dress speaks to their identity—like Ilhan Omar, who wears a hijab and was one of two Muslim women elected to the House of Representatives in November. It’ll also continue to play out on the small screen: The reigns of Presidents Grant, Keane, and Underwood are now over (for now—you can’t rule out a reboot), but a new female leader will be coming to Netflix, as Jennifer Aniston and Tig Notaro have signed on to play POTUS and FLOTUS , respectively, in the forthcoming movie First Ladies.

Though we know women lead and lead well whether they’re in a suit or a pair of sweats, the more we speak our power into existence, the more it will come to fruition. Here’s to more women leaders everywhere—no matter what they’re wearing.

Godzilla: King Of The Monsters Titans Get Their Own Stunning Character Posters

Director Michael Dougherty tweeted shots of each poster, along with more biblical quotes to follow his recent quote from the Book of Job for a new Godzilla image. Here are the Book of Revelation quotes Dougherty used for each Titan:

Can you picture those posters on your wall? Don’t forget to add the one for Godzilla. The posters are stunning to look at, and the captions are thought-provoking to read. The Book of Revelation is the final book in the Christian Bible. It’s famously dark, since it literally describes the Apocalypse. Godzilla 2 is going deep.

These three new posters are just the latest release on the May 2019 film, following the first trailer over the summer at San Diego Comic-Con and the second trailer this past weekend at Brazil’s Comic-Con.

Godzilla: King of the Monsters is the third film in the MonsterVerse after Godzilla and Kong: Skull Island, with Godzilla vs. Kong still to come in 2020. This movie is a sequel to Godzilla, bringing back Ken Watanabe and Sally Hawkins in their respective roles of Dr. Ishiro Serizawa and Dr. Vivienne Graham.

In Godzilla: King of the Monsters, members of the crypto-zoological agency Monarch face off against god-sized monsters, including Godzilla, who collides with Mothra, Rodan, and his ultimate nemesis, the three-headed King Ghidorah. According to the official synopsis:

Godzilla: King of the Monsters stars Vera Farmiga as Monarch paleobiologist Dr. Emma Russell, with Kyle Chandler as her ex-husband Mark Russell, and Millie Bobby Brown as their teen daughter Madison Russell. Mark joins the rescue mission after Emma and Madison are kidnapped by an organization with its own plans for the monsters. The film also stars Bradley Whitford, Charles Dance, Thomas Middleditch, O’Shea Jackson Jr., and Zhang Ziyi.

Michael Dougherty directed and co-wrote King of the Monsters, and he already finished working on the film last month. That’s well head of the film’s May 31, 2019 release date. It’s going to be a very competitive month at the movies, but at least it won’t go directly against Avengers: Endgame, which moved itself from May to April.

Brianna Hildebrand Is Super Into Once Upon A Deadpool’s PG-13 Rating

2016’s Deadpool was a game changer for the superhero genre, which has sometimes been accused of being too bloated and oversaturated. Ryan Reynolds’ franchise broke new ground, with the fourth-wall breaking Merc With The Mouth proving that an R rating was sustainable for blockbusters. Of course, that rating does exclude younger audiences from seeing the blockbusters, unless they have a guardian present.

But that changed with Once Upon A Deadpool, as Deadpool 2 was re-edited to change the rating, while also providing bonus content through a Princess Bride spoof with Fred Savage. Actress Brianna Hildebrand plays Negasonic Teenage Warhead in the franchise, and is totally into the new rating, recently saying:

Like the rest of the cast and crew, Brianna Hildebrand is all for Deadpool 2‘s return to theaters, especially given a new rating and framing device. The Deadpool franchise is known for its ability to push boundaries and make bold creative choices. And re-editing the massively successful sequel is just one of those ways.

The Deadpool franchise is notable for its R-Rating, allowing almost every twisted joke that Ryan Reynolds and conceive to make it into the film. But it also makes each blockbuster decidedly adult, therefore ignoring the market for adolescent comic book fans. But when 20th Century Fox moved around the release dates of X-Men movies like Dark Phoenix and The New Mutants, there was an open date, and Once Upon A Deadpool was born.

In her same conversation with THR, Brianna Hildebrand talked about the younger fans’ limited understanding of the franchise, with her role apparently one of the more family-friendly aspects. She said,

Considering how surly and prone to flip people off Negasonic is in both Deadpool movies, Brianna Hildebrand’s comments might surprise you. Then again, the franchise’s most raunchy material usually goes to the title character or TJ Miller’s Weasel. So a quick middle finger isn’t quite as bad in comparison.

It should be interesting to see how Negasonic Teenage Warhead ends up factoring into the future of the Deadpool and X-Force franchises. Deadpool 2 gave her a girlfriend, while also revealing she was also promoted to an official member of the X-Men.

Once Upon A Deadpool is in theaters now. Be sure to check out our 2019 release list to plan your trips to the movies in the New Year.

Ariana Grande Would Rather Listen to Miley Than Kanye and Drake’s Beef

Last night, while some ventured into holiday revelry and others followed along holding their breath as online drama unfolded, Kanye West aired out his grievances with Drake via a tweetstorm. The entire thing took hours. Kim Kardashian West eventually weighed in, too. And all the while, Ariana Grande was readying the release of her latest single, “Imagine.”

To back up for a moment, Ari’s been downright prolific lately, dropping her fourth album, Sweetener, in August and beginning essentially an entire new campaign with the mega-viral “Thank U, Next” in early November. She’s got an album of the same name ready to go, and “Imagine” was due to be our next taste of it. She was pumped. Everyone was pumped.

And then Kanye tweeted about Drake. Ari, though, was understandably more focused on her impending song, so she sent out a quick reminder on Twitter as the hour approached. “If y’all could please jus behave for just like a few hours so the girls can shine that’d be so sick thank u,” she tweeted. “Imagine” soon followed.

It’s a great song, one that captures a certain kind of affection and attraction and aims to preserve it as the best, most celebratory memory, the kind you want to keep coming back to again and again. Some fans think it’s about Ari’s late ex Mac Miller because he had the word “imagine” tattooed on his right arm. She also called the song the “denial” to the acceptance found in “Thank U, Next,” but later clarified it was meant to be wide open to interpretation among her fans and their own experiences.

Grande’s tweet also shouted out pal Miley Cyrus, who was gearing for a release of her own: a cover of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” featuring Mark Ronson and John and Yoko’s son, Sean. Cyrus underscored the point with a quick tweet cosign: “Didn’t they hear the news?! War IS over! Thank you, next!”

Interestingly enough, “Happy Xmas” is indeed a John Lennon cover, while Ari’s “Imagine” is not — it just happens to share the title. Was this planned? A masterstroke of social marketing? A coincidence? Who knows, man. But both songs are out, and you can (and should) listen to them now.

Fuller House Focuses on Kimmy Gibbler Being Stephanie Tanner’s Surrogate This Season

When Fuller House premiered on Netflix nearly three years ago, a whole generation of ’80s and ’90s kids were excited to check back in on the Tanner family. What followed was a fervor of binge-watching, trend pieces, and Michelle Tanner GIFs, but the buzz tempered by the second season. (How rude.) There were still milestones—an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Children’s Program in 2018, for example—but the sitcom mostly settled into a comfortable routine.

By the end of season three, though, that shifted. Fuller House returned to its roots while simultaneously laying the groundwork for its future. Becky, Jesse, and Danny decided to move back to San Francisco so Danny and Becky can host Wake Up, San Francisco again; DJ and Steve reunited; and Fernando bought the Gibbler house. These events allowed the series to keep the family-friendly vibe, while tapping into more modern storylines: namely, the non-nuclear family structure.

Full House (and, as a result, Fuller House) has always been about a non-nuclear family—but it was because of circumstances like the death of Danny’s wife or DJ’s husband, not choice. That’s not the case in season four, which premieres on Netflix today: One of the main storylines will center on Kimmy Gibbler (Andrea Barber) being a surrogate for Stephanie Tanner (Jodie Sweetin).

Fuller-House-Juan-Pablo-di-Pace-Adam-Hagenbuch-Jodie-Sweetin-Andrea-Barber-season-4-2018.jpg

PHOTO: Mike Yarish/Netflix

The seeds for this actually began back in season one, when it was revealed that Stephanie is unable to have children. Then, in season three, she discovered she had a few eggs left but wouldn’t be able to carry a baby. Enter surrogacy as an option. But Stephanie was in a serious relationship with her boyfriend (and Kimmy’s brother), Jimmy Gibbler, and wasn’t sure if she felt comfortable asking him to be the father should one of her eggs be viable. Turns out he was, and by the season’s end an embryo was implanted in Kimmy. Now she’s pregnant—whether it’s a single or multiple birth is TBD.

It’s a sign that Fuller House isn’t stuck in ’90s nostalgia that Stephanie and Jimmy aren’t married or engaged or even concerned about it. They’re just a couple in love who want to have a baby together. Imagine that happening on Full House with Jesse and Becky? For 30-something Stephanie, her biggest priority is starting a family—not worrying about her forever partner.

“It’s definitely not your traditional sitcom storyline of boy meets girl and they have a baby. I think this is more relevant.”

“It’s definitely not your traditional sitcom storyline of boy meets girl and they have a baby,” Andrea Barber tells Glamour.com. “I think this is more relevant. For a lot of people having a child is not so straightforward—it’s complicated and messy. I’m glad the show went there and didn’t just drop it in season one. It’s been evolving for four seasons.”

The story of Stephanie’s fertility was originally creator and former executive producer Jeff Franklin’s idea. When season one premiered, he told TV Line he wanted one of the three lead women to not have kids—for now. “The backstory I created for her was that she’s a free spirit, traveling the world. She’s into her career and into having fun, and I thought this would be a really interesting aspect to that character—and touching,” he said at the time.

However, executive producer and co-showrunner Steve Baldikoski says that before Franklin departed the series last year he made it known that he wanted season four to be about Kimmy’s surrogacy. “In the last moments of season three, we revealed that Kimmy was pregnant with Stephanie and Jimmy’s baby,” Baldikoski says. “The challenge for [executive producer and co-showrunner] Bryan Behar and I was exactly how that would play out for the year. We wanted to have something that was real and tangible to pull Full House into the modern era of Fuller House.”

So, unlike other sitcoms that have tackled surrogacy (see: Friends, Superstore, The New Normal), the focus will be more on the relationship between Kimmy and Stephanie rather than the baby.

Fuller-House-Andrea-Barber-Jodie-Sweetin-surrogacy-season-4.jpg

PHOTO: Mike Yarish/Netflix

“Kimmy is so happy that she’s finally an important part of Stephanie’s life,” Barber says. “She’s been rejected by Stephanie for many years; now these characters are bonding in a way they’ve never been able to before. Kimmy doesn’t want to let go of that. [She doesn’t want] to feel like an incubator. She wants to feel more important than that, which I think is pretty valid.”

It is valid, given viewers have watched these two evolve from an eccentric 10-year-old and a precocious 5-year-old to the adult women they are today. “They’ve literally watched us grow up on TV,” Barber says. “To watch this fictional character go through such important life moments is incredible and so poignant.” That’s why she wanted the writers to explore Kimmy and Stephanie’s “mature friendship” as a sisterhood. “I’ve just been delighted for the last two seasons to have these wonderful, funny, tender moments with Jodie [Sweetin].”

Of course Full House has always tackled big subjects—DJ’s eating disorder; the death of a close family member—but they were settled in the span of a 22-minute episode. For that reason alone, Baldikoski and Behar wanted to see Stephanie’s fertility storyline through. “Bryan and I like dealing with these real issues over the entire season, not just a single episode,” Baldikoski says. “We like to think that if you’re going through something, it’s best to deal with it in a realistic way and carry it through a season. It’s not just one and done.”

“It’s a life-changing moment that we’re all going through—and as realistic as it can be for a sitcom.”

Baldikoski relied on personal stories and research to prep for the storyline. “While Fuller House is not a medical show or a drama, we do have writers who are very familiar with [surrogacy] and had different experiences with that. So we relied on a little bit of that and also sent people off to do research. Without invading anyone’s privacy, there was a lot of sharing about our writer’s experiences and the experiences of friends and friends of friends.”

Barber, a mom of two, hasn’t had personal experience with surrogacy, so she turned to one of her closest friends who did. “Her cousin was her surrogate,” she says, adding that she understands the complexities that come with that. “I would suspect…surrogates don’t want to feel just like baby machines. They want to feel important too.”

As for the birth scene, which will happen toward the end of the season, Barber had a request for the writers: make the labor as realistic as possible. “Sitcoms tend to do really silly births with lots of screaming, and it isn’t like that,” she says. “I wanted there to be an emotional connection, a tender moment between the women. They honored my request—and Jodie’s request—that it just not be a silly birth. There’s silliness trying to get to the hospital, of course, but when it comes to the actual birth scene it’s not gratuitous or over the top. It’s just a wonderful moment, and that’s what I had been hoping for for two seasons. They did it.”

Barber adds that you’ll still see lots of realistic sweat and awkward expressions. “It’s not a flawless, beautiful, ‘my makeup is perfect’ birth. It’s a life-changing moment that we’re all going through, and as realistic as it can be for a sitcom.”

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PHOTO: Adam Rose/Netflix

The producers also got the rights to Joni Mitchell’s “The Circle Game” to play over an emotional montage. “I’m choked up as I talk about it,” Baldikoski says. “If it doesn’t make Fuller House fans choke up, I don’t know what will. It’s a beautiful scene. Andrea is amazing, Jodie is amazing, Candace is amazing, Adam [Hagenbuch, “Jimmy”] is amazing. We are very proud of it.”

As to whether the episode will serve as a series finale or season finale, Barber and Baldikoski hope there’s a season five in Fuller House‘s future. After all, there are plenty of stories that can stem from this surrogacy. “Usually surrogates don’t live in the same house as the birth mother,” Barber says. “I would love for them to explore that.” And what effect will this new baby have on Kimmy’s teen daughter, Ramona, and her partner, Fernando? How will Kimmy’s relationship with Stephanie change once the baby arrives? “Those are some pretty rich story areas that we have to deal with going forward,” Baldikoski says.

Whatever happens, Baldikoski hopes this will resonate with viewers. “Families come in all shapes and sizes. You don’t have to be a nuclear family anymore. People can feel comfortable with whatever family situation they have as long as they are loved. We want to show that the Fuller/Tanner clan is very inclusive. We’ve even included the first openly gay teenager on the show [this season], who is a friend of Ramona’s. As DJ says, ‘The door is always open.’ That’s our guiding philosophy of the show: Everyone’s welcome.”

Fuller House season four is now streaming on Netflix.

What Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse 2 Will Be About

Who knew the perfect recipe for a truly amazing Spider-Man film was adding more spider-heroes? Sony Animation’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is not only being named the best Spider-Man film but also among the best films of the year. While it is just reaching its first weekend in theaters, the film has a near perfect Rotten Tomato score from critics and audiences alike… so why not get rolling on a sequel?

Following the early praise for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, it was already announced a couple weeks ago that Sony Animation is planning a sequel and a female-centered spinoff. Per a Vanity Fair interview with Sony chief Amy Pascal, the sequel will focus on Miles Morales and Gwen Stacy and a budding romance between the two spider-heroes from different universes.

As teased in the film’s previews, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Vers­ centers on 13-year-old Miles Morales as he becomes Spider-Man, with the mentorship of crime-fighting veteran Peter Parker at his disposal. The pair are soon visited by additional spider-people — including a 16-year-old Spider-Gwen, Spider-Ham, Spider-Man Noir, and Peni Parker.

Since Miles Morales and Gwen Stacy are nearly the same age, and share an origin story that have them suiting up into spider-heroes, it’s no surprise the two hit it off. However, in the new release the pair become friends — a move producer Christina Steinberg may have helped pushed for in service of the character’s agency when first introduced to audiences.

A romantic storyline between Miles Morales and Spider-Gwen is canon in the comics in a 2017 issue titled “Sittin’ in a Tree,” so the decision to implement it into the animated sequel isn’t too much of a surprise to fans. Phil Lord’s original script for Into the Spider-Verse reportedly included a bit of their romantic storyline, but that was ultimately cut in service of taking time to introduce all the characters and to avoid overstuffing the story.

The Into the Spider-Verse sequel will be directed by Joaquim Dos Santos, best known for his work on The Legend of Korra and Voltron. David Callaham will be penning the script, amidst his already highly-anticipated screenplays for Wonder Woman 1984 and Zombieland 2, currently in production. The new Spider-Verse franchise is shared with the new Marvel live-action universe Sony has begun this year, notably with the huge success of Venom.

The comic book characters are each fairly new to Marvel — as Miles Morales was introduced in 2011 and Spider-Gwen in 2014 — but have been huge fan favorites among many comic book fans. We’ll have to see just how moviegoers receive Into the Spider-Verse as it just swung into theaters last night. However, the flick has already cashed in $3.5 million, making it the tenth largest preview gross for an animated feature film to date.

Venom Writer Says Spider-Man Could Appear In A Sequel

Before it was released, Sony’s Venom was surrounded with questions — like what universe does this take place in, does Spider-Man exist here, is it the world of Tom Holland’s Spider-Man, and if the web-slinger isn’t in this universe, can Venom work without him? The latter question was answered, as Venom performed heroically at the box office and didn’t even have a Spider-Man cameo. Nevertheless, the Venom sequel could still see these two foes crossing paths, as Venom writer Jeff Pinkner explained:

For someone who was being careful about not revealing too much, Jeff Pinkner certainly said a lot of interesting things here. More than just saying it’s possible that Spider-Man could appear in a future Venom film, in his interview with Discussing Film, Jeff Pinkner put the possibility on the table that not only could the wall-crawler show up, he could actually have a significant role.

Venom 2 just got a heck of a lot more interesting.

It should be noted that, as of now, Jeff Pinkner said he is not writing the Venom sequel, so it’s not like he wrote Spidey into his draft. However, considering that he is one of the writers on the first film, it seems that he has some insight about what Sony has in mind or where things could go in a sequel. That said, I wouldn’t assume Spider-Man will be in Venom 2 until it’s announced or you see it.

Jeff Pinkner left wiggle room in case Spidey isn’t in the sequel, but it makes you wonder what it is that he wasn’t allowed to reveal. Because this certainly hints strongly that we’ll see Spider-Man and Venom together onscreen for the first time since Spider-Man 3.

That brings us full circle back to the questions we had before Venom was released. If Spidey shows up, will it be the Peter Parker Spider-Man? If so, will it be Tom Holland‘s Peter Parker? And if that happens, what does it mean for both the future of Sony’s Spider-Verse as well as Spider-Man in the MCU?

I suppose there would be a way for Sony to have Spidey show up in costume without ever revealing who is beneath the mask, but “significant role” would seem to go against that.

The thing is, we don’t know exactly what Sony’s long-term plans are for its shared universe, but the incredible success of Venom means that Sony will at least have the chance to build out this universe, and a big component of that will be the Venom sequel. There are a lot of other things in the works too, including Morbius starring Jared Leto, which seems to be the furthest along.

Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse Reviews: What CinemaBlend Thought Of The New Animated Movie

Since Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire brought us the first big screen Spider-Man movie in 2002, we’ve seen the web slinger on the big screen more than any other hero. Now, Spider-Man makes the jump to animated feature with Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, a movie with more Spider-Men (Spider-Mans? Spider-People?) than any that came before. How does the new movie compare to those that preceded it? Remarkably well.

CinemaBlend Events Editor Eric Eisenberg wrote the official review for us here and he gave it a perfect five-star rating. He says it’s creative and funny, and really has only the most glowing things to say.

Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse is a phenomenal, electrifying and legitimately special work. After as many Spidey movies we’ve seen in the last 16 years, you might think that Hollywood would have little more to offer from the character in terms of new and original big-screen adventures, but it’s brilliant and mesmerizing to see what this one brings to the table. It’s creative, the unusual animation style is mind-boggling in the best way; it’s hilarious throughout; and, perhaps most important of all, perfectly exposes all of the elements that have made the web-slinger a pop culture icon in the last half-century.

While we’ve seen Spider-Man on the big screen before, and we’ve seen the character in animated form on television, this is the first time that the two things have come together into an animated feature film. Shift Editor Adam Holmes says that the film’s unique animation style is one of the reasons that Into the Spider-Verse is something special.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse isn’t just one of the best Spider-Man movies, if not the best, it’s also a triumph of animation in general. In this case, it’s not cliched to say that the movie feels like a comic book come to life, both through its unique artwork and its use of superhero tropes that would be difficult to pull off in live action. The fact that Into the Spider-Verse is able to include so much Spider-mythos material without the movie feeling overcrowded is an impressive achievement.

Spider-Man is one of the most popular comic book characters in the world, but for Managing Director Sean O’Connell, the character is very special. As such, he can be quite critical of the nuances within the story and the character, but for him, not only is Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse a great movie, it is, to date, the definitive version of the character on film.

Into the Spider-Verse faced an immense challenge. How do you make a character who has been in countless comic books and nearly a double-digit amount of films feel fresh, creative and relevant? The answer is to shift to Miles Morales, but also to use the multi-verse to introduce numerous iterations of the beloved Spider-Man mythos, all while tunneling to the heart of what makes this character special. This is the definitive Spider-Man movie. It’s hilarious, touching, exciting, and the animation is next-level brilliant. Plus, the Stan Lee cameo destroyed me. When it comes to Spider-Man, I thought I’d sen it all. This year — thanks to Avengers: Infinity War, the mesmerizing PS4 game, and the gamble made by creative Spider-Verse storytellers — I realize that when it comes to Spider-Man, we ain’t seen nothing yet.

Some of the biggest changes in Into the Spider-Verse are focused on the simple character switch of making Miles Morales, and not Peter Parker, the main character of the story, but that decision affects so mucgh about trhge movie as a whole that it feels entirely fresh and different,

2018 has been a remarkably good year for the superhero movie genre. With Marvel’s epic, Avengers: Infinity War to its potential Best Picture nominee Black Panther, the bar for the genre is incredibly high right now. Marvel has produced some remarkable achievements. Having said that, Senior Movie Contributor Mike Reyes is of the opinion that Into the Spider-Verse is actually a better Marvel superhero movie than anything actually produced by Marvel Studios.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is something magical. An emotional journey wrapped in an animated tentpole, it shatters all expectations. It’s not just the best animated film of the year, it’s the best Marvel film of 2018 as well.

It does seem like this one blows away expectations because we largely didn’t see it coming. With the film being animated while most of our focus has been on live-action superheroes, this one snuck up on us. We probably should have seen it coming. Producers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller have made a career out of taking existing properties and twisting them into new ways that we never saw coming. From 21 Jump Street to The LEGO Movie, we end up happily surprised at every turn.

And finally, you can add my voice to the choir. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is so refreshing that it doesn’t even feel like it’s a character we’ve seen before and now all I want is to see more of it.

The thing that makes Into The Spider-Verse so special is that, on top of being the best Spider-Man movie of the last two decades, it makes you want to see MORE Spider-Man. If every sequel and spinoff can be as good as this, then bring them all on.

Of course, we do already know that we’re going to get more from the Spider-Verse, as a sequel and a Spider Gwen focused spinoff have apparently already been greenlit by Sony. Between the other characters that the new movie introduces and the essentially limitless number that could be introduced, we could potentially see a lot more from this particular cinematic universe. If they can be as good as this one, I’m ok with that.

We don’t always agree here at CinemaBlend, but when it comes to Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse we could not be more in agreement. This movie isn’t just good, it’s straight up great. If you’re even just a casual fan of Spider-Man, superheroes or even just animation, you owe it to yourself to check this one out.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is in theaters now. Seriously, go, go now.

 

How Much Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse Made On Opening Night

That’s from 3,321 locations, Box Office Mojo reported, and marks the tenth largest preview gross for an animated feature. That $3.5 million tops the $2.2 million Thursday previews for The LEGO Batman Movie, and the $1.4 million in previews for Big Hero 6.

The Spider-Verse debut also beat Sing‘s pre-Christmas preview of $1.7 million in 2016, with that film ultimately making $634M worldwide. It’s especially impressive for Spider-Verse, Deadline noted, since it’s opening when kids are still in school for — in some cases — another week before Christmas.

However, the Spider-Verse opening is just shy of the $3.8 million Ralph Breaks the Internet brought in from Tuesday previews back in November. That film went on to have a $55.7M three-day opening weekend. Spider-Verse also compares well to the $3.6 million in previews for TRON: Legacy, which opened to $44 million.

Fandango reported that Spider-Verse pre-sales were far ahead of The LEGO Ninjago Movie at the same point in time, and that film opened to $20.4 million and made $123M worldwide in 2017.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse was initially projected to make between $28 million to $35 million opening weekend. That was later adjusted slightly up to between $30 million and $35 million. Sony is still predicting $30 million — better to have projected too low than too high — and there are box office prognosticators who see the film reaching $40 million or above.

It has to help that reviews for the first foray into the Spider-Verse are extremely positive. Pity Mortal Engines that it is not enjoying anything close to the same success. That film only made $675,000 from 2,600 locations in Thursday previews, which was just ahead of the $475,000 in previews for The 5th Wave. Considering Mortal Engines reportedly cost more than Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, this is a huge disappointment for the Mortal Engines team.

The Spider-Verse is off to a great start, but we’ll have to wait until Sunday’s numbers to come in to see the opening weekend box office report. There are so many factors in play when it comes to people heading out to see a movie over the weekend, especially in the winter when lousy weather is always a potential hazard.

Here’s what else is still in theaters in 2018, and what to schedule your cinema life around in 2019.