In & Out is W‘s guide to what’s hot and what’s not each week. Subscribe here and stay up to date by getting the newsletter delivered early to your inbox each week.
“Don’t pay any attention to what they write about you. Just measure it in inches.”—Andy Warhol
Rihanna, Defender of a Free Press
Complaining About Journalists
Nobody gets into journalism to be popular, but times have never been rougher for the profession than right now. The president of the United States pays more attention to critiquing his own media coverage than he does to the implications of his foreign policy, and just last weekend his supporters screened a video, at a conference held at a Trump resort in Florida, of someone playing the president massacring other actors representing journalists and news organizations. Perhaps less worrying, but still notable, is the number of celebs and creatives who lambast the media anytime they get upset about some article (see: director Todd Phillips’s recent reaction to coverage of Joker). So it’s good to know that there are still some people in power out there who are chill with the press. People in power like Rihanna. The singer recently appeared on her sixth American Vogue cover, and in the accompanying story the writer Abby Aguire admitted that she hadn’t had time to prepare a list of questions beforehand. This upset the Internet, especially considering that Aguire had also written the article accompanying Taylor Swift’s cover and claimed to have done Ph.D.-worthy research. Rihanna, however, leaped to the writer’s defense, and admitted that she hadn’t given the writer much time to prepare. “No, no, no, no. That’s gangster,” Rihanna, queen of not being shy about giving interviews, told WWD. “For you to get a call the day before being like, ‘Hey, Rihanna’s in L.A., you wanna do this?’ And show up on the dime and write an incredible article that I’m really proud of and enjoyed reading? She’s badass for that.” She also defended an accompanying video in which Anna Wintour asked if the singer planned to have children. Of course, Rihanna seems generally secure enough in herself not to sweat her press too much (or maybe she’s just making up for trapping journalists on a plane during an infamous stunt earlier in her career). Whatever the case, while everyone is trying to live out Andy Warhol’s prediction about being famous for 15 minutes, only a few like Rihanna remembers his quote listed above.
Sorry to This Man
Americans’ Sense of History
Jennifer Aniston joined the rest of us on Instagram this week in a moment so big that it temporarily busted the platform. Of course, her first photo was a group selfie during an otherwise private reunion with all five of her Friends costars (though her choice to join now may be tied to promotion for her upcoming show with Reese Witherspoon on Apple+). As of this writing, she’s already amassed over ten-and-a-half million likes for the photos, and a hefty 9.1 million followers. We were a bit more interested, though, in the 111 accounts that Aniston has chosen to follow. Naturally, her first one was her eternal BFF Courtney Cox, followed closely by the other three Friends stars on Insta (Matthew Perry is now the only holdout, which, well, seems about right). She also follows a bevvy of her fellow A-Lister sisters, including Nicole Kidman, Julia Roberts, Kerry Washington, (fellow Brad Pitt ex) Gwyneth Paltrow, and Salma Hayek. A handful of fashion photographers, including Steven Klein (who once shot Jen for W) made the cut, as did Selena Gomez (the two have a surprising, but well-documented, friendship). Aniston also has a thing for comedians in her friendship circle, with Chelsea Handler, Amy Sedaris, Fortune Feimster, and Whitney Cummings on her follow list. There are a few pleasantly random surprises in their as well, like What Not To Wear’s Stacey London and the popular account CommentsbyCelebs. The follow that got the most attention, however, was her own ex Justin Theroux, proving that the pair are still on relatively good terms. And though she had recently invited Brad Pitt to her birthday party, Aniston does not follow him. Mostly because he has yet to join the platform.
This weekend gives us two sequels we didn’t necessarily need, yet we’re intrigued nonetheless, despite their so-far mediocre reviews. The first, of course, is [Maleficent: Mistress of Evil](https://www.wmagazine.com/story/maleficent-mistress-of-evil-trailer-angelina-jolie-elle-fanning), which not only brings Angelina Jolie back to the screen in a wide release film for the first time since, well, the first Maleficent back in 2014. This time, though, she’s joined by Michelle Pfieffer as the regal but not-to-be-trusted Queen Ingrith. On one level it’s a mother of the bride vs. mother of the groom movie (Maleficent’s adopted daughter gets proposed to by Ingrith’s princely son), but on another, it’s a political allegory. Unfortunately, critics think Disney packed the thing with two much CGI bedazzlement and not enough for the actresses to actually do. Zombieland: Double Tap, meanwhile, brings back Emma Stone, Jesse Eisenberg, and Woody Harrelson for another round of their zombie-filled comedy-adventure series. But it’s newcomer Zoey Deutch, most recently of The Politician, who is being praised as the standout talent. Perhaps to karmically balance out big stars doing silly sequels in wide release this weekend, limited release finds the dual premieres of two of the most challenging indie films that are aiming for possible Oscar glory. First there’s Jojo Rabbit, which finds the Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi attempting to make a dark comedy out of Adolf Hitler, of all things. Set during World War II, a young German boy keeps Hitler as his imaginary friend, but he has his pro-Nazi worldview shaken when he discovers that his mother (played by Scarlett Johansson) is secretly harboring a young Jewish girl in their home. This all sounds like a giant creative risk, especially in these times, but critics and film-festival audiences largely agree that the risk has paid off. It’s even firmly ensconced itself in the Best Picture conversation. The entire cast list of The Lighthouse only features three actors, and two of them (Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson), feature in most of the film. If it’s not clear from the film’s title, the two characters live in a lighthouse, and Pattinson has been promoting it by listing all the gross things he had to do on set.
If HBO’s execs have their way, though, the biggest potential blockbuster this weekend may be on their channel. On Sunday, the network debuts the hotly anticipated Watchmen, which tells a brand-new story in the skewed superhero world developed in the classic graphic novel from the ’80s. The series was one of the first to examine the real-life political ramifications of a world in which superheroes were not only real but had changed the course of history (in the series, Robert Redford cameos as himself as president of the United States). Writer Alan Moore specifically conceived it as a critique of the Reagan Era, and this adaptation keeps the spirit of tackling big, present-day questions alive. If this all sounds confusing to you, well, remember that HBO is just coming off a period when its defining hit was based on a sprawling series of bloody fantasy novels. Who watches the Watchmen? HBO is clearly hoping for a Game of Thrones–size answer to that question.
The streamers, on the other hand, are providing something a little lighter. Amazon Prime gives us an anthology series based on the popular New York Times column Modern Love. Anne Hathaway, Tina Fey, and Julia Garner all star in rom-com-y episodes of the series. Netflix’s Living With Yourself, meanwhile, finds Paul Rudd as a man who has discovered he’s been cloned. We guess that it’s like the sitcom version of Will Smith’s Gemini Man, but hopefully better.
After breaking out with the indie film Beach Rats, Harris Dickinson aims for blockbuster glory this weekend by playing the aforementioned prince in Maleficent.