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‘The Exorcist’ is rewriting all the rules of horror, and that’s why we love it

Charmaine Blake

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Image: fox

We hold these horror truths to be self-evident: Unless you’re the “final girl” at the end of the slasher flick, women and people of color are usually the victims in scary movies and TV shows, not the heroes. (Just ask Michael Che, who made a too-real quip about it on this week’s Saturday Night Live.)

The Exorcist — Fox’s small-screen follow-up to the iconic William Peter Blatty novel and 1973 film adaptation of the same name — bucked that trend right out of the gate, choosing to center its story around two priests, one of whom is Latino (Alfonso Herrera’s Father Tomas Ortega) and one of whom is gay (Ben Daniels’ excommunicated Father Marcus Keane) — two perspectives that aren’t often serviced in mainstream horror projects.

The show isn’t about race or orientation, so these character traits are just that — one small facet of our heroes’ complex personalities; informing their identities without standing in for them. (Aren’t you looking forward to the day when that kind of realism is so unremarkable that we don’t have to remark on it anymore?)

“To be part of a show that doesn’t portray Latinos as a stereotype is something that I really celebrate,” Herrera told us during a recent press conference for the show. “I thank [executive producers Jeremy Slater and Sean Crouch] to allow me as an actor and allow me as a Latino to give something more real and grounded about my culture, about who I am as a Mexican, and Tomas [is] as a Mexican.”

Season 1 of the show featured (no spoilers) a demonic possession that plagued the WASPy Rance family, but the narrative was still decidedly female-driven, giving meaty roles to Geena Davis, Hannah Kasulka and Brianne Howey. Season 2, on the other hand, features a foster family with a group of kids from different backgrounds, enabling the show to add a variety of life experiences and baggage to the mix, lending the horror series an authenticity even when it’s dealing with the supernatural.

Before the first season premiered, Davis — who founded the eponymous Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media to push for equality and tackle stereotypes surrounding women in entertainment — noted that the executive producers were determined to craft an inclusive narrative, which encouraged her to sign on for her first series regular TV role in a decade.

Image: Fox

“When I was first approached, they were very earnest about letting me know, ‘We know what you do. We want you to be proud of this show. We want you to not have any problems with how we are doing everything,'” she told reporters last year. “So there’s a lot of great things happening with us. Half of our writers’ room is women, which is very exciting and unfortunately unusual, and there are more female important characters than male in the story also.”

Season 2 has doubled down on that mission statement, meaning that Ben Daniels is the only white male series regular, starring alongside Hererra, Kurt Egyiawan, Li Jun Li, Brianna Hildebrand and John Cho. That’s still pretty unprecedented, even in today’s eclectic TV landscape.

Season 1 had two female directors in its 10-episode season, while Season 2 has tapped three female helmers across its eight episodes.

“We were hoping for fifty percent everywhere,” admitted showrunner Sean Crouch. “We got four female writers and five male writers [in Season 2] so we came close, and we got every major religion in there; for a religious show we wanted to make sure that we got every voice that we could get… It was part of what we wanted to do to make sure that we aren’t handicapping ourselves, to make sure that we have enough voices everywhere, in front of the camera and behind the camera, so we get every possible story.”

L-R: John Cho, guest star Alex Barima, guest star Hunter Dillon, Brianna Hildebrand and guest star Cyrus Arnold.

Image: fox

“I think it’s one of the strengths of television over film, honestly, as someone who comes from the film side of things and had 10 years of experience. It’s really, really hard to get diversity into films because everyone is afraid – they’re gambling 100 million dollars on something, and it just becomes like, ‘how do we make this lead role for Channing Tatum and no one else?'” said series creator Jeremy Slater.

“That was one of the most gratifying and liberating things about coming to TV, it’s kind of the exact opposite where, especially here at Fox, there is a mandate to ‘let’s get different voices in front of and behind the camera, let’s tell different stories about different people.’ It’s part of the reason I think TV is experiencing a golden age right now, where the film industry is not. It really is a testament to Fox of how much they were supportive of that vision from the very beginning.”

The show’s inclusivity (and willingness to upend horror conventions) was apparently also part of the appeal for Cho, who previously had a recurring role on Fox’s Sleepy Hollow, albeit with a villainous — and far less developed — character.

“That was one of the reasons I was compelled to join – I just couldn’t think of an Asian face in American horror, and I thought it was just interesting to do that,” he admitted. “I thought it seemed fresh, and the show was already diverse. When you have a diverse world on camera, my personal reaction is that it feels more real, and therefore I’m more inclined to care about that world and the characters in it a little more, because it feels like the world I walk around in. So I’m into it.”

And while one show can’t make up for the lack of diversity across an entire industry, The Exorcist‘s commitment to presenting the world as it really is (give or take a few demons) represents a welcome change for a genre that’s been slow to evolve.

As the old saying goes, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing,” and much like its holy heroes, it seems like the cast and creative team behind The Exorcist want to be part of the solution, not the problem.

The Exorcist airs Fridays at 9 p.m. on Fox.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/10/03/the-exorcist-season-2-john-cho-alfonso-herrera-diversity-marcus/

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LeBron James, Maverick Carter Producing Two-Part Muhammad Ali Documentary for HBO

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What’s My Name | Muhammad Ali (2018) Official Teaser | HBO

The Greatest, like you’ve never seen him before. From LeBron James and Maverick Carter’s Spring Hill Entertainment and director Antoine Fuqua, HBO Sports presents: What’s My Name | Muhammad Ali. Coming in 2019.

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What You Need to Know About ‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’ Star Rachel Brosnahan

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As of Monday night, Rachel Brosnahan is an Emmy winning actress (!!!), so let’s take a second to get to know her just a bit better. I’m going to go ahead and assume you’re already familiar with Rachel’s mega-hit Amazon show The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (if you aren’t, head this way), so here’s what you need to know about the woman behind everyone’s favorite Upper West Sider.

 

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‘Game of Thrones’ Season 7 grabs Emmy for most outstanding drama

Charmaine Blake

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Image: hbo

Game of Thrones won the Emmy for most outstanding drama series Monday at the 70th Primetime Emmy Awards.

The seventh season of Game of Thrones won the series its third Emmy in the category. It was the show’s second Emmy of the evening, after Peter Dinklage’s win for his role as Tyrion Lannister.

Game of Thrones beat out The Americans, The Crown, The Handmaid’s Tale, Stranger Things, This is Us, and Westworld.

Each season of Game of Thrones has been nominated for best drama at the Emmys since its first season debuted at the awards show in 2011. Seasons 5 and 6 both took home the Emmy in 2015 and 2016 respectively. A handful of other actors including Lena Headey, Kit Harington, and Emilia Clarke have also earned Emmy nominations over the years.

While the seventh season of Game of Throne is not widely regarded as the best of the series, it was certainly a big one and the hype around the show has not died down ahead of its next season.

Game of Thrones returns for its eighth and final season in 2019.

Read more: https://mashable.com/article/game-of-thrones-emmy-2018/

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