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13 Investigative Facts About All the President's Men

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The 1970s were a bad time for American politics, but a great time for Hollywood movies about American politics. One of the best was All the President's Men, showing how two dogged newspaper reporters exposed the Watergate cover-up and eventually brought about Richard Nixon's resignation. Forty years later, we're still feeling the effects of Watergate, and movies are still being influenced by All the President's Men (see this year’s Best Picture, Spotlight, for example). Here are some behind-the-scenes details that we found while combing through the public record.

1. ROBERT REDFORD DIDN'T JUST SHAPE THE MOVIE, HE SHAPED THE BOOK IT WAS BASED ON.

The biggest movie star in the world contacted The Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein in October 1972, when the Watergate story was still unfolding, to express his personal interest in it. The reporters didn't have time to take meetings with Hollywood types at the time, but Redford said something that stuck with them. He told them that the most interesting way to tell the story would not be to simply reveal all the information they uncovered, but to lay it out piece by piece, in the order they uncovered it—to make the story a procedural, in other words, like a detective story.

Woodward and Bernstein disagreed at first, not wanting to insert themselves into the news, but they soon came to realize Redford was right and took his approach when they wrote the book. "He laid the seed for that in that first phone call," Woodward later said.

2. REDFORD ONLY WANTED TO PRODUCE IT, BUT THE STUDIO MADE HIM STAR IN IT, TOO.

As producer, Redford's original idea was to make the film in black-and-white, almost documentary-style, without any superstar actors. But the people at Warner Bros. knew it was going to be a pricey film (they'd already paid $450,000 for the book rights) and told Redford in no uncertain terms that they needed his name on the marquee to help sell it. Once Redford agreed to play one of the leads, it became clear that the other reporter would also need to be played by someone famous, lest viewers perceive a power imbalance between Woodward and Bernstein.

3. THE TWO STARS SHARED TOP BILLING, SORT OF.

Once Dustin Hoffman was cast as Carl Bernstein, a minor but tricky new issue arose. Hoffman was newer to Hollywood than Redford, but he was nearly as big a star, with three Oscar nominations already under his belt. Moreover, Woodward and Bernstein were an equal partnership, and both were to be treated equally in the film. So how should the actors be credited? Someone has to be listed first. Redford and Hoffman (or their agents, more likely) settled on a compromise previously used by John Wayne and James Stewart for The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. Redford got top billing in the ads, trailers, and other marketing, but in the film itself, Hoffman gets the top spot. (For what it's worth, though "Woodward and Bernstein" is how the reporters are usually referred to, their bylines always listed them alphabetically: Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward.)

4. THE SCREENWRITER WAS HIRED BY ACCIDENT.

Redford was friends with William Goldman, who'd won an Oscar for writing Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and invited him to a meeting with Woodward and Bernstein when their book was nearing completion, just to hear the story and give his input. Redford later said, "I didn't mean to involve [Goldman] in the project, and I wasn't commissioning him as the screenwriter." But a few weeks later, a mix-up led to publisher Simon & Schuster sending galley proofs of the book to Goldman's agent, who passed them on to his client, who understood this to mean he was adapting it. Redford said, "I was troubled from the beginning about Bill, but friendship kept it going." (Woodward said he always assumed Goldman was going to write the screenplay, as did Goldman, apparently.) Goldman won another Oscar for All the President's Men.

5. CARL BERNSTEIN AND NORA EPHRON WROTE A DRAFT.

Goldman's first pass at the script yielded something nobody liked—not Redford, not Woodward, not Bernstein, and not The Washington Post editors, who found it too jokey ("Butch Woodward and the Sundance Bernstein," someone called it). Unsolicited, Bernstein and his girlfriend, Nora Ephron—later the author of When Harry Met Sally... and Sleepless in Seattlewrote their own draft and presented it to Redford and Goldman. The latter was offended by the very idea of two non-screenwriter upstarts presuming to revise his work, and he was even more furious when Redford weakly suggested that he consider their input. (In hindsight, everyone agrees the whole incident a mistake, including Bernstein: "I would say in retrospect that whatever Goldman says about the self-aggrandizing notion of that screenplay, it might well be right," he said in 2016. "I would not say that our treatment of him was sterling.")

6. REDFORD SAID THE FINAL SCREENPLAY WAS ONLY 10 PERCENT WILLIAM GOLDMAN'S WORK …

As soon as director Alan J. Pakula came aboard, he started asking for multiple rewrites from Goldman, who dutifully complied despite the Bernstein/Ephron insult. (Goldman: "I've never written so many versions for any movie as for President's Men.") But it was to no avail: Pakula and Redford still weren't satisfied. So they rented a hotel room across the street from The Washington Post and spent a month rewriting it themselves. In 2011, Redford's biographer wrote that "about one-tenth of Goldman's draft remained in the end"—which is to say, the screenplay for which Goldman won an Oscar was actually 90 percent Redford and Pakula's work.

7. ... BUT REDFORD WAS EXAGGERATING.

Could it be that the final screenplay for All the President's Men was mostly the work of Robert Redford and Alan J. Pakula, and not of William Goldman, whose name is on it? In a word, no. Richard Stayton, editor in chief of Written By magazine, compared the final shooting script with Goldman's earlier versions and found "similar, sometimes identical scenes throughout. Complete sequences of dialogue carried from draft to draft to draft, verbatim … The script had William Goldman's distinct signature on each page." Stayton concluded: "Goldman was the sole author of All the President's Men. Period. End of paper trail."

8. DUSTIN HOFFMAN GOT ESPECIALLY CHUMMY WITH BERNSTEIN.

The actors spent a lot of time with the men they were playing, and while Woodward was somewhat reserved (in general, and with Redford), the extroverted Bernstein got along well with Hoffman. He invited the actor to his home for a Passover dinner, and gave him his wristwatch to wear in the movie, for extra authenticity.

9. A LITTLE BIT OF IT IS PURE FICTION.

Despite the attention to detail and overall emphasis on accuracy, there's at least one thing in the movie that never happened in real life: Bernstein luring a protective receptionist (Polly Holliday) away from her desk with a fake phone call so he can slip in and see her boss (Ned Beatty). It's not in Woodward and Bernstein's book. In fact, according to Goldman, it's the one element of Bernstein and Ephron's screenplay draft that made it into the final picture.

10. THE NEWSROOM SET IS AN INSANELY ACCURATE RECREATION OF THE REAL THING.

The film was shot on location where possible (including the actual courtroom where the Watergate burglars were arraigned, according to Redford), but it wasn't feasible to shoot in The Washington Post's newsroom, not while they were still putting out a paper every day. Instead, a crew took hundreds of photos and measurements of the workspace and built a full-sized (33,000-square-feet) replica on the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank.

Production designer George Jenkins bought more than 150 desks exactly like the ones at the Post, from the very company the Post had bought them from in 1971, and went to great lengths to have them painted the exact same color. One ton of scrap paper was used to adorn the desks, plus a few dozen boxes of actual desk clutter donated by Post reporters, who were stunned when they saw how accurately their office had been recreated. Jenkins won an Academy Award for his efforts.

11. THE NEWSROOM IS ALSO THE ONLY FULLY LIT PLACE IN THE MOVIE.

To emphasize the mystery and obfuscation of Watergate, cinematographer Gordon Willis shot most indoor scenes with minimal light and a lot of shadows. The one place that's brightly lit, with no shadows? The newsroom, where the truth is revealed for all to see. Symbolism!

12. HOFFMAN AND REDFORD LEARNED EACH OTHER'S LINES.

From the very beginning, Redford always thought the most interesting thing about the story was the Woodward and Bernstein partnership, how these two very different men (a Republican WASP and a liberal Jew) worked together to root out the truth. To help that harmonious relationship come across on screen, Redford and Hoffman memorized each other's lines as well as their own, so that their characters could finish one another's thoughts as they discussed the case and give the dialogue a natural flow. You can see it especially when they're interrogating people—they make a good team.

13. IT'S ALMOST UNIQUE FOR A PG-RATED FILM.

The MPAA initially gave All the President's Men an R rating because of its 10 or so uses of the F-word. On appeal, the ratings board relented and gave it a PG rating, making it one of the few PG films to drop the F-bomb at all, let alone 10 times. Even today, with PG-13 as an intermediary rating, any film that uses that word more than a couple times is automatically rated R.

Additional sources:
Blu-ray commentary and documentaries
American Film Institute

Adventures in the Screen Trade, by William Goldman
Robert Redford: The Biography, by Michael Feeney Callan

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10 Things We Know About The Handmaid’s Tale Season 2
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Hulu

Though Hulu has been producing original content for more than five years now, 2017 turned out to be a banner year for the streaming network with the debut of The Handmaid’s Tale on April 26, 2017. The dystopian drama, based on Margaret Atwood’s 1985 book, imagines a future in which a theocratic regime known as Gilead has taken over the United States and enslaved fertile women so that the group’s most powerful couples can procreate.

If it all sounds rather bleak, that’s because it is—but it’s also one of the most impressive new series to arrive in years (as evidenced by the slew of awards it has won, including eight Emmy and two Golden Globe Awards). Fortunately, fans left wanting more don’t have that much longer to wait, as season two will premiere on Hulu in April. In the meantime, here’s everything we know about The Handmaid’s Tale’s second season.

1. IT WILL PREMIERE WITH TWO EPISODES.

When The Handmaid’s Tale returns on April 25, 2018, Hulu will release the first two of its 13 new episodes on premiere night, then drop another new episode every Wednesday.

2. MARGARET ATWOOD WILL CONTINUE TO HELP SHAPE THE NARRATIVE.

Fans of Atwood’s novel who didn’t like that season one went beyond the original source material are in for some more disappointment in season two, as the narrative will again go beyond the scope of what Atwood covered. But creator/showrunner Bruce Miller doesn’t necessarily agree with the criticism they received in season one.

“People talk about how we're beyond the book, but we're not really," Miller told Newsweek. "The book starts, then jumps 200 years with an academic discussion at the end of it, about what's happened in those intervening 200 years. We're not going beyond the novel. We're just covering territory [Atwood] covered quickly, a bit more slowly.”

Even more importantly, Miller's got Atwood on his side. The author serves as a consulting producer on the show, and the title isn’t an honorary one. For Miller, Atwood’s input is essential to shaping the show, particularly as it veers off into new territories. And they were already thinking about season two while shooting season one. “Margaret and I had started to talk about the shape of season two halfway through the first [season],” he told Entertainment Weekly.

In fact, Miller said that when he first began working on the show, he sketched out a full 10 seasons worth of storylines. “That’s what you have to do when you’re taking on a project like this,” he said.

3. MOTHERHOOD WILL BE A CENTRAL THEME.

As with season one, motherhood is a key theme in the series. And June/Offred’s pregnancy will be one of the main plotlines. “So much of [Season 2] is about motherhood,” Elisabeth Moss said during the Television Critics Association press tour. “Bruce and I always talked about the impending birth of this child that’s growing inside her as a bit of a ticking time bomb, and the complications of that are really wonderful to explore. It’s a wonderful thing to have a baby, but she’s having it potentially in this world that she may not want to bring it into. And then, you know, if she does have the baby, the baby gets taken away from her and she can’t be its mother. So, obviously, it’s very complicated and makes for good drama. But, it’s a very big part of this season, and it gets bigger and bigger as the show goes on.”

4. THE RESISTANCE IS COMING.

Just because June is pregnant, don’t expect her to sit on the sidelines as the resistance to Gilead continues. “There is more than one way to resist," Moss said. “There is resistance within [June], and that is a big part of this season.”

5. WE’LL GET TO SEE THE COLONIES.

A scene from 'The Handmaid's Tale'
Hulu

Miller, understandably, isn’t eager to share too many details about the new season. “I’m not being cagey!” he swore to Entertainment Weekly. “I just want the viewers to experience it for themselves!” What he did confirm is that the new season will bring us to the colonies—reportedly in episode two—and show what life is like for those who have been sent there.

It will also delve further into what life is like for the refugees who managed to escape Gilead, like Luke and Moira.

6. MARISA TOMEI WILL APPEAR IN AN EPISODE.

Though she won’t be a regular cast member, Miller recently announced that Oscar winner Marisa Tomei will make a guest appearance in the new season’s second episode. Yes, the one that will show us the Colonies. In fact, that’s where we’ll meet her; Tomei is playing the wife of a Commander.

7. WE’LL LEARN MORE ABOUT THE ORIGINS OF GILEAD.

As a group shrouded in secrecy, we still don’t know much about how and where Gilead began. That will change a bit in season two. When discussing some of the questions viewers will have answered, executive producer Warren Littlefield promised that, "How did Gilead come about? How did this happen?” would be two of them. “We get to follow the historical creation of this world,” he said.

8. THERE WILL BE AT LEAST ONE HANDMAID FUNERAL.

A scene from 'The Handmaid's Tale'
Hulu

While Miller wouldn’t talk about who the handmaids are mourning in a teaser shot from season two that shows a handmaid’s funeral, he was excited to talk about creating the look for the scene. “Everything from the design of their costumes to the way they look is so chilling,” Miller told Entertainment Weekly. “These scenes that are so beautiful, while set in such a terrible place, provide the kind of contrast that makes me happy.”

9. ELISABETH MOSS SAYS THE TONE WILL BE DARKER.

Like season one, Miller says that The Handmaid’s Tale's second season will again balance its darker, dystopian themes with glimpses of hopefulness. “I think the first season had very difficult things, and very hopeful things, and I think this season is exactly the same way,” he told the Los Angeles Times. “There come some surprising moments of real hope and victory, and strength, that come from surprising places.”

Moss, however, has a different opinion. “It's a dark season,” she told reporters at TCA. “I would say arguably it's darker than Season 1—if that's possible.”

10. IT WILL ALSO BE BLOODIER.

A scene from 'The Handmaid's Tale'
Hulu

When pressed about how the teaser images for the new season seemed to feature a lot of blood, Miller conceded: “Oh gosh, yeah. There may be a little more blood this season.”

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6 Surprising Facts About Nintendo's Animal Crossing

by Ryan Lambie

Animal Crossing is one of the most unusual series of games Nintendo has ever produced. Casting you as a newcomer in a woodland town populated by garrulous and sometimes eccentric creatures, Animal Crossing is about conversation, friendship, and collecting things rather than competition or shooting enemies. It’s a formula that has grown over successive generations, with the 3DS version now one of the most popular games available for that system—which is all the more impressive, given the game’s obscure origins almost 15 years ago. Here are a few things you might not have known about the video game.

1. ITS INSPIRATION CAME FROM AN UNLIKELY PLACE.

By the late 1990s, Katsuya Eguchi had already worked on some of Nintendo’s greatest games. He’d designed the levels for the classic Super Mario Bros 3. He was the director of Star Fox (or Star Wing, as it was known in the UK), and the designer behind the adorable Yoshi’s Story. But Animal Crossing was inspired by Eguchi’s experiences from his earlier days, when he was a 21-year-old graduate who’d taken the decisive step of moving from Chiba Prefecture, Japan, where he’d grown up and studied, to Nintendo’s headquarters in Kyoto.

Eguchi wanted to recreate the feeling of being alone in a new town, away from friends and family. “I wondered for a long time if there would be a way to recreate that feeling, and that was the impetus behind Animal Crossing,” Eguchi told Edge magazine in 2008. Receiving letters from your mother, getting a job (from the game’s resident raccoon capitalist, Tom Nook), and gradually filling your empty house with furniture and collectibles all sprang from Eguchi’s memories of first moving to Kyoto.

2. IT WAS ORIGINALLY DEVELOPED FOR THE N64.

Although Animal Crossing would eventually become best known as a GameCube title—to the point where many assume that this is where the series began—the game actually appeared first on the N64. First developed for the ill-fated 64DD add-on, Animal Crossing (or Doubutsu no Mori, which translates to Animal Forest) was ultimately released as a standard cartridge. But by the time Animal Crossing emerged in Japan in 2001, the N64 was already nearing the end of its lifespan, and was never localized for a worldwide release.

3. TRANSLATING THE GAME FOR AN INTERNATIONAL AUDIENCE WAS A DIFFICULT TASK.

The GameCube version of Animal Crossing was released in Japan in December 2001, about eight months after the N64 edition. Thanks to the added capacity of the console’s discs, they could include characters like Tortimer or Blathers that weren’t in the N64 iteration, and Animal Crossing soon became a hit with Japanese critics and players alike.

Porting Animal Crossing for an international audience would prove to be a considerable task, however, with the game’s reams of dialogue and cultural references all requiring careful translation. But the effort that writers Nate Bihldorff and Rich Amtower put into the English-language version would soon pay off; Nintendo’s bosses in Japan were so impressed with the additional festivals and sheer personality present in the western version of Animal Crossing that they decided to have that version of the game translated back into Japanese. This new version of the game, called Doubutsu no Mori e+, was released in 2003.

4. K.K. SLIDER IS BASED ON ON THE GAME'S COMPOSER.

One of Animal Crossing’s most recognizable and popular characters is K.K. Slider, the laidback canine musician. He’s said to be based, both in looks and name, on Kazumi Totaka, the prolific composer and voice actor who co-wrote Animal Crossing’s music. In the Japanese version of Animal Crossing, K.K. Slider is called Totakeke—a play on the real musician’s name. K.K. Slider’s almost as prolific as Totaka, too: Animal Crossing: New Leaf on the Nintendo 3DS contains a total of 91 tracks performed by the character.

5. ONE CHARACTER HAS BEEN KNOWN TO MAKE PLAYERS CRY.

A more controversial character than K.K. Slider, Mr. Resetti is an angry mole created to remind players to save the game before switching off their console. And the more often players forget to save their game, the angrier Mr. Resetti gets. Mr. Resetti’s anger apparently disturbed some younger players, though, as Animal Crossing: New Leaf’s project leader Aya Kyogoku revealed in an interview with Nintendo's former president, the late Satoru Iwata.

“We really weren't sure about Mr. Resetti, as he really divides people," Kyogoku said. “Some people love him, of course, but there are others who don't like being shouted at in his rough accent.”

“It seems like younger female players, in particular, are scared,” Iwata agreed. “I've heard that some of them have even cried.”

To avoid the tears, Mr. Resetti plays a less prominent role in Animal Crossing: New Leaf, and only appears if the player first builds a Reset Surveillance Centre. Divisive though he is, Mr. Resetti’s been designed and written with as much care as any of the other characters in Animal Crossing; his first name’s Sonny, he has a brother called Don and a cousin called Vinnie, and he prefers his coffee black with no sugar.

6. THE SERIES IS STILL EVOLVING.

Since its first appearance in 2001, the quirky and disarming Animal Crossing has grown to encompass toys, a movie, and no fewer than four main games (or five if you count the version released for the N64 as a separate entry). All told, the Animal Crossing games have sold more than 30 million copies, and the series is still growing. In late 2017, the mobile title Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp was released for iOS and Android. It's a big step for the franchise, as Nintendo is famously selective about which of its series get a mobile makeover. A game once inspired by the loneliness of moving to a new town has now become one of Nintendo’s most successful and beloved franchises.

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