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8 Things We Know About The Crown Season 2

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Since making its premiere on November 4, 2016, The Crown—which won the 2017 Golden Globe for Best Drama—has become an indisputable hit for Netflix. The 10-part series, created by two-time Oscar nominee Peter Morgan (The Queen, Frost/Nixon), follows the ascension and early reign of Queen Elizabeth II (played by Claire Foy, who won a Golden Globe and SAG Award for her portrayal of the legendary royal) and the challenges it creates in her personal life, particularly in her marriage to Prince Philip (played by former Doctor Who star Matt Smith). Fans binge-watched the show as quickly as it was dropped, and have spent the better part of this year clamoring for details on the second season, which will return on December 8, 2017. Here’s what we know.

1. PRODUCTION ON SEASON TWO BEGAN BEFORE SEASON ONE EVEN PREMIERED.

In November 2016, while speaking on a panel for the nonprofit organization Visionary Women, Netflix’s chief content officer Ted Sarandos confirmed that production on The Crown's second season was already underway. "We're in production now on the second season," Sarandos said. "This is going to take Queen Elizabeth from age 29 to, presumably, the current day. We'll see it lay out over decades. We've seen a lot of things about Queen Elizabeth, but we've already learned more about her than we ever had by watching the first 10 hours."

In an interview with Vanity Fair, published on November 18, 2016, Foy revealed that they were already a month into shooting. “We literally pick up where we left off—in 1956," she said. “I think Peter’s taking [us up to] '63 or '64. We get into the '60s, and it is a whole other world happening. It’s really exciting, especially because we’ve had such a positive response and everyone’s been really encouraging. It just makes everybody, especially the crew, work even harder. When we first started shooting, and it hadn’t come out. We were like, ‘Oh god, what if they hate it?’ And then we’ll [still have to film a second season] knowing that everyone hated it."

2. SEASON TWO WILL FOCUS ON THE SUEZ CRISIS.

Season two will focus largely on the Suez Crisis of 1956. “Initially, I thought this would only be three seasons,” Morgan told The Hollywood Reporter. “It would be one season of her as the Young Queen, one season of her as the Middle-Aged Queen, one season of her as an Old Queen. It's only in the writing of it that I said, ‘Oh, my God I need more time.’ The truth of the matter is, I could've written three or even four seasons of her as the Young Queen. I did get to the point where I thought, ‘Actually no, let's leave it on the knife's edge of Suez because Suez feels like a changing point for the country. Britain was never the same again after Suez.’ Therefore, I was going to deal with that at the beginning of season two. Which we do.”

3. PRINCES PHILIP AND CHARLES WILL HAVE BIGGER ROLES.

Though Elizabeth's family was a major part of The Crown's first season, season two will devote more screen time to both Prince Philip and a young Prince Charles.

"We start to focus on Charles as a young boy and his education, and on Philip and his back story,” Morgan told People in December. Earlier this month, while discussing the show at a Royal Television Society event in London, Morgan gave a few more details on season two: "Its soul is about Prince Philip's complexity. "I find him extraordinarily interesting—his childhood, again, you couldn't make it up. The soul of season two is about his complexity."

4. PRINCESS MARGARET IS GOING TO BE "NAUGHTY."

Though audiences got to see a bit about Princess Margaret's lust for life, and complicated romantic entanglements, in the first season, we'll get an even wilder version of her in season two. "She’s naughty," Foy told W Magazine. "Very minxy. She gets even naughtier even though she gets married. The naughtiness just continues." (Margaret's husband, Antony Armstrong-Jones—a.k.a. Lord Snowdon—will be played by Downton Abbey star Matthew Goode.)

In discussing Vanessa Kirby, the actress who plays Margaret, Morgan told Vanity Fair that, “Vanessa explodes this season. We always knew she was a great actress, but she explodes. It’s a very identifiable tragedy, to have someone in the family with more apparent charisma and yet no use for it ... I love writing her.”

5. NETFLIX WOULD LIKE TO SEE A TOTAL OF SIX SEASONS.

Though it’s the most expensive television series ever made, Sarandos seems rather pleased with the results of The Crown—and the audience's reaction to it. Even if season two does bring viewers up to the present day, the series won’t stop there. In fact, from the get-go, Netflix saw the series as a long-term investment. "The idea is to do this over six decades, in six seasons presumably, and make the whole show over eight to 10 years," Sarandos said.

6. FUTURE SEASONS COULD SEE SOME MAJOR CAST CHANGES.

Though Foy and Smith are both back for season two of The Crown, it will reportedly be their last. Because of the chronological nature of the narrative, seasons three and beyond would focus on the Queen in the later years of her reign, which would require an older actress. According to Digital Spy, if all six seasons of the series shake out as planned, the cast will change for season three then again in season five, for the final two seasons. Producer Andrew Eaton said that he and the rest of the team have had some “conversations” about who might play the royal couple next, but right now they are firmly focused on Foy.

"We saw a number of actresses in the beginning [to play the young Elizabeth] who were all brilliant, but Claire ... there was something about her," Eaton said.

"If you're going to take this character—and she's doing all of the first two seasons, so it's 20 hours with the same character—it's got to be someone that you can identify with and feels vulnerable and sympathetic and she has that quality as a person.”

7. JOHN AND JACKIE KENNEDY WILL PLAY A PART IN SEASON TWO.

As season two ventures into the 1960s, we do know that John and Jackie Kennedy will be a part of the narrative. On February 9, 2017, Variety confirmed that Michael C. Hall will play JFK, while Quarry's Jodi Balfour will play his wife, Jackie. 

"I absolutely fell in love with Jodi Balfour," Foy told Entertainment Weekly in July. "She’s just brilliant, and Michael C. Hall is just incredible. You really see how amazing it is to put Philip and Elizabeth—their marriage and their world—suddenly into the 1960s. You see how the royal family has to start changing and move with the times and realize that things and people are different, and you start to see the evolution of the modern monarchy."

8. A THIRD SEASON HAS YET TO BE CONFIRMED, BUT MORGAN'S ALREADY THINKING ABOUT IT.

If audience response to the first season told us anything, season two of The Crown is bound to be a hit. Still, Netflix has yet to confirm that a third season will be coming. "We're talking [to Netflix] all the the time but we just want to see how the second series goes," Morgan said in early August. "We're pretty swamped at the moment. I've started thinking about a third season—you have to be responsible, you can't say you'll do it and then suddenly go, 'Actually I found out it's really dull.' I have done some preparatory work, I'd be happy to do it, but at the moment I'm swamped."

The Crown is streaming now on Netflix.

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10 Things You Might Not Know About Little Women
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gutenberg.org

Louisa May Alcott's Little Women is one of the world's most beloved novels, and now—nearly 150 years after its original publication—it's capturing yet another generation of readers, thanks in part to Masterpiece's new small-screen adaptation. Whether it's been days or years since you've last read it, here are 10 things you might not know about Alcott's classic tale of family and friendship.

1. LOUISA MAY ALCOTT DIDN'T WANT TO WRITE LITTLE WOMEN.


Frank T. Merrill, Public Domain, Courtesy of The Project Gutenberg

Louisa May Alcott was writing both literature and pulp fiction (sample title: Pauline's Passion and Punishment) when Thomas Niles, the editor at Roberts Brothers Publishing, approached her about writing a book for girls. Alcott said she would try, but she wasn’t all that interested, later calling such books “moral pap for the young.”

When it became clear Alcott was stalling, Niles offered a publishing contract to her father, Bronson Alcott. Although Bronson was a well-known thinker who was friends with Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, his work never achieved much acclaim. When it became clear that Bronson would have an opportunity to publish a new book if Louisa started her girls' story, she caved in to the pressure.

2. LITTLE WOMEN TOOK JUST 10 WEEKS TO WRITE.


Frank T. Merrill, Public Domain, Courtesy of The Project Gutenberg

Alcott began writing the book in May 1868. She worked on it day and night, becoming so consumed with it that she sometimes forgot to eat or sleep. On July 15, she sent all 402 pages to her editor. In September, a mere four months after starting the book, Little Women was published. It became an instant best seller and turned Alcott into a rich and famous woman.

3. THE BOOK AS WE KNOW IT WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN TWO PARTS.


Frank T. Merrill, Public Domain, Courtesy of The Project Gutenberg

The first half was published in 1868 as Little Women: Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy. The Story Of Their Lives. A Girl’s Book. It ended with John Brooke proposing marriage to Meg. In 1869, Alcott published Good Wives, the second half of the book. It, too, only took a few months to write.

4. MEG, BETH, AND AMY WERE BASED ON ALCOTT'S SISTERS.


Frank T. Merrill, Public Domain, Courtesy of The Project Gutenberg

Meg was based on Louisa’s sister Anna, who fell in love with her husband John Bridge Pratt while performing opposite him in a play. The description of Meg’s wedding in the novel is supposedly based on Anna’s actual wedding.

Beth was based on Lizzie, who died from scarlet fever at age 23. Like Beth, Lizzie caught the illness from a poor family her mother was helping.

Amy was based on May (Amy is an anagram of May), an artist who lived in Europe. In fact, May—who died in childbirth at age 39—was the first woman to exhibit paintings in the Paris Salon.

Jo, of course, is based on Alcott herself.

5. LIKE THE MARCH FAMILY, THE ALCOTTS KNEW POVERTY.


Frank T. Merrill, Public Domain, Courtesy of The Project Gutenberg

Bronson Alcott’s philosophical ideals made it difficult for him to find employment—for example, as a socialist, he wouldn't work for wages—so the family survived on handouts from friends and neighbors. At times during Louisa’s childhood, there was nothing to eat but bread, water, and the occasional apple.

When she got older, Alcott worked as a paid companion and governess, like Jo does in the novel, and sold “sensation” stories to help pay the bills. She also took on menial jobs, working as a seamstress, a laundress, and a servant. Even as a child, Alcott wanted to help her family escape poverty, something Little Women made possible.

6. ALCOTT REFUSED TO HAVE JO MARRY LAURIE.


Frank T. Merrill, Public Domain, Courtesy of The Project Gutenberg

Alcott, who never married herself, wanted Jo to remain unmarried, too. But while she was working on the second half of Little Women, fans were clamoring for Jo to marry the boy next door, Laurie. “Girls write to ask who the little women marry, as if that was the only aim and end of a woman’s life," Alcott wrote in her journal. "I won’t marry Jo to Laurie to please anyone.”

As a compromise—or to spite her fans—Alcott married Jo to the decidedly unromantic Professor Bhaer. Laurie ends up with Amy.

7. THERE ARE LOTS OF THEORIES ABOUT WHO LAURIE WAS BASED ON.


Frank T. Merrill, Public Domain, Courtesy of The Project Gutenberg

People have theorized Laurie was inspired by everyone from Thoreau to Nathaniel Hawthorne’s son Julian, but this doesn’t seem to be the case. In 1865, while in Europe, Alcott met a Polish musician named Ladislas Wisniewski, whom Alcott nicknamed Laddie. The flirtation between Laddie and Alcott culminated in them spending two weeks together in Paris, alone. According to biographer Harriet Reisen, Alcott later modeled Laurie after Laddie.

How far did the Alcott/Laddie affair go? It’s hard to say, as Alcott later crossed out the section of her diary referring to the romance. In the margin, she wrote, “couldn’t be.”

8. YOU CAN STILL VISIT ORCHARD HOUSE, WHERE ALCOTT WROTE LITTLE WOMEN.

Orchard House in Concord, Massachusetts was the Alcott family home. In 1868, Louisa reluctantly left her Boston apartment to write Little Women there. Today, you can tour this house and see May’s drawings on the walls, as well as the small writing desk that Bronson built for Louisa to use.

9. LITTLE WOMEN HAS BEEN ADAPTED A NUMBER OF TIMES.

In addition to a 1958 TV series, multiple Broadway plays, a musical, a ballet, and an opera, Little Women has been made into more than a half-dozen movies. The most famous are the 1933 version starring Katharine Hepburn, the 1949 version starring June Allyson (with Elizabeth Taylor as Amy), and the 1994 version starring Winona Ryder. Later this year, Clare Niederpruem's modern retelling of the story is scheduled to arrive in movie theaters. It's also been adapted for the small screen a number of times, most recently for PBS's Masterpiece, by Call the Midwife creator Heidi Thomas.

10. IN 1980, A JAPANESE ANIME VERSION OF LITTLE WOMEN WAS RELEASED.

In 1987, Japan made an anime version of Little Women that ran for 48 half-hour episodes. Watch the first two episodes above.

Additional Resources:
Louisa May Alcott: A Personal Biography; Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women; Louisa May Alcott's Journals; Little Women; Alcott Film; C-Span; LouisaMayAlcott.org.

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Scarface is Returning to Theaters for Its 35th Anniversary
Tribeca Film Festival/Screenvision Media/Universal Pictures
Tribeca Film Festival/Screenvision Media/Universal Pictures

Pop culture history was forever altered on December 9, 1983, when Scarface arrived in movie theaters across America. A loose remake of Howard Hawks's classic 1932 gangster film, Brian De Palma's F-bomb-laden story of a Cuban immigrant who becomes the king of Miami's drug scene by murdering anyone in his path is still being endlessly dissected, and quoted, today. To celebrate the film's place in cinema history, the Tribeca Film Festival is teaming up with Screenvision Media and Universal Pictures to bring the film back into theaters next month.

Just last month, Scarface screened at New York City's Tribeca Film Festival as part of a 35th anniversary celebration. The film's main cast and crew—including De Palma and stars Al Pacino, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Steven Bauer—were on hand to discuss the making of the film and why it has endured as a contemporary classic. (Yes, that's the same conversation that left the panel momentarily speechless when moderator Jesse Kornbluth asked Pfeiffer how much she weighed during filming.) That post-screening Q&A will be part of the upcoming screenings.

"Scarface is a timeless film that has influenced pop culture in so many ways over the last 35 years. We're thrilled to partner with Universal Pictures and Tribeca Film Festival to bring it back to the big screen in celebration of its anniversary," Darryl Schaffer, executive vice president of operations and exhibitor relations at Screenvision Media, said in a press statement. "The Tribeca Film Festival talk was an important commemoration of the film. We're excited to extend it to the big screen and provide fans a behind-the-scenes insight into what production was like in the 1980s."

Scarface will screen at select theaters nationwide on June 10, June 11, and June 13, 2018. Visit Scarface35.com to find out if Tony Montana and his little friend will be coming back to a cinema near you.

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