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Jonathan Prime / Netflix
Jonathan Prime / Netflix

6 Things We Know About Black Mirror Season 4

Jonathan Prime / Netflix
Jonathan Prime / Netflix

If there’s one thing fans of Black Mirror—the technology-meets-sci-fi anthology series that has led millions of viewers to cover up their laptop webcams with tape—know, it’s to expect the unexpected from the show. Over its three seasons, the British series-turned-Netflix Original has delved into the darkest corners of technology to present what some might consider a very possible, very dystopian, and very terrifying future. And they can’t get enough of it.

Just one day after the first of seven trailers for the new season dropped, Netflix has announced that season four will premiere on Netflix on December 29, 2017. Here’s everything we know so far about the fourth season of Black Mirror.

1. IT WILL TRY TO PREDICT WHAT'S GOING ON IN THE WORLD.

In February, The Telegraph interviewed Black Mirror creator Charlie Brooker, who shared that he and his team were in the midst of shooting season four at that time. He admitted that one of the biggest challenges they face in creating a new season is in trying to “predict” what will be happening in the world by the time the episodes air.

“We're working on the new season at the moment—we're about to start filming the third episode in Iceland—so if we were trying to predict the real world, we'd have to think about where the real world's going to be in another six months or so,” Brooker said.

2. IT WILL TAKE A STAB AT COMEDY.

“We've got one that's overtly comic, much more overtly comic than anything we've done,” Brooker told The Telegraph. “It's got fairly mainstream comic elements, but also some really unpleasant stuff that happens.”

3. AS WITH PREVIOUS SEASONS, EACH EPISODE WILL HAVE A DISTINCT TONE.

"When we did previous seasons, we realized after we'd done the first two [episodes] that basically each one was a slightly different genre, and we actively approached the first Netflix season like that,” Brooker said. “And we're carrying that forward [into season four], so we've got some strikingly different tones and looks.”

4. JODIE FOSTER DIRECTED AN EPISODE.

Though Black Mirror is hardly lacking in star power, season four sees two-time Oscar winner Jodie Foster step behind the camera to direct "Arkangel," an episode starring Rosemarie Dewitt, Brenna Harding, and Owen Teague.

News of Foster’s attachment to the show was reported back in October 2016. Brooker says that the episode will focus on a mother-daughter relationship and have an indie movie tone.

"Netflix got in touch with her,” Brooker explained of how Foster came to the series. “She's done episodes of Orange Is The New Black before, and they spoke to her and sent her our script, and within a week of that we were Skyping. It was a bit odd, to be Skyping with Jodie Foster—but I did a good job of hiding my delight that I was Skyping with Jodie Foster.”

5. THERE WILL BE SIX EPISODES.

As with season three, Black Mirror's fourth season will consist of six episodes. Here's what we know about each one:

Arkangel” stars Rosemarie Dewitt, Brenna Harding, and Owen Teague and is directed by Jodie Foster.

“Black Museum” stars Douglas Hodge, Letitia Wright, and Babs Olusanmokun and is directed by Colm McCarthy.

"Crocodile” stars Andrea Riseborough, Andrew Gower, and Kiran Sonia Sawar and is directed by John Hillcoat.

“Hang the DJ” stars Georgina Campbell, Joe Cole, and George Blagden and is directed by Tim Van Patten.

“Metalhead” stars Maxine Peake, Jake Davies, and Clint Dyer and is directed by David Slade.

“USS Callister” stars Jesse Plemons, Cristin Milioti, Jimmi Simpson, and Michaela Coel and is directed by Toby Haynes.

6. SEASON FOUR MAY NOT BE AS BLEAK AS PREVIOUS SEASONS.

In addition to being one of Black Mirror’s most universally acclaimed episodes, season three’s “San Junipero” installment is also notable for being one of the hit series’ most uplifting episodes ... well, as “uplifting” as a show about the many ways technology can be terrifying can be. But the success of the episode posed some challenges for Brooker going into season four.

"I'm terrified of ‘San Junipero’ in a way, because I think we sort of captured lightning in a bottle there,” Brooker admitted. “You try and think, okay, that went really well, what else can we do? But you've got to then immediately put everything you think of out of your mind, because you can't really do the same thing again.”

In addition to making sure that each episode is unique, it’s important to Brooker—and his sanity—that he not be constantly immersed in dark themes. "I do think that at the moment, as we're doing new episodes, there's a limit to how much constant nihilistic bleakness I can take,” Brooker continued. “And the world is in a place at the moment where I think maybe people appreciate things that aren't so unremittingly horrible. But you also don't want to short-change people on the unremitting horribleness.”

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10 Things You Might Not Know About Little Women
gutenberg.org
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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Tribeca Film Festival/Screenvision Media/Universal Pictures
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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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