Taylor Swift had a gold rush of her own Sunday at the Billboard Music Awards, where she continued her reign as its most-awarded female musician.
The “Anti-Hero” singer-songwriter won 10 prizes at the annual awards show, including the headlining top artist prize. As part of the show’s first digital-only iteration, artists and honorees performed and accepted their awards remotely from venues across the globe. Swift celebrated her wins in a video recorded in Brazil.
“This is unreal,” she said as she held her newest Billboard prize. “The fact that you guys have given me 10 Billboard Awards, I’m talking to the fans specifically, none of this happens without you.”
The 33-year-old thanked her Swifties for their continued support of her lucrative and “magical” Eras tour and her re-recordings. Over the course of her Eras tour, Swift dropped re-releases for “Speak Now” and “1989” and became a box-office queen for its accompanying concert film.
She continued: “I feel like the luckiest person in the world to have you in my corner and caring about the music I make. So thank you….10 million times for this.”
After her impressive haul on Sunday, Swift racked up a total of 39 Billboard Music Awards, tying with Drake. The “For All the Dogs” rapper took home five prizes, including top rap artist. Country star Morgan Wallen was the night’s biggest winner, earning 11 prizes.
Swift accepted her Billboard prizes just a day after postponing her Saturday show in Brazil amid a record-breaking heat wave in Rio de Janeiro. The singer announced the postponement after fan Ana Clara Benevides, a 23-year-old psychology student, fainted in the front row of her Friday concert at the Nilton Santos Olympic Stadium.
Benevides was given 40 minutes of CPR on site before being taken to a hospital, where she died, her friend Thiago Fernandes told the Brazilian newspaper Folha de S. Paulo. The concert’s organizer, Time For Fun, corroborated Fernandes’ account in an Instagram post and added that Benevides died after receiving emergency medical attention for an hour. No official cause of death has been reported.
“I can’t even tell you how devastated I am by this,” Swift shared Friday in a handwritten note. “There’s very little information I have other than the fact that she was so incredibly beautiful and far too young.”
Benevides’ father Weiny Machado expressed his grief to Folha de S. Paulo. He said that his daughter was set to graduate in April and that she attended the concert to fulfill a dream.
Time For Fun rescheduled Saturday’s show for Monday. On Sunday, Swift returned to the stadium stage where she performed “Bigger Than the Whole Sky” in honor of Benevides, according to TMZ.
In a video circulating on social media Monday, Benevides’ mother Adriana Benevides thanked Swift fans and their families who contributed to a fundraiser in her daughter’s honor. Adriana said she learned how much fellow fans loved her daughter.
After the Rio shows, Swift will take her Eras tour to the Allianz Parque in São Paulo from Friday through Sunday.
Times staff writer Carlos De Loera contributed to this report.
Divorce is a miserable experience if you’re going through it. If you’re watching it on screen, however, it’s inherently captivating and even cinematic. Watching a union dissipate, especially when a child is involved, just compels. With Our Son, the sort of story we’ve seen done in work like Kramer vs. Kramer and Marriage Story, is given a same sex spin. At the same time, that difference does help to set it apart. The film is good, to be sure, and more than wears its heart on its sleeve.
Our Son is a predictable movie, without question, but the pleasure is in watching our leads, as opposed to the machinations of the plot. You’re here for the performances, as well as the emotions of the story. What happens is more or less what’s expected, but it’s actually somewhat of a positive here, as you get to focus on what matters.
Book publisher Nicky (Luke Evans) and his husband Gabriel (Billy Porter), a former actor who’s now a stay-at-home dad, are raising Owen (Christopher Woodley) their eight year-old son. Gabriel is devoted to Owen and loves him more than anyone or anything in this world. Nicky, while affectionate and loving to Owen, sees Gabriel as a priority. This has led to a strain in their marriage, one that is exacerbated when Gabriel expresses his dissatisfaction, as well as plans to pursue something new.
Filing for divorce, the breakup slowly gets more acrimonious, especially once custody comes into play. Gabriel and Nicky are duking it out, with Owen caught in the middle. It all leads to a resolution that’s not surprising in the least, but is quietly moving and completely the resolution that you’ll spend the running time hoping for.
Luke Evans and Billy Porter are both quite good, getting to do the sort of work they’re rarely afforded. Christopher Woodley turns in a solid child actor performance, but Evans and Porter are the showcase. Evans gets to play off of some of his tough guy roles, while Porter is given an opportunity unlike any to date. He truly runs with it, too. Evans and Porter are each doing different things, but they’re equally moving. Supporting players here include Kate Burton, Andrew Rannells, Phylicia Rashad, Robin Weigert, and more.
Co-writer/director Bill Oliver wisely keeps the focus on his leads. Along with co-writer Peter Nickowitz, Oliver makes it about watching Evans and Porter go to town on the material. The pacing is a little slack and the script occasionally bumps up against cliche, but its heart is so very much in the right place, it’s hard to ding it too hardly. By letting Evans and Porter showcase, they’ve made the correct choice for the material.
Our Son doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it trusts in its quietness. A good heart and strong acting combine to make it well worth seeing. Will it change your world? Unlikely. Is it entertaining and well executed? Very much so.
This summer, Sarah Rafferty starred in one of the most-watched shows to hit streaming — four years after the series ended its run.
“Suits,” the legal drama that originally ran on USA Network from 2011 to 2019, has seen a resurgence in popularity since it became available to stream on Netflix in June. (It’s also available to stream in full on Peacock.) In the months since, the series has broken several streaming records — notching 18 billion streaming minutes in July alone — and is the most-watched title ever acquired by a streaming service, according to Nielsen.
It’s the sort of feat Rafferty’s character on the show, the all-knowing and impeccably dressed legal secretary-turned Chief Operations Officer Donna Paulsen, might be tempted to celebrate by partaking in the show’s ever-mysterious can opener ritual. (The series also famously stars Meghan Markle.) Rafferty, though, is hoping some of that success will benefit her newest series for the streamer.
She stars as Katherine Walter, the matriarch of the large Walter family, in Netflix’s adaptation of the Ali Novak’s coming-of-age novel, “My Life With the Walter Boys.” Now streaming, the series revolves around 15-year-old Jackie, who is uprooted from Manhattan to rural Colorado after the deaths of several members of her immediate family. She is taken in by her mom’s best friend, Katherine, and her husband, George (Marc Blucas), who are already raising 10 children, mostly boys.
In a recent video call from her home in the Valley, Rafftery, whose post-”Suits” credits include “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Chicago Med,” talked about the benefit of playing a mom on a teen show, watching “Suits” find a second life on streaming and the possibility of reprising Donna Paulsen.
How was Katherine Walter, this beloved veterinarian in her community and the matriarch to a family of 10 children, presented to you?
I only had the first episode, and I really focused just on the scene when she goes to Jackie — Jackie was supposed to have fallen in the pool, but [instead] she got splashed by the dogs. That was the scene I was given to make my decision about. I think what I really connected to was the humanity of this mother, desperately wanting to be picked by her best friend’s child to allow her the opportunity to nurture her into her new life. And that Katherine, not to the extent of Jackie, is also really grieving this loss too, and out of that comes this desire for the connection. That really spoke to me. I had known that Katherine herself was an adopted child. We know she had an amazing childhood and beautiful adoptive parents, but she still had an ache to understand her birth mother and where she came from, and maybe a little piece of the “why.” And out of seeking that, she went on this healing journey of building her own family in a modern way with chosen and blood family. I think the fact that she has a big, huge, sprawling, chaotic family is a huge part of her healing journey. She wants to offer that to Jackie.
The show has you back in Canada this time, though, in Alberta. Were you commuting back and forth?
I was commuting. I love Canada. I loved our time in Toronto [where “Suits” was shot.] I raised my kids for nine years there. When it came time to go to Calgary, my kids are too old to come with me. So I was ferociously commuting, like gunning it for the airport at every opportunity that I could. While I was there, there was this magical thing happening with my fictional sons, where sometimes if I had a weekend and I couldn’t go home, which was very hard for me — I didn’t make it on Father’s Day. I didn’t make it home for Mother’s Day. I was sad — they stepped in and folded me into plans and took road trips with me to Banff and those kinds of things. One of the benefits of electing to be the mom on a teen show is that I had downtime. I knew there would be days where we’re shooting a high school party, there’s no moms there, so I could get home to my real teens.
You’re often doing scenes with a gaggle of young actors, mainly boys. How much did you take on a motherly role with them?
If you could look through all my texts, you would see it’s definitely a motherly role. I was just texting with Noah LaLonde (who plays Cole] this morning. Those actors make it easy. I actually had one moment where I said to Melanie [Halsall, who developed the adaptation for TV], “I keep finding myself grabbing their faces!” I was like, “You’re gonna have to edit around a couple of face grabs. I just couldn’t help it. Like, you’ll have to cut away before my hands are on their face.” They were so delightful.
I want to take a step back. You received your MFA from the Yale School of Drama. What stands out to you about that experience?
I learned there that the text is everything. I would say that my favorite class would be Shakespeare, for sure, because that’s the richest text you can be offered. Today, I just geeked out on my Instagram feed — my Instagram feed gives me a lot of Judi Dench. My Instagram is always like, “Here, I think you need a little Judi Dench right now, Sarah.”
Was it that clip from “The Graham Norton Show” where she recited Sonnet 29?
Exactly. Oh, my gosh, I loved that. A takeaway from Yale School of Drama is the reverence for the written word. And the process of taking the written word into being a spoken word. The best lesson I learned, and the most liberating lesson: Your attention is never on yourself. Your attention is always on your acting partner, making them feel something. That kind of relief from self-consciousness is bliss if you can get it.
I went on YouTube and relived your TV commercial era. You were part of that very memorable “Herbal Essences” ad campaign with the fake orgasm in the ’90s. Please tell me everything about this. What do you remember about that audition and being the face of it?
I do remember explaining to my parents, “Oh, I got a commercial.” “Oh, what are you going to be doing in it?” I said, “I’m gonna be doing what Meg Ryan did in ‘When Harry Met Sally.’” Because I can’t say “fake orgasm” in front of either one of my parents. I remember that struggle was real in my early 20s. That’s one of the only auditions I remember. I was like, “I’m not gonna get this,” so I just went in there and was so over the top. Maybe my entire Yale Drama School education went into that commercial. The people were in hysterics, they were just laughing so hard because I just assumed like, “This is comedy, right?” Perhaps other people went in with a strangely, real-life version of it. And when I walked out all the other women there were like, “That is yours.” I think it was one of the fastest calls that I got for something. And I got to do it with Dr. Ruth. It was the last commercial that aired before the last “Seinfeld.” I do know it was huge enough that I could cut down on my waitressing shifts, and I could actually shift to being coat check. That was back when commercials were life changing.
I have to tell you about an experience that I’ve never had before, in all my years covering TV. I was at a family birthday party — big Latino family, keep that in mind. And I was talking to an aunt and uncle that I hadn’t seen in months. And they were like, “Oh, what have you been watching lately?” And I said, “I’m rewatching ‘Suits.’” Long story short, half the people at this party were watching it and eager to discuss it. What were you thinking when it became clear it was having a moment over the summer, and even now?
I’m just grateful. It’s impossible to metabolize or wrap your brain around billions of minutes being watched. And we even have a group chat — the “Suits” family group chat — and sometimes an article would come out, and we’d all be like, “What??” What I feel about it is that right now, our world feels like it’s growing more and more fractured and dark. And if people are turning to television, or turning to “Suits,” to escape, or to find relief, or to find comfort, or to have a connection, then that’s incredibly gratifying. It sounds really cheesy, but that fills my heart.
My mom at one point was like, “Everybody at the assisted living is watching.” I was at my children’s bus stop the other day and a woman knocked on the passenger side window. I rolled down the window. She’s said, “You’re Donna from ‘Suits.’ Can you come out? Can you come here?” And I was like, “Sure.”
The timing must have been bittersweet. One of the rules for SAG- AFTRA members during the strike was to refrain from promoting current or past projects, so I imagine it must have been difficult to not be able to fully engage with the fandom.
The strike was a hard time for everybody in the industry. Nothing could ever eclipse my gratitude for “Suits” and for the people who are watching it and for how it is being received. But some of the celebration, of course, had to be tempered by the fact that we were a part of a labor movement, across multiple industries, where workers had to strike to fight for fair pay that was commensurate with the value of the products they were creating.
I think in terms of our industry, we all see really good evidence of the value — “Suits” was getting billions of minutes on Netflix.I hope that people who are into teen dramas are going to binge “My Life With the Walter Boys” on Netflix. I would say that having to fight as long and as hard as we did was at times disheartening, but at the same time, there was so much solidarity on the line, there was so much solidarity from sibling unions, who were also making great sacrifices. It really was a summer of holding two feelings at the same time.
It was recently announced that a new show in the “Suits” universe is in the works. But have there been discussions about reviving the original series and having you and some of the original cast reprise roles beforeAaron Korsh and NBCUniversal went the route they did?
Oh, I don’t know anything about any discussions prior to the announcement of the other iteration of “Suits.” But I can say that Donna lives in my heart forever. And at any time, I’ll be happy to let her out and play. I’m excited as a viewer to enjoy the next “Suits.” I have had a lot of conversations with my friend Patrick [J. Adams, who played Mike Ross on the show] about this moment and that gratitude and connection with the Suitors, as we call them. We’re marinating on some ideas to cook something up for them.
Other USA network shows like “Monk” and “Psych” got a movie. Would you do that? Tell me where you see Donna and Harvey in 2023.
Yes, I would do that. The beauty is the writers get to tell me where Donna and Harvey are in 2023. And the sky’s the limit. They can come up with anything, especially if we’re doing a movie version of it. I just have to potentially adjust Donna’s heel height because I’ve taken a significant amount of time outside of those Barbie-like shoes. Since 2019, when I took off the shoes, I haven’t really put them back on. But I’m happy to put on maybe one inch lower or a half-inch lower. Maybe they’ll just custom make them? Do you think there could be a movie?
I think the fans are hungry for one. I’m game for something à la “And Just Like That.” Give me a multiple season return.
I’m down. I was just with with Gina [Torres, who played Jessica Pearson] last week. Jessica and Donna, I think, have a lot left unexplored in their relationship. And they did have a phone call where they called each other by their last names. And they said they missed each other. And so I was like, “I think this is indicative of other phone calls happening, other things happening, maybe offscreen.” And I’d like to know what’s there.
We’ll have “Suits” creator Aaron Korsh read this story and make it happen. Cast members revisiting some of their popular works in the form of a rewatch podcast is also a growing genre. Would you consider doing a “Suits” podcast?
[Calls out to her rep in the other room to get guidance.] How about I answer it this way: Patrick and I have been having some conversations about how we can celebrate this kind of historic viewing of the show, how we can actually process that and feel it and and how we can connect with the fans who made it what it was, in a more real way. I hope that in the new year, we will have something, a way for everybody to connect and celebrate together.
There was also the recent news about this reunion at the ATX TV festival. So far, it was announced that you, Patrick, Aaron and Dulé Hill are participating. Have you been nudging your other co-stars on that group chat — Gabriel, Rick, Gina — to get on board with this?
Yes. And they are all excited pending, literally, just being able to go. We just have so much fun when we’re all together, and ATX has been so good to us and Austin [Texas] is such a cool town.
Has your perception of Donna changed in the time since the show ended?
You saw “Barbie,” right? I actually went to that movie with Gina. There is that moment in that film when the character of the woman who created Barbie says, “Mothers stand still so our daughters can look back and see how far they’ve come.” And, obviously, there’s America Ferrera’s monologue. I think having had some time reflecting on that has deepened my experience of myself as a professional woman and my imaginary experience of Donna’s experience as a professional woman. Another thing I really appreciate about having played Donna is how much Donna resonated with women and young women and with women who perceived her to be a feminist and to be a feminist story.
We were on that show for long enough, almost a decade. The world changed while we were on the show. I was on set when it became clear that Hillary Clinton was probably not going to win the presidential election and very shortly after that, Aaron and I had a conversation — “We got to do something with Donna.” I think I said it pretty emotionally and tearfully, “We’ve got to do something; we’ve got to say more.” Maybe it’s just gonna be a lighter version of some other female dealing with crashing through a glass ceiling, but if three people care, then we did something. The following season, Donna spoke up and said, “I want to be a voting partner and I want a seat at the table, and I want a voice.” And I think all along she knew she was going for COO, so she went for this other thing — she was just playing chess, not checkers. But it was a great conversation. Aaron did an amazing job writing a compelling story and not writing it because he was making a message out of it. As a professional woman saying, “I don’t want to be the woman behind the man.”
From Netflix’s ‘The Archies’ to ‘Kadak Singh’ on Zee5, here’s what to watch on OTT this weekend
1 Year of Freddy: Here’s looking at what made Kartik Aaryan’s performance in a grey shade, so unforgettable!
The story of Kadak Singh is about one of the sharpest and finest officers of the Department of Financial Crimes (DFC), A.K. Srivastava (Pankaj Tripathi). Kadak Singh is a workaholic who does his job with honesty, but somewhere down the line he neglects his family. After a suicide attempt he gets admitted in the hospital for retrograde amnesia. He doesn’t completely forget everything, but the saddest part is he forgets his own daughter (Sanjana Sanghi). Her daughter is completely wiped out from his memory.
It is his daughter, who realises that Kadak Singh was so Kadak (strict) and most importantly strong that could never commit suicide. It is she who takes upon the job of narrating his life to Singh (Pankaj Tripathi) to understand what went wrong in their relationship and how he lands up in the hospital. There are people who are trying to help Singh come out of the mess that he is in, while some of his colleagues in the office try to play nasty. But from the very beginning, it is very obvious who the criminals are. Yet there is something that is very gripping about the story. But what it lacked was a tighter screen play.
We are all aware of the brilliant performer Pankaj Tripathi is and how effortlessly he fits into any role, but it is also a pleasure to see the way Sanjana Sanghi has worked on herself. The actress has truly come a long way since the first time she was seen in Dil Bechara opposite Sushant Singh Rajput. But sometimes or rather most of the times, I felt that Pankaj Tripathi’s character wasn’t explored well. He is one of the brightest craftsmen in the entertainment industry, but most of the time he was just trying to be witty. And when we have all noticed over the years that doing serious roles with a comical twist is Tripathi’s forte, he could have done it a little better. I guess it was the director’s job to make the look of the movie better, which he clearly didn’t put much thought into. By the look of the movie, I mean the visuals. Kolkata has so much to offer in terms of visuals, but sadly that wasn’t utilised.
The story of Kadak Singh was engaging no doubt, but it is predictable. Considering it is a film based in Kolkata, he could have romanticised the place a little bit if not much. The movie lacked visuals.
One of the best performances was delivered by Parvathy Thiruvothu who played the role of a nurse who was patient, humane and took good care of Kadak Singh and was always ready to listen to his stories, his confusion and grievances. Singh’s relationship with the nurse has been beautifully explored and it really touched my heart, rather than the one shared by Jaya Ashan and Pankaj Tripathi. The relationship hardly made any sense, in fact, they were more like sex buddies and there was absolutely no depth in their relationship.
Jaya Ashan who plays the role of Tripathi’s girlfriend hardly spoke and when she spoke it appeared like Greek to me. Her Hindi was as disastrous as her Bengali and here she plays the role of a literature teacher. Good Lord, I must say, a literature teacher needs to be articulate and here she is struggling to express herself. Jaya Ashan seriously needs to go through acting workshops and diction coaches before taking up a role. Her eyes were equally expressionless. This export from Bangladesh just didn’t work at least for this film.
Kadak Singh could have been handled in a mature way and it could have been more impactful too, but I believe it was a failure on the part of the director. It had everything, starting from the leading good cast to a decent story. But, it appeared like filmmaker, Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury was in a hurry to catch a bus to Goa to do the screening at IFFI.
Rating: 2.5 out of 5
Kadak Singh is streaming on Zee 5
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