Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner could be worth nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars, according to documents released Friday.
President Donald Trump‘s daughter, 35, and son-in-law, 36, will remain beneficiaries of their real estate and investment businesses worth as much as $741 million, according to multiple news outlets, including the New York Times and CBS.
Other reports have the couple’s worth as $240 million.
On late Friday, the White House publicly released financial disclosures and ethics filings for more than 100 of its top administration officials.
Kushner’s financial disclosures showed that his wife earned between $1 million and $5 million from the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. between January 2016 and March 2017, and put the value of her stake at between $5 million and $25 million, according to the Times.
According to the Associated Press, the documents show that Kushner, Trump’s senior adviser, resigned from some 260 entities and sold off 58 businesses or investments that lawyers identified as posing potential conflicts of interest due to his stepping away from businesses while in government service. But his lawyers, in consultation with the Office of Government Ethics, determined that his real estate assets, many of them in New York City, are unlikely to pose the kinds of conflicts that would trigger a need to divest.
“The remaining conflicts, from a practical perspective, are pretty narrow and very manageable,” said Jamie Gorelick, an attorney who has been working on the ethics agreements for Trump and Kushner.
This comes after news that Trump will become a federal employee after her plans to serve as an informal adviser with a West Wing office drew criticism.
SPOILER ALERT: Details from Friday’s episode of Mama June: From Not to Hot are revealed below.
Mama June Shannon has kept her brand-new body a secret for months, but now the reality star has finally revealed the final transformation — and it was worth the wait!
Shannon has revealed the results of her weight loss and many surgeries exclusively to PEOPLE.
As viewers of Friday’s episode of WE tv’s Mama June: From Not to Hot know, the change was so drastic, even her own children barely recognized her. “She looks great,” says daughter Alana “Honey Boo Boo” Thompson. “I’m really proud of her.”
During the episode, Thompson remarked that her mother “looked like Marilyn Monroe.”
“I’ve worked my ass off, working out getting healthy,” Mama June said during the finale. “And now I feel like becoming the person on the outside that I always felt like on the inside.”
Shannon, 37, will share the details of exactly how she went from a size 18 to a size 4 in the next issue of PEOPLE, plus what is was like going under the knife to remove skin from her neck, arms, back and stomach. Shannon also underwent breast augmentation surgery and got a new set of veneers.
Every step of Shannon’s transformation journey has been documented, including the dramatic day she nearly threw in the towel after post-op pain became too much to handle.
I have 2 ask what is everybody’s opinion about the new Mama June I have work so hard 4 everything & continue 2 work hard everyday #MamaJune
— Mama June (@MamaJune_BooBoo) April 1, 2017
FROM COINAGE: 9 Healthy Kitchen Staples That Cost Less Than $1 Per Serving
Her daughters Alana and Lauryn “Pumpkin” Shannon helped get her back on track and now the process is finally over.
The Mama June: From Not to Hot finale airs April 7 at 9 p.m. ET on WE tv.
Oscar-winner Brie Larson is paying homage to the job that allowed her to audition for movie roles.
The Kong: Skull Island star posted an Instagram album of her days spinning tracks, writing, “I used to DJ. It was the ‘real’ job that floated me while I auditioned for the movies I never got.”
“Even during the filming of Short Term 12 I spun records at magazine parties and hotel bars on weekends because I couldn’t survive off of SAG minimum,” she continues. “Drunk dudes would request trap and I’d tell them ‘Sorry I only play vinyl.’”
FROM COINAGE: The Top 5 Most Expensive Movies of All Time
The star says she is “grateful” for how life turned out for her, but that she didn’t want to forget where she came from, adding she wanted “to give a toast to the life I lived before. To all the dreamers with day jobs, I see you, don’t give up. There is beauty in your journey.”
Larson, 27, won an Oscar in 2016 for her portrayal of a kidnapped mother in the film Room. She was confirmed to play Captain Marvel in July 2016 at San Diego Comic Con in the upcoming movie within the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Larson’s other credits include in Trainwreck, 21 Jump Streetand Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.
Everyone’s heard the famous maxim, generally accredited to legendary music producer Brian Eno: while the Velvet Underground’s debut, The Velvet Underground & Nico, sold a paltry 30,000 copies upon release in 1967, every person who bought one of those 30,000 copies started a band. Though a slight exaggeration, the line is a testament to the album’s far-reaching influence trumping its commercial failure. Lou Reed, John Cale, Sterling Morrison, and Maureen Tucker merged raw rock and roll with musique concrète and the avant-garde to create an untamed and menacing sound that perfectly underscored their poetic tales of drug deals, sadomasochistic sex and other snapshots of the urban underworld.
Emboldened by manager and patron Andy Warhol—who linked them up with featured vocalist, Nico—the Velvet Underground’s brand of leather-clad Lower East Side cool emerged onto vinyl with all of its grit and daring intact, serving as a beacon to generations of young artists unwilling to conform to pop music niceties. Decades ahead of its time, it planted the seeds for punk, glam, goth, and a host of others genres to flourish.
In honor of the groundbreaking album’s 50th anniversary this month, Cale spoke to PEOPLE about his memories recording The Velvet Underground & Nico. Read on for his exclusive track by track commentary.
“That happened one Sunday morning at Lou’s friend’s house. We were out boozing and running around the Lower East Side and Lou suddenly had a great idea. He said, ‘Hey, I’ve got a friend who lives around the corner, let’s go see him.’ And it was like three o’clock [in the morning]. I said, ‘Yeah, ok!’ We ran over, and he had a harmonium in the corner of his living room. Generally what we did when we went anywhere, we just zeroed in on the instruments and started playing. It was kind of manic—anywhere you’d go, if you saw an instrument you’d just pick it up and start playing. Lou saw the guitar, I saw the harmonium, and off we went writing ‘Sunday Morning.’
“I remember the first gigs we did with just him and me —I had a recorder and a viola, and he had an acoustic guitar. We’d go sit on the sidewalk outside the Baby Grand [bar] up in Harlem on 125th and see if we could make some money. Every time we got moved on the cop always had a suggestion of where we should go. ‘Try 75th on Broadway! That’s a good spot.’ So we’d go down there and make a little bit more money.”
“Andy saw that Lou was moping around the factory, and he gave him a list of words. He said, ‘Here are 14 words, go write songs with these words.’ And Lou was never happier. He had a task in hand and he sat down. That was a lot of fun for him. We had our own thing going [before Warhol] but he showed up and was more of a guy helping us not forget who we were. He would always say things like, ‘Tell Lou, don’t forget to put little swear words in that song.’ He was reminding us of who we really were. And he didn’t have to say very much to do that, he could just be around and it would be like that because he’d notice what was going on around you. He’d notice the art that was going on. We didn’t understand it. We were just flabbergasted by it, but we loved it at the same time.”
“Lou wrote ‘Venus in Furs’ while we were playing around when we met at Pickwick. He told me that the label wouldn’t let him record all of the songs he really wanted to do. That sort of pissed me off. I asked him what they were and he showed them to me. He’d play them on acoustic guitar and I said, ‘These are rock songs. These can be really big and orchestral if you want them to be.’ Then I said, ‘Let’s just do it ourselves, let’s get our own label and get our own recording situation—not here.’ So we put a band together. That was a signature number for us.”
“’Run Run Run’ was always the first number to do, because it was up-tempo and got everybody going. It was great.”
“We had made the arrangement for ‘All Tomorrow’s Parties’ before Nico came along. That was the result of a year of weekend work—sitting around on the weekend and just playing and playing and playing and playing until you slowly gradually moved out of the folk music side of things.
The record was all done with just us playing, there were no effects involved in that. We tried a version where Nico doubles her vocal, but the vocal just became too heavy. “But the noise of putting paper clips in between the strings of the piano gave it a ring that made it a little more orchestral. We were trying to make orchestral stuff. We were trying to be Phil Spector, really. Phil Spector would mix Wagnerian orchestrations with R&B. That was a really unique combination. We had the drone. The viola wasn’t wasn’t used, so the piano became the drone. Whenever we’d try to do something, we’d always try to find something that would be the drone.”
“’Heroin’ is really special. At that point it was kind of a resident of the band because it was so important to the set. Everybody had heard of it. It was one of the attractions of the set, apart from the attitude of the band. Whatever we were doing, we were trying to get more people in the door. But we had a lot of different ideas of how to do that. My idea of getting people in the door was doing something experimental. I tried to get Lou to see that we don’t have to do the same set every night. That was a direct result of all these club owners in New York saying, ‘You’ve got to play one or two songs that are in the top 10, otherwise you won’t get a gig.’ We said, ‘We’re not doing that. We’ve got our own numbers.’ And until Andy showed up we barely got any venues at all. I thought, ‘One selling point that we can have is that we never do the same set twice.’ We improvised songs every night, which was rather fun with Lou. I said, ‘We can give Dylan a run for his money if we just improvise every night, because our lyrics are just as good.’”
“That was probably the easiest one, with a soul riff from Marvin Gaye. You could hear Lou’s time at Pickwick writing pop songs.”
“Lou was writing songs for Nico, and some of the best songs he’d written were written for her. That was one of them. She was becoming more interested at that time in being her own songwriter. She’d sit down and write poetry, and to her it was in a foreign language. She was trying to find poetic language in a foreign language, because she was German-speaking. But she was determined, she bought a harmonium for herself and was really single-minded about doing all that.”
“’Black Angel Death Song’ no one ever got. It would go over everybody’s head. But in general, I think what people responded to, even if they didn’t understand it, was the energy that we had. Lou and I, we knew we could play these songs, but we were never genuflecting to each other about how to play them. The performances were more done as a bald statement of fact: ‘This is what we do. Whether you like it or not, we don’t care.’ And we didn’t care whether we played it well. We really were on top of that. And we were excited about what we were doing. And then the band gets a record deal right away? Come on, that’s great. Really exciting.”
“’European Son’ in my mind was purely for improvisation. Whenever we played anywhere, we couldn’t wait to get to the point where we’d improvise and do ‘European Son.’ It was always different. That was the fun part for us, doing those improvisations. And those improvisations would really get the best of us in the end, because they’d go on and on and on and on. We’d be up there for an hour just improvising before we’d even done a song! In San Diego we did that. That’s kind of the rep we had when we got to San Francisco and L.A.
Bill Graham didn’t appreciate all the songs and improvisations that were going on. He thought we were invading [the San Francisco group’s] territory. There wasn’t much love lost between us and the West Coast. Lou was always talking about, ‘Never mind the flower children, give us the hard drugs!’ We were happy that Woodstock ended up in the mud—that kind of resentment was very healthy, I thought.”
Jay Z applauded New York mayor Bill de Blasio’s announcement Friday that the city plans on shuttering its Rikers Island prison facility.
The rapper’s recent six-part documentary Time: The Kalief Browder Story focused on a 16-year-old Bronx kid who spent over 1,000 days in Rikers – many of them in solitary confinement – while awaiting trial for allegedly stealing a backpack.
Although the case was eventually dismissed, Browder committed suicide at the age of 22, with the severe PTSD he suffered while imprisoned at Rikers cited as the reason he took his own life. Browder’s story led to an upheaval of the criminal justice system and served as a catalyst for de Blasio’s announcement Friday.
“Kalief is a prophet. His story will save lives,” Jay Z tweeted Friday alongside a Barack Obama quote. “You guys watching and your compassion made this happen. Thank you.”
At a March panel prior to the broadcast premiere of Time: The Kalief Browder Story, the rapper was optimistic that the documentary would instill some major changes.
“We put people in office; we make the laws,” Jay Z said. “These government officials? They work for us. They speak to us like we work for them, but we are the power. Three million people watched this the first week; we need it to be 20. We need everyone to be talking about this. That’s how this stops.”
When the documentary debuted at Sundance, Jay Z promised that Time “will save a lot of lives.”
On Friday, de Blasio said in a statement, “New York City will close the Rikers Island jail facility. It will take many years. It will take many tough decisions. But it will happen. The goal is to get our overall jail population down to 5,000 people. We believe that can be achieved in the next 10 years. The mass incarceration era did not begin in New York City but it’s going to end here.”
The mayor had previously been critical of the facility and its treatment of Browder, admitting in 2014, “Browder’s tragic story put a human face on Rikers Island’s culture of delay.”
John Legend, who has actively lobbied for prison sentence reform for non-violent drug offenders, also commented on Rikers’ impending closure. “In closing Rikers, New York City takes a crucial step towards ending #massincarceration. Now the hard work begins,” Legend tweeted (via Billboard).
Since saying “Bye, Bye, Bye” in 2002, Justin Timberlake, JC Chasez, Joey Fatone, Lance Bass and Chris Kirkpatrick have each built careers for themselves outside of ‘NSYNC — the blockbuster boyband that brought them worldwide fame in the ’90s.
Though there aren’t plans for the group to get back together and make music any time soon, they’re still good friends — reuniting most recently in August for Chasez’s 40th birthday bash.
“The guys spent the entire night together,” a source told PEOPLE at the time. “They all sat in a group and just reunited, relived and had such a ball. They were laughing and smiling all night long.”
And when they can’t get together in person, there’s always their group text chain.
“I would have to shoot you if you saw the stuff we wrote to each other,” Bass joked recently. “We bag on each other all day long. We find pictures on Instagram of us from the ’90s … Joey gets a lot of the brunt of our jokes. I mean, those guys are my brothers and so we act like immature brothers all the time.”
Before Chasez’s party, ‘NSYNC’s most public appearance was in November 2013, when they served as ushers at Chris Kirkpatrick’s wedding to wife Karly just months after their 90-second concert during Timberlake’s MTV VMA Video Vanguard performance.
“Two minutes after seeing everybody, you feel like no time has passed,” Chasez told Ryan Seacrest then, of getting the band back together.
“It was just a matter of time,” he explained. “Everybody would ask us, ‘When are you guys going to do something?’”
So what else have the guys been up to? Here, a brief recap.
As ‘NSYNC’s breakout lead vocalist, Timberlake has by far had the most time in the spotlight — with a career spanning music, television, and film.
The 36-year-old dropped his first solo album, Justified, in 2002 —producing the hit singles “Cry Me a River” and “Rock Your Body.” The work earned him his first two of a total 10 Grammy Awards.
His second album, 2006’s FutureSex/LoveSounds, would take Timberlake to the next level. Singles like “SexyBack,” “My Love” and “What Goes Around… Comes Around” broke away his teen idol reputation and established him as a more adult act. He’s released two more albums since — 2013’s The 20/20 Experience (parts 1 and 2), featuring hit “Mirrors.”
FROM COINAGE: 7 Most Expensive Music Videos
Though music kept Timberlake busy, he decided to challenge himself by launching an acting career. Since 2008, he’s appeared in a string of comedies and dramas — including Bad Teacher, Friends with Benefits, and the Oscar-nominated The Social Network.
Last year, the animated comedy Trolls allowed Timberlake to show off both of his talents: acting as the vocal talent in the film and executive producing its soundtrack. Its first single — “Can’t Stop the Feeling” — topped the charts, earned him a Grammy and an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song.
Outside of work, Timberlake found love with actress Jessica Biel. The two married in October 2012 and often gush about their love.
“He supports everything that I do,” Biel, 35, told Good Morning America in September 2015. “And that’s why he’s such a wonderful partner. And we should just be able to talk and laugh and learn together.”
Timberlake is just as smitten. “Every once in a while, I can catch a glimpse of her when she doesn’t see me looking. I have this moment where I’m like, ‘If you never make a good decision – if you only make bad decisions – for the rest of your life, you made one really good decision,’” he told Ellen DeGeneres in 2013. “It’s nice to marry your best friend.”
Since welcoming their son Silas Randall in April 2015, the pair have remained focused on their family — though Timberlake joked fatherhood is harder than it looks.
“You literally just like wake up and look in the mirror and go, ‘I have no idea what I’m doing,’” he shared on the Today show in October. “It’s humiliating and it’s humbling at the same time.”
Still, the father/son team are incredibly close.
“They’re like the same person,” Biel told PEOPLE last April. “[Silas’] like a mini version of him … They like to sit and watch golf together. The only TV that Silas is allowed to watch is the Golf Channel, which is really funny.”
As for more kids, Timberlake told Extra in October that while nothing is official to announce, “I’m having a lot of fun practicing. ”
‘NSYNC’s other lead vocalist, Chasez (né Joshua Scott Chasez) launched a solo career when the boy band broke up — dropping his first solo single, “Blowin’ Me Up (With Her Love)” in 2002 (it appeared on the soundtrack to the film Drumline).
Despite modest success with his 2004 debut album Schizophrenic — and the album’s first single, “Some Girls Dance with Women” — Chasez parted with Jive Records in 2007. His second offering, The Story of Kate, was never released — though tracks from it including “You Ruined Me” and “Until Yesterday” have surfaced online.
Since then, he’s tapped into music here in there but hasn’t released a full-fledge album or solo song. Mostly, he’s worked as a writer and producers for acts like Basement Jaxx, McFly, Girls Aloud, David Archuleta and Matthew Morrison.
He has popped up on television too — most notably for a seven season run on Randy Jackson’s America’s Best Dance Crew. The MTV show ran from 2008 to 2012.
Chasez is currently single.
Mississippi native Bass never went the pop music route after ‘NSYNC. Though he dabbled in acting (who could forget the 2001 film he starred in with Fatone, On the Line?) and on Broadway (a 2007 run in Broadway’s Hairspray), most of Bass’ career has been as a television and radio personality.
It all started in 2008 when Bass had a successful run on the seventh season of Dancing with the Stars, making it to the finals and coming in third place.
Since then, the 37-year-old star launched a successful radio show (Dirty Pop with Lance Bass), competed with his mom on a reality TV cooking show (My Kitchen Rules, for which he came in second place), and hosted a reality TV dating show (Logo’s Finding Prince Charming).
He even starred in his own reality show with husband Michael Turchin. The E! series, called Lance Loves Michael: The Lance Bass Wedding — documenting the lead up to the couple’s 2014 nuptials in Los Angeles.
It was a historic moment for Bass, who came out exclusively to PEOPLE in July 2006. (A New York Times best-selling autobiography, Out of Sync, would follow over a year later.) Since then, Bass has been an outspoken advocate for the LGBTQ community since — even taking home the Human Right Campaign’s Visibility Award.
And while he still hasn’t made his way to space, married life is keeping Bass pretty busy. Bass recently told PEOPLE that he and his 30-year-old hubby love to spend date nights out together.
RELATED VIDEO: Lance Bass Reveals His Ideal Date Night With Hubby, Michael Turchin
“We love going to live events,” Bass explained. “I grew up on the road and have done a lot of concerts, so I like to share those experiences with friends and family.”
The two recently went to see Dolly Parton at Los Angeles’ famed Hollywood Bowl. “[It] was the best concert ever,” Bass gushed. “He had never seen Dolly live and had never been to the Hollywood Bowl. So yeah, he owes me for quite a long time.”
One night they didn’t have out? Feb. 26. That’s when Bass ended up having to undergo emergency surgery to remove his appendix after experiencing stomach pains.
Turchin was by his side, throwing an impromptu Oscars’ viewing party. “My husband is amazing,” Bass wrote on Instagram. “It is so nice to have a partner in crime in these situations.”
Next up for the pair? Kids. “We definitely want a family,” Bass told PEOPLE in 2015. “That’s one of the reasons we wanted to commit to each other. I’d say in the next two or three years we’re going to start that family.”
Like Bass, Fatone has spent much of his post-‘NSYNC career as a TV personality — though he did have a role in the 2002 smash rom-com My Big Fat Greek Wedding and its 2016 sequel.
Mostly, the 40-year-old star’s work has been as a presenter — hosting everything from red carpets for TV Guide to reality competition shows (NBC’s The Singing Bee, NBC’s Celebrity Circus, Live Well Network’s My Family Recipe Rocks, the Food Network’s Rewrapped, Discover Family’s Parents Just Don’t Understand, among others).
Fatone’s also had a reality TV run himself as a contestant — on the Food Network’s Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off and, of course, Dancing with the Stars. The latter had Fatone competing twice — first in the show’s fourth season (he placed second) and then again in season 15 (he was eliminated in week 2).
Though roles on Broadway in Rent and Little Shop of Horrors had Fatone singing, he’s mostly left that behind.
He did have something to sing about in September 2004, when he married his girlfriend of 10 years, Kelly Baldwin. The couple have two daughters — Briahna, 16, and Kloey, 7.
And when he’s not playing dad, Fatone is focusing on his first food venture: his hot dog cart in the Florida Mall in Orlando.
With a menu made up of specialty hot dog options like the Gone Hollywood and the Boybander — five mini hot dogs symbolizing the five members of his former band — the stand certainly knows how to cash in on the star’s celebrity.
It’s even got a killer title: Fat One’s.
Of all the members of ‘NYSNC, Kirkpatrick has stayed away from the spotlight the most since their split — though music has remained a priority in his work.
While he’s appeared on reality TV twice — CMT’s Gone Country and VH1’s Mission Man Band — both shows allowed the 45-year-old singer to show off his musical talents.
Outside of work, Kirkpatrick also found love — with wife Karly, 33. The couple tied the knot in November 2013 in Orlando, Florida, amid 300 family and friends at the Italian-themed Loews Portofino Bay Hotel (situated on Universal Orlando Resort property).
With the band all reuniting at the nuptials, they were able to do some serious catching up.
“Justin and Joey were giving me wedding advice. Justin was like, ‘You’re going to be a little bit nervous here, but it’ll be okay,’ ” Kirkpatrick told PEOPLE exclusively following his big day. “It was really funny.”
He added, “I’m the oldest one of us, and I never thought I’d be getting wedding advice from Justin Timberlake! They made things seem really normal.”
Since the wedding, the Kirkpatricks — who live in Nashville —have been busy. On Friday, the couple announced they’re expecting their first child in October — sharing a photoshopped image of themselves in front of the movie poster for The Boss Baby.
“Karly and I are over the moon excited that we are welcoming a new addition to the family,” Kirkpatrick told PEOPLE. “We are both looking forward to becoming parents, and learning how much fun having a child will be.”
The idea of expanding their brood has been on the spouses’ minds for a while, according to the singer, dancer and voice actor.
“Karly wants to have kids really quickly, so we’re going to do that. That’s our plan,” he said in 2013. “We’re definitely ready to have children – we both want them.”
When their country needed them, five of America’s most powerful and influential film directors left behind the glamor of Hollywood to risk their lives and careers on the battlefields of World War II.
For each director-turned-soldier, the experience of the war, and the footage they captured, not only changed their lives forever, but also influenced the way in which the American public would understand the Second World War for generations to come.
The three-part Netflix docuseries Five Came Back, based on journalist Mark Harris’s expansive book of the same name and narrated by Meryl Streep, brings the story of each director — John Ford, William Wyler, John Huston, Frank Capra and George Stevens – to life through a wealth of incredible archival footage and insightful interviews with contemporary directors like Steven Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola, Guillermo del Toro and Lawrence Kasdan.
“It’s almost like these directors are crossing a river of decades to have conversations with their colleagues from 75 years ago,” Harris tells PEOPLE. “We’re dealing with movies that are quite old now, and I think there’s a temptation to see these films as museum pieces when they’re not. The blood, sweat and creative effort put into them has flowed through movies in the decades since.”
In the film, each modern director is paired with one of the five, giving his own unique insight into his counterpart’s art and persona. “We had a wish list of directors, and it wasn’t just, ‘Who is the modern Frank Capra?’ or ‘Who is the modern John Huston?’ We paired them by sensitivities, ideas, and themes,” explains the film’s director, Laurent Bouzereau.
Del Toro, who was paired with Capra, gives an especially fascinating perspective on the filmmaker’s scrappy immigrant persona. “Everybody who was in the room for Guillermo’s interviews were basically moved to tears, if not literally in some cases, by his delivery and his appreciation of Capra,” adds Bouzereau.
Through the interviews, archival footage and Harris’s extensive research, the film breathes life into the five larger-than-life directors. “They’re five very different men with huge personalities,” Harris explains. “They were competitive, they were colleagues, they had big egos and they were the kings of Hollywood. They had some swagger to them. So we really tried to bring that forth, because this is a story with five main characters and those characters have to come to life. “
For the five directors, joining the war effort was an opportunity to shed the shackles of the Hollywood studio system for the needs of the War Department, which in some ways allowed them more creative freedom, while also presenting its own unique creative and ethical challenges. “When these guys joined the war, they weren’t just making films as civilian liaisons,” says Harris. “They were in the Army — or in Ford’s case the Navy — and they were serving something other than their own aesthetic beliefs or commercial aspirations; they had a specific job to do.”
And it was no secret that job meant creating propaganda. From Capra’s influential and often-racist Why We Fight series, to Huston’s slyly reenacted Battle of San Pietro, each director created films aimed at boosting morale back at home. But as Five Came Back illustrates, when it came to documenting the war, the artists and the Army were forced to figure it out as they went along. While much of the resulting work formed the foundation for modern day documentary filmmaking, not all the films were equally successful in capturing reality. In fact, the directors themselves wrestled with the same ethical quandaries documentarians debate to this day in terms of marrying reenactments with real war footage.
“If you feel uncomfortable about what you’re seeing and feel uncertain as to where you land on it, then I think we’ve done our job,” Harris says. “As you see in the documentary, even Spielberg and Coppola do not agree entirely on reenactments. It’s really tricky because documentary standards were not what they are now. People expected some degree of reenactments because it was a war documentary and they figured the cameras couldn’t possibly capture everything. On the other hand, you can’t excuse everything by saying times were different.”
In the Battle of San Pietro, Huston ingeniously disguised reenactments using a series of tricks that came to form the visual vocabulary of war documentaries for generations to come. For example, Huston purposefully used shaky camera footage, unheard of at the time, to give the illusion of real-time danger. He also had soldiers look into the camera as if by accident, because professional actors are trained to avoid looking into the lens.
“The reenactment of that battle comes from Huston’s desire to show as authentic and realistic a battle as he could without actually haven been there,” explains Harris. Yet in the years following its release, neither Huston nor the Army ever conceded the footage was staged. “I think the fact that in the decades afterward he never admitted it was recreated, shows you probably a degree of his discomfort over what had been done.”
From Coinage: Top 5 Most Expensive Movie Collectibles
But the biggest change in the director’s styles came after the war, according to Harris, who notes that all five had “come back to a Hollywood that had changed considerably over the war years.” No longer “interested in being enslaved by the studio system,” Harris says going to war gave the artists “a taste for independence and an appetite for more challenging movies that reflected the realities that they had come to know in the last few years.”
He adds, “None of them, except for Capra, came back with an appetite to do escapism or nostalgia. And when Capra did do that with It’s a Wonderful Life, as much as a classic as that movie is now considered, it really derailed him professionally, bankrupted his company, and he was never able to really get his footing back as a director.”
While Harris believes the directors probably did more good than harm in their coverage, he says he’s glad “we no longer need to recruit the makers of fiction to tell the story of a real war, especially when we have filmmakers who have devoted their whole lives to documenting the truth.”
The five who came back left future generations “with incredibly important historical material,” but Harris says, “I would not like to see this reproduced, and here’s to hoping there’s no need for it.”
As Hugh Grant said in Love Actually‘s opening scene, “Love actually is all around.” That’s surely true for EW’s special Untold Stories issue, in which we reunited writer-director Richard Curtis and a fair percentage of the cast from the 2003 Christmas movie. In the photo above, you’ll see (from left) Bill Nighy (Billy Mack), Olivia Olson (Joanna), Thomas Brodie-Sangster (Sam), Liam Neeson (Daniel), Colin Firth (Jamie), Lucia Moniz (Aurelia), Chiwetel Ejiofor, (Peter), Keira Knightley (Juliet), Andrew Lincoln (Mark), Hugh Grant (the Prime Minister), and Martine McCutcheon (Natalie).
The movie has its roots in large-cast classics like Robert Altman’s Nashville and Short Cuts and Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction. “I was such a great fan of Pulp Fiction, Robert Altman’s films, Woody Allen’s films, those movies with multiple story lines that crisscross each other,” says Curtis, whose script for Four Weddings and a Funeral competed against Pulp Fiction for the Best Original Screenplay Oscarin 1995.
That template hadn’t really been applied to the romantic-comedy genre. Nowadays it’s commonplace, with underwhelming examples such as Valentine’s Day. But Love Actually, in fact, was not a populist slam dunk. Mixed reviews and ho-hum box office in the U.S. meant it took a couple of years (thanks to DVD sales and holiday TV airings) before the film acquired modern rom-com classic status.
“I don’t think any of us expected it to become a phenomenon,” says Knightley, one of several actors, along with Nighy and Ejiofor, who became stars in the film’s wake. “But it took on this wonderful following and now it’s almost bigger in America than anywhere else.”
From Coinage: See Where 6 Stars Were Before They Were Famous
EW’s Love Actually reunion also coincides with Curtis’ own. As you’ve probably heard, he regrouped some of the movie’s cast for Red Nose Day Actually, a mini-sequel which aired as part of the U.K. biennial Comic Relief jamboree. Curtis, who cofounded the charity as a 28-year-old in 1985, has helped raise more than a billion dollars to help fight poverty and address social issues around the world. Red Nose Day Actually bowed in the U.K. in March; on May 25 it will air on NBC, with a cameo by Laura Linney that’s exclusive to the U.S. version.
“It was extremely lovely shooting it, and rather encouraging about human character,” Curtis says. “You assume that people are going to become grumpier with age, but everyone involved was so delightfully sweet.”
For more revelations from the past four decades of entertainment, visit ew.com/untoldstories.
Neeson, who appears in the short film alongside his movie stepson, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, now 26, says the charity underscores the goodness in individuals: “We hear about all the s— in the world and then the generosity of people is just mind-blowing. Jesus, one billion dollars! Come on, that’s extraordinary.”
For even more Love Actually, check out the Untold Stories double issue of EW for an oral history with Curtis and many in his cast, who all take a lovely, lively look back at a movie that its fans know by heart.
The company that created a discredited dossier for President Trump’s campaign rivals and was later used by the FBI in its probe of possible links between Trump and Russia has its own Kremlin connection, according to a powerful U.S. Senator.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, has asked the U.S. Department of Justice to launch an investigation into Washington-based Fusion GPS, which produced the 35-page Trump dossier with help from ex-British intelligence officer Christopher Steele. Grassley wants to know why the FBI might seek evidence tying Trump to Russia from a firm whose own hands may not be clean.
“The issue is of particular concern to the Senate Judiciary Committee given that when Fusion GPS reportedly was acting as an unregistered agent of Russian interests, it appears to have been simultaneously overseeing the creation of the unsubstantiated dossier of allegations of a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russians,” Grassley said in a letter to the Department of Justice.
The dossier, containing salacious allegations pointing to collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow, was leaked to the media in January, prompting Trump to deny its contents. It later emerged that the FBI had hired Steele to dig into Trump’s purported Russia links even as Russian operatives hired Fusion GPS for a separate high profile political battle.
According to a complaint filed with the Justice Department, Fusion GPS headed the pro-Russia campaign to kill the Global Magnitsky Act, which imposes sanctions on Russians designated as human rights abusers. This was the same time, Grassley said, that the FBI was relying on the anti-Trump dossier and the man who produced it for Fusion to further its investigation into Trump and his Russian ties.
It is “unclear whether the FBI was aware of the company’s pro-Russia activities” when the FBI reportedly hired its researcher to further the research on Trump and “…when evaluating the credibility of the dossier the company helped create,” Grassley said.
The Global Magnitsky Act, which is named for an attorney who died while in the custody of the Russian government after he accused the Russian government and organized crime of stealing hundreds of millions of dollars from Hermitage Capital Management.
The U.S. Justice Department in 2013 opened a case against the Russian-owned Prevezon Holdings, which had purchased real estate in New York with the stolen funds, according to the Justice Department’s complaint.
Prevezon Holdings, backed by the Kremlin, launched a campaign to undermine the Magnitsky Act, Grassley said, citing a 2016 complaint by Hermitage CEO William Browder.
Fusion GPS was hired to generate negative press coverage on the Russians’ behalf, Grassley said. And Rinat Akhmetshin, a Russian immigrant who has reportedly acknowledged being a Russian counterintelligence officer, lobbied congressional staffers to repeal the Magnitsky Act itself, Grassley said.
“It is particularly disturbing that Mr. Akhmetshin and Fusion GPS were working together on this pro-Russia lobbying effort in 2016 in light of Mr. Akhmetshin’s history and reputation,” Grassley said, citing reports Akhmetshin worked for the GRU, Russia’s foreign intelligence agency and allegedly specializes in “subversive political influence operations often involving disinformation and propaganda.”
The relationship between Fusion GPS and Akhmetshin casts further doubt on the dossier used against Trump, Grassley said.
“Fusion GPS is the company behind the creation of the unsubstantiated dossier alleging a conspiracy between President Trump and Russia,” Grassley wrote in the letter. “It is highly troubling that Fusion GPS appears to have been working with someone with ties to Russian intelligence –let alone someone alleged to have conducted political disinformation campaigns– as part of a pro-Russia lobbying effort while also simultaneously overseeing the creation of the Trump/Russia dossier.”
Fusion GPS maintained in a statement to Fox News Friday that it is not required to register as a foreign agent under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, because it partnered with a U.S. law firm to ensure compliance with the law. The company did not respond to inquiries about the dossier, its relationship to Russia or any business dealings with the FBI.
The FBI declined comment on its relationship to Fusion GPS, Christopher Steele or Grassley’s inquiry.
Grassley’s committee has launched a separate probe into allegations the FBI wrongly included political opposition research from Trump’s opponents in its probe, and then paid the author of that controversial report, Steele, to consult on its investigation.
Malia Zimmerman is an award-winning investigative reporter focusing on crime, homeland security, illegal immigration crime, terrorism and political corruption. Follow her on twitter at @MaliaMZimmerman