News

Nia DaCosta Will Direct ‘Spiritual Sequel’ to Candyman

From “Candyman” (1992) by TriStar Pictures

Editor's Note:

Also in your Signature Need-to-Know: Oscar Wilde’s edits to “Dorian Gray,” and a new version of the Bible interpreted by 20 women theologians.

Ever since Jordan Peele created a social issues horror sensation with “Get Out,” fans have voicing hopes that he’d remake “Candyman” – it’s one of the few ’90s horror franchises that hasn’t been updated, and the story tackled issues related to gentrification (Clive Barker’s original story, “The Forbidden,” was set in Liverpool, but the film relocated the action to Chicago). It appears Peele has heard the call, agreeing to produce a new installment – a “spiritual sequel” to the original film – and tapping Nia Dacosta (“Little Woods”) to direct. “The original was a landmark film for black representation in the horror genre,” Peele told the press. “Alongside ‘Night of the Living Dead,’ ‘Candyman’ was a major inspiration for me as a filmmaker.” Buckle in for a long wait: the film is slated for the summer of 2020. In the meantime, watch the trailer for the original film below!

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Over a century after the publishing of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, fans can now get to know the infamous author through his edits: SP Books is releasing a version of Wilde’s original manuscript that preserves his original revisions, many of which appear to tone down the book’s homoerotic content. This draft is presented in collaboration with Wilde’s grandson, Merlin Holland, who helped compare handwriting samples to decipher the edits. LitHub points out that the self-censored one that ended up being released was still considered to be indecent, “with one critic writing that it was “written ‘for outlawed noblemen and perverted telegraph boys.’”

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Updating one’s own pronoun usage can be difficult at first, but please don’t be one of the English language snobs who insists “they” isn’t appropriate for referring to a singular person. Dictionary.com even created an official reference page on the subject, which clarifies: “Etymologists estimate that as far back as the 1300s, they has been used as a gender neutral pronoun, a word that was substituted in place of either he (a masculine singular pronoun) or she (a feminine singular pronoun).” The dictionary approves!

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Fans of the oldies will appreciate this little bit by Eli Burnstein in The New Yorker , entitled “I’m a Nineteenth Century Novel, and I Have a Lot to Say About These Drapes.” Skewering a literary trope that will be instantly recognizable to anyone who’s been forced to read classical fiction for an educational requirement, Burnstein revels in the details: “I’m talkin’ Austrian-style scallops. I’m talkin’ gold-silk brocade. I’m talkin’ Louis XIV pelmets. I’m talkin’ more bronze finials with even bigger lion heads. I’m talkin’ the good stuff right here, and it’s the nineteenth century, so we have got all day.”

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When you’re straining to understand how anyone could still support the Trump administration, The New York Times’ Michelle Goldberg has a convenient five-word answer: “Maybe they’re just bad people.” That’s the title of her recent opinion piece drawing from insights obtained in Lisa Baron’s 2011 book Life of the Party: A Political Press Tart Bares All, a reminder of the kind of stark opportunism and lack of self-awareness that’s more common in the political sphere than we like to believe. “It’s tempting for those of us who interpret politics for a living to overstate the importance of competing philosophies,” notes Goldberg. “We shouldn’t forget the enduring role of sheer vanity.”

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Indie bookstores were among the many retail companies who stood to benefit from this past weekend’s “Small Business Saturday” shopping, and campaigns proliferated online to point people toward the bookstores in their area. This kind of fierce devotion may be why small bookstores are coming back from the brink of extinction, as CBS reports, with some stores reporting record-breaking sales. One of these business owners explained to CBS what their store offers that no other shopping experience can: “If you are … engaged in your community, curating your content, having people work the store that are knowledgeable and passionate about books, there absolutely is a formula for success.”

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Much has been written about the problem of race in J.R.R. Tolkein’s fictional universe, and a recent article in Wired shows how contemporary fantasy author Andy Duncan has turned these concerns into creative fodder for exploring social issues – in our world, and beyond. “It’s hard to miss the repeated notion in Tolkien that some races are just worse than others, or that some peoples are just worse than others,” Duncan says. “And this seems to me—in the long term, if you embrace this too much—it has dire consequences for yourself and for society.”  The author’s 2014 story “Senator Bilbo” is in part inspired by the fact that one of Tolkein’s most famous characters accidentally shares his name with an actual U.S. senator (1935-1947), segregationist Theodore G. Bilbo.

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Twenty theologians from around the world have teamed up to challenge traditional interpretations of scripture, and the result is The Women’s Bible, which digs deeper into the way women are portrayed or described in the texts that modern bibles are based on. Reclaiming the holy book as a source of feminist wisdom, the contributors also hope to counter the way older versions are used to dictate how today’s women should be treated: “It’s like taking a letter someone sends to give advice as being valid for all eternity.”

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So much has been written about “emotional labor” lately, but the woman who coined the term in 1983 is unhappy with how well-meaning users today have changed its original definition. In her book The Managed Heart, Arlie Hochschild uses the term to describe jobs which require workers to put in extra labor to govern their own emotions: “From the flight attendant whose job it is to be nicer than natural to the bill collector whose job it is to be, if necessary, harsher than natural, there are a variety of jobs that call for this.” Instead of just bashing people for misappropriating the term, Atlantic’s interview with Hochschild ends up serving as a detailed exploration of who’s really responsible for what, calling for even more detailed decriptions of the invisible work taken on women.

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