Why Casting Kiefer Sutherland in ‘The First Lady’ Marked an “Emotional Moment” for the Show’s Creator
Much of the ink printed about Showtime’s prestige series The First Lady has (deservingly) been in reference to its female creative team, whether it be stars Viola Davis, Michelle Pfeiffer and Gillian Anderson, director Susanne Bier or producer Cathy Schulman. But there’s a good story to be told about two men on The First Lady,…
Much of the ink printed about Showtime’s prestige series The First Lady has (deservingly) been in reference to its female creative team, whether it be stars Viola Davis, Michelle Pfeiffer and Gillian Anderson, director Susanne Bier or producer Cathy Schulman. But there’s a good story to be told about two men on The First Lady, specifically creator Aaron Cooley and co-star Kiefer Sutherland.
Cooley cut his teeth in entertainment by starting out as an assistant to filmmaker Joel Schumacher in 2002. By that point, the in-demand auteur had already churned out a long list of high-profile Hollywood films including St. Elmo’s Fire, The Lost Boys, Batman Forever, Batman & Robin, A Time to Kill, Flawless and Tigerland, to name a few. But there’s one more feature that’s worthy of mention because it left quite an impression.
“I remember sneaking into Flatliners because it was rated R and I was too young,” Cooley recalls of Schumacher’s 1990 film about medical students (played by Sutherland, Julia Roberts, Kevin Bacon, William Baldwin and Oliver Platt) who experiment with near-death experiences. “So many of Joel’s movies shaped my life as a kid.”
Cooley would go on to spend 18 years with Schumacher (eventually running development at his company), during which time they worked on seven films before the director’s death from cancer in 2020. Though he never worked with Sutherland directly, Cooley says his heart swelled when the opportunity presented itself to cast the actor on his show as President Franklin D. Roosevelt to Anderson’s Eleanor Roosevelt.
“To have Kiefer in something I created, especially now, after Joel passed away, it was a really emotional moment for me,” Cooley told The Hollywood Reporter at the show’s April premiere. Cooley, though, was quick to give credit to director Bier for being the magnet that drew high-wattage stars to the project. “Everyone wanted to work with Susanne. Everyone she asked said yes. That’s how you end up with one of the best casts ever, so I’m just lucky that I got to work with Kiefer because of her.”
This story first appeared in a June stand-alone issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
Rebeca Huntt Keeps Cool With Vipassana Meditation and Vintage Slip Dresses
“Brave, stubborn, narcissistic.” With those three defiant words, Rebeca Huntt’s voiceover seems to preempt the critical response to Beba, her debut documentary that doubles as an impressionistic memoir. “From the early days of writing this film, I didn’t want Beba to be an archetype or a saint. Quite the opposite, she needed to be as…
“Brave, stubborn, narcissistic.” With those three defiant words, Rebeca Huntt’s voiceover seems to preempt the critical response to Beba, her debut documentary that doubles as an impressionistic memoir. “From the early days of writing this film, I didn’t want Beba to be an archetype or a saint. Quite the opposite, she needed to be as unexceptional, as human as possible,” Huntt explains in an accompanying zine. The project is an eight-year odyssey, tracing her teenage discomfort with identity, through her years at Bard as a budding Afro-Latina artist, and back to her family’s rent-stabilized one-bedroom on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. (Her mother is Venezuelan, her father Dominican.) Huntt may be a newcomer, but her voice is warm and earthbound. “You are now entering my universe,” she says at the start of the documentary, sounding like an emcee to a lush, domestic-scaled circus. “I am the lens, the subject, and the authority.”
Huntt, at ease in the Zoom window, wearing a white tank top and gold nameplate necklace (Beba is a childhood nickname), brushes off any idea that such assuredness comes naturally. “I still consider myself shy, even though it seems weird,” she says, aware that baring one’s soul to a camera is an unusual expression of the trait. She credits the film with giving her the “sense of self-acceptance that I would’ve probably come to, for sure, maybe 20 or 30 years from now.”
The filmmaker, currently living in a mountain town an hour and a half outside Mexico City, is back in New York for a celebratory few weeks. When we speak, Beba has just premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival; encouraging reviews are pouring in from the New Yorker and the Times. For just about anyone—let alone a first-time filmmaker preparing for a theatrical release (Beba is now playing at Manhattan’s IFC Center)—it would be a disorienting spell of nerves and to-dos. But as Huntt lays out in this three-day wellness diary, she has strategies in place. “I can’t do anything unless I’ve exercised and meditated in the morning,” she says, underscoring how her art and well-being practices are inextricably linked.
“I carry an ancient pain that I struggle to understand,” Huntt says in the film, as she plumbs the family tensions. Are there ancestral coping mechanisms too? Psychedelics, for one, which Huntt says she took in a therapeutic way while editing Beba: “I was tripping on shrooms and sort of channeling different pains of my grandmother and my mom and myself and my sister.” An impossible-to-describe feeling came over her that “there was a floor, no matter what,” Huntt says. “There was a place for me to land.”
Monday, June 13
6:30 a.m.: I just sprang up and now it’s time for the gym. I went to sleep at around 10:30 p.m. last night, after a late walk along the park with my niece. The air felt dreamy and fresh, as did our conversation (she’s 16). Today is the first day of my big week: the New York premiere of my feature film, Beba, at Tribeca Film Festival. My film and I are finally coming home. For the past two and a half years, I have been living in a little mountain pueblo in Mexico, so coming back to New York feels intense but also beautiful. This will always be my first home, and it feels meaningful to walk these streets again in this new chapter of life, as grown-up “Beba,” a wiser and more reflective version of myself. I remind myself to stay as focused and present as possible. I’ve hired a trainer for the three weeks I’m in New York. Exercise is, for me, the most efficient and powerful form of therapy and self-love, so this is a must. My trainer’s name is Marc Lamar, and he’s awesome. I relish the boundary of having this training four days a week at 7 a.m.—it reminds me to prioritize caring for myself and not stay out too late!
8:20 a.m.: I just finished my workout. I chilled in the steam room for 10 minutes. At home in Mexico, most of my workouts are outdoors, so it feels luxurious to be able to hit the steam room, and I’ve been taking advantage of it every day as a mini detox. Then, of course, I have to stay hydrated for the rest of the day. My mother made a big deal about moisturizing since we were kids. I love my routine. I take a shower and use Dr. Bronner’s unscented soap (I have eczema / extremely sensitive skin), and then I moisturize with shea butter or coconut oil. Right now I’m using Shea Moisture’s Head-to-Toe 100% extra virgin coconut oil.
For my daily face routine I use Biossance everything. I’m obsessed with them. I start with the Squalene + Elderberry cleanser, then I do the toner, the Squalene + Omega repair cream, and the SPF 30 (which I love because it doesn’t leave white residue on my skin and it gives me a dewy look). Then I use the vitamin C rose oil.
10 a.m.: I try to fit in at least a half-hour of Vipassana every day. I’ve done a silent Vipassana retreat for the past two years, and it has really revolutionized how I approach my life. Meditation helps me stay grounded, present, and grateful. I’m proud of myself for doing the full hour today. Everything around me is high energy right now, and it is fascinating to observe my thoughts come and go, a lot of chatter up there. I end the meditation by reminding myself to give myself a lot of grace and love in this hectic and magical moment. I send love to my family and my team / colleagues.
11 a.m.: Just finished the breakfast I made for myself, which consisted of oatmeal pancakes, fruits, and two hard-boiled eggs. Going to take a quick shower, and head to the Tribeca photo shoot.
Queen Elizabeth Makes First Public Appearance Since Her Platinum Jubilee
After her many Platinum Jubilee engagements earlier this month, Queen Elizabeth headed to Scotland for yet another week of royal ceremonies.The monarch took an overnight trip on the Royal Train to Edinburgh, Scotland on Monday and is scheduled to spend the next several days at her home there, the Palace of Holyroodhouse, as she and…
After her many Platinum Jubilee engagements earlier this month, Queen Elizabeth headed to Scotland for yet another week of royal ceremonies.
The monarch took an overnight trip on the Royal Train to Edinburgh, Scotland on Monday and is scheduled to spend the next several days at her home there, the Palace of Holyroodhouse, as she and other members of the royal family attend to various duties and celebrations. The queen attended the historic Ceremony of the Keys on Monday morning, wearing a light blue coat and matching hat while carrying a bouquet of flower and the walking stick she’s come to rely on in recent months due to ongoing mobility issues. During the ceremony, Queen Elizabeth was given the keys to the city of Edinburgh and welcomed to her “ancient and hereditary kingdom of Scotland.” The royal was also joined at the event by her youngest son, Prince Edward, and his wife, Sophie, Countess of Wessex. As the monarch was presented with the keys on a red velvet cushion, the Royal Highland Fusiliers and the Band of the Royal Regiment of Scotland provided a musical performance.
This ceremony marks the royal’s first public appearance since her Platinum Jubilee, although she did receive guests at her home at Windsor Castle this past week. The palace announced on Monday that the queen will also be attending an Armed Forces Act of Loyalty Parade in the gardens of Holyroodhouse on Tuesday. And, this week, the royals will also host a garden party attended by Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Edward, and Sophie, as well as an investiture ceremony for Scottish people receiving honors from the Queen. The monarch may also hold an audience with the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, but it has yet to be confirmed. As the royal continues to struggle with her mobility, Buckingham Palace is only able to confirm her attendance a few hours prior to these event as it is largely based on how Queen Elizabeth is feeling that day. Last week, however, a royal source confirmed to People that despite these recent health setbacks, the queen is back in the saddle again and riding horses after a brief hiatus due to “discomfort.” They added, “At 96, it’s amazing that the Queen has been on her horse.”
Welcome to Wampler’s Metaverse, a programmable multi-delay pedal with a whopping 11 core sounds
Home News Wampler has announced the arrival of the Metaverse, which we’re relieved to say is not an underwhelming new VR space but a comprehensive delay pedal – one featuring 11 different delay algorithms and up to 128 preset slots.Essentially, the Metaverse does for delay what Wampler’s Terraform did for modulation, packing a hugely versatile feature…
Wampler has announced the arrival of the Metaverse, which we’re relieved to say is not an underwhelming new VR space but a comprehensive delay pedal – one featuring 11 different delay algorithms and up to 128 preset slots.
Essentially, the Metaverse does for delay what Wampler’s Terraform did for modulation, packing a hugely versatile feature set and a wide array of studio-quality (48 kHz/24-bit) tones into a pedalboard-friendly box.
Central to the unit are those delay options, which include a mix of classic tones, Wampler algorithms, and some truly far-out sounds, such as the whoosh of analog flanger delay.
Some of the more traditional options include BBD (a Memory Man-style Bucket Brigade Delay), ANLG (inspired by a Boss DM-2), the Echoplex-style SPC (Space Echo delay) and TAPE, which channels multi-head tape tones inspired by the Binson Echorec. There’s also a crisp, ’80s-style digital delay, which takes its cues from a TC Electronic 2290.
The Metaverse also sees Wampler draw upon its back catalog, with the tones of its Doctor, Faux Tape Echo and Ethereal pedals all available here.
It also throws in both analog and digital flanger delays, and Wampler’s take on an Aqua Puss-style modulated delay. “If you love vintage boutique analog delays, you’ll love this setting which can almost warp space and time with its liquid repeats,” says Wampler.
Controls on offer include Delay, Feedback, Tone, Mod and Mix dials, alongside two footswitches, one of which is dedicated to tap tempo. Hold down the bypass switch and you’ll have access to other parameters. Finally, there’s a preset button.
On the preset side, you can save up to eight directly to the pedal using the central preset save/recall button, or up to 128 presets via MIDI connection.
There’s full CC and PC command for MIDI, plus a stereo I/O and the option to connect an expression pedal to control any of the pedal’s parameters.
We are pleased to see that Wampler has addressed our main (and pretty much only) criticism of the Terraform – the tiny typeface of the effects names, which was almost unreadable. Here it has opted for considerably larger lettering and abbreviated effect names, which should make it easier to identify settings on the fly…
Finally, Wampler is making the pedal available in software format, too, free to anyone who registers the unit for the warranty on line. This set of 11 AU and VST3 plugins are compatible with most popular DAWs, and would ordinarily set you back $49.99 if purchased separately.
Expect to find the Metaverse for $/£349 street. Head to Wampler Pedals for more.
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Matt is a freelance journalist who has spent the last decade interviewing musicians for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar, NME.com, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched CreativeMoney.co.uk (opens in new tab), which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.