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'Cobra Kai' creators explain how they turned their obsession with 'The Karate Kid' into YouTube Red's first hit show, and tease season 2

cobra kai youtube

  • "Cobra Kai" creators Jon Hurwitz, Hayden Schlossberg, and Josh Heald talk about how their YouTube Red hit show got off the ground.
  • It included getting multiple rights holders to agree on the project and convincing Ralph Macchio to come back and play the role that made him a star.


It was around the time filmmakers Jon Hurwitz, Hayden Schlossberg, and Josh Heald started seeing billboards of the lovable character from “Full House,” Kimmy Gibbler, around LA for the release of Netflix’s “Fuller House” series that they realized an update of “The Karate Kid” could be possible.

The three grew up on the iconic 1984 movie that follows Daniel (Ralph Macchio) overcoming the constant torment of fellow high schooler Johnny (William Zabka) by learning the ways of karate through Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita).

The movie wasn’t just the ultimate telling of a kid overcoming a bully, but also showed the importance of respect, hard work, and a killer 1980s soundtrack.

Hurwitz, Schlossberg, and Heald were childhood friends and stayed in touch as they began careers in Hollywood. Hurwitz and Schlossberg launched the successful “Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle” franchise while Heald was the story creator and one of the screenwriters of the “Hot Tub Time Machine” franchise (the original even starred Zabka).

cobra kai 2 youtubeThe idea of continuing to tell the story of the original characters from “Karate Kid” intrigued them, but with the franchise rights owned by Will Smith’s Overbrook Entertainment production company (which made a “Karate Kid” movie in 2010 starring Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan), they figured the guys behind “Harold & Kumar” and “Hot Tub Time Machine” wouldn’t get a fair shake to make a serious movie that looked at the original guys 30-plus years later.

But then streaming services began making original TV series and suddenly there was a new way of bringing back popular shows and movies that were beloved decades earlier.

“The changes and the evolution of TV led us to think it could work,” Schlossberg told Business Insider.

Two years ago, the guys decided to ditch the movie idea and seriously go for a “Karate Kid” reboot as a TV series. The result is YouTube Red’s first real hit show, “Cobra Kai,” which looks at Daniel and Johnny all grown up and living with the memories of what occurred back in high school and how it's affected them.

But the path to becoming the latest hit streaming series was a gargantuan task that included wooing the multiple rights holders and gaining the trust of Macchio, who for most of his adult life has tried to distance himself from the role that made him famous.

SEE ALSO: "Deadpool 2" screenwriters break down the movie's biggest Easter eggs and cameos

Chasing the movie rights.

The first hurdle to clear for the guys was to get the rights to “The Karate Kid.” It was not just owned by Smith’s Overbrook but also the estate of Jerry Weintraub, who produced the original movie, and the studio that released it, Sony.

Hurwitz and Schlossberg’s agent was able to get a meeting in the books with Caleeb Pinkett, head of creative at Overbrook. Now it was up to Hurwitz, Schlossberg, and Heald to shine.

“We went into that meeting thinking that we would say to him you can still have the movie universe and if Jaden wants to do another ‘Karate Kid’ feature you can still do that, but like Marvel, there’s now a TV show and the movies,” Hurwitz said.

To their shock, Pinkett didn’t need much convincing. The 40-minute pitch turned into a strategy meeting of how to get the show off the ground.

“He said he was going to talk to Jerry Weintraub’s estate,” Hurwitz said. “He was like, ‘We’re doing the show!’”

Pinkett, who has an executive producer credit on “Cobra Kai” (along with Will Smith), became the show’s champion when the project went to Sony.

“He was the one fighting the fights in our meetings,” Hurwitz said.

A big reason for that, the guys assume, is because they brought a package to Pinkett and Overbrook for “Karate Kid” that they hadn’t thought of.

“I got the vibe that there was always talks of doing a sequel but it wasn’t clear where that was,” Schlossberg said. “But TV wasn’t even thought of.”



Getting Ralph Macchio on board.

With a green light to make the show, Hurwitz, Schlossberg, and Heald then went to Zabka with the good news.

“It was just mind blowing to him,” Heald said of telling Zabka. “It took two or three times for him to understand that we were going to further the story of Johnny. He was in shock. There's not a day that's gone by that Billy hasn't thought about Johnny Lawrence because it's such an iconic role for him. The character never really left him.” 

With Zabka on board, the trio turned their attention to Macchio, which they knew right away was going to be a harder sell.

“None of us knew him but we had heard he was very hesitant to engage with anything ‘Karate Kid’ related over the years,” Heald said.

As the decades passed, “The Karate Kid” continued to grow a loyal fan base, but like many things from the 1980s, the movie became a punchline. The memorable scenes became fodder as YouTube grew in popularity and the song from the movie, “You’re the Best,” also became a staple in the comedy community. And it didn’t help that the movies made after 1986’s “The Karate Kid Part II” — “The Karate Kid Part III" (1989), “The Next Karate Kid” (1994) and Jaden Smith’s “The Karate Kid” (2010) — were nowhere as popular as the first two movies.

But Hurwitz, Schlossberg, and Heald didn’t take "no" for an answer and finally got a lunch meeting with Macchio in New York.

“And that lunch turned into a four-hour lunch where we pitched him the whole show and that we were not trying to make a ‘Harold & Kumar’ or ‘Hot Tub Time Machine’ experience with this show,” Heald said. “We told him it has this new way in because the guys are adults now. Ralph was not expecting any of that and a couple of days later we had a two-hour phone call with him, and a few days later another two-hour phone call, and by the end of that week Ralph was in.”

Looking back on the process Macchio went through with them to finally agree to do the role, they respect the time he took to finally say "yes."

“Because he knew if he came back as Daniel it would be a big deal to people, not just in this country but all over the world, and he wanted to make sure it was the right decision to do,” Hurwitz said.

“He wanted to make sure we had answers to the big questions that he had,” Schlossberg added. “He didn't want to hear, ‘That's a great question we'll figure that out.’ He wanted to make sure we thought about this beyond memorizing a pitch.”



What’s in store for season 2.

After “Cobra Kai” launched on YouTube Red in the beginning of May, the show was immediately praised by critics (it got a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes), and the hardcore fans, as the show reportedly performed better than many shows on Netflix and Hulu. 

The show didn’t just have strong character development for its leads Macchio and Zabka, but also introduced younger characters who are going through their own issues and will be influenced by both older characters — for better and worse.

Hurwitz, Schlossberg, and Heald say season two, which YouTube Red has already renewed, will delve deeper into all the characters. And as the last episode teased, Johnny’s old sensei, Kreese (Martin Kove), is now in the mix.

“We knew from the beginning we wanted him to be on the show but we wanted to wait for the right moment,” Hurwitz said. “There was enough story to be told in season one and we thought it would be really fun for Martin to pop up at the end and be that curve ball for season two.”

When they approached Kove, the actor was immediately into the idea and assumed he would be in the storyline right away, seeing the title of the series is named after his character's dojo. But the guys had to make him understand that it wasn’t his time yet.

“We promised him when he does show up on screen it’s a huge moment and we’ll have more to do with him in the future,” Hurwitz said.

“We have said all along that there’s really no character that’s off limits from the movies,” Schlossberg said. “But we also want to make sure we are introducing the characters the right way. We want it to feel impactful and be connected to the stories we’re telling.”

Hurwitz, Schlossberg, and Heald say season two will pick up right where season one left off and there will be new characters on the horizon, maybe even some from the old movies.

“We had a lot of thoughts about the second season before making the first,” Schlossberg said. “This is something that has a plan.”



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The Wall Street bankers who feast during recessions say there's a 'smell in the air' and it's starting to feel like 2007 (MC, HLI, GHL)

storm over new york wall street

  • The global economy is growing and corporate defaults are low and projected to drop even further.
  • Yet the Wall Street investment bankers who feast during recessions are optimistic about their business, and some say it's starting to feel like it did just before the financial crisis.
  • Top restructuring firms have been filling out their rosters of talent to be prepared in case of an economic recession.
  • Restructuring bankers told Business Insider that a massive amount high-yield debt issued in recent years could produce defaults and keep them busy even without a recession.
  • Another source of optimism: The restructuring business has changed since the last financial crisis, with firms finding year-round work across the globe by providing solutions to companies before they get to bankruptcy court.


At an earnings call in April, an analyst pressed bank CEO Ken Moelis on his rosy outlook for his firm's restructuring business — the corner of Wall Street known for advising companies with messy books veering toward bankruptcy.

For a healthy chunk of his opening commentary, the namesake founder and CEO of independent investment bank Moelis & Co. touted his firm's "market-leading restructuring business" for supplying meaningful activity.

"Your comments were surprisingly positive," said Ken Worthington, a senior equity analyst with JPMorgan Chase. "Is this sort of steady state for you in a lousy environment? Can things only get better from here?"

On the surface, market conditions are showing few signs of distress. The economies in the US and throughout the developed world are growing, the stock market has been upbeat despite fits of volatility, and corporate default rates remain low and are projected to fall further in 2018 and beyond.

So why was Moelis so sanguine about his restructuring team?

Ken Moelis

"Look, it could get worse. I guess nobody could default," Moelis said. (Keep in mind that "worse" from the perspective of a restructuring banker, who feasts during recessions, means "better" for most of the rest of the world). "But I think between 1% and 0% defaults and 1% and 5% defaults, I would bet we hit 5% before we hit 0%."

The billionaire dealmaker isn't alone in his sentiment. Many on Wall Street are scrutinizing cracks in the economy's glossy veneer.

JPMorgan copresident and investment-banking head Daniel Pinto told Business Insider in March that a 40% correction, triggered by inflation and rising interest rates, could be looming on the horizon.

The market's biggest money managers are already positioning as if a major economic downturn is near, according to research this month from Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

And while they're quick to note that no one can predict the next collapse, Wall Street's top restructuring bankers are also joining in the chorus cautioning that the economic boom may be on its last legs.

"I do think we're all feeling like where we were back in 2007," Bill Derrough, the cohead of recapitalization and restructuring at Moelis & Co., told Business Insider. "There was sort of a smell in the air; there were some crazy deals getting done. You just knew it was a matter of time."

Business Insider spoke with several top restructuring bankers who were all buoyant on the outlook for their industry, in part because of disconcerting trends facing debt-burdened companies but also because of how the business has changed since the last financial crisis.

Massive debt, rising interest rates, flimsy covenants

The global default rate for weak companies is indeed very low; it climbed in March to 3.9% on the struggles of a handful of retail and oil and gas firms, but it ticked back down to 3% in April and is expected to dip to 1.2% a year from now, according to Moody's.

But as Moelis alluded to in his investor call, the amount of high-yield corporate debt — bonds and loans issued to riskier companies — doled out in the US in recent years is at levels far exceeding precrisis highs.

Historically, large volumes of high-yield issuance "has led, after a period of time, to an increased level of restructuring,” according to Steve Zelin, head of the restructuring in the Americas at PJT Partners.

Four of the past five years have seen both high-yield bond and leveraged loan issuance that exceeded 2007's precrisis levels. Further, 2017 was the highest year on record for US leveraged lending, with volume of $1.4 trillion nearly 25% more than the previous high point, in 2013, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Moody's corporate default rate

"Even if there is not a recession or credit correction, with the sheer volume of issuance there are going to be defaults that take place," said Neil Augustine, cohead of the restructuring practice at Greenhill & Co.

Granted, the glut of debt is in no small part attributable to the super-low-interest-rate environment imposed by the Federal Reserve following the crisis. Many companies took advantage and refinanced their debt before 2015 when a large swath was set to mature, kicking the can several years down the road.

But going forward "there’s going to be refinancing at significantly higher rates,” Zelin said, given the Fed in March hiked interest rates to the highest level since 2008 and is expected to unleash at least two more hikes in 2018.

Refinancing at higher rates will further shrink the margin of error for troubled companies, as they'll have to dedicate additional cash flow to cover more expensive interest payments.

"When you have highly leveraged companies and even a modest rise in interest rates, that can result in an increase in restructuring activity," Irwin Gold, executive chairman at Houlihan Lokey and cofounder of the firm's restructuring group, said.

And as some bankers said, with investors stretching for yield amid low interest rates, covenant packages on debt deals have grown increasingly flimsy.

But another reason for optimism has to do with how restructuring has changed since the financial crisis. For top firms, it's become all-weather business in which bankers can earn fees by solving problems and cleaning up balance sheets before a company is teetering upon financial ruin.

"The way restructuring used to work, it was more of an episodic business associated primarily with a spike in default rates," Gold said. "When you get an environment like 2009, 2010, you’re obviously swimming in opportunities, but we’re quite busy right now and we have been for the last couple of years. We're always prepared. We’re going after opportunities all the time."

Part of Moelis & Co.'s strategy involves working with clients before they ever end up in bankruptcy court — arranging debt buybacks and using exchange offers to lessen the debt load and capture discounts. About 50% of its restructuring mandates are completed out of court, according to the firm.

'There will be a massive amount of work to do'

Still, some firms have been filling out their rosters with talent to be prepared should the economy take a turn for the worse.

"The restructuring business is a good business during normal times and an excellent business during a recessionary environment," Augustine said. "Ultimately, when a recession or credit correction does happen, there will be a massive amount of work to do on the restructuring side"

Greenhill hired Augustine from Rothschild in March to cohead its restructuring practice. The firm also hired George Mack from Barclays last summer to cohead restructuring. The duo, along with Greenhill vet and fellow cohead Eric Mendelsohn, are building out the firm's team from a six-person operation to 25 bankers.

Evercore Partners in May hired Gregory Berube, formerly the head of Americas restructuring at Goldman Sachs, as a senior managing director. The firm also poached Roopesh Shah, formerly the chief of Goldman Sachs' restructuring business, to join its restructuring business in early 2017.

"It feels awfully toppy, so people are looking around and saying, 'If I need to build a business, we need to go out and hire some talent,'" one headhunter with restructuring expertise told Business Insider.

It's not exactly a war for talent at this point, though. Firms are primarily adding for junior and mid-level positions, according to the recruiter, who's noticed job advertisements online and in trade publications for restructuring positions from several large firms.

"Places that don't traditionally need to advertise in trade rags are popping up," the recruiter said. Evercore, for instance, has job postings online for restructuring analysts, associates, and vice presidents.

"In our world, people are just anticipating that it’s coming. People are trying to position their teams to be ready for it," Derrough said. "That was the lesson from last cycle: Better to invest early and have a cohesive team that can do the work right away and maybe be a little bit overstaffed early, so that you can execute for your clients when the music ultimately stops."

It's anybody's guess when that day will come, as nobody has a crystal ball, aside from Ken Moelis, who is said to keep one on a stand in his office that he picked up at a flea market in Paris.

Join the conversation about this story »

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9 simple and classic cocktails every adult should know how to make

Having a few good cocktail recipes in your back pocket is arguably the best accessory you can carry. 

But overstocking your home bar and trying to learn a bunch of drinks all at once isn't a good idea. Start with one recipe, make it a few times, and then move on to another drink that uses similar ingredients. For instance, start by perfecting the Old Fashioned and then pick up some mint and crushed ice and work on your Mint Julep.

Below, veteran bartender Eamon Rockey lays out a lesson plan for your cocktail education. Here's how to make nine classic drinks, all using a combination of these core ingredients and tools.

all ingredients cockails how to make drinks

April Walloga contributed reporting on an earlier version of this article.

SEE ALSO: This is the final word on whether you can wear a dress shirt without a tie

Old Fashioned



Mint Julep



Whiskey Sour



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The most and least expensive places to live in America

san jose california

  • America's cities tend to be more expensive than other parts of the country.
  • Using recently released data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, we looked at the most and least expensive places to live in the US. 

America's big coastal cities are really expensive.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis recently released data on personal income and the cost of living in 2016 for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan parts of states, including the relative cost of living in different parts of the country.

Regional price parity is an index that sets the national average cost of goods and services at 100, with a particular region's RPP showing how the cost of living in that region compares with that average.

For example, the New York metropolitan area had an RPP of 122 in 2016, meaning the city and its suburbs are about 22% more expensive than the national average.

Meanwhile, Beckley, West Virginia, had an RPP of 78.8, meaning goods and services cost about four-fifths as much as the national average.

Here's a map illustrating the RPP of the country's metropolitan areas and of the parts of states that fall outside of them. Regions in blue are less expensive than the national average, with darker areas indicating the lowest relative cost of living. Those in red are more expensive than average, with darker red showing a higher cost of living.

most expensive places in america

And here are the 10 most expensive (in red) and least expensive (in blue) metro areas in the US:

most and least expensive metro areas chart

Here are the 40 largest metro areas by 2016 population, ranked from most to least expensive, along with their overall regional price parities and RPPs for goods, rent, and non-rent services. Much, but not all, of the disparity in prices among cities comes from rent, rather than other goods and services:

SEE ALSO: The 3 most commonly spoken languages in every New York City neighborhood

San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA

Overall regional price parity: 127.1

Goods RPP: 110.4

Rent RPP: 213.3

Non-rent services RPP: 110.7



San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA

Overall regional price parity: 124.7

Goods RPP: 110.7

Rent RPP: 190.9

Non-rent services RPP: 111.0



New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA

Overall regional price parity: 122.0

Goods RPP: 109.9

Rent RPP: 154.9

Non-rent services RPP: 115.9



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The average millennial will spend over $200,000 on rent before buying a house — but Gen Z will spend even more

gen z millennial

  • Generation Z renters will spend more money on rent before they buy a home than any previous generation, according to a report from HotPads.
  • Gen Z will spend an average of 11 years renting before becoming a homeowner, one year less than millennials.
  • The top four cities where Gen Z renters are projected to spend the most money on rent are all in California.

It's no surprise that rent is more expensive for millennials than it was for baby boomers.

But soaring rent costs will hit Generation Z the hardest, those born between 1998 and 2016, according to new analysis from HotPads, a Zillow Group site.

Even when adjusted for inflation, today's youngest adults will spend more on rent in their lifetime than their predecessors, according to the report. Members of Gen Z will spend an average of $226,000 on rent before ever owning a home.

That tops older generations, surpassing the $202,000 millennials will end up spending on rent, and the average $148,900 baby boomers spent on rent before becoming homeowners after adjusting for inflation.

But while Gen Z will spend more money on rent in their lifetime — paying a median of $1,710 a month — HotPads estimates the younger generation will be quicker to buy homes than millennials. Baby boomers spent an average of 10 years renting before buying, Gen Z will spend 11 years, and millennials will spend 12 years renting.

"While there are a lot of unknowns about how the American economy will evolve over the coming decades as Generation Z grows into adulthood, if historical trends hold, the long-term forecast right now suggests that Generation Z is likely to benefit from a stronger job market than millennials," said HotPads economist Joshua Clark.

Clark also said that "while rising rents and home values mean that it won't be as easy for Generation Z to become homeowners as it was for baby boomers, they should get there sooner than millennials did."

HotPads analyzed government data and its own rental data to determine how much total rent each generation paid or will pay in their lifetime before becoming homeowners, as well as how many years they spent or will spend renting. HotPads based their projections on data for the average person in the median birth year of each generation — 1954 for baby boomers, 1987 for millennials, and 2002 for Gen Z. They also assumed renters begin paying rent at age 20. 

Below, see the 10 cities expected to be most expensive for Gen Z renters, plus how much the average millennial and baby boomer renter spent or will spend there before buying a home.

SEE ALSO: How much it costs to rent in 28 Manhattan neighborhoods, ranked from the least expensive to the most

DON'T MISS: Teenagers are less likely to work today than any generation before them, and some say school is to blame

10. Miami, Florida

Generation Z total rent paid: $305,100

Millennials total rent paid: $258,400

Baby boomers total rent paid: $180,700



9. Denver, Colorado

Generation Z total rent paid: $320,300

Millennials total rent paid: $251,200

Baby boomers total rent paid: $169,500



8. New York, New York

Generation Z total rent paid: $323,800

Millennials total rent paid: $318,700

Baby boomers total rent paid: $194,700



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

'Game of Thrones' star Joe Dempsie said he already filmed his final scene of the series — and things got emotional

Joe Dempsie Game of Thrones season seven premiere Los Angeles 2017

  • Speaking to INSIDER at Con of Thrones in Dallas, Texas, Joe Dempsie said that he has finished filming the eighth season of "Game of Thrones."
  • Dempsie, who plays Gendry on the series, said that he shot his final scene last week.
  • The actor said it felt bittersweet to finish his time on the series.

 

Although fans will have to wait until 2019 for the eight and final season of "Game of Thrones," the series is beginning to wrap up on set and members of the cast are beginning to finish up their time in Westeros.

Among those who have completed their time on the show is Joe Dempsie, who plays Gendry.

"I finished last week for good," Dempsie told INSIDER at Con of Thrones in Dallas, Texas. "It's a very strange feeling actually. There have been people who have been finished periodically over the past month or so, and even watching other people finish was quite emotional at times."

Dempsie said he was on set with other actors who were also filming their final scenes, and things got emotional.

"I thought I was all right, I thought I was going to be fine," Dempsie said. "And then I happened to be finishing on the same day as a few other actors as well. When they did my little bit I was fine, but it was when they got to the other people that I lost it a little bit. I'm fine until I see someone else trying not to cry, at which point I'm done."

For Dempsie, filming the series' end felt bittersweet.

"It was impossible to know how you were going to feel until it happened and then it just made us all reflect on the years gone by. This season was such good fun because everyone's converging on Westeros now you get to see a lot more people because in years gone by you might be ships in the night," he said. "You might be filming in some other part of the world, so you wouldn't really get to see people, whereas we got to hang out a lot together this year."

He compared the end of the show to leaving school.

"It's just brought home the fact that we're not going to be able to count on these 6 months every year to see each other. We're going to have to actually make an effort. It's like leaving school, exactly the same thing," Dempsie said. "Where on your last day you know there are people you'll see again, because they're your mates. But you just know you're going to have to make an effort to do so. And there are those people you think, 'I might not actually see them.'"

Even though we haven't seen Gendry on the show since his marathon run to Eastwatch in "Beyond the Wall," he should be back for the eighth season. If you're impatient to learn the fates of the rest your favorite characters, read our list of 21 key predictions we have for season eight in the meantime.

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Sweden is telling its citizens to prepare for crisis or conflict — and it's 'becoming a bit of a trend' in Europe

Sweden is telling its citizens to prepare for crisis or conflict — and it's 'becoming a bit of a trend' in Europe

SEE ALSO: The Army's Ironhorse Brigade is taking a new route to its station in Europe, and it's another sign the US is preparing to fight on the continent

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The NFL's new national-anthem policy was not as unanimous as the league wants people to believe

Roger Goodell

  • When the NFL unveiled its controversial new national-anthem policy on Thursday, its commissioner, Roger Goodell, said it had received unanimous support from team owners.
  • But two owners say they did not vote on the policy, casting doubt on Goodell's statement.
  • At least three teams have indicated they did not support the new policy.

In announcing the NFL's controversial new policy requiring players on the field to stand during the national anthem or face a fine, the league's commissioner, Roger Goodell, said in a press conference on Thursday that it was "unanimously adopted" by team owners.

But ESPN reported Thursday that the league never took a formal vote on the new policy, adding that "not taking an official tally is atypical for a major resolution."

An NFL spokesman, Brian McCarthy, confirmed to ESPN that there was no formal vote, saying there were zero "nays" in a show of hands to gauge support.

"That was considered a vote," McCarthy said.

But news reports and statements from a few team owners show that not everybody supported the new policy.

ESPN reported that Mark Davis, the owner of the Oakland Raiders, and Jed York, the owner of the San Francisco 49ers, abstained from the vote.

York told ESPN earlier this week of the vote: "Teams that voted on it voted affirmatively."

Meanwhile, Chris Johnson, the chairman of the New York Jets, went so far as to say he would pay fines imposed on his players under the national-anthem policy.

It's also worth noting, per The Charlotte Observer, that David Tepper, the new Carolina Panthers owner, can't vote on the policy until the sale of the team officially closes in July.

The NFL's new policy, adopted in response to several NFL players and others who have knelt during the anthem to protest racial inequality and police brutality, has already come under fire by critics — and now it has the appearance that the league was trying to mislead people about its support among team owners.

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VW's iconic microbus is making a comeback in 2022 — and it's getting a big update

vw id buzz

  • Volkswagen is revamping its iconic microbus with the I.D. Buzz.
  • The vehicle will be fully electric and hit dealerships in 2022.
  • It will feature a customizable interior and tech features that will eventually move the car toward autonomous driving.

 

Once a symbol of American counterculture during the 1960s and '70s, Volkswagen's microbus was discontinued in 2013 due to safety concerns.

But in 2017, Volkswagen revealed a concept for a new, fully-electric microbus — the I.D. Buzz — and confirmed it would go into production and reach dealerships by 2022.

The I.D. Buzz will join the I.D. compact car, I.D. Crozz crossover, and a car based on the I.D. Vizzion concept as Volkswagen expands its electric car offerings in the coming years.

Here's what we know about the I.D. Buzz so far.

SEE ALSO: These 10 electric SUVs will take on Tesla's Model X

First produced in 1950, the Volkswagen microbus became a symbol for the American counterculture movement in the 1960s.



It was discontinued in 2013 due to safety concerns, like its lack of airbags and anti-lock brakes.



Volkswagen introduced a revamped concept of the microbus in early 2017.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Ireland voted to end its restrictive abortion ban — and people are celebrating the victory

Ireland Votes In Favour of Law Reform In Abortion Referendum

  • On Friday, Irish voters overturned the 8th Amendment to Ireland's Constitution, which made it illegal for women to have abortions in the country.
  • The decision is a major victory for Irish feminists, who have been fighting the law since it was introduced in 1983.
  • Women all around the world are celebrating the win, which was announced on Saturday. 

On Friday, Irish voters overturned the 8th Amendment to Ireland's Constitution, which made it illegal for women to have abortions in the country barring extremely extenuating circumstances.

Exit polls released on Saturday showed that it was a landslide victory of nearly 70-30, per Vox.

Abortion had been illegal in Ireland since at least 1861 when the British authorities instated a ban on the procedure. It remained prohibited in the 20th century when the country became independent, according to the Irish Independent.

But the laws changed in 1983 when the 8th Amendment was voted in. The referendum states that abortions should only be performed when the mother's life is in immediate danger, as fetuses have an "equal" right to life.

The text says: "The state acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right."

To work around the restrictions, nearly 170,000 women traveled outside of Ireland to the UK and other European counties to get legal abortions between 1980 and 2016, Vox noted.  

Although Irish women have been unhappy with the amendment since it was first introduced, it would take nearly 25 years for it to be overturned. The historic vote was prompted by the Catholic Church's decreased influence on the country and the death of Savita Halappanavar, who died of septic shock from miscarriage complications in 2012, the Guardian Reported.

Savita Halappanavar

Halappanavar was 17 weeks pregnant when she was admitted to Galway Hospital for back pains. Her doctors concluded that a miscarriage was inevitable but didn't medically induce one because the fetus had a heartbeat and it didn't seem that Halappanavar's life was at risk.

Ultimately, there was no abortion. Halappanavar, 31, spontaneously miscarried and later died.

An investigation found that the country's abortion law played a hand in her doctors' decision not to induce the miscarriage, and, in turn, her death. The investigation suggested a change in the country's legal code or constitution to prevent similar situations in the future.

Halappanavar's death has been the rallying cry for the amendment's repeal.

The decision is a major victory for Irish feminists, who have been fighting the law since it was introduced in 1983.

In Ireland, people are especially happy about the victory.

People all around the world are celebrating what they consider a reproductive victory.

Although the referendum was repealed, abortion won't automatically become legal in Ireland. Legislation permitting abortion still has to be introduced and passed in the country's parliament. The Irish government reportedly plans to introduce a new law that would permit abortion without restriction up to 12 weeks into the pregnancy. 

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Chris Paul suffered an injury at the cruelest moment possible, and it could put the Rockets' backs against the wall

chris paul rockets

  • Chris Paul appeared to suffer a hamstring injury in the final minute of the Houston Rockets' Game 5 win over the Golden State Warriors and will miss Game 6.
  • Paul has been crucial in the Rockets' past two wins, and they may be forced to try to close out the series with him ailing or not available at all.
  • It is also cruel as Paul has never made the Finals before and now has to fight an injury with the Rockets knocking on the door.


In the final minute of the Houston Rockets' Game 5 win over the Golden State Warriors on Thursday, Chris Paul appeared to injure his hamstring on a drive.

As the Warriors came down on the other end, eventually missing an open three-pointer, Paul struggled to his feet, hobbled around, then had to be taken out of the game.

On Friday, the Rockets announced that Paul will miss Game 6.

The timing couldn't be crueler, however. Paul has led the Rockets to two straight wins to help give them a 3-2 edge over the Warriors. In the past two fourth quarters, he's hit several tough, gusty shots over tight defense to give the Rockets a boost when they needed one. His defensive tenacity has also been crucial; in the Rockets' switch-everything scheme, Paul has even given the 7-foot Kevin Durant trouble with his strength and quick hands at times.

While James Harden has struggled, Paul has assumed the load of the go-to star. A nine-time All-Star who had never made it past the conference semifinals in the postseason, Paul now has his Rockets knocking on the door of the NBA Finals. Now the Rockets will have to go on without him for at least one game.

"If he's there, great, good for him," Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni said on Thursday. "If he isn't, it's time for somebody else to step up."

The Rockets have a one-game cushion and the advantage of playing a potential Game 7 at home. But trying to close out this Warriors team without Paul will be a monumental challenge for the Rockets.

The Warriors are the toughest team the Rockets will face in the postseason. They have them against the ropes in a way few people thought was possible. To lose Paul at this moment is brutal.

More NBA playoffs coverage:

  • Steve Kerr's biggest grievance with the Warriors is haunting them in a way nobody saw coming
  • LeBron once again showcased his photographic memory, recalling all 6 of his turnovers in exact detail
  • The Rockets stuck to their 'guns' in a crucial game and pulled out the most impressive win over the Warriors in 2 years
  • Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue shocked to learn how old Kyle Korver is after the veteran's big game
  • 'He's downstairs — you can go ask him': Kevin Durant challenged Charles Barkley to go talk to Draymond Green after calling him 'annoying'

Join the conversation about this story »

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A creator of the original Millennium Falcon describes how the legendary ‘Star Wars’ ship was made with airplane scraps and lots of imagination

Solo Disney Lucasfilm final

The latest “Star Wars” release, “Solo” (opening Friday), looks at not just a young and idealistic Han Solo as he begins his path to becoming one of the most infamous pilots in the galaxy. It also shines a spotlight on the origin story of Han’s true love, the Millennium Falcon.

Before becoming one of the standout ships in the Rebel Alliance fleet against the Empire in the Skywalker “Star Wars” saga, it was the prize possession of card hustler Lando Calrissian. In “Solo,” the ship has a slightly different look (no gap in the front of the ship, and much cleaner), but shows the traits that will make it one of the most beloved aspects of the franchise. The ship’s main highlight in "Solo" happens when Lando teams with Han and Chewbacca and they use the ship to complete what will become one of the Falcon’s most legendary adventures: the Kessel Run.

With Han getting his origin story, we thought this would be the perfect time to recount just how the Millennium Falcon was born through the sweat and tears of a small group of designers who, under the guidance of George Lucas, made the iconic ship for the first movie in the “Star Wars” saga, “A New Hope.”

Business Insider spoke to Roger Christian — who was the set decorator on “A New Hope” (and won an Oscar for his work) — about the movies that inspired the space western style of the Falcon, the truckloads of airplane scraps he collected to create the interior sets of the ship, and how he crafted the famous dice that hung in the cockpit.

SEE ALSO: "Deadpool 2" screenwriters break down the movie's biggest Easter eggs and cameos

Creating references for a space western.

It was around 1975 that Roger Christian began work with production designer John Barry, and art directors Norman Reynolds and Leslie Dilley, at a small studio outside of London on designs for “Star Wars.” All of them worked for a small wage George Lucas paid them out of his own pocket, as no studio had greenlit the movie yet.

“The difficult thing, especially with science fiction in 1975 and 1976, is there’s nothing to reference,” Christian said. “Flash Gordon, ‘Barbarella,’ Robby the Robot, nothing was real at all. So all we had was a communication and it just happened that my DNA matched George’s.”

Christian said Lucas’ vision of “Star Wars” was a space movie that was also a “dusty western.” So for the Millennium Falcon specifically, Christian said he saw the ship having a worn-out look that was “always dripping oil and being repaired again and again.” Those thoughts would then be matched with references to the movies they would watch at night in the studio.

“We used to watch 16 millimeter prints and project them at the studio, we very much related to ‘Solaris,’” Christian said, referring to the classic Andrei Tarkovsky sci-fi epic.

This would all lead to sketches by Ralph McQuarrie that were the first visuals of what “Star Wars” could become.

“Ralph is the unsung hero of this whole process,” Christian said. “He was in the army and understood all of that and the mechanical reality of things. So when George arrived with six paintings from Ralph that included Tatooine, Darth Vader, and the Millennium Falcon, all of it showed exactly what we were all thinking.”



Building the Falcon out of junk.

By the end of 1976, “Star Wars” had found financing and the team moved to Elstree Studios in the UK to begin making the sets. Immediately they realized they didn’t have the space to build a full-scale set of the Millennium Falcon, so they built half of the exterior along with specific sections of the interior of the ship.

Christian’s idea of the Falcon having this look of, well, as Luke Skywalker famously said in the first movie, “a piece of junk,” led him to the junkyard.

“I had the idea that if I bought scrap junk airplanes I could break it down and build the sets,” Christian said. “That was key to making the Millennium Falcon.”

With an okay from Lucas, Christian set out to get the airplane scraps, which entailed him getting on a prop plane and flying to three different airfields that were basically airplane graveyards.

“I went in and found mountains of junk,” he said. “I could buy it for nothing. I bought 20 jet engines, a ton of cockpit gear, containers that they used to heat up food, anything I could get my hands on."

It was all sold by weight so most if was very cheap to purchase because it was light metal for airplanes.

“It would be 50 pounds for a whole load,” Christian said.

Back at Elstree, the prop room was completely cleared out and a giant 18-wheeler pulled right up and all the airplane scraps Christian bought were unloaded into the room. The prop department was then instructed to break it all down, as Christian would then use certain pieces for the interior Falcon sets.

“I had no clue if any of this would work,” Christian said. “But George loved it.”



Matching the work done in America — sometimes to a fault.

The team at Elstree weren’t the only ones working on making the Falcon. Back in the US, visual effects artist Joe Johnston (he would go on to direct “The Rocketeer,” “Jumanji,” and “Captain America: The First Avenger”) and his team were building a model of the ship, which would be be used for the exterior shots as well as a guide for the art team in the UK.

But this was the 1970s, and the process to see each team’s work took days and led to miscommunication at times.

“There weren’t any fax machines back then, we had a pouch that would be mailed every Tuesday to America and Thursday it would come back,” Christian said. “We were sent pictures of the model and John Barry and the draftsman had to match that. They would build it full scale and I would find scrap that I could match and stick to the sides. It was a brand new process. No one had done this before.”

When they were done with a section in the UK, they would then take pictures of the Falcon set and send them back in the pouch to the US so Johnston and his team made sure the model matched.

However, Christian pointed out that their pouch system wasn’t mistake free. There is one error to this day that’s on the Millennium Falcon, though it’s impossible to find.

Christian said one Thursday the pouch came back and Johnston wrote a note to the team, “You built in my mistake.”

Turns out the previous round of photos of the model sent to the UK were taken when Johnston was still working on it.

“Just before they photographed it, Joe didn’t like one piece and pulled it off, expecting to replace it,” Christian said. “They photographed it before he did that. The photo came back in the pouch and we built it. So somewhere on the Millennium Falcon there’s glue marks where a piece is missing that we built full-scale. Neither Joe or I can remember where it is exactly. It’s on there somewhere.”



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Amazon has renewed the acclaimed Syfy show 'The Expanse,' and fans are thrilled

the expanse

  • Amazon has renewed the acclaimed science-fiction series "The Expanse" for a fourth season, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced on Friday.
  • After the Syfy network cancelled "The Expanse" earlier this month, over 130,000 fans of the series signed a Change.org petition asking either Netflix or Amazon to renew the show.
  • Fans of the show took to social media on Friday to thank Bezos and Amazon for saving the series.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced on Friday that his company has renewed the critically acclaimed, science-fiction series "The Expanse," which the Syfy network cancelled earlier this month after three seasons. 

Bezos made the announcement at a panel at the International Space Development Conference in Los Angeles on Friday night, according to The Hollywood Reporter. 

"I was talking to the cast [of 'The Expanse'] half an hour ago, before the break for dinner started," Bezos said at the conference. "I was telling them that we are working hard at Amazon to save 'The Expanse' but it wasn't a done deal yet. During dinner, ten minutes ago, I just got word that The Expanse is saved."

After Syfy cancelled "The Expanse" earlier this month, citing declining ratings, over 130,000 fans of the series signed a Change.org petition asking either Netflix or Amazon to renew the show. 

The Hollywood Reporter reported on Monday that Amazon Studios had entered talks to pick up the series. Amazon already owned the international streaming rights for "The Expanse," which made it a likely home for the show's renewal. 

Alcon Entertainment CEOs Andrew Kosove and Broderick Johnson, who produce the series, said in a statement on Friday: "We couldn't be more excited that 'The Expanse' is going to continue on Amazon Prime! We are deeply grateful that Jeff Bezos, [new Amazon Studios head] Jen Salke, and their team at Amazon have shown such faith in our show."

After Bezos' announcement on Friday, fans of the show flooded social media to thank Amazon and its CEO for renewing the series:

SEE ALSO: The 5 most anticipated TV shows returning in June

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NOW WATCH: Jeff Bezos on breaking up and regulating Amazon


The Army's Ironhorse Brigade is taking a new route to its station in Europe, and it's another sign the US is preparing to fight on the continent

The Army's Ironhorse Brigade is taking a new route to its station in Europe, and it's another sign the US is preparing to fight on the continent

SEE ALSO: Submarines are increasingly lurking in the waters around Europe and Asia, and the US Navy's high-tech Poseidon is there to hunt them

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NOW WATCH: The US spent $611 billion on its military in 2016 — more than the next 8 countries combined


The evidence is piling up that Amazon will choose Washington, DC, for its HQ2 (AMZN)

washington dc

  • There is plenty of compelling evidence that Amazon is looking very closely at the Washington, DC, area for its second headquarters project, called HQ2.
  • Hints the company has dropped — both on purpose and inadvertently — are starting to add up.
  • There are other reasons the company may want to place its headquarters in Washington.

The race for Amazon's second headquarters is heating up, and Washington, DC, just might be in the lead.

The evidence is now piling up that Amazon is looking seriously at the nation's capital for its HQ2. After all, it may be the only place large enough to capture the company's growing ambitions across multiple sectors with its high-profile colleges, sprawling transportation system, and high concentration of powerful people.

Here are all of the reasons it's looking likely that Washington will be chosen for Amazon's HQ2:

If you have any information about Amazon's HQ2 project, contact this reporter at dgreen@businessinsider.com.

SEE ALSO: Amazon is making it harder and harder to quit Prime

DC is near the the "bull's-eye of America's internet."

Northern Virginia is attractive for tech firms due to its proximity to Data Center Alley, where 70% of the United States' internet traffic flows through. That means more efficiency and reliability, as well as cheaper power, according to Business Insider's Hayley Peterson.

Amazon could be looking at a specific spot right in the center, on the border of Loudoun and Fairfax counties, near Washington Dulles Airport and the DC Metro, for its new headquarters.

It's also close to where Amazon is planning a 600,000-square-foot data-center campus as well as its new Herndon, Virginia Amazon Web Services office.



An article on a local news site in Arlington, Virginia, blew up overnight, and the site says the views came mostly from what appears to be an internal Amazon.com page.

In February, a local news site called ARLnow.com said it saw an unusual spike in traffic to an article from December titled "County Wins Top Environmental Award from US Green Building Council" explaining how Arlington County was the first in the US to be selected for an environmental award.



Amazon has drastically increased its lobbying efforts.

Amazon has rapidly expanded its Washington lobbying efforts in the past five years, according to Bloomberg.

The company has increased its lobbying spending by more than 400% over that time. It has also widely expanded both the number of issues and the number of entities it lobbies, according to Bloomberg. To do this, it has nearly doubled the number of lobbyists it employs.

The company is reportedly fighting to be seen as a job creator rather than a job taker. It's working to have more influence in Washington as it expands and moves rapidly into areas like drone aviation, cloud computing, and grocery.

In 2015, Amazon hired Jay Carney — the former press secretary under President Barack Obama — to oversee corporate affairs, and he now oversees the Washington policy office, which opened in 2014.

These moves are also powerful signifiers of a desire to have more influence in Washington. One way Amazon could have more influence is by relocating some of its corporate operations in or near the city. It could do that with its HQ2 project, which promises to bring significant investment to the chosen area.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Harvey Weinstein's estranged wife's fashion label took a major hit amid scandal — now it is trying to launch a comeback

Harvey Weinstein Georgina Chapman

  • The fashion label of Harvey Weinstein's estranged wife is in jeopardy following accusations of sexual misconduct against Weinstein.
  • Georgina Chapman is a co-founder of the fashion label Marchesa.
  • Chapman's career at Marchesa is tightly tied to her husband's success. Stars of Weinstein-backed productions, including Renée Zellweger, Cate Blanchett, and Blake Lively, have worn Marchesa designs on the red carpet.
  • Chapman and Marchesa kicked off an attempt at a comeback this month, with Scarlett Johansson wearing Marchesa to the Met Gala and Vogue publishing a sympathetic profile of the designer. 

 

Less than a year after scandals engulfed Harvey Weinstein, his wife is preparing to reenter the spotlight with her high-profile fashion label. 

Marchesa, a fashion label co-founded by Weinstein's estranged wife, Georgina Chapman, has struggled in the wake of sexual-misconduct accusations against Weinstein. According to the New York Post, Marchesa pulled out of New York Fashion Week after Chapman was too afraid to go through with the scheduled February show.

Chapman, who co-founded the fashion label Marchesa, reportedly left Weinstein in October and is set to receive $15-$20 million in a divorce settlement that has yet to be filed in court.

Chapman's career as the co-founder of Marchesa is tightly tied to her husband's success. Stars of Weinstein-backed productions, including Renée Zellweger, Cate Blanchett, and Blake Lively, have worn Marchesa on the red carpet, and rumors have floated for years that Weinstein pushed actresses to wear the fashion brand. With the allegations of sexual misconduct against Weinstein, many are wondering whether Marchesa will disappear from the red carpet altogether.

"No star is ever going to want to wear the brand again," The Hollywood Reporter quoted an unnamed New York fashion publicist as saying in October, after Weinstein was ousted from The Weinstein Company, the studio he founded.

However, Scarlett Johansson proved the publicist wrong at this year's Met Gala. The actress wore a Marchesa gown to the event — the first time a "major celebrity" has worn Marchesa on the red carpet since the allegations against Weinstein broke. 

Here's the story of how Chapman's Marchesa became a celebrity favorite — and how the label is trying to reclaim its place on the red carpet:

SEE ALSO: Gwyneth Paltrow says Brad Pitt threatened to kill Harvey Weinstein after she told him Weinstein sexually harassed her

Georgina Chapman founded Marchesa with Keren Craig in 2004. The same year, Chapman, then a 28-year-old former model from England, began dating Harvey Weinstein.

Source: Jezebel



A 2007 Teen Vogue article — spotted by Jezebel — says Marchesa caught on with Hollywood starlets after Renée Zellweger wore a gown from the line to the premiere of "Bridget Jones's Diary." "Bridget Jones" was distributed by Miramax, which Weinstein founded, and Zellweger thanked Weinstein during her Oscar speech in 2004.



"Maybe I helped, but just very, very little, with Renée Zellweger," Weinstein told Vogue in 2013.

Source: Vogue



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Trump and Sen. Orrin Hatch announce American hostage returning to US from Venezuela

Donald Trump and Orrin Hatch

  • President Donald Trump announced Saturday that a Venezuelan prison would be freeing an American hostage and his wife after two years.  
  • The hostage, Josh Holt, is from Utah and has been in prison since 2016 after traveling to Venezuela to marry his wife Thamy, whom he met online.
  • Holt was arrested when police said they found him stockpiling weapons.
  • Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch posted a statement about the news that detailed "two years of hard work" that went into securing the Holts' release.

An American held in Venezuela will return to the US Saturday evening after two years in a Caracas prison, according to President Donald Trump and Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch.

In a statement posted to Twitter Saturday morning, Trump said the prisoners, Josh Holt and his wife Thamy, would arrive Saturday evening with their family at the White House, making the people of Utah, Holt's home state, "very happy!"

Hatch confirmed the release in a statement on Twitter and thanked Venezuelan officials and Trump's and former President Barack Obama's administrations for their cooperation over the past two years to free Holt.

The Holts have been held hostage in Venezuela since 2016 after Holt traveled to Venezuela to marry Thamy, a fellow Mormon he met online. He was arrested when police said they found him stockpiling weapons. 

Earlier this month, Holt made headlines when he posted a video to Facebook pleading for help from Trump and American people to get him out of the Caracas prison.

SEE ALSO: Venezuela's disputed presidential election is pushing more of its people out of the country

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NOW WATCH: Tina Brown: Why Melania Trump is the best aspect of the Trump presidency


NFL players react to new anthem policy and not all of them are upset

Malcolm Jenkins

On Wednesday the NFL approved a new national-anthem policy in response to ongoing player protests that took over the 2017 season.

The new rules dictate that players and personnel should stand for the anthem and that those who wish not to may choose instead to remain in the locker room during the pregame ceremony. Should a player kneel or "not show appropriate respect" for the anthem by whatever definition the league sets, their team will be fined.

President Trump took a victory lap after the news came out, but would later add that he believed new rules did not go far enough and said of players that chose to remain in their locker room "maybe you shouldn't be in the country."

Across the league, players were asked for their reaction to the new policy, Trump's words, and the ongoing conversation surrounding the protests.

You can read some of their responses below.

SEE ALSO: In appeasing Trump, the NFL created an entirely new set of problems with its national-anthem policy

Malcolm Jenkins

"What NFL owners did today was thwart the players' constitutional rights to express themselves and use our platform to draw attention to social injustices like racial inequality in our country. Everyone loses when voices get stifled."

"While I disagree with this decision, I will not let it silence me or stop me from fighting. The national conversation around race in America that NFL players forced over the past 2 years will persist as we continue to use our voices, our time and our money to create a more fair and just criminal justice system, end police brutality and foster better educational and economic opportunities for communities of color and those struggling in this country."

"For me, this has never been about taking a knee, raising a fist or anyone's patriotism but doing what we can to effect real change for real people. #thefightcontinues"

Source: Twitter



Brandon Marshall

"Disgusting. I say 'disgusting' because of our First Amendment rights. We have freedom of speech, right? Freedom to protest? Because somebody decides to protest something, now have to be kicked out of the country? That's not how things should work, in my opinion. ... Just because somebody disagrees with something, or if I didn't stand for the anthem, or if I don't like what's going on, that's basically him saying I should be kicked out the country."

"We're supposed to have a conversation about things, talk about things, work things through. Everybody is not gonna agree on things, everybody is not gonna have the same opinion on things. So just because somebody disagrees or has an issue with something that's going on in this country, it doesn't mean that they should pack up and leave. That's absurd, in my opinion.''

Source: ESPN



Josh Norman

"[President Donald Trump speaking out and more players protesting] happened ... but I don't know if that's still going to take place or what's going to happen. Who knows? I don't."

Source: ESPN



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

How a street artist creates 3D balloons on flat walls that seem to pop out at you

Daniel Fahlström is a Swedish artist who goes by the name Huge. He makes hyper-realistic mylar balloon art that will trick your eye into thinking you can reach out and grab them. We spoke with Fahlström about his work and how he is able to make the balloons in his murals look so real. You can see more of his work on his Instagram and YouTube pages. Videos courtesy Huge, Waller Gallery and FlyMotion Fastighet. Following is a transcript of the video.

Huge: I'm based in Stockholm, Sweden. And I've been painting graffiti since '87. Nowadays I paint photorealistic mylar balloons style. I was having an exhibition in Stockholm and I came up with the idea, why don't I change the traditional graffiti letters into balloons.

I take real balloons to the place where the wall is. And I put them up and take some photos of them. I use photos as a reference. So the reflections you see in the balloons is mostly at the area where the wall is in the background. When I take the pictures, it's a reflection of me there, so there's no hiding.

When I do walls I only use spray cans. I can paint some details with my fingers and stuff like that. And when I do smaller canvases and stuff like that, I sometimes use air brushes. The technique comes from a lot of practice I guess. I don't think about it that much, I just paint. Well, I think you have to focus on where you put the details in the paintings. You can trick your eye if you paint say the background more blurry, they stick out more and pop up. The wrinkles are extremely important to paint. I'm trying to do a lot of sculptures. So that includes the balloon style. So I try to make sculptures as balloons also.

I really like the photorealistic style. I try to manage to make them as photorealistic as possible. I'm pretty fast when I work, so I can do a mural say about, four times five meters in maybe in two days. Something like that. Say eight hour days. Time flies when you're painting. Like you're in a bubble or something.

I have my own firm where I do custom paint. Like painting motorcycles and helmets and tracks and stuff like that. So there's where I get most of my income. It's mostly commission work nowadays. I don't have any murals painted aboard yet, as one request from New York. And a lot from south of the states like Texas and Louisiana. Also Canada and Honduras and Australia.

Well, I've seen a lot of reactions from people and the funniest one was when this old lady that wasn't wearing her glasses she was trying to go up and touch the balloons. And a lot of people do that. They go by and, "Well, I have to check that out." That's good if they think that's real balloons. That's my mission, to make them believe that.

Join the conversation about this story »


'Deadpool 2' screenwriters break down the movie's biggest Easter eggs and cameos

deadpoolWarning: MAJOR spoilers if you haven’t seen “Deadpool 2.”

After successfully bringing the complex Marvel character Deadpool to the big screen in 2016, screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick quickly became one of the top screenwriting teams currently working in Hollywood. And their stock in town is only going to rise after the box-office success of "Deadpool 2" over the weekend.

Thanks to the rule-breaking mentality Reese, Wernick, and franchise star Ryan Reynolds (who received a writing credit in the sequel) have always had about the character, “Deadpool 2” is more outlandish than the first. And because of all the Easter eggs, funny lines, and cameos buried throughout the movie, it needs to be seen more than once (to the glee of the studio behind the franchise, 20th Century Fox).

Reese and Wernick gave Business Insider insight on many of the big spoilers and Easter eggs scattered in the movie:

SEE ALSO: "Deadpool 2" director opens up about the pressures of jumping into a hit franchise and what working with Ryan Reynolds was like

Why this huge star decided to do the voice of Juggernaut.

The massive Juggernaut made a glorious return to the Marvel franchise (he was previously seen in 2006’s “X-Men: The Last Stand”) in “Deadpool 2.” There was no actor playing him on screen this time (he was CGI), but the voice was done by quite a big star.

Though in the credits Juggernaut is credited as only “Himself,” Reese and Wernick revealed that it was Ryan Reynolds who did the voice — thanks to some voice manipulation by the audio team.

Reese and Wernick said during post production, Reynolds was the one coming up with lines for the character.

“We just looked at him and were like, ‘You should just do the voice,’” Wernick said.

But what really sold Reynolds was when the sound department began modulating his voice to sound like the character. Reynolds fell in love with it. And then there was the ease with which Reynolds could do it.

“Ryan essentially recorded the lines into his iPhone, emailed it to the editor, and it gets plugged into the cut of the movie; it’s that quick,” Reese said, as opposed to Reynolds having to spend a day in an audio booth recording lines.

Reynolds also used the same method when new lines or jokes were added in post production for Deadpool.



How the movie nabbed all those great cameos.

From Brad Pitt as Vanisher, to Matt Damon as a redneck with a lot to say about toilet paper, “Deadpool 2” has some major cameos. And the screenwriters have a simple answer for why: once you’re making a successful franchise, everyone says "yes."

“We got a fair amount of people saying 'no' last movie,” Wernick said. “This one, it was 'yes' across the board. It was a real treat for us.”

And for the audience, too (if you caught them).

Pitt shows up in the blink of an eye when mutant Vanisher accidentally glides into power lines due to the rough winds, as X-Force does its skydive to rescue the young mutant Russell. “Deadpool 2” director David Leitch told Business Insider that getting Pitt was a combination of Pitt’s kids loving the first movie, an ask by Reynolds, and Pitt knowing Leitch from the days when he was the actor’s stunt double.

Damon is even harder to catch in the movie. He’s completely unrecognizable as one of the men Cable encounters when he shows up in the present day from the future. Damon is the redneck in back of the pickup truck talking to his friend about toilet paper. Reese and Wernick said it was a chance encounter with Reynolds that led to Damon getting in the movie.

“I think they were at some event together and Matt was telling Ryan how much he loves ‘Deadpool,’” Wernick said. “We were in the process of writing the script and around that time Rhett had written this fantastic diatribe about toilet paper. Ryan told Matt about it, Matt said to send him the pages and he just fell in love with it and told Ryan he would do it.”

And the yeses kept coming. Reese and Wernick said Hugh Jackman approved the footage used in the post credit sequence from “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” and the footage of “Yentl” is in the movie thanks to Barbra Streisand — with an assist from her son-in-law Josh Brolin, who plays Cable in the movie (Brolin’s father, James Brolin, is married to Streisand).

“We actually wrote all the Streisand and ‘Yentl’ stuff before we cast Josh,” Wernick said. “So once Josh came aboard it became a lot easier. We said to him, ‘Hey, do you mind picking up the phone?’”



This Christopher Plummer joke is so buried even one of the screenwriters missed it.

When Deadpool decides to try and be part of the X-Men, his first assignment (as a trainee) is to stop Russell from wreaking havoc outside the orphanage he’s staying at. In the scene, a news crew shows up to cover the chaos and there’s a shot of news footage with a crawl at the bottom of the screen. If you look at the right moment, you’ll see the text in the crawl read: “Christopher Plummer turns down role in ‘Deadpool 2.’”

It’s a recognition of the #MeToo movement that was in full throttle toward the end of the movie’s post production. The Plummer joke also seems to reference one of the movie's stars, T.J. Miller, who has been accused of sexual misconduct (Reynolds said Miller will not be in the upcoming “X-Force” movie).

But Reese and Wernick are not taking ownership of the joke. In fact, Wernick didn’t even know about the Plummer line until Business Insider told him.

“I thought that was hilarious,” Reese said. “I don’t know who put that in, probably David Leitch or one of the editors.”



See the rest of the story at Business Insider
 

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