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‘P-Valley’s Skyler Joy Teases Gidget’s ‘Struggles,’ A ‘Stronger Bond’ With Autumn & More

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Gidget is one of the dazzling stars at The Pynk on ‘P-Valley.’ HL spoke with Skyler Joy about what’s next for Gidget, Gidget’s friendship with Mercedes, how she trained for pole dancing, and more.

P-Valley is the show that has captivated the summer. The critically-acclaimed STARZ series follows the ins and outs of those who work The Pynk, a popular strip club in Mississippi. One of the core members of Uncle Clifford’s Pynk troupe is Gidget, played by Skyler Joy.

HollywoodLife talked EXCLUSIVELY with Skyler about preparing for the role of a stripper and what lies ahead for Gidget. She discussed Gidget and Mercedes’ friendship and stressed that Gidget will always be there Mercedes “no matter what.” Skyler also teased Gidget’s “caretaker” vibe with those at The Pynk and her growing bond with Autumn.

Skyler Joy
Skyler Joy is one of the stars of the acclaimed series ‘P-Valley.’ (Photo courtesy of Jonny Marlow)

First and foremost, what was the training like for this role? The athleticism you and your castmates have is incredible.
Skyler Joy: It’s a lot of work. I had been taking pole classes before I booked the role, but I was doing it sporadically. It was just for fun with my friends. And then this role came about and I had already had a little bit of dance experience because of those pole classes, which came in handy because I actually had the chance to do some in my callback and when I booked the role. All of the girls and I had hours of daily practices. The pole is really hard. You have to lift your whole body up. It takes sometimes months just to get one trick down. Just to climb the pole took me probably like 4 months, and it looks so easy now. The tricks that take years to do we had stunt doubles.

I remember in one scene when Gidget’s trying to teach Autumn how to do some moves, she’s saying it’s all about weight distribution. It looks so easy, but it must be so difficult.
Skyler Joy: Actually, in that scene, that was my first time going upside down. I actually did that. That part where I go upside down and show her was all me. The other half of it was my stunt double, but I told Katori Hall I wanted to do this trick in the scene. Don’t let the stunt double do it. She was like, “Okay, go ahead.” We went to rehearsal, and it was really hard. I just kept trying, trying, and trying and then all of a sudden my body was like, “Oh, okay, I get what you’re trying to do.”

Were there ever any injuries?
Skyler Joy: I had bruises every day on my whole body and calluses on my hands, but nothing too crazy. The girl that plays Miss Mississippi dislocated her knee on the first day of practice. I wasn’t there. After that, she kind of struggled with trust in doing the pole. It was hard for her, but that’s her story.

Skyler Joy
Skyler Joy stars as Gidget in the hit STARZ series. (STARZ)

What is Mercedes and Gidget’s relationship going to be like going forward? Gidget went to great lengths to get Mercedes out of jail.
Skyler Joy: I think that Mercedes and Gidget have a really strong friendship. They’re the type of friends that — no matter what happens — they’ll be there for each other. With Gidget, I think she felt very jealous over Mercedes being able to leave the club. I’ve been getting questions about that scene. Like, why is Gidget so upset that Mercedes is able to finally leave the club? I felt like Gidget feels jealous that she can and is able to leave the club and Gidget is kind of stuck. In episode 5, you were kind of able to see why. All her money’s going towards her mom and her mom’s drug addiction. I just think that they have a type of friendship where they’ll be there for each other no matter what.

Will we get to see more of Gidget’s life outside of the club as the season continues?
Skyler Joy: People will be able to see more of her struggles in the rest of this series. I think episode 5 was a great turning point to show the characters outside of the club. People will be able to see more of that now. In the first few episodes, we were kind of getting the base of what the role of The Pynk is in all of the characters’ lives.

Autumn is obviously a big mystery to everyone. Mercedes hasn’t liked her from the start, but Autumn’s come through a couple of times. How do you think Gidget feels about the new girl?
Skyler Joy: Gidget is kind of a caretaker to everyone. She just loves all the girls. Even when Autumn first came in, she was a little hesitant but Gidget is very welcoming and nurturing. That’s just her personality with all the girls, so I feel like now she accepts Autumn Night after seeing Autumn show up for Mercedes in the bail bondsman office. I think that was a turning point in that they’re friends now and she likes her. She’s wanting to help her now that Mercedes likes her or is starting to like her. They’re going to, hopefully, have a stronger bond now.

Skyler Joy
Gidget with Autumn in an episode of ‘P-Valley.’ (STARZ)

Do you think Gidget has thought about what life could be like without the club? Or do you think she has made up her mind that she is always going to be there?
Skyler Joy: She thinks about it all the time. Her dream is to go off and compete in pole competitions professionally. She’s the very athletic one in the club that sees pole dancing as an Olympic sport. Her dream is to leave the club. But, unfortunately, she just has a lot of financial obligations going on that it’s hard for her to leave. I think it’s always been scary for her to venture out of her comfort zone, which is the club that she knows. People have heard in the show that she used to cheer for Ole Miss, and she left and started stripping. I think that’s kind of a good way to say she went back to her comfort zone, so it’s hard for her to break out of it.

What do you think of Gidget and Uncle Clifford’s relationship?
Skyler Joy: I feel like Uncle Clifford is a mother to Gidget. Unfortunately, you don’t see a whole lot of that in the series but just being on the set with Nicco [Annan], who plays Uncle Clifford, he’s just such an awesome person. He’s so genuine. To be on set with somebody that has been a part of the project for so long, it was just such a great experience. I just feel like such a strong bond on-screen and off-screen with Nicco.

What can you tease about these upcoming episodes? There’s so much at play here.
Skyler Joy: I just feel like if people think what’s going on is crazy now, it just gets crazier. The series gets even better than it is. It’s so exciting.

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Netflix is developing a live action ‘Assassin’s Creed’ show

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Netflix announced this morning that it’s partnering with Ubisoft to adapt the game publisher’s “Assassin’s Creed” franchise into a live action series.

The franchise jumps around in history, telling the story of a secret society of assassins with “genetic memory” and their centuries-long battle the knights templar. It has sold 155 million games worldwide and was also turned into a nearly incomprehensible 2016 film starring Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard, which underperformed at the box office.

The companies say that they’re currently looking for a showrunner. Jason Altman and Danielle Kreinik of Ubisoft’s film and television division will serve as executive producers. (In addition to working on adaptations of Ubisoft’s intellectual property, the publisher is also involved in the Apple TV+ industry comedy “Mythic Quest.”)

“We’re excited to partner with Ubisoft and bring to life the rich, multilayered storytelling that Assassin’s Creed is beloved for,” said Netflix’s vice president of original series Peter Friedlander in a statement. “From its breathtaking historical worlds and massive global appeal as one of the best selling video game franchises of all time, we are committed to carefully crafting epic and thrilling entertainment based on this distinct IP and provide a deeper dive for fans and our members around the world to enjoy.”

It sounds like there could be follow-up shows as well, with the announcement saying that Netflix and Ubisoft will “tap into the iconic video game’s trove of dynamic stories with global mass appeal for adaptations of live action, animated, and anime series.”

Netflix recently placed an eight-episode order for “Resident Evil,” another video game franchise that was previously adapted for the big screen. And it also had a big hit with its adaptation of “The Witcher,” which is based on a fantasy book series that was popularized via video games.

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Original Content podcast: ‘Lovecraft Country’ is gloriously bonkers

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As we tried to recap the first season of HBO’s “Lovecraft Country,” one thing became clear: The show is pretty nuts.

The story begins by sending Atticus “Tic” Freeman (Jonathan Majors), his friend Leti Lewis (Jurnee Smolett) and his uncle George (Courtney B. Vance) on a road trip across mid-’50s America in search of Tic’s missing father. You might assume that the search will occupy the entire season, or take even longer than that; instead, the initial storyline is wrapped up quickly.

And while there’s a story running through the whole season, most of the episodes are relatively self-contained, offering their own versions on various horror and science fiction tropes. There’s a haunted house episode, an Indiana Jones episode, a time travel episode and more.

The show isn’t perfect — the writing can be clunky, the special effects cheesy and cheap-looking. But at its best, it does an impressive job of mixing increasingly outlandish plots, creepy monsters (with plentiful gore) and a healthy dose of politics.

After all, “Lovecraft Country” (adapted form a book by Matt Ruff) is named after notoriously racist horror writer H.P. Lovecraft, but it focuses almost entirely on Black characters, making the case that old genres can be reinvigorated with diverse casts and a rethinking of political assumptions.

In addition to reviewing the show, the latest episode of the Original Content podcast also includes a discussion of Netflix earnings, the new season of “The Bachelorette” and the end of Quibi.

You can listen in the player below, subscribe using Apple Podcasts or find us in your podcast player of choice. If you like the show, please let us know by leaving a review on Apple. You can also follow us on Twitter or send us feedback directly. (Or suggest shows and movies for us to review!)

And if you’d like to skip ahead, here’s how the episode breaks down:
0:00 Intro
0:36 Netflix discussion
3:18 “The Bachelorette”
6:30 Quibi
14:35 “Lovecraft Country” review
31:32 “Lovecraft Country” spoiler discussion

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The short, strange life of Quibi

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“All that is left now is to offer a profound apology for disappointing you and, ultimately, for letting you down,” Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman wrote, closing out an open letter posted to Medium. “We cannot thank you enough for being there with us, and for us, every step of the way.”

With that, the founding executives confirmed the rumors and put Quibi to bed, a little more than six months after launching the service.

Starting a business is an impossibly difficult task under nearly any conditions, but even in a world that’s littered with high-profile failures, the streaming service’s swan song was remarkable for both its dramatically brief lifespan and the amount of money the company managed to raise (and spend) during that time.

A month ahead of its commercial launch, Quibi announced that it had raised another $750 million. That second round of funding brought the yet-to-launch streaming service’s funding up to $1.75 billion — roughly the same as the gross domestic product of Belize, give or take $100 million.

“We concluded a very successful second raise which will provide Quibi with a strong cash runway,” CFO Ambereen Toubassy told the press at the time. “This round of $750 million gives us tremendous flexibility and the financial wherewithal to build content and technology that consumers embrace.”

Quibi’s second funding round brought the yet-to-launch streaming service’s funding up to $1.75 billion — roughly the same as the gross domestic product of Belize, give or take $100 million.

From a financial perspective, Quibi had reason to be hopeful. Its fundraising ambitions were matched only by the aggressiveness with which it planned to spend that money. At the beginning of the year, Whitman touted the company’s plans to spend up to $100,000 per minute of programming — $6 million per hour. The executive proudly contrasted the jaw-dropping sum to the estimated $500 to $5,000 an hour spent by YouTube creators.

For Whitman and Katzenberg — best known for their respective reigns at HP and Disney — money was key to success in an already crowded marketplace. $1 billion was a drop in the bucket compared to the $17.3 billion Netflix was expected to spend on original content in 2020, but it was a start.

Following in the footsteps of Apple, who had also recently announced plans to spend $1 billion to launch its own fledgling streaming service, the company was enlisting A-List talent, from Steven Spielberg, Guillermo del Toro and Ridley Scott to Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Lopez and LeBron James. If your name carried any sort of clout in Hollywood boardrooms, Quibi would happily cut you a check, seemingly regardless of content specifics.

Quibi’s strategy primarily defined itself by itself by its constraints. In hopes of attracting younger millennial and Gen Z, the company’s content would be not just mobile-first, but mobile-only. There would be no smart TV app, no Chromecast or AirPlay compatibility. Pricing, while low compared to the competition, was similarly off-putting. After a 90-day free trial, $4.99 got you an ad-supported subscription. And boy howdy, were there ads. Ads upon ads. Ads all the way down. Paying another $3 a month would make them go away.

Technological constraints and Terms of Service fine print forbade screen shots — a fundamental understanding of how content goes viral in 2020 (though, to be fair, one shared with other competing streaming services). Amusingly, the inability to share content led to videos like this one of director Sam Raimi’s perplexingly earnest “The Golden Arm.”

It features a built-on laugh track from viewers as Emmy winner Rachel Brosnahan lies in a hospital bed after refusing to remove a golden prosthetic. It’s an allegory, surely, but not one intentionally played for laughs. Many of the videos that did ultimately make the rounds on social media were regarded as a curiosity — strange artifacts from a nascent streaming service that made little sense on paper.

Most notable of all, however, were the “quick bites” that gave the service its confusingly pronounced name. Each program would be served in 5-10 minute chunks. The list included films acquired by the service, sliced up into “chapters.” Notably, the service didn’t actually purchase the content outright; instead, rights were set to revert to their creators after seven years. Meanwhile, after two years, content partners were able to “reassemble” the chunks back into a movie for distribution.

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