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    ‘Shogun’ Remake: This Time, the White Man Is Only One of the Stars

    A 1980 adaptation of the best-selling novel cast it as the tale of a white hero in an exotic Japan. A new version tells a more kaleidoscopic story.Gina Balian, a television executive who had worked on the hit series “Game of Thrones” for HBO, had just left to help FX start a new limited series division when an agent sent her a nearly 1,200-page novel.It was “Shogun,” James Clavell’s 1975 best-selling chronicle of a hardened English sailor who lands in Japan at the dawn of the 17th century looking for riches and ends up adopting the ways of the samurai. Balian’s first reaction was that she had already seen this book on television — back in 1980, when NBC had turned the novel into a mini-series that earned the network its highest Nielsen ratings to date.Most of what she remembered about the first adaptation was Richard Chamberlain — its white, male star. But as she started reading, she discovered the novel had a much more kaleidoscopic point of view, devoting considerable pages to getting inside the heads of the Japanese characters.“I thought that there was a story to be told that was much wider and deeper,” said Balian, who is co-president of FX Entertainment. It didn’t hurt that something about it also reminded her of “Game of Thrones,” in terms of the “richness of so many characters’ lives.”It took 11 years, two different teams of showrunners and a major relocation to bring “Shogun” back to the screen. The 10-part series debuts on Hulu on Feb. 27 with the first two episodes, followed by new ones weekly, and will premiere on Disney+ outside of the United States and Latin America.Both Hollywood and Western audiences largely have moved beyond viewing the world as a playground where (mostly) white protagonists prove their mettle in exotic lands. Shows and films like “Squid Game” and “Parasite” have shown that audiences can handle Asian characters speaking their own languages.We are having trouble retrieving the article content.Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.Thank you for your patience while we verify access.Already a subscriber? Log in.Want all of The Times? Subscribe. More

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    Amy Herzog on Adapting Ibsen’s ‘An Enemy of the People’ for Broadway

    At a rehearsal for “An Enemy of the People,” a Broadway revival of the 1882 play, the actor Jeremy Strong paced around an auditorium, wearing pants that were damp from kneeling in ice.As Thomas Stockmann, a doctor who tries in vain to warn his Norwegian coastal community about contamination in the town’s springs, Strong looked shaken, but hopeful. “We just have to imagine that the water will be clean and safe and the truth will be valued,” said Strong, known for playing the fragile yet ruthless media executive Kendall Roy on four seasons of “Succession.” “We just have to imagine.”To anyone intimately familiar with “An Enemy of the People,” written by Henrik Ibsen, those lines might sound slightly off key. Ibsen ended the play on a more defiant note, with the doctor boasting that he is the strongest man in the world, because the strongest are those who stand alone.“That didn’t resonate with me at all,” said Amy Herzog, who wrote the new adaptation, which is scheduled to begin performances on Tuesday.Herzog watches a rehearsal of “An Enemy of the People,” which stars Jeremy Strong, right, opposite Michael Imperioli, left.Caroline Tompkins for The New York TimesInstead of ending with Ibsen’s image of a lonely, heroic truth-teller, she changed it. And it isn’t the first time she’s boldly revamped his work.We are having trouble retrieving the article content.Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.Thank you for your patience while we verify access.Already a subscriber? Log in.Want all of The Times? Subscribe. More

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    On the Road With ‘The Outsiders,’ Where the Greasers and Socs Rumbled

    In denim and leather and newly acquired vintage snakeskin boots, the cast and creative team bringing “The Outsiders” to Broadway went on a trip across Tulsa, Okla., last month — a granular, history-flecked tour of the place where, about 60 years earlier, S.E. Hinton’s coming-of-age story was written and set. Hinton, 75 and still a beloved local, was a star attraction; the visit was a way of mapping out how the new musical version might fit into, or even build on, the durable legacy of “The Outsiders.”Bouncing along together in a van, singing bits of the show’s score, the company members let out a collective gasp as they caught sight of the enormous Admiral Twin Drive-In. Hinton watched double features there as a kid, and it figured prominently in her 1967 novel. The theater, whose midcentury-style signage remains, also served as a location for Francis Ford Coppola’s 1983 movie adaptation, whose stars included Tom Cruise, Rob Lowe and Patrick Swayze.Sky Lakota-Lynch (Johnny Cade), Jason Schmidt (Sodapop Curtis), Brent Comer (Darrel Curtis) and Daryl Tofa (Two-Bit Mathews) hang outside the Admiral Twin Drive-In.Joshua Boone (Dallas Winston), Lakota-Lynch and Schmidt. “‘Outsiders’ is the first novel I read, front to back,” Boone said. Brody Grant (Ponyboy Curtis), Kevin William Paul (Bob Sheldon) and Emma Pittman (Cherry Valance). “Yo, there’s a plaque back here,” someone shouted, and seven guys plus one young woman raced across the muddy off-season field to giddily read about when Greasers and Socials ruled that very spot. Then they popped behind the concessions stand and pretended to pull sodas at the counter. “The Outsiders” still sells out weekends at the Admiral, with more than 1,200 cars lining up.We are having trouble retrieving the article content.Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.Thank you for your patience while we verify access.Already a subscriber? Log in.Want all of The Times? Subscribe. More

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    “Poor Things,” the Weird Movie, Was “Poor Things” the Weird Novel, First

    Hot air balloons soar above the Mediterranean. Aerial streetcars fly along ropes suspended above the alleys of a candy-colored Lisbon. Pastel green smoke billows into the night sky from the funnels of a cruise ship.This is the eye-poppingly surreal world that Bella Baxter, played by Emma Stone, thrills to in Yorgos Lanthimos’s Oscar-nominated film “Poor Things.”Bella, a 25-year-old woman who, after committing suicide, is reanimated with the brain of her unborn infant, is the daring and unusual creation of Alasdair Gray, whose 1992 novel was adapted for the movie.And it may not even be his most eccentric book. A prolific writer and visual artist who died at 85 in 2019, Gray wrote five other novels, two novellas, 89 short stories and a version of Dante’s Divine Comedy (“Decorated and Englished in Prosaic Verse”).In Scotland, Gray is something of a national treasure, his papers housed at the National Library of Scotland. (The cover flap for his illustrated autobiography, “A Life in Pictures,” described the lifelong Glaswegian as “Scotland’s best-known polymath.”)Outside Britain, however, he is not exactly a household name.“I would say he’s one of the very few writers from my lifetime that I’m in awe of,” said the English novelist Jonathan Coe, adding that Gray is “enormously respected” by writers and critics.We are having trouble retrieving the article content.Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.Thank you for your patience while we verify access.Already a subscriber? Log in.Want all of The Times? Subscribe. More

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    Book Review: ‘What Have We Here?,’ by Billy Dee Williams

    His charming memoir “What Have We Here?” traces the path from a Harlem childhood to “Star Wars,” while lamenting the roles that never came his way.WHAT HAVE WE HERE? Portraits of a Life, by Billy Dee WilliamsMy first awareness of Billy Dee Williams was the stuff of hushed beauty parlor conversation I was too young to appreciate. “After all these years he’s still fine,” elders whispered in my periphery as they flipped through an interview in an Ebony magazine that was treated as an heirloom. His piercing gaze leaped out across time. “That’s our Billy!” another giggled.As he tells it in “What Have We Here?,” his effortlessly charming new memoir, the actor’s only ambition was to be everyone’s Billy — a star to cross color lines. Modeling his life on visions of old Hollywood glamour, he wanted to be heralded not just by Black women fantasizing about their chance to be with him, but by teens, men, children, and people of all colors and circumstances.Playing Lando Calrissian in the “Star Wars” trilogy — the debonair, cape-wearing and bravado-filled hero of interstellar proportions — eventually granted Williams his wish, catapulting him into the public stratosphere. “He wasn’t written Black or white,” Williams points out. “He was beyond that. Bigger than that. … He was a star.”Williams was born in 1937 at the tail end of the Harlem Renaissance, the artistic and cultural movement of the 1920s and ’30s when Black possibility bloomed. Nina Mae McKinney, believed to be the first Black actress with a Hollywood contract, and Hulan Jack, Manhattan’s first Black borough president, lived on his block on West 110th Street.He and his twin sister, nicknamed Lady, were welcomed into a world stitched together with love he would spend his life emulating. Their grandmother Annette Lewis Bodkin, the “Queen Dowager” of the home, laid down the rule of law. Loretta Bodkin, their mother, was a trained opera singer and friend of Lena Horne who dreamed of fame and toiled to ensure her children could do what she was unable to. Their father, William December Williams, was a laborer who worked long hours to support his family — and helped his son develop a sense of style.“He taught me how to put a hat on,” Williams writes, “using two fingers and a thumb, grasping the brim in a way that prevented my fingerprints from smearing the crown.”We are having trouble retrieving the article content.Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.Thank you for your patience while we verify access.Already a subscriber? Log in.Want all of The Times? Subscribe. More

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    Book Review: “Cocktails With George and Martha” by Philip Gefter

    COCKTAILS WITH GEORGE AND MARTHA: Movies, Marriage and the Making of ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?’ by Philip GefterWhat a document dump!The most delicious parts of “Cocktails With George and Martha,” Philip Gefter’s unapologetically obsessive new book about “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” — the dark ’n’ stormy, oft-revived 1962 Broadway hit by Edward Albee that became a moneymaking movie and an eternal marriage meme — are diary excerpts from the screenwriter Ernest Lehman. (Gefter calls the diary “unpublished,” but at least some of it surfaced in the turn-of-the-millennium magazine Talk, now hard to find.)That Lehman is no longer a household name, if he ever was, is one of showbiz history’s many injustices. Before the thankless task of condensing Albee’s three-hour play for the big screen (on top of producing), he wrote the scripts for “North by Northwest” (1959), arguably Hitchcock’s greatest, and with some help, “Sweet Smell of Success” (1957). The latter was based on his experience copywriting for a press agent, which inspired a novelette in Cosmopolitan called “Tell Me About It Tomorrow!” (Will someone please bring back the novelette?)From beyond the grave, in a production journal titled “Fun and Games With George and Martha” housed at the Harry Ransom Center, Lehman dishes on working with Mike Nichols, the then-darling of New York intellectuals hired to direct his first Hollywood film, starring his famous, furiously canoodling friends Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.But first “Cocktails With George and Martha” fans out like a deck of cards the back story of the play, which initially featured Uta Hagen as Martha, the delulu grown daughter of a New England college president, and Arthur Hill as George, her husband, an associate history professor whose career has stalled. (Yes, they are named for the first first couple of America.) A younger married pair named Nick and Honey come over for the world’s longest and most hellacious nightcap.Steeped in alcohol and analysis themselves, sophisticated audiences thrilled to the play’s voyeurism and vulgar language, even as the Pulitzer Prize committee got prudish, suspending the drama prize the year “Woolf” was eligible.Gefter describes how another playwright, probably jealous of the box-office returns, accused Albee rather homophobically of “neuroticism” and “nihilism” in The New York Times. “If the theater must bring us only what we can immediately apprehend or comfortably relate to,” Albee responded in one of cultural journalism’s best mic drops, “let us stop going to the theater entirely. Let us play patty-cake with one another or sit in our rooms and contemplate our paunchy middles.”We are having trouble retrieving the article content.Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.Thank you for your patience while we verify access.Already a subscriber? Log in.Want all of The Times? Subscribe. More

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    On Netflix’s ‘One Day,’ Emma and Dexter Meet Again

    The hit novel became a movie, and now it’s a 14-episode Netflix series. More time let the screenwriter get deeper into the characters of Emma and Dexter.For the British author David Nicholls, the key to a good romantic story is avoiding the clichés. “The first kiss, the first night together, the wedding day. There are all these landmarks which are quite familiar and quite obvious,” he said recently.Instead, his 2009 novel “One Day” follows its two protagonists, Emma and Dexter, on the same day each year for two decades, as they weave in and out of each other’s lives as friends, partners and everything in between. What has happened on the previous 364 days is revealed slowly and indirectly, with many key moments left to the reader’s imagination.In 2011, the novel — which has been translated into 40 languages and sold millions of copies — was adapted into a film starring Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess, and the story has now found new life as a limited series, created by the Scottish screenwriter Nicole Taylor and available on Netflix.Emma, a hardworking student, and Dexter, a popular guy around campus, meet in the first episode on their last day of college. Ludovic Robert/NetflixWhile both adaptations closely follow the structure and plot of the novel, the show devotes the majority of its 14 half-hour-ish episodes to a different year in the pair’s lives. The film’s shorter run time meant significant cuts, so that it ultimately became a “little synopsis of the novel,” according to Nicholls. (In a Times review, the critic A.O. Scott wrote that the film “turns an episodic story into an anthology of feelings and associations.”)The show’s extended length allows more rounded characters to emerge for Emma (played by Ambika Mod, previously Shruti in “This Is Going to Hurt”) and Dexter (Leo Woodall, who was Jack in Season 2 of “The White Lotus”). We meet them in 1988, on their last night of college, where Emma has kept her head down and worked hard on a double major and Dexter has been a popular party guy, achieving below average grades in anthropology.We are having trouble retrieving the article content.Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.Thank you for your patience while we verify access.Already a subscriber? Log in.Want all of The Times? Subscribe. More