We’ve heard that the upcoming “Phase Four” of the Marvel Cinematic Universe will explore its more “cosmic” side, so it makes sense that it just drafted Owen Wilson, the Dallas-bred actor whose characters often seem to be spliced in from another astral plane. Variety says that Wilson will appear in Marvel’s new Disney Plus series Loki, which finds Tom Hiddleston reprising his turn as Thor’s ne’er-do-well, occasionally genocidal brother. Since the show reportedly finds Loki hopping through time, meddling in historic events like a malicious Quantum Leap, some have speculated that Wilson could play everyone from Marvel’s “time cop” Justice Peace to its obscure, time-traveling Western hero Two-Gun Kid—although the latter theory seems largely based on Wilson’s evident comfort wearing cowboy hats. Or maybe Wilson just plays some ordinary, Owen Wilson-esque guy who tags along on Loki’s adventures, greeting every manipulation of the space-time continuum with an appropriate “Wow.”
Cheer’s Jerry Harris Levels Up
With its inspirational tributes to athleticism and community spirit, Netflix’s docuseries Cheer has kept audiences couch-bound for weeks now, making near-instant stars of coach Monica Aldama and the rest of Navarro College’s cheerleading squad. Still, most viewers would admit that one teammate in particular stands atop that human pyramid: Jerry Harris, he of the galvanizing “mat talks” who’s become a nearly-a-million-follower-strong Instagram sensation ever since the show premiered, and wowed the likes of Ellen DeGeneres and JJ Watt. Now Harris is taking his newfound fame to the next logical level, signing with “influencer management company” Digital Brand Architects and its parent company, United Talent Agency, to explore the many TV, publishing, touring, and licensing opportunities that are sure to come his way—once he actually finishes school, anyway. Harris maintains that just because he’s blowing up doesn’t mean he plans on letting his team down by leaving the squad—a move that would earn him quite the earful from Jerry Harris himself (or a few months from now, maybe a motivational Jerry Harris app).
Sandra Bullock’s New Netflix Movie
Sometime Austin resident and A-lister Sandra Bullock is readying her next thriller for Netflix in the wake of Bird Box’s algorithmically generated success. As we reported in November, the as-yet-untitled film finds Bullock playing a woman who’s released from her lengthy prison sentence for a violent crime and tries to reintegrate into society, beginning with finding the younger sister she abandoned. This week, Variety added that Viola Davis, Vincent D’Onofrio, and Punisher’s Jon Bernthal have also joined the cast, presumably as some of the assorted peers, estranged friends, and authority figures who cast a wary eye toward Sandra Bullock’s hardened yet folksily approachable criminal. Bullock is now shooting the film in Vancouver, which means it shouldn’t be too long before it pops up at the top of your Netflix queue for you to accidentally click on, then just sort of apathetically surrender to.
Texas Monthly Drafts Zach Gilford
Hey, does Zach Gilford count as a Texan? The actor was born in Illinois, but to most people he’ll be Friday Night Lights’ Matt Saracen for the rest of his life. So we’re gonna claim him. Texas’s own Zach Gilford is also joining the Netflix family starring in the next horror series from The Haunting of Hill House’s Mike Flanagan. Hill House alums Kate Siegel, Annabeth Gish, and Henry Thomas are also on board the seven-episode series titled Midnight Mass, with Gilford, Siegel, and Legion’s Hamish Linklater set as the leads in the show where “an isolated island community experiences miraculous events—and frightening omens—after the arrival of a charismatic, mysterious young priest.” That last character description could align well with Gilford, who is nothing if not charismatic and still vaguely young-ish. But regardless of his role, The Haunting of Hill House was a hit, so anticipation is high for this one, and it’s a pretty big get for ol’ farm-bred, cattle-rustlin’ Zach “Tex” Gilford, our native son.
The Return of Jessica Simpson
It’s been something of a quiet decade for Jessica Simpson, who spent most of the ’10s staying out of the public eye—raising a family and honing her humble, billion-dollar lifestyle brand. But the tabloid floodgates were flung open anew this week for the Texas-bred pop star, whose just-released tell-all, Open Book, has stirred up enough publicity that the book itself, even at more than four hundred pages, seemingly has very little “all” left to tell. In addition to profiles in both the New York Times and Los Angeles Times—both conducted amid the rich, mahogany leather aroma of her home library—we’ve also been deluged with countless breakdowns of all the “hot goss” revealed in Simpson’s memoir, most of which has to do with former paramours like ex-husband Nick Lachey (kind of a jerk!), John Mayer (kind of a jerk!), and former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (broke up with her because of John Mayer, who’s kind of a jerk!). Simpson’s book also addresses her struggles with substance abuse (which she says began in earnest because of John Mayer), the constant body-shaming she’s endured throughout her career, and the sexual abuse she suffered as a child. But in approaching these head on, Open Book and the accompanying press tour have been a triumphant reclamation of Simpson’s career narrative, one that even comes with some new music: Simpson debuted six new songs that are available exclusively with the purchase of the audiobook, one of which is a duet with her friend Willie Nelson.
Post Malone: Bud Light Spokesman
On the heels of last week’s trailer for his film debut, Grapevine’s Post Malone turned up this week in a new Super Bowl commercial for Bud Light Seltzer. Malone has been part of the Bud Light family for a while now—collaborating on last year’s Bud Light Dive Bar Tour, debuting a limited-edition collaborative merch line and a custom Bud Light can, and making music that somehow evokes drinking out of a leftover beer can stuffed with cigarette butts. But the ad marked his official debut as a pitchman for his beloved beer, with Malone joining an esteemed lineage that includes Spuds Mackenzie and those annoying frogs.
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In the spot, Malone is forced to choose between his beloved Bud Light and the new Bud Light Seltzer, an agonizing decision that takes us, Inside Out-style, into his brain, where technicians sporting their own face tattoos tussle over which one to buy, inadvertently trashing a convenience store in the process. Malone then realizes he is “incredibly rich” and can thus afford to get buzzed on both watery beer and rancid fruit water (along with paying whatever damages he just incurred). Anyway, Bud Light expands a growing portfolio of Post Malone-endorsed lifestyle brands that also includes Crocs and Doritos, which leaves only the likes of Camel Crush to go.
THIS WEEK IN MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY
With the pomp and distraction of The Gentlemen now mostly behind him, Matthew McConaughey returned to earth this week, getting back to the business of everyday livin’—beginning with taking his wife to the Super Bowl for some “Miami time.” The couple attended the big game wearing all white, displaying an impressively zen confidence that you won’t spill mustard or beer on yourself—the kind to which we can all aspire.
Elsewhere, McConaughey got back to the grind of drinking while promoting his Longbranch whiskey, clearly too exhausted from his whirlwind press tour—or drunk—even to add punctuation to his captioned tagline, “cheers and longbranch the universal sound of something funs about to happen.” And finally, he said goodbye to all the movie-star glitz and glamour of The Gentlemen by getting back to teaching, where it seems Professor McConaughey just wrapped a semester of his “Script to Screen” class on … The Gentlemen. In a new video, McConaughey and his students reminisce about how much they enjoyed spending the past few months dissecting the many script revisions and storyboards of their instructor’s latest film, with one even declaring that studying it has been “an experience that I will probably remember the rest of my life” every time she happens across it on Amazon. McConaughey himself summed it all up in the caption, saying, “the best way to teach is the way that is most understood”—a McConaugheyism that should inspire teachers everywhere to let their students tag along on their own all-star British crime capers, and, I don’t know, to not use a weird gibberish language you just made up, I guess. I don’t really get this one.
McConaughey was a little more straightforward with his final benediction to the class, grinning while urging them all to “Screw up, y’know what I mean? Make a decision! Have a good time!” Perhaps this is a preview of McConaughey’s just-announced keynote speech at the Qualtrics X4 conference in Utah, where McConaughey will join Michelle Obama and fellow Texan moguls Chip and Joanna Gaines in inspiring business leaders with his wisdom on “experience management.” From what we’ve learned, if you can at all manage it, you should definitely experience being Matthew McConaughey.