Emma Mackey: ‘No, not all French people want to have sex all the time’

The Sex Education actor talks about her Irish roots and her Anglo-French upbringing

By Donald Clarke

Jun 27, 2020

Some parts of the French film industry have, it seems, clanked back into action. Emma Mackey, Anglo-French star of Netflix’s Sex Education, has been shooting Eiffel, a drama concerning the designer of the titular tower, since the beginning of June. How odd to speak to a resident of the Planet Normal.

“It is one the rare films,” she explains. “It’s not the case with everyone. As you can imagine, the protocols are extremely strict. We have to be very careful and our producer worked very hard to get us back on track. But it’s good.”

Lockdown arrived at a busy time for Ms Mackey. She is about to be everywhere. By one measure, Sex Education was the third most-watched show on Netflix during the Covid emergency (one place ahead of Tiger King, according to trackers at Reelgood). We hope to see her in Kenneth Branagh’s Death on the Nile before the autumn is out. In early July, she will be remotely present at the digital incarnation of the Galway Film Fleadh. Mackey stars as a troubled midlander in Phil Sheerin’s spooky The Winter Lake, which will receive its world premiere at this year’s one-off online event.

 Shot in Leitrim and Sligo, the picture co-stars Anson Boon, Michael McElhatton and Charlie Murphy in a tale of sombre omens, hidden abuse and sublimated passions. I can’t imagine what she expected of the shoot.

Mackey says she “felt at home” on the shoot, and, as you might expect for a Mackey, she has deep Irish roots

“I didn’t have any expectations,” she says. “I knew that I’d be there for a month. And I knew that I wanted to do the film very badly. It just came at a time when I felt like I needed it. I loved it. I stayed there for the entire month and didn’t go back to London. I made the choice to kind of stay there just so I could be in that world. It is so wild. I felt at home.”

There is a something of a chamber-piece dynamic to the interactions between the four characters. Based on a screenplay by David Turpin, The Winter Lake could almost work as a play.

“There were so few cast members that it was really nice to just spend time with those few people and really get to have proper conversations with everyone and get to know each other and fool around. That was really, really fun.”

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GasLit Nation: The most powerful person in the US is … who?!?

Aug 22, 2021

GASLIT NATION WITH ANDREA CHALUPA AND SARAH KENDZIOR

Today we examine the most powerful person in the United States — Elizabeth MacDonough! Who, you might ask? Why, the Senate Parliamentarian, of course! You know, that person who you stood outside for hours in line in a plague waiting to vote for, the person whose policies you studied and advocated and critiqued…oh wait, that’s Joe Biden, the helpless inhabitant of the White House! Once again, the Biden administration agenda is being held up by the thumbs down recommendation of the Parliamentarian.

Netflix lands golden ticket by buying Roald Dahl estate

Roald Dahl

The streaming giant will own and control works like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Matilda.

The deal means the streaming giant will own creations like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The BFG.

Netflix will control what happens to them in publishing as well as TV and film – and receive the royalties.

It will also create numerous spin-off games, stage shows and other live experiences. Neither side would reveal how much the deal is worth.

The takeover means The Roald Dahl Story Company – which is run by Dahl’s grandson Luke Kelly and was previously owned by the family and other employees – will now become a division of Netflix.

It earned £26m revenue from the author’s work in 2019, according to its latest accounts.

In a joint statement, Mr Kelly and Netflix boss Ted Sarandos said they were “joining forces to bring some of the world’s most loved stories to current and future fans in creative new ways”.

Source: Netflix lands golden ticket by buying Roald Dahl estate

Television Review: “Sex Education,” Season 3 – Growing Up Grand

Amid the political point-scoring, Netflix’s Sex Education remains effervescently charming.

Sex Education, now in its third season, has always been a show that kicks at boundaries, so it should surprise no one that the third season starts off with some bangs (literally — the first episode opens with a montage of people engaged in sexual acts). The series has always been risqué, but season three takes it even further. The upside is that this move toward the more explicit comes with heartfelt, humorous and, at times, informative storytelling.

Season three starts with a new school year at Moordale High. Otis (Asa Butterfield) is having casual sex with the most popular girl in school, Ruby (Mimi Keene), while Eric (Ncuti Gatwa, always a standout) and Adam (Connor Swindells) have become an official couple. Meanwhile, trouble is a-brewing at Moordale, fallout from the staging of a raunchy musical — a reimagined version of Romeo and Juliet (complete with tentacles). The original headmaster of Moordale, Adam’s father, Mr. Groff (Alistair Petrie), has been fired, so a new headmaster is brought in, Ms. Hope Haddon, played by Girls’ Jemima Kirke.

It’s fascinating to see Kirke in such a different role, a complete contrast to her free-spirited character in Girls. The actress is downright frightening here; Kirke plays Hope to snarky perfection, pettily micromanaging and sneering with aplomb. At first, she manages to win over the student body with a song and dance routine, but quickly we see that she has troubling plans for the school. Hope is far more focused on building up Moordale’s brand than on what her students and staff actually need. She quickly introduces uniforms as well as a homophobic and abstinence-only sex education course that denies resources to nonbinary students. A powerful political message is being delivered here, one that demands that secondary schools refuse reactionary policies. The ironically named Hope reflects the cultural dangers posed by sexism, transphobia, and homophobia, prejudices that, unfortunately, still run rampant in America’s schools. (The satire could be seen as part of the growing pushback to the demonization of Critical Race Theory, the near ban on abortion in Texas, and the continued lack of proper sex education given to high school students.)

Even worse, Hope pits Head Boy Jackson (Kedar Williams-Stirling) against Head Girl Vivienne (Chinenye Ezeudu). It’s very frustrating to watch Hope attempt to tear apart what had become a moving friendship, one that blossomed over the course of the last season. Hope also instills fear into her teachers, who are now terrified to answer their students questions about their sexuality. Thankfully, a few teachers rebel and recommend that students go to a local health clinic with their concerns — but it’s absurd that would need to be done in the first place. Real life students, trapped in abstinence-only programs, may find it worth tuning into Sex Education because the series will honestly and accurately answer some of their own burning questions about sex and relationships.

Much of what makes Sex Education distinctive as a series drama is its ability to subvert its viewers’ expectations. Ruby was introduced as a stereotypical mean girl, but she turns out to be vulnerable and caring in her relationship with Otis. Aimee (Aimee Lou Wood), who started off as Maeve’s rather vapid-brained friend, seeks therapy from Otis’s mother, the enchanting Jean (played by the equally enchanting Gillian Anderson), regarding a sexual assault she experienced in the previous season. The sessions encourage Aimee to embrace who she truly is and she learns to become more independent. Adam, who began as the bully of the series, has become more comfortable with his own sexuality and even pursues additional help to improve his academics. As the episodes go on, each of the characters is becoming increasingly complex, which makes the world of Sex Education more involving. Even Jean, who is now pregnant with her former boyfriend’s child, grows substantially in the third season.

Despite moving into more melodramatic plot realms, Sex Education remains as funny as it was in its first season. There are plenty of amusing moments: Aimee and her boyfriend procure a goat and bring said animal to school; Eric dancing and singing when he learns that he is about to have sex with his boyfriend. Amid the political point-scoring, Sex Education remains effervescently charming, an appeal that will continue, even deepen, with the hoped-for arrival of a fourth season.


Sarah Mina Osman is a writer residing in Wilmington, North Carolina. In addition to writing for The Arts Fuse, she has written for Watercooler HQThe Huffington PostHelloGigglesYoung Hollywood, and Matador Network, among other sites. Her work was included in the anthology Fury: Women’s Lived Experiences in the Trump Era. She is currently a first year fiction MFA candidate at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. When she’s not writing, she’s dancing, watching movies, traveling, or eating. She has a deep appreciation for sloths and tacos. You can keep up with her on Twitter and Instagram: @SarahMinaOsman

Source: Television Review: “Sex Education,” Season 3 – Growing Up Grand – The Arts Fuse

Music Remembrance: Singer-songwriter Nanci Griffith (1953-2021)

There were no performers who possessed more talent than singer-songwriter Nanci Griffith in the 1980s and early ’90s, when she was at her remarkable best.

By Daniel Gewertz

Nanci Griffith, the Texan “folkabilly” singer-songwriter, died in August at the age of 68, after fighting two different cancers for 25 years. In my decades of writing about contemporary folk music, I’d venture to say there were no performers who possessed more talent than Griffith in the 1980s and early ’90s, when she was at her remarkable best. Her single Grammy win was in the Contemporary Folk category, for Other Voices, Other Rooms, a guest-star-laden 1993 project of folk gems written by others. That she never won a Grammy for any of her own compositions is an injustice. She was both a stunning songwriter and a savvy song-finder. And as a singer, she gave “precious” a good name.

Boston took to Griffith earlier and stronger than any American city outside her native Texas. I got to interview her for the Boston Herald many times, starting right before she signed with the locally based Philo/Rounder Records in 1984; I felt I knew Griffith as well as a Northern journalist could. She was a tightly wound tumble of conflicting instincts: both forthright and private, both steely and prickly, proud of her achievements and openly hurt that she was not more widely rewarded for them. I saw a lot of gigs, many of them solo. But there was a single show in the mid-’80s that best displayed Griffith’s indomitable strength. It was at the Harvard Square basement room then called Passim Coffeehouse.

Let me set the scene. The late Bob Donlin was introducing her from the tiny Passim stage in his usual charming yet wooden way. Nanci was standing still in the back of the tightly packed little club, aware that most eyes were already upon her. Continue reading