PRAISE BE, IT’S BACK
Oscar buzz is already in the air for The Handmaid’s Tale, which returned for its fourth season in April after nearly two years. As both star and executive producer, Elisabeth Moss is a dynamic force to be reckoned with, both on and o screen. At a recent press event, the actress/producer acknowledged how the show has changed her. “I think the most significant way for me is being a producer, which I had done a couple tiny films before but never done anything producer wise on this level. And so that has been the big change in my life taking that on as a new role. I was very fortunate to be asked in the first season, and I’ve had an incredible opportunity to learn.” She continued: “I want to be able to participate, and I want to be able to help. I want to be able to also learn. And I still am, every day, learning from all of our producers…And now I have a production company, and we are doing a bunch of other stuff….It takes up more time than I think, honestly.”

TUNE IN FOR…
With so many movies pushed back because of the pandemic, there are now ample stories for the kids to dish on this summer. Among the delightful highlights:

• In Dream works’ Spirit Untamed, a wild stallion meets an adventurous, headstrong kid. Salient life lessons abound in this lovely animated film, starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Julianne Moore.


• Basketball aficionados will be fascinated by HBO Max’s Space Jam: A New Legacy (seen in theaters as well). NBA star LeBron James, Zendaya (Euphoria), and Star Trek’s Sonequa Martin Green star, along with Bugs Bunny and the rest of the Looney Tunes gang.

• Smiles will swell when tuning into the Disney+ trailer for animated film Luca. The premise: a young boy visits the Italian Riviera and meet a new best friend who turns out to be a sea monster. Filled with charming Italian accents. Jacob Tremblay, Jack Dylan Grazer, and Maya Rudolph star.

Nicole Spread

STATE OF THE MARTIAL ART
While Kung Fu fans are over the moon that the breakout CW show has already been renewed for a second season, series star Olivia Liang thinks the Asian drama series comes at a propitious time. “The timing is really impeccable,” she stated during a press panel. “So much about representation and inclusion is not so much that we as Asians need to see ourselves represented on the screens, but we need to be invited into people’s homes who don’t see us in their everyday life.” Liang may look like a badass, but she did not actually have any prior martial arts training. “I have a background in dance, so once I started training, I was able to at least pick up the choreography because martial arts, and especially martial arts for film and TV, is very much a dance,” she explained. “So the training was brutal, and it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever put my body through.”

SUMMER SIZZLER
Since Free form’s new suspense series Cruel Summer has been such a smashing success with viewers, we can all but bet there will be a second season. At the Television Critics Press Tour, executive producer Jessica Biel gushed about her excitement, especially because of the “history” she has as a former star on ‘90s hit 7th Heaven. She said: “Having that experience, and really growing up on television in some way, and (starring in) The Sinner, gave me a great ability and a lot of knowledge coming into this, knowing we can do this right… complex storytelling is very challenging.”

Biel acknowledged this was the kind of project she would have wanted to do as a young actor. “I would have loved to play one of these characters. And to be able to create something for young women…is really exciting. To sit in a space with the younger generation and really give them this platform to talk about some intense, hard things…is really thrilling for me.”

FOOD FOR THOUGHT
In a fascinating new docuseries, Showtime’s Couples Therapy follows Israeli clinical psychologist and writer Dr. Orna Guralnik, an expert in gently guiding couples through their immense relationship difficulties. While many of the marriages seem to teeter on the brink of ending, through Dr. Guralnik’s expert counseling each episode, viewers are treated to a glimmer of hope that her empathetic words might make a difference. “I learned a lot from doing the show,” noted Dr. Guralnik at the Television Critics Press Tour. “I think I’m a better therapist having done this, both seeing myself, seeing what works and what doesn’t, kind of revisiting these sessions and thinking about it by seeing it. But maybe even more so by talking about it so much with the directors. We have very, very deep conversations about the process and what goes on in the treatment, which I think have really changed my work…it made me much more accountable to myself…I feel very grateful for that.”