News O'Clock: “Chosen Ones” Is Your Book Club Jam & Justice For Marni Nixon
The US military might start rejecting enlistees who’ve had COVID-19, Elon Musk and Grimes can't name their kid what they said they did, we have been DUPED by actors into thinking they can sing for too long, and BuzzFeed Books Editor Arianna Rebollini tells us all about “Chosen Ones,” the BuzzFeed Book Club pick for May.
The US military might start rejecting enlistees who’ve had COVID-19, plus there’s no way Elon Musk and Grimes can name their kid what they said they did.
Also we have been DUPED by actors into thinking they can sing for too long. And BuzzFeed Books Editor Arianna Rebollini tells us all about “Chosen Ones,” the BuzzFeed Book Club pick for May.
Check out the full episode transcript here:
Casey Rackham: The military now says that if you've had COVID-19 sorry, you can't sit here.
CR: Tom Cruise reportedly wants to film a movie in space because of course he does.
CR: And we have Buzzfeed Books editor, Arianna Rebollini, with us to give us the deets about this month's Buzzfeed Book Club choice.
Hayes Brown: The date, May 7th, 2020.
CR: The time, News O'Clock.
HB: Hello, friends. I'm Hayes Brown.
CR: And I'm Casey Rackham. Welcome to News O'clock.
HB: So Casey, it's good to see you again after, what, 12-ish hours? Something like that. Not very many hours being on Zoom. It was actually my first Zoom birthday party that I've attended since this crisis and it was-
CR: Oh my God.
HB: Pretty delightful, actually.
CR: I've been to like five Zoom birthdays so far. I'm doing another one tonight, but last night's was actually an absolutely wonderful one. It was the first one where there was probably around like 15 people and we all went around and said a nice thing about the birthday girl and it was just really heartwarming and it was just so nice to see how many like friends came out.
HB: I know. It was really good. It's among the most social I've gotten to be since being in the house and it was a delight. Even if I accidentally forgot for a second that you work at buzzfeed.com because for people out there listening, it was a group of people where a lot of us used to work at Buzzfeed, New York. And so I was telling a story and I said the words as the last person here at Buzzfeed. And immediately as those words left my lips, I realized, "Oh no, this is wrong."
CR: And that is when I interjected and I said, 'Hey, we literally host a podcast together."
HB: I was shamed for a minute. People had to be reminded, this is not a roast of Hayes, this is a birthday party. So get back to it.
CR: I'm starting to get sad though because my birthday is not until December and it's going to be my 30th birthday and I'm not a big birthday person, but this was the one time where I was going to be like, "It's going to be my golden birthday. I'm turning 30 on the 30th. It's going to be a full moon." I'm like, "I feel like I have to do something for my birthday." And now I'm like, "I don't even know. I mean ... I'm sure we'll be allowed to do things by then, but I don't even know if people will want to, if all want to have a big thing."
HB: I feel that. My birthday is in September and I don't know, again, I'm with you. I'm not normally a huge bang out birthday person, but this time it's like I kind of want to so we'll see. We'll see. All right. It's time for today's corona update. And today there are four things you need to know.
HB: Number one, the Trump administration has permanently shelved a guide from the CDC with advice to local authorities on how and when to reopen things like restaurants and other public places in the coming weeks and months. According to the Associated Press, the guide was supposed to be published last Friday, but CDC scientists were told the guidance would "never see the light of day," according to a CDC official. It included very specific guidelines and recommendations. For example, installing sneeze guards at restaurants or spacing tables at least six feet apart. Common sense-ish. White house spokeswoman, Kaylee McKinney has maintained the administration stance that most states are responsible for their own COVID-19 responses.
CR: I'm just literally floored by this. I mean has the Trump administration given any reason for why they are releasing this? Because I don't understand why they wouldn't want to help the citizens of their country.
HB: I have no actual facts for you here. The best I can give you is the White House has kind of wanted to say, "Well, we'll take credit for the good things, but the states are mostly on their own," which that's not really how federalism is supposed to work.
HB: Okay. Number two, the Pentagon is now considering saying that if you've had COVID-19, you can't join up. Military Times reports that a new memo from the Pentagon says during the medical history interview examination, a history of COVID-19 confirmed either by a laboratory test or a clinician diagnosis is permanently disqualifying. Now a person can get a waive from the specific branch of the military they're trying to join. So that's been the case for a while. If you had asthma technically, you're not supposed to be able to join, but we have a lot of asthmatics in the military these days. But right now that waiver can be difficult, especially with so much unknown about COVID-19.
CR: Okay. I do have a follow up question for both of these corona updates. Why is permanently the word of the day? Why, why, why?
HB: Well, at least there's some permanence in this world at all right now, Casey. Let us have this one.
HB: All right. Number three. A personal valet for the president tested positive for the coronavirus, which yikes. It was a Naval officer who is detailed to the White House. According to NBC News, among his duties are serving the president his meals. So not someone that you would want to have coronavirus at a time like this. According to news reports, the person was tested quickly after exhibiting symptoms on Wednesday and the vice president and the president himself were tested and they came out negative. CNN reports that known germaphobe President Trump was seriously upset when he learned that someone that close to him had the virus.
HB: And number four, millions more people are unemployed after the last week, but most people are hopeful. Another 3 million people filed for unemployment last week, bringing total jobless claims for the last seven weeks to 33.5 million. Coupled with the fact that the small business administration is lowering how much bit Siskin borrow for it's relief program because of the huge demand. It's looking pretty grim. But a new poll from Ipsos finds that people are pretty sure that their jobs will be waiting for them on the other side of this crisis. 70% of respondents said that, "Yeah, we think that when this is all said and we'll be hired right back by our jobs," and fingers crossed for all of them.
CR: I mean I hope that's the case, but things do look grim and I just don't know. We're not going to know what things look like until we're on the other side and it's scary.
HB: It really is. Especially since the other side is not really a line yet. Everyone is being pressed to reopen. Everyone is being pressed to go back out into the real world and leave their homes and go back to producing the things that keep the economy running, but no one knows what being in the clear actually looks like except for Dan Vergano who yesterday told us that, "No one knows."
CR: Great. All right. It's time for today's Good News, Bad News.
CR: This is where I bring you some of the most, "Thank God," and most, "Oh my God, no," stories from around the internet. Good news for Elon Musk's new son. It would be illegal for his parents to give him the name they announced. Musk and Grimes revealed they were having a baby together in January and announced the baby's birth earlier this week, but the name they chose is, well here is how it's spelled, X, AE, A, dash, then the number 12. The internet lost their minds and nobody knows how to pronounce it. We're not going to spend too much time going through them though because we don't want to roast a baby. But it turns out California state law prohibits people from having names with weird characters or symbols. There's no word on what they actually put down on the kid's birth certificate then.
HB: Oh my gosh. Are they performance art? Are they secretly going to have footage of them put up in an art installation and be like, "Fooled you all." This is not who we are as human beings.
CR: They are two types of performance art that each think theirs is the better performance art and they don't go together exactly. And that actually makes sense because there was this whole thing about how Grimes was talking about how she wasn't going to announce the gender of their baby because the child should be able to decide how they identify. And then Elon Musk just followed it up and said it's a boy. I mean, what? They do not seem to be on the same performance art page.
HB: Right. And also speaking of that, I saw too that she gave a long detailed explanation of a tweet about the thinking behind the baby's name and in there the eight dash 12 was meant to signify an aircraft that was the precursor of the aircraft that they both love so much. And she said that it was the SR-17 and directly in the tweet below, Musk goes, "Actually, it's the SR-71," and I'm like, "Wow." You couldn't put that in the DMs? You couldn't talk to her with your mouth, Elon?
CR: Yeah, I don't feel great. I don't love it. So bad news for anyone who didn't want to hear the words Macaulay Culkin and crazy erotic sex in the same sentence, because I'm going to be saying it's several times today. Macaulay has been AWOL for a minute, but he's going to be in the next season of FX's American Horror Story. Show creator, Ryan Murphy, told E-News about how he pitched Culkin for the role, saying he called up the home alone star with a quote, "Very, very great, insane part." He said, "Okay, so this is how it went down. I said, 'okay, here's the pitch,' and I told them the character and I told him he has crazy erotic sex with Kathy Bates and does other things and he paused and he goes, 'This sounds like the role I was born to play.'" So he signed up right then and there. So far there are no other details out there, but the show's 10th season is scheduled to premiere next February.
HB: I love Macaulay Culkin in many ways. He's a better actor than a lot of people can credit for. Shout out to his role in "Saved", a film that not enough people have seen.
CR: Yes. "Saved" is one of my favorite movies ever.
HB: Wheelchair Dance is one. It sticks with me. Art. But I love the idea of him hearing this and immediately going, "Yep, sold. I'm in."
CR: I completely buy that. I also believe that this was the role that he was born to play. I'm so aboard the Culkin train. I love Gerri in succession and I love everything that Macaulay does. So it's just ... I actually stopped watching American Horror Story a long time ago, but maybe I'm going to start up.
HB: I actually never really watched it. I saw the murder ... Which season was it? The ghost house season that was filmed where it was like a documentary, the really metal one and part of apocalypse-
CR: Oh, I don't think I saw that one.
HB: Yeah, it was one of the more recent ones. So I've seen none of it, but for the Macaulay Culkin banging Kathy Bates, strong maybe, strong maybe there.
CR: All right. We have to take a short break, but when we come back, we're talking to Arianna Rebollini about the Buzzfeed Book Club and their amazing pick for the month of May.
HB: Welcome back. It's time for Say More.
CR: Tired of staring at screens after being in the house for this long? Well, turns out there's this thing called books. They have no glare and are actually pretty good. Lucky for all of us, Buzzfeed has a monthly book club so we can read an actual book together.
HB: Here with us to tell us all about the club and the book we're going to be reading this month is Buzzfeed books editor, Ariana Rebollini.
Arianna Rebollini: Hey guys. Thanks for having me.
HB: Of course. So for the folks out there who are unfamiliar, what's the idea behind the Buzzfeed Book Club?
AR: So the Buzzfeed Book Club is a little over a year old and we started it to kind of have a group for the people who are really, really avid and obsessive readers. We pick one book a month that's fairly new and we discuss it, basically. We just really dive into it together. There's a Facebook group where people talk about books in general but also throughout the month, we update with questions and discussions and there's a newsletter too, which is my baby that I love and we send out author exclusives and things like what the author was thinking about while they were writing the book. And it's just really fun. It's a nice way to feel part of a community within the books world.
CR: So the book club book for May is "Chosen Ones" by Veronica Roth, the author of the Divergent series. If you had to describe the book in three words, what would they be?
AR: That's a really tough thing. It would be, this might not be what you're thinking of, but I would say what happens next? That's bad. That's really bad.
AR: Can I use more words?
HB: Fine, fine. We'll relax the rules this time.
AR: Thank you. It's like, Oh wait, that means any book. It's basically the after of the happy ending. So Veronica obviously has a past writing kind of dystopian, save the world type stuff. And this is, "Oh, well what happens to the people who save the world after they've done that?" And the world gets back to normal and they are just going grocery shopping. What does their life look like? And it's really fun. It's kind of dark too. It's just great. I love it.
HB: Last month was the first month the club where most people had stayed home orders in place. How's that affected the discussion?
AR: Well, it's interesting. I actually didn't put that together but it makes sense. Last month was the first time I had people reaching out to me being like, "Can we actually get even more questions, more prompts, more discussion?" So this month we put together a reading schedule to make sure people are kind of on the same page.
AR: Obviously, we're not going to require people to read by the schedule, but just kind of to have a more sense of doing this together and having weekly questions going up. I think people just want more consistent talking about the book throughout.
HB: And, oh, what was it that made you choose this book in particular?
AR: I think that this is an interesting place where we don't really do YA, mostly because I run it and I don't really read YA. Nothing against it. It's just not my area. But obviously the people who are in the club do like it, a lot of them do. And this was someone who is beloved in the YA community, Veronica Roth. And as someone who loves fantasy and Sci-Fi, this was an interesting take on it. And I think the question of what normal looks like is something I think about a lot and I hadn't really realized that. But when you see a horror movie you're like, "Oh, they survive." But with what life? What did they survive for?
HB: How much PTSD is going through them right now?
AR: Yeah. And so it all worked out together because we also did a Facebook live with Veronica Roth. Obviously every book tour is canceled and it's all virtual. So we did a really fun event with her there. And getting to talk to her about the book just made me really excited to talk about it and bring her insights into the discussion we're having in the Facebook group and newsletter.
HB: So people who listened last week, we gave a plug to the fact that the first chapter of Chosen One is up on buzzfeednews.com and I got to say, it is a trip. It just throws you right into this world that's really like ours but not quite. Arianna, what was your reaction when you first got through that opening?
AR: Well, so I mean the same, but I'll say too, we didn't include the real opening of the books, which sounds sneaky. But what she does with that I love in this book is she uses these primary documents, kind of book. So it opens with a newspaper article. So you actually start seeing a quick excerpt from a standup thing about making a joke about this one woman who was one of the chosen ones and then it's supposed to be an esquire profile of her and the treatment at first. So it's this way of getting background without doing background like flashbacks and so it's even more immersive and then you go right into that first scene and it's just ... she really does a great job of creating that world very quickly and making it seem like a plausible thing.
CR: I know that this month has already started, but can people still join?
AR: Oh, of course. Yeah. So I think the easiest way to get involved is if you go to buzzfeedbookclub.com, and that takes you to just there, everything you need to know about it. So from there you'll get links to sign up for the newsletter, sign up for the Facebook group and just get to the excerpt and about the book and it's all right there. And you can jump in at any time. We have the first discussion thread going in the Facebook group, but if you haven't read that far you don't have to read that. There's never going to be a spoiler in the main post. You'll have to look for spoilers. And at any point we love to have people coming in throughout the month.
CR: And is everyone in the club already asking what June's book will be and do you have any ideas yet what it will be?
AR: I do know what it's going to be. I am not going to tell you guys.
HB: Fine, you'll just have to come back on and tell us at the end of the month.
AR: I will say that actually, it's going to be a guest host so it's not really my wheelhouse, which I'd like to do every now and then because I'm just one person. And I try to make it different books but can't cover everything. So that'll be fun. It's funny because there are some real loyal members of the book club who are really plugged in and we announced the Veronica Roth pick later than usual because we were doing it with the announcement of the Facebook live event and on the 15th they were like, "well, what are you guys announcing?" what is May's book? Because we usually do it right in the middle of the month and they're like, "Are we going to find out?" And so it's just funny that people are paying attention that strongly. But yeah, we announce mid month with an excerpt and it's going to be good. It's going to be a really fun pick.
HB: All this week we've been asking folks on the show how they're going to celebrate Mother's Day this Sunday. What are you planning?
AR: So this is very exciting because it's my first Mother's Day as a mom. So it's a big deal. I mean obviously I will be calling my own mother, but I'm ready to embrace making the day really all about me. So my son is 10 months and I warned my husband a couple weeks ago. I was like, "You have two weeks to think of something really nice to do." So I don't know what he has planned, but will probably ... I don't know, probably do what we always do, but just feel a little more special about it and just hang out with the baby. Maybe go for a walk. Who knows?
HB: That's lovely.
CR: Awesome. Well thank you so much for joining us.
AR: Thank you so much for having me.
HB: It's time for The List because if you know Buzzfeed at all, you know how much we love lists. And today, we're looking at five actors who tricked us into thinking they were singing on screen.
CR: It's an open secret that most people in Hollywood who are cast in musical roles aren't exactly the best singers, but bless the ones who try. Looking at you, Russell Crowe.
HB: All right. Number one. George Clooney in "O Brother, Where Art Thou?"
CR: Number two, Christopher Plummer in "The Sound of Music".
HB: Number three, Natalie Wood in West Side Story.
CR: Number four, Zac Efron in the first High School Musical movie.
HB: And number five, Rami Malik in Bohemian Rhapsody.
HB: Fake teeth and a fake voice, man. Some of these were just real heart breakers to actually learn about, to be honest.
CR: I knew all of them except Christopher Plummer and I'm having a real hard time because the movie is literally called The Sound of Music and I'm just super upset right now.
HB: I know that one hit me too. Apparently, he says that he did the opening and the ending of some of the songs, but most of the real singing was done by a dude named Bill Lee. Like we said, open secret that a lot of the animated songs that are done in musicals are an entirely different person. I knew that as a child that Jasmine's singing voice and real voice were different people. But for real, live-action, just more heartbreak. Natalie Wood in West Side Story. What? She's Maria, she should be singing herself and apparently, she thought she was. She recorded and did not really know that she was going to be replaced. Yeah, I know.
CR: Oh my God. Okay. I do have a question here. As I was reading it, Zac Efron in the first High School Musical movie, does that mean he sang in the second and third?
HB: Yes. Apparently, he forced his way through according to the list that I drew this from. But yeah, apparently he forced, "If I'm going to be in a second and third movie, I need to be singing myself." He was really surprised. He was another person who was surprised when watching High School Musical. He was like, "That's not me. What is happening?"
CR: Oh my God, I love all of these, just liars who are leading these people to believe they're singing.
HB: I know I got to say all hail Marty Nixon who is not only covering for Maria in West Side Story, but Aubrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady. She did all the singing for that movie as well, which is insane when you consider that Julie Andrews did the role originally and then she went on to do Mary Poppins. So Marty Nixon was a true hero of Hollywood and way too unknown.
CR: Okay. Yes. I want to tell everyone about her now.
HB: For more of these wild ass facts, you can check out the full Buzzfeed's list titled "15 Famous Actors Who Tricked You Into Thinking They Really Sang In Movies".
CR: All right, we have time for one more thing because I can't let you guys go until we talk about this. Tom Cruise might be filming a movie in space.
HB: Space, for real space? Up there, above the sky. Space.
CR: Actual space. Deadline reported on Monday that Tom Cruise and Elon Musk, of course, Space X, were in talks about the first film to be shot in actual literal space.
HB: And NASA, which is the space guys, are they on board with this?
CR: Apparently, they are. NASA administrator, Jim Bridenstine tweeted on Monday, "NASA is excited to work with Tom Cruise on a film aboard the Space Station. We need popular media to inspire a new generation of engineers and scientists to make NASA's ambitious plans a reality."
HB: This is a fucking terrible idea. This is such a bad goddamn idea. I can't even grasp. I can't wrap my head around how stupid this is.
CR: Hayes, I did not go see "Cats" in theaters, but I am going to eat an edible and go see this space move. I think it will be the same.
HB: I'm sorry, that's thinking too far ahead. That's assuming that this movie actually gets made and actually can be done. Because I have doubts.How do you plan on actually shoot ... If the plan is to shoot Tom Cruise up in a rocket, get him to the Space Station and remotely film him being all floaty and call it a day or do they plan on doing a full movie production in space? I don't know what their thinking is here.
CR: Real quickly, I want to revisit you saying Tom Cruise being all floaty. Second, I am excited. Tom Cruise loves doing his own stunts. Just imagine what he'll do in space.
HB: Explode. He will explode in space, Casey. Because space is fucking dangerous.
CR: Okay. Listen, I don't have much to look forward to right now so you're just going to have to give me this one.
HB: But man, this movie would be so expensive to make and this could be our Ishtar, to be honest though. This could be like the most expensive movie ever made because they have to shoot people into space and it could just be utter trash though. It could be like, "Wow, you spent all this money for nothing." But then again, it's Elon Musk. So we're kind of used to this by now.
CR: This is his performance art.
HB: And we're looping it all together. Congratulations, listeners out there. You guys have a full arc for today's episode.
CR: All right, that's it for today. Join us tomorrow when we have Motherly Stories editor, Conz Preti, with us to talk about how Mother's Day will be for her and everyone else during this pandemic.
HB: And remember, as New York governor Andrew Cuomo said today ...
Andrew Cuomo: June, for many people, is just next month.
HB: I know.
CR: Be sure to subscribe to News O'clock on the iHeartRadio app, Apple podcasts, or wherever you go for your sound stories.
HB: And please, take the time to leave us a rating and review. Helps us figure out what you like about the show, what you love about the show, what you think the show should become. And tell your friends about it. Then set your alarm so you never miss another episode of News O'Clock.