Only 10 states require consent lessons in sex ed. A 12-year-old girl made it happen in Maryland.

Maeve Sanford-Kelly started the fight to include consent in sex ed classes when she was 12. That’s right, 12.

In 2016, news stories of sexual assaulters like Brock Turner and Bill Cosby dominated the headlines, and the infamous recording of our current President bragging about grabbing women “by the pussy” was made public. The #MeToo movement had not yet gained full force, but its seeds had been planted.

Twelve-year-old Maeve Sanford-Kelly of Bethesda, Maryland witnessed it all, including the way sexual assault victims were treated. Disheartened, Sanford-Kelly decided to take action. She started locally, with the goal of making consent an early part of the Montgomery County sex ed curriculum.

Sanford-Kelly made her case before the Montgomery County Delegation with impressive poise.

Sanford-Kelly’s mom, Ariana Kelly, a representative in the Maryland House of Delegates, helped her daughter navigate the civic process. Working with other young people, they drafted a bill to present to the Montgomery County Delegation. In December of 2016, Sanford-Kelly testified before local legislators to make the case for consent to be taught in seventh and tenth grade.

As part of her argument that consent education can’t wait until high school, she said:

In seventh grade we’re taught about abstinence, we’re taught about HIV and AIDS prevention, and we’re taught about STDs. We should learn about consent. As middle schoolers, we’re constantly consuming media: the movies we see have sex scenes in them, the music we listen to has sexual themes, and you can see naked women anywhere. We hear stories, we read stories, about… Brock Turner and Bill Cosby… but there’s not a disclaimer that says sexual assault is wrong. It doesn’t say that sexual violence is bad or that rape is inexcusable. We have to be taught that. Before we are taught about pregnancy prevention and STDs, we have to be taught about consent.

Her testimony earned applause from the entire room.

Thinking bigger, the group took a similar bill to the state level. It died there, but their determination resurrected it.

Sanford-Kelly, her mom, and friends revised the local bill and took it to the Maryland House of Delegates. The bill died in the State Senate, however, due to lack of support from Republicans and conservative Democrats.

Sanford-Kelly was undeterred. “I was crushed,” her mother told NBC Washington. “But Maeve said, ‘We are coming back next year.'”  

And come back they did. Montgomery County and Baltimore City schools voluntarily implemented the bill in 2017. That’s when the #MeToo movement really took hold, and the group received a rush of support for their state-level bill. It was approved by the House of Delegates and State Senate in early 2018, and signed into law by Governor Larry Hogan in May.

Maryland is now just one of 10 states that include consent as part of their state-mandated sex ed curriculum.

Sanford-Kelly, now 14, and her friends accomplished an awesome feat in persuading Maryland to include consent in sex education. But there’s still much to be done across the nation.

Only 10 states, plus Washington, D.C., require lessons on consent to be included in the sex education curriculum. Considering what a huge part of the public discourse it has become, that’s kind of unbelievable.

Consent is the very basic idea that sexual activities need to be welcome by both parties in order to take place. Why anyone would object to that fundamental concept of respect and bodily autonomy being taught in schools is unclear. If kids are old enough to learn about sex, they’re well beyond the age to learn about consent.

This young lady and her friends deserve thanks for paving the way for more states to make consent part of required curriculum, and for showing us the power of young people making their voices heard.

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Penny Marshall, co-star of ‘Laverne & Shirley’ and director of ‘A League of Their Own,’ dead at 75

(CNN)Actress Penny Marshall, who found fame in TV’s “Laverne & Shirley” before going on to direct such beloved films as “Big” and “A League of Their Own,” has died. She was 75.

“Our family is heartbroken over the passing of Penny Marshall,” the Marshall family said in a statement.
Marshall, whose real name was Carole Marshall, grew up in the Bronx. Her brother was famed producer and director Garry Marshall, who directed a string of hit movies including “Pretty Woman” and “The Princess Diaries” and died in 2016.
    Describing her upbringing, Marshall, who wrote a memoir titled “My Mother Was Nuts,” once said, “you had to form a sense of humor or else you’d kill yourself.”
    “You had to learn what sarcasm was,” Marshall told CNN in 2012 while promoting the book.
    Marshall’s role as outspoken tomboy Laverne DeFazio in the “Happy Days” spin-off “Laverne & Shirley” catapulted the actress to celebrity in the late ’70s.Her gift for physical comedy helped earn her accolades, including three Golden Globe nominations.
    The show — co-starring Cindy Williams as Shirley Feeney, Laverne’s co-worker in a 1950s Milwaukee brewery — ran for eight seasons, from 1976 to 1983.
    She began her directing career by helming episodes of TV series before landing her first feature-film directing job with the 1986 Whoopi Goldberg action-comedy “Jumpin’ Jack Flash.” With her second film, “Big,” starring Tom Hanks, Marshall became the first woman to direct a movie that grossed more than $100 million.
    She repeated that success in 1992 with the film “A League of Their Own,” which chronicled a women’s baseball league in the 1940s and featured an all-star cast that included Geena Davis and Madonna.
    “I’m not an articulate person, but I have a strange combination of insecurity and fearlessness,” Marshall once told CNN.
    She also directed the films “Awakenings” with Robert De Niro and Robin Williams; “Renaissance Man” with Danny DeVito; “Riding in Cars with Boys” with Drew Barrymore; and “The Preacher’s Wife,” a remake of the 1947 film, starring Denzel Washington and Whitney Houston.
    Marshall was married twice.
    Her second marriage was to actor and director Rob Reiner, who grew up across the street from her in New York City.
    “It was a very wide street,” Marshall once joked to CNN.
    She had a daughter, Tracy, from her first marriage, whom Reiner later adopted.
    On Tuesday, following news of Marshall’s death, Reiner wrote in a statement posted to social media: “I loved Penny. I grew up with her. She was born with a great gift. She was born with a funnybone and the instinct of how to use it. I was very lucky to have lived with her and her funnybone. I will miss her.”
    A celebration of Marshall’s life will be held at a later date to be announced, the family said.
      Marshall is survived by her older sister, Ronny; daughter, actress Tracy Reiner; and three grandchildren.
      “We hope her life continues to inspire others to spend time with family, work hard and make all of their dreams come true,” Bega said.

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      How Losing My Virginity Lost Me More Than I Couldve Ever Imagined
      Cataloged in Romance / Virginity

      How Losing My Virginity Lost Me More Than I Could’ve Ever Imagined

      I have a confession to make.

      In 2015, I was 31 and still not in the sexually active club. It might have been because of my soul-shattering teenage acne, which followed me into my 20s. Or my general awkwardness around the male species in general, but my only tangible knowledge of what “sex” might be like came from movies.

      And my chastity wasn’t purely by choice. Growing up in the small tourist town of Sedona, Arizona, opportunities were limited. The population mostly consisted of wealthy retirees or transient hippies. With 75 people in my graduating class, most of which I had known since kindergarten, I was doomed. College for me wasn’t much better. Still the drama nerd with acne, I threw myself into plays. Books. Stories about other people’s lives, instead of truly living my own.

      At the ripe old age of 18, I dropped out of college, packed up my car, and moved to Hollywood. Much rejection and heartache ensued in the years that followed. Too busy pursuing a near impossible career, I kept putting my social life on the back burner. Soon my cinema dreams turned into digital ones. Throwing myself into YouTube, and platforms like it, I became an “influencer” with hundreds of millions of views and thousands of videos under my belt.

      Maybe I felt like I needed to be successful before I was worthy of finding a lasting relationship. Whatever the reasons, it took me until my 30s to wake up and realize that I was collecting a lot of things. A nice house, money in the bank, a solid career, but I had no one to share it with. I had a lot of things, a lot of stuff, but I didn’t have any deep, meaningful human connections.

      I remember when online dating was taboo. It was frowned upon, or weird if you had a dating profile and hadn’t found your significant other in a real-world situation. Nowadays, not meeting your partner online is becoming rarer and rarer. The increasingly fast-paced lives most of us lead make it near impossible to have enough energy to hit up a bar, let alone exercise three times a week or keep our refrigerators well stocked.

      Joining Tinder, I made up for lost time. I was kind of a dating whore. Swiping and matching, lunching and flirting. Looking for Mr.Right became another full-time job. I went through a few boyfriends, disappointing breakups until I finally swiped right on Milos.

      Not to be shallow, but Milos was hot. Hot in a ridiculously toned, Chris Hemsworth kind of way. He was also successful, a recently graduated doctor with a masters in forensic pathology from the University of Belgrade in Serbia. His accent was sexy and mysterious, and he had an English Bulldog named Lui. I was a smitten kitten.

      Even with the physical attraction, there was something in my gut. Something in my natural instincts that kept sending off warning bells. I chalked it up to “being scared” because the guys I normally dated didn’t have a car or a job. It only took eight dates before I fell in love with him.

      And ten dates for me to lose my virginity.

      31 and finally in the sexually active club, I was in love and already waiting on bated breath for the day in which he would propose. I didn’t care that he was wealthy, or a future surgeon, solid qualities in a future partner but they weren’t the reasons I choose him. His faith in us and our future was contagious.

      For him, it was love at first sight. He came on strong, and fast, and with a commendable tenacity. Showering me in affection and compliments, he made me feel special and beautiful and with fairytale precision won my heart, but our bliss came to a screeching halt.

      It didn’t help that his traditional European mother wanted her son back in Serbia. “Why are you choosing this girl, when there a plenty back home?” she would say. On repeat. Milos was in America on a vacation of sorts, sowing his oats after spending grueling years in medical school, but they had been patient enough and it was time he returned and helped run their empire.

      First, his parents cut him off financially. Gone, his leased Black Lexus, apartment in Beverly Hills and another luxury home in San Diego. Upon my offering, Milos and Lui became my unpaid roommates and thus started my full financial support.

      Before I knew it, I was bankrolling a majority of their needs. A new car lease, veterinary bills, a debit card linked to my checking account. I was in love, and witnessing someone I loved in pain and struggling and I would have given the shirt off my back to ease that burden. His family had also cut Milos off emotionally, refusing to speak him except in anger or disappointment.

      Not that Milos didn’t try, teaching tennis lessons to loaded cougars who coughed up serious cash to stare at my boyfriend’s abs. He needed to pass his medical board exams before he could get a residency in California, so when he wasn’t driving from lesson to lesson on the 405, he could have been found on my couch surrounded by booking, studying next to a snoring Lui.

      To top things off, January 1, 2016, I received an email from a woman claiming that Milos was cheating. Photos, texts, emails, proof of their relationship which he vehemently denied. She was a call girl, he claimed, a high-end hooker who had found out his family vast fortune and was trying to blackmail him. What juicy information did she have, that she thought she could use against Milos?

      He was already married.

      Milos had given every last cent he had for a Russian with American citizenship to marry him, securing him a green card, so he could stay and date me. Talk about the shock of my life.

      Even then, I didn’t leave him. Even when he became more and more verbally abusive, I made up excuses for his behavior. Finding out I was pregnant in March of 2016, I was thoroughly trapped. My view of an ideal pregnancy was skewed. In my head, I always pictured getting married, enjoying my life with my husband for a few years, and then possibly trying for a kid or two.

      I never imagined being now 32, a growing mountain of debt due to morning sickness and the inability to do more than throw up and sleep all day. Having to sell my house broke my heart first. Moving to San Diego broke it again, in hopes that Milos would finally get a job at one of the four teaching hospitals in the area, and it broke for the very last time when Milos moved out of the tiny apartment we then resided in, five days after I had given birth to our son.

      He didn’t move out by choice, he was forced out. With the birth of our precious baby, I started to wake up. I started to realize that I had wanted so desperately to make our relationship work, that I didn’t listen to all the warning signs along the way. His confession of his family’s mafia connections didn’t help his case. The physical abuse was the nail on our relationship coffin.

      Who had I become? I was once a strong, independent woman with a hard-earned career I loved, and I became the puppet of a sociopathic monster.

      What I found out after I left him chilled me to the core. He was already married, before we even started dating, acquiring a green card from a wealthy Russian who called Beverly Hills home. She was his cash cow before me, and Milos leaving her was the real reason for his parents’ wrath. Milos did cheat on me, and the woman wasn’t a call girl, but a savvy businesswoman who I now call a friend.

      And this wasn’t even the half of it.

      I wanted so desperately to find love, to be loved, that I had settled. The old adage, “it is better to be alone than be with the wrong person” could not have rung truer.

      Now, I am a 34-year-old single mom, writing these words, in hopes that you will learn from my mistakes. Your dreams are valuable. Your goals and ambitions are just as important as any relationship. You can’t force something, and you especially can’t force the timing. Just because you decide you are ready for a relationship, doesn’t mean the right relationship is ready for you.

      And the mistakes you do make, learn from them and move on. I don’t regret Milos, because without him, I wouldn’t have my son, and I wouldn’t have realized how much I love with my entire existence being his mom.

      I lost my virginity, my first home, my friends, my career, my trust.

      But I lived.

      And learned. And loved.

      And started over.

      For more of Brittani’s story of love, loss, and surviving unhappily ever after, check out A Sucky Love Story’.

      Brittani Louise Taylor

      I like complicated food, like trail mix.

      More From Thought Catalog

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      Why Is It Fun To Be Frightened?

      The Conversation

      John Carpenter’s iconic horror film “Halloween” celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. Few horror movies have achieved similar notoriety, and it’s credited with kicking off the steady stream of slasher flicks that followed.

      Audiences flocked to theaters to witness the seemingly random murder and mayhem a masked man brought to a small suburban town, reminding them that picket fences and manicured lawns cannot protect us from the unjust, the unknown or the uncertainty that awaits us all in both life and death. The film offers no justice for the victims in the end, no rebalancing of good and evil.

      Why, then, would anyone want to spend their time and money to watch such macabre scenes filled with depressing reminders of just how unfair and scary our world can be?

      I’ve spent the past 10 years investigating just this question, finding the typical answer of “Because I like it! It’s fun!” incredibly unsatisfying. I’ve long been convinced there’s more to it than the “natural high” or adrenaline rush many describe – and indeed, the body does kick into “go” mode when you’re startled or scared, amping up not only adrenaline but a multitude of chemicals that ensure your body is fueled and ready to respond. This “fight or flight” response to threat has helped keep humans alive for millennia.

      That still doesn’t explain why people would want to intentionally scare themselves, though. As a sociologist, I’ve kept asking “But, why?” After two years collecting data in a haunted attraction with my colleague Greg Siegle, a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of Pittsburgh, we’ve found the gains from thrills and chills can go further than the natural high.

      Studying fear at a terrifying attraction

      To capture in real time what makes fear fun, what motivates people to pay to be scared out of their skin and what they experience when engaging with this material, we needed to gather data in the field. In this case, that meant setting up a mobile lab in the basement of an extreme haunted attraction outside Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

      This adults-only extreme attraction went beyond the typical startling lights and sounds and animated characters found in a family-friendly haunted house. Over the course of about 35 minutes, visitors experienced a series of intense scenarios where, in addition to unsettling characters and special effects, they were touched by the actors, restrained and exposed to electricity. It was not for the faint of heart.

      For our study, we recruited 262 guests who had already purchased tickets. Before they entered the attraction, each completed a survey about their expectations and how they were feeling. We had them answer questions again about how they were feeling once they had gone through the attraction.

      We also used mobile EEG technology to compare 100 participants’ brainwave activity as they sat through 15 minutes of various cognitive and emotional tasks before and after the attraction.

      Guests reported significantly higher mood, and felt less anxious and tired, directly after their trip through the haunted attraction. The more terrifying the better: Feeling happy afterward was related to rating the experience as highly intense and scary. This set of volunteers also reported feeling that they’d challenged their personal fears and learned about themselves.

      Analysis of the EEG data revealed widespread decreases in brain reactivity from before to after among those whose mood improved. In other words, highly intense and scary activities – at least in a controlled environment like this haunted attraction – may “shut down” the brain to an extent, and that in turn is associated with feeling better. Studies of those who practice mindfulness meditation have made a similar observation.

      Coming out stronger on the other side

      Together our findings suggest that going through an extreme haunted attraction provides gains similar to choosing to run a 5K race or tackling a difficult climbing wall. There’s a sense of uncertainty, physical exertion, a challenge to push yourself – and eventually achievement when it’s over and done with.

      Fun-scary experiences could serve as an in-the-moment recalibration of what registers as stressful and even provide a kind of confidence boost. After watching a scary movie or going through a haunted attraction, maybe everything else seems like no big deal in comparison. You rationally understand that the actors in a haunted house aren’t real, but when you suspend your disbelief and allow yourself to become immersed in the experience, the fear certainly can feel real, as does the satisfaction and sense of accomplishment when you make it through. As I experienced myself after all kinds of scary adventures in Japan, Colombia and all over the U.S., confronting a horde of zombies can actually make you feel pretty invincible.

      Movies like “Halloween” allow people to tackle the big, existential fears we all have, like why bad things happen without reason, through the protective frame of entertainment. Choosing to do fun, scary activities may also serve as a way to practice being scared, building greater self-knowledge and resilience, similar to rough-and-tumble play. It’s an opportunity to engage with fear on your own terms, in environments where you can push your boundaries, safely. Because you’re not in real danger, and thus not occupied with survival, you can choose to observe your reactions and how your body changes, gaining greater insight to yourself.

      What it takes to be safely scared

      While there are countless differences in the nature, content, intensity and overall quality of haunted attractions, horror movies and other forms of scary entertainment, they all share a few critical components that help pave the way for a fun scary time.

      First and foremost, you have to make the choice to engage – don’t drag your best friend with you unless she is also on board. But do try to gather some friends when you’re ready. When you engage in activities with other people, even just watching a movie, your own emotional experience is intensified. Doing intense, exciting and thrilling things together can make them more fun and help create rewarding social bonds. Emotions can be contagious, so when you see your friend scream and laugh, you may feel compelled to do the same.

      No matter the potential benefits, horror movies and scary entertainment are not for everyone, and that’s OK. While the fight-or-flight response is universal, there are important differences between individuals – for example, in genetic expressions, environment and personal history – that help explain why some loathe and others love thrills and chills.

      Regardless of your taste (or distaste) for all things horror or thrill-related, an adventurous and curious mindset can benefit everyone. After all, we’re the descendants of those who were adventurous and curious enough to explore the new and novel, but also quick and smart enough to run or fight when danger appeared. This Halloween, maybe challenge yourself to at least one fun scary experience and prepare to unleash your inner superhero.

      Margee Kerr, Adjunct Professor of Sociology, University of Pittsburgh

      This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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      22 Surprisingly Revealing Statistics About Hollywood

      Cracked pays people to make smart memes. Visit the Photoplasty and Pictofacts Workshop to get in on it.

      Entertainment is big business. Or possibly small business. We actually weren’t sure, so we asked our readers to show us interesting, surprising facts about the business that we call show. And we gave cash to our favorite stats.

      The winner is below, but first, the runners-up:


      Entry by kidrawk



      Entry by PParker



      Entry by Andrea Meno


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      Queer Eye’s Antoni Strips Down To Recreate ‘American Psycho’! – Perez Hilton


      Antoni Porowski, the culinary king of Queer Eye, is participating in Netflix‘s surprise Halloween horror anthology, Don’t Watch This.

      Photos: 31 Scary Movies To Stream Right Now

      For a special spoof short, he’s recreating Christian Bale‘s amazing tighty whitey performance in American Psycho! This does indeed make us shiver!

      Ch-ch-check out the teaser (below)!

      [Image via Netflix/YouTube.]

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      ‘The World’s Highest-Paid Actress’ May Surprise You

      The sum isn’t quite “Infinity,” but it’s a lot.

      “Avengers: Infinity War” star Scarlett Johansson was named the highest-paid actress by Forbes on Thursday.

      Johansson topped the magazine’s annual list with $40.5 million in pretax earnings in the year that ended June 1. She was followed by Angelina Jolie ($28 million), Jennifer Aniston ($19.5 million), Jennifer Lawrence ($18 million), and Reese Witherspoon ($16.5 million).

      The figures include endorsement deals away from the big screen, explaining in part why Aniston (Aveeno, Smartwater, Emirates airline) ranks near the top of the money-making marquee, Forbes reported.

      Taylor Hill via Getty Images
      Scarlett Johansson, above, and Angelina Jolie were the only two actresses to top the $20 million mark, compared with three last year.

      Rounding out the top 10 were Mila Kunis, Julia Roberts, Cate Blanchett, Melissa McCarthy and Gal Gadot.

      “La La Land” star Emma Stone, who earned $26 million to top the list in 2017, tumbled out of the top 10, Reuters noted.

      While Johansson’s hefty windfall bodes well for women in Hollywood, not all the news was good. Just two women surpassed $20 million, compared with three in 2017 and four in 2016.

      Johansson, who plays Marvel’s Black Widow, is keeping the money train running with another upcoming turn in the “Avengers” superhero series and a planned Black Widow spinoff.

      She topped Forbes’ 2016 rankings of “top-grossing” male and female actors. Her movies’ box office, including “Captain America: Civil War,” earned $1.2 billion worldwide.

      Forbes’ 2017 list of the highest-paid actors and actresses showed a wide gender gap, with the top 10 men actors hauling in nearly three times what the top 10 women earned. The 2017 list was topped by Mark Wahlberg, with $68 million.

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      Meet Wyatt Russell, Hollywoods Most and Least Likely Leading Man

      Wyatt Russell walks into a room and its almost too easy to make assumptions about him. Luckily, he upends nearly all of them.

      The star of AMCs big-swing summer series, Lodge 49, which debuts Aug. 6, towers a few inches above a tall-and-thin six feet, with hair down to his shoulders, a scruffy beard, and a languid surfer beach drawl to complete the stereotype of the SoCal beatnikwhich he plays very well, but hardly fills.

      No, this is the son of Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn, and his foray into Hollywood would seem a formality had the 32-year-old actor not spent the majority of his life rejecting the family business in pursuit of a career as a hockey player.

      When we meet in Beverly Hills to discuss his new series, which is also his first leading role, the person we encounter is not the strung-out stoner his looks might betray, nor is it the entitled heir to Hollywood royalty you might expect from a person with as much celluloid history in his bloodstream.

      Instead, the Wyatt Russell we meet is as wide-eyed and enthusiastic as a breakthrough actor experiencing the spoils of Hollywood for the first time, but with the self-awareness and intelligence of a person who knows how brutal the industry can actually be.

      Maybe thats because, for all the ways hes seen his mother, father, and half-siblings Kate and Oliver Hudson navigate the business, hes also churned through perhaps the only industry more ruthless: professional sports. Before he started seriously pursuing a career in acting eight years ago, he had spent over a decade as a promising hockey goalie, until an injury set him on a new path.

      Its perhaps fitting, then, that Russells debut as a leading man is in a TV series as unconventional as Lodge 49. As Russell tells it, he wouldnt have it any other way.

      The official logline for Lodge 49 describes it as a modern fable, centered on Russells character Dud, a lost soul trying to rebuild his life after a surfing injury, the death of his father, and crippling debt have left him homeless. One day, while spelunking for treasures with a metal detector on the beach, he discovers a lost ring that takes him to the doorstep of Lodge 49, a dusty fraternal order which offers cheap beer and strange alchemical philosophies.

      So what you have is this unusual mix of a series about this eternal optimist, Dud, who is either blind to the fact that hes hitting rock bottom or manifests a trampoline from optimistic delusion to bounce him back up again. He lands at a Masonic Lodge, of sorts, that provides a lifeline yet espouses just enough woo-woo philosophy to make you fear: Is Dud in a cult?

      Nonetheless, for all the talk about this six-foot surfer boy with Hollywood lineage in the starring role, its because Russell so intrinsically telegraphs a glass-half-full kind of gumption that the tonal gymnastics of the show sticks the landing. More, that it still feels at home on AMC, a network that has pretty much defined its brand in dark, disturbing drama: Mad Men, Breaking Bad, or The Walking Dead.

      Ever exuberant, Russell sees a throughline.

      Everybody starts from an honest place of who they are: Don Draper, Walter White, and Dud, he says. It may be easier to utilize a character who has darkness in them because you can find a lot of interesting qualities in those people. Its harder to find the interesting qualities in optimism, because its not something that we necessarily gravitate towards in our everyday lives, especially in our 24/7 news cycle where, constantly, what grabs our attention is negativity.

      So bless Duds gumption. And, really, Russells, too.

      This isnt a profile about the little boy who grew up on a movie set, and whose scrapbook of school-play star turns hinted that hed one day follow his parents footsteps all the way to the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In fact, he tells me, despite his familys careers, Russell only recently after many years of thinking it wasnt, began to think of acting as a fantastic way to make a living.

      He lived in Santa Monica until he was 15 before moving to Vancouver to play hockey, at the advice of coaches who saw Russells potential. Kurt and Goldie moved with him. (The reasons that Russell emerged a well-adjusted Hollywood kid should be apparent.) Cute side story: Kurt Russell once told The New York Times that he took the role as coach of the heroic 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team in Disneys Miracle in homage to Wyatts passion.

      After two years of playing college hockey at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, he headed to Europe to go pro, first in Germany and then in the Netherlands. His stories from that time are about as wild as youd expect from a guy in his twenties touring tertiary European cities with busloads of hockey players. I lived with a heroin addict named Harm," he told The Ringer last year. That was the life experience, watching somebody shoot up heroin while youre eating potatoes he made."

      A series of groin injuries and a broken hip, exacerbated by cramped bus rides and the general body wear-and-tear accrued by a goalie, brought an early end to his hockey career. It dropped Russell smack-dab in the throes of a mid-life crisis a good 20 to 30 years before most men find themselves at a similar crossroads: Alright. What now?

      While recuperating from his injuries in Groningen, Netherlands, he binged movies. Maybe, he thought, hed direct. He had acted in one film before throwing himself into hockeya scene in his fathers film Escape from L.A. when he was 10and, more than a decade later, still remembered that he didnt like being in front of the camera.

      I liked playing hockey and being a goalie because it was numbers related, he says. Youre either the best or youre not. Its numbers. You have the best goals-against average and save the most pucks and win the most games, or you dont. Its not subjective. So going into this world, I didnt like the subjectivity of it because it meant that other people were going to put what they thought about you onto you.

      Consider his decision to try his hand at auditioning, then, a whimalbeit the most epic of whims, one perhaps buoyed by his familys pedigree. His first audition was for a role in Captain America: The First Avenger. He didnt get that one, but he started getting others. There was Law & Order: L.A., Cowboys & Aliens, and his first big breakout, a part in 22 Jump Street.

      Early on, though, there was a pattern. In 2010s High School, he played Drug PSA Stoned Teenager. In This Is 40 he was Flirty Hockey Player. As his roles expanded, the type he was cast as didnt necessarily follow suit, whether its a spaced-out pitcher in Richard Linklaters Everybody Wants Some!! or a backpacker roped into a video-game horror show in an episode of Black Mirror. Lodge 49, too, sees Russell working in that mold again.

      But take a closer look at those projects hes been cast in, and whats impressive is not so much that hes been routinely cast as a surfer-stoner-laid-back-bro, but that each time he has, it has been in wildly diferent genres.

      In the last year, hes starred in Blaze, a biopic of country musician directed by Ethan Hawke, finished work on Overlord, a World War II/sci-fi hybrid produced by J.J. Abrams, and was cast in The Woman in the Window, a thriller adapted by Tracy Letts, directed by Joe Wright, and starring Amy Adams. Then theres Lodge 49, a prestige cable drama that escapes tonal definition.

      Its been 7 or 8 years since I started doing it, Russell says, of acting. For the first time now I probably just last year felt like I might be able to do certain things.

      He remembers getting cast in High School as a hippie-like stoner because he knew how to play guitar.

      From that, you gain confidence to say, Well, I did that, I can do a different version of it, he says. I found myself always trying to find the different version of the guy you had done before. Because thats the way it works. Somebody sees you in something that they like you in, and they go, Oh he would be great in this. Its up to the actor to give it dimension. Inside the dimension you give it, sometimes somebody else sees an aspect of that dimension and says, I bet you they could do that.

      In the early episodes of Lodge 49, there are distinct themes that emerge. Russells favorite is the way that the show honors the blue-collar population of Long Beach: the plumbers, pool servicemen, and trade workers who give the area life. More, it shows that the emotional weight stressing a family business can be as important, and as volatile, as the finances.

      The character of Dud doesnt just miss his father, he misses the normalcy that the family businesspool cleaningprovided. Russells own family business operates from an obvious extreme in relation to Duds, but he understands, especially in these last few years, the comfort that comes from normality.

      Yes, Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawns actor son can refer to the family business as normal.

      It did seem normal to me because they never made what they did abnormal, he says. They never made themselves abnormal. They never looked at themselves like, Im special because I do this.

      The normalcy of who we are came from the core values of who my parents were when they grew up and transferred it into their parenting styles for the way we are. Its definitely not a normal thing, to do this. People can get caught up in it. Its hard not to sometimes.

      When we talk, Russell is wrapping up a week that had him travel back and forth between Los Angeles and New York four times. Hes engaged to Search Party scene-stealer Meredith Hagner, whom he met while shooting the indie Folk Hero & Funny Guy. And hes promoting his first leading role, an achievement some might rule destiny given who his parents are, but that others might rule unlikely, given the unique story of the actor who sits before me. An actor who still cant help comparing things to hockey.

      Theres almost nothing else thats truly numbers-related, he says. That game was. Thats what special about sports in a way. Its an equalizer. This is not that. I didnt think about Im going to be a leading man, because I just wanted to do something that made me as happy as hockey did.

      Now, hes doing it.

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