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Audrey Hepburn Documentary Cracks the Myth of Perfection

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Ask any Audrey Hepburn fan what they love most about her, and you’ll get a variety of responses: her undeniable beauty and imitable style. Her magnetic presence on film. Her girl-next-door appeal. For so many of her fans, especially women, she wasn’t just a glamorous movie star and humanitarian—she was the embodiment of perfection. But in Audrey, director Helena Coan’s enthralling new documentary, the late superstar’s flawless veneer gently drops away to reveal something far more stirring: authenticity.

“Success is very much in the eye of the beholder,” Hepburn says in the film, her words culled from interviews and media appearances throughout her lifetime. It’s an intimate detail nestled at the center of a 100-minute narrative about the woman behind the celebrity, someone whose image of herself was much less complex than how others perceived her. Featuring commentary from fellow actors and filmmakers including Richard Dreyfuss and Peter Bogdanovich, as well as family and close friends who examine her influence in fashion and cinema, Audrey primarily tells Hepburn’s story in her own words—and they’re often in contrast to her legacy.

For instance, her affinity for designer clothes immortalized in movies such as Breakfast at Tiffany’s (like that gorgeous black Givenchy column gown she wears in the opening credits) was often a mask for her insecurities that stemmed, in part, from feeling like an outsider in Hollywood. “Clothes always give me a great deal of self-confidence,” Hepburn says.

With reflections on her childhood growing up across Belgium, England, and the Netherlands amid the horrors of World War II, Coan depicts a girl who once nearly starved from lack of food. When the teen started making a little money through her first love, dancing, in Amsterdam, French novelist Colette plucked her from virtual obscurity to play the titular role in Broadway’s Gigi. That major part, along with her astonishing charisma in front of an audience, catapulted the somewhat shy Hepburn to superstardom in the 1950s and ‘60s—and gave her a whole new complex about herself.

pmc49y audrey hepburn playing golf and holding a parasol, circa 1955 file reference  33536275tha

PictureLux / The Hollywood Archive / Alamy Stock Photo

“Of course, you would feel pressure if you come onto the scene completely new,” Lauren Conlin, a longtime Hepburn fan and host of the entertainment podcast Red Carpet Rendezvous, tells ELLE.com. “All you wanted was to be a ballet dancer, and all of a sudden, you’re onscreen and on Broadway. You feel the pressure to be perfect in every way and want everyone to like you and want to work with you.”

This was only exacerbated by Hepburn’s legions of fans, who to this day emulate her style and fawn over her legacy. “She looks so fabulous and stylish on that iconic Breakfast at Tiffany’s poster,” Conlin says, recalling her introduction to Hepburn as a child. “It was like every little girl wanted to be her.”

But as Audrey shows, lasting admiration from around the globe couldn’t counteract how the actress felt about herself. “I was always self-conscious,” she admits, adding that, along with success, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder. This is something I can’t see. I see the problems when I get up in the morning.” She rattles off all the things that wishes she had: smaller feet (she wore size 10½), a curvier figure (à la the equally idolized Marilyn Monroe), and blonde hair.

These small but important self-reflections not only provide a more honest portrayal of a woman whose public image nearly eclipsed who she really was, but they also crack the rigid mold of aspiration with which Hepburn is often aligned. Not in a contrived, “celebrities—they’re just like us!” kind of way, but rather a portrait of what it’s like to be a woman in any era, fighting an endless battle of who we are versus how the world sees us. During Hepburn’s time, her image was complicated by the perception of women as wives and homemakers—not the delightful hodgepodge of female characters she embodied, from a sex worker in Breakfast at Tiffany’s to a childless widow who sweeps Cary Grant off his feet in Charade.

b4wf49 audrey hepburn actress speaking at unicef

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Because of these roles, women wanted to be Hepburn and men wanted to be with her. But in reality, she was unlucky in romance, having divorced twice: first from Mel Ferrer, then Andrea Dotti, who was photographed cheating on her many times. Audrey ponders how the actress’s father abandoning his family when she was a child might’ve propelled her to search for love from men in her adult life, but it’s also possible she unwittingly succumbed to the romantic fantasy that came with her celebrity—and was heartbroken when she realized it wasn’t true.

As private as Hepburn could be, she seemed to understand the connection she had with her fans and tried to be as candid as possible about her experiences, including her “traumatic” miscarriages, in interviews: “You hope that things will come back together again, but it wasn’t always true,” she says.

It should come as less of a surprise than it did that Hepburn took a break from the spotlight at the height of her career following her 1967 film Wait Until Dark. As much as she enjoyed what she did for a living—“I’m a very lucky girl,” she proclaims in Audrey—the love she had for her family superseded that. Hepburn had one son with each of her husbands, and with motherhood came a confidence she never had to feign as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in her later years. “I’m [traveling] around the world again, but I love to do it,” she says during a media appearance captured in the documentary.

Hepburn confronted challenges both in front of and away from the camera, and Audrey shows she’s an icon not because she’s the archetype of what every woman should be. Rather, despite her overwhelming success and personal struggles, she remained her truest self—and gave back to the world around her. We’re all capable of that.

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Fashion

Hilary Duff Bundles Up in A Pretty Pink Tweed Coat

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Hilary Duff is in New York City right now, filming her TV Land show, Younger. She was photographed in a cozy-looking pink tweed coat with a hot-pink blouse and pussy bow underneath.

Jose Perez/Bauer-GriffinGetty Images

celebrity sightings in new york   january 22, 2021

Jose Perez/Bauer-GriffinGetty Images

Duff is expecting her third child and her second with her husband, Matthew Koma. In an Instagram post on October 24, she posted a video on her of Koma rubbing her stomach on her Instagram story. “We are growing!!! Mostly me…,” she wrote. She and Koma, who married in late 2019, share a daughter, Banks Violet, who was born in October 2018.

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Duff also has an 8-year-old son, Luca Cruz, with her ex-husband, Mike Comrie.

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This past week, Duff shared on Instagram that she is seven months pregnant:
“Worked till midnightWoke up took Banks to gymnasticsHoused an empanada….and a 1/2 OK. …BACK to work.Repeat.Still hanging on to some fashion 7 months pregnant. love you @zara for these stretch pants. Anyone tried that PISTACHIOOOOO drink @Starbucks. Heavy on my mind rn…. I got a lot more thoughts right now but these were the important ones.”

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In December, Duff shared another update with her fans—this time about her long-beloved Disney Channel character, Lizzie McGuire. Initially, a reboot of the early aughts show had been in the works, but after show-runner Terri Minksy left the project, it was up in the air.

“I’ve been so honored to have the character of Lizzie in my life,” Duff wrote in December, confirming the project was officially off. “She has made such a lasting impact on many, including myself. To see the fans’ loyalty and love for her, to this day, means so much to me. I know the efforts and conversations have been everywhere trying to make a reboot work but, sadly & despite everyone’s best efforts, it isn’t going to happen.”

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Who Are Wanda and Vision’s Twins, Billy and Tommy, in WandaVision?

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vision paul bettany holding his baby in wandavision

At the end of Wanda Maximoff’s so-fast-it-makes-my-heart-palpitate pregnancy in WandaVision, she gives birth to twin boys named Billy and Tommy. By the looks of it, they’re about 2-3 months old when they’re born. That could be because Hollywood almost never makes newborns actually look like newborns. Alternatively, it could be a sign of Wanda’s sitcom-verse reality moving so quickly it begins to crumble around her. We just don’t know!

Here’s what we do know: The Marvel Cinematic Universe is bringing Billy and Tommy into the fray for a reason. They’re well-known, well-liked characters in the Marvel comics, and their existence in the MCU opens up enormous questions about the future of the franchise. Before we start speculating, here’s what’s important to understand about the Maximoff kiddos.

Billy and Tommy have superpowers.

Marvel Studios/Disney+

Like their mother and father, Billy and Tommy have superhuman skills, which could make raising them in the “normal” suburb of Westview a challenge. (It’s safe to guess that will factor into the Brady Bunch-esque humor of the next few episodes.) In the comics, Billy Maximoff has reality-warping abilities à la his mother, Scarlet Witch, while Tommy can run as fast as his deceased uncle Pietro. Notably, neither of them seem to share any abilities with their father, Vision.

Which makes us wonder if…

They might’ve been crafted from shards of a demon’s soul.

Concerning, I know!

So far, the MCU hasn’t dipped its toe too deep into the mythological components of the Marvel comics universe, apart from its Thor- and Loki-centric storyline. But Marvel has long loved creating larger-than-life villains that take the form of demons, gods, and goddesses (and cosmic entities that like to eat planets whole). So it’s not a stretch to think WandaVision might shepherd in some new, more otherworldly villains. Which brings us to the demonic Mephisto.

Many fans believe Mephisto will be WandaVision’s ultimate big bad. In the comics, Wanda is so desperate to have children with her android husband Vision that she creates a false pregnancy, then uses her magic to conjure her two twins into existence. What she doesn’t learn until later is that she pulled Billy and Tommy’s souls from shards of Mephisto’s soul, imbuing them with something evil. When Mephisto comes to reclaim those soul shards, the twins disappear, effectively “dying” and sending Wanda spiraling into grief.

I’d be surprised if WandaVision follows this exact arc: A) because it’s predictable and B) because it’s extremely dark—but it would be the perfect opportunity to reveal Mephisto’s clutching the show’s strings.

We might see a different version of them in the upcoming MCU films.

What makes Billy and Tommy’s appearance in WandaVision so earth-shattering is not necessarily how they’ll affect the show itself (though those implications could be huge). It’s how they could impact all the upcoming MCU films.

You see, in the comics, Billy and Tommy are reincarnated as Billy Kaplan and Tommy Shepherd, two super-teens who eventually go by Wiccan and Speed. At the time, they don’t know they’re brothers, and they don’t understand their connection to Scarlet Witch and Vision. Eventually, Billy fits the pieces together: When he starts telling people he’s Scarlet Witch’s reincarnated son, they sort of imply he’s a crazy super-fan and urge him to, er, stop being a weirdo. But Billy—ever a darling—persists, and eventually it’s revealed he’s telling the truth: Billy and Tommy have, indeed, returned from beyond the grave!

At this point, Billy and Tommy are leading members of the Young Avengers. Billy is one of the first gay characters in the Marvel universe, deeply in love with his team member Teddy Altman, aka the shape-shifting Hulkling. We know from previous casting announcements that other Young Avengers are headed to the MCU screen: Hailee Steinfeld will play Kate Bishop in the upcoming Disney+ show Hawkeye; Kathryn Newton will play an older Cassie Lang in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania; and Xochitl Gomez will play America Chavez in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. These news nuggets are almost a dead giveaway that a Young Avengers franchise is on the horizon, and Billy and Tommy could be its next heroes.

Watch WandaVision on Disney+

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Who Is Geraldine? Monica Rambeau Wandavision Theories

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monica rambeau in wandavision

In case Marvel Studios hasn’t drilled this into your brain yet, allow me to do so: Everything is connected. Avengers: Age of Ultron and WandaVision? Connected! Doctor Strange and Spider-Man? Connected! So, if Geraldine’s (Teyonah Parris) introduction in last week’s episode of WandaVision on Disney+ made you go, Huh, she’s probably more important than she seems, then bingo! You’re catching on.

As of the airing of episode 3, “Now In Color,” this spunky Westview-dweller has yet to reveal her true identity. But virtually every fan has already checked IMDB to discover Geraldine is, in fact, “Monica Rambeau/Geraldine,” as confirmed by MCU overlord Kevin Feige. This means there’s an obvious reason why Wanda Maximoff gets so irked when Geraldine mentions Wanda’s deceased twin brother, Pietro, near the end of the episode: Geraldine is an imposter in Wanda’s sitcom-verse. And her inclusion in the series could have enormous ramifications for the next few chapters of the show—as well as the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a whole.

To make sense of the Maximoff vs. Monica debacle, here’s a quick primer on the powerful Miss Rambeau. Then, we’ll run through a few theories as to what Monica is doing in the Wanda-verse. Patience, MCU fans. It’ll all make sense eventually. Hopefully.

Suzanne Tenner

You’ve seen Monica Rambeau before.

Or, at least, you have if you’ve watched Captain Marvel. In the ’90s-set adventure, Carol Danvers, aka Captain Marvel, frequently visits her bestie Maria Rambeau, a former Air Force pilot and single mother. Her daughter is named Monica—Carol sometimes calls her Lieutenant Trouble—and the two are super close. At this point in the MCU, Monica shows no clear signs of a superheroic future, though she obviously idolizes her “Aunt” Carol. At the end of the film, Nick Fury implies that if she wants to fly to space like Carol, she’ll need to get “glowy.”

Flash forward to WandaVision, which takes place after Endgame, and Monica has grown up. We can assume from the S.W.O.R.D. pendant Wanda notices around her neck that she’s working with the Sentient World Observation and Response Department, a subdivision of S.H.I.E.L.D. What we don’t know is if she has any superpowers (yet), or if she ever teams up with her aunt.

geraldine and wanda in wandavision

Monica and Wanda in WandaVision episode 2, “Don’t Touch That Dial.”

Marvel Studios

In the comics, Monica was actually the first female Captain Marvel.

Way back in 1982, comics writer Jim Starlin killed off the original Captain Marvel—a man by the name of Mar-Vell—in The Death of Captain Marvel. Monica, then a lieutenant in the New Orleans Harbor Patrol, had gained superpowers from a blast of extra-dimensional energy via a criminal weapon, and so she took up the Captain Marvel mantle. It wasn’t until 2012 that Carol Danvers assumed the role of Captain Marvel—she was previously known as Ms. Marvel.

If your head is spinning, don’t worry—in the MCU, Carol is indeed the first and only Captain Marvel, and we’ve yet to learn Monica’s superhero name (if she has one). But this comics backstory is important context to keep in mind: Rambeau has been a comics fan-favorite for decades, and that will likely contribute to her role in WandaVision and beyond.

teyonah parris as monica rambeau in marvel studios' wandavision

Marvel Studios

She goes by many names.

Confusingly, Captain Marvel is far from the only alter ego Monica has assumed over the years. She changed her name to Photon when Genis-Vell, the son of the O.G. Captain Marvel, took up his father’s title. She changed it again, to Pulsar, when Genis-Vell, in a truly iconic display of masculine entitlement, decided he wanted to be Photon instead. Monica then changed her identity—again—to Spectrum, which she held onto when Thanos launched his attack on Earth.

All this is to say, we have no clue which name Monica will assume if and when she reveals her powers in the MCU.

In an interview with Variety, Parris explained, “Monica Rambeau has held many monikers over the decades, and I think they’ve all been really special in a very particular way. I don’t know how or who she will be in the MCU. Because when I tell you, she changes names and she kicks butt in all of them. So, I don’t know who she will be in her superhero form. But I am excited by the thought of many of them.”

She has a lot of powers, any one of which could shift the landscape of WandaVision.

Among Monica’s many accolades, she is also, arguably, one of the more powerful heroes in the Marvel universe. She can:

  • Use her power over light beams to change others’ perception of her appearance, in effect shape-shifting
  • Fly
  • Move at superhuman speed
  • Phase through solid matter, much like Vision himself
  • Absorb and blast energy through her hands
  • Share a sort of “energy consciousness” with the cosmic universe, perceiving what is happening elsewhere without being near it

    In the comics, she’s also…well, immortal. So that might be important!

    We, of course, don’t know how many of these powers, if any, Monica might have in the MCU, but that last one in particular could open up major possibilities. If she can sense where something is wrong in the universe, she might be able to discern imbalances within the multiverse, thus allowing her to penetrate different realities—such as Wanda’s sitcom-verse.

    She could be the key to unraveling the mystery of WandaVision.

    At the end of “Now In Color,” we watch Geraldine crash-land from her comfy spot in Westview into a field in New Jersey, where she lies groaning in the grass. We can’t be positive who sent her away, though it’s probably safe to assume Wanda was involved.

    Here’s where we start theorizing. If Geraldine is Monica, and Monica is a S.W.O.R.D. agent, she must have infiltrated the sitcom-verse somehow, whether intentionally or unintentionally. If intentionally, it’s likely S.W.O.R.D. sent her in directly—maybe via some sort of photon beam. (Don’t concern yourself too much with the physics of the MCU. You’ll hurt yourself.)

    Why Monica? Well, if she does indeed have superhuman abilities, she’s probably one of the only heroes Wanda wouldn’t recognize, given Miss Maximoff’s adventures with the Avengers. If, say, Natasha Romanoff or Carol Danvers had suddenly appeared in Westview, that might have tripped one or two of Wanda’s alarms. But Monica might also have some of that “energy consciousness” I mentioned, which could make her more perceptive to Wanda’s irregular energy spikes.

    But if Monica is just a mere human like the rest of us, she might have some sort of insight to the multiverse that the other S.W.O.R.D agents don’t, perhaps due to her connection with Carol. Regardless, now that Monica’s been sent spiraling back to, presumably, a S.W.O.R.D base in the “real” world, it’s likely we’ll start seeing more of the outside looking in. WandaVision is finally peeling back the curtain.

    Watch WandaVision on Disney+

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