STRIPLV:  How did you get involved in the project?

BLOOM:  I got involved in the project a couple of years ago now when I sat down with Michael Apted in London. He explained his passion for the film and his view of the character in a way. There are a handful scenes in the film where my character has an impact on Noomi, who is the protagonist in the film. Michael was really open to some of the thoughts that I had, and he had some great ideas too. The guy starts as a bit of a rogue. He’s then a bit of a lover and charming. Then he has sort of a heroic turn, and then he turns into this duplicitous and dangerous kind of guy. Then he becomes sort of a thug. He will do whatever it takes to get what he wants because he is that guy, a hired gun. That for me was a fun opportunity.

STRIPLV: What was the most challenging scene in the film for you?

BLOOM:  I have this dog attack me at the end, and when you have 250 pounds of Rottweiler diving at you and grabbing your arm it gives you quite a rush. Admittedly it was padded, but that was, that was an adrenaline rush that I haven’t had before.

STRIPLV:  How much training did you have to do before you started shooting?

BLOOM:  We worked out the flight routines, and learning flight routines are like learning sword routines. You kind of just do the work and the muscle memory kicks in, and it’s kind of like learning a dance routine. There was a certain amount of prep to get that right, but it wasn’t extensive.

STRIPLV:  Tell me about working with Noomi.

BLOOM:  She’s wonderful. She’s a very committed actress and very authentic and original. She’s very talented. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, that is when I first saw her. That’s a tour de force performance. That’s one of those once in a lifetime performances.

STRIPLV:  What can the audience expect from Unlocked?

BLOOM:  It’s like a female Bourne, if you like. When I first read it, it reminded me of that expect you’ve got Noomi Rapace at the center of the film. It’s an action thriller, adventure, but it has a true-to-life story that’s unfolding. We live in a crazy world today. Terrorism and these types of acts of terror do happen. This movie follows the journey of this their characters, and somehow they get through it.




By Skye Huntington

The Dark Tower is the first film adaptation of the wildly popular eight book series of prolific author Stephen King. It had been shopped to many studios for many years, and now with Ron Howard championing the project, the movie is now a reality. When fans of the series heard the movie run time was only 95 minutes there was some social media uproar. They didn’t consider the fact that the goal here is to make some sequels. King took to Twitter to assure fans: “It’s true The Dark Tower movie runs a clean 95 minutes. Like the first book in the series (224 pages), it’s all killer and no filler.”

STRIPLV got the chance to speak with the two stars of The Dark Tower and ask them about their experiences making this long-awaited release.

STRIPLV: How did you feel about taking on this role in The Dark Tower, and meeting the expectations of the fans of this very successful book series written by Stephen King?

ELBA: For me, it was like wait, for real, I was like this is Stephen King. I was like how do you take this series of books and turn them into a film? The truth is hearing from his fan base is really really helping. Positive for the film, positive for the casting. So I am really excited about showing them what we’ve done.

McCONAUGHEY: We knew that we were stepping into to something that already had its own DNA. At the same time, it was already built to succeed. People have been trying to tell the story the right way for years. We hope we did. So, we had momentum going into it.

STRIPLV: How did you both prepare for your roles in the film?

McCONAUGHEY: My guy is a good “yes guy,” as any good devil is. You know (chuckling) he gets you in the yes’s, not the no’s. I know I just said an excess of yes’s. (laughing)

ELBA: No I know what you are talking about man. (laughing)

McCONAUGHEY: Catch that fire and walk away whistling. So I did approach me from the villain, which I definitely am. Walter (his character) believes he is enlightening people. So, is he doing that in an evil way? Sure. Is he doing that by exposing people’s hypocrisy? Sure. Is he doing it with torment? This relationship that Walter has with Gun Slinger (motioning to Elba), it’s a sick little love story. (Speaking to Elba) He wants you to stay alive, and he wants you to get close. He wants you to still fight back, but don’t get fully reloaded; you know what I mean? For me, that’s how I approached that.

ELBA: For me when you have characters that are this rich and have so much for you to lean back into, you just have to approach it with honesty, integrity, and decipher what is going to make this character live onscreen. In my case, there was a lot of actual physical preparation. I worked with the last of a long line of body guards that use guns. I had to learn how to do that really well. But at the same time, my character is equally as tormented and shares a history with the man in black (pointing to McConaughey).

STRIPLV: Can you tell us about the central conflict of the movie and a little about the Dark Tower Mythos?

McCONAUGHEY: Good versus evil. Of mythic proportions. We’ve been chasing each other over deserts for hundreds of centuries, if not thousands of years. There is this tower that is like the vortex of the universe. He (Elba) wants to fight to keep it up. Because if it falls apart all hell breaks loose. I’m working to bring it down. What brings it down? Purity, almost innocence. Which brings in our youth, and our child who has the shine the sort of pure concentration to do so. That’s what can bring the tower down. And that’s what I want to do. I want the chaos. I want to unleash the lashes and the fangs. And let it all be chaos.

ELBA: When the audience joins the story in this film. This has been going on; this is a 900-year war. I’m the last guy standing trying to protect the tower. And the man in black. No disrespect, but the crimson king is the man. And the man in black works for the crimson. And he’s like, I’m working for the crimson I’m going to get as much purity as I can, and I am going to get that tower down for you, even though we’ve been doing this for 900 years. And he finds one kid whose purity is so good so strong that he makes a bee line for him. And that kid makes a bee line for my character. And so we all, for the first time in many years, the gun slinger and the man in black meet up.

STRIPLV: How did you both train for the battles scenes?

ELBA: There was a lot of muscle training to try and make it look as fluid as possible. The guns are really long and heavy, so I really did have to do a lot of training. Shooting the six shooters is a sport and how quickly can you reload them. There are guys that can do it really quickly. That was the basis of my training in the very beginning. But of course, there was a certain amount of movie magic that happened to make it look that slick. It was really fun.

McCONAUGHEY: You said earlier that you were feeling very agile. You were off your feet on your feet, somersaults, head over heels. (laughing)

ELBA: I really looked forward to doing all that.

STRIPLV: How did you convey what the man in black’s power was?

McCONAUGHEY: The hardest part for me, which I trained for and hope I pulled off, was the shape shifting. You know being here and just showing up in a different place. I’m still working on that.

ELBA: Yeah right. (laughing)

McCONAUGHEY: No, it’s just that my part is very different than Idris’s is. The man in black rarely ever breaks a sweat. It was all with ease. And the only time that I was really in the ring was when we come together at the end. When does the 

man in black actually break a sweat? It’s at the very end where we come together for the ultimate confrontation. But along the way I just dancing through rain drops picking up things along the way. With a grin and a kiss.

STRIPLV: What was it like working together?

ELBA: When he is working he doesn’t like to party too much I suppose.

McCONAUGHEY: (laughing) It’s not like that. On school nights I head straight home.

ELBA: What I did learn about him. When I actually got the chance to hang out with the man and just talk. He is super engaging, super, super, real. Real collaborative process. It was really beautiful to do that. You suspect that if a man doesn’t want to fraternize with the other guys too much that he is going to be closed off. But Matthew is really warm, and open, and really good to work with.

McCONAUGHEY: Did you know that he has an undefeated Muay Thai career? This is true. Undefeated. Never been beaten. Fact. Undefeated. Period. There is no other way to end that am I right?

ELBA: (laughing) Yeah I am going to be on the card for the second MacGregor fight.

McCONAUGHEY: They are going to be calling you soon. (Elba laughs again)



Zoe Saldana - Midas Touch

By Frank Ariveso

 Zoe Saldana breathes a huge sigh of relief at the mention of the upcoming third Guardians of the Galaxy movie, which director James Gunn only revealed the day before. “It’s the greatest,” she squeals. “To be promoting the second, knowing there’s going to be a third, it’s an amazing validation.” Like there was ever any doubt. Guardians of the Galaxy was one of the highest grossing movies of 2014, bringing in nearly a whopping $800 million at
the box office. And the follow-up has grossed even more topping $859 million at the time of this writing. Plus, there’s the Saldana Midas touch. With Guardians, Avatar and Star Trek, she’s part of the biggest sci-fi franchises known to man. Where Zoe Saldana goes, big returns follow. But now a married mom of three young boys, the actress is beginning to question her intergalactic leanings. Promoting the Marvel blockbuster, which sees her lethal weapon character, Gamora reteam with Chris Pratt’s Peter Quill and Bradley Cooper’s Rocket to save the universe from another gargantuan threat, Zoe admits it might be time to come down to earth. And recent roles in Ben Affleck’s gangster saga, Live by Night, are testament to this change in direction. That doesn’t mean Saldana’s done with kicking butt. Open and warm, the 38-year-old chats about her initial reservations over the latest Guardians epic and explains her fears of “one hit wonders.” She also chats motherhood, balancing it all, her partnership with artist husband Marco Perego and why her attitude toward men has drastically changed. Saldana lives in LA with Perego and their twin boys, Cy and Bowie, 2, and two-month-old, Zen.

STRIPLV:  Chris Pratt talked to me about the difference in attitude on set from the first to the second movie, when everyone expected you to fail to the pressure that’s on now because of the huge success. How was it for you?

SALDANA:  I was very nervous. I was nervous because sequels can be dangerous. And we all were feeling the pressure. I think the first couple of days, we all had moments of, “Can we do this again?” “What was the secret ingredient? Do you know, does anyone? Should we just leave it there, not mess with it?” There were a lot of nerves. And we probably should have been coming back really cocky, slapping each other’s backs. When something hits so well, how can you go better? Could we go better? That was scary. This danger of throwing away what we had just for another roll of the dice. The stakes were huge. Are huge. And once we were in it, all that fear melted away. James was in charge, and his vision was present and trustworthy, and I just hopped on the ride and went with it. So it was very different from the first. Way different. Different planet, different.

STRIPLV:  Fans really loved Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2.

SALDANA:  The key word here is “more.” More stunts, more action, a lot more jokes. Which is saying something because there was a lot in there, to begin with. We knew their personalities so much more; we could grow with them, laugh with them. There’s more love, more affection. More tears. Just everything was heightened and bettered; I didn’t know this was possible because the first was such a beautiful, perfect package of originality and heart. James Gunn, never underestimate this man because he is the best of the best.

STRIPLV:  I like where you took Gamora.

SALDANA:  She’s come a long way from the first movie. Which is impressive as it takes off basically right after it ends. She was an escape artist, always had one foot out the door before, that was her primary concern at all times, that’s how she lived her life. Until she found a core and a reason to be within this unusual family and Gamora is the moral center, she’s the one who keeps them together. The matriarch. Much like, very similar to my role within this group. It’s my lot in life, to wrangle these guys, keep them disciplined. She makes out as she hates it, but really, she’s happy. She belongs, which is a first for her.

STRIPLV:  Speaking of family, things get heated with Gamora and Nebula, which fans including myself were really looking forward to seeing.

SALDANA:  Me too, I was super excited to see how Gamora and Nebula’s relationship played out because there’s a lot going on there. Sisters with a very fractious bond in that they despise each other, hate everything the other represents and they can also seriously throw down. They’re matched, and we get to dive into their history, discover the root of their demons, discover why they are the way they are. But instead of catty remarks and some hair-pulling, they try to hurt each other mercilessly and kill each other. Which isn’t that how sisters behave? (Laughs)

STRIPLV:  Did Gamora’s roles as a mom feel comparable to your own at home, now that you have three little ones?

SALDANA:  Yes, I can see that. But Gamora has big big stupid kids; I have gorgeous little infants who are far better behaved. And that’s saying something. I have two-year-old twins who like to say no, a lot.

STRIPLV:  How is life with such a young family?

SALDANA:  I haven’t slept in two years. (Laughs) I barely have one eye open right now. It’s wonderful, more than I could have wished for but it’s also fucking hard. You know, the twins, they’re completely in sync. They eat at the same time, they poop at the same time, two for the price of one. The little one is on his own schedule, it’s challenging, and I’m loving the challenge and loving the love. But it’s exhausting, and I’ve never known this kind of exhaustion.

STRIPLV:  You’ve got maybe a dozen movies in the pipeline, how do you do it all? Most people would crack up.

SALDANA:  I am in a very fortunate, lucky position because there are so many mothers and fathers who are doing it by themselves and succeeding and triumphing. My family are amazing, huge support system, we have great people working with us, we have all that to help us achieve our goals and dreams, which I want to be this example to my kids of never letting go of your dreams. The people who do it without support, without family, they are heroes. They are ultimate, fighting superheroes. My husband is my guiding star. He makes it happen for me. While I’m committed to these jobs, he flies out with the boys to wherever I am, flies back, flies forth, he has made it so doable and so comfortable, and I’m blessed to have him on this journey. It’s all about planning. And it’s about both of our careers because yes, right now I have certain commitments but then it’s about laying mine aside, and now it’s Marco’s turn, and I’ll travel and go, do whatever is necessary to make things smoother for him and his work. It’s about meticulous planning and understanding and having that comfort that both of us have each other’s back. That’s what you do when you’re in a partnership.

STRIPLV:  How do the twins find life on set? Do they understand what’s happening? Do they get it?

SALDANA:  They do. More than I thought they would. When Mommy’s green, that means she’s going to work. They understand Gamora is work. I say to them, I have to go to work and they go, “Mommy Gamora, Mommy go green. Mommy Hulk.” They perk up.

STRIPLV:  So they think you’re the Hulk?

SALDANA:  They love the Hulk. For some reason, they’ve connected with him. We’re doing Avengers now, and they see Mark (Ruffalo), and in their logic, they see green, and they think Gamora and Hulk are from the same family. And now when I raise my voice, it’s “Mommy going Hulk.”

STRIPLV:  Doesn’t that scare them because Hulk is scary?

SALDANA:  I thought it would. (Laughs) I thought I could use it to my advantage, but I think they find it funny more than threatening.

STRIPLV:  Being exposed to this side of blockbuster and filmmaking, it’ll be so blasé to them.

SALDANA:  I hope not. There’s still this feeling of enchantment which I’m glad it hasn’t become boring and normalized for them because I don’t want to start them on that foot. I’d hate for what they see on film sets between the make-up and costumes, for that to burst their imagination bubble and interfere with that sense of wonder.

STRIPLV:  You’re known for your actions roles, but we’re seeing you more and more in more human dramas like Live by Night, and I Kill Giants. Is that an intentional move?

SALDANA:  I want to portray more vulnerability, human vulnerability. I need to come back to earth more often; I feel like I’m always floating in space. I’ve been there for well over a decade. And loved every minute. Action, sci-fi that has been my zone and will stay that way. But it might be nice to bask in the everyday. Be in the norm. Saying that it’s hugely important to me to play these kick ass, sci-fi roles as an example for young women because there still aren’t that many parts in that genre for females who aren’t a romantic foil. That’s massively important to who I am as an actor. I need to do what I can in that respect because as a young girl watching myself; I was so hungry for that representation. I wanted to see girls kick butt and now, I get to kick butt and I want
to continue kicking butt, not only for myself but for them. I like setting that example. I’ll never stop.

STRIPLV:  Has motherhood changed how you tailor your choices?

SALDANA: My attitude has done a total 180 when it comes to the choices that I make and the change in my life, my sons, my husband, has something to do with it. I’m surrounded by the greatest men. I’ve got a houseful of men, which is the complete opposite to my upbringing, all females. I feel like I’m learning so much about men now that I never knew before being surrounded by them. And especially at this initial stage of development. My husband, his approach, and outlook on life is so beautiful and worldly and not sexist in the least, the total opposite. My boys are my light. Before that, I think my approach came from my uncomfortableness in a way, always this need to be better (than a man), to beat them and that bred this desire to be strong and aggressive, strong to me was aggressive and intense. But now that I’m raising men, all men, which I never really considered would happen, with a wonderful man, it’s made me readdress my perspective, that perhaps it doesn’t always have to be so emotionally and physically forceful. Strength comes in many forms; strength comes in quiet, strength comes in physiological resilience. I’ll always love to kick ass, that will never change, but there can be varying shades.

STRIPLV:  How is Avatar 2 going?

SALDANA:  Production started in August. Fabulous things are worth the wait, and knowing what James is capable of, it is worth the wait. James loves this story, he loves these characters but most of all, he adores the fans. He does it for them and wants to deliver the absolute utmost to them. And I’m enjoying going back to Pandora.



The 25th Annual Gentlemen’s Club EXPO will be held from August 27–30 at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

Presented by ED Publications, the tradeshow previously known as the Gentlemen’s Club Owners EXPO, showcases companies that offer products and services to club owners and operators. The three-day event also features: a full slate of workshops and panel sessions, nightly parties, feature entertainer showcases, a national board meeting for ACE (the Association of Club Executives); and the Annual Adult Nightclub & Exotic Dancer Awards Show better known as (The ED’s Awards), which is the only national awards show for this industry.

The very first convention was held at the old Stardust Hotel and Casino in 1993, and today the EXPO remains the only national conference and awards show for the multi-billion-dollar adult nightclub industry.

Keeping one’s finger on the pulse of an industry as exciting and diverse as this one is no easy task. But somebody’s got to do it, and for a quarter of a century, nobody has done it better than the ED Publications team.

STRIPLV recently spoke with Dave Manack, the associate publisher and editor of ED Publications and the organizer of the Annual Gentlemen’s Club EXPO, about how ED got started, how the club industry has changed over the years, how the convention has evolved since its first year and what he thinks might be in store for adult night clubs in the near future.

STRIPLV: How many people work on the magazine each month?

MANACK: We’re a small company. There are only eight people in the office here at ED Publications. Regarding the people that work on the magazines, we have two in editorial (myself and my assistant editor, Eugenio Torrens), one in graphics (Sara Carter), and two in marketing/sales (Lacy Empkey and Kristofer Kay).

STRIPLV: So, what were you and publisher Don Waitt doing before you got into the publishing business?

MANACK: Don has a long history as a journalist. He was a staff reporter for The Times, a daily newspaper in Shreveport, Louisiana. He then became the publisher of Performance magazine, a national business-to-business trade magazine for the concert touring industry. Don started ED – Exotic Dancer – Publications in 1991, while he still worked for Performance. I began my career as a journalist when I was 18. While I was getting my bachelor’s degree in journalism from Southern Connecticut State University, I worked as a sports writer for the Register-Citizen, a daily newspaper in Northwest Connecticut. I also worked as a freelance music journalist and wrote for national and local music magazines across the country. I was hired at ED Publications in 1998.

STRIPLV: Just how did the idea of the magazine come about?

MANACK: Don was always on the road for work, and when he went into new cities he had no idea how to find strip clubs. Keep in mind, this was the 1980s. The proverbial light bulb went off. There is a need for a “yellow pages” for strip clubs. He started the exhaustive work of finding every adult nightclub in the U.S. as he prepared the first-ever Exotic Dancer Directory, which attempted to list every adult club in the U.S. That publication came out in 1991. Our bi-monthly business magazine – which only goes to the owners and operators of adult nightclubs and industry pros, and does not go to consumers – wasn’t established until 1996. At that time, it was quarterly; it became bi-monthly in 2000. It was called the Club Bulletin but is now called ED Magazine. We just made that name change in our May 2017 issue. Our magazine is designed to give club owners and operators the information and tips they need to operate their establishments more efficiently, more safely and more profitably.

STRIPLV: Was the magazine well received in the beginning or was there push back?

MANACK: It was just a directory of clubs at the time, so there really was no push back. But it was extremely well received, and thousands of copies were purchased 

by fans each year for the first several years of publication. That is until the internet took over when it came to customers finding their favorite strip clubs.

STRIPLV: When did the idea of the convention come about?

MANACK: The directory caught the attention of Michael J. Peter, who was then the most well-known owner/operator of adult clubs in the U.S. For those not familiar with Michael, he is the forefather of the modern gentlemen’s club; the guy who started Thee Dollhouse, Solid Gold, etc., and of course, our publisher, Don, got to know Michael in the process. Michael was having a national dance contest in Las Vegas at the now-defunct Stardust in 1993. Don told Michael he wanted to produce a small tradeshow and some panel sessions during the day, while his contest took place at night. Michael had no issue with that, so Don did exactly that. That’s how the first Gentlemen’s Club EXPO – then called the Gentlemen’s Club Owners EXPO – was born.

STRIPLV: How hard was it to put that first convention together and were people willing to participate?

MANACK: Well, adult nightclub owners are a skeptical bunch, so it took a while before they: A) heard about this national convention, and B) trusted that it was run by people who understood the industry. Once they saw that it was a professionally produced event and that it featured the key players in the industry – along with a score of attractive, nationally touring showgirls, or as we call them, “feature” entertainers – they started attending. Every year, the number grew, right up through the turn of the century.

STRIPLV: How many people came to the first convention and how many attend now? 

MANACK: Only a few hundred people came to the first convention in 1993 at the Stardust. We’ve had over 2,000 attendees consistently since the late 1990s.

STRIPLV: How has the adult nightclub industry changed over the years?

MANACK: The adult nightclub industry changed dramatically in the early to mid-1990s, as the old-school strip clubs were replaced by the high-end gentlemen’s clubs, with girls in gowns and guys in tuxedos; a movement launched mainly by Michael J. Peter. As for how it’s changed recently, some change has been for the better; some has been for the worse. In some ways, adult nightclubs are more mainstream than they’ve ever been, attracting scores of female customers. We have a publicly traded club chain in Rick’s Cabaret/RCI Hospitality. In 1999, we helped to start ACE, the Association of Club Executives, the national lobbying and organizational entity for this industry. ACE has proven to be a powerful organization for defending the adult nightclub industry against harmful legislation against it. So those are the positives. Unfortunately, there are too many bad operators in this industry that hurt the perception of the industry at large. Too many guys buy a club because they want to make it their personal playground; they don’t run it properly as a business. That hurts everyone. Of course, the legal challenges are always changing.

STRIPLV: What about the future of adult nightclubs? Are you seeing any trends that indicate changes are coming?

MANACK: I think the biggest change for the clubs right now, or rather the biggest challenge, is how are they going to market their club to millennials and centennials? The clubs have to make sure new customers are constantly coming in through the front door. They can no longer rely solely on the 40-year-old male because eventually the numbers dry up and fall off. In several cities, some adult nightclubs are targeting couples as opposed to just men, and some clubs are targeting younger patrons by mixing in dance and live music. But we’re not the only industry to face this challenge. Some very well-known restaurant chains are trying to figure out how best to market to millennials and centennials too. And they’re doing things like adjusting their menus and modernizing their dining rooms.

STRIPLV: As the adult nightclub industry has evolved over the years and continues to do so, has the convention changed as well?

MANACK: Well, it’s gotten bigger, of course. And we’ve gotten more corporate involvement over the years with sponsors like Anheuser-Busch, Diageo, Red Bull, Belvedere Vodka, major champagne companies, etc. We also introduced the industry’s only national awards show, the Annual Adult Nightclub & Exotic Dancer Awards Show (the ED’s), back in 1998. So this year marks 20 years of the industry’s only national awards show honoring clubs, touring feature entertainers and club staff. We try to change the show to adapt to the needs of the industry. A few years ago, we changed the name of the convention from the Gentlemen’s Club Owners EXPO to the Gentlemen’s Club EXPO, because we were attracting more than just owners. Now, we get a good amount of general managers, DJs, floor hosts, entertainers, even house moms, who come to the EXPO. It’s the industry’s convention; it’s not just for club owners.

STRIPLV: What’s the outlook for future conventions?

MANACK: The convention will continue to adapt to the needs of the industry. I see more and more club staff coming to the EXPO; I also see more clubs coming from places like Australia, England, etc. We already have that happening now; I just see more of it happening.



11 a.m. to 5 p.m.: EXPO Hospitality Lounge at Goose Island Pub

1 p.m. to 6 p.m.: EXPO Registration Desk Open

Noon to 8 p.m.: Exhibitor Setup

4 p.m. to 6 p.m.: ACE National Board Meeting

9 p.m. to Midnight: Pre-show Parties


9 a.m. to 6 p.m.: Registration Desk Open

7 a.m. to Noon: Exhibitor Setup

11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.: Panel on smart Phones — The Future of Five-Inch Marketing

1 p.m. to 2 p.m.: Panel on Developing your Exit Strategy — NOW!

1 p.m. to 2 p.m.: Breakout Seminar — The Future of Your DJ Software

2 p.m. to 6 p.m.: Tradeshow Open

9 p.m. to Midnight: Opening Night Party, Early ED Awards at Hard Rock’s Vanity Nightclub


9 a.m. to 6 p.m.: Registration Desk Open

10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.: Continental Breakfast

11 a.m. to Noon: Panel on Crisis Control — Remedies NOW for Future Events

Noon to 1 p.m.: Keynote Address by Professional Speaker Dan Lier Club: Owners are from Mars, Staffers are from Venus

1 p.m. to 5 p.m.: Tradeshow Open

8 p.m. to 9 p.m.: The ED Awards Reception at The Joint at the Hard Rock

9 p.m. to 11 p.m.: The ED Awards Show at The Joint at the Hard Rock

11 p.m. to 2 a.m.: Awards Show After-Party


10 a.m. to 2 p.m.: Registration Desk Open

10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.: Continental Breakfast

11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.: Panel on Government Relationships You Need for Your Club’s Future

1 p.m. to 2 p.m.: Legal Panel on: The What, Why & How of Converting Dancers to Employees

1 p.m. to 2 p.m.: Breakout Seminar on How to Get The Most Out of Your Audio, Video and Stage Lighting

2 p.m. to 5 p.m.: Pool Party & Bikini Contest at the Hard Rock’s Breathe Pool

9 p.m. to Midnight: Closing Night Party & International Features Smackdown Showcase




By Frank Ariveso

Seven years after Somewhere helped turned Elle Fanning into a rising Hollywood star, the lithe blonde actress has re-teamed with director Sofia Coppola on The Beguiled.  Selected for the competition section at the Cannes Film Festival, the film is another leap forward in Fanning’s transition to adult roles.  She’s also excited about working again with Coppola and being part of an all-star cast that includes Nicole Kidman, Colin Farrell and Kirsten Dunst.

“Sofia and I have been friends since I was 11 and I worked on Somewhere,” Fanning says.  “It’s really exciting to work with her again because we’ve been looking for another project and finally it happened.”

Somewhere is a remake of the original 1971 Clint Eastwood Civil War drama about a wounded soldier (played by Farrell, taking over the Eastwood role) from the North forced to hide out in a girls’ school in the South; the Coppola version promises to be a highly combustible drama. Fanning has hinted that there will be plenty of bodice-ripping scenes. “There’s lots of sex in this movie,” says Fanning.

Though she may only have just turned 19, Fanning carries herself with the poise and assurance of a veteran performer, which makes sense as she has spent much of her young life on film sets, following in the footsteps of her older sister, Dakota. As articulate as she is beautiful, Elle speaks in a lively but serious manner, and it’s a bold understatement to say that she’s wise beyond her years.

Fanning made a breakthrough of sorts in last year’s macabre Nicolas Winding Refn horror flick, The Neon Demon (which also made headlines at last year’s Cannes festival).   Her stunning performance proved that she was ready to take on highly complex and demanding roles, and her subsequent appearances in this year’s Live by Night and Certain Women confirmed as much. 

Having already forged an impressive career that includes Babel, (2006), Benjamin Button (2008), Ginger and Rosa (2012) and Maleficent (2014), the tall (5’9”) and ethereally beautiful Fanning is only beginning to test her seemingly limitless potential as the next big thing in the film world.  Later this year she will be seen in the indie drama, Sydney Hall.

STRIPLV: Elle, with The Beguiled, it seems like you’re determined to take on adult roles, especially after your recent work in The Neon Demon and Live by Night.  Is that your plan now?

FANNING:  It’s a gradual transition. It’s something I’ve been thinking about ever since I stopped being able to play very young characters.  But I think it’s going well because I’m always looking for the roles that represent the biggest challenges, and playing characters that are not only different from each other but also very different from me. That’s the essence of being an actor, and that’s why I love this job so much.  I don’t even consider it a job, and I want to continue doing it all my life.

STRIPLV: What was it like working with Sofia Coppola again?

FANNING:  She’s very calm and quiet, but there’s this underlying sense that she knows what she wants when you’re working with her. Sofia explains things carefully although she doesn’t want to tell you too much about what she expects from you. She just has to give you this serious look, and you know to better get the shot right!

STRIPLV: What’s the atmosphere on her sets like?

FANNING: Sofia likes to keep things very relaxed. There’s no loud voices or a lot of stress getting ready for the next shot. I still remember when I first worked with her on Somewhere, talking to her on the set about the next scene was like chatting on a living room sofa with a friend. All the directors I’ve worked with have left me free to express myself, but with Sofia, the atmosphere is more relaxed.

STRIPLV: Last year was a pretty interesting time for you when you appeared in The Neon Demon and had a chance to go to Cannes for the first time. What was that experience like?

FANNING: Cannes was a very special moment for me. I had just celebrated my 18th birthday, and the night of the presentation of the film in Cannes I should have been back home in the U.S. going to my prom. So I wound up inviting my best friend who was going to be my prom date to come with me to Cannes, and it was probably the best prom night imaginable!

STRIPLV:  What about the very intense and mixed response from audiences to the film itself?

FANNING:  Before the screening, Nicolas (director Refn) and I knew that there would be a lot of diverse and intense reactions to the film. But it was kind of terrifying and exciting to be there in the theater while some people were booing and others were applauding and cheering. It was the perfect reaction, and Nic wants to make films that are going to provoke. That’s the function of art. Then what made things surreal was the AmFar party, which was very glitter and glam like a 70s disco, a bit like The Neon Demon. I met some young people there, and most of them told me that they had enjoyed the film. It was one of the best nights of my life.

STRIPLV: How does it feel to be out of high school and entering this new chapter in your life?

FANNING: I’m feeling really happy although there are times when I feel like I’m in a kind of limbo. I’ve spoken to a lot of my friends, some of whom are now studying in university while others have decided to take a break, and most of us have this odd feeling to be out of high school and not being part of that world anymore. I had the advantage though of knowing that I had a career waiting for me when I finished high school, so that’s made it a lot easier for me.

STRIPLV:   Now that you’re older, is it easier for you to connect with some of the experiences that your sister Dakota has had? Has that brought you closer together?

FANNING: Yes, it has. A few years ago the age difference between us made it harder for us to understand each other and we often argued about things. But lately we’ve started to become much closer, and I’ve even been able to hang out with her and her girlfriends and go to parties together. That’s something we were never able to do before. I’m so happy about that.

STRIPLV:  Your mother and father were both professional athletes earlier in their lives. Did they instill in you a sense of competition or drive to succeed?

FANNING:  Yes. I’ve always wanted to win and be successful. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being competitive. It makes you want to keep exceeding your own limits. I come from a family of athletes. Competition is in our blood.  My mother was a tennis pro, my dad played baseball, my maternal grandfather was a pro quarterback (Rick Arrington, who played with the Philadelphia Eagles from 1970-72), and my aunt is a sports reporter. And when my sister started working a lot in television and film, that was also an inspiration and example for me. There’s a big part of me that feels like I have a legacy to uphold.

STRIPLV:  Even though you’re only 18, do you ever wonder about having children some day?

FANNING: Sure. My parents have been together since they were very young. You almost never hear about that these days. I would love to have their luck in love. But for the moment I’m concentrating on my career. Love can wait.

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