Tye Sheridan Goes From The Battlefield To Virtual Reality

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Chatting with one of Hollywood’s rising stars

One of the most promising young actors around is Tye Sheridan, a 20-year-old small-town Texan who was discovered by none other than Terrence Malick, making his screen debut opposite Brad Pitt and Jessica Chastain in the reclusive director’s film The Tree of Life. Since then, Sheridan has gathered acclaim for his performances in sharp indies like Mud and The Stanford Prison Experiment, while proving his blockbuster bona fides in as a young Cyclops in last year’s X-Men: Apocalypse

Sheridan, who recently launched his own production company with his best friend, was at the Sundance Film Festival last January to promote The Yellow Birds, an Iraq War drama in which he plays one of two young soldiers (the other is played by Alden Ehrenreich) who return profoundly changed from their experiences on the battlefield. It’s Sheridan’s last film before audiences around the globe will see him in Steven Spielberg’s highly anticipated virtual reality odyssey Ready Player One. The legendary director cast Sheridan as the lead in his movie about a young man who must enter a virtual world called Oasis after its creator dies, and find an Easter egg which will win him a fortune. We spoke to Sheridan about that project, getting into the mentality of a soldier, and being on a first-name basis with Steven Spielberg.  

What is it like to get into the mindset of being a soldier, because that's something most people can't imagine. 
"You can't possibly comprehend it unless you're in there. You just have to walk into it knowing that you're not going to get it exactly right, because no one ever gets it right. We had a two-week-long boot camp. It was less physically challenging and more understanding the mentality of a soldier and someone who's completely isolated. My character symbolizes the innocence and naiveté that these kids embody going off to fight and [how] sometimes they're completely unaware of what they're getting themselves into."

Has this experience changed the way you view war? 
"It changed how I view the mentality of a solider, sacrificing yourself, and [how] sometimes it's an aimless decision. And I'm happy the film stays true to that, because that is honest. When I first read the script I was compelled by it but I was terrified. I was so scared of this story because of how it made me feel. It's disturbing and haunting."

I know you're interested in filmmaking as an art form. Is it thrilling to work with different directors and see how their styles differ?
"That's why I love my job. In this case, Alex Desplat, the director, is really a poet, he's a true artist. He knows how to express a certain tone, a visceral feeling." 

Were you nervous about tackling the Iraq War specifically?
"No, because the war is portrayed as this unfamiliar thing. I don't even think it's mentioned in the film that it takes place in Iraq. It doesn't specify what year; it really could be anywhere."

You're about to star in Steven Spielberg's Ready Player One. Are you thinking about how that's going to affect your life and career in terms of exposure?
"Maybe, but then again, I said yes because I want to do the film. That is part of the job, and sometimes it does happen. I'm not sure what it will do, because 60 percent of the film I'm an avatar, it doesn't even look like me."

Have you seen what it looks like? 
"Steven hasn't showed me."

So you're on a first name basis with Steven Spielberg?
"[Laughs] I get that, but when you spend five months with someone, five days a week, 12 hours a day, you're talking and bullshitting and trying to make this film... The first two weeks it's like 'holy shit, it's Steven Spielberg.' By the fourth week it's like, 'oh, Steven Spielberg is taking a bathroom break.' It's like anything. You can't let that get in the way of your work relationship. I've worked with so many people I'm a fan of, but I never let that affect me."

Can you describe what the movie is going to be like, because it sounds like it's going to be special.
"It takes place in the near future, where the real world is not as glamorous as this virtual world where people tend to spend all their time in. 60 percent of the movie takes place there. People work inside this virtual video game called the Oasis. It speaks to the world we live in today, and how comfortable we are with technology. And also with the moment VR is having. Think about how many VR commercials you see on television now."

Do you like talking to journalists about the movies you make?
"When someone is genuinely interested I do, but when someone's just made a list of questions or they don't care about the film, they're just ticking boxes, that's not fun."

Photo by Gareth Cattermole / Getty Images.

It marks her third duet with Nas

Here are some words that I never expected to read or hear again: There is a new song with Amy Winehouse. But here we are in 2019, and Salaam Remi has granted me a wish. On Valentine's Day, the Grammy-nominated producer and frequent Winehouse collaborator (also responsible for hits like Miguel's "Come Through & Chill") released "Find My Love" which features rapper Nas and that powerful and haunting voice that I have come to love and cherish so dearly.

Representatives for Remi said that the Winehouse vocals were from an old jam session the two had. Remi was a producer on both of Winehouse's albums, Frank and Back to Black. "Find My Love" marks the third time Winehouse and Nas have done duets under the direction of Remi. They were previously heard together on "Like Smoke," a single from her 2011 posthumous album Amy Winehouse Lioness: Hidden Treasures, and "Cherry Wine" from Nas' 2012 album Life Is Good. Winehouse died of alcohol poisoning on July 23, 2011, before they could complete production on her third album. My heart is still broken about it as she is by far my favorite artist.

"Find My Love" is set to appear on Remi's Do It for the Culture 2, a collection of songs curated by him. Check it out, below.



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"In the midst of chaos there's opportunity"

Following the travesty that was Fyre Festival, Ja Rule wants to take another stab at creating a music festival. Good luck getting that off the ground.

On Thursday, the rapper spoke to TMZ, where he revealed that he was planning to relaunch Icon, an app used to book entertainers, which is similar to Billy McFarland's Fyre app. He told the outlet that he wanted to create a festival similar to Fyre to support it.

"[Fyre Festival] is heartbreaking to me. It was something that I really, really wanted to be special and amazing, and it just didn't turn out that way, but in the midst of chaos there's opportunity, so I'm working on a lot of new things," he says. He then gets into the fact that he wants to form a music festival. "[Fyre] is the most iconic festival that never was... I have plans to create the iconic music festival, but you didn't hear it from me."

Ja Rule actually doesn't seem to think he is at all responsible for what came from Fyre Fest, claiming in a Twitter post that he was "hustled, scammed, bamboozled, hood winked, led astray." Even if that's his feeling, he should realize that anyone involved with Fyre shouldn't ever try their hand at music festivals again.