Lena Headey ​Plays Women Who Are Survivors, Whether In The Wrestling Ring Or Westeros


In 'Fighting With My Family,' and in a little show you might have heard of on HBO, that one with dragons

By the time I walked into the Midtown hotel room to interview Lena Headey about her role as wrestling matriarch Julia Knight in Fighting with My Family, the new biopic about WWE star Paige (played by Florence Pugh), I had already spent a good 30 minutes reminding myself over and over to not lead off with a question about her role as Cersei Lannister on HBO's Game of Thrones. And, really, it shouldn't have been so hard to avoid. After all, in FwMF, Headey is dynamic and hilarious and tender as Julia, more than holding her own against comedy legend Nick Frost, who plays her husband, Ricky Knight, and giving real depth to Julia, who isn't onscreen all that much but whose love for her family—both nuclear and the one she created in a humble wrestling gym in Norwich, England—radiates throughout the film.

And yet, as soon as we start chatting, and she starts talking about missing her children after so much work travel ("tomorrow I go home to my children, and I glue myself to them"), I can't help but think not of her real-life children (a daughter, four, and a son, nine, who, Headey says, she calls "the land squid," because he's "long and lanky and loves to run at you without notice"), but of her children on Game of Thrones, the ones that [spoiler] all die horrible deaths. And so I say, "It must've been nice to play a mother whose children don't all, you know, die horrible deaths," to which she smiles and arches an eyebrow and says, generously, "right," and I sighed a sigh of pure relief, because I'd gotten that out of my system.

Because, yes, other than Cersei and Julia both having three children, they have nothing in common—except, of course, that they're both survivors. In fact, Headey has a gift for playing women who survive against all odds, whether it's Mary in The Purge or Queen Gorgo in 300 and its sequel. No matter how different these women are from one another, they share Headey's innate strength; there's an undeniable tensility to her performances, you can see how she's the kind of woman who can hold together a family, no matter the odds against them.

But while Headey is excellent in her dramatic roles, it is a gift to see her do comedy, if only because it so perfectly reflects her real-life presence, which is warm and funny. She is quick to crack jokes (when I asked her what her wrestling persona would be known for, she said, "farting; I would just keep farting as I made my way into the ring, and scare everyone off"), and a pleasure to be around. Below, we talk about how she got involved with this film, why wrestling is like acting, and how nice it is to be in a film without a "snogging" arc.

What first got you involved with this movie?
I'd first seen the doc [The Wrestlers: Fighting with My Family] years ago—'cause I watch a lot—and I loved it and [the family], and this arrived like 10 years later and I was like, Oh my god, they're going to make a film of the Knight family. So I was excited.

Although the film centers around Paige's experience specifically, every character is so fully realized, which I think is one of the things that makes it so special. What did you like, specifically, about playing Julia?
I researched her quite a bit, and I looked into her, and you look at her, and you're like, There's a story. And so I started looking at interviews, and she's had a journey, this woman; she's a survivor, and I just have huge admiration for someone that's taken what life has given her and made it something she's proud of; she's built a unit, and that is the most important thing to her. And everyone you speak to loves [Julia]. I spoke to a lot of her wrestlers, and there were a few on the film that were our extras, and they all just call her mom.

It's a really wonderful demonstration of the power of the family, both nuclear and created. And to the power of physical intimacy, not in a sexual way but the way that just being up close to someone forges bonds, as it does with wrestling. It feels like a testament to these elemental things. Did it... make you want to give wrestling a try?
No! [laughs] We only got to do one fight, me and Nick, and it's just total teamwork and hard work making it look unchoreographed. If you miss those little moments, you're really going to injure your partner.

It seems like it was such a fun film to make, with the camaraderie radiating off the screen. How was filming with such comedy icons [like Nick and Stephen]?
It was great. I'm in huge admiration of Florence and Jack [Lowden, who plays Paige's brother, Zak Knight], who are just brilliant actors. And Nick is just a genius, a comedy genius. I was really intimidated when we first got there, I was like, Oh, fuck, how am I gonna be funny? He's amazing. And Stephen, obviously. And it's just the kind of thing that you have to fall into and trust that they'll hold you somewhere, these men that are great at that aspect of everything. But we met and rehearsed for a few days, and it was pretty instant actually, that we were just like, Ah, we're a family. And then we wrestled, which brings you even closer, literally. Not necessarily always as close as you like. I can identify them all by smell.

That's real intimacy. Are you interested in doing more comedies?
Yeah, I'd love to.

You were hilarious, even though yours is more of the straight-man role.
When people come out [of the movie] and go, "You were funny," I'm like, Phew.

It must have been intimidating to be partnered with someone so masterful at comedy.
Part of me is like, there's no competing with this, because then it just becomes a competition, instead of just a true relationship, and they are truly in love.

They really are, and what's kind of amazing is it's the only love story in the film, really. And how rare is a film with a female protagonist that doesn't also involve a romance plotline?
Very. There's always a snog.

But instead, the love is more of a generous, all-encompassing love, nothing feels forced.
Yeah, I think it really honors who the Knights are, it doesn't laugh at them, it doesn't turn it anywhere that it doesn't need to be. It's like they are: authentic and honest.

Fighting with My Family is in theaters now.

Photo by Imani Givertz

Premiering today via NYLON

Small Talks, aka Cayley Spivey, has come a long way since starting a band, then becoming the entire band herself and forging her own fan base from the ground up. On her recent album A Conversation Between Us, she began to unpack any lingering baggage with one particular song: "Teeth." Today, she premieres the accompanying music video exclusively via NYLON.

"'Teeth' is about my personal battle with letting go of the past," Spivey tells NYLON, admitting that it's easily her favorite song off of A Conversation Between Us.

Watch the video for "Teeth" below.

Small Talks - Teeth (Official Music Video) - YouTube

Photos by Joe Maher/Getty Images, Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for TIME

Must have been pretty awkward

Taylor Swift and Sophie Turner were guests on the U.K.'s The Graham Norton Show together, which must have been awkward for Turner's husband, Joe Jonas, seeing as he also happens to be Swift's ex. I wonder if his name came up?

The interview doesn't come out until Friday night, but promotional photos show the two sharing a couch. Swift is making an appearance to perform her new single, "ME!" while Turner is promoting her new film, X- Men: Dark Phoenix. But it seems necessary for the two to be asked about Jonas.

Swift was just on the Ellen DeGeneres Show earlier this month, where she brought up the fact that she felt bad for putting Jonas "on blast" on DeGeneres' show back in 2008 by telling the audience that he broke up with her in a record-setting short phone call. But, according to Swift, she and Jonas are chill now, since it happened pretty long ago, which means she's probably already hung out with Turner and maybe even gossiped about him with her.

We can only hope that they get the chance to spill some tea on television.

Screenshot via YouTube, Photo Courtesy of HBO

"That's! His! Auntie!"

Leslie Jones has rewatched the Game of Thrones finale with a beer in hand, Seth Meyers at her side, and a full camera crew ready to take in all her glorious reactions. Spoilers ahead, but, if you haven't watched last week's episode already, that's kind of on you at this point.

When Jon Snow started to make out with Daenerys, also known as his aunt, only to stab her through the chest moments later, it was emotional whiplash for everyone watching. And, Jones' reactions—both from her first and second viewing—sum it all perfectly.

"That's! His! Auntie! [gagging noises]," Jones says before making an aside about calling the police if her uncle ever tried to do the same. But then the knife goes in, and Jones screams. "Did you see that?!" Jones asks, "Yeah bitch, that's a knife in you." Meyers points out the funniest part of all: "Why are you so upset about someone kissing their aunt but totally fine with someone killing their aunt?" Jones replies, "Because that bitch needed to go," and, well, same.

Other highlights from the comedians' rewatch include comparing Dany's victory speech to a bad improv gig, predicting that their dogs would have less of a reaction to their deaths than Drogon did to his mother's, and more.

Watch all of Jones' reactions from this Late Night clip below.

Game of Jones: Leslie Jones and Seth Watch Game of Thrones' Series Finale

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These lyrics are a lot

Robbie Tripp, aka Curvy Wife Guy, is back with a music video, titled "Chubby Sexy," starring his wife and a trio of models. In it, Tripp raps about his bold choice to find women with an average body size attractive.

The video begins with a series of statements laid over some pool water: "Curves are the new high fashion," "Chubby is the new sexy," "We Out Here." Tripp posits that these queens deserve an anthem, which they do. What they do not deserve is this Cursed Song. As he lists all the names he knows to call them by (thick, thicc, and BBW), one model (who I really, really hope was paid well) squirts some lotion down her cleavage, and Tripp begins dancing.

"My girl chubby sexy/ Call her bonita gordita," Tripp states in his chorus, before going on to compare "big booty meat" to the peach emoji. Another thing he mentions is that his wife can't find a belt that fits her waist, and that's why he calls her James and the Giant Peach. He then tries to dab. Here are some of the other Cursed highlights from his, uh, verses:

Got those Khaleesi curves/ Knows how to dragon slay
She like a dude that's woke/ We like a girl that's weighty
Some say a chubby girl that's risky/ But they ain't met a curvy girl that's frisky
Imma dunk that donk like I'm Andrew Wiggins.
Thick like an Amazon/ Built like Big Ben.

Tripp says one thing in the video that I couldn't agree more with: "She don't need a man." No, she does not. Please run. If you must, watch the entire video, below. Or send it to your nemesis!

Robbie Tripp - Chubby Sexy (Official Music Video)

Photo by Emma McIntyre / Getty Images.

See the promo here

It was bound to happen. The Kadashians and Jenners have committed themselves to letting the cameras roll on their lives, for better or for worse. So if you thought that the Jordyn Woods and Tristan Thompson cheating scandal was off limits, you thought wrong. The trailer for Sunday's episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians was just released, and it involves the famous family working through the fallout of what happened when Woods went to a party at Thompson's house.

The teaser includes the infamous clip of Khloé Kardashian screaming "LIAAAARRRRRR." It's still not explicitly clear who prompted that strong response. She could be responding to Thompson, who clearly isn't always honest. Or she could be reacting to Woods account of the events on Red Table Talk. But the most revealing moment comes when we see Kylie Jenner—who was Woods' best friend before all of this happened—react for the first time.

In a heart-to-heart conversation, momager Kris Jenner says, "For you and Jordyn, it's like a divorce." Kylie only offers this in response: "She fucked up." Based on Woods' version of events—which I'm inclined to believeThompson is the one who fucked up. Still, I'm hoping for some kind of reconciliation between the two longtime friends. Perhaps we'll have to wait until next season for that.

Check out the promo video below.