Erin Darke on Her New Amazon Show, Good Girls Revolt

Getty Images
Getty Images

Pilot season can be a stressful experience for any actor, but for Erin Darke, 2015’s pilot season was particularly depressing. “I was reading these scripts and just being like, ‘Oh my god, what if I have to sign a seven-year contract with this show?” the Kill Your Darlings actress recalls. “It was that feeling of, 'theoretically, I want these jobs, but I don’t actually want any of these jobs.'” Then, two months after pilot season had wrapped, another script landed in her hands: Amazon’s Good Girls Revolt, a show based on Lynn Povich’s book The Good Girls Revolt: How the Women of Newsweek Sued Their Bosses and Changed the Workplace. It was love at first read. “[I was] convinced that I was never going to get it because I loved it too much,” Darke says.

The structure of news magazines in the 1960s was much different than it is today: Male employees were the writers and reporters; they were paired with women, who worked as research assistants and fact checkers, often without getting credit for their work. Povich was one of 46 women working at Newsweek who, in 1970, filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging that management at the magazine had “systematically discriminated” against its female employees “in both hiring and promotion,” and that the women were “forced to assume a subsidiary role” just because they were female. (In the book, Povich writes that her boss, Harry Waters, explained that when he applied at the magazine, his editor told him, "The best part of the job is that you get to screw the researcher," which, Waters said, “reflected the position of women at the newsmagazines, both literally and figuratively. It reinforced in young women that that’s their position—it’s underneath. That’s as far as they can get.”)

“These women were so highly educated and so intelligent and were actually being used for that intelligence, just not in an equal way,” Darke says. Good Girls Revolt fictionalizes this fight, swapping in News of the Week magazine for Newsweek and featuring female employees in various situations in life fighting for credit and equality.

Darke was called in to audition for Cindy Reston—who, unlike a number of the characters on the show, is a married woman whose life is very neatly planned out. “In some ways, she’s already made all of the decisions to go down that path,” Darke says. “In the pilot, Cindy definitely starts a journey of realizing that this life that she signed herself up for is perhaps not exactly what she wants. For her to change her mind about that and decide she wants something else is not an easy thing.”

Darke loved the idea of being able to play a woman making those tough decisions, and fell in love with the character, who dreams of writing a novel and whose husband has allowed her to work as a caption writer at News of the Week for a couple of years before they start a family. Then, after her initial audition for Cindy, Darke was called back in to read for Jane, one of the magazine’s unmarried research assistants. “When they brought me back in for Jane, I was a little bit like, ‘Well, I still really love the show, and I’m still super excited about it,’” Darke says. But when Pitch Perfect actress Anna Camp was ultimately cast as Jane, Darke landed the role of Cindy—and she was overjoyed.

“I was so happy because I had fallen in love with the character of Cindy,” Darke says. “She’s so different from me, but I think maybe in her I can see this alternate universe version of me where, if I had been raised in a different time by different people, that could be the person I ended up being. Imagine growing up without ever having anyone tell you that you can pursue your dream, and then, as an adult, making that discovery on your own and trying to deal with that. I have so much compassion and love for her in that journey that she’s on because it’s a journey that I didn't have to go on.”

Good Girls Revolt filmed its pilot episode in New York City in August 2015. If the pilot had been filmed for network TV, executives would have decided whether or not to pick it up, but Amazon’s system works differently. In November, the company released Revolt online along with a few other pilots, and asked its users to rate, vote, and comment on the show. That feedback factors into the company’s decision about whether or not to order a pilot to series.

“It was a crazy thing to have the pilot out there, knowing that your future and the future of the show depends on people watching it and liking it,” Darke says. “But there was also something great about it, because most network pilots that don’t get picked up disappear. I shot a pilot a few years ago with David Schwimmer that I loved, and it didn't get picked up. I’ve never seen it. I don’t know anyone who actually ever got to see it. It just disappeared into the ether. This thing that you put all this work into—if it doesn't get picked up, it’s gone. So there was something actually really lovely about the Amazon system and knowing that even if our show didn't get picked up, the pilot would still be out there, and this thing that we had worked so hard on would at least get to be seen.” Revolt’s pilot currently has a rating of 4.6 stars out of five, and the full season—which was shot in Los Angeles—will be available on October 28.

After she booked the show and before filming the pilot, Darke did her research. She read Povich’s book and watched CNN’s series The Sixties and The Seventies. But she still found that there were gaps in her knowledge of that time period, which often spurred other research during filming—especially when the show’s fictional magazine covered real-life events. The pilot, for example, opens with the murder of Meredith Hunter during the Rolling Stones’s set at the Altamont Free Concert in 1969, and other episodes deal with aspects of Vietnam and the Black Panther movement.

“One time we talked about the Tet Offensive ... I realized that I actually didn't know that much about it,” she says. “I think in general, this time period has been one of those things for me. I just had this moment of realizing, holy s***, the things that were happening in this country at the time—I have this broad surface knowledge of them, but did not know the details. There are a few episodes that deal with the Black Panthers. I obviously, theoretically, knew who they were, but I’ve been very interested in them since then because I think there’s a correlation between that and Black Lives Matter today.”

And although it's a period show, certain aspects of Good Girls Revolt will feel familiar, particularly to its female viewers. Women still make less than men in the same jobs, are less likely to be given raises even when they ask for them, and account for less than 5 percent of the CEOs at S&P 500 companies. “I keep telling people that I find the show horrifyingly relevant,” Darke says. “I definitely came out of shooting Good Girls Revolt with a renewed sense of the need to fight for feminism. It was both a reminder for me of how far we’ve come, but also that it’s not done.”

Good Girls Revolt hits Amazon on October 28, 2016.

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Keep Your Cat Busy With a Board Game That Doubles as a Scratch Pad

Cheerble
Cheerble

No matter how much you love playing with your cat, waving a feather toy in front of its face can get monotonous after a while (for the both of you). To shake up playtime, the Cheerble three-in-one board game looks to provide your feline housemate with hours of hands-free entertainment.

Cheerble's board game, which is currently raising money on Kickstarter, is designed to keep even the most restless cats stimulated. The first component of the game is the electronic Cheerble ball, which rolls on its own when your cat touches it with their paw or nose—no remote control required. And on days when your cat is especially energetic, you can adjust the ball's settings to roll and bounce in a way that matches their stamina.

Cheerable cat toy on Kickstarter.
Cheerble

The Cheerble balls are meant to pair with the Cheerble game board, which consists of a box that has plenty of room for balls to roll around. The board is also covered on one side with a platform that has holes big enough for your cat to fit their paws through, so they can hunt the balls like a game of Whack-a-Mole. And if your cat ever loses interest in chasing the ball, the board also includes a built-in scratch pad and fluffy wand toy to slap around. A simplified version of the board game includes the scratch pad without the wand or hole maze, so you can tailor your purchase for your cat's interests.

Cheerble cat board game.
Cheerble

Since launching its campaign on Kickstarter on April 23, Cheerble has raised over $128,000, already blowing past its initial goal of $6416. You can back the Kickstarter today to claim a Cheerble product, with $32 getting you a ball and $58 getting you the board game. You can make your pledge here, with shipping estimated for July 2020.

At Mental Floss, we only write about the products we love and want to share with our readers, so all products are chosen independently by our editors. Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a percentage of any sale made from the links on this page. Prices and availability are accurate as of the time of publication.

HBO Max: Everything You Need to Know About the New Streaming Service

What will you binge-watch first?
What will you binge-watch first?
WarnerMedia

This week, WarnerMedia launched HBO Max, the long-awaited streaming platform that the company hopes can compete with the likes of Netflix and Disney+. But with HBO GO and HBO NOW already in existence, the addition of a third platform for HBO content has caused no small amount of confusion among both prospective customers and current HBO subscribers. Here are answers to all your burning questions about the buzzworthy new service.

What is HBO Max?

HBO Max is a direct-to-consumer streaming platform that you can download as an app or access through your cable or internet provider. Just like Apple has Apple TV+ and Amazon has Prime Video, WarnerMedia now has HBO Max.

How is HBO Max different from HBO NOW and HBO GO?

hbo max streaming platform
This user's viewing habits are eclectic, to say the least.
WarnerMedia

Before HBO Max, WarnerMedia had two different apps with the same library of HBO series and certain Warner Bros. films. HBO GO is for viewers who already pay for HBO through their cable TV provider, which is why you have to log in through your TV provider. HBO NOW is for independent subscribers who pay $15 a month for access to the same content. In other words, HBO GO is for customers with cable, and HBO NOW is for those without it.

Like HBO NOW, HBO Max is an independent subscription service that you don’t need a TV provider in order to access. The main difference comes down to content: While HBO NOW and HBO GO only include HBO series and some films, HBO Max offers tons of additional shows and films licensed from other distributors—plus new, exclusive originals (more on that in a minute).

How much does HBO Max cost, and how do I get it?

You can sign up for HBO Max here. Your first seven days will be free, and it will cost you $15 per month after that.

Do I already have access to HBO Max?

If you’re already an HBO NOW subscriber, your app should have automatically updated to the HBO Max app (if you don’t have automatic updates enabled, make sure to update it manually), and you can log into HBO Max using your existing HBO NOW credentials. Your recurring monthly payment of $15 will also now automatically start applying to HBO Max instead of HBO NOW.

If you watch HBO through your TV or mobile provider, there’s a good chance you can access HBO Max at no additional cost, too. Apple TV channels, AT&T TV, DIRECTV, Hulu, Spectrum, Verizon FIOS, Xfinity, and many other providers are included—you can see the full list here.

Which platforms will HBO Max be on?

You can stream HBO Max on your desktop on HBOMax.com, or you can download the app through the Apple app store, Google Play, or Samsung TV. You can also access HBO Max content on your TV through any of the providers listed here.

What's playing on HBO Max?

hbo max channel hubs
Elmo and James Dean in the same place, at last.
WarnerMedia

HBO Max boasts 10,000 hours of content that includes all HBO shows, many Warner Bros. films from the past century, new Max Original series, and other programs from CNN, Cartoon Network, TNT, TBS, TCM, Adult Swim, and more.

To name a few highlights, the service currently offers all eight Harry Potter films, all 10 seasons of Friends, an exclusive selection of Studio Ghibli classics like Howl’s Moving Castle (2005) and Spirited Away (2002), and 2019’s Joker. The first few episodes of some highly-anticipated Max Originals are also available, including Anna Kendrick’s rom-com series Love Life, the voguing house reality competition Legendary, and Sesame Workshop's The Not-Too-Late Show With Elmo (featuring guests Kacey Musgraves, John Mulaney, the Jonas Brothers, Lil Nas X, and more—so far).

Will I get to see the Friends Reunion?

Yes, the Friends reunion will definitely debut on HBO Max, but no air date has been confirmed yet. Production was delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic, and they’re tentatively hoping to film it sometime this summer. (But hey, at least you have access to all the other Friends episodes to help you pass the time.)