1 New York’s latest cover star was Michaela Coel, the creator of I May Destroy You, profiled by E. Alex Jung (“Michaela the Destroyer,” July 6–19). The New Yorker’s Hilton Als wrote, “In a word or eight? Michaela Coel: goddess. Genius. Hero. Inspiration. Quadruple threat. The purest right-on force in entertainment in an age. Check out the excellent New York cover story on Coel.” WNYC’s Rebecca Carroll called the story “a bright, muscular profile of a magnificent Black woman doing amazing, bold and hyper-present things with her willful, creative mind.” British news anchor Charlene White said, “My heart just leapt seeing this … I May Destroy You is layer upon layer of superb writing and directing.” Television writer and director Janet Mock wrote of Coel, “A heroine. A genius. I stan.” Gimlet Media’s Lydia Polgreen wrote, “I would watch/read/listen to/attend anything created by or even about Michaela Coel because she is the most exciting new creator since, well, I can’t think of anyone.” Kadiff Kirwan, who has appeared in both of Coel’s shows, tweeted, “What an interview! Big love, Alex, you smashed it, and I thank you for getting to the depths of my beautiful friend.” After the story was published, Coel tweeted, “I am in bits, I am in awe, I am utterly destroyed … Frighteningly masterful in its construction, [Jung] deserves every award the world offers for this piece, and for the time (14 hours) he spent listening to me talk. Thank you, Alex.”
2 Jung also spoke with Westworld star Thandie Newton, who talked unguardedly about her work and the obstacles she has faced as a Black woman in entertainment (“In Conversation: Thandie Newton,” July 6–19). Many readers appreciated how Jung’s two articles in the issue complemented each other, with film executive Franklin Leonard writing, “those two pieces should be assigned as required reading, together, in every film school on Earth.” Newton herself wrote that Jung “was a revelation.” Scores of fans were quick to praise Newton for her candid remarks on racism and sexism in Hollywood. Netflix’s Jarett Wieselman tweeted, “This Thandie Newton interview is infuriating. The Hollywood system needs to be publicly shamed to be rebuilt. For that to happen, THIS is the kind of interview we need more of—love to Thandie for her candor and to @e_alexjung for putting in the work.” U.K. journalist Caitlin Moran said, “You never really see interviews like this—actors being really truthful and angry and specific about what it is to be of colour, and a woman, in Hollywood.” Late-night host Seth Meyers said, “Many thanks to @thandienewton and @e_alexjung for this profile that is exactly as great as everyone is saying it is.” Actor Jason Isaacs added, “I’m so unused to interviews where people tell the truth. Here’s my friend @thandienewton unvarnished in all her three-dimensional human glory. Politicians take note.”
3 In “Is Anyone Watching Quibi?” Benjamin Wallace looked into what went wrong with the streaming platform that was supposed to change the world of entertainment (July 6–19). The Atlantic’s Derek Thompson called the story a “delicious, dishy feature on Quibi, filled with uh-that-certainly-explains-a-lot anecdotes.” Many readers commented on how out of touch Quibi’s founders seem. Vice’s Aaron W. Gordon wrote, “The whole article on Quibi is great and only reinforces that media companies are increasingly run by people who don’t actually like the articles/videos they make.” And writer Kara Brown tweeted, “The lesson I’m taking from this is don’t give two old white people $2 billion to make something cool.” Other readers talked about how much they enjoy dishing on the company. Television writer Zach Dunn tweeted, “I’ve gotta hand it to Quibi; it’s spawned some of my favorite content of the year (articles about Quibi).” The New York Times’ Liam Stack said, “Like a lot of people, I have spent more time reading accounts of what went wrong with Quibi than I have spent watching Quibi (I have spent zero minutes watching Quibi).” And Rolling Stone’s Alan Sepinwall tweeted, “This may be my favorite of the subgenre of ‘Why Quibi Is Bad and Should Feel Bad’ pieces so far, particularly for the way it compares the whole endeavor to the Arch Deluxe.” The Times’ Kyle Buchanan asked, “Here’s the question about Quibi that they were never able to convincingly answer: Why would you pay more for less? If you’re charging an amount comparable to Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+ but giving the consumer less to watch (both in volume and running time), how is that a compelling ask? I do think there’s an untapped desire for short-form produced content, but it would be better served on an already existing streamer.”
*This article appears in the July 20, 2020, issue of New York Magazine. Subscribe Now!