Friday April 26, 2019

New Netflix series Chambers is now available to stream. “Haunted by eerie visions and sinister impulses after a heart transplant, a teenager tries to unmask the truth behind her donor's mysterious death.”

Ditto for new Netflix food series Street Food. “Embark on a global cultural journey into street food and discover the stories of the people who create the flavorful dishes.”

An update on the Deadwood movie, including a new trailer.

A less anticipated trailer is this for Fox’s reboot of Paradise Hotel.

Why smaller agencies won’t sign WGA’s new Code Of Conduct. If you’ve been following the story as I have, this is an interesting read.

A&E has renewed Wahlburgers for a 10th and final season.

Pete Davidson and Kate Beckinsale are no longer a couple.

Sydel Curry-Lee — sister to NBA stars Stephen Curry and Seth Curry — is launching a new series centered on the siblings of celebrities on Facebook Watch. The nine-episode Sydel Takes On follows Curry-Lee (who is also married to NBA player Damion Lee) as she explores the world of her fellow younger siblings and family members of famous people. She’ll spend time with relatives of Issa Rae, Chance The Rapper, Alicia Keys, Eddie Murphy, Sofia Vergara and Jesse Williams, among others. Sydel Takes On is produced by Endemol Shine North America-owned studio Authentic Entertainment and distributed by Complex Networks. The series premieres today (April 25) on Facebook Watch, with new episodes airing every Thursday at noon ET.”

Peaky Blinders fans will be able to join the gang – virtually – in a new VR game that will allow players to interact with characters from the hit series. Start-up immersive studio Maze Theory teamed with the show’s producers and is making the game, which will launch in 2020. Artificial intelligence technology means characters will respond to players’ gestures, movement, voice, sound and body language in the game, and that each player will have a different experience and be totally immersed in the Peaky Blinders world. Players will be tasked with infiltrating a street gang and undertaking a covert mission. They will come face-to-face with new and existing characters, and be able to explore iconic locations from the show. Successful players ‘will earn their cap’ and be part of the Peaky Blinders themselves. “They will literally be part of Peaky Blinders’ world and be able to interact with characters in ways no-one can predict,” said Russell Harding, executive producer at Maze Theory. ‘Fans of the cult show have been calling out for this type of experience and we’re honored to be giving it to them.’”

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From Rolling Stone: “‘It’s a karate soap opera,’ says Ralph Macchio, accurately describing Cobra Kai, the YouTube premium show that revives the Karate Kid universe, with a few twists. Middle-aged Daniel LaRusso is a dad and a car-dealership owner who’s also doing his best to become a Miyagi-style sensei to a new generation of would-be crane-kickers. With a second season debuting April 24th, Macchio discussed the show, the original movie, dealing with Eighties fame, the glories of Crossroads and more:

Seeing a recreation of Mr. Miyagi’s house on the show was unexpectedly moving. What was that like for you?
Well, the house they used in the original Karate Kid film was sold and torn down — and then they had to build it on the back lot of what was Columbia Pictures for parts two and three, and it changed a little bit. Now we shoot exteriors in Los Angeles, but a lot of the stuff is shot in Atlanta, so we had to figure out how to pull that off. That was part of the early discussion: I said, “OK, so how do we disguise it not being exactly the house, because it’s not.” Hey, it’s 30 years. Anything could have happened to it!

Mark Hamill told me about being emotionally overwhelmed when he walked back onto the Millennium Falcon after three decades.
I was the same. Because Pat Morita is no longer with us, nor is director John Avildsen and the producer Jerry Weintraub. But more so because the first day I worked on the Miyagi set, in the backyard, it was a scene with Robby, us painting the fence side by side, going opposite directions. We rehearsed the scene, and I just, “Wow, this is where the magic all happened.” It was emotional because some of my friends that I made that movie with are no longer here. And also, from the get-go when they pitched this idea, I needed to have those moments, the legacy of what Miyagi brought to Danny LaRusso’s life. It’s important that it was peppered throughout the Cobra Kai series, and they assured me of that. Because I remember shooting those scenes in the movie more than getting my ass kicked. Because those are just like, “Is this over yet?”

Then on the flip side, on the personal side, it’s me as someone who is not 18 anymore, or 16 anymore, or 25 or 35 or 45 anymore, saying, “Wow.” It was just a realization of how much time has gone by. Not that deep, dark place like, “Oh my God, I’m old now,” which is true if you’re my kids, but it’s the nostalgia of life. Most of the time that I’m talking to, say, someone like you or someone on the street for maybe the first time, the conversation is funneled into a small section of time in my life, which is not the norm. So Cobra Kai is just going back to that same section of time, which is now 34-plus years ago. It’s kind of wonderful and beautiful, and on the flip side it’s like, wow, that is a long time ago.

It’s hard to convey to young people just how famous you were in the Eighties. What was your experience of it like?
I guess it was overwhelming at times. I always kept one foot in and one foot out of Hollywood. I lived in the ’burbs of Long Island, not far from where I live now. When I wasn’t working, that’s where I would go. I had attention there — it was like the map of the only star’s home. I was the only guy. It was me and two hockey players. Going to a mall on a Saturday probably wasn’t something I was apt to do. The most difficult was when I was on Broadway in a play with Robert De Niro and Burt Young, and The Karate Kid 2 had just come out. I was at the Longacre theater, and then just up the street the movie was playing, so when I would come out to the street, that was like… I’m not saying the Beatles at Shea Stadium, but it was crazy.

I watched your first audition for Karate Kid, and your naturalism is incredible. I also saw someone said you came off as obnoxious.
That was probably the writer, Robert [Mark Kamen]. Obnoxious is the wrong word. You could have said maybe a little cocky. I don’t know if you’d describe me as obnoxious, but hey, listen, sometimes I’m in it. I can’t step back and look.

Were you, at that point, very confident in your abilities?
Yeah. I think I had an aura of confidence. Where it came from, I have no idea.

When you went into The Outsiders, were you confident?
I was confident I wanted that particular part, and I didn’t want to read for another part. I just wanted that. But Coppola wanted everybody to read for a different role. I said, “I just want this part.” I had the balls to say that. I knew who Francis Ford Coppola was; I knew who I was in the room with. So it’s interesting. I probably would say that now, too. That’s just the essence of me. I read that book. I connected to The Outsiders when I was 12 years old, and when they were doing the movie I had to be in it, and I had to play that part. That doesn’t happen often and may never happen again. I did have, and probably still do have, a little defiance and cockiness, and that’s bled into LaRusso and that makes him entertaining. A guy who has such knowledge about balance and inner peace and all those Miyagi-isms and philosophies, but when the wrong guy rubs him, he goes to his childhood ways — that makes him entertaining.

So when they first brought the Karate Kid script to you, do you remember your first reaction?
I didn’t like the title. A lot of people didn’t like the title. They kept trying to change it.

Was there a leading candidate?
The Moment of Truth
, which was the end-credit song, was what it was called in France and other countries where martial arts weren’t big. The Moment of Truth is kind of a lame, forgettable title. But with Karate Kid, Jerry Weintraub said,  “You know, it’s a great title because it’s a terrible title.” I said, “Yeah, but if the thing’s ever a hit, I’m probably going to have to carry this for the rest of my life.” And here we are.

How about the script itself?
I thought the script was corny at times. The Miyagi character, there was a little bit of humor, but they wanted to cast Toshiro Mifune. But he didn’t speak English! The human Yoda that was Pat Morita was perfect. They didn’t want Pat Morita at first. Jerry Weintraub and the studio said no way: “No Arnold from Happy Days. Not going to happen!” John Avildsen just said, “You have to watch this tape.” And now the footage of Pat’s first reading and mine, you can see it on YouTube, and Avildsen cut that together. That was his first reading and my first reading, and what’s most intriguing about that footage, it was just me and John Avildsen. He had a big video camera. There was a line of guys out in the hallway of his apartment; one after the other, he just brought them in. When I watched that, and I watched myself listening to him, a little nervous — as my wife would say, “You keep touching your nose.” I was nervous. But when I read the scene, that’s LaRusso.

Were you doing an East Coast accent or was that just your accent?
That was just me. I amped it up because I knew in reading the script [Daniel] didn’t back down. I just thought of a couple of kids in my junior high and high school that had that kind of won’t-leave-well-enough-alone quality or knee-jerk kind of cockiness.

It turns out that a Long Island accent and New Jersey accent aren’t much different.
It’s the same. We’re just a couple of rivers away.

Once, Springsteen said, introducing Billy Joel, they were once one landmass.
That is right. That’s a good point.

The thing about returning to The Karate Kid now is, you only had this one shot. That must have added extra pressure to make it right.
I think the difference this time, one: timing. It just felt to me like two years from when I said yes might have been too late. But more so, Jon [Hurwitz], Josh [Heald], and Hayden [Schlossberg], our three creators, are super Karate Kid fanboys. They know so much more about those movies than I did. It informed their childhoods, so they feel like they have the Holy Grail. They are treating it with such respect, yet they come from Harold & Kumar and Hot Tub Time Machine, so they know how to write comedy for right now. It felt like these guys can marry today’s teen dialogue with yesterday’s nostalgia and make it feel all fresh. But jumping in, I didn’t know how cold that water was, how deep it was. Billy Zabka, the same way. It was tough.

It was already your most famous role, and this is making it even more so. What about that aspect?
Is it going to typecast me further? I didn’t think of that as much. Daniel’s a different human being. He’s 35 years older. It’s the same universe, but a different world. The tone is a little bit different even though there’s the goosebumps and all that stuff that The Karate Kid had. Certainly there are some people that will probably say, “Oh, he’s playing that role again.” And that’s fine. I try to balance it with shows like The Deuce and whatever else is in the on-deck circle now.

Did you actually go back and watch the movies before you did this?
I watched the first one. I watched it, but it didn’t inform how I approached it more than it connected me to certain things. I’m on point, just taking it a little bit to the left. One of the interesting things with viewing the Karate Kid film is you’re following that kid. The camera’s on his shoulder, and you’re living every frame through Danny LaRusso. When I showed the film to my kids, say 15 years ago, all of a sudden I viewed that film from the perspective of Mr. Miyagi because I was looking at this kid that would not listen, and he was less interesting to me than Miyagi was. So I gained a new perspective on the same — and it is something we’re bringing.

By the way, I don’t know if you know how big a deal Crossroads was to guitar players in the Eighties.
Hey, man, I’m talking to Rolling Stone!

Yeah, exactly. I guess you learned enough guitar to be able to master the finger movements?
Yeah. I mastered the look of where they should be, but getting that sound? That ain’t happening. I still have that Telecaster, though. That’s a cool guitar. I’ve had musicians make crazy offers for the guitar. And I have the ’47 Ford convertible from The Karate Kid, which is in this show now.

You can neither really play guitar nor do karate?
Not to that expertise level. I have a couple of confrontations in Season Two, and there’s one or two really pretty good kicks that are all me.

What sticks in your memory from filming Crossroads?
Shooting the battle, the duel at the end, the first time, with the crowd in there. The assistant director pumping everybody up, this is the guy you’re rooting for and this is the devil, and us shooting it with five cameras straight through. It was the dream rock-star moment for me. And then in real life I couldn’t get “Mary Had a Little Lamb” out of the damn thing!

Finally, after rewatching My Cousin Vinny, I have to say it’s easy to underestimate what you had to do in that movie amongst the flashier comedic performances. 
We had to care for those two kids. Oh, the funny stuff wouldn’t have been half as funny. It wouldn’t have had any gravity to it, any weight to it. That movie gets funnier every time. The thing with My Cousin Vinny is that every setup pays off beautifully, better than you had hoped. And when you know it’s coming, it’s even better. I call it the late-for-dinner movie. If it’s on, you’re gonna be late for dinner, because you just can’t stop. One more scene, one more scene.

The I-shot-the-clerk bit is so fantastic.
We actually had to go back and redo that because we got notes from 20th Century Fox: “We need it to be a statement, but sound like a question.” We went, “I shot the clerk. I shot the clerk. I shot the clerk.” We’re doing take after take, and I don’t know which one. It’s probably the first one we used. It had to be a question and a statement. It’s like a dessert wax. I don’t know. “I shot the clerk? I shot the clerk.” They were concerned it was too much of a question. I said, it is a comedy. You know, it’s great to be a part of that, The Outsiders, and as you mentioned, Crossroads and Karate Kid. In that small window of time, it’s a couple of films that still stand the test of time and still play. That doesn’t happen too often, so I consider myself fortunate.”

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Per Realscreen, “Netflix has partnered with Academy Award-winning filmmaker Martin Scorsese on a tour documentary chronicling seminal musician Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue tour.

“Described as ‘part documentary, part concert film, part fever dream,’ Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese features on-camera interviews with Dylan and footage from his 1975–76 Rolling Thunder Revue tour that allowed the singer-songwriter to play intimate shows in smaller auditoriums in less populated North American cities.

“The tour included 57 concerts in two legs and featured such artists as Roger McGuinn, Joni Mitchell, Ronee Blakely, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott and poet Allen Ginsberg, among others.

“Rick Yorn and David Tedeschi serve as executive producers on the film. Jeff Rosen and Margaret Bodde are producers.

Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese will debut across Netflix, as well as select theaters, on June 12.

“The film will also screen on June 11 for special one-night-only event screenings across 20 U.S. and international cities, including: London, Paris, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, Nashville, Austin, Dallas, Houston, Portland, Tulsa, Tempe, Chicago, Cleveland, Minneapolis, Bologna, Sydney, Los Angeles, and New York.”

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From The New York Post: “Amid a contentious divorce that’s included allegations of abuse and fights over child custody, Roger Mathews tells Page Six he is ‘very happy’ for ex Jenni ‘JWoww’ Farley and her new, younger boyfriend.

“Shortly after Farley, 33, broke the news this week that she’s dating a 24-year-old mystery man, Mathews told us she’s been seeing the guy for ‘a few months’ and that he’s a ‘good friend of her little brother.’

“‘He seems like a terrific guy and they seem to really be happy, and I’m very happy for them,’ Mathews, 43, said in an exclusive statement.

Jersey Shore star Farley filed for divorce in September 2018 after three years of marriage. Since then, the exes have been involved in a custody battle over their two children, Meilani, 4, and Greyson, 2. Farley has also accused Mathews of physical abuse.

“Despite their drama, the exes spent Easter together with their children.

“He tells us, ‘Co-parenting has been getting much easier and we have a very friendly relationship and do things as a family together which makes the kids very happy. Wish her nothing but positive things.’ Her rep previously told us, ‘Jenni’s kids’ needs and wants will always come first. She is being an adult about the divorce and working towards being better co-parents.’

“Farley confirmed she moved on from her relationship with Mathews during a live taping of Nicole ‘Snooki’ Polizzi‘s podcast, It’s Happening With Snooki & Joey, on Wednesday, according to Us Weekly.

“Polizzi shared that the mystery man is ‘very handsome, by the way,’ adding, ‘Jenni has been going through some s–t, but I’ve never seen this girl more happier and more herself than this moment right now.’”

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More from Rolling Stone: “When Game of Thrones airs its final episode on May 19th, George R.R. Martin will be watching.  He’ll take in the televised conclusion of the story he began, and then get right back to writing his own version, with two books left to go. For our recent cover story on Maisie Williams and Sophie Turner, Martin talked about creating the Stark sisters, the dual endings of his story and much more:

A lot of people don’t know that another one of your old projects, the group-written superhero novel series Wild Cards, has its own show in the works for Hulu.
Yeah, yeah, they [have] got a good writers’ room — Melinda Snodgrass and Michael Cassutt, those are two of the writers for the books, [they] are in there. A guy named Andrew Miller is the showrunner, and they’ve got a bunch of other people. Everything I hear indicates it’s going well. So we’re excited about that.

It’s a big universe in its own right.
It’s the equivalent of Marvel or DC, you know, they could make a dozen shows out of that. So many different characters and so forth.

But the subject at hand … so the Stark sisters are on the cover of Rolling Stone.
Yeah, I heard that. That is really amazing. I’m tickled by that. Great choice. They’re both great… I guess I have to say young women now … I was gonna say kids, but they’re not kids any longer, are they? They’ve grown up very quickly.

I wanted to read you one of the earliest passages that you wrote about the two of them, if that’s okay.
Sure.

“It wasn’t fair. Sansa had everything. Sansa was two years older; maybe by the time Arya had been born, there had been nothing left. Often it felt that way. Sansa could sew and dance and sing. She wrote poetry. She knew how to dress. She played the high harp and the bells. Worse, she was beautiful. Sansa had gotten their mother’s fine high cheekbones and the thick auburn hair of the Tullys. Arya took after their lord father. Her hair was a lusterless brown, and her face was long and solemn.”

So what was the glimmer of an idea for these two sisters?
Well you’re taking me back a long, long way. That’s a pretty early chapter …  I first began in 1991. I wrote about a hundred pages of it before I got distracted by Hollywood stuff, and then I put it aside for like two years before I got back to it. Those words you read were actually part of the first hundred pages that I was doing there. When I was writing these, and I was creating a family for Lord Eddard Stark … I knew I wanted it to be a fairly large family, with a number of children. I suppose I cheated a little by not having three children who died in infancy in there, which was true of the actual Middle Ages. They had a terrible time with kids who died very young.

So I created Bran and in the very first chapter, I wrote where they find the direwolf pups in the snow. Bran is the viewpoint chapter there, and Robb and Jon and Theon are all with him, they’re the boys who rode out with their father to see the man beheaded. The fact that the boys went out was a reflection of what a patriarchal society it was, as medieval societies often were. I was following history in that regard … But I wanted some girls, too.

And when I actually got to Winterfell in the later chapter, I knew I wanted to deal with the role that women and young girls had in this kind of society. So to show the contrast, [we] have two sisters who were very, very different from each other. The Middle Ages was very patriarchal. I’m a little weary of over-generalizing, since that makes me seem like an idiot — but generally, women didn’t have a lot of rights. They were used to make marriage-alliances; I’m talking high-born women now, of course. Peasant women had even less rights. But I was focusing on a noble family here as the center of the book.

At the same time, this is also the era where courtly romance was born: the gallant Knight, the fair lady, the princess, all of that stuff. That became very big, initially in the courts of France and Burgundy, but it spread all over Europe, including England and Germany.  And it still has its roots in a lot of stuff that we follow today. I mean, in some sense the Disney Princess archetype — the whole princess mythos — that we’re all familiar with is a legacy of the troubadours of the romance era of medieval France.

Sansa completely bought into that, loved everything about that. She dreamed of jousts, bards singing of her beauty, fair knights, being the mistress of a castle and perhaps a princess and queen. The whole romantic thing.

And then to have Arya, a girl who did not fit that — and who, from the very beginning, was uncomfortable and chafes at the roles that she was being pushed into. You know, who didn’t wanna sew but wanted to fight with a sword, who liked riding and hunting and wrestling in the mud. A “tomboy” we would call it, I guess. But that phrase, of course, didn’t exist in the Middle Ages, so I don’t think I ever use it in the books, but you know what I mean.

So that was the roots to create these two characters who were very different from each other, and who then necessarily chafed against each other in the context of the books.

Was there anyone in your life who might’ve served as an inspiration for Arya?
I can’t say there’s any one specific model, but a lot of the women I’ve known over the years have had aspects of Arya with them. Especially some of the women I knew when I was a young man back in the ’60s and ’70s, you know — the decade of the sexual revolution and the feminist movement. I knew a lot of young women who weren’t buying into the, “Oh, I have to find a husband and be a housewife.”

That’s certainly part of Arya’s thing. There’s that scene where Ned is telling her, “Well, one day you’ll grow up and you’ll marry a great lord and you’ll be the lady of the castle.” And she says, “No, I won’t. I don’t want that. That’s Sansa, that’s not me.” I knew women who were saying things like that: “I don’t wanna be Mrs. Smith, I wanna be my own person.”

What did you make of how these two actresses embodied those characters?
I have to give an immense amount of credit to our casting director, Nina Gold. The casting of Arya was particularly difficult, as I somewhat feared it would be; I think we looked at more potential Aryas than any other role in this show. I wasn’t physically present at the casting — I was back here in New Mexico working on the next book — but I was linked into it on the internet. So they would videotape these girls … I think we probably saw like a hundred girls. And at a certain point in the process I was really beginning to say, “This is a disaster, we can’t find anyone here.” These are not parts that require the girls to be cute, and deliver clever little one-liners to put down their idiot father, like you do in a sitcom. These are girls that are gonna go through really huge personal traumas. They’re gonna see death and war. They’re gonna see people close to them beheaded.

So after looking at all these tapes, particularly for Arya, I was saying, “We are so screwed.” Then I saw Maisie’s tape, and it was like, “There she is. There she is. Arya.” She’s saying the lines, she’s alive, she’s got Arya’s spirit, you know? ] It was incredible. David [Benioff] and Dan [Weiss] and I said, “Yeah, we found her, hooray. Send up the skyrockets.”

Sophie was great also – we found her more quickly. And then when we cut the two of them together … I mean, they took to each other almost from the first shoot. Maisie came back from having met Sophie, and she actually told her mother, “I don’t know if I’m gonna get it or not, but I hope this other girl I met there gets it because she’s great.”

And I think on YouTube … I don’t know how they got film of the auditions, but the actual auditions are out there, and someone has cut them together. The two of them just make that scene come alive in their auditions. It’s wonderful.

Sansa’s story, in particular, has really deviated from the books. Ramsay Bolton — that marriage obviously was with a different character. When they start deviating like that, did you initially have any emotional reaction, even though you worked in Hollywood for many years yourself?
Well, yeah — of course you have an emotional reaction. I mean, would I prefer they do it exactly the way I did it? Sure. But I’ve been on the other side of it, too. I’ve adapted work by other people, and I didn’t do it exactly the way they did it, so ….

Some of the deviation, of course, is because I’ve been so slow with these books. I really should’ve finished this thing four years ago — and if I had, maybe it would be telling a different story here. It’s two variations of the same story, or a similar story, and you get that whenever anything is adapted. The analogy I’ve often used is, to ask how many children did Scarlett O’Hara have? Do you know the answer to that?

I know it’s different in the book and the movie …
Three children in the book, one by each husband. She had one child in the movie. And in real life, of course, Scarlett O’Hara had no children, because she never existed. Margaret Mitchell made her up. The book is there. You can pick it up and read Mitchell’s version of it, or you can see the movie and see David Selznick’s version of it. I think they’re both true to the spirit of the work, and hopefully that’s also true of Game of Thrones on one hand, and A Song of Ice and Fire on the other hand.

How do you feel about the show ending?
You know, it’s complex. I’m a little sad, actually. I wish we had a few more seasons. But I understand. Dave and Dan are gonna go on to do other things, and I’m sure some of the actors were signed up for like seven or eight years, and they would like to go on and take other roles. All of that is fair. I’m not angry or anything like that, but there’s a little wistfulness in me.

It’s weird, in Hollywood, this way … I mean I’ve worked on other shows, you know? Twilight Zone in the mid-’80s, and then Beauty and the Beast for three years… And whenever a show ends, and the longer the show lasts the harder it is. You’re really with a family. You’re with them for a large part of the year, and not only working with them, but you’re often living with them in some distant location where you’re all in one hotel together. You’re seeing them every day, like five days a week, sometimes seven days a week. They’re very intensely involved in your life.

And it’s just a good cast, you know, relationships and friendships develop that are very, very deep. Then it ends, and everybody scatters to the ends of the earth. And a show that’s lasted as long as Game of Thrones, it’s the eighth season but it’s like, what, 10 years they’ve all been together? These young women have grown up together. They’ve become sisters, I think, in more than just the script. And the friendship that they’ve forged, that will endure.

The ending of the show – to what extent is it your ending?
I can say that when my next two books come out they’ll have to read them and then they can find out.

Fair enough. Have you stopped watching the show now that it’s gone beyond your territory?
No, of course not.

And have you seen this final season?
No, I haven’t. I haven’t … I mean I know some of what’s going on there, but I haven’t actually seen any footage. So I’ll be seeing that for the first time with everybody else.

But have you read the final scripts for the season, or have you detached yourself?
No, I haven’t read the scripts, although I’ve had meetings with David and Dan where we’ve discussed stuff.

So you’re gonna be somewhat surprised by their ending then, perhaps …
Well, to a degree. I mean, I think … the major points of the ending will be things that I told them, you know, five or six years ago. But there may also be changes, and there’ll be a lot added.”