Day: April 4, 2017


FOX NEWS HALFTIME REPORT: The revenge of TrumpCare – Top conservative group backs Pence health care framework

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On the roster: The revenge of TrumpCare – Rice says unmasking of Trump team wasn’t political – Air war heats up in race for Price’s House seat – Nuclear clock ticking down in Senate – Gorditas will weigh you down

When President Trump warned House Republicans two weeks ago that they would either pass TrumpCare right away or say goodbye to their chance to replace ObamaCare, many thought it would increase chances of passing the bill. 

It did not. And as it turns out, many Republicans were only too pleased to have the issue lifted from their shoulders and allow the newly popular ObamaCare to stay in place.

Now, the White House says the president didn’t mean it when he made his now-or-never vow and instead is going to keep the rest of his agenda on hold until the health-insurance overhaul is done. 

This poses an unhappy question for the GOP: If TrumpCare failing made the rest of his agenda harder to pass, what happens if it fails twice? 

Weeks of pressure from Trump against the members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus combined with warnings from good-cop Speaker Paul Ryan that the president was ready to work with Democrats on the rest of his agenda seemed to have worked at getting the right wingers in a mood to deal. 

Conservative House members tell Halftime Report that they still have considerable uneasiness about how a final deal might be structured, but are enthusiastic about what they see as a new willingness on the part of the administration and House leadership to make deeper cuts to ObamaCare subsidies and the law’s requirements for insurance companies’ coverage.

That’s all great when it comes to the three dozen or so most conservative members of the House, but it does nothing for the moderate members who were already anxious about the existing cuts in the bill and its already-low popularity with voters. 

Fundamental changes to things like the rules requiring health insurers to cover customers with pre-existing conditions are not likely to be received warmly by anxious suburban Republicans who are already worried about a difficult 2018. 

Now, these members can be encouraged by whatever legislation the Senate would return – if it does – would be more moderate than the House version. But, the deal being discussed would still rely on House members taking the first step and casting potentially dangerous votes. 

None of that means that a new deal can’t be crafted. Freedom Caucus members seem more amenable to a bill that leaves more key components of ObamaCare in place if they’re reduced in stature. If they’re willing to make a deal and moderates remain at the table, who knows?

But here we are talking about starting over, not patching the original version of TrumpCare. That might please conservatives, but it would hardly gratify a White House that seems focused on racking up some wins after a bumpy opening act. 

We can’t know whether Trump has come to accept Ryan’s logic that TrumpCare must be passed before tax reform hits the floor because of the interconnectedness of the two issues and the rules of budget reconciliation, the only means for Republicans to push through their plan on a simple majority in the Senate. 

If the president has reached that conclusion, we are in for months of wrangling over a controversial and currently unpopular policy provision even Trump gets to his goodies. 

That would be an admirable commitment to process and protocol for the new chief executive who has already expressed considerable frustration with how Washington works. 

But the problem is that every day brings us closer to Midterms. Special elections in Georgia, Montana and California are heightening awareness of next year’s vote and increasing anxieties among Republicans who have continued to watch the president’s approval ratings drop. 

Whatever Republicans do on health insurance is likely to be unpopular to begin with. Anytime you mess with that subject, voters get nervous. Can you imagine the sales of Pepto-Bismol on Capitol Hill if lawmakers were staring down a September vote on the health law?

This may also be something of an acknowledgement from Trump that without any significant Democratic support and a White House consumed with things other than his agenda, the president simply can’t try to override Ryan & Co. and try to jam through other agenda items.

Either way, the return of TrumpCare is not the kind of nostalgia trip many in Congress were looking for.

“Such an infatuated policy, such a desperate expedient, might, by the multiplication of petty offices, answer the views of men who possess not qualifications to extend their influence beyond the narrow circles of personal intrigue, but it could never promote the greatness or happiness of the people of America.” – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 9

Smithsonian: “Vanilla was cultivated in botanical gardens in France and England, but never offered up its glorious seeds. Growers couldn’t understand why until centuries later when, in 1836, Belgian horticulturist Charles Morren reported that vanilla’s natural pollinator was the Melipona bee, an insect that didn’t live in Europe…Five years later, on the island of Réunion, a 39-mile long volcanic hotspot in the Indian Ocean, everything changed. In 1841, an enslaved boy on the island named Edmond Albius 
developed the painstaking yet effective hand-pollination method for vanilla that is still in use today…This proliferation helped whet the world’s appetite for vanilla. The spice quickly found its way into cakes and ice cream, perfumes and medicines, and was valued for its intoxicating flavor and aroma.”

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your tips, comments or questions.

AP: “A top Obama national security adviser says it’s ‘absolutely false’ that the previous administration used intelligence about President Donald Trump’s associates for political purposes. Susan Rice says it was sometimes necessary for her to request the identity of Americans whose communications were swept up in intelligence reports. She says the requests were only be made for national security purposes. According to a U.S. official, Trump national security aides discovered that Rice requested the identities of Trump campaign advisers. Rice, in an interview on MSNBC, would not say whether she had viewed intelligence involving Trump and his aides. She said that information is classified. Rice also denied that she leaked information to the press, saying ‘I leaked nothing to nobody.’”

What exactly is ‘unmasking’ anyway? – WashEx: “FISA only authorizes electronic surveillance of non-U.S. people, but it can pick up communications in which a U.S. citizen is one of the parties in the conversation…[W]hen the phone call or other communication is eventually transcribed into an intelligence product, the name of the U.S. citizen is not supposed to be identified in the document, to stay consistent with FISA. Instead, the intelligence agencies use a simple alias, such as ‘U.S. person number 1,’ rather his or her proper name. This is known as masking…However, there are times when the intelligence agency needs to know the name of the person in the communication… Removing the alias is known as ‘unmasking.’”

McMaster purging NSC of Flynn hires – WaPo’s Josh Rogin writes: “National security adviser H.R. McMaster is continuing to fill out his national security staff with conservative foreign policy experts from the establishment think-tank world …McMaster wanted to get rid of Flynn’s senior director for intelligence programs, Ezra Cohen-Watnick, but top White House officials reportedly intervened on his behalf. Now that Cohen-Watnick is part of the controversy over the alleged unmasking of Trump transition officials who were caught up in incidental collection by American spy agencies, the White House is even more determined to keep him in place, officials said.”

Blackwater founder, DeVos brother set up Trump-Russia backchannel – WaPo: “The United Arab Emirates arranged a secret meeting in January between Blackwater founder Erik Prince and a Russian close to President Vladi­mir Putin as part of an apparent effort to establish a back-channel line of communication between Moscow and President-elect Donald Trump, according to U.S., European and Arab officials. The meeting took place around Jan. 11…Though Prince had no formal role with the Trump campaign or transition team, he presented himself as an unofficial envoy for Trump to high-ranking Emiratis involved in setting up his meeting with the Putin confidant, according to the officials, who did not identify the Russian.”

White House leak of Kushner Iraq trip worries security experts – AP: “The Trump administration’s failure to keep senior adviser Jared Kushner’s trip to Iraq secret isn’t standard practice for top U.S. officials visiting warzones…A senior administration official told reporters Sunday evening that Kushner – President Donald Trump’s son-in-law – was in Iraq, even though he was still en route…Gen. Joseph Dunford, the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, also was on board.”

House Republicans have hit the airwaves in the increasingly heated battle for the suburban Atlanta seat vacated by now-Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price. The National Republican Congressional Committee ad, released today, targets Democratic frontrunner Jon Ossoff. Recent polls from both Democratic and GOP groups show Ossoff leading the pack of candidates from both parties, but still short of the 50 percent threshold he would need to avoid a runoff election. The top Republican contender is former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel, trailed a pack of other hopefuls. Assuming no one gets more than half of the vote, the top Republican and Democrat from the April 18 vote head to a June 20 runoff. But for now, the NRCC is focused on holding Ossoff under the runoff threshold and softening him up for June. The spot, which bolters a multi-million-dollar effort from the House leadership’s PAC, describes the centrist-sounding Ossoff as an ally of liberal Democrats and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and tells voters to defend the GOP House majority. The party has held the seat since 1979. 

It’s Election Day: primary today for House seat vacated by Becerra – LA Times: “It’s election day for much of Los Angeles, as voters in the central and northeast part of the city head to the polls for a special election to help choose their next member of Congress. The race for the 34th Congressional District, a seat vacated by Xavier Becerra when he became California’s attorney general, has been a four-month sprint that attracted a whopping two dozen candidates. Half of them are women. More than a third are millennials. More than half are immigrants or the children of immigrants. And almost all of them have vowed to fight President Trump in this left-leaning progressive district, where only 9% of voters are registered as Republican.”

Fox News: “The Senate began closing debates Tuesday on President Trump‘s Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch, in a standoff that could end with Republicans changing voting procedures to confirm Gorsuch over Democrats’ objections. Democrats technically have enough votes in the GOP-controlled chamber to block the appellate judge’s confirmation through a filibuster. The situation has Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell ready to make a unilateral, procedural change so that Gorsuch can be pushed to confirmation with a simple majority of 51 votes, not the 60 votes currently needed in the 100-member chamber. This is known as the ‘nuclear option.’ McConnell has vowed to have the 49-year-old Gorsuch confirmed by Friday but says he continues to hope Democrats drop their filibuster attempt.”

[Watch Fox: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell joins guest host Dana Perino on “The First Hundred Days with Martha MacCallum tonight at 7 p.m. ET]

Sessions orders review of police reform agreements – WaPo

Trump signs rollback of online privacy rules 
– Reuters

Dems put emphasis on vets, small business owners, first-time candidates and moms in 2018 recruitment– Politico

Q Poll: Trump approval drops below Obama’s all-time low – Quinnipiac University

Matt Taibbi on ‘Putin derangement syndrome’ – Rolling Stone

Dan Balz looks at how the Trump transition foreshadowed the Trump presidency – WaPo

Bids for Trump border wall due today – AP

“Which is that we’re here to help people, and if we’re not helping people, we should go the f–k home.” – Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., in an interview with New York Magazine regarding her world view which she claims is similar to Rep. Susan Collins, R-Maine. 

“I’m confused by this in today’s column:  “… a change in Senate rules that would allow a Supreme Court nomination with just a simple majority rather than the current 60 votes.” First, hasn’t Gorsuch already been nominated, and the next step is for confirmation? Second, confirmation does not require 60 votes; Thomas and Alioto were confirmed with a simple majority, no?  The 60 vote threshold is only to overcome the filibuster, to allow a vote to go to the floor? Finally, I suspect the filibuster rules in the 70’s make it different than what we think.  Mr. Smith is not in the Senate anymore.  Now filibustering Senators don’t even have to remain in the well throughout the filibuster, the stress of which was intended to test the minority’s conviction, and then only when a truly urgent issue was at stake.” – Dennis Gallion, Barnesville, Ga.

[Ed. note: Well, Mr. Gallion, you have me there. We should have said “confirmation,” not “nomination.” But I trust you understand what I mean about the 60 votes. Yes, final confirmation requires just a simple majority but, that can’t happen – at least until Friday – without the 60-vote threshold being met. I agree with you in one sense, though. Campaign attacks long ago abandoned any distinction between procedural votes on debates and votes on final passage. Remember John Kerry’s famous “I actually voted for the $87 billion before I voted against it.” As for the presence of Mr. Smith, however, I doubt that the character and quality of the individuals serving in the Senate today likely differs very much from those 40 years ago. The change, I would argue, has more to do with a shift in the political alignment, and thereby the political incentives, for the larger system. Whatever the cause, though, we will all be poorer for the degradation of the Senate into a smaller, less-powerful version of the House, but one that is less accountable to voters.] 

“Why are the current hearings on Russia only focusing on Team Trump? Why hasn’t the scope expanded to include Team Hilary? The Podesta brothers have ties to Russia. The Clinton cash machine has ties to Russia. Possibly even Valarie Jarrett. What’s up with that?” – Jerry Gotlieb, Aurora, Colo.

[Ed. note: I suppose the simplest answer is that, well… she lost.  Many failed politicians from America’s past probably have done things we all might find objectionable, but when voters provide a more direct remedy than hearings or investigations we can save time and money. But that doesn’t mean that they are not looking at such things and I would not be surprised if they were.] 

Share your color commentary: Email us at
HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM and please make sure to include your name and hometown.

AP: “Authorities say a horse returning from a run to Taco Bell escaped serious injury after falling into a 5-foot-deep hole in Southern California. Fire officials say the saddled horse and its rider had just left a Taco Bell near downtown Riverside on Saturday when the cover on a utility vault collapsed. Battalion Chief Jeff DeLaurie says a crane was initially requested to haul the horse from the vault but it wasn’t needed. The animal managed to position itself so crews could pull it out using ropes. A veterinarian says the horse suffered minor cuts to its legs.”

“The story [Monday] about Susan Rice is, if she did allow herself to go in and then to unmask all these people, the question is this: was it in pursuit of national security interests, in which case it’s proper, or was it not?”– Charles Krauthammer on “Special Report with Bret Baier.”

Chris Stirewalt is the politics editor for Fox News. Sally Persons and Brianna McClelland contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.

Chris Stirewalt joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in July of 2010 and serves as politics editor based in Washington, D.C. Additionally, he authors the daily Fox News Halftime Report political news note and co-hosts the hit podcast, Perino & Stirewalt: I’ll Tell You What. He also is the host of Power Play, a feature video series on Stirewalt makes frequent appearances on network programs, including America’s Newsroom, Special Report with Bret Baier and Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace. He also provides expert political analysis for FNC’s coverage of state, congressional and presidential elections.

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Ian passed on huge role

The roles that got away

Some of the most famous onscreen performances could have gone a totally different direction.

Ian McKellen as Dumbledore

Ian McKellen, left, didn’t explore the possibility of playing Dumbledore in the “Harry Potter” films after the original actor Richard Harris died because he knew Harris wasn’t a fan of his. ““When they called me up and said would I be interested in being in the ‘Harry Potter’ films, they didn’t say in what part,” he told BBC’s “HARDtalk.” “I worked out what they were thinking, and I couldn’t… I couldn’t take over the part from an actor who I’d known didn’t approve of me.” Michael Gambon, right, got the role in the end. 



Annette Bening in “Batman Returns”



Emma Watson in “La La Land”

Emma Watson, left, was supposed to have Emma Stone’s role in “La La Land,” but she opted to go film Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” remake instead. “La La Land” earned 14 Academy Award nominations, including a Best Actress nod for Stone. We’re guessing Watson may have some regrets. 



Andrew Garfield in “Narnia”

Andrew Garfield, left, revealed he missed out on a “Narnia” role and Ben Barnes, right, ultimately got it. “I really wanted to play…This is so silly. There was a ‘Narnia’ movie. The ‘Prince Caspian’ film…” he dished to ET. “Ben Barnes ultimately got it… I think the feedback was ‘he’s not handsome enough.’ What can you do? Hey, I’m not handsome enough for Prince Caspian.”



Eddie Redmayne in ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’

Redmayne really wanted to play Kylo Ren in “The Force Awakens” but he lost the role to Adam Driver. Redmayne recently said he had a “catastrophically bad” audition for the part. 



Leonardo DiCaprio in ‘Star Wars’

Leonardo DiCaprio revealed in a new interview that he turned down the role of Anakin Skywalker. “I did have a meeting with George Lucas about that, yes,” DiCaprio told Shortlist. “[I] just didn’t feel ready to take that dive. At that point.” The role went to Hayden Christensen instead.



Jerry Lewis

Jerry Lewis turned down Jack Lemmon’s role in 1959’s “Some Like it Hot” because he didn’t want to appear in drag. The comedian told director Martin Scorsese at a conversation Tuesday night at the Museum of Moving Image that he regrets his decision. “I would have had a chance to kiss Marilyn Monroe,” Lewis said according the The Post. Lewis said the film’s director called him the idiot who turned down “Some Like it Hot” and Lemmon, who earned an Oscar nom for the role “sent me chocolates every year until he died.”

(Reuters/Metro Goldwyn Mayer)


Cameron Diaz in ‘Mortal Kombat’

“Mortal Kombat” producer Lauri Apelian told the Hollywood Reporter that they originally cast Cameron Diaz in the leading role but the film’s production company was concerned that Diaz was “not a household name” at the time. In the end, they went with Bridgette Wilson-Sampras. “We were very happy with Bridgette. It was great she was available.”



Christina Applegate in ‘Legally Blonde’

Christina Applegate passed on the leading role in “Legally Blonde” because she was scared of being typecast. She told ET, “The script came along my way and it was right after I had just finished, ‘Married [With Children],’ and it was a blonde who in that first script is dimwitted but ends up going to Yale, or Harvard, I don’t remember. But I was scared. I got scared of, kind of repeating myself.” While we’re sure Applegate would have done a great job, we’re glad she passed because it’s hard to imagine anyone besides Reese Witherspoon as Elle Woods.



Angelina Jolie, Reese Witherspoon and Gwyneth Paltrow in ‘Clueless’

“Clueless” director Amy Heckerling knew Alicia Silverstone was the right actress for the lead role in the iconic ’90s film, but that didn’t stop the film’s executives from exploring other options. Heckerling revealed actresses Angelina Jolie, Reese Witherspoon, Gwyneth Paltrow and others were considered for the part of Cher Horowitz. Nearly 20 years after the film was released, it’s hard to imagine anyone besides Silverstone for the role.



Jada Pinkett Smith in ‘The Matrix’

Jada Pinkett Smith was almost cast as the female lead in “The Matrix” but lost it to Carrie-Anne Moss because she had no chemistry with Keanu Reeves. The actress told Howard Stern on his radio show that she and Reeves “didn’t, uh, really click.” While she admitted she was bummed to have lost the role in the series, she now thinks Moss was the right choice.



Timothy Olyphant

“Justified” star Timothy Olyphant told Conan O’Brien he screen tested for the role of Tony Stark for “Iron Man” on the same day Robert Downey Jr. did. “I’m still waiting to hear back,” Olyphant said. “It could be a real game changer.”



Jeremy Sisto in ‘Titanic’

It’s hard to imagine anyone but Leonardo DiCaprio as Jack in “Titanic,” but “Clueless” star Jeremy Sisto revealed he almost nabbed the part. Sisto eventually lost the part to DiCaprio but has since gone on to star in “Suburgatory” and had a reoccurring role on HBO’s “Six Feet Under.”



Reese Witherspoon in ‘Gone Girl’

“Gone Girl” director David Fincher didn’t feel Reese Witherspoon was right for the part of Ben Affleck’s wife in the 2014 thriller. “We had a long conversation where [Fincher] was like, ‘You’re not right for it. And this is why,” Witherspoon told The Hollywood Reporter. No hard feelings though, Reese agreed with Fincher and the role eventually went to Rosamund Pike.



Neil Patrick Harris

Belive it or not, Neil Patrick Harris turned down a role in the mega-hit series”American Horror Story” for personal reasons. He said he and husband David Burtka were offered a role after they had just played a couple that disliked each other in a movie. “…I thought, it just seems weird to do that twice… So I said, ‘No,’ that we shouldn’t do it. And David wanted to, and I said, I just don’t want us to be known as a couple that don’t like each other, that seems weird.” Click here to find out what else he had to say about the show.



Bill Murray as Forrest?



Reba in ‘Titanic?’

Country superstar Reba McEntire was director James Cameron’s first choice for Molly Brown in “Titanic.” The role, which eventually went to Kathy Bates, was turned down by McEntire due to scheduling conflicts. Although “Titanic” went on to be a huge success, we think Reba’s done pretty well for herself.



Jennie Garth in ‘Saved by the Bell?’

Before Jennie Garth and Tiffani Thiessen became BFFs on the set of “Beverly Hills, 90210” only to have a mysterious and public falling out years later, the two were up for the same role on another early 80s late 90s TV classic. Garth was up against Thiessen for the role of Kelly Kapowski on “Saved By the Bell.” Thiessen eventually won out and we can’t help but wonder if that created some tension that eventually led to their famous feud. PHOTOS: Biggest celebrity feuds ever



Katie Holmes in ‘Orange Is the New Black’

“Orange Is the New Black” creator Jenji Kohan revealed she originally wanted Katie Holmes to play the lead role on her Netflix hit. “I’m a big fan of [Holmes]. I met with her originally for Piper, I believe,” Kohan told E! News. But because no one knew the show would be such a success and Holmes was “busy” with other projects at the time, Taylor Schilling (R) was cast as Piper Chapman.

(Reuters/Jill Greenberg/Netflix)


Lucy Hale in ’50 Shades of Grey?’

Actress turned country singer Hale (L) recalled her “uncomfortable” “Fifty Shades of Grey” audition. “It was a two-page monologue of exactly what you would think it would be,” she told MTV News. “Very uncomfortable,” Hale continued about her audition. “But it was sort of one of those things where you just had to go for it or you’re just gonna look lame—hopefully, I didn’t look lame.” In the end, the gig went to Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith’s daughter Dakota Johnson (R).



Mel Gibson in ‘The Terminator’?

Ah-nold’s iconic role was reportedly offered to Mel Gibson, who turned it down. And thankfully so, because the words “I’ll be back” just wouldn’t have the same effect coming from Mel.




Robin Williams as the Joker?


Nicolas Cage as ‘Iron Man’

Nicolas Cage as ‘Iron Man’

It’s hard to picture the Marvel trilogy being as wildly successful without Robert Downey, Jr. starring as Tony Stark, aka “Iron Man.” But this movie was a long time in the making before Rob signed on to play the comic book character. 

Back in 1997, Nic Cage was one of the first actors to express interest in the part. Luckily for audiences, filming didn’t actually begin until a decade later and Robert Downey, Jr was there to save the day, literally.

Check out which other stars were in the running for some of Hollywood’s biggest parts.

(Reuters/Paramount Pictures)


Zooey Deschanel in ‘Silver Linings Playbook’

Jennifer Lawrence may have taken home the Oscar for starring as recently widowed Tiffani Maxwell, but that role almost went to Zooey Deschanel. Producers also considered Vince Vaughn for Bradley Cooper’s part. 

(Reuters/The Weinstein Company)


Tom Cruise as Salt

The 2010 spy thriller, “Salt” was supposed to have a male lead portraying the title character of Edwin A. Salt and Tom Cruise was reportedly slated to play the part. But then Angelina Jolie apparently caught wind of the script and showed interest in playing the lead, and that’s how Evelyn Salt came to be.

(Reuters/Sony Pictures) 


Thomas Jane as Don Draper?

“I started, literally, on the very, very bottom,” Jon Hamm says of getting the part of Don Draper on AMC’s “Mad Men.” “I wasn’t on anybody’s lists… The funny thing was, I think they went to Thomas Jane for it, and they were told that Thomas Jane does not do television.”

Thomas has since clearly changed his tune, as he now stars in HBO’s “Hung.”

Women everywhere are quite happy with both outcomes.



Lindsay Lohan in ‘The Hangover’?

The first two installation of “The Hangover” were wildly popular and a third will hit screens on May 23. All the stars in the movie became household names and revamped their careers with this laugh-out-loud comedy. But Lindsay was not one of them. 

She reportedly turned down the role of Jade, the stripper, which was later given to Heather Graham. Lindsay, back in 2009, apparently felt that the script “had no potential.”

Boy, was she wrong. 

(Reuters/Warner Bros.)


Lindsay Lohan in ‘The Hangover’?

“The Matrix” trilogy was wildly successful with Keanu Reeves as the star, Neo. But would it have been the same if Will Smith accepted the part? Will doesn’t think so. 

“You know, ‘The Matrix’ is a difficult concept to pitch,” he explains. “In the pitch, I just didn’t see it. I watched Keanu’s performance – and very rarely do I say this – but I would have messed it up.”

(Reuters/Warner Bros.)


Hugh Jackman as James Bond?

Before Daniel Craig was dubbed the new Bond in 2006, Hugh Jackman was approached to play the MI6 agent.

“‘I got a call from my agent saying, ‘There is some possible interest in you for Bond, are you interested?'” Hugh Jackman recalls. “At the time I wasn’t. I was about to shoot ‘X-Men 2’ and Wolverine had become this thing in my life and I didn’t want to be doing two such iconic characters at once.”

(Reuters/MGM Columbia Pictures)


Jennifer Lawrence in ‘Twilight’?

The Oscar winner tried out for the role of Bella Swan in the “Twilight” series. She was likely better off spending her time working on “Hunger Games” and “Silver Linings Playbook.” Leave the “Twilight” series and Razzy awards to Kristen Stewart.

(Reuters/Summit Entertainment)



Emma Stone in ‘Heroes’?

The funny actress tried out for the lead in “Heroes” after starring opposite Jonah Hill in “Superbad.”

“I could hear that, in the other room, a girl had just gone in and they were saying, ‘You are our pick… On a scale of one to 10 you’re an 11,'” Emma recalls. Hayden Panettiere was the lucky gal who got the role. “I went home and just had this meltdown,” she says.

We couldn’t picture her in that cheerleader uniform anyhow.



Burt Reynolds in ‘Pretty Woman’?

The actor was offered the role of Edward Lewis in “Pretty Woman” but ultimately declined. 

He later joked with Piers Morgan in 2012 that after he saw the film and the love-making scenes with Julia Roberts, that he regretted not taking the part. 




Robert De Niro in ‘Big’?

The 1988 hit wouldn’t have been the same without Tom Hanks as Josh, but that role almost went to Robert De Niro. Luckily, De Niro was too expensive and the producers gave it to Tom.

(Reuters/20th Century Fox)


Susan Sarandon in ‘Rocky’?

Susan read for the role of Rocky’s love interest, Adrian (Talia Shire), but producers thought she was “too attractive” to play the part.

(AP/United Artists)


Susan Sarandon in ‘Rocky’?

Quentin Tarantino recently told Vanity Fair that Daniel Day-Lewis was in the running to play Vincent Vega in “Pulp Fiction.” Day-Lewis had apparently read the script and wanted in on the movie, too. But after much debate, the role eventually went to John Travolta. 


(Reuters )


Susan Sarandon in ‘Rocky’?

The 1990 mobster flick wouldn’t have been the same without Ray Liotta in the lead as Henry Hill. But if producer Irwin Winkler got his way, Tom Cruise would have starred instead. 

“Tom Cruise was discussed. Marty [Scorsese, the director] wanted Ray [Liotta],” he explains.  “Frankly I thought we could do a lot better.”

That was until Ray won him over. “My wife [and I] were having dinner one night in a restaurant and lo and behold, Ray Liotta came over to me. He said, ‘Look, I know you don’t really want me for it, but…’ And he sold me on the role right that evening.”

Let’s check out some other flicks that almost starred someone else.

(AP/Warner Home Video)

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Frank Sinatra as ‘Dirty Harry?’

The music legend was in talks to play the dirty cop, but reportedly dropped out during contract negotiations because the handgun was too heavy. He was cautious to put added stress on his wrist, which he broke on the set of “The Manchurian Candidate.”

But that wasn’t the only reason he stepped away from the script. His father had also recently passed away and he wanted to spend some time doing lighter material. 

Once ol’ blue eyes dropped out Marlon Brando and Paul Newman were considered for the role before Clint Eastwood was ultimately cast.

 (AP/Warner Home Video)

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Sarah Polley in ‘Almost Famous?’

Director Cameron Crowe had originally chosen Sarah Polley to play the enigmatic Penny Lane in “Almost Famous” but changed his mind during pre-production.  

“Sarah is like a Bob Dylan song, more ’60s than ’70s,” he says. “That’s why it didn’t work. Kate Hudson is Zeppelin.”

The 2000 hit ended up being Kate Hudson’s breakout role.

(AP/Dreamworks Video)

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Nicolas Cage as ‘The Wrestler?’

The 2008 role that revamped Mickey Rourke’s career and won him a Golden Globe, almost didn’t happen. Nicolas Cage was previously in talks to star as Randy “The Ram” Robinson.

It probably all came down to the fact that nobody wants to see Nic Cage with his shirt off. 

(AP/20th Century Fox)

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Eminem in ‘Wanted?’

Mark Millar, the writer and creator of the comic on which the movie was based, reportedly started the rumor that Eminem was attached to the flick. The illustrations of Wesley Gibson in his stories clearly look like the rapper. 

“I’m really excited about the possibility of [Eminem] playing the lead role,” Mark said at the time. “Universal have already been in talks with his people.”

Apparently that wasn’t actually true since Em’s people came back saying it was news to them. James McAvoy ended up playing the lead.

(Aftermath/Universal Studios)


O.J. Simpson in ‘Terminator?’

This one is so good it seems made up, but famed footballer O.J. Simpson was considered for the part of the “Terminator” in 1984. According to one report, producers thought he was “too nice” to be taken seriously as a killer.

Turns out a jury thought that, too.


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Haley Joel Osment in ‘Harry Potter?’

When the book series was first in negotiations to make it to the big screen, Steven Spielberg was in talks to turn it into an animated movie. He envisioned Haley Joel Osment from “The Sixth Sense” reading for Harry Potter. 

Luckily for Daniel Radcliffe that plan didn’t work out. 

(AP/Warner Home Video)

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Kate Winslet in ‘Bridget Jones’s Diary?’

Lots of ladies were considered for the leading role of Bridget Jones. 

British actresses Kate Winslet, Helena Bonham Carter and Rachel Weisz were all in the running to play the British singleton. Ultimately Renee, a Texas native, snagged the part that would forever change her career.


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Eric Stoltz in ‘Back to the Future?’

Fans of “Back to the Future” almost didn’t get to see Michael J. Fox in the starring role as Marty McFly. 

When he was first offered the part, Michael was busy shooting “Family Ties” and had to turn down the role. So producers began filming the trilogy with Eric Stoltz.

They reportedly weren’t happy with how things were going and eventually found a way to make it work with Michael J. Fox by having him film at night after “Family Ties.” 

Who knows if the movie would have been the cult hit it is without Michael as the star. 

(AP/Universal Studios)

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Molly Ringwald in ‘Pretty Woman?’

Molly Ringwald was a star in the ’80s and reportedly the first choice to play Vivian Ward in “Pretty Woman” (1990). Some other actresses considered for the part? Meg Ryan, Kim Basinger, Sandra Bullock and Heather Locklear. 

Oddly enough, Richard Gere wasn’t the first choice to play Edward Lewis either. Al Pacino and Christopher Reeve were reportedly originally considered for the part. 


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Val in Dirty Dancing?

“Nobody puts Baby in the corner” was almost uttered by tough guy Val Kilmer.

He reportedly turned down the role of Johnny in “Dirty Dancing” because he didn’t want to be viewed as a heart throb. 

You definitely don’t have to worry about that, Val!

(AP/Lions Gate)

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Nicole Kidman in ‘The Reader?’

The lead character in “The Reader” was originally supposed to be played by Kate Winslet, but she was replaced by Nicole Kidman due to a scheduling conflict with “Revolutionary Road.”

However, it seems as though Kate was meant to play the WWII vet in “The Reader” since Nicole Kidman had to bow out when she became pregnant. 

Kate ultimately got the role back and it earned her an Academy Award.

(AP/The Weinstein Company)

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John Travolta in ‘Forrest Gump?’

John Travolta reportedly still regrets turning down the title role in “Forrest Gump.”

But fans of the movie couldn’t picture anyone other than Tom Hanks playing the slow-talking Gump.

Tom did such a good job that it snagged him his second Oscar win.

That’s all I gotta say about that…


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John Travolta in ‘Forrest Gump?’


Katherine Heigl’s big film debut in “Knocked Up” only happened because other leading ladies turned down the part.

“I turned down another movie because it was going to show a vagina–not mine, but somebody else’s,” said Anne Hathaway at the time. “And I didn’t believe that it was actually necessary to the story.”


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Tom Cruise in ‘Shawshank Redemption?’


The 1994 movie seemed practically made for Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman. But if Rob Reiner was in the director’s seat he would have had it differently.

He wanted Tom Cruise and Harrison Ford to star as Andy Dufresne and “Red” respectively. Luckily Frank Darabont directed the cult classic instead. 

(AP/Castle Rock)

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Christopher Walken in ‘Star Wars?’


Harrison Ford may be an awesome Han Solo, but he wasn’t the only one considered for the part.

Nick Nolte, Al Pacino and Christopher Walken were all considered to play the lead in “Star Wars.”

(AP/20th Century Fox)

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Gwyneth Paltrow in ‘Titanic?’


Can you picture Gwyneth Paltrow posing for her portrait in the buff, just wearing a necklace?

Neither can we. 

But she was apparently considered for the lead as Rose Dewitt. 

The studio also wanted director James Cameron to consider Matthew McConaughey for the part of Jack, but he wanted Leonardo DiCaprio.


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Mark Wahlberg in ‘Brokeback Mountain?’


Tough guy Mark Wahlberg was reportedly “creeped out” by the graphic sexual nature of “Brokeback Mountain” and turned down the part of Ennis Del Mar that was ultimately played by Heath Ledger. 

Joaquin Phoenix was also considered to play Jake Gyllenhaal’s character, Jack Twist. 


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Mark Wahlberg in ‘Brokeback Mountain?’

The 1981 movie was almost made with Tom Selleck as Indiana Jones instead of Harrison Ford.

Unfortunately Tom had to turn down the role due to his recently signed contract to star as “Magnum P.I.”


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Indiana roller-coaster weather tweet goes viral

What’s the forecast in Indiana for the week? A little bit of everything, per usual.


Ball State University student Hannah Sauer captured the crazy forecast in a single screenshot and her tweet is now going viral.

The screenshot shows the forecast in Muncie for this week with a different weather icon for each day.

Sauer posted the tweet on Monday, April 3 just after 5 p.m. and it already has over 4,600 retweets and 9,600 favorites.

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Ohio Amber Alert canceled after 2 young children found safe

An Amber Alert for two children, who police say were kidnapped by an armed man, was canceled Tuesday afternoon. The suspect has not yet been caught.

Officers were called to Chardon Road in Willoughby Hills at about 8:20 a.m. Tuesday. A woman said her boyfriend, 24-year-old Clarence Davis, threatened her with a gun and took her car.


According to Willoughby Hills police, the woman’s children, a 3-year-old girl and 5-year-old boy, were inside the vehicle. Davis is not the children’s father.

Police said they believe the suspect still has the gun. He is considered armed and dangerous.


Gavin Traylor and Ravin Briscoe were dropped off with a family member who brought the kids to the Willoughby Hills Police Department, where they were reunited with their mother, police said.

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Egypt just found another ancient pyramid

An excavation team in Egypt has found what appears to be the interior of a buried pyramid dating back 3,700 years to the 13th dynasty. The antiquities ministry says that both a corridor and a block engraved with 10 lines of hieroglyphics are in good condition, reports the BBC, and the team will continue digging in an attempt to estimate its size and glean whatever other details they can.

So far they’ve unearthed not only the interior corridor that leads to the inside of the pyramid but a hall that extends to a southern ramp, as well as a room to the west, reports Ahram Online.

The structure was found near the Dahshur royal necropolis 25 miles south of Cairo, where King Sneferu built the Bent Pyramid, whose angle changes halfway up, and the Red Pyramid, Egypt’s first smooth-sided pyramid, some 4,600 years ago, reports the AP.

His son Khufu went on to build the Great Pyramid of Giza, which is the oldest of the seven wonders of the ancient world. The most recent discovery lies north of the Bent Pyramid and is estimated to have been built about 1,000 years after Sneferu and Khufu’s time.

This article originally appeared on Newser: Egypt Just Found Another Pyramid

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Community mourns Army veteran’s son whose bucket list went viral

The life of 10-year-old Ayden Zeigler-Kohler was celebrated Saturday, as family and friends gathered to remember the boy whose eight-month battle with brain cancer was followed by thousands after his Army veteran father shared his bucket list online.

“He just gave his all and his best,” Jennifer Zeigler, Ayden’s mother, told Fox 43.  “He was my miracle from the beginning.”


Ayden, who lived in Pennsylvania, was diagnosed with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), a rare and notoriously difficult-to-treat type of brain cancer, after he collapsed at football practice. Initially, it was believed he was suffering from a concussion, but once his motor skills began to deteriorate doctors discovered a tumor in his cerebellum and another in his brain stem, the Statesman Journal reported.

When doctors gave him 8 to 12 months to live, Ayden’s father, Bill Kohler, set out to cram as many life experiences as they could into the remaining time they had left. He started a GoFundMe page and a Facebook page to keep supporters up-to-date on their latest adventures, which included a hunting trip and a meet-and-greet with Ayden’s favorite WWE stars at a show in Hershey.


On March 22, Kohler, who said that Ayden’s birth saved him from the brink of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), shared that he died.

“To all who have been following Ayden, we have lost our battle today,” Kohler wrote in part. “Ayden has passed to a better place, and I would like to thank all those who have supported or followed him. He was my heart and the center of my world, and the love that was real. He was the greatest son I could ask for, and the greatest friend a son could be.”


About 400 people gathered at Utz Arena at the York Expo Center on Saturday adorning purple shirts and Pittsburgh Steelers jerseys in support of Ayden, The York Dispatch reported.

“Everything today is from Ayden to the community,” Kohler told the news outlet. “This is what he had asked for.” 

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Theresa May visits Saudi Arabia without headscarf

British Prime Minister Theresa May, turned heads on Tuesday when she arrived in Saudi Arabia without wearing a headscarf – reportedly bucking the advice of her own government.


The photos showed May’s ankles and wrists were covered. However, The Telegraph noted her outfit did not completely comply with Foreign Office guidelines: “Women should wear conservative, loose-fitting clothes as well as a full length cloak (abaya) and a headscarf.”

There is no law in Saudi Arabia forcing foreign visitors to wear a headscarf, the newspaper reported.

The Prime Minister was not the first woman leader to visit this country without a headscarf. Former First Lady Michelle Obama and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice both left their heads uncovered.


May received plenty of attention on Twitter, with several people praising her for her wardrobe choice and some deeming it disrespectful.

Before she arrived in Saudi Arabia, May said she hoped to serve as a role model for oppressed women there, The Sun reported. “I hope people see me as a woman leader and will see what women can achieve,” May said.

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Stars waited for wedding night

Celebrities who saved themselves for marriage

These celebrities say they waited until their wedding night to seal the deal.

Natasha Bure

Candace Cameron’s daugther Natasha Bure writes in her book “Let’s Be Real” about her decision not to have sex until she is married. She told Fox News she made that decision “because of my faith.” She told us, “I wanted to just be honest because I think us, as girls, we all struggle with dating and relationships and I didn’t want to not talk about it because it is such a big part of our world.”



Colton Dixon

The recently married “American Idol” alum told People that he and his now-wife Anna decided they would wait to have sex until after they were married. “It was not easy!” Dixon admitted. “But I believe sex was designed for marriage and I knew it would be more meaningful to wait. That was something I grew up thinking and feeling, and I believe the Bible backs it up as well.”



Pete Holmes

The comedian revealed on his podcast “You Made It Weird” that he was a virgin until he got marred at age 22. He explained on the episode that his decision to save himself for marriage was due to his Catholic upbringing.

(Jesse Grant)


Kevin Jonas

The eldest JoBro got hitched to hairdresser Danielle Deleasa in December 2009, beating his younger brothers to the altar. The couple welcomed a baby girl in 2014.



Sarah Drew

The “Grey’s Anatomy” actress drew from her own life to play virgin character April on the medical drama. “For April, the first thing that was revealed was she was a virgin,” Drew told FOX411. “I waited until I was married to have sex so I understood April’s motivations. The writers thought it would be a really cool and interesting story to tell that isn’t seen too often.”



Megan Alexander

In a world where sex sells, CBS host Megan Alexander’s decision to save herself for marriage stands out. The “Inside Edition” correspondent told FOX411 about why marriage still matters and how she stood up for her beliefs and said no to premarital sex. “I wanted people to know, hey there’s another option. This is the option that I chose and it can work for you too.”


Adriana Lima

This Brazilian beauty managed to resist baseball player Derek Jeter and rock star Lenny Kravitz and remain a virgin until she finally sealed the deal with basketball hubby Marko Jaric. They have since divorced.



Lisa Kudrow

The “Friends” star swore off sex until she tied the knot. The actress got married to husband Michael Stern in 1995 when she was 32. I don’t know if you’d characterize me as uptight, but I understood what it is to be so afraid of sex, of your sexuality… for me it was just ,”No, I’m saving myself. Because I have to make myself worthy of the kind of man I have in mind.”



Courtney Stodden

The then16-year-old aspiring singer, actress and model married 51-year-old actor Doug Hutchinson. The self-proclaimed “good Christian girl,” told GMA in an interview that “I was a virgin when I married…I knew that if I kept that I would really be blessed with a beautiful gift and God did, he blessed me with my soul mate.” The couple has since split…shocking!



Julianne Hough

Although the singer scored high on “Dancing With The Stars,” one place she doesn’t score is in the bedroom. “I want to be with that special person,” Hough told CosmoGIRL!. “I think [the choice] to have sex before marriage is an individual one, but if you’re just with one person, it’s only for one good reason, and [waiting to have sex] will strengthen that relationship.”



Jessica Simpson

At the age of 12, Simpson’s father, a minister, gave her a purity ring and the young aspiring singer promised to stay a virgin until the right guy came along. The singer kept her promise and lost her virginity at 22 to now ex-hubby Nick Lachey. She’s now married to former NFL player Eric Johnson. They have two children together.



Jordin Sparks

The “American Idol” winner brings her grandma along when she travels to make sure she doesn’t lose her virginity. Nothing works like granny panties to ward off the boys!



Carrie Underwood

Carrie Underwood

The country singer and “American Idol” winner told Slate magazine back in 2007 that she was saving herself for her wedding night.

Now a married woman, Carrie tied the knot with hockey player, Mike Fisher in July of 2010.




Heidi and Spencer Pratt

Back in 2008, Heidi’s husband, Spencer Pratt, told Ryan Seacrest that the pair keep things PG in the bedroom before they were married by placing pillows between the them to battle temptation. Yes, pillows.

(AP )


Hilary Duff

The squeaky clean actress copped to her virgin status to Elle magazine in 2006. “It’s harder having a boyfriend who’s older because people just assume. But [virginity] is definitely something I like about myself. It doesn’t mean I haven’t thought about sex, because everyone I know has had it and you want to fit in. But when they talk about it, it doesn’t sound special, like you would imagine it to be. It just seems like everybody has slept with each other – you know what I mean?” Duff is now divorced from hockey player Mike Comrie.



Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon

Hold up – we know these two were not first-timers when they married, but the couple did manage to save their first time with each other  for their wedding night. “It’s not that we had no intimacy, we just didn’t have complete intimacy,” Carey told the Daily Mirror. They’re not divorced. Ew!



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Leggings company gets sued

What’s not to love about buttery soft leggings? When they tear as easily as “wet toilet paper,” which a class action lawsuit alleges about the famously soft leggings put out by LuLaRoe.

A pair of customers filed the lawsuit in California, reports Consumerist, accusing the company, which was started by a then-single mother of seven children, of eight counts related to unfair, illegal, and fraudulent business practices as well as violating laws intended to shield customers and vendors from these practices.

Specifically, the customers claim their new leggings tore or developed holes after the very first wear; the lawsuit claims thousands of customers have complained about the problem on social media and that it’s difficult or impossible to get refunds for defective leggings.

The company apparently admitted in an email that “the leggings may get holes, because we weaken the fibers to make them buttery soft. We have done all we can to fix them.” What’s more, the Better Business Bureau has given LuLaRoe an F rating.

The lawsuit suggests that thousands of consumers across the US could benefit from the lawsuit if they bought leggings after March 31, 2016. Meanwhile, another lawsuit accuses LuLaRoe—which has grown six-fold in two years with sales reaching $1 billion in 2016—of charging customers the wrong sales tax, reports Business Insider.

(LuLaRoe products aren’t sold in stores but instead by independent “consultants,” and they have their own problems with the direct sales company, claiming LuLaRoe misleads consultants about how profitable they can be, among other things, CBS News reports.) But not all is doom and gloom; a recent Buzzfeed review of the leggings is largely glowing about the softness and quality of the leggings, though the limited sizing options (just two sizes for adults) drew complaints.

(United is dealing with its own leggings crisis.)

This article originally appeared on Newser: Lawsuits Filed Over ‘Buttery Soft’ Leggings

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Dominatrix spills on A-listers

Jenny Nordbak is a mom-of-one, a wife, and has a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Archaeology from the University of Southern California.

She’s also a retired dominatrix for Hollywood’s rich and famous.

“I was just about to graduate from USC and was at that crisis point that I think a lot of 22-year-olds reach where I wasn’t’ sure what I was doing with my life,” Nordbak told Fox News.

That’s when Norbak came across an ad for a BDSM dungeon in Los Angeles.

“I kind of went looking for trouble and happened to find it at a dungeon,” she explained saying she took a job there “on impulse.”

It didn’t take long for Nordbak to get hooked on the dominatrix lifestyle. After a series of bad relationships, the then 22-year-old was ready for a change. It didn’t hurt that a few of her clients were well-known actors, even one she had a crush on.

“I had one particularly famous actor,” she told us. “It was surreal and it was definitely distracting at first because you’re supposed to be this aloof and powerful, put together character and starstuck doesn’t have any place in that. So I had to put that to one side.”

Aside from the A-list stars and powerful Hollywood executives that walked through Nordbak’s doors, she did have several D-list clients that were maybe there for the wrong reasons.

“We sometimes saw…D-listers we thought they were coming in, in the hopes that they’d make the news and become noteworthy again [for being spotted at a dungeon].”

Nordbak quit her job as a dominatrix after two years. She hopes that her book, “The Scarlett Letters: My Secret Year of Men in an L.A. Dungeon,” will help women have a more positive view on their sexuality.

“I think the world needs more sex positivity, particularly from women and I think more openness around sex work as well is a good thing,” she said. “There are women out there who are doing it and are not desperate or being exploited. They’re put together driven women who happened to be in a profession that’s outside of the norm.”

Nordbak has already received positive feedback from her moms’ book group in L.A. who had tons of questions for her after reading her book.

“[Women] are curious but don’t know how about going about something like that in their own lives, especially if they’ve been married for a long time.”

Questions Nordbak doesn’t particularly enjoy answering is how her work as a dominatrix holds up to the “50 Shades of Grey” book series.

“I think it’s clearly the work of fantasy versus a reflection of an authentic experience,” she explained. “I think the presentation of the BDSM relationship could be better especially in terms of consent…it’s presented [as if] he’s got some sort of affliction and there’s something wrong with him…versus they’re both [consenting] and both interested in exploring.”

However, the popularity of the “50 Shades of Grey” series helped Nordbak’s family relate to her former profession when she told them the truth about her old job.

“It was terrifying…but they were supportive,” she said.

When it comes to telling her son, who is now one, about being a dominatrix, Nordbak will cross that road when the day comes.

“I’m not ashamed of anything I’ve ever done and I don’t think it should be too tough of a conversation…when he’s old enough to understand.”

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