The most enthralling—and often most frustrating—aspect of being a fan of Prince was this: No matter what, you were never going to figure him out. You’d never be able to fully decode all of his intricate, ornate, mischievous lyrics. You’d never quite understand the reasoning for some of his sideways-twisting business and personal-life decisions. You’d barely even be able to keep up with his musical output, a gargantuan-sized, decades-spanning collection of music that ranged from popping synth-funk numbers to scorching guitar anthems to delicate, lights-dimming R&B ballads (and those are just the songs we heard; who knows how many hours of unheard material still sit in his infamous Paisley Park vaults). Prince, who died today at the age of 57, was never going to let anyone fully into his world. At best, we got small glimpses from time to time. The rest was left to our imaginations.

But the parts of that world we did get to see were like nothing else. In his earliest years, as he workshopped and woodshedded within the R&B and funk scenes of his native Minneapolis, he was one-part funk disciple, one-part ’70s guitar-god; his first truly great album, 1979’s Prince, was pure alchemy, a record that brought together dancefloor come-ons like “I Wanna Be Your Lover” and heavenly axe-shredders like “Bambi” so smoothly, it was as if those two sounds had always existed in the same space. But those early efforts were also, by Prince standards, relatively tame—like so many first-timers, he seemed nervous, almost endearingly so.

And so, we followed him, no matter what: We were his dearly beloved, he was our revolutionary leader, and even if we couldn’t fully understand where he was going, it was always going to be someplace new.

Then came Dirty Mind, an exquisitely sexed-up punk-funk masterpiece that solidified Prince’s reputation as a malleable, constantly-in-motion force that would be forever impossible to predict. Listen to the spare, aching bass of “When You Were Mine”; the whirling, kaleidoscopic keyboards of “Uptown”; or the touchingly horny lyrics of the title track: “I just want to lay ya down/In my daddy’s car/It’s you I really want to drive/but you never go too far.” This was a more forthright, dance-up-in-your-face Prince than just the year before, and he’d emerge again with 1982’s aptly titled Controversy; whether Prince had been holding himself back before, or whether he was simply growing up in front of the audience, was impossible to know. Really, who was this guy?

Amazingly, even as Prince (and his sound) got bigger—as he moved R&B and funk past the nearly all-white boundaries of rock radio—that question was never answered. He was always full of contradictions: A guy who sang about sex with alarming, turn-the-dial-before-mom-hears frankness, yet who somehow never seemed crass nor déclassé. An image-aware provocateur who dressed like this, yet retained an aura of shyness and vulnerability. A rock god who worshiped Joni Mitchell.


By the mid-’80s, Prince aspired to (and achieved) the kind of Top 40 infamy that very few of his contemporaries could manage. At the same time, he seemed to detest so much of the machinations of fame—particularly interviews, which he either dodged, canceled, or conducted with maddening vagueness. This became especially true when he’d reached the upper-stratosphere heights of pop stardom that came with 1982’s 1999 and 1984’s Purple Rain—two records that incited (and downright encouraged!) countless make-out sessions and slow-dances and shotgun-seat air-guitar riffs. (Quick sidebar: Perhaps because he was such a compelling frontman, it sometimes gets lost that Prince was one of the most remarkable guitar players ever, especially live; watching him burn through the opening the maelstrom of “When Doves Cry” was like seeing … I don’t know. I don’t know how to describe it. But if Prince were here, he’d be able to do so with a cozy, succinct one-liner that would put the rest of the room to shame.)

And so, we followed him, no matter what: We were his dearly beloved, he was our revolutionary leader, and even if we couldn’t fully understand where he was going, it was always going to be someplace new. In 1987, he released Sign o’ the Times, a record that would be his most personal and political album—and, among diehards, forever rank as his best, a two-disc extravaganza that found him addressing everything from social blight (the title track) to gender roles (“If I Was Your Girlfriend”) to religious epiphany (“The Cross”). On Sign, he was telling us more about himself than ever before, but he was also copping to confusion—about God, about sex, about who he was. Even Prince didn’t fully know Prince.

Even Prince didn’t fully know Prince.

By then, Prince had also become as much of a social icon as he had a musical one, albeit quietly. Who knows how many lonely teenagers, regardless of sex or race or gender, took inspiration from this soft-spoken, Midwestern boy who wore and sang whatever he wanted, who mixed with genres that had normally been kept in separate silos, and apologized for none of it? Prince, much like David Bowie or Madonna, bestowed upon his fans a giant permission slip, one that allowed them to be as strange or outrageous as they wanted to be. With Prince, experimentation was never taboo; it was simply a sign o’ the times.


Which is why, as the ’80s ended and Prince’s off-stage adventures became just as intriguing as his on-the-record work, he remained as vital as ever. There’s plenty to be said about his ’90s albums, some of which were phenomenal—especially 1991’s Diamonds and Pearlsand 1992’s Symbol (or whatever we’re calling it these days)—and some of which found him either struggling to keep pace with hip-hop or letting his passion for prolificness get the best of him. But even then, he was a pop-culture progressive: Embracing the web at time when most other artists thought it was a scam or a fad (though, being Prince, he’d reverse his opinion on this many times); taking on the record industry and demanding his rights as an artist, even though the big labels were still superpowers; and adopting a D.I.Y. attitude, both in his dealings and his music, that most big-name contemporaries wouldn’t have dared.

Did he always make it easy to love him? No. Did we ever stop? Of course not. In recent years, his concerts—full of medleys and solos and just general good times—were glorious to behold: Here was Prince, within our sights and our grasps, playing as though he were 30 years younger, still this beautiful and thoroughly unknowable force. You could pick any face out in the crowd, and ask what Prince they loved. For some, it was the sly funkster. For others, it was the stadium-commanding rocker or the spiritual inquisitor. We all dug our own picture of Prince; he could be whoever we wanted him to be, because of who he was—a smirking mystery open to interpretation, and a perpetual tease whose flirtations weren’t always consummated. Now that he’s gone, I’m guessing there’s nothing that would delight him more than knowing we’ll be spending the rest of our lives trying to figure him out—analyzing every song, testing every theory, and still talking about … Prince. That’s what he’d want. So let’s go crazy.




Things You Didnt Know About Titanic

1912 marks one of the biggest tragedies ever – a tragedy we know as the Titanic! It is heartbreaking to even recall all that we’ve read about it or seen in James Cameron’s brilliant adaptation of the same. But, here are 21 facts about the Titanic you probably never knew before.

1. Kate Winslet refused to wear a wetsuit while filming the iconic water scene from the film. But staying in water for such prolonged periods of time made her fall sick with pneumonia.

Things You Didn’t Know About Titanic

2. According to a recent theory, the sinking of the Titanic could have taken place because of a full moon that occurred months before the disaster happened. It is said that it created strong tides and changed the position of some icebergs that may have come in the way of the ship. It is also believed that it was no common full moon. Earth hadn’t seen such a full moon since 796 A.D. and wouldn’t ever, until 2257.

Things You Didn’t Know About Titanic

3. There was a ship called Californian in the vicinity of Titanic that could have saved its passengers. But, Californian’s wireless operator went off to sleep early that night, while the Titanic sent out distress signals, one after the other, hoping they would get a response. It is said that even when the crew of Californian tried to wake the wireless operator up, he did not issue any orders to help Titanic. But thankfully, another ship called Carpathia came to the rescue and saved as many people as it could.

Things You Didn’t Know About Titanic

4. Leonardo DiCaprio used to carry his pet lizard to the sets of the film. It once got ran over by a truck but Leonardo gave it a new life by taking good care of it.

Things You Didn’t Know About Titanic

5. Milton Hershey, the founder of Hersheys chocolates was supposed to be on board in Titanic. But fortunately, he cancelled his reservation at the end moment!

Things You Didn’t Know About Titanic

6. A film based on the sinking of Titanic called ‘Saved From The Titanic’ was released just 29 days after the disaster. It featured Dorothy Gibson, one of the survivors. She wore the same dress on the sets of the film that she did on that unfateful day the Titanic sank. Reliving those moments affected Dorothy’s health so adversely, she had a mental breakdown.

Things You Didn’t Know About Titanic

7. The movie had a scene showing the musicians on the ship still playing as it sank and people drowned. That actually happened when the real Titanic sank. Those musicians played for hours and none of them survived.

Things You Didn’t Know About Titanic

8. When Titanic sank, the first draft of the London Daily mail wrongly reported the incident claiming that no lives were lost! It was later updated.

Things You Didn’t Know About Titanic

9. Robert De Niro was approached for the role of Captain Smith but he declined the offer because he was suffering from a gastrointestinal infection.

Things You Didn’t Know About Titanic

10. The chief baker of the Titanic had consumed a lot of alcohol the same night the ship sank. As a result, his body was warm enough to keep him alive in the cold for 2 hours till he was rescued.

Things You Didn’t Know About Titanic

11. Matthew McConaughey was the production studio’s first choice to play the lead but director James Cameron insisted that they sign Leonardo DiCaprio instead. The rest, as they say, is history!

Things You Didn’t Know About Titanic

12. Of the 1514 people who died, only 336 bodies were found.

Things You Didn’t Know About Titanic

13. Gloria Stuart, the 87 year old woman who played the old Rose, was the only person in the movie, who was alive in 1912, when Titanic actually sank. She also became the oldest person ever to be nominated for an Oscar with this film.

Things You Didn’t Know About Titanic

14. While the film was being shot, someone on the sets spiked the cast and crews food with PCP (also called angel dust). It was reported that most of them had hallucinations that day and about 80 people were hospitalized.

Things You Didn’t Know About Titanic

15. James Cameron didn’t even know a passenger called J.Dawsom had actually died in the Titanic disaster in 1912 when he wrote Leonardo Di Caprio’s character.

Things You Didn’t Know About Titanic

16. Titanic, the ship, was actually constructed for $7.5 million, which would approximately be equivalent to $150 million in 1997. The film, Titanic, shot in 1997, cost more than $200 million!

Things You Didn’t Know About Titanic

17. The scene where the Grand Staircase room gets flooded had to be shot in a single go because the sets would be destroyed.

Things You Didn’t Know About Titanic

18. The sketches that Jack makes in the film were actually made by James Cameron himself! The hands shown sketching in the movie were not Leo’s but James Cameron’s. What a man!

Things You Didn’t Know About Titanic

19. Director James Cameron and the Studios considered a lot of actresses like Nicole Kidman, Cameron Diaz, Sharon Stone to play Rose, before they zeroed in on Kate Winslet.

Things You Didn’t Know About Titanic

20. The scene where Leonardo sketches a nude Kate Winslet was one of the most beautiful scenes in the film and the director and the actors wanted it to be perfect. Just to make the scene a little less awkward, Kate Winslet flashed Leonardo DiCaprio the first time they met on the sets.

Things You Didn’t Know About Titanic

21. The film was originally going to be called ‘Planet Ice’.

Things You Didn’t Know About Titanic



‘Game of Thrones’ best quotes.


Best CGI movies


Kids need parental supervision for Jungle Book? Ok, fine. But what about these films

Sometimes, well, the censor board just uses childish logic, thinking it’s looking out for kids

Figuring out the Indian censor board’s logic is a difficult task indeed, but sometimes, a little light shines through.

On Wednesday, dna reported that the Central Board of Film Certification had given a U/A certificate for Jungle Book because it is apparently quite scary on account of the 3D effects. He said: “The 3D effects are so scary that the animals seem to jump right at the audience. It’s not just the story that determines certification. It’s the overall presentation, the packaging and most important of all, the visual affects used to tell the story. In Jungle Book the jungle animals jumping at the audience in 3D is startling. It’s up to parents to decide how much of these effects are suited for their children.”

Well, that’s understandable.

However, what’s bizarre is that the Censor Board seems to think its ok for children to be exposed to devious conniving involving murder, death, or killing. Three cases in point:

Drishyam (U-certificate):

This was a battle of wits involving a man who’s trying to protect his daughter and a top cop of the state. The police chief’s son took videos of a teenage girl while she was bathing, and attempted to use that to blackmail her. In a scuffle, he gets killed. What follows is an elaborate plan by the girl’s father to try and evade the police.

Great film, but should kids be exposed to teenage boys blackmailing teenage girls over nude videos? Not to mention hiding crime from the police, that too accidental death. Are children equipped to dealing with the nuances of law and justice?

Baaji Rao Mastaani (U-certificate)

Love, and lots of plotting and battles involved. Emphasis on plotting. But there are also questions of love, polygamy, courtesans (when Mastani is accommodated with the palace courtesans) etc. Is exposing children to ideas of polygamy ok?

Prem Ratan Dhan Payo (U-certificate)

More plotting and planned murder between brothers and half-brothers. But then, all is well that ends well. The bad guys die.

Moral of the story:

All these films do reflect our world, if not in specifics in abstractions. We do have blackmail, death, murder and plotting. The logic that just overtly scary-looking things need parental supervision is a little, well childish.

The Secret Money Behind ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’

Investigators believe much of the cash used to make the Leonardo DiCaprio film about a stock swindler originated with embattled Malaysian state development fund 1MDB

Despite the star power of Leonardo DiCaprio and director Martin Scorsese, the 2013 hit movie “The Wolf of Wall Street” took more than six years to get made because studios weren’t willing to invest in a risky R-rated project.

Help arrived from a virtually unknown production company called Red Granite Pictures. Though it had made just one movie, Red Granite came up with the more than $100 million needed to film the sex- and drug-fueled story of a penny-stock swindler.

Global investigators now believe much of the money to make the movie about a stock scam was diverted from a state fund 9,000 miles away in Malaysia, a fund that had been established to spur local economic development.

The investigators, said people familiar with their work, believe this financing was part of a wider scandal at the Malaysian fund, which has been detailed in Wall Street Journal articles over the past year.

The fund, 1Malaysia Development Bhd., or 1MDB, was set up seven years ago by the prime minister of Malaysia, Najib Razak. His stepson, Riza Aziz, is the chairman of Red Granite Pictures.

The 1MDB fund is now the focus of numerous investigations at home and abroad, which grew out of $11 billion of debt it ran up and questions raised in Malaysia about how some of its money was used.

Leonardo DiCaprio as a partying Jordan Belfort in a scene from the 2013 film ‘The Wolf of Wall Street.’
Leonardo DiCaprio as a partying Jordan Belfort in a scene from the 2013 film ‘The Wolf of Wall Street.’ PHOTO: PARAMOUNT PICTURES/EVERETT COLLECTION

Investigators in two countries believe that $155 million originating with 1MDB moved into Red Granite in 2012 through a circuitous route involving offshore shell companies, said people familiar with the probes. This same money trail also is described by a person familiar with 1MDB’s dealings and supported by documents reviewed by the Journal.

The story of how “The Wolf of Wall Street” was financed brings together Hollywood celebrities with a cast of characters mostly known for their connections to the Malaysian prime minister. It detours through parties in Cannes and aboard a yacht, and spending on such embellishments as a rare, million-dollar movie poster and an original 1955 Academy Award statuette.

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation has issued subpoenas to several current and former employees of Red Granite and to a bank and an accounting firm the company used, according to people familiar with the subpoenas.

“Red Granite is responding to all inquiries and cooperating fully,” said a spokesman for the company, based in West Hollywood, Calif. He said it had no reason to believe the source of its financing was irregular.

The 1MDB fund and Mr. Najib’s office didn’t respond to questions about Red Granite. In the past, both have denied any wrongdoing. Representatives of Messrs. DiCaprio and Scorsese didn’t respond to numerous requests for comment.

The film grossed about $400 million and was nominated for five Academy Awards, including best picture. There is no indication any profits from it flowed to 1MDB or Malaysia.

Producer Riza Aziz, left, and actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Margot Robbie arriving for the U.K. premiere of ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ in London in 2014.
Producer Riza Aziz, left, and actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Margot Robbie arriving for the U.K. premiere of ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ in London in 2014.

The movie, heavy on depictions of Wall Street debauchery, wasn’t distributed in Malaysia after authorities there demanded more than 90 cuts to comply with local morality laws, a Malaysian official said.

Red Granite Pictures was set up in 2010 by Mr. Aziz, the Malaysian prime minister’s stepson, now 39 years old, and  Christopher McFarland, a Kentucky businessman who is 43.

Mr. Aziz had worked in finance in London, left to travel and ended up in the U.S., he once told the Hollywood Reporter. Mr. McFarland, called Joey, invested in various ventures and moved to Hollywood to try to make movies, people who know him say.

The two were introduced by a mutual friend: a peripatetic Malaysian businessman named Jho Low, who became a fixture on the party circuit in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and New York starting in 2009. Mr. Low gained media attention for a lavish lifestyle that brought him into the orbit of celebrities such as Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan.

Mr. Low knew Mr. Aziz from the U.K., where both had studied, and forged ties to Mr. Aziz’s family, including Prime Minister Najib. In Malaysia, Mr. Low, whose full name is Low Taek Jho and who is 34, played a role in setting up the fund that became 1MDB.

Messrs. Aziz and McFarland worked for a time out of L’Ermitage Beverly Hills, a luxury hotel owned by a company Mr. Low founded. The aspiring movie moguls later set up an office on Sunset Boulevard that they filled with Hollywood memorabilia.

These included a poster for the 1927 Fritz Lang science-fiction film “Metropolis,” a rare original that cost $1 million, said people familiar with it.

ed Granite burst on the scene in 2011 by throwing a million-dollar beach extravaganza at the Cannes film festival with fireworks and performances by Kanye West, dressed all in white, and Pharrell Williams. A few months later its first movie was released, “Friends With Kids,” starring Adam Scott and Kristen Wiig.

“They definitely came off as high rollers when they started,” said Howard Cohen, co-president of Roadside Attractions, the distributor of Red Granite’s first film.

Riza Aziz, Joey McFarland and Jho Low.
Riza Aziz, Joey McFarland and Jho Low.

In the insular movie business, many were surprised to find the high-energy but inexperienced Mr. McFarland overseeing dealings with filmmakers. “Joey is their mouthpiece, and Riza—he said maybe 20 words to me,” said Charles Wessler, a producer of a later Red Granite-backed film.

Messrs. Aziz and McFarland next turned their attention to “The Wolf of Wall Street.” Mr. Low, the Malaysian financier, made a key connection: He knew Mr. DiCaprio and introduced him to Red Granite, according to people familiar with the introduction.

Mr. DiCaprio had long been interested in a movie based on the memoirs of a penny-stock operator who went to prison for fraud, Jordan Belfort. But the actor and other boosters couldn’t find a studio that believed a film so expensive and potentially offensive would find a big enough audience.

Red Granite was willing to take the risk.

Shooting began in August 2012. Three months later, when Mr. DiCaprio had a birthday, the Red Granite principals forged a closer tie to him with an unusual gift: the Oscar statuette presented to Marlon Brando in 1955 for best actor in “On the Waterfront.” People who described the gift said the statuette had been acquired for around $600,000 through a New Jersey memorabilia dealer.

Marlon Brando’s 1955 Oscar for ‘On the Waterfront’ was presented as a gift to Leonardo DiCaprio.
Marlon Brando’s 1955 Oscar for ‘On the Waterfront’ was presented as a gift to Leonardo DiCaprio.

Mr. Aziz, asked about Red Granite’s financing in a 2014 New York Times interview, identified the main investor as a businessman in Abu Dhabi named Mohamed Ahmed Badawy Al-Husseiny. “There was no Malaysian money,” he said.

Mr. Al-Husseiny is an American who then headed Aabar Investments PJS, which is an arm of an Abu Dhabi sovereign-wealth fund known as IPIC. The state-owned firms did business with 1MDB. For instance, IPIC guaranteed some of the Malaysian fund’s bonds.

In connection with the IPIC guarantees, 1MDB reported in corporate filings that in 2012, it sent $1.4 billion to Aabar as collateral.

Investigators believe this money never got to Aabar in Abu Dhabi but went instead to a separate, almost identically named company that Mr. Al-Husseiny had helped set up in the British Virgin Islands, called Aabar Investments PJS Ltd., said people familiar with the probes.

The investigators believe about $155 million of this money then flowed to Red Granite Capital, a firm Mr. Aziz had formed to fund the film company.

Documents reviewed by the Journal show three transfers to Red Granite Capital: of $60 million, $45 million and $50 million in 2012.

The $60 million and $45 million transfers were booked by Red Granite Capital as a loan from the British Virgin Islands company that had a name almost identical to Aabar Investments.

Most of the $50 million moved to Red Granite from that same British Virgin Islands company, via intermediaries, the investigators believe.

Among the intermediaries, according to people familiar with investigations and the person familiar with 1MDB: Telina Holdings Inc., a company that had been set up in the British Virgin Islands by Mr. Al-Husseiny and his boss, Khadem Al Qubaisi.

Representatives of the two men, who have been removed from their posts in Abu Dhabi, declined to comment.

Financing ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’

The 2013 Leonardo DiCaprio film came from little-known Red Granite Pictures. Investigators of a Malaysian state fund called 1MDB believe much of the film’s financing originated there and moved circuitously to Red Granite.

Red Granite Capital

British Virgin Islands firm set up to fund Red Granite Pictures




About $50M

Aabar Investments PJS Ltd.

via intermediaries


Red Granite Pictures

British Virgin Islands firm named nearly the same as a firm 1MDB did business with

Telina Holdings

Another British Virgin Islands firm

Note: Red Granite has said these were loans that are being repaid and that the $50 million is already repaid.

Sources: Malaysia’s Attorney General; people familiar with investigations

A November 2012 loan agreement from Telina Holdings, reviewed by the Journal, shows the $50 million was to fund “The Wolf of Wall Street.” This loan has been repaid, said people familiar with it.

The spokesman for Red Granite said it “has been repaying and will continue to repay all of its loans in accordance with their terms.”

It isn’t clear to whom Red Granite could repay the $105 million loan. The British Virgin Islands firm that extended it was liquidated last June.

“Red Granite had no reason to believe at the time that the source of Aabar’s funds was in any way irregular and still believes the loan to be legitimate,” said the film company’s spokesman.

Once “The Wolf of Wall Street” was in production, Messrs. Aziz and McFarland were sometimes on the set and involved.

On Dec. 31, 2012, around the end of filming, many of those involved celebrated New Year’s festivities in Australia and then flew to Las Vegas on a rented jetliner in time to celebrate it again, according to people familiar with the trip, who said the celebrants included Messrs. Aziz and Low, “Wolf of Wall Street” stars Mr. DiCaprio and Jonah Hill, along with singer and actor Jamie Foxx, an acquaintance of Mr. Aziz. A representative of Mr. Foxx declined to comment. A spokeswoman for Mr. Hill didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Six months after the movie’s debut, Messrs. DiCaprio, Aziz and Low attended the Brazilian World Cup and spent time on the Topaz, a 482-foot yacht owned by Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, chairman of the Abu Dhabi sovereign-wealth fund IPIC, according to people familiar with the excursion. Sheikh Mansour, who is also deputy prime minister of the United Arab Emirates, didn’t attend, they said.

The success of “The Wolf of Wall Street” established Red Granite as a player in Hollywood. It went on to produce “Dumb and Dumber To,” a sequel to the 1994 Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels comedy, and another comedy, “Daddy’s Home,” with Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg. It is planning to bring out a film about George Washington.

Leonardo DiCaprio in a scene from ‘The Wolf of Wall Street.’
Leonardo DiCaprio in a scene from ‘The Wolf of Wall Street.’ 

Investigations of 1MDB “will not affect our ability to move forward with the exciting projects Red Granite is developing,” the firm’s spokesman said.

The last man on the moon on crash-landings, losing his wife and watching an ‘Earth-rise’

Propelled by rocket fuel, ego and tunnel vision, Eugene Cernan was the last man to walk on the moon. Now a new film tells his amazing story, from the crash that charred his helmet to the ‘spacewalk from hell’

‘We saw dazzling things’ … Cernan on the moon during the Apollo 17 mission
‘We saw dazzling things’ … Cernan on the moon during the Apollo 17 mission

Eugene Cernan has felt the white heat of re-entry three times. “The landing,” says the astronaut, understandably animated by the memory, “is like being immersed in a sheet of fire, a comet, a shooting star.” Cernan, alongside crewmates Thomas Stafford and John Young, has also travelled faster than any human being in history: Apollo 10 at one point reached 24,791mph, earning it a mention in the Guinness Book of Records.

Eugene Cernan's space certificate, signed by Richard Nixon

Cernan is talking about The Last Man on the Moon, a new documentary that gives the naturally reticent astronaut, now 82, a chance to tell his story. The bare bones are thus: born in Chicago in 1934 to a Czech mother and Slovak father, he became a naval aviator before being selected by Nasa for astronaut training. He went on to pilot Gemini 9A in June 1966 and Apollo 10 in May 1969, before being selected as commander of Apollo 17, which carried out the most recent moon landing in December 1972. It was on this voyage that Cernan, the final astronaut to reboard the lunar module, became the 12th – and last – man to walk on the moon.

Eugene Cernan with his family in 1972.
‘If you think going to the moon is hard, try staying at home’ … Cernan with his family

He is, as Mark Craig’s film shows, a survivor of that great adventure: neither becoming capsized by it, as Buzz Aldrin was for a while, using alcohol; nor retreating from it, as the reclusive Neil Armstrong did. Like many astronauts, he retains a quiet authority, a military matter-of-factness that manifests itself in certain recurring phrases, not least: “We were there to do a job.”

Occasionally, though, this reticence gives way to a sense of wonder. Some of the best moments in the documentary come when the still-dramatic images of Cernan’s missions are merged with his evocative reflections. “You can hear yourself breathe inside the suit,” he says of the long moments of stillness and expectation just before the launch of Apollo 10. “Everything intensifies – but the clock keeps going.”

Cernan’s first words in The Last Man on the Moon are: “I am the luckiest human being in the world.” But as the film shows, he had his share of bad luck. His first spacewalk from Gemini 9, dogged by technical difficulties, was surely an inspiration for Gravity. Not given to overstatement, he later described it as “the spacewalk from hell”. And although he had successfully carried out more than 200 landings as a navy pilot, he crashed a helicopter in 1971, just two weeks before Apollo 14 was launched, a mission for which he had been chosen as back-up flight commander.

He still has the helmet, most of which is charcoal black. “How can anyone do something so dumb?” he says, still angry with himself. Cernan thought he had “screwed up” his chance of ever being considered for another lunar mission, but a few weeks later he got a call saying: “The job’s still yours if you want it.” The following year, Cernan led the final mission.

“The ground rumbled and all the fish jumped out of the lake,” remembers his then wife, Barbara, of the night launch of Apollo 17. She was one of 500,000 people who watched it from Kennedy Space Center, in Florida, while people as far away as Miami – 225 miles south – saw a red streak in the sky. “It was my personal moment of reckoning,” says Cernan. “This is what I had asked for.”

One last fitting … astronaut Eugene Cernan.
One last fitting … Cernan in training

Unlike the first man to walk on the moon, the late Neil Armstrong, with whom he became friends, Cernan seems to have relished the celebrity the moon landing bestowed on him. He still makes public appearances. “I enjoy meeting people,” he tells me, his voice still strong. “I feel like I’m thanking them for that faith they had in me.”

The documentary shows the human cost of that celebrity, however, particularly for his first wife, Barbara, who says: “If you think going to the moon is hard, try staying at home.” Their marriage did not survive. The Apollo astronauts were an elite group of alpha males, to which family often took second place. Bound by the discipline and dedication of their calling, but also by their shared sense of destiny, they developed egos to match. “We were so tunnel-vision about going to the moon,” says Cernan regretfully in the film, “that we never had time to get off that big white horse we were riding until it was too late. But sooner or later, you’ve got to come to grips with who you are and what’s important in life.”

Cernan now seems to have done that. Does he keep in touch with his fellow astronauts? “Well, you don’t become best friends for the rest of your life in the way you might expect,” he says. “That was certainly not the case with my flights anyway.” But there is one thing he is clear about: “All I ever wanted to do was fly. For a long time, there was nothing else.”

The Last Man on the Moon is out now in the US and opens 8 April in the UK.

He and Harrison Schmitt spent three days on the moon’s surface. “People say, ‘What was it really like up there?’ Or they’ll ask, ‘Did you find God?’ What I remember was that I felt like I had shaped up.” Was he able to have a break and at least try to take in the wonder of it all? “Well, you couldn’t not. We saw some dazzling, extraordinary things, and you had to take time to appreciate them. I mean, not too many people get to see an Earth-rise.” He pauses for a long time. “When I was boarding the lunar module for the last time and I looked at my footprints, I knew I wouldn’t be coming back. That was the one moment when I wanted to stop time.”

The 18 Best Biopic Transformations


Oscars 2016: Complete List of Nominees .

PHOTO: Actress Kate Winslet and actor Matt Damon at the 73rd Annual Golden Globe Awards held at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on Jan. 10, 2016 in Beverly Hills, Calif. | Actor Sylvester Stallone attends the European Premiere on Jan. 12, 2016 in London.

“Spotlight,” “The Revenant,” “Mad Max: Fury Road” and “The Martian” led the way this morning as the 2016 Oscar nominations were officially announced.

“The Revenant” led overall with 12 nods.

The biggest stars in Hollywood also led the way in individual categories with Leonardo DiCaprio being nominated for Best Actor, along with Matt Damon, Michael Fassbender and Eddie Redmayne. Cate Blanchett, Brie Larson and Jennifer Lawrence were among those nominated in the Best Actress category.

Following up on his big Golden Globes win, Sylvester Stallone earned a nod for bringing Rocky back to the big screen in “Creed.”

Here’s the complete list for the 88th Academy Awards:


  • The Big Short
  • Bridge of Spies
  • Brooklyn
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • The Revenant
  • Room
  • Spotlight


  • Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
  • Matt Damon, The Martian
  • Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
  • Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
  • Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl


  • Cate Blanchett, Carol
  • Brie Larson, Room
  • Jennifer Lawrence, Joy
  • Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years
  • Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn


  • Christian Bale, The Big Short
  • Tom Hardy, The Revenant
  • Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight
  • Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
  • Sylvester Stallone, Creed



  • Adam McKay – The Big Short
  • George Miller – Mad Max: Fury Road
  • Alejandro G. Iñárritu – The Revenant
  • Lenny Abrahamson – Room
  • Tom McCarthy – Spotlight


  • Anomalisa
  • Boy and the World
  • Inside Out
  • Shaun the Sheep Movie
  • When Marnie Was There


  • Carol
  • Cinderella
  • The Danish Girl
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Revenant


  • Amy
  • Cartel Land
  • The Look of Silence
  • What Happened, Miss Simone?
  • Winter on Fire


  • Body Team
  • Chau, Beyond the Lines
  • Claude Lanzmann
  • A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness
  • Last Day of Freedom


  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared
  • The Revenant


  • “Earned It” – Fifty Shades of Grey
  • “Manta Ray” – Racing Extinction
  • “Simple Song #3” – Youth
  • “Til It Happens to You” – The Hunting Ground
  • “Writing’s on the Wall” – Spectre


  • Bear Story
  • Prologue
  • Sanjay’s Super Team
  • We Can’t Live Without Cosmos
  • World of Tomorrow


  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • Sicario
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  • The Martian
  • The Revenant


  • The Big Short
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Revenant
  • Spotlight
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens


  • Embrace of the Serpent
  • Mustang
  • Son of Saul
  • Theeb
  • A War


  • Bridge of Spies
  • Carol
  • The Hateful Eight
  • Sicario
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens


  • Bridge of Spies
  • The Danish Girl
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • The Revenant


  • Ex Machina
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • The Revenant
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens


  • The Big Short
  • Brooklyn
  • Carol
  • The Martian
  • Room


  • Bridge of Spies
  • Ex Machina
  • Inside Out
  • Spotlight
  • Straight Outta Compton


  • Carol
  • The Hateful Eight
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Revenant
  • Sicario

The Revenant