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Julianne Moore: ‘I have always, always, always wanted to work with Pedro Almodóvar’ | Culture

Julianne Moore, 63, has recently been spotted in Madrid, where she’s preparing to star in Pedro Almodóvar’s new film, The Room Next Door, the iconic Spanish director’s first feature film in English. “I can’t say anything [about the movie], but it’s very exciting for me, a dream come true. I have always, always, always wanted to work with Pedro,” the North Carolina-born actress emphasized in a video call interview with EL PAÍS, which took place this past February 28. “It’s so wonderful to be cast in his first English language, full length film. I feel very fortunate to be working with him and to be working in Spain and to be in Madrid and to be working with Tilda Swinton (her co-star in the film). [Almodóvar] is the maestro, he’s such an extraordinary and original voice.”

Her film with the Spanish director will be Julianne Moore’s next project, but first, the 2015 Oscar winner for Always Alice is starring in the provocative miniseries Mary & George (available on SkyShowtime, with new episodes every Friday). Historical drama, palace intrigues, sex and dark comedy are the ingredients of a combination that’s already shown itself to be a good fit alongside titles such as the series The Great or the film The Favorite (2018). In this production, however, the backdrop consists of a surprisingly true story: that of a woman who raised one of her sons to become the lover of King James I of England.

Mary Villers — played by Moore — sent her second son to be trained in France, with the intention that, upon his return to England, he would scale the social ladder. He ended up becoming one of the most influential and respected men in early-17th century England, as well as the first Duke of Buckingham, thanks to his relationship with the monarch.

“I didn’t know anything about her and very, very little about [the Jacobean era], to be honest. But I read the script for the first episode and saw that the character started with so much energy and was so incredibly interesting that it grabbed me. Then, I was surprised to discover that it was actually based on a historical figure, who achieved so much in her life that she got buried in Westminster Abbey,” Moore recalls.

Written by D.C. Moore — one of the screenwriters of Killing Eve (2018-2022) — the miniseries is based on Benjamin Woolley’s book The King’s Assassin, about the court of James I and how the young George Villers (played by Nicholas Galitzine) became the monarch’s favorite lover. “I was especially interested in how someone like Mary — who had no agency or independence, who had no property — managed to exercise power through the men she married, or through her male children,” the actress summarizes.

Julianne Moore, while playing Mary Villiers in 'Mary & George.' Julianne Moore, while playing Mary Villiers in ‘Mary & George.’
Rory Mulvey

The series posed several challenges for Julianne Moore. She was the only American actress in an all-British cast. “I think the complicated part was the fact that I am an American, you know? And I’m inserting myself into another culture. And that’s the fun part too, right? Every time that I have an opportunity to be challenged by something and to really put myself in a situation that’s very, very different, on the one hand, it’s very daunting… But on the other hand, it’s exhilarating, because I get to learn something new.”

This was also one of the few times that Moore has appeared in a historical drama. “There was a lot to take in. And there were lots of behaviors for me to understand, just in terms of the culture of the time and the culture of these particular people. The costumes, of course, were extraordinary. And [because it’s] a relatively short period of British history and since there have been very few movies made about this time, there was no stock footage [or materials]. Our costume designer, Annie Simmons, had absolutely nothing [to work with]. She had to build everything from the ground up,” she highlights.

Although palace intrigues (with lots of sex) predominate in the story, humor constantly sneaks into the acidic dialogues. “I do think that the script is very funny and intentionally so. And I do think that that kind of humor comes out of the intelligence of the writing. It feels very alive and very modern. It’s interesting just in terms of its tone, because you’re obviously offering people [a piece of] entertainment and you’re offering them some historical fiction. But it’s also a very modern way of looking at history and being able to see our own selves and our own desires and our own hierarchies reflected,” the actress notes.

Moore is also an executive producer of Mary & George. “I think for those of us who’ve been in the business — those of us who’ve been doing this for a long time — it’s nice to be able to have a voice, just in terms of certain choices. [It’s good] to be invested in the things that you care about,” she explains.

Julianne Moore and Nicholas Galitzine, who play mother and son in 'Mary & George.' Julianne Moore and Nicholas Galitzine, who play mother and son in ‘Mary & George.’ Rory Mulvey

With Mary & George, Julianne Moore returns to a medium that she hasn’t frequented in quite some time (with the exception of the miniseries Lisey’s Story, back in 2021, along with a handful of brief appearances). However, she took her first steps as an actress in the world of television: she was in 126 episodes of As The World Turns, a soap opera that ran from 1985 until 2010.

“I think that I’m interested in the material rather than the venue. You’re always looking for interesting material and I think, in recent years, there’s been an explosion of really, really wonderful material in television. [Mary & George] is among those stories being told.”

A common complaint among actresses is that, as they age, there’s a lack of interesting characters available to them. But what’s Julianne Moore’s experience been like?

“I’ve been asked that question since I started working in the film industry when I was in my 20s,” she laughs. “I think it’s hard for everyone to find good roles. There’s a part of the industry that produces things that [the studios] believe will make money — they’re not producing things because they’re looking for great parts for actors. No matter where you are in your career, it’ll always be a challenge to find really great things to do. That being said, I feel very fortunate that I’ve managed to find compelling and interesting work. It’s basically a gig economy: we go from job to job. So, you finish one job and it’s behind you and you never know what’s going to happen next.”

'Mary & George' is set during the reign of James I.
‘Mary & George’ is set during the reign of James I. Rory Mulvey

EL PAÍS asks Julianne Moore to look back at her career and try to define what her journey as an actress has been like. “It’s a very complicated question,” she sighs. “It’s funny, because when I think about it, I always surprise myself. Sometimes I forget and suddenly it’s like ‘oh, I did this and that!’ I would describe my career as extremely fortunate. I’ve been very lucky to work with incredibly talented filmmakers, screenwriters and actors. I’ve been guided, above all, by the material. When I look back and think about the choices I’ve made, they’ve always been in response to the stories that came to me.”

Does she have any regrets?

Moore thinks for a moment. “Movies I wish I hadn’t made? You know, every once in a while, you find yourself in a situation where you suddenly think, ‘this wasn’t what I expected.’ But even in those moments, you can learn. And there are things you don’t know you can do, until you try,” she concludes.

Culture

Assessing Property Size: What Square Footage Can You Get With The Average UK House Price In Your Area?

Assessing Property Size In The UK

In the United Kingdom, there is a prevailing tendency to gauge the size of residences based on the number of bedrooms rather than square footage. In fact, research indicates that three out of five individuals are unaware of the square footage of their property.

However, a comprehensive analysis conducted by Savills reveals significant variations in property sizes throughout the country. For instance, with the average property price standing at £340,837, this amount would typically afford a studio flat spanning 551 square feet in London, according to the prominent estate agency.

Conversely, in the North East region, the same sum would secure a spacious five-bedroom house measuring 1,955 square feet, nearly four times the size of a comparable property in London.

Best value: Heading to the North East of England is where buyers will get the most from their money

In Scotland, the median house price equates to a sizable investment capable of procuring a generous four-bedroom residence spanning 1,743 square feet. Conversely, in Wales, Yorkshire & The Humber, and the North West, this sum affords a slightly smaller four-bedroom dwelling of approximately 1,500 square feet, while in the East and West Midlands, it accommodates a 1,300 square foot home. In stark contrast, within the South West, £340,837 secures a modest 1,000 square foot property, and in the East, an even more confined 928 square feet.

London presents the most challenging market, where this budget offers the least purchasing power. Following closely, the South East allows for 825 square feet of space or a medium-sized two-bedroom dwelling. Lucian Cook, head of residential research at Savills, emphasizes the profound disparity in purchasing potential across Britain, ranging from compact studio flats in London to spacious four or five-bedroom residences in parts of North East England.

While square footage serves as a critical metric, with a significant portion of Britons unfamiliar with their property’s dimensions, the number of bedrooms remains a traditional indicator of size. Personal preferences, such as a preference for larger kitchens, may influence property selection. For those prioritizing ample space, Easington, County Durham, offers a substantial 2,858 square foot, five-bedroom home, while Rhondda, Wales, and Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Scotland, provide 2,625 and 2,551 square feet, respectively. Conversely, in St Albans, Hertfordshire, £340,837 secures a mere 547 square feet, equivalent to a one-bedroom flat.

The disparity continues in central London, where purchasing power diminishes considerably. In Kensington, the budget accommodates a mere 220 square feet, contrasting with the slightly more spacious 236 square feet in Westminster. Conversely, in Dagenham, the same investment translates to 770 square feet. Three properties currently listed on Rightmove exemplify the diversity within this price range across the UK market.

South of the river: This semi-detached house is located near to three different train stations

South of the river: This semi-detached house is located near to three different train stations

2. Lewisham: One-bed house, £345,000

This one-bedroom property in Lewisham, South London, is on the market for £345,000.

The semi-detached house is set over two floors, and has a private patio.

The property is located near to bus links and amenities, as well as Catford train station.

Edinburgh fringe: This three-bed property is located on the edge of the city, near to the town of Musselburgh

Edinburgh fringe: This three-bed property is located on the edge of the city, near to the town of Musselburgh

3. Edinburgh: Three-bed house, £350,000

This three-bedroom detached house in Edinburgh could be yours for £350,000.

The house, which has a two-car driveway, boasts a large kitchen diner, and is within easy reach of Newcriaghall train station.


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Culture

Top 10 Florida Cities Dominate The Business Startup Landscape In The U.S.

Top 10 Florida Cities And Business Startup Landscape In The U.S.

The Voice Of EU | Florida emerges as a hub for entrepreneurial endeavors, with its vibrant business landscape and conducive environment for startups. Renowned for its low corporate tax rates and a high concentration of investors, the Sunshine State beckons aspiring entrepreneurs seeking fertile grounds to launch and grow their businesses.

In a recent report by WalletHub, Florida cities dominate the list of the top 10 best destinations for business startups, showcasing their resilience and economic vitality amidst challenging times.

From Orlando’s thriving market to Miami’s dynamic ecosystem, each city offers unique advantages and opportunities for entrepreneurial success. Let’s delve into the chronologically listed cities that exemplify Florida’s prominence in the business startup arena.

1. Orlando Leads the Way: Orlando emerges as the most attractive market in the U.S. for business startups, with a remarkable surge in small business establishments. WalletHub’s latest report highlights Orlando’s robust ecosystem, fostering the survival and growth of startups, buoyed by a high concentration of investors per capita.

2. Tampa Takes Second Place: Securing the second spot among large cities for business startups, Tampa boasts a favorable business environment attributed to its low corporate tax rates. The city’s ample investor presence further fortifies startups, providing essential resources for navigating the initial years of business operations.

3. Charlotte’s Diverse Industries: Claiming the third position, Charlotte stands out for its diverse industrial landscape and exceptionally low corporate taxes, enticing companies to reinvest capital. This conducive environment propels entrepreneurial endeavors, contributing to sustained economic growth.

4. Jacksonville’s Rising Profile: Jacksonville emerges as a promising destination for startups, bolstered by its favorable business climate. The city’s strategic positioning fosters entrepreneurial ventures, attracting aspiring business owners seeking growth opportunities.

5. Miami’s Entrepreneurial Hub: Miami solidifies its position as a thriving entrepreneurial hub, attracting businesses with its dynamic ecosystem and strategic location. The city’s vibrant startup culture and supportive infrastructure make it an appealing destination for ventures of all sizes.

6. Atlanta’s Economic Momentum: Atlanta’s ascent in the business startup landscape underscores its economic momentum and favorable business conditions. The city’s strategic advantages and conducive policies provide a fertile ground for entrepreneurial ventures to flourish.

7. Fort Worth’s Business-Friendly Environment: Fort Worth emerges as a prime destination for startups, offering a business-friendly environment characterized by low corporate taxes. The city’s supportive ecosystem and strategic initiatives facilitate the growth and success of new ventures.

8. Austin’s Innovation Hub: Austin cements its status as an innovation hub, attracting startups with its vibrant entrepreneurial community and progressive policies. The city’s robust infrastructure and access to capital foster a conducive environment for business growth and innovation.

9. Durham’s Emerging Entrepreneurship Scene: Durham’s burgeoning entrepreneurship scene positions it as a promising destination for startups, fueled by its supportive ecosystem and strategic initiatives. The city’s collaborative culture and access to resources contribute to the success of new ventures.

10. St. Petersburg’s Thriving Business Community: St. Petersburg rounds off the top 10 with its thriving business community and supportive ecosystem for startups. The city’s strategic advantages and favorable business climate make it an attractive destination for entrepreneurial endeavors.

Despite unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Great Resignation, and high inflation, these top Florida cities remain resilient and well-equipped to overcome obstacles, offering promising opportunities for business owners and entrepreneurs alike.


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Culture

European Startup Ecosystems Awash With Gulf Investment – Here Are Some Of The Top Investors

European Startup Ecosystem Getting Flooded With Gulf Investments

The Voice Of EU | In recent years, European entrepreneurs seeking capital infusion have widened their horizons beyond the traditional American investors, increasingly turning their gaze towards the lucrative investment landscape of the Gulf region. With substantial capital reservoirs nestled within sovereign wealth funds and corporate venture capital entities, Gulf nations have emerged as compelling investors for European startups and scaleups.

According to comprehensive data from Dealroom, the influx of investment from Gulf countries into European startups soared to a staggering $3 billion in 2023, marking a remarkable 5x surge from the $627 million recorded in 2018.

This substantial injection of capital, accounting for approximately 5% of the total funding raised in the region, underscores the growing prominence of Gulf investors in European markets.

Particularly noteworthy is the significant support extended to growth-stage companies, with over two-thirds of Gulf investments in 2023 being directed towards funding rounds exceeding $100 million. This influx of capital provides a welcome boost to European companies grappling with the challenge of securing well-capitalized investors locally.

Delving deeper into the landscape, Sifted has identified the most active Gulf investors in European startups over the past two years.

Leading the pack is Aramco Ventures, headquartered in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Bolstered by a substantial commitment, Aramco Ventures boasts a $1.5 billion sustainability fund, alongside an additional $4 billion allocated to its venture capital arm, positioning it as a formidable player with a total investment capacity of $7 billion by 2027. With a notable presence in 17 funding rounds, Aramco Ventures has strategically invested in ventures such as Carbon Clean Solutions and ANYbotics, aligning with its focus on businesses that offer strategic value.

Following closely is Mubadala Capital, headquartered in Abu Dhabi, UAE, with an impressive tally of 13 investments in European startups over the past two years. Backed by the sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Investment Company, Mubadala Capital’s diverse investment portfolio spans private equity, venture capital, and alternative solutions. Notable investments include Klarna, TIER, and Juni, reflecting its global investment strategy across various sectors.

Ventura Capital, based in Dubai, UAE, secured its position as a key player with nine investments in European startups. With a presence in Dubai, London, and Tokyo, Ventura Capital boasts an international network of limited partners and a sector-agnostic investment approach, contributing to its noteworthy investments in companies such as Coursera and Spotify.

Qatar Investment Authority, headquartered in Doha, Qatar, has made significant inroads into the European startup ecosystem with six notable investments. As the sovereign wealth fund of Qatar, QIA’s diversified portfolio spans private and public equity, infrastructure, and real estate, with strategic investments in tech startups across healthcare, consumer, and industrial sectors.

MetaVision Dubai, a newcomer to the scene, has swiftly garnered attention with six investments in European startups. Focusing on seed to Series A startups in the metaverse and Web3 space, MetaVision raised an undisclosed fund in 2022, affirming its commitment to emerging technologies and innovative ventures.

Investcorp, headquartered in Manama, Bahrain, has solidified its presence with six investments in European startups. With a focus on mid-sized B2B businesses, Investcorp’s diverse investment strategies encompass private equity, real estate, infrastructure, and credit management, contributing to its notable investments in companies such as Terra Quantum and TruKKer.

Chimera Capital, based in Abu Dhabi, UAE, rounds off the list with four strategic investments in European startups. As part of a prominent business conglomerate, Chimera Capital leverages its global reach and sector-agnostic approach to drive investments in ventures such as CMR Surgical and Neat Burger.

In conclusion, the burgeoning influx of capital from Gulf investors into European startups underscores the region’s growing appeal as a vibrant hub for innovation and entrepreneurship. With key players such as Aramco Ventures, Mubadala Capital, and Ventura Capital leading the charge, European startups are poised to benefit from the strategic investments and partnerships forged with Gulf investors, propelling them towards sustained growth and success in the global market landscape.


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— By Darren Wilson, Team VoiceOfEU.com

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