If you don’t remember the mathematical expression that governs the motion of three celestial bodies in a vacuum, fear not. Netflix has spent over $160 million to help you out. To make that completely clear: the streaming supergiant has spent $20 million (£16 million) per episode to make 3 Body Problem, an alien-invasion epic of such sweeping complexity that it makes the Big Bang theory read like a nursery rhyme. That makes it the streamer’s most expensive scripted series ever.


Based on the Remembrance of Earth’s Past novels by Chinese author Liu Cixin, the show covers a phantasmagoria of spacey theories and concepts—both real and imagined—from the “Wow! Signal” to the Fermi Paradox, Rare Earth Theory to Dark Forest Theory.

Do you need a degree in astrophysics to enjoy the show? Of course not. Still, an elementary understanding of some of these ideas will improve the journey. This is where Liu Cixin’s books come in, carefully explaining abstruse science concepts in clear language, many of which Netflix can only touch on lest it overloads our screentime-addled attention spans.

But the Remembrance of Earth’s Past is more than just a string of theories. It’s also a rollicking tale of cosmic intrigue, human resilience, and angry aliens. It’s a narrative that spans centuries and galaxies, intertwining a rich constellation of characters as they pinball about through time and space.

The story is not just about survival against extra-terrestrial forces. It's also about the philosophical and ethical questions that come with the advancement of civilisation. It challenges viewers to consider what it means to be human in the face of the unknown and the lengths to which we will go to protect our world and our species.


Which is all to say, really: it’s a load of alien-invading fun.

There are five books set in the Remembrance of Earth’s Past universe, three of which were penned chronologically from 2006, with a prequel and a sequel later written to fluff out the franchise.

But how should you read them, and when?

1. Ball Lightning (2004)

This is not part of the original trilogy that shot Liu to fame two years later. So it should be seen as more of an antipasto to the main course. But it’s nonetheless a tasty introduction to the Three Body Problem universe, minus the aliens.

It follows Chen, who, after witnessing his parents’ death by ball lightning, dedicates his life to unravelling this phenomenon. What that is, exactly, is best left to the book to explain in detail but suffice to say it’s a rare and unexplained phenomenon where small electrical fireballs burst like bullets out of thunderstorms and then explode. They’ve been known to kill people.

Chen’s research leads him to Lin Yun, a brilliant physicist with unorthodox theories about the nature of ball lightning. As they embark on a perilous quest for knowledge, they uncover secrets that challenge fundamental understandings of physics and reality itself. It’s a gripping narrative that weaves together science, intrigue, and human emotion in a thrilling exploration of the unknown.

2. The Three-Body Problem (2006)

The serious business begins. It opens during China's Cultural Revolution, where astrophysics student Ye Wenjie witnesses her father's death and loses faith in humanity. After a stint in prison, she is recruited by a secret military project tasked with uncovering extraterrestrial life. She sends a beacon into outerspace... and unwittingly invites aliens to Earth.

Meanwhile, nanotech expert Wang Miao is drawn into a mysterious VR game mirroring the chaotic climate of a three-sun alien world. Turns out the game and the secret military project are linked, revealing a desperate alien civilization planning to invade Earth. It soon gets out. And as humanity wrestles with this threat, Ye Wenjie becomes a leader for those who welcome the alien takeover, fracturing society and forcing humanity into a tug-of-war for its own future.

3. The Dark Forest (2008)

The second book of the trilogy digs into two key alien-related theories: the Fermi Paradox and Dark Forest theory. The first asks: if we exist, so too must aliens… so where the hell are they? The second says we should hope we never find them.

Dark Forest theory, in other words, argues that – in a universe where civilizations don't know each other's intentions – the safest bet is to lurk in the shadows like hunters in a forest, ready to strike first against potential threats.

But back to the story, and humanity faces annihilation. Four centuries separate Earth from the arrival of a ruthless alien armada, the Trisolarans, fleeing their dying sun. But Earth's fightback is crippled by sophisticated alien probes, sophons, that monitor every move and stifle technological advancement.

In a desperate bid for survival, Earth creates the Wallfacers - a clandestine group with access to any resource imaginable. Their mission: devise humanity's secret defence strategy. Luo Ji, a brilliant but unorthodox sociologist, is thrust into this world after a near-fatal encounter. As he delves deeper, he uncovers a terrifying cosmic truth - the Dark Forest theory - that rewrites the rules of interstellar relations and forces humanity to make unthinkable choices in the face of an unforgiving universe.

4. Death's End (2010)

Decades after the precarious truce with the Trisolarans, humanity enjoys a golden age fuelled by alien technology. Yet, a chilling truth lurks beneath the surface. Cheng Xin, an idealistic engineer from Earth's pre-invasion past, awakens from hibernation to a world transformed. She's thrust into a new role as a Wallfacer. However, whispers of a devastating Trisolaran weapon, capable of destroying entire solar systems, threaten the fragile peace.

Meanwhile, a historical anomaly from Earth's past resurfaces, hinting at a mysterious force that could rewrite the course of the Trisolaran invasion. As humanity grapples with existential threats and internal factions with conflicting agendas, Cheng Xin must find a way to ensure humanity's survival in a universe where cosmic deterrence hangs by a thread.

5. The Redemption of Time (2011)

If Ball Lightening was the antipasto, this is the complimentary limoncello that comes with the bill.

Liu didn’t actually write this instalment. It began as a work of fanfiction by the (now acclaimed) sci-fi writer Baoshu. But its reimagining of Liu’s world, fresh with new characters and ideas, proved so popular that the original trilogy’s publisher picked it up and published it in 2011, with Liu’s permission.

It revives a number of characters from the series, including Yun Tianming, a controversial and lightly drawn figure from Death's End. Presumed dead, he awakens in a distant future where humanity is facing existential threats from advanced civilizations. He discovers that he has been resurrected by an enigmatic alien entity known as the "Sophon" and is tasked with uncovering the truth behind humanity's past and its place in the universe.

As Yun Tianming navigates this unfamiliar future, he encounters familiar faces from the original trilogy, such as Ye Wenjie and Cheng Xin, and grapples with complex moral and philosophical questions. The novel delves into themes of redemption, identity, and the consequences of humanity's actions across time and space.

Fans of Liu can probably live without it, but if you’ve completed the series and need an extra fix, Redemption of Time will scratch that itch.

Originally published on Esquire UK

The last time we saw Loki (played by Tom Hiddleston), he and Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino) killed Kang (Jonathan Majors) (the latter plunging a dagger into Kang's heart) and started a multiversal war—one that is the McGuffin for MCU's Phase 4.

Except, that was waylaid by a worldwide pandemic. And Majors' domestic abuse scandal didn't help matters so we don't even know if Majors will be a major player (ugggggh) in Marvel's future. There has been a bit of rejigging in terms of the storyline so we're not sure if Kang will be the big bad. But with enough time and distance, people will forget about the hiccups in favour of a newer, better thing.

But even with the presence of Kang in the second season of Loki, this is still about Loki. This is after all the titular demi-god of trickery and excellent hair's rodeo. He's now an agent of TVA (Time Variance Authority) and he'll be working with Mobius M Mobius (Owen Wilson), Hunter B-15 (Wunmi Mosaku) and introducing OB or Ouroboros played by Oscar winner, Ke Huy Quan. And who is OB? According to a featurette, he acts like a Q-type who is in charge of the gadgets and sage wisdom.

Loki is also susceptible to timeslipping, where he phases in and out of his current and other timelines. Will this be detrimental to his well-being like the Spider variants from the Spider-Verse? Is this a side-effect of the multerverse? And what is the deal with Miss Minutes, TVA's animated anthropomorphic clock mascot (voiced by Tara Strong)? We won't know until the first episode drops 6 October.

Loki season 2 will drop on Disney+ this Friday.

Regressing to a past life finds Pedro Alonso filling the sandals of Filipo, an ancient Roman warrior. In an autobiography unlike most others, the actor—I’m referring, of course, to Alonso’s present-day proceedings. There are details a journey towards spiritual liberation; how the encounters with a rebel leader (think Neo from The Matrix) open young Filipo’s eyes to a hidden truth. Oh, and a troubling trade-off: to serve the system or to serve his principles.

For a man robbing the Royal Mint of Spain, this soldier’s dilemma is easily answered. After all, the desire to illegally print billions of euros doesn’t betray much love for the system. In Money Heist, Alonso plays Berlin—a character driven by a strict code of duty. So committed to the plan, in fact, that he opts to stave off a SWAT team by himself while the rest of his crew try to escape.

Alonso lives many lives—on-screen, in regressions, through his words and paintings—and he lives them all at once. Yet, in his eyes, they all seem to be one and the same.

“I try to work with my own nature,” Alonso describes the process of playing Berlin. He pauses, to clarify that he’s not a killer or pervert. “I’m not so tremendous nor terrible, but all of us have shadows and areas of light. I try to find the resonances, the notes that are innate to me. And I go deeper and amplify these aspects.” It’s a melting pot born from introspection. “I begin cooking it up like soup. I paint using references, fill in the blanks with my intuition. In some moments, I pray, in my own way, to try and figure out the mysteries. It's about putting myself in a place to disappear in the role.”

Alonso’s method is one of self-discovery. It doesn’t call for him to transform into a character but, rather, to find the character within himself. He sleuths through the script. In search of lines (or the spaces between them) that connect with him on a visceral level. “I approach it like an investigator would. Trying to shine a light. To find meaning behind what’s happening in my pure present—as an actor and as a human being too. I always want to discover the angle of view in a role that offers me the opportunity to grow as a person,” Alonso says.

“Sometimes, it’s not exactly in the script. I have to find the right perspective which allows me to bring something alive in the role. Without that intimate connection, I wouldn’t be able to channel the right emotions.” By way of his method, Alonso finds some roles to be simply out of reach. “There are actors who play almost the same character every time, and I admire them. Then there are others who have the ability to play different characters, and I admire them too. For me, it’s important that there be an esoteric meaning in the opportunity to play a role. I don’t believe I can play all sorts of characters.

“But I prefer not to anticipate what’s going to happen in my career,” he interjects—not for the first time during our conversation. Alonso is enamoured by the idea of being present.

It’s a trait which he has picked up over his time spent in a red jumpsuit and a Dalí mask. “Berlin is in the pure present,” he says. “He’s in no rush to know what’s going to happen next. That has been a good lesson for me.” Alonso’s unexpected return for the third season of Money Heist (albeit in flashbacks) helped solidify his indifference towards the future. “I died, and then I continued playing the role,” he explains. “I’ve realised that it’s best not to anticipate.”

Each time that it’s brought up, Alonso speaks about Berlin’s death as if it were his own. “After my death,” he says, “I had a new opportunity to live the process on another level.” As it turns out, his close association with the character—which birthed his excellent portrayal in the first place—would now become his primary obstacle. In playing a younger version of Berlin, Alonso would have to strip him down of qualities which, so far, he had firmly committed to. “The best parts of the role disappear in flashbacks. I spoke about that with the writers. I told them, ‘I’m going to die and I don’t know if I’ll be able to sustain the role after that.’”

A jump into the unknown then—accompanied by a fear of critics, but balanced out by a relentless search for personal growth. “For me, the miracle is that I received the support of the public,” Alonso recalls the aftermath, yet again endorsing his thoughts on anticipating the future. “This difficulty, this handicap—it offered us the opportunity to uncover hidden parts of the role and paradoxically, these hidden parts were more luminous than the ones already known to us.” It takes a lot to elicit sympathy for an egocentric narcissist with a tendency for misogyny and murder, but as the story goes so far, Berlin’s set to bow out a fan favourite.

Coming up on the final season, Alonso says, “We’ve put together all the different aspects of the role here. I pray, in my way, to be able to offer the spectators an explanation which makes them perceive the entire journey of the character.”

As the curtains close, for good this time, Alonso isn’t one to seek comfort in familiarity. “I understand that in life there are cycles. Everything has a beginning and everything must have an end,” he reflects. “I feel like this is a good time to close off this amazing experience. What happens after this is going to be a new cycle and we’ll see what that entails.”

So, What's Next?

A Netflix project under wraps, a documentary about shamanism on hold, but most imminent is Alonso’s role in a movie by Oscar-nominated director Rodrigo Sorogoyen. “If Berlin is super sophisticated, the role that I’m playing next is the opposite,” he says. “[The character’s] rudimentary, irrational— almost a brute. It’s a very different role and I’m beginning to feel the fear creep in because I don’t know what’s going to happen with my process. I’m very thankful for the opportunity though.”

Contemplating the blank canvas ahead of him, Alonso draws parallels between acting and painting. “Many years ago, I discovered that when I read literature written for painters, I understood it better than the texts written about being an actor. I connect better with the sensibility of the painters. It aligns with the way I process information. This has allowed me to approach acting more intuitively,” he shares.

“I try to play my roles the way I’d paint. When you’re in front of a canvas, you can have a plan but the most incredible thing is to be open to accidents. When I paint, I mostly use my right hand. But I’ve discovered that when I do this, my brain forces me to be precise and controlled. It isn’t interesting. So I’ve started using my left [hand] to mess up the strokes, after which, I try to reconcile the painting. I like painting in an impulsive way and using these ‘mistakes’ as opportunities.

“The same goes for acting. If I’m playing a sequence and something unexpected happens, it can be a gift. It’s more mysterious. It’s more authentic. If you demand control, you’d see it as a problem. But if you’re open, it can be the best thing— you stop trying to anticipate moments and instead, find yourself connected with what’s happening right now.”

Further connecting the dots between his artistic endeavours, Alonso quotes Italian sculptor Ignazio Jacometti—“I paint so I can see better.” Through his sequences, musings, paintings and past lives, he discovers pieces of himself—each one helping him hone in on a greater puzzle. “I discovered these treasures in my adult life and it was a surprise for me. I began to paint when I was 33; I started writing, the way I do now, six years ago at 44. I’m not a professional painter or writer but I enjoy both. I recognise myself in my work. It’s difficult to be absolutely clear but these are the lenses that I try to regulate with more and more precision—to be open to the mystery, the infinite mystery.”

Though he stumbles upon contrast and conflict, across characters portrayed and disciplines pursued, Alonso views such qualities as being intrinsic to life. “I try to be the person that I am, with all my paradoxes.”

All of the original Money Heist series is now out on Netflix.

Photography: Monica Suarez De Tangil
Styling: Sara Fernandez Castro.

Originally published on 7 December, 2021.

Attention Arconiacs! Your favourite detectives are back in business. Only Murders in the Building returns for a third season—so grab a notepad and get ready for another round of mischief and mystery.

Season Two left us with a massive cliffhanger. After Mable (Selena Gomez), Charles (Steve Martin), and Oliver (Martin Short) rightfully accuse Poppy (Cara Delevingne) of killing their neighbour, she's arrested. They promptly return to their regular lives—you know, before their multiyear detective work began. Then, the show flashes forward a year to a time where everyone is prospering. Oliver is even working on a Broadway show. But on opening night, his lead actor, Ben Glenroy (Paul Rudd), drops dead on stage, sparking yet another murder mystery.

Cut to the Season Three trailer, where we meet the cast of Oliver's show. Everyone was present for Ben's murder... which means everyone is a suspect. So, who did it? Was it Loretta Durkin (Meryl Streep), Ben's co-star with a hunger for fame? Or Kimber (Ashley Park), an influencer-turned-actor with questionable intentions? Perhaps Jesse Williams's character, a documentarian who becomes investigated in the case, is more conniving than he appears. Maybe it's someone else entirely.

In the world of podcasting, anything is possible. Esquire's entertainment team conducted some research prior to the Season Three premiere and made some predictions about what might occur next.

Blame it on Meryl

Maybe I’m being presumptuous, but I blame Meryl Streep! Why else would OMITB add such an iconic actor to the cast? I simply have to assume that her character, Loretta, is the killer. The way I see it, Loretta was desperate for fame—and Ben got in her way. In the Season Three trailer, we catch a glimpse of Loretta’s struggles as an actress. She practically begs for a role in the play. Then, after seeing her less-than-stellar performance, Ben asks for her to be kicked out of the show. What if Loretta found out? Sounds like a motive to me.—Bria McNeal, Associate Staff Writer

You Might Want to Check the Core Three...

It would be really exciting if one of the core three podcasters was the murderer. Hulu could still figure out how to keep them on the show. Maybe they just get away with it? Even better, maybe it's OK because the murder was done in self-defence. However OMITB works it out—I'd love to see either Selena Gomez, Steve Martin, or Martin Short pretend like they didn’t know who killed Paul Rudd because they did it themselves. As the other two try to solve which one in the trio did the crime, we would also have the second mystery of why Rudd even wanted to kill them in the first place. Up the ante, folks! You have to go big for Meryl Streep.—Josh Rosenberg, Assistant Editor

Leave Meryl Out of It!

Paul Rudd is dead! Another murder has taken place, people. This time, decidedly not in the building, but we’ll give them a pass—three murders is a bit of a stretch. Anyway, Broadway is close enough. Oliver’s show is ruined when his star drops dead on opening night, and it sure seems like Meryl Streep is being set up as the murderer in the trailer, which means she isn’t, because OMITB never picks the obvious choice. (But damn, does Hulu have a talent budget for this show.) So, who do I think did it? Some disgruntled theater employee who was going to be the next big thing two decades ago, but then Paul Rudd got the part instead—and he’s held a grudge ever since. I just want to know how Bunny’s bird is doing.—Lauren Kranc, Content Strategy Editor

You're All Wrong, OK?

C'mon, people! Have none of you ever seen Election? Or "Misery Date," from Season Four of Modern Family? Ferris Bueller, damn it! Matthew Broderick always has some sort of ulterior motive. My colleagues are all too focused on the Meryl Streep of it all to pay attention to the trailer's quick shot of Broderick's mystery character. Streep is OMITB's Celebrity Cameo Red Herring, meant to make you obsess over her role, when it's actually the other famous person you should care about. I don't need to see a single minute of Season Three to write the following five words: Matthew Broderick is the killer.—Brady Langmann, Entertainment Editor

Originally published on Esquire US

The first episode of The Bear features Carmen Berzatto, who is miserable and in serious debt. He inherited the restaurant that his brother left to him before taking his own life. With the restaurant came hundreds of thousands of dollars in bills and loans that must be repaid, and not a single helpful hint from his brother on how to locate the money to save his mess of a sandwich shop. So, Carmy does what anyone in his situation would do—he goes home, opens his oven, and takes out a few pairs of the really rare, antique denim items he's been keeping there. (There are even more in his closet; the oven only serves as a storage space for extra goods.) Then, he organises an impromptu meeting in a parking lot and sells them.

We see Carmy's first journey into the realm of menswear ten minutes into the popular FX series, and it won't be his last. After The Bear premiered in 2022, all anyone could talk about was the show's fashion—and for a show about the art of making and serving food, that's kind of a big deal. The costume design in The Bear isn't as outrageously over-the-top as it is in Sex and the City or Emily in Paris, where the scene changes constantly. It isn't even Succession, where, for the last few seasons, catching moments of stealth wealth and unbranded luxury goods turned into a Sunday night sport. It's a show about family, trauma, chefs, cuisine, and forgiving, and among it all, fashion is the main character, the common denominator that threads it all together.

The outfits on The Bear might not look like anything overtly ostentatious—but for the niche menswear fanatics, isn't that the best way to go? It's about everyday, real-world fashion—a streetwear brand here, a designer item acquired on the spur of the moment there. Carmy's attire is understated, yet if you have a keen eye, you can see he obviously knows his stuff. He's rarely seen not wearing a white shirt and black pants—a classic combo, sure, but also a meticulous one consisting of a perfect (yet niche) tee and just the right fit of pants for a character that is obsessive and habitual and appreciates craftsmanship and history.

"Chefs have a particular eye for detail and what looks good—quality, cut, colour, which I think has come through with Carmy, with Syd, and with Marcus," says Courtney Wheeler, the show's costume designer. Carmy, the quintessential workwear king, is wearing a 75-euro German-made tee, Dickies, and Birkenstocks to represent the current gods of fashion. Everyone's favourite sous-chef, Sydney, has more unique vintage items on her person than the eye can see. Marcus, the beloved pastry-chef, who is rarely seen without a streetwear (or streetwear-adjacent) logo, whether it be Carhartt or Jordan or Fear of God. It's all done with intention and months of sourcing, plotting, bidding, and buying. Everything from the custom Thom Browne chef coat Carmy gifts Sydney to the USD2,500 waistband of the 1950s Levi's Carmy wears around his kitchen comes from Wheeler and her team diving into the characters' histories, their arcs, their thought processes, and the basements of every store in Chicago.

Wheeler discusses everything from the most significant events in season two to the final red Carhartt beanie in existence.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Before we even get into talking about The Bear itself, I’m so curious to know what your reaction is to seeing everybody on the Internet freak out about the style of the show and the hype around the fashion.

It's really surprising. What we thought was going to be a very niche show, well-loved by the restaurant industry, turned out to be this bigger thing, which we're all stoked about. I think it happened to be a style show just because chefs, if you get to know them, have their own personal and unique style. So we definitely wanted to put that in the show and to put a point of view of real people who are in the world and have an interest in clothes.

I think that [The Bear] is true to that, in that I think chefs have a particular eye for detail and what looks good—quality, cut, colour, which I think has come through with Carmy, with Syd, and with Marcus. It's been really cool to see the reaction, it's really awesome that people appreciate the clothes. Even on set and in our personal lives, the cast and crew are all constantly looking at each other like, "Where'd you get that? What are you wearing?" We're constantly going back and forth. I do think we are a cast and crew that like clothing.

Did you go to restaurants and draw inspiration from the teams there for the show or was this something you noticed before even working on The Bear?

You'll always see someone and you'll make a note of that person looking good, but you don't really truly connect the dots until you start working on a show like this. And especially as a costume designer, you're always looking at people like, oh, that's great. But especially since The Bear started, I will never walk into a restaurant the same way. It was definitely a moment of always looking over the counter, always seeing what front of house is wearing, what back of house is wearing, asking them questions, like, "Why these? What pants are you wearing? Why? Tell me your decision-making process."

I have friends who are chefs who have great style, but I never really connected it to the industry until I started doing The Bear. Even within their uniforms, there's a way it hangs on their body and how they want to wear it. I love that. Especially the first season, we had the constraints of a uniform, but we get to bring people's personalities forward, in a way.

What was your process like in curating each character’s wardrobe?

When we first did the pilot, Cristina [Spiridakis and I] came in with a blueprint for the characters, and she came in with mood boards. As you go into fittings and as you start talking to the actors, you have to flow a little bit more, and you lean into what's working and what's not working. Especially with that first pilot, we had just seen everyone in uniform. That was all we had to go on for months about what was going to inform their personality. But even then, if you notice, Marcus is wearing a red beanie in the pilot, with these black work boots. And when I went back to shoot the rest of the season, I had a conversation with Lionel [Boyce], and he was like, "I've been training, when I went to Copenhagen I've been wearing this beanie and these Infared Jordans." He's like, "Can I bring them to the show? Do you think that Marcus would wear these?" And I'm like, "I think that makes total sense."

So Marcus wears the same beanie that Lionel was wearing. We took his inspiration. It's funny, because this beanie has come back to haunt my department. We usually have alts for everything, and alts for everyone's kitchen shoes. Every time you see them in the kitchen actively cooking, we have at least three versions of those, because we change them out. But with Marcus and this beanie [after the pilot], we could not find the [green] colour. We could not find the Carhartt beanie...Marcus must have literally gotten the last one in stock. We reached out to Carhartt, we were in Copenhagen looking for it, we could not find the exact colour match. It's kind of haunting us and we'll address it in later seasons in my mind, but I'll cross that bridge when I get there.

Your sourcing process sounds wild. There are three characters whose style I find so different, but so distinct, and those are Carmy, Richie, and Sydney, who cumulatively wear everything from vintage pieces to Adidas trackies to plain white tees. Where did you find their pieces?

Oh, man, literally everywhere. Me and my assistant and our shopper—we are leaving no stone unturned, especially when it comes to shopping in Chicago. The first thing I do when I arrive is hit the streets. Even if we're not buying anything right away, we're in the shops. We're talking to our vintage sellers in Chicago, we're seeing what they have. We're going to the independent stores, and there's so many great local shops in Chicago. We're making those connections and seeing what's out there. We're in basements. Carlos from Knee Deep in Chicago is one of my friends now, because we're literally like, hey, we're looking for this and this. He goes: Go in the basement. Here's some seltzer water, knock yourself out. And we're doing that, digging through [bags of vintage] trash. We're doing that all over town.

So when I tell you it comes from Chicago, it comes from the thrift shops out there, it comes from eBay, it comes from Etsy. We have people in New York. When I tell you it comes from everywhere, it truly comes from everywhere. Even Ebon [Moss-Bachrach], who plays Richie, loves eBay. That's his source for where he shops in his personal life. There’s this one shirt that we didn’t get to use this season that, trust, next season it’ll be on the top of the list. Ebon found it, and said, "Can Richie have this? Can you purchase it?" I’m like, bet. So I'm in eBay bidding war, making sure I get this item. I won it, which I’m proud of.

Oh my god, I can't wait to see next season what shirt that might be.

With Richie, his stuff is a mix of vintage and store bought. Even with his store bought stuff, sometimes we have to change the colour slightly and over-dye it, just in case it's a little too bright. Sometimes the accent colours pop too much, we have a wonderful dyer who will go in and hand-paint it for us. We’ve gotten Richie’s stuff from Adidas and Lacoste, but also, thrift stores and vintage markets. Some of his T-shirts are deadstock vintage. He’s a mix and Syd is a mix. Carmy, actually, we got one pair of vintage Levi’s for. I don’t think we see more than the waistband of them. Accounting will kill me—they know, they saw the receipt. It’s a pair of USD2500 vintage 1950s Levi’s that were beautiful, they’re gorgeous, Jeremy was obsessed with them because they fit him perfectly. We didn’t have to do anything to alter them, they were just perfect.

When you source things like those Levi’s for Carmy, are we as the audience supposed to read that as Carmy going and hunting down this really rare, expensive pair of jeans for himself? Or is it more like “if you know, you know,” but if you don’t catch it, then it’s just Carmy in some random pair of jeans?

Oh, that's such a good question. With Carmy, I will say he knows what it is. He collects denim, he probably has someone who he goes to, a source that he trusts where he’s getting these pieces from, because most of the people who collect denim do. So if he’s wearing that, he knows what it is. People were asking if Sydney would be wearing this Million Women March T-shirt she has knowing what it is, and I’m like, yeah! Sydney wearing a Million Women March T-shirt is not her buying it from Round Two or eBay like we did. She got that from her mom. That’s something that her mom wore that she’s holding on to. That Bulls T-shirt, she’s probably found in her dad’s closet and kept wearing it.

For characters like that, they're just picking up whatever. Someone who would be a little different would be Marcus, who’s wearing a Black Ivy T-Shirt. He knows what it is, he knows what it means. He knows what his T-shirts stand for. He's wearing it because he's like, oh, I don't wear this out anymore, I'll just wear them to the shop.

What was your thought process when curating Carmy’s wardrobe?

Carmy is a creature of habit. When we established him at the beginning of the season, for the pilot, we already knew he was going to wear the Merz B. Schwanen shirt. And then he was wearing the Carhartt Work In Progress pants, and then he had Dickies. He would flip between those brands, but he also had a couple different workwear pants. Also, for season one, he wore Whitesville T-shirts and he wore a Supreme T-shirt. But as it went on, especially for the second season, Jeremy and I streamlined him a little bit more. He truly only really wears the Merz white T-shirt, and he has a bunch of the Carhartts. Sometimes he'll wear his Dickies, but we wanted him to be focused more.

He knows what he wants, so he just buys more of that. He already has honed his style. Especially for this season, we're kind of playing with the idea that he's moving in now. So instead of the one blue sweater, you’ll see him in the grey one. Maybe he has another sweater. He'll start playing with it more, just because he probably unpacked, but unless you see him in flashbacks, he’s pretty focused and established in what works for him.

Of all the plain white T-shirts in the world, why did you settle on Merz B. Schwanen?

That was established in the pilot. By the way, fun fact: Right now, we shoot in a big studio out in Chicago. But for the pilot, our offices were across the street from Mr. Beef, which is what The Beef is based off of, but it was a defunct restaurant called Brunch. So we're sitting in the middle of this defunct restaurant, facing each other, being like, "What's a good T-shirt?" Kind of screaming to each other across the way. But Chris Storer loves the Supreme x Hanes, so we got some Supreme x Hanes in there. Then we got regular Hanes. We got some ALD T-shirts. When I tell you we got T-shirts from literally everywhere, I think we had about a dozen different brands. Jeremy walked into the fitting and it's literally just white T-shirts and black work pants and Birkenstocks. He looks at us, like, "This is what I’m doing?" We said, yeah, this is what you’re doing, and he said, “Okay, great.”

The Merz just fit him so well. And it's such a great cut. The white T-shirt is perfect. Merz has a perfect cut, it truly is a great T-shirt.

I saw a report that searches for “The Bear sweater” spiked on Google after season two came out, referring, obviously, to that grey sweater of Carmy’s. Can you tell me about that piece?

I think that’s so funny. I’m like, "You go, men of the world, finding things!" So that sweater is J.Crew men. I was always a J.Crew fan. It's just so classic, and their menswear has always been pretty strong, and lately it’s been even more so. With Carmy, we go where the classics are. Whatever is well made, whatever has a great cut. He's not a fussy guy. Yes, he has a thing with denim, but I think it’s different. He likes the history behind the denim, he likes how it’s made, and he’s someone who appreciates the craftsmanship.

I think for his everyday wear, he just looks for pieces that have great quality and cuts. If he just blindly picked a top and bottom up off of his floor or in his closet, they would go with each other at all times. It doesn't matter what he has chosen. Everything is just—he wants it to look good, but he does not want to think about it. And I feel like that sweater is just a natural progression of that. He can appreciate the sweater, the knitwear is there, and we just wanted to play with a new colour for Carmy.

Okay, we need to talk about that custom Thom Browne moment in the penultimate episode of season two. What’s the story behind that, and why Thom Browne?

This is such a good story because it really means a lot for the show and means a lot for Chris Storer. But also, it was just a full circle moment. Syd’s pilot episode shirt is this beautiful Thom Browne embroidered shirt from Dover Street Market. Me and Cristina were shopping at Dover before we left for Chicago, and she came from one end of the store, and I came from the other end, but we were both homing in on that shirt.

Chris was stoked about it, and it also reads so beautifully. In real life, if you look at it, it might be too precious for the kitchen, but on TV, it just added so much depth and it looks so good. So that was Syd’s pilot shirt, but then she also wore the classic Thom Browne button-front for a lot of season one as well. The Thom Browne of it all comes from Chris kind of paying homage to his sister, who wore a lot of Thom Browne shirting when she cooked.

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I love that suit on him. I think it's such a great character moment. And if you notice in that episode, he does go from what we're used to seeing him in—The Beef T-shirt, a pair of sweats, his Members Only jacket, which was another vintage find—to what he’s wearing in the restaurant. He has on a dark-coloured Ralph Lauren chino with black Timberland boots, and it’s like, yeah, that’s what he would wear. He also wore those boots for his date scene last season. That’s what he would put together for himself to say: This is me trying. And for him to go from that to borrowing the blazer from the restaurant—which, by the way, restaurants like that really do have a stock of shirts and blazers and ties in the back. But to go from that to the next episode where we see him in his suit, he’s thinking, "This is what makes me feel good. This is what makes me feel good about myself. This is how I'm going to dress for the day." It’s a form of using clothing as armour, clothing as a tool to help you. I’m so glad we got to to that for him.

Where was his suit from?

The suit is Boss. We played with different ones, in terms of process. We did a suit which was Boss, which was, say, between $700 and $800. Then we had suits for the fitting that were at a $500 price point, slightly lower. And then we did a really high-end suit that was about $2,000 or $3,000. It was about finding a middle ground, and that happened to be the middle price point we did. With Ebon, how it fit and how he felt in it was really important. The brand is not supposed to be important at all for his storyline, but I honestly do think it’s believable that Richie said, I’m going to go out and buy this suit. It’s recognisable, it’s what a guy wears who knows his stuff.

Do you personally have a favourite character or episode to costume design for?

That’s like picking your favourite child. I do love dressing Richie. It's so much fun. I mean, all of them are great, honestly. Even characters like Ebra, a lot of his shirts we have to build just because we shoot in the wintertime and I have a very particular way that I want his shirts to look, and it’s really hard to find those patterns in those tones in winter. Marcus this season was so much fun to dress. Syd is obviously great. They all bring me so much joy for so many different reasons, because they all have this one thing that I'm obsessed with looking for for them.

Sydney, it’s good vintage. Fak, it’s T-shirts and hats. The workwear that Fak wears is actually Matty Matheson’s own workwear line, Rosa Rugosa. It wasn’t out the first season, so we basically asked them to make things for us, but this season, it’s available and we used it for the staff at The Beef. They all have particular things that I like to home in on and look for for them. With Richie, it’s his track pants. With Tina, it’s her accessories. Liza [Colón-Zayas] is so funny, she’ll be like, “Tina needs a bag. She needs a backpack, just in case she has to run.” I’m like, okay.

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You know who was really fun to dress, even though we only got to see him for about two seconds? Chester, Marcus’s roommate and friend. We put him in a lot of vintage suits, a lot of Drake’s, a lot of Brooks Brothers. He’s stealthily one of my favourites.

My favourite episode this season, just because of how crazy it was, is definitely “Fishes.” It was three weeks of madness to do all of those fittings and shop for all of those clothes, I'm glad I have such a strong team. It was all hands on deck. My tailors, my dyer, my coordinator, my PA. We went to L.A. and had to do a fitting there for 36 hours, it was so involved. But we got to do such specific characters in one episode, and it was so great. All the guest stars were so collaborative and so down with what we were doing. It was crazy, but so satisfying.

I felt like all those characters had such distinctive personalities, and you can see that in their style, but then Mikey just wearing a T-shirt at this formal family event. What was the reasoning behind that?

Mikey is one of those guys where if he's wearing an Under Armour shirt and clean jeans and a sneaker, he's like, "Yeah, this is me." I also don’t think he’s in the mind state to try. He’s just waking up every morning and surviving, at that point. It is what it is. We did play around in the fitting and see if we should do a nicer sweater, but for where he is in his mental state and who he is, it felt like that was where he was at.

Can you share some of your favourite style Easter eggs from this season?

This isn’t an Easter egg, but me and Jeremy just got a kick out of it. His jeans for “Fishes” are the A.P.C. classic jeans. We were like, of course Carmy, in his hunt to hone his style years ago, landed on the gateway to liking denim. Of course he’d be wearing that jean. I would say his whole look from that episode—he’s wearing a Palace x Polo Ralph Lauren collaboration rugby shirt, it’s just so specific to that time. He would definitely be like, “Yeah, this is what I’m wearing now,” coming back from his travels.

There’s so much that we put into it, and we are appreciative that people are noticing it. We did try to add a lot more kitchen workwear, even for people who are back of house and in the kitchen. Connor is wearing this white kitchen workwear jacket, we started putting people in Blundstone because that’s what the kitchen world is wearing now. There are little things that we tried to incorporate for the characters to make it true to the world.

Originally published on Esquire US

The Crowded Room will mark the actor's last project for the foreseeable future.

Tom Holland is taking a break from acting. Don’t worry, though—it’s only for a year. In a recent interview with Extra, the 27-year-old actor explained that filming his latest project, Apple TV+’s upcoming miniseries The Crowded Room, prompted the decision.

“I’m no stranger to hard work,” he explained. “I’ve lived by the idea that hard work is good work. Then again, the show did break me. There did come a time [when] I needed a break and disappeared and went to Mexico for a week and had time on a beach and laid low. I’m now taking a year off, and that is a result of how difficult this show was.”

Holland both produced and stars in The Crowded Room. The upcoming crime thriller follows Danny Sullivan, a man who is arrested in 1979 following a fatal shooting at Rockefeller Center. The series is inspired by Billy Milligan, a man convicted of many brutal crimes, who was eventually deemed innocent after he was diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder. His case sparked a debate about whether or not people with multiple personalities should be held accountable for their actions. In the first trailer for The Crowded Room, we see Holland's character grappling with similar circumstances. Check it out above.

Though the filming process was difficult, Holland said he’s excited to see the final product. “I feel like our hard work wasn’t in vain,” he said. This role is radically different from the blockbusters Holland is known for, like Marvel’s Spider-Man films, or the video game adaptation, Uncharted. According to the actor, he had to tap into a new psyche to pull it off, while also working on the business end of the production. “We were exploring certain emotions that I have definitely never experienced before,” he said. “And on top of that, being a producer, dealing with the day-to-day problems that come with any film set, just added that extra level of pressure.”

According to Variety, at one point during the filming, Holland nearly changed his appearance to shed the character. "I remember having a bit of a meltdown at home and thinking like, ‘I’m going to shave my head. I need to shave my head because I need to get rid of this character,’" he said. "And, obviously, we were mid-shooting, so I decided not to...It was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before.”

Now, with the production behind him, Holland says he’s learned to better manage his mental health. That is, in part, thanks to the research he did while filming the series. “Learning about mental health and the power of it, and speaking to psychiatrists about Danny and Billy's struggles, has been something that has been so informative to my own life,” Holland said.

Though Holland won’t be working on any more projects this year, you can see him in The Crowded Room, alongside Amanda Seyfried, Emmy Rossum, Sasha Lane, and Emma Laird, out now only on Apple TV+.

From: Esquire US