Archive for October, 2007

Brosnan Investigated in Alleged Assault

Pierce BrosnanSheriff’s officials are investigating Pierce Brosnan in an alleged assault in Malibu last week.

Steve Whitmore, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, said the incident allegedly occurred outside a Mexican restaurant Friday night.

He said the 54-year-old former James Bond star wasn’t arrested or detained.

Messages left Tuesday for Brosnan’s publicist, Jennifer Allen, weren’t immediately returned.

Whitmore identified the alleged victim as Robert Rosen, but declined to give more details because the investigation is ongoing.

Rosen couldn’t be reached for comment.



October 31, 2007 at 4:46 pm Leave a comment

Unions Offering Support to Writers

Unions Offering Support to WritersMajor Hollywood unions were lining up behind TV and film writers Tuesday as last-minute contract talks resumed amid fears of a possible strike.

A powerful branch of the Teamsters union told its 4,500 members they can honor picket lines if TV and film writers strike after their contract expires at midnight Wednesday.

Teamsters Local 399 said in a Web posting that as a union, it has a legal obligation to honor its contracts with producers.

But the local, which represents truck drivers, casting directors and location managers, said the clause does not apply to individuals, who are protected by federal law from employer retribution if they decide to honor picket lines.

“As for me as an individual, I will not cross any picket line whether it is sanctioned or not because I firmly believe that Teamsters do not cross picket lines,” union local secretary-treasurer Leo Reed wrote.

Members of the Screen Actors Guild have also voiced strong support for writers, but officials with that union have said its 150,000 members were obligated to report to work if writers strike.

Negotiations between the 12,000-member Writers Guild of America and the group representing producers adjourned Tuesday without a deal, and both sides agreed to meet again Wednesday.

A federal mediator joined the talks in an effort to break a stalemate. The mediator will return Wednesday, when the WGA is expected to present an updated proposal.

A key issue involves giving writers more money from the sale of DVDs and the distribution of shows via the Internet, cell phones and other digital platforms.

Early Tuesday, writers visited studio lots to distribute leaflets to Teamster truck drivers urging support of their cause.

The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents networks and studios, sent a letter to craft unions representing electricians, drivers and other trades, reminding them of the “no strike” clauses in their contracts.

“We expect each union to comply with this no strike obligation and order your members to work,” alliance president J. Nicholas Counter wrote.

A strike by writers would not immediately have an impact on TV or film production. Most shows have enough scripts in hand to get them though early next year.

After that, networks might turn to reality shows, news programs and reruns to fill the airwaves.


October 31, 2007 at 2:30 pm Leave a comment

The Five Sexiest Funny Girls in Hollywood

This week we’re bringing to you the five funniest yet sexy girls of Hollywood. So not only will they make you laugh, but they’ll definitely get a rise out of you. Sit back and enjoy.

Anna Faris

Why she’s funny: She is pretty good at stealing most of the scenes she’s in when playing opposite the main character.

Why she’s sexy: Her girl next door looks help, but when you’ve been cast as a Playboy bunny — and can legitimately pull it off — you know you’ve got to be hot.

Her notable credits: Scary Movie (the first one), The Hot Chick, Waiting, Just Friends

Sarah Silverman

Why she’s funny: She has the guts to say the snarkiest/most outlandish jokes possible at any given moment.

Why she’s sexy: She can joke around with the guys and look hot while making fun of you. What more can you ask for?

Her notable credits: Sarah Silverman: Jesus Is Magic, Greg the Bunny, Heartbreakers, Seinfeld

Kristen Wiig

Why she’s funny: Imagine Molly Shannon and/or Cheri Oteri. Now imagine them being actually funny. That’s what you get with Kristen.

Why she’s sexy: Aside from being the hottest woman ever on SNL, she is actually even hotter in real life. I know this because we almost banged. Sorry babe, couldn’t keep that a secret forever.

Her notable credits: Saturday Night Live, Knocked Up

Elizabeth Banks

Why she’s funny: Very versatile with her comedy including the ability to play a funny tramp to perfection.

Why she’s sexy: Let me put it this way. She would have made for a better Mary Jane than Kirsten Dunst. Her latest GQ photo shoot only proves that she is insanely hotter than all the other girls on this list.

Her notable credits: Spider-Man series, The 40 Year Old Virgin, Scrubs

Isla Fisher

Why she’s funny: Because she’s a nut and she writes quite a bit of material herself. Not to mention most of her candid interviews are genuinely funny.
Why she’s sexy: She’s a cute red head with a great body. ‘Nuff said.

Her notable credits: I Heart Huckabees, The Wedding Crashers, Hot Rod


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October 31, 2007 at 1:09 pm 2 comments

Interview: Jerry Seinfeld on Bee Movie

Jerry SeinfeldNine years after ending his ratings-dominating TV show and walking away from the public limelight, Jerry Seinfeld is everywhere again. You probably saw the comedian on primetime with his absurdist teasers (called “TV Juniors”) or in a guest role on 30 Rock, all to increase visibility for his new film, Bee Movie, opening this Friday. For Dreamworks’ second animated film of 2007 (after Shrek the Third), Seinfeld voices Barry B. Benson, an idealistic bee who takes humanity to court for withholding profits from our wanton honey consumption.

So why animation over live-action?

Because I had done so much of that on the TV series. I had made 90 hours of programming. You cut that up, that’s like 45 movies. So there was no movie that seemed exciting to me. “Yeah, I know, they give you the script, you stand over here…” I don’t know…it just wasn’t exciting.

But [then] I saw this whole technology, and the look of it is so different. I thought, “Gee, what if we took that look but [made them] talk like I want them to talk, maybe that would be something interesting.” I just got excited about it.

Did becoming a father have something to do with it?

No. [Laughs] I just wanted to do something different.

[But] it is funny how it worked out. I have three kids — six, four, and two. Of course, I know all their friends so now I know millions of kids. And I realized these kids are going to go nuts [over Bee Movie]. Sometimes when their friends are over I show them little clips on the computer that I’m working on for whatever reason. And they’ll come in and they’ll watch it. They go nuts. It’s so fun. There’s nothing more fun than entertaining kids.

Do you find there’s a big difference in the kind of comedy you have to invent between mediums?

There’s a big difference. Sometimes you can do certain things on stage, or even in a TV series, and people see the look on your face and they know what you mean, so you can get away with certain things. But if you can’t create that look on an animated character, which is essentially a puppet, the line will hit the audience in a very bad way.

[It’s] like a petting zoo and you’re blindfolded. They want you to take care of this animal, which is your show. But you’re blindfolded. We’re going to put you in a room with the animal, and the food that it needs. And everything it needs is in the room, and you’re in the room with the animal. But you’re blindfolded. So you go into this room and start feeling around for this stuff. Feel a little fur, and you feel a little claw. And you go, “Oh, my God, what is this thing?”

This is the great advantage that you have doing a TV series. Say, for example, my series — which is the only one I know anything about — by year four, we knew exactly what this thing ate, when it wanted to go out, how it liked to be petted. What it liked and what it didn’t like. And what makes a movie so challenging — so much more challenging than a TV series, frankly — is that you never get that opportunity. Because you make a TV show and you put it out there and you get a reaction. You go, “Okay, this work. This doesn’t work.” You put out another one. “They like this. They don’t like this.” But with a movie, you get one shot at it. Even though you have test screenings, pretty much, we’re going to put this lemur in people’s living rooms. And, just, bang, they’re going to react to it. I hope I didn’t over-answer your question. [Laughs]

This is one of my big things of creative pursuits. You have your idea you want to do, but then you got to figure out what does this thing want to be? You got to let it lead you a little.

And how were the test screenings?

Well, you know, I like to try anything. So we would have some horrible ones. We’d try crazy things just to see how they reacted. Some of the work, some of them don’t. Comedy is a very scientific exploration. You have to do the experiments to find out what the formulas are.

How much did you put yourself into the character of Barry?

How much? As much as I have. I don’t really know how to do it any other way. I think in a TV series I could be a little more obnoxious. This character in this movie is never obnoxious. He’s a little nicer than I am. So I actually took a little of myself out.


How much of Bee Movie is yours? Is it a collaborative effort between you and Dreamworks or do you feel that this is entirely your vision?

There’s nothing “entirely.” You have 350 people working on this thing. [But] I would say the tone, the comedy of it is mine. Even though I work with writers, I’m in charge of what goes in the script and what doesn’t. Win or lose, [that] is my thing.

How involved were you with the casting of the other voices?

I was involved in every single aspect of everything. [Laughs] From the cars they drove, to the ties they wore, to the desks they sat at. Not to say that I came up with it all, but it was brought to me. “Do you like it like this? Do you like it like that?” All day, every day. It was ridiculous. [Laughs.]

Was there a lot of ad-libbing in Bee Movie?

Some of it we’d use, some of it we didn’t. We had a scene about [Renee Zellweger’s character] trying to have coffee with [Barry]. We read the scenes a few times and we got all the lines. So I said, “Okay, just try to get me to have coffee. Just keep pushing me to have coffee and I’m going to say, ‘Nah, I don’t want any.'” And a lot of that made it into the movie. It gives it some life if you do it that way.

Were the TV and movie teasers your idea?

Yeah. I wanted to do something that signaled to the public that this is not going to be the same flavor that you’re used to getting from animated movies. I [know] that a certain type of moviegoing audience [will say], “Here comes the next Dreamworks movie. Here comes the next Pixar movie.” You don’t know what this is going to be.

What did you do different from other animated movies?

Some of the way we recorded dialogue was different. The jokes that we make are different. It’s got its own personality. It definitely does not feel like a slice off of the same loaf. Certainly, [not like] all these animal movies, which, believe me, I’m as sick of as you are.

During the Cannes Film Festival, I heard you jumped off a hotel, and dived eight stories into a pool.

You just heard about it? You should check on that. [Laughs] It was a little nutty. But I was told that during the Cannes Film Festival, people do crazy things. You know, Sacha Cohen did that crazy thing on the beach. Did you hear about that? You have a computer, don’t you? [Laughs]


October 31, 2007 at 7:59 am Leave a comment

Interview: David Cronenberg on Eastern Promises – UK Spin!

David CronenbergCanadian-born David Cronenberg made his name with a series of brilliant ‘body horror’ movies including Rabid, Shivers and The Fly. His last film was the violently brilliant A History of Violence for which he, and his star Viggo Mortensen, received rave reviews. The pair re-teams this week for Eastern Promises, an equally violent but no less brilliant tale of Russian mobsters in contemporary London.

How did you end up making a film about Russian gangsters in London?

David Cronenberg: Well it all has to do with the script. Wonderful characters, wonderful dialogue, an intriguing narrative, so that’s what really was what brought me to into it. I mean I never wanted to do a movie about the Russian mob in London but once I read his script then I did want to. It’s obvious.

So where did you go from there? Did you work on the script?

DC: Oh yes. It was a first draft and it had kind of languished at BBC Films for some time. I think [Stephen Knight] actually wrote it before Dirty Pretty Things that he did for Stephen Frears, but that got made first. And as it is with a first draft, it can often go off in five different directions, but I think he was really eager to get back to it and have a chance to have a go at it again with someone who had an objective opinion. We made quite a few changes.

Was it easy to research the material or is that world kind of a closed shop?

DC: No not at all, I mean, people are eager to talk about their lives, you know? In this case it didn’t seem to be enclosed at all. Not just in terms of the books that we read and the documentaries we looked at and so on, but we also had a crew of one hundred and fifty people who were all doing research on their own levels. The costume designer will be trying to find out what kind of shoes these people would wear and whoever is designing the restaurant will want to know what’s on the walls and what coffee tables cost so there’s a lot of details and for that they would go into the Russian community here and would go to the Russian churches, go to the community centres, wherever they could find people to talk to about those things. There was no resistance to it, I think people were pretty fascinated that we were doing a movie about Russians in London and were pretty eager to see that we got it right, in fact.

Eastern Promises

It was kind of nice to see different London locations onscreen. Was that simply because the script demanded it or did you want to shoot in those areas?

DC: Yeah I think it was because of Steve Knight’s own sensibility and it came naturally with the script. If he had been a more conventional writer and the script had taken place in more conventional places then it might not have been as interesting a script for me but it all sort of went together. But he was interested in delving into these relatively unknown aspects of London.

I’d like ask you a little bit about the cast as well. Were you initially hesitant about casting Viggo Mortensen having just made a film with him as it would make comparisons between A History of Violence and Eastern Promises inevitable?

DC: No, I completely forget about that. I mean, I just don’t worry about that at all. In many ways you can paralyse yourself as a filmmaker worrying about what people’s expectations are and what they expect from you. I loved working with Viggo so I was very eager to work with him again, that was a positive. And the fact that it was another mobster movie was totally by circumstance. There were quite a few other possible film projects that kept floating by and I might well have done one of them if they had come together for various reasons and then we would be talking about that instead. So I wasn’t really worried about A History of Violence.

If I felt that I was doing the same thing over again then yes that would be boring but creatively this was so different when you think of it. History is all about America, all the characters are American, its small town and rural America. A lot of it takes place in the sunshine. This is a big city; it’s all Eastern Europeans, no Americans in the whole movie, more like a film noir because it’s night in the city, so creatively completely different. And for Viggo too, I mean imagine the character, it’s completely different.

So do you think it’s just because it’s you directing and him starring that people are talking about them as companion pieces?

DC: I can see analytically that there are comparisons to be made and quite nice ones. They would probably make a really interesting double bill. But creatively thinking about History of Violence wouldn’t have helped, it’s just so different visually and in every other way – even the soundtrack and the accents are completely different. It’s quite legitimate to compare them but not part of the creative process for us when making the movie.

Another way that the films seem similar is in terms of the reality of the fight scenes.

DC: Well that’s interesting. I was going to ask you a question about that but I won’t.

You can if you want!

DC: Well no I was just thinking, because if it’s something like the Bourne movies, they take a different approach to violence. It’s far more impressionistic, the cutting is very quick, you don’t really see what’s going on and the body count is much higher in those movies but the emotional impact is much less because you don’t have any investment in those characters usually. So it’s not really a question.

David Cronenberg

That’s fine! So what are you up to next?

DC: I’m doing an opera of the Fly.

Where is that going to be?

DC: It’s going to premiere in Paris in July ’08 and then it will go to LA for the LA Company as it’s a co-production.

And how is that going?

DC: It’s going well, I mean I spent five days in Paris just a couple of weeks ago, for the first time directing singers and that was very interesting – asking them sort of naive questions like can you sing while you are hanging upside down? Because I don’t know! But it’s been interesting.

And film-wise, do you think you’ll ever return to the horror genre?

DC: It’s quite possible I’ve never ruled that out. ExistenZ was only three movies ago. It’s just a question of something that is really striking and unique and challenging. I wouldn’t rule it out at all.


October 31, 2007 at 7:57 am Leave a comment

Amanda Peet: Box-Office Poison?

Amanda Peet“Box office poison” is a harsh label, but one that is rarely debatable since box office numbers pretty much verify what we all already know: Hiring Actor X to star in your movie, in any capacity, is pretty much like shooting yourself – or at least your production – in the head. Of course, these poisonous actors occasionally find themselves in a commercially successful movie, but, more often than not, this probably comes as much a surprise to them as ticket-buyers.Some of those on this unfortunate list came to it later in their career, like Kurt Russell; others began there like Dennis Quaid and Hilary Swank. Others, like Jeff Bridges, enjoy the prestigious honor of being so detrimental to a production that the resulting conflagration can actually end up causing serious artistic damage to the industry like when 1980’s Heaven’s Gate, which he co-starred in, killed the idea of the Hollywood-funded auteur for almost fifteen years.

Lucky for Amanda Peet, she’s not as poisonous to movies as Bridges, though she does enjoy the rare distinction of being one of the few actors that, despite working regularly enough for five careers, can kill productions both at the theatrical and television levels. Remember Jack and Jill, which caved despite a huge marketing flurry, and, of course, last season’s catastrophic failure, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, which, despite having Aaron Sorkin as a writer-producer and Matthew Perry and Bradley Whitford as stars, managed to die a slow, gasping death? Not that this had anything to do with Peet, though. Um, right.

Anyways, if you’re looking for a few examples of Peet’s qualifications as box office poison, aside from her role in the soon-to-bomb John Cusack-co-starring Martian Child — which opens this weekend and will probably be on DVD by the time you read this — here’s a hefty list to ponder. You might be surprised to realize just how toxic she really is.

Igby Goes Down (2002)
This modern twist on Catcher in the Rye is one of the smartest “teen” comedies to be released in the past decade, as darkly subversive as it is hilarious. Peet plays a drugged-up artist who almost dies on a toilet. Sort of like what this movie did at the box office.

Syriana (2005)
George Clooney (albeit a fat version), Matt Damon, and the guy who won an Oscar for writing Traffic? Even with its political subject matter, this movie should’ve done a lot better at the box office than just making back its budget. Probably would’ve, too, if a certain someone wasn’t cast in it.

Fast Track (2006)
This was Zach Braff’s second live-action movie after Garden State and co-starred Jason Bateman hot off of Arrested Development, but this comedy never had a chance…after producers cast Amanda Peet, that is.

She’s The One(1996)
This was Edward Burns’ follow-up to his highly successful indie debut, Brothers McMullen. It’s also the last time anybody in Hollywood took him seriously as a director. Could Peet’s part in the movie have something to do with it?

Identity (2003)
Director James Mangold’s only bomb. Guess who starred in it?

Body Shots (1999)
This movie didn’t even make $1 million. Somebody must’ve really pissed Peet off to make her use her poisonous powers to such a mega-degree. My money is on that douche bag, Jerry O’Connell (whom, to be fair, I only hate because the lucky SOB married Rebecca Romijn).

Changing Lanes (2002)
Critics used to hate Ben Affleck, but Changing Lanes, co-starring Samuel L. Jackson, surprised them all. Not surprising: Peet’s participation guaranteed this thriller never did better than recoup its budget.

One Fine Day (1996)
Michelle Pfeiffer (one of the biggest actresses in America) and George Clooney (in only his second big-screen role since ER debuted) starred in this screwball comedy Cary Grant might have made. Add Peet to the mix and a sure-fire hit fizzled.

The Whole Ten Yards (2004)
The Whole Nine Yards made more than three times its budget, while this sequel barely made one-third of its budget back. This might have something to do with the fact Peet went topless in the original. Then again, she’s topless in Igby Goes Down, too. Yep, The Whole Nine Yards was a fluke.


October 31, 2007 at 7:56 am Leave a comment

Come On, Lay Off Wonder Woman

Teresa PalmerYou know, people are getting a bit anxious about the casting of the new Justice League movie. They’re taking a look at this growing cast of unknowns and shaking their heads. They want Jessica Biel. They want Brandon Routh. They want Ryan Reynolds. And George Miller doesn’t.And God bless George Miller for it. He’s doing something different here. His approach isn’t about putting big names in the big roles. On the contrary, he’s thinking about the future. He’s thinking about a cast that will sign three to five picture deals because he’s thinking about making a franchise. Warner is thinking about spin-offs with these actors. I mean honestly, what sounds better to you: a one time mega star extravaganza or an event film followed by a movie about a different Justice Leaguer every year – complete with another JLA film every two or three years?

Are you feeling me now? Yeah. I thought you might be. But let’s look at some Justice Leaguers of the past. Who the hell is Lynda Carter? Ask any grown man who she is and they will say without missing a bat that she’s Wonder Woman. Nobody knew who she was before she got the role. But here she is, Wonder Woman to an entire generation. What about Christopher Reeve. Another unknown. Unknown until he suited up as Superman that is. Hugh Jackman? Chris Evans? Both relative unknowns until they donned super suits (as Wolverine and Johnny “The Human Torch” Storm respectively.)

And sure there have been a few good, prefect casting choices of stars in the past. Michael Keaton made a fine Batman, but Val Kilmer and George Clooney didn’t. And while Patrick Stewart made an incredible Professor X, do I need to even talk about what happened when Academy Award winning actress Halle Berry suited up as Storm?

So lay off of Teresa Palmer for a while. She’s our Wonder Woman. I don’t care if she’s only 5’6″. Compared to other actors in Hollywood that IS Amazonian height. I mean I know I’m 6’2″…but every time I go to Los Angeles I feel like I’ve walked into the city of the Shetland People. Actors are small. Personally, If they could find a 6’2″ actress who looked like Wonder Woman, could act AND they populated the rest of the film with people of the same height, THEN maybe we could talk. But for now, this girl sure looks like she’ll do.


October 31, 2007 at 7:55 am 1 comment

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