Those hoping Johnny Depp breaks from working with director Tim Burton after the underwhelming Dark Shadows – and recovers from Jack Sparrow fatigue in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides – can rejoice, as the actor takes on the Tonto mantle in Gore Verbinski’s The Lone Ranger (though, controversy surrounding the expensive western blockbuster leaves the final outcome uncertain).
Meanwhile, the actor is boarding two very different projects that begin filming this year: 1) Dark Knight Rises cinematographer Wally Pfister’s directorial debut on the sci-fi flick Transcendence and 2) the Whitey Bulger biopic Black Mass, with Depp playing “the most infamous violent criminal in the history of South Boston."
Black Mass is based on the non-fiction book by former Boston Globe reporters Dick Lehr and Gerald O’Neill. It’s been in development going back to 2008, originating as a vehicle for Ben Affleck and Matt Damon – who are currently working on their own movie about Bulger (it might end up scrapped after this announcement) - and securing Oscar-winner Jim Sheridan (My Left Foot, Dream House) as director in early 2009. Of course, that was well before the U.S. authorities captured Bulger in June 2011.
Mark Mallouk completely refurnished the Black Mass script after Bulger’s capture, with Oscar-winner Barry Levinson (Rain Man) replacing Sheridan in the director’s chair, on the heels of his own true-story crime saga Gotti: In the Shadow of My Father sliding off the track during pre-production. Universal has a distribution deal with Cross Creek on the project, which is gearing up to begin production in May (for a late 2014 theatrical release, most likely).
Depp’s eccentricities have brought him mainstream success through his Burton collaborations and the Pirates movies, but his recent non-franchise offerings (The Tourist, Rum Diary) failed to pull in audiences, be it due to quality or content. With Levinson leading the charge, Black Mass could be a significant departure from the style and thematic approach of Michael Mann’s Public Enemies, featuring Depp in another real-life gangster role.
The actor is certainly a good match for the larger-than-life Bulger, the man who also inspired Jack Nicholson’s character in The Departed (among other things). If things don’t work out, well… there’s still Pirates of the Caribbean 5 arriving in 2015.
Check out the full press release from Cross Creek Pictures/Exclusive Media:
Johnny Depp has been attached to Cross Creek’s crime thriller Black Mass as Boston’s most notorious gangster, Whitey Bulger, to be co-produced and co-financed with Exclusive Media, and directed by Academy Award-winning director Barry Levinson (Rain Man), it was announced today by Cross Creek Pictures President Brian Oliver and Senior Vice President Tyler Thompson and Exclusive Media’s Co-Chairmen Nigel Sinclair and Guy East.
Black Mass will be released by Universal Pictures in the US through Cross Creek’s distribution deal with the studio. The film is scheduled for a May 2013 start date.
The film will be produced by Brian Oliver, Tyler Thompson, Nigel Sinclair, Tobin Armbrust, John Lesher, and Christi Dembrowski. Cross Creek Pictures Sr. VP of Production Adam Kassan, will oversee production for the company. Alex Walton, Exclusive Media’s President of International Sales and Distribution, will introduce Black Mass to overseas buyers at the upcoming European Film Market in Berlin.
Cross Creek recently purchased the New York Times bestselling book “Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob,” written by former Boston Globe reporters Dick Lehr and Gerald O’Neill and published in 2001 by Harper Collins. O’Neill is a Pulitzer, Hancock and Loeb prizes winner and Lehr, a Pulitzer finalist, has also won the Hancock and Loeb awards. Writer Mark Mallouk wrote a completely new screenplay adaptation of the book, following the June 2011 capture of Bulger, who had been on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list for more than a decade.
“I could not be more thrilled to have the biggest star in the world and Academy Award-winning director Barry Levinson to finally bring this incredible story to the big screen. We have been working on this project since we originally optioned the book in 2005. ‘Black Mass’ expertly details the twists and turns of this highly complex story, painting a vivid portrait of Boston’s underbelly and its corrupt political machine, as well as exposing the worst scandal in FBI history. It’s also an examination of loyalty to family, Irish heritage, and South Boston.– Commented Brian Oliver.
“We are thrilled by the opportunity to bring Mark Mallouk’s terrific screenplay to the screen with perhaps this generation’s biggest and best actor and a director who’s work makes him one of America’s iconic filmmakers. Occasionally a film project comes along that is truly exceptional – from the terrific subject matter to the chance to collaborate again with our long time friends and partners at Cross Creek, and to have the opportunity work with the unique and inimitable Johnny Depp. We are truly delighted to be involved in ‘Black Mass,’” commented Nigel Sinclair and Guy East.
Black Mass tells the true story of Whitey Bulger, the brother of a state senator and the most infamous violent criminal in the history of South Boston, who became an FBI informant to take down a Mafia family invading his turf. However, after the Feds closed in on their targets, they double crossed Bulger and ultimately prosecuted him, along with his partner in crime and the original FBI agent working with him.
Cross Creek Pictures and Exclusive Media enjoy a fruitful partnership having jointly co-produced George Clooney’s The Ides of March with Smokehouse Pictures, the box office hit The Woman in Black starring Daniel Radcliffe and the upcoming Rush directed by Ron Howard and starring Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Brühl. The companies are co-producing and co-financing A Walk Among the Tombstonesstarring Liam Neeson and Exclusive Media’s Hammer label titles Boneshaker and The Woman in Black follow up, The Woman in Black: Angel of Death from a story by Susan Hill.
Sandy Schaefer blogs at Screen Rant.
Let’s take a break from talking about the future of the next set of Marvel Studios films coming over the next three years and focus on the here and now. Phase Two kicks off in the first weekend of May with Iron Man 3 and while we ponder the idea of Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark travelling into deep space with a new slick armored suit, we can watch one of his other (confirmed) new suits get torn to pieces.
Director Shane Black and co. are positioning the Iron Man threequel as a standalone story, bringing its titular hero back to the forefront as we say goodbye to the S.H.I.E.L.D. organization for a few hours of Robert Downey Jr. screenplay, mixed in with the most action we’ve seen from the series yet.
The 14-second Super Bowl teaser (click here for all the full Super Bowl movie trailers) mostly rehashed footage we’ve seen from the full Iron Man 3 trailer, namely Tony’s home being decimated and Ben Kingsley’s Mandarin, but managed to include a few new brief shots of Don Cheadle’s James “Rhodey” Rhodes sporting his new patriotic armor and an upwards shot of Guy Pearce’s mysterious Adrich Killian, but the full commercial (up top) delivers something quite a bit different.
Many of the leaked set photos during production revealed a sequence of stunt actors hanging and we learned it would be for a sequence involving Iron Man saving people who are falling from Air Force One… with no parachutes. The 30-second spot shows Air Force One falling apart and Stark beginning to save them, before it ends and teases the extended spot. Compared to the Fast & Furious 6 spot, it was relatively underwhelming.
Marvel Studios’ “Iron Man 3″ pits brash-but-brilliant industrialist Tony Stark/Iron Man against an enemy whose reach knows no bounds. When Stark finds his personal world destroyed at his enemy’s hands, he embarks on a harrowing quest to find those responsible. This journey, at every turn, will test his mettle. With his back against the wall, Stark is left to survive by his own devices, relying on his ingenuity and instincts to protect those closest to him. As he fights his way back, Stark discovers the answer to the question that has secretly haunted him: does the man make the suit or does the suit make the man?
Rob Keyes blogs at Screen Rant.
So what to make of the spectacle that was Super Bowl XX something-or-other?
Good game in the end. A real nail-biter.
The ads? Definitely a mixed bag, but if there was a takeaway on what separated the good from the bad and ugly, it was that more special effects, larger casts, and louder music add up to much less than a good idea well-executed, be it still photos of stoic American farmers, the intimate partnership of colt and trainer, or the sexy charm of the Fiat family. Kia's “Babylandia” spot won the hearts of viewers not so much for the effects, but for the design of the effects – very old-school futuristic, like the toys we played with as kids – and the dad's realization that the fairy-tale he was spinning wasn't working. The little ones already knew!
The entertainment – I'm still exhausted from watching every second of Beyonce's... show? Workout? Martial arts? What was that, anyway? No doubt she's got it all. But does she have to do it all at once? Call me old-fashioned, but I like a song that moves me in some way, and I'm not talking about the drum machine. I get that one needs to gin up the “spectacular” to qualify as a Super Bowl Spectacular. But Prince put on quite a show and the songs still stood out. Madonna's songs stood out. The Who, Tom Petty, Springsteen. When songs become relegated to background music merely to support dancers and pyrotechnics, I glaze over, and I don't think I'm alone if you look at the online reaction to Beyonce's performance.
As for Jennifer Hudson and Alicia Keys, I was entertained and moved, but the best performance of Super Bowl XLVII had to be the spunky kids from Sandy Hook Elementary. Not to mention the awesome choreography!
Marvel Studios enters full production on Captain America: The Winter Soldier in just two months and while several returning stars from the franchise are confirmed to return, the female lead role has remained empty until today. Chris Evans and Sebastian Stan return as the titular characters, along with familiar S.H.I.E.L.D. agents Nick Fury, Maria Hill and Black Widow and the villainous Dr. Arnim Zola.
Joining them and making their debut in the Marvel cinematic universe will be Captain America’s pal Falcon (Anthony Mackie) and the villainous Crossbones (Frank Grillo). We can now add to that Sharon Carter.
Deadline has the scoop that Marvel Studios and directors Anthony and Joe Russo have found their new female lead for the Captain America sequel – who will be the modern era equivalent of Hayley Atwell’s Peggy Carter from The First Avenger. Atwell of course, previously confirmed that she will not have a role in the sequel, despite her character’s name showing up in deleted scenes of The Avengers.
26 year-old Canadian actress Emily VanCamp (Revenge) will reportedly play the lead female role opposite Evans which we can safely presume is Sharon Carter. If confirmed, VanCamp will have beaten out Jessica Brown Findlay (Downton Abbey), Emelia Clarke (Game of Thrones), Imogen Poots (Fright Night), Anna Kendrick (End of Watch), Felicity Jones (Like Crazy), and Alison Brie (Community) for the coveted role.
Sharon Carter (aka Agent 13) will bolster the film’s roster of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, adding more credence to an old theory of ours that Captain America 2 would not only explore more of the history of Steve Rogers, but would mesh many elements from the oft-talked about S.H.I.E.L.D. film where characters including Black Widow and Nick Fury could have their backstory explored as well. Sharon Carter is the niece of Peggy Carter (Atwell), the love interest of Cap in the first film.
More details shortly…
Rob Keyes blogs at Screen Rant.
When it was first announced that 50/50 director Jonathan Levine would helm an adaptation of the novel Warm Bodies many film-fans dismissed the project as Twilight with zombies. Still, anyone familiar with Isaac Marion’s book of the same name knows that the Warm Bodies story and tone could make for a fun (albeit campy) film – playing on traditional “undead” tropes. Unlike similar offerings that are targeted at love-struck teenagers and twenty-somethings, this movie is well-aware of its goofiness and instead of melodramatic romance, Warm Bodies actually uses that absurdity to tackle a larger topic: the power of living.
Does Levine’s focus, and lack of shirtless heartthrobs, land the film in an awkward middle ground? Where it’s too-lighthearted to please zombie movie lovers and without enough romance to draw-in viewers hoping for the next great supernatural power couple?
Unfortunately, yes but in this case that’s a good thing. Given Levine’s resume (which also includes 2008 favorite, The Wackness), it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Warm Bodies is actually a solid film – held back primarily by overarching consumer backlash against paranormal romance and zombies in Hollywood. On its own terms, Warm Bodies offers a funny and witty twist on living dead mythology without getting too bogged down in drawn-out, and self-indulgent, romance story lines. Some of the film’s larger ideas rely heavily on character cliches and setups that don’t have enough time to develop but Levine moves the proceedings at a steady pace and adds enough charming moments to keep the film alive (even if the romance is just undead).
Warm Bodies centers around living corpse “R” (Nicholas Hoult), who no longer remembers his name or any other details from his “life.” Instead, he shambles around post-apocalyptic America ruminating on the state of his non-life, feeding on flesh, and grunting with his best undead friend “M” (Rob Corddry) at the airport bar. However, when R and his fellow zombies eat a group of still-human scavengers, he becomes captivated by one of the young survivors, Julie (Teresa Palmer). In an effort to save Julie from his zombie brethren, not to mention the terrifying “bonies” (zombies who have given up their humanity entirely), R helps his new-found crush escape and brings her to a secluded area of his home for refuge (in an abandoned airliner). To keep her safe and, selfishly, get to know her better, R hides Julie from the zombies and the bonies for days – supplying her with food and entertainment. Initially repulsed by the situation, Julie begins to trust and care for her protector – causing subtle changes in R and large ramifications for zombies and humans alike.
The setup of the film is absolutely thin – as is the “romance” between R and Julie. There’s no doubt that zombie purists will not approve of convenient changes to undead mythology, viewers will role their eyes at cheesy lines of dialogue, while others will have trouble suspending disbelief in a few underdeveloped character interactions. Yet, moviegoers who can accept the core premise and look past on-the-nose story beats will find that Warm Bodies is actually pretty entertaining and even heart-warming at times. It’s not a particularly smart love story but it makes intelligent use of genuinely likable characters and an endearing plot setup.
Nicholas Hoult literally shambles a fine line as R – in a performance that could have easily strayed into Razzie Award territory. Instead, the actor brings a lot of life to R without stepping too far in the other direction. After all, R is undead, his movements and ability to communicate stunted, but Hoult finds a way to successfully keep R on the same level as Julie – making it all the more believable that a human girl considers this corpse preferable to certain living people she also knows. At times, Hoult’s zombie mannerisms may come across a bit forced but, overall, his memorable moments outnumber (and outweigh) the awkward ones.
Similarly, Rob Corddry is a scene-stealer as best friend M – easily one of the most charming characters in the entire film. While Hoult is responsible for carrying the primary storyline to a satisfying conclusion, Corddry’s contributions are both humorous and heartening – with several crowd-pleasing one-liners. The film would not be nearly as successful without Corddry and, much like Hoult, the character is surprisingly impactful for someone that spends the majority of his onscreen time shambling around – communicating in grunts and stilted one-word responses.
Sadly, the “living” characters are much less captivating than their undead counterparts. Despite a competent performance from Palmer, Julie is mostly just a MacGuffin to push R outside of his comfort zone. Aside from a few exceptions, the character’s actions and feelings are designed to drive the plot, not add sensible or meaningful drama in the moment. As a result, the depiction is a major factor in the movie’s biggest misstep – a forced and underwhelming “romance” plot. On occasion, Julie does add meaningful elements to key commentaries that run through Warm Bodies - specifically complacency in both the corpse and human societies as well as a foggy definition of what it means to be “alive.”
Other human players, Perry (Dave Franco), Nora (Analeigh Tipton), and Julie’s father, General Grigio (John Malkovich), are resigned to familiar but narrow tropes. The characters are necessary for the overall “message” of the movie but, on their own, don’t carry significant weight or memorable payoff.
Ultimately, the success of Warm Bodies is heavily dependent on its attempts to twist and subvert zombie movie staples – meaning that moviegoers who are expecting explosive corpse slaying set pieces and gory carnage will absolutely be underwhelmed. The creepy “bonies” elevate tension in key scenes but, much like the human characters, they’re nondescript pawns with no function outside of the fundamental storyline. Instead, willing audiences will get a weird, but admittedly fun, character story. A story that includes glimpses of surprisingly smart social satire.
Not everyone will respond to the quirky plot but certain viewers are likely to enjoy Levine’s unapologetic attempts to make good on the bizarre setup. Zombie purists will have trouble overlooking alterations to undead genre conventions and supernatural romance enthusiasts may find the love story in Warm Bodies to be dead on arrival. However, open-minded movie-lovers with a diverse taste in brains movies may find a worthwhile experience in Levine’s blend of oddball moments, tongue-in-cheek humor, as well as a healthy dose of heart.
Ben Kendrick blogs at Screen Rant.
“I drank a lot from my point of view and I needed to stop," McGraw said. "I felt quitting was something I needed to do. I didn't feel I had any moral high ground with my kids in the long run.”
McGraw is married to fellow country singer Faith Hill and has three daughters, who range in age from 15 to 11.
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The singer said he stopped drinking five years ago and started a demanding new exercise routine that included lifting weights.
“Working out is a great way to go out on stage," the country star said. "When I hit the stage, my adrenaline is going and I'm ready.”
McGraw is the son of Tug McGraw, a baseball player who played for the New York Mets and the Philadelphia Phillies and was a member of the World Series-winning 1980 team. According to an interview McGraw did with Larry King, the singer got his start after McGraw gave a copy of his demo single to his father and an acquaintance of music executives at Curb Records heard the music in Tug's car. The man told the staff at Curb Records that they should talk with McGraw.
The singer has since released 11 albums, not counting compilations, and his most recent, titled “Two Lanes of Freedom,” will come out Feb. 5.
McGraw has also acted in films, including the 2009 Oscar-nominated movie “The Blind Side,” in which he played fast food franchise owner Sean Tuohy. Actress Sandra Bullock won an Oscar for Best Actress for playing Sean’s wife Leigh Ann Tuohy. The singer also acted in the 2004 film version of “Friday Night Lights,” the 2006 movie “Flicka,” for which he performed a song titled “My Little Girl,” and the 2010 movie “Country Strong,” in which he played manager James Canter, husband of country star Kelly Canter (Gwyneth Paltrow).
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As portrayed by the Google Doodle, baseball player Jackie Robinson would have turned 94 today, but the biopic coming out in April about his life and his struggle to survive as he played in the baseball major leagues will take its title from a different number – “42,” Robinson’s famous jersey numeral.
“42” stars “The Express” actor Chadwick Boseman as Robinson and Harrison Ford as Branch Rickey, an executive in major league baseball who was responsible for bringing Robinson onto the Brooklyn Dodgers. John C. McGinley of the TV show “Scrubs” will play broadcaster Walter “Red” Barber, “Law and Order: SVU” actor Christopher Meloni will portray Dodgers manager Leo Durocher and actress Nicole Beharie (also of “The Express”) will play Robinson’s wife Rachel Isum.
The best-known adaptation of Robinson’s life before now was the 1950 film “The Jackie Robinson Story,” in which Robinson played himself in the story of how he broke the color barrier in baseball. The second baseman (though he started his time on the Dodgers on first base) starred as himself eight years after the film about Lou Gehrig’s life, “The Pride of the Yankees,” featured New York Yankees Babe Ruth, Bill Dickey, Mark Koenig, and Bob Meusel playing themselves.
“The Express,” the 2008 film in which Boseman and Beharie both acted, was also a sports film, telling the story of African-American Ernie Davis, who played for Syracuse University and was the first black player to win the Heisman trophy. Boseman portrayed Floyd Little, a running back for Syracuse, while Beharie played Sarah Ward, a fictionalized version of Davis’s girlfriend.
“42” will open on April 12, three days before the date Robinson first played for the Dodgers. (April 12 is a Friday this year, a traditional movie-opening day, which may explain the slight difference.)
Boseman said that he met Rachel Isum Robinson early on once he had been cast as the famous baseball player.
“The first thing she said was basically, 'Who are you, and why do you get to play my husband?’” Boseman told the Los Angeles Times. “We were sitting in her office down on [New York's] Varick Street, and she was talking to me and showing me photo albums, and she told me she was a little nervous about me playing him.”
Robinson later told him that her fears were allayed, he said, but Boseman himself still feels the pressure of portraying a legend.
“It's intimidating because everybody has their interest in who he is," he said. "He's a lot of different things to a lot of different people."
There was an excellent scene in season 2 of Homeland where the characters played by Mandy Patinkin and F. Murray Abraham reminisced briefly about what the intelligence game was like during the Cold War. There was a wistful glint in their eyes as they almost fondly remembered their adversaries and the art of brinkmanship that both the United States and the Soviets engaged in time and again.
In essence, the pair romanticized a period filled with a different kind of paranoia and anxiety than exists today. In FX’s newest drama The Americans, the basic premise takes the audience back to the Cold War with a storyline focusing on two KGB spies who are posing as an average American married couple with kids in early-1980s Washington, D.C. And although this particular milieu is dripping with the same kind of us versus them gamesmanship that Patinkin and Abraham’s characters were remembering, this superlative and exciting pilot is far from a simple trip down memory lane.
Like any good pilot, the episode diligently sets up the series’ framework – which is comprised of several elements that make cable television so popular and successful right now. First and foremost, The Americans has the benefit of being a period drama (still a plus by most networks’ standards), but this series, unlike many period drams, is driven by more than simply having the right attire and casually making mention of events happening at the time. Instead, with Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys playing Elizabeth and Phillip Jennings, respectively, the plot deftly splits its time between the couple’s increasingly dangerous spy games and their otherwise prosaic existence as a family in the suburbs.
In that sense, The Americans has added elements of other great dramas like The Sopranos (nefarious stuff going on in the suburbs) and Homeland (government paranoia and fear that people aren’t who they seem to be) to its bag of tricks, but there’s also a whiff of AMC-fare like Breaking Bad, too. Still – in the pilot anyway – the series manages to take its conceit and make it successful by offering plenty of surprises and a decent amount of character building in the first episode.
Much of the pilot is devoted to an ex-KGB colonel who has defected to the United States and is now the kidnapping target of Elizabeth and Phillip (along with another deep cover operative named Rob). In a stirring opening sequence, Phillip and Elizabeth get their man, but at the cost of Rob and, to an extent, the successful completion of their mission. After the botched operation, the couple has no choice but to keep the defector stowed away in the trunk of an Oldsmobile in their garage. The situation intensifies when it becomes clear the U.S. government is aware of the kidnapping, and then things get worse after it’s revealed the colonel was responsible for a heinous crime committed against Elizabeth when she was still a teenager in Russia.
All of this is compelling stuff. The pilot manages to wring sufficient tension out of a car sitting in a seemingly innocuous couple’s garage, but where the pilot really excels is in its depiction of Phillip and Elizabeth. For one thing, Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys are superb in their roles, which is so incredibly important since the real drama ultimately hinges on the actors’ interactions in a staged domestic setting and how that works against the show’s larger backdrop of historical fact (and the sometimes-overwrought spy game elements).
These moments at home manage to break The Americans down to a more intimate examination of two people compelled to act on behalf of a country they haven’t stepped foot in for nearly two decades. Phillip is the affable one; he is engaging with new people, interacts with his children on a deep, fatherly level and, as we quickly come to understand, is a big fan of his life in the U.S. – a fact that has him pondering the feasibility of defecting and living without Soviet entanglements. Elizabeth, meanwhile, is more detached; she bristles when her daughter Paige (Holly Taylor) mentions a social studies assignment about how the Russians “cheat on arms control” and later vows to teach them how to be socialists. Whether her disengagement is due to her steadfast devotion to her mission or the possibility that this life can (and probably will) come crashing down on them at any minute is not yet certain, but it does add an extra dimension to her character and the family dynamic as a whole.
Still, as much as they initially adhere to one side of the coin, the characters are capable of surprise – even when aspects of the plot are more reliant on convenience. (But as long as the characters can convincingly sell it, those elements remain trivial objections.) Phillip has a protective streak in him that emerges in moments of deadly violence, and despite her cool exterior, Elizabeth’s emotions aren’t nearly as fortified as they may appear. This balancing act between two people playing roles they were thrown into is clearly the series’ strongest element so far.
As much as The Americans plays at the drama of family interaction and spy novel intrigue, there’s also a situational comedy element to the series that keeps the storyline from becoming too rigidly reliant on its ability to ramp up the pressure for Phillip and Elizabeth. The arrival of their new neighbor and FBI counter-intelligence agent, Stan Beeman (played by the always welcome Noah Emmerich from the season 2 finale of The Walking Dead), supplies a great deal of the humor (nervous as it is) with his gut instinct that something’s not quite right with Phil. Normally, something like this would be a hackneyed storyline component, but here it comes off as something darkly comical and quite useful – an already tense situation made potentially disastrous by the worst possible circumstance.
That’s a lot of elements at play, but somehow, despite occasionally taking the easy way out, everything manages to fall into place.
It can be difficult for shows that rely this much on tension to maintain it for an extended length of time, and that may prove to be the undoing of The Americans down the line. But if this pilot is any indication, the series isn’t at a loss as to the direction it wants to pursue, which should certainly ease any early concern for the narrative’s future. At any rate, that self-assurance should give the audience some sense of comfort and encourage them to come back for more. Considering how entertaining this pilot episode is, most viewers won’t need much coaxing.
- The pilot was directed by Gavin O’Connor (Warrior) and counts Justified creator Graham Yost among its executive producers. That’s not bad by any standard.
- There was no more enjoyable depiction of Phillip’s love for the United States than his dancing in front of a mirror in a pair of cowboy boots while at the mall with his daughter.
- Between Fleetwood Mac and the very brave use of Phil Collins’ seminal ’80s hit ‘In the Air Tonight,’ The Americans seems to have a pretty good understanding of when and where to place their musical elements.
Kevin Yeoman blogs at Screen Rant.
Disney Channel’s anticipated Boy Meets World spinoff, Girl Meets World, is a series about the funny experiences and heartstring-tugging tribulations endured by now-married couple Cory and Topanga Matthews’ (Ben Savage and Danielle Fishel) 13-year old daughter, Riley, as well as her brother Elliott and best friend Maya.
Children of the ’90s are waiting to learn which other endearing BMW characters are returning in the new show. However, executive producer Michael Jacobs (the co-creator of BMW) isn’t banking on nostalgia to carry this ship out to sea. Indeed, Fishel and her former costar Rider Strong (Shawn Hunter) have emphasized that GMW is foremost a standalone series about a new generation coming of age (and not a glorified reunion special, as some might be anticipating).
EW is reporting that 11-year old Rowan Blanchard has been cast as young Riley, following in her onscreen father’s footsteps by serving as the emotional fulcrum on a family-friendly sit-com. The young actress might be recognizable to some for her appearance in The Back-Up Plan and leading performance in Spy Kids: All the Time in the World; otherwise, she’s as much an unknown talent as Savage was when he appeared in Boy Meets World twenty years ago. (How time flies, right?)
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Here’s Jacobs statement on the casting:
“As soon as Rowan walked into the room, I was reminded of why Ben Savage was loved as Cory Matthews. Rowan is real and accessible and I am hopeful this girl is about to meet a world that will love growing up with her as well.”
As for the Riley character, here is a description:
13 years old, indelible personality, an adorable girl on the cusp of whatever comes next in life, and wanting to rush into it head first. She is fiercely loyal to her friends, and spends most of her time juggling the obstacles that life throws her way… there is no obstacle in this girl’s world that can dampen her bright spirit and eternal optimism.
Girl Meets World catches up with Cory and Topanga in real time, as the former has followed in the footsteps of his mentor and grandfather figure George Feeny (William Daniels) by becoming a junior high school science teacher. There is room for BMW star Will Friedle to pop up as Riley’s uncle Eric, as well as Betsy Randle and William Russ to appear as her grandparents. However, the non-Matthews clan members from BMW are more of a long shot (at least, beyond an episodic stint).
As to whether GMW will catch on like its predecessor, well, that’s anyone guess. It will be geared more towards family audiences, but the tone may (or may not) fall closer to 21st-century Disney Channel series Hanna Montana and That’s So Raven than some might prefer. Ultimately, though, it’s the current generation that GMW aims to resonate with, not older viewers; hopefully, it does so in a thoughtful and touching manner that feels like an appropriate reflection of our modern times.
Sandy Schaefer blogs at Screen Rant.
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The diner, Oliver Hermann, said in an interview with the newspaper Bild that when he tried to pay his check, the waiter told him Clooney had already taken care of his 100 Euros ($135) bill.
According to the waiter, said Hermann, Clooney had been afraid that he and his party had been too loud and paid for his fellow restaurant patron’s bill as a way to apologize.
But Hermann said that wasn’t the case at all.
“That's not true at all,” he said about Clooney and his party’s supposed loudness. “They had behaved in a very cultivated manner. I was stunned.”
He said he left his business card at the restaurant in the hope that he could pick up the tab for the actor sometime in the future. But he hadn't recognized Clooney, said Hermann.
Clooney paid for the extra bill at the restaurant the Grill Royal. The actor is in Germany to film the movie “The Monuments Men,” which will be filmed in Potsdam, according to The Local, a German online news outlet. “Monuments” follows a group of people in the art world trying to save well-known works of art that were looted by the Nazis. Other actors that have been rumored to be involved with the project include Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, Bill Murray, and Daniel Craig.
Clooney is also involved in a movie titled “1952,” a film that will be directed by Brad Bird and written by “Lost” creator Damon Lindelof and writer Jeff Jensen. It’s a Disney project, which may explain the recent reveal of its other title: “Tomorrowland,” which is also the name of the futuristic section of the Magic Kingdom at the Disney parks. “1952” is slated for a 2014 release.