Daniels said “all questions” will be resolved this year.
“This year feels like the last chance to… make an artistic ending for the show,” said Daniels, who ran the show from its beginning season to its fifth and is now returning for the ninth season. “This will be the last season of 'The Office,' and we’re planning a big exciting last season... We’re going to see who’s behind the documentary... Now that we know we have an end date, we can blow things up and take some chances and it will be very freeing, creatively.”
Star Steve Carell left during season 7 and several actors on the show had already become involved in other projects, including Rainn Wilson, who will be involved in a planned spin-off of the show, and Mindy Kaling, who will star in “The Mindy Project” which will air this fall.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been 30 years since Michael J. Fox launched his entertainment career as Alex P. Keaton on the hit NBC series Family Ties. Now Fox is heading back to his former TV home with a new comedy series.
Inspired in part by the actor’s real life, the new show follows Fox as a husband and father of three from New York City dealing with family, career, and challenges, including Parkinson’s disease (something we predicted last week when news of the series surfaced).
The new show has a full series order for 22 episodes. Easy A director Will Gluck and Arrested Development and Cougar Town writer Sam Laybourne are on board as executive producers and co-creators with the former also directing the pilot.
Chairman of NBC Entertainment Robert Greenblatt says:
“To bring Michael J. Fox back to NBC is a supreme honor and we are thrilled that one of the great comedic television stars is coming home again. From the moment we met with Michael to hear his unique point of view about this new show, we were completely captivated and on board. He is utterly relatable, optimistic, and in a class by himself, and I have no doubt that the character he will create – and the vivid family characters surrounding him – will be both instantly recognizable and hilarious. Being in business with him is a supreme pleasure.”
Fox couldn’t be more thrilled with the prospect of getting back to TV in a leading role, saying, “I’m extremely pleased to be back at NBC with a great creative team and a great show. Bob Greenblatt and all the folks at the network have given me a warm welcome home, and I’m excited to get to work.”
This is easily the best TV news I’ve heard in a long time. There are few talents who are as dedicated, modest, charismatic, and talented as Fox, and to see that he’s returning to the network where his career began is truly wonderful. As a fan who has read all of Fox’s memoirs, starting with Lucky Man, I can’t wait to see how much of Fox’s life ends up on display in the comedy series.
It’s pretty bold and brave of Fox to put even more of his personal life out there, especially in a comedic capacity, but as someone who has always humbly dealt with his disease in the public eye, it shouldn’t prove to be very difficult. I can’t wait to see how this new series turns out.
Ethan Anderton blogs at Screen Rant.
The Expendables 2 will top the box office over the weekend, grossing an estimated $28.7 million. The original action mash-up grossed scored $34 million in 2010 and topped out at $103 million domestic and $274 million globally. However, this new effort has better reviews (read ours) and even more star fire-power, so it could potentially do better in the long-run – or at the very least at the global box office.
The film does beat the average opening weekend of most of its stars. An average Stallone movie debuts to around $12 million and a Statham vehicle usually launches to just over $10 million. Bruce Willis usually garners about $13 million worth of audience interest, while the average weekend gross for a Schwarzenegger movie is $15 million. Having said that, most of these films opened in a time when ticket prices were much lower.
Fellow action sequel, The Bourne Legacy dropped to second place, it should bank $17 million for the weekend, raising its cume to $69.5 million. It looks like there’s life in this Matt Damon-free franchise yet, in fact you could say it has been re-Bourne (zing!). Sure, it hasn’t managed to hit the grosses of the Damon movies, but it is difficult rebooting a franchise without its original star AND its original character.
The Campaign, should get another $13.3 million, showing that viewers are voting with their wallets on this. The film has now grossed over $51 million – it’ll never make $100 million, but it will be a solid hit.
Whitney Houston’s final screen appearance in Sparkle captured so-so audience interest in a crowded marketplace, grossing $12 million. It could potentially do a solid final number – if it finds audience traction.
The Dark Knight Rises is set to gross an estimated $11.1 million, for a $409.9 million total cume. It’s starting to tumble(r) down the box office chart, and it doesn’t have much life left, but it is a very respectable number (great even). Sure, it’s not The Avengers or The Dark Knight, but it has surpassed The Hunger Games as the second highest grossing film of the year at the domestic box office.
Disney’s The Odd Life Of Timothy Green is doing good business as a piece of counter-programming. The Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton film should see a weekend take of $10 million, for a $15 million total.
Diary Of A Wimpy Kid should bank $3.8 million for a $38 million total, while Total Recall rounds out the top ten, grossing $3.5 million for a $51.7 million total haul. Globally, the Colin Farrell film is on track to cover its production budget, having grossed over $58 million abroad. However, it looks like Farrell won’t be back in the role of Doug Quaid.
That’s it for now. See you at the movies.
Niall Browne blogs at Screen Rant.
Due to his battle with Parkinson’s disease, Michael J. Fox hasn’t been acting as much as he might want. However, that hasn’t stopped Fox from making fantastic, Emmy-nominated, guest turns on series like The Good Wife, Curb Your Enthusiasm and Rescue Me - the latter of which actually won him the coveted TV award. Now it sounds like the actor is ready to get back on the small screen full time.
Vulture has learned that Fox is developing a new comedy series at Sony Pictures Television with Easy A director Will Gluck and writer Sam Laybourne (Cougar Town, Arrested Development) on board to get the show ready to launch in 2013.
Plot details on the series are slim, but it’s reportedly inspired by Fox’s own life. Word on the street is all the major networks are going crazy in a bidding war to get ahold of this series, and a automatic pilot production deal is very likely. But even more crazy is the buzz that it might be big enough to get a straight to series order, something that is a rarity on network television these days.
The kind of attention surrounding the new comedy isn’t all that surprising considering that Fox’s career on television is almost as big as his film career. Spin City was a revered comedy in its heyday, and it actually earned Fox an Emmy nomination four years in a row, with a win to wrap up his final season on the series. In addition, Fox was a staple of the classic family sitcom Family Ties, not to mention other phenomenal guest spots on Scrubs and Boston Legal.
The question is just how much of Fox’s real life will be injected into this series. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a show about a father struggling with the afflictions of Parkinson’s disease, and it might even be a fictionalized version of himself, working in entertainment. This is all speculation, but knowing how much work Fox has been doing with his own foundation to help find a cure for the debilitating disease – including writing several memoirs that deal with his condition – the series could be very personal.
Personally, I can’t wait to see what Fox brings to television. Spin City was one of my favorite comedy series in the ’90s, and the actor just has so much charisma and great comedic timing combined with solid dramatic chops, so I can’t help but love anything he does. Teaming with a director like Will Gluck, who made a teenage comedy reminiscent of John Hughes, and a writer who worked on a cult comedy like Arrested Development (and the sleeper hit comedy series Cougar Town) sounds like a great move for Fox’s return to TV. I’m betting his fans of all ages are eager to see him back in the acting game on a more regular basis. Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available.
Ethan Anderton blogs at Screen Rant.
The tragic, premature death of modern music legend Whitney Houston earlier this year looms over the head of this summer’s Sparkle: a remake of the 1976 musical melodrama (of the same name), which was meant to serve as a comeback vehicle for the starlet of such popular ’90s titles as The Bodyguard and Waiting to Exhale. Instead, the film will mark Houston’s final appearance onscreen.
Sparkle sees Houston play second fiddle to American Idol winner Jordin Sparks, who portrays (not kidding) Sparkle Williams: the most musically-talented in a trio of sisters who rocket to fame during the late ’60s – as “The Motown Sound” is all the rage – and subsequently fall victim to the same cycle of clashing egos, drug use, and abuse that destroyed their mother’s (Houston) own budding musical career.
Husband-wife duo Mara Brock Akil (Cougar Town) and Salim Akil (The Game) handled writing and directing duties on Sparkle. The film’s cast is rounded out by such supporting players as Carmen Ejogo (Chaos), Tika Sumpter (One Life to Live), Mike Epps (Resident Evil: Apocalypse and Extinction), Derek Luke (Hawthorne), and musician Cee-Lo Green (The Voice).
Have a look at the official trailer for Sparkle below:
Based on this early footage, Sparkle looks and sounds like a pretty standard (re: formulaic) musical cautionary tale about the pitfalls that come with success. While Sparkle doesn’t appear to boast quite the visual panache or flair of, say, Bill Condon’s Oscar-winning Dreamgirls adaptation, the painfully obvious parallels between Houston’s character and the singer’s tumultuous real-life experiences adds a subtextual layer of melancholy to the proceedings, which may give the film more emotional punch.
That said: if you bypass Houston’s involvement and judge primarily by the rest of the creative personnel who are involved with this flick (combined with the trailer footage), then Sparkle still seems like it should be a serviceable addition to the musical melodrama sub-genre (if nothing else).
Sandy Schaefer blogs at Screen Rant.
I absolutely love stop-motion animation, I have ever since I was a kid. I was very excited when I first heard about ParaNorman, and even more so when the trailers hit. This was stop-motion with family flavour horror, that was really all I needed. My excitement proved to be valid, because ParaNorman is one of the best films I have seen in 2012, not only did it not disappoint, it actually exceeded my expectations.
The story is about a young boy named Norman, he’s known as the weird one. He likes horror, he has a bit of a zombie obsession and he can see and talk to dead people. This talent comes in handy when his outcast Uncle passes and gives him clues on how to break a century old curse that will destroy the town. So Norman sets out on an adventure to stop the curse, bringing with him a colourful set of characters.
Horror fans will love this film, it has so many nods to the genre that us older folk will get a kick out of it. In fact the first ten minutes almost felt like a Troll 2 homage, only not laughably bad. This film is constantly funny, with a lot of heart. The characters are great and Norman (voiced by Kodi Smit-McPhee) is really well developed and someone we can all relate to. Other notable characters include his new found friend Neil (voiced by Tucker Albrizzi) and school bully Alvin (voiced by Christopher Mintz-Plasse). These characters really play an important role, and this film certainly has a lot to say about bullying and it does it well and it never tries to preach.
The voice work was great, everyone really did a great job. They became their characters and really put forth a solid effort. I was surprised to see Casey Affleck in there and he was just fantastic, a cute role with a nice surprise. The real star here though is the stop-motion work, it was flawless. It looked stunning, each figure really came to life and each had their own distinct look. So much work was put into each character and it really paid off. The visuals were amazing, and the 3-D was actually very successful and handled in the way that I really like it. This really is a delightful film, with a good message and I’d highly recommend it to everyone.
Marcelle Papandrea blogs at Killer Film.
Cosmopolis is a film that will really divide people, it isn’t really conventional but David Cronenberg rarely is and this is where his strengths as a filmmaker lie. I really did not like his previous effort A Dangerous Method and it was his most conventional film to date. Cosmopolis has a lot more in common with the likes of Naked Lunch, Crash and eXistenZ, films that are certainly not conventional and drown in that Cronenberg flavour. I really cannot easily describe Cosmopolis, I feel this is something that just needs to be experienced, it is one wild and unique ride. It is a film that is unlike any other and one that you really cannot get a grasp of fully after just one viewing. That is the beauty of Cronenberg, he wants his audience to experience his art over and over because there are so many layers to uncover.
The film is an adaptation of Don DeLillo’s novel of the same name, I haven’t read it yet but I do believe Cronenberg made a very close adaptation and kept a lot of the dialogue the same. Our film is about a young billionaire Eric Packer (Robert Pattinson) who on this particular day decided he wants to go in his limo to get a hair cut and conduct his business for the day in said limo. His trip is under constant delays from numerous events that are happening and his frequent stops to visit his wife (Sarah Gadon).
I am sure that plot description does not sound like much but there is in fact a lot going on with this film. It is dialogue heavy, and the dialogue is anything but natural. The view of the outside world from within the limo is also unnatural, and I do believe this was done on purpose. There is a lot being said here about the rich, and I think that unnatural look of the outside world was a huge metaphor about the rich being so detached from the real world. Don DeLillo’s novel was first published in 2003, and his themes ring more true today with the financial crisis and things like Occupy Wall Street. Is he a man who could predict the future? In a way I think he saw the direction that things were heading, and Cosmopolis seems overly relevant today.
I think it is safe to say that Robert Pattinson was a real revelation here, this is his best performance to date. There are no shades of Twilight or a teen heart throb here, instead he is a very cold and collected person who slowly loses it. He goes from great to greater as the film moves from its first act to its third. He seems like a great fit for Cronenberg, and this is evidence that the man is talented with the right material. Those around him are also quite exceptional, Kevin Durand is fantastic and it was actually very cool to see him in a Cronenberg film. Sarah Gadon was perfect as the wife, their relationship is cold and one of convenience. However her scenes with Pattinson are almost hypnotic, the chemistry was quite outstanding for this relationship. I don’t think you can go wrong with Juliette Binoche and Samantha Morton, both of whom are quite memorable. The stand out with Pattinson was Paul Giamatti, and their confrontation was spectacular, it may even be one of my favourite scenes this year.
I’d rather not delve too much deeper, I really do not want to ruin this experience for anyone. This is a film that might be too much for some, or it may leave some very confused or very cold. Like I said this isn’t typical by any means, and if you do have a taste for the unusual and a taste for films that aren’t spoon fed to you you should get a lot out of this one. For fans of Cronenberg this is a must, he is probably at his most Cronenbergian here, and I really liked that. His script and direction are perfect for this story, I know he does things for a reason and I know I will get so much more out of this upon repeating viewings.
Marcella Papandrea blogs at Killer Film.
That’s right, dudes, it’s time for you to come on down to The Price is Right, but this time they’re not looking for contestants. For the first time in the game show’s history, the search is on for a male model to join the ranks of Amber Lancaster, Gwendolyn Osborne, Manuela Arbelaez, and Rachel Reynolds as showcase models.
TV Line says that there will be an open call in Los Angeles to find one lucky (handsome) fellow to show off cars, appliances, and give Plinko chips to contestants. The open call takes place Thursday, August 30th, from 10am to 2pm PST at KCBS Studios, 4024 Radford Avenue, Studio City, California. So if you’re in the area and have the time to leave the gym, it might be in your best interest to try out.
The first round will have producers and the current female models – Amber Lancaster, Gwendolyn Osborne, Manuela Arbelaez, and Rachel Reynolds – judging the hopefuls after checking out their verbal skills, their ability to pose and “properly showcase a product,” and more. Then, on September 28th, up to six finalists will be announced on the game show itself and a web series will be launched featuring the candidates competing in various challenges. Finally, it will be the viewers who decide by October 4th which male model gets the coveted position. But there’s a catch: it’s only a one week gig on the show starting October 15th.
It’s not clear if the male model will become a mainstay if the audience response is positive, but if that’s not the case, it kind of feels like a gimmick. Unless someone sick at home with the flu calls in to complain, I don’t see a reason why a male model can’t be a permanent installment of the show. Either way, I suppose it’s something fun to keep the show interesting and engaging after all these years.
Ethan Anderton blogs at Screen Rant.
“It is with deep regret to inform everyone that due to my injuries, I am unable to return to 'The Good Wife' at this time," Chenoweth said in a statement. "Getting better slowly and thank you everyone for your concern.”
Chenoweth will still be featured in the fourth season premiere, which will air Sept. 30. She said via Twitter that she hoped to return to the show when she was able after recuperation from her injury.
The actress was struck on set by a piece of lighting equipment that was shaken by wind.
On “The Good Wife,” Chenoweth will play a reporter who was digging into the story of Julianna Margulie’s Alicia and Chris Noth’s Peter, who are separated on the show.
In a rare feat, TNT is simultaneously closing the door on its hit series THE CLOSER while debuting its new spin-off series MAJOR CRIMES. Creator and executive producer James Duff likes to describe MAJOR CRIMES as more of a “continuation” series since as the final scene of THE CLOSER ends, minutes later MAJOR CRIMES picks up exactly where it ended on the same night. With a very clever sleight of hand, one series ends allowing its lead Kyra Sedgwick, who delightfully portrayed Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson for the past seven seasons, a graceful exit while Mary McDonnell takes center stage in the new series with her character Captain Sharon Raydor — though everyone is quick to describe the new series as more of a true ensemble series, which will allow all the characters expanded storylines and screen time.
But no matter how they do it, it will still be a goodbye for the fans who have cherished the time that Kyra portrayed her now iconic character, Brenda Leigh Johnson. It is also a time to say goodbye for a few other familiar faces and characters who will not be regularly appearing on MAJOR CRIMES. After the penultimate episode’s big reveal that Lt. Gabriel (Corey Reynolds) was the inadvertent department leak through his girlfriend, who had been paid to befriend and gain Gabriel’s trust by the notorious attorney Peter Goldman (Curtis Armstrong) and Det. Flynn’s (Tony Denison) wise advise to transfer, we knew that Det. David Gabriel would also be moving on. In addition, Chief Pope (J.K. Simmons) has been angling since Day One for a big promotion and he is likely to get his wish granted, leaving another hole in the world we have come to know and love as THE CLOSER.
Yet how these characters stage their exit may surprise you. THE CLOSER cast, crew, writers and producers have worked diligently to create a storyline that will satisfy fans and yet provide the hook necessary to lure them to the new series. Rumored for weeks, if not months, that a death would be involved and that a central villain would be returning for the finale, the final episode of THE CLOSER is not looking to go quietly into the night. It is aiming for a much bigger send off.
As seen in the previews, the villainous Philip Stroh (Billy Burke) makes his deadly reappearance. For years, Brenda has dogged his footsteps and worked tirelessly to catch the devious criminal who has eluded her through his legal expertise. But every great criminal eventually makes one mistake. Just how will Philip react when he realizes how close Brenda may actually be this time?
At a recent screening of the finale with fans at the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood on August 7th, the cast and producers of THE CLOSER were quick to remind the lucky few that they need to keep any and all spoilers to themselves. But if the reactions of the fans at the screening were any indication, they were satisfied. The party, gloriously sponsored by TNT and Lincoln (who had flown in winning fans from around the country for their turn on the red carpet with the stars of the show), was filled with beaming faces, cameras flashing, fans hollering from the bleachers, and news crews ready to capture every moment on film, the night glittered with pride and happiness. Missing from the festivities were Kyra Sedgwick, Mary McDonnell, and J.K. Simmons, but the rest of the cast were there to mingle with the fans and happily recount some of their favorite memories working on THE CLOSER and their hopes for the new series MAJOR CRIMES. Though James Duff nearly had a heart-attack when during the Q&A one fan admitted that she had never heard of MAJOR CRIMES and had not realized that nearly the entire cast would still be working together on the continuation series. So in case you too are still a bit fuzzy about it: the show is losing a few faces and being renamed MAJOR CRIMES, but essentially everything you have known and loved about THE CLOSER will still be there: Detectives Flynn, Provenza, Tao, Sanchez, Commander Taylor, Buzz, Agent Fritz Howard, Captain Sharon Raydor and Dr. Morales — and with a little luck, perhaps a few more.
Over the years THE CLOSER took viewers into the confession room where Brenda Leigh Johnson elicited confessions from the most hardened and ruthless of murderers. Not constrained by law to be truthful herself, Brenda’s lies to commiserate with and get the guilty talking were surprising, yet effective tools. Yet even when Brenda was fully within the bounds of the law, her tactics seemed to verge on a slippery slope of ethics. One such tactic lead to the heinous Johnson Rule, stemming from the death of Turell Baylor, whereby police are no longer allowed to abandon suspects or citizens in situations where their lives may be at risk. Still chafing under a rule bearing her own name, seeming to make her culpable for a non-existent crime, Brenda has struggled to find a balance between necessary police tactics to capture criminals and procedures set in place to make her job increasingly difficult. It served as a reminder that justice remains elusive in our legal system.
Seeking to highlight this realistic problem, THE CLOSER has not backed away from the personal and professional cost to those who do their best to bring justice to victims of violent crime. Similarly, MAJOR CRIMES will continue to address this thorny issue throughout its series.
Tiffany Vogt blogs at The TV Addict.