June 22nd, 2015
I'm so mad. who did this pic.twitter.com/5Es13s8Gfx
— Allison Kilkenny (@allisonkilkenny) June 21, 2015
Too soon. Way too soon.
I'm so mad. who did this pic.twitter.com/5Es13s8Gfx
— Allison Kilkenny (@allisonkilkenny) June 21, 2015
Too soon. Way too soon.
Scott Glenn talked with The Onion AV Club for their Random Roles feature, reeling off a stream of anecdotes about the many films he's been in and the people he's worked with. Like Ron Howard's firefighter drama, Backdraft:
Backdraft (1991) – "John 'Axe' Adcox," stunts
AVC: You actually have a stunt credit on [Backdraft.]
SG: I do. At one point, the stunt coordinator on that – a great stunt coordinator named Walter Scott – he and Ron came to me, and Ron said, "How do you feel about being set on fire?" And I said, "Not great. Why?" [Laughs.] And he said, "Well, this is the deal: We want to hang you about 75 feet up in the air, and we want to light fire below you in this scene, and we want to set the bottom part of your body on fire, and with harness and cables, it'll look like Kurt Russell is hanging from a beam, holding you." It's where I say, "Let me go," and he says, "You go, we go." And Ron said, "The only way I can really sell this shot is to shoot down over Kurt's shoulder, onto you looking up into the camera, hanging there, on fire. And I can't figure out any other way to do it that powerfully with a stunt double." And Walter said, "I want to go on record as being against this. You never set a principal actor on fire, and fire is unpredictable, and blah, blah, blah." But I did it. They say God looks after kids and idiots, and I think actors are probably a combination of the two.
Firestorm (1998) – "Wynt"
AVC: So after enduring all you did on Backdraft, what made you want to do Firestorm?
SG: A lot of money.
Did you ever wish you could just transform any text anywhere on the Internet with "I am Groot"?
Of course you did. Or should.
For what it's worth, I keep seeing people say that Guardians of the Galaxy came out a bit like a Marvel Cinematic Universe version of Firefly/Serenity. Seems to me that it's a much closer match for Farscape:
I'll freely acknowledge that four seasons of TV gave Rockne S O'Bannon and friends way more scope to develop their characters than James Gunn and co. had, but even so I've got to say that Scorpius (and Harvey) was a much more fun villain than Ronan The Accuser or Thanos.1
[Via The Dissolve]
You might have thought that the Internet Movie Database had cornered the market in film-related data. You'd be wrong. Sometimes the Trivia section of the IMDB just isn't up to the job, and there's nothing for it but to consult the Internet Movie Cars Database. Seriously, this exists and seems to be ridiculously thorough.
For sentimental reasons I asked it for appearances in film and TV by the Vauxhall Chevette and it brought up two pages of results, with screencaps, confirming that between the mid-1970s and the 1980s you couldn't walk up a streets anywhere in the United Kingdom without seeing a Chevette parked. It even had a starring role in an episode of The Likely Lads and a bit part in Christopher Eccleston's season on Doctor Who.1
Seriously, I know most of us don't need to use a resource like the Internet Movie Cars Database on a daily basis, but it's good to know that it's out there, being maintained by people who care about making this sort of information freely available to the rest of us.
[Via Matt Patches, talking in the Fighting In The War Room podcast at the 15:36 mark while reviewing David Michod's The Rover. (Not talking about the Vauxhall Chevette specifically, mind, just about the existence of the IMCDb itself.)]
A quick note for UK-based readers: BBC4 are starting a repeat run for Edge of Darkness later tonight at 10pm 11pm.1 Not the Mel Gibson remake: the original miniseries with Bob Peck (never better), lashings of paranoia, a bit of fringe environmentalism, and more than a dash of of sheer weirdness. Quite possibly the best miniseries produced by British television in the 1980s, rivalled only by Boys from the Blackstuff and The Beiderbecke Affair (if you don't disqualify the latter from the category of miniseries for having two followup series.)
I haven't seen Edge of Darkness since the original broadcast, and I'm curious as to how it'll look almost 30 years on. I have a horrible feeling that the answer will be "prescient."
[Via The Guardian]
Mallory Ortberg, reacting to a surfeit of Sherlock Holmes adaptations in recent years, reckons it's past time for a proper, working class hero. In other words, it's time for a Columbo reboot:
Columbo says things like "Watch my hand, it's full of grease. This is my dinner. Would you like a piece of chicken?" to suspects. He is deliberate. He moves at the pace of justice. Unflagging, unwearying, unrelenting; he is the Anton Chigurh of goodness. The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards Columbo. It is his fundamental goodness, as much as his native intelligence, that make him a good detective. He is not a remote genius; he is not a refined gentleman; he is a good man, and it is this that makes him not just a good detective but my detective. He is America's detective. A good and a quiet man who brings his own lunch and will not go away until order is restored.
The article (and the accompanying comment thread) suggest some fine choices for the role. John C Reilly. An unshaven Stanley Tucci. Margo Martindale. Mark Ruffalo. Colm Meaney.
One way or another, someone needs to make this happen.
Philip Sandifer's meditation on what The Day of the Doctor tells us about the differing ways Russell T Davies and Steven Moffat see the Doctor is quite fascinating:
As with many fan debates on Tumblr, the immediate fallout of The Day of the Doctor had no shortage of straw men, with people angrily reacting against points that never actually got made. (See also the "legions" of fans who aren't going to watch Peter Capaldi because he's old and unattractive.) Still, there's an interesting fault line that opens up in the question of just how much of a retcon The Day of the Doctor is – one that is revealing in terms of the sorts of details that each argument prioritizes.
Once I've caught up on the comments on his post, I'm going to have to rewatch TDOTD at least one more time and have a think about all this. Good stuff.
[Via The Great Escapism]
I'm indebted to Stu for reminding me of this perfect epilogue to Spaced, which I believe can be found on the DVD boxset:
[Via feeling listless]
Reading Issue 1 of Itty Bitty Orphan Black's Marvel Babies-style prequel to Orphan Black, I'm torn between thinking how nicely the cartoonist has captured Lil' Cosima, Sarah, Helena and Alison and remembering that according to season 1 of the show they didn't know one another existed when they met as adults so how the hell could they all have gone to school together! I'm trying hard to let the former reaction win out.
If you missed Orphan Black then it's well worth catching up on, not just for Tatiana Maslany's amazing performances as about half of the main cast, but also for the way they kept on piling up the complications across the entire first season and teased so many potentially fun plots for season 2.1 Please let the writers not screw it up in season 2 by losing control of their plot.
[Via The A.V. Club]
Food Stylist Chris Oliver's work in film and TV doesn't just involve preparing food for people:
On Boardwalk Empire, I had to do an edible arm that they have to throw and the alligator eats it in the scene. They are heavy, 50 pounds easily. I had to make a cast of it and make it so it's throwable and wouldn't dissolve in the water.
(See also her story of a close encounter with a tiger that wasn't going to be satisfied by fake food.)
[Via The Dissolve]
Here's the thing. I'd call myself a Doctor Who fan, but I'm really just a lightweight. I watched the show growing up, starting with the tail end of the Patrick Troughton era and then watching right through the Pertwee and Tom Baker years and then bailing out when Tristan Farnon took on the role. I barely saw any of Six and Seven's episodes and didn't feel the loss. I watched the TV movie and disliked almost everything about it: the Doctor being half-human, the Master being nothing whatsoever like Roger Delgado, you name it.
I was intrigued at the prospect of the show returning, and deeply relieved that Christopher Eccleston was terrific and the show was confidently moving forward, even if some of the modern trappings irk me a bit.1 I've been happy to follow the show since: when it's good, it's very good indeed, and as the poor stories are mostly just a single episode long I'm willing to let the odd duff one go because I know a better one will be along shortly and in the meantime there'll be a nice character bit from Matt Smith or Rory will step up and do something remarkable or Donna will turn out to be the most important person in the entire universe.
Outside of the TV episodes, I've never been inclined to follow the tie-ins, beyond having read a few of the early novelisations back during that first spell watching the show, and I've never been tempted to look back into the seasons and Doctors I missed out on. As I say, a bit of a lightweight fan.
I say all this to explain why I shouldn't really be all that excited at The Night of the Doctor: A Mini Episode.
And yet, I am. Not as excited as Stu, for whom Eight is "his" Doctor, but still weirdly thrilled. Realising what I was watching immediately planted a huge grin on my face that still hasn't quite faded.
Seeing the producers pull something like this out of the bag makes me think that Moffat and co. might just blow all our socks off with the 50th anniversary story.2
— Dave Itzkoff (@ditzkoff) November 4, 2013
If only his TARDIS had a working chameleon circuit, his other time machine could be a DeLorean too…
I just don't know why Channel 5 would bury a show that reliably funny (and filthy) at 2:30 in the morning.
On the 20th anniversary of the premiere of Frasier, 20 Reasons "Frasier" Is The Best Sitcom Of All Time.
I'm not sure I'd crown it the very greatest of them all, but it was certainly a contender. See this 2004 post for my comments on the best ever UK sitcoms, including a few notes on US contenders for the global title. Other than not forgetting The Simpsons this time round, I don't know that I'd change a thing.1
I'm indebted to Andrew Collins in his weekly Telly Addict video for the Guardian for pointing out how familiar one of the regulars in Bates Motel looks:
If I didn't know that Tony Perkins was long gone, I'd be thinking that he'd been invited to guest on the show as a bit of stunt casting. Spooky.
John Lahr profiles Claire Danes in The New Yorker.
Lahr's profile touches on many of the highs and lows of her career, with particular attention paid to Homeland for obvious reasons, but for me the highlight is – and probably always will be, no matter what she's cast in for the rest of her career – the role that made her famous, that of Angela Chase. Picture the scene, with My So-Called Life's producers Ed Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz and the show's writer Winnie Holzman auditioning two actresses for the role:
[Alicia] Silverstone auditioned first. Zwick, impressed, told Herskovitz, "It's done. Just cast her." But Herskovitz thought she was too pretty for Holzman's messy high-school universe, which included subplots about drug addiction, bullying, binge drinking, promiscuity, and homosexuality. "Alicia is so beautiful that that would have affected her experience of the world. People would have been telling her she was beautiful since she was six years old. You can't put that face in what's been written for this girl," he argued. Linda Lowy, the casting director, suggested that they see Danes before deciding. "From the minute she walked in the room, Claire was chilling, astounding, and silent," Lowy said. "There was so much power coming out of her without her doing much." One of the scenes that Danes read – which involved a nervy bathroom breakup with Angela's best friend, Sharon – required her to cry. "Tell me what I did, Angela. I mean, I would really like to know," Sharon says. "We get to that line and Claire's face turns entirely red," Herskovitz said. "Her body starts to vibrate and tears come into her eyes. You realize that she's having a physical experience that is beyond acting." Even then, Danes's defining quality as an actress – a combination of thoughtfulness and impulsiveness – was on display. "She seemed to have been born fully grown, you know, out of a seashell," Herskovitz said. Zwick claimed that Danes was his first sighting of a "wise child," a rare species that show business occasionally tosses up. As he put it later, "What she knows cannot be taught." Danes also satisfied another quality that Holzman's script called for: her face could transform in an instant from beautiful to ordinary.
Holzman's pilot for "My So-Called Life" (then titled "Someone Like Me") was meant to trap "a naked quality, not a person but a feeling of freedom and bondage, shyness and fearlessness," she said. Holzman found herself staring at this protean paradox in the flesh. Danes "was sexy and not sexy, free and bound up, open and closed, funny and frighteningly serious," Holzman recalled. Her performance freed Holzman's imagination. "We gave birth to each other," she said. "I was looking at someone who literally could do anything, and so I could, too." The novelist and television writer Richard Kramer, who worked on "My So-Called Life," places Holzman's writing for the show on a continuum of original television voices that leads from her to Mike White, Larry David, and Lena Dunham. "Winnie wouldn't be Winnie without Claire," he said. "And Claire wouldn't be Claire without Winnie. There was something mythological about their meeting."
After Danes left the audition room, Lowy recalled, "no one could really speak." In the excitement of the moment, the production team found themselves faced with a conundrum. Silverstone was sixteen and "emancipated," meaning, in Hollywood's piquant terminology, that she could work very long days. Danes was thirteen and, by law, had to go to school. If they cast Silverstone, they could move ahead with the show they'd written; if they opted for Danes, they'd have to adapt later scripts to accommodate her schedule. "We turned to Winnie," Herskovitz recalled. "Winnie said, 'Let's change the nature of the show.' " He added, "In that moment, we decided to include the lives of the parents more."
A fortunate day for everyone except Alicia Silverstone.1
One of the most enjoyable aspects of Burn Notice is lead character Michael Westen's laconic voiceovers, letting us non-spies in on the tricks of the trade as he's setting up a scam / undertaking surveillance / planning to insert himself in a situation where he's not welcome. Spy Training 101 consists of transcripts of these voiceovers from the first three seasons. From the pilot episode:
If you're surrounded by hostile aspiring warlords when you get abandoned by the CIA do anything to remove yourself from being surrounded to even the odds a bit. If you get in a fight be careful not to hurt your hand: elbows are effective and bathrooms with lots of hard surfaces also help. A dirt bike is a good choice for an escape vehicle. Wearing a bathing suit eliminates some suspicions because hiding a gun in a bathing suit doesn't work so well. […]
Good to know…
[Via Zed Lopez]