Last night’s How I Met Your Mother solved the mystery that has been plaguing this entire season: How were Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) and Robin (Cobie Smulders) going to end up at the altar together? It seemed as if they were as far from an engagement as possible: they began this season with significant others, Barney going as far as proposing to his stripper girlfriend, Quinn. Then, when they both broke off their respective relationships, mishap after mishap kept these two soulmates from coming together. The final straw? Barney’s unexpected relationship with Robin’s co-worker/archenemy, Patrice (Ellen D. Williams).
Of course, in last night’s midseason finale, HIMYM revealed that Patrice was actually working with Barney to create one last play for Robin’s heart, called "The Robin." Their relationship was fake, perpetuated to make Robin realize her true feelings for Barney, culminating in their engagement on the roof of the Worldwide News Building.
While we knew these two crazy kids would find their way to each other, we had no idea how Patrice would factor into their relationship until the end of last night’s supersized episode. Hollywood.com got the chance to chat with Patrice herself, Ellen D. Williams, about the big reveal, how a one-line joke turned into a major recurring character, and Patrice’s future.
Hollywood.com: How did the character of Patrice come about?
Ellen D. Williams: It’s kind of a funny story. I feel like the acting gods above were smiling upon me that day. I was actually on jury duty and got the call from my manager and she said there was a one-line costar audition tomorrow, and so I was like, hopefully I can get out of jury duty! So I was able to get out of it. And actually, the part was written and created by Kourtney Kang, who is one of the executive producers and she’s Korean-American and she specifically wrote a character asking for a Phillipina. There’s only a handful of us, and there’s only a handful of my type, and we always see each other at auditions. It literally was just that one line from the "Stinson Missile Crisis" which was the first episode I did. Robin said, "Nobody asked you Patrice!" And I say, "He’s so dreamy." And I found out a week later that I had booked it! It was neat because that was my TV debut.
How did Patrice transform from a one-line joke to such a central recurring character?
It’s great that we can talk about it now. I’ve done some interviews before but I couldn’t really say anything until now. It’s great that we can now, after the reveal last night. They told me back in the summer that they were working on this bigger character arc and I was like, that’s great! In my mind I was trying to think of what it might be. I actually thought that maybe they would make Patrice Marshall and Lily’s nanny. And then when I had seen the first couple episodes I thought oh, it’s going to be something about Barney and Robin. And I was right! But I wasn’t sure until I really got that first script. It was exciting to know that I was going to be helping out with them. I was excited. I was supposed to be just this one-line costar, and then to have it recurring and then getting to be a part of this great story arc was exciting and amazing. I knew that there was no way Patrice and Barney would really be together. The whole playbook thing, the entire thing, I knew from the beginning as an actor and Patrice knew from the beginning that this was all just a big play.
How did the fans react during this big arc?
I knew that the fans were going to feel something about it, and I was just like, just hold out! Just a little longer! You’re going to be big Patrice fans after Monday night! I knew that there was never going to be anything between Patrice and Barney. I think everyone was intrigued. Absolutely. They all were like, she’s so different than any of the girls he’d been with. I think that was the great thing about the episode, “The Over Correction,” because it kind of helped people along to go, oh she’s completely different than anyone he’s ever been with in every kind of way. People could make sense of it for another week.
Do you think this showed growth on Barney's part, or is he just the same play-running ladies man?
I still think it was growth on his part. I really think his character had to go through all of those women to figure it out. And I loved every play. Every play was so thought out for his character. First he had to find the person that annoys Robin the most and talk to her to see if she’ll go for this. And of course my character would do anything for Robin. She loves Robin more than she ever had a crush on Barney. And she’s so naïve and innocent. She’s not like someone who would go, oh yeah, I’m dating Barney! This is happening for me! She’s not like that. And with all of her prior episodes with her healthy obsession with Robin, I think she would do anything for her. Patrice knew from the very beginning, and the way he approached her created this backstory, so it was perfectly fine and okay. And there was not a part of Patrice that was like, oh I can’t be with Barney, because she’s not like that at all.
Let's talk a little bit about that special relationship between Patrice and Robin.
I always think back to characters on other sitcoms like Michael and Toby on The Office, there are all these characters who just don’t like another character but we can’t figure out why. And I think that’s kind of what Robin and Patrice is like. And Patrice is just someone who sees the best in everyone and wants the best for everyone. She is super nurturing, sweet, warm and I think things just roll off her back. When she gets yelled at by Robin, it doesn’t affect her. There is just very much a naiveté to her. And yet she’s also smart. She’s not dumb in any way. And one of the biggest things she shows in the past four episodes is that she’s a really great actress to pull it off. And to me, that just shows how much she really adores Robin and would do anything for her.
I have got to ask: have any strangers yelled, "Nobody asked you, Patrice!" yet?
I haven’t had anyone yell it out to me on the street yet. But I’m sure at some point it will happen! My friends and family think it’s hysterical to yell to me, but so far no one has come up to me to yell it. I’m sure I’ll get a “Nobody asked you, Patrice!” at some point. I’m waiting for it!
Do you think there was ever any potential for Barney and Patrice to have a real relationship?
There have always been a group of fans that love Patrice, and once this whole story arc began there was a lot of “what,” “no way,” “I can’t believe it,” and “what are you doing,” and HIMYM fans are crazy! Just crazy about the show. And I had to learn what “shipping” is. That’s when you want two characters to be together. It’s just such a different generation of fan admiration because you can say anything on the internet. There were some people that were for Barney and Patrice, and there were a lot of people against it. But you know Patrice would never do anything to hurt Robin. I think for Patrice it was fun to be a part of this grand scheme. It gave her something to do and it was fun to be a part of this group of people she thinks is really cool. And so of course people are tweeting now, "Oh I hated you up until last night! We love you so much, I love you so much now! Thank you for bringing back the ultimate one true pair! OTP!" So I knew this whole time but the past few weeks I kept being like, just hold out! I just wanted to say, hold on! But I couldn’t give away spoilers. And I knew everyone would come around late Monday night. And they have.
What do you think the future holds for Patrice?
I don’t know where her future is headed. I’m not sure. We’ll see. I hope that Patrice is at least one of the bridesmaids at Barney and Robin's wedding. I think the ideal dream would be that Patrice gets her own spin-off! For the immediate future I think it would be great if Patrice could be a part of the wedding since she helped bring them together.
Do you have any idea who the mother will be?
I have no idea who the mother could be, or how it’s going to be revealed, but I know it’s going to be exciting. I’m a fan of the show, and I’m excited to find out how it’s going to happen. There is just not another show out there like this. It’s all about time and flashbacks. It’s like one of those mystery novels in some ways. As a kid I used to read these novels all the time, where they go, “If you think the character should go this way then turn to page forty-five!”
The create your own adventure books!
Yeah, create your own adventure! It’s like that for me. Someone once said, "Why do you think she was called the arch-nemesis," and I didn’t even know! People have to remember that everything’s in flashbacks so we weren’t going to find out right away. I think this is the reason why she was Robin’s arch-nemesis. I think that’s what makes HIMYM really different. You have to look for the clues. That’s what makes it like a mystery novel. What are the clues?
Yes, there are so many Easter eggs hidden throughout all the seasons.
Exactly! And you never know when you’re going to get glimpses of it. It’s exciting. It keeps people on the edge of their seats. It’s just so good. And there isn’t really that many other sitcoms who are going on as long as this. It’s kind of up there with Will and Grace and Friends of sitcom run times. So I do hope for the best for them.
Follow Sydney on Twitter @SydneyBucksbaum
[Photo Credit: Ron P. Jaffe/CBS]
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The remake of Total Recall never escapes the shadow of its Arnold Schwarzenegger-led predecessor — and strangely it feels like a choice. With a script that's nearly beat-for-beat the original film Total Recall plods along with enhanced special effects that bring to life an expansive sci-fi world and action scenes constructed to send eyes flipping backwards into skulls. Filling the cracks of the fractured film is a story that without knowledge of the Philip K. Dick adaptation's previous incarnation is barely decipherable. Those who haven't seen Paul Verhoeven's 1990 Total Recall? Time to get a few memory implants. 2012 Recall makes little sense with the cinematic foundation but it does zero favors to those out of the know.
Colin Farrell takes over duties from Schwarzenegger as Douglas Quaid a down-on-his-luck factory worker hoping to escape his stagnate existence with a boost from Rekall a company capable of engineering fake memories. Quaid calls the damp slums of "The Colony" home (one of two inhabitable parts of Earth) but he dreams of moving to the New Federation of Britain a pristine metropolis on the other side of the planet. When the futuristic treatment goes awry — caused by previously existing memories of our blue collar hero's supposed past life as a secret agent — Quaid emerges from Rekall with lethal power hidden under his mild-mannered persona. He quickly goes on the run escaping squads of soldiers robots and his assassin "wife " Lori (Kate Beckinsale) all hot on his tail. Total Recall turns into one long chase scene as Quaid unravels the mystery of his erased memories.
But when it comes to answers and heady sci-fi Total Recall falls short. Farrell isn't a hulking action star like Schwarzenegger but he's a performer that can sensitively explore any human crisis big or small. Director Len Wiseman (Underworld Live Free or Die Hard) never gives his leading man that opportunity. Farrell makes the best of the films occasional slow moment but the weight of Recall's mindf**k is suffocated in a series of fist fights hovercar pile-ups and foot chases pulled straight out of the latest platformer video game (a sequence that sends Quaid running across the geometric rooftop architecture of The Colony looks straight out of Super Mario Bros.). When Jessica Biel as Quaid's former romantic interest Melina and Breaking Bad's Bryan Cranston as the power-hungry politico Cohaagen are finally woven into Farrell's feature length 50 yard dash it's too late — the movie isn't making sense and it's not about to regardless of the charm on screen.
The action is slick and the futuristic design is impeccable but without any time devoted to building the stakes Total Recall feels more like a HDTV demo than a thrilling blockbuster. The movie's greatest innovation is the central set piece "The Fall " an elevator that travels between the two cities at rapid speed. The towering keystone of mankind is a marvel but we never get to see it explore it or feel its implications on the world around it. Instead it's cemented as a CG background behind the craze of Farrell shooting his way through hoards of bad guys.
Science fiction more than any other dramatic genre twist demands attention to the details. New worlds aren't built on broad strokes. But Total Recall tries to get away with it in hopes that audiences will recall their own movie knowledge to support its faulty logic. The movie repeatedly prompts viewers to think back to the 1990 version with blatant fan service that's absolutely nonsensical in this restructured version (no longer does Quaid go to Mars but there's still a three-breasted alien?). The callbacks may have given Total Recall a "been there done that" feel but rarely is it coherent enough to get that far. By the closing credits you'll be struggling to remember what you spent the last two hours watching.
"The impetus to do it was based on picking up the short story, reading it, and saying, ‘Wow, it would be great to do this.’"
The phrase "sci-fi" was rarely brought up during my visit to the set of Total Recall, the latest adaptation of Philip K. Dick's classic short story. Director Len Wiseman didn't want us to think of his film as a fantastical adventure in the future, or even a remake of the well-known Arnold Schwarzenegger movie from 1990. Wiseman's Total Recall was its own entity — deconstructed and reassembled as a gritty thriller that just happens to feature hovering cars, built-in hand phones, positronic "Synth" cops and a giant elevator, China Fall, that runs from one end of the Earth to the other. Why Wiseman doesn't consider it a sci-fi is the human story at the center: When Douglas Quaid (Colin Farrell) attempts to fill his brain with fake memories of a life he only dreams of, he accidentally unlocks a different set of flashbacks, ones that reveal his true identity as a professional buttkicker. The original Dick is a heady piece of storytelling and Wiseman aims to maintain that — but with all the flourishes of an impeccably designed summer blockbuster.
"There was a lot of great work done on the older movie," explains Production Designer Patrick Tatopoulos. "The vibe and the tone of the movie is quite different in the first place. I think our approach is a little bit more like saying: you almost start the film thinking like you’re in the regular world, and then when you open your window it’s like, fuck!" Tatopoulos, who directed the third installment of Wiseman's Underworld series, Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, as well as designing sci-fi flicks like Independence Day, Dark City and I, Robot, took great care in grounding the futuristic elements of Total Recall while attempting to differentiate them from the wealth of visual material that already existed. "Gliding cars are something that makes sense for the future. It’s acceptable to use the concept. What we had to do was try to create an infrastructure that feels different from what you saw in Minority Report or I, Robot. For example, the way you travel from one side of the world to the other, you actually travel underneath the world system. We’re going to need more space in the future, how do you compress it? Well, you travel with magnets. We all talked to futurists, just to get a sense of what the world would be tomorrow."
Speaking to the many creatives working to deliver Total Recall, it becomes evident that the pride and joy of the crew is the future world's central structure: China Fall, an enormous elevator that takes passengers between the sleek and expensive world of the United Federation of Britain and the bad side of the tracks planet, New Asia, where blue-collar workers like Quaid reside. Visual Effects Supervisor Adrian De Wet describes it: "It's a cross between a 30-story building and a Saturn 5 rocket. It basically falls through to the ground. It doesn't flip. The seating inside flips around. If you were sitting on the floor, on one side of the Earth, when you got to the other side, you'd be sitting on what used to be the ceiling, but is now the floor." To realize this unimaginable concept, Tatopoulos consulted with scientists who helped keep reality in check. "If you take a steel ball and let it go through the Earth, it’ll take about 30 minutes," says Tatopoulos. "We make it a trip of about 15 – 20 minutes. Basically you just go sit in there – the seats are very similar to those you’d find in an amusement park ride." The gargantuan mechanism that stands as a towering centerpiece in both cities, is Quaid main mode of transportation when he eventually goes on the run. China Fall's broad top, which was built on as a physical set on one of Total Recall's many stages, is also the setting of one of the film's big action scenes.
With only two inhabitable areas left on Earth, land is coveted by the hungry businessman-like bad guy Cohaagen, while the societal divide figures prominently into both Total Recall's story and design. "We’re dealing with a more relatable class issue of haves and have nots," says Producer Toby Jaffe. "Classic working-class people against the wealthy who control the real estate, and want to control the real estate of the planet." Although Total Recall takes place in an unspecified time in the future, evidence of the past and the change the world has undergone is apparent, every century leaving its mark as the city builds upwards. In the case of New Asia, its more a matter of keeping buildings standing at all. Quaid's apartment complex and the innerworkings of New Asia were also built on a stage, tightly-packed structures reminiscent of Blade Runner's rainy city, all founded on an intricate series of water-filled canals. Color played an important part at creating separation between the two worlds, "We started with Chinese colors red and green [for New Asia]," explains Costume Designer Sanja Milkovic Hays. "It's going to be, you know, different shades of red, different shades of green, bronze, gold, browns. It's almost like autumn colors, completely different from the colors of United Britain, which are stark: clean gray, blue, white. Very cold." But it's not all shabby down in the world of New Asia. The future is still the future, after all. According to De Wit, Quaid's apartment is ultra-modern with a "mid-century feel," with a slight nod to the '60s. "All the rooms are quite square and boxy at slightly different levels, like a half-sunk bedroom. I think one of the inspirations for that was this project in Montreal called Habitat, which, from the outside, looks like an insane collection of cubes."
While Total Recall will dig deep into futuristic design and existential concepts, there should be no lack of action during Quaid's hunt for the truth. Teased in the film's first trailer was Wiseman's proudest achievement: a shot that zips around Farrell as he dukes it out with goons for the first time. Described at last year's Comic-Con as a rig akin to NFL glide cams, de Wit reveals it's a bit more complicated (and dangerous) than that. "It's just a camera mount, basically, which means you can shoot the camera down it at something like 15 feet per second, which is a very high-speed move. The reason why we used this is so that we could basically have the action in the middle of the floor, and have, what looks like, a continuous camera move going around all the action. In reality, it's up to six separate sliders with the camera mounted on it, and three separate cameras, which basically cross over at a common point, and, at the crossover point, the lenses are converged so it's like one continuous move." The scene was shot in only two days, but only after months of prep, as coordinating the zipping cameras took the utmost precision. "If one them hits you in the head, you could be seriously injured, so it has to be perfectly choreographed, to within the inch. All the camera guys out there were all wearing helmets."
While we walked the massive sets of the China Fall top and New Asia, the real treat was seeing Wiseman and the actors in action, inside China Fall's descending car. Like an Apple computer stretched across a wall, the interior of China Fall was bright white and practically constructed. Hyper-cleanliness adds to the future feel, and Wiseman is taking a cue from J.J. Abrams' Star Trek with the addition of lens flare, which he thinks "can help make a really grungy environment seem slightly futuristic." Along with a scene in which Biel's Melina rescues an incarcerated Quaid, we also saw Wiseman's Underworld star Kate Beckinsale in action. Accompanied by a gang of cops (or robotic Synths? It could be either, thanks to the CG process which will later added to human actors), Beckinsale's Lori makes her way to a broken China Fall window, which Quaid and Melina have escaped through. A sweet detail for sci-fi buffs will be Lori's hand-phone, achieved through a LED light hand rig that emits a blue glow on to Beckinsale's face. Off camera, actor Bryan Cranston dialogues with the actress, whose character takes quite the reprimanding from her boss, Cohaagen.
Wiseman is packing a lot of plot and a lot of action into his version of Total Recall (we didn't even get a glimpse of what to expect from the hovercraft chase that took him fifteen days to shoot), but he believes that his story is expansive enough in its musings to allow for more adventures in the Total Recall universe. "I’ve always thought, from the original story, there definitely is because of the nature of what this is. The movie Total Recall, or Recall itself, it’s offering an experience, a journey. Whether it be Mars, or whatever the location is. I think the nature of what the overall cool concept is does allow for that kind of that kind of thing. " Wiseman doesn't want to tease the audience with sequel set up, but rather, pose questions that will keep them talking after they leave the theater. "It’s not like we end with a tee-up. Really, we just want to make a good movie. We’re hoping that it ends with a feeling of great satisfaction, and posing a question to you as an audience member: What do you want to believe that this movie is? Did it really happen, or didn’t it really happen?" Wiseman takes joy in the uncertainty, and is purposefully planting details that will divide audiences. "There’s going to be a lot of speculation. I would think — I would hope! — some people are going to absolutely think one way, [other people] may think the other."
One thing that's 100% real? The movie. Total Recall hits theaters August 3, 2012.
Follow Matt Patches on Twitter @misterpatches
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[Photo Credit: Sony Pictures]
Director Antoine Fuqua is in talks to helm Relativity Films' Hunter Killer, Variety reports. Adapted from the novel Firing Point by George Wallace and Don Keith, the film concerns "an untested submarine captain who must work with a Navy SEAL team to rescue Russia's president, taken prisoner during a military coup." Phillip Noyce (Salt) had been slated to direct the project, but dropped out in late August. Original Film's Neal Moritz and Toby Jaffe will produce alongside Relativity CEO Ryan Kavanaugh, with Tucker Tooley exec-producing. The filmmakers hope to begin production in "late winter," according to Variety.
Fuqua had previously planned to make Southpaw, a boxing drama starring Eminem, his next directorial project, but DreamWorks pulled the plug on the film in August.
Fuqua previously directed the crime thriller Brooklyn's Finest, starring Ethan Hawke. Click on the image below to view our gallery of the talented actor: