Helfer Lands Killer Role: Former Battlestar Galactica badass Tricia Helfer has landed the lead in Killer Women, ABC’s drama pilot about the only female in the male-dominated Texas Ranger Division. Based on the Argentine series Mujeres Asesinas, the project — which counts Modern Family‘s Sofia Vergara among its producers — finds Helfer playing Molly Parker, a beautiful and ballsy Ranger who knows how to get the truth and isn’t afraid to ruffle a few feathers on her way there. [TVLine]
Welcome to Nashville, B*tch: Chris Carmack is joining ABC’s country-music drama Nashville for the last six episodes of its first season. The O.C. grad will recur as Will, a new neighbor who befriends Scarlett and her new roommate Gunnar. [TVLine]
The Job Fired After Two Episodes: CBS pulled The Job from its schedule after just two episodes. The competition show about people vying for employment struggled in ratings and Undercover Boss will return to the 8 p.m. Friday time slot this week. [THR]
Doctor Who Origin Movie Casting: Reece Shearsmith has been cast as actor Patrick Troughton in the TV movie An Adventure in Space and Time, which details the creation of Doctor Who. Troughton was the second actor to play the Time Lord in the long-running time travel show, taking over the role from William Hartnell in 1966. [EW]
From Zombies to Rapists: The Walking Dead's Lauren Cohan has just been cast in a Law & Order: SVU episode centered around the legitimate rape controversy created by Senate nominee Todd Akin, R-Miss. during the 2012 election. Cohan will play Avery Jordan, a popular sports reporter who accuses her cameraman of raping her. When she learns she's pregnant from the encounter, she opts to keep the baby. The role of the cameraman has yet to be cast and the episode will air in late March. [THR]
O'Hara Joins Comedy Pilot: Catherine O'Hara has joined Fox's single-camera comedy pilot To My Future Assistant. Based on the blog and upcoming book To My Assistant by Lydia Whitlock, To My Future Assistant revolves around the assistants at a big New York law firm who band together as a family to help each other cope with the obnoxious overbearing bosses who test their sanity on a daily basis. O’Hara will play Magda, an accomplished, stylish and powerful lawyer, the kind of woman who pretends to be your friend — but isn’t. [Deadline]
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[Photo Credit: Jeff Grossman/Wenn]
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David Mitchell's novel Cloud Atlas consists of six stories set in various periods between 1850 and a time far into Earth's post-apocalyptic future. Each segment lives on its own the previous first person account picked up and read by a character in its successor creating connective tissue between each moment in time. The various stories remain intact for Tom Tykwer's (Run Lola Run) Lana Wachowski's and Andy Wachowski's (The Matrix) film adaptation which debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival. The massive change comes from the interweaving of the book's parts into one three-hour saga — a move that elevates the material and transforms Cloud Atlas in to a work of epic proportions.
Don't be turned off by the runtime — Cloud Atlas moves at lightning pace as it cuts back and forth between its various threads: an American notary sailing the Pacific; a budding musician tasked with transcribing the hummings of an accomplished 1930's composer; a '70s-era investigatory journalist who uncovers a nefarious plot tied to the local nuclear power plant; a book publisher in 2012 who goes on the run from gangsters only to be incarcerated in a nursing home; Sonmi~451 a clone in Neo Seoul who takes on the oppressive government that enslaves her; and a primitive human from the future who teams with one of the few remaining technologically-advanced Earthlings in order to survive. Dense but so was the unfamiliar world of The Matrix. Cloud Atlas has more moving parts than the Wachowskis' seminal sci-fi flick but with additional ambition to boot. Every second is a sight to behold.
The members of the directing trio are known for their visual prowess but Cloud Atlas is a movie about juxtaposition. The art of editing is normally a seamless one — unless someone is really into the craft the cutting of a film is rarely a post-viewing talking point — but Cloud Atlas turns the editor into one of the cast members an obvious player who ties the film together with brilliant cross-cutting and overlapping dialogue. Timothy Cavendish the elderly publisher could be musing on his need to escape and the film will wander to the events of Sonmi~451 or the tortured music apprentice Robert Frobisher also feeling the impulse to run. The details of each world seep into one another but the real joy comes from watching each carefully selected scene fall into place. You never feel lost in Cloud Atlas even when Tykwer and the Wachowskis have infused three action sequences — a gritty car chase in the '70s a kinetic chase through Neo Seoul and a foot race through the forests of future millennia — into one extended set piece. This is a unified film with distinct parts echoing the themes of human interconnectivity.
The biggest treat is watching Cloud Atlas' ensemble tackle the diverse array of characters sprinkled into the stories. No film in recent memory has afforded a cast this type of opportunity yet another form of juxtaposition that wows. Within a few seconds Tom Hanks will go from near-neanderthal to British gangster to wily 19th century doctor. Halle Berry Hugh Grant Jim Sturgess Jim Broadbent Ben Whishaw Hugo Weaving and Susan Sarandon play the same game taking on roles of different sexes races and the like. (Weaving as an evil nurse returning to his Priscilla Queen of the Desert cross-dressing roots is mind-blowing.) The cast's dedication to inhabiting their roles on every level helps us quickly understand the worlds. We know it's Halle Berry behind the fair skinned wife of the lunatic composer but she's never playing Halle Berry. Even when the actors are playing variations on themselves they're glowing with the film's overall epic feel. Jim Broadbent's wickedly funny modern segment a Tykwer creation that packs a particularly German sense of humor is on a smaller scale than the rest of the film but the actor never dials it down. Every story character and scene in Cloud Atlas commits to a style. That diversity keeps the swirling maelstrom of a movie in check.
Cloud Atlas poses big questions without losing track of its human element the characters at the heart of each story. A slower moment or two may have helped the Wachowskis' and Tykwer's film to hit a powerful emotional chord but the finished product still proves mainstream movies can ask questions while laying over explosive action scenes. This year there won't be a bigger movie in terms of scope in terms of ideas and in terms of heart than Cloud Atlas.
He’s been nominated for three Academy Awards, won two Golden Globes and had an astounding 21 #1 box office debuts. He’s got one of the most impressive resumes of any actor today, having worked with Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Stanley Kubrick, Brian de Palma, Francis Ford Coppola, Ridley and Tony Scott, Oliver Stone, Ron Howard and Sidney Pollack. Most impressive, however, is that through all the scientology and couch-jumping controversy, Tom Cruise has remained one of the most alluring, interesting and watchable movie stars on Earth.
The stellar performance of the advanced IMAX previews of his latest cinematic adventure, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, proves yet again that he continues to appeal to moviegoers worldwide. As the movie gears up to expand its release, here are four reasons why Cruise is still an institution:
He’s One of the Last Marquee Names
In the golden age, films were sold to audiences based on star power. Movie posters were adorned with the names of their male and/or female leads featured as prominently as its title. But by the 1990s, things changed. Sure, people still came out to the theater to see their favorite actor’s new movie, but directors, genre and theme became as integral – or more important in some cases - to a marketing campaign as anything. Just take a look at the posters for the biggest films of 2011 including Harry Potter 7B, Fast Five, Transformers 3, Twilight: Breaking Dawn Pt. 1; the franchise, not the cast, is the message.
But with a Tom Cruise movie, the actor is still the studio’s most valuable asset. Ghost Protocol’s posters, TV spots and subway spots have primarily highlighted the actor as opposed to the property because, quite simply, there is no Mission: Impossible without him.
He’s as Exciting to Watch in Supporting Roles as He Is in the Lead Though he’s best known as a leading man, some of Cruise’s most lauded performances came in the form of supporting turns in ensemble films. He was a standout in 1982’s The Outsiders, working alongside Patrick Swayze, Rob Lowe, Emilio Estevez. He gave an electrifying performance in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Magnolia (for which he was nominated for an Academy Award). And Cruise recently stole the show in Ben Stiller’s 2008 laffer Tropic Thunder as Les Grossman, a role which he’ll possibly reprise in a forthcoming spin-off. His upcoming appearance in Adam Shankman’s Rock of Ages should add to his running list of small parts with a big impact.
He Makes the Kind of Movies the Masses Want to See There’s a reason why Cruise has had enormous success. The fact that he’s a dynamic, capable actor is only part of the equation - an actor is really only as good as the material he/she works with. Cruise’s filmography stands out because of the kinds of movies he makes: quality crowd-pleasers with broad appeal. From Top Gun to Rain Man and Jerry Maguire to Minority Report, audiences have always come out to see his big-budget blockbusters and smaller, personal stories because of the spectacle or relatable human drama. They’re films that everyone can enjoy, and moviegoers continue to eat them up.
Seeing His Films Gets Us All Nostalgic We all look back on our youth with sentimentality. When Tom Cruise first became a global superstar, the movie industry was a different animal. As showbiz exponentially grew over the years into America’s chief export, the big-business aspect has taken some of the fun and austerity out the theater-going experience. Entertainment isn’t as enigmatic as it once was, and in most cases it’s not as awe-inspiring. That’s what makes seeing a movie like Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol so great. When I saw the film last week and laid eyes on Ethan Hunt for the first time in five years, it immediately took me back to Summer 1996, when I was first introduced to the high-tech world of the IMF. Maybe it was my age, but going to the movies was just more enjoyable back then. Seeing Cruise run from an oncoming sandstorm and scale the world’s tallest building gave me the kind of larger-than-life experience I had regularly at the multiplex before the turn of the century. That’s not to say that contemporary productions are incapable of delivering the goods (see: The Adventures of Tintin), but too few reach the level of a Jurassic Park or T2. However, I can always rest assured knowing that every time Cruise gears up for a new motion picture it’ll be something that reminds me of a simpler, more wholesome era of moviegoing.
When it comes to box office Tom Cruise is a true force of nature: 33 films over 30 years, $3.2 billion in domestic box-office, Sixteen films over $100 million, Eight consecutive number one debuts, eight consecutive films to gross over $100 million and ten films that were among the top five films in their year of release. If that’s not enough to convince the cynical of this guy’s incredible impact on the movie industry, in 1996 he proved his value as both and action star and a romantic lead with the one-two punch of the first “Mission: Impossible” film in May followed by “Jerry Maguire” in December; these became respectively the third and fourth highest grossing films of that year, a nearly incomprehensible feat that showed the star to be in complete control of his career and at the height of his powers.
With numerous personal and professional highs and lows, a falling out with his adoring public and a recent reinvention and redemption, one of the biggest stars of all-time has come full circle. From teen idol in “Taps,” “The Outsiders” and of course the career-changing “Risky Business” to full blown movie star in “Top Gun,” Cruise quickly established himself as the biggest box-office draw in the free world with an almost preternatural ability to draw crowds to the multi-plex. Over the years he has aligned himself with a who’s who of the best directors in the business and big box-office followed. Kubrick, Spielberg, Scorsese, Levinson, Stone, Abrams, Howard, DePalma, Crowe, Mann, Scott, Jordan, Woo and Pollack all clamored to work with Cruise who seemingly put everything he had into every role and often played against type to full advantage.
As Ron Kovic in “Born on the Fourth of July,” for which Cruise was nominated for an Academy Award for best actor, Cruise (under Oliver Stone’s direction) transformed himself from pretty boy star to serious actor and made believers out of many of his critics. Films like “Rain Man,” “The Color of Money,” “A Few Good Men,” “Interview with the Vampire, “Magnolia,” “Vanilla Sky,” “Minority Report,” “Eyes Wide Shut” and “Collateral” proved there was almost nothing the star could not do if he committed to it and when aligned with the right creative team.
Perhaps more than any other career move, his decision to play the balding, paunchy, loud and obnoxious Les Grossman in the 2008 hit “Tropic Thunder” was pivotal in redefining his public image and proving that the guy is still one hell of a dancer. Most recently at the MTV Movie awards he busted out in the full Grossman persona and was the hit of the show.
This now leads us to Twentieth Century Fox’s release on Wednesday of the action comedy “Knight and Day” which reunites Cruise with “Vanilla Sky” co-star Cameron Diaz in a film that combines action, comedy and romance into one complete package. After positive sneaks of the film this past weekend it will be interesting to see how the film, directed by James Mangold (“3:10 to Yuma,” “Cop Land”) performs this week and into the upcoming weekend.
Tom Cruise continues his truly extraordinary career while simultaneously creating an indelible impression on the business as a whole, the very definition of celebrity and what it means to be a movie star and controversial public figure.
It appears that satirizing himself in Ben Stiller's 2008 action-comedy Tropic Thunder was the best move that Tom Cruise has made in a long time. His balding, obese studio head Les Grossman, who financed the doomed production at the center of Thunder's narrative and made a special appearance at last weekend's MTV Movie Awards, has become so popular among the masses that Paramount Pictures has decided to put the chronically-swearing movie mogul at the center of his own spin-off.
The announcement went something like this: Paramount Pictures and MTV Films announced today that they are set to develop a movie around mega-producer Les Grossman. The announcement comes on the heels of Grossman’s groundbreaking and visionary production of the soon-to-be Emmy award-winning 2010 MTV Movie Awards Sunday night. Tom Cruise, along with Ben Stiller and Stuart Cornfeld of Red Hour Films will produce and have secured the life rights to Grossman.
The best part about all this is that Cruise, Stiller and all of the Paramount executives are playing along with the notion that Grossman is in fact a real Hollywood power producer, adding a funky art-imitating life/life-imitating art element to what is sure to be a hilarious film.
Says Stiller: “Les Grossman's life story is an inspiring tale of the classic human struggle to achieve greatness against all odds. He has assured me he plans to quote, ‘F**king kill the sh*t out of this movie and make Citizen f**king Kane look like a piece of crap home movie by the time we are done.’ I am honored to be working with him.”
Looking at the project from the outside-in, it's a great opportunity for Cruise to regain the almost universal likability that propelled him to stardom in the first place. You have to remember that before Thunder, he hadn't made a comedy since Jerry Maguire in 1996 - a long time for a guy who made funny films like Cocktail and Risky Business big hits in the 80s. Though Grossman is essentially a one trick pony (he curses and throws things at his underlings, people laugh at the ridiculousness of it all and he repeats), America loves him and that's exactly what Cruise needs: a stable personality to use in order to ride back into the hearts of audiences everywhere.
Most impressive is that this deal puts him steadily back in business with Paramount, the studio that he called home for years before being ousted after the infamous couch-jumping incident (Viacom topper Sumner Redstone cited poor returns from the star's 2006 vehicle Mission: Impossible 3 as the reason for the firing, but with $400 million in worldwide gross the film was clearly profitable). With Mission Impossible 4 set for a holiday 2011 release and Grossman primed to bring the laughs sometime after (Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World's Michael Bacall has already been hired to pen the script), it's a good bet that Tom Cruise will not only reclaim his throne as Paramount's golden child, but will find his way back into the good graces of moviegoers as well.
Source: Paramount Pictures