Eccentric rock legend Frank Zappa's son Dweezil is to mark the 40th anniversary of his late dad's fabled 1973 three-night Roxy & Elsewhere stint in Los Angeles by recreating the shows at the same venue. Dweezil Zappa will perform three Zappa Plays Zappa shows at the Roxy on 7-9 December (13) to commemorate the three dates (8-10 December) his father played there in 1973 with his Mothers of Invention band.
The gigs will launch a series of events marketed as The Year of Zappa by the bosses of the rocker's trust. Details of gigs and happenings that will take place throughout 2014 are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday night (23Oct13), the Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestra will mark the 10th anniversary of the opening of the city's Walt Disney Concert Hall with a presentation of the world premiere of Zappa's 200 Motels.
Conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen will lead the city band, and the Los Angeles Master Chorale in the production, which will feature soloists and characters from Zappa's 200 Motels film and a band that includes Mothers of Invention star Ian Underwood and Zappa collaborator Scott Thunes.
Actor and war veteran Durning passed away on Christmas Eve (24Dec12) at the age of 89, and on Thursday (27Dec12) his stage successes in such shows as Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Boom Boom Room, and Inherit the Wind will be remembered when each New York City theatre goes dark for one minute as a sign of respect.
Klugman, who earned a Tony Award nomination for his role in Gypsy, died on the same day and fans will pay tribute to the 90 year old's memory when the lights are dimmed for him on Friday (28Dec12).
Other notable Christmas deaths this year (12) include soul star Fontella Bass, puppeteer and filmmaker Gerry Anderson and Mothers of Invention co-founder Ray Collins.
Actor Burt Ward loves his timeless superhero sidekick Robin. But even more so, he loves the fans who love Robin. "People come up to me and they say, 'We like the Batman movies, but we like what you did with Batman much better,'" he says. "And, in fact, when [Batman TV series star] Adam [West] is speaking to a crowd, he says, 'You know, when you go the movie theaters, you see the Dark Knight. But with Burt and me… we’re the Bright Knights.'"
As recently as June of this year, rabid Batman fans speculated over whether writer/director Christopher Nolan might be holding back a massive secret regarding his final comic book outing, The Dark Knight Rises: the inclusion of Robin, the Caped Crusader's faithful sidekick. The rumors arrived on the heels of a turbulent on-screen history for the character: Early scripts of the of original 1989 Batman saw the introduction of the Boy Wonder, but the idea was nixed by Tim Burton. Robin was eventually weaved into movie continuity, settling in perfectly with the campier, Joel Schumacher films Batman Forever and Batman & Robin. Would Robin work in the grittier world of Nolan's Batman trilogy? Addressing the issue in a recent Hollywood.com interview, Dark Knight Rises producer Michael Ulsan recounted famed comic legend Stan Lee's take on sidekicks: "Stan said that the whole concept of having a kid around, that an adult would subject to this level of danger and violence and jeopardy and threat, makes no sense whatsoever. To him, it was always the easiest attack on the believability of the characters in his stories."
If Ward, who starred as Robin alongside Adam West's Caped Crusader on the popular 1966 TV show Batman, is to be believed, Hollywood's problem with Robin isn't that the character doesn't make sense, it's that the industry has never found a very good one. (Sorry, Chris O'Donnell.) When Ward, 21 at the time, was bestowed with the role by Batman producers, it was obvious to him they had not just cast Robin. "They said to me, 'Burt, we’re going to explain to you why we’re selecting you out of 1,100 people, why we’ve chosen you to play this role.' I said, 'Why’s that?' They said, 'Because in our minds, Burt ... if there was really a Robin, we believe that you, personally, would be closest to what Robin would be. We don’t want you to take on some characterization of the character. We really want you to be yourself, and to be enthusiastic.' That was what they required."
While the '60s era Batman played up the comedic elements, twentysomething Ward had all the makings of a real-life superhero. "I was a straight-A [student] at UCLA. I was in the top three percent of the country in math and science on the college level. My dean wanted me to be a nuclear physicist and not an actor. I was the world’s fastest reader. I could read 240 words a minute with 40 percent comprehension. I actually trained for years, and I was tested by the American Medical Society in Beverly Hills at 30,000 words a minute with 90 percent comprehension. I read the entire play of Macbeth in one minute. I read War and Peace, which is 1,440 pages, in 40 minutes." Ward had the brains, but he wasn't lacking in the physical department, either. By 1965, he was a black belt in karate — an even more impressive feat knowing the martial arts fighting style only made its way to the states around 1961. "I could break a board with my hand," he says. "I could do all kinds of stuff. The fight scenes were really good. I was very natural in the fight scenes. I was far better than the stunt man!"
By the time Robin was introduced in Batman Forever, the franchise was knee-deep in over-the-top plots and villains. Instead of introducing Robin as part of Batman's world, or allowing their relationship to evolve, the duo were thrust upon each other for a comic book adventure. Ward believes his Robin was so successful thanks to his natural rapport with West — an element lacking in the big-screen adventures. "Adam and I have a certain chemistry," he said. "I don’t know why. Maybe because I’m very athletic, and very 'Let’s go!', and very energetic, and he’s more a slob and debonair. But we’re always like Mutt and Jeff, or Abbott and Costello."
Under West's wing, slipping into the role was easier for Ward than he could have ever imagined. "I picked it up really quick, because they explained to me that Robin was the ward – isn’t that weird too? That my name is Burt Ward, and I was the ward of Bruce Wayne?"
For the actor, the psychology of Robin, of suiting up, was an asset to understanding the role. "Imagine yourself in a costume, and imagine you’re wearing a mask," says Ward. "Now think of yourself and that the mask is outside of you. You have people in front of you, and then you have this mask, so they all look like you’re looking through a doorway or something, a window, and imagine there’s you, on the inside. Well, the people can’t see you, because they see this mask. And they see this image, and yet you are like a psychologist looking through a window at a patient who doesn’t see you." Ward's philosophical musings on Robin helped him make sense of Batman's larger lapses in logic — as well as the fandom he experiences on a day-to-day basis.
"When they would have the scene with Adam and I as Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson inside Commissioner Gordon’s office, and then we say we have to leave, and five minutes later there’s a call for Batman and Robin and there we are again, as Batman and Robin." Ward recalls complaining to producers that there was "nobody in the world who would believe that we’re not the same people." Running out of a room as Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson, while Batman and Robin ran in only moments later, was ludicrous. But after contemplating life behind the mask, and later, meeting fans at conventions, the actor came to an understanding. "I learned a heck of a lesson, because when I would go out and make personal appearances in costume, people would fight over my paper drinking cup as a souvenir. Four-and-a-half hours of people waiting in line. By the time parents got up there, their kids were asleep in their arms, and they would just go nuts. And after the appearance, I could go back and change, and come out 10 minutes later, and people were still milling around. And I can walk like I was invisible."
According to Ward, Robin fandom is as strong as ever. He's a regular at comic book conventions, where his panels with West draw crowds of thousands, and his impact on pop culture continues to show its face. Yes, even “Boy Wonder, I Love You,” the song he recorded with Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention. DJs in Los Angeles continue to play the odd tune, a true testament to Ward's staying power as the noble Robin. "We did this album, and I took these actual fan mails and pieced them together," says Ward. "Frank Zappa was very intellectual. He was a graduate of Columbia University in music. I’m all-American, apple pie, and these guys come out on stage and they tear up your equipment. I’ve never seen anything like this in my life!" The song climbed instantly climbed the charts. "We were number six in Chicago. They said they definitely thought it would go on to number one if it hadn’t been pulled by the censors… It was such an innocent thing. And it was totally written by a six year old kid! It was so sweet and innocent, but oh boy, the censors got after that."
If Hollywood doesn't have a place for a dark, gritty, modern Robin, Ward has a solution: bring him and West back. "Look when they did the Star Trek movies. Instead of replacing them, like the replaced Adam and I, the Star Trek movies… you saw William Shatner from many different movies, and Leonard Nimoy. And who cared that they were older? You loved them all the more!" In recent years, Ward's acting career (which is as fruitful as ever: he and West will appear on an upcoming episode of Futurama) has become priority number two over his other passion: animal rescue. In his California home, Ward cares for animals of all shapes and sizes. A recent week spent with California's first police camel, "Deputy Bert" (see left), has even inspired him to produce his own reality show, which he hopes to have on TV soon. But no matter what other ventures come his way, Ward won't forget Robin or how important the character is to fans. If he was called back into action, he'd be there in a second. "I have to get back in shape, but so would Adam, in a minute. And let me tell you something, they would pull in an audience they don’t have."
For more on Ward's animal rescue efforts, visit his site Gentle Giants Rescue.
Follow Matt Patches on Twitter @misterpatches
The Dark Knight Rises' Ending and When Fan Service Attacks
'Batman and Robin': How It Paved the Way for Christopher Nolan's Trilogy
'The Dark Knight Rises': Why Anne Hathaway's Catwoman Is the Best One Yet
[Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox, Burt Ward]
If Parks and Rec is amazing, then by some mathematical transitive property equation stuff we are able to conclude that Adam Scott is amazing by association. Or something.
Anyway, Scott just joined the cast of My Mother’s Curse and See Girl Run. The former puts him alongside Seth Rogen and Barbara Streisand as a mother-son duo traveling across country in an attempt to see the son’s invention and reunite his mother with a lost love. In the latter he’ll play a hometown hero that stuck around his hometown and a girl he used to date (or something) goes back to all her former flames for some “what-ifs.” Both sound pretty good.
Dan Fogelman wrote Curse (say what?) and Streisand inclusion seems pretty interesting. Scott will more than likely just have a bit part as one stop on their cross-country journey. And his part in Run (written and directed by Nate Meyer) sounds about the same. But either way, it means more Scott on the big screen now, hit the high notes!
Source: Hollwood Reporter
May I remind everyone that the Golden Globes were on the 16th of January, and that today is the 24th of January? I just thought I'd remind you that because any controversy over Ricky Gervais' performance at the Golden Globes should be very dead by now, just like salamanders in the science class and pieces of Juicy Fruit. Especially since celebrities are supposed to be able to forget about anything that happened to them the day before, and wake up fresh each morning and head straight to the fragrance factory for a busy day of pretending like the clothes they wear are theirs and maintaining how they're SO AGAINST e-readers! Ricky Gervais did nothing wrong that night, and I can't believe his comments seem to have the staying power of that stupid New York Times article that reviewed Amy Chua's Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mothers.
But this weekend was the Producer's Guild Awards and it was hosted by Judd Apatow. He critiqued Gervais' remarks very heavily, which was pretty confusing because if Apatow is smart enough to realize that a guy being afraid of having sex with a pregnant woman is hilarious, then he should realize the only way to make celebrities understand they're really not that great is to stand at a podium with a beer in hand and point out who, among the star-studded audience, are anti-semites and alcoholics.
Let's go over everything that Apatow felt was offensive. First, he didn't like the joke Gervais made about Lost. Apatow said, "Gervais had that joke about the guy on Lost. He said he ate everybody else. Let's be honest -- Ricky Gervais just lost weight. Even now he's four pounds away from not being allowed to do a joke like that. Did he lose weight to make fat jokes? You think that's how mean he is?" Then, Apatow critiqued Gervais' comments about the curiosity that was The Tourist's nomination: "(Gervais) says the characters were two-dimensional. Then he says he hasn't seen The Tourist. So as a comedian, that's not fair is it? To make jokes about a movie you haven't seen. I can't do a joke about The Invention of Lying because I haven't seen it. You haven't seen it. None of us have seen it. So the joke would not work." And finally, Apatow came to the defense of Tim Allen, who apparently Gervais said looked terrible. Apatow remarked, "Gervais made a joke about Tim Allen, who was standing next to Tom Hanks. Who looks good standing next to Tom Hanks? We all look like a piece of shit next to Tom Hanks. Warren Buffet would look like a piece of shit next to Tom Hanks. Tim Allen did 200 episodes of Home Improvement. He was in three of the highest grossing movies of all time. And his latest just crossed the one billion mark. Whereas The Invention of Lying made $18 million worldwide. Leave Tim Allen alone."
"Woah woah, where is the archery counselor so she can count all those bullseyes!" Are you thinking that? I hope not because do you know how easy it is to critique someone else's performance rather than make up your own? It's pretty easy, and it's shocking to think that Apatow would feel compelled to defend people after he said himself that they're all so rich and powerful and talented and insinuated that Gervais was a fool to think he was tough enough to take them on. Do you see why we shouldn't be talking about this anymore? We're currently debating whether or not someone was too hard on a bunch of celebrities. Don't you think the question of why fish eat the pebbles that line their tanks is more worth our time?
Source: Hollywood Reporter
“I missed playing Rick and that last seven years I’ve been waiting for the call,” jokes Brendan Fraser of his return to the Mummy franchise. The new action flick, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, finds Fraser’s Rick O’Connell living a quiet retired life with his wife Evelyn. Their son Alex has left the nest and is following in the footsteps of his famous parents. When the twenty-something gets in over his head, there’s only one thing to do … call mom and dad.
Hollywood.com met up with Fraser in L.A. to find out what it was like reprising the role of O’Connell, working with a new leading lady and more.
Hollywood.com: Why was it important to you to get back into these shoes and revisit this?
Brendan Fraser: Why was it important? Because I wanted to do this, honestly, it's true. It's just really great stuff, fun stuff. Making these movies, they call it an action pic but it's actually, I am enjoying myself out there. And I wanted to see where these characters would go, knowing that they would be set in another archaeologically rich nation, in China.
HW: Was it an adjustment working with Maria Bello after working with Rachel Weisz on the first two films?
BF: I saw the script, out of habit, I'd worked with my friend Rachel on two pictures, you know you read the dialogue, you can hear her voice – I had an idea of what her choices are going to be. When I heard that she decided to step aside, I would feel her absence no matter who stepped into the role. Screen testing, reading, meeting other actresses underlined in a way that a role is a role. You just step in and you do it, bring something new to it, and in this case what this picture has done is bring Maria Bello into that character [and] has allowed for a type of re-invention of the librarian cum expeditioner-ess to take – I think, to have a different run at what the dynamic of that couple is now.
HW: We've seen you working in film for 20 years and now and here you are playing the part of the dad of a twenty-something year old, was that a change for you?
BF: No, I think it's good because it allowed for that dynamic of what Rob [Cohen] called the “old-bull” and the “young-bull” - knocking skulls and having that tension that families can usually identify with and you need to have that in the midst of all of this huge imagery and cinematographical pyrotechnics.
HW: How would you compare working with Rob Cohen to working with Stephen Sommers?
BF: In the case of this picture, Rob, knowing that he had so much experience, and that he, as I learned, was an archaeologist or at least was a student of it when he was a young man at Harvard with a particular interest in Chinese history and he is a practicing Buddhist, so putting together everything that is his life's passion I think shows when I watch the picture because it's everything that he cares about all in one. And Stephen, the godfather of this generation of the Mummy, forgetting that these pictures had been made back in the '30s [laughs], – he's enthusiastic like you wouldn't believe. He is a Midwestern boy from Minnesota, son of a pediatrician, family guy. My favorite moments working with Stephen on the other two pictures was on the first one, two of them actually, he set up some big shot with columns and things are gonna fall down and he's like, “Ready and DON”T SUCK! ACTION!” Things are crashing around us and you run like your pants are on fire so you don't have to do it again. And when things were getting a little bit, sticky, he'd say, “Oh man, the next movie I make is going to be like two chicks sitting on a beach on towels talking, that's it, that's all they're going to do. No more of this action stuff.”
HW: Did you have any injuries on this one?
BF: Not on this one, ha-ha! [laughs] No, I went into it strong and I did not limp across the finish line. It took me three times but I figured it out.
HW: Kids must love you after George of the Jungle and the Mummy series.
BF: I love kids, my kids, I like going to their schools and stuff. Before I had them, every now and then I'd look down in an airport and one of them would be stuck to my leg like burrs on your sock and you go walking in tall grass. Their mothers are normally near by [laughs].
HW: Would you consider doing a fourth Mummy?
BF: Ask me in a little while and see if I have enough fluid left in my knees [laughs]. I'm open to it, it was good fun. There's a nod and a wink in these movies all the time. I think that's probably why people like them because we were never taking ourselves too seriously while we were making it in terms of "This is an horror film," No, this is a comedy, but there is a scare. It's just sort of a Boo scare, amusement park style, funhouse kind of thing.
The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor opens in theaters Aug. 1, 2008