Hello, it’s very nice to meet you! (Leanne awkwardly curtsies) I am here for two simple reasons: I love TV and I’m very impatient. I’m so impatient that I don’t want to have to wait to find out what’s “coming up next week… ” on my TV. I want to know now. Luckily, I’m great at gathering spoilers, but I’m not the best at keeping secrets. So the powers that be at Hollywood.com have gifted me with my very own weekly column to dish details on all your favorite shows! (Please try to contain your excitement, people are starting to stare... )
So here’s how it’s going to work: Every Wednesday, I’ll post a short but oh-so sweet list of all the spoilers you absolutely need to know. Every show will get their time to shine, but if you really want to hear scoop about a particular series, shout it out on Twitter (using the hashtag #LeannesList) or (if you’re too lazy to open another window on your desktop) just place your requests in the comments below.
Now that we’re slowly but surely becoming cyber soulmates, let’s get down to the goods. Seven shows have made my list this week and that is no coincidence. (It’s my favorite number.) I caught up with the stars of Glee, Sons of Anarchy, New Girl, and more to bring you exclusive scoop that you won’t get anywhere else. But before you read on, I really must clarify because there is always that one perpetually lost reader: There are spoilers ahead honey! If you don’t want to know, then I suggest you go back to looking at your friends’ awkward engagement photos on Facebook! For the rest of you, I hope you enjoy.
1. Glee: Oh, Ryan Murphy, you play with our hearts. The new season hasn’t even started yet and you’ve already ignited a new civil war: finchel v. brodchel. We’re all on the same team, people! To help clear the confusion, I fangirled chatted with the lovely Lea Michele about the endgame of Rachel’s love life. Not only did the Queen of Glee share some positive, yes I said positive, Finchel news with me, she also quoted her on and off-screen beau Cory Monteith in the process! In a word, adorable. Michele begins, “Well I definitely think that people love Finn and Rachel together and I also think that they’re really interesting sometimes apart.”
Now, before you start to hyperventilate Finchel fans, take a deep breath and read on. “But this is what Cory would say: Cory always says, ‘Finchel Forever.' That’s his answer to everything!” Michele says with a laugh, “So I’m just going to take that one.” You hear that guys? Finchel forever. Stay tuned for Thursday night’s Glee recap for more squee-worthy goodies from Michele and the rest of the cast.
2. New Girl: Max Greenfield is amazing at three things: 1) Acting like a douche. B) Putting money into a jar. And finally, dishing details on the new season of New Girl. While Schmidt and Cece (Hannah Simone) are going “back to square one,” many new characters will be entering the apartment this year. Greenfield tells me, “We’re looking to their families this year and getting to know the [main] characters a little bit more in that way. Like where did these guys come from and not so much of where they are now.”
And of course I had to ask about my favorite character on the show: Fat Schmidt. Luckily, Greenfield shares my same admirations of his character's chubby past. “Playing Fat Schmidt is fun, like really fun. He comes back in the first episode for a quick little pop which is really funny, but I would love to do one where it’s a much larger scene.” That makes two of us Schmidty.
3. Shameless: When I caught up with the ridiculously gorgeous Emmy Rossum, she spilled that Season 3 will be filled with a bunch of “crazy” new jobs for Fiona. “I’ve had a couple nasty jobs already, sewage clean-up, clubbing and grocery working so it’s been fun.” Reader’s note: that “fun” was laced with heavy Rossum sarcasm.
Our favorite Disney starlet (no lie) also revealed that Jimmy (Justin Chatwin) and Fiona are now bunking together under the same Gallagher roof and living happily ever after. For now. Rossum warns, “Well, they are at the start of the season, we’ll see how far that continues.” Dun dun duuun. “The road is definitely rocky. They need to come clean, and then there’s Jimmy’s Dad and our younger brother and their relationship so it’s a little complicated.” More like a lotta complicated, but hey I’m not here to argue...
4. Sons of Anarchy: Death is coming for the fellas of FX — and it certainly won't be pretty. Producer Paris Barclay says that there will be "quite a few empty seats at the table" by season's end. Yikes! And unfortunately, star-slash-baddie Ron Perlman fears he might be one of them. "I've worried [about being killed off] pretty much for the last three seasons," Perlman says. "My deeds get more and more dastardly, and more and more heinous. I'm fodder, baby. A lot of people want to take me out, and not for coffee." [Insert your version of “oh snap!” here.]
Losing Clay would be a major bummer, but Barclay says this season's deaths will all be for the greater good. "We're starting to develop the story of Jax (Charlie Hunnam) really taking control of the club," he says. "There are going to have to be certain transitions to make that happen, and that's what you're going to see in Season 5." Looking forward to it!
5. Raising Hope: Do you hear that? (Just imagine a faint “ding-dong.”) Well, that’s sounds of wedding bells chiming from your TV. Nicely done! Shannon Woodward tells me that our favorite Raising Hope couple may be heading for matrimony this season. Woodward gushes, “There’s engagement stuff happening! That’s like a full bit of this season, so that is definitely becoming a fast-approaching option I think.”
Another exciting storyline coming up involves Jenny Slate from my favorite SNL bit of all-time. The SNL grad joins the quirky comedy for a super special two-part episode as an overly curious social worker. Woodward explains, “She’s worried that we’re abusing Maw-Maw (Cloris Leachman), so she takes her away from us and puts her in a home. And we try to break her out because she’s really unhappy there.” And hilarity is sure to ensue.
6. Touch: Child actors typically scare the crap out of me. They’re overly serious and I swear sometimes their eyes can pierce straight through my soul. Luckily Touch’s David Mazouz is adorable, sweet, and completely normal even though he’s now “best buds” with Jack Bower Kiefer Sutherland. This pint-sized protagonist was able to dish on what’s coming up for the drama-filled second season. Mazouz says, “It’s really suspenseful. I thinks it’s a lot more suspenseful than last year… and it’s kind of a chase to find Amelia (Saxon Sharbino).”
For those of you who have been living under a rock (or in Lima... ), Amelia is Lucy's (Maria Bello) gifted daughter who's currently MIA. Mazouz says he hopes to finally find his voice this season, “I think that Jake is going to have a lot more organic and new original ways of communication. I don’t know about talking yet. I hope so. I hope that comes out, but no sign of it.” Well I’ve heard him speak and I promise he sounds just like a normal 11-year-old boy but with roughly 30 extra years of maturity.
7. Hart of Dixie: The entire time I was interviewing Scott Porter, all I wanted to do was scream “Texas forever!” But instead, like a good little journalist, I nabbed specifics about the premiere of Hart of Dixie. Porter says this season will have a quicker pace than last year’s Southern drawl. “We are going to give people answers right in episode one. We’re going to pick up seven hours after the finale ends. George wakes up and very purposefully goes to Lavon’s house to thank Lavon for his help and then sees Zoe (Rachel Bilson).”
Uh-oh! When we last saw Zoe, she was fornicating with the town’s more shirtless bachelor. Porter spills, “Wade (Wilson Bethel) is still going to be around and Zoe’s poker face is not the greatest, so you’re going to really see those relationships change right off the bat.” I’ll have more details from our favorite Dillon Panther as the Hart of Dixie season premiere gets closer.
Are you happy with Lea Michele’s Finchel fodder? Nervous for the deaths that await this season on Sons of Anarchy? Tired of the love triangles on Hart of Dixie? Hoping to see Jimmy and Sabrina tie the knot? Tell me everything in the comments below, and see you back here next Wednesday for more spoilers!
Follow Leanne on Twitter @LeanneAguilera
—Additional reporting by Shaunna Murphy.
[Photo Credit: FOX, FX, The CW]
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Author Stephanie Meyer unleashed a phenomenon with her Twilight novels a teen vampire romance that has spurned a teen cult following. The good news is the movie is surprisingly just as potent -- a spellbinding terribly romantic hypnotic and entertaining film. At its heart are the elements that make any teen drama work; in this case it’s forbidden love. It starts with 16 year-old Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) who relocates from her sunny Phoenix to the cold gray foreboding atmosphere of Forks Washington to live with her father. At her new high school she meets the incredibly attractive but mysterious Cullen clan including the allusive Edward (Robert Pattinson) who immediately intrigues her. What she doesn’t know yet is that Edward and his “family” are a group of vegetarian vampires who drink only animal blood and must live in the terminally cloudy region of Northwest. Edward tries to drive a determined Bella away by revealing his true identity but soon realizes she is the girl of his dreams. But as the two begin their complicated romance things get dicey when another group of um meat-lovin’ vampires target Bella. Teen Beat should clear their covers for a new group of stars sure to become huge with the female teen set -- and probably their mothers as well. Exuding a brooding reserve and air of mystery the follicley-endowed Robert Pattinson is reminiscent of James Dean and completely believable as a conflicted bloodsucker who becomes dangerously attracted to a mere mortal. His Edward’s unpredictable nature becomes irresistible for the attractive Kristen Stewart’s Bella as she grows closer to him despite his attempts to keep her at arm’s length. Not since Baby yearned for Johnny Castle in Dirty Dancing has there been such an effective pairing for the acne-challenged set. Pattinson and Stewart simmer with teen angst and desire and could be the next big thing -- especially if there are more Twilight sequels to follow. The Cullen clan led by foster parents Peter Facinelli and Elizabeth Reaser is perfectly cast with a good looking bunch of vampiric thesps including newcomers Ashley Green Kellan Lutz Jackson Rathbone and Nikki Reed. Red-headed Rachelle LeFevre as bad vamp Victoria is ideal along with Cam Gigandet and Edi Gathegi as the guys in her group of nomadic vampires. Director Catherine Hardwicke has certainly shown she understands the ever-changing moods of youth with her previous efforts (Thirteen Lords of Dogtown). But those flicks were just warm-ups for what she taps into with Twilight. She creates a wonderful creepy kind of muted dark and cloudy society with imposing camera angles and aching teen lust from her bright red-lipped hormonally charged leads. And thankfully she leaves the fangs on the cutting room floor. These vampires are actually relatable and Hardwick takes what could have been an awful juvenile programmer and lifts it into a different league creating not only a movie that should cross over beyond it’s target demo but one that makes us genuinely excited for the inevitable sequels.
Looney Tunes: Back in Action revisits an age-old Tunes question: Why does the affable Bugs reap all the fame and glory while the egocentric Daffy gets shafted again and again? Our duck friend quite frankly has had it up to his skinny neck playing second fiddle to the carrot muncher. All Daffy wants is a little recognition from the studio but the brothers Warner (actual twin brothers as we come to find out) decide instead to let Daffy out of his contract on the advice of their no-nonsense VP of comedy Kate Houghton (Jenna Elfman). Bugs however knows they're making a mistake. Even though Daff bears the brunt of the abuse Looney Tunes would fail without him and Bugs convinces the powers that be they need the nutty mallard. If the plot had only followed this thread--perhaps showing Daffy on the skids--then maybe the film wouldn't have spiraled into Looneyville. Unfortunately Daffy ends up hooking up with the hunky D.J. Drake (Brendan Fraser) a studio security guard who finds out that his famous movie star father Damian Drake (Timothy Dalton) is really a secret agent hunting for a mysterious diamond known as the Blue Monkey a supernatural gem that can turn the planet's population into monkeys. The evil head of the Acme Corporation Mr. Chairman (Steve Martin) wants the diamond for his own diabolical plans and he's kidnapped D.J.'s dad in an effort to get it. Now the gang has to get the diamond save D.J.'s dad and of course save the world.
It might be a little hard to act subtly around cartoon characters but these aren't your ordinary cutesy Mickey Mouse types. Bugs Daffy Porky Yosemite Sam and Foghorn Leghorn are pros at comic timing able to spar with the best of them throw out zingers without a second thought and slay you with a droll glance at the camera. It isn't really necessary for the human actors to match their madcap-ness; just reacting would have sufficed. Fraser comes off the best of the human bunch; since he's had practice (Monkeybone) he easily interacts with his animated co-stars and deftly handles the doubletakes and jabs at pop culture. Elfman on the other hand sputters and goes bug-eyed every time she encounters silliness. She looks uncomfortable doing the green screen thing especially when she's trying to look natural when peeling a distraught duck from around her waist. Martin's highly anticipated turn as Mr. Chairman turns out to be the biggest disappointment. The over-the-top character is reminiscent of Martin's hysterically funny Rupert the Monkeyboy in 1988's Dirty Rotten Scoundrels but Martin turns Mr. Chairman--an angry schoolboy with knee socks and matted-down hair who never grew up--into a caricature of ridiculous proportions and unlike Rupert who came in small hilarious doses Mr. Chairman gets very tiresome very quickly.
Back in Action's animation is well done more engaging and ambitious than its 1996 predecessor Space Jam in which the action mostly took place in Looney Tunes land; here animated characters go the Who Framed Roger Rabbit? route and Bugs Daffy and the rest coexist harmoniously with humans in the real world. But despite its aspirations Back in Action leaves out vital elements that made Space Jam appealing. While the earlier film stuck to a simple plot Back in Action guided by director Joe Dante (Small Soldiers The 'Burbs) tries too hard to keep things wild and wacky while incorporating elements of '60s heist pics and action-adventure scenes and in the process loses sight of the most important ingredient in any kids movie: the story. Tykes may have limited attention spans but if the story's good they will watch. Granted some individual bits are laugh-out-loud funny particularly the scene in the Warner Bros. commissary where a stuttering Porky Pig complains about being politically incorrect with Speedy Gonzales while an animated Shaggy and Scooby-Doo berate actor Matthew Lillard for playing Shaggy as such a bonehead in the live-action Scooby-Doo. These scenes prove that if any cartoon characters could pass themselves off as real celebrities in the entertainment industry the gang from Looney Tunes could but moments like these simply can't overcome a contrived plot and juvenile antics.
Based on the best-selling novel by Dennis Lehane Mystic River is full of characters wrought with heavy emotions--and burdens. Yet it is also a fairly simplistic murder mystery. Three 13-year old boys Jimmy Sean and Dave are playing on a street in a tough Boston neighborhood when two pedophiles pretending to be cops grab Dave and take him away. In that moment all three lives are irrevocably changed. Jimmy (Sean Penn) grew up as tough as his neighborhood doing time for robbery but finally settling into a comfortable family life with his wife Annabeth (Laura Linney). Sean (Kevin Bacon) went on to become a cop but his personal life is in a shambles and he is estranged from his wife. Dave (Tim Robbins) has never been able to face his demons despite being a loving father and husband to Celeste (Marcia Gay Harden). Now 25 years later tragedy brings them together once again. Jimmy's 19-year-old daughter is found murdered and while Sean is assigned to the case with his partner Whitey (Laurence Fishburne) Jimmy seeks his own vigilante investigation with the local hoods--and Dave emerges as a prime suspect. As the mystery is unraveled all are pulled closer toward an abyss that will force them to face their true selves--and will mark them as irrevocably as the past itself has tainted their lives.
This is one of those dream scripts serious actors simply go gaga over--and the high-quality ensemble in Mystic River does their jobs superbly. To pinpoint the best performance of the bunch however is virtually impossible--and the Academy may have a tough time making the same distinction as there is surely going to be a nomination or two coming from this film. Penn as the emotionally charged Jimmy stands out a little ahead of the rest with his fury resonating throughout the film. Robbins' ultra-vulnerable Dave is also a remarkable study of a soul completely wounded by the horrors he has experienced. Linney and Harden too are excellent as the spouses; Linney as Annabeth is a strong defiant mother whose only impetus is to protect those she loves while Harden in contrast is meek and unsure as Celeste faced with the dilemma of showing faith and loyalty to her husband while at the same time being convinced he committed the murder. All the performances will quite literally blow your socks off.
With all its excellent acting Mystic River has the added benefit of being helmed by director Clint Eastwood who has enormous talent behind the camera. He likes his films to simmer; his Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and Oscar-winning Unforgiven are two examples. Mystic River is beautifully put together with lingering shots of Boston neighborhoods and the people who live in them. He doesn't move the camera much keeps things steady but knows when to pull in or pull out as the drama escalates (an aerial shot of an anguished Jimmy being held back by several policeman after he discovers his daughter's body shakes you to the core). Still there are some problems with this slow-burn technique in that sometimes things should move along rather than stand still. Eastwood seems also to have had trouble finding the ending. After a pivotal powerful climactic scene with Jimmy and Sean discussing Dave's kidnapping 25 years ago and its effect on all their lives Eastwood tacks on a few more final scenes of the men tying up loose ends resolving feelings with each other and their wives--and then going to watch a parade. It's a minor point compared to the quality of the rest of the film but it still leaves things on an anti-climactic note.