It isn't every comedian that can get away with doing an entire interview on The Tonight Show doing an imitation of someone else. Yet, when Kristen Wiig did exactly that — taking a seat next to buddy Jimmy Fallon dressed like One Direction's Harry Styles during his first week as host — it was completely charming. The same goes for when Wiig pops in on her old Saturday Night Live stomping grounds, as when she showed up in a cold open this season reprising her highly inappropriate, small-handed Dooneese character during a parody of NBC's The Sound of Music.
Quite simply, the Bridesmaids star makes every TV show that she comes in contact with better just by her presence, so why should that be limited to just late night? There are plenty of primetime offerings that could use some of Wiig's charm.
Parks and RecreationFellow SNL alum Amy Poehler's show has a strong history of funny guest stars (Louis CK, Parker Posey, Megan Mullally) so the writers would know what to do with Wiig. With Rob Lowe and Rashida Jones having departed, there's also plenty of available screen time. Even if it's just for a single episode, the show could use the boost. We've already met two of Nick Offerman's ex-wives both named Tammy (same as his domineering mother). What could it hurt to have a just as crazy Tammy III?
Downtown AbbeyWiig was just in Will Ferrell's period piece parody miniseries The Spoils of Babylon on IFC, so she should be good with the costumes. Elizabeth McGovern's Cora Crawley is from the States… she has to have a cousin someplace, right? Wiig is just the person to turn up as an ugly American full of dating advice and some "just get over it already" tips for Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery).
The Vampire DiariesWe get it… hot vampires. After five seasons of watching pretty people fall in and out of love, biting each other's necks just isn't enough anymore. Let's say that Paul Wesley's Salvatore has an undead aunt that wants to pal around with Nina Dobrev's Elena… or Katherine or Amara or whatever other doppelgangers she has. Wiig seems perfectly capable of turning from funny to scary in a heartbeat… or, you know, whatever vampires have.
Game of ThronesWiig's pal Ferrell had a spoof on his Funny or Die website that turned GoT into a reality show. The producers of HBO's smash probably wouldn't want to go full-on comedy, but we could see Wiig doing a guest turn as a woman that befriends Peter Dinklage's Tyrion, only to be killed in some horribly graphic way just as he's starting to feel a little bit better about life.
The BlacklistNBC has a hit in the freshman James Spader thriller, but the struggling Peacock network can't afford to take any chances. It's always far better to keep the audience entertained while they're still watching a show than to have to lure them back later after they're already watching whatever's on CBS at the time. The show hasn't done much in the way of name guest stars so far, but Isabella Rossellini did make an appearance so it's not like they're completely averse to it. Maybe the next name on Spader's list could be a woman who controls foreign leaders from behind the scenes using her looks and charm… and maybe, just maybe, she has really, really tiny hands.
Officials at the Cinematographers Guild are planning a candlelight memorial for tragic assistant Sarah Jones. The camera assistant lost her life when she was hit by a train while filming Allman Brothers biopic Midnight Rider in Georgia last month (Feb14), and now there are special plans to honour the 27 year old.
Members of the International Cinematographers Guild are staging a walk and vigil in Hollywood on Friday (07Mar14).
Jones' grieving parents, Elizabeth and Richard, will attend.
Meanwhile, ICG president Steven Poster has issued a statement about the tragedy. It reads: "I hope that the lesson the industry takes from this awful tragedy is that there can be no short cuts in the workplace. A person's life is infinitely more important than a production's schedule or budget. Safety has to be the number one priority in our industry."
The Society of Camera Operators is also planning a tribute to Jones on Saturday (08Mar14).
Dame Judi Dench is set to skip the Oscars due to her filming schedule, according to reports. The British veteran is nominated for the Best Actress award alongside Amy Adams, Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock and Meryl Streep for her turn as an Irish mother searching for her adopted son in Philomena.
Unlike her competitors, Dench has been missing from the awards season campaign trail after undergoing a knee replacement operation, and now she is reportedly set to miss out on Hollywood's biggest night.
The actress is currently in India filming the sequel to The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and sources suggest the long-haul trip to Los Angeles for the prizegiving would be too much for the 79 year old.
Her daughter, Flinty Williams, also admits she is unsure about her mother's plans, telling Britain's Daily Telegraph, "Honestly, I don't know. She has been hard at work in India making the sequel to The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and I am not sure if she is going to fly from there to the States. It has been a few days since we have spoken."
Movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, whose studio produced Philomena, recently admitted Dench's health woes have put her at risk of missing out on awards, saying, "Honestly, it's been tough for her, health-wise, and she hasn't done the kind of campaigning the others have.
"Cate Blanchett has had the luxury of being in a lot of places... Amy Adams has been very visible at awards shows and everything else."
Dench has been nominated for the Best Actress Academy Award four times before, for Mrs. Brown, Iris, Mrs Henderson Presents and Notes on a Scandal, while she won the Best Supporting Actress prize for her appearance as Queen Elizabeth I in 1998's Shakespeare in Love.
Paramount via Everett Collection
Kate Winslet has given some amazing performances. She's brilliant as a depressed suburbanite in Little Children (2006), as a depressed suburbanite in Revolutionary Road (2008), and as a depressed suburbanite in the recently released Labor Day (2013).
Admirers of Winslet often place her alongside Cate Blanchett, Julianne Moore, and Nicole Kidman as one of the best actresses of her generation. She's received many awards and nominations, including a Best Actress Oscar for her performance in The Reader (2008) as a depressed woman who might as well live in the suburbs. All of this leads to the question: is Kate Winslet overrated?
When we measure greatness in acting, we should consider versatility. Winslet has acted in over 20 movies and she's played some variation of sorrow in the majority of them. In addition to the aforementioned films, she's acted in Sense and Sensibility (1995), Jude (1996), Titanic (1997), and Finding Neverland (2004).
It seems that there are two roles that Winslet often plays. The first is the depressed woman who struggles to find happiness in contemporary suburban America. The second is the depressed woman who struggles to find happiness in a different time period.
Winslet supporters may cite the lack of female roles as a defense, and claim that Winslet is merely doing the best she can with what she's given. If this is so, then what do we make of Blanchett's diverse performances as Queen Elizabeth, Bob Dylan, and the living trainwreck that is Jasmine French? What about Nicole Kidman as Suzanne Stone, Virginia Woolf, and Charlotte Bless?
Winslet has indeed been fantastic in many films, but the difference between her and other great actresses like Blanchett and Kidman is that Winslet hasn't shown her versatility. With the exception of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) and Carnage (2011), two vastly underrated Winslet performances, she's played the same, sad woman time and time again.
Here's hoping that Winslet does something different in her next film.
What do you think?
The co-workers of a crew member who was killed in a train accident on the set of the upcoming Allman Brothers biopic have launched a petition to have her added to the Academy Awards' In Memoriam' segment this weekend (02Mar14). Sarah Elizabeth Jones, a 27-year-old camera assistant, was struck and killed while on the site of a railroad trestle in Wayne County, Georgia last week (20Feb14). Seven others were also hurt in the accident, which took place days before filming on Midnight Rider was due to begin.
Following the tragedy, several of her friends set up a Facebook.com page to share pictures and memories about Jones and now they have launched a petition to have her saluted at the Oscars on Sunday (02Mar14).
A message on ThePetitionSite.com reads, "Sarah Elizabeth Jones was a West Columbia native who died last week while filming a movie in South Georgia. Only 27 years old, Sarah's promising life was cut short when she was struck by a train while working...
"Crew members are the unsung heroes of film and television production who work long hours... for the love of filmmaking. Sarah Elizabeth Jones was one of us. We ask for Sarah Elizabeth Jones' love and passion for filmmaking be acknowledged on the grandest stage of all, The Academy Awards."
The petition has garnered over 29,000 signatures to date and will be submitted to Academy bosses for consideration on Friday (28Feb14).
Meanwhile, production on the movie, which had been due to begin on Monday (24Feb14), has been halted.
A spokesperson for the production company Film Allman tells Deadline.com, "In light of the tragic loss, we have decided to put the production of Midnight Rider on hold."
Midnight Rider is based on Gregg Allman's New York Times bestselling biography My Cross To Bear.
Game Of Thrones star Kit Harington has a murky past - one of his direct ancestors invented the flushing toilet. The actor reveals poet and inventor John Harrington came up with the contraption in the late 1500s.
He says, "Thus why it's called the john."
And the actor's relative had a very special first client - Queen Elizabeth I.
His famous descendant adds, "He invented it for her, as the story goes, and she made him godson to her, which is quite interesting. She was obviously very grateful."
Harington is keen to spread the word about his latrine-loving relative to discredit 19th century plumber Thomas Crapper, who is often credited for inventing the toilet, as "an absolute charlatan".
The actor states, "He came in and he took all the credit for it."
Late movie legend Richard Burton vowed to stay sober while making classic movie Under Milk Wood by limiting his drinking to only one bottle of vodka a day. The Welsh actor, who was a hardened drinker, appeared in the 1972 film opposite his on/off wife, Dame Elizabeth Taylor, and Peter O'Toole, and the film's director has opened up about the making of the movie in a book called Down Under Milk Wood.
In the tome, Sinclair reveals the difficulties he faced as he attempted to gather three of Hollywood's biggest names together, describing it as like "fixing a weekend between Howard Hughes, Queen Elizabeth II and Puck".
The moviemaker also claims Burton promised to cut down his booze intake while making the movie, adding, "'I am not drinking on your film,' he told me. 'That means only one bottle of vodka a day. I'm sober on two, but when I'm drinking it is three or more.'"
In the book, Sinclair also details Taylor's outrageous demands, including three special French nightgowns which swallowed up 50 per cent of the project's costume budget and her refusal to travel to the Welsh town of Fishguard for filming on location. Her scenes were shot separately at Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire, England.
Sinclair also claims Taylor refused to perform on one of her scheduled filming days, so O'Toole took her out to lunch, plied her with alcohol and then held her up as she drunkenly read her lines in front of the camera.
"I'm weirdly big on oral health, it's like a thing with me. I make my living with this mouth, you only get one of them... Oh God, everybody... I meant with my smile." Actress Elizabeth Banks has an embarrassing moment during an appearance on America's The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson as she talks about her obsession with dental hygiene.
When David Mamet's play Sexual Pervesity in Chicago was adapted into the 1986 movie About Last Night, the self-absorbed Chicago twenty-somethings were played by Rob Lowe, Demi Moore, Jim Belushi, and Elizabeth Perkins. In the 2014 remake, those parts are now being played by Michael Ealy, Joy Bryant, Kevin Hart, and Regina Hall and nothing about that seems unusual. It isn't that Mamet's play has changed much in the 40 years since he first wrote it, it's that some of the audience's preconceived notions of who can play what role have.Just as it happened with the reworked The Karate Kid that featured Jaden Smith in the title role made famous by Ralph Macchio, About Last Night takes a '80s story and adds some ethnic diversity to come up with something new. Well, there's a whole lot more movies from the '80s that are just sitting there waiting for just such a redo. Here are five stories that would work just as well in a more coloful version.
Molly Ringwald playing the forgotten girl on her birthday, in love with an older boy and tormented by geeks in the John Hughes classic. Everything about the story still works, including the Chicago suburban setting that was ultra-white in the '80s. Disney Channel stalwart Coco Jones is the right age to play the teenager in love, and Zoe Kravitz would make a fine addition as her attention-hogging older sister. So what if Jones and Kravitz don't look alike? Ringwald looked nothing like her onscreen family in the original. In the all-important older guy role, someone like 90210's Tristan Wilds could provide the smolder. The only real issue would be what to do with the original's exchange student, The Donger. That was a role so racially regrettable that it doesn't exactly have a place in today's world.
In Mike Nichols' film, Melanie Griffith played the secretary that secretly takes over for her out-of-commission boss (Sigourney Weaver), proves a capable business woman, and wins the affection of Harrison Ford. The Griffith character would have to be called an assistant now, but otherwise there isn't much about the story that needs to change. Use someone like Kat Graham (The Vampire Diaries) or Tika Sumpter (Ride Along) as the underling trying to get ahead, maybe Halle Berry or even Gabrielle Union as the obnoxious boss and Taye Diggs as the love interest, and update the setting from a generic New York investment bank to the entertainment idustry. What Hollywood assistant doesn't want to push the boss out of the way and take over?
Sure, people remember the soundtrack but how many people remember the story? A steel-worker by day who dances in a bar by night, all while dreaming of making it as a legitimate professional dancer, and is pursued by her rich boss. Back then she wasn't really a stripper, but now she would have to be and she'd be trying to break into something hipper than ballet. The role could also be played this time by someone that can legitimately dance, since Jennifer Beals, the original star, was famously replaced by a body double. Someone like That Awkward Feeling's Jessica Lucas would work, or else there's got to be a Janelle Monáe back-up dancer that's ready to break out.
Tiger Woods broke on the scene nearly 20 years ago, so a golf comedy set at a country club and featuring a diverse cast shouldn’t be any big deal. It's near sacrilege to many to consider remaking such a beloved classic, but a new version would be shooting for a whole new audience. After all, golfers of all colors are tired of reciting the same tired lines from the original. Start with Hart taking on the Rodney Dangerfield role of the rich guy that doesn't like the country club set. Imagine letting Hart riff on a bunch of rich people while dressed in ugly golf garb, throw in Saturday Night Live's Jay Pharoah as the wacky grounds keeper, and it just flows from there. You could have a who's who of comedy going... Godfrey, Chris Rock, Mike Epps, Katt Williams, Faizon Love… there would be a part for just about everyone. Heck, even Eddie Murphy might be convinced to do the Judge Smails role that Ted Knight made famous. That would be top notch.
Three Men and a Baby
Tom Selleck, Ted Danson and Steve Guttenberg were three well-off bachelors sharing a fabulous midtown Manhattan apartment that have their lives interrupted by a baby being dropped off at their doorstep. The idea of guys taking care of babies continues to be played for laughs, most recently in the sitcom Guys with Kids. What has been missing since Three Men is the angle of the guys being rich, Type A personalities. Take Jesse L. Martin, Tyler Perry and Damon Wayans Jr., move the setting to Hollywood, make them all successful and sharing a Charlie Sheen-type playpen, and then let a baby screw up their lives. It's comedy gold.
Dame Helen Mirren hopes Prince William's decision to present her with her BAFTA fellowship on Sunday (16Feb14) means the royal family approves of her portrayal of The Queen. The Oscar-winning actress has played William's grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, on screen and on the stage, but she has never received official word that the monarch and her family liked the portrayal.
However, Mirren believes the upcoming British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) honour is proof that she did a good job.
She tells The Hollywood Reporter, "I don't think he'd do it (present the award) if the royal family felt I had messed up. I hope it's a sign they don't think I messed up. But I don't know, and I will never know for sure."
Mirren will be handed the career achievement award by Prince William, the president of the Academy, during the organisation's annual prizegiving in London on Sunday.