L.A. Woman: We think NBC was totally justified in developing this one. Boomtown and Justified mastermind Graham Yost has again partnered with the peacock, this time for a 1970's female spy drama. NBC ordered a script for the hourlong project, which Yost will write and executive produce. [THR]
The Rachel Zoe Project: Do you just die for Rachel Zoe's fashionable antics? You're in luck. Bravo has officially renewed The Rachel Zoe Project for a whopping fifth season. [Deadline]
The Hero: Finally, what my freshman roommate the TV world has long been waiting for — a reality competition program starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. Johnson will mentor ten potential "heroes" who live in a house and are given a variety of challenges that test their brains, brawn, and morality. In the end, one player will be named a true hero. They will then be sent into a burning building filled with kittens. [Deadline]
The Good Wife: Looks like life post-Pan Am can go on. Christina Ricci will appear in CBS' hit legal drama The Good Wife, as a comedienne who uses her beauty for comedic effect. Of course, she'll seek out the services of Lockhart Gardner. [TVLine]
American Horror Story: She's ba-ack! Frances Conroy, who played the elder half of the sexually charged maid Moira, will return for season two alongside other season one vets Jessica Lange, Evan Peters, Lily Rabe, Zachary Quinto, and Sarah Paulson. Murphy tweeted that the actress would play "the ultimate angel."
Thrilled to announce Emmy nominee Frances Conroy is returning to AHS. Devils and angels this year...Frannie plays the ultimate angel.— Ryan Murphy (@MrRPMurphy) September 6, 2012
Follow Shaunna on Twitter @HWShaunna
[PHOTO CREDIT: ABC]
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The Lost In Translation beauty is currently starring in Arthur Miller's A View From The Bridge opposite Liev Schreiber, playing a 17-year-old girl in 1950s New York.
The opening night at the Cort Theatre on Sunday (24Jan10) was a star-studded affair with celebrities including Hugh Jackman, Naomi Watts and Heroes actor Zachary Quinto filling the aisles.
And Johansson has emerged triumphant, garnering a swathe of glowing reviews for her turn.
USA Today critic Elysa Gardner writes, "Johansson - in a brunette wig - (makes) an enchanting Broadway debut in Arthur Miller's sobering fable... Only afterward will you likely realise the actress's youthful sensuality and capacity for good-natured goofiness constitute a perfect fit for this (role)."
The New York Times' Ben Brantley compared Johansson's performance to other stars who have appeared on Broadway in recent years, insisting the 25 year old outshone all her contemporaries.
He writes, "In recent years Broadway's stages have been littered with dim performances from bright screen stars, including Julia Roberts and Katie Holmes... By comparison, Ms. Johansson melts into her character so thoroughly that her nimbus of celebrity disappears."
While The Washington Post's Peter Marks adds, "The surprising achievement belongs to Johansson, who proves to be capable of far more than collaborating in eyebrow-raising star casting."
Even if you’re one of the 19 other people in a competitive internship at Dean Witter with Chris Gardner (Will Smith) you gotta root for the guy. Life’s beaten him up but not got him down. He lugs his computer-monitor-sized bone density scanner all over San Francisco hoping to sell just one to make ends meet for his family—but nobody’s buying. As his wife’s (Thandie Newton) discontentment nears a boiling point Chris accepts an internship at financial institution Dean Witter—six months without pay and only one of the 20 applicants will ultimately get a job out of it. This sends her packing. She leaves Chris and their son Christopher (Jaden Smith) to fend for themselves at which point they get evicted. It’s the tip of the iceberg because over the course of Chris’ penniless pursuit of the Dean Witter job (and “happyness”) he and Christopher will get by sleeping in homeless shelter--and even in train-station bathrooms. Chris had always vowed to never leave his son and he keeps his promise but there’s no guarantee that his perseverance will pay off. Except for the fact that Happyness is “INSPIRED BY A TRUE STORY”! Will Smith is getting all the awards buzz but it’s his real-life son Jaden who transcends all expectations in Happyness. Jaden’s never acted in a movie before and it’s safe to assume that because of his father's long-running movie stardom he could not have grown up in a more different environment than that of his character. Which makes it all the more amazing for this 8-year-old Hollywood tyke to grasp even if coincidentally the plight of a nomadic urban child. The best part about little Jaden is that his performance doesn’t seem robotic like so many child actors who are already too "seasoned" for their own good. Aside from the expected cutesy laughs there’s genuine spontaneity in Jaden’s performance obviously thanks to the fact that he’s acting opposite his dad. Papa Smith gives what’s probably his best performance to date although he's had a career of primarily action roles that weren't exactly conducive to a skills showcase. He delivers the goods here—as seen in the tear-rific trailer—as a man whose whole life is his child but frankly the tears evoked might be too few for Oscar’s liking. Newton (Crash) in a small role is terribly miscast but Mr. and Mr. Smith dominate the screen anyway. Even with the studio flaunting the movie’s "Inspired by a true story..." tagline like a badge of honor—as studios tend to do—and this being the holiday season and all Italian director Gabriele Muccino expends way too much effort into the crowd-pleasing/feel-good aspects of Happyness. The happy ending everyone already knows about should be saccharine enough. Granted this is why a studio loves true stories—one that begins on a low note ends on a really high note and fluctuates all over the radar in between—and it may make the film more pleasing to its targeted mainstream audiences but Muccino and writer Steve Conrad (The Weather Man) really take the gloss factor much too far. In this case they essentially try to tell us a mostly sad story but will not let us feel sad. For instance during what could be very dark reflective scenes potentially connecting with viewers who have struggled through similar problems music befitting a children’s tale overtakes the would-be drama so we don’t ever feel too badly for Chris. It’s nice that the director cares so much for us but oftentimes the best directors are the ones who show an audience tough love.
Yes it’s true. Although it reaped deserved accolades and an Oscar win for its star Philip Seymour Hoffman Capote keeps you somewhat at arm’s length as you watch Truman Capote go through his agonizing journey to writing his one and only masterpiece In Cold Blood. Infamous however wears its heart on its sleeve drawing you in immediately. When we first meet Capote (Toby Jones) it’s in New York. As the toast of the town and confidante to some of Manhattan’s elite grand dames including Babe Paley (Sigourney Weaver) and Slim Keith (Hope Davis) Capote’s mood is light and airy his antics hilarious. Then once Capote travels to Kansas to cover the grisly Cutter murders with his dear friend Nell Harper Lee (Sandra Bullock) the frivolity is peeled away layer by layer. When he finally becomes so tortuously—and yes even romantically (it goes there)—entangled with killer Perry Smith (Daniel Craig) and the writing of his book hits its crescendo Capote emerges as a beaten-down and bitter man who ultimately can’t even be lifted by his high society friends. Infamous is infinitely more heartbreaking. It’s really hard to top Hoffman’s Oscar-winning performance as Truman Capote. He embodies the character with such exquisite and subtle suffering you don’t mind the fact he doesn’t look anything like the diminutive author. Toby Jones (Finding Neverland) however does look like Capote. A LOT like him and is just as capable at wringing out all of Capote’s brilliance and faults. But rather than dominate Jones’ eerie look-a-like characterization blends in more with Infamous’ scenery allowing some of the other colorful characters to step up to the plate. Weaver and Davis are effusive and catty as Capote’s Manhattan buddies who give hints on what’s to become of Capote later in his life when he finally goes too far and crosses these fine society ladies. Craig is also particularly effecting as Smith full of pathos and rage. But the real stand out is Bullock as Harper Lee. Her unassuming but quietly fierce take on the To Kill a Mockingbird author far outshines Catherine Keener’s Oscar-nominated performance in Capote. Bullock brings such an essence to the role that when watching Lee tell stories of when she and Truman were children you see the little girl Scout from Mockingbird so very clearly. Kudos all around. Director/writer Douglas McGrath has to got to be kicking himself. Seriously. Of course he’s going to say “Given the riveting contradictions in Capote’s character the rich range of people who made up his circle and the comic and dramatic turns that marked the period the real wonder is that there were only two scripts.” But the fact of the matter is Capote came first and furious getting all kinds of good strokes. Releasing another movie about the very same subject on its heels...well that movie is going to have a harder time. Period. And that’s a real shame. McGrath does some truly marvelous things with Infamous. He shows how a flamboyant gay writer spoiled chic who plays court jester to the very cream of New York society is set down in the wastelands of Kansas to write about a horrible crime. Capote’s antics at first are hilarious such as trying to wear cowboy boots and a cowboy hat just to fit in. But then the shift into the dark side as Capote delves deeper and deeper into the psyche of the killers keeps you riveted. It might be the same but Infamous is just as worthy.