The 67th Annual Tony Awards, held at Radio City Music Hall on Sunday, was swimming with A-List stars — and from the moment they stepped foot on the red carpet to the final curtain call, they were having a blast. We should know, we were in the thick of it.
While viewers at home were transported to Broadway with 15 musical numbers and laughed along with Neil Patrick Harris' fantastic hosting, those of us on the red carpet and in the media room were privvy to a little extra bit of fun. Here's what the TV cameras didn't catch.
Mike Tyson, who enjoyed a stint on Broadway with a one-man show last year, amazed everyone with his cameo appearance in Harris' show-stopping (or show-starting, as the case may be) opening number. But before he hit the stage, we watched Tyson hug The Sopranos' Steven Van Zandt (who would later present an award with Tom Hanks) on the red carpet. Tyson looked dapper on stage, but outside in the 90-degree New York City heat, the fighter was sweating like he had just exited the boxing ring. Inside the theater, Tyson cozied up with Now You See Me star Jesse Eisenberg.
Broadway veteran Bernadette Peters cut a stunning figure in a green Donna Karan Atelier with a basketweave texture. What you didn't see was the assistant she had on hand to scoop up and properly arrange her gown's train between poses.
Cyndi Lauper was the well-deserving belle of the ball on Sunday night. Not only did she rake in six awards (her show, Kinky Boots, was nominated for 13), but she was incredibly gracious to her fans and her energy was boundless. On the carpet before the ceremony, Lauper made sure to wave to the legions of fans lining the street (Glee and Annie star Jane Lynch did the same). Following her win, she hammed it up for photographers in the press room.
On the red carpet, Scarlett Johansson greeted Sienna Miller (whose fiancé, Tom Sturridge, was nominated for his work in Orphans) with a kiss on the cheek. Backstage, Johansson was equally chummy with fellow presenter Alan Cumming. The two played patty-cake before presenting the award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role.
On the carpet, Cumming made peace signs and crazy faces while posing for photographers.
Four-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald (whom you may know from Private Practice) shared the spotlight — and a hug — with her daughter, Zoe.
Smash star Megan Hilty shared the stage with fellow Broadway actors-turned-TV-stars Laura Benanti (Go On) and Andrew Rannells (The New Normal) for a laugh-out-loud musical number that poked fun at their bad luck on screen (cliffnotes: their shows have all been canceled). Hilty's Smash co-stars Debra Messing and Will Chase — who notoriously had a real-life affair — were conspicuously cuddly.
Home audiences were lucky enough to see this tender moment between Annie star Sunny (who plays Sandy, the lovable stray canine) and host Neil Patrick Harris. But since it's just too cute for words, here it is again:
Reporting by Lauren Paylor
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For her photo shoot for W magazine's May issue, majestic being Tilda Swinton ventured outside her glass box to return to the natural environment in which she was spawned. Clad in such organic materials as centipedes, grasshoppers, and flowers, Swinton looks less at one with nature than she does in utter control of it.
Which made us think of one of our all-time favorite parody Twitter accounts, @NotTildaSwinton. Created by Eli Yudin and Carey O'Donnell (follow them on Twitter at @eliyudin and @ecareyo), the account presents Swinton as an otherworldly being, "A collection of universal energy. Mother of a bat, Theremiah Swinton," if you will. It's awesome.
We enlisted Yudin and O'Donnell, who stopped tweeting 140 character masterpieces from the account on November 1 after Swinton made a dramatic exit from Earth, to write brand new captions in the voice of @NotTildaSwinton to correspond with W's sublime images. Enjoy.
"A rare chance for you to see Gerrero, the caterpillar that lives in my skull! He has emerged, frenzied, for a glimpse of the world of fashion."
"This is my impression of the playful trumpet. Though to say impression would be inaccurate, for the trumpet was based on the structure of my throat."
"Do not mistake this for a snarl-my opened mouth wanders where it wishes. Although this could very well change when my second mouth comes in."
Find more photos of Swinton in the May issue of W.
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He's played both James Bond and Batman. He's driven faster and more furiously than Vin Diesel and Paul Walker. He's bested dozens of Hollywood's biggest names — including Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz, and Hugh Grant — on the race track. He held a starring role on one of the UK's top rated television shows for eight years. And yet, chances are you wouldn't recognize him if you passed him on the street.
Ben Collins, who acted as a stunt driver in The Dark Knight Rises, Quantum of Solace, Skyfall, Fast & Furious 6 and others, is one of the top precision stunt drivers working today — and he gave Hollywood.com a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to get ahead in his adrenaline-pumping industry.
Daniel Craig is renowned for doing his own stunts (including much of the driving) as Bond, but Collins played an instrumental role in one of the film's most heart-stopping car sequences. While actress Naomie Harris was behind the wheel of the Land Rover in the film's opening chase, Collins was the one controlling the vehicle… from the roof. "Basically I was on the roof in what's called a pod system. It's like a metal cage with the steering and the pedals and the gears, so that basically I'm driving it from the roof with the actress underneath," Collins says. "It's pretty spooky for the actress."
"I guess I'm like expensive luggage sitting on the roof," Collins jokes. "I'm caged in there where I belong, and I'm strapped into a chair. It's got a normal seating position so from the outside it feels normal — but driving from the roof desperately takes some getting used to because you feel a lot more momentum at the top. And because you are the end of the seesaw, basically, when you go around a corner it feels like the car's going to tip over. They made a lot of modifications to make sure it stayed on the ground."
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Becoming 007's driving double is the most recent development in Collin's long career as a driver; the road to stunt driving has been paved with achievements on the race track and on television in his native Britain. He has been racing for 20 years, he says, and was "on the ladder's rung to reach Formula One," the most elite racing circuit in the world. During his time as a race car driver, Collins participated in the endurance racing event 24 Hours of Le Mans — which Collins describes as "cars racing at speeds of over 220 mph for 24 hours on this very high speed freestyle track in France" — as well as NASCAR in the U.S. Then, Collins landed his big break; he was cast as The Stig on BBC's long-running series Top Gear. The only catch: he couldn't tell anyone about it.
The Stig, who pushes cars to their limits as well as teaches celebrities to race on the show, "is this mysterious character in a white suit," Collins says. "And basically I never took the helmet off so no one ever knew who I was, what my name was, I never spoke in front of anybody who wasn't the crew. So for 8 years I carried on that role — 500 million viewers never knew who was doing all the driving. That was my career basically."
While on Top Gear, Collins (as The Stig) was challenged with teaching Hollywood's who's-who how to steer a car around the track. Who stands out in his mind as being the most adventurous? The one and only Tom Cruise. "He was absolutely ballsy," Collins says. "When he was going for the lap time in the Top Gear lab he was pushing so hard to set the fastest time. He did, but he actually crossed the line on two wheels — the car nearly tipped over. And he never got off the gas pedal, which I think says a lot about his nature."
In 2010, Collins decided to leave Top Gear and published an autobiography called The Man in the White Suit. While Collins had already left the show at the time of its publication, the book prompted a legal battle between Collins and Top Gear producers over confidentiality agreements.
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With eight seasons of TV under his belt, Collins set his sights a little higher: the big screen. Collins reached out to Gary Powell, stunt coordinator on a number of Bond films, including Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, and Skyfall. Powell brought Collins on board for Quantum, where he found himself seated behind the wheel of Bond's iconic Aston Martin. "I got involved with that incredible car chase, driving the Aston Martin, doubling James Bond, and pinching myself — it was hard to believe I was doing it," Collins says.
While the actors who have stepped into Bond's tuxedo — Sean Connery, Roger Moore, Daniel Craig, and the others — are the films' faces, the franchise is just as well known for its wild car chases and insane stunts. Behind the wheel of a Bond car, be it the Aston Martin or a Land Rover, Collins knew he had some large driving gloves to fill. "The great thing is, you've got a huge thing to live up to. With Bond, you're being handed a baton that's been passed through 50 years from one incredible stuntman to the next. So you've got a lot on your shoulders to live up to," Collins says.
"I grew up watching Bond with my family … So when someone pats you on the shoulder and says, 'It's your turn now,' you just think, 'I better not mess this up.' And you give it your everything to make it as good as what you remember seeing," Collins says. "So with the Bond character you are absolutely in awe of it. And you just try to keep calm on the day and make sure that you get the maximum performance out, that's what counts. You try and forget the nostalgia and just focus on the job."
Following his first stint as Bond, Collins was given the opportunity to check another dream off every car enthusiast's checklist. He drove the Batmobile in The Dark Knight Rises. "Yeah, driving the Batmobile was awesome," Collins concedes. "It's a fantastic machine. They made this incredible car that goes 110 mph — there are about six or seven of them, but there's nothing else like it in the world."
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Collins' favorite moment of shooting from the TDKR set never made it into the film, however. "There was a point when there was three of us doing a high speed through a tunnel and Chris Nolan was in a tracking vehicle, it's like a crane mounted to the roof of the Mercedes NL55, and we had to swerve past him in quite a tight space. It was so tight that our wheel hubs were just touching the wall and sending sparks through the tunnel," Collins says. "I'll always remember that because it was the first time I really drove with [stunt coordinator] George Cottle and Terry Jackson, another famous stunt guy from America, and I knew I'd arrived. It was a fantastic moment."
With sparks flying and head-on collisions imminent, the average driver would be terrified to face the things that are all in a day's work for Collins and his team. As such, Collins says that he rarely feels as though he is in danger while attempting death-defying stunts. "I'm usually brought in as a precision driver, which means there might be some danger, but by being precise and accurate I should be able to avoid it," he says. "We rehearse [the car chases] very accurately as best we can … We make all the preparations in advance as best as we possibly can, and that gives you a feeling of being in control." That being said, Collins adds, "You're definitely aware of the danger and that's why you get the adrenaline. And I suppose that's why we're addicted to our jobs."
When we spoke with Collins he was on his way to the Fast & Furious 6 set, so we had to ask, is he a speed demon on the highway during his daily commute? "Oh well, I get the odd ticket, which is terrible, but occasionally it happens," he says, laughing. "I mean, I don't go crazy on the road. I'm very fortunate to have had a career in racing and take as much of it out, as I can, on the track. And also, what I do, the speeds are so different than anything you could possibly do on the road anyway, I don't get that much of a buzz at road pace anyway."
Collins adds, "But I do love driving day to day. We have great roads here, as well as in the States; there are some fantastic places to drive. And occasionally you get a little carried away. But I try not to."
Follow Abbey on Twitter @AbbeyStone
[Photo Credit: Motortrend; AP Images;Warner Bros. Pictures]
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Jared Leto is a master of disguise, the king of camouflage, one sneaky so and so. Whether he's going all in for a new role (and we mean all in) or fulfilling his duties as rock band 30 Seconds to Mars' frontman, homeboy manages to look different every time we lay eyes on him. Most recently, Leto has traded in his scruffy face and leather jacket for a floral dress and feminine wig on the set of Dallas Buyers Club, costarring a scary skinny Matthew McConaughey.
In the film, Leto plays Rayon, a transsexual woman with AIDS. For the role, Leto had to not only don a dress, wig, and heels, but also shave his eyebrows and lose weight. He told Vulture at the IFP Gotham Awards that he has been fasting in order to achieve his gaunt look. He says of fasting, "Your body goes through weird stages. Sometimes it's hard to hold on to water. But for me, it's not about the most weight I can lose, it's more to represent the character. I'm focused on what it means to be a transsexual woman."
But before Leto played a transsexual woman, we knew him as a homicide detective (with a Clark Gable mustache), the man who killed John Lennon, and — at the start of it all — dreamy Jordan Catalano. Let's take a little jaunt down memory lane and see how Leto went from Jordan to Rayon, with a few stops at Creepytown along the way.
30 Seconds to Mars (2010)
Holy mohawk! Sometimes, Leto likes to pretend he is a European discotech DJ sensation. (Or Protozoa, from Zenon, Girl of the 21st Century fame.)
Chapter 27 (2007)
Leto packed on some major pounds (67, to be precise) to play John Lennon's killer, Mark David Chapman.
Lonely Hearts (2006)
Just a year earlier, Leto was svelte and mustachioed. And is it just me, or does he look about 10 years older than he does now? Okay, maybe not 10. Seven though, at least.
Panic Room (2002)
Everyone is so distracted by young Kristen Stewart's tomboy haircut that cornrow-clad Leto gets looked over. But there he is. With cornrows… and a strangely geometrical beard. We wouldn't want to run into this dude alone in a dark alley.
Sunset Strip (2000)
Leto appears in full 1970s glory — long hair, python bandana, tinted shades and all — to play up-and-coming country rocker Glen Walker.
Girl, Interrupted (1999)
Mr. Leto has one heck of a beard when he plays Winona Ryder's war-bound ex-boyfriend. But look at those eyes!
Fight Club (1999)
The very same year, Leto went platinum blonde and took a major beating in the cult classic Fight Club. Man, does he look effed up. We promise Leto's gorgeous mug is under there somewhere — heck, his character's name in the film is Angel Face.
My So-Called Life (1995)
Dreamboat city! No one is more crushworthy than teenaged Claire Danes' bad boy boyfriend, Jordan Catalano.
Follow Abbey Stone on Twitter @abbeystone
[Photo Credit: Deano/Splash News; WENN (2); Columbia Pictures (2); MTV; Millenium Films; 20th Century Fox]
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