Actress/comedienne Carol Burnett has joined the cast of a special ensemble reading of the play Surviving Grace to benefit an Alzheimer's disease charity. The Carol Burnett Show star will join Marilu Henner, Loni Anderson, Helen Reddy, Elliott Gould, Lou Gossett, Jr. and Brian McNamara onstage in Los Angeles on 25 September (13).
The play was penned by comedy writer Trish Vradenburg and is based on her experiences as she took care of her mother, who died of Alzheimer's in 1992. The event will serve as a fundraiser for USAgainstAlzheimer's, the organisation Vradenburg co-founded, which is committed to helping to find a cure for Alzheimer's by 2020.
Burnett will play the ailing mother, a role she took to instantly.
She tells the Huffington Post, "When I read the play, I instantly loved it. When Trish sent it to me, I thought it was kind of amazing...
"It just so beautifully captures the back and forth in the relationship between the mother and the daughter... I loved the whole dynamic of it."
Lifetime Adds a Leading Lady: TV icon Brooke Shields is joining Lifetime’s lady drama Army Wives. According to a press release, Shields will join the cast as “brash and brilliant” Air Force Colonel Katherine “Kat” Young. Kat is a guy’s girl who can definitely hold her own in the boys' club atmosphere of the military, but it won't take long before she’s butting heads with Army General Michael Holden (Brian McNamara). Army Wives fans can look forward to seeing Shields' character in a full-fledged power struggle with Holden to see who’s top dog on the base. But of course it wouldn’t be a Lifetime show unless Kat was holding onto a deep dark secret. “Only after their initial skirmishes does Holden learn of Kat’s tragic past, discovering they have more in common than he thought.” Shields is just one of the new additions to join the drama this season — Ashanti and Torrey DeVitto are also set to join the cast. Fans can catch the Season 7 premiere of Army Wives on Sunday, March 10 at 9 PM. [Lifetime]
A Witchcraft Reunion: Grab your spell books and wands because Disney Channel is reuniting the cast of Wizards of Waverly Place! Selena Gomez is back as Alex — the snarky best friend you’ve always wanted — in a one-hour special airing Friday, March 15 at 8 PM. The Russo family will travel to Tuscany, Italy for a family reunion, but in a attempt to show her serious magical skills, Alex accidently splits her personality in two: good Alex and bad Alex. (Side note: Didn’t they already do an episode like this? I'm pretty sure I've seen this already...) In a totally believable twist, the two Alexes battle for the fate of their family and the world atop the Tower of Pisa. [TV Guide]
Going Through The Gates... Again: Ken Marino and Aasif Mandvi have joined the NBC comedy pilot The Gates. Based on the British series, The Gates is an adult ensemble comedy set at the front gates of an elementary school drop-off and revolves around the parents, school staff and 15-minute social minefield they navigate at the beginning and end of each school day. (Side note: We're getting another case of deja vu here. Wasn't there already a TV series The Gates? On ABC? In the summer of 2010? Yes, yes there was...) This new incarnation centers on type-A Helen (Kathleen Rose Perkins), who just moved to town with her husband Mark (Marino) and their 8-year-old daughter for Helen’s big new job. Mark is described as a loveable, sweet, well-meaning, puppy-dog of a guy, a type B, or C, maybe even D to his wife’s type-A personality. Since he owns a construction business, he’s got a more flexible schedule than Helen and is at their daughter’s school more than his wife. Mandvi will play another dad at the school, a super-driven, competitive Yale-educated lawyer who’s one of these comedically intense guys who pushes his kids way too hard. [Deadline]
Party Down Parties On: This reunion is definitely one worth noting. On Feb. 9, San Francisco’s Sketchfest will reunite the cast of Starz’s brilliant-but-canceled catering comedy Party Down. Adam Scott, Ken Marino, Martin Starr, and Ryan Hansen are already locked in as attendees and it has just been revealed that Lizzy Caplan will join the group at this sold-out event as well. [EW]
It's Still Pilot Season, Y'all: NBC greenlighted a single-camera comedy from The Office developer/executive producer Greg Daniels starring Craig Robinson. The untitled project is about a talented musician with rough edges who adjusts to his new life as a music teacher in a big-city middle school, where he encounters teacher politics and the temptations of single moms. CBS has handed two more pilot orders to comedy Bad Teacher and drama The Advocates. Bad Teacher, a single-camera comedy series adaptation of the hit 2011 movie of the same name, is about a sexy, foul-mouthed divorcee who becomes a teacher to find her next husband. The Advocates, which had a pilot production commitment, centers on a female lawyer and a male ex-con who team up as “victim advocates,” going to the edge of the law to right wrongs and fight for the underdog. [Deadline, Deadline]
[Photo Credit: WENN]
Follow Sydney on Twitter @SydneyBucksbaum
TV Tidbits: 'The Vampire Diaries' Takes a Bite Out of Ratings
TV Tidbits: Meredith Vieira In Talks To Host Her Own Daytime Talk Show
'TV Tidbits': Ali Larter Joins 'Legends,' 'Once Upon a Time''s Snow White Gets a Mom
From Our Partners:
Celebs as Kids: Guess Who? (Celebuzz)
Craziest Celebrity Swimsuits Ever (Celebuzz)
When Bethany Hamilton lost her arm to a shark while surfing, she probably thought her career was over. But with hard work and dedication she overcame all odds to become a champion once again. Her courageous story was expertly chronicled in Soul Surfer, an inspiring biopic from director Sean McNamara, based on Hamilton's own novel of the same name. Released in April to box office grosses totaling $41 million, Sony Pictures Entertainment has announced that you'll be able to take the film home in a Blu-ray/DVD Combo package or a regular DVD on August 2nd.
Read on below for the press release, which includes a rundown of the discs' special features and more!
CULVER CITY, CALIF. (June 6, 2011) – Soul Surfer, based on the remarkable true story of pro surfer Bethany Hamilton’s journey from tragedy to triumph, debuts on Blu-ray™/DVD Combo Pack and DVD August 2nd from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. The inspiring story of a girl’s comeback after a shark attack stars AnnaSophia Robb (Race to Witch Mountain), Academy Award® winner Helen Hunt (Best Actress, As Good As It Gets, 1997), Dennis Quaid (The Rookie, G.I. Joe: The Rise of the Cobra), Grammy Award® winner Carrie Underwood, Kevin Sorbo (TV's “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys”) and Lorraine Nicholson (Click). Bonus features include deleted scenes, the documentary “Heart of a Soul Surfer” and three behind-the-scenes featurettes, “The Making of Soul Surfer,” which explores the making of the film from the filmmaker’s perspective; “Becoming Bethany,” which shows how AnnaSophia Robb brought her character to life with the help of Bethany Hamilton; and “Surfing for the Screen: Inside the Action.” Soul Surfer will be available in the Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack for $38.99 SRP and on DVD for $30.99 SRP.
Soul Surfer is the incredible true story of teen surfer Bethany Hamilton, who lost her arm in a shark attack and courageously overcame all odds to become a champion again, through her sheer determination and unwavering faith. In the wake of this life-changing event that took her arm and nearly her life, Bethany’s feisty determination and steadfast beliefs spur her toward an adventurous comeback that gives her the grit to turn her loss into a gift for others.
Directed by Sean McNamara, the screenplay was by McNamara, Deborah Schwartz, Douglas Schwartz and Michael Berk. Soul Surfer is based on the book by Bethany Hamilton, Sheryl Berk and Rick Bundschuh. The screen story is by Sean McNamara, Deborah Schwartz, Douglas Schwartz, Michael Berk, Matt R. Allen, Caleb Wilson and Brad Gann.
DVD and Blu-ray Bonus Features Include:
§ Deleted Scenes
§ “The Making of Soul Surfer” Featurette
§ “Surfing for the Screen: Inside the Action” Featurette
§ “Becoming Bethany” Featurette
§ “Heart of a Soul Surfer” Documentary
Soul Surfer has a runtime of approximately 106 minutes and is rated PG for an intense accident sequence and some thematic material.
Source: Sony Pictures Entertainment
February 04, 2010 4:00am EST
Dennis Quaid, Helen Hunt, AnnaSophia Robb and Carrie Underwood will star in the indie drama Soul Surfer, Variety reports.
The film, about teen surfing champ and shark attack survivor Bethany Hamilton, is directed by Sean McNamara. The project marks country music star Underwood's big-screen debut.
Based on Hamilton's autobiography, the biopic centers on the surf icon (Robb) who defied all odds to compete and win professional championships after losing her arm in a shark attack at age 13. Quaid and Hunt play Hamilton's parents. Underwood is a church youth leader.
McNamara, Deborah Schwartz, Douglas Schwartz and Michael Berk wrote the screenplay.
The film began shooting this week in Hawaii.
Mandalay Vision is producing alongside Brookwell McNamara Entertainment and Life's a Beach Entertainment. Affirm Films, a Sony Pictures Entertainment company, will distribute.
Love means never having to say you're sorry; it's a many splendored thing; it's all you need. But in tennis love means zero; it means you lose. Or does it? For Peter Colt (Paul Bettany) a British pro tennis player seeded near the bottom of the world tennis ranks love actually inspires him. After scoring a wild card to play in the prestigious Wimbledon tournament he meets and falls for the rising and highly competitive American tennis star Lizzie Bradbury (Kirsten Dunst) fueling a winning streak he hasn't had since he began his career. For Lizzie however the love thing doesn't necessarily work out as well. Her feelings for Peter become a distraction throwing her off her game. Hmmm. Can these two crazy kids keep it together long enough so Peter can fulfill his lifelong dream of winning the men's singles title even if it means his muse might have to sacrifice her first Wimbledon title?
Kirsten Dunst may be what draws you in but Paul Bettany is the reason you don't walk out. The British actor who made an impression with American audiences playing the oh-so-witty Chaucer in A Knight's Tale and then wowed them in Oscar winners such as A Beautiful Mind and Master and Commander doesn't disappoint in his first lead role. Bettany's Peter embodies all that charm we've come to love and expect in our British actors--although thankfully not as floppy as Hugh Grant--he stumbles about and apologizes profusely. It's so cute. And he makes a pretty darn believable tennis player to boot (one would hope so after the intense training session the actors apparently had to go through to prepare for the movie). Unfortunately Dunst does not fare as well. Her Lizzie is appealing and she adequately handles the tennis stuff--but she ultimately fails to connect with her male lead making their relationship seem forced. Their beginning sparks are fun but when there's suppose to be a real flame igniting between them you're left scratching your head wondering just when where and why they fell in love so hard so fast. Yep that's a big red flag.
I've said sports movies usually work (see the Mr. 3000 review). To clarify: That is team sports. Sport movies where the action revolves around a single competitor are harder to pull off. It's just not as exciting watching an underdog struggle with himself in order to win. Luckily director Richard Loncraine (HBO's My House in Umbria) seems to know this fact. Even though Peter takes Centre Court (that's the British way of spelling it) Loncraine tries to at least create a more complete picture giving us a glimpse into the world of tennis as well as delving into the traditions of Wimbledon and how the Brits feel about the prestigious tournament where British champions are few and far between. Loncraine also utilizes real-life tennis pros such as John McEnroe and Chris Evert who appear as announcers to liven up the proceedings. Even the action on the court with close-up shots of the ball whizzing over the net gets the blood pumping a little--wish there was a lot more of that. But then of course one could just turn on the TV and watch the real Wimbledon instead watching a silly run-of-the-mill romantic comedy set there.