Former Will & Grace star Sean Hayes is set to reunite with the show's director James Burrows on hit sitcom The Millers.
The comedian has been tapped as a series regular for the upcoming second season of the comedy, which stars Beau Bridges, Margo Martindale and Arrested Development's Will Arnett.
The casting reunites him with TV legend Burrows, who directs The Millers, and also worked with Hayes on all eight seasons of Will & Grace.
Hayes was last seen in his own sitcom, Sean Saves the World, but the programme was cancelled earlier this year (14) after just 15 episodes.
Give Martin Freeman an empty room and he'll give you comedy. The best parts of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey — an admittedly mishandled movie in large — involved his subdued grimaces, his Chaplinian waddling, and the way he carried himself with equal parts neurosis and snark in every scene. If there is one primary misstep of An Unexpected Journey's terrifically improved sequel, The Desolation of Smaug, it is the spiritual absence of Bilbo Baggins.
Freeman's good-natured but disgruntled Hobbit takes a backseat to the Dwarf team in this chapter of Peter Jackon's three-part saga, distributing the heavy lifting among the front lines of the bearded mooks. Thankfully, we're not shafted with too much "Thorin's destiny" backstory, instead focusing on the trek forward, through far more interesting terrain than we got last time around. The Dwarves voyage through a trippy woodland that'll conjur fond memories of The Legend of Zelda's unnavigable forest levels and inside the borders of Lake-town, a man-occupied working class monarchy that is more vivid and living than any place we have seen yet in the series. And while Unexpected Journey's goblin caverns might have been cool to look at, none of the quests in Desolation feel nearly as close to a tangential detour. Every step the Dwarves take is one that beckons us closer to the central, increasingly engaging story.
Desolation is not entirely without its curiosities. While Gandalf's mission to meet the Necromancer serves to connect the Hobbit trilogy to the Lord of the Rings movies, the occasional cuts over to the wizard's pursuits are primarily distracting and just a bit dull. Although we're happy to welcome the Elf race back into our Middle-earth adventures, it's easy to imagine a version of this story that didn't involve side characters like Legolas and Kate... I mean, Tauriel... and still felt whole (perhaps even more cohesive). The latter's love affair with hot Dwarf Kili seems like a last minute addition to the canon, and one not built on anything beyond the cinematic rule that two sexually compatible attractive people should probably have something brewing alongside all the action.
But the most egregious of crimes committed by Desolation is, unquestionably, the shafting of Bilbo Baggins to secondary status. Yes, he proves himself a savior to his fellow travelers four times in the film, but long stretches of action go by without so much as a word from the wide-eyed burglar. When he finally takes center stage in his theatrical face-off with Smaug — an exercise in double-talk reminiscent of Oedipus outsmarting the Sphinx — the film picks up with a new, cool energy, with a chilling fun laced around the impending doom of their back-and-forth. We've been waiting since the first frames of Unexpected to see how the dragon material will pay off, and it does in spades... albeit in the final third of Desolation, but with equal parts gravitas and fun, to reunite us with our Tolkien passions once more.
Benedict Cumberbatch's dragon doesn't do much to subvert expectation — he's slithering, sadistic, vain, manipulative, and vaguely Londonian. But tradition feels good here. Smaug's half hour spent toying with the mousey Bilbo (who does get a chance to showcase his aptitude at small-scale physical comedy here) is terrific in every way.
Its Hobbit problem aside, Desolation proves itself worthy of Bilbo's past proclamation. "I'm going on an adventure!" more than pays off here, in the form of mystifying boat rides, edge-of-your-seat efforts in dragon slaying, and the most joyful action set piece we've seen in years. Twelve Dwarves, twelve barrels, and one roaring river amounts for enough fun to warrant your trip to the theater for this latest outing into Middle-earth.
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A host of Hollywood stars including Jennifer Aniston, Debra Messing and Rhea Perlman turned out to honour legendary TV director James Burrows on Monday night (07Oct13). The man who helmed huge U.S. hits including Friends, Will & Grace, Cheers and The Big Bang Theory was feted in front a star-studded crowd at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences in Los Angeles.
Perlman, who played bolshy barmaid Carla under Burrows' direction in Cheers, took to the stage to say, "He's the greatest director there is. He makes you think that you're funny, but really, he made you funny."
Veteran star Bob Newhart also joined his pal onstage while clutching the Emmy Award he recently won for his turn in The Big Bang Theory, telling Burrows, "I never let it out of my sight. I take it in the shower with me."
Other actors who turned out to see Burrows' recognised for his stellar career included Perlman's husband Danny DeVito, Christopher Lloyd, Beau Bridges, Eric McCormack and writer Chuck Lorre.
Folks, get ready to ogle. The cast Disney has lined up for its developing film adaptation of the Stephen Sondheim musical Into the Woods hails from the realms of critical acclaim (Meryl Streep as the witch), indie fandom (Johnny Depp as the wolf), and Broadway purism (James Corden as the baker). And now that the project has stockpiled itself with gravitas in all of the highbrow categories, it's shooting for the real important stuff: the eye candy. The lookers. The strong-jawed distractions from that nuisance that is the film's actual plot. The Hollywood Reporter reports that Into the Woods is in talks with handsome actors Chris Pine and Jake Gyllenhaal to fill this void.
Pine, who headlines the upcoming Star Trek Into Darkness, and Gyllenhaal have been linked to the musical's two princes, and love interests for the characters Cinderella and Rapunzel. One of the drawbacks of being sculpted by Heaven's Michelangelo? The characters will be entrenched in some seriously obnoxious arrogance.
So now that James Kirk and the Zodiac hunter are in discussions with production (Hollywood.com has reached out to their reps for updates on their status), the ultimate question burrows into our brains: Not "Which will be a better fairy tale prince?" Not "Can either of them actually sing?" But "Who's hotter?" Yes, objectification is okay when the targets are attractive, bearded alpha-male types.
If it helps your decision at all, Pine sure does pull off that interstellar fury like a Shatner of days long past...
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Up All Night's bad luck continues: First came NBC's October announcement that the single-camera comedy transform into a multi-camera one, shot in front of a live audience, for five episodes. Then creator/executive producer Emily Spivey left. On Friday, Christina Applegate, the star of the show, announced she was leaving.
Now, it appears the original five episode order of the new format will be reduced to just one. The episode will be directed by master multi-camera helmer James Burrows, and will not feature Applegate, reports Deadline. It is still unclear whether or not Applegate will be replaced, though rumors are flying that NBC is looking at Friends' Lisa Kudrow to take on the character. NBC has no comment.
In the midst of all these changes, we're left to wonder: What will be left of Up All Night when it finally airs? Is there enough of the show left to even save at this point?
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[Photo Credit: NBC]
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Robert Zemeckis is a blockbuster director at heart. Action has never been an issue for the man behind Back to the Future. When he puts aside the high concept adventures for emotional human stories — think Forrest Gump or Cast Away — he still goes big. His latest Flight continues the trend revolving the story of one man's fight with alcoholism around a terrifying plane crash. Zemeckis expertly crafts his roaring centerpiece and while he finds an agile performer in Denzel Washington the hour-and-a-half of Flight after the shocking moment can't sustain the power. The "big" works. The intimate drowns.
Washington stars as Whip Whitaker a reckless airline pilot who balances his days flying jumbo jets with picking up women snorting lines of cocaine and drinking himself to sleep. Although drunk for the flight that will change his life forever that's not the reason the plane goes down — in fact it may be the reason he thinks up his savvy landing solution in the first place. Writer John Gatins follows Whitaker into the aftermath madness: an investigation of what really happened during the flight Whitaker's battle to cap his addictions and budding relationships that if nurtured could save his life.
Zemeckis tops his own plane crash in Cast Away with the heart-pounding tailspin sequence (if you've ever been scared of flying before Flight will push into phobia territory). In the few scenes after the literal destruction Washington is able to convey an equal amount of power in the moments of mental destruction. Whitaker is obviously crushed by the events the bottle silently calling for him in every down moment. Flight strives for that level of introspection throughout eventually pairing Washington with equally distraught junkie Nicole (Kelly Reilly). Their relationship is barely fleshed out with the script time and time again resorting to obvious over-the-top depictions of substance abuse (a la Nic Cage's Leaving Las Vegas) and the bickering that follows. Washington's Whitaker hits is lowest point early sitting there until the climax of the film.
Sharing screentime with the intimate tale is the surprisingly comical attempt by the pilot's airline union buddy (Bruce Greenwood) and the company lawyer (Don Cheadle) to get Whitaker into shape. Prepping him for inquisitions looking into evidence from the wreckage and calling upon Whitaker's dealer Harling (John Goodman) to jump start their "hero" when the time is right the two men do everything they can to keep any blame being placed upon Whitaker by the National Transportation Safety Board investigators. The thread doesn't feel relevant to Whitaker's plight and in turn feels like unnecessary baggage that pads the runtime.
Everything in Fight shoots for the skies — and on purpose. The music is constantly swelling the photography glossy and unnatural and rarely do we breach Washington's wild exterior for a sense of what Whitaker's really grappling with. For Zemeckis Flight is still a spectacle film with Washington's ability to emote as the magical special effect. Instead of using it sparingly he once again goes big. Too big.
The esteemed South by Southwest Film Conference and Festival will begin on Mar. 9 this year, starting things off with a film that has garnered a heavy sum of anticipation: The Cabin in the Woods. SXSW has announced that the movie, directed by Drew Goddard and co-written by Goddard and Joss Whedon, will play as the 2012 Opening Night Film.
Along with to getting to see what promises to be a striking takedown of the horror/thriller genre, attendees will be graced with a Key Conversation panel with Whedon, who also serves as a producer of the film. The Cabin in the Woods will star Chris Hemsworth, Kristen Connolly, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz, Jesse Williams, Richard Jenkins, Bradley Whitford, Brian J. White, Amy Acker and Tom Lenk.
In addition to The Cabin in the Woods, another exciting new project will be showcased at the conference: GIRLS, the new HBO comedy series created by, written/directed by and starring Lena Dunham, and executive produced by Judd Apatow. The series focuses on twenty-something Hannah (Dunham) and her friends facing the comical hardships of New York City life. SXSW is premiering the first three episodes of the series, and Dunham and Apatow will both be present, along with other members of the production team, for a GIRLS panel to follow the screening.
More in SXSW news includes new film announcements for the festival:
Beauty is Embarrassing (World Premiere)
Director: Neil Berkeley
A funny, irreverent and insightful look into the life and times of one of America's most important artists, Wayne White.
The Cabin in the Woods (World Premiere)
Director: Drew Goddard, Writers: Joss Whedon & Drew Goddard
Five friends go to a remote cabin in the woods. Bad things happen. If you think you know this story, think again. From fan favorites Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard comes The Cabin in the Woods, a mind-blowing horror film that turns the genre inside out.
Cast: Kristen Connolly, Fran Kranz, Anna Hutchison, Chris Hemsworth, Jesse Williams, Richard Jenkins, and Bradley Whitford
CITADEL (World Premiere)
Director & Writer: Ciarán Foy
An agoraphobic father teams up with a renegade priest to save his daughter from the clutches of a gang of twisted feral children.
Cast: Anuerin Barnard, James Cosmo, and Wumni Mosaku, Jake Wilson, Amy Shiels
GIRLS (World Premiere)
Director & Writer: Lena Dunham
Created by and starring Lena Dunham (Tiny Furniture), the HBO show is a comic look at the assorted humiliations and rare triumphs of a group of girls in their early 20s.
Cast: Lena Dunham, Allison Williams, Jemima Kirke, Zosia Mamet, Adam Driver
MARLEY (North American Premiere)
Director: Kevin Macdonald
The definitive documentary on the life, music, and legacy of Bob Marley.
The Oyster Princess (1919) with original live score by Bee vs. Moth (World Premiere)
Director: Ernst Lubitsch, Writers: Hanns Kraly & Ernst Lubitsch
The Oyster Princess is Ernst Lubitsch’s tart 1919 silent comedy that parodies the rich and the spoiled. Austin jazz/rock band Bee vs. Moth performs their original score live with the film for the first time.
Small Apartments (World Premiere)
Director: Jonas Åkerlund, Writer: Chris Millis
When Franklin Franklin accidentally kills his landlord, he must hide the body; but, the wisdom of his beloved brother and the quirks of his neighbors, force him on a journey where a fortune awaits him.
Cast: Matt Lucas, Billy Crystal, James Caan, Johnny Knoxville, Juno Temple, James Marsden, Dolph Lundgren, Saffron Burrows, Rosie Perez, DJ Qualls
The complete festival lineup will be announced in early February 2012.
The 19th Annual South by Southwest Film Conference and Festival runs Mar. 9-17, 2012 in Austin, Texas.
The Sex and the City movie star makes his stage debut in Melissa James Gibson's drama, about the lives of five friends in their 40s.
Marini stars alongside Saffron Burrows, Eisa Davis, Glenn Fitzgerald and Darren Pettie in the project, and they have been receiving critical acclaim for their performances at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in California since launching earlier this month (Aug11).
But there's one review which stands out the most for Marini - a letter of thanks from Douglas himself.
In the note, dated 9 August (11), the Spartacus star writes, "To the cast of This, THIS is wonderful! My wife and I enjoyed the evening very much. It's very well written and very, very well acted. Congratulations! Sincerely, Kirk Douglas."
Marini posted a photo of the letter on his Twitter.com page alongside the caption, "Yeah!! Thanks to Mister #KirkDouglas. I will Keep this letter for ever ;) #Happy."
If you happen to be a fan of the dearly CBS departed The New Adventures of Old Christine or The Ghost Whisperer, here's something that might alleviate your pain from yesterday’s sweep of cancellations. The network officially picked up $#*! My Dad Says, and will air the James Burrows-directed pilot in the fall.
You're already in on this if you have a Twitter account, but in the rare event you live your life tweet-free, here's the backstory. 29 year-old Justin Halpern created an account called “Shit My Dad Says” on Twitter and sent out tweets of particularly enlightening phrases from his pithy 74 year-old dad. At this moment, Justin (and his father – he also deserves a portion of the credit) has more than 1,339,000 followers on Twitter. In fact, the tweets were compiled and turned into a book, giving the people who did “Stuff White People Like” a real run for their money.
William Shatner (hold your applause) is cast as the heavy-on-the-wisdom dad, which for those of us who enjoyed his “dramatic readings” of Sarah Palin’s tweets on The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien, means today is shaping up to be pretty swell. Shatner's son will be played by Ryan Devlin of Cougar Town, someone I hope is prepared to be outshined by the Shat.
This morning, the Wall Street Journal pointed out the difficulty CBS had with choosing a title for the show, seeing as the title's first word is as television unfriendly as Janet Jackson. To get around the issue, executives opted to use asterisks and some “shift + number” characters. However, we’re supposed to call it “Bleep,” as in “I couldn’t watch Bleep My Dad Says because my dog died last night.” It doesn’t make sense to say it that way, you’re entirely right. But just think of how devastatingly frustrating it’s going to be to type. That’s the real $#*!. (And not the bleeped kind.)
To those only vaguely familiar with The Lovely Bones Alice Sebold’s bestselling novel about a murdered teen who observes her family — and tracks her killer — from beyond Peter Jackson might seem like an odd choice to direct the film adaptation. Why would the visual effects maestro who orchestrated such grand spectacle in films like King Kong and the Lord of the Rings trilogy be attracted to Bones’ somber reflective subject matter wherein nary an orc or a goblin can be found?
Shortly after the film's opening moments Jackson’s definitive answer arrives in the form of the “in-between place ” a breathtaking limbo where our wide-eyed heroine 14-year-old Susie Salmon (Saoirse Ronan) arrives after her life is cruelly cut short by a next-door neighbor and closet predator named ominously enough Mr. Harvey (Stanley Tucci). Susie’s experience of the afterlife as a sort of spiritual way-station featuring elements of both heaven and hell (but mostly heaven) is a veritable CGI playground for Jackson one in which he can employ all of the digital tools in his vast arsenal in the service of a powerful affecting story.
And what a gorgeous playground it is. As Susie journeys through her wondrous netherworld — sometimes alone sometimes accompanied by a perky young spirit guide named Holly (Nikki SooHoo) — Jackson serves up a succession of exquisitely rendered landscapes for her to explore from placid spring meadows to boundless Alpine slopes to lush green forests. Jackson knows all too well that the issue of life after death especially when considered in regards to those who left us too soon is fertile emotional ground. With the help of an irresistibly expressive Ronan he mines it shrewdly.
Back on Earth unfortunately The Lovely Bones takes the form of a poorly-constructed deeply unsatisfying police procedural. Frustrated by the authorities’ inability to find the killer Susie's anguished father (Mark Wahlberg) mounts an investigation of his own aided occasionally in Ghost-like fashion by his daughter’s unseen hand. Tension rises as the mystery unravels — Jackson having drawn us in with his shamelessly manipulative handiwork has us by the emotional short-hairs so much so that we’re willing to overlook the film’s gap-laden storyline redundant narration underdeveloped supporting characters and a generally underwhelming Wahlberg. We just want payback damnit.
But when The Lovely Bones’ moment of truth arrives Susie abruptly changes her mind effectively turning almost every preceding plot point into an infuriating red herring and depriving us of the emotional release Jackson so steadfastly prepared us for. What we’re left with ultimately is an experience akin to taking a shot of morphine and watching someone play the videogame Myst for two hours (a span that might very well be reduced to 45 minutes if the film’s copious slow-motion shots were all played at normal speed). And once the anodyne buzz wears off the comedown is agonizing.