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If you're a theater nerd, a Star Wars fanatic, or both, we've got some good news and some bad news for you. Ewan McGregor is set to make his Broadway debut in a revival of Tom Stoppard's play, The Real Thing... but it doesn't open until next year. McGregor will take on the leading role of Henry, a playwright who finds his life beginning to imitate his art when an affair causes turmoil in his marriage as he's attempting to mount his own production about a marriage on the verge of collapse. So far, McGregor is the only actor confirmed for the production, but the team behind The Real Thing will have plenty of time to find the right people to round out the cast.
Although The Real Thing is his Broadway debut, McGregor has starred in numerous productions in London, most notably as Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls and as Iago in Othello, opposite Chiwetel Ejiofor. He also plays Bill Fordham, the son-in-law of Meryl Streep's abrasive matriarch in the upcoming film adaptation of Tracy Letts' play August: Osage County. His past theater credits are a good sign that McGregor will not only be adept at tackling Stoppard's monologues and philosophical discussions, but also that he won't be intimidated by the shadows cast by Roger Rees and Jeremy Irons, who have played Henry in the past.
The Real Thing was originally scheduled to be part of the Roundabout Theater's spring season, but has been pushed back for an October 2014 opening. It will have a limited run at the American Airlines Theater, where it will close in 2015. McGregor has plenty of film projects to satisfy fans in the meantime — he's currently filming Mortdecai with Johnny Depp and Gwyneth Paltrow, and August: Osage County opens in theaters on Christmas Day.
It’s been nearly a month since “Sacrifice,” the high-seas adventure/Dead Calm homage that saw the death of Fauxmanda. In addition to recappers like myself heaving a sigh of relief over the fact that we wouldn’t have to keep using the word Fauxmanda, it seemed like Revenge was finally back on track. The Ryan Brothers were dispatched, Conrad Grayson was once again clearly the villain, and Emily herself had a newfound laser focus on her revenge scheme. Or so we thought. “Retribution” decided to do what Revenge always seems to do when it doesn’t know how to proceed: muddy the narrative waters and add even more extraneous characters! We’re right back to square one.
The episode began with a deliberate echo of the way the series itself began: Emily narrating her Hammurabi platitudes over an image of rolling waves. Retribution, an eye for an eye, is all about restoring balance. Even if retribution risks perpetuating a cycle of violence, such an unending cycle is preferable to letting the guilty go free, and all that Old Testament stuff. Of course, she was especially gunning for blood after Amanda died in her arms. She herself said that she’d just lost “one of the only people I’ve ever loved,” which makes it all the more unfortunate that the show had been keen on turning Amanda into a rival/poseur/threat for so damn long. How deep did that love for her doppelganger (in name only) go? Emily was so affected, in fact, that she seemed to want to shoot Conrad Grayson then and there. I mean, this situation could not be more desperate: Amanda’s dead, Jack’s in the hospital, and Nolan is on the verge of giving over a WMD computer program to save his girlfriend’s father from losing another finger. What’s a revenge-meister to do?
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On top of all that, Helen Crowley’s replacement, Mr. Trask (who you eagle-eyed readers noted last time was Mr. Guppy on Andrew Davies’ version of Bleak House) had decided to snoop around about Fake Amanda. Conrad told him she was in possession of a laptop with evidence that could incriminate all of them. So when Emily was at the Stowaway picking up Jack’s clothes she discovered the Initiative agent doing a scan of the place himself, posing as a lawman. No man with such bug eyes, thin lips, and pasty complexion could be up to any good. Shame that was pretty much the last we saw of him in this episode.
At the coroner’s, Charlotte was brought in to identify the body of her “sister.” You’d think Jennifer Jason Leigh’s Kara, who rushed to her daughter’s hospital bed when she was flung off a balcony rail, would be there too, no? I guess Revenge’s writers realized her character was such a mistake that she’s totally banished, even when this is one time that her presence would make some logical sense. Emily showed up at the coroner’s herself and saw Victoria was there as Charlotte’s escort. By now Emily and her nemesis reiterate their contempt for one other each time they’re in each other’s presence by emphatically stating each other’s names: “Emily.” “Victoria.”
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Of all the Graysons, Daniel seemed to be the only one having a crisis of conscience over Amanda’s death. First things first, he wanted to rob the Initiative of their prize by getting Nolan to delete the Carrion program. “Control-Alt-Delete, got it,” Nolan said in response. The thing is…who should he trust? Daniel probably is right that he should delete it, but Padma’s father will die if the Iniative doesn’t get their cloak-and-dagger-holding hands on it. Then again, for what apocalyptic purpose will the Initiative use Carrion? Like any geek, Nolan should realize that, despite his love for Padma, the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one. No wonder he now answers the phone with, “Nolan Ross, life’s pawn.”
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So Jack was totally devastated by Amanda’s death, as was to be expected. Not certain if he was as devastated by her death as he was by Sammy’s, but that was man’s best friend, so come on. His grief burned bright for a moment, then quickly turned to a chill. Suddenly, it seemed that he needed to scratch the revenge itch against the Graysons as well. He would finish what his wife had started, and the first step to do that would be to get into Conrad’s good graces. He’d accept the mogul’s generous offer of paying his medical bills and thank him with obsequious gratitude like “I don’t know if I can ever repay you.” Conrad saw Jack’s phoniness and raised him, even allowing baby Carl into Grayson Manor. The cherry on top of Conrad’s own charlatanism was the flag pin he now wears to advance his craven political ambitions.
NEXT: Emily eulogizes Amanda…meaning she’s eulogizing herself. We’ve really gone down the Persona/Mulholland Drive female-personalities-merging rabbit hole haven’t we?
Jack decided that he wanted Emily to give Amanda’s eulogy. Which meant basically that she would have to give her own eulogy to someone else. Yes, this is majorly effed up. While Conrad made his own statement about Amanda’s death to the media, Jack began the first part of his revenge scheme against him by cracking open his late wife’s laptop. He needed that intel to use against the Graysons. The only problem was that he has zero computer skills, was never able to log in, and thus was dead in the water — not to make a pun, since his wife literally was dead in the water. He’d have to loop in Nolan. In the meantime, though, he did discover files among Amanda’s effects that showed she and Emily went way back and were even juvie buddies at Allendale. Meaning that Emily probably knew about Amanda’s vendetta against the Graysons and did nothing to discourage her from it, even though she was in terrible danger. Jack was not happy. To Emily, he was even all like, “Aw, you were worried it would ruin your perfect reputation?” Um, your wife was in juvie too, buddy. But it was an interesting glimpse. If Jack is this mad at her for concealing her past, imagine how he’ll fly off the handle when he learns she’s really Amanda. When he finds out, will he totally lose it? Or will he be so besotted with the concept of Amanda, that he’ll immediately forget about Fauxmanda, even though she’s the mother of his child, and embrace his second chance with his childhood sweetheart? Nolan, for one, discouraged Emily from revealing herself to Jack at this moment. He thought it would be like Jack losing his wife twice: once in death, another in realizing that she wasn’t who she said she was.
So Emily eulogized herself. I half expected a distraught Jack to climb on top of his wife’s coffin and ride it into her grave like Leland Palmer on Twin Peaks, but he kept it together. Victoria had a quasi-nice moment with Emily, in which she said that she was actually glad David Clarke had died so he wouldn’t be around to witness his daughter’s death.
As for Nolan, he decided to turn over the Carrion program to Padma, so she could give it to the Initiative and rescue her father. But come now. Surely that wasn’t the “real” Carrion program he gave her? Methinks Nolan has an ace up his sleeve. Perhaps a device that will allow him to expose the Initiative’s entire computer network?
Emily was also looking to throw away some crucial tech. When Aidan presented her with the revenge computer, she threw it into the sea. Sure, it had evidence on there to send Conrad and Victoria to prison, but then again she said, “My plan never had anything to do with going to prison.” Um, so what is your plan? A season and a half into this show, you can at least give us an idea of your goal right? I mean, as murky as Lost was, at least we always had a goal in mind: leaving the island. What could possibly by Emily’s endgame at this point?
So, hopefully brainstorming that endgame, Emily visited Amanda’s grave. Standing behind her was another mourner who said he couldn’t believe she was gone, that the Amanda he knew was a force of nature, that she burned his house down. Mason Treadwell? No. An African-American guy who called himself Amanda’s brother. Oh, right, foster brother! Because Charlotte’s Google search into Amanda’s past, which revealed her sister’s foster family, had to be setting up something. A shame that it’s a new character we’ve never seen before, in whom we have no investment, who will likely just be another red herring. Except that, since he knew the real Amanda at a slightly older age, he may be among the few who could actually expose Emily now. From the preview of next week’s ep, that sure seems to be the case.
Anyway, folks, do you think I’m being too hard on our favorite primetime sudser? Do you think Revenge has found its way back on track? Or was Emily right when she quoted Roger Moore and said "before setting out on revenge you first dig two graves”? Is one of those graves for this show itself?
Follow Christian Blauvelt on Twitter @Ctblauvelt
[Photo Credit: ABC]
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Whooo, lordy, everyone. This is my third day in a row of Real Housewives and, I have to admit, I'm a bit tired. There are only so many sundresses, fake eyelashes, fraught accusations, and human frailties that I can take in one week, and it seems that I'm at my threshold. And the second half of the OC Housewives perambulations into the dark heart of the Costa Rican jungle was just, well, a little lackluster.
First we started off with the end of the fight with Alexis, where everyone piled on and called her phony and materialistic. What they really wanted to tell her is that she lies. They all think she's a liar. They think she has no money and that she doesn't own any of her cars and the shit she says about her life is totally fake, like all the bullshit about her husband's million-dollar, one-of-a-kind watches and her fake rings and her boobs and her nose job. They all think that she is a big fat liar and that her stories (usually about money) don't always add up. Just say it, guys. Just tell Alexis she's a liar.
The problem is that Alexis is the world's worst combination: stupid, stubborn, and argumentative. She's going to defend her stupid lies until the end so that's not going to help anyone. She gets fed up with being piled on and tries to leave. Heather says, "Let's start fresh." Okay, add this to the growing pile (like a large stinking compost heap) of Housewife misconceptions. They always want to do this after a fight, and it is not possible. You can not erase the past, you can only learn from it. But they never learn. They say they're going to start fresh and the next time the furies raise them from their slumber, they're dredging up all that old muck again. You can never start fresh.
The other Housewife misconception about this fight is that Gretchen goes after Alexis to talk to her about the fight. This is always stupid. Do not go and talk to them after the fight, even privately. That's like rattling a bear's cage and then, when it's barely calmed down, poking it with a stick. You need to give a person time to collect themselves and cry and rage and get out all of their emotions on their own before you show up with your extensions and false eyelashes and ulterior motives and muck the whole thing up.
Gretchen gets rebuffed and she's all upset because she wants to be Alexis' friend but has to tell her the truth that she's an awful liar who talks about her diamond encrusted iPhone cover and her fleet of completely unafforadable automobiles and that no one can stand to listen to her, not even her personal lord and savior Jesus Christ. The other girls tell Gretchen that, by telling Alexis the truth she's helping her to become a real person, not just a set of fun bags full of wind and Bible verses. This is true, but she's never going to change.
Vicki goes in after Gretchen and only pisses Gretchen off more because Vicki actually talks to Alexis. Oh, this is such a silly thing to cry about. You should all be sitting down and leaving her alone and talking about her behind her back while she cries in her room. That is what real friends do. That is how life works, Housewives.
Strangely enough, Vicki, who has been acting like she took a huge hit of salvia as soon as she arrived in Costa Rico, is the voice of reason: "We're all phony and materialistic on some level." Wow, that is the most self-aware thing a Real Housewife has ever said on television ever. "No one is going to change. Just accept us for who we are." Wow, Vicki, did you smoke your way into some sort of lucidity? Is this like Roger Sterling finding the truth after his LSD trip? When did you get so smart and reasonable?
But Vicki wouldn't continue to be reasonable. So the ladies go to a beach where Alexis is lingering around like a fart in a jar and just sort of stinking up the whole mess, but then she leaves. Then Tamra rips everyone's clothes off and they fondle bananas and play with monkeys and it's like some sort of sick Skinemax movie or something. The Bikini Car Wash Monkeys Around. Emannuelle's Latin Adventure. Banana Babes in Jiggle Jungle.
Then, while they were on the beach, it was time for an intervention with Heather. "Sweetie," Gretchen said. "There's soemthing we really need to talk about." Vicki said, "This is really something that has been bothering us for a long time and we really want to help you. Please, don't be upset." Tamra chimed in, "Your relationship to alcohol has gotten out of hand, and this behavior really needs to stop." Oh, they don't think that Heather is an alcoholic, but everything thinks that she needs to stop calling champagne "champs." God, that is so freaking annoying. The only thing more annoying than that is a line of shape wear called "Yummie Tummie." Just call it champagne. Who do you think you are, Patsy Stone without a die job? Seriously, Heather.
There is a little scene that doesn't seem to fit into the chronology of the episode, but there's a little interlude where Tamra tells Gretchen she has to confess something. "Vicki slept with Slade too." See, that's funny, because Slade has screwed more Housewives than Bravo's confidentiality agreement. They two of them cackle and laugh like a bunch of hyenas over a caribou. "That's not funny. That's not funny. That's not funny," Vicki says repeatedly while shaking her head. It is then that I realized: Vicki Gunvalson is a human creature that is completely devoid of a sense of humor. As if when God was shaping the plastic and microchips that make up this blond robot (she's a small wonder) he left out the one that makes her laugh. I don't think, in all eleventy season of Real Prostitutions of Whore County have I once seen Vicki laugh. She smiles and whoo-hoos, but she does not laugh. Vicki does not fundamentally get the joke, and that is really her biggest problem in life. If she could just laugh.
But no, Vicki is like the animation in a depression commercial. She's just a bundle of sticks and lines that is forever on the verge of having one stray thought that will lead her into a crippling bout of sadness. When they're planting trees in the wild, Vicki is thinking positive thoughts about how this will bind the group together in nature. "We'll be intertwined in heaven," she thinks. Maybe it was the awfulness of that thought (I don't think being stuck for eternity with Housewives is what people would call heaven, but probably the other side) but then Vicki says, "What's going to be sad is when one of us dies." What, Vicki? Are you having a bad trip? But that is, in fact, a very sad thought. Not only will it mean that all of us are getting old or that tragedy has struck, but also we'll have to start writing obituaries of reality television personages. Can you imagine when your Twitter feed and Facebook page and whatever new device or function or website we're using at the time, starts clogging up with the death notices of people who we used to watch fight for our entertainment? It's going to be so hard to remember these modern day gladiators fondly, but we'll have to. "Today, Vicki Gunvalson, a revolutionary figure in the Real Housewives franchise that dominated cable reality television in the early 2010s, died today of [CAUSE TK]. She was [AGE TK]." Someone is going to write that sentence. That will really happen. Wow, we're all now very keenly aware of our own mortality. Thanks so much, Vicki G.
There is some white water rafting and someone says, "Are we all in the same boat?" Oh, the irony is not lost on us. They deluge down the river on a course of bumps and rocks and rapids. They all scream and shout as the water washes over them, baptizing them in their togetherness, fighting off Vicki's demon of negative thought about their deaths.
When the boat lands, all the ladies go for cervasas at the local canteen and Vicki, that pliable lump of feelings, starts bawling about Don for no apparent reason. She thinks about how sad he is and how sad she is that it's over. She tells them that if he wanted her back, she would go to him. This isn't what she intended this life where she was a big loser with a capital L on her forehead with two failed marriages and a career that consists mostly of showing her many instances of falling down with the greater public. This isn't what she wanted. This wasn't even something she could aspire to as a young lady. She thought she would get married and have some babies and sell some insurance and be happy. Now, here she is, soaked to the bone and sad with a bunch of stretched tight women she doesn't even know. This is the tragedy of Vicki's life. And in that moment, all she really wanted was to just go home.
Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan
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Five years ago, “Waterworld” threatened to destroy Kevin Costner’s career, what with all the negative press surrounding its budget overruns, logistical filming problems and on-set rifts. And the film reportedly did destroy Costner’s working relationship with Kevin Reynolds, the director who had previously worked with the star on "Fandango" and "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves." (Remember that, after Reynolds finished shooting "Waterworld," Costner fired him and edited the picture himself -- and threw in some CGI effects to enhance his own receding hairline.)
But now that’s all water under the bridge (pardon the pun). According to Variety, Costner and Reynolds are seriously thinking about working together again and -- get this -- the movie they want to make takes place mostly at sea.
Reynolds and Costner would reteam for "Okracoke," a historical drama written by "Shakespeare in Love" co-screenwriter Marc Norman. It’s the story of a disgraced British naval captain who redeems himself by hunting down the pirate Blackbeard.
MORE MOORE: The classiest 007 is back! Roger Moore will return to the big screen playing a spy in “The Enemy,” according to Reuters. “I need to make a film occasionally, otherwise people say, 'He must be retired,'” the 72-year-old erstwhile James Bond said.
SEAFOOD DIET: John Travolta will play the villain in "Swordfish," a new movie by "Kalifornia" director Dominic Sena, which starts shooting in July, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
ON THE VERGE: The Reporter also notes that Faye Dunaway plans to make a movie with Oscar-winning director Pedro Almodovar. Nothing is lined up yet, but Dunaway likes the Spaniard’s way with women. "He’s one of the few directors with the sensitivity to direct actresses," she says.
NOT SO CONGENIAL: Matt Dillon has backed out of a starring role in "Miss Congeniality," in which he was set to play an FBI agent opposite Sandra Bullock. Variety says that Dillon was attached to the film for a mere four days, from April 11 to April 14.
SUMMER STOCK: As a warm-up to his upcoming stint on "Spin City," Variety reports that Charlie Sheen will star in a romantic comedy "Good Advice," which shoots this summer.
SEE YOU ON CABLE: Nick Nolte, Neve Campbell and Robin Tunney have signed to star in the low-budget comedy-drama “Investigating Sex.” Nolte will play a researcher leading a sex study, while Campbell and Tunney will play stenographers transcribing "erotically charged discussions," according to the Reporter. One thing leads to another and, you guessed it, the researchers and the stenographers soon have more than a working relationship.