Thursday’s Community came with a bit of a shock: a visit from Giancarlo Esposito, who plays Pierce’s (Chevy Chase) half-brother Gilbert. While Pierce was worried his father was haunting him, it was actually Gilbert, secretly reliving his old life as Mr. Hawthorne’s assistant because he missed the job so much. And in the end, Pierce invites Gilbert to live with him, so naturally, we had to ask: is Esposito staying on Community for good?
Unfortunately, it seems that for now the answer is only “could be.”
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“I think anything is possible,” teases Esposito. “That's a wild idea for Gilbert and Pierce to be connected and to be roommates and living in the same house. I think anything can happen on television and certainly on Community.”
Of course, Esposito is known around the TV world for roles that are far less sweet than Community’s mild-mannered Gilbert. Has the show convinced him to turn in his villain hat for a comedian’s cap? Not so much. “It reminded me of cutting my teeth way back when when I was a new and young actor doing some spontaneous, raw comedy work, which wasn't my favorite work to do. (Laughs).”
But why? “It takes really tough skin to do that kind of work,” he says. Could it be that the man who gave us Gus Fring is worried he doesn’t tough enough skin for comedy? It certainly seems that way for now.
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But Community fans seemed to get a dose of Fring in Thursday’s episode: when Gilbert is revealed, the shot is composed much like the toe-to-head shot that showcased the Breaking Bad villain’s final moments. Esposito didn’t notice the similarities, but he admits that he loves when fans look for piece of Gus in his post-Breaking Bad work. “Of course after the fabulous demise of Gus Fring, I think that so many people want me to do an homage, a true respectful bow to that great work of Vince Gilligan and Michael Slovis, those great folks who make Breaking Bad. I think it's kind of sweet,” he says.
And while we can’t be certain Esposito will appear again on Community, he can be found on another NBC show, back in his villainy saddle as Neville on Revolution when it returns in March.
Follow Kelsea on Twitter @KelseaStahler
[Photo Credit: Trae Patton/NBC]
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Kate Upton Bares All in Nothing But Body Paint: Video (Celebuzz)
Bradley Cooper Dancing Is Surprisingly Awkward (Vh1)
From Our Partners:
Kate Upton Bares All in Nothing But Body Paint: Video (Celebuzz)
Bradley Cooper Dancing Is Surprisingly Awkward, Sweaty (Vh1)
Don’t let the title of today’s MindFood entry deceive you: I love the Harry Potter film franchise.
With theatrical and DVD/Blu-ray re-watches, it’s a conservative estimate to say that, between all eight films, I’ve journeyed to Hogwarts at least 30 times, easy. I think the longest gap I’ve gone without finding a good reason to watch one of the Potter films since Sorcerer’s Stone came out in 2001 is 6 months. There are only two other film franchises that have earned that kind of rewatchability for me, but not even Star Wars and Indiana Jones have gotten that much play in my adult life. So, yeah, I’m a big Potter fan.
Here’s the rub, though: I also love the Harry Potter books. Point of fact, I love J.K. Rowling’s books more than I do the movies, and therein lies the dilemma. As astounding as these films have been over the last decade, I would hate to see them be the only Harry Potter films ever made. No, I’m not talking about wanting to see Warner Bros.’ dream up the further adventures of the boy who lived (though that would be lovely); I’m talking about wanting remakes.
We all know it’s inevitable. Sure, Warner Bros. has dumped hundreds upon hundreds of millions of dollars into these films and it’s netted them billions upon billions in returns, but it’s only a matter of time before they’ll be itching to find a new way to cash in on the franchise. The question is, what’s the appropriate amount of time that has to pass before Harry Potter can be remade? What’s the grace period where it’ll no longer seem like a blatant money grab? How many generations need to be born before a new cohort can be capitalized on?
It’s tough to even ponder simply because there is no precedent. Sure, individual movies are remade every day in Hollywood and several franchises have been given a well received resurgence with reboots, but there’s never been anything of this scale before. It’ll take extremely careful calculation on the part of the studio, but there’s no question that this needs to be done.
Why? Because Harry Potter deserves to be given a better adaptation. Again, I’m not saying that they’re all bad movies, there’s just no way these should be allowed to become the definitive Potter films. They’ve just left out too much of the truly awesome potential packed densely into those not-so-little books. It’s not the movies’ fault, either. When Warner Bros. gave the green light to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone there was absolutely no predicting that the series would explode globally, uniting millions of people of all ages in a feverous love for that wonderful wizarding world. Hell, not all of the books had even been written yet. Because of this, there just wasn’t enough planning put in place to do everything just right.
Frankly it’s amazing that these films were able to adapt and maintain such a high level of quality given what they were up against. If you watch any of the “making of” materials, each director introduced new aspects to the design of the world. Some were improvements, some were abandoned, but all of them shook up continuity. Example: Hogwarts changes size and shape between the films, and while evolving architecture may seem like a particularly nerdy thing to complain about, by the time we get to the battle of Hogwarts in Deathly Hallows Part 2, that inability to establish and stick with a consistent sense of geography really cripples things (it’s still a beautiful sequence, but it doesn’t come close to what’s captured in the book).
So for logistical reasons alone it would be a huge, huge benefit to the unified quality of the films to rebuild everything with full access to the now-completed blueprints, but there’s also the issue of introducing all the stuff that was left out of the movies. I’m not talking about stuff like Hermione fighting for equal rights for house elves, I’m talking crucial plot points and character traits that just never made it to the big screen: Dobby finding the Room of Requirement and always being there for Harry (there’s no way his final scene in the films has any significant impact on non-readers); the Sorting Hat’s ominous and unprecedented speech at the beginning of Order of the Phoenix; the bumbling of Neville’s arc, particularly his history with the Death Eaters; the students versus the Death Eaters at the end of Half-Blood Prince-- the list goes on and on (and is only added to by Deathly Hallows Part 2).
These absences didn’t bother me so much because I’ve read the books three times each, but they’re required reading to understand the nuances of the last few films. While I heartily encourage reading, when it comes to filmmaking, it’s never a good thing if a film requires any outside materials for full appreciation. Everything you need to know should be up there on the screen and that just isn’t the case with Potter. They’re impressive screenplays, but they do take advantage of the audience’s assumed knowledge of the source material too heavily, unfortunately making them imperfect films. Of course, the final question would be can anyone ever even make a perfect adaptation of the complete Potter saga?
But that’s a question for another day...
Based on Richard Matheson’s timeless novel I Am Legend centers on brilliant military virologist Robert Neville (Smith) the seemingly lone survivor of an unstoppable incurable virus that has wiped out most of the world’s population. I say most because besides a few who are immune there are others who have survived: victims of the plague mutated into raging inhuman beings who can only exist in the dark and who will devour or infect anyone or anything in their path. Nice group. Spending his days scavenging for food and supplies in a deserted Manhattan Neville faithfully sends out radio messages to anyone out there who might also be immune and still alive. He is also trying to continue his work in finding a cure using his own immune blood. But “The Infected’ are waiting for him to make a mistake--and getting smarter about catching him in the act. Can he come up with a cure in time to stop the ravaging masses? Well it IS Will Smith after all. No matter what he decides to do Mr. Smith rarely disappoints even when he ventures away from the moneymaking blockbusters (i.e. his Oscar-nominated performance in The Pursuit of Happyness). Still sci-fi actioners really are the perfect venue for Smith. He is convincing at reacting to a special-effects green screen and is adept at handling any stunt work involved. But in I Am Legend he also gets to incorporate his finely tuned acting skills. Much like Tom Hanks did in Cast Away Smith accurately shows what it might be like to be the last person on Earth. His Neville has a need to create some semblance of normalcy while combating the deep-seated loneliness that permeates his days. Instead of a volleyball he sets up mannequins all over the city especially in his favorite video store and talks to them every day. But mostly Neville deals with his personal demons over what has happened with the help of his dog a German shepherd named Sam who handily gels with his on-screen master. A good dog just makes a film that much better. Oscar-winning screenwriter Akiva Goldsman (A Beautiful Mind) and director Francis Lawrence (Constantine) had a tough act to follow when they decided to turn Richard Matheson’s novel into a new movie. 1971’s The Omega Man based on the same story and starring Charlton Heston was already a cult sci-fi classic. Yet the two collaborators knew what worked about the novel and in getting Will Smith involved were able to expertly re-imagine it for a modern-day audience. Goldsman goes for the emotional core of the story--Neville’s loneliness and redemption--while Lawrence takes care of the thrills. The action sequences especially the ones in which Neville is running from the Infected pretty much have the same effect as any good virus-turns-humans-into-zombie flicks. But the problem lies in the way the Infected look. Using CGI rather than real people takes a little away from the horror of it. The Infected look more like the robots in I Robot than they do human homicidal monsters. Nevertheless I Am Legend combines the right elements for a rousing and gripping cinematic experience.