Darren Criss is more than just that guy from Glee. While you probably recognize him from his role as Blaine Anderson on the musical TV series, you might not know much about the actor/singer/songwriter himself. His fans know him as a charming guy who loves Disney and Harry Potter, who's talented but still incredibly gracious about his success. Basically, he's your next celebrity crush. Get ready to fall in love with him (if you haven't already).
1. He's smart.
Darren graduated from the University of Michigan in 2009 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Performance. While at college, he co-founded the theater company StarKid Productions with his friends.
2. He has school spirit.
Sweaty and reppin @umich after my first dance rehearsal of our final season of #glee #GleeSeason6 pic.twitter.com/AwfHHPL1JT
— Darren Criss (@DarrenCriss) September 8, 2014
He returned to his alma mater for a pep rally in 2013 and expressed how much he loved his time at Michigan. (I was there. It was awesome).
3. He’s a Harry Potter nerd.
He starred as Harry Potter in StarKid’s A Very Potter Musical and its sequels, and helped write the music and lyrics for the shows as well.
4. He's a goofball.
5. He doesn't take himself too seriously.
6. He cheers on his friends.
Hey StarKid fans! Last chance to check out @teamstarkid's #STARKIDSUMMER shows @Stage773. Happy closing weekend to #ANI and #TrailToOregon !
— Darren Criss (@DarrenCriss) August 9, 2014
Darren still attends StarKid shows even though his schedule is too busy for him to perform in them.
7. He supports other artists and their work as well.
How is @WALKTHEMOONband not one of the biggest bands in the world? #ShutUpAndDance should be a #1 single right now. http://t.co/BLdD5HS1WK
— Darren Criss (@DarrenCriss) October 16, 2014
8. He works with charitable causes.
He's involved with Musicians on Call, which brings musicians into hospitals to perform for patients. He also helped raise relief funds for the Phillippines after Typhoon Haiyan in 2013.
9. He covers Disney songs.
Hearing him sing "Part of Your World" will make your day.
10. He likes to dance.
11. He's stylish.
12. He rocks pink sunglasses like no other.
They are kind of his signature.
13. He truly appreciates his fans.
14. Even his littlest of fans.
15. He loves his family.
16. He writes his own songs.
In the summer of 2013, he went on tour to preview some of his new solo material. He's currently working on an album.
17. He's humble.
18. He has an amazing smile.
I mean, come on. He's pretty much perfect.
Emma Watson credits her time on the Harry Potter series with giving her the stamina to withstand the gruelling shoot for new blockbuster Noah. The actress dealt with a number of difficult processes on the set of director Darren Aronofsky's biblical epic, from working with green screen special effects to standing outside in the cold and rain for hours on end, and she is convinced her work on the wizard film franchise helped prepare her.
She tells Britain's Hello! magazine, "It's useful having had a history of working with special effects and also in terms of stamina. I am used to having to do the same thing over and over again in order to be able to get technical things right. I am used to being outside in the freezing cold for hours and being soaking wet and rained on then having to run and then cry... It can feel overwhelming and I have to remind myself it's never, ever going to be as full on as it was with Harry Potter."
British actress Emma Watson fell sick on the set of biblical epic Noah after drinking a mug of stagnant water. Director Darren Aronofsky banned plastic water bottles on set to keep the production environmentally-friendly, but after hours of filming in the early hours of the morning, Watson was desperate for a drink and accidentally sipped from a cup which had been sitting in her trailer for three months.
Watson tells Wonderland magazine, "Everything we used had to be recycled or recyclable. Having no water bottles on set at five in the morning, when you're exhausted and delirious, wasn't ideal.
"I was so tired one morning I picked up a mug from my trailer and drank some stagnant water that had been there for the duration - so three months. I was so ill."
Rather than give the Harry Potter star a day off sick, Aronofsky insisted she used her illness in the film.
She adds, "I came in the next day and was like: 'Darren, I don't think I can do this, I'm really sick'. He was like: 'Use it for the scene.' And I... was like: 'Is he joking? He is joking right?' and there was deadly silence."
Have you seen the trailer for Disney’s Maleficent? Angelina Jolie looks absolutely evil! (We mean that in the best way possible.) The film is a retelling of the classic Sleeping Beauty tale, but from the sorceress’s point of view. While we’re excited for the new flick, it unfortunately doesn’t come out until May 2014. Although we wish it would come out sooner, there is an alternative that might be able to appease us for a little while.
Twisted: The Untold Story of a Royal Vizier, the newest StarKid musical, premiered on YouTube on Thanksgiving day. StarKid is most known for creating A Very Potter Musical, which went viral in 2008. (You know Darren Criss, who plays adorable Blaine on Glee? Long before he was a Gleek, he was Harry Potter, the boy who lived — not died, duh!) StarKid is also known for A Very Potter Sequel and A Very Potter Senior Year as well as musicals based on Batman and the sci-fi film Starship Troopers.
Now, they’re tackling the story of Aladdin but in a different way. Twisted follows the plot of Aladdin from Jafar’s point of view. The musical originally opened in Chicago at The Greenhouse Theater from July 4 to July 28. However, for those of us who couldn’t travel to the windy city to see Twisted in person, StarKid will release the full musical on YouTube.
So if you’re looking forward to Maleficient, Twisted is a funny musical alternative. Besides, what else are you going to do when you’re lying on the couch, completely immobile after eating so much turkey?
For generations now, the world has looked at the Ivy League as a Mecca for the narrow framed intellectuals who didn't fare too well in gym class. The sort of folk who'd pray for fire drills during hockey season, who'd repeatedly shuffle to the back of the batting lineup to avoid ever stepping onto the field (I say this with affection... and far too much familiarity). But you just have to have everything, don't you, Harvard? You're not satisfied with an academic reverence so high that whenever one of your almumni so much as mentions his or her alma mater, the listener is immediately entrenched in a diminished sense of self-worth. Nope — being smart wasn't enough for the Crimson. They're actually good at sports now.
In case you didn't hear the guys in the apartment next to yours screaming vociferous "Are you kidding me?!"s on Thursday night, Harvard managed a huge upset by beating out the University of New Mexico's Lobos in their first ever NCAA victory. But fear not, fellow safety schoolers — there are still plenty of things Cambridge's sweatervest-laden institution is bad at...
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The OscarsWhile many people might have championed the Harvard-set The Social Network as the cream of the crop of 2010's cinematic output, the Academy felt it more appropriate to honor The King's Speech. Thirteen years prior, Good Will Hunting (which featured Harvard, MIT, and the spiritual academia of Casey Affleck) suffered the same fate to some movie about a big boat that nobody can even remember. And was Legally Blonde even nominated?! Harvard's no Oscar fave, that's for sure.
Mental HealthWe're sure there's a lot going on upstairs as far as Harvard grads go... perhaps a bit too much. Cinema and real life alike have treated us to one too many horror stories about Crimson alums turning violently nuts: American Psycho's Patrick Bateman? Harvard. Unabomber Ted Kaczynski? Harvard. "LSD Killer" Stephen Kessler? ... Okay, this is just getting depressing.
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HairTom Hanks in The Da Vinci Code. Conan O'Brien in actual life. These are all people with Harvard educations. These are all people without combs or mirrors.
Pleasant Ballet MoviesRemember Black Swan? Of course you do — you still wake up in tremors because of it. Well, you'll be happy to know that both director Darren Aronofsky and star Natalie Portman were Harvard folk. Thought you were in for a sophisticated movie show about the ups and downs of the dance, eh? Didn't think you'd be haunted years later with dreams of knife-wielding Winona Ryders, did ya? And Portman's Golden Globes speech... that's where the nightmares got really bad.
HonestyOh, Harv (can I call you Harv?). Less than a day has gone by since your big NCAA win, and you're already coming out with Quiz Bowl cheating scandals — National Academic Quiz Tournaments, LCC has publicized that the school's team members had improperly accessed information that might have helped them win the recent competition. Maybe that's how they won the basketball game, too...
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The Office CharactersOkay, okay, this one's kind of a stretch... but Ryan Howard and Karen Filippelli, two of the least favorable characters in the NBC sitcom's run, came from Harvard alum actors: B.J. Novak and Rashida Jones. Maybe series creators Greg Daniels and Michael Schur, Harvard grads themselves, didn't take kindly to the rest of their student body...
Not Letting James Franco Teach ThereJames Franco taught there.
Follow Michael Arbeiter on Twitter @MichaelArbeiter
[Photo Credit: Lionsgate; Cait Oppermann/flickr; Columbia Pictures (2); NBC]
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Don't be greedy, Harry Potter fans. You've had a best selling book series, a blockbuster film franchise, an allotted community in Universal Studios, and funky headgear. So if you're going to have to give up your seizure of Your Voice in My Head to the underdogs who've been devoted to The Devil Wears Prada, so be it. Internationally beloved Potter star Emma Watson was originally slated to headline the forthcoming drama from director David Yates (another Hogwarts alum), but has given way to a new lead actress: Emily Blunt.
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Your Voice in My Head's male lead Stanley Tucci told Digital Spy that Blunt would be taking over for Watson in the film for reasons yet unknown. The story, an adaptation of the memoir by Emma (yes, there seems to be a pattern) Forrest, will pit Blunt as the author whose struggles with depression and suicidal inclinations are abetted by a psychiatrist (Tucci) who has been diagnosed with cancer.
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While Watson has already showcased her talents the exemplary teenage drama The Perks of Being a Wallflower and has landed a role in Darren Aronofky's Noah, Blunt herself is a talented actress whose talents seem to have been wasted on lesser projects. Your Voice might be the first real example of what she can do — and Potter and Prada fans alike should be excited for it.
Follow Michael Arbeiter on Twitter @MichaelArbeiter
[Photo Credit: Jon Furniss Photography/Invision/AP]
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Dry your eyes, pop culture fanatics, you made it through the 10 saddest moments in movies from the past year. Sadly, (and we really want to emphasize that) we're going to remind you of the 10 moments on television that made you totally lose it. On the bright side, at least you can cry over your favorite TV shows from the comfort of your own home! From shocking character deaths to heartbreaking discoveries, TV really turned up the waterworks quotient this year. But, don't be cry for too long. To spare you (and your non-waterproof mascara) we threw in a few happy tears moments, too. Brace yourselves, there are MAJOR SPOILERS and MAJOR SADNESS ahead in the top 10 tearjerker TV moments from 2012.
The Walking Dead:
We spent Season 2 being bored to tears by The Walking Dead, so imagine our surprise when we spent Season 3 crying actual tears. For Lori. Let that one sink it. We're still trying to do the same with Lori's (Sarah Wayne Callies) stunningly sad death, in which her own son Carl (Chandler Riggs) had to put her out of misery after a C-section.
It became more and more apparent as Season 5 went on that things weren't going to end well for poor Lane Pryce (Jared Harris), but no one ever imagined it would be so damn depressing. After Don (Jon Hamm) found out about Lane's embezzlement scheme, he asked him to resign, but Lane left Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce in a much more harrowing fashion: he hung himself in his office. It's an image no Mad Men fan will ever be able to shake.
NBC's underrated gem of a drama is always a reliable go-to show when you need a good cry. But this season, it's been a reliable go-to when you need a full-on ugly cry. When Kristina (a seriously Emmy-worthy Monica Potter) discovered she has breast cancer, she had to break the terrible news to her family, starting with her husband Adam (Peter Krause), who could tell with just one look that it was everything they hoped it wasn't. Still, even at her worst, Kristina has continually put the brave in Braverman this season.
When Mark Sloane (Eric Dane) died on Grey's Anatomy, it was heartbreaking. He had just professed his love for Lexie (Chyler Leigh), only to watch her die. After she died, he clung to life long enough to make it back to Seattle Grace Mercy West to say goodbye to his daughter and all of his friends. Then, he joined his soul mate in death. — Sydney Bucksbaum
Kurt (Chris Colfer) finally worked up the nerve to start forgiving Blaine (Darren Criss) for cheating on him. He called Blaine; you could see the relief in the latter's face when Kurt offered Blaine the chance for a mature conversation over Christmas break. And then, to cap it all off, they exchanged tearful "I love yous," proving there might still be hope left for these two soul mates. — Sydney Bucksbaum
The Vampire Diaries:
Alaric Saltzman (Matthew Davis) was forced to transition into a vampire-vampire-hunter, he made the choice to not complete the process so his friends would be safe, knowing he would die. He shared one last bottle of whiskey with his friend Damon, and passed peacefully... that is, until a possessed Bonnie (Kat Graham) swooped in at the last minute to complete the process for him. After he died permanently, he showed up as a ghost to say his final goodbye to Jeremy, telling him he has to be the man of the house. Alaric made one more surprise cameo at the beginning of this season, invisible to everyone including Damon (Ian Somerhalder). He sat next to Damon, listening to him rant about being left alone, and summed everything up in one simple sentence: "I miss you too, buddy." — Sydney Bucksbaum
Sons of Anarchy:
The death of Jax Teller’s best friend Opie (Ryan Hurst) was one of the most brutal, heartbreaking deaths in the series history, and probably TV history. Not only did Opie sacrifice himself for the club, submitting to a prison brawl orchestrated by the warden in which multiple inmates are allowed to beat him to death, but we saw every second of it. Left to defend himself with only a lead pipe, Opie is quickly brought to his knees, killed by the final screen-center blow to the back of the head while Jax watches from the next room. No amount of tears could wash that image from an SoA fan’s mind. — Kelsea Stahler
The legendary (and long awaited) “Virtual Systems Analysis” episode of Community sent viewers full-force into the brain of Abed Nadir (Danny Pudi), which is at once hilarious, horrifying, and heartbreaking. When the conclusion of the episode landed Abed into a manifestation of his biggest fears — recalling memories of his time being ostracized, bullied, and shoved into lockers during his middle school days — the oft masked inner pain of the character was revealed vividly. Abed’s psychological journey reminded us that no matter how old we grow or how far we go, the children within us — and all the sadness we earned in childhood — will follow us diligently throughout, just aching to take over whenever something frightening or hurtful happens.” — Michael Arbeiter
The stellar Season 3 of Louie could make us laugh until we cried (i.e. the doll scene in the finale), but sometimes the groundbreaking show just plain broke our hearts. When Louie (Louis C.K.) went on his date with Liz/Tape Recorder (the brilliant Parker Posey) in "Daddy's Girlfriend, Pt. 2", it became apparent she is someone who is suffering. When they finally make it to the roof, she tells a worried Louie "The only way I'd fall is if I jumped. That's why you're afraid to come over here. Because a part of you wants to jump, because it'd be so easy. But I don't want to jump. I'd never do that. I'm having too good of a time." But its obvious, from the sadness and desperation in her eyes, she's thought about it. She's always thinking about it. The scene is even sadder when you know what eventually happens to her character at the end of the season.
Parks and Recreation:
See! Like we promised, it's not all super sad stuff. Who didn't cry the happiest of happy tears when Sexy Elf King Ben Wyatt (Adam Scott) proposed to the world's greatest human ever Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler)? She didn't want to forget a single moment of the romantic surprise, and neither did we.
[Photo credits: AMC (2), NBC, ABC, Fox, The CW, FX, NBC, FX, NBC]
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Instead of following a ragtag team of brutes hired for a suicide mission to destroy an Earth-bound meteor Seeking a Friend for the End of the World plays out the apocalyptic "what if?" scenario from the everyman vantage point. Written and directed by Lorene Scafaria (Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist) the film pairs average joe Dodge (Steve Carell) with wallflower Penny (Keira Knightley) for a journey across the east coast a hunt for Dodge's college sweetheart. Scafaria takes a character-first approach to her anti-blockbuster examining the end of the world with a pitch black sense of humor. But the road trip loses steam as it chugs along with the film's insistence to avoid Hollywood disaster tropes taking a toll on the entertainment value. Dodge and Penny are so normal they aren't that interesting to watch. In turn neither is Seeking a Friend.
Worse for Dodge than the whole "destruction of humanity" thing is the fact that he's facing it alone; his wife leaves him he has no real family and he hates nearly all of his friends. While everyone he knows is either hooking up or shooting up in hopes of going out on a high note Dodge buckles under the weight of an existential crisis that feels all too familiar. To his rescue is next-door neighbor Penny who insists the two hit the road together to go find Dodge's one-that-got-away. They don't have much of a choice as New York City is quickly overrun by Malatov cocktail-hurling riots.
When the catastrophe and societal chaos is seen through Dodge's eyes and Carell's complex interpretation of the straight man Scafaria hits all the marks. Watching Dodge tell his cleaning lady to go home because "What's the point?" is heartbreaking while his good friend's descent into frat boy madness for the same reasons nails mankind's vile tendencies. And through it all it's funny thanks to Carell's impeccable timing. When Dodge is eventually paired up with Penny the film meanders the two never unearthing what it is about each other that keeps them sticking together. The duo run into a kindly truck driver (who's hired an assassin to off him when he's unaware) a TGIFriday's-esque restaurant full of zany drugged up waiters and even one of Penny's ex-boyfriends whose locked down with automatic rifles and Ruffles chips in anticipation of the end. But Dodge and Penny's quest is mostly about the in-between moments the quitter grounded human reactions to the apocalypse. Even with great performers at the helm Seeking a Friend doesn't organically shape those moments so much as contrive them. In one scene Penny fondly recalls the wonders of listening to music on vinyl Dodge listening carefully and learning. It's a soft and low key discussion perfect juxtaposition against the big-scale problem at hand but when a twenty-something is explaining records to a guy nearing 50 it comes off as twee instead of truthful. The problem infiltrates most of Seeking a Friend's character moments.
Scafaria has an ear and eye for comedy but Seeking a Friend boldly reaches for something more. Sadly ambition doesn't translate to success a messy tonal mix that fail to make it all that engaging or emotional. Carell and Knightley serve the material as best they can but this is the end of the world an even that requires a little weight a little sensationalism and a little more than a casual road movie.
Seemingly not a week goes by without major casting news surrounding Darren Aronofsky's upcoming biblical epic Noah — and this week is no exception.
Veteran British actor Ray Winstone is reportedly considering an offer to play the villain in the film, which would pit him against Russell Crowe's title character (and his ark).
Just last week, Emma Watson, Logan Lerman, and Douglas Booth were in various stages of negotiations to join the film, due for release in 2014, while Jennifer Connelly was recently attached to play Noah's wife — but that is apparently no longer a certainty.
Winstone, no stranger to playing the villain, is fresh off a meaty role in the recently released blockbuster Snow White and the Huntsman.
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Just a few days after we all got our first real glimpse at a post-Harry Potter Emma Watson, in the Perks of Being a Wallflower trailer, the actress may have already lined up another big movie: Darren Aronofsky's Noah.
In the biblical epic, Watson would reportedly play a young woman named Ila, who develops a relationship with Noah's (Russell Crowe) son, Shem (Douglas Booth). It was recently announced that Watson's Wallflower costar Logan Lerman had joined the cast, which already included Saoirse Ronan and Jennifer Connelly.
Watson has three other high-profile movies lined up, including Sofia Coppola's The Bling Ring and next summer's action comedy The End of the World. Noah would seem to simply be the icing on the cake for the 22-year-old star.
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