He can sing, cook and now he shows us that he can act. One of our favorite Idols chats with us about winning American Idol, having his own Vegas show and his upcoming role on Law & Order: SVU.
You're the first 'American Idol' winner to score a Vegas residency. We hear it’s a great show.
I really love performing in Vegas. It’s pretty awesome to have your own show room and to be a part of such a historic landscape of entertainers that have had residencies here.
What is your favorite act in Las Vegas...other than yours?
There’s so many wonderful talented entertainers. I love all the Cirque Shows. It’s like asking me what my favorite song is. It’s a really hard question. It depends on your mood.
Can you tell us a little about your role on Law & Order: SVU?
I’ve been working with an acting coach for about a year now. I have been auditioning for scripted TV. What's great about this role is that I get to play myself, and I love the show. It's one of my favorites on TV.
Would you have any desire to judge American Idol?
I know the idea has been kicked around a lot. I would love to take on that role because I know a lot about it, and I would love to help up-and-coming artists get to really successful points in their careers, which is what I think American Idol does.
How was working with Clay Aiken and Ashanti?
Those two were wonderful to work with. Ashanti is as sweet as she can be, and we just had a ball on set. It was a wonderful experience, and I hope I get to see and work with them again.
We hear you’re working on a country album.
I definitely think it will be country, soulful music. Coming from the South and Alabama, you pick up on a lot of genres. Country music was definitely a big part of my life. I’m really blessed to be able to work in Nashville and live and work in Las Vegas and Birmingham - where I'm from - and to work with wonderful country artists and writers on this next record.
Who have you enjoyed performing with the most?
That’s a tough one. I think adding blues harmonica to "Gin and Juice" with Snoop Dogg was probably one of the best moments I’ve had as an entertainer. Adding blues to rap was the most innovative thought we had. Definitely a fun moment.
Any dream future collaborator?
I'd love to work with Paul Simon. He's one of my favorite singer/songwriters. I just really love his music, and I’ve been playing it for a long time. Hopefully our paths will cross.
Word is you’re a great cook. You even own your own restaurant, Saw's Juke Joint in your native Birmingham, Alabama. What inspired you to get into the restaurant business?
Well, I used to perform in that location long before my American Idol days. I was always around restaurants and clubs. I was always a foodie. When you’re from Alabama, you're born a foodie. I love the culinary arts, music and food. It’s the perfect match. Saw's is a wonderful combination of those. Live music, jalapeno poppers stuffed with BBQ and sweet tea fried chicken. It’s a soulful venue.
Do you ever play there?
I do. I sneak in and perform some nights. It’s always fun to come back and surprise folks.
You have a couple recipes in the new Taste of Home cookbook, Recipes Across America. Where'd you learn to cook?
My grandmother and my great-grandmother were always in the kitchen. I love to cook. I love big pasta diners with friends and family. Spaghetti is one of my favorites to cook for everybody. I don’t get to cook too much because I travel a lot, but when friends or family come over, we do pasta.
What will you do for Thanksgiving dinner?
I always like to take Thanksgiving to be with my family and friends. There's a lot of great cooking around, and there's always a festive atmosphere.
Lastly, I have to ask: How did it feel to win American Idol?
You know, it was one of those feelings that I will never forget for the rest of my life. As many years as I spent as a struggling musician, it all culminated in that moment...of catching my break. I am very grateful for that.
Catch Taylor on Law & Order: SVU on NBC Wednesday, November 6 at 9PM ET.
Widening the thematic scope without sacrificing too much of the claustrophobia that made the original 1979 Alien universally spooky Prometheus takes the trophy for this summer's most adult-oriented blockbuster entertainment. The movie will leave your mouth agape for its entire runtime first with its majestic exploration of an alien planet and conjectures on the origins of the human race second with its gross-out body horror that leaves no spilled gut to the imagination. Thin characters feel more like pawns in Scott's sci-fi prequel but stunning visuals shocking turns and grand questions more than make up for the shallow ensemble. "Epic" comes in many forms. Prometheus sports all of them.
Based on their discovery of a series of cave drawings all sharing a similar painted design Elizabeth (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie (Logan Marshall-Green) are recruited by Weyland to head a mission to another planet one they believe holds the answers to the creation of life on Earth. Along for the journey are Vickers (Charlize Theron) the ruthless Weyland proxy Janek (Idris Elba) a blue collar captain a slew of faceless scientists and David (Michael Fassbender) HAL 9000-esque resident android who awakens the crew of spaceship Prometheus when they arrive to their destination. Immediately upon descent there's a discovery: a giant mound that's anything but natural. The crew immediately prepares to scope out the scene zipping up high-tech spacesuits jumping in futuristic humvees and heading out to the site. What they discover are the awe-inspiring creations of another race. What they bring back to the ship is what they realize may kill their own.
The first half of Prometheus could be easily mistaken for Steven Spielberg's Alien a sense of wonder glowing from every frame not too unlike Close Encounters. Scott takes full advantage of his fictional settings and imbues them with a reality that makes them even more tantalizing. He shoots the vistas of space and the alien planet like National Geographic porn and savors the interior moments on board the Prometheus full of hologram maps sleeping pods and do-it-yourself surgery modules with the same attention. Prometheus is beautiful shot in immersive 3D that never dampers Dariusz Wolski's sharp photography. Scott's direction seems less interested in the run-or-die scenario set up in the latter half of the film but the film maintains tension and mood from beginning to end. It all just gets a bit…bloodier.
Jon Spaihts' and Damon Lindelof's script doesn't do the performers any favors shuffling them to and fro between the ship and the alien construction without much room for development. Reveals are shoehorned in without much setup (one involving Theron's Vickers that's shockingly mishandled) but for the most part the ensemble is ready to chomp into the script's bigger picture conceits. Rapace is a physical performer capable of pulling off a grisly scene involving an alien some sharp objects and a painful procedure (sure to be the scene of the blockbuster season. Among the rest of the crew Fassbender's David stands out as the film's revelatory performance delivering a digestible ambiguity to his mechanical man that playfully toys with expectations from his first entrance. The creature effects in Prometheus will wow you but even Fassbender's smallest gesture can send the mind spinning. The power of his smile packs more of a punch than any facehugger.
Much like Lindelof's Lost Prometheus aims to explore the idea of asking questions and seeking answers and on Scott's scale it's a tremendous unexpected ride. A few ideas introduced to spur action fall to the way side in the logic department but with a clear mission and end point Prometheus works as a sweeping sci-fi that doesn't require choppy editing or endless explosions to keep us on the edge of our seats. Prometheus isn't too far off from the Alien xenomorphs: born from existing DNA of another creature the movie breaks out as its own beast. And it's wilder than ever.
If you are an up-and-coming actress in Hollywood, having your freshman television series canceled is pretty devastating. It's basically the fast-track to a Lifetime Original Movie, which then leads to a few commercials before the industry is practically packing your bags and purchasing a plane ticket for you to head back to whatever dusty town you came from. That was almost Taylor Schilling's life story, but the 26 year-old isn't going down without a fight.
The veteran of NBC's rightfully-so canceled medical drama Mercy has just been given a figurative "1-Up" by Warner Bros. Pictures. Variety says that the studio has cast her as the female lead opposite Zac Efron in its Nicholas Sparks adaptation of The Lucky One. This latest soapy Sparks project, which follows Message In A Bottle, A Walk To Remember, The Notebook, Nights In Rodanthe, Dear John and The Last Song, centers on a Marine who survives three tours in Iraq and attributes his good fortune to a photograph he carried of a woman he has never met. He sets out to meet her when he returns to North Carolina.
As you've probably guessed, Schilling will play the mysterious subject of the photograph while Efron will play the soldier. Denise Di Novi, the WB-based former executive who left her post to become a studio producer, will bring the novel to the big screen as she did with A Walk To Remember and Nights In Rodanthe. She's attached a very capable and talented filmmaker - Scott Hicks - to direct. Hicks, whose past credits include the wonderful David Helfgott biopic Shine and last year's critically acclaimed The Boys Are Back, will hopefully bring a more mature taste to the project, which was adapted by Will Fetters (Remember Me).
Schilling recently wrapped the questionable adaptation of the classic Ayn Rand novel Atlas Shrugged, in which she stars as Dagny Taggert (a role that had been reserved for more mature, multi-million dollar stars like Charlize Theron and Angelina Jolie). The fact that she's taken on such an iconic character of American literature leads me to believe that there's more to her than her brief resume suggests. If she can do Taggert justice and if this new film succeeds, she may, in fact, be the lucky one in the future.
Zac Efron is in negotiations to star in Warner Bros.' The Lucky One, an adaptation of the Nicholas Sparks novel about a marine who returns from three tours in Iraq and searches for a mysterious woman in a random snapshot he believes was his good-luck charm throughout the second Gulf War. Vulture also reported that Efron has attached himself to Die in a Gunfight, from recent NYU grads and first-time screenwriters Andrew Barrer and Gabriel Ferrari.
Produced by Denise DiNovi, Lucky One has Scott Hicks attached to direct. Kevin McCormick is also producing. Will Fetters and Doug McGrath wrote the script, reports Deadline.
Gunfight, per Vulture, is a Tarantino-esque blend of Gossip Girl, True Romance and Romeo and Juliet. Efron would play an underachieving, deadbeat son of a famous New York high-society attorney who gets himself in over his head when he falls for the daughter of his father's nemesis. Mark Gordon is producing.