Lately, America has been enjoying a second wave of the British Invasion—this time around, in the world of acting. In a reversal of fortune, one of our own biggest stars is heading overseas to the United Kingdom to develop a new television show. Rihanna will executive produce and appear on a reality show themed around the discovery and exposure of aspiring fashion designers. Considering Rihanna's iconic position in the fashion world, and the thriving fashion scene in the UK, the project looks to have a bright future. Assisting Rihanna on the hunt for unknown designers will be Girls Aloud singer Nicola Roberts. The series will premiere on Britain's Sky Living HD network next summer. -E!
Australian actress Rebel Wilson, who made her film debut as one half of Kristen Wiig's pair of nightmarish roommates in Bridesmaids, and followed that up with this year's Sundance release Bachelorette (which we reviewed). Now, the masterfully comic performer is getting a television gig: CBS has ordered a pilot for Super Fun Night, with Wilson to star. The plot of the multi-camera sitcom will revolve around a group of young female friends' and their drive to make Friday nights as memorable and enjoyable as possible...despite the fact that they're all a bit geeky. Conan O'Brien is producing. -EW
In an effort to expand their programming, Lifetime has employed the fail-safe formula to determine what America might like to see next, combining the two things it loves the most: Dance Moms and people falling. The result is Ice Moms, which will take a cold (pun excruciatingly intended) hard look at the world of competitive figure skating. The focus of the series will be coaches Laurie Vigilante and Adam Schmidt, and the various parents with whom they find themselves in cooperation, or more frequently, at odds. While this new series is developing, Dance Moms will continue to air Tuesday nights at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Lifetime. The spinoff series Dance Moms: Miami is in the early stages of production. -THR
When Chuck Lorre decided to keep Two and a Half Men going after Charlie Sheen's departure by bringing on Ashton Kutcher, the new star agreed to a one-season contract. Replacing Sheen was a big risk, and quite a few believed that the show would fail in its new form. However, Two and a Half Men continues to perform favorably and thus begins the question: will Kutcher return for another season?
Kutcher has been positive regarding his work on Two and a Half Men. According to TVGuide, Kutcher declared a tentative interest in returning to the CBS sitcom during the TCA Panel earlier today:
"I'm having a lot of fun on the show with these guys and would be interested in coming back if we can work that out...I have a couple features I'm going to do this summer hiatus. Right now I'm looking at it as a hiatus...The deal that we've structured for the show was kind of a test...Can we get the show on? Can we get it going? The show is outperforming the numbers from before I was here, so I think that people are responding to it. For me, having a show that people like and people want more of, that will dictate my decision."
It seems like a strong possibility that Kutcher and the series will return to CBS next fall. But this doesn't mean we won't be seeing some changes on the show. On next week's episode of the show, Kutcher will pioneer a clean-shaved, short-haired appearance as his Internet billionaire character Walden Schmidt. Apparently, this new image will play a part in the episode's story.
Would you like to see Two and a Half Men continue on with Kutcher at the reins? What do you think the show has in store for its possible tenth season?
Tina Fey, I love you. But you are about to be bested in the art of Sarah Palin impersonations. The new HBO movie Game Change stars Julianne Moore as the fomer vice presidential candidate...and she couldn't possibly be more of a ringer for Palin. The film will examine the John McCain campaign after the selection of Palin as his running mate. Playing McCain is the always stupendous Ed Harris, with Woody Harrelson in tow as McCain's campaign strategist Steve Schmidt.
Game Change, directed by Jay Roach and based on the book by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin, will hit HBO in March.
Last year director Garry Marshall hit upon a devilishly canny approach to the romantic comedy. A more polished refinement of Hal Needham’s experimental Cannonball Run method it called for assembling a gaggle of famous faces from across the demographic spectrum and pairing them with a shallow day-in-the-life narrative packed with gobs of gooey sentiment. A cynical strategy to be sure but one that paid handsome dividends: Valentine’s Day earned over $56 million in its opening weekend surpassing even the rosiest of forecasts. Buoyed by the success Marshall and his screenwriter Katherine Fugate hastily retreated to the bowels of Hades to apply their lucrative formula to another holiday historically steeped in romantic significance and New Year’s Eve was born.
Set in Manhattan on the last day of the year New Year’s Eve crams together a dozen or so canned scenarios into one bloated barely coherent mass of cliches. As before Marshall’s recruited an impressive ensemble of minions to do his unholy bidding including Oscar winners Hilary Swank Halle Berry and Robert De Niro the latter luxuriating in a role that didn’t require him to get out of bed. High School Musical’s Zac Efron is paired up with ‘80s icon Michelle Pfeiffer – giving teenage girls and their fathers something to bond over – while Glee’s Lea Michele meets cute with a pajama-clad Ashton Kutcher. There’s Katherine Heigl in a familiar jilted-fiance role Sarah Jessica Parker as a fretful single mom and Chris “Ludacris” Bridges as the most laid-back cop in New York. Sofia Vergara and Hector Elizondo mine for cheap laughs with thick accents – his fake and hers real – and Jessica Biel and Josh Duhamel deftly mix beauty with blandness. Fans of awful music will delight in the sounds of Jon Bon Jovi straining against type to play a relevant pop musician.
The task of interweaving the various storylines is too great for Marshall and New Year’s Eve bears the distinct scent and stain of an editing-room bloodbath with plot holes so gaping that not even the brightest of celebrity smiles can obscure them. But that’s not the point – it never was. You should know better than to expect logic from a film that portrays 24-year-old Efron and 46-year-old Parker as brother-and-sister without bothering to explain how such an apparent scientific miracle might have come to pass. Marshall wagers that by the time the ball drops and the film’s last melodramatic sequence has ended prior transgressions will be absolved and moviegoers will be content to bask in New Year's Eve's artificial glow. The gambit worked for Valentine's Day; this time he may not be so fortunate.
George Clooney's new movie The Descendants opens this Wednesday, but thanks to a lengthy run on the festival circuit—including the prestigious Toronto and New York Film Fests—buzz is already snowballing for the Hawaii-set familial dramedy. Clooney stars as Matt King, a lawyer appointed as the trustee of a sizable portion of Hawaiian land. As his family weighs their options and the moment of decision-making draws nearer, King's life is thrown into chaos when his wife suffers from a boating accident that leaves her in a coma. Caring, for the first time, for his unconscious wife and their two kids, King uncovers an unimaginable secret—his wife was having an affair.
That's heavy material, and for one of Hollywood's best actors, a meaty part to chew on. In the hands of director Alexander Payne (Election, About Schmidt, Sideways), King's journey of self-discovery wavers fluidly between moments of despondency and comedy, relishing in the rare instances when one finds amusement in a nightmare situation. Unfortunately, even with all the praise to the filmmakers and stars, I think there's something that stands in the way of the movie truly resonating: George Clooney.
That's a painful admission. As I said, Clooney is a powerful creative talent, but after seeing his performance in The Descendants, I've realized he may be his own worst enemy, fame costing him his chameleon quality. He can nab great roles in Hollywood, but his status prevents him from shining. Looking back to his career, I've concluded that there are three types of Clooney movies:
1. Clooney as a kooky character—aka a crazy version of George Clooney (From Dusk Til Dawn, Leatherheads, any Coen Bros. collaboration).
2. Clooney as a charismatic, handsome badass—aka a George Clooney version of George Clooney (Ocean's 11, Michael Clayton, The American).
3. Clooney as a Regular Joe—aka an emotional version of George Clooney (Syriana, Up in the Air, The Descendants).
It's this third category where Clooney's real life presence begins to interrupt his on-screen persona. He delivers a solid performance in The Descendants—regardless of the categorization of his movies, the man's always enigmatic—but no matter what Clooney conveys on screen, he'll always be larger than life. He's been named "Sexiest Man Alive" by pretty much every magazine in existence. He's flown around the world to protect social rights and raise money for charities. He acts, writes, directs, produces and is always in the Hollywood spotlight. But he's anything but a Regular Joe.
That's not fair and it definitely shouldn't be the case, but no matter how much I'd like to separate actor from his characters, with stars this big, it's impossible. That's the struggle of a leading man, and why someone like Brad Pitt has makes the smart decision to take the occasional supporting role. Pitt has never shied away from colorful supporting roles—the stoner in True Romance, a mental patient in 12 Monkeys or a goofball personal trainer in Burn After Reading. He shows off his range so that when he comes back to a subtle, grounded role (like this year's Moneyball), the transition appears seamless and the effort more demanding. George Clooney sticks to variations of George Clooney. Sometimes it works wonders—last year's The American, a movie about Clooney's face, is a work of art. Other times, like in a movie where I'm supposed to believe his wife cheated him, it doesn't.
That's the perk of beginning and striving to remain a "character actor." Is there any role Paul Giamatti, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Laura Linney, Steve Buscemi, Cate Blanchett or a handful of other men and women couldn't easily slip into? They're certainly on the radar, but flown low enough never to hit true movie stardom. Clooney is nothing less than brilliant when he's playing variations of the slick, confident persona his celebrity self has developed, but when it comes to tackling the ins and outs of true character drama (i.e. plots that don't involve economic conspiracies, assassinations, etc.), he'll always be his own blockade.
Some actors have found ways around the burden of their own fame. Look at Johnny Depp, an indie hero who rose to A-List status after an energetic performance as Captain Jack Sparrow in the first Pirates of the Caribbean and hasn't looked back since. And I'm not sure he could—Finding Neverland was a stretch for the actor, who, these days, sticks to kooky, Burton characters. Depp, for me, has become aware of how fame, in some way, tarnished his rep, and his course of action was to go bigger and crazier.
I don't want George Clooney to do that. I like him too much. But I'm not sure what Clooney can do to shake of this career hardship besides voluntarily stepping out of the eye of the public (a near impossible task). And, let's be honest, there's no reason for him to do that—whether he's truly excellent or simply okay in a movie, the masses will flock to his movies and Hollywood will laud him with awards. The Descendants is an enjoyable attempt for Clooney to break his own mold, and that's enough for a man with the clout to do whatever the heck he wants.
It's a paradox: I'll see all his movies, I'll praise him when he delivers, but in the end, it's my own damn fault I'll never see a great George Clooney performance.
When a television series brings on a new main character, it opens the door for a slew of other supporting characters; specifically, family and friends. When Ashton Kutcher signed on to Two and a Half Men, producers must have decided this would be a good opportunity to bring in some noteworthy guest starts to play the various interesting loved ones of Kutcher's emotionally taut internet billionaire, Walden Schmidt.
We already met Schmidt's ex-wife, Bridget (Judy Greer in a recurring role). And now, we're going to meet his mom. At least two episodes will welcome veteran film actor Mimi Rogers to the Two and a Half Men set to play Schmidt's primatologist mother.
Two and a Half Men was originally a series about a family—focusing on the relationship between two dissimilar brothers, one's slacker son, and their tyrannical mother—so it makes sense that Schmidt's family is being gradually introduced to audiences. We began with his ex-wife, who brought out an explosion of insecurities and emotions in the fragile billionaire. It's likely we'll see some turmoil come out with the introduction of his mother. After all, when has a sitcom brought in a central character's parent without the intention of driving him or her crazy?
But this leads to promise of further family members. Maybe Schmidt has a dissimilar brother of his own? Maybe an overbearing father, or a jealous cousin? The opportunities for guest casting on a show like this are endless. And you can't go wrong starting out with the great Mimi Rogers.
Check out the recap of last night's surprising Two and a Half Men episode.
S9E3: Last week's Two and a Half Men, "Big Girls Don't Throw Food," was a bit of a fumble. Thus far, Ashton Kutcher's been doing a solid to above average job of turning the show into his own, departing from Sheen's style while finding a groove that is quintessential Men. But episode three didn't work—Walden's writing was shotgunned and ambiguous, the character doing whatever the scenes required.
Was this week different? For that, we go to the scorecard. Here's the breakdown:
One Charlie Sheen Head (1 - 10 Points): Ashton, you were in this episode.
Two Charlie Sheen Heads (11 - 20 Points): Ashton, you landed a few jokes, but we can't stop thinking about good ol' Charlie.
Three Charlie Sheen Heads (21 - 30 Points): Ashton, you earned tonight's laugh track. Solid.
Four Charlie Sheen Heads (31 - 40 Points): Ashton, we're impressed. You've surpassed Sheen-level kookiness.
Five Charlie Sheen Heads (41 - 50 Points): Ashton, you're scaring us with classic levels of comedy. Charlie who?
That's that, now on with the fourth round of the Ashton Kutcher Two and a Half Men scorecard!
"Nine Magic Fingers"
1. "Why are you wearing masks?" - Walden
"I'm at a charity event...for people without faces..." - Bridget
Walden Schmidt's continuous dilemma is his inability to get over his soon-to-be ex-wife, Bridget. Naturally, Ashton would then play his character sad. But it seems as if he is having trouble differentiating from playing sad and not 'playing' at all. Ashton Kutcher delivers his lines flatly and without much enthusiasm. Just because Walden Schmidt is depressed and languid, it doesn't mean his performance needs to be lazy.
2. "Sometimes I lay down. Sometimes I curl up in a ball." - Walden
One thing to Ashton's credit: he's managing pathetic reasonably well. It seems that Walden Schmidt has had almost no interaction with human beings. Whether this is a conscious choice or not by the creators and Ashton is ambiguous, but it makes it more believable that a handsome multi-billionaire would have trouble finding love.
3. "You need to get out there and find Ms. Right. And you need to do it immediately." - Alan
"Now? But I was gunna curl up in a ball." - Ashton
It's hard to tell what the creators really want to do with Ashton and this character. Is he supposed to be parallel Alan's relationship with Charlie? Is the new relationship supposed to be a role-reversal, with Alan being the on-the-ball alpha male to Walden's whiny, morose loser? It seems, mostly, that neither the show nor Ashton has figured out just what Walden is, and what purpose he'll serve. It's early yet in the season, so this is forgivable. But hopefully they'll figure it out soon.
4. "Alan called and told me you were doing something stupid. I just met her." - Bridget
Ashton faces a showdown between his ex-wife (Judy Greer) and new girlfriend (Jenny McCarthy; the woman who tried to con Charlie into a marriage previously). This sort of face-off could warrant something emotionally explosive from Ashton's extremely fragile character, but instead we get a predictable lewd joke and some more flat delivery. Get this man a coffee!
5. "Let this be a warning to you, Alan. There are women out there who will just be nice to you to get to your money." - Walden
"Thanks, but that's not very high on my list of priorities." - Alan
And the tag that proves that, in the end, this show is not about love between a man and a woman, but the bond between two men (the other "half man" is featured strangely infrequently in this and recent episodes). As Ashton mumbles through a profession of his appreciation of Cryer's character, we take little of it as genuine, as the performance seems like the actor is half asleep. There was always something heated and alive on both ends of the Cryer-Sheen dynamic. And although Cryer is still as animated as ever, Ashton Kutcher doesn't really seem all too excited to be there at all.
Total Points: 14 - TWO Charlie Sheen Heads!
Ashton Kutcher is not a man without acting talent. In fact, he is known for playing lively, animated, and slightly kooky characters in film and television. This begs a lot of curiosity, as he is bringing none of this enthusiasm to Walden Schmidt. Perhaps he just hasn't figured the character out yet. Perhaps he's nervous in filling Charlie Sheen's shoes. Whatever it is, let's hope he rectifies it quickly.
The Charlie Sheen of a year ago and the Charlie Sheen of recent days are two completely different entities. I'll gloss over a description of the former; we're all too familiar with that one. But lately, as we witnessed with his brief, but classy and genuine Emmys speech of well wishes to the Two and a Half Men staff, Sheen has been more of a standup guy.
Access Hollywood interviewed Sheen about his Comedy Central Roast, which garnered record numbers. Surprisingly, the actor who at one time never tired of talking at length about himself, was more bent on discussing the Two and a Half Men season premiere, which he said was "really good," and had the fresh feeling of a pilot. Sheen went on to praise new star Ashton Kutcher, who began his role last week as Walden Schmidt, depressed internet billionaire, as "terrific," and his own former costar Jon Cryer, who plays Alan Harper, as "a frickin' genius." Clearly, Sheen has put his days of madcap accusations and insults behind him, and has begun to express a reverence for his old colleagues.
Although Sheen admitted it was "a little bizarre watching [the season premiere]" due to his own absence from the series, he admits that he "think[s] it's got a really good shot," and appears to have nothing but well-wishes for the new Two and a Half Men. All in all, Sheen's new leaf suits him nicely. This is something we're all far more impressed with than self-aggrandizing oddball exclamations.
A new episode of Two and a Half Men, introducing Walden Schmidt's ex-wife Bridget (Judy Greer), will air tonight at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.
Click here to watch Access Hollywood's full interview with Sheen.
Source: Access Hollywood
More news from the corner of casting: some very familiar names will be making guest appearances this coming season. But we can also get excited about some of these stars' involvement behind the camera of their new shows:
Now that Friday Night Lights has been put to rest, executive producer Peter Berg (also recognizeable as a film and television actor) has time to explore other projects. The first of which will be Prime Suspect, NBC's new law enforcement drama. Berg is slated to be an EP on the new series, but he'll also be enjoying a guest role as a former lover to star Maria Bello's character Jane. Berg's character will also a be a deputy chief and will be married. Prime Suspect premieres on NBC this Thursday, September 22, at 10 p.m. ET. -EW
Fox's bubbly new sitcom New Girl, starring the you've-got-a-sickness-if-you-don't-love-her Zooey Deschanel will be welcoming two notable guest stars: Lake Bell of Boston Legal and, presently, How to Make it In America and the hilarious Childrens Hospital will play a love interest for the good-hearted character Nick (Jake Johnson). Additionally, Natasha Lyonne (Jess in American Pie, American Pie 2, and the upcoming American Reunion) will enjoy a love-hate relationship with another of Deschanel's character's new roommates, Schmidt (Max Greenfield). New Girl premieres tonight on Fox at 9 p.m. ET/PT. -TVLine
Elizabeth Perkins started off Big and worked her way to the scene-stealing Celia in Weeds, and will now be joining The Closer as the troublesome wife of the LAPD commissioner, who stirs up controversy when she involves herself in a scandal. The Closer returns to TNT on Monday, Nov. 28. -AOL TV
The upcoming film The Descendants is a family drama (not at all devoid of humor) about a man (George Clooney) who, in the aftermath of his wife's boating accident, attempts to reconnect with his daughters and confront the man with whom his wife has been having an affair. In case none of this appeals to you, bear in mind that the film is directed by Alexander Payne, the earnest and sophisticated writer/director who created Sideways, About Schmidt, and, best of all, Election.
The below clip features Matt King (Clooney) meeting, without much enthusiasm, the new boyfriend Sid (Nick Krause) of his older daughter (Shailene Woodley). Clearly, things are just beginning to "not go as planned" for Clooney's character in the clip. This small snippet of footage should give you an idea why the movie's already getting tons of buzz out of the Telluride and Toronto Film Festivals.
The Descendants reaches theaters November 23.