Bridging the world between horror and comedy the new web series Ghost Ghirls finds humor in the ghouslish. The show, executive produced by Jack Black and premiering on Yahoo! September 9th, stars Amanda Lund and Maria Blasucci as two hapless paranormal investigators.
Hollywood.com was lucky enough to commune with Lund and Blasucci about how Ghost Ghirls came about, whether they believe in the supernatural, and how they managed to get so many famous faces to haunt the online series.
How did the idea for Ghost Ghirls originate?Lund: Maria and I had been wanting to work with Jeremy Konner on a project for a while. We are all fans of the paranormal genre and thought it would be interesting to see these characters within it.
Blasucci: So the three of us wrote up a little ten page script and went out and shot it. It is so much fun writing for these characters.
How did Jack Black get involved in the project? What was it like working with him?Blasucci: Jeremy had known Jack Black for a while having worked as his assistant and the director of the Tenacious D documentary. Jack has always been really supportive of Jeremy and as soon as we brought it to him, Jack jumped onboard. Working with him was an absolute dream. He is the nicest and most caring guy.
Lund: Working with him was unreal! He has been so supportive. He showed up to set almost everyday while we were filming and called in a bunch of his famous pals to play parts. Really, I've learned so much by working with Jack Black. His enthusiasm and positivity are really contagious. We lucked out. Who was your favorite celebrity guest star to work with?Lund: This is tough! We had so many amazing people! It was pretty mind-blowing to work with Val Kilmer. Having Val, Dave Grohl and Jack Black on set all at once was like a beautiful dream I didn't want to wake up from. I think we shot like a 16 hour day when they were all there but no one cared because it was so amazing to watch them jam. (They were playing a Southern Rock Band). That was the most magical moment of filming.
Blasucci: All of the guest stars were so gracious and wonderful. Molly Shannon was really lovely and hilarious and Bob Odenkirk brought so much life to his character. He made the character so much richer than we could have imagined. I do love working with Jason Ritter. He did our pilot presentation and is in another episode as well. Having him and Jason Schwartzman on set was hilarious.
What was it like taking the show to San Diego Comic Con?Lund : I had never been to Comic Con and didn't know what to expect! I couldn't believe that so many people came out to see our panel. I think we got a really good response actually. I feel like the Comic Con audience is really open and enthusiastic when it comes to new shows so it was cool to hear some positive feedback. I wish I had brought a costume to wear because I felt so stupid in my shorts when everyone else was in sweet capes and stuff.
Blasucci: I agree with everything Amanda said... except she wasn't wearing shorts. That was a lie. Do you believe in ghosts? Have you ever seen a ghost?Lund: I've had a few seemingly paranormal experiences. When I was nine I thought I saw the ghost of my grandpa coming out of my bedroom ceiling. However, I had an extremely active imagination. I had like a dozen imaginary friends as well and had a lot of strange conspiracytheories.
Blasucci: I believe in ghosts. Why not, right? It's more fun to believe. I've never seen one though. I'm afraid of seeing one.
I'm going to steal a line from Scream: What's your favorite scary movie?Blasucci: I'm going to steal from your question and say Scream.
Lund: I love scary movies! I'm drawn toward the classic, slow-burning ones like Rosemary's Baby or The Omen. But don't get me wrong, the Scream films and I Know What You Did Last Summer are close to my heart. Why should viewers be excited to watch? Lund: Because Ghost Ghirls has something for everyone! It's funny...it's scary...it's full of amazing guest stars! And it's short and free! Blasucci: We find it to be a really entertaining show with a lot of heart. So check it out!
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Tenacious D are but men (rock!) but that doesn't mean they don't sure as hell appreciate women who rock, too. (Hey, these are the guys who brought the world "F Her Gently," after all). Before hilarious, hard-rocking duo Jack Black and Kyle Gass hit the stage at as Tenacious D at the Yahoo! and Shine America-hosted event at Brazos Hall in downtown Austin, a special screening of the upcoming web series Ghost Ghirls from fellow hilarious duo Amanda Lund and Maria Blasucci was screened at SXSW.
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The irreverent online comedy, about a pair of delightfully inept ghost hunters (played by comedy partners and real-life pals Lund and Blasucci who got their start, fittingly enough, on the web putting out sketches) is co-produced by Black's production company Electric Dynamite and the actor/musician/comedian makes an inspired cameo as a 1970s rocker in one of the Ghost Ghirls eps.
In fact, Black is just one of the famous faces to pop up in the series, which had a resoundingly positive reaction from the crowd. (Usually "opening acts" can make audiences antsy, but in this case they were too busy laughing at the inane humor in the sneak preview of the web series to notice.) Black's partner-in-crime Glass pops up, as do the likes of Dave Grohl, Molly Shannon, and Val Kilmer. Yes, that Val Kilmer.
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It makes sense that Black has his hand in something like Ghost Ghirls, which is directed by Drunk History's Jeremy Konner. It is as irreverent as it is downright silly (in one episode, the girls track a ghost that turns out to be nothing more than faulty electrical wiring) and is quick-witted without taking itself too seriously. And much like Tenacious D, Lund and Blasucci balance each other out nicely with their own quirks and delivery. (Blasucci is more of the dry one, while Lund goes for bigger comedy).
During a Q&A session after the screening with Black, as well as Konner, Lund and Blasucci, the star told the crowd that he was glad to be part of Ghost Ghirls as "there's not a lot of female-driven projects out there." In true Jack Black fashion, he then turned to Lund and Blasucci to say, "Kudos to you-dos!"
Of course, Black's praise of Lund and Blasucci was hardly the only thing to rock: Tenacious D put on a sweaty, loud, hour-long set that couldn't even jade the most jaded industry types. Come on, how can you not sing/laugh/dance along to so-wrong-they're-right songs like "Low Hanging Fruit," "Senorita," "Roadie," and, of course "F Her Gently"? While Black admitted he was exhausted from touring, you wouldn't be able to tell: the road-tested act put on a fun, unpretentious show for SXSW.
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Ghost Ghirls will debut on Yahoo! this summer. Tenacious D will be touring internationally through the spring and summer.
[Photo credit: halhorowitz.com/Yahoo!]
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The 2013 nominees for the Writers Guild of America awards have been announced. Writers, you say? Yes, writers! The people that make words dance on pages to create the worlds in which our favorite shows flourish. Some people, when confronted with a brilliant episode of television automatically assume the credit for its general goodness should go to the actors. But what about the writers? They are often just as (if not more so) likely to be the reason you laughed, cried, gasped, guffawed, or squirmed in your seat during last week's episode of your favorite show.
These makers of televised scripts carry a good chunk of a show's success (and failure) on their shoulders, and leading the pack of successful witty wordsmiths? Lena Dunham and her HBO darling Girls. Overall, it seems as though cable dramas fared better than broadcast (which, duh), but on the flip-side, broadcast comedies outdid their cable brethren. Breaking Bad cleaned up in the episodic drama category, and comedy lady hero Amy Poehler got herself a nod for the episode of Parks and Recreation she penned, "The Debate."
Check out the full list of nominees below!
Boardwalk Empire written by Dave Flebotte, Diane Frolov, Chris Haddock, Rolin Jones, Howard Korder, Steve Kornacki, Andrew Schneider, David Stenn, Terence Winter; HBO
Breaking Bad written by Sam Catlin, Vince Gilligan, Peter Gould, Gennifer Hutchison, George Mastras, Thomas Schnauz, Moira Walley-Beckett; AMC
Game of Thrones written by David Benioff, Bryan Cogman, George R. R. Martin, Vanessa Taylor, D.B. Weiss; HBO
Homeland written by Henry Bromell, Alexander Cary, Alex Gansa, Howard Gordon, Chip Johannessen, Meredith Stiehm; Showtime
Mad Men written by Lisa Albert, Semi Chellas, Jason Grote, Jonathan Igla, Andre Jacquemetton, Maria Jacquemetton, Brett Johnson, Janet Leahy, Victor Levin, Erin Levy, Frank Pierson, Michael Saltzman, Tom Smuts, Matthew Weiner; AMC
30 Rock written by Jack Burditt, Kay Cannon, Robert Carlock, Tom Ceraulo, Vali Chandrasekaran, Luke Del Tredici, Tina Fey, Lauren Gurganous, Matt Hubbard, Colleen McGuinness, Sam Means, Dylan Morgan, Nina Pedrad, John Riggi, Josh Siegel, Ron Weiner, Tracey Wigfield; NBC
Girls written by Judd Apatow, Lesley Arfin, Lena Dunham, Sarah Heyward, Bruce Eric Kaplan, Jenni Konner, Deborah Schoeneman, Dan Sterling; HBO
Louie written by Pamela Adlon, Vernon Chatman, Louis C.K.; FX
Modern Family written by Cindy Chupack, Paul Corrigan, Abraham Higginbotham, Ben Karlin, Elaine Ko, Steven Levitan, Christopher Lloyd, Dan O’Shannon, Jeffrey Richman, Audra Sielaff, Brad Walsh, Bill Wrubel, Danny Zuker; ABC
Parks and Recreation written by Megan Amram, Greg Daniels, Nate Dimeo, Katie Dippold, Daniel J. Goor, Norm Hiscock, Dave King, Greg Levine, Joe Mande, Aisha Muharrar, Nick Offerman, Chelsea Peretti, Amy Poehler, Alexandra Rushfield, Michael Schur, Mike Scully, Harris Wittels, Alan Yang; NBC
Girls written by Judd Apatow, Lesley Arfin, Lena Dunham, Sarah Heyward, Bruce Eric Kaplan, Jenni Konner, Deborah Schoeneman, Dan Sterling; HBO
The Mindy Project written by Ike Barinholtz, Jeremy Bronson, Linwood Boomer, Adam Countee, Harper Dill, Mindy Kaling, Chris McKenna, B.J. Novak, David Stassen, Matt Warburton; Fox
Nashville written by Wendy Calhoun, Jason George, David Gould, David Marshall Grant, Dee Johnson, Todd Ellis Kessler, Callie Khouri, Meredith Lavender, Nancy Miller, James Parriott, Liz Tigelaar, Marcie Ulin; ABC
The Newsroom written by Brendan Fehily, David Handelman, Cinque Henderson, Paul Redford, Ian Reichbach, Amy Rice, Aaron Sorkin, Gideon Yago; HBO
Veep written by Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Roger Drew, Sean Gray, Armando Iannucci, Ian Martin, Tony Roche, Will Smith; HBO
“Buyout” (Breaking Bad), written by Gennifer Hutchison; AMC
"Dead Freight” (Breaking Bad), written by George Mastras; AMC
“Fifty-One” (Breaking Bad), written by Sam Catlin; AMC
“New Car Smell” (Homeland), written by Meredith Stiehm; Showtime
“The Other Woman” (Mad Men), written by Semi Chellas and Matthew Weiner; AMC
“Say My Name” (Breaking Bad), written by Thomas Schnauz; AMC
“The Debate” (Parks and Recreation), written by Amy Poehler; NBC
“Episode 9” (Episodes), written by David Crane & Jeffrey Klarik; Showtime
“Leap Day” (30 Rock), written by Luke Del Tredici; NBC
“Little Bo Bleep” (Modern Family), written by Cindy Chupack; ABC
“Mistery Date” (Modern Family), written by Jeffrey Richman; ABC
“Virgin Territory” (Modern Family), written by Elaine Ko; ABC
LONG FORM – ORIGINAL
Hatfields and McCoys, Nights 2 and 3, teleplay by Ted Mann and Ronald Parker, Story by Bill Kerby and Ted Mann; History Channel
Hemingway & Gelhorn written by Jerry Stahl and Barbara Turner; HBO
Pilot (Political Animals), written by Greg Berlanti; USA
LONG FORM – ADAPTED
Coma, Nights 1 and 2, teleplay by John McLaughlin, based on the book by Robin Cook; A&E
Game Change written by Danny Strong, based on the book by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann; HBO
“A Farewell to Arms” (Futurama), written by Josh Weinstein; Comedy Central
“Forget-Me-Not” (Family Guy), written by David A. Goodman; Fox
“Holidays of Future Passed” (The Simpsons), written by J. Stewart Burns; Fox
“Ned and Edna’s Blend Agenda” (The Simpsons), written by Jeff Westbrook; Fox
“Treehouse of Horror XXIII” (The Simpsons), written by David Mandel & Brian Kelley; Fox
COMEDY / VARIETY (INCLUDING TALK) – SERIES
The Colbert Report writers: Michael Brumm, Stephen Colbert, Rich Dahm, Paul Dinello, Eric Drysdale, Rob Dubbin, Glenn Eichler, Dan Guterman, Peter Gwinn, Barry Julien, Jay Katsir, Frank Lesser, Opus Moreschi, Tom Purcell, Meredith Scardino, Scott Sherman, Max Werner; Comedy Central
Conan writers: Jose Arroyo, Andres du Bouchet, Deon Cole, Josh Comers, Dan Cronin, Michael Gordon, Brian Kiley, Laurie Kilmartin, Rob Kutner, Todd Levin, Brian McCann, Conan O'Brien, Matt O'Brien, Jesse Popp, Andy Richter, Brian Stack, Mike Sweeney; TBS
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart writers: Rory Albanese, Kevin Bleyer, Richard Blomquist, Steve Bodow, Tim Carvell, Hallie Haglund, J.R. Havlan, Elliott Kalan, Dan McCoy, Jo Miller, John Oliver, Zhubin Parang, Daniel Radosh, Jason Ross, Jon Stewart; Comedy Central
Jimmy Kimmel Live writers: Tony Barbieri, Jonathan Bines, Joelle Boucai, Sal Iacono, Eric Immerman, Gary Greenberg, Josh Halloway, Bess Kalb, Jimmy Kimmel, Jeff Loveness, Molly McNearney, Bryan Paulk, Danny Ricker, Rick Rosner; ABC
Key & Peele writers: Jay Martel, Ian Roberts, Keegan Michael Key, Jordan Peele, Sean Conroy, Colton Dunn, Charlie Sanders, Alex Rubens, Rebecca Drysdale; Comedy Central
Portlandia writers: Fred R. Armisen, Carrie Brownstein, Karey Dornetto, Jonathan Krisel, Bill Oakley; IFC
Real Time With Bill Maher writers: Scott Carter, Adam Felber, Matt Gunn, Brian Jacobsmeyer, Jay Jaroch, Chris Kelly, Mike Larsen, Bill Maher, Billy Martin; HBO
Saturday Night Live Head writer: Seth Meyers. Writers: James Anderson, Alex Baze, Neil Casey, Jessica Conrad, James Downey, Shelly Gossman, Steve Higgins, Colin Jost, Zach Kanin, Chris Kelly, Joe Kelly, Erik Kenward, Rob Klein, Lorne Michaels, John Mulaney, Christine Nangle, Mike O’Brien, Josh Patten, Paula Pell, Marika Sawyer, Sarah Schneider, Pete Schultz, John Solomon, Kent Sublette, Bryan Tucker, Additional Sketch By Emily Spivey, Jorma Taccone, Additional Material By Frank Sebastiano; NBC Universal
COMEDY / VARIETY – MUSIC, AWARDS, TRIBUTES – SPECIALS
66th Annual Tony Awards written by Dave Boone; special material by Paul Greenberg; opening and closing songs by David Javerbaum, Adam Schlesinger; CBS
2012 Film Independent Spirit Awards written by Billy Kimball, Wayne Federman; IFC
After the Academy Awards Head writers Gary Greenberg, Molly McNearney. Writers Tony Barbieri, Jonathan Bines, Sal Iacono, Eric Immerman, Jimmy Kimmel, Jeffrey Loveness, Bryan Paulk, Danny Ricker, Richard G. Rosner; ABC
National Memorial Day Concert written by Joan Meyerson; PBS
Days of Our Lives written by Lorraine Broderick, Carolyn Culliton, Richard Culliton, Rick Draughon, Christopher Dunn, Lacey Dyer, Janet Iacobuzio, David A. Levinson, Ryan Quan, Dave Ryan, Melissa Salmons, Roger Schroeder, Elizabeth Snyder, Christopher J. Whitesell, Nancy Williams Watt; NBC
One Life to Live written by Lorraine Broderick, Ron Carlivati, Anna Theresa Cascio, Daniel J. O’Connor, Elizabeth Page, Jean Passanante, Melissa Salmons, Katherine Schock, Scott Sickles, Courtney Simon, Chris Van Etten; ABC
The Young and the Restless written by Amanda Beall, Jeff Beldner, Brent Boyd, Susan Dansby, Janice Ferri Esser, Jay Gibson, Scott Hamner, Maria Kanelos, Natalie Minardi Slater, Beth Milstein, Michael Montgomery, Anne Schoettle, Linda Schreiber, Lisa Seidman, Sarah K. Smith, Christopher J. Whitesell, Teresa Zimmerman; CBS
CHILDREN'S – EPISODIC & SPECIALS
“The Good Sport” (Sesame Street), written by Christine Ferraro; PBS
CHILDREN’S – LONG FORM OR SPECIAL
Girl vs. Monster story by Annie De Young; teleplay by Annie De Young and Ron McGee; Disney Channel
Winners will be announced on February 17th at events in New York and Los Angeles. What do you think of this year's nominees? Let us know in the comments!
[Photo Credit: Jojo Whilden/HBO]
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Jay Baruchel is Hollywood’s affable geek du jour having plied his unique trade recently in the animated blockbuster How to Train Your Dragon and the considerably less successful rom-com She’s Out of My League. His gangly frame twitchy visage and nasal drone make him perfect for movies in which awkward self-effacing underdogs triumph against enormous odds to achieve great feats like saving a Viking tribe from certain destruction or getting laid by a really really hot blonde chick.
Movies like The Sorcerer’s Apprentice a live-action CGI-fest directed by Jon Turteltaub (the National Treasure films) and inspired by a famous sequence from Fantasia Walt Disney’s groundbreaking collection of animated shorts. Fantasia debuted in 1940 long before Disney subleased its animation work to Pixar and "Fantasia" became more commonly known as a popular name among exotic dancers. My how things have changed.
Baruchel plays Dave a hapless NYU physics nerd unwittingly cast into the middle of a centuries-long good-versus-evil battle between powerful sorcerers who wield an infinite array of supernatural powers. Representing the good guys is Balthazar (Nicolas Cage) a wide-eyed eccentric whose all-black goth-pimp ensemble draws nary a suspicious glance on the eclectic streets of Manhattan. Dave it turns out is no ordinary college student but the Prime Merliner which sounds like an underwater number divisible by only one and itself but in actuality is a sort of wizard messiah destined to rid the world from the likes of the sinister Horvath (Alfred Molina) and his imprisoned overlord Morgana (Alice Krige). That is if he can take time off from his bumbling courtship of a pretty co-ed (Teresa Palmer) to actually learn the tricks of the sorcerer’s trade.
“Disposable” and “formulaic” are terms commonly applied to both of Turteltaub’s National Treasure collaborations with Cage but I submit that those films are at least fun if ultimately forgettable. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is far less fun and far more forgettable its formula followed so perfunctorily that it ultimately comes off as an elaborate exercise in corporate cynicism one unlikely to inspire the string of sequels it so transparently hopes to conjure. Which is a shame because the film shows intermittent signs of promise and Cage despite his distracting perm is oddly charming as a sort of desperate weirdo.