A producer who worked on Liev Schreiber's new U.S. TV drama Ray Donovan has been sentenced to six months on house arrest for his part in an online sports betting ring. Bryan Zuriff faced up to a year behind bars for helping to run illegal high-stakes gambling operations linked to a Russian crime mob in New York and Los Angeles.
In July (13), he pleaded guilty to a charge of accepting a financial instrument in connection with unlawful Internet gambling, and he won the support of his actor friend Jon Voight, who stars on Ray Donovan, as well as directors Judd Apatow and Peter Berg, who all sent letters to Big Apple judge Jesse M. Furman, pleading for leniency in the producer's sentencing.
And it appears their appeals have worked - on Monday (25Nov13), Zuriff managed to avoid a jail stint and was instead ordered to remain on home confinement for six months and serve two years on probation. He must also complete 300 hours of community service, reports Deadline.com.
He was one of 34 people indicted in April (13) in relation to organised crime enterprises allegedly run by Russian-American gangsters, who are accused of laundering $100 million (£66.6 million) from illegal gambling.
Zuriff stepped down as executive producer of Ray Donovan in July (13) in light of his legal troubles.
Matt Hoyle/Comedy Central
Move over, Seth Rogen and James Franco; Judd Apatow has found himself a new dream team. Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele have partnered with the writer/director/producer to develop a script for a feature film. The duo will star in the film and write the script alongside Apatow, who will also produce the project. No details about the film have been made available yet, but Apatow did reveal that he holds his new collaborators in high esteem, telling Deadline, "I love these guys because they are riotously, make-you-sick-because-you-can’t-stop-laughing, funny. I think Key and Peele are capable of making the movie that America desperately needs right now."
This is the second development deal that Apatow has made with a current Comedy Central star; he recently signed on to produce a script that was written by and will star Amy Shumer. Key and Peele's self-titled sketch show, meanwhile, has enjoyed a great deal of success and their first episode broke a network record for the biggest series launch. It was recently renewed for a fourth season, due in part to the audience members the show gained after several of their sketches went viral. The film will mark a change of pace for the pair, who, since breaking out on MadTV, have specialized in sketches. They will face the challenge of ensuring that their comedy is still as hilarious and thought-provoking in a longer format as it is in five-minute increments.
Since Apatow is keeping the log line of the film quiet for now, fans have begun speculating about whether any of the pair's famous characters will make an appearance on the big screen. While it might be hard to incorporate characters like President Obama's anger translator, Luther or Wendell, who only interacts with other people through phone calls to customer service hotlines, it will probably be easier for the film to feature a cameo from the pop-culture commentating valets or football players Hingle McCringleberry or Eqqsquizitine Buble-Schwinslow.
Regardless, fans can probaly expect Vandaveon and Mike to commentate on the film, just like they do after every episode of Key and Peele. You can catch the show Wednesday nights at 10:30, or check out their East/West College Bowl sketch below.
Actor Jon Voight has written to a New York judge pleading for leniency in a producer pal's gambling ring sentencing. Bryan Zuriff, who works behind the scenes on Voight's hit new U.S. TV drama Ray Donovan, faces a year behind bars for his part in an online sports betting syndicate reportedly tied to Russian gangsters.
He will learn his fate on 25 November (13) after pleading guilty, but ahead of his sentencing, the executive producer has written a letter to New York judge Jesse M. Furman begging for mercy.
And in court documents obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, he has some big names backing him - as well as Voight, directors Judd Apatow and Peter Berg are also vouching for him.
Recalling the day his friend was arrested, Voight writes, "As soon as he was released on bail he came to the set to express his sorrow and shame to all of us. He was full of remorse and sadness. We thank God he didn't give up and walk away from his work.
"Despite the painful private challenges he was facing he was able to be there to finish overseeing the season's last episodes. There isn't one of us who has worked with Bryan that doesn't feel he is a fine man and deserving of our loyalty."
Apatow, who used Zuriff's home as a location for his hit comedy Knocked Up, adds, "It is not easy to allow a movie crew into your home for several weeks and to watch as hundreds of people move your belongings and disrupt your life. Yet, this is exactly what Bryan did, and he did so graciously and modestly."
The moviemaker admits he is "surprised and confused" by his friend's crime, adding, "Bryan has not made excuses to me for what he did. In my conversations with Bryan, he has owned his actions and taken responsibility. His remorse is genuine. I believe he is truly sorry for what he did and is ready to make amends."
Zuriff confessed to his involvement in illegal betting books in Los Angeles and New York during a court hearing in July (13). He was one of 34 people indicted in April (13) in relation to organised crime enterprises allegedly run by Russian-American gangsters, who are accused of laundering $100 million (£66.6 million) from illegal gambling.
What is it about Halloween episodes that bring out the best in some of our favorite shows? Maybe it's because Halloween is a holiday when anything seems possible but everything seems to go awry. Relationships can start and end on a night when mistaken identities are pretty much a given. And the folks in the writers room must really enjoy putting their actors in truly embarrassing costumes. Whether it features reimagined horror movie tropes or Chandler Bing in a giant pink bunny suit, every one of these episodes was an instant classic.
Freaks and Geeks — "Tricks and Treats"
The teen transition from Halloween as a childhood romp to Halloween as an opportunity to subvert those very traditions is explored by the Judd Apatow series, just as touchingly as every other coming-of-age topic it covered. Plus, Bill Haverchuck dresses up like the Bionic Woman.
The Simpsons — "Treehouse of Horror V"
No comedy owns the holiday quite like The Simpsons. Its "Treehouse of Horror" episodes are a yearly tradition. Our favorite is the fifth, where the family ends up stranded at Mr. Burns's abandoned estate, experiencing what Groundskeeper Willy calls, "The Shinnin'." Now if only we could remember what a lack of TV and beer can make Homer do...
Buffy the Vampire Slayer — "Halloween"
Halloween is complicated in Sunnydale, where the Scooby Gang falls under a spell that makes them become their costumes. What use is a slayer who's acting more like a prissy medieval princess?
How I Met Your Mother — "The Slutty Pumpkin"
HIMYM's first Halloween episode introduced the unattainable "Slutty Pumpkin," a girl who inspires Ted to repeat his once-timely "hanging chad" costume year after year so that they might find each other again.
Friends — "The One With the Halloween Party"
The party itself is irrelevant. It's the costumes, from Spud-nik to the not-so-Velveteen Rabbit to Chandler ("Waahh!"), that put this one on the list.
Boy Meets World — "And Then There Was Shawn"
The TGIF sitcom succeeded in pulling off a genuinely scary send-up of teen slasher fics, complete with a cameo by scream queen Jennifer Love Hewitt.
More:It's Appropriate to Watch 'Hocus Pocus' Every Day'The Simpsons' Will Kill Off an Emmy-Winning Character'How I Met Your Mother' Recap (Season 9, Episode 3)
From Our Partners:40 Most Revealing See-Through Red Carpet Looks (Vh1)15 Stars Share Secrets of their Sex Lives (Celebuzz)
Alec Baldwin is signing off from his critically acclaimed podcast as he prepares to launch his own TV talk show. The 30 Rock star and new dad has presented Here's the Thing since 2011, interviewing guests including funnyman Chris Rock, singer Billy Joel, director Judd Apatow and fellow Hollywood stars Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner, Stacy Keach and Rosie O'Donnell.
The radio show regularly ranked in iTunes' top 10 podcasts, but it will now be axed due to a lack of funding, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The actor has a new hosting venture on the horizon - he is set to star in his own weekly primetime series Up Late with Alec Baldwin, which will begin airing on America's MSNBC network next month (Oct13).
The best player in the World for movie trailers, Hollywood interviews and movie clips.
James Franco submitted to that most ego-deflating of Hollywood rituals last night: A Comedy Central Roast. His This Is the End pals Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, and Aziz Ansari, along with Sarah Silverman, Nick Kroll, and professional roaster Jeff Ross, convened in Los Angeles to make fun of Franco's ambiguous sexuality, roster of bad movies, pretentious art projects, and, of course, his legendarily awful 2011 co-hosting of the Oscars. That last point is particularly interesting because, though many of these topics were already mined for comedy in This Is the End, the Oscars weren't, almost as if it was still too sore a point. Obviously, that was not the case. Check out our picks for the funniest 12 Jokes of the Night below.
Kevin Winter/Getty Images
1. Seth Rogen: "Judd Apatow was going to direct this roast, but Comedy Central didn’t want it to be 40 minutes too long.”
2. Rogen: “Franco, you look like you’re asleep. Did you just read a James Franco book? In all seriousness, he is a very hardworking actor. He once told me he worked for 36 hours straight, which I don’t believe, the straight part, obviously.”
3. Rogen: “James has acted alongside some amazing actors — Robert DeNiro, Tommy Lee Jones. He once played opposite an unruly chimp with giant teeth but it was worth it because Eat, Pray, Love turned out awesome. What? Is she here? She’s not here. Like she f–king watches this bulls–t.
4. Nick Kroll: “James Franco is truly our generation’s James Dean. So handsome that you forget he’s only been in two good movies. Dean, of course, died at the tender age of 24 sparing himself the embarrassment of writing self-indulgent short stories and getting roasted by a bunch of jealous Jew monsters.
5. Kroll: “If at any point James fully opens his eyes tonight, there will be six more weeks of summer.”
6. Jonah Hill: “He recently got his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, which is incredible because now critics and homeless people can s–t on him all the time.”
7. Sarah Silverman: “Jonah actually gained 50 pounds for his role in the new Martin Scorsese film because the producers wanted the character to be a Jonah Hill type. But seriously you’ve had such a body transformation in the past couple of years. You have come a long way from just being Sonny and Cher’s daughter.”
8. Aziz Ansari: “I saw Jeff Ross at a comedy club the other night. A woman comes up to him and goes, ‘Hey, if you’re who I think you are, I’m definitely sleeping with you tonight.’ And he goes, ‘Hell yeah I’m Jeff Ross.’ And she goes, ‘Oops sorry. I thought you were the main orc from The Lord of The Rings.”
9. Ansari: “So many gay jokes tonight about Franco. Apparently if you’re clean, well dressed and mildly cultured, you’re super gay now. Is that why the rest of you guys are so aggressively fat and dirty? You think if you read one book and take a shower, dicks are going to just fly into your face.”
10. James Franco: “I agreed to do this roast because I wanted to do something I’ve never done before — something that has zero artistic value, something nobody will remember three months from now, something that’s offensive, homophobic and stars horrifically untalented people and something that’s only a big deal to a handful of teenage stoners on Twitter. You might say, ‘James, didn’t you just describe Your Highness? I wouldn’t know I didn’t see Your Highness.”
Franco: “The joke’s on all of you. This is not a roast. This is my greatest most elaborate art installation ever. I’m not the real guest of honor, these aren’t real comedians and we’re not even on a real network. What you’ve seen tonight was my brilliant opus to sequester an artistic visionary and subject him to the mindless incoherent trashings of talentless abnormalities. I call it Genius Unscathed and this is my masterpiece”
More: Check Out James Franco’s LinkedIn: He’s Had Every Job Ever James Franco Proves His Pretentiousness in ‘Man of Steel’ Review and ‘Amazing Spider-Man’ Bashing Take Notice, Oscars: James Franco’s ‘Spring Breakers’ Perf Is Best Actor Worthy
From Our PartnersStars Pose Naked for 'Allure' (Celebuzz)20 Grisliest TV Deaths of 2012-2013 (Vulture)
Jay-Z debuted his arty Picasso Baby promo on TV in America on Friday night (02Aug13). The 10-minute clip featured the rapper performing at the Pace Gallery in New York City surrounded by famous friends including moviemakers Jim Jarmusch and Judd Apatow, actors Alan Cumming, Adam Driver, Taraji P. Henson and Rosie Perez, and members of the Big Apple's art scene, including performance artist Marina Abramovic, who was personally thanked in the end credits of the Mark Romanek-directed video.
Actor Wes Bentley is eyeing a transition into light-hearted movie roles as he wants to land a part in a comedy. The 34 year old has made his name in Hollywood with a series of dramatic films, including American Beauty and The Four Feathers, and he also appears alongside Amanda Seyfried in the explicit new Linda Lovelace biopic Lovelace.
Bentley's career was derailed during his eight-year battle with drug addiction, but he has since conquered his demons and returned to Hollywood with a pivotal role in The Hunger Games.
Now the star is hoping to take on funnier roles in the future because he is a massive fan of the comedy genre.
He tells The Hollywood Reporter, "I would definitely love to do a straight-up comedy, like a Judd Apatow movie (or) the whole Seth Rogen group. I love the Coen brothers' sense of humour... For so many years, I took everything so seriously. Life could have been a lot more fun."
Jay-Z will debut his new video for the song Picasso Baby in a TV special on U.S. cable channel HBO on Friday (02Aug13). Picasso Baby: A Performance Art Film was shot at a New York art gallery, where the superstar rapped the track over and over again for six hours in front of members of the public and celebrity fans including director Judd Apatow and actor Alan Cumming. The special will air immediately after the hip-hop mogul appears on the network's political talk show Real Time with Bill Maher.
Hip-hop superstar Jay-Z took over a New York art gallery on Wednesday (10Jul13) to film a music video for his new song Picasso Baby by rapping the track over and over again for six hours. The 99 Problems hitmaker staged the performance art piece at the Pace Gallery in front of members of the public and celebrity fans, like director Judd Apatow and artist George Condo, rhyming in 45-minute spurts before taking mini breaks, according to Complex.com.
The whole event was filmed by director Mark Romanek and is said to have been inspired by artist Marina Abramovic's recent exhibition at Manhattan's Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), where she sat in the building's atrium for two full months as part of her show Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present.
Girls actress and creator Lena Dunham has also revealed her photographer mother, Laurie Simmons, is involved in the project, although she has stopped short of spilling the details.
In a Twitter.com post on Wednesday, she wrote, "I wish I could tell you why my mom is with Jay-Z right now."