Jared Harris knows a thing or two about pop culture occults and the cults of pop culture. The Emmy-nominated actor is perhaps best known to audiences for his roles on fervent fan favorite TV shows like Fringe and Mad Men. Harris will next be seen in The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, the big screen adaptation of Cassandra Clare's popular fantasy YA series in which he plays Hodge Starkweather, a cursed tutor who teaches the Shadowhunters, a group of underground demon hunters.
"This year, I’ve done three, for f**k’s sake! What’s going on?" Harris told Hollywood.com on the Toronto set of The Mortal Instruments regarding his recent transition into the fantasy/horror genre, in which TMI certainly falls. "I did a movie called The Quiet Ones, which was about a guy who’s investigating paranormal events... and then I played the devil. And then now I’m in this film, which is all about demons and s**t, so yeah, it’s been a weird year for that."
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Still, even after unintentionally finding himself in yet another supernatural film, he still found new and exciting challenges in playing the morally-conflicted Hodge. "He’s a fun character. You don’t know which side he’s playing on, which is always interesting to do," Harris said. "[He] is someone who knows what the right thing to do is, but for his own reasons, is making a different deal, because he’s trying to change his circumstances. But he knows the difference between the right thing and the wrong thing to do, and he’s not delusional in the sense that he doesn’t think that he’s doing something for the betterment of mankind or some bulls**t like that. He knows that what he’s doing is purely to get his own ass out of the situation that he’s stuck in."
So what could be better than getting to play someone as unpredictable as Hodge? Getting to fight and dress up as someone like Hodge. "What’s great fun is I get to fight Dredger [Robert Maillet, who plays Samuel Blackwell, one of TMI's baddies] from Sherlock Holmes. He’s a f**king enormous man. So it’s been fun, because when you do all these fight scenes, you try and jazz ‘em up and everything. And then I sit there and I go, 'Listen, if this guy hit me, I’d collapse. I’d crumble if he actually managed to actually connect with me.' But I was really excited that I was fighting him, because I f**king loved him in that movie."
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But don't put Harris — who memorably went fisticuffs-to-fisticuffs with Vincent Kartheiser's Pete Campbell in a classic episode of Mad Men — down for the count just yet. "I can still kick ass, man," the Brit assured us. Harris also got to do a physical transformation of his own, thanks to the fake Shadowhunter tattoos and the gothic aesthetics used to bring Hodge to life. "I have a scar, which I didn’t have before. A good prosthetic scar, a white wig....which is a bit shocking. You look in the mirror and you see what you might be like a couple years from now."
Still, the 51-year-old actor didn't feel old on the TMI set, which was largely comprised of young Hollywood up-and-comers like Lily Collins and Jamie Campbell Bower, thanks to their professionalism. "Nowadays you find that a lot of the youngsters have been doing it almost as long as you have, because they’ve been doing it since they were 6, you know?" Harris said, adding, "So they’re all pros."
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Harris also seem unphased by the much younger following TMI has as opposed to, say, Mad Men. The actor, who admitted he hadn't read Clare's books before signing on to the project, noted "This is slightly different than the Mad Men [fandom] because it exists in a literary form first, the fans have [it in their] imaginations already. But something like Mad Men, it exists in Matt Weiner’s mind. And no one can read what Season 6 and Season 7 is, because it’s in his head."He added, "So I would say in that sense, it’s probably a little freer, whereas in this one, you have an obligation to that mythology. And you don’t want to piss the fans off, you know?"
As any TMI fan would argue, oh do they know. But Harris assured that he, his TMI castmates and crew members have done everything in their powers to ensure that doesn't happen. As Harris put it, "You have to honor the mythology that’s been created in the books, which they have done."
[Photo credit: Jason Merritt/Getty Images]
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From Oz to Pawnee: Looks like Ben (Adam Scott) will finally find piece after the Ice Town fiasco that plagued his youth. J.K. Simmons will guest star in an upcoming episode of Parks and Recreation as the Governor of Partridge, Minn., the town that Ben briefly mayor-ed as a teen. Leslie (Amy Poehler) will accompany her beau to a ceremony held in Ben's honor, that will let him know that all has been forgiven. Let's say it all together now — "awwwww." [EW]
Spinoff's Spinoff Starts Casting:Ladies and gentlemen, give a warm welcome to the newest member of the NCIS universe, Edwin Hodge. The actor is the first person cast in CBS' spinoff of NCIS: LA, which is itself a spinoff of the original Mark Harmon-starring series. The backdoor pilot will air as an episode of NCIS: LA later this season and follow a team of agents who crisscross the country solving crimes. Hodge's Kai Ashe is a "bright, witty, and likable technical assistant." [Deadline]
Human Bloggers, Your Days Are Numbered: Dog With A Blog is an actual show on television, and there's going to be more. Apparently Disney Channel has ordered a second season of the family sitcom, told from the dog's point of view. You can actually read the dog's blog online, if that's a thing you wanted to spend your time doing. [Deadline]
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As one adaptation of wildly popular young adult series comes to a close, a new one begins.
Just hours before the final installment of The Twilight Saga, Breaking Dawn — Part 2 , arrives in theaters, the trailer for the next teen phenomenon finally hit the Internet. Still don't call The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, the first chapter in Cassandra Clare's bestselling fantasy series, just another Twilight. Yes, some of the elements are the same (a supernatural love story, mythical creatures, Jamie Campbell Bower is there) but based on the thrilling trailer alone, it looks like the The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones could appeal to both the Twilight crowd yearning for something familiar and beyond.
RELATED: A First Look At The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones
The story follows Clary Fray (played by Lily Collins, who is a few years older and a few hair shades darker than the heroine in the book) a seemingly normal Brooklyn teen whose world is turned upside down. (In the YA world, Clary tends to lean more towards Katniss Everdeen territory than Bella Swan, despite the appearance of vampires and werewolves.)
When Clary meets a demon hunter named Jace (Collins' real-life beau Bower) she is thrust into the mysterious underground world of the Shadowhunters after her mother (played by Game of Thrones' Lena Heady, not seen in the preview), who has ties to them, disappears. Along the way on Clary's journey is her best friend Simon (James Franco lookalike Robert Sheehan), the Shadowhunter mentor Hodge (Mad Men's Jared Harris, serving as the clip's narrator), and the rogue Shadowhunter villain Valentine (Jonathan Rhys Meyers). With most of the main players are on hand in the trailer, fans already deeply immersed in the should be overwhelmingly relieved that the gothic tone of the book has been kept in tact. Others may just be intrigued by the Matrix-esque rave going on.
Watch the first trailer for The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones here:
Thoughts, fellow Clave dwellers? Does Lily Collins make a good Clary? Were you hoping for more Valentine? Share your thoughts!
The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones arrives in theaters on August 23, 2013.
[Photo credit: Sony Pictures]
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.