Actor Wilmer Valderrama has realised his dream of working with Robert Rodriguez after the director created the villain in the TV adaptation of cult movie From Dusk Till Dawn with the star in mind. The 34 year old, known for playing lovable, shy Fez in hit sitcom That '70s Show, reveals he blindly signed up to the project because he was such a big fan of Rodriguez - and he was flattered after learning he would be leading the cast as crime lord Carlos, a role created specially for him.
Valderrama tells People.com, "After an initial audition, I got a text from (Rodriguez) that said, 'Hey, I handcrafted this character for you that a lot of people haven't seen you do.'
"I now have that text on my wall. I said, 'Yes' without knowing what I was playing and 24 hours later I was playing the villain."
The actor reveals his former TV co-stars, including Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher, are overjoyed for him for landing a role working with his idol.
He says, "I stay in touch with everyone from my That '70s Show cast and they are so proud of me getting to do this. They have known me since 1997, '98 and they know how obsessed I have been with everything that Robert has ever done."
From Dusk Till Dawn is based on the 1996 vampire film of the same name, which starred George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino as criminals who stumble across a nightclub filled with vampires.
Valderrama will co-star in the new TV version with Miami Vice veteran Don Johnson as Sheriff Earl McGraw, with G.I. Joe: Retaliation actor D.J. Cotrona and Zane Holtz taking the roles played by Clooney and Tarantino respectively.
The Mindy Project is on the bubble. In other words, send help! The show has struggled out of the gate, but it's managed to hold on for one and a half, lovely, hilarious seasons. And we want – nay, need – a third.
The show has too much to offer before it goes riding off into the sunset – it's too young to die, and here's a few reasons why:
* Brendan DeLaurier: I may or may not have an obsession with Brendan – he's my favorite of Mindy's exes (so move on over, shoe store mogul Casey and oral surgeon Bill Hader). His reaction to Maria Menounos' rendition of "Santa Baby" ("You were offering up your womanhood to Santa in exchange for material gifts!") may just be one of my favorite lines on the show, ever. Heck if Danny Castellano wasn't on the scene, I'd be pulling for a reunion: his douchey pretentiousness is unparalleled in its hilarity.
* Peter and Morgan Forever: As Danny and Mindy have grown closer and closer, Peter and Morgan have spent a lot of recent storylines together (guess fifth-wheel castmate Dr. Reed has his unhealthy relationship with food to keep him company). Even better, they've been thrown together by mutual shipping of Mindy and handsome-lawyer-Cliff – they spent the entirety of "You've Got Sext" sending him … you guessed it, sexts from her phone, and they recently (heartwrenchingly) convinced him to get back together with her following their break-up. And watching them suffer through the dulcet strains of Cliff sobbing along to Jewel through the air vents? A+.
* Will-They-Won't-They?: No good romantic comedy is complete without a will-they-won't-they couple, and The Mindy Project has the ace in the hole with that one. Mindy and Danny started out quite adversarial, but have grown closer and closer as friends, and in the midseason finale, they finally kissed. But it's far too soon for it all to be peaches and cream – Mindy even hinted at the fact that their impromptu airplane makeout may lead to some regret; so it looks like the two are in for some more turbulence. And we need them to be able to see them through their bumpy ride to happily ever after.
The Mindy Project is a show that's only improved with time (I'm not even going to make the standard "fine wine" joke) and our lives simply wouldn't be the same without it.
Anchor Bay via Everett Collection
It's Saturday night. The game is on. The town is yours. You're ready to go. But you need a little cinematic pep-talk. A movie that'll get your adrenaline rushing top speed. Something with action, adventure, excitement... hell, maybe even something fantastical every so often. This week, our Netflix Hand-Picked Flix recommendation for Saturday Night Fever is Battle Royale.
It says a lot when a movie's title becomes a permanent fixture in the international lexicon. The 2000 Japanese action movie Battle Royale is an unmistakably influential piece of cinema, predating America's fight-to-the-death franchise The Hunger Games by more than a decade. The movie, itself adapted from a 1999 novel, centers on a junior high school student who is thrust into a lethal competition with his classmates at the whim of the government.
Making everything in American cinema look tame by comparison, Battle Royale is not only brutal but skillfully delivered, with dazzling aesthetics, fun characters, and the emotional throughline of the hero's journey to overcome the death of his father. There are few films as capable of kicking up your pulse, and even fewer that can do so and still maintain an artistic air.
You can watch Battle Royale on Netflix, and check back tomorrow for our Lazy Sunday pick.
Follow @Michael Arbeiter
| Follow @Hollywood_com
For the bulk of every Rocky and Bullwinkle episode, moose and squirrel would engage in high concept escapades that satirized geopolitics, contemporary cinema, and the very fabrics of the human condition. With all of that to work with, there's no excuse for why the pair and their Soviet nemeses haven't gotten a decent movie adaptation. But the ingenious Mr. Peabody and his faithful boy Sherman are another story, intercut between Rocky and Bullwinkle segments to teach kids brief history lessons and toss in a nearly lethal dose of puns. Their stories and relationship were much simpler, which means that bringing their shtick to the big screen would entail a lot more invention — always risky when you're dealing with precious material.
For the most part, Mr. Peabody & Sherman handles the regeneration of its heroes aptly, allowing for emotionally substance in their unique father-son relationship and all the difficulties inherent therein. The story is no subtle metaphor for the difficulties surrounding gay adoption, with society decreeing that a dog, no matter how hyper-intelligent, cannot be a suitable father. The central plot has Peabody hosting a party for a disapproving child services agent and the parents of a young girl with whom 7-year-old Sherman had a schoolyard spat, all in order to prove himself a suitable dad. Of course, the WABAC comes into play when the tots take it for a spin, forcing Peabody to rush to their rescue.
Getting down to personals, we also see the left brain-heavy Peabody struggle with being father Sherman deserves. The bulk of the emotional marks are hit as we learn just how much Peabody cares for Sherman, and just how hard it has been to accept that his only family is growing up and changing.
But more successful than the new is the film's handling of the old — the material that Peabody and Sherman purists will adore. They travel back in time via the WABAC Machine to Ancient Egypt, the Renaissance, and the Trojan War, and 18th Century France, explaining the cultural backdrop and historical significance of the settings and characters they happen upon, all with that irreverent (but no longer racist) flare that the old cartoons enjoyed. And oh... the puns.
Mr. Peabody & Sherman is a f**king treasure trove of some of the most amazingly bad puns in recent cinema. This effort alone will leave you in awe.
The film does unravel in its final act, bringing the science-fiction of time travel a little too close to the forefront and dropping the ball on a good deal of its emotional groundwork. What seemed to be substantial building blocks do not pay off in the way we might, as scholars of animated family cinema, have anticipated, leaving the movie with an unfinished feeling.
But all in all, it's a bright, compassionate, reasonably educational, and occasionally funny if not altogether worthy tribute to an old favorite. And since we don't have our own WABAC machine to return to a time of regularly scheduled Peabody and Sherman cartoons, this will do okay for now.
If nothing else, it's worth your time for the puns.
Follow @Michael Arbeiter
| Follow @Hollywood_com
MGM via Everett Collection
Looks as though the familiar yell of the original jungle warrior himself, Tarzan, will once again be heard in theaters the world over, with Warner Brothers announcing a release date of July 1, 2016 for the live-action 3D adventure. Sound exciting? Hardly – in fact, here’s why Tarzan is already doomed to fail: CGI.
Yes, the darling of modern movie-making is, unfortunately, sure to zap all the juice out of this once-ripe papaya of pulp heroes. After all, is there anything truly menacing about a pixilated puma or a computer-rendered rhinoceros? No – and that was truly a major appeal of Tarzan, specifically, taking viewers into a world most would never go: the deepest, darkest climes of Africa, complete with a real person interacting with the most-dangerous of jungle beasts.
Sure, those "darkest climes" of cinema yore were simply another Hollywood back lot (and fancy editing made the "menace" seem more real than in actuality) but replacing actual animals with near 100 percent CGI versions will surely remove any of the genuine intrigue and excitement – particularly with Tarzan’s pal Cheetah. It’s one thing to suspend disbelief with a King Kong or Planet of the Apes (both of which depict animals larger-than-life, or creatures of pure fantasy). It is quite another to immediately recognize a phony chimp, complete with an actor looking in the general direction of the post-production induced co-star.
Look for Tarzan 3D to swing to the ground with a large, loud thud – even with stars such as True Blood's Alexander Skarsgård, Margot Robbie, and Sam Jackson attached.
It makes sense that Jimmy Fallon, king of all things viral, would have an awesome Instagram account. He posts a lot of selfies with the amazing guests on his show, from Nina Dobrev to Harrison Ford. There are also a lot of goofy pictures, but we detect some vanity shots in the mix. Here are our favorites from his Instagram.
GALLERY: Our Favorite Jimmy Fallon Selfies
Okay, we get it. Barack Obama is the first ever "pop culture president." Bill Clinton was cool, with his saxophone and all that, but Obama is in another league. There was that photo of him with kid Spider-Man that went viral, the fact that he kicks it with Jay Z and Beyoncé on a regular basis, and his wife is BFF with one of the biggest stars on television, Kerry Washington. Many of us love this about Obama and love the idea of having a very cool POTUS. But this mid-February tweet he sent out about House of Cards season two is a little weird.
Tomorrow: @HouseOfCards. No spoilers, please.
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) February 13, 2014
We get it. House of Cards is insane, and addictive, and everyone is loving it. But isn't it a little awkward knowing that the president has time to, well, watch Netflix? With everything going on in the world, isn't it a little strange to know that right now — at this very moment — he could be sitting back and enjoying a good ol' fashioned binge-watch? It'd be like knowing he was in a bathroom somewhere taking hella selfies... like, 20 in a row until he got the perfect shot. Or knowing that he was just on Facebook, clicking on all of his friends' random links and watching the latest viral videos for 45 minutes. Weird.
Obviously, the president is a normal guy and he deserves some down time, but there's a part of us that wants to be left in the dark about those times. We get that he probably takes a nap here and there, we just don't want evidence of it on Twitter.
And then there's the subject matter of the show — political scandal and ruthlessness abound in the series, so there's that added layer of awkwardness. President Obama even (jokingly... maybe...) expressed his support for protagonist Frank Underwood, the vengeful, opportunistic congressman played by Kevin Spacey: "This guy’s getting a lot of stuff done... I wish things were that ruthlessly efficient."
Again, this is a very cool take on the series! But is it, dare we ask, too cool? Is Obama officially too cool to be the president?
Follow @Hollywood_com Follow @shannonmhouston
Whether you know her from House, Tron, her raunchy Jason Sudeikis-related quotes, or her Marchesa sparkleball of a Golden Globes dress, there's no denying the fact that Olivia Wilde is kind of awesome. She's awesome for lots of reasons, but chief among them (this month, anyway) is her recent cold-hard-truth-telling about sexism in Hollywood. As a panelist at the State of Female Justice, Wilde was able to distill down just what is wrong with the movie industry.
Yes, she said it, and she said it eloquently – and most importantly, she said it in a way that people are able to rally behind. It makes sense – we know she's smart and well-spoken from the column she wrote for Glamour (girl's good with words!). And her outcry against show business chauvinism delivered with some memorable pearls of wisdom.
She tells it like it is (and drops some Bechdel test truth): "Any woman working at any level in any part of Hollywood will tell you ... it's really hard to get a any stories made that are about women ... not just women being obsessed with men or supporting men."
She calls out her male peers: "It's really hard to get men to be a part of films that are about women in a leading role."
She rallies her cause: "Movies are made based upon what people areasking for ... so really the power is in our hands, and it's really just a matter of asking for it much louder."
And she tells a hilarious and hard-hitting anecdote about a gender-swapped version of American Pie: "It was so fascinating to be a part of this because, as the women took on these central roles – they had all the good lines, they had all the good laughs, all the great moments."
...And she throws some more (delicate) shade on her male peers: "The men who had joined us to sit on stage started squirming rather uncomfortably and got really bored because they weren't used to being the supporting cast."
She talks about some films that got it right: "When we switch the roles, which has been done with movies, many of you probably know already that in Aliens, Siourney Weaver's role was written for a man. In Salt, Angelina Jolie's role was written for Tom Cruise. These things, when reversed, have proven to be just as exciting and entertaining with women in leading roles."
Watch Olivia kick some metaphorical ass here:
Four for you, Olivia Wilde. You go Olivia Wilde!
Late songwriter Gerry Rafferty's life and work will be celebrated at an exhibition in his hometown of Paisley, Scotland. Personal artefacts belonging to the Baker Street hitmaker, including his golden discs, guitars, and handwritten lyrics, will go on display in Paisley Museum from Friday (07Mar14), on loan from Rafferty's daughter Martha.
She says, "My father's hometown meant a huge deal to him and helped inspire a lot of his work, so it is fitting to be able to hold this event here in Paisley."
Rafferty's legacy will also be celebrated with an eight-day music festival in Paisley in April (14).
He died from liver failure in 2011 aged 63, after a long battle with booze.
Former The Sopranos star Lillo Brancato has spoken out for the first time since his release from prison, where he served eight years for his part in a botched robbery that resulted in the death of an off-duty police officer. Brancato was released from prison on New Year's Eve (31Dec14), but is only now speaking publicly about the incident that robbed him of his freedom.
Speaking to U.S. news show Entertainment Tonight in a taped interview that will air on TV on Friday (07Mar14) and Monday (10Mar14), the actor shared his remorse for the death of Daniel Enchautegui, who tackled Brancato and associate Steven Armento after hearing them break into a neighbour's apartment.
Armento was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison, while Brancato was sentenced to 10 years behind bars in 2009.
He tells ET, "I wish I could just take it back and I could bring police officer Daniel back to life. He was a hero, he was off-duty, lived next door, heard broken glass, came out and put his life on the line."
Brancato, who will be on parole until 2018, insists he learned a lot about himself behind bars and he's determined to turn his life around.
He added, "I thought about (my career) a lot and (it) reminds me of a saying someone once told me: 'It takes a second to get in trouble and a lifetime to get out of it', and I think about that every day because I did have many great opportunities... and (I) made the horrible choice to use and abuse drugs.
"The most important things to me right now: staying focused and giving back, and using that second chance at life."
After a global search, sixteen finalists are brought to Hollywood, divided into four teams and will engage in elimination-style competitions to produce a short film. Each week the short films will be critiqued by a studio executive, film critic and guest judge with the viewers voting on their favorite. The final winner gets a meeting with Spielberg, an office at Dreamworks and $1 million to fund their next project.