For months now, Hollywood.com has been entrenched in a heated debate. A debate that warrants more fire and enmity than anything in the spectrums of politics, religion, or professional sports. We're talking the long-gestating battle of Mara vs. Mara. And finally, we've taken to the public to express our horses in this neverending race. So whose side are you on — Team Kate or Team Rooney?
PRO KATEJulia Emmanuele
The first season of American Horror Story is probably the most insane of the three, and it often felt to me as if Ryan Murphy was just throwing out every single idea he had in an attempt to make the show as shocking and full of plot twists as humanly possible, which, for the most part, is what Kate Mara's character Hayden is there for. In theory, she exists purely to cause more conflict between Ben and Vivien, due to the fact that she’s mentally unstable and attempts to manipulate Ben into leaving his wife to help her raise the baby she’s carrying. But Kate’s performance keeps her from being a walking plot device, and she creates a character that is by turns terrifying and unpredictable, desperate, and sadly seems to genuinely believe that she and Ben have something special. She truly hopes that she can have a family with him, and even though she’s willing to accomplish that by any means necessary – including attempting to steal Vivien’s baby after both she and Hayden are dead – Kate tempers all of that instability with genuine emotion. In her last scene, where she tells Tate that Violet will never love him, it’s petty, sure, but it’s also resigned. Kate takes a character that is, like every other character on that show, there primarily for shock value, and finds the humanity in her insane plot. She gives the character depth, and makes you feel for her, even as she’s carrying out her insane plan.
Then there’s House of Cards and Zoe Barnes. Zoe’s the kind of character that audiences will either love or hate, and I’ve seen strong opinions on both sides. Personally, I’m a big fan of Zoe, and a lot of that has to do with the way that Kate plays her. She’s ambitious and cunning, willing to do whatever she needs to for her own benefit, and doesn’t care who she needs to hurt in order to advance, all of which makes her the perfect counterpart to Frank Underwood. But Kate doesn’t just make her a female version of Frank; she gives her layers and depth that help ground the ambition and drive that characterizes Zoe. There’s an episode where Frank talks about how it’s important that he and Zoe keep secrets from each other, and how they are different things to different people. Kate’s whole performance epitomizes that. You get the sense that she’s hiding something about herself from everyone – that maybe the tough, ambitious front that she puts on the whole time is just there to keep her vulnerability hidden. The best example of this is the scene where Zoe comes over to the Underwoods' house, tries on Claire’s dress and ends her affair with Frank, which reads both like a little girl playing dress-up and the start of Zoe becoming a legitimate threat. She’s imitating Claire’s earlier behavior, and she’s acting in a way that is slightly childish. But Kate also makes sure that Zoe’s resolve comes across just as clearly as her pettiness. He’s not taking her seriously, but she’s establishing herself as someone who will try to take Frank down. Kate gets all of that across in the two minutes it takes for her to try on the dress and walk around the room.
It’s a testament to all of the layers that Kate gives Zoe that the character and her performance gets more compelling with every re-watch. Look at all of Zoe’s weird, nervous tics that fade away over the course of the season, as she becomes more confident and starts taking control of the story. She starts the first season biting her nails and slouching in on herself; by the end, she’s taking the lead away from Lucas and Jeanine, both of whom are older and more experienced and holding her own against Frank. Zoe’s awkwardness, her fear, and her ruthlessness are all clear in the way that Kate carries herself and delivers every line, and all of that comes together to create a character that would likely not be nearly as compelling with another actress in the role.
ANTI KATEMichael Arbeiter
Would you still watch House of Cards if Kevin Spacey wasn't in it, and it was just Kate's character? I wouldn't. But I'd still watch Dragon Tattoo if they ousted Daniel Craig and just made it about Rooney. You would too, admit it. It'd be better.
Also, boring name.
Columbia Pictures via Everett Collection
PRO ROONEYMichael Arbeiter
Here's the thing about Rooney Mara — there's not just one thing about Rooney Mara. To one of you, Rooney Mara might be a sociopathic code-breaker, cemented irreparably into her Girl with the Dragon Tattoo role. To another, the mile-a-minute Sorkin fixture who set an ingenious egomaniac off on his quest for digital world domination. Rooney has not had the luxury of pinning her talents and memorability to the forced familiarity of a television role. Rooney opts for movies, which, no matter how many times you tweet otherwise, is still the superior artistic medium to television. In the past five years alone, Rooney has amounted a slew of big screen roles that have identified her as a creative mystic and an on-the-rise industry figure.
We'll start with her Dragon Tattoo transformation, perhaps the role that adorned her with the degree of notability that she enjoys today. Yes, Kate's House of Cards character requires some dexterity, but the stretching required to playing her ballsy reporter Zoe barely compares to that inherent in roles like Lisbeth Salander... and that's considering the fact that both characters come from the same filmmaker: David Fincher (it should be noted that both House of Cards and Dragon Tattoo are adaptations). From the get-go, Rooney is thrust into a decidedly challenging world — her ability to glimmer with charm through the veneer of Fincher's abrasive adaptation is a testament to her uncompromising film presence.
Contrastingly, Rooney fits right into the mellifluous portrait of Spike Jonze's Her, even when introduced three quarters of the way through the movie. Playing an organic alternative to Samantha, the "ideal woman" who outgrows her romantic partner Theodore Twombly (god, I just love that name), Rooney socks her onscreen partner Joaquin Phoenix and the audience alike with a ton of earnestness, anchoring the "fantasy" of the film back to Earth but never robbing it of its sense of wonder. That's all in the performance, which keeps her shy of Hollywood's traditional platform of mysognistic villainy. Rooney understands the role and deals with it responsibly, and we're never beckoned to look away even when she's smacking us with cold, hard truths.
But Rooney is not reliant on high concept roles to let her skill set show. As the diabolical loon at the center of Steven Soderbergh's Side Effects, she balances humanity and monstrosity to an absolutely chilling degree. As the star of the haunting crime drama Ain't Them Bodies Saints, she allows for the appreciation of the full spectrum of human desperation. And even though it might be her smallest major role, Rooney's turn at the forefront of Aaron Sorkin's The Social Network is powerful, funny, caustic, endearing, frightening, and permanent enough to have us believe that it could truly spark an egomaniacal genius' plight to take over the digital world.
ANTI ROONEYJulia Emmanuele
I’ve never felt particularly invested in any of Rooney’s characters. To me, there’s never any depth there, never anything to make it seem as if there’s a character underneath the costume and the script. Her performances have always come across as relatively flat to me. She delivers her lines well, and she can look affected by the scene, but there’s never any gravity to it, never anything that makes me want to keep watching her the way I can with Kate. She’s just kind of… there, whereas Kate’s characters are fully formed, interesting people in their own right, and she finds ways to hint at the layers underneath, and a past that has shaped the way the characters approach situations now.
What do you think?
Never-before seen shots of a 17-year-old Prince are to be exhibited for the first time as part of a touring display that will launch in Los Angeles later this month (Feb14). Photographer Robert Whitman's shots from his three 1977 sessions with Prince, which really capture the artist as a young man on the verge of superstardom, have been locked away - until now.
Whitman, now in his 60s, was just starting out as a commercial photographer in his native Minneapolis, Minnesota when he got the call to shoot music producer Owen Husney's new local discovery for a pitch to record companies.
He tells WENN, "I didn't know anything about him and he was shy and I was nervous. I knew he was going to do something big when they played me his track Soft & Wet and he performed at his studio. I got goosebumps.
"The shots were for Prince's first press kit. We only used a few of the shots and created just 15 kits."
Prince and the photographer teamed up for their first session at Whitman's studio in a Minneapolis ice-cream factory.
He recalls, "I had no idea what I was doing - I had Prince kneeling by this awful furniture and blowing bubbles. I was trying everything I could think of."
But Prince never forgot his first photographer: "About 10 years later I was on the phone at LaGuardia Airport (in New York) and Prince walked by and said, 'Whitman, how are you?'"
The snapper became an in-demand fine art photographer and he filed away his Prince shots, only occasionally showing them off to friends who showed an interest in the star.
He adds, "I had not even thought of them and then I started to think about what to do with my archive and I discovered this young agent, called Jesse Blatt, who came to the studio, took one look at these Prince shots and started talking about a touring exhibition. It's very exciting."
The collection will debut at Hollywood's Mr. Musichead gallery on 20 February (14). The exhibition will run for a month.
The shots will also be part of a Whitman retrospective that he hopes to debut at the K Gallery in St. Petersburg, Russia in March (14).
Child star Sophie Nelisse has urged Hollywood's studio bosses to keep making films about the Holocaust, because she is part of a generation who aren't taught about the horrors of the second world war. The 13 year old admits she knew nothing about the Nazi atrocities before she started researching her role in The Book Thief, in which her character befriends a Jewish man hiding from German troops, and she thinks youngsters should be aware of what happened.
Speaking at a recent screening of the film in Los Angeles, Nelisse said, "We don't learn about the Holocaust in my school, so when I did the movie I had to do a lot of research.
"Kids my age - our generation - don't know enough about what happened. Some people think it's annoying that we keep on making these (Holocaust) movies, but I don't think so because all of the (concentration) camp survivors are gonna die at some point... and I just hope that in 100 years, people remember what happened, first of all to not let it happen again and sort of for a way to remember the people that died and to remember the people that fought for them (sic). I just think it's really important that we keep on making these movies."
Her thoughts were echoed by her co-star Emily Watson, who recently told WENN, "We filmed in Berlin, which is a city that is very, very honest and it wears it's history on it's sleeve, and it's very brutal with itself what has happened there. It was pretty relentless because you're filming all day and then you'd go off on a sightseeing tour and everywhere you go there is an exhibit about what happened. It's gutting.
"But it's fascinating to me that Sophie has friends who don't know about the Holocaust. You sit in a room with seasoned hacks (journalists) and they've all seen Schindler's List and The Pianist and The Reader and they ask, 'Do we need another Holocaust movie?'
"Yeah, we b**ody well do. (Co-star) Geoffrey (Rush) was talking about a survey that was carried out in the United States, where teenagers were asked, 'Was Adolf Hitler a dictator or was he a football coach?' Most of them thought he was a football coach! So it's a story you have to keep telling."
Some movies focus so much on machismo that they inadvertently end up dripping with homoerotic tension. There are tons of movies that are just one make-out scene away from being a bromantic love story. It's ironic when mainstream movies aimed at gay audiences have leads with no romantic connection, when some movies about straight characters have sexual tension simply oozing off the screen. These "gay straight movies" provide an outlet for gay men looking for characters that resonate with them, a subtext of romantic relationships, and pure, unadulterated man candy.
Writer/director Michael Serrato created this viral video hit, “Rambo, But Gay” which is a musical retelling of the popular Sylvester Stallone classic Rambo. It’s an interesting take on the thin line between the overtly masculine and homoerotic. After all, Rambo spends most of the 1980s films half-naked and oiled up, so they are ripe for parody.
Here are my nominations for the 10 gayest straight movies of all time.
10. Fight Club
Edward Norton deals with his ennui by staring at a super cut-up Brad Pitt and forming a club where men fight shirtless in underground rooms. Helena Bonham Carter gives a great performance of a woman as a drag queen. Last but not least, a bleach-blond cherubic Jared Leto follows around Pitt and Norton.
9. The Covenant
Why not remake The Craft with boys in Speedos? A pre-Friday Night Lights Taylor Kitsch stars in a movie about the descendants of The Salem Witch Trials that happen to all be men. There’s a ton of time spent in the locker room and arguing about power.
Abs, briefs and awesome gold facial piercings pervade this cinematic comic book. From the looks of it, the war between Sparta and the Persian Empire would have ended if both kings just made out.
7. School Ties
Brendan Fraser gets into an exclusive prep school but he has a secret that he can’t let anyone know. It’s because he’s Jewish, but it does mirror what coming out would be like. It’s chock full of 1990s heartthrobs including Chris O’Donnell, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and Cole Hauser. And thank you, filmmakers, for the gratuitous nude fight scene between Fraser and Damon.
6. Dude, Where’s My Car?
Ashton Kutcher and Seann William Scott have tons of bromantic chemistry. They spend the entire movie being chased by Nordic men in leather. The film also includes gratuitous Speedo and shirtless shots, Queer as Folk star Hal Sparks and an intense make-out scene.
5. Magic Mike
Channing Tatum attempts to make this a heartfelt biopic. Instead, it feels more like a campy romp. Matthew McConaughey spends most of the time shirtless and in short shorts, Cody Horn is the female lead with a boyish body and everyone wears a man-thong. Let's also not ignore the gratuitous use of The Weather Girls' "It's Raining Men."
5. Staying Alive
A waxed and oiled up John Travolta channels Pat Benatar in this sequel to Saturday Night Fever. He looks like a member of The Village People in his costume and ends the movie with one of the more boyish of his love interests, Jamie Lee Curtis. (Note: we have never believed that rumor about the lovely Ms. Curtis.)
4. The Outsiders
Based on S.E. Hinton’s book about rival gangs, this movie features all the heartthrobs of its time. Tom Cruise, Rob Lowe, Patrick Swayze, and Matt Dillon all star in the film. C. Thomas Howell and Ralph Macchio play best friends with a little too many sensitive and longing looks.
3. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
The palpable chemistry between Frodo (Elijah Wood) and Sam (Sean Astin), plus elves with hair extensions. What more is there to say?
Cruise as a money-hungry gigolo making cocktails. 'Nuff said.
1. Top Gun
This movie invented the genre. Tons of close talking about "riding your tail," a very butch Kelly McGillis, and three simple words - shirtless volleyball game.
Are there any you think should have made the list?
It seems like knowing someone is not a prerequisite for feuding when you're famous. Many celebrities have started feuds with each other through the press or social media and have never actually met in person. Some may know each other, but come from completely different circles, so it's just as random when one starts beef with the other. But it's only fair for celebrities to criticize other celebrities, just like us commoners do. The only difference is that their opinions are heard by all, which certainly makes it more entertaining for the rest of us. Here are five totally random celebrity feuds we never would have expected.
Miley Cyrus vs. Sinead O'Connor
This one started out harmlessly enough. Miley Cyrus cited Sinead O'Connor's "Nothing Compares 2 U" video as the inspiration for her "Wrecking Ball" video. But O'Connor just couldn't resist an opportunity to bash the music industry. After an open letter to the 21-year-old pop singer advising her to not be a "prostitute" for the industry, Miley fired back with a tweet mocking the Irish singer's mental illness. That's when the floodgates opened, resulting in two more letters, several more tweets, and O'Connor threatening legal action. In the end, the feud lost steam and both have publicly buried the hatchet.
Kanye West vs. Jimmy Kimmel
Jimmy Kimmel was all too happy to "finally be in a rap feud." Kanye West, however, did not take it as lightly. After the late-night host made a parody of Kanye's very personal interview with BBC Radio 1, Kanye went on one of his infamous Twitter tirades, spewing insults at Kimmel in all caps. The rapper allegedly even called Kimmel, warning him that he was "the most powerful voice in media." I guess that's true, if you consider his Twitter followers to be the media. Kanye has since deleted the tweets, which is the closest thing to an apology we can hope for from him.
Justin Bieber vs. Vanilla Ice
Nothng like an embittered one-hit wonder talking smack on today's hottest act. Vanilla Ice recently told The Huffington Post that Justin Bieber will "be forgotten...it's going to be entertaining to watch." I would be careful if I were you, Mr. Ice, because I'm going to bet that Justin Bieber's fan army is probably slightly larger than yours. Vanilla Ice has since denied the comments, and explains that, in fact, he meant the exact opposite.
Elisabeth Hasselbeck vs. Barry Manilow
In 2007, Barry Manilow was scheduled to perform on The View, but felt compelled to voice his opinions on one of the hosts, Elisabeth Hasselbeck. The "Mandy" singer called her political views "dangerous and offensive." The show's producers reportedly pulled the plug on his performance after he refused to appear unless Hasselbeck took the day off.
The Kardashians vs. Jon Hamm and Daniel Craig
Looks like the Kardashians' biggest fans are not Hollywood's dashing leading men. In fact, both Jon Hamm and Daniel Craig have coincidentally called the sisters "f*****g idiots." It seems like both take issue with the fact that celebrities become famous not for a craft but for flaunting their personal lives for the world to see. Craig told GQ, "Look at the Kardashians, they're worth millions....You see that and you think 'what, you mean all I have to do is behave like a f*****g idiot on television and then you'll pay me millions?'" Sadly, in this day and age, it seems like a winning formula.
Celebrities don't just roll out of bed looking flawless; it takes a whole team of experts to primp and polish them to perfection. There are hairs to be tousled, brows to be tweezed, and skin to be moisturized before walking out the door each morning. And I'm talking about the dudes of Hollywood (whoever said men were more low maintenance than women was wrong, wrong, wrong).
Celebrity stylist and Dove Men+Care hair expert Jason Schneidman, the brains behind the beauty for some of the hottest guys in Tinseltown, including Hugh Jackman, Rob Lowe, Bruno Mars, and Jonah Hill, shares his tips and tricks for making A-list stars look their picture-perfect best with Hollywood.com.
"All of my guys like to look put together, but natural and not overdone," says Schneidman of his clients. "I always strive to ride that effortlessly cool line, and I find guys are drawn to me because I know how to work with their natural features and pull together a look that isn't over-styled."
For the summer, Schneidman's go-to hairstyle is "the classic 'do – think Steve McQueen and James Dean. This works great for all seasons because it is timeless and never goes out of style. In fact, my number one tip is to stay classic," he says. "For this look, I recommend rubbing a dime-size of paste into hands and then running through hair for hold. Since paste is moldable, you can add more throughout the day if your hair isn't staying put. That's also why I don’t recommend traditional hair sprays: it's difficult to reapply."
Schneidman gives us the low-down on how you (or the man in your life) can look like one of Hollywood's hottest.
"Hugh's got a lot of hair so I manage it by cutting it down to about a half inch on the sides and then leave about two inches on the top. His hair is thin though, so I have him use a thickening shampoo, like Dove Men+Care, the night before to get a little build up. The day of [an event], I use a small amount of paste all over his hair and bring up the volume all over so that it's really big. Then I use a small men's groomer round brush in the front to get a nice 'bend,' and, I gently tap down and shape the hair with my hands to sweep it up and back or to the side."
"I actually set the look for Rob in his new film Killing Kennedy (pictured above), where he plays JFK, so he's been rocking a presidential look. The cut is very summery and airy, though, so it was a lot of fun doing it for Rob. To get this look, I make sure to cut with only scissors. Take the sides in short and leave the top longer and then create a part on the side. For Rob, I actually defined the side part by cutting into his hair with clippers."
"Since Bruno's hair is naturally curly, my secret is to not touch his hair after shampooing and letting it air dry naturally. If you touch his hair before it's completely dried, the curls get frizzy and defused and we have to re-wet it and let it dry again. I only begin to style it after it is totally dry, and I avoid all alcohol products since they can be drying for his hair. The best stuff products for him are cream or oil styling products since they also moisturize his hair."
"I use the Men's Groomer for Ibiza (a small round boar bristle brush), in the front to straighten and style and then I follow up with the Shu Uemera Shape Paste (available at Birchbox) and mess it up."
SCHNEIDMAN'S GO-TO PRODUCTSWant to style like a pro? Snag some of Shneidman's must-haves to look like a star every day.
1. Dove Men+Care Fresh Clean 2-in-1 Shampoo + Conditioner"Excessive styling and product can take a toll on men's hair, so I always recommend the Dove Men+CareFresh Clean 2-in-1 Shampoo+Conditioner, which is proven to make hair 3X stronger. It's also fortified with menthol and infused with caffeine to refresh and revitalize while washing away dirt and grease."
2. Hanz de Fuko Quiksand Paste "This product is amazing for matte dry styling."
3. Shu Uemera Shape PasteSchneidman uses this product on Jonah Hill to achieve that messy, bedhead look.
4. Joico Texture Boost Dry Spray Wax"Don’t be afraid to spray this all over short to medium length hair for a good hold. This is light enough for summer and gives the perfect amount of hold to reduce frizz. Be careful not to use too much or else your hair will look greasy."
5. Dove Refresh+Care Invigorating Dry Shampoo"A lot of guys don’t know how to use Dry Shampoo, but it's a great timesaver to preserve or save your 'do in a rush. Spray the dry shampoo directly onto oily roots and shake out the extra powder on a towel or blow dry it out. You can also use this after the Spray Wax to soak up extra product."
Have great products like these delivered right to your door by subscribing to Birchbox today!
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Franchises collide! Gravel-voiced muscleman Vin Diesel, who's powered the Fast & Furious series into becoming one of Hollywood's most durable properties, may soon don Spandex. Yup, he revealed on Facebook that "Marvel has requested a meeting," meaning that they probably want him to play a character in one of their upcoming films. But who could that character be?
Mind you, Diesel has been in talks with Marvel before. Once upon a time he had discussed playing the classic character Namor the Sub-Mariner, an Atlantean superhero who's kind of like Marvel's answer to DC's Aquaman — though Namor actually dates back to the 1930s, even headlining Marvel Comics #1. Considering that Diesel's Facebook message accompanies a photo of him engaging in water sports, it seems that he may indeed have resumed talks to play the aquatic hero. Those original discussions stalled because, well, Namor isn't exactly a character who could headline a film by himself. But could he be a part of an ensemble like The Avengers 2? Most definitely. The Fast & Furious films capitalize on Diesel's meathead charm, but they also integrate him into an extensive ensemble in each movie. He's pretty much teed up to join S.H.I.E.L.D.
But there are also a few other possibilities for who he could play...
The healer-turned-sorcerer has one of the more tragic story arcs in the Marvel universe. It seems like the studio is very keen to give Doctor Strange the big-screen treatment for its Phase 3 movie lineup, and Diesel could fit. After Strange loses his ability to heal people conventionally, as a medical doctor, he turns to magic. It's all about his powerlessness and efforts to re-empower himself, themes for which Diesel's formidable physical presence could provide ironic contrast.
We've been talking about Edgar Wright's film since forever, it seems like, but the fact is, the title character still hasn't been cast! Diesel could easily play Dr. Hank Pym.
Way back before Ben Affleck signed on to play the blind vigilante in 2003, Diesel had also circled the role. It's possible, now that the rights to the Daredevil property have reverted to Marvel, that they're looking to reboot the character in a way that isn't absolutely horrible... like the Affleck version. Diesel's already been known to wear some funky eyewear as Riddick.
Damion Poitier played the largely non-CGI character in a non-speaking cameo at the end of The Avengers. Could Diesel step in to at least lend his basso profondo voice to the role? He could bring silky menace to a character who embarks on an apocalyptic campaign to court Death — or, rather, a female personification of Death.
One thing that's probably ruled out here: Fans had long imagined him playing Doctor Doom in a Fantastic Four movie, but the rights to that franchise are still held by Fox, not Marvel. And Diesel's Facebook post suggests he's definitely meeting with Marvel Studios. So do not expect to see him in the FF reboot Fox is planning for 2015.
Who do you think he'll end up playing?
Follow Christian Blauvelt on Twitter @Ctblauvelt | Follow Hollywood.com on Twitter @Hollywood_com
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When Room 237 took form as a documentary film devoted entirely to deconstructing, analyzing, and just simply talking about the majesty that is Stanley Kubrick's The Shining, nobody thought it all too peculiar. After all, the 1980 chiller stands as one of the most iconic and complex films in American history. But could this treatment work with another film? Sure, why not — if the film was just as memorable, just as beloved, just as much a pop culture benchmark... it wouldn't hurt if it also dealt with the supernatural, to boot. Sounds like a winner! So what's the next subject?
How about Ghostbusters?
There are only a select few who don't hold the 1984 Bill Murray-starrer in high comic esteem. But that doesn't mean we're not a little apprehensive about Ghostbusters as the focus of a new Room 237-style movie, Spook Central. Apprehensive and excited, that is — because if this works, it'll work like the dickens.
The above trailer for Spook Central offers a brief glimpse into the sort of chatter we'll be experiencing in the doc, with particularly interesting theories tying the Ghostbusters logo to the tobacco industry. With all the fun we had with Room 237, we're anticipating a lot of the same with this new feature. Yes, it could prove to be a half-cocked attempt at recreating the special project that was Room 237. But it could also be a load of laughs and some interesting insights. Watch the trailer and weigh in!
Follow Michael Arbeiter on Twitter @MichaelArbeiter | Follow hollywood.com on Twitter @hollywood_com
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We may be a decade and change out of the golden era of Robin Williams, but the memories remain crystal clear. There was a time that the fast-talking, follicle-ridden funnyman was Hollywood's reigning champion in the realm of broad, wacky comedy.
Yes, this is the Robin Williams many of us remember best: the constantly quipping goofball who'd bounce around a room in a dress in Mrs. Doubtfire, a robot suit in Bicentennial Man, or in animated form as an all-powerful genie in Aladdin, managing celebrity impressions and absurd wordplay all the while. But for some, Williams meant something softer — a father striving desperately to recapture his youth and connect with his son in Hook. A therapist aching to break through the shield of a detached young genius in Good Will Hunting. The man has shown off his dramatic chops too, proving that we have a pretty substantial arsenal from which to choose when considering our favorite Robin Williams movies.
And quite the variety did amount when our staff members chimed with their picks. Williams' appearance in the forthcoming dramedy The Big Wedding had all us all thinking back upon our favorite of his historic turns...
Abbey Stone: Mrs. DoubtfireMatt Patches: AladdinAly Semigran: Good Will HuntingAnna Brand and Kate Ward: JumanjiKelsea Stahler: HookLindsey DiMattina: The BirdcageMichael Arbeiter: PopeyeBrian Moylan: Ferngully: The Last RainforestChristian Blauvelt: Hamlet
What is your favorite Robin Williams movie role?
Take our poll below. Explain your choice or defend a movie that isn't on the list in the comments below!
&lt;a href="http://polldaddy.com/poll/7059211/"&gt;What Is Robin Williams' Best Movie Role?&lt;/a&gt;
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Making a spoof movie ain't what it used to be.
Comparing his latest endeavor, writing and producing this week's Scary Movie V, to his vast body of comedy work, David Zucker admits that life was a bit easier in 1980 when he and his collaborators set off to shoot Airplane!. Widely considered the pinnacle of spoof cinema, Airplane! riffs on a select number of films. It's Zero Hour!, Airport '75, and few dashes of Saturday Night Fever and From Here to Eternity for good measure. The Scary franchise is a different beast.
Following in the footsteps of the Wayans' first two Scary Movie films, modern spoofing had a new demand for Zucker when he took over the franchise for Scary Movie 3. "This is the hardest thing to do, to weave together plots from different movies," he says. "You have to make your best guess. In all these movies, we end up reshooting. You have to put it in front of an audience. What happened in [Scary Movie V] is that we used Paranormal Activity, elements of all of them, and Black Swan, and Planet of the Apes. What we found out was, none of those movies had an actual monster. We didn't realize that until halfway through. Fortunately, Mama came along."
When Zucker describes the Scary Movie process, it sounds grueling, sporadic, challenging, and ultimately gratifying when a moment of clarity emerges from the chaos. As a true auteur of comedic filmmaking, Zucker has long lived by a listed mantra, 15 rules that help keep him on track as he makes a movie. The glossary earns laughs on its own (terms include "Gilding the Lily," taking a joke so far that it's no longer funny, and "Floocher Dialogue," filler lines recited by foreground characters to enable the audience to focus on a background joke), but they're important to Zucker's approach to making movies.
"The rules are just us trying to not repeat the same mistakes," says the producer. "You disobey these rules at your peril… One of the things is, movies have to be grounded in reality. It's something BASEketball didn't have and Top Secret didn't have. They didn't have character arcs."
That's why Mama helped reinvigorate Scary Movie V — but not in the scripting stage. "Much later into production we incorporated Mama and even Evil Dead," Zucker says. "We actually spoof the trailer [laughs]. I always say, 'Kids, don't try this at home.'" The producer admits that Scary Movie V began production without an antagonist, a no-no in the Zucker book of comedy. Including the ghastly villainess of that film gave the movie a new arc. "How well a job we did, I can't judge, because I'm right in the middle of it. But for sure, we just really knocked ourselves out trying to make it into a cohesive plot structure. That's what Mama gave us, because Jessica Chastain had such a good character."
Don't get him wrong: Zucker prefers a calmer, more structured filmmaking style. He doesn't like endless nights of rewriting and reshooting. In fact, Zucker wasn't even planning on returning to the Scary Movie franchise until two of Hollywood's most influential producers asked him to. "The Weinsteins asked us to do this. They had to make Scary Movie, so I did it," he says. "It's not something I planned on doing, but it's still what I love to do."
Working on Scary Movie V with Bob and Harvey Weinstein is a bit of thankless task, rounding up all the ideas that must be in the movie, and piecing them together into something watchable. When asked if it's anything like writing Kentucky Fried Movie, his wonderfully manic sketch comedy film from 1977, Zucker politely says, "Well, that's a theory."
"There were some instances where we were directed to throw some things at the screen that didn't fit in the story," Zucker says. "And that's not the right thing to do, so those things didn't work. But we cut them out. No matter how crazy and zany these spoof are, and they're pretty crazy, we still have to obey plot, structure, and character. It has to be coherent. If you take a side track, it won't work."
One thing Zucker had little to do with was Scary Movie V's stunt casting, which brings back Scary Movie vet Charlie Sheen, and enlists newbies Lindsay Lohan and Mob Wives star Big Ang. Zucker was happy to reunite with Sheen ("[He's] just a dream to work with. It's like driving a fancy car."). The others… well, he didn't know who Big Ang was, but he made it work. "The studio has this franchise and they know what they want to do with it," he says. "So they have very strong opinions on who they want to cast. And we accommodate that." Zucker laughs at an on-set title he's earned from keeping production on its toes. "They always joke about me because I come in in my scrubs and operate on the patient."
The reason Zucker believes he can work in this fashion is because he's well aware of what has and hasn't worked past. One thing that didn't work: his 2008, right-wing skewing An American Carol. "If I had to do it over again… I don't think I ever would have done it," he says. "Again, it has to be more entertainment than preachy. The talking points were too much out front. I just wanted to make it funny." Zucker recalls having an amazing experience making the critically-maligned Carol, which he co-wrote with his writing partner Lewis Friedman (who he points out is "a liberal New Yorker and a far left Democrat!"), and thought would play to all audiences. "We just wanted to make it as funny as we could while poking fun at the left, which nobody does," Zucker says. "People who know me know I'm not that serious about anything. I don't take the politics seriously. I don't think Republicans go to see movies, that's the other thing! It was a misguided thing."
With Scary Movie V in the can, Zucker is ready to get back to the movie he originally intended to make before the Weinsteins rang him up. He says it will take its cues from The Naked Gun. "The Naked Gun style is a sane way of doing a movie," he says. He hopes to direct his next script, which preys on popcorn movies in a method akin to his police spoof series (a Bourne-style update, anyone?). He also sees potential in reviving Naked Gun.
"You could do another Naked Gun, with a reboot. Like Star Trek," Zucker says. The immediate retort is, really, how could anyone live up to Leslie Nielsen? "There are people who can do that and they're not famous. You wouldn't know who they were. But I know actors who can do it. Again, I think Paramount has an international brand in Naked Gun and I think there's something you can do." For now, he hopes to revive the spirit of Naked Gun rather than the actual property. "There's room for a Naked Gun style. A bumbling guy in a position where he's respected. Leslie Nielsen played Lieutenant Frank Drebin and nobody seemed to have a clue that he's an idiot. I want to do the character, but not the specific [job]. Not Naked Gun."
Zucker thinks Scary Movie V survived the turbulent process of tinkering on the fly. He came to the movie prepared to break it, start over, reconfigure, and put it out into the world while looking forward. It's in the rules. "That's another glossary term we have: 'Apollo 13,'" he says. "When your spacecraft is in trouble and you have to get it back alive. So you use spare parts and do anything that you can to save it." So however Scary Movie V is received, he's ready to go back to the drawing board and make new movies. "One of the important things is not to blame other people for your failures (and that goes for regular life too). If a movie tanks, you have to look at what you did and figure out what happened."
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[Photo Credit: Universal Pictures]
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