Michael Arbeiter
Staff editor Michael Arbeiter’s natural state of being can best be described as “mild panic attack.” His earliest memories of growing up in Queens, New York, involve nighttime conversations with a voice from his bedroom wall (the jury’s still out on what that was all about) and a love for classic television that spawned from the very first time he was allowed to watch “The Munsters.” Attending college at SUNY Binghamton, a 20-year-old Michael learned two things: that he could center his future on this love for TV and movies, and that dragons never actually existed — he was kind of late in the game on that one.
  • Warning: Invalid argument supplied for foreach() in /media/www/hollywood/Web/releases/20150325105258/vendor/doctrine/common/lib/Doctrine/Common/Annotations/FileCacheReader.php on line 202 Warning: Invalid argument supplied for foreach() in /media/www/hollywood/Web/releases/20150325105258/vendor/doctrine/common/lib/Doctrine/Common/Annotations/FileCacheReader.php on line 202 Warning: Invalid argument supplied for foreach() in /media/www/hollywood/Web/releases/20150325105258/vendor/doctrine/common/lib/Doctrine/Common/Annotations/FileCacheReader.php on line 202 HBO Veteran Director Alan Taylor to Helm 'Thor 2'
    By: Michael Arbeiter Dec 27, 2011
    Long ago, the HBO network happened upon a man named Alan Taylor—an up-and-coming director with little more than Palooka Joe and Canadian television gig to his name. Over the course of the next fifteen years (and counting), Taylor would lend his vision to HBO series including Oz, Six Feet Under, Sex and the City, Carnivàle, Deadwood, Rome, Big Love, The Sopranos, Bored to Death, Boardwalk Empire and Game of Thrones. Needless to say, the man has done some good for the viewing world. And now, he is reported to be revisiting the big screen as the new director for Marvel's Thor 2. A lot of news has surrounded the directorial seat on the Thor sequel. Patty Jenkins (writer/director of Monster, along with a few of her own television gems: Arrested Development, Entourage, The Killing) was at one point confirmed as the film's director. Earlier this month, Jenkins left the project, which was apparently quite upsetting to Natalie Portman. Since Thor has been rendered Jenkins-less, Taylor has been discussed as a possible replacement. Today, it is reported that Taylor should be officially taking the spot. The installment of this new director will keep the project on schedule for Nov. 15, 2013. Thor stars Portman and Chris Hemsworth are on board to reprise their roles. Source: Deadline
  • Exclusive: Interview with 'Misfits' Star Iwan Rheon
    By: Michael Arbeiter Dec 26, 2011
    Winter hiatus may be, historically, a dismal time for television addicts. But the world is changing, and Hulu is our lead enabler. The United Kingdom has given America the Christmas gift of Misfits, a comedy/drama science-fiction series about a group of criminal young adults who develop superpowers while performing court ordered community service during a bizarre, supernatural storm. The first two series of the show were released on Hulu this past June, and now we are being graced with Series 3: with new episodes coming to the site every Monday (today marks the second episode of the series to be released in America). We got a chance to sit down with Iwan Rheon, who plays the show's iconic, and indubitably most heroic character, Simon Bellamy. When we first meet Simon in Series 1, he's a shy, socially anxious and unconfident young man. But as he becomes more enrapt in the dark and strange events of the series, and more involved in the lives of his fellow Misfits, Simon becomes something else entirely. Rheon gave us a few of his thoughts on the challenges behind playing a character with two distinctly different sides, working with some of the other cast members and writers, and what he thinks we might be in store for in future Misfits episodes.  Just to start off, what has it been like working on Misfits? And working with some of the other actors on the show? It’s been brilliant. Such a great opportunity for me. Particularly, how lucky I’ve been with the writing and the great storylines that I’ve been given. So, yeah, I feel really lucky. And it’s been great to work with all the other guys, and to work with such different people all the time. It’s been fantastic. That’s awesome. And speaking of the writing, I actually read online that you contributed to the creation of Simon? Um, yeah, in certain ways. Particularly before we started filming the first year, I had some really cool time with the director and the writer to discuss where we thought the characters were going and what we thought they were. And we decided how we’d go about the look and all that stuff. For Simon, we were really interested in…making him not a sort of stereotypical geek. There are so many—you see so often that people are just made into a geek…and that’s the great thing, I think, about Misfits, is that they’re all quite archetypally straight characters, and you can kind of see what each one is, but you always get surprised, and you always get a really three-dimensional view of the person. Yeah, absolutely. That’s one of the things I love about the show: how completely…multifaceted all of the characters are. Did any part of the creation of Simon come directly from you? Were you inspired by anything else in fiction? In science-fiction, specifically? It was all quite a fast but organic thing with the director Tom Green. We just kind of used what we had in the script, and just tried to make it a really original character. And we sort of toyed around with different things, and ended up just going with the painful shyness that he has. We wanted to make him quite cool in his own little way. He’s just got his own thing going on. He’s really knowledgeable about music and filming stuff…which we seemed to forget in the second and third series. But it was really nice to be able to work with the director and develop the character. Speaking of that, his knowledge of pieces of science-fiction or film in general often helps the storyline go, because he knows what’s going on with these superheroes when nobody else does. That’s something I especially love about his character. Do you think that the show could even exist without that? I think the gang as a unit needs someone [like Simon] because of all these things that are happening—and I think that’s part of the beauty of it: none of them have got clue what’s going on. They’re just normal people in this very strange situation, and they’re all kind of idiots. [Laughs] And Simon is kind of always the one that has all the answers, and they never listen to him. I think, gradually, throughout the three series, you kind of see [them] kind of realizing [Simon’s] value, because he’s always right. A pretty cool thing about your character: when we first meet him in the pilot episode, and the version of Simon that comes back from the future, are two very, very different people. But they’re both: of course, Simon. How was playing two different versions of the same character? And keeping them based in the same guy but different enough that you could notice the differences? Oh, it was great. As an actor, it’s like a dream come true. You’ve always got a sort of character arc, and a journey that the character goes on throughout the series, but then to get to play the end of the character in the second series when, they’re so far from reaching that, when Simon himself is so far from reaching that, it was a great challenge for me. I really enjoyed it…I’m really lucky with the writing, and how they gave me that opportunity to do something completely different although stay within the same character. It’s just a great opportunity. I think it’s every actor’s dream. You know, I’m so used to playing the painfully shy virgin off in the corner who doesn’t say a word. And then all of a sudden it’s like, ‘Hello!’ [Laughs] He’s kind of a super-confident guy, going from speakers one to ten. It’s brilliant. What I’m sure is also pretty cool is that you got a chance to interact a lot more with the character Alisha. I’m interested to know, in the first two series—and we’ve only gotten the first episode of the third series over here in America—most of your really substantial interaction was with Alisha, or, before that, with Nathan. And I’m wondering if we’re going to see Simon develop a relationship, maybe, with Curtis, or Kelly, or Rudy. I think Rudy and Simon have got a great thing going on. Because Simon’s so serious and straight…and he doesn’t mess around with his superpowers. And then you’ve got this Rudy character, who is an absolute idiot. And he’s like, almost the opposite of Simon. You get that really good comedy dynamic between the two characters, where you see Simon’s exasperation with having to talk to this fool. And it’s very different—the Simon who is in the third series has grown a lot and is a lot more confident. So he’s as not belittled as he was by Nathan. He doesn’t have to take that stuff anymore. [Simon and Rudy] are kind of on a level, even playing plane. Episode Six is a really funny episode. Simon and Rudy go on an adventure. [Laughs] I think, in the third series, you see that the gang has actually become friends…whether they like it or not. They’ve developed a real bond with each other. You really see that happening, whereas before, they were kind of just in this situation together, and they had no choice. So now, there’s a nice friendship between all of them. And a dependency, because they’re in this together. That’s awesome. I’m looking forward to that. Are there any other changes that are going to occur in the third series? Yeah, well, loads happens, and you see that the character Seth—he’s the power-dealer—he comes into it a lot more. He’s quite a common figure in the series. And I think in terms of Simon: the burden of knowing that he has this sort of destiny laid out in front of him, and having to reach [that] and how difficult it is. And how…he’s got this most incredible, beautiful girlfriend, and his life is probably the best it has ever been—but he feels that ending, he’s afraid of the fact that he’s going to have to throw all that away. He’s going to die to save Alisha in the past. That’s actually got to be an acting challenge: playing someone who knows he’s about it. What’s that like? Yeah. Well, I think Simon, the way he is, he’s willing to accept his fate. He’s a strong believer in all of that stuff. I think for me, as an actor, the challenge is—it works from the beginning of the second series, knowing what the future Simon is like. It’s this slow development into this more confident character. It’s almost like, every episode, he’s building his confidence, he’s building his abilities, he’s building his strength—to link it all up, so that when it does all kick off, he’s there, and he is the character that came back from the future. So, that’s been the challenge for me. And I’d also like to ask, speaking of challenges, the show is terrific at balancing its drama its comedy, and the science fiction world, and delivering them all in a way that they work together. They build each other up, rather than stepping on each other. How is it, from your perspective, that you guys can do that so well? It boils down, I think, to just great writing. It all starts from the script…the scripts are brilliant. Howard has been able to, now, from knowing is, write for us, as actors. He knows our strengths. He knows how we speak, the patterns in our speech. He can really write for that. And I think it’s important that we’ve got great directors on board that have a knowledge for all those sort of genres. So they can do—they know what’s funny, and they know when to be serious. In the scripts themselves, there’s a fantastic balance of that. Yeah, I think you have to credit the writing, really, for that. Definitely Howard Overman. He’s a genius. He’s a crazy genius. With a dark mind. The dialogue on your show is fantastic. But credit to you guys, as well—it’s delivered terrifically. Is there any specific place you’d like to see your character, or any of the characters, go in the future of the show? Well, I think Simon has got his future laid out for him. I think what the characters want is just to finish doing community service. That’s all they really want—and to try not to get killed. And really to try not to kill any more probation workers. I think the show just has a natural way of developing itself and reinventing itself. And I’m sure you get asked this a lot, but I have to ask this: if you yourself were in the Misfits storm, and you got struck by the lightning, what do you think your superpower would end up being? Me personally? Yeah. [Laughs] Well, it kind of depends on how you feel at the time. That’s a difficult question. I don’t actually get asked this a lot. I’m surprised. I think it would be…the power to be able to create a musical instrument out of anything. That’s really interesting! That’s not one I’ve heard before! Music is my great passion, so that would be nice to be able to do that. Well that’s awesome. I hope we get to see some of that in the show. [Laughs] Yeah. Probably not. Watch a new episode of Misfits every Monday on Hulu.
  • Video: 'Killer Elite' Clip Shows the Ups and Downs of Being a Hit Man
    By: Michael Arbeiter Dec 23, 2011
    From the looks of the below video from the upcoming Blu-ray release, Killer Elite is a pretty appropriately named film. Few hitmen, even of the Tarantinoverse, could pull off the takedown that Jason Statham and his cronies (Dominic Purcell,  and Aden Young among the pack). However, from viewing the clip below, one can see that the movie takes a more sincere look at the life of a hitman. Statham's character Danny may not exactly be unfazed by the acts of treachery he and his team litter the world with. The below action-packed clip shows both the adrenal, fast-paced side of the life, and a glimpse into what might be Danny's regrets. Killer Elite also stars Clive Owen and Robert De Niro. Killer Elite arrives on Blu-ray and DVD on Jan. 10.
  • Natalie Morales of 'Parks and Recreation' Will Join Aaron Sorkin's 'The Newsroom'
    By: Michael Arbeiter Dec 23, 2011
    Yesterday, word spread about the official title of Aaron Sorkin's developing newsroom drama for HBO, which is now going by The Newsroom (it was tentatively titled More on This as it Develops for some time). Since then, the series has accumulated two new guest stars. Last night, The Closer's Jon Tenney landed a role. Today, we hear that Natalie Morales has done the same. As a Parks and Recreation fan, this news is the tops to me. Although Morales is likely better known for her White Collar and The Middleman roles, she has flourished in every appearance on the great NBC sitcom, playing Tom Haverford's (Aziz Ansari) jaw-droppingly cool girlfriend Lucy. Morales will be reviving her girlfriendly rituals for The Newsroom; her character will be dating Will McAllister's (Jeff Daniels) staffmember Neal, played by Dev Patel. Tenney is also amping up for a romantic attachment to a member of the titular newsroom. His character Wade will be seen to be involved with Emily Mortimer's Mackenzie McHale, the executive producer of the news show. All this, combined with the existing cast including Daniels, Mortimer, Patel, Alison Pill, and Olivia Munn makes for some pretty good...recent information. Source: TVLine, Theatermania
  • The Great Dan Aykroyd Joins the Promising Cast of 'Dog Fight'
    By: Michael Arbeiter Dec 23, 2011
    Dog Fight's plot is becoming less and less important. Sure, political satire is a fertile ground for comedy—and I do think both stars Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis are stylistically suited for something in this realm. But really, I don't care what the movie is about anymore. This is not to discount the project; quite the contrary. I know that I am going to enjoy this movie, regardless of its plot, of its script, of whether or not it is shot entirely on an old flip phone's thirty-second video camera and is set to be distributed as such. So what's the big sell? The cast. Dog Fight is accumulating a cast of comic dynamite. The latest addition: Dan Aykroyd. Dan Aykroyd is so funny that he has remained relevant despite an irritatingly spelled last name. Dan Aykroyd is so funny that he got away with calling Jane Curtin an "ignorant slut" in a time when saying "ignorant slut" was not the small-talk staple that it is today. Dan Aykroyd is so funny that even in a cast that includes John Lithgow, Brian Cox, Jason Sudeikis and Will Forte, I'd point out Dan Aykroyd and say, "Oh, that guy's funny." So, Dog Fight, don't waste any money on developing any other aspect of your movie. Just roll camera on Aykroyd, Lithgow and co, and expect humor to prevail. It will. I'd bet my finest bottle of Crystal Head Vodka on it. Source: Indiewire
  • Sneak Peak: Saddle Up for Steven Spielberg's 'War Horse' with Clip Collection
    By: Michael Arbeiter Dec 23, 2011
    Next week, American moviegoers will be treated to Steven Spielberg's majestic War Horse: the story of a horse named Joey who prevails through many World War I adventures to find his way back home to his best friend, young Albert Narracott (Jeremy Irvine)—the true testament to the fact that when you truly love somebody, even wild [something...] can't keep you from getting to them. We have compiles a harras of War Horse clips in celebration of the feature film and all of its gallant glory. Enjoy the videos below and catch War Horse in theaters everywhere. You can also check out these two reviews of War Horse: one by our own Matt Patches, and one by the demonic rock band GWAR. As it turns out, not quite everybody loves horses. When patriarch Ted (Peter Mullan) brings home Joey, his wife Rose (Emily Watson) is none too pleased with her husband’s purchase. But despite this domestic war, young Albert sees something in Joey. Perhaps…a friend.
  • Listen To Taylor Swift's Song From 'The Hunger Games' Soundtrack
    By: Michael Arbeiter Dec 23, 2011
    Taylor Swift is inching gradually into the world of movies, both on screen and off. This coming March will see her lend her voice to two big films: The Lorax, voicing one of main characters, and The Hunger Games, with her new song "Safe & Sound," featuring the Civil Wars. Swift announced her contribution, to The Hunger Games soundtrack via Twitter last night, which should be exciting news for fans of both Swift and the Suzanne Collins book series. Considering the nature of the story—which has a whole lot of battles-to-the-death going on—Swift's mellow and sweet song might be a good way to soften the delivery of the movie, which features Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth. Click on the photo below to view more pictures of Taylor Swift! Sources: Blackfilm, Twitter
  • Conan O'Brien Delivers Jon Hamm as a Secret Santa Gift: Late Last Night
    By: Michael Arbeiter Dec 23, 2011
    Last night, Conan O'Brien revealed that he is the absolute worst Secret Santa ever when he completely forgot about getting his recipient a gift and had to scramble something together at the last minute. Fortunately, he seemed to have made up for it pretty well with a surprising present: Jon Hamm. Jonah Hill appeared on The Tonight Show to talk about getting (and answering) Morgan Freeman's fan mail, celebrating his birthday with Brad Pitt and several very expensive bottles of wine, and to reluctantly perform a short but lively dance with Jay Leno. Finally, Anderson Cooper visited The Late Show to be caught a bit off guard by Letterman's quoting of an off-color comment that a citizen said to Newt Gingrich.
  • 'The Avengers' Will Assemble in 3D
    By: Michael Arbeiter Dec 23, 2011
    Let’s face it. We all knew this was going to happen. There was almost no way that The Avengers wasn’t going to be released in 3D. Think of the opportunities: Hawkeye’s arrow soaring right at 3D. Bruce Banner’s rage transforming him into the monstrous, gigantic 3D. Tony Stark saying something marginally 3D! The film was made for 3D. On the other hand, the film was not made for 3D. I mean this literally: The Avengers was shot in 2D, but will be post-converted to 3D for theatrical release. This is a practice with which a lot of the viewing public has taken issue. There is a noticeable difference between the quality of a movie shot in 3D—or, at the very least, a movie shot in 2D but given ample time for properly convert the footage—than to that shot in 2D and converted speedily, as will be the process undertaken by The Avengers. Just yesterday, we lamented J.J. Abrams’ decision to post-convert his Star Trek 2 footage, but at least Abrams is taking his time with the conversion process (I might have been a bit too harsh with you yesterday, Abrams; I realize that now). Of course, griping about it is a silly decision either way. We will still have the option to see the film in its natural 2D. But I guess its just the Marvel hero in each of us that hates to see innocent moviegoers bamboozled into watching an inadequately three-dimensional film. ...Maybe we should make our own movie... The Avengers stars Chris Evans, Robert Downey, Jr., Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Chris Hemsworth, Samuel L. Jackson and Tom Hiddleston, and will reach theaters May 4, 2012. Source: Indiewire
  • Seth Rogen Attached to Disney Spy Comedy 'The B Team'
    By: Michael Arbeiter Dec 22, 2011
    Seth Rogen gets a lot of chops for just being the guy who banks on his raspy laugh and jokes about narcotics. Nonetheless, I've always been a fan of his—not just his acting talents, but his behind-the-scenes work as well. Rogen was written a fair share of popular films, including Superbad and Pineapple Express (he also lent his pen to series Undeclared and Da Ali G Show). He has played producer on a slew of movies. And he will carry out this role once again in accordance with a developing Disney comedy titled The B Team. The movie will surround a secret agent's sidekicks—the tech support team who never sees any danger of its own—who are called into action to save their leading man when he is kidnapped by a supervillain. It sounds like it is in the vein of traditional motley crew/underdog stories, which, as far as I am concerened, belong to a timeless well that never dries out of comedy. Disney has been developing this project for many years now; perhaps Rogen's specific visionary style will give it the right flavor to progress the film forward. In addition to playing actor, writer and producer, Rogen has also been said to be taking his first stab at directing: adapting the short film Jay and Seth Vs. the Apocalypse, in which he and Jay Baruchel starred in 2007, to a feature film. Sourc: Variety