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.
  • Reese Witherspoon and Jason Segel Make 'Sex Tape'
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 27, 2011
    Ah, the power of headlines. Sex Tape is a comedy film (about a sex tape, so...keep reading) written by Kate Angelo (writer of The Back-up Plan and a whole bunch of sitcom episodes between the years 2000 and 2007). The premise of the film centers around a bored married couple who, in the interests of spicing things up, decide to make a sex tape. It's kind of like Date Night, or Mr. & Mrs. Smith, or Revolutionary Road. But with a sex tape. So...keep reading? The stars being approached to play the married couple in question are Reese Witherspoon and Jason Segel. After the amateur film project is completed, the two misplace it, and then desparately go on a quest to retrieve the incriminating piece of home video. Witherspoon has been involved in her share of well-received comedies, and Segel is a guru of watchability. So if the film does grab this pair for the starring duo, it'll be smooth sailing casting-wise. The premise is one that'll bring in a certain crowd and deter another specific crowd. And then there's the crowd in between—the, for lack of a better word, normal crowd—who have a pretty fair chance of checking out the movie. Even if it's just based on wanting to see Jason Segel get exacerbated. Nick Stoller is being reached to direct. He wrote Fun with Dick and Jane, which would also fit quite snugly in the list of bored married couple movies above. Stoller also wrote the upcoming The Muppets movie, starring Segel. Source: Deadline
  • Kristen Wiig Joins Star Robert De Niro in the Sean Penn Directed 'The Comedian'
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 27, 2011
    There's an interesting project on the horizons that will team Sean Penn and Robert De Niro with Kristen Wiig, in what I expect to be America's "Who saw that coming?" moment in terms of the actress' dramatic abilities. As we heard back in June, Penn is directing The Comedian, a tale about an aging, acerbic standup comic named Jackie Burke (played by De Niro), who is clinging desperately to any remnants of his once prominent fame. After a violent incident at a nightclub, Burke is sentenced to community service, where he meets his femme fatale/Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Harmony, played by Wiig. Bridesmaids made everybody realize what a comic sensation Wiig is. Maybe it will be Penn's The Comedian that publicizes awareness of her dramatic talents as well. Plus, getting back into thick, gritty character pieces is just what De Niro needs to turn his career back around. And Penn...well, he's doing fine. But this will probably be a pleasant experience for him as well. Penn has not directed a feature since 2007's Into the Wild. As a director, he is known for his large gaps between projects, possibly due to a careful deliberation regarding which films to work on. The Comedian seems like something Penn's artistic, erratic sensibilities will suit well. The same applies to the central role in terms of De Niro. And as for Wiig? Well, we may not have seen her do hard drama just yet. But mark my words: once you get a glimpse of what she is capable of, you'll be wiiggin' out. Source: Deadline
  • Final 'Muppets' Trailer Parodies 'Paranormal Activity', 'Puss in Boots' & 'Twilight: Breaking Dawn'
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 27, 2011
    So far, the people behind the marketing plan for the new The Muppets movie have taken to releasing a romantic comedy trailer parody, a Green Lantern trailer parody, a The Hangover Part II trailer parody, and a The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trailer parody. And now, in a twist of meta-dom that will make your head explode, there is one final trailer parody: a The Muppets trailer parody. It might be a scary thought that the world of post-post-post-post-modernity has overtaken us so ferociously...but at least it's all happening via Muppets. After all, if we're going to succumb to self-referential madness, it might as well be Henson-fueled. Also in the below trailer, we get a few snippets of what other trailer parodies the marketing team had in store. Victims of this Muppetational wrath include Paranormal Activity 3, Puss in Boots, and Twilight: Breaking Dawn - Part 1...none of which seem to impress the executive played by Rashida Jones. Enjoy this final taste of Muppetdom. And for some actual trailers for the upcoming The Muppets movie, starring Jason Segel and Amy Adams among the fuzzy favorites, click here and here. Source: Indiewire
  • PBS' Steve Jobs Documentary 'One Last Thing' Likely to Incite Controversy
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 27, 2011
    Since Steve Jobs' passing, the media has, naturally, treated the man's memory with a great deal of respect and affability. Nary a negative word has been spoken of Jobs in the past few weeks, as everyone prefers to focus on his triumphs and unparalleled contributions, rather than the flaws he must have had -- being a person, and all. Well, a new documentary called Steve Jobs -- One Last Thing is set to air on PBS next week, and intends to take a more candid view of the man. The documentary intends by no means to disgrace or devalue Jobs, but rather to show his difficult, controlling businessman side that was necessary to accomplish all he did. The title of the documentary comes from Jobs' catchphrase "Oh, one more thing," something he would say after long presentations to public audiences right before revealing his latest project, a.k.a. the real attraction. Individuals featured on the documentary include Steve Wozniak, Ronald Wayne, Dean Hovey and Bill Fernandez (all from Apple), as well as politican Ross Perot (an early investor in Jobs' NeXT Computer), Prof. Robert Palladino (who inspired some of the designs behind the Mac), and of The Black Eyed Peas, whose "I Got a Feeling" holds the record for most downloaded song on iTunes to date. Steve Jobs - One Last Thing will air on Wednesday, Nov. 2 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on PBS. Source: AOLTV
  • Interview: Ken Marino On His 'Whitney' Guest Spot and the Talented Chris D'Elia
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 27, 2011
    This week, NBC’s newest comedy, Whitney, welcomes a face familiar to fans of comedy: Ken Marino. The funny man will stick around for a few episodes. We recently has the chance to speak with Marino about his stint on Whitney Cummings’ sitcom, as well as about some potential other projects in the works (including his kitchen-under-repair, about which Marino spoke at hilarious length). Known best for his roles on the short-lived but much adored Party Down and the laugh-out-loud funny Childrens Hospital, Marino joins the cast of Whitney to pepper in a little bit of his trademark “Ken Marino voice,” (which the actor insists does not exist). However, one of the things Marino discussed most passionately was the talent of Whitney’s breakout star, Chris D’Elia. On Whitney, Marino will play older brother to D’Elia, who plays Whitney’s long-term live-in boyfriend, Alex. Marino described his character, Brian, as a furniture salesman who is “kind of jealous of [Alex] because he’s smart and artistic and creative,” and, as a result, will get “a little passive-aggressive, if not aggressive, with him.” He further went on about his character and how he decided to play him, and joked a bit about his weight-gain the week he was working on Whitney: “I just played Brian like me, like a version of me. The probably the more annoying version of me… the first thing I found out about the character of Brian is that his waist is 35 to 36 inches, and my waist is 34, and I'll stand by that. I don't know how they did it in the wardrobe department, but somehow they made my waist bigger the week I was hired.” Marino expressed a great appreciation for his opportunity to appear on the show alongside actors like Cummings, D’Elia, and the rest of the cast: I took [this role] because I like Whitney and I'm friends with her and I enjoy the show. I enjoy the people who work on the show and I like the character. I enjoyed pretty much all of it. I mean, I think the actors on the show are a lot of fun, you know, getting to know them a little bit. I didn't really know any of them other than Whitney…They're just really good, funny people. And then the people running the show are very passionate about it and so it's fun watching, you know, a group of people creating a show that are really into it and passionate about it. That's nice to see, because sometimes you work on a show where, you know, everybody's just kind of walking through the motions. But there was an electricity on that set which is always exciting to be around. And then they gave me a fun part, you know, to play Chris's older brother. Chris is hysterical...we went to YouTube and started watching his standup. And man, that guy is funny. Marino was so impressed by D’Elia’s talent that he is even considering writing a project for D'Elia, although the details on this are still quite under-wraps. Marino did say, “I'm writing some movies with Dave Wain, so…I was thinking about something for Chris actually the other day that I wanted to write by myself that he would be great in…It's a standup a comedian as the main character.” Marino also spoke about the differences between working on single-camera shows, like Party Down and Childrens Hospital, and working on shows taped in front of studio audiences, like Whitney. Regarding the latter, Marino said, “It is a whole different kind of vibe and when you get in there and you're in front of an audience, you tend to want to play up to the audience so you get laughs…I've done four-camera in the past and I really enjoyed, I like hearing the reaction from people that immediate reaction. And so it's fun.” The actor closed out by discussing the pressures of being a newcomer to an established set, and explained the importance of overcoming your insecurities for the sake of your work. “I think anytime you walk onto a set where you don't know anybody, you want to impress them. But I try to let that go -- I try to get rid of that feeling very quickly because that's not the thing to be focusing on, for me, because it gets in the way of just kind of being creative and trying to serve the story and serve the scene and serve the character.” Clearly, Marino is taking his own advice, because in everything he has done—roles in film and television, surrounded by his established The State group and by other company—he's delivered gold. Whitney airs Thursday nights at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.
  • Paul Walker to Star in 'District B13' Remake 'Brick Mansions'
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 27, 2011
    Brick Mansions, the developing American remake of French director Pierre Morel's Banlieue 13 (translated loosely to District 13...and there's a 'B' that finds its way in there, somehow) is one of those big hit-or-miss projects. Besson's film was a pretty interesting tale about a detective teaming up with a criminal in the Parisian slums to apprehend a gang that has possession of a nuclear weapon. And now a remake is underway over on our side of the Atlantic, with Paul Walker set to star. There is not a great deal of inherent bad news attached to the remake, Brick Mansions: Luc Besson, co-writer of the original film, is working on the new script—an obvious plus—along with with his Taken (also directed by Morel) co-writer Robert Mark Kamen—also plus. David Belle (parkour master), star of the original film and its 2009 sequel (as well as the man responsible for this), will be reprising his role as the reformed thug Lino in Brick Mansions—another clear win. There is a bit of uncertainty when it comes to the new lead, however: as stated above, Paul Walker, known best for his role in the Fast and the Furious series, will be playing the American version of Capt. Damian Tomaso, the detective dedicated to retrieving the WMD. The certainty is not so much derived from the idea of Walker himself, but more so from the connotation of what a Paul Walker movie has come to be. Hopefully, Brick Mansions doesn't make of District B13 a simple high-speed, guns-a-blazin' cop-on-the-chase film. There is more to Distict B13, and we're hoping all of that is preserved in the remake. Of course, this is all likely a silly concern. The minds behind the film, as well as one of its star players, should indicate a maintenance of the original's spirit. But where would the movie business be without nagging pessimism of the Internet? We're not doubting that Walker might be able to pull of a more sincere and succulent role like the one we're vying for...we're just hoping the role will call for him to do so. Source: Deadline
  • A 'Scrubs' Reunion Is Headed for 'Cougar Town'
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 27, 2011
    It's hardly out of the norm for Bill Lawrence to stick his old friends in his new shows. Back when Scrubs was still a welcome fixture in our weekly routine, actors from Lawrence's previous show, Spin City, would pop up fairly regularly. And in a very circle-of-lifey vein, we're about to see a handful of Scrubs cameos on Lawrence's Cougar Town. Specifically, Zach Braff, and Robert Maschio, who played The Todd. It was announced last month that Sarah Chalke would also be appearing on the show in a multi-episode arc as Bobby's (Brian Van Holt) girlfriend and Travis' (Dan Byrd) college professor. We've already seen a couple of old friends from Sacred Heart Hospital make their way down to the shores of CT. Christa Miller is the most obvious example of this (she plays Ellie Torres on Cougar Town and played Jordan Sullivan on Scrubs). Ken Jenkins, who reigned surpreme as the tyrannical Dr. Kelso on Scrubs, has made a couple of appearances as Jules' (star Courteney Cox) father, Chick. Plus, Scott Foley -- a frequent Scrubs recurrer as Elliot's (Chalke) handsome but socially awkward seal-training boyfriend Sean -- enjoyed an arc back in Season 1 as Jules' love interest. As a matter of fact, Cox herself falls into this category, as she had a brief stint on Scrubs' eighth season as the temporary Chief of Medicine at Sacred Heart. But the Scrubsiest moment of the series occured when Sam Lloyd made a guest appearance on the show's Season 2 finale (an episode full of interesting guest appearances), playing his Scrubs character, the perpetually-defeated lawyer/musician, Ted Buckland. Both Jenkins and Lloyd are set to reprise their characters this coming season. And now, Braff and Maschio will find themselves involved in some wine-addled Penny Canning. No word yet on what characters the former docs will play, but some of the more dedicated fans might consider Braff playing anyone other than himself to be a rift in the space-time continuum, thanks to Laurie's (Busy Philipps) Zach Braff iPhone app. The best thing about this is the possibility of a total Scrubs reunion episode: as Chalke's role on the show will span several episodes, we might get to see her interract with newcomers Braff and Maschio, and returning players Jenkins and Lloyd. Is it too much to hope for that they'll all find themselves in the same scene? Possibly with Miller, and Jules' creepy neighbor Tom, whose portrayer Bob Clenendin had a small recurring role as the sexual deviant oncologist Paul Zeltzer on Scrubs? This is quite an exciting development for Scrubs fans. It's enough to make you jump on your best friend's shoulders and shout "Eagle!" Source: TVLine
  • Anne Hathaway to Star in and Produce Paranoid-Thriller 'Puzzler'
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 27, 2011
    To us, it might seem like Anne Hathaway has it all. But apparently, the young star needs more out of this tireless vacuum of mania we understand to be life. So, she has decided to take on the role of producing. Hathaway will both star in and produce the developing thriller film Puzzler, which is not the name of a new villain in The Dark Knight Rises, but pretty much the most thrillery movie title I've ever heard. The new film is said to be reminiscent of Three Days of the Condor, the 1975 Sydney Pollack film wherein a CIA researcher (Robert Redford) must discover who murdered all of his coworkers. Cautious to trust anyone, Redford's character pursues this mystery with a double dose of paranoia, which will be just as large a theme in the upcoming Hathaway film. Onboard to write the script for Puzzler is Karl Gajdusek, the screenwriter responsible for the new Nic Cage/Nicole Kidman ransom movie Trespass, as well as a handful of Dead Like Me episodes. Source: THR
  • Justin Timberlake Returns to His Musical Side: Late Last Night
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 27, 2011
    Last night, Justin Timberlake brought his old musical self back to us for a brief moment (and oh, how we miss it) on The Late Show to perform a quick example of what life would be like if it were a Broadway musical. On The Tonight Show, Harold and Kumar stars John Cho and Kal Penn stopped by to talk about their own real-life run ins with airport security—but Kal Penn's experiences with profiling have changed quite a bit since he became famous—and how much like theri movie characters they are like in real life. Salma Hayek joined Jimmy Fallon in a game of beer pong on Late Night...although she seemed a little confused by the "pong" part at first, she really warmed up to it once the "beer" aspect became involved. Finally, Jane Lynch appeared on Conan to compare visiting her sculpture in the wax museum to attending her own funeral, to show a clip of the Jersey Shore cast's outtakes from the Emmys skit she worked on with them, and to explain how many of the parts she takes in movies were originally written for men. 
  • Casting Roundup: Jennifer Coolidge on '2 Broke Girls,' 'West Wing' Star on 'Once Upon a Time'
    By: Michael Arbeiter Oct 26, 2011
    CBS' newest hit, 2 Broke Girls, is welcoming a guest star to its not-so-Williamsburgy Williamsburg setting: Jennifer Coolidge, most renowned for her role in the American Pie movies, Stifler's Mom. Coolidge will play Sophie, a workaholic neighor to the starring pair of Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs. No word yet on whether or not she'll play a friend or nemesis to the mismatched roommies, but we're going to bank on the latter, as the show seems to be embracing the "Max and Caroline vs. the World" motif. 2 Broke Girls airs Mondays at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT on CBS. -Deadline The surprise ratings wonder that was Once Upon a Time is attracting some formidable guest appearances, including a prominent West Wing alum. Richard Schiff, who played Toby Ziegler in Aaron Sorkin's White House drama, has earned a pretty high ranking in ABC's fairy tale world. He'll be playing King Leopold of the Enchanted Forest (not too shabby), and father of the show's heroine, Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin). King Leopold will make his appearance on the eleventh episode of the season, complete with a gripping (and sad) backstory involving a few other folk tale favorites. Once Upon a Time airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC. -TVLine Jerry O'Connell has come a long way since his film debut as Vern Tessio in the unforgettable Stand by Me. The actor is now a new father, and was inspired by the humorous bedtime story Go the F**k to Sleep by Adam Mansbach to create a sitcom chronicling the challenges of new parenthood. CBS has purchased the series, and O'Connell will star as well produce. Mansbach came onboard to help craft the series. From his personal experience came the additional character element of being a newly successful children's author and balancing career and family. -Deadline