Music Box Films/Everett Collection
In a recent interview with the London Evening Standard, Tom Hiddleston said, "I’m soooo aware of the borderline pretentiousness of my conversation." As his rabid fans (myself included? Not admitting anything here) know, Hiddleston has quite the penchant for esoteric references and waxing poetic when it comes to Shakespeare. Let’s take a look at his most-pretentious-ever quotes:
On Tilda Swinton: "And we read each other Rumi and talked about Einstein’s theory of entanglement and Hamlet and the White Stripes and Fibonacci. It was just an amazing time of sharing all the things that we loved, filling ourselves up with so many references that we were then happy to drop, because we knew what we were talking about." (From NowToronto)
Standard Hiddleston fare: a couple of vaguely academic references, along with a sly mention of that infamous brooding Dane ("There are some other princes I haven’t played yet, too." Hint, hint).
On Loki: "When I was constructing him with ['Thor' director] Ken Branagh — because Shakespeare is a shared passion and shared inheritance — we talked about the reference...he's kind of like Edmund in King Lear, Iago in Othello or Cassius in Julius Caesar. So I was borrowing archetypes from my knowledge of Shakespeare." (From the LA Times)
I suppose Shakespeare isn’t too big of a leap when your director is “Ken” Branagh — especially when Branagh himself states that Henry V was one of his sources of inspiration.
On his work in Midnight in Paris: "I met David O. Russell for dinner when he was in London for Silver Linings Playbook. I just wanted to tell him how much I loved the film. And he basically spent an hour telling me why he thinks Midnight in Paris is the greatest film that’s been made in the last 20 years, and he insisted on taking a picture because he was such a fan of Fitzgerald." (From Entertainment Weekly)
Oh, smooth backdoor brag, Tom. So what we can gather here is that Hiddleston’s hoping to star as Hamlet in David O. Russell’s ground-breaking adaptation – ooh! Jennifer Lawrence can play Ophelia, Melissa Leo can play Gertrude, and – who are we kidding, Russell would pass right over Hiddleston in favor of Christian Bale when it came down to the title role.
When all is said and done? We (the Hiddlestoners? Whatever, at least it’s more politically correct than “Cumberbitches”) love him all the more for his (over) enthusiastic name-dropping and über-academic manner of speaking. Who wouldn’t? He’s so damn irresistible! And if you’re ever feeling down on him, you can always temper this mass of pretentious-ness with the fact that he recently danced to K-Pop and sang Michael Jackson on a recent promotional tour of Seoul. Yeah, that actually happened.
ABC via Getty
Who is Maurissa Tancharoen? She's an executive producer (along with writing partner-cum-husband, Jed Whedon) on ABC's Avengers spin-off, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Long story short? She's awesome, and here's why:
5. She played Kilo, the spitfire active on Dollhouse. She only made a few brief cameo appearances, but they were all extremely memorable – in one episode, she tells off Fran Kranz's Topher Brink, saying, "How do you wanna straight up lie to my face, white boy? You told me you were takin' me on a treatment; I ain't got time for no nerd convention." She's got sass to spare, that's for sure.
4. In her youth, she was part of an early '90s multicultural girls' R&B group called "Pretty in Pink." Enough said.
3. If you like her music, you'll love her rendition of "Sigh No More" (music by Joss Whedon, lyrics by William Shakespeare) which she sings along with husband Jed Whedon in my favorite film of the year, Much Ado About Nothing.
2. She co-wrote and appeared in nerd masterpiece Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. She played a Captain Hammer groupie, with this memorable lyric about Penny, Captain Hammer's altruistic girlfriend: "they say she works with the homeless, and doesn't eat meat – we have a problem with her." Yeah, I'd have a problem with her, too.
1. As if being a co-creator of Dr. Horrible wasn't enough, she also wrote this awesome commentary on the lack of Asian roles in film and TV. "Nobody's Asian in the Movies" unpacks difficult (and oft-unspoken) issues of racism and tokenization. It's especially interesting when you look at Joss Whedon's not-so-stellar diversity track record – before Tancharoen came along, he produced 12 episodes of a series based largely off of Chinese culture without featuring even one Asian character. I love Firefly, but dude: not cool. In contrast to Firefly's issues (heresy, I know), it's nice to see Tancharoen ushering in Asian and Asian-American actors to primetime TV.
Twentieth Century Fox Television
Marvel magnate (and nerd king) Joss Whedon is known for his habit of reusing his favorite actors. With his popular new drama, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D lighting up primetime, we're looking forward to seeing some familiar faces. Firefly alum Ron Glass already made an appearance in the pilot; now who else?
A Whedon favorite if there ever was one. He played the ruggedly handsome Mal on Firefly and the also-ruggedly-handsome, but much-less-intelligent Captain Hammer in Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, and the similarly dim-witted Dogberry in Much Ado About Nothing. I'd love to see him put his stupid cap back on for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – maybe he could play an old flame of Agent May's? That's mostly because I want to see him and Ming-Na Wen sharing screentime.
And speaking of Firefly – come on, we already know that Gina Torres makes a literally kick-ass action hero from her stint as Zoë Washburne. She might not make the best field agent, because of some overlap with existing character, Agent May – both are utterly unshakable women-of-few-words that know to get things done. She would make an excellent villain, though: maybe she could be part of the mysterious Project Centipede.
Fran Kranz is probably best known for playing the socially-challenged super-genius Topher Brink on the short-lived Dollhouse, and he recently appeared in Whedon-helmed projects Cabin in the Woods, and Much Ado About Nothing. He was brilliant as the oft-unlikable Claudio in Much Ado, and his portrayal of consummate stoner Marty was downright awesome. He could fill pretty much any shoes on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (though unfortunately, the tech-speaking über-nerd role has already been doubly filled by Agent Fitz and Agent Simmons).
And while we're bringing back Fran Kranz, can we also invite Summer Glau to the party? Topher Brink and Bennett Halverson deserve a second chance at love.
She's a slamdunk for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, right? We've seen her as bad-ass (yet slightly evil) Faith on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and as equally bad-ass (and decidedly less evil) Echo on Dollhouse. Though, like Gina Torres, her Whedonverse characters share a lot in common with Skye – it's that quippy, devil-may-care attitude and awesome hair. Maybe she could play a double agent who befriends Skye then betrays her, thus double-agenting the (kind of) double agent!
Alan Tudyk – possibly one of the funniest people in the history of ever
Sarah Michelle Gellar, if she's not too busy on The Crazy Ones
Nicholas Brendon – where has he been??
ABC did exactly what everyone was saying they were trying to do when they hired Bill Nye the Science Guy: they hooked the nerdy millenials. I mean, Bill was eliminated way back on episode 3 (after an adorable immobilized-knee robot dance to "Get Lucky") and I'm still hooked. Glitter and sequins aside, there's something that's touching about watching the stars and "the professionals" really bond as they spend hours a day training. Watching Valerie Harper dance the Viennese waltz to "Carry On" with her very-sweet partner Tristan McManus was -- cheesy as it sounds -- beautiful in more ways than one.
Mushiness aside, this week the dancers/stars were in for a very special treat: Cher was guest judging, in place of at-times astringent head judge Len Goodman. Everyone was over the moon – Cher was über-complimentary and supportive, and she handed out exclusively 8s and 9s. That must have been a nice break (Leah Remini in particular, expressed this sentiment multiple times), and it was fun to see the starstruck stars: Elizabeth Berkley publicly (and only slightly awkwardly) thanked Cher for what she's done to empower women.
As we move into week 8, the competition has been getting tighter and tighter. The scores don't vary that much, and it really comes down to the fan vote: even after earning a respectable 27 after an electrifying foxtrot, Pretty Little Liars star Brant Daugherty and partner Peta Murgatroyd (keep wanting to spell it "Peeta." Damn you, Hunger Games!) were sent home.
It's a shame – as judge Carrie Ann Inaba put it, he's one of the contestants that's actually shown the most growth. He started fairly strong, but has markedly improved on a week-to-week basis, which is no easy feat. Plus, there's the fact that he literally looked like a '70s Disney prince in his peach-colored suit this week, with a kind of scary mannequin smile to match. I may have found it a little odd, but Cher sure loved it, and that's what's important.
Anyways, I think I'm not alone when I say I'll miss Brant, and I'm not just making salacious comments about his abs. (Although: dayyyyyyum!) He had an earnestness and work ethic that we don't always expect to see in handsome young actors, and he and Peta had the best chemistry on the show. (If you google them, you'll find piles of dating rumors.) Farewell Brant and Peta – may you dance again.
With the Emmys no more than a distant (and less than fond) memory, let’s talk about some incredible actors who somehow seem to get missed when the nominations for big awards get passed out.
Jennifer Carpenter (Dexter)
Tell me, how is it that January Jones has an Emmy nomination and Jennifer Carpenter doesn’t? On a show that grew increasingly melodramatic (read: bad), she stayed solid. Some actors started phoning it in, but Carpenter? She kept on dropping those F-bombs until the bitter end. And then they unceremoniously killed her off by blood clot. A blood clot! We were already done with the tragically unexpected blood clot/stroke thing when Grey’s Anatomy did it back in 2006.
Emily Mortimer (The Newsroom)
People love to hate on The Newsroom, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t some solid acting going on. Emmy Winner Jeff Daniels, anyone? Anyone?
Anyway, there’s someone else from Newsroom that I’m kind of in love with (no, it’s not Olivia Munn): Emily Mortimer. Many have complained about the at-times ditzy and almost-constantly lovelorn characterization of MacKenzie, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that Mortimer is seriously delivering. She plays that flawed character for more than it’s worth: she’s simultaneously the emotional and moral center of the show and the comic relief a good percentage of the time. I don’t want start any wars here, but I think she could give Anna Gunn a serious run for her money.
Dean Norris (Breaking Bad)
From bumblingly obnoxious uncle to the revenge-hungry ASAC "Go F--k Yourself" Schrader, Norris hit all the right notes — even Anthony Hopkins thinks so, according to The Huffington Post. But where are all the awards? I suppose on a show filled with Walter Whites, Jesse Pinkmans, and Gus Frings, it would be hard for the comparatively-less-flashy Hank to catch a break; though maybe his crazily awesome death scene will finally get him the recognition he deserves.
Last week's New Girl found the loftmates celebrating Halloween a week early. The party was, needless to say, a bit of a mess (though not as much so as Schmidt's hellacious office party from a few weeks ago). Antics aside, all of the roommates (plus Cece, of course) had very...well, interesting costumes. Let's take a look, ranked worst to best.
Oh, Cece...I know you just had your heart broken, but that has got to be one of the lamest costumes ever. A cheetah bralette and a pirate hat? What is that supposed to be? A catty pirate—I mean, is that even a thing? Maybe I'm missing something here.
Okay, so to be fair, Nick tried even less than Cece, but at least his laziness forced him into a bit of originality: his costume consisted mainly of a rainbow beach towel (secured oh-so-classily with a piece of duct tape) and an old "happy birthday" crown. He dubbed it, "The Paper Mountain Trash King."
Are we really surprised that Jess would have a completely obnoxious costume? It's even worse than Shelby's "Reigning Cats and Dogs" bit from season 2: Joey Ramone-a Quimby. Pure insufferability. Though she does get points for the adorable bob (maybe Ms. Pantene Spokesperson can be the next starlet to make the chop).
So as much as everyone teased him for his David Letterman costume (Schmidt thought he was Maya Angelou), it was actually pretty spot-on. He got the shaggy gray wig just right, and the gold, wire-rimmed glasses? So pitch-perfect I got chills.
Is it really any surprise that Schmidt had the best costume of the bunch? He went as a "public serpent"—basically, he wore a skin-tight (would we expect anything else from our favorite douchebag?) lizard costume, and paired it with a snazzy purple tie. Only Schmidt has the confidence to make himself look that ridiculous—and that is why we love him.