Archives for posts with tag: television

The Blacklist - Season Pilot

Harry Lennix is pulling double duty this September. The 24 and Dollhouse alum is one of the stars of NBC’s highly anticipated new drama series The Blacklist, and he’s also starring in a new star-studded film called Mr. Sophistication, which is out today. BFTV connected with Harry recently to chat with him about both projects, and how he became the veteran character actor we’ve come to know and enjoy.

On The Blacklist, Harry plays FBI Assistant Director Harold Cooper, the boss of newbie agent Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone, from Law & Order: Los Angeles), who has a past with the master criminal that Keen has to work with. “I was excited to be asked to be a part of it,” he told us. “First of all, it’s got a masterful actor in James Spader. Secondly, the dialogue and the storyline is intriguing. I was very exciting about it. It’s a cut above most of the material that we get.”

While he couldn’t reveal too much about the show NBC is banking on as its next big drama hit, Harry did give us one hint that’s already got us curious. “To a large extent, we’re finding out who these characters are and what they’re going to be doing,” he said, before he revealed, “The longest-standing relationship on the show [is] between James’s character and my character. I think that’s rife with potential and possibility, and I’m excited as everybody else.”

He thinks the relationships are what’s going to separate The Blacklist from your garden-variety crime show. “You’re interested in the characters,” he continued. “There’s a great combination between procedural drama and interpersonal relationships and I think it’s uniquely positioned in that way.”

Here’s the trailer for The Blacklist.

Harry is a TV veteran, who’s best known to audiences for roles like Islamic-American activist Walid Al-Rezani in the sixth season of 24 and former cop Boyd Langton in Dollhouse. He’s also appeared on shows like ER, House and Emily Owens M.D. But none of these are his favorite small-screen part. “My favorite show was Commander in Chief,” he said, naming the ABC political drama for which he earned an Image Award nomination in 2006. “I played the Chief of Staff. I had a blast doing it. In a lot of ways, I wish that show was still on. I think it was ahead of its time in a lot of ways, and I don’t think it was given its just due.”

Playing authority figures like an FBI Assistant Director or the White House Chief of Staff is something Harry is familiar with both in television and film; he also appeared as a general in Zack Snyder’s blockbuster Man of Steel earlier this year. Why does he think he keeps ending up in power? “I’m a tall fellow. I have a deep voice. I appear authoritative,” he theorized.

“Although in reality, in fairness to my career, I’ve played a number of parts. If you look at my work in feature films over the years, I’ve been in Spike Lee movies, [and] in my own film, I play a comedian who ruined his own career. I think that just the more popular films and TV series have me in more or less authoritative roles.”

1 of 2Next pagePhoto Credits: NBC

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Sharknado

The people have spoken! Five thousand fans helped decide the title of the highly anticipated “Sharknado” sequel via Twitter, and the winner is – “Sharknado 2: The Second One.”

When the made-for-television film first aired on Syfy in July, only 1.4 million watched, but there were more than 5,000 tweets-per-minute about the B-movie on the night of its debut, grossing over 604,000 in total.

Buzz for the film was so intense, Regal cinemas even hosted midnight screenings of “Sharknado” on over 200 screens on Aug. 2.

The first film centered on Los Angeles where a tornado picks up a school of hungry sharks and sends them flying through the air. The man-eating storm wreaks havoc on a small town that becomes the site of a feeding frenzy.

Stars Tara Reid and Ian Ziering return for the sequel, which will be set in New York City and will air in July 2014.

Reid told U.K. newspaper the Sunday Mirror about making the film: “I read it and I was laughing so hard because it was the most ridiculous movie I’d ever heard of. It was so insane.”

Sharknado

Photo Credits: Syfy

Syfy

The strange success of Syfy’s Sharknado movie – which former “90210” star Ian Ziering called his “John Travolta ‘Pulp Fiction’ moment,” by the way – can probably be attributed to the same cultural normative (or abnormative, we should say) that made “Bubba Teeth” a hit: Every now and then, people just like to drop all pretense and participate in the humor of things.

But it looks like it may just be those producers who took a chance on such an utterly ridiculous movie concept who get the last laugh when this thing hits actual theaters. ‘Cause that’s happening now.

Yep, “Sharknado” took the TV-observing world by storm, pun intended, for several reasons, not the least of which was an out-right social media frenzy over the unashamed ridiculousness of the film. Live-tweeting it was kind of the thing to do that night (’cause what else is going down on some random Thursday evening?).

While viewership itself was ultimately just so-so, it was the web impact that really had teeth; at one point, the title was reportedly the subject of 5,000 tweets a minute.

And though Syfy’s been responding to the interest with shark-themed marathons and, yes, even plans for a sequel (!!), they’ve now got even bigger aspirations to see what kinda damage this thing can do on the big screen.

That’s right. Regal Entertainment will be hosting midnight screenings of “Sharknado” on Aug. 2 at some 200 theaters across the country.

“‘Sharknado’ has become a force of nature in its own right,” a rep for the theater chain explained. “The project transcends the original television platform and has created tremendous buzz. There’s just something epic about watching these huge beasts on the big screen with your friends and family. The crowd reactions will make for a memorable experience in our theatres … Regal is proud to be giving our guests this chance to fuel the social media whirlwind by inviting friends to come to the show and tweeting reactions.”

So … sticking with the weather-y theme, will lightning strike twice with this “Sharknado” thing?

Photo Credits: Syfy

Homeland

Fans are eagerly waiting for the next riveting season of “Homeland” on Showtime, which will focus on the aftermath of the terror attack at Langley and prompt a massive manhunt for Nick Brody (Damian Lewis).

According to the network, “As Carrie (Claire Danes) and Saul (Mandy Patinkin) begin to pick up the pieces of their shattered professional and personal lives, they are swept up in the political and media firestorm surrounding the terror attack and the subsequent search for Brody’s whereabouts.”

Spoiler #1: At the start of season three, Carrie and Saul will be on trial, testifying for the CIA about the terrorist attack. Executive producer Alex Gansa told TVLine.com, “The CIA itself is on trial.” The third season will center on “the cost that being an intelligence officer exacts on the people in that career,” Gansa added.

Amy Morton will play Erin Kimball, Carrie’s CIA appointed attorney.

Check out more spoilers from the upcoming season, which premieres on Sunday, Sept. 29, at 9 p.m. on Showtime…

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Mike O'Malley

Glee fans know Mike O’Malley as Kurt’s (Chris Colfer) father, a single dad who dated Finn’s (Cory Monteith) mother. O’Malley has a new show on NBC, Welcome to the Family, and when NBC presented the show to the Television Critics Association, O’Malley shared his thoughts on Monteith’s death and plans to appear in the Glee episode about Finn’s funeral.

“I hope to,” O’Malley said. “I’m here doing Welcome to the Family and we shoot one episode five days a week, but Burt is a very, very important role to me. It’s been a great, great part and I’ve said to all those guys I’ll work early in the morning, late at night, Saturdays, Sundays to participate in not only continuing to be on that show, but honoring Cory and his passing and that character. He is on the show my stepson so I certainly plan on being there, and they may possibly be shooting that episode in the time we’re on hiatus.”

Recalling his time with Monteith, O’Malley praised his work in a famous scene where Burt caught Finn using the F-word towards his son. “I had many of my scenes on Glee with either Chris Colfer or Cory Monteith,” O’Malley said. “I think that I had what was probably the toughest scene I’ve ever acted in my career as an actor opposite him when I had to throw him out of the house because his character Finn out of the house because of a slur that he used. It was remarkable to me when we were shooting that scene over and over again, the depth of emotion that he was able to portray, the sorrow, the shame.”

Since Monteith died, all of his Glee costars have spoke about his kindness and work ethic, O’Malley included. “Ever since I met him, he was the fictional quarterback on that show and he was the very real quarterback on that set. He was an incredibly warm guy, a guy who was welcoming to everyone who came on that show from the beginning through the new folks who came onto the show this past year. He was a very, very hard working actor. I just loved working with him. He was a great guy. I miss him very much.”

Glee returns this fall on Fox and look for Welcome to the Family on NBC.

Photo Credits: PR Photos
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Kelli Berglund

“There are a ton of new things that I’m very excited about. There’s a lot of secrets and twists involved in the story,” said Kelli Berglund, talking about season two of her Disney XD series Lab Rats, which premieres tonight. “Last season ended with Marcus trying to sabotage all of us and nobody knows why. Season two begins that storyline again, and you find out why Marcus is so evil, who he’s working for and how it relates to all of us. There’s some new characters that come into play. I think with season two, you kind of see the Lab Rats bond closer as a family. It definitely takes the whole team for the job to get done.”

Kelli plays Bree Davenport, one of three engineered teenagers with superpowers, on the hit series – but off-camera, she’s a fan of all the characters in the Lab Rats ensemble. “Of course, I love Bree as a character, but I think each and every one of the characters on the show has their own personality in such a unique way,” she said. “You have Adam [played by Spencer Boldman], he’s the not so bright one and he gets some of those really, really funny jokes. Spencer plays that character very well.”

“I really like Hal’s character, Mr. Davenport, because Hal is such a fun person to work with,” she continued, referring to multi-hyphenate Hal Sparks, the underrated performer who portrays the Lab Rats’ creator, Donald Davenport. “He’s like a kid in an adult body, basically. We’re always like joking around with him on set and he’s literally one of the smartest people I’ve ever met. He’s really, really good at portraying this super-smart billionaire inventor. “

Her starring role on Lab Rats, which stands as Disney XD’s most-watched series, is also a breakout role for Kelli, who came to acting through her career as a dancer, when she was spotted during a school district production. “I was a featured dancer and there was a talent agent there,” she explained. “We went to that agency and I started doing dance auditions and commercial auditions, and that was kind of a hobby of mine. I started to transition more to television and movie auditions – and I was getting really, really close on some of these auditions.

“I think Lab Rats has been that stepping stone,” she continued. “I had just been dreaming of getting that one opportunity for years and years. I’d gotten little roles here and there, but I was really waiting for that one opportunity to set my career in motion and for me to be super-serious about this, and I think Lab Rats has definitely been that.”

Now that she’s made the leap to TV, Kelli is enjoying the perks that come with being part of a successful show. “Going to work is probably my favorite thing to do. I do that five days a week for probably ten hours a day, but it doesn’t even feel like work and it shouldn’t,” she said. “When you enjoy a job so much like I do, it’s not work, it’s play. It’s hanging out with people that you love. Getting along with all these people and meeting new people and learning new things every day. I learn something new every day whether it’s from Hal or learning about how different camera things work.

“I work with the greatest people in the entire world,” she added. “We get along so well and it’s always been that way. We hang out off-set all the time, and we’re really close with our producers and our director, too. We all know that we can talk to each other about anything. And I get to film the show for hundreds of thousands of fans. I do it for the fans, of course. That’s the number one reason why!”

While she’s in no hurry for Bree to leave the lab, she also knows that as a young actress, she has a whole career ahead of her – and there are plenty of things she’d love to do in the future. “Acting is something I want to do whatever [the part],” she said. “A dream role would just be anything at this point. I would love to get into feature films; I’m willing to do an action flick, I’m willing to do a romantic comedy. I think it’d be the coolest thing if I could get a role in a dance movie. That’s something I’m always going to love.”

“I would love to work with Kristin Wiig one day. I find her hilarious and I totally idolize her,” she continued. “Also Johnny Depp. He’s an amazing person all around. I admire him greatly. I would probably die if I got to work with either of them!”

What does Kelli watch when she has the opportunity to be a fan? “Movie-wise, my favorite is The Avengers. That was a favorite of mine last year. I totally loved Black Widow’s character because they kind of modeled my character after her,” she said. “I don’t have a lot of time for television anymore because I’m working all the time, [but] I really like The Vampire Diaries. I’m only on season two; I’m a little bit behind!” Perfectly understandable, considering that Bree has more missions to go on!

You can keep up with Kelli on Twitter (@KelliBerglund). Lab Rats starts its second season tonight at 9 PM ET/PT on Disney XD.

(c)2013 Brittany Frederick. Appears at Starpulse with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted.

Photo Credits: Francis Bertrand

Justified

Raylan Givens can’t seem to catch a break. In this week’s Justified episode, crafted from a story idea co-written by none other than the legendary Elmore Leonard himself, that’s bad for Raylan but great for those of you scoring at home.

Six days ago, Raylan was turning Jody Adair (guest star Chris Chalk) – the guy he caught and stuffed in his trunk in the season premiere – over to his old friend the bail bondswoman. Once she’s got her prey, she moons over Raylan for a bit to her partner, but is shut up by the need to make a sudden pit stop. Once she’s gone, Jody explodes out of the back of her van, kills her partner, and then shoots her. This horrifies his apparent partner in crime (guest star Michael Gladis), who didn’t think anyone was going to die. You’re on the wrong show for that, dude.

In the present day, at the Marshals Office, Raylan and Art discuss how the Drew Thompson case is going nowhere. Art suggests that Raylan go talk to the former Harlan sheriff and then his father – two people our hero wants absolutely nothing to do with. On the road, Raylan gets a call from local law enforcement about his friend’s untimely death, and tells the deputy “I think I know who you’re looking for.”

Johnny Crowder (guest star David Meunier) is sleeping with Teri (guest star Cathy Baron) the working girl that he saved last week, but he knows it wasn’t Max that hit her. She pleads with him to leave it alone, but he’s able to figure out in thirty seconds that it was Colt, sending her into a panic. “He was tweaking, pissed off, asking about Ella Mae,” she tells him, which clues Johnny into the fact that Ella Mae is still alive.

Jody tells his still-complaining accomplice about his plan to come into a large sum of money, and is sitting across from him when said accomplice gets a call from the cops about how well he knows Raylan’s late friend. With that they know they need to get the heck out of there. The two of them decide to visit Jody’s ex-wife’s place, but they’re beaten there by Raylan, who meets Jackie Nevada (The Secret Circle star Shelley Hennig), who’s housesitting while Jody’s ex is at Dollywood with the kids. This being Justified, she’s far more than just a friendly civilian with an awkward name. Raylan susses out that she’s likely working him from the moment she gets into his car.

Elsewhere, Boyd is not looking forward to attending Napier’s fancy party, but Ava convinces him that it’s the best way for them to find which one of the rich old folks there could be Drew Thompson. The two of them awkwardly mingle, with Ava getting a tour and some career advice from the party’s hostess, and Boyd finding out everyone knows his name. It’s like Cheers with better decor!

1 of 2Next pagePhoto Credits: FX

Matthew Perry and Courteney Cox

Matthew Perry and Courteney Cox

The Bings are back and they’re better than ever!

Courteney Cox and Matthew Perry, the beloved duo behind Mr. and Mrs. Chandler Bing on Friends, took to Twitter yesterday to upload behind the scenes photos on the set of Go On. Cox is currently filming a guest appearance on the NBC series, portraying a date for Perry’s character, Ryan King.

Judging by their tweets, it seems like there’s nothing but love on the set:

@MatthewPerry Courteney Cox shooting Go On today..! She is fantastic, obviously. And my desire to show off in front of her is back in full swing!

@CourteneyCox Shooting GO ON today and having a blast with Matthew!

This isn’t Cox’s first Friends reunion since the series ended. Both Jennifer Aniston and Lisa Kudrow have made guest appearances on Cox’s show Cougar Town.

How do you feel about Cox’s guest appearance on Go On? Will you tune in?

Lena Dunham

Girls creator and star Lena Dunham has opened up about her battle with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and anxiety.

The actress, who was diagnosed with OCD as a young girl, reveals she came up with strange rituals after becoming obsessed with the number eight.

She tells Rolling Stone magazine, “I’d count eight times… I’d look on both sides of me eight times, I’d make sure nobody was following me down the street, I touched different parts of my bed before I went to sleep, I’d imagine a murder, and I’d imagine that murder eight times.”

Dunham now takes anti-anxiety medications to help with her condition, but she admits the anti-depressants she took as a teen often had unpleasant side effects.

She says, “(I felt) drugged like a big horse. I was so exhausted all the time, night sweats. I was pretty fat in high school if I look at it, because it just slows down your metabolism. My mom would always be like, ‘I think you’re having a lot of side effects.’ And I’d be like, ‘You’re such a b**ch; you just want me to be skinny!'”

Photo Credits: PR Photos

Cult-20120517-138.jpg

The late 1990s, beginning with Kevin Williamson’s Scream, were populated by movies that were about young people taking horror movies too seriously or urban legends too seriously; these movies offered insight into young America by studying its consumption of media and commenting on its consumption of America, either arguing for or against the media’s influence on violent behavior. The CW’s new series, Cult, which premieres tonight at 9PM, is about people who take a TV show way too seriously. Cult stars Matt Davis, who got his start in the sequel to Urban Legend where he portrayed twin brothers, as Jeff, an ex-Washington Post reporter, who gets caught up in the mystery of the show-within-the-show, which is also named Cult, after his brother disappears following a freak-out in a public setting about the show coming after him. Jeff didn’t believe his younger brother, Nate, but he can’t ignore the fact that something weird happened.

Creator Rockne S. O’Bannon seems acutely aware of what he’s doing with Cult. A lot of Cult is a Meta/critical commentary on the audience watching, about its behavior and reaction towards a show, and where fandom becomes fanaticism. The show-within-the-show airs on The CW. The show-within-the-show uses the same design and music for its opening credits as the actual show we’re watching. In fact, the “Pilot” begins with a tense scene in which a cop is trying to track down the leader of the cult, only for the dramatic ending to be revealed as the end of the episode-within-the-episode. Horror movies were the focus in Scream. Urban legends were the focus in Urban Legend. Fan groups are the focus of Cult. Fan groups have gotten more press in the last decade, especially whenever a fan group sends goodies to a network in hopes the goodies will convince the executives not to cancel their favorite shows, or when Everwood fans rented a Ferris Wheel, or whenever a show launches online content for fans to consume and they spend hours figuring out what’s going on and how it’s related and get so pissed when it’s only tangential to the series. O’Bannon’s thesis about fan groups’ and the shows they love isn’t unclear, as unclear as the series’ signature line “Well, hey, these things just snap right off.” One character remarks that shows don’t go to air with executives, creators, etc., hoping for it to be a cult show because cult shows only become that after cancellation. Another character working for the show-within-the-show, Skye, is increasingly disturbed by the more intense fan sites she finds. Her producer ignores her concerns, so she takes to Jeff when he visits the set looking for answers about his brother. They become a team investigating Cult.

Cult captures the late 90s genre tone really well. Jeff spends plenty of time walking around his brother’s apartment, watching episodes of Cult to find clues about what happened to his brother. Jeff watches the show for the first time as he fills up his car’s gas tank. Billy Grimm, the fictional leader of the show, portrayed by Robert Knepper, talks directly to the viewer. Jeff shakes his head initially, but what he found superfluous and silly, what he dismissed as his brother’s needless obsession, becomes much more as he seeks to find meaning in Billy’s words about what happened to Nate. It’s like the characters in Scream or Urban Legend using movies and the legends to anticipate a killer. Early scenes between Jeff and Nate seem like a homage to 1998’s Disturbing Behavior, specifically the scene the night before Gavin’s changed, when he’s freaking out, and the next morning he’s dressed like a prep boy. Jeff finds a picture of Nate dressed like Billy and furrows his brow. There are mysteries begetting more mysteries, all starting with Nate. The deeper Jeff gets into it all, the more bizarre, and yet believable, it becomes.

What’s really going on in the show is only hinted at. “You’re Next” is the pilot, after all. Pilots are designed to hook its potential audience to come back and become the audience. Cult has a few hookable elements. First, there’s a mysterious executive producer who is the man behind the curtain, a mystery in the show that’s probably an actual mystery, a place where fanatics of the show meet and share messages, an absolutely jaw-dropping Lucy Hale look-alike who just looks absolutely dynamite in a mini-skirt and she also looks menacingly at people when they’re not looking at her while serving food and beverage at the fan place, an executive producer portrayed by Tom Amandes that may or may not be clueless, and so on. People can’t be trusted, because of the show. Jeff suddenly views everyone in his town much differently. Cult’s basically Disturbing Behavior-meets-Scream.

Perhaps there’s a reason the show feels so similar to movies made over a decade ago. O’Bannon’s pitch for Cult got rejected by The WB nearly seven years ago. O’Bannon probably had the idea in his head for over a decade. Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage are executive producers on the show. The duo are responsible for The Carrie Diaries and Gossip Girl on The CW. Schwartz made a name for himself with The O.C. Chuck was never highly rated but it was critically adored and beloved by fans. Schwartz and Savage could get a show that just shows leaves falling off trees for 41 minutes onto The CW’s primetime lineup.

Cult’s not going to blow your mind. Cult should appeal to a specific kind of fan base, the kind of fans weaned on late 90s horrors and thrillers, the kind of fans who’ve gotten obsessed with genre shows, or fans that really like The CW’s existing genre shows. Matt Davis is solid in any role he’s given. Davis grounds his characters, meaning they don’t get too high or low, and so he grounds the show in a way. What’s going on in Cult is complete nonsense. The CW is apparently so popular that gas stations put the channel on for customers to watch during the minute it takes for the gas tanks to fill. Its shows are so watched that half of a town is fanatical about it. Again, though, Cult can be fun for a certain type of fan, one predisposed to this kind of entertainment.

Other Thoughts:

-The CW is running promos for the show. The network’s twitter handle created hash tags for the show. The tag line for the show is: “Don’t watch this.” Only a small segment of the North American population watches The CW. The marketing department shouldn’t have told people not to watch the show. People see an ad for The CW and probably make a mental note not to watch it. The tag line may get some people to tune in that otherwise wouldn’t, but, still, it’s a bad idea.

-Tom Amandes plays Gary Carter, one of the producers of Cult. He’s listed as a guest star. I’d like for him to appear in as many episodes as possible. Amandes played the terrific Harold Abbott on TheWB’s Everwood. I’m surprised he’s not gotten more work since. Treat Williams is EVERYWHERE on TV these days. Where’s the love for Tom? Better yet: Lenkov needs to hire Amandes, keep Williams around, and have them solve a crime in 5-0. Okay, I’m done.

-I remember Robert Knepper from his arc on Heroes. I feel like he’s playing the same character on Cult. I’m also going to guess Billy Grimm is Steven Rae.

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