Archive for July, 2008

“Fringe” : J.J. Abrams talks recasts, imagery

OK. The only recast on J.J. Abrams fall Fox show “Fringe” was the cow. Which makes no sense unless you’ve seen the pilot.

Generally, the only outsiders watching that pilot would have been TV critics, but the pilot was leaked online and who knows how many people picked it up before Fox started the killing trail to get it off the Internet.

Good luck with that. (By the way, if you’re in San Diego next week, check out “Fringe” at Comic Con)

In any case, the We-Are-Not-The-X-Files series about conspiracies, FBI agents and crazy scientific series. The pilot proved entertaining, especially the scenes with “Dawson Creek” alum Joshua Jackson, who’s back in fine form, as the brilliant rebellious son of a fringe scientist; Aussie actress Anna Tory as the spunky FBI agent Olivia and John Noble as the fringy scientist. Think scary flick with a sense of humor.

2008 FOX SUMMER TCA: Executive producer and co-creator J.J. Abrams during the FRINGE session of FOX’s 2008 summer press tour Monday, July 14 at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, CA.

But “Lost” producer J.J. promises it won’t get too complicated. He says he learned his lesson from his previous series “Alias.”

“I was at my friend Greg Grunberg’s house. and alias was on, watched a few minutes and I was so confused, it was impenetrable,” J.J. says as he watched a scene play out. “I should know this, but who the fuck is that guy?”

Like “Lost,” J.J. says “Fringe” has an overall story and an end game. Good to know. Better still, he promises each episode will be self-contained for people who don’t want to get into the mythology.

“My point is that you can do a show that has week-to-week stories, but over the course of seasons, there are bigger arcs,” J.J. says. “I’m diligently trying to do a show that doesn’t require insane dedication.”

Yet, for many people that’s exactly the point of watching a series like this. So there are plenty of Easter eggs for the fanatics. Pay attention to the details, like the frogs and leaves shown at the breaks, they will become important down the line says J.J.

“The frogs and leaves work simply as weird imagery, but it is not disconnected to the series,” J.J. says. “It is part of the code of the series.”

As for the cow, when production moved from Toronto to New York City, they couldn’t take the Jersey cow used in the lab scenes with them. So they had to recast.

2008 FOX SUMMER TCA: (L-R) Executive producer Brian Burk, Jeff Pinkner, co-creators and executive producers Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, and J.J. Abrams during the FRINGE session of FOX’s 2008 summer press tour Monday, July 14 at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, CA.

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“So You Think You Can Dance” steps up, Comfort gets another shot

Nigel says he cannot discuss Jessica King’s injury. No, really. Just can’t do it. Legal issues and all that.

Her injury was Comfort Feoke’s gain. Although Comfort was eliminated last week, she won’t miss a step as she returns to the show on Wednesday. Judge Nigel Lythgoe says it’s brave of Comfort to return, knowing she could get booted off a second time.

So why Comfort?

“She’s had some surprisingly beautiful moments, and every dancer can have some bad weeks,” Mary Murphy says. “So maybe this one more shot she’ll be able to knock our socks off.”

But more importantly Mary, how did Hot Tamale Train come about?

“It just flew out of my mouth one day,” says Mary, who also says she’s called hot Latin dancers hot tamales for a long time. “But now Fox owns it.”

As for show quitter Robert Muraine, who couldn’t handle the choreography, the judges were critical of the guy.

“No dancer should quit, ever,” says Nigel Lythgoe. “It’s a really tought life. Have a sprained ankle. strap it up and get on with it.”

There’s no crying in baseball, or dancing.

“You can’t be a victim. You have to be a warrior, ” says Mia Michaels, who talked about breaking two toes and then went back on stage. “Really, quitting? You can be at the top of your game?”

2008 FOX SUMMER TCA: (L-R) finalists Matt Dorame of Glendale, AZ and Kourtni Lind of Forest Lake, MN perform during the SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE session of FOX’s 2008 summer press tour Monday, July 14 at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, CA.

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“Star Wars: Clone Wars” The Force is with it

George Lucas’ “Star Wars: Clone Wars” is a visual feast, using mesmerizing computer graphics that make the trite “state-of-the-art” cliche sing. From the color palette to the enticing characters, this is a gotta-see pleasure.

“Star Wars:Clone Wars” coming to Cartoon Network this fall

Cartoon Network screened an episode for TV writers gathered at the annual Television Critics Association Press tour in Beverly Hills. The weekly half-hour animated series, which airs this fall, looks every inch the “mini-movie” the press kit claims it to be.

The series picks up from where the summer movie leaves off, telling the stories of the Clone Wars, the time period between “Star Wars Episode 2: Attack of the Clones” and “Star Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith.”

“The series follows the movie,” says David Filoni, 34, the supervising director. “Computer animation is constantly changing. Working with George, look at computers as an advanced pencil.”

So how long can the Clone Wars last?

“The good thing about not just telling a story where we are stuck in one single arc. It’s a three year history in the Star Wars universe, but so many stories we can explore,” David said. “Longer it goes, more stories we can tell.”

Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi join newheroes like Anakin’s padawan learner, Ahsoka and when Storm Troopers weren’t the enemy.

“Begs the question about the Storm Troopers’ betrayal,” David says. “Ventress is a bit more sensuous, (which goes against) the Jedi.”

Ventress, David said, is being prepared to delve into the Dark Side.

The first season will be 22 episodes beginning this fall, but the network hasn’t yet releasedthe exact date.

“Because I wanted it to look like a painting, I did a textured hand-painted style on each charcter,” David said. “If you don’t have HD, then looks more like a painting, I’ve texturized them right down to their eyeballs.”

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Tommy Lee and Ludacris Off the Grid

Earth warriors Tommy Lee and Ludacris?

“Battleground Earth” is a Planet Green network (like Animal Planet, it’s part of Discovery Network) 10-part series that pits rapper Chris “Ludacris” Bridges against rocker Tommy Lee as each of them tour the country in nine locations taking on green challenges, and each episode themed in a green way to deliver key messages about greeness.

Ok, all that green talk comes courtesy of the press release, but basically these two guys are just trying to reduce the carbon footprint.

Ludacris says he’s put in solar panels and bought a Tahoe hybrid and the challenged Tommy Lee about what he’s done.

“Hey, man. I’ve talked to the solar panel company andI’ve also been talking to the fake grass company,” Tommy Lee says. “And of course recycling with my kids and stuff around the house.”

Tommy Lee shouldn’t feel shamed. After all, turns out Ludacris just got his hybrid yesterday. But he’s looking forward to using it a lot.

Tommy Lee’s teammate on the show was Train bandmember Johnny Colt.

“I thought I knew a little bit about being green. I married a woman from San Francisco, and I knew what compost was, so I thought I was in,” Johnny says. “Then I get out there and realized I was overwhelmed by the amount of information that we received…(but) I got a real sense of hope, and I really felt empowered by the end of the show that I could go out into my personal life, and the fact that some of the smallest things that you do have the biggest impact.”

Tommy Lee says it was great working with Ludacris, a person he didn’t really know before the show began.

“I met him one time, a brief meeting,” Tommy Lee says. “The guy’s a sweetheart.”

“Don’t print that,” warns Ludacris.
Tommy Lee and Ludacris star in “Battleground Earth” which premieres next month on Green Planet

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“Mad Men” meltdown

In a chat with “Mad Men” creator Matthew Weiner, he told me that his oldest son Martin Weiner, 11, played the strange boy Glen Bishop.

If you remember, in the season finale Betty (January Jones) sees Glen sitting in a car when she pulls into the bank parking lot. On her way in to the bank, she walks over to talk to him.
January Jones as Betty Draper on AMC’s “Mad Men,” which premieres July 27

“I’m not supposed to talk to you,” Glen says, shyly. She says she doesn’t care. “I can’t talk to anyone. I’m so sad,” she says. “Please tell me I’ll be okay.” He reaches his mitten-covered hand up to her and tells her that he wishes he were older

“When we shot that last scene, it was so hot and it was supposed to snowing and we had everyone in these heavy winter clothes. I was so afraid that January was getting overheated, so I kept making sure she was getting plenty of water and ice,” Matthew says. “We thought she might get heat stroke.”

Then all of a sudden, Matthew realized that his own son was sitting in the car with a coat and wool hat and mittens.

“I ran over and kept assuring him that daddy really does love him more than he loves one of the stars of his show,” says Matthew laughing. “I can’t believe I left my own son in the car. But he said he was fine.”

And where was Matthew’s wife and Marten’s mom?

“You know how long and boring these shoots are,” Matthew says. “She was under a tree reading a book.

But don’t worry, no child or animal was injured during the filming of this scene.

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Natasha Bedingfield

Natasha Bedingfield tossed out a compliment to Maroon 5’s Adam Levine – the sexy songwriter/singer has been linked to quite a few pretty young things including Natasha – when she performed for a small group of TV writers at the Beverly Hilton tonight.

She peformed for about 20 minutes at a party by the music channel Fuse.

Right before launching into “Say It Again” from her newest album “Pocketful of Sunshine,” she told the group that she wrote the song with Adam, a guy she says looks pretty good. The same could be said of lovely Natasha, who looked flawlessly beautiful. I mean, can anyone actually be born with teeth that perfect?

Natasha Bedingfield and Adam Levine

As if she wasn’t blessed enough, she also knows how to belt out a tune. I confess I didn’t catch the title of one of the songs she sung, but she says she wrote it after reading the book, “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus.”

She says she was furious after reading the book about how men and women simply don’t think the same way, and we have to be forgiving of that.

“So I wrote this song because I didn’t want to give men and excuse to be assholes,” she says.

Yeah. She may be my new favorite singer.

Natasha Bedingfield

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Grey’s Anatomy co-star says give Heigl a break

Katherine Heigl, sweet Izzie in “Grey’s Anatomy” has taken a lot of heat for not submitting herself for a Emmy. When asked why, she truthfully told reporters that she didn’t feel that she was given an episode strong enough to compete in the category.

That was quickly translated to Heigl grousing about bad scripts and looking for a way to exit the popular show to pursue her big screen career. But Chandra Wilson poo-poohs these musings.

Chandra says what the public – and she might have added the reporters – don’t understand is that actors have to have something showing off either high comedy or high drama in order to have a shot at winning.

“We go through this every single time when we put our money up for our submission,” Chandra says. “This was so blown out of proportion. Some year you submit, some years you don’t. It’s all about asking what thing do I have to present that year. Some years you submit, some years you don’t.”

Chandra was at the Beverly Hills Hilton chatting with reporters during the summer press tour about her new Hallmark Channel move, “Accidental Friendship.”

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American Idol Auditions

Sorry for taking so long to post, but I’ve been out on disability. Hopefully, I’m all better now and ready to give you the attention you all so deserve.

First up, time to get those vocal chords tuned because “American Idol” wants you – if not for the competition, then at least for those endless audition shows. And for goodness sake, choose your songs wisely. Don’t start with “Unchained Melody” or anything by Whitney or Celine.

Auditions for the eighth season of “American Idol” begin Thursday, July 17, at the Cow Palace in San Francisco, CA, and will continue in seven other cities. It’s the first step on a journey that could include the opportunity to perform before millions of TV viewers and become household names, with one winning the coveted American Idol title and a major recording contract.

Or more likely, the chance to be mocked by millions and have TMZ tailing you.

Auditions will be held as follows:

San Francisco, CA Thursday, July 17 Cow Palace

Louisville, KY Monday, July 21 Freedom Hall

Phoenix, AZ Friday, July 25 Arena

Salt Lake City, UT Tuesday, July 29 EnergySolutions Arena

San Juan, Puerto Rico Saturday, Aug. 2 Coliseo de Puerto Rico

Kansas City, MO Friday, Aug. 8 Sprint Center

Jacksonville, FL Wednesday, Aug. 13 Veterans Memorial Arena

East Rutherford, NJ Tuesday, Aug. 19 IZOD Center at the Meadowlands

Sports Complex

Here’s the info on the San Francisco “American Idol” auditions, with more details on the other auditions to come later.

WHO: Men and women 16-28 years old as of July 15, 2008 who are eligible to work in the United States. Some restrictions apply. Visit the Web site for specific information.

WHERE: The Cow Palace 2600 Geneva Ave. Daly City, CA 94014

WHEN: Thursday, July 17

HOW: Wristbands will be distributed from 7:00 AM on Tuesday, July 15 until 8:00 AM on Thursday, July 17. Auditioners will not be permitted to camp out. Once they obtain their wristbands, they will be asked to return to the Cow Palace on Thursday, July 17.

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