The 2013 White House Correspondents’ Dinner was held on Saturday night at the Washington Hilton. On hand to mingle with the White House press corps and the President were the likes of Sofia Vergara, Claire Danes, Psy, Kerry Washington, Gerard Butler and Veep star Julia Louis-Dreyfus (who finally got in the same room with POTUS!). Of course, Barack Obama’s speech before the assembled journalists, politicians and celebs was the centrepiece of the evening; and it was full of jokes on his alleged socialism, super PACs, and Jay-Z’s Cuban adventure. A tough act to follow, no doubt, but Conan O’Brien did his best, delivering a lengthy address that took aim at the major news networks, as well as the President’s relationship with Congress. And of course, like any proper office party, there were sketches.
In the evening’s intro, Kevin Spacey‘s ruthless House of Cards character Frank Underwood got to test his mettle against real-life politicians like Senator John McCain; then, later on, Steven Spielberg popped in to discuss his (fictional) Lincoln follow-up, Obama, and the only man he could possibly trust to bring the 44th President to life on-screen: Daniel Day-Lewis. Hit the jump to take a gander at speeches and sketches alike.
Laika and Focus Features are teaming up once again for The Boxtrolls. Their third production will be the 3D stop motion and CG hybrid animated adaptation of Alan Snow’s “Here Be Monsters.” The story centers on a posh Victorian-era town of people obsessed with finery and stinky cheese, but are plagued by an underground society of foul monsters who steal their children…and cheese. Similar in themes to their previous productions Coraline and ParaNorman, the under-dwellers are not exactly what the citizens’ legends say they are.
Directed by Anthony Stacchi (Open Season) and Graham Annable (a story artist on Coraline and ParaNorman), The Boxtrolls features an impressive voice cast featuring Ben Kingsley, Isaac Hempstead-Wright, Elle Fanning, Toni Collette, Jared Harris, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Richard Ayoade and Tracy Morgan. The Boxtrolls is due out October 17, 2014. Hit the jump to see the full synopsis along with the first concept image from the film.
Many projects go through growing pains during development. James Cameron’s Titanic was labeled the biggest bomb of all time before it even hit theaters, Martin Sheen had a heart attack during the year-long shoot of Apocalypse Now, and filming on Men in Black 3 halted for a few months so that they could work on the script. David O. Russell’s Nailed, however, was a bona fide production nightmare. The film has yet to be finished and it’s unlikely it’ll ever see the light of day, but none of this is the fault of the creatives involved.
The political comedy satire was filmed in 2008 with Jessica Biel, Jake Gyllenhaal, Catherine Keener, and Tracy Morgan and centered on three people with serious health issues that stormed Washington D.C. to demand treatment. Production was shut down multiple times during filming, and just as Russell was getting to the filming of the film’s centerpiece scene the project was shut down for good. The story behind Nailed’s filming and subsequent permanent limbo is stranger than fiction, and Steve recently got a lot of background on what exactly went down from producers Doug Wick and Lucy Fisher (of Red Wagon Entertainment) when he spoke with them in anticipation of the release of Lawless. Hit the jump for the full story.
IFC Films has released the first trailer for Why Stop Now, previously titled Predisposed. The trailer presents a likeable farce about a piano prodigy (Jesse Eisenberg) who needs to check his drug-addict mother (Melissa Leo) into rehab on the day of his audition for a prestigious music program. Things go awry, which draws her drug dealer, Sprinkles (Tracy Morgan), into the quest. Mixed reviews out of Sundance suggest directors Phil Dorling and Ron Nyswaner fail to keep the plot under control throughout the runtime. But I’m intrigued by what I see here, even if the movie only manages to coast on the charms of its eclectic cast.
Sarah Ramos and Isiah Whitlock Jr. co-star in Why Stop Now, set for release on August 17. Watch the trailer after the break.
Memorial Day is a holiday meant to honor the American soldiers who lost their lives in military service and to remind us all of their sacrifice. Some Hollywood A-listers thought that the best way to show their support would be to literally turn their backs on them. In this misguided attempt at drumming up awareness and support for veterans returning home and looking for jobs, celebrities such as Tom Hanks, Michael Douglas, Milla Jovovich and Bradley Cooper put their backs to the camera while talking to our nation’s service men and women. I’m not blaming the celebrities for going along with this ridiculous gimmick, but rather the person who thought “I’ve got your six,” is an acceptable tagline while overlooking the metaphor of “turning your back on someone.” The message is great, one that we should all remember, this weekend and every weekend; it’s just the delivery that’s unintentionally silly and borders on insulting. Hit the jump to check it out.
Two on-the-bubble NBC shows have officially been given the order for new seasons. The critical favorite yet ratings challenged drama Parenthood has been renewed for a 15-episode fourth season (per TV Line). Showrunner Jason Katims is no stranger to ratings issues despite favorable reviews, as he led the stellar Friday Night Lights through five seasons of “will it be renewed?” drama. I’m a fan of the ensemble and tone of Parenthood, but Katims will most likely have his hands full next season as his medical pilot County is said to be close to a pick up. That show will star Jason Ritter, who led the doomed The Event and has been a frequent guest star on Parenthood.
Hit the jump for news regarding renewals for The Office and a final season for 30 Rock, as well as speculation about the fate of Community and Parks and Recreation. [Update: The Office hasn't officially been renewed yet, but with deals almost done for the main cast members a renewal is expected]
This afternoon at a gathering of The National Press Club, during some lobbying for Americans for the Arts, a nonprofit group that advocates for increased federal funding of the arts, The Huffington Post reports that Alec Baldwin dropped some good and bad news for fans of the NBC comedy series 30 Rock. Apparently the actor will definitely be sticking around for the series’ entire seventh season this fall, but apparently that season of the Tina Fey show will be the last. Honestly, it makes sense considering the show would really lose one of its strongest parts if Baldwin were to really leave, and seven seasons is enough for almost any series, especially a comedy that runs an average of 24 episodes a season. The series is still going strong with outrageous jokes and hilarity, and while I’ll be sad to see it go, I’d rather see it finish on top rather than puttering out and getting canceled.
Just as the series did back in 2010, 30 Rock is going even more meta again as the series, which has a sketch show similar to Saturday Night Live inside of the series (Inception!), will be doing another live episode. Tina Fey took on the task back in 2010, and now on Thursday, April 26th, the show will again be live from Studio 8H.
When their Kabletown bosses announce they will no longer pay for TGS to be a live show, Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) and Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) realize their lives will actually be easier if they shoot canned episodes fast and cheap. Only Kenneth the Page (Jack McBrayer) objects, urging that nothing can replace the communal experience of live television. He tries to convince the TGS staff to fight for their right to be live by taking them and our audience through a magical look back at the illustrious history of Studio 6H. See what they did there? The episode will be done twice so both East and West coast audiences get the live treatment. The first live episode was a great success and it was clear the cast was having a lot of fun. There were plenty of cameos as well and this one should be no different.
While earlier this month the line-up for the 2012 Sundance Film Festival was announced, the fest has added four more films to the fest. Predisposed, starring Jesse Eisenberg, Melissa Leo, and Tracy Morgan will screen as part of the Premieres line-up and John Dies at the End starring Paul Giamatti, Chase Williamson, and Rob Mayes has been added to the Park City at Midnight line-up. Additionally, This Must Be the Place starring Sean Penn, Frances McDormand, and Judd Hirsch and Oslo, August 31st starring Anders Danielsen Lie, Hans Olav Brenner, and Ingrid Olava will screen as part of the Spotlight line-up.
Hit the jump to check out the first images from the films as well as a brief synopsis for each. The 2012 Sundance Film Festival runs from January 19 – 29th. Click here for all our coverage.
30 Rock has come a long way from being the “Untitled Tina Fey Project”. While it hasn’t been a ratings blockbuster, it’s crawled its way inside pop culture in a way other shows would kill for. It’s also launched (and relaunched) the careers of its leads, Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin. The fifth season of a show is a milestone of its success, since it now has enough episodes to sell to syndicators. Being able to sell the same work multiple times is always a good feeling. Does the show still have what it takes? Hit the jump to take a look at how season five pans out.
by Jason Barr Posted: February 28th, 2011 at 6:27 pm
Oscar nominee Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network), Oscar winner Melissa Leo (The Fighter), and 30 Rock star Tracy Morgan have reportedly signed on to star in the indie comedy Predisposed. According to Vulture, the trio will play a Julliard-hopeful, his drug-addicted mother, and said mother’s drug dealer, Sprinkles, respectively. Predisposed will be directed by Oscar nominated scribe/co-writer Ron Nyswaner (Philadelphia) with Philip Dorling sharing co-writing credit as well. Briefly, the comedy will center on the dysfunctional relationship between Eisenberg and Leo’s mother and son pair. The story is set on a day in which the son is interviewing for Julliard while his mother is busy feuding with her drug-dealer/checking herself into rehab while intoxicated so as to overcome her lack of health insurance.
Leo should be well prepared for her role as Eisenberg’s junkie mom as she made the same turn when Predisposed screened at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival as a short directed by the aforementioned Philip Dorling. Shooting on this promising feature length version of Predisposed is set to begin this summer.
The Sundance Film Festival kicked off today and while reviews/news will be pouring in for the next ten days, the trailer for the closing-night film, The Son of No One, has hit the Internet today. Written/directed by Dito Montiel (Fighting), the crime drama tells the story of two friends (Channing Tatum and Tracy Morgan) who must face the consequences of a murder they committed.
In addition to Tatum and Morgan, the film features an impressive cast that also includes Al Pacino, Katie Holmes, Ray Liotta, and Juliette Binoche. One of the more noteworthy aspects of the film is that Morgan, best known for his wild antics on the hilarious NBC comedy 30 Rock, will be playing the film straight. While fans of him rubbing his bare belly may be disappointed, co-star Tatum told MTV, “I think Tracy Morgan is going to shock the world. Nobody has ever seen him do drama or anything like that.” Hit the jump for the full (mysteriously edited) trailer and synopsis.
We have the first images from Dito Montiel’s new drama The Son of No One, which is set to premiere at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival at the closing night film. The plot centers on two men in post-9/11 New York who are forced to relive two murders they committed as young boys. Their lives start to unravel by the threat of the revelation of these shocking and personal secrets. The film stars Channing Tatum, Al Pacino, Juliette Binoche, Ray Liotta, Katie Holmes, and Tracy Morgan. Tatum also starred in Montiel’s previous two films, A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints and Fighting.
Hit the jump to check out the images. The 2011 Sundance Film Festival runs from January 20 – 30th.
A new trailer has gone online for the animated film Rio. Like this year’s animated family film Alpha and Omega, Rio centers on a pair of animals who are trying to fuck. Okay, that might be a bit of an over-simplification. They’re a pair of rare macaws (voiced by Anne Hathaway and Jesse Eisenberg) who are brought together to mate but are then kidnapped so they can be sold on the bird black market. Judging by the trailer, it could be amusing.
Hit the jump to check out the trailer. The film also stars the voices of George Lopez, Jemaine Clement, Tracy Morgan, Leslie Mann, will.i.am, and Jamie Foxx. It’s set to open in 3D on April 8th.
After winning 3 consecutive Outstanding Comedy Emmys, how do you stay fresh? This was the question facing NBC’s 30 Rock going into its 4th season. For it’s 3rd season, 30 Rock revolved most episodes around a big-name guest star each week. The show took a different approach for its 4th season, focusing on more overarching storylines, with typically hilarious results. Even though it was shut out of it’s 4th consecutive Emmy by Glee, 30 Rock totally delivers in it’s 4th season. Hit the jump for my review: