With “Hawthorne” about to wrap production for its first season, Michael Vartan says he’s hoping to fill the TNT show’s eight or nine month hiatus period with movie work. “One would be fine. Three would be great. Or I’ll have down time playing with my dog and watching sports. Either way it’s a win-win. I’m a lucky S.O.B.,” declares the handsome actor.
He’s also planning to “return to my adopted homeland of Australia – my favorite place on earth. I’ll definitely be spending time there over hiatus. For the last five years, I’ve been trying to go once, if not twice a year. I did a movie there four or five years ago. I’d love to have a little place there at some point, to go and relax. I love it. It’s the anti-Hollywood place,” opines Vartan. As for where he’ll establish his Down Under getaway, he says he has “nothing specific” in mind so far.
Meanwhile, he points out, “I’m one of those actors who understand how difficult it is to find good work in this business. Having a show like ‘HawthoRNe’ that you feel proud of to go back to in its second season – hopefully — is a wonderful thing,” he says of the well-received Jada Pinkett Smith medical drama that’s earned very healthy ratings so far.
“It’s a great job. We have long hours, but I was on ‘Alias’ for five years. That was a great fun show to work on but the hours on that truly were brutal. On top of the acting scenes, there were stunts, helicopters, fights. There were almost always 16 to 18-hour days on that one. This one has 12 to 15-hour days. That’s not too bad,” says Vartan.
He adds that “Everyone’s really down to earth and relaxed. As an added bonus, as far as the production goes, the people in charge are really, really nice. Some of the producers I’ve worked with in the past haven’t been the most tactful in the world. With this, Jada’s surrounded herself with people she likes and trusts, who are cooperative and creative.”
A NEW CHAPTER: “I’m writing a book right now and I’m tending to my social life in a way you can’t do when you’re touring,” says musician Alanis Morissette, who’s taking a small break from music and also guest starring on Showtime’s “Weeds.”
The book is something the singer has been working on for quite some time, and while it will be revealing, she tells us it won’t give away too much. “I don’t call it a memoir because I’m too bored with my own personal life story to even write it. It should be read in a linear way so it will be very conversational, but it will touch on all of the things I’m obsessed with – self care, women’s issues, health issues, relationship issues,” explains Morissette. “There will be great photographs from traveling all over the planet so many times. There will certainly be personal insight with Q&A’s but it won’t be a memoir, no.”
INSTANT PRODUCTION: Neil Patrick Harris, who delivers a very nice solo in the “Prop. 8: The Musical” Funny Or Die video that hit the internet and went viral last fall, says he’s absolutely open to doing more work with the assemblage of talent that came together to make it, including composer Marc Shaiman and director Adam Shankman. “Those things happen so quickly and so randomly,” he says. “I got the call from Adam Shankman, and he asked, ‘What are you doing on Thursday?’ That’s how fast those guys worked.” The satirical piece – also starring Jack Black, John C. Reilly, Margaret Cho, Maya Rudolph and others – won a Webby award this past Spring.
THE VIDEOLAND VIEW: “Who would have thought it would have gone on this long?” says Tom Lennon about his popular Comedy Central series “Reno 911!” which is currently in its sixth season. Part of the reason it works, he notes, is because many of the cast members have been friends for yours and genuinely enjoy working with each other. “Kerri (Kenney-Silver), Ben (Garant), and I have basically been doing this kind of stuff together since we were 18.” The three of them began performing improv together at New York University where they were part of the group The State.
“We legitimately crack each other up,” Lennon tells us. “We sit around in some dingy room thinking of horrible scenarios. We don’t really know anything else other than sitting around with each other and trying to think of awkward, uncomfortable situations that we can put each other in.” At this point he feels like their comedy has become one in the same. “You do tend to get in sync. Sometimes we write the same exact jokes as each other. Ben and I do that a lot. We’ll go away and write a scene and when we come back it’s like identical to what the other one wrote. I think they call it twin speak.”
With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster