Tag Archives: Christina Applegate

Richard Schiff: ‘House of Lies’ and its Cutthroat Wall Streeters ‘Will Be Huge’

Richard Schiff

When Don Cheadle’s “House of Lies” hits Showtime in January, “It’s going to be a watercooler show.  People will be having parties to watch this thing.  It will be huge,” predicts former “West Wing” star Richard Schiff, who plays the head of Cheadle’s cutthroat Wall Street consulting firm on the forthcoming dramedy.  “It’s so timely,” he adds.  “It holds nothing back.”

According to Schiff, it’s not that “House of Lies” — also starring Kristen Bell — has any direct correlation to today’s headline-generating Occupy Wall Street movement.  It’s that, “It depicts the disposition of people on Wall Street in a way that actually helps you understand it more.  These are human beings, not monsters, but they don’t have anything programmed within them to deal with the betterment of the rest of us.  They’re programmed to make more money for themselves and a couple of their clients, and that’s all.”  

Well, not quite all.  The show is also “very sexy.  You might see my bare a–,” advises Schiff, “but you’ll see other, much more sexy bare a–es.”

MEANWHILE:  “House of Lies” is one of a bundle of projects in the pipeline for Schiff.   Tonight (11/1) he’ll be introduced on “Up All Night”  as Christina Applegate’s father — an always-analyzing psychologist.  He tells us, “I’m enamoured of her.  I think she’s fantastic.” And then there’s his new “Up All Night” wife, Blythe Danner.

“I reminded Blythe that we worked together, must be 18 years ago now, on a TV movie in a scene were I was a lie detector test giver.  It was a time cut scene, done in one shot, in a kind of a tricky way to pass time.  They panned over to me, then panned back and it was Gwyneth Paltrow in the chair,” he recalls, speaking of Danner’s real-life daughter.  “It was before Gwyneth was a star or anything.  She was 16 or 17, and lovely.” 

The actor is also in TNT’s Nov. 29 adaptation of Scott Turow’s “Innocent” with Bill Pullman, Alfred Molina and Marcia Gay Harden.   This week, he’ll be on the set of ABC’s “Once Upon a Time,” playing Snow White’s father, King Leopold. 

“We watched the pilot and my 11-year-old daughter said, ‘Daddy, you HAVE to do this,'” he relates.  

Schiff reunited with his fellow “West Wing” alumnus Rob Lowe in the 2012 big screen political drama, “Knife Fight.” 

He’s currently trying to figure out his schedule between two more projects and a trip to Israel he intends to take later in the month on behalf of the non-partisan Creative Coalition.  And there’s more on his agenda beyond that.

Schiff says he wrapped up his stint on “West Wing” feeling the kind of fatigue that comes from “a seven-year grind.  It was a wonderful grind, but 10 1/2 months a year of 70-80-hour weeks, playing one character — I needed a mental break.”   He did a one-man show in the U.K., among other things, and “rejuvenated myself.  I feel spunky now — wanting to do things.”  It shows.

 ANOTHER HOUSE HEARD FROM:  Kevin Spacey, who is currently being seen as a sympathetic Wall Street character in the “Margin Call” feature with Zachary Quinto, Jeremy Irons and Penn Badgley, has his own “House” beckoning.   A February production start has been set for Spacey’s “House of Cards” political series that has Netflix and filmmaker David Fincher executive producing.  Fincher’s directing the pilot. 

This is the deal that got much atteniton this past spring, as part of the increasing jockeying for prime content between outlets including Netflix, Amazon, even Facebook, and their traditional media rivals.  Netflix reportedly outbid HBO for the series, and guaranteed 26 episodes.  Now being cast are roles including ambitious D.C. reporter Zoe Barnes, and Linda Vasquez, described as a “severe, deadly, cunning woman at the top of her game” who will serve as Chief of Staff to the President-elect.   

The series is based on the excellent 1990 BBC miniseries starring Ian Richardson that depicted political intrigue at the end of the Margaret Thatcher era in Great Britain.  If you haven’t already seen it, it’s well worth adding to your rainy day list. 

THE BIG SCREEN SCENE:  Warren Beatty’s not saying much about his Howard Hughes movie project that moved from Paramount to New Regency a few weeks ago — other than to say it’s not a biopic about the late billionaire.  He’s starring in the project as well as producing and directing from his own script, and it appears he’s planning to start shooting it early in the New Year, since he wants prospective cast members to be available from Jan. 5 “onward.”  That includes a young Warren Beatty look-alike being cast now for a flashback sequence.  He’s described as “handsome, late twenties to fifties, square-jawed.” 

NO, N.O.:  As if New Orleans hasn’t suffered enough disasters, now the city is about to be infested by giant killer spiders — in a creature feature called “Earthquake,” that is.  The tale has these particularly nasty arachnids making tunnels under the Big Easy, which then cause earthquakes.  Kinda sounds like a “Tremors” gumbo.

When Celebrities – Like Bret Michaels – Show True Grit, the Whole World Benefits

By Stacy Jenel Smith

Bret Michaels Celebrity Apprentice NBC photo

Will Bret Michaels make the live finale of “Celebrity Apprentice” tonight – exactly one month and two days after the brain hemorrhage that could easily have killed him?  And within days of his “warning stroke” and the discovery of a hole in his heart?

If anyone can pull off such a feat, rock and reality star Michaels is a good bet.  He learned to battle through physical challenges from the time he was six and was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes.

“When you’re five to eight years old and you find out you’re going to have to take insulin for the rest of your life, its pretty depressing. It’s heartbreaking,” he recalled in an interview a couple of years back.  “But I just looked at it and embraced it.  I said, ‘I’m still going to go out and enjoy my life. I’m still going to make music and ride motorcycles and get tattoos.’ I just gotta work a hell of a lot harder to take care of myself.”

Michaels says being able to go to a camp for diabetics as a child made all the difference in his world. “My mom was one of the counselors and later I was a counselor at a diabetic camp in Pennsylvania. I go back there every so many years to say ‘This is how I did it. This is what you gotta do.’”

He’s also actively raised funds for kids to go to such camps in various ways.  In 2005, an unorthodox campaign — with the mark of Michaels’ creativity now familiar to “Apprentice” fans — involved selling a controversial t-shirt that had a photo of him shirtless on the front and the words, “Bret Michaels Diabetic,” along with the number of injections he’d taken as of the day they shot the picture – some 253, 210.  And then the words, “Fear Nothing: Survive It.”

Michaels is displaying that same kind of courage and grit getting through his current crisis, and in so doing, he’s serving as an inspiration to millions.

When so often the media is focused on negative role models of the celebrity world, it’s worth noting that there are dozens of personalities, like Michaels, who set examples of courage and perseverance every year.  Speaking of those who’ve faced diabetes as just one example, we have the likes of Halle Berry, Mary Tyler Moore, Gary Owens and Nick Jonas, who has played his touching “A Little Bit Longer” song not only in concerts around the world, but at diabetes fund-raisers.

Michael C. Hall, Christina Applegate and Cynthia Nixon have joined the ranks of cancer survivors who advocate for early detection, along with Olivia Newton-John, Melissa Etheridge, Tom Green and a number of others.

Uterine cancer survivor Fran Drescher found that in her case, “There is a silver lining of cancer. Being a survivor has given a purpose to my life and an importance to my fame that works in astounding way I could never have imagined.”

Michael J. Fox continues the fight for a Parkinson’s Disease cure.

Basketball great turned movie theater mogul Magic Johnson has been living with HIV for 19 years now, and providing hope for long and productive lives to others dealing with the disease.

Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen, whose astonishing comeback from the automobile accident that cost him an arm inspires in itself, is constantly active in helping other amputees – particularly Iraq War veterans — through his Raven Drum Foundation.

The examples go on and on.

Even more than five years after his death, the late Christopher Reeve continues to inspire.

No one who was present for the 68th Annual Academy Awards – or watched at home – is likely to forget the heart-stopping sight of a lone figure in a wheelchair, revealed on an otherwise bare stage when the curtains opened.  Reeve, who’d been thrown from  a horse 10 months before and was left paralyzed from the neck down, had the audience of glamorous stars on their feet, some in tears as they applauded.   He then made a joke at his own expense and went on to deliver a compelling introduction about the power of socially-conscious films.  If you ever need a reminder of what courage and the power of the human spirit to triumph over adversity look like, that 3 minute, 12 second clip will do it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ffSy3-PJ5QI

In his “Still Me” memoir, the cinema “Superman” recounted his rehabilitation, admitting that initially, he considered suicide because he thought his life was over.  However, he:

  • wrote two best-sellers,
  • directed two telefilms,
  • produced and starred in a remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s “Rear Window,”
  • received multiple Emmy nominations for his acting and directing work,
  • traveled across the United States giving speeches,
  • established the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation to speed spinal cord injury research and aid sufferers,
  • co-founded the Reeve-Irvine Research Center,
  • was instrumental in pioneering a new form of therapy that has accounted for a number of paralyzed patients becoming able to walk again,
  • made the cover of Time,
  • won a Grammy,
  • and shattered ratings records for CW series when he guest starred on “Smallville.”

Those were all among the accomplishments by the late, great Christopher Reeve after his accident.