Tag Archives: “Crash

‘Astro Boy’ Rings Another Bell for Fanboy Fave Kristen

Kristen Bell  Albert L. Ortega-PR Photos

Kristen Bell Albert L. Ortega-PR Photos

Kristen Bell has gone from “Veronica Mars” to “Heroes” to “Fanboys” to the Oct. 23 release animated flick “Astro Boy” – and thereby has a permanent place in the hearts of nerdy fans everywhere. 

 Though she never intended to go down the path that’s won her such appellations  as Chic Geek and Fanboy Fabulous, the talented actress tells us it’s a good place to be.  “I just look for good projects with good writing, and I think at this point it’s a fluke that a lot of them have been genre movies.  I think that’s some of the best material out there,” says Bell.  “The sort of geeky community or the Comic-Con community, they’re some of the smartest fans out there and they pay attention so you have to feed them good material.  I’m just very flattered that they have accepted me.” 

In “Astro Boy,” based on the popular Japanese franchise, Bell provides the voice of Cora.  “After I did a little bit of research, I realized how iconic Astro Boy is overseas.  He’s like the Mickey Mouse of Japan.  The fact that it does have such a history and he’s been around for so long, there’s a reason why his story has stayed sort of timeless and relatable.  It has so many different aspects of fairytales that we’re all familiar with, but at the same time it’s a really entertaining adventure story,” she explains of the flick that also features the voices of Freddie Highmore, Nicolas Cage, Charlize Theron, Samuel L. Jackson, Bill Nighy and Nathan Lane.  “The thing with this movie is, you have to make all of these effort noises,” adds Bell.  “It’s funny to be flailing around the booth and doing these karate chop noises for the fight scenes.” 

 Right now, Bell can be seen showing off her comedic chops as she’s currently starring in the Vince Vaughn flick “Couples Retreat.”  Of that one, she says, “It was like being trapped in paradise with the funniest people in the world.  We somehow shot a movie on vacation and then when we got home they paid us for it.  It was pretty surreal.”   

ONCE GROOVY, ALWAYS GROOVY:  One-time Hollywood dream girl Peggy Lipton returns to the tube Oct. 23, playing the wife of Keith Carradine and ex-love of Dennis Hopper in a story arc on Starz’ “Crash.”  She tells us, “It’s nothing I would have expected in a million years, and it makes me want to work more.”

Lipton, who took a self-imposed work hiatus to raise her daughters by former husband Quincy Jones (“Parks and Recreation” actress Rashida Jones and fashion stylist Kidada Jones), says “I wasn’t interested for a long time, but my confidence grew over the last year.  I don’t even know why.  I do know there are plenty of us who still want to work, and there seems now to be a calling for it on cable.”   Referring to the rise of choice dramatic roles for top actresses from Glenn Close to Sigourney Weaver and Janet McTeer in the medium, she adds, “You watch the Emmys and see these fabulous actresses over 50.  There looks to be room for this on TV.

“We have so many baby boomers coming into our own. I think that’s what’s spurred me on,” adds the “Mod Squad” and “Twin Peaks” beauty, whose dramatic and glamorous life has run the gamut from famous romances (Elvis, Paul McCartney) to her winning battle against colon cancer.

Working with Hopper and Carradine has been a dream, according to her.  And she adjusted fast to the big changes on set.  “Everything is so different, streamlined.  Instead of being by the camera, the director is over in the video village that seems like a half a mile away.  But you just kind of get with it, you know.”

A FINE BROMANCE:  Dean Cain told us last summer that he had so much fun acting alongside James Tupper on their “The Gambler, the Girl and the Gunslinger” Hallmark Channel Western, he wanted to do a sequel.  “I’ll tell you what — I’ll show up for it.  If James wants to, I’m in,” said Dean, who played a gambler at odds with Tupper’s sharpshooter character.  Now, Tupper tells us he’s game, too.  “Oh, hell yeah!  It’s a bromance, it’s a bromance for sure,” he declares.  “Dean is a great guy.  He really is a bit like Superman, you know.  You meet him and he says ‘Hello’ and he owns it.  It’s him.”  But reuniting with Dean will have to wait.  Tupper’s plate is currently full with his NBC “Mercy” series and his and Anne Heche’s home life and baby. 

 FREE FLOW:  Derek Luke tells us that there has been a lot of improvisational acting going on in his new NBC “Trauma” action/medical series.  In fact, he recalls a guest actor who “showed up on the set and was basically the only one who knew the lines, who said the written word.  When he heard all the actors on the show improv’ing, he must have felt ready to faint,” says the actor who rose to fame as “Antwone Fisher,” smiling.  “You have to just flow with them.  It’s a very creative and instinctual set, pretty much like real life.  It’s one of the things I love about ‘Trauma.’” 

 With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster

Dennis Hopper Reflects on Sordid Past, Miraculous Present

Dennis Hopper   photo by Melea Kreshok, Starz

Dennis Hopper photo by Melea Kreshok, Starz

Perhaps the latest proof that Dennis Hopper’s sordid past has been forgiven comes with his disclosure that after a wait of 16 years, he’s finally found the financing to direct a film based on a story he wrote, with production expected to start “As soon as we get through Christmas.”

 Hopper, who hit his initial career high directing “Easy Rider,” then found his career crashing to the ground with the follow-up, “The Last Movie,” these days has a multi-faceted successful career.  His book, “Dennis Hopper: Photographs 1961-1967,” will have him doing promotional chores in New York and abroad, including stops in London, Brussels, Berlin and Athens.  And he’s happily wrapping up the second season of the Starz series version of the  movie, “Crash,” for debut Sept. 18.  Of it he says, “We work hard — sometimes up to 14 to 17 hours — but I won’t complain. The show is great, and it’s featuring some marvelous guest performances by Eric Roberts, Peggy Lipton and Keith Carradine.”

 He has been free of narcotics and alcohol for 26 years now and says he’s just sorry, “I stayed on drugs and booze for so long.  I’m just lucky I got through it and have ended up with a wonderful life. I should have been dead 10 times over.  I believe in miracles and it’s an absolute miracle I’m still around”

 After all these years he still regrets that the 1972  “The Last Movie” was shelved by Universal Studios  after just a brief\ run — and that its failure led to the studio dropping him from its roster of talent and his ending up persona non grata in Hollywood for years.

 He still defends “The Last Movie,” though it was ravaged by critics here.  “It won the Venice Film Festival,” he reminds. He doesn’t defend his behavior making the movie that was considered such an important project Life magazine had a reporter follow the actor to Peru.  The subsequent location story branded Hopper as “a sullen renegade who talks revolution, settles arguments with karate, goes to bed with groups and has taken trips on everything you can swallow or shoot.” 

Dennis won’t argue that he engaged in years of outrageous behavior.  He’s just glad “I got through it and have ended up with a wonderful life.”

FROM THE INSIDE LOOKING OUT:  Mekhi Pfifer tells us he was already a big fan of Fox’s “Lie to Me” – in which Tim Roth’s character has acute capabilities to perceive lies – before ever having a clue that he would eventually join the cast of the crime drama.  In fact, he says, “I TiVo’ed it from the first episode.  It’s obviously more than just a procedural show.  It’s not like watching ‘CSI.’  Nothing against ‘CSI,’ but this goes a different way, with Tim’s ability to read people’s micro expressions and things of that nature.”  So, when the chance came around to play the FBI agent involved with Roth’s group, says Mekhi, “I was very flattered, and glad to have the chance to play a character with a sense of strength, intrigue and unpredictability.”  His character was introduced the final two episodes last season, and will be a regular when the show returns Sept. 28.

The long-time “ER” doc says “Lie to Me” also worked out perfectly for him personally speaking.  “Doing a good series allows me to be multi-dimensional.  I can be here in town, work and make great money for my family, and do rewarding work.  I’ve been on an ensemble before, obviously, with ‘ER,’ and the hours are very livable.  You have strong episodes where you have to do a hell of a lot and work long hours, and then you have episodes that are not so hectic.”

THE BIG SCREEN SCENE:  A sequel to 1993’s harrowing film about girls in the Latino gang world of East L.A., “Mi Vida Loca,” is on the way to production.  Stars Seidy Lopez and Angel Aviles are back to reprise their roles as best friends from childhood, whose relationship was sorely tested in the original movie when one slept with, and became pregnant by, the other’s boyfriend.  The new film’s called “Smile Now Cry Later,” as in the slogan about entering gang life.

TV TRAUMAS:  Casting notices have gone out for a redo of the pilot for CBS’s “Miami Trauma” — not to be confused with NBC’s soon-due “Trauma” — including a new costar role of a fiftyish, reliable and capable nurse.  The show is from Jerry Bruckheimer, who can afford to go back and get it right.

CAPTAIN FANTASTIC:   They’re looking for four Elton Johns – at age five, age 12, in his twenties and in his forties – for a musical tribute to the legendary singer-composer, “Rocket Man,” planned for unveiling next April in San Bernardino, CA.  Also wanted are peformers to play Bernie Taupin, Patti LaBelle and…Princess Margaret. 

 With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster

Eric Roberts Claims 2-Year Retirement Plan

Dennis Hopper and Eric Roberts (photo from Starz)

Dennis Hopper and Eric Roberts (photo from Starz)

Eric Roberts tells us, “I hope to retire young, in the next year and a half or maybe two years.”  For real?  “I probably will.  Unless someone offers me my own series and it’s incredible, I think I’m going to hang it up in about a year and a half – because, you know, Hollywood is run by lawyers not by artists, and I don’t find that terribly appealing.”

But in the meantime, he’s certainly not showing any signs of slowing down.  Right now, he’s busy filming Starz’ “Crash” series, in which he’ll debut next month playing a billionaire entrepreneur who has designs on bringing an NFL franchise into Los Angeles.  He also just finished his role on Sylvester Stallone’s big-screen “The Expendables.”  The movie shot in Brazil, L.A. and New Orleans, and Roberts describes production on the action picture as rigorous and then some.  Or, as he puts it, “It was a $#@%!! every day.”

Roberts did a lot of his work with “Stone ColdSteve Austin in the picture that also features Stallone himself, Dolph Lundgren, Bruce Willis, Jet Li, Jason Statham, Terry Crews and a cameo by Arnold Schwarzenegger — in a tale of mercenary soldiers on assignment in South America.  “I’m telling you, Steve Austin is one of the greatest cats on the planet.  He’s my new best friend and I mean that.  I love that guy to his bone marrow,” Roberts says.  “He’s the coolest, nicest most generous man I think I might have ever worked with.”

The series has him working with the also cool Dennis Hopper, “an old, dear friend,” says Roberts — as well as Ross McCall, “an actor I’m crazy about.”  “Crash” will keep him working in New Mexico for the next seven weeks.  He likes the people, but “every day around 1 o’clock it’s 105 degrees or more,” he points out.

No wonder visions of retirement are dancing in his head.
Says the actor, who was nominated for an Academy Award for his performance in the 1985 “Runaway Train,” “Ever since they gave my Oscar to the wrong guy, I keep working as hard as I can because I realize, I’m a workaholic.  It makes me happy.  That’s what I do.”

ON THE PERSONAL SIDE:  It’s been all over the news that Candy Spelling chose not to attend her granddaughter’s first birthday party upon discovering that it was being set up for daughter Tori’s Oxygen reality show, “Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood.”

To hear Tori talk about her life on TV, however, is to get the impression that  having the cameras around is no big deal to her – and it’s the same with her offspring.

“Liam figured it out pretty early on in his life.  For one, he’s bonded with all of the cameraman,” she tells us.  “Even with the paparazzi, he’d play with the camera, but now he’s over it.  Now Stella has stepped in and is hamming it up.”

While some might get tired of the lack of privacy, Spelling says it’s not as bad as people think.  “People always say to me, ‘Is it weird having cameras in your face 24 hours a day,’ and it’s not.  It’s not what people think.  It’s not like a regular television show,” she explains.  “It’s reality so it’s a very small crew and they become like family to you.  They’re more like flies on the wall so I forget they’re there.  I just go about my life.  And they’re obviously not there 24 hours a day.  We have down time alone with our family.  I really have enjoyed the experience.”

WOMAN ON THE SCENE: Two and a Half Men” is set to return Sept. 21 and this season we’ll be seeing a lot more of Charlie Sheen’s onscreen love interest.  Actress Jennifer Taylor, who plays his fiancé Chelsea, has been made a series regular, so does this mean marriage for his bachelor character?  “I hope.  I’d love to be there forever,” says Taylor, who has had various small roles on the show since the pilot.  “I think it’d be interesting if they got married.  People could see Charlie’s character stumble along through everything that it entails.  I think that’s more interesting than being the same thing over and over again.  You can still preserve the essence of his character but in a committed relationship.”

No matter what happens, though, Taylor is just excited to be a more permanent member of the popular show.  “I never thought when I had a small part on the pilot that it would lead to me being a regular seven seasons later.  When I heard, I thought maybe it was a joke because they told me on April Fools Day. I was pleasantly surprised,” she says.  “I’ve kept different journals over the years and one time I wrote that I wanted to be a regular on a Chuck Lorre sitcom after working with him on a pilot like 10 years ago.  It’s literally a dream come true.  I feel like the pressure is on, though.  Now I have to earn my keep!  I’m just going to take everyday I’m here as a gift and just hope it keeps going.”

ASTUTE OBSERVER: Legendary writer Budd Schulberg, who died last week at age 95 leaving a legacy of great work (“On the Waterfront,” “The Harder They Fall,” “A Face in the Crowd,” etc.) was truly one of a kind.  The Oscar winner gave us a great many insightful comments through the years.  Marilyn recalls his observation that society had changed so much that the hot, young up-and-comers in Hollywood bought copies of  his “What Makes Sammy Run” because they considered the unethical central character Sammy Glick a hero — and wanted to be just like him.

With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster