Tag Archives: Emmys

What to Watch for at the Emmy Awards/’Expendables’ Actress Looking for More Action

Billy CrystalPlan to watch the 66th annual Emmy Awards show Monday (8/25) night?  The Granddaddy of TV Awards shows looks likely to bring us plenty of memorable moments. Here are five reasons to tune in:

1. This is where the TV community will be giving Robin Williams a proper send-off. That’s the word according to Executive Producer Don Mischer, who has Robin’s long-time best pal Billy Crystal giving a tribute to the man. Mischer himself worked with Williams at least 30 times. Planning began as soon as the production team heard of Williams’ death. Don’t be surprised if presenters and winners comment on Williams as well.

2. If Matthew McConaughey wins an Outstanding Lead Actor award for “True Detective” — and many believe his searing portrayal of existentialist detective Rust Cohle will rule the category — it will be the first time since George C. Scott in 1971 that a leading man has won an Oscar and an Emmy in the same year. McConaughey won Best Actor at the Academy Awards for “Dallas Buyers Club.”  (Scott turned down his “Patton” Oscar, but accepted his Hallmark Hall of Fame Emmy because he liked the Emmys Blue Ribbon Panel voting system better.)

3. Host Seth Meyers. Meyers watchers know that behind the seeming calm of the late night host and former “SNL” Weekend Update guy lurks a scathing wit. Recall how he ripped Donald Trump when he hosted the White House Correspondents Dinner in 2011?  “Donald Trump has said he’s running for president as a Republican. Which is surprising because I thought he was running as a joke,” he said. And another, “Donald Trump owns the Miss USA pageant, which is great for Republicans because it will streamline their search for a vice president.”  Who’ll be his target Monday night?  Meyers told the L.A. Times he plans to front load the comedy — his opening monologue and a couple of film pieces are where his funny stuff will be most visible — and then just keep the evening moving along, so be sure to be there for the opening.

4. As more and more A list actors move to TV the wattage of star power at the Emmys just keeps getting higher. You’ve got McConaughey and Woody Harrelson in “True Detective,” Julia Roberts and Mark Ruffalo among the many nominees for “The Normal Heart,” Billy Bob Thornton for “Fargo,” Don Cheadle for “House of Lies,” Jodie Foster for “Orange is the New Black” and more.

5. The big contests. Will “Orange is the New Black” break “Modern Family’s” Best Comedy streak, or will the latter show prevail with a record-breaking fifth win in a row?  Will “True Detective” squeeze in front of “Breaking Bad” for Drama series?  Will Robin Wright “House of Cards” beat Claire Danes, Lizzy Caplan and Kerry Washington as Best Lead Actress in a Drama?  Can Don Cheadle break Jim Parson’s streak as Lead Actor in a Comedy?  We want to know!

natalie burnMOVING UP: Natalie Burn, who plays Mel Gibson’s wife in a short-but-sweet turn in “The Expendables 3,” admits she’d have liked to have been in on the action of that high-octane Sylvester Stallone feature. The Ukranian-born former prima ballerina for the Bolshoi has been sharpening her fighting skills to be ready for…anything. The much-discussed “Expendabelles” perhaps?  “The next push I will try to convince Stallone or whoever I work with that I’m a good fighter — and coming from a ballerina background, I’m still flexible. I did gymnastics so I can do a lot of backflips and wire work and a lot of knife fights. I’m definitely a good asset to an action film,” she says.

Burn likely already impresses Stallone, since she is taking her career into her own hands as the “Rocky” star did, writing and producing her own projects. One of those is her “Awaken” drama about a random group of people who wake up on an island where they start being hunted down. She reports that it is coming out in October. In it, moviegoers will be able to see her doing plenty of action, including fights she calls “raw and natural. That’s what I like.”

“We finished it a couple months ago. I wrote the movie, produced and starred. Daryl Hannah, Edward Furlong, Robert Davi, Michael Pare, David Keith and a few others are in it,” she says. Next, she’s making another of her own movies, called “Devil’s Burn” in Louisiana.

“I would definitely encourage all the young actors to do that,” she says of writing and producing projects for themselves. “We don’t get enough auditions and enough scenes. If you make your own projects and get them seen, it’s a good start.”

Initially the “Expendables” team planned to have an older actress play Gbson’s wife, by the way. But in came Natalie with her youth, beauty and Russian accent — parallelling Gibson’s notorious ex — and those plans changed. According to her, the prickly actor-director couldn’t have been nicer.

Emmys 2011 Backstage Chat From A Year of Satisfying, Tolerance-Celebrating Wins

Melissa McCarthy

The Emmys celebrated tolerance at their 63rd annual awards fest last night — a feeling that carried on through the Winners Walk press rooms backstage.  Yes, Melissa McCarthy and Margo Martindale, two women whose appearances would automatically put them out of the running for becoming Fox News babes, were awarded television’s highest accolade for their brilliant work on “Mike & Molly” and “Justified,” respectively.   Thirteen years years after Camryn Manheim’s notorious “This is for all the fat girls!” proclamation when she won an Emmy for “The Practice,” maybe this is a sign of progress.

Oh, yes, and there was a lot of talk about gay people, too.

 Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy winner McCarthy told press that “Mike & Molly” was never about the main characters’ weight problems for her — or for producers Chuck Lorre or Don Foster.  She said Foster “looked at me and said, ‘I’m writing a romantic comedy.'”  If viewers were still talking about the couple’s girth 10 episodes in, she said, she knew they’d have a problem.

McCarthy’s category certainly marked the most fun presentation of the evening, with nominees Amy Poehler, Laura Linney, Edie Falco, Martha Plimpton, Tina Fey and McCarthy hurrying excitedly to the stage as their names were called — and McCarthy being crowned and handed a bouquet, beauty pageant-style when she won.  She told the press that she first heard about the idea  from fellow nominee Martha Plimpton, “She said, ‘Amy’s got an idea.’  I said, ‘I’m in.’  If Amy Poehler thinks something’s funny, I’ll do it.'”

Asked how she felt about being identified with her infamous vomiting scene in “Bridesmaids,” McCarthy said she was just glad people went to see the movie, that she thought Kristin Wiig and Annie Mumalo did a brilliant job writing it, and that to her, the scene “was less about being gross and more about the sheer horror of that happening publicly.”

McCarthy codesigned her long purple dress, drawing sketches and providing input.  It has already wound up on Worst Dress lists, but at least it had some things going for it.  As she said, “It’s wildly comfortable, and it has pockets, which I enjoy in a gown.” 

The Plainfield, Illinois-born McCarthy was asked what she would say to young people who have dreams of becoming actors.  “If anybody tells you that the odds arer slim, just keep walking …If you love something and work really really hard at it, I think the odds are pretty good.”

Margo Martindale, who won the Emmy for Outstanding Supporting  Actress in a drama at age 60, told press she appreciates the honor more now than she ever could have at 30.  She was initially hired to play moonshiner Mags Bennett for just four episodes of FX’s “Justified,” she said, but one or two episodes in, she was informed they were writing her into 10.  Then she dmitted with a smile that, considering how happy producers were with the character, “I thought they’d let me live!”  She added that she thought Mags’ demise was poetic and appropriate.  Next, we’ll see the esteemed, long-time character actress playing assistant to Patrick Wilson’s top tier surgeon on CBS’s new “A Gifted Man.”

 Martindale was among the winners that brought fans special satisfaction — inside as well as outside the auditorium, as the applause level showed.  Certainly Lead Actor in a Drama winner Kyle Chandler was foremost among those, as he closed out his “Friday Night Lights” history with an Emmy — finally.

Such was not the case for Steve Carell, who lost out in the Lead Actor in a Comedy category to Jim Parsons of “The Big Bang Theory” — even though it was his last year on “The Office.”

Parsons admitted backstage that his own mother told him he shouldn’t expect to win, that Carell would:  “That’s what my mother had said along with other prognosticators.  He’s just done such a wonderful job on that show for such a long time.” 

Parsons was asked whether he’d seen Charlie Sheen backstage, and what the wayward former “Two and a Half Men” star might have said to him.  “He just congratualted me.  He said, ‘That’s awesome.’  It was that sweet and that banal. I’m sorry.  I wish there was something lurid for me to say.”

And, asked an odd question, he gave a whimsical answer.  Jim, do you find people expecting you to do pratfalls in the real world?  “I pray to God they’re not because I could be a big disappointment.  I can be a little klutz-prone at times, but overall I have an odd grace, like a giraffe, and manage not to fall down.”

Kate Winslet and Guy Pearce traded accolades backstage after their respective “Mildred Pierce” wins — and after Pearce talked, during his acceptance speech, about the joy of doing lovemaking scenes with the Oscar-winning actress. 

Her response to that?  “I’m thrilled.  I had a crush on Guy Pearce since I was 11 years old.  So to even stand in the same room with him was thrilling to me.  And to hear him say that onstage tonight was even more of a thrill.”

Legendary filmmaker Martin Scorsese, who won for directing “Boardwalk Empire,” said that he approached that HBO drama as if it was a long movie.  He talked about the freedom of long-form TV storytelling, comparing it to Victorian novels by Dickens and others that were actually written in serial form.   He also compared “Boardwalk Empire” to old Hollywood gangster movies, saying that eople are fascinated with watching these kinds of criminals rise to power, “but you want to see them fall.”  

It was a big night of celebration, of course, for repeat winners “Mad Men” and “Modern Family,” and the show teams came backstage feeling festive. 

“Modern Family” producer Steve Levitan — who talked in his acceptance speech about a real-life gay couple thanking him for the show making people more tolerant — said he’d been thinking about what he’d like to say for a couple of days before the show.

Individual winners Ty Burrell and Julie Bowen were asked about conservative America’s reaction to the show’s gay couple, played by Eric Stonestreet and Jesse Tyler Ferguson.   Burrell said, “I don’t know about it in opposition to conservative America, but it feels very good to be on a show that seems to be slowly changing a lot of minds.”  And Bowen said, “It’s absurd that it’s even an issue, but since it is, I’m glad the show is changing people’s minds.”

 

Brenda Strong Ready to Go From One Prime Time Soap to Another — Or Both

Brenda Strong

“Desperate Housewives” Emmy nominee Brenda Strong is thrilled with her nod from the Television Academy, but hard-pressed to come up with a reason why she’s been singled out for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance honors this year and not the other six years the series has been on the air.  “I have no idea.  Did somebody on ‘Family Guy’ not submit?” she asks wryly.  It could be just an accumulation of appreciation, friends have suggested to  her, or it just might be her turn.

Strong, who narrates the show as deceased housewife Mary Alice Young, will be appearing in front of the cameras more often as flashbacks begin to reveal more “Desperate” secrets come fall.  “Mary Alice is book-ending the season.  We have to act like it’s the last season, because we don’t  know if it is or not,” she says.  As for herself, “I would be happy to be Mary Alice Young ’til somebody sent the cows home and turned out the lights.”

If by chance “Desperate Housewives” did continue beyond what’s expected tobe its final year, Strong would be doing double duty — because she’s heading for Dallas this October to begin playing Mrs. Bobby Ewing in TNT’s 2012 “Dallas” reboot.  But that wouldn’t be a problem.  As she points out, “Technology is such now that as long as you have an ISDN line, you can record voiceovers from Timbukutu if you want to.”

If she does have any concern about work, it’s that audiences that still fondly remember Victoria Principal’s (late) Pam Ewing will accept her as Ann Ewing.  Comments Brenda, “The people on ‘Dallas’ were bigger than life when I was an up and coming actress.  I think it’s a great idea that we get to reshape it for another generation.  I love that we get to explore these real Shakespearean themes with our tongues in our cheeks.  Really, it’s family drama of Biblical proportions.”

Meanwhile, there are the Emmys.  Strong is being escorted by her 16-year-old son, Zakery, who is now also an actor.  Asked about feeling like her fellow nominees in the category are strange bedfellows, she quips, “Yes, but I won’t be sleeping with Porky Pig anytime soon.”  Porky Pig actor Bob Bergen is among the nominees in her category, as is Seth Green for multiple voices on his “Robot Chicken,” Maurice LaMarche for “Futurama,” Dan Castellaneta for “The Simpsons,” and Christopher Plummer for narrating “Moguls & Movie Stars – The Birth Of Hollywood.”

“In a weird way, it takes the pressure off, because they’re not doing what I do,” she says.  “But I’m honored to be in a category with these seasoned pros — and to be in the same sentence as Christopher Plummer, who I have so much respect for, that’s really a great place to be.”