Tag Archives: Hal Holbrook

Christine Lahti Hopes ‘Flying Lessons’ Takes Off

Can Derek Magyar’s “Flying Lessons” become one of the little movies that make their presence known this Oscar season among the Filmland giants? Certainly Hal Holbrook’s performance as a man in the throes of Alzheimer’s is already garnering attention, as are those of Maggie Grace as a young woman forced to return home after she bottoms out via drugs and other reckless behavior – and Christine Lahti as the mother with whom she reluctantly reunites.

“I guess it’s par for the course for a lot of these indie films to take a long time to find distribution – if they find distribution,” notes Lahti, speaking of the intense drama that actually finished production in 2010, and is getting released nationally tomorrow (12/7). “So I’m very happy the film is actually going to be in theaters and have an audience.”

Lahti tells us that “Flying Lessons” marked a reunion for her and Holbrook. “I worked with Hal many years ago off-Broadway in Country Girl, so I knew him and even though we didn’t have any scenes together in this movie, I was so glad he was in it, because knew his presence would elevate it. I also liked the director, and the characters were really dark and interesting and dramatic,” she adds.

”The secret they share is sort of the undercurrent of everything — the denial, the avoidance of this trauma in their lives really fractures this relationship. They’re each grappling with a lot of loneliness, a lot of pain. There is a lot of desperation with my character that doesn’t help with healing the relationship with her daughter.”

Lahti has made a string of independent features over the past year or so – “Truck Stop” with Evan Peters and “Petunia” with Thora Birch and Brittany Snow, to name two — along with her recurring “Hawaii Five-O” role of mother to Steve McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin). The Oscar-winning (“Lieberman in Love”)filmmaker also has a road movie in preproduction that she wants to direct this coming spring.

Would the one-time “Chicago Hope”actress want to do another series? “I really like coming in and out of ‘Hawaii Five-O’ – it’s a great group of actors and a really fun and complex character. I don’t know if I’d want to be involved in a series for seven years at this point, but never say never,”she replies.

But right now, she has her sights set on stage work. She and her husband, esteemed TV director Thomas Schlamme, are dividing their time between coasts these days. “My kids went to college and I said, ‘Okay, it’s time to go back to New York. I’ve been wanting to move back to New York for 20 years. We sold our house in Brentwood and we’re renting. We don’t know how it’s going to turn out, where we’ll be spending most of our time, but being bicoastal right now is really fun. It’s the fulfillment of a long-time dream.”


Kimberley Locke Plots Reality Show for Plus-Size Singers

Kimberley Locke

Even though Kimberley Locke is busy with the launch of her new “Strobe Light”  single – the first fruit of her collaboration with Randy Jackson – she’s also pushing forward with meetings this week about the reality show project closest to her heart, “Making the Curve.”  The show revolves around those belters, crooners and screamers who make amazing music, but have a way of turning up as backup singers because of the way they look.

“I know what it feels like to have more talent than the front girl, if you know what I mean,” says the singer who rose to fame on “American Idol” and has since gone on landing several Top 20 hits and No. 1 singles across Billboard charts – as well as proving an attention-getter among the celebs trying to lose weight on “Celebrity Fit Club.”

“We’re giving those girls the opportunity to have a shot.  This is a show for plus-size women.  It’s not open to everybody.”  There will be auditions in different cities, and “these girls are going to write together, they’re going to live in a house together and collaborate with those powerhouse voices.  We’re going to give them a makeover,” says Locke – who’ll serve as host as well as producer.

Weight loss “is not a part of it.  Healthy lifestyle is part of it.  If you want to lose weight after you’ve had some success, knock yourself out.  Most of us do that anyway,” she comments.  “It’s about the music, and it’s about their stories – moving beyond their weight issues and being successful.”

MEANWHILE:  Locke’s latest bid for musical success is the dance record for which Randy Jackson and Danish music master (Santana, Christina Aguilera) served as producers.  It’s being released via Jackson’s Dream Merchant 21 and INgrooves.  What’s it like working with the man who once judged her on “American Idol”?

“I’ve known Randy now for seven years, and I know, he really knows his stuff.  He’s all about ‘let’s do it now, and let’s get it done right.’  He was in A&R for 10 years in addition to being an artist himself.  I love being around him, hearing his stories.  When I m with him I’m like a sponge.”

FUNNY BUSINESS:  Winner of last season’s “Last Comic Standing,” Iliza Shlesinger, is reaching a new milestone this year with her very first half hour Comedy Central special, airing tomorrow (4/16), but don’t expect the comic to be cheering on the newest contestants of the reality show that helped make her a star.  “I didn’t watch it before I was on it and I’m not watching it now that I’m not on it,” says Shlesinger about “Last Comic,” which returns for a new season June 7.  “I didn’t watch it in the first place because it makes me anxious.  Plus, I’m so competitive that I get annoyed that I can’t be on the show.  I know if I’m watching it, I’ll want to be on it and I don’t need the headache.”

However, she is appreciative of what it’s done for career.  “I did not have a career before and now I have one.  ‘Last Comic’ opened up a lot of doors, but I truly believe it’s my talent that will keep those doors open.”

Fans will get to see a lot of that talent when the comedian presents a whole slew of new material for Comedy Central.  “I got my half hour special within a year or so of doing ‘Last Comic’ so a lot of my A material was used for that.  This was all newer stuff that I’ve been working on for a while,” she tells us.  “What’s funny is I can walk into a club and do an hour of comedy.  I’ve literally awakened out of a flu-induced coma and gone to perform and it’s not a problem, but doing this was a little nerve-wracking.  You think, ‘Oh, am I going to mess up?  Will get it edited ok?  What if I look fat?’”

Luckily she was funny and looked good too!  “It was an audience who was excited to be there and wanted to laugh so it was a lot of fun.”

Dixie Carter

HATE TO SEE THAT EVENING SUN GO DOWN:  Our sympathy goes out to Hal Holbrook on the loss of his wife, Dixie Carter.  We enjoyed it when the vibrant, feisty actress told us, just a matter of months ago, that we’d never see her on a reality show.  “I’m an actress,” she declared, “not someone who wants self promotion for self promotion’s sake, so my face, with half a pound of makeup on it, is constantly on view.  I can’t see the value of that — but it’s a virus that runs through our business.  You hear people say, ‘I’ve got to stay out there.’  Why?  If I let those winds of frenetic need to be in the public eye push me, I’ll lose every grain of dignity and self-respect, and, really, enjoyment of life that I have.”

Dignity and self-respect she certainly did have, and warmth and abundant talent.  The one-time “Designing Women” star, who won an Emmy nod for her work in “Desperate Housewives,” continued performing on stage, TV and film – her last big-screen appearance being in “That Evening Sun.”   The adaptation of William Gay’s story “I Hate to See That Evening Sun Go Down,” it’s about a strong-willed old farmer who walks out of the nursing home into which his son has placed him, and heads back to his farm.  Holbrook’s memorable performance and the movie itself won a number of indie film awards last year.  And — it’s poignant now — it features an unspeaking Dixie as Holbrook’s lonely character’s long-dead wife, who returns to him in daydreams.

THE BIG SCREEN SCENE:  There’ll be no rest for Patrick Dempsey this “Grey’s Anatomy” hiatus.  With his big-screen “Flypaper” speeding toward an early May production start, casting is being completed for minor roles.  The movie, on which Dempsey’s serving as producer as well as star, has him as a man who walks into a bank one day and finds himself in the middle of two simultaneous robberies – which his enquiring mind compels him to investigate.  All is not as it seems.  A variety of bank customers and employees are being cast.  The picture shoots in Baton Rouge.

With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster