Tag Archives: Hector Elizondo

Hector Elizondo Hopes New Tim Allen Series, ‘Last Man Standing,’ Gets Time to Jell

Hector Elizondo, Tim Allen ABC photo by Peter "Hopper" Stone

Will Tim Allen’s long-awaited return to series TV, “Last Man Standing,” still be standing by the end of the season? The show launches tomorrow night (10/11) amid a hail of critical arrows. But it’s getting better and better — to hear Hector Elizondo tell it.

“Like all these shows, it’s a creature that’s creating its own path while walking. We’re figuring things out,” says the debonair actor, who plays Tim’s boss and pal on the new show, in which Nancy Travis plays Tim’s wife and the mother of his three daughters. “We have all the right pieces. It always takes a season with these. If the network gives us a chance, this will be a very successful show.”

Elizondo tells us that Allen’s involvement was the primary inducement for his joining “Last Man Standing.” “I always admired his acting. Not a lot of people think about that. The movies he’s done — I see the chops there, not too hidden under the surface, either. They’re taking advantage of that more and more,” he says of the show’s writers. It’s leading to “more and more real comedy.”

The one-time “Chicago Hope” lead admits he “didn’t want to get back up on the horse” when it came to launching a new TV series. The premature death of his last such effort, the beautifully-crafted “Cane” drama with Jimmy Smits, was a heartbreaker for all involved. Ironically, it shot at the same studio as “Last Man Standing.”

Elizondo and Garry Marshall

“That one hurt, and left me in a deep, deep funk,” he says. “I said, ‘That’s it. I can’t take another disappointment like that.’ It was a damn good show, a quality show. The production values where high, it had content — that world of Florida and the Caribbean is so economically viable, so important…We were all emotionally involved in it. There was a great feeling of Caribbean warmth on the set. There was good Cuban coffee, dancing between takes. Then the writers’ strike hit for three and a half months, and we couldn’t hold on.”

Elizondo played shrink to Adrian Monk on “Monk” for a season after that, and made films.  He has buddy Garry Marshall’s “New Year’s Eve” coming up Dec. 9.

And now, here he is, back at Radford Studios, fully emotionally invested in a series again.  He has to be, he says. “It’s always good and always dangerous. You’ve got to dive in in the raw.  We’ve got a commitment of 12 to do.  I would think with this caliber of talent, we’d get a full season.  They’ve been wooing Tim for awhile.”   He adds, “We’ll know after three or four are on the air.”

‘Lemonade Mouth’ — Next Generation of Disney Channel Stars?

Adam Hicks, Blake Michael, Bridgit Mendler, Naomi Scott, Hayley Kiyoko Disney Channel photo

Will tonight’s Disney Channel Original Movie, “Lemonade Mouth” establish the next generation of Disney Channel stars?  That is the hope of producer Debra Martin Chase, and you’d better believe, it’s the network’s hope as well — especially now that the stars of the “High School Musical” franchise, “Camp Rock” and “Hannah Montana” have all grown up and moved on.

If Chase’s track record with fresh talent is any indication, the new gang will be well worth following.  Her “Princess Diaries” movies gave us Anne Hathaway and Chris Pine.  “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” introduced Blake Lively and gave America Ferrera a teen following.  Lucy Hale,   so hot in “Pretty Little Liars,” got an early career boost in “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2,” as did “Grey’s Anatomy’s” Jesse Williams.

What does Chase hunt for?  “I hate to sound like a cliche, but you really do look for that ‘It’ — that very special quality that makes someone stand out.  Sometimes I call it, people have light in their eyes, something that shines from within, coupled with intelligence,” she says. “They need to be attractive, but an interesting attractiveness.  They need to have some soul and depth to them, you know?  That’s how it happens, they just come in and you say, ‘Okay. that person is special.'”

As Chase points out, both Bridgit Mendler (“Good Luck Charlie”) and Adam Hicks (“Zeke and Luther”) are already Disney Channel stars.  Other members of the title high school band of “Lemonade Mouth” are starting to take off as well.  Hayley Kiyoko has opened for Justin Bieber.  And, “Subsequent to the filming of our movie, Naomi Scott was cast by Steven Spielberg as one of the leads in his new Fox series, ‘Terra Nova,'” points out Chase.  “She has already shot the pilot in Australia.”

Heartthrob-to-be Blake Michael “is really the Cinderfella of this whole thing.  He sent in a self-made tape with his mother reading lines with him in Atlanta.  The tape just popped.  We knew we had to have him,” Chase recalls.

Casting was a three-month process that made good use of new technology.  Rather than going city to city looking at candidates for the roles, Chase and her team viewed video posted to their website.  British actress Scott “auditioned via Skype.  That’s the first time we’ve done that.”

As for whether there will be a “Lemonade Mouth 2” — Mark Peter Hughes, who wrote the popular novel, is writing a sequel now — Chase smiles.  “It all depends on how we do Friday night.”

TRAFFIC ADVISORY:  L.A residents who want to catch a glimpse of a classic style pop superstar mob scene can drive over to Sunset Blvd.’s BookSoup book store in West Hollywood tomorrow (4/15) around three p.m..  (Others, take note and avoid.)  Janet Jackson will be there to sign a few hundred copies of her No. 1 best-selling book, “True You,” and it doesn’t take much imagination to predict what the scene will be like.  Miss Janet will have to tear herself away to perform at Universal City’s Gibson Amphitheatre in the evening.  All three of her concerts there sold out in ten minutes.

THE VIDEOLAND VIEW:  Tim Allen’s pilot is sounding like a better and better prospect now that Nancy Travis is aboard as Tim’s wife, and Hector Elizando’s in the mix, playing Tim’s boss at a demolition company — at least for awhile.  (The character steps down, moving Tim’s character up.)  Elizondo automatically confers quality upon anything in which he appears, as his buddy Garry Marshall would be first to agree.  Garry insists on using Hector in all his movies as his good luck charm.

Sounds like HBO’s planned television treatment of Femme Fatale magazine will be sexy stuff.  The producers (who have “NCIS” and “Castle” in their collective credits) put out a casing call for a “hot ethnic woman in her twenties, a hot ethnic woman in her thirties, a hot caucasian woman in her twenties” and four good-looking guys in their twenties and thirties.  Nudity required for everybody.

PRISM Awards Poignant, Powerful and — with Garry Marshall — Funny

Hector Elizondo and Garry Marshall

Garry Marshall got laughs, Rosie O’Donnell scored a coup, Kevin McKidd warmed audience hearts and significant, meaningful work was honored at the 14th Annual Prism Awards in Beverly Hills the other night.  The event highlighted films and television shows that accurately depict and bring attention to substance abuse and mental health issues – and although there were somber moments, a celebratory mood prevailed.

Introducing the category of Performance in a Comedy Series with his long-time pal and movie good luck charm, Hector Elizondo,” Marshall quickly dispensed with his scripted lines, informing the audience that there was no band, but “there’s a guy with a harmonica backstage to play you off if you go too long.”  (“The cue card guy is going crazy,” he observed.)   Marshall mentioned, among other things, that he and Elizondo play softball together in a show business league — seniors division. “If you hit a double, they let you take a nap.  If you score a home run, you get free Lipitor.”

Elizondo and Tony Shalhoub won the Prism Award comedy series performance category for their work in the much-missed “Monk,” in which Elizondo played the therapist for Obsessive Compusive detective Adrian Monk.

Rosie O’Donnell won Prism honors for her performance in Lifetime’s “America” — out of a field including Sigourney Weaver, Jessica Lange, Kimberly Elise and Drew Barrymore – in the category of Performance in a TV Movie or Miniseries.  She played a therapist in the poignant movie about a teenager caught in the foster care system.

McKidd’s portrayal a doctor fraught with post traumatic stress syndrome due to his tour of duty in Iraq on “Grey’s Anatomy” won the Prism Award for Performance in a Drama Series Multi-Episode Storyline.  He admitted to having been insecure over whether he could pull off the demands of the role when Shonda Rhimes first talked to him about it, and subsequently dove into researching PTS by reading and talking to veterans.  He thanked Rhimes and his leading lady Sandra Oh, ABC and his wife for making it all possible.

Among other highlights of the evening was a reunion of ‘I Dream of Jeannie’ stars Larry Hagman and Barbara Eden, and the inauguration of the Adam ‘DJ AM’ Goldstein Recovery Advocacy Award, presented in his memory to his mother.  Jeff Bridges, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Timothy Hutton and Dr. Phil were also among the honorees at the event, produced by the Entertainment Industries Council (EIC) in collaboration with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and FX.  Look for The Prism Awards to be shown as an upcoming television special on FX.