Tag Archives: Jill Scott

‘You Don’t Know Jack’ Puts Vaccaro Back Where She Belongs

Al Pacino, Susan Sarandon, Danny Huston, Brenda Vaccaro

It’s comeback time for Brenda Vaccaro.  She offers up a bracing reminder of just how well she can work her considerable acting chops in HBO’s April 24 “You Don’t Know Jack,” playing the sister-accomplice of Al Pacino as euthanasia-enabling doctor Jack Kevorkian.

Brenda’s performance makes her a clear awards contender, as is the whole project, as is Al Pacino.

Not that long ago, Brenda tells us, she was ready to leave the business and go live in Normandy, France, near her husband, Guy Hector’s family.  The woman who once reigned as part of the film acting elite, who burst into fame on Broadway in such vehicles as “Cactus Flower” and “How Now, Dow Jones” and in films including “Midnight Cowboy” and “Jacqueline Suzanne’s Once is Not Enough,” was frustrated, feeling forgotten.  “I was ready to get up and say ‘Screw this.  I’m sick of this business.  Let’s pack up and get out of here.’  I mean I was sick of it,” she emphasizes with her throaty laugh.

She was not forgotten, however.  Esteemed casting director Ellen Chenoweth, who was working with filmmaker Barry Levinson on “You Don’t Know Jack” brought up Brenda’s name as a prospect to play Pacino’s sister.  Brenda’s been told that Levinson’s response was “Brenda Vaccaro?  What’s she up to lately?  I really like her.”

When she got the call, “I thought it was a joke,” Brenda admits.  However, in a matter of weeks, she found herself meeting with Pacino.  Back in the early 70’s, “We knew each other well enough to say, ‘Hi, honey!’ when we ran into each other on the streets of New York.  We were really, like, close acquaintances, along with Jon Voight, Dustin Hoffman – we were all part of the same group,” she relates.

When she met Pacino again, ‘He said, ‘My God, I haven’t seen you in so many years.!  I said, ‘Al, what am I doing here?’  I felt like I was at an Italian funeral. We talked about life and love and times past.  He’s so adorable and so down to earth, a great person.”

Afterwards, “I got in the car with my husband and said, ‘I really want to work with Al.  Is it that magical?’”  It was.  She wound up acting alongside not only Pacino, but Susan Sarandon and John Goodman in the cable film.  Early response has been so positive.  “It feels good,” says Brenda.  “Everything feels good.”

HELLO, AGAIN:  Poppy Montgomery has joined the ABC “True Blue” pilot being directed by Peter Horton, with Marc Blucas and Malcolm-Jamal Warner also in the cast.   The show’s about six best friends whose very different paths converge as they seek to solve the murder of their seventh friend.  One’s a detective, another a prosecutor, another a police captain.

Montgomery, who spent seven years on the show “Without A Trace,”  is obviously ready to get back into the series game.  While she’s happy to have had the chance to branch out with other projects, she tells us she’ll always have a big spot in her heart for her old series.

“I miss that show every day.  I loved my cast and the writers and producers.  We were like a really close family,” says Montgomery.  “I still see Roselyn [Sanchez] and Anthony [LaPaglia].  We literally talk once a week or go to dinner.  When we go out to dinner together, people are like, ‘Oh my God!  Here you all are!”  They loved the show, but they always ask, ‘Is the show coming back?’  It makes me laugh.  It’s very rare you get that long of a run on a TV series,” she notes.

However, Montgomery says having a break has been nice.  “Because I have a two-year-old, it’s been great to spend time with him.  I’d been working since he was born,” she says.  “I’ve become addicted to the grueling schedule because I like to work. Now that Jackson is going to be in pre-school soon, I’m getting ready to go back to that.  I wasn’t ready for a while because I needed some time with my family and to figure out what I wanted to do next.”

THE VIDEOLAND VIEW:   Take heart, fans of “The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency.”  Star Jill Scott foresees more episodes of the critically adored BBC/HBO show that shoots in Botswana in her future.  “I think it’s just a matter of the script at this point,” she tells us.  “I’m really excited about doing more and I really hope it comes together.”  The songstress, who gave birth to son Jett last April, notes, “Initially, the only thing that stopped us from continuing was that I was pregnant.  When we were ready to go back, it was too immediate.  I had this little person and I didn’t want to take him on a 16-hour flight, because I happen to love him.”  When she does return, she says, “I might make it a longer trip to get there – stop in London and let him acclimate, then Morocco and give him a couple of days.  His comfort means everything to me.”

“Ladies” will have to wait, however.  Scott is on tour in support of her “The Light of the Sun” album, and expects to be out the better part of the year.

ANOTHER MONSTER HEARD FROM:  Preproduction is moving right along on “Lockjaw,” a creature feature that will have a group of carefree young adults running into big trouble – a part-human, part-alligator monster.  But the interesting part is that behind this toothy tale are producers Sid Sheinberg – the famous former MCA chief – and his sons, Jon and Bill Sheinberg.  Now if they find a part for mom Lorraine Gary, the flick will involve the whole family.

With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster

It Takes an Entourage For Jill Scott, Baby, with Tour and ‘Why Did I Get Married Too’ On the Way

Jill Scott

Jill Scott is one busy mother, with ‘Why Did I Get Married Too’ opening April 2, preparations for her concert tour with Maxwell that starts in May, and her baby boy about to turn one year old.  She manages ‘with a lot of help,’ she lets us know.  ‘My family members have joined together to help me take care of my son while I’m working, and I have two nannies who normally travel with me.

‘He’s a little guy, but he takes a lot of energy.  He’s into everything.  I get exhausted, so I didn’t want just one nanny, because I knew, just like me, nannies get tired too.”

The single mom adds with a laugh, ‘I now have an entourage — and it has nothing to do with me being a vocalist or an actor.’

Besides her tour with Maxwell, she’s set to be part of Lilith Fair — and expects to keep on touring for the better part of a year at least, in support of her soon-due ‘The Light of the Sun’ album.

She was delighted to get back with her ‘Why Did I Get Married’ cast mates — who’ve all stayed in touch since the first movie — for Tyler Perry’s new sequel.  Their reunion was as if no time had passed, she says, except, ‘there was a shadow, we had a shadow.  Damita had had a loss and we didn’t know exactly how to deal with that,’ Scott recalls, referring to Janet Jackson, a.k.a. Damita, and the death of Michael Jackson.

Production on the movie was temporarily halted after Jackson received the bad news about her brother.  When she returned, says Scott, ‘We just decided, in unison, to give her space and to respect whatever feelings she was feeling.  If she wanted to be quiet, we’d step back.  If she wanted to talk, we’d be there.  I think she did find escape in her work.  She definitely did.’

THE VIDEOLAND VIEW:  Roselyn Sanchez has been busy filming the ABC pilot ‘Cutthroat’ about a Beverly Hills soccer mom who runs a family drug cartel.  A homemaker with an illicit side business may sound like a familiar premise, but Sanchez tells us it’s different from ‘Weeds’ — or so she thinks.<P>’I love Mary-Louise Parker, but I’m not actually very familiar with ‘Weeds.’ I’ve heard it’s similar but their show is cable so they are able to push the envelope more.  We’re aiming to make it something more comedic and relatable.  This is about an amazing mother but she’s forced to take over her family’s business and she doesn’t want to,’ explains Sanchez.  ‘I’m really excited about the show.  It was the only pilot that had a female lead that was Latina so I was really happy when I got it.’

When not filming, Sanchez and her husband Eric Winter have been very involved in several charity organizations.  Not only are they both spokespeople for Operation Smile, but she also recently hosted a triathlon in her home of Puerto Rico, which raised money for the San Jorge Children’s Foundation.  ‘I wanted to do something that involved fitness and health but also raised money.  It’s definitely become the biggest athletic event in Puerto Rico and it’s something we want to continue to do every March,’ says Sanchez, who flew out fellow celebrities Nick Lachey, Vanessa Minnillo, Kellan Lutz, and Annalynne McCord to participate.  ‘It was tricky fitting in the training with work and the swim part was especially hard. I told the producers they better have an IV waiting for me at the end.’  Luckily she finished with flying colors!

INNOVATION NATION:  Marlee Matlin Tweeted this week that if she can’t get conventional networks interested in her documentary/reality show about a 15-year-old hearing teenager and his deaf parents and siblings, she’s going to take it straight to the web.  She plans to launch the pilot on YouTube next week.  ‘Watch for it,’ she says.  Matlin also is giving a presentation at Google headquarters on Tuesday (3/30) she reports, regarding putting captioning on YouTube.  Go, Marlee, go!  Some people talk, and some people get things done.

ON A MUSICAL NOTE:  Mary Lynn Rajskub, who stars in Fox’s ’24,’ is busy these days working full-time and being a mom, but the actress/comedian tells us one of the most relaxing things she gets to do is play the guitar from time to time.  In fact, she and writer Karen Kilgariff used to be a part of a comedy singing/guitar duo and while they no longer perform together, Rajskub says she’s grateful she learned how to play.  ‘If it weren’t for Karen, I wouldn’t have done that at all.  I can barely play, but there’s something so cool and sweet about singing along with somebody. You feel like you’re expressing something but you’re doing it together,’ notes Rajskub of the experience.  ‘I was terrified to do it but it’s such a cool release.  You get to mix storytelling with song.  If you get a chance, learn a couple of chords and get with your friends and play a little music for fun.’

BEAUTY LIVES:  Talk about a glamorous assignment.  Dior is preparing a huge new campaign encompassing the entire brand, to be seen on networks, cable, internet and here and around the globe   Casting forces have been on the lookout for look-alikes for Marilyn Monroe, Ava Gardner, Marlene Dietrich, Grace Kelly and Lady Diana — as each icon appeared in her prime — for the campaign.

With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster