Tag Archives: Kristen Bell

Richard Schiff: ‘House of Lies’ and its Cutthroat Wall Streeters ‘Will Be Huge’

Richard Schiff

When Don Cheadle’s “House of Lies” hits Showtime in January, “It’s going to be a watercooler show.  People will be having parties to watch this thing.  It will be huge,” predicts former “West Wing” star Richard Schiff, who plays the head of Cheadle’s cutthroat Wall Street consulting firm on the forthcoming dramedy.  “It’s so timely,” he adds.  “It holds nothing back.”

According to Schiff, it’s not that “House of Lies” — also starring Kristen Bell — has any direct correlation to today’s headline-generating Occupy Wall Street movement.  It’s that, “It depicts the disposition of people on Wall Street in a way that actually helps you understand it more.  These are human beings, not monsters, but they don’t have anything programmed within them to deal with the betterment of the rest of us.  They’re programmed to make more money for themselves and a couple of their clients, and that’s all.”  

Well, not quite all.  The show is also “very sexy.  You might see my bare a–,” advises Schiff, “but you’ll see other, much more sexy bare a–es.”

MEANWHILE:  “House of Lies” is one of a bundle of projects in the pipeline for Schiff.   Tonight (11/1) he’ll be introduced on “Up All Night”  as Christina Applegate’s father — an always-analyzing psychologist.  He tells us, “I’m enamoured of her.  I think she’s fantastic.” And then there’s his new “Up All Night” wife, Blythe Danner.

“I reminded Blythe that we worked together, must be 18 years ago now, on a TV movie in a scene were I was a lie detector test giver.  It was a time cut scene, done in one shot, in a kind of a tricky way to pass time.  They panned over to me, then panned back and it was Gwyneth Paltrow in the chair,” he recalls, speaking of Danner’s real-life daughter.  “It was before Gwyneth was a star or anything.  She was 16 or 17, and lovely.” 

The actor is also in TNT’s Nov. 29 adaptation of Scott Turow’s “Innocent” with Bill Pullman, Alfred Molina and Marcia Gay Harden.   This week, he’ll be on the set of ABC’s “Once Upon a Time,” playing Snow White’s father, King Leopold. 

“We watched the pilot and my 11-year-old daughter said, ‘Daddy, you HAVE to do this,'” he relates.  

Schiff reunited with his fellow “West Wing” alumnus Rob Lowe in the 2012 big screen political drama, “Knife Fight.” 

He’s currently trying to figure out his schedule between two more projects and a trip to Israel he intends to take later in the month on behalf of the non-partisan Creative Coalition.  And there’s more on his agenda beyond that.

Schiff says he wrapped up his stint on “West Wing” feeling the kind of fatigue that comes from “a seven-year grind.  It was a wonderful grind, but 10 1/2 months a year of 70-80-hour weeks, playing one character — I needed a mental break.”   He did a one-man show in the U.K., among other things, and “rejuvenated myself.  I feel spunky now — wanting to do things.”  It shows.

 ANOTHER HOUSE HEARD FROM:  Kevin Spacey, who is currently being seen as a sympathetic Wall Street character in the “Margin Call” feature with Zachary Quinto, Jeremy Irons and Penn Badgley, has his own “House” beckoning.   A February production start has been set for Spacey’s “House of Cards” political series that has Netflix and filmmaker David Fincher executive producing.  Fincher’s directing the pilot. 

This is the deal that got much atteniton this past spring, as part of the increasing jockeying for prime content between outlets including Netflix, Amazon, even Facebook, and their traditional media rivals.  Netflix reportedly outbid HBO for the series, and guaranteed 26 episodes.  Now being cast are roles including ambitious D.C. reporter Zoe Barnes, and Linda Vasquez, described as a “severe, deadly, cunning woman at the top of her game” who will serve as Chief of Staff to the President-elect.   

The series is based on the excellent 1990 BBC miniseries starring Ian Richardson that depicted political intrigue at the end of the Margaret Thatcher era in Great Britain.  If you haven’t already seen it, it’s well worth adding to your rainy day list. 

THE BIG SCREEN SCENE:  Warren Beatty’s not saying much about his Howard Hughes movie project that moved from Paramount to New Regency a few weeks ago — other than to say it’s not a biopic about the late billionaire.  He’s starring in the project as well as producing and directing from his own script, and it appears he’s planning to start shooting it early in the New Year, since he wants prospective cast members to be available from Jan. 5 “onward.”  That includes a young Warren Beatty look-alike being cast now for a flashback sequence.  He’s described as “handsome, late twenties to fifties, square-jawed.” 

NO, N.O.:  As if New Orleans hasn’t suffered enough disasters, now the city is about to be infested by giant killer spiders — in a creature feature called “Earthquake,” that is.  The tale has these particularly nasty arachnids making tunnels under the Big Easy, which then cause earthquakes.  Kinda sounds like a “Tremors” gumbo.

‘You Again’ Filmmaker Laying Plans for Billy Crystal Multi-Generational Comedy

You Again Stars Betty White, Jamie Lee Curtis, Sigourney Weaver, Odette Yustman, Kristen Bell photo by Mark Fellman

“You Again” director Andy Fickman might just be going from one multigenerational romp to another.  With his Kristen Bell-Jamie Lee Curtis-Sigourney Weaver-Betty White comedy due for release this Friday (9/24), the prolific moviemaker tells us he has a Billy Crystal picture in the works.

“Billy is one of my favorite comedic actors.  I know he’s been so busy – directing, doing his book, his Broadway show – but speaking purely as a fan, I really want to see him back on the big screen again,” says Fickman.

He’s awaiting a rewrite now from Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel on the ye- untitled Crystal film he describes as “tonally very much like ‘Parenthood.’  It has to do with how we treat our parents, and how our parents treat us as well.  It’s going to be fun.”

Fun, too, was the process of making “You Again,” he wants us to know.  The movie has Bell and Curtis having to confront their nightmare high school adversaries — Odette Yustman and Sigourney Weaver – as new members of their family.

‘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