Tag Archives: Martin Landau

Agnes Bruckner Talks Becoming Anna Nicole

agnes bruckner, martin landau“I was definitely intimidated, nervous and insecure,” admits Agnes Bruckner of taking on the title role in Lifetime’s “Anna Nicole Story,” debuting Saturday, June 29.  “She was so huge and so iconic.  It really freaked me out when I read the script.”

The Hollywood-born actress, best-known up ‘til now for her work in “Private Practice” and films such as the chillers “The Woods,” “Blood and Chocolate” and “The Craigslist Killer,” is used to tomboyish, girl-next-door roles.  Playing the late, larger-than-life sex bomb was a whole different world.  As the doomed centerfold, she is stunning on several levels – particularly appearance.  Becoming Anna Nicole involved as much as four hours in makeup a day.   She had Double D breast prosthetics that were designed by three-time Oscar-winner Greg Cannon of “Mrs. Doubtfire” fame — and took three hours to attach.  Bruckner admits that experience was “freaky.”

Her looks include Anna in her pre-stripper, natural state as Vickie Lynn; Anna the bombshell;  Anna in her Marilyn Monroe-esque mode; and Anna the hot mess.

“My ‘Team Anna’ – they were unbelievable,” Bruckner says.  “The makeup and hair gave me so much more confidence.  They did such an amazing job.  Looking at myself that first day, I could feel myself start to act like her.  I definitely felt a sense of letting go through the shoot.  The biggest challenge for me was letting go and throwing myself into Anna Nicole 100 per cent.  She was so girlie and sexy and had out-of-this-world charisma and energy. There was something about her – you couldn’t take your eyes off her.”

The team had iPads full of images of Anna Nicole at the ready throughout the production.  “We would say, ‘What year was this?  What decade was this?  Was she sober or not?  There was such a visual record, we could keep track of exactly how she looked at a given time.”

Also helpful to Bruckner, “So much of her life is on the internet.  You can find all kinds of interviews and clips.”

According to her, the production team did not get in touch with people who’d been in Anna Nicole’s life for the film.  However, she stresses that the movie, directed by Canadian filmmaker Mary Harron (screenwriter of “American Psycho” and “The Notorious Bettie Page”), does delve into “the very vulnerable side of [Anna] that people don’t know.  People will see how she grew up, her relationship with her mom.  It’s defensive of her,” she believes.

There is a sweetness about Anna Nicole’s relationship with her 89-year-old billionaire oil tycoon husband, J. Howard Marshall (Martin Landau) as depicted in the film.  However, it starts with a sort of teeth-grittingly hilarious sequence that includes the old boy getting his first look at Anna’s outsized breasts in all their unbounded glory and reacting with a joyous awe worthy of walking through Heaven’s Gate.

“Working with Martin Landau was one of the best experiences of my career.  He’s a true gentleman,” notes Bruckner.  “Every time on the set, he would tell stories of the work he’s done.  He’s so amazing.  He brought out the sensitive, loving side of J. Howard.”

For all the brilliant work that went into her look, it’s interesting – but expected – that Bruckner never looks as bad as the real Anna Nicole looked in her worst phases, as she down-spiraled into the horrific pill dependency that would eventually cost her her life.   The inexorable trip toward her disastrous final days is hard to watch.  Bruckner does pull a compelling characterization out of what could have been a complete caricature, something that could easy be overlooked in the media race to utilize every boob pun possible in reference to this movie.

Now Bruckner awaits response to the movie and to her work in it.  She already has another project on the way – her “The Citizen” independent feature has been picked up for distribution.  Carey Elwes, who in “Anna Nicole” plays Marshall’s son, E. Pierce Marshall – the one memorably hell-bent on preventing Anna Nicole from getting a dime of his father’s fortune – also costars in “The Citizen.”  It involves an Arab immigrant who arrives in New York City on September 10, 2001 – “and starts this crazy journey.”  It couldn’t be much crazier than “Anna Nicole’s.”

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Art of Film is Ageless At Swanky, Star-Studded AARP Movies for Grownups Awards

Lori Loughlin


Lori Loughlin says she has no regrets about departing “90210” and is leaving the CW show “on the very best of terms.”  Lori, who’s been playing mom to Shenae Grimes and Tristan Wilds on the series since 2008, departs at season’s end as the show’s young cast of characters graduates from high school and heads off into college life.

“The CW has a demographic and they need to write to that demographic and I think the CW does that really well, you know?” she says.

“I think, for me, it’s time to creatively move on, because there’s not that much for me to do, and again, I understand and I have no hard feelings.”

Not that Loughlin’s character has lacked for drama through the years, with her own hot romances and a rivalry with Jennie Garth that heated up in Season 2.  Garth told us recently that she disliked the direction “90210” has been taking.  Loughlin says, “You know, I think it’s fine.  Jennie had a different attachment to the show.  ‘Beverly Hills, 90210’ was her show for so many years, and she felt protective, almost motherly toward it.  Along comes the new incarnation, and I don’t think she was happy with what they were doing.  But for me, I had no attachment to the old version, so I was completely fine with it.  I also thought it was a whole different show.  Also, I think she had some issues with what they wanted to do with her character, and I understand that, because nobody knows that character better than Jennie.  So at times I think she felt like they were misrepresenting Kelly.”

As for what Loughlin will do next, the mother of 11 and 12-year-old daughters, and wife of designer Mossimo Giannulli says, “I’m going to take a moment and breathe before I jump back into anything.  I love television, but a series is a grind and so I just want to take a moment before I make any decisions.”

Robert Redford

MEANWHILE:  We caught up with Loughlin at this week’s 10th Annual Movies for Grownups Awards, the elegant event honoring the best of 2010 films appealing to mature moviegoers, put on by AARP at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel.  Sally Field, Tony Bennett, Angela Lansbury, Larry Hagman, Jacqueline Bisset, Mickey Rooney and dozens of other names were there to celebrate honorees including Lifetime Achievement Award winner Robert Redford.  Winners on hand included “The King’s Speech” Best Actor Colin Firth; Best Actress Lesley Manville (“Another Year”); Best Supporting Actress Phylicia Rashad (“For Colored Girls”); Andy Garcia, picking up Best Comedy Film honors for his “City Island”; and Rob Reiner, receiving his theater seat statuette for the Best Intergenerational Film, his charming “Flipped.”  Rob congratulated the AARP for making their award look less like an electric chair than it used to.

AGELESS:  “The King’s Speech” screenwriter David Seidler admitted to the crowd that initially, it was assumed that the film “would be seen by nobody under 40.  It was basically made for this audience.  I didn’t quite buy into that, and I was delighted when we realized that a youthful audience was able to see and enjoy this film.  They understood the teasing.  They understood the bullying.  They understood being marginalized.  They understood bravery. And they understood the power of a supportive friendship.  What that means to me is that film is universal and it doesn’t make any difference what age you are” — a view supported by the fact the film has now surpassed the $150 million mark in box office grosses.

He added, “If you still have a brain you can still be a pain and make a contribution to the art and commerce of film…I would like to think we can view this and see ‘Toy Story 3’ and love it, and the audience that ‘Toy Story 3’ was made for can see this film and love it.”

Jane Seymour ABC photo

SAY WHAT?:  Jane Seymour, ravishing in a form-hugging red cocktail dress, made it clear she is squarely in “The King’s Speech” camp, telling us “I loved it in every possible way.  Since I played Wallis Simpson years ago, I sort of had an inside feeling for that particular movie.  I know what went on.”

Jane’s own latest effort, the current “Waiting for Forever” — she’s a producer on the film directed by husband James Keach, not a star — has met with mixed response.  “People are seeing it and loving it.  Some of the critics don’t get it.  One of them talked about it being about stalkers, and said it’s irresponsible to make a movie like that with what happened in Arizona.  I thought, ‘What in the world has that got to do with this movie?'” admitted Jane.  That is a strange take on the off-beat comedy in which Tom Sturridge plays a street performing juggler who wants to court the love of his life, “The O.C.’s” Rachel Bilson.  Jane’s feeling about that critic:  “Clearly, he saw another movie.  It’s wild.  But anyway, I’m very proud of it.”

Martin Landau

AND:  Martin Landau also told us he’s a fan of “The King’s Speech” and is impressed by “The Town” as well.  “Ben Affleck is a really good director,” noted Landau, the 82-year-old Oscar winner who still heads The Actors Studio’s West Coast branch — and keeps up a schedule demanding enough to daunt folks half his age.  Currently, “I’m doing Tim Burton’s new ‘Frankenweenie,’ his new animated feature.  And I’m doing ‘The Simpsons,'” added Landau, whose tender “Lovely, Still” love story with Ellen Burstyn is newly out on DVD this month. “Then there’s a script I’m reading now, a two-character road picture.  I like it, so I may do it.  A bunch of stuff is going on.  That’s better than not, right?”  Right.

Martin Landau Feeling the Excitement of Changing Media

Martin Landau

Good for you, Martin Landau!  While some in his age bracket shy away from new technology, the Oscar-winning 82-year-old actor feels the excitement of the now age.

Landau appreciates that with the all-pervasive impact of the internet on entertainment and the media, “It is a different world than what we’re used to” – but he’s game for it, and then some.  “There is a bit of the Wright Brothers in the air, the newness of the times of technology and change that are going on.  In a sense, it has some of the feeling of early television,” enthuses the esteemed actor of stage, screen and TV, who heads the Hollywood branch of the Actors Studio.  Today, webisodes are being shown to tiny audiences.  Landau recalls when “there were very few television sets and the only way of capturing a performance in those days was with kinescopes that were really primitive – and look what’s become of it.”

Landau, who’s featured in John Wells’ forthcoming “Company Men” with Ben Affleck and Kevin Costner, has no intention of retiring “as long as I’m perpendicular.”

Martin Landau Should Reap Rewards From ‘Lovely, Still’


Martin Landau, Ellen Burstyn in "Lovely, Still"

If the Sept. 10-opening “Lovely, Still” makes a splash in the indie film world, a major share of the credit will have to go to Martin Landau, who stars in the tale of an old man who falls in love for the first time. 

Landau was on hand to promote the film — that also stars the lovely, still Ellen Burstyn — when it was shown at the Toronto, Chicago and Milwaukee Film Festivals.  He was there when it screened at an AARP conclave in Las Vegas, where, he says, “It got a standing ovation, though I joke that most of us had trouble standing.”

The esteemed, Oscar-winning 82-year-old thespian explains, “I’m behind this movie because I really, really like it a lot.”  In fact, he helped the movie get made. 

When he first heard that director Nicholas Fackler “had written a film for me, I said, ‘How old is he?’ thinking this was someone 40, 50 years old.  They said, ’22.’  And I said, ‘Wow, I’ve got to go meet with this guy.’”

Landau subsequently told Fackler the script needed some changes, but “’If you want to work with me, I’ll do your movie.’”  He says they spoke a couple of times a week over the next two months, going over every page.  “We had a short list of actresses we wanted, and Ellen’s name was at the top.  When the script was about 90 per cent there, I said, ‘Send it to Ellen now.  I think she’ll like it.’  A few days later, the phone rang and it was Ellen, and she said, ‘Marty, what are we going to do in Omaha for seven weeks?’” — because that was where they’d be heading on location. 

 Along with Mark Rydell, Landau is executive director of The Actors Studio’s West Coast Branch, while Burstyn is co-president of The Actors Studio in New York with Al Pacino and Harvey Keitel.   Landau admits he thought that if Fackler had problems on set, “Ellen and I could help him out.”  However, Fackler proved up to the task of directing.  “He reminds me of Tim Burton in many ways – very, very creative.”

With “Lovely, Still” soon to begin its release, Landau and Burstyn are due to re-team before the cameras next month in Wisconsin for a whole different movie – an untitled ensemble drama by “another young guy, Sam Levinson, Barry Levinson’s son.  It’s about a family that’s dysfunctional and functional at the same time,” he reports.  Ellen Barkin and Demi Moore also star.

Landau is also among the stars featured in PBS’s “Pioneers of Television” series this fall, and “I just did an episode of ‘The Simpsons.’  I never had done one before,” he reports.  “I play a crazy European magician.  It was fun.” 

He adds, “I like to stay busy.”  Obviously.

Disgusted Gina Gershon Would Like To Say Bye Bye Critics

Gina Gershon and John Stamos

Gina Gershon and John Stamos

“Bye Bye Birdie’s” star Gina Gershon would like to say bye bye critics after the Broadway revival was met with some pretty scathing reviews. One critic went as far as to describe the show as “boneheaded.”

“I’m so against critics right now. When you think about it, it’s just disgusting that these critics, with a wave of a hand, just dismiss something. I couldn’t believe how harsh they were,” says Gershon, who stars alongside John Stamos. “I have to be honest; there are a couple of things they said that I couldn’t argue with because I had a few issues with certain elements of the production, but they kind of took everyone in the review down with it. The kids were great in this and Bill Irwin is a genius to me.”

She continues, “This show is the first one of mine since ‘Showgirls’ that has gotten really bad reviews. I kind of came out OK from that, but it’s a bummer when you’re in a project and they take it down. It made me realize that reviews don’t really matter — people are either going to enjoy it or not,” notes Gershon. “Luckily, I don’t think it affects ticket sales. It’s not like the old days where a bad review can shut down a show. We had to extend it to April because it started to (sell) out, and here these guys are pulling it apart. I’m like, ‘It’s “Bye Bye Birdie.” Get over it.’ People are trying to downsize papers in today’s world — get rid of the critics.”

Luckily for Gershon, she has till January to win over audiences, and in the meantime, she’s looking forward to her two-night miniseries, “Everything She Ever Wanted,” premiering Nov. 14 and 15 on the Lifetime Movie Network.

“I remember getting the part and then I started filming it four days later. I had unfortunately just dealt with a sociopath in my own life so a lot of the research had been done,” she says of playing the greedy and violent Pat Allanson in the film adaptation of Ann Rule’s popular novel. “I was really fascinated by the character. She’s so complicated, but there’s a freedom playing a sociopath because they believe everything they’re saying in the moment and they just have a different set of emotional rules.”

ALWAYS THE BRIDE: The folks at Hallmark Channel are loving the fact that Marla Sokoloff is getting married in real life — to Deadsy drummer Alec Puro — two weeks before she’ll be seen as the bride in their “Flower Girl” original movie, Nov. 14. Sokoloff is getting a kick out of it as well. “I got engaged a week before I got this job,” she tells us. “It was all very close. The funny thing is, I have already been a bride five times,” she adds.

Her bridal roles were in “Big Day,” “Crazylove,” “Drop Dead Divas,” “Sugar & Spice” and “Maneater.” “I don’t know what it is about me that has a bridal look or something. How is this possible? I guess if I were asked to play a stripper seven times, that would bum me out,” says the former “The Practice” actress.

Sokoloff says that as far as picking up pointers from all those faux nuptials, “the main thing would be the dress. I’ve been to so many bridal dress fittings, I knew what was flattering.”

She and Puro, who met via mutual friends Jessica Capshaw and her husband, Christopher Gavigan, “knew we had so much in common when we first started talking … Love kind of comes when you don’t expect it,” notes Sokoloff.

They expect about 115 guests to be on hand when they make their vows. As far as the style of their wedding, well, “mine could not be further from the fantasy wedding in the movie,” she says, referring to the fairy-tale-worthy affair in “Flower Girl.” “I love my character. She’s a complete romantic, yet sensible, too.”

And then there’s her movie grandmother, Marion Ross. “I’ve always been such a huge fan of hers, since ‘Happy Days.’ She has a wicked sense of humor, kind of dirty at times. I loved that about her.” Mrs. C.? Goodness.

THE BIG SCREEN SCENE: Elisabeth Moss, who plays career girl Peggy in “Mad Men,” tells us that her character in the Dec. 11 release “Did You Hear About the Morgans?” is “actually quite similar, which is funny. But it’s a more blatantly comedic character than Peggy. I think Peggy has funny comedic moments, but this is more straight comedy. I play Sarah Jessica Parker’s assistant,” she says of the comedy in which Parker and Hugh Grant play an estranged couple of New Yorkers who see a murder, and then are relocated to a small town in Wyoming under the witness protection program. “I’ve been a fan of hers for so many years, she’s one of my idols,” adds Moss. “‘Sex and the City’ is one of my favorite shows. So to be in a movie with her is literally a dream come true.”

CAN’T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG?: Hollywood and environs certainly have no shortage of classes for acting, writing and directing — but as far as actor Martin Landau, filmmaker Mark Rydell and playwright/screenwriter Lyle Kessler are concerned, what’s been sorely missing is training for creative types in how to interact with other creative types across disciplines. That’s why they’re conducting an intensive seminar together that Landau describes as a two-day immersion course in the inter-relationship between writers and directors. “It will teach the communication skill, which will improve projects and careers,” he says. The Nov. 14 and 15 Total Picture Seminar is being held at UCLA.

With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster