Tag Archives: Melissa Peterman

Craig T. Nelson Guesses NBC Won’t Like His Return to Glenn Beck

Craig T. Nelson Fox News photo

Craig T. Nelson Fox News photo

Craig T. Nelson reveals he’ll be making a return visit this month on controversial Fox News personality Glenn Beck’s show, and says that once again he’ll vow to protest our government’s behavior by vowing to stop paying his income tax.

The actor, perhaps best known for his long run on the series “Coach” and “The District,” wants us to know that the areas that bother him the most in Washington “involve lobbyists and special interest groups and the education of our children.  It’s my grandchildren I’m worried about.” 

Nelson, the father of three, the grandfather of five and the great grandfather of a four-month-old grandson, says that, “With so many things rearing their ugly heads in Washington, it’s more important than ever for people to speak out.”

He has a hunch that NBC — the network that will be bring us Craig’s upcoming “Parenthood” series, won’t be overjoyed by his political tirades.

“I think,” he quips, “It could be a cause celeb.  Let’s face it, there could be some ramifications because NBC is a little more liberal than the other networks.”

“Parenthood” was planned for debut this month, but delayed because of the illness of leading lady Maura Tierney.  At first the network refrained from issuing details about her medical problems, then Maura herself revealed she is fighting breast cancer.  It is hoped she will be feeling well enough to join the cast when it’s now due to start shooting in November.  That cast includes Peter Krause, Erika Christensen, Dax Shepard, Bonnie Bedelia and Craig T. Nelson.

Jacob Zacher ABC Family photo

Jacob Zacher ABC Family photo

IT’S ‘GREEK’ TO HIM:  “Greek” star Jacob Zachar tells us now that the series is in its third season, he’s relieved to be finally getting the chance to have more flexibility with his character.  “Because we feel very comfortable with our characters and the crew, they let us play around more and they let us have our own opinions now.  That thin line of trying to create something without stepping on other people’s toes has widened a little bit,” says Zachar, who plays Rusty in the ABC Family show. 

 “For me personally, as an actor you want to keep creating, but often times you get shut down for certain reasons.”  He imagines the feeling is similar to what an artist would feel if told “what colors to use.  It would obviously be killing the original artistic sensibility.  So I’m glad they are letting the actors make some choices.  It gives us a lot more confidence.”

 While the show takes place on a college campus, Zachar hopes they’ll have many more seasons to continue to grow in these roles.  “What we’ve shot so far this season, I’m the most proud of.  Having had a couple of months off definitely made coming back even more enjoyable,” he notes.  “We had a realization that we’ve shot 50 hours already and we can make a slower progression to our destination, and as characters slowly become different.  We don’t know where they’re taking the show yet, but I’d say the characters are slowly changing as they would in real life – nothing too drastic.  Even if you’re new to this show, it’s one of those shows where you can pick up immediately.”  

 FASHION CONSCIOUS:  Things are heating up for Tinsel Town designers and stylists as Emmy time nears, but one star who has it all figured out already is “Prayers for Bobby” Outstanding Lead Actress nominee Sigourney Weaver.  “I tried on this really pretty dress for the Greg Mottola film, but we didn’t end up using it,” she says, speaking of Mottola’s upcoming sci fi comedy, “Paul,” about a pair of comic book lovers who encounter a for-real extraterrestrial. “So when the nomination happened, I got in touch with the designer and asked if I could use it.  So that’s done.”  That’s using your head.

Melissa Peterman

Melissa Peterman

 JUST DO IT:  Funny lady Melissa Peterman reveals that when good pal and former costar Reba McEntire and her husband Narvel Blackstock phoned her up last year to talk about Peterman serving as Reba’s in-concert lead-in, she was anything but well prepared.  “They said, ‘We think it would be a good fit, and an interesting way to open a concert,’ and I said, ‘Yes.’  And then I got off the phone and said, ‘What did I just do?’  I’m more of an improv gal.  This, for me, was the first real stand-up I’d done.  Most people start off at Ha-Has in Van Nuys with five people watching.  I walked out in front of 13,000 people my first show.  It was baptism by fire.”  Peterman wound up opening 25 shows for Reba and Kelly Clarkson, and another 20 or so for Reba alone.  “It worked out,” she says.  “Sometimes you just have to say yes and then it just forces you to work on something you wanted anyway.”

 With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster

F. Gary Gray Revealing New Sides of Foxx, Butler, Twitter

law_abiding_citizen_ver3Director F. Gary Gray is taking a lot of pleasure in the fact that that his upcoming “Law Abiding Citizen” thriller is going to show moviegoers new aspects of both Jamie Foxx and Gerard Butler.

“The chemistry between them reminds me of the onscreen chemistry you got with Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins in ‘Silence of the Lambs,’” Gray says.

The film has Butler as a man who goes on a stunningly planned spree of revenge after one of the men responsible for his family’s killing is set free in a plea deal — arranged by Foxx’s district attorney character.

“A lot of times when you hear Gerard Butler’s name, people go into how great-looking he is or how much of a ladies man he is,” Gray observes.  “I think with this, people are really going to get a sense of how much range he has as a serious actor.”

And they’ll get to see Oscar winner Foxx in a role that might previously have been considered “Denzel-like.”

MEANWHILE: Gray has jumped on the Twitter thing in a big way, Tweeting news bites, photos and video throughout production of the “Law Abiding Citizen” psychological thriller.  And now, he’s fallen into using the new medium as a marketing tool.  With the picture in post-production en route to an October premiere, Gray has announced his own contest in which the winner – the person who brings the most followers to Gray’s web page — will get to come to the “Law Abiding Citizen” premiere, complete with travel and accommodations provided.

F. Gary Gray, director of Overture Films' "Law Abiding Citizen"

F. Gary Gray, director of Overture Films' "Law Abiding Citizen"

“There’s been a great response from all over the world,” says Gray, whose credits range from “The Italian Job” and “Be Cool” to his unforgettable video for TLC’sWaterfalls.”  “It really is exciting, and you know what’s really funny?  It wasn’t something that was planned by the head of marketing.  It just kind of happened.  You start to develop a digital kind of relationship with the Twitterers.  It’s reciprocal.

“At any given time, you have access to thousands of opinions, and you can get constructive criticism — mostly constructive,” he goes on.  “That’s pretty hard to beat.  No middle man, no conduit.  It’s not filtered.  It’s raw, real time response.  It’s important for artists to keep their fingers on the public pulse.  This is an effective way to do it.”

Gray has also been doing what might be called Twitter tutoring – answering followers’ questions about how to break into the movie business, about how to get cast in films, about writing, directing – in addition to queries about working with stars like Ice Cube, Queen Latifah, Charlize Theron, John Travolta, Vince Vaughn and many more.  “Last night, I had a marathon Twittering session, a little over two hours.  That was ok, I was at home, I had a snack,” he says.  “I didn’t actually plan it, not at all.  It was just one of those things.”

THE VIDEOLAND VIEW: With Chevy Chase returning to NBC as part of the buzz-worthy fall comedy “Community,” he let it be known at the recent TV critics’ press tour that he’d like to guest host “Saturday Night Live” again – which would be his first such guest hosting in years.

He elaborates that “I may do it now because I have something to plug.  I’ll ask my guys to get on Lorne’s a—,” he says, referring to show producer Lorne Michaels.  “I love going in there and hosting…I’ve watched it with this cast, and been there with this cast because I love these kids, they’re like my kids now, you know.  I think it’s a very good cast.”  As far as the show bringing back memories, however, Chase admits, “Once you lost John (Belushi) and Gilda (Radner), it was tough.  I mean, just emotionally.”

Chevy not only has “Community,” the junior college-set comedy with Joel McHale, coming up.  There’s also next year’s big screen “Hot Tub Time Machine” with John Cusack.  “And it’s wonderful, a lot of fun,” he tells us.  “I play the repairman. The hot tub time machine goes a little berserk and leaves these guys in the ‘80s.  I can’t tell you much more.”

THE HOLLYWOOD HILLS ARE ALIVE: Funny lady Melissa Peterman is bracing herself for the Sing-Along “Sound of Music” show at the Hollywood Bowl Saturday (8/26).  The event is all about the audience’s shared experience, she points out, complete with folks dressing up like Maria Von Trapp, the nuns and other characters – or even objects — from the beloved musical.  “When I first got involved, I knew there was a costume parade, but I didn’t know the degree people went to.  There were costumes that looked like they came from Broadway…The parade took two-and-half hours,” she recalls.  That was four Sing-Alongs ago, and the former “Reba” costar says things move along faster now.

“One of my favorites – I think it was two years ago – the guy dressed up as the carburetor.  It was giant, like 8 feet tall.  I think he won.  Another good one was the guy who came dressed as a plumber with a tag that said ‘Chris’” – Christopher Plummer.  “The big drag queens are amazing and the little kids are so much fun.  It’s a wonderful mix of all sorts of people, families and single people, all ages,” she adds.

With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster

Bruckheimer Talks ‘Treasure,’ ‘Pirates’ and Guinea Pigs

Jerry Bruckheimer photo by M. Rolston

Jerry Bruckheimer photo by M. Rolston

Super producer Jerry Bruckheimer tells us that he’s not sure when the next “National Treasure” will go into production, but he does know “We’ve got a really good story for that now. We’re working on it.

“And we’re working on another ‘Pirates,’ he adds, referring to the much-talked-about fourth “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie. “Hopefully we’ll start that next year. We’ve got a lot of good stuff coming up.”

Right now, the Friday (7/24)-opening “G-Force” is at the top of
Bruckheimer’s agenda. The live action-animation romp features the
voices of Penelope Cruz, Tracy Morgan, Sam Rockwell and Nick Cage – as a super spy unit consisting of three guinea pigs and a mole,
respectively.   Jon Favreau and Steve Buscemi also voice rodents in the
flick.

Did the stars say yes because it was Jerry calling?

“No,” he insists with a laugh. “It’s always the material. If they like
the material, they’ll say okay. We worked so hard on the script; that’s
always the hardest part.”

Bill Nighy

Bill Nighy photo by D.J. Smith

MEANWHILE: We caught up with Bruckheimer at the film’s Hollywood
premiere the other day — as he was taking in the wild, movie-inspired games,0ther people-sized obstacle course and other activities at “The G-Force Experience” attraction that will be opening along with the film, across the street from the El Capitan Theater in Hollywood.

Also among the notable names on hand were Jon Voight — who told us he
considers it “great news” that another “National Treasure” is in the
works — and Bill Nighy, who, of course, is Davy Jones to “Pirates”  movie fans. “I’m pleased to hear they’re doing another one.  I don’t know if I’m in it. I hope I am,” says Nighy.

Nighy is in “G-Force” as the appliance-manufacturing bad guy. “This is
the first guinea pig movie the world has ever known. We’re pioneers
here in the guinea pig world,” he declares.  The witty British thespian
admits he wondered about the idea of guinea pig heroes, but “as soon as
you read the script you realized it’s absolutely top class and
everything worked.”

As far as his role, Nighy confesses that he has had “half an eye on
world domination” for awhile. “I do have an inner fascist I access for
certain roles, so I know what it’s like to want to control everything.”
This week, he jets back to the U.K. to join the company currently
shooting Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows,” playing Minister of
Magic Rufus Scrimgeour.  After that, says the actor who delights in mixing up big-budget popcorn flicks and sophisticated fare, “I’m going
to promote a movie called ‘Glorious 39,’” a conspiracy thriller with
Julie Christie, set in 1939. And, “I’m also going to promote a film
called ‘Wild Target,’ which is a remake of a French film, with myself
and Emily Blunt.”

He reports, “I play a middle-aged lonely assassin, a hit man who has never had a girlfriend or any feelings in that area, and everything is proceeding quite happily and he kills people quite successfully, until he’s required to kill Emily Blunt.  And he can’t pull the trigger and he doesn’t understand why. We know why: because she’s too cute. But it takes him the whole movie to work that one out.”

RIGHT PLACE, RIGHT TIMEMelissa Peterman has had some cool
opportunities the last few years having starred on “Reba” for six
seasons and most recently hosting CMT’sThe Singing Bee.” The comedic actress says she owes it all to talent and a little bit of luck. “When
I came to L.A., I did one showcase with industry people there and I can
point back to almost every job I’ve gotten from that one night of
getting in front of the right people,” Peterman tells us. “You can be
wonderfully talented, but if you never get seen by the right person,
your talent doesn’t matter. You’ll
be the most talented person that nobody knows about.”

CHOP TALK: With Seth Rogan all set to play The Green Hornet, the
question becomes, who will play his trusty, martial artist sidekick
manservant, Kato. A casting call has gone out for prospects, with
producers indicating a willingness to consider knowns and unknowns of
any Asian ethnicity, as long as they have martial arts experience.

With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster

Joan Cusack Doesn’t Want Her Sons to be Actors

Joan Cusack

Joan Cusack

“Mothers don’t let your sons grow up to be actors.”

That could well be the refrain actress Joan Cusack might sing when she talks of the future of her sons, who are currently ages 12 and nine.

After decades in the business, Joan, who stars in Lifetime’s Aug. 22 movie, “Acceptance,” wants us to know, “To be honest, it’s a very difficult profession.  It’s cruel and unstable I would never want my boys to go into it.”

As far as she’s concerned, “If you weren’t manic depressive when you started out as an actor, there’s a strong chance you’d end up that way being  surrounded by all the wrong values.  The fantasy and illusion of wanting to be a movie star is gruesome.  It’s a terrible world, a terrible business and it takes its toll.”

It took enough to a toll on the actress, who has twice been nominated for Oscars (for “Working Girl” and “In & Out”) that it drove her away from Hollywood and back to her family home in Chicago after shooting 1990 “My Blue Heaven.”

“I can’t even remember the director’s name now, but I’ll never forget how he treated people,” she says.  “If you were supposed to be humiliated in a scene, he would humiliate you in advance.  It was terrible. I couldn’t handle it.  I realized it was too painful a profession for me, went home and tried to figure out what I could do. Some great therapy saved my life.”

Joan, who’s shared the camera frequently with her brother John, plays the judge in the June 26-opening “My Sister’s Keeper” movie.  It’s a small part, but she didn’t mind.  It just meant leaving her sons and her husband, attorney Dick Burke, for a few days of filming in Hollywood.  “And then I was able to return home to my family.”

Being a full-time wife and mother is, she says, “Hard work.  Trying to have a real life takes a lot of work.  But it’s worth it.  I feel blessed.”

RUMER HAS IT: Bruce Willis and Demi Moore’s daughter Rumer Willis is expanding her acting resume with the movie “Sorority Row” but she tells us filming the thriller wasn’t easy.  “It was cold during the night shoots standing outside in lingerie, especially since we were filming Pittsburgh,” says Willis of the movie about a group of sorority sisters who try to cover up the death of their house-sister after a prank gone wrong, only to be stalked by a serial killer.  Luckily she and the rest of the girls were able to make the most of the situation.  “It felt like we became somewhat of a sorority early on, which I think shows in the movie. There are a lot of laughs and scares and skin.”  As for her next project, Willis says, “I’m going to be in New York this summer filming the movie ‘Walks.‘”

TO BEE OR NOT TO BEE:  Melissa Peterman has taken over Joey Fatone’s role as host of “The Singing Bee” now that the show has moved from NBC to CMT.  She says we can certainly expect some country flair, but there will be something for everybody when the show premieres Saturday (6/20).  “It’s like 60 percent country and 40 percent everything else.  People assume country music has one demographic and that’s not the case anymore.  Country and pop have definitely come together,” notes the former “Reba” star.

While she’s had a blast filming the episodes, Peterman admits it wasn’t as easy as she thought it would be.  “Hosting is an extremely hard job.  It’s a skill that looks so easy to everyone else, but it’s not.  It’s made me really respect people like Ryan Seacrest and Tom Bergeron, who is a friend of mine, and I think one of the best hosts around.  You’re in charge of keeping things going and keeping the energy up.  There’s even math involved with the scores.  I’m like, ‘There’s math too!'”

When not hosting, Peterman tells us she’s back to auditioning, hoping to find something as good as her previous sitcom.  “We definitely keep in touch and talk a lot.  When you see people every day for six years they become your family,” she says of her “Reba” cast mates.  “I wasn’t quite done with the show yet.  I feel like we were done too soon and there were a couple of more seasons in there so that was sad, but I can’t complain too much because we did have six years.  It was like winning the lottery.”

ON THE BRIGHT SIDE:  “In Plain Sight’s” Cristian de la Fuente has a hectic life between his USA Network drama series, his charitable activities, his stunt flying with the Chilean Air Force, his performing gigs in his home country, plus being a husband and father.  The handsome one-time “Dancing With the Stars” contender attributes handling it all to a positive outlook.  “The good thing is the day has 24 hours to fill,” he points out.  “The economy is bad.  The stock market goes down.  But the good news is there are still 24 hours in a day.”

With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster