Jeff Daniels is aware that his “The Answer Man,” “is going to need reviews” to make it a success. “It stands a chance of being seen. What we want to do is get people above the age of 22 to go see it, and that audience doesn’t always go to the movie theaters right away.”
It’s the wonderful performances that power the indie. Daniels as the reclusive, profanity-spewing, mean and neurotic author of a watershed spiritual best-seller containing God’s answers to questions – and Lauren Graham as the chiropractor who helps him straighten out literally and figuratively.
Jeff says he was drawn to the character because, “I didn’t know how to play him and after 50 movies, you look for things where you might fail miserably. That certainly keeps your attention throughout the shoot. It
was a smart script with a lot of intelligence behind the characters,
behind the story. It reminded me of something Woody [Allen] would have
done, or , or early Jim Brooks,” he adds of the John Hindman
film. Indeed, some reviewers have taken issue with “Answer Man” for its
abundance of parallels to Brooks’ “As Good as It Gets.”
Daniels also has the indies “HowlD and “Paper Man” on the way. But
it’s Broadway’s “God of Carnage” that’s taken over his life since the
end of January, says the actor, who was Tony-nominated for the drama.
“We have one more week on ‘Carnage,’ then they’re going to give us
August off and we’ll go back in September. It will be good to take a
break,” he says.
Daniels will be heading home to his beloved Michigan – where he will
certainly not be idle. The Purple Rose Theater company that he founded
there “is going to do a play in the fall. I wrote it, I said, ‘You
direct it and you act in it.’ I’ve got some gigs I’m going to do.” He
does a one-man show consisting of storytelling and songs including
original ditties such as one “about what it’s like to get shot and
killed by .” He does the show as a labor of love in
theaters and old opera houses, but it’s grown so popular there’s now
talk of filming it as a special TV presentation “sooner rather than
DOING IT WITH STYLE: Merlin Castell has become a breakout star on Bravo’s hit “The Fashion Show” thanks to his luxurious designs and
eccentric personality, and now he’s looking to take his pieces to the
“I haven’t had the opportunity to dress the real, real celebrities t
hat I want to dress, but I will. I am on my way there,” says the Latin
designer. “I get thousands of calls from people who say, ‘Oh my name is
on this show. Can you dress me for this event?’ I’m sorry but I don’t
do that. My pieces are one of a kind. If I’m going to be dressing
somebody, it has to be an A-lister. My dream is to dress somebody like
. I would love to dress her! It might not happen for 10
years, but I don’t care. I’m patient,” he adds with a laugh.
When asked if he was surprised about not winning the show, Merlin
responds no. “I wasn’t expecting it because I know my market is not the
market they are targeting. I was trying to stay in there as long as I
could,” says Merlin, who was asked back to the finale as a fashion
expert. “It’s been a really great experience. It’s totally changed my
life so I’m glad I did it. Plus, it showcased who I really am. With the
way I dress and the way I look, people think I just want to be a
character for TV. No, no, no! That’s Merlin! That’s me,” he claims.
“With me, people either loved me or hated me – there was no in between.
If they get to know me, though, they get to love me!
– from the vast play the film’s trailer has been getting on the internet.
One Hollywood exec mentioned Jolie to his 10-year-old granddaughter and she said, “Oh, I love her.” “How do you love-her?” he asked. ‘The film doesn’t come out for months.” “I watch the trailer
all the time,” was the response. You can see it for yourself at
http://shortsmovie.warnerbros.com. Jolie’s character not only is the
terror of the boys in the film, but she dresses in black and punk and
has her own evil theme music.
IT HAD TO HAPPEN: With the plethora of reality shows featuring guys
and gals looking for love – from “The Bachelorette” all the way to
“Real Chance at Love” — you have to figure someone would get around to
doing a parody. (Yes, most of these shows seem like self parody, but
this is different.) Casting has been underway for a yet-untitled hybrid
show, with eight episodes ordered for a major cable network, that will
feature improv actors playing variations of those wannabe boyfriends
and girlfriends that populate the tube these days. Types included are
“The Hunk,” described as being in his twenties, attractive and charming
“seen as the ideal ladies’ man. Only slowly do we realize he is much
more than that,” according to casting announcements. Then there’s the
party boy, the girl who always bursts into tears, and the catty
remark-dropping “gay dater.”
With reports by Emily Fortune Feimster