Tag Archives: Mike & Molly

‘Grimm’ Reveals Make Series Even More Exciting Says Russell Hornsby

 As fans of NBC’s popular “Grimm” know, last season wound up with Nick Burkhardt (David Giuntoli) spilling the truth about his creature-fighting proclivities to girlfriend Juliette (Bitsie Tulloch) — and his police detective partner, Hank Griffin (Russell Hornsby), finally getting a look at Nick’s supernatural world.

            To reveal so much was certainly a risk, but to hear Hornsby tell it, letting the werewolf out of the bag has been nothing but positive for the show that returns Monday night (8/13).

            “There’s greater stakes and it’s heightened the tension,” he insists.  “Everybody is holding even more and greater secrets.  Everything this season is bigger, better and a little more exciting for all the characters, especially for Hank.  I think he starts off questioning his sanity, to say the least, which I’m sure would happen to anyone who thinks they’ve seen a ghost.  So to see a creature would be that much more unsettling.”  According to him, Hank will be “hands on” in the fight against evil this season.

            As an actor, he says, “I’m having a fabulous time — being able to imagine more, to imagine harder.  It’s giving me more things to play, more obstacles, more intentions — just those wonderful things that actors love to do.”

            The classically-trained Hornsby (Boston University, Oxford’s British Academy of Dramatic Arts) won the admiration of critics and the industry with his fine turns in “Lincoln  Heights” and “In Treatment.”  But he finds himself in a whole new realm of fandom as part of the cult hit that’s inspired Comic Con-goers to dress like “Grimm” creatures.
 

           “To see all the enthusiasm fans have for their respective shows — that’s fantastic!  Keep it coming.  But as it may be directed toward us, the actors, that’s where it can be a bit crazy.  I appreciate it because it does mean the show is doing well, and I’m doing well and it’s increased my profile, my awareness with audiences, but to be honest, it’s a little

unsettling,” Hornsby admits.  “It’s like, you know, be careful what you wish for.  Obviously you have to focus more on what you’re doing it, why you’re doing it — and just remain humble in all you do.  You don’t want to get too beside yourself or mistake your presence for the event.  It’s about the show, it’s about the work on the show — and not necessarily about me.  You have to keep everything in perspective.”

            FAMILY AFFAIR:  Katy Mixon, who plays the wacky sister on “Mike & Molly,” doesn’t loaf during the show’s hiatus.  She returns to her home town, Pensacola, Florida, for some southern grits and to perform with her family. That’s the word we get from Pensacola talk show personality Taris Savell.  She tells us, “They’re like the Von Trapps…father and brother are both physicians who play guitar and piano, four sisters sing and dance, and mother does, too.  They packed the house for two shows that left the audience gasping for breath because of the endless energy that was contagious.  The musical Mixons could go on the road!”

            Katy winged back to California shortly after the show.

            IT’S THE ECONOMY, STUPID:  Makers of the forthcoming independent film “10 Habits of Highly Effective People” are touting the black comedy as “a lighter-hearted ‘American Psycho,'” with elements of “The Office.”  That’s a lot to live up to, but Seattle-born director Nathan Marshall is on a roll, making creative hay with these tough economic times.  He’s coming off his back-to-back comedies “Funemployment” and “Underwater.”   “10 Habits” has to do with the murders, one-by-one, of the executive staff of a dying company.  So, you see, things could be worse.

            TIGHT SPOT:  Casting notices for “The Site,” a Fox International feature, make it clear those who wish to take part in the Morocco shoot better be fully aware of what they’re in for.  The storyline has a group of archaeologists, confronted with orders to evacuate a dig due to escalating violence in the Middle Eastern country where they’re at work — who decide instead to go deeper into the ancient site.  Naturally, unexpected things ensue.  “This will be a very physical shoot, in tight enclosed places,” warn producers.  Actors involved must have “extensive athletic abilities and no claustrophobia issues.”  No, thank-you.

Reno Wilson Convinced Wedding Won’t Hurt ‘Mike & Molly’

Billy Gardell, Reno Wilson CBS photo

With just four more episodes to shoot  for this season, “Mike & Molly” is heading towards its highly-anticipated wedding episode.  In fact, there might be two weddings in the offing, if Joyce and Vince (Swoosie Kurtz and Louis Mustillo) also tie the knot.  Considering that the TV landscape is littered with the bones of series that jumped the shark after the main characters wed, is there concern about “M&M’s” handling of wedded life?

Not according to Reno Wilson.  “I just think it opens up so many more stories,” he says.  “They’ve got to get a place to live — or are they going to be married and stay in the house with her mom?  What about children?  You know, there are so many storylines with people on the show, honestly, in my opinion, it’s just going to add to it.”

Besides, adds the man known as Carl McMillan to “M&M” watchers, “As Billy (Gardell) and I always say: ‘Just say them words.’  We have the best writers in television, and we trust them fully.”

Wilson and Gardell, in case you didn’t know, have a friendship that dates back six years, to their former “Heist” series, before they were cast as best friends on the Mark Roberts-created “Mike & Molly.”  In fact, Wilson tipped Gardell to the sitcom when it was in the works.  After reading the first 10 pages of the script, he phoned Gardell and said, “This is our show.”  They also played pals on an episode of “Las Vegas” as big winners.  In real life, “Our kids are growing up together.  We shot a little movie with our kids.  We hang out at each other’s houses every so often and have barbeques.”

Meanwhile, there’s Carl’s own romance, with Holly Robinson Peete’s character.  “I’m really happy that Carl has love in his life.  It’s the first time he’s encountered an actual woman he doesn’t have to blow up, who doesn’t have a nozzle,” Wilson jokes.  “I really like that through this relationship, they’re showing other pieces of Carl, some sensitive sides, and where that bravado and machismo came from, that kind of insecurity.”  He’s also loving working with Peete.  “She’s a force of nature, all the things she does.”

AND:  Wilson doesn’t know when “Bolden!” — in which he plays the young Louis Armstrong — will be making its way to screen.  The film is about jazz legend Buddy Bolden (Anthony Mackie), and boasts a cast including Wilson, Omar Gooding and Jackie Earle Haley.  Wilson, who grew up in a household full of musicians, and reveres Satchmo, feels that “I did some of the best work of my career” in the film that was made three years ago, and has yet to see the light of distribution.  “I was doing a one-man show about him when I got this movie, this opportunity to play this icon,” says the actor, who performed seven songs for the film directed by Dan Pritzker.  “I try not to think about it too much.”

Emmys 2011 Backstage Chat From A Year of Satisfying, Tolerance-Celebrating Wins

Melissa McCarthy

The Emmys celebrated tolerance at their 63rd annual awards fest last night — a feeling that carried on through the Winners Walk press rooms backstage.  Yes, Melissa McCarthy and Margo Martindale, two women whose appearances would automatically put them out of the running for becoming Fox News babes, were awarded television’s highest accolade for their brilliant work on “Mike & Molly” and “Justified,” respectively.   Thirteen years years after Camryn Manheim’s notorious “This is for all the fat girls!” proclamation when she won an Emmy for “The Practice,” maybe this is a sign of progress.

Oh, yes, and there was a lot of talk about gay people, too.

 Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy winner McCarthy told press that “Mike & Molly” was never about the main characters’ weight problems for her — or for producers Chuck Lorre or Don Foster.  She said Foster “looked at me and said, ‘I’m writing a romantic comedy.'”  If viewers were still talking about the couple’s girth 10 episodes in, she said, she knew they’d have a problem.

McCarthy’s category certainly marked the most fun presentation of the evening, with nominees Amy Poehler, Laura Linney, Edie Falco, Martha Plimpton, Tina Fey and McCarthy hurrying excitedly to the stage as their names were called — and McCarthy being crowned and handed a bouquet, beauty pageant-style when she won.  She told the press that she first heard about the idea  from fellow nominee Martha Plimpton, “She said, ‘Amy’s got an idea.’  I said, ‘I’m in.’  If Amy Poehler thinks something’s funny, I’ll do it.'”

Asked how she felt about being identified with her infamous vomiting scene in “Bridesmaids,” McCarthy said she was just glad people went to see the movie, that she thought Kristin Wiig and Annie Mumalo did a brilliant job writing it, and that to her, the scene “was less about being gross and more about the sheer horror of that happening publicly.”

McCarthy codesigned her long purple dress, drawing sketches and providing input.  It has already wound up on Worst Dress lists, but at least it had some things going for it.  As she said, “It’s wildly comfortable, and it has pockets, which I enjoy in a gown.” 

The Plainfield, Illinois-born McCarthy was asked what she would say to young people who have dreams of becoming actors.  “If anybody tells you that the odds arer slim, just keep walking …If you love something and work really really hard at it, I think the odds are pretty good.”

Margo Martindale, who won the Emmy for Outstanding Supporting  Actress in a drama at age 60, told press she appreciates the honor more now than she ever could have at 30.  She was initially hired to play moonshiner Mags Bennett for just four episodes of FX’s “Justified,” she said, but one or two episodes in, she was informed they were writing her into 10.  Then she dmitted with a smile that, considering how happy producers were with the character, “I thought they’d let me live!”  She added that she thought Mags’ demise was poetic and appropriate.  Next, we’ll see the esteemed, long-time character actress playing assistant to Patrick Wilson’s top tier surgeon on CBS’s new “A Gifted Man.”

 Martindale was among the winners that brought fans special satisfaction — inside as well as outside the auditorium, as the applause level showed.  Certainly Lead Actor in a Drama winner Kyle Chandler was foremost among those, as he closed out his “Friday Night Lights” history with an Emmy — finally.

Such was not the case for Steve Carell, who lost out in the Lead Actor in a Comedy category to Jim Parsons of “The Big Bang Theory” — even though it was his last year on “The Office.”

Parsons admitted backstage that his own mother told him he shouldn’t expect to win, that Carell would:  “That’s what my mother had said along with other prognosticators.  He’s just done such a wonderful job on that show for such a long time.” 

Parsons was asked whether he’d seen Charlie Sheen backstage, and what the wayward former “Two and a Half Men” star might have said to him.  “He just congratualted me.  He said, ‘That’s awesome.’  It was that sweet and that banal. I’m sorry.  I wish there was something lurid for me to say.”

And, asked an odd question, he gave a whimsical answer.  Jim, do you find people expecting you to do pratfalls in the real world?  “I pray to God they’re not because I could be a big disappointment.  I can be a little klutz-prone at times, but overall I have an odd grace, like a giraffe, and manage not to fall down.”

Kate Winslet and Guy Pearce traded accolades backstage after their respective “Mildred Pierce” wins — and after Pearce talked, during his acceptance speech, about the joy of doing lovemaking scenes with the Oscar-winning actress. 

Her response to that?  “I’m thrilled.  I had a crush on Guy Pearce since I was 11 years old.  So to even stand in the same room with him was thrilling to me.  And to hear him say that onstage tonight was even more of a thrill.”

Legendary filmmaker Martin Scorsese, who won for directing “Boardwalk Empire,” said that he approached that HBO drama as if it was a long movie.  He talked about the freedom of long-form TV storytelling, comparing it to Victorian novels by Dickens and others that were actually written in serial form.   He also compared “Boardwalk Empire” to old Hollywood gangster movies, saying that eople are fascinated with watching these kinds of criminals rise to power, “but you want to see them fall.”  

It was a big night of celebration, of course, for repeat winners “Mad Men” and “Modern Family,” and the show teams came backstage feeling festive. 

“Modern Family” producer Steve Levitan — who talked in his acceptance speech about a real-life gay couple thanking him for the show making people more tolerant — said he’d been thinking about what he’d like to say for a couple of days before the show.

Individual winners Ty Burrell and Julie Bowen were asked about conservative America’s reaction to the show’s gay couple, played by Eric Stonestreet and Jesse Tyler Ferguson.   Burrell said, “I don’t know about it in opposition to conservative America, but it feels very good to be on a show that seems to be slowly changing a lot of minds.”  And Bowen said, “It’s absurd that it’s even an issue, but since it is, I’m glad the show is changing people’s minds.”

 

‘Bridesmaids’ Melissa McCarthy Matter of Fact About Body Image

Melissa McCarthy

Melissa McCarthy’s career is surging, what with her role in the big-screen “Bridesmaids” that opens this weekend, her “Mike & Molly” stardom, and  other projects in the wings.  So she can definitely afford to laugh at that much-talked-about magazine writer’s declaration last year that she didn’t want to have to watch “fatties” in love.  Looking back, McCarthy tells Entertainment Weekly, “In all honesty, my first thought was ‘Gosh, I hope she doesn’t have a daughter.’”

In a feature featured in the issue hitting stands tomorrow (5/13) the mother of two girls talks matter-of-factly about her own body image.  “Please, I don’t throw on a dress and go, ‘That’sperfect!’  But I do quite often go, ‘Well, it’s not changing today, so just go out and have fun and stop worrying about it.’”  McCarthy has another female ensemble comedy that she wrote with “Bridesmaids” cowriter Annie Mumolo, and director Paul Fieg is developing a romantic comedy for her, EW reports.  A plus-sized movie star?  McCarthy says she’d love to be big on the big screen.  “Yes. Are you kidding?”

‘Mike & Molly’ Success = New Life for Billy Gardell

“Mike & Molly” star Billy Gardell shows off his standup chops with his own Comedy Central special Feb. 5, a show he tells us was 20 years in the making.  That’s 20 years as in acquiring skills, 20 years of being out on the road, 20 years of collecting tales of comedy calamities.

“I’ve been chased in my car a couple of times.  Police asked me to leave the county a couple of times.  I’ve done my act when nobody was there, and when people were there and didn’t listen,” he recalls.  “And then are the nights when you kill it.”

Gardell is still doing standup, but his gigs are far different with the  success of his CBS series.  “The same jokes are now $10 more,” he dead pans.   “It’s a beautiful thing when you do standup all those years, to have a monster show.  It puts you in front of a whole new audience.”

The personable funny man has been gratified, he says, to find fellow comics first to cheer him on.  “We live in a world where if you win a contest you can be a celebrity.  People are very supportive when they see a guy who has actually done the time out there making it.  I’ve really felt that support from the  standup community,” he tells us.

Most important, he now has a whole different kind of homelife — being able to remain in town with wife Patty, and their two-year-old son, Will.  “I think my wife is regretting it, but the kid’s happy,” he jokes.

“No, we’re doing great.  It’s nice, you know, to go to work and then be able to come home to my family.  The boy loves it.  We play army men and Legos, watch cartoons, go out to the car and check the oil — do things a dad and son should do.”

He’d love his TV alter ego to have such familial bliss — but not for at least a couple of years.  “I would like to see it work out for Mike and Molly eventually, for them to have a big wedding and a baby.  But first I want to see them struggle, because that’s where the real comedy is,” says Gardell.

The rotund comic, who last fall stood up to a magazine blogger who declared her aversion to watching fat people in love on TV, believes that “Mike & Molly’s” strength lies in its character’s flaws.  “There’s not a bunch of beautiful people running around having things work out on our show,” he says, adding that such an everyday people’s sitcom hasn’t been around for awhile.  “Not since ‘Roseanne.’  And it’s not just me and Melissa (McCarthy).  Yeah, these are people who met at Overeaters Anonymous, and they have their issues, but there’s also the sister who is a hot mess (Katie Mixon), the best friend who gives bad advice (Reno Wilson) and the mother (Swoosie Kurtz), who has her own problems.”

Gardell says he is so happy, “I skip to work.  I think that’s the difference between getting [success] in your 40s and your twenties.  At my age, it’s like, ‘Wow!  I got a job and free coffee, too!’  I’m so proud of the show.  We’ve got three people who are over 40 with kids and spouses, and the attitude on the set is, ‘Hey, let’s be humble and thankful and work really hard.  I try remind everybody, eventually this is all going to come to an end, so make the most of it while it’s here.”