Tag Archives: Paul Rudd

Edward Asner Anticipates Grace Controversy

Edward Asner, in his second week of rehearsals for Broadway’s forthcoming Grace with Paul Rudd, Michael Shannon and Kate Arrington, doesn’t doubt that the Craig Wright play will elicit some controversy.  “I think there will be some people who hate it.  We deal with the God question quite a bit.  We question God within the play, but,” he adds, “I think that godly people will be able to find that it is a godly presentation.  I think it will create a lot of different discussions.”

Asner’s character is an exterminator who comes to rid two apartments of vermin.  One apartment belongs to a born-again Christian couple, the other to a NASA scientist scarred by a devastating automobile accident in which his girlfriend died.  “It’s serio-comedic – more serio than comedic, but the laughs are there,” says Asner, who points out that the play won awards during its L.A. run.  “I for one deny the existence of God, but I change my mind later in the show.  Not that I accept God, but that there is something out there.  The born-again couple have difficulty retaining the intensity of their faith, and the NASA scientist, who is bitter and ironic, is neither for nor against, by falling in love within the piece, I think he would agree that there is something out there, that is designed to take away our bitterness and make more acceptance of life.”

Grace starts previews mid-September with an October 4th opening planned.  We caught up with Ed while he was enjoying a celebratory post-rehearsal Jameson’s with Arrington and Wright.  When we note that the rigors of doing a Broadway show might have been too much for the 82-year-old seven-time Emmy winner back in 2010, before his hip replacement surgery, he replies that there might be some doctors who say he couldn’t do it now.  “But they’re full of crap.  I feel fine.  I work out every day…push-ups, sit-ups, elliptical or track. And I walk. And I look for sex wherever I go,” he adds mischievously.  “It’s harder to find these days, though.”

Asner’s in the midst of a work blitz that also includes an upcoming episode of “Hawaii 5-O,” the independent film “Let Go,” and the 2013 Hallmark Channel original movie “Two In” with Alison Sweeney.  “I finish this run at the end of January, and at the end of January I will resume touring with my one-man FDR show.”  So he has to stay in shape.

“As long as I get work, I’ve got to be able to fulfill it.”

 

 

 

Sigourney Weaver’s Emotional ‘Prayers’ Journey Continues

Sigourney Weaver in "Prayers for Bobby" (Photo from Lifetime)

Sigourney Weaver in "Prayers for Bobby" (Photo from Lifetime)

Sigourney Weaver’s Emmy nomination for Lifetime’s “Prayers for Bobby” underscores the huge and lasting emotional impact the movie has had upon the esteemed actress.

Sigourney plays real-life gay rights activist Mary Griffith, a deeply religious woman who tried to turn her son away from homosexuality — but in the face of rejection and despair, he committed suicide.  Thus began her turn-around.  Sigourney reports that since the movie aired earlier this year, “I’ve had a number of parents come up to me on the street — or sisters, brothers, or others — and say ‘Thank-you for this story.  My daughter is gay, or my sister is gay…’

“That’s meant so much to me.  They acknowledged what we were doing in the hope it would open some eyes.  And then I read in the paper last week that the poll numbers haven’t changed about Proposition 8,” she adds, referring to California’s anti-gay marriage initiative.   Not that she would have expected the film to cause a complete shift in public opinion, Weaver says disappointedly, but she did think that collectively, all the productions, profiles and protests since the vote would have had an impact.

“I’m still amazed it got on the ballot,” she admits.  “It seems so unconstitutional, to have a referendum on whether your neighbor should have the same rights as you.”

Meanwhile, producer Stan Brooks is looking into foreign release for the movie.  “After all, we’re not the only country that has these issues.  I’ve been asked ‘When is it going to be shown in Ireland?’ ‘When is it going to be shown in India?’  I hope Lifetime keeps showing it and at some point distributes it around the world,” she says.

As for whether she’s had any flak for playing the role: “I don’t think so.  Of course I don’t go looking for trouble.  I don’t go hunting around websites looking for comments.”

She wouldn’t have time for that, even if she wanted to.  Weaver has five features on the way.  She recently wedged in an appearance at Comic-Con, where the “Aliens” star was accorded royal treatment including a standing ovation, led a discussion about women in action films, and was part of the panel discussing James Cameron’s highly anticipated “Avatar.” And she’s in the midst of making Disney’s “You Again” comedy with Jamie Lee Curtis, Kristen Bell, Betty White and Kristin Chenoweth.

Jada Pinkett Smith in Hawthorne (photo from TNT)

Jada Pinkett Smith in Hawthorne (photo from TNT)

HARMONIOUS CONVERGENCEJada Pinkett Smith is a loyal colleague, Joanna Cassidy wants us to know.  “When she works with actors, she works with them again. She’s really good that way.”  Cassidy’s currently being seen on Jada’s “HawthoRNe” series as the hospital administrator who was Jada’s late husband’s mother.

“I actually did a movie with Jada about a year and a half ago – ‘The Human Contract,’” notes Cassidy.  In that one, she played Jada’s character’s own mom.  “It was very believable.  I wore a wing that’s very curly and long, Jheri curled,” says the actress of her mixed race character.

Now, Cassidy’s thrilled with the numbers “HawthoRNe” has been pulling, declaring that “It’s a win for TNT” – and that in all probability, she’ll get to keep working with Jada.  “I love it.  I love it.  It’s very easy with her.  We have a very nice rapport and I’m able to find my place with her.  I don’t have to struggle.  It’s good that our characters are in conflict,” she adds.  “We already talked about some of the story ideas for next year – more in the vein of being competitive, possibly for some male attention.  You know how women are,” laughs the actress, who rose to fame in “Blade Runner.”  “Let’s light that fire.”

CASTING CORNER:  Casting continues on the HBO Films’ Al Pacino biggie, “You Don’t Know Jack,” with the Oscar winner playing controversial assisted suicide-supporting Dr. Jack Kevorkian, and fellow Oscar winner Susan Sarandon as Hemlock Society activist Janet GoodJohn Goodman and Danny Huston are also in the cast.  Among the secondary roles now being filled by director Barry Levinson are those of a Hispanic California woman suffering from an inoperable spinal tumor, who’ll be seen consulting with Dr. Kevorkian as police burst into her home.  She’ll dare the cops to arrest her or leave.  The woman’s husband is being cast also, as is a handsome forty-something anchor man who’ll be seen interviewing Kevorkian, a.k.a. “Dr. Death.”

AND:  You know the hunger’s got to be intense amongst actors trying to get in on “Dinner for Schmucks.”  That’s the film, due to roll in October, that stars Paul Rudd as an executive at a private equity fund, where the bigwigs delight in having dinner parties wherein they bring guests so stupid or boring that they can have fun mocking them.  Rudd’s character thinks he’s got it made when he finds the ultimate loser: an amateur taxidermist named Barry who creates religious and historical tableaus using dead mice – Steve Carell.  Of course, things turn out very differently than planned.  Now casting forces are filling in both the roles of the other “masters of the universe”-style execs, their significant others, and of course, the other hapless dinner guests.

With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster

Osbourne: Reports Wrong On Trouble With Simon

Sharon Osbourne

Sharon Osbourne

Reports all over the internet have Sharon Osbourne poised to thumb her nose at Simon Cowell by joining the U.K.’s “Strictly Come Dancing” – in direct competition to Cowell’s “X Factor” show that she left last year.  Sharon wants us to know, “That’s so wrong.

“I work for Simon on ‘America’s Got Talent,'” she points out.  “He’s a great guy and we have a great relationship.”  She notes that she didn’t take on the other show last year when asked.  Now she might.  But she says stories that have her getting back at Cowell over her “X Factor” departure amount to “the British press trying to get something out of nothing.  There’s nothing to get back for.”

 The fiery personality has already returned to her post as an “America’s Got Talent” judge.  That show, produced by Cowell, returns to NBC’s lineup June 23.  As far as “Strictly Come Dancing,” she’s just about to decide.  “I will say I’ll do what I want when I want it,” she says.  “I can’t be bought.”

 Also, she makes the point that “Strictly Come Dancing” – the British counterpart of “Dancing With the Stars” – would be good for her in terms of staying in shape and serving as an example of a fiftysomething something cancer survivor with gusto.

 MEANWHILE:  Sharon, whose grueling – but successful – 2002 battle with colon cancer was chronicled on MTV’s “The Osbournes,” has just become a celebrity ambassador for Stand Up to Cancer.  That’s the organization behind last year’s groundbreaking multi-network, star-laden fund-raising event geared toward accelerating cancer research.  “I’m just so happy to be a part of something that can bring such awareness to people,” she says.   This week, the SU2C initiative announced five research “Dream Teams” selected to receive $73.6 million, collectively, in three-year grants.

She tells us that as far as cancer care, “I have so many issues with it.  In this country a lot of it is about insurance.  They try and run it by the numbers, but you can’t because cancer doesn’t have a restriction on age.”  Some insurers, she notes, “say you have to be 50 to be covered for a colonoscopy.  Well, that didn’t help a girl of 18 I knew who had colon cancer.”  Adds Sharon, “You have to get these medical research teams to work together.  It’s not about seeing who is the most clever.  It should be a group effort, with each country sharing their scientific finds.”

SPELLING TROUBLE: Tori Spelling’s mom Candy may be continuing their public feud by going on the radio and blaming husband Aaron’s demise on their estranged daughter, but the young star makes it clear she’s focused on her career at the moment.  Having made a guest appearance this season on the CW’s “90210” and she tells us stepping back into Donna Martin’s shoes was something she enjoyed more than she expected – and wouldn’t mind doing again.  “It was great, but it was scary at first.  I was nervous coming onto someone else’s set, even though oddly it was my set originally,” she notes of being a part of the original show.  “It was pretty cool to be like, ‘Oh my God, I’m Donna again!’  When certain chapters of your life end, you feel like that’s it and then you move on.  I don’t think it ever occurred to me that I would be going back to play Donna and certainly not having the life that I have now.” 

 The mother of two certainly has plenty of other things to keep her busy.  “I have the Tori Spelling Collection jewelry line.  I have my children’s clothing line coming out this fall, which I’m really excited about, called Little Maven.  My second book ‘Mommywood’ is out right now,” says Spelling, who is also currently starring in the fourth season of her Oxygen reality show “Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood.”  “We’ve actually extended our brand with Oxygen more.  We have a pilot we’re doing with them and we have a movie of the week we’re going to do together.  Then we’re going to turn my book ‘Mommywood’ into a web series.”  And after that?  World domination!

 KING FOR TROUBLE:  With Reese Witherspoon, Owen Wilson and Paul Rudd lined up for his next big-screen romp, filmmaker Garry Marshall is now choosing among candidates to play Madison, described as a 10-year-old girl with a mean streak who determines that Valentine’s Day is the ideal time to take revenge on her enemies.  The yet-untitled flick starts shooting next month.

With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster