Tag Archives: Richard Schiff

Dr. Lisa Masterson Memoir Getting Hollywood Attention

Dr. Lisa Masterson

 Don’t be surprised if Dr. Lisa Masterson’s compelling “Paper Dollhouse: A Memoir” finds its way to the cameras.  According to the beautiful “The Doctors” Ob/Gyn, although “nothing has panned out right yet,” her well-received book of this year is getting Hollywood interest.   

Dr. Lisa’s late mother, who pushed and finagled, fudged and faked to get her daughter into the finest schools despite their grinding poverty, would clearly be a plum role.  Who would she like to see get it? “I just know that when Angela Bassett read it at one of my fundraisers, she was phenomenal,” says the popular TV doc, whose work to advance pre-natal care in developing countries has led her to speak at the United Nations.

The mother of a college student son herself, Dr. Lisa adds that the memoir “is actually very timely with these public colleges going into tumult about the cost of education now.  That’s another question our country has to deal with — education as well as healthcare need to be ramped out and rethought.” 

MEANWHILE:  Coming up on “The Doctors” are segments following some of her patients — “a ‘Dr. Lisa’s Office’ kind of thing,” as she describes it.  She has a busy private practice and an oceanfront spa in Santa Monica, CA.   “People ask if ‘The Doctors’ doctors still practice.  It’s crucially important that we do,” she says.  “Things change with the times — treatments change, and also, what people are doing is different.  We have to talk to them on a regular basis,”

One recent “The Doctors” segment touched on the disturbing vodka-soaked tampon fad among teenage girls seeking a buzz — a fad that has real health dangers associated with it, Dr. Lisa warns.  She tells us that one of the unfortunate things she’s learned is “that so many parents are just in the dark about what their kids are doing.  These young people have more access to the world now and people with new ideas.  We talk about how to talk to kids about this, monitor their internet to keep them safe.  The drug problem with kids now is really huge.  People really underestimate it.”

THE VIDEOLAND VIEW:  TNT launches its new Mystery Movie Night tonight (11/29) with Scott Turow’s “Innocent” — the first of the cable network’s weekly adaptations of high-profile novels.  The project itself, as well as its TV movie anthology umbrella, have had critics talking about a new age of quality made-for-television films. 

Bill Pullman TNT photo James Dittiger

“Innocent” is following in some big footsteps, but costar Richard Schiff is quick to stress that it holds its own.  “This is the sequel to ‘Presumed Innocent,’ and we have Bill Pullman in the role Harrison Ford played in the first movie, and Alfred Molina in the character Raul Julia played.  I got to play with these two guys in addition to the lovely Marcia Gay Harden,” he says.   

“It is a TV movie and we worked very fast — we worked at lightning speed — but I love working fast.  When it’s on point and on the tracks, there’s no better feeling.” 

Schiff points out that “Innocent” was directed by Turow veteran Mike Robe.  “I fell for this guy.  He’s adapted something like 11 other Scott Turow projects.  We have a very solid courtroom kind of thriller that’s really, really well done — with some large talent.  Hopefully, people will include me in that description.”  Turow evidently did.  Says Schiff, “He sent me a very nice, complimentary email that said he was seeing things in my character that he hadn’t thought of.” 

THEY’RE GETTING WARMER:  ‘Tis the season for stars to find stylish ways to keep warm, like KD’s new twist on the classic leg warmers, and now, arm warmers.  NYC sources say Katie Holmes is among the chic set who’ve been finding goodies at KD’s Soho store, along with a very well-known fashion editor who cleared shelves of the warmers there.

Richard Schiff: ‘House of Lies’ and its Cutthroat Wall Streeters ‘Will Be Huge’

Richard Schiff

When Don Cheadle’s “House of Lies” hits Showtime in January, “It’s going to be a watercooler show.  People will be having parties to watch this thing.  It will be huge,” predicts former “West Wing” star Richard Schiff, who plays the head of Cheadle’s cutthroat Wall Street consulting firm on the forthcoming dramedy.  “It’s so timely,” he adds.  “It holds nothing back.”

According to Schiff, it’s not that “House of Lies” — also starring Kristen Bell — has any direct correlation to today’s headline-generating Occupy Wall Street movement.  It’s that, “It depicts the disposition of people on Wall Street in a way that actually helps you understand it more.  These are human beings, not monsters, but they don’t have anything programmed within them to deal with the betterment of the rest of us.  They’re programmed to make more money for themselves and a couple of their clients, and that’s all.”  

Well, not quite all.  The show is also “very sexy.  You might see my bare a–,” advises Schiff, “but you’ll see other, much more sexy bare a–es.”

MEANWHILE:  “House of Lies” is one of a bundle of projects in the pipeline for Schiff.   Tonight (11/1) he’ll be introduced on “Up All Night”  as Christina Applegate’s father — an always-analyzing psychologist.  He tells us, “I’m enamoured of her.  I think she’s fantastic.” And then there’s his new “Up All Night” wife, Blythe Danner.

“I reminded Blythe that we worked together, must be 18 years ago now, on a TV movie in a scene were I was a lie detector test giver.  It was a time cut scene, done in one shot, in a kind of a tricky way to pass time.  They panned over to me, then panned back and it was Gwyneth Paltrow in the chair,” he recalls, speaking of Danner’s real-life daughter.  “It was before Gwyneth was a star or anything.  She was 16 or 17, and lovely.” 

The actor is also in TNT’s Nov. 29 adaptation of Scott Turow’s “Innocent” with Bill Pullman, Alfred Molina and Marcia Gay Harden.   This week, he’ll be on the set of ABC’s “Once Upon a Time,” playing Snow White’s father, King Leopold. 

“We watched the pilot and my 11-year-old daughter said, ‘Daddy, you HAVE to do this,'” he relates.  

Schiff reunited with his fellow “West Wing” alumnus Rob Lowe in the 2012 big screen political drama, “Knife Fight.” 

He’s currently trying to figure out his schedule between two more projects and a trip to Israel he intends to take later in the month on behalf of the non-partisan Creative Coalition.  And there’s more on his agenda beyond that.

Schiff says he wrapped up his stint on “West Wing” feeling the kind of fatigue that comes from “a seven-year grind.  It was a wonderful grind, but 10 1/2 months a year of 70-80-hour weeks, playing one character — I needed a mental break.”   He did a one-man show in the U.K., among other things, and “rejuvenated myself.  I feel spunky now — wanting to do things.”  It shows.

 ANOTHER HOUSE HEARD FROM:  Kevin Spacey, who is currently being seen as a sympathetic Wall Street character in the “Margin Call” feature with Zachary Quinto, Jeremy Irons and Penn Badgley, has his own “House” beckoning.   A February production start has been set for Spacey’s “House of Cards” political series that has Netflix and filmmaker David Fincher executive producing.  Fincher’s directing the pilot. 

This is the deal that got much atteniton this past spring, as part of the increasing jockeying for prime content between outlets including Netflix, Amazon, even Facebook, and their traditional media rivals.  Netflix reportedly outbid HBO for the series, and guaranteed 26 episodes.  Now being cast are roles including ambitious D.C. reporter Zoe Barnes, and Linda Vasquez, described as a “severe, deadly, cunning woman at the top of her game” who will serve as Chief of Staff to the President-elect.   

The series is based on the excellent 1990 BBC miniseries starring Ian Richardson that depicted political intrigue at the end of the Margaret Thatcher era in Great Britain.  If you haven’t already seen it, it’s well worth adding to your rainy day list. 

THE BIG SCREEN SCENE:  Warren Beatty’s not saying much about his Howard Hughes movie project that moved from Paramount to New Regency a few weeks ago — other than to say it’s not a biopic about the late billionaire.  He’s starring in the project as well as producing and directing from his own script, and it appears he’s planning to start shooting it early in the New Year, since he wants prospective cast members to be available from Jan. 5 “onward.”  That includes a young Warren Beatty look-alike being cast now for a flashback sequence.  He’s described as “handsome, late twenties to fifties, square-jawed.” 

NO, N.O.:  As if New Orleans hasn’t suffered enough disasters, now the city is about to be infested by giant killer spiders — in a creature feature called “Earthquake,” that is.  The tale has these particularly nasty arachnids making tunnels under the Big Easy, which then cause earthquakes.  Kinda sounds like a “Tremors” gumbo.