Tag Archives: Victoria Justice

Victoria Justice: Finding Inner Werewolf Empowering

Victoria Justice, Brooke Shields Nickelodeon photo

Here’s a unique approach to overcoming the insecurity and lack of popularity issues that plague many a teenage girl — find your inner werewolf.  At least, that’s kind of what happens to Victoria Justice’s character in “The Boy Who Cried Werewolf.”   The Nickelodeon movie, also starring Brooke Shields (doing an homage to “Young Frankenstein’s” Frau Blucher) debuts Saturday (10/23).

“I thought my character in the movie was relatable to a lot of girls — she doesn’t have a lot of friends, the popular hot jock doesn’t notice her,” relates the beautiful 17-year-old star of Nickelodeon’s “Victorious” series.  However, as she is coping with that certain problem that starts to overcome her after her exposure to wolf blood, “She starts gaining inner confidence in herself, she realizes beauty is more than skin deep, it comes from within.  You have to feel good about yourself.”

Victoria admits she wasn’t so sure about handling the werewolf aspect of the role, however.  “I was really excited to do the role, it had so much action that was like nothing I’d ever done before.  Luckily, I wasn’t always in the transformation stages.  I didn’t always have to be i the prosthetics.”

When she did have to get fully wolfed-out, “It took about three hours, I would say.  You just have to sit there and not talk.  I would put on my iPod and try to go to sleep.  Getting to walk out of there in hair and makeup was really awesome.”

Now Victoria’s getting ready to start filming Monday (10/25) on the second season of her music-filled sitcom that’s set in a performing arts high school.  “I think we’re all really excited for the second season.  We learned a lot of things from the first season, got to know each other really well, got used to comedic timing.  The later episodes were some of the best ones.  I’d be the first to say the first season left a lot of room to grow.”

She reports there’ll be even more music in Season 2 of the show than Season 1.  Personally, “I think it would be really cool to see her break up with a guy or something, to see that softer side — real emotions.  I think even though it’s a Nickelodeon show, people would respond to that realness.”

Jay Leno NBC photo

SWEET VINDICATION:   It’s a good bet that Jay Leno is loving the press surrounding Bill Carter’s soon-to-be-released “The War For Late Night: When Leno Went Early and Television Went Crazy.”  The New York Times scribe, who chronicled the Leno-David Letterman battle for “The Tonight Show” in 1989 to great acclaim (and an HBO movie), now dishes the details of “The Jay Leno Show” debacle.  Conan O’Brien and team come off as a supercilious bunch, to say the least.  NBC bosses look like bumblers.  And Leno’s depicted as the guy understandably bemused by the fact he brought the network years of ratings victories only to be handed a pink slip.  Wonder what Jimmy Kimmel and other comics who’ve been using Leno as a punch line punching bag will have to say — if anything.  The book comes out Nov. 8, the day O’Brien’s new TBS show launches.

THE BIG SCREEN SCENE:  Greg Grunberg says that the idea of his bringing back the ultra-colorful Harry Mudd character from the original “Star Trek” series in one of his long-time pal J.J. Abrams’ “Star Trek” movies is just that – an idea.  “There’s been no serious talk about it.  I’d do anything they want me to,” adds the former “Heroes” star.  Mudd definitely has an appeal:  “He wears crazy hats, an earring, he has beautiful women around him all the time.”

Steven Weber Compares ‘Happy Town’ to ‘Dark Underbelly of the United States’

Steven Weber NBC Photo

With ABC’s new “Happy Town” wreaking its own brand of havoc on Minnesota’s friendly image, Steven Weber makes it clear he knows that the real Land of 10,000 Lakes is “a lovely place.  I don’t think they’ll take the show personally,” he adds, smiling.  “Certainly people could ascribe all sorts of meaning to it as a metaphor – as the dark underbelly of the United States, for instance.”

Actually, more people are likening the moody mystery series to “Twin Peaks.”  The show turns on a series of unsolved kidnappings in an outwardly serene Minnesota hamlet. “I’ve worked on several Steven King projects and I’ve had, I guess, a taste for this kind of stuff since I was a kid — spooky stuff,” says Weber, who starred in the TV miniseries version of “The Shining,” and did a turn on “Nightmares and Dreamscapes.”  That is, of course, in addition to his eclectic collection of Broadway, film and TV credits ranging from “The Producers” to “Wings.”

The 48-year-old actor notes, “I was looking for a role that interested me rather than a show.  At my advanced age I want things that I can sink my teeth into. Not the affable womanizing guy, I’ve done that.  I’ve done a lot of pricks in suits as I call them.  I think I think the fact that this guy has a genuinely tragic core — even though the show has a kind of a supernatural cast to it — there’s something very basic and terrifying in a real sense about him.  He’s suffering through the loss of a child.  He’s obsessed by the vacuum created by the child’s disappearance.  Especially being a father myself, it’s a terrifying thought for me.”

He was also attracted to the “Happy Town” cast including Sam Neill and Frances Conroy.  “I’m very interested in collaboration, in a communal creative process, especially with guys who’ve had such varied and successful careers.”

A GOOD VINTAGE OF FANS:  Fred Willard got a surprise last week when he answered his door and found a group of visitors from France there waiting for him.  “They’d hunted me up somehow and brought me a bottle of wine, and asked for my autograph.  There were four men and a woman.  They said they were big fans.  One of them said to me, ‘It is a pleasure to you.’  And his friend corrected him and said, ‘It is a pleasure to MEET you.’  It was very nice but I wouldn’t want things like that to happen too often,” admits the funnyman.

Well, no, but Willard’s getting another jolt of TV exposure the next two weeks, including turning up as Ty Burrell’s character’s father on “Modern Family” this week.  “I’m a little cornier than Ty, I think, but you can see the connection,” Willard tells us.  Seen previously in a quick Skype holiday phone call, Willard’s character now appears in the flesh, having driven his van from Florida across the country to give his beloved dog away to his son and family.  “My character’s wife in allergic to the dog,” he lets us know.

Will Dad be back?

“They said it’s possible.  The trouble is my character lives in Florida.  I suggested they go down to Disney World for a week.  Ty loved the idea.”

Willard does a whole different type of turn on NBC’s “Chuck” next Monday (5/3).  He and Swoosie Kurtz play a married couple of spies sent by the government to teach Chuck (Zachary Levi) old school spying techniques.  “But we seem to double cross and triple cross them – and so much for spy lessons.”  He adds, “It’s the kind of role I’ve always wanted to play.  Not out-and-out funny.  And I just loved working with Swoosie.”

FROM THE INSIDE LOOKING OUT:  Victoria Justice, who many might remember from “Zoey 101,” now has her own television show, Nickelodeon’s “Victorious,” in which she plays a singer at a performing arts school.  The 17-year-old tells us that with her new busy schedule, she’s trying to find the right balance between being a teenager and being a working actress, but so far, so good.

“The show takes up 95 percent of my time but it gives me some time to hang out with friends or go out to dinner with my cast.  Sometimes it’s tough because friends will be like, ‘Hey, do you want to go to a movie,’ and I have to say no because I have an interview or have to learn lines or I have rehearsal, but I love doing what I do and I think I would be bored if I wasn’t doing it,” says Justice.  “I’m most happy when I’m on set or when I’m at home hanging out with my family or friends and I don’t have to worry about wearing makeup or being all dressed up.”

In fact, she claims her life couldn’t be any less Hollywood.  “I live a pretty normal life.  It’s not all glamorous or anything like that.  Plus, I have a great support system.  They’re never going to let me think I’m better than anybody because it’s just ridiculous to go there.”

CASTING CORNER:  They’re rounding out the cast for – why? – Johnny Knoxville’s “Jackass 3.” Among the roles still being set: a “hottie babe of a girl” who’s a quick thinker with a comedy background; an older woman with comedy experience to play a grandmother; and another funny femme to play “an overweight, loose woman.”  For the latter, they want either a “white trash or African-American mama.”  You can just tell what the movie’s going to be like already, can’t you?

With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster

Everyone Wants Octogenarian It Girl Betty White

Betty White

TV Land is getting absolutely swamped with interview requests for their hottest It Girl ever — 88-year-old Betty White, who has ‘Hot in Cleveland’ coming up on the channel in June.

That, of course, is just the latest example of Betty’s fresh wave of popularity, a love-in that includes the successful grassroots viewer campaign get her on ‘Saturday Night Live’ as a guest host (it’ll be May 8, mark your calendar), her appearance as the special guest of Elton John’s Oscar night party, her Screen Actors Guild Lifetime Achievement Award and her hit Snickers Super Bowl commercial.

What a phenomenon! But then, Betty love has been building up for a long time in this town.

Sigourney Weaver tells us she had a wonderful time working with Betty in the forthcoming Disney comedy ‘You Again.’ ‘I just idolize her. She is so sharp and fun and gracious, and she’s had such a great career. That’s what actors want — to be working on one project after another and sort of mixing it up.’

That film, also starring Kristen Bell and Jamie Lee Curtis, is due to open in September.

And then there are all the many animal lovers in Hollywood who revere Betty for her decades of devoted service to all creatures great and small. Guitar legend Slash buddied with Betty over their respective interests in the Greater Los Angeles Zoo, where she is a trustee, and he’s been involved since donating much of his snake collection. Although Slash and Betty White might seem like strange bedfellows, he insists it’s not so. ‘If the ages were closer, it wouldn’t have seemed that strange. Betty and I could tear it up,’ he let us know.

Sandra Bullock is also among the stars who adore Betty, and it’s mutual. ‘We’re good friends and we’re going to stay good friends,’ as Betty herself put it. Her first day on the set of Bullock’s ‘The Proposal,’ she recounted to us, ‘There was a knock on my trailer door and it’s Sandra — not sending someone over, but Sandra herself — with flowers and a dog book and a little rug with a dog on it. ‘I wanted to make your trailer more like home,’ she said. Isn’t that something?” The two also bonded over step-parenting, as Betty helped raise her late husband Allen Ludden’s son and two daughters, and Sandra’s been an active step-mom to Jesse James’ children.

It’s been reported that Betty’s spitting mad at James over the current scandal of his affair with Michelle McGee. You know things can’t get much worse if Betty White is against you.

POWER LAUNCH: Nickelodeon must have high hopes for Victoria Justice’s ‘Victorious’ series — granting the show a premiere in the very choice timeslot following the ‘Kids’ Choice Awards’ this Saturday (3/27). The former ‘Zoey 101’ actress plays an aspiring singer who goes to a performing arts school, but unlike other shows of that nature, she says they’re not promoting fame and fortune.  ‘It’s not about being a celebrity.  It’s more about inspiring people to follow their dreams,’ she tells us.  ‘If you love something, discover that more and become better at it and just have fun doing it.   It’s about overcoming your fears too.  If there’s something you’re afraid to do then do it in front of people and face that fear.  It will help you get over that and really make something of yourself.’

In fact, Justice believes there’s something for everyone in her show.  ‘It deals with a lot of teenage issues, but it’s not just a kids’ show.  My character in particular is a really relatable girl. She’s not trying to be some superstar, and what’s nice is that Nickelodeon doesn’t restrict me from being me.  I don’t feel like I have to change my personality to be on this show,’ says Justice, who even gets to help come up with content from time to time.  ‘I’m only 17 years old so some people might be like, ‘Oh, she doesn’t know what she’s talking about,’ but the writers will listen to what I have to say.  Sometimes they’ll use my stuff and other times they’re like, ‘Yeah, you shouldn’t be a writer.’  I’m like, ‘Yes, I understand,” she adds with a laugh.

IT’S A QUARTER CENTURY THINIG: Singer Omarion, who is also busy judging ‘America’s Best Dance Crew,’ tells us he’s hoping to follow in the footsteps of some of music’s greats and he thinks this could be his year.  ‘I really do feel like 25 is an age where a lot of people that I look up to really broke out.  Michael Jackson was 25 when he did ‘Thriller.’  I believe Justin [Timberlake] came out with his first solo album when he was 25,’ notes Omarion, who recently released his third album ‘Ollusion.’  ‘I feel like this album definitely shows how much I’ve grown as an artist.  I’m giving myself time to grow even more, though, not only through my music and my album, but also through these different opportunities that I’m honored to have.’

With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster