Tag Archives: CBS

Will Estes Talks ‘Anti-Love Story’ Film, ‘Blue Bloods’ Finale

Usually when we talk about a breakup movie, we mean a movie about a couple  breaking up.  But it’s different in the case of Will Estes’ forthcoming “Anchors” – a film that writer-director David Wexler predicts will actually make a lot of people break up.

That’s according to Estes, who adds, “It’s a real, honest look at the destruction of young first love.  I think, unfortunately for most of us, that’s the way the cookie crumbles:  we don’t end up staying with our first loves.  It’s a good film, an honest film.”

And the film, touted as a sexy, turbulent anti-love story, is also a big departure from Will’s noble cop character, Jamie Reagan – a.k.a. Tom Selleck’s youngest son — on “Blue Bloods.”  He rushed right into work on the indie feature, which also stars Devin Kelley of “The Chicago Code,” as soon as the series wrapped for the season.  In fact, it was almost too much of a rush.

“I am so relieved to be finished with the film.  It was really intense.  We shot about 13 pages of dialogue a day — really big monologues.  It was something that I would have felt pressed to do if I’d had two weeks of rehearsal, but  I had two or three days.  I heard about it Sunday, started shooting Wednesday.  Part of why I said yes is that I thought it would be a really big challenge, a really big exercise as an actor.”

According to Estes, “Blue Bloods” fans can expect to see brotherly friction between Donnie Wahlberg and himself on tomorrow night’s (5/11) big season finale of the show.  “There’s a lot of stuff between Donnie and me — the family relations.  We have a little bit of a blowup that ties into the story of the characters,” Estes tells us.  That’s in addition to the race-against-time thriller story that has Tom Selleck’s Police Commissioner Frank Reagan getting word of a bio-terror plot in NYC.

“It’s a great finale,” he enthuses.  “I’m so excited about ‘Blue Bloods.’  It’s just getting better and better.  Everyone’s really hitting their stride, the writers and producers as well as the actors.”

OPERA-ATION:  Oscar-winning actress Shirley Jones certainly surprised the surgical team that worked on her knee replacement at St. Johns Hospital in Santa Monica, CA the other day.  Orthopedic surgeon John Moreland had a recording of Shirley and Gordon MacRae singing “People Will Say We’re in Love” from the 1955 classic movie musical “Oklahoma!” and turned up the volume in the OR for the benefit of the team while they prepped.  Suddenly, the medicos told Shirley’s husband, Marty Ingels, there was an “extra voice” – Shirley herself joining in, despite being in twilight sleep due to anesthesia.  Now, there’s a show-must-go-on mentality!

Softie Leelee Sobieski Gets Tough on ‘NYC 22’

Leelee Sobieski certainly goes against type in her first-ever regular series role — playing an Iraq War MP-turned-tough cookie rookie cop in CBS’s April 15-debuting “NYC 22” police drama.  She’s convincing, especially in moments like when she gets a juvenile thug in an armlock to make sure he understands the importance of treating her with respect.  But as soon as the director called “Cut” in that scene, she was saying “I’m sorry!  I’m sorry!” the actress recalls.

“He was really so cute — like a little angel kid.  It’s very hard when you have to do some stuff like that.  I’m always going around giving everyone hugs,” admits Leelee.

She tells us she didn’t have to think twice about taking the role. Executive producers Robert DeNiro and Jane Rosenthal were a lure, “of course.”  Also, “I’ve always loved Richard Price’s writing,” she says of the esteemed author, whose credits include Lush Life and The Wanderers, as well as scripts for “The Color of Money,” “Sea of Love” and HBO’s “The Wire.”  Price created “NYC 22” in addition to being another executive producer.

Leelee has major personal considerations as well.  “It’s wonderful to be able to shoot in New York.  My husband and daughter and I live here.  My whole family is based here — my mother, mother-in-law, grandmother-in-law, brother and sister-in-law are all here and a lot of friends, too.  And I liked that it was an ensemble piece,”  The schedule allows her to spend days at home with her little girl between shooting.

Raising a two-year-old “is much harder than doing the acting,” she lets us know with a laugh.

The “Joan of Arc” star gleaned “interesting little things to put into my character” from talking to real NYPD officers, both women and men.  “I went up to a lot of cops on the street.  The female officers have to be really strong.  I hadn’t realized that, for a police officer in first few days on the job, some of them almost felt like they were playing the part of a cop, too,” she notes.  She also learned that the gun belt, “is really hard on women who have hips.  It goes from side to side; it’s moving around a lot.  It digs into your headphones.”

With the first season’s episodes of “NYC 22” in the can, Leelee is currently focusing on “just being a mom, and then also, I like to paint.  I think I might even eventually segue into doing that as my main thing,” she discloses.  The silence and solitude of painting seems worlds away from the art of acting, but Leelee observes candidly, “I think I’ve never been too flashy of an actress or whatever.  And it’s really not so different; it’s also a great outlet for emotions.  There are lots of actors who enjoy painting, a lot of directors that paint, too.”

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.”

Jane Curtin: ‘Unforgettable’ Series Role Came ‘Out of Left Field’

'Unforgettable' Role no drain for Jane Curtin CBS photo

Jane Curtin returns to the tube tonight (2/7) joining the cast of  “Unforgettable” as an acerbic and demanding forensic pathologist who teaches romantic poetry on the side.  It’s a part the “Saturday Night Live,” “Kate & Allie” and “3rd Rock from the Sun” television favorite tells us came “out of left field.  My agent called and said, ‘You have an offer to become a regular character on a procedural cop show that started in September.’  It was such a great idea.  Why not?  It’s something I’ve never done, and I do like a challenge, so I’m doing it.”

She hasn’t asked why creators of the Poppy Montgomery crime drama thought of her for the part, and doesn’t plan to do so.  She knows better than that, she explains.  “When I was first starting in the business, I got a commercial and I wondered, ‘God, why did they pick me?'”  Then she found herself sitting next to the product manager on a plane ride, so she asked him.  “And he said, ‘Your face was big enough to superimpose a drain on,'” she recalls.

Curtin surmises that the “Unforgettable” series team was probably looking for her to bring some humor and lightness to her character, the tough and brilliant inspector, Joanne Webster.

She’s been working with the same technical advisor who helped Leslie Hendrix learn about the medical examiner’s work for “Law & Order,” she lest us know.  And that’s big, because “She set the standard for playing a medical examiner.  No one’s done it better than she.”  There are certainly an abundance of medical examiners on television – Dana Delany, Robert David Hall and David McCallum, to name just three.  Curtin is well aware of that.  Or, as she puts it, “Anybody who is anybody is a medical examiner these days.”

Naturally, “You wonder how you’re going to differentiate this particular medical examiner.  It’s not as if people who work in that end of medicine are lacking a sense of humor.  There are times when you use it to relieve the stress.  These human beings deal with a lot of stuff every day, and sometimes the only thing you can do is quote Monty Python lines.”

Mark Harmon: Pam Dawber ‘NCIS’ Guesting Up to Her

Mark Harmon

“NCIS” marks its 200th episode Tuesday (2/7) with a storyline that will bring back past events (and stars) as Mark Harmon’s character sees his life flash before his eyes when he encounters a gunman in a diner.  The nice-guy actor-producer is always quick to credit his team when asked about the success of TV’s No. 1 series.  In fact, he lets it be known, he doesn’t think about himself and the rest of the cast and crew in terms of star and supporting players:  “I don’t see myself in life that way.  I know how to do the team thing,” explains the one-time UCLA quarterback.

“Everyone has a say, everyone gets to speak their minds.  Everything is out in the open.  If there is a problem, we talk about it and deal with it, so it’s a pretty rare way to work.”  Indeed.

On the other hand, it seems one person alone has a say when it comes to Mark’s wife, Pam Dawber, ever guesting on “NCIS.”  Here’s what he says about that:  “You know, she’s got her own career.  She’ll figure it out.  It’s not my decision.  It’s not my choice.  It’s her choice.  If she wants to come in on something, she’ll come in on something.”

ALSO:  Harmon is looking forward to reprising his role as Lucas Davenport, author John Sandford’s sleuthing Minneapolis Deputy Chief of Police — the part he played in the USA Network’s hit November movie, “Certain Prey.”  Chatting after the “NCIS” panel at the recent TV critics press tour, Harmon said, “There are plans to do another one, but whether that will be this hiatus, I don’t know at this point.  Part of my job here and commitment to the show is to come back somewhat rested.”  Fitting a TV movie during his seven-week seasonal hiatus doesn’t leave much time for R&R.