The “Jay Leno Show” bit in which Rush Limbaugh drove Jay’s electric car obstacle course – featuring life-size cutouts of environmental figures Al Gore and Ed Begley, Jr. that Limbaugh ran into on purpose – has been getting lots of replay action on the internet. Among those who’ve seen it is Begley, who responds with equanimity when asked about “El Rushbo’s” deliberate hit.
“You know, it’s a free country and he’s allowed to do whatever he wants. It’s just curious that he doubts climate change when so many prestigious scientists have documented it,” he observes. As far as the car, “That’s fun, it’s all in good fun,” says Begley. He also reports that Leno’s asked him to come out and drive as well, and he just might. “You’ve got to have some fun. I’ve been featured on ‘The Simpsons’ too. Rule Number 1 is, you have to have a sense of humor.”
Begley’s managed to keep smiling through decades of being considered an “environmentalist whacko” by the Limbaughs of the world. Now, of course, millions of people have come around to Ed’s way of thinking. Still, even amongst his green Hollywood pals, and, of course, his wife, Rachelle Carson, “Not everybody’s quite as into it as I am. It is asking a lot to have to ride your bike to make toast,” he admits, referring to one of his power-generating devices.
More such Begley-an innovations will be shown come Oct. 21, when his and Rachelle’s popular reality series, “Living With Ed” has its new season premiere, on its new cable channel home, Planet Green. (Previewing on video-on-demand Oct. 14.) The show’s new situation allows him to leave the confines of his home and take viewers to places like “a methane plant, where they make waste into electricity.” Golly! Can’t wait. The cameras caught Begley’s recent 60th birthday roller skating party – attended by such pals as Jackson Browne, Jeff Garland, Anjelica Huston, Buck Henry, Teri Garr and Cindy Williams. Upbeat Ed expects his best year yet; “twice as good as 30.”
THE BIG SCREEN SCENE: If Jason Ritter and Jess Weixler look like they’re falling in love in “Peter and Vandy,” they are. Sort of. In an actory way. “Aside from sleeping, I think I spent every hour I had with her, working at either her apartment or my apartment, rehearsing ‘til it was time to go to sleep,” he recounts. “We got very close in that period of time. That kind of closeness, it’s a hard thing to fake, you know?
“We both had significant others, so we could really delve into this without worrying — really fall for each other as hard as we possibly could and still have it be safe for both of us. The fact she trusted me enough, the fact I trusted her enough, was a really special thing,” as the actor, who rose to fame on “Joan of Arcadia,” and whose father was the late John Ritter.
“Peter and Vandy,” which drew raves for both actors at the Sundance Festival, opens in New York and L.A. today (10/9) with other releases to follow. It tells a story by showing great and awful moments in a couple’s relationship, but not in order. Jason and Jess put their characters’ story together in sequence in order to act it – and then, he says, it turned out that they actually shot it in chronological order, the exact opposite of the way most films are done.
As for whether all that togetherness and love time made his girlfriend, Marianna Palka, and Jess’ boyfriend uncomfortable, he says, “There’s a real trust on their parts that I admire a lot. Jealousy is a really easy thing to go into and it’s not pretty. So we’re really lucky to have people in our lives who understand that at the end of the day, we’re working to make the best film we can.”
CELEB SCENE: Michael Cera’s “Youth in Revolt” got an advance screening at Hugh Hefner’s Playboy Mansion the other night – what a place to screen a comedy about a young man on a quest to lose his virginity. Hefner and some 40-50 of his personal guests were on hand, along with a handful of the film’s stars, screenwriters Diablo Cody and Gustin Nash, and producers Bob Weinstein and David Permut. We hear that after the extremely successful screening, three of the attending Playmates gave a private tour of the mansion’s grounds and its menagerie of wild animals to a few of the film’s notables. During the tour, Bob Weinstein was attacked by a four foot crane. Luckily no animals were injured! “Youth in Revolt” also stars Zach Galifianakis, Steve Buscemi, Ray Liotta, Jean Smart, Justin Long and Mary Kay Place.
CASTING CORNER: They’re looking for the young actor who’ll play wrestling star John Cena’s little brother in “Oxley’s Road,” which starts production in early December. It’s been widely reported that Cena’s playing the 100-lb. kid who joins his high school wrestling team in an effort to reconnect with his big brother. That would obviously be a stretch for the 32-year-old, 240-lb. Cena, who is no doubt playing the elder sibling, a professional wrestler who is estranged from their mother. With the Emmy-winning, Oscar-nominated Patricia Clarkson (“Six Feet Under,” “Pieces of April,” etc.) playing the mother, you have to figure this is a little different kind of wrestler movie. Wonder if Clarkson’s Yale drama school classmates would have been amused by her presence in a WWE Studios flick.
With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster