Tag Archives: Derek Luke

‘Astro Boy’ Rings Another Bell for Fanboy Fave Kristen

Kristen Bell  Albert L. Ortega-PR Photos

Kristen Bell Albert L. Ortega-PR Photos

Kristen Bell has gone from “Veronica Mars” to “Heroes” to “Fanboys” to the Oct. 23 release animated flick “Astro Boy” – and thereby has a permanent place in the hearts of nerdy fans everywhere. 

 Though she never intended to go down the path that’s won her such appellations  as Chic Geek and Fanboy Fabulous, the talented actress tells us it’s a good place to be.  “I just look for good projects with good writing, and I think at this point it’s a fluke that a lot of them have been genre movies.  I think that’s some of the best material out there,” says Bell.  “The sort of geeky community or the Comic-Con community, they’re some of the smartest fans out there and they pay attention so you have to feed them good material.  I’m just very flattered that they have accepted me.” 

In “Astro Boy,” based on the popular Japanese franchise, Bell provides the voice of Cora.  “After I did a little bit of research, I realized how iconic Astro Boy is overseas.  He’s like the Mickey Mouse of Japan.  The fact that it does have such a history and he’s been around for so long, there’s a reason why his story has stayed sort of timeless and relatable.  It has so many different aspects of fairytales that we’re all familiar with, but at the same time it’s a really entertaining adventure story,” she explains of the flick that also features the voices of Freddie Highmore, Nicolas Cage, Charlize Theron, Samuel L. Jackson, Bill Nighy and Nathan Lane.  “The thing with this movie is, you have to make all of these effort noises,” adds Bell.  “It’s funny to be flailing around the booth and doing these karate chop noises for the fight scenes.” 

 Right now, Bell can be seen showing off her comedic chops as she’s currently starring in the Vince Vaughn flick “Couples Retreat.”  Of that one, she says, “It was like being trapped in paradise with the funniest people in the world.  We somehow shot a movie on vacation and then when we got home they paid us for it.  It was pretty surreal.”   

ONCE GROOVY, ALWAYS GROOVY:  One-time Hollywood dream girl Peggy Lipton returns to the tube Oct. 23, playing the wife of Keith Carradine and ex-love of Dennis Hopper in a story arc on Starz’ “Crash.”  She tells us, “It’s nothing I would have expected in a million years, and it makes me want to work more.”

Lipton, who took a self-imposed work hiatus to raise her daughters by former husband Quincy Jones (“Parks and Recreation” actress Rashida Jones and fashion stylist Kidada Jones), says “I wasn’t interested for a long time, but my confidence grew over the last year.  I don’t even know why.  I do know there are plenty of us who still want to work, and there seems now to be a calling for it on cable.”   Referring to the rise of choice dramatic roles for top actresses from Glenn Close to Sigourney Weaver and Janet McTeer in the medium, she adds, “You watch the Emmys and see these fabulous actresses over 50.  There looks to be room for this on TV.

“We have so many baby boomers coming into our own. I think that’s what’s spurred me on,” adds the “Mod Squad” and “Twin Peaks” beauty, whose dramatic and glamorous life has run the gamut from famous romances (Elvis, Paul McCartney) to her winning battle against colon cancer.

Working with Hopper and Carradine has been a dream, according to her.  And she adjusted fast to the big changes on set.  “Everything is so different, streamlined.  Instead of being by the camera, the director is over in the video village that seems like a half a mile away.  But you just kind of get with it, you know.”

A FINE BROMANCE:  Dean Cain told us last summer that he had so much fun acting alongside James Tupper on their “The Gambler, the Girl and the Gunslinger” Hallmark Channel Western, he wanted to do a sequel.  “I’ll tell you what — I’ll show up for it.  If James wants to, I’m in,” said Dean, who played a gambler at odds with Tupper’s sharpshooter character.  Now, Tupper tells us he’s game, too.  “Oh, hell yeah!  It’s a bromance, it’s a bromance for sure,” he declares.  “Dean is a great guy.  He really is a bit like Superman, you know.  You meet him and he says ‘Hello’ and he owns it.  It’s him.”  But reuniting with Dean will have to wait.  Tupper’s plate is currently full with his NBC “Mercy” series and his and Anne Heche’s home life and baby. 

 FREE FLOW:  Derek Luke tells us that there has been a lot of improvisational acting going on in his new NBC “Trauma” action/medical series.  In fact, he recalls a guest actor who “showed up on the set and was basically the only one who knew the lines, who said the written word.  When he heard all the actors on the show improv’ing, he must have felt ready to faint,” says the actor who rose to fame as “Antwone Fisher,” smiling.  “You have to just flow with them.  It’s a very creative and instinctual set, pretty much like real life.  It’s one of the things I love about ‘Trauma.’” 

 With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster

Derek Luke Talks ‘Trauma’s’ Gay Character

Derek Luke is surprised that word has already gotten out about a gay paramedic character being among the personalities on NBC’s soon-due “Trauma” series.  He says he doesn’t even know which character it will be.

Derek Luke and Kevin Rankin in "Trauma" (Photo By Mitchell Haaseth/NBC)

Derek Luke and Kevin Rankin in "Trauma" (Photo By Mitchell Haaseth/NBC)

Could it be Derek’s guy, Boone?  “Not that I know of,” says the actor, who’s playing a family man fraught with issues at work and home.

What he does know is, “As actors, we’re excited. We want the show to be sophisticated, not just surface and one-dimensional.  I appreciate getting a chance to see different ideas and beliefs, and the effect people have on each other.”

He wants to learn what is going to happen from the scripts alone.  “I keep telling them, ‘Wait.  I want to have my own reaction.’”  As far as the gay character’s reveal, “It’s supposed to be in the next couple of scripts.  I’ll have to find out who’s who.”

With a busy career in features – and credits ranging from “Antwone Fisher” and “Glory Road” to this year’s “Notorious” (as P. Diddy) and “Madea Goes to Jail” — Luke wasn’t in the market to do a series when “Trauma” came along.  Peter Berg, who directed him in “Friday Night Lights,” is, however, executive producer of the high-octane “Trauma” show about paramedics who are first responders at catastrophes.  That made all the difference.  Luke recalls that once he met with Berg, he found himself saying, “Dude, I for sure at first was convinced I was not going to do the show….’”

Berg “made me pretty comfortable.  You know what?  Pete is invested in this.  He didn’t steer me wrong in ‘Friday Night Lights.’  He totally had my attention.  And, you know, it’s Pete Berg’s style, no matter whether it’s TV or film — it translates.

“Me and my wife kind of deliberated, and I came to a verdict myself,” he says.

Now he’s happily pulling long, grueling days on the San Francisco-set show:  “I love my job.  I love my life!”

How many episodes have they done?  “I thought I shot 13 but I heard we only shot three,” he jokes.  “I feel like I shot a season already.  We’re starting number four.”

SOURCE OF INSPIRATION: Music is definitely on the front burner for 17-year-old Emily Osment – what with her new “All the Way Up” single out, a video on the way next week, an extended play version of the tune coming up in October, and her first album for Wind-up Records on the way.  Wind-up, Emily reminds, is the alt rock-heavy label of “Evanescence and Creed — so I have to keep up that rock image for them…I think I’ve started in a good way.”

Meanwhile, however, fans of her best-known character – Lilly Truscutt of “Hannah Montana” – would no doubt like some reassurance about her acting plans.

“We’re doing season four next year.  We’ll get back on our really cool soundstage,” she notes  Osment points out that she and Miley Cyrus and the rest of the young cast’s characters are being allowed to grow, “in a good way.  This time between seasons allows the writers to see what we’re going through – and then they can parallel it with stories on the show.  We give them a lot of good stuff,” she says.  Indeed.

TRYING ON A NEW HAT: Voice talent extraordinaire Carolyn Lawrence has performed characters ranging from Cindy Vortex of “Jimmy Neutron” to the so-taboo-even-Adult-Swim-banned-it “Moral Orel” – to Sandy Cheeks, the rootin’ tootin’ Texas-born squirrel buddy of “Spongebob Squarepants.”

Now she’s trying her hand at producing, with a project called “Monstroville.”  Lawrence reports that her in-the-works the animated flick is about “your basic hard-working family who happen to be ghouls and monsters.”  Her “Spongebob” castmate pals including Tom Kenny have already agreed to lend their voices to the indie.
MEANWHILE: The 2004 “Spongebob Squarepants” feature grossed $141 million on a $30 million budget.  So you’d think another “Spongebob” flick would be in the planning.  But it’s not.  “We wish,” Lawrence says of the cast’s feelings about a follow-up film.  “The problem is, because of the way we function, the same team of writers and animators did both the series and the movie – so when we did the production of the movie, we had to stop production of the TV show.  It gets kind of complicated.”

With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster