Shortlink

Hurry up and get it done!!

Bond 25 Finally Got Some Good News

It’s been a long and challenging road for Bond 25. The 25th James Bond movie hasn’t had much momentum since Spectre hit theaters, but it seemed like it things were finally coming together when Danny Boyle signed on to direct. However, the film hit a significant snag when Boyle departed over creative differences, sending Bond 25 back to square one. It was a severe blow to be sure, and now the movie is on the road to recovery. It’s still unclear what exactly this movie will be about, but the writers are getting the go-ahead to turn their treatment into a script.

Danny Boyle was initially hired to write and direct Bond 25, which would see the return of Daniel Craig to the iconic role. However, creative differences forced Boyle to leave the project, and screenwriters Neal Purvis and Robert Wade were brought onboard to write a new treatment. Purvis and Wade have a long history with the Bond franchise since 1999’s The World Is Not Enough, so it makes sense that they’d be involved with the latest movie.

According to Deadline, the screenwriters have turned in their treatment, which the duo will now work on turning into a script. It’s not quite as big as finding a new director, but it’s progress. The writing duo is reportedly using elements from Danny Boyle’s script, so the director’s version of Bond 25 will live on in some form. There’s no word on any plot details, which probably won’t surface in an official capacity until sometime after the script is turned in. The hunt for a director is still underway with names like Edgar Wright, Yann Demange, and David Mackenzie being floated around.

While the news that progress is being made on getting Bond 25 to the big screen is good, it can also be viewed as a mixed bag. Neal Purvis and Robert Wade have written some good Bond movies, but it could also mean that we are getting more of the same. Part of the reason people were excited about Danny Boyle’s involvement was that is signaled something new and unique was in store for the franchise. However, getting more of a good thing is not necessarily bad, and Purvis and Wade were the writers of great films like Skyfall and Casino Royale.

The movie is still scheduled to be released on November 8, 2019.

Shortlink

I still need to see Crazy Rich Asians. Hopefully this week!!

The Predator returns to Earth with so-so $24 million opening

The Predator is eliminating its box office competition, though not without taking some blows.

The latest installment in Fox’s action-packed film series about extraterrestrial big-game hunters is on track to debut with an estimated $24 million in ticket sales from Friday through Sunday, at 4,037 theaters in the U.S. and Canada. In doing so, it will dethrone last week’s No. 1 movie, The Nun, and keep fellow new releases A Simple Favor, White Boy Rick, and Unbroken: Path to Redemption at bay.

Although it’s poised to top the box office, The Predator is coming in on the low end of industry forecasts, which ranged from $25 million to $35 million. The film, which cost $88 million to produce, is also trailing its most recent predecessor, Predators, which opened with $24.8 million eight years ago. Overseas, The Predator will add about $30.7 million this weekend.

Marking the sixth film in the Predator franchise (counting two Aliens vs. Predator crossovers) and arriving 31 years after the Arnold Schwarzenegger-led original, The Predator finds the titular alien stalking humans in suburbia, including an Army Ranger played by Boyd Holbrook, a scientist played by Olivia Munn, and a young boy played by Jacob Tremblay. Shane Black (who played a supporting role in 1987’s Predator) directed, from a script he wrote with Frank Dekker.

Critics’ reviews were underwhelming, while audiences gave it a weak C+ CinemaScore, which does not bode well for word of mouth.

Warner Bros. and New Line’s horror flick The Nun will earn about $18 million in its sophomore weekend, good for second place. That brings the film’s domestic total to about $85 million after 10 days in theaters. Internationally, the film has grossed an estimated $143.6 million, for a global total of $228.7 million.

Arriving alongside The Predator this weekend are Lionsgate’s thriller A Simple Favor, in third place with an estimated $16.1 million; Sony’s crime drama White Boy Rick, in fourth place with an estimated $8.8 million; and PureFlix’s biopic Unbroken: Path to Redemption, in ninth place with an estimated $2.4 million.

A Simple Favor is directed by Paul Feig (Bridesmaids) and stars Anna Kendrick as a mommy blogger who tries to solve the disappearance of a glamourous new friend (played by Blake Lively). The film is coming in slightly ahead of industry projections, which were in the $12 million to $15 million range.

White Boy Rick is based on the true story of Richard Wershe Jr., a young drug kingpin and FBI informant in 1980s Detroit. The film stars Richie Merritt, Matthew McConaughey, and Bel Powley; Yann Demange directed. Its opening is in line with projections.

Finally, Path to Redemption is a sequel to Angelina Jolie’s 2014 film Unbroken, about Olympic runner and World War II veteran Louis Zamperini. Directed by Harold Cronk (God’s Not Dead), the new film chronicles Zamperini’s return from the war, his struggles to readjust to civilian life, and his religious reawakening.

According to ComScore, overall box office is up 8.9 percent year-to-date. Check out the Sept. 14-16 figures below.

1. The Predator — $24 million
2. The Nun — $18 million
3. A Simple Favor — $16.1 million
4. White Boy Rick — $8.8 million
5. Crazy Rich Asians — $8.7 million
6. Peppermint — $6.1 million
7. The Meg — $3.8 million
8. Searching — $3.2 million
9. Unbroken: Path to Redemption — $2.4 million
10. Mission: Impossible — Fallout — $2.3 million

Shortlink

Last year’s People’s Choice Award Winner was awful. I hope this year’s is better.

TIFF People’s Choice Award launches Green Book into the Oscar race

Peter Farrelly’s 1960s-set biographical drama Green Book has cleared a major hurdle in this year’s awards race, emerging from the Toronto International Film Festival with the prestigious People’s Choice Award — an accolade that often precedes placement among the Academy Awards’ Best Picture nominees.

The film, which follows classical pianist Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali) and his New York City-born driver Tony Lip (Viggo Mortensen) as they tour the American South, beat out competition for the otherwise non-competitive festival’s attendee-driven prize from critically lauded titles including Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma, Bradley Cooper’s A Star Is Born, and Barry Jenkins’ If Beale Street Could Talk.

2018 marks the first year in TIFF history that voting for the the People’s Choice Award took place entirely online, with the festival also opening the contest to everyone with access to its website — including non-patrons. This could have skewed voting totals in favor of celebrity-driven projects like the Lady Gaga-starring A Star Is Born (which is also seen as a major Oscar contender thanks to enthusiastic reception on the festival circuit thus far), though Green Book’s victory speaks to its crowd-pleasing potential ahead of what’s shaping up to be a contentious awards battle.

With the People’s Choice Award in hand, Green Book now occupies pole position as the three-pronged, Oscar-priming arm of the fall festival circuit — Telluride, Venice, and Toronto — concludes. Since 2008, nine of the last 10 People’s Choice Award winners, including 12 Years a Slave and Slumdog Millionaire, have gone on to win or be nominated for the Academy’s Best Picture statuette, the only exception being Nadine Labaki’s 2011’s drama Where Do We Go Now?

Last year, Martin McDonagh’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri began its Oscar bid with a TIFF People’s Choice Award victory before scoring seven total Academy Award nominations. It would go on to win two: for lead actress Frances McDormand and supporting actor Sam Rockwell. Reigning Best Picture The Shape of Water did not place among the top three finalists for the People’s Choice Award.

For now, Green Book will have to translate its support out of Toronto into further precursor affection as it faces the next round of nationwide critics in anticipation of its Nov. 21 theatrical bow. With near-universal acclaim from festival press, it’s likely that year-end critics’ groups and guilds already have their eyes on the project for their upcoming awards ceremonies. Mortensen and Ali received particular praise from film journalists following Green Book’s Sept. 11 world premiere at TIFF, meaning acting nominations could be on the horizon for the onscreen pair.

In addition to Green Book, A Star Is Born, Beale Street, and Roma, titles that made significant strides on the Oscar circuit at TIFF include the gay conversion drama Boy Erased, Melissa McCarthy’s Marielle Heller-directed Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Viola Davis’ Widows, Timothée Chalamet’s drug addiction drama Beautiful Boy, Nicole Kidman’s transformative slow-burn crime story Destroyer, and Ryan Gosling’s Neil Armstrong biopic First Man.

Check out the full list of winners from the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival Awards below.

People’s Choice Awards

TIFF People’s Choice Award: Peter Farrelly – Green Book
First runner-up: Barry Jenkins – If Beale Street Could Talk
Second runner-up: Alfonso Cuarón – Roma
Midnight Madness People’s Choice: Vasan Bala – The Man Who Feels No Pain
Midnight Madness first runner-up: David Gordon Green – Halloween
Midnight Madness second runner-up: Sam Levinson – Assassination Nation
Documentary People’s Choice: E. Chai Vasarhelyi, Jimmy Chin – Free Solo
Documentary first runner-up: Tom Donahue – This Changes Everything
Documentary second runner-up: John chester: John Chester – The Biggest Little Farm
Best International Short Film: Sandhya Suri – The Field

Best Canadian Short Film: Meryam Joobeur – Brotherhood

Best Canadian First Feature: Katherine Jerkovic – Roads in February

Best Canadian Feature Film: Sébastien Pilote – The Fireflies Are Gone

Fipresci Prizes of the International Federation of Film Critics:

Discovery: Carmel Winters – Float Like a Butterfly
Special Presentations: Guy Nattiv – Skin
Network for the Promotion of Asian and Pacific Cinema Award: Ash Mayfair – The Third Wife

Eurimage Audentia Award for Best Female Director: Aäläm-Wärqe Davidian – Fig Tree

Toronto Platform Prize: Ho Wi Ding – Cities of Last Things

Shortlink

Very sad news. Rest In Peace, Mr. Simon.

Prolific playwright Neil Simon has died at the age of 91

Playwright Neil Simon, a master of comedy whose laugh-filled hits such as The Odd Couple, Barefoot in the Park and his Brighton Beach trilogy dominated Broadway for decades, has died. He was 91.

Simon died early Sunday of complications from pneumonia surrounded by family at New York Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan, said Bill Evans, his longtime friend and spokesperson for the Shubert Organization, which produces plays and owns many theatres.

In the second half of the 20th century, Simon was the American theatre’s most successful and prolific playwrights, often chronicling middle-class issues and fears.

Starting with Come Blow Your Horn in 1961 and continuing into the next century, he rarely stopped working on a new play or musical. His list of credits is staggering.

The theatre world mourned his death, with actor Josh Gad calling Simon “one of the primary influences on my life and career.” Playwright Kristoffer Diaz said simply: “This hurts.”

Simon’s stage successes included The Prisoner of Second Avenue, Last of the Red Hot Lovers, The Sunshine Boys, Plaza Suite, Chapter Two, Sweet Charity and Promises, Promises, but there were other plays and musicals, too, more than 30 in all. Many of his plays were adapted into movies and one, The Odd Couple, even became a popular television series.

For seven months in 1967, he had four productions running at the same time on Broadway: Barefoot in the Park; The Odd Couple; Sweet Charity; and The Star-Spangled Girl.

Even before he launched his theatre career, he made history as one of the famed stable of writers for comedian Sid Caesar that also included Woody Allen, Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner.

Simon was the recipient of four Tony Awards, the Pulitzer Prize, the Kennedy Center honours (1995), four Writers Guild of America Awards, an American Comedy Awards Lifetime Achievement honour and, in 1983, he even had a Broadway theatre named after him when the Alvin was rechristened the Neil Simon Theatre.

In 2006, he won the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, which honours work that draws from the American experience. The previous year had seen a popular revival of The Odd Couple, reuniting Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick after their enormous success in The Producers several years earlier.

In a 1997 interview with The Washington Post, Simon reflected on his success. “I know that I have reached the pinnacle of rewards. There’s no more money anyone can pay me that I need. There are no awards they can give me that I haven’t won. I have no reason to write another play except that I am alive and I like to do it,” he said.

Simon had a rare stumble in the fall of 2009, however, when a Broadway revival of his Brighton Beach Memoirs closed abruptly after only nine performances because of poor ticket sales. It was to have run in repertory with Simon’s Broadway Bound, which was also cancelled.

The bespectacled, mild-looking Simon (described in a New York Times magazine profile as looking like an accountant or librarian who dressed “just this side of drab”) was a relentless writer — and re-writer.

“I am most alive and most fulfilled sitting alone in a room, hoping that those words forming on the paper in the Smith-Corona will be the first perfect play ever written in a single draft,” Simon wrote in the introduction to one of the many anthologies of his plays.

He was a meticulous jokesmith, peppering his plays, especially the early ones, with comic one-liners and humorous situations that critics said sometimes came at the expense of character and believability. No matter. For much of his career, audiences embraced his work, which often focused on middle-class, urban life. Many of the plots drew on his personal experiences.

“I don’t write social and political plays, because I’ve always thought the family was the microcosm of what goes on in the world,” he told The Paris Review in 1992.

Simon received his first Tony Award in 1965 as best author — a category now discontinued — for The Odd Couple, although the comedy lost the best-play prize to Frank D. Gilroy’s The Subject Was Roses. He won a best-play Tony 20 years later for Biloxi Blues. In 1991, Lost in Yonkers received both the Tony and the Pulitzer Prize. And there was a special achievement Tony, too, in 1975.

Simon’s own life figured most prominently in what became known as his Brighton Beach trilogy — Brighton Beach Memoirs, Biloxi Blues and Broadway Bound — which many consider his finest works. In them, Simon’s alter ego, Eugene Morris Jerome, makes his way from childhood to the U.S. Army to finally, on the verge of adulthood, a budding career as a writer.

Simon was born Marvin Neil Simon in New York and was raised in the Bronx and Washington Heights. He was a Depression-era child and his father, Irving, was a garment-industry salesman. He was raised mostly by his strong-willed mother, Mamie, and mentored by his older brother, Danny, who nicknamed his younger sibling Doc.

Simon attended New York University and the University of Colorado. After serving in the military in 1945-46, he began writing with his brother for radio in 1948 and then, for television, a period in their lives chronicled in Simon’s 1993 play, Laughter on the 23rd Floor.

The brothers wrote for such classic 1950s television series as Your Show of Shows, 90 minutes of live, original comedy starring Caesar and Imogene Coca, and later for The Phil Silvers Show, in which the popular comedian portrayed the conniving Army Sgt. Ernie Bilko.

Yet Simon grew dissatisfied with television writing and the network restrictions that accompanied it. Out of his frustration came Come Blow Your Horn, which starred Hal March and Warren Berlinger as two brothers (not unlike Danny and Neil Simon) trying to figure out what to do with their lives. The comedy ran for more than a year on Broadway. An audience member is said to have died on opening night.

But it was his second play, Barefoot in the Park, that really put Simon on the map. Critically well-received, the 1963 comedy, directed by Mike Nichols, concerned the tribulations of a pair of newlyweds, played by Elizabeth Ashley and Robert Redford.

Simon cemented that success two years later with The Odd Couple, a comedy about bickering roommates: Oscar, a gruff, slovenly sportswriter, and Felix, a neat, fussy photographer. Walter Matthau, as Oscar, and Art Carney, as Felix, starred on Broadway, with Matthau and Jack Lemmon playing the roles in a successful movie version. It was eventually turned into several TV series and Broadway plays.

Besides Sweet Charity (1966), which starred Gwen Verdon as a goodhearted dance-hall hostess, and Promises, Promises (1968), based on Billy Wilder’s film The Apartment, Simon wrote the books for several other musicals.

Many of his plays were turned into films as well; Simon often wrote screenplays for the movie versions. He also wrote original screenplays, the best known being The Goodbye Girl, starring Richard Dreyfuss as a struggling actor, and The Heartbreak Kid, which featured Charles Grodin as a recently married man, lusting to drop his new wife for a blonde goddess played by Cybill Shepherd.

In his later years, Simon had more difficulty on Broadway. After the success of Lost in Yonkers, the playwright had a string of financially unsuccessful plays including Jake’s Women, Laughter on the 23rd Floor and Proposals. Simon even went off-Broadway with London Suite in 1995 but it didn’t run long either.

The Dinner Party, a comedy set in Paris about husbands and ex-wives, was a modest hit in 2000, primarily because of the box-office strength of its two stars, Henry Winkler and John Ritter. A hit revival of Promises, Promises in 2010 starred Kristin Chenoweth and Sean Hayes.

Perhaps Simon’s most infamous production was the critically panned Rose’s Dilemma, which opened at off-Broadway’s non-profit Manhattan Theatre Club in December 2003. Its star, Mary Tyler Moore, walked out of the show during preview performances after receiving a note from the playwright criticizing her performance. She was replaced by her understudy.

Simon wrote two memoirs, Rewrites (1996) and The Play Goes On (1999). They were combined into Neil Simon’s Memoirs.

Simon was married five times, twice to the same woman. His first wife, Joan Baim, died of cancer in 1973, after 20 years of marriage. They had two daughters, Ellen and Nancy, who survive him. Simon dealt with her death in Chapter Two (1977), telling the story of a widower who starts anew.

The playwright then married actress Marsha Mason, who had appeared in his stage comedy The Good Doctor and who went on to star in several films written by Simon including The Goodbye Girl, The Cheap Detective, Chapter Two, Only When I Laugh and Max Dugan Returns. They were divorced in 1982.

The playwright was married to his third wife, Diane Lander, twice — once in 1987-1988 and again in 1990-1998. Simon adopted Lander’s daughter, Bryn, from a previous marriage. Simon married his fourth wife, actress Elaine Joyce, in 1999. He is also survived by three grandchildren and one great-grandson.

“I suspect I shall keep on writing in a vain search for that perfect play. I hope I will keep my equilibrium and sense of humour when I’m told I haven’t achieved it,” Simon once said about his voluminous output of work. “At any rate, the trip has been wonderful. As George and Ira Gershwin said, ‘They Can’t Take That Away From Me.'”

Shortlink

I look forward to hearing what the “creative differences” are.

Shaun Majumder not returning to This Hour Has 22 Minutes

Comedian Shaun Majumder is signing off from the anchor desk of the popular news parody show This Hour Has 22 Minutes.

He announced that he would not be returning to the show on Saturday, during the closing night festivities at The Gathering, an annual three-day festival of comedy, music and food.

According to a CBC reporter who attended, Majumder said “creative differences” played a part in his decision.

Majumder founded The Gathering in his hometown of Burlington, N.L., in 2012.

He was a member of the This Hour Has 22 Minutes cast from 2003 to 2010, when he left the show to star in Detroit 1-8-7. He returned to the show in 2011.

CBC, which broadcasts the weekly satire, confirmed the departure.

“Given the nature of the industry, it’s not uncommon to make a change with a cast member,” CBC representative Chuck Thompson said in an email. “This has happened several times over the years with other cast members on 22 Minutes.”

Thompson added that the show “decided to go in a different direction” but “looks forward to the possibility of working with Shaun in the future.”

Majumder told CBC News he will be making a public statement about his decision in the coming days.

Shortlink

So many movies to see – even just out of curiosity – so little time these days!!

Crazy Rich Asians holds strong to win second weekend at the box office

Crazy Rich Asians is scarcely slowing down.

After a strong debut last week, Warner Bros’. glitzy rom-com is on track to earn an estimated $25 million in ticket sales at 3,526 theaters in the U.S. and Canada from Friday through Sunday, topping the box office again and boasting a remarkably strong hold. It’s down from $26.5 million last weekend, which works out to a decline of just 6 percent. (It’s not uncommon for major movies to drop off 40 percent or more.)

That brings the film’s domestic total to about $76.8 million after 12 days in theaters. Overseas, where the film is beginning to roll out, it will add about $6 million this weekend, for a worldwide total of about $83.9 million. All in all, it’s a dazzling start for a film that cost about $30 million to make, and it could mark a watershed moment for Asian representation in Hollywood.

Based on Kevin Kwan’s best-selling 2013 book about a Chinese-American professor (played by Constance Wu) who travels to Singapore with her boyfriend (Henry Golding) to meet his fabulously wealthy, tradition-bound family, Crazy Rich Asians represents the first major contemporary Hollywood movie to showcase a predominantly Asian cast since The Joy Luck Club back in 1993. Jon M. Chu directed Crazy Rich Asians, and the ensemble cast includes includes Michelle Yeoh, Gemma Chan, Awkwafina, and Ken Jeong.

The film has received glowing reviews from critics, and moviegoers gave it an A CinemaScore. A sequel is already in the works.

The outlook is less favorable for the weekend’s major new releases, The Happytime Murders and A.X.L. The former film, a raunchy, R-rated comedy starring Melissa McCarthy as a cop who teams up with her old puppet partner to solve a string of killings, will earn about $10 million at 3,256 theaters, putting it in third place. A.X.L., the story of a teenage boy (Alex Neustaedter) who befriends a high-tech robotic dog created by the military, will take in about $2.9 million at 1,710 theaters, good for ninth place.

The Happytime Murders, which cost about $40 million to make, marks a career-low debut for McCarthy for a movie in which she has top billing. Directed by Brian Henson (son of puppet pioneer Jim Henson) and release by STX Entertainment, the film received poor reviews from critics and a dismal C-minus CinemaScore from audiences.

Meanwhile, the poor performance of A.X.L. comes as another setback for the year-old mini studio, which is on the verge of collapse.

In limited release, Sony’s tech-themed thriller Searching, starring John Cho and Debra Messing, is arriving in nine theaters with an estimated $360,000. That works out to a strong $40,000 per-screen average.

According to ComScore, overall box office is up 9.5 percent year-to-date. Check out the Aug. 24-26 figures below.

1. Crazy Rich Asians — $25 million
2. The Meg — $13 million
3. The Happytime Murders — $10 million
4. Mission: Impossible — Fallout — $8 million
5. Christopher Robin — $6.3 million
6. Mile 22 — $6 million
7. Alpha — $5.6 million
8. BlacKkKlansman — $5.3 million
9. A.X.L. — $2.9 million
10. Slender Man — $2.8 million

Shortlink

Come on!! Give them stuff!!!

‘GOT’ stars banned from taking set props

The stars of Game of Thrones are at war with production execs after they were banned from taking home props as mementoes of their grueling years filming the hit show.

Veterans of the sex and swords HBO epic — which reportedly earns the studio $1 billion a year –had planned to take souvenirs from their time on the set.

But long-serving actors including Emilia Clarke and Maisie Williams have been told they will have to leave the show without taking their characters’ trademark weapons and clothes, or iconic show props including armor and jewelry.

Regardless of orders, the actors are allegedly planning to take their most beloved possessions from set.

They believe they deserve them after spending years shooting the hit show in freezing weather and other difficult conditions.

“The cast is calling show chiefs cheap for putting a ban on them taking any personal reminders of their time on the show,” a source told Radar.

“They feel they have put everything into the show and made a lot of people a lot of money, and think it is a disgrace they won’t be able to take small souvenirs of their time on the show home when it wraps.”

A ban on actors walking away with treasures comes after Kristian Nairn – who played giant Hodor – admitted he had taken a door as a keepsake from the show, which he revealed he planned to hang on a wall at his house.

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau — who plays Jaime Lannister – said he intended to steal his character’s fake gold hand and use it as an ashtray in his house.

Actor Liam Cunningham admitted in an interview: “I grab a prop every year – I don’t think of it as grabbing, I think of it as liberating them.”

Radar’s source said the stars’ revelations they regularly swiped props had prompted a clampdown on thefts, with the props team demanding all items handed out during takes be returned personally by actors and signed off on a checklist.

The insider added: “Show bosses have got sick of the thefts as it costs a lot of money to produce these props – the show has its own armory and blacksmiths who make them, and they know they will sell for a lot once the show finishes.”

“Extras are also guilty of thefts and security teams have now been briefed to be especially watchful and ordered to stop anyone who tries to leave the sets carrying valuable props.”

Game of Thrones’ final season will air next year, and almost every episode has already been filmed.

Shortlink

What a career!! So glad I got to witness it!!

Robert Redford says he’ll ‘move toward retirement’ after 60 years of acting

The sun appears to be setting on the Sundance Kid’s acting career.

In a new interview published Monday, Robert Redford tells Entertainment Weekly retirement is on his mind, and that his new movie, The Old Man & The Gun, will likely be his last acting job.

“Never say never, but I pretty well concluded that this would be it for me in terms of acting, and (I’ll) move towards retirement after this ‘cause I’ve been doing it since I was 21,” Redford, 82 this month, said. “I thought, Well, that’s enough. And why not go out with something that’s very upbeat and positive?”

In what could be his last film, Redford portrays Forrest Tucker, a real-life career convict, who reportedly boasted he was better at escaping than Harry Houdini. Elisabeth Moss, Sissy Spacek, Casey Affleck and Danny Glover are also featured in the film, which is set for a Sept. 28 release.

“To me, that was a wonderful character to play at this point in my life,” Redford told EW.

“The thing that really got me about him — which I hope the film shows — is he robbed 17 banks and he got caught 17 times and went to prison 17 times. But he also escaped 17 times. So it made me wonder: I wonder if he was not averse to getting caught so he that could enjoy the real thrill of his life, which is to escape?”

Shortlink

Love this!!

Chris Rock joining ’Fargo’ Season 4

TORONTO — FX Networks CEO and President John Landgraf announced today in Los Angeles that Chris Rock will star in a fourth season of “Fargo.”

Each season of the Emmy-winning anthology drama features a new cast of headliners as it skips through different decades. Up until now, production has been based in and around Calgary, with the Canadian city doubling for Minnesota as well as North and South Dakota.

The new season is not scheduled to commence filming until 2019. A Fox spokesperson today said it is too early to tell where production will be located

Here’s what is known: the new season is set in 1950 in Kansas City, Mo. Actor/comedian Rock will star as a family man caught up in the migration of African Americans from the U.S. south who travelled north to escape segregation and oppression.

Rock’s character must surrender his oldest son to his enemy and also raise his enemy’s son as his own in order to thrive in his new settings. Complicating matters further is a new wave of immigration from Europe entering Kansas City, including members of an Italian crime syndicate.

A release from the network describes the new season as “a story of basically decent people who are probably in over their heads. You know, Fargo.”

The Emmy and Peabody-winning drama, based on the Coen brothers feature film, has been on the shelf for an extended period as creator/writer/showrunner Noah Hawley juggled feature film work as well as his duties on his other FX series, “Legion.” Rock, 53, was quoted saying he can’t wait to work on the series.

Hawley, as well as executive producer Warren Littlefield, have praised the largely Calgary-based crews working the series during its first three seasons. Littlefield’s other award-winning drama, “The Handmaid’s Tale,” shoots in and around Toronto, Hamilton and Cambridge, Ont.

Shows don’t always stay put, however. Hawley’s other FX series, “Legion,” was relocated from Vancouver to California for its second season, lured by enhanced tax incentives on the American west coast.

That move, Hawley explained last January, was also largely dictated by second season “Legion” scripts calling for more desert scenes.

“You want to embrace what the location you’re filming in has to offer you,” said Hawley of the shift south. “The sad thing with Vancouver is that people often shoot Vancouver to imitate someplace else — or Toronto or Atlanta — rather than, no, it’s this beautiful mountainous evergreen terrain. I just want to embrace where we are.”

The most recent season of “Fargo,” which aired in 2017, starred Ewan McGregor in a dual role. Kirsten Dunst and Ted Danson headlined Season 2, with Billy Bob Thornton starring in the first season.

Thornton took in a Calgary Stampeders CFL game during his 10-episode stint and was amazed to see shirtless fans in the stands painted in team colours.

The Arkansas native had a great time in Canada but in an interview in 2014 admitted that the winter shoot took some getting used to.

“One night, it went down to 40 below and they wouldn’t allow us to work,” he said at the time. “You figure if a Canadian says it’s too dangerous to go out there, it probably is too dangerous to go out.”

Shortlink

Very, very sad news. I love this woman. Rest In Peace Mrs. Garrett.

Charlotte Rae, Mrs. Garrett on Facts of Life and Diff’rent Strokes, dies at 92

Charlotte Rae, best known as wise and lovable house mother Mrs. Garrett on The Facts of Life, died Sunday at her home in Los Angeles, representatives for the actress confirmed. She was 92.

Rae revealed she’d been diagnosed with bone cancer at the end of April 2017. “Last Monday, I found out I have bone cancer,” she said in a statement. “About seven years ago, I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer — which is a miracle that they found it because usually, it’s too late. My mother, sister, and my uncle died of pancreatic cancer. After six months of chemotherapy, I was cancer-free. I lost my hair, but I had beautiful wigs. Nobody ever knew. So now, at the age of 91, I have to make up my mind. I’m not in any pain right now. I’m feeling so terrific and so glad to be above ground. Now I have to figure out whether I want to go have treatment again or opt for life.”

She continued to share her decision, “I love life. I’ve had a wonderful one already … I’ve had a great life, but I have so many wonderful things happening. I’d like to choose life. I’m grateful for the life I’ve already had.”

Born Charlotte Rae Lubotsky in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Rae got her start doing theater and radio (where she was told to drop her last name). She broke into television playing Sylvia Schnauser, the wife of Al Lewis’ Officer Leo Schnauser on Car 54, Where Are You? While she earned Tony nominations Pickwick, Morning Noon and Night, and an Emmy nom (Queen of the Stardust Ballroom), it wasn’t until 1978 when Norman Lear, a longtime fan, cast her in Diff’rent Strokes, that Rae’s career took off.

Rae played the kooky but kind housekeeper Edna Garrett, unmissable thanks to that mound of bright orange hair, on Diff’rent Strokes, and when she became a popular breakout character, Rae herself proposed the spin-off. That spin-off became The Facts of Life, a sitcom about a girls’ boarding school and their (once again) kooky and kind house mother. Rae’s Mrs. Garrett (or Mrs. G, as Nancy McKeon’s Jo liked to call her) helped guide the girls through every very special episode theme imaginable, from depression to dating, AIDS to alcohol. Rae left the show in 1986 for health reasons, and though Cloris Leachman stepped in as Mrs. Garrett’s sister, the show was canceled two years later.

Rae went on to guest star on TV shows like ER, Pretty Little Liars, Sisters, and The King of Queens, and appeared in movies such as Don’t Mess with the Zohan and Tom and Jerry: The Movie. Her final regular gig was voicing “Nanny” in the animated 101 Dalmations: The Series, which aired from 1997-98.

As much as she was beloved by TV watchers throughout the ‘80s, she remained associated with the beloved character of Mrs. Garrett thanks to reruns. In 2011, The Facts of Life cast reunited for the TV Land Awards, where she took home the Pop Icon award. That night, her Facts of Life costars Kim Fields and Nancy McKeon gave speeches in her honor. For the show’s 35th anniversary in 2014, they again got together for the closing night of PaleyFest in Los Angeles.

Rae shared many of her Hollywood experiences — including 44 years of sobriety and discovering that her husband, John Strauss, was bisexual — in her memoir, The Facts of My Life, released in 2015.

In her April 2017 statement, Rae also said, “At 91, every day is a birthday. [In my book] I want to tell everybody to celebrate every day, to savor the day and be good to yourself, love yourself, and then you can be good to others and be of service to others.”