This winter is being a long one. This morning we woke up to -30 degrees celcius, with a wind chill of -40 or more. Nothing for outside work gets done in this. So if your job has anything to do with the outside, your probably on some unscheduled days off. How many is determined by how long this cold snap lasts. These cold air masses move slowly because they are heavy, and depending upon the size of them, take a while to be moved off.
So your stuck doing inside stuff for a while. But you can only clean up so much, cook and bake until every storage container you own is full. Commercial TV has only so much to offer. I’m not into the talk shows, and whatever movies are on depends if they are reruns or not. Personally I have watched the Star Wars Marathons long enough.
I have discovered online movies for download, at a price that is over 50% less then one of the most advertized movie download sites online. Depending upon which plan you go with, a 6 month plan for $29.95 saves you $18 over the other. The 3 year plan for $39.95 will save you over $200. That I believe is quite a deal for unlimited downloads.
I think that was part of the reason why in this country the internet providers wanted to change the rules on how people were charged for their internet service. They wanted to surcharge extra for those who downloaded alot, and another way they could capitalize on the popularity of downloading movies. But the backlash of opposition was enough to put that idea on the shelf for a while longer.
The prices I have quoted are currently the discounted prices, the company is offering. But even at their regular prices they still come out cheaper then others. They are not pirated movies, they are legal movie downloads, and with 1000′s of titles to choose from.
I invite you to check out Capital Movies if you would like to build your own movie library, or just want a decent movie download service for those times you just want to stay at home and watch a movie. Or as in my case here now, it is just to cold to go out anywhere.
http://online-moviedownloads.blogspot.com/ Written and submitted by J.A.Rawles. Currency Trader and Affiliate Marketer. Love to write and submit articles of good deals to be had online, and offer my take on the products, and what benefits if any, they give me, and may offer you.
I wrote an article last week about what the weather was like here. Nothing has changed. There is still no let up in sight. We are frozen solid for the next week. Can’t do anything outside, unless you want to freeze every finger and toe off. I can remember a group of us went skiing in this same temperature (-25 C) once in Banff. That was an expereince. We were alright, but others were not. To see people with their cheeks white because they were frozen, that was gonna hurt when that was warmed up.I don’t go out in these temps anymore.
So if your stuck like me, with nothing to do but watch TV inside. I would like to take this opportunity to invite you to check out a movie download site. Lots of movies, all kinds. But the best part, the price you pay. It’s cheaper then the, by the month download service from others, a bunch.
The movies available are legal, and not pirated, so they are good quality. Download a movie and it is yours for life. You can build your own movie library. Have movie night with your friends every and any time you want. Around here that would be every Saturday, and they would all expect margaritas with their nachos.
Online movie downloads has become an extremely popular way for everyone to obtain and watch their favorite movies, and the unlimited downloads for the length of subscription, makes this venue an even better deal. From what I see, this is one of the few things that is not going up in price lately. As a matter of fact this movie site has a special on their packages right now.
So if you are looking for a movie download site, take a look at this one, you might like what you find, I hope you do. Thank you for your time spent here and happy shopping.
Written and submitted by J.A.Rawles. I have come to realize I love to write articles about products and things I feel are relevant to people today. I find there is no shortage of topics or things to discuss online at anytime. Hope you enjoy it as much as I.http://www.moviedownloads-foryourcomputer.info
okay so I’m sitting at home just watching some good old cable TV, the favorite shows I like to watch that comes on monday thru friday, but then all of a sudden my mom calls and tells me she can’t wait to see me this weekend. I looking confused so I look at the calender and see that I was sheduled to go home for a straigh week. Yeah I know I can watch the tv shows I like back at home, just laying back on the couch while mom is cooking my favorites in the kitchen, but I realize that not only am I gonna be back home, so is my brother, My brother who likes to take over everything, the best guest room while I get stuck in the old room which my room switched into a office room. anyway I’m like standing in my kitchen at my apartment thinking I’m not gonna be able to watch the shows I want because of my sneaky brother.
The other day I heard one of my classmates at school talking about how cool this online tv he has downloaded on his laptop which he carries around with him. I asked to take a look. I was amazed on how cool and easy it was to load up on his laptop, normaly the class that I had with him was a non stop lectural class, but that day it was just chill and relax, so I’m sitting there just flipping thru this tv his has on his computer. yeah I got to watch a 30 min realty show series on there. yay.
so getting back to what I was doing at my apartment I decided to try it, I learned it’s a one time payment and you get over 2,150 of tv channels. I went ahead and did it, I uploaded it to my laptop and got my bags packed and ready to go. after I got to sit and mess around with the latop of my own tv. I was so happy to get that going on my laptop I almost forgot to get my bags out to the car. It says in order to use the tv is that you have to have internet at all times. I think that’s the only bad thing I can think of about it. Its a good thing that I have the wireless internet on my laptop from my mobile network.
I was all happy and smiley in the car while my boyfriend drove for over fourteen hours of driving, I got to sit on the passenger side and watch all the tv I want. Not only did I get to do that on the drive back home. I got to watch it even when were at home with the parents. Its funny though because I got to watch tv the whole week I was back at home. but I did get to spend the other time that I had with my family. I was so glad I had the chance to get the tv on my laptop, I don’t regret it.
How we watch movies has changed. From movie theaters, to VCR’s to DVDs to watching online. There are more options available today than ever. What are some good ways to watch full movies online? I’d like to consider several ways in which you can watch a full movie online.
You Tube. In the past, I’ve used this a lot with my little girls when I am watching them and I want to quickly put something on for them (like a Disney film or something like that). The problem with this method is that you cannot watch the whole thing in one sitting. In other words, you have to click it again every ten minutes. So it is split up in parts. And the quality of course is many times pretty poor.
Netflix. As of two years ago they had one hundred thousand movies to choose from and had more than ten million that were monthly subscribers. Pretty amazing. They started out by mailing dvds but now you can watch full movies online instantly if you are a subscriber. This is a pretty good option for watching movies online. The only issue here is that not all films are available. Another issue is that if English is not your first language (such as my wife), you don’t have the option of watching it with subtitles.
ITunes. This is pretty popular. You can rent or buy films and have it downloaded to your computer. Same thing as above if you need subtitles you can’t get them (last time I checked). Various websites. There are a lot of sites offering online streaming or downloads. Some cost very little, some are free. Some have commercials at the beginning (that is how they get offer it for free).
Illegal Options. Quite a few of the sites are probably scams and/or illegal (P2P file sharing networks), have poor quality and downloading them is not safe. Make sure when considering a website to use for watching full movies online that the website is a good, legit, quality, legal site.
Legal downloads to your computer. There are some sites that by paying a one time fee allow you to download legally movies on your computer. This is probably the best option as far as quality, price and peace of mind in your choice of watching full movies online. I hope this has been helpful as you consider the many options you have in watching movies online. Visit my site to access more on the best options for watching movies on your computer.
A Louisiana movie producer wants to turn a 17-acre former railroad yard in his native Algiers into a $63.5 million film and television production facility.
Scott Niemeyer, who has produced seven movies in Louisiana in the last dozen years, told the New Orleans Industrial Development Board on Tuesday that two years of due diligence have convinced him that Deep South Studios would fill a need for indoor production space and bring more dollars and jobs into the city.
“It was blatantly obvious to me there was a deficit, certainly, in the city of New Orleans,” he said.
Niemeyer, whose $500 million in film production includes “Pitch Perfect” and who is working on a sequel to “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” said he filmed his last four movies in Baton Rouge.
“I want to come home,” he said.
Niemeyer has applied for the city’s PILOT, or payment in lieu of taxes, program. If accepted, he would have to pay only the current property tax of $25,000 per year on the site for the first 10 years, not the estimated $1.4 million in taxes the finished studio would otherwise have to pay. The theory is that without the tax break, the project would never happen and the city would continue to get only the same small tax payment for the property, without the jobs and economic activity the studio would generate.
The IDB and the Mayor’s Office will spend the next few months figuring out whether to accept Deep South Studios into the PILOT program and doing a cost-benefit analysis to determine what annual payment the city will require of him instead of the normal tax bill.
Deep South would have two three-story office buildings at the entrance; five production stages totaling just under 104,000 square feet; two 50,000-square-foot production offices; and three 16,500-square-foot buildings for storage, lighting and grip equipment and a mill and shop.
Niemeyer said that while Big Easy Studios and Second Line Studios already offer indoor production space locally, Deep South would be larger and offer better soundproofing and air handling.
“There is demand beyond capacity,” he said of Louisiana’s booming film production industry spurred by the state’s generous tax credit program over the last decade.
To find a facility of the size and scope he envisions, Niemeyer said, “you’d have to go as far west as Albuquerque (New Mexico) and as far east as Atlanta or North Carolina.”
Construction of the production studio and backlot would create 1,100 jobs, he said. Although it would take only a couple of dozen people to operate the studio, the movie and television productions it could accommodate could each have more than 100 people working on them.
He said the sequel to “Pitch Perfect,” now being shot in a former department store in Baton Rouge, has 250 people working on it on a daily basis.
Niemeyer said a second phase of the new studio on 15 acres across the street could include some post-production space and an educational component that could work with local colleges and universities to train students to work in the digital media and production industries.
The board seemed receptive to Niemeyer’s pitch, though it will be at least a couple of months before it makes its decision.
Niemeyer told the board he is poised to issue a $49.5 million debt offering to foreign investors through a federal program, adding after the meeting that he’s still looking for the right partner in the project.
Niemeyer said he has a purchase agreement on the property, which has been cleared and has undergone environmental studies. Design, engineering and construction documents are underway, and Niemeyer told the board he has put “seven figures” into the project so far.
If Deep South gets the approvals its needs, it could open by January 2016.
Woolverton, whose credits include Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King and Alice in Wonderland, says the film’s key scene — in which Maleficent’s (Angelina Jolie) kiss awakens Princess Aurora (Elle Fanning) — was one of the more emotional experiences of her professional career.
“You have to rewrite these things 100 times, and every single time I wrote it I could barely get through it,” she tells The Hollywood Reporter. “I did Homeward Bound, you know that dog movie? Every single time I wrote the moment over the hill when everyone comes back at the end, I would cry into my hand over the keyboard. The kiss scene was like that for me.”
Here Woolverton discusses the biggest challenges of writing a blockbuster and why she inverted that kiss scene.
What were some of your big challenges when you were approaching this?
The biggest challenge was how to make a villain into a protagonist. How on earth was I going to justify that this woman would curse a baby? (Laughs.)
Where did that motivation start?
We based this on the Disney movie, not the fairy tale. I was looking at that scene, and I had done some research, and the biggest surprise is that she’s a fairy, not a witch. I’ve always wanted to do a dark fairy story. Then I watched that scene where she curses the baby, and I’m thinking “well if she’s a fairy, where are her wings?” Suddenly it was “boom. Lightbulb. Oh! It’s the wings!” Then I worked backward from there to create the Stefan relationship.
There are points where Maleficent is quite charming. She saves the baby from running off a cliff. We slowly realize she likes the princess.
At what point along the way do we finally get that her heart is changing, melting? That scene was pivotal in letting the audience know she’s not going to let that baby fall of the cliff. The skeptic could say it’s because she wants the baby to live so the curse can come true. But the reality is she’s falling for this child.
How early did you know it would be Maleficent’s kiss, not the prince’s, who wakes her up?
Very early. The whole movie was moving us toward that singular moment.
Did she redeem herself?
Even if you can never come back from something so horrific, what’s done is done. She doesn’t ask for forgiveness, and her love for Aurora is her redemption.
How did you approach the battle scene where Maleficent ended up fighting the king?
It was important Aurora could find the wings so she could give Maleficent her wings back. There are brilliant people who do stunts and figure things out, and we had a brilliant director. So I thought it would all change, honestly. I wrote the iron thing falling down from the ceiling, thinking it would be a placeholder. But it worked.
What was Stefan’s path when you were thinking about his development?
Both he and Maleficent turn corners. She makes a right choice, and he makes a wrong choice. He becomes obsessive, and that obsession drives him a little crazy. Originally the other king wanted Maleficent’s death, but Stefan couldn’t kill her. There’s a tiny part of him who is a decent human being, but he’s so driven for power and riches.
I liked the scene with the raindrops on the fairies inside the house. I liked seeing her enjoying her wickedness. And Angie did that so well.
What was the most significant scene in your mind?
The kiss scene. You have to rewrite these things 100 times, and every single time I wrote it I could barely get through it. I did Homeward Bound, you know that dog movie? Every single time I wrote the moment over the hill when everyone comes back at the end, I would cry into my hand over the keyboard. The kiss scene was like that for me.
You must have those moments in a lot of the movies you write.
It’s very cathartic for me. You can’t write the truth if you’re not feeling it. I get to be Maleficent when I’m writing these things.
What do you think about when you write scripts that are going to end up being huge movies?
I don’t think about how big it is. I am totally writing for myself. Because I’ve done it, I do know these things go out into the world, but I can’t think about that. I need to think about what the best way to tell this story is. I use my own experiences, because a life is full of victories, failures, defeats and bad choices. They are sort of universal things that happen to people, and I am hoping people are going to relate.
Now that you have had more life experience, is there anything about this film that you couldn’t have written 20 years ago?
I don’t think I could have written as complex a lead character. She has a lot of different colors to her, and I probably wouldn’t have brought my own life into it as much. I have a daughter, so I’m sure I wouldn’t have written the same character 10 years ago.
Was there a scene that was particularly challenging?
The biggest challenge of the whole thing was that intervening 16 years. You are really stuck with that. In the best of storytelling, you don’t sit around where not much happens in 16 years. It was this big thing stuck in the middle of the story that we had to contend with.
What was your solution for that?
There’s not a lot of action happening. We did have Stefon building his castle of iron, but what’s going on in the heart of the story is her relationship with Aurora. But we couldn’t stay with it together. You have to cut away to other things. It was a balancing act.
Screenwriter Graham Yost, now the showrunner of FX’s Justified, admits that the plot of Speed sounds ridiculous: A bomb on a bus will detonate if the bus travels below 50 mph. But when the movie was released June 10, 1994, a funny thing happened: It became a hit with moviegoers and critics alike. To quote EW’s grade-A review: “The film takes off from formula elements – it’s yet another variation on Die Hard – but it manipulates those elements so skillfully, with such a canny mixture of delirium and restraint, that I walked out of the picture with the rare sensation that every gaudy thrill had been earned.”
Here, on the 20th anniversary of the film’s release, Yost looks back on early script changes (Jack’s partner, Harry, was supposed to be the bad guy), casting picks (Ellen DeGeneres?), the twist he’s most proud of (it was just cans!), classic lines (thank you, Joss Whedon), and the dark night when he thought the movie had been ruined.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: I listened to the highly entertaining commentary track you and producer Mark Gordon did for the Five Star Collection 2002 DVD release. You said the idea for the film came when your father [Saturday Night at the Movies host Elwy Yost] told you about Akira Kurosawa’s brakeless Runaway Train script, and you thought, “Wouldn’t it be cool if it was a bomb on a bus?” You were a TV writer at the time. GRAHAM YOST: It was after Hey Dude. So Hey Dude wrapped up in the fall of ’90, and darn those Nickelodeon people, they didn’t offer me any sweet development deal, so I was on my own. I quickly wrote two half-hour specs of Murphy Brown and Roseanne, and my agent at the time said, “Yeah, I think I can get you work based off these,” but no one’s staffed until May and this was February. So she said, “I got nothing for you until then,” and I was having lunch with a friend, and I said, “I want to spend this time writing something, I’ve got this idea,” and he said, “Oh yeah, do that.”
I finished up the script the first four weeks I was on Full House, and then it went out to the town. I would be sitting in that [writers'] room, just hoping and praying that an assistant would come in and say, “There’s a phone call for you,” and that it had sold, and I could quit Full House. Full House was just not the right fit for me. And occasionally, the assistant would come in and say, “There is a call,” and I’d go in, and it would always be, “Well, there’s no news,” and I’d be like, “Oh no, come on, please.” Then I quit Full House — because I was days away from being fired, so I thought, well I’ll do it first — and then [my wife] Connie and I went off to a wedding in Oregon, and while I was there, I got a call at the hotel from my agent saying that it sold.
Paramount bought it, put it in turn-around, and then 20th Century Fox made the film. Let’s start at the beginning: Was it always called Speed? I think I first called it Minimum Speed, because you can’t drop below this minimum speed, and then I was looking at it and I’m thinking, “Yeah, you don’t want the word ‘minimum’ in the title of anything.” It was a little bit like the sequel [which Yost and Gordon were not involved with], Speed 2: Cruise Control. Cruise control is when you just press a button, and you stop worrying about pressing the accelerator pedal — I don’t think that’s a good title for a movie either.
Was Keanu Reeves the first choice for hero Jack? Oh God, no. Keanu would totally know that and cop to it. We went to the Toms first — you know, you go to Tom Cruise and Tom Hanks — and I think Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson, who were going to do Money Train. We went down many different avenues. The way I recall it, someone’s kid at the studio said, “What about Keanu Reeves? He’s hot.” And we all looked at each other and said, “Well, Bill & Ted?” And then we said, “Well, wait a second, he was great in Parenthood, let’s meet him.” As I probably said in the commentary, he drove up on a motorcycle at Disney, where Mark had his deal, and he’s six foot whatever, and already had a cool haircut, and was long and lean. He’d done Point Break, so we knew he could handle a gun and be cop-like. We were looking for that ease and that sort of copishness.
The role of Annie, which ultimately went to Sandra Bullock, had some interesting incarnations. At one point, you thought of her as a funny driver’s ed teacher for people who got tickets. Is that true? There was one version where she was a driver’s ed teacher, yes. In the first version, she was African-American, and a paramedic — I wanted to explain why she could drive so well at high speeds through traffic. You come up with these rationalizations for a character, and you start peeling them back. For one thing, that’s convenient, and even the driver’s ed thing was kind of convenient as well, so she just became a person. One of the ironies was after we made it just whatever this character will be, the first person we went to was Halle Berry, and she was not interested. And I was interested in Ellen DeGeneres, next question.
You knew that was coming! You mention her on the commentary. Listen, this is 20 years ago. She’d done little bits in movies and sitcoms, and she was funny, and I wanted someone who was funny. I don’t think it’s as ludicrous as people make it out to sound now because I think she’s incredibly talented. I think that she probably could’ve been a pretty good actress…. But anyway, I’m not going to go down that long road of defending Ellen DeGeneres as the heroine in Speed.
Jan de Bont wasn’t the first director approached either. John McTiernan and Walter Hill were considered. Jan had worked for McTiernan [as cinematographer] on The Hunt for Red October and Die Hard, and we knew that this thing just needed to really look great and have an incredible sense of propulsion and reality, because it was such a crazy concept. Jan got that, and the sense of humor, and he just knew how to shoot it, and he figured it out for the money allowed. In general, Jan just really got it.
Let’s talk about some of the big changes to the script: Harry (Jeff Daniels), Jack’s partner, was originally going to be the big bad with an accomplice. Tell me about that switch. That happened fairly late in the game. The film went into production in September of ’93, and I believe it was in July or August that the decision was made to not have Harry be complicit in the whole thing. I’m never very fond of off-screen bad guys that don’t have a lot of contact with the hero, and I thought it would be interesting if there’s a lot of contact between Harry and Jack and then you find out that Harry’s involved with this whole thing. But man, it takes so much work to make that believable and to make it not feel like just a big switch for the sake of a switch. And the other thing was, I wasn’t counting on the brilliance of casting Dennis Hopper [as cop-turned-bomber Howard Payne]. He was America’s favorite psychopath on camera from Apocalypse Now and Blue Velvet — my god, Frank Booth is one of the great characters of all time. He just brought so much to it, you didn’t need back story. It’s just that’s him, and it works.
The bus was originally going to circle Dodger Stadium, not LAX, and then blow up by the Hollywood sign. There was no subway sequence originally, so the bus was going around Dodger Stadium, and then goes back into traffic, and Jack was trying to get it away from people, and he’s climbing the hills, and yeah, it was going to blow up above the Hollywood sign. And then Paramount said, “No, too much time on the bus,” and so I came up with the subway sequence. The O’Malleys, who owned the Dodgers at that time, were just not really that interested in having anything blow up in and around Dodger Stadium. [Laughs] And frankly, I only picked Dodger Stadium because I just looked at a map and went, “Where could you drive in a big circle?” And it was like, “Oh, the parking lot at Dodger Stadium, that makes sense.”
The infamous/iconic bus jump didn’t exist in early drafts. I can think of 10 shots in that movie that are just, “Oh my God, how did Jan think of that? That was just brilliant,” but the big thing was the bus jump. He said, “I want it to hit a metaphorical wall. I want there to be a point in the middle of the movie where it looks like it’s game over and there’s no way they can get out of it.” According to the laws of physics, they couldn’t get out of that, but according to the laws of moviemaking, they managed to survive. That is a big dividing point in the movie: If you throw up your hands and say, “Well, that’s just ridiculous, that wouldn’t happen,” then you might as well walk out. We’ve lost you, and we’ve blown it. But if you go, “Well, that was awesome,” then we’ve got you. You’re enjoying the ride, and it’s a movie, and away we go for the next hour.
Which twist are you most proud of? The cans in the baby carriage sequence. I’d heard that there was someone at Fox who said, “Couldn’t it almost hit, like, a baby carriage or something?” It was like, “Man, we can’t have it almost hit a baby carriage because people do that in every movie. That’s like hitting a fruit stand. The only way to do it is if it actually hits the baby carriage, and if we do that, then we will lose the audience.” And then I remembered a guy I’d seen with a shopping cart in New York, just collecting cans and bottles, and I thought, “Well, wait a second, what if someone used a baby carriage like that?” And then it was Jan’s idea to use a really classic English pram, instead of just a modern baby carriage, and then his brilliant idea was to have the woman, who was pushing it, talking to someone. So you’re not thinking “desperate homeless person collecting cans,” you’re thinking, “this is someone just walking down the street with their baby and a friend.”
That gasp in the audience was fantastic when that happened. For 1.6 seconds they hated us and could not believe we’d done it, and then the cans come out and just the relief and the laughter — that’s fun. It’s an example of the collaborative nature of making a film like this. It wasn’t just my vision. I was a big part of it, and so was Joss, so was Mark Gordon, so was Jan obviously, and the actors, and the production designer. Mark Mancina wrote the music. The editor, John Wright, cut it [and earned an Oscar nomination]. The sound people who won Oscars — everyone just came together, and got it, and made it work.
On the commentary, you mention that an academic friend gave you the idea to use a hole in the sidewalk under a garbage can for the money drop — that’s how he’d imagined stealing a rare book. He and I had written a bunch of scripts together, and then I said, “Paul, this one I want to do on my own.” He was the one who said, “Make it 50 miles an hour,” because I was stuck on this thing that 20 miles an hour was the maximum speed that a human can run, so what if the bus is just going faster than you can run? That’s cool for the first 30 seconds, but after that, it’s kind of meaningless. And he said, “Here, I’ve got an idea for the money drop for you.” So I owe Paul Budra, who’s an English professor at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver now, a great debt. I’m not going to give him any money or buy him a car or anything, but I’ll be forever grateful.
You reference Janet Maslin’s New York Times review of Speed in the commentary track, how you never thought of something she mentioned: Why didn’t Jack just shoot out the tires of the bus when he was running alongside it before it hit 50 mph and armed the bomb? It’s funny, I will continue to work on stories 20 years after the fact, so I came up with a solution this morning: It would have been okay if, let’s say, Keanu stopped and took aim at the bus tires, and then the Jaguar [he ultimately commandeers] hit him because Glenn Plummer, who drives the Jaguar, sees someone with a gun, he’s trying to be a hero, and he doesn’t know he’s a cop. We could have done that and answered it; we didn’t think of that question. Other people in the production have maintained that they thought of it, but I don’t recall being part of that conversation.
NEXT: Joss Whedon’s contribution, that one dark night, and beating City Slickers II
From the tragedy of the USCB shooter, I’m glad we’re finally having a discussion about entitlement as it relates to misogyny, and the media’s effect on our expectations. Entitlement, combined with a lack of compassion, leads to anger and violence. My hope is these conversations can remain compassionate, because if movies are making someone feel like they are deprived or missing out, those people need compassion and empowerment to become better individuals for themselves before they turn violent. Entitlement at such violent extremes, of course, is rooted in much more than just the media we consume, but this discussion led me to think about my own confusions with which I have dealt at various points in my life.
I’m lucky that I grew up with compassion, so my worst frustrations never turned into violence. I feel like I want to put some compassion out there, maybe so some people on the brink can see it’s not too late, or maybe just so we can better understand the more subtle ways in which movies, TV and visual art affect our thinking. I think we should always talk about media literacy and what it conveys to us, not just when bad things happen.
We are only just beginning to discuss how images are manipulated via Photoshop. I want to expand the analysis to understand how stories are constructed to make us feel certain things. I grew up knowing that Arnold Schwarzenegger movies weren’t real and I never wanted to imitate their violence. I know that romantic comedies are also fake, and stopping someone’s wedding won’t make them fall in love with you. However, still in my mid-‘30s I find myself suffering from some confusion, and I’m IN the media! I know how it works.
Understanding how narratives manipulate us won’t ruin our enjoyment of the fantasy. It could actually increase our appreciation for the artistry of a clever manipulation, or raise our standards for storytelling. Some new formulae and paradigms would be refreshing just for the sake of originality, but it can all be in good fun as long as we don’t define ourselves by what a fictional story tells us is important.
We’re all confused figuring things out as teenagers, but growing up and dealing with relationships as recently as after my adult divorce brought up new confusions. When I started dating again, I would approach women and have a friendly conversation. If the conversation failed to find any common interests or beliefs, I had the sense not to pursue it any further. Yet, I was still attracted to this person, both physically and of course for some of their emotional qualities despite those qualities making us incompatible. I still admired them.
That’s actually healthy, to know that a relationship is about more than just attraction, and that I need not pursue one based on attraction alone. Yet, I felt like I didn’t know what to do with those feelings of attraction I wasn’t going to pursue. The issue for me was either “Why was I still feeling attraction when I’d already decided not to pursue this person” or “If I’m attracted to this person, why aren’t I still trying to make a connection?” The former question was healthier.
I realized that I lived in a world where I was constantly bombarded with the message: “Desire this!” Desire this actor, this singer, this nameless face in an advertisement. In your average romantic movie, the screenwriter has constructed every incident around the character’s life to lead them to desiring their costar. That makes a great story, but let’s not mistake it for the complexities of real human interaction. The Notebook is a great movie, but everything Noah (Ryan Gosling) does is centered around Allie (Rachel McAdams). Even going to war is a function of letting her move on (and having him write 365 daily letters) but as it unrealistically turns out, this aesthetic conceit leads to the greatest payoff in love story history.
If our entire lives were orchestrated towards landing a significant other, that would be rather obsessive. In real life we have time to actually get to know people. Even this week’s The Fault In Our Stars is centered around Hazel (Shailene Woodley) and Gus (Ansel Elgort) falling in love. There is a nice backdrop of dealing with cancer and grief and leaving loved ones behind, but we don’t sit with Hazel for five hours of chemo a day. We never attend a high school class with her. Perhaps she was home schooled but we may take it for granted that the story is omitting very important real life concerns in order to streamline the entertainment for us.
I realized I’d been trained to desire women, and it lingered even when I was doing the work of evaluating the actual personal connection.Yes, hunky men are objectified too, but come on, it’s way more prevalent with actresses, female singers, models and advertisements. We all know that sex sells, but we don’t have to buy it. Yet even when I was looking for a real connection with another human being, I realized it created a pressure to feel something for these images, and by extension the people I saw in real life. Of course, there were other factors in my upbringing that colored the way I viewed relationships too, but the movies helped me identify the disconnect.
So I had to figure out how to deal with a desire that would not be fulfilled, by my own conscious choice. I realized it is perfectly okay to acknowledge someone’s beauty, physical and emotional, but not obsess over consuming it. It actually felt really empowering to say, “Hey, that person is wonderful and I love that she exists in the world, but she’s not going to be a part of my life.” I can appreciate beauty without having to consume it. Boy, did I feel much better when I started thinking that way.
Celebration of beauty is a wonderful thing, but it may have to be private. If we go around praising strangers for their outward appearance, that creates problems, too. It’s still viewing an individual as someone being offered up for our consumption. We get that from seeing people on display in movies, on television, in music videos, and indulging discussions about how they look. If an actor is public because they are creating movies and television shows I enjoy, even a positive compliment to her appearance is demeaning her actual purpose in working. Let alone a regular person I meet on the street who I feel is aesthetically pleasing. She’s not there as an offering to me.
We all have instincts to be attracted to others, and those would be there with or without the media. It’s a balance of how to keep those feelings positive and healthy, and not let them control you. We strive to be better than our basest desires. So if a movie can convince us in 90 minutes that one character is the most desirable person in the world, then bravo to those screenwriters and filmmakers. That’s powerful art, because normally it takes us a lot longer to warm up to someone. Anyway, the quality I’m most attracted to is kindness, and they don’t make a whole lot of movies about people so kind they are irresistible. 1994’s It Could Happen to You may be the most recent one!
We know movies tell us that if someone doesn’t love you at first, just keep trying harder until they do. More often it’s male protagonists pursuing some beauty icon, but it happens in Sandra Bullock and Katherine Heigl movies, too. Hitch has to be the worst. It tells us, “Just give someone everything they want and they’ll love you.” That’s called codependency. In an action movie or a comedy, it’s even more simplistic because the relationship is only a subplot. It has to be so intense it can happen within the main plot.
Most of us recognize that these are contrived fantasies, that the entire script orchestrates the most unlikely events to make the two stars get together. That’s the whole premise of the “meet-cute.” It’s an art form, and in the hands of Judd Apatow or Nicolas Sparks, it can be hilarious or emotional. The meet-cute usually begins with the characters hating each other, though, and in real life you should really begin your relationships with a positive connection.
When you’ve had a good relationship, you realize that an actual connection with someone is effortless. The relationship takes work, but connecting with someone is natural. You just share yourselves and if you share the same feelings and passions, you connect. It’s also rare, so don’t beat yourself up if a genuine connection only happens infrequently. Platonic connections are rare, let alone romantic ones. If you find you’re not getting along with people on a regular basis, it might be worth doing some self-reflection. The purpose of that is for growth, not to get rewarded. “You complete me” is just a clever turn of phrase, not legitimate psychiatric advice.
We are supposed to be social and keep bringing new people into our lives, but that comes with taking rejection well, too. One hopes that if someone is going to reject us, they can still do it with compassion, but dating is hard and some people are blunt. If someone isn’t connecting with you, you can still be gracious and thank them for the opportunity to meet them. I was taking another phenomenon for granted.
I would watch Friends and Seinfeld every week and see that even the loser characters, Ross (David Schwimmer) and George (Jason Alexander), would go on a date with a different beautiful woman every week. It would make me feel like I was some sort of antisocial problem if I only had a date a month, or less. I actually succumbed to this all the way through How I Met Your Motherand Entourage until I gave those shows an aesthetic analysis. The network shows needed 22 new stories a year, so they had to introduce new episodic characters for that. Even Entourage with 10-13 episode seasons was more social activity than anyone should realistically engage. It can be perfectly reasonable to have only one or two romantic prospects in a given year, or even fewer. Or none. That’s okay, too.
I am not a TV sitcom aiming for a syndication package, so I can focus on quality over quantity. I don’t need to have a funny new story to tell an audience every week. I can do what’s right for me, meet who’s right for me, and be okay with single phases. But you can still enjoy Friends and Seinfeld. Enjoy the wacky misadventures of Ross and George, and even enjoy the debaucherous fantasies of Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier) and Turtle (Jerry Ferrara). Just remember that A-list screenwriters are working overtime looking for new stories, the only purpose of which is to generate laughter. You can do much better in real life than the contrived scenarios of even the best fiction.
Think about it, if Ross or George were dating 22 women a year, that means they’d meet someone new every 2-3 weeks. That’s exhausting. Most of us want to have lives in between dating. It’s also pretty demanding, trying to find 22 different people to fill the story. Occasionally we’d see Ross teach or George work in the Yankees’ front office, but in entertainment, real life gives way to the story of the week. Even the nonstop party of Entourage, which will likely continue in the Entourage movie, sort of ignored the fact that Vincent Chase worked for a living. We never spent 12 hours a day on a movie set with him. We might have seen him shooting the one cool setup of the day, but anyone who actually works in production knows that the job is a grind.
I’m not going to let these particular shows completely off the hook. Friends in particular told us at different points how often we should be having sex. Early in the run, Ross complained it had been six months. Near the end he complained it had been four. That’s inflation! And both are poor messages. The humor of Friends was not dependent on how often Ross got laid, so they could have avoided putting a time limit out into the world. However, Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) on HIMYM was clearly a caricature, and Ted (Josh Radnor) was only forced into additional relationships by an extended season order. The characters on Seinfeld were despicable anyway, so we weren’t supposed to be finding them spongeworthy.
Some movies and shows reflect us very well, like the answering machine scene from Swingers or the tragicomedy of Hello Ladies. But even Swingers ends with Jon Favreau picking up Heather Graham at a swing dancing bar, so keep it in perspective.
I’m also told that I’m some sort of revolutionary feminist if I think Lena Dunham is pretty. Suddenly I’m a champion for “realistic standards of beauty,” which is a problematic term as well. It suggests that the best hope for a “realistic” woman is to accept that she’s not really beautiful and that’s okay, and to feel empowered by that. That’s not good enough. Women should feel like they don’t look like the Hollywood image, but know that their look is actually better and they ARE beautiful! We shouldn’t be asking people to settle for “realistic.” We should be empowering them to know they are beautiful, too.
Lena Dunham has become the poster child for discussing “realistic” images of women, and I thought Lena Dunham was lovely before it became the subject of all of her interviews. If I saw Lena Dunham in real life she’d be someone I’d want to talk to, but that makes me part of the problem, too. Because Lena Dunham doesn’t need my approval to make her feel pretty and doesn’t need me defending her to all the people who criticize her. Lena Dunham would really just like to discuss the writing and acting on her show, so maybe in that situation, celebrating her physical beauty isn’t appropriate.
Diablo Cody has also spoken about people writing nasty things about her appearance and that broke my heart because I think she’s lovely too, but again, Academy-Award winning screenwriter Diablo Cody does not need me telling her she’s pretty. She is a strong woman and her success speaks for itself. I can give her a good review, or not, and we have great interviews but I’d be overstepping my bounds as a journalist if I started telling her I thought she was pretty. We should be discussing their work first, but now I’m confused because I also don’t want to live in a world where I can NEVER appreciate beauty.
This goes back to the internal appreciation I described above. The frequency of images in the media we’re bombarded with creates a feeling that every human being placed before a camera is offered up for judgment. We’re all encouraged to evaluate people based on their looks, what they wear on the red carpet, rank them on a scale of 1 to 10. It makes people who would otherwise not think to make superficial judgements feel completely okay with criticizing someone’s weight, clothing, etc. It becomes such second nature that they don’t even realize they’re doing it, and they don’t see how much it hurts oneself to be judgmental. Judging another human being is painful, and it feels worse to judge than it does to be judged. Seriously, if you find you’re a very critical person, try changing that criticism to encouragement and see if it changes your overall outlook.
Again, this is what the media is selling us but it doesn’t mean we have to buy it. “Hey, they chose to be an actor, so they should get used to being looked at!” No, we have the power to refuse to be judgmental, refuse to take someone’s performance in a piece of entertainment as an invitation to objectify them. My problem was sort of the inverse. I already know I don’t want to judge people, but I want to celebrate everyone and not everyone wants me to celebrate them. I’m allowed to have a crush on people and still respect their work, right? I just need to handle that with respect and keep being positive so I can connect with someone else out there who is celebrating the beauty in life, too. You can see I’m still trying to balance a desire to express my feelings with a desire not to judge, either positively or negatively. I’m still working on it. This Freditorial is only step one in dealing with this.
We can and should enjoy the well-crafted manipulations that make our favorite stories run. This isn’t a manifesto about condemning the media. It’s just about understanding our own relationship to it, and we can also tell the media how we want it to reflect us. I also love that I’m talking about the media like it’s some giant monster that storms our cities and eats our children (“Look out! THE MEDIA is coming!”). The media is not some abstract monster. It’s all of us.
We live in a wonderful time for art, where comedians can get away with the most extreme situations on film, where nonlinear media has opened the doors for an unprecedented amount of content right in our homes, where anything we want is available to us with a click. We should embrace and enjoy the stories we have the privilege to enjoy, but we should still set the terms for it ourselves. If we think about our relationship to art, it can improve our relationship to it, and our own lives.
This was obviously a very personal article for me to write and I’d welcome your feedback.
A movie producer with experience in Hollywood and the booming “Hollywood South” scene in Louisiana hopes to build a $63.5 million movie production campus in Algiers near the Crescent City Connection.
Scott Niemeyer of Gold Circle Films said Deep South Studios would be located on nearly 19 acres of land and offer five sound stages, two production buildings and other space for a total 262,000-square-foot facility. It would be the largest in the region with the nearest similarly sized studios in Atlanta and Albuquerque.
Deep South Studios will be a “state of the art motion picture back lot with the specifications and engineering that would be required by major motion picture studios to produce whether it be television, feature film or other digital content here in the city of New Orleans,” Niemeyer said.
He made a preliminary presentation Tuesday to the New Orleans Industrial Development Board, signifying he intends to seek local tax incentives for the project.
Niemeyer left Algiers in the 1980s for the West Coast after school. But he recently returned home, buying a condo in the Warehouse District, after the state’s film production tax incentive program set off a boom in Louisiana-based production activity, dubbed “Hollywood South.” Among other work, he produced the campus musical “Pitch Perfect” and its in-progress sequel, both in Baton Rouge.
He is an officer in the Louisiana Film & Entertainment Association and has been a vocal supporter of state film tax incentives.
Niemeyer said he intends on raising $49.5 million in foreign investment for the project through a federal program granting visas to immigrants who invest in new commercial enterprises in the U.S., known as the “EB-5″ program.
He said he is confident about securing financing the remaining $14 million in the project budget, but he said he couldn’t disclose the funding source yet.
Industrial Development Board president Alan Phillipson said he was impressed by the presentation Tuesday. Deep South Studios will have to come back to the board with a formal presentation, including specific financial information, for the board to consider tax breaks.
Phillipson said he wants to see the movie business in New Orleans continue to grow.
“This city has become a mecca for the film industry,” Phillipson said.
Niemeyer said he has already spent money in the “seven figures” range getting the project started, including preparing the site for construction. In a master plan, he said, he envisions an eventual expansion to another 15 acres across the street from the first site.
The state’s film tax incentives for infrastructure construction — such as a studio being built — ended in 2009, although the incentives supporting production of movies and TV shows continues.
With an opening weekend take of $28 million, Tom Cruise’s new sci-fi film “Edge of Tomorrow” did even worse than his last sci-fi movie, “Oblivion.” In the last eight years, Cruise has had only one hit (2011’s “Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol”). Cruise is near the end of his run as a major movie star, though we’ll see how “Mission: Impossible 5” does when it comes out next year.
Here are the top nine movie stars whose careers are in trouble.
It’s been over for Crowe for some time; “Noah,” spun as a hit, did only okay ($100 million in the US, which may cover the movie’s marketing costs, but won’t make much of a dent in the gargantuan production cost). The last time he was the leading attraction in a movie that made a lot of money was 2001, for “A Beautiful Mind.” (2007’s “American Gangster” also did well, but Denzel Washington gets the lion’s share of the credit for that.) Audiences never really warmed to Crowe in the first place: “Gladiator” is the only other hit he’s ever had as a leading man.
Compare that to his long string of flops: “Robin Hood,” “The Next Three Days,” “Body of Lies,” “State of Play,” “Cinderella Man,” “A Good Year,” “Proof of Life,” “The Insider,” etc.
Hollywood still loves him (he’s got the lead role in next year’s sci-fi extravaganza “Tomorrowland,” directed by “Ghost Protocol’s” Brad Bird). Entertainment journalists still love him. Does the audience? If you don’t count his small role in “Gravity,” he’s never had a single big moneymaker apart from the three “Ocean’s” movies and 2000’s “The Perfect Storm,” in which he was the third banana behind Mark Wahlberg and a big-ass wave.
The spectacular failure of this year’s “Winter’s Tale” and 2012’s “Total Recall” remake have driven home the point that nobody cares about Colin Farrell. Every movie in which he was top-billed has flopped.
His success on “The Office” never really translated to mainstream appeal in the US, and audiences overseas are even less fond of him. He’ll continue to be a valuable supporting player and indie actor, and if the Cannes reviews for his upcoming drama “Foxcatcher” are accurate, he could shift into serious roles in quality art-house films. But don’t expect to see him starring in a lot more comedies after his movies “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone,” “Dinner for Schmucks” and “Dan in Real Life” lost millions.
Gross-out comedies don’t cost very much, so Sandler’s movies only need to do okay to turn a profit. The problem is, except for “Grown Ups” and its sequel, there’s a steady downward trend for the performance of his comedies, and they’re starting to lose money.
“Blended” was so bad, Sandler had to go looking for someone other than his longtime partners at Sony Pictures (Warner Brothers) to fund it.
The picture is losing millions.
He can do no wrong with the “Pirates” movies — the last one earned over a billion dollars, the vast majority of that earned overseas — but the failure of “Transcendence,” “The Lone Ranger,” “Dark Shadows,” “The Rum Diary” and “The Tourist” doesn’t bode well.
Perhaps he can bounce back with the musical “Into the Woods,” due at Christmas, or the Whitey Bulger movie “Black Mass,” due next year. His best bet for a rebound, though, is the “Alice in Wonderland” sequel “Through the Looking Glass,” due in 2016.
Generally considered the world’s biggest box-office star, Smith got taken down a peg with the failure of last year’s “After Earth,” while the paycheck job “Men in Black 3” actually did well, grossing over $600 million worldwide. Still, it’s hard to escape the idea that he’s no longer buzzworthy (turning down “Django Unchained” to do “MIB3” was a bonehead move).
Worse, unlike Depp, he doesn’t have much coming up: The only movie he’s done in the last year is what looks like a low-key rom-com called “Focus,” due in February.
He’s also expressed interest in doing a movie on football concussions. So, no “I Am Legend” there.
It turns out playing the same character every time can catch up to you. Vaughn is riding a string of four flops going back to 2009’s “Couples Retreat.” Next February, he’ll be seen in a comedy that is as yet untitled, but he’s getting too old to play the fast-talking young schemer.
“Bourne” and “Ocean’s” were great while they lasted, but Damon couldn’t sell audiences on “Hereafter,” “The Adjustment Bureau,” “We Bought a Zoo,” “Promised Land” or “Elysium.”
His plan to star as Whitey Bulger in a Ben Affleck-directed movie fell through when Johnny Depp agreed to star in a different Bulger project, and he’s currently got an empty acting schedule.
Let’s be honest: While it’s great to win an Emmy — any Emmy — almost every actor would prefer a leading role to a supporting one.
That said, some of today’s top movie stars got their start in a supporting TV role. Woody Harrelson first came to fame playing the dim but sweet Woody on “Cheers,” a role for which he was nominated for six Emmys and won once (Harrelson also was nominated in 2012 for playing Steve Schmidt in HBO’s “Game Change”). Two-time Oscar nominee Bradley Cooper was once Sydney Bristow’s (Jennifer Garner) best friend on J.J. Abrams’ “Alias.” And even Leonardo DiCaprio got his start playing foster child Luke Brower on “Growing Pains.”
So it’s not all bad playing second fiddle. After all, Lupita Nyong’o made quite a splash as the stylish newcomer and ultimately Oscar’s supporting actress.
Still, it can be hard to break out of a supporting-role perception. This season, Sean Hayes, famous for playing the flamboyant Jack on NBC’s “Will & Grace,” tried to lead a sitcom on NBC’s “Sean Saves the World” but in the end, NBC couldn’t save the show.
But that also goes to show how sometimes a supporting role can feature just the right amount of a character; Hayes and Megan Mullally won Emmys for “Will & Grace” but would anyone want to watch a show called “Jack & Karen”? Ken Jeong is used sparingly on “Community” to great effect, but that doesn’t mean you’d want to watch an entire show about Senor Chang.
“When you are casting any show, you are always looking for the best person for the job,” says Keli Lee, ABC’s executive VP of casting. “There are so many actors who play supporting characters, and when they find the right role, they really break out.”
That’s certainly been true for the previously lesser-known members of the “Modern Family” cast, including two-time Emmy winner Eric Stonestreet and one-time winner Ty Burrell. “Girls”’ Adam Driver started out playing Hannah Horvath’s (Lena Dunham) douche-bag hook-up, but went on to become one of the cast’s key members. Driver also has landed plum roles in several movies, including the villain in Abrams’ upcoming addition to the “Star Wars” saga and the baby brother in the upcoming “This Is Where I Leave You.”
The supporting actor in a comedy category has been full of “Modern Family” men since the show premiered in 2009. Last year, however, “Veep” thesp Tony Hale managed to upset, finally snatching the trophy away from the “Modern Family” monopoly.
This year, Hale is expected to be back, along with Driver and the “Modern Family” trio of Burrell, Stonestreet and Jesse Tyler Ferguson. Stonestreet and Ferguson just came off a strong season-long arc in which their two characters, Cam and Mitchell, got married.
“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” supporting player Andre Braugher could also enter the category after the show’s surprise Golden Globe win last January.
“Modern Family” also stacks the distaff deck, with both Julie Bowen and Sofia Vergara consistent nominees and Bowen taking home the trophy in 2011 and 2012. Last year, “Nurse Jackie” star Merritt Wever came in from cable for the steal. This season, all three of those women are expected to be back, along with two of last year’s other nominees, “Veep” actress Anna Chlumsky and Mayim Bialik of “The Big Bang Theory.”
Still, the category is ripe for change, and Allison Janney of “Mom” or Margo Martindale of “The Millers” — both previous Emmy winners — might just be the women to do it. Or Bialik’s co-stars Melissa Rauch and Kaley Cuoco could land their first noms for “The Big Bang Theory.”
Dramas continue to flourish across the TV landscape, and there are several supporting actor nominations that are all but guaranteed: two-time winner Aaron Paul in his final performance as Jesse Pinkman on “Breaking Bad” and Peter Dinklage, who continues to shine as Tyrion Lannister on “Game of Thrones.” The man who plays his brother, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, could also credibly argue for a nod. Also look for Jon Voight, who stole scene after scene on the Showtime drama “Ray Donovan.”
Last year’s winner, Bobby Cannavale — who was Emmy nominated in 2013 both for his performance on HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire” and Showtime’s “Nurse Jackie” — won’t be back, but another “Boardwalk Empire” cast member, Jeffrey Wright, is being eyed as a potential nominee.
Other possibilities include Mandy Patinkin of “Homeland,” Noah Emmerich on “The Americans,” Peter Sarsgaard of “The Killing” and Mads Mikkelsen of “Hannibal.” Some shows could offer more than one nominee, such as “The Good Wife” actors Josh Charles and Alan Cumming and Paul’s “Breaking Bad” co-star Dean Norris, whose tragic death in the final season was a heartbreaking moment.
For the women, Anna Gunn of “Breaking Bad” is widely expected to repeat her win in this category. Other names being mentioned include perennial “Downton Abbey” favorite Maggie Smith, as well as Christine Baranski and Archie Panjabi of “The Good Wife” and Emilia Clarke and Lena Headey of “Game of Thrones.”
Two men who won’t be found among the supporting actor nominees: “True Detective’s” Matthew McConaughey and the aforementioned Harrelson. While McConaughey is expected to give “Breaking Bad’s” three-time winner Bryan Cranston a run for his money in the lead actor category, Harrelson also is being submitted as lead actor in a drama.
Whether the two stars will split the Academy’s vote remains to be seen, but McConaughey’s was the showier role, and thus the bigger Emmy bait. The choice begs the question: would they be better off to submit McConaughey as lead and Harrelson as supporting and go for two?
Last year, Emmy and HBO saw a similar situation with two movie stars — Michael Douglas and Matt Damon — submitted as leads in a movie or mini-series for “Behind the Candelabra.” Douglas, who played Liberace, swept most of the awards while Damon graciously cheered him on.
The 2014 Tony Awards reflected plenty of glory back on the Bay Area.
“Beautiful – The Carole King Musical,” prominently and touchingly showcased on Sunday’s awards telecast, got on its feet in a pre-Broadway tryout at the Curran Theater last fall.
Two of the winners for musical performances, local natives Lena Hall and James Monroe Iglehart, got their formative starts here. A third actor with Bay Area roots, former ACT standout Anika Noni Rose, lost out to fellow “A Raisin’ in the Sun” nominee Sophie Okendeo for the featured actress in a play award.
Hall, an alumna of San Francisco Rec and Park’s Young People’s Teen Musical Theatre Company, won the featured actress in a musical Tony for “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” opposite Neil Patrick Harris, the lead actor winner.
“I don’t even think I was breathing,” said the San Francisco born and raised Hall, recalling the moment when her name was called on Sunday. Right after accepting her award, Hall had to change into her costume for the show’s excerpt from “Hedwig.”
“Neil and I were backstage doing what we always do when we’re in costume,” said Hall. “We stayed in character and insulted each other.” A longer interview with Hall is online at http://tinyurl.com/pockclx.
Iglehart took home a featured actor Tony Award for his performance as the Genie in “Aladdin.” The 39-year-old calls himself a Californian through and through.” He spoke by phone from New York, after lighting up Radio City Music Hall during the telecast with “(You Ain’t Never Had a) Friend Like Me” from the Disney Broadway musical.
Q:Where did you grow up?
A: I was born and raised in Hayward and went to Mount Eden High School. My mother was a music teacher, and my dad had been an actor.
Q:Did you always want to be in musical theater?
A: Not at all. I was a show choir kid. I thought I might be an R&B singer or rapper, something like that.
Q: So what got you started?
A: I was a music major at Cal State Hayward, doing terrible, failing my classes. I was in “A Game of Chance” for the school’s Opera Workshop, and one of the other students said I should audition for a summer theater production of “Oklahoma.” That put everything together for me. It was the one place where I could sing, act and dance and maybe make a living at it. I told my mom, “I can really do this.”
Q:How did TheatreWorks, where you were in “Ragtime,” “Bat Boy” and “Into the Woods,” change you?
A: I felt like I could be myself there. I got to do this incredible variety of roles. And then they were the first theater to do “Memphis,” which got me to Broadway.
A: Randy Adams, who had left TheatreWorks and formed a production company, invited me to do a workshop of the show in New York. The plane ticket cost more than what they were going to pay me, but my wife and I budgeted and decided to go for it. And I got the part.
Q:What else did you do before “Aladdin?”
A: I was in the Bay Area company of “25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” that later went to New York. I joined a hip-hop improv group, Freestyle Love Supreme, and still perform with them. I’m back and forth to the Bay Area. My wife is a scientist. She works for Illumina in San Mateo.
Q:Was that the whole “Friend Like Me” on the Tonys?
A: No, that was about half of it. The number is eight minutes long. It felt like I’d been shot out of a cannon. It went by so fast.
Q:And what did it feel like winning the Tony?
A: That was like the video was running in slow motion and super fast at the same time. I told my wife, “I love you,” and then I was up there with the statue in my hands.
Q:How did that praise song dance come over you?
A: There are moments when a blessing hits and there are no more words and all you can do is dance.
Q:What did you do afterward?
A: What my wife and I always do on opening nights. We went to McDonald’s. It was late, after the parties, and we had to find one that serves burgers and fries and nuggets. I hate the late-night menu. I was in my sparkling tux, and a few people recognized me. We got our food and drove home to our place across the river in New Jersey.
GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Three scholarships worth $6,000 for young actors were among the awards presented during Festival of the Arts 2014.
Winners of the Combined Theatre Scholarships for budding thespians in the Grand Rapids area are Preston Mulligan, Patrick Nowak and Meeka Postman.
One of the three awards, formerly known as the Grand Award Scholarship, was renamed the Paul Dreher Scholarship in honor of the former managing director of Grand Rapids Civic Theatre who died in June 2013.
The three are were honored on the Calder Stage at the 45th annual Festival of the Arts, held this past weekend.
The Grand Awards, recognizing outstanding achievement in Grand Rapids-area community theater, is Grand Rapids’ version of the Tony Awards. The Grand Awards gala, held each fall, also raises money for the Combined Theatre Scholarship Fund for high school and college students.
The awards are selected by a committee representing Actors’ Theatre, Grand Rapids Civic Theatre, Circle Theatre, Jewish Theatre, Heritage Theatre Group and Broadway Grand Rapids.
Patrick Mulligan, of Ada, was awarded the newly named Paul Dreher Scholarship. He has appeared in such roles as Simon the Zealot in “Jesus Christ Superstar” recently for Circle Theatre, and as Seymour Krelborn in “Little Shop of Horrors” for Cornerstone University in 2013, for which he recently was nominated for a 2014 College Grand Award for Best Lead Actor.
He also has appeared in productions for Grand Valley State University Opera Theatre and for Grand Rapids Civic Theatre.
A 2013 graduate of Forest Hills Eastern High School, Mulligan attended Grand Rapids Community College for one year and now plans to Atlantic Acting School.
Patrick Nowak, of Grand Rapids, was awarded the Norma Brink Scholarship. He has appeared as a Tribe Membor in “Hair” for Circle Theatre in 2012 and as Hickory/Tin Man in Grand Rapids Civic Theatre’s 2011 production of “The Wizard of Oz.” He has danced on over 20 productions with Creative Arts Repertoire Ensemble in ballets including “Cinderella” and “Sleeping Beauty.”
A 2014 graduate of East Grand Rapids High School, Nowak plans to attend the University of Oklahoma.
Meeka Postman, of Lake Odessa, was awarded the David and Emma Nicolette Scholarship. She has been a cast member of Grand Rapids Civic Theatre’s 2013 production of “The Sound of Music,” and as Kate in “The Yeomen of the Guard for The West Michigan Savoyards in 2011. She recently was nominated for a College Grand Award for Best Lead Actress for her performance as Amber in “The Hatpin” this past May.
Behind the scenes, Postman’s been a stage manager for productions of “The Music Man” in 2012 at the Van Singel Fine Arts Center and for “Oliver!” for Byron Center High School in 2013. She’s also designed lighting for Jewish Theatre’s production of “Driving Miss Daisy” earlier this year.
Postman was nominated for a 2013 Grand Award for Best Supporting Actress for Grand Rapids Community College’s production of “Crooked.”
Home schooled for high school, Postman is a recent graduate of Grand Rapids Community College. She plans to attend Western Michigan University.
Last year, $6,000 was awarded to three local performers.