Friday, January 14, 2011

Media Morsels 1.14.11


  • American Idiot Keeps on Rockin'
    The amazing, important, incredible, thrilling experience that is American Idiot on Broadway celebrated its 300th performance this week! Lead producers Ira Pittleman and Tom Hulce and director Michael Mayer were on hand to help the cast, which now features Billie Joe Armstrong as St Jimmy, and crew celebrate this milestone. Speaking of Billie Joe's return engagement to the show (you'll remember that I saw him make his Broadway debut in September; he was equally as electric on New Year's Day (truly, no better way to start the New Year than with the Idiots)), NY Times theatre critic Charles Isherwood, who gave the show a glowing review when it opened in April, has more wonderful things to say (and a slide show to share) about the show and Billie Joe's performance. Congratulations to all the Idiots on a glorious 300 performances. Here's to 300 (+ 300 + 300 + 300...) more! (Check out photo coverage of the momentous occasion here.)

    In other American Idiot/Billie Joe news, Billie Joe recently expressed interest in writing an original musical, specifically for the stage (with a proscenium, that is, not a concert stage!) He noted that he and Mayer have mulled over various ideas, but nothing concrete. Mayer, for his part, also reports that a film adaptation of American Idiot is a highly probable possibility, though he won't divulge specifics of who is involved. (It's been rumored that Tom Hanks and his Playtone production company are interested. Maybe The Wonders will make an appearance?!?) In a full interview with the Times, Billie Joe talked about his experience in American Idiot, both last fall and now. Read on for all the details.

  • Awards Update

    • The DGA announced its nominations for Best Director. The five nominees are David Fincher (The Social Network); Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan); Christopher Nolan (Inception); Tom Hooper (The King's Speech); and David O. Russell (The Fighter). In its report, EW.com notes that Russell seemed to have nabbed the wild card slot from Joel Coen and Ethan Coen (True Grit), and that last year, the DGA's nominees were all the eventual Oscar nominees. Stay tuned to find out if these are, once again, prescient nominations. (In this category, I'm rooting for Nolan, though Aronofsky's work is nothing to sneeze at.)

    • The Social Network is shaping up to be a top contender, nearly sweeping several critics and regional awards. This week, The Wrap's Steve Pond interviewed its star, Jesse Eisenberg. The two spoke about Aaron Sorkin's brilliant writing; David Fincher's *achem* thorough directing; and critics' adulation of the film.

    • Also up for some awards are Ryan Gosling and Blue Valentine. The accomplished actor spoke with The Observer while in London promoting his film. Read on to learn about his time with JTims on the Mickey Mouse Club; his upcoming projects; and this interesting fact: over his brief, ten year feature-film career, he's been nominated for 32 different awards.

    • The New York Film Critics Awards were handed out this week. The Social Network took home the top honor, as did the film's director, David Fincher. The Kids Are All Right won for Best Screenplay (no distinction between original and adapted) and that movie's Annette Bening and Mark Ruffalo took home awards for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor, respectively. Colin Firth (The King's Speech) and Melissa Leo (The Fighter) were also honored for their work, as was Black Swan's cinematographer. View the full list of winners on nyfcc.com/awards.

    • Get ready, because this weekend brings us not one but two award shows: On Friday, the Critics Choice awards will be broadcast on VH1 - but that's just the warm up. On Sunday night, NBC will broadcast the Golden Globe awards, hosted by funnyman Ricky Gervais (whose animated HBO show is back on air). Tune in to find out who properly greased the HFPA. And check back here next week for my reactions. (To help you prepare, take a look at these: Inside Aaron Sorkin's Writing Process, from the Hollywood Reporter (love it!!!); 11 Things We Learned About Darren Aronofsky, from indiewire.com; and People's compilation of Golden Globe snubs and surprises. Finally, check out the LA Times's drink pairings to ensure you have a rousing time watching the Globes!)

  • Spider-Man's Leading Lady
    Jennifer Damiano, who made her Broadway debut in Spring Awakening, earned a Tony nod for her turn as Natalie in Next to Normal and can now be seen as M.J. in Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, was interviewed by Broadway.com this week. In the interview, the young starlet talks about what it's like to be a part of such a big production, working with Julie Taymor and growing up (mostly) sans high school.

    This just in from the Daily Bugle (actually, via the New York Times): Spider-Man will delay its opening once again. The musical, whose music is being tweaked by producer Steve Lillywhite (who's produced U2 and DMB), will now open on March 15. Word has it that Taymor and Co. are working on a brand new, as-of-yet unseen ending. Producer Michael Cohl said he set this date, halfway into March, to ensure he and his team wouldn't have to delay again. Hmm. Something about holding my breath...

  • Glee Scoop
    Glee
    is still on hiatus but will return on Super Bowl Sunday, February 6, with brand new episodes. (By the way, the playoffs last weekend: the Seahawks - who had a losing regular-season record, beat the defending champion Saints? Oh well. At least Mr. Rodgers and crew took care of the Eagles!) When they return, so will Kristen Chenoweth. She's set to appear in several episodes, reprising her role as April Rhodes. Also returning, unfortunately, is Gwenyth Paltrow. In this back batch, the gleeks will be covering (more) Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber (ugh). Watch out for jumped sharks.

    (Scroll down to "Dig This" for a Glee-tastic treat!)

  • From the Stage to the Screen
    Remember a few months ago when there was buzz about a film adaptation of Memphis? JTims and Zac Efron were both interested in starring a Huey Calhoun? Well, seems like actual Memphis star Chad Kimball is going to beat them to the punch - sort of. This week, we learned that next week, select performances, the 18-21, of Memphis will be captured on film then released to movie theaters this spring. As the Playbill.com article notes, this will mark the first time a Broadway show will be screened in multiplexes while simultaneously playing on Broadway. (Over the years, shows have been filmed and screened (recently: Passing Strange (starring American Idiot's own Rebecca Naomi Jones) and Legally Blonde: The Musical, for example) but never in a movie theatre while the show is still open.) This is a boon for musical theatre fans who can't make it to New York but still want a taste of what goes on at the Shubert Theatre.

    And how about from the screen to the stage? Rumors abounded this week that the 1999 cult classic Fight Club may be headed for the stage - in a musical adaptation. (Can you picture Tyler Durden singing an eleven-o'clock showstopper?) The film, based on Chuck Palahniuk novel, was directed by The Social Network's David Fincher and starred Edward Norton, Brad Pitt and Helena Bonham Carter. (If you haven't seen this, get thee to your Netflix queue.) It seems Fincher has expressed interest in adapting the film for the stage and has approached his The Social Network collaborator Trent Reznor about working on the project. This could either be ridiculously brilliant or absolutely horrible - I'm hoping and rooting for the former so I'll keep you posted on any updates.

  • Allison Janney Brings the Funny
    The lovely, talented and ever gracious Allison Janney will return to T.V. this winter, alongside (fellow Aaron Sorkin alum) Matthew Perry in Mr. Sunshine, a comedy set to air on ABC on Wednesdays, right after Modern Family. Movieline.com recently caught up with Janney, who talked about the new show, auditioning and classic Aaron Sorkin!

  • Wicked on the Small Screen
    While a wicked Wicked movie is still not a sure thing, ABC announced plans to adapt the Gregory Maguire novel upon which the uber-successful musical is based, Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, into an eight-part TV mini-series. (The book is a fun read; it's definitely more gothic and less fantastical than the musical, but also presents fuller characters, as most novels do.) The mini-series is being co-produced by Selma Hayek.

  • Current Events
    There has been, rightfully so, much attention paid to the tragedy that took place in Tucson over the weekend. Many people were quick to point out that Representative Gabrielle Giffords was one of the people “caught” in Sarah Palin’s crosshairs on her bulls-eye map. Others, namely Jon Stewart, had a slightly different reaction.




Arizona Shootings Reaction
www.thedailyshow.com


  • Stewart’s thoughtful and heartfelt commentary is incisive and should be heeded. (Matt Taibbi wrote a blog post this week in which he sort of rose to Stewart’s challenge, taking a look at himself and the rhetoric he uses.) Indeed, as Stewart notes, you can’t explain crazy – that part of its charm – but, Stewart’s point doesn’t, in my opinion, fully relieve the violent rhetoric of the right from culpability. Media figures, political figures – anyone with a microphone or even in personal conversations – shouldn’t add fuel to the fire.

    And just to add a little something extra to the mix, here, C.J., by way of my main man, Aaron Sorkin, speaks to the necessity of stiffer gun control laws. (Note: She is briefing the press hours after the president and his entourage were shot at by white supremacists in Roslyn.) I thought of this a few years back after the tragedy at Virginia Tech (especially when we learned that the murderer was previously deemed to posses some mental illness and yet he was able to obtain a gun), and we should keep this powerful argument in mind the next time the NRA tries to soften a ban on assault riffles.


  • Dig This
    • The Social Network is out on DVD! That means you can pore over Aaron Sorkin's beautiful melodies over and over and over... (By the way, the NY Times ran this screenplay excerpt of the opening scene. I want more!)
    • New York City Ballet's Winter season begins next week - get psyched!
    • Dr. Dre gets a Glee treatment. Have a great weekend!

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