Media Morsels 1.21.11


  • American Idiot
    Melissa Etheridge will play St Jimmy in February, filling in during the gap week when Billie Joe is away. My shock and perplexedness at this has little to do with Etheridge's gender and a lot to do with her status. This reeks of stunt casting - totally out of left field stunt casting - that I thought and hoped American Idiot was above. (Sure, Billie Joe is stunt casting, but it makes sense and feels natural, since he created, with Mike Dirnt and Tre Cool, the source material and was so intimately involved in this production's creation.) It also is yet another clue (in my opinion) that American Idiot will, I shudder to "say" it, close at the end of February when Billie Joe finishes his 50-show stand. Before Billie Joe rejoined the cast, the show's box office return was respectable but near the bottom of the rankings. They are seeing huge boosts for the weeks Billie Joe is scheduled to appear and dismal sales for the weeks when he's not. Clearly, the producers were looking for a way to jack up sales for this upcoming off week. I'm not sure what Etheridge's draw will be, but it will undoubtedly boost sales. The producers and creatives involved in American Idiot are all people of passion and artistic integrity so I "gotta have faith" that they know what they're doing.

  • Award Show Update
    The BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) Award nominations were announced this week. Not surprisingly, Brit-centric The King's Speech leads the pack with 14 nominations, including nods for its three stars and the top honor. Also vying for Best Picture will be Black Swan, Inception, The Social Network and True Grit. Many of the categories are filled with the same nominees we've been seeing this season, although here, unlike at the Globes, The Secret in Their Eyes (an alternatively gritty and lovely Argentinian film) was nominated for Best Film Not in the English Language. And a BAFTA-specific category, Outstanding British Film, includes critical favorites Another Year, Four Lions and Made in Dagenham, in addition to regular nominees 127 Hours and The King's Speech. (Another fun BAFTA only category: Orange Wednesdays Rising Award, for an up-and-comer; the field includes Andrew Garfield, Tom Hardy and Emma Stone.) Visit BAFTA.org for the full list of nominees. (Speaking of Garfield, check out this profile of him from The Telegraph.)

    A correction and update to something I mentioned in my Golden Globes Wrap Up: Laura Linney was absent from the Globes, unavailable to claim her award for Best Actress, TV Comedy. I suggested it was because she was here in New York, closing out Time Stands Still. It turns out that, unfortunately, Linney's father passed away and so she was with her family. Sincere condolences to Linney and her family.

    Speaking of folks leaving us, here's something I noticed about the Globes: there was no "in memoriam" segment. Do the Globes usual omit this? I don't remember... I know in years past the Oscars have tried to spice it up - though there's neither an appropriate way to do this nor the necessity - but it's never, in memory, been omitted from the Oscars. Can anyone clarify the Globes s.o.p. on such tributes?

  • New Foo for You
    Dear readers, you probably remember that over the summer and fall I talked about Foo Fighters being in the studio to record a new record. Well, this week, Dave, Taylor, Chris and Nate (and Co.) gave us a little tease of what we can expect on the almost-ready-for-public-consumption album. Here, "Famous Last Words" (or whatever the actual name is!) Check in here and on their website, foofighters.com, for the latest, including the record release date!

  • Glee Scoop
    As the Glee folks celebrated their Golden Globe wins, they also let some scoop slip: Anne Hathaway will appear on the show as a character she created (and described during an appearance on Jimmy Fallon): Kurt's lesbian aunt. And lest you think that Glee only covers current pop songs now, we heard this week that Rachel and Mercedes will duet on Rent's "Take Me or Leave Me." They're sure to tear it up!

  • Live! With Regis and Kelly
    It's the end of an era. Regis Philbin, the soon to be octogenarian and perennial morning talk show host, will retire this summer. On Tuesday, he announced that "this will be my last year on the show." According to the article on Playbill.com, ABC has announced that the morning show will continue, with Kelly Ripa, Regis's current co-host, and a new, yet to be announced, co-host. Regis will be missed. Who do you think should take over his chair? Share you suggestions in the comment box below!

  • Dancers Caught in the Act
    As I mentioned yesterday, City Ballet is back in season! The winter season plays now through the end of February and features several classic ballets, including Jerome Robbins's (and my favorite) The Four Seasons; new classics, like Christopher Wheeldon's After the Rain; and brand new pieces, like Benjamin Millepied's Plainspoken. In honor of the opening of the season, the New York Times featured a slide show highlighting some of the works that can be enjoyed this season. My favorite of the photos is this one of Robbie Fairchild and Sterling Hyltin dancing Duo Concertant. Don't they look like they're having so much fun?!?

  • Casting News: Superheroes
    Warner Brothers Pictures, the studio behind the Batman movies, announced this week that Anne Hathaway and Tom Hardy will join Christian Bale in Christopher Nolan's third Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises. (Fun side note: The Dark Knight, the second of the Nolan Batman series, was the first Batman movie that didn't not have "Batman" in the title.) Hathaway will play Selina Kyle/Catwoman while Hardy, who worked with Nolan on Inception, will play the villain Bane. (The Bane character previously appeared in Batman & Robin, the George Clooney one.) The Dark Knight Rises is set to release next summer, July 20, 2012.

  • Dig This
    • Read The Social Network! Thespis smiled on us this week: You can now download the entire screenplay for The Social Network - that's right, the entire screenplay - legally and for free, from the film's website. If you're looking for me, I'll be on cloud nine.
    • New Court in Town - Matt Taibbi is starting a Supreme Court for Assholedom. Brilliant!
    • Things to Ruin - I've obsessed mentioned this before, but it bears repeating: You must listen and get in to Things to Ruin and the music and work of Joe Iconis. (Become a fan on Facebook: facebook.com/thingstoruin.) To wit:

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