It’s a hot and dusty summer afternoon when members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association make their way to Pico Rivera, just south-east of Los Angeles, to visit the set of the upcoming DirecTV series KINGDOM – a former juvenile correctional that’s been meticulously converted to a professional MMA gym for the show.
We’re here to talk to Nick Jonas, but looking around, the two guys sparring in the ring look more like Tom Hardy or Mark Wahlberg than a former boybander. But wait – could that buff, shirtless shaved-head fighter taking the lead be the former Jonas Brother and Disney star?
The show follows a group of mixed martial arts competitors based in Venice, California, with adult-themed plotlines – quite a definitive departure for the 21-year-old Jonas disassociating from his past teenybopper image. “I think for me it was about just trying to grow as much as I can,” he says. “I think my training comes on the acting side from theater, doing live performances on Broadway and the West End in London, but really found that in the last year and a half, doing some different guest spots, and lots of work with an acting coach, I really worked on the craft and wanted to become the best actor I can be, while also finding a way to make all the different elements of what makes me who I am as a performer available.
“For me this was the first step into that. I got to work with some amazing fighters and at the front of that, Joe Daddy Stevenson was our main fight coordinator for the show. And I love it. I am around really experienced fighters every day, so I get a real taste of what fighting means to them, so it’s not just really about the fighting and the technique, it’s about the lifestyle that you have to live which is consumes so much of your time and you have to be very committed to it.”
Without revealing any details about storylines, Jonas admits there are elements of his character that resonate with him on a personal level. “I think there are some similarities: he is reserved, he chooses his words wisely, he internalizes a lot of things, which I try not to do, but that is something that is specific to Nate and I think he’s got a lot of darkness in him at times that he has just kept in there and bottled it up. And his journey is interesting; he’s the prize fighter, he’s poised to be the next big fighter in the world, when he has a career-altering and life-altering injury. And I think after that, it’s like ripping the carpet out from someone. And once you take away the thing that they have done all their life, who are they and who are the people around them and what does it all mean— I think that’s what we see. And it’s coming-of-age, but under extreme circumstances. I think it’s something a lot of people will relate with, and I know that I have connected to this character in a lot of ways, and his need to fight and his necessity for normalcy, which he just doesn’t have.”
Does he think his devoted fan base who have loved him as part of the Jonas Brothers, will support this transition, considering the stories on the show can be quite heavy? “I think it’s just about them seeing my passion and I am making some bold moves. This is a really gritty show, that puts me in a totally new light. So I expect that there will be a big group that comes with me on the journey, but also some that won’t. And I think I have to be willing and ready to go on that and know that for me to be able to continue to grow and become the actor and performer I want to be, I have to take those big, bold steps.”Read More »
The HFPA joins Hollywood and the rest of the world in mourning the death of Robin Williams, the beloved actor-comedian who was nominated eleven times for Golden Globes and won four, plus the Cecil B. De Mille Award for his contributions to the entertainment industry.
Among all the tributes pouring in, here is one from a young fan, 12 year old Kaya Callahan, who spontaneously penned this heartfelt eulogy to Robin Williams for us – remembering him by her favorite movies:
When you hear his name, the first thing that comes to my mind is timeless’. In 25 years I could show my kids Aladdin and it would still be an amazing movie because without the genie there would be no Aladdin, it would just be this sad boy who had dreams that nobody cared about.
Mrs. Doubtfire: a movie that showed kids that family is the most important thing in life, and even if a family does break apart, love doesn’t end it just changes.
Jumanji: life is like a game, you can choose a card that will bring luck and happiness but you can also choose a card that will give you nothing but anger and sadness. It’s all about your attitude when you play the game – whether it’s in the past or future, it’s your choice to decide the present and the future of your life.
And one of my favorite movies of his was Peter Pan. It’s about how everyone wishes to stay young and to not have time pass you by or even have the future cross your mind. All the lost boys just wanting to have fun and never growing up – which is the reason we all loved Mr. Williams’ real personality.
So when I think about it, all my favorite movies of his were about time. How in life there isn’t a redo or start over button. Or how people die and how another life is given. The one thing people wish they had more of is time. Time to talk, sleep, to be with someone, to love, and to live life. And when we make mistakes we can’t go back, we have to fix them in the present so that the future will be better. So we should live everyday like it’s our last, because we don’t have time to regret, only to remember. So sad to me that he made so many people happy but couldn’t make himself happy. Robin, Mrs. Doubtfire, Genie, and Peter, we will miss you but never forget you. You will always be in our hearts and memories.
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The HFPA is to give away almost $2 million at a star-studded donations banquet on Thursday at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.Surprise guests will join the many celebrities in accepting the donations on behalf of various charities. Celebrities who will be attending include Andy Samberg, Kerry Washington, Rob Pattinson, Sofia Vergara, Morgan Freeman, Elle Fanning, Patricia Arquette, Anne Heche, Franka Potente, Chris Evans, and James Marsden.
This year’s donations bring the amount given away by the HFPA over the last 20 years to $20 million and mark the latest in ever-increasing amounts of money the organization has given to some 50 diverse entertainment-related and charitable organizations. For the first time the checks will be handed out at an evening banquet instead of at a lunch.
HFPA president Theo Kingma, said: “We try every year to give as much as we can to these highly deserving organizations. It is gratifying to know that our efforts are appreciated and we are helping to further the cause of education and film preservation.”
As well as the preservation of film, the donations are for a wide range of projects, including higher education, training and mentoring and the promotion of cultural exchange through film.
Historically the Film Foundation has received the largest single donation and this year receives $35,000. So far the HFPA has been responsible for the restoration of more than 80 films. Among its many additional charities the HFPA
provides scholarships, supports filmmaker training in Kenyan refugee camps and donates money to theater groups, musicians, storytellers’ foundations, film archives and youth projects, as well as many other worthy causes.
Founded in the 1940s during World War II, the HFPA was originally comprised of a handful of LA based overseas journalists who sought to bridge the international community with Hollywood, and to provide distraction from the hardships of war through film. Seventy years later, members of the HFPA represent 55 countries with a combined readership of 250 million in some of the world’s most respected publications. Each year, the organization holds the third most watched awards show on television, the Golden Globe Awards, which have enabled the organization to donate almost $20 million to entertainment related charities and scholarship programs.
The next Golden Globe awards will be held on January 11 2015.
Marky Ramone, the last surviving member of the seminal ’70s punk band the Ramones stopped by to talk with the HFPA about the band’s turbulent times and the deaths of his four bandmates, Joey, Johnny, Dee Dee and Tommy Ramone.
“They were basically my best friends and bandmates and you never really get over it. It’s a curse,” he said.
His visit was part of the HFPA’s rapidly expanding Round Table series of interviews.
Marky, who joined the band in 1978 as a replacement drummer for Tommy, was fired in 1983, rejoined the band in 1987 and stayed with them until they disbanded in 1996.
None of the Ramones were related and he said they chose the name because Dee Dee heard that Paul McCartney used to call himself Paul Ramone when he booked into hotel rooms because he thought it sounded exotic.
“Dee Dee found out about that and then used the name too. And that’s how the Ramones came about.”
Marky did 1700 shows with the Ramones, recorded ten studio albums and, he said, laughing, “I was on the Simpsons, which was the most important thing.” He was also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and won a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
Marky, who gave up drinking 30 years ago, still tours the world with his band doing some 90 shows a year.
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The recent settlement of the legal dispute between the HFPA and dick clark productions, which produces the Golden Globes show, was celebrated at a reception thrown by Guggenheim, the new owners of dcp, at the Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills.
Todd Boehly, president of Guggenheim Partners, which also owns the Los Angeles Dodgers, Hollywood Reporter and Billboard magazine among other assets, presented HFPA president Theo Kingma with Dodger star Yasiel Puig ‘s autographed team shirt, saying: “We are excited to be your partner.”
He described Guggenheim’s acquisition of dcp and the production of the Golden Globes as “a passion project” and told HFPA members: “What you guys have created is extremely unique. There are very few things that rise above the noise out there today and this is one of those things.”
Theo Kingma in turn presented Boehly with a commemorative plaque and looked forward to an exciting future in collaboration with Guggenheim.Read More »
Angelina Jolie gave HFPA members a sneak peek at her latest film, Unbroken, the incredible story of former Olympic track star Lou Zamperini, although she is still editing it and it is not due to be released until Christmas.
After screening an eight-minute clip at Universal Studios, the actress answered questions about directing the movie and about Zamperini, whose plane was shot down in the Pacific during World War 11. He survived without food and water for 47 days until washing up on a Japanese island where he was taken prison and tortured for two years. Zamperini died on July 2, but not before Angelina had shown him a rough cut of the film on her laptop while he was in hospital.
“He was a mentor and a friend and a father to all of us,” she said. “He was a great man. They say you should never meet your heroes but I met mine and he was extraordinary.”
A film of Zamperini’s life story has been in the works since the late 1950s when Universal bought the rights to his book. Tony Curtis was originally due to star in it and then, much later, Nicolas Cage and, later still Ashton Kutcher were mentioned.
But it was not until Angelina Jolie came across the story and wanted to direct it that the project finally got under way with the relatively unknown British actor Jack O’Connell in the starring role.
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The HFPA joined 130,000 fans, freaks and geeks at the frenzied, carnival-like atmosphere of Comic-Con in San Diego.
While the hardcore nerds and geeks were there to celebrate superheroes and science fiction, and Hollywood studios were promoting their upcoming geek-friendly fare, HFPA members mingled with the stars at interviews, press conferences and panels in the giant convention hall.
Thousands of fans got into the spirit of the event by dressing as zombies, vampires, assorted monsters and, of course, superheroes. Batmen were particularly popular this year because the Caped Crusader turns 75 and Batman fans jammed into the hall for panels full of Batman artists, writers and DC Comics executives. Adam West, who played Batman in the campy 60′s TV series was also there along with his Robin, Burt Ward and Catwoman Julie Newmar.
The Comic-Con lineup is bulging with big names—actors Benedict Cumberbatch and Daniel Radcliffe are there for the first time along with Peter Jackson and some of the cast of the last of his Hobbit trilogy, and the casts of some of the most popular series on television, including Game of Thrones, The Vampire Dioaries and The Walking Dead.
Among the other stars the HFPA interviewed were Colin Firth, there for the Woody Allen movie Magic in the Moonlight and Kingsman: The Secret Service, Wesley Snipes and Dolph Lundren, for Expendables 3 and the casts of the TV series Outlander and Under the Dome.
PICTURES: THEO KINGMARead More »