GAEL GARCIA BERNAL TAKES OVER (BRIEFLY) FROM DUDAMEL AT THE HOLLYWOOD BOWL

gael  A group of HFPA members spent the evening at the Hollywood Bowl as guests of Amazon, producers of the TV series Mozart in the Jungle which stars Gael Garcia Bernal as flamboyant conductor Rodrigo, a character based on the L.A Philharmonic’s music director Gustavo Dudamel.
For a scene which opens the next season’s episode Bernal took over the conductor’s podium from Dudamel and led the Philharmonic in the overture to Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro. He looked every inch a real conductor and backstage he confessed: “I was so nervous but I had listened to the piece many, many times so hopefully it looked as if I knew what I was doing.”  The series, set backstage at a New York orchestra,  is a fictitious take on the popularity of  Dudamel. Its creators have acknowledged that the character is based on Dudamel, who became music director of the L.A. Phil in 2009 to great fanfare and has become an international superstar
The scene will appear in an episode about Rodrigo guest-conducting the L.A. Phil.
After Bernal took his bows, Dudamel conducted the rest of the concert, an all-Mozart evening that concluded his summer concerts at the Bowl.
Backstage he and Bernal chatted and Dudamel good-naturedly protested :”In real life I am nothing like Roderigo. I live a very quiet, simple life.”  And he added with a laugh: “Gael did a good job but I think my job is safe.”

 

GOLDEN GLOBES SHOW WINS EMMY NOMINATION

golden globe 2 For the second year running the HFPA’s Golden Globe awards show has been nominated for an Emmy.

The show, which was aired on January 11 from the Beverly Hilton Hotel, was hosted by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler and produced by the HFPA and dick clark productions.

It has been nominated in the Special Class Program category.

The Emmys will be presented on September 20 at the Microsoft Theater in downtown Los Angeles.

HFPA JOIN THE FREAKS AND GEEKS AT COMIC-CON

  star wars ccA group of HFPA members joined the 130,000 fans soaking up all the latest news and revelations at this year’s Comic-Con convention in San Diego.

They were given first glimpse at many of the upcoming science-fiction movies and telelvison shows and talked with their stars, including Halle Berry‘s Extant; The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2; Zoo; Hitman: Agent 47; Orphan Black; The Walking Dead; Deadp[ool; Supergirl and Dr. Who.

One of the highlights of the convention was the unveiling of clips and behind-the-scenes footage from Star Wars: Episode V11–The Force Awakens, and talks with director J.J. Abrams and the stars.

Comedy Central host Chris Hardwick moderated a panel that included director J.J. Abrams, Lucasfilm honcho Kathleen Kennedy and screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan.

New cast members John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, Domhnall Gleeson and Gwendoline Christie joined veterans Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill and a show-stopping Harrison Ford on stage.

Abrams showed a behind-the-scenes package that included glimpses of the original trilogy’s most beloved characters, Luke Skywalker (Hamill), Han Solo (Ford), Princess Leia (Fisher), Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) and more.

“You’ve been here before but you don’t know this story,” Hamill told the fans.

At the end fo the talks the entire room was escorted by an army of Storm Trooper-costumed guards to a nearby outdoor space for an hour-long concert by the San Diego Symphony featuring the music of “Star Wars.”

Disney will release “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” on Dec. 18.

All major cast members of next year’s X-Men: Apocalypse took the stage along with director Bryan Singer to unveil early footage while Warner Bros. brought out the big guns for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and also showed the first trailer for Suicide Squad.

Quentin Tarantino, accompanied by cast members Michael Madsen, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Walter Goggins, Tim Roth and Bruce Dern, screened seven minutes from his upcoming western The Hateful Eight. He said it will be scored by Ennio Morricone, whose spaghetti western scores are beloved by film fans and who will be scoring his first western in 40 years.

 

DOUBLE GOLDEN GLOBE WINNER OMAR SHARIF DIES

Omar_Sharif_-_Zhivago_-_1965Two-time Golden Globe winner Omar Sharif has died in a Cairo hospital aged 83. He had been suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease.

Although he was Egyptian, his ethnic good looks were used to represent different nationalities, most notably the Russian poet-doctor Yuri in Dr. Zhivago, a role which won him a best actor Golden Globe in 1966, and also some 3000 marriage proposals.

Three years earlier he had won a best supporting actor Globe for his role as Sharif Ali in David Lean‘s epic Lawrence of Arabia.

Born Michel Shalhoub in Alexandria, to Greek Lebanese parents, he worked in his family’s lumber business before making his way to London to study at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.Lean picked him for the Sharif Ali role having seen him in some of the dozen-plus Egyptian films he had appeared in.

His Funny Girl co-star Barbra Streisand said in a statement: “He was handsome, sophisticated and charming.”

In the 1970s his roles included The Tamarind Seed and The Pink Panther Strikes Again. Although he made nearly 100 movies he once said that Lawrence of Arabia, Dr. Zhivago and Funny Girl were the standouts.

“When people recognize me those three films are the ones they talk about,” he once said. “But it doesn’t bother me. It’s better than having done none they remember. I find it endearing.”

ARNOLD WOULD ONLY CHANGE ONE THING IN HIS LIFE

Arnold Schwarzenegger. Photo: Magnus Sundholm for the HFPA

Arnold Schwarzenegger. Photo: Magnus Sundholm for the HFPA

Arnold Schwarzenegger dropped by the Four Seasons hotel to chat with HFPA members about his latest film Terminator: Genysis in which he returns as the time travelling cyborg T-800.

There was only one thing he would change if he could go back in time. “I would go back in time and tell the Hollywood Foreign Press to give me a lifetime achievement award,” he laughed. “Just a joke.”

Seriously, he told members: “My life has been so blessed and has been so wonderful, I don’t know if that would change anything. I’d leave it alone, even with the mistakes I made and even with the failures that I have had and the ups and the downs and all that stuff. Overall, my life has been blessed and I am a happy person and I wouldn’t change my life with anyone else’s.

“And I always thank God for that and thank America for that, because it’s not just my doing and there’s a lot of people that have helped me, and especially coming to the right country, to the land of opportunity, was really an essential and important part of that.”

 

 

 

900 WOMEN, SIX STRIPPERS AND CHANNING TATUM

ELISABETH SEREDA goes behind the scenes of Magic  Mike XXL magic mike

Now that ‘Magic Mike XXL’ has danced into a theatre near you, let’s take a look behind the scenes. Flashback to October of last year. We are in Savannah, Georgia which doubles as Myrtle Beach, Florida in the finished film. And in case you are wondering how a landlocked town could stand in for the sandy spring break vacation spot, the only beach scene is of the boys driving down a street near the ocean and an overhead helicopter shot that could have been taken in Venice, California. The main sequence – which happens to also be the climax of the film – takes place in a huge convention center. And so we find ourselves in just such a location on the other side of the Savannah River along with 900 female extras, Channing Tatum, Kevin Nash, Joe Mangianello, Matt Bomer, Adam Rodriguez, Donald Glover, Elizabeth Banks and Jada Pinkett Smith.

While director Gregory Jacobs mans the console and monitor, cinematographer Steven Soderbergh is directing the shots. He is known to be a fast worker, especially when he is behind the camera. As soon as a scene is to his satisfaction, he is happy to move on. That’s not to say that this sequence is not a difficult one. After all, every one of the leading men has to do a solo dance scene, not to mention a few that involve all of them. That takes choreography. Add to that 900 women who are not professional actresses or even extras who answered a local casting call and whose enthusiasm for male muscle is real and so is the noise level.

„They were so loud, we can’t hear the music » laments creator, producer and leading star of the franchise Channing Tatum. „We really have to reign them in.“ That’s what the director is for who pulls out a most important tool for such crowd scenes, a megaphone. „Be enthusiastic, but in a lower decibel range, please!“ he instructs.

The scenes here are the culmination of a road trip the boys take on a kind of reunion tour in Tito’s (Adam Rodriguez) food truck, that takes them through three Southern States to this venue where they show their wares and their bodies in gyrating dance moves at the annual stripper convention.  The group performs the grand finale, introduced by Jada Pinkett Smith in a white pantsuit, heels and black bowler hat: „Are your ready to be worshipped?“ she asks and the women scream before the lights go up and all six dancers appear on stage, at first hidden under silver capes. They drop the capes and strut their stuff in jeans only, showing off their sixpacks and moves. The scene segues into a solo performance by Tarzan (Kevin Nash) on a side stage with a huge fire contraption burning behind him. Through it all the huge crowd behaves amazingly professionally, and Soderbergh and Jacobs get most of it done can within a very short time.

For Channing Tatum making a second Magic Mike film was something he had not counted on when the idea first came to him five years ago : „As we were doing press, my regret was that I didn’t spend more time with the guys – they weren’t well explored. The guys were so committed – you cannot be in this movie without being all in – if we make a second one, it needed to be about the guys. And I have never seen a sequel so different from the first one. This is more of what people were expecting in terms of dance and humor , it’s  less dark than the first.  We wanted to put the convention into the first film but didn’t have enough time.“

If there is regret over losing the Matthew McConaughey character, Tatum certainly makes the most of the opportunity that particular loss afforded them : „Not having him forced us to be more creative. Magic Mike was such a huge character and to have him in this movie would have been a lot, so this gave us the chance to make the other guys bigger.“

Director Gregory Jacobs says he is a big fan of this kind of film: „’The Last Detail’, The Blues Brothers’, ‘Priscilla’ – I love road trips movies, and there’s  never been a road trip about a group of male strippers. We bring in an interesting cast of characters along the way.“

As much as Tatum emphasises the deeper exploration of the characters, one aspect of making such a film cannot be discounted: the physical part of it all. Laughs Matt Bomer (Ken): „We all have to have a specific level of a tan and we have hair and make up specialists who help us out.  Getting ready on set before a scene only takes ten minutes, we just have to prepare for it before with diet and work out.“

It’s the diet that is hardest on all of them. Moans Kevin Nash: „Oh man, everyone’s hitting the gumbos and jambalayas and we’re sitting there with our steamed chicken breast and brown rice!”

Adds Bomer: „We found solidarity together to not hit the buffet. We are in the heart of southern cooking, the temptations are endless but we go through this fire together.“

On stage it is time for rehearsal. Channing is now in his sweatpants. A female choreographer sits in for Amber Heard. She is in a chair and Channing hoists himself up onto the arms, doing a handstand with his crotch in front of her face. For the actor who worked as a stripper in real life at the tender age of 19, this gymnastic stunt is a piece of cake, even though he modestly says that (real life stripper) Twitch is by far the best dancer of them all.

Elizabeth Banks is the woman who runs the stripper convention. She says she gets the appeal: „The first time I saw male stripping was at my sorority house and I thought it was vulgar, but I get it; up close it is a religious experience for some of these women. These are nights when they are in control and have a little power over their sexuality.“

Jada Pinkett – she plays a former mentor and the emcee for the group – agrees: „It’s true, when females strip, it’s degrading. But there is something celebratory about male stripping – women go to clubs to not buy sex. It’s about having a good time and feeling wanted and desired. These men are on stage for you – some of it is fantasy and allows a women to express her sensual ways that outside this door she is not allowed to do. Inside the club it is a safe space.  Channing danced with only 100 women – these women were going crazy, it wasn’t like on a movie set, it was primal yet safe. They could cut loose.“

No matter how much money the sequel makes (or doesn’t), one thing is obvious: there is no one involved in this movie who didn’t have a great time doing it.

 

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