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In honor of the publication of “The Untold Stories of Broadway, Volume 2,” we asked theater historian (and one of Backstage’s future power players of Broadway) Jennifer Ashley Tepper to share some of the stories she learned from her extensive interviews. Here are six facts about the famed, 101-year-old Shubert Theatre on West 44th Street, currently home to “Matilda.” Time CapsulesHeather Tepe played Baby June in “Gypsy” at the Shubert in 2003. She and the other young kids from “Gypsy” made a time capsule and buried it under the carpeting in one of the Shubert’s rooms. Now in her 20s, Heather is a swing in “Matilda,” and dug up the time capsule on the first day of tech in 2013. Stars Are BornIn the 1970s, John Travolta owned the Shubert stage in “Over Here!,” right before he was whisked off to Hollywood. Mae West played her largest role on Broadway at »
HBO, no stranger to courting controversy with its ever-broadening documentary slate, commissioned Gibney's adaptation of Lawrence Wright's "Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief" just after the nonfiction book was published in January 2013. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Gibney is now "putting the finishing touches on a film that tackles the Church of Scientology and its Tinseltown tentacles." The book analyzes the history of L. Ron Hubbard, and of Tom Cruise and John Travolta's various, and wildly public, relationships, among others. Wright gained notoriety in 2011 when he profiled screenwriter/director Paul Haggis—who broke from the Church in 2009 in the wake of its startling pronouncements about Prop 8—in The New Yorker. In anticipation of the Church's legal retaliation, HBO Documentary Films president Sheila Nevins told THR that roughly 160 lawyers are looking at the film, which could land at the Sundance Film Festival in »
- Ryan Lattanzio
Two years ago, on the eve of his eagerly awaited Broadway revival of Death of a Salesman, I sat down with Mike Nichols to look back on his remarkable career. During those two-plus hours together at the Mark Hotel in Manhattan, the legendary director, then 80, reminisced about a life of highs and lows that began as a bright-eyed young boy who fled Nazi Germany for America. "I remember everything about getting on the boat in Germany in 1939," Nichols said. "I was 7, my brother was 3, and my father was already in New York setting up his practice as a doctor. German Jews couldn't leave the country, »
- Chris Nashawaty
In one of his final interviews, Mike Nichols said he considered “Angels in America”–the sprawling 2003 HBO mini-series adapted from the Tony Kushner play about the AIDs crisis—-as the crowning achievement of his career.
Nichols, the director of classic films “The Graduate,” “Working Girl” and “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?,” died at 83. He spoke to me in November 2013 by phone for a profile I was working on Emma Thompson, who appeared in three of his films.
Remembrances of Nichols pored in from across the entertainment industry on Thursday, with many hailing him as a beloved visionary. But Nichols admitted that he did manage to make an enemy out of Bill Clinton after 1998’s “Primary Colors,” a political comedy starring »
- Ramin Setoodeh
Few directors can be said to have changed the way films are made, but Mike Nichols, who died Wednesday at 83, was one of them. His first film, "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" (1966), ended decades of Hollywood censorship of adult content and freed the movies for mature language and subject matter ever after. His second film, "The Graduate," was the first serious mainstream movie to feature a rock soundtrack (spawning Simon and Garfunkel's hit "Mrs. Robinson") and, through its casting of Dustin Hoffman, expanded Hollywood's notion of what a leading man ought to look and sound like.
Nichols wasn't born in America (he and his family escaped from Nazi Germany when he was a child), but he was one of the best chroniclers of contemporary America -- its politics, its aspirations, its dreams, its aristocracy, and its successes and failures -- in movies. His youth in Manhattan as the son »
- Gary Susman
Legendary film and theater director, writer and producer Mike Nichols has passed away. An Oscar winner for 1967′s seminal The Graduate, he also was nominated for such films as Working Girl, Silkwood and Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? For his stage work, he amassed 10 Tony Awards including as director for such plays as Barefoot In The Park, The Odd Couple, The Prisoner Of Second Avenue and Death Of A Salesman; and as producer of Annie and The Real Thing.
“William Goldman said there were two great American film directors—Elia Kazan and Mike Nichols,” said Broadway producer Emanuel Azenberg, who co-produced Tom Stoppard’s The Real Thing with Nichols, who also staged ythe play’s Tony-winning Broadway edition with Glenn Close and Jeremy Irons. “I think that’s true. He was a giant who could convince people to be better than they were.”
Nichols died suddenly late Wednesday night »
- The Deadline Team
According to the press notes, “Reach Me” director John Herzfeld first wrote the script for this ensemble dramedy circa 2001, which makes sense given that the film bears more than a faint aroma of Herzfeld’s “2 Days in the Valley” (1997), one of the least offensive of the era’s many “Pulp Fiction” also-rans. Here again Herzfeld gives us a dozen or so SoCal dreamers and schemers — soulless gangsters, aspiring starlets, undercover cops, muckraking bloggers — whose wayward lives crisscross and collide whenever they aren’t being miraculously transformed by the words of a mysterious self-help guru. A misbegotten venture that constantly ups its own ante on histrionic overacting, ludicrous plot twists and insipid empowerment mantras, Herzfeld’s puzzling concoction is likely to make most viewers reach for the remote control when it opens in limited theatrical and VOD release Friday.
Herzfeld, whose career somehow lived to fight another day after his 1983 debut feature, »
- Scott Foundas
The British Academy of Film and Television Arts will fete Ethan Hawke with a career retrospective on Dec. 18.
The event is part of “BAFTA: A Life in Pictures,” a series of onstage interviews in which “some of the film world’s leading talent share insights into the experiences that helped them hone and develop their craft,” BAFTA said.
The series has previously hosted Tom Hanks, Dustin Hoffman, Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, Meryl Streep, David Fincher and Cate Blanchett, among others. Recordings of previous events in the series are available at http://guru.bafta.org/features/a-life-in-pictures.
Hawke first came to prominence in 1989 in “Dead Poets Society,” since when he has starred in more than 40 films, including “Reality Bites,” “Gattaca,” “Great Expectations,” “Assault on Precinct 13,” “The Purge” and “Woman in the Fifth.” In 2002, his role in “Training Day,” opposite Denzel Washington, earned him an Oscar nomination for supporting actor.
- Leo Barraclough
To say Brooke Shields' relationship with her late mother was complicated would be an understatement.
Inside the pages of the actress' new book, There Was a Little Girl: The Real Story of My Mother and Me, Brooke tells all about her mother Teri who was her manager, constant companion and an alcoholic.
According to Brooke, her mother would take her into bars when she was a baby and later in life would be drunk by the time Brooke got home from school. Brooke also claims that she staged an intervention for her mother when she was just 13.
"You know, it's like a puppy that wants to protect their food source you know. I had to keep my mom alive," Brooke tells Et. "I just learned at a very early age to be the adult."
Part of being an adult may have included covering for her »
Gavin Logan with five reasons why Quentin Tarantino shouldn’t retire…
Quentin Tarantino has recently hinted that he is thinking about retiring from making movies once he hits movie number ten. While I don’t truly believe a word of it, the thought of not having another Tarantino movie every couple of years make me want to cut off my own ear and repeatedly scream scripture into it. If it is indeed true (I applaud his noble reasons behind the retirement talk) then nobody has the right to tell him otherwise. However at the risk of sounding extremely selfish and because I thoroughly enjoy every one of his movies, the industry needs Quentin Tarantino and here’s 5 reasons why.
Whether you like or dislike the man or his movies, the one thing you can’t argue with is the respect he has garnered from actors, writers, directors and everybody »
- Gavin Logan
The cast thrilled millions of viewers last Friday (November 14) as they performed a medley of hits from the much-loved film, live from Albert Square.
The footage follows some of the BBC One soap's stars as they recorded vocals and learned choreography, all completed between a busy filming schedule.
The cast also poked fun at Danny Dyer as he took on the role of Danny Zuko, originally portrayed by John Travolta in the 1978 film. Dyer and Kellie Bright are shown rehearsing with choreographer Richard Marcel, »
Whether you are a filmmaker, or one of the Sundance programmers whose task it is to identify the films that make up a line-up, it is indeed the most wonderful, panic-filled and nerve racking time of the year. The 31st edition of the Sundance Film Festival kicks off on January 22nd with Park City and Salt Lake City playing host to some of the more innovative, thought-provoking narrative and non-fiction films of 2015. Last year, a Jenga tall order of 4,057 features and 8,161 shorts were submitted. Now let’s think about those numbers for a second.
Twenty years ago, Terry Zwigoff’s Crumb claimed the Grand Jury Prize Documentary award, Living in Oblivion‘s Tom Dicillo was honored with the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award, and Edward Burns’ micro-budgeted The Brothers McMullen (there is a read-worthy, lively, eleventh hour account on how it was submitted to the fest in Ted Hope’s “Hope »
- Eric Lavallee
Arnold Schwarzenegger treated fans to a very special Q&A session in London last night (November 15).
The true Hollywood heavyweight answered questions from Jonathan Ross at the Lancaster London Hotel for 'An Evening With...', in which he discussed his careers in bodybuilding, movies and politics.
Arnie was on top form as he spoke passionately about Terminator, his unsupportive father, crashing tanks and Nicolas Cage nicking his roles. Digital Spy presents just eight of the evening's highlights.
1. He was quite clumsy in the military
"I was 18 years old and suddenly I was responsible for this 15-tonne tank. I was checking my gauges, and all of a sudden the tank was shaking, and I thought, 'What the hell is going on? This engine isn't running very well'. I totally forgot that the gear was in reverse and the tank was slowly going backwards, through the walls, and pipes were bursting and people were running! »
Is this the new John Travolta Adele Dazim moment?
Jennifer Lopez got the name wrong at an awards show too, only her flub was the actual move title. The latest trend taking over Twitter is "How to Drain Your Dragon."
Sure it's just one word, but it was such a funny mistake that even J. Lo cracked up over it while presenting at the 2014 Hollywood Film Awards.
Photos: Queen Latifah and more of the Best Fashions from the 2014 Hollywood Film Awards
The singer says, "Tonight's Hollywood Animation award goes to DreamWorks Animation's How to Drain – How to Drain – you don't want to drain your dragon."
News: Johnny Depp Gives a Bizarre Speech at the 2014 Hollywood Film Awards
The audience laughs along with her, and Twitter was full of reactions.
This made my life!! #HowToDrainYourDragon »
When she was a junior at Princeton, Brooke Shields fell in love with a future Superman. And though they ultimately never married, the Blue Lagoon star did eventually decide that she and Dean Cain should consummate their relationship after years of dating. In her new memoir, There Was a Little Girl: The Real Story of My Mother and Me, Shields opens up about the way in which her mom affected pretty much every area of her life, not least of them dating and romance. "She loved that I had briefly dated John Travolta, Jimmy McNichol, Leif Garrett, Scott Baio and John Kennedy," she wrote of her mother and manager Teri, who "trusted that I would keep my vow of chastity." But when she met »
Brooke Shields put Dean Cain through the ringer! The actress -- who just released her new memoir "There Was a Little Girl: The Real Story of My Mother and Me" -- reveals the awkward moment after losing her virginity to her then-boyfriend Cain in the book. Brooke's book recalls her younger years while growing up in the spotlight with her stage mother Teri Brooke and details many of her personal relationships. When the brunette beauty finally decided she was ready to lose her virginity at 22 to her Princeton classmate, the experience wasn't quite what either star expected. "Afterwards I got so overwhelmed that I jumped out of my bed. I actually kind of tumbled off it and started running," she writes. "I was buck naked streaking down a hallway and running like I had just stolen someone's wallet." Cain did try to comfort the actress, though. "Dean leapt up and »
- tooFab Staff
Earlier this week, Yahoo announced that season 6 of "Community" would get some much-needed new blood, with Paget Brewster and Keith David joining a cast that's lost Donald Glover, Chevy Chase and Yvette Nicole Brown in the last few years (not to mention prominent recurring players Jonathan Banks and John Oliver). Now, sometimes, late-in-life TV show cast changes and/or additions can be a death knell. "The X-Files" without Mulder (and then Scully) just isn't "The X-Files," and nobody much liked either Doggett or (especially) Reyes. Ditto "The Facts of Life" trying to swap in Cloris Leachman for Charlotte Rae, or "Welcome Back Kotter" thinking they could survive without John Travolta as Barbarino. Other times, though, a cast change can be just the shot in the arm a veteran show needs. "Law & Order" most famously made a science out of swapping actors in and out of its cast, but lots of »
- Alan Sepinwall
The Hollywood Film Awards today announced additional stars scheduled to appear at the inaugural broadcast of The Hollywood Film Awards live from the Hollywood Palladium, Friday, November 14, 2014 (8:00-10:00 Pm, live Et/delayed Pt) on the CBS Television Network. Host Queen Latifah will welcome Steve Carell, Johnny Depp, Laura Dern, Angelina Jolie, Jared Leto, Jennifer Lopez, Mike Myers, Robert Pattinson, Eddie Redmayne, Chris Rock and Hilary Swank. They join previously announced guests Amy Adams, Gerard Butler, Benedict Cumberbatch, Robert Downey Jr., Robert Duvall, Jonah Hill, Keira Knightley, Michael Keaton, Julianne Moore, Jack O’Connell, Chris Pratt, Kristen Stewart, Channing Tatum, Jean-Marc Vallée, Reese Witherspoon and Shailene Woodley. The Hollywood Film Awards, the official launch of the awards season™, has recognized excellence in the art of cinema and filmmaking for 17 years, honoring some of the world’s biggest stars. Historically, the Hollywood Film Awards has celebrated some of the biggest names in film. »
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Movie makeup can be an awesome thing. Remember the jaw-droppingly realistic transformation Charlize Theron went through to become oily-haired, acne-plagued serial killer Ariel Wuornos in Monster? What about Brad Pitt as Benjamin Button, or Heath Ledger‘s Joker? When done right, the combination of artful makeup and prosthetics can truly perform miracles of visual trickery. It’s movie magic at it’s finest!
But when it comes to movie transformations, there’s a fine line between genius and hilarity. And more often than not, actors end up looking goofy, with crude, doughy prosthetics or sloppy grease paint. The result? A totally distracting face that can take you out of the moment (see: Jeff Goldblum‘s pustule-infested skin in The Fly or John Travolta‘s creepily too-realistic makeup job in Hairspray).
Check out the most surreal, offensive, and downright wrong onscreen male makeup transformations of all time.
- Tia Williams
Haim Saban’s indie distribution outfit Saban Films has acquired North American rights to the Nicolas Cage-starring crime thriller The Trust. Ben Brewer and Adam Hirsch co-wrote and Ben and Alex Brewer are co-directing the pic, which is in preproduction in Las Vegas.
The Trust centers on two crooked cops who discover a hidden safe, the contents of which will lead them down a deadly road of corruption with no one left to trust — not even themselves. Molly Hassell and Braxton Pope are producing the Hassell Free Production in association with Electric Shadow Fund which is providing finance. Mike Nilon and Hfg’s Arianne Fraser and Delphine Perrier are exec producing. Highland Film Group is handling worldwide sales as it has since the project first surfaced this spring in Cannes.
- Patrick Hipes
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