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Generally, screenwriting is reserved for a thankless group of nerds who spend most of their waking hours making "Star Wars" references and lamenting their low position on the Hollywood totem pole.
But once in a while, the ladies and gentlemen behind the scripts end up becoming household name ... or move on from other successful careers to take a stab at screenwriting. And whether it's to make a buck, help out a buddy or take on a new challenge, these scribes sometimes end up scoring some pretty unexpected gigs.
So, upon the revelation that titan of twist M. Night Shyamalan was allegedly though perhaps wasn't after all involved in writing "She's All That" (1999), a movie about how beautiful women become even more beautiful when they take off their glasses and wear their hair down, we've assembled a list of some other well-known writers whose names are attached to some surprising projects. »
- Adam D'Arpino
Whenever you hear the words “last minute replacement,” your mind probably goes back to something awful that you saw once on account of the fact that whatever it was you paid to see originally couldn’t be bothered to turn up. You know, when you decided to bite the bullet and go see Les Miserables with the girlfriend, only for the good Jean Valjean to be off with malaria or something, and now you’ve got to sit and watch his understudy.
In other words, replacements are not considered to be very good, because nobody wanted them in the first place, and can’t we just have a refund or something instead? Sometimes, though, a last minute replacement can be a thing of colossal beauty, such as in the cases of the 10 movie roles I’ve assembled here.
Yes, every single one of these actors jumped into famous roles as last minute replacements. »
- T.J. Barnard
Wet Hot French Summer: Guiraudie’s Bold, Scintillating New Film
Idiosyncratic filmmaker Alain Guiraudie is set to take the art house by storm with his bold, unsettling, and provocative new film, Stranger By the Lake. Already infamous after its Cannes premiere for its graphic and blatantly nonchalant depictions of gay sex, Guiraudie may be one of the few voices to tread bravely in the footsteps of Derek Jarman with this latest film, transcending polite labels like homoeroticism for an honest, introspective, and even morbid portrait of normative tendencies in the sexual lives of gay men. Perhaps most astoundingly, he manages to create a non-judgmental, even moving portrayal of the search for acceptance, love, and creature comfort over the course of one sun baked summer on the gay side of the beach—albeit it one darkly foreboding one.
We first see a handful of cars parked lazily within a secluded wooded area, »
- Nicholas Bell
Last Sunday, Discovery’s latest seven-part series North America debuted to 3.4 million viewers, making it the night’s second-highest rated cable show behind Game of Thrones). If it’s battles you want to see, narrator Tom Selleck talks you through a few in the next hour, “Learn Young or Die” (May 26, 9 p.m. Et), including one between an Ocd woodpecker and a hungry squirrel. Watch it below.
Tom Selleck to narrate Discovery’s ‘North America’ series — Exclusive
Discovery’s ‘Africa’: An ‘Argo’-esque arrest!
Discovery’s ‘Africa’: The fun of filming chimps, elephants, and kickboxing frogs »
- Mandi Bierly
CBS' Blue Bloods is a success in viewership but the demo ratings could certainly be better. Is this the year that they improve -- or decline so that the TV show will be cancelled? Stay tuned to find out.
The third season of Blue Bloods typically airs on Friday nights at 10pm on the CBS network. The cast includes Tom Selleck, Bridget Moynahan, Donnie Wahlberg, Will Estes, Len Cariou, and Jennifer Esposito.
Below are the TV show's latest ratings for the 2012-13 season, the best way to tell if Blue Bloods is going to be cancelled or renewed for season four.
These figures will be updated as the weeks progress so be sure to bookmark and return to this page:
Final season averages: 1.4 rating in the 18-49 demographic with 10.83 million total viewers. »
Alain Guiraudie's Stranger by the Lake, which played in the Un Certain Regard section at the 66th Cannes Film Festival and which Mubi's Adam Cook has written about here, remains one of the early stand-out titles. Set in and around a southern French gay cruising spot that's situated on the banks of a lake, the film charts the romantic intrigues of a disparate group of men whose rampant lust and desire transport them to strange and dangerous places. Recalling Jarman and Fassbinder as much as more classical French dramatists such as Éric Rohmer, this is Guiraudie's sixth feature film.
David Jenkins: What were the literary and cinematic inspirations for Stranger by the Lake?
- David Jenkins
Just like last year, the last Sunday of the broadcast season saw a schedule full of specials and finales. Unlike 2012, the specials and the finales split the difference for the top spots. With wins by Taylor Swift and Madonna, boos from the audience directed at Justin Bieber and a closing performance from Prince, the 2013 Billboard Awards (3.6/10) was up big from last year. On ABC for the third year in a row, the live three-hour Tracy Morgan-hosted ceremony surged up from its 2012 broadcast. The highest-rated show of the night. The Billboard Awards was up 33% among adults 18-49 and up 28% in total viewers to 9.47 million watching. ABC aired the season finale of America’s Funniest Home Videos (1.8/6) before the Billboard Awards. The most watched show of the night with 9.84 million viewers, the original found footage show was up 29% from its May 12 show and up 20% from last year’s finale on May 20, 2012. With 8.863 million watching, »
- DOMINIC PATTEN
Every year, residents of North America shell out Canadian and U.S. dollars, Mexican pesos, Costa Rican colons and so forth to hop on planes or cruise ships to explore the wonders of South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania, in search of spectacular natural landscapes and impressive wildlife.
What many of them don't realize is that they don't have to cross an ocean - or even much more than the Panama Canal -- to get just that.
Over seven parts airing between Sunday, May 19, and Sunday, June 16, Discovery Channel aims to enlighten these folks with the natural history documentary "North America," narrated by Tom Selleck and executive produced by Keith Scholey, with Brit Huw Cordey as series producer.
The song "Army of One" by American rock group Bon Jovi is the theme of the series.
Shooting over three years, in locations ranging from the Canadian tundra to the tropical rain forests of Panama, »
On TV this weekend: Doctor Who‘s secret is revealed, Orphan Black has a civil war on its hands, a new class enters the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Ben Affleck is Mr. Saturday Night, a Family Guy moonlights on The Simpsons (and both of those shows end their seasons) and The Cleveland Show has its swan song. Here are 15 programs to keep on your radar.
Saturday, May 18
- Kimberly Roots
It’s no secret, though it’s often forgotten, that the heyday of art film — roughly speaking, the ’50s through the ’70s — depended, to a much larger degree than we may like to think, on the promise of erotic adventurousness, the kind that Hollywood couldn’t hope to match. I don’t mean to say that the European and Asian films that explored sexuality, sometimes the outer limits of sexuality, were glorified porn. It’s not just that we saw more flesh in them; it’s that we saw more of the internal experience that flesh is really about. Yet »
- Owen Gleiberman
Fast National ratings for Friday, May 3, 2013
Although rising slightly from its series low marks last week, ABC's struggling comedy "Happy Endings" finished out Season 3 with typically miserable ratings. After the 8 p.m. half hour hit 2.7 million viewers, the 8:30 p.m. installment -- which could be the show's last ever broadcast on ABC -- cratered to 2.1 million.
Only two "Happy Endings" episodes have ever drawn less viewers, both airing Friday at 8:30 this season. The season finale's 0.7 rating in the 18-49 demo barely tops last week's series low of 0.6. Looks like the producers may want to pursue that USA option as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, following "Happy Endings" pushed a new episode of ABC's solid reality staple "Shark Tank" to a season low in viewers with just 5.5 million. While that number is a little startling for a show that has only slipped below 6 million viewers in one other first-run airing this season, »
While we might never have to actually live without Tom Selleck's epic mustache in primetime (he's still rocking it on CBS' "Blue Bloods"), you can't blame us for getting nostalgic over his fantastic facial hair circa "Magnum P.I." It was, after all, the mustache that launched a thousand copycat quills on TV.
The "Magnum, P.I." series finale aired exactly 25 years ago -- May 1, 1988 -- and it remains the fifth most-watched TV series finale ever, behind "M*A*S*H," "Cheers," "Seinfeld" and "Friends," respectively. Clearly, it was a very different time in television, but after the show was resurrected from the dead and brought back for an eighth season, 48 percent of people who owned TVs were watching Selleck's Hawaiian shirt-wearing private eye (and the locks on his upper lip) say goodbye 25 years ago.
Selleck is the only man to appear twice in our gallery of TV's greatest »
- Maggie Furlong
Former major league baseball player turned Hollywood actor Brad Lesley died this weekend in Marina del Rey, Calif. He was 54. Nicknamed "The Animal," Lesley hit the big leagues in 1982 as a relief pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds. Two years later, he would move to the Milwaukee Brewers before participating in a Japanese professional league. After stepping away from the pitcher's mound, the 6-foot-6-inch athlete went on to explore Hollywood with several roles in major sports films. News: Country music legend George Jones dead at 81 His first movie role came in 1992's Mr. Baseball, where he starred alongside Tom Selleck. Lesley would later obtain roles in Space Jam with Michael Jordan »
Brad Lesley has passed away at the age of 54, his wife tells TMZ. Lesley was suffering from kidney problems and had been receiving dialysis in the care facility where he was living the past seven months.
Lesley was a Major League pitcher in the 1980s, playing for the Cincinnati Reds and Milwaukee Brewers, then continuing on for three years in Japan with the Hankyu Braves.
After retiring from baseball, Lesley appeared in several memorable sports movies like Tom Selleck's "Mr. Baseball" and "Little Big League." We remember him fondly from "Little Big League" as the crazy, mustachioed pitcher John "Blackout" Gatling.
On the Season 3 finale of "Duck Dynasty," it's "Aloha, Robertsons!" as Willie Robertson, Uncle Si, and the crew head to Hawaii as a reward for all their hard work. The trip gets off to a rocky start as the airline loses Willie's luggage, and the hotel has no room for Uncle Si, leaving him to bunk with Willie and his wife, Korie Robertson.
Phil Robertson and Miss Kay immediately ditch the group for some alone time in their hotel room. But the couple have different plans. Miss Kay is on the honeymoon she never had, while Phil just wants to feed his man crush on Matt Damon as Jason Bourne.
While Miss Kay can't get over the flowers, the ocean, and the scenic views, Phil can't put down the remote control. "He got every kind of jiu-jitsu known to man," Phil says of Bourne as he watches "The Bourne Ultimatum. »
Donnie Wahlberg's been making love.
The 43-year-old singer and actor is returning to his pop star past with New Kids On The Block's just-released record "10" and tells HuffPost Canada Music that making the album was a labor of love unlike any other in the group's three-decade span.
"When we were young we were all about dating girls and having fun," he says. "It's like we've stopped having sex and started making love. That's where we're at as a group now — this is what we do, we love what we do and we're in love with what we do… so it makes making love all the more special!
"I enjoy every aspect more now than as a kid — performing, recording, touring. I feel more at ease and confident, which is saying a lot because it's a young man's game."
While they're no longer kids, Wahlberg says the band have finally embraced their "boy-bandness, »
- HuffPost Canada Music
The singer, songwriter and BBC 6 Music DJ on her televisual habits
I've been catching up on Andrew Marr's History Of The World. I'm reading the book at the same time. It's superb. It makes you look at the world in a totally different way. But the kids have recorded Crufts on top of it, so I'm missing an episode!
Ken Burns's Jazz. It's a classic if you're a music lover. It gives you such a good in point. Some fantastic figures. Billie Holiday. Miles Davis. Art Tatum. Anything by Tony Palmer. He did All You Need Is Love about popular music. He does documentaries on just about anything.
Old films, usually. Sunset Boulevard, what a weird film! It starts with the dead man in a pool, and moves on to this silent film star who has just lost it. She lives in a gilded palace with no friends. »
- Gwilym Mumford
This makes us miss Bear Grylls… Among the new shows Discovery will announce later today at its Upfront presentation to advertisers in New York are two survival series in which clothing is not included. Each episode of Naked and Afraid will strand a new pair of strangers in one of the world’s harshest environments with no food, no water, no tools, and no clothes. “As their extreme survival skills are put to the test for 21 days, each couple must battle the elements, each other, and their own inner weakness to triumph over the terrain and their predicament,” the press release promises. »
- Mandi Bierly
Tom Hanks reportedly got a bit emotional after his Broadway debut in the new show "Lucky Guy." The actor teared up as he remembered his close friend Nora Ephron, who wrote the play but passed away before she could see it hit the Great White Way.
"That was a tough moment. We were going to do this, and Nora and [show director] George C. Wolfe were going to walk out onstage. I miss her. What more can you say?" Hanks tells The New York Post of the fact he was reduced to tears.
He adds of Ephron, "Nora was just a magnificent hang ... You could be working, and you could be talking about personal things, you could be on vacation and talking about cultural history, you could be having a very lazy breakfast and you would be talking about Saddam Hussein. Nora was ... fascinated by everything. She was always doing things that were so interesting. »
One of the great pastimes of any bored movie nerd is in speculating on how a movie might’ve turned out if somebody else had been cast in a role of a now iconic character. Would it have been better? More successful? Would it have flopped instantly? How might everything have changed with the casting of a completely different lead actor?
In some cases, as with Indiana Jones (originally the character was set to be played by Tom Selleck, who dropped out and was replaced by Harrison Ford), we’d probably all agree that the right decision was made in the end, though we can certainly understand where the producers were coming from with their first choice. Same goes for Sean Connery’s near casting as Gandalf the Grey in Lord of the Rings, or Liam Neeson as James Bond.
And yet there are some cases of near casting that we can’t take seriously. »
- T.J. Barnard
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