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Only time could get the better of John Steed. Patrick Macnee, the prominent British actor best known for his evil-scheme-fighting role on The Avengers, died Thursday of natural causes at his home in Rancho Mirage, Calif., according to a statement posted on his website. He was 93. Macnee played the bowler-wearing and umbrella-toting Steed most famously opposite Diana Riggs' Emma Peel and Honor Blackman's Cathy Gale on the 1960s TV series. The Avengers, which originated on Britain's ITV, ran from 1961 until 1969. "Rip The Awesome Patrick Macnee," wrote Michael McKean as the tributes started pouring in on Twitter. Breaking news, more to come »
Though one’s now starring in a drama, the other in a comedy, Lizzy Caplan (“Masters of Sex”) and Allison Janney (“Mom”) have both famously spent time in the other category — and agree that the lines are now getting blurred. Their back-and-forth banter at Variety’s “Actors on Actors” studio proved the point, as the actresses chatted about the thrill of doing theater, and the emotional toll of getting into character.
Lizzy Caplan: I was wondering what your first job on television was.
Janney: I’m not kidding you!
Caplan: Did he give you any…
Janney: Nothing untoward happened! He wanted me to play a janitor and then I was a school teacher. He kept changing what my part was. I don’t remember what the show was called. And that was my first TV show! »
- Debra Birnbaum
The creative team behind “Better Call Saul” joined together Tuesday for the closing panel at Variety‘s annual TV Summit, moderated Debra Birnbaum, to talk about their stellar spinoff.
“I’m just glad it just didn’t take an enormous dump when it came out,” co-creator Vince Gilligan said, sparking laughter from the packed room. “That was very gratifying for me.”
Peter Gould agreed with his co-creator’s sentiment on the series’ freshman success. “‘Breaking Bad’ was lighting in a bottle and it would be really unrealistic to expect that again, but people seemed to really enjoy it.”
Gould was also joined by staff writer Gordon Smith, supervising producer Gennifer Hutchinson and co-exec producer Thomas Schnauz on the panel. They discussed the unusual nature of the character development process on “Saul,” given the situation that the audience knows what is coming in the future for the main character played by Bob Odenkirk. »
- Elizabeth Wagmeister
Peter Gould and Sarah Treem have more in common than you might expect. Their freshman dramas — “Better Call Saul,” AMC’s “Breaking Bad” prequel, and Showtime’s marriage drama “The Affair,” respectively — burst onto screens this season to critical acclaim. And both writer-producers assumed the role of showrunner for the first time. Gould had birthed Saul Goodman back in the “Bad” days along with his fellow “Saul” exec producer Vince Gilligan, while Treem conceived “Affair” alongside Hagai Levi (“In Treatment”). During their hourlong conversation with Variety, Gould and Treem charted lessons learned along the path from script to screen, and discovered even more shared interests: intelligent actors, clever costume designers and the captivating humor of Amy Schumer.
You were both first-time showrunners. What did you learn from the first season?
Sarah Treem: I think I learned more than anything that television really is a team sport, which I knew »
- Debra Birnbaum
Over the course of its 202 episodes, The X Files attracted many notable guest stars. Some appeared before they hit the big time (Ryan Reynolds, Jack Black, Seth Green, Felicity Huffman, Shia Labeouf, James Franco, Jane Lynch, Bradley Whitford, Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Octavia Spencer, Luke Wilson, Grant Heslov, Giovanni Ribisi and Titus Welliver), while many appearances were made by people who were already legends in their own fields, with talented performers such as Lily Tomlin, Ed Asner, Michael McKean, Peter Boyle, Gary Shandling, Lance Henriksen, Roy Thinnes, Veronica Cartwright, Floyd ‘Red Crow’ Westerman, Brad Dourif, Kathy Griffin and Ricky Jay providing some of the show’s most memorable moments. With six new episodes about to shoot for a limited series event, that prestigious list of guest stars is already expanding, with Joel McHale being the latest addition.
The plot of the brief new series remains unknown, but Deadline is reporting »
- Sarah Myles
Actress/comedy legend Anne Meara -- who was also wife of Jerry Stiller and mother of Ben Stiller -- died of undisclosed causes on Saturday, May 23. The Stiller family shared a statement with the Associated Press, calling Jerry Anne's "husband and partner in life," adding that "The two were married for 61 years and worked together almost as long. [...] Anne's memory lives on in the hearts of daughter Amy, son Ben, her grandchildren, her extended family and friends, and the millions she entertained as an actress, writer and comedienne."
Some of those millions were her Hollywood peers, and they took to Twitter to react to the news of her death:
- Samuel L. Jackson (@SamuelLJackson) May 25, 2015
Anne Meara--- no words. I had the immense honor of working with her. »
- Gina Carbone
Lawyers in motion pictures have been portrayed as one of two extremes, devils or angels, almost since celluloid was invented. The first film dealing specifically with a law firm and attorneys, 1933’s Counsellor at Law, starring John Barrymore, portrayed its J.D.s as upstanding citizens, as did the early Perry Mason films of the same period. This quickly changed, however, with many attorneys portrayed as being capable of the same brand of skullduggery as their shifty clients. With that in mind, we bring you a list of the good, the bad and the ugly of lawyers in movies. Enjoy, and please refrain from suing us if you feel otherwise...
1. Devil’s Advocate (1997)
Keanu Reeves plays Kevin Lomax, a hot-shot young Florida lawyer who is all about climbing the ladder. When he gets an offer he can’t refuse from a high-powered New York firm, led by the legendary John Milton »
- The Hollywood Interview.com
Written and directed by Preston Sturges
At the start of Sullivan’s Travels, movie director John L. Sullivan (Joel McCrea) has been screening his latest effort. The picture within the picture concludes with an intense rooftop fight aboard a train. It’s almost absurd in its inflated action and Sullivan is not at all pleased with his creation. This type of escapist entertainment may be all right for some, but it’s social commentary he now seeks. These are troubling times, he argues, with war in Europe and strikes on the home front, and the ambitious, idealistic filmmaker wants something beyond mere cinematic frivolity. Apparently, so did the director of Sullivan’s Travels, the great Preston Sturges. At least that’s what he ended up with anyway.
Sullivan’s Travels, “By” Preston Sturges, as the opening credit proclaims, lending the filmic fable something of a storybook »
- Jeremy Carr
What amazed me most about Preston Sturges' Sullivan's Travels (1941), watching it for the first time on this newly released Criterion Blu-ray, is just how utterly unpredictable it is. Sure, we know where it may end once we are introduced to John L. Sullivan (Joel McCrea), a big Hollywood director, who's decided to hit the road as a hobo to attain a greater understanding of human suffering before embarking on a serious adaptation of the fictional novel "O Brother, Where Art Thouc" (Yes, it is this fictional book Joel and Ethan Coen were name-checking with the title of their 2000 comedy.) But as much as we know what the end will offer, it's the path to that ending we don't see coming, even when it arrives. Set during the Great Depression, Sullivan, known for his comedies, isn't seeing anything funny in the world. When his producers suggest making a "nice musical »
- Brad Brevet
Hillary Clinton is much more than even a 2016 presidential candidate. She's a pop culture touchstone and the "Saturday Night Live" legacy of Hillary impersonations proves it: Clinton has been imitated by nine different performers going all the way back to Jan Hooks. To celebrate this indelible sketch character, let's rank all nine portrayals of the former New York senator and pick the ultimate "SNL" Hillary. Honorable mentions: Drew Barrymore and Rachel Dratch Both Drew Barrymore and Rachel Dratch played Clinton in very brief moments on "SNL." Barrymore played a young Clinton during a 2004 hosting stint and Dratch chimed in with a space-age Hillary in a "State of the Galaxy" sketch from 2006. While they are fun anomalous versions of the former Secretary of State, they aren't representative enough to factor in on this list. 7. Janeane Garofalo During the infamous '94-'95 season of "SNL," Michael McKean and Janeane Garofalo took turns as Bill and Hillary. »
- Louis Virtel
Breaking Bad was one of the most critically acclaimed series of the past few years, a lot of which had to do with the world the show created. Vince Gilligan and AMC’s proposal to revisit that world, this time with a focus on Saul Goodman, was met with both excitement and trepidation. After all, could the creative team capture lightning in a bottle twice and create something equally good? The first season of Better Call Saul seems to have put all those concerns to rest, as the ten episodes have exceeded expectations, delighting fans of Breaking Bad by expanding the story without taking anything away from what came before.
But how did the show play for those who haven’t seen Breaking Bad? Does the series work as effectively for someone unfamiliar with the world of Albuquerque, New Mexico as seen through the lens of Gilligan and Co.? And »
- Deepayan Sengupta
By Alex Simon
Lawyers in motion pictures have been portrayed as one of two extremes, devils or angels, almost since celluloid was invented. The first film dealing specifically with a law firm and attorneys, 1933’s Counsellor at Law, starring John Barrymore, portrayed its J.D.s as upstanding citizens, as did the early Perry Mason films of the same period. This quickly changed, however, with many attorneys portrayed as being capable of the same brand of skullduggery as their shifty clients. With that in mind, we bring you a list of the good, the bad and the ugly of lawyers in movies.
1. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
Gregory Peck’s Atticus Finch became the boilerplate for the Noble Movie Lawyer in this iconic, 1962 adaptation of Harper Lee’s award-winning novel. Atticus Finch, a small town attorney in the Depression-era South, must defend a black man (Brock Peters) falsely accused of raping a white woman, »
- The Hollywood Interview.com
AMC’s Better Call Saul Marco TV Show Review. Better Call Saul: Season 1, Episode 10: Marco, takes Jimmy (Bob Odenkirk) another step closer to falling all the way down into the rabbit’s hole. Jimmy seizes an opportunity to reconnect with his old friend Marco (Mel Rodriguez) while Chuck (Michael McKean) adjusts [...]
Continue reading: TV Review: Better Call Saul: Season 1, Episode 10: Marco [AMC] »
- Brian Fire
"...'Jimmy' (Bob Odenkirk) seizes an opportunity...
"...to reconnect with an old friend.
"'Chuck' (Michael McKean) adjusts to a new way of life..."
Click the images to enlarge and Sneak Peek "Better Call Saul: Marco"...
"Better Call Saul" Action Figure
- Michael Stevens
It’s hard to believe it but the inaugural season of Better Call Saul is almost over. As we enter the show’s penultimate episode, entitled ‘Pimento’, we find the McGill brothers side-by-side, marching into the battleground of civil law.
Warning! Spoilers Ahead – You have been warned!
Following on from the developments of Episode 8, Jimmy (Bob Odenkirk) and Chuck (Michael McKean) find themselves embarking on a legal battle with enormous potential, unearthing the nefarious dealings of a local elderly home.
However, before focusing on the trials and tribulations of the suit-wearing siblings, we are treated to yet more golden moments from the effortlessly cool Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks). This time around Mike is doing a ‘little job on the side’; which involves him acting as protection for a particularly hapless individual who is about to enter into an underground, drug transaction. »
- Jackson Ball
AMC‘s Better Call Saul Pimento TV Show Review. Better Call Saul: Season 1, Episode 9: Pimento, gives us another look at how Jimmy (Bob Odenkirk) gets dogged out and has to pick up his pieces. Chuck (Michael McKean) wants his brother Jimmy to accept a harsh truth, but is it his [...]
Continue reading: TV Review: Better Call Saul: Season 1, Episode 9: Pimento [AMC] »
- Brian Fire
Spoiler alert: Please do not read if you haven’t yet watched Monday night’s finale. James McGill went from a more-or-less good guy to a dude with bad intentions by the end of “Better Call Saul’s” first season — sound familiar, fans of Vince Gilligan‘s New Mexican AMC universe? “Without a doubt, he … broke bad,” co-creator Peter Gould told TheWrap in an interview on Monday. “Jimmy McGill … reverted to his old life as Slippin’ Jimmy.” The Bob Odenkirk character’s brother Chuck (Michael McKean) backstabbing the protagonist was the catalyst that “really changed outlook on life,” Gould explained of the switcheroo. »
- Tony Maglio
I was really pleased with the season finale of "Better Call Saul," and even more pleased with the first season as a whole. (In my review last night, I suggested it had gone a long way towards the "Frasier" end of the spin-off spectrum than the "AfterM*A*S*H" one.) But I did wonder where exactly the show goes from here, if Jimmy McGill had apparently committed to his Slippin' Jimmy persona, which seems just a hop, step and a jump away from Saul Goodman. "Saul" co-creator Peter Gould, though, suggests we shouldn't assume too much about Jimmy's decision just yet, and said that as he, Vince Gilligan and the show's other writers work on the 13-episode second season, they're wrestling with a challenge they didn't expect to face: "We like Saul Goodman, but we love Jimmy McGill." Earlier this afternoon, we spoke about how much of Slippin' Jimmy we should expect next year, »
- Alan Sepinwall
When Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk) recalls his harrowing tale of perpetrating a textbook "Chicago Sunroof", the full picture snaps into place. Who Jimmy was, who Jimmy is, and who Jimmy will be is all suddenly so, so clear. The most important thing Peter Gould's script and direction do throughout this final hour of "Better Call Saul" as the first season comes to an end, is raise the stakes. The plot of this particular episode isn't as figuratively or literally explosive as its precursor, and nothing overly outrageous happens in this hour. Yet, somehow, we are still on edge as we watch Jimmy move through his post-brother life. The cold open reminds us again of Jimmy's arrest, the one we see Chuck (Michael McKean) bail him out of earlier in the season, but importantly, it shows us the real origin of the Jimmy McGill we've seen in the past nine episodes. »
- Michael Hindle
Origin stories usually move pretty fast. A radioactive spider bite, and voila, you’re Spider-Man.
By contrast, “Better Call Saul” – which capped off its first season on Monday night – took the slow boat in establishing this “Breaking Bad” prequel/spinoff, gradually charting the descent of Jimmy McGill, played by Bob Odenkirk, to the money-grubbing drug lawyer he played for comic relief, Saul Goodman, on that earlier series.
The goodwill invested in “Breaking Bad” fostered patience, which was largely required to reach Monday’s finale (and Spoiler Alert if you haven’t watched), which pointedly marked the moment when Jimmy shed any higher aspirations and decided to embrace an anything-for-a-buck mentality presumably leading into the grimy world he will eventually occupy.
That decision followed two vital events: The betrayal by his brother Chuck (Michael McKean), who was exposed as having no respect for Jimmy as a lawyer; and his return to his con-man ways, »
- Brian Lowry
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