Inside The Eric-Jason ‘True Blood’ Sex Dream

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ericWe spoke separately with writer Kate Barnow, director Howard Deutch, and actor Ryan Kwanten for an oral history, if you will, of Jason’s much-anticipated—and so very Jason—sex dream about Eric (Alexander Skarsgard).

In episode nine last season, Eric fed Jason his blood to heal him in Vamp Camp telling him, “When you dream of me, dream of nice things.” In the season 6 finale, viewers watched Eric burst into flames while reading nude on a Swedish mountaintop when the effects of Warlow’s blood wore off following his death. Eric’s first appearance in season 7 comes as a dreaming Jason finds him in what Barnow describes as a Spanish pension (which was actually a home in California’s Simi Valley, where the crew spent one 12-hour day). And so the four-and-a-half minute sequence begins…

Ryan Kwanten: Alex and I would really only see each other in table reads once every two weeks at best [over the years], and we always would end up talking at the end of a table read about how we never work together. [Laughs] I guess finally the writers wanted to put us together, and this was the end result.

Kate Barnow: We knew we owed an Eric-Jason sex dream from last season, and it just happened to fall into episode 2. It was the luck of the draw, but I was not sad when I received it. At all. [Laughs] The real question was how we would approach it because historically with the men-with-men sex dreams, they’ve just been sort of straight sex—no subtext—and we wanted to do something a little different with this one. Ryan, Alex, Howie the director, and I sat down together and talked through the scene, probably a good month before we shot it, just to kinda get the juices flowing about it, because we knew it was gonna be epic, but we didn’t know exactly what it was gonna look like.

Howard Deutch: Bucky [showrunner Brian Buckner] and Kate asked me for my input, and I felt like the more ownership of the scene I gave Alex and Jason, the more they’d be able to channel it. So it wouldn’t be me being a puppeteer or them just acting, they could be it. This is Jason’s dream, so Alex kept saying, “Well, you tell me what to do, Ryan. It’s your dream.” And Ryan would go, “Well, I don’t know. What do you want to do?” It started like that until Alex said, “Well, you know, I could f–k him or I could kill him. I’m not sure.” And out of that came the notion that there’s violence in the eroticism. There’s a sense of, What is gonna happen here? It’s not just romantic. It’s dangerous as well.

Kwanten: We wanted a very to and fro scene—much like a seesaw, where I would take the power base, then suddenly he would, then I would slowly gain it back, and then suddenly he would. We wanted that constant elastic-band-being-pulled type of feel.

Barnow: We wanted to make it feel like, “Oh, maybe, in Jason’s subconscious, he’s had feelings for Eric in ways that we’ve never known.” I personally feel like the character Jason Stackhouse has probably always really admired Eric Northman from afar: Like if I was vampire, that’s the kind of vampire I’d be. The writers have always had—I think it was actually really Bucky who’s always had—this idea that Jason was a big fan of James Bond. So I had it in my mind that Eric would be making a martini, because Jason, of course, would fantasize about that. It was not actually discussed whether the martini glasses would be oversized—it was just our genius prop master Tom [Cahill] who came up with these glasses that, in fact, look like they’re as big as Jason’s head. [The reaction to Eric’s long pour] was all Ryan. They were having so much fun with it. We really had a hard time remembering that it was supposed to be a love scene, but they straddled the line perfectly: One minute was just pure burning desire, and the next minute we were all just dying laughing from the things they were doing.

The physicality of it was really those two actors bringing their A game. They came up with all that stuff. They really believed that there would be a sort of masculine component to it because of who they both were. In talking through it all, Eric’s not the kind of character that’s used to having his belt taken off, but Jason’s goin’ for it.

Deutch: My favorite part isn’t in the final cut. When he rips Eric’s belt off, he snapped it like a whip.

Barnow: So then Eric would have to get kinda rough with Jason. But then maybe he was getting rough with him because he was feeling turned on. They just had a real sensibility about how their characters would act in that moment, and it led to this hilarious tackle.

Deutch: Ryan came up with that. Ryan was like, “I need to tackle him. That’s gonna turn Jason on.” I was like, “Got it, okay.”

Barnow: We didn’t want to shy away from what a real love scene would look like with them. And of course, when it got hot and erotic, I was like, “Oh god, the entire crew is looking at me and thinking that this is my fantasy life.” That was the one problem with writing the scene. But it’s not like anyone instructed them on how to play the actual love scene—that was all them. And they had a great time doing it.

Deutch: All I know is after it was done and the producers and HBO all looked at it, they said they felt I oughta do more porn films. I’d love to take credit, but I can’t. It’s all those guys. They just played it for the truth of what their characters felt, and so they made love. We just had two cameras going on them, and panning and groping—they’re both gorgeous guys and they have amazing bodies, so it’s not that difficult to do that.

Barnow: I co-wrote the episode where Eric and Sookie have their first kiss that’s not a dream in season 3, so that was exciting. But there’s kinda nothing more delicious than being in a fire-burning, candlelit bedroom with Eric Northman and Jason Stackhouse and watching what unfolds. It was as fun as it could have been, and I may or may not have said to the boys, “If my career ended tonight, I’d be fine.” [Laughs] I think they looked at me like I really, really needed to just stop talking. But it was a good time.

Deutch: Did she tell you this story? I probably shouldn’t tell you this, but I don’t care. All the girls have major understandable crushes on Alex. We were doing the scene, and at a certain point, Kate came up to Alex to tell him about a line change, and as she was telling him, he started to play the part with her, and he looked in her eyes and connected with her, and she started to swoon. I had to catch her. It was hilarious. I’m not making it up. It’s true.

Bonus bits:

• Barnow encourages us all to revel in this scene because it’s the only Jason-Eric sex dream we’ll get.

• She hopes they make a gag reel of Jason’s reaction when he wakes up in the church. “The 20 or so ways that Ryan falls onto the pew are some of the best physical comedy I’ve ever seen in my life,” Barnow says.

• The first thing dream Eric says in the scene to Jason—”You found me”—is what real Eric says at the end of the episode to Pam, when she finds him, sick with Hep-V, in France’s Rhone Valley. “You will get some sense of why that is such a scandalous place for him to be holing up in episode 3,” Barnow says.

• Remember that Jason told Eric that a real island doesn’t need so much space to think. “It actually speaks to more of what Jason’s emotional journey is gonna be for the season,” Barnow says. “Potentially what he says in that dream has something to do with what he’s gonna want later.”

• Kwanten believes Jason does care about Violet. “I think there’s feelings there, fascination there, a fondness there, and also a really bizarre level of intrigue, too,” he says. “This is a woman with enormous history behind her, so he can’t help but be entertained, for lack of a better word.”

• We will get to see Jason in Rambo mode again. “Oh yeah,” Kwanten says, with a laugh. “He has a couple of bouts. You won’t be disappointed.”

• Well, unless you’re hoping to see Kwanten in that True Blood musical that’s in development, should it ever make it to the stage. “You don’t want to hear me sing,” he promises. But as for what he’d expect Jason to belt: “Something he could fist-pump to, a return to ’90s rock anthems,” he says.

• Tara’s return in Lettie Mae’s V-fueled hallucination was not for the faint of heart. Rutina Wesley spoke in tongues, perched on a cross off the ground, with a live snake. “She spent many, many hours with that snake around her,” Barnow says, “and that snake was being wrangled, but that snake also loved her and would go anywhere on her body. So she would be in the middle of a take, and it would somehow crawl up and be between her legs and she’d be like, ‘Okay, it might be time to cut.’ So she was incredible in that scene.”

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The Who Planning New Album Before Upcoming 50th Anniversary Tour

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who“This is the beginning of a long goodbye,” says Roger Daltrey

The Who have announced dates for the first leg of their 50th anniversary tour, “The Who Hits 50,” that will find the band visiting arenas across England in November and December before a planned North America tour in 2015. “This is the beginning of a long goodbye,” Roger Daltrey said in a statement.

According to a press release, “The band will play all the classic anthems as well as tackling deeper cuts from their catalogue…[They will] take their audience on an ‘Amazing Journey’ through their entire career from the days of The High Numbers to classic albums such as Who’s Next, Tommy, Quadrophenia,My Generation, Live At Leeds up to the present day.” 

The band also revealed plans to enter the studio this summer to record a new album before the tour, their first since 2006’s Endless Wire. Townshend said at a press conference that he had given Daltrey three new songs. “We might try to make the album in a more basic way than we usually do,” Townshend said, but cautioned that, in the end, the album may be “more prog rock than pub rock.”

Trying to stay young,” Pete Townshend said in a statement about the upcoming tour. “Not wearing socks. Growing a great big Woodcutter’s beard. Might even wear a check shirt on stage and get a tattoo of a Union Jack. Always a fashion victim. But under no illusions. We are what we are, and extremely good at it, but we’re lucky to be alive and still touring. If I had enough hairs to split, I would say that for 13 years since 1964 The Who didn’t really exist, so we are really only 37.”

The group’s pledge to play rarities is a slight reversal from Roger Daltrey’s comments to Rolling Stone last year about the tour’s likely setlist. “Most people that want to come to a show want to hear what they grew up with,” he said.”Let’s not kid ourselves. We will always sell more tickets if we play the hits…There might be 40,000 total people in America who want to hear ‘Slip Kid.’ That won’t be enough to put us on the road. That’s the problem.”

The tour isn’t being explicitly billed as a “farewell tour,” but the band has indicated it will likely be their final major outing. “We intend to go on doing music until we drop, but we have to be realistic about our age,” Daltrey said last year. “The touring is incredibly grinding on the body and we have to draw a line in the sand somewhere. This will be the last old-fashioned, big tour.” 

The Who Hits 50 Tour Dates

11/30 Glasgow – SSE Hyrdo
12/2 Leeds – First Direct Arena
12/5 Nottingham – Capital FM Arena
12/7 Birmingham – NIA
12/9 Newcastle – Metro
12/11 Liverpool-  Echo Arena
12/13 Manchester – Phones 4U Arena
12/15 Cardiff – Motorpoint
12/17 London – The O2

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Robert Downey Jr.’s Son Arrested

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The 20-year-old’s arrest occurred after a traffic stop and investigation near the intersection of Santa Monica Boulevard and La Cienega. The Iron Man actor’s son was a passenger in the car. 

Indio posted bail, which amounted to $10,000, and was released just after 12:30 a.m. on Monday morning.

His famous 49-year-old father has struggled with drug addiction in the past and has even ended up in prison for his substance abuse.

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‘Californication’ Finale: Duchovny Says Goodbye

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Californication-Wallpaper-_1After seven seasons of charting the booze-soaked escapades of writer-cum-lothario Hank Moody (David Duchovny in a role he was born to play), Showtime’s Emmy Award-winning series “Californication” comes to its fruitful end, awash in the sunny promises of happily-ever-after and the power of the epistolary proclamation of love.

Hank and Karen are back together. Again. At least for now.

Surrounded by passengers on a plane bound for New York, as it readies for take-off, Hank declares his undying love for the beautiful and neurotic Karen (Natascha McElhone), his heart, his soul mate, the woman with whom he’s been enmeshed in an oft-maddening dance of ‘Will they? /Won’t they?’ since episode one.

Our time in the sun has been a thing of absolute fucking beauty,” Hank reads aloud from the letter he penned. “The nightmares, the hangovers, the fucking and the punching, the gorgeous shimmering insanity of this city of ours, where, for years, I woke up, fucked up, said I was sorry, passed out and did it all over again. As a writer, I’m a sucker for happy endings. The guy gets the girls, she saves him from himself, fade to fucking black. As a guy who loves a girl I realize there’s no such thing. There’s no sunset. There’s just now, and there’s just the two of us.”

Swoon. Cue “Rocket Man” by Elton John. Credits roll.

I’m just glad they didn’t make me memorize that speech,” Duchovny quips in an interview when asked about pulling off that final scene, a culmination of everything we’ve been hoping would happen for these two star-crossed Venetians (California, that is).

But words have always been Hank’s strong suit, and Karen has served as his muse from the moment they met. “She said one thing. I said another. Next thing I knew, I wanted to spend the rest of my life in the middle of that conversation,” Hank says of Karen early on in season 2. But can Hank remain faithful (and creatively fulfilled) should they wind up spending their entire lives together?

Per Duchovny, the answer is a resounding yes.

I never saw that at all as even a question,” the actor proclaims. “I’m not sure you can find any time in the show when Hank was with Karen that he was with somebody else. If you look at the history of the show, what split them up in the beginning was (that) Karen went off with Bill. Karen had an affair and that kind of sent Hank into whatever alcoholic and discriminate hooking up that he did and (that) became the hallmark of the show. But whenever Hank and Karen were on, Hank did not fool around. Because of the name of the show and because of certain kind of focus on T & A, sometimes that kind of overloads the true nature of the character. The way I saw him was that if Karen’s not available it doesn’t matter who he’s with. Hank has been faithful in spurts, when they’ve been together, so I don’t see any reason that he wouldn’t be able to do it again.”

It’s true that no matter what the circumstance, Hank and Karen are always under each other’s skin. Even in the series’ pilot, in which Karen decides to run off and marry the boring-but-dependable Bill, she and Hank are so obviously meant-to-be. And while their complicated relationship weathers as many twists and turns as Coney Island’s rickety Cyclone roller coaster, Hank’s ardent, bone-deep affection for Karen –despite the drinking and sexual dalliances with a smorgasbord of nymphets, cougars and MILFs – has always remained steadfast and secure. He’s never not loved her.

Because that’s who Hank is. He is a romantic, a dreamer, a Don Quixote with a beat-up Porsche and a bevy of lyrical zingers, inspired by everything from Warren Zevon to Robert Frost, at his quick disposal (“That was not sex. That was naked poetry.”)

One of the things that attracted me to the role in the beginning was that this would be a hyper-articulate comedy and I thought, well, I’d like to give that a shot,” says Duchovny of his choice to tackle the project. “Sometimes it feels like a lot, but (creator) Tom Kapinos was never one for things to be word perfect. Once I had the rhythm then I could exchange words here and there; it didn’t really matter whatever came out of my mouth. Tom was really liberal and not precious with his words. (Hank) is this totally unedited person. We all just had a lot of freedom to make it as naturalistic as we could.”

Likewise, Hank is a gifted storyteller, comfortable with fantasy but not so much with real life. (“He’s a functioning alcoholic, I guess,” says Duchovny. “He went to rehab, and that didn’t go so well. He didn’t seem to buy into the whole recovery lingo.”) He has spent these past seven years angling to define his artistic voice (from Great American Novelist to reluctant TV staff writer), battling writer’s block; lusting after Karen, and engaging in ribald shenanigans with best friend/agent Charlie Runkle (Evan Handler) and on-and-off again wife Marcy (Pamela Adlon). He’s been in prison, on probation and on tour with a megalomaniac coked-up rock star with whom he’s penning a doomed-to-fail musical—all while enduring the dizzying pangs of parenthood.
It’s been a heady quest.

Throughout it all, it’s been Becca, his fiercely independent daughter—slash—precocious emotional foil (played to tonal perfection by Madeleine Martin), that has kept Hank in check.

I really thought it I was the emotional anchor of the show,” says Duchovny of their father-daughter kinship. “Not only between those two but also when you factored Mom in, when you factored Karen in, that to me that was the heart of the show. It gave balance to all the other craziness and kept it from floating away into ridiculous escapades.”

This final season, with Becca off at college on the opposite coast, Kapinos added another Moody offspring to the mix in the form of son Levon (Charlie Cooper), a slovenly 20-something misfit that Hank never knew existed until Levon’s mother, Julia, (a spot-on Heather Graham), an old flame of Hank’s, moves them back to L.A.

Oliver is a jobless, video game-playing, pot-smoking virgin, a Jonah Hill-type before Jonah Hill did “Moneyball.” He’s pushy, demanding and requires non-stop attention. He’s an overgrown baby, socially incompetent and in desperate need of a dad just like Hank.

I thought it was a good idea (to add Levon’s character) when Tom first told me about it because I really missed the dynamic of Becca and Hank,” says Duchovny, “and Oliver kind of stepped into a spot where I think we like to be on the show, where Hank is asked to be a parent of some kind or is asked to love someone in a way. I thought that was very clever. It also definitely changed the dynamic between him and Becca when she came back.”

It could be said, in fact, that it’s the collective influence of Levon and Becca that pushes Hank to surrender all trappings of youth (the Porsche, the flings) and become the person that Karen, the more practical of the two, has always wanted—and needed—for him to be. If Becca were not getting married in New York, the reason that Karen was heading there, Hank might never have gotten on that plane.

At the end of the day, it’s all about her. It’s always been about her,” Hank says of Becca in season 2. Later, it became about Oliver, too. Fatherhood is where Hank is at his most selfless, his most loving, and his most consistent.

Wherever Hank and Karen wind up, Duchovny is now moving onto other big- and small screen fare, including Anthony Fabian’s “Louder than Words,” a drama about grieving parents who build a hospital in their deceased daughter’s honor and “Aquarius,” a new NBC cop drama set in the late 1960s when The Summer of Love gave way to Altamont and the Charles Manson murders.

It’s about the dark side of flower power, about an America that’s being dragged kicking and screaming into a new age,” says Duchovny, who plays an aging homicide detective in the series.

But he will no doubt wax nostalgic for the days when he was Hank Moody.

I’ll miss so much about that show,” says Duchovny. “First of all, I’m going to miss working with the people I got to work with. I honestly looked forward to going to work every day and that’s not just the actors, that was the crew, that was everybody. And that never happens. When you’re trying to make a comedy it’s not easy— it’s probably harder than making a dram— but it is fun. Because you’re trying to make people laugh and you’re trying to find what’s funny and what’s real. And I find that that’s a fun discovery process. To try and make it real, to try and make it funny, and I love doing that.”

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Angel Haze On Relationship With Ireland Baldwin

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angelFor those still debating: No, Angel Haze and Ireland Baldwin are not “just friends.”

The rapper got candid about her romance with the 18-year-old model daughter of Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger during a recent interview with the Independent. Haze and Baldwin first met at New York Fashion Week through Baldwin’s cousin and then became romantically involved, letting the world in on it with intimate social media posts.

Still, the media has had a difficult time grasping the extent of the relationship.

I don’t know if there’s like some confirm or deny thing with the way relationships work in the media, but everyone just calls us best friends, best friends for life, like we’re just friends hanging out,” Haze told The Independent. “It’s funny. It’s rad in some ways, it sucks in others.”

With the Independent, however, she was explicit about their status.

“An interracial gay couple, I mean that’s just weird for America right now. We fuck and friends don’t fuck. I have never fucked one of my friends. Once I see you in that way, it doesn’t happen,” Haze said. “But we do f**k and it’s crazy and that’s weird to say because I think about it in terms of an audience reading it and them thinking, ‘What the hell?’ But it happens.”

Haze has defended her sexuality in the past. Last year, while speaking to The Huffington Post, she said she’s against attaching any labels to herself.

People … really identify with that because the struggle and the kind of pressure to choose has always been there. When you’re a kid, you choose pink or blue, and that identifies you,” she said. “To be able to have someone in life who comes out and says, ‘No, you’re not the only one, I like all those colors, too.’ That’s a cool thing.”

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Naked Women Surprise Jason Sudekis On Set

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jasonJason Sudeikis may have thought he’d seen it all on “Saturday Night Live,” but even he got a surprise when two naked women strolled onto the set of his movie “Sleeping With Other People” reports The New York Post.

Sudeikis was shooting with Alison Brie and a full crew outside Lower East Side bar Pianos in the early hours of Friday morning when, according to a spy, “A woman walked onto the set, whipped off her top and bared her breasts, then pulled down her pants and mooned the cast and crew.”

For good measure, the intruder returned with a nude female friend moments later.
“The women both walked back onto the set completely naked, except one of them was carrying a little red handbag. Everyone on the crew, including Jason, was dumbfounded and open-mouthed.”

Then, to the further astonishment of all, “the naked women casually strolled into the pizza place across from the set and ordered a slice.”

Cameras for the movie, which also stars Natasha Lyonne, Adam Scott and Amanda Peet, were sadly not running, but onlookers managed to get a few shots.

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‘Designing Women’ Star Taylor Passes Away

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hqdefaultHe played Anthony on the 1986-93 sitcom about Atlanta interior designers, then followed with a starring role on another CBS comedy, “Dave’s World.”

Meshach Taylor, who played the lovable assistant Anthony Bouvier, who worked at the Sugarbaker interior design firm in the CBS hit sitcom Designing Women, has died, his agent Dede Binder confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter. He was 67.

Taylor, who immediately segued to another CBS comedy, Dave’s World, when Designing Women was canceled, died Saturday night  at his family’s home in Altadena, where he was receiving hospice care.

Earlier, his family posted a note on his Facebook page, saying, “It is with love and gratitude that we sorrowfully announce that our darling, amazingly brilliant and dynamic Meshach, the incredible father, husband, son and friend, has begun his grand transition.”

Taylor also played flamboyant window dresser Hollywood Montrose in the 1987 box office hit Mannequin and its 1991 sequel. 

Designing Women, created by Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, aired on CBS for seven seasons from September 1986 until May 1993. It starred Dixie Carter, Delta Burke, Annie Potts, Jean Smart and Taylor, whose characters work at the design firm in Atlanta.

The series usually aired on Monday nights and, paired with Murphy Brown, another female-centric sitcom, gave CBS an hour of solid ratings. 

Taylor’s Anthony, before he arrived at Sugarbaker Designs, was falsely convicted of a robbery. Toward the end of the series, he became a partner in the firm and earned a law degree. Taylor received an Emmy nomination for outstanding supporting actor in a comedy in 1989.

“I miss that character,” he said in a 2001 interview. “I miss the situations he got himself into. I miss his vulnerability. That’s what’s so nice about playing that character — he really did care for these people so much he was very vulnerable because of his feelings, especially Suzanne (Burke) and the situations she would always involve him in.”

After Designing Women wrapped, Taylor quickly landed a gig on Dave’s World, a sitcom based on the life of the entertaining Miami Herald columnist Dave Barry. Taylor played plastic surgeon Sheldon Baylor, the neighbor and high school best friend of Barry (Harry Anderson), in the show that lasted four seasons.

Earlier, Taylor was a regular on the 1983-84 NBC sitcom Buffalo Bill, which starred Dabney Coleman as an egotistical daytime TV talk show host in Buffalo, N.Y. And later, he played Principal Alistar Wright on the Nickelodeon series Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide.

He most recently appeared in a pair of episodes this year of CBS’ Criminal Minds.

The genial Taylor also hosted his own series on HGTV, The Urban Gardener; co-hosted a show on Retirement Living TV with Florence Henderson; and was a regular celebrity panelist on a reboot of the game show To Tell the Truth.

Taylor’s TV resume also includes Lou Grant, M*A*S*H, Cagney & Lacey, The Golden Girls, Hill Street Blues, The Drew Carey Show and The Unit, and he reprised the role of Anthony in a 1995 episode of Bloodworth-Thomason’s Women of the House sitcom, also starring Burke.

Taylor also appeared in such other films as Damien: Omen II (1978), The Howling (1981) and Tranced (2010).

Taylor was born in Boston, raised in New Orleans and attended Florida A&M in in Tallahassee, Fla. He joined the Organic Theatre group in Chicago, where he worked with Joe Mantegna and Dennis Franz, and also became a player with Chicago’s famed Goodman Theatre.

Smart, Burke, Gerald McRaney, Mantegna, Franz, Shadoe Stevens and Ernie Hudson were among those who gathered to celebrate Taylor’s 67th birthday at a party in April.

He married actress Bianca Ferguson (General Hospital) in 1983. Other survivors include children TariqYasmine, Tamar and Esme.

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Michael Jackson Documentary Featuring ‘Private’ Footage Triggers Lawsuit

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mj2The production company behind Michael Jackson: The Last Photo Shoot has filed a lawsuit against the executors of the late singer’s estate.

At the center of this dispute is never-before-seen footage taken of Jackson in 2007, two years before he died.

Craig Williams, the film’s director, has described the footage as having been taken at the Brooklyn Museum of Art for Ebony magazine as Jackson attempted to make a comeback and gave his first magazine interview in a decade. Michael Jackson: The Last Photo Shoot features interviews with the singer’s friends, photographers and stylists as Jackson prepared. The documentary also shows, of course, images of Jackson.

But Howard Weitzman, attorney for the Michael Jackson estate, tells The Hollywood Reporter that the images are private.

“The makers of the documentary are attempting to exploit footage and photographs of Michael Jackson, which we believe are owned by his Estate,” says Weitzman. “The documentary contains footage of Michael during private moments that he never agreed could be publicly and commercially exploited without his consent and/or involvement. Michael never authorized or approved the use of this material in the film.”

Noval Williams Films asserts that it has validly obtained rights.

According to its complaint filed in New York federal court, the Jackson camp was offered the opportunity to purchase rights in 2011, but passed. In May, 2013, Williams stepped up to allegedly acquire rights. More deals were then made by Williams’ company with distributors.

But about two months ago, Weitzman wrote a letter to the production company stating that the singer had allowed the footage be taken for his own use and that the footage was done as a “work-for-hire,” meaning that Jackson should be considered the author for copyright purposes.

The production company responded that it had legally acquired rights, prompting the Jackson estate lawyer to make another demand to see the film.

Now, the documentary maker has decided to go to court seeking declaratory relief that it isn’t infringing copyrights and that the defendant doesn’t have a valid claim arising from the contracts by which the images were first created.

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‘Transformers: Age Of Extinction’

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largeMichael Bay’s noisy “Transformers” series returns to the big screen this weekend for the fourth time in seven years. Again it’ll muster the sad inevitable: Atrocious reviews will do nothing to stave off the hundreds of millions of dollars “Age of Extinction” moviegoers shower upon the blockbuster. This one exchanges Shia LaBeouf for Mark Wahlberg, but it doesn’t want for any of the bad reviews that came with the previous installments. Made for a reported $165 million, “Extinction” is the franchise’s worst-reviewed entry to date, according to Rotten Tomatoes.

There are some good things about the movie, as we point out here, but they’re few and far between. Here are some of the worst things critics have written:

1. “Deafening, deadening and about two hours too long, ‘Extinction’ would mark the weakest installment yet of the 7-year-old Hasbro franchise — if the previous three movies were discernible from one another.” — Scott Bowles, USA Today

2. “Actually, director Michael Bay’s fourth heavy-metal installment is sensory overload in every sense. Noise, action, rubble. Which wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t so punishingly long — 2 hours and 45 minutes of furious pandemonium. You leave the cineplex feeling bludgeoned.” — David Hiltbrand, The Philadelphia Inquirer

3. “Crash. Shatter. Boom. Crash. Shatter. Boom. Smattering of silly dialogue. Pretty girl screams: ‘Dad!’ Crash. Shatter. Boom. Silly dialogue. ‘DAD!!!’ Crash. Shatter. Boom.

What? Oh, sorry. We were falling into a trance there.” — Jocelyn Noveck, The Associated Press

4. “The mythology seems to have been cobbled together at corporate strategy sessions out of notions ripped off from elsewhere.” — A.O. Scott, The New York Times

5. “Just bracing myself for 165 minutes of explosions, car chases, cars turning into robots, images of cars, robots, and tiny human figures spinning in slow motion after an explosion or a car chase, ludicrous bathos, tight shots looking up Nicola Peltz’s tiny shorts, stentorian sound effects, cheap Wagnerian music, all shot and edited as if by a Cuisinart. In short, the cinematic equivalent of being tied in a bag and being beaten by pipes.” — Peter Keough, The Boston Globe

6. “With ‘Transformers: Age of Extinction,’ the start of a — everyone duck! — second trilogy in his metalhead franchise, the Bay-man has made the worst and most worthless ‘Transformers’ movie yet. I know, hard to believe, right? How could any summer blockbuster be as dull, dumb and soul-sucking as the first three ‘Transformers’ movies? Step right up. … Kill me now.” — Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

7. “All those minutes devoted to crunching metal come at the expense of not just character and plot development, but also simple transitions. The movie moves both too slowly and too quickly, as scene transitions appear to have been stripped or significantly shortened during the editing process. Even the lengthy run time isn’t sufficient to develop the many story lines.” — Stephanie Merry, The Washington Post

8. “Bay at his worst is like an attention-deficient kid banging his toy bots together in the basement rec room. You wonder what enormity he would have hatched with another Hasbro franchise: Mr. Potato Head.” — Richard Corliss, TIME

9. “The film makes some attempts at winking to the audience with what I’d have to imagine is deliberately corny dialogue, but those clumsy stabs at ironic humor actually just serve to aggravate more. Oh so you know this is terrible, and yet you’re still pummeling us with incomprehensible action sequence after incomprehensible action sequence until our eyes and ears are bleeding? Thanks a lot.” — Richard Lawson, Vanity Fair

10. “The new ‘Transformers’ is a completely unnecessary and soul-crushing 165 minutes long, bloated by exposition and plot turns that sound as if they were being made up as the movie was shot. You could cut 45 minutes out of ‘Transformers: Age of Extinction’ in completely random places; it would be a much better movie (and only slightly less coherent).” — Peter Hartlaub, San Francisco Chronicle

11. “This series was never good, but it was once fun, or at least flashy. Now that its gears have gone rusty, it’s time for an ‘Alien vs. Predator’-style rethink. It’s lucky that Hasbro owns other properties. How about ‘Transformers Vs. My Little Pony’? — Kyle Smith, New York Post

12. “Throw in the usual dollops of macho posturing (Cade and Shane fight over Tessa until they finally bond over firing big guns together), casual racism, and sexism (the women here are either slinky supermodels, overweight caricatures, or annoying senior citizens), and you have yourself yet another ‘Transformers’ money-making machine. It’s no doubt going to be good for business, but it’s yet another paper-cut on the soul of the movies.” — Alonso Duralde, The Wrap

13. “What is extinguished is the audience’s consciousness after being bombarded for nearly three hours with overwrought emotions (‘There’s a missile in the living room!’ Tessa hollers — twice), bad one-liners and battles that rarely rise above the banal. A trio of editors make a technical marvel out of the fight scenes, but can do little to link the story’s multiple threads into something coherent.” — Clarence Tsui, The Hollywood Reporter

14. “If the ‘human scenes’ all reek of adolescent dialogue and dopey snark masquerading as character development, it’s a toss-up if that’s better or worse than seeing clattering collections of caliginous junk — some voiced by John Goodman, Ken Watanabe and Robert Foxworth — sass each other before battling and flying about like so much space junk.” — Joe Neumaier, New York Daily News

15. “Hello, police? I’d like to report an assault.

Where? Down at the MegaGigaGrandePlex, and it’s still going on. Come quick! I barely escaped with my life.

The perp? Michael Bay. He gave me a full-body beatdown.

His weapon? ‘Transformers: Age of Extinction.'” — Soren Andersen, The Seattle Times

16. “It’s messy enough that, like a Rorschach blot, it yields whatever meaning you’d like if you stare at it long enough. But it’s so crazily empty headed that by the end, even the characters seem to be getting loopy, as they engage in endless dialogue over whose responsibility it is to trust and respect who — that many numbing explosions, shootouts, giant robot wars, and Dinobot riding will get anyone a little wacky.” — Alison Wilmore, BuzzFeed

17. “‘Transformers: Age of Extinction’ is basically a shambles. If you do see it, I suggest you savor each image on its own terms as a work of CGI art. Dig the bombardment. Forget trying to figure out who’s zapping whom and why. Free your mind — or risk having it transformed into porridge.” — David Edelstein, Vulture

18. “Ultimately, ‘Age of Extinction’ is an endless barrage of nonsense and noise. You almost don’t even care who wins, just that it ends. Bay has said that this film will kick off a second trilogy of ‘Transformers’ movies — and I think he’s serious. That means there will be (at least) two more of these things. God help us all.”

Presented by The Griper – E.Cowan

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Jason Bateman To Star In, Direct FBI Wedding Comedy

Categories: Uncategorized

jasonPlaywright David Bar Katz is rewriting the project, which began life at Warner Bros. as a vehicle for Steve Carell.

Universal is looking to reteam with Jason Bateman.

The studio behind Bateman’s feature helming debut Bad Words has put the actor-director on its untitled FBI wedding comedy.

Playwright David Bar Katz is writing the new take for the project, which tells of two undercover FBI agents who pretend to fall in love and use their wedding as a law enforcement trap against the mob.

Bateman’s involvement marks the latest twist in the development of the project. It began life at Warner Bros. as a vehicle for Steve Carell. It was then put into turnaround and picked up by Universal with Carell still attached as star and producer. Carell, however, is no longer involved. 

Earlier drafts for the FBI wedding project were written by David Flebotte and Phil Alden Robinson.

Bateman will also produce with James Garavente via their Aggregate Films banner and Bob Cooper for his Landscape Entertainment shingle.

The project would not mark Bateman’s follow-up to Bad Words, as he currently is in preproduction on The Family Fang, which he will star in and direct. The Family Fang begins shooting in New York on July 21 and runs until Sept. 2.

Universal also enjoyed a breakout comedy hit with Identity Thief, which Bateman produced and starred in opposite Melissa McCarthy. Bateman’s production company Aggregate has a first-look deal with Universal.

Bar Katz is best known for co-writing and directing the stage show FREAK starring John Leguizamo at San Francisco’s Theatre on the Square. He recently wrote the pilot Sobering for Showtime and Apostle Pictures, and his play Philip Roth in Khartoum is in development for West End producers the Ambassador Group.

Presented by The Griper – E.Cowan

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