Exactly two weeks after Chuck Lorre’s now infamous “If Charlie Sheen outlives me, I’m gonna be really pissed” vanity card at the end of the final (for now) episode of Two and Half Men, which triggered Sheen’s vicious attacks against him, the Men co-creator weighed in on Sheen’s assaults (sort of) in his latest vanity card. The card, which aired tonight at the end of Lorre’s newest series, CBS comedy Mike & Molly, is in the rambling, stream-of-consciousness style of most of Sheen’s rants. It’s hard to make sense of it (if there is sense to be made). Most intriguing is the ending: The Fall from Grace is, in fact, a Sprint from Grace. Or perhaps more accurately, “Screw Grace, I am so outta here!”
Is it a reference to Lorre’s 1993 sitcom Grace Under Fire, which went through a similar ordeal dealing with the drug problem of star Brett Butler? After one unplanned hiatus while Butler was in rehab, the actress’ increasingly erratic behavior became too much for ABC to handle, and the network pulled the plug on the show despite strong ratings. Here is the text of tonight’s Lorre vanity card:
CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #334
I understand that I’m under a lot of pressure to respond to certain statements made about me recently. The following are my uncensored thoughts. I hope this will put an end to any further speculation.
I believe that consciousness creates
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ABC’s comedy comedy pilot has found the leads for its comedy pilot My Freakin’ Family: Ellen Woglom and Ravi Patel. Christopher Rich also has been cast in the project, which centers on two young parents, Anna (Woglom) and Raj (Patel), whose lives change after they have a baby and the four grandparents with very different cultural backgrounds descend upon their lives to fight for the soul of their grandchild. Rich will play Anna’s dad, an affable suburban cowboy. Harish Patel was previously cast as Raj’s dad. Ravi Patel, repped by TalentWorks and Seven Summits, played the lead in Fox’s comedy pilot Nevermind Nirvana last year.
Janet McTeer is set to co-star in the Fox drama pilot Weekends at Bellevue. Based on Dr. Julie Holland’s memoir, Bellevue centers on a psychiatrist in charge of the weekend shift of Bellevue Hospital psychiatric unit. McTeer, nominated for an Oscar in 2000 for Tumbleweeds, will play Diane, the head of psychiatry at Bellevue.
Zoe Lister-Jones has been cast in NBC’s untitled Whitney Cummings comedy pilot. The project, written by Cummings, centers on young couple Whitney (Cummings) and Alex (Chris D’Elia) who tackle the ups and downs of a committed relationship torn between their friends Lily (Lister-Jones) and Neal who think … Read More »
UK press over here are gushing that The King’s Speech quadruple Oscar major wins – Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Original Screenplay – will be a boost for the British film industry. But I would say it’s all downhill from here. Consider the evidence. Beginning next April, there will be no UK Film Council coordinating British Film plc. Tanya Seghatchian, head of the UK Film Council film fund — which invested just over £1 million in The King’s Speech — says the pic’s success is a “magnificent final chapter for the UK Film Council”. Of course, Seghatchian and her team will move across to new film body the British Film Institute, but people I’ve spoken to are afraid there will be no encouragement to invest in commercial British films such as The King’s Speech or Streetdance 3D. Instead, the impetus will be in to back arthouse movies, which is what the BFI has always done going back to the 1950s. Even speaking to reporters backstage at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles, Firth called the decision to scrap the UKFC “short-sighted”. His sentiments were echoed by his producer Iain Canning, who said “it wouldn’t have been made without the UK Film Council”. The UKFC’s equity slug meant “they occupied a place within the finance plan that nobody wanted to inhabit,” he said.
Interestingly, the UK government’s culture department has … Read More »
At the post-Oscar bash held by The Weinstein Company and at the Vanity Fair party, it became clear that Harvey Weinstein might well have opportunities to capitalize on the momentum created by The King’s Speech. I ran into Quentin Tarantino, who said that he has completed the script for his Western, and that compared to recent scripts like Inglourious Basterds and Kill Bill that took so long to crystallize, this one came together much quicker and just flowed out of him. He wasn’t more descriptive than that before I lost him in the crowd, but my understanding is he’ll deliver within two months and then TWC will begin moving toward a production start.
At the same time, Oscar-winning The King’s Speech director Tom Hooper seems to be getting serious about resuscitating the Deborah Moggach novel Tulip Fever as a possible next directing vehicle. That project had been on the verge of being put in turnaround at Paramount, but the studio could be involved as a co-financier with TWC. The film’s set in 17th Century Amsterdam, where a married woman and an artist hired to paint her portrait begin a passionate affair and gamble on the booming market for tulip bulbs as a way to raise money to run away together. The film has been a passion for such directors as John Madden and Peter Chelsom over the past decade, and once had Keira Knightley and Jude Law once planning to play the lovers. Hooper is also mulling Les Miserables among possibles. There was a real sense of company history at the Weinstein bash, as Harvey Weinstein entered to loud applause and immediately engaged in a bro hug with Tarantino, with the likes of Robert Rodriguez, Eli Roth and others standing nearby… Read More »
ABC made the announcement tonight about the 11 so-called celebrities heading to the dance floor this season via Dancing With The Stars hosts Tom Bergeron and Brooke Burke in a live press conference during The Bachelor. And it really looks as if the network scraped the bottom of the celebrity barrel. Many of those booked aren’t even household names. (Heck, I have no idea who most of them are!) They’re a boxer, a talk-show somebody, a Super Bowl Steeler, one of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner’s former girlfriends, and a has-been comedic actress. Then again, it was going to be hard if not impossible for ABC to match last season’s stunt casting of Sarah Palin’s daughter Bristol. The Season 12 list is as follows:
“PSYCHO” MIKE CATHERWOOD
SUGAR RAY LEONARD
ROMEO (Percy Romeo Miller, Jr)
All are set to compete each week on the dance floor in the 2-hour season premiere on Monday, March 21 (8:00-10:01 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. The 11 couples will dance for the first time on live national television either performing the Foxtrot or the Cha Cha Cha. The couple with the lowest combined judges’ scores and public votes for their performance will be sent home the following week until the season finale on Tuesday, May 24 (9:00-11:00 p.m., ET).
The statuesque actress/singer has died of respiratory failure. She was 89. Discovered by Howard Hughes for his 1940s film Outlaw, Russell graduated from WWII pinup to become an accomplished comedienne in films like Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, the Howard Hawks film that paired her with upstart Marilyn Monroe.
EXCLUSIVE: Former My Name Is Earl co-star Jaime Pressly has been tapped as the lead opposite Katie Finneran in Fox’s multicamera comedy pilot I Hate My Teenage Daughter. The project, from Warner Bros. TV and writers/executive producers Sherry Bilsing-Graham and Ellen Kreamer, centers on two women, Annie (Pressly) and Nikki (Finneran), who now have daughters just like the girls who picked on them in high school. Pressly, repped by CAA and Luber/Roklin, won an Emmy for her role as the ditsy Joy Turner on NBC’s Earl.
Kirk Acevedo (Oz), Tim Griffin (Fair Game) and Joe Nieves are set to co-star opposite Maria Bello in NBC’s drama pilot Prime Suspect. The remake of the iconic British series centers on Jane Timoney (Bello), an iconoclastic female detective who has to make her bones in a tough New York precinct that is dominated by men. Acevedo, repped by Fortitude and Abrams Entertainment, will play Det. Phil Carter, a member of the homicide squad who is disdainful and vocally critical of Jane. Griffin, repped by Pakula/King and Essential, will play Det. Augie Blando, the hen pecked class clown. Also playing a detective, Det. Don Korilko, is Nieves.
While its war with Two and a Half Men star Charlie Sheen is raging, Warner Bros. TV just made peace with the show’s crew. Sources confirm that the studio has agreed to pay the about 200 core crew members their full salaries for the four episodes of Men that were scheduled to begin production today. According to TMZ, which broke the news of the payoff, the checks for the crew amount to about $2 million in total. Additionally, the timing of the work stoppage on Men is fortuitous for the crew as it’s pilot season and they could get work on one of the 80+ pilots – broadcast and cable – that will be produced in the next 2 months.
Before production on those 4 episodes was canceled on Thursday after a serious of public verbal assaults on Two a Half Men co-creator Chuck Lorre by Sheen, Sheen had offered to cover one-third of the crew salaries for the 4 episodes that were lost because of the show’s forced hiatus while the actor was allegedly undergoing treatment. That is if CBS and Warner Bros. would cover the rest. Those episodes are probably a lost cause now. (Two and a Half Men ended up producing 16 episodes this season, 8 short of its 24-episode order.)
As for Lorre, he is said to have been instrumental in securing pay for the Men crew members. He has history with a number of them and … Read More »
Ray Drecker is getting new love and some competition. Stephen Amell (Vampire Diaries) has been cast in a recurring role on the upcoming third season of HBO’s comedy series Hung. He will play Jason, a rival gigolo of Ray Drecker (Thomas Jane) who is described as super sexy with a good physique and possessing a sweetness to him that makes him very charismatic. Amell, who just signed on to star as Joran van der Sloot in the Lifetime movie Justice for Natalee, is with SMS and Leverage. Leven Rambin (Grey’s Anatomy) also is joining Hung‘s upcoming season as a recurring, playing a new love interest for Ray. The actress, repped by the Schiff Co. is already recurring on 3 other series, CW’s One Tree Hill, CBS’ CSI: Miami and Disney Channel’s Wizards of Waverly Place.
Heather Lind has joined another HBO series as a recurring, period drama Boardwalk Empire. On the prohibition-era saga, she will play Katy, a maid. Lind, repped by ICM and Troy Nankin, just wrapped her run opposite Al Pacino in the Broadway production of The Merchant of Venice.
EXCLUSIVE: Without a Trace co-star Poppy Montgomery is returning to CBS as the star of the network’s untitled Ed Redlich/John Bellucci pilot. The project, which will be directed by The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo helmer Niels Arden Oplev, centers on a female NYPD detective (Montgomery) who possesses the special ability to remember everything and, although a gift in her job, it’s also a curse in her personal life. In addition to CBS, the pilot reunites Montgomery with Redlich, who served as executive producer/showrunner on Without a Trace for the crime drama’s first couple of seasons.
Montgomery, repped UTA and Framework, is currently in Vancouver, filming Strange Magic, a Lifetime biopic of JK Rowling, in which she portrays the Harry Potter author.
Here is the latest hourly Charlie Sheen update: the troubled actor is following on his repeated threats that he would sue Two and a Half Men producer Warner Bros. TV and network CBS.
Warner Bros. TV confirmed a TMZ report that top litigator Marty Singer has sent a letter to the studio demanding that Sheen is paid in full for the 8 unproduced episodes of the show’s current eighth season. Sheen retained Singer a couple of months ago in an effort to prevent Warner Bros. and CBS from shutting down production on the show amidst his personal problems. The legal letter reportedly claims that Sheen had been ready and willing to return to work for weeks but Men showrunner Chuck Lorre and the studio had been keeping him sidelined, thus breaching his contract. Such letters threatening legal action are a Singer specialty. For now, he and Sheen are stopping short of filing a lawsuit against Warner Bros.
We are saddened to report that filmmaker Gary Winick died Sunday at age 49. Winick died after a long battle with brain cancer. While he has transitioned to such studio films as Letters to Juliet, 13 Going On 30, Bride Wars and Charlotte’s Web, Winick has long led the charge for independent films. He directed Tadpole and was also the founder of indie company InDigEnt.
Winick received his B.A. degree at Tufts University and his MFA degree from the University of Texas and the American Film Institute. He taught at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts for seven years, and in 1999 teamed up with John Sloss and IFC Productions to create Independent Digital Entertainment (InDigEnt) to produce digital video feature films for theatrical release.
Said his longtime manager Rosalie Swedlin: Many people will write about Gary Winick’s extraordinary talents as a mentor, a director, a producer, and a pioneer in the independent cinema world, but perhaps his greatest talent of all was his genius for friendship. He turned professional relationships into lifelong friendships, and he gave endless support and enthusiasm to lifelong friends. In the immortal words of E.B. White in Charlotte’s Web, “It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer.” Gary wrote a most “radiant”, “terrific”, and “humble” life which his many friends and associates had … Read More »
NBC’s new singing competition series The Voice, a rival to Fox’s American Idol, will premiere on Apr. 26 and will air in Idol’s previous signature Tuesday 8 PM slot. The network has signed the first 2 musician coaches for the show produced by John de Mol and Mark Burnett: Grammy Award winners Cee Lo Green and Adam Levine (Maroon 5).
After two airings from 9-11 PM on Tuesday on April 26 and May 3, the show will move to its regular Tuesday 8 PM slot on May 10. The Voice is expected to get a boost in its launch airing behind NBC’s strongest reality series, The Biggest Loser. “Cee Lo Green and Adam Levine represent the essence of The Voice,” NBC’s head of alternative programming Paul Telegdy said. “They are two of the hottest music artists right now and their voices are instantly recognizable.”
Carson Daly will host The Voice, which is produced by Warner Horizon. The show, in which contestants vie for a recording contract, is modeled after the Dutch Voice of Holland, which is the country’s #1 talent competition show. It features four celebrity artists who each forms a team of singers that they coach throughout the competition. Contestants will be eliminated until each coach only has one team member left who will compete in the finals to be named The Voice in a live finale.
EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures has acquired domestic distribution rights to Tinker, Tailor, Solder, Spy, the Tomas Alfredson-directed adaptation of the John Le Carre novel that stars Gary Oldman, freshly minted Oscar winner Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, Mark Strong and Ciaran Hinds. The rights were held by Studiocanal, and the film was produced by Working Title. Universal is eyeing a November or December release for the picture, which is in post production. Script was written by Bridget O’Connor and Peter Straughan.
The project was one of the hottest titles shopped in Berlin, where buyers watched several minutes of footage and read the script for Afredson’s follow-up to Let the Right One In. I’m told that Universal, through its first look deal with Working Title partners Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner, had a first look that it initially didn’t exercise. Then the picture got hot, with The Weinstein Company and Summit Entertainment chasing it hard. I’ve heard the bidding was in the vicinity of $5 million for domestic rights before Universal swooped in and took the project off the table. Studiocanal, which fully financed the film, will distribute in the UK, France and Germany and is handling international sales throughout the rest of the world. Bevan and Fellner produce with Robyn Slovo, with Liza Chasin, Le Carre, Peter Morgan, Douglas Urbanski and Debra Hayward exec producing.
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We hardly need proof that Charlie Sheen is not in rehab since he is on TMZ right now doing a live interview from his back yard, but the actor’s former longtime publicist Stan Rosenfield just sent out an email debunking a couple of Sheen-related rumors making the rounds online. That was probably Rosenfield’s last official PR move on Sheen’s behalf as he just left the troubled actor. “I have worked with Charlie Sheen for a long time and I care about him very much,” he said. “However, at this time, I’m unable to work effectively as his publicist and have respectfully resigned.”
On Sheen matters: first, he is not in rehab, Rosenfield said. And secondly, he is not retiring. An email claiming so, which had been sent out under the name of Rosenfield’s company, is a hoax, the publicist said. As Sheen told ABC’s Good Morning America, he has big plans for TV and film acting gigs.
However, one online report is true, Radar’s post that Sheen has been banned from the Warner Bros. lot where Two and a Half Men has been filming. The actor has repeatedly vowed to show up for work this week as originally planned despite the fact that CBS and the studio on Thursday pulled the plug on the show for this season.
As for Rosenfield, in his live interview with TMZ today Sheen implied that Rosenfield lied in a November statement that categorized the … Read More »