UPDATE, 6:50 AM:Fox has declined the Media Action Network for Asian Americans’ suggestion it re-shoot its Dads pilot in order to remove the scene it finds most offensive. In the scene, business partners Seth Green and Giovanni Ribisi have Brenda Song’s employee character dress up in sexy Asian Schoolgirl costume and giggle demurely to please Chinese businessmen.
Down the road, Fox execs promised the organization, “You will see that Brenda Song’s character is a strong, intelligent, empowered young woman who basically runs the company, and who almost always gets the upper hand.” They also said the show, from Seth MacFarlane and team, “is a show that will be evocative and will poke fun at stereotypes and bigotries — sometimes through over-the-top, ridiculous situations,” adding, “The series is based heavily on the executive producers’ own lives, and the relationships between the fathers and sons on Dads will continue to be the main driver of show’s comedic sensibility. Everyone involved with Dads is striving to create a series with humor that works on multiple levels and ‘earns’ its audaciousness.”
PREVIOUS, AUGUST 15: The Media Action Network for Asian Americans says it’s waiting to hear back from Fox execs in response to a letter it sent Monday asking the network to reshoot some “racist” scenes in the pilot of Fox’s new Seth MacFarlane live-action comedy series, Dads. Fox says it has been in the process of responding. Word of the kerfuffle got out this afternoon when MANAA took the issue to the press. In case you didn’t get the screener MANAA saw back in July, Dads is about two video game developers (Seth Green and Giovanni Ribisi) with cranky old dads (Martin Mull and Peter Reigert) who move in to their place. Sometimes the dads say stupid racist things. Mull’s character, for instance, calls Asians “Orientals,” and says, of Chinese people, “There’s a reason ‘Shanghai’ is a verb.” TV critics don’t like the show much either, and said so at the recent Summer TCA Press Tour. Fox Entertainment chairman Kevin Reilly placated them somewhat by telling them the show will need to recalibrate and find the right comedic balance. MANAA wants the pilot recalibrated before it premieres. Read More »
Fox may have a multi-cam comedy hit on its hands in Dads, judging by the thwapping TV critics gave it today at Summer TV Press Tour 2013. It was the kind of brawl the tour hasn’t seen since the 2 Broke Girls Q&A back in that sitcom’s first season– and we all know what a hit that show’s turned out to be for CBS. The series, from Seth MacFarlane (much not-loved by TV critics, and a no-show at the session) and other producers behind MacFarlane’s animated Family Guy and flick Ted, stars Seth Green and Giovanni Ribisi as childhood BFF’s turned gaming entrepreneur/biz partners, whose lives become sitcom material when both their dads, played by Peter Riegert and Martin Mull, move in with them. They provide lines like asking their son if he’s watching Punch The Puerto Rican when they see a boxing match on TV. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Fox is re-conceiving one of the lead characters in Dads, its six-episode multi-camera comedy series from Ted‘s team of Alec Sulkin, Wellesley Wild and Seth MacFarlane. As a result, the role is being recast, with Giovanni Ribisi replacing Tommy Dewey as the co-lead opposite Seth Green. The decision was made after the taping of the show’s first episode late last week, which was expected to prompt some tweaking. Written by Sulkin and Wild, the 20th TV-produced Dads centers on two successful guys in their 30s, Eli (Green) and Warner (Ribisi), who have their lives turned upside down when their nightmare dads (Peter Riegert, Martin Mull) unexpectedly move in with them. Ribisi’s casting likely stems from the actor’s relationship with MacFarlane, Sulkin and Wild. He co-starred in the trio’s blockbuster Ted and is also on board to star in their follow-up Western comedy feature, also co-written by the three of them and directed by and starring MacFarlane.
Dewey was the very first actor cast in Dads in early February, before the project took several turns during the casting process, including changing casting directors. Dewey has been a favorite of Fox brass — he played the co-lead in the network’s 2011 comedy pilot Tagged and did a major recurring role on Fox’s freshman comedy series The Mindy Project before getting the Dads co-lead. (Dewey also co-created the Fox/20th comedy series Sons Of Tucson.) This … Read More »
Here’s the international market trailer Universal released Monday for Contraband. Directed by Icelander Baltasar Kormákur, it features Mark Wahlberg as a guy forced back into smuggling when a member of his family botches a drug deal. It co-stars Kate Beckinsale, Ben Foster, Giovanni Ribisi, Caleb Landry Jones, Lukas Haas, Diego Luna and J.K. Simmons. Slated to open January 13, 2012.
After a judge last week denied a motion to dismiss, a lawsuit is tentatively scheduled to play out in LA Superior Court on August 8 that pits former William Morris literary agent Dave Phillips against William Sherak, president of the 3D conversion house StereoD. Phillips alleges in court papers that after inviting Sherak to be his 50/50 partner on emerging 3D technology that Phillips had been retained to shop in Hollywood, Sherak betrayed him. By the time 18 months worth of meetings culminated in the deal that led to the formation of StereoD, Sherak emerged with a 32% stake in that company and signed a 3-Year $14 million deal to run it after Deluxe acquired StereoD in May. Phillips was offered $30,000 to sign a release and go away.
Sherak, the son of Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences president Tom Sherak, is accused of breaching an oral agreement and his fiduciary responsibility to Phillips. At issue is whether the technology Phillips plugged Sherak into (it originated with Kerner, an offshoot of George Lucas’ Industrial Light and Magic) led to the deals that formed StereoD and should be counted in the 50/50 3D deal split Phillips said he and Sherak agreed to in an oral (not written) contract. Phillips claims in his complaint that Sherak often assured him their position would be protected because of his father’s industry clout, but that he eventually became evasive after Phillips was offered the $30,000. Stereo D has quickly become a major player in 3D conversions of films that include Captain America, Avatar, Jackass 3-D, and Thor.
Phillips claims that he brought Sherak into the 3D mix because they were longtime friends and he knew Sherak’s father would use his clout to put them in rooms with the Hollywood heavyweights needed for deals that would enrich the duo with finder fees. According to Phillips’ complaint, the elder Sherak orchestrated meetings with the likes of Ron Perelman, Deluxe’s Cyril Drabinsky, Legendary’s Thomas Tull and Lightstorm’s Jon Landau. The elder Sherak also arranged for Fox to provide a print of The Rocky Horror Picture Show to be converted into 3D for demos.
Along the way, the younger Sherak arranged meetings with Christopher Mallick, the financier of Middle Men, a film Sherak produced. These meetings evolved into a focus on 2D to 3D conversion technology called VDX that wasn’t owned by Kerner, but rather a Japanese inventor named Kuniaki Izumi. The filing indicates Phillips and Sherak were involved in bringing Izumi in from Japan to meet Mallick, who shortly after dropped his Kerner pursuit. He struck a deal with Izumi that paid the inventor $1 million for technology that became the core of Stereo D. Mallick gave equal ownership stakes in StereoD to himself, Sherak and Middle Men star Giovanni Ribisi. Phillips was not included. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Giovanni Ribisi has landed a co-starring role in Warner Bros’ The Gangster Squad, the period crime drama Ruben Fleischer is directing that stars Sean Penn as Mickey Cohen, and Ryan Gosling and Josh Brolin as members of the elite cop squad that are after him in 1949 Los Angeles. Anthony Mackie and Michael Pena also are aboard. Will Beall wrote the script. Langley Park Pictures and Lin Pictures are producing. Ribisi, repped by CAA and Management 360, will play Conway Keeler, a cop in the group who is a master of electronics and wires. He is currently shooting Universal’s Ted and next appears in FilmDistrict’s The Rum Diary opposite Johnny Depp.
Laura Vandervoort, who plays Supergirl on Smallville and who also stars on ABC’s V, has been added to the cast of Seth MacFarlane’s Ted, the Universal Pictures/Media Rights Capital comedy that stars Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, Joel McHale, Giovanni Ribisi and Patrick Warburton. Vandervoort will play Tayna, a gorgeous salesgirl and coworker of John (Wahlberg) at the rental car service who is clueless to the gaggle of men who drool over her all day. She’s repped by Levine/Okwu/Erickson and Norbert Abrams.
Patrick Warburton has landed a role in Ted, the Seth MacFarlane-directed Universal Pictures/Media Rights Capital comedy that stars Mark Wahlberg as a man who wishes his teddy bear to life and then uses the talking slacker toy to get in the way of committing to his long-suffering girlfriend (played by Mila Kunis). Warburton will play Guy, the sexually confused co-worker of John (Wahlberg) at the Enterprise Rent-A-Car front office. But the fix was in on this one. I have read the script, and when Guy is first introduced, the character is described as “a burly Patrick Warburton type.” So it’s possible that MacFarlane knew all along he’d be casting Warburton, who has long been part of the Family Guy voice cast along with MacFarlane and Kunis. Giovanni Ribisi and Joel McHale are also in the film, and MacFarlane portrays the walking, talking teddy bear. Warburton, who stars on the CBS sitcom Rules of Engagement, is also part of the upcoming Weinstein Co. film Hoodwinked Too! Hood Vs. Evil. He’s repped by ICM and Gallant Management.