Saturday, July 31, 2010

For Saturday, three or four bits of news about people I like

Quick, before I get into any of that, think: How many versions of "Law & Order" are there, and when's the last time you watched a new episode of one?

For me, the answers to those are I have no idea and for at least 10 years or so. It's not that I have anything against "L&O," simply that I prefer them with the late Jerry Orbach. Now, however, I think they've packed a new version with just the right stars to get me to tune in.

Two of my definite favorites, Terrence Howard and Alfred Molina, will rotate on the new "L&O" version "Law & Order:Los Angeles" as, respectively, a deputy district attorney and a prosecutor. Great news on the "Law" side, and though I have no idea who's gonna keep the "Order," you can bet that that's enough to get me to tune in for at least a few episodes when this premieres on NBC presumably some time this fall.

And in related TV news, just about the only possibly positive thing about the demise of the wickedly funny Starz show "Party Down" is that its cast members keep popping up in good shows. Adam Scott will be a regular on "Parks and Recreation" this fall to presumably pitch woo at Amy Poehler's Leslie Knope, and now comes word that Lizzy Caplan has also found a new gig, and a starring one on HBO.

Will Ferrell and Adam McKay's Gary Sanchez production company is developing Julie Klausner's memoir "I Don't Care About Your Band" for Caplan to star in as a HBO series. Though I had never heard of her, Klausner is a comedy writer/comedienne, and her book, as the title implies, is a comedic look at her dating life in New York City with men trying to make it "in bands, as comedians, writers, or worse, as actors." Sounds not too far removed from Caplan's character on "Party Down," and like something I'll definitely tune in for.

And finally, in some actual movie news, it seems that "Precious" director Lee Daniels may have lost - at least temporarily - one movie and picked up another one that sounds at least as good.

For a while now, he's been working on a piece of historical drama called "Selma," which, as you can probably guess from the title, involves the American civil rights movement. Had that come together, it would have (and probably still will) have a pretty epicly good cast, including Liam Neeson as President Lyndon B. Johnson and Robert De Niro (maybe) as George Wallace (try and imagine that). While that was set to start shooting in August, the financing has at least been delayed, and in the meantime, Daniels has jumped onto something that sounds equally up his alley.

Deadline Hollywood is reporting that Daniels has now signed on to rewrite and direct something called "The Butler," based on a series of articles by Wil Haygood on Eugene Allen, a White House butler who worked for eight presidents in the 20th century and, of course, had to be witness to some rather amazing events.

The script that Daniels will be working on comes from Danny Strong, a name that may be familiar to fans (like me) of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Gilmore Girls." After having long recurring roles on those shows, he went on to write the seriously good HBO movie "Recount," about the shenanigans that lead to George W. Bush becoming president. Along with a sublime performance from Laura Dern as Katherine Harris, it also just delivered a whipsmart story, so I can't imagine Daniels will have to do a thorough rewrite here.

And though this wouldn't start shooting until the end of this year, what makes it a lock to get made before "Selma"? One Denzel Washington has been approached to play the titular butler, and I can't imagine he'd turn it down.

Either way, though I'd love to see Daniels branch out a bit and move beyond matters of race, he's a very talented director to keep your eyes on no matter what comes next.

OK, I really have to get a move on today so I can work a hopefully happy viewing of "Dinner for Schmucks" into a busy Saturday, so I'll just leave you with the perfect closing gift, the Comic-Con panel for "Chuck," in its entirety. I don't know if anyone will bother to watch the whole thing, as I did, so I'll go ahead and tell you now: It doesn't contain the best news of all about the new season coming Sept. 20, that "Terminator" badass and Salisbury, Md., native Linda Hamilton will play Chuck and Ellie's mom (I can't wait to see that!) It does feature the entire cast having a good time, and for fans of the show it's well worth watching. Enjoy, and have a great weekend. Peace out.


J. Marquis said...

My wife and I are big L&O fans. It will be good to have one set in a different part of the country with new people...

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