Category Archives: Hollywood Insider

Colleen Haskell, From Survivor to Hollywood, by Tiffany N. D’Emidio

Colleen Haskell first burst into the headlines by being one of the original Survivors in the CBS series, “”Survivor””. This CBS show became more than a television show, it became a way of life and cultural phenomenon for over 30 million television viewers a week.

Viewers watched Colleen eat rats, bugs, and use political savvy to backstab her fellow “”Survivor”” cast mates – although Colleen became known as the “”nice one”” from the show. Colleen is one of the many cast members to parlay their fifteen minutes of fame into what they hope will become a long lasting career in the spotlight. After surviving, “”Survivor”” how difficult can it be to face the beasts known as Hollywood Movie Executives. Now that’s a jungle. In her first feature, Colleen plays Rianna, a kind-hearted animal lover, in the new Columbia Pictures, Rob Schneider comedy “”The Animal””. Recently, we sat down with Colleen, to discuss her new role in the comedy.EMLast year you were on one of the top-rated

Catch A Rising Star – Paul Bettany, by Michelle Alexandria

For years actor Paul Bettany has been making waves on the London film scene starring in such cutting edge films as “”Dead Babies””, “”Gangster No. 1″”, “”Bent”” and others. Now he is about to explode onto the American film scene. In his first major American movie, Columbia Picture’s, “”A Knight’s Tale””, he gives an over the top, hysterically funny performance as Geoffrey Chaucer: an oft-naked, unknown writer and compulsive gambler. Paul almost steals the movie from Heath Ledger (The Patriot). Paul’s Chaucer dazzles the crowd and the movie going audience with his glowing introductions, hip attitude, and quick wit. Note, This interview was done several years ago, before “”A Beautiful Mind,”” and of course “”Master and Commander”” was released. Paul is yet another EM Find, who is now part of Hollywood’s “”B”” List

He is currently shooting his second major film “”A Beautiful Minds”” produced and directed by A-List director, Ron Howard and stars Oscar winner Russell Crowe. We would say, that Paul’s future doesn’t just look bright, it glows.We recently had a chance to sit down and have one of our famous EM chats with Paul about his career and his experiences working with, “”A Knight’s Tale”” writer/director Brian Helgeland who also won an Oscar for his screenplay, “”L.A. Confidential””.EMLet’s start this interview with my standard overly broad question. Tell us who you are and why we are speaking with you today.PaulI’m here because I’m doing a press tour of “”A Knight’s Tale””. I’ve been traveling up and down the East Coast doing publicity for the film.EMHow long did it take you guys to make “”A Knight’s Tale””?PaulWe finished it last summer. I’m currently filming a new Ron Howard movie called “”A Beautiful Mind”” in New York with Russell Crowe. In this film Russell Crowe plays John Nash a mathematician who won the noble prize for economics that has a troubled life. I play his best friend.EMWhat is it like to go from playing the role of Geoff Chaucer, which is so over the top comedic to doing something as serious as this?PaulThe extraordinary thing is, that I’ve never played a good guy before. In London I always played the bad guy, or a gangster, so it’s strange that in my first American film, I’m playing this good guy.EMWhich is harder for you playing a good guy or a bad guy?PaulWell normally playing a bad guy is so much more fun. Although playing Chaucer was a lot of fun as well.EMHow much of “”A Knight’s Tale”” was adlibbed?PaulThe entire film was scripted. Brian Helgeland (the writer of “”L.A. Confidential””) is such a brilliant writer, that there wasn’t much adlibbing needed. Although, the line “”I’ll be here for the entire week”” was mine.EMIf you only played bad guys in London, how did you land this choice role?PaulBrian Helgeland is a dear friend of mine. He asked me if I wanted to play the role of Chaucer. When he sent me the script, he included a picture of a dwarf. At that point I threw out all pretensions and preconceived notions of doing any research or about what type of film this would be.EMHow did you guys manage to come up with those great introductions?PaulThe introductions were kind of modeled after a John Lennon performance that he once gave in London, where the Queen was in attendance. He stood up and jokingly said, this performance is also for all the people in the “”cheap seats in the back.”” It was that type of irreverence and “”shock”” value that we wanted to get at. We thought that how Geoff Chaucer would deliver his introductions.EMYour introductions where so hysterically funny and memorable – it truly made the movie.PaulI’m glad you liked it. Some things we made up on the spot, like the “”I’ll be here for the rest of the week””, but Brian is a very great writer. His words fall out of your mouth so easily. He gets all the credit for the introductions.EMCome on, you have to take some credit for your performance. Don’t give it all to the writer/director.Paul[Laughs] Ok, I made it all up and I scripted the entire movie! Seriously though, he’s a really great writer and we had an enormous amount of fun doing it.EMHow did you get your start in acting?PaulI started off in the London theater scene, where I stared in a play written by another brilliant writer name Joe Penhall. I was working a lot before this performance, but this play was what started things off for me.EMHow would you compare making American movies to London films?PaulAll film sets are almost entirely the same; they all have the same feel about them. The only difference is, and I assume it’s because of the enormous amount of money that go into American films, is the desperation and panic in the producers voices. EMSo you don’t find it anymore pleasurable to work on a major Hollywood film versus a smaller independent?PaulI really don’t know yet. The first film [“”A Knight’s Tale””] was such a joy to make because I was working for a dear friend and this one [the Ron Howard film] is such a serious subject, about schizophrenia. I haven’t had to sell my soul yet, to work. I just finished working in Spain on a film with William Dafoe. It was really difficult because we only had 2 1/2 months to make it and we needed four, and we didn’t have enough money. It was a real learning experience.EMHow long did it take to make “”A Knight’s Tale””?PaulIt took 4 1/2 months to shoot and we had two crews shooting in different locations simultaneously. Which was a lot of shooting.EMSo was there a lot of material left on the editing room floor?PaulYes, there was an enormous amount. Which I’m sure will find it’s way onto the DVD. In the original cut there were at least two more of my introductions that didn’t make the final cut.EMOf course on the DVD, there will be an option where we can watch just your introductions. As an actor how difficult is it to go from a film like “”A Knight’s Tale”” where you were really good friends with the writer/director and the type of film that it is, to something as dark and serious as “”A Beautiful Minds””?PaulI don’t know. [thinks] I guess one is more taxing than the other. Making “”A Knight’s Tale”” was long hard work, but it was such a joy that you didn’t notice. While making something like “”Gangster Number 7″” or “”Morality Play”” was just harder work.EMDo you find it more emotionally draining to do a serious role, or do you know how to separate your own personal feelings from what you are doing?PaulIt’s a difficult question to answer. When talking about the craft of acting you come across as sounding like an ass. You either say, “”it’s at the vanguard of changing people’s emotions…”” or you say, “”it’s better than working.”” Neither of which is really true. [Pauses] Even if you are doing a really intense scene with someone, you still have to remain a little playful otherwise I’ll stop listening. [Thinks] Or let’s put it this way, if you are in a Country House, alone, lying in bed, you hear a creak, it’s very easy to convince yourself that someone else is in that house and you get scared. It’s very simple, there’s no magic involved. If you are playing a character for two days where you are pretending to stab someone in the eye with a corkscrew, it’s hard not to feel a little odd by that. It takes a little time to come down off of something like that.EMDo you think a lot of actors have trouble separating the two?PaulI’ve worked with some actors who get so involved with what they are doing that they do take it home with them. I would suspect it is very painful for them. Taking off your clothes in the middle of the Czech Republic [He spends half of his time in “”A Knight’s Tale”” running around naked] is humiliating but I’m getting paid a lot of money and it’s better than working in a mind shaft somewhere.EMHow long did it take you to get comfortable with it?PaulYou never do. You never do!

Cheech Marin, Hollywood Vet Still Going Strong, EM Interview by Cathy Areu Jones

As part of Cheech and Chong, the comic duo which rejoiced in a world of marijuana-smoking and ignorance, Mexican-American actor Cheech Marin, 55, and his partner Tommy Chong, were the counter-culture icons in the 70s and early 80s. The duo won a Grammy Award in 1973, put out records that went gold, and made six movies (which are now top weekend movie rentals). In 1984, the pair, which had met in a Canadian topless bar, split up. What happened? According to Marin, it

Sean and Mandy, A Interview To Remember

The nerve of Mandy Moore. After a brief but memorable turn as the one-dimensional vixen supporting Garry Marshall’s “”The Princess Diaries,”” this chart-topper-cum-actress has gone and landed herself the type of role most teen actors would scrap their series on the WB for.

Moore signed on to play Jamie Sullivan – a reverend’s daughter who falls for an “”other side of the tracks”” boy – in the cinematic version of Nicholas Sparks’ best-selling book, “”A Walk To Remember.”” Just don’t act too surprised by this bubblegum diva’s transformation, as Mandy warns, “”I think this character is a lot more like me than most people asking that question think sometimes.”” Do tell, Miss Moore. Do tell: EM I watched the trailer for “”A Walk to Remember”” before a screening a few weeks ago, and hardly recognized you. Was this makeover a conscious effort to ditch the perception of “”Mandy Moore””?Mandy Moore: It was not a conscious effort. I had a small role in the “”Princess Diaries”” this past summer, and I just figured I would continue to do supporting roles until I felt really comfortable, to kind of venture out and do a part like this. But I was such a huge fan of the book, that I knew I couldn’t let this opportunity pass by. Forget it, I love this story, and I may not know as much about movies as the next actress, in terms of what constitutes the good script, but I knew scripts like this were few and far between.EM So you didn’t run the script by anyone for final approval? MM No, I loved the book so much and I was like, forget it, regardless of whether it’s going to be successful or not, I have to be a part of it. EM It certainly is a big step, jumping from one supporting role to your first leading role. Did you feel any pressure to succeed, that this film was sitting squarely on your shoulders?MM Oh, absolutely. I mean, it was a completely different type of film, and obviously having a bigger role (laughs) kind of adds a little bit of pressure. Initially getting over that shock was kind of hard, but after that, everything was fine. I got to that point where it all felt really comfortable. Plus, I colored my hair. I got rid of being Mandy for two months, and that definitely helpful.EM But you didn’t have a Garry Marshall in your corner this time out. Was he missed?MM Well, I went and met (the director) Adam Shankman, and I had lunch with him long before I even went and auditioned for the part. And I knew that finding someone who was as passionate about conveying the message of this story was going to be tough. But once I met Adam, I was like, “”Wow, this is someone who reallygets it, and who’s really excited to share this movie with everyone.”” And so I knew that I wanted to work with him. And Adam, truthfully, helped me so much on the movie. Especially in the beginning, getting me to some of the places. But once we got through the first three or four days of shooting, you just completely … you’re there.EM So how familiar were you with Sparks’ novel before you even heard they were going to make a movie out of the material? How far in advance were you involved?MM Probably a year.EM And you claim to have related to the Jamie character, even when you were reading the book the first time through.MM There’s a lot of me in Jamie, and a lot of Jamie in me. I think the fact that at first, I’m kind of a shy, introverted person when I first meet people. And I think that’s how Jamie comes across, because she doesn’t feel the need to kind of express herself all the time, and have many friends. I think the fact that we’re both kind of spunky, too. People describe Jamie as spunky, and I’ve been described as spunky before. I like that. That adjective is kind of fun.The thing that I wanted to learn through this movie, or get out of playing Jamie, was that she was so comfortable in her own skin, [and] that’s something I haven’t felt. Despite all of the stereotypes, and judgement against her in school, it didn’t change the way she felt about herself, and I thought that would be amazing, even to kind of just pretend I had that going for me for a couple of months. EM It’s also a rare quality to see in a teenage character. Unfortunately, teen characters seldom are portrayed that way.MM Right, especially someone who is the “”outcast”” of the film. You typically see that she’s self-conscious, or that she – or even the boy in the film – has to physically transform themselves in the end to gain acceptance and appease the person that they’re in the relationship with, or whatever. It was nice to have a female heroine, or even a guy, who didn’t have to go through that. No one did. In fact, I was the only character in the film that was consistent with who she was and what she did with her life throughout the entire movie, and it was kind of everyone around her changing.EM The book is set in the 1950s, but the film is not. What did the film lose or gain by updating to the ’90s?MM There are things I think it lost, but it would have been a completely different film if it were set in the ’50s. Besides the obvious, I think its a little more reasonable for people my age to go see it. It would have been a cuter movie, and a littlesweeter, to see it set in the ’50s.EM Would you have attempted the role if it were set in the ’50s?MM (Emphatically) Yes, because I just loved the book so much.EM But would it have been as effective?MM To teenagers? No. I don’t think it would have been as effective if it were set in the ’50s then if it were set here.EM Perhaps the studio could have marketed it to adults, in that case.MM Yes, but I think adults are still going to want to come see this film, because they’ve read the book and the main story and the main message is still there. EM Now, the message “”Walk”” delivers does resemble that of other teen movies – poor girl meets popular guy … How do you differentiate your film from the competition?MM We don’t have to rely on selling ourselves as having sex, drugs and rock & roll in a teen movie for once, which is great. There’s actually something to learn from this movie. You’re going to walk out and not feel like you’ve wasted an hour and 45 minutes of your life, watching the same old, same old. I was so moved by the book, and I was hoping that the movie could capture that, too. And I really think it has. Maybe in a different way, because there are some differences, but I just know teens are going to walk out and think about faith. And not necessarily in a spiritual connotation, but just faith in general. Like in each other. And in love. Especially young love. SO It’s a unique theme, faith.MM And it’s so taboo in Hollywood to even mention it. Anything to do with spirituality or religion has been so “”not politically correct”” to talk about. It’s nice that it’s done in a way that’s not forced [in this movie], and it’s not preachy and in your face. Like, “”This is what I believe in, and if you don’t, then you are very, very wrong.””EM The film shot in Wilmington, N.C., a hotbed for Hollywood activity. Any run-ins with the “”Dawson’s Creek”” crowd?MM Shane [West, Mandy’s co-star] did. Shane ran in to Joshua Jackson a lot. Ashley Judd came down for my birthday, to wish me a Happy Birthday. She was in [Wilmington] filming the “”Ya Ya Sisterhood.”” And Vince Vaughn and everyone, filming “”Domestic Disturbance.””EM So, no bar fights?MM I was not out that night (laughs). I think I was actually out of town. But it got a little crazy. Some of the locals were unhappy that there were these hot young actors there. Tempers flared … it was crazy. But still, I love Wilmington so much.EM It’s becoming very popular:MM We call it “”Wilmie-wood.”” My goodness. Outside of N.Y. and L.A., it’s like the biggest epicenter for making films. I would do another movie there in a heartbeat. In fact, I’ll read a script extra carefully and make sure I found something that I loved about it if I knew it were filming in Wilmington.EM Really? What’s the selling point?MM The town, and the charms that it has. The fact that people understand that we’re here for, well, sometimes a long amount of time filming a movie. And they’re very accommodating. You feel like you’re in the South! You can go get some sweet tea. It was so right up my alley. The food … the shopping, wonderful restaurants. It was like a vacation for two-and-a-half months.By Sean O’ConnellJan. 18, 2002