Thursday Apr 17, 2014

From 'Unwrapped' to new TV show 'Rewrapped'

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Consider the simple but beloved chocolate chip cookie. Now imagine that cookie encrusting a brioche roll tucked around a turkey meatball. Or turn your thoughts to a mass-produced cherry pie transformed into an eggroll with dipping sauce. Or the...
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TV

From 'Unwrapped' to new TV show 'Rewrapped'
Thursday Apr 17, 2014
From 'Unwrapped' to new TV show 'Rewrapped'

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Consider the simple but beloved chocolate chip cookie. Now imagine that cookie encrusting a brioche roll tucked around a turkey meatball. Or turn your thoughts to a mass-produced cherry pie transformed into an eggroll with dipping sauce. Or the prospect of potato chip soup. Such is the culinary fallout from "Rewrapped," a new Food Network series that builds on the tradition of "Unwrapped," a longtime channel staple that also airs on the Cooking Channel. "Unwrapped," now in reruns, pulls the veil back on how peanut butter, snack cakes, marshmallows and other such items are commercially produced. "Rewrapped," debuting at 8 p.m. EDT Monday and hosted by Joey Fatone, is a competition in which chefs recreate a brand product and then use it in original, sometimes mind-boggling, recipes. The desire to "repurpose" footage from "Unwrapped" led to the new series from producer BSTV Entertainment, according to Marc Summers, a game-show host ("Double Dare") and comedian who leads its three-judge panel. Summers is familiar to Food Network viewers as the host of "Unwrapped," and is a producer whose credits include the channel's "Dinner: Impossible" and "Restaurant: Impossible," which marks its 100th episode on May 7. On "Rewrapped," clips of food production lead into the contest in which three chefs try to match the product's commercial taste and appearance. There can be unexpected challenges, like the smile on Pepperidge Farm's tiny Goldfish crackers. Chefs deftly employed such tools as coat hangers and foil to fashion the grin, Summers said. Points are awarded and carried into round two, which turns up the creative heat with recipes that can be sweet or savory. They also can give a judge pause. "The chefs put these things in front of you and you think, 'Oh, this is not going to be good,'" Summers said. But when he sampled the cookie-meatball-brioche mash-up, he recalled, "Oh, my God, my head exploded. It was fantastic." Is he typically such an open-minded eater? "I have become a bit of a foodie but I'm still not one of those folks who want quail eggs and mustard, or whatever fancy-schmancy stuff folks eat today," he said. ____ Online: http://www.foodnetwork.com Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

'Real Housewives' TV star faces battery charge
Thursday Apr 17, 2014
'Real Housewives' TV star faces battery charge

ATLANTA (AP) — Porsha Williams of TV's "Real Housewives of Atlanta" faces a battery charge after fellow cast member Kenya Moore told police she was attacked during filming of the show. Atlanta police say they were called to the Biltmore Hotel on March 27, where Moore told an officer Williams assaulted her. Police say Moore told the officer she was unable to fill out a statement at that time because she had to be on the set for filming. An arrest warrant was later issued. Fulton County sheriff's spokeswoman Tracy Flanagan says Williams turned herself into the Fulton County Jail on Wednesday evening and was released that night. She's charged with simple battery, a misdemeanor. It wasn't known whether Williams has an attorney. Williams is the ex-wife of former NFL standout Kordell Stewart. Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly for 'Border Guards'
Thursday Apr 17, 2014
Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly for 'Border Guards'

Reuniting the co-stars of "Step Brothers" and "Talladega Nights" is "Border Guards," with Adam McKay of "Anchorman" and "Old School" its likely director.Ferrell and Reilly are to play two bungling buddies who volunteer themselves as border patrolmen, with the aim of repelling any illegal immigration attempts. The twist is that they themselves end up in Mexico without any papers and have to get back to home ground undetected. Though the pair are known for slapstick, goofy humor, "Border Guards" is being written by satirical heavyweight Jesse Armstrong, reports Deadline. Armstrong rose to prominence as co-writer and co-creator of British sitcom "Peep Show" and received an Oscar nomination for his contributions to Armando Iannuci's political satire "In the Loop." Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

'Vampire Diaries' star sinks teeth into directing
Thursday Apr 17, 2014
'Vampire Diaries' star sinks teeth into directing

NEW YORK (AP) — Paul Wesley admits to experiencing jitters on his first day of directing Thursday's episode of the CW's "The Vampire Diaries," particularly when it came to saying the word "action." "I had been hearing the word 'action' for 15 years, but it was always from behind-the-camera," explained the 31-year-old actor in a recent interview. "To say it was really a weird feeling." On "The Vampire Diaries," Wesley plays Stefan Salvatore, a 165-year-old vampire with a conscience, who happens to look eternally youthful because he was "turned" at a young age. Wesley has long been fascinated by directing, admiring the likes of Stanley Kubrick and Ingmar Bergman, and says that after developing a good relationship with the brass at the network and on the show, he got the OK to get behind the camera this fifth season. He was convinced they'd give him a lighter episode to start with but instead was thrown a "cool" challenge. "I did blue screens, I had stunts, I had all sorts of visual effects, I had flashbacks," he said. "I mean it was really an action-packed episode. I was surprised at how much they gave me. I thought they were really gonna go easy on me, it was gonna be incredibly generic but it wasn't." Now that he's experienced it once, Wesley is itching to direct more. "This is not something that is sort of a one-time thing for me ... I'm gonna do more episodes next year, but I think it's about doing other things that aren't 'Vampire Diaries.' There's some cable shows that film during my hiatus which I'd love to direct, so I'd love to take a swing at that." He said it's just a matter of time before he directs a feature film. Wesley is also interested in other aspects of filmmaking. He produced and co-starred in "Before I Disappear" with Emmy Rossum and Richard Schiff, where he helped make creative decisions. "I loved it. For me it was an incredibly gratifying experience." The movie won the Audience Award at this year's South by Southwest Film Festival. Wesley, who keeps an apartment in New York, was in town to serve on the jury of this year's Tribeca Film Festival in the short film category. "I'm really inspired by short films. It's a fascinating medium." ____ Follow Alicia Rancilio online at http://www.twitter.com/aliciar ____ Online: http://www.cwtv.com/shows/the-vampire-diaries http://tribecafilm.com/festival Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Snoop Dogg recruited for 'Call of Duty' voiceovers
Thursday Apr 17, 2014
Snoop Dogg recruited for 'Call of Duty' voiceovers

US hip hop artist Snoop Dogg is lending his voice to a new voice pack for "Call of Duty: Ghosts" and its multiplayer mode as part of an April 22 rush of custom extras.Along with avatar skins for central characters Soap McTavish and Ghost, and a variety of colorful weapon personalization schemes, two voice packs provide a new narrative voice for "Call of Duty" multiplayer. "I think the writers did a good job in creating the lines specifically for me," the music mogul explains in a brief behind-the-scenes trailer. "They knew my flavor, and they allowed me to do my thing and put a little Snoopism on top of it." His own particular brand of warm, laid-back aggression launches alongside the contrasting Drill Instructor pack voiced by R. Lee Ermey, who is better known as Gunnery Sergeant Hartman of Stanley Kubrick's "Full Metal Jacket." The voice packs are to go for $2.99 each and, along with the weapon and character customizations, are to be made available on Xbox 360 and Xbox One from April 22, with PlayStation and PC platforms following not long after. Official Call of Duty: Ghosts Video - Snoop Dogg Voice Pack Preview: youtu.be/LT1ycFs618g Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

Movies

Trailer: Eli Roth drags viewers into 'The Green Inferno'
Thursday Apr 17, 2014
Trailer: Eli Roth drags viewers into 'The Green Inferno'

A disturbing new video sets the tone for this horror feature on cannibalism.Presented at festivals in late 2013, namely in Toronto and Rome, "The Green Inferno" has made its first appearance on the internet in a one-minute teaser premiered exclusively by AOL. Known for his twisted horror movies "Cabin Fever" and "Hostel," director Eli Roth succeeds in creating a tense and cruel atmosphere in this sequence taken from his next film. The feature follows a group of somewhat naive students with a penchant for green activism who head into the Amazon to meet a tribe threatened with being wiped out. Things quickly get ugly, as the natives turn out to be vicious cannibals. A tribute to the 1980 film "Cannibal Holocaust," "The Green Inferno" will arrive in US theaters on September 5. Watch the teaser for "The Green Inferno": on.aol.com/video/the-green-inferno---trailer-no--1-518197296  Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

Trailer: 'Third Person' features Neeson, Kunis, Brody
Thursday Apr 17, 2014
Trailer: 'Third Person' features Neeson, Kunis, Brody

Oscar-winning "Crash" director Paul Haggis again weaves a multi-threaded story in "Third Person," which finds Liam Neeson at the heart of an increasingly tangled web.As a prize-winning writer on a sojourn in Paris, Neeson's character is also engaging himself in an affair with a mystery woman played by Olivia Wilde. He's supposed to be writing his next book, occupied by the thought of "a man who can only feel through the characters he creates," while his Stateside wife (Kim Basinger) attempts to head off Neeson's growing penchant for emotional adultery. Meanwhile, an unstable Mila Kunis is struggling to obtain visitation rights as her son is brought up by father James Franco in New York; Adrien Brody, temporarily stopping off in Rome, is looking for love with Moran Atias, a woman whose family problems threaten to engulf the American traveler. Like the film, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival last September, this trailer evades easy analysis, instead inviting moviegoers to consent to Haggis's latest layered journey come its June 20 debut. Third Person (2014) Official HD Trailer: youtu.be/VPSW01jztx8 Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

Cannes 2014: Cronenberg, Loach and Zvyagintsev in competition
Thursday Apr 17, 2014
Cannes 2014: Cronenberg, Loach and Zvyagintsev in competition

The list of films in competition for the 2014 Palme D'Or was was unveiled Thursday at a press conference.Alongside Gilles Jacob, the festival's artistic director Thierry Frémaux presented the complete program of the 67th Cannes Film Festival, which will open on May 14 with the screening of Olivier Dahan's biopic "Grace of Monaco." In total, the official program includes 49 films from 28 countries. The more exclusive competition selection, meanwhile, consists of 18 features, which are listed below: "Sils Maria" by Olivier Assayas"Saint Laurent" by Bertrand Bonello"Winter Sleep" by Nuri Bilge Ceylan "Maps to the Stars" by David Cronenberg"Two Days, One Night" by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne"Mommy" by Xavier Dolan"Captives" by Atom Egoyan"Goodbye to Language" by Jean-Luc Godard"The Search" by Michel Hazanavicius"The Homesman" by Tommy Lee Jones"Still the Water" by Naomi Kawase"Mr Turner" by Mike Leigh"Jimmy's Hall" by Ken Loach"Foxcatcher" by Benneth Miller"The Marvel" by Alice Rohrwacher"Timbuktu" by Abderrahmae Sissako"Wild Tales" by Damian Szifron"Leviathan" by Andrey Zvyagintsev Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

'Mrs. Doubtfire' prepares for a new cinematic adventure
Thursday Apr 17, 2014
'Mrs. Doubtfire' prepares for a new cinematic adventure

Following the success of the 1993 Robin Williams comedy, a sequel is moving closer to reality.It might be hard to believe that "Mrs. Doubtfire 2" is on its way, given that it was first announced in 2001, but 20th Century Fox has relaunched it, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Scriptwriter David Berenbaum, he of "Elf" and "The Spiderwick Chronicles," has been engaged, giving the project some much needed wheels at last. Robin Williams will again take the lead role, with a return for director Chris Columbus also part of the plan. For now, no shooting dates have been set, as Robin Williams is already committed to TV's "The Crazy Ones," which made its debut in September 2013. Likewise, Columbus is busy with alien invasion comedy "Pixels," starring Adam Sandler, Michelle Monaghan and Peter Dinklage, due to start filming this summer. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

Jones, Godard, Cronenberg in competition at Cannes
Thursday Apr 17, 2014
Jones, Godard, Cronenberg in competition at Cannes

PARIS (AP) — David Cronenberg deconstructs Hollywood, Tommy Lee Jones goes Western, and reclusive New Wave legend Jean-Luc Godard returns in 3-D in films competing for top honors at next month's Cannes Film Festival. Organizers of the ritzy Riviera festival famed for its red-carpet glamour announced the much-heralded lineup Thursday for the May 14-25 event, including 18 films vying for the top prize — the Palme d'Or. Cannes organizers insist the films are chosen based on the art. But some themes in this year's crop are unmistakable: based-on-real-life stories of Olympic wrestlers, fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent and British painter J.M.W. Turner; themes of solitude, or the Old West; daily life in northern Mali under jihadist control or in today's Russia. Aside from Godard and Cronenberg, several other Cannes veterans are back, including Britain's Mike Leigh and Ken Loach of Britain, and Belgium's Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne — who will be angling for their third Palme d'Or. Michel Hazanavicius, the French director of the Oscar-winning silent film "The Artist," also returns. Films by two women — Naomi Kawase of Japan and Alice Rohrwacher of Italy — are also in the running. Event organizers have faced recent criticism for not selecting more films by female directors. But Cannes is about far more than just competition for the top award. Some 49 feature-length films from 28 countries — including 15 by female directors — and many short films will be shown at the 11-day cinema extravaganza. "It is important for us that the Cannes selection is a voyage through cinema and the world," Director-General Thierry Fremaux said. "You can find in the official selection a lot of ... big names, but also young, new directors." He noted that while some films have funny moments, no full-blown comedies are in the competition. Director Jane Campion, the only woman to win the Palme d'Or, is leading this year's festival jury, which opens with Nicole Kidman starring in director Olivier Dahan's out-of-competition biopic "Grace of Monaco." In the Palme d'Or chase, Cronenberg's "Maps to the Stars" takes aim at today's media-crazed society, while Jones directs and acts in "The Homesman" alongside Hilary Swank, about a man charged with escorting people through the Old West. Famed Swiss director Godard, who has never won a Palme d'Or and last competed for it in 2001, will present "Adieu Au Language" ("Goodbye to Language") — whether on hand himself or not — a film described only cryptically by Cannes organizers. "I'm not going to tell you much, but it's a film that's impossible to summarize. It's an act of cinema, it's a poem, it's a cry or it's a sigh," Fremaux told France-Info radio. "It is in relief, it's in 3-D. Jean-Luc Godard doesn't stop being modern." Canadian actor Ryan Gosling makes his directorial debut among 19 films competing for the "Un Certain Regard" prize, presented a day before the Palme d'Or to honor up-and-coming or innovative filmmakers. Gosling's "Lost River" stars Christina Hendricks and will be up against films from Italy's Asia Argento, France's Mathieu Amalric and "Paris, Texas" director Wim Wenders of Germany. Adding to the international tilt, Chinese actress Gong Li returns to the Cannes red carpet in Zhang Yimou's "Coming Home," screening out of competition. This year's Cannes poster features a black-and-white photo of the late Italian actor Marcello Mastroianni, a conscious choice of a male after criticism that past posters featuring women had unfairly objectified them, Fremaux said. Last year, in a first, the Palme d'Or was shared by two actresses for "Blue is the Warmest Color" along with its director. Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Events

87th Annual Academy Awards date set for Feb. 22
Thursday Apr 17, 2014
87th Annual Academy Awards date set for Feb. 22

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The 87th annual Academy Awards will air live beginning at 8:30 p.m. EST from the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on ABC on Sunday, Feb. 22. The date, announced on Thursday by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, marks the academy's return to their standard pattern after pushing the show back to March 2 this year because of the Olympics. 2015 Oscar nominees will be announced on Thursday, Jan. 15, which follows the academy's recent plan. 2014 nominations were announced Jan. 16. Voting for the 2015 nominees will begin on Dec. 29, 2014 and end on Jan. 8, 2015. The Academy Awards' annual luncheon for nominees is set for Feb. 2, 2015. Final Oscars voting will commence on Feb. 6, 2015. Voting will end Feb. 17. Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

From 'Unwrapped' to new TV show 'Rewrapped'
Thursday Apr 17, 2014
From 'Unwrapped' to new TV show 'Rewrapped'

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Consider the simple but beloved chocolate chip cookie. Now imagine that cookie encrusting a brioche roll tucked around a turkey meatball. Or turn your thoughts to a mass-produced cherry pie transformed into an eggroll with dipping sauce. Or the prospect of potato chip soup. Such is the culinary fallout from "Rewrapped," a new Food Network series that builds on the tradition of "Unwrapped," a longtime channel staple that also airs on the Cooking Channel. "Unwrapped," now in reruns, pulls the veil back on how peanut butter, snack cakes, marshmallows and other such items are commercially produced. "Rewrapped," debuting at 8 p.m. EDT Monday and hosted by Joey Fatone, is a competition in which chefs recreate a brand product and then use it in original, sometimes mind-boggling, recipes. The desire to "repurpose" footage from "Unwrapped" led to the new series from producer BSTV Entertainment, according to Marc Summers, a game-show host ("Double Dare") and comedian who leads its three-judge panel. Summers is familiar to Food Network viewers as the host of "Unwrapped," and is a producer whose credits include the channel's "Dinner: Impossible" and "Restaurant: Impossible," which marks its 100th episode on May 7. On "Rewrapped," clips of food production lead into the contest in which three chefs try to match the product's commercial taste and appearance. There can be unexpected challenges, like the smile on Pepperidge Farm's tiny Goldfish crackers. Chefs deftly employed such tools as coat hangers and foil to fashion the grin, Summers said. Points are awarded and carried into round two, which turns up the creative heat with recipes that can be sweet or savory. They also can give a judge pause. "The chefs put these things in front of you and you think, 'Oh, this is not going to be good,'" Summers said. But when he sampled the cookie-meatball-brioche mash-up, he recalled, "Oh, my God, my head exploded. It was fantastic." Is he typically such an open-minded eater? "I have become a bit of a foodie but I'm still not one of those folks who want quail eggs and mustard, or whatever fancy-schmancy stuff folks eat today," he said. ____ Online: http://www.foodnetwork.com Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Jones, Godard, Cronenberg in competition at Cannes
Thursday Apr 17, 2014
Jones, Godard, Cronenberg in competition at Cannes

PARIS (AP) — David Cronenberg deconstructs Hollywood, Tommy Lee Jones goes Western, and reclusive New Wave legend Jean-Luc Godard returns in 3-D in films competing for top honors at next month's Cannes Film Festival. Organizers of the ritzy Riviera festival famed for its red-carpet glamour announced the much-heralded lineup Thursday for the May 14-25 event, including 18 films vying for the top prize — the Palme d'Or. Cannes organizers insist the films are chosen based on the art. But some themes in this year's crop are unmistakable: based-on-real-life stories of Olympic wrestlers, fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent and British painter J.M.W. Turner; themes of solitude, or the Old West; daily life in northern Mali under jihadist control or in today's Russia. Aside from Godard and Cronenberg, several other Cannes veterans are back, including Britain's Mike Leigh and Ken Loach of Britain, and Belgium's Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne — who will be angling for their third Palme d'Or. Michel Hazanavicius, the French director of the Oscar-winning silent film "The Artist," also returns. Films by two women — Naomi Kawase of Japan and Alice Rohrwacher of Italy — are also in the running. Event organizers have faced recent criticism for not selecting more films by female directors. But Cannes is about far more than just competition for the top award. Some 49 feature-length films from 28 countries — including 15 by female directors — and many short films will be shown at the 11-day cinema extravaganza. "It is important for us that the Cannes selection is a voyage through cinema and the world," Director-General Thierry Fremaux said. "You can find in the official selection a lot of ... big names, but also young, new directors." He noted that while some films have funny moments, no full-blown comedies are in the competition. Director Jane Campion, the only woman to win the Palme d'Or, is leading this year's festival jury, which opens with Nicole Kidman starring in director Olivier Dahan's out-of-competition biopic "Grace of Monaco." In the Palme d'Or chase, Cronenberg's "Maps to the Stars" takes aim at today's media-crazed society, while Jones directs and acts in "The Homesman" alongside Hilary Swank, about a man charged with escorting people through the Old West. Famed Swiss director Godard, who has never won a Palme d'Or and last competed for it in 2001, will present "Adieu Au Language" ("Goodbye to Language") — whether on hand himself or not — a film described only cryptically by Cannes organizers. "I'm not going to tell you much, but it's a film that's impossible to summarize. It's an act of cinema, it's a poem, it's a cry or it's a sigh," Fremaux told France-Info radio. "It is in relief, it's in 3-D. Jean-Luc Godard doesn't stop being modern." Canadian actor Ryan Gosling makes his directorial debut among 19 films competing for the "Un Certain Regard" prize, presented a day before the Palme d'Or to honor up-and-coming or innovative filmmakers. Gosling's "Lost River" stars Christina Hendricks and will be up against films from Italy's Asia Argento, France's Mathieu Amalric and "Paris, Texas" director Wim Wenders of Germany. Adding to the international tilt, Chinese actress Gong Li returns to the Cannes red carpet in Zhang Yimou's "Coming Home," screening out of competition. This year's Cannes poster features a black-and-white photo of the late Italian actor Marcello Mastroianni, a conscious choice of a male after criticism that past posters featuring women had unfairly objectified them, Fremaux said. Last year, in a first, the Palme d'Or was shared by two actresses for "Blue is the Warmest Color" along with its director. Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

'Vampire Diaries' star sinks teeth into directing
Thursday Apr 17, 2014
'Vampire Diaries' star sinks teeth into directing

NEW YORK (AP) — Paul Wesley admits to experiencing jitters on his first day of directing Thursday's episode of the CW's "The Vampire Diaries," particularly when it came to saying the word "action." "I had been hearing the word 'action' for 15 years, but it was always from behind-the-camera," explained the 31-year-old actor in a recent interview. "To say it was really a weird feeling." On "The Vampire Diaries," Wesley plays Stefan Salvatore, a 165-year-old vampire with a conscience, who happens to look eternally youthful because he was "turned" at a young age. Wesley has long been fascinated by directing, admiring the likes of Stanley Kubrick and Ingmar Bergman, and says that after developing a good relationship with the brass at the network and on the show, he got the OK to get behind the camera this fifth season. He was convinced they'd give him a lighter episode to start with but instead was thrown a "cool" challenge. "I did blue screens, I had stunts, I had all sorts of visual effects, I had flashbacks," he said. "I mean it was really an action-packed episode. I was surprised at how much they gave me. I thought they were really gonna go easy on me, it was gonna be incredibly generic but it wasn't." Now that he's experienced it once, Wesley is itching to direct more. "This is not something that is sort of a one-time thing for me ... I'm gonna do more episodes next year, but I think it's about doing other things that aren't 'Vampire Diaries.' There's some cable shows that film during my hiatus which I'd love to direct, so I'd love to take a swing at that." He said it's just a matter of time before he directs a feature film. Wesley is also interested in other aspects of filmmaking. He produced and co-starred in "Before I Disappear" with Emmy Rossum and Richard Schiff, where he helped make creative decisions. "I loved it. For me it was an incredibly gratifying experience." The movie won the Audience Award at this year's South by Southwest Film Festival. Wesley, who keeps an apartment in New York, was in town to serve on the jury of this year's Tribeca Film Festival in the short film category. "I'm really inspired by short films. It's a fascinating medium." ____ Follow Alicia Rancilio online at http://www.twitter.com/aliciar ____ Online: http://www.cwtv.com/shows/the-vampire-diaries http://tribecafilm.com/festival Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Stephen Spinella on hair, bombs and his new play
Wednesday Apr 16, 2014
Stephen Spinella on hair, bombs and his new play

NEW YORK (AP) — Stephen Spinella's double life is about to get complicated, thanks to some new facial hair. The two-time Tony Award-winner is starring on Broadway in "The Velocity of Autumn" and also moonlighting on TV in "Royal Pains." But to play the stage role, he's grown a soul patch and a mustache. That might make the folks at USA Network fret. On their show, Spinella plays a clean-shaven, fastidious auction house curator. "I don't know if they know I have this," said Spinella, stroking his whiskers. "I play a very sophisticated art dealer — who has now grown a mustache and a soul patch," he added. "The writers are incredibly witty. I'm sure they'll reference something." Spinella has been keeping people on their toes like that throughout his rich, busy career. He starred in the original groundbreaking Broadway production of "Angels in America" as well as "Spring Awakening" and "Our Town" with Paul Newman. On TV, he's been in "24," ''Desperate Housewives" and "Alias." For the screen, Spinella had roles in "Lincoln" and "Milk." Now he's sharing a stage with Estelle Parsons in the two-person play "The Velocity of Autumn," which opens Monday at the Booth Theatre after a successful stop in Washington, D.C. Spinella plays an elderly woman's estranged son who reconnects after she barricades herself in her home. She's worried her kids want to put her in a nursing home and is armed with enough Molotov cocktails to take out the block. For the role, Spinella wears a ponytail, as well as his new facial hair, to show he's a bit of a dreamer and a wanderer. Spinella recently sat down with The Associated Press to talk about his explosive new play, his hair and working with Paul Newman. AP: What's this play like? Spinella: It's very spare. Everything is insinuated. The full story has to be filled in by the actors and the audience. It's like the silt at the bottom of the river. It just lays there nicely unless you disturb it. This work disturbs things. AP: Has this gotten very personal for you? Spinella: It's hard for me right now because my mother passed away in October while I was doing this. In some ways, I was able to deal with that in a really constructive way because I have this project that I can actually siphon it into. AP: Tell me about the booby-traps in the house. What's in those jars all over the stage? Spinella: Developing fluid, and it turns out developing fluid isn't flammable. So they both are operating under the assumption that it's this incredibly flammable substance and it isn't at all. It's this completely unspoken joke. I just went on the Internet to find out. AP: Have you raised this with the playwright, Eric Coble? Spinella: No. My assumption is that he knows and it's a joke. I don't want to question it. In a way, if he doesn't know it's an even better joke. AP: You wear a wig here. Have you ever had a ponytail in real life? Spinella: No. I have super wavy, wavy hair and I could never get it really long because it's just so unruly. Actually, I did have it kind of long in the '70s. It was really curly and I wore sort of a 'fro — an Italian 'fro with my mother's northern European hair color. AP: Your career zings from TV "24" to drama like "Angels in America" to musicals like "Spring Awakening." It's all over. Spinella: I don't play the same guy a lot because there really isn't a guy for me. There really isn't a type you can put me in that satisfies everything. And I'm physically nonconventional. I'm very thin, I have really skinny legs. Look, I'm not going to play Mark Wahlberg's sidekick in "Lone Survivor." AP: You were last at the Booth Theatre for "Our Town" with Paul Newman in 2002. Any good memories? Spinella: After we finished the run, we spent eight days getting ready to shoot it for Showtime. I have this wonderful memory of his wife, Joanne Woodward, whispering something in his ear and him laughing and laughing. He then leaned over and whispered something in her ear, and she started laughing and laughing. This went on for two or three minutes. They just had so much fun with each other. ___ Online: http://www.VelocityOfAutumnBroadway.com ___ Follow Mark Kennedy on Twitter at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.