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Entries by Laurence Barber (9)

Tuesday
Mar 22 2016

Gus Van Sant's LGBT Rights Miniseries On ABC Gets Actressy

Laurencehere.Sea of Trees;remember that?2015 wasn't really Gus Van Sant's year,but it seems like he's looking for redeption by going back to his roots.Reuniting withMilkwriter,professional Sam Smith-brutaliser and Tom Daley-owner Dustin Lance Black,Van Sant will direct the first episode of ABC miniseriesWe Will Rise,which is set to follow a diverse group of activists involved in the LGBT+ rights movements.

Other details are scarce but judging by the characters involved,it seems set to centre around HIV/AIDS activism and a particular focus on lesbian activists,so often underrepresented in queer rights narratives,in San Francisco during the early years of the movement there.Guy Pearce has beencastas Cleve Jones,who was played by Emile Hirsch inMilk.And thus far,the cast isrounded outby Carrie Preston as Sally Miller Gearheart,Mary-Louise Parker as women's rights leader Roma Guy,and Rachel Griffiths as her wife,Diane Jones.

Given the ages of the characters now,we can expect this to be a period drama,with flashbacks - each character has a young actor cast to play their younger self.Yet to be cast are two hopefully prominent roles for people of colour: community organiser Ken Jones and trans HIV activist Cecilia Chung.So far it appears to be only straight actors cast in major roles,which may cause a PR problem for the show.

Nevertheless,the main characters are at least partially a corrective to the usual focal points of these stories.On paper,this could be a great miniseries,andAmerican Crimehas proved that ABC has been willing to put dimensional queer stories on screen.But with its champion,former ABC president Paul Lee,out the door,it may not quite be the same.

Who do you think we might see cast in the remaining roles?

Tuesday
Mar 15 2016

A Series of Unfortunate Casting Decisions

Laurencehere with some more casting news from the television world.When news broke in 2014 that Netflix would be adapting Lemony Snicket'sA Series of Unfortunate Eventsbooks into a series,it was exciting.The 2004 film adaptation never really struck a chord,nor was it successful enough to turn into theHarry Potter-esque franchise Nickelodeon wanted it to be.It was received relatively well,but it has become something of a pop culture footnote.

Television is a pretty natural place for an adaptation of a 13-book series,however,and Netflix's love of hurling absurd amounts of money at every algorithmically pleasing premise bade well for a new adaptation.

After a long time spent in 'talks',yesterday it wasfinally confirmedthat the actor cast to play Count Olaf in the series is...Neil Patrick Harris?Now,NPH has been doing solid work in proving his range post-HIMYM.He was enjoyably creepy inGone Girl,and his stint inHedwigon Broadway showed he could be,well,Hedwig.But whatever you think about Jim Carrey's performance as Olaf,he was nothing if not indelible.

But NPH as Count Olaf seems,well,a stretch.There's no denying that he has comic chops.But Olaf is an evil,strange,reptilian character,such that casting NPH makes the whole thing feel sanitised and kid-friendly.Add in the fact that their casting of Violet (Malina Weissman) and Klaus (Louis Hynes) seems to be both skewing younger than the film and strangely insistent on replicating the look of the film's stars,Emily Browning and Liam Aiken.

One bright spot,at least,is the casting of Patrick Warburton as Lemony Snicket,who was played by Jude Law in the film.But despite NPH's Halloween costume bona fides,Netflix could have been more creative.Imagine Kathy Najimy as a genderbent Countess Olaf.Imagine.

Perhaps the most curious aspect is that the series is set to be directed,at least at first,by Barry Sonnenfeld ofAddams Family Valuesfame,who was originally set to direct the film.At the time,he hired Daniel Handler (the writer behind the Snicket pen name) to adapt the books as a musical.Given that they have also cast two-time Tony nominee K.Todd Freeman,it will be interesting to find out if that's what we're going to get.But is that what the books deserve?

Tuesday
Mar 08 2016

Eva Green's Peculiar Children and Geena Davis Returning to TV

Laurencehere with a couple of juicy actress news tidbits.After a string of well-cast disappointments,we're all hoping for a return to Tim Burton magic this year with his new filmMiss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children.We finally have some images from the film,which has what might be Burton's most formidable (live-action) cast sinceBig Fish,including Judi Dench,Samuel L.Jackson,Allison Janney,Terence Stamp,Kim Dickens and Rupert Everett.Whoa.

Most importantly,though,here's Eva Green in the title role.[More...]

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Tuesday
Mar 01 2016

Oscar Telecast Ratings Hit Eight-Year Low

We're currently awash in Oscar numbers and statistics,but there's another Oscars number to be taken into account.亚博主页After much discussion of the Academy as an entity leading up to Sunday night,it seemed like public interest would be high going into the ceremony,particularly given the Leo narrative and some high-grossing nominees likeThe Revenant,The MartianandMad Max: Fury Road.But numbers for the Oscars telecast for this year have come in,亚博主页and the Chris Rock-hosted show fell 6 percent to34.3 million viewersin preliminary numbers and an eight-year ratings low...

If you haven't already read Kieran'sanalysisof Rock's hosting stint you definitely should,because he gets at a lot of reasons why the ceremony was so uneven and might have put people off watching.But the most telling aspect of the ceremony's ratings is that the 18-49 demographic only dropped 5 percent,which means that much of the lost audience was older viewers...

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