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'Supergirl' Snags Dean Cain & Helen Slater For 'Mystery Roles'

Filed under: TV News

"Supergirl" is ready to fly, and she's bringing some old pals with her. There's been a whole lot of casting announcements this week with regards to the upcoming CBS show, but the latest additions will give you all sorts of nostalgia feels.

According to Deadline, "Supergirl" has added Dean Cain and Helen Slater as guest stars in "mystery roles." If you know your DC history, you'll remember that Cain played Superman in "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures Of Superman," and Slater starred in "Supergirl" in 1984. Melissa Benoist will be starring as Kara Zor-El in the TV show, alongside Mehcad Brooks as Jimmy Olsen, Calista Flockhart as Kara's boss Cat Grant, Laura Benanti as Kara's mom, Chyler Leigh as Kara's foster sis Alexandra, and David Harewood as baddie Hank Henshaw.

Several sites have posted casting calls for body doubles for a TV pilot that sounds awfully like "Supergirl." The posts indicate filming will begin in March.

[Via Deadline]

Check Out Two New Clips From 'Game of Thrones' (VIDEO)

Game of Thrones
Winter is already here for plenty of us - in fact, it feels like it won't be over by the time "Game of Thrones" returns on April 12. In any case, it's almost time to return to the Seven Kingdoms!

HBO has released two more tiny tastes of the fifth season for fans and armchair experts to pore over. Both clips have the eerie look of Bran's Sight, which makes sense since that's the theme of HBO's whole ad campaign for the fifth season. The first clip shows Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) telling Podrick Payne (Daniel Portman) to stop following her around like a little puppy. "The good lords are dead, and the rest are monsters," she tells him, not without good reason.

The second is a scene between Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and Mance Rayder (Ciarán Hinds). Mance doesn't mince words, which means if you're at work or around wee ones, you might want to put on your headphones to listen.

Check 'em out.

'Boardwalk Empire's Jack Huston Could Be Our New 'Crow'

Filed under: Movies
Jack Huston at the 86th Annual Academy Awards - Red Carpet
Much like Eric Draven himself, the remake of "The Crow" just won't die. The movie has been in limbo for years, with seemingly countless directors and stars attached, but with a director and script in place, it's time to find their leading man.

Deadline is reporting that Jack Huston, who played war vet Richard Harrow in "Boardwalk Empire," is in early talks with Relativity to star as the comic book protagonist. In James O'Barr's beloved graphic novel, Draven returns from the dead to get revenge on the guys who murdered him and his beloved fiancé Shelly on Devil's Night. The two were to be married the next day - on Halloween, natch. The role was made famous by Brandon Lee, who was accidentally killed during filming. Sequels to "The Crow" were dismal, but the original is a spooky '90s classic.

Huston has a ton of high-profile projects coming up, such as "The Longest Ride," "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies," and "Ben-Hur," which he's currently filming. Whether or not this bird will fly remains to be seen.

The film will begin filming this spring, with a script by Cliff Dorfman ("Warrior") and Corin Hardy ("The Hallow") in the director's chair. [Deadline]

Chris Hemsworth Is Excited to Make Thor Funny Again in 'Avengers: Age of Ultron'

Filed under: Interviews, Movies
The first thing that you need to know about actually meeting Chris Hemsworth is that he's huge. Like the kind of huge that you imagine him having to turn sideways to fit through doorframes. He is every bit the god that he plays in the Marvel movies and on the day we were visiting the set, he stood side-by-side his stunt double and for size and height and muscle mass, easily dwarfed him. Chris Hemsworth does not mess around. And in "Avengers: Age of Ultron," he really means business.

For most of the day we got to watch a scene where Hemsworth, as mighty Norse warrior Thor, was battling The Vision, a new character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (portrayed by Paul Bettany, who up until this point had been heard but not seen in the MCU as the voice of Tony Stark's electronic butler Jarvis). Bettany looked amazing, with purple skin and a really cool costume (augmented, by the looks of the visual effects technicians that scrambled around behind him, with a computer-generated cape). And since they were fighting it seemed that Vision, a creation of this movie's titular villain, had yet to embrace his inner heroism and was, at present, still very bad. Still, if it's anybody who can put a super-powered robot in his place, it's probably Thor. Hemsworth described what they were filming as "a big fight scene" and you could tell just by looking at the set.

When he was asked about his first reaction to the script, Hemsworth was just excited. "It was awesome," Hemsworth said. "I mean you know, coming off of 'Thor 2' and 'Avengers,' I couldn't wait to read this. And I just loved how it upped it in a way that wasn't just bigger and flashier." Hemsworth then clarified: "I mean everything had been amplified but in an intelligent way. All the stories are relevant to what's going on in the world as far as the exponential growth of technology and artificial intelligence and then the questions of you know good versus bad in the AI world." Of course, as always, Joss Whedon, who wrote and directed both "Avengers" movies and has largely overseen the goings-on in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, is to thank. "He's managed to bring all of the Avengers back in and give them a relevant reason to be there and justified sort of conflict. I mean it's a tricky balance. I'm glad I'm not the one writing the thing and having to pull that off."

Since so much of the first "Avengers" dealt with Thor battling his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston), the question was raised as to how Thor fits into the larger Avengers universe in this film. "I mean we put up with Thor having stayed on Earth from 'Thor 2.' So he's here. He's part of the team. This is his home for the moment," Hemsworth explained. "The initial attack from Ultron is personal because it's at all the Avengers and Thor then begins to see a bigger picture here about what this threat could be potentially." That's right folks: Ultron could be endangering Asgard too (later Hemsworth said that the "third act" points him back towards Asgard and that – gasp! – Loki might be involved since it's "all too convenient").

One of the great joys about watching Thor on the big screen is seeing how out-of-place he is amongst the modern world, considering he comes from a far away, nearly fairly tale land. When someone asked him about what Thor will get to do in this film that he hasn't gotten to do before, Hemsworth explained that he's not quite as uptight as he used to be. "He's loosened up a bit," Hemsworth said... but then he doubled-down on what he liked about the character in the first place. "I think we lost some of the humor and the naïveté and the fish out of water quality of Thor from the first film into the second one. Joss I think felt the same way. So there's more humor in Thor or he at least because he's been on earth, he's a little more humor, a little more accessible now. He's off Asgard now so he doesn't have to be as regal and kingly as he is in that world, which is nice." Although not too accessible. When someone pitched a scene showing Thor and Natalie Portman's character going to the movies, Hemsworth lit up. "Yes, I pitched that!" he exclaimed. Then, somewhat sullenly: "But no." (Later Hemsworth said the character was "not dressed in his own guardian attire" and is "more human.")

Considering this was at least a few months before anybody had seen anything from the movie (and the production was quite coy about actually showing us anything even while we were on the set), the question about Thor's costume came up. To which Hemsworth explained that the costume had only been "tweaked" and that, unlike some of the other Avengers, Tony Stark hasn't gifted Thor with any upgrades. Still he admitted that Iron Man is his favorite Avenger. "I love watching Robert work in this setting," Hemsworth said.

Of course, some of the funniest and most memorable moments from the first film were the scenes in which Hemsworth's Thor faced off against Mark Ruffalo's Hulk. Sadly, Hemsworth informed us that they're "not as conflicted as we were before." Still, he pointed to the "lengthy" fight scene between Hulk and Iron Man that will satisfy fans of the Thor/Hulk dynamic from the first one.

One new addition to the team that Hemsworth really seemed to savor was James Spader as Ultron. "It's awesome," Hemsworth said. "It shakes things up because you get comfortable. You get into a rhythm or a routine and you think you know it." Still, the introduction of someone like Spader shakes that all up. "Until that's challenged you kind of go oh, yeah, that's right there is another option here and you know we keep changing it. And this new cast breaks the familiar rhythm that we may have and makes it a bit more unpredictable."

The question came up of how things are going to close out for Thor, since Hemsworth's contract is nearing its conclusion (he's got one more stand-alone "Thor" movie and one more "Avengers" outing). Turns out Hemsworth is just as curious as we were. "I have asked the question but the truth is no one has the answer yet. We don't know how it's going to end and the biggest concern is this one here, more so than two or three films in time. I know that I'm sure they are coming up with ideas and attempting to kind of have some kind of arrangement that five or six years down the track they go okay, this is where we're heading but they don't tell us until the day before usually." Oh and if you think this is an exaggeration, it's not. Even on a film as complicated and laborious as "Avengers: Age of Ultron," things are just sprung on him. "Like this fight scene we learned this morning," Hemsworth said. And we all laughed nervously.

Even before the infamous Comic Con footage that showed our heroes bruised up, bloodied, and beaten to a pulp, there was discussion about how the new character Scarlett Witch (played by Elizabeth Olsen) would be able to tap into the deepest, darkest fears of each Avenger and bring those fears to terrifying life. Hemsworth confirmed that Thor would be a victim of her magical mind games as well. "It certainly creates a conflict," Hemsworth said. "It's more in their individual selves rather than the team so much. I think they'll begin to have their fears held up in front of them and, and for Thor I think it's a corruption of power." The psychic stuff sounds like it's the escalation of the physical combat, too. With all of them having so much power and having the understanding that we're in this endless battle here. Even though the scene was being rewritten at the moment, so he didn't know what exactly it would look like in the final film (and he even suggested we ask Joss about it instead of him), Hemsworth admitted its significance. "It kicks in motion his movement. That's where he really starts to move through the story. Once that dream occurs he goes, I can see what's coming and my fear could be true. So yea it's a ticking clock."

And right now the only ticking clock is the clock until "Avengers: Age of Ultron" is released on May 1st – on Earth and on Asgard.

Leonard Nimoy Dead at Age 83

Filed under: Movies, TV News

There are few characters, in any cultural medium, as immediately identifiable as Spock from the original "Star Trek," with his bowl cut, sharp elfish ears, and laser-like eyebrows, his signature greeting ("Live long and prosper"), complete with hand gesture as recognizable as anything a boy scout would offer, and his emotionally detached, coolly logical way of gauging any situation, no matter how fearsome. Spock was an immortal character, authored by Gene Roddenberry, but it was the actor who brought him to life, Leonard Nimoy, that made that character a staple of the pop cultural landscape for decades. Today Mr. Nimoy passed away at the age of 83. He will be missed on this and many other planets.

Nimoy will always be remembered as Spock, both on the original "Star Trek" TV series and in a number of feature films, including the two most recent "Star Trek" outings directed by J.J. Abrams, where he coyly interacted with the younger version of the character now played by Zachary Quinto. (In recent years Nimoy also appeared on Abrams' outré sci-fi series "Fringe.") He was a poet, an author, and appeared on stage frequently. He directed the "Body Wars" attraction at the now defuct Wonders of Life pavilion in EPCOT. He appeared as himself on "The Simpsons," reenacting his role as host of the pseudo-documentary series "In Search Of." He was on "Mission: Impossible" for two seasons. He pretty much did it all.

What's so fascinating about Nimoy and his characterization of Spock is that Spock was supposed to be the logical, uninvolved voice of reason for the series, as opposed to Captain Kirk's more full-hearted (but oftentimes misguided) pursuits. But it was really Nimoy's performance as Spock that gave the series its heart. Roddenberry called Nimoy the "conscious of the show." But that's not right, exactly. Because somehow, with Nimoy's performance, the character with the least amount of emotion became the one you loved the most. There's a reason that Abrams went to Nimoy when rebooting the popular series; he knew that without Nimoy, there was no "Star Trek."

'Two and a Half Men,' 'Parks and Recreation,' and How to End a Series

Filed under: TV News

I don't envy any showrunner who has to write a series finale, especially after observing the very different reactions over the past few days to the final episodes of "Two and a Half Men" and "Parks and Recreation."

Consensus on the former seems to be outrage mixed with bafflement, while response to the latter seems to have been copious tears mixed with warm fuzzies.

Looking at both finales, however, it appears each long-running sitcom ended with an episode that was true to what the series was about. The literally cartoonish "Two and a Half Men" finale, which (spoiler alert) wrapped with pianos being dropped on both the characters and on creator Chuck Lorre, was a fittingly nihilistic send-off for a show that seemed to find all its characters loathsome and had little regard for the humanity of any of them, except insofar as Lorre could use them for punching bags and punchlines. Meanwhile, the "Parks" ending, which borrowed a page from the "Six Feet Under" finale and showed flash-forwards of the characters' distant futures, stayed true to the show's earnest message: when you work together as a team, everyone benefits.

Sure, critics complained that the "Men" finale spent too much time rehashing Lorre's behind-the-scenes clashes with Charlie Sheen, who's been off the show for four years already, and who declined to return for a farewell episode so relentlessly devoted to degrading his character. But then, this was a series where everyone was degraded. "Men" spent 12 years pushing the envelope on acceptable topics for family-hour comedy (yeah, it pushed the envelope downward, but it did push it). And in the finale, which was full of characters breaking the fourth wall to comment on the show's admitted crassness, and which contained an animated flashback sequence, the show pushed the envelope in form as well as content. With Lorre having spent 12 years lampooning these characters as crudely as possible, did critics really expect him to start pretending now that he cared (or that viewers should care) how their narrative journey wrapped?

Even "Parks" earned some critical grumbles as it hit the home stretch. Critics complained that the final season has been one long flash-forward (taking place in 2017) and extended farewell, with each character getting an episode to wrap his or her storyline. Elements of the season felt contrived (like the last-minute conflict between Leslie and Ron). The whole season seemed like a drawn-out funeral for someone not quite dead yet, heavy on the tears and light on the laughs, playing out like the last hour of "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the KIng," with one climactic goodbye after another. And yet, how else would you expect the show to go out? The series created an elaborate fictional universe in Pawnee, Indiana, a small-town community populated with vivid eccentrics who were also recognizably human in their desires, fears, and dreams. It took some time and preparation to give everyone their due; the series' heart-on-its-sleeve sincerity all but demanded that.

The complaints about both shows' finales stem from more than just the flaws in those last episodes. They're a natural by-product of the problematic nature of any TV finale. As longtime viewers of a series, we ultimately want to feel like we haven't wasted our years-long investments of time and emotional energy. We remember how we felt at the end of, say, "Seinfeld" (where the finale suggested that we were chumps for liking these moral monsters for so long), or "Dexter" (he becomes a lumberjack? Really?), or "How I Met Your Mother" (who conveniently died shortly after viewers met her, just so Ted could go back to Robin after all these years?), and we bristle at the notion that another series ending might make us feel the same sense of frustration and outrage.

But it's no easier for the writers. They're working in a medium built on open-ended narrative, one that's not designed for closure, Over the years, showrunners have tried to confront this inherent difficulty. David Chase simply refused to provide closure in "The Sopranos" (though you could read the infamous blackout ending as an acknowledgement that Tony would never feel secure, that he'd always be looking over his shoulder at the likely possibilities of arrest or assassination, and that this was how he'd have to live the rest of his life, which might just end in one more moment). Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse explained many of the mysteries of "Lost" in the final episode, though not all of them, and (as they surely knew) not enough to satisfy everyone.

Still, the notion that every show has to wrap in a tidy package that ties up all loose ends and offers viewers a cathartic sense of closure persists. Which is curious. Not just because such a finale is nearly impossible to write, but also because of the vogue over the past-decade for innovative, antihero-centered shows that offer no promise of moral uplift or just desserts. That other HBO saga of Jersey mobsters, "Boardwalk Empire," ended last fall with the murder of protagonist Nucky Thompson, and that definite sense of closure was far less satisfying than the ambiguity of "The Sopranos." True, "Breaking Bad" creator Vince Gilligan did figure out a way to satisfy viewers' contradictory impulses to see Walter White both punished and redeemed, but that finale seems more the exception than the rule.

There are precedents, though, for crafting a finale that is both open-ended and climactically final, and both "Two and a Half Men" and "Parks and Recreation" drew upon these precedents. "Men" seemed to take its cue from the "Seinfeld" finale, whose point was, in part, that the show's characters had neither learned nor grown in nine years and were left stuck in the same pointless conversation that they were having in the pilot episode. "Parks" borrowed not just from "Six Feet Under"'s flash-forward finale (which implied that the characters had full lives yet to lead, even while showing us how each of them would die, which made sense in a series about death), but also from the last episode of "M*A*S*H." That, too, offered a seemingly endless series of individual adieus (the episode ran two and a half hours and was titled, "Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen"), which seemed fitting after 11 seasons spent with many of them, while hinting at the future each character would face as veterans of the Korean War. The "M*A*S*H" finale was the most-watched episode of scripted television in American history, so it must have done something right.

To the extent that the finales of "Two and a Half Men" and "Parks and Recreation" built on those precedents to wrap the series in a way that was true to each show's world view (cynicism and optimism), that reflected the way each show insisted on operating by its own rules, and that offered a sense of finality without filling in all the blanks, both endings have to be considered successes. And if we wanted more from these finales, maybe we should ask ourselves why we watched these shows for so many years, and what emotional needs they fulfilled for us.

Harrison Ford Officially Returns to 'Blade Runner,' New Director Named

Filed under: Movies

It's a good day to be a replicant: "Blade Runner," one of the most beloved and highly influential science fiction films of all time, will finally be getting its long-discussed sequel, set to shoot in the summer of 2016. And what's more – Harrison Ford will be back as futuristic private eye Rick Deckard in a story set "several decades" after the original film.

And, to add icing onto the cake, the producers have picked out probably the best filmmaker for this material not named Ridley Scott (and depending on your thoughts on Scott's return to the "Alien" franchise, "Prometheus," this could be a better choice) – "Prisoners" filmmaker Denis Villeneuve. In short: this movie is going to be awesome.

The press release laid out several more details, including that the screenplay for the new film was written by Michael Green and Hampton Fancher (who co-wrote the original film), from a story by Fancher and Ridley Scott (who will stay on to executive produce) and that, according to producer Andrew Kosgrove, the new film is a "uniquely potent and faithful sequel to one of the most universally celebrated films of all time." We'll take it!

Villeneuve is, if you are behind in the times, one of the great filmmakers working today, having crafted, in addition to the crackerjack "Prisoners," the wonderfully bizarre Jake Gyllenhaal thriller "Enemy," the Acadmy Award-nominated "Incendies," and the upcoming "Sicario," starring Emily Blunt and Benicio del Toro, set to be released this fall. His eye for detail and dark vision should perfectly align with the meticulous world that Ridley Scott created in 1982. Get ready for the future, people.

Olivia Wilde Facts: 10 Things You (Probably) Don't Know About the Actress

Filed under: Movies, Trivia

Olivia Wilde has gone from 19-year-old bride to "O.C." bombshell to "House" doctor, and she's just hit her thirties. Now the young actress adds something new to the list: returning from the dead. In her new horror movie, "The Lazarus Effect," she plays a medical researcher brought back to life.

From her rockstar encounter as a toddler to her big-name ancestor, here are 10 things you probably don't know about Olivia Wilde.

[Sources: IMDb, Wikipedia]

Olivia Wilde Facts

Mark Duplass on 'Lazarus Effect' and Turning Down 'Huge Movies' (EXCLUSIVE)

Filed under: Interviews, Movies
Mark Duplass Lazarus Effect InterviewQuite frankly, it's shocking that Mark Duplass had time to film a lead role in this weekend's supernatural shocker "The Lazarus Effect." After all, he stars in a well-regarded cable show ("The League") and writes, directs, and stars in his own series for HBO ("Togetherness"), while appearing in or co-directing or producing one out of every three movies that debuts at Sundance or South by Southwest (things like "Safety Not Guaranteed," "The One I Love," "Creep," etc.) and filming bits in high profile studio movies (everything from "Zero Dark Thirty" to "Tammy"). Homeboy is busy.

In "The Lazarus Effect," though, he plays a character who might have even more on his mind than Duplass himself, as a grad school scientist working on a new serum that can bring people back from the dead. When his wife and fellow scientist (played by Olivia Wilde) is killed during an experiment, he makes the decision to use the serum on her... and things go horribly, horribly wrong.

We got to chat with Duplass on the phone about why he likes horror movies so much, where his acoustic version of the old HBO theme song came from, how he decides what projects to tackle, and why he won't admit that he had to turn down "Jurassic World" even though we all know that he totally did (it was directed by his "Safety Not Guaranteed" collaborator Colin Trevorrow).

Moviefone: You certainly have an affinity for these types of movies. Where does that come from and do you want to do direct one of these movies?

Mark Duplass: Well, you know, we've flirted with the horror genre a little bit. There's a movie called "Baghead" that I directed in 2008 that's kind of touching on that genre a little bit. I grew up watching cheesy horror movies in the late '80s after going to the mall with my friends. So there was always a deep love and appreciation for it. As a director, I've gravitated to more emotionally sensitive dramedies but there's always been this interest in me to explore all types of genres, not just horror movies. I'm lucky to be at a point in my career where I'm asked to be in a movie like "Lazarus Effect." Part of the reason I haven't done a lot of this stuff before isn't me not wanting to be in them but not having the profile to get those cool jobs.

What was the appeal of "Lazarus Effect" specifically? It seems indebted to some of those '80s horror movies you mention, particularly "Flatliners."

Oh for sure. I saw "Flatliners" in the theater. But mostly it was a desire to be a lead in a movie for Jason Blum and to work with David Gelb. When I met with him I was a huge fan of "Jiro Dreams of Sushi" but what's to say -- a guy who directs a really slow-paced food documentary can make a slick horror movie. But then I realized that he's one of our country's premiere trailer cutters and directs a bunch of commercials so I thought, This is good – this guy can do slick and he can do heart. And if I'm going to take a chance on a horror movie, Blumhouse + David Gelb is the train I want to hitch myself to.

The movie is currently PG-13. Was there ever a version of the movie that was harsher?

All of these movies are built to go one way or the other. But when we were making this movie, we all felt that because of the DNA of the film, because the script really obeys the horror genre really well and has all the elements that would allow for it to be a 3,000-screen movie, it would be smart of us to make a PG-13 movie. I'm a big fan of reverse engineering your art to something that can be successful. To me that's less selling out and more buying in and being intelligent about what is going to get the most eyeballs on your stuff. I do the same thing with my independent films. I think it's smart to have a little business sense about you. That's part of what I love about Blumhouse. But we all had our eyes on this thing be a bigger play and PG-13 was a big part of that.

And I'm sure there'll be a slightly scarier version on Blu-ray.

I bet there will! I can't be sure but there could be something!

Can you talk about working with this ensemble?

Yeah, the goal was really simple: when you're normally dealing with a high concept, like, say, bringing people back from the dead, it's usually set in the future where people are wearing all shiny black leather and they talk strange and they don't feel human. So we were like, if we have any take on this at all, it's that these people should feel normal and kind of dorky, like a group of researchers and in an ideal world it will connect people more closely to what they're going through.

Not to give too much away but the ending of the movie certainly leaves the possibility open for a sequel. Would you come back?

That's a really great question. To be honest with you, I haven't even thought about it. But anytime there'd be a team like David and these actors and Jason doing anything together, I'd definitely have to think about it.

You did another Blumhouse horror movie before this called "Mercy." It's finally on Netflix but was very much shelved. What was that experience like and did that experience color your interaction with Blumhouse?

I see what you're saying. But no. Jason called me up and said, "I've lost an actor, want to come do this thing for three days and it starts shooting in 20 minutes." And I was like, "F*ck yeah I'll do it." So I had no emotional attachment to that movie whatsoever. I have a long history with Jason Blum and we're good friends and we see the industry in similar ways. We both believe that movies should be made cheaply and being aggressive and taking chances. I'm very much ideologically aligned with Blumhouse. As much as our content looks extremely different, from a philosophical standpoint we could be twins.

There was another horror movie you did last year called "Creep," which I saw at South by Southwest and loved. When the Weinstein Company picked it up there was talk that it was going to be the beginning of a trilogy. Do you know what's going on with that?

We're figuring it all out right now. There's still a desire from all of us to do this thing as a trilogy but since then my life has kind of exploded, and Patrick Brice, who directed that movie, has kind of exploded as well. So we're all trying to figure out the timing of when we can get that thing done. The love is still there. The schedule is starting to be a bit of a problem. But we're in the middle of it.

You're always working. How do you decide what to do? And how do you delegate your time between projects?

It's changing on a year-by-year basis. It used to be what can I get. Like, "What can I get? Yeah I'll do it." But now I'm getting to this point in my career, just to be candid, where I have to turn down things because I don't have enough time for them. And that's crazy. The things I've had to say no to in the past year have, quite honestly, been heartbreaking, just because I'm on "The League," I have "Togetherness" to do, I have four Netflix movies that I'm producing, I have all my Sundance movies. I have a full slate. So it's changing for me right now and I'm looking at carving out a little more time for those cool acting projects. Like spending a week doing "Zero Dark Thirty" was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life and I'm actively looking to do more things like that.

Can you talk about some of the things you turned down? Did you turn down "Jurassic World"?

I can't really talk about it because I feel weird for the actors who ended up taking them because most directors say, "You're my first choice." And that would be really weird. But I will definitely say that there have been some huge movies that I've had to say no to that if I knew that five years ago I would think, What the f*ck are you doing? And that is a growing pain of where I'm at right now. That said, I get to do so much amazing stuff. Being able to make "Togetherness" with my brother and some of my best friends and to be on "The League" with some of the funniest people on the planet who are also some of my best friends and to get to produce movies for people like Patrick and foster their careers, like I am so lucky. And you don't get to do everything.

Didn't you shoot all of "Togetherness" before even turning it into HBO?

Yes we did. My brother and I write and direct all of the episodes of the show and we make it like an independent film where we shoot and edit it all ourselves. And they're incredibly supportive. We're ramping up Season 2 right now and we're going to do it the same way.

One of the great joys of "Togetherness" coming out was that great HBO theme song you guys did. Where did that come from?

You're talking about the dumbest thing we've ever done that was actually kind of fun. Well, Jay and I played in bands growing up, always, and one of our joke things we used to do when we were the Indigo Boys, basically two dudes playing acoustic guitars in coffee shops, in the middle of a set we would break out the HBO theme song and slowly people would realize it was happening and every time we did it we would blow the place up. So we were trying to think of something special to honor our 30 year love and commitment and marriage to HBO and it seemed like the right thing.

"The Lazarus Effect" is in theaters now.

13 Reasons Why Elizabeth Taylor Is Still the Queen of Hollywood

Filed under: Movies
Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton Arrive in New York CityIt's time to raise your glass and rattle your jewelry for a birthday toast to Elizabeth Taylor, who'd have turned 83 on Feb. 27. Though memories of her begin to fade, the legacy of the woman who was perhaps the most beautiful, most popular, most everything movie star of all time remains as vivid as ever.

Younger moviegoers may wonder what all the fuss was about. Here, then, are 13 reasons why Taylor remains, decades after her prime and four years after her death, the queen of Hollywood.

1. In a way, she never left.
Even though she died in 2011, they're still showing her in commercials for her perfume, White Diamonds.

2. She's the original diva.
Long before Beyonce, the Kardashians, Jennifer Lopez, and other current divas, Taylor pretty much invented the concept that a celebrity's offscreen life was just as much a performance as onscreen, and just as much part of the job description. The eight marriages, the health scares, the world-class collection of jewels given to her by various suitors, the money, the philanthropy, the scandals, and the seven decades' worth of paparazzi photos -- all informed her day job of creating larger-than-life characters on stage and screen, but they also burnished her legend. In the end, it became impossible to separate her drama on-screen from her drama off-screen. But separating them would have been beside the point. Over the last three decades of her life, she hardly acted at all, and yet she never stopped entertaining fans and endearing herself to them with the outsized performance that was her life.

3. She had the talent to back it up.
The phrase "famous for being famous" may describe some of the personalities mentioned above, maybe even Taylor herself in her later years. But the reason people were fascinated by her in the first place was that she had the talent to back up her lifelong fame. She was delivering acclaimed performances from the time she was 12, and she eventually had two Oscars to prove she was more than just a pretty face

4. She was an original beauty.
But oh, what a face! Taylor was considered one of the most beautiful women who ever lived, from her adolescent years to her cougarhood 50 years later (she was in her sixties during her marriage to Husband No 8, Larry Fortensky, 20 years her junior). Even in her later years, as time finally began to take its toll, she still had those fiery violet eyes.

5. Her work is iconic.
Taylor's earliest great performance was in "National Velvet," made when she was 11. Released 71 years ago, it remains the definitive girl-and-her-horse movie.

6. She and Eddie Fisher were the original Brangelina...
Sixty years ago, "Singin' in the Rain" star Reynolds was America's sweetheart, and heartthrob crooner Fisher was her husband. They were best friends with the Todds -- that is producer Mike Todd and Taylor (Todd was her third husband). When Todd died in a plane crash, Liz found consolation in the arms of Fisher; soon he was leaving Reynolds to become Taylor's fourth husband. As you can imagine, in the 1950s, this was an especially lurid scandal, but one that only added to the star power of all three principals.

7. She had no shortage of scandals.
And yet, that scandal paled next to the one that arose when Taylor left Fisher for Richard Burton. They met on the set of "Cleopatra," when he was playing Mark Antony to her Egyptian queen. Over the course of the film's months-long shoot, while both stars were staying in Rome with their spouses, Taylor and Burton fell in love. Their affair was the worst-kept secret in show business, openly carried out in front of Europe's paparazzi. Even the Vatican felt compelled to weigh in, condemning the Taylor for what it deemed her "erotic vagrancy." (Burton apparently got a Papal pass for his erotic vagrancy.) Over the next 23 years (until Burton's death in 1984), Liz and Dick would marry and divorce twice and capitalize on their notoriety in a dozen joint film appearances and (long after their second divorce) a Broadway play. More than half a century later, the "Cleopatra" coupling remains the most scandalous on-set romance of all-time;

8. She commanded the screen -- and demanded a big paycheck.
By the way, "Cleopatra" is often remembered as the costliest flop of all time, which isn't entirely fair. Yes, the cost of the 1963 epic spiraled out of control; budgeted at $2 million -- half of which went to Taylor, who became the first actress to command a seven-figure salary -- the film ultimately cost $33 million to shoot. It became the top grossing movie of 1963, but even that wasn't enough to recoup the movie's enormous production and marketing costs. Twentieth Century Fox nearly went bankrupt and sold off much of its Hollywood backlot to developers (today, it's the Century City neighborhood). Still, all that glorious excess is visible in every grandiose frame of the film. Of course, no spectacle in the movie is as over-the-top as Taylor herself, her voluptuous frame nearly spilling out of each of her 65 costumes (a record for costume changes that stood until Madonna played Eva Peron in "Evita" 33 years later). Her Cleopatra was a regal femme fatale who manipulated the most powerful men in the world and demanded to be adored. No wonder Angelina Jolie wants to remake it.

9. She had a hand in a Hollywood revolution.
Taylor helped end 35 years of Hollywood censorship with her Oscar-winning "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" performance. The 1966 adaptation of Edward Albee's play, starring the Burtons as a boozy, brawling couple (typecasting?), broke new ground in exploration of adult themes and in risqué language. The decision to release the film with those elements intact -- and the commercial success and Oscars that resulted -- effectively destroyed the Production Code that had sanitized Hollywood films since the early 1930s, leading to the adoption in 1968 of the ratings system we have now. The film also launched the movie career of Mike Nichols as an A-list director, a career that would include such landmarks over the next 40 years as "The Graduate," "Silkwood," "Working Girl," and "The Birdcage." Even today, "Woolf" retains its shocking power and remains Taylor's finest performance.

10. She was fearless.
Back when no one else dared, she was the first person in Hollywood to start raising money to fight AIDS. Inspired by the predicament of her ailing friend and "Giant" co-star Rock Hudson, Taylor co-founded the American Foundation for AIDS Research (AmFar) and the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation. Today, AIDS activism is no big deal, but back in 1985, when AIDS and its patients were subject to routine homophobia and paranoid fear, Liz was out there on the line by her lonesome.

11. We're still fascinated by her.
Proof that her life story was as compelling as her screen performances has come in a number of made-for-TV movies about her. Most recent is 2013's "Burton and Taylor," starring Helena Bonham Carter as Liz and Dominic West as Dick. No doubt there will be more; the fascination won't end anytime soon.

12. She has a lasting movie legacy.
If it ever does, though, there will still be the movies. People will always be able to go back to "National Velvet," "Father of the Bride," "A Place in the Sun," "Giant," "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," "Cleopatra," "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf," and many others, and they'll be reminded of just how striking she was, as a woman, as an actress, as a camera subject.

13. We'll never stop talking about her.
Through those performances as strong women yearning for affection and appreciation, through her tabloid life, and through her charitable efforts to de-stigmatize some of the most shunned people in the world, Taylor essentially sparked a worldwide conversation that's gone on for decades, on the topic of what it means to love. Who today can unite people around the world and get them to ponder that question? There's no one who can do that like she could, and that's why Taylor will continue to loom large in our imaginations and Hollywood fantasies for years to come.

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