A grand jury indicted Jussie Smollett on 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct for falsely reporting that he was assaulted by two men who, he claimed, targeted the Empire actor because he is black and gay. The two men later told police that Smollett paid them to stage the attack as a publicity stunt that Smollett hoped would land him a raise. Smollett will be arraigned on Tuesday. From the Chicago Sun Times:
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The indictment, which was made public on Friday, cites Smollett with disorderly conduct for each crime he said he had suffered, with separate counts related to statements he made the night of Jan. 29 to a police officer, and then for repeating the same account to a detective the same night. The charges all are Class 4 felonies, the lowest category of felony offense under Illinois law...
In a statement, Smollett’s attorney Mark Geragos said while the indictment is “not unexpected…What is unexpected however, is the prosecutorial overkill in charging 16 separate counts.”
“This redundant and vindictive indictment is nothing more than a desperate attempt to make headlines in order to distract from the internal investigation launched to investigate the outrageous leaking of false information by the Chicago Police Department and the shameless and illegal invasion of Jussie’s privacy in tampering with his medical records. Jussie adamantly maintains his innocence even if law enforcement has robbed him of that presumption.”
All in the form of signature character Richard Sharpe — add Ed Stark and we'd be here all weekend. Read the rest
I really enjoyed these two interviews on the D&D Beyond channel with actors Deborah Ann Woll (True Blood, Daredevil) and Joe Manganiello (True Blood, Justice League, Magic Mike), both D&D fanatics. In Deborah's interview, she talks about how she got started in the hobby, what kind of characters she likes to play (fighters, surprisingly enough), and her thoughts on the current D&D renaissance.
One interesting observation she makes about RPGs as a unique form of acting/theater: When a party saves a character or survives an ordeal, or otherwise experiences a dramatic moment, there's often an intense, visceral response from the players that she says she doesn't experience in any other type of acting. As an actor, she longs to evoke this kind of response in people, so that's one of the things that draws her to D&D.
In the Joe Manganiello video, we get a tour of his E. Gary Gygax Memorial Dungeon (think: MTV Cribs for nerds) and hear about how he got back into the hobby after a long hiatus and how he went about converting his basement wine cellar into this enviable game space. The large dragon, beholder, and mind flayer sculptures are very cool. Joe also talks about the impact that D&D had on him as a kid and how he learned foundational skills in storytelling, world-building, and acting that he later employed as a professional actor. D&D was his gateway drug.
In mid-December of 2018, Geek & Sundry announced a new D&D-themed show, coming in February, starring Deborah Woll. Read the rest
Cast as Geralt in the forthcoming adaptation of The Witcher, Henry Cavill seems to be undergoing an unsettling realization in his first costume test as the monster-hunting master swordsman. Here's a still frame:
I can only imagine Julian Sands checking his phone and nodding sagely and saying "Yep, I made this mistake too. This. Exact. Mistake." Read the rest
As we make our way through the Lost In Space reboot on Netflix (or not), let's honor the late, great Jonathan Harris who stole the original series as the prissily menacing Dr. Zachary Smith.
"(Smith) was written as a deep-dyed, snarling villain, and he bored the shit out of me," Harris said.
(Thanks, Bob Pescovitz!) Read the rest
R. Lee Ermey, the retired U.S. Marine whose portrayal of shrieking, sadistic Sergeant Hartman in Full Metal Jacket became the gold standard for movie drill instructors, is dead at 74. The magic show is yet to be scheduled.
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The Kanas native was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for his memorable performance in “Full Metal Jacket,” immortalizing lines like “What is your major malfunction?” He also voiced the little green army man Sarge in the “Toy Story” films and played a helicopter pilot in “Apocalypse Now,” among many other roles.
Harry Dean Stanton, who starred in Repo Man, Twin Peaks, Alien and many other movies and TV shows, is dead at 91.
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Stanton also led his own band, first known as Harry Dean Stanton and the Repo Men and later simply as the Harry Dean Stanton Band, and would play pickup gigs in L.A. area clubs. Bob Dylan, with whom he worked on Sam Peckinpah’s 1973 film “Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid,” was a friend. Another friend was Hunter S. Thompson, and Stanton sang at his funeral.
The character actor was the subject of two documentaries: 2011’s “Harry Dean Stanton: Crossing Mulholland” and Sophie Huber’s 2013 “Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction,” which featured interviews with Wenders, Shepard, Kris Kristofferson, and Lynch.
Over the weekend, Jim Carrey gave a deeply weird interview while at New York Fashion Week. Watch it above. “There is no me,” he said. “There are just things happening and there are clusters of tetrahedrons moving around together.” Below, he explains what he was saying. Kinda. Not really. And I love it.
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Actor John Hurt, famous for his gravelly-yet-vulnerable voice and craggy appearance, is reported dead at 77. Known for his roles in Alien, Elephant Man, Nineteen-Eighty Four, Doctor Who and the Harry Potter series, Hurt was knighted in 2015 for services to Drama and won two Golden Globes, four Baftas and two Academy Award nominations. Read the rest
Actress Florence Henderson, most famous as "iconic matriarch" Carol Brady and recent turns on Dancing with the Stars, is dead at 82.
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"We are heartbroken to announce the passing of our dear mother Florence Henderson from Heart Failure," the Henderson family said in a statement. "On this day of thanks, our beloved mother was surrounded by her devoted children and dearest friends. We thank all of her fans for their many years of love and ask that we be allowed to grieve in private.
Russian premier Vladimir Putin welcomes a new Russian to the motherland: Steven Seagal, the martial artist, ponytail aficionado, and star of countless popular action movies.
"He has made requests about citizenship for a long time and quite persistently," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted as saying by news agency RIA Novosti.
Under the Russian constitution, the president has authority over "issues of citizenship of the Russian Federation and the granting of asylum."
That means that Seagal automatically became a Russian citizen as soon as the decree was published, and he doesn't have to officially accept it. There was no immediate known reaction from Seagal.
I made a Steven Seagal movie generator once, but other people have made better ones since. Read the rest
Released in 1957, Co*Star: The Record Acting Game was a series of 15 vinyl LPs with recordings of actors and other celebrities like Vincent Price, Talulah Bankhead, and Don Ameche performing one role in two-character scenes from movies, plays, and novels. Each record contained a script and you were supposed to act opposite the recordings! In 1977, the game's original label Roulette Records reissued the series. They're available used on Discogs for around $4 - $50, depending on the star and, of course, condition.
You can experience the Vincent Price edition right here.
And below is one person's demonstration of the George Raft edition!
(via Weird Universe) Read the rest
This is a terrific 45-minute video profile of actor Crispin Glover, produced by Brandon Hardesty, who makes video profiles about character actors. The series is called No Small Parts.
He also made a video about the actors in "It Follows," one of my favorite horror movies:
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Joaquin Phoenix has a face in his forehead. (via Devour) Read the rest
What do Ben Stiller, Bruce Willis, Steve Buscemi, Julia Roberts, Benicio del Toro, Viggo Mortensen, and Michael Richards have in common? As young, mostly-unknown actors they all appeared on Miami Vice, my favorite TV cop show (except for Barney Miller). Yes, that's Ben Stiller in the above clip. "27 Actors Who Got Their Starts on Miami Vice" (Mental Floss, via Next Draft) Read the rest