The Hollywood machine isn't the studio-based system that it was in the mid-20th Century. An almost conspiratorial corporate entity that would spend years cultivating and curating movie stars. But, to some extent, it still exists in 2014. Through publicists, agents and even studios, the industry still tries to "create" new stars. And, for better or worse (depending how you see it), it's mostly male actors that get this treatment today (although any leading lady in a Michael Bay film may qualify outside of Scarlett Johansson). Some happen almost by accident (Robert Pattinson), some have delayed debuts (Chris Hemsworth), many aren't worthy of the hype (Alex Pettyfer) and a few may take decades before they are deliver on their potential (Matthew McConaughey). Next weekend the big screen adaptation of "Divergent" is hitting theaters and, all of a sudden, people are going to start talking about Theo James.
Yes, Chris Evans has a full beard. No, super fans, it's not for "Avengers: Age of Ultron."
Miles Teller and Jai Courtney are no strangers to the Hollywood movie making machine. Miles has won critical acclaim for roles in films such as "The Spectacular Now" and the upcoming Sundance hit "Whiplash" as well as candidly charm audiences in mainstream fare like "Footloose" and January's "That Awkward Moment." Courtney is an Aussie TV veteran who was "showcased" alongside Bruce Willis in "A Good Day to Die Hard" and had supporting roles in "Jack Reacher" and "I, Frankenstein." Both men will be seen next in Neil Burger's "Divergent," but it goes without saying that most movie fans are interested in their next big projects.
Relative newcomer Michael Lannan and acclaimed director Andrew Haigh ("Weekend") have created a remarkable new series with "Looking" that just wrapped up its first season Sunday night. Already picked up by HBO for another season, the show centers on Patrick (Jonathan Groff), a somewhat naive video game developer in San Francisco on the cusp of turning 30 and finally coming into his own. He's surrounded by two friends who have some issues of their own; Dom (Murray Bartlett) and Agustin (Frankie J. Alvarez).
Jonathan Groff is an amazingly nice guy. No, really. It's not just an act. There are many actors who would blow off an interview after a scheduling mishap, but not Groff. Either he was raised by saints or he really believes in his new HBO series "Looking."
Or, maybe it's a combination of both.
A week ago the 86th Academy Awards wrapped up what was one of the closest Best Picture races in history. An awards season full of unexpected distractions, pretenders and results came to an end. Many in Hollywood could finally take a deep breath and exhale.
You've got to have some sympathy for the minds behind HBO's "Looking." It's not easy to create three-dimensional characters with less than 30 minutes of story over eight episodes. Especially, when you have - in theory - three "main" characters whose stories you are trying to tell. Patrick, the centerpiece of the show, has been expertly crafted by co-creators Michael Lannan and Andrew Haigh as well as star Jonathan Groff. As we reach the conclusion of the first season, his BFF's Dom and Agustin finally beginning to feel almost as real.
[Apologies for the 24 hour delay in this week's recap. There was this little event called the 86th Academy Awards that probably prevented even you from catching this episode on its first airing.]
If there is one thing we've learned seven episodes into "Looking," it's that no one is going to stay happy for long and each of our three heroes may have serious self-destructive tendencies.
Daniel Fienberg and Gregory Ellwood took a few minutes, with champagne glasses still in hand, to discuss the results of the 86th Academy Awards. From "12 Years A Slave" beating the odds to win best picture to a number of contenders such as "The Wolf of Wall Street," "Nebraska," "American Hustle" and "Philomena" coming home empty handed to "Dallas Buyers Club" surviving the naysayers to win two major acting awards.
The 86th Academy Awards were handed out Sunday, March 2 at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood. A complete list of all the nominees and winners can be found below.