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<p>Brie Larson in &quot;Short Term 12&quot;</p>

Brie Larson in "Short Term 12"

Credit: Cinedigm

Interview: Brie Larson talks 'Short Term 12,' musical 'Basmati Blues' and letting go

What does the story of a foster care facility supervisor have to do with cheesy pasta?

Brie Larson's character Grace in "Short Term 12" certainly fits her name, but it's far from glamorous. She spends most of the movie in frumpy clothes and flat hair, dealing with bodily fluids, emotional violence and the repetitious difficulties of supervising at-risk youths at a foster care facility. As Grace deals with her own demons, she's works daily with the demons of the kids who land in her care, arriving from the hands of deadbeat dads, abusive mothers, mental health institutions and other unfortunate homes of circumstance.

But to present Grace's character in any other fashion than frustrating, redemptive and harshly unsexy would cause the movie to fail, and fail it does not. Larson's portrayal of her emotional role helped subtly open up topics of psychological care and child services in America, for instance, without bashing away the film's beautiful character portraits.

"Short Term 12" is just one of the many varied roles the 23-year-old actress has picked up; her stints lately have been in Joseph Gordon-Levitt's "Don Jon," her stop on NBC's "Community," 2012's "21 Jump Street" and the forthcoming musical film "Basmati Blues."

Larson and I spoke by phone last week, on the eve of the release of "Short Term 12," out in theaters this past Friday. Below is our abridged interview, on shadowing at a foster care facility, to tapping in (and out) emotionally as an actress, letting go with cheesy pasta and women's roles.
 

HitFix: After I watched this movie I felt like, hey, I'm gonna go sit in my car and cry for about 20 minutes, or that I wanted to talk to my friends for just as long about it. On your viewing of the final version of the film, what kind of emotions did you feel about it? Can you talk about knowing when to implement your emotions when you shoot? Let's just talk about feelings.
 
Brie Larson: I know! And unfortunately none of those are questions that I can really answer. I don't think those are things I am supposed to answer. I think an artist does not reveal his secrets, especially when it comes to the emotional dance of the film. Like, you would enjoy a magic show and then afterwards wait for a Q&A, and it doesn't work that way. That stuff is all part of some sort of weird process. Even if I tried to talk to you about it, I don't know if I would know how to. It's just a weird thing.
 
The movie, it's been incredible. It was such a wonderful process to make and felt extremely open and loving and empowering and exciting every day. And I felt totally respected and capable and just loved and it was a great team that we were working with. And I felt like by the time we were done shooting we could have done five more of them. 
 
It's strange and miraculous and also incredibly inspiring what this movie has brought out for so many different types of people. The most exciting part is the fact that it's not just for people that are familiar with this world or this facility, but it gets into a much bigger picture of human emotion and human connection and love. That's been really exciting. It has a transient feel to it that can hit you. It's so ecstatic, it can hit you from every angle if done right. It's the perfect recipe. It is just the best cake ever.
 
I'm sure people can't resist themselves to talk to you after a screening, especially with just kind of their understanding of such a realistic character as Grace is in this film. What have been some of the funny or odd things or touching things that people have said to you after seeing this film?
 
I think there have been two reactions that I find really interesting. There are some people who it's very - it becomes very important part of their experience to see me and the kids afterwards to know that we're okay. It's like they have such an intense connection with all of us by the end of the movie that they need that confirmation. There is another reaction that people have, which is that they think that it is either a documentary or that part of it is a documentary.
 
Especially when we've shown it internationally, there's some certain aspects of the film that are not obvious --- people that don't speak English don't [necessarily] fully understand or gonna know who I am, an actress. They're not gonna know any of us or our background. So it's interesting, the first time it played in Switzerland was the first international screening I went to. There were a lot of women who -- though they couldn't speak English very well -- we're trying to say to me, “That's you, that's you.” I thought they were trying to confirm that I was the person [playing Grace] in the movie, but in reality what they're trying to ask me is if I really am that person, if my name is Grace, if I worked at this facility. And I think that's…
 
That's intense.
 
Yeah. I think it's really awesome because I'm not Grace. I'm nothing like Grace. I don't have the experience that Grace has had, so I did my job.


In the movie, were there particular scenes or stories that resonated with you as a person in real life? Did your performance have any impression on it due to any feelings or personal experiences with some of the things that were happening in this movie?

 
I can't really answer that, but I will say that it's a lot for a human being to be the emotional vessel for somebody like Grace -- who is struggling but is also doing really exhausting act of trying to cover it up so that nobody knows what's going on. So in the film, you watch it for an hour, but in reality I was doing that for 12 hours a day for two weeks. So it takes such an emotional toll and I know for the greater good of the story I can't indulge in those emotions on camera but you want to just break out and go nuts, when you feel like you were about to crazy and then someone said, “Here's a baseball bat, go smash this car.” That was a testament I think to really great scheduling.
 
I definitely had the opportunity to let off that steam because I think it's really important for an actor to really understand the difference between what I'm emotionally going through -- which is still my body and my mind -- but to not take those on and to not bring my own past. Because otherwise people [would] need to watch my therapy sessions. I feel like that's a little selfish. That's not servicing the story, not necessarily servicing Grace. That'd be servicing myself and that's not what I want to do.
 
There's a lot of different character pieces and stories going on in this, and it all has to be kind of achieved within the two weeks that we see of Grace's life.  Do you feel like there is a woman's story here that you wish more people could see, for more people to be able to experience specifically because of it's woman's perspective?
 
Of course. Well, I could talk about and focus all day long about the female aspect of movie-making and how terribly underwritten most roles are. But I also think that you can ask a 23 old male about the roles that are acting right now and they would say that they're terribly underwritten.
 
But, yes, I think females are underwritten. I think that the business side of the industry believes that, in order to make money, we have to do things that are beautiful and that have colors that are catchy on a poster and are sexual, these things that tap into the needy side inside of our brain instead of mining these opportunities in order to exercise our brains a little bit. 
 
Give us the problems that are leaving us in our car for 20 minutes after the movie to think about because we don't even know what it is we're feeling but we're feeling something. I think that this film, yes, is definitely a very complicated journey for a female. But I also think that if you squint your eyes a little bit it could be a male very easily. 
 
I think the beautiful aspect of it is that these characters are actually not gender-specific to me when I look at the kids. I think that we're talking about… the human struggle of the planet. Those things are so incredibly important because how else are we going to learn and learn how to talk about things if we don't get the chance to observe it and get this weird almost voyeuristic view into it?
 
But I also feel like motherhood and raising children also played a part in how emotional this film is, and how it affected your role. Did you feel the same way?
 
Yeah, yeah, definitely. I shadowed at a facility and you spend time with kids that are actually in this facility and you just – my mind couldn't even really process upon first listening of these kids’s stories because they're so much, much crazier. So much crazier and more intense than anything that we've even seen in a movie. You couldn't, you just can't, you wouldn't believe the things that these kids have been through and can't believe that human beings -- at this point in 2013 -- that we're still capable of just negativity and ignorance. So that was certainly something that played into it.
 
I mean, I have fear that if I don't smile at the person in back of Trader Joe's that I'm gonna, like, ruin their day. But once you start to get into that more, and you realize just how interconnected we all are really are.
 
I like that the movie opens and ends with storytelling. [The audience] doesn't even have to say anything, you just have to listen, which I think is a really beautiful telling of a very real reality about childcare, federal and psychological treatment of children who are troubled. I was wondering if there is any specific instances or ideas in the ways that this film was shot that you, as a filmmaker yourself, feel like you're gonna take it to your future projects?
 
The thing that has still stuck with me and has become a huge part of my daily practice -- and this is something that I didn't understand so clearly until I was shadowing at the facility -- was in watching this incredibly brave and strong woman who was working the same job as Grace, and had been doing it for 20 years or something. And she just instinctually knew exactly when to push forward, when to let off the gas with these kids and was just dealing with so much emotion. I couldn't even believe it. And after a couple hours my jaw being open of how do you do this I asked her, "How do you do this?" And she said, "You let go." 
 
When you're there and you're on it and you're working, you focus on that and you put everything into it and you fight and you do the best you can. But then when your time is up, you go home and you don't keep fighting anymore. You decompress, you let go, you forgive yourself for the mistakes that had happened during that day. And for me it was having cheesy pasta and playing video games or watching “SNL” or whatever.
 
You got to close the laptop lid.
 
Exactly. You can't keep all the tabs open and all of your applications running, you have to pare it down. So that became a huge part of the practice and I think really saved myself in the end from personally spiraling due to the material that I was dealing with everyday. 
 
You've done some wonderful movies and television projects lately that you seem to have some flexibility to move between TV, indies, theater, bigger movies. Do you give special considerations to the mediums in which you're working? Do you think of TV as acting in one way and indie a different way, or if it really does all depend on the script? 
 
Well, the script is incredibly important. However, it's also a lot of different factors. Much like if you really get into how any plant grows it's a miracle that anything happens because it takes so many miniscule and many different things in order for a blossom to happen. But it's the script and it's also the team and how the project is going to be executed is a huge part of it. If somebody said, “We want to paint a 60-foot canvas painting in a 4 foot room,” you'd know right away that that's gonna be a struggle. It's almost mathematical on that end of it. And it just takes conversation and asking for the things that you need.
 
So the more time you spend doing it the more you know what your personal terms and conditions are and what you need in order to do a good job. And if you're working with people that want to do a good job then none of that stuff is difficult then.
 
I'd say there's more of a difference between a play and movie to TV than there is between TV and movies. But there's something involved in the repetition of things that require something different from me in order to sign onto a script. Like a play would need to be something that I could consistently find new discoveries in that I wanted to do because I'm not just going to sign on to do the same performance every night for six months. And a film has to be something that there's a reason why we're capturing it on film and the way that that's going to be shot and the way that the days are going to be structured and the space that I've given in order to do it I need to do exist. 
 
Tell me about your next projects, then?
 
The next project that I just completed takes place in India and I play a scientist who creates a genetically modified rice with her father, played by Scott Bakula, and Donald Sutherland is our boss and he sends me to India to sell this genetically modified rice to the rural farmer's in India. And I think I'm doing a service but in the end I realize that what works great in a test tube does not do so great when it comes to lives and the planet. And there's a little love story and there's some action and the music.
 
So that’s "Basmati Blues." You’re going to be using your musical talents in that one, right?
 
Yeah. Because it's a musical, so I sing and dance and play guitar and do all the things.
 
And have you improved as a musician over that process?
 
I just practice. I've been playing guitar since I was 12 so I mean I was a little rusty but you just practice. I didn't have a lot of background in dancing, but I didn't decide to do a musical because I wanted the world to see what a great singer and dancer I was. I did it because there is an important message about human existence that involves being able to step away from all of the heady stuff and learning to sing and dance along the way. And I want to give the feelings of spontaneity and freedom. It's not about doing specific pop and lock routines; it's more of the incredible ability that these bodies have that we should use 'em while we got 'em.

 

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<p>It's safe to say that this particular cluster of 'Walking Dead' zombies browned more than their fair share of pants at Friday night's opening of this year's Halloween Horror Nights.</p>

It's safe to say that this particular cluster of 'Walking Dead' zombies browned more than their fair share of pants at Friday night's opening of this year's Halloween Horror Nights.

Credit: Universal Studios Hollywood

Universal's annual Halloween Horror Nights unleashes 'Walking Dead' and more this year

We take a sneak peek at Hollywood's biggest annual haunted house event

Halloween has become big business for Universal Studios.

Seems fitting. After all, Universal is one of the only studios that has traditionally not only embraced horror films, but that continues to emphasize their long history of monsters as a major part of their legacy. It is a natural fit for them. Even so, when I was part of the Halloween Horror Nights back in 1992, it was still a fairly new idea, and it was charmingly hand-made. It felt like the sort of show you would put together in your own neighborhood with a bunch of friends. It was low-tech and fun, and it was small enough that at the end of the run, everyone who had appeared in it could gather in one of the CityWalk restaurants for a small awards ceremony and some great free food and drink.

Today, Halloween Horror Nights runs in both Orlando and Los Angeles, and it is a carefully orchestrated and beautifully designed take-over of the entire park, one which features new attractions every year, and it's gotten not only more technically impressive, but just plain gigantic. The ambition of what they try to pull off live every single night of the event is staggering, and what really impresses me is how well they pull it off considering all the moving parts, all the people required to make it work, and all the members of the public who walk through who are scared out of their damn fool minds.

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The Emmys has its biggest audience since 2005, thanks to the NFL


The Emmys has its biggest audience since 2005, thanks to the NFL
CBS' decision to air NFL games immediately before last night's broadcast boosted the Emmys' ratings 33% from last year, with 17.63 million viewers tuning in.


Emmy Awards producer defends, dissects last night's broadcast
Ken Ehrlich explains why there was no opening musical number and reveals that the guy behind Neil Patrick Harris was a bit planned by the show.


"Breaking Bad" hits another Emmys ratings mark with penultimate episode
Last night's episode was watched by 6.6 million.


Report: Jon Hamm to undergo throat surgery
The "Mad Men" star reportedly has two large polyps on his vocal cord, though Hamm's rep has yet to confirm or deny the diagnosis. PLUS: Hamm sells his NYC home for $2.5 million.


"Glee" recreates iconic Beatles covers
See the "Glee" cast on Abbey Road and "Let it Glee."


"Dexter" exits with its best-ever audience

About 2.8 million tuned in last night, up from the 2.7 million who watched the Season 7 finale.


Bethany Joy Lenz joins E!'s "Songbyrd"
The "One Tree Hill" alum will play a songwriter on the E! scripted drama from the producers of "Smash."


Tina Fey suffers wardrobe malfunction on Emmy stage

As she was accepting an award for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series, her dress "gaped" in the front.

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"The Real Housewives of New Jersey"

 "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" 

Credit: Bravo

'Real Housewives of New Jersey': The battle has begun... again

Victoria Gotti drops in but Penny's the star of the show

I get it, I get it. Given that this is the penultimate episode of the season, there was going to be a lot more talking and a lot less action than we might like. Action, I think, we get next week, when Joe Gorga probably starts throwing punches and Teresa ugly cries and Penny kicks off her high heels and runs for her life as Jacqueline rips the weave off her head and Kathy desperately asks, "WHY CAN'T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG?" It's pretty clear the wheels are about to come off the wagon, but no way are we going to see anything more than a loosening of the bolts this week.

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<p>Cher</p>

Cher

Cher kicks off 'Dressed To Kill' tour in March

Check out her performance on 'Today' this morning

Several years past her farewell tour and her Las Vegas residency, Cher is returning to the road again for the "Dressed to Kill" outing.

The tour, in support of her new album, "Closer To The Truth," starts March 22, 2014  in Phoenix and will cover 49 North American cities before concluding in San Diego at the Valley View Casino Center on July 11.

Cher announced the tour on the "Today" show this morning. Cher's "Farewell Tour," which then, appropriately enough, changed its name to the "Never Can Say Goodbye Tour," played for 325 dates, so this first leg of the "Dressed To Kill" tour may be just the beginning.

Tickets go on sale to American Express cardholders on Sept. 30 and then will be open to the general public.

See the tour dates below the video of Cher's performance of "Woman's World" this morning on "Today."

 

CHER ‘DRESSED TO KILL’ TOUR

Sat, March 22                    Phoenix, AZ                        US Airways Center
*Mon, March 24                 Houston, TX                       Toyota Center
*Wed, March 26                 Dallas, TX                             American Airlines Center
Fri, March 28                      Little Rock, AR                   Verizon Arena
Sat, March 29                     Tulsa, OK                             BOK Center
Mon, March 31                 Nashville, TN                      Bridgestone Arena
Wed, April 2                        Pittsburgh, PA                  Consol Energy Center
*Fri, April 4                            Washington DC                 Verizon Center
Sat, April 5                           Uncasville, CT                    Mohegan Sun
Mon, April 7                       Toronto, ON                       Air Canada Centre
Wed, April 9                       Boston, MA                        TD Garden
Fri, April 11                          Indianapolis, IN                 Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Sat, April 12                        Detroit, MI                          Joe Louis Arena
Wed, April 23                     Buffalo, NY                         First Niagara Center
Fri, April 25                          Montreal, QC                     Bell Center
Sat, April 26                        Ottawa, ON                        Canada Tire Centre
*Mon, April 28                     Philadelphia, PA               Wells Fargo Center
Wed, April 30                     Columbus, OH                   Nationwide Arena
Fri, May 2                            Cleveland, OH                   Quicken Loans Arena
Mon, May 5                        Charlotte, NC                     Times Warner Cable Arena
Wed, May 7                        Raleigh, NC                         PNC Arena
*Fri, May 9                            Brooklyn, NY                      Barclays Center
*Sat, May 10                         East Rutherford, NJ         Izod Center
*Mon, May 12                     Atlanta, GA                         Philips Arena
Wed, May 14                     Jacksonville, FL                  Veterans Memorial Arena
Fri, May 16                          Orlando, FL                         Amway Center
Sat, May 17                         Ft. Lauderdale, FL            BB&T Center
Sun, May 25                       Las Vegas, NV                    MGM Grand
Wed, May 28                     Denver, CO                         Pepsi Center
Fri, May 30                          Lincoln, NE                          Pinnacle Bank Arena
Sat, May 31                         Kansas City, MO               Sprint Center
Mon, June 2                       Louisville, KY                      KFC Yum! Center
Wed, June 4                       St. Louis, MO                     Scottrade Center
Fri, June 6                            Milwaukee, WI                 BMO Harris Bradley Center
Sat, June 7                          Chicago, IL                           Allstate Arena
Mon, June 9                       Des Moines, IA                 Wells Fargo Arena
Wed, June 11                     Minneapolis, MN             Target Center
Fri, June 20                         Winnipeg, MB                   MTS Centre
Sat, June 21                        Saskatoon, SK                    Credit Union Centre
Mon, June 23                     Edmonton, AB                   Rexall Place
Wed, June 25                     Calgary, AB                         Scotiabank Saddledome
Fri, June 27                         Vancouver, BC                  Rogers Arena
*Sat, June 28                        Seattle, WA                        Key Arena
Mon, June 30                     Portland, OR                      Moda Center
*Wed, July 2                         San Jose, CA                       SAP Center at San Jose
Sat, July 5                            Ontario, CA                         Citizens Business Bank Arena
*Mon, July 7                         Los Angeles, CA                Staples Center
*Wed, July 9                         Anaheim, CA                      Honda Center
Fri, July 11                           San Diego, CA                    Valley View Casino Center

 

 

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<p>Kings of Leon</p>

Kings of Leon

Interview: Kings of Leon's Jared Followill on the band's pranks and a new chapter

How the hiatus helped the group have fun again on 'Mechanical Bull'

After taking some time off to lead regular lives, Kings of Leon return Sept. 24 with “Mechanical Bull,” the Followill family’s sixth studio album, its follow-up to 2010’s “Come Around Sundown.”

The set, recorded in the band’s own studio in Nashville, is a lively, loose-limbed affair, bolstered by such rollicking tracks as “Don’t Matter” and “Family Tree,” the gentle “On The Chin” and “Beautiful War,” and first single and modern rock hit, “Supersoaker.”

Bassist Jared Followill, who joins his brother Caleb and Nathan in the band, as well as his cousin Matthew, tells HitFix that the hiatus did them good, both musically and personally.  Below is our conversation, edited for space.

You guys have laughed when reporters have asked ask if there was a chance that you were going to break up, especially after Caleb walked off stage in Dallas in 2011 and your canceling the rest of the U.S. tour, but it’s certainly not unheard of for brother acts to split. Was this hiatus always planned or did you think you may actually break up?  

Actually, we started talking about [taking time off] after [2008’s] “Only By the Night.” After that album cycle, we were going to take some time off. Then “Only By the Night” kind of  blew up and [the label]  wanted us to make another album and we were like, “Let’s go ahead and do it and ride the success.” While we were in the studio for “Come Around Sundown,” we were like, “We can’t believe we’re already back. We’re going to be immediately back on the road doing all this stuff over again.”  So we said, “You know what? After this record cycle, we’re going to take a year off.”

When we cancelled the tour, we actually finished the touring cycle after that. We went to South Africa and we went to Australia for a month. We did Canada for a few weeks, but people think we just canceled Dallas and then took a year off.  Any spat or any argument that we’d gotten in was made up the night after Dallas. It wasn’t after a long drawn out thing. Having that year off was not because we thought we were going to break up or we necessarily needed to be away from each other as much as we wanted to have a little bit of time off and have a normal life.

Not that you’re asking for sympathy, but it can be very draining living on the road.


Our job isn’t necessarily that hard, it’s just very time consuming. And there’s tons of travel and stuff like that and a lot of people think, “Man, traveling the world, that’s amazing.” And it absolutely is. But if you do that as a job, it becomes a little less glamorous and it takes a little bit of the romance out of traveling the world when that’s... what you do for a living. I mean we never thought that we were going to take five years between an album or anything like that. We just wanted one year to go home to Nashville, sit on the internet, go to Whole Foods and not do anything, just be normal people for a little bit.

All the band members contribute to the songwriting process. How quickly do you know if you’re got a song or are just riffing on something you should abandon?

That’s hard to say... we’re not super quick. When we go to the rehearsal space and start writing. We will literally jam on a song and play it for an hour straight. Sometimes you have to sift through an hour and 20 minutes and you always skip it towards the end because that’s when you really start to get into it. But we’ve jammed on some pretty songs for about two hours before we knew that we wouldn’t use them.

But you’re having fun...

Exactly. You kind of know once you listen to them You can do something that is really fun to play and then you’ll take it home—our sound guy will burn it to a CD  for us— and listen to ourselves jamming  and it might be really fun to play it, but it sounds kind of cheesy or it just wouldn’t work for us.

You guys were playing pranks on each other all the time in the studio with shock buzzers and whoopee cushions. Having grown up together, it seems like the element of surprise would have long gone away when it comes to pranks.

I know. The weird thing is it’s a phenomenon we just got into. When we were kids, we didn’t really do anything and now that we’re adults, it’s like we’ve regressed in maturity.

The band hosted Pettyfest in Nashville this past weekend. What’s your favorite Tom Petty song or favorite Petty era?

There are so many. He’s one of the worst artists to ask that question because he just has so many great songs. There are so many bands you could say, “What’s your favorite song?” I’d say, “Obviously, it’s that one.. that’s head and shoulders above the rest,” but there are so many songs...As a kid I remember hearing “Last Dance With Mary Jane” and stuff like that on the radio and then as you get older, you go back and hear more and more and “American Girl.” There’s so many that you can just go back and all of his albums are amazing.

One of the more touching songs on the album is “On The Chin,” about being there to support someone. It almost sounds like it could be to about your family or would brothers never write anything that sweet to each other?

So many of our songs can be interpreted in so many different ways. At the time you can actually write something and it can be completely abstract to you at the time and then a year later,  something will happen to you and and you’ll listen back and be like, “Wow, that song sounds like it was written perfectly for the situation.” But that song, particularly, the way Caleb started writing those lyrics, it was for one of his friends, his buddy, JD.  It’s actually about that, then you hear it and it can mean so much. It can fit so many different situations. It can be for all of us together, it can be for our wives. I like songs that are open to interpretation.

There’s not only a lightheartedness to the album, there’s a sense of fun in the promos, including the hilarious one featuring the cast from “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia.” It seems like the band decided to stop taking everything so seriously. Why?

Definitely. I think that’s just getting older and having families. You stop taking yourself so seriously. I feel like we used to worry about that stuff too much. When we first came out, we wanted to be different and we wanted to almost have a little bit of a shock factor so we tried to look really weird and tried to have mustaches and long hair and we did a lot of that stuff, looking back, probably subconsciously to stand out because we were probably a little bit self-conscious about out musicianship. We had all just started playing and just started writing songs and none of us were really good at our instruments. So it was almost like we needed something to make people notice us and now we’re in a completely different place and we’re all a lot more confident and we feel like we can kind of be ourselves.



 

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<p>Marcus Mumford and Ted Dwane of Mumford &amp; Sons (center and right), seen here in Guthrie,&nbsp;Oklahoma<br />
</span></p>

Marcus Mumford and Ted Dwane of Mumford & Sons (center and right), seen here in Guthrie, Oklahoma

Credit: AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki

Mumford & Sons go on hiatus 'for the foreseeable future'

Band played its last date Friday in Kansas

After nearly non-stop activity for the past four years, Mumford & Sons are taking a hiatus. “There won’t be any Mumford & Sons activities for the foreseeable future,” the band’s keyboardist, Ben Lovett, told Rolling Stone over the weekend.

The Grammy-winning British group’s last tour date for 2012’s “Babel” was in Kansas Friday night and it will be the band’ last concert for quite some time. Just how much time is anyone’s guess. When asked how long “the foreseeable future” is, Lovett said, “We have no idea. We just know we’re going to take a considerable amount of time and just go back to hanging out and having no commitments or pressure or anything like that...I think everyone’s excited about being free of schedules.”

The last four years since the release of “Sigh No More” have seen the British quartet rise to international music superstars, headlining arenas around the world and curating its own Gentlemen of the Road festivals.

Of course, it's not the first time bands have declared they are taking a break and returned relatively quickly. Last summer Dave Grohl declared that the Foo Fighters were going away for a long time, and now the group is in the midst of finishing a new album. Similarly, Kings of Leon took a year off, but during that time started writing songs for their new album, "Mechanical Bull," which comes out tomorrow.

And while Mumford & Sons may disappear for awhile, it looks like lead singer Marcus Mumford will not: he is among the headliners for a Sept. 29 benefit show centered around the new Coen Brothers' film, "Inside Llewyn Davis." The show, which also features Jack White, the Avett Brothers, the Punch Brothers and several other acts, will benefit the National Recording Preservation Foundation, and was organized by T Bone Burnett, the movie's music producer.

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'Dexter' goes out with an awful series finale


"Dexter" goes out with an awful series finale
The final episode was in line with the disappointing final season, says Todd VanDerWerff. "The series seemed all along as if it were building toward a conclusion where Dexter would be forced to turn on friends and co-workers to preserve himself, escaping from Miami by the skin of his teeth, or perhaps living his life in a jail cell...By the time it ended, even though (Deb) knew her brother's secret for two seasons, it was unable to view the protagonist as anything other than a public good, like a library, and, thus, it could not imprison him or even punish him in the slightest." PLUS: Producers defend the final season, this is what happens when you overstay your welcome, the writers seemed to be phoning it in all season, the series finale was unbelievably awful, ranking all 8 "Dexter" seasons, and Jennifer Carpenter reacts to the finale.


Nigel Lythgoe was shocked "The Voice" won after many years of "Idol" snubs

He expressed his frustration on Twitter, calling "Idol" "The first, the best and the program that changed the face of TV." PLUS: Mark Burnett explains why "The Voice" and "Idol" shouldn't be compared.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus: How I came up with my Emmy "Veep" skit with Tony Hale

"It was like a lightning bolt, it just struck me," she says of her funny acceptance. "I called Tony this afternoon and he was game, all I had to do was win." PLUS: "Veep" characters become shorthand for Washington types.


Is "Breaking Bad" trying out several alternate endings?
Each of the past few weeks has given Walter White a different kind of ending. This week, it was "The Shield" alternate ending. PLUS: The cabin was built in New Mexico by "Breaking Bad" crew, "Breaking Bad" has become a post-apocalyptic thriller, the cast and crew yell "Emmy's bitch," watch the Emmy's "Breaking Bad" dance number, the racial politics of "Breaking Bad," "Granite State" was profound without being epic, this was Flynn's finest hour, check out The New Yorker's "Breaking Bad"-themed cover, the Nazis have exposed "Breaking Bad," and why "Breaking Bad's" Emmy win is so stunning.


"Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D." earns more than 1 million Facebook likes
That's a record for a new series, but will it make a difference for this week's premiere.


Piers Morgan continues taunting Jon Stewart
After Stephen Colbert broke Stewart's 10-year Emmy win streak, the CNN star tweeted: "CNN BREAKING NEWS > It's over for Jon Stewart."


Tina Fey: There's a downside to Cecily Strong joining "Weekend Update"

"She's a good choice," says the host of this week's "SNL" season premiere. "The one thing that will be sad is she's really great at Weekend Update features, so we'll miss that." PLUS: When will Fey do "Parks and Rec"?


"Downton Abbey" Season 4 premieres to massive ratings in UK
About 9.5 million watched over the weekend, up from 8.6 million last year.


A "China Beach" novel is in the works
Co-creator John Sacret Young is working on a book that would reunite the characters of the ABC drama starring Dana Delany.


Alexander Skarsgård was supposed to wear a "sack of destiny" on "True Blood"
Stephen Moyer says Eric wasn't supposed to get naked.


"Mad Men" blamed for rise in sales of Lucky Strike cigarettes

The cigarettes, owned by British American Tobacco, sold 33 billion packs last year, compared to 23 billion when the AMC series first premiered in 2007.


Check out "Once Upon a Time's" Little Mermaid
Here's JoAnna Garcia Swisher as Ariel.


Mila Kunis' 1st kiss was on "That '70s Show" with Ashton Kutcher
Laura Prepon revealed that and said she's not surprised they're together in real life.


Andy Samberg weds

The "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" star tied the knot Saturday with singer-songwriter Joanna Newson.


Emmys reunite Amy Poehler & Will Arnett
The former couple were spotted sitting together backstage. PLUS: Arnett was asked about his wife on the red carpet.


Casey Wilson engaged to the creator of "Happy Endings"
She's set to marry boyfriend of two years David Caspe.


"Gossip Girl's" Kaylee DeFer welcomes her first child
She delivered a baby boy on Friday.

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The Emmys: Neil Patrick Harris seemed off his game in a sorrow-filled ceremony


The Emmys: Neil Patrick Harris seemed off his game in a sorrow-filled ceremony

The idea of having five separate tributes to the dead, plus an In Memoriam segment, plus two mournful ballads from Elton John and Carrie Underwood dragged down the entire ceremony, says Mary McNamara. And Harris not being up to his usual hosting self added to the night's problems: "Although still hostier than most mere mortals, Harris seemed off his game Sunday night .... Between a sketch chronicling his struggles with 'Excessive Hosting Disorder' and a self-acknowledged random 'Dance Number in the Middle of the Show,' Harris seemed to be suggesting that he's done as much as he can do with this gig."
Anemic, awkward, boring: An awards show filled with skits about how bad awards shows are
Don't blame Neil Patrick Harris -- he stood no chance, even if he was a producer
Jeff Daniels was shocked to win -- just like Twitter was shocked
Ryan Seacrest endorses "The Ryan Seacrest Center for Excessive Hosting"
Emmys tried to be the Tonys and the Grammys
A lot of awards went to unexpected people
Kevin Spacey takes on Emmy camera
Jack Klugman's son objected to Cory Monteith tribute
Merrit Wever expanded on her "I gotta go. Bye" acceptance speech backstage
Netflix won just 1 award Sunday, for best director for "House of Cards"
Lena Dunham & Claire Danes pretended to almost make out on the red carpet
Who was the "awkward stage-exit man"?
Conan, Fallon, Kimmel and Jane Lynch help Neil Patrick Harris
Inside Jon Hamm and Amy Poehler's Emmy Losers Party

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<p>Leonardo DiCaprio in&nbsp;&quot;The Wolf of Wall&nbsp;Street&quot;</p>

Leonardo DiCaprio in "The Wolf of Wall Street"

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Off the Carpet: Whither 'Wall Street?'

Scorsese's latest could move as 'Mud' is the first screener in voters' hands

I was all set to write something in this space last week, with Toronto having wrapped, etc. But then I just stopped. It seemed like it all needed a moment to sit, and what could I add to the conversation that hadn't been hammered home for two weeks already by the time "12 Years a Slave" predictably won the festival's audience award?

What I'm noticing this year is that the media is, more aggressively than ever, trying to dictate the conversation. From the call-off-all-bets aplomb of Best Picture proclamations at Telluride and Toronto to trying to force a supporting campaign on a very strong lead actor hopeful, the whiff of being authoritative is so much stronger than usual this time of year. But I've covered that. Let's attempt to progress things a bit here; there is this and that to consider.

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<p>Tye Sheridan, Matthew McConaughey and Jacob Lofland in &quot;Mud.&quot;</p>

Tye Sheridan, Matthew McConaughey and Jacob Lofland in "Mud."

Credit: Roadside Attractions

Roundup: 'Mud' wins the Oscar screener race

Also: The greatest short speeches, and the successful anonymity of Ron Howard

Being the first screener to land in Academy voters' mailboxes is a victory that sometimes brings more than just bragging rights -- especially for smaller films that might get lost in the crush later in the season. The early bird strategy has paid off handsomely for such performance-driven indies as "A Better Life" and "Frozen River" in the past, though it doesn't always get results: last year, TWC's "The Intouchables" didn't even wind up with a foreign-language nod. So, which screener was quickest on the draw this year? Jeff Nichols' coming-of-age tale "Mud" -- until recently, the year's highest-grossing art house release. Roadside Attractions are simplifying Matthew McConaughey's Best Actor drive for "Dallas Buyers Club" by running a supporting campaign for the star, who plays the title role. You can argue amongst yourselves about the rights or wrongs of that move, though the film's best shot at a nod is probably for Best Original Screenplay. Will being first pay off this year? [Deadline

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<p>Toni Collette in &quot;Hostages,&quot;&nbsp;Anna Farris in &quot;Mom&quot;&nbsp;and James Spader in &quot;The Blacklist.&quot;</p>

Toni Collette in "Hostages," Anna Farris in "Mom" and James Spader in "The Blacklist."

Credit: CBS/NBC

Fall TV Reviews: 'Mom,' 'Hostages' & 'The Blacklist'

The TV season officially kicks off tonight with a Chuck Lorre sitcom, a Jerry Bruckheimer drama, and James Spader

Hey everybody, as you know I am still in the hospital. Infections are tricky things, and we're just working to get this one under control.

I'll be fine, but for now — and even after I'm home — I'm going to be at half-speed, at best, for a while. With the TV season officially beginning tonight, this is not an ideal time for that, but what can you do? I'll be writing fewer reviews, what I do write will often be shorter than normal, etc.

As it happens, this is a pretty weak season in terms of new shows, so I have no problem cutting bait on long reviews (or reviews of any kind) of most of the newbies. When I have time or energy, I'll put together posts like this one with very quick hits on what's debuting that night, just so you have some sense of my initial thoughts. If I stick with a rookie, maybe down the road I'll do something longer. (And some shows, like "SHIELD," will get the fuller treatment up-front.) There may be shows that are just skipped altogether, maybe a lot, depending on how I feel as the week moves on.

Three premieres tonight, with a sitcom and two dramas. In order:

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