What aspect of 007 has made the stunts more fun for Craig?
NEW YORK, NY - When Daniel Craig took over James Bond's 00-designation and his Walther PPK, it represented a rebirth for the franchise, one that some viewers were initially cautious about.
"'Casino [Royale]' was about sort of beginning again, sort of wiping the slate clean. I felt very strongly that we had to kind of push out all of the old to try and get something new, which kind of some people didn't like so much," Craig recalled when I spoke with him last week in New York City. "And I thought that was the only way, as did the producers. And we have."
That Martin Campbell-directed film ended up being one of the most successful and well-received James Bond films in a franchise history that recently celebrated its 50th birthday. With the newest Bond installment, "Skyfall," Craig and director Sam Mendes were able to continue to build on the "Casino Royale" blank slate, while also looking back.
"And now that we've come to this point, It's possible to hopefully make a classic Bond movie," Craig says. "And I think Sam's done an incredibly good job at that. And we've got all the elements of all Bond movies, but something very modern as well. There's emotion, there's violence, there's action. There's all the things you need in a Bond movie, beautiful girls. It's all there."
Was it always the intent to do a circumspect classic Bond for the 50th anniversary?
"That wasn't self-conscious in any way," Craig says. "Sam, as he talked with everybody, [art director] Dennis Gassner and [cinematographer] Roger Deakins included, wanted to set out to make a movie that had great style. And those early Bonds were very much about that. They were very much about a style, and a look and a feel. So we were kind of nodding to it, were kind of respectfully nodding to it, and hopefully just bringing some of the kind of the gags in, but, again, not trying not to make them self-conscious, just to make them part of the plot."
In "Skyfall," Bond has his most formidable adversary in years in Javier Bardem Silva. He's matched with a pair of pleasing and capable Bond Girls, played by Naomie Harris and Berenice Marlohe. And from Shanghai to Istanbul to London, he's traveling the world as only master-cinematographer Deakins could depict. And perhaps the only thing as exciting as the film itself is the indication doesn't sound like he's ready to leave Bond behind.
"I think hopefully there's lots more to discover about him, and to play around with," he notes. "I never made it a secret, I've always sort of gone back to the Flemings and sort of looked at those, and sort of tried to mine those for ideas. And it's kind of plenty to do there."
At the "Skyfall" junket, I also spoke with Bardem, Marlohe & Harris and Dame Judi Dench, so stay tuned for those interviews in the weeks to come.
For now, check out the full Craig conversation above.
"Skyfall" opens in the UK and around much of the world this Friday (October 26) and on November 9 in the United States.
Dan and Alan talk 'Mockingbird Lane,' 'Happy Endings,' 'Homeland' and more
Happy Monday, Boys & Girls!
This was going to be a slow week on The Firewall & Iceberg, with only ABC's "Happy Endings" and "Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23" and NBC's "Mockingbird Lane" to review. But then we added Dan's Reality Roundup, a couple questions from readers and a "Homeland" segment and suddenly there we were at 80-ish minutes, same as usual.
"Happy Endings" (00:01:45 - 00:12:00)
"Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23" (00:12:00 - 00:24:25)
"Mockingbird Lane" (00:24:30 - 00:39:15)
Dan's Reality Roundup (00:39:20 - 00:52:30)
Listener Mail - Token Diversity (00:52: 48 - 00:59:20)
Listener Mail - Girls vs. Boys (00:59:25 - 01:04:20)
"Homeland" (01:05:00 - 01:20:45)
And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.
Despite the misleading title, this episode includes no monkeys
I need a ruling on this, "Amazing Race" viewers:
Is the streak of "Amazing Race" Legs determined by cab failures over or is it alive at three?
Mostly, Sunday (October 21) night's "Amazing Race" episode was finally able to jettison a team that had been dead weight since the premiere, but I can't say with absolute confidence that a faulty piece of cab steering didn't play a major role.
My vote is "The streak is over and Sunday's Leg came down to ineptitude on the part of the Racers and not the driver," but if you want to take the opposing side, I can't necessarily argue.
We can discuss after the break...
Dawson talks Jeff Kent secret-keeping and Jeff Probst kissing
I'm not sure I realized until seconds before it was time for her exit interview that "Dawson" was actually "Survivor: Philippines" contestant Sarah Dawson's last name.
I did, however, know two things for sure about Dawson:
1) She was the only player so far this season able to identify future baseball Hall of Famer Jeff Kent in the wilderness, but she was voted off on Wednesday's (October 17) episode without ever revealing that information.
2) She had a bit of a crush on "Survivor" host Jeff Probst and when she was voted out, rather than using that last moment as a chance to spread the truth about Jeff Kent, she used it to give Probst a huge hug and kiss on the cheek.
Both of those facts, plus her announcement that if Jeff Kent wins he owes her a number of gifts including a pink gun, came up in my exit interview with Dawson, a conversation that proves that she could have been one of the most amusing, quotable players of the season, if only she'd been given any screentime.
Click through for the full interview.
Telefilm makes Hitchcock nasty, but not interesting
Alfred Hitchcock was a larger-than-life figure who trafficked on his image. His famous silhouette was iconic and his visage and rotund form were familiar to smarter-than-thou audiences who eagerly awaited his regular cameos.
And when he died, I'm sure Alfred Hitchcock's spirit -- go with me here -- was able to float around in some other plane of existence confident that he had been both unique and, more importantly, unreproducible. Nature generated just one Alfred Hitchcock and the only man gifted enough at cinematic sleight of hand to create another was... Alfred Hitchcock.
We live in a glorious age of movie magic. You can put Brad Pitt's face on a baby. You can erase wrinkles and make Jeff Bridges young again. You can create armies of zombies, with their flesh rotting off. And if you bury a reputable actor under enough latex, you can finally recreate Alfred Hitchcock in a way that calls attention to prosthetic craft without insulting the intelligence of the audience.
And with that, the floodgates have opened this fall, with a pair of biopics intending not to tell Hitch's life story, but merely to capture the auteur in one particular moment of his career, directing one of his most famous movies and dealing with one of his most famous blondes. Most remarkably of all, neither of them stars Andy Serkis in a mo-cap suit.
It's fairly easy to sense the objectives for each project, merely by looking at their titles and the profile of their stars. I haven't seen it, but all indications are that "Hitchcock," featuring Anthony Hopkins under pounds of makeup, will be straight-up hagiography. And I have seen it and I can verify that HBO's "The Girl," featuring Toby Jones under pounds of makeup, is straight-up iconoclasm.
It's great that technical proficiency has allowed us the leeway to make these Hitchcock biopics, but as fictional chaos theory expert Dr. Ian Malcolm would be sure to remind us, just because you *can* do something doesn't mean you *should*. The Season of Hitchcock kicks off on Saturday (October 20) night with "The Girl," a rather superficial portrait of the artist as an icky man that makes its point within 10 minutes and then runs on fumes for an extra 90.
Because of stars Jones and Sienna Miller, there are reasons to watch "The Girl," but the one-dimensional approach defeats any chance that any serious film fan will revise their opinions on much of anything.
[More after the break...]
Makeup whiz and 'Terminator' producer discuss zombie protocol
Last week, AMC's "The Walking Dead," premiered its third season to rather mind-boggling numbers.
The "Walking Dead" premiere drew 10.9 million viewers, including 7.3 million viewers among adults 18-49, shattering basic cable records.
Before that launch, I ran my interviews with Glen Mazzara & Robert Kirkman and also with new breakout star Danai Gurira.
I've still got my chat with David Morrissey saved for a later date, so up next? A lengthy interview with "Walking Dead" producers Gale Anne Hurd and Greg Nicotero.
My conversation with Kirkman and Mazzara focused, for logical reasons, on Season 3 story points. This interview is more about nuts-and-bolts and logistics, the bigger picture of bringing "The Walking Dead" to TV.
Nicotero and Hurd discuss this season's new prison set, the show's ongoing ability to push the edge of the gore envelope without network interference, zombie extra protocol and Nicotero's increasingly active directing profile on the show.
Click through for the full conversation. [Be warned that there are some spoilers from the premiere.]
Departed contestant discusses her medical evacuation
In a season dedicated to offering redemption for three of the most famously medically evacuated players in "Survivor" history, it almost would have been an affront to the show's Gods not to offer up at least one new sacrifice.
Unfortunately for Dana Lambert, she ended up being that sacrifice.
The 32-year-old North Carolina cosmetologist saw her "Survivor" journey come to a premature end on Wednesday's (October 17) episode when dehydration got the best of her. "Survivor" host Jeff Probst would be (and was) quick to note that the medic gave Dana a chance to stay in the game another 12 hours, an opportunity she declined, meaning that she removed herself from the competition.
In the first of two exit interviews this week, Dana explains that she had been battling increasing discomfort and, eventually, crippling pain since the beginning of the season. She also discusses many of the other things that viewers didn't get to see from her Kalabaw tribe, including her fire-starting skills and her ties with Jeff Kent.
Click through for the full interview. And check back tomorrow night for the week's second "Survivor" exit interview.
Kate Walsh drama will end after 13-episode sixth season
Shonda Rhimes confirmed on Friday (October 19) afternoon that "Private Practice" will come to an end after its current 13-episode sixth season.
The end of "Private Practice" isn't exactly a surprise since star Kate Walsh's departure after 13 episodes was already set, but there had been hope from fans that the "Grey's Anatomy" spinoff might continue despite drawing underwhelming ratings in its new-ish Tuesday 10 p.m. home.
The show's creator made the formal announcement on Friday via Twitter and her Shondaland.com website.
"I'm sad to say that Private Practice's run will end after episode 613 this season. There was a lot of discussion and debate but, in the end, the guys at the network and the studio and I all decided that Private Practice was reaching its finish line. Creatively, we are all extremely proud of the show and especially proud of this season -- which you will all soon discover is a creative renaissance. I can't wait for you to see it.
It's heartbreaking to end. Truly. I feel so lucky to write for these characters and tell these stories and I truly feel this show has taught me so much as a writer. And there's a family here, of crew and cast, people who have bonded over these past five and a half seasons. It's rare for a show to go for more than 100 episodes and we are incredibly proud to have been such a show. And we're grateful to all of you for spending time with us for an hour every week for the last 6 years. It's meant the world.
"Private Practice" launched out of a 2007 "Grey's Anatomy" backdoor pilot and aired its first episode in September of that year. The drama, which also starred Paul Adelstein, Taye Diggs, Amy Brenneman and, until this season, Tim Daly, aired its 100th episode earlier this fall.
Depending on ABC's programming rotation, the "Private Practice" finale will likely air in late January or early February.
'The Unit' star also talks about reuniting with Shawn Ryan
Robert Patrick's resume is littered with military titles.
He's been sergeants and majors and commanders. He's also played an astounding variety of colonels, from "NCIS" to "Chuck" to "The Unit."
It was on "The Unit" that Patrick worked with Shawn Ryan, the man behind his latest military role, Master Chief Joseph Prosser on "Last Resort."
In one respect, Prosser is probably a villain on "Last Resort," in the sense that the Chief of Boat has developed an adversarial relationship with our ostensible hero, Andre Braugher's Captain Marcus Chaplin.
But "heroes" and "villains" aren't so clearly delineated on the Thursday night drama and in an interview last week, Patrick made it clear that Prosser is merely following his loyalties to the United States of America in the face of what he views as Marcus Chaplin's treason. Of course, don't expect things on "Last Resort" to be that simple, whether Prosser is about to foment revolt against Chaplin, or whether his loyalties are about to change.
In my conversation with Patrick, we discussed his reunion with Ryan, his new friend Andre Braugher and the very personal stake he has in his collection of military roles.
Wednesday's truncated talent show episode shifts to next Tuesday
Mother Nature is a devious programming executive.
A simple rain delay in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series caused a pile-up that confused many viewers and will be rippling through FOX's schedule for weeks.
With the game between the Giants and Cardinals on hold, but the chance of resumption hanging in the balance, FOX scrambled to fill programming on Wednesday, airing a smorgasbord of offerings including the pilot for "Ben and Kate," roughly an hour of the previously scheduled episode of "The X Factor" and a chunk of last week's "The Mindy Project."
When it became clear that the baseball game would return, FOX abruptly pulled the episode of "X Factor" half-way through the key episode meant to reveal the season's Top 16. This portion of "X Factor" aired on the East Coast and also, due to a technical issue, aired on the West Coast as a simulcast (in Pacific Time, FOX just aired last Wednesday's episode).
FOX will now air the entirety of Wednesday's scheduled "X Factor" next Tuesday (the Thursday episode had already been preempted for baseball). In order to make way for two hours of "X Factor," FOX has now pulled the new episodes of "Raising Hope," "Ben and Kate," "New Girl" and "The Mindy Project" for a later date. "New Girl" and "The Mindy Project" were already preempted this week due to the second Presidential Debate.
If you're keeping score at home, the Cardinals beat the Giants 3-1.