Inside TV+Movies with Daniel Fienberg
How is this new aspiring queen different from Anne Boleyn?
Natalie Dormer and Jack Gleeson of "Game of Thrones"
Over the past couple weeks, I've been posting my interviews from the "Game of Thrones
" red carpet premiere in Hollywood. At the event, I got a couple minutes with many of the show's stars, but the actor I was most disappointed to miss may have been Natalie Dormer
The British actress, who I first noticed in "Casanova" and playing Anne Boleyn on the first two seasons of "The Tudors," is giving what I think is one of the most interesting performances in the deep "Game of Thrones" ensemble.
Dormer's Margaery Tyrell
is surprising partially because she has almost nothing in common with the child-bride introduced in the "Song of Ice and Fire" novels. As Dormer plays her, Margaery has an interesting and pragmatic understanding of the game that gives the HBO drama its title. She knows what she has to do to secure her position in Westeros and she's prepared to do it, whether it meant accommodating Renly's secretive sexual orientation or Joffrey's not-so-secretive ickiness. And as the new season begins, Margaery is showcasing a different, even more complicated, side with the help of her feisty grandmother the Queen of Thorns, played by Dame Diana Rigg.
Having missed her on the red carpet, I got on the phone last week for a longer conversation with deeply invested and fiercely thoughtful actress.
The full Q&A is after the break. It contains information, but I wouldn't think to call any of it "spoilers."
Race car driver and Stanford undergrad discusses her 'Survivor' run
Julia's "Survivor" torch is snuffed
Nobody's ever been cast on "Survivor
" to be "vanilla." But sometimes it happens. Not everybody can be a Phillip or a Brandon or a Shamar and in a season that happens to have a Phillip, a Brandon and a Shamar all battling simultaneously for screentime, it's hard for anybody to keep up.
It's even hard to keep up if you happen to have the daredevil spirit of a race car driver and the intellect of a Stanford undergrad.
Landauer is both of those things, not that you'd know either fact from her time on "Survivor: Caramoan." In fact, all you'd probably know about Julia is that she didn't get along with Shamar, she didn't get along with Phillip and Cochran didn't think too highly of her.
"I'm tempted to say that she has a vanilla personality, but that would be doing a great disservice to the flavor of vanilla," Cochran cracked during Wednesday's "Survivor," just moments before Julia was voted out of the game, just missing out on the Merge.
In this week's "Survivor" exit interview, Julia certainly comes across as sharper and funnier than she appeared to be on the show, attributing what was perceived as "vanilla" to varying parts strategy, youth, an unfortunate game situation and a lack of outrageousness compared with other contestants. It seems like a plausible combination of factors.
Check out the full conversation after the break...
Actor explains why he skips the Samwell Tarly chapters
On the pages of George R.R. Martin's "Song of Ice and Fire" books, Samwell Tarly
is on a journey.
That's not a spoiler, because Sam is also on a journey on HBO's "Game of Thrones
," but actor John Bradley
only knows how far his character has made it in each TV script, rather than his eventual [in-progress] literary destination. Or at least that's what Bradley says.
On the red carpet for HBO's recent Hollywood "Game of Thrones" premiere, Bradley told me that while he's ready Martin's books, he's skipped any future chapter either from Sam's POV or potentially featuring Sam. I'm not sure how realistic that sounds, but I like Bradley's explanation for the actorly reasons behind it.
For now, Samwell finds himself Beyond the Wall with many members of the Night's Watch, albeit separated from his buddy Jon Snow. Initially a bumbling object of ridicule, Sam is becoming a tiny bit more capable, but don't expect him to become too capable too quickly.
"I think when playing Sam, it's always good to have a little bit discomfort in the back of your mind," Bradley says. "He doesn't fit into his skin very well, despite the fact that there's a lot of skin to fit into."
"Game of Thrones" returns to HBO on Sunday, March 31.
Which singer received the fewest votes after their Detroit-themed performances
Credit: Scott Kirkland/Picture Group
It's time for our "American Idol" Thursday results.
The way I'm figuring it, the judges would let Devin Velez or Lazaro Arbos go home without hesitation.
If anybody else finishes last, the Judges' Save would be a definite possibility. Burnell Taylor would be the most interesting case. I think all five "Idol" women would get saved if they're voted out this week, but would the judges go out of their way to protect the best male from this season's dismal crop?
Let's see how things go after the break... Plus? Katharine McPhee performs!
Phillip is crazy, Cochran is wise and Malcolm is awesome. What else is new?
Gota of "Survivor: Caramoan"
Pre-credit sequence. "That was the first time I've ever come close to wetting myself," Julia says as Bikal returns to camp. Good to know, Julia. I mean, we don't know anything else about you, but you're not incontinent. And that's a start! Michael already misses his buddy Matt, but he vows to keep trying to build friendships. Fortunately, Corinne is more friendship than any one gay dude could ever possible need. Corinne wants to protect Michael, but she isn't ready to flip on Phillip just yet. So she tells Michael they just need to make it to the Merge. "I want her gone," Phillip tells Cochran. "Not next, though?" Cochran asks. Phillip does, indeed, want Corinne next, no matter how sensibly Corchran protests that if won't look good after a Merge. Well, if Phillip can't get rid of Corinne, he's willing to take out "her new gay friend" if he has to.
Expect lots of Stevie Wonder from our Finalists
The "American Idol" Top 8
It's Motown Night on "American Idol," a theme that usually means a lot of of Stevie Wonder, since "American Idol" contestants don't know much by way of Motown, just like they don't know many songs by the Beatles.
Click through for all of the excitement...
'Harry Potter' veteran discusses her road-trip season
"Song of Ice and Fire" author George R.R. Martin has been very open about Natalia Tena
being the character whose incarnation on "Game of Thrones
" he perhaps prefers to her version on the page.
Last week, on the "Game of Thrones" premiere red carpet in Hollywood, I talked with the "Harry Potter" franchise veteran about how her Osha is different from the Osha in the books? The key differences, apparently? She's younger and plumper. But how did she come to be plumper? Well, Tena has theories.
In the conversation, Tena explains how Osha is "like a psychopathic mother-bodyguard" this season and describes the closeness of the Belfast contingent of the "Game of Thrones" cast.
Definitely one of my favorite interviews from that red carpet, Tena also uses at least one word that may not be safe for your workplace, depending on said workplace. You've been warned.
"Game of Thrones" returns to HBO on Sunday, March 31.
And why it's OK that her character is different from in the books
Normally when heroes on TV shows find love, that's a good thing, but fans of HBO's "Game of Thrones
" are smart enough to be wary of King Robb's new nuptials.
Yes, we should be pleased that the King in the North seems to have chosen a worthy partner in Oona Chaplin
, but as Robb's mom has been prone to observing, the hastily composed marriage may mess with the Starks' necessary alliance with House Frey.
On the "Game of Thrones" premiere red carpet in Los Angeles, I caught up with Oona Chaplin, who discusses the pros and cons of Talisa's relationship with Robb. Chaplin -- Yes, she's Charlie's granddaughter -- also talks about playing a character who isn't at all like her equivalent in George R.R. Martin's novels.
Check out the interview above. And you should also check out my red carpet interviews with Martin
, Rose Leslie
and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau
. And stay tuned for a few more interviews in the days to come. [You'll notice Natalie Tena in the background here. She'll probably be the next interview that I post.]
"Game of Thrones" returns to HBO on Sunday, March 31.
Dan and Alan talk 'Game of Thrones,' 'Orphan Black' and much more
Happy Monday and Happy Seder Night, Boys & Girls!
It's time for another busy installment of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast.
Next week? Much more to talk about!
This week's breakdown:
"Revolution" (00:01:10 - 00:13:55)
"Orphan Black" (00:14:00 - 00:23:10)
"Game of Thrones" (00:24:00 - 00:37:45)
"Mr. Selfridge" (00:37:45 - 43:50)
A few words on "Happy Endings" on Friday and Jaypocalypse 2.0 (00:44:00 - 01:01:20)
Listener Mail - Marketing versus Creative (01:01:35 - 01:05:55)
Listener Mail - The future of "Law & Order" (01:06:00 - 01:12:05)
Listener Mail - Showrunners on multiple shows (01:12:10 - 01:18:20)
Listener Mail - Live+3 versus C3 ratings (01:18:25 - 01:20:20)
As always, you can subscribe to The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast over at the iTunes Store, where you can also rate us and comment on us. [Or you can always follow our RSS Feed.]
And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.
After an apology, the teams head to Africa
Winnie and Pam make a new friend on "The Amazing Race"
I guess we might as well get this out of the way up-front, since there's virtually nothing worth discussing from Sunday's (March 24) installment of "The Amazing Race
Sunday's hour began with a rather lengthy narrated apology for last week's Leg, directed specifically at veterans and anybody else offended by the episode, which took place in Hanoi and included both an extended challenge built around a Communist anthem, as well as a key route marker at a monument built around a downed B-52. The apology referred to the show at "insensitive" and was probably sufficiently self-flaggelatory to placate some of the outraged viewers (though not the commenters who posted on my recap and ratings posts last week vowing never to watch again).
Here's the thing: I understand completely why certain people were disturbed and pissed off about the scenes. Totally. I think that a lot of the vitriol that was spewed on Fox News was over-the-top, but that's par for the course. If you want to say that last week's episode was insensitive? I wouldn't dare quibble. If you want to say that CBS and the show are un-American and deserve punishment? Well, yeah. I can't go that far with you.
Because I watch the show, I know this is what "The Amazing Race" does. If the show is in a country that has a particular relationship with the United States, that relationship is acknowledged, even if it's not pretty. The most obvious examples have involved African countries, where the slave trade has been specifically addressed. But it's really not uncommon. So I wasn't surprised that "The Amazing Race" didn't shy from the Vietnam War when the teams went through Vietnam. Pretending that racing through Vietnam is identical to racing through Bali would be disingenuous and not the way "The Amazing Race" operates. The show is about world citizenship and the Vietnam War is a fair part of the discussion to a group of Americans racing around Vietnam. It just is. But could it have been addressed in a different way? Well, yes. Absolutely.
My question: The "Amazing Race" producers planned, shot and edited those sequences. CBS must have known where the show was going and somebody at some point must have watched the episode. Could the "Amazing Race" producers and CBS *seriously* have been taken by surprise that some people were uncomfortable? Were they relieved when it took Fox News two or three days to get pissed off? Or were they shocked that anybody got pissed off at all? So either they were oblivious that anybody could be offended or else they were too spineless to either stand by the show's choices or to attempt to explain the show's reasoning and intellectual strategy. To my mind, an apology-with-explanation would have been justified and educational, rather than just a blanket kowtow. "Here's why we did what we did. Here's why we understand we could have done it better." If the intent wasn't malicious -- and I don't believe the intent was malicious -- own the intent.
I just suspect that "The Amazing Race" is so acclaimed and over-honored that either it's immune to CBS oversight or there's a commonly held assumption that whatever "The Amazing Race" does will be worshipped, even when the show picks at one of the rawest wounds in semi-recent American history.
Anyway... they apologized. And that was the most interesting part of Sunday's episode. And the apology was over with 59 minutes to go.
A few more words after the break...