Inside TV+Movies with Daniel Fienberg
Slattery also discusses his latest directing experiences
In yesterday's first interview of "Mad Men" week, Jessica Pare
taught us about the challenges of promoting a show that you're not allowed to preview at all. Of course, she also talked about Megan's gifts as an actress and about the allure of Dark Don. I still like the interview, even if she wouldn't admit she was in Hawaii.
But not all of the "Mad Men" interviews I did focused on the future or on things the actors couldn't talk about.
A four-time Emmy nominee, John Slattery saw Roger Sterling go through some changes last season, fighting back from the brink of obsolescence with the help of enlightenment gleaned in one of the great LSD trips ever captured on film/video. Where does Season 6 find Roger in his journey? Well, without spoiling specific details, Slattery was able to give some insight into the character's progression.
In addition to acting on "Mad Men," Slattery has also become a key part of the show's directing stable, helming the exceptional "Signal 30" last season, as well as "Blowing Smoke" and "The Rejected." Slattery directed two more episodes this season and we talked about his learning curve behind the camera and the unique challenges of achieving the writer-specific "Mad Men" vision.
Click through for the full interview, which manages to be thoughtful and interesting without spoiling anything at all...
After the Merge and an eating challenge, folks try to shake things up
Pre-credit sequence. Anybody remember who we voted out last? Oh right. Julia. Bikal returns to camp and they've probably forgotten who they lost as well. Everybody congratulates Michael as The Last Remaining Bikal Fan. "I made sure I got The Gay," Corinne says, proud of her Tribal Council role. For some reason, Phillip decides to call Dawn and Corinne over to "confess" that he threw the challenge. Corinne is... Let's say... "skeptical." "You could have just told us," Corinne tells Phillip, who insists it was an in-game decision. "That's convenient. That's around the same time you blew the challenge," Corinne tells us. "He's so cuckoo-for-Coco-Puffs. There's no question that Phillip has to go," she adds.
Get ready for a padded show with seven solos and three group/duet performances
Wednesday (April 3) night is Classic Rock Night on "American Idol," apparently. Given that our Top 7 has devolved into a talented, but familiar assortment of weekly ballads, we'll see if the Classic Rock theme means a change of pace or a lot of cheating.
One thing that's for sure is that we can expect a lot of padding and we can also expect whoever gets paired with Lazaro Arbos on their group performance to struggle.
Click through for the full adventure....
Animals, teamwork exercises and toilet talk with the departed duo
Hippos and rhinos and donkeys, oh my.
It took a wide assortment of exotic animals to doom Winnie Sung and Pam Chien on Sunday night's "The Amazing Race," but the quotable duo admits without hesitation that they have nobody to blame but themselves.
After emerging as one of the season's stronger teams, winning one Leg and picking up a pair of second place finishes, Pam and Winnie struggled with an African Detour on Sunday. First they couldn't find operational donkeys for the "Brawn" side of the Detour. Then, when they switched over to the safari animal-spotting "Brains" Detour, they were unable to spot an ostrich and confused a hippo for a rhino. In a tight Leg, this was enough to do them in.
In this week's "Amazing Race" exit interview, the friends discuss their animal difficulties, their teamwork-building exercises and the pressures of racing against other teams.
Click through for the full conversation...
Is Megan a good actress? Pare weighs in...
Brace yourself: This will be a week of "Mad Men" interviews on HitFix.
Two weeks ago, in one jam-packed afternoon, I sat down with Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, John Slattery, Vincent Kartheiser, January Jones and Jessica Pare to talk about "Mad Men" Season 6, which premieres on AMC on Sunday, April 7.
Or perhaps I should say that I sat down with the stars to talk *around* Season 6 of "Mad Men," since it's easier to find out the location and business hours of your local neighborhood fight club than it is to get forward-looking plot or thematic details from any member of the cast or creator Matthew Weiner.
I'm starting "Mad Men" Week with my conversation with Jessica Pare, since she's the newest to the cast and the least experienced with the art of Weiner Secret Keeping and, for some reason, this was the interview that included the most obfuscation and discussion of obfuscation.
In the interview, Pare discusses Megan's acting ability, her ability to lost past Don's darkness and Pare's own desire not to pre-learn plotpoints. And we talked a lot about what she couldn't talk about.
Stay tuned for the other interviews in the days to come.
Dan and Alan talk 'Hannibal,' 'The Walking Dead,' 'Mad Men' and more
Happy Monday, Boys & Girls! And happy Opening Day, baseball fans!
This week, though a busy installment of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, Sepinwall and I watch the Red Sox/Yankees game while talking about tons and tons of new stuff including some stuff we love ("Mad Men" and NBC's "Hannibal") as well as some stuff we don't love ("Rogue" and ABC's "HTLwYPFtRoYL"), plus the "Walking Dead" finale.
Note that the "Rogue" conversation ends up being much more about the state of TV saturation than about "Rogue," so if may interest you even if you don't care about "Rogue."
Check it out...
"Mad Men" (00:02:25 - 00:10:05)
"Rogue" and TV Saturation (00:10:05 - 00:22:30)
"How to Live With Your Parents For the Rest of Your Life" (00:22:31 - 00:32:10)
"Hannibal" (00:32:10 - 00:48:35)
Listener Mail: HBO's "Vice" (00:49:00 - 00:53:55)
Listener Mail: Garret Dillahunt (00:54:00 - 00:58:38
Listener Mail: Shows and their networks (00:58:40 - 01:03:45)
The "Walking Dead" finale (01:03:45 - 01:26:45)
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.
Welcome to Africa... Goats and donkeys.
Darnit, "The Amazing Race." Why can't you keep momentum going?
Last week's episode sucked, but you came back with a new episode immediately.
This week's episode was really solid, so naturally "The Amazing Race" is taking next Sunday off in favor of one of the 75 country music award shows I'm basically convinced are elaborate charades to help Taylor Swift feel better about her various breakups.
To that, I can only say, "Boo."
But regarding tonight's episode? An agreeable, "Yay." Sunday's episode featured some amusing and photogenic nature, some interesting and difficult tasks, some previously unexplored travel miscues, minimal cultural myopia and racism and a reasonably exciting conclusion. When folks say that I judge "The Amazing Race" by too high a standard, I say, "Not true." And this can be a good illustration for a solid, engaging episode of "The Amazing Race."
More after the break. Then I'll take a week off. Except for all of the other things I do.
Bran finds a new form of transportation this season
Try not to pay too much attention to it, but Isaac Hemsptead-Wright is growing.
Perhaps more than his "Game of Thrones
" siblings Sophie Turner and Maisie Williams, Hempstead-Wright has become markedly larger than the wee Bran
we watched gambol along the rooftops of Winterfell in the series premiere. Bran does very little gamboling these days, what with his Lannister-induced paralysis, so that means we can't be distracted by his growth when he's standing alongside other characters, but it also means that he's spent a lot of time strapped to the back of Kristian Nairn's Hodor, which'll cause extra problems if/when they're the same height.
Unavoidably, I brought up the issue with Hempstead-Wright on the recent "Game of Thrones" premiere red carpet in Hollywood. Fortunately, the young actor explains that he goes from Westeros Baby Bjorn to being carted via cart for most of the show's upcoming third season. On Hodor's behalf, we all say, "Whew."
Plus, I have a longer -- text only, sorry -- interview with Natalie Dormer
"Game of Thrones" returns to HBO on Sunday, March 31.
How is this new aspiring queen different from Anne Boleyn?
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
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.
Julia 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...