Inside TV+Movies with Daniel Fienberg

Interview: 'Vikings' star Travis Fimmel discusses making Ragnar relatable

Aussie talks about his character actor instincts and Emmy chances

<p>Travis Fimmel of &quot;Vikings&quot;</p>

Travis Fimmel of "Vikings"

Credit: History
We're on the eve of the 10th anniversary of The WB's "Tarzan," which introduced the world to Australian model-turned-actor Travis Fimmel.
 
Fans of History's "Vikings" whose only point-of-reference for Fimmel was  "Tarzan" may have been surprised by his intense, intriguingly crazed performance as upwardly mobile warrior and family man Ragnar Lothbrok. 
 
Since his short-lived WB debut, though, Fimmel has made a string of interestingly quirky career choices, starting with an dark and internalized performance in "The Beast," going even darker and more tortured in the early episodes of NBC's "Chase" and going unexpectedly Southern and backwoods in FX's "Outlaw Country," a pilot that didn't go to series but aired as a TV movie. 
 
I got on the phone with the self-deprecating Fimmel a couple weeks ago to talk about "Vikings" and about his own acting instincts, which tend more in the "character actor" direction. 
 
Fimmel, who insists he's still just a farm boy at heart, discusses the challenges of making Ragnar and the Vikings relatable, the ego-free Irish set and his appreciation for "Vikings" creator Michael Hirst.
 
He also handicaps his Emmy chances in very amusing fashion.
 
Click through for the full conversation. 
 

Outstanding Lead Actress Comedy - Emmy Nomination Preview 2013

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Lena Dunham should be back

Outstanding Lead Actress Comedy - Emmy Nomination Preview 2013
Cheaters! You're all cheaters, Emmy voters! Or at least Emmy voters were cheaters last year, when they conveniently solved the problem of a Lead Actress comedy logjam by nominating a bonus seventh actress. Unless Emmy voters are prepared for another "tie" this year, they're going to be in for a challenge, since all seven nominees return and none of the seven seems conspicuously out of place and headed for elimination. At least there are very few new candidates, not that I'd mind to see Sutton Foster or Laura Dern (not eligible last year) sneak into the field, even if that meant upsetting the apple cart in awkward ways...
 
Check out my full slate of candidates...

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 188

Dan and Alan talk James Gandolfini, 'Mad Me,' 'Hannibal,' 'Under the Dome' and more

The
Happy Monday, Boys & Girls!
 
It's a busy week, so expect two installments of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast this week.
 
In this regular Monday installment, we talk about finales for "Mad Men" and "Hannibal," review CBS' "Under the Dome" and we pay tribute to James Gandolfini and Gary David Goldberg.
 
Later in the week, we'll cover "Dexter" and "Ray Donovan" and we'll do this week's rewatch, which was "Mary Tyler Moore" and "The Dick Van Dyke Show."
 
Here's today's breakdown:
James Gandolfini & Gary David Goldberg (00:2:10 - 00:20:30)
"Under the Dome" (00:20:40 - 00:27:05)
"Hannibal" (00:27:10 - 00:47:50)
"Mad Men" (00:47:50 - 01:39:25)

And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.

Roland Emmerich says 'Independence Day' sequel won't be 'a Will Smith movie'

'ID4' sequel has a release date, but no greenlight

Roland Emmerich says 'Independence Day' sequel won't be 'a Will Smith movie'
WASHINGTON, DC - It presumably was no coincidence that 20th Century Fox chose this week to announce a release date for the long-awaited sequel to the 1996 smash "Independence Day."
 
Roland Emmerich, who directed the original and has been talking about the sequel for years, was in our nation's capital promoting his upcoming "White House Down" (hence the very real White House in the background of this interview), meaning that dozens of reporters got to slip in questions about "Independence Day 2."
 
I was no exception, asking Emmerich what the pressure of finally having a tangible release date of July 3, 2015 meant for the project.
 
Emmerich sounded excited, but also just a bit bemused. 
 
He admits, "We have no greenlight yet, so I wonder what that is about!"
 
When the "ID4" sequel actually gets its greenlight, the film may not look exactly like the original.
 
"I kinda told them I want to have the same feel again... and then that's the problem," Emmerich says. "So much happened in the meantime. Will became this huge star and I don't want to have this a Will Smith movie. It's like 'Independence Day.' It has to be an ensemble cast again."
 
I didn't have time in my interview to ask if that meant that Will Smith won't have any involvement in the sequel, but in other interviews, Emmerich seemed to suggest as much.
 
Stay tuned in the next few days for my full Emmerich interview, as well as conversations with Jamie Foxx & Channing Tatum and Maggie Gyllenhaal.

"White House Down" opens on Friday, June 28.

Outstanding Lead Actress Drama - Emmy Nomination Preview 2013

Can Tatiana Maslany, Keri Russell, Tatiana Maslany or Vera Farmiga score a nod?

Outstanding Lead Actress Drama - Emmy Nomination Preview 2013
I think I'm counting on four Lead Actress in a Drama performances as locks for Emmy nominations. That leaves two slots which, by my reckoning, will go to one of seven or eight actors. What I don't know, though, is whether Emmy voters will give the advantage to returning or former nominees like Michelle Dockery or Mariska Hargitay, established network favorites like Kerry Washington or Connie Britton, or any of several new contenders from variably proven cable and not-even-cable entities. 
 
I'm just going with my gut on most of these and even though they seem like viable predictions now, I'll probably have changed my mind by next month. This could, if things go pear-shaped, be one of the very oddest fields on Emmy morning.
 
Check out the full gallery below:

Outstanding Lead Actor Drama - Emmy Nomination Preview 2013

Who will join Bryan Cranston, Damian Lewis and Jon Hamm?

Outstanding Lead Actor Drama - Emmy Nomination Preview 2013
On a day so many of us are so shaken by James Gandolfini's sudden death, it's sadly appropriate that my Emmy focus turns to the category that the "Sopranos" star towered over, a category still dominated by characters and performances that never would have been possible without Tony Soprano.
 
Like love, the Lead Actor in a Drama category at the Emmys is a battlefield. All six nominees from last year return, including four actors who have been nominated for multiple Emmys for their current roles. So this category should actually be a breeze, right? Everybody repeats, right? You tell that to Kevin Spacey and Matthew Rhys and Jeff Daniels. At least one or two of those guys will surely hear their names announced on July 18. But even that means that entirely worthy candidates like Hugh Dancy and Aden Young don't even an iota of a chance. It's a battlefield.
 
Check out the full gallery below:

Outstanding Supporting Actor Comedy - Emmy Nomination Preview 2013

'Arrested Development,' '30 Rock' and 'Office' men target 'Modern Family' vets

Outstanding Supporting Actor Comedy - Emmy Nomination Preview 2013
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy is one of the real challenges when it comes to Emmy prognostication. All six nominees return and if Emmy voters are determined to keep honoring a whopping FOUR "Modern Family" cast members, that leaves even less wiggle room to recognize somebody from the final seasons of "30 Rock" and "The Office" or one of the previously nominated co-stars of "Arrested Development," which was resurrected by Netflix. At least there aren't any entirely new comedies likely to complicate this field.
 
Check out the full gallery below:

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 187

Dan and Alan talk 'Mad Men,' 'Veronica Mars,' 'Crossing Lines,' 'Devious Maids' and more

The
Happy Monday, Boys and Girls!
 
Time for another installment of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast.
 
We kept this one under two hours. You're welcome. Or "Sorry." Whichever one applies.
 
This week, we have reviews of "Crossing Lines" and "Devious Maids." We also answered a couple pieces of Listener Mail and chatted about "Mad Men" and this week's Summer Rewatch, "Veronica Mars."
 
Next week's podcast, with "Under the Dome," "Dexter," "Ray Donovan," the "Mad Men" pilot and more, could be another two-plus hour podcast, unless we opt for a little splitting and it becomes a two podcast week next week.
 
Next week's Pilot Rewatch will be Old School with pilots for "The Dick Van Dyke Show" and "The Mary Tyler Moore Show."
 
Here's today's breakdown:
"Crossing Lines" (00:00:45 - 00:14:40)
"Devious Maids" (00:14:45 - 00:25:45)
Listener Mail - "Game of Thrones" splitting (00:26:00 - 00:32:45)
Listener Mail - NBC Stanley Cup (00:32:50 - 00:38:10)
"Mad Men" (00:38:35 - 01:13:00)
Summer Rewatch: "Veronica Mars" (01:13:00 - 01:37:05)

And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.

Interview: 'Vikings' creator Michael Hirst talks Season 1 and beyond

'Tudors' scrib discusses spirituality, sex and strong female roles

<p>A scene from Michael Hirst's favorite &quot;Vikings&quot; episode &quot;The Sacrifice&quot;</p>

A scene from Michael Hirst's favorite "Vikings" episode "The Sacrifice"

Credit: History
History's "Vikings" snuck up on a lot of people this spring.
 
A cable network without a lot of scripted series pedigree released a show without major stars and the initial reaction was, "It's 'Game of Thrones' without dragons and I like dragons."
 
It took only a few minutes to realize that "Vikings" was far better than it necessarily needed to be. The Irish-filmed visuals popped. The characters were rough and compelling. And, in addition to a solid performance from established veteran Gabriel Byrne, "Vikings" delivered impressive work from the likes of Travis Fimmel, Jessalyn Gilsig and particularly Katheryn Winnick.
 
Much of the credit for the success of "Vikings" goes to "Elizabeth" scribe Michael Hirst. Just as he did on Showtime's "The Tudors" and Starz's "Camelot," Hirst wrote every word of the first "Vikings" season. And, as he did on those earlier shows, he filtered well-researched history through a filter of sex and power and betrayal that blends juicy soap opera with Shakespearean tragedy and just a dash of "The Godfather."
 
"Vikings" ended its first season in April and probably won't return for its second season until 2014, but with Emmy nomination season approaching, I got on the phone with Hirst to talk about the show. 
 
In our wide-ranging 25-minute conversation, we talked about Hirst's particular staff-free approach to TV writing, the surprising evolution of the show's female characters and the 
 

Previewing the 2013 Emmy Nomination previews

Our summer series starts with Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

Previewing the 2013 Emmy Nomination previews
Credit: Matt Sayles/AP
Ballots for the 2013 Emmy Awards officially went up on Monday (June 10) evening and, as always, we'll be previewing the major categories between now and the ballot deadline on June 28.
 
As always, Sepinwall will be writing up his dream ballot with his six ideal nominees.
 
And, as always, I'll be gallery-izing the leading nomination contenders. In each gallery, the first six slides represent my actual predictions for nominations. The next 5-or-so slides represent the top contenders should any of my six should falter or be proven needlessly optimistic. The rest of the slides are me looking at the Emmy chances for people who are increasing longshots but check certain plausible Emmy boxes: They're from new shows, they're former nominees, they're high profile show additions or they're great actors who had great seasons but probably won't build Emmy momentum. The first half of the galleries are pseudo-scientific (or at least predictive). The second halves are just trying to be informative or contemplative.
 
And this first gallery -- Supporting Actor in a Drama -- may be the biggest. Promise. I started writing entries without the official ballot and so I forgot lots of people and then had to add to what was already a really full category and it suddenly became huge. I'm gonna aim for 20-to-25 as opposed to 25+ for future galleries.
 
Check out Supporting Actor in a Drama:

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