Why Veronica Mars Chose Logan Over Piz
Two weeks ago I interviewed Rob Thomas, creator of the TV series “Veronica Mars” and writer/director of its movie reboot, about the process of taking the beloved detective heroine to the big screen. Since it has come out, the reviews have been for the most part good, at least if you’re a fan. (The box office returns, meanwhile, have not). One thing that did get under a few critics’ skin was Veronica’s decision to choose high school bad boy beau Logan over the sweet NPR-ready Piz. I had asked Thomas about #TeamLogan winning over #TeamPiz (and my question was out of curiosity, not criticism). Here’s what he had to say:
I think …it’s funny. I have a daughter now, a 9-year-old daughter, and if confronted with those choices I hope she picks Piz and yet I also, as someone who works in TV drama — that’s not necessarily the sexy choice. Veronica and Logan are these two damaged people who are damaged in very similar ways and found eachother and people who…let me tell you this. Just watching those two onscreen together makes me want to put them together and it’s not like the movie ends with them getting married but … of course they do reconnect and I think many of those 91,000 people put their money down to see just that it.
I also asked him about the other man in Veronica’s life, her father Keith and what made their relationship so special:
In a way Keith is the dad you wish you would be. He is a great TV dad and with the possible exception — and i talk about this with Enrico Colantoni sometimes — he’s the perfect TV dad except for letting his daughter go out and solve cases at night. Other than that one thing he seems to be really ideal. it’s interesting in the original pilot episode, i had initially left Veronica and Keith estranged at the end of it — veronica found that her dad had been hiding all this correspondence from her mother over the years since her mother left and it left Keith and Veronica on the outs. And the network gave me this note of, “You know what? You have that Veronica has been raped and her best friend has been murdered and she’s lost her status. Her mom has left her. You have to give her one thing: Please let her have her dad in her corner.” And so that was actually — writers rarely talk about the good network notes that they got — but that was a good network note that i got. And I think they’re right. I think it would have sent to far down it she didn’t have someone firmly in her corner that she looked up to and believe in in her home line. I write Keith often as the dad I hope I am to my teenage daughter at some point.
5:48 pm • 25 March 2014 • 4 notes
Some of the things L’Wren Scott was (besides Mick Jagger’s girlfriend)
It appears that L’Wren Scott — the model, stylist and designer— committed suicide. Those outside the fashion world or the New York social scene may not be familiar with her name, which is fair. But it’s a little disheartening to see the AP, and thus all the outlets that run its wires, refer to her first as Mick Jagger’s girlfriend. The head has since been tweaked to reflect her career, but when it comes to reporting tragic deaths, this sort of thing isn’t exactly new. Just for good measure, a quick reminder of some of the other things Scott did, besides date a rock star:
- She was raised by a Mormon family in Utah where celebrity photographer Bruce Weber discovered her and urged her to get into modeling.
- She moved to Paris when she was 18, changed her name, and broke into the fashion industry, modeling for big name designers like Chanel and Thierry Mugler.
- She left modeling to get involved in other aspects of the industry, first a PR chief for Prada, than as a celebrity stylist.
- She helps shape the looks of fashion icons like Nicole Kidman, Sarah Jessica Parker and Ellen Barkin.
- She also does the styling on films including “Diabolique,” “Eyes Wide Shut,” and “Ocean’s 13," and is even named the official stylist of the Oscars in 2000.
- She launched her own line in 2006 while continuing to dress the stars. Her designs were still impressing critics last fall and are even a favorite of the first lady.
- She also had her hand in everything from shoe design to jewelry collaborations to a fragrance.
- Coincidentally, she also preferred to not be referred as Mick Jagger’s girlfriend.
2:16 pm • 17 March 2014
Some Tidbits from my Steve Coogan interview last fall
Last fall, I interviewed Steve Coogan about the film he co-wrote/produced/starred in “Philomena,” now nominated for a few Academy Awards. Ahead of Sunday’s ceremony, here a couple tidbits from our chat that didn’t make into the original story:
Coogan was filming “The Other Guys” playing “part number four in a big studio film” when he first started thinking about making his own movie:
[I was] kind of bored, looking for another project that was outside my comedy — the comedy I’ve done in the UK, which is what I am most known for — and looking for something with more substance. …
I wanted to go back to England and to do something that i wanted to do. And at least if it didn’t work, i failed on my own terms. And that experiment was “Philomena.”
On why he wanted Judi Dench for the title role:
I knew there were like 5 actresses who ideally I would like to play [Philomena] who were at the top of their game. My first choice was Judi Dench and I said to Jeff [Pope, his co-screenwriter], “I think we should get Judi Dench for this,” and I remembered her as Iris Murdoch in a film she did called “Iris,” so I knew she could do character work. Sometimes people get saddled with the last thing you saw and everyone thinks of Judi Dench as M in the Bond movies, but i saw beyond that because I had seen what she had done before. Jeff said, “you think she would do it” And I said, “You know what, if we write it well enough, I think she would be interested.” There aren’t many good parts for older female actors – they’re few and far between. So if we make it good i think we had a chance.
They pitched it to her agent, who set up a meeting her at her house.
She said, “It sounds fantastic,” and at that point we started writing – when i knew she was like close to saying it – I went back and we finished writing it, and i said to Jeff, “Well let’s write this for Judi Dench,” so we geared it for her.
On the real Philomena Lee’s initial reaction:
Philomena needed it explained to her that you could honor the greater truth while inventing things for the purpose of narrative …
When she knew Judi was going to play her she was beside herself with happiness and excitement…
Lee first viewed the finished film with her daughter.
They enjoyed it so much more the second time because the first time they were worried.
12:07 pm • 28 February 2014
The Backstory on that Armpit Sex illustration in “Her”
"Her" was nominated for an Oscar in production design this week and rightfully so, as part of the film’s success is in how it imagined the future, both weirdly intriguing and appealingly believable. I talked to the production designer K.K. Barrett ahead of the film’s release about how some of the details came together. I asked him about the Armpit Sex drawing — which according to the film’s credits was drawn by illustrator Leanne Shapton — but ultimately didn’t include it, as it wouldn’t make sense if you hadn’t seen the film and the gag is left best as a surprise. Now that “Her” has been out for a couple weeks, (and if you haven’t seen it, go see it!), I can reveal that according to Barrett, the drawing was something director Spike Jonze had in his possession for a while, before he even started making the movie. Here’s what else Barrett has to say:
It’s so funny, in science fiction, particularly in written science fiction, where they changed one thing in society – one thing – and all the sudden the world changes around it, where there is a shutter effect. So the armpit sex was definitely something [where] we could a spin on one thing and it would all be different. And it’s also a very fun notion that somebody who is trying to be human, Samantha is learning to be human — wondering what it was like to breath, what it is like to fall in love — and trying to imagine sex and then, because she doesn’t have the physical attributes we have, says, “Well, what if it is like this?”
So you collect these funny things and you go, “Ah I got to put that in, I got to put that in.” A lot of things don’t make it. But I think Spike had that drawing, got the drawing – I don’t know if he had the drawing from somebody else or from the woman who actually did the drawing – for quite a while and was dying to put it in some movie. I’d love to imagine the idea that he designed this whole movie just so he could put that gag in. Though I’m sure that that’s not true.
5:00 pm • 17 January 2014 • 1 note
Why ‘A Christmas Story’ and Not ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ Is the Ultimate Holiday Film
When I was a sophomore in college, I wrote for The Georgetown Independent’s point/counterpoint column about why “A Christmas Story” is a better Christmas film than “It’s a Wonderful Life.” The article has since disappeared from the Internetz, so I am reproducing here, as it is one of my favorite things I’ve ever written and an opinion I still would fight to the death to defend. Happy holidays! And happy 24 Hours of A Christmas Story!
"A Christmas Story": A Holiday Film We Can Believe In
Everyday, when I make the trek through the Walsh Courtyard to my LXR dorm, I look to a window on my right to see a symbol of the beloved holiday of Christmas. As I glance at this glowing emblem, I can feel the yuletide spirit wash over me, smell the aroma of my mother’s cooking, hear the delighted squeals of all my family members, young and old alike, brought together by a single joy. What is this powerful figure that arouses me so? A Christmas tree? A snowman? An angel perhaps? No, what shines from the third floor of the south side of LXR in a dorm room that sadly is not mine is none other than a fish-netted leg lamp, harking from the cinematic masterpiece A Christmas Story.
If you have not seen A Christmas Story, you have been denied an important aspect of the American experience; it is to film what Norman Rockwell is to painting. Set in the 1940s Midwest, its poignant message stretches across geography and generations. It follows the trials and triumphs of Ralphie, a nine-year-old boy with a single dream: to receive an official Red Ryder carbine-action 200-shot range model air rifle BB Gun for Christmas. However, a schoolyard bully, a disapproving mother, an incredulous teacher, a cruel mall Santa and a pack of ravage dogs all stand in his way.
Although I grew up almost a half century later in sunny south Florida, I can absolutely relate to Raphie’s own childhood Christmas experiences. I too struggled to drop the perfect hints to my parents concerning my ideal Christmas present. I also observed the “triple dog dare” protocol with my friends. My family haggled over Christmas trees just like Raphie’s. And I know I am not alone in my adoration for this movie; TBS devotes twenty four hours to showing the movie. My family watches at least eighteen.
I will admit that the first time I saw It’s a Wonderful Life, I shed a tear. I will credit it as being a warm and heart wrenching tale. However, that is not to say it does not have some fatal flaws. For one, it is in black and white. I know it was made in 1946 and all. But seriously, the epic holiday that is Christmas deserves full, vivid color, and in that respect, A Christmas Story takes the cake.
I can accept that the premise of It’s a Wonderful Life is a little far-fetched, angels needing their wings, etc. etc. But talking galaxies? I mean really? That is just taking it too far. I don’t know if Albert Einstein ever got to see the film but if he did I am sure he was appalled.
Also, It’s a Wonderful Life disgustingly politically incorrect. Its treatment of the black maid Annie is horrifying, particularly in the scene when she is virtually sexually harassed by Harry Bailey. Another group that is marginalized in this film: librarians. When Mary is unable to marry George due to his inexistence, not only is she a old maid, but she must also become, dah dah dah…a librarian! In addition to being unmarried, librarians must also be melancholy and homely. I know many a Lauinger employee who would be insulted by such a claim.
hile it has nice message, It’s a Wonderful Life is far too unrealistic to claim the title of “Ultimate Holiday Movie.” This is true for other movies in this genre, like A Christmas Carol, Miracle on 34th Street, and A Santa Clause. After watching these movies, you expect that every Christmas an angel named Clarence, the ghost of Christmas past, or Tim Allen is going to swoop on in and redeem your sorry life. Although I have lived a short life of 19 years, I can tell you this isn’t the case. However, you can expect to receive an embarrassing present from your aunt (perhaps even a pink bunny suit), that Christmas dinner may be ruined (perhaps even by the neighbors’ dogs), and that your mother might be right about that present after all (even if you didn’t shoot your eye out). For A Christmas Story is not just a Christmas story; it is your Christmas story, it is my Christmas story, it is our Christmas story.
12:49 pm • 24 December 2013
Lizzy Caplan on her “Masters of Sex” Love Triangle
I interviewed Lizzy Caplan, among others from “Masters of Sex,” for this article I wrote about the show’s feminist themes. It didn’t make it into the article, but she had some interesting things to say about her character sleeping with the married William Masters — even if it is “for science” — the stakes of which were explored on last night’s episode:
This ability from all three of them [Virginia, William and Libby] to compartmentalize what they’re doing — I do believe Virginia is fully capable of being an amazing friend to Libby while also justifying her actions with Libby’s husband. I’m very curious to see how audience members, particularly women, begin to see Virginia, because she has been somebody that audience members tend to be looking up to. I can’t think of many examples in recent television or film — or no recent examples — where the adulteress isn’t turned on by the audience. Now for me and for Virginia, I don’t think its as simple as that. I know it’s not as simple as that. I really believe that she would prefer not to be sleeping with him, but she’s so committed to the work. She knows that it would help the science and it does and that’s the thing that is difficult to argue with. She’s sleeping with a married man, she’s good friends with the married man’s wife and no part of it is her trying to snatch this woman’s husband. Quite the opposite, what their research ended up doing is changing the world for women, it actually did. So it’s very difficult to have the conversation of was it justified or was it not justified? And that’s what we are trying to tackle with the show.
9:35 am • 11 November 2013
Mandy Patinkin on Homeland’s S3 Premiere Twist
I talked to Mandy Patinkin about the new season of Homeland, particularly about how his relationship with Carrie. It didn’t make it into the article (which you can and should read here) but I did ask him about the premiere’s final twist, that congressional hearing scene, and why Saul threw Carrie under the bus:
That is the ball game. You just asked the 100 million dollar question. That is a fine question to ask. Why would any of us do that to anybody? You can go to Shakespeare — I’m just going to give you a possibility — in “Hamlet” when Claudius says to Gertrude, “I must be cruel only to be kind.” Maybe that’s why is behavior is the way it is. Maybe he’s exhausted with Carrie. Maybe his plan is so intricate that he needs to throw her under the bus. Maybe he’s had it. He suffered this loss of 219 coworkers — you can bet that some of those coworkers were dear people to him. People he recruited. People he spent his life with, and he is just a human being. He had a limited amount of resources and she’s a wild one, Carrie. There’s only so much you can corral. So you saw what happened. I’m not sure why it happened, maybe its impulsive. Maybe it wasn’t what he intended to do. Maybe it was a mistake. he caught in the whirlwind of it. Maybe Lockheart [the senator interrogated him] blindsided him.
10:55 pm • 29 September 2013
Ke$ha’s “Crazy Kids” and 2 Chainz’s “Birthday Song” are the same video
11:38 am • 13 August 2013