After being ordered in September, HBO's The Brink has found two of its three leads. The pilot, from Jay Roach and Weeds executive producer Roberto Benabib, is being called an "epic dark comedy" about a geopolitical crisis that could lead to World War III. (More Game of Thrones than Veep so far, yeah?) The guys fighting/blundering for peace are Tim Robbins's Secretary of State character, "a man of big appetites and little patience for the warmongers in the Situation Room," Jack Black's "lowly Foreign Service officer reluctantly caught on the ground in the middle of it all," and a Navy fighter pilot called Zeke Callahan. That last role will presumably go to a handsome young buck, even if John Stamos just popped into my head for whatever reason. Black and Robbins are already an unpredictable team (although there's history: Robbins once directed Black, then cameoed in the Tenacious D movie), so imaginative casting is presumably encouraged. Maybe Jeremy Renner in silly mode?
John Belushi's life story has been rescued from the clutches of Todd Phillips and a big-budget destiny at Warner Bros. — sorry, Todd; apologies, big-budget movies — and delivered into the arms of indie nourishment it deserves. Screenwriter Steve Conrad (The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, The Weather Man) is now doubling as director. He and Phillips began the project together in 2010, writing it for Zach Galifianakis, who has presumably moved on. The Hollywood Reporter says Conrad has met with Emile Hirsch and Workaholics star Adam DeVine; Joaquin Phoenix's name is also being batted about. But when Conrad takes his second meetings with Hirsch and DeVine and realizes they're just too tiny and too wrong, and when he understands that a Walk the Line Oscar nom does not a Belushi biopic make, here are some directions the film can take.
1. Pete Holmes, "This Party Is McDonald's" (Nice Try, the Devil)
Pete Holmes has a podcast called You Made It Weird and an upcoming TBS talk show called The Midnight Show with Pete Holmes. That might help bump his credit as "the voice of the E-Trade baby" further down his Wikipedia page. See how long you can go without repeating this McDonald's joke (not very long, probably).
Best YouTube Comment: "He really did trick me with the joke, I had no idea what he meant by the phrase, nor was I expecting a follow-up. Really funny shit." —LeftyHangsLower
When I got to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art last night just minutes before showtime, the theater was nearly full. Every unoccupied seat was marked with a bag or coat, and for a few minutes, I thought I’d being spending my evening propped against the back wall. The crowd was here for the final installment in a series of immensely popular live reads organized by director Jason Reitman, of Up in the Air and Juno fame, and tonight’s film of choice was Ghostbusters, which just so happened to be directed by Reitman’s father, Ivan, so the fact that I thought I’d just roll in and plop down was probably my own fault. Eventually, though, I found a seat in the back row, and the lights went down, and everything was fine.
After a brief introduction, Reitman was the first one onstage, and the jokes about not fucking up his inheritance began. “Everyone wanted to be a Ghostbuster for Halloween,” he said. “But I was the only one with a real Ghostbusters gun.”
One day into Seth MacFarlane Oscar Hostpocalypse and tensions are — well, tensions are existent, if not necessarily high. Surely, more shrieking criticism will come as more info is announced, but after the shock of yesterday's announcement, there hasn't been much more to get riled up about.
MacFarlane did make his first comments since officially getting the gig. As could be expected this early on, he didn't have many particulars to share, but is "ecstatic" and "very, very pleasantly surprised." The most notable bits (and we use the term lightly here), as far as knowing what's actually going to happen on Oscar night:
The reality is this: If Tenacious D is going to go through the trouble of making these viral videos for their much-anticipated new album, and to put Bob Odenkirk and Rudy Sarzo (!!!) in them, we are going to post them immediately and get the hell out of the way. You are either with The D or you are against the world.
That this is also a 100 percent medically valid PSA for the scourge of tinnitus is just a bonus. (RIP Pete Townshend; the D were too late to help.)
Tenacious D's The Pick of Destiny wasn't what most people would describe as a "success," though you'd be hard-pressed to get us to admit that any movie culminating in a musical standoff with a Satanic Dave Grohl is anything less than an artistic triumph. The D have taken that perceived failure to heart, however, and after the expected amount of interpersonal turmoil, are right back training for the upcoming Rize of the Fenix...you know what? Just watch it. Too much talk, not enough Val Kilmer getting shot up in here.
Grace of Monaco, a spec script by Arash Amel, has been purchased by the Stone Angel production firm. The movie won't be a biopic, focusing instead on a six-month period 1962 when Grace Kelly - the Hollywood star turned princess - helped negotiate behind the scenes when Monaco got in a tax-haven scrap with France. That mixture of a personal story with a political one is being compared to The King's Speech by its backers, which is understandable, but perhaps a bit bold considering that movie won Best Picture just last year. While you're at it, why not throw in The Hurt Locker, Slumdog Millionaire, and, oh, No Country For Old Men? Grade: A- [HR]
In August, Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks dropped the Beck-produced Mirror Traffic, Malkmus' fifth post-Pavement album. Today, thanks to the folks at Matador Records, Grantland is proud to premiere the new video for "Senator," starring Jack Black as a cattle-prod-wielding, reelection-seeking senator and Office Space's Gary Cole as his Stetson-wearing, guitar-soloing hype man. Directed by Bob's Burgers writer Scott Jacobson, "Senator" also features appearances from UCB's DC Pierson, Conan's Brian Stack, and a llama. Enjoy!
“When it comes to comedy, go big or go home,” intones the voiceover towards the end of this first glimpse at The Big Year, a mid-life crisis buddy picture starring unlikely buddies Steve Martin, Owen Wilson, and Jack Black. Except to judge from the trailer director David Frankel (The Devil Wears Prada) has done neither, choosing instead to camp out in the schmaltzy, half-smiling desert between hard-R soft-brow gags (fat man fall down! Old man miss plane!) and fourth-quarter release feel-goodisms (learning, laughing, long-distance phone calls to the eternally patient Rashida Jones). The movie is adapted from a book of the same name that isn’t about budding bromance exactly — it’s about birding. And not Owen Wilson’s usualcatting around either — actual bird-watching, the kind that keeps Jonathan Franzen up at night. We’re guessing 20th Century Fox made the right call that general audiences are more into dudes behaving (semi) badly in an around-the-world adventure than ornithology, but the first impression is decidedly less impressive than, say, an Asian Crested Ibis. We can’t help but peruse the castlist and think that the stellar group of women gathered to roll their eyes and generally support their misbehaving mates — including Jones, the outstanding Rosamund Pike, and the underutilized JoBeth Williams — would have made better travelling companions.