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Meet the cast of ‘Outlander’ October 26, 2013

Posted by Diana McCabe in Entertainment, News.
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The crew is filming in Scotland. Photo courtesy of  Outlander_Starz

The crew is filming in Scotland. Photo courtesy of Outlander_Starz

It’s been a long time coming but production has finally started on Diana Gabaldon’s OUTLANDER, which is currently filming in Scotland. The 16-part series will run on STARZ next spring. Here’s a look at the cast so far:

Sam Heughan as Jamie Fraser. Photo courtesy of Outlander_Starz

Sam Heughan as Jamie Fraser. Photo courtesy of Outlander_Starz

Jamie Fraser: Scottish actor Sam Heughan. He’s not been in anything major here in the US but has had lots of roles across the pond in British TV/theater. Here’s what Gabaldon said when she saw his audition tape:

He looks totally different than he did in any of the stills and five seconds later, Sam Heughan’s GONE, and so am I. It’s Jamie Fraser, right there in front of me, moving, talking. One of the biggest thrills ever.
And that’s what actors do. Good ones. They can “be” someone else, totally.

Caitriona Balfe

Caitriona Balfe

Claire Randall: Caitriona Balfe, an Irish supermodel turned actress. Unless you keep up with the fashion world — she’s been on the runway and many fashion magazine covers — we haven’t really seen her in anything here in the US, although she does appear in THE ESCAPE PLAN with Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger that’s in theaters now.

Tobias Menzies. (From his role in "Game of Thrones" on HBO.

Tobias Menzies. (From his role in “Game of Thrones” on HBO.

Frank Randall/Jonathan “Black Jack” Randall:  Tobias Menzies. Fans of GAME OF THRONES know him as Edmure Tully. Jane Austen fans might know him from the 2007 British TV remake of PERSUASION, where he played Mr. Elliot.

  • Dougal MacKenzie: Graham McTavish. Seasoned actor of film/theater. He appeared opposite Sylvester Stallone in 2008’s RAMBO. And he plays Dwalin in the HOBBIT movie series.
  • Colum MacKenzie: Gary Lewis, who played the coal miner dad in BILLY ELLIOT.
  • Geillis Duncan: Lotte Verbeek, who you’ve seen her as Giulia Farnese (mistress to Pope Alexander VI) on Showtime’s THE BORGIAS.
  • Laoghaire MacKenzie: Nell Hudson. OUTLANDER is her first major acting gig.
  • Jenny Fraser Murray: Laura Donnelly will play Jamie’s sister.  Donnelly appeared on the short-lived Ashley Judd TV series MISSING in 2012.

To keep track of the series, follow Outlander_Starz on Twitter. The show also has an Instagram account under Outlander_Starz. And check out the Facebook page, which is titled OUTLANDER.

Diana Gabaldon’s ‘Outlander’ coming to TV! June 3, 2013

Posted by Diana McCabe in Authors, Entertainment, News.
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outNow we can speculate for real: Who will play Jamie and Claire?!

Why? Because OUTLANDER, Diana Gabaldon’s time-traveling romantic romp with our favorite Scotsman,  is coming to TV.

Starz has commissioned 16 episodes of the show from writer and producer Ronald D. Moore  (Battlestar Galactica, Star Trek: First Contact).

Gabaldon posted this on her Facebook page:

All I’ve been told is that they do plan 16 episodes (spread over two seasons), they _hope_ to start filming around September, and (_if_ everything goes well with the production), it _might_ air in the spring. Good luck to ’em!

How they’ll ever figure out a cast is beyond me. And how they will tell Gabaldon’s cool story on TV — good question. But look how great Game of Thrones has turned out!

Read more:
Starz orders ‘Battlestar Galactica’ producer’s Sony series ‘Outlander’
Diana Gabaldon’s ‘Outlander’ series is coming to television
STARZ Orders ‘Outlander’ To Series

GOT’s Jason Mamoa as Drax the Destroyer? February 17, 2013

Posted by Diana McCabe in Entertainment.
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Been reading on several websites that actor Jason Mamoa, who played Khal Drogo on the first season on GAME OF THRONES, has been cast as   Drax the Destroyer in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy.  According to several reports (this one from Examiner.com): “Mamoa was called in to screen test for James Gunn’s upcoming superhero film and delivered such a positive performance that the studio went ahead and offered him the part.”

The film is due out in August 2014. (Photos courtesy of HBO and Wikipedia)



Latest ‘Twilight Breaking Dawn Part 2’ trailer …. September 10, 2012

Posted by Diana McCabe in Entertainment, News.
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Here is part 2 of the latestTwilight” trailer. Movie is out Nov. 16. (There is a rambling review at the end of this which some folks might find amusing. But you can watch the video clip first and skip the talking, talking, talking at the end!) But for TwiHard fans this clip looks interesting.

True Blood season No. 5 finale — love it or hate it? August 26, 2012

Posted by Diana McCabe in Entertainment, HBO, News.
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Loved parts of it and totally hated other scenes. The worst? That birthing scene. Totally annoying. The best? Bill. What the heck is he now? And who looks like the hero? Eric. The storyline on the HBO show is so different from the books that I can’t even begin to think where they are going to take this in Season No. 6, especially because before that season begins, we’ll already have Charlaine Harris’ ending to her series.

Some links to good recaps/commentary of the finale:

EOnline.com:  Bill’s Religious Fanaticism Explodes

WSJ’s recap from SpeakEasy blog

TVLine.com: Tales from the Dark Side

And here is the bonus scene from the finale that was on HBO GO on the iPad app. Note what is said at the end!

Cat sings ‘Game of Thrones’ theme song August 22, 2012

Posted by Diana McCabe in Entertainment.
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I realize this doesn’t fall into the traditional realm of my blog but so many of my friends on here watch the HBO Game of Thrones series so I am sharing this link — first seen on Jezebel but available on YouTube — with you! Totally made me laugh! What about you?

Get ready for Grimm’s second season! August 12, 2012

Posted by Diana McCabe in Entertainment.
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Grimm is back! The season 2 premiere is Monday at 10 p.m. And then the show reverts back to its Friday 9 p.m. slot! Check out the trailer for some sneak previews of what’s coming up. What do the first two episodes hold? We’ve got the descriptions for the first two shows!

BAD TEETH  — Season 2 premiere

  • After their face-off with Kimura (guest star Brian Tee), Nick (David Giuntoli) finds himself trying to come to grips with the return of his mother, Kelly Burkhardt (guest star Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio). A trail of brutal murders unveils a foreign conspiracy to hunt down Nick, leading to several revelations about his past. Meanwhile, Juliette (Bitsie Tulloch) still lies in her mysteriously-induced coma as Rosalee (Bree Turner) and Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell) work tirelessly to bring her out of it safely. Elsewhere, Hank (Russell Hornsby) struggles with the shocking truths he’s recently seen and Captain Renard (Sasha Roiz) deals with unexpected family issues when his estranged brother (guest star James Frain) comes back into his life. Reggie Lee also stars.

THE KISS — Aug. 24 (Friday at 9 p.m.)

  • As Nick (David Giuntoli) and his mother (guest star Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) continue to battle the Mauvais Dentes (guest star Mike Dopud), Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell) and Rosalee (Bree Turner) fight against the clock to save Juliette (Bitsie Tulloch). More details are revealed about the source of Juliette’s illness, resulting in an epic showdown. Back at the precinct, Hank (Russell Hornsby) senses that something is amiss when Nick lands in hot water with the FBI. Meanwhile, Captain Renard (Sasha Roiz) continues to reveal himself as he deals with his estranged brother (guest star James Frain). Reggie Lee also stars.

True Blood video: Russell is backkkkk! May 28, 2012

Posted by Diana McCabe in Entertainment, HBO, News.
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HBO aired this new TRUE BLOOD series 5 trailer just before GAME OF THRONES last night (May 27) and it’s clear that Russell Edgington is back!

The video shows a lot, including  one scene where Sookie quips, “A 3,000-year old vampire wants to suck my blood. Must be Thursday!” We hear Pam asking “How could you think I would dig up Russell Edgington.” Eric saying “I trust no one.” And in another, Bill says “There’s a leak somewhere.”

Other tidbits: Eric gets a visit from the Vampire Authority, the werewolf pack comes after Sam and we meet Roman, played by Christopher Meloni.

This will be Alan Ball’s last season on True Blood, and Sookie watchers wonder how Anna Paquin’s true life pregnancy will play into — or not — in this season. What do you think, will we have a pregnant Sookie at the end of this season?

Season No. 5 of TRUE BLOOD airs on June 10.

Did you watch the original ‘Dark Shadows’? April 22, 2012

Posted by Diana McCabe in Entertainment, News.
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I don’t  really remember DARK SHADOWS but it was on — maybe reruns — when I was a kid. Some of my friends weren’t allowed to watch it, but I’m pretty sure we had it on because I do recall the weird music. But I draw a blank about the plot — other than it was about vampires.

JONATHAN FRID, who played the soap opera’s tormented vampire BARNABAS COLLINS, died April 14 in Canada, just weeks before the release of the Tim Burton version of DARK SHADOWS, which opens May 11 and stars JOHNNY DEPP. Frid, who was 87, has a cameo in the Burton film.

According to Reuters:

“Dark Shadows” ran on ABC from 1966 to 1971, but Frid did not join the show until its second year when he was brought in as a villainous vampire in an effort to improve the show’s flagging ratings. Barnabas developed into more than a villain, as he was shown taking risks to help others and demonstrating sympathy and a romantic side.

The show — according to Wikipedia and other websites — had its share of problems:

The difficulty of keeping up with the demanding schedule of a daily half-hour show manifested itself on screen. In addition to sets wobbling unintentionally, actors — especially Frid and Bennett — often struggled with their lines. Occasionally a stagehand could be spotted wandering onto the back of the set. Other times the microphone boom appeared in the frame (giving the show the unintentional nickname “Mic Shadows”), a TV camera would appear on screen, a fly hovered around the head of an actor, or window curtains fell down. There were many major errors such as a woman supposedly tied up who was not tied properly, and glass objects crashing which often made viewers think that the show was live.

And there were remakes before the Burton flick:

  • In 1991, BEN CROSS played Barnabas in  “a short-lived primetime remake” that was produced  by MGM Television and aired on NBC from Jan. 13 to March 22. “The revival was a lavish, big budget weekly serial combining gothic romance and stylistic horror. Although it was a huge hit at introduction (watched by almost 1 in 4 households according to official ratings during that time period), the onset of the Gulf War caused NBC to continually preempt or reschedule the episodes resulting in declining ratings. It was canceled after the first season.” (From Wikipedia)

Frid’s apparently had an interesting website at www.jonathanfrid.com — but it says the “site is temporarily unavailable.”

Stories about Frid’s death

And here’s a look at one of the Tim Burton movie trailers in his DARK SHADOWS movie:

‘The Hunger Games’ movie: Of course, the books are better March 26, 2012

Posted by Diana McCabe in Entertainment, News.
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Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss. (Photo from Lionsgate via Collider.com)

When I first got my hands on “The Hunger Games” book, I couldn’t put it down. I stayed up through the wee hours of the morning to finish the first book in Suzanne Collins‘ dystopian trilogy.

But the movie — at more than two hours — just doesn’t pack the same intensity and intricacy that made the book such a page turner.

It’s not a bad movie. But it’s not a great one, either. Fans of the books are curious to see how Hollywood interprets the story of heroine Katniss Everdeen, who volunteers to take her younger sister’s place in the annual “kids killing kids” competition that is televised throughout the 12 districts and Capitol of the country Panem.

Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark. (Photo from Lionsgate via Collider.com)

And the film pretty much follows the book, but the small details that were left out (you can’t put everything in!) make me as a reader wonder if non-readers figured it out. The flashbacks to Peeta tossing Katniss burned bread take forever. There is no relationship between Katniss and her “image” crew in the movie.  Even Katniss’ time with Cinna — played by Lenny Kravitz — was much more subdued in the movie. (He sports nice gold eyeliner.) The eerie, creepy hovercraft that picked up the bodies was eliminated from the movie. And the whole evening tribute to the dead tributes seemed muted. In the books, that part freaked me out.

The movie spends a lot of time laying out the groundwork for the games, but once we get into the actual killing competition, the second half and ending seem rushed.

That said, when I go  back and think about how the film was edited, I’d be hard-pressed to say what I would add back in while keeping the violence level toned down — not a lot of gore in the film as opposed to the book — and the film at a reasonable length. Visually, I thought the movie was spot on, too.

If you like the books — go see the movie just to see how the characters and action were portrayed in the film. Just be prepared for a slower, less detailed version of the book. And if you’ve seen the movie but haven’t read the books — read the books. Always better. And that’s the case here.

Did you miss these?

How the actors got ready for “The Hunger Games”

4 things we won’t see in “The Hunger Games”

“The Hunger Games” is coming to TV

Music review: “The Hunger Games” soundtrack

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