Saturday, September 23, 2017

Jim Parsons On the 'Big Bang' That Produced 'Young Sheldon'

The Big Bang TheoryDespite his plethora of off-putting peculiarities and his sky-high self-regard, "The Big Bang Theory's" Sheldon Cooper has become one of the most beloved characters in television history. And now TV audiences are getting a chance to fall for him all over again. Only this time as an 80s-era little boy learning to navigate the world with his advanced intellect in "Young Sheldon."

"We've been talking about this story on 'The Big Bang Theory' for ten years," says Chuck Lorre, the creator and executive producer of the ratings-rich sitcom that, a decade ago, first introduced the world to Sheldon, and to the soon-to-be-Emmy-winning actor behind the character, Jim Parsons. "The origins of Sheldon have been something we've been interested in writing about for a couple-hundred episodes of 'The Big Bang.' And so last fall, when Jim sent me an email discussing the possibility of actually taking it a step further, it just seemed like the greatest idea in the world."

Key to transforming Sheldon into a kid version of himself was stripping away many of the character's distinctive quirks, neuroses, anxieties and arrogance and revealing the innocent, if crazy smart, child he once was.

"So we made a decision early on that we're going to enter his life when he's very naive, when he's not yet become cynical and overly controlling," explains Lorre. "He has his idiosyncrasies, but he's a much more vulnerable and naive character as we enter the story in 1989." Thus, "Young Sheldon" introduces the lead character at nine years of age, just coming to grips with the fact that his oversized intelligence marks him as different from other kids his age. Iain Armitage plays the budding scientist, who's nurtured by his doting mother Mary (played by Zoe Perry, the real-life daughter of actress Laurie Metcalf, who plays the same role on "The Big Bang Theory") amid a family who loves him, but does not understand him.

Parsons joined Moviefone and a small group of press to further reveal his hands-on role in the development of a smaller bang theory.

On the adjustment to providing the new show's narration in characters as Sheldon:

Jim Parsons: I would say what's most different in just that it's speaking not as a new character, but in a new way. And the most exciting part of it is that. And it's what Chuck and [co-creator] Steve [Molaro] really did with it, which is that they turned it into a real origin story, which was a term I'd never even heard of until we were doing "Big Bang." I'd seen origin stories, whether it was movies or whether, but they've taken this and really made it like seeing the beginnings of a superhero, in a way. A genius, in this case.

On conversations with Iain Armitage about his potentially life-changing role:

I've talked more about that with his mother, and I don't even think they need it. They're not unsavvy people, but I still think even if you think you know it, it's always trial by fire in this business. When I saw the marketing and all the posters and stuff with Ian's face on them, I texted her immediately. It was like, "Prepare." But she's seen them, and again, I think that they're prepared.

I've talked more with Ian about the peculiarities of the character. One of the hardest things, I think, for someone like Ian playing this character is that Ian is so empathetic to other people, and so in tune to other people's needs. And as an actor, he brings that. He's a very good responder to people. So those are great qualities to have, but in this particular character, you almost have to let them play under the surface, and trying to explain in certain parts where it's like you don't understand what they mean, or you don't understand what you said was rude.

Because he's so smart and he's so empathetic, his first take on a lot of lines would frequently be to almost apologize as he's saying them, and you have to go, "No, back it up. You have no idea you need to apologize." And once he does that, he loves it. He loves getting to do it. But he's very intuitive, and in some ways that can be a habit that needs to be broken at certain times with this character – which is a very weird thing to tell an actor!

On his role as producer:

Honestly, the biggest thing I've done so far is talk to Ian about those kinds of things I was just talking about. That's been my biggest contribution, other than opening this whole idea up to begin with. I feel, in some ways, very na├»ve and green, as far as being on this side of the camera. I still feel very much – and I think I always will, to a degree – a real sensitivity to not getting in the way of another actor.

I don't know that there is a born director inside me, I don't know that that's true. I really am clawing and feeling my way as this goes. And I also have not had to do anything with this show while my show's working at the same time, so that's gonna be a whole other beast, and we'll see if my head explodes.

On the "Young Sheldon" stories he'd like to see:

The ones that Steve touched on are certainly funny. For me, I think partly because I don't invent the stories, I memorize them, and they kind of get in one big blob in the back of my head, it's more of an aura. It's more of an essence. And again, which has been so touching to me about watching this come to life, it's just like there's these people that I've imagined in my head, be it his father, or his young mother, or his brother and sister. To see them for the first time has been very moving to me. And with every story they're writing so far, you do feel the treasure chest sort of cracking open more and more. It's like one thing feeds on another in a weird way.

Again, back to that origin story type thing: it's the same person as a young person, but a young person is also in some ways a completely different character altogether, certainly in his case. I thought what they did with him not knowing what comic books were yet, or thinking they're for kids, I think that's genius. I mean, he's obsessed with them as an adult, so we have that seed planted now, that you just kind of salivate for waiting for the episode where that cracks open in his brain, where he's like, "I love this!" When does he start dressing like that? It's what he wears all the time, as an adult. So things like that, and I'm not a writer, but I could have never dreamed up approaching it like that. It just wouldn't have occurred to me.

On whether the storylines of "Young Sheldon" might influence the way he plays his role on "The Big Bang Theory" in the future:

I think in an unconscious way it already has. I think that there's something so touching to me about seeing it. It's very funny: obviously. I feel great love and respect and empathy for any character I play. That's the whole point. That's the joy of doing it. That being said, it's a job, and it's been a decade with this one. And so to finally see this character that I've been riding side by side with for those 10 years embodied as a young person, it creates a real feeling of sympathy, in a weird way.

I think of this character in a way that I hadn't necessarily before. And Ian, he embodies it. He is the visualization of that. And so now I've got this distinct picture in my head. I haven't had to do an episode yet, since we've done this, but I don't know. I know I feel certain things already. We'll see how it plays out on a day to day circumstance, I can't tell.

On how the adult Sheldon would reflect on his childhood:

I think if you look at it in terms of like Sheldon would be very interested in putting together an autobiography for the help of all of humanity, because you have a right to know and it can help you to know, then I think in that way, yes. He would love to go back and say, "This is how I became the wonderful creature before you. These are the hardships I've dealt with. These are the dumbbell parents I had to deal with to get to where I am."

And in the same regard, which is becoming very clear – and this is a very interesting juxtaposition to that – the obvious devotion and care that his mother took with him. A character who I feel we've ridden this line with her the whole time on the adult version, which is that he is just... she drives him crazy, and she is a constant calming, reassuring force in his life.

And I think that's one of the most moving things about getting to watch this so far and work with this so far, is to see the infancy of that relationship. And the two of them are fantastic together dealing with it. They're both such sympathetic characters, as human beings, Ian and Zoe – who I call "Laurie," all the time! It's so shameful.

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Friday, September 22, 2017

First 'Maze Runner: The Death Cure' Photos Show Dylan O'Brien in Action

Maze Runner: The Death Cure CR: FoxIt's been a crazy year-and-a-half since Dylan O'Brien's serious injury filming 'Maze Runner: The Death Cure,' but he finished it, and the first photos are now out.

"The Death Cure," the third film in the "Maze Runner" franchise, has Thomas (O'Brien) searching for a cure to a virus called "The Flare." The movie was originally scheduled for release in February 2017, but that was changed several times to accommodate O'Brien's injuries and post-production work, finally setting on January 26, 2018.

20th Century Fox recently released the first film photos showing O'Brien and costars Giancarlo Esposito (Jorge), Kaya Scodelario (Teresa Agnes), Thomas Brodie-Sangster (Newt), Patricia Clarkson (Ava Paige), and Rosa Salazar (Brenda), among others. The film also stars Nathalie Emmanuel, Katherine McNamara, Walton Goggins, and Barry Pepper.

Maze Runner: The Death Cure CR: Joe Alblas/FoxMaze Runner: The Death Cure CR: FoxMaze Runner: The Death Cure CR: FoxMaze Runner: The Death Cure CR: Joe Alblas/FoxO'Brien recently opened up about his tough journey back from the "dark place" he was in after his on-set injury. He said his initial gut instinct was to walk away from "The Death Cure," but after "a lot of deep searching" he realized that he did want to finish it.

"Maze Runner: The Death Cure," sequel to 2015's "Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials," opens January 26.

The first trailer for the movie is expected very soon.

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'Grey's Anatomy' Season 14 Reveals Scary News About the 300th Episode

This is not a trend worth supporting!

"Grey's Anatomy" Season 14 starts next Thursday, Sept. 28 with a two-hour premiere, but Episode 7 will mark the ABC show's 300th episode milestone. So they're giving us ... clowns? Hopefully there's a lot more ahead than that -- and hopefully it's less awful -- but TVLine shared the clown scoop as part of its Ask Ausiello spoiler Q&A:

Question: Scoop on Episode 300 of Grey's Anatomy? —@ThePompeoMethod via Twitter
Ausiello: With 'IT' breaking box office records, I'm hearing rumblings that the Krista Vernoff-penned outing may feature a frightening, possibly dangerous clown.

Guys. No. Please don't let Pennywise inspire more clowns in pop culture. Clown trends = nightmare trends.


Anyway, Episode 7 should air on Thursday, November 2, and it will reportedly be directed by Debbie Allen. "It will be big," Allen told TVLine of the 300th ep, without revealing any other details. But now we know it may include "a frightening, possibly dangerous clown."

"Grey's Anatomy" starts with a two-hour premiere next Thursday at 8 p.m. on ABC. Here are photos and the synopsis for the first two episode, which both air September 28, and here are photos and details on Episode 3.

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Nikki Reed & Fans Spar Over Ian Somerhalder Throwing Out Her Birth Control

EIF Presents: XQ Super School Live at the Barker Hangar - Red CarpetOh, baby. Nikki Reed is upset at stories she feels misrepresent an interview she had with husband Ian Somerhalder to explain how she got pregnant with their first child. On the other side, fans are upset because that "funny interview" included Somerhalder admitting he threw out her birth control so she would get pregnant.

In the story, Reed and Somerhalder recalled her "freaking out" about what he did. After that particular story made the rounds, to defend her husband, Reed clarified that she had made a previous comment to him about dumping her birth control when they were ready. But to listeners of the podcast, and readers of subsequent reports, it felt wrong -- and trying to make it seem like a cute story might send the wrong message to guys out there that it's OK to just dump a woman's birth control pills behind her back.

The conversation started on Dr. Berlin's Informed Pregnancy Podcast, when Somerhalder and Reed were asked when they decided to start a family. Somerhalder said "May," and Reed replied, "Oh yeah...oh when you threw out all my birth control pills." Somerhalder explained that they met up with two of their best friends in Barcelona and decided they all wanted kids at the same time. He continued:

"And it was just time. But unbeknownst to poor Nikki, she didn't realize that I was gonna go in her purse and take out her birth control and pop the way it was at the beginning of the pack so I had to pop all those suckers out, there was like 25 of them."

He added that there's a "six-minute video" of Reed "freaking out" about it, which Reed didn't even know about until the interview. Well, it's their life and their pregnancy, their baby. *But.* They could've kept all of that to themselves and instead they did a public interview, putting that information out for public consumption. And the public was not exactly charmed by what they heard.

Reed didn't respond to fans, she responded to an "irresponsible" reporter's post, singling this person out:

Those tweets were met with many supportive replies, but also a lot of backlash from fans who wanted her to recognize that what her husband did was not OK.

Nikki Reed later clarified to Gossip Cop that she was actually the one who first mentioned throwing out the birth control pills:

"We had countless conversations about starting a family, and it was actually me who initially said to Ian, 'When you're ready just let me know and let's throw out these pills and get started.'"

The key difference still being "let's" as opposed to him making that decision on his own, but it does show that they had already talked about doing that very thing. (But if so, why the six-minute freak-out?)

The "Twilight" actress and "The Vampire Diaries" actor welcomed daughter Bodhi in July.

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Meghan Markle's Ex-Husband Is Producing a New TV Comedy About the British Royal Family

Prince Harry romanceSo this is awkward...

"Suits" actress Meghan Markle has been dating Prince Harry since the summer of 2016, but before that she was married to producer Trevor Engelson from 2011-2013. They had reportedly dated since 2004 before getting married, so it was a pretty long-term relationship.

Markle's romance with Prince Harry has made headlines around the world, and it looks like her ex is now capitalizing on that. According to Deadline, he's a producer behind a new single-camera comedy Fox has given a pilot commitment. The currently untitled comedy has the premise "Divorce is hard. Sharing custody is harder. Sharing custody with the British royal family when your wife marries a prince, in the unforgiving spotlight of London's tabloid media, is next level."

Sound a bit familiar?

The Hollywood Reporter's Annual Next Gen ReceptionThe comedy is reportedly fictional, and the lead characters are not based on Markle or Engelson, who have no kids together. But still. It's not like this is coming out of nowhere.

In fact, according to Deadline, the idea originated with Engelson and fellow producer Dan Farah, who wondered what it would've been like if Engelson and Markle had kids and he had to share custody with the British royal family. So they pitched it as a TV series. And Fox picked it up. Stay tuned for more details on production, casting, etc.

Meanwhile, Markle -- who still stars as Rachel Zane on USA's "Suits" -- recently opened up about her relationship with Prince Harry, telling Vanity Fair, "We're two people who are really happy and in love. We were very quietly dating for about six months before it became news, and I was working during that whole time, and the only thing that changed was people's perception. Nothing about me changed. I'm still the same person that I am, and I've never defined myself by my relationship."

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'Kingsman: The Golden Circle' Director & Star Defend That 'Uncomfortable' Sex Scene

"Kingsman: The Golden Circle" director Matthew Vaughn and star Taron Egerton are defending a scene in the new sequel, arguing that it was intended to shock and get people talking.

Spoilers ahead from "Kingsman: The Golden Circle."

In the scene in question, Eggsy (Egerton) has to plant a tracking device inside mission target Clara (Poppy Delevingne). So he (reluctantly) seduces her and plants a tracker in her, um, privates, which is shown in a computer-generated shot inside of her body. The scene raised a few eyebrows -- and it turns out that was the objective.

Screen Rant asked Egerton about the sex scene during the "Kingsman 2" junket in London.

"It's what Matthew [Vaughn] does, it's his signature thing. He likes to do something that shocks. In 'Kick-Ass' it was Chloe Grace Moretz saying the C-word, in 'Kingsman 1' it was the bum shot of the Swedish princess, and in this one it's the thing. And, you know, it's not to everyone's tastes, but it certainly gets people talking. All it is is explicitly showing what Bond alludes to and says in a double entendre kind of way."

You may recall that "Kingsman: The Secret Service" "bum shot," as Egerton put it, and director Matthew Vaughn explained his plan with that when the first film came out. He returned to defend the sequel's vagina-bug sex scene. Here's a conversation between Vaughn and Uproxx:

Uproxx: The scene in which Eggsy has to plant a tracker onto Clara (Poppy Delevingne), which happens during sex, and even though Eggsy doesn't want to do it, it made me very uncomfortable. Was that by design?

Matthew Vaughn: It's exactly what you just said. There are two main points in that scene. One, to try to reinvent the idea of planting a bug, because we've seen those mission a lot. And, secondly, for the first time I wanted to see a spy with an emotional and moral dilemma of having to do something he really doesn't want to do. Because James Bond would have done that, and probably would have had sex and a cigarette and thought, who's next? Eggsy is different. And I think it's really important to do scenes that do make people feel uncomfortable. That scene plays very differently to people. Some people laugh and cheer. Other people are like, "Oh my God." Some people are disgusted about it. But nobody doesn't notice it – and, afterwards, they'll talk about it. And that's what I want to do with films. I want people to discuss it afterwards. I don't want to make bland movies. I think there's enough movies made by Hollywood committees that bore you to death. I'm there to wake you up, one way or another.

"Kingsman: The Golden Circle" has been getting mixed reviews, and it's in theaters now.

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'Fast and Furious' Live Tour Dates Announced

"Fast and Furious" is hitting the road.

Universal has announced the dates for the blockbuster franchise's live arena tour, which will bring fast cars, furious thrills, and "adrenaline-fueled stunts" according to the teaser below. The official release also boasted "cutting-edge 3D-projection mapping" and promises an immersive experience for fans.

Perhaps the live tour will satiate fans since "Fast and Furious 9" likely won't hit theaters until 2019.

The show is two hours long and features a video starring Vin Diesel as Dom, so there's some link between the tour and the movies. Fans can also check out replicas of memorable cars from the films, including Dom's Dodge Charger.

The 23-city tour kicks off at the O2 Arena in London on January 19, 2018 before embarking on a European leg that includes Belgium, Italy, Germany, France, Spain, and Norway. For details and tickets, check out the tour website.

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