New 'Captain America' filming in Ohio

Ohio’s film industry announced its receiving another major production in February of 2013, bringing thousands of job opportunities with it. 
Disney’s Marvel Studios was awarded a $9.5 million Ohio Motion Picture Tax Credit for two project locations related to the new film,  Captain America: The Winter Soldier. The movie will be shot in northeast and southern Ohio.
“First the  Avengers, now  Captain America—Hollywood is seeing the benefits of filming in Ohio,” said Christiane Schmenk, Director of the Ohio Development Services Agency. “This is another example of the positive impact that the Ohio Motion Picture Tax Credit is having on our film industry and our state’s job-creation picture overall.”
Production in Ohio is expected to begin in February 2013, with the film scheduled for a Spring 2014 release.  An estimated $35 million is expected to be spent in Ohio on the production over approximately 150 days for prep, shooting, and post production work.  Approximately 40 % of the movie will be shot in the Ohio, creating an estimated 2,778 Ohio job opportunities.


Spider-Man, Bruce Banner, Daredevil, The Avengers and the X-Men can all rest easy ... 'cause their fearless creator Stan Lee is alive and kickin' after getting a pacemaker implanted near his heart. 

The 90-year-old comic book legend just fired off an AWESOME statement to fans after undergoing pacemaker surgery in L.A. last week, in which he proudly declares that he's not yet ready to become the Grimm Reaper's bitch: 

"Attention, Troops!

This is a dispatch sent from your beloved Generalissimo, directly from the center of Hollywood’s combat zone!

Now hear this! Your leader hath not deserted thee! In an effort to be more like my fellow Avenger, Tony Stark, I have had an electronic pace-maker placed near my heart to insure that I’ll be able to lead thee for another 90 years.

But fear thee not, my valiant warriors. I am in constant touch with our commanders in the field and victory shall soon be ours. Now I must end this dispatch and join my troops, for an army without a leader is like a day without a cameo!"

Leno: ‘We Wasted Four Years Waiting For Obama To Do Something About The Economy’

Jay Leno took some surprising shots at President Obama Thursday night.
During the opening monologue of NBC's Tonight Show, the host said Americans wasted four years for the current White House resident to do something about the economy (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):

"I love how the politicians capitalize on this kind of thing," teased Leno. "Like the minute the replacement refs were fired, President Obama said, 'See, sometimes losing jobs can be a good thing. It's a good thing.'"
When the laughter subsided, Leno continued, "A new survey out today shows how much time we waste every day in our lives. For example, we waste seven minutes in line every time we go to get coffee, 28 minutes getting through airport security, four years waiting for Obama to do something about the economy. Every year, we waste a lot. We wasted a lot of time."
Yes we did. It's about time media members began telling the nation that.

Robert De Niro to be honored at the Hollywood Film Awards The 16th Annual Hollywood Film Awards, presented by the Los Angeles Times, has announced that two-time Oscar-winning actor Robert De Niro will be honored with the “Hollywood Supporting Actor Award” at the festival’s Hollywood Film Awards Gala Ceremony for his fantastic performance in David O. Russell’s “Silver Linings Playbook.”
The announcement was made today by Carlos de Abreu, Founder and Executive Director of the Hollywood Film Awards. He said: “Robert De Niro is not only highly regarded for his body of work as an actor, producer, and director, but also for the passion, integrity, and dedication he brings to his performances on camera, as well as his intense off-camera preparation and study of the characters he brings to life. His performance in the upcoming film “Silver Linings Playbook” is outstanding.”
The 2012 Hollywood Film Awards has also announced that it will honor Academy Award-winning actress Marion Cotillard with the “Hollywood Actress Award,” producers Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner with the “Hollywood Producers Award,” writer/director Judd Apatow with the “Hollywood Comedy Award,” actor John Hawkes with the “Hollywood Breakout Performance Award” for “The Sessions,” and Quvenzhan√© Wallis with the “New Hollywood Award” for “Beasts of the Southern Wild.” Other honorees include cinematographer Wally Pfister and visual effects supervisors Janek Sirrs and Jeff White. In addition, director Peter Ramsey’s “Rise of the Guardians” will be honored with the “Hollywood Animation Award,” along with additional honorees to be announced in the coming weeks.
The Hollywood Film Awards Gala honors cherished stars, filmmakers and up-and-coming talent, and traditionally kicks off the film awards season with the biggest stars and top industry executives in attendance.
“We are very proud to be the first stop of the awards season. In the last nine years, a total of 85 Oscar® nominations and 32 Oscars® were given to the honorees of the Hollywood Film Awards,” said de Abreu.
Robert De Niro launched his prolific motion picture career in Brian De Palma’s “The Wedding Party” in 1969. By 1974 he had won the New York Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor in recognition of his critically acclaimed performance in “Bang the Drum Slowly” and from the National Society of Film Critics for Martin Scorsese’s “Mean Streets.”
In 1974 De Niro won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of the young Vito Corleone in “The Godfather, Part II.” In 1980 he won his second Oscar, as Best Actor, for his extraordinary portrayal of Jake La Motta in Scorsese’s “Raging Bull.”
De Niro has earned Academy Award nominations for his work in four additional films: as Travis Bickle in Scorsese’s acclaimed “Taxi Driver,” as a Vietnam vet in Michael Cimino’s “The Deer Hunter,” as a catatonic patient brought to life in Penny Marshall’s “Awakenings,” and in 1992 as Max Cady, an ex-con looking for revenge, in Scorsese’s remake of the 1962 classic “Cape Fear.”
In 2009, De Niro received the coveted Kennedy Center Honor for his distinguished acting. He also received the Hollywood Actor Award from the Hollywood Film Festival and the Stanley Kubrick Award from the BAFTA Britannia Awards. In addition, AARP The Magazine gave De Niro the 2010 Movies for Grownups Lifetime Achievement Award.
De Niro was honored with the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 2011 Golden Globe Award. He also served as the jury president of the 64th Cannes Film Festival.
De Niro’s upcoming film projects include the Weinstein Co.’s “The Silver Linings Playbook,” CBS Films’ “Last Vegas,” Relativity Media’s “Malavita,” Lionsgate’s “The Big Wedding,” Grindstone Entertainment’s “Freelancers,” and Millennium’s “The Killing Season,” and “Red Lights.” De Niro recently starred in Focus Features’ “Being Flynn.”
His other film credits include New Line Cinema’s “New Year’s Eve,” Relativity Media’s thriller “Limitless,” “Little Fockers,” the third installment of the highly successful Tribeca Productions’ “Meet the Parents” franchise, Filmauro’s Italian romantic comedy, “Manuale d’amore 3,” Nu Image Films’ psychological thriller “Stone,” and 20th Century Fox’s “Machete.”
His distinguished body of work also includes performances in Elia Kazan’s “The Last Tycoon”; Bernardo Bertolucci’s “1900″; Ulu Grosbard’s “True Confessions” and “Falling in Love”; Sergio Leone’s “Once Upon a Time in America”; Scorsese’s “King of Comedy,” “New York, New York,” “Goodfellas,” and “Casino”; Terry Gilliam’s “Brazil”; Roland Joffe’s “The Mission”; Brian De Palma’s “The Untouchables”; Alan Parker’s “Angel Heart”; Martin Brest’s “Midnight Run”; David Jones’ “Jacknife”; Martin Ritt’s “Stanley and Iris”; Neil Jordan’s “We’re No Angels”; Penny Marshall’s “Awakenings”; Ron Howard’s “Backdraft”; Michael Caton-Jones’ “This Boy’s Life”; John McNaughton’s “Mad Dog and Glory”; Kenneth Branagh’s “Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein”; Michael Mann’s “Heat”; Barry Levinson’s “Sleepers” and “Wag the Dog”; Jerry Zaks’ “Marvin’s Room”; Tony Scott’s “The Fan”; James Mangold’s “Copland”; Alfonso Cuar√≥n’s “Great Expectations”; Quentin Tarantino’s “Jackie Brown”; John Frankenheimer’s “Ronin”; Harold Ramis’ “Analyze This” and “Analyze That”; Joel Schumacher’s “Flawless”; Des McNuff’s “The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle”; George Tillman’s “Men of Honor”; John Herzfeld’s “Fifteen Minutes”; Frank Oz’s “The Score”; Tom Dey’s “Showtime”; Michael Caton-Jones’ “City By The Sea”; Nick Hamm’s “Godsend”; John Polson’s “Hide and Seek”; Mary McGuckian’s “The Bridge of San Luis Rey”; DreamWorks’ “Shark Tale”; Jay Roach’s “Meet The Parents” and “Meet the Fockers,”; Barry Levinson’s “What Just Happened”; Jon Avnet’s “Righteous Kill”; and Kirk Jones’ “Everybody’s Fine.”
De Niro takes pride in the development of his production company, Tribeca Productions, the Tribeca Film Center, which he founded with Jane Rosenthal in 1988, and in the Tribeca Film Festival, which he founded with Rosenthal and Craig Hatkoff in 2001 as a response to the attacks on the World Trade Center. The festival was conceived to foster the economic and cultural revitalization of Lower Manhattan through an annual celebration of film, music, and culture; the festival’s mission is to promote New York City as a major filmmaking center and help filmmakers reach the broadest possible audiences.
Through Tribeca Productions, De Niro develops projects on which he serves in a combination of capacities, including producer, director, and actor. Tribeca’s “A Bronx Tale” in 1993 marked De Niro’s directorial debut. He later directed and co-starred in “The Good Shepherd” with Matt Damon and Angelina Jolie.
Other Tribeca features include “Thunderheart,” “Cape Fear,” “Mistress,” “Night and the City,” “The Night We Never Met,” “Faithful,” “Panther,” “Marvin’s Room,” “Wag the Dog,” “Analyze This,” “Flawless,” “The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle,” “Meet the Parents,” “Fifteen Minutes,” “Showtime,” “Analyze That,” and “Meet the Fockers.”
In 1992, Tribeca TV was launched with the acclaimed series “Tribeca.” De Niro was one of the executive producers. In 1998, Tribeca produced a miniseries for NBC, based on the life of Sammy ‘The Bull’ Gravano.
Tribeca Productions is headquartered at De Niro’s Tribeca Film Center in the TriBeCa district of New York. The Film Center is a state-of-the-art office building designed for the film and television industry. The facility features office space, a screening room, banquet hall and restaurant. The center offers a full range of services for entertainment professionals.
The Hollywood Film Awards were created to honor excellence in the art of filmmaking, both in front of and behind the camera, and launch the awards season. The criteria is: recipients are selected to be honored for their body of work and/or a film(s) that is to be released between January 1 and December 31 by an advisory team. In addition, for the recipients of our “film awards craft categories” (aside from evaluating their body of work), our Advisory team takes into consideration the recommendation of their guilds/societies. Last year alone, our recipients received 12 nominations and 5 Oscars. In the last 9 years, a total of 85 Oscar nominations and 32 Oscars were given to our honorees.
The Hollywood Film Awards are presented in conjunction with Presenting Sponsor the Los Angeles Times, Premier sponsors ArcLight Cinemas and, exclusive Regional Print Media sponsor Los Angeles Confidential and trade Media sponsor the Hollywood Reporter and Variety. Special support is provided by American Cinema Editors – A.C.E., American Society of Cinematographers – A.S.C., The Art Directors Guild – A.D.G., Celebrity Services, The Casting Society of America – CSA, Costume Designers Guild – CDG, Columbia Pictures, Creative Artists Agency, DreamWorks SKG, Entertainment Tonight, Focus Features, Fox Searchlight, ICM, ILM, Motion Picture Editors Guild, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Classics, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Universal Pictures, Warner Bros., Walt Disney/Pixar, The Weinstein Company, WME. Wireimage is the Official Photography Agency.
Awards Contact:
Hollywood Film Awards®
Ph: 310.288.1882
433 N. Camden Drive, Suite 600
Beverly Hills, CA 90210

'SONS OF ANARCHY' ACTOR Suspect in BIZARRE L.A. Double Death

7:08 AM PT -- Law enforcement sources tell TMZ ... cops believe Johnny was on drugs-- either PCP or meth -- at the time he allegedly killed a woman and then fell to his death. 

Sources tell us ... after allegedly killing the 81-year-old woman, Johnny had fought with two men for 3 to 4 minutes ... hurting at least one of them 

We're told Johnny initially used a 2x4 to attack the men ... and then used his bare hands. 

Law enforcement sources say the men he fought with say Johnny showed "super-human strength" and was "phenomenally strong."

We're told Johnny tried to break into the house of one of the men ... and it took 3 people to hold him back. 

One source tells TMZ ... Johnny had gone to a neighbor's home to introduce himself earlier in the day. 

Neighbors tell us Johnny had lived in that house before, moved away, and then came back. 

Neighbors who knew Johnny say he was a "nice guy."

Johnny Lewis -- who had big roles on "Sons of Anarchy," and "The O.C." and once dated Katy Perry -- was found dead yesterday ... and his body was discovered at the same L.A. property as an 81-year-old woman he's suspected of murdering ... TMZ has learned. 

According to our law enforcement sources, 28-year-old Lewis was found in a driveway Wednesday morning in the Los Feliz neighborhood -- and the elderly woman who owned the home was found dead inside ... the victim of a homicide.  Investigators say they believe Lewis beat the woman to death.

According to multiple reports, neighbors heard the 81-year-old woman screaming ... and then saw a young man outside her home attack 2 other people with a piece of wood ... before he climbed onto the roof and fell to his death.

Lewis was renting a room from the 81-year-old victim.

Law enforcement sources tell us Lewis is the sole suspect in the woman's murder, and they are not looking for other possible suspects.

Lewis dated Perry back in 2006 -- and attended numerous Hollywood events together. 

Lewis played Kip 'Half-Sack' Epps on "Sons of Anarchy" for 2 seasons, and also had one-off roles on "Criminal Minds" ... "Bones" ... and "CSI."

Andy Williams dead at 84: ‘Moon River’ crooner loses battle with bladder cancer

Williams came across for six decades on concert stages and television shows as the ultimate Mr. Nice Guy, as well known for his warm, genial personal style as for his music.
Andy Williams, one of the last crooners from the golden age of easy-listening pop music, died Tuesday at his home in Branson, Mo. He was 84.
Williams, who had been battling bladder cancer, had divided in time in recent years between La Quinta, Calif., and Branson, where he owned the Moon River Theater — named after the song that had been his signature since 1962.
Williams came across for six decades on concert stages and television shows as the ultimate Mr. Nice Guy, as well known for his warm, genial personal style as for his music.
He had only one major brush with tabloid celebrity, when his ex-wife, Claudine Longet, was charged in 1976 with accidentally killing her new boyfriend, skier Spider Sabich.
Williams, from whom Longet had been divorced a year earlier, escorted her to court, attended the trial and helped pay for her defense.
She was eventually sentenced to 30 days in jail and then married her attorney a few years later. 

American singer Andy Williams and his wife Claudine Longet, shown upon arrival at the Odeon, Leicester Square, London, on Dec. 19, 1974 for the Royal Charity World premiere of "The Man With the Golden Gun.”
Williams married Debbie Meyer in 1991 and remained with her until his death. 
Williams had one of the most successful music-and-TV crossover careers of his generation.
He went solo as a recording artist in 1953 and started his TV career as a regular on the Steve Allen’s “Tonight Show” in 1954.
He hosted his own TV variety show from 1962 to 1971 along with popular holiday specials into the 1990s.
He recorded eight albums of Christmas music, tagging him with the affectionate nickname “Mr. Christmas.”
During the warmer months, he was in great demand for movie theme music. Beyond “Moon River,” he recorded themes as diverse as the dark “Days of Wine and Roses” and the saccharine “Where Do I Begin” from “Love Story.”

His association with “Moon River” began when composer Henry Mancini asked him to sing it at the 1962 Academy Awards. It won the Oscar and quickly became Williams’ most popular song — though it was never released as a single.
His only No. 1 radio hit was a cover version of Charlie Gracie’s 1957 rockabilly song “Butterfly,” but he kept his popularity with easy-listening fans for decades, racking up 18 gold and three platinum albums.
Reflecting his reputation as a mainstream concert artist, Williams sang the National Anthem at the 1973 Super Bowl. He also hosted seven Grammy Awards shows, from 1971 to 1977.
He was politically active, and while he described himself as a “lifelong Republican,” he campaigned in 1968 for his friend Robert F. Kennedy. He sang “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” at Kennedy’s funeral that year.
Williams hosted his own TV variety show from 1962 to 1971, along with popular holiday specials in to the 1990s.
ANONYMOUS/APAndy Williams performs a song on a television show on May 12, 1961. Emmy-winning TV host and "Moon River" crooner Williams died Tuesday night, Sept, 25, 2012 at his home in Branson, Mo., following a year-long battle with bladder cancer.
In 1972, he campaigned for George McGovern, and when the Nixon administration tried to deport John Lennon, Williams became an outspoken defender of Lennon’s right to stay in the U.S. In later years, he criticized Barack Obama for taking the country “too far left.”
Born in Wall Lake, Iowa, Williams began singing in the Presbyterian church choir and joined his three siblings in the Williams Brothers quartet.
They sang on radio programs in the Midwest and backed Bing Crosby on his 1944 hit “Swingin’ on a Star.” They also appeared in several movies.
Williams went solo in 1953 and had his first hit with “Canadian Sunset” in 1956.
He was also a shrewd businessman. He eventually acquired the masters to all the music from his first label, Cadence, where his colleagues included the Everly Brothers and the Chordettes.
He launched his own label, Barnaby Records, which had hits with Ray Stevens and released the first album of a then-unknown singer named Jimmy Buffett. Earlier, on his TV show, he had introduced the Osmond family.
He opened the Moon River Theater with his brother Don in 1992. It was the first Branson theater not directly tied to country music, and paved the way for a broader range of artists to start playing in Branson.
He was also a major golf fan, hosting a PGA tournament in San Diego from 1968 to 1988.
He is survived by Meyer and three children from his first marriage, Robert, Noelle and Christian.
The Osmond's were a regular feature on The Andy Williams Show

Beverly Hillbillies Debuted On TV 50 Years Ago Today

By Greg Splashin' McShea 1 hour ago
One of our all-time favorite sitcoms debuted on CBS TV 50 years ago today in 1962, "The Beverly Hillbillies". Just to refresh your memory, the show was based on the story of hillbilly Jed Clampett (played by Buddy Ebsen) and his family striking oil on his backwoods property, and moving the whole gang to swanky Beverly Hills. The show was hilarious, and lasted nine seasons through 1971.

Movie Studio Logos and the Stories Behind Them

As another Oscar season ramps up, TIME uncovers the stories behind some iconic Hollywood logos
By WOOK KIM | September 21, 2012
TWO-SENTENCE HISTORY: Though established in 1923, Walt Disney Animation Studios didn’t release their first feature-length project until 1937: the groundbreaking and eternally wondrous Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. The studio experienced an impressive run of box-office success that all but bottomed out in the ’70s and ’80s—anyone remember Condorman?—before storming back with a string of animated hits that began with 1989′s The Little Mermaid.
MEMORABLE FILMS INCLUDE: Fantasia (1940), 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954), Mary Poppins (1964), The Lion King (1994) and Enchanted (2007)
THE LOGO: It’s kind of hard to believe, but Disney—among the most brand-conscious of companies—didn’t use a logo for its movies until…1985. (Up until then, they simply used some variation of the words Walt Disney Presents….) The “Magic Castle” logo—presented on a plain blue background—was updated to a more artful presentation in 2006.

TV Ratings Sunday: Emmys Slide From 2011, Sunday Night Football Still Dominates Night

Written By Amanda Kondolojy
September 24th, 2012Scoreboard
Adults 18-49: Rating/Share
Adults 18-34: Rating/Share
Total Viewers (million)

Update: in time zone adjusted fast nationals (basically, finals) The 64th Primetime Emmy Awards was adjusted up to a 3.8 adults 18-49 rating. We won't see any adjustments for the other networks until the finals are posted tomorrow.
Due to the nature of live  programming the ratings for NBC (NFL Football) FOX/CBS (NFL Overruns)  and ABC (Emmy Awards ) are approximate and subject to more than the typical adjustments in the final numbers. See below for more information on these Fast Affiliate Ratings.
Note: CBS and FOX had sports overruns which resulted in programming time adjustments. On CBS, all program start times were pushed back thirty-seven minutes, with primetime programming commencing at 8:07
NBC was number one among adults 18-49  and with total viewers.
On ABC The 64th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards earned a 3.3 3.8 adults 18-49 rating, down from last year's 4.2 (final) rating. The Emmys Red Carpet Live Special preceding the awards show earned a 1.6 adults 18-49 rating at 8PM.
On NBC , Sunday Night Football (Patriots/Ravens)  at 8:30-11:00PM earned a 8.1 adults 18-49  rating,down from last week's 8.9 18-49 rating, but the best "week 3" game ratings in four years and the second best week 3 primetime game since 1997.
Broadcast primetime ratings for Sunday, September 23, 2012:
18-49 Rating
18-49 Share
Viewers Live+SD (million)
7:00 PM
NFL Overrun

Football Night in America

Emmy's Red Carpet Live

NFL Overrun/ American Dad -R

7:30 PM
Football Night in America


8:00 PM
Football Night in America

64th Primetime Emmys

NFL Overrun/60 Minutes

The Simpsons -R

8:30 PM

Bob's Burgers -R



9:30 PM

Nielsen TV Ratings: ©2012 The Nielsen Company. All Rights Reserved.

Fast Affiliate Ratings: These first national ratings, including demographics, are available at approximately 11 AM (ET) the day after telecast, and are released to subscribing customers daily. These data, from the National People Meter sample, are strictly time-period information, based on the normal broadcast network feed, and include all programming on the affiliated stations, sometimes including network programming, sometimes not. The figures may include stations that did not air the entire network feed, as well as local news breaks or cutaways for local coverage or other programming. Fast Affiliate ratings are not as useful for live programs and are likely to differ significantly from the final results, because the data reflect normal broadcast feed patterns. For example, with a World Series game, Fast Affiliate Ratings would include whatever aired from 8-11PM on affiliates in the Pacific Time Zone, following the live baseball game, but not game coverage that begins at 5PM PT. The same would be true of Presidential debates as well as live award shows and breaking news reports.
Rating: Estimated percentage of the universe of TV households (or other specified group) tuned to a program in the average minute. Ratings are expressed as a percent.
Share (of Audience): The percent of households (or persons) using television who are tuned to a specific program, station or network in a specific area at a specific time. (See also, Rating, which represents tuning or viewing as a percent of the entire population being measured.)
Time Shifted Viewing – Program ratings for national sources are produced in three streams of data – Live, Live+Same Day (Live+SD) and Live+7 Day. Time shifted figures account for incremental viewing that takes place with DVRs. Live+Same Day (Live+SD) include viewing during the same broadcast day as the original telecast, with a cut-off of 3:00AM local time when meters transmit daily viewing to Nielsen for processing. Live+7 Day ratings include incremental viewing that takes place during the 7 days following a telecast.

Google Celebrates Jim Henson's Birthday With An Interactive Doodle

Author: Mack Rawden
published: 2011-09-24 12:53:55

It's been more than twenty years since Jim Henson tragically passed away from a bacterial infection, but his work lives on through both his iconic characters and the millions of animators, artists and original minds he inspired. History has been filled with scores of creative geniuses, but none truly basked in the whimsical wonderfulness of difference as much as the creator of The Muppets. From adult-driven comedy on the first season of Saturday Night Live to behind the scenes help with Yoda on The Empire Strikes Back to his creations for Sesame Street, Jim Henson left no avenue unexplored and no strange and brilliant corner of his mind untapped. 

On November 23rd, Jason Segel's newest take on the Muppets is set to open on the big screen. If all goes well, the film should expose a new generation to Jim Henson's wonderful vision, but that's not the only tribute to the brilliant puppeteer in the works. For the past few months, Google has been collaborating with The Jim Henson Company to honor what would have been the creator's seventy-fifth birthday. That day has finally arrived, and the partnership has yielded a wonderful and interactive doodle. Take a look at the short video explanation below…

Right now, on Google's front page, the company's logo has been transformed into the six original Muppets seen at the top of the page. Users can toggle back-and-forth between the creations, opening their mouths, shifting their eyes and doing all sorts of other wacky nonsense. At one point, I figured out how to get one of the Muppets to eat one of the other ones, but as I was frantically clicking and swerving, I have no idea how help you recreate the cannibalism. You'll have to work that magic yourself. 

Once again, Google has properly honored a fallen legend. Just like its tribute to Freddie Mercury, this one somehow captures the basic spirit of Jim Henson in a short, sweet and easy to use doodle. Apart from running The Rainbow Connection on loop, I can't think of anything more fitting. 

We miss you, Jim.

Trouble WIth The Curve Director Robert Lorenz Talks About The Magic Of Baseball

There is a special relationship between baseball and cinema. Over the last century some of our most timeless films have centered around the sport, which from the outside looks like nothing more than a small ball being tossed around, hit by a wooden stick, and being caught in leather gloves. So what is it about baseball that works so damn well on the big screen? 

This past weekend I had the opportunity to sit down one-on-one with Robert Lorenz, director of the new drama Trouble With The Curve, and talk about just that. Check out our conversation below in which we talk about not only the cinematic magic of baseball, but his relationship with Clint Eastwood, casting for chemistry, and creating his style in his directorial debut. 

Baseball really does have an impressive legacy on the big screen. You have movies like The Natural, Bull Durham, Field of Dreams… what do you think it is about the sport that makes it so cinematic? 

You know, I’ve been asked that question a lot and it’s a tough call. For me baseball just brings up a lot of nostalgic, happy feelings because I enjoyed it as a kid and I liked being out there playing in the sun, and it was a simpler time for all of us. It’s fun to bring that forth and that’s what I was trying to convey with the movie: this pure aspect of it that we all enjoy, maybe contrast that a little bit with the more unappealing commercialization of it all with the other character [played by Joe Massingill]. So that’s basically where I think it comes from. 

On the same subject, this movie is actually coming out almost a year to the day that Moneyball came out last year, and it’s an interesting comparison between films because that film really focused on the modernity aspect and changing the game, while this movie seems to make the opposite argument, saying that the old ways are better. Was that something that was in the back of your mind while you were making it? 

Well, we got the script just before Moneyball came out and then it became obvious once the movie came out that, which I really enjoyed, that there might be some comparisons. But I think it’s a good compliment to that movie. I don’t think it works against it in any way. I like the idea that it sort of balances that argument that goes on in baseball about the old way versus the new way, and it’s important. It’s great to explore technology and new ideas, but you have to balance it with the wisdom that comes from experience and what you get from the personal side of scouting. 

This film also bucks a trend just in the sense that it’s a father-daughter story, and we’re so used to sports movies being father-son stories. I was hoping you could talk about your approach to that relationship and was it something that initially drew you to the script? 

To be honest I didn’t think that much about it at first, and I gave the script to my wife to read – she reads all my scripts – and I get a, “Yeah, that’s nice, whatever” kind of a thing, but she read this one and she just loved it. And I thought, “Wow, obviously there’s more to this than I’m realizing,” and obviously the female aspect of it is very important, so I didn’t shy away from it at all. I think the role of Mickey is perhaps more important than Gus in some ways. It’s really the spine of the story, and I wanted a great actress to play it and I was so fortunate to get Amy Adams because she’s just terrific. 

And to talk a bit about that casting, with this kind of role you have to make sure that there’s both chemistry between her and her father, but also the role of Johnny, her love interest. What was the process of casting that chemistry between both her and the other actors? 

Justin [Timberlake]… the Johnny role was a little more difficult to cast. We read a lot of people for it, and it’s a great role, but it just needed a certain kind of energy, and Justin is such a likable, charming guy that when his name came up it just made sense. He’s got great comedic timing and he’s the kind of guy that could come in and appeal to both of these characters and point out what it is they’re missing and keep the film alive and keep it energetic and so it didn’t bog down. That’s why I think he’s great for it. 

Did you bring him in for a reading? 

I did, actually, just because with the bigger roles I wanted Clint to be comfortable with anyone that I cast, so I did ask him to read just so I could sell him to Clint. It didn’t really turn out to be that necessary because Clint is a big fan of Justin’s. He watches Saturday Night Live and he thinks he’s great on there. So I didn’t have to convince him that he was right for the part. 

Was it at all a hard sell to get Mr. Eastwood to sign on for the film? This is the first film he’s done in four years and the first time that he’s worked with a director other than himself since 1993. 

Well, he’s known for many years that I’ve wanted to direct and I think it was a matter of time before I was going to go off and do it without him. So this was a great opportunity for us to keep working together and both be doing something we liked. He claims he liked it [laughs]. He really enjoyed the script and I think he did a great job with it. He felt like there was something to work with there, and there’s only so many roles that come along for an 82 year old guy that feel believable. And this one was one. 

What exactly is the genesis of your relationship, because I know you’ve been working together a long time. 

It’s not a very exciting story [laughs]. I was working as an assistant director to learn and observe other directors, and I got a call to come work on this movie Bridges of Madison County, so I went out there and that’s where I met him. 

At what point did you become production partners? 

Well, on that movie I was called a second assistant director, the next movie I was promoted – my boss left – so I was thrust into this more important role, and I guess I just made an impression on him because he just kept giving me more and more responsibility until he asked me to start producing, and I did both for a little while, and it was too much to handle so I let go of the assistant directing. I’m a little bit of a control freak, so I liked being able to be everything, but I finally had to let that go. But we just got along well.

To talk a bit about your directing style, Mr. Eastwood is well known for rarely taking more than a couple takes of a shot. Was that something you implemented into your own approach as well? 

I did. There’s a logic to it, which has to do with keeping everybody on the crew and the cast focused and delivering the best performance all at once, because if you go on multiple takes everybody gets bored and nobody is really focused, so that’s the logic. And it keeps sort of a spontaneous energy and authenticity that comes from people doing it the first time, so you try and capture that. So yeah, I definitely tried to emulate that. 

Do you know what you’re going to be working on next? Have you been looking at more scripts? 

Yeah, I’ve been developing some other things, and I don’t know which one will come to pass next – we’ll see if we sell more than a dozen tickets on this movie to see if I have any future in this business [laughs]. We’ll see.