In 1987, Arleen Sorkin played a bizarre dream jester on the classic soap opera Days of our Lives. Watch above. Several years later, that curious character became the inspiration for Harley Quinn on Batman: The Animated Series. Naturally, Sorkin voiced Ms. Quinn.
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In 1987, Sorkin was a regular on the soap opera Days of Our Lives, playing the show’s comic relief: the ditzy, leggy, Noo Yawk–accented Calliope Jones. But unlike her flighty character, Sorkin was a skilled and experienced comedy writer. “I could never just come in and run my lines,” she told Vulture. “I was forever suggesting stuff, probably out of boredom!” So when she went to a screening of the faux-medieval The Princess Bride, an idea struck her: Why not do a fairy-tale dream sequence on Days? The producers were into it and aired an episode in which Calliope acts as a court jester, roller-skating into a throne room and doing some hackneyed borscht belt gags for a royal family.
(Writer Paul) Dini and Sorkin were college friends, and one day, she gave him a VHS tape of her favorite Days moments — including her jester bit. The tape sat idle for years. But in mid 1991, Dini was sick as a dog and popped the tape into his VCR. He was a budding television writer at the time, cranking out freelance scripts for the as-yet-unaired Batman: The Animated Series. He’d been struggling to come up with a female character to use as a one-off in an episode about Batman’s archnemesis, the Joker.
Alicia Rodis is HBO's "lead intimacy coordinator." This means that she choreographs and coaches actors in sex scenes. In The Atlantic, Kate Julian profiles Rodis and shares the, er, intimate details of the work. Here's a description from the set of The Deuce:
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Ahead of the shoot, the episode’s director, Steph Green, explained her vision of the scene to Rodis, who called the actors to run through a proposed plan. Afterward, Rodis made sure that each actor’s contract had a rider stipulating that (Ryan) Farrell would touch (Emily) Meade’s clothed breasts, and Meade would grab Farrell’s crotch through his pants, under which he’d be wearing a prosthetic penis. The day of filming, Green, Rodis, and both actors met in private to prepare. (Green has long run trust- and chemistry-building exercises before intimacy scenes.) Before rehearsing the scene, she and Rodis asked the actors to hold each other’s gaze for a long interval. The actors also took turns inviting each other to touch agreed-upon body parts: hand, knee, thigh, and so on.
When it was time to shoot, the aforementioned prosthetic was produced. “It was an actual fake penis that they use in some of the scenes,” Farrell said. “I was like, ‘That’s pretty extreme!’ ” He put it in his pants. “Emily got to actually feel it when it was on top of me,” he said, “and when things like that start happening, it’s an icebreaker, and everybody loosens up a bit.”
Farrell and Meade got in the back of the limo, together with a cameraperson, while Rodis and Green watched the scene via monitor.
Actor EJ Zapata provides "solid evidence every TV show, Movie, and Commercial are all in the same Cinematic Universe." This is "How It All Connects," a compilation of Zapata's on-camera moments in the background.
Learn more from Zapata over at r/videos. (Thanks pvanb!) Read the rest
Erik Singer is a dialect coach who has appeared in a lot of Wired videos to talk about actors' accents in popular movies. In this video, he takes a fascinating look at the way actors have played US presidents. Read the rest
Film, television and theater are brutally competitive businesses. A lot of actors work to shape their bodies, pay to sculpt their faces and train as singers, dancers or martial artists — anything that'll make themselves stand out to casting directors. Some are more dedicated than others.
From Task & Purpose:
Actor Todd Lawson LaTourrette — whose credits include brief roles on TV shows Better Call Saul and Longmire plus a bit part in The Men Who Stare At Goats — publicly outed himself as faking military service to get his big break during an Oct. 29 interview with KOB4 news.
But the story gets more bizarre, because of the lengths he went to do it: LaTourrette said that 17 years ago, he cut off his own arm, cauterized the wound, then made his own prosthetic, all so he could pass himself off as a war-wounded veteran.
In a recent interview, LaTourrette stated that at the time that he decided to do away with his arm, he was being treated for a bipolar disorder and had gone off of his medication. After healing up, LaTourrette crafted a military backstory for himself and started attending casting calls. The film industry took the bait and started handing him film and television roles.
Stealing valor is shitty. Cutting off your limb during a psychotic episode is sad. By talking about both, LaTourrette is trying to own what he's done. That's got to be worth something.
Image by Rasbak - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0 Read the rest
When news that Scarlett Johansson was planning to play trans man Dante ‘Tex’ Gill in the biopic Rub & Tug, her rep's tone-deaf response launched the casting controversy into overdrive. She's now announced she exited the project. Read the rest
As we make our way through the Lost In Space reboot on Netflix (or not), let's honor the late, great Jonathan Harris who stole the original series as the prissily menacing Dr. Zachary Smith.
"(Smith) was written as a deep-dyed, snarling villain, and he bored the shit out of me," Harris said.
(Thanks, Bob Pescovitz!) Read the rest
Remember when Tommy Wiseau dressed up as The Joker and delivered some iconic lines from The Dark Knight in his most-imitable style? The fine folks at Bup cut Tommy into the movie, and it's as hilariously horrifying as expected. Read the rest
Nerdist got Tommy Wiseau, of "The Room" infamy, to dress up as Arkham Asylum's most famous resident and run through some classic lines. With firm direction, and a lot of takes, Tommy would be a startlingly good Joker.
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After his success in "The Room" and the "The Disaster Artist," Tommy Wiseau has been publicly campaigning for one of the most iconic roles in the history of film: Batman's eternal nemesis, The Joker. As huge fans, we at Nerdist give him a chance to show the world what he can bring to this legendary role!
Over the weekend, Jim Carrey gave a deeply weird interview while at New York Fashion Week. Watch it above. “There is no me,” he said. “There are just things happening and there are clusters of tetrahedrons moving around together.” Below, he explains what he was saying. Kinda. Not really. And I love it.
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Acting coach Bob Menery is not a professional sports announcer... yet. Watching him talk gives me the same weird sensation as seeing Mel Blanc do Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny.
Below is an older video of Menery experimenting with "the voice."
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Dialect coach Sammi Grant gives a crash course in a dozen different accents including my favorite, the Transatlantic accent. (Think Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant. More on that here.)
"I’m legally blind and one of the reasons I got into dialect coaching is because I love to hear people’s voices and help people find the range of their voices," Grant says.
(via Laughing Squid)
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Charles Martinet has been the voice of Nintendo's Mario, Wario, and Luigi for 26 years. (Great Big Story) Read the rest
Jacob T. Swinney compares the short film "Whiplash" with the feature it became.
It's an interesting study in the shot-for-shot remake. With the exception of the location and the switch to Miles Teller as Andrew, nearly everything else is the same. Read the rest
Erik Singer, a dialect coach, was shown clips from 32 famous actors playing roles that required them to adopt an accent. He critiqued each one. As you might expect, Meryl Streep, Daniel Day Lewis, and Philip Seymour Hoffman get top marks. Tom Cruise and Kevin Costner, not so much. The worst? Not Dick Van Dyke's Cockney accent in Mary Poppins. It's Mickey Rooney's ridiculous Japanese accent in Breakfast at Tiffany's. This video was directed and edited by our friend, Joe Sabia. Read the rest
Released in 1957, Co*Star: The Record Acting Game was a series of 15 vinyl LPs with recordings of actors and other celebrities like Vincent Price, Talulah Bankhead, and Don Ameche performing one role in two-character scenes from movies, plays, and novels. Each record contained a script and you were supposed to act opposite the recordings! In 1977, the game's original label Roulette Records reissued the series. They're available used on Discogs for around $4 - $50, depending on the star and, of course, condition.
You can experience the Vincent Price edition right here.
And below is one person's demonstration of the George Raft edition!
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Punk icon Jello Biafra's acting showreel, used as a resume-of-sorts in the TV/movie business, features his moments in Portlandia, Death and Taxes, Tapeheads, The Hipster Games, and others. (via Dangerous Minds)
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