Maxim: The Leftovers Premiere Proves HBO Does Whatever It Wants

Is the new Justin Theroux vehicle any good? We still don’t know, but we’ll tune in to find out.  

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Photo: Paul Schiraldi / HBO

Last night marked the series premiere of HBO’s The Leftovers, a heavily promoted new drama with an impressive lineage. Based on Tom Perrotta’s bestseller and executive produced by Lost’s Damon Lindeloff, the first episode was directed by Friday Night Lights creator Peter Berg. The series stars Justin Theroux (he of Jennifer Aniston wedding rumor fame), Amy Brenneman, and Liv Tyler as suburbanites trying to cope after two percent of the world’s population vanishes for no clear reason. What the Rapture-like event means for the main characters – protagonists would be too strong a word – is unclear, but for the audience it means very bleak Sunday nights.  Continue reading

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Will John Turturro Reprise His Role from The Big Lebowski?

We hope so. While we’re at it, let’s bring back more Coen brothers creations.

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Per an article in The Hollywood Reporter, actor John Turturro is seeking the rights to reprise his role as Jesus Quintana from The Big Lebowski in a new film. Jesus, as you’ll likely remember, was a flamboyant bowler and a pederast. (“Eight year olds dude.”)

“If I can get the permission I need, I’d like to return to that role,” Turturro reportedly told a panel at last weekend’s Taormina Film Festival in Sicily.

It’s not the first time Turturro has said he’d like to resurrect the character. But his latest remarks come on the heels of the wildly successful first season of the TV adaptation of Fargo – another Joel and Ethan Coen production – which got us thinking: What other characters from Coen brothers movies deserve a spinoff?

Read the whole article at Maxim.com.

AMC Renews Better Call Saul Months Before Series Premiere

It’s a bold move and a bit of a gamble.

Photo: Ursula Coyote / AMC

Photo: Ursula Coyote / AMC

AMC announced this week that is has already ordered a second season of its forthcoming Breaking Bad prequel, Better Call Saul, well in advance of its 2015 series premiere. It’s a strong vote of confidence for the show, which stars the terrific Bob Odenkirk as Saul Goodman, the shystiest lawyer in New Mexico.

While networks are famous for yanking new shows off the air without giving them any opportunity to win over audiences, rarely do we see a new series picked up for a second season long before the debut of its first episode. The operative word being rarely; it’s not completely unheard of. But does such a move always correspond to the eventual success of a series?

Continue reading

Maxim Interview: Fred Armisen

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Between the fourth season premiere of Portlandia and his debut as bandleader for Late Night with Seth Meyers, the Saturday Night Live alum is having a very big week.

Before joining the cast of SNL in 2002 you were primarily a musician. How did the transition to comedy come about? 
I was just in love with TV. And I don’t know what my intentions were when I started doing music, ‘cause they might not have been as musical as I thought. I think I wanted to get on TV more than I wanted to make good music, and I could tell because whenever I went to the recording studio, I couldn’t wait to get out of there.  I think my goal wasn’t pure enough when it comes to music; I think I just wanted to be on TV, and I thought, “Well, if we’re in a band, eventually we can get on to Saturday Night Live or Conan O’Brien or something.” It’s almost like I always had that goal, but I didn’t know which way to go.

Once you did make it to SNL, you had so many memorable impressions and recurring characters – and they were incredibly diverse, from the Queen of England to President Obama. Were any of them particularly close to your heart?
You’re very nice to say that, and thank you for the compliment. Yeah, I would say maybe Ian Rubbish, the British character, because it was all the people that I sort of admired. Growing up, I was really into the London music scene, which I had no part of – it was too late by the time I discovered it. You know, it was over. I was such a fan of Nic Jones and Captain Sensible and Steve Jones. I’ve been doing this my whole life; I’ve never not been doing that character.

Read my entire interview with Fred Armisen at Maxim.com.

Maxim Interview: Jamie-Lynn Sigler

np021014_jamielynnsigler_article1The former Maxim model tells us what it was like to get the role of a lifetime playing Meadow Soprano on The Sopranos, chats about her latest performance in the comedy flick Jewtopia, and answers the Same 10 Questions We Always Ask Everyone.

How was getting the role of Meadow Soprano on The Sopranos a pivotal moment in your life?
I think for obvious reasons of how it changed my career, but I had never been in front of a camera before, I had never been on a set before, so everything was brand new. I came from doing community theater on Long Island to being on that show. So it was my acting school, it was my everything school. I felt very protected on that set, I think being one of the only two kids on the set, Jim [Gandolfini], everyone, the whole crew, really looked out for us and made sure we were comfortable and confident, so it gave me everything for my career and my craft, and also just as person. And to have trust in other actors and things like that…It was nothing but positive. I really can’t think of one negative thing from that entire 10-year experience. And that’s really lucky to say.

At the beginning, was it like you were being thrown into the deep end? Were you completely unprepared?
For sure. I’d say my first few days, yeah. I think my first day on set I woke up early and blew out my hair because I thought I had to do my own hair. I didn’t realize I would have people do my hair and makeup. So for sure the first few days it was a little intimidating. But I was a teenager, and being 16-years-old you just kind of try and pretend like you know what you’re doing, or at least that was the kind of teenager I was. So you kind of fake it ‘til you make it. Had that experience come when I was 26 instead of 16 I think it would have been entirely different. It was probably better that I was a kid. When you’re young you’re less afraid of consequence, and I think that helped me.

Read my entire interview with Jamie-Lynn Sigler at Maxim.com

Maxim Interview: Jon Voight

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The iconic actor talks Ray Donovan, Seinfeld, and Deliverance, as well as playing Van Helsing in the new reboot of Dracula: The Dark Prince.

Let’s talk about your new hit series, Showtime’s Ray Donovan. Your character, Mickey, is remarkable. Why do you think audiences seem to connect with him, even though he’s a pretty bad guy?
Oh, he’s a bad guy. He’s a mess. But there’s also some good aspects to him. For one, he’s completely honest. That’s a terribly surprisingly element. He says what’s on his mind, and we admire it. He’s the opposite of politically correct. He tells you what he’s thinking. And sometimes it’s very shocking, but it’s also endearing in a certain way, too. I think that in some way, he’s an interesting portrait of a man – the male animal that we have pretty much attacked over the latter course of my life as a culture. That he’s still alive, I think we’re grateful for that. The positive side of Mickey is he’s a real male, and he’s funny, and he can be dopey, and he can be cruel as well, but there’s something that we respond to in that way. In other ways I think he’s like the characters that we’ve taken to heart like Archie Bunker or the Fonz, you know, these kinds of archetypes. I don’t know where Mickey fits into that, but there’s something like that going on, too.

Were you surprised by how iconic your Seinfeld cameo and storyline – about whether you were the previous owner of George Costanza’s used LeBaron convertible – became?
Well, yeah, it was a big surprise. It was so funny, but as I look back, at that time in my career it was helpful to me, and it still has an afterlife. People come up to me every week probably and say, “Would you bite a pencil?” or you know, other stuff from Seinfeld. And it had a long life. Of course, the Seinfeld show was a very great show.

So just for the record, have you ever owned a LeBaron convertible?
You know, the funny thing was, the writer of that show actually did buy a LeBaron convertible that was supposed to be mine. And he asked me when I came on the set to do my little piece, to bite Kramer’s arm, he asked me, “Would you come around the corner and just look at this car, and tell me if this was yours?” And I had to say no [it wasn’t], but the funny thing is my mother did have a LeBaron, a white LeBaron convertible, down in Florida, and after I did the show, she said, “Why didn’t you get me a new car? You could’ve gotten me a car!”

Read my entire interview with Jon Voight at Maxim.com

Maxim Interview: Ricky Gervais

The comedian dials up the drama in the Netflix series Derek, which he created, wrote, produced, directed, and stars in.

Ricky Gervais

Ricky Gervais in “Derek”

Set in a British home for the elderly, Derek centers on the daily lives of the residents, employees, and volunteers – most notably, the simple, sweet (and to some, controversial) title character, played by Gervais. Filmed in the same mockumentary style as The Office, Derek – though it has plenty of humorous moments – marks a more dramatic turn for the comedy actor. Can he pull it off? See for yourself; all seven episodes are currently streaming on Netflix.

British humor is often characterized as difficult for American audiences to fully grasp. Derek may be more of a drama, but it still has that trademark wit; what makes it inherently relatable to all audiences?
I think people don’t know it, but they want sincerity.  I think they do, deep down, and I’ve noticed it on Twitter as well. I can do snarky jokes, I can do weird stuff and it gets lots of retweets, but if I do a sincere tweet that’s down the knife, it connects with 10 times the amount of people. I think people are quietly tired with that veil of irony that inhabits everything. You know, if I live in a student house, every poster is ironic. You want to say, put up a poster of something you actually like. What do you actually like? I like that you sometimes grow out of that. I think because people are worried that what they like is cool, they worry about saying what they like. You see that in every walk of life. You ask someone their top 10 albums and they don’t want to put Backstreet Boys and Sting, they try to think of really obscure underground music, and I think that sooner or later people relate more with honesty than anything else. And I did sort of consciously want to leave behind the veil of irony, and I think that’s what makes it slightly different to my previous work and slightly different to most comedy is that sincerity. We’re not laughing at the characters, we’re not laughing at the blind spot, we’re laughing with them. We’re rooting for them from the outset because they’re doing a good job. Whatever faults someone’s got, whatever mistakes they made, if they’re doing it to help someone, they’re forgiven. It’s all about motives. And it just seemed right.

Read my entire interview with Ricky Gervais at Maxim.com