Happy Friday the 13th, everyone! I hope it’s a lucky one. As Halloween approaches, I am planning to revisit some of the site’s spooky content. Given the date, I thought it made sense to kick off the seasonal flashbacks with a look at the movie that killed one of horror’s longest-running franchises.
Source: Franchise Killers: Jason X
Winning an Oscar is no guarantee of movie stardom. Just ask Mira Sorvino who won a Best Supporting Actress statue for her star-making role in Mighty Aphrodite. Sorvino seemed to have the makings of a movie star, but things didn’t work out that way. In a profile piece from the October 2002 issue of Movieline, Sorvino claimed she was happier being out of the spotlight. She frankly discusses the mistakes that she made in her career and her reputation for being “difficult”.
Stephen Moyer is turning 48 today. He graduated from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, and worked in English theater for several years. He began working in British television in the early 1990s, and made his film debut in 1997. Two of his early film roles involved starring in a pair of period piece/swashbucklers, Prince Valiant (opposite Katherine Heigl) and Princess of Thieves (opposite Keira Knightley). His subsequent film roles have been supporting roles for the most part—unlike his television career.
After around fifteen years of work in film and television, Moyer got his big break in 2008. He was cast in HBO’s adaptation of Charlaine Harris’s The Southern Vampire Mysteries novels—titled True Blood for television—in the role of Bill Compton. Not only did he remain with the series for its entire seven-season run, he ended up marrying his costar, Anna Paquin. Since the end of True Blood’s run, Moyer has had major roles on FX’s The Bastard Executioner and Fox’s Shots Fired, before landing a starring role on Fox’s just-premiered The Gifted.
Kevthewriter watched Walk of Fame on Netflix so you don’t have to!
Ben Vereen is celebrating his 71st today. He grew up in Brooklyn and studied at New York’s High School of Performing Arts. He may be most famous to television viewers of a particular generation for his Emmy-nominated performance as Chicken George Moore in Roots. He also made a number of appearances in film musicals such as Sweet Charity, Funny Lady (for which he was a Golden Globe nominee) and All That Jazz, and received a second Golden Globe nomination for the 1984 CBS miniseries Ellis Island.
Vereen’s greatest accomplishments, however, may be on stage, where he has had a major career in musical theater. He joined the national touring company of Sweet Charity in 1967, and a year later made his Broadway debut as part of the original cast of Hair. He was a Tony nominee as Judas Iscariot in the original Broadway production of Jesus Christ Superstar, and won a Tony for Best Actor in a Musical as the Leading Player in the original production of Pippin in 1972. He has also appeared on Broadway in Jelly’s Last Jam and as the Wizard in Wicked. In 1981 Vereen returned to the role of the Leading Player, in a production of Pippin staged for Canadian television. While this performance cut portions of the full play, it does preserve one of Vereen’s most famous stage roles.
So this is timely. Ashley Judd has been in the headlines recently for her part in bringing down the infamous Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. Today’s interview was the cover story of the October 1997 issue of Movieline magazine right about the time when the events Judd described would have happened! Of course, the interview has nothing to do with Weinstein. But it does provide a look back at Judd when she was a rising actress looking to establish herself. You can tell from her answers that Judd was a fighter from way back.
Guillermo del Toro is turning 53 today. He began making homemade shorts with a Super 8 camera as a child. He made two shorts in his early twenties and worked as a makeup artist on several Mexican films before making his first feature in 1993, a horror film titled Cronos that received critical praise and was his first time working with actor Ron Perlman. Like many of his subsequent films it had some kind of fantasy/sci-fi element, as did his first Hollywood film, Mimic.
Del Toro has not been a hitmaker as a director; his biggest commercial success was probably Blade II, which of all his directing efforts was likely the one over which he had the least creative control. However, almost all of his films since the turn of the century have received positive critical responses. He has made two films in Spain, The Devil’s Backbone and Pan’s Labyrinth, the latter of which won three Oscars out of six nominations. His American productions include Pacific Rim, Crimson Peak, the upcoming The Shape of Water, and the two Hellboy films.
This was a relatively light week here at Le Blog. So it seems like a perfect time to check in at the box office. And hey, will you look at that? Harrison Ford is starring in another sequel to one of his iconic movies from the 80’s. I can only assume Witness 2 is currently in development. The original Blade Runner was released in 1982 to mixed reviews and unimpressive box office. Over time, critics and audiences discovered the movie and it is now considered to be a science fiction classic. It went from being massively under-rated to arguable over-rated in the course of a couple of decades and countless re-releases.
Now here we are 35 years later and Blade Runner 2049 has opened to critical acclaim. But just like the original movie, the sequel appears to be under-performing. It will likely open at number one this weekend, but with a budget estimated at around $150 million, the studio was hoping for an opening around $50 million. Currently, BR 2049 is on course to fall short of that number by around $15 million dollars. It will be interesting to see if the sequel enjoys the same longevity as the original.
Today is Bella Thorne’s 20th birthday. She made her first screen appearance in the film Stuck on You at the age of six, and began acting regularly when she was about ten. After a recurring role on Dirty Sexy Money, she was cast in her first regular role in 2008, on NBC’s My Own Worst Enemy. When that series was canceled during its first season, she appeared on the web series Little Monk, and then took over the role of Teenie Henrickson on season 4 of HBO’s Big Love. In 2010, Disney cast her in the lead role of CeCe Jones (with recent headliner Zendaya as her costar) on Shake It Up.
Thom Yorke turns 49 today. He was attending Abingdon School in Oxfordshire, England, when he and four schoolmates, Ed O’Brien, Phil Selway, and Colin and Jonny Greenwood, formed a band they called On a Friday. After a hiatus or two in the late 1980s, the band signed a recording contract in 1991 and took a new name—Radiohead. Yorke is their lead vocalist—rated as one of the 100 greatest singers of all time by Rolling Stone—and plays guitar and keyboards.
Radiohead has become one of the most important voices in alternative rock. They released their first studio album, Pablo Honey, in 1993, and gradually built an audience. Between 1997 and 2007 they had five consecutive albums reach #1 in the UK, and they’ve had two #1 albums in the US. They have received over twenty Grammy nominations, with four wins, mostly in Alternative music categories.
Hollywood loves its divas. Even when their demands drive everybody crazy, there’s something about a starlet who knows what she wants and how to get it. The 90’s ushered in a new crop of divas (and divas in training). In the October 1997 issue of Movieline magazine, Stephen Rebello ran through some of Tinseltown’s most fabulous actresses. Some were on their way out while others were ascendant. Find out how the biggest divas of the decade lived twenty years ago.
Guy Pearce celebrates his 50th today. Born in England, he spent most of his youth in Australia, and began his screen career with a three-year run on the durable Australian soap opera Neighbors, after which he had a brief stint on the other long-running Aussie soap, Home and Away, and a regular role on Snowy River: The McGregor Saga. He also made a few Australian films in the early 1990s; he played a drag queen in The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, which was a surprise success.
However, Pearce was still little-known in the US when he was cast as Ed Exley, one of the three protagonists of Curtis Hanson’s neo-noir L.A. Confidential, adapted from James Ellroy’s novel. After that success, Pearce appeared in two major Hollywood productions in 2000. One, Rules of Engagement, was a relative failure, barely making back its production budget, while the other, a more modestly-budgeted picture, overcame marketing and distribution difficulties to become a financial and critical success.