Straight links, and they’re long today to catch up with some big news of the weekend:
It’s an interesting phenomenon. We hear rumors so much and so often that we just tend to believe them. Like hearing about the villain in next year’s Spider-Man movie. For months, we’ve just assumed it’s going to be the Lizard because, well, we heard it over and over. Approximately 9 trillion anonymous studio executives confirmed it off the record, enough so that it was accepted as fact. That’s probably the defense C. Thomas Howell took yesterday morning when the studio called:
C. Thomas Howell: Hello?
Spider-Man Producer Laura Ziskin: You’re f—ing fired.
CTH: Huh? What’d I do?
LZ: Really? You don’t know? You said Spider-Man was fightingthe Lizard on some dorky podcast out of some guy’s basement while you were promoting whatever crappy Syfy made-for-TV movie you’re in this week. We haven’t told anyone that yet, numnuts.
CTH: No way … really? You’re not kidding? I’ve read it on every website in the world for the past six months! I think I saw it on ESPN.com and Parenting.com just the other day! Everyone seemed to know.
LZ: They might know, but that’s not how we work around here Ponyboy. We tease people with minute morsels of info they shouldn’t care about. But because they’re so crazy over this stupid movie, it makes front-page headlines. Look at the day we announced your part! Did you ever think you’d see your name in Variety again? And you’re only in the movie for, what, like 30 seconds? Did your part get cut yet? I think it might have. If it hasn’t been cut yet, it will be now.
CTH: Wait, please don’t!
LZ: No way, pal. It’s back to signing autographs at the Soul Man Convention for you. Say hi to Ron Reagan Jr. for me. Actually, do you have his number? Maybe he can take your role since all we need is a talking chimp for this …
LZ: Stay gold!
TV is too fickle a business right now to leave millions of dollars on the table. Do you know how many new hits this TV season has produced? Two. TWO!!! Mike and Molly and Hawaii 5-0. And they suck!!! To just throw away the biggest scripted hit on TVdoesn’t make financial sense, especially when its first few episodes in September have the chance to be the highest-rated TV shows of the last five years, producing weekly Seinfeld-like numbers. So it shouldn’t surprise anyone that CBS chief Lesley Moonves is sucking it up and asking Charlie Sheen to come back to Two and a Half Men. Even if the network has to give him a raise, the money CBS could make duringthe first month of the show off the advertising would laughingly dwarf whatever the raise was. The show has been on for eight years. If CBS, the show and Sheen can co-exist for just two more years, they’ll have made about 225 episodes that will run in syndication forever. For. Eh. Ver. Having 225 episodes in the can would literally be a license to print money. Smart people don’t pee that money away without a darn good reason. And right now, no one’s killed anyone’s first born just yet. There is room for negotiation.
More from the Too Much Money on the Table File — the 24 movie. This is different from the Arrested Development movie because AD is a cult thing that had about 5 million viewers for three years. 24 had 20 million viewers for eight years in America and millions more around the world. If all of those 20 million people bought a movie ticket, that’s $200 million gross. Not too shabby. That’s not how it works in the grand scheme of things, but those are how the Hollywood dreams start. Kiefer Sutherland is a producer of the show and will be of the movie, so if it’s a hit, we’re talking about a $20 million to $30 million payday for him and he officially never has to work again. Before this thing is dead, you’ll have to see Sutherland buried in the ground.
The new Wonder Woman costume. Too much? Too little? Too unpatriotic, whatever that means? This is poor Adrianne Palicki’s third different hair color in three shows though, goingfrom blond in Friday Night Lights to brunette in Lone Star to jet black in Wonder Woman. Gotta say though, if NBC is cool letting this shot of the new outfit get into cyberspace, the chances of seeing it in the fall increase about 200 percent.
It’s easy to sit back and bitch and moan about Darren Aronofsky leaving The Wolverine. But you can only do that for so long before you have to lick your wounds and move on to find a new director or find a different new director. The trick is not to make it seem like a step down from Aronofsky — but that’s almost impossible. Aronofsky is top 10 material. If you want it to be a step up, you’re talking Scorcese, Spielberg and that crowd. But what about Quentin Tarantino? I’m biased, since to me Tarantinoembodies everything movies should be. He loves Japanese samurai movies. He loves comic books. He’s been looking for a new project. Hmmmmm. I feel a stand alone blog/Sunday column brewing. Let’s save it til then.
I’ve wondered why Hollywood people haven’t done this more, but it looks like the creative team of Dark Knight Rises let slip some secrets on purpose. And they weren’t true. I’m fine with this, the entertainment journalism world reports on too much with just one source, choosing to break a story before anyone else instead of fact-checking it first. So go ahead, Nolans. Screw with the media as much as you want, and hopefully sometime soon we’ll get reporters with a little more scruples on the front lines sending us our information. OK, hold on, it’s a long way down from this soapbox.
There, I’m down. Now, on to this whole “next Michael Scott” thing. When I talked with producer Danny Chun at the beginning of the season, the impression I got was that they already had a good idea who they wanted, and how they were going to introduce the new boss. The thing that keeps sticking out to me is that he said, ”We hope that by the end of the year, you already know who the new boss is.” So the fact that Gervais and Arnett are going to be in the finale doesn’t send me any next Michael Scott vibes. Also, if there is going to be a new Sabre Scranton boss coming in, NBC is going to guard that secret with the lives of everyone at Kabletown. You WILL NOT hear about it here or on any blog or website. I’m convinced of that. So the fact that they announced Will Arnett as a guest star pretty much eliminates him as a possibility. Too bad, he would be a pretty good fit.
Fantastic, another iconic movie we grew up with and taught us about growing up is turning 25 to make us all feel old as dirt. Last year it was all about The Goonies turning 25 and Caddyshack turning 30 — now it’s Stand by Me. I am not looking forward to 2014 when Pulp Fiction turns 20. If in 1986 you asked the question, “Which of the four Stand by Me kids would have the biggest Hollywood career?” what kind of odds could you have gotten on Jerry O’Connell? 1,000-1? 1 million to 1? Would Vegas have taken the odds off the board? Corey Feldman was the most famous at the time, but he flamed out like he was in some kind of career-ruining contest he really, really wanted to win. River Phoenix was the can’t miss up-and-comer — until he couldn’t kick drugs. Wil Wheaton peaked with Stand by Me. You could make the argument that O’Connell’srise to whatever level of fame he now has is the biggest F.U. to the entire decade of the 80s. You could just see the other three kids on that set all pretty full of themselves actually making fat jokes at O’Connell while tears start to roll down the poor kid’s face. “One day, you’ll see! In 2011, you guys are going to beg me to be on an episode of my latest crappy TV show! And I’ll have a wife that used to be a supermodel! Just wait, you’ll see! Yoooo (sob) uuuuuullllll (sob sob) seeeeeeeeeee (sob).” He’s living every geeky fat kid’s dream right now.
My biggest Stand by Me memory actually doesn’t have to do with the movie. I do have a Stand by Me story though. In seventh grade, a bunch of my friends went to basketball camp. They came back with a nickname for one of our friends — Vern. Not necessarily because he looked like O’Connell at the time — although there was a slight resemblance – but because he sounded and acted like him. Exactly like him. Watching Stand by Me now is almost scary for me because it’s like they took this kid’s mannerisms and put them on screen. It’s more than 20 years later, and the name has still stuck, we all still call him Vern. He’s gone through phases of trying to drop the name, actually going so far as requesting us call him by his actual name, but it’s never worked. He works at the Pentagon now, and we still call him Vern. Poor Vern.