Two years ago, Seth MacFarlane hosted the Comedy Central Roast of Donald Trump and started the evening's raunchy proceedings with, "How do you prepare for a night like this? Personally, I smoked a lot of pot and clearly don't give a sh-t about this show. So I'm kind of the perfect host for this show, or for the Oscars."
It was a dig at actor James Franco, who — with bleary eyes and a too-laidback attitude — had co-hosted the Academy Awards with Anne Hathaway just two weeks before. Two years later MacFarlane will be up on that Oscar stage trying to do a better job.
Best known for creating — and voicing many of the characters on — Fox TV's funny, crude, animated sit-com "Family Guy", MacFarlane is also an actor, singer, and, as of last year, a big-screen writer and director. His first live-action feature, Ted, hit theatres in June 2012 with Mark Wahlberg and a talking teddy bear (voiced by MacFarlane) in the lead roles.
But you knew all that. Here are 10 things you might not have known about Seth MacFarlane.
Opened in 1975, Mirabel International Airport was supposed to replace Montreal's aging Dorval Airport and become Canada’s expansive, modern eastern gateway. But its remote location in Mirabel, Quebec, 39 km northwest of Montreal, made the massive airport unpopular, and the dream slowly died. Now, Mirabel is largely used for cargo, with its passenger terminals left empty, lonely and a bit spooky.
What a great place to shoot a zombie movie.
"It was eerie," recalls British actor Nicholas Hoult as he sits in the back seat of a car that's taking him home along the Thames River in London, England. He's just finished a long day of photo shoots to promote both Warm Bodies, the zombie rom-com filmed at Mirabel and directed by Jonathan Levine (50/50), and next month's Jack the Giant Slayer from director Bryan Singer (X-Men). He plays Jack in the big-budget fantasy about a farmhand, a princess and a bunch of mean giants. "Now I'm heading home and hopefully going for a curry," he says.
Ewan McGregor decided to make The Impossible as soon as he read the script. Still, there was that nagging feeling that this project — the true story of one family torn apart when the 2004 tsunami hit Thailand — could go terribly wrong.
"The nature of putting a movie camera on something is that it turns it into a cinematic thing," says McGregor during an interview at the Toronto International Film Festival this past September, "and if you're making a cinematic statement about a terrible tragedy like this you have to be doing it for the right reasons."
Helmed by Spanish director Juan Antonio Bayona (The Orphanage), the film turned out to be one of the big hits at the Toronto festival. Anything but exploitive, it's a powerful drama that brings images of a catastrophe that's already fading from memory rushing back.
McGregor and Naomi Watts star as English tourists Henry and Maria (changed from a Spanish family, the Alvarez Belons, in real life) who, with their three young boys, travel to a coastal resort in Thailand for a relaxing beach vacation over the Christmas holidays. Instead, a colossal wall of water washes their hotel away and rips their family in two, leaving Henry and their two youngest boys searching for critically injured Maria and their oldest son.
A few hours before the film had its world premiere in Toronto, we sat down with McGregor to discuss the joys and stresses of bringing this real-life drama to the screen.
If you're a fan of British pop culture — pop culture in general, really — and you find yourself with the opportunity to travel back in time, you might want to consider October 5th, 1962.
It was on that date, 50 years ago, that an upstart band from Liverpool called The Beatles released its first single, "Love Me Do," and a low-budget spy film called Dr. No hit theatres — the first movie based on English author Ian Fleming's secret agent James Bond.
Both did relatively well. "Love Me Do' peaked at a respectable number 17 on the UK Singles Chart, and United Artists was happy enough with Dr. No — which starred a 32-year-old Scot named Sean Connery as Bond, a.k.a. 007 — to move forward with what it hoped would be a four-film franchise.
When Joseph Gordon-Levitt's parents, Dennis and Jane, came to visit their son on the set of Looper, they were unsettled by what they saw. There was their boy with that shock of brown hair and that same voice they knew so well, but with a different nose, different mouth, different brows and lighter eyes.
"My mom was kind of freaked out because I was a lot like myself, but looked totally different," Gordon-Levitt recalls during a panel discussion at the WonderCon convention in Anaheim earlier this year. Another friend who came to watch Gordon-Levitt shoot couldn't even talk to his buddy because he was so unnerved that he sort of looked like himself, but sort of didn't.
"And, of course, that thrilled me because it means it's working, it means that I have transformed into someone else," says Gordon-Levitt, dressed sharp in a suit and tie for the occasion.
Before making Take This Waltz, actor Luke Kirby spent time researching his role with an artist named Balint Zsako.
It's not that he plays Zsako in the film. Kirby — who grew up in Guelph, Ontario, but now lives in Brooklyn, New York — plays Daniel, a rickshaw driver who woos his married neighbour Margot (Michelle Williams) in director Sarah Polley's first film behind the camera since Away From Her.
But, while Daniel drives a rickshaw by day, he's an artist by night, and the many drawings and paintings that fill his apartment were actually created by Hamilton-born Zsako, who now also lives in Brooklyn.
For years, when someone asked Sarah Polley which person, living or dead, she’d most like to have dinner with, her answer was Sarah Silverman, the actor-comedian famous for her raunchy sense of humour.
So it's no surprise that when Polley was casting Take This Waltz, which she wrote and directed, she found a role for Silverman. The film is an anti-romance starring Michelle Williams and Seth Rogen as Margot and Lou, a married couple thrown into turmoil when Margot falls for their neighbour (Luke Kirby). Silverman plays Geraldine, Lou's sister and a recovering alcoholic.
It's not a large role, but it's a challenging one for Silverman, perhaps best known for making the hilarious viral video "I'm f-cking Matt Damon" while she was dating talk-show host Jimmy Kimmel. (She and Kimmel are no longer together.)
One particular challenge was shooting a lingering, hyper-real nude scene in which Margot and Geraldine take a shower with a bunch of other women after swim class. "[Sarah] was very deferential when she asked me about it, and I'm sure with all the women she approached," says Silverman, who's now 41 years old. "But the truth is I trust her so much and I really think she has such a vision and I respect her, and you get this feeling with Sarah that you want to please her so I guess there was no thinking about it."
When Charlize Theron was told to come to the Prometheus set on days she had no scenes to shoot she was confused, so asked director Ridley Scott why she was needed. "And he'd say, 'I just want you to stand in the corner and lurk.'"
Theron is getting awfully good at being bad.
Prometheus casts Theron, now 36, as menacing Meredith Vickers, a stern employee of Weyland Corp., "the company that has sent out this spaceship into this mission," Theron explains during a recent press event in Paris.
Vickers travels to the far reaches of the universe with the crew of the Prometheus spaceship so she can monitor their investigation into the origins of mankind.
But, unlike Theron's two other recent meanies — the evil queen in this month's Snow White and the Huntsman and the unrepentant, self-absorbed narcissist in December 2011's Young Adult (for which she earned a Golden Globe nomination), Vickers does evolve.
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