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Jesse Heiman, TV and movie extra whiz

Posted by Nicole Cammorata March 17, 2011 03:15 PM

Boston-native Jesse Heiman has amassed an impressive resume of roles (his IMDb page has his filmography topping out at 49 titles.) The 33-year-old actor, who was born in Newton and now lives in California, has appeared as an extra in films like "The Social Network," "American Pie 2," and "Spider-Man," plus TV shows like "Glee" and "The OC." Could he be the greatest extra in the world?

Watch the video compilation below to see for yourself:

{Video found via Vulture}

Conan: It was an 'anxious, depressing' time

Posted by Steve Greenlee March 14, 2011 02:14 PM

Film Conan O Brien Cant Stop.jpgConan O'Brien is spilling a little more about what he was going through last year when Jay Leno bumped him from "The Tonight Show."

At a premiere Sunday of a documentary called "Conan O'Brien Can't Stop," the Brookline native revealed that January 2010 was a difficult time for him -- one in which he didn't sleep much and lost 15 pounds.

"It's a swirly cone of crazy emotions," he said fm the red carpet at the music festival South By Southwest in Austin, Texas. "It was anxious, depressing but also euphoric and exciting. It was not just one emotion, it was a lot of emotion. I was confused but also really excited by new possibilities and I think you see almost every emotion in the movie. You see pretty much everything." The Associated Press reported his remarks this afternoon.

"I personally have trouble watching it because it's a time in my life that I don't like to go back to," said O'Brien, who now hosts his late-night show "Conan" on TBS. "I'm happy where I am now. I don't really need to go back to it. But I made a commitment" to director Rodman Flender. The two were Harvard classmates in the 1980s.

"I've put this all behind me, and this came along, and suddenly Rodman said, 'Hey, the film's done,' and I said, 'What film?'" O'Brien said. "It might be informative to some people that are going through a crisis," he said. "If it can serve any good for anybody, then fine, then I'm happy."

(AP photo)

When Walt Disney stopped the car

Posted by Laura Collins-Hughes February 24, 2011 07:38 PM

The words have a paternal ring to them: "Good night, boys. Drive carefully," Walt Disney used to tell his staff songwriters, Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman, when he sent them on their way at the end of the workweek.

But Disney himself was at the wheel, the Sherman brothers his passengers, on the day his fatherliness really came to the fore. It was shortly after they'd written the song "It's a Small World" for the Disney Company-designed Unicef pavilion at the 1964 World's Fair.

"We had just finished it," Richard Sherman recalled recently, "and we were driving back from this meeting where we had played it for the Imagineers, the people that create the rides" at Disney. "And we said, 'Walt, Bob and I were talking and we were thinking ... if we ever make a record or something, we'd donate our royalties to Unicef.'

"He slammed the brakes on," Sherman said, then switched into strict-dad tones to imitate Disney. "He said, 'You're not gonna give your royalties of that song away. It's gonna send your kids through college. You can give a donation to Unicef anytime you want.'

"And then he drove away again," Sherman said, his voice restored to storytelling gentleness. "He wouldn't let us do it. He said, 'No. You don't do that.' And it did send our kids through college. It's the most powerful song we have. Amazing man. He knew."

Sherman was reminiscing about Disney because of "Mary Poppins," the musical, which is running through March 20 at the Boston Opera House. He and his brother wrote the music -- and won two Academy Awards -- for Disney's 1964 "Mary Poppins" movie. The stage adaptation, based on both P.L. Travers's "Mary Poppins" stories and the film, adds new songs by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe to some of the Shermans' originals.


Oscar nominees in Legos

Posted by Nicole Cammorata January 28, 2011 10:31 AM

As seen on Gawker, Alex Eylar's cheeky depictions of this year's Oscar nominees for best picture, built using Legos.


["The Fighter"]

See more photos after the jump...


Vampires nominated for Razzies

Posted by Steve Greenlee January 24, 2011 02:40 PM

Film Razzies.jpgOscars, shmoscars. The nominations for the Golden Raspberry Awards -- the Razzies, as they're known -- are out today, and both the most recent "Twilight" film and a parody of the "Twilight" series are on the list.

The Razzies, founded in 1981 by a copywriter and publicist named John Wilson, celebrate the worst that Hollywood has to offer. This year the nominees for worst picture are "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse," "Vampires Suck," "The Last Airbender," "The Bounty Hunter," and. "Sex and the City 2." "Eclipse" and "Airbender," in fact, tied for the most nominations, with nine apiece.

In announcing the nominees, Wilson said he actually found "Eclipse" funnier than "Vampires Suck." "I know people who are into 'Twilight' who take it totally seriously and they're very vociferous," Wilson said, according to the Associated Press. "Those of us who are not 'Twi-hards', we don't get it. I don't actually know any teenage girls who have had to make the choice between a werewolf and a vampire."

The full slate of nominees -- which include the entire cast of "Eclipse" -- can be found here.

Natalie Portman will have a busy 2011

Posted by Steve Greenlee January 19, 2011 03:54 PM

NUP_143187_8202.JPGHarvard grad Natalie Portman, who won a Golden Globe Sunday night for her portrayal of a troubled ballerina in "Black Swan" and stars in the new romantic comedy "No Strings Attached," has a busy year ahead of her. Not only is she pregnant with her first child and getting married to choreographer Benjamin Millepied, but she's got four more movies in the works -- a schedule that even she admits is "a little insane." Portman plays a warrior in the comedy-adventure "Your Highness" and a human in the superhero film "Thor," and she's also working on two movies -- "Hesher" and "Best Buds" -- through her own production company, Handsomecharlie Films. Despite the hectic personal and private life, the actress said she's been relaxing with her mother on the West Coast. "I think because so much is going on, it's just sort of going over my head," Portman told the Associated Press. "I don't know that I'm taking it all in. I'm just like, 'Oh, the sun is shining. I'm with my mom. I'm with my dog. Life is good.'"

More films headed to Imax

Posted by Steve Greenlee January 12, 2011 11:21 AM

Get ready to see more movies in Imax theaters. The succees of showing feature films in Imax form -- and charging premium ticket prices for them -- is causing more films to head to the giant screens. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Imax has booked four major Paramount films for 2011: "Super 8" (out June 10), "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" (July 1), "Mission: Impossible -- Ghost Protocol" (Dec. 16), and "The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn" (Dec. 28). Walt Disney and Warner Bros. also have several films coming to Imax in 2011, according to THR.

Greatest film chase scene ever?

Posted by Doug Most January 11, 2011 09:54 AM

Before the days when every movie seemed to have a car chase scene ("Date Night"? Please), there was, for me at least, "Bullitt." Steve McQueen in 1968 chasing the bad guys in his muscled-up Mustang through the hills of San Francisco.

The first time my father made me watch it, I didn't know what to expect. Then I almost got car sick from all the angles, especially from inside the cars. If you haven't seen it, go watch it. It's a car chase the way car chases were meant to be filmed.

The reason "Bullitt" is topical is because its British filmmaker, Peter Yates, died this week (obituary here) at 81. And not only did Yates make the best car chase scene I've seen in a movie, he made one of the best bike chases, too. And by bike, I mean bicycle.

Of all the great scenes in the 1979 classic "Breaking Away," my favorite is easily this one where the star, Dennis Christopher, tucks in behind a tractor trailer on the highway and drafts behind the hated Cinzano cycling team up to 60 mph. Now that's a chase!

What's your favorite chase scene in a movie, on wheels or on foot?

Trent Reznor scoring 'Dragon Tattoo'

Posted by Steve Greenlee January 10, 2011 01:57 PM

Film Social Network Trent Reznor.jpgTrent Reznor is having a second life as a film composer. The Nine Inch Nails frontman's last score, for "The Social Network," is up for a Golden Globe and will probably secure an Oscar nomination as well. Now he is writing and recording the music for "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," based on the best-selling novel by Stieg Larsson.

Reznor and Atticus Ross co-wrote the "Social Network" score, and they're teaming up again for "Dragon Tattoo," according to Billboard magazine. But unlike "Social Network," the new project will rely less on electronics and more on string arrangements, Reznor told the magazine.

"We started recording things in a different way that was all based on performance -- nothing programmed," Reznor said. "That would be my limited skills with stringed instruments... We'd process them in a way that really gave it an interesting, organic feel that felt like something we've never done before."

Working in film is not entirely new to Reznor. He previously worked on the music for "Natural Born Killers" (1994) and "Lost Highway" (1997).

(AP photo)

Another adaptation for Pattinson

Posted by Steve Greenlee January 6, 2011 11:46 AM

pattinson1611.jpgRobert Pattinson is becoming one of the most sought-after actors in Hollywood -- especially for film adaptations of popular novels. Not only does the "Twilight" star get top billing in the forthcoming "Water for Elephants," based on Sara Gruen's book, but now The Hollywood Reporter says he has signed on to star in "Cosmopolis," David Cronenberg's adaptation of Don DeLillo's novel. Pattison will play a 28-year-old billionaire who rides around Manhattan in a limo, trying to get to a hair salon while absurd events unfold around him.

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Culture Desk is a blog that serves to highlight both local and national stories of interest in the worlds of art, music, movies, TV, theater and more. Most items are written by writers and editors from The Boston Globe arts and culture staff.

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