Debbie Reynolds Dead at 84: A Life Well Lived

A young Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds

Debbie Reynolds an Oscar nominated star of the ’50’s and 60’s has died one day after her daughter Carrie Fisher died from a heart attack aged 60. Todd Fisher informed the press after Ms. Reynolds was admitted to hospital earlier on Wednesday, 28 December with breathing problems.

Reynolds, who started off her career as a major film star by impersonating  Betty Hutton, became America’s sweetheart after playing roles like Tammy, in Tammy and the Bachelor (which spawned a million selling single for Debbie Reynolds; “Tammy’s in Love”).

It was after appearing in the  1952 Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor film Singin’ in the Rain that Reynolds’ career really took off. She went on to make a number of hit films, including  The Unsinkable Molly Brown  before she turned to television.

Ms. Reynolds did not completely leave the cinema however. She voiced the spider in Charlotte’s Web in 1973. She worked steadily in television and did more voice-over work including the popular animated kid’s show, The Rugrats. (She voiced Lulu Pickles.)

Mary Frances Reynolds was born on April Fools Day in El Paso Texas in 1932. Throughout her long life and career, she married three times, one husband; her third,  squandered her money away and left her $3 million in debt. A massive amount that she paid off by performing at Las Vegas and Reno Nevada.

Debbie was nominated for an Oscar for her portrayal of Molly Brown in the 1964 film “The Unsinkable Molly Brown.” At the end of her career, she accrued 17 awards and a further 36 nominations. One of the awards received was the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award in  2016.

Reynolds’ first husband, Eddie Fisher; father to Carrie and Todd, left her for Elizabeth Taylor in 1958 in a move that shocked the world. Carrie Fisher a product of that union died on 27 December age 60 after a heart attack.

Social media, already reeling from the death of an icon, is now trending on Twitter with #RIP Debbie and Carrie. The world has lost a legend and her iconic daughter. Both women who lived life to the fullest and were, in their own way, bigger than life itself.

Ironically, it was on a Debbie Reynolds TV movie that Carrie got her start in the business; Debbie Reynolds and the Sound of Children.  Both women were strong, witty and not backward in coming forward. The two shared a sometimes tempestuous relationship which Carrie wrote about in her semi-autobiographical novel Postcards From the Edge.

Todd Fisher, Debbie’s son, reported his mother’s death on Wednesday, 28 December.  Ms. Reynolds had been rushed to the hospital earlier in the day for breathing problems and suspected stroke.

Mr. Fisher said, in a statement, that his mother wanted to be with Carrie. Ms Reynolds is survived by her granddaughter Billie Lourd and her son Todd, a TV commercial director.

Debbie Reynolds has died suddenly after leading a life “well lived.” She will be remembered for a long and varied career that, like the Unsinkable Molly Brown, could not be held back or down. She was also known to a legion of “Star Wars” fans as Carrie Fisher‘s mother.

Jennifer Lawrence to Join the Reboot Train: Oceans 11

Jennifer Lawrence on Graham Norton
On the  day where Jennifer Lawrence regaling the  Graham Norton audience with tales of being blanked by Harrison Ford and shot with a B.B. gun while peeing aired on Youtube, the news of an ‘Oceans 11’ reboot a’la ‘Ghostbusters’ was announced.  Initial reports indicate that Lawrence will be working with Sondra Bullock in this reboot of a remake.

IGN reported that Gary Ross (Hunger Games) will be heading up the project based on a script written by Olivia Milch(Dude). Apparently, Bullock is portraying the Danny Ocean role, although according to Indiewire the “real” Danny, George Clooney will be making cameo as Ocean in the film.

There have been “dream” cast lists and much speculation on what route this film reboot will take, other’s have complained that this last bastion of all “male” fantasy action and comedy should be left alone.

Quite possibly the same group who complained that the original Rat Pack film, made on location in Las Vegas while Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis and Peter Lawford were performing in the town. The movie was a lark, a way to capitalize on the swinging hipsters, in their mid-40s, who were pulling the crowds in at the casinos.

The film was rat pack gold despite having a thin plot and more holes than a backstreet in in small-town USA. It also featured the then hotter than hot Angie Dickinson as Frankie’s ex.

Years later a new “rat pack” was made with Brad Pitt, George Clooney and Julia Roberts as Clooney’s former squeeze.  Gone was the slick patter of yesteryear but it was replaced with wry humor and the essence that was Clooney, Pitt and a pretty comic turn by Matt Damon.

There is no comparison between the 1960 “made for a quick buck” film and the newer 2001 film that spawned a brief run of sequels that ended in 2007.  Different decades and players yielded a different movie both in storyline and feel.  (For one thing the new version did not feature the smooth crooning version of Dean’s “Ain’t That A Kick In The Head.”)

Now the newest iteration of the film (listed  only as “Untitled Ocean’s Eleven Project” on IMDb) has Sondra Bullock penciled in on the Pro portion of the website and now has Jennifer Lawrence “attached” to the project.

Lawrence, who makes her last run as Mystique in X-Men: Apocalypse 27 May this year is also listed as being in an “Untitled Darren Aronofsky Project” in 2017. Neither Jennifer nor her camp have commented on this rumor while she continues on the publicity train for her last X-Men.

She does, however, talk about being embarrassed at the Star Wars guys not recognizing her, although Ford did immediately know James McAvoy.  She also tells about the X-Men guys pelting her naked hide with B.B.s while trying to pee. Lawrence explained to the audience and Graham that it was distracting as the whole process of urinating in her Mystique outfit was quite scientific.

If Lawrence is cast in the new ‘Oceans 11′ reboot, of a remake, Harrison may well recognize America’s sweetheart the next time she dances up to his and J.J. Abrams’ table.

The Magicians Renewed by SyFy Before Fourth Episode Airs

SyFy has announced that before its fourth episode has even aired that The Magicians has been renewed for a second season.

The Magicians - Season 1

SyFy has announced that before its fourth episode has even aired that The Magicians has  been renewed for a second season. This early approval is  not too dissimilar to the recently finished The Expanse, which the network also approved for a second season, of 13 episodes, before the series had concluded.

The network stated on Feb. 8, 2016  that they would be showing another 13 episodes of the Universal Cable Productions program will air in 2017. The show’s production team has an illustrious roster of names that includes: Executive producers  John McNamara (Aquarius), Sera Gamble (Supernatural), Henry Alonso Myers (Covert Affairs) and Groundswell Productions’ Michael London and Janice Williams (Milk).

The series is adapted from the bestselling literary franchise  written by  Lev Grossman. The Magicians has only just started airing its first season, it started in December 2015 and will air episode 104 tonight at 9PM ET/PT.

SyFy & Chiller President Dave Howe said in the released statement that  it was down to an  “extraordinarily  gifted creative team of executive producers” and the networks’ Universal Cable Productions partners that the new show had become such a “buzzed-about” hit. Howe went on to say that the adaptation had caught up the fans of the books and is helping to bring new, younger viewers to the network.

In terms of viewing figures, the series has pulled in, during its first three episodes, an average of  1.7 million viewers per episode. Demographically, out of this number of viewers,  853K  were Adults 18-49 and 910K were Adults 25-54 (based on L3 data). The Magicians has also pulled in an impressive amount of a younger demographic, with Adults 18-34 increasing exponentially per episode to average 180% over Syfy’s prime time delivery in that demo.

According to the press release from SyFy Feb 8, 2016, the show’s first episode was digitally,  sampled more than 6.7 million times during its pre-linear launch (January 8 to January 25) across Syfy.com and  other select partner sites, as well as On Demand cable, satellite and telco TV platforms.

The Magicians stars Jason Ralph (Quentin Coldwater), Stella Maeve (Julia), Olivia Taylor Dudley (Alice) Hale Appleman (Eliot), Arjun Gupta (Penny) and Summer Bishil (Margo). The series is focussed upon  Quentin, a brilliant grad student  picked to attend Brakebills College for Magical Pedagogy, a secret upstate New York university that specializes in magic.  Once he begins the young man and his friends  learn that the fantasy setting of magic from their childhood is all too real. This lesson is hammered home when they inadvertently bring an evil entity from the “other side” into the real world.

Two other cast members will be returning for season two;  Rick Worthy (Dean Fogg) and Jade Tailor (Kady).

The Magicians  is yet another popular addition to an impressive 2016 lineup on SyFy that includes the previously mentioned space mystery/thriller The Expanse as well as the upcoming new scripted series Hunters (which was just plugged on another SyFy series Face Off)  from “The Walking Dead” executive producer Gale Anne Hurd. Hunters will debut on April 11.

12 Monkeys, a critical success for SyFy is also coming back on April 18 and the science fiction thriller Incorporated, created by  Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Todd’s Pearl Street Films will air in the Fall of 2016.  SyFy has more scripted projects on the burner, including an adaptation of Aldous Huxley’s classic novel Brave New World by Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Television; and David Goyer’s Superman prequel, Krypton.

The Magicians airs Mondays on SyFy. Tune in and see just why the network has approved a second season before episode number four.

Stitchers Second Season Premiere Date Set by Freeform

It is near perfect timing by ABC Freeform that they announced the premiere date of season two of the massively popular series Stitchers on Friday January 29. Freeform’s release stated that the show’s “sophomore” season will begin on March 22, 2016.

 SALLI RICHARDSON-WHITFIELD, KYLE HARRIS, EMMA ISHTA, ALLISON SCAGLIOTTI, RITESH RAJAN

It is near perfect timing by ABC Freeform that they  announced the premiere date of season two of the massively popular series Stitchers on Friday January 29. Freeform’s release stated that the  show’s “sophomore” season will begin on March 22, 2016.  MikesFilmTalk just returned from spending a day on set as the Stitchers cast and crew worked on the season finale.

Cast members were interviewed, and selfies taken (pics can be seen via mikesfilmtalk on Instagram or @mikesfilmtalk on Twitter). Every cast member was excited about the upcoming season and revealed a lot about how the new season was going to be even better than the first.

(Interviews will be appearing as the premiere date gets closer.)

Stitchers  follows Kirsten Clark (Emma Ishta) a young lady who is “stitched” into the brains of the recently deceased to access their memories.  A team of  talented colleagues, Cameron (Kyle Harris), Linus (Ritesh Rajan), Camille (Allison Scagliotti), Det. Fisher (Damon Dayoub) and head of the lab Maggie (Salli Richardson-Whitfield) all work together in the secret lab.

The first season saw relationships built and placed under strain. Secrets were  revealed about the one young woman, as well as other characters,  who could enter the minds of the dead and learn who had killed them and why. Entering memories of the deceased is just the tip of the iceberg in this secret government facility, as no one yet knows the real purpose behind the mission.

Speaking to the show’s stars and the creator Jeff Schechter it looks like season two is going to “up the stakes”  and be even more exciting than the first season.  Without going into detail, as the actual interviews will be up shortly, everyone on the show is pleased with how the series and their characters are developing.

As more answers to questions from last season are answered, more mysteries crop up as Kirsten, along with her friends and colleagues, tries to learn more about her past.  The entire cast bring their roles to life and the writing of the series allows a depth to these character that are often missing in science fiction shows.

On March 22, ABC Freeform will give fans their second look at Stitchers with a season that promises to amp up the storyline, character development and provide a number of surprises along the way.  As the cast and Jeff emphasized, this will be Stitchers 2.0.

More will be revealed in the coming weeks, like interviews with the cast and the creator Jeff.  Stitchers will air Tuesdays, do not forget to tune in and see what happens next.

IMG_3832
MIkesFilmTalk was there…More to follow.

 

Face Off: SyFy Series Season 10 Premieres January 13

This award winning “reality” series will begin its 10th season by premiering January 13 on the SyFy channel and this season of Face Off will include 14 contestants and some high calibre Guest Judges.

Face Off - Season 10

This award winning “reality” series will begin its 10th season by premiering January 13 on the SyFy channel and this season of  Face Off will include 14 contestants and some high calibre Guest Judges. The special guest’s will be from across the spectrum of the entertainment business, from Film, Gaming and FX.

McKenzie Westmore resumes hosting duties and throughout the entire run of the series thus far, Ms Westmore always manages to convey intense enthusiasm, compassion and interest in each of the contestants who compete for the grand prize of $100,000, a 2016 Fiat 500 and a VIP trip courtesy of Kryolan Professional Make-Up to one of their 85 international locations.

Face Off was named the Critic’s Choice Award winner of 2015  and has been nominated for the Best Reality Show (Competition) in 2016. The reality show  follows the same formula as previous seasons;  the episodes match the amount of contestants, 14. Each episode brings fresh challenges and allows the viewer to learn about the creative process (including the sweat and stress) behind the magic created by FX artists for the screen.

This season’s contestants are from the US and Canada and they are:

Anna Cali (31) Chicago, IL
Anthony Canonica Jr. (21), Jersey City, NJ
Gregory (Greg) Schrantz (21), Allentown, PA
Jennifer Bowden (36), Allegan, MI
John (Johnny) Leftwich (28), Los Angeles, CA
Kaleb Lewis (22), Los Angeles, CA
Katherine (Katie) Kinney (24), Litchfield, IL
Melanie (Mel) Licata (26), Jersey City, NJ
Melissa Ebbe (36), Milwaukee, WI
Njoroge (Samuel) Karumba (49), Atlanta, GA
Robert (Rob) Seal (20), Lake View, Terrance, CA
Robert Lindsay (45), Glendale, CA
Walter Welsh (26), Martinez, CA
Yvonne Cox (28), Alberta, Canada

*List of names, ages and locations provided by NBCUniversal Media Village*

Ms Westmore’s legendary father Michael Westmore will return to dispense advice and guidance and the three  Face Off judges will also return. Award winning and, similar to McKenzie, these series judges are some of the most compassionate and “caring” on any reality competition show. Ve Neill (The Hunger Games, Pirates of the Caribbean), Glenn Hetrick (Heroes, Legion) and Neville Page (Avatar, Prometheus) will all be back. These three not only judge the creations, as well as the artists strengths and weaknesses, but also pass on words of advice and encouragement.

Some of the special guest stars this season will be, Paul Reubens, aka Pee-Wee Herman, the producer of The Walking Dead;  Gale Anne Hurd, the legendary actor Lance Henriksen,  award winning producer Jason Blum, Rob Kazinsky,  Oscar winning makeup artist Bill Corso and Lois Burwell will return as guest judge.  There will be other “surprise” guest judges as well.

SyFy made the announcement on December 18 and it has been revealed that season 10 will have another two-part series finale, split between April 6th and the 13th, 2016. Kryolan  Professional Make-Up is still the official sponsor of Face Off.

Face Off, one of the most viewed unscripted reality competition shows on television,  will premiere on SyFy  at 9PM ET/PT.  Once again, as with previous seasons, the show will utilize Twitter in order to fully immerse its audience and the contestants in the process. Yet another  group of wildly talented makeup artists will compete for the grand prize and the change to become the next bit Hollywood “FX” artist. Tune in and join the fun.