August 2016 Archives  

30 August 2016

Charity Auction Live for Lee Thompson Young Foundation

 

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Our charity auction to support the Lee Thompson Young is now live! Check out all the items by clicking the image above. We have some great promotional items, signed photos, scripts, posters and more. Including Lee Thompson Young's personal R&I jacket donated by his family.

Click on the banner above to check out all the items.

Special thanks Lee's family, to the Rizzoli & Isles cast ,showrunner Jan Nash, and Tess Gerritsen for all you help and donations for the auction. Thanks to Piper Perabo, Lena Headey, and Amy Acker for contributing.

Any questions, please check out our FAQ page


 

 

23 August 2016

Major BTS scoop from 'Rizzoli & Isles' star Sasha Alexander

ImagePlaying forensic pathologist Maura Isles on the long-running series "Rizzoli & Isles" is fine. But Sasha Alexander was ready to, ahem, cut a bit deeper. So she did, directing her first episode. It aired on August 15.

"I broke down the script in terms of each scene. I would read the scene. I'd write down my thoughts. I'd visually look at what I wanted to do. I wanted to have a fresh perspective. The best TV directors come in with their enthusiasm and have their own take on the material," says Alexander.

The actress had an arc in Showtime's "Shameless" and previously starred on "NCIS" (watch an interview with "NCIS: Los Angeles" lead Chris O'Donnell above). She took her directing duties seriously. Very seriously.

"This is what I've been told from the producers: that I was extremely prepared, and really enthusiastic. I love cinema. I'm a total cinephile. What I liked was being able to think about how to use a camera to tell a story," says Alexander.

 

Alexander studied filmmaking at the University of Southern California. And she's married to director Edoardo Ponti, which makes the legendary Sophia Loren Alexander's mother-in-law. Yes, really. She says everything in her life led up to her big day on set.

"Day one I was in a van with 15 dudes over 50. This is a real boys club. In another life, I could have been a lawyer or diplomat. I'm not one of those women who has a chip on her shoulder. I get along really well with men. I'm very firm. And I'm very upfront. And very frank. I don't have an ego about that. It doesn't matter where the ideas come from. It matters that you work as a team. I'm a Taurus. I can be bossy. I'm a nice boss, but I can be bossy," she admits.

Right now, Alexander is vacationing in Switzerland with her family. So we had to know about Loren. What's it like being related to her?

"I like to say she's an alien descended from heaven. Us humans don't look like that. She's blessed. She looks more beautiful in the morning with no makeup than when you see her in a photograph," says Alexander. "Do I ask her for tips? I've learned that you need sleep, no smoking, and leading a peaceful life. Too much stress and negative energy do a number on us."
Loren doesn't rely on potions and lotions. "She's pretty all natural. Vaseline is one of her most glamorous products. She doesn't have the newest line of anything," says Alexander.

As for her work behind the camera, see some of Alexander's hand-picked photos below. "I'm so excited to be seeing more of my colleagues like Shiri Appleby directing. I took it very seriously because we don't get those opportunities often," she says.

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16 August 2016

Angie Harmon on Rizzoli & Isles, Françoise Gilot, and Her Ideal Dinner Companion

ImageFor many, being behind bars—even imaginary ones—for hours might be a drag. But for Angie Harmon, who plays detective Jane Rizzoli on the hit TNT series Rizzoli & Isles, it’s just another day at the office. Now in its seventh and final season (which concludes September 5), the show recently celebrated its 100th episode in what was, perhaps, its least glamorous location: a women’s prison. “The setting absolutely informed the performance,” says Harmon, who directed the episode. “But I was so excited and busy I didn’t have time to get depressed.” For her first turn taking the reins, Harmon incorporated heavy movement in her shots (“I feel the movement informs the pacing of the scenes and episode,” she says) and aimed for angles that had never been used on the show before, such as time-lapse shots accomplished via swooping crane. Is the actor-director as confident when it comes to the decor choices in her L.A. home? AD investigates.

Describe your home in five words or less. Victorian exterior; modern, colorful interior.

What’s your favorite piece that you purchased for your home? That’s an impossible question for me to answer because it leans from a newly renovated kitchen to a wood-and-silver Lotus Arts de Vivre centerpiece bowl I brought back from Thailand to one of five existing Simen Johan photographs. I did just recently add an outdoor seating area with a fireplace and pizza oven that’s pretty spectacular.

What’s always in your fridge? Fifteen different kinds of extraordinarily hot sauces.

Where do you watch TV? Definitely the family room, where my girls and I snuggle up on the couches and usually fall asleep. We were just watching The Amazing World of Gumball, which is a big favorite at our house.

What’s on your bedside table? A stack of books. I’m currently enjoying The Woman Who Says No by Malte Herwig. It’s the epic story of Françoise Gilot, the muse to a slew of geniuses, including Picasso, Matisse, and Jonas Salk. She was the epitome of a rebel, muse, and artist. What song has been playing most often in your home of late? Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling.”

What famous person, living or dead, would you invite to a dinner party? My grandmother Maria Caravageli. She was an incredibly strong and gifted woman who was way ahead of her time. I’d love to pick her brain to see how she did it all—she was a loving mother of four with the most wicked sense of humor; she owned her own business; she was a huge community leader and the consummate hostess, as she had people over 24/7. The world may not have known her, but she was famous to me.

What was the best movie prop you’ve gotten to take home? That would be from Rizzoli & Isles. I got to take home my badge—which has a close friend’s birthday as the badge number—my keys, and my holster. More importantly, I walked away with the best relationships and friends a person could wish for.

What details on the show really make you feel like you’re inhabiting an authentic world? Definitely my props, as I don’t feel like I’m truly in Jane’s skin unless I have my gun and badge. Our art department is off-the-charts, crazy-good, and they painted the most beautiful canvases with our surroundings, including our character’s homes, crime scenes, investigative locations. I think a meticulously designed set is imperative for an actor.

What was the first thing you splurged on when you made it big? A matching set of Louis Vuitton luggage.

 

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15 August 2016

Sasha Alexander on Directing a Revealing Episode, Plus the 'Beautiful' Series Finale Ahead

ImageAfter seven seasons on Rizzoli & Isles, this Monday’s episode took Sasha Alexander someplace she had never been before — behind the camera, as director of the TNT drama.

 

And it’s not just any old episode the actress got to helm. Rather, “For Richer or Poorer” (airing Monday at 9/8c) drops the none-too-tiny bombshell that Dr. Maura Isles once was, for a brief moment, married to rich kid Edward Dunn (played by Life Unexpected‘s Kristofer Polaha).
With this and just three other episodes left in the series’ run, TVLine spoke with Alexander about her directing debut, Maura and Jane’s growth over seven years, what she’ll miss most about the cast and the “morbid” prop she took home.

Had you been angling to direct all along, or was it something offered to you during the final season?
I graduated from film school at USC for directing, and I had done short films and so forth, but I put it on the backburner because acting was my focus. Since Season 2, I did want to direct this show — it was contractually there to say, “Hey, I want to do this” — and every season they found a reason not to let me do it! [Laughs] There’s scheduling, and it’s also very challenging to organize it so that we are given the opportunity to be “light” in the [preceding] episode, so we can prep. It takes a lot of sacrifice on their part, and [showrunner] Jan Nash made that happen, which was a great gift. It was a really inspiring, enriching and fun experience for me, to be able to work with everybody behind the scenes. That part of the collaboration is something I’ve really missed as an actor. It’s so much more insular, and one of the reasons I went to film school was to hone behind-the-scenes skills. Rizzoli & IslesTV’s hard, because we have eight days of prep and eight days of shooting, and it’s really fast — you don’t get a lot of takes, so you have to make decisions quickly.

What’s nice is that you got to direct a bit of everything. There’s some stunt work, a chase scene, comedy, romance, a party scene….
The party scene was my “Birdman shot.” We had a time constraint that day and we had seven actors in the scene, and I really felt that scene needed movement. When you have to cut to these quick bits of dialogue within party scenes, it can take hours on end. I felt it should have a flow, so I designed the scene, with our cinematographer, to shoot it as one take. From the moment that we do our hellos, it’s one consecutive shot until Jane (played by Angie Harmon) and Maura end up on the couch. Now, that is an unusual thing to do on our show, mostly because they want you to cover everything a lot. I thought that after I did my edit they would say, “No, it doesn’t work,” but when we got to the end of that scene, it was very emotional.

It was. It was.
Yeah, we all felt that way. But yes, I did get a lot to do, which when I initially read the script was super-exciting. The wonderful [co-executive producer] Ken Hanes wrote my script, and he really loves to write character stuff, so I knew I’d get a character-driven episode. I was thrilled to find out I also got an action sequence and all this other stuff to do, but in the end it’s a very character-driven episode. It had that lovely scene with Jane and Maura in the house, which at first was four pages. We ended up cutting it because as an actor I said it’s too long. So we did one part of it in the kitchen, and then one part by Maura’s fireplace, which we’ve never used in seven years! And it wound up being this intimate conversation between two friends, talking about past loves.

It is a strange thing for someone to learn that their best friend had a husband she never mentioned — you had that sticky wicket to address — but the way Maura lays out the story, it makes sense.
When I read that too, it was one of those things that stood out, like, “How do we approach this without it feeling like something Maura kept as a secret?” It was something I recognized as a bit of a hurdle, but it was also something that made me laugh, because I love when Jane finds the photo of her in this totally wacky Vegas setting. That’s so not Maura! But the way it played out, particularly because of Maura’s attitude about it, I think you do buy it. The scene that was really important to me as well was when Maura goes to see Edward [in the hospital], it was really important for me that you immediately believerizzoli-isles-maura-husband that they had something between them that was palpable.

I did notice that they held hands. There’s this instant intimacy, regardless of what happened in the past.
Yes, and also when she talks about his mom not being someone who really approved of her, how Maura wasn’t the kind of woman she wanted for her son…. He had to be somebody you believed was in her past, but we also had to understand why it didn’t work out at the time.

In this same episode, Maura learns that Jane has a job offer at Quantico. What do you want to say about her reaction to that?
I feel that our writers and producers and Jan Nash have serviced all of the characters in the most beautiful way, until the very end, straight through to the finale (airing Sept. 5). I do think that they send off these characters with hope, with love, with friendship and family… all of the things that you would want to see happen to them. With Jane and her new job, and Maura as well, we’re dealing with two independent women who have been very career-minded and who are leaving after seven seasons unmarried, with no children. We’re seeing them grow and make choices to live differently. That’s a beautiful thing, because all you ever want to see when you’re committed to any series is that growth. We are left feeling that everyone will stay close, but we are moving on.

The growth thing leaves us feeling like we’ve been watching a meaningful section of these characters’ lives.
Yes, and yet you still feel like they will be together. They may not be in the same place, but they will take the relationships they’ve made with them. For me, the most satisfying part of this series is that it obviously has this crime show element, but what keeps you watching is this personal journey for not just Jane and Maura, but for everyone. You’re watching family and friends move through life, be put in dangerous situations, traumatic situations, and coming out of it closer.

How did saying goodbye to this show differ from ending your second-longest TV run, which was on NCIS?
Well, this was seven years and that was two. [Laughs] And NCIS was a choice of mine, to go on. I feel very… satisfied with our success. I feel satisfied with the amount of time that we’ve gone on. We’ve been really fortunate from the very beginning to have a fan base that stayed with us throughout. Unlike a lot of shows that do a big run and then you get bored by the end, I actually feel like we’re leaving on an “up,” in that there are more stories to tell. As a creative person, I’ve always looked forward to Dr. Isles; it’s been a really interesting, funny character for me to explore, and I’ve never gotten bored. That’s a danger on any series, that you sort of hit a wall where you feel like you’re “making sausage” every week, which is a quote from my old NCIS costar, Michael Weatherly. He’d be like, “It’s TV, we make sausage every week. And you don’t change the flavors too much.” But I was like, “I don’t want to do that!” [Laughs] I want to make characters that are always growing, always pushing the envelope. So I feel really lucky to have been on something where I have learned so much, that we were able to shoot in Los Angeles…. It’s all around been a really positive experience.

What are going to miss about your castmates?
Angie would scream every morning after our rehearsal, “Good morning, everyone!” — in her big, Texas, football stadium voice. I think I’m going to miss that. I’m going to miss Jordan [Bridges, who plays Frankie] questioning every bit of dialogue. I’m going to miss the “Bruce McGill-isms,” because he will sort of turn everything into a Shakespearean soliloquy. I will miss Lorraine Bracco’s laugh…. I’m going to miss this whole cast, because as actors we’re only as good as the people we’re playing with.

Did you take anything from the set?
I took this big picture from Maura’s office, which was a replica of an old photograph of five women in the 1900s performing an autopsy. It’s something Maura had in her office from the very beginning, and it totally embodied that character for me. Because not being a doctor and not understanding why someone would want to work with dead bodies, for me it was always about understanding what drives a person to do this job. When [series creator] Janet Tamaro was first designing Maura’s office she called me and asked my opinion on certain design things. She chose that photograph as the representation of the power of women who were doing this hundreds of years before us, and that clicked with me. I’m not sure where I’m going to hang it [Laughs] It’s a little morbid. But it had sentimental meaning to me.

Lastly, whats next for you?
I got a tan! [Laughs] I’ve traveled. I took a break all summer, and now I’m going to hit the ground running. I’ve got a couple of projects that I’ve developed, and I’d like to produce and star on my own show, Shameless Sasha Alexanderso I’m just kind of creating my next vehicle, meeting with people…. It’s just a question of finding something that feels like you want to do it every day for a long time. My experience over on Shameless (pictured) for a couple of seasons was really eye-opening, in the way that it’s such an unconventional show that pushes boundaries, and I liked that. I like working in that style, the way they shoot, and how the material is just constantly changing. I think that television is a beautiful place to be, and we’re doing such good work. I want to find that next thing that inspires me.

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15 August 2016

Rizzoli & Isles star slips into director's chair

ImageThere are only four episodes left in this drama’s final season, and this week, when a forensic accountant is gunned down in a park, Jane (Angie Harmon) and Maura (Sasha Alexander) are drawn into a sophisticated Ponzi scheme — and the prime suspect is someone from Maura’s past. Alexander, who directed the episode, talks to The Post about winding down her seven seasons as Maura Isles.

What was it like stepping behind the camera?
I went to film school at USC, I directed some short films, but it’s the first time I’ve directed episodic television. My years of being on the set and also my past education in it … it was truly the most fun I have had since film school. I really, deeply love the collaboration. When you’re an actor it’s very insular, but when you’re behind the scenes you really do have to work with every crew member in order to make it happen.

How is Jane handling the job offer she recently received?
Jane is struggling with the decision because it means such a huge life change for her. It’s a very big move — she leaves her hometown that she’s never left, her family, her best friend, her work, and it’s to take an FBI job that’s more of a desk job. It’s turning away from one of the biggest parts of who she is and accepting a different way of life. That’s her big conflict.

How does it feel to say goodbye to a character you’ve played for seven years?
The last day of shooting on the set of Maura’s office and the autopsy room … we did a scene where I turn off the lights in that room, and that was the last moment. I was supposed to be emotional in the scene as an actor and I kept my tears back because I wasn’t supposed to be crying, and the minute they called a wrap on that set I burst into tears. It becomes a part of you … It’s seven years of Maura’s sunny disposition and personality that helped influence my days and I will miss that a lot.

Did you take any souvenirs from the set?
A tea set that I always loved, a really beautiful, really ornate French tea set. I took a very large photograph from Maura’s office of five women performing an autopsy in the 1800s. It’s quite powerful; they’re very female in their dresses, standing over this corpse.

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