Kaui Hart Hemmings – the writer of ‘The Descendants’ on her story

Why do I write about families?

When asked, which is unfortunately quite often, I usually just make something up that sounds reflective. I don't like the question. I have no interest in knowing why I write the things I do, but as it's asked so frequently I figured I should put some thought into it. I keep going back to one particular day. I'll walk you through it, show my work like you're supposed to do in algebra class, and by the end maybe I'll have a sensible answer.

It's the summer of 1987 in Honolulu, Hawaii. I'm an 11-year-old wannabe pro-surfer hitchhiking home in a Camero driven by a man named Eagle. Eagle was in a war and he's telling my sister and me about it. He wears aviator sunglasses that shield his eyes and yet show exactly whatever he's looking at. My sister (technically, my stepsister) is in the front seat and I'm thankful because she has to talk. In the back I can daydream with my arm slung around my surfboard like it's my boyfriend. I'm thinking about the present I'm about to get. I didn't ask for a pony. I didn't want new clothes, a new bikini, a surfboard, or Jimmy Cliff and Yellowman tapes. For my 11th birthday I asked to be adopted.

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Martin Scorsese goes kinder, gentler with ‘Hugo’

You think you know by now what you'll get in a Martin Scorsese movie. Someone will be gothically whacked. A person's tenuous grip on reality might slip away, possibly in a mental institution. Vengeance will be doled out — with guns, knives, fists or anything else that causes great bodily injury.

And a sweet orphan will search for a new family.

What looks at initial inspection like Hollywood's version of a shotgun marriage — the man behind "Goodfellas," "Raging Bull," "The Departed," "Shutter Island," "Cape Fear" and "Gangs of New York" directs the 3-D family film "Hugo" — makes sense if you look closer. In some ways, Scorsese's personal life and professional interests have guided him toward a gentle movie like this, even while audiences were cowering from his prior mayhem.

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5 Reasons Why TV Shows Should Set an End Date

Over the weekend, Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan and AMC came to an agreement to keep the critically acclaimed show on the sometimes critically despised network for 16 final episodes. Setting an end date for Breaking Bad lets Gilligan and his writers craft the conclusion of Walter White's story exactly how they want, without the worry of contract negotiations and the fear of running out of ideas.

This isn't a new. In Britain, lots of shows have one or two seasons (see: The OfficeCouplingLife on Mars) and if they are really successful at the end of their run, they get offered a followup episode (The OfficeChristmas Show) or even a spinoff (Ashes to Ashes). (In America, Lost took advantage of this idea of an end-date, as well as Matthew Weiner and Mad Men.) More shows should announce an end date, and here's why:

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Leonardo DiCaprio filming ‘The Great Gatsby’ with Tobey Maguire and Carey Mulligan

This adaptation of F.Scott Fitzgerald's classic is anticipated by literature fans in the same way its chief protagonist Jay Gatsby lusts after the unattainable object of his affections is in the novel.

Their longed for union turns out to be a tragic disappointment, but from the looks of things, this sumptuous film will be anything but.

A beautiful Sydney Summer is providing the backdrop for a floral wonderland of a set at the city's Centennial Park, which has been dressed up to represent New York's Long Island 86 years ago.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2063389/The-Great-Gatsby-Leonardo-DiCaprio-dashing-Carey-Mulligan-vision-Daisy.html#ixzz1eHORnmRq

You’ve got a pitch meeting — now what?

As I learned in the fourth grade when my first crush told me oh-so eloquently to "Get lost, creepo!," not everything you go after in life will work out as planned. Now, at the ripe, old age of 28, nothing has reminded me of that schoolyard lesson more than when I recently pitched my first show to a TV network.

After working in TV and film for the past seven years, from an intern to a production assistant to the writers' office, I decided to move from New York to Los Angeles. I'd been out here eight months when, during a meeting, I ran an off-the-cuff show idea by development executives. "We'll get in touch," they said, which in Hollywood translates to "You'll never hear from us again." But then they did something strange. They got in touch.

"We want you to come in and pitch it." Hold up. This was just an idea I had. Not even an idea — a seed of an idea! And now they wanted me to come in with a fully grown flower? In less than a week.

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Billy Crystal replaces Eddie Murphy as Oscars host

Billy Crystal is replacing Eddie Murphy as host of ABC’s Feb.?26 Academy Awards broadcast.

The eight-time Oscars host was tapped Thursday to take over for Murphy by Brian Grazer — the movie mogul who was tapped a day earlier to produce the 2012 Oscarcast, replacing Brett Ratner.

“I’m thrilled to welcome Billy back to the Oscar stage,” academy President Tom Sherak said. “He’s a comic legend and Oscar icon, and it feels good to have him back where he belongs.

READ MORE AT WASHINGTON POST

Brett Ratner Resigns as Oscar Producer After Gay Slur

When Brett Ratner looks back on what killed his once-in-a-lifetime chance to produce the 2012 Academy Awards, it'll boil down to one sentence -- just a handful of words -- that he really, really shouldn't have said. During a Q&A for "Tower Heist" Friday night in Los Angeles, he dismissed the notion of rehearsing with his actors, claiming at one point "Rehearsal's for f*gs." And with that simple, stupid, homophobic comment, Ratner had to have known that it was merely a matter of time until the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences would decide to extricate themselves from Ratner and his comments.

At first it seemed like the embattled director would get off with just a stern warning from the Academy -- even after Ratner made things worse with a raunchy appearance on "The Howard Stern Show," where he talked explicitly about dalliances with Olivia Munn and Lindsay Lohan. But apparently the organization has decided to take it one step further: He's "voluntarily" stepping down (as first reported by THR.com), which sounds an awful lot like being canned.

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Director Werner Herzog cast as baddie in new Tom Cruise movie

Renowned for his prolific, fearless filmmaking, Werner Herzog is in fact nothing if not a polymath: Opera director, guerrilla film-school proprietor,diarist and author, septi-continental gadabout, and actor for hire (among other interests). It’s this latter quality that he and I discussed briefly today as he made the rounds for his new capital-punishment doc Into the Abyss — a diametric opposite to the biggest onscreen gig he’s taken to date.

Word came down last month that Herzog would co-star in One Shot, writer-director Christopher McQuarrie’s adaptation of the bestselling thriller by novelist Lee Child. The ninth in the series of Child’s thrillers featuring ex-military investigator Jack Reacher, One Shot centers around the tough guy’s attempt to hunt down the cold-blooded sniper responsible for five murders in a small town, and as if the project didn’t attract enough notoriety for having Tom Cruise as its leading man and co-producer, McQuarrie intensified the spotlight by casting Herzog as Reacher’s trigger-happy adversary known simply as The Zec.

The role will supply Herzog with his highest-profile screen performance yet.

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Clint Eastwood, Leonardo DiCaprio and Armie Hammer talk about making ‘J Edgar’

For nearly five decades, J. Edgar Hoover was the face of law enforcement in the U.S., but to most Americans, the longtime Federal Bureau of Investigations director remains an enigma."J. Edgar," directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Hoover, chronicles the FBI founder's controversial tenure as a hunter of gangsters and a collector of secrets and explores his mystery-shrouded private life, defined by a devoted relationship to his colleague Clyde Tolson (Armie Hammer).

Last week at Warner Bros. studio — on the stage where they shot much of the film — Eastwood, DiCaprio and Hammer spoke with The Times about Hoover's public legacy, his secrets and the future of adult dramas in contemporary Hollywood. The following is an edited excerpt of their conversation. "J. Edgar," which was written by Dustin Lance Black and also stars Naomi Watts as Hoover's trusted secretary, Helen Gandy, and Judi Dench as his imperious mother, opens Nov. 9.

READ MORE AT LA TIMES

Shah Rukh Khan – The Biggest Movie Star in the World You’ve Never Heard Of

You might not expect an Indian actor to get much attention strolling past the high-end stores on Rodeo Drive. Yet as the Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan turns the corner to walk into a Beverly Hills hotel on a recent Friday afternoon, Indian nationals materialize out of nowhere to point and stare. Eager onlookers pull out cameras and take photos with him. Even gaggles of white teenage girls gawk — they don't know Khan, but there are few men who could pull off a mod jacket and jet-black ponytail so convincingly.

Brad Pitt and Will Smith may have millions of fans around the world, but Khan — or SRK to the faithful — quantifies his groupies with a few added zeros. He is the biggest movie star you’ve never heard of. And perhaps the world’s biggest movie star, period. In a country of 1.2 billion where movies are a way of life, Khan delights fans with romance, comedy and action, sometimes all in the same movie. (This is Bollywood, after all.)

The actor had come to Los Angeles on a rare publicity trip to promote one of the most important releases of his career, “Ra.One,” which opened around the world and in a number of Southland theaters last week. With a budget estimated at $30 million, the film, directed by the veteran Anubhav Sinha, is touted as the most expensive project in Bollywood history.

READ MORE AT LA TIMES


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