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the women of cult television

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1/4 life

30 january • new york times


• talkin' about someone else's generation

Ed Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz - the writing/directing team that created 1987's Thirtysomething, 1994's high school drama My So-Called Life and 1999's divorce drama Once and Again - swear they weren't intentionally searching for another generational story to tell when they came up with 1/4 Life, their proposed new series for ABC focusing on the lives of seven people in their mid-20s, living together in a house in Chicago.

It's just that their production company, like all production companies, was filled with employees of a certain age, many of them struggling with post-college adulthood, uncertain of where they were going or even who they wanted to be.

"We were surrounded by and involved - intensely involved - with the lives of this group of people," Mr. Zwick is saying on the set of the pilot for 1/4 Life, which is a likely candidate for ABC's fall schedule. "We were made mindful not just of how intense and distinctive their lives were, but also how reminiscent it was of a moment in our lives that we had not ever really addressed."

"This is the crucible of life," Mr. Herskovitz says, leaping in to finish Mr. Zwick's thought, something that happens frequently. "Those years between college and 25 or 26 is when people either find the courage to pursue a dream or make certain compromises that affect them for the next 20 years, big decisions about relationships, about careers."

"And the interesting thing about it," Mr. Zwick continues, "as we thought about ourselves and spent more and more time with these guys, is that it's also an exuberant time. It's very acted out. The intensities are huge. The feeling of celebration and vitality is enormous."

"At that age, you're able to stay out all night," says Mr. Herskovitz. "Their capacities are much greater than ours -"

"For both pleasure and pain," Mr. Zwick breaks in. "And that suddenly felt like a really fun set of contradictions to explore."

The pilot episode of 1/4 Life, written by Mr. Zwick and Mr. Herskovitz, revolves around a young couple (played by Shiri Appleby, who was a regular on Roswell and who appeared in an episode of Thirtysomething when she was 9, and Austin Nichols, who had small roles in the movies Wimbledon and The Day After Tomorrow) trying to reconcile her desires for a long-term relationship and his focus on his career. Their five roommates and friends include Lisa, a bartender in love with a married man; Eric, an ambitious entrepreneur; and Andy, who is living away from home for the first time in his life. There are secret crushes, struggles for sexual identity, humbling encounters with ex-lovers who seem to have gotten on with their lives. It's not unlike an episode of The Real World, only with better dialogue and less expensive furniture.

As with all Zwick-Herskovtiz television projects, 1/4 Life, will be character-driven and dialogue-filled. There will be bedroom conversations about failed expectations and the meaning of life. And although there may or may not be acoustic guitar music in the background, it is virtually guaranteed that when the series debuts, a large chunk of critics will immediately label it Twentysomething.

"I understand the temptation to think of it generationally, to try and target it demographically, but that's something that tends to be done more by marketers and journalists than by us," Mr. Herskovitz says. "We're more interested in telling the stories of these particular people, individuals with unique issues and stories that will be revealed over time. For us, the minute we try to think of something in a grand generalisation, that's when there's a risk of the work getting pretty bad."

This is not something that worries Steve McPherson, the president of ABC Entertainment and the man who ordered the 1/4 Life pilot. "What I think they have done unbelievably well on television is to access points in people's lives that are embedded in the human experience," he said of the two producers. back to the top

jolie joins "good shepherd" flock

28 january


• angelina to play cia wife in new de niro movie

Angelina Jolie has joined the cast of Robert De Niro's The Good Shepherd. The CIA drama will be directed and produced by De Niro who will also co-star.

The film, which will begin shooting in March, is the first stint behind the camera for De Niro since filming A Bronx Tale in 1993.

Jolie will play the wife of a CIA agent opposite Matt Damon. The saga is seen through the eyes of a lifelong agent whose marriage has been ruined by years of service. The script is by Forrest Gump writer Eric Roth and is set against a 40-year history of the organisation. Damon has replaced Leonardo DiCaprio who was first set to play the lead.

According to Variety, Jolie is currently working on A Moment in the World, a documentary which she has financed herself. Angelina has commissioned 38 film crews to capture events in the same four-minute period all around the globe. back to the top

angelina jolie round-up

26 january


• jolie to present sex-trafficking documentary

Angelina Jolie has signed up to present a TV documentary on Europe's sex trafficking trade.

The documentary will talk to vitims of the trafficking chain, as well as the criminals who run them.

The 30-minute programme, to be broadcast in February, will also interview the men who pay for sex with women caught up in the trade.

Jolie, a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, said she hoped the programme would "empower women and girls".

The 29-year-old said: "It is a tragedy that in the 21st century hundreds of thousands of people are trafficked and exploited every year."

The documentary, Inhuman Traffic, will be shown on MTV Networks Europe and online as part of its campaign to end exploitation and sex trafficking.

The actress said: "I hope that MTV's Exit Campaign will empower women and girls in particular to protect themselves from trafficking by making informed decisions about their futures, and help all of us to understand that we have the responsibility, and the power to help end exploitation and trafficking, wherever they occur, in whatever form."

• angelina dressed to thrill

Meanwhile, Angelina has been voted the sexiest actress to appear in uniform in 2004 for her leather-clad role in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.

The list appeared in Femmes Fatales magazine, but 29-year-old Angelina faced stiff competition from a host of leather-clad actresses.

Her co-star Bai Ling came in second for her role as a robot assassin, while Jessica Biel came third as Blade Trinity's stunning vampire slayer. Oscar-winner Halle Berry ranked sixth for her role in Catwoman.

A Femmes Fatales writer says, "We salute these lovely ladies of the silver screen who went through their own personal hell just to give us guys some of the year's most satisfying eye candy ever seen."

• jolie receives nomination for cinematic futility

Coincidentally, Angelina and Halle Berry were both nominated for Razzies this week.

The nominations, selected by about 500 members of the Golden Raspberry Foundation, were announced a day before the Oscar nominations came out.

Alexander was the second most nominated film with six nods (Catwoman had seven), including worst picture, worst actor (Colin Farrell), worst actress (Angelina) and worst director for Oliver Stone.

The awards will be announced on 26 February, the day before the Oscars. back to the top

fashion police: rose mcgowan

25 january


• nice buds

Looking at the picture on the right it's hardly surprising that Charmed babe Rose McGowan's appearance at the WB/In Style Golden Globes bash was been picked up by E! Online's Fashion Police feature.

Here's what they had to say:

Rose McGowan does a little garden partying ... in a sexy 'n' sweet chiffon floral-print one-shoulder gown with a bustle effect. We're totally charmed by this pale beauty, even though her hair looks like it got caught in a spring shower. Need some help pruning those petunias?

Charmed's seventh season has recently started on LivingTV while season six is nearing its climax on five. There is currently no word on whether the series will be back for an eighth season this autumn. back to the top

"doctor who" oscar nod

25 january


• bbci star picks up acting nomination

Okay, it's stretching the Doctor Who connection a little, but it is genuine. Sophie Okonedo, who played Alison in the BBCi animated story The Scream of the Shalka has been nominated for Best Actress for Hotel Rwanda.

There's also a second Who Oscar connection - John Debney, who composed the music for the 1996 TV movie was nominated for Best Original Score for The Passion of the Christ. back to the top

alyson hannigan to guest on "veronica mars"

21 january


• willow actress to star on "wittiest series since 'buffy'"

Last week we reported that Alyson Hannigan was to play Jennifer Love Hewitt's best friend on ABC's In The Game. Well, it turns out that she's bailed on that one and will instead be guesting on UPN's Veronica Mars, described by TV Guide as the "wittiest series since Buffy".

She's currently scheduled to appear in one episode, with a possibility of the role becoming recurring.

Hannigan plays Trina Echolls, the struggling actress daughter of town resident and movie star Aaron Echolls (Harry Hamlin), and stepdaughter of his wife, Lynna (Lisa Rinna). This makes Trina the half-sister of Logan Echolls (Jason Dohring), the high-school foe of teen sleuth Veronica (Kristen Bell).

In Russkie Business, Trina, who was a no-show at the memorial service for Lynn (who apparently committed suicide by jumping off a bridge) suddenly appears, raising new questions about what exactly happened to her stepmother. back to the top

jolie laughs off sexiest titles

16 january


• "i've always thought that i was too angular"

Angelina Jolie is amazed she tops so many 'sexiest' polls - because she fears she has "angular" looks.

The Alexander star has topped a list of beauty surveys over recent years and her raunchy image has led her to be wrongly branded the "other woman" in celebrity marriage break-ups - the most recent being the split between Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston.

Jolie says: "I don't think of myself as voluptuous or even feminine. I've always thought that I was too angular.

"In a perfect world, I would walk around with no shirt, in leather pants and boots and not think twice about it. I'd never comb my hair, be covered in tattoos and be thrilled." back to the top


11 january


• "these are confusing times"

Kate Beckinsale says she is desperate to quit Hollywood and move back to England, because it's her "home".

The star moved to Los Angeles after her wedding in May last year to director Len Wiseman, because they both wanted to take advantage of film-making opportunities there.

But now Beckinsale is questioning her acting career and has started reassessing her living arrangements.

She said: "My husband - and I'm still not used to calling him that - is starting to do very well in his directing career. It'd put him in the desert if he had to go back to the UK at the moment.

"But I hope that in a few years, he'll be able to move around because I do want to go home.

"I'm still thinking about what I want to do next too. So these are confusing times."

• "she saw me kissing ben affleck but that's about it"

Kate refuses to let her five-year-old daughter Lily see her in movies, because she wants to keep her work and home life separate.

She's so desperate to protect her daughter that she will not even let her watch promotional activity for films.

Beckinsale explain's, "She's never seen me on the red carpet, and she's never seen me on a television show.

"She saw me kissing Ben Affleck in the trailer for Pearl Harbor, but that's about it."

• "other than masturbate he didn't do anything"

Meanwhile, Kate was forced to give away her daughter's rabbit to the family cleaning lady - because it wouldn't stop masturbating in its cage.

The actress eventually ran out of explanations as to what the pet was doing as he pleasured himself and "humped" his food bowl.

She came to the conclusion that the rabbit simply wasn't comfortable in his surroundings.

She said, "I think his own frustrated sexuality just consumed him in a horrid and chilling way.

"I don't think he liked being in a cage and wouldn't stop masturbating and humping his food bowl. I was sick of inventing different explanations of what that was.

"Also, he was boring and, other than masturbate, he didn't do anything." back to the top

hannigan "game" for abc sitcom

10 january


• former "buffy" star to join jlh comedy

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Alyson Hannigan is set to join Jennifer Love Hewitt and Ed O'Neill on ABC's upcoming comedy series In The Game.

Hewitt plays an up-and-coming producer who unwillingly becomes an on-camera reporter on a sports TV show. Hannigan will play the reporter's best friend. O'Neill co-stars as the show's executive producer.

Hannigan most recently starred as Sally in the London stage version of When Harry Met Sally. back to the top

kilmer deliberately ruined angelina sex scenes

10 january


• "i kept messing up my lines on purpose"

Val Kilmer has revealed that he deliberately ruined the sex scenes that he had with Angelina Jolie so that he would get to do them again.

Kilmer, who played Jolie's husband in Alexander said that he would always mess up the scenes just at the end and he took four months to do the scenes.

"My role consisted mostly of sharing a bed with Angelina Jolie and throwing her around in it, which is about as much fun as it is possible for a man to have," Ananova quoted him as saying.

"Don't tell her or Oliver Stone this, but when we were doing the really sexy bits, I kept messing up my lines on purpose. I would get right to the end of the scene and then mess up the last bit so we would have to do it again. I spent four months doing that all day and someone paid me millions of dollars for the pleasure," he added. back to the top

alba's shortlived dancing lessons

8 january


• "it was embarrassing!"

Jessica Alba says she gave up her dance classes on the same day she started them as a youngster - because she was taller and heavier than all of the girls.

The Honey star admits she found the experience of learning among girls who were much smaller than her far too humiliating - so she quit immediately.

She says, "I took a dance class when I was 11 and it was a humiliating experience. I was 5-foot-4 or 5-foot-five - a foot taller and 20 pounds heavier than anyone my age."

"I was wearing the 'black leotard', and all the other girls in the class were wearing the 'pink leotards', which meant that they were wearing extra small and I was wearing large.

"It was embarrassing! I was so tall and awkward." back to the top

this is how rumours get started

8 january


• "angie's pretty close to my perfect woman"

Angelina Jolie and Colin Farrell confessed their affection for each other when they arrived for the UK premiere of Alexander.

The two stars, who were greeted by a huge crowd in London's Leicester Square, arrived for the glitzy screening in the same car and promptly told the press pack how much they had enjoyed working together.

When reporters asked Farrell who would be his ideal partner, he didn't have to think twice.

"I haven't had a girlfriend in a long time, but Angie's pretty close to my perfect woman," he said. "At the moment, I am single, but Angelina could well and truly be the right woman. She certainly comes close."

The object of his praise has meanwhile denied reports of a romance with the Irish hell-raiser, but she admitted to having a soft spot for him.

"Colin is wild, and he's also a great actor," she said. "He's really fun to work with, because you can surprise him and throw anything at him - he's very spontaneous and very raw."

Alexander has received a frosty reception in the US, but director Oliver Stone was quick to defend the $150 million production. Firing back at critics who have branded his leading man "hopelessly out of his depth," he said: "I think Colin's work is extraordinary and he will be appreciated through time." back to the top

jennifer garner not ill with virus

6 january


• the nerve of it

Elektra star Jennifer Garner was reported ill with a virus on Monday, but her physical woes are the result of a different problem.

The 32-year-old actress is suffering from nerve damage caused by an accident performing a stunt on the set of Alias.

Doctors finally identified the cause of her painful injury late on Wednesday, after Garner was laid up for a week. The actress has cancelled most of her scheduled appearances to promote Elektra, include the press junket and a hosting gig on Saturday Night Live on 8 January. That '70s Show and In Good Company star Topher Grace will sub for her.

Despite missing out on SNL, Garner will attend Saturday's Las Vegas premiere of Elektra at the Palms Casino and Hotel. The event, also to be attended by the film's Goran Visnjic and Will Yun Lee, will feature a 30-foot pyrotechnically enhanced billboard, gambling chips and blackjack table felt in Elektra's signature red colour.

Elektra, which opens on Friday 14 January, stars Ganer as the titular killer who is targeted by the ninjas who had trained her after she falls for one of her intended victims. back to the top

emilie a ravin beauty

3 january • sun herald


• "i do miss the ballet"

Remember the name Emilie de Ravin because we think it's a name you're going to be hearing a bit of.

With a hit US television series about to air in Australia and breathtaking looks, the Melbourne girl could very well be our next big thing.

De Ravin stars alongside Party of Five's Matthew Fox as a pregnant teen stranded on a desert island in Channel 7's new series, Lost.

The brainchild of Alias creator J.J. Abrams, Lost is in its third month of screening in the US and has been nominated for a Golden Globe for this month's awards show.

It was also the second highest rating new drama in the US this year after Desperate Housewives.

The 23-year-old de Ravin - who grew up in Mt Eliza and went to Toorak College - fell into acting almost accidentally after several years of performing with the Australian Ballet School.

"I just thought I had always wanted to try this and if I don't now I'll never do it ... and I loved it," she said.

"I know I've made the right decision (to pursue acting) but I do miss the ballet."

A few auditions later, de Ravin landed a role in TV show Beastmaster and later Roswell.

She told The Eye last week that life is going just brilliantly for her and after hearing her schedule, we know what she means.

In Melbourne to visit family for Christmas, de Ravin will head back to exotic Hawaii this week where filming for Lost continues.

Then she's off to the Golden Globes on January 16 and later to the Sundance Film Festival in Utah where the independent film she stars in, Brick, will premiere.

Amid that hectic line-up, she is also hoping to spend some time in L.A. where she lives with her two favourite things, actor boyfriend Josh and poodle Bella.

She said Josh and Bella would definitely be the two things she would choose to take to a deserted island.

"Also a good book but I'd probably get bored of that after a while and a good brush because my hair gets quite tangled." back to the top