Finally: The Star-Studded Anti-Prop 8 Musical We've All Been Waiting For

Seth Abramovitch · 12/03/08 11:45AM

History has show us that, when faced with adversity, less-fabulous civilizations' first response is force; more fully evolved, showtune-revering peoples, meanwhile, respond by PUTTING ON A MUSICAL!!! And so it goes with the ongoing battle for gay marriage acceptance in California, with Hairspray and South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut composer Marc Shaiman, in association with The Sacramento Community College Players, mounting Prop 8 - The Musical. It might be an exercise in literal choir-preaching written "six weeks later than he shoulda," but that doesn't make it any less of a heartwarming experience—at moments capable of sending jolts of pure theatrical electricity up your spine (we expect that to be hanging from a placard if this ever makes it to Broadway). And, let's face it, it's cheaper than tickets to the Celine Dion Taking Chances World Tour. Turn it into a game by trying to identify famous faces in the cast, then checking the credits at Funny or Die to see how many you got right.

Celebrity-Stuffed "No On 8" Musical Too Little, Way Too Late

Richard Lawson · 12/03/08 10:12AM

Remember when the "No On..." California's Proposition 8 (a ban on gay marriage) campaign was struggling for money and support and then, eventually, lost, effectively setting California back 20 years? That was fun! You know what was also super "fun," according to its press release? The making of the new "No On 8" Funny or Die Adam Shankman-directed musical written by Hairspray tuner Marc Shaiman, that he sheepishly and folksily admits he wrote "six weeks later than he shoulda." Um, yeah. So, pardon us, but why the fuck did any of these people involved—Jack Black, John C. Reilly, the ever-smug Neil Patrick Harris, Sarah Chalke, among others—bother to throw this slapdash bit of "duhhh" together, way too late, and then try to congratulate themselves for it?


cityfile · 11/13/08 10:21AM

Peaches Geldof carrying takeout in Brooklyn ... Ed Westwick walking around town in a velour track suit ... Kate Winslet talking on her cell phone in the West Village ... Kelly Rutherford buying a pretzel on the street with her baby Hermes ... Salma Hayek carrying her baby Valentina ... Taylor Momsen and Connor Paolo filming scenes for Gossip Girl in Midtown ... Katie Holmes heading to yoga class and later getting out of an SUV outside her East 13th Street apartment ... Russell Brand and Jack Black standing outside the Late Show with David Letterman ... and Whoopi Goldberg protesting Proposition 8 outside a Mormon church on Columbus Avenue.

NBC's Wednesday Night Craps With The Door Open

Seth Abramovitch · 11/06/08 02:55PM

· The first day after the election earned low ratings all around for the networks, but particularly NBC, whose new crime block of Knight Rider, Life, and the 19th season premiere of Law & Order (down 42% from last year) all tanked. [THR] · Jack Black is set to star in Fox's adaptation of Gulliver's Travels, in which he'll teach the tiny denizens of Lilliput the building blocks of Rock and Roll. [Variety] · 9-and-a-half-fingered Congressman Rahm Emanuel has accepted Barack Obama's offer of White House chief of staff, and now goes about the task of rounding out the cabinet. Drama for Minister of Viking Affairs! [Variety] After the jump: What Oscar-nominated actress and Oscar-winning actor will co-star in a Lifetime movie?· Lifetime MOWs are now officially prestige affairs: Joan Allen and Jeremy Irons will star in a biopic on the life of Georgia O'Keefe for the women's network, directed by Bob Balaban. [THR] · James Van Der Beek and David "Pam's Ex" Denman will star in Fox pilot Eva Adams, about "an egotistic sexist agent who, under a witch's spell, turns into a beautiful woman so he can endure the harassment he's been dishing out." A magical comedy of errors! Shakespeare would be proud, Van Der Beek. [THR]

Jack Black, Amnesiac

STV · 10/01/08 01:10PM

· Jack Black will soon reunite with the writers of Kung Fu Panda, teaming up on an untitled comedy about a man who wakes up sans memory on Cuban shores only to deduce he's a superspy. Yuks, partial nudity and Bourne-franchise comparisons ensue. [THR] · If you are the least bit sleepy, we recommend skipping to the jump. Ready? OK: SAG is expected today to approve a measure requesting a strike vote, most likely sometime after the new board is seated later this month. We warned you, didn't we? Wake up! [THR] After the jump: Mamma Mia! conquers yet another country, George Lucas goes director shopping, and Michael Sheen goes to Wonderland.· After months of controversy over how George Lucas might integrate a jive-talking Hutt sibling into Red Tails, his film about the Tuskegee Airmen, the world sighed with relief as the producer handed off the directing reins to the more modest ex-Wire and CSI helmer Anthony Hemingway. [THR] · Psst! Hey buddy — wanna buy a lion? Or, like, part of a lion? [Variety] · In its fourth week of release in Korea, Mamma Mia! dispatched a native hit to overtake the top box-office spot, nudging its ABBA Global Conquest™ war chest over $450 million to date. [Variety] · Biopic veteran Michael Sheen is joining the casts of both the Samuel L. Jackson thriller Unthinkable and Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, prompting observers around Hollywood to wonder what tony British cultural figure might be hastily written in to do acid with Johnny Depp. [Variety]

Jack Black Saw London, He Saw France

Douglas Reinhardt · 08/14/08 07:20PM

Tropic Thunder star Jack Black appeared to have a mysterious rip/tear in his pants as he was leaving the BET Studios last night. Black received many weird and confused looks from both BET staffers and onlookers, but no one dared confront the major movie star to let him know about the state of his trousers. That is, until a particularly smartmouthed fan got a few words in edgewise. While posing for a picture, the fan asked Jables if he enjoyed his recent trip to London and France. A confused Black said, "But we don't do our European publicity junkets until next week?", before realizing everyone could see his underpants.

Exclusive: 'Tropic Thunder' Writer Stops Making Fun Of Mentally Challenged People Just Long Enough To Let Us Interview Him

nickm · 08/13/08 06:10PM

Take a good look at that Tropic Thunder poster. Go past the glossy, airbrushed photos of the film's many stars, past the lush jungle setting, past the fiery explosions, and you might notice something. See there? Down at the bottom? It says "Screenplay by Ben Stiller & Justin Theroux, and Etan Cohen." Sure, other more "legitimate" media outlets may give all the ink to those first two dudes, but here at Defamer we like to dig a little deeper. Just who is this Etan Cohen fellow and how did he get roped in to working on the biggest comedy of the summer? Stick around after the jump to hear one of Hollywood's newest writing stars dish the dirt about meeting Tom Cruise for the first time, what it feels like to suddenly have people kissing your ass, and why you shouldn't be offended by all that Simple Jack stuff.

Ben Stiller And Jack Black Draw Clear Line Between Movie Retardation/ Flatulence And The Real Thing

Seth Abramovitch · 08/13/08 01:00PM

With Tropic Thunder —the product of Ben Stiller's harrowing journey into the heart of retarded darkness— storming multiplexes today, the film's stars are going into promotional hyperdrive. And nothing sells your movie more than some old-fashioned controversy—particularly one in which you're accused of being insensitive to the disabled. (Semitic advocacy groups, meanwhile, surprised everyone by seeing nothing objectionable in Tom Cruise's minstrelsy, Jewface performance.) On the GMA hotseat today was Stiller and co-star Jack Black, both of whom calmly explained that in matters of insensitivity and bodily function, context is everything; framed by the movie's central comedic conceit of actorly self-indulgence, then, not a single dropped R-bomb or ass-bomb should be considered anything other than purely satirical.

Come Ride The Lightning With Me!

Douglas Reinhardt · 08/12/08 12:15PM

Jack Black most certainly brought the lightning to the premiere of Tropic Thunder in Westwood on Monday night. Black felt that his electrifying jacket helped with the comedic forecast for the evening: 95% chance of awesomeness, with a high likelihood that you'll be laughing so hard you'll shoot Diet Coke out of your nostrils. Black got the idea for the jacket after walking by a Spencer's Gifts at a local mall. Black said, "I saw this cool black light poster and I thought it would make for an even sweeter jacket. It may be a bit distracting during the movie, though."

'Thunder' Premiere Showdown Pits Megastars Against Disabled Who Obviously Don't Get The Joke

Seth Abramovitch · 08/12/08 11:15AM

Despite all traces of Simple Jack—veteran fake-action-star Tugg Speedman's brazen Oscar-shot playing a stuttering, simpleton farmhand—having been literally whitewashed from the web, activists remain outraged over Tropic Thunder's depiction-within-a-depiction of the developmentally disabled as bucktoothed "retards" incapable of expressing affection without the use of the phrase, "You mm-mm-m-ake my p-p-pee-peemaker t-t-t-tingle." (Sheesh—so touchy.) As threatened, dozens of placard-wielding protesters outfitted in 'Retard'busters T-shirts marched outside last night's premiere in Westwood, giving the proceedings the strangely familiar air of an RGA West strike line. From the AP report:

How to Derail a Junket: Ask Robert Downey Jr. Who He'd Like To 'Smoke a Blunt With'

Kyle Buchanan · 08/05/08 11:40AM

Can't a little movie like Tropic Thunder catch a break? The Ben Stiller comedy has thus far managed to survive racism, ratings, "retards," and American Idol — and that's before it's even come out (Wednesday, August 13!). Still, all that was child's play compared to the newest Tropic trouble, instigated by an overzealous radio DJ who crashed the film's junket to ask Robert Downey Jr. some of the most inane questions Iron Man has ever had to face. Listen in horror as the notoriously rehabbed actor is asked which costar he'd like to “drink a brew and smoke a blunt with” (only the first of many, many stupid questions) — we've even provided a helpful assortment of what we can only imagine were Jack Black and Ben Stiller's reaction shots. Enjoy!

'Flunky' Hero of 'Kung Fu Panda' Apparently Bears No Resemblance to Actual Chinese

STV · 07/28/08 08:10PM

On one hand, we're sort of ashamed to have doubled our knowledge of Chinese culture today with one glance at the Los Angeles Times. On the other, a spoonful of sugar — or, more specifically, of Kung Fu Panda — made the medicine go down that much easier as we learned the deep angst gripping China in the wake of the film's success. It's not frustrating enough, evidently, that DreamWorks usurped Chinese authority over everything from animation to the sacred panda itself; rather, the hero Po's abject laziness and mild prurience has an angry 1.2 billion souls searching as we speak:

STV · 07/14/08 11:10AM

School Reunion: We're learning more today about the tearduct-tweaking, franchise-ready School of Rock "reboot" that Mike White teased us with at the LA Film Festival; Variety has word about School of Rock 2: America Rocks, which Scott Rudin will produce and to which Paramount has attached Jack Black and director Richard Linklater. And as opposed to White's cruel stonewalling last month, the plot is apparently now safe for public dissemination: Black returns as teacher Dewey Finn, who leads "a group of summer school students on a cross-country field trip that delves into the history of rock 'n' roll and explores the roots of blues, rap, country and other genres." No word yet as to whether or not Black will exercise his newfound clout to add in an autobiographical narcotics-dabbling interlude, or if he and White will save that for the inevitable School of Rock 3: Rehab High. [Variety]

Coke, H, and Acid Don't Really Compare To $10 Mil-A-Picture, Observes Jack Black

Seth Abramovitch · 07/11/08 02:20PM

Fans of comedy superstar Jack Black were gifted this summer with an embarrassment of cinematic riches featuring the rotund, hyperactive manchild. First came DreamWorks's family-friendly Kung Fu Panda, with Black voicing that film's ursine journeyman. But for those who prefer a blacker Black, he'll play a star-in-withdrawal in Tropic Thunder, due out next month. Black sat down with Blender for a surprisingly forthcoming talk about some of his own experiences experimenting with hard drugs:

The Smokey Bunch: Young Hollywood Just Can't Quit Cigs

Molly Friedman · 06/25/08 03:15PM

Loose-lipped Jack Black has recently decided to abandon his pre-married man habits like staying up too late with “beer” and “dudes,” but by far the most impressive habit Black claims to have kicked is smoking. Though we don't really immediately picture a carton of cigarettes when thinking of the Brangelina baby blabber, there are more than a few stars who we see smoking so often we automatically reach for a cancer stick whenever we see them on-screen. So who are the smokiest chimneys in Hollywood these days? We put together a list of the newbies and their predecessors, all of whom we feel should be notified that Joshua Kelley, no matter what Heigl has told them, is not, in fact, an ashtray:

There's a 'School of Rock 2' Script, and it Made Mike White Cry

STV · 06/23/08 07:50PM

At a LAFF panel on Sunday, filmmaker Mike White was discussing the vagaries of screenwriting with fellow directors Catherine Hardwicke (Thirteen, Twilight) and Craig Gillespie (Lars and the Real Girl), trying to narrow the enduring creative gap between an indie like The Good Girl and a studio picture like the 2003 Jack Black vehicle School of Rock. "I actually just completed a draft of what's potentially the sequel, and I'm still, like, crying as I'm writing the script," he said. "I try to come at it from a personal place—"

Hollywood Privacywatch: Britney Spears Enjoys Some Poolside Chicken Fingers

STV · 06/20/08 02:30PM

PrivacyWatch celebrity sightings are submitted by the loyal readers of Defamer. We'd like to remind you that this feature is powered by you, so if you want to see more installments of PrivacyWatch, then all you've got to do is to send us your sightings. Submit yours to tips[AT]defamer.com (please put "sighting" or "PrivacyWatch" in the subject line so we don't lose them) and tell everyone about the time you saw Britney Spears huffing smokes while eating poolside chicken fingers.

Stars Make Viral Video About Making a Viral Video

ian spiegelman · 06/15/08 11:57AM

To promote their upcoming flick Tropic Thunder, Robert Downey Jr., Jack Black, and Ben Stiller produced this hysterical clip for the MTV Movie Awards. So why am I posting it now? Because I didn't know about it last weekend and because it features Jack Black having his crotch assaulted again and again and again! See for yourself after the jump!

Unencumbered By Boob-Job Drama, George Clooney Mulls His Next Step

Seth Abramovitch · 06/12/08 03:45PM

· Warner Bros. is developing the spy thriller novel The Tourist as a potential George Clooney vehicle which will explode in the first reel and set the entire plot in motion. What about the goat movie? When does that one come out? [Variety]
· The WGA will hold a referendum next month to simplify its credit procedures, hopefully eliminating screenwriter name-gumbo like this. [Variety]
· If you're currently in production, we hope you're shooting in Waiverland, as SAG head Alan Rosenberg doubts any agreement will be reached by the deadline date of June 30. [Variety]
· Jack Black has dropped out of Borat-writer/director Todd Phillips's Man-Witch, a movie about a man who's a witch, supposedly because Black is concerned Phillips will shoot another movie called Hangover, about a bachelor party who wakes up in Vegas and realizes they lost the groom, first. May the best wacky premise win! [THR]
· Universal buys a comedy spec called Raindrops All Around Me, about "a socially inept high school teacher who learns to 'dumb it down' in order to fit in with the people around him." Said a Universal rep, "We think after a few more drafts to broaden the humor, Middle America will really eat this up!" [THR]

Israeli Takes on Panda in Long-Awaited Box-Office Bloodsport

STV · 06/06/08 11:00AM

Welcome back to Defamer Attractions, your regular cheat sheet to what's new, noteworthy and/or doomed among the week's movie releases. Today we break down the hand-to-hand combat between a violence-prone bear and an equally vicious Israeli hairdresser, determine which also-ran will look on pitiably from the sidelines, suss an underdog for the multiplex-allergic among you, and review the best and brightest new DVD's. As always, our opinions are our own, but in keeping with the spirit of this week's Big Two, they are also reliable and brutally precise.