William Shatner Performs Bohemian Rhapsody

20-Oct-11 7:55 PM by
Filed under Celebrities; Comments Off on William Shatner Performs Bohemian Rhapsody

As my friend Andy put it: that which is seen cannot be unseen.

William Shatner, who launched his musical career in 1968, has not let his lack of talent deter him from staying the couse. "Bohemian Rhapsody" is part of a twenty-track album that Shatner released last week:

Captain Kirk lives! With an eclectic set of songs about space, William Shatner continues his hilarious, touching, inspired, and insane approach to music. Since he isn’t really a singer, he surrounds himself with folks like Brad Paisley, Sheryl Crow, and Lyle Lovett to help with the heavy lifting.

Seeking Major Tom is currently available for $11.99 from Apple iTunes, $7.99 from Amazon, or $13.99 as a physical CD. Though before making an investment, you may want to consider how far Shatner's musical abilities haven't come:

(Hat tip to Roddenberry.com)

Read All About It

13-Jun-07 4:16 PM by
Filed under Films, Potpourri; 2 comments.

Potentially working as an extra on Indiana Jones 4 later this month has me thinking about my two previous experiences in that capacity.

The first was Fever Pitch, the 2005 film starring Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore. Several scenes were shot in Fenway Park, a small section of which Boston Casting filled with paid extras. Not the whole stadium, though; in any sufficiently wide-angled shot, if you look far enough back, you'll notice none of the fans are moving. That's because they don't have legs. To save money on actual extras, inflatable dummies often fill in the seats that no one will notice beyond whether or not they're occupied.

It took a long time to set up each shot, what with lighting, makeup, cameras, and conferrals among the production crew. Every scene had to be filmed multiple times from multiple angles, so the extras huddled under their jackets, waiting for the call to "Action!" before shedding their covers and acting warm until "Cut!" signified it was safe to warm up again while the crew reviewed the recent footage and prepared for more. No noise was permitted; we mimed our actions, with cheers or catcalls (which may otherwise drown out the main characters' dialogue) dubbed in later. I didn't see Drew Barrymore, but Jimmy Fallon seemed happy to be surrounded by fans. We kept him company that September night from 6 PM to 6 AM — probably the first all-nighter I've ever pulled. (Driving home, I noticed my framerate had dropped considerably.) But it was all worth it:


Fever Pitch
Click for larger image.

The other movie I've worked on was The Game Plan, starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. I worked as a sideline photographer at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro and again at Fitton Field at Holy Cross in Worcester. Each required showing up at 4 AM, which meant rolling out of bed at 2 AM. It was wet and dreary that October, and though I was spared the false enthusiasm of pretending to be a fan in the bleachers, I wasn't able to remain seated like they were, which was exhausting. Hundreds of extras reneged, to the point that Boston Casting desperately offered iPod raffles as an incentive for people to show up. I don't know if I'll be visible when the film hits theaters in September, but, as with Fever Pitch (which I've never actually watched, except for my scenes), the DVD will likely prove more enlightening.

Long hours, crappy food, and minimum wage — I'd decided additional extra work would give me insufficient compensation to warrant pursuing further opportunities; they'd just be redundant on my resume, anyway. But, unlike Sean Connery, for Indiana Jones, I'll come out of retirement.

Missed It By That Much

27-Jan-07 12:44 AM by
Filed under Celebrities, Television, Trailers; 9 comments.

Get Smart was the first "classic" show I stumbled across in a summer that began a love affair with Nick at Nite. The show and its brethren were sheer genius: famous actors in classic situations, presenting clean comedy my parents and I could enjoy together. My family continues to bond over this media even today: our recent Christmas gift to each other was the complete series on DVD. (not in stores until November 2007!)

The connection went beyond the screen, too. Even if I didn't yet know the word "deadpan" — a style I also admired from Johnny Carson — it was a quality I first loved, and later practiced, as a result of Don Adams' example. Though we have lost the likes of such gentlemen as Mr. Adams, Mr. Carson, and Ed Platt, I am relieved that we can still count among us Barbara Feldon, in whose recent book, Living Alone and Loving It, I was delighted to empathize with this belief:

The emotional excess of music felt more real than the muted emotion and soft demeanor I expressed in daily life. When I was this passionately engaged I didn't need anything else to "complete" me; not a man, not a career affirmation. I only had to give in to the music to live an immense life that I could experience any time I chose.

Now, as I am reminded by this news story, that heritage is to be passed on to a silver screen adaptation… and I find myself stricken with trepidation. Get Smart has been revived often enough, IMHO: the 1980 film The Nude Bomb, the 1989 film Get Smart, Again!, and Andy Dick/Elaine Hendrix's failed Fox TV revival, the eponymous Get Smart. These four entries have alternated between hit and miss, so technically, we are due a successful effort. But I've fallen victim to that flawed statistical logic before, and I'm hesitant to allow my childhood icons to again be disrespected in this manner.

Television shows have best transitioned to modern cinema when the script and director do not take the source material too seriously; only The Brady Bunch Movie has successfully at once lampooned and paid homage to its origin. But Get Smart is already a parody; it can't be further satirized. Though I think Steve Carell and Anne Hathaway could do the roles well, they aren't Don Adams and Barbara Feldon any more than Andy Dick and Elaine Hendrix were.

In my overprotectiveness of my childhood memories, am I the one taking the source material too seriously? Or is this adaptation indeed doomed to fail?

The Rock Who Came in from the Cold

09-Jan-07 8:45 PM by
Filed under Celebrities, Films, Potpourri; 2 comments.

Perhaps it's old news, but I just recently learned from Game Informer's review of 2006 that Spy Hunter: Nowhere to Run has been cancelled.

This film, once to be directed by John Woo, would star Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. Supposedly the film was cancelled due to its video game counterpart, to which Mr. The Rock also lent his talent, being a steaming heap of unplayability.

This film being cancelled is disappointing in two regards. First, the original Spy Hunter, and its original, modern remake, were both classic examples of genuinely fun and challenging games. The license starting losing its lustre with the remake's sequel; this latest (lack of effort) flushes the franchise down that drain.

Second, The Rock is capable of genuinely entertaining films. The Scorpion King was a silly but fun romp in the tradition of the Hercules television series; The Rundown, with Seann William Scott, was a similar combination of action and humor. Heck, he was even on Star Trek: Voyager. Wrestlers are often stereotyped as having as much potential as actors as actors do politicians; but far from being a snarling animal, this wrestler is capable of greater films than Hulk Hogan's No Holds Barred. At least, I'm hoping The Rock as my castmate makes me look good when our first collaborative effort, The Game Plan, hits theaters later this year. (I'm the only extra to not be one of the film's other thousand extras.)

What's your take on this actor, or others who have attempted a similar transition? (The game-to-movie transition is a whole 'nuther can of worms, to be dissected in another post.)