Monday, February 28, 2011

Why the 'True Grit' eye patch is on the other eye

Probably one of the most common searches that bring people to my blog is the question of why Jeff Bridges wore the eye patch on the right side in the Coen brothers film while John Wayne wore it on the left eye in the original True Grit.

Here's the answer. According to Walter Scott in Parade, Bridges says, "There was no specific reason. We tried it on both, and it just javascript:void(0)looked and felt better on the right eye."

Oh, and if you want to see tons of photos of the True Grit set, do a search above.

Photos from the set of 'When Angels Sing'

Thanks to the lucky person who made it onto the set of When Angels Sing in Bastrop this past week and granted me permission to post these photos. In the photos you can see Willie Nelson, Connie Britton, Turk Pipkin and--if you squint--director Tim McCanlies.

Connie Britton chats with tall guy Turk Pipkin, on whose story the film is based.

Willie talks to the crew.

Willie Nelson peeks out at the set.

Willie strides into the action.

That's Tim McCanlies in the blue shirt and khaki baseball hat in the middle facing the camera.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Alex Jones kills 'Two and a Half Men'?

First his tirade led to Machete being denied Texas film incentive bucks, now Austin access TV/internet radio kingpin/conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has apparently led to the end of the top-rated TV show Two and a Half Men after walking-disaster Charlie Sheen came on Jones' show and went off on Men creator, Chuck Lorre. The show is now shut down for the season. Somebody give Alex his own TV series. He'll have Oprah retiring before you know it. Wait a minute... Do I smell a conspiracy?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Book review: 'Nights of the Red Moon'

My review of Milton Burton's latest mystery novel Nights of the Red Moon was in Sunday's Austin American-Statesman.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Teen w/ acne and braces? 'When Angels Sing' wants you now...

This just in (note the date; you have to respond TODAY only):

Third Coast Extras is seeking a teenage male with acne and braces for a featured extra role on When Angels Sing for Tuesday, February 22nd. Pay is $101.5/hr. We are casting for this role today. Please submit photos and contact numbers to

The film has been actively shooting around Austin and Bastrop with Harry Connick Jr. and Connie Britton leading the cast.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

'Friday Night Lights' Palicki is new 'Wonder Woman'

Friday Night Lights and Lone Star star Adrianne Palicki is the new Wonder Woman in David E. Kelley's pilot for NBC. More here.

Uh, and that's not her in the photo...

Darko's Richard Kelly headed to 'Corpus Christi'

UPDATE: It's finally being made and shot in Austin and Corpus Christi. Read more recent news here.

Certainly the next big film to be made in Texas, Richard Kelly, the guy behind Donnie Darko, is writing and directing the thriller Corpus Christi, Variety reports. And, yes, the film is set in Corpus Christi, Texas.

The story is about: " a mentally unstable Iraq war veteran named Paciencia "Patience" De La Rosa, who forges a strange friendship with his boss Ralph Salverson, the wealthy and politically ambitious owner of a supermarket chain."

It's expected to shoot in Corpus in July, with casting happening right now.

Sounds like potentially the best art about Corpus since Bret Anthony Johnston's short stories.

Divine image in Play-Doh?

This mysterious image appeared in some Play-Doh yesterday. Is the universe calling me to sell it for $1 million on eBay?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Pee Wee Herman coming to SXSW!

Yep, it's official. Pee Wee Herman will be at SXSW in March. He announced it on his Twitter page today with the comment "The stars at night, are big and bright..."

More on panelists here.

Rip Torn, Renee Zellweger, 'Friday Night Light' in Texas Film Hall of Fame

The Texas Film Hall of Fame is a semi-swanky celeb-gazing fest put on by the Austin Film Society that opens the South By Southwest Film Festival every year. The names of honorees are released in drips and drabs in advance of the March 10 event at Austin Studios.

Our first names for 2011 are Rip Torn, Renee Zellweger and the TV show Friday Night Lights (not to be confused with the movie and the book). Kyle Chandler, Connie Britton are accepting and Jesse Plemons, Dana Wheeler-Nicholson and Brad Leland are in attendance for Lights as it celebrates its swan song.

Along with them, presenters will include usual suspects Catherine Hardwicke, Luke Wilson, Richard Linklater and Thomas Haden Church.

The host is seemingly non-Texan Wyatt Cenac of The Daily Show fame. But wait! He grew up in Dallas and attended Jesuit College Preparatory School.

More names will be released soon, I'm sure. My next guess is Owen Wilson. Wanna take odds?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

'Chase' stops running, what's next in Texas film/TV?

They've made my SHOT IN TEXAS "premium content" on the Dallas Morning News site, but here it is from today's paper...

'Chase' shuts down after NBC pulls it from schedule


NBC pulled Chase from its schedule just days before production on the show officially ended in North Texas this week. Five episodes remain unaired, and the move means the series probably won’t be back for a second season. The network earlier reduced the episode order from 22 to 18 after poor ratings.

Chase was the last of the major network series shot in Texas to close shop. It follows North Texas-shot Lone Star and The Good Guys, and Austin-shot My Generation and Friday Night Lights. Lights ended it fifth season on DirecTV this week, though the season won’t air on NBC until April.

All of the series faced ratings woes while also proving the mettle of Texas crews and bringing money to the state. Each episode is estimated to bring in at least $1 million in local spending.

If North Texas officials get their wish, the television production frenzy will continue.

“We do have projects that are looking,” said Janis Burklund of the Dallas Film Commission. “And that includes television pilots — plural — and features.”

Certainly the possibility with the highest profile is TNT’s modern-day take on Dallas . It was recently announced that Larry Hagman, Patrick Duffy and Linda Gray have all signed on for the series pilot, which will focus on the original characters’ children.

There was no word at press time that Dallas would shoot in Dallas, but Burklund remains cautiously optimistic. “They’re looking at their options,” she said of TNT reps. “I think we will know fairly soon.”

Also possibly on the horizon is the Dallas-set Good Christian Bitches , based on Kim Gatlin’s book of the same name. ABC has ordered a pilot presentation for the soap-like show from Sex and the City’s Darren Star.

The television floodgates opened after the 2009 Texas Legislature made its filming incentives payment more flexible and upped overall two-year spending to $60 million. The increase was seen as too little to attract a lot of major films, but perfect for network television. The current budget crunch is likely to shrink that amount considerably. An early proposal dropped it to $10 million for the next two years.

This week, Gov. Rick Perry proposed adding another $20 million on top of that for an even $30 million, as well as opening the possibility that additional funds could be added to the program if they could be freed up elsewhere.

The new session also brought a new leader to the Texas Film Commission, Dallas native Evan Fitzmaurice, who is keeping a politically low profile and letting legislators handle the politics of film incentives.

“There’s a process at work, and as a film commission, we are eager to answer their questions as we have in the past,” he said.

Don Stokes, president of the Texas Motion Picture Alliance, said cutting incentive funding now could halt the flow of television series to Texas.

“We’re prepared to look at a smaller appropriation,” he said. “We just feel it merits more than $30 million because of the jobs we bring to the state.”

The film group has commissioned an economic impact study aimed at proving that . The study is due March 1 from the Texas Association of Business.

Bonus footage

Fitzmaurice spent five years in Los Angeles as an entertainment attorney before joining Perry’s legal staff. He’s a graduate of Greenhill School in Addison. While attending the University of Texas, he wrote music reviews for The Daily Texan and played bass in the band Second Season. … When Angels Sing, a Christmas story directed by Tim McCanlies (Secondhand Lions ) and based on Turk Pipkin’s book, is currently shooting in Austin. The cast includes Harry Connick Jr., Connie Britton (Friday Night Lights ), Willie Nelson , Kris Kristofferson and Lyle Lovett.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Fionnula Flanagan in 'When Angels Sing'

Winner of the award (given out by me) of the sexiest older woman, Fionnula Flanagan is another interesting name to join the cast of Tim McCanlies' directed/Elizabeth Avellan produced When Angels Sing, which is currently filming in Central Austin. The film is based on the book by Turk Pipkin and has a very interesting cast including Harry Connick Jr., Connie Britton, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson (he's been on the set this week), Sara Hickman (singing with her daugther Lili!) and Lyle Lovett. Oh, but unconfirmed reports have that spare Jonas brother out of the film.

See more about the film here. It shoots through March in Austin and Bastrop.

Oh, and for you Connick fans: He will end his film shoot with a show at the Long Center on March 26. Tickets are available here.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Book review: 'Kings of Colorado'

I enjoyed reading David Hilton's Kings of Colorado. You can read my review of this story of kids at at remote, and quite brutal, reformatory in the Austin American-Statesman.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Connie Britton starring in 'When Angels Sing'

One name I hadn't heard associated with Tim McCanlies' film adaptation of Turk Pipkin's book When Angels Sing is Friday Night Lights alum Connie Britton. Sounds like an interesting cast, headed by Harry Connick Jr. and featuring such musical actors as Willie Nelson, Lyle Lovett, Sara Hickman and Kris Kristofferson.

You can read more about the film, which is shooting through March, here.

I listened to Britton talk about FNL a while back. You read about that here.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Alert! Snow attacks Austin, Texas!

And, no, we don't have the right shoes for it. Here are more photos taken right outside of Austin.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Justin Bieber sez: "Beavis and Butt-head' is back!

Yes, you read that right. MTV somehow let Justin Bieber break the news that Beavis and Butt-head from Austin resident Mike Judge will be back on the channel that seems to be all lame "reality" shows all the time. Heh. Heh. I said Bieber....

'My Sucky Teen Romance' with SXSW

Count young Austin filmmaker Emily Hagins (that's her above) as among the Texans whose films will be shown at the South By Southwest Film Festival in March. Her My Sucky Teen Romance made the cut. Emily is 18 and this is her third film!

Other notables:
Wuss, a comedy from Clay Liford, who recently moved from Dallas to Austin.
Where Soldiers Come From, a war doc that Heather Courtney has been working on for a few years.
blackinto from Aaron Burns with heavy assistance from producer Elizabeth Avellan.
Incendiary: The Willingham Case from Steve Mims.
Building Hope, more good world vibes from Turk Pipkin.

Here's the full list.

ABC semi-hot for 'Good Christian Bitches'

Yes, the Dallas-set show Good Christian Bitches based on the Dallas-set book by Kim Gatlin is getting a semi-pilot from ABC or at least it "ordered a pilot presentation." I don't know what that code talk means, but it's clearly a start (if not a full pilot).

According to The Hollywood Reporter:

Executive produced by Darren Star and Aaron Kaplan, Bitches, is a primetime soap set in Dallas that asks: Is it possible to start over in a town that thinks they already know you? Robert Harling wrote the script and will exec produce.

According to the synopsis, it focuses on Amanda, the "mean girl" in high school, who returns home after her marriage ends in scandal. Her old classmates reacquaint themselves with the new, humbled Amanda, but will they give her a second chance or seek revenge?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

J.R. does 'Dallas'; will 'Dallas' do Dallas?

This just in from The Hollywood Reporter: Larry Hagman, Patrick Duffy and Linda Gray will reprise their Dallas roles in TNT's reboot of the series, which this time is focused on the kids. Also in the cast are Josh Henderson (Desperate Housewives) and Jordana Brewster (Fast & Furious) as a couple of those crazy Ewing kids.

Earlier reports had Hagman, aka J.R. Ewing unlikely to join the crew after money haggles. Now the big question remains: how much of Dallas will shoot in the actual Dallas? Don't be surprised if that's the clarion call for efforts to keep the Texas film incentives program fully funded by the Texas Legislature.