Saturday, July 30, 2011

Lifetime says no to 'Meet Jane' is finally confirming what we have long suspected: Lifetime will not pick up the series Meet Jane, for which a pilot was filmed in Austin with Molly Parker and Rick Schroder starring. This despite reshoots for the pilot done in the spring.

So count this as the last cute Ricky photo on this blog...

Monday, July 25, 2011

'The Lying Game' comes to Austin

I've been remiss in reporting the arrival of an ABC Family series to Austin. What's even more interesting is the pilot shot in New Mexico, but they chose not to stay there for the series shoot. The show titled The Lying Game premieres Aug. 15. It's based on on the novel by Sara Shepard (Pretty Little Liars)!

And, yes, there is an open call for extras (or better yet go straight to the Third Coast Extras Facebook page). Here are the details:

The Lying Game follows Emma, a kind-hearted foster kid who learns she has an identical twin sister, Sutton. Sutton, unlike Emma, was adopted by wealthy parents and is seemingly living an ideal life. After their initial meeting, Sutton talks Emma into stepping into her life for a few days while she pursues a lead on the mysterious identity of their birth mother. After Sutton inexplicably fails to return to the girls’ designated meeting place, Emma must decide whether to come clean about her identity and risk her own safety in the hope of uncovering her twin sister's whereabouts, along with the truth about why they were separated in the first place.

Adrian Pasdar
of Heroes has just joined the cast, I'm sure as "The Old Guy."

The Lying Game also stars Alexandra Chando (As The World Turns) as Emma/Sutton; Andy Buckley (The Office) as Ted; Helen Slater (Supergirl) as Kristin; Blair Redford (90210) as Ethan; Sharon Pierre-Louis (Lincoln Heights) as Nisha; Kirsten Prout (Kyle XY) as Char; Alice Greczyn (Lincoln Heights) as Mads; and Allie Gonino (10 Things I Hate About You) as Laurel. Charles Pratt, Jr. (Ugly Betty, Desperate Housewives, All My Children, Melrose Place) serves as executive producer and writer; Leslie Morgenstein (Pretty Little Liars, Gossip Girl, The Vampire Diaries) and Gina Girolamo will serve as executive producers. Produced by Alloy Entertainment in association with Warner Horizon Television.

Monday, July 11, 2011

'Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D' shooting in Louisiana

In the category of horror film sacrilege, the latest remake/sequel/re-imagining of the seminal horror film The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is being shot in Shreveport, Louisiana. If we can say anything about the various versions that have come before, most of them (I can't think of an exception but I'm sure it's out there) have shot in Texas.

The latest is titled Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D. And, yes, they are looking for extras--rednecks and hillbillies to be exact. I'm sure they've found plenty in Shreveport.

TNT will indeed shoot the series 'Dallas' in Dallas

Yes, TNT's Dallas will indeed shoot in Dallas. Read more about it in my Dallas Morning News column from last Friday.

Here's the official press release from the Dallas Film Commission:

Warner Horizon Television has selected Dallas, Texas as the location for TNT’s Dallas, an all-new series based upon one of the most popular television dramas of all time. TNT announced Friday that it has ordered a full season of 10 episodes and will give viewers their first look at the new Dallas tonight, Monday, July 11, with a sneak peek during the season premieres of the network’s blockbuster hits The Closer, which starts at 8 p.m. Central, and Rizzoli & Isles, which airs at 9 p.m. Central. The new series will show off the vibrant city that Dallas is today.

TNT’s new Dallas brings a new generation of stars together with cast members from the original drama series. The new Dallas stars Josh Henderson (90210), Jesse Metcalfe (John Tucker Must Die), Jordana Brewster (Fast & Furious), Julie Gonzalo (Veronica Mars) and Brenda Strong (Desperate Housewives), and they will be joined by iconic stars Patrick Duffy, Linda Gray and Larry Hagman as J.R. Ewing.

Executive producer Cynthia Cidre, who wrote the acclaimed film The Mambo Kings and executive produced the television series Cane, wrote the pilot for the new Dallas. TNT’s series is based on the original series created by David Jacobs. Michael M. Robin (The Closer) directed and executive produced the pilot.

The original Dallas aired from 1978 to 1991 and centered on the Ewing family, a cattle and oil dynasty occupying the expansive Southfork Ranch in Texas. A long and bitter rivalry between brothers J.R. Ewing (Hagman) and Bobby Ewing (Duffy) eventually led to J.R. losing control of most of the Ewing industries. In the new Dallas, this explosive rivalry now lives on through another generation, with the future of the family fortune in the hands of the Ewing offspring: cousins John Ross Ewing (Henderson), the son of J.R. and ex-wife Sue Ellen (Gray), and Christopher Ewing (Metcalfe), the adopted son of Bobby. Brewster stars as Elena, who is involved in a love triangle with Christopher and John Ross. Gonzalo stars as Christopher’s fiancĂ©e, Rebecca. And Strong stars as Ann, Bobby’s wife.

The series is expected to have a significant financial impact on the city; create many jobs for crew, actors, extras and vendors; and increase tourism.

"The City of Dallas is very excited to once again have an iconic television series named after our City and pleased that we could assist in making Dallas not only the obvious location choice, but a good choice for the bottom line too," said Dallas Mayor Pro Tem Pauline Medrano. Now that TNT has officially placed the series order, Warner Horizon Television can move forward with contracts to finalize the Dallas shoot. Pre-production and production on the series are expected to begin later this year.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Tobe Hooper plays himself in new novel featuring a swarm of zombies in Austin

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre's Tobe Hooper has a new novel out called Midnight Movie starring a guy named Tobe Hooper and a bunch of zombies swarming the South by Southwest Film Festival. An Austin Chronicle film writer helps our host battle the baddies.

Read my Austin American-Statesman review here.

TNT picks up 'Dallas'; to give sneak peek Monday

As predicted, TNT has picked up Dallas to series for a 10-episode shoot to premiere in summer 2012. No confirmation yet of a Dallas shoot in Dallas, but after the city of Dallas' grant to upgrade a warehouse for the show, it looks more than probable.

TNT will give viewers a sneak peek of the show Monday during the season premieres of The Closer at 8 p.m. and Rizzoli & Isles at 9 p.m.

Also a web site is up with more info on the show.

Here's what they said in a press release:

TNT has given the greenlight to Dallas, an all-new series based upon one of the most popular television dramas of all time, about the bitter rivalries and family power struggles within a Texas oil and cattle-ranching dynasty. Famous for its ratings-grabbing cliffhangers, the original series was known for its wealth, seduction, scandal and intrigues. Set in the big state of Texas, TNT’s new Dallas — from Warner Horizon Television — also lives life large and in the fast lane and brings a new generation of stars together with cast members from the original drama series.

The new Dallas stars Josh Henderson (90210), Jesse Metcalfe (John Tucker Must Die), Jordana Brewster (Fast & Furious), Julie Gonzalo (Veronica Mars) and Brenda Strong (Desperate Housewives), and they will be joined by iconic stars Patrick Duffy, Linda Gray and Larry Hagman as J.R. Ewing.

TNT has ordered 10 episodes of DALLAS, which is slated to premiere in summer 2012.

Friday, July 8, 2011

SHOT IN TEXAS: Decision on 'Dallas' series looms

Larry Hagman and Linda Gray at the Texas Film Hall of Fame (crappy photo by me).


My SHOT IN TEXAS column from today's Dallas Morning News

Verdict on ‘Dallas’ TV series should come soon

Special to the Dallas Morning News
@joemoconnell on Twitter

When will TNT decide the fate of the new Dallas television series? The standard reply is “any day now,” and that day is looming.

A North Texas shoot is looking more than probable given a $235,000 economic development grant from the city of Dallas to add air conditioning to a property at 2901 S. Lamar in exchange for six months of free rent for a television or film project. Developer Jack Matthews owns the property.

The agreement asks TNT and Warner Horizon to let the city know about a North Texas shoot by July 15 and sets an Aug. 1 deadline, says Janis Burklund of the Dallas Film Commission.

“They’ve always said the show wouldn’t air until July 2012,” Burklund said. “People shouldn’t get too excited that there’s not an official announcement yet.”

The city agreement requires a TV or film project to go in by July 2012 or the grant will not be paid.

“It’s difficult to find a warehouse in the right part of town that has air conditioning and is not too loud,” Burklund said. “We wrote [the grant] obviously with Dallas in mind, but it could work for other television or film projects.”

The Dallas Film Commission estimates that each TV episode shot on location brings in $1 million in direct local spending. TNT has not said how many episodes of Dallas will be ordered.

The grant agreement rankled the Studios at Las Colinas management, particularly comments that their facility in Irving doesn’t have the space to accommodate Dallas. Burklund said she heard the size complaint from producers of both Dallas and Good Christian Belles. Pilots for both shot in North Texas, but the latter series will lens in Los Angeles.

“That is exactly what we are: a soundstage development,” said Jennifer Loeb King, vice president of business affairs for the studios. “Secondly, we are a private studio facility with no city dollars given ever to us in 30 years. With the economy the way it is, it just seems that the owner of South Lamar should foot the bill privately or get a loan or whatever but not use city tax dollars to put in air conditioning on a building he owns and can benefit from into the future even if the series is cancelled.”

The Studios at Las Colinas previously has rented space for production of Prison Break, The Deep End and Lone Star.

“We recognize that all projects will not utilize the Studios at Las Colinas,” Loeb King said. “We believe in fair competition and would have preferred an opportunity to show all that we have to offer.”

“The more we build the business in general, the more that will be here for everyone,” Burklund said of an additional studio facility. She added that additional projects continue to seriously consider North Texas as a location for shoots as early as fall.

Bonus footage

Austin-based Alamo Drafthouse’s annual Rolling Road Show brings the inflatable screen poolside to the Day’s Inn on I-35 East in Hillsboro for a showing tomorrow of Bottle Rocket , the 1996 Wes Anderson film that shot at the location. It’s also part of efforts to keep the location from closing. More information is at … One project that appears unlikely to shoot in Texas is Lone Ranger , a Disney film that scouted primarily in West Texas. The reinvention of the classic tale focusing on Tonto as portrayed by Johnny Depp is likely bound for Utah, sources say. More generous filming incentives appeared to tip the deal. … Carol Pirie steps down this summer as deputy director of the Texas Film Commission after 23 years — including multiple stints as acting film commish. She notes that Lonesome Dove was in production when she started, and she leaves just after rooting for Texas-shot The Tree of Life as it won the Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes International Film Festival.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Saying goodbye to 'Friday Night Lights'

The final episode of Friday Night Lights airs on NBC on July 15. I was in the neighborhood of the football stadium set today in Austin, Texas, and stopped to see what was left of it (filming ended long ago). You can see the full set of photos here.

Oh, and for old time's sake, here are some pieces I wrote from the set in season one and season two of the show.

The dividing line between the Dillon (blue) and East Dillon (red) football fieldhouses.

The front of the Panther Fieldhouse.