PRIMER
August 21st, 2012, by Carla Amurao

Photo courtesy: Van Evers, Tavis Smiley Media, Inc.

Airdate | Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Hometown | Born in Beirut, Lebanon

Why You (Should) Know Him

  • He garnered cult fame through the Bill & Ted film franchise with his portrayal of Theodore “Ted” Logan.
  • The science fiction action films of The Matrix trilogy featured him as computer hacker Neo.

Why He’s Buzzing | Reeves narrates and produces Side by Side, a documentary that analyzes the past and future of filmmaking. He’s also making his directorial debut with Man of Tai Chi, slated for 2013.

Trivia

  • While direct translations vary, his name Reeves was from his uncle, Henry Keanu Reeves. The name “Keanu” is a derivation from the name Keaweaheulu (his great-great uncle), which loosely means “the soft breeze raising” or “cool breeze over the mountains” in Hawaiian.
  • Upon first arriving in Hollywood, Reeves’ agent thought the name “Keanu” might be too exotic. This resulted in his early credits as K.C. Reeves, Norman Kreeves or Chuck Spadina.
  • According to his IMDB profile, Reeves was not an avid high school student, but compensated for it with his skills on the ice rink. He played the position of goalie for his ice hockey team and earned the nickname “The Wall.”
  • In the 1989 auditions for Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Reeves and Alex Winter were paired up—Winter auditioned for the role of Ted and Reeves for the role of Bill. Each actor was cast, but in the opposite part for which they auditioned.
  • The Simpsons character Jimbo Jones is based on the character, Ted, from the Bill & Ted franchise.
  • In October 1997, he ranked #23 of “The Top 100 Movie Stars of All time” in UK’s Empire magazine.
  • He deferred a portion of his salary for The Devil’s Advocate to ensure that Al Pacino would be cast, which he did again for The Replacements to cast Gene Hackman.
  • He reportedly learned over 200 martial arts moves in his training for 2003′s The Matrix Reloaded.

Selection of Honors/Awards

1986   Youngblood
1986   River’s Edge
1988   Dangerous Liaisons
1989   Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure
1991   Point Break
1992   Bram Stoker’s Dracula
1994   Speed (nominated for MTV Movie Awards for Best Kiss, Best Male Performance and Most Desirable Male; nominated for Kids’ Choice Award for Favorite Movie Actor; won MTV Movie Award for Best On-Screen duo with Sandra Bullock)
1995   Johnny Mnemonic
1997   The Devil’s Advocate
1999   The Matrix
2000   The Replacements
2001   Sweet November
2003   The Matrix Reloaded (nominated for MTV Movie Award for Best Fight and Best Kiss)
2003   The Matrix Revolutions
2005   Constantine
2006   The Lake House
2010   Henry’s Crime
2013   47 Ronin
2013   Man of Tai Chi

STAFF & GUEST BLOG
August 6th, 2012, by Jeremy Freed

Brooklyn-based artist Henry Hargreaves is known for his strange, funny, utterly original still lifes. For instance, his Toast Icons series saw Hargreaves create lifelike portraits of celebrities using only strategically burned pieces of toasted bread (about 900 per portrait!). His Bacon Alphabet was a painstaking creation that’s more or less self-descriptive, except for the incredible detail of the letters, and the bizarreness of the idea itself.

One of Hargreaves’ most recent works is his Deep Fried Gadgets series, in which the artist batters bits of electronic paraphernalia (iPods, laptops, mobile phones, earbuds) and fries them to a crispy golden brown. Is it a comment on the nature of consumerism? On America’s batter-centric food culture? On the fleeting nature of technology, which seems to have about the same lifespan as a batch of McDonald’s French fries? It’s fun to think about, and probably the most original idea you’ll see all day.

STAFF & GUEST BLOG
August 6th, 2012, by Jeremy Freed

From The New York Times comes this fascinating infographic video comparing Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt with 100m champs as far back as 1896. The take away? Usain Bolt is very, very fast. The U.S. pretty much had a lock on sprinting gold until the recent rise of Caribbean champs like Bolt. Also, America’s fastest 8-and-under sprinter could have almost won bronze in the first modern Olympics.

You can find these and other fun facts here.

A LOOK BACK
August 1st, 2012, by Carla Amurao

One of the great stylists of contemporary American prose, Gore Vidal passed away on July 31, 2012 at his Hollywood Hills home from complications of pneumonia. He was 86.

Born Eugene Luther Gore Vidal, the novelist, playwright and occasional actor was found to be, at times, controversial and outspoken on topics in pop culture and politics. He sat down with us in November 2006 to discuss what was then his newest book, Point to Point Navigation, a follow-up to his ’95 memoir Palimpsest. Read the transcript of the 2006 conversation here.

Vidal’s recent passing is the loss of one of 20th-century America’s most important writers.

“Age is just a series of calamities. But being dead is no worse than not being born. I enjoyed not being born. In fact, probably enjoyed that more than I have being born. So, it can’t be any worse. So it’s not to be feared. Death is nothing.”

-Gore Vidal, November 2006

 

 

SEEN & HEARD
August 1st, 2012, by Carla Amurao

The month of July showcased a cornucopia of emotions and experiences that sum up life as we know it. As usual, we were lucky to sit down with household names as well as some up-and-comers.

Talking about accomplishments and improvements were writer Joan Walsh and comedian-actor Cedric the Entertainer.

We all have our passions. And we all have different methods in which we strengthen our crafts. Actor Elijah Wood, singer Eddie Levert and architect Frank Gehry discuss how they work on their gifts.

In life, we learn lessons and we hope to share them with the world and leave our mark on history. Environmental activist Erin Brockovich discusses what her parents taught her as a child.

Journalist Rajiv Chandrasekaran shares his views on the war in Afghanistan. Chef Marcus Samuelsson discusses a tragic moment that ended in irony. In both cases, it’s proven that hindsight can indeed be 20/20. And singer Glenn Frey discusses the mark the Eagles left on history and in the memories of their fans.

Actor Dwight Henry talks about the New Orleans state of mind, which is a result of historical events and a newfound resilience against hardship.

Actress Niecy Nash talked about love, actor-comedian Jimmie Walker talked about fame and NCAA president Mark Emmert talked scandal.

Check out the gallery below to see notable quotes from some of July guests.

All images by Van Evers, Tavis Smiley Media, Inc.

STAFF & GUEST BLOG
July 31st, 2012, by Jeremy Freed

Ed Helms and The Lonesome Trio

While you may not recognize the name Ed Helms, the actor and comedian’s face will be familiar from The Office, The Hangover(s) and Cedar Rapids, among many others. But did you know that Helms is also a banjo enthusiast (and he’s also pretty good on guitar)? Apart from playing in the bluegrass group, The Lonesome Trio, which he started with two friends in college, Helms is also the founder of the L.A. Bluegrass Situation, a music festival that had it’s third annual event this past May.

While there are other bluegrass festivals in the L.A. area, you won’t find a more star-studded event than this. According to the fest’s website, “The past two years have featured amazing music and fun from the likes of Steve Martin, Andrew Bird, Gillian Welch, Dave Rawlings, John C. Reilly, Tom Brosseau, Will Arnett, Paul Scheer, Vince Gill and many others.” That’s an impressive lineup of comic talent playing music.

This year’s event featured appearances by The Lonesome Trio, as well as Steve Martin’s Steep Canyon Rangers and John C. Reilly’s “American Song Cycle.” Sounds like a toe-tappin’, knee-slappin’, belly-laughin’ good time to me.

STAFF & GUEST BLOG
July 30th, 2012, by Jeremy Freed

I’ve been a fan of Lucky Peach, the American magazine devoted to offbeat food culture (or something like that…let me know if you can think of a better way to describe it) ever since I saw their first issue. There’s a new Lucky Peach out, by the way, devoted to all things American.

Now it seems there’s a new high-concept food-zine in town, or across the pond anyhow, making waves over in the UK. Just in time for Olympic fever and all of its London-centric machinations, The Gourmand is now available in select bookshops and online. But what makes The Gourmand different from, say, Cook’s Illustrated or Bon Appetit? Could be their erotic photo essay on traditional Swedish cuisine (pickled shrimp, anyone?) or perhaps their story on British artist David Shrigley’s new food-themed opera. Or, really, any number of other things save the recipes.

The Gourmand is stepping into a very current and relatively new artistic space, one which Lucky Peach has been encroaching on for a couple of years already. With food becoming a serious cultural force in North America and England, places without deeply ingrained food cultures (at least on the scale of most other societies), it only follows that journals such as these should arise to document the phenomenon, blending cuisine with art, music, film and poetry.

Food culture in both the UK and the U.S. is blooming, turning countries formerly known for their mushy peas and hot dogs into world-leading culinary innovators. But why stop there? Obviously, you can do more with food than just eat it.

STAFF & GUEST BLOG
July 29th, 2012, by Jeremy Freed

Image via Wikimedia Commons

I’m not a follower of sports in general, and the Olympics are no exception, for the most part. I can, however, get excited about certain things related to the events, like U.S. gold medalist Ryan Lochte’s grill, for one.

Lochte won gold in the men’s 400m swimming event, beating Michael Phelps and creating one of the 2012 London games’ first celebrities. While Lochte’s athleticism and good looks certainly help (details about how many pizzas he eats in a day soon to follow), it was the addition of custom dental work and flashy sneakers that pushed him into the world spotlight.

Check out Lochte’s swag here, as he sports his diamond-encrusted, stars-and-stripes-emblazoned grills while posing with his gold. While he tried to wear the patriotic teeth covers on the Olympic podium, officials forbade it, threatening to withhold his medal. According to a recent profile in The New York Times, Lochte has over 100 pairs of shoes, idolized Lil’ Wayne and aspires to become a fashion designer. Judging by the star-spangled winged Adidas he wore to his event, he’s more of the Kanye West school of fashion than the Ralph Lauren side of things.

STAFF & GUEST BLOG
July 29th, 2012, by Jeremy Freed

As Olympic fever grips the world (this blogger excepted–more on that later) our attention turns to the high-level sport that has united humanity in friendly competition for over 100 years. One story you may not be aware of is that of Tom Longboat, a native Canadian marathon runner considered to be among the top in his sport back in the early 20th century.

Longboat’s story is one of hardship, endurance and discrimination, yet he still managed to become a celebrity in his sport (and one of the first native Canadian celebrities of any kind). After winning the Boston Marathon in 1907, his career came to a climax at the London Olympics of 1908, where he was favorited to win the marathon. Twenty miles into the race, however, Longboat collapsed and was unable to finish.

While Longboat would later beat his London opponents at a subsequent event, he would never fully recover from the blow of failing to complete the marathon on that hot July day. Read more of Longboat’s fascinating story here.

STAFF & GUEST BLOG
July 28th, 2012, by Carla Amurao

Update: Kudos to our past guests who took home 2012 Emmy statuettes: Louis C.K. (Outstanding writing for a variety special, Louie C.K. Live at the Beacon Theatre and Outstanding writing for a comedy series, Louie); Kevin Costner (Outstanding lead actor in a miniseries or movie, Hatfields & McCoys); Damian Lewis, Outstanding lead actor in a drama series, Homeland); and Jay Roach (Outstanding directing for a miniseries or movie, Game Change).

On July 19, 2012, Kerry Washington and a pajama-clad Jimmy Kimmel  announced the nominees for the 64th Primetime Emmys.

Drama series Man Men and miniseries American Horror Story lead the way with 17 Emmy Award nominations apiece.

Here’s a compilation of past guests discussing their 2012 Emmy-nominated roles. While some interviews trace back to 2008 (read: Jon Hamm!), the conversations still discuss the character/series for which a nomination was received this year.

Note: Although we did have past guests Louis C.K. (nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series – 2012, as Louie in Louie), Idris Elba (Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie – 2012, as John Luther in Luther), Betty White (nominated for Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program – 2012, for Betty White’s Off Their Rockers) and Ashley Judd (nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie – 2012, as Rebecca Winstone in Missing), the conversations either predated their involvement in their 2012 Emmy-nominated roles or did not mention the roles or the series.

And presenting…our 2012 Emmy-nominated guests:

Jon Hamm – August 8, 2008
Nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series (2012) as Don Draper in Mad Men
In 2008, the actor earned an outstanding lead actor Emmy nod for his performance in the AMC period drama Mad Men, which received 16 nominations for its debut season.
(View full post to see video)

Michael C. Hall – October 5, 2009
Nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series (2012) as Dexter Morgan in
Dexter
The actor compares his Dexter and Six Feet Under characters.
(View full post to see video)

Bryan Cranston – April 2, 2010
Nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series (2012) as Walter White in Breaking Bad
Two-time Emmy winner discusses the timeline for his Breaking Bad series.
(View full post to see video)

Ed O’Neill – January 31, 2011
Nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (2012) as Jay Pritchett in
Modern Family
The actor compares his success on ABC’s Emmy-winning comedy Modern Family to that of his previous Fox hit, Married with Children.
(View full post to see video)

Don Cheadle – February 21, 2012
Nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series (2012) as Marty Kaan in
House of Lies
The co-exec producer of and actor in Showtime’s House of Lies shares what it’s like to play a character that was not written explicitly for a Black man.
(View full post to see video)

Jay Roach – March 2, 2012
Game Change is nominated for Outstanding Miniseries or Movie (2012)

The director and producer of Game Change, the new HBO dramatization of the 2008 presidential campaign, talks about VP candidate Sarah Palin and whether the filmmakers “went soft” on Sen. John McCain.
(View full post to see video)

Matthew Weiner – March 22, 2012
Mad Men is nominated for Outstanding Drama Series (2012)
The award-winning writer-producer discusses the Emmy-winning Mad Men series that he created and talks about the show’s future with AMC.
(View full post to see video)

Damian Lewis – May 4, 2012
Nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series (2012) as Nicholas Brody in Homeland
The British actor reflects on portraying American history in Band of Brothers and weighs in on President Obama’s comment on his latest star vehicle, Showtime’s Peabody Award-winning drama series Homeland.
(View full post to see video)

Kevin Costner – May 24-25, 2012
Nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie (2012) as ‘Devil’ Anse Hatfield in Hatfields & McCoys
In part one of this two-night conversation, the two-time Oscar winner reflects on his body of work and the moment he fully committed to becoming a thespian and discloses the one thing he feels people would envy of him.
(View full post to see video)

In the conclusion of a two-part conversation, Costner discusses his role in the History channel’s first scripted miniseries, Hatfields & McCoys, and his band’s companion CD. He also shares his experience of working with the late Whitney Houston and speaking at her funeral.
(View full post to see video)

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