CHICAGO – If you’ve ever wondered what the difference is between a director and a producer, let “47 Ronin” explain how the hierarchy of creativity hinders the evolution of even the most straightforward-sounding pitches. “47 Ronin” is the type of samurai movie set in Japan that features native actors speaking only English, while Keanu Reeves stars as an outsider clearly plunked into the picture for stateside star power.
Saturday Night Live
CHICAGO – He was a Ghostbuster, and Bill Murray’s sidekick in “Stripes.” He co-wrote classic modern comedies like “Animal House” and “Caddyshack.” He directed the legendary absurdist comedy, “Groundhog Day.” He is Harold Ramis, and he died on February 24th, according to his wife Erica Mann Ramis.
LOS ANGELES – It’s a pioneering TV show practically lost to history. Sid Caesar hosted and performed in “Your Show of Shows,” a 90 minute live 1950s sketch comedy program, and also helped to launch a who’s who of 20th Century comedy. Coming out of his writer’s rooms were such comic greats as Mel Brooks, Neil Simon, Larry Gelbart, Carl Reiner and Woody Allen. Sid Caesar died February 12th at his home near Los Angeles, according to a newsfeed from Larry King on Twitter.
CHICAGO – The comedy juggernaut of Adam McKay and Will Ferrell is about to descend on the holiday movie season with “Anchorman 2,” the sequel to the popular first film. McKay is the behind-the-scenes partner with Ferrell, producing hilarious favorites like “Talladega Nights,” and co-founding the “Funny or Die” website.
CHICAGO – One of the Windy City’s best networking resources for local film actors is the Chicago Acting Film Meetup (CFAM) group, and they are having their annual end-of-year “Holiday Hurrah” event at the Hard Rock Hotel on Monday, December 16th, 2013. Organizing that event are two board officers of CAFM, actors Grace McPhillips (President) and Steve Scholz (Vice President).
CHICAGO – A round-up of comic stars at the TBS “Just for Laughs Chicago” this year included three notable alumni from The Second City stage. Tim Meadows (“Saturday Night Live”), Scott Adsit (“30 Rock”) and Kevin Dorff (writer/performer for “Late Night with Conan O’Brien”) all were on The Second City main stage on Wells Street in Chicago during the beginning of their careers.
CHICAGO – Do young people know of the importance of Steve Martin to the history of comedy? In the ’70s, he helped revolutionize the form through his unique, smart, daring approach on-stage and in his TV comedies and on “Saturday Night Live.” Much of the material that made him a superstar has been collected in a stellar three-disc set from Shout Factory, now available on DVD under the banner “Steve Martin: The Television Stuff.”
CHICAGO – We’re doing something we’ve never done before at HollywoodChicago.com — reviewing a TV show that isn’t on the air…yet. Acclaimed producer Michael Wilson, a veteran of TV comedy from years working on “Saturday Night Live,” “Politically Incorrect,” and “Burn Notice,” is shopping a pilot for a new sketch comedy series called “The Men’s Room” and was kind enough to grant us access to a copy.
CHICAGO – As the chorus of “Goodbye Ruby Tuesday” signaled the recent season finale of “Saturday Night Live,” it was Kristen Wiig that said farewell to the show, but not before a lingering twirl from Andy Samberg, who just announced his own departure. The next phase for Samberg begins with a co-starring role beside Adam Sandler, in the film “That’s My Boy.”
CHICAGO – Two actors who made a mark in film during the 1980s did it at different points in their lives. Anthony Michael Hall was a teen idol, channeling director John Hughes in “The Breakfast Club” and “Sixteen Candles.” Lou Gossett Jr. won a mid-career Oscar for his role in 1982’s “An Officer and a Gentleman.”
CHICAGO – NBC announced Monday morning that actor Ben Stiller and actress Anna Faris are slated to host “Saturday Night Live” in October. The announcement also stated that Foster the People would be the musical guest in Stiller’s show, and Drake would perform when Faris hosts.