Starz

LeBron James

When I think comedy and the Miami Heat’s big three, I’m generally looking at Chris Bosh interview-bombing Dwayne Wade and LeBron James, but James has bigger aspirations than fooling around between quarters. I mean, naturally. He’s the King. James, in association with Mike O’Malley, Tom Werner,  Maverick Carter, and Paul Wachter, now have a six episode series order by Starz for their basketball-centric half-hour scripted television project, Survivor’s Guilt.  To be written and executive-produced by O’Malley, the show will focus on young basketball prodigy Cam Calloway, who moves to Georgia with his cousin Reggie Vaughn after signing a multi-million dollar contract to play for their pro basketball franchise. They contend with his sudden fame and fortune, family hangers-on, and Cam’s struggles to hold on to the community from which he came.

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Da Vinci

In the vein of recent television period pieces, Starz’s Da Vinci’s Demons continues to approach its old time setting with a serious scope. There are highly detailed sets, big landscapes, a filmic quality, and an intricate story calling for viewers’ attention. The show’s creator, David S. Goyer, went through his fair share of challenges in bringing that scope to television and conveying Leonardo da Vinci’s larger than life personality and career. This isn’t a stuffy low-rent take on Da Vinci’s time, but rather a show that is as grand as its ambitious hero. Crafting that vision isn’t the only challenge a show like Da Vinci’s Demons presents, says Goyer. While briefly discussing the series with us, the writer of this summer’s Man of Steel gave us insight into his approach for the show, the technical issues involved, and being a perfectionist.

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Popular (I think) online comic website The Oatmeal recently uploaded an entry titled “I tried to watch Game of Thrones and this is what happened,” a riveting tale of online piracy. As this is the Internet, the comic has already been widely disseminated with many individuals championing it as a justification for piracy, while others have rallied against it as a perfect example of why pirates are big fat babies. For one view, you can go to what seems to be the first response from Andy Ihnatko, while Devin Faraci also weighed in at Badass Digest. Both of these gentlemen have mostly targeted the pirates themselves in terms I agree with. Let’s run down that quickly before I move on to something both of them have missed.

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What is Movie News After Dark DRINKING? It’s what happens when Neil leaves and Kate Erbland and I joke about me doing this column drunk and then don’t realize that’s probably a bad idea until the next day. So hello and welcome to maybe the only installment ever of Movie News After Drinking, brought to you by Old Crow Bourbon. Old Crow Make it a Double! (Note: We should get paid for this). I think my introduction needs to be longer before I put that page break thing here and before I get fired for making a mockery of this column. Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance came out today and it should come as little surprise that most people hate the movie. Our boy Jack Giroux reviews the flick over at TheFilmStage where he politely points out that Jerry Springer jokes are old enough to be getting paternity tests themselves (that means they’re like 15 years old).

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Despite the fact that it seemed like a pipe dream when the idea was first kicked around, development on a feature film version of the failed Starz sitcom Party Down seems to be chugging along steadily and assuredly. First the movie was just a twinkle in its creators eyes, then things started looking better as everyone involved began synching up their schedules, and now the whole thing appears to be a done deal. At least according to Megan Mullally. At a recent press tour, Mullally answered questions about what she has coming up by saying, “I will be doing the Party Down movie. John [Enbom] is writing it right now.” That’s not exactly new news in itself, we already knew that work was being done on the script; but some of Mullally’s other comments make things sound further along than the last time this project was talked about. First off, Mullally knows some details about where her character is going. She added, “I think we’re going to see Lydia’s ex-husband – Ed I think is name (sic) – who was really racist and a misogynist.” Also, it sounds like financing for the film is all taken care of. Before Enbom started work writing the script proper, Mullally says that he turned in an outline to investors that was “enthusiastically approved.”

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On January 19th, 2008, Bryan Cranston had one claim to fame, Malcolm in the Middle. Certainly not a bad role, but it did place everyone’s opinion of what Cranson was capable of into a box. That all changed on January 20th, 2008. Breaking Bad transformed his career and made people realize that Cranston was more than a wacky dad on a FOX sitcom. Since 1984, Kelsey Grammer has had exactly one claim to fame, his famous role as Dr. Frasier Crane on Cheers and the spin-off Frasier. Much like Cranston, it’s a role that has come to define Grammer’s career and has allowed, like Cranston, for people’s opinion of the man’s ability to be put into a single box… That will all change this Friday thanks to the new Starz series, Boss.

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The end of the world next year may need to wait for everyone to put on their pink bow ties. According to a conversation with The Playlist, Adam Scott is announcing that everyone that would be involved with a Party Down movie is on board, and that they’re close to making a Summer 2012 shoot a reality. The money quote: “We’re like 90% there, we’re hoping to do it maybe next summer, if everyone’s schedules work out and the guys get time to write a script. They have kind of a skeleton of a story worked out so we know where it’s going to go but we just have to kind of cross the t’s and dot the i’s, or something. But Starz are being super cool and they’re going to let us do it, and we’re all excited, we all want to do it.” For a project like this, the key might be in marketing it to a crowd that isn’t already in the rabid fan base of the show. Or at least convincing someone with access to a check book that the audience can be broadened. Ultimately, this is a vague yet hopefully statement. It would be fantastic to see it happen, and tossing out a scheduling goal is more concrete than other television show adaptations, but if that last 10% is financing, it might be a longer road toward shooting than Scott lets on. Still, it’s not like talk of this project has worn out its welcome […]

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I’ve never been one for the Doctor Who mythos. I’ve tried a few times to get into it, but the audience it targets is simply to niche for my tastes. Within that mythos also exists the show’s spin-off, Torchwood. And the same problem applies to that series. Its target audience is simply too niche for me. But then I saw Torchwood: Miracle Day and that all changed. When I first heard of the latest series in the program, I was as interested as I’ve always been about Doctor Who related media… ie not at all. Then I started seeing the trailers play in front of all the summer blockbusters in my local theater and thought about what that was implying. It was implying that Starz, the new co-production company, thought they had a program that could expand beyond the standard Who crowd. But still, I wasn’t all that interested. But I figured “what the hell, I’ll give it a shot.” So the Monday following the premiere, I flipped it on, and here’s where things get interesting.

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If there is one show that has managed to surprise me in the last few years with its sheer awesomeness and balls-out attitude, it’s Spartacus on Starz! The first season was full of 300 slo-mo, breasts, wangs, butts, nips, orgies, slave sexing, mutual masturbation, evisceration, decapitation, and everything else you would imagine if you turned your brain to 11 when thinking about the violent and sexual excesses of ancient Rome. Unfortunately the star of Season 1, Andy Whitfield, was diagnosed with cancer last year and suffered a recurrence after his initial treatment, leading to his withdrawal from the role. Season 2 picks up where the first season ended, with relative newcomer Liam McIntyre taking up the sword as Spartacus and leading the slave army in search of vengeance.

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Stretching out Comic Con coverage because we can (and apparently people actually read it), coming to you in what will hopefully be among the very last name-drops of SDCC, is some news from the Spartacus panel. It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of the Starz original series which is bursting with blood, breasts, and a word for penis that also starts with B. Perhaps too easily dismissed by many as a 300 styled rip-off or An Idiot’s Guide to Rome, this gladiatorial series is actually quite deft at mixing politics and vicious action. This years panel, the show’s first, was focused mostly on revealing some information about the upcoming prequel Spartacus: Gods of the Arena. For those unfamiliar, star and Spartacus himself Andy Whitfield was diagnosed with cancer after the completion of the first season. Rather than replace him or move forward with a pathetic second season or leave fans waiting forever, the producers, lead by Steven DeKnight, decided to create a prequel to the hit show.

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torchwood

Torchwood, the British sci-fi series that spun-off from Doctor Who, is making its way to American shores this year and next — but not in the way you expected. Picking up the U.S. TV rights to the series, Starz Entertainment has decided to forgo the usual remake treatment (a la the 2008 Brit-to-U.S. version of Life on Mars) and instead co-produce the next season of Torchwood with the BBC.

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Do you enjoy swordfights, ancient Rome, and boobs? I thought so. Those are the main ingredients of Spartacus: Blood and Sand which premieres January 22nd on Starz.

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oc-grindhousestarz

If you were one of the un-lucky people to say “Nah, I’ll wait for DVD”, you know that you were dealt the misfortune of two DVD releases and no special treats.

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