A Birthday Tribute – 44 Reasons We Love Rufus Sewell

On Saturday, 10/29, one of my favorite actors Rufus Sewell is turning 44! So in honor of his b’day, my pal Becky (a.k.a. Prairiegirl, Roof’s number 1 fan) and I thought it’d be fun to list 44 reasons why we love the guy, starting with Becky’s list…

  1. Believe it … he’s just as hot as a cross-dresser in a skirt and knee-high, high-heeled boots (Taming of the Shrew, TV, 2005) as he is in a sharp Italian suit and Persol sunglasses (Zen, TV, 2011)
  2. He is very generous with his time and attention to his fans.
  3. He has no problem baring his lovely bum (Gone to Seed, (TV 1996), Dark City (1998), Helen of Troy (1999)
  4. Because he had a leading role in one of my favorite films ever – A Knight’s Tale (2001) which also includes a hunky bonus in the form of James Purefoy.
  5. He will compel me to watch a genre I rarely, if ever watch: vampires! (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, coming in 2012).
  6. He has one of the most distinct, easy-to-listen-to voices ever (narration of 12 of Ian Fleming’s James Bonds books, among many of his voice-over projects).
  7. He has one of the best fan sites, with the best fans, with the best name: The Rooftop
  8. There’s no way you can’t fall in love with him as the benevolent Lord Marke during the Bridge scene in Tristan and Isolde (2006). And that scene is more than halfway through the film… whatever took me so long? ;-D
    ,,,

  9. He really mixes up the type characters he plays, and does them effortlessly, even though most don’t know this… everyone thinks he is only a period player or the bad guy.
  10. He’s had three films set in one of my favorite places, Italy. Dangerous Beauty (1998, Venice), The Tourist (2010, Venice)  and, of course, Zen(TV, 2011, Rome). It’s hard to think of a better combination than Rufus AND Italy.

    Rufus as Aurelio Zen

  11. Speaking of The Tourist, another classy bonus along with Ruf in the film was Timothy Dalton.
  12. Even though Eleventh Hour (TV, 2009) only lasted one season on CBS, and Ruf’s part of Dr. Jacob Hood could have had been written with more impact and emotion, I have all eighteen episodes to see him in almost every scene on DVD whenever I need another dose of Dr. Ruf.
  13. Because I’ve had the pleasure of seeing him in his very first role in a film, Twenty-One (1991). As Bobby, he’s one, very, very convincing drug addict.
  14. He has the most amazing, expressive, wide green eyes.
  15. One of his most quoted sayings is “my favorite day is a happy accident.” My favorite day was discovering Rufus!
  16. He makes me laugh out loud when he is woken from a sound sleep by the Italian prosecutor, Nadia Pirot in Zen, the Cabal episode. She asks him if she woke him, and he says, not entirely convincingly, “no, no, I just got back from the gym.”
  17. He looks protective and caring holding a newly-acquired puppy.
  18. He’s as comfortable on a theater stage as he is in a film or on TV.
  19. He can play an addict, a working-class bus driver, renaissance royalty, a Dark Ages king, an adventurous entrepreneur, a scheming knight, an inconsiderate ex-boyfriend, an early American statesman, a detached husband, a brilliant scientist, a Medieval stone mason, an honest but slightly flawed detective, and a vampire… whew!
  20. He has a wonderful sense of humor.  When asked the question, “Looking at your own life, what would most like your legacy to be? Answer: I’d like an omelet named after me.” :D
  21. He’s hot, hot, HOT in an elevator. (Taming of the Shrew, Zen)
  22. He keeps getting better with age. A very happy 44th birthday, Rufus!
  23. All right, those high check bones certainly deserve a mention. His features look as if they’re carved by Michelangelo!
  24. The soulful and emphatic way he narrated the 9/11 poem Out of the Blue
  25. He was swoon-worthy as Kate Winslet’s crush in The Holiday… he’s a cad yes, but a juicy one at that!
  26. His sexy, throaty voice to match that smouldering look.
  27. I read an article describing his character in Zen as possessing an enigmatic charisma, the same can be said about Rufus himself.
  28. I love how self-deprecating and humble he is. In his interview with Telegraph for Zen, he was asked if he fly economy? ‘Absolutely!’ he says with no hint of shame.
  29. Some men can pull off wearing eyeliners, and Rufus is one of them, as displayed in his drag outfit in BBC’s The Taming of the Shrew.
  30. I kind of like the name Rufus. It actually means “red-haired” in Latin.
  31. Speaking of hair, I LOVE his dark, wavy hair and he looks good w/ pretty much any hairstyle.
  32. Even in a brief cameo (i.e. The Tourist), he still manages to steal scenes and made even a banal movie worthwhile.
  33. He was a vile count in A Knight’s Tale but he you really can’t take your eyes off him… whenever he’s on, he made me forget about the leading man Heath Ledger.
  34. As many British actors do, he’s got stage-cred on top of his movie career. He earned rave reviews in his performance in Tom Stoppard’s Rock and Roll, which he played both at the Royal Court Theater in London and on Broadway.
  35. He looked like a Greek god in the miniseries Helen of Troy… he’s perhaps too ridiculously good looking as Agamemnon, but hey, I’m not complaining!
  36. His dark, almost exotic look makes him versatile enough to play people of different ethnic groups believably.
  37. He proves to be a capable romantic leading man in Dangerous Beauty. I’d love to see him in a sweeping period drama like that again in the future.
  38. There’s a regal air about Rufus that I don’t find in other actors of his caliber.
  39. He’s got an exquisite taste in automobile. Check him out looking like James Bond in his vintage red Alfa Romeo Spider convertible!
  40. He can pull off both a clean-cut look and a full beard one, such as the one he’s sporting in The Pillars of the Earth miniseries
  41. He was perfectly cast in one of the most underrated sci-fi, Alex Proyas’ Dark City
  42. He’s got such an expressive, melancholic eyes… perfect for romantic roles, thus I cast him as a British suitor in my fantasy romantic drama Last Voyage of the Valentina.
  43. I love his professional attitude… it’s as if no job is too small for him. No matter how low-budget the movie, he always gives his all.
  44. And lastly, since this job is not on IMDb yet, I’ll take the time to announce Rufus’ latest movie project!

    ALL THINGS TO ALL MEN
    I first heard about this project from Leo Gregory’s tweet, a British actor who has a supporting part in the film. Rufus will co-star with Gabriel Byrne and Toby Stephens in newcomer George Isaac’s directorial debut.

    According to The Hollywood Reporter, Rufus has agreed to play the maverick law enforcement official. Byrne signed on to play the sadistic crime boss. And Stephens is all set to play Riley, a criminal trying to play both sides of a dangerous situation.

    I LOVE the cast and UK crime thrillers sounds awesome!! Check out the on-set picture of Rufus in London, click on the photo to see more pics. I’ll be sure to blog about this once we hear more about this movie.


So happy, happy birthday, Rufus!! Please join me in wishing this talented actor many happy returns!

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In light of news that Gerard Butler & Sam Worthington in talks for Hunter Killer – Top Five Fave Brit/Aussie Actors Combo

Thanks to a tweet from my friend Ted, I learned that my long-time crush Gerry Butler is in negotiation to star in a submarine thriller Hunter Killer. Per LatinoReview, the movie is based on the novel, Firing Point from authors George Wallace and Don Keith, here’s the plot:

An untested submarine captain must work with a Navy SEAL team to rescue Russia’s president, who’s taken prisoner during a military coup. The two sides team to stop a rogue Russian general from igniting World War III.

Butler is in talks to play the submarine captain Joe Glass of the USS Toledo, whilst Avatar and The Debt star Sam Worthington is being pursued to take on the role of the leader of the Navy SEAL unit, Bill Beaman. Director of Training Day and Brooklyn’s Finest, Antoine Fuqua is set to direct.

Now, truth be told I’m not a huge fan of submarine thrillers. Interestingly enough, the only submarine movie I like was The Hunt for Red October which also stars another famous Scot, Sean Connery. I personally would rather see Butler in a non-military-related drama — how ’bout that Robert Burns biopic eh Gerry? — where there are more emotional eruptions than those involving weapons of any kind. But I suppose I shouldn’t complain as Butler continues to mix things up. He balances the bad-ass roles in Machine Gun Preacher and Coriolanus with a soccer comedy Playing the Field and a surfing drama Of Men and Mavericks for L.A. Confidential‘s director Curtis Hanson.

So yeah, I do like this casting combo and both are suitable for tough guy military roles. I’ve liked Worthington ever since Terminator Salvation, and though I’ve complained that he’s not expressive enough, he was rather good in The Debt and no doubt neither one of these two actors is lacking any on screen charisma. But as my friend Dezzy @ HollywoodSpy said, this better be eons better than whatever the hell Battleship is supposed to be, starring Liam Neeson and… Rihanna?? [shakes head]

Anyhoo, the news made me think of other Brit/Aussie actor combos I like in the past. I haven’t seen Warrior yet starring London-born Tom Hardy and Aussie Joel Edgerton, but I reckon that’d perhaps make my list. I think a great combo happens when both actors are able to hold their own but creates a wonderful dynamic together on-screen. Here are five that come to mind:

  • Christian Bale & Russell Crowe – 3:10 to Yuma
    I’m not even a fan of Westerns but with these two, I ended up loving this film. Crowe practically steals every scene as charming villain Ben Wade.
  • Christian Bale & Hugh Jackman – The Prestige
    I didn’t love this film the first time around, but upon second viewing I appreciated it a whole lot more. Both actors exemplify what showmanship is supposed to look like, and the twist and turns are classic Nolan.
  • Christian Bale & Heath Ledger – The Dark Knight
    Yet another film where Bale is sort of upstaged by the villain, but Ledger’s The Joker pretty much outshone everyone else in this Nolan’s Batman saga. But whenever this duo face off each other on-screen, the intensity of this already thrilling film moves up a few notches!
  • Geoffrey Rush & Colin Firth – The King Speech
    This Oscar winner should also be crowned best on-screen duo of the year as their ‘royal bromance’ is just delightful to watch! If it weren’t for Bale’s tour de force performance in The Fighter (and the fact that his win was overdue), Rush deserves to take home the statue along with Firth!
  • Russell Crowe & Paul Bettany – Master & Commander
    Yes, yes, another familiar name, but really, Crowe is easily the best Aussie imports in the biz. This isn’t exactly a ‘duo’ per se, but I feel that the compelling friendship between the captain and the doctor is what gives the movie its ‘heart.’

I realize that this list might as well be called Christian Bale and his Aussie co-stars, ahah. I think Bale is always memorable even in ‘second banana‘ roles. I’m sure there are other Brit/Aussie combos in classic movies but I’m not as familiar with that genre so folks, you’d have to help me out on that one.


Well, any thoughts on this Hunter Killer project? Please also share other Brit/Aussie duo you think deserve a mention.

Guest Post: A Birthday Tribute to James Purefoy!


James Brian Mark Purefoy is the super talented and ultra hunky British actor, and he turns 47 today, Friday, June 3. And “hunky” is not just my opinion: he was voted “Hunk of the Year” by a British television magazine in 1997. Well, as far as I’m concerned, he’s very well-preserved and deserves a “Hunk of the Year” award EVERY year  :D

He appeared on my radar about three years ago, when he had a small but significant part as the benevolent ruler King Edward, aka Sir Thomas Colville in the delightful dramedy A Knight’s Tale. It’s a movie I originally watched because of Rufus Sewell, who played the underhanded Count Adhemar, but Heath Ledger stars as the wanna-be knight referred to in the title. James started out in theater, however, joining the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1988. When perusing his IMDb page, you find out he was the king of TV movies and miniseries in his early career, appearing in no fewer than 17 between 1990 and 1997.

Purefoy in The Mayor of Casterbridge

I haven’t seen even half of all his work, but two TV movies stand out for me. In The Mayor of Casterbridge (TV 2003), he shines as a convincingly savvy 1800s businessman who helps the mayor’s business thrive. The mayor’s daughter promptly falls in love with him, and he with her, and, of course, myriad complications ensue. It’s one of the best period romance/dramas I’ve ever seen, even if it is a sleeper. He is paired in this film with two of his future co-stars. (Ciarán Hinds and Polly Walker in Rome.)

In Beau Brummel: This Charming Man (TV 2006), he plays the real-life dandy Beau Brummel, who is credited with inventing the modern men’s suit worn with a tie in the early 1800s. His extremely suave and cocky manner steals the show. Speaking of suits, ahem, James is not shy about showing off his very own “birthday” suit. He tastefully bares it all (twice) in this movie (see below) as he also does unabashedly splendidly in the HBO TV series Rome (2005 and 2007). At 6′ 2″, dark-haired and fit, his “costume” (e.g., lack of one) is certainly eye-catching. He is quick to point out that he was NOT digitally “enhanced” in his bare-all scene in Rome. “Mine’s all mine,” he says.
Speaking of the Emmy Award-winning series Rome, James ascends to glory as Roman general and politician Mark Antony and eventually falls far from it, in the end, along with Cleopatra, to the ambitious and power-hungry Octavian. He’s impressive as a fierce soldier. Take a look at this YouTube video of his penchant for fighting, tough-guy style, but making it sound amusing at the same time. And his tender side: Antony tells Cleopatra that they have no options left against Octavian, and he sheds a single tear:
I am not at all one for violence and blood, but his suicide death scene in Rome has to be one of the best of that kind I ever witnessed. He certainly brought immense dignity and pathos to it, and it’s one you’ll never forget. In 2009, JP starred in the modern-day NBC TV series The Philanthropist. He almost plays himself in this excellent, unfortunately short-lived show (8 episodes), which was shot in many locations all over the world. He also starred as the lead kick-ass fighter of evil in the 2009 film Solomon Kane, and most recently in another historical drama, Ironclad (2011).
Right now I’m looking forward to receiving the DVD of his latest BBC TV miniseries, Injustice (2011, 5 episodes), which will be released in mid June. He currently has a starring theatrical role in Terrance Rattigan’s WWII play Flare Path at the Theatre Royal Haymarket in London. Mmmmm, should I put all those frequent flyer miles to good use just to see him in person?… ever so tempting… maybe!
So James has been sneaking up on me for a while, and his immense talent and attraction was brought to its pinnacle in his character Mark Antony in Rome. And I must give thanks to the generosity of my colleague Scot, who loaned me the exquisitely packaged DVD set of all 22 episodes of both seasons.
James is extremely versatile and is capable of ANY role – good guy, bad guy. Tough, tender. Modern or back in time. Stage, small screen or big screen. Cheers to you, James, for being such an amazingly talented, beguiling and underrated actor (somehow I always like the under-appreciated ones best). If you aren’t familiar with James Purefoy yet, you should be, you won’t be disappointed.
Happy, happy birthday!

What are your favorite James Purefoy roles, movies or series? Which ones do you look forward to seeing now? Let us know.

British Acting Royalty on Harry Potter Movies: My Top Ten Favorites

Last week, Roger Ebert tweeted ‘Why haven’t Helen Mirren and Judi Dench ever made a Harry Potter film?’ Hmmm, good question, Mr. Ebert… why haven’t they? I certainly would LOVE to see both of them in at least one or two installments.

Fiennes, Bonham Carter, Gambon w/ Radclife on HP set

Then a few days later, I read a piece of news report about Harry Potter beating Star Wars as the biggest movie franchise of all time. The George Lucas sci-fi saga stands at $1.9 billion in worldwide gross over the course of six films, whilst the last six HP films have earned $1.7 billion. Given HP7′s $300+ worldwide gross just on its first weekend alone, no doubt this franchise will take the top spot way before the 2nd final installment is out next Summer.

Well, one thing for sure, I think the Harry Potter franchise has the best ensemble cast in movie history. I must admit that the supporting cast are a huge factor of what drew me in to check out HP movies in the first place. I excluded HP in my top five notable ensemble cast movies because the supporting actors don’t have equal screen time as the principal cast of Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint, but as a franchise, I can’t think of any other one that boasts THAT many award-winning British thespians (you can see all of them on Wikipedia). Nearly all of the who’s who of British cinema seem to have done a Harry Potter film. Man, how fortunate are those young actors to be working alongside such massively talented actors!

My top ten list is based on a combination of the actors’ previous work and their stellar performances in the Harry Potter movies. Here they are on alphabetical order:


Kenneth Branagh as Gilderoy Lockhart
What fun it is to see the Shakespearean actor/director hamming it up as a self-observed celeb wizard.

I first saw Branagh in Much Ado About Nothing, but he’s also known for his other Shakespeare-related work such as Hamlet, Love’s Labour’s Lost, and As You Like It. He’s one of the rare artists who’ve been Oscar-nominated for acting, writing and directing. Talk about a real triple threat! I’m looking forward to his comic-adaptation debut Thor due out next year.

Jim Broadbent as Horace E. F. Slughorn
As a Potions teacher, Slughorn was a key character in revealing who Voldemort really is and his way of attaining immortality.Broadbent is one of those character actors whose presence always add something special to any movie. He won an Oscar for his Best Supporting performance in Iris, but he was also adept in comedy, as he displayed in Moulin Rogue! and Hot Fuzz. His most recent movie Another Year has been constantly gaining positive reviews from critics and audiences alike.

Helena Bonham Carter as Bellatrix Lestrange
One of the most powerful evil witches in Voldemort’s inner circle, she’s one of the most loyal ally to the dark lord.

Having just seen her all demure and sweet in A Room with a View, it’s fascinating to see her get her freak on as Bellatrix. She’s done more than her fair share of costume dramas, hence her ‘corset queen’ nickname. But I remember her most from her contemporary fare Fight Club and her small cameo in Terminator Salvation.

Ralph Fiennes as Voldemort
Even if you have not seen a single movie, no doubt you’ve seen his nose-less, pale face spewing all kinds of evil towards Harry & his pals.One of my fave British actors, there are too many movies I remember him for. Perhaps the most iconic is his portrayal in the despicable Nazi Amon Göth in Schindler’s List, but he’s proven his versatility in other dramatic fares. The English Patient, Constant Gardener, and The Reader are just some of my faves. Can’t wait for Coriolanus!

Michael Gambon as Albus Dumbledore
The wise and caring headmaster of Hogwartz Wizarding School is perhaps one of the most sympathetic of all HP characters.To tell you the truth, I didn’t immediately warmed up to Gambon when he replaced Harris, but by the end of the 3rd film, he’s won me over. His immense theater experience is beyond impressive, but did you know he was asked by Bond producer Cubby Broccoli to audition for the 007 role to replace John Lazenby? I had no idea. Some of his memorable roles pre HP were The Insider, Gosford Park and Amazing Grace.

Richard Harris as Albus Dumbledore
The minute I saw Harris on screen leaving baby Harry upon the doorstep of the Dursley home, I thought he was perfect for the role. I also love him as Emperor Marcus Aurelius in Gladiator, Abbé Faria in The Count of Monte Cristo, as well as his earlier role in Camelot. I had no idea he could sing so well but apparently the late Irish actor was a singer-songwriter who have recorded several albums.

Gary Oldman as Sirius Black
The famed escaped prisoner of Azkaban who’s the loyal friend of Harry’s parents. There’s not many actors as freakishly talented and versatile as Mr. Oldman. I can’t remember when I first saw him, but one thing for sure, he’s always wowed me every time he’s on screen. Famous for playing dark roles (in Dracula, Leon, True Romance, Air Force One) as well as real-life characters (Sid Vicious in Sid & Nancy, Beethoven in Immortal Beloved, Lee Harvey Oswald in JFK). I love his portrayal as Commisioner Gordon in Nolan’s Batman flicks, definitely one of my fave cast of that franchise.

Alan Rickman as Severus Snape
One of the revered professors at Hogwarts, Snape is easily the most layered and complex character in the whole franchise. You never really know whether he’s good or bad and where his true loyalties lie.I’ve mentioned Mr. Rickman numerous times on my blog for good reason. Not only is he an excellent actor, he’s got that perfect, iconic voice. I practically turn giddy watching him deliver his signature inflection, especially when he’s portraying bad guys. Love him as villainous Hans Gruber (Die Hard) and hopelessly romantic Col. Brandon (Sense & Sensibility). Not to mention his hilarious turn in the sci-fi comedy Galaxy Quest.

Maggie Smith as Minerva McGonagall
The warmhearted Deputy headmistress who’s loyal to Dumbledore and his mission to protect Harry.Dame Maggie Smith is practically royalty in the acting territory. She’s won practically every major acting awards, including BAFTA, Oscar, and Golden Globes. I’m not familiar with her earlier work, but her most memorable roles to me are in A Room with a View, Gosford Park, Keeping Mum and Becoming Jane.

Emma Thompson as Sybill Trelawney
I could hardly recognize her with her frizzy hair, nerdy glasses and gypsy getup as professor of Divination. Her character is sort of a comic relief and pretty fun to watch.As Sense & Sensibility stands as my favorite film ever, I’m always grateful for Thompson’s excellent script. I also love her sensitive portrayal of Elinor Dashwood as well as her roles in Stranger than Fiction and Last Chance Harvey.

Just to go a step further, here are eight other actors (besides Dench and Mirren) I’d love to have seen in Harry Potter films: Sean Connery, Timothy Dalton, Daniel Day-Lewis, Colin Firth, Alfred Molina, Rufus Sewell, Kristin Scott Thomas, and Kate Winslet.

Well, now that’s my list, now your turn. Which British cast are your faves from Harry Potter and whom would you like to have been cast?

X-Men: First Class – The prequel I’m actually excited about!

In a world where there seems to be no cure for Hollywood’s sequelitis and remakitis, there is one prequel I’m hugely excited about! It’s definitely the one to beat in the box office come next Summer 2011 (June 3rd, 2011 to be exact, according to SuperHeroHype). I know perhaps it’s too soon to predict such a thing, but judging from the never-ending popularity of comic-book adaptation and the kind of buzz this one’s been getting, it’s not that far off.

I love the first and second installment of the movie (until Brett Ratner screwed it up), so I’m naturally drawn to this project and the idea of making a young version of the franchise is definitely appealing. But what gets me leaping out of my seat yesterday was learning about Michael Fassbender joining the cast as Magneto, the former BFF-turned-powerful-foe of Professor X and the X-Men. Earlier this month, it was widely reported that he was to choose between the powerful mutant and a yet-to-be-named villain role in the Spider-man reboot. Glad to see he has chosen wisely.

The casting of James McAvoy as Professor X instantly adds some considerable cred to this project. The 31-year-old Scot has proven his acting chops time and time again in The Last King of Scotland, Atonement, and The Last Station. But he’s also got his feet wet in full-throttle actioner like Wanted alongside Angelina Jolie, so this isn’t his first foray in comic-book adaptations. Patrick Stewart is a tough act to follow as the wise and cultured founder of the Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters (Xavier Institute) and leader of the pack, but I have faith that McAvoy will do well in that role. The SuperheroHype site offered a clue into the plot of this prequel on the auction info page that offers an exclusive tour of the set:

Before Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr took the names Professor X and Magneto, they were two young men discovering their powers for the first time. Before they were archenemies, they were closest of friends, working together, with other Mutants (some familiar, some new), to stop the greatest threat the world has ever known. In the process, a rift between them opened, which began the eternal war between Magneto’s Brotherhood and Professor X’s X-MEN.

I can’t think of a more talented and winsome actors facing off each other, exploring their initial friendship and the unfortunate incidents that lead to them choosing opposite paths. So far, the other cast members that have been announced include Rosamund Pike (Pride & Prejudice), Amber Heard (Pineapple Express), Benjamin Walker (who’s currently starring in the play Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson in his debut film role), and Kick Ass‘ Aaron Johnson rumored to play Cyclops.

I just re-watched the trailer of the first X-Men movie with my hubby and he recalled how excited we were to see it. Remember, this was back in 2000, before a throng of superhero movies popping up faster than you actually have time to watch them. The only comic-book movies were the circus-y and farcical Batman movies, topped by the abominable that was Batman & Robin [shakes head]. So to see a comic adaptation with real actors with gravitas such as Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen and treat it like a serious action drama was a welcome change.

Bryan Singer isn’t returning to direct but will act as producer to X-Men: First Class. The directorial duty will fall on London-born producer/director Matthew Vaughn (Layer Cake, Stardust), fresh out of his pretty decent success with Kick-Ass. According to IMDb, he was set to direct X-Men: The Last Stand but dropped out due to family conflicts. Pity, that might’ve turned out to be a much better movie.

London, here we come! The inevitable Britastic blog series begins today

Photo courtesy of clubquarters.com

Counting down to our London trip in less than two weeks, allow me to be a bit indulgent and in celebratory mood for a bit. From now until our departure Friday, May 7, FlixChatter will feature British-themed posts, whether it’ll be a British movie review or scene spotlight, featured posts on British filmmakers/actors, or whatever UK-related random item that comes to mind.

Hope you can stomach 10 days of all things British, there are so many British actors in Hollywood and tons of iconic scenes are set in the UK, specifically London, so the possibilities are endless.

Just for fun, here’s a scene from The World is Not Enough where the River Thames, as well as other London iconic symbols, are on full display. Surely it’s a preposterous scene, heck the entire Bond flick defies common sense (Denise Richards as a Bond girl? ’nuff said). And why in the world is Pierce Brosnan is adjusting his tie as his watercraft dives under water??! Granted it lacks the whimsy of Moonraker‘s gondola chase in Venice, though both are equally ridiculous, but it’s still pretty fun scene to watch.

I can’t wait to get on a boat tour on the Thames!

Chat-Worthy Actor: Clive Owen


This past Monday, IMDb homepage featured Clive on its actor spotlight section. As he ranks pretty high up there in my favorite actors list, I thought I’d put him on the spotlight here, too. The dashing Brit is one of those actors who despite a few lousy flicks (i.e. the preposterous Shoot ‘Em Up and the dull Duplicity), still comes out practically unscathed. IMDb’s description of him is quite fitting: Whether performing Shakespeare, driving a speeding BMW, or holding his own against mega-stars, Clive Owen has established himself as one of the most versatile actors in theater, television, and film.

Looking at his filmography, he’s got some great movies under his belt. Children of Men is destined to be a classic sci-fi drama, which remains my favorite role from the tall Brit. I also enjoyed his performance in Inside Man, King Arthur, Beyond Borders, Gosford Park, Elizabeth: The Golden Age and The International. I even enjoyed his brief appearance in the first Bourne film, Bourne Identity. Though his attempt at comedy in Greenfingers didn’t fare as well as his action/dramatic ones. His latest movie The Boys Are Back shows his tender side as a single parent raising two young boys (check out my review). He also played a dad alongside Catherine Keener in the David Schwimmer-directed indie Trust.

The first time I saw Clive might’ve been in those BMW short films The Hire, which I thought is a pretty shrewd marketing campaign that truly flaunt those coveted German automobiles. This series of eight short films (which you can watch on youtube) was released online back in 2001, featuring popular filmmakers such as John Frankenheimer, Ang Lee, Wong Kar-Wai, etc., and starring Clive as the “Driver.” Sure Jason Statham is cool in The Transporter, but Clive adds a dose of sophistication and class to his ‘cool factor.’ Despite his nonchalant demeanor, he projects a certain brand of pathos with his soulful eyes that I find incredibly attractive.

All that always brings me to this theory: Clive would make a terrific James Bond. Whenever I watched him in action flicks (and there are quite a lot of ‘em) or even the way he talks with that deep, raspy voice (always a plus!), I kept thinking how Clive would’ve fit that 007 role like a glove. He not only looks the part (tall, dark and British), he somehow epitomizes what I think the text book super spy ‘model’ is supposed to be. Ok, I know, I know, it’s really a moot point now as the actor himself don’t even want the job. He did do a parody of Bond in The Pink Panther though, which I thought is pretty amusing. On his IMDb trivia, he’s quoted as saying: “Bond was the best thing that never happened to me. I was never in the running but the more I said so, the more people thought I had it in the bag. What’s so funny about it all is my career in Britain was in really bad shape at the time, but my agents pretty much built me a new one in America by playing up all the Bond stories. All I had to do was keep on telling people I was never going to be Bond. I’d like to think I made it on talent, but it’s really just dumb luck. If I hadn’t worn that tux in Croupier, I’d still be begging for the parts Robson Green turned down on cop shows.”

Oh well, at least we have those BMW films to watch Clive looking very Bond-like and wish I could take a ride with him in those ultimate driving machines… well, then again maybe not. Just take a peek at this one called Star and you’ll know what I mean. Directed by Guy Ritchie and starring his own ex-missus Madonna, I bet he’d get a kick out of this one even more now.

Now, this action-packed one called Ticker with Don Cheadle and Ray Liotta is also worth checking out, it’s easily my favorite one of the series:


Updated 10/3:

I hope to see Clive in leading roles again as he’s more versatile than Hollywood gives him credit for. Now that I’ve seen a bit more of his work, I can say that I like him in dramatic roles as much as his more action-packed roles. So here are my top five favorite Clive Owen roles so far:

  • Theo Faron – Children of Men
  • Mac – Shadow Dancer
  • Louis Salinger – The International
  • Sir Walter Raleigh – Elizabeth: The Golden Age
  • Joe Warr – The Boys Are Back

Are you a fan of Clive? What’s your favorite Clive Owen movie(s)?

Why the Brits/Aussies will always rule US TV

David TennantUpon learning this news that David Tenant — the popular star of BBC’s Dr. Who — will be a part of the Peacock network, I thought I’d resurrect my old post I did back in June. Funny how things haven’t changed one bit since then. Brits/Aussies still very much saturate our shows. Just this Fall, another Brit Joseph Fiennes —who’s most famous role is playing the Bard himself in Shakespeare in Love — is starring in ABC’s new drama Flash Forward. So the Scottish star’s foray into American TV is hardly surprising. According to THR, he’ll have his debut as the title character in NBC’s hourlong pilot Rex Is Not Your Lawyer. It centers on Rex Alexander (Tennant), a top Chicago litigator who begins suffering panic attacks and takes up coaching clients to represent themselves in court. So I’m guessing he’d have to adopt a Chicagoan accent? Bummer, I wish these Brits – and Aussies too for that matter — could just keep their own accent. I mean, LOTS of real people living in the US retain their native accents (me included).

Anyhoo, here’s what I wrote back in June:

If you watch just enough TV (or in my case, read a lot about what’s on the telly but don’t actually watch them), it’s hard to deny that the Brits/Aussies are a mainstay in our living room. We can argue the same case with Hollywood that’s pretty much overrun by foreign actors (case in point: last year’s Oscar winners consist of one Aussie actor, a British and Spanish actress, and a British director (whose film Slumdog Millionare won Best Film). That’s just the major contenders!

Now, as in the case of TV, it’s as if we’re seeing more and more foreign actors playing Americans, which begs the question: what gives? Truthfully, I’m often astounded that upon hearing some actors speak in interviews, I suddenly realize they aren’t Americans. Then I get annoyed that the producers don’t just let them use their own adorable accent and play their own nationality on TV. For some reason, they HAVE to make them play Americans–which they often do a darn decent job on–but sheesh, what a pity! I personaly would rather listen to their native tounge any day!

Take Jamie Bamber who plays hunky Lee ‘Apollo’ Adama in Battlestar Galactica. I was flabbergasted when I first heard his very thick British accent on the behind-the-scenes stuff, as he pulled off such a natural American accent on screen! I’m sure most people feel the same way about Hugh Laurie, who plays that callous-but-intriguing doctor in House (whom I already knew was a Brit from Sense & Sensibility). Another example is Sophia Myles of the now-cancelled Moonlight, she has a super thick British accent in real life but her American accent is down-right flawless! Aussies seem to have equal knack for faking American accents, as displayed by Simon Baker in The Mentalist and my personal fave, Alex O’Loughlin in Moonlight. And the list goes on.

Bending accents aside, what these Brit/Aussie actors also have in spades is talent. Now, I’m not saying the home-grown ones are lousy performers, but there’s just something beguiling about expat actors that I can’t put my finger on. Perhaps it’s in the water somehow that they’re ‘born’ to be that good, or perhaps they just work harder to perfect their craft? Most of them admit that they feel lucky to be able to work in Hollywood. Frankly, the film industry in their home countries are nowhere near as robust as the US counterpart in producing dozens of shows a year. And there are only so many period dramas an actor can be involved in one lifetime (as BBC is known to make way more than one can count!). Whatever the case may be, I for one welcome the fact that foreign actors are here to stay.

Here’s the ten-best list of notable expats on TV (from current and past seasons) who play Americans convincingly:

Aussies:

1. Alex O’LoughlinMoonlight, Three Rivers, Hawaii Five-O, CBS

2. Simon BakerThe Mentalist, CBS

3. Julian McMahonNip/Tuck, Showtime

4. Toni ColetteUnited States of Tara, Showtime

5. Poppy MontgomeryWithout a Trace, CBS

6. Anthony LaPagliaWithout a Trace, CBS

7. Rachel GriffithsSix Feet Under, HBO

8. Jesse SpencerHouse, NBC

9. Christopher EganKings, NBC

10. Rose Byrne, Damages, USA

….
Brits (Irish, English, Scottish):

1. Hugh LaurieHouse, NBC

2. Jamie BamberBattlestar Galactica, SciFi

3. Sophia MylesMoonlight, CBS

4. Jason O’MaraLife on Mars, ABC

5. Rufus Sewell - Eleventh Hour, CBS

6. Matthew RhysBrothers & Sisters, ABC

7. Johnny Lee MillerEli  Stone, ABC

8. Dominic WestThe Wire, HBO

9. Ian McShane - Kings, NBC

10. Lena HeadeyThe Sarah Connor Chronicles, FOX


Honorable mention: Stephen Moyer
with his Southern drawl in True Blood

Now, who’s had you fooled so far?

Good news for Richard Armitage fans!

Richard as John Thornton

Richard as John Thornton

With all the sci-fi stuff swirling around in my head ever since District 9, I just had to take a break and watch something entirely different. As you know, my taste in movies span across genres, and one of my all time favorite period film is Elizabeth Gaskell’s novel adaptation North & South. Thanks to a Youtube clip I found randomly (oh how I survived without that site before I’ll never know), I immediately rented it and had to have it for my collection. Set in the mid-19th century, the story exposes the industrial North and its conflicts from its heroine Margaret Hale’s point of view, an outsider from the South. But the heart of it is a love story between its Margaret and the dashing mill owner John Thornton, much like Pride & Prejudice where the lovebirds didn’t get off on the right foot from the start.

This is the movie where I discovered British actor Richard Armitage, who played the role of John Thornton so brilliantly mesmerizing it made Colin Firth’s Darcy as exciting as an A&E Saturday afternoon special. No offense to Mr. Firth, though he never did tickled my fancy, but Richard’s gaze and gravely voice definitely give his Darcy a serious run for his money.

In my previous post, I suggested Richard for the role of  futuristic Robin Hood, having just played his nemesis Guy of Gisborne in the BBC series about the medieval hero. Now that series’ run has ended, his IMDB profile still doesn’t list any future project in the works for him. But perusing his forum did produce a glimmer of hope! A director/producer by the name of Mike Ogden is currently producing a film called Charlie, and Richard’s been tapped as the lead. Check out the premise:

Southern Italy, 1943. An on the run Allied prisoner of war – Charlie – encounters Marco, the teenage son of an executed partisan leader, out for revenge. Charlie wants nothing to do with Marco or his friends who have also run away. As the German commander ‘Schwarz’ ruthlessly sweeps the valley searching for him, Charlie finds he has to rely on the help of the children to survive until Marco discovers Charlie’s secret, one that could tear their fragile trust apart.

According to its official site, pre production will start in October 2009 with filming taking place during January/February 2010 in Italy.

All I can say is hurray!! I hope this will find a distributor in the US, but even if it’s released on DVD, it’s better than nothing. Oh well, I guess that’s what happens when your taste run in the obscure when it comes to actors. I found Gerry Butler far more intriguing when he was lesser-known. I did wish one day people will discover him and I wouldn’t have to search hard and might just to find a picture of him in a magazine. Oh well, be careful what you wish for I guess.

In the meantime ladies, here’s a clip of Richard as the fabulous John Thornton for your (and my) amusement:

Hollywood Casting News: Flixchatter highlights

When I was little, every time the inevitable “what do you want to be when you grow up?” question came up, I always answered with all the tenacity a teeny girl I could muster: a screenwriter. A rather unusual reply for a wee kid barely able to scribble a decent sentence, let alone a paragraph. But come to think of it, you know what would be a fantastic job to have? Casting director! I mean, imagine how fun it’d be going to work every day looking at scripts and study the characters, and figure out who’s best fit this role or that role. Of course it’s not as easy and glamorous as it seems, and I presume it can be as stressful as any job, but how gratifying it would be when the person you hire — and fight for with all your might to get him/her cast in a certain project — ends up winning an award or become an unlikely movie star! (I always wonder how Robert Pattinson’s casting director feels with all the frenzy surrounding that previously obscure kid actor).

In any case, as such dream job is definitely out of the realm of possibility, I settle for just reading about casting updates. Here’s some of the highlights this past week:

  • Jackman the AVON MAN?

    If he's selling it, I'd definitely be an AVON customer =)

    Variety: Hugh Jackman has joined the cast of Avon Man. Now, don’t worry, it’s not exactly another super hero flick. It’s billed as a Monty Phyton-ish comedy about a group of men laid off from an auto dealership (how timely!). One of them, presumably Jackman’s character, is reluctantly recruited into becoming an Avon salesman. Although the experience is initially emasculating, he uses his charm and good looks to become a top seller and even manage to compell his buddies to join him in the makeup business in order to win a regional sales contest. I laughed so hard just reading the premise, with Jackman’s charm and showmanship, this sounds like a winner!

  • Digital Spy reported that Colin Farrell has been tipped to replace Johnny Depp as Toby Grisoni in Terry Gilliam’s long-awaited Don Quixote movie. The film, initially titled The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, originally started filming in October 2000, but it was abandoned after a series of on-set mishaps. I wonder if the fact that both Depp and Farrell are in Gilliam’s upcoming film The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus might have something to do with the casting switch.
  • I didn’t even know they’re making this film, but apparently it was to star Penn, Benicio del Toro and Jim Carrey. What a strange threesome indeed. But Chron Entertainment reported that Jim Carrey has walked away from the Farrelly brothers’ upcoming remake of The Three Stooges. He was expected to take on the role of Curly, but according to The Boston Globe, Peter Farrelly has confirmed he is no longer involved in the project. Allegedly, Giamatti has now been confirmed to fill the role vacated by Sean Penn (???!!), who quit the film earlier this year citing personal reasons. Well, who’d have thought Penn would ever be interested in a Three Stooges movie!
  • Variety: Frank Langella will join the cast of Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps, that’ll be directed by Oliver Stone. Michael Douglas will reprise his Oscar-winning Gordon Gekko role. Langella is in talks to play Lewis Zabel, an old-time broker who mentors Shia LaBeouf’s character, a young Wall Street broker. Ok, that’s my cue that I’ve got to watch the original movie soon.
  • Variety: Sam Worthington is in talks to join Charlize Theron in The Tourist, a remake of the 2005 French thriller Anthony Zimmer that will be directed by Bharat Nalluri (Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day). Theron is set to play a female Interpol agent who uses an American tourist in an attempt to flush out an elusive criminal who was once her lover. Worthington is replacing Tom Cruise who dropped out of the project (yay!). Wow, whoever this Aussie actor’s agent is, he/she’s one busy bee!