Monday, January 14, 2013

For Carrie Bradshaw, Success Is in the Bag

Paint splatters may have been tacky on your friends’ prom tuxedos, but on teenager Carrie Bradshaw’s black leather bag, the effect is totally rad.

To salvage the memento of her late mother after it is accidentally ruined by her bratty little sis, Carrie breaks out the nail polish, and voila:  it’s Jackson Pollock meets Stephen Sprouse.  The effect is so striking that, in the series’ premiere episode tonight (at 8PM Eastern), the bag soon attracts the interest of an editor at Interview, and catapults Connecticut Carrie into her iconic Manhattan milieu.

"I had been thinking about interesting ways to develop Carrie’s character and the loss of her mother," explains The Carrie Diaries' creator Amy B. Harris.  "I started thinking, what would her mother have left her that would have been meaningful to her?  I started thinking a purse would be great -- but what if it were to get ruined?"

Harris says her show partnered with the leather goods company Mark Cross, whose purses provided the perfect classic backdrop for Carrie’s avant garde artwork.  "We went to them and asked, 'Would you ever consider giving us two purses we could splatter with paint?'  They just relaunched in the last couple of years, and they were the bags that Grace Kelly used.  So we really felt it was a completely appropriate match of brand and story."

"We asked them to build leather copies of the bag on cardboard, and we created about 50 versions, to make sure we got it perfect,” Harris remembers.  “We ended up putting so much energy and emphasis on it, the purse felt like the last character in the show.”

Sunday, January 13, 2013

More "Lies" to Come

As PR executive Marty Kaan on Showtime’s House of Lies, which returns tonight at 10 PM for its second season, Don Cheadle is a sublime slime. (Make that an Emmy-nominated sublime slime!)

But in the current Iron Man film series, Cheadle’s James ‘Rhodey’ Rhodes uses the powers from his War Machine suit only for good.  And the versatile actor was nominated for an Oscar for his 2004 role as Paul Rusesabagina, a noble African innkeeper rescuing Tutsi refugees from genocide in Hotel Rwanda.

In the fall of ‘92, the now 48-year-old Kansas City native had checked guests into a much cheerier establishment in Miami, making his series regular debut as put-upon desk clerk Roland Wilson on CBS’ Golden Girls much maligned sequel sitcom, Golden Palace.  Today, Palace producer Tony Thomas looks back on the casting which helped launch the lauded actor's career.  “Don Cheadle is a brilliant actor whom I’ve often seen since, and said, ‘I’m so sorry we gave you that material.’”

At the time, Thomas worried he might have ruined Cheadle’s career.


Monday, January 7, 2013

Kathy Griffin Talks About Cher Turning Back Time

Kathy Griffin at
NBC Universal's
TCA cocktail party
in Pasadena, CA
January 6, 2013
Over the weekend at the Television Critics Association (TCA) convention in Pasadena, Logo made a big announcement.  You remember Logo -- the once specifically gay network no one watched, that then took a step back into the closet to become that network that everyone knows is gay yet won't just come out and say it?  Logo, you're fooling no one -- especially when your admittedly very exciting big announcement is that you're working with the most fabulous of gay icons in existence, Cher.

The network's development exec Brent Zacky announced a new series to be produced by Cher and her onetime boyfriend, writer Ron Zimmerman, set in '60s Hollywood.  That's right, Cher is indeed Turning Back Time, to the era when "I've Got You, Babe" topped the charts -- and I can't wait to see the result.

Another gay icon with high hopes for Cher's project is her gal pal Kathy Griffin, who showed up at last night's NBC Universal TCA party to promote the January 10 return of her talk show Kathy on Bravo (you know, the even more gay network.)  Kathy's the one who alerted the world to a true problem:  celebrities like her and Cher do not know how to order their own pizza.

I asked Kathy if she thought Cher might fare better at the computer keyboard.  "First of all, can you imagine, -- Cher, being on Logo?  What a shock!" Kathy joked.  But seriously, she noted, Cher lived through those '60s days, and will definitely have interesting things to say about them.

"That's the great thing about Cher.  She really owns who she is, and she speaks freely about her life, and we love her candor," Kathy added.  "You can ask her questions about her life, and I think the first time I hung out with her, she was talking to me about Sonny and Bob Mackie.  I like people like that.  She's very genuine, and that's why we love her."