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Warner Bros. TV stars gather to celebrate Paley Center exhibit

Television: Out of the Box

Joshua Jackson, Patricia Heaton, James Lafferty, Frenchie Davis, Ben McKenzie, Michael Richards: What do they all have in common? They’re all stars of hit Warner Bros.-produced TV shows, and they were all at the Paley Center for Media on Thursday night.

Executives and cast members from more than 30 past and present TV shows gathered at the Beverly Hills museum to celebrate  "Television: Out of the Box," a new exhibition featuring props and costumes from Warner Bros. shows.

Walking a multi-colored carpet resembling TV color bars, the stars talked to reporters before passing a gathering of fans at the end of the press line. Teenage girls in the crowd were fanning themselves after meeting "The Vampire Diaries" star Paul Wesley. But many of the biggest TV fans at the event were the guests of honor themselves, including "The Big Bang Theory" actress Melissa Rauch.

"When I started on the carpet, I saw a 'Family Matters' cast member, and I have to say, I shouted out 'Eddie Winslow!' like a junior high fan girl from the 1990s,” Rauch told Ministry of Gossip at the event.

Rauch, who plays Bernadette on "The Big Bang Theory," was eager to see items in the exhibit from "Friends," "Gilmore Girls" and "Wonder Woman." She was also pleased to hear that a memorable prop from her sitcom made it into the show’s display: the giant portrait Amy gave to Penny (depicting the faces of their real-life counterparts, Mayim Bialik and Kaley Cuoco) earlier this season.

"The three of us –- Kaley, myself and Mayim –- they unveiled it to us at the same time. We could not stop laughing," Rauch said of first seeing the painting on set. "We all wanted copies for our home, so I’m happy it ended up here so we don’t have to do a tug of war over it."

"Southland" actor Dorian Missick said visiting the exhibition was "kind of a throwback to my early days as an actor in the '80s," when he frequently visited the Museum of the Moving Image in New York City.

"I’m excited about [this exhibition] because I'm a fan. I still look at the shows as a fan. I watch our show as a fan," Missick said.

McKenzie, whose shows "The O.C." and "Southland" are represented, looked forward to seeing the display from "The Dukes of Hazzard."

"The Mentalist" actress Amanda Righetti said, "I grew up watching the Looney Tunes. I know it sounds really silly, but I'm really curious to see some of the animation work.” A section devoted to WB cartoons features original animation art.

Items from shows including "Gossip Girl," "ER," "Full House," "Entourage" and "Supernatural" are also on display. As for props that didn't make it up front, fans should rest assured that the Paley Center has plans to routinely rotate in new items from Warner Bros.’ collection.

But of course, there are props that now live in the homes of various actors –- Lafferty told Ministry of Gossip that he has a few Ravens basketball jerseys from "One Tree Hill" mounted on his wall, and Richards said he took home Kramer's shoes from "Seinfeld."

A long timeline now covers one Paley Center wall, tracking the history of Warner Bros.' TV shows. Knowing that "One Tree Hill" has a place there and in WB history, Lafferty said, "there’s a sense of pride that comes with that. … It’s one of those things that you always hope to be a part of."

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— Emily Rome

Photo: "Fringe" star Joshua Jackson, left, Warner Bros. Television President Peter Roth, Warner Bros. Chairman and Chief Executive Barry Meyer, "The Mentalist" star Amanda Righetti and Warner Bros. Television Group President Bruce Rosenblum. Credit: Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.


Scarlett Johansson: I was 'burdened' as my 'Avengers' character

Scarlett Johansson at "The Avengers" premiere

Scarlett Johansson has made it clear that the physical preparation for "The Avengers" was no easy feat. In the superhero film, she dons a skin-tight body suit as undercover agent Black Widow -- something she put on after months of grueling workouts and stunt training. 

But getting into the mind-set of the dark character was no easy job either, Johansson said on the red carpet at the film's Hollywood premiere Wednesday night.

"The character is awesome because she's a mercenary -- there's no funny business," the 27-year-old explained. "So just being a mercenary -- how do you get to that place? You have to be so burdened."

Johansson is only one of a handful of A-list stars featured in "The Avengers," which brings together Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth and Jeremy Renner. Despite the big-name cast, director Joss Whedon said, there were no divas on set.

"These guys, they like each other, and they protect each other on a story level," the filmmaker said. "When they all get together, my biggest problem is getting them to stop giggling. I had to yell. I was like a schoolmarm."

"The Avengers" hits U.S. theaters May 4.

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-- Amy Kaufman
twitter.com/AmyKinLA

Photo: Scarlett Johansson at "The Avengers" premiere. Credit: Matt Sayles / Associated Press


'Hunger Games' actors talk race, weight at Kids' Choice Awards

Amandla Stenberg signs "The Hunger Games" autographs

"The Hunger Games" has dominated the box office for two consecutive weekends now -- but with that success has come some vitriol from critics of Suzanne Collins' beloved young adult series.

Last week, stars Lenny Kravitz and Amandla Stenberg found themselves the subjects of some vicious attacks from fans questioning why the filmmakers cast black actors in those roles. The character Stenberg plays, the wide-eyed Rue, has "dark brown skin and eyes" in Collins' book.

Despite the critiques, the 13-year-old actress was all smiles at the Kids' Choice Awards on Saturday, and said she's appreciated all the support she's received from fans during the last week. She even got a message from an unexpected supporter: M.C. Hammer.

"He said, 'Respect for the people!'" Amandla said with a smile.

Oh, but that's not all some "Hunger Games" viewers are in a tizzy about. A slew of reviewers have criticized Jennifer Lawrence and the rest of the cast for not looking "hungry" enough in the film.

"A few years ago Ms. Lawrence might have looked hungry enough to play Katniss, but now, at 21, her seductive, womanly figure makes a bad fit for a dystopian fantasy about a people starved into submission," said Manohla Dargis of the New York Times.

Dayo Okeniyi, who plays the character Thresh, called that sentiment "beyond ridiculous."

"Suzanne Collins said in an interview, if Josh [Hutcherson] was blue and came from Mars, she would still cast him in this movie because his soul is the soul of Peeta," the actor said on the orange carpet. "I wish all movies were cast like that."

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-- Amy Kaufman

twitter.com/AmyKinLA

Photo: Amandla Stenberg signs autographs at the Grove. Credit: Kevin Winter / Getty Images


James Cameron travels between worlds to 'Titanic 3-D' premiere

James Cameron signs autographs at the "Titanic 3-D" premiere

James Cameron went from complete isolation seven miles under the sea Monday to the cameras and crowds of the "Titanic 3-D" premiere in London on Tuesday, sharing the red carpet with lovely creature Kate Winslet after leaving the tiny shrimp-like critters that had been his only visible companions at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean's Mariana Trench.

The 1997 film, which won 11 Oscars, including best picture, is being re-released in 3-D around the 100th anniversary of the Titanic's doomed maiden voyage, which ended with the ship's sinking on April 15, 1912.

"One of the reasons I made 'Titanic' was that I was fascinated by deep sea exploration," the director told reporters at the premiere, held at the Royal Albert Hall. "It was an opportunity to dive in a submarine very deep at that time."

PHOTOS: 'Titanic 3-D' red carpet premiere

"The 3-D enriches all of 'Titanic's' most thrilling moments and its most emotional moments,” said Cameron, who attended with wife Suzy Amis on his arm. "It kicks the whole experience up to another level.”

Winslet, who starred with Leonardo DiCaprio in the movie, joked that she would rather look away than see herself nude in 3-D.

"I'm not going to look, I'll be in the bar by that point," she said.

Cameron has visited the wreck of Titanic, around 12,600 feet below the sea, 35 times in his history of 72 deep-sea submersible dives.

On Monday, more than 36,000 feet undersea, "My feeling was one of complete isolation from all of humanity,” Cameron told reporters shortly after the dive. "I felt like I literally, in the space of one day, had gone to another planet and come back. It's been a very surreal day."

Other cast members spotted at the premiere included Billy Zane, Bill Paxton, Frances Fisher, Rochelle Rose, Jason Barry and Bernard Hill, who played ship Capt. Edward James Smith.

"Titanic 3-D" opens April 4 in U.S. theaters. 

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— Christie D'Zurilla
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo: Director James Cameron signs autographs for fans as he attends the premiere of "Titanic 3-D" at the Royal Albert Hall in London on Tuesday. Credit: Andy Rain / EPA

 


'American Reunion' premiere: The gang's all here, one more time

American Reunion premiered in Hollywood on Monday

The cast of "American Pie" knows what a lot of people think when they hear that the gang from the 1999 teen classic is reuniting for yet another spin-off of the franchise: "Really? 'American Pie' again?"

At least that was actor Eddie Kaye Thomas' reaction to the news that Universal wanted to bring back the gang for "American Reunion," which hits theaters Friday and premiered Monday night at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood.

"That's probably not a good idea. Let's leave well enough alone," the actor recalled of his initial response.

After all, there have already been a handful of "American Pie" installments in recent years -- the second of which was the most successful. Two sequels hit theaters with the same cast, but then there were the four direct-to-DVD titles that followed featuring lesser-known actors.

Alyson Hannigan, the "How I Met Your Mother" star who in the movie plays the wife of Jason Biggs' character, said she liked the idea of a reunion but "worried that it wasn't going to be as good" as the first film.

"My favorite was always the original one, so I was just concerned," said the actress, who showed off her growing baby bump on the red carpet.

She and the rest of the cast said they were swayed into jumping back on board because of the quality of the "American Reunion" script, which tells the story of -- shocker -- the gang returning to its hometown to attend a high school reunion. The franchise also held a lot of sentimental value for its stars, since "American Pie" launched many of their careers in Hollywood.

Chris Klein, for one, said that when he landed the role of Oz more than a decade ago, he had "just enough money to last in this town for two more weeks."

"I was auditioning for acting roles, and I got cast in the very first 'American Pie,' which means I got to stay here," he said with a grin.

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-- Amy Kaufman

twitter.com/AmyKinLA

Photo: Thomas Ian Nicholas, from left, Seann William Scott, Jason Biggs, Eddie Kaye Thomas and Chris Klein at the premiere of "American Reunion." Credit: Kevin Winter / Getty Images


'21 Jump Street': With Tatum and Hill, 'All the hotness is here'

Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill at the premiere of 21 Jump Street

Last year, Jonah Hill established that he had dramatic acting chops in "Moneyball," as his supporting role in the baseball film earned him an Oscar nomination. This year, the actor's "21 Jump Street" costar Channing Tatum is out to prove the opposite: That he can crack a joke.

Hill, who co-wrote the story that plays off of the '80s television series that launched Johnny Depp's career, said he intentionally sought out Tatum for the movie because the actor didn't have a comedic background.

"I wanted someone in the part who didn't come from doing a lot of comedies so it would feel fresh to people to see someone do something they've never done before," he explained on the red carpet at the film's Tuesday night premiere in Hollywood.

"I got that opportunity last year with 'Moneyball,' and I was so happy with the way it turned out that I wanted to do that for somebody else."

Tatum, who grew up watching the TV show every Friday night with his sister, said the project intrigued him because it was a "complete departure" from the program he knew and loved.

"The show is like a very serious drama, and ours is 'Bad Boys' meets a John Hughes movie," Hill added.

In the movie, the actors are Jenko and Schmidt, two inept cops who are sent by a harsh police captain, played by Ice Cube, on an undercover mission to bust a high school drug ring.

Asked why he believed this is the right time to bring back "21 Jump Street," Ice Cube had this to say: "Jonah's ready to do it, you know what I mean? He's hot. Channing's hot. I'm hot. All the hotness is here."

"21 Jump Street" opens Friday.

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Photo: Channing Tatum, left, and Jonah Hill at the premiere of "21 Jump Street." Credit: Kevin Winter / Getty Images


'The Hunger Games' premiere: Live streaming from the red carpet [Video]

"The Hunger Games": Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth. Click to see more cast members

"The Hunger Games" premiere is upon us, and the Ministry has good news: The live-stream viewing odds are in your favor.

Watch the red carpet, live streaming in the video below, for star arrivals at Los Angeles' Nokia Plaza at L.A. Live. Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth and Josh Hutcherson will all be present for the world premiere.

Also expect supporting cast members, including Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz, Woody Harrelson, Donald Sutherland and Stanley Tucci.

PHOTOS: 'The Hunger Games' premiere

"Games" has created quite a stir in the past weeks, as fan anticipation has transformed the premiere venue into an exciting camp known as "The Hob," named for the fictional black market where Lawrence's Katniss Everdeen sells the fruits of her hunting trips.

Over the weekend, Lawrence herself visited camped-out fans, 400 of whom were lucky enough to nab wristbands granting access to viewing bleachers and the world premiere screening. 

Catch the full red carpet arrivals beginning at 5:30 p.m. PDT, and stay with the Ministry for full coverage!

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— Matt Donnelly
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Photo: Jennifer Lawrence, left, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth kick off "The Hunger Games'" mall tour at Westfield Century City on March 3. Credit: Jesse Grant / Getty Images.



Oscars 2012: Kenneth Branagh on some great expectations

Kenneth Branagh knows all too well the burden that comes with playing multiple Oscar winner Laurence Olivier — and then earning an Oscar nomination for that work.

"Laurence was a great academy icon, he won best actor with 'Hamlet,' he won best picture with 'Hamlet' ...," he said Sunday before the Academy Awards. "This community knows his work very well. High expectations of anyone who would try and play him.

To Branagh, who notched a supporting actor nod for "My Week With Marilyn," walking down that red carpet in Hollywood was in a sense walking the same path trod by Olivier and Marilyn Monroe.

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"It feels like a bit of a completion of that journey into showbiz past."

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Jessica Chastain: Grandma calmed her down at the Oscars

Jessica Chastain

Jessica Chastain — who appeared in a whopping six releases last year, "The Help" and "The Tree of Life" among them — still felt like the new girl in town Sunday as she made her way down the Oscars red carpet.

"It's incredible.... It's something that I always dreamed about. It kind of actually means that I'm doing it," Chastain said, taking in her surroundings.

"I've wanted to be an actor and now it's like, 'Wow, I'm at the Oscars. This is great,'" said the supporting actress nominee, whose "Help" costar Octavia Spencer wound up taking home the trophy.

"I'm with my grandma and so that calms me down a bit because it reminds me to see it all through her eyes."

 

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— Amy Kaufman

Photo: Jessica Chastain on the Oscars red carpet Sunday. Credit: Joel Ryan / Associated Press

 


Oscars 2012: Milla Jovovich explores Oscar's 'city'

Milla Jovovich had an apt comparison for her first trip to the Oscars on Sunday: "It's like a really condensed Cannes," she said on the red carpet in Hollywood.

The French film festival destination is a whole city, she said, but the Academy Awards setup was "almost like a whole city's worth of press. ... It's absolutely stunning to see it all come together.

"It's very exciting to be here as a presenter," she said before noting that she'd like to run into anyone from "The Help," or perhaps Berenice Bejo from "The Artist."

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Oscars 2012: What was Billy Crystal's lamest joke? [Poll]

 

Billy CrystalThe reviews of pinch-hit Oscar host Billy Crystal, who replaced Eddie Murphy when he bolted with producer Brett Ratner, were mixed. Detractors said a little Borscht Belt schtick went a long way, while supporters thought Crystal brought some sharp wit to the proceedings.

As The Times' Greg Braxton reported, the evening had its share of uncomfortable moments and instances of what appeared to be cultural insensitivity. And Crystal quickly came under fire in social media for a couple of his bits.

Among them:

Crystal appeared in blackface as Sammy Davis Jr. during the show’s opening film montage. Crystal as Davis Jr. — a throwback to his days on “Saturday Night Live” — parodied Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris" with Justin Bieber.

Crystal joked shortly after Octavia Spencer's supporting actress win for “The Help” that he loved the film so much he came out of the theater wanting to hug the first black woman he saw. “Which, from Beverly Hills," he quipped, "is about a 45-minute drive.”

PHOTOS: Red carpet arrivals | Quotes | Winners | Best & Worst


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