Category: Joy Press

Everything you need to know about 'Game of Thrones' but were afraid to ask

Of course, we couldn't tell you everything about “Game of Thrones,” even if we wanted to. The series finally premieres on HBO Sunday, after months of interviews and posters and sneak previews and food trucks.

Skeptics wonder how highbrow HBO viewers will take to a grand, faux-medieval 10-part fantasy saga -– even one with extremely high production values and showrunners who met while getting master’s degrees in Irish literature. Sure, HBO has had genre success with “True Blood,” but the no-such-thing-as-a-smart-vampire-show argument had been busted years before by “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” Epic fantasy may remain a harder sell for adults who can’t imagine finding the complexity of “The Sopranos” or “The Wire” amid heraldry and swordplay.

But Sean Bean, who stars as the lordly Ned Stark in “GoT” and also played Boromir in “Lord of the Rings,” tells The Times that the HBO series is a much darker, more adult work than viewers might expect.

" 'Lord of the Rings' was more magical and ephemeral and this fantasy conflict between clear good and clear evil,” Bean said. “This is much more disturbing.” He goes on to describe “Game of Thrones” as “like a gangster movie and there’s a lot of subtle and scary language, a lot of men of power who are watching each other and plotting in this nest of vipers.”

In her review of the series, The Times' Mary McNamara suggests that we shouldn’t let the numerous beheadings and vast helpings of non-missionary position sex deter us. (As if it would?)

“Game of Thrones,” she writes, “quickly becomes a great and thundering series of political and psychological intrigue bristling with vivid characters, cross-hatched with tantalizing plotlines and seasoned with a splash of fantasy.” Although there are visual cues familiar from genre films and TV, “it is revelation of character rather than the clank of broadsword or the tumult of hooves that makes 'Game of Thrones' epic television.”

One potential problem for those who haven’t read the George R.R. Martin books on which the series is based: keeping track of the many characters and their tangled relationships. Check out this handy "Game of Thrones" Cheat Sheet, which clearly lays out the central characters and helps distinguish Lannisters from Starks. 

-- Joy Press


Recap of 'Game of Thrones': Direwolf plushtoys for everyone!

Television review: "Game of Thrones"

"Game of Thrones" Cheat Sheet

Sean Bean: Life keeps putting a sword in my hand

An interview with "Game of Thrones" showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss

"Game of Thrones" author feuds with "Lost" showrunner Damon Lindelof

Tweeter's Digest: The week in TV tweets, from escaped snakes to April fools

Colfer In Tweeter's Digest, we round up some of the events of the week as seen through the Twitter feeds of TV personalities. In previous editions, celebs have come together over some major issues, from Charlie Sheen  to the earthquake and tsunami in Japan to star feuds.

This week is much more of a free-for-all, but there are still some common topics concerning celebs: "Glee"'s Chris Colfer worried about the snake that escaped from the Bronx Zoo, as did Stephen Colbert and "No Ordinary Family" star Julie Benz.The negotiations over the future of "Mad Men" (and Matt Weiner's reported $10 million per episode salary) preoccupied Mindy Kaling of "The Office" and "Lost" creator Damon Lindelof.

Meanwhile, reality TV reigned as folks like Sandra Bernhard, Rosie O'Donnell and Eliza Dushku of "Dollhouse" rooted for Kirstie Alley on "Dancing With the Stars," while Sarah Silverman and "Modern Family" star Jesse Tyler Ferguson supported Casey Abrams on "American Idol," and Carrie Ann Inaba got engaged on live TV.

And Charlie Sheen? He's still running for Twit of the year.

-- Joy Press


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Tweeter's Digest: Meltdowns, mourning and feuds in this week's celebrity Twitter round-up

Kirstie In Tweeter's Digest, we round up some of the events of the week as seen through the Twitter feeds of TV personalities. Celebs have finally gotten past the unifying topics of the last few weeks -- Charlie Sheen and the earthquake and tsunami in Japan -- and many have turned their attention back where it belongs: themselves. 

Of course, there were some water-cooler subjects to bring people together: the week started with "Seinfeld's" Jason Alexander (@ijasonalexander) and "Bones" producer Hart Hanson (@harthanson) weighing in on the mini-feud between James Franco and Oscar writer Bruce Vilanch, and ended with Kirstie Alley and George Lopez trading Twitter barbs after Lopez insulted her on his show. 

In between, Donald Glover of "Community" (@donaldglover) had some fun with Chris Brown's meltdown  on "GMA," "The Office" showrunner Michael Schur (@kentremendous) campaigned for Steve Carrell to get an Emmy, Michael Chiklis (@michaelchiklis) of "No Ordinary Family" and "The Shield" worried about Japan's nuclear reactors and Elizabeth Taylor was mourned by many.


Tweeter's Digest archive

-- Joy Press

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Tweeter's Digest: Celebs tweet about Japan and other kinds of disasters

Situation Tweeter's Digest rounds up the events of the week as seen through the Twitter feeds of TV personalities. Over the last few weeks, the main topic that united celebs was Charlie Sheen.

This week began with horror and sympathy for the people of Japan dealing with the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami. But attention also wandered to "Jersey Shore" star the Situation (@ItstheSituation) and his disastrous turn in the Donald Trump roast, "Glee" star Harry Shum Jr. (@iharryshum) was one of many to puzzle over the rise of viral video star Rebecca Black, and "American Idol" producer Nigel Lythgoe (@dizzyfeet) announced the first Nirvana song performed on the show.

And just in case you were missing Charlie Sheen, "The Game" actress Wendy Raquel Robinson (@IamWendyRaquel) tweeted that she received an interesting offer from the self-proclaimed warlock...



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Chloe Sevigny talks about developing Lizzie Borden miniseries

Chloe Now that "Big Love" is coming to a close, Chloe Sevigny is on the prowl for a juicy role. This week, HBO confirmed reports in the trades that Sevigny was developing a miniseries about Lizzie Borden, the 19th century woman who became a part of American folklore after being accused (and acquitted) of murdering her father and stepmother with a hatchet.

Sevigny is in the early stages of developing the project with Playtone, the Tom Hanks-and-Gary Goetzman production company that produced "Big Love."

When we spoke to her back in December for this profile, she confessed that pitching the project was "the most terrifying thing, 10 million times worse than auditioning. Normally the writer does most of that, but I brought visuals and books. I was totally geeky, and I was like, I don't know how this works but look at this! I just wanted to show enthusiasm."

Sevigny admits that almost all of her roles have been the result of "an incoming call" -- which suggests that taking the lead on a TV project was a brave new experience. 

"Yes, fun and scary. Making lists of production designers and costume designers and directors, and things like that. I thought about directing a couple of shorts I had ideas for ... I had always wanted to because it's so hard to find good parts. I was just kind of waiting for something to happen, some kind of spark of inspiration, so when I found that, I was gung-ho."

Although her "Big Love" character, Nicki, is intensely manipulative, Sevigny herself seems much more laid back. Is she bossy enough to run a show?

"Oh my God, I'm bossy! You should see me on the set. Once I had a director tell me, 'You know what I find works for me, Chloe? When I focus on my own job.' I said, 'You're leaving in a week, this is my show.' I'm a control freak. I'd be very good as a director."


Chloe Sevigny and "Big Love" creators talk about the end of the season

-- Joy Press

The minds behind 'Game of Thrones' talk about the HBO series

Thrones “Winter is coming” this spring -- or so the slogan for HBO’s epic new series “Game of Thrones” promises. And it’s coming fully loaded with Machiavellian politics, gore, an invented language, cinematic visuals and a horny dwarf.

The drama premieres April 17, but the project has been simmering since 2006, when long-time pals David Benioff and Dan Weiss decided they needed to make George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” fantasy novels series into a TV drama -- not a PG-13 rendering but a narrative teeming with violence, sex and complexity.

"There are certain things we are never going to be able to do the way Peter Jackson could with 'Lord of the Rings,'" says Benioff in this Sunday Calendar feature. “On the other hand, we have a lot more time to spend with our characters. And at this point in my life as a 40-year-old man, I am much more excited by George’s stories than I am by ‘Lord of the Rings.’”

Benioff and Weiss met in a unusual spot for Hollywood show runners: both were getting master’s degrees in Irish literature at Dublin’s Trinity College. Weiss was studying James Joyce, Benioff Samuel Beckett -- and both went on to publish literary novels before becoming screenwriters. 

Meanwhile, George R.R. Martin was a TV writer who got fed up with scaling down his vision for the screen: "With my first drafts [of TV scripts], they’d always say, 'It’s great, but it’s too long, it’s got too many characters.'"

So he unleashed his imagination within his novels: the four volumes of “A Song of Ice and Fire” are gargantuan, and the 5th volume has been eagerly awaited by fans for five years. Although a publication date has been set for July, Martin hedges when asked if he’s handed in the manuscript yet:  “A chapter or two to go,” he insists.

There’s more on the show runners and their vision for “Game of Thrones” in the feature posted at Hero Complex.


HBO releases a new Game of Thrones poster

Is HBO looking for another 'True Blood' with 'Game of Thrones'?

Full Show Tracker coverage of 'Game of Thrones'

-- Joy Press

Photo: Isaac Hempstead-Wright as Bran Stark and Kit Harington as Jon Snow in "Game of Thrones." Credit: Helen Sloan / HBO

Tweeter's Digest: TV celebs tweet about Sheen disaster and natural disasters

Tyler Sheen Tweeter's Digest rounds up the events of the week as seen through the Twitter feeds of TV personalities. This week began with many actors and reality stars united by a topic of interest -- Charlie Sheen, last week's Tweeter's Digest superstar -- and ended united by a very different matter: the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. 

In between, director Paul Feig marked Steve Carrell's final episode of "The Office"; "American Idol" colleagues Steven Tyler (@iamstevenT) and Ryan Seacrest (@ryanseacrest) traded surreal banter, while Paula Abdul, RuPaul, and fellow reality stars Kelly Bensimon and Cheryl Burke tweeted about bullying after President Obama held a conference on the subject.

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Tweeter's Digest: The week in TV tweets, Charlie Sheen edition

Sheen2 In Tweeter's Digest, we look at the events of the week as seen through the eyes -- or more specifically, the Twitter feeds -- of TV personalities. In between the self-promotion and the fan-love, celebs sometimes come together on an important subject. This week the name that brought everyone together? Charlie Sheen. 

Pushing aside other timely topics (disastrous Oscar hosts, conflict in Wisconsin and the Middle East), the Twitterati jumped into the Sheen fray. 

TV folks from Neil Patrick Harris (@actuallyNPH) to Christina Applegate (@1capplegate), legendary TV creator James L. Brooks (@canyonjim) to Vinny from "Jersey Shore" (@VINNYGUADAGNINO) all added something to the week's "winning" conversation. Even Sheen's own "Young Guns" co-star Lou Diamond Phillips (@LouDPhillips) joined in.

And then, of course, Sheen himself joined Twitter and showed all the other celebs that a little (or, uh, lot) of gnarly behavior will nab you a million followers. And counting. 



Tweeter's Digest archive

Full Show Tracker coverage of Charlie Sheen

-- Joy Press

Tweeters Digest: A roundup of the week in TV tweets

In Tweeter's Digest, we look at the events of the week as seen through the eyes -- or, rather, the Twitter feeds -- of TV personalities.

Some stars  -- Danny DeVito, Ian Somerhalder of "Vampire Diaries," Bear Grylls of "Man vs Wild," SNL's Seth Myers -- are worrying about the news of the world (earthquakes in New Zealand, revolution in the Arab world). Others tweet about appearing at the White House ("Glee" kids Amber Riley and Mark Salling) or issue Charlie Sheen-related tweets. They better hope Sheen doesn't check in to Twitter, or those "fire-breathing fists" might fly.

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Tweeter's Digest: The week in TV tweets

Snooki What better way to look at the events of the week than through the eyes of TV personalities?

This week, Joe Jonas celebrates the Super Bowl, Keith Olbermann celebrates his new job, Howard Stern celebrates his new Twitter feed. Meanwhile, Dr. Drew defends Lindsay Lohan, reality stars collide -- and actors keep an eye on Egypt. See them tweet after the jump

— Joy Press

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Tweeters' Digest: The week in TV tweets

In between the self-promotion (watch my show!), the responses to fans (thanks for watching my show!) and the revelations of personal minutiae (I'm going to the gym before I watch my show!), famous people take to Twitter to comment on the news of the world.

With Rob Lowe and Anderson Cooper on the revolution in Egypt, Donald Glover and Adrian Grenier anticipating the SuperBowl and Damon Lindelof still defending the final episode of "Lost," here are some highlights of the week — after the jump — as captured in tweets from actors, show runners, TV anchors and reality stars.

— Joy Press

Photo: Rob Lowe. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times.

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Chloe Sevigny and 'Big Love' creators talk about the final season

"I'm a bigger person now, and I won’t go back to being small”: That could be the manifesto for Nicki Grant (as played by Chloe Sevigny) in the final season of “Big Love,” which returns to HBO on Sunday.  

She should also have added, “And I won’t wear those long skirts and puffy braids anymore,” because this season Sevigny has been freed from her character’s prissy prairie skirt and allowed to move into 21st century fashion (or at least 20th century). Which is no small thing, considering that Sevigny, one of the coolest actresses on TV, is a fashion icon and designer. In fact, her new collection is available from boutique Opening Ceremony this very weekend. (See a full profile of Chloe Sevigny here.)

Sevigny has an ambivalent relationship with her public image: “Looking at myself on the Internet is like a form of self-flagellation,” she say. “It's torture. I would rather hammer a nail through my foot than Google-image myself.”

She claims similarly mixed feelings about  her “Big Love” wardrobe. On one hand, it helped define her character.  On the other hand, it was a bummer to look so dowdy week after week. “You want to be desirable to a certain extent, and here I am wearing these horrible outfits and this horrible hair!” She remembers sometimes coming to the set in short shorts and a T-shirt and getting shocked double takes from the crew. “They’d be so startled, like, oh, my God, you have legs?”  

Talking about the final season of “Big Love,” Sevigny says Nicki’s energy is channeled into her daughter, and saving her from Nicki’s fate (being forcibly married off at a very young age, among other things).

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Tweets and retweets from L.A. Times staff writers.




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