Hollywood's invasion of Charlotte continues this week -- and into November -- with two film projects currently being produced within the city limits.
The first is "Captive," starring David Oyelowo ("Jack Reacher") and Kate Mara ("House of Cards"). Based on events that occurred in Atlanta in 2005, the thriller centers around an escaped prisoner (Oyelowo) who takes a young woman (Mara) hostage while trying to exact revenge on those who got him locked up.
Casting directors have been regularly posting pleas for extras here.
The other project is "Tusk," a horror movie from "Clerks" writer-director Kevin Smith. The inspiration for his latest story? An online ad Smith stumbled upon that offered free rent to anyone willing to dress up as a walrus for two hours a day. It is said to be a "Human Centipede"-style horror movie, with Quentin Tarantino and Justin Long among the cast.
The same casting agency is handling extras for "Tusk."
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Hollywood's invasion of Charlotte continues this week -- and into November -- with two film projects currently being produced within the city limits.
Thursday, October 24, 2013
These are excerpts from an interview with Tremaine conducted Monday:
On developing the concept for "Bad Grandpa": "We started loosely talking about this idea ... in 2006. But really, about two years ago we got serious about really figuring out how to crack making a movie just about Irving. And we threw around story ideas, but even before we were committed to story, (Johnny) Knoxville and I started throwing around funny scenarios, like how we do the 'Jackass' stuff, where we just think of funny scenes with Irving, not really worrying about the story. But once we started writing the story, it took the front seat. It really took over the movie. And then we started thinking about pranks. How to tell the story through pranks and stunts, really. Where they weren't just a series of pranks that are strung together with a loose narrative. When you watch it, you'll see. It's a real story. It feels almost like a normal, scripted movie, except for 90 percent of the actors are real people that don't know they're starring in a movie."
On the above scene, shot outside The Penguin Drive-In: "What was funny is WE put the penguin there. We found the restaurant The Penguin that was cool with us shooting, and we just put this big penguin in front of it... The owner of the restaurant was in on it, but none of the employees were, so they thought that this was the new big icon in front of The Penguin... We were just going around shooting a bunch of stuff of Irving being a bad driver. That was one of the sub-themes: Irving can't drive for s---. So we set up a bunch of these scenarios where he was just gonna run over stuff in front of people, and hopefully get reactions. But when we hit the penguin, there was this angry New Yorker there for some reason. (He wasn't an employee.) The guy is like full-on Brooklyn or something -- I mean, he sounds like an actor. And he just got so offended, and (Johnny Knoxville) sensed that. Knoxville's so good at that. When someone does give him a hint that they're on the hook, he will take them for a ride. And he just made this guy really angry, then brought him down. Made him even more angry, brought him down... That ended up being a crazy scene."
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Zendaya Coleman – star of The Disney Channel sitcom “Shake It Up” and runner-up
on ABC’s “Dancing With The Stars” this year – was in Charlotte over the weekend,
living a hardcore Carolina Panthers fan’s dream.
She got to hang out with Cam Newton:
She got to hang out with the TopCats:
She got to sing the National Anthem before Sunday's game:
Then, she got to watch the Panthers beat the Rams, 30-15, from a luxury box.
She scored the gig through a family friend, George Hughes of Monroe, whom she refers to as an uncle. "He knew people (with the Panthers), and they were really interested in me doing the National Anthem. I was like, 'Uhh, YEAH! Of course!' I was very excited."
Originally from Oakland, Zendaya says her heart is with the Raiders (she's also performed the anthem before a game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. But she readily admits she is a fair-weather fan: "Honestly for me, I'm not gonna lie -- it's whoever's the nicest to me when I go there," says the pop star, who has also performed before Atlanta Falcons and Los Angeles Dodgers games. "And everyone was very, very nice in Charlotte. ... So they are now (a favorite)."
Zendaya, 17, spoke to a few members of the media during a private meet-and-greet event Monday evening at the offices of BNR Promotions, on Trade Street in uptown Charlotte.
On her debut album, "Zendaya," out since Sept. 17: "I wanted to create something that wasn't going to be so expected. Of course, you expect me to do bubblegum pop, because that's the world I come from, which is Disney. But I wanted to do something that was more representational of who I am. ... I feel like not a lot of people were doing rhythmic pop, which is pop music but infused with a more urban, R&B or hip-hop feel. I wanted to cross over between urban markets and mainstream ... and still be good for everyone to listen to, and still positive for the kids. The best artists of all-time, their music's clean. You don't have to cuss to make good songs."
On her key musical influences: "Michael Jackson... (He) was a true artist, and he knew his music through and through. He wasn't afraid to be Mike. He's the only person that could make white socks, loafers and sparkly gloves and a sequin shirt he got from his mom's closet a trend. I love Beyonce, performance-wise. Her work ethic -- you can just tell the dedication and passion she has for what she does. And a big inspiration was Aaliyah, because her vocal quality is very soft, so I was able to connect with that. Also I liked her style. She had that tomboy-girly thing going on."
On Disney Channel alum Miley Cyrus: "I think she's trying to reinvent herself and become a new artist. I am just inventing myself. I'm figuring out who I want to be (at a) younger (age) so that I can just grow with my fans and mature with my fans, rather than all of a sudden deciding to switch it up. ... I applaud Miley for being herself, and I think it's beautiful that she's now having the experience to be creative and do her own thing. Just let her do that, and parents be good parents and teach your children what not to do. That's all I have to say about that."
Advice for kids who want to be famous: " 'Famous' is a very bad term, I feel like. It has no meaning behind it. I want them to have a purpose to what they do, and not do it because it's something that looks fun, or something that's gonna get them recognized by people. I encourage them to find some passion in themselves."
Here's the music video for "Replay," the first single off of "Zendaya":
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Dermot Mulroney will star alongside Nick Jonas and Isabel Lucas in the thriller "Careful What You Wish For," according to TheWrap.com. Principal photography is scheduled to begin in Charlotte on April 22.
Mulroney, 49, previously has appeared in films including "The Grey," "Zodiac," "About Schmidt," and "My Best Friend's Wedding."
Jonas -- of the boy band The Jonas Brothers -- has mostly done TV work. Lucas was last seen opposite Chris Hemsworth and Josh Hutcherson in the recent "Red Dawn" remake.
Elizabeth Allen ("The Vampire Diaries," "Aquamarine") is directing the film, which TheWrap.com says is being compared to "Basic Instinct" and "Body Heat."
Friday, March 15, 2013
I drove a $243,000 Lamborghini this morning -- for about six minutes, maybe a little longer. You can do the same... but are you willing to spend 500 bucks for the privilege?
If so, then you're the target audience for the Exotic Driving Experience. It comes from the makers of the Richard Petty Driving Experience and operates year-round at Walt Disney World Speedway in Orlando, but also brings its fleet of supercars to 10 other speedways, including Atlanta, Daytona, and Charlotte. This weekend marks the first of four times it will set up shop in Concord in 2013.
Cars offered at Charlotte Motor Speedway Saturday and Sunday include a Ferrari 458 Italia, a Ferrari F430, a Lamborghini Gallardo LP570-4 Superleggera, a Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4, an Audi R8, an Aston Martin Virage, a Porsche 997 S, and a Nissan GT-R. Prices start at $169 to take the $90,000 Nissan for a spin and run up to $419 to flex the muscles of the $295,000 458 Italia. (A $35 "driver release fee" also will be tacked onto the bill.)
EDE had about 25 paying customers on Friday, and already had roughly 110 commitments for the weekend as of Friday morning. (A total of about 100 slots per day are available.) At my 10 a.m. session, I counted eight clients, some of whom had brought spectators. One guy had come up from Georgia to participate; another was given time in three -- three! -- different cars by his wife, as a gift.
It's important to note that you drive on an asphalt "road course" that's part of the infield at the speedway, and not on the actual oval itself. That said, here's how it all works:
Upon arrival, the first thing you face is paperwork. One page just asks for basic personal info, then the next two are all legalese, with 19 blanks that need initialing. It pretty much boils down to "understand that you could be killed or injured" and "you won't sue us."
Then there's a roughly 20-minute instructional class, which starts with a pre-recorded video (starring Christian Fittipaldi) that informs you about driving techniques, warns you not to check mirrors or gauges (in fact, the speedometers in all the cars are concealed to eliminate the urge to obsess about breaking records), and talks about paddle shiffting (all cars have fully and semi-automatic modes; none are stick-shift).
After that, an instructor goes over a map of the .75-mile course for drivers and talks through a first-person video covering every inch of it.
That's all that stands between you and your ride. Throw on a head sock and an audio-capable driving helmet -- which provides protection and also allows you to communicate easily with your driving coach via mics and speakers -- and then jump in. Your co-pilot/coach gives you a few words of advice, and you're off.
Interestingly, the ride is much more about agility than pure speed. Much of the course is made up of several sharp left- and right-hand turns. The longest straightaway is less than a quarter-mile long (the actual track layout is slightly different from what is advertised here -- there's now a cut-in interrupting the long straightaway shown), so my top speed was "just" 69 mph. Still, unless you're a former illegal street racer or have experience driving high-performance cars on short tracks with lots of turns, you will sense plenty of speed. Your coach also will do a great job in terms of providing direction that helps to embolden you. If you listen to him and are aggressive as he suggests, you'll see how incredibly nimble these vehicles really are.
Total drive time is about 5 minutes for six laps, and unfortunately, it takes about that long to start feeling comfortable with the handling, the power under the hood, and -- if you opt to come out of the full-auto mode -- or the paddle shifting. (My run was eight laps; you can pay more for eight instead of six, and yet more still for 10 laps instead of eight.)
Of course, $419 is a lot of money to pay for five minutes in a Ferrari, and after having been a part of this, I feel like 10 minutes would be more fair for that kind of dough. Then again, I'm not a super-fanatical supercar enthusiast, and I also am not the one who has to pay to maintain and service cars that probably cost a fortune to maintain and service.
But it's an undeniable rush to be in control of something that can go from 0-60 mph in 3.2 seconds. The responsiveness of the steering, braking and acceleration is jaw-dropping. Only a tiny fraction of people on the planet will ever get to drive these cars, and most of them have Swiss bank accounts. Even if you've got the financial credentials to test-drive one at a dealership, no salesman who wants to keep their job will let you operate the automobile the way these folks will.
In the end, the type of person who buys the Exotic Driving Experience, says chief marketing officer Mike Bartelli, "is an aspirationalist. ... These are guys who wished they could own these cars (about 80 percent of EDE's clientele is male). But the reality is, they're expensive cars, right? And so this is an opportunity to do something that would typically not be available or accessible, at a reasonable price point, and then it becomes something they can tell everybody about. They can tell their friends about it. 'I drove a Ferrari on a racetrack.' ... That's what this is about."
For reservations or more information about dates and times, call (855) 822-0149 or visit www.ExoticDriving.com. All cars may not be available on all dates.
Monday, March 4, 2013
Brooklyn Decker has been priming herself for sitcom work over the past few months, with multiple appearances on FX's "The League" in December and a guest spot on Fox's "New Girl" last month.
Now, if things go well, she might get her own series.
Deadline is reporting that the Matthews native is set to star in a CBS comedy pilot that "revolves around six 30-something friends who each think the other has it better." Decker, who turns 26 next month, will play Jules, "a former model who was discovered in a mall when she was 13."
The show is created by former "Friends" producer/writer Dana Klein and Aaron Kaplan, who was an executive producer on Fox's short-lived "Terra Nova"; the pilot will be directed by James Burrows ("Will & Grace," "Taxi," Mike & Molly," "Frazier"). It does sound a bit derivative of "Friends," and even bears the awkward title "Friends With Better Lives"... but Decker has a strong fan base and a decent co-star ("Don't Trust the B's" James Van Der Beek).
One thing's for sure: The role won't be a huge stretch for Decker. She was discovered in a Charlotte shopping mall as a teenager, and -- of course -- went on to become one of the more famous Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue cover girls of all-time.
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Keith Whitener, 29, of Charlotte, claimed second place and $100,000 in the Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions episode on Tuesday night.
The Myers Park High School and UNC Chapel Hill grad, one of the top 15 winners ever on the show, was runner-up to Colby Burnett, a history teacher from Chicago who won the $250,000 grand prize. Kristin Morgan, a strategic analyst at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., finished third and took home $50,000.
“I honestly couldn’t believe I had made it [to the final game],” said Whitener, a research chemist, in a press release. “It was really amazing. Just making it to the final was honor enough for me.”
“During the regular season run, there were a few days where I was basically on autopilot, and I wasn’t really worried about how I would perform," he said. "The Tournament of Champions is a completely different animal; the pace was just so demanding.”
Whitener won $147,597 in his initial run on "Jeopardy!"; he hasn’t decided yet what he will do with his winnings.
“It’s a heck of a lot of money. My wife and I may eventually use it toward a house,” Whitener said. “We’re sitting on a little bit of it in case an interesting investment opportunity presents itself, or if I want to strike off on my own after my fellowship at the Naval Research Lab is done.”