Forest Whitaker fervently circles a grand dining-room table in a stately Pasadena home, swooping around to view the room's layout from different angles. While he's absorbing every detail, everybody else is focused on the fact that at the head of the table is an actress playing a corpse in a state of extreme decomposition.
Whitaker, who won an Oscar for The Last King of Scotland, stars as FBI special agent Sam Cooper in Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior, the new spin-off of the wildly popular CBS series. While other actors simply want to hit their marks, he's seeking out thematic nuances and offering sharp, emotional performance variations during rehearsals — for a scene featuring a decomposing female corpse.
Adrianne Palicki found a cathartic way to get revenge on those responsible for canceling her critically acclaimed series Lone Star earlier this season — by imagining that they were her victims in her turn as a serial killer on Criminal Minds.
Is it possible to care about a show too much? If so, Dan Harmon is the guy who does it. The creator of Community sweats every detail of the show, putting his own money into completing episodes — he paid for the revamped Halloween-themed title sequence of this year's zombie episode, sprung to fly Kevin Corrigan out to play Professor Professorsen in the conspiracy-theory episode and even ponied up a cool $100,000 to complete the animated Christmas special.
As Community returns Thursday with new episodes — this week, Malcolm Jamal-Warner joins the cast for three installments as Shirley's (Yvette Nichole Brown) ex-husband, with whom she has gotten cozy anew — TV Guide Magazine chatted with Harmon about the extent of his obsession with his ratings-challenged show and its rabid cult, what American Idol joining the Thursday-at-8-p.m. fray means and what Chevy Chase could learn from a monkey...
Community's December 9 animated Christmas episode, in which Abed (Danny Pudi) learns the meaning of Christmas (and which featured a shout-out to TV Guide Magazine!), is a holiday miracle in itself. As overseen by 23D Films owners James Fino (who previously worked on King of the Hill) and Joe Russo (The Simpsons), the stop-motion animation was completed in four months, less than half the time it takes to produce an episode of The Simpsons.
"We needed every ounce of that time," Fino says. "It couldn't be whipped off. We had to be at the top of our games." Animators from the movies Coraline and The Nightmare Before Christmas also contributed their talents.
Fino and Russo offered...
NBC's Community can often be seen more as a romp through a postmodern funhouse than a standard-issue sitcom. The series has offered inspired parodies of action flicks, zombie movies, GoodFellas and Apollo 13 and featured a bizarre mash-up of Mean Girls and Robocop. More recently, it exploded the notion of the "bottle episode," TV-industry jargon for shows shot with limited budgets on existing sets with a limited number of cast members to compensate for more costly episodes. This week, it's serving up an animated parody of the old, cheesy Rankin-Bass holiday cartoons (airing Thursday at 8/7c).
All of this meta-posturing led us to a theory that wouldn't be out of place alongside the rafts of speculation that came from Lost fans: That the characters in Community are real people who are slowly coming to the realization ...
Malcolm Jamal Warner on Community
Community fans have long understood that Shirley's ex-husband, Andre, is a womanizing jerk. So what to make of the fact that he's actually a friendly guy — and played by the actor who portrayed lovable Theo Huxtable on The Cosby Show? ...
Community's Season 1 paintball episode — a parody of action-flick clichés — wasn't just loved by fans. "It remains the favorite among everyone here," says Alison Brie (Annie). So it's inevitable that the show wants to top itself, and they'll try with the October 14 episode, a spoof of Apollo 13. Jeff (Joel McHale) and his study-group pals participate in a flight-simulation competition with another local college; the gang gets stranded on board when the shuttle is towed from the school parking lot.
In the second-season premiere of Community, the nicely ripped Jeff Winger (Joel McHale) receives a righteous beat-down from Betty White, America's favorite octogenarian, who plays a deeply eccentric anthropology professor named Jane Bauer.
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As the scene was rehearsed July 29 in L.A., on a set where Senor Chang's Spanish class once stood, White's character ...