Matt Webb Mitovich


Will Coens Return to Fargo?


In the 1996 crime caper Fargo, the writing/directing team of Joel and Ethan Coen took filmgoers on a shocking trip to North Dakota. That excursion — peppered with vivid dialects, colorful characters and bloody doings-in — netted seven Academy Award nominations, including wins for original screenplay and lead actress Frances McDormand (Joel's better half), thus making it the Coens's most acclaimed work to date.

As such, it would seem that, by now, the Hollywood machine would have solicited a follow-up to the profitable original. Yet, admirably, its creators insist they have no plans to revisit any already trodden roads. "You know, we've never been tempted — or interested — in going back to doing a sequel to anything that we've done," Joel tells TV Guide Online, before adding with a sheepish laugh, "It's kind of hard, because usually all the characters are dead!"

Instead, the brothers forge ahead with new stories — or, in a read more

George Clooney, Singing Sensation?


Since breaking away from his full-time primetime TV gig in 1999, former ER star George Clooney — whose career got a major boost with last summer's smash hit, The Perfect Storm — admits that the sheer volume of scripts being offered to him has jacked up considerably.

"I'm in a position now where I'm getting offered a lot," the actor tells TV Guide Online, "The nice thing is that, as you work with [directors like] Steven [Soderbergh] and Joel and Ethan Coen, and then something like Three Kings comes out, the quality of the projects is better and/or you get an earlier crack at them."

One part Clooney was surprised to find himself filling was that of impromptu bluegrass singer Everett McGill in the Coen brothers' latest offering, O Brother, Where Art Thou?. "The first bad sign," he says, recalling the conclusion of his first recording session for the film, "was when I looked up, and I couldn't get any eye read more

Is Miramax's O Too Hot To Handle?


Tim Blake Nelson isn't looking to make the easy films. As a writer/director, he has two yet-to-be-released movies — O, a tragic teen take on Othello, and the Holocaust-set Grey Zone — which promise to be anything but typical sells to the American public.

Describing the former, which co-stars Mekhi Phifer, Julia Stiles and Josh Hartnett, Nelson admits, "It's a rough and controversial movie. Everything that happens in Othello happens in O — except it is high-school students and the killings happen with guns." Indeed, while O was adapted with the Pearl, Miss., and Jonesboro, Ark. school shootings in mind, Nelson had just begun editing when the Columbine, Col. travesty took place. "[After] I showed it to Miramax, you could tell that they were thinking, 'What are we going to do now? Can America see this?'

"I'm a serious person, I'm a New York filmmaker. This is not an exploitative Hollywood teen read more

Turturro Tackles Howard Cosell


Reviewing John Turturro's canon of film characterizations — among which are a racially charged pizzeria employee in Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing, a wannabe pool hustler in Martin Scorsese's The Color of Money and a geeky contestant in Robert Redford's Quiz Show — it's easy to imagine him in most any role.

Yet, picturing this curly-haired, affable actor as gravelly lawyer-turned-sportscaster Howard Cosell is, admittedly, difficult. Nonetheless, Turturro is preparing to bring the now-deceased broadcaster to life in Monday Night Mayhem, an upcoming TNT movie based on the Monday Night Football exposé co-authored by Bill Carter (The Late Shift).

"I'm very excited, because I 'grew up' with Howard," Turturro tells TV Guide Online, referring to the man who for 14 years lent his unique brand of controversy-stirring reporting to ABC's hallmark football program. "I feel like a d read more

Garcia Joins All-Star Ocean's 11 Cast


Its release date may be a full year away, but Ocean's 11 — a remake of the 1960 "Rat Pack" film starring Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. and Peter Lawford — continues to generate a steady stream of buzz with its casting.

The latest star to sign up? "Andy Garcia is going to do it now," producer/star George Clooney tells TV Guide Online, reiterating that A-listers Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon are among those already on board for the Las Vegas bank heist flick. "Julia, Brad and Matt are worried about their careers," Clooney jokes, "so we want to help them get work." Adam Arkin (Halloween H20, TV's Chicago Hope) and Casey Affleck (To Die For) round out the cast, while Steven Soderbergh, who directed Clooney in Out Of Sight and Roberts in Erin Brockovich, will take the Ocean's 11 helm.

Other names linked at one time read more

Animal House's D-Day Remembers Belushi


It was March 5, 1982, when actor/comic John Belushi died from a drug overdose at the young age of 33. A member of the original 1975 Saturday Night Live cast, Belushi was equally well-known for his performance as Tasmanian devil-cum-frat boy John "Bluto" Blutarsky in the 1978 comedy Animal House.

Since the comedian's passing, much light has been shed on his real-life, id-driven existence, one full of through-the-night partying fueled by various vices. Actor Bruce McGill, who played Animal House's motorcycle-riding Daniel Simpson "D-Day" Day (and currently can be seen portraying golfing great Walter Hagen in The Legend of Bagger Vance), bittersweetly recalls Belushi's penchant for "living life to the fullest."

"Hell, I was living it with him," McGill tells TV Guide Online, pointing out that, at that time, Belushi was burning the candle at both ends. "The thing that people don't realize is that John was still doing Sat read more

Smith Takes His Hits as Ali


If Will Smith is looking a bit diesel these days (as evidenced by his bulked-up, 217-pound frame), it's because for the past six months he's been preparing for his role as titular boxing great Muhammad Ali in director Michael Mann's upcoming Ali biopic. Listening to Smith recount his intensive training regimen, the question arises: Did the wannabe contender suffer any injuries in the ring?

"Oh, only injuries!" Smith tells TV Guide Online with a hearty laugh. "But it's all part of being a boxer. We've created a real training atmosphere."

Adding realism to his prep work were visits by Ali himself; The Greatest's onetime trainer, Angelo Dundee; and Sugar Ray Leonard. "Sugar Ray came into the gym, and we sparred a little bit," Smith shares, adding that the onetime Olympic champion still has the right moves. "You can't hit him! He's never where you throw your fist. He's so fast."

As the actor masters his jabs and hooks, read more

Theron Juggles Irons, Woods and Woody


In Robert Redford's The Legend Of Bagger Vance, which opens Friday, Charlize Theron plays the beautiful heiress to a golf resort situated in Depression-era Savannah. And although she wasn't afforded the opportunity to take any on-screen swings, Theron says that she, along with co-stars Matt Damon and Will Smith, found time to play the links of South Carolina's Colleton River Plantation, and the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island (where the film was shot).

"We took full advantage of where we were," Theron reports, her enthusiasm for golf shining through. "The good thing is that we got to do that for three months, but the sad thing is that now, every golf course we play on, we're like, 'Well, this is no South Carolina, I'll tell you that.'"

Recalling her first foray into golf, Theron notes that her mother's interest in the sport actually preceded her own. "But then, I picked up a club one day and hit a ball," she says, slipping into a mock read more

Damon Seeks The Write Stuff


In 1997, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck sneaked up on the film world with their screenwriting debut Good Will Hunting, which, after netting nine Academy Award nods, went on to elicit Oscar wins for themselves (for original screenplay) as well as supporting actor Robin Williams. So where stands the dynamic duo's follow-up?

"We actually [recently] started kicking around some ideas," says Damon, who notes that he and his writing partner are all too aware of the scrutiny under which their next screenplay will fall. "We want it to evolve organically, because we are going to get crushed with the next thing we write, no matter what. So we just want to make sure that we think it's good."

Screenplay evaluation is a major theme these days in the lives of Damon and Affleck, who, in conjunction with HBO and Miramax, are hosting an online screenplay competition called Project Greenlight. They also will serve as two of the three executive producers of an ac read more

Redford Envisions A Younger Legend


When Robert Redford's latest directorial effort, The Legend Of Bagger Vance, hits theaters on Nov. 3, it will feature Will Smith as the titular caddie and Matt Damon as a fallen golfing great who subscribes to his mystical guidance. Yet, at a very early point in the process, Redford envisioned himself and Morgan Freeman in the lead roles.

"That was not a very long consideration," the Academy Award-winning director admits to TV Guide Online. "Once I got focused and started to develop the piece, I got off that [thinking] because it bore for me too much resemblance to The Natural (Barry Levinson's 1984 baseball drama which starred Redford). That terrain I had sort of touched on."

Instead, Redford opted to enlist a different generation. "I got far more interested in going with a very young cast," he shares. "I thought it might be a more affecting story."

Enter Smith and Damon, two of the hottest young commodities available read more

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