Go ahead and stare at Simon Baker. Gawk at his curly golden locks and his winning smile. He doesn't mind, really.
"It doesn't bother me because I know time is ticking," the 41-year-old Baker tells TVGuide.com. "I've been doing this for almost 20 years, and I'm able to see myself age on film. Eventually I know what I'm going to become — I've seen my father."
When Bruno Heller was looking to cast a leading man to play the role of Patrick Jane in The Mentalist, he was won over by Baker's looks as well. But he quickly learned there was much more beneath the surface. "What Jane does is get in people's physical space and inside their heads, and in order to do that, you have to be someone that people want to be close to, whether they know it or not," Heller says. "It needed a very magnetic personality playing the part.
Look back at Simon Baker's most memorable roles
"Simon has a physical and mental grace. He's always switched on — he's always alert, always alive," Heller continues. "If you watch him working on a stage, he's never just going through the lines. He's always looking for the extra grace notes. It's actually a much tougher job. Very few actors can do the hard physical work that must be done on a show like this."
But back in the late 1980s, when Baker first began acting in commercials in his native Australia, he laughed at the idea of considering acting a form of labor...
DVD Tuesday And the corpse came back the very next day George Romeros Diary of the Dead puts a nasty new spin on old living dead clichesZombies have always given me nightmares and Night of the Living Dead terrified me before Id even seen it -- Roger Eberts piece about seeing it at a kiddie matinee in a neighborhood theater gave my imagination plenty to work with Ive seen a lot of zombie movies since then and Im pretty inured to them which is why I was pleasantly suprised by George Romeros new Diary of the Dead if pleasantly is the word I was afraid that the conceit -- essentially rebooting the Dead franchise by going back to the beginning and telling the story on digital video as though it had been made by student filmmakers a la Blair Witch Project -- would seem hokey and tired like the efforts of an aging filmmaker to appeal to the young folks TV Spot 2 - Where Will You BeBut I was wrong It actually get Romero back to the raw immediacy of Night of the Livi
The sequel to 28 Days Later 2002 that would be 28 Weeks Later in case you hadnt guessed streets today and its a good follow-up to one of those films that came from out of the blue and reminded horror fans like me that theres still life in the classic monsters All it takes is a directorscreenwriter team like Danny Boyle and Alex Garland to put a fresh spin on the old tropes But my pick of the week is an older and shamefully overlooked movie George Romeros The Crazies 1973 whose influence is all over films as various as a cluster of 80s horror pictures Impulse and MutantNight Shadows both 1984 Warning Sign 1985 the mainstream respectable Outbreak 1995 the video-game inspired Resident Evil series and of course 28 Days Later And frankly The Crazies core concerns are as timely now as they were in the wake of the 1960s counterculture if not more so Following the runaway success of Night of the Living Dead 1968 Romero
I'm beginning to wonder if NBC is going to torture us all season with live episodes of shows that are pretty much on life support, creating prime-time stunts in hopes of compelling us to watch (although it rarely works out that way).
First came the underwhelming live season opener of Will & Grace, with its tittering and mugging. Now we have The West Wing showing that it can stage a fake debate that looks and sounds pretty much like the real thing, only with a bit more animation as old-school Senator Vinick (Alan Alda) demanded the "stupid rules" be dropped in favor of "a debate Lincoln would have been proud of."
(Which brought to mind, after sitting through the long and tedious hour that followed, the old joke: "Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the show?")
There was no assassination, or really even any