Movie actors are a unique bunch of characters in Hollywood. Adept at script memorization, method acting, and being snobby little princesses (the males included), they are somewhat limited in their performance venues. They can switch pretty easily and thrive in theater productions because most of them began their acting lives on the stage in front of adoring audiences. Decades ago they could also do radio pretty easily; most likely because they could read right from the script and no one listening would know any different.
Television? Well, that's a whole different loaf a bread! For some reason, big-named movie stars with their Oscars and Golden Globes just tank when they decide to jump to the small screen. Their failures could be due to the show they've decided to star in, who they play on the show, or the fact that they are catering to a different audience than film-goers. Whatever the reason, some of Hollywood's most famous film stars had some famously big television flops. Here are but a few of them to digest.
Illeana is making television news this week with the YouTube premiere of her show Illeanarama. The pilot episode features Douglas, Christopher Guest regular Jane Lynch and Justine Bateman as herself. The premise is cute so long as you're not offended by rich people finding humor in what it would be like for them to live among the great unwashed. Illeana dumps her Hollywood career for life as a grocery story clerk. Once word gets out that working for a living is the hottest fashion statement (like adopting a third world babies?), more celebrities appear on the scene. Future episodes will feature Gene Wilder, Jeff Goldblum and Ed Begley Jr. For the time being, you can only see them online care of Zeitbyte.
The network has ordered a pilot for Idols, though that name isn't a sure thing yet. The series will feature actors interviewing the people that influenced them. The first episode finds Alec Baldwin interviewing Gene Wilder. Yeah, that one surprised me, but it should make for an interesting conversation.
Also in the works is a series of documentaries. One of those is Spielberg on Spielberg, a 90 minute look at his film career. There are also plans for a look back at the career of Marlon Brando through interviews with James Caan, Al Pacino, Robert Duvall, and Martin Scorcese.
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