William Zabka Interview: The Karate Kid 35th Anniversary

William Zabka is an actor, screenwriter, producer and director. Most known for his role as Johnny in the Karate Kid franchise. He also had an Academy Award nominated short he worked on. He is now the lead role on YouTube Red’s super successful series Cobra Kai where he reprises his role as Johnny 30 years later.

Thank you for speaking with me, I appreciate your time. First off, congratulations on the 35th anniversary. It’s a must be amazing to be a part of something so iconic. Did you ever think you would be part of something so huge and so that people hold so dear to them, you know, after all these years?

William Zabka: You can never imagine it. I mean, you know, did it surprise to me to see how it’s grown and stuck with culture? You know every year as the years have gone by it just stayed with us, so you can never predict it. You can never anticipate it. it was just a, it’s one of those amazing things that happen in life sometimes. Yeah.

That’s awesome. so when you first got the role were you given a lot of freedom as far as like, things you could do, you could do to create what you imagine Johnny to be?

William Zabka: You know, that there’s the script was really locked down by Robert Canaan wrote incredible airtight screenplay. and then you know with the director like John Alex in knows, directed rocky and knows what he wants. And so I had some very strong guidelines in the script and I had a director who really had a vision. I think he coached everybody including me,  to personify these roles. And so kind of. But I’m sure that I would have some there’ll be some moments where I’d have an idea, John only open to hearing it and I usually rehearsals cause rehearsed this thing for a month before we ever shot it. You know you could try that. Yeah I always felt a, your first movie.

I think the thing that a lot of fans is that there is a character for each of them, like someone that they could relate to was there a character other than Johnny that you really related to or were you a lot like Johnny’s character growing up?

William Zabka: It’s a great question. when you’re, when you’re given a script and told to focus on your , you jumped into that skin. So I didn’t really read it. Objectives I connected with and in many ways I could connect with Daniel because I was in implant from a New York myself when I was 10 years old to La and I was the new kid in town. And I had some run ins with the local kids at the very beginning. I did not to learn karate, defend myself.  you know, I knew what it felt like to come from east coast to California and how about, so you know, but, it really, I mean as far as they get assigned with the role, like, you know, none of this character yeah. Of Jerry and Lauren that I was told to look at and I had to find the pieces getting that strip that connected to me and that I could see myself in.

And there was two parts of that in the first one was the opening scene of the movie where you can look on the motorcycles on the top of the hill and he says, I have one year to make it work. So, you know, he was the guy trying  to make his way there and then it’s him the trophy and says, you’re all right. Yeah there was a kind of like true nature. And so, uh, that’s how I saw myself in the character. My life parallel to Larusso was as an intern in some funny ways, as you imagined.

That’s interesting we got to see you a little bit in part two at the very beginning. And then I was speaking with Martin Kove said that that was originally supposed to be part of the ending for the first film. What do you believe, what do you, in your opinion, what do you believe transpired with Johnny’s character? in between, like when part two and part three, we’re actually going on because we didn’t actually get to see, oh, what’s that?

William Zabka:  No, no, no. I’m sorry. You thought you were talking about the film, Karate Kid Part 2.

I was talking about and learning what you, what you and your opinion believed happened to Johnny during part two and three, you know, since you weren’t really seen in those films.

William Zabka: Yeah. So where did he go? Yeah, the writer’s fault. They locked him up in a cage and they brought him out 35 years later. I never really, I never really thought about where he went from there. I know he didn’t go to Okinawa. Yeah  I would have loved to gone to Hawaii and did a car, the credit get you in a more, in a bigger way.

We were talking about where Johnny was in part two and three.

William Zabka: You know when they were, when they were writing part three. And I know that Dave wrote that sort of, that they weren’t almost but I keep scheduling it. Other reasons didn’t work out. So they created a Mike Barnes and when I called it a direction, which was fine with me, you know, I’ve got to be part of the original one. And it was always for me hard to watch. The other one didn’t quite copy originality.

Johnny was definitely a misunderstood kid I think for you know, for me as a kid when I first watched it, I obviously just saw Daniel’s point of view. But looking back at it now, especially there is this youtube video that I watch where it kind of explained ways, the ways that Johnny just was misunderstood. And also that How i Met Your Mother episode, it really kind of opened my eyes to like a different perspective.  When was the first one you realize this and was it, was it interesting for you to see that, that point of view?

William Zabka: I realized what the, what the narrative is of these videos that were put out?

Yeah. The narrative, different perspective and from Johnny’s point of view.

William Zabka: Yeah!. You know, I got a kick out of it. I mean, I always in order to play it wrote, as I said, you bring yourself to it so that I’m not Johnny Lawrence. It was hard to give Johnny is a bad guy. So I tried to find the redeeming quality to them and it builds his back story. So a lot of what came out you know kind of a characterization but the truth, but you know the truth then I held onto was that email. I was misled by a set date clearly again  his are nowhere in this, in the movie. So I imagined that he didn’t have a good relationship with the folks are, they weren’t present too much in his life. you know, and he lost his girl you loved and what’s back here comes a new kid in town who then kind of sticks his nose and his business, you know, the credit kicked gave a lot of levers for its triggers for Johnny to react.

You know, he didn’t come on the beach and see Daniel  with Alli and then unleash a barrage of feet on him. You know, Daniel kind of butted in and, and do his world. Right. And then the next time he really, he takes him to visit the, at the Halloween dance. And Johnny’s really writing zone. Did this, yeah. So it was, it was kind of, you know, somewhat easy to play those, those parts of being aggressive because I felt justified at the character felt justified in it by reacting to something you provoked by him. No. When, uh, you know, when, years later, decades later when, you know, that kind of pop culture narrative of this kind of swung Johnny’s direction, you know, it was kind of eerie, kind of charming the way, you know, with no shoes. I don’t buy into it all, but it was nice.

You know, it’s almost like, so many years later you could, you know, the emotion of that, that movie is so powerful. The first watch it in the kick and you know, and you’re still on the side of defeating the enemy. that emotion and that adrenaline rush, you know, is, is big. And only in hindsight, I think after watching the movie, you know, a dozen times or so, or a hundred times or whatever, many times you’ve seen it over the years, you know, you can look back and start analyzing it a little bit. And uncover some of that you know, some of the other perspectives, including Johnny and that’s been kind of thrilling. Well, really that’s what’s been kind of the origin of our show Cobra Kai. Yeah. How they’ve kind of come into Johnny’s point of view and painting and that back story. So, yes.

How old are you when you were first filming the first movie?

William Zabka: I just turned 18. I turned 18 that day. We filmed that batch. I graduated high school early thankfully.  I’d had been in high school itself, but I was in college and I turned 18, 10 days before we started filming the show.

It must’ve been like amazing for you being at such a young age to be part of something like this. Is there any interesting stories or interactions that you had, with fans that you always remember it till today?

William Zabka: So many You know  back in the day it was almost surreal to have people, they see me as this guy because all  time I’m known as billy, as an actor in drama school and they’re wrestling to move. And I was pretty much a character actor too in high school. Drama I did a lot of comedy. I kinda saw myself more as a comedic actor, to be recognized as this kind of tough guy in this martial art guy. You know, it took a minute to kind of absorb that.  So the early days when that first happened, it was a it was a life altering experience. But I think, you know, later in years is as time’s gone by and you know, when we go out and do a show or I meet, I meet families somewhere to a restaurant or whatever.

Like you see these kids that are six, seven, 10 and their grandparents all sharing, you know, a love for the film. It’s, that’s the stuff that’s just amazing. It’s mind blowing to see that the cell was transcended so many generations and touched so many people. And you know, some people that have been bullied that um, you know, i met a girl was 14 and her mom told me she was very bullied growing up. And yeah, she got into martial arts and know how you doing now. She goes, Oh, if I’m not just throw an elbow. And she said you, it was Bob girls and martial arts. Really, Kevin, still some good confidence in people. And so to see how that film did that and it also, it, it helped kind of generate the martial arts schools in America. And then looking back I was like, you know, it was really the kind of a window.

And the door to a whole new type of martial arts, kind of booming in our country. And now schools that went up and he keeps getting enrolled in that coming from wherever they came from. So to be a part of that, that I was the first one to be on the receiving end of that because I was a white belt. I was not a karate guy when I stepped into the cell. Now he’s trained by you know, a legend Pat Johnson who was in the a grandmaster martial artists to trade me from the ground up and he trained ralph from the ground up. And you know, we’ve got trained at the actors and then we put on this play and it’s, you know, that training and those ideas that came through the writing and the martial arts has impacted culture there. I just, I just find it all fascinating, you know? Yeah. So that’s a long winded answer, but it’s just, you know, there’s many, many things along the way, but the ones that get me the most are when they were going to get the tapes today. Yeah. Um, who are just discovering it for the first time and it’s still playing. They could get for you guys.

Yeah. Also describe your dynamic with you and Ralph on set. Did you guys get to hang out a lot on set or did they kind of separate, you just do kind of build like the little animosities so it translated on screen?

William Zabka: Well we had to work really close together, obviously choreographing the final fight. Yeah. Yeah. And we had to work together, you know, five days a week, hours a day at that from the time we started for three months. So we were, we were together all the time. We were encouraged by John Appleton to not pretty much socialized offset too much John, you know, encouraged me to get in, hang out with my, uh, my Cobra Kais and a, yeah, Daniel Ralph had his hands full with all the, all the meat, you know, with all this stuff. You have a cat, Rita, who’s really the soul of this film, you know, no miyagi there’s no Yoda. He’s that. He’s the magic that’s, and their relationship is not the heartbeat of the film. So Ralph had his, his work cut out for him to stay in that pocket.

So yeah, we were, we were separated, you know, it, you’re brought together to do the technical stuff and then we would  in rehearsals and then we went and shot it through, brought up set together. But we were, you know, pretty much a team because we throwing feet elbows at each other for the whole movie. And uh, you know, there’s a lot of respect and trust that comes in that so we were definitely friendly and you know you know, as time’s gone on we’ve become friends and you know, may have been better friends back then. Um, having not been separated.

Being part of a film like this and being on camera did that kind of inspire you to do more work behind the cameras and getting into production or directing. Did that influence a lot of your career now?

William Zabka: Yeah. Great question.  I was in film school when this happened, so I would, my dream was to be a filmmaker. I didn’t go to acting school. I went to the filmmaking school. Okay. And, I loved acting and I had this since I was 10 years old. I wanted to do film and television,  my first passion and I’ve been making eight millimeter films, I started making filter. I of 10 years old at tech. I might post some of those online because I have a digitized now and I’m 10 years old and I’m directing these films and editing it was very you video came around and I got way into that. then, you know, but then my acting career took off and I just went on that ride.

And you’re like my training for all this is onset and I’m learning way more by being on set that I could ever learn in school. So I did finish my school. I went back into classes here and there and cameras and scripts and things like that But I didn’t finish a course in it cause I life was a course in it, you know, and that, um, then later in my career I took the big break from acting really dove headfirst into the, my first passion, which was being behind the camera and made a short film. I was nominated for an academy award director or some big bands and a couple of documentaries and he’s got into the edit room and behind the camera, which I absolutely love equally to acting.

Yeah. Now, one of the most amazing things are in one of the things that I feel as, as, as a star of a movie would like know that they are, they’re immortalizes you have your own action figure. When they came out did you go immediately out to stores and just like, I want to buy these action figures that I’m met. I’m this actual toy. Was that, was that amazing for you?

William Zabka: You know, there were a couple that came out. Karate chop and karate kick thing so I have a balance and my kids get to play with them sometimes when we don’t get to really play with me. I said here, play with Daddy.

Did your kids like the film when they first watched the original film? Were they kind of surprised?

William Zabka: Well, I have a nine year old and a five year old and believe it or not they haven’t seen it. Not that big here and they want to see it. Um, it’s just comes through that, you know, as a dad, I, you know, your impression on your kid is regardless of anything, it’s like it’s just to be a father and yes. You know, it’s more about, you know, partly because Johnny was kind of scary character probably for them a little bit, but more that um, you know, your dad on television is a strange thing where I played an animated dog dog and then a little bit of how i met your mother where I played a clown I was hurting production. We know all about it. Neat. Eric, all about he knows about us and all the guys become instead of cobra kai both of the paths. Yeah. And, uh, actually the talk around the houses you guide when we get to watch the film and tell you one that’s coming up, like, you know what I mean? Time. Uh, yeah, it would have present them as uh, you know, your, your dad know people that you know that. Yeah. God I him a ride their bike and hang out and listen to me.

That’s awesome. That’s awesome. Now a little off subject. Uh, originally the, The Karate Kid title was, couldn’t be used because it was an actual was a DC property like speaking about DC properties, what would you ever consider maybe a joining any of the superhero universes?

William Zabka: Absolutely outrageous and fun. I Dunno. I Dunno who’s left out there, you know, with what spirit wasn’t dust it off, but yeah, sure. There’s the broke and old superhero. I’d love to jump in there just for fun. Yeah.

More: Martin Kove Interview for The Karate Kid

The Karate Kid Fathom Event is taking place at more than 600 nationwide theaters this Sunday, March 31, and next Tuesday, April 2.

2019-03-29 01:03:42

Jezzer Reyes

Big Bang Theory Casts William Shatner In Dungeons & Dragons Episode

As part of its 12th season, The Big Bang Theory has cast William Shatner in a guest role for an upcoming Dungeons and Dragons-themed episode. This news marks the first time Shatner has appeared on the show and it couldn’t come at a better time since The Big Bang Theory is set to end this spring.

Since its premiere in 2007 on CBS, The Big Bang Theory has become one of the highest-rated network series of its time, with a growing and extensive fanbase. Despite its staying power and place in the cultural landscape, the decision to end The Big Bang Theory was announced just after the season 12 premiere in September 2018. It’s believed that the show’s end was brought about by series star Jim Parsons not wanting to return for another season, although it’s hard to tell what exactly led to the show officially ending. In light of this, The Big Bang Theory has been making the most of its final season as it tries to tie up all of its loose ends, and that includes bringing on a bevy of guest stars to appear in various episodes, as was the case with Sean Astin and Kal Penn appearing in a recent episode.

Related: 25 Wild Details Behind The Making Of The Big Bang Theory

According to TVLine, Shatner has been cast in an upcoming Dungeons and Dragons-themed episode. It’s unclear how exactly the classic roleplaying board game will figure into the episode, but Shatner is not the only heavy-hitting guest star involved in this special event. In addition to Shatner, True Blood alum (and prolific D&D player in real life) Joe Manganiello, director Kevin Smith, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Wil Wheaton (who, as a heightened version of himself, is Sheldon’s nemesis on The Big Bang Theory) will also appear in guest roles for the episode. TVLine doesn’t hint at the kind of character Shatner will play or if he’ll simply be playing a version of himself. Similarly, there are no specifics on the plot of the episode or even when the episode will air. For now, all that’s been revealed is what the description being used to tease the upcoming episode on The Big Bang Theory’s Twitter page states, claiming “EPIC Dungeons and Dragons battle” will take place.

Shatner’s involvement in an episode of The Big Bang Theory is a huge get for the show. Reports have circulated for years that offers have been made for Shatner to appear, with the Star Trek alum apprehensive to sign on because he would have reportedly been playing a heightened version of himself, something he apparently wasn’t keen on doing. Even though Shatner has maintained a steady career full of guest roles on shows like Haven and Psych in recent years, he’s always had a connection to The Big Bang Theory thanks to starring alongside co-lead Kaley Cuoco in a series of Priceline commercials.

Shatner finally coming aboard The Big Bang Theory is reason enough to watch this special upcoming episode, even though the mere mention of pop culture mainstays like Smith and Wheaton is enticing as well. For longtime fans, it will no doubt be exciting to see Shatner on The Big Bang Theory, joining fellow Star Trek co-stars Leonard Nimoy and George Takei, who have also guest starred on the show. With all this in mind and only ten episodes left in the final season, fans should make sure to tune in each and every week to avoid missing what will surely be an unmissable episode.

More: Kaley Cuoco Doesn’t Want Big Bang Theory to End, Suggests 2020 Reboot

Source: TVLine

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2019-01-30 08:01:25

22 July Review: Paul Greengrass Delivers Another Intense Docudrama

Despite some general storytelling issues, Greengrass succeeds in delivering another well-crafted and intelligent docudrama-thriller with 22 July.

In-between his efforts on the Bourne movies, journalist-turned filmmaker Paul Greengrass has spent much of his career making docudrama-thrillers about real-world events, ranging from the September 11 terrorist attacks on the U.S. (United 93) to the hijacking of the Maersk Alabama in 2009 (Captain Phillips). While there’s an inherent risk of exploiting a real-world tragedy that comes with any such project, Greengrass has long been celebrated for his ability to dramatize terrible events on the big screen in a manner that’s intense, yet sensitive and ultimately insightful in its presentation. Thankfully, that remains the case with his Netflix Original 22 July, even if it doesn’t necessarily represent the writer/director at his finest. Despite some general storytelling issues, Greengrass succeeds in delivering another well-crafted and intelligent docudrama-thriller with 22 July.

22 July picks up on July 21, 2011 in Oslo, Norway, as Anders Behring Breivik (Anders Danielsen Lie) – a self-declared right wing extremist – prepares to carry out a terrorist attack on the city the next day. He begins his assault by setting off a bomb in a van near the main office of the then-current Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg (Ola G. Furuseth), killing eight people in the process. Breivik then proceeds to continue his attack by gunning down 69 members of a summer camp organized by the AUF – the youth division of the Norwegian Labour Party – on the island of Utøya, before he is ultimately apprehended by the police and taken into custody.

Among the members of the summer camp is one Viljar Hanssen (Jonas Strand Gravli), who manages to survive Breivik’s attack despite being shot multiple times and left permanently maimed. As Viljar struggles to recover both physically and psychologically from what happened to him (along with everyone else who survived the Utøya shootings and their loved ones), Breivik works with his chosen lawyer Geir Lippestad (Jon Øigarden) to mount a defense and use his trial as a platform to publicly announce his political agenda (which calls for the immediate deportation of all Muslims and heavier restrictions on immigration to Norway, among other things). When it becomes clear to Viljar what Breivik intends to do, he grows increasingly determined to continue his rehabilitation and testify against him in court for not only himself, but also every other person whose lives were affected by what took place on July 22.

Adapted from the book One of Us: The Story of a Massacre in Norway — and Its Aftermath by Åsne Seierstad, Greengrass’ script for 22 July has a very clear-cut three act structure – with the first act focused on the July 22 attack, the second part set during its immediate aftermath, and the final third centered on Breivik’s trial. The film is strongest during its first and third acts in particular, as those chapters (respectively) play to Greengrass’ strengths as a suspense-thriller storyteller and provide the emotional payoff to Viljar and, thus, Norway’s overarching journey of recovery and survival. It’s the second act where things start to drag and get a little muddled, especially as 22 July splits its focus between not only Viljar’s story thread, but also Lippestad and Breivik’s trial preparation, and the investigation into Stoltenberg’s administration and its failure to prevent a terrorist attack. While there’s nothing in the second act that feels inessential, 22 July struggles to divide its attention evenly between its three plotlines and the film’s pacing suffers for it.

On the whole, however, 22 July does a nice job covering a fair amount of narrative ground, even when taking its pretty substantial runtime into consideration. It helps that Greengrass (as he’s known now for doing, as a director) never fully lifts his foot off the gas pedal and keeps the film’s proceedings feeling on-edge throughout, even during its more purely dramatic portions. The filmmaker, working this time around with DP Pål Ulvik Rokseth (The Snowman) and Oscar-winning Argo editor William Goldenberg, uses essentially the same vérité cinematography and restless editing style that he has on his previous movies, in order to fully immerse viewers in the film’s setting and action. At the same time, Greengrass slows things down a bit here and, in turn, delivers a movie that’s more visually cohesive than some of his weaker efforts in the past (see the last Bourne sequel, in particular). This serves 22 July well, allowing it to effectively work as both a grounded drama and thriller.

Given the sheer amount of information that 22 July strives to cover, though, there’s not a lot of room for the film’s actors to really shine – not in the way that Barkhad Abdi and Tom Hanks did in Captain Phillips, for example. Even so, the 22 July cast is uniformly strong across the board, with Gravli especially doing an excellent job of portraying Viljar’s struggles with his physical injuries, PTSD, and the sheer amount of emotional baggage that he’s saddled with after barely managing to escape the attack on Utøya with his own life. Actors like Thorbjørn Harr and Isak Bakli Aglen are similarly moving in their smaller roles as members of Viljar’s family, as is Seda Witt as Lara Rashid, a young woman who starts to make a romantic connection with Viljar before both of their lives are shattered by Breivik’s attack. As for Breivik himself: Lie is quite compelling in the role and portrays the terrorist as a fully-developed person – one whose rationalization of his behavior makes him chilling and pathetic in equal measure.

As with his previous films, Greengrass uses 22 July as a means for delivering larger sociopolitical commentary about the state of things in the world, specifically where it concerns the rise of xenophobic and nationalist ideologies in various countries (the U.S. included). While his scripted dialogue can start to become a bit on the nose as its strives to get these points across (especially in the third act), Greengrass largely succeeds in allowing the story here to shine a light on these issues organically, without getting up on his figurative soapbox to drive the point home. If there’s a downside to the filmmaker’s approach, though, it’s that July 22 winds up handling its subject matter in a way that’s more engaging intellectually than emotionally and, thus, lacks the emotional resonance of Greengrass’ best work to date.

All things considered, however, Greengrass does a very good job of bringing the true story behind 22 July to cinematic life. The final result is a film that makes for an enlightening and otherwise respectful documentation of a horrifying real-world event, rather than one that comes off as exploitative or manipulative. 22 July is showing in select theaters now – in order to qualify for next year’s major film awards shows – and it certainly benefits from being seen on the big screen, but can still be appreciated just as much as a Netflix Original on your home TV. While it’s obviously not a light-hearted viewing experience, 22 July is very much worth checking out if you’ve enjoyed Greengrass’ previous non-Bourne efforts and/or would like to know more about Norway’s own infamous modern terrorist attack.


22 July is now available for streaming on Netflix and is playing in select U.S. theaters. It is 143 minutes long and is rated R for disturbing violence, graphic images, and language.

Let us know what you thought of the film in the comments section!

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2018-10-10 01:10:22 – Sandy Schaefer

Doctor Who No Longer Has Companions, According To Producer

Doctor Who will no longer have companions accompanying the Doctor, at least not in those terms. The long-running series of course centers on the titular time traveler, who goes on adventures and saves the universe in a time machine called the Tardis. The eleventh season of the show has now officially begun, with Jodie Whitaker as the first female incarnation of the Doctor.

Doctor Who has been around since 1963, and has become a staple of UK culture. The show was incredibly popular in its initial run, and lasted for 26 seasons on the BBC. Between 1963 and 1989, a total of eight actors played the Doctor, with even more actors and actresses playing their companions. In fact, the first person to travel with the Doctor, played by William Hartnell at the time, was actually the Doctor’s granddaughter. There have been many humans that have been companions of the Doctor, but there have also been several aliens and robots that accompanied him on his adventures. Even though the Doctor has had companions since the beginning of the series, the term didn’t become popular until the 2005 reboot launched. Now it appears that the eleventh season won’t use the term companion at all.

Related: Doctor Who Season 11: New Cast & Character Guide

According to Doctor Who executive producer Matt Strevens, the Doctor’s crew will no longer be referred to as companions, and will instead be called friends. The news broke at New York Comic Con, when Strevens was discussing the next season of the show. This was previously hinted at in the San Diego Comic-Con trailer, when Whitaker’s character asks, “So if I asked really, really nicely, would you be my new best friends?,” but the term has now officially been confirmed.

Doctor Who has become immensely popular not just in the UK, but all over the world. The show has found a new generation of fans, especially since the reboot, which kicked off with Christopher Eccleston’s Ninth Doctor. Many talented actors and actress have played the Doctor’s companions since the reboot occurred, most notably Billie Piper, Karen Gillan, and Pearl Mackie. The Doctor Who season 11 friends will be played by Bradley Walsh, Tosin Cole, and Mandip Gill.

Even though casting Whitaker as the Doctor received a lot of backlash – as has become the norm whenever a character is gender-swapped – early reviews for Doctor Who season 11 have praised the first female version of the iconic Time Lord. Since the character regenerates every few seasons, casting a woman as the Doctor never should have been out of the realm of possibility, but some fans just don’t like to see their favorite shows changed in a big way. That being said, referring to the Doctor’s companions as friends going forward shouldn’t receive as much hate, especially since the term wasn’t used often in the original series.

More: How To Watch Doctor Who Season 11: Air Time, Streaming Options

Season 11 of Doctor Who airs Sundays on BBC America and BBC One.

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2018-10-07 04:10:53 – Christopher Fiduccia

6 Casting Decisions That Hurt It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia (And 14 That Saved It)

There are sitcoms that everyone loves, and then there’s It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia — a series which has managed to turn off many with its despicable characters and depraved sense of humor. From faking cancer to trying to eat a homeless person, there are no depths that are too low for the owners of Paddy’s Pub. But you don’t get to thirteen seasons without making a few fans in the process.

While It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia might not pull in the biggest numbers, the show has maintained such a rabid following over the years that one has to wonder if they’ve accidentally gotten there hands on some raccoon meat. But the more likely scenario is that many people have just as twisted of a sense of humor as the makers of this FX series.

The sitcom was created by Rob McElhenney with the help of Glenn Howerton and Charlie Day, who would go on to portray Mac, Dennis, and Charlie on the series. Kaitlin Olson and Danny DeVito fill out the rest of the main cast as Dee and Frank Reynolds, and for over the last decade, fans have been happily following the bizarre misadventures of the Gang. Of course, it’s impossible to imagine anyone else in these leading roles. With over 130 episodes, there has been no shortage of supporting characters and celebrity cameo, some of which have been a lot better than others.

Here are 6 Casting Decisions That Hurt It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia (And 14 That Saved It).

20 Saved: Glenn Howerton as Dennis Reynolds

In a sea of despicable characters, Dennis Reynolds has slowly revealed himself to be the most reprehensible of them all. Dennis may have begun the series as one of the more sensible members of the Gang — albeit one with an extremely short fuse, but he’s slowly revealed himself to be a cool and calculated sociopath. One who also happens to have a heavy side of narcissistic personality disorder.

While Glenn Howerton didn’t want to name the character after himself for fear of people drawing an unwelcome comparison, that hasn’t stopped Howerton from taking the character to some extremely dark places. He’s more than a little convincing when he lays out one of his manipulative plans. While his temper tantrums may be over-the-top, you never doubt the authenticity of the rage and frustration Howerton has embedded into his performance.

19 Saved: Mary Elizabeth Ellis as The Waitress

One of the most prominent recurring characters on It’s Always Sunny, the Waitress has been a part of the series since the very beginning. She is the unrequited love interest of Charlie throughout the majority of the show — though it seems like the tables have turned in recent episodes.

The Waitress is portrayed by Mary Elizabeth Ellis, who had previously worked with Charlie Day on an episode of Reno 911! The two were married shortly after It’s Always Sunny began, adding another layer of hilarity to the dysfunctional relationship between the two characters on screen.

Ellis fully commits to her performance as the down-on-her-luck waitress.

She’s an example of the tight-knit community working behind-the-scenes that has made the series such a success.

18 Hurt: Jason Sudeikis as Schmitty

While sitcoms usually lend themselves well to celebrity cameos, It’s Always Sunny has created such a distinct world that more often than not these cameos end up feeling out of place. There have been a few instances where they’ve managed to pull them off. Josh Groban popping up in one of Dee’s fantasies seemed fitting, and Dax Shepard manages to blend in fairly well into the episodes where Mac and Charlie join a cult.

In the case of Jason Sudeikis and a number of other celebrities, the cameos just end up coming across as distracting. There’s nothing inherently wrong with Jason Sudeikis playing Schmitty — an ex-member of the Gang who makes an unexpected return. The whole time, you never forget that you’re watching Sudeikis, which just doesn’t work for the tone of the series.

17 Saved: Mary Lynn Rajskub as Gail the Snail

Though she’s only appeared in three episodes of the series to date, Gail the Snail is definitely one of those side characters that we’d like to see more of. She first appeared back in the season five episode “The Gang Gives Frank an Intervention”, where she is the clingy cousin of Dennis and Dee who talks with a lisp and has the disgusting habit of slurping her saliva. Dennis and Dee have found that the only way to get rid of her is to dust her with salt, hence her nickname of Gail the Snail.

The character is portrayed by the talented Mary Lynn Rajskub, who is best known for playing Chloe O’Brian on 24.

This is undeniably a very different character, and it’s impressive just how committed Rajskub is to playing someone so hilariously obnoxious.

16 Saved: David Hornsby as Cricket

The Gang has dragged their fair share of individuals down into the dirt with them, but none are more apparent than Rickety Cricket. Portrayed by David Hornsby, Cricket is a former classmate of the Gang who was once infatuated with Dee. He debuted in season two as a clean-cut priest who has slowly transformed into the addicted hobo that we have today.

Hornsby has been such a prominent member of the show that last season he was given his own episode with “A Cricket’s Tale”, which cleverly intertwined the character’s other brief appearances throughout the season into the story. Hornsby has also been a big part of the show behind-the-scenes as well, serving as an executive producer and a writer of nearly 30 episodes.

15 Hurt: Brian Unger as The Attorney

It’s Always Sunny has a number of supporting characters who re-emerge every few seasons, only to be dragged down by the shenanigans of the Gang once again. Brian Unger plays one such character with the Attorney, who the Gang often visits for legal advice only to contradict everything the lawyer has to say.

As a former correspondent of The Daily Show, Unger is really good at playing the straight man.

In fact, he’s too good, which makes it hard to believe that he would put up with these self-centered, narcissistic characters for more than a few episodes. Often, these supporting characters are revealed to be a little bit off in their own right, but Unger is just too normal to make his character mesh with the series.

14 Saved: Danny DeVito as Frank Reynolds

Danny DeVito first popped up in season two of It’s Always Sunny, and his casting as Frank Reynolds quite literally saved the series. While the higher-ups at FX reportedly loved the first season, not enough people were watching to warrant a second outing. McElhenney, Howerton, and Day were given the ultimatum to add a bigger name or face cancellation. While they worried how DeVito would fit into the series, the veteran actor has more than proven himself as a worthy member of the Gang.

The insane things that DeVito will do for the character are a testament to the actor’s commitment. Even more impressive is how you never feel like you’re watching a performance. DeVito becomes Frank Reynolds. Even when he’s not delivering lines, just watching him futz about in the background is already hilarious enough.

13 Saved: Charlie Day as Charlie Kelly

It’s Always Sunny has turned all of its leading actors into stars, but Charlie Day is the biggest breakout of them all. Since appearing on the show, Day has worked on a number of hit films, including Horrible Bosses, Pacific Rim, and The Lego Movie.

His star power has no doubt helped the show remain on the air for so long.

Thanks to Day’s performance and musical talents, the character of Charlie has no shortage of memorable moments. Bird law aside, Charlie may be the least intelligent member of the Gang. In a lot of ways, he’s the heart of the show. Charlie certainly has his share of questionable moments, but they often stem from ignorance rather than malice, which set him apart from the other employees of Paddy’s Pub.

12 Hurt: Sean “Diddy” Combs as Dr. Jinx

Whenever Sean “Diddy” Combs pops up in a movie or TV show, he often plays a fictionalized version of himself. In It’s Always Sunny, he plays the unorthodox Dr. Jinx who utilizes alternative methods to treat his patients.

Not only is the cameo distracting, but Combs’ performance is pretty flat. It almost seems like the actor is reading off cue cards, and when Dr. Jinx is seen playing the bass guitar during a musical performance at Paddy’s Pub, it’s pretty obvious that Combs isn’t actually playing. The rapper may have stolen the show as Sergio in Get Him to the Greek, but whatever worked for him on that movie isn’t back on display in the sitcom.

11 Saved: Artemis Pebdani as Artemis

Artemis is one of the few supporting characters who can actually hang with the Gang without her life coming apart at the seams. She first appeared up in season one, where she befriends Dee after the two meet in an acting class. She’s also had a relationship without Frank throughout her time in the series.

The character is portrayed by Artemis Pebdani, who landed the role right at the start of her professional acting career.

While she’s continued to reprise her part as the fun-loving and wild Artemis, the actress has enjoyed success in a number of other shows, including Scandal and Masters of Sex. Though a number of supporting characters seem to have fallen off in recent years, Artemis has already popped up this season with “The Gang Beats Boggs: Ladies Reboot”.

10 Saved: Lynne Marie Stewart and Sandy Martin as Charlie and Mac’s Moms

Every since Danny DeVito debuted as Frank Reynolds, it was abundantly clear why Dennis and Dee are they way that they are. After all, Frank is just as self-absorbed and conniving as the twins. In that respect, we’ve also gotten to see how Mac and Charlie are a result of their childhoods by getting to know their moms over the course of the series.

Lynne Marie Stewart does a perfect job of playing Charlie’s mom, a kind-hearted woman who was far too overprotective of her son — which explains Charlie’s numerous irrational fears. Meanwhile, Sandy Martin is the total opposite, as Mac’s mom doesn’t seem emotionally invested in her son at all — which explains Mac’s constant desire for approval. Together, the two are a perfect comedy duo, which is on full display in “Old Lady House: A Comedy Situation”.

9 Hurt: Seann William Scott as Country Mac

In season nine, Seann William Scott made a one episode appearance as Mac’s cousin — who the Gang deems far cooler than Mac. Just like Jason Sudeikis as Schmitty, this is another star cameo that can’t help but feel distracting. Scott has made a career playing characters who are too cool for school thanks to movies like American Pie and Role Models. That might seem like he’s the ideal fit for Country Mac.

Wouldn’t it have been even funnier if the Gang idolized a character for no other reason than to get under Mac’s skin?

With the success of It’s Always Sunny, we’re sure that they could have a star cameo every few episodes. Since they’re kept to a bare minimum, it seems that even they know these roles can be a bit ostentatious.

8 Saved: Jimmi Simpson and Nate Mooney as Liam and Ryan McPoyle

The McPoyles are the perfect example of just how dark and twisted the humor on It’s Always Sunny can actually get. They are a large inbred family with the two most prominent members, Liam and Ryan, being former classmates of the Gang. They popped up in a number of episodes between seasons one and nine, where they’re often at odds with the owners of Paddy’s Pub.

Liam and Ryan are played by Jimmi Simpson and Nate Mooney throughout their time on the show. Both fully commit to the unsettling nature of these characters. They might be creepy, but that doesn’t stop them from being a hilarious comedy duo. Our only complaint is that they’ve been absent from the series for the last few seasons.

7 Saved: Catherine Reitman as Maureen Ponderosa

One of the weirdest characters in all of It’s Always Sunny, Maureen Ponderosa is the ex-wife of Dennis Reynolds who slowly makes her transition into becoming a cat in the later episodes of the show. Much like Rickety Cricket, her transition from seemingly normal to totally unhinged takes place over the course of a few seasons — better-allowing audiences to buy into the ridiculousness of it all.

Catherine Reitman seems totally devoted to this outlandish and often unsettling performance.

Since appearing on the show, Reitman’s notoriety has only continued to grow. She currently plays the lead on Workin’ Moms — a show which she also created — along with popping up as another recurring character in Black-ish.

6 Hurt: Guillermo del Toro as Pappy McPoyle

Writer/ director Guillermo del Toro was apparently such a big fan of It’s Always Sunny, that it was one of the reasons he cast Charlie Day in Pacific Rim. In return, del Toro was given this cameo appearance as Pappy McPoyle — who is most likely the grandfather of Liam and Ryan.

One problem right off the bat is that del Toro was cast to play someone who is most likely from Ireland— a fact which the director himself made fun of in a behind-the-scenes interview. This may have been the reason that Pappy McPoyle was given such an over-the-top appearance, which is really the worst part of the character. The McPoyle’s are indeed odd and unsettling, but they’re still somewhat believable.Pappy McPoyle, on the other hand, looks like some deranged wizard who has no place in the series.

5 Saved: Wade Boggs as Himself

The best episodes of It’s Always Sunny usually finds the Gang confined to a single area, where their personalities can do nothing but bounce off the walls and wreak havoc on themselves and anyone in their vicinity. This is what makes “The Gang Beats Boggs” one of the best episodes in the series.

The episode finds the five Philadelphia natives trying to beat Wade Boggs’ record of consuming 70 drinks during a cross-country flight.

While the Gang’s antics are usually based on nothing but nonsense, this true story only adds another level of hilarity to the episodes. The cherry on top is a brief appearance by Wade Boggs himself. In an interview, Charlie Day said that not only was Boggs happy to participate in the episode, but that his real-life record was a lot more impressive than previously thought.

4 Saved: Michael Naughton as the Waiter

Michael Naughton first appeared up in “The Gang Dines Out,” where he is a server at one of the finest restaurants in Philadelphia. He’s crossed paths with the Gang a number of times since, and every time the Waiter emerges worse for wear.

Just this season, Naughton appeared in “The Gang Beats Boggs: Ladies Reboot,” where he is now working as a flight attendant. Once again, the Waiter tries to get the Gang to acknowledge how they’ve sabotaged him in the past. But once again, the Gang can’t remember who he is.

Naughton plays the Waiter with a kind of obsessive desperation beneath his everyman facade; he seems like someone who really would let the Gang get the better of him. He’s also the kind of supporting character that rewards loyal fans every time he pops back up.

3 Hurt: Stephen Collins as Bruce Mathis

Stephen Collins popped up in season two and three of It’s Always Sunny, where he played Bruce Mathis, the biological father of Dennis and Dee. Bruce invests most of his time and money helping out various charities around the world, making him a polar opposite of his children. This also made Collins — who was best known for playing Reverend Eric Camden on 7th Heaven — seem like an ideal fit for the part.

In the years since, Collins has both been accused and admitted to being an abuser. The actor has obviously not appeared on the show since, but going back and watching these episodes with Collins can be more than a little discomfiting.

2 Saved: Kaitlin Olson as Dee Reynolds

With Rob McElhenney, Charlie Day, and Glenn Howerton working on the show right from the very beginning, the actors were afforded the opportunity to mold their characters as they saw fit. However, the character of Dee Reynolds was developed before an actress was cast, and she was originally meant to be the Gang’s voice of reason.

Thankfully, Kaitlin Olson nabbed the role, and over time Dee became just as hilariously pathetic as the other members of the Gang.

Being a former member of The Groundlings, Olson clearly had talent as a comedic performer — which might also explain why Dee fancies herself as a bit of an improv comic. The actress isn’t afraid to make Dee as embarrassing as possible, which adds an element of cringe-comedy to the show that’s not found in the other characters.

1 Saved: Rob McElhenney as Mac

Without Rob McElhenney, there would be no It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. The struggling actor/writer decided to put plans for the series into motion after a number of other projects fell through. With the help of Glenn Howerton and Charlie Day, McElhenney made a short episode of the series, which he used to pitch the sitcom. Over a decade later, McElhenney still serves as an executive produces while continuing to write a number of episodes.

As far as his role of Mac is concerned, McElhenney isn’t afraid to take the character in different directions.

He put on a whopping 50 pounds for season seven and Mac finally came out of the closet for good last year — just a few of the many ways McElhenney has kept the show feeling fresh after thirteen seasons.


Who’s your favorite actor on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia? Let us know!

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2018-10-07 02:10:26 – Dylan Dembrow

William Shatner Thinks He Doomed Star Trek 5 By Directing

Just shy of 30 years after the fact, William Shatner has acknowledged in a new memoir that directing Star Trek V: The Final Frontier may have been a mistake. While the franchise is enjoying a bit of a resurgence with Star Trek: Discovery and an upcoming Emmy Governor’s award, it’s had some rough spots along the way. The odd-numbered entries in the long-running film series have always suffered a reputation for lack of quality, but most agree that the fifth film represented the bottom of the barrel for the original crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise.

Criticized both for being too religious for a Trek film and bearing too many similarities to the not-well-received Star Trek: The Motion Picture, this outing saw the Enterprise forcibly commandeered by Spock’s long-lost half-brother Sybok (Laurence Luckenbill), to undertake a literal quest for God. While some of the comedy bits and the relationships between the characters drew praise, most dismissed the film as a mess that tried to answer a question that no one asked, “What does God need with a starship?”

Related: Star Trek: 20 Things Wrong With The Movies We Choose to Ignore

Ahead of Shatner’s new book Live Long And… What I Might Have Learned Along The Way hitting shelves, the website Trek Movie has offered up some tidbits gleaned from its pages. Among them is a recollection that when producers rejected Shatner’s original idea (which was inspired by televangelists, and would have revealed “God” as actually being the devil), they offered him a deal: compromise on the script and he could still sit in the director’s chair. Shatner now believes that his willingness to alter the story “doomed the picture from the beginning.

While whether or not keeping the original idea of having Kirk square off with Satan in order to rescue Bones and Spock from Hell would have saved the film from infamy is debatable, at least Shatner now acknowledges that he bears some responsibility for an entry that almost killed the franchise. Along with that admission, the article describes some other interesting selections from Shatner’s memoir, including an experience with magic mushrooms in Australia. Of course, there’s absolutely no indication that those two stories are in any way related, but one does have to wonder.

These days Shatner seems to be doing just fine, whether he’s angling to do a cameo in Quentin Tarantino’s proposed R-rated Star Trek movie, or pressing on Twitter for Star Wars’s Carrie Fisher to get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. While CBS is intent on restoring the franchise to it’s former glory, and another Enterprise captain is set to reprise his role in a new show on the network’s All Access streaming service, Shatner seems content to enjoy a less hectic pace of life than a regular TV role would allow. After a lifetime of adventures (and misadventures) both in front of and behind the camera, he’s probably earned the break.

More: CBS Wants Star Trek TV Shows Airing All Year Long

Source: Trek Movie

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