October 22, 2014

Exclusive! Lost piece of AHS: Freak Show titles


Die-hard American Horror Story fans: I bring you a piece of never-before seen footage from this season!

These frames were originally earmarked for the opening titles of Freak Show, but they never made the final cut. Showrunner Ryan Murphy put the kibosh on this little piece, created, along with the rest of the opening titles, by Kyle Cooper and his company, Prologue.

Look closely. If you see a pair of babies who look eerily similar to the formaldehyde fetuses in the opener of season one, you’re right. These twins, who are waltzing, if you must know, are an homage to the backstory of Murder House. Cooper's creative process is ever-flowing; this sequence is one of many darlings that had to be killed, so to speak, to create the masterful final product that you see every week on FX.

As for Cooper's theory about the firing of the fetuses, he supposes that Murphy may have thought that the sequence doesn’t really match the rest of the opening titles.

I think the babies look pretty cool. What do you think?

Got a question about how Hollywood really works? Ask me in the handy feedback module to the right.

October 8, 2014

Episode 65: A freak show ... of truth!

Click Me

Tonight marks the return of American Horror Story, the beloved series that's kind of like a toddler's birthday party: It starts off so charmingly, but ends up a total hot mess by the end of its run. One element of AHS that never fails to disappoint—because it always stays the same, episode after episode—is the opening title sequence. Season four is no exception. In fact the opening titles for Freak Show are so memorable, so mesmerizing, that I had to call the guy who made them to find out how he pulled it off.

You can read all of the secrets I downloaded from Kyle Cooper here. But you can get a few extra, never-before-revealed tidbits on this week's Fame Fatale episode, available right here.

Also in this latest edition:
  • Baby Vegas gets a question about Baby Vegas. Baby Vegas answers it.
  • A listener asks about potential jail sentences for whoever is responsible for the celebrity nude-photo hacks, and I crunch the numbers. Another listener floats a conspiracy involving Facebook and celebrities.
  • And I finally reveal what drew me to Jamaica a few weeks ago...other than, you know, a free hotel stay in Jamaica. Turns out, a few powerful folks are trying to turn Jamaica into the next North Carolina or Atlanta–film industry-wise, anyway. They plan to start with a three-picture horror franchise based on the legend of—cue lightning—the White Witch of Rooooose Haaaalllllll. (Not Rose Hall.) Rooooose Haaaallllll. It looks like thiiiisssssss ...

And we have a brand-new Cage Match! 

Have a listen.

Got a question about how Hollywood really works? Ask in the handy feedback module to the right.

October 6, 2014

In which I explain why my fans are the best ever

My fans are the best ever. This is an empirically measurable fact. Fans of other podcasts are precisely 30 percent less wonderful than mine. And I have evidence. Again: empirical.

The other day I found a package on my stoop from a podcast fan named Rachael Collins. She lives overseas. She wanted to make me a pair of silver earrings, so she did, and then sent them via airmail at her own expense.

They're gorgeous, as you can see. I was flattered and kind of overwhelmed that I have such nice listeners. I've been wearing the earrings pretty much every day.

Now Collins wants to make me a ring. When I emailed Collins to thank her for the earrings and to tell her that she shouldn't feel obligated to make me a ring, because, you know, I am not a Kardashian and I do not expect hard-working and talented designers to send me stuff for free, she replied that she really wanted to. 

Because next week she's going into brain surgery. And she may not have time to do it after that.

To repeat: This person is prepping for brain surgery and she takes time to make jewelry for total strangers just because she likes them and what they do. 

Collins's Twitter account is @sunstarsparkles. I'm about to Tweet her some words of encouragement. Will you the same? Meantime, I'll be keeping in touch with her as she goes through her surgery and will keep you up to date.

October 2, 2014

Best boy does good

Answer Dad, the man who created me and who occasionally guest co-hosts on my podcasts, has a little habit. He indulges it after every movie, while the credits are rolling. He waits and waits, until he sees the credit for "best boy," and then cries, "There it is! I was looking for the best boy."

It's understandable, when you think about it. If you're a movie lover, and you haven't spent at least 15 seconds wondering what the heck a best boy does, you're a corpse. 

Here is what a best boy is: The best boy is the assistant to the chief electrician on a film crew. He is not to be confused with the Better Boy, which is a breed of tomato.

The best boy is also, as we have learned today, very well compensated.

The Hollywood Reporter just released a list of salaries for people in show business, ranging from A-list actors to animal performers to wigmakers to agency assistants. Best boys, on average, make $92,000 a year.

I do not.

Curious about what, say, a gardener makes on set? How about showrunner or a gaffer?

Have a look.

Got a question about how Hollywood really works? Ask me via the handy feedback module to the right.

September 30, 2014

Episode 64: Fall TV is awful

Click Me
This is Viola Davis trapped on a Shonda Rhimes
 show. Someone please get her out of there.
This just in: Pretty much every single new TV show debuting right now is not worth your time. I found this out because one of you asked, and because one of the greatest authorities on fall TV subsequently told me so.

Let the flame wars begin.

Just in case you need details—precisely how cringeworthy is The Mysteries of Laura? Is Shonda Rhimes the Antichrist or a mere limb of Satan?—that's what this new podcast is for. Along with this week's co-host, Dan Fienberg of Hitfix, I get down and dirty and explain it all. (Preview: Rimes is doing terrible things to Viola Davis. FREE VIOLA DAVIS.)

My listeners also had other TV-related questions: What was up with the credits for that terrible Simpsons/Family Guy crossover? Is there a vetting process for people who want tickets to see a talk show? How does one get tickets to a talk show, anyway? And once I'm there, can I get some hair and makeup done by a glam squad please? (Preview: Good luck with all that.)

One word of warning: I may sound a tad weary in this podcast. If you've been following my new Instagram account, you know I've been away in Jamaica reporting on a couple of stories I will be sharing in the near future. 

And finally: Watch this space! I'll have a very-special thank-you to a jewelry-making genius of a fan, right here on the blog, later this week!

Got a question about how Hollywood really works? Ask it via the handy feedback module to the right.

September 16, 2014

Episode 63: Keep on earnin' and earnin' and earnin'!

Click Me No, people. No, Matthew McConaughey is not hurting for money. Sure, he earned an upfront salary of only $200,000 for Dallas Buyers Club—not nearly enough to keep an A-lister in marijuana and bongos. And yes, he just shot a commercial for Lincoln, part of a multi-year deal that seems—seems—to demote him to the farm leagues, warming the B-list benches with the likes of The Silver Fox

But all that does not mean that McConaughey is somehow lurching into the same financial straits as, say, a Nic Cage. He's Alright Alright Alright. I swear. In this latest episode, I explain precisely why megastars like him are shilling for cars that haven't been cool since 1989. And doesn't necessarily have anything to do with desperation.

Also in this episode!
  • Baby Vegas is back and has his own Joan Rivers story. I, however, have a better Joan Rivers story.
  • I explain why stars keep taking nekkid photos, even though we civilians don't even take nekkid photos anymore.
  • Your letters! Read aloud! In a brand-new segment of Burn After Reading!
  • And so much more.
Have a listen.

Got a question about how Hollywood really works? Ask me in the handy feedback module to the right.

September 11, 2014

Episode 62: Hollywood caste-ing

Click MeWhen it comes to red carpet events, Hollywood is kinda like India: There's a caste system. The brahmins at the top get to arrive whenever they want, diss whoever they want, talk to the masses, or not. And the untouchables--fledgling pop singers, wannabe reality sensations, regional beauty queens--scrape and hustle for whatever they can get. A lot goes on behind the scenes of a movie premiere or awards-show arrival schedule. And in this, my latest episode, I break it all down: Why do you hear from some stars when others remain silent? Why does one star arrive 30 minutes earlier than another if they're in the same movie? And why was McDreamy ever relegated to the untouchables category?

What else can you look forward to in this edition? How about...
  • The real reasons why Angelina Jolie was able to keep her wedding so quiet, starring this week's co-host and celebrity wedding insider Harmony Walton of The Bridal Bar
  • The totally obvious reason why Bill Gates challenged Ryan Seacrest to the ice bucket challenge
  • Why every woman on the planet owes a thank-you to Joan Rivers 
Have a listen.

Got a question about how Hollywood really works? Ask me via the handy feedback module to the right.