Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Q and A: Week of July 2

Q: I just saw “Iron Man 2” this weekend, and I wondered about one of the actresses in the movie. In the party scene with Robert Downey Jr., there is a blond actress who looks a lot like Irina from “Desperate Housewives.” Are they one in the same? — Tess G., via e-mail

A: That’s a very good eye you have there, as the actress who played Rebecca in “Iron Man 2” is indeed the same person who plays Irina: Helena Mattsson (pictured, left). The 26-year-old beauty from Stockholm, Sweden, is indeed wreaking havoc on poor Lynette portraying her son’s gold-digging fiancée.

When I caught up with Helena recently, she told me what a joy it is to play the Russian temptress: “It is so much fun to be the villain and to be manipulative. There are so many off-tones, so many layers that only the women understand among themselves. You can always read between the lines. It is also a lot of fun to play a character who’s really far from who you are yourself, and really have fun with that and be the villain.”

Q: Did actress Amy Adams have her baby yet? I remember reading a while back that she was pregnant. — Gina H., Carson City, Nev.

A: Amy, 35, and fiance Darren Le Gallo, welcomed a 7-pound baby girl on May 15. The “Julie and Julia” star named her daughter Aviana Olea Le Gallo. Amy and Darren have been together for seven years and engaged since July 2008.

Q: Will Starz’s new show “Spartacus: Blood and Sand” be back for a second season? Also, I had heard that the show’s star, Andy Whitfield, has cancer. Is he going to be OK? — Paul F., Mansfield, Ohio

A: It was recently announced that “Spartacus” will return in January 2011 as a six-part prequel series that will once again star John Hannah and Lucy Lawless, with brief appearances by Andy Whitfield. The series has been renewed for a full second-season order, but production has been delayed while Andy is treated for non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Co-star Katrina Law (pictured, left) told me that Andy is responding well to treatment, and that “he has felt the millions of prayers that are coming toward him, and it really is an inspiration for him. Keep sending them, because he really appreciates it.”

Q: I can’t believe that “FlashForward” wasn’t renewed for the 2010-11 season. What are they thinking over there at ABC? — Suzzi F., via e-mail

A: “FlashForward” did start out a little shaky, but when it came back after its hiatus, it had really pulled its act together and was cohesive, exciting, well-acted and thoughtful. I am sad we won’t get closure on a lot of those open story lines, as I was looking forward to seeing what the future of the show would bring. Hopefully a cable station like TNT, SyFy or FX will decide to pick up the show for next season.

Q: I was channel-surfing the other day and came across and old episode of “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” I was sure one of the actresses on the show that episode was Ashley Judd. Was it her? If so, what year was that? — J.W., via e-mail

A: That was indeed the “Someone Like You” star, who guest-starred on two episodes of “The Next Generation” back in 1991. That was Ashley’s first role in Hollywood, where she came after college and studied with renowned acting teacher Robert Carnegie at Playhouse West.

Q: I was happy to read in your column about David James Elliott’s new Hallmark Channel movie “Dad’s Home.” It got me to thinking that I’d love to see him in another series so I can watch him on a regular basis. Does he have any plans to come back to television in a new series? — Kim T., St. Louis

A: You’re in luck. David (pictured, left) co-stars in the summer series “Scoundrels,” which airs Sunday nights on ABC. He plays Wolf West, the incarcerated patriarch of a family of small-time criminals. His wife (Virginia Madsen) must try to make ends meet as the family tries to go straight.

David is thrilled to try on this new role, telling me: “This guy, he has a lot of me in him, and he’s got a lot of people that I know in him. It’s just a great opportunity that came along, and I’m just happy to be a part of it. He’s completely different from Harmon Rabb (his character on ‘JAG’), and that’s dynamite.”

Q: I know Alec Baldwin is very politically vocal, but is it true he is going to run for office? — Paul T., Altoona, Pa.

A: According to Alec’s spokesman, Matthew Hiltzick, this rumor is false. He told the New York Daily news that Alec has no current plans to run for office, but “who knows what may happen in the future?”

 Q: Are former cast members of the original “Beverly Hills, 90210” still friends? I grew up watching that show, and would like to think they all still get along. — Heather D., via e-mail

A: A while back, there was a much-reported riff between Shannen Doherty and the rest of the cast, which I am sure you heard of, but time seems to have softened the actress’ sharp edges. While I wouldn’t say she is best friends with her former castmates, she certainly isn’t an enemy. Many of the others regularly keep in touch. In fact, Jennie Garth (with hubby Peter Facinelli), Jason Priestley (and wife Naomi) and Brian Austin Green (with girlfriend Megan Fox) recently attended the nuptials of fellow “90210” alumnus Ian Ziering. Jennie tweeted about the event: “Had a great time at Ian and Erin’s wedding. Kind of like a mini ‘90210’ reunion. What a beautiful bride. Oh, and the groom wasn’t too bad either!”

Q: I am excited to see the new “A-Team” movie, especially because it stars one of my favorite actors, Bradley Cooper (pictured, left). He always seems to be linked to some beautiful Hollywood actress. Can you tell me who he is dating now? — Tara F., Baltimore

A: The often-shirtless star has been linked to Jennifer Esposito, with whom he had a four-month marriage, and Jennifer Aniston, whom he describes as a buddy, not a love interest. He is mum, however, when it comes to current lady-love, Renee Zellweger. The cute couple has been dating since 2009; however, he refuses to go into details about their relationship in order to keep it as private as possible (which I fully support).

Q: I just got the new Emily Giffin book, “Heart of the Matter,” and absolutely love it. Now I am hearing that her book, “Something Borrowed,” is being made into a movie. Please tell me this is true! — Rhonda H., Hamilton, Ohio

A: I am happy to report that the rumors are true. The film, which began shooting in April, is set for a 2011 release. It stars Kate Hudson as Darcy, Colin Egglesfield as Dex, Ginnifer Goodwin as Rachel and John Krasinski as Ethan. For those unfamiliar with the book series, the movie centers on a Manhattan attorney who becomes involved with her best friend’s fiance. Alcon Entertainment, headed by Hilary Swank and Molly Smith, plan to develop the sequel, “Something Blue,” as well.

Q: Who is going to take over the role of Mikaela Banes in the third “Transformers” movie now that Megan Fox has quit the franchise? — Tommy T., via e-mail

A: As of this writing, the front-runner for the role is Victoria’s Secret model Rosie Huntington-Whitely. Shooting has already started on “Transformers 3” (working title), and the project also involves Patrick Dempsey, Frances McDormand, John Malkovich, and of course, Josh Duhamel and Shia LaBeouf will be returning as Captain Lennox and Sam Witwicky, respectively.

Q: I was watching “Friday Night Lights” a few weeks ago, and could have sworn that one of the co-stars was Detective Larry Zito from “Miami Vice” back in the ’80s. Was it him? What has he been up to since leaving “Miami Vice”? — Tommy D., via e-mail

A: John Diehl, 60, has been working VERY steadily since leaving the trendsetting police drama back in 1987. Most recently he portrayed Richard Sherman on “FNL.” He also has starred/guest-starred on: “L.A. Law,” “The John Larroquette Show,” “Nash Bridges” (reuniting with "Miami Vice" co-star Don Johnson), “JAG,” “The West Wing,” “Cold Case” and “Point Pleasant.” He also just wrapped two feature films, “Road to Nowhere” and “Natural Selection.”

Q: I have been a lifelong fan of the Osmonds. I know that two of the brothers, Virl and Tom, are deaf. My mom told me Merrill’s son is deaf as well. Can you tell me about him? — Paula F., Harrisburg, Pa.

A: Justin Osmond (pictured, left), Merrill’s son, was born with severe hearing loss, but can now hear with the help of hearing aids. Justin is the public-relations coordinator/spokesman for the Starkey Hearing Foundation, which has provided more than 440,000 hearing aids to underprivileged children in the U.S. and other parts of the world.

Justin told me about an instance of providing the gift of hearing to a young child that has stuck with him: “I remember one little girl in particular who changed my life forever. She was just absolutely filled with joy when she realized she could hear. Her mother told me with all the sincerity in her heart: 'I love my daughter so much. And now she can hear me tell her that I love her.’

“And then she said something that I’ll never forget: 'Justin, I hope you never measure your life by the days you have lived but by the smiles you have left behind.’” For information on how you can help, go to

Q: I know Alicia Witt of “Law and Order: Criminal Intent” also was in the movie “Mr. Holland’s Opus.” Was she also the little girl in “Dune”? — Cate S., via e-mail

A: This beautiful film and TV star did indeed get her break in showbiz in the 1984 David Lynch sci-fi fantasy, “Dune,” with Kyle MacLachlan and Sting. The 34-year-old actress also has appeared in “Vanilla Sky,” “The Upside of Anger,” “88 Minutes” and “Friday Night Lights,” to name a few.

Q: I watched a movie on SyFy a while back called “Brave New World” with Leonard Nimoy. I can’t find it anywhere and would love to see it again. — Robyn D. in Florida

A: I found a few out-of-print VHS copies of the 1998 remake of the classic book by Adolph Huxley on, as well as a PAL DVD version on eBay. There are a few out there, but you’ll have to pay a pretty penny to get your hands on one. Good luck!

Q: Will James MacArthur, who played Danno in the original “Hawaii Five-0,” have any part in the new show? — Jim S., Punta Gorda, Fla.

A: Mr. MacArthur is relishing his retirement, playing golf and tennis, doing a little traveling and enjoying spending time with his family. He divides his time between his homes in Southern California and Hawaii. Currently, there are no plans for his participation in the new “Hawaii Five-0.” When I contacted him recently, he told me: “I wish the new team much success and look forward to seeing what they’ll do with the franchise.”

Q: I saw a preview for the new series “The Gates,” and one of the actors looked like Luke Mably from “The Prince and Me.” Was that him, and if so, what has he been doing since that movie? — Elly H., via e-mail

A: That is indeed the prince himself, Luke Mably (pictured, left), playing an entrepreneur with an otherworldly bloodlust in the new ABC summer drama. When I asked him why he’d been keeping such a low profile, he told me: “When ‘The Prince and Me’ first came out, I was staying in Los Angeles. I remember walking down Sunset Boulevard and someone saying to me, ‘Hey, you’re that prince guy!’ And whenever I had meetings for film roles, I would walk into the room and people would go, ‘Ah … the prince!’

“It was nice to get recognition for a role I did, and the fans of the film have been very complimentary, which I am forever grateful for and sincerely humbled by. But as time went by, I thought, I hope I won’t be known only for playing this prince guy. So I was keen to do more diverse work. I went back to London. One project I am proud of since then is a play I did called ‘Festen.’ It’s a haunting story and subject matter. Another project I’ve done, which I am keen for people to see, is a movie called ‘Exam’ (on DVD July 23).” Until then, you can catch Luke in “The Gates” on Sunday nights on ABC.

Q: Can you tell me if “Raising the Bar” has been canceled? — William F., via e-mail

A: The Steven Bochco drama, which starred Mark-Paul Gosselaar, was canceled in late 2009 by TNT. However, the network was quick to pick up another Mark-Paul starring vehicle, another lawyer series for the 2010-11 season called “Franklin and Bash.” This buddy comedy also stars Breckin Meyer of “Clueless” and “Kate and Leopold” fame.

Q: Is “Designing Women” out yet on DVD? I have “The Best of Designing Women” DVD, but would love to have all of their seasons. — Donna L., Roanoke, Va.

A: You’re in luck! Seasons one through three of this fabulous Southern Belle comedy are now available on DVD, with season four being released on Sept. 14. You can find them wherever DVDs are sold.

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