Thursday, September 18, 2014

Q and A: Week of Sept. 18

CCH Pounder (photo by Geneva Morgan)
Q: Last season’s “NCIS” finale was a two-parter that featured Scott Bakula and CCH Pounder, which seemed like it was a setup for an “NCIS” spinoff. Is that going to happen? — Brenda S., Joppa, Md.

A: “NCIS: New Orleans” is definitely happening. In fact, it premieres on CBS Sept. 23 at 9/8c, right after the season 12 premiere of “NCIS.” The crime-procedural drama stars Scott Bakula, CCH Pounder, Lucas Black, Zoe McLellan, Rob Kerkovich and Paige Turco.

As the title would suggest, the series is set and filmed in the Big Easy, and while it follows the “NCIS” formula, the show definitely has a feel all its own. Series star CCH Pounder told me recently: “The pacing is definitely different. It’s a different kind of temperature and atmosphere, certainly, but also, the pace of it is not as uptight as it would be in, say, Washington. It covers a wide swath of the Southern belt from New Orleans up through Alabama. The framework is the same, but the people and the content will be quite different.”

But just because the people are different, it doesn’t mean that familiar faces won’t be showing up now and again. CCH explained: “Everyone wants to come to New Orleans. Joe Spano was here last week; Meredith Eaton was here; Michael Weatherly is here now. So the food and the ’laissez les bons temps rouler’ (’let the good times roll’) attitude have enticed a lot of them to come on down.”

Q: Now that Jennifer Esposito has reappeared on “Taxi Brooklyn,” why did she ever leave “Blue Bloods”? I thought that it was reported she was ill? — Tony via email

A: Back in 2012, Jennifer collapsed on the “Blue Bloods” set due to complications from celiac disease and missed a week of work. Her doctor advised her that she needed to cut back her work schedule. Rather than work around her schedule, CBS put her on an unpaid leave of absence (and even implied that her collapse was a stunt to get a raise), and refused to let her obtain limited work in the meantime. When her contract with the show expired, she was able to look for work elsewhere.

Jennifer currently is co-starring in the action-drama “Taxi Brooklyn,” which is based on Luc Besson’s feature film called “Taxi.” Luc is best known for “Leon: The Professional,” the “Taken” films, the “Transporter” series, “The Fifth Element” and much, much more. “Taxi Brooklyn” wrapped its first season on NBC Sept. 10; there is no word as of this writing of a second season.

Q: I love Bill Cosby’s comedy. Does he have plans to return to TV? — Robert M., via email

A: NBC announced at the Television Critics Association tour this summer that it was developing a comedy for Bill Cosby, which could premiere as early as summer 2015. The series is described as a “multi-camera, classic extended-family sitcom,” with Bill as the patriarch.

Q: On your suggestion, I started reading Breeana Puttroff’s “Dusk Gate Chronicles” series, and I couldn’t put them down. I tore through the entire series in two weeks. Will she be releasing any new books soon? — Mary Anne K., Allentown, Pa.

A: Breeana’s new book, which is slated to be released in late September or early October, is called “Rumplestiltskin’s Daughter.” As of now, it is planned to be a stand-alone book, not a series, but as Breeana told me, you never know.

“So far as I know it’s a single story. You know, my brain does strange things. I thought ‘Dusk Gate’ was done after ‘Blooms of Consequence,’ so I don’t know for sure. But probably if it did turn into a series, it would branch off from a few different characters. Like maybe a same world and same storyline, but focus on different people.”

So, what is her new book about? Breeana summed it up for me: “The story is basically a what-if retelling of the Rumpelstiltskin tale. The idea behind it is that tales are told by the most powerful, so the stories that get passed down are from one point of view. And so ‘Rumpelstiltskin’s Daughter’ is, what if Rumpelstiltskin isn’t a bad guy after all? In the real story, the heroes are not nice people. A king and queen get married because he forces her to spin gold for him, and yet Rumpelstiltskin is portrayed as the bad guy. So, my story is more an examination of that.”

Q: When will “Gone Girl” be released at the theater? Seems like I’ve been waiting forever! — Deanna R., via email

A: The long-awaited Ben Affleck-starring thriller — which is based on the best-selling novel by Gillian Flynn, who also wrote the movie’s screenplay — will be in theaters on Oct. 3. Save me a seat and some popcorn, because you can bet I’ll be there!

Q: We watched “Lone Survivor” last night on DVD, and the actor who played the new guy that they were giving a hard time looked familiar to me. What else has he been in? — Amelia D., via email

A: Alexander Ludwig, who played newbie Navy SEAL Shane Patton, is perhaps best known for playing Cato, the career tribute from District 2 in “The Hunger Games.” He’ll also play Bjorn (Ironside) Lothbrok — Ragnar and Lagertha’s now-grown son — in the upcoming season of the History channel’s “Vikings,” which likely will air in spring 2015.

Q: I can’t get enough “Outlander”! Please tell me it will be back for another season. — Eleanor W., The Villages, Fla.

A: I am thrilled to tell you that after its record-shattering opening weekend, Starz did indeed renew the time-traveling/fantasy/historical-drama/romance series for a second season. Early reports say that the second season will be at least 13 episodes (but I'm thinking it'll end up being at least 16, like this season), and it will be based on Diana Gabaldon’s second book in the “Outlander” series, “Dragonfly in Amber.”

Q: Like the rest of the world, I was shocked and heartbroken to hear about Robin Williams’ suicide. I know he was working on some movies before his death. Will any be released posthumously? — Kelli F., via email

A: The consummate funnyman with a heart as big as his funny bone left this world way too soon, as I’m sure we all can agree. He did leave behind four movies that have yet to be released: “Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb,” “Merry Friggin’ Christmas,” “Boulevard” and “Absolutely Anything.”

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