|Greg Nicotero |
(Photo Credit: Jordin Althaus / AMC)
A: Greg Nicotero is the talented man behind those awesome effects. He got his professional start back in 1985, when he worked on “Day of the Dead,” and has scores and scores of film special-effects makeup credit to his name. On “The Walking Dead,” he serves as co-executive producer, director and special makeup effects supervisor. He recently was in Orlando, Florida, for Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights 25 (which runs through Nov. 1) with director John Landis and “TWD” co-star Chandler Riggs, where the two directors discussed their respective haunted houses: “The Walking Dead” house and “An American Werewolf in London” house. And I have to report that “The Walking Dead” haunted-house maze was the scariest house again this year. It’s definitely a don’t-miss attraction.
One of the many things he loves about working on “TWD” is that most of the makeup effects are practical and not CGI. He said: “On ‘The Walking Dead,’ the most exciting thing for me is that it opens practical makeup effects for a younger generation. Growing up, I was really inspired by practical effects. … And it’s not easy. It’s a tremendous compliment that the work that I love, that I grew up wanting to do, is being celebrated more and more.”
Q: A while back you mentioned that ABC Family had picked up a series based on “The Mortal Instruments” books. Is this still happening? I haven’t heard any updates in a while. — Pamela T., Wheeling, WV
A: ABC Family announced at New York Comic-Con in early October that its highly anticipated series “Shadowhunters” will premiere on Tuesday, Jan. 12 at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT. As you mentioned, the series is based on the bestselling young-adult fantasy book series “The Mortal Instruments” by Cassandra Clare, which follows 18-year-old Clary Fray (played by Katherine McNamara), who finds out on her birthday that she is not who she thinks she is but rather comes from a long line of shadowhunters — human-angel hybrids who hunt down demons.
Q: Is “The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret” ever coming back? — Violet F., via email
A: IFC recently announced that the third season of its original comedy series “The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret” starring David Cross will premiere on Thursday, Jan. 7, with the first three episodes of the six-episode series airing back to back beginning at 10 p.m. ET/PT. The remaining three episodes will premiere the following week on Jan. 14 at 10 p.m. ET/PT.
Says Jennifer Caserta, IFC’s president: “Since we last saw Todd Margaret” — SPOILER ALERT!— “which we thought was ACTUALLY the last time we’d see him, this show has become a favorite among comedy fans. Only David Cross could write his way around destroying the world to resurrect this character and story in a way that’s mind-blowing and completely hilarious.”
Q: I saw a preview for a movie with Leonardo DiCaprio where he has a beard, is all dirty, and is seeking revenge on Tom Hardy. Can you tell me about the movie? It looks really good! — Douglas C., Annapolis, Md.
A: You are referring to “The Revenant,” which will open on Christmas Day in select cities (to qualify for Oscar consideration), and opening wider on Jan. 8, 2016. Leo plays explorer Hugh Glass, who is left for dead by Tom’s John Fitzgerald, after Hugh is mauled by a bear. Set in 1823, the film is based on Michael Punke’s novel “The Revenant: A Novel of Revenge” and, of course, there is already Oscar buzz surrounding the film.
Q: You mentioned that the Ben Affleck/Matt Damon-produced show “Project Greenlight” would be back, but I haven’t heard anything about it. I watched it on Bravo a few years back, but it’s not there anymore. — Felicia F., via email
A: “Project Greenlight” moved back to its original home, HBO, for its fourth season, which premiered on Sept. 13 and has its season finale on Nov. 1, airing a total of eight episodes. The show made news recently not for the competition itself, but for Matt Damon trying to explain diversity in the film industry to an African-American producer, Effie Brown, who serves as a judge on the show.
|Italia Ricci |
(courtesy ABC Family)
A: I’m sorry to have to tell you, but the tear-jerking season-two finale from last month was indeed the series finale. ABC Family decided not to renew the one-hour drama, which centered on 24-year-old April, played by Italia Ricci, a journalist trying to work her way up the ladder at a Boston newspaper while balancing her career and family. Just as things start to come together for her, she gets the devastating news that she has leukemia. The series finale saw April take her best friend, Beth, and love interest, Dominic, to Italy, where she reveals to them she is not eligible for the clinical trials for her cancer treatment and has decided not to pursue a bone-marrow transplant. She just wants to live out her days in peace. She tells Beth: “It’s not giving up because I’ve already won. I could die happy here.”
Q: Is it true that Richie Sambora and Heather Locklear are back together? I saw pictures of them online frolicking on a beach together. — Nina H., via email
A: The former Bon Jovi guitarist and his gorgeous yet down-to-Earth ex-wife have not gotten back together. They are one of those rare Hollywood ex-couples who others could learn a lesson from: They have remained good friends since splitting up eight years ago, and they take the co-parenting of daughter Ava very seriously. Recently photos surfaced of the trio having fun in the sun and sand in Bora Bora, where the friendly exes were treating their daughter to a family vacation before she goes off to college.
Q: Can you tell me what Aaron Eckhart has been up to lately? — Rita C., via email
A: The handsome and versatile actor is currently shooting Clint Eastwood’s latest film, “Sully,” which chronicles the January 2009 real-life events where Capt. Chelsey “Sully” Sullenberger safely landed his aircraft on the Hudson River after a flock of geese knocked out both engines. Aaron plays first officer and co-pilot Jeff Skiles opposite Tom Hanks’ Sully. The film is based on Sullenberger’s 2009 autobiography “Highest Duty: My Search for What Really Matters.” The film just started shooting, and as of this writing, a premiere date had not yet been set.
Q: Did they cancel “Person of Interest”? I’m getting nervous because I haven’t been able to find it on CBS’s fall schedule. — Paul T., via email
A: CBS did renew the crime drama for a fifth season — a 13-episode order of the series will premiere midseason. Although CBS hasn’t yet made its final decision, show runners are approaching this season as if it could be the final one, as executive producer Jonathan Nolan revealed during this summer’s Comic-Con.