Justin Berfield (Reese) has for the past few years been working with Jason Felts to run his own production company for TV and films, J2TV. It was announced today that J2TV will close its doors and Justin and Jason will lead a new TV and film production company, Virgin Produced, with the backing of Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group.
LOS ANGELES, July 30, 2010 – Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group announced today the launch of Virgin Produced, a film and television development, packaging and production company which has entered into a joint venture with Relativity Media’s Rogue Pictures to develop, produce and market films.
The Los Angeles-based Virgin Produced is led by former J2TV / J2 Pictures producers Jason Felts and Justin Berfield. Felts serves as Chief Executive Officer, overseeing the company’s entire operation, and Berfield, Chief Creative Officer, will oversee the development team.
“For 40 years, Virgin has pushed the envelope.” Felts said. “At Virgin Produced, we look to break some old molds while providing talent a place where they know their work will be embraced and supported. With Rogue’s boundary breaking approach and Virgin’s entrepreneurial strength, the brands are perfectly suited for each other. We’ve got a great opportunity to provide a collaborative experience and produce amazing results.”
“Virgin has always been about doing it your way, expressing oneself through innovation,” said Relativity CEO Ryan Kavanaugh. “It dares to be different. We believe that their approach to film is suited to do just that and pairing the Virgin and Rogue brands together to create innovation couldn’t be more natural.”
Deemed one of the most exciting brands in the world, with a culture of innovation and fun across its diverse range of businesses, Virgin’s mission is clear: to enter markets with opportunities to shake things up and offer a better experience.
“Entertainment has long been a focus of the Virgin brand, and I’m excited for the chance to further grow in this space,” said Virgin Group Founder Sir Richard Branson. “Jason and Justin’s approach is very entrepreneurial, very Virgin. We share a passion for creating and nurturing communities of talent and fresh material. The Rogue and Virgin brands seem an obvious fit for each other.”
In addition to developing and producing original films, it is anticipated that Virgin will co-produce two to three motion pictures a year with Relativity/Rogue, which allows the studio to utilize Virgin’s marketing capabilities to reach millions of consumers within the Virgin and Rogue target audience. The first film is Peter Farrelly’s Movie 43.
“There is real opportunity to provide a great, collaborative experience for talent to hone and shape their ideas and to reach a valuable, cutting-edge, media-hungry audience that enjoys interacting with the Virgin brand,” said Berfield. “We look forward to working with the Virgin family to strategically tap into the vast Virgin network of loyal brand fans, allowing Virgin Produced projects to be enjoyed by a broad audience.”
The relative stability and certainty of the production world, compared to being an actor, has been something that Justin has cited in the past for why he was always interested in the production side of the TV and film worlds. This new venture, with the big-gun backing of the Virgin Group, seems to be consistent with that.
But it seems there is more to this than merely getting a big brand behind Justin and Jason’s business — the marketing copy refers to innovation a lot, even wanting to “break the corrosive mould” of how ‘Old Hollywood’ works. The company seems keen to want to connect directly with talent and create community around it, in a way that perhaps really is different to the way that many production companies are run today. It will certainly be interesting to see how this vision of doing things differently evolves as Virgin Produced gets into its first projects.
Virgin Produced is a new kind of production company. One that is creative, not controlling. One that refuses to cut corners and doesn’t use money to buy your love. One that has faith in its projects. Virgin Produced very simply has balls, and we’re not afraid to show them. In fact, we’re gonna go ahead and apologize ahead of time. You might see our balls. Our bad.
We will certainly be following this new development as we hear more!
Frankie Muniz’s new band You Hang Up are releasing their first single featuring Frankie as drummer next week. We have heard some ‘pre-mix’ sample tracks of the new You Hang Up, but this will be the first completed song with the new line-up. Entitled Losing Me, the single will be available on iTunes and the Amazon MP3 Store on July 27.
You can take a listen to the song below; we’d encourage you to purchase it on your favourite music store when it is released!
First off, we love the song, man.
Oh, cool, thank you.
So what’s life been like lately?
I filmed a movie in April, and the day I came home, the band went to the studio and recorded. We wanted to hurry up and record some new stuff just so people could hear the progression we’ve made as a band. It’s funny, ’cause even since we recorded those, we’ve got like 10 new songs we wish we’d had on there.
Sounds like the rock life is going well.
I don’t know if this is for every band, but you write a song and think it’s amazing and you’re so stoked on it, and then you continue writing songs and they become your favorites. The great thing about You Hang Up, what I love about being in the band, is I love all of our music. We run through our set and after pretty much every song we’re like, “That’s our favorite song.” That’s a good thing. It’s going really well — I’m having the time of my life doing exactly what I want to be doing.
How many songs are you guys sporting?
We’re up to maybe 20 songs. They’ve basically all been written in the past three weeks. About two months ago we started trying to go full-time and get ready for this upcoming tour we have and write new music and continue to progress. Literally every practice we feel like we’re so much tighter and better as a band. I think people are gonna be shocked when they hear us live.
What’s the reaction to the band been like these last few months?
I think a lot of people, when they hear I’m in a band, expect it to be like most “actor bands,” which is not usually the greatest music, but especially not great performed live. Most bands can make a recording sound good, but when you come hear us live … I think people will be impressed. We want to come out with a bang. And I would definitely love my fans to follow my new career and hopefully enjoy it.
And that movie — was it a supporting role or are you really back to acting?
I played the lead in a movie called ‘Pizza Man,’ a little independent movie. I had an amazing time filming it. I hadn’t done any acting in four years or so, focusing on the racing and stuff. I realized I did miss acting, which is cool. I’d been thinking about if I’d want to go back and do it, and the opportunity was in front of me. I really enjoyed the script, so I went and did it. And it was one of the best times I’ve ever had on any production. Hopefully people will enjoy it and it’ll be a success, but either way, it taught me a lot about myself — after the first day of filming, I told my girlfriend, “I feel like this is what I’m supposed to be doing in my life.” I don’t know if it’s necessarily what I’m going to be doing, ’cause I’ve got my hand in so many other things, but I enjoy it for sure.
You Hang Up will take their show on the road in August, with a string of 10 dates across America. Scope the dates here, or visit the band’s Myspace for more info:
8/14: Universal City Walk – Hollywood, CA
8/20: Marquee – Tulsa, OK
8/21: New Daisy Theatre – Memphis, TN
8/22: The Subterannean – Chicago, IL
8/23: Mexicali Live – Teaneck, NJ
8/24: Towson University – Towson, MD
8/25: The Canal Club – Richmond, VA
8/26: Tremont Music Hall – Charlotte, NC
8/27: The Loft – Dallas, TX
8/28: House of Blues – Houston, TX
It bills itself as “a thriller in which deadly events unfold as a man races to his final and most significant act”, but more specific details on the plot are still not clear — it seems likely the full ‘reveal’ of the plot is being avoided until the premiere takes place. Chris plays the lead character David in the short film.
As predicted, Bryan Cranston (Hal) and his new TV show Breaking Bad have been nominated for several Emmy awards.
Bryan is up for Outstanding Actor for the third year running, having won the award for the past two years, but is up against some tough competition — including Hugh Laurie as Dr. Gregory House (House), Michael C. Hall as Dexter Morgan (Dexter) and Matthew Fox as Jack Shephard (Lost).
But it’s not just Bryan himself that is up for a gong, with co-star Aaron Paul up for Outstanding Supporting Actor for the second year running, as well as the show itself nominated for Outstanding Drama. Four other nominations were also announced to various crew members on Breaking Bad:
Michael Slovis was nominated for Outstanding Cinematography for the second straight year, Michelle MacLaren for Outstanding Directing, Skip MacDonald for Single-Camera Picture Editing and Nick Forshager, Kathryn Madsen, Mark Cookson, Cormac Funge, Jason Boegel, Jason Newman and Gregg Barbanell for Outstanding Sound Editing.
The 62nd Primetime Emmy Awards will air on Sunday August 29th at 8pm Eastern / 5pm Pacific on NBC.
The movie My Dog Skip was an important turning point for Frankie’s career, giving him mainstream success which may well have been crucial in allowing him to land the role of Malcolm later on. The film also featured Moose, the father of Enzo, who played the older Skip in some scenes. Enzo’s versatility and talent as a dog actor was remarkable:
Animal trainer Matilde Decagney, whose experience includes the feature films “As Good As It Gets” and “Homeward Bound 2” as well as the NBC series “Frasier,” cited two months of preparation and lots of pampering, including an air-conditioned trailer to fight the Southern heat, to keep the film’s fuzzy co-stars focused. The main Skip, the three-year-old Enzo, was asked not only to display a range of moods, from sweet to protectively fierce, but to play baseball, football and drive a car!
“The tricks are not hard for him to do, as long as he’s in good condition and not too hot,” explains Decagney. While cast and crew were allowed to pet Enzo and the other dogs between takes, any food that might distract a canine nose was strictly prohibited.
“Skip never failed us. I wish I worked with actors who were as well prepared as Skip,” admits Mark Johnson. “There was not a trick or a piece of business we asked the dog to do that he wasn’t able to do; it was uncanny. The trainers were so good, they could stop him on a mark, he could lift his leg, he could do a somersault. I expected to see him reading the New York Times any day.”
Frankie Muniz (Malcolm) joined You Hang Up in December 2009, after the band were looking for a drummer.
The band is now going to be touring the United States in August:
Sat, August 7 – 7:00 PM — at Vibes Main 1 — Medford, OR
Fri, August 20 — 6:00 PM — at Marquee — Tulsa, OK
Sat, August 21 – 6:30 PM — at New Daisy Theatre — Memphis, TN
Sun, August 22 – 7:00 PM — at The Subterannean — Chicago, IL
Mon, August 23 – 9:00 PM — at Mexicali Live — Teaneck, NJ
Tue, August 24 – 8:00 PM — at Towson University— Towson, MD
Wed, August 25 – 6:30 PM — at The Canal Club— Richmond, VA
Thurs, August 26 – 8:00 PM – at Tremont Music Hall — Charlotte, NC
Fri, August 27 — 8:30 PM — at The Loft — Dallas, TX
Sat, August 28 — 8:00 PM — at House of Blues — Houston, TX
Some new tracks, featuring Frankie’s drumming have also been put up (in an unfinished ‘pre-mix’ state) on the band’s MySpace page. These are the first tracks that we have heard that have Frankie on drums; the previous ‘Release Me EP’ tracks were released before Frankie joined the band (you can purchase the older EP tracks on the iTunes Store).
‘The Search’ pre-mix — You Hang Up
‘Running’ pre-mix — You Hang Up
You can also hear an interview Frankie Muniz did for the JohnJay and Rich radio show, back in January 2010, where he first talks about becoming a member of the band:
After 12 years with 20th Century Fox, working on shows such as Malcolm, Miss Guided and The Larry Sanders Show, director Todd Holland is leaving 20th Century Fox and entering into a new two-year contract to work with Karey Burke at Universal Media Studios.
The pair aim to develop a range of projects through their as-yet-unnamed shingle. Holland has spent the past dozen years under contract to 20th Century Fox TV, which let him out early to pursue the partnership with Burke. Burke was a longtime NBC creative exec who joined Ashton Kutcher and Jason Goldberg’s Katalyst banner as a partner in 2005.
Holland and Burke got to know each other several years ago while working on the ABC sitcom “Miss Guided,” which Katalyst developed with 20th Century Fox TV.
The project took several years to get off the ground, and over the long haul of pushing it up the hill for a short run in 2008, Holland and Burke became close.
“Together we really make one perfect creative person,” Holland told Daily Variety . “She has all the skills I don’t have: all the network experience, the general awareness of the writer community and the memory of so much TV development. I’m always thinking like a director — ‘What are we doing right now?’ ”
Holland noted that his parting from 20th is bittersweet after 12 years and numerous skeins, including “Malcolm in the Middle,” the cult fave “Wonderfalls” and, most recently, laffer “Sons of Tucson.”
“I’m very grateful to the studio,” Holland said. “It’s going to be very strange to work anywhere else, but I’m excited for the strange.”
Holland said he was particularly eager to move back into drama development after focusing on laffers for the past few years.
It is particularly interesting to note that Holland is moving towards drama, having spent a considerable amount of time on comedy shows, with even one of his most recent small projects for Funny or Die, as the name probably suggests, being focused on ‘funny’.
This is big news for him professionally, but his personal and family life is changing too: Todd and his husband Scotch Ellis Loring recently became proud parents to triplets.
Sometimes surrogacy experiences can give parents more children to love than they could ever expect.
“Finally, on our fifth attempt, we got pregnant with triplets,” said television producer Todd Holland, known for his work on Malcolm in the Middle. Holland’s partner, actor Scotch Ellis Loring, was also on the panel.
This looks set to be an interesting time for Todd and we wish him well professionally and personally.
Bryan Cranston, a two-time Emmy winner for playing meth-dealing high school teacher Walter White on AMC’s “Breaking Bad”: “This is the character of my career. He has such broad parameters that I can go from being sensitive and concerned to heinous and evil in the same episode. You never know what to expect when you get the script.”
That’s a big change, Cranston says, from when he began his acting career playing cookie-cutter villains on police dramas and action-adventure shows. Cranston met his wife playing such a part on an episode of “Airwolf” 23 years ago.
“I was the ‘bad of the week’ and she was the ‘victim of the week,’ and that’s how men’s and women’s roles were written back then,” Cranston says. “Fortunately that’s changed, and we’re seeing a more equal-opportunity bad guy come forth.”
Bryan will also be up against plenty of previous nominees as well, including big names such as House‘s Hugh Laurie and Michael Emerson from Lost.
“You can become a victim of your own success,” adds Bryan Cranston, who has won two Emmys for his serious “Breaking Bad” role but who spent six Emmy-free years on the comedy “Malcolm in the Middle.” When that show ended, he recalls he was offered a lot of “derivative, silly dad” roles.
“It’s up to the actor to get themselves out by carefully picking and choosing,” he says. “The only real power we have as actors is to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and identify well-written material. I never want to be embarrassed by what I’m doing.”
For each of his major roles, Cranston recalls having someone go to bat for him; first it was “Malcolm” executive producer Linwood Boomer, when word came down that executives might want to recast Cranston’s Hal role after the pilot. With “Breaking,” Cranston says, “I heard through the grapevine that the studio questioned whether the goofy dad from ‘Malcolm’ was the right choice. I was confident that the transition could be made, and Vince (Gilligan, “Breaking’s” creator) spoke for me. That’s a big leap of faith.”
The Emmy Nominations will be revealed on Thursday, July 8th at 5:40am Pacific Time. The event will be live from the Leonard H. Goldenson Theatre on the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences campus in North Hollywood and will apparently also be streamed live on emmys.tv.
Todd Holland, who of course directed many episodes of Malcolm, recently directed a short mockumentary trailer for Funny or Die. Entitled Wax On, F*** Off and featuring Ralph Macchio of Karate Kid fame, it shows the story of Ralph, who can’t get another job in Hollywood because he is too ‘nice’. So he sets out on a journey to do anything to be involved in scandal and therefore be marketable again. “If he were a degenerate, I could sell him”, his ‘manager’ explains.
As the title might suggest, the video does contain some strong language. That’s — kind of the point.
Don’t feel so bad for Ralph Macchio. Yes, he must be kinda bummed that what little thunder he had left is being stolen by a 12-year-old. Yes, the last good movie he was in was My Cousin Vinny. And yes, he’s only been in one theatrical release since 1993, and it made less than half a million dollars, and it starred Artie Lang. But if the above mockumentary trailer is to believed (it isn’t), Macchio’s not landing the big gigs because he’s just too normal and happy, presumably resting on his laurels Karate Kid residuals. But after an intervention by loved ones, Macchio summons the determination and courage that brought Daniel Larusso glory on the dojo mat, and redirects it to the task of sullying his nice-guy reputation with drugs and hookers in order to stage a Robert Downey Jr.– or Mickey Rourke–style comeback. The Funny or Die exclusive also features cameos by Kevin Connolly, and excellent Michael Lerner (who you’ll remember as the shoe-kissing studio chief in Barton Fink), and Macchio’s female counterpart in the category of where-are-they-now 80’s stars, Molly Ringwald.
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