Fran Lebowitz contains multitudes: author (with a decades-old writer’s block), journalist (Vanity Fair and Interview, et al.), occasional actor (“Law & Order,” “The Wolf of Wall Street”) and technology refusenik. But her sharp tongue and incisive wit and sheer New Yorkiness are what’s on glorious display in the seven-part Netflix documentary “Pretend It’s a City.”
Directed by friend (and possibly her biggest fan) Martin Scorsese, “City” gives her approximately 210 minutes to opine on everything from the subway system to money to clueless tourists — and it’s just not enough. Lebowitz spoke to The Envelope and dug into her bibliophilia, what gets Scorsese irritated and getting parodied on “Saturday Night Live.”
Derek DelGaudio is a man of many hats: magician, playwright and performer, storyteller, “rouletista” (a word from his Hulu show “Derek DelGaudio’s In & Of Itself,” directed by Frank Oz). But even as DelGaudio lays himself bare in his “Amoralman” memoir or in the personal histories featured in “Itself,” which ran on stage in L.A. and off-Broadway for 560 performances, describing his one-man show can be as elusive as the secret to making a gold brick disappear.
Having just returned to his home base in New York from the West Coast after shooting scenes for the Steven Soderbergh thriller “Kimi,” DelGaudio spoke with The Envelope to talk about identity, being seen and putting yourself outside the circle.
An actress sailing into her 40s traditionally doesn’t begin landing the most interesting roles of her career, but Sarah Paulson, 46, has bucked that trend. Able to play baby-faced vulnerable and calculating stoic — sometimes in the same scene — she’s been riveting in Netflix’s “Ratched,” which fills in the back story of Mildred Ratched, the harsh “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” nurse, an Oscar-winning role for Louise Fletcher in 1975.
Paulson, who won an Emmy for another Ryan Murphy-affiliated project (“American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson”) and who frequently appears in Murphy’s “American Horror Story,” spoke with The Envelope over a video call about emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic; taking advice from her partner, fellow actor Holland Taylor; and how she’d love to be hired for being funny — for once.
In spring 2020, those in the “black-ish” writers’ room faced a conundrum: To pandemic or not to pandemic? With the world heading toward lockdown and a next season that had to be written, would the Johnson family still feel the effects of what might be a passing phase, a brief blip that was old news by the time their shows began airing in the fall?
But quickly the choice — a decision made in writers’ rooms across Hollywood — became clear: They had to work the ever-changing real world into the “black-ish” universe. It was something they’d done before, but not to this extent. So with Courtney Lilly at the showrunning helm, they wrote a show that would air in September — but take place back at the start of the lockdown.
“We knew we would have to comment and address it in some way,” says Lilly. “We assumed that by the time we got to September or October we’d be in a different place — but then things started going viral again in December, and we were surprised in a negative way. We were disappointed that something we’d done months ago would still be relevant — was actually too relevant.”
Last year was a wild ride for everyone, but Phoebe Dynevor’s unique highs may have been more extreme than most: The show she’d just finished shooting pre-lockdown — Regency England-era “Bridgerton,” in which she stars as ambivalent, highly eligible Daphne — became a phenomenon as fans parsed it endlessly on social media, and some even created a musical.
Dynevor, 26, has been a pro performer since she was a teen (“The Village,” “Younger,” the upcoming feature “The Colour Room”) and comes from a showbiz family (Mom’s a vet of “Coronation Street,” Dad’s a screenwriter), but she says this level of fame takes some getting used to. She spoke with The Envelope via Zoom to discuss the start of Season 2, the importance of corsets to acting, and that scene that had so many viewers up in virtual arms.
In “The Good Lord Bird,” audiences may have learned something surprising about Frederick Douglass: namely that he apparently cohabitates with two women at the same time. Now, “Bird,” which tells the story of Harpers Ferry revolutionary John Brown through the eyes of a young Black man called Onion, does not purport to be a documentary. But can that actually be true?
“Frederick Douglass was a lot of fun,” says Mark Richard, who produced and co-adapted (with star Ethan Hawke) the novel by James McBride. “Did he have two women under his roof at one time? Probably not. But he was a little bit of a ladies’ man, and we had fun making fun — and maybe Onion is misremembering. Like it says on the chyron [ahead of each episode], ‘All of this is true. Most of it happened.’ And that’s how we navigated the series.”
At the end of Season 1 of Showtime’s “Shameless,” Frank — the drunken Gallagher patriarch, played by William H. Macy — stands outside his son Lip’s (Jeremy Allen White) bedroom window, apologizing for having slept with Lip’s girlfriend. “We’re both f—ing victims!” he cries, referring to himself and Lip.
In response, Lip urinates from his window onto Frank’s head. And after his initial disgust, Frank steps into the stream. They leave without another word — but smiling.
That was “Shameless,” which ended its 11-season run in April, becoming Showtime’s longest-running scripted series. It was a family show like no other: There was no bridge it wouldn’t burn to get a laugh or to make a point about families living on the edge of both poverty and civilized behavior.
In the 1980s, Kathleen Turner was as hot as it gets: She was funny, sultry, adventurous and sassy in films like “Body Heat,” “Romancing the Stone” (one of three movies she’s made with Michael Douglas), “Prizzi’s Honor” and “The Man With Two Brains.” And she used that classic low, raspy voice to incredible effect as Jessica Rabbit in “Who Framed Roger Rabbit.”
And then came rheumatoid arthritis, which took her off the front burner for years. But now she’s back with Douglas and more bad-assier than ever in “The Kominsky Method.” The actress talked with The Envelope about reuniting with her former crush, pushing back against Hollywood and how some starlets today are just boring.
TV these days looks a lot like the movies. And that’s not just because most of us were locked indoors throughout 2020 with our giant TV screens and comfy sofas. A quick flip around the dial reveals that some of the best TV out there these days has deep cinematic roots.
There’s the “Karate Kid” continuation, “Cobra Kai”; the “Silence of the Lambs” universe-expander “Clarice”; and the ever-expanding galaxy of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with shows like “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” to name just a few. And movies like “Erin Brockovich” are inspiring new series (“Rebel”) while at least one director has taken her own film’s concept and created a limited series from it (“A Teacher”).
When Christopher Meloni made his much-anticipated return to the “Law & Order” universe last month, “SVU” fans had an important question on their minds: Would Benson and Stabler finally get together?
Meloni, who reprises his role as Elliot Stabler in the new spinoff “Organized Crime,” addressed that very question shortly after its premiere, telling People magazine that he sees “a world of possibility” for the two characters, who first teamed up when “Law & Order: SVU” premiered back in September 1999.
And then in the April 22 episode of “Organized Crime,” Stabler told Benson (Mariska Hargitay) three words that viewers have waited two decades to hear: “I love you.”
Of course, when TODAY asked showrunner Ilene Chaiken if she knew that kind of statement would signal things to fans, she said simply, “I will not cop to that.”
In other words, she’s taking the Fifth. (Click through to read more)