Wednesday, August 4, 2021

General Hospital Actor Jay Pickett DIES on Film Set

Actor Jay Pickett, best known for his work on such daytime soap operas as General Hospital and Port Charles, died last week in Idaho while acting in a western he co-wrote, Treasure Valley. He was 60 years old. At the time of this writing, Pickett’s cause of death has not been released, but the film’s director Travis Mills believes that the longtime actor suffered a heart attack while sitting on a horse.“Jay Pickett, our leading man, writer, producer, and creator of this movie passed away suddenly while we were on location preparing to film a scene. There is no official explanation for the cause of his death but it appears to have been a heart attack,” Mills wrote in an emotional Facebook post. “Everyone present tried as hard as they could to keep him alive. Our hearts are broken and we grieve for his family who are so devastated by this shocking tragedy.”Mills went on to say that Pickett was “an incredible man” who was “kind, sweet, and generous” to all those who collaborated with him. “It is difficult to find the words right now to say more,” he added. “His closest friends have said that he was very happy making Treasure Valley and my hope is that he truly was. He was doing what he loved: acting, riding horses, making movies. And he was magnificent.”Pickett’s co-star, Jim Heffel, provided more insight into his death with a Facebook post of his own. Jay died sitting on a horse ready to rope a steer in the movie Treasure Valley in Idaho. The way of a true cowboy. Jay wrote the story and starred in it. He was also co-producer with myself and Vernon Walker. He will be truly missed. Ride like the wind partner,” he wrote.Jay Pickett appeared on such 80s classics like China Beach, Mr. Belvedere, Jake and the Fatman, and Matlock before transitioning into daytime soaps. Later in his career, Picket made several guest spots on such shows as Dexter, The Mentalist, NCIS: Los Angeles, Rosewood, and Queen Sugar. He is survived by his wife and three children.
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    Amazon’s GOD, THE FATHER of the Rings Sets Premiere Date as Season 1 Wraps Filming

    Amazon Studios has announced that production on the upcoming first season of their highly-anticipated Lord of the Rings series has finally been completed in New Zealand. The filming wrap also comes with the release of the first official image from the untitled series which you can check out below, providing us a glimpse of the first episode.Hailing from J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay, Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings series has been slated to make its long-awaited debut on Friday, September 2, 2022, exclusively on Amazon Prime Video in more than 240 countries and territories worldwide, with new episodes available weekly.“As Bilbo says, ‘Now I think I am quite ready to go on another journey.’ Living and breathing Middle-earth these many months has been the adventure of a lifetime. We cannot wait for fans to have the chance to do so as well,” Payne and McKay said in a statement.On September 2, 2022, a new journey begins. pic.twitter.com/9tnR7WqDoA— The Lord of the Rings on Prime (@LOTRonPrime) August 2, 2021RELATED: Peter Jackson Reportedly Faced Pressure to Kill off Hobbits in Lord of the RingsThe new epic drama brings to screens for the very first time J.R.R. Tolkien’s fabled Second Age of Middle-earth’s history. Beginning in a time of relative peace, thousands of years before the events of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings books, the series follows an ensemble cast of characters, both familiar and new, as they confront the long-feared re-emergence of evil to Middle-earth.“The journey begins September 2, 2022, with the premiere of our original The Lord of the Rings series on Prime Video,” said Jennifer Salke, Head of Amazon Studios. “I can’t express enough just how excited we all are to take our global audience on a new and epic journey through Middle-earth! Our talented producers, cast, creative, and production teams have worked tirelessly in New Zealand to bring this untold and awe-inspiring vision to life.”The untitled Lord of the Rings series will feature an ensemble cast including Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Robert Aramayo, Owain Arthur, Maxim Baldry, Nazanin Boniadi, Morfydd Clark, Ismael Cruz Córdova, Charles Edwards, Trystan Gravelle, Sir Lenny Henry, Ema Horvath, Markella Kavenagh, Joseph Mawle, Tyroe Muhafidin, Sophia Nomvete, Lloyd Owen, Megan Richards, Dylan Smith, Charlie Vickers, Leon Wadham, Benjamin Walker, Daniel Weyman, and Sara Zwangobani.RELATED: The Lord of the Rings: Gollum Release Window Announced For 2022The series is developed and executive produced by J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay, who are serving as showrunners. Even before it went into production for the first season, Amazon Studios granted the project a second season renewal.Buy the Lord of the Rings films here.Executive producers are Lindsey Weber, Callum Greene, J.A. Bayona, Belén Atienza, Justin Doble, Jason Cahill, Gennifer Hutchison, Bruce Richmond, and Sharon Tal Yguado, co-executive producer Wayne Che Yip, director Charlotte Brändström, and producer Christopher Newman.

    Masters of the Universe: The FILM WILL PROBABLY BE WORTH Revisiting

    With the success of the toyline, a hit cartoon, and a slew of other merchandise, the franchise had no choice but to try and make more money off of a live-action film. This muscle-bound movie didn’t hit quite in the height of He-Mania, but a year after the action figure sales plummeted. It was a troubled production, not well-received at the time of its release in 1987, and barely given a chance to make an impression, but it’s another gem that was always destined to become a cult classic, adored by fans and respected for what it accomplished under the conditions. Doomed from the moment Cannon Films took the property and deemed their project the “Star Wars of the 1980s,” there was little hope for Masters of the Universe: The Motion Picture. But was the movie honestly that bad, or just a smear campaign from Skeletor to hide his most embarrassing defeat?RELATED: He-Man Episodes to Watch Before Netflix’s Masters of the Universe: RevelationNo one will ever claim that Masters of the Universe is some sort of amazing film, but it is better than most seem to remember. It was an odd choice not to put “He-Man” in the title, but Masters of the Universe is an awesome phrase and it helps allow the script to focus on a few other characters as well. Compared to the cartoon, He-Man takes on a lesser role, and we never see his Prince Adam persona or the King and Queen at all. This may have been a good thing for those who weren’t a fan of that side of the hero, but most agree that the exclusion led to one of the biggest letdowns in the entire movie, not seeing his iconic transformation. There is the energetic moment towards the end where he lifts the sword up high and says that he has the power, but was that enough?There’s A Reason Why It’s a Cult ClassicWe’re getting ahead of ourselves. Masters of the Universe: The Motion Picture is not a good adaptation of the cartoon, but that’s okay – it’s still fantastic. This is a classic story of good versus evil, the fight against Skeletor to stop his ascension, but a MacGuffin in the form of a synthesizer is going to cause a detour through Earth before that can happen. We excuse that because the 1980s made this okay and other worlds may not rely on a standard number or letter system for their technology. Every fan was bummed that there wasn’t more Eternia, especially after seeing Castle Greyskull in such a glorious form, but the cartoon set up much of this, like having his mother be an astronaut from Earth and those kids in the Christmas special. The original script would have been closer to the show, kept the audience in Eternia longer, and included more fan-favorite characters, but the Earth storyline was still there. Speaking of the He-Man and the Masters of the Universe show, some familiarity with this or the toyline’s backstory is almost required, as the movie doesn’t explain much past the new elements it throws in and begins this tale in the middle – in a crazy way.Skeletor has won, essentially. Our skull-faced fiend is out in full force. He’s scattered the heroes, captured the Sorceress, and now occupies Castle Greyskull. The bad guy has almost achieved all of his goals and a timer has been set for when he’ll have the power he seeks. It’s a spectacular intro. The opening and ending of the movie are phenomenal, but new characters had to be introduced and the entire thing couldn’t take place inside the castle, no matter how cool that set was. Enter Gwildor: an inventor who made the MacGuffin and was manipulated by Evil-Lyn, which is how the bad guys got the upper hand. Played by Billy Barty (Willow), and acting as a replacement for Orko, he has his odd moments, but Gwildor is much less annoying. There are several henchmen sent after the group of heroes, many of which are new – the coolest of which they regret having Skeletor kill off early – and all of them look incredible. Mattel wanted their old characters in the film – originally the company wanted twenty-six in total – but also wanted new creations that they could make money off of as well. It’s a miracle this wasn’t even more crowded.Frank Langella Steals the FilmAfter this entertaining setup for the conflict, we meet Julie Winston, played by a pre-Friends Courteney Cox (Misfits of Science), and her nearly-dumped boyfriend, portrayed by Robert Duncan McNeill (Star Trek: Voyager). These two normal people who are about to be thrown into a strange adventure aren’t completely useless and are, thankfully, easy to like. Most of their worse bits come from bad writing. Potentially the most egregious moment of the film is when Evil-Lyn disguises herself as Julie’s dead mother to get the key. The story shows how the baddies knew about her dead parents, and that does give Julie some cheap character development, but why did she fall for this trick so easily? On the other hand, it was a treat to see them use another tactic other than force, like when they use the collar to interrogate Kevin. There are some excellent small bits of acting here, befitting the genre, even if the cheesiness is always looming. These examples are wrapped in wonderful character moments between pairs like Teela (Chelsea Field, The Last Boyscout) and Man-At-Arms (Jon Cyphyer, Major Dad) or Skeletor and Evil Lyn (Meg Foster, They Live). The film has a superb instance between those two where the lack of trust and romance they share are both hinted at, alluding back to some clues from the cartoon. This is paralleled against the chemistry Julie and He-Man share, which feels genuinely kind and caring.Dolph Lundgren (Rocky IV) took on the role of He-Man in Masters of the Universe: The Motion Picture, as he looked like a living action figure already. This was his third film and the first time he’d be in a leading role. At this point, he was still lacking that screen confidence and working with his accent. Dolph’s performance was almost dubbed over because of this, but thanks to some wording in his contract and Cannon not wanting to follow through, this never happened. The strange accent always seemed somewhat appropriate, him being an alien and all. He put a lot into the role, even doing his own fight scenes and stunts, but some still blamed Lundgren on the film’s failure. Dolph didn’t enjoy the work then and he called it his least favorite role a few times, but as he got further away from the movie, he seems to defend it more and even expressed interest in potentially having a role in the reboot. The work was hard, but it looks as if the actor enjoyed being He-Man.The real star of the project is Frank Langella (The Americans), who took the role because of his four-year-old being a huge fan of the cartoon. He still offers it up as one of his favorite roles and breathed a new life into the villain, giving him a Shakespearian flair and improvising some lines, even if they are hammed up a bit. Instead of the muscular figure from the cartoon – which Langella was prepared to play, being in shape at the time – the studio saw him as a scarier and menacing character, even under several layers of makeup and unflattering gold armor, which Langella made sing. His presence helped define the movie and his image is burned into the minds of many young fans. The visuals still hold up, showing strong signs of that Jack Kirby influence with hints of the original Frank Frazetta inspirations from the toys. There were some gorgeous matte paintings done for the film, a strategic use of miniatures – though some were apparently recycled from Blade Runner and Ghostbusters – while costumes and makeup did their best to create memorable characters. None of this should be particularly surprising as early concept designs were done by comics legend Moebius and finished by the talented Production Designer, William Stout. It’s one of the better aspects of the movie and helps it last, but it’s hard to say the same for the action scenes.Much of the effects of energy, lightning, damage, and the struggle between the characters still look incredible, but any close scrutiny of the choreography can be troubling. There are a lot of clunky swings, quick cuts, and close-ups to piece together some of the combat. Much of this could be blamed on the budget cuts and lack of time, but the costumes were a problem also.Beast Man looked brutal and his lack of a voice portrayed him as more savage, hearing his growls as he threw Kevin around, but the man in the suit kept fainting from the heat the costume generated, and filming on sets with no air conditioning couldn’t have been easy. Other attires, like Evil-Lyn’s, weighed tremendous amounts, restricted mobility, and even left contusions on some of the actors. There were also performers that had to wear elaborate headgear or contacts that forced them to perform fights and stunts blind, increasing the chance of injuries.Masters of the Universe: The The Motion Picture’s Troubled ProductionCannon struggled to find funding for the movie, for the marketing, and this is after Mattel had already provided a large chunk of the cash. It’s even rumored that the toy company paid to make sure the feature could have a proper premiere. The lack of budget heavily affected the project, as they were originally going to shoot in Iceland and didn’t even hire extras for many of the scenes, giving the streets an empty feeling. According to the Power of Greyskull documentary, characters like Orko and Battle Cat were wanted in the film, but also fell victim to the budget and difficulty behind doing them in live-action. Filming was actually shut down by Mattel toward the end because of how much money they were spending and the last fight scene in the dark was a cost-cutting measure so it could be finished offsite by a small team, meaning that the audience never got to see the full size and glory of the Castle Greyskull sets or much of the ending they had planned.There were other troubles as well. Supposedly while shooting the scene in the gym, the fire got out of hand and almost burned down the school, while one of the storefronts was heavily damaged in a later scene. There were even issues with composing the movie’s score, as told by Bill Conti’s notes in the album. A contest was held for a fan to be in the film, but this was under prosthetics that hurt him when removed, and his part was incredibly brief, as filming was well underway. This winner was made the character of “Pigboy,” who hands Skeletor his staff in one scene, and that’s all he gets. Much of the merchandise suffered as well, as the video game, Masters of the Universe: The Movie, was a lackluster title that suffered from a quick development time, and not many action figures were made for the movie either; an odd choice for a toy company that most likely didn’t want to remember the movie any more than they had to.The post-credits scene is still one of the best parts of the movie, especially since we had to sit through the way too happy ending scene of Julie being sent back in time to save her parents. Skeletor may have been defeated and thrown down a seemingly infinite hole, but he climbs back up at the end to scare us one last time, threatening his return. That almost happened too, as there was going to be a sequel, without Lundgren, back on an apocalyptic Earth, and featuring She-Ra (who was cut out of the first film during the scripting process). Not all of the ideas presented sounded promising, like Skeletor posing as a businessman named Aaron Dark, but a lot of that would have hopefully been weeded out before production began. Ever the opportunist, Cannon Films didn’t want to waste costumes and sets from the sequel – and some from the Spider-Man movie they almost made – so all of that was put with a new script to make a little Jean-Claude Van Damme project named Cyborg. So, at least something good came out of that.Masters of the Universe: The Motion Picture will never be called a masterpiece, but it is still better put together and presented than many other projects from Cannon Films and a ton of other schlock in the genre that doesn’t have half the passion it does. The creators of the He-Man line have never been pleased with the depictions of their property, whether it be the childish cartoon or dysfunctional movie, but the Masters of the Universe film presented its own version of the He-Man mythos, fought against the odds, embraces its shortcomings, and was prepared to live or die by the Power Sword.

    Snowpiercer Wraps Season 3 Production, Announces Season 4 Renewal

    TNT is celebrating the wrap of production on Season 3 of its hit drama series Snowpiercer with the announcement of an early-season Season 4 renewal. Star Daveed Diggs shared the news alongside a few fellow cast members in a new video from the set in Vancouver, which you can check out below!Psssttt! #Snowpiercer Season 4 is coming. Are you ready? pic.twitter.com/8kljUtcSq0— Snowpiercer on TNT (@SnowpiercerTV) July 29, 2021RELATED: TNT Developing Drama Series Based on Liam Neeson’s Unknown“Snowpiercer has been an incredibly successful series for us that continues to capture the imagination of viewers, grow audience, and maintain strong ratings,” said Sam Linsky and Adrienne O’Riain, co-heads of scripted original programming for TBS, TNT, and truTV. “All of our seasons embark on an emotional, unexpected ride, and the well-plotted storylines will continue to evolve and remain relevant to audiences. We’re excited to keep the train running into season four.”At the end of Snowpiercer Season 2, Layton (Daveed Diggs) and Ruth (Alison Wright), who were banished to Big Alice’s compost car, plotted to take back Snowpiercer. With the help of Javier (Roberto Urbina) and Alexandra (Rowan Blanchard), Layton and Ruth made it back to Snowpiercer and rallied with their supporters. Josie (Katie McGuiness) destroyed the Aquarium car separating Snowpiercer’s head from the remaining 1,023 cars. With Layton in command of a 10-car “pirate train,” he and his team rushed to Breslauer Research Station to find Melanie (Jennifer Connelly).Season 3 picks up with Layton (Diggs) and his inner circle commanding a small pirate train in search of Melanie (Connelly) and a possible warm location to restart civilization, aided by a newfound survivor. Back on Snowpiercer, Mr. Wilford (Sean Bean) is consolidating power, foiled only by secret allies of Layton’s hidden on the train, committed to the cause.Emmy nominee Archie Panjabi and Chelsea Harris join the Season 3 cast, with Mike O’Malley being elevated to a series regular. Snowpiercer season three also stars Oscar winner Jennifer Connelly, Grammy and Tony Award-winner Daveed Diggs, Sean Bean, Rowan Blanchard, Emmy nominee Alison Wright, Mickey Sumner, Iddo Goldberg, Katie McGuinness, Tony Award winner and Grammy nominee Lena Hall, Annalise Basso, Sam Otto, Roberto Urbina, Sheila Vand, and Steven Ogg.RELATED: Archie Panjabi Joins the Cast of TNT’s Snowpiercer Season 3Snowpiercer  is executive produced by Graeme Manson, Aubrey Nealon, Marty Adelstein, and Becky Clements, Matthew O’Connor, Ben Rosenblatt and Scott Derrickson, and the original film’s producers, including Bong Joon Ho, Miky Lee, Jinnie Choi, Park Chan-wook, Lee Tae-hun, and Dooho Choi. The show is produced by Tomorrow Studios, along with CJ Entertainment. ITV Studios handles international distribution.Seasons 1 and 2 are currently available to binge on the TNT app, with Season 3 set to premiere on TNT early next year.

    Sweet Tooth Renewed For another Season at Netflix

    Netflix has officially renewed Jim Mickle’s hit fantasy series adaptation of Sweet Tooth for a second season, after nearly two months since it made its debut. The announcement comes with the release of a new video which you can check out below, providing us a preview of the main cast including Christian Convery as they excitedly react to the renewal news.IT’S OFFICIAL: #SweetToothSeason2 is officially happening and our cast found out in the sweetest way possible: pic.twitter.com/6R6X3mxwvk— Sweet Tooth (@SweetTooth) July 29, 2021RELATED: Yes Day Sequel in the Works at Netflix With Jennifer Garner to ReturnDescribed as a family-friendly storybook adventure, Sweet Tooth centers around Gus — part deer, part boy — who leaves his home in the forest to find the outside world ravaged by a cataclysmic event. He joins a ragtag family of humans and animal-children hybrids like himself, searching for answers about this new world and the mystery behind his hybrid origins.Pick up a copy of the comic book here!The series stars Christian Convery, Nonso Anozie, Adeel Akhtar, and Will Forte along with James Brolin as the voice of the narrator. Joining them are Aliza Vellani, Stefania LaVie Owen, Dania Ramirez, and Neil Sandilands.RELATED: Live-Action Pokémon Netflix Series in Development, First Details RevealedSweet Tooth is created and directed by Jim Mickle from a screenplay he co-wrote with Beth Schwartz (Arrow), who are both serving as showrunners. Executive producers are Mickle, Schwartz, Team Downey’s Robert Downey Jr., Susan Downey, and Amanda Burrell, and Linda Moran, with Team Downey’s Evan Moore set as a producer.

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