Survivor Host Jeff Probst Talks Online/Social Media

I have an interview with Survivor host Jeff Probst at The Trades about the upcoming season of the popular CBS reality show. During our conversation, we discussed the effects that online and social media have on shows such as Survivor.

“I have a love/hate relationship [with online media],” he told me. “I love the enthusiasm that makes somebody want to get online and even criticize our show. I don’t care if you like it or not. I love that people are invested enough to say, ‘That was a great season and this one was lousy.’ What I’m not so enthused about are people who want to try to ruin the show.” Continue reading


New Fast & Furious Trailer

The new HD trailer for next summer’s “Fast & Furious” film is online. It is formulaic and features mostly what you’d expect – fast cars, explosions and beautiful women. That said, the first film in the franchise was one of those guilty pleasure movies that I must admit I really enjoyed. Just from watching the trailer, “Fast & Furious” feels like more of a legitimate sequel to that first film than the disappointing “2 Fast 2 Furious” or the totally bogus “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift.” Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster and Michelle Rodriguez will all be back. Therefore, the tag line in the trailer says it all: “New Model. Original Parts.”

“Fast & Furious” revs onto the big screen on June 5, 2009.

Jimmie Johnson – The Benefits of Giving Back

JIMMIE JOHNSON & THE LOWE'S 48 CAR.  Photo Courtesy of Team Lowes Racing Media Access Website.

JIMMIE JOHNSON & THE LOWE'S 48 CAR. Photo courtesy of Team Lowe's Racing Media Access Website.

Earlier this week, I took part in a conference call with NASCAR champ Jimmie Johnson. On the call, I talked to him about the Jimmie Johnson Foundation, as well as how his image extends beyond the racetrack. You can read my article about Jimmie at The Trades.

One thing that didn’t make it into the article that I found interesting is that Johnson finds that his work with his foundation actually helps to broaden his mainstream appeal. “I can say that our foundation has done a lot as well and people certainly stop or read or listen to things that are relative to the foundation and giving back,” he commented. “It wasn’t something that we set out to do, but it is something that comes along with it and also helps people look at what I’ve done in my career in a different light.”

Jimmie has done a lot of great work through his foundation, and I applaud him for his efforts. If you’re not familiar with it, take a moment to check it out.

Supermodel Brooklyn Decker Believes in Madden Curse

With Madden 09 being released this week, I thought I’d share part of a conversation I had with Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model Brooklyn Decker in which we discussed the well-documented Madden Curse.

As you may know, Brooklyn has more football cred than your average supermodel. She went head-to-head with SI’s Paul Zimmerman in the entertaining She Says, Z Says online segments.

Given her strong association with Sports Illustrated, I asked Brooklyn if she believes in the SI curse. “I believe in the Madden curse more than I do the Sports Illustrated curse,” she told me. As far as Brett Favre being on the cover this year, Brooklyn commented, “I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not.”

We’ll soon find out if Brett can break the supposed jinx. Yet, based on the bad luck that has plagued past Madden cover athletes, he has to feel like he’s stepping on eggshells every time he walks onto the field. Then again, he always has the New York Jets offensive line for protection. (Yeah, that should make him feel a whole lot better!)

Anyway, Farve’s received more than his fair share of coverage lately, so let’s get back to my conversation with Brooklyn. Continue reading

Stacy Keibler – Ravens Girl

SAMURAI GIRL - Stacy Keibler as "Karen" in "Samurai Girl" airing on ABC Family. (ABC FAMILY/EIKE SCHROTER)

SAMURAI GIRL - Stacy Keibler as "Karen" in "Samurai Girl" airing on ABC Family. (ABC FAMILY/EIKE SCHROTER)

I have a new interview with Stacy Keibler at The Trades in which she discusses her role in the upcoming ABC Family mini-series, Samurai Girl (airing Sept. 5-7).

With the NFL pre-season starting, I thought it would be interesting to share a portion of my chat with Stacy that didn’t make it into the article in which she talked about being a Ravens fan. As many of you may know, Stacy is a Baltimore native and a former Ravens cheerleader. “The first season that I knew I wasn’t going to be a cheerleader, I bought season tickets,” she told me. “I own my seats, and I go home for at least one game, if not more, every year.”

As a die-hard Steelers fan, I don’t usually give much love to division rivals, but for someone as genuinely nice as Stacy Keibler I can make an exception!

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The Day the Earth Stood Still

Here is a poster for 20th Century Fox’s “The Day the Earth Stood Still.” Although I sometimes am wary of big-budget Hollywood remakes, this one looks quite promising. Scott Derrickson, who I’ve been a fan of since “The Exorcism of Emily Rose,” is the director. What stood out to me about Derrickson’s work in “Emily Rose” is the way he deftly intertwined the real and supernatural worlds. Hopefully, he’ll apply that same technique to the tale of alien arrival in “The Day the Earth Stood Still.”

Last month, I interviewed the film’s writer, David Scarpa, and he provided some insight into the production of this remake. He told me, “I hadn’t seen [the original] since I was a child. I chose not to see it again. That gave me the freedom to come up with something new rather than being stuck trying to capture whatever it was the original had.”

For more on what Scarpa had to say, check out my interview here.

Soundtracks – Underscoring Their Value to Motion Pictures

I’ve long believed that a movie’s score is one of the most overlooked and underappreciated aspects of filmmaking by the general moviegoing public.  I was glad to see R.J. Carter stress the impact of movie music in his excellent review of “The Dark Knight” soundtrack.  He wrote, “Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard are a big part of the emotional impact the film had on viewers, something which can be more appreciated when the score is separated from the film, when the sound is segregated from the fury.”

Just think about how often the score becomes one of the defining elements of a film’s identity. “Jaws” is a perfect example.  A few notes of John Williams’ “Jaws” theme, and we immediately develop the mental image of a shark closing in on its victim.  Music has that inimitable ability to transport us to a different place and time in a mere instant.  When merged with the potent visual imagery of film, it can create a truly magical escapist experience.