Watch Out, Betty White’s going to punk you
NBC wants to be back in the Betty White business. And who can blame them? The 89-year-old spent seven seasons with The Peacock slowly becoming a gay icon on Golden Girls and is still riding the hottest career wave she’s ever had, thanks to an Emmy win for hosting Saturday Night Live. Now the network wants her to play practical jokes with Betty White’s Off Their Rockers, a show that will feature seniors pranking young people on hidden camera. This might all sound like a geriatric Punk’d but the actual inspiration is a European series called Benidorm Bastards, which operates on the same old-tricks-young premise. Given the face recognition factor, it’s unlikely that Betty herself will be pulling the stunts –it would be a little distracting to have Betty White just insert herself into your day to day life, after all – but a brave team of other 89-year-old actors are about to finally get their big Hollywood break.
MTV plans to Savage U
It really does get better, at least for Dan Savage. MTV has committed to 10 episodes of the author/columnist’s sex advice show, Savage U. It will follow Savage as he tours around the country visiting college campuses on a speaking tour and taking questions from students. Now remember, this is a man whose weekly column encourages readers to address him as “Faggot,” so the show probably isn’t going to be an adorable Dr. Ruth (or even Dr. Drew) experience. Savage’s trademark is blunt talk mixed with humor and occasionally some controversy (just Google his name and “fat people” for the most recent public shouting match some of his plus-size readers are waging), so brace yourself for the experience. That is, whenever MTV gets around to airing it. Meanwhile, could someone make it required viewing for young people hoping to audition for 16 and Pregnant?
Cherry Jones classes up REM
No, the Emmy-winning actor Cherry Jones didn’t join Michael Stipe’s band. She has, however, signed on for a new pilot on Fox with the same name. Creator Kyle Killen, who was the showrunner on 24 (the show responsible for Cherry’s Emmy), has a new project in the works called REM. It’s an _Inception_-like series set to star Jason Isaacs as a detective who emerges back into consciousness after an accident, only to discover that he’s living in two parallel realities. In one of them he has killed his son and in the other he has killed his wife. Intervening in this no-win scenario is a psychiatrist, to be played by Jones. If the pilot goes to series it’ll be yet another heavy drama for the acclaimed actor, which kind of begs the question of when Jones will be tapped to do some comedy. May we suggest a story arc where she appears as Sue Sylvester’s love interest on Glee or replaces Charlie Sheen on Two and a Half Men? Think of the possibilities.
Restless for Restless? Be patient.
Gus Van Sant-ophiles can breathe a little easier. There’s nothing wrong with Restless. There was a little confusion when the Milk director’s latest low-budget arthouse drama was pulled from the Sundance Film Festival schedule and from its early 2011 release date. But now it’s a potential entry at Cannes and looks to be coming to theaters this fall. As reported earlier, the film returns Van Sant’s focus to very young subject matter and very blond casting, with _Jane Eyre_/_Kids Are All Right_/_Alice in Wonderland_ star Mia Wasikowska playing a girl with a terminal illness who develops a somewhat _Harold and Maude_-like relationship with a moody young man (Henry Hopper, son of Dennis). And as for the delay, it may simply be that given Milk’s Oscar success, distributor Sony Pictures Classics is trying to position the film in a prime award season slot. Couldn’t hurt.