Editor's note: This week's Ecollywood column was so long, we split it in two. Read the other half, about the Fox network's eco-casino party where we hung out with the stars.
Stars will walk the red carpet at the Emmy Awards on Sept. 20, but behind the scenes the color is decidedly green. Reduce, reuse and recycle is in effect from double-sided printing and solar powered mobile units to biodiesel trucks and generators, and flex-fuel vehicles for talent transportation. Most elements of the stage will be reused, rented out or recycled. How I Met Your Mother’s Neil Patrick Harris hosts the CBS telecast. “I’m a little nervous,” admits the nominee for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series, who is “glad I get to multitask and think about other things” than his chances. Not surprisingly after serving as the emcee -- and singing the hilarious closing number -- at the Tony Awards, “Singing might be in the cards,” he says, mum on the details. “I want people to watch.”
Apart from lending their voices to the animated movie Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, opening Sept. 18, its stars have something else in common: eco-consciousness. “I use energy efficient light bulbs, I recycle, I use only recycled paper products,” says Anna Faris, and co-star Bill Hader (both pictured right), who returns in Saturday Night Live’s season opener this weekend, is similarly “very big on recycling.” When he’s not working in Miami on USA’s Burn Notice, Bruce Campbell lives in Oregon in a home that’s partially underground, covered in 18” of dirt. “Deer graze on my roof. We have no central heat or air conditioning -- it’s incredible insulation,” says Campbell who practices land stewardship in “a practical, ground level way” by clearing brush and growing indigenous trees. Campbell had fun voicing Meatballs’ “sleazy mayor,” not incidentally because he got to work in a nice, clean, comfortable recording studio rather than sweating in the Miami sun -- which he’ll be doing come February on season four of Burn Notice. What’s ahead? “More stuff will blow up,” he promises.
A college freshman with a new roommate (Californication’s Madeline Zima) as the fourth season of NBC’s Heroes begins Sept. 21, Hayden Panettiere is currently on screen in a very different drama -- she’s briefly in the documentary The Cove, trying in vain to save dolphins from slaughter. “It’s not something you can really describe in words. I was breaking down on my knees and sobbing hysterically,” recalls Panettiere, a lifelong animal lover who became passionate about the cause when she saw footage of mass killings of the creatures a few years ago. “It was just a horrible, bitter sense of powerless to do anything. But anything that gets the awareness out there is a good thing.”
“We’re a green set and it’s such a joy,” declares Julianna Margulies about her new CBS series The Good Wife, which shoots at Broadway Stages in Brooklyn, New York. “All our cups and straws and everything are biodegradable. Everyone has a Good Wife water bottle. All papers are electronically distributed -- we don’t waste paper with rewrites and printouts. You get one script and all the rewrites are electronic. We have solar panels on the roof, and the car that takes me and everyone else to work everyday is a hybrid. It makes such a difference,” she says, noting that the mayor’s office is using the show as an example to instruct other sets how to conserve.
“Waste is nauseating to me,” says Margulies, who walks and takes the subway as much as possible. “It’s faster, and the paparazzi don’t follow you on the subway,” she notes.
In her new series, premiering Sept. 22, the ER alumna plays a woman dealing with a husband that cheated and reentering the work force to resume her career as a lawyer. “She’s emotionally crushed and doesn’t know where she’s coming from now, but she’s resilient and determined to make it work,” describes Margulies, whose husband is played by Sex and the City’s Chris Noth -- with whom she’d first worked on her very first TV job, a guest spot on Law & Order. Would she stand by her man in a similar situation? “I’d think that I would tell him to go to hell, but you don’t know until you’re there,” she muses. “Things change as you get older and have children.”
While he admits he’s not a deep shade of green, “I do care and I do believe in recycling, I choose paper over plastic and I was thinking bout a hybrid car. I care about the sustainability of life on our planet” says LL Cool J (pictured right), co-starring with Chris O’Donnell in the CBS spinoff NCIS: Los Angeles, premiering Sept. 22. The rapper-actor has put his music career on hold for the moment. “My focus is on the show right now,” he says.
“We made sure everything is recyclable. These days the studios are very conscientious about that,” says Alfred Sole, set designer for ABC’sCastle, pointing out a staircase made from recycled material on a visit to the set. Star Stana Katic is equally eco-conscious, and rides her bike, takes the subway as much as possible, and recently designed a red carpet dress for herself from bamboo fabric. On the series’ second season, premiering Sept. 21, “Castle and Becket are reworking their relationship, which has fallen apart since the end of season one. We get into the mix with the Russian mob,” reveals Katic, who loves playing the feisty Beckett. “I like that she's strong, she's a warrior princess. She has integrity and she cares. She has a morality that would make for a good friend.”
Additional photo credits: Hader & Faris by SPE, Inc./Eric Charbonneau; Margulies by Eike Schroter/CBS; LL Cool J by Zuma Press.