Editor's note: This week's Ecollywood column was so long, we split it in two. Read the other half, about Christian Slater and the cast of Desperate Housewives.
With environmentalist Julia Louis-Dreyfus as its star, it’s no surprise that the New Adventures of Old Christine set is “green and getting greener,” she explains. “Every light bulb is a compact fluorescent. We have a big recycling program. We tried to get rid of water bottles last year and failed at it. It’s a tricky thing to do with a crew, but we’re going to try it again this year.”
Active with the NRDC and the Environmental Media Association, Dreyfus is on the board of Heal the Bay and Heal the Ocean. “The oceans are in peril and it’s our responsibility to be aware of that. People aren’t really aware of how our oceans are being destroyed, and our lives are tied to the survival of the ocean. Everything is connected,” she reminds.
This season on Old Christine, premiering this week on CBS, the same-sex marriage between Christine and Barb dissolves, Christine loses her health insurance, and Eric McCormack will guest star as her therapist/love interest. Dreyfus will also appear in at least four episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm as Elaine in the Seinfeld reunion storyline. “It was really fun,” she says of working with her old cast-mates 11 years later, “Like we hadn’t missed a beat.”
What would you do if you could know your future? In the new ABC drama FlashForward, everyone blacks out for two minutes and 17 seconds, and the visions they see shock them, not always in a good way. In the series, debuting Sept. 24 at 8 p.m., Joseph Fiennes (pictured right) plays an FBI agent trying to figure out what happened, including why he fell off the wagon. “We’re going to see him being ripped apart and tested,” says Fiennes, who vacillates on the question of whether he’d want to know his own future. “Ultimately, I don’t think so. The experience of life is making your decisions and choices and living by them, for good and bad. To not have that lesson is to not tackle life.”
Fiennes, who relocated from the U.K. to Los Angeles to do the series, loves the ease of recycling here but bemoans the lack of pedestrian-friendly space where he lives. “I like to walk, but there’s no sidewalk. If they built one, I’d be in my sneakers, getting a workout,” he says. As for the FlashForward set, “We always do double-sided scripts and distribute everything electronically whenever possible. We made aluminum water bottles for the crew,” says producer David Goyer, whose conservationist philosophy jibes with that of Disney/ABC. “I think I had the first Prius in Los Angeles and I know I had the first hybrid Lexus in L.A. Next year I’m switching to all-electric,” he vows. “I have solar panels on the roof of my home and my next home hopefully will be off the grid completely.”
As a new mom of twins, Rebecca Romijn (pictured left) is more eco-conscious than ever. “My daughters drink out of glass bottles. We have well water, and they eat organic food,” she says. “But we don’t do the cloth diapers. Especially with twins, that’s too much,” says the Prius-driving actress, who’s starring in the new ABC series Eastwick, based on the John Updike book and movie of the same name. She hadn’t planned to go back to work so soon, but couldn’t pass up the script or the role of Earth mother Roxie “She’s like so many mothers from Berkeley that I grew up around,” says Romijn. “She felt very familiar.” Eastwick premiered this week.
Ed O’Neill (pictured right) didn’t have to learn to stop using disposable plastic water bottles -- he never used them in the first place. “I drink out of the tap,” declares the star of Modern Family, premiering this week. “I never trusted the bottled water. I always thought there were eight Frenchmen in a cheap hotel bathroom, filling these things and laughing their as*es off!” At home, “We recycle everything,” he adds, noting that his “completely green” wife had to teach him how at first. “She put up signs for me [saying], ‘this goes here, this goes there.’ But it’s important.”
O’Neill notes that eco-friendliness will be part of the sitcom’s story, as “our gay couple is very into that. I think they will be trying to educate us about the need to be green.” Back in comedy mode after dramatic turns in John From Cincinnati, Big Apple and Dragnet, the Married…With Children alumnus is glad to be part of the ensemble about three related families, two of them nontraditional. “It’s not a cookie cutter situation, and they have to bend to make it work,” he says. ‘A lot of people can understand that because they’re doing the same thing.”
“I try to use organic cleaning products, laundry detergent, biodegradable toilet paper,” says George Eads (pictured left), who returns to CSI as Nick Stokes on Sept. 24. Having spent the summer recovering from spinal surgery to repair an old injury, Eads is excited about the veteran drama’s tenth season on CBS. Jorja Fox is back for several episodes, and rumor has it that William Petersen will guest.
Busy Philipps (pictured right), who plays Courteney Cox’s friend Laurie in ABC’s new comedy Cougar Town, keeps an eco-friendly home. “We have two hybrid cars and I’m very big on reusable bags. I have like 47 of them, one from every store,” she says. But when it comes to diapers for her 1-year-old daughter Birdie, “I tried the cloth diapers and I couldn’t deal with them,” she confesses. “So I use the Seventh Generation ones and I feel guilty about it every time I change the diaper. I’m going to potty train her real soon.”
Last seen in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Philipps was looking for a supporting role in a sitcom so she could exercise her comedic chops on a schedule that would allow ample time for her daughter, “and I got my dream job,” she raves. Her younger character helps Cox’s newly divorced Jules navigate the dating world in the series, premiering this week. To her, the term cougar has no predatory connotation. “I think it’s great,” she asserts. “I think women should own it.”
She may be logging a lot of energy-burning air miles traveling between the sets of Gossip Girl in New York and NBC’s new hospital drama Mercy in L.A., but Michelle Trachtenberg (pictured left) is trying to do her eco-part at home. “I recycle, and I always unplug my chargers. That’s really important,” says the actress, who’s enjoying the variety of playing both a bitch in Louboutins and a sweet young nurse in clogs. “As an actress, it’s fun to go back and forth,” asserts Trachtenberg, who’ll play a Goth girl in January’s Young Americans and Bruce Willis’s bride-to-be daughter in A Couple of Dicks, due out in February. Mercy premiered this week.
“The set is eco friendly, we have recycling bins, we don’t use much paper towels. We use towels that get washed,” reports Aimee Garcia (pictured right), who plays a medical evacuation helicopter pilot in the new NBC drama series Trauma, premiering Sept. 28. Garcia, best known as Veronica on the George Lopez show, practices water conservation at home. “I take really short showers,” she says. “And I shower at the gym when I can.”
Additional photo credits: Joseph Fiennes by Gerri Miller; Rebecca Romijn, Ed O'neill and Busy Philipps by Bob D'Amico/ABC; George Eads by Spike Nannarello/CBS; Michelle Trachtenberg and Aimee Garcia by Mitchell Haaseth/NBC.