Ecollywood: Our weekly celebrity column
'Rules of Engagement,' 'Grey's' and 'NCIS' stars are big on green.
Wed, Nov 10, 2010 at 04:07 PM
GREEN RULES: 'Engagement' stars are environment-conscious both on and off set. (Photo: CBS)
Editor's note: This week's Ecollywood column was so long, we split it into two. Read the other half, about Demi Moore, Ashton Kutcher and other celebs that attended the 'Free the Slaves' event.
"I don't have a compost heap — I live in an apartment. But I try to recycle," says Chris Pine ("Star Trek"). "I have a low-flow toilet and low-flow shower. I try to do my best." Pine stars with Denzel Washington as two trainmen trying to stop a runaway locomotive in "Unstoppable," opening Nov. 12. He has a harrowing scene in which he has to manually couple two cars on the speeding train, all the while being pelted by a storm of spilling grain — actually sugar puff cereal and potato flakes. Since, as director Tony Scott notes, when you make films on location "they're all over you in terms of watching and making sure you clean up your mess," he was glad to have help on that score. "Every morning we'd dump 10,000 pounds of sugar puffs and potato flakes, and we'd come back and the train tracks were clear. The deer were very happy."
Pine, who's slated to make a second "Star Trek" movie in 2012, says the success of the 2009 "Trek" reboot has "afforded him the luxury of being able to cherry pick" his roles. "The guiding principal for me is working with people like Tony and Denzel and Rosario [Dawson, who co-stars], because I don't know how long it's going to last," he says. "I've been very lucky."
The Paley Center for Media celebrated "Rules of Engagement" with a panel Q&A with the CBS sitcom's cast and creators, and guest star Joan Collins, who played David Spade's face-lifted, bitchy mom in the Nov. 8 episode. The former "Dynasty" diva had never seen the show when she was approached, but got a kick from the character and appreciated the irony: "I'm practically the only actress who hasn't had plastic surgery. My face moves!" declared Collins, who loved working with Spade and would reprise the role if asked. She's now preparing for "One Night With Joan" at New York's Regency Hotel Nov. 16-27, a one-woman show in which she'll reminisce about her life, career and co-stars. As for her green habits, "I turn off the lights in my apartment whenever I'm not in a room. I separate and recycle my newspapers and magazines. And I very rarely drive — somebody else drives me."
Spade didn't know much about Collins (pictured above, left), and was admittedly "scared a little" before they met, but found her "a sweetheart." Like his character Russell, "I am a dopey single guy," he admitted, but acknowledged that his efforts to portray a heightened version of that persona are mostly lost on the audience. "They think it's exactly me. That's the hard part for me. I'm really not that horrible." Point of proof: he cares about the planet. A recycler at home and in the market for a hybrid car, he has invested in a green energy company that's developing new solar products and greener air conditioners and sparkplugs.
Patrick Warburton, also a recycler, grows squash and tomatoes in his garden. "We don't leave our heat or air conditioning on a lot in our house. We have good flow through with our windows," noted the deep-voiced actor, who'll add to his animation resume with "Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil." He was pleased that Sara Rue, with whom he worked in "Less Than Perfect," will play the recurring role of the surrogate who agrees to carry Jeff and Audrey's (Megyn Price, pictured above, right) baby. "She won't be in every episode but she's in their lives and I want to use her as much as possible," said producer Tom Hertz, also a "Less Than Perfect" vet.
"I recycle everything almost to a fault, everything sorted according to the numbers. I drive a Prius, carry a water bottle, and buy local and organic," enumerated Adhir Kalyan, sharply dressed in a suit for the occasion — a sense of style he shares with his "Rules" character Timmy. Returning to the Paley Center, where he watched the World Cup and rooted for his native South Africa, he was "thrilled about this lovely honor and to be a part of this show, especially now that it has found its voice." In January, Kalyan (pictured left) will be seen in the romantic comedy "No Strings Attached" with Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher, playing Olivia Thirlby's boyfriend.
On the set, scripts are printed on both sides and recycled, and water coolers are provided instead of plastic bottles. "There's low-wattage lighting, and solar powered-jokes," quipped Hertz, who wrote a recycling angle into a script: "Audrey was upset with Jeff because he didn't recycle his beer cans," and he later complied, making her happy he was listening to her. Although the show's New York City setting doesn't lend itself to car storylines, Hertz, like Kalyan and Price, drives a Prius off set. Proud of his casting coups with Collins and Rue, he's hoping to create future roles that Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn — Oliver Hudson's parents — will accept. No word on whether Hudson (pictured right) got this bit of green advice from them: "Don't flush the toilet. You can save a lot of water."
Season 3 of "Rules of Engagement" is out on DVD now, and Season 4 is due Jan. 11.
Last summer, Tracy Morgan emceed a debate on the environment and global warming sponsored by Lexus' hybrid line. But you won't find a green vehicle in the garage where he (pictured left) houses "a nice little fleet. I have two Jaguars, a BMW, a Bentley, a motorcycle, and a Lamborghini. When they start making Lamborghinis green, then I'll have one," says the "30 Rock" star, whose stand-up special "Tracy Morgan Black and Blue" debuts on HBO Nov. 13.
The uncensored special was taped before a live audience at New York's Apollo Theater, where the comic remembers seeing shows — and performing early in his career. "I got booed. If you can survive getting booed at the Apollo, then everything else is a cinch," laughs Morgan, who's on the road "pretty much every weekend. Stand-up comedy is the foundation to my whole career. It's how I came in, and I love doing it," he says. He has two movies in the can, the Jessica Biel-Jake Gyllenhaal romantic comedy "Nailed" and the drama "The Son of No One," with Al Pacino, but he's not quitting his day job. "Being able to do "30 Rock" is a privilege. I go to work every day like it's the last time I'm ever going to do this. That's the key to longevity. You go to work and you do it like it's your first time and it's your last time because you never know. That's what makes it worth it to me."
For "Grey's Anatomy"'s Jessica Capshaw, being green means "respecting your environment and being part of it and your community and giving back to it." She and husband Christopher Gavigan, founder of the non-profit Healthy Child, Healthy World, are "acutely aware of all the things we can do and we do 95 percent of them. At home it's about buying local and organic, and not wasting, reusing, and buying things that have multiple uses." As the mother of two small children — Luke, 3, and Eve Augusta, born Oct. 20 — "what you use to clean your house is very important," she adds. At work, where there are recycling bins for trash, she uses a refillable water bottle and reads her scripts on her iPad, saving paper. "Before I had it I read them on my computer," she says.
On Nov. 15, Capshaw (pictured above) stars in the Lifetime movie "One Angry Juror" as an attorney who approaches her jury service as an annoying chore until she becomes convinced that the accused may be innocent, and holds her ground to secure a mistrial — and then joins the defense. "I thought that it was a really great story and it was based on something that really happened, and it seemed like a very different character from the one that I play year round" — she explains why she tackled the job, her pregnancy and a bigger workload than she has on the ensemble, "Grey's" notwithstanding. The legal milieu felt familiar and comfortable; although she's never served on a jury, she has several relatives who are lawyers and played a young attorney on "The Practice."
As for her regular gig as pediatric surgeon Arizona Robbins — who was last seen breaking up with her girlfriend Callie (Sara Ramirez) and boarding a plane to Africa to accommodate her maternity leave — she hopes to return to the role that was originally intended to be a three-episode arc. Capshaw loves the steady work on a popular show, and the chance to play a unique character "so different from my regular life," she says. "It's something that made me really happy on a professional level and a personal level."
"Water bottles make me crazy," says "NCIS: Los Angeles"'s Barrett Foa, who has given reusable water canteens as gifts, recycles, and reuses paper towels. He brought his new co-star Renee Felice Smith (both pictured left) to her first Hollywood party, the 10th anniversary bash celebrating premium denim brand 7 For All Mankind and its forthcoming photography book "The Seven Senses," which was the theme of the event. Smith, who relocated from New York for her role as "spunky intelligence analyst" Nell, misses her favorite Brooklyn restaurant that grows veggies in a rooftop garden but has happily discovered L.A. farmers markets. Now getting around in an economical Mini Cooper, she plans to start an herb garden to "keep it fresh and local." On the show, there might be romance for Nell and senior tech geek Eric. "There's some potential. She has admitted to liking him," says Foa. "It's a schoolgirl crush. She admires him for his tech savvy," adds Smith.
NBC Universal's annual Green Week kicks off Nov. 14 with eco-friendly programming across its networks each day on shows like "The Today Show," "NBC Nightly News" and "Fast Money" and "Mad Money" on CNBC. Monday's "Mad Money" examines new energy sources in "Beyond the Barrel: The Race to Fuel the Planet," the first of five documentaries airing each night at 8 p.m. In NBC prime time, "Chase" includes an initiative to green-retrofit the U.S. Marshal offices (Monday), "The Biggest Loser" presents green training tips and Max learns a new use for egg cartons on "Parenthood" (Tuesday), and recycling plot points are incorporated into "Undercovers" (Wednesday) and "The Office" (Thursday). Also on Thursday, "Outsourced" showcases a rechargeable flashlight and green jokes pepper "30 Rock." On Friday, Brian Williams will conduct an hour-long "Dateline" interview with Prince Charles about climate change, followed by the environmental special "Harmony." A repeat of "Law & Order: Los Angeles" involves illegal waste disposal in its murder plot on Saturday, when Syfy will run an all-day marathon of natural disaster movies. Suze Orman will weigh the cost of eco-friendly items on her CNBC show, and gridiron fans will get green tips with their football during the Notre Dame vs. Army game on NBC.
Did Al Gore get it wrong? Controversial futurist Bjorn Lomborg, whose book "The Skeptical Environmentalist" made him a polarizing figure for his opinions on how to best handle global warming, explains his beliefs — many of which run counter to "An Inconvenient Truth" — and offers alternate solutions to environmental problems in the eye-opening documentary "Cool It," in theaters Nov. 12. Watch the trailer:
Tune in: It takes up to four barrels of fresh water to produce a barrel of crude oil, which has pitted water conservationists against oil extractors in the tar sands of Alberta Canada. The battle plays out in "H2OIL," a documentary premiering on Planet Green on Nov. 13.
Additional photo credits: Chris Pine by ZUMA Press, Joan Collins and Megyn Price by Gerri Miller, Adhir Kalyan by Splash, Oliver Hudson by ZUMA Press, Tracy Morgan by Art Streiber/HBO, Jessica Capshaw by Lifetime, "Green is universal" logo by NBC, Barrett Foa and Renee Felice Smith by Gerri Miller