Ecollywood: Our weekly celebrity column
Diane Lane, Will Arnett, the Beekman Boys, Blair Underwood, and much more.
Wed, Oct 06, 2010 at 01:57 PM
HORSE WHISPERER: Diane Lane at the 'Secretariat' premiere. (Credit: Zuma Press)
As is customary with Disney productions, “We had a full-time environmental steward on our movie,” says Secretariat director Randall Wallace. “We used the fewest amount of gasoline-powered vehicles that we could use. We tried to use the least amount of trash as possible and we tried to make everything cleaner when we left it than it was when we got there,” says Wallace, who shot the 1970s-set story of the Triple Crown winning horse on location in Kentucky and Louisiana. Diane Lane and John Malkovich give Oscar-worthy performances in the film as Secretariat’s owner Penny Chenery and Lucien Laurin, the trainer she hires to turn him into a champion.
Although she “had to step out of my comfort zone,” to play the larger-than-life Chenery, who visited the set and has a cameo in the film, Lane was thrilled that her performance pleased the pioneering horse owner. “It’s unusual to spend time with somebody that you’re going to be bringing to the screen. It raises the stakes, you know? I really wanted to make it a gratifying experience for her.” Secretariat hits theaters Oct. 8.
“We try to turn the lights off, not waste energy, don’t let the engine run in the car. My daughter is always on me about that,” says Blair Underwood (pictured right), the father of three kids aged 9, 11, and 13. Currently “having the time of my life” playing President Elias Martinez in NBC’s aliens-have-landed mystery series The Event, Underwood, who appeared last year almost simultaneously in Dirty Sexy Money, In Treatment and The New Adventures of Old Christine, wasn’t looking for a regular TV gig when the role came his way. “I was focused on the documentary we’re doing with my production company on the history of African-American entertainers from slavery to the present,” he says, but the part was too good to pass up. “He’s a fictional president, but you can’t help but pull from our current president or past presidents,” notes Underwood. “I feel he’s a good man, and he wants to do the right thing.” He won’t spill any plot points, however. “I know quite a bit,” he concedes. “I can’t talk about it though.”
You won’t find any plastic water bottles at the home of Will Arnett (pictured left) and Amy Poehler. “We got rid of them. I think we’re all getting more green as we go,” says Arnett, now starring in Fox’s Running Wilde as the environmentally clueless millionaire Steve Wilde, smitten by eco-activist Emmy (Keri Russell). “He’s so misguided. To say he’s emotionally stunted is an understatement. He’s seemingly a real jerk, but he’s actually a really generous, nice guy. He does try hard.” Arnett’s also on board to reprise his role as George ‘Gob’ Bluth in the film version of the TV sitcom Arrested Development, not yet in production.
“I will not claim to be the most eco-warrior person. I do what I can,” says Parenthood’s Joy Bryant (pictured right). “I go back to what my grandmother taught me, which was ‘don’t be wasteful. Turn off the electricity, the lights, save things.’ At the end of the day, if we’re respectful to the earth and not wasteful I don’t think we’ll have as many problems as we have right now, such as the Gulf.” This summer, Bryant, who is a Sisters of the Planet ambassador for Oxfam, traveled to Cambodia with the organization “to see firsthand what they’re doing with the farmers there. I’m a part of their climate change campaign that’s helping poor countries and poor people of the world adapt to changes,” she explains.
Back at work on Parenthood in her first series role as Crosby’s (Dax Shepard) dancer girlfriend and the mother of his son, Bryant loves being part of an interracial couple. “It’s not a question at all, which is really a great thing,” she says. “Twenty years ago it would have been shocking, but it’s not an issue, which shows how far we’ve come.”
Harry Hamlin and Lisa Rinna (pictured left) are a two-hybrid twosome -- a Lexus for him, a Mercedes for her -- and they’re also the latest Hollywood couple to have their own reality show, Harry Loves Lisa, premiering on TV Land Oct. 6. No strangers to the genre -- both competed on Dancing With the Stars -- and together 18 years, they decided to “share certain things about our life and how we make it work.” Hamlin, known best for L.A. Law and seen recently in Army Wives, took a break while Rinna did Days of Our Lives and the couple’s daughters were young, “but I want to get back into it now that they are older,” he says. In the premiere, he goes on an audition and tries his hand at stand-up comedy, while Rinna deals with the fallout for publicly speaking her mind about Heidi Montag’s plastic surgery. Both have published new books to coincide with the show. Hamlin’s autobiography is titled Full Frontal Nudity: The Making of an Accidental Actor, and Rinna’s is Starlit, a roman à clef. “There are characters from our lives in the book, but under different names,” she says.
“I compost and grow my own food. I actually grow tomatoes in my front yard. I’ve grown food my whole life,” says Autumn Reeser (pictured right). Best known as ambitious junior agent Lizzie Grant on Entourage and The O.C. before that, Reeser is now playing Julie Benz’s scientist colleague and sidekick Katie Andrews on ABC’s No Ordinary Family. “She's smart. I like intelligent women and I feel blessed to have played a lot of them. I like that she's passionate and excited. She's enthusiastic about life. But she wants to do well and she’s horrified when she makes mistakes.” Reeser also has an “edgy indie” film coming up called The Big Bang, in which she plays a “physics groupie” opposite Antonio Banderas. “I’m getting close with science this year,” she laughs.
With a second season in the works for 2011, Planet Green’s Fabulous Beekman Boys will have a holiday special to tide fans over, featuring bloopers, unaired scenes, and a sneak peak at season two. Hosted by Brent, Josh and Farmer John, it will air Dec. 8, and Planet Green is soliciting viewer questions for an “ask the Beekman Boys” segment until Oct. 23.
Tune in: Nat Geo Wild’s new series Zoo Confidential goes behind the scenes at the Houston Zoo, and in the Oct. 12 premiere episode “Special Delivery”, zookeepers prepare for an elephant’s birth and treat a chameleon’s tumor.
Additional photo credits: Blair Underwood by Joseph Viles/NBC; Will Arnett by Brian Bowen Smith/Fox; Joy Bryant by Mitchell Haaseth/NBC; Harry Hamlin and Lisa Rinna courtesy TV Land; Autumn Reeser by Bob D'Amico/ABC.