The Japanese fishing village Taiji is hiding a horrible secret: Every summer, thousands of dolphins are lured to their deaths in a mass slaughter. Exposing this tragic massacre is the subject of the new documentary The Cove from photographer-turned-director Louie Psihoyos, whose team of filmmakers and activists mounted a covert operation worthy of Mission: Impossible to get the clandestine killings on film. In fact, one critic called the movie a cross between Flipper and the The Bourne Identity.

At the story’s center is Richard O’Barry, a dolphin expert who trained the marine mammal stars of the TV series Flipper in the 1960s, which -- to his subsequently more enlightened dismay -- increased the popularity of aquatic amusement parks and the number of dolphins in captivity. “I spent 10 years building that industry up and the last 30 trying to tear it down,” says O’Barry in the film, which takes the Japanese government to task on several levels including selling mercury-contaminated dolphin meat and justifying the slaughter as “pest control” when in fact people are responsible for fish stock depletion, not dolphins. It also paints the International Whaling Commission as “toothless,” unable and unwilling -- thanks to undue Japanese influence, it intimates -- to protect dolphins under the laws that do so for larger cetaceans.

Captured with hidden night vision cameras, many of them hidden in faux rocks fashioned by Industrial Light & Magic, the slaughter scenes are difficult to watch, but will make an emotional impact on anyone who sees them -- and that’s O’Barry’s hope. “I have to see this end in my lifetime,” he vows.  The Cove opens July 31.


“I’ve been conscious of it for a long time, what we’re doing to the planet. The pollution is out of control,” says Dylan McDermott, star of TNT’s Wednesday night crime drama Dark Blue. “I definitely recycle as much as I can,” he says, adding that he’s considered a hybrid vehicle, “but I haven’t plunged into it.”

McDermott has plunged back into series TV after his last try on the short-lived Big Shots didn’t match his seven-year run on The Practice, and he’s relishing his latest role as a troubled L.A. undercover cop on Dark Blue. “He’s at the end of his rope, he’s at the bottom of his life. And that’s a fun thing to play because anything is possible,” he says. “We do push the envelope and get to do things you can never do on network TV.”

He also likes the on-location and physical aspects of the role. “I haven’t done all my stunts, but most of it I try to do. It’s a demanding schedule, but it’s shorter. We’re only doing 10 episodes this year.” With network TV “flailing” and fewer movies being made, “Cable television is where you want to be as an actor,” he believes. “I get to play a great character and do good work.”

McDermott does have a big screen project in the can, the indie movie Burning Palms, also set in Los Angeles. “It’s this very dark, comedic world. My character has a 17-year-old daughter and they’re very, very close. The mother has died and now I’m with another woman, and there’s jealousy between the two of them.”

Off-screen, the father of two daughters aged 13 and 3 plans to take them to Disneyland next week, after work on Dark Blue’s season finale episode wraps. “I’ve always said that being a dad is the most amazing thing that ever happened to me,” he says. “It’s my greatest gift.”


Borrowing the premise from the 2006 Cameron Diaz-Kate Winslet movie The Holiday, in which women from different cities swap homes and fall in love, Soapnet’s new reality series Holidate involves a similar exchange, and three possible love matches. “You live in their environment and date their friends,” explains Christian Cloud, a model from Venice, Calif., who switches with New Yorker Tai Beauchamp in the July 29 premiere.

“You never know who you’re going to meet and where you’re going to meet them. I’m looking for love and I thought that I might be able to find it,” says Cloud, a self-described reality junkie and dating show devotee. “It was an interesting avenue, a great adventure. It was the total princess, ultimate New York experience,” she says of the dates, which included skating in Central Park and drinks at the Plaza, art galleries and lunch in Soho, and a sunset boat ride and candlelit dinner. As for the men, “Two out of the three were awesome and one in particular was special. She invited him to visit her in California, where she lives as green as possible. ”I ride my bike. I barely use my car. I recycle and I would love to start composting,” she says. “I’m thinking about planting tomatoes.”


Sundance Channel’s Big Ideas for a Small Planet returns for its third season Aug. 4 at 8 p.m. with 13 new episodes exploring environmental topics including innovation, invention and design. Focusing on decreasing the music industry’s carbon footprint, the premiere features a green record label, guitar maker, staging, and guests Jackson Browne and MNN’s own Josh Dorfman. Other August installments focus on the furniture industry, food and farming, and wildlife conservation, and in the fall, green architecture, energy, natural habitats, businesses, art, leisure activities, green communities, sports, and in the Oct. 27 finale, baby products, featuring celeb mom eco-preneurs Cindy Crawford and Soleil Moon Frye.

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Additional photo credits: Dylan McDermott by Dany Feld/TNT; Christian Cloud by Heidi Gutman/Soapnet.