Archive for the ‘Actors’ Category

Toxic moments

May 13, 2017

First, a story came by on NPR in which a tale of five dead hunters in Oregon played a central role, as did the terrible poison tetrodotoxin. And then an episode of the tv series Death in Paradise in which this poison plays a central role. Rough-skinned newts, pufferfish, and garter snakes all have parts to play in the story, as do arms races in evolution. And of course tetrodotoxin and the entertainments of Death in Paradise.

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The Phantom of the jungle library

March 31, 2017

… and his servant Guran, in a scene from early in the 1996 movie The Phantom:

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Secure in the Chronicle Chamber within his jungle stronghold, The Phantom (Billy Zane) and his servant Guran (Radmar Agana Jao) discover the secret of the Skulls of Touganda.

The Phantom of course works shirtless in his jungle library (amidst his collection of manuscripts and books) — I mean it’s in the steamy goddam jungle (and anyway we all need to appreciate his pecs). Outside of the jungle (where he’s the 21st Phantom), he’s Kit Walker, raised in the U.S., college-educated, and NYC-savvy. Then there’s his servant Guran, who’s obviously not a member of the African tribe the Phantom works with; instead, he looks Filipino and is dressed in Indian garb. The movie is packed with cultural mixtures, and this is just one of them.

I’ll write some about these, but first a bit about the fascinating life story of Radmar Agana Jao.

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Billy Zane

March 30, 2017

I first noticed him in some episodes of the tv series Charmed, playing a personable (and hunky) ex-demon named Drake. And now he’s coming past me again, in the second season of Twin Peaks, once again charming, boyish, playful, and sexy (his perennial actorial persona). In between Twin Peaks (1991) and Charmed (2005) came, among other things, the movie version of The Phantom (1996), with Zane in the title role.

So this will be about actors, the comics, tv and movies, and some of Zane’s masculine attributes: that persona, a strong physical presence, a sensuous masculine face, and (of course) an attractive body. Not a lot about language here.

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Michael Ontkean

March 28, 2017

(About actors, movies, and tv, with very little language stuff in it.)

Watching Twin Peaks (the original tv series) on Netflix, and delighted to see Michael Ontkean (cute, amiable, and hunky) in it again. I’m a great fan of smiles, so here’s the young Ontkean smiling:

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In the West Wing

March 8, 2017

Having fallen into the world of American politics in viewing the documentary I Am the Ambassador (about Rufus Gifford, until recently the US ambassador to Denmark), I went on to doing the whole 7-year run of the tv series The West Wing, which I am urging everyone to watch at least some of — as a canny depiction of American political life (Wikipedia tells us that it “received acclaim from critics, as well as praise from political science professors and former White House staffers”), as a gripping drama with an earnest moral core, and as a show worthy of praise for its snappy dialogue, inspired casting, and first-rate acting.

This posting is about just two of the actors, Mark Feuerstein and Jimmy Smits (both prominent in season 6 of the series, which I’ve just finished watching), solid members of what I’ve called the “acting corps“, the bank of accomplished and reliable actors (short of first-magnitude star rank) that make the stage, the movies, and television hum for our pleasure and enlightenment. I find them both attractive, as men and as actors — in particular, as embodiments of an “acting persona” (a more or less enduring persona that cuts across an actor’s roles).

Through Smits, that exploration will take us to another member of the acting corps, the admirable Marg Helgenberger. (I know, I know, you also want me to write about Allison Janney and Stockard Channing, among others, but there’s only so much I can do in one posting.)

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Edward Sorel

February 28, 2017

Another item from my blog backlog file, this time based on a hilarious book review in the NYT Book Review on 1/1/17, by Woody Allen — yes, that Woody Allen — of Mary Astor’s Purple Diary: The Great American Sex Scandal of 1936 (from Liveright)  by Edward Sorel (who also supplied the illustrations):

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Astor and Kaufman, together again, but not in bed

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This weekend’s tv hunk

February 25, 2017

… hails from New Zealand. Pana Hema Taylor (or Hema-Taylor), who I recently watched in the first season of the New Zealand detective series The Brokenwood Mysteries, in which he plays Jared Morehu. The man in a p.r. head shot:

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Hema Taylor has a sturdy physique, a powerful but attractive face, and a strong physical presence – definitely a hunk.

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Moonlight

November 24, 2016

… the recent movie. Which I saw on Monday and am still in the grip of. A stunning film, tracking its central character from a small, weak boy (in black Miami) to a big, hard man (in black Atlanta), as he struggles to carve out a place for himself in the world and to come to terms with his sexuality.

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Name time

September 9, 2016

Early on in the gay comedy 4th (or Fourth) Man Out, I was struck by the name of one of the actors, Chord Overstreet. I was immediately reminded of another actorial name, Park Overall. Park was the subject of a morning name posting on 12/10/15, and for a moment I was taken with the idea that Park and Chord might, um, sing together on the greensward, until I realized that she’s 32 years older than he is. So probably no Chord and Park Overall Overstreet pairings, onomastically pleasing though they would be.

On to Chord and his acting career. Turns out he’s something of a celebrity, but for his work on a television show I have barely ever seen.

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Diversity on screen

September 4, 2016

In the New York Times yesterday, an obituary, “Jon Polito, a Favorite in Coen Brothers Films, Dies at 65” by Daniel E. Slotnik. Beginning:

Jon Polito, a character actor who often played law enforcement figures and gangsters and had memorable turns in many films by Joel and Ethan Coen, died on Thursday in Los Angeles. He was 65.

The cause was complications of multiple myeloma, his husband, Darryl Armbruster, said.

A mustached, balding, husky and burlap-voiced presence onscreen, Mr. Polito appeared in more than 200 films and television series, often as the heavy. He could convey the swagger and haplessness of a two-bit crook, the authority of a hardened homicide detective, the unctuous ingratiations of a yes man — as well as a sense of vulnerability, desperation and weakness.

… He met Mr. Armbruster, an actor, on Oct. 16, 1999, and they married on that day last year.

Polito in a characteristic role:

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