Pop culture, entertainment & all things Fresno

Beehive Book Club Vol. 11: What we’re reading

bookclublogo-thumb-100x68-42087We’re taking Donald’s Beehive Book Club and shaking it up a bit. Since we’ve got several book lovers on staff here and we have wildly varying tastes, we thought we’d jump on his bandwagon and share some of our recent notable reads too. And we want to hear about what you’re reading, so feel free to tell us in the comments section.

Bethany: The “Game of Thrones” series by George R.R. Martin.
The Game of Thrones book series has completely sucked me in. I just finished the third book, A Storm of Swords, and downloaded the next one immediately to my Kindle.

The series, officially called “a Song of Ice and Fire,” centers around the Stark family and its six kids. The family is scattered across a fictional land similar to Old England, dealing with war, dragons, murder, arranged marriages, and a growing threat from something supernatural in the north. Or as a friend of mine calls the series, “bad things happening to good people.”


It’s getting to the point where I’m ditching TV to read because frankly, the heroes in ABC’s “Once Upon a Time” have nothing on pre-teen Arya Stark’s adventures with her pint-sized sword, Needle.

I’m not usually a fantasy fan and I don’t have much patience for big books (the last one was 1,177 pages), but I’m so attached to this family now I have to see what happens. The author has a tendency to get a bit wordy at times, but he also takes the character you used to hate and turns him into a multifaceted person you find yourself rooting for.

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Emmy Rossum’s mom has underwear issues

BEAUTIFUL CREATURESMothers use to tell their children they should always wear clean underwear in case something happened and the child ended up at the doctor’s office. They wouldn’t be sporting dirty garments.

These days, motherly advise about underwear — especially those with daughters who are young, attractive actors — has a lot less to do with medical attention and more with media attention.

In the movie “Beautiful Creatures,” scheduled to open Valentine’s Day, “Shameless” star Emmy Rossum plays a very seductive young witch. Throughout the movie, the characters often talk about things there mother’s told them. Rossum’s asked what’s the best advice she ever got from her mom.

“She always tells me to wear underwear,” Rossum says. Note that she didn’t say “clean underwear.” Her mom just keeps reminding her how important it is to WEAR underwear.

“She’s just obsessed with me wearing underwear with short dresses because she’s concerned someone is going to shoot up my skirt. It’s probably the best advice she’s ever given me. Sometimes she’ll ask me if I’m wearing underwear and I’ll say ‘yes’ and she’ll ask me if they are big ones and not just those ‘tongs.’ When I tell her I’m wearing big underwear she will say that it’s OK for me to wear two pair. And, she doesn’t want me to wear flesh colored ones. She wants me to wear ones with polka dots so people will know it’s not my …”

We’ll, you get the point.

Her mom does have a reason for such concern. There have been several young actress caught in a very revealing moment by the cameras of paparazzi. Such moments often happen when a skirt’s very short and the actress has opted not to wear anything underneath.

I say that it’s sad world that we live in where you have to remind people to wear underwear. Rossum counters with it’s sad we live in a time where people shoot photographs up your skirt.

Alden Ehrenreich found script to be ‘Beautiful’

BEAUTIFUL CREATURES - resizedAlden Ehrenreich has two movies coming out in the next few weeks — “Beautiful Creatures” on Valentine’s Day” and “Stoker” March 1 — but he’s done little else that would make you think he’s one of the major players in Hollywood. That’s why it was a surprise to hear that despite his limited acting credentials, Ehrenreich initially turned down the leading role in “Beautiful Creatures.” And, he turned it down without reading the script.

To be fair, the 23-year-old actor wasn’t shown the script by his agents because they didn’t think it was the kind of movie he wanted to make. The kind of movies he’s trying to avoid are the ones where a mortal teen feels the angst of falling for some type of vampire, zombie, mummy or Frankenstein type monster.

When producers pitched him the idea again, he read the script and signed on to play the lovestruck Ethan Wate. The object of his attention is Lena Duchannes (Alice Englert), a young woman who on her 16th birthday will either become a very good or very bad witch.

I know. It sounds like all of the other teen angst movies. But, Ehrenreich saw a real humor and intelligence in the script that made him confident this wouldn’t be just another mortal-meets-supernatural-creature story.

If he had read the script earlier, Ehrenreich would have had a chance to do some research so that he wouldn’t have been caught off guard by the high heat and humidity of working in New Orleans during the summer.

“It was very, very hot. We had a lot of people spritzing us,” Ehrenreich says.

An earlier read also would have given him a chance to read the books in the “Beautiful Creatures” series before filming started. During his down time — when he wasn’t battling the heat — Ehrenreich read the books. They ended up being an instruction manual as to how to play the character.

The one thing about his character he didn’t need to research was how the teen longed to leave the sleepy little town where he’s lived his entire life.

“I know exactly what it’s like to want to leave somewhere,” Ehrenreich says. “I hated summer camp but my mother sent me to 10 different ones when I was growing up. I would write long letters to family members to tell them how much I hated being at camp.”

Emma Thompson not big fan of Audra McDonald (wink, wink)

THOMPSON NICHOLSEmma Thompson says she has a deep dislike for Fresno’s own Audra McDonald. I find this out while talking to Thompson — England’s answer to Meryl Streep — about her upcoming movie “Beautiful Creatures” that opens Valentine’s Day. She plays a witch who has gone the dark side, not much of a stretch by the way she talks about McDonald.

The source of the discord started when the pair filmed the 2001 cable movie “Wit.” Thompson turns in a brilliant performance as a professor who’s forced to reassess her life after being diagnosed with terminal ovarian cancer. McDonald is equally as wonderful as the nurse who helps her deal with the terminal illness. Both picked up Emmy nominations that year.

“I’m quite bitter about working with Audra,” says Thompson in such a sarcastic tone it becomes clear that she doesn’t really have any dislike for her former co-star but is a big admirer. This is just an example of the Thompson sense of humor that all of her co-stars in the movie say made the filming process so much fun.

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