Elevators continue to be the best place in Los Angeles to chat with celebrities.
I recently found myself in the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, best known by film buffs as the hotel where “Pretty Woman” was shot. It’s a great hotel but the elevators are unusually small. You can’t get more than four or five people in one of the cars and that makes it easy to spot celebrities.
On this day, I found myself in the elevator with Christina Hendricks, the actress who plays Joan on “Mad Men.”
The new season of “Mad Men” starts April 7, but I knew there was no way she was going to talk about what will happen during the show’s sixth season. The cast has been coached to never offer anything more than their name, the name of their character and that they work on the show.
There was another topic of interest to me that I knew she could discuss. Hendricks was in the film “Struck By Lightning” that was written by Clovis East graduate Chris Colfer.
Beehive reader Rebekah has been randomly selected to win the Chris Colfer autographed book. Keep watching for more giveaways.
ORIGINAL POST:“Struck By Lightning,” the movie written by and starring Clovis East graduate Chris Colfer, opens here on Friday. The film’s only opening in a few cities and Fresno will get the movie because Colfer asked the film company to show it here.
My review publishes Friday and I want to know what you think.
Send me your short review of the movie and I will put you into a drawing to win a copy of the book, “Struck By Lightning: The Carson Phillips Journal,” that’s based on the original screenplay. The book has been autographed by Colfer.
The movie may not be here for long but I will still give you some time. All review comments must be posted by Jan. 21. The winner will be notified and will be able to pick up the book at the Fresno Bee during normal working hours.
Yes, we’re halfway into the first month of 2013 — but I realized I forgot to do one of these Beehive Year in Review posts. I swear it’s the last looking-back-at-2012 post I’ll write. If I didn’t do this post, though, how would you know which contests you entered the most and which commenters are still in our “top 10?” See. You’re welcome.
So without further ado — unless you want me to drag this out another 14 days — here are the most read and most commented Beehive posts of 2012, along with our most prolific commenters.
Whether you’re on the list or not, thanks to everyone who participates in the site, either by reading and responding, sharing links with your friends or even grumbling to yourself about what we write. You’re all appreciated.
The next time you watch an episode of “Glee,” play close attention to the apartment Kurt (Chris Colfer) and Rachel (Lea Michele) — winners last night at the “People’s Choice Awards” — share in New York. The actors had a lot of input into how the living space was decorated.
“We talk to the art director and said we would like to put up a ‘Funny Girl’ poster and a ‘Wicked’ poster. So there are some little things around the apartment that we wanted. I also wanted them to use some of the items that were in Rachel’s apartment,” Michele says.
The actors had to create the new space for this season because Kurt and Rachel are part of the story line on “Glee” that takes place in the Big Apple – post graduation. The stories may be different but the actors have never gotten that far away from the McKinley High School gang as the two different parts of this year’s series are filmed on sets that are side-by-side on the studio lot. Michelle says that when she’s not shooting scenes on her set, she will go over the the other set to hang out with other members of the FOX series cast.
The upside of having parallel stories going on is that the “Glee” cast isn’t being worked as hard as in the earlier seasons. There days are no longer filled with recording sessions, learning choreography and filming scenes. There are actually days off.
Rumors continue the Colfer/Michele story could become a completely different series. As far as Michele is concerned, as long as she’s working on “Glee,” she’ll be happy.
“I’m working with Chris Colfer and that makes me very happy,” Michelle says. “I really think this set-up is working. I can work on my own set or I can go back to McKinley.
The only downside of this year’s New York story line for Michele is that Rachel has been put in a very demanding dance class. She laughs and says, “I was like, why did they have to put her in dance class? Couldn’t they have put her in a singing class? A pottery class? But, I really think it’s been great for me because dancing’s not my strong point so it’s been a real challenge to me to do something that makes me feel uncomfortable. It’s good. You should go to work and do something that challenges you.”
One of the perks of starring on a show as popular as “Glee’ is the number of big name guest stars the show attracts. Clovis East grad Chris Colfer generally tries to play it pretty cool when he meets the celebrities but there have been two cases where he let his fan boy out.
The first was Whoopi Goldberg.
“When I was young boy, she was my hero because of movies like ‘Sister Act.’ Getting to work with her was a dream come true,” Colfer tells me during a recent interview to talk about his new movie “Struck By Lightning.” “As soon as she got on set, I pulled up a chair and just started talking to her.”
Colfer was so excited about Broadway star Kristin Chenoweth being on the show that he often had to leave the room before he embarrassed himself. You have to remember that “Wicked” is one of Colfer’s all-time favorites. So getting to work with her would be like a football fans getting to toss a ball around with Peyton Manning.
His excitement was so pronounced, the “Glee” cast had to come to his rescue.
“The first day Kristin was on the set, the other cast members had a code word for me which was ‘cupcake’ so I would know she was on the way and I wouldn’t pee my pants,” Colfer says.
He learned to deal with his excitement and proudly says that now he can text the singer whenever he wants.
For a few seconds earlier this season, it looked like Sarah Hyland’s character of Haley Dunphy was being written out of the popular ABC comedy “Modern Family.” Haley had left home to go to college, which is not always a good sign. On the classic TV show “Happy Days,” Richie Cunnigham’s older brother went upstairs to his room in one episode and never came back down.
There’s no need to worry about the petite actress who’s destined to play the younger sister of Mila Kunis one day. After a few episodes where she was Skyped into the scenes, Haley was sent home after she fell on a police officer.
During an interview with Hyland to talk about her work in the movie “Struck By Lightning” — starring and written by Clovis East graduate Chris Colfer — Hyland says her days of being connected via computer to her TV family were really the easiest work days she’s every had. And despite only being 22 years old, she’s got a long list of work experience to compare to the “Modern Family” work she’s currently doing.
“It was great. They had me in a fake dorm room set,” Hyland says. “All I had to do was sit there and talk.”
Despite not actually being on the same set as her co-stars, like any good actress, Hyland memorized her lines. She soon realized that was a waste of time.
“There was one line of dialogue I just kept having trouble with so I taped the script pages to the side of the computer,” Hyland says. “That’s when I realized that I could just put all my lines up there and read them.”
She didn’t get to resort to that tactic as Haley came home and now she shares her scenes with fellow actors on the same set.
One question I keep getting asked is how do I manage to talk to so many celebrities without getting starstruck. I’ll let you in on a little secret. There have been some actors over the years who have made me a little nervous before the interview started. But, the moment it’s time to go to work, any nerves have to be pushed aside or there would be no way to get the job done.
Here’s another secret. Celebrities get starstruck. Jane Lynch talked about her own reaction to other celebrities during an interview for her new animated film “Wreck-It Ralph.” Lynch is the voice of character in a military video game who takes no prisoners. You’ll be able to spot her easily once the movie opens on Friday because the character looks just like her.
One of the fun parts for Lynch of having some celebrity clout is getting to go to fancy events where she gets to be with celebrities she wouldn’t normally see on a daily basis.
“There’s kind of a mutual admiration society but I’m caught off guard every time someone like Glenn Close asks me to come over and talk to her,” Lynch says. “I get a little starstruck but I believe I can hold my own because one of the things I’ve learned, being a celebrity now, when people come up to you and they are so taken by you they can barely talk, I try not to roll my eyes because they just want to have a human conversation with you.”
Lynch has been a working actor on TV and in films for more almost 25 years but her star status made a major leap when she signed on to play the unforgettable Sue Sylvester on “Glee.” Before the series, there was a point where Lynch felt like she was just doing the same characters. Then Christopher Guest came along to cast her in movies like “Best In Show” and “A Mighty Wind.” Guest’s style of allowing actors to improvise a lot of their material was an acting blessing for Lynch. And now, “Glee” has become the exclamation point on making her a true celebrity.
Talking about her rise on the star meter, Lynch jokes, “At first, I loved it. Now, it’s ‘What am I going to wear?’”
The rights to Clovis East graduate and “Glee” star Chris Colfer’s feature film, “Struck By Lightning,” have been acquired by Tribeca Film. It should be in theaters by the end of the year. The movie debuted earlier this year at the Tribeca Film Festival.
Colfer both wrote and stars in the film about a high school senior whose path to greatness ends when he’s killed in the school parking lot by a bolt of lightning. The student recounts the last few weeks of his life via flashbacks. The movie also stars Allison Janney, Polly Bergen, Rebel Wilson, Christina Hendricks, Dermot Mulroney, Sarah Hyland and Angela Kinsey.
After the theatrical release, the movie will be available through video-on-demand outlets.
“Showcasing his remarkable talents not only as an actor but as a writer and storyteller, Chris Colfer infuses this reinvention of the high school comic-drama with such spirit and joy that he almost makes us fondly nostalgic,” says Geoff Gilmore, Chief Creative Officer of Tribeca Enterprises in a press release announcing the deal. “Rousing, fresh, superbly acted by a strong ensemble, and wonderfully directed by Brian Dannelly, we are delighted to be partnering with Chris and his fellow filmmakers to share this new take on a classic genre for a new generation.”
Colfer says in the same release that he’s “thrilled to be partnering with a company as passionate about this film as we are.”
What do Pat Hill, Steve Perry, David Mas Masumoto, Richard Kiel, William Saroyan and Chris Colfer have in common? They were all beaten in successive rounds by Ryan Beatty in our Beehive ValleyWho contest.
Never underestimate the power of a teenage fan base, especially in an Internet voting contest.
Beatty — an on-the-rise pop singer who has amassed a tidy national Internet following — was supposed to be announced as the winner at Beehive Birthday 7, but rain prevented that.
Beatty, 16, received 52% of the vote against Colfer, a star of “Glee,” in the final round, finishing less than 75 votes ahead.
Thanks to everyone who participated in ValleyWho. We hope you had fun.
Well, ValleyWho is all over but the votin’. In these final hours of the final round only your votes will decide who gets to wear the ValleyWho crown — Chris Colfer or Ryan Beatty. Figuratively, of course. We didn’t get an actual crown.
Anyhow, deadline to vote is 8 p.m. today, so go here and vote. Even if you haven’t participated in previous rounds. It’s cool. Just vote.
A little bit on how the two of them got to the finals:
Colfer: Defeated California Raisins and Trent Dilfer in the first two rounds, Kopi in the Sweet 16, Philip Levine in the round of 8 and Audra McDonald in our final four.
Beatty: Defeated Pat Hill and Steve Perry in the first two rounds, David Mas Masumoto in the Sweet 16, Richard Kiel in the round of 8 and William Saroyan in our final four.
Our final matchup proves that ValleyWho was indeed a young man’s game. The bracket of 64 is now down to two — “Glee” actor Chris Colfer and rising pop singer Ryan Beatty.
A little semi-finals recap: Beatty beat Saroyan handedly, getting 67% of the vote, and, actually, getting more than twice the votes Saroyan did. Colfer/McDonald was closer — with Colfer winning 53% of the vote.
The final matchup will be announced Wednesday morning and voting will last until 8 p.m. Thursday. The ultimate winner will be announced Saturday at Beehive Birthday at Rotary Playland. Remember: We hid the results for the final two rounds to keep y’all surprised.
(1) William Saroyan vs. (10) Ryan Beatty
(1) Audra McDonald vs. (1) Chris Colfer
ABOUT THAT FINAL FOUR
It’s an interesting mix, I think, that will surely put generations at odds. Represented is the past (Saroyan), the present (Audra and Colfer) and the future (Beatty). Our final four is diverse in that includes an author, actors of TV and stage and a singer. We’ve got a Pulitzer Prize winner, a Tony winner, a Golden Globe winner and a teenager with 200K+ Twitter followers.
Voting for Round 4 — our Only 8! battle — is now open and runs until 8 p.m. Sunday. Go vote. Even if you haven’t voted before, you can still jump in with your vote. Your votes matter. Just ask the ValleyHopefuls who lost by a matter of votes in previous rounds.
UPDATE 3/19: First-round results are in! Voting has started for the second round.
ORIGINAL ENTRY: With just eight hours to go before the “polls” close for the first round of our ValleyWho competition, some interesting developments:
Poet Gary Soto seems to be pulling away from ABC 30 anchor Graciela Moreno. He’s leading with 53% of the vote. Who knew a poet could take on a TV personality?
Speaking of TV, Channel 24 anchor Stefani Booroojian has been climbing steadily in the voting. She’s up to 42% against Richard “Jaws” Kiel. Her trajectory is similar to Internet singing sensation (and former Children’s Musical Theaterworks star) Ryan Beatty, who has battled his way up from the high 20s in his race against coach Pat Hill. Beatty now has 42% of the vote.
In perhaps the most dramatic turnaround, No. 1 seed and “Glee” star Chris Colfer has swapped leads with the California Raisins. Colfer now has 53% of the vote after being stuck in the low 40s for most of the contest. Will the dried-fruit surge dry up?
The good news: If you haven’t yet voted, there’s still time. The first round ends at 8 p.m. For those who don’t know about ValleyWho, here’s a quick link to all you need to know.)
With voting under way to crown our favorite local icon in The Beehive’s ValleyWho March Madness-style bracket game, mental images abound: Anthony Taylor gripping Kevin Federline in a pretty solid headlock; Ray Appleton getting his behind kicked in the ring by Jennifer Alcorn; Chris Colfer caught in a life-and-death struggle with a California Raisin.
Of course, voting continues in the ValleyWho contest’s first round through 8 p.m. Sunday, so there’s plenty of opportunity for front-runners to fade and early stumblers to come from behind. In the meantime, think of this post as a low-rent version of one of those ESPN March Madness shows (minus the generous clothing allowances for the talent) in which we offer a mix of updates, news notes, expert commentary and blatant campaigning by individual Beehivers for their favorites. Here goes:
THE VOTES: At the top of the heap are Audra McDonald in the Peach Regional (the Broadway star and No. 1 seed is crushing local pitchman Crazy Bernie with 91% of the vote) and No. 6 seed Al Radka in the Raisin Regional (the radio/TV icon is pounding annoying “Bachelorette” contestant Kasey Kahl with 90%).
Compare that to the two tightest races: Channel 30 anchor Graciela Moreno has been trading the lead all day with poet Gary Soto in the Almond Regional, while Olympic snowboarder Andy Finch is locked in a tight battle with author David Mas Masumoto in the same conference.
Next week, we’re launching a March Madness-style bracket game that will crown the Valley’s favorite local icon. It’s called ValleyWho and much like the NCAA’s basketball tournament, it’ll start with 64 hopefuls and eventually wind down to one glorious winner.
There’s a big difference between this and a basketball game though: You control the outcome. Your votes will decide which FresNotables move on in the competition. Think about it: Who’s more loved, Kopi or Chris Colfer? Christopher Gorham or Tom Seaver?
The entire Beehive crew has spent weeks poring over our homegrown heroes. We’ve brainstormed, argued and had to make some tough calls. Our field of 64 — featuring people from The Bee’s coverage area, from Tulare to Merced — will be revealed March 14, rankings and all. Voting starts March 15. The winner will be revealed March 31 at Beehive Birthday VII.
There’s a “Taste of Clovis” passport you might have heard about, where you can sample food from a bunch of local restaurants, but that’s sold out. Clovis be hungry.
On such a historic day, I’d like to speak on behalf of Fresnans everywhere and thank our neighbors to east for all they’ve given us — mainly Luna’s, Big Hat Days, Chris Colfer, that dude Kip from “Napoleon Dynamite,” the better DMV and poop-colored street signs.
TCA Winter Tour: The FOX Network has become THE place for Fresno/Clovis talent to find acting work. You already knew about Chris Colfer and Dot-Marie Jones who are on “Glee.” Now, you can add Clovis West graduate Aaron Ruell to the Fox family. He’s reprising his role of Kip from “Napoleon Dynamite” in the animated version that joins the network’s Animation Domination on Sundays.
It’s a little unusual to see Ruell because his primary job is as a photographer and only does acting when he gets asked by friends.
“Photography is A with me and acting is like D, E or F on my list,” Ruell says. “I’ve never been the kind of person who likes to draw attention to himself. At school I was the kid who locked himself in the darkroom and worked.”
Colfer’s a little more outgoing. Along with his work on “Glee,” that will continue next year, he’s finished his film “Struck By Lightning,” and has a children’s book coming out in August. The trailer for his film should be released in the next few weeks but no release date has been set for the movie.
As for life post-graduation on “Glee,” Colfer is very coy about what he will be doing on the show except that it will be very interesting.
Life on “Glee” has been interesting for Jones.
“I have been in this business for 20 years and this is the first time I have ever had a love interest,” Jones says. She’s not only had a love interest but got to sing two songs. The first one didn’t worry her because it was with “Glee” star Matthew Morrison.
“We were suppose to be drunk and silly at a bar. But, when I found out I had a solo, I was scared. I thing the song turned out,” Jones says.
She turned in a good performance of the Dolly Parton hit “Jolene.” But, the best work she’s done on “Glee” was the Christmas episode where she got to be Santa. Jones says the episode still makes her cry.
The work the three are doing on FOX is making the Central San Joaquin Valley look good.
“Glee,” 8 p.m. KMPH (Channel 26.1): Anyone who attended their high school prom knows it can be a very emotional event. Those emotions serve as the basis for tonight’s episode of “Glee.”
It wouldn’t be a TV show if everything went right. The glee club is asked by Principal Figgins to fill in when the entertainment for the prom falls through. As you can imagine, this doesn’t make prom coordinator Sue Sylvester very happy. Her reaction is almost as dramatic as the competition for prom king and queen.
Tonight’s episode is a good one for local actor Chris Colfer.