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Aziz Ansari On His Friend Harris Wittels: “I’ve Been Devastated”

Aziz Ansari Harris Wittels 2-shot

Parks And Recreation co-star Aziz Ansari took to Tumblr today to remember Harris Wittels, the show’s longtime co-executive producer who was found dead Thursday in Los Angeles. Wittels joined the NBC comedy during its first season, and he and Ansari often shared stand-up comedy bills. “There are so few people that you meet in life that give you that feeling that you've found a real unique, original person,” Ansari wrote to start his 2,800-word Tumblr post. “Harris Wittels… Read

TV

Bill Cosby Applauds Eddie Murphy For Not Playing Him In ‘SNL’ Anniversary Special

Eddie Murphy Bill Cosby

“I am very appreciative of Eddie and I applaud his actions,” Bill Cosby said through a spokesperson – and dutifully reported this morning by NBC News — in re a report Murphy was asked, but declined, to play Cosby in a skit during the network’s Saturday Night Live 40th anniversary celebration. SNL alum Norn Macdonald tweeted an anecdote about being assigned to convince Murphy to play embattled Cosby in that Celebrity Jeopardy! skit some critics thought stole the 3.5-hour… Read

TV

‘SNL 40′: Bill Murray Claims Top Honors For Mixed-Bag Walk Down Memory Lane – Review

SNL 40th Anniversary Special

UPDATE, 5:30 AM Monday with a few more details: NBC celebrated the 40th anniversary of Jaws on Sunday night with a 3 1/2-hour tribute capped by Nick Ocean — surely the Hedwig of his day — singing “The Love Theme From Jaws” accompanied by Paul Shaffer on keyboard as behind them, clips ran of Bruce The Mechanical Shark munching on the good ship Orca and Captain Quint. It was hilarious. (See this and other clips in separate stories, below.) In a calm, quivering sea of… Read

TV

Will Ferrell’s ‘Celebrity Jeopardy’ Games ‘SNL 40’s Know-Nothing Stars

Saturday Night Live SNL40

Will Ferrell as an exasperated Alex Trebek on a Celebrity Jeopardy episode featuring some of the most relentlessly obnoxious and funny faux celebs from that long-running skit proved to be about the best thing on the 40th anniversary show of Saturday Night Live There was the reliably crude “Sean Connery,” a preening and barely articulate “Justin Bieber,” and “Tony Bennett,” cluelessly using his clicker as a microphone. Last but not least functional was an uninvited “Burt… Read

Awards

Lady Gaga To Sing “Special Tribute” At Oscars

2014 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Graydon Carter - Arrivals

Her “little monsters” should be celebrating: pop music star Lady Gaga will “make a special tribute performance” at the Oscars ceremony Feb. 22, show producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron announced. “Lady Gaga is a once-in-a-lifetime artist whose musical evolution keeps growing,” the producers said in a release. “We are proud to have her perform on the Oscars for the very first time.” Not specified in the release is what song, and what tribute recipient, will be involved in… Read

exclusiveFilm

Sienna Miller On ‘American Sniper’, Fame, ‘Cabaret’ & Ben Brantley: Conversations With Jeremy Gerard

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EXCLUSIVE: There's a moment in American Sniper when the camera moves in scary close to Sienna Miller's face as the character she plays — the wife of a Navy SEAL who has become a famed sharpshooter in Iraq — registers how far-gone is the love of her life and father of their children. Tears are streaming down her face as she realizes that Chris Kyle — the man she's on the telephone with, played by Bradley Cooper — is not thousands of miles away but hunkered down in a nearby… Read

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Bart & Fleming: Pete Carroll-Caliber Blown Film/TV Calls; Amy Pascal And Sleep Apnea; Dubious Journo Heroics; IMG

superbowl ending

Peter Bart and Mike Fleming Jr. worked together for two decades at Daily Variety. In this weekly column, two old friends get together and grind their axes, mostly on the movie business.  FLEMING: I just can't get past that a superb Super Bowl shaping up as one for the ages fell off the cliff so abruptly. Seahawks down by four, little over a minute left, both teams with timeouts. A miracle catch by Seattle by Jermaine Kearse who'd fallen on the ground. Seattle hands to… Read

Awards

J.J. Abrams At VES Awards: ‘Star Wars’ Sojourn “A Dream Come True”

J.J. Abrams VES

On a night dominated by rampaging apes and squishy robots, J.J. Abrams got an award from the Visual Effects Society in part for what he’s already done, with a long list of TV shows and films such as three Star Trek films, two Mission: Impossible films, Cloverfield, Super 8, Lost, Fringe, Alias and so much more. But he also was honored for what he’s about to do: relaunch the Star Wars franchise later this year with its seventh film and give the assembled VES membership a… Read

Film

Felicity Jones In Talks For ‘Star Wars’ Stand-Alone Movie

Star Wars Movies Rian Johnson

Felicity Jones is being considered for the lead female role in the planned stand-alone Star Wars movie. Jones, a Best Actress Oscar nominee for The Theory Of Everything, is now in talks for the key role, Deadline has confirmed. LucasFilm and Disney still are looking at possible lead actors for the movie, which set in the Star Wars universe but outside the narrative through-line of the first six films and the seventh debuting this year. Disney declined comment. Gareth… Read