As one of the most unusual storylines NBC has ever captured on television, Thursday night’s Awake approaches audiences with two dreams, one world and a cast well worth returning to week after week. With only four episodes in, the series is so compelling that a first time viewer would think that it is already fully developed and moving on to its second season. Jason Isaacs plays Britten, a man constantly trying to retrace his steps as he’s left with a dream with his wife and a dream with his son, not truly knowing who’s dead and who’s alive after a tumultuous car wreck that fans now know– may not be so accidental after all.
As the grieving wife Hannah who may soon find her husbands sanity spiral out of control, actress Laura Allen gave me the scoop on what’s to come on tonight’s “Oregon” episode. Her plans to move cause a fracture in their relationship but also arises questions—Would a move affect his dreams? Will Michael’s lack of communication about Rex backfire? And is, well—is Michael actually alive?
Trust when I say, Allen was so sweet to speak with and if you haven’t watched the show yet (which would make you the minority) then this interview just may change your mind. Check out what to expect on tonight’s show and read between the lines. She may have already answered some of the said questions.
What part of the pilot did you read that really made you want to get invested in the series?
I read the script like a year ago and initially I was asked to come in for the role of Tara, the tennis instructor. It happened really quickly and within a couple of weeks suddenly I was thrown Hannah. The wife to Michael Britten and the grieving mother, and I was overwhelmed at the possibility and yet I get to play opposite of Jason Isaacs and tell this story of what sounds to be very melancholy, but it’s actually not. I mean there are so many gorgeous moments for me while filming Awake. It’s a privilege for me, a joy, and I think the writing is just gorgeous.
It’s only four episodes in and it seems like a few seasons in. You don’t feel like it’s a new show. What’s some of the feedback that you’ve been getting from fans?
It’s a really good way of putting it. I think we’re already deep into the psychology of this lead character Michael Britten and we’ve experienced his grief through many avenues—through therapy, through his job and through his home life with his wife. And so we feel like we know him and we emphasize with him and want to reconcile this world and yet, it’s impossible. And the truth is one reality is a dream and we don’t know which one. Either I’m dead or my son is dead and it’s devastating and yet Michael’s really trying to keep them both alive.
It may seem premature, but do you have your suspicions? Does the cast mull over ideas on what’s actually unfolding? Where would you like to see Hannah go? She could be dead.
Right! Well, we’ve been reassured that Michael is not dead and that Michael is not a cover. That one of these worlds really is a dream and yet I asked these questions so often while we were shooting the pilot and yet as we went deeper into the season I grew less and less interested in knowing because I’m really playing scenes as though Hannah’s world is like yours or like mine. I play it very real and there’s nothing that makes a person feel like there’s a dreamscape going on. It starts truly looking over his sanity a bit. I think it’s really called into question, if Michael can keep it together or if he’s losing his mind. There’s no obeying of certain laws or reality. And so yeah, they really start to play in the presence in a great way.
Awake has so many aspects: Psychological, Emotional, Criminal, Mystery. What’s most intriguing to you?
I can’t help but love the emotional part about the show. And yet, it doesn’t get melodramatic. The writers are so careful about that. It’s the same producers that were behind 24 so there’s an action-packed side to the show and a real existential questioning going on in the therapy offices. And so they’re all so strong and they’re all going deeper and deeper into Michael’s psychosis but I love the home life. I love playing a woman who’s trying to rise above her grief and move forward.
The next episode “Oregon” revolves a lot around some changes that may be headed Hannah’s way. What can audiences expect to see?
This episode “Oregon” really examines the relationship. It definitely challenges Michael and says look, most marriages—and this is true and awful but—most marriages don’t survive the loss of a child. Could it be that Hannah doesn’t just want to leave Los Angeles, but wants to leave you? And I think he’s confronted with this question and it frightens him and we have a real sit down about our relationship and what it means to move on without Rex. Without giving too much away, Hannah needs him. Hannah wants to connect with him, to engage with him, and she doesn’t need the house, she doesn’t need the room, of course Michael does. So there’s all different timetables and grief. They recommit to one another in this one.
It definitely seems like trouble in your marriage won’t be good for Michael’s two dream sequences.
Right, right! We thought immediately from the pilot that even him having these dreams and telling Hannah about it, it’s so disruptive to her process and grief and she shuts him down. So immediately the communication is off kilter and yet she’s constantly checking in. “Are you with me? Are we together on this?” She wants to go to the center and have this memorial for Rex and yet Michael’s not fully accepting that Rex is dead. So it’s troublesome for the marriage.
“Oregon” brings up the importance of location for this family and could possibly make the audience go, “Oh, never thought of that before.” It seems like it could cause an issue with Michael having to be stationed in order to live out these dreams.
I mean there’s this Sci-Fi fan base too that are like, “Is Rex’s bedroom the portal? What are the real rules going on here? What are the laws of crossing over? Can he go to work and still see Rex?” [Laughs] It challenges all of it. I think the writers as they go, they explore. No one’s ever written a show like this. They describe it like handling a car where there’s no manual. It’s exciting for everybody involved. It just kind of stretches the boundaries.
When will the car wreck be brought up again? It was mentioned that perhaps it wasn’t an accident after all.
Yes, it will get going and start a life of its own. This is where you feel the masterminds of 24. There’s Michael’s sanity and his own sense of trusting his own mind and that starting to falter. And we also start to dip into a possible conspiracy behind the accident in the first place. So these two things together take off on a momentum this season and take us to a really stunning finale.
As the 74th Hunger Games premiered in theaters worldwide on March 23, millions of fans took to their water cooler stations to divulge on what they had just watched. Many stayed up until midnight to see and many even signed on to Twitter to simply state that they were minutes away from when the lights went down.
Check out what 74 celebrities said about the film that made $155 million in just one weekend. Forget summer blockbusters–Hunger Games is without a doubt going to become the next big franchise for years to come.
1. Suzanne Collins: “I’ve just had the opportunity to see the finished film of The Hunger Games. I’m really happy with how it turned out. I feel like the book and the film are individual yet complementary pieces that enhance one another…The cast, led by the extraordinary Jennifer Lawrence, is absolutely wonderful across the board. It’s such a pleasure to see how they’ve embodied the characters and brought them to life.” [Facebook page]
2. Jennifer Lawrence: “We made an amazing film; Gary made a war movie. Making it felt so un-tentpole, and even watching it I feel that way as well.” [Collider.com]
3. Donald Sutherland: “She has everything that you need to have as an actor. She has simplicity and she has concentration. She has exquisite observation and talent. She has the ability to generate all of that in front of the camera.” [Talking Jennifer Lawrence on GMA]
4. Liam Hemsworth: “It is cool! I’m a big fan of so many people in this film. Woody Harrelson is one of my favorite actors of all-time, and I didn’t get to work on him with this and I was really bummed, but I got to meet him, and he’s such a good dude, and you know, Lenny Kravitz, too.” [Vulture]
5. Kristen Bell: “Obsession. I read the books. I thought, this is it. This is the piece of literature that in a hundred years we’ll look back on and it will be the best thing we’ve ever written.” [Jimmy Kimmel Live]
6. Sara Paxton: “POWER OUTAGE RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF HUNGER GAMES!!!!!!! WTF”
7. Harry Shum Jr: “Finally going to watch the Hunger Games today!! So now it’s going to make $155,000,010 this weekend thanks to my contribution.”
9. Edgar Wright: “Is it true all concessions will be banned for screenings of ‘The Hunger Games’?”
11. Doug Benson: “THE HUNGER GAMES was the original title of AMERICA’S NEXT TOP MODEL.#FakeFact”
12. Dianna Agron: “Who went to see the Hunger Games? Have to say…I jumped, gasped & peaked through fingers the entire time. I’m a baby & it’s really great.”
13. Francia Raisa: “So sad I’m not watching hunger games right now!!! Duty calls 6am call time with@Megan_Park goodnight!”
14. Ben Savage: “Just saw “Hunger Games” and really enjoyed it. I can see why everyone is so excited about this movie. The acting & cinematography are great.”
15. Michael Moore: “Well, The Hunger Games has broken the Fahrenheit 9/11 record as the largest grossing film ever for Lionsgate. Congrats!”
16. Hilary Rhoda: “Okay, I’m not gonna lie, I thought #HungerGames was a bit disturbing! Great movie, but children killing each other to survive?! Savage!”
17. David Wain: “Today’s the day! @ElizabethBanks in #hungergames! I’ll be first in line. About time they told the truth about the 1956 Olympics in Budapest.”
19. Judd Apatow: “Has the hunger games made enough money to stop doing this? Ridiculous…[Link]
20. Mindy Kaling: “everyone I know or have ever met is either at Hunger Games or watching Mad Men.” I’m watching little women. Then Mad Men”
21. Bryan Greenberg: “So how many of you saw John Carter this weekend instead of Hunger Games? Oh right no one.”
22. Ellen DeGeneres: “The Hunger Games’ are here! @ElizabethBanks told me if she’s team Peeta or team Gale. http://say.ly/IhH1CaV”
23. Andy Milonakis: “Your mom asked me to play Hunger Games on her lower parts”
24. George Takei: “The Hunger Games opens to eye-popping numbers. Finally, a girl fighting for her life & justice, not whining over her sparkly vamp boyfriend.”
25. Ian Somerhalder: “a VERY dear friend of mine has a little something to do w/ a little movie you may have heard about-HUNGER GAMES.’Im going-see ya there:)”
27. Howie Mandel: “Standing outside hometown buffet looking in window. Watching hunger games live”
28. Daniel Cudmore: “Congrats to the cast and crew of #HungerGames on an amazing opening weekend! #lionsgate must be a tad but happy.. 155$ million..!!”
29. Norman Buckley: “Just got home from #TheHungerGames. A thrilling ride! Jennifer Lawrence was born to play that role. She’s superb”
30. Annie Clark: “I’m on the last few chapters of The Hunger Games…I tried not to buy into all the hype but woops! #addicted”
31. Felicia Day: “Oh and Hunger Games, Avengers and Cabin in the Woods (which I already saw though :P) Oh and Abraham Lincoln…yeah it’s a good year!”
32. The Dark Lord: “If you’re excited for The Hunger Games then that means you are from the Capitol.”
33. Scott Porter: “Saw #thehungergames tonight. Give it a 7/10. Got thoughts that I’ll save. Crowds were NUTS! May the Odds be Ever in Your Favor this weekend!”
34. Elizabeth Banks: “Fighting Darth Vader at the Brandenburg Gate #nbd http://bit.ly/GIfzlw and more special moments from Berlin #TheHungerGames”
35. Miley Cyrus: “Gale is pretty sexy 😉 RT @YO_NAT OBSESSED W THE HUNGER GAMES”
36. Zach Braff: In my day we had to use plastic hippos for our “Hunger Games”
37. Debby Ryan: “@amandlastenberg was powerful in Columbiana, but seriously stole my heart tonight in The Hunger Games”
38. Mark Hoppus: “hunger games tonight!!! who will hold me during the scary parts?”
39. Katherine McPhee: “Thanks @meganhilty for letting me borrow this…its my night time book and I am obsessed! Can’t wait to see the movie!”
40. Eliza Dushku:”#HungerGames ;p”
41. Lenny Kravitz: “@ElizabethBanks no one can touch you girl. Wes-true gentleman. Gary-the best of the best. It was a beautiful experience”
42. Nikki Sixx: “I think”Hunger Games” is”Running Man” for the TWILIGHT tweenager generation.Not a bad movie,just not a great movie…”
43. Alexa Vega: “I started reading “The Hunger games” on location tonight and couldn’t put it down. Just finished. IT WAS AMAZING! Peeta… I’m in room 301.”
44. Kylie Jenner:“The Hunger Games was amazing! Thank you @RyanSeacrest for letting us take over the Bing Box again!”
46. Ray William Johnson: “Hunger Games was pretty good. There’s plenty of underlying social critique. Plus, Eliz Banks (from Zack and Miri) did a great job as Effie”
47. Jack Quaid:”Everyone be sure to go see “The Raid: Redemption” this weekend… That’s the one I’m in right? #HungerGames”
48. Kelly Osbourne: “Just got out of seeing #HungerGames all I have to say is wow! It really is a must see!”
49. Dave Annable:”#TheHungerGames premiere last night was amazing! Although the highlight of my night was def meeting @TeamVic #classact”
50. Isabelle Fuhrman:”On the way to #thehungergames premiere. So excited :)”
51. Blake Shelton: “Just left the premier of The Hunger Games….It’s was SO good!! I can’t wait til the book comes out. I hope it does it justice…”
52. Miranda Lambert: “Hunger Games. Amazing.”
53. Danny Zuker: “”The Hummer Games.” You’re welcome, porn industry.”
54. Josh Hutcherson: “Jennifer, Liam, Woody, Elizabeth, Lenny, Donald, EVERYONE, was fantastic.”
55. Greg Bennett:”Soooo pumped for Hunger Games tomorrow night in Imax. I will judge how good the movie is based on how much I cry when Rue dies.”
56. Chaz Bono: “Happy friday everyone. My only solid plan for the weekend is to go see@TheHungerGames. I loved the book and can’t wait to see the film.”
57. Rob Thomas: “Mari and I are headed to the HUNGER GAMES screening for NY. This is our blue steel.”
58. Demi Lovato: “Okay guys…I admit it….I’M SO EXCITED FOR THE HUNGER GAMES!!!!!!! Aljkshkflakcjjk!!!!!!”
59. Stephen Fry: “Off to see The Hunger Games. Sounds like a Running Man sort of picture. Here’s hoping it’s fun.”
60. Spencer Pratt: “So #HungerGames has the #XFiles theme music?”
61. Heidi Montag: “The Hunger Games is the best book I have read since Harry Potter”
62. Kathy Najimy:”saw hunger games last night. tell me what you thot? did i like the part where the kid killed the kid? or the teen killed the teen? bajeezuz”
63. Frankie Muniz:”I just saw The Hunger Games… I have to say… wasn’t expecting that! I really liked it!!!!”
64. Alexander Ludwig:”Just landed in LA, good to be back. Got a hunger games screening tonight that my buddy set up in dt”
65. Ryan Seacrest: “Romance for the ladies, bloodshed for the fellas…after a century of filmmaking,@TheHungerGames has finally mastered the ultimate date movie”
66. Taylor Swift: “The Hunger Games soundtrack is out tomorrow (or tonight at midnight for you over-achievers). I’ve got 2 songs on that bad boy.”
67. Michael Seater:”Guys. I’m kind of freaking out with Hunger Games excitement.”
68. Professor Snape: “I’d like to see how long Bella Swan would last in The Hunger Games.”
69. Ashley Fink: “Okay, Hunger Games.. I’m in. Such a poignant story. Ps. That sound design was genius, and don’t get me started on the fashions.”
70. Ryan Beatty: “The Hunger Games was So Good!”
71. Titus Makin Jr.: “Welp “The Hunger Games” was awesome!”
72. Trevor Donovan: “Happy Hunger Games! And may the odds be ever in your favor.”
73. Piers Morgan: “Hunger Games will join the Twilight saga & Harry Potter series on my list of films never to see before I die.”
74. Ashley Benson: Seeing Hunger games in D box werkkkkkk @selenagomez”
‘The Descendants’ Interview: Author Kaui Hart Hemmings Chats Alexander Payne, Acting Alongside George ClooneyPosted: March 15, 2012
The Descendants has resonated with audiences this season and has received well deserved recognition at the Oscars. Compared to others this year, the unique story of Matt King trying to re-connect with his children after his wife suffered a major injury showed great depth and fantastic raw acting. It gave actors like George Clooney and Judy Greer a chance to show an even bigger range than they already had and introduced new talent to the big screen like Shailene Woodley and Nick Krause.
With a win for Best Adapted Screenplay still sinking in I got the chance to speak to author Kaui Hart Hemmings on what it was like to see her novel transformed into a major motion picture. She details on working with Alexander Payne, Hawaii, and what it was like to have a minor role on set.
The Descendants is such an original plot. How long did it take to write and what was your inspiration for it?
HEMMINGS: I started writing it as a short story while I was at Sarah Lawrence in New York. I just wanted to write about Hawaii so that’s where it all started.
What were the beginning stages like for getting the novel noticed and ultimately having it end up in Alexander Payne’s hands?
It was scheduled to come out in May 2007, the book. And all books end up in producer’s hands it’s just a matter of getting them made, but it went out to a bunch of film companies and Alexander was kind of at the top of our wish list. Jim Burke, one of the producers, found it and sort of championed it.
What was your initial relationship like with Payne?
He came to Hawaii and when he decided to make it his next film he emailed me and said, “I want to make this my next film, can we meet this weekend?” So he flew out to Hawaii and we had dinner and the next day he came over to the house and we just sort of hung out for a while and then he came back and lived here for about eight months before shooting. During that time he really got to know the place, meet people and start to collect life here before he shot it.
The cast is fantastic with actors like George Clooney and Judy Greer. Did you ever think talent like that would re-create something you wrote?
I never before really thought about that but I had the privilege of seeing their casting tapes! So I saw these actors and actresses who we all know audition for these roles and the people who ended up playing the roles were indeed the best ones back in auditions. Judy Greer and Matthew Lillard blew me away in these tapes so its like I could imagine it because I saw them and it just made perfect sense that they be in these roles. And the same for George Clooney—while he didn’t have to audition of course—it just made sense that he play this role.
While writing the novel did you find yourself attached to a certain character?
I’m attached to many of the characters but one I think in particular is the father in my novel…Also Elizabeth the mother. Her children are mad at her, her husband is conflicted and through him [the father] we see her as a little child, a little girl. For me it just gives me such sympathy, especially seeing the father say goodbye to her. I really like my minor characters if I have to be proud of anything. I really like my minor characters and I really like them in the film as well. The minor characters—Beau Bridges and Robert Forster as the father—were so good. Many of the moving moments for me in the film were because of him. [Forster]
Hawaii is a character all on its own. How long did it take you to write and would you write outside of that setting in the future?
It took me about a year or less for me to write the book, which is weird and it’s never to be repeated! [Laughs] My daughter was a year old at the time when I wrote it. So whenever she would take a nap I would write like crazy! It was a desperate momentum or something. And as far as Hawaii, I’m writing a new novel right now set in Colorado. It’s set in a specific part but I would write in Hawaii again. You write what you know and what you remember and what you want to know.
The storyline is something I don’t think audiences have resonated with before, which is great. What do you think about the Oscar nominations and win for Best Adapted Screenplay?
I was there all week for the Writers Guild Awards and it’s so great. I’m not so focused on awards and celebrity and all of that but it does feel good to win something! It was really wonderful that it got so much attention and awards for the script based on the novel. So that felt really good. But I have to say the most exciting part of this whole process for me was seeing the film get made and seeing people work on this film with such energy and joy and that was before we even had any inclination of what it would become and the reviews that it would get. That was my joy and in seeing George Clooney, Shailene Woodley and Alexander Payne just working and just enjoying their work.
You acted too! Many may not know that you actually played Matt King’s secretary Noe in the movie. How was it to step away from what you’re used to and jumping into the dressing room?
Yeah, I mean forget writing. I just want to act! [Laughs] No, that was so fun! I mean here I am like, “Oh God, here these people just say their lines and they get paid millions of dollars.” And there I was just like so nervous! With all they had to do and then you know me saying this shouldn’t be too hard, but I was just so nervous. It was very fun. It was just George and I in this office and behind me the whole crew. “I don’t want to waste their time.” That was what was on my mind.
Were you able to come by set whenever you wanted?
Yeah, I was. I was able to drop in whenever I wanted and Alexander would set up certain shots and say, “Does this look right to you?” I would say yes or oh gosh—one time I said, “You know that extra doesn’t really look like they are from Hawaii.” And he took the extra out! And I just thought, “Oh my God.” I felt so bad. [Laughs]
Well, I guess my passions or what I spend the most time devoted to is reading books. I love books. I go through about one a week. And the other is my children! I have a 7-year-old and a 19-month-old and a wonderful husband.
Yeah, that’s sort of my passion right now. Is doing things with them and going to the beach and traveling with them.
The Oscars were on Sunday but that doesn’t mean the sting of seeing an ex isn’t still lingering in the Hollywood world. So many stars came out to celebrate at the Vanity Fair after party. So many in fact that there were definitely some bump ins with exes throughout the night. Check out the six that most likely gave some well wishes but then soon went on their way with their current flames.
1. Alexander Skarsgard – Kate Bosworth – Elizabeth Olsen
Nothing like a star-studded Oscar after party to start up a new flame. At the Vanity Fair event Skarsgard was seen cozying up to newcomer and breakthrough actor Elizabeth Olsen. “They were talking in a corner, for a long time,” a source tells the New York Post. Rumors were quickly squashed that any flirting happened but that doesn’t mean something could soon. After all, it doesn’t hurt to have a beauty on your arm when your ex walks into the door later on. Apparently Kate Bosworth, Skarsgard’s ex, also attended the event. The couple ended their two-year relationship in July 2011.
2. P. Diddy – Jennifer Lopez – Cameron Diaz
What a little triangle this turned out to be. Jennifer Lopez and Cameron Diaz presented for Best Achievement in Makeup and actually did a cute banter on stage together. Little did everyone remember though that Jenny from the Block used to date P. Diddy, who just so happens to be hooking up with Diaz now. The women seemed chummy and let’s face it–J. Lo is years away from that past club gun brawl. The rumors have been shutdown about Diaz and Diddy hooking up but it seems pretty obvious from sources that they’ve been doing some PDA during late night outings.
3. Jason Sudeikis – January Jones – Olivia Wilde
As Jason and Olivia enjoyed their night at table 5, the Saturday Night Live’s ex January Jones could be seen getting photographed near the Vanity Fair sign. Many may not be too familiar with Jason’s love life but the comedian actor used to date the Mad Men beauty. The two dated for a few months but finally decided to end the relationship in January 2011. In the aftermath Jason moved on with Wilde while Jones had a baby and decided to keep the baby daddy’s name private. No, apparently it is not Jason’s. But what an intriguing SNL skit that would have been.
4. Brad Pitt – Gwyneth Paltrow – Angelina Jolie
This was probably the least awkward run-in being that Gwyneth Paltrow was once engaged to Brad Pitt back in June 1997. The blonde haircut bobs may have once coincided but the way they felt about one another fell flat after 2 1/2 years together. Since then it would be ridiculous not to think that these two haven’t seen one another. As huge A-listers and after 10 years there’s been plenty of Hollywood parties to attend. Not to mention Pitt’s now with Angelina Jolie and Paltrow’s with Coldplay frontman Chris Martin.
5. Bradley Cooper – Jennifer Lopez – Zoe Saldana
Now this may have been awkward but only for the Sexiest Man Alive. Well, maybe Zoe too. Bradley’s currently dating Zoe Saldana but only months prior he was trying to get together with Jennifer Lopez. J.Lo really has a lot of exes or potential suitors walking around. Bradley now Zoe have confirmed thatthey’re an official couple but no one can deny the cozying up pictures that have been surfacing.
6. Kate Hudson – Owen Wilson – Matt Bellamy
Kate Hudson may have crossed paths with Cameron Diaz, who just so happened to date Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, but it was Owen Wilson that she chatted with the most during the Vanity Fair party. Apparently Kate showed him baby pictures and they got a long great. The two dated for awhile until they finally decided to split in June 2007. Kate’s now engaged to Muse rocker Matt Bellamy and Owen and his now ex-girlfriend Jade Duell welcomed a baby boy in January 2011.