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Jason Isaacs Too Busy for 'Harry Potter'

May 24, 2007

Jason Isaacs, known to "Harry Potter" fans as eeee-vil Lucius Malfoy, is not going to be able to make the July premiere of "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" -- and that is just fine with him. "I haven't been able to go to any of the premieres, and you know how superstitious actors can be. It's best this way, so I don't mess things up," explains Isaacs, deadpan. He's also happy for the reason he can't make the latest "Potter" movie's unveiling: He's already juggling his schedule to the limit, between his "Good" feature film in Budapest, Hungary, with Viggo Mortensen -- and second season shooting of his Peabody Award-winning Showtime "Brotherhood" series in Providence, R.I.

Jason Isaacs Too Busy for 'Harry Potter'

Jason Isaacs Too Busy for 'Harry Potter'

Producers of the series, in which Jason plays crime lord Michael Caffee, have been "unbelievably kind in letting me do this, as has Showtime." "Good," the feature adaptation of C.P. Taylor's play about everyday "good" people looking away from the evils of Naziism in 1930s Germany, has been years on its way to the cameras -- and Isaacs has been among those championing it. "A number of different actors and directors have been involved. Finally, it came together. I thought I'd have to give up being in it, with the series in production," he admits. But he wound up asking for a leave, or, as he puts it, "I wrote this begging letter. They were very nice to accommodate me."

"They work us hard all the time," he adds of "Brotherhood." "On a movie set, you spend most of your time in your trailer. On the series, it's a waste to even give us trailers. TV is like a real job."

He is, however, very happy with the show in which he and Jason Clarke play an Irish mafia kingpin and a politician, respectively, who happen to be siblings. "It has a very unique tone. I always feel Michael is haunted by, hungry for something that's just out of reach. That will be all the more true when we come back," he says of the show's sophomore season, which will be unveiled this summer.

GET REAL: Reality TV isn't going anywhere! Or so says reality TV pioneer Jonathan Murray -- not if he has anything to do with it. In fact, the co-creator of "The Real World" says this is just the beginning of what's to come. "Reality is still a relatively young genre. I think we're still discovering it," notes Murray, whose long list of reality fare also includes "The Simple Life," which will not, of course, be in production again until Paris Hilton is done with jail. He continues, "It's a big enough world out there for shows like 'Extreme Home Makeover' to 'Project Runway' to 'Survivor' to 'The Real World.' I think when a show is distinct, it can certainly stay around for a long time, which 'Real World' and 'Survivor' have already proven."

Murray, meanwhile, says he and his staff are constantly coming up with new ideas. His company's most recent endeavor is Spike TV's "Murder," which will debut this summer, in which amateur sleuths try to correctly solve a real homicide pulled directly from police files. He also has "Real World Denver," and "The Real World/Road Rules Challenge" in Brazil. "I want to keep innovating and coming up with shows you haven't seen before," he says.

MORE THAN PETS: Gary Cole is grateful for the help provided his 14-year-old daughter, Mary, by Tattinger, her furry best friend. As recounted in the book "Love Heels: Tales from Canine Companions for Independence," the actor and his wife, Teddi, had their daughter in to see an array of specialists to help with her autism, and saw her through various therapies before being astonished at her interest in a friend's dog at a Christmas party. Teddi contacted Canine Companions for Independence, and eventually, Mary wound up with the pooch that caused an immediate change in her. She was calmer, more focused, more communicative. Today, Mary is doing so well you might not realize she has autism if you meet her.

"It's a real special program," remarks Cole, who admits Tattinger's slowed down a little these days, but remains happy and healthy. "Traditionally, you think of these dogs being with people who have a physical challenge, but more and more, you see that they can make a difference in young kids with a learning disability. You can't deny the connection to animals. There's no judgment other than 'Love me.' It's important, that emotional bond, too -- whatever issues they're dealing with."

THE VIDEOLAND VIEW: With angry fans petitioning to keep CBS's "Jericho" alive, Gerald McRaney -- who was killed off the show, having asked out, toward the end of the season -- has turned his attention back to other pursuits. In his sites at the moment is his "The World of Beretta" hunting show that's seen on the Outdoor Life Network. The multi-series veteran has traveled the United States and to far-flung foreign locales on behalf of the program, which will soon take him to Africa. McRaney makes it clear he liked the post-nuclear premise of "Jericho" and enjoyed his fellow actors -- especially series son Skeet Ulrich. But he wasn't overly impressed by the scheduling of the intricate drama -- which left the air for months just when it had built some momentum.

(With reports by Stephanie DuBois and Emily Feimster)


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