Reba's Lucille Ball Shot, James Marsters' Slippery Slope
"Innocent Voices" screenwriter Oscar Torres found redemption during shooting of the film about his embattled childhood in El Salvador, reports exec producer Lawrence Bender.
The film, set during the civil war in El Salvador in the '80s, chronicles Torres' mother's struggle to prevent him from being recruited into the Salvadoran Army. "They'd put kids in the army at 12," says Bender, the producer of such high-profile projects as "Good Will Hunting," "Pulp Fiction" and "Kill Bill I & II." "Early on, our director, Luis Mandoki, asked Oscar, 'Did you ever kill somebody?' and Oscar said, 'It's not really an important part of the movie.' They got in a big fight about it, Oscar stormed out, Luis threw a chair across the room … Then, a little while later, Oscar came back crying and said, 'I picked up a gun and couldn't shoot it.'"
Bender explains, "He felt so ashamed that he didn't actually kill those soldiers. A part of his feeling, growing up, was this shame because he didn't make enough of a difference as a kid. Writing the screenplay was transformational for Oscar because he felt he was giving back in a way he wasn't able to before."
Watching his childhood brought to life on film proved emotionally wrenching for Torres. Bender recalled, "You'd have a scene where the soldiers are running in the middle of the village and I'd look over at Oscar and he'd be crying."
Bender says he's hoping the film will focus attention on the plight of children in war-ravaged countries. "This movie about a little boy and his mother in El Salvador is universal, because we have kids in armed conflict in Columbia, Uganda, Iraq, the Middle East … It really could be taking place anywhere." "Innocent Voices" opens Oct. 14 in New York, L.A., San Francisco and Chicago, with plans for widening release in following weeks.
BECOMING A LEGEND:
Reba McEntire admits it wasn't easy to follow in Lucille Ball's grape-stained footsteps for the final digest-sized issue of TV Guide, which hits stands today (10/6) as the magazine changes to full-size format. She recreated Lucy's grape-crushing episode in the photo, part of a set of nine collector covers reenacting iconic TV scenes of the past.
"I was a nervous wreck doing it because when we shot that picture, I was kind of just standing still in a barrel," recounts the WB series and country music star, an avowed Lucy fan. "But when Lucille shot it, she was running around this huge barrel. I had no idea it would be so hard to reenact it standing still." She adds, "I talked with Desi Arnaz Jr. after I shot that photo, and he was telling me that Lucille would do everything as true to form as possible to get into it."
Reba's also been lending her voice to the upcoming animated flicks "Charlotte's Web" and "The Fox and the Hound 2." She's playing a cow in the former -- along with Kathy Bates -- and is supplying songs for the latter, in addition to voicing a vixen.
Former "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" costar James Marsters injured his
ankle on the set of "Smallville" in Vancouver last week, when he was busy "having a fight in the Fortress of Solitude" -- as in Superman's famous ice-bound getaway. It's made of wood and paint and plastic for television purposes, but slippery nonetheless. "They gave me these beautiful $2,000 prop shoes to wear. They were probably designed for people who don't run much," notes Marsters. He spent the next day with his ankle on ice for real, watching it "turn interesting shades of purple." However, "I was up 30 seconds after I fell, running on it. You always get the shot; you can't compromise that," he says.
Outside of the pain, "I'm loving it," he says of his new series incarnation. "I had such a good meeting with the producers initially. They had passionate ideas about what they wanted to do, a laser clear objective. That's unusual."
Marsters has come aboard to play arch villain Brainiac in the series, but for now, he'd rather just talk about Brainiac's alter-ego, Professor Milton Fine. "I am trying to wake Clark Kent up," he says wryly. "Like many political science professors, I am trying to open my students' minds."
Marsters will complete one set of "Smallville" episodes, then head to London to do a one-man show -- which he describes as being about "why I love acting, I suppose" -- before returning to shoot more episodes.
TOUGH IT OUT:
Andy Dick, the "permanent critic" of MTV's "The Reality Show" -- in which contestants are competing to land their own reality series -- lets us know, "I have more fun as more time goes on and more contestants get voted off the show by America." Seeing that he's back in the business of crushing people's dreams, does he have any advice for coping with rejection? "No," says Dick. "You've just got to take it."
(With reports by Stephanie DuBois and Emily Feimster)
The Beck/Smith syndicated newspaper column includes exclusive in-depth, behind-the-scenes reports on the stars, on the business of television and movie-making, and on the recording, publishing and media beats.
©2005 Creators Syndicate, Inc.
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