A little over a week after winning her third Golden Globe Award at the 2012 ceremony for her role on on the Showtime series “Homeland,” which she is currently starring in, Claire Danes found herself marching down the street of Cambridge last week as the Hasty Pudding Woman of the Year. Danes, who also won a Golden Globe last year for Best Performance by an Actress, for her starring role in HBO’s critically acclaimed “Temple Grandin” biopic, which also earned her an Emmy and a Screen Actors Guild award.
Rumored new beau of Olivia Wilde, Jason Segel, will be honored at the Man of the Year festivities on Friday, February 3rd 2012. Segel’s 2011 film, The Muppets, which he co-wrote and starred in, grossed over $100 million worldwide The film opened on Thanksgiving to rave reviews and ended up on numerous critics’ Top Ten Best Film lists for 2011.
Each year, a parade through Harvard Square led by each of the respective honorees commences, before being roasted and presented with their Pudding Pot. Following this year’s roasts, the Hasty Pudding cast members performed several musical numbers from the group’s 164th production, “There Will Be Flood.”
As a senior at Harvard University last year, director Andrew Wesman created a short film for his senior thesis that explored the dark side of a family dynamic. Shot in Cape Cod, the 21 minute long Shelley went on to a screening at the Cannes International Film Festival. Now, recently graduated and about to attend film school in LA this fall, Wesman takes some time out of his busy schedule to talk to HEC about his experiences and hopes for the future.
HEC: You grew up in San Francisco, but attended Harvard University here in MA, and are now back on the west coast to attend school. Do you think you’ll find yourself back in the Northeast for any future projects?
Cape Cod is where I shot Shelley and it’s a favorite location for me. I’ll definitely be shooting films there in the future I think, its been the source for a lot of creative exploration for me.
HEC: What was the most useful lesson you learned throughout the process of making Shelley?
Preparation is very important. With Shelley, it took so much work and so much dedication to put together the film, when the actors and crew showed up, every second was completely planned out. Before we even shot, we did video story boards. We’d shoot during the day, then I would edit at night. The next day, they would watch it, we would figure out their exact block and movements, change script, send things to the production designer, producer, discuss things in depth, and then we would have a production schedule that was 100% accurate.
HEC: In terms of your writing, what is it about the parent/child relationship exploration that intrigues you?
I’ve always been interested in the major questions, ‘who are we’, ‘where do we come from’, familial questions always seem to overlap, the stakes are high when it comes to involvement with family. There’s a lot to explore, I tend to make films about dysfunctional families, which is in no way a reflection of my own family; I have loving parents. There’s lots to explore in the parent/child relationship, purpose, destiny, a parent’s devotion to their children is somewhat profound. We all have families and that same love and hatred that goes along with those relationships.
HEC: What was Cannes like?
There was a lot of glamour, a lot of people there who wanted to be part of the film industry and uphold this image that the film industry is glamorous. For every movie that is screened, there is this huge ceremony for people to walk down the red carpet. Everyone who attended the screening walked down the carpet, which made you feel like a movie star. It was really bizarre for me, I’m just a guy who likes making movies and watching movies. The film industry is based on people like me, who want to see movies. I’ve been making movies since I was 9. I really like telling stories, but I’ve never thought about being in the limelight. It was definitely lots of fun, but it’s not where my heart is.
Overall, the people there were extremely generous to me, and it was a really great experience. They were very kind to me, I met some really awesome people there. They put me up in a hotel room, wined and dined me; it was a very unexpected side effect to making a little film in Cape Cod.
HEC: You’re attending film school at UCLA this fall–any other plans for the future?
“Boot camp” starts September 12. I think its going to be a really great experience, film school is this opportunity to continue making movies, I don’t have to work at McDonalds, I can establish myself, and meet people in LA. I feel really confident that this is an opportunity to really focus on what I want to do.
When you hear the name Harvard University, the first thing that comes to mind is usually medicine, law, business or engineering. Though Harvard is undeniably known for producing some of the greatest minds in these fields, its studies go beyond the realms of math, science and logic to include the more creative as well.
The Department of Visual and Environmental Studies (VES) at Harvard University offers courses to both undergraduate and graduate students in painting, drawing, sculpture, printmaking, design, film, video and photography as well as theory and history classes in the different types of practical arts. VES concentrators (a Harvardism for majors) choose to focus on a more specific track–Studio Art, Film or Video Production, Film Studies or Environmental Studies–once admitted to the department.
For graduate students, VES offers a Ph.D. program in Film and Visual Studies as well as a secondary graduate program in the field of Film and Visual Studies for any student enrolled in a Ph.D. program in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, contingent upon the approval of their specific department director of graduate studies.
In addition to film, Harvard features a multitude of practices in the Arts such as Architecture, Creative Writing, Dance, Music, Theatre and Visual Arts. In Fact, Fox’s hit show “The Simpsons” has a strong connection to the school as half of the show’s current and past writers went to Harvard.
Despite its notorious reputation for producing Pulitzer winners in the sciences, Harvard is paving its way as a heavy hitter in the Fine Arts as well. Like any distinguished school, film-related or not, the university has produced its fair share of modern day celebrities. Among the many Hollywood elite, Harvard alumni include Stockhard Channing, Rashida Jones, Tommy Lee Jones, John Lithgow, B.J. Novak, Conan O’Brien, Natalie Portman, Peter Sellars, Mira Sorvino and Steve Zahn.
The thriller–a sequel to Angels & Demons and The Da Vinci Code–takes place in Washington D.C., where Langdon must investigate the kidnapping of Freemason Peter Solomon. The villainous Mal’akh holds Solomon hostage and threatens to release a video of power-brokers practicing Masonic ritual, demanding that Langdon unlock the Ancient Mysteries. The story unfolds as the pursuit becomes a matter of national security.
The fastest-selling adult novel in history, The Lost Symbol has demonstrated shelf-clearing endurance in addition to the immediate hype, topping the hardcover fiction category of The New York Times Best Seller List since mid-September. As the acclaim comes in the wake of two blockbuster-interpretations of Brown’s novels-Ron Howard‘s The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons–The Lost Symbol seems bound for silver screen success.
★ Tom Cruise goes back to school, makes a surprise visit to Harvard.
★ A Tribute to Elton John by Yellow Brick Road at the Regent Theater features “American Idol Finalist” and Wrentham, MA native Ayla Brown.
De-Lovely actress and humanitarian Ashley Judd recently enrolled in the John F. Kennedy School of Government’s Mid-Career Master in Public Administration (MC/MPA) at Harvard University.
According to the program’s website, the degree is meant to help “increase the knowledge and skills of well established, high-performing professionals, who seek to enhance their public service careers or to move from the private sector to a leadership position in either the public or non-profit sectors.” The program will take approximately one year to complete.
The 41-year-old actress has become more active with humanitarian work in recent years. Since 2004, she has served on the board of directors of Population Services International, a healthcare nonprofit organization. Additionally, she’s spoken before the General Assembly of the United Nations about human trafficking, and served as a Global Ambassador for YouthAIDS, where she travelled to Third World countries like Rwanda, Madagascar, and Thailand. More recently, she has become an advocate of the Defender’s of Wildlife, speaking against Sarah Palin’s wolf hunting program in Alaska.
The star of Double Jeopardy and The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood seems to be following in the footsteps of her Where the Heart Is costar, Natalie Portman, who attended the Ivy League school in Cambridge, where she completed a bachelor’s degree in psychology in June of 2003.
Judd received her undergraduate degree in French from the University of Kentucky in 2007 after a 17 year sabbatical. Her next movie, Tooth Fairy, is due out sometime next year.
Monday evening, viewers tuning in to NBC saw an old familiar face at a brand new time and setting. The debut of Conan O’Brien as host of “The Tonight Show” meant the former New York resident had to pack his bags for the west coast and get ready for life in Burbank, California. It seems that New England serves as a breeding ground for “The Tonight Show” hosts of late–O’Brien was born and raised in Brookline, Massachusetts, and graduated from Harvard University before starting out his career as a comedy writer for shows like “The Simpsons” and “Saturday Night Live”.
He became host of his own late night talk show in 1993 with “Late Night with Conan O’Brien”. In 2004, it was announced that upon Jay Leno’s retirement from hosting “The Tonight Show”, O’Brien would be the one to take up the mantle. On February 20, 2009, NBC aired the last episode of “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” before that show was taken over by new host and former “SNL” star, Jimmy Fallon. On June 1st, to much pomp(adour) and circumstance, Conan’s first time out as “Tonight Show” host was received favorably by both critics and audiences alike. O’Brien’s audience so far has seen gains in the coveted 18-49 demographic over both his predecessor, Leno, as well as his new competition, David Letterman.
You can subscribe to HollywoodEastConnection.com by e-mail address to receive news and upates directly in your inbox. Simply enter your e-mail below and click Sign Up!