Remember life without Facebook? Me either. But there was a time, not too long ago actually, that The Facebook was just an idea turning in the cogs of Mark Zuckerberg’s brilliant mind. In 2004, the Harvard student turned his pet project into the largest social network in the world thanks to two other students and a little financial help from his friend Eduardo Saverin. It quickly spread through the dorms of Harvard, extending its cyber fingertips to Stanford and other elite schools, until anyone in the world could join in updating statuses, upload pictures, and checking in on old friends of yesteryear.
The Social Network stars Jessie Eisenberg (Zombieland, The Education of Charlie Parker), who looks perfectly the part of Ivy league braniac Mark Zuckerberg, and Justin Timberlake smooth talks his way to the top as Sean Parker. Parker, who co-founded Napster in 1999, went on to become President of Facebook. Disney’s Brenda Song (“The Suite Life of Zack and Cody”) also co-stars.
So, a movie about a website? That sounds a little risky, but The Social Network takes us through the dark biography from the beginnings of TheFacebook.com to its global explosion with plenty of lies, betrayals and a love story or two along the way that could satiate anyone’s newsfeed hunger. Based on Ben Mezrich’s 2009 best-seller The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook, A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal, most of the movie was filmed in Cambridge. Although there were no scenes shot on Harvard’s Campus, Wheelock College, John’s Hopkins University, and Phillips Academy in Andover, MA doubled as Harvard yard.
The film looks like it will offer plenty of drama, and even though it is far from a documentary about the founding of the world’s most popular website, it should be interesting to see how a student’s part-time hobby turned into an integral part of almost every students’ lives. That, and the sepulchral version of Radiohead’s “Creep” during the trailer makes it look way to juicy to pass up. Catch it in theaters this fall.
While it’s no secret Boston has become the unofficial capital of Hollywood East, with numerous films and TV shows shooting here each year, it’s been hard not to stumble across camera crews and make-shift sets, despite sometimes very well-guarded production details. What has been kept slightly more hush hush has been the hotspots in the Hub that the stars of these projects hit when they’re not on the clock.
Boston’s restaurant scene has caught the Hollywood wave and starting offering more upscale options. Not surprisingly, many of the celeb favorites are centered around the Back Bay/Newbury Street area. Long-time favorite Sonsie has played host to Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes, Hulk Hogan, Roger Clinton, and Donnie Wahlberg.
For dessert, it seems that everyone in fact does scream for ice cream. The Newbury Street location of Ben & Jerry’s posts pictures on their walls of the famous faces that often stop by their store. Alec Baldwin, John Mayer, Jane Fonda, Ellen Pompeo, and players from the Celtics have all grabbed a cone recently.
In order to keep in shape (and perhaps work off the pounds from all that ice cream) the Sports Club/LA, adjacent to the Ritz Carlton hotel is arguably one of the most upscale gyms in town. That’s why it’s not surprising that The Rock, Justin Timberlake, Patrick Swayze, C. Thomas Howell, and Emilio Estevez, Reese Witherspoon, and Britney Spears have all been spotted working out there at one time or another.
To blow off a little steam in a different sense, Felt Nightclub is a big favorite with the glitterati. Stars like Brendan Fraser, Adam Sandler, Kevin James, and Chris Rock have all made a presence there in the past year or so while they’ve been in town for projects. Other stars like Mark Wahlberg, Matt Damon, and Ben and Casey Affleck frequent the hip spot whenever their roots call them home again.
Speaking of Mark Wahlberg, he and Will Farrell will be at his restaurant, Alma Nove, in Hingham, MA celebrating the premiere of their new flic, The Other Guys, showing at the Patriot Cinemas in Hangham. The Alma Nove restaurant is owned by three Wahlberg brothers, including chef Paul Wahlberg, and family friend Ed St. Croix.
There’s a plethora of other places HEC has spotted celebs during their off hours. Singer Seal was seen in Boston’s Public Garden last spring while he was in town to sing the national anthem at Fenway Park. Actress Natalie Portman was in Cambridge in February for a friend’s wedding. Brooke Shields was spotted in her off-time from shooting Furry Vengeance at South Boston eateries Flour2 and Sportello. Funnymen Denis Leary and Lenny Clark grabbed lunch at the Four Seasons last spring while Leary was in town for his son’s graduation from Emerson College. Grown Ups costars David Spade and Colin Quinn were seen last summer grabbing a weekend bite at Sel De La Terre on Boylston Street.
While the proverbial NBA battle of Hollywood East versus west may be over, we saw a plethora of celebrities and other famous faces packing the stands, cheering their favorite team on.
So which stars cheered for which team? On the Boston Celtics side, “Access Hollywood” cohost, Medford-born Maria Menounos, a graduate of Emerson College, Cambridge-born comedian Dane Cook, retired New England Patriots linebacker (and recent Health Expo attendee) Tedy Bruschi, Boston-born actor Mike O’Malley, New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady, Red Sox owner John Henry, Everett’s Ellen Pompeo, Watertown’s Eliza Dushku, and Dorchester’s Donnie Wahlberg. Chief executive of DreamWorks Animation and film producer Jeffrey Katzenberg, who donated $1.25 million to Boston University in 2006, was also assumed to be cheering for the Celtics.
Rooting for the Lakers, as always, was Jack Nicholson, singer Justin Timberlake, Sylvester Stallone, director Spike Lee, Sean P. Diddy Combs, Snoop Dogg, actor Leonardo DiCaprio who spent some time in Boston in 2008 while filming Shutter Island, Kevin Connolly, and Andy Garcia. Stars of the E! reality show, “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” Kris, Kim, and Khloe Kardashian, wife of Lakers forward Lamar Odom, attended the games in L.A., but were absent on the east coast. Khloe did, however, find herself the target of some unique taunting by Boston fans at the TD Garden; fans were seen waving cardboard cutouts of her in hopes of distracting Odom.
Others famous faces that have been spotted at some of the games, included, First Lady Michelle Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia, singer Christina Aguilera, Olympic gold medalist from Jamaica, Usain Bolt, musicians Glenn Frey and Joe Walsh of the Eagles, “Saturday Night Live” performer Seth Meyers, singer Anita Baker, and comedian Will Ferrell. Actors Chris Rock and Adam Sandler, who have been heavily promoting their movie, Grown Ups, throughout the games, also spent time in Boston last summer filming their new flick, and were spotted sitting courtside in L.A.
The stars in the stands weren’t the only TV and film personalities in attendance. Lakers star Lamar Odom has been featured numerous times alongside his wife on “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” as well as its spin-off “Khloe and Kourtney take Miami”. Celtics star Ray Allen, who began his college career at the University of Connecticut, has also starred in a number of films, including Spike Lee’s He Got Game, and Harvard Man. At a press conference after game 4, Celtics players Nate Robinson and Glen Davis even likened themselves to characters from the popular Shrek movies. Perhaps we’ll see them on set at the next film shot in Hollywood East during their off season!
A slew of Massachusetts-filmed movies began hitting theaters in February and continue to roll out this summer. Furry Vengeance hit theaters last Friday coming in at number five in the box office. The kid flick chronicles a standoff between titan real estate developer Brendan Frasier and some cute and not-so-cuddly woodland critters fighting to keep their habitats preserved. Furry Vengeance also stars Brooke Shields. The Lightkeepers, starring Richard Dreyfuss, opened in March. Set in early 20th century Cape Cod, Dreyfuss plays a reclusive lighthouse keeper who has sworn off women.
Summer blockbusters Grown Ups and Knight and Day are both due out June 25th, but that’s not the only thing they have in common. Both were filmed in Massachusetts, but that’s about where the similarities end. Grown Ups features a star-studded cast headed by Adam Sandler, Salma Hayek, Steve Buscemi, Chris Rock, Kevin James, Rob Schneider, David Spade, Maya Rudolph, and Tim Meadows (whew!). The group reunites as adults after their high school basketball coach dies and inevitably hilarity ensues. Knight and Day pairs up Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz on an action-adventure with a tinge of comedy. The two play a globetrotting fugitive couple on the run who realize nothing is what it appears to be, even each other.
The Social Network (Jesse Eisenberg and Justin Timberlake) and the The Town (Ben Affleck and Blake Lively) are due out this fall. Every college kid will identify with The Social Network with its history and evolution of ex-Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg’s creation of Facebook (which has its roots in Cambridge). In The Town, Ben Affleck is a bank robber who’s feelings for a bank manager get in the way of his next heist.
Set to come out in 2010 with no official release dates are The Company Men and The Fighter. Ben Affleck is having a busy year, also starring in The Company Men along side Kevin Costner and Tommy Lee Jones which premiered earlier this year. The Fighter (Christian Bale, Mark Wahlberg, and Amy Adams) takes a look at boxer “Irish” Mickey Ward’s early career in the 1980s. Local actress Erica McDermott also makes an appearance.
It seems like no matter where you look this year, there’s a good chance you’ll see Massachusetts in many shots on the big screen!
For someone who first made his name as the leader of a ‘boy band’, singer/actor Justin Timberlake can finally call himself a man, with receipt of this year’s Hasty Pudding Man of the Year Award on February 5th. Friday’s celebrations through the Harvard Square area included the traditional roast, but not before the Hasty Pudding Parade, including men in drag. Timberlake, who is no stranger to donning women’s clothing himself (the 2-time Emmy winner for his work on “Saturday Night Live” has appeared on the show in a Beyonce-type leotard, and also presented at the 2008 ESPY Awards in a blonde wig) appeared in a blonde curly wig to receive his pudding pot. Watch a portion of the roast here:
The crowd that assembled to see the talented music-maker also included his on-again-off-again girlfriend, actress Jessica Biel. Timberlake, who recently starred in the partially locally shot movie, The Social Network, took his jabs in stride, including more than a few references to his infamous past love, Britney Spears. Though he filmed most of his scenes in LA or Vancouver, much of the movie was shot in and around Cambridge and Boston, tracing the story of the founders of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg and Sean Parker, who are Harvard alums.
Just last week, the 60th Hasty Pudding Woman of the Year (WOY), actress Anne Hathaway, cruised down the streets of Cambridge with Harvard’s most gorgeous drag queens in the annual WOY Parade. The procession inched down Massachusetts Avenue and turned onto Holyoke Street, stopping at the New College Theatre where Hathaway was roasted by the Pudding cast. Watch our video coverage of the diva’s celebratory drive here:
Justin Timberlake–the 2010 Hasty Pudding Man of the Year–will visit Cambridge tomorrow to receive his pudding pot and celebrate with the Pudding cast. Stay tuned for our video coverage of Justin!
The regular run of the Hasty Pudding Show–Commie Dearest–will start this Saturday, February 6 at 4pm. Be sure to catch the performance before the show hits the road on March 6.
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