A few weeks back, we learned the fabulous news that Michael C. Hall would be taking over for Andrew Rannells as the starring role of Hedwig in Hedwig and the Angry Inch on Broadway. Our excitement and dreams of him in costume were mainly culled from our love for his performance in Cabaret, but now we’ve been graced with the first taste of him as Hedwig, in all his teal-glittered glory. He’ll take the stage October 15th, but in the meantime, check out the photos below and head HERE to watch some of our favorite MC Hall musical performances.
While we’re all enoying ths 17 degree whether in New York, it’s good to know that when it comes to balancing looking good and not freezing to death, we can turn to those at Sundance for some much-needed style cues. The festival may be ending tomrorow but it’s been an exciting week of debuts and premieres, getting the chance to see Hollywood’s biggest stars mingling with newcomers, anticipation building as studios snatch up the rights to our future favorite films of 2013. So, as the week of cinematic celebration draws to a close, Vulture has published a photo essay of candid shots from Sundance—featuring everyone from Michael C. Hall to Dakota Fanning and Dave Grohl. Photographer Chuck Grant spent the week in Park City snapping shots of some of the faces behind the most talked about work at the festival.
Check it out.
Dexter‘s season six ended with Deb Morgan realizing she is in love with her adopted brother Dexter, who also just happens to be a serial killer. A new teaser for the show’s September 30 season seven premiere promises Dexter will be just as incestuous and bloody as where it left off.
The teaser promises Dexter is finally at peace, somehow, with his killings by his solemn declaration "I can accept that. But can she?" The show still has two seasons to draw it out: Paste Magazine notes Dexter is in a contract with Showtime through an eighth season — which means a lot more killings and confusing romantic feelings about family members. Time to work on a doubly strong stomach, folks.
● Harry Potter beat out Twilight in the Choice Sci-Fi/Fantasy category at last night’s Teen Choice Awards. Everything else went to Selena Gomez, Taylor Swift, or Justin Bieber, more or less. [E!] ● Antwan “Big Boi” Patton was arrested in Miami for possession of powdered MDMA, ecstasy, and viagra — you know, the makings of a real good night. [TMZ] ● Michael C. Hall seems to be adjusting quit nicely to the single life, bonding with his furry friends as single people are wont do. “Things are great. I’m loving life,” he said. “I spend a lot of time with my cats…. They’re my four-legged friends.” [ShowbizSpy]
● Kristin Cavallari and Jay Cutler are so over that they’re returning their wedding gifts. And with them, they’re attaching a sweet and sometimes personal little note! Aww. [Deadspin] ● TMZ has done the dirty work and discovered that Charlie Sheen is killed off Two and a Half Men during a brutal “meat explosion” after he getting hit by a subway. Anyways, Charlie seems into it. [TMZ] ● It seems that Weezer has taken to covering Foster the People’s song of the summer, “Pumped Up Kicks.” We all age faster than we’d like, but Rivers Cuomo is perhaps aging the fastest of us all. [NME]
● Spike Lee is officially directing the remake of South Korean cult classic Old Boy for Mandate Pictures, a less than obvious choice, if you ask us. [THR] ● Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie declined their invite to Julian Assange’s 40th birthday party, because, well, it was Julian Assange’s 40th birthday party. [The Atlantic Wire] ● In an inspired bit of celebrity stalking, a TMZ cameraman managed to ask Michael C. Hall if his character Dexter would go after Casey Anthony once she was released. Suffice it to say, Michael C. Hall is not amused. [TMZ]
● It’s the last Harry Potter red carpet premiere ever, and Manhattan’s Upper West Side is currently overrun with fanatics because of it! [Observer] ● Speaking of Harry Potter and fantatics, we’re fanatically awaiting the first trailer for Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises, witch is attached to this Friday’s big Potter release [Superhero Hype] ● Poor Megan Fox. First of all, she’s really un-good looking and has like, no money. And second of all, she just can’t keep a gig. Rihanna has replaced her as the, er, face of Emporio Armani Underwear. Win win for us! [The Cut]
Every year, Hollywood’s TV elite have a circle jerk and many of us sit down to watch the reach-around because we’re perverts or sad, bored, lonely people. The glitterati congratulate themselves on what a great job they all did and how they’ve revolutionized American culture for generations to come even though no one (apart from me, I suppose) watched The Comeback. And every year, civilians and TV connoisseurs alike are baffled by how increasingly inaccessible the winners are. If nobody’s watching Breaking Bad, does that mean it’s any good? (Well, it is, but that’s not the point.) And also, if no one continues watching it after it wins the gold, then really, what use are the Emmys? Well none, which is why if this year’s a bust, it may be marginalized to cable next year. With this year’s crop of nominees (and slightly bloated short-lists), we could pick a few bones. For example, Entourage again? Two and a Half Men up for any kind of acting award? Why, Universe! Why must you reward crap? But enough despair. A run-down of what the TV gods got right follows.
1. 22 nods for 30 Rock. Say what you will about the meta-comedy. I know I did! But it made an impressive comeback at the tail-end of season three.
2. One of which is a Best Supporting Actor nod for Kenneth the Page.
3. Absolutely everything about the Best Supporting Actress In a Comedy Series category: Kristin Chenoweth, Pushing Daisies; Jane Krakowski, 30 Rock; Elizabeth Perkins, Weeds; Amy Poehler, Saturday Night Live; Kristin Wiig, Saturday Night Live; Vanessa Williams, Ugly Betty.
4. Sarah Silverman up for a Best Actress in a Comedy Series prize for The Sarah Silverman Program.
5. Padma Lakshmi up for Best Host in a Reality Competition Program for Top Chef. Well, with Tom Colicchio.
6. Toni Collete’s Best Actress In a Comedy nod for United States of Tara (even though it’s a drama!). She’s probably going to lose it to Mary-Louise Parker for Weeds, though.
7. True Blood netting a few nods, including Outstanding Casting For A Drama Series. Even if it was atrociously overlooked for any of the big prizes.
8. Best Actor in a Drama nod for Michael C. Hall. He’s the reason why Dexter, which is otherwise flagging these days, is still a bit excellent.
9. Family Guy running for Best Comedy, thereby allowing for an absurd upset like Robot Chicken competing for Best Animated Program.
10. And finally, Shohreh Aghdashloo for Best Supporting Actress in a Mini-Series. She was pretty much the only reason to watch the otherwise monochromatic biopic of Sadam Hussein’s life.
● It’s a good thing MTV renewed The City, as it gives Whitney’s frenemy Olivia Palermo more time to practice her acting skills. She’s reportedly using the reality show to jump-start a “serious” acting career. [THR,P6] ● Anne Hathaway describes her experience on Tim Burton’s forthcoming Alice in Wonderland adaptation like being “invited [to the] sandbox to play around.” [TheNational] ● Could those rumors be true that Evan Rachel Wood and Mickey Rourke are an item? They were seen in a lip-lock at a SAG after-party. Draw your own conclusions about the parallels between Rourke and previous Wood beau Marilyn Manson. [PopCrunch]
● Matt Damon has called the fictional James Bond character an “imperialist, misogynist, [and] sociopath” among other choice words. That does seem like the pot calling the kettle black since, Jason Bourne is no boy scout. [PopCrunch] ● Nobody on the Dexter cast was shocked when Michael C. Hall married his onscreen sister Jennifer Carpenter. I guess it’s just Dexter fans who find this creepy. [TheInsider] ● File under jobs never to apply for: Lauren Hutton’s assistant. The former model was reportedly yelling at her assistant to hurry up carrying heavy cases of Fiji Water. At least she didn’t throw her cell phone a la Naomi. [P6]
Michael C. Hall isn’t two steps through the door before I understand his entire career. On paper, his clean-cut, all-American good looks make him an unlikely choice to play the sexually depraved Emcee in the Broadway hit Cabaret, much less the dysfunctional mortician in HBO’s Six Feet Under, and they make him a downright preposterous choice for the sympathetic serial killer in the current Showtime hit, Dexter. Why, you have to wonder, does he keep getting cast so perversely when his face looks tailor-made to play a Mormon missionary?
But, in person, he walks with his head bowed down and eyes turned inward, too burdened by inner turmoil to notice the silly red-fringed bordello lamps and “Grandma’s Burrito” signs kitsching up the Silverlake eatery. The immediate impression is not of a man with a problem but a man haunted, and maybe by something he can’t quite understand. The high cheekbones suddenly seem skeletal, the large eyes clouded. This is Dexter if he had a conscience, maybe. Or Dexter if he could actually feel the horror and pain he has caused.
What’s interesting about the show is that the viewer isn’t completely sure about what constitutes the full spectrum of the main character’s moral compass. Says Hall’s former Six Feet Under co-star, Peter Krause: “He does a great thing on Dexter. I liken it to Leonard Nimoy’s Spock. He’s supposed to be a sociopath with no feelings, but every now and then you get a little glimmer that maybe the wires are starting to spark inside, and that he’s starting to feel something, that he’s starting to become a whole person, or has a chance to. And I think that’s pretty tough to pull off.”
Hall keeps his olive-drab military cap on backwards as he slides quietly into the booth, so only a few wisps of his auburn hair slip free. “Part of what I like about Dexter,” he says, playing with his VW key ring, “is that he has a really formidable and sizable shadow side, but it’s one he has faced and is taking unique responsibility for.” He means Dexter’s unusual moral choice of only killing other killers. But the murders are still gruesome and committed for his pleasure, not justice. “People admire him for that,” he adds, and I think of how fans of The Sopranos often found themselves liking Tony, forgetting for long stretches that he was a brutal sociopath.
But to Hall, Dexter is just a monstrous expression of things we all feel. “Shadow energy is something that lots of people have. Some people drag it around and never unpack it, and it conspires against them in ways that they probably can’t appreciate.” Abruptly, Hall looks straight into my eyes. “I relish the opportunity to play someone who invites me to unpack my own bag of shadows.” Then he surprises me with a smile. “It’s hard to say: perhaps if Dexter hadn’t come along, I’d be killing people in my real life, instead.”
It is one of only a handful of smiles I get to witness, but the effect is as remarkable as it is disconnected: his eyes clear, his body slouching rakishly against the booth. For the moment, he is easy-going and quite sexy and seems to have no idea. But as the conversation rolls on, this sense of disconnect turns out to be a hallmark of his life. For instance, he didn’t know he wanted to be an actor until he applied to graduate school and, abruptly, realized, “I wanted it in a way I’d never wanted anything before.” Then he found himself doing Shakespeare and musical comedies, until director Sam Mendes noticed the dark side Hall hadn’t, ultimately getting him cast on Six Feet Under. “There was always a sense of waiting,” he says. “A sense of ‘This isn’t it.’”
But if acting seemed the answer, it’s not clear that it settled his questions. He can be quite astute, noting, for instance, that the real similarity between Dexter and David, his troubled character on Six Feet Under, “is not that they’re surrounded by dead bodies, but that they are both secret keepers.” But he himself is determined to keep his private life secret, just as, he admits later, he kept his interest in acting “under wraps” as a child in North Carolina. Today he lives in central Hollywood, in between L.A.’s artsy east side and its moneyed west side, just as, in North Carolina, he lived in between the Appalachian mountains and the seaside. He nods when I point these things out to him, but does not find any of it revelatory. As for speculation about him dating his Dexter co-star Jennifer Carpenter or anyone else after the unraveling of his four-year marriage to actress Amy Spanger in 2006, he remains mum.
“Dexter is incredibly self-aware,” he says, with some wistfulness. Interestingly, he adds, “When we meet Dexter at the top of the new season, he has a sense of self-possession that he hasn’t experienced before. You’ll see that the rigidness of his ritual restrains him less in how he goes about things, and he finds himself taking chances he might not have taken before.” I’m struck by the inverse parallel: the less self-possessed Hall is, the riskier and more dangerous his performances become. He doesn’t notice the irony.
But maybe self-awareness is overrated. Just as therapy only made Tony Soprano a more efficient sociopath, and Dexter’s ritual helps him kill without being caught, who is to say that excising Hall’s dark cloud would necessarily make him better off? As Janet Malcolm once pointed out, a wholly successful psychoanalysis would be “monstrous,” removing the patient’s humanity along with his suffering. Hall drains his coffee cup. “I think most actors would say they’d be crazy if they didn’t have the chance to exorcise their chaos in their acting. Once it’s all stirred up and swirling in the air, you have to have something to focus it on. If David on Six Feet Under had been a completely self-actualized person, he wouldn’t have been as enjoyable or maddening to watch. And if Dexter stopped killing, would we really have a show?” But his larger point is that most of our deepest problems don’t have solutions, they can only be managed, often with the help of the artists who act them out for us. “I’d like to believe I’m wide open in my work, there aren’t any rooms that I’m afraid to go into.” He leans in closer. “Whether actors cop to it or not, there has to be some sort of intersection between their characters and their own lives.”
Then is there something in your own story, I ask, that intersects with Dexter?
He smiles broadly, and with unnerving brightness. “Well, sure!” But then he doesn’t say anything more.