Actor David Call Talks Shop, Sex & Hypnotizing Chickens

David Call is on the cusp. You may recognize his handsome mug from the hit TV drama Gossip Girl, where he enjoyed a recurring guest role as convict-meets-teacher Ben Donovan and could be seen opposite Blake Lively’s Serena van der Woodsen (or donning all orange while plotting her demise from behind bars). He may also ring a bell as the skeevy Keith, with whom Lena Dunham’s Aura has some seriously sketchy sex in her first flick, Tiny Furniture. (Yes, there was life before Hannah Horvath.)

The Issaquah, Washington-born actor has appeared in a number of films and TV programs since breaking into the business eight years ago. Most recently, fans can catch him in Dead Man’s Burden (opening tonight and screening through the weekend at Village East Cinema in New York). And, believe it or not, he even turned up in a few episodes of Smash last month.

Call currently has several projects in post-production and, though he jumped coasts for a little R&R—“I came out mostly because I’ve been in New York for the past six to seven months working and I just got sick of winter”—the 30-year-old Leo was happy to chat.

We caught up while he was driving (cliché for LA), talking to me through his headset and generous enough to gab for an hour. We covered a lot of terrain, including pre-acting gigs (none of which were in an office), dream roles, riding horses, hypnotizing chickens, and striking a balance between commercial moneymakers and indie passion projects. He also touched on the craze surrounding Girls, and how he was originally written into the much buzzed about HBO show. We both agree he should swoop in and sweep Marnie off her feet now that Charlie’s flown the coop. For more from the affable David Call, who gets recognized “occasionally," read on.

Sorry I kept canceling and we weren’t able to get together before you escaped to LA. I’ve been temping as a copyeditor at an office for the past few weeks, working late, which bumps everything else to the weekend. You ever work in an office?

I’ve actually managed to avoid office jobs. I’ve worked lots of random jobs, lots of labor and service, but I avoided offices.

Service, huh? Like escorting?

Yeah, yeah, let’s get into my history as a male escort. That sounds a lot more fun than bartending, waiting tables and making lattes. Which is mostly what I did.

Fond memories?

Oh for sure. My first real job I worked at a dry cleaner. I was 15. It was horrible, but …nice. I was also a maintenance man for a housing project.

Did you always know you wanted to get into acting?

I grew up doing a lot of snowboarding and skating. I was pretty hardcore. Then, when I was 14 or 15, I basically broke my arm skating, like, three times. After the third time, the doctors were like, You need to stop that. Then I discovered acting. I was at a new school and no girls would talk to me. I got up and read Shakespeare in English class. Then girls talked to me.

In my high school, the theater kids were the dorks.

I was pretty dorky. I wasn’t super dorky. I was kinda dorky. Nobody could figure me out. I knew I wanted to go to New York when I was, like, 15. I was like, I’m out of here.  [Laughs]

In Dead Man’s Burden you guys are sort of savage. How did you prepare for the role?

It was a multipronged preparation. Growing up in the west, I was raised on Clint Eastwood movies. I went to ranches. It’s just sort of in me. The character’s from the Missouri/Kansas border. My mom’s side of the family is from there. They were there during the Civil War. So, a lot of it was figuring out where the character resided within myself and my family. Also, just doing lots of research. I’m a history nut. I love history, especially American history. So, I devoured books on that time and place. Also learning to use the weapons. I’d never fired black powder guns before, so I got trained in those. It takes, like, 5 to 10 minutes to load the thing. And a lot of it was spending time with Clare Bowen, my wife in the film. When she signed on to the production, I decided I was going to drive from LA to our location in New Mexico. She came along so we could get to know each other. In the film, we’re two people who live in the middle of nowhere by ourselves. So, Clare and I took a little three-day trip.

Sounds fun! What was it like on location?

Absolutely stunning. We were basically next to Georgia O’Keefe’s land, shooting adjacent to where she painted. We actually got permission to shoot there, which was pretty cool.

Where did you stay?

In a house used for Christian couples counseling, owned by some wealthy minister. It’s this huge house with all these bedrooms in it, but no one lives there. It was big, but sparsely furnished. And it was just me, Barlow [Jacobs], and Clare knocking around by ourselves every night in this gigantic house. It was kinda weird.

What did you enjoy most?

We had horses on set. So, if I had down time between scenes, the wrangler let me go riding in the mountains, which was an awesome way to kill time. It was a dream come true. Coming to work every day and getting on a horse and putting a gun on your hip? It was like heaven for me.

Were there other animals on set, too?

There were goats and chickens. I learned how to hypnotize a chicken. If you put them on your lap, pinch the base of their neck and just rub it—almost like you’re giving someone a neck rub—after a while they basically go to sleep. But, the chickens would often cluck in the middle of a take. At one point a chicken jumped into the window in the background of this very intense scene. We had to cut because there was a chicken in the window. And a goat got on the roof once. We were shooting in front of the house and the DP looks up from the camera: Guys, guys, cut. The goat’s on the roof. And everyone looks up and he’s just standing on the roof, chillin’. Once he discovered he could get on the roof, it became a constant. But, I liked that goat. We got along really well.

Back in New York, you were on Smash last month. I have to admit, I don’t watch the show.

Neither do I.

What drew you to the role?

Umm, paying the rent. [Laughs] I’ve been very fortunate the last five or six years. I’ve been able to strike a balance between doing a recurring role on a TV show—working for several months, making some money—and then going off and making movies like Dead Man’s Burden and Tiny Furniture.

Speaking of TV shows, I was mildly obsessed with Gossip Girl. Did you watch the episodes you were in?

I have to be honest with you. I’m not a huge fan of watching myself on TV. I’ll watch a movie that I’m in, but not TV shows. I tried watching the first episode I was in. Thirty to 40 minutes into it I was like, I can’t do this.

I know you’re not on Girls, but you’ve worked with Lena Dunham before, so I’m wondering if there was ever talk of you being on that show?

Lena and I talked about me being in the first season. I think as she had originally conceived it there was going to be a character I was going to play. And then, once the pilot picked up and they hired more writers and producers, that character was eliminated. One of the story arcs changed. Originally I was, and then for various reasons I wasn’t. That’s sort of where it’s at.

You should just swing in, in the place of Charlie’s character, since Christopher Abbott left the show. You should be the new guy to date Marnie.

I agree with that. I think I should. But I think they’re already onto, like, episode five now. So, I’m not sure that’s in the cards. 

Sorry to bring up a show you’re not on.

No, it’s fine. I’m very happy for her. It kind of blows my mind that that show has become a “thing” that people write about.

Do you watch?

I watched the first season. I haven’t caught up with the second. It’s weird. The show has such an obscene media presence. It feels like, even though I haven’t been watching, I’m totally aware of everything that happened on it. The media’s obsession is pretty mind-blowing.

It is. But, you’ve got to tune into season two. There’s a sex scene that rivals your sex scene in the pipe with Lena’s character in Tiny Furniture.

The one with Adam?

No, the one with Booth Jonathan and Marnie.

I just remember everybody got all upset about that rape-y scene with Adam.

That’s Adam. Some people are more adventurous in bed.

Exactly. It sounded like it wasn’t that big a deal. Did they have sex in that weird TV box of his?

No, they had weird splayed-out sex on Booth’s bed, next to that weird TV thing. And a doll. Anyway, did you know there’s a tumblr in your honor, entitled Fuck Yeah David Call?

I’ve been turned on to that. It’s really funny to me. I’m a huge fan of that title, by the way.

It’s a good title. They could update the design.

Yeah. And it’s a lot of Fringe gifs. I’ve been on a lot of random TV shows and Fringe, there is a passionate following for that show.

Do you ever get recognized?

Not a lot, but occasionally. It depends on the state of my facial hair. If I’m clean-shaven, I’ll get recognized for Gossip Girl. Recently, in the past six months to a year, I’ve been getting recognized for Tiny Furniture more than anything else.

It’s Girls fans going back and checking out Lena’s previous work. What’s the state of your facial hair right now?

Right now I have a very short beard, but that’s more a product of laziness and the fact that I have to play a meth head at the reading I’m doing tonight.  [Laughs]

What would be your dream role?

I have a lot of dream roles. Dead Man’s Burden was definitely on the list. Badass dude in a Western? I’d really like to do a World War II movie. There’s a part of me that would like to play someone very evil, like a serial killer. I always wanted to play a flamboyant gay character, too. To sort of subvert expectations. And I’d love to do a Sam Shepard play.

You’re all about diversity. So, you’re from the West Coast, you’re currently in LA for some R&R and auditions, and you’re based in New York. Is there a place you prefer?

It’s a question I ask myself all the time. I love New York. I love working there. I love the energy there. I feel much more productive there. I’m part of the filmmaking community, which I love. But, it does get a little exhausting sometimes. There’s a part of me that likes the LA lifestyle. A backyard, being outdoors, driving a car. But, it’s also a very settled lifestyle. You can’t go out until 5 AM on a Tuesday night in Los Angeles the way you can in New York. I think once I’m ready to settle down, I’ll probably move back out west. But I ain’t settled yet. I’m just getting started. 

Photo: Cinedigm

[More by Nell Alk; Follow Nell on Twitter]

Rachel Shukert’s Blissful ‘Starstruck’ Brings Back the Golden Age of Hollywood

I don’t read a lot of young adult fiction, but when I found out my friend Rachel Shukert was penning a trilogy of novels about young Hollywood starlets in the 1930s, I knew it was right up my alley. Known for her two hilarious memoirs, Have You No Shame and Everything Is Going to Be Great, as well as the fantastic recaps of the ill-fated Smash on Vulture, Shukert brings an astounding voice to her writing, one that is both irreverently raucous and sweetly endearing. Starstruck, Shukert’s first foray into fiction, embodies all of her traits, and it’s a fantastic look at the Golden Age of Hollywood.

Focusing on a trio of young women (Margo Sterling, Amanda Farraday, and Gabby Preston), Starstruck brings alive those now-mythical years of movie-making with a campy behind-the-scenes look at the stars that caught the attention of the average American as well as the studio heads who capitalized on them. Think of it as Valley of the Dolls starring Shirley Temple—it mixes the seediness of showbiz drama with the melodiousness chase of stardom.

This week, Rachel Shukert and I corresponded via email to talk about her obsession with old Hollywood, her ideal audience, and how the nature of celebrity has changed over the last century.

What about this time period inspired you to write about it?
Well, look, since I was a startlingly small child, I’ve been moderately to massively obsessed with old movies and the idea of Golden Age Hollywood, the stars, all of that stuff–the glamor of it, the secrets, and the incredible confluence of insanely talented people working in Hollywood at the time. I love stories about show biz back when it was show biz, you know, and people lived out these huge larger than life stories, and all this seamy stuff happened behind the scenes. It was something I always wanted to be a part of. 

But in a more general sense, I think the ’30s are my favorite era. You can kind of see most of the 20th century as series of reactions to various disasters. The frivolity and the decadence of the ’20s was a direct reaction to World War I and the Spanish flu and all this death and destruction; it was like, honey badgers no longer gave a shit. And then you can also look at the kind of proscribed suburbanism and conformity of the ’50s and early ’60s as this direct response to the horrors of World War II, where the world looked straight into the heart of darkness and responded by regressing into this weird, repressed, idealized kind of childhood where nothing bad could ever happen again as long as you had the right vacuum cleaner and Mother didn’t work and everybody forgot that sexual intercourse of any sort existed (or at least never acknowledged so verbally.) But in the ’30s, everyone was dealing with the Depression, and just didn’t have the time for self-delusion, so everything was very self-consciously sophisticated and witty and cynical and hard-boiled. There was a frankness in the culture that appeals to me. Unless, of course, you were one of the increasing number of people seeking refuge in one of the ascendant ‘isms’—you know, like fascism. Which is also one of my favorite things about this period, as you know, and as I’ve written about. I never get tired of Nazi stuff. Hollywood and Hitler were my two favorite things to read about/think about when I was a kid. They remain so to this day. I don’t think the fact that they were both ascendant at the same time is exactly incidental to my interest in either. 

Who were some of the real-life starlets you used as inspiration for your cast of characters? 
Well, the obvious one is Judy Garland, who is almost entirely the basis for Gabby Preston, and who is my favorite actress of all time. Margo Sterling has a little bit of Lana Turner in her, particularly in the way she is discovered [at Schwab’s Pharmacy in Hollywood], but she also has some of that classic society girl thing, like a Gene Tierney or a Dina Merrill. Amanda Farraday is a little bit Rita Hayworth, a little Hedy Lamarr, mixed with a lot of shadowy rumors that there were about a lot of stars at this time, that they had these kind of scandalous pasts the studios would try to cover up. But except for Gabby, none of them are really based on any one person, it’s sort of lots of little bits of things. And no matter how you try to base a character on someone, they take on a life of their own, and that life is almost always reflective of you in some way. So they’re all loosely based on the real-life starlet Rachel Shukert. 

I know you started acting in Omaha as a girl—did any of those experiences make their way into the novel? Did you base any of your characters on your young adult self?
Ha, see above! I mean, yes, of course they did. Not in a hugely literal way, but that feeling of desperately wanting more, of being sure you’re destined for great things, that has a lot to do with me as a young (or younger!) adult. And Margo’s fantasy life, the way she is constantly referencing these movies in her head, and how they inform her behavior, that has a lot to do with me as well. And obviously, I know the feeling of auditioning, of that incredible anxiety that I think actors—especially younger actors—have that they’re falling behind, that it’s not happening for them, that it’s never going to happen, that everybody else has what they want (and should rightfully be theirs): that’s all very personal. But for me, the most painful realization in my acting was getting out of drama school and realizing that I had zero interest in being an actual actress in New York in the 2000s, that all I had ever really wanted was to be a movie star in Hollywood in the 1930s. So the book was therapeutic in that way.  

Starstruck is the first part of a series—how far have you written, and can you give us any details for where these characters are headed?
I’ve finished the second book, and am working on the third now. I don’t know how much I can tell you without totally giving away the ending of Starstruck, but I will say, the overarching theme of the whole series is really about finding yourself as an artist. So all of the characters are going to go through a kind of a period of refining, of figuring out that what they’re good at isn’t necessarily what they thought they wanted—and that goes for love as well. Margo has had this dizzying rise—now what? Can she sustain it? And more importantly, does she want to? Gabby is going to push more boundaries, trying to prove to everyone that she’s a grown-up, and we’ll see how that conflicts with her talent and potential. Amanda is trying to pick up the pieces of her life and move forward with some dignity, but it’s not working that well. I’ll tell you this, it’s all very juicy. We’ve only peeled back the first few layers of the onion–there are still a lot of secrets to be revealed. There’s more sex, more drugs, more jazz. Things are about to get very "Hollywood Babylon" up in this shit. Minus the Black Dahlia murders and speculation about lesbian incest between the Gish sisters. You know what I mean. 

What was it like to write a novel, since your first two books were memoirs? Was it a challenge to write for a younger audience? 
Honestly, the biggest thing was having to continually remind myself that I could make stuff up. That sounds stupid, but when you’re writing a memoir, the challenge is that all the pieces are there, and it’s your job to figure out the most pleasing, most effective way to arrange them. If something doesn’t fit, you can leave it out, but you can’t change it, you know? And with this, sometimes I would get to a point in the story where I’d be like, this isn’t working, and I would actually have to say out loud: "Fine, so make them do something else!" The other thing, which I didn’t expect, is how protective I would become of these characters, in a way that I never was about myself when I was the main character. It’s weird, it’s very maternal, sort of helicopter-mom like. Are they getting enough attention? Do people love them enough? DON’T SAY ANYTHING ABOUT MY BABIES! If someone doesn’t like the book—and this, thankfully, hasn’t really happened much—I am furious on their behalf, not mine. It’s insane. 

As for a young audience, I mean yes. There are many fewer dick jokes in this book than there have been in my past works. There are, however, a lot more super-queeny Joan Crawford jokes, which I know are VERY relevant to this generation. Let’s just be honest: I wrote this book for members of the drama club and middle-aged gay men. Fin. 

Back to the Old Hollywood setting of Starstruck: do you see a lot of similarities in the way stars were manufactured in the past as they are now?
I think it’s totally different, actually, which is part of what I like about the old studio system. You would go into this sparkle-factory, and come out an entirely different person—new name, new look, whatever they needed you to be, that’s what they’d make you. There’s this inherent unreality to that culture, with these larger-than-life stars, that feels so foreign now to what the fame-industrial complex has become. Now, it’s all about "authenticity." We want stars to be "just like us." They have to be relatable, and if they’re not, they have to be punished. In a certain way (and a very tacky way) I actually think reality stars have become more like what old Hollywood stars were—these personalities that people gossip about, who are basically actors playing some bigger, more dramatic version of themselves. The whole Bravolebrity concept, where we obsess about these characters like they’re real, their relationships with each other–that has really replaced the daytime soap world, which I think was the closest corollary to the old Hollywood star system. But each iteration becomes somehow less than—it’s like Xeroxing a Xerox. You go from real stars to soap opera characters to like, Kyle Richards, and it’s all because of our obsession with the "real," which I think is really a kind of cultural sickness. We’ve become so unimaginative. 

If you were to cast actors to play these roles in a movie version of Starstruck, who would you pick?
Oooh, my favorite question!!! Who would you pick? 

Clever, lady! I could see a Taylor Swift-type (begrudgingly) as Margo, and part of me wanted to imagine Kirsten Dunst as Amanda Farraday (and a little bit with Diana Chesterfield). I could totally see Chloe Grace-Moretz as Gabby, too. 
I LOVE Chloe Grace Moretz for Gabby! She’s adorable and just very slightly evil, which is perfect. Can she sing? I demand to know if she can sing. I also like the idea of Kirsten Dunst as Diana Chesterfield, because she needs to be a bit older, and a little bit like, I’ve seen it, oh the things that I have seen. That’s perfect. For Margo, you know, you want this kind of lovely ingénue who can have a little bit of an edge and not be boring. I think Elle Fanning looks really right, but she’s still a few years too young. But by the time anyone makes this, she’ll be perfect. Or Saoirse Ronan, who has a kind of gawkiness that I like, and always seems smart. For Amanda, you need someone who is tough, but also vulnerable, sort of hard and soft at the same time. I like Emilia Clarke, Mother of Dragons. She’d be good, if she dyed her hair red. Or Juno Temple, who actually has red hair already! Budget saver!

‘Smash’ Returns With Disappointing Ratings, Is Declared D.O.A.

Smash is not really living up to its name. Last night’s second-season premiere brought in disastrous ratings—Vulture reports that the show averaged "4.5 million viewers and a 1.1 rating among adults under 50. That last number is what makes last night a disaster for NBC, since it’s less than a third of what Smash averaged in its 2012 premiere (3.8) and about half of what it was drawing when it left the air in the spring." Well, no duh, because the second season of the show was hoping to pull in all of the people who found the first season to be so insufferable. Also, the general public doesn’t like musicals. The real shame, other than the fact that most of the second season has been shot, is that its cancellation would mean we wouldn’t have Rachel Shukert’s brilliant recaps, which was the only reason I kept up with the show in the first place.

Follow Tyler Coates on Twitter.

NBC To Air Live ‘Sound Of Music’ Performance

To broke for Book Of Mormon tickets? Me too. Lucky for us poors, NBC is planning an upcoming live broadcast of The Sound Of Music, produced by the team behind Smash

According to a statement by NBC via Huffington Post, Smash producers Craig Zaden and Neil Meron won’t remake the iconic film version starring Julie Andrews, but instead staying true to the Rodgers and Hammerstein stage show. All actors, who are currently being cast, will be singing live without pre-recording or lip-synching. Sucks for you, Ashlee Simpson! 

NBC also noted that television used to broadcast live performances of musicals throughout the 1950s, so this could be a fun, old time-y thing to brick back. (Nowadays you’re lucky if you see a re-run of that Les Miz anniversary show on PBS.) No air date has been set yet, which should give you plenty of times to learn the lyrics for My Favorite Things. Something about whiskers on kittens and warm woolen mittens, right?

Lana Del Rey Channels Marilyn and Jackie O in “National Anthem” Video

Just in time for next week’s Fourth of July celebrations, Lana Del Rey, the strangest of indie pop ducks currently making dreamy and slightly insufferable music right now, has unveiled the video for her newest single, "National Anthem." I try my best to refrain from using "epic" to describe things that just end up on YouTube, but this might be Del Rey’s biggest accomplishment in the sense that it looks like she actually tried

It begins, oddly, with Del Rey in old-timey black and white footage, mimicing Marilyn Monroe’s classic rendition of "Happy Birthday" (question: how much did her record label shell out to get the rights to that for some seven-minute music video?). Do you think she modeled her Marilyn on My Week With Marilyn‘s Michelle Williams or Smash‘s Katharine McPhee? (Trick question: the answer Smash‘s Uma Thurman’s Marilyn). Then, the real music video begins, with an Instagrammy depiction of Del Rey traipsing around a Hamptons lawn with A$AP Rocky and some adorable kids. 

(Here’s a random and slightly unrelated question: has Instagram put those old-timey photoshoot storefronts out of business yet? It’s been a long time since I’ve gone to a mall so that I could dress up in cowboy gear and have my picture taken by a college student who regrets not taking summer courses instead of returning to his parents’ suburban home for break.)

And, of course, there’s a recreation of the JFK assassination, because every generation gets the silly pop-music homage to an American tragedy it deserves. 

In all seriousness, though, I’m actually shocked how much I didn’t not like this video. The song is actually one of the few from Del Rey’s Born to Die that I thought was actually pretty good. But, you know, the bar’s set pretty low here. But it does work well in conjuction with my Lana Del Rey drinking game, in which I take shots every time there’s a shot of either her closed eyes or her creepy nails. (It’s a good thing this is less than eight minutes long.)

Linkage: The Shocking Price of a Break-Up, Jay-Z Thinks Gay Is OK

One of BlackBook‘s favorite funny gals Julie Klausner shares the lessons she learned from creating her hilarious podcast, How Was Your Week? [FastCoCreate]

"It was hard, very hard," says Chloe Sevigney of the prosthetic penis she had to wear on her new show, Hit & Miss, on which she plays a pre-op transgendered hit-man. [Telegraph]

Breaking-up is hard to do, but when your boyfriend suddenly leaves you for another country, the resulting anxiety can be pretty pricey. [The Billfold]

Jay-Z comes out in support of President Obama’s support for marriage equality, calling it "the right thing to do." [NewNowNext]

Still mourning MCA? Cheer up with this adorable video of kids re-enacting the "Sabotage" video. [Sound of the City]

Carrie: The Musical, the play based on the Stephen King novel and which recently saw an Off-Broadway run earlier this year, will be licensed for regional productions. Anyone want to start up a theater group and/or get jobs running high school musical theater departments? [Playbill]

Speaking of Carries, Julianne Moore has signed on to play the evil Margaret White in Kimberly Peirce’s remake of the Brian DePalma film. [Deadline]

"I lost my limbs after five years of butt injections!" We are so sorry! [Hypervocal]

Bummed about last night’s season finale of Smash? Need your fix for the insane plotlines, ridiculous Broadway scheming, and Debra Messing’s dumb son? Fear not: I suggest you go back and read the brilliant Rachel Shukert’s recaps of the first season. [Vulture]

Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino celebrates her sophomore album’s release today, but did you know she’s a budding fashion designer? [Death & Taxes]

Alright, we admit it: we’re stupid as hell. [Jake Fogelnest]

A Surprising Appreciation of ‘Dark Shadows’

I have a confession to make: yesterday I saw Dark Shadows, the new Tim Burton joint featuring, predictably, Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter as well as fresh Burton cast members like Chlöe Grace Moretz, Jonny Lee Miller, and Eva Green. I predicted that it would be awful, and most critics seemed to prove all my points: that Burton’s weird big-budget goth epics have gotten stale and stupid. But still, something drew me to the film—maybe vampiric mind control? And, um, I kind of really enjoyed it!

Like most people my generation, I have never seen Dark Shadows, the extremely popular daytime soap opera that ran from 1966 to 1971. A quick jaunt onto the show’s extensive Wikipedia page reveals it was like a late ’60s version of True Blood: there were vampires, ghosts, werewolves, and witches and was considered a gothic, campy masterpiece—just without the current vampire drama’s gratuitous sex and political subtext. It seems like the perfect source material for a Tim Burton movie (he has, after all, professed that he was a fan of the show, as did Johnny Depp), which, judging from his recent creative pursuits (Alice in Wonderland, Sweeney Todd, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, to name a couple of cinematic clunkers), would surely be a big old CGI mess.

And it was, let there be no doubt! But that was also sort of its charm? I concede that it makes absolutely no sense, is all across the board with a bunch of different bizarre subplots including reincarnation, surprise eleventh hour werewolves, fishing politics. It was somewhere in between the movie version of The Addams Family—lovingly showing the divide between an appreciation for straight-forward gothic sensibility and the modern, normal world—and Jan de Bont’s shitbox remake of The Haunting that featured a CGI-heavy scene in which a haunted fireplace murders Owen Wilson. Yes, the creepy old house that is at the center of Dark Shadows eventually attacks its residents at the hands of Eva Green’s sexy witch, but (spoiler alert!), the scene also has Michelle Pfeiffer shooting Green with a shotgun LIKE A BOSS, and then Green’s body breaks apart in a Death Becomes Her sort of way. It’s the best ’90s movie to be released in the second decade of the new millennium! 

Let’s talk about what makes this shitshow so great: it takes place in the ’70s. It’s so super stylized with ridiculous clothes, wigs, and accessories (I have never seen so many turtlenecks under corderoy blazers); it’s the best ’70s costume design I’ve seen since The Ice Storm, and we all know that the only way that Ang Lee masterpiece could have been improved is if Joan Allen was a witch and had the gumption to punish her cheating husband with dark magic. And the music! The Moody Blues, T-Rex, Barry White. Even present-day Alice Cooper makes a cameo as 1972 Alice Cooper! That is the most stupidly brilliant thing that I wish I could have thought of myself. 

So basically Dark Shadows is a gigantic disaster that entertained the hell out of me. Let’s compare it to another pile of garbage that has captured the hearts and minds of hate-watching Americans this year. As Tara Ariano writes of the NBC musical theater drama, "Smash is the worst TV show I’ve ever loved; it might be the worst thing I’ve ever loved." Well, Dark Shadows is my Smash. I’m not proud that I loved it, but I’m not ashamed, either. 

Bernadette Peters, Jonas Brother Confirmed As Guest Stars on ‘Smash’

The ladies will be excited that Nick Jonas will make an appearance on the upcoming NBC musical drama.

OK, who are we kidding? This news is for the gay guys. You guyyyyyyyyys, Bernadette Peters!!! Nick Jonas is cute and all, but BERNIE!!!!!

Smash, if you’re not in the know (or reading the Playbill website a lot), is a new hour-long drama about the creation of a Broadway musical. It’s currently filming in New York (where else?!) and is set to premiere in February 2012. The show already features some big-name stars in leading roles: Debra Messing, Angelica Houston, and American Idol Katharine McPhee.

The youngest Jonas, who is set to make his Broadway debut in January when he replaces Daniel Radcliffe in the leading role of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, will be playing a former child actor. Quite a stretch! And La Peters, who is currently starring in a brilliant Broadway revival of Stephen Sondheim’s Follies, will be featured as the mother of Megan Hilty’s character, who is pit against McPhee’s character as they battle for the starring role in a musical based on the life of Marilyn Monroe.

The show looks like a cross between Glee and Chicago, but let’s hope it’s better than both of those (which is easy because they are terrible!) and stays on long enough to employ the bulk of New York’s struggling musical theater actors. Check out the trailer below!