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The buzz on all your favorite shows and stars, hot off the press
GOING FOR BROKE
She commanded our attention in such hip films as The 40 Year-Old Virgin and Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Now, as 2 Broke Girls waitress Max Black, Kat Dennings proves that playing strong, funny characters is her house specialty.
WATCH!: Can you identify with Max’s sarcastic nature?
KAT: In real life, I don’t try to put names to my moods, but maybe my defense mechanism does have a sarcastic tinge to it. I think everyone has that side.
WATCH!: What do you and Max have in common?
KAT: We’re both really hard workers. I’m from the woods in Pennsylvania. My mom is a speech therapist and my dad is a scientist. When I moved to Los Angeles, I did terrible jobs for no money, and clawed my way up. I’ve definitely been broke.
WATCH!: Were you ever a waitress?
KAT: No, but I’m finding on the show that I’m a natural.
WATCH!: Do you think a Max and a Caroline would ever really be friends?
KAT: Not unless they were thrown together in some way, as they were in our pilot. But in the way they’re both brought together makes them equals, and it works. And I think they’re both exactly what the other needs.
WATCH!: What is your relationship like with your co-star Beth Behrs off-screen?
KAT: The day I met Beth, I had been in Orlando, filming for [an upcoming film] Renee. I flew to Los Angeles for half a day and read with her. We were already texting while I was at the airport to fly back. From the second we met, I knew,“ This is a person I want to see every day.”
WATCH!: Do you think Max will ever realize her dream of opening her cupcake bakery?
KAT: As the cliché goes, it’s not the destination but the journey, and that’s exactly what the show is about. In the meantime, I feel great holding a cupcake.
Person of Interest’s executive producers say fiction isn’t much stranger than truth
Watch! goes behind the scenes of one of TV’s hottest dramas to find out the inspiration for all of the intrigue.
JONATHAN NOLAN: I’ve been getting progressively concerned with the spread of information technology and social networks and surveillance. My wife thinks I’m a bit of a paranoid nut, and suggested to me that rather than boring her with more wild theories, that I channel that sentiment into a TV show. Greg said we’d be doing this show right if during the commercials, people were looking at their cellphones and eyeing them with suspicion. I think we all have a sense that the government has granted itself access to our phones and emails, but it’s kind of the elephant in the room.
GREG PLAGEMAN: And we’ve all traded this idea of privacy for security. Or perhaps even convenience, which is even more twisted. With the advent of social media, there’s barely a kid who can walk into a job interview without them knowing everything about him from his Facebook page. We’re in a strange era of the Patriot Act where people say, “I know they have GPS on my smartphone, they can turn on my phone remotely, but it doesn’t really bother me, as long as they keep the bad guys at bay.” Is that something everyone should be comfortable with? We think that’s a really interesting question to be asking people, not just in this country but around the world.
JONATHAN: Greg found a report that an organization had counted all the [surveillance] cameras in Manhattan. They started in 2005 and counted 5,000 cameras. They went again in 2010, and the official number they came back with was “uncountable.” There are lots of great shows out there about the mysterious things that may be happening that we have no idea about. This show is about the stuff that’s hiding in plain sight. When I pitched this, it felt like five minutes into the future. By the time we were done shooting the pilot, it felt a little more like just about right now.
AN UNFORGETTABLE CAREER
Taxi’s Marilu Henner recalls how she became consultant to new CBS drama and recalls everything else, too The stars of Taxi fondly remember the nights when the classic comedy took home its three Emmy Awards. But only Marilu Henner, who played cabbie Elaine Nardo, can tell you what each cast member was wearing at the time.
Now Henner, 61, is putting her powers of memory to work, as a consultant to CBS’ freshman drama Unforgettable. Like that show’s heroine Carrie Wells, Henner has been identified as one of the few people worldwide to have highly superior autobiographical memory (HSAM). “I can go all the way back to 4 days old,” the actress says, adding that her memories—of any given day’s events, weather and meals—“really come in strong at age 6, and then every day since I was 12.”
In 2010 Henner got a call from her friend, 60 Minutes correspondent Lesley Stahl, asking her to be tested in the show’s segment about the newly named HSAM phenomenon. When Stahl’s report aired in December 2010, Henner was reintroduced to 19.2 million viewers as an HSAM prodigy.
The actress was excited when she heard about the pilot for Unforgettable. “Unforgettable [gives] HSAM a stamp of credibility,” she says, “that it’s not just some weird, crazy thing.”
Henner helps Unforgettable’s writers understand what it’s like to have a lifetime of events—and their concurrent emotions—always at the ready. She has also become the show’s de facto fact checker. For example, after she was given a few early pilot scenes to watch, Henner immediately caught a mistake: a date Carrie cited as a Tuesday—March 27, 1998—wasn’t. “I remembered it was a Friday,” Henner says. “I had lunch at Picholine and had the white peppercorn soup. So I texted the producers: ‘You have the wrong date!’ ”
In February, Simon & Schuster is releasing her latest book, Total Memory Makeover, in which she shares lessons on channeling your own inner Carrie. “Everything you’ve ever done is on your hard drive, but you just don’t know how to access it,” she says. “I can help you learn how.”