Ben StillerLatest News and Opinion
Posted Monday 12/17/18 at 1:35PM EST
Ben Stiller: A GoPro video shot by investigators influenced filming of Escape at Dannemora’s heart-pounding prison break
"One of the pieces of research that we found early on was a GoPro video that investigators made a few days after the breakout," Stiller tells Vulture. "They went through the hole in the cell and they retraced his steps with a GoPro on the forehead of one of the investigators. You can look at it online. It’s a 17-minute video of the path through the hole in the back of the cell all the way to the manhole. When I saw that, I was like, This is crazy. This is incredible. And so we thought, Wouldn’t it be great to start out the episode with a version of that GoPro video?
Posted Sunday 12/16/18 at 3:05AM EST
SNL's Oscars host audition sketch lets Kate McKinnon's Ellen DeGeneres take a shot at Kevin Hart
Source: The Daily Beast
The Oscars audition sketch featured impressions of everybody from Hannah Gadsby to Sarah Silverman and Michelle Wolf. McKinnon as Ellen appeared for the last audition. "Hey, I’ll host the Oscars, sure,” she said. “I’ve never done anything controversial in my life, except for being gay. But people like that now, except for the guy who was supposed to host.” As The Daily Beast notes, "it was a big change from last week's show," when Michael Che defended Hart on "Weekend Update."
Posted Saturday 11/17/18 at 6:41AM EST
Showtime's Escape at Dannemora is magnificently disturbing, a master work of true-crime dramatization
Source: The Washington Post
"Most true-crime dramatizations are just that — an exercise in imposing a saucier narrative on top of the transcripts, TV’s version of rubbernecking," says Hank Stuever. "You forget about them almost as soon as you’ve watched them. Once in a great while, however, viewers get a chance to watch something as magnificently disturbing as Showtime’s Escape at Dannemora, a thoroughly gripping, seven-part miniseries that succeeds on little more than its commitment to realism, rather than launching a manhunt for deeper meanings. Created by Brett Johnson and Michael Tolkin and directed with unflinching perspective by Ben Stiller (yes, the very one), Escape at Dannemora is a master work of true-crime dramatization, remarkable in that it feels true in a way that transcends the record of what happened. Much of the miniseries relies on imagination — elaborating from testimony and then getting inside its characters’ conversations and thoughts — yet it never once seems like a standard Hollywood adaptation. It is direct, relentless and almost exquisitely plain. In a cultural moment where we talk a lot about empathy, Escape at Dannemora metes it out in only very small doses. Its main characters are bad people, behaving badly, and when the series stops to give them shape, it is without a twist of pity or urge to comprehend their motivations or personal shortcomings. Everything you need to know is right in front of your face."
- Escape at Dannemora is worth watching for Patricia Arquette, but it doesn't justify running more than seven hours
- It repeatedly hammers home the point that prison life is repetitious and boring
- It's an engrossing retelling of a thrilling escape attempt that does not shy away from the darkest, most complicated aspects of its three primary subjects
- The only knock on the series is that it's sometimes too authentic
- All the top-notch acting can't quite overcome the pacing problems of the series, which is limited by the constraints of the prison-break genre
- Arquette says filming unsexy prison sex scenes with no body makeup was "nerve-wracking, to say the least. You have to really leave your ego out"
- Why creators Brett Johnson and Michael Tolkin decided not to speak with the woman at the center of the story
- Dannemora opened Ben Stiller's eyes to prison reform
Posted Monday 8/06/18 at 6:42PM EDT
Watch Patricia Arquette and Benicio del Toro in the trailer for Showtime's Escape at Dannemora
Ben Stiller is executive producer and director of the eight-episode limited series about the 2015 upstate New York prison escape, which also stars Paul Dano as one of the escaped prisoners. Arquette plays prison tailor shop supervisor Tilly Mitchell, who becomes sexually involved with Dano's character and helps them escape.
Posted Sunday 5/20/18 at 4:34AM EDT
SNL ends the season with a Sopranos finale homage and numerous celebrity cameos
Source: Entertainment Weekly
Saturday Night Live's Season 43 finale was even more star-studded than the Stormy Daniels episode two weeks ago. It began with a cold open homage to The Sopranos' 2007 series finale, featuring Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro reprising their roles as Michael Cohen and Robert Mueller. Then, in a monologue that addressed criticism that the show has become too dependent on celebrity cameos, Tina Fey interacted with Benedict Cumberbatch, Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, Fred Armisen, Anne Hathaway, Tracy Morgan and recent host Donald Glover, whom Fey hired to write for 30 Rock. Lin-Manuel Miranda and John Goodman also made cameos. So did Fey's husband Jeff Richmond, who appeared in a "Mean Girls" sketch, and who has worked with his wife as a composer on 30 Rock, SNL and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
- Watch Tina Fey give a 360-degree YouTube tour of the SNL studio
- SNL spoofs Dick Wolf's NBC Chicago shows with "Chicago Improv" sketch
- Fey revived her Sarah Palin impression late in the show
- Watch Nicki Minaj perform with Fey in "Friendship Song" sketch that was cut for time
- Aidy Bryant portrayed the Oakland BBQ woman, who has become an internet meme
Posted Tuesday 5/08/18 at 9:08PM EDT
SNL's celeb-filled cold opens have become tired and "cringeworthy pieces of self-satisfied liberal propaganda"
The recent star-studded cold opens mocking President Trump's scandals have become parodies of themselves, says Harry Cheadle. Beyond the novelty, he says, "the jokes are tired references to current events that never build on one another. Instead, they are limply tossed out as obvious applause lines to an anti-Trump crowd." ALSO: Rudy Giuliani refers to Stormy Daniels attorney Michael Avenatti as "a guy who books for Saturday Night Live."
Posted Sunday 5/06/18 at 2:49AM EDT
Stormy Daniels crashes star-studded SNL cold open
Source: The Daily Beast
Ben Stiller, Jimmy Fallon, Alec Baldwin, Martin Short, Scarlett Johansson and Kate McKinnon (making her debut as Rudy Giuliani) were all overshadowed by Daniels, who conversed with Baldwin's President Trump by phone. “Sorry Donald, it’s too late for that,” said Daniels when Baldwin's Trump offered to rekindle their alleged affair. “I know you don’t believe in climate change, but a storm’s a-comin’, baby.”
- Stormy Daniels' cameo recalled Monica Lewinsky's SNL appearance in 1999
- SNL takes on Kanye West's tweets with A Quiet Place spoof
- Pete Davidson roasted Michael Che and Colin Jost for hosting the Emmys, calling them a "less entertaining version of Riggs and Murtaugh"
- In his monologue, host Donald Glover recalled auditioning twice for SNL
- In fact, Glover and previous host John Mulaney auditioned for SNL on the same day in 2008 (along with T.J. Miller and Nick Kroll)
- Glover plays for the Cleveland Cavaliers in "Cut for Time" sketch
Posted Monday 4/30/18 at 8:42PM EDT
SNL shows Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro's transformation into Michael Cohen and Robert Muelle
Go behind the scenes of the April 14 "Meet the Parents" cold open.
Posted Sunday 4/15/18 at 3:10AM EDT
SNL gets Robert De Niro to interrogate Ben Stiller as Robert Mueller and Michael Cohen
Source: The Daily Beast
Saturday Night Live reunited the Meet the Parents co-stars in this week's cold open to recreate the classic lie detector scene from their 2000 hit movie. "You broke the law. And now we’re going to catch all of you little fockers, you got that?” De Niro’s special prosecutor Mueller told Stiller, playing Trump attorney Cohen. Stiller, who was briefly an SNL cast member in 1989, said as Cohen: "You know how much evidence I have in my office? I’m Donald Trump’s lawyer! I’ve got a whole hard drive that’s just labeled ‘yikes.’”
- Donald Glover to pull double duty on May 5, hosting SNL and performing as Childish Gambino
- SNL spoofs Netflix's Wild Wild Country with the help of alum Nasim Pedrad
- SNL parodies Les Miserables with an insane lobster dinner sketch
- Why did announcer Darrell Hammond mispronounce John Mulaney's name as "John Mulvaney" not once but twice in the intro?
- SNL mocks "Hollywood's reboot fever"
- Mulaney tweets a 2008 pic of the SNL cast and writers dressed as Mad Men for then-host Jon Hamm
- SNL tweets video of Mulaney's closing remarks that NBC cut off