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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

Bruised, but not battered, in Banshee

Posted: 16 Jan 2014 08:00 AM PST

Ivana Milicevic plays Carrie Hopewell in Banshee, a jewel thief who has assumed a new identity.

WELCOME to Banshee, a town filled with women who are capable and strong.

At the forefront is Ivana Milicevic's Carrie Hopewell, a jewel thief who has assumed a new identity and new family in the small town.

Like all the characters in Banshee, Carrie is neither good nor bad, but – given the opportunity – she can turn herself into a lethal weapon.

So much so that in one very long fight sequence seen in the later episodes of Season One, Carrie goes mano a mano with a bulky male opponent and wins.

When asked if Carrie could take on the female action hero Sarah Connor (of Terminator), the Bosnia-born American said with no hesitation whatsoever: "Oh, I could beat Sarah Connor."

Milicevic was talking to journalists about Banshee's second season in Los Angeles, where she lives.

Dressed in all black – even her nails were painted black – the tall beauty exuded an easy personality.

It was obvious that Milicevic is proud to be a part of Banshee, as the role has provided her a chance to explore the character's emotional and physical upheaval.

Before Banshee, the 39-year-old actress had been in a string of films and TV series for the past two decades – including a minor role in Casino Royale.

The former model admitted that she had hardly a few minutes in the Bond film, yet people still associate her as being a "Bond girl".

"From my career perspective, I am grateful for it," Milicevic willingly admits.

"I think people don't look for Bond girl roles. There are new 20-year-olds who want that part and I want them to have it. I want to play woman parts now.

"I am lucky to be in Banshee. Yes, she is pretty, if you think so, but she is also a tough woman, a mother. She is strong sexually and physically ... and fearless."

Giving as good as she got in the first season, Carrie ends up in prison in the second season.

"I couldn't wait to go to prison this season.

"One, because of my fancy outfit, which is just so comfortable. And I like that she just snaps, like 'that's enough'."

Just like in Season One, Carrie has another brutal fight scene in prison, this time with a female prisoner.

"Prison fight? I love it. I don't mind being ugly doing it. I like this 'mama bear' unleashing. Frankly, I believe I would do the exact same thing if someone tries to hurt my family.

"I am a peaceful, loving person, and I have to be provoked – when my family's life is in danger ... What am I saying: We all have it in us (to defend our family). I am not special; there is a banshee in all of us." 

Related story:
Antony Starr – the man with no name in Banshee

Edgy again

Posted: 15 Jan 2014 08:00 AM PST

Community survives to fight another day.

OVER the past 18 months, TV's Community has had to deal with a public dissing of the sitcom by its biggest star, Chevy Chase, who eventually left the show, and the unceremonious dumping of creator Dan Harmon, a mad genius who used social media once too often to throw his temper tantrums.

The behind-the-scenes hoopla may have plagued the show – but it also may have saved it.

"In a weird way, the drama behind the stage was sort of keeping Community on people's minds," says Jim Rash, who plays the community college's flamboyant principal. Rash returns for the fifth-season, as does Harmon, whose comeback once seemed less likely than a flood-free rainy season on the East Coast.

The survival of Community might seem inexplicable, considering its low ratings – even in its best season, it only ranked 97th in the United States among prime-time shows. But it kept getting a reprieve because the struggling network didn't have anything else to put in its place. There's also motivation for Sony, the company that produces the show, because Community is just four episodes shy of 88, the unofficial total that makes a series viable for the highly profitable world of syndication.

Harmon's Lazarus act is more of a head-scratcher. This is, after all, a man who spent part of his hiatus comparing NBC president Bob Greenblatt to Darth Vader and describing his Sony bosses as inhuman.

Much of the credit goes to series star Joel McHale, who worked as chief negotiator over a series of lunches. Then there's the fact that the fourth season, under the guidance of David Guarascio and Moses Port (Just Shoot Me, Happy Endings), failed to capture what made Community so special: The ability to place relatable characters in a unique, often surreal world every week.

Under the temporary team, it was a pleasant sitcom. Under Harmon, it was the edgiest, most unpredictable programme on television.

"Like with Breaking Bad or Arrested Development, you need that where-it-came-from place," says McHale, whose character, the self-centred Jeff Winger, returns to school this season as a teacher rather than a student.

"We had some really good stuff last year, but it did not have the direction that most other seasons had."

The sitcom, which only got a 13-episode pickup this season, will get back to pushing the envelope with a trip into David Fincher's imagination, a Logan's Run tribute and a follow-up to the classic Dungeons & Dragons episode.

There's also a madcap roster of guest stars, including songwriter Paul Williams, Chris Elliot, Justified's Walton Goggins, Gina Gershon, Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan and a cameo that's so weird, you'll be questioning your own sanity ...

Harmon seems well aware that his dedication to pop culture minutiae may alienate the masses whose idea of high-brow wit is grandma passing gas. He just doesn't care.

"I would rather die than make bad stuff for people, because I'm a terrible dishwasher and a terrible lover and a terrible pet owner and this is my only recourse to go to bed at night and feel like I did anything of merit," he says.

"That fills me with emotions that sometimes get expressed in ways that you may read about in third-hand blogs and stuff, but overall, it allows me to fail upward."

And if fans wail that the new batch of episodes don't have the same beautiful insanity of the early years? Well, that's fine, too.

"If I had not gone back, the worst-case scenario is me spending the next 30 years wondering what would have happened if I had gone back," Harmon says. "If I do go back, the worst-case scenario is one crappy season. Who cares?" — Star Tribune/McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

> Community was previously shown in Malaysia on Fox (Astro Ch710). As of press time, there is no news on when the new season is premiering.

'Fashion Police' makes an arresting case

Posted: 14 Jan 2014 09:25 PM PST

The panellists from the popular fashion series on E! Channel say it like it is.

THE 71st Golden Globes Awards, which was held earlier this week in Los Angeles, kicked off Hollywood's awards season.

This can only mean one thing: All eyes are on what celebrities are wearing on the red carpet.

And no one is having more fun than the panel at E! Channel's popular programme, Fashion Police.

Star2 met up with the panellists – Joan Rivers, Kelly Osbourne, Giuliana Rancic and George Kotsiopoulos – as well as executive producer Melissa Rivers on Monday in Los Angeles after the taping of the special Golden Globes edition of Fashion Police which will be aired tonight in Malaysia.

First off, Kotsiopoulos wants viewers to know that the panellists harbour no ill intent towards any celebrities when they talk about them on the show. "We critique the outfits, never the celebrities," says Kotsiopoulos, who is a stylist by profession.

Now that that has been clarified, we are dying to know who they thought had the worst outfit at the Golden Globes.

Paula Patton at this week's Golden Globe Awards in Los Angeles.

Joan, the most vocal as well as comical of the group says: "Paula Patton! She looks like she had a big white bird s**t on her dress. We'll see this kind of dress on the runway worn by models who are very tall and thin, and they look great. Then a normal person, like Paula Patton, puts it on, she looks like an a****le. The dress is terrible!"

It is this kind of snarky and hilarious commentary from Joan and her three co-hosts that has made Fashion Police one of the top rated shows on E!.

While some celebrities (like Cameron Diaz) hate the show, others have come up to the panellists to say how much they love it – even though they might have ended up on the worst dressed list on Fashion Police.

Kotsiopoulos remembers one fan. "Drew Barrymore came up to me and I was worried because we'd just rip her on the show about her dress. But she said, 'You guys are right, that dress did look bad on me'. I love her for saying that."

Even designers have confessed their love for this guilty pleasure programme. "At the Met Gala, Tom Ford and Valentino came up to tell me how much they love our show. That's just amazing," says Rancic.

To celebrities who gets offended when they are ripped on the show, Osbourne has this to tell them: "If they can't take a joke about themselves, they are in the wrong industry. This is Hollywood!"

> Fashion Police airs every Tuesday at 8pm on E! (Astro Ch 712). Tune in for a special edition of Fashion Police: Golden Globes tonight at 8pm.


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