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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

Matt Groening spoofs Oscar shot, Homer gets the boot

Posted: 05 Mar 2014 07:30 PM PST

Find Bart and break Twitter.

ELLEN DeGeneres's now famous Academy Award selfie has been given the Simpsons treatment.

Homer being kicked out of shot is the obvious prank, but give the pic a second look – cartoonist Matt Groening challenges viewers to find the secret Bart.

"The ugly true story of that Oscar trademark selfie can finally be told!" he announced via Twitter . "Let's break Twitter again. Look for Bart."

Smartphone manufacturer Samsung was also pretty impressed with the award show's selfpic moment, reports Variety, after one of its handheld devices became central to the shot's capture.

The tech giant called it "a great surprise for everyone" and promised to donate US$3mil (RM9.8mil) to charitable causes. – AFP Relaxnews

Travis Fimmel: A model Viking

Posted: 04 Mar 2014 08:00 AM PST

Travis Fimmel plays a violent Viking on TV, but all the former Calvin Klein model would love to do is live a peaceful life on a farm.

IF actor Travis Fimmel looks familiar, it is probably because he was the face of Calvin Klein products at the beginning of his career.

He grew up on a cattle ranch in Australia and was on track to become a pro footballer in his country, but a broken leg ended that career path. He came to the United States to seek his fortune and proved he was more than a pretty face when he decided to leave modelling and get into acting.

The 34-year-old is now the lead in the History Channel's drama series Vikings as Ragnar Lothbrok, a Viking with vision who is ruthless at times but capable of compassion. He is also in production for the movie Warcraft.

You are totally believable as Ragnar. Was it easy to get into that character?

Thank you for saying I was good in it. I don't know if you are right or not, but the scripts are so good. Michael Hirst, the creator, is so talented, you know? So when you get a script like that, it really helps to play a character like Ragnar.

Your resume of characters is very diverse. Are some more appealing to play than others?

I definitely just want them to be complex. I don't like the average person, you know what I mean? I want to play something more interesting. Once again, the scripts in Vikings are so good, the characters are so complex and everybody has their own voice. It's just been a great experience. It's beautiful shooting in Ireland. It's an amazing country.

When you get to wear costumes, particularly period costumes, does that help you get into character faster?

Yes, it certainly does, and everything – set decoration, costumes, the look of everybody – helps you get into character. The landscape in Ireland is just ... I've never been in such a beautiful place with the lakes and ocean and everything. And the boats.

Obviously they built the Viking boats you sail in for the show.

Yes, we really go out on the ocean with them. This season, we go out on them a lot more. It's a great experience being out there. You feel like a little kid playing dress-up.

Speaking of a little kid, what was it about your childhood that prepared you for this kind of career?

I have no idea. No idea. Just tried to make some money. When I got to the States, I wanted to travel and ended up just getting in an acting class and have sort of been doing it for the last 14 years or something. I still don't know why I'm doing it.

It has to be fun to some degree, right?

Ah, money is fun, I guess. It's a job like any other job. You try to make some money and not embarrass yourself too much while doing it.

Getting famous was not a goal for you?

No, not at all. I just want to be proud of what I do, and unfortunately, in this business, if you do all right, you sort of get recognised a bit. That is the least favourite (part) by far, for me. I just want to do the work and go home. I wish stuff never came out. I wish you could just do the job and nobody ever saw it and you still made the money.

Private stuff: Travis Fimmel loathes doing love scenes - 'It's just very unnatural doing intimate stuff in front of other people.' (Inset): Prior to being an actor, Fimmel was a much sought-after model.

Prior to being an actor, Fimmel was a much sought-after model.

So has Vikings made it harder for you to be anonymous?

No, it's not too bad. I dress like a bum all the time. I'm a pretty casual fella. You don't get recognised that much unless you want to get recognised, like if you go to the fancy joints. It's like LA – there are 10 restaurants. If you want to be seen, you go there. You know what I mean?

Does it ever bother you that because you are good-looking, some people don't notice what a good actor you are?

I don't know. I don't think about it. I let other people think about that stuff. I mean, I never think about how I'm going to look or anything. Most jobs they don't let you have a beard or any of that stuff, so that was a real attraction for me.

And is your hair really cut like Ragnar's?

Yeah, it is. I have extensions. It was like only an inch last year, and they put extensions in. It's pretty funny (laughs). I have to shower in a shower cap.

How did you build up your confidence when you first became an actor?

I don't know if it ever goes away, but I'm always thinking I'm messing up. I did a lot of classes. I can't stand being on stage or the only one talking in a room, so class really helped me deal with that. It doesn't really get any easier, but it helps you focus on the acting.

I suppose you just have to think of it as a craft, something you learn and become accomplished at doing.

Exactly, and the more you do it the more comfortable a lot of things are. The first week of shooting, I always want to reshoot. You are struggling and you are not back in your routine. But as soon as you get going, on a TV show especially, you get in the groove and it gets easier.

How do you feel about doing love scenes or sex scenes?

I hate 'em, to be honest. It's very awkward. I'm all for the free kisses, but it's very uncomfortable. It's not a natural thing. You don't do it in front of people in real life. Not many people do, I guess. It's just very unnatural doing intimate stuff in front of other people.

I had read that you just want to get back to the simple life and living on a farm. Do you still feel that way?

Yeah, 100%. That's the only reason I'm doing this, to make some money to get my own farm. I'll make some money and I'll be out. – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette/McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

Vikings Season Two is aired at 10pm every Friday on History (Astro Ch 555).

An incredible ride for Benedict Cumberbatch

Posted: 04 Mar 2014 08:00 AM PST

How the actor portrays Sherlock Holmes.

BENEDICT Cumberbatch is one of several actors to step into the shoes of Sherlock Holmes lately (others include Robert Downey Jr in the Guy Ritchie films and Jonny Lee Miller on CBS' crime procedural Elementary) in the BBC crime drama, Sherlock.

While Cumberbatch's Sherlock is a little different from the conventional depiction of Holmes – he is young and doing his detective work in modern London – the Brit does follow in the footsteps of a very long list of actors (including Christopher Lee, Basil Rathbone and Michael Caine). Like millions around the world, Cumberbatch is also a fan of this beloved ficitional character.

In an interview transcript courtesy of BBC Worldwide, 37-year-old Cumberbatch gives an insight into the version of Sherlock he is portraying in the series, which also features Martin Freeman in the role of Dr John Watson.

Sherlock is a very special role for an actor to slip into. Did you do anything special to prepare for this role?

I always go back to the books because they are an endless goldmine of reference and character observation. Watson, for all of Sherlock's critique of him and their relationship, is a very keen observer from a normal person's point of view and of what this extraordinary person is, whether it his physical movements, mercurial character or mood swings, all these aspects are very well detailed. Beyond that I start to try and memorise things, to try and be a little more alert to things, whether it's short or long term memory. I look at my diet a little more specifically which is very helpful for clarity of mind and a sense of being in his skin, having his energy. Also (it ties in with) his relationship with food because he does fast in the books. He sees food as an obstacle because it slows down the metabolism, it reduces the ability to have a keen, hungry eye. There's exercise as well, I try to meditate if I can. The rest of it is just collaboration, whether it be with the directors, with Martin or the rest of the cast and crew, just getting back into the swing of being in this family.

Are there a lot of similarities between you and Sherlock?

You'd best ask the people who know me, like my mother or my girlfriends of old! There probably are a few similarities. My mum says I can be very impatient when I'm playing Sherlock. He's a very intense character, and I don't want to carry that around me. One thing I have noticed is that my memory does sharpen when I play Sherlock because of the amount of text I have to learn. Also I find myself looking at people's shoes and body language and trying to deduce things from them. I do that because I have a professional interest. But I'm afraid I'm rubbish at it!

What are Sherlock's human weaknesses?

I think his most human weakness is not understanding the strengths of being human. He tries to outplay what it is to suffer under the human condition. He's trying to be godlike, to be above the everyday and sometimes I think he misses out as a detective because of not being able to interact on a human level, and John stabilises that. I think he doesn't have too many weaknesses apart from that. I think it's the things he lacks in his humanity that are his weaknesses. He can't engage with love, a family, otherness. He has to work on his own. It's very solitary and hard but I do think he's chosen to ignore those feelings for a long time. I don't see those as failings, I see those as choices. I think we all judge him on a paradigm that is based on our own experience of what it is to be human – we all over-consume, we all have a love for children or furthering our line. He's trying to do something extraordinary with his time on Earth that separates him, not because he thinks he's better but because he realises that in order to do what he has to do he has to be separate from what the rest of us do. So I don't think this is a failing. He is different, but nobody who is different has failed in this life; I think to say that he has failings would be to castigate anyone who does not live by the status quo and that would be a terrible, prejudiced thing to say.

How difficult was it to play this new element of Sherlock?

It's been a joy, actually. As an actor you crave a character to have a developmental arc and the wonderful thing about television is that it affords you that over a period of time as opposed to the contractions of the massive story arc of a novel in two hours of a film. But the writers are very alert to that and they know what our strengths are and wrote very much to them in the second season. With the new season they're trying to test us and shift us in a new direction so yes, I've really enjoyed playing the differences and the challenges he faces.

How do you feel about the global success of the show?

It's been incredible. The gob-smacking thing about it is people who have been icons to me forever have been coming up to me to say much they adore it. At the Golden Globes, for instance, Ted Danson from Cheers came running across the floor and said, "Oh my God, it's Sherlock. You kill that!" and I'm thinking, "This is all the wrong way round!" It was the same when Meryl Streep told me, "I love Sherlock." I thought, "That's so wrong". But I can get to right the balance by telling them how much I love their work and how they have been inspiring me and millions of others for years. But to have this meaningful interaction is amazing. Just to be afforded contact with the people who have inspired me is a very heady feeling.

Related story:

Get Sherlock-ed again

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