‘Walker’, the new series by the CW Television Network (available in India on Voot Select), has the typical American vibe. We have a workaholic cop father for whom his duty is everything; all other things come second. Naturally, it comes at a price. His children are suffering as he is not there for them when they need him the most. The fact that he is a widower doesn’t help. Wonder how many times we have come across a similar plot in films and series. Now, the thing with ‘Walker’ is that it’s supposed to be a reboot of a 1993 series ‘Walker, Texas Ranger’. It was inspired by the film ‘Lone Wolf McQuade’, with both this series and that film starring Chuck Norris as a member of the Texas Ranger Division. The series ran for eight full seasons.
For a minute, let’s try and get back to the 90s and try and understand what the original show was all about. To quote American critic Joe Queenan, “With plotlines that were old when George Burns was young, music that appears to be a lethal fusion of the Batman and Mannix scores, acting that makes William Shatner seem like Marlon Brando, and dialogue that could stop The Dukes of Hazzard dead in its tracks, ‘Walker, Texas Ranger’ is a throwback to an earlier and more innocent time when programmers assumed that everyone watching TV was dumb… it seems that they just mount a camera on a tripod and tell Chuck Norris to start kicking people’s faces in for a solid hour which he seems more than willing to do.” Well, that’s how crude and loud the original series was. In comparison, what the new series offer is far more refined and has a hero who can almost be called genteel when compared to Chuck Norris’ Walker.
Essayed by Jared Padalecki, Texas Ranger Cordell Walker now comes across as more of a charmer than an enforcer. The pilot episode, written by Anna Fricke and directed by Jessica Yu, made available to the critics is quick to set the premise before setting things in motion. We are introduced to Walker, a widower and father of two with his own moral code, who returns to his home to Austin, Texas after being undercover for two years. He soon learns that there’s harder work to be done at home. As he attempts to reconnect with his creative and thoughtful son and his headstrong and rebellious, troublemaker teenage daughter, he finds that he needs to navigate clashes with his family comprising his brother who stepped in during his absence, his perceptive mother and his traditional rancher father Bonham. To make things worse, Walker also learns that his former colleague is now his boss. But, to his respite, he finds unexpected common ground with his new partner who happens to be one of the first women in Texas Rangers’ history. All the while he also grows increasingly suspicious about the circumstances surrounding his wife’s death.
Basically, in other words, Cordell Walker is in a mess and it is only going to get worse from here on. What’s really interesting is that we are fed with so much information in just about 40 minutes. Now, a pilot is supposed to set up the things for the upcoming episodes and so the show creators cannot be criticised for their intent. But even though their intent is right what’s missing here is organic storytelling. There is just no room for things to grow on their own as far as the pilot episode is concerned. It’s as if the makers are doing us a favour by shoving things down our throat. This style of storytelling may have worked at one point in time but the audience nowadays have different taste. They don’t like makers to rush on with the things. In fact, they like their series to take their own time to setup. Here one is reminded of the throbbing that the final season of ‘Game of Thrones’ got. The makers of ‘Walker’ definitely missed a trick by choosing to make a 40-minute pilot. They really would have been better off with a 60-minute pilot as it would have allowed them to tell things at a more comfortable pace. One hopes the future episodes improve upon it.
Jared Padalecki is a charming actor with remarkable screen presence. As Walker he looks a little out of place, to begin with but soon settles well into his character. Padalecki is well supported by Lindsey Morgan who is playing Micki Ramirez, Walker’s new partner in the Texas Rangers. The rest of the cast is also solid. Given the run-of-the-mill content on offer, the success of the show is going to heavily depend on Padalecki’s shoulders. If the audience find a liking for his Walker like they did for his Sam Winchester in ‘Supernatural’ for a good decade-and-a-half then the CW show is here to stay. But, as of now, it all looks a little tricky.
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Billie Lourd to join George Clooney, Julia Roberts in ‘Ticket To Paradise’
Washington [US], March 6 (ANI): American actor Billie Lourd is in talks to star with Hollywood stars George Clooney and Julia Roberts in the upcoming movie ‘Ticket To Paradise’.
As per The Hollywood Reporter, the forthcoming romantic comedy will be directed by Ol Parker, who has previously helmed ‘Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again’.
Lourd is set to play a recent college graduate who travels with her best friend for a holiday in Bali. Meanwhile, Clooney and Roberts will play a divorced couple that also travels to Bali to stop their daughter from repeating an error they made 25 years earlier.
Lourd’s screen credits include ‘Booksmart’, ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’, ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’, and the ‘American Horror Story’ TV series.
Parker and Daniel Pipski wrote the script for ‘Ticket to Paradise’, and Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner of Working Title will produce alongside Sarah Harvey and Deborah Balderstone.
Clooney and Grant Heslov will produce for their Smokehouse Pictures, alongside Red Om Films’ Roberts, Lisa Gillan, and Marisa Yeres Gill. (ANI)
Anurag Kashyap resumes ‘Dobaaraa’ shoot after IT raid, sends love to haters
New Delhi [India], March 6 (ANI): Bollywood filmmaker Anurag Kashyap on Saturday shared a BTS picture from the sets of his upcoming movie ‘Dobaaraa’, restarting the shooting of the film after a raid was conducted at his property by the Income Tax Department on Wednesday.
The ‘Ugly’ director took to his social media handles and shared a BTS still with Taapsee Pannu from the sets of their outing ‘Dobaaraa’, announcing that they have resumed the movie’s shoot. He wrote, “And we restart #DoBaaraa… with all our love to all the haters…”
In the picture, Taapsee can be seen smiling candidly, looking stunning in her light-coloured saree, as Anurag playfully sits in her lap, with both of them posing for the camera.
‘Dobaaraa’ marks the duo’s third collaboration after 2018’s hit ‘Manmarziyaan’ and biographical drama ‘Saand Ki Aankh’, which had Anurag on board as a producer.
The movie will be produced by Cult Movies – a division under Ekta Kapoor’s Balaji Telefilms, along with Sunir Kheterpal’s ATHENA and Gaurav Bose’s The Vermillion World Production.
This post from Anurag came hours after Taapsee ended her silence on social media regarding the IT raids, writing she was not ‘so sasti anymore’.
The actor and director resumed the shooting of their upcoming movie nearly three days after the Income Tax Department on March 3 began raiding entities connected to Taapsee and Anurag as well as his partners in the production house Phantom Films including film producer Vikas Bahl.
Raids were carried out across 30 locations in Mumbai and Pune. Reliance Entertainment group CEO Shibhasish Sarkar and some executives of celebrity and talent management companies KWAN and Exceed were also covered.
Phantom Films was established by Anurag Kashyap, director Vikramaditya Motwane, producer Madhu Mantena and the former head of UTV Spotboy, Vikas Bahl, in 2011 before being dissolved in 2018.
Several political leaders and celebrities have reacted to the IT raids, including Rahul Gandhi and the Shiv Sena.
Anurag and Taapsee are outspoken critics of the government and have lent their support to various causes, including the ongoing farmer protests against the three farm laws. (ANI)
Miley Cyrus opens up about her ‘identity crisis’ after playing Hannah Montana
Washington [US], March 6 (ANI): American singer Miley Cyrus recently opened up about the ‘identity crisis’ she suffered after playing the role of Hannah Montana in Disney Channel’s famous sitcom ‘Hannah Montana’.
As per E! News, in a recent interview with Spotify’s Rock This with host Allison Hagendorf, the ‘Plastic Hearts’ hitmaker spoke about how her early days of fame on the popular show in which she played a teen also named Miley who had a secret identity as a superstar, messed with her head.
“Talk about an identity crisis,” she said of playing the titular role of the regular teen by day, pop star by night on the show for seasons from 2006 to 2011.
“I had gone from being a character almost as often as I was myself. And actually, the concept of the show is that when you’re this character, when you have this alter ego, you’re valuable. You’ve got like millions of fans, you’re like the biggest star in the world. And then the concept was that when I looked like myself when I didn’t have the wig on anymore, that no one cared about me. I wasn’t a star anymore,” Cyrus said.
“So, that was drilled into my head. Like, without being Hannah Montana, no one cares about you. And that was the concept,” the singer added.
Cyrus said she “really had to break that” mentality, adding that her album ‘Bangerz’ was her first foray into finding her identity outside of the popular Disney channel character.
She said, “And so I really had to break that and I think that’s maybe why I almost created a characterized version of myself at times. … I never created a character where it wasn’t me, but I was aware of how people saw me and I may be played into it a little bit.”
In a December interview with Rolling Stone, Cyrus said that she “felt like I was never going to amount to the success of Hannah Montana,” adding that she “had to evolve” because the character was “larger than life.”
She added, “Really, Hannah Montana was not a character. The concept of the show, it’s me. I’ve had to really come to terms with that and not be third-person about it.”
Cyrus has still been able to look back on her Hannah Montana days with a lighthearted lens. Earlier this week, Cyrus joked around about the character on social media with Lil Nas X and Megan Thee Stallion.
The singer paid homage to her former alter ego in a TikTok duet with Nas X and a tweet about a collaboration with Megan. (ANI)
Meghan Markle tells Oprah Winfrey it’s ‘liberating’ to speak out after royal exit
Washington [US], March 6 (ANI): Fans are getting yet another sneak peek at Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s tell-all interview with American talk show host Oprah Winfrey, which is scheduled to air on Sunday.
In the latest teaser, which was released on Friday, Oprah revealed she actually reached out to Meghan for an interview three years ago, before the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s royal wedding in 2018, and that her request was declined.
“So, I just want to say that I called you either February or March 2018 before the wedding asking, ‘Would you please give me an interview?'” Oprah recalled, “And you said, ‘I’m sorry it’s not the right time.’ And finally, we get to sit down and have this conversation.”
Meghan said she remembered it well and claimed that she “wasn’t even allowed to have that conversation” with Oprah personally and that other people had to be on the call.
Looking back, Oprah noted Meghan turned her down “nicely” and said, “‘Perhaps there will be another time when there’s the right time.'”
When asked what was right about this time, Meghan pointed to “so many things.”
“That we’re on the other side of a lot of, a lot of life experience that’s happened. And also that we have the ability to make our own choices in a way that I couldn’t have said yes to you then. That wasn’t my choice to make,” she explained.
Meghan further said, “So, as an adult who lived a really independent life to then go into this construct that is different than I think what people imagine it to be, it’s really liberating to be able to have the right and the privilege in some ways to be able to say, ‘Yes, I’m ready to talk.’ To say it for yourself….To be able to just make a choice on your own and just be able to speak for yourself.”
Previously released clips also showed Harry opening up. The couple has referred to the British tabloids’ treatment of Meghan as “bullying” before, and in the teaser of the upcoming interview with Oprah, Harry expressed his fear of “history repeating itself,” referring to Princess Diana’s death.
“I am just really relieved and happy to be sitting here, talking to you, with my wife by my side. Because I can’t imagine what it must have been like for her going through this process by herself all those years ago. Because it has been unbelievably tough for the two of us, but at least we have each other,” he said.
The forthcoming interview comes weeks after it was confirmed that Harry and Meghan will not be returning as working members of the royal family.
The interview titled ‘Oprah With Meghan and Harry: A CBS Primetime Special’ will air Sunday on CBS.
The interview is expected to cover Meghan’s journey from stepping into life as a royal to marriage, motherhood, philanthropic work, and facing intense public pressure. Harry will then join his wife to talk about their historic move to the United States.
The special is produced by Harpo Productions. Terry Wood and Tara Montgomery will executive produce, along with co-executive producer Brian Piotrowicz.
In early 2020, Meghan and Harry had announced that they were quitting royal duties and moving to North America, citing what they said were the unbearable intrusions and racist attitudes of the British media. They live in Santa Barbara, California, and are expecting their second child.
Apart from the upcoming interview, the pair struck a major multi-year deal with Netflix in September that will see them developing documentaries, feature films, scripted television shows, and children’s series.
They also recently launched a podcast on Spotify under their Archwell Audio production company, with the goal of building “community through shared experience, narratives, and values.”
Harry and Meghan, who tied the knot in 2018, welcomed their first child, Archie Harrison, in May 2019. (ANI)
Hema Malini receives COVID-19 vaccine shot in Mumbai
New Delhi [India], March 6 (ANI): Veteran Bollywood actor and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Hema Malini on Saturday became the latest Indian celebrity to take a jab of the COVID-19 vaccine.
The 72-year-old star took to her Twitter handle and shared pictures of her taking the vaccination at Cooper Hospital in Mumbai. Along with the photos, she tweeted, “I have taken the Covid vaccine along with the public at Cooper Hospital.”
In one of the pictures, she can be seen sporting a black printed top paired with a matching face mask, as she receives the vaccine shot from a medical worker.
The ‘Dream Girl’ of Bollywood became the latest addition to the list of celebrities who have taken the vaccination. Earlier stars like Saif Ali Khan, Kamal Haasan, and Satish Shah had also received the vaccination shots.
On a related note, several leading Bollywood stars had contracted the deadly disease earlier. Actors like Amitabh Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan, Arjun Kapoor, Malaika Arora, and others have been infected with the virus.
In March 2020, Bollywood singer Kanika Kapoor, who rose to fame with her song ‘Baby Doll’, became the first Bollywood celebrity to become a victim of COVID-19. (ANI)
Janhvi Kapoor shares glimpse of her birthday cake from sets of ‘Good Luck Jerry’
New Delhi [India], March 6 (ANI): Bollywood actor Janhvi Kapoor, who is currently shooting for her next film ‘Good Luck Jerry’, shared a glimpse of her birthday cake from the sets of the movie.
Celebrating her 24th birthday, the ‘Dhadak’ actor shared a short video on her Instagram story, giving a glimpse of her delicious birthday cake that her crew had got for her. Expressing her gratitude for the team she wrote “thank you” along with the video.
In the video, Janhvi can be seen filming her birthday cake, as she pans the camera towards one of her crew members holding a placard, with “I came for cake” written on it.
Janhvi’s cousin Shanaya Kapoor also wished her sister on the occasion by sharing a collage of two photos, which showed them hugging each other. One photo showed the sisters as children while the other showed them all grown up. Along with it, she wrote, “Happy birthday @janhvikapoor love you.”
Alia Bhatt also took to her Instagram story and shared a mesmerising photo of Janhvi. Along with the photo, she penned a sweet note for her that read, “Happy birthday you beautiful soul. Have the best best dayy.”
Meanwhile, on the work front, Janhvi will next be seen in ‘Roohi’, which is set to hit the big screens on March 11 this year. It also stars Rajkummar Rao and Varun Sharma in the lead roles.
The upcoming horror-comedy will become the first film to arrive in theatres after the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting allowed cinema halls nationwide to operate at full capacity from February 1 with COVID-19 safety protocols put in place.
The film is based on the lines of the 2018 hit film ‘Stree’, which featured Shraddha Kapoor and Rajkummar Rao in lead roles. (ANI)
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