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January 29th, 2013
11:35 AM ET

'Silver Linings Playbook' director David O. Russell on the stigma of mood disorders

David O. Russell is one of the hottest directors in Hollywood right now. His movie “Silver Linings Playbook” is nominated for eight Academy Awards and has already won Movie of the Year at the American Film Institute Awards.  

Starring a high-caliber cast including Bradley Cooper as a bipolar man struggling to put his life back together, Robert De Niro as his dad, and Jennifer Lawrence as a depressed police officer's widow who ropes him into entering a dance competition, the film has both those really serious moments and wildly humorous ones. One of the most critically acclaimed movies of the year, “Silver Linings Playbook” has earned Oscar nominations in all four acting categories, plus nominations for Best Picture and Best Director. David O. Russell comes to “Starting Point” to talk about movie.

Russell, who has a bipolar son, was inspired by his own personal relationship with his son. “I five years ago was given the book that I based it on, and I was looking for a story that could make my son, who had struggled with mood disorder, feel part of the world, and this is a just real story.” he says. "’Silver Linings’ is what I learned from him.”

Russell even praises Cooper for “becoming” his son in his portrayal. Cooper is but one of the highly talented actors playing powerful roles that make the heart of this film. Russell comments on that. “Characters are what interest me more than anything else. There are a lot of beautiful movies this year. Ours is about performance and characters,” Russell says. “Individual people that I could watch all day, those are the people that inspire and fascinate me.”

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Filed under: Celebrity • Entertainment • Hollywood
January 25th, 2013
09:48 AM ET

Celebrating 25 years of 'The Phantom of the Opera' on Broadway – Stars Hugh Panaro and Sierra Boggess on what keeps the audience returning for more

Broadway’s beloved musical, “The Phantom of the Opera,” marks its 25th anniversary on Broadway this year. The longest-running show in Broadway history and the winner of seven Tony awards, including best musical, the New York production has played more than 10,000 performances since it opened in 1988. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s classic has been seen by nearly 15 million people and grossed over $850 million.

Hugh Panaro and Sierra Boggess star in the current Broadway production as the Phantom and the ingénue Christine, respectively. They’ll be appearing in the show this weekend when it celebrates its 25th year, and spend some time in the "Starting Point" studio today before the big curtain call.

Boggess feels the show owes its success to Webber’s score. “It’s one of the most gorgeous, most lush, most romantic scores ever written and everyone knows it. It’s amazing.” Boggess says. “People who haven't even seen a Broadway show know “The Phantom of the Opera’s” score."

Panaro, who has performed in the musical roughly 3,ooo times, says the audience makes the show different each time. “I think the beauty of live theater is that you have a brand new audience every single night and you have children who may have never seen a Broadway show before and it's their first, you know, foray into musical theater,” Panaro says. “I feel like we have almost a job to keep it fresh no matter what because we might be inspiring that future Phantom or Christine.”

Filed under: Broadway • Entertainment • Musical • Musical Theater
January 14th, 2013
10:21 AM ET

From 'Breaking Bad' to doing good: Actor Steven Michael Quezada running for school board in Albuquerque

One of the stars of the award-winning TV drama "Breaking Bad" may soon have a new role: As a school board member.

Steven Michael Quezada, who plays D.E.A. agent Steven Gomez in the hit AMC show, is running unopposed for a seat on the school board in his hometown of Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Quezada joins “Starting Point” to discuss why he wants to make a difference in the state that he and his show call home.

Filed under: Education • Entertainment
January 11th, 2013
10:28 AM ET

Will Lance Armstrong admit to doping during his 90-minute interview with Oprah Winfrey?

Many people are sitting on pins and needles as they wait to see if Lance Armstrong will admit to doping when he sits down to talk to Oprah next week. The former cycling superstar is doing his first interview since he was stripped of seven Tour De France titles and banned from cycling for life. This morning host of CNN's Reliable Sources and Washington Bureau Chief at Newsweek- Daily Beast Howard Kurtz and Daily Beast contributor and Editor in Chief of the Daily Download Lauren Ashburn join “Starting Point” to discuss whether they think Armstrong will use that interview to admit he took performance-enhancing drugs for years.

Ashburn says that while she believes Armstrong will confess to doping during his interview with Oprah, the talk show queen no longer has the cultural clout she used to have. Kurtz agrees but says, “she is still Oprah Winfrey and … [Armstrong] sees that he has to go to the “church of Oprah” and seek absolution.” Ashburn says she is looking forward to seeing Armstrong “sit there for and hour and a half and seeing his body language [and] what his eyes look like.” “This interview could be as important for Oprah Winfrey in trying to get back on the cultural map as it will be for Lance Armstrong,” says Kurtz.

Filed under: Drug culture • Drugs • Entertainment • Sports • TV
January 11th, 2013
09:56 AM ET

“Totally T-Boz” & Life After TLC, former TLC singer-songwriter Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins talks recovery from brain tumor & musical career

A blast from the past visits the studio this morning. You know her from her multiple chart-topping songs with the female trio TLC. Songs like "Waterfalls", “No Scrubs” and “Unpretty” are sure to come to mind.

Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins is a songwriter, a four-time Grammy winner, an actress, and now the star of a new reality show called "Totally T-Boz". Airing on Tuesdays on TLC, "Totally T-Boz" shows the artist as she deals with recovering from a brain tumor, raising her daughter, and sustaining her musical career. She touches on all of that on “Starting Point” today.

T-Boz, who considers herself very private, turned down other reality show opportunities. She says she was surprised she decided to do "Totally T-Boz". “I can't believe I'm doing this, but I did it because it kind of fell on my lap,” she says. “I was like, this is where I'm at in my life and TLC was interested in following me, not leading me, and there's not ten years of technology to tell you about a the brain tumor, so maybe I can speak up and help somebody and then you'll learn more about me, TLC and how I became who I am today.”

T-Boz has not only recovered from removing a brain tumor, she also battles sickle-cell anemia. But she says she feels great. “I’m done with physical therapy. I’m back on my feet. Of course I have sickle cell,” she says. “There's no cure, so I deal with that but I’m doing great honestly. I just have to take care of myself.”

At age 42, T-Boz is doing just that and much more. VH1 is doing a biopic about TLC celebrating the group’s 20th anniversary and T-Boz says she is willing to dedicate time working on music for the movie and look after herself. “I think if you strategically plan it out right, I can do both, because I have to,” she says. “This can't last forever and I think you should use this avenue to move and merge on to other things.”

That includes charity work. “I help people in my personal time,” she says. “That's what I do because I was that kid in the hospital; I was told I couldn't live past 30 or have kids. They said I’d be disabled and I superseded that. So meshing music with charity,...I found that niche here to bring both of my passions together.”

January 10th, 2013
11:16 AM ET

Actor Jay Thomas: 'I don't understand why some of the wealthiest actors still have to shoot guns in every movie'

Vice President Biden and his gun control task force are set to meet in Washington with gun owners, the NRA, and other groups that advocate for gun rights.

The task force is also meeting with representatives from the video game and entertainment industries, including former Senator Chuck Dodd, the chair of the Motion Picture Association of America.

Actor/comedian Jay Thomas and Rep. Joseph Crowley join Starting Point this morning to discuss violence in the entertainment industry and to weigh in on whether or not there is a connection between violence in real life and what plays out on screen.

"I don't understand why some of the wealthiest actors in Hollywood still have to shoot guns in every movie they do," Thomas says. "They're just absolutely afraid to try and do a movie and sell a story.They don't make any money selling my 18 and 22-year-old sons a story line. So they start shooting. They want them to feel as though they're watching a video game, and it's safe."

January 10th, 2013
09:54 AM ET

From "Family Guy" to Oscar host; Seth MacFarlane talks about his blockbuster gig

It’s official. The nominations are out for the 85th Annual Academy Awards. And the man of the hour and the host of this year's ceremony is one of the nominees.

Seth MacFarlane may be best known as the force behind TV’s "Family Guy" and last summer's smash hit comedy "Ted", but today he is the voice heard round Hollywood. MacFarlane just made the Oscar nominations announcements with help from actress Emma Stone in Beverly Hills, California, and tells us about his big gig in the ceremony live on “Starting Point” this morning.

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Filed under: Awards • Entertainment • Film • Movies • Trending
January 10th, 2013
09:15 AM ET

The world according to Hollywood; Zoraida Sambolin looks at the Oscars' past with awarding history


Hollywood and all its fans wait with bated breath until Seth MacFarlane and Emma Stone announce this year’s Academy Award nominees this morning. Big contenders include “Lincoln”, “Argo” and “Zero Dark Thirty”, critically acclaimed films with historical or political importance. But these are hardly the only movies in the race that have drawn scenes from the past. Zoraida Sambolin looks at Hollywood’s fascination with history in the Oscars and tells us more.




“Since 1927, nearly half of pictures nominated for the Academy Awards are about something historical,” Sambolin says. “Why does history and politics make for so much of Oscars attention?” She offers some answers.




“Sometimes it’s as simple as good presidents, patriots and politics,” she says. “And at a time when the economy is roughed and two wars are winding down, movies can provide an escape. Then there is the controversy that usually surrounds a political film.” These factors can be related to any of the three films. “But it’s not just the action and the controversy, directors also like the personal layers in historical films—taking a character who is often larger than life, and making them human.”


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Filed under: American History • Entertainment • Film • History • Movies • Trending
January 1st, 2013
10:00 AM ET

Top Newsmakers of 2012 and an insightful look ahead to 2013

From reality television stars like Honey Boo Boo to sports sensations like Jeremy Lin, 2012 was a year that kept many people fascinated and glued to their TVs. CNN Contributors Ana Navarro and Hilary Rosen weigh in on some of the top newsmakers of 2012 as well as their predictions of who will make news in 2013.

Rosen who is also a democratic strategist says one of the most silent and yet sensational stories of the year revolved around “campaign geeks taking over politics.” She adds, “election analytics are really so important to why Barack Obama won. You know that hidden group of guys that they hired and women that spent a year behind their laptops in campaign headquarters in Chicago made the difference showing where to pull out the vote.”

Republican strategist Ana Navarro agrees with Rosen, “I told my republican counterparts we need more geeks, we need less nerds and more geeks and there’s a difference between the two.” Navarro says that for her Malala Yousafzai is her top pick because she “really has shown such perseverance.” Navarro goes on to say that Yousafzai gives her hope as a woman and “is such an example for young girls all over the world.”

Filed under: Entertainment • Inspiration
December 14th, 2012
10:18 AM ET

Author and TV critic Alan Sepinwall on how the past 15 years of TV have transformed TV viewing

On Thursday, the nominees for the 70th annual Golden Globe Awards were announced and like any year there are some surprises and snubs. This morning TV critic and blogger Alan Sepinwall, of "What's Alan Watching" joins “Starting Point” to weigh in on some of the best Television shows and how the past 15 years of TV have transformed TV viewing. Sepinwall is also the author of a new book titled "The Revolution Was Televised."

Sepinwall says, “The TV dramas on cable in particular over the last 15 years have replaced the kinds of movies that adults used expect to see.” He adds, “Now the movies are just blockbusters and really really low budget art films and not a whole lot in between.” As a result Sepinwall says viewers who are looking to indulge themselves in serious dramas will most likely look to HBO, FX, AMC and SHOWTIME.

When it comes to broadcast shows like “Lost”, “Friday Night Lights” and “24”, Sepinwall says “the threshold is higher and you have to attract a certain audience.” He adds that “Lone Star” was “FOX’s attempt to do an AMC style show’ but was cancelled after two episodes because it lacked the appropriate amount of viewers.

When asked what show he would chose for the best television series of all time, Sepinwall says, “it was either ‘The Sopranos or The Wire.’” Sepinwall says “The Sopranos” ending was “certainly talked about the most of any television series ever.”

With more and more viewers navigating towards watching their favorite TV shows online, Sepinwall says one drawback is that networks and other TV facets might not have the money to produce these kinds of shows. On the other hand, he says newer businesses like Netflix are starting to produce their own shows which is “their attempt to be the next HBO.”

Filed under: Book • Entertainment • TV
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