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Romano, Bakula, Braugher Had ‘Men’ Chemistry

hollywoodexclusive1If Ray Romano, Andre Braugher and Scott Bakula look like they're having a good time together on those spots for their upcoming "Men of a Certain Age" TNT series — shown heavily during the baseball playoffs — it's because they really are having a good time together, according to Bakula. He says he knew pretty fast that the chemistry between himself, Braugher and Romano was going to work well.

"I'd met them both before, but didn't really get a chance to talk until we had a couple meetings. We chatted about life and the work and the show with Ray and the other producers. We get along great," says Bakula.

On the show, debuting Dec. 8, they play "three guys who went to college together and all stayed buddies. Ray's character is separated; he runs a party store. Andre works for his dad in a car dealership. He's got three kids and he's renovating his house. My character is an actor who has never really quite made it. He has a temp job to keep free for auditions. He's done late-night infomercials, B movies. He has a 25-year-old girlfriend and a 40-year-old girlfriend. They're jealous of his lifestyle, but it's not all it's cracked up to be."

Bakula adds, "It's Ray's voice because he wrote the show. There's a humor and style to it that's unique because it's Ray. The nature of the show is so free and easy because of Ray's background. We do a lot of improv work. We fell into doing that on the pilot and the more we did it, the happier the network was. It's kind of, 'Get the scene — now let's just go play.'"

AGHAST IN THE PAST: Mayim Bialik goes far afield from her comedic image in the forthcoming big screen "Chicago 8." The actress, who rose to fame as the lead of "Blossom" when she was a young teen, plays radical activist Jerry Rubin's girlfriend, Nancy Kurshan, in the movie re-enacting the case of the protestors accused of inciting the tear gas and violence-riddled riots outside the 1968 Democratic Convention. Says Bialik, "Nancy Kurshan was one of the conspirators, but she was not tried. Women were not included in the criminal proceedings. They pushed them aside in 1969."

Proceedings eventually went forward with the Chicago 7 on trial, after Black Panther leader Bobby Seale had his case severed from the rest. "He didn't even know the others. Orlando Jones plays Bobby Seale, who was tied and gagged in the courtroom, if you can imagine that," says Bialik. Filmmakers "used the entire transcripts of the real trial" according to her. "Most of the movie is in the courtroom. A lot of us did it, really, as a labor of love. It's a beautiful project asserting our freedom and independence and the right to speak our minds and protest if we find something is not right."

Bialik took on her movie part at the same time she started shooting scenes for her January-debuting recurring role in "Secret Life of the American Teenager," and "I just hoped they wouldn't overlap," says the mother of two young sons, who holds a doctorate in neuroscience.

Bialik is also back in funny form in the Nov. 20 episode of the Brad Garrett-Joely Fisher "'Til Death." The show reunited her with her "Blossom" producer, Don Reo.

"I've actually auditioned for Don before for the show," reports Bialik. "They told me, 'You weren't right for this role, but Don wants you for a different role.'" And that role turned out to be ... Mayim Bialik. "I'm playing myself," she says — as the psychiatrist who sees Doug (Timm Sharp).

ANOTHER TONGUE: Maiara Walsh tells us she's having a blast playing Eva Longoria's niece on "Desperate Housewives," but she would like to show off her language skills at some point, especially since she's playing a Latina. "My mom is Brazilian so I speak Portuguese and I'm proficient in Spanish so I can understand it. I'm hoping they'll let me use some Spanish at some point," says Walsh. "Maybe I can pull Marc Cherry aside at some point and ask." Sounds bueno to us!

FRIGHTFUL DEVELOPMENT: With "Paranormal Activity" en route to becoming a "Blair Witch" type of phenomenon, get ready for another wave of low — low — budget "docu"-horror flicks. Casting is underway now for "The Devil Inside," which has a young woman out to investigate what really happened when three people involved in an exorcism were murdered. The murderer: her own mother, who she knows to be insane.

With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster

To find out more about Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith and read their past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2009 MARILYN BECK AND STACY JENEL SMITH

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