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‘Marriage Ref’ Inundated with Requests

hollywoodexclusive1Hard to believe to look at Poppy Montgomery, but the slim, blond "Without a Trace" actress, who's graced the pages of Maxim in a hot photo spread, now reveals she fought a weight problem that saw her tipping the scales at 200 pounds. She tells us she wishes losing the pounds could be as easy as it is on television.

In her latest project, "Lying to Be Perfect," the leggy Aussie plays an overweight magazine editor who bands together with three friends to create the "Cinderella Pact," where they vow to lose weight by following the advice of their "fairy godmother." "As soon as I read it, I was like, 'This is a fairy tale story!' and I love happily ever after. It's obviously not a real-life portrayal of how it would go because I know when I gained 70 pounds in pregnancy, I didn't have a few montages to great music and lose the weight," says Montgomery with a laugh. "It was really hard and painful. I was 200 pounds, and I'm only 5'4", so it took me 10 months of blood, sweat and tears to get back to where I was prior to that. I had fun getting there, though. I was like, 'This is great! I'm eating everything!'"

She explains of the Lifetime movie, premiering Sunday (1/31), "The movie is about her taking back her power and realizing she doesn't have to pretend to be this idea of what's perfect. I hope the message is that she loses the weight and gets in shape to be healthy. It's not like because she's thin, everything works out perfectly because that's certainly not the message that I want to give," adds Montgomery.

As for what's next, she says she's looking to get back to work after taking some time off to be with her son. "I do want to do TV again because I love that schedule and I love the consistency of it, but I'm not sure what kind of show yet. I'm reading everything now. It's like when I was looking for a house; I'll know it when I see it."

PAPA'S BRAND NEW BAG: Comedian Tom Papa says that filming his Feb. 28-premiering "The Marriage Ref" is already "making me see my relationship with my wife in a different light." For better, or worse?

"For better!" he replies. "I think that what people are going to come away with on the show is not to take things so seriously, and that's what's happening to me at home. It's like, 'Oh, that's just silly.' You've got to laugh at it."

Papa's show is being executive produced by Jerry Seinfeld — as anyone who's watched NBC recently is quite well aware, since the network's been flooded with "Marriage Ref" promos. He says the show team is already becoming inundated with suggestions and requests from and about couples who want him making decisions as to which partner is right in their marital tiffs. A panel of comedians will help him decide.

"We're going through these, reviewing so many of them," he says. Don't expect any serious arguments or any involving children. They're along the lines of a man who wanted to keep his motorcycle in the living room. "That's pretty 'out there,' but when you see it on the air, you see there are a lot of different reasons he's not that crazy," Papa declares.

He also says, "My whole career is talking about family life and married life in my stand-up, so for me, this show is such the perfect storm. And I really feel like, from touring around and doing my act, which is all family based, there's an audience for this. There's nothing out there comedically like it."

CASTING CORNER: With ABC having ordered Matthew Perry's "Mr. Sunshine" series pilot — which the former "Friends" star is exec producing with superproducer Jamie Tarses — the push is on to fill out the cast of the comedy. Some details: Perry's 40-year-old commitment-averse character works in a San Diego sports/entertainment arena, along with his sometimes-girlfriend and co-worker who learns she's pregnant, but not by him. That life-changing situation is a wakeup call for his character that maybe it's time to get on with his life. Casting sources report that there's already an offer out to an actress to play opposite Perry. Also needed are co-worker/friend characters including athletic African-American Alonzo, sweet-faced twenty-something guy Roman and innocent, young Heather.

Hugh Jackman's "Real Steel" has a start date in Michigan in June, but it doesn't have the youngster who'll play Jackman's smart, tough, strong-willed son in the father-son drama being produced by Robert Zemeckis and Shawn Levy, with Levy directing. They're looking for a 10- to 14-year-old to play the boy who's reunited with his irresponsible dad after his mother's death, and joins with him to take a robot to the Bot Boxing Championship.


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.



2 Responses »

  1. Im on the marriage ref and its really funny!