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Why Joseph Fiennes Took on ‘FlashForward’

hollywoodexclusive1What in the world motivated Joseph Fiennes to sign on for ABC's "FlashForward" series? After all, the distinguished Shakespearean actor turned down mainstream Hollywood movies following his huge success in "Shakespeare in Love" so he could continue to focus on stage.

It's not all that complicated, assures the actor. "It was a chance to throw down the quill and pick up a Colt 45, to get off the horse. It was, well, it was the challenge." It was also the fact, he says, that "I love American TV, have since 'The Sopranos.' I am amazed by some of the high production values around. It's also that I work for three months and have nine months to play around. I love that."

Fiennes also cites such shows as "Breaking Bad," "Weeds" and "The Wire" as outstanding in quality. When it's noted that none of the shows on his list is a network show, he agrees. "We don't have the same aspect of freedom as they do in cable, but we do go out to a large audience."

True. Fiennes' sci-fi series, which has been having its ratings struggles here, is a hit in many foreign lands. By his count, it's seen "in probably 100 countries overseas."

THE VIDEOLAND VIEW: Mary McCormack has been having a lot of fun with this season's guest stars on her "In Plain Sight" series — including Steven Weber, who turns up on an episode at month's end (around the same time that his new scary "Happy Town" series debuts). According to McCormack, "He's a total clown who had everyone laughing."

It was reunion time for McCormack and recent guest Allison Janney – they worked on "The West Wing" together. "She's one of my really great, great friends." And of Rita Moreno, who appeared last week, she notes, "She's so lovely, and she's got more energy than anyone else on the set"

McCormack hastens to add, "I love our regular cast, too. We have a wonderful time together."

Once "In Plain Sight" wraps for this season, the mother of 5-year-old and 2-year-old daughters plans to "sleep and sleep and sleep." And then? "I went to New York and did 'Boeing, Boeing' a couple of years ago, and I loved it. I'd love to do that again, find another play," says the New Jersey native, who was Tony nominated for her efforts. "But my husband — who is in L.A. working on 'Brothers and Sisters' — if I tried that, he might say 'you're not leaving the house' and take my keys away," she jokes of her producer spouse, Michael Morris.

She'd love to guest on his series. "I'd do it in a heartbeat. I love that show. I think they tackle some important issues."

LEARNING BY EXAMPLE: Steve Carell may not be aware of it, but young Britt Robertson — who played his daughter in "Dan in Real Life" — says that working with him "was like a life-changing experience for me. I learned so much from that film and watching him."

Such as? "It wasn't really direct advice. It was his whole being and the way he took on each project I got to observe over a couple of months. It was inspiring to see how he juggles his personal life and his professional life and handles them so well." The 19-year-old actress, who's now starring on the CW's "Life Unexpected" series, considers Carell "a great man on and off screen, so generous and giving. It's something that I took away from the experience that he doesn't necessarily know I know — but I know," she adds with a laugh. "And his humor is infectious. I feel like I'm a funnier person to this day because of him."

HARPER'S BIZARRE: With Alex Russo (Selena Gomez) fashion dolls already on the market, can her "Wizards of Waverly Place" best pal, Harper Finkle (Jennifer Stone) be far behind? Stone would be just fine with it if that were not the case. She admits the very idea of little plastic likenesses of herself "makes me uncomfortable. It's very bizarre to me. I never considered that option when I became an actor."

Stone, who recently headlined her own Disney Channel movie, "Harriet the Spy: Blog Wars," says, "I think I'm just really going to take it easy" over hiatus. "It's been a very busy year with the movie and my senior year in high school," notes the home-schooled 17-year-old actress. She's been shopping universities between camera calls.

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.



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