Tim Tebow to Host LeBron James-Produced ‘Million Dollar Mile’ for CBS

Former NFL quarterback and current minor league baseball player Tim Tebow will host CBS’ upcoming “Million Dollar Mile” competition series produced by LeBron James.

In “Million Dollar Mile,” contestants will have the chance to win $1,000,000 every time they run the Million Dollar Mile. Standing in their way is the most challenging course ever designed and a group of elite athletes with one mission – to stop the contestants from winning the money at all costs. The series, which is currently in production in Los Angeles, does not yet have a premiere date.

Along with Tebow, Matt “Money” Smith and Maria Taylor will serve as the show’s commentators. Smith currently serves the play-by-play announcer for the Los Angeles Chargers on AM radio station KFI, while Taylor is a host and reporter for ESPN.

Also Read: Ryan Coogler Teams With LeBron James to Produce ‘Space Jam 2’ for Warner Bros.

“Watching good people compete at their highest ability is always inspirational to me,” Tebow said in a statment. “‘Million Dollar Mile’ is a show that does just that – it motivates, thrills, and is aspirational and I’m excited to be hosting this show.”

Tebow is best known for his days as the University of Florida quarterback, winning the 2007 Heisman Trophy and leading the Gators to a pair of national championships in 2006 and 2008. After a brief tenure in the NFL with the Denver Broncos and New York Jets, Tebow is now trying to make it in baseball, where he is a minor leaguer with the New York Mets organization.

In addition, James and his producing partner Maverick Carter, “Big Brother” duo Allison Grodner and Rich Meehan with Fly on the Wall Entertainment will also executive produce. The series comes from Warner Horizon Unscripted & Alternative Television.

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Former NFL quarterback and current minor league baseball player Tim Tebow will host CBS’ upcoming “Million Dollar Mile” competition series produced by LeBron James.

In “Million Dollar Mile,” contestants will have the chance to win $1,000,000 every time they run the Million Dollar Mile. Standing in their way is the most challenging course ever designed and a group of elite athletes with one mission – to stop the contestants from winning the money at all costs. The series, which is currently in production in Los Angeles, does not yet have a premiere date.

Along with Tebow, Matt “Money” Smith and Maria Taylor will serve as the show’s commentators. Smith currently serves the play-by-play announcer for the Los Angeles Chargers on AM radio station KFI, while Taylor is a host and reporter for ESPN.

“Watching good people compete at their highest ability is always inspirational to me,” Tebow said in a statment. “‘Million Dollar Mile’ is a show that does just that – it motivates, thrills, and is aspirational and I’m excited to be hosting this show.”

Tebow is best known for his days as the University of Florida quarterback, winning the 2007 Heisman Trophy and leading the Gators to a pair of national championships in 2006 and 2008. After a brief tenure in the NFL with the Denver Broncos and New York Jets, Tebow is now trying to make it in baseball, where he is a minor leaguer with the New York Mets organization.

In addition, James and his producing partner Maverick Carter, “Big Brother” duo Allison Grodner and Rich Meehan with Fly on the Wall Entertainment will also executive produce. The series comes from Warner Horizon Unscripted & Alternative Television.

Related stories from TheWrap:

'Surveillance': Matthew Modine to Star Opposite Sophia Bush on CBS' NSA Drama Pilot

Bob Kushell Out as Co-Showrunner of CBS' 'Fam' for Using 'Inappropriate Language in the Workplace'

CBS Beats Wall Street in First Earnings Post-Moonves

‘Mapplethorpe’ Director Ondi Timoner Inks With APA

EXCLUSIVE: Ondi Timoner, the documentary filmmaker who is making her narrative feature debut with the Matt Smith-starring biopic Mapplethorpe, has signed with APA and Dialed-in Entertainment.
Timoner has won a pair of Sundance Film Festival grand jury …

EXCLUSIVE: Ondi Timoner, the documentary filmmaker who is making her narrative feature debut with the Matt Smith-starring biopic Mapplethorpe, has signed with APA and Dialed-in Entertainment. Timoner has won a pair of Sundance Film Festival grand jury prizes — first in 2004 for her feature documentary debut Dig!, then again in 2009 for We Live In Public. Her docu feature credits also include Join Us (2007), Cool It (2010), and Brand: A Second Coming (2015). Last year…

IFC Films Lands US Rights to Charles Manson Family Drama ‘Charlie Says’

IFC Films has picked up U.S. rights to “Charlie Says,” about three young women who fell under Charles Manson’s spell and carried out a series of brutal murders, including that of Sharon Tate, Roman Polanski’s pregnant wife. The company announced the deal on Monday.

The film, which premiered earlier this month at the Venice Film Festival, was directed by Mary Harron (“American Psycho”) from a script penned by Guinevere Turner (“American Psycho”). The film is based on Ed Sanders’ 1971 bestselling book “The Family.”

Matt Smith (“The Crown,” “Doctor Who”) stars as the infamous Charles Manson alongside Suki Waterhouse, Hannah Murray, Sosie Bacon, Marianne Rendon and Merritt Wever.

Also Read: ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ Adds Rumer Willis, Margaret Qualley and Damon Herriman (Exclusive)

The film follows three young women who were sentenced to death in the Manson murder case. But after the death penalty was lifted, their sentence became life imprisonment. As one young graduate student visits Manson’s former followers in prison, the audience witnesses their psychological rehabilitation through her eyes, as the women face the reality of their horrific crimes.

The deal is in the seven figures, according to an individual with knowledge of the pact who told TheWrap.  It was negotiated by Arianna Bocco, EVP of acquisitions and production at IFC Films and UTA Independent Film Group on behalf of the filmmaker. IFC Films is planning for a 2019 theatrical release.

“Charlie Says” was produced by Epic Level Entertainment and Roxwell Films.

Also Read: Fox Has a Charles Manson Special Based on Rare Footage From Inside the Cult

The movie was produced by Dana Guerin, Cindi Rice, John Frank Rosenblum and Jeremy Rosen. David Hillary, Ed Sanders and Michael Guerin executive produced.

Variety first reported the news.

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IFC Films has picked up U.S. rights to “Charlie Says,” about three young women who fell under Charles Manson’s spell and carried out a series of brutal murders, including that of Sharon Tate, Roman Polanski’s pregnant wife. The company announced the deal on Monday.

The film, which premiered earlier this month at the Venice Film Festival, was directed by Mary Harron (“American Psycho”) from a script penned by Guinevere Turner (“American Psycho”). The film is based on Ed Sanders’ 1971 bestselling book “The Family.”

Matt Smith (“The Crown,” “Doctor Who”) stars as the infamous Charles Manson alongside Suki Waterhouse, Hannah Murray, Sosie Bacon, Marianne Rendon and Merritt Wever.

The film follows three young women who were sentenced to death in the Manson murder case. But after the death penalty was lifted, their sentence became life imprisonment. As one young graduate student visits Manson’s former followers in prison, the audience witnesses their psychological rehabilitation through her eyes, as the women face the reality of their horrific crimes.

The deal is in the seven figures, according to an individual with knowledge of the pact who told TheWrap.  It was negotiated by Arianna Bocco, EVP of acquisitions and production at IFC Films and UTA Independent Film Group on behalf of the filmmaker. IFC Films is planning for a 2019 theatrical release.

“Charlie Says” was produced by Epic Level Entertainment and Roxwell Films.

The movie was produced by Dana Guerin, Cindi Rice, John Frank Rosenblum and Jeremy Rosen. David Hillary, Ed Sanders and Michael Guerin executive produced.

Variety first reported the news.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Matt Smith to Play Charles Manson in 'Charlie Says' From 'American Psycho' Director

Former Manson Girl Says Charles Manson Seduced Her at Age 14

Leslie Van Houten, Charles Manson's Youngest Follower, Granted Parole

Mary Harron, Guinevere Turner on Manson Murders Movie ‘Charlie Says,’ Starring Matt Smith

Director Mary Harron and writer Guinevere Turner have made three films together now, starting with the extraordinary 2000 adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’s “American Psycho” that set its star, Christian Bale, on course for the A-list. After that came “…

Director Mary Harron and writer Guinevere Turner have made three films together now, starting with the extraordinary 2000 adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’s “American Psycho” that set its star, Christian Bale, on course for the A-list. After that came “The Notorious Bettie Page” (2005), a biopic of the infamous New York bondage model who burst […]

‘Star Wars: Episode IX’ Taps ‘Doctor Who’ Alum Matt Smith

BREAKING: The Crown star and Doctor Who alum Matt Smith has reportedly joined J.J. Abrams Star Wars: Episode IX.
It is not known if he’ll be on the side of the Rebels or the Empire. Smith joins a cast that includes Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Osca…

BREAKING: The Crown star and Doctor Who alum Matt Smith has reportedly joined J.J. Abrams Star Wars: Episode IX. It is not known if he’ll be on the side of the Rebels or the Empire. Smith joins a cast that includes Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, and Adam Driver, as well as new Star Wars castmembers Keri Russell, Richard E. Grant, Dominic Monaghan, and Naomi Ackie. Billy Dee Williams, Mark Hamill and Anthony Daniels are also returning. While Star Wars is taking…

‘The Crown’ Star Matt Smith on ‘Naughty’ Prince Philip, the First Female ‘Doctor’ and Pay Parity

By now, Matt Smith should be familiar with handing over a part to another actor — after four years of playing The Doctor, he left the role to next be embodied by Peter Capaldi. And now, after two season of playing Prince Philip on the Netflix’s &…

By now, Matt Smith should be familiar with handing over a part to another actor — after four years of playing The Doctor, he left the role to next be embodied by Peter Capaldi. And now, after two season of playing Prince Philip on the Netflix’s “The Crown,” he’s stepping aside to let Tobias Menzies […]

‘The Crown’ Stars Claire Foy and Matt Smith on What They’ll Miss Most About Royal Roles

This story about Matt Smith and Claire Foy first appeared in the Down to the Wire issue of TheWrap’s Emmy magazine.

Peter Morgan was forthcoming from the start about the nature of his drama series “The Crown,” in that the series would span several decades and would require multiple actors to portray the British royal family and their cohorts at different ages.

But every time we saw Claire Foy and Matt Smith (Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, respectively) discuss their inevitable exits, it didn’t feel quite real.

The pair were dazzling as the pre-coronation couple of Season 1, before Elizabeth’s father passed and she was called to duty. They were even more compelling in Season 2 as two people in an imploding marriage, with an ancient monarchy and increasingly modern subjects hanging in the balance. By day they may have represented an aspirational ideal, but in the bedrooms and hallways of Buckingham Palace they lived out entirely common human melodrama.

Also Read: ‘The Crown’: Matt Smith Has Great (Pay Equality) Advice for New Prince Philip Tobias Menzies (Video)

“Just because this family is royal doesn’t mean that they don’t go through the universal things we all do,” Smith said. “That’s where I think the show lives and dies, in that domesticity — yes, they are royal, but they do come in drunk and dive on the bed.”

And make no mistake, those are the moments he loves. “Often, the stuff that looks really ugly on the screen is the stuff that you’re enthralled by as an actor,” he said. “It means you can sink your teeth into something. Sometimes the mundane can be the hardest to play.”

Olivia Colman (“Broadchurch”) will take Foy’s crown and scepter to play Elizabeth II. Tobias Menzies (“Game of Thrones”) will step into Philip’s shoes, a baton-passing Smith is familiar with thanks to his work on the BBC anthology “Doctor Who.”

“There’s something kind of groovy about going, ‘Hey, here’s this part,’” he said. “No matter what you think of him, Philip has been a wonderful servant to this country and a wonderful support. There have been bumps in the road, but he’s making a laugh. He’s a total rebel.”

Also Read: ‘The Crown’ Casts Older Prince Charles, Queen Mother for Season 3 Time Jump

We’re not worried about Morgan’s long-proven ability to pull compelling drama out of the dustiest historical retellings — “The Crown” has an episode about an unpleasant fog that plays more like an action movie — but it will be difficult to let go of seeing these icons in their historical infancy.

For his part, Smith is happy to be relieved of his title — though he will miss one of the role’s best perks. “Claire and I are very close friends and have had a wonderful working relationship,” he said. “We were a team, on screen and off.”

That friendship was tested by one offscreen story: the revelation that Foy was paid less than Smith despite her more prominent role.

“I am incredibly proud of what I’ve been part of, and I don’t want my work in that program to be overshadowed by my pay,” she said. “Something good has got to come out of all the shame and the embarrassment of talking about my worth in comparison to one of my best friends.”

To read more of TheWrap’s Down to the Wire issue, click here.

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‘The Crown’ Producers Apologize to Stars Claire Foy and Matt Smith Over Pay Gap ‘Media Storm’

This story about Matt Smith and Claire Foy first appeared in the Down to the Wire issue of TheWrap’s Emmy magazine.

Peter Morgan was forthcoming from the start about the nature of his drama series “The Crown,” in that the series would span several decades and would require multiple actors to portray the British royal family and their cohorts at different ages.

But every time we saw Claire Foy and Matt Smith (Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, respectively) discuss their inevitable exits, it didn’t feel quite real.

The pair were dazzling as the pre-coronation couple of Season 1, before Elizabeth’s father passed and she was called to duty. They were even more compelling in Season 2 as two people in an imploding marriage, with an ancient monarchy and increasingly modern subjects hanging in the balance. By day they may have represented an aspirational ideal, but in the bedrooms and hallways of Buckingham Palace they lived out entirely common human melodrama.

“Just because this family is royal doesn’t mean that they don’t go through the universal things we all do,” Smith said. “That’s where I think the show lives and dies, in that domesticity — yes, they are royal, but they do come in drunk and dive on the bed.”

And make no mistake, those are the moments he loves. “Often, the stuff that looks really ugly on the screen is the stuff that you’re enthralled by as an actor,” he said. “It means you can sink your teeth into something. Sometimes the mundane can be the hardest to play.”

Olivia Colman (“Broadchurch”) will take Foy’s crown and scepter to play Elizabeth II. Tobias Menzies (“Game of Thrones”) will step into Philip’s shoes, a baton-passing Smith is familiar with thanks to his work on the BBC anthology “Doctor Who.”

“There’s something kind of groovy about going, ‘Hey, here’s this part,'” he said. “No matter what you think of him, Philip has been a wonderful servant to this country and a wonderful support. There have been bumps in the road, but he’s making a laugh. He’s a total rebel.”

We’re not worried about Morgan’s long-proven ability to pull compelling drama out of the dustiest historical retellings — “The Crown” has an episode about an unpleasant fog that plays more like an action movie — but it will be difficult to let go of seeing these icons in their historical infancy.

For his part, Smith is happy to be relieved of his title — though he will miss one of the role’s best perks. “Claire and I are very close friends and have had a wonderful working relationship,” he said. “We were a team, on screen and off.”

That friendship was tested by one offscreen story: the revelation that Foy was paid less than Smith despite her more prominent role.

“I am incredibly proud of what I’ve been part of, and I don’t want my work in that program to be overshadowed by my pay,” she said. “Something good has got to come out of all the shame and the embarrassment of talking about my worth in comparison to one of my best friends.”

To read more of TheWrap’s Down to the Wire issue, click here.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Evan Rachel Wood, Gina Rodriguez and Other Stars Take Aim at TV's Patriarchy: 'There's No Going Back'

'The Crown': See the First Images of Helena Bonham Carter and Ben Daniels (Photos)

'The Crown' Producers Apologize to Stars Claire Foy and Matt Smith Over Pay Gap 'Media Storm'

Emmy Voters Shouldn’t Take Netflix’s ‘The Crown’ For Granted, as It’s The Last Chance to Reward Beautifully Understated Work

Season 2 is the final chance for “The Crown” stars like Claire Foy and Matt Smith to collect Emmys as they move on to other opportunities and new stars step in.

ConsiderThis

Netflix’s lavishly appointed Season 2 of “The Crown,” which takes place from 1956-1964, landed the same number of Emmy nominations as last year (13). But the series faces a mighty lineup of dramas this time, including Season 2 of last year’s winner “The Handmaid’s Tale,” as well as the penultimate season of “Game of Thrones” and the lauded final season of “The Americans.” This intense race could be close.

Netflix knows how to campaign, and the royal saga is popular, which would appear to give it an edge. But many Emmy voters seem to take for granted how well the team led by showrunner Peter Morgan (“The Queen,” “The Audience”), who writes and delivers all ten episodes at the start of each season, pulls off an historic costume drama on a fast-paced television schedule, complete with elaborate period sets and costumes. At a hefty $6 million-$7 million per episode for 20 episodes (a total $130 million), Morgan calls it “cinematic television.”

“He doesn’t mess around,” Smith told me. “It’s the only show I’ve ever been on where all ten scripts are in pretty good lick. He manages these characters and episodes and stories we think we know well and finds an interesting angle of approach.”

And the acting is top-notch too, led by Golden Globe-winner Claire Foy (“Wolf Hall”) as rock-solid Queen Elizabeth. The Queen is trying to hang on to her fragile prime ministers as well as her dashing swain Prince Philip (Matt Smith) and keep the peace with her hipper sister, stylish Princess Margaret (Vanessa Kirby), who recovers from a broken heart by falling for swinging photographer Anthony Armstrong-Jones (Matthew Goode). All earned nominations this year; last time only John Lithgow as Winston Churchill took home an Emmy statue.

The Crown - Elizabeth, Jackie - Jackie Kennedy and Queen Elizabeth II meet

The Crown – Elizabeth, Jackie – Jackie Kennedy and Queen Elizabeth II meet

Alex Bailey / Netflix

It’s the last round for this cast, however, as Season 3 sends in an replacement crew to play the Royals as the hit middle age, including Olivia Colman (“The Night Manager”) as the Queen, “Outlander” villain Tobias Menzies as Philip, and Helena Bonham Carter (“Sweeney Todd”) as Margaret. While the original cast are wistful to leave the “The Crown” family, they’re moving on to opportunities aplenty. Before Season 3 started filming, Kirby was in touch with Bonham-Carter every day, sending her a music playlist for Margaret. “I’m grateful to get to share Margaret with somebody,” she said. “My obsession is extreme!”

Morgan did not know when he started how popular the show would be, but he signed his stars for only two years. “I don’t think it’s fair to ask an actor to age more than 20 years,” he said at a TV Academy panel. “If we’re going to be doing 60 years, it’s not fair for them to spend five hours in makeup every day. But it’s hard for me, now that I’ve got used to how Claire is. I’ve hit my stride in writing for her, it’s writers interruptus. You meet these wonderful actors and discover what they can do. The same with Vanessa. The new cast will present new challenges–it’s hard enough without new challenges!”

Smith had already experienced giving up a popular role with Doctor Who. “I’d rather do two years than seven,” he said.

While Smith (“Doctor Who”) and Goode (“The Imitation Game”) are fairly well-known, both Foy and Kirby launched film careers with the series, from Foy’s punk hacker Lisbeth Salander in the upcoming “Dragon Tattoo” sequel “The Girl In the Spider’s Web” to Kirby’s flirtatious turn opposite Tom Cruise in summer smash “Mission: Impossible–Fallout.” Meanwhile, Smith has taken on two creepy characters, Patrick Bateman in London musical “American Psycho” and Charles Manson in upcoming “Charlie Says.”

The issue of who got paid what has hovered over the series. Although Foy was cast first as the Queen of England and commanded more screen time, she was less established at the start than Smith, who broke out as a star in Doctor Who and had salary leverage when Morgan insisted on casting him because the chemistry with Foy was so strong in their auditions. “There was electric, immediate energy in the room,” said Morgan. “The producers said, ‘look, we’re in negotiation, does he really have to be Philip?’ ‘There is no option. It has to be him.'”

So they paid him more than Foy.

“I find a huge amount of support around me and in the industry and around the world,” said Foy of her unequal pay vs. Smith, “knowing that if I don’t speak up and support myself than nobody else will. You have to be your own advocate, without being difficult, and be willing to step away from something you don’t agree with. That’s happening and it’s extraordinary.”

If Season 1 set up the royal stakes in the central fraught marriage between dashing Navy man Philip and the Queen to whom he had bow and kneel, it was also a hard act to follow.  All the directors came back to shoot Season 2, including Stephen Daldry (who cherry-picked episodes eight and nine). There was more color and travel, roving from Tonga, Ghana and Papua New Guinea to the Antarctic.

Costume Designer Jane Petrie, Claire Foy, Vanessa Kirby and Creator/Exec. Producer/Writer Peter MorganNetflix original series "The Crown" ATAS Official Screening and Panel at the Wolf theater at Saban Media Center, Los Angeles, USA - 27 April 2018

“The Crown” costume Designer Jane Petrie, Claire Foy, Vanessa Kirby and creator Peter Morgan.

Eric Charbonneau/REX/Shutterstock

With Season 2, the team moved with more confidence into the story that digs deeper into Queen Elizabeth’s relationship with her husband and her prime ministers, such as Anthony Eden (Jeremy Northam), as he colludes with Egypt on the Aswan Dam. Fashionably modern John and Jackie Kennedy come to Buckingham Palace. And old-fashioned Elizabeth faces harsh criticism from one politician, Lord Altrincham (John Heffernan), causing her to change the stilted way she speaks in public.

The cast who played royals practiced the accent constantly. “We spent all our time speaking it on set,” Kirby told me in a phone interview. “It must have pissed off the crew. We were all in it together. I tried to find a middle ground, we didn’t want to alienate people too much, I tried to make my voice slower. She sounds different by the end of the season, we’re growing up with them. ”

As Morgan writes the episodes himself, he doesn’t have a writers’ room, but a researchers’ room. He sifts through history, dumping the obvious stuff in favor of delicious details that might surprise or upend conventional wisdom. “It’s an absolute joy, as a dramatist, looking at the intimate and the epic,” he said. “They are just like us and they are nothing like us.”

On “The Crown,” where the Queen tends to keep a stiff upper lip, a scene between Jackie and Elizabeth having tea and scones is as dramatic as it gets. “I’ve long been writing this for so long, everyone is so polite, I’m desperate for a fight scene,” Morgan said. “I long to write a punch-up, there’s been no blood on this show for 20 episodes. That scone was my fight scene. She buttered the scone irritatedly.”

The Crown - Elizabeth - Elizabeth watches Philip's plane take off

Claire Foy, “The Crown”

Stuart Hendry / Netflix

Most dramatists don’t pick an introverted, shy, middle-aged woman as their central protagonist. “With someone like Tony Soprano, any emotional response was valid: kindness, cruelty, gentleness, butchery sexiness,” said Morgan. “You don’t have that with the Queen. You’ve got her trapped within this other thing: it is very Russian doll. You’ve got the woman within the woman within the thing that is not the woman– the Crown–which is not gender specific, neither feminine or masculine. How a woman connects with that is complex, so she’s lost some of herself. She’s not an articulate person, so you can’t go on and on to explain that complexity. So someone like Claire is skilled enough to do it in repose. So you never feel that the character is not complex, because you’ve got an actor skillful enough to give you that, even in silence.”

In the editing room, Morgan found that whenever there was a missing transition he learned to rely on Foy’s reaction shots. “When Claire was on screen the whole thing was settled,” he said. “That wouldn’t involve her throwing plates. It was just the strength of her performance and how completely she inhabited the character, and how she as an actor in that character could give the whole thing an orientation and center and an anchor. As the Queen gives anchor and stability to the country, so Claire was doing in our show.”

The Crown(L to R) Elizabeth, Prince PhilipQueen Elizabeth II formally makes Philip a British Prince

Luckily Foy has always been a reactive listener. “I love being in a scene and not thinking about anything but what that character is thinking,” she said. “I’ve always loved listening and being able to think like the character. And this show appreciated a character who doesn’t go forward, but sits and lets people come to her. And not many shows appreciate that, they don’t put someone at the center, who’s just being and listening.”

Smith is Foy’s exact opposite. He brings a competitive athlete’s physical masculinity to Philip. “I quite like Philip’s maleness,” said Smith, “which in this day and age is interesting. And Elizabeth liked that about him.”

“Philip is a tough man,” said Smith. “Charles notoriously wasn’t, he’s the antithesis of Philip, emotional and sensitive. Philip is those things deep down. But he was growing up in a different time, he had to grow up quite quickly. He went through death and tragedy as a young man. He was essentially orphaned.”

Foy and Smith were opposites as actors. “We work in different ways,” Foy said. “We brought out in each other instantly a friendship, we’re able to give each other what we needed. Matt wants to try new things and get an extra take; I’m ready to go on the first take, to be real and never do it again. That was a tricky thing to negotiate.”

Foy admired Smith’s willingness not to make audiences like Philip. “He’s masculine and feminine, able to be emotional and vulnerable and bit of a love,” she said. “He can be incredibly selfish and you still like him, he has the gift of being likable.”

At the end of the series, as pregnant Elizabeth is lonely and isolated at Balmoral Castle in Scotland, scandal-plagued Philip finally comes to her on his knees, a supplicant. “That scene was a pain in the ass,” Smith said. “It took three days. The history is tricky. How much of it to reveal, a sensitive subject, that. With the Queen of England you never acknowledge the fact that Philip was over the abyss. I look at it as a man on his back foot fighting for his life. Whatever you say, they endure. They are a team. He makes her laugh.”

The Crown - Margaret - Margaret waits for Tony at his studio

“The Crown”

Alex Bailey / Netflix

On the other hand, Vanessa Kirby as Margaret gets to open up more. “The biggest gift was that she feels everything so deeply,” she said. “Whatever color of emotion she’s having is 100 percent. Claire is the master of subtle and internal; I’m sweating and spit is coming out. Margaret’s emotions are all on the surface, while Elizabeth’s are buried.”

In Season 2, Kirby gets to smash up her room a bit. Margaret is “someone in pain who descends into something quite scary,” she said. “Along comes Tony Armstrong-Jones and she meets him when she’s in the worst place.”

In the first cycle, Foy got to wear an elaborate wedding dress; now it was Kirby’s turn. “I’m not very fashionable, I wear jeans and shorts,” said Kirby. “Margaret taught me a lot, to express my internal life through costumes.” She and the costume designer Jane Petrie spent weeks choosing ratios and shapes and fabrics. “Her costumes are an indication of where she was at. Even when she trashes her room she’s wearing a gothic robe. The next morning, she’s pale in a yellow granny nighty, she had lost all sense of her identity. I wanted to take her on a journey to  show how Margaret finds her place in the world. She’s born into something she couldn’t escape from.”

Meanwhile, Margaret yet again has to seek Elizabeth’s permission to marry. “I didn’t want to overplay it or underplay it,” Kirby said. “It’s a mixture of resentment and intense need and exhaustion and vibrancy. She is in active denial, looking away from Tony who is massively disloyal and destructive and dysfunctional for her. All those things in one scene feels quite scary.”

James Corden & Matt Smith Crowned As Parody Crimebusters ‘Lizzie & The Duke’

With crowns all the rage, The Late Late Show with James Corden pulled a royal flush last night with its fake commercial for Lizzie & The Duke, a faux-cop drama tapping into the latest British Invasion with a special appearance by ex-Doctor Who hims…

With crowns all the rage, The Late Late Show with James Corden pulled a royal flush last night with its fake commercial for Lizzie & The Duke, a faux-cop drama tapping into the latest British Invasion with a special appearance by ex-Doctor Who himself, Matt Smith. Watch the video above. Smith, of The Crown, plays a crimefighting, by-the-book Prince Philip, who is teamed by the gruff Chief McDaniels (Terry Crews) with the tough, anything-goes Queen Elizabeth (Corden, doing…

‘Lethal Weapon’ Meets ‘The Crown’ in Fake Promo for James Corden, Matt Smith’s New Cop Drama (Video)

Matt Smith and James Corden are kicking ass and taking on royal names in a fake promo for a gritty new cop drama, which aired during the “Late Late Show” Thursday night.

In the teaser for “Lizzie & the Duke” (think “Lethal Weapon” meets “The Crown”) Prince Philip (Smith) is assigned a new partner, his wife, Queen Elizabeth II (Corden). The two have an awkward history, but their chief (played by Terry Crews) thinks the by-the-book Duke and the loose cannon queen are the best of the best and forces a team up.

“Come on, Philip! Let’s go and teach these ghastly ruffians some manners,” Her Majesty says before the two take off in slow motion to go bust some bad guys.

Also Read: James Corden and Matt Smith Don’t Get Halloween at All and Vanessa Hudgens Is Personally Offended (Video)

The rest is a long compilation of classic cop show tropes being mashed up with subtle (and some not so subtle) nods to Smith’s tenure on the Netflix drama about the royal couple, and the fact that he and Corden are both super British.

“Bend the knee!” Corden screams while holding a perp against a wall, while Smith interrogates a suspect during tea time. The queen then beheads someone and during a shootout, Philip cries, “I am too royal for this s—.”

It ends with the tagline: “This fall on CBS, criminals are royally screwed.” Oh, we wish.

Watch the clip above.

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Matt Smith and James Corden are kicking ass and taking on royal names in a fake promo for a gritty new cop drama, which aired during the “Late Late Show” Thursday night.

In the teaser for “Lizzie & the Duke” (think “Lethal Weapon” meets “The Crown”) Prince Philip (Smith) is assigned a new partner, his wife, Queen Elizabeth II (Corden). The two have an awkward history, but their chief (played by Terry Crews) thinks the by-the-book Duke and the loose cannon queen are the best of the best and forces a team up.

“Come on, Philip! Let’s go and teach these ghastly ruffians some manners,” Her Majesty says before the two take off in slow motion to go bust some bad guys.

The rest is a long compilation of classic cop show tropes being mashed up with subtle (and some not so subtle) nods to Smith’s tenure on the Netflix drama about the royal couple, and the fact that he and Corden are both super British.

“Bend the knee!” Corden screams while holding a perp against a wall, while Smith interrogates a suspect during tea time. The queen then beheads someone and during a shootout, Philip cries, “I am too royal for this s—.”

It ends with the tagline: “This fall on CBS, criminals are royally screwed.” Oh, we wish.

Watch the clip above.

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‘The Crown’: Matt Smith Has Great (Pay Equality) Advice for New Prince Philip Tobias Menzies (Video)

Matt Smith shared some solid advice with the new Prince Philip on Netflix’s “The Crown,” Tobias Menzies. James Corden coaxed the counseling out of Smith on Wednesday night’s “Late Late Show.”

“Don’t do it,” Smith (seemingly) joked about what he told pal Menzies when asked.

“I just said, ‘God, make sure they pay you enough — and make sure it’s even,” a (semi) more serious Smith said, emphasizing the latter half of that statement for comedic effect.

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Smith, a former Doctor on “Doctor Who,” found himself in the middle of an income inequality controversy earlier this year when it came out he was paid more than female co-star Claire Foy, who played Queen Elizabeth II over the show’s first two seasons.

“We want to apologize to both Claire Foy and to Matt Smith, brilliant actors and friends, who have found themselves at the center of a media storm this week through no fault of their own,” production company Left Bank Pictures said in a statement. “Claire and Matt are incredibly gifted actors who, along with the wider cast on ‘The Crown’ have worked tirelessly to bring our characters to life with compassion and integrity.”

“As the producers of ‘The Crown,’ we at Left Bank Pictures are responsible for budgets and salaries; the actors are not aware of who gets what, and cannot be held personally responsible for the pay of their colleagues,” the company continued, with producers later vowing that “Going forward, no one gets paid more than the queen.”

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Watch the video from Smith’s CBS appearance above.

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Matt Smith shared some solid advice with the new Prince Philip on Netflix’s “The Crown,” Tobias Menzies. James Corden coaxed the counseling out of Smith on Wednesday night’s “Late Late Show.”

“Don’t do it,” Smith (seemingly) joked about what he told pal Menzies when asked.

“I just said, ‘God, make sure they pay you enough — and make sure it’s even,” a (semi) more serious Smith said, emphasizing the latter half of that statement for comedic effect.

Smith, a former Doctor on “Doctor Who,” found himself in the middle of an income inequality controversy earlier this year when it came out he was paid more than female co-star Claire Foy, who played Queen Elizabeth II over the show’s first two seasons.

“We want to apologize to both Claire Foy and to Matt Smith, brilliant actors and friends, who have found themselves at the center of a media storm this week through no fault of their own,” production company Left Bank Pictures said in a statement. “Claire and Matt are incredibly gifted actors who, along with the wider cast on ‘The Crown’ have worked tirelessly to bring our characters to life with compassion and integrity.”

“As the producers of ‘The Crown,’ we at Left Bank Pictures are responsible for budgets and salaries; the actors are not aware of who gets what, and cannot be held personally responsible for the pay of their colleagues,” the company continued, with producers later vowing that “Going forward, no one gets paid more than the queen.”

Watch the video from Smith’s CBS appearance above.

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James Corden and Matt Smith Don’t Get Halloween at All and Vanessa Hudgens Is Personally Offended (Video)

The British don’t understand Americans affinity for Oct. 31. Well, at least James Corden and Matt Smith don’t, as they harassed poor Vanessa Hudgens — who “lives for Halloween” — as she raved about her favorite holiday on Wednesday’s “Late Late Show.”

“See, we’re British, we don’t really get it,” Corden said before the “Doctor Who” alum jumped in to say, “It’s not a holiday! It’s not a holiday. It’s a day, it passes. Everyone gets dressed up.”

The “Dog Days” actress doubled down, saying it’s not just a “holiday” but a “season” — and that doesn’t go over too well either.

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“Frankly, it’s weird,” the late-night host said when Hudgens suggested that they “embrace your inner darkness.”

Corden and Smith especially don’t understand how adults get so into Halloween.

“It’s like the account manager at my son’s school, who is like an accountant at a big law firm and then he’s opening the door with a big ax in his face and blood dripping down, which like, this is completely normal,” Corden said. “And it’s interesting for 30 seconds and then you end up just going, ‘Oh, did you see the game last night?’ And with a man with an ax in the face!”

Also Read: James Corden and Matt Smith Don’t Get Halloween at All and Vanessa Hudgens Is Personally Offended (Video)

The British chaps can’t even remember exactly what month it’s in because you don’t even get the day off. Sigh. Time to give it up, Hudgens.

Watch the clip above.

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The British don’t understand Americans affinity for Oct. 31. Well, at least James Corden and Matt Smith don’t, as they harassed poor Vanessa Hudgens — who “lives for Halloween” — as she raved about her favorite holiday on Wednesday’s “Late Late Show.”

“See, we’re British, we don’t really get it,” Corden said before the “Doctor Who” alum jumped in to say, “It’s not a holiday! It’s not a holiday. It’s a day, it passes. Everyone gets dressed up.”

The “Dog Days” actress doubled down, saying it’s not just a “holiday” but a “season” — and that doesn’t go over too well either.

“Frankly, it’s weird,” the late-night host said when Hudgens suggested that they “embrace your inner darkness.”

Corden and Smith especially don’t understand how adults get so into Halloween.

“It’s like the account manager at my son’s school, who is like an accountant at a big law firm and then he’s opening the door with a big ax in his face and blood dripping down, which like, this is completely normal,” Corden said. “And it’s interesting for 30 seconds and then you end up just going, ‘Oh, did you see the game last night?’ And with a man with an ax in the face!”

The British chaps can’t even remember exactly what month it’s in because you don’t even get the day off. Sigh. Time to give it up, Hudgens.

Watch the clip above.

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18 Stars Who Went to Comic-Con in Disguise, From Ben Affleck to Lupita Nyong’o (Photos)

Celebrities like Justin Timberlake and Peter Jackson have avoided the mad crush by going incognito at the San Diego Comic-Con fan event

In 2011, Esquire magazine writer Chris Jones accompanied Justin Timberlake at Comic-Con dressed as beloved “Sesame Street” duo Bert and Ernie.

While attending 2011’s Comic-Con to promote “The Amazing Spider-Man,” Andrew Garfield pulled a double-fake by dressing as… Spider-Man

Former “Doctor Who” star Matt Smith put on a Bart Simpson mask to walk the floor at the 2013 event.

“Batman” star Ben Affleck avoided all the Batman rumors by waling around the convention floor in a Sesame Street shirt and a hideous green mask.

Bryan Cranston surprised his co-stars at a “Breaking Bad” panel in 2013 with a creepily realistic Walter White mask.

Former Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe left his invisibility cloak at home and donned a Spider-Man costume to attend the 2014 Comic-Con.

Jack Black walked the floor of the 2014 event wearing a Stormtrooper mask but admitted that he didn’t fool many people. “Everybody’s just like, ‘Jack Black, you in there?’” he told MTV News. “And I’m like ‘No, it’s not me. I don’t know what you’re talking about.’”

In 2014, “Lord of the Rings” director Peter Jackson posted pics of himself on Facebook strolling through San Diego as an evil jester.

Samuel L. Jackson mysteriously tweeted this bemasked shot of himself with his castmates from “Kingsman: The Secret Service” in 2014.

Simon Pegg put a Star Wars mask on top of his “Shaun of the Dead” outfit for the 2014 Comic-Con.

“Game of Thrones” actress Maisie Williams went all out for the 2014 convention, putting on both a Spider-Man mask as well as a Guy Fawkes disguise.

According to science blogger Phil Plait, “Mythbusters” host Adam Savage built this elaborate costume for the 2014 event.

Former “Hills” star Audrina Patridge went blue as the X-Men character Mystique at the 2014 event.

Marvel star Mark Ruffalo pulled on this creepy mask to wander Comic-Con in 2015.

Josh Hutcherson even surprised his “Hunger Games” co-star Jennifer Lawrence with this old-man mask at the 2015 Comic-Con.

While there were plenty of fans who dressed as Jared Leto‘s green-haired Joker at the 2015 Comic-Con, the “Suicide Squad” star himself went undercover in a baboon mask. “He had no idea. :)” the star wrote in his Instagram caption.

Big-screen Superman Henry Cavill put on a Guy Fawkes mask and walked the convention floor in 2016 — and even fooled Will Smith and other stars of DC Comics’ “Suicide Squad.”

Also Read: Comic-Con 2016: Henry Cavill Fools Will Smith and ‘Superman’ Fans (Video)

Celebrities like Justin Timberlake and Peter Jackson have avoided the mad crush by going incognito at the San Diego Comic-Con fan event

In 2011, Esquire magazine writer Chris Jones accompanied Justin Timberlake at Comic-Con dressed as beloved “Sesame Street” duo Bert and Ernie.

While attending 2011’s Comic-Con to promote “The Amazing Spider-Man,” Andrew Garfield pulled a double-fake by dressing as… Spider-Man

Former “Doctor Who” star Matt Smith put on a Bart Simpson mask to walk the floor at the 2013 event.

“Batman” star Ben Affleck avoided all the Batman rumors by waling around the convention floor in a Sesame Street shirt and a hideous green mask.

Bryan Cranston surprised his co-stars at a “Breaking Bad” panel in 2013 with a creepily realistic Walter White mask.

Former Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe left his invisibility cloak at home and donned a Spider-Man costume to attend the 2014 Comic-Con.

Jack Black walked the floor of the 2014 event wearing a Stormtrooper mask but admitted that he didn’t fool many people. “Everybody’s just like, ‘Jack Black, you in there?'” he told MTV News. “And I’m like ‘No, it’s not me. I don’t know what you’re talking about.'”

In 2014, “Lord of the Rings” director Peter Jackson posted pics of himself on Facebook strolling through San Diego as an evil jester.

Samuel L. Jackson mysteriously tweeted this bemasked shot of himself with his castmates from “Kingsman: The Secret Service” in 2014.

Simon Pegg put a Star Wars mask on top of his “Shaun of the Dead” outfit for the 2014 Comic-Con.

“Game of Thrones” actress Maisie Williams went all out for the 2014 convention, putting on both a Spider-Man mask as well as a Guy Fawkes disguise.

According to science blogger Phil Plait, “Mythbusters” host Adam Savage built this elaborate costume for the 2014 event.

Former “Hills” star Audrina Patridge went blue as the X-Men character Mystique at the 2014 event.

Marvel star Mark Ruffalo pulled on this creepy mask to wander Comic-Con in 2015.

Josh Hutcherson even surprised his “Hunger Games” co-star Jennifer Lawrence with this old-man mask at the 2015 Comic-Con.

While there were plenty of fans who dressed as Jared Leto‘s green-haired Joker at the 2015 Comic-Con, the “Suicide Squad” star himself went undercover in a baboon mask. “He had no idea. :)” the star wrote in his Instagram caption.

Big-screen Superman Henry Cavill put on a Guy Fawkes mask and walked the convention floor in 2016 — and even fooled Will Smith and other stars of DC Comics’ “Suicide Squad.”

‘The Crown’: It’s Tea Time in Netflix’s First-Look at Olivia Colman as Queen Elizabeth II (Photo)

Netflix has unveiled the first photo of Olivia Colman as Queen Elizabeth II in “The Crown.”
Here is the image:

The new cast of “The Crown” also includes Tobias Menzies as Prince Philip and Helena Bonham Carter as Princess Marga…

Netflix has unveiled the first photo of Olivia Colman as Queen Elizabeth II in “The Crown.”

Here is the image:

The new cast of “The Crown” also includes Tobias Menzies as Prince Philip and Helena Bonham Carter as Princess Margaret.

Claire Foy played Queen Elizabeth II in the first two seasons (20 episodes) of the Netflix royal series. Matt Smith was Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, and Vanessa Kirby portrayed Princess Margaret.

The way Netflix works this particular show is to swap out its actors every two seasons, which means that Colman will play the queen for Seasons 3 and 4 before bequeathing her tea set to someone else.

Heavy is the head (temporarily).

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Emmy Nominations: Here Are All 36 First Time Performer Nominees

Welcome to the club, new Emmy nominees! Among the first time performer nominees this year are Kenan Thompson, Jessica Biel, John Legend, James Corden, Darren Criss, Penelope Cruz, and Tiffany Haddish.
There’s also Sara Bareilles, Aidy Bryant, Nik…

Welcome to the club, new Emmy nominees! Among the first time performer nominees this year are Kenan Thompson, Jessica Biel, John Legend, James Corden, Darren Criss, Penelope Cruz, and Tiffany Haddish.

There’s also Sara Bareilles, Aidy Bryant, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Betty Gilpin and Ricky Martin, to single out a few more.

But let’s not play favorites any longer — the full first-timers list is below.

Megan Amram, “An Emmy for Megan”
Sara Bareilles, “Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert”
Zazie Beetz, “Atlanta”
Jessica Biel, “The Sinner”
Cameron Britton, “Mindhunter”
Aidy Bryant, “SNL”
James Corden, “James Corden’s Next James Corden”
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, “Game of Thrones”
Darren Criss, “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”
Penelope Cruz, “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”
Alexis Denisof, “I Love Bekka & Lucy”
Brandon Victor Dixon, “Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert”
Joseph Fiennes, “The Handmaid’s Tale”
Lee Garlington, “Broken”
Betty Gilpin, “GLOW”
Matthew Goode, “The Crown”
Naomi Grossman, “Ctrl Alt Delete”
Tiffany Haddish, “SNL”
Melvin Jackson Jr., “This Eddie Murphy Role Is Mine, Not Yours”
Kelly Jenrette, “The Handmaid’s Tale”
Diarra Kilpatrick, “American Koko”
Vanessa Kirby, “The Crown”
John Legend, “Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert”
Ricky Martin, “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”
Kelli O’Hara, “The Accidental Wolf”
Adina Porter, “AHS: Cult”
Destorm Power, “Caught The Series”
Issa Rae, “Insecure”
Jimmi Simpson, “Westworld”
Matt Smith, “The Crown”
Yvonne Strahovski, “The Handmaid’s Tale”
Michael Stuhlbarg, “The Looming Tower”
Miles Tagtmeyer, “Broken”
Kenan Thompson, “SNL”
Katt Williams, “Atlanta”
Letitia Wright, “Black Museum” (“Black Mirror”)

And here is the complete list of Emmy nominees, whether Thursday marked their first time or 15th time being bestowed with the honor.

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Matt Smith’s ‘Mapplethorpe’ Acquired by Samuel Goldwyn Films

Samuel Goldwyn Films has secured North American rights to Ondi Timoner’s biopic “Mapplethorpe,” starring Matt Smith as the controversial photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. The film, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in April, will…

Samuel Goldwyn Films has secured North American rights to Ondi Timoner’s biopic “Mapplethorpe,” starring Matt Smith as the controversial photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. The film, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in April, will be released in the late fall. Timoner directed from a script she co-wrote with Mikko Alanne. The film is produced by […]

Matt Smith’s ‘Mapplethorpe’ Acquired By Samuel Goldwyn Films For Fall Release

Samuel Goldwyn Films has acquired North American rights to Mapplethorpe, Ondi Timoner’s biopic that stars Matt Smith as artist Robert Mapplethorpe. The company is eyeing a late fall release date.
The film, which bowed at the Tribeca Film Festival, expl…

Samuel Goldwyn Films has acquired North American rights to Mapplethorpe, Ondi Timoner's biopic that stars Matt Smith as artist Robert Mapplethorpe. The company is eyeing a late fall release date. The film, which bowed at the Tribeca Film Festival, explores Mapplethorpe's life from moments before he and Patti Smith moved into the famed Chelsea hotel in the early ’70s, where he begins photographing its inhabitants and newfound circle of friends including artists and…

‘To Dust,’ ‘United Skates’ Win Audience Awards at Tribeca Film Festival

“To Dust,” Shawn Snyder’s comedy starring Matthew Broderick, and roller-rink documentary “United Skates” have won the top audience awards at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival. The naming of audience favorites marks the end of…

“To Dust,” Shawn Snyder’s comedy starring Matthew Broderick, and roller-rink documentary “United Skates” have won the top audience awards at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival. The naming of audience favorites marks the end of this year’s Tribeca fest, which will screen the two winning films April 29 along with runners-up “Mapplethorpe” and “Momentum Generation.” Earlier […]

Matt Smith On Baring (Mostly) All in ‘Mapplethorpe’

The British actor known for playing Prince Philip and the star of “Dr. Who” talks about embracing the danger of playing a boundary-pushing photographer.

Seminal photographer Robert Mapplethorpe’s creative awakening as a photographer stemmed from a desire to explore his sexuality through art. His photographs are explicit provocations, and so is the new biopic “Mapplethorpe,” which premiered this week at the Tribeca Film Festival. Director Ondi Timoner captures how dangerous it was to put this work, deemed pornographic and deviant, into the world.

For British actor Matt Smith, best known for playing The Doctor on “Dr. Who” and Prince Philip on “The Crown,” playing Mapplethorpe felt like a risk.

“In many ways, [playing Robert] felt outside of my comfort zone, outside of the things that come naturally to me, ” said Smith in an interview with IndieWire. “But then they’re the jobs that I like, because they make you feel alive.”

Timoner focuses on Mapplethorpe’s creative process as a physical extension of his desires. Timoner’s Mapplethorpe has his major breakthrough during his first sexual experience with a man (at the time, he was dating and living with Patti Smith, portrayed here by Marianne Rendón) and soon sought beauty in pornographic art. Smith said the key to these scenes was figuring out how to translate Mapplethorpe’s artistic passions into onscreen physicality, while at the same time setting boundaries with Timoner about what he was (and wasn’t) willing to do.

"Mapplethorpe"

“Mapplethorpe”

Tribeca Fim Festival

“I think that’s true of every part,” said Smith. “Like, am I prepared to go and live in a hut in South Thailand with 10 other people? Maybe not, or maybe so. It could be anything. Am I prepared to put on 15 stones [approximately 200 pounds]? It just depends. I think those boundaries always exist, whatever the part, but absolutely, with a part like this, you have to be clear about what level of nudity you’re willing to do.”

In the film, male frontal nudity becomes prevalent (as it did in Mapplethorpe’s photos), but not Smith’s – who spends a great deal of screen time without his clothes on.

So what specific boundaries did Smith set for “Mapplethorpe?”

“I mean, you saw what I was willing to do,” said Smith. “They were the bits I was willing to do. The other bits, they’re not in there.”

Yet there was another type of nakedness that Smith needed to lay bare in the film, which was far from pretty or sexy. As the photographer’s star rises and his drug habits ramp up, the biopic portrays him as becoming increasingly self-centered and cruel – treating his models and his little brother (Brandon Sklenar) like disposable props.

“Often with great artists, there comes a complete kind of singular vision and a selfish nature, because sometimes that’s what it takes,” said Smith. “I was quite keen about that. We didn’t shy away from the fact that he was quite selfish at times and could be quite difficult at times, and often put himself first or his work first. I hope that does come across, because I think that’s an important facet of his personality, frankly. It’s why he went on to be an icon.”

Matt Smith, Marianne Rendon, Ondi Timoner on set of "Mapplethorpe"

Matt Smith, Marianne Rendon, Ondi Timoner on set of “Mapplethorpe”

Tribeca Film Festival

Smith, who plays Charles Manson in Mary Haron’s “Charlie Says” (in post-production) – in addition to English royalty in “The Crown” – said that digging in to do research is a big part of his process in figuring out how to play such historical icons. In the case of Mapplethorpe, there was a wealth of material – biographies, websites and the photography itself – but, as with all his roles, the historical becomes just another way into feeling comfortable in his character’s skin.

“I got very interested in the photography particularly, and seeing people through a lens, seeing the world through a filter, Robert Mapplethorpe’s kind of filter, which is often what you do as an actor anyway,” said Smith.

He ticked off a list of roles and the varying challenges they brought him: “It always starts physically with me, whether it’s Prince Philip, he holds his hands behind his back. With the Doctor, he’s mercurial. He’s everywhere. He sort of carries [himself] like a Bambi on ice. With Robert, I knew that I had to get skinnier and be a bit lighter, a bit lighter on my feet, a bit lighter in my body, and a bit lighter in my weight. With Manson, it was I returned to listening to The Beatles a lot, which I hadn’t done in a while. You go, ‘Oh, yeah, I remember the ‘White Album.’ Oh, yeah, cool,’ or it’s LA in the late ’60s. Here it’s New York in the late ’70s.”

Ultimately, Smith said, he embraced the different challenges. “These things, they’re gifts,” he said. “You get to be a historian.”

“Mapplethorpe” premiered at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival. 

Eliza Dushku’s 15-Year Journey To Make ‘Mapplethorpe’ – Tribeca Studio

For the last 15 years, Bring It On and Dollhouse actress Eliza Dushku and her brother Nate Dushku have been trying to mount a biopic about controversial photographer Robert Mapplethorpe.
“It’s not the easiest thing to get an art film financ…

For the last 15 years, Bring It On and Dollhouse actress Eliza Dushku and her brother Nate Dushku have been trying to mount a biopic about controversial photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. “It’s not the easiest thing to get an art film financed, we’re not a Marvel comic,” she told Deadline at our Tribeca studio. In 2002, Eliza and Nate were introduced to the original script for Mapplethorpe by writer, Bruce Goodrich. In 2006, Goodrich optioned his screenplay to documentary…

‘Mapplethorpe’ Review: Matt Smith Plays Robert Mapplethorpe as a Huge Dick in a Generic Biopic — Tribeca 2018

There’s a ton of nudity in Ondi Timoner’s Robert Mapplethorpe biopic, but that full-frontal approach disguises a film that’s only skin deep.

There is a lot of penis in Ondi Timoner’s “Mapplethorpe,” a streamlined, straightforward biopic about the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. For those familiar with the late artist’s work, that may not come as much of a surprise — many of his most famous images center on male genitalia, rendering plump and veiny dicks with the same religious awe that Michelangelo sculpted “The Pietà.” On the other hand, it’s rare to see any peen in a major motion picture (or a minor one, for that matter), let alone dozens of them in close-up. Not since the State of the Union have so many flaccid tools proudly displayed themselves in one place. How sad that it still feels transgressive to show them at all, and how much we owe to Mapplethorpe that depicting them is no longer considered obscene.

Of course, Mapplethorpe’s photography was less controversial for the flesh that it showed than for how it positioned that flesh in various states of homoerotic ecstasy and/or violence. Timoner’s film honors that legacy, ensuring that Jesse Helms would’ve censored the hell out of it had it been released in the tumultuous aftermath of Mapplethorpe’s death.   Not only does this hyper-linear biopic include many of the original images, it occasionally takes things one step further, matching some of the disembodied members to the men — or at least to the actors playing the men — whose identities were often cropped out of the original frames in order to spotlight the penises and accentuate their innate theatricality.

Known for her confrontational warts-and-all docs like “DIG!” and “Brand: A Second Coming,” Timoner isn’t one to shy away from such aggressive material. Unfortunately, for all that bluster, her first narrative feature is less defined by the risks that it takes than it is by the ones that it doesn’t. Co-scripted by Timoner and Mikko Alanne, this runaway train of a biopic renders an iconoclast in the most generic of terms, straining Mapplethorpe’s brief life into a series of bullet-points that feed into each other with all the drama of a Wikipedia page, and a fraction of the context. Mapplethorpe fans have little to gain from such an uncomplicated portrait, while the uninitiated will likely be uninspired to learn more about him. If anything, they might walk away with the impression that he was something of a monster.

Therein lies the risk of casting “The Crown” star Matt Smith in the lead role: Few actors are so brilliant at capturing the inherent nausea of self-interest, but that gift can take on a life of its own if a filmmaker isn’t able to counterbalance it. Smith’s Mapplethorpe eventually becomes the biggest dick in the entire movie, but he isn’t an asshole when we first meet him in the early ’70s, only a wayward young illustrator with a beat poet haircut and a severe Catholic background (his domineering father is played by “Mad Men” alum Mark Moses).

One day in the park, a free-spirited poet named Patti Smith (a genial Marianne Rendón) asks him to pretend to be her boyfriend — but they aren’t pretending for long. It’s just a matter of minutes before the couple moves into Manhattan’s Chelsea Hotel, as the film skips forward with the staccato weightlessness of a rock tossed along the surface of a lake. It’s one of the most storied love affairs of the 20th century, but here it has all the stickiness of a coincidence.

Surrounded by artists and transients, Mapplethorpe discovers himself and his sexuality. And photography, for that matter. “If you leave me,” he says to Smith, “then I’ll become gay.” Cut to: Mapplethorpe snapping pictures of one beautiful man after another, ripping Polaroids out of his camera like tissue paper. He admits that he’s too lazy to develop photos in a dark room, but the petulant kid immediately feels entitled to a show from the city’s most prominent galleries. The same provocations that repel the establishment attract more progressive sorts, like curator and patron Sam Wagstaff (John Benjamin Hickey). Cut to: Mapplethorpe in full stride, following his erotic fixations and getting in touch with the city’s BDSM community as he uses his high-contrast prints to bring gay culture out of the darkness. All of this seems to transpire in the length of a classic rock song, the semi-obvious soundtrack papering over the gaps in the story.

At least it looks good — constrained, but good. The most compelling arc in the entire movie belongs to cinematographer Nancy Schreiber, whose sunny, sepia-toned cinematography is sapped of life as the action transitions into the ’80s and the AIDS crisis begins to take hold. Most of the drama is confined to lofts and studios, but these spaces — at least in a physical sense — are as vividly realized as the outside world is not.

The lack of context around the photographer’s work is extreme (“Mapplethorpe mania has hit New York!” a newscaster declares at one point, our most concrete indication of the artist’s newfound fame), and any potential appeal of such an intimate approach is undone by filtering his personal life through a similarly reductive lens. To call this the “CliffsNotes” take on Mapplethorpe would be an insult to CliffsNotes.

Smith’s performance hints at tightly coiled depths that the movie skates by, and his character becomes easier to resent even when he begins to get sick. Mapplethorpe’s creativity is smothered in an unctuous need for attention, and his open rebellion against heteronormativity acquires a nasty vindictive streak when his little brother (Brandon Sklenar) tries to follow in his footsteps. At one point, he goes cruising with a full understanding that he’s carrying a plague in his pants. Timoner falls so far short of arguing for her subject’s value that you naturally assume the fault lies with the filmmaking. By the end of it, there’s almost something perversely enjoyable about a conventional biopic condemn its namesake like this, as though affirming Mapplethorpe’s belief that beauty and the devil are the same thing.

It’s telling that, for all of the penises on parade, Smith’s is kept hidden, always turned away from us or artfully tucked beneath a sheet. An actor should never be forced to expose themselves on screen. Nevertheless, that glaring act of modesty is emblematic of a movie that’s always reminding us of how little we see of the man behind the camera.

Grade: D+

“Mapplethorpe” premiered at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival. It is currently seeking U.S. distribution.