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'Looking' Back: Episode 2, 'Looking For Uncut'

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Last week's premiere episode of HBO's Looking left viewers with a few mixed feelings. Overall, many (including myself) were impressed with the realistic portrayal of a certain segment of the gay population, but felt that realism didn't necessarily translate to compelling television. 

For those who decided to give the series another shot: Now that we've had a chance to see the second episode, have some of the put-offs from the pilot been resolved? We've got some observations about episode two, "Looking For Uncut," and want to hear your perspective, AFTER THE JUMP ...

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A Visit to the Set of HBO's Gay Drama 'Looking': VIDEO

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HBO has posted a behind-the-scenes visit to the set of Looking featuring interviews with some of the actors and filmmakers behind the gay-themed drama which is coming in January and stars Jonathan Groff, Frankie J. Alvarez, and Murray Bartlett, along with Scott Bakula and Russell Tovey.

In this clip, the cast and crew talk about the importance of getting the authenticity of San Francisco right for the show, and what they hope it brings to the story.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Gay HBO Drama 'Looking' Starring Jonathan Groff Starts Shooting in San Francisco: VIDEO

Looking

San Francisco is buzzing about the gay HBO drama Looking, which stars Jonathan Groff, Russell Tovey, Frankie Alvarez, Murray Bartlett, and Scott Bakula, and just started shooting in that city. The series, which follows the lives of a group of gay men in the city on the bay, is directed by Weekend's Andrew Haigh.

Watch a behind-the-scenes look at the start of shooting, AFTER THE JUMP...

(via huffpo)

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Gay HBO Andrew Haigh Dramedy Starring Jonathan Groff Set to Go

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A gay dramedy starring Glee's Jonathan Groff and directed by Andrew Haigh (Weekend) has been given the go-ahead by HBO, according to the Hollywood Reporter:

The eight-episode dramedy hails from Andrew Haigh, who directed the pilot that is based on Michael Lannan's feature script Lorimer. Haigh will executive produce alongside Bored to Death's Sarah Condon and Brothers and Sisters' David Marshall Grant, with Lannan receiving a co-EP credit.

The untitled entry will revolves around the three friends in San Francisco who explore the fun and sometimes overwhelming options available to a new generation of gay men. Groff stars alongside Frankie J. Alvarez and Murray Bartlett. Production will begin in the fall in San Francisco for a 2014 premiere.

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Movie: 'Weekend' Interview, Andrew Haigh's Buzzy Gay Romance [tlrd]


News: Weekend, Sean Hayes, The Senator, German Football

RoadFailed Russian Mars probe plunges into Pacific Ocean.

RoadUganda's Ambassador to the U.S. Perezi K. Kamunanwire says 'kill the gays' bill dead.

WeekendRoadDorian Awards announced: "Andrew Haigh’s Weekend, a British film about the relationship that develops between two men during the course of a brief hook-up, has been named both best film of the year and best LGBT film of the year by the Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association."

RoadVIDEO: "Donkey punch" on Jeopardy.

RoadToronto Maple Leafs General Manager Brian Burke receives PFLAG Ally Award: “I’m honoured, greatly honoured” Burke said in a short, dramatic address. He said he had a longer speech prepared, but abandoned it.

RoadMichael Fassbender sexes up Interview and GQ UK.

RoadDutch insurers pay for "ex-gay" therapy: "Health insurance companies are obligated to pay for the therapy because the organisation providing it, Different, is an officially recognised institution for mental health care."

RoadWhy gay parents may be the best parents.

RoadDaniel Radcliffe: You can do anything!

ObamaRoadAndrew Sullivan on how Obama's long game will outsmart his critics. Sarah Palin isn't impressed.

RoadNew Jersey Assemblyman apologizes for gay slur in Facebook update: "While bragging about the Giants, Assemblyman Charles Mainor, who is also an officer with the Jersey City Police Department, wrote 'Who the hell do you think we are the DALLAS COWGIRLS OR THOSE GAYBIRDS FROM PHILLY....NO WE ARE THE NEW YORK GIANTS.'"

RoadEffie Trinket in another crazy outfit in new Hunger Games image.

RoadThe Senator: Fire destroys 3,500-year-old tree in Florida. "It was one of Central Florida's leading attractions before the arrival of the region's theme parks, and though the park is in neither city, advertising associated it with Sanford and Longwood. A billboard on U.S. Highway 17-92 boasted of the tree's age and pointed motorists toward Big Tree Road — now General Hutchinson Parkway."

RoadGerman football chief says gay players should come out of the closet: "Theo Zwanziger called on gay players 'to have the courage to declare themselves,' although he conceded it was surely difficult to acknowledge one’s homosexuality within a team."

NessmanRoadCasting Calvin Klein's Milan Men's show.

RoadDolphins and whales play together.

RoadSean Hayes heading to Parks and Recreation. "ayes will play a revered  TV journalist who the locals refer to affectionately as 'the Matt Lauer of Indianapolis.' His character lands a big interview with Leslie, potentially boosting her election prospects."

RoadJustin Timberlake takes the wheel in new Givenchy Play ads.

RoadElmhurst College, the first in the nation to ask applicants about sexual orientation, says there have been no issues surrounding the question: "Few applicants have skipped the optional question asking whether they identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, Rold said, and it doesn’t appear straight students are cheating the system to receive the diversity 'enrichment scholarship' that’s worth one-third of Elmhurst’s $29,994 tuition. When Elmhurst announced its policy, skeptics predicted many students would be uncomfortable, or that straight applicants would declare themselves gay to get the scholarship money."


Movie: 'Weekend' Interview, Andrew Haigh's Buzzy Gay Romance

Weekend-couple
 Glen (Chris New) and Russell's (Tom Cullen) memorable "Weekend"

GuestbloggerNATHANIEL ROGERS
...would live in the movie theater but for the poor internet reception. He blogs daily at the Film Experience. Follow him on Twitter @nathanielr.

 
INTERVIEW
Earlier this week I sat down with the writer/director Andrew Haigh, at a West Village coffee shop to discuss his glowingly reviewed debut WEEKEND which opens in limited release tomorrow.  I'd been privileged to see the film early while serving as a jury member at the Nashville International Film Festival this spring, shortly after it had surprised at the SXSW Festival where it won the Audience Award. We followed suit in Nashville and handed it our Best Film prize.

Cut to: Months and months later where I made the enjoyable mistake of putting the screener in for a quick refresher before talking to the director. My intention was to just watch two or three scenes but the compulsively watchable romantic drama sucks you right in and I was nearly late for the interview. Weekend clocks a one night stand between nearly-closeted lifeguard Russell (Tom Cullen, above right) and artist Glen (Chris New, above left) who meet at a nightclub. To their mutual surprise, the one night stand spills over into the next day...and the day after that? It's an unusually honest, beautifully acted little gem, easily one of the best films of 2011 and one of the best gay films in many years.


AndrewhaighHow did you cast this? No matter how strong your screenplay is, romantic dramas they fall apart without the right pairing of actors. 

Andrew Haigh: [Pictured left] Absolutely. I was so terrified about it. We didn't have time or money to do a massive casting. I'd seen quite a lot, something like fifty people, and I was starting to get depressed. There were some great people but I just knew they weren't going to be right. And then Tom came in.

Tom's performance surprised me. Sometimes when people are playing introverted characters, it's a bit dull. That's not the case here.

He's got such an expressive face, I think.  He goes from looking quite tough to looking really vulnerable, from really young and sweet to quite old with the weight of life crushing him. Tom thinks he gave an awful audition!

I have to know which scene.

[The director indicates a lengthy conversation on a sofa where Tom tells Glen about the unusual circumstances of his childhood before they have sex a second time.] 

That was the scene I gave them but then I took the script away. Do a version of that. Sometimes actors prepare so well that it's hard to see what they're really like. I wanted to get a sense of the real person. Tom was great. Then I put him and Chris together. Chris is not like Glen but he's got an aggressiveness to him. It's sweet but he likes to push people continually to open up. I put them together and there was a chemistry between them, a spark of something. You could just tell they seemed to like each other and worked off each other's style.

The movie is bit explicit. Did the actors know to what extent before auditioning?

They knew from their agents that there was going to be sexually explicit material. You can't ask them if they're gay or straight, you know, in the audition. I just asked them how they felt about gay material. During rehearsals I talked a lot about it. I didn't want them to do anything they didn't want to do - that would have come across.  It was just about developing the trust, I suppose. 

Since you can't ask actors about that...

It's all been outed now anyway.

Are they both gay then?

No, Tom isn't. He plays Russell. Chris is. It was hard because Tom didn't want to talk about it. It's not an issue to him. He thought that people would think differently about him if they found out he wasn't gay. And people do think differently. Everyone is always very interested. Is he gay? And then when they find out he's not it's like wow, it's amazing he managed to play gay! [Pause] Welllll, it's not really that difficult to play gay.

That makes me crazy that whole 'They're so brave!' thing. But you as the writer/director... surely you had some preconceived notions. Did you want gay actors?

MORE AFTER THE JUMP...

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