Bill Murray and the Roles That Got Away


Bill Murray has been doing things his own way since the beginning of his career. Not only does he operate without an agent or manager, but he seems to make it virtually impossible to contact him. He has a PO box somewhere in America, and if you're lucky enough to figure out where it is, you can mail your scripts to him. If you're extra lucky, and we mean lottery-winning lucky, he may actually check his mail that year. It's a small miracle that he learns about any offers at all.

It's not that Murray doesn't want to work. It's just that his way of playing the Hollywood game is distinctly different from the way everyone else plays it. This isn't necessarily a star trip, either, for he liked to keep people guessing long before he was scoring at the box office with hits like Ghostbusters (1984).


For instance, Murray was so uncommunicative with the production crew of Caddyshack (1980) that they had no idea if he was going to show for his first day of shooting. Finally, just moments before his first scene was to begin, he arrived ready to bring the memorable Carl Spackler to life.

It may be an indifference to success that keeps Murray from being too readily available. Fame baffled Murray when it first struck, and he's admitted that the enthusiasm of his fans back in the 1980s was scary. "There's definitely a lot of trash that comes with the prize of being famous," Murray said. "It's a nice gift, but there's a lot of wrapping and paper and junk to cut through."


Murray's casual attitude towards the movie business has occasionally cost him roles. Some of the top directors and producers in the industry have sought him out for major parts in their films, only to be turned down or totally ignored. A commonly heard phrase in Hollywood is "We wanted Bill Murray, but couldn't find him."

As we celebrate the rascally Murray's 64th birthday, let's take a quick look at some roles he missed or passed on, and wonder what might have been.

Along with such stars as John Travolta and Michael Keaton, Murray turned down the lead role in Ron Howard's Splash (1984), the so-called "Cinderella story about a man and a fish." The producers then chose relative newcomer Tom Hanks. Murray, busy enough that year with his ghost busting activities, might have made the movie funnier (strike that -- definitely would have), but I can't quite imagine him as a lovelorn fellow pining over a mermaid, even one played by the striking Daryl Hannah. Still, it would have been fun to see Murray do scenes with the late, great John Candy!

Maybe I shouldn't count the time Murray auditioned for George Lucas, who had yet to cast the Han Solo role in a little sci-fi project called Star Wars (1977). Smirking Bill Murray in control of the Millennium Falcon? Even I think that one's a stretch. Besides, Bill was virtually unknown at the time -- but of course so was Harrison Ford. Then there was the time Tim Burton considered Murray for the role of the caped crusader in the 1989 version of Batman. This isn't as strange as it sounds, since the initial idea for the production was to echo the cheeky vibe of the old TV show. Murray as a sarcastic Batman? It might've worked like ghostbusters -- I mean gangbusters.

Director Robert Zemeckis and producer Steven Spielberg wanted Murray for the role of Eddie Valiant in Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988) But as has often happened in Murray's career, they couldn't reach him. Bob Hoskins, who wasn't known for playing comedic roles, took the part. Tim Allen also stepped up happily when Murray passed on playing Buzz Lightyear in Toy Story (1995), as did John Goodman when Bill rejected the role of Sully in 2001's Monsters, Inc. It's actually open to debate whether Murray really turned Sully down. He'd tested for the role and seemed interested, but then, (surprise, surprise) director Pete Docter couldn't find him to offer him the part. Oh well, at least Murray committed to the role of Garfield the cat. Twice.

It's hard to imagine anyone but Steve Carell playing suicidal Frank Ginsberg in 2006's Little Miss Sunshine -- or is it? Truth is, the part was actually written for Murray. He would've done a great job, and maybe injected some extra nuance and poignancy into the character, but he didn't accept the role. It's a shame, really; Bill's presence would have brought a little extra "Sunshine" into all our lives. A year earlier he missed out on another intelligent drama, The Squid and The Whale. Director Noah Baumbach wanted Murray for the part of Bernard Berkman, eventually played by Jeff Daniels. We'll give you three guesses why didn't Murray get the part. That's right! Because Baumbach was unable to contact him. Bill: Pick up the phone, or better yet, get a phone!

This is an occasion where it wasn't Murray's fault that he didn't score a role. Dustin Hoffman had worked with Murray in Tootsie (1982) and for Barry Levinson's Rain Man (1988), campaigned hard for him to play his brother, Charlie Babbitt. The producers, however, opted for one of the hot young stars of the moment, Tom Cruise. While Cruise turned in a respectable performance, one wonders what wise guy Murray might have done with the part. I say plenty. Of all the film roles Murray missed, this is truly the one that got away.

Bob Zemeckis was still trying to hire Murray to star in a movie, and actually got in touch with him for 1994's Forrest Gump. Unfortunately, Murray didn't care for the script (so I'm not the only one), and turned the title role down flat. So, Tom Hanks nabbed it and scored his second Oscar. Hanks should send Murray a thank-you letter every year for turning down Splash and Gump. On second thought, sending Bill a note might not be a good idea -- he'll never receive it!

Bill Murray may be less than accessible to the big Hollywood players, but he's always been accessible to us, his public.


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8 Facts You Didn’t Know About ‘Sesame Street’

Sing of good things you didn't know, not bad. Sing of happy, not sad.

In its almost 45-year history, "Sesame Street" has won 159 Emmys, multiple Grammys and, as of 2009, as many as 77 million adult Americans had watched the show as children. Over three dozen countries have a version and many more air the dubbed American show. In short, millions of people the world over have discovered how to get to Sesame Street.

In celebration of its many milestones, here are a few (The Count would say there are eight) little known facts from "Sesame Street":

1. Many of the main characters have completely changed.


It's understandable that characters have gone through updates since the show's inception. That written, a few of these updates have been considerably radical. A few examples:

  • Mr. Snuffleupagus used to be unintentionally super scary looking. Snuffy had yellow slits for eyes that made him look like a monster and had a much more ghastly body with less padding.

  • Cookie Monster used to have big pointy teeth, although this was when the puppet was used in commercials before the beginning of "Sesame Street."

  • Oscar the Grouch was orange.

  • Telly Monster initially had antennae coming out of his head and his eyes would spin whenever he watched television.

  • Caroll Spinney, the actor who played Big Bird since the beginning, described the character as not looking "too keen." Spinney said the bird was "one of the ugliest things" he had ever seen.

Image Left & Center: Muppet Wiki / Image Right: WikiCommons

2. The Count's love of numbers isn't exactly just a play on his name. Vampires are supposed to have arithmomania -- a strong need to count surrounding objects.

count sesame street

In some versions of vampire folklore, a way to ward off the attacker is to throw "rice, millet, wheat or red lentils," as the bloodsucker will need to count the grains before moving on. In Europe, people would place "poppy seeds, millet or sand" at the graves of suspected vampires as a pre-emptive defense.

But is the Count even a vampire?

The puppet was originally modeled off Bela Lugosi's Count Dracula, and he certainly appears to be a vampire (the fangs, the cape, the creepy castle and the bats all certainly point to vampirism). But "Sesame Street" canon is actually divided on the subject. According to the "Muppet" fan wiki, in some accounts the character has been described as a "number-friendly vampire" and a "Numerical Vampire," but in at least one instance it was insisted: "The Count is not a vampire."

The Huffington Post contacted "Sesame Street" PR who pointed out that Count is "not named specifically as a vampire" in his bio. Perhaps it isn't possible to shed more light on this mystery as vampires hate that.

3. The show was almost all about Bert and Ernie.

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In the original pilot, the scenes between human and muppet characters were separated, as child psychologists worried that mixing fantasy and reality would mislead children. The muppets that dominated the show were Bert and Ernie, the only characters that tested well during screenings. As soon as the program would cut away to just humans, children's attention levels plummeted.

It is rumored that a decision was almost made to cut everything but Bert and Ernie and have the show focus around them. These testings led to the creation of Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch and Snuffleupagus, according to Edward Palmer, one of the founders of "Sesame Street."

4. Oscar the Grouch actually fell in love ... with the Wicked Witch of the West.

count sesame street

The trashcan dweller may be known for usually just loving "crummy weather," but he has actually fallen in love. In a now banned episode that was deemed too scary for children, the Wicked Witch of the West made an appearance on "Sesame Street" and was crushed on by Oscar. Unfortunately, the relationship didn't take off.

For what it's worth, Oscar did also fall in love with a new, trashy neighbor named Germaine the Grouch in a short children's book. The green grouch struggles to woo the pink grouch when he tries to flirt, and therefore isn't grouchy. When he loses his temper in frustration, his true grouchiness comes out though and the two have a disgusting picnic together. True love!

Image: WikiCommons

5. Snuffleupagus was initially Big Bird's imaginary friend, but then became real so kids wouldn't fear bringing up sexual abuse.

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Until 1985, the adults on "Sesame Street" believed Snuffy wasn't real. Whenever Big Bird would try to introduce the character, the adults would just miss meeting him (Snuffleupagus would walk out of the scene before their arrival, the adults wouldn't turn their heads in time or other similar gags). Besides Big Bird, only a few other muppets, kids and guest celebrities (such as Judy Collins) could see Mr. Snuffleupagus.

The character was finally introduced to adults in Episode 2,096. According to the "Muppet" fan wiki, Martin P. Robinson, the person who played Snuffleupagus, said in the documentary "Sesame Street Unpaved" that the introduction was due to high-profile cases of pedophilia, which convinced writers that children shouldn't be afraid adults won't believe them. Dulcy Singer, the show's executive producer, said at the time, "We didn't want to do anything to discourage children from going to their parents."

Also, on a much less serious note, did you know that Mr. Snuffleupagus' first name is Aloysius?

6. "Sesame Street" develops special features for military families and for children with an incarcerated parent. Also, Elmo's dad was deployed overseas.


"Talk, Listen, Connect" is a special installment of videos for military children that helps explain both long absences and the possibility of parents returning with injuries or even not returning at all. According to a U.S. Army sergeant quoted on the Sesame Workshop site:

We had a triple amputee come in recently who had not seen his 3-year-old daughter since his injury and was afraid of how she would react ... I gave him the 'Talk, Listen, Connect' outreach kit and explained the materials to him. He was so happy he started to cry with joy.

The materials are free and available online.

Similar kits also exist to help children with an incarcerated parent, as well as many other potentially devastating scenarios such as hurricanes or familial financial struggles.

Image Left: USO Image Right: Sesame Workshop

7. The Elmo puppet was initially just a background extra and was given up on as a workable character.

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Elmo didn't officially debut until Season 12, although the muppet had already been used as a random extra in scenes for quite some time. Initially this "new" character only communicated with "sounds rather than words."

Apparently, one of the early voices of the character, Richard Hunt, tried to perform Elmo with a gruff, caveman voice, but eventually abandoned the concept. According to legend, he tossed Elmo around, only to have Kevin Clash pick up the muppet and create the beloved character.

The red 3-year-old ended up becoming the only puppet or non-human to testify before Congress in 2002, advocating for increased funding for music programs.

8. "Sesame Street" is named after the "Arabian Nights" phrase "Open, Sesame!"

sesame street sign

According to Sesame Workshop, a show writer named Virginia Schone proposed the word "Sesame." Its use in an "Arabian Nights" tale, she said, made it feel like it was loaded with a sense of adventure. The show was already set on an urban street, so "Sesame Street" just clicked.

Producer Jon Stone claimed “the name was set at the 11th hour and 59th minute.” Apparently, names such as "1-2-3 Avenue B" and "Fun Street" were also considered. The former was ultimately rejected as it would appeal less to children outside of New York City.

Everyone on the staff initially disliked the name, fearing children would have a hard time pronouncing it, but obviously those worries ended up being put to rest.

BONUS: Cookie Monster did not become the Veggie Monster.

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That was a hoax! In 2005, Cookie Monster did start to focus slightly on eating right -- he can be seen eating fruits and vegetables occasionally -- but the character still devours cookies like nobody else. Cookie Monster went on "Today" in 2006 and explained his new diet to Matt Lauer:

Cookie Monster: Me like fruit.
Matt Lauer: And there you have it. Cookie Monster likes fruit, and not cookies.
Monster: No! You members of the media blow story way out of proportion! Me still like cookies!
Lauer: Then why fruit?
Monster: Why not fruit? It delicious! And healthy. Me still eat cookies, like me world-famous for doing, but now me eat other things, too.

The misconception is partly credited to a new song entitled "A Cookie is a Sometimes Food," although Hoots the Owl actually sings the song to Cookie Monster, and at the end Cookie Monster declares: "NOW is sometimes!"

All images Getty unless otherwise noted.
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David Beckham, Live In New York (Kinda)

Excerpted from The Soccer Diaries: An American's Thirty-Year Pursuit of the International Game (Copyright 2014 by Michael J. Agovino, the University of Nebraska Press).

It took a while for Major League Soccer to transition from NFL behemoths to stadiums of more appropriate-dimensions -- appropriate for now. There'd come a time, I was certain, in ten, twenty years, that MLS would outgrow these little "soccer specific" gems and move back to the NFL coliseums. We had heard about a new soccer stadium for the New York/New Jersey franchise for ages. It took what seemed like forever, those last years at Giants Stadium painful, but Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J., finally arrived in March of 2010.

I'd missed the opening matches there in early spring and was then immersed in the World Cup. It so happened that my first game -- August 14, 2010 -- against the L.A. Galaxy, was the first official sell-out of an MLS game at the new stadium. A sell-out, that is, with plenty of empty seats in the corners and at the very top of the second deck.

It wasn't the 5-4 spectacle I attended when the two teams played back in 2007 to see David Beckham's first trip to Giants Stadium as a member of the Galaxy, but it had a lot of worthy elements. The new stadium, Red Bull Arena, was as close to perfect as I'd seen. It wasn't as easy to get to as I'd heard -- you had to take the PATH train from Herald Square or points south and then change at Newark. And the stadium was a bit of a walk from the train stop and kind of hovered alone, by itself, with nothing around it. But then again, so did the Allianz Arena in Munich. Inside, though, they got it all right. Even the press box -- which at Giants Stadium and the still nameless "New Meadowlands Stadium" was insulated behind sound-proof glass so you hardly knew you were at a sporting event -- was, like at Allianz and St. Jakob Park in Basel, in a designated area within the stands. You were able to feel the energy, anger, joy, and frustrations of the crowd. And it was situated about seven rows up, around midfield, with a good view of the field. Ten rows higher would've been ideal, but I wasn't about to complain.

2014-09-19-Agovino.jpgIt so happened that my press seat was behind the L.A. bench. David Beckham was still with the Galaxy (hence the sell-out), but was injured and wouldn't be playing (hence, perhaps, all the no-shows). He was in team sweats, and a fan a few seats over from me, just outside the press area, was heckling him. The fan's insults weren't very clever as some could be, especially at baseball games, where you sometimes had to laugh even if it was bordering on crude. I figured Beckham would just ignore it, but he gave the half-turn (at first) and then, when it continued, the full-turn, almost standing, with his finger to his ear and a furrowed brow, looking at the guy and mouthing "Huh?" The guy shut up.

Before the game, there was a sign of the maturation of the MLS and of American soccer culture: a farewell to Clint Mathis, who had recently retired. God, that was fast, I thought; it seemed like just the other day that he came out with the mohawk in the 2002 World Cup. He was only 33, but had knee trouble. He bounced around a lot, with two tours each in L.A., Real Salt Lake, and NY/NJ, plus stops in Colorado, Germany, and Greece. He was hardly a Red Bull (or MetroStar) but had several good years here, including a famous 60- or 70-yard slalom-run goal. He said to the crowd over the loudspeaker: "Thank you so, so much. The name has changed, the organization has changed, but the fans have always been the same." There were a few banners in tribute to the Georgia boy, including "We (heart) Clint." He took a photo with Tab Ramos and expressed his gratitude to the fans behind the goal.

There had always been a small hardcore group behind the goal at Giants Stadium, but here in the new stadium they were more substantial and empowered. When L.A.'s keeper Donovan Ricketts lined up to take a goal kick, they made a kind of collective hum -- like a college place kicker charging up for the kickoff -- and upon contact, the hum reached a crescendo and in unison they chanted "you suck asshole!" I remembered hearing that hum before a goal kick on TV, but couldn't make out what they were saying. Now, in this stadium, it being intimate, it having a roof over the stands, and me being there, the chant felt well-articulated and loud. Everything felt loud here, whether the cheers for Clint Mathis, the player introductions, or the protests to a 59th minute yellow card for Juan Pablo Ángel.

I imagined the chant would make club and league officials uneasy. I'm sure they wanted "atmosphere" but still maintain the clean-cut "soccer mom" demographic. "Atmosphere," as we know in Europe and South America, can go over the line and involve banana peels, racist chants or banners, bigoted gestures, and crude humor. Can you control what people say or sing or chant? Or what tattoos they wear? Or what they think? Did Duke University officials ban the student body from chanting, when the Blue Devils were losing a game, "It's alright, it's okay, you will work for us someday"?

On the one hand, I thought the "asshole" chant could be the start of something gloriously hateful. On the other, I thought it showed no creativity. The Duke chant was classist but it required thought; this didn't. I thought of a few precursors, besides the kick-off in college football: "Yank--ees suck!" from Red Sox fans; the occasionally-heard "ass-hole, ass-hole" moan/chant in the NBA sung the way Red Sox fans belted out "Da-ryl, Da-ryl" in the 1986 World Series; and when I was young, Jet fans at Shea Stadium chanted "Ho-ward sucks" at Howard Cosell in the booth during Monday Night Football. But somehow those worked; this didn't.

Maybe it was the start of something good and boisterous, maybe the start of something messy. We wanted atmosphere, we got it. In a small stadium, things are more intimate, which is good (at one point, fans were pointing up toward one of the boxes, the rumor being that Tony Parker was at the game), and bad (Beckham heard those insults -- so unoriginal I didn't even jot them down -- and in the 89th minute, three young guys made their way onto the field and ran 80 yards.) Careful what you wish for?

In the tunnel and locker room area after the game -- and no, I don't remember who won the game, nor did I jot it down in my notebook, nor have I looked it up online since -- I saw two other American soccer legends: L.A. coach Bruce Arena, who was much bigger in person than I imagined, and one of his assistant coaches, Cobi Jones, the ex-U.S. international, who, along with Holland's Marc Overmars, was the fastest player I'd ever seen. It surprised me, then, how much weight he had gained. And I didn't say or think this to make fun of him in any way -- I always liked Cobi Jones -- but it was just another reminder of how fast time went by. There, too, was Beckham, posing for photos with the staff and kids of the staff maybe. He may have been injured, but he was in impeccable condition. What struck me were, of all things for a soccer player, his shoulders. They were broad and square and statuesque like a baseball player's, though he was in much better shape, maybe out of vanity, maybe out of potential endorsements -- both probably -- but more than anything because he was a great professional. Not a great player, not anymore at age 35, but one who cared about what he did and came prepared. Arena had said at one point that Beckham trained hard every day. He had never been a favorite of mine -- I thought he was another good-looking, overrated British brat -- but the older he got, the more he earned my respect.

As I left the stadium and walked toward to the PATH train -- no longer did I have to worry about being stranded in the middle-of-nowhere East Rutherford, N.J. -- there were still plenty of people milling about the stadium, it was a stunning day, and it occurred to me that while in the past at Giants Stadium you'd see a plethora of jerseys from different international clubs -- you name them, Liverpool, Chelsea, Man U., Real, Barcelona, Ajax, Inter, Bayern, Boca, Flamengo -- now I saw mostly N.Y. Red Bulls jerseys. Or L.A. Galaxy, no. 23.
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12 Amazing TV Spinoffs That Almost Happened

All good things must come to an end, including our favorite TV shows. Unfortunately, many of us aren't quite ready to let go when our beloved series come to their startling halts, which is why creators are quick to go after spinoffs. We're the first to admit that there have been some incredibly successful ones -- "Frasier," "Saved By The Bell" and "Family Matters," to name a few -- but some of the greatest potential spinoffs didn't make the cut.

Here are 12 spinoffs that should have happened:

1. Jackée's "227" spinoff
jackee harry 227
Jackée Harry's "227" character Sandra Clark almost had a pretty glamorous life. A Season 4 episode served as a backdoor pilot for the would-be spinoff, in which Sandra runs off to New York to pursue a film career, but NBC ultimately decided to nix it and send Sandra back to Washington, D.C.

2. Phoebe's "Friends" spinoff
lisa kudrow friends
Although 2004's "Friends" spinoff "Joey" famously flopped after only two seasons, the "Friends" creators also had another story for Phoebe Buffay (Lisa Kudrow) in mind. Tentatively titled "Girlfriends," the thought was that she would appear with Aisha Tyler's character Charlie, with Ross (David Schwimmer) making appearances as well. Sadly, "Girlfriends" never got past the early stages of discussion.

3. Jackie Chiles' "Seinfeld" spinoff
phil morris seinfeld
Although he only appeared in a handful of "Seinfeld" episodes, Phil Morris' character Jackie Chiles was set to play a black lawyer in all-white firm. Unfortunately, the would-be series never made it past the early stages of development.

4. Dwight's "Office" spinoff
rainn wilson the office
NBC initially seemed pretty enthusiastic about the Dwight Schrute spinoff "The Farm," which would focus solely on Dwight (Rainn Wilson) and his beet farm, but the network decided to pass just as the final season of "The Office" was getting underway.

5. How I Met Your Dad
greta gerwig
Ah, would could have been! Perhaps the "How I Met Your Mother" creators were simply trying to ease the pain of the beloved CBS series coming at end, but just when people were starting to think "How I Met Your Dad" was going to be good -- Greta Gerwig and Megan Ryan had been cast! -- CBS dropped the spinoff and crushed everyone's dreams.

6. Rupert Giles' "Buffy" spinoff
anthony stewart head buffy
Titled "Ripper," this "Buffy" spinoff was set to chronicle Anthony Head's character Rupert Giles' adventures in England. "Ripper" never happened, but "Buffy" creator Joss Whedon still hasn't let the idea die completely.

7. Karen's "Will & Grace" spinoff
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More Karen (Megan Mullally)? Yes, please! It almost happened, but NBC apparently put a stop to it after the "Friends" spinoff "Joey" flopped.

8. Jess' "Gilmore Girls" spinoff
milo ventimiglia gilmore girls
Although Rory Gilmore would have many a boyfriend after Jess Mariano, "Gilmore Girls" fans were all about him -- so The WB toyed with the idea of a spinoff, which would have been called "The Windward Circle," with a 2003 episode serving as the backdoor pilot. But at the end of the day, the network decided they didn't have the money to see it through.

9. Audrey's "Twin Peaks" spinoff
sherilyn fenn twin peaks
Although Audrey's (Sherilyn Fenn) "Twin Peaks" spinoff never ended up getting off the ground, it does have a pretty cool story associated with it. The creators thought it would be fun to have a movie all about Audrey, in she would move to California and cruise along Mulholland Drive. Well, that never happened, but it did eventually inspire a pretty famous movie.

10. Norm and Cliff's "Cheers" spinoff
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Frasier who? NBC wanted a Norm and Cliff spinoff, but the "Cheers" creators didn't think it was a good idea. "Yes. NBC wanted to spin-off Norm & Cliff," writer/producer Ken Levine wrote on his blog. "They must have approached us five times about writing it. We always passed. One 'AfterMASH' a career is enough."

11. "Veronica Mars" in the FBI
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When "Veronica Mars" was canceled in 2007, fans were devastated. So creator Rob Thomas decided to go after a spinoff that would send her straight to the FBI four years later. Sadly, the only thing that ever came out of it was a clip that went straight to the Season 3 DVD. But hey, at least there's a movie now!

12. Clarissa's New York "Clarissa Explains It All" spinoff
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Although CBS was interested in a spinoff of Nickelodeon's "Clarissa Explains It All," which would follow Clarissa's adventures as an intern for a newspaper in New York, the pilot -- titled "Clarissa Now" -- never got picked up.
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All The Times You’ll Unexpectedly Laugh During ‘The Maze Runner’

"The Maze Runner" isn't a particularly funny movie. But the dystopian thriller, based on a YA novel by the same name, may make you laugh unintentionally, if, like this viewer, you're forgiving of genre tropes.

Told through the eyes of Thomas (Dylan O'Brien), "The Maze Runner" follows a group of teenage boys sent to live in a giant field, The Glade, which surrounded by a maze. Their memories have been erased by a mysterious overlord, but they come with one purpose: survive. It's "Lord of the Flies" meets "The Hunger Games," with a similar formula. The boys, known as Gladers, have rules and regulations meant to keep them alive, but Thomas' arrival -- and the curiosity he brings with him -- changes all that. When another Glader named Teresa (Kaya Scodelario) is sent earlier than expected, all hell breaks loose and the Gladers must immediately find a way out of the maze.

O'Brien (known for "Teen Wolf") nails the bewildered but brave teenager role, but even his performance can't shake a snoozy and muddled plot. We're presented with dozens of questions, half as many answers and only one female character for most of the film. Fans of the book will miss some of the undercurrents, mainly Thomas and Teresa's telepathy, and the pacing, since the film puts Thomas in the Glade for just a few days.

Author James Dashner gave the film its climax and finale (spoilers ahead), and the cast makes the best of the clunky ending, which nicely tees up a sequel, "The Scorch Trials." (That film is already in development.) Nevertheless, "The Maze Runner" is a good time, full of worthy action scenes and adolescent jest. Forget that Thomas and the surviving Gladers are now entrusted to save the world from a "scorched Earth." Here are all the times you'll unexpectedly laugh while watching "The Maze Runner."

When Thomas spits out Glader alcohol.
Whiskey made by teenagers trapped inside of a maze sounds like a terrible idea. Thomas realized this as soon as he took a sip from Newt's Mason jar.

When Teresa comes out of the box.
It's a girl! WICKED, the scientific organization who controls the Maze, sends Teresa up in the box with a cryptic note, "She's the last one ever." But she's also the first girl, and, unsurprisingly, everyone is shocked. Teresa opens her eyes, looks directly at Thomas and yells, "THOMAS!" Then she passes out while all the Gladers stare at him. WTF, Thomas? The whole theater giggled.

When Teresa stabs Alby with the Griever antidote.
Alby, recently stung by one of the maze monsters known as Grievers, recognizes Thomas and instantly realizes he was somehow involved in the maze's creation. As he lunges towards Thomas, the other Gladers hold him down. Teresa has no idea if the mysterious syringe she came to the Glade with contains a cure, but -- STAB! -- she jabs him with the mystery medicine. Bravo, Teresa, you brave psycho/nurse.

When Chuck says, "Girls are awesome."
These boys don't remember having any contact with girls. So, when Teresa wakes up after falling unconscious, she does what any terrified girl would do: She pelts the boys with rocks from a tree house. Chuck's enamored.

When WICKED leader Ava Paige shoots herself in the head.
Because, JUST KIDDING, she's not dead! A few minutes later, Paige (Patricia Clarkson) reveals herself to be alive, well and very excited to move into Phase 2. Life is terrible, kids, and freedom is fake.

"The Maze Runner" hits theaters Sept. 19.
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Did Julianne Hough Just Out ‘Mean Girls’ Star Jonathan Bennett As Gay?

Julianne Hough might have just outed "Mean Girls" star Jonathan Bennett.

The "Dancing With the Stars" judge appeared on "Extra" to talk with Mario Lopez about Season 19 of the reality competition show. The conversation turned to a discussion about Bennett, who is a contestant this season.

"He tweeted me last year and said, like, I had a nice butt, but he also tagged my trainer," she said. "And so I was like, 'Oh, he's hitting on me. I should try to go on a date with him.'"

"What happened?" Lopez asked.

"He's gay," Hough responded. "So, I was like, that's not gonna work."

(Watch a clip from the segment below)

Some blogs have dubbed him a gay man and he was rumored to have once romanced "Kyle XY" actor Matt Dallas, according to Out magazine. Even his Wikipedia page says "Jonathan Bennett is openly gay," but the 33-year-old actor has not publicly come out.

Bennett's rep declined to comment on the actor's sexuality or the Hough incident when contacted by The Huffington Post.

Bennett starred in 2004's "Mean Girls" as heartthrob Aaron Samuels and his hair looked sexy pushed back.

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Run the Jewels Participate in Cat-Oriented Album Kickstarter

Run the Jewels' El-P and Killer Mike have said they'd be willing to show their softer side if a Kickstarter to create a remix album with music derived solely from cat sounds gets funded. A fan launched the crowd-funding campaign, dubbed Meow the Jewels – which would involve remaking the music on their upcoming RTJ2 record, due out October 28th – and El-P has voiced his support of the project on Twitter, offering to donate his share of the proceeds to charity.

"Me and @MeowTheJewels are in contact and working out the details of what [it] will be," he wrote in one tweet. "If Meow the Jewels happens, I intend to donate the money somewhere that will directly benefit the families of Eric Garner and Mike Brown," he explained in another.

Like El-P, the project's organizer has said that a portion of any profits would go to charity, namely to "the families of those who have lost their lives to police brutality this year and a smaller portion will go to help neglected animals."

Rewards for funding include digital copies of Meow the Jewels and tweets from the campaign's official account, a matchbook, catnip, a "surprise" ("maybe a wristband, maybe a bottle opener") and stickers. The highest priced rewards include having the campaign organizer come to a funder's house and recording his or her cat and "maybe" getting the pet's name in the liner notes and, for $5,000, a limited vinyl copy of Meow the Jewels that Killer Mike and El-P have signed. The campaign had raised nearly $4,700 of its $45,100 goal at the time of this post.

Run the Jewels previewed RTJ2 in August with the track "Blockbuster Night Part 1." The record is set to include appearances by Rage Against the Machine's Zack de la Rocha, Blink-182's Travis Barker and others. Last week, they premiered the glitchy RTJ2 track "Oh My Darling Don't Cry" on SoundCloud.

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Matt Damon Will Probably Play Jason Bourne Again After All

Matt Damon will return to play Jason Bourne after all. According to, Damon and "Bourne Ultimatum" director Paul Greengrass are set to reunite for another Bourne movie, the duo's third and the franchise's fifth overall. Universal would release this new Bourne film on July 16, 2016, a date the studio previously held for Justin Lin's "Bourne Legacy" sequel with Jeremy Renner in the non-Bourne starring role.

HuffPost Entertainment contacted representatives for Damon and Greengrass. This post will be updated if and when they respond.

That Damon and Greengrass would come together again for the popular franchise is not a total surprise. Since "The Bourne Ultimatum" was released in 2007, Damon has often talked about how much he enjoyed playing the character and how he would do it again if the story made sense.

"I've always been open to it if Paul Greengrass is the director," Damon said to CNBC in May of this year. "We've just never been able to come up with a story. So, if any of your viewers have a story, please call Universal and submit it."

Indeed, the plot for another Bourne film has been a roadblock for Damon for quite some time.

"If you really look at the mythology of the character, we would have to figure out some reason to get him going again," Damon said to HuffPost Entertainment in July of 2012. "Because he is a guy who walked away from everything, so we just have to solve that. And Paul and I haven't been able to do it. And we really wanted to make another one; we almost were making one a couple of years ago -- and then we just couldn't crack it. Because the second we said that we'd do it, they would announce a release date and then we would be making the movie. That happened to us on the last one. We did not have a script and we had a release date. And that was just harrowing."

Damon has discussed his displeasure with the script for "Bourne Ultimatum" in the past, telling GQ that the film "took years" off his life because Tony Gilroy's screenplay wasn't completed before the film's production began. Gilroy wrote and directed "The Bourne Legacy," which focused on Renner's Aaron Cross and included events that happened in "The Bourne Ultimatum," albeit told from a different vantage point. That, too, posed a potential problem for Damon, who said in a 2012 interview with Indiewire's The Playlist that "The Bourne Legacy" would make a new Jason Bourne movie "harder" to make.

"I don't think we can do the 'Dallas' it-was-all-a-dream scenario," Damon said in a separate 2012 interview with Movieline. "I don't think the audience would go for that after they paid money to see a movie."

And yet rumors about Damon's Bourne return have circulated for the better part of the last 13 months. In August of 2013, Twitch Film reported that Universal was discussing the franchise with Damon and Greengrass. That story was soon debunked by Universal, but a similar report sprang up again in July of this year. At that time, Latino Review noted that Damon and Greengrass would reconnect for the untitled film. It looks like all those intrepid reporters were onto something.

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Lindsay Lohan Did Not Handle Whitney Houston’s Body Bag, Says Coroner

Has Lindsay Lohan been caught in a lie once again?

In an interview with the Telegraph this past weekend, Lohan described her court-ordered work at the Los Angeles County Morgue as "f’d up and inappropriate," telling the U.K. paper:

[B]ecause a lot of other people were meant to do it, and they were like: 'No, they can’t handle it. Lohan can.’ It’s different for me than it would be for other people –- like, no one would really have to work at the morgue in L.A. and roll a body bag for Whitney Houston.

While Lohan was in fact still working at the morgue when Houston died on Feb. 11, 2012, an official for the Los Angeles Coroner’s Office denied claims that she had handled the late singer's body.

An official told TMZ that Houston was never in a body bag and no one in the probation program ever came in contact with her body.

HuffPost Entertainment's request for comment from Lohan's rep has yet to be returned at this time.

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Robin Thicke Reportedly Admits To Drug Use, Lying During ‘Blurred Lines’ Deposition (UPDATE)

UPDATE: Robin Thicke's camp gave HuffPost Entertainment a statement on the depositions obtained by The Hollywood Reporter. On behalf of Thicke, Howard King, attorney at King, Holmes, Paterno & Berliner said, “Robin's moment of personal vulnerability is being exploited in the hope of diverting attention from the obvious weakness of their legal claim.”

EARLIER: It's not a good year to be Robin Thicke. The success of "Blurred Lines" didn't last long and the song quickly went from topping the charts to being a controversial punchline. Now, Thicke and Pharrell Williams, who produced the song, are engaged in a lawsuit with Marvin Gaye's children, who claim the song is a rip-off of Gaye's 1977 hit, "Got To Give It Up."

Most of the documents are sealed, but The Hollywood Reporter has obtained Thicke and Williams' depositions from April, which contain bizarre revelations about "Blurred Lines." For one, Thicke admitted that he didn't write the song. "I was jealous and I wanted some of the credit," he said under oath. "I tried to take credit for it later because (Williams) wrote the whole thing pretty much by himself and I was envious of that."

Thicke also said that he had been high for most of his studio time. "I was high on vicodin and alcohol when I showed up at the studio," he said. "So my recollection is when we made the song, I thought I wanted — I — I wanted to be more involved than I actually was by the time, nine months later, it became a huge hit and I wanted credit." He later gave Williams all his due credit, "The reality is, is that Pharrell had the beat and he wrote almost every single part of the song."

This "Blurred Lines" creation story differs greatly from the one Thicke touted when the song first came out. He once told GQ that he and Pharrell listened to Gaye's "Got To Give It Up" as inspiration. "I hopped in the booth and the rest just came flying out," he said in an interview with Fuse.

When asked about the GQ interview during the deposition, he said," With all due respect, I was high and drunk every time I did an interview last year. Every day, I woke up, I would take a Vicodin to start the day and then I would fill up a water bottle with vodka and drink it before and during my interviews." Thicke testified that he quit the painkillers, but still drinks alcohol. The case is set for a February 2015 trial. HuffPost Entertainment contacted a representative for Thicke to confirm the quotes he made in the deposition. This post will be updated if and when they respond.

See the full depositions over at THR.
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