Tag Archives: Ben Schwartz

The Force Awakens Features Lots of Cameos

It’s no secret that there are Star Wars fans everywhere so it’s not surprising that many well-known celebrities made cameos in The Force Awakens. Some of them are in costumes completely concealing their identities even. In order to point some of them out some specific scenes will be mentioned so I would advise seeing the movie before reading this if you want to know as little as possible before seeing it. With that said, read on at your own discretion, you’ve been warned.

Continue reading The Force Awakens Features Lots of Cameos

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Ben Schwartz Returns to ‘Parks and Recreation’; Kristen Bell to Guest

Veronica Mars star Kristen Bell is scheduled, along with House of Lies Co-star Ben Schwartz, to pop up for a few episodes next season on Parks and Recreation. Schwartz will obviously be reprising a role he’s been shining in since the shows second season, the hilarious Jean-Ralphio. As Jean-Ralphio he is sure to annoy Ron Swanson and make life a little harder for his best friend Tom Haverford.

Continue reading Ben Schwartz Returns to ‘Parks and Recreation’; Kristen Bell to Guest

Showtime’s ‘House of Lies’ Premiere Date, and an Interview with Kristen Bell

Not too long ago, we told you all about House of Lies, a new show coming soon to Showtime.  The network liked the new show enough to order 12 episodes of the show, which we now know will premiere on Sunday, January 8th, 2012 at 10 pm.

House of Lies will star Don Cheadle as Marty, who every piece of news is describing as a “cutthroat/self-loathing consultant of a top-tier firm.”  And also, apparently he’s a real envelope-pusher who threw out his moral compass before he came to work.  The show will also star Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars, Forgetting Sarah Marshall), Dawn Olivieri (Heroes), Ben Schwartz (Parks and Recreation) and Glynn Turman (the creepy old black guy from Super 8).

 I am super excited!  I think this show is going to be majorly awesome.  I’ve already fan-girled about the cast; but if the writing is good, it could be a sparkly jewel in the 2012 TV programming crown.

In an interview with the website Zap2it, Kristen Bell talks about her character and about the series:

Zap2it: Are the characters political consultants?

Kristen Bell: Really anything. It’s basically a group of cutthroat management consultants that will do whatever is necessary to get the job and the after-work. It’s murky as to what they actually really do, which I think is the actual description of consultants. If someone has a problem, we come and fix it — you’re downsizing, you need to stop fighting, whatever needs to be done. And their moral compasses are a little bit wonky. … But there’s a dynamic between the four of us — Don Cheadle, me, Josh Lawson and Ben Schwartz — that’s very fun. We travel together all the time, we spend 100 hours a week together.

So it’s kind of our life as traveling salesmen.

Would you call it a comedy, a dark comedy, what?

KB: It’s a dark comedy — a dark dramedy, I’d say actually. Tonally, it’s very Showtime.

What about the role appealed to you?

KB: I’d been searching for the right TV project. I knew I didn’t want anything built around me, for the reason of it’s difficult to be No. 1 on the call sheet. It’s a very different workload than No. 2. But also I wanted to find a writer or creator who had a story to tell, who wasn’t just like, “OK, what can we do with her?” I didn’t want it to be sold on me; I wanted to be part of a good project. And I trust Matthew Carnahan [“Dirt”], our creator, implicitly. I think he’s very funny, he’s very dark, he’s very provocative. I think Showtime also has a lot more they can do with storylines — what they show, the subject matter they broach. And working with Don Cheadle is not a bad thing. He’s pretty exceptional, both as a human being and as an actor, and I just feel like I’m learning a lot from him. I’m trying to absorb how he works.

Other than not being in every scene, what’s different about being part of an ensemble vs. being the star of a series?

KB: Then you’re No. 1 on the call sheet, when you completely represent a show, there’s so much more that’s required of you. You’re in every frame of the show, but there’s also the publicity aspect that’s a reality for us. There’s just a lot more on your shoulders, a lot more pressure. There’s a lot more pressure when you’re the main component of a show, and I didn’t want that pressure. I wanted to have fun, and this has actually been really fun.

Can you talk more about your character?

KB: I don’t know if I can. A lot is revealed in the first three episodes. She’s very compartmentalized. She has a lot of issues.

I’d imagine that in a show called “House of Lies” the people probably aren’t squeaky-clean.

KB: Yeah — she’s very flawed. All the characters are kind of flawed. So the dynamics are a little bit deeper — no one is exactly what you think they are. That’s partly because their line of work bleeds over into their personal lives. They’re chameleons. They transform into whatever the client needs them to be and do whatever they need to get the job. If you need us to be firm, we’re firm. You need us to be soft, we’re soft. You need us to rub your back, we’ll rub your back. The ability to transform to get what you want is what bleeds into my character’s personal life.

It almost sounds like you’re getting to play several different characters.

KB: There are many facets to my character’s personality, and every time they come up with a new one they’re like, “Oh yeah, and she’s this, and she believes this. Which could be directly contradictory to something we’ve already established, but that’s what they’re asking me to do, and it’s really exciting as an actor.

I look forward to DVRing this in January!

Showtime’s ‘House of Lies’ – Coming Soon to a Boob Tube Near You!

House of Lies - Book

Summer is still in full swing, but one thing is captivating the minds of TV execs – Fall TV programming!  With so many shows crashing and burning in the last year (The Event, Camelot, Detroit 1-8-7) and so many veteran programs having seen their last (Friday Night Lights, Smallville, Rescue Me), there are some large spots to fill.  Showtime promises to provide some interesting heavy hitters under the regime of new president, David Nevins; including an order for 12 episodes of House of Lies, written and executive-produced by Matthew Carnahan (Dirt).

House of Lies is loosely based on the novel House of Lies: How Management Consultants Steal Your Watch and Then Tell You the Time by Martin Kihn, a satirical commentary that attempts to break down the fluffy misconceptions of the consulting business.  His stance is that consulting is mostly a joke that became profitable; and that anyone will listen to an Ivy Leaguer with an MBA who wears a nice suit and uses fancy-pants words like “paradigm” and “granular.”  Even if this finely pressed suit is spooning you information that you already know and taking credit for a success that isn’t theirs.

House of Lies (the TV show) will be a dark comedy that follows the career of consultant, Marty (Don Cheadle), who is described as “cutthroat,” without a moral compass to guide him as he does anything and everything necessary to succeed.  The show will also star Kristen Bell (that native Detroiter that we love!) as Jeannie, a razor-sharp Ivy League grad, who is alleged to act as a voice of reason.

The show will also star Ben Schwartz (Jean-Ralphio from Parks and Recreation) who is  about twelve shades of hilarious, and Josh Lawson, who has been in only B-movies and crappy TV shows.

I think this show has the power to premiere to strong numbers.  Not only does it have an all-star cast lineup, but it sounds pretty darn interesting and hilarious.  Having worked for a consultancy firm, I’m curious to see how much steam they take from Martin Kihn’s book.  I’ve heard he really tears the whole institution apart in it.  Which is funny in my book, because consultants are all self-righteous stuffed peacocks who think that the ground they walk on turns to gold and that they shit sunshine and rainbows.  If the show makes fun of consulting as much as I hope they do, I will be a fan for life.

Kristen Bell, Don Cheadle, Josh Lawson, Ben Schwartz

[Editor’s Note: I’ve included an interview with Bell that has almost nothing to do with the show. How can you not like her?!?!]

House of Lies has started production and will begin filming soon.  Look for it to hit Showtime in the Fall 2011 or Spring 2012 lineups!