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Tag: Best of 2013 (Behind the Scenes) (1-10 of 28)

Best of 2013 (Behind the Scenes): Megan Hilty on a 'Smash'-ing song (and dealing with the show's haters)

Yes, Smash is dead. (Sniff!) But its incredible original tunes will hopefully live on — particularly standouts like “Let Me Be Your Star,” “Let’s Be Bad,” and “They Just Keep Moving the Line,” a scorcher immortalized by Megan Hilty at the beginning of season 2. Like most of Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman’s clever creations, the song’s lyrics work on multiple levels. In the context of Bombshell, Smash‘s show-within-a-show, the song finds Marilyn Monroe using an extended racing metaphor to lament the harshness of a business that keeps asking more and more of her. Hilty’s character, Ivy Lynn, has faced a similar series of struggles (years stuck in the chorus! A cheating director boyfriend! A brief and ridiculous addiction to prednisone!) within the show’s universe. And finally, the song’s world-weary lyrics can be read as Smash‘s way of reacting to its own harsh critics — those prepared to gleefully tear apart the series no matter what it did.

How did Hilty’s instantly classic performance come about? We chatted with the star, who’s moved from Smash to NBC’s Sean Saves the World, to find out. Oh, and just so you know: Hilty says that if she could choose any musical to perform live on NBC, Sound of Music-style, she’d go with Sweeney Todd. Even though, as she points out, “that’s probably not the most family friendly. They probably won’t be doing that at Christmas time.”

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Best of 2013 (Behind the Scenes): 'Orange Is the New Black' star Uzo Aduba on bringing Crazy Eyes to life

Trying to choose your favorite Orange Is the New Black character is like trying to choose your favorite Olivia Pope ensemble — nearly impossible. Yet even though the show is stacked with unforgettable creations — Red! Taystee! Pennsatucky! Miss Claudette! Nicky! Pornstache, even! — one stands out from the pack: Suzanne Warren, best known among Litchfield’s inmates as Crazy Eyes.

At this point, however, it’s tough for any fan of the show to use Suzanne’s unkind nickname in good conscience. Sure, she tends to come on just a little too strong — but she’s also a kind, delightfully unfiltered presence with a generous heart (she’ll throw her pie for you) and the soul of a poet. Oh, and she happens to be pretty hilarious as well.

How does a normal actress get into the headspace of Piper Chapman’s would-be prison wife? To find out, we turned to Uzo Aduba, the Broadway vet who counts Suzanne as her very first big TV role. Read on to learn how Aduba got the part (fun fact: she didn’t even audition for it originally), what went through her mind when she read episode 3’s notorious floor-peeing scene, and what she can say about season 2. (Hint: Unfortunately, it’s not much.)

Click here for more of EW.com’s Best of 2013 coverage.

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Best of 2013 (Behind the Scenes): Neil Patrick Harris and producers talk Tonys opening number

The musical number is a tried-and-true awards show opener. But last June, it got taken to new heights when viewers were treated to one of the most elaborate, thrilling, and catchy performances of all when Neil Patrick Harris hosted the Tony Awards for the fourth time.

The “Bigger” number celebrated the best of Broadway and had audiences both at home and in the theater on their feet by the end of the seven-and-a-half-minute performance. (Just check out Debra Messing’s reaction shot to sum up most people’s feelings about the song). With all the songs, magic tricks and cameos the song would have been impressive regardless, but the fact that the number went live after only getting to run it fully through a few times makes it worthy of a standing ovation.

“That’s what makes the Tonys so invigorating,” Harris tells EW. “With almost no rehearsal you’re counting on people to execute well. But these are people who execute well every single night. So they’re used to that kind of pressure and they thrive on it.”

In separate conversations, Harris, as well as Tonys telecast executive producer Ricky Kirshner and Tonys telecast director/executive producer Glenn Weiss, walked EW through what happens when you sketch out a number via Facetime, put each part together separately, and only get a few precious moments to run it all together before curtain.

Click here for more of EW.com’s Best of 2013 coverage.

As told by: Neil Patrick Harris, Ricky Kirshner, and Glenn Weiss READ FULL STORY

Best of 2013 (Behind the Scenes): How 'Sleepy Hollow' dreamed up Ichabod's talk with the OnStar lady

Sleepy Hollow hooked scads of viewers with its balls-to-the-wall crazy pilot episode, which established in quick succession that a) American Revolutionary War hero Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison) was Rip Van Winkle’d into a 200+ year slumber, then b) awoken to fight the evil Headless Horseman, who c) happens to be one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Also, his wife’s a witch. Also also, he’s destined to team up with Sleepy Hollow cop Abbie Mills (Nicole Beharie), who herself is still haunted by a demon she spotted when she was just a girl. Oh, and then there’s Zombie John Cho…

Clearly, Sleepy has a lot of balls in the air — but so far,  it has managed to keep juggling them all. (It’ll continue to do so well into 2014, as Fox made Sleepy the first new show to earn a second season way back in October.) Even better, the show has proven that it’s just as adept at humor as it is at supernatural action/adventure. Witness, for example, Ichabod’s flabbergasted reaction to present-day New York’s mammoth sales tax, or the way he describes a package Abbie’s received (“treasures from the Amazon”) — or the opening of season 1’s fourth episode, which finds Crane delivering a swoonworthy monologue about his lost love Katrina, who’s currently caught in purgatory. The punchline: He’s sitting in a car… and telling this tale to Yolanda, an OnStar customer service rep.

Who dreamed up this already classic scene? That’d be Sleepy staffer Damian Kindler, a sci-fi vet who loves to write twists on American history — especially given his Canadian upbringing. (“There was something cheeky about the Canadian dude going, ‘The Boston Tea Party was a ruse, man!'” he tells EW with a laugh.) Read on to see how Kindler created one of the show’s standout moments — and to learn the show’s general approaches to writing both Ichabod and Abbie.

Click here for more of EW.com’s Best of 2013 coverage.

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Best of 2013 (Behind the Scenes): How a 'Sharknado' happens

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On Saturday, July 11, a perfect storm hit Twitter in the form of Syfy’s original movie Sharknado, an L.A.-set “unnatural disaster” creature feature starring Beverly Hills 90210‘s Ian Ziering and American Pie‘s Tara Reid. With 387,000 total tweets, the film came within 2,500 tweets of tying Game of Thrones‘ “Red Wedding” episode. Here, Syfy’s EVP of Programming and Original Movies, Thomas Vitale —  who’s in the midst of developing a New York-set sequel to air in summer 2014 — explains how the phenomenon happened. And people still want to know: Vitale apologized for phoning EW late because, “I had a movie producer in here saying, ‘How can I make you a Sharknado?’ That’s a fact, those exact words,” he said. “‘We want to make your next Sharknado.'” Read more stories behind this year’s top TV and top movie moments throughout the month of December.

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Best of 2013 (Behind the Scenes): How Katherine fought Elena on 'The Vampire Diaries'

In The Vampire Diaries‘ season 4 finale, Elena Gilbert finally came face-to-face with Katherine, a.k.a. her doppelganger, a.k.a. the woman she’s been waiting to throw down with since, like, forever. And thanks to the fact that Katherine killed Elena’s brother in the middle of season 4, Elena’s desire to get rid of Katherine was at an all-time high. Needless to say, by finale time, Elena wanted revenge.

However, it was the older vamp who started the fight, claiming that Elena was to blame for stealing her happiness. From there, things only escalated, even to the point where Katherine literally had Elena’s heart in her hand. Luckily, Elena had the cure for vampirism in her pocket and was able to shove it down Katherine’s throat before her heart was removed from her chest. The score might have ended Elena: 1, Katherine: 0, but the real winner was actress Nina Dobrev, who had somehow perfected the art of fighting herself.

So how did Dobrev do it? We spoke with stunt coordinator John Copeman and Dobrev separately to find out.

Click here for more of EW.com’s Best of 2013 coverage.  READ FULL STORY

Best of 2013 (Behind the Scenes): Bill Hader on saying goodbye to Stefon -- and 'SNL' -- with one last video

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Saturday Night Live‘s epic farewell to Stefon — the absurd masterpiece played for five seasons by Bill Hader — had EVERYTHING: human parking cones, Black George Washington, Jupids, Furkels, even DJ Baby Bok Choy, “a giant 300-pound Chinese baby who wears tinted aviator glasses and spins records with his little ravioli hands.”

So naturally, putting the clip together was a massive undertaking — and an especially emotional one for departing cast member Hader, who left NBC’s comedy institution this spring after eight years. (Soon, Stefon’s entire team will be gone for good: Hader’s writing partner John Mulaney exited the show in 2012, returning only occasionally to help with Stefon-related matters. Meanwhile, Hader’s longtime Weekend Update foil Seth Meyers moves to host NBC’s Late Night in early 2014.)

Here, the comedian describes the making of that big goodbye video, from start to finish — and reveals when, precisely, he started crying.

Click here for more of EW.com’s Best of 2013 coverage.
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Best of 2013 (Behind the Scenes): Stephen Colbert on how he got 'lucky' with his celeb-studded Daft Punk dance video

Back in August, French electro-duo Daft Punk bailed last minute on a scheduled Colbert Report performance, citing a contractual obligation to MTV. But instead of scrambling like a headless chicken for a replacement act, Stephen Colbert jumped and danced for joy, literally. He and his writing team took the booking snafu as an opportunity to create an ecstatic music video set to Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky,” which featured a beaming Colbert dancing with various celebs (Bryan Cranston, Jeff Bridges, Hugh Laurie and others), crashing three other shows (Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, America’s Got Talent and Charlie Rose), and shocking exactly one political dignitary (Henry Kissinger).

“The universe conspired for us to have a show that seemed highly planned, but it was actually a series of extremely happy accidents,” Colbert says. Though the cancellation was a producer’s nightmare, he loved the challenge of figuring out how to fill Daft Punk’s place: “You do 1,300 shows, and anything different is like a holiday.” EW spoke with Stephen Colbert (decidedly out of character) about the logistical hurdle of filming guests in both New York and Washington D.C., as well as how The Big Lebowski and Michael Jackson served as inspiration. As for his thoughts on Daft Punk’s VMA performance? Colbert still hasn’t seen it. “I never watch the VMAs. I think I was probably helping my kids with their homework,” the comedian said. “I got nothing against the Daft Punkers, and they wrote me and said they really liked [the video], and I hope they did. I’d love to have them on.”

Click here for more of EW.com’s Best of 2013 coverage.

As told by: Stephen Colbert

The video itself came about starting three weeks before the show. We had already booked Daft Punk to come on the show, and we were pretty excited because they don’t do TV and they don’t talk. We thought “Oh great, they’ll come on and talk into a [fog] and this’ll be a real coup.” And then they said, “Well, they don’t wanna talk.” So I said, “Oh I can get around them not talking. We can figure out something.” And then the next week they called and said, “Oh, and they also don’t wanna do the song.” [Laughs]

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Best of 2013 (Behind the Scenes): Inside the 'Broadchurch' reveal

Spoiler alert! If you haven’t watched BBC America’s gripping whodunit Broadchurch, stop reading now. When the season 1 finale aired in September, we asked creator/writer Chris Chibnall to take us inside the episode and the shocking reveal of 11-year-old Danny’s killer. Revisit that conversation below.

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Best of 2013 (Behind the Scenes): How 'Dallas' pieced together J.R. Ewing's final scene

On March 4, 2013, Dallas fans once again found themselves asking, “Who shot J.R.?” But this time, they knew he wouldn’t survive. How did exec producers Cynthia Cidre and Michael R. Robin orchestrate J.R. Ewing’s final scene without their beloved star, the late Larry Hagman? How did they decide to alter the show’s iconic theme song for the following episode to honor both the character and the actor? They revealed all to EW.com last winter. Revisit the conversation below.

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Best of 2013 (Behind the Scenes): Inside the 'Game of Thrones' Red Wedding

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It’s been six months, and Game of Thrones fans still aren’t over the June 2 episode and its slaughter of Starks. In separate interviews with Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin and showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss, EW‘s James Hibberd learned why Robb had to die and how the show pulled it off. Revisit them below.

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Best of 2013 (Behind the Scenes): How 'Sons of Anarchy' pulled off the gloriously gory special effects of 'Los Fantasmas'

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Going into season 6, Sons of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter had warned fans that it would be the most violent one yet. And he wasn’t joking. That means the FX drama’s special effects supervisor, Chris Nelson, was a busy man. Back in October, we asked Nelson to take us inside two particularly graphic scenes in the deadly episode “Los Fantasmas.” Revisit the conversation below. You may never look at watermelon the same way again.

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'The Good Wife' composer talks the drama and comedy of 'Hitting the Fan'

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If you’re still recovering from the Oct. 27 episode of CBS’ The Good Wife, appropriately titled “Hitting the Fan,” you’re not alone. It will be remembered as one of the series’ best — a perfect storm of pitch-perfect writing/directing, acting, and score. You could feel it from the opening moments, when Will (Josh Charles) set the firing of Alicia (Julianna Margulies) in motion after learning she planned to leave the law firm and everyone started scrambling to steal clients or keep them. The mood was tense but fun as the actors reveled in the machinations scripted by exec producers Robert and Michelle King as much as their characters. And the music captured it. Watch a clip below.

Film composer David Buckley, who’s scored the show since midway through its first season, said one challenge was not letting the music get ahead of the drama. “An episode like this one, more than ever, the music has a sort of identity that can rise up and then fall back down,” he says. Another challenge: The different tones. “This cue, more than any in any episode — probably, in fact, more than anything I’ve ever done before — was trying to navigate that intricate path of drama and comedy. It was serious. There was energy. There was propulsion. But it could also find nods and winks to the lighter parts of the scene,” he says. “The scripts are so clever, the story lines are so intricate, that really quite swiftly you can be moving from something emotional and personal and perhaps sad to someone with a twinkle in their eye.” READ FULL STORY

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