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David Chase's eulogy for James Gandolfini -- FULL TEXT

Earlier this morning, friends, family, and hundreds of fans gathered to pay their respects to James Gandolfini at Manhattan’s Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine. Four mourners — Gandolfini’s wife, Deborah Lin Gandolfini; his assistant, Thomas Richardson; his acting coach, Susan Aston; and his old boss, Sopranos creator David Chase — delivered eulogies at the service.

A transcript of Chase’s speech, which he structured as a letter to his late friend, is reprinted below.

Dear Jim,

Your family asked me to speak at this service. I am so honored and touched. I’m also really scared, and I say that because you, of all people, understand this. I would like to run away and then call you four days from now from the beauty parlor. [Ed. note: That's a reference to a 2002 incident in which Gandolfini disappeared from the set of The Sopranos, eventually calling the show's production office four days later from a beauty salon in Brooklyn.]

I want to do a good job because I love you, and because you always did a good job.

I think the deal is, I’m supposed to speak about the actor, the artist, the work part of your life. Others will have spoken beautifully about the other beautiful and magnificent parts of you — father, brother, friend. That’s what I was told. I’m supposed to also speak for your cast mates, who you loved; for your crew that you loved so much; the people at HBO; and Journey. I hope I can speak for all of them and pay credit to them and to you.

Experts told me to start with a joke, recite a funny anecdote. Ha ha ha. But as you yourself so often said, “I’m not feelin’ it.” I’m too sad and full of despair. I’m running too partly because I would like to have had your advice, because I remember how you did speeches. I saw you do a lot of them at awards shows and stuff, and invariably, I think you would scratch two or three thoughts on a sheet of paper and put it in your pocket, and then not really refer to it. And consequently, a lot of your speeches didn’t make sense.

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Emmy Watch: Sarah Burns discusses that extremely awkward hospital visit in 'Enlightened'

Between now and June 28, the deadline for Emmy voters to submit nomination ballots, EW.com will feature interviews with some of the actors and actresses whose names we hope to hear when nominations are announced on July 18.

Krista was in an impossible position from the beginning. As Amy Jellicoe was burning out in a spectacular fashion at Abbadon, her assistant Krista was actually given an opportunity: with her old boss gone, she could rise in the corporate ranks. When Amy returns after an extended leave, she finds Krista thriving. She’s pregnant. She’s happy. She’s successful. And she’s occupying Amy’s old office. It was always going to be awkward.

Creator and writer Mike White allowed his show to luxuriate in complexity, and Krista is never reduced to just one thing. Actress Sarah Burns created an empathetic character who is fundamentally conflicted about her relationship with Amy. Even though we may have experienced most things in Enlightened through the vehicle of Amy, we’re never blinded by her, and can see the always earnest and sometimes tone-deaf strain that she manages to put on others. On one level, Krista is just kind of trying to lead her own life and deal with Amy’s intermittent, terribly self-centered, interruptions as they come.

EW spoke with Burns about her character, knowing what it feels like to outgrow a boss, and Enlightened’s bittersweet ending.

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Emmy Watch: Natalie Dormer on her 'modern' wannabe queen in 'Game of Thrones'

Between now and June 28, the deadline for Emmy voters to submit nomination ballots, EW.com will feature interviews with some of the actors and actresses whose names we hope to hear when nominations are announced on July 18.

How does a bright-eyed, sweet-natured, deceptively ambitious teenage girl navigate the treacherous waters of King’s Landing society — not to mention the cruel nature of her sadistic husband-to-be and his scheming mother — without losing her head? Simple: By hiding her true motives behind a megawatt smile, wielding innocence and enthusiasm as skillfully as a swordsman brandishes his blade.

It also helps if that teenager is played by 31-year-old Natalie Dormer, a seasoned performer who specializes in masters of manipulation like The Tudors‘ Anne Boleyn (another noble with royal ambitions) and Elementary‘s Irene Adler/Moriarty.

In Dormer’s hands, these characters are never just seductive scam artists. Margaery Tyrell of Game of Thrones, for example, is certainly cunning — but in the actress’ mind, she’s also genuinely caring, thoughtful, and liberal-minded. “She has quite a modern take on power and how it operates, which is fascinating to play,” Dorner told EW in between screenings at the Edinburgh Film Festival. We’re guessing she was being sincere — though with an actress like this, it’s always just a little tough to tell for sure.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You first appeared on Game of Thrones in season 2, but your character didn’t really break out until season 3. Was there a particular moment this year when you started to feel like you had become a more integral part of the ensemble?
NATALIE DORMER:
Yeah, absolutely. I thought I’d talk to you about the crossbow scene in episode 2, with me and Jack [Gleeson] talking in Joffrey’s bedchamber.
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'True Blood': Jurnee Smollett-Bell talks joining the cast and her mysterious debut as Nicole

On True Blood, craziness is to be expected. It’s when things seem downright normal — like with the arrival of new character Nicole — that it begins to get creepy. Nicole debuted in the standard way last night, by stopping by Merlotte’s with friends before announcing that she knew a bit more than she was letting on: She was aware Sam is a shifter and wants to help the supernatural cause.

Prior to the season starting, EW called up Jurnee Smollett-Bell, who plays vampire-rights activist Nicole, to talk about joining the sexy supernatural drama. Smollett-Bell, a Friday Night Lights alum who recently starred in Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor, shared her audition story, her experiences with the extremely passionate True Blood fans, and the pitfalls of working with so much blood. READ FULL STORY

'True Blood': Sookie's new love interest teases what's to come (hint: plenty of nudity)

Last night on True Blood, it’s no exaggeration to say sparks flew when Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin) met fellow halfling Ben Flynn. In episodes to come, Ben will help Sookie investigate Warlow, the ancient vampire who murdered Sookie’s parents, which means the two fairies are sure to grow closer. And judging from the steamy season 6 promo, the relationship is bound to ruffle some shippers’ feathers. Rob Kazinsky, who plays Ben, talked to EW about his many (I repeat, many!) nude scenes in store, why Ben’s a better match for Sookie than her supenatural exes, and how he expects fans to react. Read on… READ FULL STORY

In wake of James Gandolfini's death, 'Sopranos' sales are up

Further proof that TV lovers won’t fuhgeddabout the late James Gandolfini anytime soon: Since the three-time Emmy winner’s untimely demise, sales of The Sopranos on DVD and digital download have risen dramatically on Amazon and iTunes, two of the only venues through which the show — off the air since 2007 — can be viewed today. (A&E began airing edited versions of Sopranos episodes in 2007, but the show no longer appears on the cable net’s schedule. Though the show is also available via HBO Go, HBO declines to share numbers for its streaming service.)

A $124.99, 30-disc set that contains the award-winning HBO series in its entirety has shot to the top of Amazon’s Movies & TV Best Sellers list, ranking only behind an instantly watchable version of the latest episode of Mad Men. The Sopranos: The Complete Series also tops Amazon’s DVD Best Sellers list, while The Sopranos: The Complete First Season ranks seventh and The Sopranos: Season 6, Part 2 (the series’ last set of episodes) ranks 10th. Season 6: Part 1 appears on the chart as well, at No. 14.
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James Gandolfini: 'Eating With the Enemy' was on actor's unfinished plate

This is the story of a James Gandolfini role that almost was …

Less than a week before he died unexpectedly at age 51, Gandolfini met with a team at HBO to discuss barbeque ribs, North Korea, and a true tale so strange it could only be told as comedy.

The film was called Eating With the Enemy, and the Emmy-winning star of The Sopranos would have played a big-mouthed New Jersey restaurant owner who fancies himself a rogue international diplomat and gets ensnared in the tense nuclear stand-off between Washington D.C. and the reclusive Pyongyang government. READ FULL STORY

Emmy Watch: Adam Driver isn't worried about what Twitter thinks of his 'Girls' character

Between now and June 28, the deadline for Emmy voters to submit nomination ballots, EW.com will feature interviews with some of the actors and actresses whose names we hope to hear when nominations are announced on July 18.

Even if you’ve never seen Girls, you’ve probably heard about Adam Driver — or, at least, something his character, also named Adam, did on the show. Alongside Lena Dunham, Driver was responsible for the buzzy moments that kept people watching, talking and tweeting throughout the HBO comedy’s dark second season. Fans’ thoughts about Adam can (and did) change moment to moment, and nowhere was that more on display than in the second episode of this past season, “I Get Ideas,” when Adam wrote and sang an intense breakup song to Hannah, texted her and then showed up at her apartment for a declaration of love, maybe committed some “space rape” and was subsequently arrested after an ill-timed 911 call.

“There are so many twists and turns that he does all throughout the season but also scene to scene,” Driver explained on the phone with EW. In addition to a feelings explosion in Hannah’s kitchen, this season also showed his character in AA and as a participant in one very unforgettable sex scene. Watch Dunham talk through Hannah and Adam’s powerful episode 2 fight below (which she directed), and then read on for Driver’s recollections about what it takes to play the guy people just can’t help but cheer for (sometimes).
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Liv Tyler joins Damon Lindelof's 'The Leftovers' pilot

Liv Tyler has joined the cast of The Leftovers, Damon Lindelof’s HBO pilot based on Tom Perrotta’s book of the same name. The Lord of the Rings actress will star alongside Justin Theroux, EW has confirmed.

In the post-apocalyptic story, Tyler plays Meg, who is recruited to join a cult following the Rapture, while Theroux is Kevin, a chief of police.
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'The Newsroom' season 2 bonanza: New character posters, plot scoop

Shhh. Can you hear that? It’s the winds of change… and they’re blowing blank pieces of paper all over the Desert of Discontent, or wherever ACN’s News Night team has gathered for The Newsroom season 2′s promotional campaign. (Thought we were done with tumbleweeds and moody stares after that second Newsroom trailer? Think again!)

These nine new posters — which feature each of the show’s regulars, as well as a group shot — come on the heels of a Newsroom event at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences in which series creator Aaron Sorkin teased a few more specific details about his drama’s sophomore outing. (Spoilers, naturally, follow.)

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Soledad O'Brien joining HBO's 'Real Sports'

Soledad O’Brien is joining fellow Today show alum Bryant Gumbel at HBO’s Real Sports.

HBO said Wednesday that O’Brien will be a reporter on the monthly magazine show, which is anchored by Gumbel. Her first story, due this month, is about war veterans who use martial arts to help cope with post-traumatic stress disorder.

“It’s exactly what I’ve been doing for a long time – telling stories about human beings and their struggles,” O’Brien said. READ FULL STORY

'Big Bang Theory' and HBO are big winners at Critics' Choice Television Awards

Two TV juggernauts won extra accolades at last night’s 3rd annual Critics’ Choice Television Awards, presented by the Broadcast Television Journalists Association at the Beverly Hilton Hotel Monday night.

CBS’s The Big Bang Theory — the most-watched comedy both on network TV and on cable — snagged three prizes, including the honors for Best Comedy Series, Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy (Simon Helberg), and Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy (Kaley Cuoco, who tied with The Middle‘s Eden Sher), making it the awards’ single-most celebrated series.

Cable powerhouse HBO, meanwhile, was cited five times for three different series (Veep, Game of Thrones, and The Newsroom) and one TV movie (Behind the Candelabra), making it the awards’ most celebrated network. With four awards of its own, though, FX is nipping at HBO’s heels. And though Game of Thrones was named Best Drama Series at the awards, it wasn’t the only show to win that title; the fantasy shared the prize with AMC’s Breaking Bad.

A full list of winners — including the BTJA’s picks for this fall’s “most exciting new series” — follows.

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HBO developing sci-fi drama 'The Spark' from 'Last Resort' creator

HBO has conquered the fantasy genre with Game of Thrones, and now the cable network is looking to delve into science fiction with a project called The Spark, EW has confirmed. Deadline first reported the news.

Now in development (so it’s not guaranteed to be picked up to air), The Spark comes from the mind of Karl Gajdusek, creator of military TV series Last Resort, which premiered last fall but was canceled by ABC mid-season. Gajdusek also co-wrote the recent Tom Cruise sci-fi flick Oblivion.

Here’s the story description for the potential series from Deadline’s report: READ FULL STORY

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