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Filed in: appearances , blues album , didn't it rain , music , news , video
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Kathryn Hahn has joined the cast of Tomorrowland, Disney’s Brad Bird-directed sci-fi adventure movie.

George Clooney, Hugh Laurie and Britt Robertson are starring in the picture, which is currently shooting in Vancouver.

The story, as described by Disney, centers on a “bright, optimistic teen bursting with scientific curiosity and a former boy-genius inventor jaded by disillusionment who embark on a danger-filled mission to unearth the secrets of an enigmatic place somewhere in time and space that exists in their collective memory as Tomorrowland.”

Character descriptions are being kept secret, but it can be revealed that Hahn is playing a character named Ursula in what is described as a funny, scene-stealing role.

Hahn is an expert at the latter, with her talents on view in the recent New Line comedy We’re the Millers. She’ll next be seen in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and recently wrapped Shawn Levy’s This Is Where I Leave You.

Hahn is repped by Gersh, Brillstein Entertainment Partners and Schreck Rose.


Posted at 3:58 pm Author: Hugh Laurie Fan Staff 0 Comments

Filed in: movies , news , tomorrowland

Tim McGraw is returning to film for the 2014 movie Tomorrowland.

The Disney film will be directed by Brad Bird (The Iron Giant, The Incredibles, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol) and will star George Clooney, Hugh Laurie, Judy Greer, Britt Robertson and McGraw. Shooting is currently underway in Vancouver with a projected release of December 2014.

The film is about a teen and a former boy-genius who are searching for a place in space and time called Tomorrowland.

McGraw has dabbled in acting before, appearing in Friday Night Lights (2004), Flicka (2006), The Blind Side (2009) and Country Strong (2010).


Posted at 3:53 pm Author: Hugh Laurie Fan Staff 0 Comments

Filed in: blues album , didn't it rain , music , news , video

Hugh Laurie’s 2013 concert aboard the Queen Mary is planned for Blu-ray in two weeks.

In an early announcement to retailers, Eagle Rock Entertainment is prepping ‘Hugh Laurie: Live on the Queen Mary’ for a high-definition release on October 22.

On March 26th of this year a dream came true for Hugh Laurie when he took to the stage in the magnificent Art Deco surroundings of the famous liner Queen Mary, now moored permanently at Long Beach, California. The show combines tracks from both of his hugely successful blues albums, ‘Let Them Talk’ from 2011 (UK #2) and the recently released Didn’t It Rain (UK #3), along with other musical gems. Hugh Laurie leads on vocals, piano and guitar and is supported by the Copper Bottom Blues Band, a fantastic group of musicians and singers. His engaging personality and skillful playing make for a perfect evening of sublime blues in a wonderfully intimate setting.

Track Listing: 1) Hamp’s Hump 2) Junco Partner 3) Evenin’ 4) Kiss of Fire 5) Staggerlee 6) Day And Night 7) The Weed Smoker’s Dream 8) Didn’t It Rain 9) Winin Boy Blues 10) Louisiana Blues 11) Send Me To The ‘Lectric Chair 12) Wild Honey 13) Careless Love 14) Swanee River 15) I Hate A Man Like You 16) Tipitina 17) Go to the Mardi Gras 18) Changes

Suggested list price for the Blu-ray is $19.98.


Posted at 3:50 pm Author: Hugh Laurie Fan Staff 0 Comments

Filed in: blues album , didn't it rain , music , news , press

Unlike Dr. Gregory House, the brash and brainy character he portrayed on the hit TV medical drama “House,” British actor and musician Hugh Laurie wants to make sure he won’t ruffle any feathers when he comes to play his first-ever Nashville concert at Schermerhorn Symphony Center on Sunday, October 13.

“An Englishman coming to Nashville and singing ‘The Tennessee Waltz’ – do people reach for rotten fruit and firearms, or do they take that in the proper spirit?” he asks The Tennessean.

Laurie talks of his impending Nashville visit with the utmost respect (“It’s a holy city for music”), but it was his reverence for another musical town – New Orleans – that fueled this year’s “Didn’t It Rain,” his second collection of classic blues covers. It’s a sound that’s spoken to Laurie all his life, ever since “around age 7 or 8” when he first heard bluesman Willie Dixon.

Calling from Vancouver – where’s he’s filming the buzzed-about Disney film “Tomorrowland” – Laurie told us about that lifelong love of blues and classic country, and how his musical chops have found their way into his roles over the years.

We were thrilled to hear a couple of months back that you were coming to town – and making your Nashville debut.

It’ll be more of a thrill for me. Not that that’s the point of it. I mean, I realize the point of this exercise is not to give me a thrill, it’s to give the audience a thrill, but nonetheless, I can’t deny I’m very, very excited about the prospect.

The prospect of playing in Nashville, Tennessee, specifically?

It’s a holy city for music, and I’ve never been there. This will be my first time, and I can’t wait. I’m treading on holy ground.

You take a lot of inspiration from another musical city – New Orleans – and traditional blues and jazz. When did you first hear that music, from any era, and how did it connect with you?

I was very young. I don’t remember exactly – that’s how young I was. It was an age before one cared about one’s age. But I’m guessing at about age 7 or 8, and I heard a record on the radio, and I had this idea, I don’t know why. I think it was (blues musician) Willie Dixon. From that moment on, I was just sold.

“Sold,” that doesn’t really cover it. I’ve got to be careful, because I know I’m heading for a very religious part of the world. I’d better not call it a divine revelation. It was like a thunder bolt, and I’m still shuddering from it even now, 50-odd years later, and will for the rest of my life. I’m not suddenly going to get into hip-hop, I can pretty much guarantee that.

While we’re talking about Nashville: any classic country sounds that found their way to you, and did they inspire you at all?

Oh, yeah. Well, actually, I need to ask your advice. An Englishman coming to Nashville and singing “The Tennessee Waltz” – do people reach for rotten fruit and firearms, or do they take that in the proper spirit?

I think they’ll love it – it’s one of our state songs.

It’s one of the most beautiful songs ever written. Well, that’s good to know, because that has been a favorite of mine, ever since I was a child. I know a million people have done it, but we actually recorded it for the album, and then I sort of slightly lost my nerve, because again, that’s a holy song, and I had a slight feeling of maybe trespassing. I know I’m trespassing anyway. But we did record it, and I absolutely love that tune.

You know, Hank Williams was always a hero of mine. There’s something about what appears to be the simplicity of what he does. It’s so deceptive, because anyone else tries to do it, and suddenly, they realize it isn’t that simple. Or at least, simple isn’t the same as easy. Robert Johnson, I think, is similar, in that people think, ‘Oh yeah, I know what he’s doing there.’ Well, no. It just so happens that nobody else can do it. Nobody can do Robert Johnson, and nobody can do Hank Williams. There’s something about guys like that. It’s unique, and all one can do, I suppose, is pay a kind of service to the songs themselves, rather than the artist.

You’ve mentioned two guitar players, so I wonder what made you gravitate towards the piano, versus other instruments?

It’s a good point. I suppose, well, besides the obvious thing of – I like sitting down – although a lot of Nashville players play guitar sitting down…

Yeah, some of them have a pretty sweet deal here.

Exactly. I never saw myself as the guy up in front. I never saw myself as a guitar hero when all of my friends were either playing real guitars or air guitar. That wasn’t how I saw myself. I saw myself more at the back, just noodling along on the piano. I suppose there was a strange thing that happened. When I was listening to Muddy Waters, the more I listened to his records, the more I found myself picking out what (Waters’ piano player) Otis Spann was doing. Brilliant piano player though he was, he was very often deep in the mix, so it was quite hard to hear what he was doing. I just found my ear going to that, and trying to figure out why what he did sounded so great and touched me so deeply. I don’t really know why it is, but the piano just caught my ear. Maybe I just felt like there are enough guitarists in the world.

And if you play the piano and can sing, you’re a one-man show. But you’ll be bringing a band with you to Nashville?

Boy, I’m coming mob handed. I’m coming with the great Copper Bottom Band, who I sort of half-ironically refer to on stage as “The Greatest Band in the World,” but it’s only half-ironic because they are unbelievably great. I know you hear unbelievably great musicians every night of the week in Nashville, but I put these guys up without any doubt, I have every confidence that they’ll prove equal to the task. I’m the shaky guy in the outfit. I’m the big faker who’s trying to get away with it, but they are unbelievably great. There are seven of them, so we’re eight on stage. We make a good, fat sound.

You’ve shown your musical side on “House,” “Saturday Night Live,” and well before that on British television. I wondered if throughout your acting career, you’ve tried to find ways to work music in.

You know, I’m not conscious of that. Maybe I did. Maybe there was a little voice, sort of saying, “Why don’t you suggest a piano…” but I don’t think I did that. I remember, particularly with “House,” there was a very conscious effort in the beginning, the character was very deliberately, consciously modeled on Sherlock Holmes, who had that obsession with the violin. I always thought that a musical expression of the character was an interesting element. As with Sherlock Holmes, you have this brain that appears to be ruthlessly logical and rational, and yet it also has this sort of romantic side to it. There is some part of that brain that needs to express itself or converse with itself through music.

I couldn’t play the violin, and even if I could, that might have been too direct an allusion to Sherlock Holmes. But I did think that music was an interesting element to “House,” partially because music conforms in some ways to the rational side of that character. It’s a mathematical, physical thing, but also it’s improvisational and it’s creative and it expressed a sort of longing in the character of “House” that maybe he didn’t dare express in words.

And if it wasn’t voice inside your head telling you to suggest music, surely there were people around you saying, “Hey Hugh, here’s a piano – how about a song?”

I think it did appeal to the writers a little bit. I remember years and years before, with my friend Stephen Fry, we’d done these P.G. Wodehouse stories (the “Jeeves and Wooster” British television series). And the guy who produced that show had done the “Hercule Poirot” series, which was set in the same period. He had decided that to fill an hour, the script needed to be 61-and-a-half pages long. It so happened, we discovered in the first week that we were going about 10 percent faster than they were, and so the first show we did, he realized that we were short by about four minutes. They were scratching their heads thinking, “We don’t have a show. How can we fill four minutes? I know, we’ll get the guy to sit at the piano and sing a song.” So I wound up singing on the series, basically because I talk too fast. That was the price I paid for talking fast. I had to sing a song every week – which I loved, by the way. And it went on from there.

You’ve been a musician all your life, but perhaps being a touring musician is a new development. Does that life suit you – being on the road, seeing the world?

I absolutely love it. I’m like a kid on the bus. I’ve got eyes like saucers, and I can’t believe it. We do a show, we get on the bus, we drink some whiskey, we wake up the next morning and we’re in a different city, a different part of the world. It’s all of my dreams coming true. For the rest of the guys, the band I’m playing with, they’re a very, very experienced band, and some of them have been doing it 30, 40 years. So maybe the romance has slightly worn off for them, and they’re just thinking about laundry. That’s the big issue. But for me, it’s the biggest and best adventure there is.

You’ll be in Nashville soon, but worlds have already found a way of colliding. One of our residents, Tim McGraw, is in the upcoming Disney film “Tomorrowland,” which I hear you’re also a part of. I’m not sure what you can say, but are you looking forward to the experience?

They have a gun to my head, and I’m not allowed to say a damn word about. I’m actually in Vancouver now, shooting for that movie. I heard that he was going to be in this, I heard yesterday. I haven’t met him yet, but I hope I will. All I will dare say is that it is a very, very exciting project, and so far, we’re about a third of the way through now, I think. I am cautiously optimistic. Things are going well. That’s no guarantee of anything, but it’s a very clever, and interesting bunch of people working on this movie – of whom I am not one, by the way, I’m not sure I qualify. But they’re a very interesting bunch, and the movie’s going very well, and I’m really looking forward to meeting him. It’s going to be really interesting.


Posted at 3:40 pm Author: Hugh Laurie Fan Staff 0 Comments

Filed in: movies , news , tomorrowland

Disney Tomorrowland Logo

Given the presence of Hugh Laurie in the cast, and the carefully curated sense of secrecy that the filmmakers have wrapped around the movie so far, we half expect Laurie’s classic comedy song ‘Mystery’ to appear on the soundtrack to Tomorrowland.

Laurie was not on hand at the Disney D23 event this weekend, but the Mouse House had director Brad Bird and co-writer Damon Lindelof in attendance, and the pair spoke to us about the challenges of making a film in a world where so many essential elements leak before the finished version is even in cinemas.

“You’re always worried,” admits Bird. “It’s kind of like a heckler who yells out a punch line to some guy’s well-crafted joke. It’s never going to be as good as hearing it with all the care that you put into it. It’s very hard to tell a story as well it should be told when everybody has devices that can record and post things on blogs. That’s why I encourage anyone who loves storytelling to avoid reading spoilers online. Be excited about a movie, but if you like storytelling, why would you want that?”

The man who made The Iron Giant, The Incredibles, and, more recently, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, is trying to keep his latest under wraps as long as he can, and has just started shooting the sci-fi adventure. He’s concerned that the eventual trailers may just go too far. “That’s a trend. People often explain too much and to me, it feels a little desperate, like you don’t think being intrigued is enough. And there are many trailers where, if it ended halfway through, I’d be in. And then they go, ‘It turns out the villain is the best friend!’” Added Lindelof with a laugh: “That was awesome, that movie,” “But it goes deep into the third act!” protested Bird. “Why am I getting this in a trailer? Now I don’t want to see it.”

Early chatter about the film pointed to alien involvement, but Lindelof is happy to shoot that rumour down once and for all when we ask about the influences on the film’s tone. “When we first started talking about it, the movie we were referencing was Close Encounters, so people incorrectly deduced that it was about some sort of alien contact, which we’ve ruled out. But that movie was about discovery. It was about that level of excitement of, ‘There’s something out there, and it inspires me and I can’t quite explain why it inspires me, but I need to know more about it. I need to get to it.’ That became the driving, fundamental feel behind it. We’re not trying to make a Spielberg movie, this is very much a Brad Bird movie, but I feel like that’s the vibe.”

Bird is clearly happier talking tone than plot at this point, which really does make a refreshing change. “It’s what we want to have the audience feeling. When I was first at Pixar, they were making Finding Nemo and doing all these tests for water and trying to reproduce stuff from the ocean. They did it really well and once they managed it, they said, ‘We shouldn’t be trying to reproduce what it looks like, we should be trying to evoke what it feels like.’ As soon as they did that, they had the ocean they wanted. That’s really what this is about in a weird way. When you hear that word, how does it ‘feel’?” 

“What does it evoke?” said Lindelof, taking up the baton. “When you close your eyes and think of three things that it makes you picture when I say Tomorrowland, those are the things that should be in the movie, not necessarily the theme park ride Space Mountain.”

For the duo, the real inspiration here was a mysterious box, reportedly dug up in the Disney archives and containing all manner of intriguing items, including strange animation reels and a forged picture of Walt Disney with Amelia Earhart. “We put together an exhibit at D23 that curates everything that we pulled out of the box,” said Lindelof. “We don’t know if the contents are authentic in the traditional sense. Some of them are absolutely real, we just don’t know who put them there and why and our job as storytellers is to say, ‘What if everything in this box was put there for a reason?’”

And the box helped sway the film’s leading man, George Clooney, into signing on. “We brought the box to his house. We made him put on the gloves that Disney makes you put on when you handle the artefacts. Then we told him the story. He said, ‘I’m interested, send me the script when it’s done.’ He read it and liked it enough to take the leap with us.”

We’ll all get to take the leap when Tomorrowland arrives next year.


Posted at 10:58 am Author: Hugh Laurie Fan Staff 0 Comments

Filed in: blues album , didn't it rain , music , news

British actor Hugh Laurie, who starred on the hit Fox series House for eight years, once nearly acted out in a way that would have made his former character, the curmudgeonly troublemaker Dr. Gregory House, very proud.

After releasing a blues album called Let Them Talk through Warner Bros. Records, Laurie went on tour, and his very first live show was at the Café Keese in Hamburg in April 2011.

“That was was one of the most nerve-wracking experiences of my life,” he tells The Hollywood Reporter.

In a hallway behind the stage, there was a fire alarm that looked more and more tempting as the show neared.

“I seriously considered just busting the fire alarm to call the whole thing off, just to bail out,” he says. “It was that scary of a prospect. It’s like a bungee jump and a sky dive all combined into one.”

Luckily, Laurie made it onto the stage that night, and has performed more than 100 shows around the world since. His first album went on to sell millions of copies, and Laurie and his Copper Bottom Band spent six months on the road in the U.S., Europe, South America and Russia.

“I am now a fully fledged addict. I can’t get enough — to play with these musicians is a real thrill,” the 54-year-old says.

Laurie, who has played piano since he was six years old and has loved the blues since about that age, released his second album, Didn’t It Rain, in the U.S. on August 6.

The jazz/blues album includes songs dating back to early pioneers W.C. Handy (“St. Louis Blues”) and Jelly Roll Morton (“I Hate a Man Like You”) to more recent artists such as Dr. John (“Wild Honey”) and Alan Price of The Animals (“Changes”).

“If I had my way, there would be 160 songs on the record because I find it incredibly hard to say no to any song,” he says, adding that there are so many undiscovered treasures he wants to share with the world.

“Some of the songs that I’ve been singing are very well known, and some are not. Some haven’t been recorded since the ’20s or ’30s,” he adds.

Laurie and the Copper Bottom Band will be embarking on a North American tour beginning in October, with 16 stops throughout the U.S. and Canada.

As for his future music plans, Laurie says the sky’s the limit.

“I have rather crazy ambitions because I feel the show sort of growing and getting bigger and better and I want to keep going with it because I feel like I can see distant mountaintops where we might actually come to rest,” he says.


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Oct 15th: Minneapolis, MN - Pantages Theatre
Oct 16th: Chicago, IL - The Vic Theatre
Oct 17th: Homestead, PA - Carnegie Music Hall of Homestead
Oct 19th: Kent, OH - Kent Stage Kent
Oct 20th: Toronto, ON - Danforth Music Hall
Oct 21st: Montreal, QC - Maison Symphonique
Oct 22nd: Blu-Ray Release - Hugh Laurie: Live on the Queen Mary
Oct 23rd: Alexandria, VA - The Birchmere
Oct 25th: New York, NY - Town Hall Theatre
Oct 26th: Tonawanda, NY - Riviera Theater
Oct 27th: Northampton, MA - Calvin Theatre & Performing Arts Centre
Oct 29th: Boston, MA - Wilbur Theatre
Oct 30th: Glenside, PA - Keswick Theatre
Nov 1st: Durham, NC - Carolina Theatre
Nov 2nd: Jacksonville, FL - Florida Theatre
Nov 3rd: Atlanta, GA - Buckhead Theatre

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