Highlander-NYPD Blue hybrid gets the LoHud seal of approval

Among the things that bode well for “New Amsterdam”:

• It gets to debut tonight after “American Idol,” just about the cushiest timeslot in all of television.

fox_37-cloisters-ent33a305.jpg• The pilot was directed by Bedford’s Lasse Hallstrom — he of “Hoax,” “Cider House Rules,” and “Chocolat” fame.

• It has a half-decent premise: The protagonist, John Amsterdam, was a Dutch soldier who, in 1694, was blessed by a Native American with the gift of immortality. Or rather, immortality until he finds his one true love. With undertones of “Groundhog Day,” “NYPD Blue” (Amsterdam is now an NYPD cop in present day), and “Highlander,” I really should like this show, but …

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Gordon Ramsay is Lasse Hallstrom’s worst ‘Nightmare’

gordon_tilesingle1.jpg“New Amsterdam” has become the lastest casualty in the increasingly fickle world of Fox television programming. Helmed (in part) by Bedford director Lasse Hallstrom and Mamaroneck’s Leslie Holleran, the show is about a cop cursed with the gift of immortality (think “Highlander” meets “NYPD Blue”) and it was slated to be a mid-season replacement. But Variety reports today that this plan has been shelved due to the popularity of Gordon Ramsay’s “Kitchen Nightmares.”

And while this may sound like bad news for the Hudson Valley, there actually is a silver lining in Ramsay’s conquest of the Fox network. Tonight on the show he’ll be going to town on Tuckahoe’s Olde Stone Mill. In case you missed the promo on last week’s episode, it looks to be one of his testiest restaurant makeovers so far.

In other words, bad news for Hallstrom and Co. means good news for Westchester diners.

“Fox gives ‘Kitchen’ another order” [Variety]

New ‘New Amsterdam’ theory: Show could be a ripoff of a Pete Hamill novel

forever.jpgAdd one more bullet to that list of possible explanations for Fox’s decision to shelve the “New Amsterdam” pilot (which was directed by Bedford’s Lasse Hallstrom’s).

Turns out that fans of the the Pete Hamill novel “Forever” (right) say that the nut of the series — about an NYC cop cursed with the gift of immortality — is essentially stolen from the book. While Hamill doesn’t want to sue, TV Squad points out that there are a number of similarities between the show’s protagonist and his character, Cormac O’Connor:

• Each character has prominent scars
• They both use their eternity on earth to teach themselves piano
• The must both find soul mates in order to come to terms with their condition

Wait, wait, do those last two points remind you of another possible piece of source material? Of course! “Groundhog Day”!

Uh, wait, come to think of it, doesn’t just about every time-traveling storyline feature a character searching for their soul mate and/or learning to play a musical instrument?

At any rate, perhaps the show’s delayed start (it’s being scheduled to start mid-season) will give the network time enough to smooth things over with Hamill (and/or Bill Murray) and maybe even dole out a little honorary credit.

(Thanks to F.O.S. Amy Vernon for the tip!)

Why is FOX shelving ‘New Amsterdam’?

newamsterdam.jpegAround the same time earlier this month that I was trumpeting the coming fall debut of “New Amsterdam,” the new TV series co-produced by the dynamic LoHud duo of Lasse Hallstrom and  Leslie Holleran (of Bedford and Larchmont, respectively), other more well informed publications like Variety were announcing that, in fact, FOX was going to shelve the series until mid-season.

It was a bizarre schedule shakeup, especially given that the “New Amsterdam” trailer was phenomenal. And my colleagues at the The Journal News who have seen the pilot say that the show — about an NYC homicide detective cursed with immortality — is one of the best new series they’ve seen.

So, what gives? A few conspiracy theories are after the break:

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Lasse Hallstrom quadruple-play


If you’ve been watching FOX lately (which, during the summer, boils down to: if you’ve been watching “Hell’s Kitchen” or “Don’t Forget the Lyrics”) you’ve probably seen trailers for the new fall series, “New Amsterdam,” about a NYC homicide cop who somehow gained immortal powers back during the Dutch-settler era. (If you haven’t seen it yet, check out the trailer on YouTube.) It’s a trippy premise and more than a little intriguing. And with two of the Lower Hudson Valley’s best filmmakers behind it, how can it disappoint?


Those two would be producer Leslie Holleran, of Larchmont, and director Lasse Hallstrom, of Bedford (above). Both have collaborated on nearly every project they’ve done (from “Cider House Rules” to “Chocolat” to “The Hoax”) and both are listed as exec producers. But lest it seem like the two have gone all Aaron Sorkin — forgoing steady film work for more risky TV projects — Hallstrom in fact has three, count em three, films in the works.

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Hoax Trivia: Will the real Pentagon please stand up?

With Washington security as tight as it is these days, trying to film a scene at the Pentagon is—well, just not going to happen.

So, when Bedford director Lasse Hallstrom needed to shoot Richard Gere exiting the infamous octagon for his latest movie, The Hoax (coming out in theaters today), he stayed close to home. Turns out, the Westchester County Michaelian Office Building in downtown White Plains was a suitable stand-in.

During filming in August of ’05, Haddad’s trailers lined Martine and Lexington Avenues and fans gathered en masse, hoping to see Gere or the film’s other stars (Marcia Gay Harden, Julie Delpy, Alfred Molina). Though our 1930 landmark’s Art Deco entrance wasn’t a perfect Pentagon match, it’s pretty hard to tell the two apart now. Can you guess which is which?

The answer is after the break.


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Get a sneak peek at Richard Gere’s new movie, The Hoax, this weekend

tjndc5-5e1h5we3qev12sob242d_layout.jpgTechnically, it won’t be released until next week, but Gere’s new movie (directed by Bedford’s Lasse Hallstrom and set partially in Westchester County) will get a one-night sneak peek this Saturday. The film tells the true story of Clifford Irving, the author who tricked the publishing industry into believing he had convinced the reclusive director Howard Hughes to cooperate on a biography. The scheme was eventually exposed and Irving went to jail. In honor of the movie, here is a TOTALLY FAKE interview with Pound Ridge’s Richard Gere.

Me: So Richard, thanks for agreeing to this interview. How are you doing?

Gere: Fantastic. Life’s good. I’ve got a movie I’m proud of, a family I love, and a new restaurant opening in Bedford this fall.

Me: Speaking of, I understand you’re auctioning off a private lunch date with yourself at the restaurant.

Gere: You are correct. And may I say your telephone voice is great. Have you ever considered voice-over work?

Me: You flatter me, Mr. Gere. But anyway, about this auction, what’s the bidding up to?

Gere: $13,500 last time I checked…which was 30 seconds ago…I check every minute.

Me: I assume you know that the auction also features other “dates� and other celebrities…and, in fact, you’re not pulling in the most money. You’re losing to Alan Greenspan. Bidding on him is up to $50,000. What’s it feel like to come in behind a 70-something-year-old man?


Me: Uh, Mr. Gere?

Gere: This interview is over.

And that concludes the FAKE portion of this post. Now for the very real interview with Clifford Irving in Time Out New York, keep reading:
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Slush Pile: This week’s news on Martha, Ralph, Lasse, and others.

Some other local celeb news you might have missed this week:

> Ralph Lauren and Martha Stewart agreed to open their Katonah properties to the Bedford Lanes Riding Association. So please, local equestrians, no more taping “Buck Me” signs to the back of Ralph and Martha’s horses. [Daily News]

> According to our TJN colleague and E-Team blogger Pete Kramer, Rockland celebs Jonathan Demme, Bill Irwin (aka Mr. Noodle on Sesame Street), Kevin Clash (another Sesame Streeter: the voice of Elmo), Andrea Martin, Paxton Whitehead, David Straitharn, and Tyne Daly all spoke at Rockland Country Day School’s annual “Evening of Celebrity Storytelling and Auction III.â€? We only wish we could have been there to hear Elmo shout “Show me the money” at auction bidders. [E-Team]

> “The Hoax,” a collaboration of Bedford best buds Richard Gere and Lasse Hallstrom, is getting great early buzz at RomaCinemaFest. Yet according to www.imdb.com, the film, about a bogus Howard Hughes biographer, has had its release date pushed off until April 2007. Hmm, April 1, perhaps? We’re catching on to your marketing trickery, Miramax. [Reuters]