‘Jersey Boys’ from stage to screen
The film version of the hit Broadway musical “Jersey Boys,” about the lives and careers of the members of the famous 1960s pop-rock singing group the Four Seasons, opens Friday, June 20. I hope Clint Eastwood, 84, a graduate of Oakland Technical High School, confounds pundits who say he was an odd and probably not right choice to direct this film.
Like the stage musical, the “Jersey Boys” movie features many Four Seasons hits, all written by band members Bob Gaudio and Bob Crewe. What helped make the stage musical so special was its great script, co-written by Marshall Brickman, 79, and Rick Elice, 57. They extensively interviewed the band members, and from those interviews they crafted a truly dramatic story that earned the duo a 2006 Tony for best book (script). They also wrote the film’s screenplay. (Brickman has an Oscar, too, for co-writing “Annie Hall.”)
None of the band members were Jewish (keyboardist-arranger Lee Shapiro, 58, joined the band in 1975, but he is not portrayed in the movie). However, the tall, dark and handsome Erich Bergen, 28, who played Gaudio in a touring version of the stage musical, reprises the role in the film.
Bergen, the son of a Jewish father and a lapsed Catholic mother who met at a New York acting class, strongly identifies as Jewish, according to a 2011 story in the L.A. Jewish Journal. Bergen explained how the drama of the Passover seder was like a classic theater play: “We’re all in one room together witnessing something that people for many years have done before us. We are not new to this story, but we are experiencing it for the first time together. To me, that’s what I’ve found in the Jewish religion: that the tradition of keeping the story going is what’s most important — of making sure that everyone knows and is affected by the story.”
Bay Area boychik saves world
Eric Dane, 41, is best known for playing the sexy Dr. Mark “McSteamy” Sloan on “Grey’s Anatomy.” Now he co-stars in the new TNT series “The Last Ship,” which premieres at
9 p.m. Sunday, June 22. Here’s the official synopsis: “Their mission is simple: Find a cure. Stop the virus. Save the world. When a global pandemic wipes out 80 percent of the planet’s population, the crew of a lone naval destroyer must find a way to pull humanity from the brink of extinction.”
Dane, who plays the commanding officer of “the last ship,” was born in San Francisco and raised in Redwood City and San Mateo. “Last Ship,” by the way, is an “on trial” TNT series. Only 10 episodes have been filmed; if it does well, it will return for a longer season next year. If ratings are weak, Dane and his co-stars will not go to sea again.
“They Came Together” opens June 27 at the Roxie in San Francisco. Paul Rudd, 45, plays a candy mogul who threatens to shut down Amy Poehler’s little candy store. Of course, they fall in love, but — you guessed it — they fall out of love and have to find each other again. David Wain, 44, directs and co-wrote the script with Michael Showalter, 43. Tons of names in the supporting cast include Michael Ian Black, 42, and Max Greenfield, 33 (“New Girl”).
Irish filmmaker John Carney, who made the wonderful if bittersweet Irish musical film “Once,” moved his camera to New York for “Begin Again” (opening July 4). Greta (Keira Knightley) and her longtime boyfriend Dave (Adam Levine, 35) split up when Dave gets a big record-label contract and proceeds to cheat on her. Mark Ruffalo co-stars as Dan, a washed-up record exec who chances to hear Greta sing and is captivated. Catherine Keener and Hailee Steinfeld, 17, have big supporting roles as, respectively, Dan’s estranged wife and teen daughter.
Columnist Nate Bloom, an Oaklander, can be reached at email@example.com.