Tag Archive: Drew Barrymore


Charlies-Angels

Charlie’s Angels are a trio of female private investigators, the stars of an American crime drama that aired on ABC Television from September 1976 to June 1981. Despite mixed reviews, and a reputation for being “Jiggle TV,” the show enjoyed immense popularity with viewers. The series spawned a film revival in the 2000s, and a short-lived attempt at TV resurrection, in 2011.

The Premise

Three talented women graduate from the police academy, only to be assigned menial jobs like handling the switchboard or directing traffic. The ladies are recruited to work for The Townsend Agency, as private investigators. Their boss, Charles Townsend a.k.a. Charlie, nicknames them “Angels.”

Charlie – whose face is never seen – assigns cases to the Angels and his liaison, John Bosley, via a speaker phone in their office. Unlike the Angels, Bosley has met Charlie, and can contact him at any time.

Initially, the Angels were:

1. Sabrina Duncan (played by Kate Jackson): a graduate of the Los Angeles police academy – the unofficial leader of the trio. Sabrina is a divorcé who remains on good terms with her ex-husband. She eventually leaves The Townsend Agency to get married and start a family.

2. Jill Munroe (actress Farrah Fawcett): a graduate of the Los Angeles police academy. Jill is unmarried, athletic, and charismatic. She leaves The Townsend Agency to pursue a career as a race car driver and is replaced by her younger sister, Kris (see later). Jill returns to the agency occasionally (Season 3), when needed for a specific case.

3. Kelly Garrett (played by Jaclyn Smith): also a graduate of the Los Angeles police academy. Kelly grew up in an orphanage; a tough cookie, but with the sensitivity to help others in need.

Here they are, in a clip from 1976 (video comes courtesy of YouTube):

In most episodes, a crime is committed, the Angels are given the case details, and then go undercover to solve the mystery. The final scene takes place back at the Townsend office, with Charlie offering congratulations for a job well done.

The show was intended as a classy undercover detective drama, and worked in that vein for some time. Until the network got caught up in the whole “three hot chicks we can dress up in skimpy outfits, to boost our ratings” thing.

Disgruntled, Farrah Fawcett, then Kate Jackson left the series, sparking the first of several high-profile searches for new stars.

And Then, There Were…

In subsequent seasons, the Angels’ line-up would include:

4. Kris Munroe (actress Cheryl Ladd): younger sister of Jill, and a graduate of the San Francisco police academy. Kris is charming and mildly clumsy, providing the show with comic relief.

5. Tiffany Welles (played by Shelley Hack): a graduate of the Boston police academy. She is recruited in after Sabrina Duncan leaves, and works for The Townsend Agency only for a brief period before moving back east.

6. Julie Rogers (actress Tanya Roberts): a fashion model from The Bronx. Moving to Los Angeles, she worked with an undercover agent to expose drug dealers within the modeling industry. After her partner is killed, she’s recruited by The Townsend Agency on a trial basis to replace Tiffany Welles.

The series ran for five seasons, with ABC canceling the show in the spring of 1981 due to declining ratings.

Back – With a Movie

Charlie’s Angels returned via the big screen, in a 2000 American action comedy directed by McG.

The film starred Cameron Diaz as Natalie Cook, Drew Barrymore as Dylan Sanders, and Lucy Liu as Alex Munday – the latest in a long line of operatives of the Charles Townsend detective agency. The premise being that new Angels are drafted in over the years, as their predecessors leave for one reason or another.

John Forsythe returned as the voice of Charlie, with Bill Murray stepping into the shoes of his go-between, Bosley.

Set in the present day, the movie adventure sees the ladies embroiled in a complex case involving enigmatic villains, voice-recognition software, and a plot to kill their boss.

The Angels of the 21st century have stepped up their game, considerably – with Matrix-level martial arts skills, and near-genius IQs.

Here’s some of both at work, in an entertaining fight scene, from the movie (courtesy of YouTube):

With a well-crafted mystery, and three stunning leads exuding glamour, mad skills, and goofy charm in equal turns, the film was a critical and box-office success.

It spawned a sequel (2003’s “Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle”), which was notable for a cameo by Jaclyn Smith as Kelly Garrett, and the introduction of Demi Moore as former Angel turned crackpot ultra-villain Madison Lee. And not much else.

The sequel did however make enough money to whet the studio’s appetite for a television comeback.

The Short-Lived TV Revival

In November 2009, ABC announced it was considering a television revival of Charlie’s Angels, with Josh Friedman handling both writing and executive producing duties. The reboot movie’s Drew Barrymore shared co-production with Leonard Goldberg.

On May 13, 2011, ABC announced a 13-episode order for the series. The network canceled, after only four episodes.

Some Behind-the-Scenes Stuff You (Probably) Didn’t Know

* Kate Jackson – who had earned kudos for her portrayal of a cop’s wife, in popular police drama, “The Rookies” – was earmarked for a role during pre-production, and didn’t even have to audition. Initially cast as Kelly Garrett, Jackson opted instead for the role of Sabrina Duncan. That’s why the early part of the pilot episode focuses heavily on the Jaclyn Smith character; the casting change was made too late, for further rewrites.

* The show was initially titled “The Alley Cats”. But Kate Jackson suggested to the producers that the heroines should be called “angels”, instead. Jackson also came up with the idea that their boss should be a mystery man (both to the characters and the viewers), and that the Angels should receive their cases over a speaker phone.

* The Angels’ boss was originally going to be called Harry, but the title (“Harry’s Angels”) was dropped, so as not to conflict with “Harry O.”, another television detective series.

* I won’t say “cat-fight”, but stars Kate Jackson and Cheryl Ladd didn’t get along, during the show’s second season. Jackson believed the inclusion of relatively inexperienced actress Ladd had damaged the series considerably. Their animosity on-set reportedly placed great strain on the show’s producers, and their co-star Jaclyn Smith.

* The show became infamous as “Jiggle TV” or “T&A TV” (“Tits & Ass Television”), among critics who believed it had no substance other than its scantily-clad title characters. The skimpy outfits – roller derby girl, beauty pageant contestant, maid, female prisoner, or just plain old bikini – were justified as essential plot elements for the Angels, who often went undercover (so to speak).

* ABC attempted a spin-off for “Charlie’s Angels” in 1980 called “Toni’s Boys”. Essentially a gender reversal, it starred Barbara Stanwyck as Antonia “Toni” Blake, a wealthy widow and friend of Charlie Townsend’s who also ran a detective agency. The outfit was staffed by three good looking male detectives who took orders from Toni, and solved crimes in a manner similar to the Angels.

Never heard of it? No, neither had I; the show wasn’t picked up.

Well, that’s your lot, for now.

See you, for the next one.

Till then.

Peace.

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Trick is a short film by Shooting Incident Productions (UK and Germany), based on an original screenplay by Des Nnochiri.

The story of Trick hinges on an encounter with the beautiful but dangerous Sophia – a lady with more than a few surprises up her sleeve.

Sophia is played by actress Jade Hespin.

Actress Jade Hespin, star of the movie "Trick"

Here’s a little of Jade’s story, in her own words:

Q: Tell us about yourself:
A: My name is Jade Hespin and I am a passionate and enthusiastic 22
year old. I live in North Yorkshire and have a cute cocker spaniel
called Cleo, short for Cleopatra – not the car! My passion is acting by
portraying different characters’ personalities in a psychological way.
I like to get behind the skin of the characters. The world would be a
boring place with no creativity!

Q: How did you get into acting?
A: As soon as I was old enough to realize that the people on the TV
are only pretending, I was immediately intrigued. I also decided I
wanted to entertain when I was about 5; wrapping my towel on my head,
pretending it was hair, and that I was a princess! Since then I have
just believed, and worked hard with opportunities that have arrived.

Q: How did you get involved in the movie Trick?
A: Basically I have been doing acting classes with Jay Spencer –
developing skills – and was lucky enough to get the opportunity to get
involved.

Q: Tell us about your character:
A: Ok. My character’s name is Sophia, and she is in her early 20s. She
can be seen as a prostitute at the beginning of the film, as well as a
lost wandering girl. However the reality is that she is a strong and
streetwise killer who gets her victims by using her flirtatious side.
She will lead her victims on, but does not sleep with them. Sophia’s
character is very fun to play and I have really enjoyed it!

Actress Jade Hespin, in character, on the set of the movie "Trick"

Q: Any noteworthy events on set?
A: Just that everybody involved worked really hard. It has been great
experience working with such talented individuals – including the writer
of course!

Q: Are there any upcoming projects we should know about?
A: There are films Shooting Incident will be doing in the future, and I
would love to be involved again. But we shall see what happens.
Thank you, very much.

Q: And thank you, Jade.  For your time, and  for your dedication to this project.

Jade’s right. In the movies, a clever and resourcefull killer is always fun to watch.

But in the reel world of cinema, female serial killers are rare. They’re rarer still, in real life.

In their 1998 book, “Murder Most Rare: The Female Serial Killer”, co-authors Michael and C.L. Kelleher created several categories, to describe these individuals:

* Black widow
* Angel of death
* Sexual predator
* Revenge
* Profit or crime
* Team killer
* Question of sanity
* Unexplained
* Unsolved

Black widow. Angel of death. Team killer.

Those sound like movie titles. Some of them are, in fact.

Black Widow (1987) stars Theresa Russell as Catherine Petersen – a calculating seductress who poisons her way through several rich husbands before being discovered by Federal investigator Alex Barnes (played by Debra Winger).

Angel of Death (2009) stars Quentin Tarantino’s favorite stunt woman, Zoe Bell, as Eva – a stone-cold killer driven to the point of quitting by a crisis of conscience, and some potentially fatal errors. The film’s tag line: “People die… Get over it.” pretty much says it all.

Team Killer: The Movie hasn’t been made – yet. But Lonely Hearts (2006) clearly fits the bill.
Lonely Hearts tells the true story of Martha Beck and Raymond Martinez Fernandez – the notorious “Lonely Hearts Killers” of 1940s America.
Beck and Fernandez preyed on lovelorn widows, enticed through the Personal ads of local newspapers. “Preyed on” in this case meaning “swindled for every available penny, then brutally killed.”
In the movie, Salma Hayek plays Martha Beck, opposite Jared Leto, as her partner in crime.

Revenge is at the heart of The Hand That Rocks The Cradle, the 1992 film starring Rebecca De Mornay as Peyton Flanders – the vindictive psycho nanny from Hell.

In Poison Ivy (1992), Drew Barrymore raises a serious question of sanity as Ivy – the seductive teen who’ll do anything to acquire the perfect family.

And the zany comedy The Man With Two Brains (1983) features Kathleen Turner as the predator Dolores Benedict – a woman who sexually frustrates several rich and fragile husbands to death, before meeting Steve Martin’s Dr. Michael Hfuhruhurr. She also says the immortal line: “Guess I’ll have to find me a new man, to torture.”

Torture? Maybe. But we accept it, willingly. Because of who’s doing the torturing.

We’re taken in, by what we see. The fascinating. The beautiful.

It’s what we don’t see – the deception, and the danger – that proves fatal.

And don’t we just love it?

The movie world would be a poorer place, without the deadly allure of the femme fatale.
And Trick just wouldn’t work, without Sophia.

Hmm. Deadly Allure. That’s not a bad title, actually.
Maybe I should… Sorry; distracted.

Trick.

Every trick has two aspects: the player, and the played.

In the next part of this series, we’ll be meeting up with the other star of Trick.
He plays a character named John.

Take care, till then.

Peace.