Tag Archives: Nick Zano

True Blood Dream Casting – J.B. DuRone

One of the fun things, for me at least, about having read Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse Books . . .

. . . prior to watching the True Blood series on HBO  (which is more or less based on those books) . . .

  . . . is the added insight it gives me into these complex television characters, and the fictional lives they are destined to lead in the future.  Sometimes, it makes me feel downright telepathic . . .

Well . . . maybe not telepathic, but at least like someone who has the “inside scoop” on things.

And while Alan Ball has certainly exercised his right to CHANGE a few things from the books, in creating the show . . .

Not DEAD!

Not a mild-mannered, girly-girl clothing store owner.

Will not GO AWAY!

 . . . one thing he HAS adhered to pretty faithfully, is author Charlaine Harris’ colorful cast of characters, and the various ways in which they impact Sookie’s universe.

For this reason, I predict that it won’t be too long, before a certain hunky personal trainer, named J.B. DuRone, graces our television sets on Sunday nights.   (Because, lets face it, Alan Ball LOVES his sexy men!)

For the uninitiated, J.B. DuRone is Bon Temps townie, born and raised in Louisianna.  He was friends with Sookie and Tara back in high school, and even took Sookie to her senior prom.

“Like my pretty prom dress, y’all?  My Grams bought it for me!”

Now, J.B. works as a popular personal trainer at the local Bon Temps gym, and lives in one of those apartments behind Merlotte’s that Sam rents out.  J.B. has always been a loyal friend to Sookie, and even harbored a little crush on her for a short time.  (What guy didn’t in this series?)  Later in the books, he functioned as an unusually healthy and well-adjusted love interest for Perpetual Dater of Losers and Nutjobs, Tara . . .

“It’s about DAMN TIME!”

In terms of character traits, J.B. has a little bit of Jason . . .

 . . . a dash of Hoyt . . .

 . . . and a dollop of Sam . . .

 . . . all rolled into one glorious package.

Like Jason, J.B. has the looks of Hollywood Heartthrob, and the body of a male model.  He also shares Jason’s not-so-keen intellect.  J.B. isn’t exactly the sharpest crayon in the box . . .

And yet, like Hoyt, J.B. is charming, and sweet, and polite, almost to a fault.  He is the quintessential Southern Gentleman.

With Sam, J.B. shares a protective, almost paternalistic, relationship with Sookie (and later with Tara).  He is always ready to help her out of a jam, even if he doesn’t always no HOW to help, or what the heck is going on.

So, of course, all of this begs the question, who should Alan Ball CAST in the role of J.B. DuRone.  Well . . . I’ve got a few ideas . . .

Below you will find my Top Five casting picks (in no particular order) for Bon Temps’ Favorite Bodybuilder.

1) Channing Tatum

Age: 30

Where you’ve seen him before:  the romantic comedy She’s the Man (starring alongside Amanda Bynes), those Step Up dance movies, the action flick, GI Joe, the anti-war drama, Stop Loss, and that chick flick, Dear John.

Why he’d make a great J.B.:

Like J.B., Channing Tatum is a native Southern boy, having grown up in a small Alabama town.  So, not only will Channing be able to effortlessly pull off the Southern charm necessary for this role, he will also be able to provide fans with a remarkably authentic Southern accent, (something which, honestly, is hard to come by on this show).  In addition to all that “Southern stuff,” Channing clearly has the physique of a bodybuilder, and the chiseled looks to match.  A very young-looking 30-year old, Channing is also “age appropriate,” in that he is believable as someone who would have gone to high school with Sookie and Tara.

2) Nick Zano

Age: 32

What you’ve seen him in: the WB sitcom, What I Like About You (also starring Amanda Bynes) and the ABC show, Cougar Town

Why he’d make a great J.B. :

Not to typecast or anything, but the character of J.B. DuRone is remarkably similar to Vince, the character Zano played on What I Like About You.  Both are charming ladies men, who are capable of being disarmed and “tamed” by the right woman.  Both have startlingly beautiful bodies that are painstakingly well-cared for.  And both aren’t too bright, at least in the traditional sense of the word.  Then again, maybe I’m just shamelessly angling for a chance to see Nick on my TV screen again . . .

3) Cam Gigandet

Age: 28

Where you’ve seen him:  the teen drama The O.C., as Bad Ass Bully, Kevin Volchok,  the film Never Back Down, as Bad Ass Bully, Ryan McCarthy, and Twilight, as Bad Ass Vampire, James.  (Notice a pattern here?)  Cam will also be featured in the upcoming movie / musical, Burlesque  and the upcoming teen comedy Easy A.

Why he’d make a great J.B.:

Under that douchey exterior, and penchant for bad boy roles, there’s a heartthrob inside Cam Gigandet, just waiting to get out.  And this is the perfect role to bring it out of him.  True, Cam would probably make for an edgier J.B. DuRone than the one mentioned in Charlaine Harris’ books.  But, then again, to be a believable match for someone as edgy and abrasive as True Blood’s Tara, maybe he will have to be.  I can just imagine the chemistry between Rutina Wesley and Cam Gigandet, and it would SIZZLE!

In terms of physical appearance, Cam has the body of fighter —  someone who spends hours and hours at the gym, just like J.B. DuRone.  In fact, I’ve never seen a film with Cam Gigandet, where he WASN’T throwing a punch, or exposing those enviable abs in some way!  To top it off, Cam is EXACTLY the same age as Anna Paquin and Rutina Wesley, which would work out perfectly for the J.B. character.  Seriously, how often do actors actually get to PLAY characters their own age, anymore?

4) Tom Hardy

Age: 32

Where you’ve seen him: the Guy Ritchie-directed, trippy action-romp, RocknRolla and the recent box office blockbuster, Inception

Why he’d make a great J.B.:

No modern day male actor exudes more inherent masculinity than Tom Hardy.    Ever word out of his mouth, and every inch of his body just screams “MAN!”  This is exactly the type of guy Tara needs in her life.  He is strong, and a protector.  But he is also remarkably stable, and lighthearted.  This is a guy who can soften Tara’s rough edges, and make her laugh.  Yet, when it is necessary, he can also give a royal beatdown to any evil vampire or werewolf stupid enough to get in her way.

5) Joshua Jackson

Age: 32

What you’ve seen him in:   the long running teen drama, Dawson’s Creek, as the loveable hopelessly romantic, Pacey Witter, the sexy teen film, Cruel Intentions, the teen slasher pic, Urban Legends, and currently, the sci-fi mystery-of-the week show, Fringe

Why he’d make a great J.B.:

Joshua Jackson is the ideal TV Boyfriend.  End of story.  In his role as Pacey Witter, we saw Joshua’s ability to melt girls hearts with a single crinkle of the eyebrow, or a knowing smirk, or a gentle touch.  Pacey, though never particularly ambitious or “wise,” in the traditional sense of the word, was a true believer in true love.  And he would sacrifice anything to protect the object of his desire and make her happy.  These are innocent motives he shares with J.B. DuRone, who is also somewhat of a hopeless romantic, with an inherent need to “care” for the women he loves. 

In his more recent roles, Joshua Jackson has had the opportunity to exhibit a manly side.  Sure, he can be soft and cuddly, but he can also be tough.  This is a guy, who’s not afraid to throw a punch, if the recipient truly deserves it.  And I’m pretty sure, J.B. has thrown a few punches in his day too.

So, there you have it.   My casting choices for Charlaine Harris’ loveably lunkhead, J.B. DuRone.  Alan Ball, if you’re reading this . . . take note!

[www.juliekushner.com]

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Filed under casting, Spoilers and Sneak Peaks, True Blood

OMFG? Not so much . . . – The Top Ten “Been There, Seen That” Teen Television Cliches (Part 2 of 2)

A couple of days ago, I came up with a list of the top ten plotline cliches featured in teen-oriented television dramas.  In the first installment of this blog entry, I posted the first five of these cliches.  That list included: (1) the Pregnancy Plotline; (2) the Death of a Peripheral Character Plotline; (3) the Student / Teacher Relationship Plotline; (4) the Cheating on a Test  / Plagiarism Plotline; and, finally, (5) the “Bad Influence” Plotline.

This installment will focus on the following popular Teen Television Cliches: (1) the Love Triangle; (2) the Summer in Europe; (3) the Love / Hate Relationship; (4) the School Ski Trip; and, of course (5) the Prom.  So, without further adieu, what do you say we take off our creative thinking caps, embrace conformity, and get started?

1) “Can’t we all just . . . have a threesome, instead?” – The Love Triangle Plotline

The Storyline:  Girl meets boy.  Boy is attractive. 

Boy is also nice and sweet, albeit a tad boring (and, sometimes, a bit of a whiny b*tch). 

Or, conversely, Boy is total douche; 

but Girl’s parents love him;

He looks “good on paper.”

and Boy is sure to make Girl a very wealthy, but very bored, housewife, some time in the not-so-distant future, if she plays her cards right.

But then . . . Other Boy magically appears.

Unlike the original Boy, Other Boy is a little dangerous . . .

Maybe he’s from the wrong side of the proverbial “tracks” . . .

Or, perhaps he has a reputation for being a bit of male slut . . .

 . . . or a criminal.

 Or maybe he has a bit of a mean streak, so Girl isn’t sure she can really trust him.

But there is just something about the way Other Boy makes Girl feel . . .

She smiles and laughs more when she’s around him. 

(Click the internal link to watch.)

He makes her more fun!

And Other Boy continues to believe in Girl, and support her, long after everyone else has seemingly abandoned her (including the original Boy).

So, what’s a Girl to do, when she wants them both?

Who does she choose?  Well, that depends on the season . . . the Television Season, that is . . .

Examples: Joey, Pacey, and Dawson (Dawson’s Creek); Veronica, Logan, and Duncan (Veronica Mars); Marissa, Ryan, and Luke (The O.C.); Elena, Damon, and Stefan (The Vampire Diaries); Rory, Jesse, and Dean (Gilmore Girls); Blair, Chuck, and Nate (Gossip Girl); Peyton, Lucas, and Nate (One Tree Hill); Emma, Sean, and Peter (Degrassi: The Next Generation); Felicity, Ben, and Noel (Felicity); Casey, Cappie, and Evan (Greek); Lyla, Tim, and Jason (Friday Night Lights)

Why it’s a cliche?  Three words (One of them is a contraction).  Because . . . It’s . . . AWESOME!

When it comes to successful teen drama plotlines, The Love Triangle, is a surefire WIN!  After all, what girl wouldn’t want to have two totally hot guys, who are complete opposites of one another fighting over her!  Aside from allowing female fans to vicariously fulfill their deepest fantasies, Love Triangles provide the added benefit of making Teen Television watching a TEAM SPORT!  Boys have football and basketball.  Girls have  THIS . . .

Yes, boys and girls, choosing sides in a Love Triangle War is SERIOUS business!  (Girls have been shot over WAY less!)  Don’t believe me?  Check out the sheer intensity of THESE fan-fueled debates  . . .

About Blair, Chuck and Nate

About Elena, Damon, and Stefan

About Felicity, Ben, and Noel . . .

(The above video debate between these two twenty-somethings kind of goes off the rails, after the first five minutes.  But I love their obvious enthusiasm for a show that’s been off the air now for nearly a decade!  I also love their accents . . . and the very impressive “Portrait of Ben” one of them created.  Scott Speedman, himself, would be proud!)

2) “Go to Europe . . . because no one could possibly ‘find themselves’ in the States!”  – The Summer in Europe Plotline

“When in France, do as the French do . . . French kiss!”

(Here we go again!  Internal link clicking time!)

The Storyline: It’s close to the end of the Season.  Our female protagonist’s life is a mess!  It’s just jam packed with unresolved love triangles, family issues, and massive blowout fights with former friends.  And what better way is there to deal with all of your problems, than to run away from them?  So, our female protagonist jaunts off to Europe (usually Paris), leaving pining boys and cliffhangers in her wake . . .

 Once there, our female protagonist sees the sights . . .

and miraculously FINDS HERSELF!  When she comes back, she’s a COMPLETELY different person, than when she left.  Who knows?  She might even have a new completely random, doesn’t belong on the show at all boyfriend!

Examples: Serena and Blair (Gossip Girl); Joey Potter (Dawson’s Creek); Brenda and Donna (90210); Holly (What I Like About You)

Why it’s a Cliche?  The main character’s temporary departure from his or her home base is a great way to bring about a Teen Television Drama’s summer hiatus.  If us fans are forced to spend an ENTIRE summer away from our beloved gang of characters, at least we can sleep better knowing that they aren’t hanging out with one another EITHER!  Plus, filming a scene or two “across the pond” makes for a great excuse for the show’s writers to say to their producer, “I’d like an all expense paid European vacation, please.  What!  It’s for THE SHOW!”

A summer in another country is also a pretty good excuse to suddenly change the entire personality and demeanor of a character, without any rational explanation whatsoever .  . .

“I got my new girlfriend and a frontal lobe lobotomy in Prague.  Doesn’t everybody?

3) “He Loves Me  . . . He Hates My Guts . . . He Loves Me . . .” – The Love/ Hate Relationship Plotline

The Storyline: He’s a playboy, and a real ladies man.  But he comes across as mean, and kind of shallow.  She’s a Type A personality, who comes across as cold and a bit uptight. 

They butt heads from the moment they first appear on screen together.  They fight, and call eachother names.  They insult one another, and play nasty tricks on eachother. 

But there is a passion boiling beneath the surface, that both he and she are trying desperately to deny. 

At the time, he and she are both involved with other people.  Their significant others notice the sexual tension laced beneath their supposed hatred, and try in vain to ignore it.  But the tension only grows.  Jealous and longing looks become prevalent.  Lingering touches, and moments of out-of-character “niceness,” between the two make each member of the pair begin to question their feelings. 

The guy in this scenario typically recognizes his feelings for her first. 

(You know the drill . . .)

But he usually keeps this to himself, out of fear of being ridiculed by the new object of his desires.  Then the two are placed in a dramatic situation.  Suddenly their mutual passion for one another overtakes them.  And they both give in to their desires.

Examples: Joey and Pacey (Dawson’s Creek); Buffy and Spike (Buffy the Vampire Slayer); Veronica and Logan (Veronica Mars); Seth and Summer (The O.C. – sort of . . . well . . . she hated him); Elena and Damon (The Vampire Diaries); Blair and Chuck (Gossip Girl)

Why it’s a Cliche?  You know how everyone always talks about how hot Makeup Sex is?  A couple fights, and then they make up.  All that angst and sexual energy, built up from all that red-faced arguing, is just kindling for the inevitable Orgasmic Fire of “Getting Back Together.”  And THAT’S from a fight that might last a day!  You can just imagine how hot Makeup Sex would be if the couple fought nonstop for TWO SEASONS!

4) “When the temperatures get COLD, the action gets HOT!” – The Ski Trip Plotline

The Storyline:  I’m going to be honest, this one was less of a “storyline” and more of a “plot convention.”  (Hey!  YOU try to come up with ten of these things . . . It’s not as easy as it looks.)  But did you ever notice how virtually EVERY teen drama features at least one ski trip?  BIG THINGS always happen on ski trips too!  People get drunk, get laid, get raped, or cheat on their significant other!   And someone ALWAYS hurts their foot, and conveniently can’t ski!

Examples:

Dawson’s Creek:

Jenn hurts her foot, gets wasted, and almost screws Gay Jack. 

Pacey and Joey do it for the first time!

Boy Meets World:

Cory hurts his foot too!  And makes out with Linda Cardellini!

Other fabulous shows featuring wild and crazy teen ski trips include Degrassi: Next Generation (Darcy gets date raped), and What I Like About You (Holly comes to terms with her feelings for Vince).

Precisely NONE of these characters were ever shown ACTUALLY skiing . . .

Why it’s a Cliche?  There’s just something about being away from home and your parents . . . about sleeping in a log cabin, right next to the fire.  You relax.  You let your guard down.  You get a little slutty and make bad choices.  (Except in the case of Pacey and Joey . . . that choice was GOOD!)  Plus, it’s WAY cheaper to film on location in some fake ski lodge than say . . . taking your entire cast and crew to Europe.

5) “Question:  What happened at Prom?  Answer: EVERYTHING!” – The Prom Plotline

The Storyline: It’s the event of the WHOLE season!  The entire cast will be in attendance!  But not everybody is going with the person they WANT to be going with. 

 A couple will break up.  A couple will get back together. 

Someone will win prom queen. 

 

Someone’s heart will be broken. 

A couple will finally do it. 

Another couple will ALMOST do it, but decide to wait . . . Oh, and someone will get wasted and make an ass of herself.

Examples: Dawson’s Creek, The O.C., 90210, Veronica Mars, Gossip Girl

Why it’s a Cliche?  For every high school girl, the Prom is the culminating social event of her entire pre-college academic career.  Even the most jaded of high school students (and I, myself, was already pretty jaded by that time) can’t help but dream of having the perfect dress, the perfect limo, the perfect Prom date, and the perfect slow dance.  For most of us, with all that build up and preparation, Prom itself ends up being pretty anti-climactic.  (The Post Prom Beach Trip, on the other hand . . . now, THAT ROCKED!).  But if we CAN’T have the perfect Prom, at least we can get the joy of seeing our television friends experience it for us.

So, there you have it – Ten Trashtastic Teen Television Cliches for your viewing pleasure!  Doesn’t it all make you feel OLD?

 

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Filed under 90210, Boy Meets World, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dawson's Creek, Degrassi: The Next Generation, Felicity, Gossip Girl, Greek, nostalgia, teen dramas, Television Super Couples, The O.C., The Vampire Diaries, Top Ten Lists, Veronica Mars, What I Like About You