This has been a grand week for Texans in the film and television industry — as well as for some who only act Texan.
Native Texan Dennis Quaid, a bona fide movie star with at least 65 films under his belt, is now getting set to star in a new TV series this fall called Vegas on CBS. The twist here is that it takes place in the '60s when Chicago mobsters were taking hold of Las Vegas casinos. It’s based on the true story of a rancher-turned-sheriff, Ralph Lamb, played by Quaid, who tried to keep Sin City clean, especially from one mobster in particular, Johnny Savino played by Michael Chiklis (The Shield, No Ordinary Family).
Quaid, 58, whose first film role was as an uncredited bellhop in 1975’s Crazy Mama, has done a lot of television, but mostly movies made for TV (notably The Special Relationship for which he was nominated for both an Emmy and a Golden Globe) and he’s even been the voice of SpongeBob SquarePants’ Grandpa Redbeard.
Vegas, however, will be his first starring role in an episodic series.
Moonrise Kingdom sounds like just what Anderson fans have come to expect; the quirky and unexpected
Another major Texan talent, filmmaker Wes Anderson (Rushmore, The Royal Tennenbaums, The Fantastic Mr. Fox) is doing his country and his hometown proud in France this week.
His latest film, Moonrise Kingdom, opened the most famous and prestigious of all film festivals in the world, Cannes. The cast isn’t shabby either and includes Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton and the ever-present-in-Anderson-films, Bill Murray.
Moonrise Kingdom sounds like just what Anderson fans have come to expect; the quirky and unexpected. It’s another '60s-set story but nowhere near anything true. Two 12-year-olds meet, fall in love, make a secret pact, and run away together. The boy is sort of like a Boy Scout and the girl wears blue eye shadow, carries a little record player in a case — and a kitten. A lot of people (one of Anderson's characteristic all-star casts) try to catch them.
The movie drew mixed reviews in Cannes, but the Austin Film Festival (AFF) lauds Moonrise Kingdom as “one of the most anticipated films of the summer.” In fact, AFF plans to host an advance screening May 30 at the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar as part of their “Cannes in Austin” series. Cool.
One more “Texan” is making film news, but he’s really not one of us.
It’s easy to imagine actor Kyle Chandler (Friday Night Lights) as a Texan. I mean, he was so real as Coach Taylor in the TV series that earned him an Emmy as Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series last year. His character was the embodiment of a small town high school football coach in the Lone Star State.
Though Chandler may not have been born here, I hereby proclaim, with absolutely no authority whatsoever, that he is an Honorary Texan.
So, though Chandler may not have been born here, I hereby proclaim, with absolutely no authority whatsoever, that he is an Honorary Texan. And he does have more ties to Texas. Chandler’s brother, Brian Chandler, is a Houston attorney. And when I went to the Capitol to lobby Texas legislators for more film production incentives, there was my Honorary Texan, helping us convince them.
Next up for Kyle Chandler, is a big screen role in The Wolf of Wall Street. His character will be a far cry from down home Coach Taylor. Chandler will play an FBI agent who takes down a shady stockbroker played by Leonardo DiCaprio. It’s a Martin Scorcese film.
Scorcese? DiCaprio? I’d say our coach has scored a career touchdown!
See a preview of the new Dennis Quaid TV series, Vegas: