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February 26, 1999 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-02-26

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8 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, February 26, 1999

Blair shows her
real intentions

Recent grad garners award'

By Chris Cousin
Daily TV/New Media Editor
1995 University graduate Selma
Blair wants to set the record straight.
Rumor has it that she "will cook any-
thing made with cheese" but Blair
admits, "That is just a fallacy."
"It makes me sound like I'm invent-

ing new ways to
Starring Selma
Opens March 5
miere of her first

put fromage in my
food," she said, "I
mean, I really
hate cheese, to
tell you the truth.
I get bloated and I
get a lot of
phlegm and I
don't eat cheese."
This 26-year-
old charismatic
actress takes a
moment to rest
between her
recent projects.
With the anticipa-
tion of the pre-
studio film, "Cruel

n't changed at all and it's been really
Ahh, but this will last only for so
long. Several weeks from now Blair
will be on the mind of many males
under 25 who see "Cruel Intentions," a
tale about desires and the sexual manip-
ulation of two naive innocent women,
Cecile Caldwell (Blair) and Annete
Hargrove (Witherspoon), by the evil
Kathryn (Gellar) and Sebastian
To put it bluntly, who is the better
kisser in the film - Ryan Phillipe or
Sarah Michelle Gellar? That's right,
none other than the vampire slayer her-
self ties tongues with the innocent Blair.
"Umm, this kiss is gonna be my
claim to fame, said Blair before shriek-
ing, "It was damn good." While the
dream of most adolescent, hell, many
American males, Blair knows from first
hand experience.
"Sarah is a mighty fine kisser and I
gotta say, I wish more boys kiss like
Sarah," she claimed, "But Ryan is, you
know, I can't say anything bad about
him either cause he's just too cute."
Blair said of her three co-stars,
"They're all really sexy characters and
I'm not," though most would beg to dif-
fer. "They're the real sexy, beautiful
characters and I'm basically the fool."
In "Cruel Intentions" Blair brings a
different take on the Cecile character
than Uma Thurman's performance in
"Dangerous Liaisons."

Courtesy of Columbia Pictures
Selma Blair portrays Innocent Ceclie.
"I did not want to play it as the victim
the way Uma Thurman did it so beauti-
fully, this really innocent victim that
kinda flowers in spite of herself," Blair
said. "I really wanted to play her really
as something that made you laugh."
This subtle string of comedy may be
the only glimmer of light in the intense-
ly dark "Cruel Intentions," which Blair
feels "is really evil."
At the helm of this insidious film is
first time director Roger Kumble,
whom Blair "automatically had a won-
derful rapport with."
"Roger Kumble was the greatest
director to start out with," gushed Blair,
"and he really decided Cecil needed to
be something that people could laugh
at. I really got to create this character."
Since production wrapped on "Cruel
Intentions," Blair revels in seeing her
name on the poster. "It was just so
much fun;' she said, "and let's hope it
works, cause if not, I'm just really

By Lah Zigs
Daily Arts Writer
From New York, to Ann Arbor and
back to the Big Apple, Sam Davis has
gained his way as a young composer. The
1998 University graduate has recently
been recognized by the Jonathan Larson
Performing Arts Foundation for his musi-
cal composition.
This award, presented annually by the
foundation, was established by Jonathan
Larson's parents after his death and short-
ly after the opening of the world-
renowned "Rent" The money awarded,
much of which has been drawn from the
profits of "Rent," is granted to young
composers and theaters focused on new
talent. This year's awards were presented
to five individuals and four theaters, rang-
ing from $2,500, to $10,000.
Selected from a pool of more than 150
contestants, the judging panel was com-
prised of highly accomplished theater pro-
fessionals including Stephen Schwartz
("Pippin," "Godspell"), Mary Rogers
("Once Upon a Mattress"), Joe Mantello
and Barry Singer. The recipients of the
award are selected based on "merit and
need, with particular attention to vision,
commitment and dedication to the per-
forming arts profession," and are granted
for general support as well as specific pro-
Currently, Davis is in New York work-
ing on Tina Landau's "Dream True,"
which will open Off-Broadway this
spring at the Vineyard Theater. But the
prize was awarded mostly for his efforts
and work in "Mina and Colossos." This
musical tells the story of the life of avant-
garde poet and artist Mina Loy.
Commissioned by Joan Morris in the

Intentions," a dark, teenage retelling of
"Dangerous Liaisons" that also stars
Ryan Phillipe, Reese Witherspoon and
WB alum Sarah Michelle Gellar, she
comes off the release of her WB teen
comedy, "Zoe, Duncan, Jack & Jane."
But Blair doesn't notice a real differ-
ence in the everyday. "Everyone's like,
'So, is it so strange, you're like
famous?' I'm like, in my dreams.
Nobody knows who I am. My life has-
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spring of 1997, Davis worked under
much pressure with his co-writer, and
University alum Ron Nyren. With
approximately one year to produce the
musical score, the two confirmed their
ability to work well under pressure. "I'm
very proud of 'Mina,"' Davis said. "We
were writing under somewhat hurried,
and chaotic circumstances. We were still
writing until March." The production
opened on April 19, 1998 and was enthu-
siastically received by its audiences.
Among his many other accomplish-
ments was his work on "Rumpelstiltskin."
Davis spent the summer of 1998, just
after the completion of "Mina and
Colossos," working in the Catskills with
Reed Farleigh. Farleigh was putting
together a children's version of
"Rumpelstiltskin" and asked Davis to
compose original music. Once again
working under great pressure and time

constraints, Davis pulled it off more than
successfully. The 45-minute piece has six
songs and two reprises. Despite the
urgency to complete his work in a short
period of time, Davis said, "it was nice to
know that it was going to be done. It made
the work a lot easier."
In the future Davis hopes to create
something with no deadline. "I al "
like the notion that you can sit down
a blank sheet of paper and there are end-
less possibilities." However, "if you sit
and wait for inspiration you'll be waiting
for the rest of your life;" according to
Davis. Collaborating with others is one of
the reasons that Davis's career is so ful-
filling. "It also makes it easier in the case
of disaster; but that also means you share
the glory," Davis added. With the earn-
ings both from the award and the upcom-
ing summer's work in "Theater by
Sea," Davis plans to start a new project

Live televised special to excavate Egyptian pyramid

By Jonh Victor
Daily Arts Writer
Did you really
Opening the
Last Tombs
Tuesday at 8 p.m

think that the pyra-
mids of Egypt
were old news?
Fox network
wants to try to
prove it is not,
when it takes its
television audi-
ence live to the
blistering desert
of the eastern
Sahara to present
"Opening the
Lost Tombs: Live
from Egypt." Not
too far west of
Cairo and the

the world. The arid plateau encom-
passes the three Great Pyramids and
the Sphinx among other monuments
from one of the world's most ancient
civilizations. In reality, the Giza site is
not very well known at all as only 15
percent of the plateau has been exca-
vated to date. "Opening the Lost
Tombs" will mark the first time an
Egyptian tomb has been excavated live
on TV
The tomb to be opened is the pyra-
mid of Queen Khamerernebty II, the
wife of the Pharaoh Menkaure who
built the third pyramid at Giza. Also to
be explored is the recently discovered
Tomb of the Unknown located near the
burial place of High Priest Kai which
has not been opened since it was
sealed four thousand years ago. The
entrance of the tomb has been in the

process of excavation for the past six
months. In addition, the mummy of
Nefer will be examined at the even
more ancient Saqqara site. Nefer is the
oldest mummy to be found in its origi-
nal resting place. None of the places
that will be shown on television have
ever been open to tourists. Hosting
"Opening the Lost Tombs" will be
Zahi Hawass, renown egyptologist and
the supervisor of the entire Giza site,
as well as Gaballa Ali Gaballa, the
chief of antiquities for all of Egypt.
Robotics, digital video technology, and
state of the art archaeological tech-
niques will all be employed in this
Producing a live show in the
Egyptian desert is no easy task. "They
(the Egyptian government)
approached us and have been very

helpful" said Production Assistant
Michele Schneider who is a
University alum. "Opening the Lost
Tombs" has been a six month long
project, and in these last few weeks
she and the rest of the production
crew have been taking care of the last
details before they take off for north
Africa. "We need as much possible
done before hand, we need to be
detailed down to the minute." One of
the most difficult aspects of working
in the desert is the harsh environment.
"March is sandstorm season and
we've been hearing a lot about that ...
we hopefully won't have to worry
about rain." said Schneider who also
plans to contend with a significant
time difference, language barriers,
and the controversy that constantly
surrounds archaeology. "A lot of peo-

ple think we should not even be exca-
vating." To compensate for the tline
difference, it will be late night in
Egypt during the show.M0
For those of you who are Near
Eastern Civilization majors or are
looking forward to a hard hitting acad-
emic analysis, this is a warning! . e
prepared for plenty of Hollywood
. schmaltz in "The Lost Tombs." If you
are one who has always been fascinat-
ed by the ruins of the ancients, donut
get up tight if this presentation brings
up ridiculous superstitions and ideas of
the lost civilization of Atlantis bui -
ing the pyramids. Just sit back, rel,
and enjoy what should prove to be' an
interesting and entertaining presenta-
tion. As Schneider said, "This is not
just a dry documentary, its a totally
Fox production."

lush Nile River Valley lies Giza, the
most well known archaeological site in

Alice chases rabbit again on NBC

By Lindsey Alpert
For the Daily
In attempting to bring Lewis
Carroll's "Alice and Wonderland" to
life with a live action miniseries,
NBC's resulting product is a mirage
of special effects, big name actors
and a large, white rabbit on steroids.
The spectacular eye candy provides
for an entertaining miniseries, how-

Alice in
Sunday at 8 p.m

ever, "Alice"
tends to drag
through three
long hours.
"Alice" focus-
es on a young
girl named
Alice, played by
kiddie Tina
Majorino. Alice
must sing in
front of her par-
ent's friends at a
party, and the
little girl can

ing very much like Disney's "Alice
in Wonderland," except in NBC's
version, the character's are real
instead of cartoons. She continues
through Wonderland meeting inter-
esting characters and consuming
various potions to increase or
decrease her size. Most of the char-
acters are part of an all-star cast,
however some are creations of The
Jim Henson Creature Shop. The
actors seem comfortable in their
roles, especially the odd Martin
Short who was made for the role of
the Mad Hatter. British actress
Miranda Richardson plays the
Queen of Hearts, and Whoopie
Goldberg stars as the Cheshire Cat.
In other roles, Robbie Cotrane and
George Wendt can be seen as
Tweedledee and Tweedledum, Ben
Kingsley as Major Caterpillar,
Christopher Lloyd as the White
Knight and Gene Wilder as the
Mock Turtle.
Even with such a grand cast,
"Alice" occasionally seems as
though grown-ups are singing and
dancing around, trying too hard to
entertain. Also, the movie drags
after an hour due to the long mono-
logues of several characters and
their repetitive antics. Martin Short

sings the same song at least five
times throughout the movie while
the white rabbit falls in the same
spot five times just so nothing is
The miniseries is clever at times,
though. Watch for mirrors, because
sometimes the image isn't the same
as the action on the other side of the
mirror. Routes taken in Wonderland
appear to be circular, and the ch
acters pop up in unexpected place
As Tina is delightful as Alice, the
special effects make the miniseries
with the utterly interesting sight of
Whoopie Goldberg's head planted
on the body of a feline. The ver'
intricate and creative costumes coi-
pliment the impressive effects. Is a
possible Golden Globe nomination
for costume design on the horizon
for this miniseries?
"Alice" proves to be an entertint
ing glimpse of Wonderland that egn
get a smile out of even the grumpj-
est of people. If you need more
inspiration to see this move,
remember that Carroll was on an
opium trip when he wrote the boob.
With its clever antics, all-star c:st
and extraordinary special effect,
this trip through the looking glass i
well worth it.

only imagine screwing up. Running
away from the party towards the for-
est, Alice sees the white rabbit, and
upon following him, her adventure
in Wonderland begins.
Her first glimpse of Wonderland
is falling down the rabbit hole, look-


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