Giving voice to the villain presents quite the acting challenge

Warner Bros. PicturesBy Scott Bowles, USA TODAY

LOS ANGELES — Three weeks before shooting began on The Dark Knight, Heath Ledger called director Christopher Nolan to discuss an epiphany he had about his character, The Joker.

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'Blood,' 'Country' bring Hollywood to heart of Texas

Paramount VantageMARFA, Texas — Joel and Ethan Coen had just pulled into this one-stoplight town to scout shooting No Country for Old Men

when a drifter approached their limousine.

Unshaven and unsteady, he hobbled toward the car with a sign under his arm. When he reached the directors, he raised the board above his head.

"Repent, Hollywood scum," it read.

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Morgan Freeman remains at the helm in movies, personal life

By Robert Hanashiro, USA TODAY
MARINA DEL REY, Calif. — On the night Morgan Freeman thought he might die, he figured he could go out one of two ways.

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Do not disturb the subtle on-set genius of Robert Duvall

By Dan MacMedan, USA TODAY

LOS ANGELES — The rumors arrived on set before Robert Duvall did.

Joaquin Phoenix had heard them. He had heard the actor couldn't be rattled, that once Duvall was in character, once the cameras rolled, he was unshakable. That bigger names — guys named Brando, De Niro, Coppola — had tried to get him to flub a line, crack up, miss his mark. No luck.

That didn't stop Phoenix from trying. Off camera, he'd rub Duvall's earlobes and whisper "such a pretty bunny." He'd kiss Duvall full on the lips. For a scene that took two hours, Phoenix screamed non- sequiturs to rattle the man who has starred in nearly 100 films.

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From Hollywood to hog-wild

Ready to ride: Tim Allen, John Travolta, William H. Macy and Martin Lawrence. Touchstone Pictures

PACIFIC COAST HIGHWAY — John Travolta is scaring the bejesus out of Tim Allen, William H. Macy and just about everyone else on the Pacific Coast Highway.

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