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This is the best way to experience Off Camera- When you get the app, you can instantly subscribe to Off Camera, or buy single issues a la carte. The Off Camera app is a beautifully designed hybrid magazine with the entire television version of Off Camera contained within it, available for any tablet or mobile device.

This e-magazine has all the images and extra content available in the physical version of the Off Camera magazine, plus enhanced HD video streaming so you can enjoy Off Camera your way.

After downloading the app, you will find Off Camera in your Apple newsstand folder. You can play steaming HD video straight from the pages of the app, making this experience truly multi-media.

Off Camera subscriptions available:
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Titus Welliver was once termed by The Daily Beast as “a journeyman actor whose name is more distinctive than celebrated.” They got the journeyman part right, but they could’ve added that he owns a face that’s even more distinctive than that singular moniker. It’s one that’s been virtually un-missable, given that he’s appeared in well over 100 film and TV roles, including a calculating bag man (Deadwood), an ominous smoke monster (Lost), a prick politician (The Good Wife), and an Irish gun kingpin (Sons of Anarchy).

If you’ve clocked a certain lack of bonhomie, slapstick, and general buffoonery on his resume, then maybe an actor’s real life etches some stuff on his psyche that directors are especially keen at sensing. Welliver’s experienced enough sadness and loss in his personal life to make it hard to trust happiness. But it made it easy for the producers of Amazon’s acclaimed Bosch to hand him the part of the series’ scarred, hard-nosed—and painfully vulnerable—L.A. detective. After Welliver left the audition, Michael Connelly, one of the show’s producers and the author of the books on which the series is based, said, “That was Harry Bosch.” So maybe it took 25 years to score the first lead role of his career, but Welliver’s dad cautioned him long ago about putting time limits on a career in the arts.

Welliver’s father Neil, a very well known painter, was long on advice. An accomplished painter himself, the younger Welliver started studying with his dad from age 12 and considered pursuing it professionally. As it often goes, growing up in the artistic overhang of a talented parent can define your career—either by setting you on the same path, or making you step off it pretty quickly. Though the relationship was fraught, it wasn’t without its gifts. When Welliver decided to pursue acting, his dad was supportive, but cautioned him that be it painting or acting, art is art, and art ain’t easy. The only reason to do it is because you love it—not for fame. Or to quote Welliver senior more specifically, “Work hard, and don’t be another dipshit actor.”

We’re pretty sure Welliver’s avoided that trap, and for the record, his world these days is not all moody concrete landscapes and flinty stares. He dotes on his kids, has recently (and successfully) returned to painting as a creative outlet, is working on his third Ben Affleck-directed film, and may just have a project of his own creation in the works. And, he loves being Bosch. The consummate hard worker, he of course read the novels to prepare for the role. The results of his investigation? “You can’t stop. You’ve got to know what happens next. It’s the best way to experience this world.”

This is the best way to experience Off Camera- When you get the app, you can instantly subscribe to Off Camera, or buy single issues a la carte. The Off Camera app is a beautifully designed hybrid magazine with the entire television version of Off Camera contained within it, available for any tablet or mobile device.

This e-magazine has all the images and extra content available in the physical version of the Off Camera magazine, plus enhanced HD video streaming so you can enjoy Off Camera your way.

After downloading the app, you will find Off Camera in your Apple newsstand folder. You can play steaming HD video straight from the pages of the app, making this experience truly multi-media.

Off Camera subscriptions available:
Single Issue/episode: (non-subscription): $2.99
6 month subscription: (11 issues/episodes): $27.99
1 year subscription: (22 issues/episodes): $49.99

Available in the Apple App Store and on Amazon:

If Bob Odenkirk had won the role of Michael Scott on The Office (he was in the running), mainstream America might’ve heard of him a lot sooner. But his moment came later and in a different kind of office on the second season of Breaking Bad. In the years he spent not being a household name, he was busy building an influential comic legacy likely to endure long after Saul Goodman launders his last dollar.

Odenkirk is a textbook case of career inevitability. As a kid, he entertained the dinner table with impressions of anyone who’d crossed his path during the day; he wrote sketches for middle school assignments and then took them on the road to other classrooms with the school’s encouragement. In college, he worked as a DJ, where he created the late-night comedy show that formally launched his writing ambitions. Those ambitions were soon tested in the big leagues with a gig in the notoriously ego-withering, flop-sweat-drenched writers room of Saturday Night Live, an environment that made him question his skill. Feeling more confident as a performer, he decided to pursue that route instead. But despite working on well over 100 TV shows and films in the following two decades, he never gained widespread notoriety—nor did he ever stop writing.

That’s where the legacy comes in. In 1995 Odenkirk and David Cross created the iconic—if cult—Mr. Show with Bob and David, which ran on HBO for three deplorably short years. Mr. Show in turn created a showcase for emerging, edgy talents like Tim & Eric (Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Good Job!) Patton Oswalt, Jack Black, Sarah Silverman, and became the genesis for many future alt-comedy shows. Rolling Stone ranked it third on its list of the most influential sketch comedies of all time (behind Odenkirk favorite Monty Python’s Flying Circus and SNL); Wired magazine said of Mr. Show: “Without [Odenkirk], a certain strain of modern humor—a kind of sketch comedy that’s rigorously silly, intelligently designed, and more than a little self-aware—likely wouldn’t exist.”

So why did Mr. Show and many of his other past and current projects (The Birthday Boys, Tom Goes to the Mayor, Let’s Do This!) remain confined to relatively small, if critically acclaimed circles? Well, alternative comedy has been defined (probably by some comic) as comedy most people just don’t get. But Odenkirk keeps writing, presumably because he keeps thinking—about things that make him laugh, things that make him angry, and the world’s never ending supply of hypocrisy in constant need of lampooning.

Never has a career so matched a roller coaster for its ride of hits and flops, obscurity and fame. And it will likely continue that way, because Odenkirk is a compulsive attempter. He admits he’s not always easy to work with, but what perfectionist is? His work is to find new and absurd ways to question, challenge and critique, never sparing himself in the process. He shakes us awake from the mild sedative that most screen comedy has become, and in that calling, we find nothing to mock. He’d probably say we’re just not trying hard enough.

This is the best way to experience Off Camera- When you get the app, you can instantly subscribe to Off Camera, or buy single issues a la carte. The Off Camera app is a beautifully designed hybrid magazine with the entire television version of Off Camera contained within it, available for any tablet or mobile device.

This e-magazine has all the images and extra content available in the physical version of the Off Camera magazine, plus enhanced HD video streaming so you can enjoy Off Camera your way.

After downloading the app, you will find Off Camera in your Apple newsstand folder. You can play steaming HD video straight from the pages of the app, making this experience truly multi-media.

Off Camera subscriptions available:
Single Issue/episode: (non-subscription): $2.99
6 month subscription: (11 issues/episodes): $27.99
1 year subscription: (22 issues/episodes): $49.99

Available in the Apple App Store and on Amazon:

Some filmmakers are born, not made. And of the born ones, a few make films that look as if they are not films at all, but just happen to have happened.

—from The Guardian’s 1991 review of Slacker 

Richard Linklater made Slacker in 1991 for about $23,000. Though it was only his second feature, (and Linklater himself only 31), it showed a director already in possession of a distinctive filmmaking style. It was a narrative approach others would later attempt to imitate, some because it felt so fresh and original, others, perhaps, because it grossed more than $1.25 million.

If his artistic vision seemed established from the outset, his path to filmmaking was less so. Up through his sophomore year in college, he held out hope of a pro baseball career with the Houston Astros, a dream that informs his just-released Everybody Wants Some!!  Instead, he dropped out of college to work on an offshore oilrig, a job that gave him time to read, write, and deepen his love of storytellers like Edward Albee and Leo Tolstoy.

When—much like Tolstoy—your artistic theme is essentially “life,” how do you tackle it? For Linklater, the answer is the way we live it—in moments. Those moments are captured in his trademark style of minimal camera movement, loose structure and looser narrative, the best and most well known examples being Dazed and Confused and the Before (Sunrise, Sunset, Midnight) trilogy. Minutes can meander for hours, and hours for years (see his masterful Boyhood). Without being artsy or precious, Linklater is a master of stretching time while rarely stretching our patience. The encompassing sense of place and perspective in his work is felt, rather than fed to us. Linklater shows us love, towns, grief, boredom, school, childhood, cars, fights and bewilderment as we’ve experienced them ourselves—all made profound because they trade on our memory, not our credulity.

Though most revered as an iconic patron saint of independent film, he’s occasionally taken on more commercial projects, and those he’s chosen to helm (Bad News Bears, School Of Rock) have Linklater’s grip on real life to thank for snatching them back from the brink of being too cute or cliché to resonate. Which makes us very impatient to see what he and Cate Blanchett will do with his upcoming film version of Maria Semple’s best-selling novel Where’d You Go, Bernadette?

We’d add to The Guardian’s review that some filmmakers are born independent, and those who are, are likely to stay that way—happily. Linklater’s long made a habit of offering his loyal stable of stars percentage points versus Hollywood salaries, a practice he’s called “betting on myself.” Making art largely for yourself is a risk, but when “yourself” is also frequently “all of us,” it usually pays off. Sometimes at the box office, often in critical acclaim, and always in the satisfaction of making the stories you see in your head. However it goes, you can’t lose too badly.

This is the best way to experience Off Camera- When you get the app, you can instantly subscribe to Off Camera, or buy single issues a la carte. The Off Camera app is a beautifully designed hybrid magazine with the entire television version of Off Camera contained within it, available for any tablet or mobile device.

This e-magazine has all the images and extra content available in the physical version of the Off Camera magazine, plus enhanced HD video streaming so you can enjoy Off Camera your way.

After downloading the app, you will find Off Camera in your Apple newsstand folder. You can play steaming HD video straight from the pages of the app, making this experience truly multi-media.

Off Camera subscriptions available:
Single Issue/episode: (non-subscription): $2.99
6 month subscription: (11 issues/episodes): $27.99
1 year subscription: (22 issues/episodes): $49.99

Available in the Apple App Store and on Amazon:

If souls or psyches can be compared to houses, Kristen Bell’s would be one with few dark corners. It would probably also be lavender scented, with a nice breeze blowing through. Delightfully real and candid, she’s become one of the most relatable and loved personalities on TV, that personality often being herself: Her Samsung commercials and goofy personal videos with husband Dax Shepard are some of YouTube’s most popular. No word on how many high-tech home appliances they’ve sold, but the Toto cover video they shot in Africa has garnered well over five million views. The soft heart and strong values that Shepard both teases and loves her for are ones she supports in both words and example—marriage equality, animal rights, and voter registration, for starters.

Not surprisingly, then, the sunny, perky blond wasn’t the first actor that came to mind for Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas. “I had Christina Ricci in my head when I wrote it. I wanted someone who had a caustic delivery for lines that had weight and dryness.” As it turned out, Bell was also damn funny, with a gift for injecting just the right amount of dark, wry wit into what became her breakout role, turning her into a geek goddess of sorts. Her excellent turn as Elle Bishop in Heroes only settled that crown more firmly on her head.

Maybe the fanboy hall-of-fame was a pre-destined landing place for someone who always felt (and early on, was often told) she wasn’t homely enough to play the nerdy girl and not nearly pretty enough to play the pretty girl. If that was a struggle at the outset, it seems to have made her a guileless and non-judgmental career plotter. That approach doesn’t work for everyone, but in Bell’s case, it’s allowed for angst-free role choices that ultimately did justice to her surprising range. (Check out Hit & Run for an early example of her abilities—and her director and then-fiancée’s knowing exactly how to push her buttons.)

Post-Veronica Mars, her big screen break arrived with a part in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, a potentially intimidating career leap that landed well. In its review, Rolling Stone gave “Cheers to Bell for finding nuance in a diva written as a stone-cold bitch.” More recent evidence of her range turned up in a role in which she technically never appeared. For thousands of unsuspecting fans, Disney’s unstoppable snowball of a hit Frozen unmasked her extraordinary talent as a singer, a gift she honed in years of early musical theater training but modestly underplays.

These days, Bell finds herself increasingly in demand, and increasingly in the company of bar-raising colleagues, a challenge she deliberately seeks out. She’s playing the ambitious partner and foil to Don Cheadle in Showtime’s not-so-sunny House of Lies. In the upcoming film The Boss, Bell plays a mousey would-be brownie maven alongside Melissa McCarthy, one of her comedic idols. She’s also somehow managed to start work on a new NBC show called Good Place from the executive producer of Parks and Recreation and co-starring Ted Danson. The series allows Bell an interesting opportunity to explore the character of Eleanor, a not-so-good person trying to figure out how to become a good person—if she can figure out what actually defines “a good person.” Our advice to Eleanor? As examples go, your friend Kristen Bell wouldn’t be a bad place to start.

This is the best way to experience Off Camera- When you get the app, you can instantly subscribe to Off Camera, or buy single issues a la carte. The Off Camera app is a beautifully designed hybrid magazine with the entire television version of Off Camera contained within it, available for any tablet or mobile device.

This e-magazine has all the images and extra content available in the physical version of the Off Camera magazine, plus enhanced HD video streaming so you can enjoy Off Camera your way.

After downloading the app, you will find Off Camera in your Apple newsstand folder. You can play steaming HD video straight from the pages of the app, making this experience truly multi-media.

Off Camera subscriptions available:
Single Issue/episode: (non-subscription): $2.99
6 month subscription: (11 issues/episodes): $27.99
1 year subscription: (22 issues/episodes): $49.99

Available in the Apple App Store and on Amazon:

We expect actors to dramatize a range of emotions as the characters they play; even, to some extent, when they’re playing a version of themselves on The Tonight Show or E! News. That’s what actors do, after all; they “act”—tearing up, raging, clowning, and otherwise emoting. So what secret magnetic field does Don Cheadle tap that allows him to convey all that with no detectable effort and a virtually unreadable face? He sits back, unruffled and self-possessed, while we do the work of reading into his performance whatever it is he needs us to know. This is not charisma of the “Let’s put on a show!” variety; it’s the kind that makes an actor impossible to look away from.

The Hollywood Reporter noted in its review of his current series, House of Lies, “There’s an exceptional cast…, but everything revolves around the fact that Cheadle is riveting and impressively deft at being funny one moment, serious the next… He’s the giant magnet at the center of the show.” But a number of critics (and casting directors) looked under the radar long before a lot of us in the mass movie-going public, noting his uncannily facile power in films like Rebound: The Legend of Earl “The Goat” Manigault, Talk to Me, Devil in a Blue Dress, and Traffic. Most of us, though, wised up a few years later with the release of Hotel Rwanda, The Atlantic along with us: “[Producer and director] Terry George has, in Don Cheadle, perhaps the most underrated performer working in motion pictures. A character actor of uncommon range and charisma, Cheadle has over the last decade shown himself to be exceptional at playing characters both ineffectual and ferocious. Cheadle delivers a performance without seams, one in which the character’s later heroism is merely another facet of his earlier pragmatism. His genius makes Hotel Rwanda not only an important work of politics, but an important work of art.”

It was a role George was honest in telling Cheadle he’d have to give to an actor with a bigger name, if he could get one. Cheadle’s reaction says a lot about him and how he sees his career. He told George he’d support the film in any way necessary regardless of whether he got the part, because it was a story that needed to be told. Cheadle honestly doesn’t care a whole lot about Oscars and fame and the like; he’s interested in longevity and the ability to make work that he believes has value—whether it puts him in front of or behind the camera. These days, he’s finding himself in both places, often simultaneously. He writes, directs, and stars in the upcoming film Miles Ahead, a take on musician Miles Davis so fiercely imaginative it demands its own genre. He’s also established his own production company, through which he’s now producing a new comedy for NBC—all while continuing to lead House Of Lies, which just became the first U.S. scripted series to shoot in Cuba.

All to say, he’s going to need his preternatural calm more than ever. But it should be noted that in Cheadle’s case, “calm” does not mean “reserved.” He continues to be an outspoken advocate for issues like humanitarian aid to Darfur and climate change awareness through fundraising, and by making films and co-authoring books on the subjects.

You get the feeling the man contains multitudes we’re only starting to see. Fittingly, we’ll let Miles summarize: “When you’re creating your own shit, even the sky ain’t the limit.”

This is the best way to experience Off Camera- When you get the app, you can instantly subscribe to Off Camera, or buy single issues a la carte. The Off Camera app is a beautifully designed hybrid magazine with the entire television version of Off Camera contained within it, available for any tablet or mobile device.

This e-magazine has all the images and extra content available in the physical version of the Off Camera magazine, plus enhanced HD video streaming so you can enjoy Off Camera your way.

After downloading the app, you will find Off Camera in your Apple newsstand folder. You can play steaming HD video straight from the pages of the app, making this experience truly multi-media.

Off Camera subscriptions available:
Single Issue/episode: (non-subscription): $2.99
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1 year subscription: (22 issues/episodes): $49.99

Available in the Apple App Store and on Amazon:

A home that doubles as a daycare center and foster shelter for 12 kids over 12 years doesn’t tend to breed self-centered actors. It can, however, be a valuable immersive classroom for the study of personalities, comedy, chaos, and relationships.

Consciously or otherwise, Michelle Monaghan was an apt anthropologist, absorbing homegrown character analyses along with a family-sized dose of warmth and humanity. It helped her hone a wry wit and emotional intelligence that proved difficult (or for Hollywood, unnecessary) to see beneath her unfortunately stunning exterior. Not that she’s complaining about the good looks. They came in handy for the modeling career that paid tuition while she studied journalism in college and then rent while she auditioned for acting jobs in New York.

Monaghan’s transition from model/actress-hopeful to living room regular came in 2002 when she landed a role on Boston Public as idealistic teacher Kimberley Woods, a character many would agree wasn’t too far removed from her own. If her one year on the series didn’t make her a familiar face, Mission: Impossible III sure did (starring opposite Tom Cruise tends to have that effect on people). The confines of that role, and a preponderance of other “beautiful woman” screen assignments might’ve chafed a bit, but she didn’t spend much time bemoaning the situation. Admirably, she finds something to enjoy and dig into with every role, while pragmatically and optimistically pushing for more.

And reviewers began to realize that if given a second or third dimension, Monaghan would show what she could do with it, citing as examples her simultaneously under-used but sharply observed performances in films like Source Code, Gone Baby Gone, and Fort Bliss, Variety saying of the latter, “Even when the plotting feels strained or inauthentic, and the score a mite too insistent, Monaghan’s performance rings true.”

Maturity can diminish or present increasingly interesting opportunities for women in this business. Monaghan knows what she can do, and is making sure we see more of it by patiently forging her own path, producing and starring in the small but highly acclaimed Trucker and pressing True Detective directors to add layers to her character Maggie Hart; much, fans would agree, to the benefit of the show. Next is the upcoming Sleepless Night, a re-telling of Frederic Jardin’s Nuit Blanche that is rumored to have some surprises up its sleeve, one of which just might be Monaghan herself. Given that she’s a multiple blue-ribbon hog wrestler and holds an 18-wheeler trucking license, we can hardly doubt it. Even if we did, we’d be kind of scared to say so.

This is the best way to experience Off Camera- When you get the app, you can instantly subscribe to Off Camera, or buy single issues a la carte. The Off Camera app is a beautifully designed hybrid magazine with the entire television version of Off Camera contained within it, available for any tablet or mobile device.

This e-magazine has all the images and extra content available in the physical version of the Off Camera magazine, plus enhanced HD video streaming so you can enjoy Off Camera your way.

After downloading the app, you will find Off Camera in your Apple newsstand folder. You can play steaming HD video straight from the pages of the app, making this experience truly multi-media.

Off Camera subscriptions available:
Single Issue/episode: (non-subscription): $2.99
6 month subscription: (11 issues/episodes): $27.99
1 year subscription: (22 issues/episodes): $49.99

Available in the Apple App Store and on Amazon:

As a nation, we love our sports. We love the team, the players and the game. And often—sometimes without even realizing it—we love the voices that bring them to life for us. Maybe it’s a certain sportscaster’s delivery we respond to, the style they’ve honed over years of calling and coloring the shots. Or maybe it’s just our innate trust and pleasure in the way their take on the game reflects our own.

Radio programming vet Len Weiner once analogized, “Dan Patrick is to SportsCenter what Peter Jennings is to ABC News. What you see, and what you hear, is the real Dan. He’s a sincere and down-to-earth Midwestern guy who loves talking about sports.”

That’s likely because Patrick also loved playing them, which he did well enough to garner awards and the attention of scouts in high school and college, where he chose cable TV over heat for his living quarters so he could afford to watch a fledgling network called ESPN. Even back then, Patrick was pretty certain he was destined to talk about sports for a living, and he would up doing just that for 18 years on ESPN, where he helped make SportsCenter the network’s flagship show with his spot-on blend of humor and insight. The oft-quoted Dan Patrick lexicon is rife with straightforward lines that aren’t inherently funny, but somehow get that way through his wryly un-theatrical tone. Awards he could’ve potentially received on the baseball field or basketball court were more than replaced by others: a Sports Emmy for Studio Host, a Sportswriters Association National Sportscaster of the Year Award (only the second ever given to a cable commentator), and a Marconi Award and NSSA Sports Broadcaster of the Year (twice).

Sharp, restless and more than a little competitive, Patrick eventually left ESPN, a move then-Sports Illustrated writer Rick Reilly called, “one of the top five biggest career mistakes in entertainment history.” Well, any armchair QB can make a bad call, Rick. Reacting to a fear of stagnation that in hindsight seems absurdly unfounded, Patrick quickly picked up a writing gig for Sports Illustrated, a show on Fox Sports Radio, a partnership with Fan Duel, hosting duties for Crackle’s Sports Jeopardy and a string of mostly mustachioed cameos in nine Adam Sandler films. Most impressively, he’s built an attic-based, self-produced radio program into what became the first show to premiere on Directv’s Audience Network. On The Dan Patrick Show, he plays host to some of the heaviest hitters in—and outside of—the sports world. It’s testament not only to his skill and standing, but to integrity over showmanship. Maybe it’s something his dad told him early on: “Do things right, remember people, and don’t be more than what you are.” What he is, is a guy who loves what he does. For thousands of listeners and viewers, that’s more than enough.

It probably all boils down to this: Our favorite hosts are the guys we want to hang out with, chewing the fat and the stats, and Dan Patrick is one of those guys. And the way things are going, he’ll be letting us in on the conversation (and the jokes) for a good long time. Score one for the fans.

This is the best way to experience Off Camera- When you get the app, you can instantly subscribe to Off Camera, or buy single issues a la carte. The Off Camera app is a beautifully designed hybrid magazine with the entire television version of Off Camera contained within it, available for any tablet or mobile device.

This e-magazine has all the images and extra content available in the physical version of the Off Camera magazine, plus enhanced HD video streaming so you can enjoy Off Camera your way.

After downloading the app, you will find Off Camera in your Apple newsstand folder. You can play steaming HD video straight from the pages of the app, making this experience truly multi-media.

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In season three of Downton Abbey, lady’s maid Anna Bates shares her philosophy on good men: “They are not like buses. There won’t be another one around in ten minutes’ time.” The same could be said of great TV series, and thus viewers everywhere mourned the end of one of the most-beloved, most-watched (by about 10 million people per season) British aristo-dramas since Upstairs, Downstairs and Brideshead Revisited.

But what of the Downton cast? Signing on to a juggernaut show, wittingly or otherwise, can mean a long-awaited breakout and ever-widening career paths. Or, it can be the albatross necklace that forever cements your “type” in the eyes of casting directors, leaving you with few opportunities to change their impression by hogtying your schedule for years—or at least as long as ratings remain high.

Joanne Froggatt, who spent six seasons playing one of the noble household’s best-loved non-nobles, is glad she took the ride; it resulted in her being “discovered,” albeit for the fourth or fifth time in her career, as she’s been known to joke. Downton executive producer Gareth Neame has said that as Anna Bates, Froggatt became the beating heart of the show. “She is the character I would most like to have as a friend out of all of the characters in the show, I think.” So many people agreed that when her character was brutally raped in season four, many viewers protested to UK communications regulator Ofcom and ITV. On social media, fans likened it to “the rape of a Teletubby.” Still others wrote directly to Froggatt—they were the rape survivors to whom Froggatt paid tribute in her 2014 Golden Globes acceptance speech for Best Supporting Actress, the ones who were perhaps most moved by her portrayal.

Her vulnerable but forthright take on Anna Bates may account for how popular her character became. We see few such purely good people on screen these days, but we want to believe they exist. No doubt they do, somewhere; but the majority of us are the more complex, ambiguous humans Froggatt has played with great subtly, and to great acclaim. She got her start on notorious Brit-actor launch pad Coronation Street playing a teenage mother, and has not shied away from taking controversial roles since. Her portrayal of an Iraq war vet suffering from PTSD in In Our Name earned her a British Independent Film Award, and critical praise for the subtlety and intelligence of her acting. In the contentious TV film Danielle Cable: Eyewitness, her stunning performance as a teenage girl who witnesses the murder of her boyfriend garnered a Best Actress nod from the Royal Television Society. If you want more proof that her range extends beyond a starched apron and a stiff upper lip, watch her 2013 film Still Life.

If most of her pre-Downton work is like the proverbial tree falling in a forest for Stateside viewers, so be it—Froggatt is doing what she always wanted to do, a seemingly unlikely dream for a young girl raised on a sheep farm on the remote Yorkshire Moors by parents who initially hoped her acting ambitions would fizzle. Froggatt left home at 13 to attend theater school, fighting for tuition grants the whole way. Now, she’s once again leaving home, abandoning the manor and the UK for Los Angeles “to see what happens.” Her parting gift (for now) to British TV is Dark Angel, an ITV drama in which she plays real-life serial killer Mary Ann Cotton. How very un-genteel. We can’t wait.

This is the best way to experience Off Camera- When you get the app, you can instantly subscribe to Off Camera, or buy single issues a la carte. The Off Camera app is a beautifully designed hybrid magazine with the entire television version of Off Camera contained within it, available for any tablet or mobile device.

This e-magazine has all the images and extra content available in the physical version of the Off Camera magazine, plus enhanced HD video streaming so you can enjoy Off Camera your way.

After downloading the app, you will find Off Camera in your Apple newsstand folder. You can play steaming HD video straight from the pages of the app, making this experience truly multi-media.

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For someone who admits that “relaxed” is not his natural setting, The National frontman Matt Berninger seems pretty okay with himself. What’s more, he seems pretty okay with anyone else seeing him for who he is, even when he’s perhaps not at his best. But more on that later.

Berninger and the band came late to careers in indie rock, and without the youth or cool that serves as the usual currency of that scene. He was doing well in his nice desk job as an ad agency creative director, but as he told The Telegraph, “Once I entertained the thought that maybe I wouldn’t ever have to go and sit in conference rooms with MasterCard to discuss web ads again, I couldn’t shake it.” As a family man, was he confident he could make a living in his new chosen profession? And what of the fact that his music experience comprised absorbing large amounts of vinyl and live shows versus the more tried-and-true approach of actually playing an instrument or reading music? Neither mattered much, really; he’s a guy that enjoys climbing out on the thin branches.

If Berninger and The National did come to rock late in the game, they came to it not only more confident in who they were as artists, but also more tolerant – and even appreciative – of the failures, though there haven’t been many to date. After a lot of rehearsal space toil (there’s only so much magic in art, folks), their complex, biting songs gained traction with each new release, from their self-titled breakout to subsequent successes like Boxer, High Violet and Trouble Will Find Me. In 2015, Pitchfork mused about the “surprisingly long shadow” the band has come to cast over alt-rock. “The National have emerged as a big-tent indie mainstay because their widescreen melancholia has proven durable and difficult to emulate.”

For a former ad man, there’s probably some good irony to be mined in all The National songs that have landed in commercials, TV shows and even political campaigns, even if it hasn’t brought them widespread fame or magazine covers. Ascendance has come through their giant base of live-show fans, many of who were looking forward to the band’s first documentary in 2014. Instead, they got Mistaken For Strangers, a film The Guardian called “a nail-biting, cringe-inducing study of self-destruction and fraternal love, a film full of emotional explosions…and how you can find beauty in disaster.” A few of those emotional explosions are courtesy of Berninger as he deals with his younger brother’s attempt to be The National’s assistant tour manager while also shooting a film about the band. If, as Berninger says, “I wasn’t trying to hide what an asshole I am,” he also doesn’t mask a very human need to love and understand the people he’s closest to.

Understanding his unusual approach to finding melodies and lyrics that stick is harder, though we certainly make the attempt in this conversation. He’s constantly throwing out one set of musical chemicals in search of another and is more tempted than terrified at the prospect of a flop. Six acclaimed albums and one well-reviewed side project in, he says he’s just in middle of figuring out how to be a songwriter. For Berninger, the magic trick seems to be in staying there.

This is the best way to experience Off Camera- When you get the app, you can instantly subscribe to Off Camera, or buy single issues a la carte. The Off Camera app is a beautifully designed hybrid magazine with the entire television version of Off Camera contained within it, available for any tablet or mobile device.

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At 6’ 5”, Tim Robbins is the tallest actor ever to win an Academy Award, but until they start handing out statuettes for height alone, he’ll have to be content with a regular old Oscar and slew of Golden Globes recognizing his talent. Cutting such an imposing figure could’ve made it easy for Hollywood to serve him up time and again as the loveable, lumbering galoot he played so successfully in his breakout role as Bull Durham’s “Nuke” LaLoosh. But even a passing glance at his long filmography is a startling reminder that Robbins is an artist whose physicality is completely overshadowed by his versatility. He plays innocent and shrewd, hero and scoundrel, with such careful shadings and intelligence that watching him, we’re kept tantalizingly off balance. His boyish, wide-open countenance can conceal a menace that’s all the more disturbing because it’s felt more than seen. In other words, Robbins is a master manipulator – he’s playing us, but gleefully and with the best of intentions. He’s the naïve screwball in the Coen brothers’ Hudsucker Proxy, and the new neighbor in Arlington Road who’s so nice and normal that we can never quite put a finger on why something about him just doesn’t seem right.

Though inarguably well deserved, the acclaim he’s received for his astounding performances in films like The Shawshank Redemption, Mystic River and The Player can make it too easy to overlook some of his most important contributions to his craft, as well as how he’s chosen to shape his career. While still in college he founded The Actors’ Gang, which changed the landscape and status of L.A. theater and created an incubator for both great plays and talented young actors. His passion for theater also pervaded the chaotically joyous, collaborative spirit of Bob Roberts, a film Robbins wrote, directed and starred in his early 30’s. Long before “mockumentary” became common film vocabulary, it incisively and uproariously presaged the media’s trivialization of politics. Come to think of it, it’s mandatory election year viewing. Though he admits his success has put him in a position to pick and choose, Robbins has always been an admirable purist, writing, directing, producing and acting in only the projects that speak to his sense of moral and artistic integrity. He knows his legacy may not matter to the public, but it matters to him.

That integrity – and his standing as one of our true auteurs – prompted Robert Altman to call him the second coming of Orson Welles. High praise; but like Welles, his standards don’t frequently align with those of his industry, making his film projects increasingly rare. Our conversation reminded us of the treasure we have in Robbins, and as much as we hate to bother a 6’ 5” former hockey player, we respectfully demand more.

This is the best way to experience Off Camera- When you get the app, you can instantly subscribe to Off Camera, or buy single issues a la carte. The Off Camera app is a beautifully designed hybrid magazine with the entire television version of Off Camera contained within it, available for any tablet or mobile device.

This e-magazine has all the images and extra content available in the physical version of the Off Camera magazine, plus enhanced HD video streaming so you can enjoy Off Camera your way.

After downloading the app, you will find Off Camera in your Apple newsstand folder. You can play steaming HD video straight from the pages of the app, making this experience truly multi-media.

Off Camera subscriptions available:
Single Issue/episode: (non-subscription): $2.99
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When the notoriously poker-faced Aubrey Plaza says that she’s wanted to be an actor since she was 13 and thus isn’t surprised it’s happening, or that perhaps the universe responded to her acting daydreams, you have to wonder, does she really mean that?

Understandably, Aubrey Plaza used to hate the word “deadpan,” as associated as it’s become with the detached, almost unreadable delivery she’s cultivated as characters like Julie Powers in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Darius in Safety Not Guaranteed and perhaps most famously, Parks and Recreation’s wryly impassive April Ludgate. Then her Ned Rifle director Hal Hartley cast the term in a different light: maybe it occasionally serves a character to drop lines with a certain lack of personal involvement. Though no one expects much from a zombie in the way of emoting, The Guardian said of Life After Beth, “…Plaza steals the show with one foot in the grave, her rotting heroine ricocheting between adolescent snarkiness and cadaverous rage…” When you think about it, it takes a certain amount of equanimity to put a line out there and let it sit without telegraphing what we’re supposed to think about it or how we’re supposed to react. If that means viewers remain a bit off balance, all the better to hold our attention while we supply our own context.

But back to those comments. She was (we’re pretty sure) quite sincere, though Plaza herself likely had more to do with moving her career along than the universe. Philosophically, she seems to fall somewhere between fatalism and determinism. When her mom introduced her to Saturday Night Live, young Aubrey decided it was her dream job. When she looked up cast member bios and saw standup comedy as the common thread among her idols, she went promptly into improv, and later actually interned at SNL. Shortly after, she started growing the career she’s still building today with drolly arresting roles in films like Funny People and About Alex and The To Do List, often playing younger, still-at-that-awkward-stage characters. Perceptive viewers of her arc on the recently-ended Parks and Recreation might have noticed Plaza’s very intentional efforts to add layers and different choices to April Ludgate,  without any overreaching departures from the essence of her character. Now able to poke her head up take a look around after six seasons on Parks, Plaza plans to continue her attempt “…to be considered a well-rounded actor, not a weirdo.” That starts next year with Dirty Grandpa and Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates.

Given her peppy, workmanlike embrace of masturbation (The To Do List), doll parts (Playing It Cool), and, um, quirky guest appearances (any number of talk shows), she’s demonstrated she’s unafraid to attempt almost anything, including being herself – no small feat in her line of work. If part of the outrageousness allows her to remain a bit of an enigma, we can live with that. What we most want to see is what Plaza does next, because if there’s one thing that’s obvious, the woman’s capable of almost anything.

This is the best way to experience Off Camera- When you get the app, you can instantly subscribe to Off Camera, or buy single issues a la carte. The Off Camera app is a beautifully designed hybrid magazine with the entire television version of Off Camera contained within it, available for any tablet or mobile device.

This e-magazine has all the images and extra content available in the physical version of the Off Camera magazine, plus enhanced HD video streaming so you can enjoy Off Camera your way.

After downloading the app, you will find Off Camera in your Apple newsstand folder. You can play steaming HD video straight from the pages of the app, making this experience truly multi-media.

Off Camera subscriptions available:
Single Issue/episode: (non-subscription): $2.99
6 month subscription: (11 issues/episodes): $27.99
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Available in the Apple App Store and on Amazon:

Every successful actor will tell you how lucky they are to do what they get to do; it’s pretty standard actor PR speak, and in most cases, probably true. Still, it’s genuinely refreshing to come across someone who seems to be happier practicing her craft the longer she does it. Linda Cardellini believed her dad when he told her it would be possible to build a rollercoaster in their back yard. Perhaps that’s where she got the “screw-loose optimism” responsible for making her think she could be an actress in the first place, and what led her to L.A. to audition for roles she thought (or was actually told) she wouldn’t get, one being her breakout series Freaks and Geeks. She even managed to find a small moment of pleasure in the rather sudden late-night announcement of its cancellation. And she believes there’s benefit to be found in even the most nerve-racking auditions.

It’s a testament to Freaks and Geeks and Cardellini herself that she’s still best known (and rightfully lauded) for work on a show that was cancelled after just 18 episodes in 1999, not even beating the 10th season of Cops in the ratings. The show was unusual and ahead of its time in ways too numerous to mention, all of which probably boil down to its just being too good for TV at the time. On the bright side, the current streaming, watch-when-you-want age that enabled its phenomenal post-cancellation embrace gives us hope that such honest, sui generis shows and the people who create them will endure. Recalls Freaks writer Paul Feig, “Lindsay Weir was the only character not based on someone I knew, but Linda Cardellini was the exact person I had in my head.” Chalk that up to her innate ability (at 24) to bring an authenticity to a teenage character that completely matched the spirit of the show. “Life is filled with moments where you have to sit alone with yourself, and the show let us do that in a way that wasn’t normal at the time,” she told Vanity Fair. “You don’t know what to say or do, so you have to sit there in that uncomfortableness.”

For a more recent example of her instinct for telling a story through silences and a complete lack of vanity, seek out the extraordinary Return, and you’ll be way ahead of the deprived people who are bound to stumble across and love it years from now. As her career progresses, she’s reflecting the experience and motivations of a widening range of grown-up women with roles in Mad Men, Welcome to Me, 2016’s The Founder and yes, even Avengers: Age of Ultron, which prompted the Washington Post to praise the calmness, clarity and wisdom of her performance – in a superhero movie. It’s a maturity she seems to find satisfying, and one that will likely ensure a long future as an artist.

And the optimism just gets worse from here. As someone whose stated acting ambition is working with as many of her peers as possible to observe their approach, she’s landed in a series of jackpots, the latest of which is Bloodline with Sissy Spacek and Sam Shepard. So if you don’t like happy stories, stop here. And definitely don’t see her in the slightly sweet, slightly off-kilter, full-on funny Daddy’s Home this Christmas. But if like Cardellini, you believe the best is still to come, read on.

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