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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:
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:

Luke Wilson made Bottle Rocket in 1996. It was the first film he ever made, and he was convinced it would also be his last. The studio wanted to make it, just not with Luke and his brothers in it. But along with first-time director and creative co-conspirator Wes Anderson, they stood by their roles and their vision. The film became a cult classic and, as fan and fellow filmmaker Ivan Reitman pointed out, “…a touchstone for those who want to make movies.” It also made fans of Martin Scorsese and several actors the Wilsons admired. And as Luke has said, sometimes that’s all the encouragement you need.

In hindsight, maybe it also foreshadowed Wilson’s affinity for films that are slow out of the gate and pick up rearview-mirror acclaim for odd humor, understated artistry and layered cleverness—not unlike Wilson’s performances themselves. His work is at its best when his material is at its most original, to wit: The Royal Tenenbaums, Rushmore, and Mike Judge’s peculiar, prescient Idiocracy. Some audiences didn’t know what to do with those films; others did—watch them repeatedly and love them deeply.

Yes, there’s a certain amount of “the guy” roles in more mainstream fare such as Legally Blonde, Home Fries, and Charlie’s Angels. His reviews in those movies could be summed up in two words: dependably charming. But look closer, and maybe “suspiciously skilled” is more apt. Those everyman characters are exactly what make you overlook his admirable lack of showboating and effortless on-screen presence. Reitman calls him one of the most underrated actors around, with more comic chops than his laconic demeanor might indicate. Wilson’s Skeleton Twins director Craig Johnson provides supporting evidence. “He’s profoundly humble, and able to deliver lines that otherwise might come across as outrageous with such sincerity that you completely believe them… He ended up being our improv secret weapon.”

Maybe his ambling demeanor is just a Texas thing (he was born in Dallas and returns to his home state often), and it can be deceptive. Though he never officially decided to be an actor before he started acting, and never sought out formal training, he’s learned from every role he’s played—especially, he says, the smaller ones. He’s boasted of how good he is at “not doing anything,” but given his recent track record, it appears he’s not as good at it as he thinks.

In addition to his well-received turn in Skeleton Twins, he was quietly brilliant as a despairing parent opposite Olivia Wilde in Meadowland and Laura Dern’s recovering addict ex-husband on Enlightened. Next up (and we can’t wait) is Cameron Crowe’s Showtime series Roadies. He’s also produced Tower, a taut and surprisingly filmic version of the tragic 1966 sniper shootings on a Texas university campus. His most crazily ambitious—or just crazy—undertaking to date may be Satellite Beach, a 20-minute, mostly-improvised gem about a guy named Warren Flowers (played by Wilson) who believes he’s in charge of the Space Shuttle Endeavor’s journey through the streets of Los Angeles to the California Science Center. He and his brother Andrew shot it kamikaze style during the shuttle’s actual journey (you can almost hear the great stories piling up from that one). It became a hit on the festival circuit; Wilson’s probably just grateful he didn’t get arrested making it.

These days, Wilson’s work seems to get more interesting with each new project. And while we don’t want to rush him, we’re finding ourselves impatient for 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
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 your impression of Thomas Middleditch is that of a somewhat befuddled, bumbling, awkward-bordering-on-geeky misfit, we won’t blame you… yet. He has personified that type in films such as Splinterheads, The Bronze, The Final Girls, and even The Wolf of Wall Street. So neither can we blame Silicon Valley co-creator/director Mike Judge for writing the role of socially discombobulated Richard Hendricks specifically with Middleditch in mind. And now, Hendricks’ wide-eyed, stammering bewilderment seems to stem from Middleditch’s genuine disbelief at his own good fortune; after all, he’s landed the lead on a series that’s become more popular than the latest tech fads the show sends up.

If it’s possible to be both a show’s star and its secret weapon, that’s what he seems to have achieved. In calling Middleditch the most underrated actor on TV, The Decider said, “One of the reasons that Silicon Valley quickly went from good to great to one of the best is because of Middleditch, who’s made Richard into an incredibly sympathetic, watchable character despite his by-design lack of dynamism.” High praise for an actor whose character has dwelt mainly in the shade of the charismatic type-As who surround him.

So Mike Judge did not misjudge. We’re guessing he knew what a lot of the show’s fans may not. Middleditch is a sharply funny and frenetic writer and comic who found his way out of bully crosshairs and subsequently out of Nelson, BC through theater. Impatient to get on with doing what he loved, he dropped out of school in Canada to start writing and acting in sketches, cartoons and commercials. Nothing happened instantly; he walked dogs and sold shoes while writing scripts that didn’t go anywhere and auditioning without success for Saturday Night Live. But sometimes all you need is the proper attitude. When asked to join the Improvised Shakespeare Company (a Chicago-based improv troupe that performs spontaneous plays in Elizabethan-sounding English), his first thought was, “That sounds impossible. Sure!” When you’re fearless and open, fate tends to fall in line. A goofy, impromptu sketch for a Second City training program, in which he rapped about his faux-abiding love for Chicken McNuggets, sat out on the internet for a year before it caught the attention of a creative director for McDonald’s, who cracked up. Cue commercials, newfound exposure and two valuable lessons: a) fate can hide in odd, deep-fried places and b) keep going until someone laughs. Since then, he’s worked with some of the most talented names in comedy, including Zach Galifianakis, Key & Peele, and Jay Roach. He’s created voices and characters for shows including Beavis and Butt-Head, The Office, Comedy Bang! Bang!, and cult web series Jake and Amir, all while writing and making a seemingly ceaseless string of odd, humorous shorts.

Even if all that hadn’t happened, we bet Middleditch would still be putting funny stuff into the world, if not to entertain us, then solely to entertain himself. You get the feeling that if his schedule ever slowed down or (god forbid), his internet connection died, he’d be perfectly fine in front of the mirror making faces, voices, and scenes. But small chance of that. He’s just finished playing the title role in Jeff Baena’s Joshy and will star in the upcoming Entanglement. He’s also slated to be animated in Henchmen and Captain Underpants.

Though his dance card is largely filled with comedies, Middleditch remains open to playing any kind of character that interests him, and wouldn’t mind venturing into more dramatic territory. We’d like to see him try. Seriously—we’d really like to see him try.

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:

In Imogen Poots, we have our second guest and second Brit to abandon early veterinary dreams for acting—but this time due to a tendency to faint at the sight of blood. Which is lucky because if you’ve seen 28 Weeks Later, you’ll remember Poots’ character splashing around in gleeful amounts of the fake stuff. She’s especially lucky because that’s the film that earned her a British Independent Film Award for Most Promising Newcomer. The Guardian seconded that nod, calling Poots’ “considerable potential” underused in its review of the post-apocalyptic sci-fi thriller.

Poots was 17 at the time, and has been a “rising star” or “star in the making” for the ensuing decade, according to a lot of what you’ll read about her. Which begs the question, at what point is one proved an actual star? It doesn’t much matter, if you’ve proved yourself an actress. And despite having no formal training, Poots has—many times over. Granted, she had a startling number of opportunities to do so immediately following her 28 Weeks breakout. There were period films (Jane Eyre, Miss Austen Regrets); action (Need for Speed); more thrillers (Fright Night, Green Room); comedy (Solitary Man, A Long Way Down); biopics (The Look Of Love, Jimi: All Is By My Side); and indies (A Country Called Home and Terrence Malick’s Knight of Cups).

That very fractional listing is a fine display of range, but an even better one of whatever mysterious, elusive chemical makes someone a “natural.” It’s a quality that’s saved her from getting perma-cast against (English rose) type. Director Peter Bogdanovich told New Zealand Herald that hiring a British actress to play a Brooklyn prostitute in 2014’s She’s Funny That Way never entered his mind until he met Poots. “I was given a list of up-and-coming girls but within five minutes of meeting Imogen I knew she was the one…She was quirky, but not trying to be quirky. She was just being herself. She’s very, very, very good, and she’s very original. She’s beautiful, but not in a classic way and she’s so interesting to watch.”

What’s really interesting to watch is how she’s turned a slate of mostly secondary characters into very believable catalysts. Poots exhibits a sharp and repeated instinct for supporting, challenging, interpreting and sometimes toppling male leads, often swiping a few scenes from them in the process.

As a label, “seasoned up and comer” is both oxymoronic and ridiculous, unless it implies that a very able and intriguing artist is only just revving up. Back when she was an up and comer at 17, Poots said, “As an actor you never really know what is going to happen and there is something I quite like about that—that feeling of letting fate decide.” Fate will have plenty to work with. Projects on deck for this year include Andy Samberg’s music comedy Pop Star: Never Stop Never Stopping, Sundance buzz-and bid-generating Frank & Lola, and Cameron Crowe’s new Showtime series Roadies. Each represents an interesting new opportunity to show how well she can do what she loves doing. Whatever Fate decides, it seems she’s already smiling where Poots is concerned.

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:

Who is my character? Why does she say this line? What’s my motivation? These are valid, if not typical, Acting 101 probings. But as a certain actor so simply puts it, “Sometimes, you just need to walk in the door.” That actor is Kathryn Hahn, who is a great example of someone who does just that; she steps into frame and before she utters a line, you’re watching, just waiting for what she’s going to say or do.

That takes a rare kind of presence, one that for too long seemed to be hiding in plain sight. Hahn got her first real TV break when Crossing Jordan producer Tim Kring created the role of Lily Lebowski for her in 2001. A string of small but brilliant supporting appearances in comedy features like How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, and Step Brothers followed. Luckily, a few sharp-eyed observers spied a keg of talent going largely untapped. In 2008, Marcia Shulman, then Fox’s head of casting, signed Hahn to a rare talent-holding deal. “She was doing the kind of comedy that reminded me of Lucille Ball,” Shulman said. “She is very approachable, she has a very positive, happy presence. She is a great physical comedian, and I think that is missing on TV.”

Shulman was right, but if anyone deserves credit for recognizing what others didn’t, it’s writer and director Jill Soloway, who gave Hahn her first lead role in the acclaimed 2013 film Afternoon Delight. As an over- achieving mom and housewife who finds a— let’s call it creative—way to deal with a midlife crisis, Hahn was able to show there were layers to the laughs. “…She has an incredible way into the kind of authentic realness that made the careers of women like Diane Keaton back in the 1970s,” Soloway told The New York Times. “The industry has never really known how to handle a woman like that—a woman whose beauty is so intrinsically linked to her unique character.”

Perhaps not fitting into a cinematic pigeonhole isn’t all bad. Hahn is one of the most game actors in the business, the personification of the acting ideal: free, open. She seems equipped to invest any character with warmth, sarcasm, humanity or a bit of ball-busting on an as-needed basis. While “free” could be an understatement for some of her roles in movies like We’re The Millers, Tomorrowland, Bad Words, and the upcoming Bad Moms, she’s just as good, if not even better, at caustic (Boeing-Boeing, her Broadway debut), grounded (Transparent) and…male (her role as Jennifer Barkley on Parks and Recreation was originally written for a man).

If you’ve seen her in any of these roles, you’d have a tough time buying that an artist so willing to “go there” with such complete abandon and utter lack of vanity was ever self conscious or timid. But growing up, Hahn was the girl who was always apologizing, saying anything but what she truly meant in order to keep people (mostly her family) happy. She’s said that being able to stand up straight, look people in the eye and command her own space remain a bit of a challenge, even today. But it does get easier once you realize that your gift is who you are, and who you are is pretty much all you need. If Hollywood didn’t know what to do with Hahn in the beginning, she’s shown them now—just about 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
1 year subscription: (22 issues/episodes): $49.99

Available in the Apple App Store and on Amazon:

Did you see the 2013 comedy-horror movie Hell Baby? No? Well, film critic Devin Faraci did, and what stood out for him about the otherwise “silly” film was a supporting actor who “walks into Hell Baby, picks it up and walks directly out of the theater with it.” That was Keegan-Michael Key. In his write up, Faraci said, “I’m not sure why this guy isn’t one of the biggest comedy stars in the universe, but we still have time to correct this oversight, and Hell Baby will help.”

Maybe, maybe not, but Key & Peele did. The history-making comic duo (Key and partner Jordan Peele) met at MADtv, where they were originally cast against each other so parent network FOX could pick one black actor for the permanent ensemble. Obvious questions about that strategy aside, the network recognized chemistry when they saw it and hired them both. Even “black actor” seems a slightly ridiculous term for two bi-racial comics who refused to see black culture as a monolith and any culture, topic, or character as off-limits for comic cannon fodder.

Their two-man parade of seemingly endless impersonations (and wigs) broadened and became even funnier when Key & Peele became its own sketch show on Comedy Central in 2012, sparing neither gay nor straight, young nor old, Asian nor Latino, black nor white, nor icons modern or historic. Not even vampires couldn’t escape ridicule. In its eulogy for the best TV comedy shows ending runs in 2015 (including The Colbert Report, David Letterman on The Late Show, and Parks and Recreation), The Atlantic said, “The departure of Key & Peele deserves to be remembered as the biggest loss of them all, because it was the only example of a show ending when it still had so much originality and energy left…The originality, charm, intensity, and fearlessness of Key & Peele will be impossible to replace.”

Key’s own abilities as a dauntless comic surrogate for almost any faction of society brought him to the attention of President Obama, who was in need of an Official Anger Translator for the 2015 White House Correspondents’ Dinner. It’s probably the first time the event has racked up over 7.3 million YouTube views—no mean feat in a town that regularly offers up a bottomless smorgasbord of things to laugh at.

Key’s rejection of any single racial or comedic stereotype appears to have started early and to have influenced his career path. Adopted as a child by a bi-racial couple in Michigan, he discovered a passion for theater in high school, largely because of the multi-cultural kids it attracted. He saw that unlike so many of us in high school, these kids joined drama not out of the desire to belong to a certain group, but out of love for their craft. He pursued his MFA in Theater at Penn State with the intention of becoming a “poor, happy, artistically fulfilled” dramatic actor, doing regional theater and Shakespeare festivals. But for a guy whose knee-jerk reaction to anyone who says, “There’s no way to make this funny” is an immediate and compulsive need to prove otherwise, a comedy detour was probably inevitable. That, and he’s just a damn funny guy.

Though Devin Faraci has been proven right about Key’s talent several times over by now, we wouldn’t be surprised if his review of the upcoming Don’t Think Twice is only four words: “I told you so.” And then there’s the tantalizing rumor of a script-in-the-works with Peele and Judd Apatow, who’s said he thinks the duo are “capable of making a movie America desperately needs right now.” All we know is that a film from a triumvirate like that is one we desperately need to see right now. Key and Co. aren’t sharing details, so if Luther is still available, we’d like to hire him to send a little message to our friend Keegan: GET OUT OF OUR DAMN STUDIO AND GO MAKE IT, ALREADY.

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:

The thing about superheroes is that beneath the capes and tights and high-tech crime-fighting gear, they’re mostly just people dealing with problems. Sure, the problems are writ large and usually involve imminent explosions or threats to the planet, but their most interesting struggles are always internal, and usually stemming from their own personal backstories. It’s likely the real reason we’ve identified with superheroes since Action Comics introduced us to Superman in 1938.

Krysten Ritter, who last year landed the lead as Marvel’s mysterious Jessica Jones in the eponymous Netflix series, actually had a pretty happy childhood until her parents’ divorce and a subsequent move to “the sticks” darkened the story. A sense of isolation and “falling through the cracks of her own family” set in, as did the physical traits that mark one as a super-human species from a mile away. Tall, rail thin and gawky, Ritter attended an Elite mall model scout at her mother’s insistence and found a tribe of sorts. Though she refused to participate in the cattle call, an agent sought her out, and modeling set her on a trajectory that eventually led to acting.

Luckily, Ritter discovered two of her superpowers early on: perseverance and patience. Though not as flashy as, say, leaping tall buildings, they’re powerful weapons against the chaos of life in the real world, and particularly in the Holly-world. Coming up, she decided that by working hard, studying hard (immersing herself in Stanislavsky and Meisner) and looking at each “no” as once step closer “yes,” she’d succeed. “I knew I could always work harder and be better and show I’m more prepared.”

And the jobs started coming in. But still…where to fit in? Mostly as a sidekick, to start. Was she funny? Caustic? Bubbly? Goth? Well, yes. She played a revolving cast of “friends of” in TV shows like Gilmore Girls, Gossip Girl, and Veronica Mars, and films such as 27 Dresses, Confessions of a Shopaholic, and What Happens in Vegas. In 2008 two more of Ritter’s powers—X-ray future vision and the ability to withstand large leaps of faith—revealed themselves. She’d been offered a part on CBS’ successful Julia Louis-Dreyfuss sitcom The New Adventures of Old Christine when the chance for a part of undetermined duration on the still-unproven Breaking Bad came along. Unable to resist the lure of playing tattoo artist/recovering drug addict Jane Margolis, she opted in.

Though the part perhaps cemented the perception of Ritter as a darker, edgier actress, it brought her to the attention of a lot more fans and people in the biz. For Jessica Jones creator Melissa Rosenberg, it was that role, coupled with Ritter’s comic turn on the short-lived Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23 that convinced her Ritter was right for Jones. “Drama is easier to come by in actors,” Rosenberg told Rolling Stone. “But the ability to shift from drama to comedy—sometimes on a dime in any given scene—that’s much harder to come by. We needed someone who had those edgy comedic skills, could deliver a dry line and give you a sense of what this character has gone through. That’s a rare talent.” Viewers and reviewers seem to agree. The show’s been renewed for a second season and Ritter will extend the role in the upcoming The Defenders.

So Ritter’s story seemingly comes full circle, but any adventure tale worth its salt promises more tantalizing plot twists ahead. The creative streak unleashed by the loneliness and boredom of her rural teenage years also included music and writing; she’s penned several scripts and sold a pilot. All of which leads us to believe—and certainly hope—that when she gets a break from saving the world, we might see even more of her talents unmasked.

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 there’s beauty in simplicity, there’s a whole lot of power in it, too. Applied to rock, there’s no better proof in the past three decades than U2 and its chief sound architect, The Edge.

Though “powerful” is easily the go-to adjective for the band’s work from its astounding debut Boy to seminal releases like The Joshua Tree and Achtung Baby, they’ve shown time and again that powerful doesn’t—even in rock—always mean loud, fast, or complex. If a chord change functions as a release, Edge knows there’s a sweetness in its anticipation, an almost physical yearning for its resolution. Listening to songs like “Where The Streets Have No Name,” it’s possible to feel oneself coasting on a simple, repetitive progression. In Bono, U2 has a frontman that virtually defines the word, but it’s Edge’s use of rhythmic delay and effect that created the singular clarion sound that has become a U2 trademark.

It’s a sound he’s honed since answering a 1976 school bulletin board ad placed by one Larry Mullen, who was looking to start a band. Edge’s earliest influences were punk and the fact that he taught himself to play by figuring out ways around what he didn’t know. As he did so, the gear piled up—to the extent that any online search of his name brings up link after link to mathematical analyses of his guitar sound and stage diagrams of his equipment setup.

It’s also a sound that’s landed him in iconic company amidst the upper numbers of both Rolling Stone’s and SPIN’s lists of the greatest guitarists of all time. In its listing, SPIN said “It’s difficult to imagine the monolith that is U2 ever having had anything to do with punk, but in the late’70s U.K., [The Edge] masked and flaunted his willful ignorance of how guitars are meant to be played with forgiving delay pedals, forging a sonic trademark so distinctive that his band’s name became an adjective. Every note of 1980’s Boy feels like an argument about how guitars in rock music are supposed to sound.” It also went on to say “…even U2’s most dug-in detractors would allow that parlaying limitation and brazen naiveté into 30-plus years of mega-stardom is a fairly unprecedented form of sticking it to the Man.”

So hailing from that sensibility, what happens when you kind of become the man? Some thought that happened some time ago, others in 2014 when the band struck a deal with iTunes to have its album Songs of Innocence automatically download to users’ playlists. In apologizing to the ranks of the disgruntled, Bono said, “Artists are prone to that kind of thing. A drop of megalomania, a touch of generosity, a dash of self-promotion and deep fear that these songs that we poured our life into over the last few years mightn’t be heard.” It’s an apology that can also be read as a formula for longevity and success; i.e., continued risk. It’s admirable in any artistic endeavor at any time, but especially in “the biggest band in the world,”—one that could’ve easily rested on $170 million in record sales, $1billion+ in concert sales and more Grammy Awards than any other band.

These days it seems we’ve developed particular reverence for “undiscovered” bands that cater to niche-loving, genre-specific hipsters; and many such acts are deserving. But the detractors who call U2 “too commercial” might pause to remember that you don’t often get there without first having made something that touches, joins, and elevates us with a common emotional language. Does anyone else find it odd when we criticize artists for doing what artists are arguably supposed to be doing?

One person likely not much interested in that debate is Dave Evans. He remains the unflappable, optimistic gearhead-slash-poet, doing what he’s done since getting his first flea market guitar at age nine. And as the band prepares to release a new album this year, we’ll be listening, because U2 continues to experiment, surprise and connect, with Edge at its beating, reverberating sonic heart.

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:

All artists are essentially storytellers, and the Irish are legendary storytellers (if you disagree, go immerse yourself in some Oscar Wilde, Samuel Beckett, Neil Jordan, or Christy Moore, and get back to us). For three decades, musician and sometimes-actor Glen Hansard has told his tales through song: first as a street busker, then as frontman for Irish band The Frames, next as half of folk rock duo The Swell Season, and now as a solo artist. If his early family life was a bit difficult and alcohol-dampened, it was also kind of enchanted. Household gods like Dylan and Van Morrison, a tradition of gathering to sing, and the folks he met on the streets of Dublin gave him as good an education as he’d ever have received in school—if he’d stayed there.

Hansard’s ear and general disposition are finely tuned to the tragi-comic, ironic side of life—the Irish seeming to have caught on earlier than most that life doesn’t really offer up an alternate side—and that sensibility helped propel The Frames to native-soil popularity. Their second album (Set List, recorded live) hit the top of Irish charts, The Sydney Morning Herald raving, “This glorious live recording shows exactly why The Frames are the darlings of Ireland’s music scene…There are moments of transcendental magic on this album, showcasing their ability to capture an audience’s interest as the crowd sings along to songs and reacts to frontman Glen Hansard’s anecdotes.”

We’re not sure if one of those anecdotes was one Hansard has told about seeing an advert for the film The Commitments floating in a dirty puddle on the streets of New York. While The Frames’ popularity remained chiefly confined to Ireland, Hansard’s popularity jumped the pond along with his appearance as guitarist Outspan Foster in the wildly successful film. It read as a soggy reminder for Hansard, who didn’t enjoy the acting experience and felt it overshadowed the band. Like many of his countrymen, he displays a cocked eyebrow at fame: “I make art, and that’s great; but digging in the hole and growing potatoes is a higher calling. In Ireland, the land is pulsing.”

Maybe so, but eventually the lure of a great story (or maybe just perversity) brought him back to the screen with fellow musician Markéta Irglová in Once, a film that charmed critics and virtually everyone else who saw it and went on to become a smash stage show. More music than dialogue, Once is a testament to what Hansard seems to always have known: some things are better conveyed and more profoundly understood through words that we sing than those we speak. Of the score (co-written with Irglová) The New York Times said, “What lends a special, tickling poignancy to [the] songs is their acceptance of loneliness as an existential given. These are not big ballads that complain angrily about how we could have had it all. An air of romantic resignation, streaked in minor-key undercurrents, tempers the core heartache of numbers like “Leave,” “When Your Mind’s Made Up,” and “Falling Slowly,” which earned the duo a Best Song Oscar.

His ability to temper a healthy respect for the muse with the nuts and bolts of his craft is most evident on his 2015 solo album Didn’t He Ramble, a hard-won work that’s at once sad, hopeful unsentimental and beautiful. If Hansard’s music—and Hansard himself—embodies worlds of contradiction, he holds true to those contradictions. After all, they’re what make all of us human; and they’re what make the humans who can write and sing about them, artists. You’ll still find him busking out on the evening streets, albeit mostly for charity and with friends like Bono and Eddie Vedder. “It may be a little cold,” he’s said, “but it warms my heart.”

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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.

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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:
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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:
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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.

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