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Didn’t you used to be Dharma? Jenna Elfman joins Fear The Walking Dead crossover

“The fans absolutely love him,” Polson told The Age from New York this week. “He was the perfect cho..

"The fans absolutely love him," Polson told The Age from New York this week. "He was the perfect choice for the bridge between the two."

Polson says he was "incredibly honoured to be asked to direct the premiere, especially given the significance of the moment. And it wasn't just about the crossover – it was also about the whole reset on Fear".

The show has moved from California to Texas, where Madison Clark (Kim Dickens) and her kids have fetched up after being swept downstream at the end of season three. They're farming inside a baseball stadium, and they've been there long enough to have made a decent stab at self-sufficiency (and given this season of TWD took place over a matter of days, or perhaps weeks, that probably explains how the two shows' timelines have been synchronised).

"It was exciting to basically be part of reinventing the wheel on the show and everything that's gone before, including introducing these wonderful new characters," says Polson.

Morgan Jones (Lennie James, right) crosses over, and joins forces with John Dorie (Garret Dillahunt) in an episode directed by Australian John Polson.

Photo: RICHARD FOREMAN

Despite the transplanting of Morgan, Fear isn't in any danger of losing its sense of being a female-driven show. By the end of the first episode, Morgan had been rescued by a female video journalist (Maggie Grace) and captured by Madison's daughter Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey).

In episode two, another strong female character enters the landscape of Fear, as Jenna Elfman joins the cast as Naomi, the sole survivor of a small colony at an oil refinery.

Elfman and co-star Thomas Gibson in a 1998 promo shot for Dharma & Greg.

For Elfman, best known for her starring role on the late-'90s sitcom Dharma & Greg, the role represents a major change of direction.

"I'd been wanting to delve more deeply into the human condition in storytelling," she says. "I've lived a lot of life, I'm raising children, I'm not a girl now, I'm a woman, and I wanted to have a chance to stay in those scenes, experience more dynamic emotions."

Elfman has had a string of sitcoms since Dharma & Greg ended in 2002, all of which have been cancelled after a single season. Does the shift to drama mean she's done with comedy?

"Never permanently," she says. "It's not that I have any problem with comedy. I love it, I think it's important for the world, and I loved doing it. But if anybody does one kind of job too long, you want more experiences. That's really all it was – wanting to enrich myself creatively."

Elfman had seen only a little of the Dead universe before she was offered the role, whereupon she binge-watched both series. It was an experience she found traumatic until, she says, she discovered a little trick. "The second I started getting scared or stressed out I would put it on mute. If you take away the sound and music, it's not scary any more."

That doesn't mean she is unaffected by it though. "I cried watching this season of The Walking Dead," she confesses. "When Rick read [dead son] Carl's letter, I was at the dermatologist about to get a facial. I was watching it in the waiting room on my iPad, crying like a complete moron."

Coming into a show that's three seasons in poses its challenges, she admits, but top of the list was learning how to kill a walker.

"That was overwhelming," she says. "All the other actors who've been doing it for three seasons, they do walker kills with their eyes closed. But when you've never done it before, there's a huge learning curve."

To make things worse, her initiation (in episode two) takes place in an oil tank. "I've got the backpack on, the boots, the coat, and I had a wetsuit on underneath. Everything's so heavy. And then there's the choreography of the fight. It was so slippery, trying to get purchase to stab them in the head, stab them in the neck. It was pleasantly overwhelming, but a lot to learn in a short time."

That first kill behind her, Elfman is looking forward to exploring her character, a damaged woman who is reluctant to join Madison's group for reasons that will gradually become clear.

Having time to probe a character is very different to the world of sitcom, where a character is simply presented and only rarely develops over time. "It's like a kid in a candy store. There's so much opportunity to explore, to dodge and weave and morph and lean into these emotions."

And how long, exactly, do you think you might have to explore Naomi?

"Oh I can't answer that," she says, laughing. "But thanks for asking."

WHAT Fear the Walking Dead

WHEN Showcase, from Monday, 1.30pm

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Karl Quinn

Karl has been a journalist at Fairfax Media since 1999, in a variety of writing and editing roles. Karl writes about popular culture with a particular focus on film and television.

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007 film must treat Bond girls properly, says Waller-Bridge

Fast cars, martinis and Bond girls are core parts of the formula for 007 films, but one of those ele..

Fast cars, martinis and Bond girls are core parts of the formula for 007 films, but one of those elements is set for a change in the latest adventure.

Fleabag creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who is working on the script for the 25th Bond film, is on a mission to make sure the movie will "treat women properly" – even if the spy does not.

Image: Cast members (l-r): Lea Seydoux, Ana de Armas, Naomie Harris and Lashana Lynch at the launch of the new Bond film

Ahead of the release of the as-yet-untitled film, Waller-Bridge told Deadline: "There's been a lot of talk about whether or not (the Bond franchise) is relevant now because of who he is and the way he treats women.

"I think that's b*******. I think he's absolutely relevant now. It has just got to grow.

"It has just got to evolve, and the important thing is that the film treats the women properly.

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"He doesn't have to. He needs to be true to this character."

Sean Connery and Mie Hama in You Only Live Twice, 1967
Image: The Bond films have been criticised for their sexism
Dr No turned Sean Connery into an international superstar
Image: Dr No featured the famous scene with Ursula Andress walking out of the sea in a white bikini

Waller-Bridge says she intends to ensure the female characters, including those played by Lashana Lynch, Lea Seydoux and Ana de Armas, feel "like real people ".

More from Phoebe Waller-bridge

She added: "I just want to make sure that when they get those pages through, that Lashana, Lea and Ana open them and go, 'I can't wait to do that'.

"As an actrRead More – Source (more…)

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Sir Elton hits out at Russia for ‘cruel’ Rocketman censorship

Sir Elton John has criticised Russian censors for cutting gay sex scenes from the hit musical biopic..

Sir Elton John has criticised Russian censors for cutting gay sex scenes from the hit musical biopic Rocketman.

The critically acclaimed film charts the British singer's rise to fame, and its scenes of kissing and sex between men, as well as drug use, contributed to it earning a 15 certificate in the UK.

But in a bid to play down the sexuality of Sir Elton, played by actor Taron Egerton, for a conservative Russian audience, an estimated five minutes of footage was reportedly removed ahead of its debut in Moscow.

Taron Egerton on Sir Elton: 'I adore him'

The Moscow Times quoted a Russian film critic who had seen the film at its world premiere in Cannes on 16 May as saying "all scenes with kissing, sex and oral sex between men have been cut", as well as a photo displayed during the end credits featuring Sir Elton and his husband David Furnish.

Sir Elton, 72, a prominent gay rights campaigner, released a joint statement with the makers of the film to accuse censors of being "cruelly unaccepting of the love between two people".

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"We reject in the strongest possible terms the decision to pander to local laws and censor Rocketman for the Russian market, a move we were unaware of until today," they said.

"That the local distributor has edited out certain scenes, denying the audience the opportunity to see the film as it was intended, is a sad reflection of the divided world we still live in and how it can still be so cruelly unaccepting of the love between two people.

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"We believe in building bridges and open dialogue, and will continue to pushRead More – Source

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Ben Affleck steps out to drop off kids as Robert Pattinson is announced as new Batman

Ben Affleck played Batman until earlier this year (Picture: Backgrid)
Ben Affleck has been pictured ..

Ben Affleck played Batman until earlier this year (Picture: Backgrid)

Ben Affleck has been pictured performing his parental duties in Los Angeles, as his official replacement in the Batman role is announced.

The 46-year-old actor was seen in the early hours on Friday (31 May) dropping off son Samuel, seven, and daughter Seraphina, 10, to school.

Affleck has three children with ex-wife Jennifer Garner – Seraphina, Samuel and 13-year-old Violet.

On the same day the actor was pictured, it was announced Robert Pattinson will take over as Batman in a planned trilogy of movies with director Matt Reeves.

Brentwood, CA - Ben Affleck was on daddy duty this morning in Brentwood ahead of the weekend. Pictured: Ben Affleck, Seraphina Rose Elizabeth Affleck, Samuel Garner Affleck BACKGRID USA 31 MAY 2019 BYLINE MUST READ: Boaz / BACKGRID USA: +1 310 798 9111 / usasales@backgrid.com UK: +44 208 344 2007 / uksales@backgrid.com *UK Clients - Pictures Containing Children Please Pixelate Face Prior To Publication*
Ben Affleck was on parent duties (Picture: Backgrid)

Affleck, who played Bruce Wayne in Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice and 2017s Justice League, stepped down from the role in January earlier this year – after being originally down to direct and star in his own film.

More: Ben Affleck

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Speaking about his departure in March, Affleck stated how he was never happy with the script they were planning to use.

Brentwood, CA - Ben Affleck was on daddy duty this morning in Brentwood ahead of the weekend. Pictured: Ben Affleck BACKGRID USA 31 MAY 2019 BYLINE MUST READ: Boaz / BACKGRID USA: +1 310 798 9111 / usasales@backgrid.com UK: +44 208 344 2007 / uksales@backgrid.com *UK Clients - Pictures Containing Children Please Pixelate Face Prior To Publication*
Ben Affleck has a number of roles in the pipeline (Picture: Backgrid)
Brentwood, CA - Ben Affleck was on daddy duty this morning in Brentwood ahead of the weekend. Pictured: Ben Affleck, Seraphina Rose Elizabeth Affleck, Samuel Garner Affleck BACKGRID USA 31 MAY 2019 BYLINE MUST READ: Boaz / BACKGRID USA: +1 310 798 9111 / usasales@backgrid.com UK: +44 208 344 2007 / uksales@backgrid.com *UK Clients - Pictures Containing Children Please Pixelate Face Prior To Publication*
Ben Affleck with son Samuel and daughter Seraphina (Picture: Backgrid)

We worked on the script, I was trying to figure out how to cRead More – Source

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