There’s more on-again, offagain for Alison Sweeney – aka Sami Brady on soap Days Of Our Lives (1965current, see more on p29). She returned in April this year after quitting for the second time in November 2015 and has announced that she has finished filming “my required scenes”. She’s leaving Days for the third time to make yet another Hallmark Christmas film. NB! Days in SA is about three years behind the US – keep up to speed with our Stateside Soaps on p30.
Despite fantasy series Game Of Thrones (2011- current) claiming that “Winter is here” for season 7, that’s not entirely true – the cast and crew had to go fetch it this time round. Kit Harington (Jon Snow on the show) says that they had an “increasingly difficult time” finding suitable conditions to film. “We went to Iceland to find snow, because winter is there. We go this year and the glacier that me and [ex Ygritte and real-life girlfriend] Rose Leslie filmed on four years ago, I saw it and it has shrunk. I saw climate change with my own eyes and it’s terrifying!”
Staying with the Game, sound designer Paula Fairfield let slip at a fan convention that while final season 8 will have fewer episodes ( just 6), they could be the same length as feature films. “Episodes could be in the 80-minute plus range,” she said after confirming that season 7’s finale episode 7 will be the longest yet at 82 minutes.
Stop reading now if you’re a fan of thriller series Pretty Little Liars (2010-2017) and haven’t seen the finale! The 89minute episode has flashbacks that answer a long-running mystery: AD’s true identity. And it was actually revealed in a 2014 interview, says show creator I Marlene King. “I explained how Troian Bellisario sent me a theory that was so well thought out, that Spencer has an evil twin named Alex Drake.” She adds that “when I read through all of the information the person delved out, I thought ‘Oh my gosh, this is a really well thoughtout plan and it’s kind of a good one!’” I Marlene King has added that more Liars spin- offs could also be in the works despite failed single-season spin-off Ravenswood (2013-2014). Popular E! News anchor Maria Menounos is stepping down after three years at the entertainment channel after being diagnosed with a brain tumour. She will be undergoing more treatment following surgery to remove most of the golf ball-sized tumour and she’s told fans that she wants to “return to work as soon as the doctors give me the thumbs up”. Her costume-designer mom Litsa is currently battling brain cancer.
Action series Hawaii Five- 0 (2010- current, see p36) is losing two of its stars over money. AsianAmericans Grace Park and Daniel Dae Kim have quit after season 8 wrapped in the US and sources claim it’s because they’re paid up to 15% less than lead stars Scott Caan and Alex O’Loughlin’ (Danno and McGarrett) $200 000 (R2.6 million) per episode. Production network CBS claims that they offered “a substantial pay increase to both actors” but are “appreciative of Daniel and Grace’s enormous talents, professional excellence and the aloha spirit they brought to every one of their 168 episodes.”
The FX network is reportedly being sued by Olivia de Havilland for its portrayal of her in dramatised biopic series Feud (2017-current). Season 1 retold the rivalry between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford on the set of 1962 film What Ever Happened To Baby Jane and 101-year-old Olivia, the only person from the film still alive, has slammed her characterisation as “hypocrite gossip”, adding that “no one consulted me. I could’ve told them everything if they asked”. Drama series True Detective (2014current) is continuing its tradition of big-name casts despite a third season still not officially being confirmed by network HBO. The producers are reportedly in talks with Mahershala Ali (he won the 2016 Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, for drama film Moonlight) to take the lead, with Matthew McConaughey “very interested” in bringing back his season 1 character Detective Russ Cohle. Writer- creator Nic Pizzolatto also revealed that he’s written two episodes for a third season “but that option is still up in the air”.
Troian Bellisario as Spencer Hastings in Pretty Little Liars.
Alison Sweeney is leaving Days after rejoining in April.
Mahershala Ali could be joining True Detective.