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POP SPOTLIGHT: Blake Cooper Griffin, Star of Highly Anticipated film “Love Is All You Need?,” is One to Watch

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Blake Cooper Griffin (photo by Benjo Arwas)

Blake Cooper Griffin
(photo by Benjo Arwas)

Five minutes into my interview with rising actor Blake Cooper Griffin, it became apparent to me that there was something different about him.  In an industry that currently seems dominated by celebrity fads and Twitter followers, Blake’s combination of charm and substance is reminiscent of classic Hollywood icons like Robert Redford, Montgomery Clift, Paul Newman, and even Willem Defoe. “My goal is to play interesting characters truthfully. I like to find small idiosyncrasies in characters. My hope is, that, you know, that will impact audiences and add up to something. If I’m interested, hopefully the audience will be.. hopefully,” Blake laughed as he sipped a black coffee at Palihouse Hotel in West Hollywood where we met for the interview.

“The second I finished the script, I knew I had to be in the film. I had a hunch that, you know, this was going to be something that could change lives. I became obsessed with what was underneath the character of Bill Bradley.”
A look at his previous work demonstrates that his classic leading man good looks are just the beginning of his talents showing a depth of range from purple-haired bad boy “Trent Rogers” on USA’s Necessary Roughness to Ivy League world chess champion “J. Thomas Gaines” in the Cuba Gooding Jr. starrer Life of a King on Netflix.  And that’s just the beginning, Blake has guest starred on some of TV’s hottest shows including Castle, 90210, Major Crimes, and Disney’sJessie.  He’s been directed by DJ Caruso in Standing Up starring Val Kilmer and  he’s been directed by Helen Hunt twice— once in her film RIDE and again on an upcoming episode of House of Lies on Showtime.  But it is Blake’s turn as the antagonistic “Bill Bradley” in the upcoming film Love Is All You Need? that has people buzzing ahead of it’s March 2016 world premiere at Cinequest Film Festival. “The second I finished the script, I knew I had to be in the film. I had a hunch that, you know, this was going to be something that could change lives. I became obsessed with what was underneath the character of Bill Bradley.”
Blake Cooper Griffin (Photo by Benjo Arwas)

Blake Cooper Griffin
(Photo by Benjo Arwas)

Love is All You Need? is co-written by Kim Rocco Shields and David Tillman; Shields also directs. The film examines a world where being gay is the norm and the heterosexual persons are bullied and follows a girl and a guy who falls in love on a college campus, in a world where same sex couples are the majority and mixed gender couples are the minority. The couple faces bullying once their relationship goes public. Griffin portrays the aggressive, if not bellicose, Bill Bradley, fraternity president and football player who has major issues with the couple’s relationship. Blake joins an impressive young Hollywood cast that also includes Tyler Blackburn (Pretty Little Liars), Emily Osment (Young and Hungry), and Briana Evigan (STEP UP franchise). Jeremy Sisto (Clueless, Suburgatory) and Elizabeth Rohm (American Hustle, Joy) also star.

Even from the film’s trailer, you can see the acting chops that Griffin possesses and how fascinating the story is. Blake is very clear on the reason he believes the film works. “Rocco, our director, gave us freedom. That is the greatest gift to an actor.  She trusted me. The first night of shooting, we were filming a very climatic scene for my character…which can be intimidating on the very first day,” Blake smiles, “But we all were— Rocco and the cast— we were committed to telling the story.  At the end of the day, that’s all we can do— tell the story.”  His passion for the project and strong point of view seem paramount to Griffin’s abilities, “I’ve learned to trust myself. In Drama School that was harder, because you feel like you have so much to learn. I’ve come to find what I needed to learn was that I have the answers, I just have to get out of my own way.” It was no surprise to learn that the actor graduated from the prestigious North Carolina School of the Arts which consistently tops the list of the best Drama schools in the country.

While sitting for our interview, two women walked over who were presumably from out of town and staying at the hotel.  Giggling, one of them worked up the courage to ask Blake, “Sorry to bother you, but do we know you from something? Are you famous?” Blake warmly smiled, almost embarrassed, and introduced himself in a way that revealed his South Carolina upbringing, “I’m Blake. Nice to meet you.”  But something tells me, soon enough, fans will walk up to him already knowing his name.

Love Is All You Need? will premiere at Cinequest Film Festival on March 5. The film will have encore screenings at the festival on March 6 and March 9. James Franco and Rita Moreno are headlining this year’s festival.

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‘Pitch Perfect’ Barden Bellas Virtually Reunite To Perform Beyonce’s ‘Love On Top’ And Of Course It’s Aca-Amazing!

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A little aca-quarantine can’t stop these bad belters.

A lot of casts have been virtually reuniting during this quarantine with some distant gatherings more memorable than others. Of course, anytime the ladies of Pitch Perfect get together it’s a singing spectacular that goes viral almost instantly and this time is no different.

Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins reprised their roles as the hostile hosts of the a cappella singing competitions, Gail Abernathy-McKadden-Feinberg and John Smith respectively, as they introduced the Barden Bellas. The powerhouse singers including Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Anna Camp, Brittany Snow, Hailee Steinfeld, Chrissie Fit, and Hannah Mae Lee then crush their rendition of Beyoncé’s “Love On Top.” And you know if you’re going to cover Queen Bey it better be good. Oh and streaming the song will not only sound good but it will some good too because proceeds from downloads of the cover will benefit UNICEF’s efforts to support children in Lebanon and around the world who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Aca-amazing!

To donate to UNICEF directly click here.

To stream/download the song click here.

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Disney Reveals Early Unseen Sketches Of Buzz Lightyear Who Was Almost Called ‘Lunar Larry’

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The space ranger could have looked a lot stranger.

It has been 25 years since Toy Story hit theaters…god we’re getting old…which means we have loved Buzz Lightyear for decades now. The beloved space ranger has become a staple in pop culture with his zest for adventure and signature catchphrase but what if Buzz was never “Buzz?”

To celebrate the milestone anniversary Disney has shared sketches of the early concepts for Buzz Lightyear who was actually going to be named “Lunar Larry.” Points for alliteration but sounds more like a cheesy superhero parody than a cool, futuristic action figure that every kid would have on their Christmas list. The pencil drawings vary in style but most of them feature an “LL” on the rangers chest. As time went on, the renderings began to look more and more like the Buzz we all know and love.

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Along with the sketches, Disney also announced the launch of their virtual film festival “Pixar Fest.” The family-friendly fest will premiere on August 9th in the UK with an epic stream of Pixar movies on Disney+ along with other exciting content such as watchalongs, animator masterclasses, quizzes, arts and crafts for kids, and product releases. 

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Disney Just Released A ‘Hocus Pocus’ Board Game And It Looks Wickedly Fun

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*Souls of innocent children not included.

Grab your broomsticks, stir up the cauldron and light your magic candles because game night just took a wicked twist!

Partnering with Ravensburger, Disney just released a Hocus Pocus board game and it will make for a magically good game night. This board game is unique in that game players are not competing with one another, rather they must all work together to stop the Sanderson sisters from completing their potion before sunrise. With the help of Thackery Binx the cat, you will have to dodge Winifred, Sarah and Mary as they cast spells and use potions to thwart your valiant efforts.

“The Black Flame Candle has been lit. Now the Sanderson witches you must outwit; Or with a wretched evil potion, a foul spell they’ll set in motion. Stun the witches and ruin the brew before the sun can rise anew! Work together to stop the Sanderson sisters from draining the lives of Salem’s children by ruining their potion before the sun rises!” It’s like being in the movie!

Credit: Ravensburger

The Hocus Pocus board game is available for $19.99 on Amazon and includes one cauldron board, 50 Ingredient cards, a Witch board, 13 Spell cards, a Sun token, 4 trick tokens, a rulebook, and one black cat Binx meeple. It’s perfect for ages 8 and up and 2-6 people can play at a time. The game takes about 30 minutes to complete which is perfect for a game night with friends and family…don’t want another never ending Monopoly situation here.

To purchase your own Hocus Pocus board game click here!

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