Buzzmakers: Prince Michael Joins ET & Mindy Dies
What had ETOnline readers buzzing this week?
1. Prince Michael Jackson is New ET Correspondent
Having grown up in show business, Prince Michael proved to be a gifted interviewer as he conducted his first sit-down as an ET correspondent.
Michael Jackson's 16-year-old son impressed Oz the Great and Powerful stars James Franco and Zach Braff as well as director Sam Raimi with his confidence and competence on his first assignment.
"You're doing awesome," Braff gushed. "You're a natural."
Prince Michael returned the compliment, praising their work in the fantasy flick and getting Franco to shed some light on how he approached playing the lead role of Oscar Diggs, a small-time circus magician with dubious ethics.
"I saw that his particular transformation would allow for comedy," Franco explained. "Because he's a conman -- that would get him into a lot of awkward situations that could be played for comedy."
The movie imagines the origins of L. Frank Baum's beloved character from The Wizard of Oz. After Oscar Diggs (Franco) is hurled away from dusty Kansas to the vibrant Land of Oz, he first thinks he's hit the jackpot -- until he meets three witches, Theodora (Mila Kunis), Evanora (Rachel Weisz) and Glinda (Michelle Williams), who are not convinced he is the great wizard everyone's been expecting.
2. Country Music Stars Mourn Mindy McCready's Death
The country music community is mourning the loss of one of their own. Country crooner Mindy McCready was found dead of apparent suicide on Sunday, Feb. 17, at her Arkansas home. She was 37. Needless to say, this has caused an outpouring of sympathetic tweets from McCready's musician peers.
Here are some of the stars' reactions to the tragic news:
LeAnn Rimes: "Mindy and I both started our careers around the same time. We worked with a lot of the same people, so we ended up spending lots of time around one another. She was always so kind and very protective of me, like a big sis. My heart is broken that she's gone."
Carrie Underwood: "I grew up listening to Mindy McCready...so sad for her family tonight. Many prayers are going out to them..."
Clay Aiken: "I listened admiringly to Mindy McCready growing up. May she finally be at peace and lend her beautiful voice to heaven's."
Lady Antebellum's Hillary Scott: "My heart is breaking hearing of the loss of Mindy McCready. Pray for her 2 precious little boys...may God's peace & protection be on them!"
Jason Aldean: "Just heard about Mindy McCready. My thoughts and prayers are with her 2 boys and her family."
Big and Rich's John Rich: "Very sad to hear about Mindy McCready. When I was in Lonestar she was our label mate and we were friends. A tragic end to a talented life."
Wynona Judd: "Oh my! Mindy. Dear sweet girl. This is so sad. It just breaks my heart what addiction continues to take from this life. Addiction is a dis EASE and not a character flaw. When the pain becomes too much, it causes people to want that pain to stop. This is just so Unbelievable and so sad. God be with the family and those babies. Surround them with your grace & mercy. Sleep in Heavenly peace Mindy."
Martina McBride: "So sad."
Chely Wright: "Really really sad to learn the news about Mindy McCready. I will pray for her children and I hope that people are gentle with her memory."
Gretchen Peters: "So sad to hear about Mindy McCready. I met her in the first flush of her early career. This is a hard business. Sometimes success is poison."
3. Mark Hamill Reveals He's in Talks to Appear in New 'Star Wars'
Mark Hamill's new movie Sushi Girl hits DVD and Blu-ray this week, and while talking about the project, the Star Wars legend was more than happy to provide ETonline with an update on his involvement with the in-development Star Wars VII – and what he thinks of those planned spinoff movies…
"It's all very, very exciting and so unexpected," says Hamill. "I think that's the quality I like about it most – it's like getting a pair of pants out of the closet you haven't worn in three years and finding a $20 bill in the pocket. It's just so unexpected."
First off, will he appear in Star Wars VII? "They're talking to us," he reveals. "George [Lucas] wanted to know whether we'd be interested. He did say that if we didn't want to do it, they wouldn't cast another actor in our parts – they would write us out. … I can tell you right away that we haven't signed any contracts. We're in the stage where they want us to go in and meet with Michael Arndt, who is the writer, and Kathleen Kennedy, who is going to run Lucasfilm. Both have had meetings set that were postponed -- on their end, not mine. They're more busy than I am."
Hamill, 61, says he's intrigued about where the new trilogy could go but says he knows nothing about the storyline: "I probably learn more from Entertainment Tonight than I do directly from Lucasfilm – like for instance, when George told us he wanted to do the next trilogy, he didn't tell us it was going to be done for Disney. He saved that little nugget, and I read it online like anybody else."
As for his thoughts about the next trilogy's tone, "I said to George that I wanted to go back to the way it was, in the sense that ours was much more carefree and lighthearted and humorous – in my opinion, anyway. And another thing I'd want to make sure of is are we going to have the whole gang back? Is Carrie and Harrison and Billy Dee and Tony Daniels, everybody that's around from the original [returning]? I want to make sure that everybody's on board here, rather than just one. I guess I'll have to tune into your show to figure out who's on board."
In terms of where we'll pick up with Luke Skywalker in Star Wars VII, "I'm assuming, because I haven't talked to the writers, that these movies would be about our offspring -- like my character would be sort of in the Obi-Wan range [as] an influential character. … When I found out [while making the original trilogy] that ultimate good news/bad news joke – the good news is there's a real attractive, hot girl in the universe; the bad news is she's your sister – I thought, 'Well, I'm going to wind up like Sir Alec [Guinness]. I'm going to be a lonely old hermit living out in some kind of desert igloo with a couple of robots.'"
Hamill concludes of the next movie, "I hope they find the right balance of CGI with practical effects. I love props, I love models, miniatures, matte paintings -- I'm sort of old school. I think if you go too far in the direction of CGI it winds up looking like just a giant a video game, and that's unfortunate. … If they listen to me at all, it'll be, 'Lighten up and go retro with the way it looks.'"
As for those confirmed stand-alone Star Wars films, which may follow the adventures of a young Han Solo, Boba Fett and Yoda, Hamill observes, "That's really smart. Then you're more like James Bond pictures, where they come out and it's not an investment of a three-movie arc. … It's so rich, that [Star Wars] universe, in terms of quirkiness and oddball [nature]. We would talk about that [on the original film's set]. We'd go like, 'That little band that's playing in the Cantina, what's their story?! I mean, are they a traveling band? Are they the house band? Who's their manager?' They didn't have names when we first were talking about them. Now they're called, like, Sy Snootles – they come up with names down the road when they have to name toys."
So what spinoff movie would Mark Hamill like to see? "Oh, I don't know, set it on the Wookiee planet -- although that might be prohibitively expensive with that many Wookiees," he says with some resignation. After a little more thought, he muses, "That's what I would love. You pick the most insignificant little [character] – there's this little hawk-beaked character that's somewhere in Jabba's palace, I can't even remember what function he served -- but that's what I would think. You pick something that almost nobody remembers or knows about -- and then have a movie about him! You could probably put about 500 different character's names on a big, giant dart board, throw a dart, and say, 'Okay, wherever it lands we've got to make him the central character.'"
After a hearty laugh, Hamill adds, "I hope we don't overstay our welcome."
4. Nina Dobrev Reflects on Shocking 'Vampire Diaries' Death
Death has loomed large over Elena Gilbert since The Vampire Diaries pilot, but absolutely nothing will compare with the pain she's forced to endure now that her brother, Jeremy, has fallen victim to vampires.
The shocking death not only devastated fans, but the actors -- Steven McQueen included -- as well. And anyone assuming TVD finds a way to make the best of a bad situation is wrong. Dead wrong. According to Nina Dobrev things are about to get real dark for Elena, whose grief will make her unrecognizable to fans in the coming weeks.
ETonline: This season has been a thrill from the start. What's your feeling about season four?
Nina Dobrev: It's been really cool, especially because you always hear actors say doing a TV show for X amount of years can be boring and repetitive, but over the last four years, Elena has been changing and evolving and growing so much. Julie [Plec, executive producer] has done such an incredible job of keeping it fresh and exciting and making me excited to come to work every day. Especially this season -- and especially with the death of Jeremy. Between last week's episode and this week's, it's been very challenging for me as an actress, but very fulfilling. It's an emotional rollercoaster and I had to go to some dark places.
ETonline: What was your reaction to finding out Jeremy would be killed?
Dobrev: I think we were all shocked and surprised, but that's the show -- it's a vampire show, people have to die all the time. And for Elena, it was very important that she lose Jeremy for what she's about to go through. It becomes a big part of her journey. I know Steven was very bummed, but also excited because he had a lot to do leading up to it -- his character grew and became so strong. It's bittersweet but made for some amazing television.
ETonline: In many ways, Jeremy was the person who really kept Elena tethered to her humanity. Will this loss threaten to make Elena embrace the less desirable sides of vampirism?
Dobrev: Jeremy was the last person she had left, so it's very likely that Elena could go off the deep end now that she doesn't have the one thing that kept her human. Elena wants to protect the people she loves and saw this new-found strength as a way to protect everyone. But, in this case, she couldn't protect Jeremy and lost the only family member she had left. She won't take it lightly. It's going to destroy her.
ETonline: Jeremy was also one of the only remaining characters who touched everyone in Mystic Falls. Will his death, in some ways, reinforce the group?
Dobrev: They do come together, but everyone is sort of walking on pins and needles around Elena so they don't trigger something and send her into a psychotic break. They live in a mystical world, so just because Jeremy's dead, it doesn't mean he's really dead in her mind. So she's looking for any solution she can to bring him back -- Elena is basically mentally unstable, going a little crazy and everyone is trying to help.
ETonline: Obviously Elena still misses Jenna and Alaric, but I would imagine losing Jeremy has a much more profound and prolonged effect on her. True?
Dobrev: Losing Jeremy really, really, really changes Elena. Sometimes people recover from tragedy and sometimes they don't -- but it's a long journey for her. Elena's mourning peroid is much different than any I've ever seen depicted on TV before. She goes off the deep end and spirals downwards into a black hole of death and sadness and misery. I mean, your instinct is right when you asked if we'll see an Elena who embraces her vampire side to a different degree. It's an Elena we haven't seen before, and you'll be shocked, quite frankly. I was very surprised where the episodes take her because it's almost like she's a completely different person that you won't recognize to some degree.
5. Fergie Reveals: I'm Pregnant!
Congratulations are in order for Fergie and Josh Duhamel, as the couple announced this week that they're expecting their first child!
"Josh & Me & BABY makes three," she Tweeted, along with the hashtag #MyLovelyBabyBump
Fergie and Duhamel married on January 10, 2009, after five years of dating.