Monday, December 11, 2006

Catching up with tabloid baby Ed Burns

When he's not showing up in movies as a sometimes leading man, Ed Burns, whose movie career began in the cradle of tabloid television, is best known as "the Irish Woody Allen," a writer-director auteur whose intimate movies have dealt with young working class guys who don't understand women. When he's worked behind the scenes in television, he's stuck to what he knows best, with NBCs' The Fighting Fitzgeralds (who remembers that one?), and along the sidelines of (and guesting on) Entourage, which is produced and sometimes written by his brother Brian.

Now, after his latest movie, The Groomsmen came and went (and after the first weekend of The Holiday in which he's got a small role), Ed's back into television, as his pal and mentor Steven Spielberg has picked him to co-write a new drama series for Fox. Another male-bonding adventure? Not quite. The show's about the fashion world.

And the other writer is his wife.

Eddie scored big with a supermodel bride, and now he and the missus, Christie Turlington, will be writing a drama about what she knows best: a show revolving around five twenty-somethings in the fashion industry: model, makeup artist, photographer, designers... It's an ensemble structure that Ed has worked in before, and if the series goes to pilot, he'll direct.

Spielberg suposedly came up with idea after hanging around the runways at New York's Fashion Week. Then he turned to Ed, who's been a pal since he appeared as grunt in Saving Private Ryan. As far as we know, the fashion series is Ed's first collaboration with Christie, beyond their two kids. With his writing skills and experience her, well, uh, her experience in the business, they should be the perfect team. Now if Heidi and Seal would just write a song together...

(Fun Facts: Ed Burns' dad is former cop and top PR whiz Edward Burns, Sr., a close friend of tabloid television's pioneers since the beginning. Ed's director of photography on his Sundance-winning feature, The Brothers McMullen, was a cameraman for the original tabloid TV series, A Current Affair. Eddie put the film together in an ACA editing room and got it to Sundance by handing a copy to Robert Redford after an interview, while he was working as a production assistant for Entertainment Tonight. The story of Brothers can be found in Tabloid Baby, Chapter 25, "Buttafuoco Sweats"-- and Tabloid Baby's author provides commentary on the DVD of the Burns-DeNiro movie, 15 Minutes!)

See--and comment on--Tabloid Baby's television talk at TVgasm.com

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