Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) is proud to announce the Hollywood community is once again rallying together and lending its support to the third SU2C primetime television fundraising special on FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 7 (8:00-9:00 p.m., ET/PT). Gwyneth Paltrow, Julia Roberts, Matt Damon, Michael Douglas, Jessica Biel, Samuel L. Jackson, Jeremy Renner, Seth Rogen, Emma Stone, Taylor Swift, Coldplay, Alicia Keys, Tim McGraw and SU2C co-founder Katie Couric will all appear in the broadcast which is being executive-produced by Paltrow and Joel Gallen of Tenth Planet Productions in collaboration with SU2C’s production team. Taylor Swift, Coldplay, Alicia Keys and Tim McGraw will deliver one-of-a-kind show performances as they join celebrities from film, television and sports to engage viewers with powerful stories and a moving call-to-action.
Actors and personalities including Simon Baker, Jordana Brewster, Diem Brown, Dana Delany, Chelsea Handler, Marg Helgenberger, Rashida Jones, Minka Kelly, Joe Manganiello, Jillian Michaels, Masi Oka, Ana Maria Polo and Alison Sweeney have also been confirmed to participate in the broadcast. Additional stars and performers will be announced in the coming weeks.
This star-studded appeal continues to help build public support for groundbreaking translational research accelerating the delivery of new therapies to patients, getting them from the “bench to the bedside” as quickly as possible. SU2C brings together scientists from different disciplines across various institutions to collaborate.
“I’m honored to be working with such talented artists who are lending their voice to SU2C’s mission,” said Gallen. “As we continue to plan the 2012 show, there’s a hopeful energy building that the groundbreaking research we help fund will make an enormous impact in the fight against cancer.”
Gallen has produced three extremely successful televised fundraising specials: “America: A Tribute to Heroes” (after 9/11), “Shelter from the Storm: A Concert for the Gulf Coast,” and “Hope for Haiti Now.” Music was a key element of each. He also produced and directed the “25th Anniversary Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Concert.”
As previously announced, ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC will donate one hour of simultaneous, commercial-free primetime for the nationally televised fundraising special on September 7, to be broadcast live from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. BIO, E!, ENCORE, HBO, HBO Latino, ION Television, LMN (Lifetime Movie Network), Logo, MLB Network, mun2, Palladia, SHOWTIME, Smithsonian Channel, STARZ, STYLE, TBS and VH1 have also committed to carry the “Stand Up To Cancer” telecast. The program will include a celebrity phone/multi-media bank that will allow viewers to interact with participating talent. Viewers will also be able to donate via text-to-give and at standup2cancer.org. One hundred percent of all public donations will go directly to cancer research.
The legendary film producer Laura Ziskin, who was a member of the SU2C Executive Leadership Council, executive-produced the first two telecasts. Ziskin lived with breast cancer for seven years before it took her life in June of 2011.
SU2C was founded on the belief that we are at a pivotal juncture with the potential for transformative progress in cancer research because of two trends: breakthroughs made in our understanding of the basic science of cancer, and technological advances that enable us to translate them into new treatments. Today’s cancer researchers need additional funding to fulfill the promise of life-saving discoveries, and Stand Up To Cancer engages the public to support their work.
This week, Rashida Jones attended the 14th Annual Day of Indulgence Party in Los Angeles. I have just added 15 HQ and MQ images of Rashida at the event into our photo gallery!
Actress Rashida Jones has starred in TV shows like “Parks and Recreation” and “The Office.” She’s appeared in the movies “I Love You Man,” and “The Social Network.” This week she stars in “Celeste and Jesse Forever,” which she also scripted with writing partner Will McCormack. Rashida tells Brendan about the heyday of the rom-com(dram) and Apatow males… then she plays matchmaker.
Rashida Jones knows her type. “I play a lot of dependable, affable, pragmatic girlfriends,” says Jones, referring to her roles on TV shows such as “The Office” and “Parks and Recreation” and in films such as “I Love You, Man.” But in her new movie, “Celeste and Jesse Forever,” Jones took on her most challenging job to date — in front of and behind the camera. Jones co-wrote the script with her good friend Will McCormack about high school sweethearts who maintain their friendship while divorcing, and she stars as Celeste opposite Andy Samberg as Jesse.
In the film Celeste and Jesse appear to be the perfect couple — one would never suspect they are in the midst of a divorce. They are best friends who share inside jokes, such as sexually stroking produce, and talk in their own shorthand. But the career-minded Celeste has grown weary of Jesse’s lack of ambition, and the two continue to drift apart and together until forced to make a final decision about their future. In many ways, the titular couple is inspired by Jones and McCormack’s own relationship. “The dynamic is decidedly how we deal with each other,” Jones says. “We jerk off tiny vegetables, and we talk in stupid accents together. We do all that stuff that I’m sure is annoying to other people.”
The two met in 1999 when Jones was working with Will’s sister, actor Mary McCormack. “She kept saying, ‘You have to meet my brother; he’s your soulmate; you two are going to fall in love,’ ” Jones says with a laugh. “We dated for two weeks. We were in our 20s and drunk the whole time, and it didn’t work out. But we stayed friends.” Over the years, the two spent a lot of time together “hanging out, talking about writing, talking about our dreams, floating around ideas, not executing anything — that’s what your 20s are for.”
Growing up the daughter of music producer Quincy Jones and actor Peggy Lipton, Jones had always been interested in writing. While still a teenager, she famously penned an open letter to Tupac Shakur after the rapper made disparaging remarks to The Source magazine about her parents’ interracial marriage. (The two ended up becoming friends. Shakur and Jones’ sister Kidada were engaged at the time of his death in 1996.) At one point, she was a contributing editor to Teen Vogue. And she penned a chapter for her father’s 2001 biography.
But it wasn’t until 2008, when Jones was on hold for the show that would become “Parks and Recreation,” that she found herself with the time to write her first screenplay. Jones had just worked on “The Office” with her college friend Michael Schur, who was developing a new show for NBC. “He told me, ‘Look, we don’t know what this is going to be, but I just want to hold you so you don’t do something else in case there’s something for you in it,’ ” Jones says. “I waited and waited, and it was kind of torturous. So I was just trying to write myself out of a painful, dark place, and Will was a good enough friend to do it with me.” Jones estimates the film took four months to write — but years to get made, after they sold it to companies such as Fox Atomic and Overture Films, both of which folded shortly after acquiring the script. It wasn’t until 2011, on her hiatus from “Parks and Recreation,” that they were able to shoot the film on a shoestring budget in 22 days.
Growing up the offspring of famous parents, Jones initially resisted following in their footsteps into the entertainment world. “I rebelled, like every kid does, and my rebellion was to study and read a lot and follow an academic route,” she says. But the allure of acting was too strong. “When I realized it was what I wanted to do, there was a bit of a disappointment in myself, like, ‘Aw, you’re going to do what your parents do?’ ” Did she ever ask her mother and father for advice on the business? “I would be silly not to use that incredible resource of having wonderful parents who also happen to be in the business I was trying to tackle,” Jones says. “My dad’s advice was really great: to follow what you love, keep your heart in it, listen, learn, get better at everything you do.”
On graduation from Harvard University, Jones set off for New York to be an actor. “To be honest, I thought it was going to be easier than it was,” she says. “And I’m kind of glad I did. With any big step in your life, you want to be a little bit naive about how easy it’s going to be, or else you wouldn’t do it.” She estimates she booked one job before moving to Los Angeles, where she began doing commercials. She found casting a tough process, as she didn’t fit into any of the easily classifiable categories. “I definitely had casting directors say to me, ‘You’re too white for this part.’ I remember going in for a black character and a CD saying to me, ‘What are you doing here?’ ” Jones says. “Other times I would go in for the girl next door, and I was too exotic for that. I was too quirky to be the popular girl but not nerdy enough to be the sidekick. I was stuck somewhere in the middle, and part of that was because I was biracial.”
Jones points out that this was 15 years ago, and she feels times have changed. “When I first started, it wasn’t as cool or prominent to be biracial,” she says. “Now you have these standards of beauty like Jessica Alba and Eva Mendes and Halle Berry. Things have changed, and I hope they progress even more.” She also knows that every actor has his or her own hurdles to overcome. “I wouldn’t say my experience was any harder than any other actor’s experience,” she says. “It’s the nature of casting; you don’t fit in, until you do.”
One of Jones’ early breaks came courtesy of the David E. Kelley show “Boston Public,” her first gig as a series regular. “I was on for two years, and then I basically got fired,” she says. “They didn’t pick up my contract.” More dramas followed, including the British series “NY-LON” and the police procedural “Wanted.” But Jones longed to do comedy, and began to pursue relationships with comedians she admired. She had seen the cult comedy “Wet Hot American Summer” and asked a mutual friend to introduce her to the film’s writer-star, Michael Showalter. “I told him I would love to do anything with him,” Jones says. Shortly after, she was cast in the pilot of “Stella,” starring the comedy team of Showalter, David Wain, and Michael Ian Black. She would go on to appear in Wain’s film “The Ten” and play Wain (disguised as a woman) in his web series “Wainy Days.” She also met “Chappelle’s Show” co-creator Neal Brennan and got on the show. “I told him I would do any sketches he wanted me to do. I was just trying to get myself involved in comedy stuff.”
Still, Jones seriously considered leaving acting for a time. “There weren’t that many jobs, and I just felt like maybe there was a better way for me to spend my time,” she says. Jones was thinking about going back to school when she auditioned for a show she had been out for several times — “The Office.” She got the role. Since then, she has worked regularly and never looked back.
Jones says she’s at a point where she is getting offered jobs or finding herself up for much more high-profile roles, something she finds thrilling and terrifying. “It’s more intimidating than it ever was because it’s for my favorite directors, and I could possibly get it,” she says. “So if I blow it, it’s my fault.” She was involved in the casting of “Celeste and Jesse,” which was a sobering experience. “The biggest thing that came out of casting for me and Will is that there are so many good actors, it’s insane,” she says. “Every single tape we saw, people were so good, they had such a unique take on the character, they were so prepared, they just nailed it. It reminded me there are so many good actors, it’s a miracle anyone ever gets the job. It kind of broke my heart, I really wanted to give everybody a part, and you can’t.”
Many of the roles in “Celeste and Jesse” are filled by friends of the writers, including Chris Messina; in a role written specifically for him, Messina plays a potential love interest for Celeste. Jones has also known Samberg for years, even before he was on “Saturday Night Live,” and considered him for the role of Jesse early on. “I then asked Andy to read the script, just as my friend, and he really liked it,” Jones says. When director Lee Toland Krieger came on board, he fell in love with the idea of Samberg as the immature but appealing Jesse, a role that plays to his comic strengths but also requires more dramatic depth than the actor has ever been asked to show. “Lee was adamant about putting Andy in that part,” Jones says. “It’s not just that he defines the essence of the character; it’s that he’s never had the chance to do something like this before. And I think it’s exciting for everyone to see someone do something new. It adds an energy to the movie you wouldn’t get if you saw someone who plays roles like this all the time.”
As for her performance, Jones says playing Celeste was among her most challenging roles. “I’ve never had to go to these levels in a film or play someone who carries the film as much as I do here,” she says. “Because of that, I made a decision early on that I couldn’t get involved in the politics of being a writer or producer if I wanted to turn in the performance I wanted.” Instead, she concentrated on her performance and let Krieger and McCormack (who appears in a supporting role as a stoner friend) focus on script issues.
With “Celeste and Jesse” in theaters and Season 5 of “Parks and Recreation” set to return in September, Jones is busy in front of the camera. But she is still writing with McCormack; the two wrote a screenplay adaptation of her comic book “Frenemy of the State,” about a socialite turned CIA agent, which is currently at Universal and Imagine Entertainment. And the pair are “floating some other ideas around” because they “spend more time together than most married people.”
While you’ll have to see the film to learn if Celeste and Jesse make it work, one has to wonder why things haven’t panned out with Jones and McCormack. “There’s a currency you have with a person, and it can be used for love and romance or friendship and working together, and we chose the friendship and working together,” Jones says. “And that’s better than I could ever imagine. Also, now we never have to get divorced.”
I have just added 1,438 high definition screen captures of Rashida Jones from the episodes that aired at the end of season 4 into our photo gallery!
We have a brand new design here at Rashida Jones Web to celebrate our brand new URL www.rashida-jones.com! Our old URL will still work, but from now we are using www.rashida-jones.com for all of our links – please update your links and bookmarks to the new address when you get a chance.
Please leave your thoughts on the new layout in the “comments” section of this post!
When you’re the daughter of Peggy Lipton and Quincy Jones, you grow up knowing the ins and outs of Hollywood. So when Rashida Jones sits down for an interview at a Boston hotel, it’s natural for her to reference an old industry joke about the trajectory of an actor’s career.
“First they say, ‘Who’s Rashida Jones?’,” she says, acting the part of a studio executive.
“Then it’s, ‘Get me Rashida Jones.’
“Then it’s, ‘Get me a Rashida Jones type.’
“Then it’s, ‘Get me a young Rashida Jones.’
“ ‘Who’s Rashida Jones?’ ”
Of course, one way to manage that harsh trajectory is to give yourself some outs. At minimum, this is what Jones has accomplished by co-writing her latest movie, “Celeste and Jesse Forever,” which opens here on Friday. Her bittersweet romantic-comedy screenplay, penned with close friend Will McCormack, has received mostly favorable notice since the film was picked up by Sony Pictures Classics at last winter’s Sundance Film Festival. Jones cast herself in the lead, opposite “Saturday Night Live” alum Andy Samberg, a pal from high school. She ceded directing duties to Lee Toland Krieger (“The Vicious Kind”). But even McCormack will tell you it’s his coauthor (and former girlfriend, more on that later) who drove the bus.
“It was always going to be Celeste’s movie and it was written for Rashida from a female perspective,” McCormack explains. “For me, it was a great moment of seeing a pretty good part and a great actress intersect. And she’s never really gotten a chance to be flawed and not likable. She gets to be real in this movie and she nailed it.”
How real? Jones, best known for her amiable sitcom stints (“Parks and Recreation,” “The Office”) and supporting roles in movies such as “The Social Network” and “Our Idiot Brother,” deals with a breakup by picking through her ex’s trash and running herself into a neurotic puddle in “Celeste and Jesse.” She plays a Type-A career woman who can’t let go of her former husband (Samberg) even after he’s moved into a happy new relationship that includes a baby. Celeste is the girl who thought she could have it all, even the things she didn’t really want anymore. She finds out otherwise. And, yeah, that part’s pretty close to autobiographical.
“I’ve spent so much of my life trying to predict, prepare, control and it doesn’t ever work out,” Jones, 36 and still single, admits. “Because whatever you think is going to happen, something else happens anyway.”
Case in point: She wasn’t intending to follow in her mother’s professional footsteps. “I never actually wanted to be an actress. Maybe a writer but definitely not an actress, not as a career,” she says.
That’s not due to any celebrity-kid scarring. While Jones was always aware of her parents’ fame, she’s quick to point out that they were hardly the Jolie-Pitts of their day. Dad was just a first rate composer-producer before he chaperoned Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” album to historic levels of success. Mom was that girl from “The Mod Squad,” who took a break from acting to raise Rashida and older sister Kidada, then reclaimed her TV icon status in “Twin Peaks.”
The David Lynch cult classic was no slice of cherry pie for the Lipton-Jones children, by the way.
“I was obsessed with that show but it totally freaked me out,” the youngest Jones remembers. “I thought BOB was under my bed. I was in high school and I would check under my bed every night. Then I actually got to meet BOB [Frank Silva, who played the human-faced demon] and that really helped, ’cause he was so nice and I was like, ‘phew.’ ”
Lynchian night terrors notwithstanding, Jones grew into a smart, good-humored woman who feels lucky to have preceded today’s unbridled era of stalking celebrity offspring (“disgusting”). She credits her parents with imparting both character and cool. After she graduated in 1997 from Harvard, where she’s pretty sure she was the first woman to co-compose a score for the Hasty Pudding Theatricals, she went on to play wisecracking secretary Louisa Fenn in David E. Kelley’s “Boston Public.” She’s had many other small roles in film and television, and something of a music career contributing backup vocals to albums by Maroon 5 and Tupac Shakur. (Shakur was engaged to her sister Kidada when he died.)
No achievement came easy in Hollywood, where Jones’s racial heritage tended to confuse the willfully ignorant and entrenched. She says she was deemed “too light-skinned to play the black girl” and “too exotic to play the girl next door.” Some compared her to Karen Allen in looks and screen presence. But even Allen never had so much scrutiny of her nose freckles.
If Jones wanted to define her role in movies and television, she realized she might just need to write it herself.
“I think this whole notion of biracial people being a part of entertainment, it’s relatively new,” she says. “Now it’s prevalent because we have a biracial president and this image of beauty has changed so much. You have beautiful girls like Jessica Alba and Halle Berry and Jennifer Lopez, and Eva Mendes — that wasn’t the standard of beauty 20 years ago. It’s really an emerging thing.”
In what seemed at the time to be a minor aside, she dated the brother of a friend, actress Mary McCormack, for all of three weeks in 1999. That man was Will McCormack, who turned out to be not Mr. Right but Mr. Write — after their split the two tried teaming up on a screenplay, and despite some false starts they discovered that they were better collaborators than mates.
“It was great. It was intense. It was short,” McCormack , who also has a supporting role onscreen in “Celeste and Jesse,” says of the brief romance. “And we knew that we were supposed to be in each other’s lives but probably not as husband and wife.”
Besides “Celeste and Jesse,” which puts its own unconventional spin on the classic “When Harry Met Sally” question — can men and women be friends? — Jones and McCormack have penned a movie adaptation of Jones’s comic book, “Frenemy of the State,” that’s in the development queue at Universal. They plan to churn out several more scripts in the near term, and one of them (subject matter TBD) is likely to be a film they also co-direct. Even Jones is impressed at the rosy outlook taking hold. But she still can’t quite believe it’s her own career we’re talking about.
“This is way beyond what I expected. . . . I did not think I would have a movie [that I wrote and starred in] coming out. I was going to quit acting at 30. I didn’t think that I would have a level of success that people would know who I was.”
Oh, they know all right. Jones relates that a friend recently sent her a casting call for a commercial. Right there in black and white was confirmation of her Hollywood status: It asked for “a Rashida Jones type.”
“So I’m five seconds away from being the older version of myself,” Jones says with a laugh. “Which is nice because it means it’s something that’s considered. And I’m so up front about the fact that I’m black and I’m Jewish and I’m Irish and I’m all these things, and people have accepted me and that’s great. I think that anything you can do to mix it up — I’m one version of a biracial person, I’m one version of a woman, I’m one version of a kid from California, I’m one version of a famous person’s daughter — anything you can do to create the spectrum is really good.
“And, by the way, in 20 years everybody’s going to look like me plus Asian. So, good luck trying to be ignorant then.”
When “The Bourne Legacy” comes today, Rashida Jones will be one of the first in line to see it. At least that’s the impression she gave IFC upon learning we had just seen it before sitting down to talk about her new film, “Celeste and Jesse Forever.” “How is it? Is it good? As good as ['The Bourne Identity']?” she asked us, pressing for details.
Her interest was about more than just planning how to spend her weekend — just as she and her writing partner Will McCormack had previously gorged themselves on rom-coms for inspiration for “Celeste and Jesse,” they’re now watching spy films to prep for inspiration for their next writing project, “Frenemy of the State” — about a socialite who becomes a spy.
“We watched Bond movies, the ‘Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy’ BBC series, ‘The Spy Who Came in from the Cold’ with Richard Burton,” she said. “And we read Valerie Plame’s book, ['Fair Game: My Life as a Spy, My Betrayal by the White House'] for lady spy things.”
Jones started writing “Frenemy of the State” as a comic book with co-writers (and husband-and-wife) Christina Weir and Nunzio DeFilippis, which was later optioned by Universal Pictures and Imagine Entertainment. Jones and McCormack have finished the first draft and are on to the second, but this isn’t a vanity project for the actress to star in.
“We wrote it for a 21-year-old,” Jones said, “and I don’t want to write something that I’m in again anytime soon. I think I want to keep them separate for now.”
The protagonist of “Frenemy” is Ariana Von Holmberg, an heiress who uses her tabloid globe-trotting as a cover — if she’s caught out on a ledge, she (or at least the CIA) can put out the story that she was “on a bender” to excuse her actions (never mind she’s actually been sober for two years). She basically has to keep up the persona she cultivated when she was young and immature, because her fame is something more than a desire for attention. But there are drawbacks — she has to make her successes look like accidents, such as pretending she can’t fight in a fight for her life. Her primary mission in the comics involves stopping a nuclear weapons deal.
“Spy plots are hard, really hard,” Jones laughed. “I struggled with the spy part of it. The lifestyle stuff was easy, but the spy stuff was hard.” She admitted to amnesia-envy — the plot twist behind “Total Recall” and “The Bourne Identity” which allowed filmmakers to “just create whatever you want and it just is what it is. It’s such a good plot point.”
Eventually, Jones would like to direct a film as well as write one, but not just yet. “Will and I have talked about maybe the next thing we write, me directing it, too,” she said. “It wasn’t the thing I grew up wanting to do, but as actors, we have a lot of sensitivity for other actors — what they need, what they don’t need. So we’ll see. But I would never direct myself,” she conceded. “I couldn’t do that.”