Neil Best leaves no stone unturned in the world of sports media.
Kevin Connolly loves his Isles
Here is a story I wrote about Medford's own Kevin Connolly, a star of HBO's "Entourage" and a part of the cast of the new movie "Secretariat," in which he plays former Newsday scribe Bill Nack.
And here is a sidebar in which I quote the horse's owner, Penny Chenery, and jockey, Ron Turcotte. I spoke to Diane Lane, who plays Ms. Chenery, which was a career highlight, but nothing she said fit the story, so you'll have to take my word for it that I asked her a question.
And here is Rafer Guzman's Newsday review of the film, which I mostly agree with. The film got some more positive reviews elsewhere, which surprised me a little.
I figured it would be more of a hit with Middle America than with critics, much like "The Blind Side," another film I had major issues with.
Oh, well. What do I know? "The Blind Side" made a zillion dollars and landed an Oscar for Sandra Bullock.
I must say: Mr. Connolly was about as regular-guy and as easy to talk to as it gets for a TV/movie star.
Of course, he pretty much had me after referencing laughing out loud at something I had written about the notion of a Rick DiPietro cameo on "Glee."
A lot of what we discussed missed the cut for the story. Here are some leftovers:
On the fact he looks and acts NOTHING like the real Bill Nack:
"I thought that feeling more authentic [about the role of sportswriters] in the movie was most important. Bill really was there as an advisor. My favorite scenes to shoot were the press conference scenes. It was the most I felt part of it."
(Speaking of those scenes, here is an inside look from another "actor" in the film, former Newsday scribe Tim Layden.)
On the worst thing about portraying a 1970s era sportswriter:
"Those were real deal sideburns. It was fun for about a day, and about eight weeks later I’m like this with my head down [shaking my head]. Last year during Yankees' run, I went to a Yankee playoff game on an off day. The mustache and sideburns are one thing in Louisiana. It’s another at Yankee Stadium."
On why he is a Dolphins fan:
"You can blame that on my brother Tim. We had bunk beds. He was the big brother so whatever he was I was. To this day I tell him, 'How could you do this to us?'"
On why he is a Lakers fan:
"In L.A. it’s impossible not be. Everybody disagrees on everything in L.A. and everybody hates each other. The one thing, when the Lakers are making a playoff run, you can pull up to a light next to somebody and actually chat with them about something without them wanting to shoot you. It’s the one time when the city is united."
On his plans for this weekend:
"[The Yankees'] Game 4 is the game we have tickets for Sunday. Saturday I have to go to the Islanders game. Hopefully they lose one so I can watch them rap it up in four."
On hanging out with the Islanders during the 2010 draft in L.A.:
"The draft was at the Staples Center. Well, I’m definitely going even if I sit in the stands. But I sat at the table. It was great because I’m also very interested in that. Who knows? Maybe one day I’ll lead a group of investors [to buy a team]. It’s a dream thing. It was great to sort of sit there and watch it happen. It was very, very interesting and I learned a lot. They make me feel part of the team, as weird as that sounds. Then [Charles Wang] said, 'You want to go make the pick?' I said, 'Yeah, why not?'"
On NHL people now knowing he is an Islanders fan:
"Every player in the NHL knows; I might as well wear an Islanders jersey. I was playing blackjack in Vegas and I got up from the table and this guy says, 'Hey, I know you’re an Islanders fan. I’m in the NHL and I play for the Devils.' “I’m like, 'Oh, what’s your name?' He’s like, ‘Zach Parise.’ Zach Parise! I was like, ‘Buddy, we can still talk and be friends even if I’m an Islanders fan.’"
On wearing an Islanders T-shirt on "Entourage:"
"If you came to my house and I was in boxer shorts and a T-shirt there’s a great chance I’d be wearing an Islanders shirt, so why not? The wardrobe lady would be like, 'I don’t like that shirt ,it kind of looks weird with the comforter.' Well, it’s going to look weird because I’m wearing it."
On there being only one more season of "Entourage:"
"I feel terrible about it. But it’s expensive. We’re already one of the longest shows if not the longest ever [on HBO]. The show is syndicated. There’s not a whole lot more to do. It’s sort of like mission accomplished. You do a show and want to syndicate it and sell it and that’s what happened. At some point it’s a lot of money with no upside to them. This eighth season they're basically doing as a courtesy to us."
On what happened to the Kate Mara character that worked in his office:
"Kate’s busy. It’s not a big enough role where you want to book yourself out. It was just a scheduling thing."