Summer on The Splot: POP-Corn, 5/15 Edition
Tasty tidbits on your celebrity faves!
From Gerri Miller, for the Ink Splot 26 Celeb Beat
Hello and welcome to POP-Corn, your source for cool news from the world of entertainment. You may remember the POP-Corn column from Scholastic News Online. Well, this summer it's on The Splot! We'll be bringing you a new jam-packed edition every other week, so be sure to tune in every other Friday all through the summer! (And on the other Fridays, STACKS Staffers will be posting their own Book Flap columns clueing you in to all the latest happenings with your favorite books, series, authors, and page-to-screen adaptations. It's all part of our first Summer on The Splot!)
If you're a High School Musical fan, Fox has a great new show for you! It's called Glee, and it's about the talented kids in a high-school show choir who sing popular songs straight from the radio. Glee, which gets a sneak preview May 19th before airing regularly this fall, had a kickoff celebration at Santa Monica High School, where I caught up with the cast.
Dianna Agron (Heroes), who plays a mean-girl cheerleader, has been dancing since she was three and singing since she was ten. Born in Savannah, GA, she grew up in San Francisco but moved to LA three years ago. She had her share of ups and downs in high school, but wouldn't change a thing: “My six best friends are still my best friends,” she says.
An avid reader, Dianna fell in love with books though the Narnia series. “I was at the dinner table reading. I've always loved anything fantasy like Alice in Wonderland, Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings, but I also love the classics. I've been re-reading A Confederacy of Dunces [an adult classic].”
What else did Dianna have to say about her love for reading? You'll just have to watch our exclusive video to find out:
When Glee wraps for the summer, Dianna and a friend whose sister-in-law works for Doctors Without Borders are going to Malawi, Africa. “We'll stay with her family and see some elephants,” she says excitedly.
Lea Michele plays Rachel, who sees glee club as her ticket to stardom. She's been a starring on Broadway since she was featured in Les Miserables at age 8 and is thrilled to sing pop songs in Glee. “I'm ready to do some Kelly Clarkson, I love her so much,” she says.
Chris Colfer, who plays a picked-upon bully target in Glee, relates to his character. “It's exactly what I went through in high school, being the underdog and fighting for what you're good at,” says Chris, the youngest cast member who grew up performing in community theater in northern California. He calls Glee, his first TV job, “one of the best experiences of my entire life. We all love each other so much that it's crazy!”
Chris also loves to read, especially the Harry Potter series. “I've read them all several times. Reading is a complete escape,” he declares.
For more from Chris, check out our exclusive video:
Jenna Ushkowitz plays Tina, a shy, gothic girl with blue hair, blue nails, and a stuttering problem who comes out of her shell when she sings. A Broadway veteran — she was in Spring Awakening with Glee co-star Lea Michele and The King and I before that — Jenna knew she wanted to perform even at age 3. She hopes she gets to sing a Beatles song on the show, “maybe 'With a Little Help From My Friends' or 'Yesterday.' Anything, really, they're all classics!”
Like his character, a football star who discovers his vocal talent, singing is new for Cory Monteith. “I've been a musician all my life, playing drums in band, but singing is something I never thought I would do.” He didn't try acting until he was 19 (he just turned 27) when a friend suggested he check out an acting class, and he's been doing it ever since on shows like Kyle XY and Kaya.
Cory's having fun doing things he never got to do in high school, and so is Mark Salling, who plays his football teammate. Explains Mark, “I get to play football and be in glee club, which I was too afraid to do then.”
CHANGE YOU CAN BELIEVE IN
Will you help save the planet? Disney Channel's biggest stars tell you how you can make a difference with Friends For Change: Project Green, an eco-friendly initiative that launches on Disney Channel, Disney XD, Radio Disney and Disney.com today. Last month, 28 of your favorite stars got together to shoot a music video and tape messages about how to save water, reduce waste, and preserve the environment, and here’s what a few of them had to say!
"There's an endless list of things you can do to help the environment — turning off the water, a simple thing like that, and getting involved, it all has a major impact. The littlest things matter," said Dylan Sprouse (Suite Life: On Deck). "Turning off the lights, turning off the water when you brush your teeth. Those are really fundamental and easy to do," added his brother, Cole. "If you can turn on the light switch that easily, I’m pretty sure turning it off will be just as easy!"
"I recycle everything and reuse things a lot too, like a towel," said Sonny With a Chance star Demi Lovato, and Wizards of Waverly Place’s David Henrie suggested unplugging electronics overnight or using an energy-saving power strip. "It really helps over time, and so does taking shorter showers and conserving gas."
Chelsea Staub of JONAS started a recycling program in her building. "We have big boxes for bottles and cans, and we take the money from recycling to give to a neighbor who is trying to get into the Olympics for beach volleyball. There are ways to make it fun!"
You can learn more at Disney.com and vote on how $1 million will be donated to environmental causes over the course of a year.
WHAT TO WATCH
Who will be the next American Idol? Find out in the two-night finale on May 19 and 20 on Fox.
Idol's exit signals the start of two popular competitions — So You Think You Can Dance returns to Fox on May 21 (8:00 p.m.), and Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader is back May 22 on Fox, also at 8:00.
Catch the final rounds of the 2009 Scripps National Spelling Bee on May 28 at 8:00 on ABC, which will also air Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire May 16 at 8:00.
Jennette McCurdy of iCarly guests as a mean girl on True Jackson, VP at 8:30 p.m. on May 16 following a new iCarly episode on Nickelodeon.
In theaters, Ben Stiller is back as a security guard dealing with after-hours shenanigans at Washington's most famous museums in Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian. Robin Williams once again plays Teddy Roosevelt, and Amy Adams turns up as aviator Amelia Earhart.
Hannah Montana's Mitchel Musso will guest on Radio Disney on May 15 at 6:00 p.m. (ET) / 3:00 p.m. (PT) to debut his new song “Hey,” the second single from his debut CD that will hit stores June 2. Mitchel will reveal his tour plans in an interview with Ernie D.
And that's it for this edition of POP-Corn! Don't forget to check back next Friday for the first Book Flap column, followed by my next celeb scoop on May 29th!
— Gerri Miller, for the Ink Splot 26 Celeb Beat
Photo from Glee ©2009 Fox Broadcasting Co. CR: Matthias Clamer/FOX
Friends for Change photo courtesy of Disney Channel/Jaimie Trueblood