The job of an actor is to play many different roles and make the audience believe each one. Sometimes, it takes a little time for an actor to convince that audience — and more importantly casting directors — of their range, especially if they have just completed a much heralded project.
It's obvious from the first episodes of "The Michael J. Fox" show that Betsy Brandt can handle comedy. She has a very nice chemistry playing the wife and mom on the new Thursday night NBC program. But, I have to admit, it took a little while to get Brandt's last work out of my mind when I first sat down to watch the new show. She had just wrapped up a run on "Breaking Bad," and the last few episodes really pushed her to the emotional limits. Those scenes were still resonating in my head when I saw her in the new comedy.
The Michigan native did a lot of comedy work before making the move to TV. She's just been doing serious work the last dozen years, including one of the greatest dramas in TV history with "Breaking Bad."
"I was really hoping to get a comedy after 'Breaking Bad' to mix things up," Brandt tells me.
Initial discussions about her being on "The Michael J. Fox" show came up while she was still in New Mexico filming the final episodes of "Breaking Bad." Both the AMC drama and the new NBC comedy are produced by Sony Pictures, which meant she already was in the company's family of actors.
Her initial auditions were two videotaped readings. When she flew into Los Angeles for the Golden Globes awards in January, Fox was also in town and a meeting was set up for the actors. Brandt's desire to be on the comedy got even bigger when she got to read with Fox: She felt like the connection was immediate.
Brandt knows landing a comedy wasn't easy and it took a lot of fighting by her agent, the show's casting director and others to convince the top brass at NBC that she could do comedy just as convincingly as her work in drama. She won over Fox when the cast first read the script for the opening episode.
Black Sabbath duo: There are few people who have had more of an influence on music history than Ozzy Osbourne and Geezer Butler. Through their work in Black Sabbath, the pair pioneered the heavy metal sound that continues to resonate 45 years later. The proof is in their latest album, "13," a monster hit for the band.
I had a chance to talk with the pair when they showed up at Universal Studios Hollywood to check out an attraction created around the new album as part of this year's "Halloween Horror Nights" at the theme park.
Both are excited about the reaction they're getting from the album.
"We are doing a tour right now, and it's great to see the response that we're getting. What we are seeing is that fathers, their sons, and their sons (sons) are coming to the concerts. They all know the songs. That's amazing because when I was a kid, the simple fact my father liked something, I was like (expletive deleted) it," Osbourne says. "The fact the younger kids are digging it is amazing."
These longtime fans have remained loyal despite the fact "13" is the band's first studio album with Osbourne since 1978's "Never Say Die!" When I ask if the attention is making the band members feel young again, Butler corrects me by saying it's "keeping the band young."
Butler explains that what keeps the band young is that they feel like they have a high standard to hit because of the fans who have remained loyal over the decades.
"This is a God-given gift, and what we are here to do, and we are happy to do it," Butler says.
Both band members believe their place in music history — just like the way the new album came together so perfectly — was just something destined to happen.
The band — which originally also included guitarist Tony Iommi and drummer Bill Ward — were just four friends who lived within a few blocks of each other in Birmingham who got together to play music. They were turned down by six record labels before finally finding someone who would let them do the music the way they wanted to do it.
The combination of the reaction to the new tour from the fans, the creation of the theme park attraction and the success of the new album have made Osbourne a very happy man.
"For whatever it's worth, I can die a happy man now because the last album I did didn't feel right for ending my time with Black Sabbath. This is the cherry on the cake for me. I would like to say we would do another album at least. But, the way I look at it, I don't want to force it," Osbourne says.
Chloë Grace Moretz, take two: If she doesn't watch out, Chloë Grace Moretz could become the queen of remakes. She currently can be seen in the new version of "Carrie" and was in the 2012 updated offering of "Dark Shadows." You can add the 2010 horror movie "Let Me In" to that list as it was a remake of the Swedish film "Let the Right One In."
The next remake for Moretz is a big screen version of "The Equalizer." For those of you too young to remember the series, Edward Woodward played a retired intelligence agent who becomes a private detective. It ran from 1985-1989.
"I did it with Denzel Washington, and he's amazing. Honestly, Denzel Washington, Julianne Moore and Juliette Binoche are my three favorite actors I've ever worked with. Denzel taught me SO many things about being an actor just from being around him," Moretz tells me during an interview for her work in "Carrie."
"I have seen so much just watching them conduct themselves on set. The way they act. The way they go over their lines. The things they do."
What she liked about working with the three actors was that they have very different acting styles. She looked at being with Washington in "The Equalizer," Moore in "Carrie" and Binoche in "Sils Maria" as one of the best first-hand acting classes an actor can find.
"You are learning by looking into their eyes," Moretz says.
TV and movie critic Rick Bentley can be reached at (559) 441-6355, firstname.lastname@example.org or @RickBentley1 on Twitter. Read his blog at fresnobeehive.com.