[In this feature, we will periodically check in to see what is up with Topher Grace.]

It does seem as if this column might also fit in on the pages of bookgum.com, as it is here that we tend to discuss books, but nevertheless, I just finished a book by Richard Price called Lush Life and it was great! He also wrote a book called Clockers, which was very popular, and quite good, and also Freedomland, which I think was popular, but which I have not read. (Let me know if this paragraph gets TOO interesting.) Most importantly, Richard Price did some work writing for The Wire, so, you know, Richard Price has a Life Pass in his wallet. Reading Lush Life, though, it becomes clear why he would be offered work on an incredible TV show about crime. The book is so fast-paced and filled with great dialogue, but also displays the mundanity and overwhelming normalcy of crime in a big city, how each event is so unique and so generic. Before that I read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, for the same reason I read the Harry Potter books: because sometimes it is nice to know what the hell all these people are talking about. It’s not bad! It’s a good beach read, as they say. Either way, you should definitely try to get to the beach soon, with or without that book. Beaches are great!

Hey, what’s up with Topher Grace? (I hope the Academy gives out awards for segues!):

Predators, of course, remains in theaters. But Topher Grace is a working actor, and that means he does not have time to just sit around and check the Predators box office receipts. He’s got to get out there! Get that paper! I’m talking about scripts, of course, when I say paper. Of course, being a working actor doesn’t JUST mean movie roles. Remember when Vincent Chase was in that Japanese soda commercial? And our guy, Topher, has just landed a role in an upcoming videogame: From FPS Time:

IMDB has also revealed the list of actors who will voiceover for Call of Duty: Black Ops. We know that Topher Grace, also known for his participation to Spider-Man 3, will stare the main role in Black Ops: ‘Special Agent Harris’.

Videogames are a modern form of entertainment and BIG business! It’s probably a wise move for a young actor to get involved while things are still very new and there is a lot of exciting opportunity. Nicely played (get it?), Topher Grace.

Of course, some opportunities are make believe instead of real. That’s what happened this week when Paper magazine came up with a whimsical series of movie pitches based on popular Facebook applications. You might (not) be surprised (considering what this column is about every single time) to see who they cast in one of the leading roles!

The Movie: Marketplace
Director: Diablo Cody. Following Juno and Jennifer’s Body, this feels like an appropriately-varied selection for her directorial debut.
Starring: Katherine Heigl as Stacey, because not enough film reviews include the line “Katherine Heigl’s [character name] is down on her luck in love,” and Topher Grace as Jackson, because although he can be the physical embodiment of “affable nerd” (a la In Good Company, That 70’s Show, et al.), he’s clearly itching to show off his dark side (we all saw Spider-Man 3, right?).
Plot: Stacey has recently broken up with her boyfriend and must move into a new apartment. She lacks a personality and furniture, so she turns to Marketplace to help her solve one of those problems. Jackson is selling a bedroom set. When they meet, he’s charming, she’s neurotic, and awkward tension yields a montage of the couple laughing nervously while drinking coffee. Jackson gets increasingly shady until it is revealed that he is a serial killer that finds out where women live by selling them furniture.
Tagline: “Sometimes a bargain is not what you bargained for.”
-Ani Vrabel

And of course, some opportunities are in the past, but it is still interesting to revisit them, or at the very least, revisiting them happens sometimes in celebrity interviews, as it did in this journey down memory lane when Joseph Gordon-Levitt reminisced about his on-screen kiss with Eric Foreman. From AfterElton.com:

In a recent interview in support of Inception, Joseph Gordon-Levitt got asked about his many gay roles, like the gay teenager who kissed Eric Foreman on That 70’s Show. “Oh, I was totally proud of that, and I still am. It was a great bit, and it got a great reaction. More than anything else, though, I remember that it was written very well, because the emphasis wasn’t on it being gay but on making sure the scene worked and was funny. It was great that it showed people it was just a normal thing.” He does say that Topher Grace was the worst kisser though.

Hmm. I wonder if he is saying Topher Grace is the worst kisser because he actually means it, or as a jocular attempt to ward off any accusations of homosexuality that might arise in a nervous and sarcastic and mildly homophobic readership? A declaration of “no homo, in spite of the homo part” so to speak. We will probably never know, unless another celebrity reporter follows up with Mr. Gordon-Levitt in a future interview about the things said in this celebrity interview.

MEANWHILE: GQ magazine for men has rated the following photo from its March 2010 issue the 45th sexiest photo (out of 50)!

Congratulations, Topher Grace!

And if you’re a fan of podcasts, earnest discussions about Topher Grace between people who have worked with Topher Grace in the past, or earnest discussions of Topher Grace between people who have worked with Topher Grace in the past ON podcasts, then you might be interested in what reader OneGoodMinute wrote in an email:

Doug Benson’s “Doug Loves Movies” podcast this past week, staring the cast of Never Not Funny, had a discussion about Topher Grace. They put Topher forward as a strong choice over Shia for Wall Street 2 and then talk about what a great actor he is but the fact that they haven’t seen him do enough strongs movies. Jimmy Pardo did a guest shot on That 70′s Show and says he was the nicest of the cast members.

Listening to that would definitely appeal to people who answered yes to any of the three options listed above. More information here.

Also, this probably doesn’t really count as “news” or “celebrity gossip,” but a user on a website called MemeGenerator has posted this photo:

I don’t get it! But that’s OK. I don’t get a lot of things. As they say: Forget it, Jake, it’s the Chinatown neighborhood of Hollywood.

And, of course, That ’70s Show remains popular in syndication.

There you go. That is what is up with Topher Grace. Send your Topher tips to tophergracenews@videogum.com. See you next time!

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Comments (83)
  1. Awww not this guy again WTF!!???

  2. “Topher Grace, also known for his participation to Spider-Man 3, will stare the main role in Black Ops: ‘Special Agent Harris’.”
    Personally, I think Olivier is the definitive ‘Special Agent Harris’, but we’ll see how Topher does with it.

  3. What I wanna know is what Gabe’s got against my main man, Jose Go-Le? What’s the beef Gabe, why are you making him out to be a homophobe? I don’t think any homophobe would play the part he played in Mysterious Skin.

    • Painting JGL as a homophobe is the only way that Gabe can convince himself that Topher is good at kissing. Clearly, he is not.

      We can’t all be kissing school valedictorian, Gabe!

      • i actually think that it’s possible Topher is a fine kisser, but he was so focused on no-homo-ing that he didn’t perform, in the kissing department as well as normal.

        • I KNOW. I can only imagine. (However, that IS where the whole ACTING thing comes in, am I right?). Besides, I’ve commented on Topher’s lips before and it would be a shame if he didn’t know how to use them!

    • I was gonna say the same thing, but then again I don’t suffer from PT500DoSD (post-traumatic 500 days of summer disorder) having not made it past the Ikea scene.

    • It didn’t sound like Gabe was taking JGL down a peg – he’s just our big homophobic watchdog.

      In that he watches homophobia like a dog, not in that he’s a homophobic dog…dawg.

      And incidentally, I’d LOVE to know what’s up with Joseph Gordon-Levitt every week. For serious. What website has that?

  4. SO, GABE

    YOU DOWN?

  5. Topher Grace is a Wall Street executive with everything going for him.
    Only problem is, he’s about to become a carrot!
    Topher Grace: “I’m a carrot!”
    It’s 24-carrot comedy.
    Topher Grace is a “Carrot”!
    Rated PG-13.

  6. I appreciate the insight into your bookshelf, Gabe, and I will take those into consideration when I need a new book to read.
    Has anyone else read anything interesting lately? I can’t wait to get David Mitchell’s new book, personally.

    • You Lost Me There by Rosecrans Baldwin is supposed to be super! It has made some books-of-the-summer lists etc. and it has its own tumblr. Also Rosecrans is actually a super person so it has that going for it.

      “I know a published author” –me.

    • I am finally reading 1,000 Years of Solitude. It’s so long I thought it would take 1,000 years to read (get it?) but it’s kind of breezy, actually.

      Next up is probably Girl With Dragon Tattoo for same reason as M. Gabe.

      Also everyone should read The Sea Came In At Midnight, by Steve Erickson. You can get a hardcover on amazon for like a dollar. /boosting

      • Same for me with Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, especially since a coworker has it sitting on her desk, waiting for me to borrow.

        • read the first book,its OK,until (spoiler,I guess) towards the end everything is resolved very casually,as if the case is being solved by a 7 year old scout.but anyway,i laud anyone who can finish 1000 years of solitude,I attempt to every year and never get to.

      • “Never Let Me Go” by Kazuo Ishiguro is pretty great, but don’t watch the trailer for the movie because SPOILER: The trailer for the movie.

    • Doing more Thomas Bernhard, this time the Lime Works after finishing Gargoyles. He pretty much rules at being incredibly cynical to the degree that it’s a joke he also means. Also, Spell of the Sensuous, which, like a lot of non-fiction I read, has me smiling and nodding at times, and at other times scrawling mean notes in the margins.

      Have you read Mitchell’s others? I’ve read Cloud Atlas and loved it loved it, but didn’t like Ghostwritten as much. This new one was one of the weird instances where right up until a book comes out I’m wicked excited about it, but when it comes out, I lose interest. I’ll get the paperback, as even if I got the hardback I wouldn’t get to it for monttths.

      What about you?

      • I haven’t read any Bernhard–I love German language literature (and I guess Austrian, too), but haven’t known where to start with him, so any suggestions are very welcomed.

        • Mans,

          We should have A Serious Chat about Literature and Beard-Stroking Meeting. Besides some little pressure release jags (Lord of the Rings, Forever War, Philip K. Dick volumes) my fiction reading for the past…god, months, has been German language, some German-German, Swiss-German, and Austrian-German. (I love your Sebald reminder below, I went through all his works just a bit ago, but two friends want to read Austerlitz, so I might do that with them again. It is his most Bernhardian.) How’s your Swiss-German reading? If you haven’t, Walser and Frisch are both wonderful.

          Anyway. For starting with Bernhard. Usually I just tell people to start with an author’s earliest stuff, but his first few, while very similar, are significantly different in some ways. I started with Wittgenstein’s Nephew, but if you don’t know Wittgenstein that might not be the best place, not that you’d be “missing” anything, but I feel like I’d have been all, “what? who is this dude, why do we care about his cousin?” But maybe not. Gosh, I’m terrible at this. Really. Of the bunch that I’ve read, I’d say that The Loser, with Correction as a second choice.

          What other German language stuff are you a fan of?

          (And as for Boston, fuck yes. I miss that place.)

          • I’m certainly not the most well read person in the world. I really like Sebald, Mann and Musil and look for “The Sleepwalkers” in every bookstore I go in, but haven’t found it yet. I also really enjoyed “Confessions of Zeno.”

            You clearly know your way around some German literature. I am always open to suggestions.

    • Started rereading Lonesome Dove again recently. Best book ever.

      • i never read lonesome dove because it’s crazy long and i’m an american, but goddamn is he one of my favorites. i absolutely love all my friends are going to be strangers, the last picture show, and leaving cheyenne.

    • We are david mitchell book twins!!!!!!!!

      • The new one just drives me mad. At one moment I’m all, I should run to the store right now and buy it! Then I forget, then I think about it later and somehow am not interested. I think what needs to happen is that I need to find either Number9Dream or Black Swan Green in a used book store, buy it, read it, and then…oh, who am I kidding. My to read shelf is encroaching on 100 books right now, and I’ve some book buying expeditions planned (hey, if I can kick a couple much more expensive and unhealthy addictions, I can keep my book-buying addiction), any book I buy is not getting read for a long-ass time…

    • I just finished “The Confessions of Felix Krull,” which was super-great and bought “Despair” by Nabokov for the train ride home (the wife and I are in Boston this week for the bar exam. I took the MBE today and the essay part is tomorrow, so, obviously, I am reading VG and watching TOP SCALLOP).

      As for the new Mitchell: I really didn’t like it. I enjoyed “Cloud Atlas” and “Ghostwritten” a lot, “Number9Dream” and “Black Swan Green” okay, but I really felt like the new one was a huge let down. It felt unfinished and half thought out. There were some nice parts, but in general, NO. (I have read several good reviews of it, so it may be my negative-nancy-ness).

      I find, when it is Summer, and I feel alone and like wandering, anything by W.G. Sebald works wonders.

      Also: You can’t say too many good things about “The Thin Place” by Kathryn Davis, “Who Were Saved and Who Were Dead” by Barbara Comyns and anything by Lydia Davis.

    • I started reading Karen Armstrong’s “History of God” this afternoon. I’ve owned it forever, but never read it.

      Surprise: It’s super interesting!

  7. Not to be off topic, but are we going to get a True Blood recap? Last episode was so stupid and boring and fucked up that I was really looking forward to Old Man Gabe’s withering critique.

    • Agreed. I don’t even watch this show and I’m feening out for a recap. I’m tweakin’, I’m tweakin’, I’m tweakin’!!!

    • Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

      • Shit, do I follow your advice? If I try independent thought on your suggestion, am I truly thinking independently? Tell me what to think! Wait. Shit.

        • Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

          • HAHAHAHA! STEVE WINWOOD, YOU ARE THE FUCKING WORST!

          • Wait, wait, wait, Stevey boy, you need to re-assess your understanding of what this site is all about. That little blurb you just wrote there missed the point entirely: we read this site because we enjoy Gabe’s witty zings about things we most likely have already formed our own opinions about, contributing our own attempts at wit, engaging in discussions about them and coming together to agree on the fact that we Fucking Hate you, amirite, friend? You of all people should not be giving out advice on how people need to live their own lives.

          • it is pretty obvious that Mr. WInwood was just being facetious in his comment above, and I don’t agree with the sentiment of “we Fucking Hate you”, at all. I would go with something like, ” It’s over now! Fuck you! How dare you act like such a bitch when I’ve been so fucking nice?”

        • Quick, someone call Neil Peart! I have questions regarding my free will!

    • So ignoring Steve’s ignorant comments, ARE we getting a true blood recap this week???

  8. I’ve really wanted to read Richard Price for a really long time, but I’m really lazy at reading. Plus when I do read I usually pick up something like Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which makes me feel more annoyed the more people keep praising it and the movie. It’s probably better than I remember, but what I remember was SPOILS a not very original mystery where it was the guy you thought it was, a lot of boring magazine politics, and an autistic suicide girl with not a grain of depth more than those three words.

  9. I can’t wait to ‘stare’ at Topher Grace’s avatar in that videogame.

  10. Sounds to me like the plot of the Facebook the Marketplace the Feature Film is more like an episode of Dexter. Knowhatimean?

  11. Can this section always be bookgum please?

  12. Hes the bad guy in predators, ZING!!

  13. richard price is absolutely the best and lush life is my favorite of his. i was praising it just last night. it’s really amazing how the central crime of the novel is (SORTA SPOILER ALERT) just a mugging gone awry. it seems almost too small and boring to base the next 500 pages on but price does it no problem. and it becomes much more than just a crime novel in the process, in fact it’s kinda unfair to lump him into a genre he so thoroughly transcends.

    maybe this is a bad analogy but it really reminds me of some early law and order. remember those? when the episode’s crime didn’t have to be a plucked from the news, totally over the top, convoluted revenge plot involving douchebag society types. sometimes it would just be a mugging, or a hit and run, or whatever, and it was beautiful. RIP good law and order (1989-1997).

    clockers is rad too, i’m re-reading that puppy right now. ok, enough, sorry for the richard price ramble, he’s just the best.

  14. i thought Lush Life was great, but even more i enjoyed the Fresh Air where Richard Price talked about Lush Life. good radio.
    and thanks for the link to the Doug Loves Movies podcast. it is a super great podcast.
    a fine and informative WUWTG. kudos.

    • There was also an episode of This American Life where he told a story of a ridealong with two cops that was just the best. >podcastnerds<

  15. Haha, thanks ‘Marketplace’ for leaving nothing to be discovered while I (don’t) watch that movie. Also, GREAT tagline. Really good stuff about bargains. Surprised you didn’t try to fit the word ‘hunter’ in there.

    Marketplace 2 – Sometimes a bargain hunter is not what you bargain huntered for.

  16. It’s sad to me that “name” actors never put in much effort when they do video games, and the character of Special Agent Harris will surely never stand up to the classic Topher Grace performances we all remember.

    • I know you were probably joking, but the GTA series does a pretty good job of utilizing its name actors. You really can’t beat Sam Jackson, Peter Fonda, David Cross, Ice-T, Chris Penn, Wil Wheaton!, etc. I know that is just the San Andreas game, but Vice city has Ray Liotta, Burt Reynolds, Dennis Hopper, Gary Busey!!

      I still only have a PS2 so that may be why I am touting these games, but none of those guys phoned it in.

      • *disclaimer

        Some of those actors may have actually “phoned it in”. Literally, but not figuratively.

      • I seriously don’t think those actors did a very memorable job? Like they are all big names, and listing them as the cast sounds impressive, but nobody is walking around raving about Samuel L. Jackson’s performance in San Andreas. Most of the memorable video game acting has come from people who are professional voice actors, not big-time actors, and are not widely known. I think Rockstar sort of acknowledged that they weren’t getting their money’s worth, because they completely stopped using famous actors in GTAIV and RDR, which are their best acted games to date.

        It’s all subjective, but I think these are usually cited as some of the few good performances in video games: Jennifer Hale (Shepard) in ME2, Michael Hollick (Niko) in GTAIV, Rob Wiethoff (seriously good as Marston) in RDR, Nolan North in the Uncharted games.

        Other than those and a few other exceptions I think video game voice acting is pretty awful, and that most of the “name” actors who contribute voices get it over with as fast as possible to pick up a paycheck. The characters/voices in SCII’s single player, for example, are yikes all the way, and that came from a company that should have had the time and money to do it right.

  17. On a side note, I really dislike the giant denim background with a zipper unzipping that is constantly appearing when I refresh or whatever. I realize that sponsorships and advertisements are a very important part of keeping a web blog type place sustainable, and profitable, but HOLY SHIT stop putting that fucking thing up on my screen.

  18. aaaactually gabe, topher took both the 45th AND 46th spot in GQ’s top 50 sexiest bla. beating out four separate photos of pamela anderson and kid rock. so way to go topher grace! i’m guessing the feeling is pretty unapproachable.

  19. WHY ARE THERE GAP JEANS UNZIPPING ALL OVER MY SCREEN?!?!

  20. Is this real? Tell me this is real!

  21. YOU GUYS. I graduated in the same college class as the girl who wrote the Facebook Marketplace movie pitch. We had a class together last year! 6 degrees of separation from Topher Grace!!!!!! #tooexcited

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