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ON THE SET WITH TINA FEY
Sept. 29, 2008 · Queens · 10:30 a.m.
Photographs by Larry Fink
''I'm too tired for the beginning of the workweek.'' About 35 hours after her second SNL appearance as VP candidate Sarah Palin, Fey is back at her day job as comedy writer Liz Lemon on NBC's Emmy-winning sitcom 30 Rock (premiering Oct. 30). The star, seen here getting beautified on the set of Rock's Christmas episode, admits she's not sure how much longer she can keep moonlighting: ''This was the first weekend where I was like, 'Oh, I'm missing that other four hours of sleep.'''
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Fey grabs a quick breather in her dressing room, which — as evidenced by the teddy bear and wooden moose — also serves as a frequent play space for her 3-year-old daughter, Alice.
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Fey and costar ?Tracy Morgan prepare to film a scene. Between takes, Morgan cracks wise with the crew, claiming he's descended from Hollywood royalty: Ernest Borgnine and Lauren Hepburn. ''Who is Lauren Hepburn?'' Fey wonders aloud, laughing.
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A Queens check-cashing outlet doubles as a post office that Liz and Tracy?visit in the episode. Crew members keep having to explain the switch to real customers who wander in — probably wondering why everyone is wearing heavy coats on a balmy September day. ''I know it's warm,'' assistant director Steve Davis tells the bundled-up extras, ''but don't be fanning yourselves, because it's December 22nd.''
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Fey's dead-ringer stand-in, Laura Lynn Berrios, assumes her position while the crew works on lighting.
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In the Christmas episode, Liz forces her writers to participate in a charity that provides gifts for underprivileged kids. ''It's based on a somewhat dissatisfying experience I had with a letters-to-Santa ?program,'' hints Fey. Much like Liz — who goes overboard with Jenna (Jane Krakowski, right) at J.T. Less Discount Department Store — Fey says she found herself ''spiraling'' into guilt-fueled overshopping.
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Fey reviews footage with director Don Scardino.
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Fey shares a laugh with Krakowski.
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Earlier in the day, Fey shot her half of a phone chat in which Jack (Alec Baldwin) explains his idea of a ''real'' Christmas: ''Fly to Rio, tan in the nude, and bet on monkey wrestling.''
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ON THE ROAD WITH MGMT
Sept. 25, 2008 · El Paso
Photographs by Alex Tehrani
They met as freshmen at Wesleyan University, and formed a band built on trippy, epic songcraft. Today, Ben Goldwasser and Andrew VanWyngarden have transcended the indie-rock genre with a hit record — the aptly titled Oracular Spectacular — and are currently traveling the U.S. on a 12-city tour with elder statesman Beck.
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''We consider it a fluke that we play music that people like — people who don't even necessarily listen to indie rock,'' says Goldwasser.
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The band has a TV on their bus, but Goldwasser says, ''We mostly watch VH1 Classic, or maybe a football game. Getting [our songs] placed on shows like Gossip Girl — we're ?flattered, but I don't think we've gotten the full meaning of it [because we haven't really seen it]. Still, a lot of people have told us about it!''
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''We're really grateful Beck has taken us on the road with him,'' says Goldwasser.
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ON THE SET WITH EMILE HIRSCH
Sept. 18, 2008 · New Lebanon, N.Y. · 4:20 p.m.
Photograph by Brigitte Lacombe
''The mud's pretty cold,'' says Emile Hirsch, explaining what it's like on the ?upstate New York set of Ang Lee's Taking Woodstock, a behind-the-scenes look at how the 1969 music fest came together. ''It's later in the year than it was during Woodstock ?[which actually took place in August]. We were all shivering, and we had these silver-foil space blankets that miraculously keep you really warm.'' But they don't keep you clean: ''I did a Superman slide down a hill, and started turning on my back,'' he says with glee. ''I was covered in mud. I think there was pig crap mixed in, because we all smelled like crap.'' His good mood reflects that of his character, a Vietnam vet. ''Woodstock becomes a way for him to find the joy he has left in his life.''
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ON THE SET WITH JASON BATEMAN
Sept. 25, 2008 · Commerce, Calif. · 1:23 p.m.
Photographs by Chris McPherson
In Office Space director Mike Judge's latest workplace comedy, Extract, Bateman reunites with his Juno costar J.K. Simmons, playing the owner of a flavor-concentrate plant who's losing his taste for life. ''He's okay...but he's flawed,'' says Bateman. ''He's not happy, but happy people aren't necessarily funny.''
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Inside a water-bottling plant in Commerce, Calif. — which doubles as the set — Bateman watches the action in a monitor room with Judge (second from left) and crew members. ''He's very lazy,'' Bateman cracks about the director. ''He likes to just sit there and watch TV.''
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Gene Simmons adds a touch of crass to the shoot, playing an oily personal-injury lawyer. ''I didn't read the script,'' admits Simmons, who signed on only after Judge agreed to let him use cue cards.
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ON THE STREET WITH JIMMY FALLON
Sept. 23, 2008 · Rockefeller Center, NYC · 1:30 p.m.
Photographs by Jake Chessum
How does a guy prepare to replace Conan O'Brien on Late Night next spring? Step 1: Watch a lot of talk shows. Step 2: Create?a nightly Web show (starting this winter). Step 3: Play videogames? ''Seventy percent of my day is Wii,'' Fallon jokes. Hey, whatever works.
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When not out on the street gathering material for his Web show, Fallon and his writers hang out in a comfy 16th-floor ?office — which is just an elevator ride away from both his old SNL digs and the stage he'll soon inherit.
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Fallon and crew also use a private Web page to share late-night bursts of inspiration from home. ''One post was called 'Pizza,''' says Fallon. ''It wasn't really an idea. I just felt like eating pizza.''