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Funny Business

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Photograph by Tony SearsWith an upcoming feature film starring Adam Sandler, a production company she operates with her best friend, and exchanging jokes with Amy Poehler as part of her daily grind, Aubrey Plaza has it all—almost.

“I’m officially moving out to L.A. now,” says Plaza. “I’m going back to New York tonight to get the rest of my stuff—and my cat.”

Plaza’s residence is not the only thing that has changed during the past few years. She has gone from interning at “Saturday Night Live” to starring in the web series “The Jeannie Tate Show” to overcoming her fear of stand-up comedy for her role in Judd Apatow’s feature film “Funny People,” scheduled to hit theaters in July.

Plaza will exercise her new stand-up skills alongside such comedic actors as Sandler and Seth Rogen in the film. “It’s terrifying,” Plaza says. “It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.”

“Funny People” finished shooting in January. That left Plaza only a week before starting her next project, an NBC sitcom titled “Parks and Recreation” with Poehler. The first episodes are expected to air this month.

“Amy was always one of my heroes,” Plaza says. “If I had known back then that I would be on a show with her, it would have blown my mind.”

Though she’s in Hollywood’s spotlight, don’t expect Plaza, an Ursuline Academy graduate, to become a stranger.

“I’d like to shoot a movie in Delaware,” she says. “Me and Joe Biden—we have to put Delaware on the map.”

That could happen via her Small Wonder Productions, which she runs with fellow Delawarean Dan Murphy. “My biggest hope is that I could write some of my own projects and that we could produce movies through our company,” Plaza says.

For now, she’s keeping herself busy learning new things.

“I’m used to living in New York City,” she says. “Now being out here in L.A., I’ve been driving, so I have to learn that skill all over again.”   —Erica Florentine
 

Page 2: Holy Hoffa | A former Delaware deputy AG’s true crime book gets the treatment from two Hollywood giants.

 

Holy Hoffa

A former Delaware deputy AG’s true crime book gets the treatment from two Hollywood giants.

In his book “I Heard You Paint Houses,” Charles Brandt solved one of America’s most enduring crime mysteries—the disappearance of legendary labor boss Jimmy Hoffa.

Now Brandt, a former chief deputy attorney general, will see his work transformed into a two-part crime epic made by two of the genre’s best: Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro.

In 1991 Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran began unraveling to Brandt his tales about Hoffa, his career as a mob hitman, and even the role of organized crime in the JFK assassination. Sheeran, who ran a local teamsters union in Wilmington, was elderly and repentant when he confessed to putting two bullets in the back of Hoffa’s head. His associates told Sheeran Hoffa’s body was cremated.

“After that night, I told my law partner I got 80 percent of what happened to Hoffa, and Sheeran also knows something about Dallas, if you can believe it,” Brandt says.

Now the book will be adapted by two great fans. De Niro, who will portray Sheeran in the film, is a six-time Oscar nominee. Scorsese has been nominated seven times, winning for the crime drama “The Departed” in 2006. The pair have collaborated on eight films, including “Taxi Driver” and “Raging Bull.” “I Heard You Paint Houses”—mob code meaning “murder for hire”—will be their first film together since 1995’s “Casino.” The first film is slated for release in 2011.

“To have people of this caliber, it’s unbelievable,” Brandt says. “I’m very excited because of the quality of their work. They’re going to understand Frank Sheeran, and they’ll honestly portray him. While he did a lot of wrong in his life, he was a many-sided man with a lot of good qualities.”     —Matt Amis
 

Page 3: Biden Time | A monthly review of the veep.

 

Biden Time

A monthly review of the veep.


The Obama administration broke with tradition by keeping its defense secretary home while the veep led a delegation to Munich for an annual security conference. Good for Joe.


During his first prime-time press conference, the president was asked to explain a statement his vice president had made. Mr. Obama smiled and said, “You know, I don’t remember exactly what Joe was referring to, not surprisingly.” Ouch.


Biden led a delegation at the Special Olympics Winter Games in Idaho, where he helped skater Michelle Kwan hand out medals and said it was a dream to walk out on the ice with her. That’s Joe Cool.

Page 4: Talent to Spare | DSU bowling coach Kim Terrell-Kearney and her Hornets make history. That’s how they roll.

 

DSU’s Kim Terrell-Kearney has found that coaching is right up her alley. Photograph by Dionne WillifordTalent to Spare

DSU bowling coach Kim Terrell-Kearney and her Hornets make history. That’s how they roll.

Last summer Kim Terrell-Kearney made history when she took part in the first matchup of two black athletes competing for a pro bowling title. In the process Terrell-Kearney earned her second U.S. Women’s Open championship.

Now the Delaware State University bowling coach, in only her second year, has the Hornets forging milestones. DSU has racked up a record number of wins and has been ranked as high as fourth in the country—also a school record—as it heads to the NCAA Championships in Detroit in April.

Terrell-Kearney, who has earned 11 major titles during her 10-year professional career, says coaching has helped her game and vice-versa.

“It’s made me much more aggressive as a player,” she says. “In the past I was a little too conservative, and I think I’ve made a point of helping my players be fearless and willing to go all out. At the same time, it’s forced me to walk that same walk.”

The rest, as they say, is history.   —Caitlin Birch

Page 5: How Green is Your City? | Wilmington Rotary and the city plant seeds of change.

 

How Green is Your City? 

Wilmington Rotary and the city plant seeds of change.

A greener city could mean a safer city, thanks to a partnership between The Rotary Club of Wilmington and the Delaware Center for Horticulture.

The goal of the partnership, called Growing Neighborhoods, is to plant trees and flowers in Wilmington’s depressed neighborhoods and parks. Research shows that public green spaces can reduce crime and revitalize neighborhoods. “This project epitomizes our motto: service before self,” says project selection committee chair Roger Kirtley.

The group also will help fund a study of the economic value of Wilmington’s parks. Data should illustrate the benefits of urban parks. It also should inspire decision-makers and residents to advocate for more funding.

“This is about plants and people, not lights and sidewalks,” says horticulture center executive director and Rotary member Pam Sapko. “There has been real civic engagement as a result.”

Want to volunteer? Call 655-6025 or visit wilmingtonrotary.org.     —Maria Hess

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