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‘Pain and Gain’ premiere headed to Miami Beach


Who needs Hollywood, anyway?

Pain & Gain was filmed in South Florida so lucky for us, we get the premiere, too.

The Paramount film, which opens April 26 and is directed by Michael Bay ( Transformers, Armageddon), is adapted from a series of Miami New Times articles about a group of 1990s bodybuilders who hatched a brutal get-rich-quick kidnapping scheme that eventually escalated to murder.

Walking the red carpet at 6:30 p.m. Thursday outside Regal South Beach Stadium 18 will be the stars of the flick: local hero Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Mark Wahlberg, Ed Harris, Rob Corddry, Hangover scene stealer Ken Jeong; former Monk star Tony Shalhoub; as well as Bay.

Start camping out early because this is bound to be quite a scene.

One night only

Another huge star in our midst: Al Pacino. The Oscar winner, 72, is bringing his show, Pacino One Night Only to Hard Rock Live at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino 8 p.m. April 25. This is your chance to get up-close and personal and partake in a Q&A with the acting legend, who is able to do the fiercest of drama to Adam Sandler comedy (who could forget Al playing himself in Jack & Jill?).

While promoting HBO’s biopic on Phil Spector in March, Pacino told the Associated Press he was ready for new things. “I don’t think I’m ready to go out there and just do a job. I don’t think I have that kind of energy to do that anymore. I only get turned on by something with a challenge. It’s comforting to feel like that possibility exists.”

Singing the Blues

John McConnell would never quit his day job, which is also his night job.

The Orlando entertainer spends a lot of his life being Elwood, one-half of The Blues Brothers.

Mike Saunders has the role of the late, great John Belushi, aka Jake.

The two impersonators will shake things up Saturday night at the Miami Children’s Museum “Be A Kid Again” Gala, planning to do favorites made famous by the beloved pair: Soul Man, Rawhide and Sweet Home Chicago.

“Those are the real barn burners,” says McConnell, who lives in Orlando. “We may even pull up someone from the crowd to be an honorary Blues Brother and get them to jump around.”

McConnell originated his tribute act at Universal Studios, but Saunders came up the ranks in a different way.

“Mike was my dad’s pest control guy,” McConnell recounts. “He calls me and says, ‘You gotta see this guy. He’s a dead ringer for Belushi.’ Then we hooked up. It’s hard to find fat guys who can dance.”

Safe to say, McConnell has studied the classic 1980 movie about two eccentric, down-on-their-luck brothers, who first came to life in a Saturday Night Live sketch. How many times has he seen it? “Gosh, maybe 150?” he says with a laugh. “You want to perfect the character.”

Properly copying the beloved pair involves a few props.

“You gotta find the slacks with the flat front and jackets with the three buttons. We want to be authentic,” says McConnell. “We get the sunglasses at Walgreens.”

Having the ability to play the harmonica helps. “At first I didn’t know how,” admits McConnell. “I used to tell the tech guys to turn the music up to drown me out!”

What is it about The Blues Brothers that still sticks after all this time?

“I think everyone can identify with them,” muses McConnell. “They’re the underdogs, blue-collar guys. They don’t look like rock stars yet they make it.”

Madeleine Marr


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