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What to Watch for at the Emmy Awards/'Expendables' Actress Looking for More Action

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Plan to watch the 66th annual Emmy Awards show Monday night, Aug. 25? The Granddaddy of TV Awards shows looks likely to bring us plenty of memorable moments. Here are five reasons to tune in:

1. This is where the TV community will be giving Robin Williams a proper send-off. That's the word according to Executive Producer Don Mischer, who worked with the beloved actor-comedian at least 30 times. Planning began as soon as the production team heard of Williams' death. Don't be surprised if presenters and winners comment on Williams as well.

2. If Matthew McConaughey wins an Outstanding Lead Actor award for "True Detective" — and many believe his searing portrayal of existentialist detective Rust Cohle will rule the category — it will be the first time since George C. Scott in 1971 that a leading man has won an Oscar and an Emmy in the same year. McConaughey won Best Actor at the Academy Awards for "Dallas Buyers Club." (Scott turned down his "Patton" Oscar, but accepted his Hallmark Hall of Fame Emmy because he liked the Emmys Blue Ribbon Panel voting system better.)

3. Host Seth Meyers. Meyers watchers know that behind the seeming calm of the late night host and former "SNL" Weekend Update guy lurks a scathing wit. Recall how he ripped Donald Trump when he hosted the White House Correspondents Dinner in 2011? "Donald Trump has said he's running for president as a Republican. Which is surprising because I thought he was running as a joke," he said. And another, "Donald Trump owns the Miss USA pageant, which is great for Republicans because it will streamline their search for a vice president." Who'll be his target Monday night? Meyers told the L.A. Times he plans to front load the comedy — his opening monologue and a couple of film pieces are where his funny stuff will be most visible — and then just keep the evening moving along, so be sure to be there for the opening.

4. As more and more A-list actors move to TV, the wattage of star power at the Emmys just keeps getting higher. You've got McConaughey and Woody Harrelson in "True Detective," Julia Roberts and Mark Ruffalo among the many nominees for "The Normal Heart," Billy Bob Thornton for "Fargo," Don Cheadle for "House of Lies," Jodie Foster for "Orange is the New Black" and more.

5. The big contests. Will "Orange is the New Black" break "Modern Family's" Best Comedy streak, or will the latter show prevail with a record-breaking fifth win in a row? Will "True Detective" squeeze in front of "Breaking Bad" for Drama series? Will Robin Wright from "House of Cards" beat Claire Danes, Lizzy Caplan and Kerry Washington as Best Lead Actress in a Drama? Can Don Cheadle break Jim Parson's streak as Lead Actor in a Comedy? We want to know!

MOVING UP: Natalie Burn, who plays Mel Gibson's wife in a short-but-sweet turn in "The Expendables," admits she'd have liked to have been in on the action of that high-octane Sylvester Stallone feature. The Ukranian-born former prima ballerina for the Bolshoi has been sharpening her fighting skills to be ready for ... anything. The much-discussed "Expendabelles" perhaps? "The next push I will try to convince Stallone or whoever I work with that I'm a good fighter — and coming from a ballerina background, I'm still flexible. I did gymnastics, so I can do a lot of backflips and wire work and a lot of knife fights. I'm definitely a good asset to an action film," she says.

Burn likely already impresses Stallone, since she is taking her career into her own hands as the "Rocky" star did, writing and producing her own projects. One of those is her "Awaken" drama about a random group of people who wake up on an island where they start being hunted down. She reports that it is coming out in October. In it, moviegoers will be able to see her doing plenty of action, including fights she calls "raw and natural. That's what I like."

"We finished it a couple months ago. I wrote the movie, produced and starred. Daryl Hannah, Edward Furlong, Robert Davi, Michael Pare, David Keith and a few others are in it," she says. Next, she's making another of her own movies, called "Devil's Burn" in Louisiana.

"I would definitely encourage all the young actors to do that," she says of writing and producing projects for themselves. "We don't get enough auditions and enough scenes. If you make your own projects and get them seen, it's a good start."

Initially the "Expendables" team planned to have an older actress play Gibson's wife, by the way. But in came Natalie with her youth, beauty and Russian accent — paralleling Gibson's notorious ex — and those plans changed. According to her, the prickly actor-director couldn't have been nicer.

COPYRIGHT 2014 STACY JENEL SMITH

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