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Do you think Danielle Panabaker could be Anastasia Steele for the 50 Shades of Grey movie?
—Laura Salinas, via Twitter
You speak of the 24-year-old star of Disney Channel films such as Stuck in the Suburbs. She certainly has the look, and she's in the right age range to play the part. But are you sure you wouldn't rather see Anna Kendrick, Emma Watson or the dozen other actresses who were rumored to be attached to the part for a hot five seconds?
This isn't the only question I'm fielding via Facebook and Twitter. Let's tackle some more.
Why was Phyllis Diller a breakthrough comic for women?
—L. A. Hudie, via Twitter
We can start with the timing. She broke big in 1956, in an era when there were few female stand-ups. Yes, Gracie Allen had already broken big years earlier, but Allen was part of a duo act with George Burns, while Diller went solo. As a result, Diller would later be credited with influencing a long line of successful funny women, from Whoopi Goldberg to Ellen DeGeneres.
I have started watching season two of Downton Abbey and they just turned the big ol' house into a convalescent hospital. I don't understand why everyone is so concerned about space! It makes me crazy because Downton Abbey is HUGE! Why can't the family live on the top floors and the officers on the ground floor?
—VSR, Netherlands, via Facebook
Because then Maggie Smith would have no proper place to take tea without having to stare at a commoner, darling.
I was watching the movie Goonies, and there is a scene where the kids are afraid of an octopus. Can an octopus bite you?
—Ricardo R., via Facebook
Octopi have beaklike mouths than can bite, yes. In fact, the chomp of the blue-ringed octopus can inject a venom that acts as a deadly neurotoxin.
Are skies in TV shows shot in NYC photoshopped? USA's White Collar seems very gray while NBC'S Apprentice looks unnaturally blue, so what 's up?
—John P. Burns, via Facebook
"All programs going to broadcast go through a color correction to adjust the color and contrast of each clip, to look the way the director wants them to," explains Alexis Van Hurkman, colorist and author of The Color Correction Handbook: Professional Techniques for Video and Cinema. "Oftentimes, skies are isolated and made more or less blue depending on how the cinematographer and director want the scene to look. How much of an adjustment is made depends on what the filmmakers are going for.
"In some instances, the director wants an entirely different look for the sky, such as dramatic clouds where before there were none, or clear skies when they were previously overcast, compositing artists (www.alexisvanhurkman.com) go through a more complicated process called sky replacement."
That's right: When it comes to TV shows, a good color corrector can even change the weather.