The racetrack ace has spent the last seven years hiding behind a dark-visored crash helmet as The Stig on hit British TV show Top Gear.
He was forced to keep his identity a secret until earlier this month (Sep10), when the BBC failed to obtain an injunction preventing publication of The Stig's autobiography.
Opening up about his experience, Collins insists he was devoted to remaining masked but claims TV chiefs did little to reward his hard work.
He tells Britain's The Sun, "From the start of my time on Top Gear, I'd gone to every possible effort to ensure I wasn't discovered. I'd wear a balaclava to work and learned to hide my car. It was pretty intense. Between filming, I'd stay in the suit. When it came to food, I ate in a hut by myself. There was one key (race) when it became clear where my future lay... It was one of my dreams but... it was spelled out to me that I was expendable.
"I'd given the show my all. The money per episode was a tenth of what people suggested and my contract was often two or three months at a time. I'd have to pay for my own insurance and didn't even have a pension - yet the BBC were making millions from merchandising... Yet (Top Gear executive producer) Andy (Wilman) has since said I was the same as a Dalek (Doctor Who character) or the (U.K. children's TV show) Blue Peter dog."
The Love Actually star was approached to appear in the upcoming big-screen adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's classic novel but was forced to reject the offer because he is still under contract to play Dr Watson on the BBC's series Sherlock.
A source tells Britain's The Sun, "It was one of the most difficult decisions of his career. MGM, who are making the film, only got a formal offer over in the last couple of weeks.
"It was too late for Martin because he had already signed up for another series of Sherlock. It was agonising but he had no other choice."
Director Peter Jackson is said to be searching for an unknown to take the role.
When the early reviews of Inception began flowing onto the Internet out of LA over a week ago, there seemed to be a growing consensus that Christopher Nolan’s film, which is about a team of criminals whose specialty is accessing the information people store inside their subconscious via their dreams, was too smart for audiences and that its marketing team was having a hard time selling it to middle America. At first I actually wanted this to be true. I wanted Warner Bros. to have spent over $160 million on a science fiction film that wasn’t a remake, a sequel or based on a line of toys from the ‘80s. I wanted to believe that they had somehow been tricked into funding the type of movie that Hollywood so rarely takes a risk on.
Then I saw the movie and was instantly dissuaded of the notion. Sure, it’s a highly intelligent movie and one of the best science fiction films a studio like Warner Bros. has ever been involved with, but too smart? Too hard for people to understand? Are they going to flee from it in theaters like movie goers did in the olden days the first time they saw a moving train on the big screen and thought it was actually going to burst through the screen and kill them? No, I doubt it.
There will obviously be people who don’t understand the movie fully, but that’s true of almost any movie. The fact that some people are as dumb as fence post is not evidence that Inception is rocket science that’s too fancy-pants for folks in the midwest. If anything, I think it’s a testament to Nolan’s storytelling abilities that a film this dense in ideas that are often seen and not explained is as relatable, emotional and communicative as it is. That said, the WB may still be having a harder time marketing the film than I realized.
I’ve always been a film geek. I’m the kind of person whose internal calendar is anchored by film release dates. So for someone like me, Inception has loomed large on my horizon ever since it was announced that Nolan would be making it before returning to the Batman franchise. I know that most people aren’t that obsessive about movies, though. If you check your average Joe Schmoes’ Facebook profile, I guarantee one of the hobbies will be movies, but if you asked them when Tron Legacy was coming out, they’d have no clue. But chances are pretty good they are at least aware of the movie, that it’s coming out at some point in the near future.
After seeing Inception, though, I had a conversation that blew my mind more than the movie did. A friend from my old hometown was asking what I was up to. I told him I had just gotten back from a screening of Inception. His response? “What’s Inception?” It boggled my mind that he didn’t know. I wanted to shove his face in the trailer like he had done something wrong, like he was a pet who had gone to the bathroom on the living room rug.
Eventually once I talked him through it, once I explained that it was the new movie from the guy who made The Dark Knight and that it starred Leonardo DiCaprio and Joseph Gordon Levitt, he recalled vaguely knowing what it was, but he had no clue what it was about. The last part didn’t stand out to me - before seeing it myself I vaguely knew what it was about, but that’s because I had avoided everything since the first theatrical trailer for the film - but I was kind of stunned that someone like him, a geek who is definitely more into movies that Joe Facebook, didn’t instantly register that Inception was the new movie from The Dark Knight guy starring DiCaprio.
At the very least I would assume that’s what the WB’s marketing team could sell the movie as, but I guess it’s a harder sell than I imagined. However, regardless of how hard it is to build advanced hype outside of the normal movie buff circles, I still don’t think Inception is too smart for audiences. I do think they’ll get it. I do think they’ll realize that there is something special about this movie, something daring and unique and extremely different from all the other mediocre crap they’ve seen this summer (and it truly has been a mediocre summer, Inception being the first major exception). And I do think that there are enough people like me, who know exactly why they should see the movie, to turn out opening weekend and then tell all their friends to go see it.
I refuse to believe otherwise. I refuse to accept the idea that it is too smart for people, that they’ll walk out of theater oblivious to how beautiful and rare the movie-going experience they just had is. I refuse to believe that Inception is bound to be another Blade Runner; another sci-fi classic destined to only be appreciated later in its lifespan because it was either too long or too dark or too whateverwhatever to fit people’s mood at the time. I refuse to believe those things because I flat out do not want to accept a future where Hollywood learns the exact opposite of the lesson they should learn from Inception; that risking big money on big, original ideas can pay off in huge ways.
Oh, and let’s not forget the lesson that not every movie under the sun needs to be in 3D. Hell, that may actually be the most important lesson of all.
The former supermodel has been ordered to undergo regular testing, along with her ex-husband Peter Brant, as part of the pair's messy divorce proceedings and ongoing custody battle over their three children.
Seymour was forced back to court in Connecticut after she missed a scheduled drug test while she was enjoying a sun-soaked vacation in St. Barts with two of her kids in March (10).
The 40 year old claimed she did not see emails which asked her to meet with a doctor who had been sent to her hotel to perform the test.
The judge did not find Seymour in contempt, but warned her not to miss future tests, according to the New York Post.
Brant's lawyers, who have previously expressed concerns about Seymour's alleged problem with prescription pills, have now asked the judge to order the star to give up alcohol as well.
The former couple is due back in court in Stamford, Connecticut on Monday (28Jun10).
'Steven Spielberg' is one of those names that has such cachet that we sit up and take notice any time he does, well, anything. Although Spielberg's last project was 2008's disappointing Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, his latest, War Horse, looks to hearken back to the tone of his 1987 Empire of the Sun with its war-torn setting and human drama.
War Horse - the story of the friendship between a boy (Joey) and his horse, who is sold to the British army during the First World War (the horse, not the boy) - boasts an impressive international cast, with Jeremy Irvine (formerly of the National Youth Theatre) playing the young horse owner, Emily Watson (Gosford Park, Cold Souls) playing his mother, and Peter Mullan (Trainspotting, Children of Men) his father. Niels Arestrup (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly) plays the grandfather of a young French girl (Celine Buckens) who takes Joey in.
Other renowned members of the cast include Tom Hiddleston (to play Loki in Thor and the upcoming Avengers movie), Rainer Bock (Inglorious Basterds), Patrick Kennedy (Atonement), and Stephen Graham (Baby Face Nelson in Public Enemies and Al Capone in the upcoming HBO series Boardwalk Empire). Rounding out the ensemble are Nicolas Bro, Leonard Carow, Robert Emms, and David Kross.
War Horse is being adapted by Lee Hall, the writer behind Billy Elliot, and Richard Curtis from the novel by Michael Morpurgo. Expect War Horse to hit theaters August 10, 2011.
Source: Empire Online
The catwalk beauty was enjoying acts including Jay-Z and Spandau Ballet at the event on the U.K. island when she learned her beloved father Peter had been admitted to hospital.
Moss' entrepreneur pal Sir Philip Green arranged for a helicopter to fly the model back to the mainland - and on Sunday (13Jun10), Moss is said to have headed home to see her dad.
A source tells Britain's The Sun, "Kate's dad is making progress but he was very shaken. Kate had already left on the ferry for the Isle Of Wight when she found out but she was calling to check how he was. Sir Philip had a helicopter ready in case she needed to make a sharp exit."
Source: Omnilab Media, The Jim Henson Company
In a joint announcement by Omnilab Media's Christopher Mapp and The Jim Henson Company's Lisa Henson, Australian based Omnilab Media is teaming up with The Jim Henson Company to bring the fantasy sequel Power of the Dark Crystal to the big screen in stereoscopic 3D.
Peter Spierig and Michael Spierig, writers and directors of Undead and most recently, Daybreakers, have come aboard to direct the screenplay written by Australian Craig Pearce (Moulin Rouge!, Strictly Ballroom, Romeo + Juliet) based on an original script by Annette Duffy and David Odell. The legendary fantasy artist Brian Froud will reprise his role as conceptual designer of the film, which will use a mix of live action and traditional puppetry combined with visual and special effects produced entirely in Australia. Omnilab-affiliated Iloura (Where the Wild Things Are, Don't Be Afraid of the Dark) has already begun work on the film's complex CGI elements. With this team in place, next steps will be to secure worldwide distribution.
Michael Spierig said, "We feel a tremendous amount of responsibility in telling this story with the same meticulous care that Jim Henson and Frank Oz gave the 1982 original." Added Peter Spierig, "This is a chance to take the world of puppetry into the modern age by using modern techniques (like motion capture CGI) and the tried and true methods (like puppetry and animatronics) to create a one hundred percent real world that is unique to The Dark Crystal."
Set hundreds of years after the events of the first movie when the world has once again fallen into darkness, Power of the Dark Crystal follows the adventures of a mysterious girl made of fire who, together with a Gelfling outcast, steals a shard of the legendary Crystal in an attempt to reignite the dying sun that exists at the center of the planet.
The 24 star was enjoying a boozy night out with a pal on Thursday (15Apr10) and decided to end the night at exotic dance venue Stringfellows.
British tabloid The Sun reported the inebriated actor began dancing erratically with his shirt off and shouting inside the club before getting into a scuffle with security when he was allegedly asked to leave.
But club boss Peter Stringfellow has dismissed the claims, insisting Sutherland was never booted out of the venue and was polite to every member of staff.
In a blog post on the Stringfellows website, he writes, "(Sutherland) had a wonderful time, was incredibly charming to all the staff, very generous to all the girls and made friends with my security people.
"Around about 3.15am he decided it would be very funny to take his shirt off. When it was explained to him very gently that that was the job of the girls and not the customers he burst out laughing. His friend thought that this would be a good time for them go home."
Stringfellow goes on to clarify pictures appearing to show Sutherland being held in a headlock by club bouncers as he stumbled to his car in the early hours of Friday (16Apr10).
He adds, "One of the photos in The Sun looks like my security guys got Kiefer in a headlock. That is NOT the case they were just helping him into his car. Kiefer had slipped and the doorman tried to catch him and at the same time keep the photographers from taking photos, needless to say none of this worked and the paparazzi had a field day."
Stringfellow ends his note with an open invitation to Sutherland to return to the strip club whenever he's in London: "Kiefer, if you read this we’d love to see you at the club. The girls had a terrific time with you and you are welcome back at Stringfellows anytime."
Sutherland's drinking has previously landed him in trouble with the police - he served 48 days in prison in 2007 and early 2008 after pleading no contest to a driving under the influence (DUI) charge.
The 24 actor began a boozy night in the British capital with drinks with pals at his hotel before heading to the city's notorious exotic dance venue Stringfellows.
According to Britain's The Sun newspaper, an inebriated Sutherland was dancing erratically and shouting before getting into a scuffle with staff when they asked him to leave.
The shirtless star was photographed being hauled out of the venue by doormen, who dragged him from the club and pushed him into a waiting vehicle - only for the star to escape the car and take a tumble on the street.
A source tells the publication, "He went bananas (mad), shouting nonsense and dancing like (English soccer player) Peter Crouch before kicking off when he was asked to leave."
Sutherland served 48 days in prison in 2007 and early 2008 after pleading no contest to a driving under the influence (DUI) charge.
According to The New York Times, five years into the uneasy reign of chairman Brad Grey, Paramount is at long last catching a moment in the sun. In the interview, the executive weighs in on his greatest mistakes and achievements and a possible new tentpole from J.J. Abrams.
"Yes, it will be our biggest," Grey tells the Times of the profit potential in the fourth quarter. Home entertainment revenue is up, ticket sales have been strong (see Paranormal Activity) and costs have dropped as Grey pushed Martin Scorsese's Shutter Island into next year to focus on Jason Reitman's Up in the Air and on the December introduction of Peter Jackson's The Lovely Bones, a film that will not get its big-budget marketing push until January.
Since taking charge of the studio from Sherry Lansing in January 2005, Grey has attracted attention, critical and otherwise, about his bid for prominence in the movie industry, after years spent mostly in television, the NYT notes.
Last week, Grey spoke to the Times in a far-ranging, if cautious, conversation about both his tenure and his plans for Paramount.
"I'm passionate about Paramount, I'm passionate about my colleagues here," Grey intoned. The job cuts, he said, have largely stopped. In a creative group now headed by Adam Goodman, Grey insists the turmoil is over.
Asked to describe his greatest mistake while at Paramount, Grey at first deflected the question, then said that it lay with his hiring decisions. "Putting a team together that had time to jell was more challenging than I thought."
As for achievements, Grey is proud to have whittled Paramount's release schedule to what he believes will be a profitable core of about 16 films a year.
That film count is down from a peak of 22 two years ago when Grey had aggressively expanded production. This year, Paramount will have released just 14 movies, and a handful of remaining Vantage films.
That's fewer than any of its major competitors while the studio is second only to Warner Bros. in the box-office race, with almost $1.5 billion in domestic ticket sales, to $1.9 billion for Warner, which has twice as many pictures.
Pali Capital analyst Richard Greenfield calls all of this a good start. "It's still a studio in transition," he told the NYT.
"They're now gaining some momentum in finding their own franchises," said Greenfield. As to whether the good times can be sustained, Greenfield said "that can't be answered today," though he added: "They're in a far, far better position than they were."
Overall, the idea is to pick winners and to do so without relying heavily on the kind of outside investors and other risk-sharing mechanisms that were common before the capital markets seized.
In finding those hits -- and avoiding misses, like The Love Guru or The Soloist -- Grey's staff will be increasingly on its own: Films from the DreamWorks slate are nearly played out and Marvel, though it still owes Paramount five movies, is now owned by Disney.
But, said Grey, the profit potential from successes that are produced and owned entirely by Paramount is vastly higher than that from films that are distributed for a fee. "We want that exponential profit," he said.
There will be sequels, Grey said, to both Paranormal Activity and G.I. Joe.
The studio also recently moved to create a micro-budget division that will become a kind of research and development arm.
On another front, Paramount is expected as early as this week to extend a trial period under which it has made films available to Redbox, even as several other studios have avoided dealing with the service.
Grey also told the Times there is a possibility that J. J. Abrams could direct another yet-to-be-announced tentpole before the arrival of Star Trek 2 and Mission: Impossible IV.