Short Term 12, which tells the story of a foster care facility and those who live and work there, is less a movie than it is a living, breathing thing. And its beating heart is 23-year-old Brie Larson, who plays supervisor Grace. Larson's performance is a quiet, introspective tour de force. She is able to tell Grace's story — which includes a secret history of abuse and an unyeilding compassion for the kids she looks after, in particular, 15-year-old Jayden — with few words; her eyes and body language say it all. So it's no surprise that Larson has already found herself in the middle of some well-deserved Oscar buzz (which we may be guilty of propagating).
When Hollywood.com sat down to speak with Larson, it was instantly obvious that she and Grace are worlds apart. While Larson shares her character's passion, Larson is a loquatious, charming young woman immune to the effects of the industry and unaware of how much attention she is about to receive. Oscars? "That doesn't happen to actual people," she tells us. She is in for the best kind of rude awakening.
Hollywood.com: Are you aware how huge this movie is going to be?Brie Larson: It's really a strange thing. I've asked since South by South West — that was the first time I noticed it really clicked with people — I asked everyone to not tell me anything because I just want to be ignorant and just enjoy the individual experience — to be open to it and to experience it and not feel like people are observing me or expecting me to do anything. So I haven't read anything; but there's been a few people who have slipped up to me and have said from blah blah blah article this was said. But I have no idea, I feel like none of this makes any sense to me. But it will make sense maybe a year from now, or maybe when I'm 60. I just don't know what happens after. The whole time, I keep going, "What does this even add up to or mean?"
It means you should maybe start looking for an Oscar dress…That doesn't happen to actual people…
It happened to Jennifer Lawrence!Yes, and she is on Team Human. Even her, I feel, she's a larger than life figure at this point. And I don't do that, I still shop at Forever 21. It's all really exciting. That's what I keep texting my mom. We've been doing this for a while and I don't understand it, but at least it makes my mom really proud and excited that I'm being recognized for something that I've worked hard at. I didn't go to college or even graduate high school properly, so this is my one.
I think what it comes down to is that this is a movie that really hits home for a lot of people. And it's not that people have necessarily experienced these things in their own lives, but it's a very human story. With that in mind, what part of this story particularly appealed to you? Or was it just the whole shebang? I feel like the film means so many different things to me and the more I've watched it the more it opens up to me as to what it is. I think at first, when I'm first reading a script you can't help but focus and hone in on the character you're potentially going to play. Because it's all about, Do I know this person? Can I honestly play this person? How do I go about doing it? Do I feel comfortable in this situation with these people to play this role? You're analyzing the whole thing. So even while shooting it, I was seeing everything through Grace's perspective — because I had to. I was her. So I think for me at the time I was very interested in playing a woman who had a hard time communicating and being able to hone how much can be expressed through film without saying anything. And how hard it is. I think we do these reveals in movies all the time where someone opens up about something. But really? It's hard to talk. It's hard when things get emotional to tap into that and recognize what you're feeling and be able to correct it. So I thought that was an interesting aspect of filming, of myself to explore.
But then the more that I've been watching the film, and the longer it's gone on, I think the bigger thing for me and for Grace is accepting that you're of good things, that you're worthy of love and loving others through the process. And I think that's a really powerful human thing — and that's what you're saying. And I think that's exactly why the film hits people in this really really intense way because it's not like we're showing it to a bunch of people who've been abused or in foster care. We have had those people [see it], and they relate to it in one way. And then there are people who've just loved something and have had it taken away from them. That's the essence of the whole thing: the beauty and the flaw and the struggle of being a human being. The day-to-day stuff. The connections we make and the misconnections we make. The things we wish we would've said, and the things we wish we could take back from saying. And the power that we have as humans over each other to influence each other and to change the course of our life and our actual genetic structure.
You mention that before you signed on to do this project you really wanted to make sure that you felt comfortable with the people as well. What was it like working with the final cast and crew? It was the best. Truly, the best. It was the most fun and the most loving group of people I've worked with, which says a lot. I just don't think that I could've done what I did if I hadn't felt totally loved and supported, first as Brie the human being and then second as an actor in a movie. And that we were all trying to make this art project really good. I realized how important it is when you feel like you're given the space and the credit to do something that allowed me to feel comfortable exploring not winking to the camera or giving these things that were clues to be people, "Hey I actually do know what's going on in Grace's head!" I was able to do something that was much more subtle and with very little concern for the camera. It was really freeing for me to not do hair and make-up and to wear my own clothes mixed with Destin [Cretton, the director]'s sister's clothes. And just have it lived through, and not have it feel any different from when I was cooking dinner and talking to my boyfriend when I got home.
And what was it like working with John Gallagher Jr. specifically? You two are so close in the film and it looked so natural.It was great. You know, those things are so strange. A lot of people have been saying to me, ''You must've know Destin for a really long time and John before you started shooting." And to be honest, we just didn't. We didn't have that luxury. Luckily, we're all just really open people, and you know pretty quickly when you meet someone, "This is a person I can trust," or, "This person I don't really like." And I really loved every person on this film. I feel like I'm just, through this [press tour] process, getting to know who John is and who Destin is. And the person I've learned most about is Keith [Stanfield] because he, at the very beginning, before we started shooting, said, "I just want you know that Marcus doesn't trust [Grace] so I can't trust you. I don't want you to be offended but I'm not going to talk to you or hang out with you on or off screen." He never made eye contact with me. Even on the last day of shooting, there was only one seat left at lunch and it was at the same table as him. And I thought, "Whatever it's the last day." He instantly go up and moved and I was like, "Wow, really? Even the last day?"
It's not until this really amazing experience of us getting to fly and travel together and sit next to each other on long flights that we're actually learning who each other are. Because up until that point it was all within the context of this other world, and these other people and this story we were trying to tell. John and I had one dinner before we started shooting, and Destin did this really amazing thing, because he knew that John and I were getting dinner, and so he dropped off an envelope at John's place that John didn't know about until he walked out the door. It said, "To Brie and John. Don't open it until you get to the restaurant." So he shows up, it was our first time meeting, and he was like, "I got this thing." And I was like, "Is it a scavenger hunt?!" We opened it up and it had a cute little note from [Destin] and bunches of pieces of paper that were conversation starters. It was brilliant. And it was like, "What are your fears about being a parent?" to "What's your most vivid childhood memory?" to "What's a trauma you feel comfortable talking about?" "When was the last time you felt alon?" and "What do you think Grace and Mason's first date was like?" "How long have they been together for?" So without us even realizing it, we were learning how to communicate with each other, learning about each other, learning about the characters, learning how to bounce ideas off of one another. It was so easy and we didn't have to have that weird thing where you're forced to go, "Well we gotta like each other, so let's just do it." It was a very natural thing. It was really great.
This may sound strange, but I was surprised after I saw the movie how young you are in real life. Were you purposefully playing Grace to be older? Did you have an age for in your mind or in the script?I think maybe Grace was supposed to be older on the page, but I'm 23 and I got cast. I don't know. I think it's something about — and I'm surprised because I don't have make-up on or my hair done — that there's something about her that seems ageless. I feel like there are some times when I watch it I look like a child and others I'm like, that's a woman.
She's lived a lot of life.It's that and I also think it's the assuredness of her voice and the way she has to at times bark orders at people. And it sounds convincing, which is a really important thing for me, that it didn't sound like I was a child whining at people. I was really concerned with the tone of my voice when I was talking. I had to practice because I wasn't used to being forceful like that. I had never talked to anybody, let alone kids, in the way that I had to in this film.
Grace obviously has a lot of intense moments in the movie. Were there any scenes that were particularly difficult for you to film or that you were worried about filming?I mean, I was kinda worried every day. But, I mean, that was the fun of it. I read the script obviously many, many times. And it was not until I was shooting that I realized there's no light thing. Theres no kinda like, oh that's a whatever scene so I can walk through that one. So you get through the day pretty much being an actual social worker. So I get home and they're like, "Oh you have a 7 AM call tomorrow." And I look at what we're filming and it's like, You know I can't do it, there's no way. But for the most part I was pretty good at getting into Grace and understanding what her mental space was like, and then understanding what my own mental space was like and making sure that there was a big differentiation between the two.
But there was one day where I went home really shaken. It was the day that we ended the day with Brie finding Marcus trying to hurt himself and I personally have an aversion to blood. My dog broke a nail once and I fainted. I just don't deal with looking at it well, it makes me queazy. And Keith is a very good actor, and it was very jarring to go through the motions of discovering this thing and trying to save his life then watching his eyes roll to the back of his head. It really freaked me out. And that was the only time I don't remember leaving set — I don't really know how I got home. I had a lot of people from set that called because they were concerned about me driving home. That was the only time when I got home I wanted to scrub myself and — I wear my hair parted on the side but Grace wears it in the middle. That was the only time that I went home and had to brush my hair to the side to do the physical change of, That's not real life and thank goodness. It's like when you have a dream that feels so real, and when you wake up it still screws with you. You just go, "I felt it, though, it seemed like that happened." Even though it didn't actually happen. But other than that, pretty much everything else was very clear to me.
And in order for me to go to those places, I enjoy having a rapport with the crew. I think it's an important part of it because we're doing this whole thing together. I didn't want to seem like a self-centered actor where every day was me getting all tweaky in the corner and me not paying attention to anybody else and "gotta capture this whole wild animal" sort of thing. So I just decided from early on to be clear with my boundaries and just say, "I'll let you guys know when I need my space." So there were certain scenes where I was like, "I'm going really far deep under water. You're not even going to recognize me because it's not me anymore and I'm probably not going to remember this afterwards, but I'm going to go there. And then I'll let you know when I come up for air." Destin was kind of like the guardian angel, the air tank at the top of the water. And I'd swim down and then he would say, "We got it! Come up for air!" and then I'd swim to the top and then we could look at the tapes. You know, and it's me again.
You have three big festival movies coming out this year — Short term 12, Spectacular Now, and Don Jon — and all of them feel very different. I know you've been trying to avoid the feedback, but doing the press for them, hearing the reception, how has it been for each distinct movie different for you?It feels really surreal that the three movies that I did not only made it into festivals but have all been really well received. They're all very different and all of my characters are very different. That's really cool, and that's just the dream. I don't know, I mean, I feel like I'm just pinching myself a lot right now. It was quite tough this morning because I woke up in this very comfortable hotel bed and had coffee delivered to me in my hotel room. And I felt okay saying, "Yeah I'll pay $10 for my coffee because it got delivered to my room." I actually cried about it. I can't believe it. I'm just too cheap. I'm cheap. I bought this shirt at a thrift store! So it's a fun little vacation.
Short Term 12 opens in limited release Friday, Aug. 23, and nationwide Aug. 30.
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Brandi Glanville is a stripper. OK, not really. She's a stripper teacher. OK, not really that either. She's a female empowerment specialist and she empowers ladies by showing them how to be sexy and take their clothes off and drape their bodies around a pole. That is what Brandi does.
But first, Brandi must learn how to do this. She's studying to get her PhD in American Ecydysiology with Dr. Sheila Kelley. I gotta say, teaching Brandi how to be a stripper is sort of like teaching a midget how to be short. This is just something that she instinctively knows already. Last night we got to audit one of her classes, and Dr. Kelley told us how to make a "yummy circle" and "let everything ripple" and "give your body over to the pole." When Brandi showed off her skills she oohed and ahhed and moaned. "Congratulations! Merry Christmas. That's amazing. Oh yeah, that's so good. Yeah, just like that. Jiminy Cricket and Alfonso Riviera. Oh yeah, that's good. Oh yeah, that's amazing. Keep doing it. Just like that. Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam. Yes, Yes. Oh Yes. Perfect. Slide down that pole. Yes, yes, oh YEEEEESSSSSSSSSS." That is what Dr. Kelley sounded like. Brandi had graduated. She was now a professional pole dancer and could go off to teach everyone else how to pole dance.
And that is just what happened. She took Kyle, Lisa, St. Camille of Grammer, her best friend Jennifer, and Fetch (also know as Marisa Zanuck, who is never going to happen) to Las Vegas so they could all be empowered as women by learning how to dance on a pole. They had a boring dinner that was boring and looked just like the dinner that they had in Ojai where Brandi and Adrienne Queen of the Maloofs (a race of mole people that live under the mountain) got in a fight and Brandi and Kim Richards made up. It was boring. Then she took them to a class where she had to get up and empower all the women and she was like, "Hey, um, guys. I'm not very good at this but I just wanted to tell you that no matter what you're going through, um..." And Lisa interjected, "In life. Like divorce or..." "Yes, like if you're going through a divorce just know that you're..." "Beautiful, you're beautiful." "Yes, and that you can be amazing and you don't need people to, ummm..." "Tell you you're beautiful." "Yes. You can just. Like strip! Let's um..." "Oh, hell no. I'm not stripping."
The funniest thing is that Brandi was trying to be empowered and empower all these other women, and Lisa and all her friends just yelled over her and took away all her power. Good job. Brandi's Ladies Empowerment Strip-A-Thon. That's sort of all that happened last night. I don't know, this episode didn't really hit it for me. There aren't many other things I have to say about it.
Oh, we have to talk about Kyle Richards having a "sixth grade graduation" for her daughter Sophia and then having a big party where she just invited her friends and a bunch of old people and had catering. This is not a thing. This is not a real thing that people do. Do they? You know what I got for graduating sixth grade? Nothing! That's right. You do not graduate from sixth grade. You just, you know, go on to seventh grade. I certainly didn't graduate from sixth grade! I dropped out in fifth. Ha. Just kidding. No, I just got my report card, I came home from school and I gave it to my mother and she said, "Good job. But next year, I want to see better grades in conduct" and then I went to the living room and watched Jem and the Holograms. That is what happened. There was no ceremony. There was no party. There was nothing.
And of course Faye Resnick, the morally corrupt, was at the party, because that is the kind of influence you want around your young daugther. Yes, expose her to Faye Resnick. That's about as safe as letting her do synchronized swimming in toxic waste. Then Kyle made a big speech and cried because none of her family was there. Instead she had Adrienne Queen Maloof continuing to bitch that someone dared to speak the truth in public, and Faye Resnick. Maybe there's a reason why the family isn't stopping by. (And as for Adrienne, it sort of pisses me off a bit that a continued and prolonged plot point on this season is something that Bravo won't even tell us what it is. We're just supposed to accept that Adrienne is angry and that her anger is somehow deserved and move on without questioning it. I'm sorry, you either have to show it all or show none of it.
We interrupt this recap for our newest episode of everyone's favorite television program At Home with Yolanda Bananas Foster. Yes, ladies and gentleman, it is now time to check in on our favorite agoraphobic Housewife, Yolanda Bananas Foster. Yes, she can't really leave her house ever so she just invites everyone, including the cameras, over and films all her scenes from there. It's just best for everyone, I guess. Last night on At Home with Yolanda Bananas Foster Kyle and Lisa came over for a meet and greet with QVC mogul and Master of Thighs Suzanne Somers. Yes, Yolanda and Suzanne are great, great friends as most older blonde ladies with big bank accounts usually are. Yolanda and Suzanne are both obsessed with the same things: juice cleanses, vitamins, staying healthy, living to 100, and having lots of sex with their husbands because they are afraid that some floozy is going to come along and have sex with their husbands so that he'll buy them a Chanel bag and then he will leave them and they will have nothing, nothing, nothing.
What is Yolanda's deal with this? Later on in the episode, after a boring lunch with Suzanne where all they talked about was vitamins (yawn), we saw Yolanda using the many lemons from her enchanted orchard to make a lemon chicken dish for her husband, David Fosters Wallace. Yes, she cooks him up some chicken and chocolate souflee and, boy oh boy, does it look very good. See, this is what she is doing to keep her husband. She has to feed him and sex and him and do everything to cater to him, or he is going to leave her for that lady with the bag. Yolanda Bananas Foster is petrified that her man is going to leave her. It's insane. It's as insane as having a magical lemon orchard in your back yard. Wait, that's it. That's how she gets him to stay. It's not the sex or the food, it's the spell she has placed on the fruit. That's why he has to eat every meal there, it was like those nasty shakes Rosemary had to drink so that the devil would get into her baby. It's the same with David Fosters Wallace. When he eats the lemons, he can never leave. He's enchanted. Oh, that Yolanda. We always knew she was a witch.
We interrupt this recap of At Home with Yolanda Bananas Foster for an episode of our newest program At Home with Kim Richards. Hoping to slice off a little bit of the glory from her friend Yolanda Bananas Foster, Kim Richards has decided that she doesn't want to leave her nose anymore. Haha. I'm sorry. What did I say? She doesn't want to leave her nose? Ha. I meant her house. She doesn't want to leave her house. Because, well, she does want to leave her nose. The only time she wants to leave her house is to go to the plastic surgeon. To hear Kim tell it, she went with a friend on a consultation and, you know, since she was there she figued she should just pick up some surgical procedures. You know how it is. But the doctor, well, he wouldn't operate on her face or her eyes because, don't you know, Kim Richards doesn't need it. Her face is perfect. Oh, well, except her nose. That is the only part of her face that he would operate on. That is Kim Richard's only flaw. It is her nose.
So, she finds the best nose guy and meets with him and, even then, he says he doesn't need to do much and we should listen because he knows noses. How do we knows? Because Kim Richards tells us. "I know he knows noses. I knows he knows noses. Hahaha. Get it? He knows I know he knows which noses he knows. I supposes he knowses his toeses are noses. Haha. Get it."
Oh Kim. Then she goes back home to hang up pictures with Jeeves, her Mexican Manservant. That is what Kim does. She is finally going to decorate her sad ranch in the Valley, also known as the Sad Valley Ranch, with photographs of her children. "Oh look, there's Kimberly. Oh and Chad. There's my Brooke-y and Whitney. What are they doing there? They're such hams," she says to no one in particular. Then she looks at Jeeves and says, "They're all hams, my kids. They're all hams just like me. Let's put all of these up."
She holds each picture in its frame, dozens of them scattered on the floor, and then Jeeves puts a nail in the wall and they hang them. She doesn't know how she'll get them all up there, but she wants them all. She wants the wall covered. There is no plan or scheme, she hasn't laid out which ones should go next to which. She's not even sure what's in the pile, but she wants to be surrounded by her kids. She wants all the images in a great mass so that they can project down on her and protect her. They will be a talisman from the outside world.
Suddenly one of the pictures strikes her. There she is as a young mother, with the spring sunlight in her hair and shadows falling across her face so you can barely see her freckles. It looks like a movie still, in black and white, with her children's heads perched just under hers. There were only two then. Oh, how it is so different now. And that's when she sees it. Her nose. That is what sticks out to her. How it was always wrong, how it was always off. She needs to fix it. She needs to get her face back to how it was in that picture, with her children about her and so much in front of her. All the roads were open then, but now, well, it all seems like it's over. It seems like the final chapter now and she's withered and a mess. Maybe the nose will fix it, she thinks and she runs a finger along its lumpy slope. She can't think about it now. She needs her kids about her, like in that picture. She bends down to snatch another frame and suddenly she feels woozy and twists herself so she lands ass-first on the carpet. "Sorry, Jeeves, but Missus is a little tired. She just needs a minute," she says as she leans back against the wall, a welling getting tight in her chest, the air pulsing through her mouth and coming out her nose.
Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan
[Photo Credit: Bravo]
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Last week on 'Nashville', the battle of the gold glitter and sprayed hair reached quite the peak. Rayna and Juliette both strutted toned legs and curvy mid-sections under bright lights and belted out a song that may or may not have been entirely about Deacon. It was all so insestual, especially when the supposed enemies actually hugged it out, in slow motion. Okay, so the slowmo was just an ABC effect, but STILL. It was truly bizarre that the two seemed to have put all their drama behind them, especially in a series where clichés are its thing. But anyway, the night is young and there's more drama to be had. So let's just get right to it, shall we?
Scandal Crashed the Party
Rayna skipped along into her dressing room, her dress ridding up her shaved thighs as her minions followed suit, singing her praises on the duet with Juliette. Everyone was in a cheery, a champagne-swigging kind of mood. Even edgy new producer Liam McGuinness was warmly welcomed by the record label. Yep, spirits were higher than Ray's hair… that is until death's bitch, Teddy, walked in. Suddenly, the air grew thick and everyone fled the room. Teddy did not crack a smile. Not even a tiny one. He told his wife that no, he did not want to celebrate her amazing night. He did not want to congratulate her on getting her new album. He wanted to take her home by the wrist, sit her down, and explain the leaked photos of him and "Peggy" that may lose him the campaign. And that is exactly what he did. Rating: 9/10, because Teddy would steal Ray's thunder without second thought. Is he not the biggest twerp on TV in a long, long time, or WHAT?
No Sex Until Marriage, OKAY?
Juliette looked all fresh-faced and high school cheerleader-y when her football star virgin boyfriend ran in the door with a crumpled newspaper. "Nashville loves you!" Mr. Mancandy shared. This got J so hot and bothered she flung her stained zip-up off her shoulders and invited him in. To her disappointment, he kept denying her advances, Are we really to believe that the vixen would be just fine and dandy with this? I expected her to get her daggers out, tie his hands down and force herself upon him. That would seem more in character. Just a few weeks ago, J was literally throwing herself at men (yes, that actually did happen) and seduced them into bed. This is just like the time on Felicity when sex-crazed Elena stayed with Tracy even though he said he wanted to wait until marriage and she was all like OKAY COOL WHATEVER. Rating: 3/10, because, UGH, it just doesn't make any sense at all.
New Opportunities For All!
Remember how Deacon was sort of on the road to recovery after his rehab stint, but then we were led to believe that maybe he was going to relapse (and we were secretly praying for that to happen, because lord knows this show needs more real drama)? WELL, looks like he got a ticket out. D's former band friends, The Rebel Kings, approached him about joining them on tour. It would be a chance for him to get away from the Bluebird, if only for a bit, and play some new stuff. But Deacon isn't sure what he wants. "What's holding you back?" his pals asked. Apparently all his former druggie musicians also spent some time in rehab and they all flaunted pretty necklaces that said so. SO it wasn't that. But of course, it was Ray. Deacon couldn't imagine a life without her in the picture.
Meanwhile, our dear, sweet Scarlett faced major decisions of her own. Based on one performance ever EVER on a microphone, someone wants her to be the lead singer of some band. It's really quite realistic, don't you think? And like uncle like niece, or something, Scar wasn't sure what to do either – but this time because of Gunnar. Could she really bear to leave the man she loves and who loves her back?
And then there's Rayna, because why not make it a trifecta? The lady of the hour. Or every hour, for that matter. The record label loved her performance with J so much that they offered them a co-headlining tour. Ray looked down, remembered her no-so-perfect life, a life without Coach Taylor, lifted her head and gave an approving nod. She really just might go. Rating: 10/10, because everyone, and I mean everyone just happened to get essentially the same offer at the same time. How Nashville.
Not-So-Sweet Choir Girl
Okay, so even if we were to believe for one nano second that Juliette would stay in a committed relationship to virgin football man, there is NO WAY ON EARTH that she would not only go to church with his family, but perform in front of their choir, too. She is the opposite of wholesome, although I do give her props for trying to pull herself together. Sort of. But when J swayed back and forth in that church house, with the light of Satan God shining from above, nothing seemed sacred about it at all. Rating: 2.5/10, because you can't just go changing around character in a flash and expect us all to believe it. I'm not sorry.
"It's Always Been Over"
Bad couples are just falling apart left and right on this show – and it's amazing. First up: Ray and Teddy. These two have been on the rocks since the dawn of Deacon's 5 o'clock shadow. She knew she made a mistake the second she turned her back on his alcoholic scruff. Hell, even Old Man Watty knew it (and he don't know much these days). But no, this spat wasn't about their unresolved love, it was about Teddy being a stupid idiot and getting caught hugging "Peggy" something or other out in the public eye. Rayna went to see Teddy's opponent who was hoarding the photos to take a look for herself. And she was not happy with what was in the yellow folder. Hugging, closeness, shoulder rests – it was all in there. She stormed her bedazzled cowboy boots right into her dad's office, where her husband just so happened to be, and demanded an explanation. He said he would address everyone with the deets as soon as the photos were made public. And just like magic, they appeared on the good ole' Internet. Time to fess up. Teddy came clean to Ray about all the money-stealing and shadiness. And while Rayna's hair is shiny and her voice kind, there was no way she could ever trust him again. She got in her car and drove to "Peggy's" house to confront the ho. But it was too late. "Peggy" had overdosed on pain killers and was being pulled into the ambulance. Womp womp.
But that's not all. Gunnar and his girlfriend whose name still does not exist or at least I don't care to remember, broke up. It's not even worth going into, considering we all knew she was a stupid filler girl, just a placeholder until the Scar-Gunnar storyline could progress. And now it's here. GunGun turned right around, marched over to the Bluebird, and landed a gross one on Scar who gave her typical holding-my-breath wide-eyed stare and ran away. Rating: 10/10, because the demise of already-failed relationships is better than sex scandal in any dysfunctional southern drama.
A Casual Drop-By
Deacon stopped by Juliette's house to, I don't know, catch up? Their relationship is so under-developed it's confusing as to what the show is trying to accomplish. Are they friends? F*ck buddies? Co-workers? A mixed bag of psychotic nuts? Dea handed J a note from her mother. Apparently, he had been checking up on her since they're so close as all, having met once. But J didn't want to see it. She didn't want anything to do with anything her mother may have touched. You see, when J was just a little thing, she was ashamed of her mom. The way she'd hang around when her friends were over. The way she made her eat dry pancake mix (WTF?!). The way she had to act like a grown up before she could fit into a push-up bra. She especially didn't want to hear advice from the man risking an opportunity for a woman who's been playing him since pre-curling iron days. And so they parted ways and Dea went over to see The Gypsy Kings and agreed to the tour. He said goodbye. Rating: 1/10, because there's no reason these two need to stay connected at all anymore, unless it's illicit – then, I'll take it.
Oh, The Cliffhanger
Don't get your hopes up, my friends. It was more like a baby sand slope than a cliff, if anything. Juliette was all faklempt after her football star boyfriend's mom told her that she'd never be in their family. There was no way they'd let scum like her into their perfect, Christian home. J shrugged off her insecurities and kept her head high, but she was clearly hurt. Perhaps even more hurt than the day she had to eat dry pancake mix (not over it). But instead of sulking forever and fading into the background (as if), J took matters into her own conniving hands – the hands we've grown to love. In an attempt to either f*ck with his mother or deflower the poor lad, she asks him to marry her. Rating: 4/10, because J may be desperate for some real love, but she's not stupid. She'd want a ring.
SO, will he say yes? Will we finally get to see his naked body? Will Ray and Dea and J and Teddy and "Peggy" and Old Man Watty and GunGun and Scar (and not Avery, because who cares?) live to make more shameful choices? I sure hope so. What about you? Let us know in the comments below!
[Image Credit: Chris Hollo/ABC]
Follow Anna on Twitter @thebrandedgirl
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It’s Wednesday! And come hell or high water, rain or shine, I’m here to bring you your weekly list of oh-so-fun spoilers. This week’s edition of Leanne's Spoiler List comes to you from the cloudy land of the Great North. That’s right, TV lovers, I’m currently in Canada searching for the real Robin Sparkles, and visiting the sets of some of my favorite shows. (More on that next week but here’s a teaser: Things on Once Upon a Time are about to get terrifyingly twisted y’all!) This week is packed with top-rated shows. I’ve got all the details on a rocky Grey’s Anatomy romance, chatted with Criminal Minds’ Joe Mantegna about tonight’s shocking new episode, and nabbed some Vampire Diaries scoop from its all-knowing creator, Julie Plec. Plus, I’ve got the goods on what’s coming up on Supernatural, How I Met Your Mother, and Arrow! Enjoy these steamy spoilers while I try not to freeze to death to get you more scoop!
1. Grey’s Anatomy: Cheer Up Callie!
There are two things in life that I’ll always love: 1. Actors who play doctors. (They’re always happy because they get to wear scrubs everyday!) 2. Sparkly things.(Duh.) So you can imagine my extreme delight last Saturday when I interviewed Sara Ramirez while wearing a pink tiara at Disney Junior’s Sofia the First premiere. (By the way, Ramirez plays Queen Miranda, an actually sweet stepmother.) After we "ooh-ed" and “aah-ed” about the fairies on the lavender carpet (No lie), Ramirez and I had some serious girl talk about what’s coming up for Callie after her particularly devastating life changes so far this season. The actress reveals, “Basically she’s just in survival mode in her personal life and in her professional life she has busied herself with Derek Shepherd’s hand/wrist, helping with all that nerve damage that he experienced from the plane crash. She’s keeping busy and trying to make herself useful at the hospital.“
Callie’s personal life with Arizona (Jessica Capshaw) has been rocky in these past few episodes (to say the least), and Ramirez explains that Callie will continue to be cautious with her behavior at home. “I think that given that her wife is just getting back up on her feet — or foot as it were — Callie is sort of just trying not to make anything worse.”
Though Calzona (I freakin’ love that shipper name, bee tee dubs) is experiencing yet another rough patch, Ramirez told me that she is actually excited for this one. “What I kind of love is that a couple seasons ago, Arizona was there for Callie when Callie was going through [a lot] — you know, she almost died and lost her baby. So what’s really great this season was seeing how, in a sense, the roles have been reversed and Arizona is now going through something medical and that is very, very scary and upsetting and Callie is now having to be strong and be the rock and very forgiving. So we’ll see how that plays out.”
Something tells me that this couple will definitely make it through this mess, but I do wish that Callie would start smiling a bit more. Ramirez says with a laugh, “Totally! I couldn’t agree more.” Looking ahead to this week’s episode, Ramirez says Seattle Grace fans can look forward to yet another amazing episode. “We’ve shot some pretty intense scenes," she says. "This next episode, which is Chandra Wilson’s, is really fantastic. She did a really great job, so I’m excited for that episode.“
2. Supernatural: Meet The New Ladies!
Grab your lassoes and hop on your horses, Supernatural fans, because later this season, the sexiest brothers on TV are ready to cowboy up and get down and dirty on a ranch. In episode 13, “Trial and Error,” fans will be introduced to three new ladies that Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) meet in Idaho. Yes, you read that correctly: Idaho. It sounds a little boring compared to some of our recent adventures, but let’s decide that after we meet the little hoes, shall we? First up is Ellie, a girl in her mid-20s that is being described as “cowgirl hot" — think girl next door, but with a county twist. Ellie manages a ranch and her personality weaves between straight-forward and spunky.
But the most important part about Ellie is that she’s got to be gorgeous. (Um hello! It is a CW show after all!) The casting breakdown says the show's hoping to nab a “younger Sandra Bullock to Emma Stone” type of girl. The brothers will also be chatting it up with two sisters — twins to be exact. Alice and Cindy Cassity are two thirtysomething girls, and are simply described as “pretty” — think Gwyneth Paltrow. They are the slightly pretentious daughters of Cyrus Cassidy, the owner of a ranch. Whether or not this is the same ranch that Ellie manages is TBD. All right I’ve got to be honest, these girls all seem great and all but the biggest question is this: Can they bake pie?
3. Criminal Minds: Rossi’s Reveal
Criminal Minds is freakin’ awesome. I used to be scarily obsessed with it, but when I saw the an episode guest-starring James Van Der Beek as a split personality, homicidal maniac, my Dawson’s Creek heart couldn’t take it and I had nightmares for weeks. Now that I’m a bit older, and have discovered that my cell phone can double as a nightlight, I’ve fully re-embraced Criminal Minds, adding it back onto my elite DVR list. Last week I had to pleasure of chatting with Joe Mantegna and he explained why he believes fans are so obsessed — and rightfully so — with this CBS hit. “We like to think we’re a thinking person’s show," he says. "We don’t speak down to our audience. We try to challenge them and let them explore this world with us." This week’s episode, titled “The Fallen," is going to be a huge treat for long-time viewers of the series. After all, we're finally going to get a more in-depth look into David Rossi’s past. “We’ve alluded to the fact that my character, David Rossi, had some background in the military," the actor says. "That’s going to really get explored [this week]. As a young man, he was in Vietnam with his commanding officer at that time and now David runs into him many, many years after and see that he is homeless on the streets of Los Angeles.”
Through flashbacks, we’re going to gain more knowledge of Rossi’s past as a soldier in Vietnam and Mantegna says he was delighted to meet Robert Dunne, the actor who plays young David. “We only got to meet at the read-through because, obviously, we can’t be at the same place at the same time, but he did a wonderful job and I bought it," he says. "And I figure if I bought it then everybody else would be able to buy it."
So prepare yourself, Criminal Minds fans, for a personal and provocative episode. “In this case, Veterans and homelessness are issues that are relevant and I think that we do it in a very interesting and entertaining way," Mantegna says. "I couldn’t be happier with the episode.”
4. Arrow: That’s So 2007
Tonight’s episode of Arrow once again starts off with a shirtless Oliver (Stephen Amell). I really hope that this becomes a weekly tradition, because, holy hell, that man is definitely bringing sexy back. And speaking of out-of-date pop culture references, it looks like Ollie needs to take a crash course on what’s hot and what’s not in 2012. For example (as Thea so painstaking points out on the series), “Oh snap” is no longer a socially acceptable comeback and Dr. Oz is in no way, shape, or form connected to Dorothy and her Ruby slippers. (It’s okay Oliver, I’ll still love you even if you really have no idea how to navigate a Facebook timeline.) Moving along to this week’s bad guys, Diggle is determined to stop a group of mask-wearing bank robbers, but Oliver says he wants nothing to do with these sub-par Starling evil doers: “I don’t fight street crime.” Of course it doesn’t take long for Diggle to convince his new partner to tweak his crime-fighting standards. Spoiler Alert: Even in the middle of a heated attack, the Starling City Police still call him a “vigilante.” Can someone please send them a post-it note explaining that his badass superhero name is Arrow?! In other more romantical news, Tommy is doing his best to woo Laurel and he turns to a somewhat unlikely friend for help. Thus, our show's love-triangle transforms into a kinda, sorta love-square. Oh The CW, you sure know how to toy with our emotions while all the hot people fall in love with one another, don’tcha?
5. How I Met Your Mother: Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?
This season of HIMYM has been a tad stale, even for the most ardent of the show's fans. That includes myself — I love this show so much, it pains me to admit that six episodes have already aired and very little (of interest, at least) has happened. Barney and Quinn are caput, Robin and her newest beau on are the rocks, and Victoria left Ted without making a single cupcake! So basically, we’re back to square one and hoping praying that we will soon get some progress towards the infamous wedding/mother reveal.
Until then, I caught up with my favorite bro-ther, Wayne Brady, to see if James Stinson is going to make his way back to MacLaren’s Pub anytime soon. “I believe James is,” Brady confirms with a smile. “I don’t know when. I really can't say. They’re bros and he has to be there to back him up. Especially if his big day is going to happen.”
Yay! Barney is always at his best when his fellow suit-lover is around. So what has the other legendary Stinson been up to since we last saw him? Brady muses, “As far as I know, James and his husband, Jay — they hang out, they have the baby and they’re good. They go to fashion week in New York and they go to a couple Broadway shows and life is great.” Now only if he can convince Barney to start thinking about settling down — then we could finally get some progress!
6. The Vampire Diaries: Dark, Rock Bottom
Last week’s episode of TVD was flawless. Elena had her first kill, Jeremy is now a member of The Five, and Matt learned that he could compel a girl just by looking ridiculously hot. But now that so many game changers have come into play, I looked to Vampire Diaries boss lady Julie Plec to shed some light on what’s up next. First up, Stelena: In this week’s episode, Plec says Elena’s irritation over her boyfriend’s deceit will definitely linger. “She’s mad at him," Plec says. "And she definitely starts [this] week super mad at him. And so, forgiveness and understanding and learning the truth of what he was up to and is up to — all those things are up ahead and we’ll see how she handles it.” The showrunner also teased that mistrust is going to impact and possibly shift our love triangle beginning this week. You hear that Delena fans? Oh, you’re hyperventilating with excitement? Proceed.
Now let’s tackle the mythology details, y’all. We’ve met other vampire hunters in Mystic Falls before (RIP Alaric), but what distinguishes The Five from these wannabes? “This is the original story of the vampire hunter told to its end, as opposed to Alaric, who was really pissed off and had a good stake,” Plec reveals.
The quest for answers about the cure is going to be a large arc that we focus on this season, and there are some major challenges ahead. “Oh, everything's about to change in some way or another," Plec says. "Those changes will have a ripple effect through the entire season. I'm not saying it's all going to change next Thursday at 8 o'clock, but there are some pretty big moves next week as a result of this.”
Right now, everything is going to be dark and twisty as Elena deals with the repercussions of killing a hunter, but her life life will eventually improve. “Elena's certainly been in a pretty dark place," Plec says. "[This] week, we kind of hit dark, rock bottom, and then, the episode that follows is like this episode of light and pretty and sun.” We can all thank the Miss Mystic Falls event for our upcoming sunny disposition. Yay for tiaras! Follow Leanne on Twitter @LeanneAguilera
–Additional reporting by Shaunna Murphy
[Photo Credit: ABC, CBS, The CW]
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True Blood’s fifth season has been hard to pin down. There’s been a general pseudo-political wash thrown over everything, but that gets pretty messy when you start involving Russell Edgington, actual U.S. politics, and trying to figure out how to fit werewolves into the plot. Even so, the series has managed to whittle down its overly abundant storylines for the setup of its finale.
We have, however, been burned a few times this season. As long as TB doesn’t commit these sins, we could be looking at a decent season-ender.
Bill Suddenly Forgets This Whole Being a Total Douche Mess
This whole season, we’ve watched in disbelief as Bill has become what we’ve always been sure he wasn’t: evil and a follower. He’s lost his strength, and while he’s done wrong in weak moments in the past, he always maintains remorse or, at the very least, good intentions. Now, he’s gone full-metal-asshole. It’s one of the more intriguing aspects of this season, and one that should continue into the next. Please, for the love of Lilith, don’t let him wake up and magically see the error of his ways. Keep Bill evil. Keep the show interesting.
Lilith Isn’t Vanquished
Alright, let’s hang on to Evil Bill, but can we cut it out with the blood-drenched, hissing naked Goddess please? She did her job; she inspired evil. And wouldn’t it be a fantastic twist if everyone thought they could just vanquish Lilith and Bill would be saved, when in reality he’s stuck as Evil Bill? That would be a fantastic way to leave us all hanging.
Hoyt Comes Back From Alaska
Seriously. Don’t. Life was so much better once he left. And bringing him back won’t fix Jason’s mopey problem, it will just drive a bigger wedge between him and Jessica. And nobody wants that.
Mirella Has The Infernal Andy Baby
This is completely morbid and if she was a real person I would feel horrible for saying this, but what if Mirella just happens to jaunt back to the fairy tent as Russell is storming the flapping curtains and he happens to catch her eye? She’d be gone in a second and so would this ridiculous Andy-has-two-girlfriends story. Andy doesn’t need a love triangle and we certainly don’t need a baby version of him, either.
Jason Forgets Everything About His Character And Rides The Hate Wave
Jason is a good guy. He’s a dumb guy, but he’s inherently good. He’s a bit of a slut, but he is ultimately a really sweet guy. So why, oh why, would he jump on the hate train so easily, especially when mere episodes ago, he was torn up over Jessica? Part of the excitement of a TV-bound potential couple is the obstacles that lay before them, but if the promos are telling the truth and the next obstacle is this out of Jason’s character-base, that excitement is going to dwindle into grumbly frustration.
Nora and Eric Continue This Brother-Sister Sex Romp
It’s uncomfortable. Truly. No amount of romantic music in the world can make this sister and brother sexual relationship fun or compelling. And ultimately, that’s because the two actors simply have no chemistry (and in a small part because some of us still want to Sookie to get back on the Eric train and she can’t if Nora’s bringing up the caboose).
What do you think will happen on Sunday’s finale?
Follow Kelsea on Twitter @KelseaStahler
[Photo Credit: HBO]
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Fox Searchlight took its indie comedy Cedar Rapids all the way to the Sundance Film Festival last month to show an eager audience what producer Alexander Payne, director Miguel Arteta and star Ed Helms had cooked up. Luckily for you, the studio had always planned on giving the rest of the country a look at the film just a few weeks after the Park City, Utah festival concluded.
Cedar Rapids is now playing in limited release and I was fortunate to get the chance to talk to some of its cast and crew at a recent New York press event. Click here for my review of the film and read on below for exclusive interviews with Arteta, Anne Heche and Isiah Whitlock Jr., who play strong supporting characters in the crazy convention comedy.
Isiah Whitlock Jr.
Ronald wasn't really the funny character in the film, but I found it really ironic and quite hilarious that he kept referencing the The Wire, which you had a recurring role in. What was that like for you?
You know, when I got the script and I first read that in there, it did run across my mind as “how do you go about making this work” without it coming off as a "wink-wink" moment because I didn’t want to be part of that. As far as I was concerned, The Wire for me is done. That's not something to carry over; we were off into something totally different. That being said when you put it in the context of the character - who he is and where he’s from and what he is all about - then you begin to see how it works. So trying to stay focused on that, "it's the character doing it, it's not me," is not something I’ve done in the past. Then it begins to work and I think one of the great things for me is that if you know The Wire, the moment really works. If you don’t know The Wire and you don’t know me, the moment still works. It just works in a totally different way, but the effect is still going to be there because people are so blown away and shocked that that's what would happen with this character when he tries to rescue them out of the meth house. By knowing The Wire, it's kind of a treat to see it in that context and it still works. I’m happy, I know Ed had talked about wanting to get rid of it when I came on board and that I understand because the movie is not about that, but I’m glad they kept that moment in because it's sort of that final piece to the arc for that character.
The tone was perfect, it was not mocking but it was just sort of a nod, it wasn’t a cheap.
And right before that moment, I peak in to see what's going on and there's that slight moment of "oh my god, what do we do" and this is the only thing that we can do thats going to get us out of that and back into the van.
Now you just talked about how this came up while you were shaping the character. Can you talk a bit more about how you created the character? I couldn’t help but think of Cleveland from Family Guy because Ron was very mellow. I don’t know if that went into your mind, but what did?
This is going to sound really bad, but I’ve never seen Family Guy.
He’s totally a non-confrontational character, so much so to the point that his wife cheats on him with his best friend and he lets it go. He's a passive guy, uber-friendly almost to the point that it's not healthy. That works against the character but it made him more endearing. I got a similar feeling from Ron, and now that I know you've never seen Family Guy I'm curious to know what your influences were in shaping him?
A lot of that has to do with the script. Phil Johnston’s writing; there were times when I would want to go off in a different direction that I really needed Miguel’s help to guide me back to make sure I stayed on point. It's like, "This is the character we’re trying to create here. You can do that; you can do the character but you have to make sure you stay on point. We can’t have him reveal this inner thing too early on." I was really thankful that Miguel would reel me back in. Sometimes, in like the bar scene, we’re doing shots and I kind of go to the way I would take a shot. And he would say, "In this next take, I want to calm him down a little. You’re having too good of a time. Sometimes you start coming off as Deansy (John C. Reilly's character)". I’m going to do shot the way I know how to do shot and have a good time. I had to keep pulling him back in. After a while now I begin to see how we’re going with this guy. The other thing, I know so many guys who are like Ron in this movie. And I remember this one time I was telling a friend how people always see west coast, east coast, especially for African American guys with attitudes and I know so many guys that are just not like that. So one of the things I wanted to do was break that a little bit. Because growing up in Indiana and going to college in Minnesota, I’ve come across a fair amount of, it's almost like, theres no word for it, but I can play it and I can put my finger on it and say this is what it is. And I felt that way with Clay Davidson. I dont think I can label it but I can show you what it is.
You came into a production filled with some comic geniuses. Was it a fun film to make?
Well you know, that kind of helped my character in a way. One - I’m gonna be on the set, I know I can’t compete with their ability to do comedy. I don’t want to sell myself short but they’re geniuses. What they could do at times off the cuff and make it look so effortless it would take me a day to think about.
Did it help you define the character, being able to work off them?
It did, because I would sit and watch and enjoy what they’re doing. But that's kind of what the character does in the movie. He’s reactionary. You’re just hanging back, you have your moments. But it was a joy to watch and be around. Just the way they work. I got an incredible education in comedy while they were just doing they're thing. There was no showing up and saying "we’re going to be doing a comedy," it was like "we’re going to do business as usual, but on top of that we’re going to be funny."
And that's the great thing about the dramedy. Independent film has become a melding of genres, which is a good thing. You can’t put a label on everything. Can you clarify Ron’s relationship with Tim? They alluded to a closeted homosexuality with Tim, I don’t know if it was intentional. I read it as jealousy, like he wanted something more with the guy. Maybe I read it wrong.
I don’t think it was that. What I do feel that Ron wanted to, it's kind of like, I like him and I don’t want to see him get hurt or corrupted or go down this sort of path that I know he’s sorely lacking in the skills to do that. I know he’s sorely lacking in the skllls to do 20 shots or hang out with prostitutes, so I was kind of like it's more like a big brother. And then Deansy comes in and trying to balance it out. "Calm down, calm down, we don’t have to get into that." I could handle it, but I know right off the bat that Tim is out of his league.
That speaks to the character, more like a big brother. Deansy was a bad influence, as was Joan to a lesser extent.
He needed to be anchored because you get in with the wrong crowd, the next thing you know you’re doing meth. The fact that it happens to him quickly is funnny, but you see him spiraling out of control. I was trying to be the guy holding things down. And still be at the convention and have all the fun that everyone else is having. I want to get up and go to the breakfast and have a few drinks at the bar. You’re at a convention. I said it reminded me of guys who play golf, but I remember when I started playing, people would ask how is it playing golf and I would say I never knew people acted in such a juvenile way. It's always like you want to say, "do you really act like that in life, do you really cheat like that? When is a four foot putt a gimme?" I’ve seen Tiger Woods miss those. People come to a convention and want to cut loose and act silly and say all kinds of things, it's kind of like people going to a super bowl party. People getting wasted. But I just found that if Ron was a little bit controlled, I would be happy with him.
Do you think Ron missed his calling as a gangster?
Not any more than we all did. We all live vicariously through the gangsters. I think that's what fascinates people with the mob, The Sopranos and Goodfellas, and the great one The Godfather. We live vicariously through them. And I could see why people would live vicariously through characters in The Wire. No one would do that, but he says "I’m a big fan of the critically acclaimed HBO series The Wire."
Have you kept up with any of the HBO shows since The Wire ended and, if so, what do you like?
I did watch Treme because one, the show is terrific and two, it's David Simon’s new show. Boardwalk Empire, I like. I try to watch as much as I possibly can. And then I was on Rubicon which was on AMC.
I loved that show too. What was your experience with that like?
One of the things I loved about it, it didn’t shoot in the major NY locations. It shot in the back alleys. But people would come up and say, I really feel bad the show is canceled. You know it's part of the game. You do the good ones, you do some that dont make it. You move on. You accept that it's part of the game. Things are not always going to be like The Wire. But you need to be thankful you got a chance to do that. I can say I was apart of something really really good and that will carry me through the rest of my life.
Is it easy reuniting with actors you’ve worked with previously? In this case, John. What's that like after so many years?
Well John C. Reilly and I have been looking for something to do since The Good Girl but it's hard to find a character that John hasn’t done already. But when this Deansy character came up it was awesome because here’s somebody who has to be a complete loud mouth but also feels the pain of his divorce and is poignant. And those extremes I hoped John would react to. This is going to be a fun character to play. And it's not just a cartoonish character at all; the bitterness of that divorce is behind every line in the film.
It grounded the character and obviously you needed something to ground Deansy because otherwise he was just spewing raunch and debauchery the whole time. Switching gears really quickly, what was it that drew you to the project?
It was Ed and the script. The script had genuine affection for its characters. He’d have fun with his characters but never make fun of them. Which as a director is what you want. You do not find this every day. You can tell by the way he names the characters, Bill Krogstad, Dean Zeigler, he really loves his characters and that was the reason I wanted to sign in. But Ed in this part was really exciting. He has this quality almost like a Jack Lemmon, of being an everyday guy, wholesome, but also has a comedic edge. You don’t see that often. And the story was perfect for me. Particularly the art of being kind underneath not being a chump.
There was a lot of morality and themes in it; not like some conventional comedies. Ed’s man-child growth, corporate corruption, seperation of church and career, was that all from the script or did you balance it yourself?
It was there in the script and I loved all of it. Find out what the priorities are and look deeply into people and see what their priorities are because appearances are misleading. What I loved about it was that he looks at these people that are so different from him, it's like the Wizard of Oz of insurance. He goes and finds these three motley characters, he needs them and they need him. And they’re all so different but they become friends because he’s able to look and realize these people have the same priorities, even though one is foul mouthed and one is a very confused house wife and one is extremely timid. They all share the same priorities and I love that about the film. It's a movie about recognizing, being able to look deeper into people and recognizing what's really important.
Everyone brought a different comedic style. Ed is the sheltered man-child, then John's Deansy, the insurance all-star differed from and Isiash's sensibilities, which was very reserved and calm. How do you balance a scene, like some of the bar scenes, and comedy in them when you have all these different styles.
Well the contrast makes it really fun, the fact that you can’t imagine they could find common ground then they do. the more different they are the more exciting it is, just to see them find common ground. Ed had something interesting, he told me three years ago that he would be in a movie with John C. Reilly, Anne Heche, Isiah Whitlock Jr. That's a pretty strange cast and that's the loveliness of the movie; it finds this motely crew on the ground. I wanted to capture what it's like to have that moment of surprise when out of nowhere you make a lifelong friend. It can happen at any time and when it does those first few days when you connect with that person and realize this person is going to be a friend for life, there’s madness and fun and those memorable first few days are what I wanted to capture.
The film is loaded with cameos, Rob Corddry, Thomas Lennon, and more. How did it all come together? I almost wanted to see more Corrdry’s drug pushers.
Ed has a lot of fans and John as well, and Ed knew Rob from The Daily Show. And he said let's have Rob do something a little different. He came out and hung out with us for three nights and it was awesome to see him do a scary guy. And Tom and I were friends with someone so it was nice to bring him in and do something different. He usually doesnt play the alpha male.
That was definitely a departure for him. Humor from an unlikely place.
It's kinda like things are big for Tim, someone so sheltered and afraid to leave home. The fact that having a red car blows his mind, the little thigns are huge for him.
Speaking of sheltered, there's an innocence about small town USA wouldn’t have been in the film if it was set in NYC. One of the benefits of having a film set in and about Main Street America.
I think it cuts away some of the bullshit. I’m kind of personally tired of super-hipster comedies that try to shock people. Comedy has become almost too hip and I love the idea of doing a wholesome comedy with a little foul language and little sex, but generally speaking not your super hip-comedy and if I see another comedy set in LA I think I’ll shoot myself. I think going into another world is very refreshing and it takes a bit of the hipness out of it. I may be against the norm, but things are working out for me. You need to make movies for the things you need. It's like cooking. You cook and make it taste good for you and hope people like it.
This is definitely not a mainstream comedy, being set in Cedar Rapids and about insurance salesmen. What challenges did that present?
You have to get to know the world and it helped to know the place and what it's like to be from the midwest. Reilly is from Chicago, Anne is from Ohio and the writer is from Wisconsin; he was a meterologist in Wisconsin. So I had a lot of help keeping it in that world. We did shoot in the midwest, we shot in Ann Arbor. The conventioneers, a very important part, they were wonderful and added a distinct midwestern flavor to it.
Can you give some updates on developing projects. Most recently we heard you were attached to Fat Man with Adam Sandler...
Not attached. I was given the script and think it's wonderful. It's hilarious. The character is super-intelligent and funny and a most unlikely character. I’m in love with it and I hope he has the gumption to do it, but I’m not doing it. I spent last year working on a TV show with Mike White that he wrote for Laura Dern and Luke Wilson called Enlightened that will premiere on HBO this summer. Mike White is my favorite writer and wrote ten episodes. I’m really jazzed about that. It's a real, original TV series. I’m very excited about it.
You’ve been working on projects with very specific alternative settings for a while now. Men In Trees, Hung, now this. What is it about enclosed communities that is so attractive to talent and what makes them endearing?
I think that any time you take a big concept and put it into a small group it's an easier way to digest the human story. None of these are big action romps, these are human stories. Hung, certainly Detroit, was a very particular desired look, with what was going on with the economic crisis so that backed it up. To play those small town characters, I loved talking to people who have a dream to get out of the small place and to play a person who had such a dream and got stuck. And it's just wonderfully complicated. She’s again, a woman who is in a place of her choice. John has a strength that my character doesn’t have and it's one of the reasons I love going from the innocence of the girl I play in Hung, who doesn’t have a choice to look at the world any other way.
She looks at the world and what's happening and absorbs it and deals, thats how Jessica deals with it. Joan on the other hand is a very strong woman who knows exactly what she's doing and she's made her choices and she knows how to survive them. I thought that was an amazing way to approach someone who could have some judgment, but I found her to be very centered and very strong in making choices that may not be right for anyone but her family. And the way she survives it and makes her world work was very interesting to me. She's still a woman who lives within her boundaries and the context of her rules. Playing characters is always so wonderful because they all have different shapes and forms, literal boundaries around their emotions and boundaries around their physical being. So to play an insurance salesmen, a committed mother and wife, a person who is in the MidWest who's morally bound by her land, I do feel like women in the MidWest are centered in their faith, centered in their roles for themselves. They’re appropriate.
Their rules or societies rules?
A combination of both. Midwesterner's are centered in their faith in a good way. I really wanted to portray that. I grew up a little town in Ohio. I see it in my sisters. My oldest sister is a very very centered, grounded, midwestern woman that made choices not everyone would necessarily agree with. I liked Joan's strengths within the boundaries. She's the wild woman in the movie but she’s not an actress that goes out on a Saturday night. She’s Joan Ostrowski-Fox, she has a containment that I thought was really interesting to play.
Shes living a life that she can’t escape.
Not fully, but I never wanted Joan to want to fully escape. She doesn’t want to leave her life, she has a way that she deals with her life and it's this one weekend every year. It's a little bit of a play on gender and an understanding that men go away and it's ok if they have affairs. We somehow accept that, strangely. I don't even know why our society is like "oh yeah, that happens but we don't think that way about women" so we wanted to play with that.
This isn't your first time working with Alexander Payne, who produced this as well as Hung. What's that relationship like?
Well Alexander directed the pilot of Hung as well as produced it, and I wasn’t on board with the intial pilot. I was off shooting a movie and then I came on after and they replaced the girl with me and Alexander and I got to work in a really amazing fast-paced environment. We put these things in the pilot with Tom in that story and he and I had so much fun really playing together. I was so moved by the fact that they asked me to do it. I met them and I was nine months pregnant and was going to give birth in two days and I said I could do it and I don't know how they believe me, but everyone somehow supported me. I could work things off after I gave birth so when I came waddling on to the set seven days after and Thomas and I were doing these incredibly emotional scenes and Alex had come back to direct them.
Thomas then said he thought they found "the ex-wife" they needed and I felt so great and couldn’t believe the blessing in my life. Alexander was also thinking that the elements of his show were coming together and we were in a celebration. And then this movie came along and I walked into the room with a red wig on to say I think I see this character this way.
Joan is the strongest person in the film, I think. Funny, but not in an imposing way like Deansy. And she's grounded in her responsibilities. How do you ground her when she's in this hightened situation and as an actress how do you stay grounded working with Ed and John?
You always have to tell the truth when you're playing a character, no matter what that character is. I played this character on Ally McBeal that they had written for me, a woman with tourettes. How do you know what she's going to do or say. You figure out the boundaries first. You can’t curse on TV, you’ve gotta have some physical boundaries and you have to be funny. You have to create the tourettes around these boundaries and that's what makes it interesting. If you never set your rules, you’re never going to go outside of them. That's how you shape them, her physicality comes in, the look of her, everything comes in to shpae her from the ground up and inside. It's the same thing with the other character. She is a person I love and she has a role that suits a story so she is a being within this world who is also telling a larger story but the bigger story of these four unlikely people coming together to touch each other, move each other, and shape something that has changed their lives that they will have forever. Miguel wanted to make a movie about friendship, first and foremost.
Your backstory has a bigger effect on your character than the rest of the cast, except for Ed because we see his. Miguel thinks that Deansy's history was paramount to the character and I guess I sort of agree but not as much as I think that way about your character. How much of that came in handy during production?
Knowing who she is, once you figure out who you are, you are who you are. It's funny, younger actors ask me how do you stay in character. Once you figure out who you are you can’t lie. You should never be thinking about how you’re saying a line. No one else knows how you’re going to say your line. If your name is Jane, no one asks Jane if your going to pause before if, and, or but. So if you’re in that truth, you’re in the truth. You’re going to be, it doesn’t matter if the ceiling fell in.
It's not acting, it's becoming.
I used that once. You become. Don’t get flightly about it, you’re already doing it. If you’re thinking about it, you’re not it.
Where does Ed rank in your on cinematic love scenes?
That's a really hard question. I’ve worked with some of the world's sexiest men and that's an amazing thing to say. Also some of the world's greatest comedians. What's fun and difficult about creating a relationship in front of a camera is removing all of the things getting in the way of being in that relationship. No matter what it is. If it's Harrison Ford, the first movie i ever saw was Star Wars and I fell in love with movie. The trick to being on screen with him is to remove all of those things that are flying around in your head. Who ever thought in a million years I would be here. The same obstacles exist when you’re in a scene with Ed Helms. "Is this supposed to be a comedy? Wait a minute, he’s an innocent...is it supposed to funny? I thought it was the guy from The Hangover? My son just watched that, he shouldn’t have watched that, it's rated R." How do you remove all that and get to these two people in a pool. It was bad, looking into each others eyes to get to a moment where he embraces himself. How do I let him be enough? How do I remove myself enough to get to the final moment of this where he says "I want to make love," where we break through for his character. How can I remove myself enough to get there?
How does he rank? The same as everyone else. A wonderful partner. It was very fun for me and for everyone.
S1: E1 What do you get when you combine the idea behind the British television hit, Footballer’s Wives, add real people instead of actors, set it in the biggest football town in the US, and throw in some canned dialog, awkward attempts at discussing the game, and obviously fake setups? You get Football Wives, one of VH1’s latest attempts at train-wreck television.
The show follows the spouses of five Dallas Cowboys players (sorry no Tony Romo) and two UFL players. And as with any ensemble reality show, the first episode was little more than an extended meet and greet where we get the rundown on each of the seven football wives (one is still just a football girlfriend, but we’ll let that slide).
First we meet Chanita Foster, wife of George Foster, who’s recently been downgraded from an NFL team to a UFL team. Translation: Foster went from the big paychecks and fame of the big leagues to a lower paying, less prestigious professional football league. She and her husband have just moved to Dallas as George takes on his spot in the UFL. Already, you can tell that Chanita is going to be one of the biggest sources of drama on the show. She’s the new girl in town, but obviously very outspoken and she’s already buddied up with one of two queen bees in the Dallas football wives world. Enter the first contentious relationship. (Chanita’s already picking up change off of the Davis’ garage floor. Yikes.)
Amanda Davis is married to Dallas Cowboys guard, Leonard Davis, and as Chanita points out they are still very much “rollin’ in the dough, in the big leagues.” I can already tell this woman is going to be my least favorite football wife. Every little trinket in her home is completely encrusted in little pink and white crystals (even Paris Hilton knows that fad is long gone, honey) and Amanda’s “art” is quite literally a multi-panel wall sized photo of herself. The icing on the cake? The woman drives a blinged-out semi truck – and no I am not exaggerating for comedic affect. This is real, people.
Next we meet Amanda’s minions, Brittany Pigrenet and Erin McBriar. Brittany is still just a football girlfriend, working at Hooters where she met her beau, David Buehler (kicker for the Cowboys). She’s clearly going to get sucked into drama and be swallowed whole by the other football wives. Erin’s football player is Mat McBriar, the punter for Dallas, and so far she doesn’t look like she’ll be bringing the drama. Boring. The queen bee and her two right-hand ladies engage in discussion of their sex lives, but it’s obvious that the producers told Brittany to ask the question. Awkward.
After that canned discussion, Amanda calls up Melani Ismail, wife of retired player Rocket Ismail and staunch member of the Dallas football wife elite. Melani’s a bit more down-to-earth (this is probably the last time you’ll ever see that term in a Football Wives recap) and touts how lucky she is to be as privileged as her husband’s wealth allows her to be. Blah, blah, blah. Melani is besties with the most famous football wife, Pilar Sanders, whose husband is of course retired cornerback Deion Sanders. And if you know anything about Deion Sanders, you can just imagine what the woman he married is like. She and Deion run a football camp for kids, and we get a glimpse of Deion’s misogynistic ways.
Melani invites Pilar to Amanda’s big bible study, because how else can they force all these women to hang out together? Pilar is a former (apparently bad) actress, and rolls her eyes like a newbie on a soap opera before saying it conflicts with her movie premiere plans. (What movie premiere is there to go to in Dallas?) Melani and Pilar decide they’ll leave the bible study early to make it to the premiere and here it is: the only plot point of the entire episode.
At bible study, we meet one last football wife and lawyer Dawn Neufeld. Her husband is Ryan Neufeld, whose money is gone since he retired. Dawn takes on the role of the token one with money problems (think Laurie from The Real Housewives of Orange County).
After some forced football talk between Leonard Davis and George Foster, Pilar and Melani sneak out of bible study and all H-E double hockey sticks breaks loose. (It’s bible study, I’ve got to use clean language, okay?) Of course Amanda and Chanita pair up against Melani and Pilar when the wives are all forced to have a group lunch and talk about it. (You know they didn’t choose to meet up, especially after Amanda clearly reads an explanation off of a cue card in her confessional “interview.”)
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Apparently leaving bible study early is the worse thing ever, and Chanita is not having it. Pilar and Chanita have what I’m assuming will be the first of many (and probably the most civilized) cat fights. Dawn is already over the drama (me too, sweetie) and gets up and leaves. And here are our main conflicts, folks. Everyone else is apologizing and making up, but it’s obvious that Chanita and Pilar are going to spend all season yelling at each other. Sounds exciting, doesn’t it?
2004 had its fair share of highs and lows. Celebrities like to live life in the fast lane so there's been no shortage of wild entertainment news to report.
Right from the beginning of the year, major stories continually rolled in. Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck ended their turbulent engagement in January, while the following month Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman announced their marriage was over. But, like the silver lining of every cloud, some of Hollywood's finest tied the knot this year: Kevin Costner, Dennis Quaid and Robert Evans all walked down the aisle with their loved ones, while Diane Lane and Josh Brolin married each other. Clearly believing there's no time like the present, J.Lo secretly wed Marc Anthony in June.
2004 also saw the passing of several legends, including Sir Peter Ustinov, Ronald Reagan, Fay Wray, Russ Meyer, Janet Leigh, Rodney Dangerfield and Superfly star Ron O'Neal. But it was Marlon Brando's death in July that garnered the most headlines.
Away from the big screen, three of television's most popular shows all ended within the space of a few weeks of each other. Many fans were left fearing the world would be a lonelier place without the likes of Friends, Frasier and Sex and the City.
But it's difficult to sum up a year in a few sentences, so read on and reminisce on the eventful 12 months that made up 2004.
The year began with the heart-warming announcement that Dawson's Creek actress Katie Holmes and American Pie star Chris Klein became engaged over the 2003 Christmas break. At the time, the couple had been dating for four years and decided not to set a date for their nuptials.
Actress Chloe Sevigny had a more pressing start to her year, which she began by rubbishing reports she was dumped by the William Morris Agency after performing a sex act on screen--saying it was she who ended their association. The 29-year-old star shocked critics and audiences alike with her performance in Vincent Gallo's movie Brown Bunny, in which she is seen giving the controversial filmmaker oral sex. But Sevigny insists that, despite the media storm, she made the decision to end her eight-year business relationship with the firm.
Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin escaped a public rebuke from Australia's child welfare officials after dangling his one month-old baby dangerously close to a crocodile in a stunt on New Year's Day. The incident at Australia Zoo prompted a storm of controversy, but Irwin insists his son, Bob, was never in danger. The animal expert-turned-TV star was interviewed by the Office of Workplace Health and Safety, who concluded there wasn't enough evidence to suggest he violated any safety regulations.
Angelina Jolie started 2004 by angrily hitting out at claims her adopted Cambodian son Maddox may have been illegally taken from his birth mother. American police shut down the Seattle international Adoptions Inc agency--which the Tomb Raider star used to adopt--following concerns it paid mothers as little as $119 to give up their children, rather than "rescuing" them from orphanages, as claimed. Jolie said, "I would never rob a mother of her child. I can only imagine how dreadful that would feel. If a parent survived then I would want Maddox to meet them--but I have not seen any evidence."
Love was in town for Stuck on You co-stars Matt Damon and Eva Mendes, who ended months of media speculation over their relationship when they joined pals Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez to see in the New Year in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Orlando Bloom began 2004 in a similar manner--by confirming he was dating actress Kate Bosworth. At the time, The Lord of the Rings hunk had been dating 21-year-old Bosworth for some months, but had refused to discuss their romance. But, Bloom announced, "I'm in love with love. It's heavenly when you're falling for someone and you can't stop thinking about her."
The story of the month had to be the news Affleck and Lopez were ending their high-profile romance. The stars, who cancelled their September 2003 wedding blaming an intrusive press made their privacy impossible, split amid persistent rumours they were growing apart.
Kate Hudson and her rocker husband Chris Robinson were celebrating on Jan. 7 after becoming first-time parents. The actress gave birth to baby boy Ryder Russell in Los Angeles. Elsewhere, Cameron Diaz categorically denied she would wed lover Justin Timberlake in 2004, hoping her comments would end the media circus surrounding the couple's relationship.
Actor and writer Spalding Gray went missing on Jan. 11. The Killing Fields star's body was found washed up on the Brooklyn side of New York's East River on Mar. 7. He had committed suicide by jumping off the city's Staten Island ferry.
An ex-boyfriend of Halle Berry stepped forward to accuse Wesley Snipes of being her abusive ex-lover, who struck the Catwoman star so hard, she lost most of the hearing in her right ear. R&B singer Christopher Williams--who dated Berry in the early 1990s--made the startling accusation against the Blade star after getting upset with the number of people who assumed it was him who dealt the screen beauty the damaging blow.
Nicole Kidman ditched her lover Lenny Kravitz amid reports of his infidelity. The Cold Mountain beauty had been dating the rock wildman for eight months but was horrified to hear he had been spotted romancing Brazilian artist Isis Arruda and actress Michelle Rodriguez behind her back.
Veteran actor Carmine Caridi admitted lending his screener copies of
February's Oscar contenders to a friend who put them online. The Godfather:
Part III star, 70, later told investigators he sent VHS copies of approximately
60 films per year to pal Russell Sprague who converted them onto the DVD
format. Caridi insists he had no idea that Sprague would distribute the films
via the internet and had sent them to him because he believed they were for the
51-year-old's personal entertainment. Caridi became the first person to be
expelled from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences for his part in
the affair. In November he was fined $300,000. The US District Court
in Los Angeles imposed two fines of $150,000 each on Caridi, one for
The Last Samurai and one for Mystic River, after studio Warner Bros filed a
Animation giants Pixar and Walt Disney ended their record-breaking
partnership this month, despite the international success of films including
Finding Nemo, Toy Story and Monsters Inc. Pixar chief executive Steve Jobs said
the company decided to end its distribution deal with Disney, after its request
for a greater percentage of the profits was declined.
January saw the passing of Superfly star Ron O'Neal, who died after a long
battle with cancer. The blaxploitation legend was 66. Renowned fashion
photographer Helmut Newton also died this month, in a car crash in Los Angeles.
He was 83. Newton reportedly lost control of his Cadillac car after leaving
Hollywood's Chateau Marmont hotel and crashed into a wall.
February began with Jamie Foxx being placed on two years probation after
pleading guilty to charges of fighting with security guards at a New Orleans,
Louisiana, casino in April 2003. The actor and comedian entered a disturbing
the peace plea on and also received a $1,500 fine. It was to be a
good year for Foxx, however, with movie hits in Collateral and Ray.
A new biography claimed four-times Oscar winner Katharine Hepburn had affairs
with Judy Garland, Greta Garbo and other A-list ladies. Author Darwin Porter
wrote in the book Katharine The Great that Hepburn, who died in June 2003, was
busy romancing both men and women during her younger years.
Meanwhile, Mel Gibson was slammed as "ignorant" and "insensitive" for
defending his dad over his view that the Holocaust has been exaggerated. Gibson
stated his unwavering support for Hutton Gibson during a magazine interview,
even though his father has previously rubbished the belief six million Jews
were exterminated by Nazi Germany during World War II. Gibson acknowledged the
Holocaust happened, but said, "I love (my dad). So I'll slug it out, until my
heart is black and blue, if anyone ever tries to hurt him." But it was Gibson's
The Passion of the Christ which caused the most controversy for the Lethal
Weapon star in February. In the weeks leading up to its release, The Passion was criticized by many religious leaders for supposedly blaming Jews
for Jesus' crucifixion. However, on its release, the film--about the final 12
hours of Jesus' life--went on to become a surprise box office smash, taking
$23.6 million on its opening day alone.
Actor and murder suspect Robert Blake's ongoing legal problems continued this
month, when his third attorney, Thomas Mesereau, quit because of
"irreconcilable differences". The news was unwelcome for Blake, standing trial
for the murder of his actress wife Bonny Lee Bakley, who was fatally shot while
sitting in a car outside Studio City, California eatery Vitello's following a
meal with her husband in 2001. Mesereau ended 2004 by representing Michael
Jackson in another one of the most high-profile legal battles of the year.
It came to light in February that Nicole Kidman had been given the all-clear
following a breast cancer scare the previous month. The Oscar-winning beauty,
36, was sent for further tests after doctors spotted a suspicious area during a
routine check-up, but fortunately was found to be in perfect health.
Liza Minnelli's and David Gest's divorce became increasingly bitter
throughout February. First, Gest asked Minnelli to take a lie detector test, in
a bid to prove she beat him up during drunken rages. Then, he appeared on
news show Dateline and showed interviewer Stone Phillips 'claw' marks
he claimed Minnelli had left on his stomach, and asked, "See those finger
Hotel heiress Paris Hilton filed a $28.8 million lawsuit
against an internet company for showing her explicit sex-tape on the web. The
22-year-old slapped the lawsuit on Kahatani Ltd, claiming a violation of
privacy over the film which shows her having sex with former boyfriend Rick
Salomon. The tape--which surfaced on the website in November 2003--was made
when Hilton was 19.
Kiefer Sutherland was rushed to hospital to receive six stitches after his
face was slashed during a bar fight. The 24 star was left disfigured following
the brawl in Los Angeles--forcing the show's bosses to delay filming while his
face heals. Sutherland's publicist said the star was "defending himself".
Also this month, Ethan Hawke confirmed his marriage to Uma Thurman was over
for good and that they'd filed for divorce. The couple split in 2003.
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger ordered officials to stop granting
gay wedding licences in San Francisco. The Terminator star ordered
the clampdown after a judge decided not to impose a restraining order on
same-sex marriages. Before he could, though, Rosie O'Donnell married her lesbian
lover Kelli Carpenter in the city.
Former boxing champ Mike Tyson agreed to plead guilty to disorderly conduct
instead of assault for his part in a New York hotel brawl in 2003. Tyson agreed
to 100 hours of community service--lecturing, training and instructing at
Gleeson's boxing gym in Brooklyn--and to undergo counselling.
Hit medical drama ER axed a two-second slot featuring an elderly woman's bust
following the outrage sparked by Janet Jackson's Super Bowl breast exposure.
Jackson caused a nationwide scandal when she revealed one of her bosoms during
her performance with Justin Timberlake at American football final on Feb. 1. ER wasn't the only victim of censorship as the result of the 'nipplegate' furore. The Oscars, which took place on Feb. 29, were broadcast with a five-second delay. However, ceremony producer Joe Roth promised nominees the planned delay in the telecast would not be used to cull any controversial political remarks.
Blake Edwards kicked off March by slamming Academy Awards bosses for placing a
five-second delay on the live TV broadcast. The Breakfast at Tiffany's
filmmaker, who picked up an honorary Oscar on Feb. 29 for his
long-standing movie career, was irritated America's moral guardians had reacted
to Janet Jackson's breast-baring at the previous month's Super Bowl. Edwards
said, "It's such hypocrisy. I really don't see how you can run Sex and the
City, and then turn around and raise this kind of fuss."
The legal woes of troubled actor Robert Blake continued unabated in March as
he appeared with his fourth lawyer, M. Gerald Schwartzbach, at a preliminary
hearing to answer charges he murdered his wife, Bonnie Lee Bakley.
Steven Seagal's lawyers wanted to be released from representing him this
month. The attorneys defending the Under Siege star from a $60 million civil suit brought by former business partner Julius Nasso filed papers in New York asking to be let loose from the case.
Elsewhere, a judge threw out a claim by Sony Pictures that it be
allowed to use remarks by a non-existent critic to promote films including A
Knight's Tale. The argument, presented by Sony's lawyers--that adverts with
fake quotes are protected by freedom of speech--was dismissed. The
controversial case was filed by filmgoers against the Hollywood studio after a
2001 Newsweek article uncovered fake critic David Manning, who'd written
favourable 'reviews' for movies including Vertical Limit and Hollow Man.
Oscar winner Charlize Theron broke down in tears after former South African
President Nelson Mandela praised her for putting their country on the map. The
actress, who picked up the Best Actress Oscar for her role as a
serial-killing prostitute in Monster in February, was guest of honour at the
Nelson Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg.
Scottish actor Alan Cumming slammed President George W Bush's stance on
gay marriage--branding him "out of step" with public opinion. The openly
bisexual X2:X-Men United star, who lives in America, was horrified to hear Bush's plans
to outlaw the practice and urged liberal-minded Americans to use their vote
this year to oust him in November's presidential election.
Pamela Anderson was celebrating after being paid staggering $250,000
advance to pen her first novel, Star.
Newlywed Kate Winslet stunned Inside The Actor's Studio host James Lipton by
breaking down in tears while talking about life with husband Sam Mendes and their new son, Joe. In an interview broadcast in March, but recorded weeks after giving birth to the couple's first child together in December 2003, Winslet was clearly overcome by her emotions as she talked about how happy the American Beauty director had made her. She gushed, "I had a baby. His father is Sam Mendes. He is a wonderful... I will start crying in a minute because I'm so emotional because we just had the baby."
The Passion of the Christ star Jim Caviezel had a private meeting with Pope
John Paul II on Mar. 15. The religious Caviezel, who plays Jesus Christ in the
controversial Mel Gibson-directed epic, was reportedly blessed by the pontiff
during a brief meeting at the Vatican in Rome, Italy.
A Canadian man accused of stalking German supermodel Claudia Schiffer was
deported from Britain. Louis Alexandre Brisette, 21, was arrested after
repeatedly calling at the mansion Schiffer shares with filmmaker husband
Matthew Vaughn and their one-year-old son Caspar in Bury St Edmunds, England.
Unemployed Brisette appeared in court on Mar. 13 to face harassment charges
but returned to Schiffer's house just hours later, police said. On Mar. 14,
cops arrested Brisette at the hotel he was staying at in Bury St Edmunds and
handed him over to immigration officers.
Catherine Zeta-Jones failed in her bid to prevent a businessman from running
his company close to her new home in Swansea, Wales. The Oscar winner was
furious when she discovered Steve Gwynn planned to run his telecommunications
business near her lavish property, and had gained permission to use a garage
which is situated on the same estate as her house.
Actor Paul Reubens agreed to register as a sex offender for three years as
part of a plea bargain to remove charges of child pornography from his record.
The child porn charges against Pee-Wee Herman's alter-ego were dismissed after
the actor confessed to a separate misdemeanour obscenity charge. Under the
terms of the plea agreement, Reubens also agreed to pay a $100 fine and
to enter a counselling program for a year. He launched an appeal to clear
this name in April.
Hollywood beauty Sharon Stone became a single woman again in March when her
divorce from newspaper editor Phil Bronstein was finalized. The Basic Instinct
actress, 46, and the San Francisco Chronicle editor split in July 2003, with
Bronstein citing "irreconcilable differences".
The entertainment world was in shock this month, when Tom Cruise and Penelope
Cruz announced they'd split up after less than three years together. The
glamorous pair met on the set of the 2001 film Vanilla Sky as Cruise's marriage
to Nicole Kidman fell apart, and they began dating publicly in July 2001.
Cruise's sister and publicist Lee Anne DeVette confirmed the couple "broke up
at the end of January and it's amicable".
Hollywood actor Jason Patric was arrested after a drunken encounter with
police in Austin, Texas, at the end of the month. Patric was booked on
misdemeanour charges of public intoxication and resisting arrest. He was taken
to the Travis County Jail and released five hours later. A few days later
Patric launched a blistering counterattack on police, claiming he was assaulted
without motive. The charge of resisting arrest was dropped in May.
Acting legend Peter Ustinov died in Switzerland on Mar. 28. He was 82.
Ustinov's acting career spanned more than 60 years--including Academy Awards
for two supporting roles in Spartacus (1961) and Topkapi (1965).
Not an April Fool's joke, but the month started with the news California
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger had enrolled on a training course which teaches
attendees how to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace. Schwarzenegger,
who at the time still faced 16 accusations of sexual harassment from women, had
voluntarily attended the two-hour seminar along with many of his senior staff
shortly after taking office, his spokesperson said.
Jennifer Lopez mother Guadalupe won a staggering $2.4 million on a Wheel of Fortune gambling machine in an Atlantic City, New Jersey, casino. The elder Lopez scooped the prize from just a $3 stake at the city's Borgato Casino.
Will & Grace star Debra Messing became a mother on 8 April, when she gave birth to a baby boy.
New York radio disc-jockey Howard Stern was dropped by Clear Channel Communications in
April, after the American media giant was fined $495,000 fine for indecency following a foul-mouthed interview with Paris Hilton's ex-lover Rick Salomon. Stern had been suspended from broadcasting on the network's six stations following the "vulgar and insulting" February interview, but was removed as a result of the size of the fine. Stern found an ally in comedian Chris Rock, who launched a furious attack on the indecency craze sweeping America this month, labeling the furor "sad". Rock criticized the harsh laws that have took Stern off the air, and believes America overreacted to Janet Jackson's nipple flashing stunt at the Super Bowl in February.
Quentin Tarantino was reprimanded by producers of hit TV talent show American
Idol on April 13, when he used a swear word to describe his thoughts about a
contestant. Red-faced TV bosses had to reshoot guest judge Tarantino's reaction
to singer Latoya London's performance so the show didn't feature his expletive
when it aired on April 14. The usually live telecast was cancelled at the last
minute when chiefs at Fox TV decided to air a live broadcast by President
George W. Bush's instead. Regular judge Paula Abdul says, "He said 'I have three
words for you LaToya: F**king power house.'"
Mystery surrounded Kevin Spacey's "mugging" in a south London park at 4.30 a.m.
on April 17. The Usual Suspects star told police he had been attacked and had
his mobile phone stolen while walking his dog. However, after reporting the
crime and receiving hospital attention for a minor head injury, Spacey returned
to the police station to withdraw his claim. Spacey explained, "I fell for a
con and I was, I think, incredibly embarrassed by it. Some sob story about
someone needing to call their mother and could they use my phone. This kid
took off and I ran after him and it was 4 a.m. and I tripped up over my dog and I
ended up falling onto the street and hitting myself in the head."
And basketball star Dennis Rodman was placed under heavy restriction on the
road, after pleading no contest to a drunk driving charge in a Las Vegas court.
A judge fined Rodman $1,000, ordered him to serve 30 days of home
detention, and required him to use a device in Nevada which will measure his
blood-alcohol content before he can start his car for the next year--to
prevent him from driving after drinking alcohol.
Cosmetics impresario Estee Lauder died of a heart attack on April 24. She was 97.
The actors who voice Homer and Bart on The Simpsons were delighted at the
beginning of May, when they were awarded a huge pay rise. Dan Castellaneta and
Nancy Cartwright--who voice Homer and Bart respectively--won their battle
with TV bosses at 20th Century Fox Television to be paid $8 million each for the 22-episode 2004-05 season.
Anna Nicole Smith was banished from shock jock Howard Stern's New York radio
studio on May 4 after turning up with a TV crew and demanding an apology. The
busty blonde had hoped to film the DJ's apology after he poked fun at her
weight during a 2002 interview. But, not only did Stern refuse to say sorry, he
kicked Smith and her reality TV crew out of his studio.
The same day, supermodel Heidi Klum gave birth to a baby girl called Leni.
Klum split with the child's father, Formula One boss Flavio Briatore earlier in
the year, and later hooked up with her current beau, Seal.
Supermodel Naomi Campbell was celebrating after the British High Court ruled
her privacy was invaded when the Daily Mirror newspaper published photographs
of her leaving a Narcotics Anonymous meeting. The London-born catwalk queen's
lawyers claimed the article breached her confidence and was an invasion of
Tough guy actor Tom Sizemore's legal problems swarmed around him this month.
Firstly, a former assistant sued the actor for allegedly forcing her to hide
his drugs and trying to have sex with him. Then, the Saving Private Ryan star
was accused of violating his probation terms, imposed for abusing his former
fianceé Heidi Fleiss, after reportedly tested "dirty" for methamphetamine in
March. His spokesperson immediately dismissed claims he'd tested positive for
the drug as "bogus".
Two of America's most beloved sitcoms came to an end in May. For many, both
Friends and Frasier left a hole that couldn't be filled. Frasier enjoyed an
hour-long finale with a show of stars. The regular cast was joined by Robbie
Coltrane, Richard E Grant, Laura Linney, Wendy Mallick, Jennifer Beals and
Anthony LaPaglia. But while Frasier drew a total of 25.2 million viewers when
it aired on May 13, this couldn't compare to the 52.5 million fans the
final Friends drew on May 6.
French film legend Brigitte Bardot faced up to a year in jail when she
appeared in court to deny charges of inciting racial hatred in a book. Bardot,
69, has been defending herself in court over her best-seller A Cry in the
Silence, in which she opposes the "Islamisation of France". In June, a French
court fined her $5,400 for the offence.
British actress Kate Beckinsale wed director Len Wiseman in Los Angeles, in
front of guests including Ben Affleck and Christian Slater.
Canadian-born actress Pamela Anderson was officially sworn in as an American
citizen this month. The former Baywatch star, who moved to California from her
native British Columbia 15 years ago, passed a citizenship test and was sworn
in at a private ceremony.
Australian super couple Heath Ledger and Naomi Watts officially ended their
turbulent on/off romance, with close friends blaming the 10-year age gap for
Good news for Gwyneth Paltrow and her Coldplay singer husband Chris Martin
when their first born, a girl called Apple Blythe Alison Martin, was born in a
London hospital on May 14.
The spotlight was on Michael Moore at the Cannes Film Festival in France,
when his Fahrenheit 9/11 was given an unprecedented 15-minute standing ovation.
The controversial film--which looks at the links between President George W.
Bush and the Bin Laden family, as well as the mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners
of war by American servicemen--took home the Palme D'Or best movie award at
the event, which was chaired by Quentin Tarantino. While in France, Tarantino
was made an Officer of Arts and Letters by the French government. The Kill Bill
filmmaker was presented with the honor by French Culture Minister Renaud
Donnedieu De Vabres, leaving Tarantino uncommonly "speechless".
Meanwhile, Bush received further criticism from Superman actor Christopher
Reeve, who blasted the president for failing to increase federal spending on
embryonic stem cell research. Reeve, who was paralyzed from the neck down
following a horse-riding accident in 1995, told 625 graduates at Middlebury
University in Vermont that Bush's "inaction is unacceptable".
Halle Berry won a restraining order against a former Navy SEAL stalker who
made threats against her life and those of her manager and publicist. In June,
Greg Broussard, who insisted he was destined to marry the actress, was
ordered to stay at least 100 yards away from her and two of her associates.
Blaxploitation movie legend Lincoln Kirkpatrick died after a long battle with
lung cancer in May. The 73-year-old actor appeared in more than 40 movies,
including Uptown Saturday Night and Hoodlum. He earned his acting break by
understudying for Sidney Poitier in the play A Raisin in the Sun. Emmy-winning
actor Tony Randall died on May 17at the age of 84. Randall,
most famous for playing photographer Felix Unger in TV spin-off series The Odd
Couple, died in New York after developing pneumonia following heart-bypass
surgery in December 2003. Soap and sci-fi star Richard Biggs died of a
reported stroke at his home in California on May 22. He was 44. The actor was
best known for playing Dr. Stephen Franklin in cult hit Babylon 5.
June started with the news Julia Roberts was nine weeks pregnant with twins,
reportedly a boy and a girl. Roberts had spent the preceding two years trying
to conceive with husband Danny Moder.
Lucky Ben Affleck scored a big hit at the California State Poker
Championship, scooping up a $360,000 first prize. The actor now
plans to join the likes of pop star Robbie Williams at the European Poker
Series in March.
The upcoming release of Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 was on the mind of
former President George Bush at the start of the month, when he blasted
Moore over the film which questions his son's presidential actions after the
Sept. 11 atrocities in 2001. Bush senior said, "I have total disdain for
Moore. His film is a vicious attack on our son. My son served with honor, and
to get knocked down by this guy. Why should we hear about body bags, and
deaths? Why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that? To have to
answer anything about what that slime ball says is just too much."
Comic-book giant Marvel settled its legal dispute with film studio Sony
Pictures over Spider-Man merchandise, after accusing the firm of wrongfully
using the character for promotional purposes. Marvel sued Sony in February
2003, claiming it had violated an agreement by using the super-hero--played by
Tobey Maguire in the hit movie--to advertise other Sony products. Sony
countersued, saying Marvel had itself breached their licensing deal. But Marvel
announced on June 1 it had reached an agreement that would give it "additional
Jennifer Lopez surprised many when news of her secret wedding to boyfriend
Marc Anthony leaked out. The actress-singer married Anthony on June 5, just
five months after splitting from fiancé Ben Affleck.
Recovering alcoholic and Baywatch creator David Hasselhoff was arrested on
drunk driving charges when he was pulled over by Los Angeles police. When his
case was heard in court in late October, Hasselhoff was ordered to attend 50
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings, fined $200, placed on probation for
36 months and ordered to complete 200 hours of community service after pleading
"no contest" to driving with excess alcohol.
DJ Howard Stern's indecency case ended after the biggest American radio chain
agreed to pay out in a record settlement. Clear Channel Communications--who
dropped Stern earlier in the year after he conducted a sexually explicit
interview live on air--will pay $1.75 million in a deal with the
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the largest ever negotiated by the FCC
and a broadcaster.
Good news arrived for Friends star Courteney Cox and husband David Arquette
when they became parents for the first time. Baby girl Coco was born in Los
Angeles on June 13.
Michael Moore slammed the American censor's decision to give his acclaimed
documentary Fahrenheit 9/11 an R rating, making it unsuitable for under-17s to
view alone. The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) cited the "violent
and disturbing images" contained in the film, as well as instances of bad
language for their decision--but distributor Lion's Gate blasted the ruling as
"totally unjustified". Moore said, "It is sadly very possible that many 15 and
16-year-olds will be asked and recruited to serve in Iraq in the next couple of
years. If they are old enough to be recruited and capable of being in combat
and risking their lives, they certainly deserve the right to see what is going
on in Iraq." Moore and Lion's Gate lost their appeal.
Sharon Stone headed to a Los Angeles court to fight for lost cash she claimed
she was owed after producers of a Basic Instinct sequel scrapped the project.
Stone said she was owed more than $100 million by Rambo producers
Andrew Vajna and Mario Kassar after they promised her a $14 million salary to make the follow-up and a healthy cut of the profits. Stone dropped the lawsuit in July and agreed to appear in the sequel after all.
Legendary actor Ryan O'Neal was hailed a hero when he saved a boy from
drowning, after spotting him struggling while swimming in the sea near his
home. The brave 63-year-old star of classic movies including Paper Moon and The
Driver ran into the waves when he noticed the youngster having difficulties.
Winona Ryder returned to court in Beverly Hills to discuss her shoplifting
arrest and it was all good news. A Los Angeles judge reduced criminal theft
charges against her to misdemeanors after noting she had served 480 hours of
community service at a California hospital after being sentenced for
shoplifting in December 2001. Ryder, who was in court for her latest hearing,
thanked the judge for his time. She was placed on unsupervised probation.
Former President Bill Clinton's autobiography My Life broke records after
fans bought more than 400,000 copies of the book in America on its first day of
release. The huge opening sales figures made it the best-selling non-fiction
book of all time. Sales doubled that of the previous record holder, Clinton's
wife Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton's book Living History.
June saw the deaths of movie star and former President Ronald Reagan, who
died from pneumonia at his home in Hollywood, aged 93, and screenwriter Robert
Lees, whose severed head was discovered in his murdered neighbor's Hollywood home.
Lees, 91--whose credits include episodes of the western Rawhide and Alfred
Hitchcock Presents--was found murdered with his neighbor Dr. Morley Hal
Engleson after an airline agent heard a commotion while Engleson booked a
flight by phone. Suspect Keven Lee Graff was arrested near the gates of
Paramount Studios--two miles from the victims' homes--after a studio guard
recognized his picture from a recently aired TV news conference. He was later
charged with the killings.
Ewan McGregor was "delighted" after winning damages in a settlement over photos
of him and his children. The Moulin Rouge star was furious when British
newspapers published snaps of him holidaying with daughters Esther Rose and
Clara Mathilde in Mauritius in 2002. Tabloid newspapers the Daily Record and
The Sun, photographer Jason Fraser and his company Fraser Woodward Ltd. all
contributed to the undisclosed sum. It was a great month overall for McGregor
who completed a three-and-a-half month motorbike trek around the world with pal
Charley Boorman. Ewan McGregor roared into New York City on July 29 after
completing his "very, very long" journey. The stars left London in April and
drove 20,000 miles through eastern Europe, Mongolia,
Siberia and Alaska.
Independence Day was made extra special for Dennis Quaid, when he married
fiancee Kimberley Buffington in Montana. Jack Henry Ryan, Quaid's 12-year-old
son with ex-wife Meg Ryan, was best man at the low-key ceremony.
Gossip columns around the globe were filled with the story of Hugh Grant
romancing British socialite Jemima Khan this month, just weeks after Jemima's
divorce from Pakistani politician and former criketer Imran Khan. The pair
vigorously maintained a media blackout on the subject of their relationship,
before finally admitting they were a couple later in the year.
Socialite Paris Hilton's $30 million lawsuit against an
internet company that distributed her infamous sex tape, was thrown out of
court on July 9. A Los Angeles judge dismissed the invasion of privacy suit
filed by The Simple Life reality TV star against Panama City, Florida-based
Kahatani Ltd. The video, suggestively titled "One Night in Paris," made Hilton,
who claimed it was "intended only for personal use", and her ex-boyfriend Rick
Salomon household names. The tape was leaked onto the internet in November 2003--over two years after it was filmed in May 2001. Meanwhile, Hilton split from her boyfriend of seven months, boy-band star Nick Carter. A spokeswoman for the hotel heiress blamed her busy schedule for the breakup, but
insisted it was amicable.
Hollywood couple Kirsten Dunst and Jake Gyllenhaal split up in July after two
years together. The stars blamed "filming commitments" for the separation.
Lifestyle queen Martha Stewart was sentenced to five months in
prison and a further five months of home confinement after being convicted of
lying to a court about the sale of shares in 2001. The 62-year-old
billionairess was also placed on probation and fined $30,000. She
began her jail sentence in October.
Hollywood producer Robert Evans was granted a divorce from his sixth wife,
Versace model Leslie Ann Woodward. The 74-year-old Rosemary's Baby mogul's
marriage to Woodward, 35, lasted just seven months--they tied the knot in
August 2003, but the model filed for divorce in March citing "irreconcilable
differences". Evans previous wives include Love Story star Ali MacGraw, former
Miss America Phyllis George and Dynasty actress Catherine Oxenberg.
On a happier note, Harry Potter author J.K.Rowling announced she was pregnant
with her third child this month. The 38-year-old writer will give birth to her
second child with second husband Neil Murray in 2005. Rowling also has a
daughter, Jessica, with first husband Jorge Arantes.
Teen actress Mary-Kate Olsen was released from a health facility on the July 23
after undergoing six weeks of treatment for an eating disorder. Olsen headed
off for her first semester at New York University in August.
Veteran character actor Robert Sorrells was hit with a murder charge after
witnesses told police he walked into a California bar and shot two patrons,
killing one. The 74-year-old actor, who appeared in popular TV western
Gunsmoke, was arrested close to the Simi Valley ba--called The Regency Lounge--shortly after the shooting on the 24th. He was booked for investigation of murder and attempted murder.
Pierce Brosnan announced his retirement from the role of movie spy James
Bond, starting an endless bout of speculation as to who would replace him.
British actors touted for the dream role have included Clive Owen, Ioan
Gruffudd, Colin Firth, Hugh Grant, Gerard Butler, Jude Law and Ewan McGregor,
as well as Australians Hugh Jackman, Heath Ledger and Eric Bana.
Sad news flew around the world on July 2, when it was announced movie legend
Marlon Brando had died from lung failure the previous day on his private South
Pacific island, Tetiaroa. He was 80. Brando--best known for a series of
era-defining film roles including A Streetcar Named Desire, On the Waterfront,
The Godfather and Apocalypse Now--was cremated at a family ceremony in Los
Angeles on July 3. And the body of Michael Douglas' troubled half-brother Eric
was discovered inside a Manhattan, New York, apartment on July 6. New York
authorities ruled Eric, who was the youngest son of screen legend Kirk Douglas,
was killed accidentally by alcohol and prescription drugs.
Snatch star Jason Statham vowed to give actor Billy Zane "a good slap" this
month, when he found out he was dating his actress girlfriend, Kelly Brook.
Statham was left fuming after seeing photos of Brook in a passionate embrace
with Titanic star Zane. Zane and Brook emerged as an inseparable couple later
in the year.
Hollywood stars Diane Lane and Josh Brolin married at a secret ceremony on
the west coast of America. The Oscar-nominated Unfaithful actress and her
Hollow Man beau exchanged marital vows on Aug. 14.
News emerged this month that superstar couple David and Victoria Beckham were
expecting their as-yet-unborn third child, amid rumors their marriage was
floundering, following allegations the Real Madrid ace had an affair with his
personal assistant Rebecca Loos.
Lethal Weapon star Danny Glover was arrested outside the Sudan Embassy in
Washington D.C. during a heated protest march on Aug. 25. Glover was charged
with disorderly conduct and unlawful assembly after he spoke to a crowd calling
for a peace-keeping force to stop violence in western Sudan.
Meanwhile, tough guy actor Russell Crowe confessed he fought with his
bodyguard on the Canadian set of Cinderella Man. In a letter to an Australian
newspaper, the Oscar-winner confirmed recent reports of a brawl with long-term
pal Mark "Spud" Carroll during a party on the set of the film--in which Crowe
plays a boxer--in July. He wrote, "Spud and I had a push around after work on
a Friday night. The misunderstanding arose when Spud came over to tell me what
he thought other people in the room might have been thinking of my
conversation. I thought he was accusing me specifically of something and I took
offence to it. Spud was passing on other people's 'perceptions' and I shot the
Oscar-winning actress Charlize Theron suffered an injury to her neck while
shooting stunts for her upcoming movie Aeon Flux in Germany on Aug. 30. The
production was shut down while Theron recovered at home in Los Angeles.
Legendary photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson died at the age of 95 on Aug. 3, after a successful career snapping leading figures of the mid-20th century. Cartier-Bresson--whose work appeared in leading American publications Vogue, Life and Harper's Bazaar--died at his home in the south western Luberon
region of France. Other August deaths included film editor Geraldine Peroni who died at her New York home on Aug. 3 after reportedly committing suicide. She was 51. The city's medical examiner's office ruled Peroni--who frequently worked with director Robert Altman, most spectacularly on his 1993
masterpiece Short Cuts--had killed herself, however, her family are disputing that finding. And actress Fay Wray--best known for her role in 1933 movie King Kong--died on Aug. 8. She was 96. In tribute to the famous scene from King Kong that featured Wray hanging in the giant ape's grasp from the top of the Empire State Building, officials at the skyscraper dimmed the building's lights for 15 minutes on Aug. 10.
Former President Bill Clinton underwent heart surgery in a New York
hospital on Sept. 6, and went on to make a full recovery. After complaining
of chest pains and tiredness, medics discovered he had four clogged arteries
that needed to be bypassed.
Gorgeous Italian actress Monica Bellucci and her actor husband Vincent Cassel
were celebrating on Sept. 12 when their first child, Deva, was born.
Terminator 2 star Edward Furlong was arrested after attempting to free live
lobsters from a grocery store while drunk. The 27-year-old, a longtime animal
rights supporter, was caught with pals trying to help the creatures escape from
a store in Florence, Kentucky, on Sept. 15. Furlong was on location
shooting Jimmy & Judy.
Former child star Macaulay Culkin was arrested and charged with two
misdemeanor drug counts in Oklahoma City. Culkin and a friend were in a rental
car on Sept. 17, when police pulled them over and discovered marijuana and
a dangerous controlled substance without a prescription. On Sept. 21,
Oklahoma City prosecutors charged the troubled star, who was freed on bail
after posting a $4,000 bond.
Kevin Costner wed fianceé Christine Baumgartner on Sept. 25. The Dances
With Wolves star, 49, rode in on a horse-drawn carriage while handbag designer
Baumgartner, 30, traveled in a pick-up truck to the Aspen, Colorado, wedding.
Cult filmmaker Russ Meyer died in Los Angeles from dementia and complications
of pneumonia on Sept. 18. He was 82. Meyer made 23 films in total, but he
is most famous for his saucy 1960s and 1970s movies, featuring scantily-clad
buxom women--most notably Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! and Beyond The Valley
of the Dolls.
Golf superstar Tiger Woods married Swedish beauty Elin Nordegren on Oct. 5
in an extravagant Barbados ceremony.
Former child star Mark Everett was placed on America's most wanted list in early October, after being accused of beating his girlfriend to death and then kidnapping their son Benjamin. The star of Pee Wee's Big Adventure and Stand & Deliver is accused of murdering Stephanie Spears in her Hawthorne, California, apartment and remains on the run.
Rape charges against Barbershop star Anthony Anderson were dismissed on
Oct. 6. A woman seeking a job as an extra on the set of the actor's movie
Hustle and Flow in Memphis, Tennessee, had claimed Anderson and director Wayne
Witherspoon attacked her in a trailer on the set. The unnamed plaintiff also
alleged she had forced sex with both men over a period of several days before
the reported rape took place in July. But in court, a Tennessee judge said the
accuser's testimony did not produce probable cause to let the charges stand and
that the woman's testimony was the most "incredulous" he had ever heard.
American lifestyle guru Martha Stewart began serving her five-month jail
sentence in West Virginia, after being found guilty of lying about a suspicious
stock sale. Stewart entered Alderson Prison Camp in the early hours of
Oct. 8, sneaking by the photographers and reporters who had been posted there
for more than a week.
Billy Bob Thornton had further reason to celebrate on Oct. 7, when he
received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The actor, who has
been married five times, and girlfriend Connie Angland had their first child
together in September, when daughter Bella was born.
Lisa Bonet was awarded a restraining order against an alleged stalker who the
The Cosby Show actress claims regularly performs voodoo rituals outside her
Californian home. Bonet, who once dated Lenny Kravitz and has starred in a
string of films including Enemy of the State, claims Francesca Jacobs Assandri
has also sent her over 100 letters and packages. A Santa Monica, California,
judge ordered Jacobs to remain at least 24,100 yards away from Bonet, her home,
her place of work and her car.
Teen actress Lindsay Lohan was hospitalized in Los Angeles with a mystery
fever. The Mean Girls star, who spent "a relaxing" five nights at Cedars Sinai
hospital recovering later claimed she was overworked and exhausted. The
actress' family problems didn't help matters--her father Michael claimed he
did not approve of his daughter's partying lifestyle and the friends she chose
to hang out with. The young Lohan later released a statement blasting her father for
his insensitive comments upon her release. The hospital stay topped a troubling
year for the actress. Her father was arrested after beating up her uncle at a
family party in the summer and her ended the year in police custody again after
violating a restraining order filed by his estranged wife Dina--Lindsay's mum.
Meanwhile, upon her release from hospital, she ended her six-month romance with
fellow pin-up Wilmer Vanderrama.
Former French movie siren Brigitte Bardot was celebrating after a Paris court
threw out a defamation lawsuit against her. Radio Courtesy host Marc-Olivier
Fogiel infuriated the actress during a May 12, 2003
broadcast, when he insisted she talk about her controversial best-selling book
Un Cri Dans Le Silence (A Cry In The Silence). Bardot, 70, was convicted in
June of inciting racial hatred in her 2003 book with her comments comparing
Muslims to "invaders, cruel and barbaric". The Parisian court ruled Bardot had
been provoked into calling Fogiel "a little jerk". Judge Nicolas Bonnal agreed
that "the expression little jerk seemed injurious" toward the presenter.
News circulated around Tinseltown that longtime couple Goldie Hawn and Kurt
Russell had split. Hawn was reported to be romancing Pakistani cricket legend
Imran Khan. The couple seemed to have patched up their differences in November
when they bought a house together in Pacific Palisades, California.
Actor Rip Torn was cleared of drunk driving charges by a New York court at
the end of the month. The Emmy-winning star, real name Elmore Torn, had stood
accused of driving under the influence of alcohol after crashing into the back
of a taxi in Greenwich Village, Manhattan, in January.
Psycho star Janet Leigh died on Oct. 2 at the age of 77. The actress had
been suffering from vasculitis, an inflammation of the blood vessels, for a
year and died peacefully at her Beverly Hills, California, home with her
husband, Robert Brandt, and her daughters, actresses Kelly and Jamie Lee, at
her side. Leigh was best known for her Oscar-nominated part as Norman Bates'
first victim in Alfred Hitchcock's notorious shower scene, but also starred in
classic movies Little Women, The Manchurian Candidate and Touch of Evil. On Oct. 5 comedian Rodney Dangerfield died in a Los Angeles hospital. He was 82.
The funnyman slipped into a coma following a heart-valve operation in August
and never recovered. Nearly 400 mourners turned out to pay their respects at
the Caddyshack star's funeral, including Adam Sandler, Jim Carrey, Chris Rock,
Jay Leno and Tim Allen. And Hollywood mourned the loss of paralyzed Superman
actor Christopher Reeve, who died of heart failure on Oct. 10. He was 52.
Reeve had been receiving treatment from the hospital for several weeks for a
pressure wound--a common complication for people living with paralysis--which
had become infected. He fell into a coma after suffering a heart attack in his
Kiefer Sutherland's troubled year continued when he was sentenced to serve 50
hours of community service after pleading no contest to a drunk driving charge
in Los Angeles. The 24 star was arrested by police in late October. As well as
the community service, Sutherland was also ordered to pay a $500 fine.
Supermodel Claudia Schiffer gave birth to her second child with husband
Matthew Vaughn, a baby girl named Clementine, on Nov. 11. The tot, a sister
for the couple's 22-month-old son Caspar, was born at London's exclusive
Greek lawyers attempted to force maverick movie maker Oliver Stone to admit
his Alexander The Great epic, Alexander, was a pure work of fiction by filing a
class lawsuit against him. The proud Greeks were upset that Stone had focused
on the historic hero's bisexuality in the film. The Greeks later dropped the
lawsuit after seeing the film in its entirety. They were, it seems, among the
few who actually liked the epic, which was one of the year's big flops at the
when it opened in November.
Hollywood legend Elizabeth Taylor admitted she was suffering from congestive
heart failure to W magazine. The 72-year-old actress was hospitalized
with the condition, but told fans she hopes to recover.
Meanwhile, Johnny Depp was so keen to explain himself after Germany's Stern
magazine misconstrued a comment he made about America in a 2003 interview, he
chose to personally call the patriots who had bombarded him with hate emails.
Depp was nationally blasted as being unpatriotic when a reporter quoted him as
saying America was "an ignorant puppy dog", but he insists the quote was taken
out of context. He told Vanity Fair, "I called them, three or four people, and
I said, 'It's very easy for a publication to print whatever they want to print
as a representation of me, but it's not me. If you would allow me just a moment
to represent myself...if you still feel like I'm a s**thead or a schmuck
afterwards, then fine. But at least hear me out.' These were heavy, right wing,
military people: one was a cop, one had a nephew who'd been wounded in Iraq. I
told them, 'What was printed was ugly, but this is what I meant...' And each
one of them said, 'I understand.'"
Movie legend Omar Sharif proved he still had his hell-raising ways intact at
72, after he became involved in a drunken brawl with a fellow actor in India.
The Doctor Zhivago star was quarrelling with The Lord of the Rings: The
Return of the King villain John Noble in a Jodhpur hotel--before reportedly
hitting him with a lamp. The two stars, in India filming One Night with the
King with Sharif's Lawrence of Arabia co-star Peter O'Toole, stopped fighting
as soon as the lamp smashed.
Gossips found the possibility of a romance between Nicole Kidman and Liz
Hurley's ex, Steve Bing, mouth watering. The pair were spotted out and about
together in New York and Los Angeles as insiders buzzed about the prospect of
another high-profile love match.
Two Los Angeles photographers launched legal proceedings against Cameron Diaz
and Justin Timberlake for assault and battery. The snappers claim the pair
attacked them as they tried to take pictures of them in the street outside a
Los Angeles hotel on Nov. 6. Saul Lazo and Jose Gonzalez allege the couple
taunted and threatened them before Diaz took Lazo's camera after beating him.
The alleged attack was caught on camera by another snapper, who sold his
pictures to Us Weekly. Diaz later handed Lazo's camera over
to police, insisting she only took it so she could find out who the snapper
was. In a lawsuit filed on Nov. 12, the photographers blasted allegations
from Diaz and Timberlake's publicists that they harassed the couple and jumped
out of bushes on them in a bid to stir up an angry reaction. The snappers
insist they did nothing to harass the couple and stood more than three feet
away from them at all times. The photographers claim they suffered emotional
distress and physical harm.
In a clampdown, Hollywood film studios began a legal assault on Internet
pirates across America, after announcing their quest to sue anyone caught
swapping or downloading digital copies of films. The Motion Picture Association
of America (MPAA) pledged to take perpetrators to court in an effort to abolish
the threat posed to future film production. Officials said the civil suits
would seek damages of up to $30,000 per movie, to combat the billions
of dollars piracy is costing film studios every year.
Bridget Fonda and her composer husband Danny Elfman were celebrating after
discovering the actress was pregnant with her first child. The latest member of
the famous Fonda clan is due to arrive next February.
Shelley Long suffered an alleged drug overdose this month, prompting mass
media reports the former Cheers actress was struggling with depression. The
55-year-old actress' spokesman Martin Mickelson later denied, an American newspaper
reports, the star took an overdose following the break-up of her 22-year
marriage. Mickelson said Long merely took one pain pill too many to combat a
Dustin Hoffman confessed to Playboy magazine that he had enjoyed sexual
threesomes in his youth and once had sex in the DJ booth at New York's famed
Studio 54 nightclub.
Actress Julia Roberts gave birth to twins on Nov. 28--more than a month
before they were due. The actress is now a proud mother to a boy
and a girl, named Phinnaeus Walter and Hazel Patricia. The babies' safe
delivery came after Roberts had a pregnancy scare in October, when she was
confined to bed after suffering early contractions.
TV star Robert Conrad was sentenced to six moths house arrest for a
2003 car accident that left another driver seriously injured.
A Paris court ruled Jean-Pierre Jeunet's new film A Very Long Engagement is not French enough to qualify for funding from the country's film agency. The Amelie filmmaker was furious
about The Centre National De La Cinematographie's (CNC) claims the drama was
not Gallic, despite having a French cast speaking their native language,
directed by a Frenchman in a Paris setting. The CNC argued the film had partial
backing by Warner Bros and therefore was not French. The Paris
administrative court ruled it was too American to compete in French film
festivals, including Cannes and Deauville.
Drew Barrymore's actor father John D. Barrymore died in Los Angeles at the age
of 72 near the end of the month. In a statement issued by her publicist, Drew
said, "He was a cool cat. Please smile when you think of him." Meanwhile, Dutch
film-maker Theo Van Gogh was shot dead in Amsterdam on Nov. 2 by a radical
Islamist. Van Gogh, 47--who was related to legendary artist Vincent Van Gogh--
had received death threats since his controversial film Submission, which
depicted violence against women in Islamic societies, was broadcast on Dutch
television. After the attack, police arrested a man in a nearby park but,
before they restrained him, there was a vicious exchange of gunfire that left a
policeman and the suspect with bullet wounds. Both were taken to hospital. A
26-year-old man was arrested by Dutch police investigating the killing.
Other deaths in November included that of French movie maker Phillipe De
Broca, who lost his battle with cancer at the age of 71. And Dallas star Howard
Keel lost his battle with colon cancer on Nov. 7 He was 85. The
Illinois-born actor launched to fame in 1950 as Betty Hutton's love interest in
musical film Annie Get Your Gun. Keel went on to play the romantic lead in MGM
classics Kiss Me Kate, Show Boat, Calamity Jane and Seven Brides For Seven
Brothers. Author and screenwriter Arthur Hailey also lost his life in November.
The 84-year-old novelist died in his sleep.
An interview Will Smith gave to a German newspaper in which he downplayed the
effect Sept. 11, 2001 had on black Americans prompted angry activists to
call for a boycott of his films at the start of December. The I, Robot star had
unleashed his controversial comments in Frankfurter Allgemeine four months
previously, when reporter Johanna Adorjan asked Smith if the events had
personally changed him. He'd replied, "No. Absolutely not. When you grow up
black in America you have a completely different view of the world than white
Americans. We blacks live with a constant feeling of unease. And whether you
are wounded in an attack by a racist cop or in a terrorist attack, I'm sorry,
it makes no difference."
New mother Julia Roberts was given an extra reason to celebrate when she
topped The Hollywood Reporter's annual list of highest-paid actresses yet
again. The Oscar-winning star pulled in a salary of $20 million per picture. Others named in the Women In Entertainment issue included Cameron Diaz, who also takes in $20 million, and Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon and Drew Barrymore, who each earn $15 million.
Natalie Portman wrote a letter to style magazine Allure to explain
herself for comments she made in an interview in which she empathized with
being a black American. The star insisted the attributed quote, "I'm not black,
but I know what it feels like," was "personally offensive" when she read the
article in August's Allure. She said, "If I had spoken more articulately, I might
have conveyed what I truly feel: I could never know what it is like to be a
Not such good news for Catherine Zeta Jones and her husband Michael Douglas, whose legal woes continued unabated when British showbiz magazine Hello! decided to appeal the damages awarded to its rival OK! after it printed photographs of the couple's wedding. However, Hello! doesn't dispute the $27,740 awarded to Zeta Jones and Douglas for breach of confidence, but insisted the $1,982,197 awarded to OK! was "far too high."
Luscious Liv Tyler and her rocker husband Royston Langdon became first-time
parents on Dec. 14, after she gave birth to a boy called Milo.
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