After contracting pneumonia and falling into a frightening 12-day coma, Bee Gees singer Robin Gibb has awoken, his spokesperson confirms.
Speaking to Britain's Sunday Express newspaper, Gibb's son, RJ, 28, shared the emotional story. Family members, including RJ, his mother Dwina and Gibb's other children, had kept a bedside vigil for nearly two weeks, singing songs and talking to the unconscious singer. Then, finally, a "miracle." Gibb opened his eyes, looked at his son and uttered, "Hello RJ." It's been a long road to recovery for the singer. Gibb, 62, revealed his battle with liver and colon cancer in October 2010. He had emergency surgery to treat a blocked bowel and another operation to treat a twisted bowel (his twin brother, Maurice, died from the condition in 2003 at age 53). His younger brother, Andy, died of a heart ailment in 1988. He was only 30. Dwina says the outpouring of support from fans has been incredible, with thousands saying prayers for him every day, and the family thanks everyone for their support. More: Bee Gees Robin Gibb Is In a Coma Family Questions Bee Gee Maurice Gibb's Death
At the ripe young age of 8 Marjane Satrapi (voice of Gabrielle Lopes) is celebrating the end of the dictatorial Shah’s reign in late-‘70s Tehran Iran. Along with her parents Tadji (voice of Catherine Deneuve) and Ebi (voice of Simon Abkarian) and her grandmother (voice of Danielle Darrieux) with whom she is closest young Marjane looks toward a bright future one sans the oppression her independent-minded family has endured for some years. But life only winds up changing for the worse in the years that follow. Oppression and repression rage on amidst a new yet obsolete form of government. Women for example are literally not to be seen: Headscarves must cover their faces or else. This doesn’t sit well with Marjane who sneaks in taboo imports like Bee Gees and ABBA records and a “Punk Is Not Dead”-emblazoned jacket. Her parents fearing Marjane is one minor misstep away from jail or worse send her off to school in Vienna at age 14 (now voiced by Chiara Mastroianni) for her own safety. It starts a period of self-discovery self-loathing extreme growth spurts and great wandering both physically and mentally. And it ends with the beginning--of the rest of her life. The only name moviegoers are likely to recognize in the cast of vocals is that of legendary French actress Deneuve whose voice lends a genuinely maternal aura--in addition of course to her distinctive smoky delivery. All the voice-overs are superb though and the family feel is tangible throughout as a result. It pays off--not just budget-wise--to have a cast without A-listers separating Persepolis from the pack that has become star-studded animated movies of today. All dialogue is in French which obviously eliminates 99 percent of Hollywood but the relative few not scared off by lack of star power are in for a more authentic film. Most notable is Mastroianni (real-life daughter of Deneuve and her late husband famed actor Marcello Mastroianni) who voices both the teenaged Marjane and her older self narrating the story via flashbacks. Mastroianni as clearly the central figure of the story is able to capture every emotion on the roller coaster that was Satrapi’s coming-of-age-hood. Sometimes adaptations get lost in translation from source material to movie but Marjane Satrapi the author of the graphic novel of the same name on which Persepolis is based was fortunately integral to the whole production every step of the way. She co-directed and co-wrote the movie along with Vincent Paronnaud and clearly infused her woe-is-NOT-me attitude. Persepolis is sad in spots but it’s always circumstantial never subjective. At no time does Satrapi assert any sense of pathos into her real-life story or plead for viewers’ pity making it a refreshing often humorous and ultimately uplifting retrospective on oppression--not depression. Animation-wise everything is done in minimalist black and white the perfect touch that takes no getting used to; nor does it take away from the story’s soul like CGI sometimes does and the visuals still manage to be just as intoxicating as those in say Pixar movies. And being that Persepolis is adapted from a graphic novel and told in a similarly noir tone live action just wouldn’t have been the same.
Top Story: Jolie Awarded Prestigious U.N. Award
Angelina Jolie tearfully accepted the United Nations Correspondents Association's first Citizen of the World Award for her continued work with refugees, The Associated Press reports. Ruud Lubbers, the U.N. high commissioner for refugees, introduced the actress, saying, "She has helped put the spotlight on a disenfranchised group--refugees--and also those who are not in the headlines and who are victims of long forgotten crises," Lubbers said. "She gives a voice to millions of uprooted people across the globe." Jolie, 28, a goodwill ambassador for the U.N. refugee agency since 2001, said at the awards dinner Wednesday night that she was "inspired and humbled" to work with refugees and also said it was exceptionally meaningful to receive an award named for Sergio Vieira de Mello, the top U.N. envoy to Iraq, who was one of 22 people killed in the Aug. 19 bombing of U.N. headquarters in Baghdad, AP reports. Every time she looks at the award, Jolie said, she'll be reminded of the work he did for the United Nations, not only in Iraq but also for refugees and in promoting human rights.
Japanese Man Sues Britney Spears
A Japanese businessman who was ordered to stay away from Britney Spears has filed a lawsuit against the pop princess, claiming her security guards caused him "extreme emotional distress," Reuters reports. Masahiko Shizawa, a 43-year-old software entrepreneur, says Spears' guards confronted him on a public street at gunpoint and demanded that he leave the area. A restraining order was placed on Shizawa Oct. 7, when a judge deemed he had "engaged in a pattern of harassment and stalking" Spears for more than a year, Reuters reports.
Siegfried Vows Return to Stage With Roy
At the third annual World Awards in Hamburg, Germany Thursday, Siegfried Fishchbacher, of the famed Siegfried and Roy duo, accepted a special award on behalf of his partner, Roy Horn, who is recovering from a tiger attack during a performance Oct. 3, and vowed the two would return to the stage, AP reports. "The Siegfried who you see before you here will soon return again as Siegfried and Roy," the German-born magician told the cheering crowd at the ceremony recognizing outstanding contributions to society specifically by men. Other award recipients included Michael Douglas, Bee Gees singer Robin Gibb, Morgan Freeman and Christopher Reeve.
Columnist Fired for Racist Remarks
ESPN.com has fired columnist Gregg Easterbook as a freelance contributor to its Web site after his derogatory comments towards the producers of Kill Bill were published in The New Republic magazine, AP reports. Easterbook apologized last week for remarking the producers were "Jewish executives" who "worship money above all else," but ESPN said in a statement they found the comments "highly offensive and intolerable."
HBO's Band Could Hit Syndication
Following the sale of Sex and the City episodes to Tribune Entertainment, HBO has started shopping around their Emmy-winning miniseries Band of Brothers to other cable networks in a move to try and generate an additional revenue stream. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the History Channel has expressed the most interest in the 10-hour WWII drama produced by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg.
Reality TV Awards Shelved for Now
ABC and veteran Emmys producer Don Mischer have decided to pull the plug on producing an award show honoring the best in non-scripted television, Reuters reports, due to a lack of cooperation from the other networks. Mischer said plans for the new "Reality Awards" were severely hampered by the refusal of some competing networks to grant permission for clips of their shows to be televised on ABC. "In several cases, we were told that 'reality' stars, judges and producers would be discouraged from participating, even though all those we talked to were very excited about honoring this genre of television," Mischer said. The two-hour special was to have been taped on Nov. 23, but no airdate was ever set, Reuters reports.
Role Call: Harlin Picks Up Exorcist's Loose Ends, It's a Man-Thing
Director Renny Harlin will take over the directing chores on Exorcist: The Beginning, helming six weeks of reshoots, Variety reports. He replaces Paul Schrader, who dropped out last month as director of the prequel to the 1973 Oscar-nominated film due to creative differences. Exorcist: The Beginning traces the story of Father Merrin back to his first encounter with the devil in Africa and stars Stellan Skarsgard, Gabriel Mann, Clara Bellar and recording artist Billy Crawford…Another Marvel comic book character is coming to a theater near you. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Man-Thing, a story about a vengeful creature born from the evil and injustices perpetrated against man and nature and starring Jack Thompson and Rawiri Paratene, will open Aug. 27, 2004.
Grammy winning R&B singer R. Kelly was arrested in Florida today on child pornography charges after investigators said they found 12 photographs of a nude girl at the singer's home, The Associated Press reports. He is being held at a Miami-Dade county jail on $12,000 bond. Kelly, whose first name is Robert, is already facing child pornography charges in Illinois. He has been out on bond and awaiting trial on 21 counts of child pornography in Chicago on charges stemming from a videotape authorities say shows him having sex with a 13-year-old girl. Kelly has denied that charge.
According to a report by the Bloomfield Township, Mich., police, Aretha Franklin did not cooperate with authorities investigating a fire that destroyed her 10,000-square-foot mansion on Oct. 25. The police document says officers were rebuffed repeatedly while trying to interview Franklin--who is not a suspect--after the fire occurred, Reuters reports. On the morning of the fire Franklin twice told detectives by phone that she was "too tired" to talk and would call back, according to the report. When she didn't call back, detectives left a message and were contacted by her attorney, who said Franklin declined to be interviewed because she "was upset with the way this matter was being handled." A publicist for the 60-year-old singer, however, said in a statement last week that Franklin and her attorneys have been "cooperative from the very beginning."
Bring on the junk food! Renée Zellweger, who won a Golden Globe award for her performance in Chicago, says she is prepared to gain weight to reprise her comic role as Londoner Bridget Jones in The Edge of Reason, the sequel to 2001's popular Bridget Jones's Diary. "I'm ready, willing and able," the 33-year-old actress told the London Times. "Bridget's a character I really identify with. I'll put the weight back on with pleasure." Zellweger gained about 20 pounds to play the role of Bridget in the first film.
Pop singer Anastacia said Tuesday that she has been diagnosed with breast cancer, Reuters reports. "My doctor was insistent that I have a mammogram (during a routine checkup last week) even though it was not required," the 29-year-old singer said in a statement. "He saved my life." Anastacia, whose debut album, Not That Kind, was released in 2000 and became an international hit, also suffers from Crohn's disease, a chronic intestinal illness she was diagnosed with at age 13.
Warner Bros. announced Tuesday that Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets will be released on home video April 11. According to Variety, the studio will release the DVD version of the film in many countries on the same day, including the United Kingdom, Germany and Australia. Chamber of Secrets has grossed more than $800 million at theaters worldwide.
Fox Broadcasting Co. will debut some of its new shows in the summer instead of fall, the AP reports. "One of the lessons that reality television has taught us is that summer is a really good time to launch big franchises," said Fox chairman Sandy Grushow. "It's a better time than all six networks launching within the same week or two in late September." Besides reality-based shows, the network will also launch new comedies and dramas in the summer, but new episodes of its more established shows such as 24 and Malcolm in the Middle will debut after the baseball season.
Although oldest Bee Gee Barry Gibb had said the band would go on as a tribute to brother Maurice, who died in Miami earlier this month, Maurice's twin Robin said Tuesday the Bee Gees are finished. "In Maurice's name we would respect that and not be the Bee Gees any more," Robin told Britain's GMTV television show. "Anything (Barry and I) do, we will do together, but it'll be as brothers and not under the name of the Bee Gees."
Capitol Records announced that Lisa Marie Presley will release her first solo album, To Whom It May Concern, in stores April 8, People.com reports. Presley, who first signed a deal with Capitol in 1998, wrote all the songs on the CD. According to a press release, Presley's songs will run the gamut from "the brutal self-analysis of 'S.O.B.,' with its sinewy rock imprint, to the broken-hearted loss of 'Nobody Noticed It.'.... And in the dusky textures of 'Lights Out,' she hauntedly [sic] confronts the dark side of her heritage."
DMC of the rap group Run-DMC said that although no arrests have been made nearly three months after the killing of DJ Jam Master Jay, he's glad police haven't given up on the investigation. "You know a lot of people think that cops are the enemy and they really don't care. But the police that are working on Jay's death are doing an excellent job," said DMC, whose real name is Darryl McDaniels, in an interview with MTV News Tuesday. "You got hope that if the cops don't catch them, the streets will."
An autopsy has shown Bee Gees brother Maurice Gibb died because his bowel and small intestine were so severely twisted it caused a restriction of blood flow, The Associated Press reports. Gibb, 53, died Sunday three days after suffering cardiac arrest prior to undergoing emergency surgery for an intestinal blockage. The Miami-Dade County medical examiner told AP Gibb suffered from a condition known as ischemic enteropathy, which can be severe enough to cause cardiac arrest because of the restricted flow of blood. Dr. Jeffrey Raskin, interim chief of gastroenterology at the University of Miami, also told AP, "People (with his condition) can live to middle age with no symptoms. They can have minor problems off and on. Or, they can present on the first time with a catastrophic event, as it seems in this case." Gibb's brothers, Barry and Robin, have questioned the Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami about the decision to operate after their brother's cardiac arrest.
Singer Bobby Brown was sentenced to eight days in jail Friday after pleading guilty to a 1996 drunken driving charge in Georgia, AP reports. He is also to perform 240 hours of community service, pay $2,000 in fines and $800 in court costs, as well as getting couseling. Brown will be on probation for two years.
Variety reports the Directors Guild of America will award Martin Scorsese its lifetime achievement award at the 55th annual DGA Awards March 1. In its 67-year history, the union's highest achievement has been given out to only 29 directors. Steven Spielberg was the DGA's last recipient, winning the honors in 2000.
DreamWorks has joined Paramount Pictures to co-finance the Ben Affleck sci-fi thriller Paycheck, Variety reports, making it the third deal the two studios have set up together lately. The other two include Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events and Killing Pablo. Paycheck is based on a short story by Philip K. Dick about a guy whose memory is erased by his employer but who tries to collect his paycheck anyway.
Samuel L. Jackson will join Juliette Binoche in the indie drama Country of My Skull for director John Boorman. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the story is based on the book Country of My Skull: Guilt, Sorrow and the Limits of Forgiveness in the New South Africa and chronicles the account of South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which investigated human rights abuses during apartheid.
The Simpsons are sticking around for another two seasons, Variety reports. The animated show has been renewed by Fox through May 2005, which will make 16 seasons and 360 episodes total. This will surpass the classic The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet, television's longest running show in history.
Cybill Shepherd will don the apron and play Martha Stewart in an upcoming NBC telefilm, tentatively titled Martha Inc.: The Story of Martha Stewart. Seems fitting, no? The project is based on Christopher Byron's biography Martha Inc.: The Incredible Story of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, which was released in bookstores last spring, just as Stewart became embroiled in the insider trading scandal with the biotechnology firm ImClone.
Rocker Jackson Browne is calling for the removal of some scenes from the TBS telepic America's Prince: The John F. Kennedy Jr. Story, which suggest the singer assaulted a former girlfriend, actress Daryl Hannah, who also dated John Jr. Reuters reports Browne's attorney, Lawrence Iser, demanded in a letter to TBS that it "cease and desist" airing the program again "until false and defamatory scenes accusing Mr. Browne of assaulting actress Daryl Hannah are removed." The film aired Sunday on TBS.
The William Morris Agency will be opening a branch in Miami, Fla., to accommodate their Spanish-speaking clients, including Luis Miguel and Enrique Iglesias. The office will open in April.
Further shaking up the record industry, Jay Boberg, president of Vivendi Universal's MCA Records, resigned his post Thursday, Reuters reports. This follows the resignation of Sony Music Entertainment head Tommy Mottola last week. Boberg will be replaced in the interim by Craig Lambert, MCA's senior vice president of promotion.
Frank Ramaesiri, the St. Louis jewelry salesman who sold the video of a topless sunbather to Penthouse, telling the magazine it was Anna Kournikova, testified on Tuesday he mistakenly thought the woman was the tennis star due to the diameter of her nipples. Now how would Ramaesiri, a non-professional photographer, know the diameter of Kournikova's nipples, you may ask? Reuters reported that the salesman told the court he had seen pictures of the Russian beauty in a sweat-soaked tennis dress revealing her nipples, and "the diameter matched what we had on film," he said. Plus, he added, the sunbather looked Russian.
The "sunbather" was actually Judith Soltesz-Benetton, the daughter-in-law of fashion designer Luciano Benetton. While Penthouse has issued a formal apology to both Kournikova and Soltesz-Benetton, the women are still pursuing cases against the infamous magazine for damages.
Steven Spielberg is finally making his life complete--he's graduating from college. After dropping out nearly three decades ago to pursue his career, the famed director, 55, will receive a bachelor's degree from California State University Long Beach, where he recently finished courses in the film and electronic arts major.
Jason Alexander, on the other hand, wants to teach college. The former Seinfeld star will be instructing other young actors on the University of Southern California campus under the George Burns Distinguished Visiting Professor in Performance program.
Rapper Jay-Z won't be moving into that $6.5 million penthouse in New York's trendy TriBeCa complex, after all. He pulled out of the deal without giving a reason, but owner Peter Arnell blames neighbors for sabotaging the deal. Arnell claims two tenants, Lynn Fisher-Hill and Lewis Taffer, posted notices in the halls, referring to the rapper's criminal record and lifestyle of violence, The Associated Press reports.
Jennifer Lopez shelled out the dough for her new Miami home. She recently bought a $9.5 million waterfront mansion in Miami Beach, with a view of Biscayne Bay. Her celebrity neighbors include Lenny Kravitz, Ricky Martin and the Bee Gees, Barry and Robin Gibb.
Bernadette Peters and Gregory Hines, two veterans of the Broadway stage, will be hosting the Tony Awards June 2. This marks the second time for Hines, who co-hosted with Glenn Close and Nathan Lane in 1994. It'll be the first hosting gig for Peters.
Anne Heche may be heading for Broadway lights. She could replace the departing Jennifer Jason Leigh in David Auburn's Pulitzer Prize-winning play Proof at the Walter Kerr Theater in New York. Mary-Louise Parker originated the play's lead role of Catherine, the grief-stricken, troubled daughter of a math genius, in spring 2000.
In the Biz
Another large ensemble piece for Robert Altman? Go figure. Variety reports the veteran director may sign up to helm The Company, a large ensemble project about ballet dancers, with Neve Campbell (Scream) attached to star as a young dancer distracted by other things. Apparently, there are about 50 roles to be had--piece of cake for Altman.
Jay Kay, the lead singer of the funk band Jamiroquai, was involved in an altercation Wednesday at the post-premiere party for Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones in London. Kay's agent told Reuters the singer found his new car damaged and confronted the suspected culprit. Kay suffered some facial injuries.
There is no love lost between rapper Eminem and Vice President Dick Cheney's wife, Lynne Cheney. She has been very vocal in her criticism of the recording industry, often citing Eminem's music as offensive. He countered by flinging a four-letter word at her in his song, "White America," on his soon-to-be released album The Eminem Show. Now, now, Marshall.
In a rare appearance, three of rock and roll's greatest legends--Chuck Berry, Little Richard and Bo Diddley--were honored by Broadcast Music Inc. They received BMI's Icon Awards at the 50th annual pop music awards show Tuesday and were recognized for their "unique and indelible influence on generations of music makers," Reuters reports.
Amidst protestation, a church in Alamogordo, New Mexico burned Harry Potter and other books Sunday. Jack Brock, pastor and founder of the Christ Community Church, called the book burning a "blessing" and called the literary works "masterpieces of satanic deception," teaching children witchcraft, according to The Associated Press. Across the street from the church, protesters held signs saying, "Book burning? Shame on our town."
Britain honored some of their best when the Queen's New Year Honors List for 2002 was announced Monday. Actor Ben Kingsley, boxer Lennox Lewis and pop sensations The Bee Gees were among some of the lucky Brits to make the cut.
American Music Awards producer Dick Clark is mad at the King of Pop. Michael Jackson has backed out of appearing on the awards show Jan. 9, due to a conflict with the Grammy Awards, where Jackson is also scheduled to perform. Clark has filed suit against the Grammy organizers for what he calls "blacklisting" where the Grammys stipulate an artist cannot perform on the show if they also perform on the American Music Awards.
Rosie O'Donnell held a $250 per person private fund-raiser Sunday for Janet Reno, the former U.S. attorney general and current Democratic candidate for Florida state governor. "When I heard that she was running I called her office and told her I would do any and everything I can," O'Donnell told the AP.
Brian Warner, aka Marilyn Manson, has escaped jail time when a U.S. judge dropped the sexual misconduct charges against the rocker. Manson now faces fines of $2,000 for an assault and battery charge.
Who says the 1970s Bill Cosby cartoon Fat Albert isn't still the bomb? First, UPN's Christmas Eve special The Fat Albert Christmas Special won its 8 p.m. time slot and now a big screen version will be released in 2003, directed by Forest Whitaker. Hey, hey, hey!
One of the main roads in Austin, Texas was shut down Friday, but lined with fans, when the 68-year-old country singer Willie Nelson rode a horse down the street while filming a music video. The video is for a duet Nelson did with Lee Ann Womack.
The Clintons got into the holiday spirit in New York Thursday night, at the Brassiere 81/2, according to The Post. Dad Bill, mom Hillary and daughter Chelsea partied on, especially Bill and Chelsea who reportedly were hitting the vodka pretty hard. Reportedly ex-pres Bill lost his cell phone between the restaurant and his limo.
Crooner Barry Manilow isn't talking--quite literally. Manilow has been ordered to be completely silent for a few days due to severe bronchitis and had to postpone three weekend concert appearances. His New Year's Eve show, however, will go on as scheduled. Thank God.
The history of the Bee Gees, whose four-decade career is marked by 36 hit records. The program features interviews with Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb and archival clips of performances. The band talks about its early days in music and its leap to fame in the 1970s with "Saturday Night Fever."