Friday, June 22, 2018

ON THE LONDON SET OF NEW SERIES THE ROOK WITH OLIVIA MUNN

 In London I have a chance to meet and talk with X-Men star Olivia Munn, who has temporarily moved from California to London to star in the upcoming TV series The Rook.
 In it she plays an American intelligence officer with subtle supernatural powers who crashes into an investigation into her former lover's death.
  I watch her filming a scene set just around the corner from The Lamb, a favourite pub of mine in Leadenhall Market. But because there is a strict embargo I cannot reveal anything about our talk or much about the series apart from saying it centers on a young woman (played by London-based actress Emma Greenwell) pursued by shadowy paranormal adversaries while grappling with extraordinary abilities of her own.  
At the Savoy with Emma Greenwell
 When the embargo is lifted I'll be able to reveal a lot more about both the series and the lovely 37-year-old Olivia who is currently dating actor Alex Gonzalez and whose previous boyfriends have included Justin Timberlake, Jamie Foxx, Matthew Morrison, Chris Pine, Aaron Rodgers and Joel Kinnaman. 

 But it's always good to be back in London, particularly staying at the Savoy Hotel! 

Instagram: @beachscribe

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

TWENTY YEARS LATER ---MEMORIES OF THE GROUND-BREAKING SEX AND THE CITY AND THE AGE OF UN-INNOCENCE

  It was twenty years ago that Sarah Jessica Parker, as New York writer Carrie Bradshaw announced: "Welcome to the age of un-innocence" and launched the ground-breaking comedy Sex and the City.
 For the next six years the show followed Carrie, Miranda (Cynthia Nixon), Samantha (Kim Cattrall) and Charlotte (Kristin Davis) through their sexual entanglements and relationships.
  And during those six years I got to know the four actresses
reasonably well on a professional basis. Sometimes I would meet them on the Sex and the City set at Silver Cup Studios, just across the 59th Street Bridge from Manhattan; other times it would be when they were on promotional visits to Los Angeles.
  To Kim Cattrall, who in real-life was nothing like the sex-mad Samantha, I was always "Limey" even though she herself was a Limey, too, coming as she did from Liverpool. So we would swap stories about pubs, things we missed and our visits "home."
 
Every Christmas I would get a card and a note from Cynthia Nixon. And I was as surprised as any of her fans when she came out as gay and later married her partner.
  Kristin Davis, the only one of the quartet whose home was in Los Angeles,  was always funny and friendly and we chatted on the telephone about her career and life with the Sex and the City cast, of whom Cynthia was her greatest friend.

  And Sarah Jessica Parker? Well, Sarah Jessica was the boss. As one of the show's producers she had a big say in what went on screen and the others treated her with, if not deference, then certainly with respect. 
 The series spawned two feature films but it seems that was enough. Plans for a third film fizzled when Cattrall, who had had her differences with Parker, refused to return.
  But Sex and the City is far from finished. The six seasons are available on Amazon as well as other syndicated outlets, including the E! network which recently aired a marathon of every episode.
With the boss, Sarah Jessica, 20 years later





 

Thursday, May 24, 2018

FIVE DECADES LATER, IT'S TIME TO REMEMBER PICKLES, THE HERO COLLIE WHO FOUND THE WORLD CUP

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  Any British football fan who was around for the 1966 World Cup (and what a glorious win that was!) will remember the saga of Pickles, the hero collie dog who recovered the Jules Rimet trophy which had been stolen before the tournament began.

  The theft threatened to derail the biggest competition in world football because how could the tournament go ahead without a trophy?

   Pickles is being remembered now, more than five decades later and a month before the 2018 World Cup, because the riddle of who stole the trophy has finally been solved with two gangster brothers named as the men behind the infamous robbery.

 Sidney Cugullere and his brother Reg are said to have 'nicked it for the thrill' months before England hosted the tournament, 52 years ago next month according to an investigation by the Daily Mirror, which has revived the story. 



  Usually guarded by just a few security officers the Jules Rimet trophy was stolen on the second day of the exhibition while the guards were on a break. Cugullere, using bolt cutters to take it from its cabinet while the guards were on a break, put it in a bag and walked out.

The heist led to one of Scotland Yard's biggest ever manhunts but neither Cugullere, who was jailed for 25 years for other offences, nor his brother, were ever collared for the crime.
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With the trophy too hot to sell, they decided to get rid of it quickly and quietly. They wrapped it in newspaper and dumped it under a bush where Pickles, out for a walk with his owner, found it a week later.

I get my hands on theWorld Cup (briefly)
  The four year old collie was hailed a national hero and lived the life of a star. The four legged phenomenon starred in a feature film, 'The Spy with the Cold Nose', as well as appearing on Blue Peter, Magpie and a bunch of other shows. Pickles was also voted 'Dog of the Year' and awarded a year's free dog food supply from Spillers

Bobby Moore would go on to lift the Cup after England defeated Germany 4-2 in the final and Pickles was at the celebration party where Bobby Moore took him onto the hotel balcony and lifted him up to the cheers of the crowds below.
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 Unfortunately for Pickles his celebrity lifestyle lasted roughly a year before he met an upsetting end. 

"He ran after a cat and pulled my son over, before disappearing," said his owner,Thames lighterman David Corbett.  "I looked for over an hour. Then, in the gardens behind my house I saw him up on a tree. His chain was around the branch and Pickles was just hanging there."


Instagram: @beachscribe

Monday, May 21, 2018

FREDDIE MERCURY FILM BIO RAISES QUESTIONS ABOUT 'QUEERWASHING.'

Rami Malek as Mercury


   A 90-second trailer for the long-awaited and trouble-hit movie biography of Freddie Mercury, Bohemian Rhapsody, has just been released ----and it is already causing controversy.


   Sacha Baron Cohen, who was originally set to star as the flamboyant Queen frontman, backed out  saying the movie appeared to be more about the successes of Queen than about the extraordinary and often X-rated life of Mercury.

  And while the trailer demonstrates that Rami Malek does an outstanding job as Mercury, it also shows nothing of his private life. 

  Because the surviving members of Queen had to approve it, the movie seems centred on the band and steers clear of Mercury's incident-filled life as a gay icon and his struggle with AIDS.
 
  Not a word of dialogue is spoken in the trailer that doesn’t pertain to the music of Queen: nothing of Mercury’s love life, no illness, no emotion, nothing dangerous or overtly queer to offend anyone.

 According to one critic: "The whole thing has the flavour of something strenuously queerwashed, which has removed everything wild and interesting about Mercury. This trailer would appear to presage a film with no interest in sounding the ambiguities of his life, the abrasive queerness of his perspective, the virulence of the homophobic press in their attacks on him – what, in a word, made him tick."

Personally I hope the movie is good and is a big success because it has been produced, after a long struggle, by Graham King, a good friend of mine and fellow Chelsea supporter. He is certain it will fulfill audiences' expectations.
 
 "This is a story that has something for everyone," he says. "Freddie Mercury connected like only a handful of performers have ever done."

Bohemian Rhapsody is due to be released on November 2.


Instagram: @beachscribe

Sunday, April 29, 2018

STARS A-PLENTY AT SCHMOOZE-AND-BOOZE CINEMACON FESTIVAL


    Hollywood unveiled what it hopes will be a summer of blockbusters during a week of stars, schmoozing and boozing at the annual CinemaCon festival at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. 
  Stars were front and centre as the studios promoted their fares, which range from sequels to remakes to --hooray! quite a few original themes.

  One of the surprises was the appearance of Quentin Tarantino with Leonardo DiCaprio to talk about his upcoming controversial movie, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,  set in the 1960s when the Manson murders rocked Hollywood.

It not only reunites DiCaprio with Tarantino, following their teaming in 2012's Django Unchained, but also includes Brad Pitt, who starred in the director's 2009 Inglourious Basterds.

"It is the most exciting star dynamic since Paul Newman and Robert Redford," Tarantino said of DiCaprio and Pitt. "It's very hush-hush and top secret. But I can tell you that Once Upon a Time in Hollywood takes place in 1969, at the height of the counterculture hippie revolution and the height of new Hollywood. Street by street, block by block, we'll transform Los Angeles into the Hollywood of 1969."

  Other highlights of the week included:

 Cher providing a shot of adrenaline by performing the hit Abba song Fernando from the upcoming Mama Mia! Here We Go Again!. In it she plays Sophie’s (Amanda Seyfried) grandmother, an entertainer who hasn’t left Las Vegas in 25 years, in the musical sequel/prequel that’s due out July 20.


.. Footage from Bohemian Rhapsody, showing Freddie Mercury (Remi Malek who bears an uncanny resemblance to the late Queen singer) joining the band in 1970 with Brian May and Roger Taylor, the movie's joint producers. .
.
 .Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy and “La La Land” writer-director Damien Chazelle took the stage to “Rocket Man”to introduce the initial trailer for “First Man,” in which Gosling transitions from dancing to moonwalking as astronaut Neil Armstrong.

.Tom Cruise and director Chris McQuarrie  walking the audience through the absurdly complicated HALO (High Altitude, Low Open) parachute jump that Cruise completed 106 times, after a year of preparation, for just three usable takes in Mission Impossible: Fallout.  They were later joined onstage by co-stars Henry Cavill, Simon Pegg and Angela Bassett.

 Jamie Lee Curtis, who’s returning to battle Michael Myers 40 years later in “Halloween,” showing off scenes from the horror update. She promised that the sequel “will scare the living shit out of you.”

  And many, many more.....
 



Monday, April 16, 2018

MARVEL COMICS FOUNDER STAN LEE CLAIMS HIS BLOOD WAS STOLEN AND SOLD.

  Sorry to hear about Marvel comics icon Stan Lee's problems and the web of strife he is enmeshed in following the death last year of his beloved British-born wife Joanie at the age of 95 after 70 years of marriage.

  When I talked with Lee two years ago he was fit, feisty and working on movies featuring Annihilator and Realm of the Tiger, new superheroes he had created.

  Now, sadly, aged 95, he has filed a lawsuit against his former manager Jerardo Olivarez alleging fraud, elder abuse and misappropriation of his name and likeness.

   Lee, whose creations include Spider-Man, the Hulk, Daredeveil, X-Men and Black Panther, accuses Olivarez of being one of many "unscrupulous businessmen, sycophants and opportunists" who sought to take advantage of him following the death of his wife Joanie in July. 

  The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleges that Olivarez took money from Lee's accounts and orchestrated a scheme to steal Lee's blood for a merchandising venture involving using the blood in ink for pens and stamps. 

  “There are shops in Las Vegas selling his blood,” Keya Morgan, a Lee family friend, reportedly says. “They’re stamping his blood inside the Black Panther comic books and they sell them for $500 each.”


Instagram: @beachscribe

Thursday, April 12, 2018

YOUNG SHELDON---NINE-YEARS-OLD AND TALKING ROCKET SCIENCE


  He's only nine years old but he is the star of his own TV show and a very funny little boy. 

  He talks with confidence and humour and, remarkable as it seems, Iain Armitage, who is better known by his TV name Young Sheldon, is excellent company.

  With a theatrical producer mother and a father who is on stage in New York in Hamilton, Iain was always destined to be in some form of showbusiness. In fact while still in elementary school he launched his own YouTube channel, Ian Loves Theatre and gained a healthy following as a theatre critic.

  In Young Sheldon, a spin-off from The Big Bang Theory, he plays the childhood incarnation of Jim Parsons' character Sheldon Cooper.

    And because he plays a child genius in the show he is learning about plenty of esoteric subjects thanks to the lines he has to say.

   For instance, he says, "I had to talk about kinetic and linear energy and all these things I knew nothing about. So I asked my teacher and there's a formula that says 'ke equals half nb squared---kinetic energy equals mass times velocity squared. But don't ask me what it means."

  And " 'near apogee we gimbal the engine to exert torque which executes a pitch and maneuver to flip about a 180 degrees that needless to say we use a PID controller to minimize the dispersions of the landing site.'

   "My mom and my teacher explained it to me but I’m still like, huh? Because I’m literally talking about rocket science so it was very hard to figure out."


   He landed the first acting job he auditioned for, as Shailene Woodley's son Ziggy in the series Big Little Lies, explaining: "It was basically, audition, send it in, call back, do it, got the part."


   His first film role, in the drama The Glass Castle, followed and he is soon to start filming the second series of Big Little Lies.

  He has always been home schooled and now he has lessons on the set. "I like my classes and I’m excited because when I go back to Big Little Lies there’ll be a lot of other kids," he says. "It'll be good to have a lot of other kids that I can play with and talk with on set." 
 
  He is already so well known that he cannot walk down the street without being asked for an autograph or a selfie. And unlike some stars it does not bother him at all.
 
 "I’m completely fine with that, yeah," he says "People are always very nice when they ask, so I am fine with it."


Instagram: @Beachscribe

ON THE LONDON SET OF NEW SERIES THE ROOK WITH OLIVIA MUNN

 In London I have a chance to meet and talk with X-Men star Olivia Munn, who has temporarily moved from California to London to star in the ...