Wednesday, April 27, 2016


Talking soccer with Sir Patrick Stewart
  Sir Patrick Stewart is known in London's West End and on Broadway as a noted Shakespearean actor but in the northern English town of Huddersfield he is better known as a fervent supporter of the Terriers---the nickname for Huddersfield Town Football Club.

  The 75-year-old actor, who was knighted by the Queen in 2010 for his services to drama, has supported the club all his life and is also president of the club's academy for developing young talent.

He is, he tells me, very happy with the performance so far of the club's new manager, the German-American David Wagner who until joining Huddersfield in November was with Borussia Dortmund and he has high hopes for next season. 
 The club's best years, however, were back in the 1920s when it became the first English club to win three successive league titles, a feat which only three other clubs have matched, and none has bettered. They also won the F.A. Cup in 1922.

Sir Patrick, who spent seven years as Captain Jean-Luc Picard in the TV series Star Trek: The Next Generation and later as Professor  Charles Xavier in the X-Men movies, is a most unstuffy and down-to-earth knight.

  Currently starring in the TV comedy series Blunt Talk, He loves to laugh, tell anecdotes and he talks freely about his life and career.

  He married his third wife, Sunny Ozell, who is 38 years his junior, in 2013 in a ceremony conducted by his good friend Sir Ian McKellen.

  "I have not spent much of my adult life single," he says frankly. "The first time I was married for 23 years.  I've had girlfriends and relationships, some of them which were wonderful and ended happily and some of them didn't." He smiles ruefully. "I like the company of women very much and I've never been a great one for lads' night out, you know, going to the pub and downing a lot of beer and afterwards going for kebabs or an Indian meal which is usually what happens. 
  "I like to be in the company of  women and that has from time to time led to relationships;  so I'm very happy with that."

Monday, April 18, 2016


  With the sixth season of the medieval fantasy hit show Game of Thrones about to begin, Emilia Clarke, who stars as the white-haired princess Daenerys Targaryen, has been giving promotional interviews with a stern warning from her mother fixed firmly in her mind. 

  "She said to me: 'Don't talk about the penises,'" Emilia tells me with a laugh. "That quote about penises is following me."  

    It was on the Graham Norton Show that she talked about the scene in which Jason Momoa's character Khal Drogo raped her character, Daenerys.

Emilia as Daenerys Targaryen
  "Obviously there's nudity so you try and lighten the mood," she said. She related to the audience how Jason put a pink fluffy sock over his manhood and then blurted out, without thinking: "It's huge and it's pink!"   
    The London-born 28-year-old  Emilia doesn't flinch from appearing nude on screen and she stripped down in the very first Game of Thrones episode and famously walked out of a fire wearing nothing but her newborn dragons. She also had a nude scene in her 2013 Broadway debut in Breakfast at Tiffany's when audience members infamously took photos of her during the show, causing the theatre to beef up security.

   But she turned down the role of Anastasia Steele in Fifty Shades of Grey after discussions with director Sam Taylor Johnson. "I'd done nudity before and was concerned with being labelled for doing it again," she says. The role eventually went to Dakota Johnson.

  Nowadays Emilia keeps her nudity to a minimum. While there are fully naked women acting as background decoration on Game of Thrones,  Daenerys can chastely clutch a sheet over her breasts after sex.

  “There are other women who remove items of clothing on our show, so they’ve kind of got my nipple count down now,” she jokes.
   We talk in the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills the morning after the glittering gala premiere of Season Six of Game of Thrones.

  It is a struggle for her but Emilia is under strict instructions not to discuss what happens in the new season because it is the only one not based on the books of George R.R. Martin.

  "There are no more books so this is unchartered territory--brand spanking new information which is why everyone has to be so much more discreet," she says. "In previous seasons you could ask someone who read the books what happens and they would tell you.

  "It's so hard keeping quiet because all you want to do is scream it from the rooftops and all HBO want you to do is not scream it from the rooftops," she laughs. 

Friday, April 15, 2016


Elton John and David Furnish
   For weeks Britain has been buzzing with speculation as to the identity of the celebrity couple involved in a threesome scandal. An Appeal Court has issued an injunction banning the naming of those involved, so no publication in England or Wales has been allowed to reveal who they are.
  But the injunction doesn't extend to America, where it is common knowledge that Elton John and David Furnish are the couple in question and it is Furnish who for three years has been cheating on John, his wife and partner of 23 years with a wealthy London businessman.

  An American magazine has reported details of trysts in luxury hotels, threesomes and even a bout of olive oil wrestling, but  before the story could hit the U.K. tabloids, John secured a court-ordered injunction barring any mention or his or Furnish’s names in English or Welsh media.
  Lawyers for John argued that the couple had never courted publicity over their private life, and that releasing details of their sex life would be “devastating.”
  Instead, newspapers have merely attributed the story’s details to a “well known celebrity couple,” leaving thousands to wonder and speculate.
    Even Google has removed links to articles about the celebrity couple and the threesome in response to legal requests, and searches for the names of either person produce notices saying results have been removed.
  But now the secret is out it cannot be long before everyone in Britain who wants to know details of the sordid affair and the identities of those involved, will be able to read about it in their favourite newspaper.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016


Three Baywatch babes: Alexandra, Kelly and Ilfenesh Hadera
David Hasselhoff became known around the world (I won't say an international star) by pounding
along the Malibu beach wearing bright red swimming trunks as lifeguard Mitch Buchannon in the TV series Baywatch.
 Now, 25 years later, the Hoff is back on the beach in the new movie version of the long-running series.
But this time he has only a cameo role playing himself, while Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson gets to flex his muscles as Mitch, along with a new cast of gorgeous girls with golden tans in the roles originally played by a previous generation of actresses who jiggled along the beach, frequently in slow motion.
  Pamela Anderson's C.J. Parker is back and is now played by Kelly Rohrbach, 28, whose main claim to fame is being one of Leonardo DiCaprio's ex-girlfriends; and Summer Quinn, originally played by Nicole Eggert has been reincarnated by Alexandra Daddario, 28,  who previously was The Rock's daughter in the movie San Andreas.
  The Rock, who is also one of the movie's producers, is not short of hyperbole when talking about the movie and particularly the new beach babes.
  Kelly, he says somewhat indelicately, "is a walking smoke stack," adding, "but more importantly… she’s smart, tough and funny. Just the way we like ‘em,” 
  And Alexandra, he says, "takes Baywatch to another level. Just wait until you see her ---and all our girls ---kick ass and protect the bay."
   What about the man who started it all?
with the Hoff
"There ain't no 'Bay' without the Hoff," says Johnson. "Baywatch is the most successful TV show of all time and from the day we announced we were turning it into a movie The Hoff has been our greatest supporter. He's a cool dude who's down to have fun and here's the best part.. He's been training his ass off and gotten in the best shape he's been in in years!"

  The Hoff certainly looks in great shape but he was a lot more circumspect than the Rock when I talked to him about the movie.  "People love Baywatch and that's why the movie had better be something similar to what they know or they're not going to go and see it," he told me. "I think it really has a good chance of being a fun show. They don't take it too seriously. Dwayne is a hell of a nice guy, Zac (Ephron, who plays a new lifeguard) is a great guy and I think they know they're stepping into a big franchise. 
   "It's almost like an episode of Baywatch and that's why I decided to do it---because it didn't put Baywatch down."
  Scenes have already been filmed in Florida and now the cast and crew are moving to Tybee Island beach near Savannah, Georgia.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016


The original Seven
  I was invited to Sony Studios the other day to see a 15 minute clip of the highly-anticipated remake of that classic 1960 Western The Magnificent Seven and to talk with its director Anton Fuqua.
  But because Sony has imposed an embargo on it, hoping to keep details secret until nearer the movie's release in September, I can't write about anything I saw or heard while at the studio.
  I can, however, reveal from other sources that this time the Seven---a bunch of outlaws, bounty hunters, gamblers and hired guns--- are far more diverse than the original group. They are headed by Denzel Washington in the role played by Yul Brynner, with Chris Pratt in the Steve McQueen role. The other members of the Seven are Ethan Hawke, Vincent D'Onofrio, the Korean actor Byung-hun Lee, the Mexican Manuel Garcia-Rulfo and the Native American Martin Sensmeier, whose character Red Harvest is a wiz with a bow and arrow.
Denzel Washington
   This time, instead of defending a Mexican village, the Seven come to the rescue of the townsfolk in the sleepy western town of Rose Creek which is under the deadly control of industrialist Bartholomew Bogue, played by Peter Sarsgaard, and his men.
    Although I'm not allowed to relate what Anton Fuqua told me I can pass on what Ethan Hawke said recently when I talked with him.
Ethan Hawke
  "There's a lot of guns and high jinks and it's fun," said Hawke, who previously starred with Denzel Washington in Training Day, which was also directed by Fuqua. "I play a rebel soldier who Denzel has befriended and now we're partners. It was fantastic to be on the set again with Denzel and Antoine in such a different situation. We were in the desert riding around on horses so it was a great experience. Some movies are work and some are all about acting and character but this was about learning to ride a horse and shoot a six-gun at the same time. I really enjoyed it." 
  The Magnificent Seven. which was filmed in Louisiana and New Mexico, will be released on September 23.

Thursday, March 24, 2016


  You'd think that anyone with an ego big enough to call himself John Legend would be a big-head
full of bombast.
   But not the case. In fact the Oscar-winning singer-composer turns out to be a modest, quietly-spoken, low-key guy when we meet at the Four Seasons Hotel to talk about the TV series Underground, which he is producing.
   Born John Stephens, he explains his name change: "John Legend started off as just a nickname among a group of friends in the studio but eventually I decided to take it on as a stage name. I knew it was a bit ballsy and I knew there was a risk that if I failed it would be a pretty silly name to have but I decided to just work hard to try and live up to it and that's what I've been doing."
 He certainly has. Nominated for 24 Grammy awards and winning seven, he also won an Oscar and a Golden Globe for composing the song Glory for Selma with Common; he has produced two shows on the New York stage and his film company has produced several films and television shows. His song All of Me, which he wrote for his wife, supermodel and TV chef Chrissy Teigen, was an international chart success and is one of the biggest-selling digital singles of all time. His TV series,  Underground centres on a group of slaves who plan a daring escape from a Georgia plantation., aided by the Underground Railroad.
  He was half an hour late for our meeting because he was at the doctor's with Chrissy, whom he married in 2013 after they dated for four years, and who is expecting their first baby in June.
  She is a success story in her own right. As well as appearing on the cover of Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue, she writes a cooking blog, has hosted TV cooking shows and has written a best-selling cookery book, Cravings.
  "I  put on weight and gained about 5 or 6 pounds while she was writing the book but it was fun," says John. "It was a very enjoyable weight gain."