Friday, March 10, 2017


   One of my favourite actresses, Brie Larson made a telling silent protest when she refused to applaud or congratulate Casey Affleck for his Best Actor win at this year's Oscars.
Brie at Kong premiere
   It was a deliberate non-reaction because of the sexual harassment allegations brought against him in 2010 and was in sharp contrast with her behaviour at last year's Oscars when she greeted and hugged sexual assault survivors who came on stage for Lady Gaga’s performance of “Till It Happens To You. She is a vocal supporter of sexual abuse survivors and has been using her status as one of America's leading actresses to raise awareness.
   At the premiere of her latest film, Kong: Skull Island, she wore red in honor of International Women’s Day.
   Brie, who won her Oscar last year for playing a viictim of sexual abuse in Room,
says her non-reaction to Affleck "kind of spoke for itself."
   Affleck has repeatedly denied the claims against him and the two harassment suits brought against him were settled in 2010.
   Affleck said after his win: “I believe that any kind of mistreatment of anyone for any reason is unacceptable and abhorrent, and everyone deserves to be treated with respect in the workplace and anywhere else.”

Wednesday, March 8, 2017


What a difference 15 years makes!
 Back in 2002 when the picture was taken Rupert Grint (right) was 13 years old and he, Emma Watson and Daniel Radcliffe were awaiting the release of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
 I met up with him again the other day in Los Angeles to talk about his starring role in the new TV series Snatch, loosely based on the Guy Ritchie film.

 Now 28, like the Ron Weasley character he played for 12 years he is a laid back, happy-go-lucky guy who laughs a lot and has no regrets about spending his childhood on a film set although he admits he was glad when the Potter films finished.
   "I think we ended it at completely the right time," he says. "I was ready to move on and live a bit and just kind of catch up on stuff I missed out on. 

  "I did a lot of things for fun and I could relax a little bit. Being in that kind of bubble for such a long time was a little bit
suffocating at times and we worked so hard. It was about 12 years non-stop so it was nice to just have a break and do things that I couldn't do before.
  "I actually cut my hair because I never had any control of my hair during those years. It always what was right for Ron so yeah, it was really fun to just live a little bit."

Sunday, March 5, 2017


Luke Evans and Josh Gad..."a gay moment"
  So there's a "gay moment" in the new Disney live action movie Beauty and the Beast.
  So what?
  It certainly doesn't warrant all the ridiculous fuss being made about it.
 Religious groups are up in arms, an Alabama movie theatre has banned it and the Russian government is considering doing the same following revelations that the character LeFou, played by Josh Gad, is gay.  
 LeFou is the unctuous manservant to the film's hyper-macho villain Gaston, played by Luke Evans and, says director Bill Condon: "LeFou is somebody who one day wants to be Gaston and on another day wants to kiss Gaston. He's confused about what he wants. It's somebody who's just realising that he has these feelings.'s a nice, exclusively gay moment in a Disney movie."
  Hardly surprising considering both Condon and co-star Luke Evans are openly gay.
  And it's by no means the first time animated Disney movies have hinted at some of their characters being gay.
  Consider: There was the companionship of Timon and Pumbaa and their adoption of baby Simba in the Lion King, along with the foppish villainy of the same film's Scar, an alpha lion who has never found a mate.
Same goes for Baloo, the carefree single bear of The Jungle Book, or the coy, eyelash-batting male skunk who introduces himself to young fawn Bambi with the immortal words, “You can call me Flower if you want to."
  And Ursula, the vampy, tentacled sea witch of The Little Mermaid was famously modelled on superstar drag queen Divine.
  So a gay moment in Beauty and the Beast shouldn't be the cause for all this homophobic backlash.  

Wednesday, February 22, 2017


   If it seems that film stars have an easy life, swanning between movie sets and red carpets, Brie Larson, who was juggling work on Kong: Skull Island in Vietnam with doing the rounds of awards shows in Los Angeles, has something to say about it. 
"The craziest time in my life was around this time last year," she tells me when we talk at the J.W. Marriott at L.A. Live.  "During the week I was in Vietnam on the set of Kong, getting dirt shoved under my fingernails and two hours of goop put in my hair to make me look like I had been trapped on an island for two days and then running around all day getting fake cuts and bruises and I would be so sore from climbing up mountains all day that I felt like I couldn’t move the next morning.
Last year

 "Then on Friday night when the sun went down, I would go back to my apartment, grab my roller suitcase, get on a plane and fly overnight and show up at some random hotel room in Los Angeles where another team of people would try really hard to scrub off all  the dirt from under my fingernails and get the bits of fake blood off my body and wash my hair like seventeen times to get all the goop out of it. 

  "And then I would arrive at wherever I had to be, be a princess for a couple of hours and then get back on a plane and start the process all over again. It was a really hard, crazy time."
All the inter-continental commuting paid off because 27-year-old Brie won not only the Golden Globe and Oscar but a stack of other awards for her stunning performance in Room.   


Tuesday, February 7, 2017


Sea bass and champagne: Dinner with Joanne in London
  Met up again with Joanne Froggatt in London where she is currently filming the new TV series Liar in a role that could not be further removed from her portrayal of Anna Bates in Downton Abbey.
 We had dinner at Mosimann's in Belgravia after spending the day at Tollesbury Marina in Essex where Joanne was filming some scenes for the twisty thriller, which was written by the two brothers who wrote Missing, and looks like being another winner.
    The last time Joanne and I talked was 18 months ago after Downton Abbey finished and she told me she was moving to Los Angeles.
   Over a dinner of sea bass, champagne and chardonnay the other night she tells me she now has a home in Los Angeles as well as in London and she divides her time between the two, depending on where she is filming.
  "It's the best of both worlds," she says. "I've been renting a house in the hills in Los Angeles but now I'm looking to buy somewhere when I get back."
Joanne looking shocked and dishevelled in Liar
   Yorkshire-born Joanne, 36, who won the hearts of Downton Abbey fans around the world as Anna, has three movies awaiting release and Liar is sure to win her hordes of new fans.
  In it she plays Laura, who ventures back on to the dating scene after a failed relationship and meets up with Andrew, a renowned surgeon, played by Ioan Gryffyd. Their date has far-reaching consequences on each other and their families. Truth and consequences go hand in hand in a thriller that examines both sides of a relationship and both sides of the truth.

Thursday, January 19, 2017


   He is an acclaimed Shakespearean actor who was knighted by the Queen for his services to the theatre. But there is nothing stuffy or elitist about Sir Patrick Stewart.
    The actor known for his stage and screen work is to provide the voice of Poop, a pile of excrement, in the animated The Emoji Movie.    
   “People have an impression of who Patrick Stewart is based on the characters that I play, most particularly Jean-Luc Picard and Charles Xavier, and I know him to be very different," the 76-year-old actor told me. 
  The plot follows an emoji born with multiple expressions who goes on an adventure in a teenager’s phone although the omens for it are not good: a teaser trailer was recently released to largely negative feedback online
    A lifelong supporter of Huddersfield Town football club, Sir Patrick will also return as Charles Xavier in the X-Men spin-off Logan, which is due out soon.  

Wednesday, January 11, 2017


Golden showers? The Moscow Ritz-Carlton bed
   They may or may not be true but there is no doubt the allegations of Donald Trump's shenanigans in Moscow have caused an uproar and raised serious questions of whether or not they should have been made public without more verification. 
    BuzzFeed first sent the internet into a frenzy when it published the collection of memos accusing Trump of improper contact with Russian officials — and alleging the former reality TV star arranged “golden showers” with prostitutes in a Moscow hotel room.
   CNN cited documents that included allegations that Russian operatives have compromising personal information on the president-elect, but declined to publish the raw files. But BuzzFeed had no such compunction,.
  According to BuzzFeed the documents, prepared by a British former espionage agent, claim that Trump stayed at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Moscow where he “defiled the bed" where the Obamas had slept during their visit by employing a number of prostitutes to perform a ‘golden showers' show in front of him.”

   Critics and journalistic bodies have mainly spoken out against the publication of the memos although some believe it is in the public interest that the allegations should be made known.   

 BuzzFeed Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith used Twitter to post an internal email that explained his logic for posting the documents, which had been known to several journalists and politicians for some time. Smith wrote that BuzzFeed’s “presumption is to be transparent in our journalism and to share what we have with our readers,” saying the site has “always erred on the side of publishing.”
 Smith said the file “was in wide circulation at the highest levels of American government and media.” 
  Trump, of course, has denied all the allegations and condemned them as "fake news."
  One thing is certain---golden showers are now a hot topic of conversation. And we haven't heard the last of the matter.