Monday, October 1, 2018


  The thing that surprised me most about meeting Lady Gaga is that she's so damned normal. 

  Without her often outrageous outfits, headdresses,  hairpieces  and flamboyant stage personality she is down to earth, friendly and talks frankly about her life and career.
 Lady Gaga--her friends call her Steffi--- feels she is now a big enough star to confess to me one of the secrets that has boosted her career------when anybody advises her to do something, she says she always does the opposite.

   "Before my first single and music video ever came out it was suggested I should get a nose job but I said 'no.' I'm proud to be Italian and I love my Italian nose. I didn't always but I had learned to love who I was," she says.

  "If people wanted me to look like a sexpot I would look like the opposite. If they said 'try dancing and looking this way' I would always flip it on my head and do it my way.

  "That way I maintained my authenticity and maintained who I am. I was not the prettiest girl in the room, I was a little weird and I liked being weird. I didn't like to be sexual in a way that other pop stars were. I was my own thing."

  She is confiding her secrets as we talk in a suite at the Royal York Hotel in Toronto before the premiere of her much anticipated movie  A Star Is Born, which is directed by and co-stars Bradley Cooper.

    She is being tipped for an Oscar nomination for her role as Ally, an aspiring singer discovered by Cooper's Jackson Maine, a country music star struggling with drug and alcohol addiction. As her career takes off his demons threaten to sabotage their happiness.

  For the role 32-year-old Gaga made an exception to her rule and completely  trusted Cooper and what he told her.

     A Star is Born, Cooper's directorial debut, is the fourth remake of the story and for it Gaga had to abandon her real self as that girl from New York's Lower East Side who spent hours doing her makeup before her gigs and instead let the camera zoom in on her wearing little or no makeup.

  "It put me in the right place I needed to be," she says. "When my character talks about how ugly she feels---that was real. I'm so insecure. I like to preach but I don't always practice what I preach."

Instagram: @beachscribe

Monday, September 17, 2018


 So this is it? Robert Redford, that rare movie icon who for the best part of six decades has balanced being a respected actor as well as a golden boy sex symbol, is finally calling it quits and retiring?

 The Sundance Kid is riding into the sunset?

  His tanned face wrinkles into a smile at the question. "Well, never say never," he says. "You have to be careful about being too final because sometimes you have to change your mind. But I feel this is the right time to go out as an actor because I've been doing this since I was 21 and that’s a long time. I don’t believe in stopping because when you stop something it’s the end of a road and I think the road is long. So it’s just a question of stopping acting and moving on to something else, which would be directing and producing.

  "Will I miss it? I don't know. I'll have to wait and see."

 We are talking in a hotel suite in Toronto shortly before 82-year-old Redford walked the gauntlet of fans and photographers along the red carpet at the premiere of  his most recent--and final---movie.

  He has chosen as his last acting job The Old Man and the Gun, in which he plays the real-life character Forrest Tucker, a career bank robber who escaped from prison 18 times and was still pulling off bank robberies well into his seventies.

   "This feels like the right film to go out on as an actor because the film I had done before that---Our Souls At Night--- I was very proud of but it was very serious, kind of a heavy lift, a dramatic love story with Jane Fonda. It was a wonderful film to work on but it was very sad so I wanted the last film I act in to be uplifting.   

  "It's an incredible, bizarre story because it’s true. This guy really 
did exist, he really did rob banks, he really had a good time, he never hurt anybody, he was always smiling, enjoying it, getting put in prison, escaping from prison, getting put back in prison, escaping again. Back and forth, back and forth."

 A longtime liberal activist and environmentalist who at one time was considered a perfect candidate for political office, he adds: "It's come at a very dark time in our cultural environment. It's sad but we're living in dark times politically and the polarisation that exists with the two parties not agreeing to cross the aisle to work together is sad and depressing and we, the public, are the losers. So I thought, 'Why not do something's that very upbeat at a very dark time?'"

   His retirement from acting gives him more time for other pursuits although, he says, " Bucket list? No, I don’t think that way. I believe in living in the moment and not thinking too far ahead."

   He does, however, have a movie in mind he intends to direct---he has directed ten movies and won an Oscar for Ordinary People----but he is not yet ready to talk about it.


  The thing that surprised me most about meeting Lady Gaga is that she's so damned normal.    W ithout her often outrageous ou...