Friday, March 29, 2013


Louise and Martine Fokkens
Louise and Martine Fokkens Photo: REX
Louise and Martine Fokkens, 70, claim to have slept with more than 355,000 men between them in the 100 years they have spent working.
The pair say the pains of getting old, combined with a changing community, have forced the decision to retire.
Louise says that her arthritis made some of her work too painful, and both twins admit that it is difficult to attract new clients.
The twins became prostitutes while they were still teenagers and are known for wearing matching outfits, usually red dresses, while working.
The duo fondly recall the golden era of prostitution in Amsterdam that existed before the trade was legalised and dominated by the “eastern European mafia”.
Louise says: “It is very different now. We used to sit in the windows with clothes on. Today they are totally naked.
“There are few Dutch women and no sense of community these days.”
Martine adds: “The legalisation of brothels in 2000 has not improved prostitutes' lives.
“There is no point working just for tax. That is why the girls are working from the internet and from home - you are less likely to be spotted by the taxman.
“It is better for the pimps and the foreigners, but not for the Dutch girls.”
Martine and Louise became famous as the subject of a 2012 documentary called ‘Meet the Fokkens’ and they have just finished work on a book, ‘The Ladies of Amsterdam’.
The twins hope to be able to live off their earnings from the book and film rights.

Monday, March 25, 2013


Portman as Jane
 There's a new phrase in the Hollywood lexicon that is trotted out when things are going badly on a movie set: "Well, it could be worse---we could be working on Jane Got A Gun."
  The Western that was due to star Natalie Portman and Jude Law is at the centre of a storm of rumour and controversy following the abrupt departure of the director, Lynne Ramsay and Law just as production was about to begin in New Mexico. .
    The producers have hurriedly hired Warrior director Gavin O’Connor to replace Ramsay and are now seeking an actor to take over the Jude Law role.
    Observers are saying it will be difficult for the plot of the western to be as compelling as the story that's been unfolding in recent days on the film's set.
  Michael Fassbender dropped out of the movie just weeks before the movie was set to begin production but that was nothing compared to Lynne Ramsay abandoning the movie last Monday, on its first day of shooting, leaving hundreds of cast and crew members on a dusty plain in New Mexico with no one at the helm. 
   Ramsay hasn't said why she left the production, but some  say she was frustrated because she hadn't received an approved schedule, script or budget from the producers while others say she had been "acting bizarrely" in the weeks leading up to the shoot..
  One source close to the production told the Los Angeles Times that Ramsay terminated her involvement with the producers on the Saturday before production began because of a contract dispute.
   Her agency, WME, declined to comment.
  Another source with knowledge of the film's inner workings said Ramsay returned to London because she may be dealing with some “personal issues.” The source said that at 5:30 a.m. on Monday, stars Portman and Joel Edgerton were prepped and ready to go, along with the 150-person crew and some horses. Yet they had no Ramsay.
  Ramsay is a highly regarded indie director. Her debut feature, Ratcatcher, won much acclaim, while 2011's We Need to Talk About Kevin headed many top ten lists of that year..
  Jane Got a Gun represented her highest-profile project. A few sources near the project say there were signs something was amiss leading up to the start of production — she was often out of contact as the movie was being prepped.
  The film, which would have been Ramsay's fourth, stars Portman as Jane, a woman whose husband comes home riddled with bullets. Convinced the gang that wounded him will return to finish the job she turns to an ex-lover to help her defend her husband and her farm. Fassbender was set to play the ex-lover, but he dropped off the project  reportedly because of scheduling issues with his upcoming “X-Men” movie.
  That departure saw Edgerton, originally due to play the villain, take on the Fassbender role while Jude Law came in to replace Edgerton as the bad guy.
   Now with Law off the film, O'Connor is said to be looking at a slew of actors with an international following who also happen to look good in a hat. On that list are Jake Gyllenhaal, Tobey Maguire and Jeff Bridges. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013



 So trouble-prone Lindsay Lohan has finally seen the error of her ways and, facing a 90-day stint in rehab, has vowed to reform her bad-girl ways? Yeah, right! A pilot friend of mine who flies private jets knows differently.  
  At 2am in the morning following Lohan's court hearing the pilot received a call to tell him that Miss Lohan wanted to go to Las Vegas. Immediately.
   So the pilot, co-pilot and fuelled-up jet waited on the tarmac at Los Angeles airport for four hours but Lohan never showed up.
   It later transpired she had decided to go nightclubbing in Los Angeles instead.    
   She will, however, be receiving a bill for the Vegas trip that never was. And the pilot will be suspicious of any further calls from the Lohan camp requiring his services.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


Following his success with the Olympics opening ceremony, Danny Boyle is taking on another massive challenge.
   The Oscar-winning writer-director is attempting to get the cast of his 1996 cult hit Trainspotting together for a sequel to coincide with the 20th anniversary of its release.
   He is already working on a screenplay with his longtime collaborator John Hodge, which will feature all the original characters, now in their forties.  
   Trainspotting, a trip through the darkest recesses of Edinburgh low-life, focused on Mark Renton (Ewan McGregor) and his attempt to give up his heroin habit and his relationship with family and friends: Sean Connery wannabe Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller) dimbulb Spud (Ewen Bremner), psycho Begbie (Robert Carlyle) 14-year-old girlfriend Diane (Kelly Macdonald) and clean-cut athlete Tommy (Kevin McKidd).
   "It's very unusual in many peoples' careers, certainly in mine, for a film to be remembered not just for the actors but for the characters' names as well," he told me when we talked at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills. "People remember Begbie the villain and Renton and Sick Boy and Spud which is amazing because the film's 17 years old now.
  "I often used to joke that when a generation had passed and the actors were sufficiently aged we would make another film with the same actors playing the same characters. So I think now, with the 20th anniversary approaching, would be a very good time to do it.
  "It justifies a sequel because we have something cogent to work on, which is the passage of time and what it's done to these people, who in their early 20s were hedonists and prepared to take enormous risks with what they put into their bodies and how they behaved.  Of course, when you get into your forties, it's not so easy and there are not quite as many guarantees that you'll get away with it."
   And, oh yes. "There will be a toilet scene," he said, referring to the memorably gruesome incident in which Renton attempts to retrieve his drugs stash. "There's got to be."    
  In the meantime 56-year-old Boyle is busy promoting his latest film, Trance, a twisty, London-set thriller in which James McAvoy plays an art thief who loses his memory and forgets where he has hidden the painting he has stolen, while Rosario Dawson is a hypnotist trying to help him remember.
 "You can't make a film like Trance and accept a knighthood," laughed Boyle, who turned down the offer to become Sir Danny after the Olympics. "The reward was in doing it and I didn't want anything else and I didn't want to be separated from all the other people who were involved in it.
  "There's quite a noble tradition of people who have turned down knighthoods----David Bowie and Alan Bennett I believe are two, and I'm proud to stand beside them. In the end it's down to the individual and what you feel comfortable with and how you want to live your life."

Sunday, March 17, 2013


                                                                                                                         Picture: Theo Kingma
  Talking with the lovely Rosario Dawson I was delighted to discover she's an English football fan. But then comes the disappointment----she tells me she supports Arsenal!! 
  "I'm a Gunner first and foremost," she says. 
   How and why could a beautiful, seemingly sensible girl from New York support Arsenal, particularly as until recently she was dating Danny Boyle, the director of her latest movie Trance, who is a passionate Man U fan?
    "I adore Arsene Wenger and I hope he will stay on," she tells me. "I like the philosophy behind the team and the people they choose to be a part of it. He likes finding young players and training them. 
  "I didn't grow up watching sports but anyone can sit and watch a great soccer match."
  I later asked her ex-boyfriend Danny Boyle about her love for Arsenal. "I don't think she knows much about it," he said with a grin and a shrug.
   We talked about their film, too, which is worth a mention because it's a good, twisty, London-set thriller in which 33-year-old Rosario plays a hypnotist helping amnesiac art thief James McAvoy recover his memory and remember where he has hidden the painting he has stolen. 
   "It's a very complex story," says Rosario. "I hope we've done our job well enough that people will watch it, be surprised by the ending and maybe want to check it out again and see how it all fits together."

Friday, March 15, 2013


Met up with Welsh actor Matthew Rhys in New York the other day to talk to him about his new TV series The Americans, in which he plays a Russian spy, and discovered we had unexpected common ground to talk about.   
 The Cardiff-born Matt, 38, who currently lives in New York where The Americans is filmed, gets back to  California whenever he can because he keeps horses on a ranch in Calabasas and hangs out at the King's Head pub in Santa Monica with fellow Welshmen to watch the rugby games on TV. 
  Although football, not rugby, along with the beer and the social life, is what draws me to the King's Head, we discovered we have plenty of pub acquaintances in common and our interview rapidly evolved along the lines of "do you know so-and-so?"
   Next time Matt is back in Santa Monica we have a Saturday morning appointment to meet up at the King's Head.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


Picture: Theo Kingma
 There's weird, there's weirder and then there's Jim Carrey, who turned up at Elton John's post-Oscar party wearing giant prosthetic feet and tiny angel wings as part of what he told me was his "awkward spiritual journey.”

  He said: “It was my reaction to public events because, believe it or not, I’m a shy person and I find gala type events to be a bit like being hit over and over with bags of oranges. It’s an intense energy I’m not comfortable with so I try and make it into something artistic that I can feel good about. I feel a lot of the time like I’ve got tiny little wings and giant feet and I want to get off the Earth into a spiritual place but I’m grounded all the time by my own flaws.”

   It was his quest for spiritual enlightenment that took him on an incredible "vision quest" in Arizona with the Lakota Indian tribe. Talking in Las Vegas where he is promoting his latest movie, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, he tells the story in all seriousness and it is clear he is totally sincere in his beliefs. 

  “I didn’t plan on it,” he says. “I just went to a spa and I met a guy who was connected to the tribe and he told me about sweat lodges and this vision quest which they don’t generally let outsiders on.
   “But I went and sat with the chief and talked to him for a long time and he knew my heart was in the right place so he decided that I could do it.

  “I fasted for four days, I spent time in a sweat lodge and then they came in the middle of the night with a pick-up truck and blindfolded me and drove me to the top of this sacred mountain plateau where they’d had these ceremonies and vision quests for a thousand years.

  “They left me in a little seven feet circle with a blanket and a tiny knife to fight off cougars, mountain lions, rattlesnakes, scorpions and whatever else was there. It was so hot it felt like 150 degrees and I thought I was dying at one po9int. I had 12 ounces of water to last me 24 hours and I watched the mountain all day, wondering what they meant by the visions. What happens is the shadows change and they talk to you and when you ask questions you get answers and that was happening all day.

   “Then at night I got tired of standing and I lay down on this little Indian blanket and I was really frightened. The coyotes were howling and things were moving around and the place was full of rattlesnakes and I actually spoke out loud and said, ‘God I’m scared, be with me.’ And at that point the mountain range that was above me became a perfect shape of a man laying on his back beside me. All the fear left my body and I lay there thinking, ‘This is rally happening. I’m actually seeing God and I can’t believe it. I’m so lucky.’ 

  "And I wasn’t scared anymore and then later the moon came up and changed the shadows and the face turned and was smiling at me and I was just in complete bliss. I can’t even describe it. I was as light as a feather.  
“The next day when the chief came to get me I asked him if he had seen the man lying on his back and he said he had never seen it.”

Monday, March 4, 2013


The amiable David Duchovny, who found fame as paranormal investigator Fox Mulder in The X-Files, has the dubious distinction of starring in what will probably go down in history as the biggest film flop ever.
  Phantom, the just-released movie about a Soviet submarine, pulled in a jaw-dropping $460,000 on its opening weekend nationwide in more than 1,000 cinemas, compared to the $28 million grossed by the poorly-reviewed fantasy-adventure Jack the Giant Slayer. 
  Ironically, when we talked recently Duchovny told me he had his doubts about taking the role in Phantom when he was offered it by the director Todd Robinson.
  "The first thing I asked after I read the script was, 'Why do you want me to do it?'" he recalled. Now he's probably wondering why he said 'Yes.'
  He has higher expectations for a third X-Files movie which he hopes will soon be in the pipeline. "It's been a long time since the last one and things move so quickly that it's almost ancient history," he said."But it's a great show and I think if new people were exposed to it, they'd get it.
  "And who knew vampires would be so big?"

Friday, March 1, 2013


  Beer drinkers have filed a $5million lawsuit accusing Anheuser-Busch of watering down its beer.
   Lawsuits filed in Pennsylvania, California and other states and involving 10 Anheuser-Busch beers, including Budweiser and Michelob, are based on information from former employees.
Budweiser and Bud light bottles  The complaint claims that "Anheuser-Busch employs some of most sophisticated process control technology in the world to precisely monitor the alcohol content at the final stages of production, and then adds additional water to produce beers with significantly lower alcohol contents than is represented on the labels".
 Anheuser-Busch InBev have called the claims "completely false", and said in a statement "our beers are in full compliance with labelling laws".
 The lawsuit alleged that the practice began after the American Anheuser-Busch merged with the Belgian-Brazilian InBev in 2008, to form the world's largest alcohol producer.
"Following the merger, Anheuser-Busch vigorously accelerated the deceptive practices, sacrificing the quality products once produced by Anheuser-Busch in order to reduce costs," the lawsuit said.
 Peter Kraemer, vice president of brewing and supply at Anheuser-Busch said in a statement, "We proudly adhere to the highest standards in brewing our beer."


  It's always a pleasure seeing Nicole Kidman, whom I first met 21 years ago on Batman Forever. A lot of water under the bridge si...