Thursday, May 30, 2013


Depp and Hammer as Tonto and the Lone Ranger
  Disney studio executives are hoping to quash criticism about the casting of Johnny Depp as the Lone Ranger's iconic Comanche sidekick Tonto by donating the revenue from all ticket sales for the movie's splashy premiere to the American Indian College Fund. Tickets to the premiere, to be held at Disney California Adventure Park, will cost $1,000.
    Critics have questioned whether it was appropriate to cast Depp as Tonto in the $225 million movie, which will be the costliest release of the summer. Depp has promised that American Indians will be proud of his portrayal. "This Tonto isn't the obedient sidekick he has been portrayed as before," he says.
    The unorthodox Western has struggled through financial problems as the budget soared and Disney attempted to cut costs, at one time shutting down production altogether and then delaying the release date until the July 4 holiday weekend. The studio has a lot riding on the movie, having suffered a 125 million pounds loss on John Carter.
    The Lone Ranger reunites the Pirates of the Caribbean triumvirate of producer Jerry Bruckheimer, director Gore Verbinski and star Johnny Depp and, says, Armie Hammer, who plays the masked Texas Ranger, "This is the rock and roll Lone Ranger. Our take is darker and more complex, more action-packed and more badass than the old TV show."  


Monday, May 20, 2013


Ulysses with Oscar Isaac in a scene from the film
   A new star has been born at this year's Cannes Film Festival----a ginger tom cat named Ulysses. 
   Ulysses appears throughout the Coen Brothers new film Inside Llewyn Davis and is tipped to follow in the footsteps of Uggie the dog, who starred in the Oscar-winning The Artist two years ago. 
  Ulysses provides a running theme throughout the film, which is a tale of a young folk singer struggling to make it in 1961 Greenwich Village, New York.
  Inside Llewyn Davis, which stars Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan and Justin Timberlake, has already been hailed by critics as the best of the Cannes festival so far.
Speaking at a press conference, the directors joked the cat had been included to make up for a lack of plot. "The film doesn't really have a plot," Joel Coen said. "That concerned us at one point; that's why we threw the cat in."
 Ulysses, he said, had not been easy to direct.  "Dogs want to please you but cats only want to please themselves," he said. "They're not easy to train or to control."

Friday, May 17, 2013


 Well, who would have guessed it? It turns out Shirley MacLaine was quite a raver in her younger days. 
 During her 38-year open marriage to businessman Steve Parker, which ended in 1982, the actress was rarely without a lover, she told the Daily Telegraph.
with Dean Martin in 1969
  She slept with many of her leading men, including Robert Mitchum and Yves Montand. And there were romances with world leaders like Canadian Premier Pierre Trudeau and Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme. "I was never possessive with my husband nor him with me," said MacLaine, 79. "That's why I had so many affairs. Most of the men I was with wanted to get married. I was married already and stayed that way precisely so it wouldn’t become an issue.”  She had a huge crush on Dean Martin and went to his house to tell him, but ended up having a drink with him and his wife.
  She claims to never have had her heart broken but her bed-hopping did result in other injuries. In her 50s she had a facelift and ruptured her stitches during an especially intense orgasm. "He was a composer, he was bisexual and I knew it and he didn't love me at all." She grinned widely at the memory.
  MacLaine also had a fling with actor Danny Kaye who was rumoured to be gay. "He wasn't," she said. "Or maybe a little. I don't know."
  Why was she so popular with bisexual men? "Well, they weren't gay with me," she said.

Monday, May 13, 2013


  Benedict Cumberbatch is a big fan of Julian Assange----but the WikiLeaks founder is no fan of the actor.
Julian Assange
     Assange refused to meet Cumberbatch or help him with his portrayal of him for the movie The Fifth Estate, which has just finished shooting.
Cumberbatch as Assange
    "He didn't want to condone the film because he thought---hopefully erroneously when he sees the end product---that the project would castigate him and portray a negative side of his enterprise," the busy Cumberbatch told me when we talked at the Corinthia Hotel in London where he was promoting Star Trek Into Darkness. 
    "He didn't want to meet me because he feels the source materials we've based the movie on were poisonous to his account of the events. When he sees it I hope he feels that it's more balanced. I think he will. I hope he will."
     The Fifth Estate tells Assange's story from 2007-2010 and ends with the leaking of the U.S. diplomatic cables. 
     "We're still trying to understand the impact of WikiLeaks and what he has given the world with that extraordinary idea to create an anonymous whistle-blowing website," said Cumberbatch. "It was an amazing thing to re-investigate someone who has been mired in controversy and actually realise that he was profoundly gifted and should be celebrated."

Sunday, May 5, 2013


Picture: Theo Kingma
 What a performance from Beyonce! And I don't mean her concert at London's 02 Arena, but the press conference she gave at the Corinthia Hotel just beforehand. 
  It was set for 5pm so at 7A.M her lighting, sound and production team moved in accompanied by six burly security guards. All day they worked at putting up reflectors and lights to ensure she would look her best in photographs and, as the time of her arrival approached one of the guards asked for ropes. 
 "What for?" he was asked. "Crowd control," he replied. "People tend to get very excited when they see Beyonce."
  He was told that people attendng the press conference were hardened journalists who were unlikely to be impressed by celebrities, whom they see most days. 

  "Ah," said the guard. "But this is Beyonce."

  With no ropes in place, Beyonce finally arrived an hour and ten minutes late and proved to be if not down to earth, then at least friendly and accommodating, willingly answering questions about her life and career.

   Her daughter Blue is 16 months old and she admits that at first it was difficult for her to deal with both her career and motherhood.

    “After giving birth there’s a moment of rediscovery when you are making sure you still have your goals and still take care of yourself as a woman,” she said. “That was something I struggled with----making sure I was still this strong woman and also making time for my child and balancing the two.”

  Baby Blue and husband, rapper and composer Jay-Z, whom 31-year-old Beyonce married five years ago, are with her in England on her current concert tour which she is calling the Mrs. Carter Show World Tour in tribute to her husband, whose real name is Shawn Carter.

  “I’m calling it that because I feel like I have grown and I am a married woman,” she explained. “It is my name, it is who I am and I am proud of it. It is my daughter's name and it feels like who I am right now.”

    She has a routine she goes through before every concert and she described it: "I say a prayer with everyone in the band, we do a stretch, I sit in my massage chair while they do my hair and makeup and I have an hour of peace and I have a playlist I listen to everyday and that's my ritual and it takes me a few hours." 

  No wonder her concerts rarely start on time!


  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...