Friday, October 30, 2015


  As far as Dames go, Helen Mirren is a very down-to-earth one and it's always entertaining and often enlightening to talk to her. This time she came out with what struck me as a wonderful quote which is worth repeating here.
   "Life is never over," the 70-year-old actress told me, "and the chance to do something new is always in front of us."
   It is an aphorism she has lived by and although she is currently co-starring as gossip queen Hedda Hopper in Trumbo, a movie about Hollywood and the infamous blacklist of the 1940s and 50s, she has packed a great deal of other accomplishments into her life so far.
  "I've never been a woman of Hollywood," she said. "I'm a woman in the theatre in London and I've done television and I've done a lot of different things.It was never my ambition to be a Hollywood movie star---that was never my primary ambition and it was something that sort of happened almost coincidentally."


Lea in action in Spectre
  Went to an early screening of the new James Bond film Spectre and while Daniel Craig is not everyone's idea of Bond, Lea Seydoux has to be everyone's perfect Bond girl.
  Sexy and seductive, the 30-year-old French actress is by far the best Bond girl yet, excelling in action and the physical love scenes with lucky old Craig, who is probably making his last Bond film.    But she nearly made a hash of her audition because she had a drink of alcohol to calm her nerves.
with Lea on the Spectre set in Mexico City
   "I was early and so I thought that maybe I could have a beer to relax, which was a very bad idea," she told me when I talked with her on the set of Spectre in Mexico City. "I lost my text and I couldn’t remember my lines anymore. So I asked if I could come back and do it again and they said I could."
  Lea, who is unmarried, is no stranger to on-screen love scenes. She starred in Blue is the Warmest Colour in which she had long and explicit lesbian love scenes with actress Adele Exachopoulos which, she said, made her feel "like a prostitute" and led her to question her sexuality.   
 "It's not nothing making those scenes," she said. "Of course I question myself. But I did not have any revelations."

Thursday, October 29, 2015


  Now she  has finished her stint as Anna the maid on Downton Abbey, Yorkshire-born Joanne
Froggatt is leaving England once she has finished her other work commitments in order to  try her luck in Hollywood.
  Three days after Downton Abbey ended the 35-year-old actress went straight into the starring role in the two-part mini-series Dark Angel as Mary Ann Cotton, Britain's first female serial killer. And it would be impossible to find a better looking serial killer.
  "It was a gift to go straight into playing somebody who is the complete polar opposite of Anna," she tells me when we meet in Beverly Hills . But she is no stranger to evil women, having previously portrayed child killer Myra Hindley in the TV drama See No Evil: The Moors Murders.
 Joanne has two more films to do in the U.K. and then, she says with a laugh:  "I'm moving here because the weather is good. I don't have anything lined up but I'd love to work here so it makes sense to commit and give it a go. I just fancy a bit of adventure so I'm going to live in the sunshine for a little bit."

Saturday, October 24, 2015


At the King's Head with Eddie
While I was at the London film festival I heard that a film is finally being made about  Eddie "The Eagle" Edwards, the worst-ever Olympic ski jumper whom I got to know well 27 years ago.
Edwards, 51, was working as a plasterer when he qualified, entirely self-funded, for the 1988 Winter Olympics ski-jumping competition.
 Despite finishing last in both the 70 metre and 90 metre events, he became a household name.
 When the Olympics finished he flew to Los Angeles where I picked him up in a limo at the airport and took him to NBC studios in Burbank where he was due to appear on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show.  While I waited backstage sampling the free beers in the hospitality room Eddie turned on the charm for Carson and presented him with an Olympic pin.
  Afterwards we did the rounds of pubs and clubs--starting at the King's Head in Santa Monica where he wanted fish and chips and then to downtown Los Angeles where we hit several clubs including the now-defunct Stock Exchange where a group of girl clubbers recognised him and sent him notes across the bar, much to his delight. 
 He sold the rights to his story 17 years ago but a film is only just being made by Matthew Vaughn with the Welsh actor Taron Egerton as Eddie and Hugh Jackman as his fictional washed-up coach. 
 The fact that Eddie finished last didn't sit well with Hollywood and Jackman says: "The story of Eddie is amazing and very heartwarming but the studios in America didn't quite get it. I think the Aussies and the English really get that folk hero thing."
  Eddie himself isn't too impressed. "I've been warned only 10 to 15% of it is based on my life."he says. "I've not really seen the script so I don't know what they've picked out of the things that happened in my life and what is made up.
"There's always a certain amount of poetic licence but I'm kind of anxious. What exactly have they put in about my life and how have they portrayed me?"

Wednesday, October 21, 2015


  It is an odd conversation to have with someone as vibrant, lively and lovely as Anne Hathaway, but we are talking about death. Specifically, what happens afterwards. And Anne has no doubt about what she wants. 
 "I don’t want to be buried," she tells me. "I either want to be cremated---this is so going to be the headline by the way: 'Anne Hathaway wants to be cremated!'---so either I want to be cremated or they can now bury you at the root of a tree. So I kind of either want to be burned and scattered or I want to become a tree. And I want to be a protected tree that doesn’t become Ikea furniture. 
 "I haven’t thought that much about how that is going to work out but I feel like it’s going to be fine."
     It is always fun talking with 32-year-old Anne, who likes to laugh and joke. But during her 18 year acting career she has had some  stressful times.
  The Oscar winner has appeared nude on screen, jumped out of buildings, had her head shaved, played drug addicts, hosted the Oscars and won one, as well.

 And for the space drama Interstellar she spent much of the time suspended on harnesses, floating in mid-air, suffering from motion sickness and, in what could have been a life-threatening situation, immersed in frigid water with a serious risk of hypothermia.
  But the friendly young actress with the wide smile and merry laugh who co-starred in The Devil Wears Prada, has returned temporarily to romantic comedy in The Intern, in which she plays the boss of a fashion company.  
  "I just feel very lucky," she tells me when we talk in New York. "I play all sorts of different roles which was the goal when I started out--- to get to play a wide range of characters."


Thursday, October 15, 2015


   He was the King of Stamford Bridge. For a decade Peter Osgood  was the high-living, hard-drinking star of Chelsea Football Club, His 105 goals in 289 appearances between 1964 and 1974 helped Chelsea win the F.A.Cup in 1970 and the European Cup Winners Cup the following year.
   For the last six years of his time with Chelsea I was a regular in the Shed end and with everyone else sang his name when he came out of the tunnel and onto the pitch.
   Now a statue has been constructed outside the West Stand at Stamford Bridge as a tribute to the free-scoring striker. 
  But not many supporters now remember that there was a time when Ossy's lifestyle led to manager Dave Sexton dropping him from the squad and placing him on the transfer list He was sold to Southampton in 1974 but returned to Chelsea for a season before retiring in 1979.
   After football he and his Chelsea strike partner Ian Hutchinson ran a pub in Windsor, the Union Inn, for a while but it was an ill-fated venture. In the 1990s he was actually banned from Stamford Bridge by then owner Ken Bates for his perceived criticism of the club, but in 2003 he was welcomed  back by the new owner Roman Abramovich.
 Ossy died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 59.
 How Chelsea could use his goals now

Saturday, October 10, 2015


  The London film festival got off to a lively start at the opening night premiere of the movie Suffragette with what was either a genuine protest or a masterly publicity stunt.
 A group of women, wearing tops saying "Two women killed every week" and "Dead Women Can't Vote," jumped the barriers outside the Odeon Leicester Square and lay on the red carpet while the movie's stars Meryl Streep, Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter and Anne-Marie Duff gave interviews.
  Other campaigners let off smoke flares in protest to oppose what they claim are government cuts to domestic violence services.
  The red carpet was temporarily blocked as some women were escorted away by security guards.
  The A-List cast, rather than be annoyed by the protest, said it was exactly what Emmeline Pankurst (played by Streep) would have approved of.
  Helena Bonham Carter said: "It's the perfect response to our film, this is exactly what our characters would do."
  It's also exactly what the film's producers and backers could have wished for-----a massive burst of publicity to launch the film.   


  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...