Entertainment behind the scenes
The Coen Bros., Joel and Ethan, are well-known for their clever scripting and directing of films like “Barton Fink”, “Fargo” and “No Country for Old Men”.
But as smart as they seem to be, the brothers have a lot of fun creating characters that don’t quite measure up to their own abilities. In a word, the people they write about are dumb.
“We’ve all got an inner knucklehead, and it’s good fodder for stories,” Ethan said at a press conference in Toronto, where their newest film, “Burn After Reading,” had its North American premiere.
The movie stars Brad Pitt as a “Gatorade-swilling dumbbell” of a gym instructor trying to blackmail a former CIA agent, played by John Malkovich. Tilda Swinton is the CIA spy’s wife, who is having an affair with a “shockingly dumb” federal marshall portrayed by George Clooney.
Take this morning’s press conference at the Venice film festival. George Clooney and Brad Pitt were among the stars taking questions following the first screening of their latest movie “Burn After Reading”, directed by the Coen brothers.
Comic actress Roseanne Barr makes fun of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt on her Web site blog, but its not your garden variety celebrity sniping. The so-called “Domestic Goddess” Barr tries to make political points, and in the process calls Jolie the “evil spawn” of her father Jon Voight and calls Brad Pitt “vacuous.”
Barr, who starred in the sitcom “Roseanne” from 1988-97, started off her blog post slamming actor Voight for his conservative politics. But the so-called “Domestic Goddess” soon veered off and turned her attention to Brangelina.
Barr said Pitt and Jolie make about $40 million a year starring in “violent psychopathic movies” and give away $3 million to “starving children trying to look as if they give a crap about humanity as they spit out more dunces that will consume more than their fair share and wreck the earth even more.”
In the blog, which Barr posted on Friday, the 55-year-old actress also mocked Jolie’s adoption of children from countries in the developing world, including daughter Zahara from Ethiopia.
“… do you know that the African daughter you hold in every picture had parents who suffered and died because of the Republican party’s worldwide economic assault on Africa over the last few decades since Reagan?” Barr wrote.
That statement puts her somewhat at odds with Sen. Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate she supports. At a widely viewed forum on Saturday, Obama praised President George W. Bush, a Republican, for his President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), an initiative to fight AIDS and other diseases in Africa and around the world. Bush signed a bill last month authorizing up to $48 billion to be spent under PEPFAR.
A spokeswoman for Pitt could not immediately be reached for comment on Barr’s blog post.
(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis)
Banking on readers’ hungry appetite for all things Brangelina — and the general spike in interest in Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie generated by the birth of their twins (call it the Brangelina baby bounce) – People and Hello! magazines have shelled out big bucks for their baby pics. Some reports have $11 million and others go as high as $14 million.
Whatever the price, is it really worth it?
In a quick round of lunchtime interviews outside Reuters’ bureau in celebrity-savvy Los Angeles, many people said they cannot wait to see the pictures, while others yawned at the thought. Just about everyone had an opinion.
“Exploit those kids from the beginning, I think it’s awesome,” said attorney Michael Gonzales, 30. “Why not? This is America, squeeze a dollar out of anything.”
Officials from several Los Angeles area communities will consider ways to crack down on paparazzi who hound Hollywood celebrities when they meet on Thursday, and measures they decide upon could serve as a springboard for similar actions in major cities around the world.
LA City Councilman Dennis Zine, who has called for stricter measures against photographers, told Reuters on Wednesday that all options are up for discussion — from taxing the paparazzi to creating special licenses for them.
Brad Pitt’s lawyers on Thursday threatened legal action against anyone publishing recent photographs believed to have been taken by paparazzi of the actor and his newly enlarged family at their French estate. This raises the question: Should celebrities have the sole rights to photos of their children or even themselves because they have signed an exclusive deal to sell them to a media outlet?
Unconfirmed reports have said Pitt and partner Angelina Jolie will be paid $11 million from selling exclusive rights to the first photographs of new twins Knox and Vivienne which they plan to give to charity – a deal similar to that struck after the birth of daughter Shiloh in 2006. But Pitt’s lawyers say some photos were taken of his family at their French estate using a powerful telephoto lens and sold to an unidentified buyer which was a “malicious violation” of the actor’s privacy rights under both French and California law. Various websites have already pulled the photos down.
Comedian Vince Vaughn has topped a list of Hollywood stars giving studios the best returns on their investments. In an “Entertainment All Stars Special Issue”, Forbes magazine has looked at which actors provide the best payback and Vaughn was No. 1, with his films earning $14.73 for every dollar he was paid. Why? Well, until recently he wasn’t paid the mega-bucks of other Hollywood stars and the films he starred in, like “Wedding Crashers” and “The Break-Up,” had modest budgets but good box office returns.
A-listers Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts and George Clooney also looked good in the list because of their work in “Ocean’s Twelve” and “Ocean’s Thirteen”, as they all took pay cuts to appear in the heist movies.
Chequebook journalism is nothing new, and many (though by no means all) people have a problem with the idea of selling images of an infant for a fat fee. But then there is charity-chequebook-journalism, which is more complicated. Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, it is reported, plan to give the proceeds of the photo-shoot to charity, as they did with the money they earned from a similar deal in 2006 after the birth of daughter Shiloh.
First Angelina Jolie tried to cover up her pregnancy and then she tried to keep details of the birth of her twins private. But privacy is not a favored Hollywood concept, not for top stars like Angelina and her partner Brad Pitt.
Speculation began a few weeks back that Jolie had already had the babies prematurely but now photos have emerged, albeit rather blurry photos, claiming to show Jolie a few days ago still looking very heavily pregnant.