Fan Fare

Entertainment behind the scenes

Madonna/Ritchie divorce – media guessing game begins


madonna2.jpgDepending on who you listen to or read, Guy Ritchie may look to get up to $260 million in any divorce settlement with his wife Madonna, or he may try to get nothing and live off his own fortune,  variously estimated at anywhere between $30-50 million.

When big celebrity divorces are announced, as Ritchie and Madonna’s was on Wednesday, a frenzied bout of speculation by media and lawyers alike tends to follow, and more often than not it ends up being a load of rubbish.

You only have to look back to the divorce between Paul McCartney and Heather Mills to see how wide of the mark the theories generally are. Some lawyers were confidently predicting McCartney would have to pay out $350 million to Mills. (It is only fair to point out that one such expert was quoted by none other than Reuters at the time.) The actual sum? Less than $50 million.

Still, perhaps it is true that the bigger the amount in the headline, the more copies a newspaper sells. Surely the press wouldn’t be so cynical?

Gwyneth tells us: “Make your life good”


gwyneth.jpgGwyneth Paltrow might be wishing she had never ventured into the world of online lifestyle advice.

Her new site,, has irritated commentators on both sides of the Atlantic who say that the pearls of wisdom she shares with us are, at best, rather general, and at worst downright smug.

Burlesque star Dita Von Teese mulls move to Paris



Dita Von Teese says Parisian men appreciate their showgirls more than Americans, no matter what their age. Perhaps with an eye on Hollywood’s ageist reputation, the 35-year-old dancer is even considering a move from L.A. to the French capital.

“I’m going to move to Paris like all the other glamorous stars of the past that moved to Paris,” the brunette said at the London launch of her new underwear range for Wonderbra, inspired by the 1940s and 1950s. ”There are certain places that men always appreciate their glamour girls and especially their showgirls of any age, so I really am going to move to Paris, I think.”

Jeremy Piven starts rehearsals for Broadway debut


jeremy-piven.jpg“Entourage” star Jeremy Piven started rehearsals this week on another show about the inside world of show-business, only this time it’s on a Broadway stage.

Piven is starring in a revival of David Mamet’s play “Speed-the-Plow,” billed as a “scathing portrait of the film industry and the people who are willing to sell their souls for sex, fame and fortune.”

Rourke’s Venice success shows we love a comeback


rourke.jpgIf we are honest, most of us would admit that we derive a certain pleasure from seeing someone famous fall from their perch, be it with a critical flop, a personal problem or a bout of odd behaviour in public.

How refreshing, then, to see the world-weary entertainment press genuinely rejoicing in Mickey Rourke’s comeback in Darren Aronofsky’s “The Wrestler”, which won the Golden Lion for best film at the Venice festival over the weekend. There were no snide asides among reporters as we waited in a hotel lounge by the Adriatic Sea to interview the 51-year-old. Noone complained about where they would rather be or how their head was still reeling from the night before (it was mid-morning).

Marriage for Clooney, kids for Pitt? Jokes, bad questions fly


clooney.jpgWhen some reporters come face to face with A-list celebrities, their brains turn to mush.

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.

Does Madonna fuel controversy for her fans or for herself?


madonna-on-tour.jpgSex, religion, now politics. Madonna, true to style, has kicked off her world concert tour “Sticky & Sweet” with controversy by juxtaposing images of Adolf Hitler with John McCain, the Republican senator running for president alongside Democratic Senator Barack Obama and with Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe. Obama was named in a sequence with Mahatma Gandhi, John Lennon and Al Gore.  ”Outrageous, unacceptable and crudely divisive,” said McCain’s camp.

Madonna, who turned 50 this month, is listed as one of the world’s most successful female recording artists of all time, having sold over 200 million records in a career spanning 25 years.  Do you think she fuels controversy to keep fans coming back for more or is it a personal mission for The Material Girl? 

Pitt gives paps early workout in Venice


pitt.jpgThe Venice Film Festival is not even underway, but the paparazzi were put through their paces in the canal city on Tuesday when Brad Pitt arrived with two of his children a day ahead of his red carpet appearance to promote “Burn After Reading”, the Coen brother’s latest movie in which he stars.

Cameramen and photographers were dispatched to the airport to greet the Hollywood heartthrob and then the water taxi chase ensued. A further “boat scrum” occurred in Venice itself, where about eight water taxis crowded around the steps leading up to the swanky Cipriani hotel for further shots of the star which, no doubt, will be touted by some of tomorrow’s newspapers as “exclusives”.

Should celebs sell baby snaps?


brad.jpgIf reports are to be believed, “Brangelina” will earn $11 million from selling exclusive rights to the first photographs of their new-born twins.

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.

Phew, it’s over, sigh Cannes hacks


cannes.jpgSafely back in the UK it’s time to bid farewell to another Cannes film festival. It’s the kind of event that you get excited about before, are fed up with while it is happening, never want to experience again by the end, and then long for a few months down the line. Does that make it like many marriages?

Unlike some of the miserable, grim and ultra-serious movies that Cannes likes to showcase, this year’s festival had a more Hollywood-style ending. After a competition of 22 films that started well, then deteriorated markedly, the 12-day festival was saved at the death by “Entre les Murs”, a stirring drama set in the classrooms of a tough Parisian high school.