Entertainment behind the scenes
In recent months, tabloid newspapers have run numerous ”beats” and “exclusives” on the identity of the next actor to play the British television time lord who travels in the space-bending Tardis. Among the candidates, supposedly, was actor David Morrissey, standup comic Bill Bailey and two female actresses — Catherine Tate and Meera Syal.
In the end, the coveted role went to Matt Smith, a little known 26-year-old. Reaction among fans has been mixed, with much of the criticism focusing on the fact that Smith may be too young to play the 903-year-old character. Smith takes over from the hugely popular David Tennant, who is 37.
Bookies are generally delighted with the outcome, with William Hill celebrating a five-figure profit after just one bet — a 3 pound wager at 25/1 — was placed on “rank outsider” Smith. They are already taking bets on Smith’s successor, and producers are also reported to be searching for a female co-star.
It’s been an eventful year in celebrity news, and even if it has been light on scandals , stars held the attention of fans.
But some big names, notably Michael Jackson and Miley Cyrus, appear to have worn out their welcome, according to a fan poll from celebrity Web site Parade.com.
Some 41 percent of respondents said Jackson, who turned 50 in 2008 with no sign of making good on repeated promises of a comeback, should officially retire. They also said the pop star’s antics are the most disturbing behavior from any Hollywood star.
The world of entertainment, especially film, tends to benefit when times are tough, as people seek to escape worries about their job, mortgage, children’s education or heating bills. But 2009 is likely to be a tough one for movies, music, theatre, art, books and most other forms of diversion you can think of.
Hollywood has already seen studios downsized and movie projects ditched thanks to budgetary concerns, a trend which some experts expect to continue into the new year. Raising finances to fund new pictures has become more complicated, and despite major releases like Harry Potter, Watchmen, Wolverine, Transformers, Angels & Demons and Star Trek to name but a few, there is no guarantee that box office attendances will reverse this year’s decline.
(Writing and reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis)
Actress Fran Drescher, former star of television sitcom “The Nanny”, has thrown her hat into the ring as a contender to replace Hillary Clinton as U.S. senator for New York, joining an illustrious list of stars who have sought to make the switch from show business to the political stage.
Drescher, 51, is a New York woman through and through, and she has the accent to prove it. Born in Queens, she is known for broadcasting the accent native to that borough of New York on the 1990s show “The Nanny.”
But Drescher is more than just a pretty face and a nasal voice. The actress has survived uterine cancer and earlier this year she was appointed to a U.S. State Department envoy program and toured Eastern Europe to talk about health issues.
Last year, she created a charity called the Cancer Schmancer Movement after her recent battle with the disease.
Drescher told People magazine that when she was on the lecture circuit for the State Department she was often asked about a future in politics. “It was one of the single most-asked questions: When are you going to run? Only second to: Is that your real voice?,” Drescher told the celebrity magazine.
Britain’s Turner Prize prides itself on whipping up the art world’s equivalent of a storm each year with exhibits that are often designed to shock and upset. The only shock this time around, it seems, is that there is no shock.
Sure, Cathy Wilkes has a mannequin sitting cross-legged on a toilet as part of her installation, but critics are saying that that’s about as close as the four shortlisted artists come to anything like controversy. Let’s not forget, the annual award has been won recently by a man in a bear suit, a shed-cum-boat-cum-shed and an empty room in which the lights go on and off.
Think what you like about the art – and several leading critics question whether it is art at all – there are enough people desperate to get their hands on an original Damien Hirst to ensure that his recent, audacious sale of 223 new works at Sotheby’s was a resounding success.
Commentators have huffed and puffed about the insanity of it all — Damien Hirst, reproducing the kind of works he has been creating for years, yet still able to earn a staggering 111 million pounds (minus commission to the auctioneer) to add to his already sizeable fortune.
Barack Obama won yet more celebrity endorsements at the Venice film festival this year, although whether he would welcome them or not is a different matter.
From the very first press conference, stars from Hollywood who came to the canal city to promote their movies voiced support for the Democratic presidential candidate, although in the case of George Clooney and Brad Pitt, they were careful not to steal too much of the political limelight from Obama.
There have been a few technical glitches at this year’s Venice film festival, but even the most seasoned film critics were puzzled when the main press screening of Italian film “Il Seme della Discordia” (The Seed of Discord), which is vying for the Golden Lion, was cancelled on Thursday.
A statement from organisers simply said the film reel was not available for the 7 p.m. screening. It will instead be shown at 10:30 p.m.
A sideline competition normally overlooked by many of the hundreds of journalists and cameramen in Venice each year, the shorts section suddenly became big news when Portman was included and good enough to come to the canal city to talk about her directorial debut “Eve”.
What do you wear to an interview with Valentino?
I asked myself that question as I was dressing in my hotel room ahead of another busy day at the Venice film festival which included an afternoon sit-down with the fashion guru, on the Lido to present “Valentino: The Last Emperor”, a documentary about his career.
Preparing for the interview, I had read that Valentino once said: “I have had the life of an aesthete. I’ve always loved beautiful things, beautiful people. I hate sloppiness, disorder. Even relaxations must be kept under control.”