Fan Fare

Entertainment behind the scenes

Who is greatest stage actor of all?


McKellenSo who is the greatest stage actor of them all?

Britain’s “The Stage” theatrical publication is holding a poll to ask visitors to its website to choose who is the best stage actor of all time. Six of the 10 shortlisted artists are still alive, and include legends not only of the stage, but also the screen, including Judi Dench and Ian McKellen (pictured at right). The Stage will keep the voting lines open for the next 10 weeks and publish the winner in a special Christmas edition.

Here is the full list. How about giving us your opinion as well? And if you think the best ever to walk the boards is not on the list, let us know.

Ralph Richardson (1902-1983)

John Gielgud (1904-2000)

Laurence Olivier (1907-1989)

Paul Scofield (1922 -2008)

Judi Dench (1934- )

Maggie Smith (1934- )

Vanessa Redgrave (1937- )

Ian McKellen (1939- )

Michael Gambon (1940- )

Mark Rylance (1960- )

Sean Connery turns 80, acting days “over”


connerySuave Scot Sean Connery turns 80 today and tells a newspaper that his acting days are over.

The landmark anniversary has prompted a general outpouring of love and appreciation in the media for a man best known for his portrayal of super sleuth James Bond. His six official outings as 007 established him as the definitive Bond in many people’s eyes, including his closest rival for the title, Roger Moore.

Joaquin Phoenix says “I’m Still Here”


Joaquin PhoenixBut is he all there? Really all there.

He quit a golden Hollywood career because he was bored. He thought movies weren’t interesting anymore. He didn’t have anything else to learn. And today, Joaquin Phoenix has re-emerged in the trailer of a new “documentary” called “I’m Still Here” that is directed by his brother-in-law Casey Affleck. The documentary tells about Phoenix’s supposed attempts at a transition to a career in hip hop.  We wrote about it here and here. Surely, we think, it’s more mockumentary, something on the order of “This is Spinal Tap” that sends up the entertainment industry. Tellingly, it was “written and produced” by both Affleck and Phoenix. Then again, who are we to say he’s lying just because what he has done seems so odd. One never really knows, and “odd” is rather normal in Hollywood. You can watch the trailer — and judge it — for yourself below.

In interviews, despite a bizarre, mumbling shaggy-haired appearance on David Letterman that baffled many, Joaquin Phoenix coherently insisted to all in promoting his last film in 2008, “Two Lovers,” that he was indeed quitting acting (he still has no more movies announced). And yes, absolutely and convincingly, he said he was pursuing a career in hip hop.  And yes, there was Affleck right on hand to tape all media interviews with Phoenix. (Note: we politely said “no” to being taped for a possible spoof, much to Affleck’s annoyance.)

Roman Polanski — winners and losers


Europeans celebrated and  stunned U.S. officials vowed to try again to extradite director Roman Polanski if they ever find a “cooperative” jurisdiction in the future.polanski chalet

But where was Hollywood on Monday when Polanski finally won his freedom in Switzerland and avoided a showdown in California over the rape of a 13 year-old girl in 1977? Largely silent,  despite having awarded Polanski a best director Oscar for his searing 2002  movie “The Pianist”,  set in a World War Two ghetto.

From Tony to Oscar and back?


Tony's Denzel

Has Tony really turned into Oscar? True, last night’s Tony Awards didn’t feel that far from the Oscars. There were the hoards of screaming fans outside, the red carpet filled with stars like Scarlett Johansson and Will Smith. And the backstage media room where winners are wheeled in breathless and smiling for an impromptu press conference.

But for all the talk that the Tony’s are going all Hollywood, perhaps they are not. For starters, some of Hollywood’s A-List don’t take America’s highest theater honors as seriously as the Oscars. Some, like best actor nominated Jude Law who was a long shot to win, was nowhere to be seen. Others, like first-time Tony Award winners Scarlett Johansson and Catherine Zeta-Jones, did not bother going backstage to speak to the press afterwards.

Cannes family or Cannes clique?


LoachThe press conferences that follow screenings at Cannes are singular affairs, where journalists often spend as much time expressing their admiration as they do asking questions. They can be revealing nonetheless and rarely more so than when the regular master of ceremonies, a certain Henri Behar, introduces somebody as “very much part of the Cannes family.”

One of the persistent criticisms levelled at the world’s biggest film festival is that it always features the same names. It is an unfair criticism in some ways. There isn’t an infinite number of great film makers and so it isn’t surprising that certain directors and actors keep being invited back. But just running through this year’s main competition lineup, there certainly does seem to be something like a “Cannes family”.

Mike Leigh lays into reporter in Cannes


LeighYou can call a director’s latest film terrific, but it may not mean you get treated nicely.

Relations between filmmakers, actors and journalists inevitably come under pressure at the Cannes film festival, where people work (and party) long hours and often do not see eye to eye on the quality of a movie or performance. But in just three days of this year’s festival, there have been two terse, public exchanges between filmmakers, actors and reporters.

Trading on Twitter with Shia LaBeouf


There is something slightly surreal about talking with an up-and-comingShia Hollywood star about the intricacies of trading on Wall Street. In an interview with Shia LaBeouf for his role in Oliver Stone’s “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps”, that’s exactly what happened.

The 23-year-old, most famous for the successful “Transformers” franchise, plays Jake Moore, an idealistic and successful financial trader who comes up against Michael Douglas’s ruthless Gordon Gekko and an equally formidable Bretton James (played by Josh Brolin) in Stone’s update of his 1987 hit “Wall Street”.

Shah Rukh Khan braves freezing Berlin


ShahNo thermal underwear for Shah Rukh Khan.

The 44-year-old Bollywood megastar is used to warmer climes, but has had to brave snow, ice and sub-zero temperatures during his visit to Berlin where his latest movie “My Name Is Khan” had its premiere on Friday.

Oozing charm, and making some in the audience at the movie’s press conference practically swoon, Khan bluntly stated: “Death before long johns. I am too macho for this.”

Colin Firth — once an awards militant, now a convert


colin firth Honesty from actors tends to be in short supply around Hollywood’s awards season. Most respond to questions about possible Oscar or Golden Globe nominations with the standard line about “the  honor” of simply being nominated.

So it was refreshing when British actor Colin Firth — still perhaps best known as the deliciously wet-shirted Mr Darcy of  “Pride and Prejudice” fame  – admitted that he used to boycott award ceremonies. Until he did just that and lost out to a rival.