Tag Archives: Julia & Julia

In praise of older stage & screen sirens

Oscar winner Marsha Mason remembers future Oscar winner Shirley MacLaine telling her, “In order to keep working, it’s important to move into character work early because they don’t know what to do with you.”

JOLIE, KILMER, FARRELL: Alexander

JOLIE, KILMER, FARRELL: just one big happy family (not)

It’s a key point in Forget the Ingénues; Cue the Grown-Ups, Patricia Cohen’s excellent piece in last weekend’s New York Times. “Unless a script calls for a bitter woman to be dumped by her husband,” she notes, “filmgoers have come to expect the kind of nature-defying casting decisions that had a then 28-year-old Angelina Jolie playing the mother of Colin Farrell, then 27, in the 2004 film Alexander. (Val Kilmer, then 45, was the father.) Such couplings are familiar: At 36, Anne Bancroft played the predatory Mrs. Robinson in The Graduate (1967) [to Dustin Hoffman] although she was a mere six years older than Mr. Hoffman; in The Manchurian Candidate (1962) Angela Lansbury, just three years older than Laurence Harvey, played his mother.”

ADAMS: "Sooo thrilling!"

ADAMS: "Sooo thrilling!"

On Broadway, however, “women can still be rock stars. Among the big-name talents from film and television who have appeared behind Broadway marquees this season are Joan Allen, Jane Fonda, Allison Janney, Susan Sarandon and Kristin Scott Thomas.” For more of Ms. Cohen’s story on women who rule the Great White Way, click here.

Meanwhile, let me give the last word to the hottest young actress in Hollywood, Amy Adams, who co-starred with Meryl Streep in Doubt and does it again in the upcoming Julia & Julia.

“Sooo thrilling,” says Amy, with just a hint of sarcasm, “that every now and then, the world rediscovers that there’s a female audience. Oh, my God! Women go to the movies!”

And do they ever.

* * *

GOING WHERE HE’S NEVER GONE BEFORE: Big-screen favourite Bruce Greenwood’s role of Captain Pike in the new Star Trek prequel was originally played in the pilot episodes of the original series by

GREENWOOD: Beresford-bound

GREENWOOD: Beresford-bound

Jeffrey Hunter. ) After screening the vintage episodes, Greenwood says he realized pretty quickly that the dilemma that Jeffrey Hunter’s Pike faced is very different from what his Pike faces. Hunter’s Pike, he explains, is conflicted over whether or not he will remain with Starfleet. “And, the Pike that I play has no such dilemma. My Pike’s dilemma is more about whether or not to trust the young Kirk.” In a Sharp magazine interview with writer Cliff Ford, Greenwood confirms he’s signed for director Bruce Beresford’s next opus, Mao’s Last Dancer. Based on dancer Li Cunxin’s autobiography, the film shows how a poor, 11-year-old Li was taken from his tiny Chinese village to Beijing to study ballet. Years later, during a visit to Texas, Li falls for an American woman, defects and becomes a principal dancer for the Houston and Australian Ballet. Greenwood portrays Ben Stevenson, the Houston Ballet’s artistic director, who was instrumental in Li’s successful career. And you can read more of the Sharp interview with Canuck crowd-pleaser Greenwood right here.

 * * *

THE MOTHER OF THEM ALL?: She killed her own children in a jealous rage as Medea. She played mom to Sean ‘P. Diddy’ Combs in a hostile white neighborhood in the much-lauded revival of A Raisin In the Sun.

RASHAD: maternal?

RASHAD: maternal?

She juggled a law practice, five children and Bill Cosby on the megahit Cosby Show. Tonight on Broadway, following in the footsteps of Deanna Dunagan and her successor followed by Estelle Parsons, Phylicia Rashad takes over the role of Violet Weston, the brittle, uncensored drug-abusing matriarch of an Oklahoma family in the Pulitzer Prize-winning drama August: Osage Country. In a remarkable display of “nontraditional” casting, Ms. Rashad’s stage persona must attempt to cope with a white stage family of three daughters, a husband, a sister and other relatives. Should be a fabulous night.

-/- 

Nia’s life in ruins! New movies for Jason and Julia! Joan & Melissa make headlines for the Trumpster!

CELEBRITY ASSASSINS: Okay,  we’ve seen sizzling reality TV before, but for a junk TV food addict, Sunday night’s episode of Celebrity Apprentice was an epicurean feast. And it’s still making headlines.

RIVERS: shut out

RIVERS: shut out

What happened? Donald Trump said his two trademark words, “You’re fired!” to Melissa Rivers. Rivers got canned after being virtually shut out by her ‘teammates,’ gorgeous Playboy ornament Brande Roderick and cunning poker champ Annie Duke, in what TV blogger Bill Brioux describes as the “electric, best ever episode of Celebrity Apprentice.”

Melissa’s mom (Joan Rivers, as if you didn’t know) went ballistic when her daughter got fired and stormed out of the Trump Tower — but not after (bleep) sharing her thoughts (bleep) with Brande and (bleep) Annie.

“Not since the hair-pulling heyday of Dynasty has there been such a catfight on TV,” said video veteran Brioux yesterday. “It was the ultimate, diva-in-flames exit, times two, the kind of thing (producer) Mark Burnett probably dreams about.”

Melissa said yesterday she had exploded because of exhaustion after a long shooting day.

She initially refused to do a post-firing interview, a standard feature of the series, but said she went back the next day.

“I really wanted to take a deep breath,” Rivers said. “It had been a very difficult few weeks of being attacked emotionally and personally. There’s only so much you can take.”

How sizzling was it? Go to Brioux’s website TV Feeds My Family and see for yourself. He even has video of the meltdown, “for as long as it stays up at YouTube:”  And you can check it out right here.

* * *

BYRNE: going Greek?

BYRNE: going Greek?

FLICKERS:  Director Jason Reitman (Juno) next opus is up in the air – but that’s okay. His new flick with George Clooney is called, you guessed it, Up In The Air  … Oscar nominee Richard Jenkins will join Oscar owner Julia Roberts for the big-screen adaptation of the best-selling Eat, Pray. Love …  Rose Byrne, so good as Glenn Close’s near-fatal foil in the hypnotic TV drama Damages, will co-star with Sean Combs in Get Him To The Greek … this year’s Genie Award winner for Best Documentary, the powerful film Up the Yangtze returns for an encore presentation on CBC-TV’s Passionate Eye this Sunday, May 3, at 10 p.m, … and My Big Fat Greek Wedding star Nia Vardalos returns to her roots for her new film, My Life In Ruins, in which she plays a tour guide in Athens who has to deal with, among others, Harland Williams, Rachel Dretch and Richard Dreyfuss.  Can’t wait to see it? For a sneak preview, click here.

* * *

STREEP: box office darling?

STREEP: box office darling?

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: After touring Canada more than a dozen times with his band the Cosmic Crew, Chris Colepaugh will guest with Roch Voisine’s band when Voisine tours of France, Switzerland and Belgium next month. Colepaugh will play pedal steel, mandolin and more on the tour, which starts at the end of May, runs through June and then picks up again in November and December … Debbie Reynolds, still kicking up her heels at 77, is set to bring her cabaret act to NYC’s Café Carlyle June 2 – 27.  And you can do her bidding, so to speak, by bidding on two tickets to her show, now being auctioned on charitybuzz.com, benefiting SOS Children’s Villages International, housing orphans with AIDS. Debbie will meet the winners after her performance, pose for pix, and lift a glass to good deeds in a naughty world (and surviving MGM?) … and Meryl Streep, a boffo box-office draw for female audiences ever since The Devil Wears Prada and Mamma Mia, says it’s “completely improbable” that she’s become the queen of counter-programming. “No one in Hollywood can understand it!” she told Entertainment Weekly.  “We’re so used to seeing movies about dysfunctional relationships. Here are these outsized, vivid, problematic women with great men of substance who love them in spite of all their prickliness.” She and her Doubt co-star (and fellow Oscar nominee) Amy Adams team up again in Julia & Julia, scheduled to preem in August. In this one Adams plays a somewhat unlikely acolyte to master chef Julia Child (Streep,) with Meryl’s Prada co-star Stanley Tucci joining in the fun.

* * *

ON YOUR MARK, GET SET: Tickets are going fast for Reporting in Afghanistan, the public forum hosted by CBC Toronto to mark World Press Freedom Day. To reserve your free ticket for this event, which is set for the Glenn Gould Studio tomorrow from 12:30 -2 pm, send an email to events@cbc.ca with your name, telephone local and the number of tickets you require … and nominations for The Comedy Network’s 2009 Canadian Comedy Awards & Festival in St. John, New Brunswick close this Thursday. You can enter online or by mail, but all mailed entries must be postmarked no later than April 30, 2009. So you only have two days left. To enter online just click here.

 

 -/-

Cooking up a storm with ‘Doubters’ Meryl & Amy

BEAUTY CALL: Still-breathtaking silver screen siren Jacqueline Bisset, who reportedly walks away with Linda Yellen’s new opus, The Last Film Festival, has finally agreed to do a TV pilot. CBS has signed her for the lead role

BISSET: coup for CBS

BISSET: coup for CBS

 in The Eastmans, about a wealthy family who have made their fortune in medicine …  Meryl Streep and Amy Adams, so good together in Doubt,  team up again for Julia & Julia, the Julia Child saga now slated to open in August. The film marks Streep’s third outing with Nora Ephron, who co-wrote Silkwood and penned her own bestseller, Heartburn, which became a first teaming for Streep and Jack Nicholson … and one-man music machine Michael Feinstein recently coaxed 80-year-old MGM girls Jane Powell and Arlene Dahl  to team up with Jane Russell (yes, THE Jane Russell, now a sassy 88 years old) in a concert salute to Hollywood musicals.  Feinstein cast Hollywood Reporter alumnus Robert Osborne, more famous today as on-camera anchor of Turner Classic Movies, as the host, and audiences reportedly loved it.  Will the unstoppable Feinstein bring it to Broadway? Stay tuned.

* * * 

BALLET HIGH:  Attention, Ottawa dance fans — the National Ballet’s three-day run of Romeo & Juliet at the National Arts Centre this week is virtually sold

COTE: Romeo in Ottawa

COTE: Romeo in Ottawa

out. And on opening night Karen Kain will give a free talk about the dazzling NBOC production before Heather Ogden and Guillaume Côté dance the title roles. So if anyone at the NAC owes you a favour, now’s the time to call it in … p.s. to Toronto balletomanes: The National’s White Hot Gala is now set for June 18. The company’s 4th annual fundraiser will include a one-hour performance by stars of the ballet, followed by a reception featuring a live DJ and Grey Goose signature cocktails, followed by an extraordinary three-course dinner by Mark McEwen, followed by a White Hot night of dancing on stage at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts with the company’s biggest stars, including the legendary Ms. Kain. For more info click here.  

 * * *

PARTON: smart stuff

PARTON: smart stuff

HELLO, DOLLY: She’s a superb songwriter, a sexy singer, and an All-American fantasy. And so smart, too.

“Dumb Blonde jokes don’t bother me a bit!” says Dolly Parton. “Because I don’t think I’m dumb. And I know I’m not blonde!”

She’s a columnist’s dream.

* * *

SHARPS ‘N’ FLATS: Big-voiced vocal coach Elaine Overholt, currently shooting her Big Voice television series for ‘W’, is currently weighing offers from

OVERHOLT: big voice

OVERHOLT: big voice

two rival U.S. networks who want her to create the same magic for them … don’t know what you did last weekend, but comeback kid Leonard Cohen spent Good Friday with 7,000 fans, on stage in his adopted home-away-from-home, Los Angeles … highlights of the 43rd Montreux Jazz Festival, set for July 3-18 in Freddie Mercury’s favourite town, will include a world premiere performance by Herbie Hancock and Lang Lang and the reunion of Status Quo and John Fogerty

* * * 

PENN: boycotting Bill?

PENN: boycotting Bill?

QUOTABLE QUOTES: “Sean Penn is a great actor, and if you hire him, you’ll get a good performance. I’m just not going to give a guy who gives aid and comfort to people like (Iran president Mahmoud) Ahmadinejad, Hugo Chavez and Saddam Hussein, when he was alive, my 10 bucks. That’s my right as an American.”

The speaker? Brass-tongued Fox TV maverick Bill O’Reilly, who boycotts Sean Penn movies.

When asked to comment, Sean Penn said, “Bill who?”

* * *

FLICKERS:  One of the most welcome features of Tonya Lee Williams’ 9th annual ReelWorld Film Festival, opening tomorrow night, is a free Family screening this weekend. Set for Saturday at 11 am at the Cineplex Odeon

WILLIAMS: family flicks

WILLIAMS: family flicks

 

Carlton Cinemas, the screening will include four (4) short films and a 20-minute interactive show, with Canwest graciously picking up the tab, For more info on ReelWorld screenings and seminars, click here … adult film aficionados were saddened by news that Marilyn Chambers (Behind The Green Door) died over the weekend at her home in Los Angeles. Chambers, who counted David Cronenberg‘s Rabid among her few legitimate films, was 56 … and does any other city have as many film festivals as Toronto? And yes, we’re bragging, not complaining. Next up: The Toronto Jewish Film Festival, an annual celebration on themes of Jewish culture and identity, showcasing feature films, documentaries and shorts from around the world – 90 films from 23 countries. This year’s TJFF opens Saturday and runs for 10 days. For tickets call 416-967-1528 or cick here

* * *

RIVERS: all for All

RIVERS: all for All

 

SEE/HEAR: Two episodes ago, Celebrity Apprentice survivors (so far) Joan Rivers and daughter Melissa were asked to create a viral video commercial for All detergent.  After Donald Trump gave their respective team videos a definitive thumbs down, Joan and Melissa decided to shoot their own videos, on their own time and their own dime, with highly amusing results. Check ’em out here, and enjoy!


 TOMORROW:  Natalie Wood’s daughter in New Brunswick.