HFPA members were the guests of Sony Pictures Television on the set of the new Charlie’s Angels television show in Miami, where they were greeted by the director and executive producer, Marcos Siega, who walked them through the set and described the show.
“The mysterious Charlie sets up a mission and then sends the Angels to resolve it,” he says. There is a parallel between the new show and the 1970’s hit TV series but, set in Miami, he says: “The new Charlie’s Angels show is original with a modern twist.”
The HFPA also met with the glamorous Angels: blonde Abby (Rachael Taylor), a Park Avenue princess who became a world class thief; dark Kate (Annie Ilonzeh), a Miami cop who fell from grace losing both her career and her fiancé’; and brunette Eve (Minka Kelly), a street racer with a mysterious past.
The actresses trained with a S.W.A.T team 12 hours a day in martial arts, scuba diving, gun handling and close combat fighting before they began filming.
“Although we have stand-in stuntwomen, we try to do all stunts except risky ones, like being hit by a bus or falling off a ten-story building,” laughs Annie Ilonzeh, who is proud to play the first black Angel in the history of the show.
The new Angels say that they are not trying to fill the shoes of the original stars.
“We are trying to do something fresh and original,” stresses Australian-born Rachael Taylor.
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Visiting the set of the upcoming movie Dolphin Tale in the marine hospital in Clearwater, Florida, HFPA members were introduced to the star and the protagonist of the movie, Winter, the Dolphin whose tail had to be amputated and be replaced with a prosthetic one after sustaining an incurable injury in 2007.
Dolphins swim by fluttering their tails vertically, up and down, but after losing her tail, Winter started to swim by wiggling her body horizontally in order to propel herself forward, which resulted in damaging her spine. To save her from death, her trainers decided to explore the idea of a prosthetic tail, which had not been done or even contemplated before.
“There were many challenges in designing a new tail for Winter,” explains the hospital’s director, David Yates. “The biggest challenge was keeping the tail on without hurting her.”
The tail was designed by Dr. McCarthy (played by Oscar-winner Morgan Freeman), who used his experience in building human prosthetic limbs to create a socket made of soft gel that fits firmly over the base of the amputated tail and then strap the artificial tail around it.
“The other challenge was to make her swim with a tail after she had been swimming sideways in over a year and half,” Yates adds.
Initially, Winter had rejected the new tail, but in a few months she was humming. “She loved it,” Yates beams.
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Foreign Press Association for filmmakers, actors and VIP guests at the Windsor Arms Hotel.
This year the star-studded guest list included Jennifer Garner, Jessica Chastain, Katie Couric. Olivia Wilde, Geoffrey Rush, Kim Cattrall, Jason Reitman, Adam Brody, Abbie Cornish, Andrea Riseborough, Annaleigh Tipton, Harvey Weinstein, Piper Perabo and the cast of the television shows Suits and Covert Affairs.
HFPA president Dr. Aida Takla-O’Reilly (left) presented the chairman of the Toronto Film Festival, Piers Handling, with a plaque to commemorate the occasion as Cyd Wilson of InStyle magazine looks on.
Hollywood Foreign Press members at the Toronto Film Festival chatted with Sam Childers, the real life Machine Gun Preacher who is portrayed by Gerard Butler in the film of the same name.
The former drug addict biker-turned-preacher from Pennsylvania who runs an orphanage in Sudan confessed that when he met Butler he was not sure that the actor was the right man to play him on screen. “He had a strong Scottish accent. Really strong,” he said. “But I have to say he really nailed me. He sounded just like me.”
Butler explained to members: “I watched him preach in church and I taped hours of conversations so I could listen to how he expresses himself. He’s such a fascinating guy and he has a lot of amazing stories.”Read More »
THIS YEAR MARKS THE TENTH ANNIVERSARY OF SEPTEMBER 11 2001 when more than three thousand civilians were murdered by terrorists in the worst-ever attack on US soil. It’s one of those times when we all remember what we were doing, when two planes were deliberately flown into the twin towers of New York’s World Trade Center, one flew into the Pentagon and a fourth, bound for the White House, was forced to crash
In remembrance of the tragedy, I asked a few celebrities to give me their impressions. Ten years later, are we
safer? Could this happen again? Here are their replies:
We have to be more secure because we’re that much more aware. We were
completely unaware. it was not even in someone’s vernacular of thinking, before.
So, now, people’s radar is sensitive to the possibility of it. I hope that something
else doesn’t have to happen. ‘Cause it’s been ten years and people start to
relax. I hope that behind the scenes, there is a quiet way, of protecting us. We
don’t know if this wouldn’t happen again. I hope we don’t have to have something
else happen, to get people as active.
It was just shocking and terrifying. I think it can happen again. I think so! It
feels like the security is up to the ‘nth degree and rightly so. When it comes to
airport travel, when it comes to anything like that, it feels safer but I’m an optimist
though. So, I hope, that it will keep getting more safe.
I don’t know if we are safer now. I’d certainly hope so. I would hope that the
powers that be, can be more aware of things, if something like that, is headed
our way. Ten years onward, I’m sure it’s the same for everyone, it feels like (it
was) yesterday. It was such a devastating moment. Something that was beyond
human comprehension. It was such a vicious and vile thing and the loss of life so
great, that it still feels like yesterday. I, certainly have my fingers crossed, that it
never happens again.
Those are pretty heavy questions. I was devastated. It’s one of the greatest
tragedies that happened in this country, for sure. I don’t know what that means
being safe. I think yes, of course, it could happen again, if someone is evil and
tries to hurt someone. Where there’s a will they’ll always find a way.
We can try to be as safe as we want but events, since then, have proven this
could happen at any second. We have to trust our advisers or military, that the
world has changed forever, certainly in America. Growing up in Northern Ireland,
in the ’60s and ‘70s I got very, very used to it and you adapt. It’s amazing how
the human spirit adapts to atrocity, that happens, 200 meters up from your street.
But the scale of what these terrorists want to inflict on us, I say us, as a new
American citizen, is very, very scary. We, all of us, have to be vigilant and look
after each other. I felt violated, in a really deep, sense, the way everybody did.
9/11 was one of the most horrific days as a nation. It was one of the most incredible
nights of my life. Watching the second tower go down, was devastating and
the closest, warlike thing, that I had ever felt, in my life. I remember seeing the
way that everybody came together, as a nation. It was one of the most beautiful
things I’ve ever experienced. I wish that we could remember that patriotism more
often and carry that, through our daily lives, because the power of many, coming
together, it’s unbreakable.
I don’t feel less safe. What happened on 9/11 was the great tragic anomaly that
comes out of twisted theology and practice. Every now and again things come
along, in this world, that completely alters the social and national fabric of every
nation in the world and that’s what happened 10 years ago. Little acts of terror-
ism, go on every day, all over the place. You can only hope that as the history of
the world has shown, those movements wax and wane. It would be very nice if
we could all look back on the year 2011 and say, “Oh, that was one of the waning
periods of that brand of insanity.”
People were really shaken up. Nothing like that had ever happened in the United
States. I went to high school in Germany. So, I’m aware of what it’s like to live
in a culture, where there’s been a war. All over Europe, there’s that history. But
for the United States, we had felt invulnerable. So it was really the first time that
we were like, “Oh my gosh, it’s right here!” I think people are aware that it could
happen again. Terrorism is something all of us globally, fear and are opposed to.
But it’s always worth remembering.
I never cease to be amazed by some of the things that happen. Of course there
is always going to be something horrible happening but not that specific thing.
It’s the way it always has been, through history. There’s wars. There’s tragedies.
People do unspeakable things, usually, for a buck. Yeah, we’ll see more horrors.
[sighs] But if you know that it’s coming, you can, at least, get prepared. I don’t
think we’re necessarily any safer but there’s more safeguards, surely. We’re
filmed everywhere we go. It’s (become) this observation society, we live under
the pretext, to make it safe. But it’s scary as well. It’s Orwellian. Big Brother,
always having a peek-a-boo at you. From that aspect, it would make one more
secure, I suppose.Cameron Diaz
Well, I can’t really live my life in fear so, I put my faith in all of the people who are
doing what they can to, hopefully, not have that happen again. In the meantime,
I just live as much of life as I possibly can. The landscape of the world is very,
very different, since the day that happened. It’s all pretty obvious, as to what, that
is. I certainly hope that the world is moving towards better things than worse but
even if I had all the information, I still wouldn’t be able to say whether or not, I
knew that, for sure.
I was coming home from school, when it happened and everyone was freaking
out. My mom turned on the TV and she actually saw the second plane hit, so me
and my mom, were praying. It was crazy to us. We didn’t know what was hap-
penning. We didn’t know the reality of it. It was crazy. I don’t know (if it’ll happen
again), no-one knew it was going to happen then and no-one, really knows, now.
If you weren’t someone who specifically lost a loved one, life goes on. (But) it
had a massive effect on everyone, whether you lost someone or not. (Feeling
safer), I don’t know if that’s even a real concept. Not to get into anything sort of
touchy but I feel like sometimes we’re made to feel, safe or unsafe, to validate
things that politicians want to do for their own reasons. I feel like as a city, New
York, has sort of rebuilt and become really strong. (Could it happen again?) I
have no way of answering that question.
Jason Sudeikis (Horrible Bosses)
Gosh. I won’t even entertain the idea of it happening again . It was bad but it did
raise the awareness, of the evil in the world. We will have an opportunity, if we
haven’t for the last 10 years, to reflected on, we certainly will and hopefully some
of the healing.from it, will become just as evident, as the pain from it.
Viola Davis (The Help. Is doing a movie on 9/11)
September 11th meant to me the end of this general sense of safety and infalli-
bility that we had. I don’t feel safe ever. Maybe that’s how I grew up. I’ve never
felt the sense of security in anything. The one thing that came out of September
11th, is, people have got to take responsibility for their life. It was the first time
that everybody woke up. Everybody, even people who had never talked about
politics, decided to be informed. What I took out of 9/ 11, is that, I’m not going to
leave it up to someone else to decide what my lifestyle was going to be.
I have no idea. I don’t know if we’re safer or not. I’d like to think that we are but
the nature of terrorism is so sporadic and random that, we couldn’t say that for
sure. I don’t know.
To its credit, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association gave Elizabeth Taylor her first acting award before the Academy did, for one of her best performances in Suddenly Last Summer.
The film has long been dismissed by critics, but it’s been a favorite of mine even though I had seen the original stage production (a two-hander under the title “Garden District” the other half was “Something Unspoken”) in which Anne Meacham played Catherine and became the toast of Broadway. The play created a minor furor — it was 1959 — because it dealt with cannibalism and critics felt Tennessee Williams had gone too far.
I remember a conversation between Gore Vidal and Merv Griffin on his talk show when Griffin wondered how Tennessee dreamt up these ideas, and Vidal claimed that was how the great Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca met his death (cannibalized by his victims)
Ten years later Vidal collaborated with Williams on the script.
I am inclined to credit Vidal with many of the famous lines, none of which appear in the original play, such as “Love is being able to use someone, hate is not being able to,” and “To lose both parents you’re an orphan; to lose a son, you’re … nothing.”
Because Taylor needed to evade US taxes, the film was shot at Shepperton Studios in London and the use of English actors (Gary Raymond, for example) in minor roles is jarring.
But the director Joseph L. Mankiewicz was able to attract a superb cast. Besides Taylor, the leads are played by Katharine Hepburn in one of her greatest performances and Montgomery Clift (self conscious because his auto accident had left one side of his face paralyzed). Mercedes McCambridge and Albert Dekker were among the American actors.
Mankiewicz had an amazing chemistry with Taylor. Two years later, while filming Cleopatra, he claimed she was in love with him (even though at the time she was married to Eddie Fisher, who makes a fleeting appearance in the film.) After Liz ditched Eddie for Richard Burton, Mankiewicz was famously quoted as saying, “The trouble with Elizabeth, she feels she has to marry every man she sleeps with.”
Infatuated or not, Elizabeth is spellbinding in the film, more than holding her own against Hepburn. Her long monologue in which she recounts the events leading to Sebastian’s death is her best work ever. Sebastian is Mrs. Venable’s poet son. In order to perpetuate his legacy (one short volume of poems) and to prevent her niece Catherine, who has been declared insane, from revealing the truth about his demise, she wants Catherine lobotomized in exchange for funding the neurological program at the hospital.
The film has been labeled Grand Guignol, outrageous camp and lurid hagiography. It’s all these but it is also one of the best movies of the ’60’s. Not surprising, since the producer is the legendary Sam Spiegel, a Hollywood con man who shepherded some of the greatest movies of the century like Orson Welles’ The Stranger, Joseph Losey’s The Prowler, John Huston’s They Were Strangers and The African Queen, Elia Kazan’s On The Waterfront and The Last Tycoon, David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia and the Bridge on the River Kwai , and Arthur Penn’s The Chase. You could say if it was a Sam Spiegel production, it was the best show in town.
By the way, to evade his creditors he listed himself as S.P. Eagle on some of his early films.Read More »
Gary Oldman introduced his newest film, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy to a delegation from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association at the Venice Film Festival.
The British actor portrays George Smiley, the lead character in John Le Carre’s 1974 cold war bestseller of the same title, a role previously played by Alec Guiness in a 1979 TV mini series.
” If somebody offers you the role of Hamlet you try to achieve the task without being intimidated by the great performances before you” Oldman explained to the HFPA members about his challenge to step into Alec Guiness’s giant footsteps. “And I saw this role exactly like that.“.
He added enthusiastically: “The most rewarding response to me was how John Le Carre – who is a youthful 80 now – reacted when he saw the film. He was elated.”
Marco Müller, festival director since 2004, welcomed the HFPA delegation to the Lido of Venice.
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, a Focus Film feature, was one of nine world premieres seen by HFPA members. Among them: George Clooney’s„The Ides of March, which opened the festival, Abel Ferrara’s 4:44 Last Day on Earth, David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method, William Friedkin’s Killer Joe and Cristina Comencini’s Quando La Notte.
Madonna was also there to unveil her second directoral effort, W.E.
MOSTRA Internazionale D’Arte Cinematografica, the official name of the festival, was founded 1932 and is considered the oldest film festival in the world.
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The Hollywood Foreign Press accuses Dick Clark Productions of secretly squeezing it out of its own awards show as one of TV’s messiest, nastiest battles heads to trial.
As the 2010 golden Globe Awards kicked into high gear, members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association had reason to smile. Despite persistent rain showers outside the Beverly Hilton, the red carpet at the HFPA’s annual film and television awards show again was packed with international media and entertainment elite: The Blind Side star Sandra Bullock mingled with Avatar director James Cameron and the cast of Mad Men. The Globes telecast would draw 250 million viewers worldwide and become that week’s highest-rated entertainment program on U.S. television, continuing a streak of stunning success for the event thrown by a ragtag group of foreign journalists
.For the full Hollywood Reporter story click on this link:
In the U.S, 3D’s contribution to the overall box office income this year was about 45 per cent, down five per cent from last year, while overseas the format accounts for about 60 to 70 per cent of a film’s international take, Variety reports, adding: ” To some degree the divergence can be chalked up to a matter of preference–some cultures just like 3D more than others for reasons that can’t be quantified…but there are also some subtle differences in local pricing.”
Variety goes on to list some notable factors: “Many international markets temper 3D upcharges with discount play periods. China has half-price Tuesday. In Germany, “Cinema Day” brings a steep midweek price drop to matinees. And some territories even charge less for 3D pics that have shorter running times. In many countries premium ticket prices for 3D are further mitigated because moviegoers are encouraged to buy their own reusable glasses.”
The 3D format is proving a big hit in Japan, where the total 2010 box office ranked second only to the U.S while this year’s highest-grossing titles, Harry Potter and Transformers, delivered some of their highest 3D results in Japan and Russia.
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