Most actors who go through an intensive training regimen to build muscles and sculpt their bodies for a role are proud of the end result; they happily pose shirtless to show off their newly-defined abs and boast of the hard work that went into achieving them.
Not Ryan Gosling. Instead, the unassuming Golden Globe-nominated actor views his bulked-up body with embarrassment.
“Muscles are pointless,” he told HFPA members when he met them in New York. “They don’t do anything, they just help you lift something heavy. They’re not practical and they’re a bit like pets because you have to feed them and pet them and think about them and when you don’t pay attention to them, they just go away. They’re just these weird things that sit under your skin that don’t do anything. What’s the point in having them?’
Ryan, 30, is even dismissive of the work that went into building them. “It was just a lot of exercising—anybody could do it. It’s easy when you’re an actor because you have the time and they give you a team of people to help you.”
The actor, who was Golden Globe-nominated for Blue Valentine, developed the muscles for his role as a slick womanizer who teaches Steve Carell’s character how to pick up women in the romantic comedy Crazy Stupid Love. He also has two other movies due out soon—- Drive, about a Hollywood stunt man who moonlights as a getaway car driver, and The Ides of March, in which he plays a rising politician’s communications director in the political drama directed and produced by George Clooney.Read More »
Hollywood studios are enjoying their biggest ever box office take from overseas markets, according to a report in Weekly Variety.
The six studios’ collective international box office was up 20 per cent in 2010 over 2009, with Hollywood taking $12.69 billion of the $20 billion in overseas ticket sales. During the same period U.S. box office remained flat.
Although the studios see huge potential for growth and income overseas by adding more foreign language productions and acquisitions to their slates , with rising middle classes creating bigger box office in many territories, some are concerned about too much production and prefer to focus instead on bigger tentpole pictures in the U.S., says the magazine.
William Morris Endeavor’s international division co-head Elia Infascelli tells Weekly Variety: ” On paper, the move towards producing local films is a business that makes sense. You can make more money from releasing local-language productions, grow local talent, find projects for remakes and feed overesas distribution pipelines. And in a world where 70 per cent of the box office is now overseas, you get to cast more stars from international territories, have a relationship with them earlier and a high chance of putting them in your movies.”
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Indiana Jones star Harrison Ford has particularly fond memories of the
2002 Golden Globes awards.
He has attended many Golden Globe shows but 2002 was the year he received the prestigious Cecil B de Mille Award for lifetime achievement in motion pictures. And he also won another, special prize. “That’s where I met my wife, so it has particularly good memories for me,” he said.
He and Calista Flockart were together for eight years before they married in June 2009 in Santa Fe, New Mexico while he was on location filming Cowboys and Aliens.Read More »
Congratulations to HFPA member Gabrielle Donnelly on the success of her fifth novel, THE LITTLE WOMEN LETTERS, which was published on June 7 by the Touchstone imprint of Simon & Schuster.
THE LITTLE WOMEN LETTERS, a modern day homage, set in contemporary London, to Louisa May Alcott’s beloved classic LITTLE WOMEN, is hitting best seller lists in Britain and America alike and winning overwhelmingly enthusiastic reviews from both print outlets and blogs, with THE WASHINGTON POST declaring it “could be just the perfect pool-side read” (June 18) and a chorus of praise on goodreads hailing it as “captivating,” “FANTASTIC!” (capitals and screamer the reviewer’s own) and “a joy.”
Gabrielle Donnelly was born and brought up in London and has lived in Los Angeles since 1980. As well as writing novels, she contributes to The Daily Mail, Hello!, Saga, and Women’s Weekly. She has been a member of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association since 1984.
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By Jorge Camara
Typical of the period, the picture was a romanticized and not quite accurate biography of famous songstress, Jane Froman, whose real voice was used in all the singing sequences. Froman was in an airplane crash on an USO tour during World War II. Her valiant refusal to be seen as a cripple, and her efforts to reclaim her career without the use of her legs, form the dramatic core of the film. Romantic entanglements ensue between the singer and her husband (David Wayne) who managed her and made her a star, and the pilot (Rory Calhoun) who survived the same accident. Many of the unavoidable tendencies to schmaltz and sentimentality are thankfully and firmly squashed by the incomparable Thelma Ritter, appearing in the role of a nurse who refuses to allow her ward to wallow in self-pity. In a small role credited with making him a star, a very young Robert Wagner plays a shell-shocked soldier who comes to life when Hayward sings to him.
More than two dozen songs that Froman made famous are used in the movie, including “Blue Moon,” “That Old Feeling,” “It’s a Good Day,” “Get Happy,” “I’m Through with Love,” “Give My Regards To Broadway,” “California Here I Come” and, of course, the one that serves as the film’s title.
Three years later, Susan Hayward would play another troubled singer, Lillian Roth, in another fake biography, I’ll Cry Tomorrow (this one dealing with alcoholism), in which Hayward’s voice would again be dubbed by the actual singer.Read More »
By Philip Berk
The death of actor Peter Falk leaves a huge void in the film community.
Although best known for playing Columbo on television (for which he won a Golden Globe), members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association will remember him most for his beguiling wit.
For the worldwide popularity of Columbo, he had an explanation. “Like all the great detectives, the character himself is interesting. Elaine May once compared Columbo to Sherlock Holmes, saying Columbo was an ass-backwards Sherlock Holmes, meaning Holmes was tall, Columbo short. Holmes had a long neck, Columbo no neck. Holmes smokes an expensive Meerschaum pipe, Columbo 25 cent cigars. Holmes is articulate, Columbo is still working on his English. What they have in common is an insatiable curiosity, and in that sense, they are like children, because what you and I take for granted, they find interesting. They’re both obsessors, obsessed with getting to the answer, totally in love with what they do. Can you imagine Columbo ever killing time?”
How attached was he to the character of Columbo? “He means a great deal to me. He changed my life, made me a lot of dough. As I’ve said a number of times, I don’t think God designed anyone to be recognized by three billion people, but it’s true. Can you imagine 3 billion people know who you are? And you don’t know any of them. This is very strange.”
Asked why Columbo is so proficient, he has a ready explanation. “He doesn’t talk too much. If he knows something, he doesn’t blab it right away. He keeps it to himself. Most people when they know something, they can’t wait to open their mouths. Out it comes. You never see Columbo share his information with other cops. He doesn’t trust them; he’s Italian that way. He don’t trust. Later on is time enough. He keeps it to himself.”
Falk compares a good director with Columbo. “He doesn’t shoot off his mouth. The best directors wait a long time before they start talking. First they want to see. The best directors that I’ve worked with, they pick their spots before they open their mouths. They first look at the strength of the actor and work on that, rather than deciding ahead of time where they’re going to push him.”
One of the highlights of Falk’s career was his role in Wim Wenders’ Wings of Desire playing himself. Here’s how he described that experience: “With Wim, you can hardly hear when he talks. And if you did, you wouldn’t understand it, so it doesn’t make any difference. Wim is in his own world, wandering around, thinking. Most of the time, he is saying ‘I’m not sure. I don’t know.’ But strangely enough, he has what I think is the essential quality for a director – he inspires confidence by being so comfortable with his uncertainty. He has no compunction about saying ‘I don’t know. I just don’t know…’ He always enumerates all his options. ‘I could do this. I could do that.’ He’ll think and think, and then he’ll say he won’t be able to sleep. But underneath he’s very confident. He told me, ‘Whenever I have a script, I want to rip it up. I feel I’m a prisoner of the script. It imposes boundaries. It tells me I have to stay here. If I see something else, I can’t do it. I want to burst out of that script. On Wings I have no script, so every night when I go to bed what do I do, I pray to God, ‘If I only had a script.’”
Talking about costumes, Falk spoke about Columbo’s trenchcoat. “A costume is very important. Some mystical thing happens when you get the right costume. I don’t know why.” He segues into a story of the Wings costume. “When I went over to Berlin to do Wings of Desire, it was a different experience. On other pictures you have something to worry about because you have a script. But if you don’t have a script, what’s there to worry about? Nothing. Well, I found something to worry about — my costume. When Wim makes a movie he reminds me of Cassavetes. He would always meet at night, 3 o’clock in the morning, in a bar somewhere. He never met in an office, and you always got messages, ‘I’ll meet you here,’ and then another message would come, ‘No it’ll be an hour later, and it’ll be in the other part of town.’ Everything was done in the middle of making the movie.
“Any rate, I went to get the costume. I hadn’t seen Wim, so I brought it over to the hotel and waited for him. When he got there, I started telling him the toughest thing is to find a hat, a hat that you look good in, that fits your face, the brim is not too big, the top of the brim, the boop, the bup, everything. So while I was putting it on, saying how good it looks from the front, that like this it looks like I’m going to the opera, like that I look like a Rabbi, when I got done, he said, ‘I don’t know about the costume, but the scene I could use in the film, and he did.”
Besides Falk’s sense of humor, there was his self deprecating candor. Asked about his published drawings, he readily admitted, “There’s a lot of bogus art around, and a lot of craziness about celebrities. I’m not complaining, but I don’t know if I’m entirely comfortable with it. Believe me, if you had drawn it, it wouldn’t be published.”
On a lighter note, he loved to joke about his tempestuous (but loving) marriage. “My wife’s Italian. You know most women don’t want to tell their ages, right? They lie about it. My wife won’t tell the age of her dog. If people stop her on the street and ask her the dog’s age, she makes it five years younger. That’s only for the female dogs. The males she tells the truth right away.”
What made the marriage work? “Well, you know, my wife and I decide to get divorced every three years. One of the problems of getting a divorce is you’ve got to be in sync. If it’s out of whack, it’s hard to get a divorce. As I once said, if we all pull together, we can make this divorce work.”
R.I.P. Peter Falk. You will surely be missed.Read More »
By Jorge Camara
A Place in the Sun, the 1952 winner of the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture Drama was, and still is, one of Hollywood’s most successful conversions from literature to screen.
Adapted by Michael Wilson and Harry Brown from Theodore Dreiser’s masterpiece, “An American Tragedy,” carefully directed by George Stevens, and starring Montgomery Clift and Elizabeth Taylor at the pinnacle of their youth and beauty, the film may have put more emphasis on the romantic elements than in the class conflicts and sociological aspects of the story. Nevertheless, it was a resounding triumph both with critics and audiences. The extreme close-up of the long kiss between the stars remains a classic moment in American cinema.
Clift plays the poor relation laboring in his uncle’s factory, desperate to break into high society. He falls in love with the rich and glamorous Taylor and plots to get rid of his pregnant girlfriend, played by Shelley Winters. Winters, a sexpot at the time, deglamourized herself to great effect, impressing as the homely and plain woman who derails the relationship of the couple.
Reports are that Taylor fell hopelessly in love with Clift during the production of the film, a relationship that was not to be, but she remained a loyal friend to the tormented actor, insisting, when he was uninsurable, to have him as her co-star in Suddenly Last Summer eight years later.
This was not the first attempt to bring “An American Tragedy” to the screen. In 1931 Josef von Sternberg directed Phillips Holmes, Sylvia Sidney and Frances Dee in a version that used the book’s title. The picture was curiously advertised as “a drama that happens around you everyday when the wild life of impetuous youth burns away age-old barriers.” This was one of the rare cases where the remake turned out better than the original.Read More »
By Silvia Bizio
Taormina, June 16, 2011 – The glamorous Italian star, the iconoclastic Hollywood director and the working American actor: Monica Bellucci, Oliver Stone and Matthew Modine shared the spotlight on the second and third day of the Taormina Film Festival, which unfolds in this Sicilian sea town full of bougainvilleas and romantic corners. Bellucci and Stone received the Taormina Arte Award, while Modine was awarded a special Golden Lion from the city of Messina onstage at the ancient Greek Theatre, and all took advantage of their press conferences and their Master Classes to talk about their work, politics and Sicily. Italy has been in the midst of a national referendum about nuclear energy and the privatization of water (both strongly defeated), and Oliver Stone even encouraged his
audience to go cast their vote: “You only have a few hours left, rush to the polls!” he said. “You breathe a desire for change and a rebirth here,” said Monica Bellucci. “I really think Italians want to turn the page.” She added, “I loveSicily, it is always a joy to come back here, among such warm people. I spent five months in this wonderful island while I was shooting (Giuseppe Tornatore’s) Malena, a film that gave me so much, one of the films of my youth.” A journalist asks her if the man/woman relationship has gotten better with time. “Us women must still fight to be treated equally,” she answers. “If you say you are pregnant, they look at you as if you had committed a crime. It’s a power game between men and women. There are still many places in Sicily where women dress in black and cover themselves completely; in many Italian towns the myth of virginity is still alive.” She then switches to acting: “We actors are like children who play, and in fact in French and in English the word for acting is play, a game! But it is also a gypsy work, a very solitary work.” Her inspirations? “Anna Magnani, Sophia Loren, Monica Vitti, Claudia Cardinale: they are the great who made the history of Italian cinema!”
“That Silvio Berlusconi is the owner of many television stations and newspapers is certainly dangerous,” said Matthew Modine, who introduced the short he directed, Jesus was a Commie, to a packed audience at the Taormina Campus. “I might get into trouble for saying this, but I am convinced that one must always say the truth in the face of power. How can they even consider in this country to make you pay for water when it is a fundamental right for all? It would be equivalent to charge you an euro every time you breath!” For his part, Oliver Stone was proud to introduce his third – and final, he promises – version of his 2004’s film with Colin Farrell on Alexander the Great, Alexander Revisited, 3 hours and 42 minutes, which was shown at the Greek Amphitheatre with a brief intermission. “It is an incredible theatre,” said the director, “even though in such a huge arena, in the open air, you are destined to lose the intimacy which a film requires. This movie is the most important and most ambitious work I have ever done. It was my fault if it didn’t work the first time around. I rushed it, I cut too much to try to make the studio happy, and I made a mistake. This is not a story that can be told in two hours.” After only one day in Taormina, Oliver Stone and his producer Moritz Borman rushed back to Los Angeles to complete preproduction on his new movie, Savages, about the Mexican drug cartel and the marijuana business in California.Read More »
By Silvia Bizio
Taormina, Sicily, Italy. Jack Black fell instantly in love with this Mediterranean pearl. As soon as he got to the magnificent ancient town of Taormina, spread on a rock over the sea, whose 57th film festival opened with a 3D screening of “Kung Fu Panda 2”, Black ran to its beach. He jumped on a boat and went snorkeling. Then he dined at a typical “trattoria” right over the shore, eating seafood accompanied by local wine. The day after, Black was the protagonist of the “big” event, wearing a professorial hat with brilliant aplomb: at Il Palazzo del Cinema he taught a Master Class in front of hundreds of film students from different colleges and universities throughout Italy and Europe (some came even from Japan), an horde of film lovers invading Taormina with the passionate enthusiasm of soccer fans.
Jack’s lecture on the art of cinema as he knows it, transcended the usual classroom teacher/student dynamic and soon became a genuine get together with the young scholars, more barroom vivacious chat and less academic teaching. Black gave proof his comic improvisational skills entertaining the classroom with a funny and captivating one man show, leaving everybody in stitches. He even picked up an electric guitar and performed an ad hoc rock n’ roll concert. It was an overwhelming success for Black. A few days after Professor Black’s Master Class, the Taormina festival’s attendees were still talking about how great it was. And they were still talking about it when Oliver Stone, a living legend in Europe, arrived himself at the festival to present the third (and final) cut of his “Alexander”, which was shown the following day at the 2,300 years old Greek Theatre.
“I wanted to come to Taormina even though I missed my beloved son Tommy’s fifth birthday,” said Black, right before his departure from Sicily. “But I couldn’t miss this fantastic opportunity: visiting a magical place squeezed between a mythical sea, cradle of the Mediterranean civilization, and the power of Etna, the volcano soaring right behind this town. It was also an opportunity to promote an animated movie I love very much, both as a movie person and as a father, and finally a chance to play the role of the professor, gamely. Truth is, I have a very instinctual approach to film, I’m not at all an intellectual. Nevertheless, I bet that I love movies more than the finer scholar. And “my” students, so it seemed to me, caught my drift from the get go.”
“What’s the main advice I gave them in pursuing
a career in the movies? Don’t wait for the material to come to you,” says Black. “Try and create your own content, write scripts, short or long, it doesn’t matter. Be a creator, even as an actor. Never think of yourself as a marionette, like many directors would like you to be. You have to act, not just react to the pull of the strings in other people’s hands.”
Debbie Reynolds gave Hollywood Foreign Press members a guided tour of some of the 5,000 props, costumes and sets from Hollywood’s Golden Age which she has collected over the past 50 years.
The collection, on show at the Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills, is going up for auction because the 79-year-old actress is unable to find a permanent home for it.
She had the collection briefly on display at the Las Vegas hotel and casino she owned in the 1980s and despite losing the hotel along with a small fortune and having to declare bankruptcy she managed to hold on to the memorabilia.
Until recently she hoped it would be housed in a purpose-built museum near Dollywood in Tennessee but the property developer went bankrupt and the project never materialised.
“I’m very sad the collection isn’t in a museum,” she said, “but I’ve spent literally millions of dollars just on protecting it and taking care of it and now I’m sick and tired of it and feel I must call it a day.”
The star of such classic films as Singing In The Rain and The Unsinkable Molly Brown, Reynolds acquired many of the costumes, props and sets when she bought the MGM collection in 1970, but she continued to add to it.
Among the items are props and costumes from My Fair Lady, Cleopatra, The King and I, Rita Hayworth‘s dress from Salome, Harpo Marx’s hat and wig and the famous pleated dress worn by Marilyn Monroe in The Seven Year Itch,
The 600 items for sale in the first auction are expected to bring in between $4 million and $6 million.
Text by John Hiscock / Photographs by Theo KingmaRead More »