Tag Archives: celebrities

Hanks and I

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Last night, after months of New York City living, meeting many of my screen and stage heroes, I finally got to sit in a Broadway theater and watch my lifelong love Mr Tom Hanks.

tom-hanks-title

 

From Nora Ephron’s Sleepless in Seattle

For a hint to my emotional state, minutes before the curtains went up on Nora Ephron’s Lucky Guy, I refer you to an older blog post.

Tom Hanks’ Thumb

Well then. Now you can better picture the smile on my face when that familiar Tom Hanks voice hit me in real life. A smile that remained planted there for nearly 2 hours as I sat marveling at how close I was to someone so strangely valuable from my childhood memories.

The play itself was OK. Based on the true story of 1980s tabloid news journalist Mike McAlary, we were told the tales of his rise to fame and Pulitzer through the anecdotes of his peers. I quite enjoyed that format. The characters were strong, easy with the swearing and played by well established and professional actors (Courtney Vance– brilliant, Christopher McDonald– amused). However, I am not sure I was able to sway from the inherent decency we associate with Hanks, to accept him whole-heartedly into this role of an ambitious, arrogant and at-any-cost tabloid hack.

I wanted to believe him because he plays a good part as always, but a tiny (but oddly loud) voice inside of me screeched,

“NO NO NO. Tom Hanks is a lovely guy. A lucky AND a lovely guy. I will not believe all this swearing business. And I certainly will not believe he is not absolutely dedicated to his marriage and family life. I WILL NOT”

But then I found myself smiling again as his silky voice wins me over. And the giggling scene. Oh how that made me happy.

Thanks Tom. That’s another bucket list tick for me.

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Things I have in common with Princess Kate

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I can quite understand your curiosity. What does a commoner like me possibly have in like with a real life Princess?

Well let me list a few of the ways for you and clear this all up.

1) We both have long brown hair (Well it’s true. And no one will know how true to Nature these browns really are. Because I lady does not reveal her beauty secrets)

2) We both mix with the rich and famous. For instance only a couple of weeks ago I went to the theatre with Emily Blunt!

3) We both often (in the loose sense of the word) appear in glossy tabloid magazines (true, she is on the front cover and the ONE time I appear in Hello I don’t get a lot of page coverage)

Hello front cover

Congratulations to the Royal couple

Hello photo shoot

Can you spot me? I am the one NOT getting married!

And now that I have revealed the true purpose of this post do I need to go on? Well alright then. Let’s see if I can make it to 10 points of commonality shall we?

4) We both went to Rah universities. I was surrounded by the home counties in Durham and Princess Kate at the golfing centre of St Andrews

5) We both have a strong history in modelling. Kate was able to secure the attentions of the future King of England with her strut down the catwalk. I, on the other hand, tottered down a school stage with a cardboard guitar stuck to my head (don’t ask), and was far to young to be securing any future husband.

6) We both get frizzy hair in humid conditions (well who doesn’t I hear you cry?)

Did I ever once state that these similarities were unique to Kate and I?

7) We have both been “voted” Duchess of Cambridge over our illustrious careers. Granted, Princess Kate is by royal appointment and I just made it up. I could only be nominated and seconded by myself.

8) Both Princess Kate and I have a clear passion for the finer things in life. I, despite my current low funds, refuse to shoot lower than Wholefoods and a $200 Broadway show.

9) We both enjoy lounging on yachts. Of course I don’t get to indulge as often as I would like.

And finally? (You are amazed I made it this far aren’t you!?)

10) Princess Kate and I are….. British….? (no wait that is desperate. I can do better than that.) We are…? nothing really alike! There I said it.

But I was in Hello magazine this week supporting my wonderful best dude on her magnificent wedding day. And that is pride enough for me.

My Battle with Celebrity and a trip off-Broadway

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Again I find myself swooning over a man I don’t actually know. I understand that I am not the only one, but obviously the likes of Alec Baldwin, and in this case Jake Gyllenhaal, do not know I exist. It is all in vain.

This recurring theme with me and the celebrities is a constant battle. I struggle constantly with the knowledge that these people are just like you or I, but then my heart leaps at the sight of them and I must have their signature (or some such interaction. Indeed a smile would suffice). For example, I come out of a theatre and am strangely compelled to lie in wait for their exit and then what? For the empty smile as they perform their perceived duty: signatures and posing for photos? For the possibility that they may befriend me as their new BFF? Do I really believe that is an option?

Jake Gyllenhaal: my new BFF?

Yeah, I think I do. On some level at least. I honestly think that one day I will be discovered by a “celeb” and probably spend hours discussing Gilbert Grape with Leo in his Upper Westside apartment. Or go bear hunting with Maximus (and by hunting I mean finding and then running away and leaving Russ to wrestle with it for a while), as I imagine that is what he gets up to in his spare time. Or hang out with Kevin Spacey. I would call him Kev. We would go for walks discussing new plans to bring theatre to the masses.

Delusional can be cute right?

Well anyway. I know they are just normal people and Mr Jake Gyllenhaal probably doesn’t always want the crazy adoration I witnessed last night after his play off-Broadway, but when he wandered out of the stage door my heart and eyes just lit up. A rugged beard and big arms and you likely don’t need an Oscar to impress me.

PS “If there is I haven’t found it yet” is playing at the Roundabout Theatre just off Broadway. If you are under 30, as winner and I are, you get tickets for just $22 all in. The theatre is intimate and so the back row of the mezzanine offers prime viewing of that hair flicking jarhead. Boy does he have a good head of hair on him.

Now about the play.

I found the staging to be the most impressive. Water, water, everywhere.

A moat-ish pool surrounds the front of the stage and at the centre of the dry space stands a disordered arrangement of household pieces: a fridge, a bed, shelves and tables. As the play progresses, with Tony-award winning Irishman O’Byrne (George) neglecting his family, each piece is brought forth to define the space and then discarded violently in the body of water before them. Chaos is spreading.

Climate change is George’s mission. He wants to inform the public, through his book, that the world is doomed if we don’t buck up our ideas. He wants to show them the world we will be left with if we continue on our selfish path to destruction.

But in the meantime his daughter (Annie Funke) is overweight and bullied. His wife (Gomez) is lonely and frustrated. His brother (Gyllenhaal), who arrives unannounced at curtains up, attempts to warn him, inarticulately, that the world might be on a course for disaster, but there are some issues much closer to home that he probably needs to deal with.

As the play builds to its climax we see the whole stage flooded and the actors sploshing about in fun a metaphor for melted ice caps, I presume. Gyllenhaal was fidgety, aggressive and an unlikely role model for his niece. O’Byrne is wonderfully bumbling, in the way professors always are. And Anna, his troubled daughter, is brave, believable and worrying. I was concerned I was going to see something sinister as she spiralled out of control and I was not to be disappointed?

In summary: thoroughly entertaining and some great English accents on show.

My only concern is for the actors. At the end of the show’s 13 week run there is a distinct possibility of trench foot.

The Greatest Fool

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I felt a bit icky on Sunday. I was not ill per say but I definitely think I was fighting something. I had been feeling nauseated (I just looked it up and nauseous is when you make other people feel sick and so I do try to be grammatically correct since coherent is not always an option) from about Friday night onwards. And so when I woke up on Sunday, with those muscle locking cramps in my right calf, I decided my body was trying to tell me something.

It was trying to tell me to rest up and watch the final 6 episodes of “The Newsroom” while positioned firmly on my sofa. My body is very specific. I had been recommended this show by my mother, and indirectly my father too, who I was informed was a keen observer of the show on his weekend trips home. I had managed to sneak in the first 4 episodes over the past two weeks and was now well positioned to complete the first season. Horizontal in fact.

To say that this show is realistic might be pushing it. To say it has bundled me into its clutches and run away with me is the absolute truth.

As a summary and to get you all up to speed, Jeff Daniels plays Will McAvoy, an anchor for a fictional nightly news show. The season begins with him losing his composure and manners at a female student who has posed the question, “What makes the United States the greatest country in the world?” He proceeds to rant about how this country is in fact not the greatest, all the while seemingly hallucinating that he has seen Emily Mortimer in the audience.

McAvoy is allowed/instructed to take a break. To recover from his meltdown and allow the fickle US public to forget his misdemeanour so that ratings do not tank any further. On his return to the office he is greeted by his “boss” and friend whose role I didn’t quite grasp but he seems to be running the network on some level. He is a big shot, but a really nice guy with incredibly honorable morals to boot. And a bow tie, which is just too cute. McAvoy is informed that his Executive Producer has been shifted to the 10pm show and he will be getting a new EP. Hello Emily Mortimer. Hello McAvoy’s romantic past.

So now we are in the thick of it. McAvoy hates Mortimer (MacKenzie), but we all know he doesn’t really, and he is helpless to stop her rolling in with her band of journalists and her new vision to “fix” McAvoy and the news. McAvoy is a genius, we are told, despite losing his way with his greed for viewers and adoration. He has succumbed to the trash that is Justin Beiber, Kim Kardashian, anyone’s current and past weight change, anyone else’s relationships that last all but two minutes and the group of people who were not famous yesterday but suddenly find themselves so because of a Youtube clip that went “viral”. MacKenzie despises this culture. She wants to reform the news and she wants to set out new rules to achieve this. Rules where the world of Snooki/Kardashian go unreported and where global issues that affects mankind in a real way headline every night. Noble behaviour from the Brit. I for one want to be saved so let’s go.

The Newsroom is filled with a lot of gushy big statements about saving civilization as we know it and annoyingly wonderful love interests that just don’t quite get together even though everyone knows, including them, that it is inevitable. I managed to power through 6 hour long episodes of back to back Newsroom on Sunday and I was not even remotely pooped at the end of it. Although it was dark outside.

However, in hindsight I think watching 6 hour long episodes in one day is unhealthy. For one I am easily influenced by quick witted unrealistically intelligent repartee and two, I start to lose a grasp on my own reality as a result. For instance, on Monday morning I woke up thinking I worked in a newsroom and was an investigative reporter. I was so excited to go at the news and tackle the big stories that I nearly wandered over to Bryant Park to try to get in the offices (that don’t actually exist as it is Aaron Sorkin’s fiction).

It was very confusing to re-address my actual reality where I measure telomere length in double cord blood transplantation (we don’t talk about the “other” project).

Now it is Tuesday and I have slowly come down from my role as global educator and noble informer to the misguided masses. I certainly achieved a lot, in my dreams on Sunday night, and want to thank everyone who supported me and made this “World’s Greatest News Anchor/Investigative Journalist” award (fictional award) a reality. I want to thank my parents who taught me right from wrong. My sister who goes around saving the world on the front line and my teachers for versing me in the skills of thorough research and truth. I could not have got this far without every one of you. I hope to continue my role as Greatest Anchor ever known to man (or woman) for as long as you will have me, but a special mention must go out to my crew, because without them our show would just not be as award-winning as it clearly is. We just want to bring you the news people. The real life world news as it happens. And we will never rest until we do.

Thank you, and good night.

Michael Moore talks to Susan Sarandon at the Tribeca Film Festival 2012

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When your daughter is scared of a monster hiding in the closet, what do you do to make her feel safe and no longer afraid?

You open the closet. Show her there are no monsters inside (you might still have to leave the light on)

When people are ignorant about something they are afraid. When they have information they no longer have fear. We need to have the information to understand what is going on and what the correct choices are. (Michael Moore, Director)

Yesterday was my second round of Tribeca Film Festival events. Last year I was gripped by the 10th anniversary of the festival that coincided with the 10th anniversary of 9/11. This year, I began my 2012 film festival itinerary with a delightful conversation between Michael Moore and the Susan Sarandon (Thelma and Louise). Both sit on the committee for the documentary film competition and so the discussion was centred around documentaries; what works, what are the big questions we need to address and how documentaries can improve their digestibility in the film viewing world.

Michael Moore began. He has to stay “true to the art”, he says. It is a film first and foremost. An entertainment piece that acts as a vehicle to put out his opinions, political and other. As they discussed a recent Tribeca luncheon, where the likes of Robert De Niro were hanging out, they giggled as they admitted to their introverted natures. The two shy kids sat at the back of the room keeping to themselves. That being said then, does he get scared before busting in on a likely hostile target?

“Yes” he admits, “every time”

Documentaries find it notoriously difficult to make it on the commercial stage. The likes of Moore and Spurlock, for example, do very well but on a level below, struggling documentary makers battle to be seen and heard. The Academy Awards recently recently altered their rules in order to make the voting for documentaries fair and equal to their fictional counterparts. Spearheaded by Moore, the Academy now allows everyone in the documentary branch to vote for the nominees, whereas before only a handful of committee members ever had any say. It seems the tides may be turning. Documentaries may get the recognition and the respect they deserve? Moore is a self-proclaimed optimist. Despite the often frustrating revelations in his films, he remains confident that the world will be a better place. After all he never dreamt that the US could elect a Black President. He asks the audience, “are our kids bigots and homophobes? No they are a good group. The next generation will fix what we, the baby boomers, tried to destroy and the world will be a better place.”

How? Well he wants us to consider a few things. He wants media literacy to be compulsory in schools, “so that our children will understand propaganda and how to critically analyse what we hear everyday and from every media source around us”. He wants us all to join “Occupy Wall Street” and that doesn’t mean sitting in a tent in a park downtown. He wants us to stop waiting for someone else to fix things. WE have to do it. “Politics has a smaller and smaller gene pool. We are seeing copies of copies. We need to get money out of politics and we need to make ourselves heard. Run for office. Make a movie about something you care about. The technology is there. And if you want it to go viral? Well, put a cat in it.”

Moore and Sarandon were a pleasure to overhear in conversation. They were passionate about knowledge and activism, Sarandon on her take on how we could contribute to an alternative, less controversial Kony 2012 movement Hope North, and Moore on how people should be empowered to make change happen for themselves.

Good point Michael. Good point Susan.