Wednesday, August 02, 2006

HOORAY for Hollywood! The Mel Gibson Distraction continues...

SilentBob ass-shocker? Obese people say they have healthy eating habits? Mel Gibson an alcoholic--- or just ONE BIG FAT P.R. Stunt to sell his next foreign-language movie overseas? You be the judge---

Those Brits know our promo-antics all too well, don't they--but ah, they have the TATTLER!


Entertainment news

The London Times - August 01, 2006 + Post a Comment

Be shocked! Be amazed! See Hollywood on a website near you - LA Notebook by Chris Ayres

YOU’VE GOT TO hand it to Hollywood: it’s certainly coming up with the goods these days. Never before have I seen such plots, such drama . . . such comedy. I’ve barely been able to take my eyes off the screen.

Obviously, I don’t mean the movies. I’m talking about real Hollywood life (if there is such a thing) — and its reluctant cast, which has recently included movie stars, studio chiefs, PRs and Malibu sheriff’s deputies. All of which poses the question: after years of news management and celebrity protection, is Tinseltown returning to the days of James Ellroy and LA Confidential; a time when the scandals were more interesting than the screenplays?

Take this unpleasant business with Mel Gibson. The actor-director’s recent movies have left me cold. Subtitles and Jesus? Er, no thanks. How about the rise and fall of the Mayan empire (also with subtitles)? Frankly, I’d rather stab myself in the head with a fork. But give me a tale about a boozed-up Hollywood actor-director (and a strict Catholic, no less) who gets pulled over by the fuzz allegedly with a bottle of tequila on the back seat the proceeds to question the arresting officer’s sexual relations with his mother, claim ownership of Malibu and blames all of the world’s problems on the Jews — now that’s what I call entertainment. Get me a jumbo popcorn, I’m staying ’til the credits.

There’s even a subplot: the above details were contained in a police report that the sheriff’s department initially chose not to publish, claiming instead that Gibson’s arrest at 2.30am last Friday for suspected drunk driving had been entirely “without incident”.

Now that we’ve read the unedited report on the internet, it’s hard to imagine exactly how they define the word “incident” in the Malibu police handbook. If Kim Jong Il dropped a nuke on the Pacific Coast Highway, perhaps it would be written up as a “small disturbance”.

As for Gibson’s apology (made shortly before checking into rehab) : you’ve got to hand it to the man for even trying. I mean, where does one begin? The reported Jew hating? The running from the scene of the crime? The intimidation of a police officer?

Gibson is not the only actor doing his most captivating work outside the cinema. The actress Lindsay Lohan comes to mind. Last week she rushed herself to hospital with “overheating and exhaustion” — a result, her publicist said, of filming Georgia Rule in 105-degree weather for 12 hours. Everyone bought the explanation, until someone leaked a memo sent to Lohan by her boss, the head of Morgan Creek Productions.

Said the missive: “You and your representatives have told us that your various late arrivals and absences from the set have been the result of illness . . . (but) we are well aware that your all-night heavy partying is the real reason.”

Fortunately, Lohan is a mature adult, so she responded to the memo by, er, dragging her mum into it. “Maybe he (Lohan’s boss) has personal issues,” sniffled Dina Lohan, “and it came out with my child.”

Maybe those issues included waiting around in 105-degree heat while one of his grossly overpaid starlets checked herself into hospital for an urgent vitamin B12 shot.
In truth, these public embarrassments are the result of a fundamental shift in power. Until recently entertainment reporting was in the hands of respectful, publicist-friendly titles such as Vanity Fair and The Los Angeles Times. Indeed, the latter recently opened one of its celebrity articles with this gem of a sentence:One doesn’t so much interview Angela Bassett and Laurence Fishburne as sit back and watch as their friendship, wordplay and enthusiasm for their craft plays itself out.”

The internet has changed all that. Today the real stories are more likely to appear on the websites of The Smoking Gun, the Drudge Report or the TMZ (which got the Gibson scoop). These websites deal in tips, not interviews. They owe no favours to publicists. And they have more in common with (and more respect for) the British red-top press than The New York Times.

But is it good for the movies? My only evidence is this: I nearly went to see Miami Vice this weekend, but saved the $10 and stayed at home to read Mel Gibson’s arrest report. I can’t imagine I missed much.

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