Celebrity news & gossip from the world’s showbiz and glamour magazines (OK!, Hello, National Enquirer and more). We read them so you don’t have to, picking the best bits from the showbiz world’s maw and spitting it back at them. Expect lots of sarcasm.
Obama and the FBI blame the hacking attacks against Sony Pictures on North Korea. Who knew the DPRK regime was capable? The hacks were triggered by the The Interview, in which two American journalists played by James Franco and Seth Rogen set out to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Amid threats of movie theater terrorism, Sony pulled the film from its Christmas Day release.
Reactions have been many:
The whole Sony story has a certain twisted dark comedy flavor with CEO Michael Lynton bickering with Obama over the release of what is said to be an unwatchable movie. It sure looks that way from the trailers. If the NORKS had any brains, they should just have let the film be released and it would have sunk like a stone. But perhaps they had other intentions — or someone did — beyond making fun of inane Hollywood studio executives or even silencing a movie.
The cyber attack on the studio has a serious side and it’s not really about North Korea. It’s about who helped North Korea, the assumption being that the NORKS don’t quite have the technical expertise to pull this off by themselves. Russia, China and Iran are the three candidates whose names have been thrown into the hopper as possible co-perps — maybe more than one of them.
Hollywood came to the Rev. Al Thursday as embattled Sony exec Amy Pascal met privately with the black leader for 90 minutes in a bid to fix the fallout from the cyberhacking leak of embarrassing, racially charged emails.
Pascal agreed to let Sharpton have a say in how Sony makes motion pictures, in an effort to combat what he called “inflexible and immovable racial exclusion in Hollywood.”
“We have agreed to having a working group deal with the racial bias and lack of diversity in Hollywood,” said Sharpton.
One important point in the President’s remarks today: a potentially ominous nod to the need for more regulation and control over the internet. The internet now is like “the Wild West,” he said, “We need more rules about how the internet should operate.” Cybersecurity is an urgent issue, and the Sony hacks underscore that, said the president. But when heads of state talk about more state control over the internet, rarely does greater freedom of speech result.
The only problem: At least one cable company preemptively surrendered to North Korean intimidation, too, reportedly saying it would not air the film. Now, even if Sony had a backbone transplant, it couldn’t release the movie.
Sony could still dump it on the Internet and let it spread virally. It would lose ticket sales, but the company would strike a defiant blow nonetheless.
Don’t hold your breath. Sony would rather go the way of appeasement. And so would everyone else, it seems.
For Pascal, 56, and Sony Pictures CEO Michael Lynton, 54, the damage has gotten far worse as the flood of stolen material — including both of their email inboxes — keeps coming, and on Dec. 16, the hackers, dubbed Guardians of Peace, threatened a 9/11-style attack on theaters that show Seth Rogen’s North Korea assassination comedy The Interview. Pascal, the lead creative executive on Interview, tells THR she believes she has the backing of her Tokyo-based employers. But by now, high-level insiders have moved from speculating about whether she will be replaced to asking when and by whom.
The James Flacco Name Generator
At a press conference on Friday, President Obama said Sony made “a mistake” by canceling the release of The Interview. He also praised the film’s stars Seth Rogen and James … Flacco? If, like actor James Franco, you want a new last name—one you can share with an NFL quarterback—then use our name generator below.
What I wonder is why people aren’t a little more put off by a form of censorship that is more insidious, and will likely affect far more movies in the long run: the soft censorship of appealing to the Chinese government in order to reap the Chinese box office. There have been widespread claims that recent blockbuster movies like the latest Transformers have been written so as to appease Chinese censors. There’s nothing wrong with writing movies to reach out to a particularly huge foreign box office– why wouldn’t you want your movie to play to Chinese moviegoers?– but appealing to the Chinese government is a whole other ball of wax. That’s where you can see genuine self-censorship coming in. And while I imagine that this whole thing will blow over before long, without a great deal of long-term damage, I think the urge to play in China -and for the Chinese government — will only grow over time.
The problem of willingly selling out to the Chinese reminded me of Ayn Rand, whose bracing moral lessons I’m sure Freddie had in the back of his mind. Rand’s finest novel,The Fountainhead, is an anti-capitalist screed about the spiritual and cultural evil of catering to market demand. Forget the problem of giving the commie censors what they want. It’s wrong to give the free market what it wants, when what it wants is aesthetically debased, which it always is. The architect hero of The Fountainhead, Howard Roark, is the ultimate in spine, the patron saint of never selling out. When one of his perfect, austere modernist buildings is bowdlerized the better to suit the public taste, he blows it up. That’s right, Howard Roark is a terrorist, a jihadi for artistic integrity. Maybe Howard Roark is the answer. Maybe can show us the way. Maybe Sony needs to feel that it is unsafe not to release The Interview. Maybe Seth Rogen needs to blow something up! Or maybe Brian Beutler is on to something, and the best we can do is call on Anonymous to steal the movie and make sure that, in this case at least, market-based American spinelessness can’t put a gag on our precious stoner auteurs.
Sony is a for-profit entity, and not even an American one, that effectively has important influence over American culture. We don’t entrust for-profit entities with the common defense. And recognizing that the threat to a Sony picture is actually a threat to the freedom of American culture ought to lead us to a public rather than a private solution.
The federal government should take financial responsibility. Either Washington should guarantee Sony’s financial liability in the event of an attack, or it should directly reimburse the studio’s projected losses so it can release the movie online for free. The latter solution has the attractive benefit of ensuring a far wider audience for the film than it would otherwise have attracted.
After Sony Pictures announced yesterday that it was pulling the release of The Interview, a film about two American journalists sent to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, from its scheduled Christmas Day release after threats of movie theater terrorism, several theaters across the U.S. said that they would show Team America: World Police instead.
The basic idea was to replace one movie mocking the North Korean regime with another. Team America, an all-puppet comedy from South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, pits its heroes against a sad-sack version of former North Korean leader Kim Jong-il. At the end of the movie, he’s impaled on a giant spike, and it’s revealed that he’s actually an alien cockroach. Fitting!..
The Daily Beastreports that theaters in Cleveland and Atlanta that had planned to make the switch say that Paramount, the studio behind Team America, has ordered them to stop. The Alamo Drafthouse in Texas, which also planned to show the puppet comedy, announced on Twitter this afternoon that due to “circumstances beyond our control” its Team America screening has been cancelled…. blocking replacement screenings of Team America can really only be described as next-level cowardly bullshit.
Sony was just the latest – Janice Turner:
Not only has Paramount pulled Team America, a decade-old puppet comedy parodying Kim Jong Un’s father, but a Steve Carell movie based upon the graphic novel Pyongyang. This is no comic, but an account by Guy Delisle of his time as an animator in a North Korean studio, constantly monitored by minders yet getting glimpses of the regime in all its absurdity and horror. This is a film that needed to be made.
And when the Sony cave-in was announced, Carell tweeted a still from The Great Dictator. It is an apt comparison: Charlie Chaplin’s devastating and humane 1940 parody did not bring down Hitler but it gave succour to those who were trying. Such was its propaganda value that while it was in production and Britain was still pursuing appeasement, the government planned to ban it for fear of riling the Führer. It was inspired by Chaplin watching Leni Riefenstahl’s Triumph of the Will: while other anti-Nazis were awed and dismayed by its grandiosity, Chaplin fell about laughing…
…too often, the response to any threat has been cowardice and complicity. Hollywood just behaved like the entire British establishment which dropped Salman Rushdie after The Satanic Verses rather than turning on his illiberal persecutors. And even now Newsnight refuses to show an affectionate Jesus and Mo cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammad, siding with Salafist extremists rather than moderate Muslims who argued the image was inoffensive.
What if one of America’s violent anti-choice groups threatens cinemas showing a film in which a woman has abortion? Will we capitulate every time the lawyers get nervous? Because Sony Pictures just put artistic freedom in turnaround. And this is no joke.
Free speech has been under attack for an age. North Korea was just picking up the vibe…
Mandy Rice-Davies: 21 October 1944 – 18 December 2014.
Mandy Rice-Davies was a central figure in the 1960s Profumo affair. Along with her flatmate Christine Keeler, the scandal brought Harold Macmillan’s government to the edge. It was the story that kickstarted the Swinging Sixties.
John Profumo was the War Minister. He’d been having an affair with Keeler who was also said to be having a relationship with Soviet defence attache Yevgeny Ivanov.
Rice-Davies testified at the high-profile trial of Stephen Ward, an osteopath who was charged with living off the immoral earnings of her and Keeler,. The pot boiled with tales of sex and secrets in the upper echelons of society. Ward was guilty. But he never served a prison sentence. He took an overdose the night before a guilty verdict, and died days later.
Rice-Davies was famous. And she’d became notorious for claiming to have had an affair with Lord Astor. He denied it. Stood in the witness box during the trial at the Old Bailey, she called the noble Lord a liar.
When told he had denied the affair, she replied: “Well he would, wouldn’t he?”
Police escort Marilyn (?Mandy?) Rice-Davies a witness in the trial of vice charges of Osteopath Dr. Stephen Ward, to a car in London on July 22, 1963, after the first day of ward?s trial. The trial, which is being held at the Old Bailey Central Criminal Court, would last a fortnight. (AP Photo)
When Mel B was “at death’s door” and unable to judge X-Factor wharblers, the Mirror’s Simopn Boyle said:
The Spice Girl, 39, was in a high dependency unit – a level down from intensive care – with security on guard and worried husband Stephen Belafonte at her bedside.
But the Sun told its readers that Belafonte was missing. Today the Sun reports:
We told yesterday how the couple’s nine-year marriage was in crisis. Distraught Mel had told friends “It’s over” after Stephen didn’t visit her during the three nights she spent in hospital last week.
He did in the Mirror…
Earlier we learned that Mel B has been at death’s door. Had it not been for a driver, she’d be an ex ex-Spice Girl.
The Sun said her huband was missing and Mel would have died were it not for that mystery driver:
The Mirror said there was no chance of “seriously ill” Mel making it to the X Factor live final. Oh, and her husband has been a constant by her bedside.
And then… it happened. Mel rose form the dead to judge again. God (Simon Cowell) has seen the front pages, noted the ratings hike and declared that all was at it should be. Mel lives!
Mel B – nee Melanie Brown and known later as Scary Spice – is all over the tabloids. The X Factor final is on the tell. And Mel B. one of this show’s judges, is ill.
The Sun has an “exclusive”: “MEL SAVED BY DRIVER.”
How poorly is Mel B?
MEL B’s driver made a desperate dash to hospital when she collapsed on her way to X Factor rehearsals. Her terrified chauffeur rushed her to an A&E department after spotting her doubled over on the seat. The star, 39, has had tests for a virus and ulcer and missed last night’s final.
Bill Cosby’s getting a kicking in the Sun. The headline declares:
Bill Cosby’s hooked on sex with sleeping women
Says Dr Charlotte Laws, friend of alleged victim… The Sun can reveal the 77-year-old US sitcom star has now been hit by allegations that he is a somnophiliac — a pervert hooked on having sex with sleeping women. Top psychiatrists say the depravity is “like necrophilia”, the sexual attraction to CORPSES.
The dead never do tell.
…Yesterday political commentator Dr Charlotte Laws said her friend was subjected to that same vile treatment — despite being in a raunchy relationship with the screen star and quite happy to “do anything” with him while awake.
Dr Laws, a former California councillor, revealed her friend met Cosby in 1979 and they started dating behind the back of his long-suffering wife Camille.
Thought of the day:
“About two years ago, a letter arrived from a solemn young lady telling me how much she enjoyed reading my experiment in space mythology, The Martian Chronicles. But, she added, wouldn’t it be a good idea, this late in time, to rewrite the book inserting more women’s characters and roles…. The point is obvious. There is more than one way to burn a book. And the world is full of people running about with lit matches. Every minority, be it Baptist / Unitarian / Irish / Italian / Octogenarian / Zen Buddhist / Zionist / Seventh-day Adventist / Women’s Lib / Republican / Mattachine / Four Square Gospel, feels it has the will, the right, the duty to douse the kerosene, light the fuse… The real world is the playing ground for each and every group, to make or unmake laws. But the tip of the nose of my book or stories or poems is where their rights end and my territorial imperatives begin, run and rule.” — Ray Bradbury
Inside the BBC Vine Booth Paloma Faith and Sir Tom Jones are spinning around:
Organisors of Mr Gay UK turn on a man for being not the ideal weight. Stavros Louca was robbed:
When Stavros decides to enter the Mr Gay UK beauty pageant nothing goes quite to plan. This is the story of one man’s unbreakable spirit – a tale of triumph, heartbreak and how to wear your underpants.
What you missed on the BBC:
It'; news when the BBC says it is…
Grumpy Cat has earned its owner £64m.
Well, so says the Daily Express, which spoke with Grump Cat’s owner Tabatha Bundesen of Morristown, Arizona.
Grumpy Cat, real name Tardar Source “has made £64 million from an array of products, including bestselling books and a film”.
The Telegraph repeats the claim without any doubt, stating:
Oh, yes he did: Lionel Blair is not appearing in panto because all adults are suspected sex criminals
Lionel Blair is not appearing in panto. He explains why:
Case one: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang:
‘There was this one little boy who used to come up to me every night to give me a hug and in the end I had to say to the matron, ‘I love him but will you please stop him doing that? It only takes one stagehand to say ‘Lionel Blair is touching the kids backstage’ and that’s your career over. So I had to stop it. It’s awful, so sad, because I adore children.”
Case 2: Oh, no he didn’t. Lionel asked a seven-year-old boy his name at a Stockport panto.
Boy: “If you touch my nuts, you’re dead.”
Traditional names are best…
Why is Benedict Cumberbatch “glum”? The Daily Express tells readers:
Missing Sophie? Benedict Cumberbatch looks glum as he arrives at LAX airport
Princess Beatrice has been ‘HACKED”.
Not to death. Her phone calls have been recorded. This hacking has to do with her salary.
As the Mirror reports:
Hackers working for North Korea are thought to have been behind the security breach in revenge for a new film The Interview, starring James Franco and Seth Rogen. It mocks the country’s leader Kim Jong-un.
Burt Reynolds is selling the 1977 Pontiac Trans Am from Smokey and the Bandit – billed as “maybe the coolest car ever”. It isn’t. But if that doesn’t take your fancy, Burt Reynolds is clearing out lots of other stuff, including numerous guns (mostly non-firing), horse tack, a treasure chest of trophies and lots of artworks of his goodself.
Shop until you drop at Julien’s Auctions:
Book of the day is the 1979 tome, God’ll Fix It, the divine words of Sir Jimmy Savile.
The chapter How Do I Cope With Sex? , told readers:
Sex at its worst is corruption, as when young people might be corrupted to provide sex.’
The final word is with the Star:
Daily Mail sexism: Kate Moss’ knees are ‘cursed by Voldemort’, Madonna and Demi Moore wear Satan’s skin
BREAKING NEWS in the Daily Mail: Harry Wallop notes:
BREAKING. Kate Moss’s knees have been ‘cursed by Voldemort’. Daily Mail has the scoop.
Previously, the Mail has highlighted the aging process on…
Russell Brand is to sue the Sun. He’s done it before. He’s a comedian. You need to remebrs that as you see the media noise he creates.
In April 2014, Russell Brand has won libel damages from the Sun newspaper. In November 2013, the Sun on Sunday led with a claim that Brand had cheated on girlfriend Jemima Khan with a glamour model.
The Sun settled with Brand out of court. He tweeted:
I got some money suing The S*n who lied about me. I am making a donation to the #JFT96 campaign. A tiny piece of justice.
— Russell Brand (@rustyrockets) April 15, 2014
We love this. Patrick Smith has used BBC Five Live’s film critic Mark Kermode’s bon mots as film poster reviews.
Early Sunday morning, two of Shia LaBeouf’s creative collaborators, Nastja Säde Rönkkö and Luke Turner, tweeted some clarifications about the actor’s claim that he was raped during his #IAMSORRY project. (LaBeouf told Dazed that a female audience member “whipped my legs for ten minutes and then stripped my clothing and proceeded to rape me” during an early February performance.) Rönkkö wrote that as “soon as we were aware of the incident, we put a stop to it and ensured the woman left.”
Why should an alelged male victim be discounted without question?
So. You want to know how much Russell Brand’s house costs:
Much excitement at Anorak Towers are we open the flaps on the first One Direction advent calendar window.
The first flaps are situated on Niall Horan’s backside.
Five boys one runny cip.
Did you hear the news that Christopher Plummer is dead?
Plummer, famous for acting in The Sound Of Music and The Girl with the Dragon Tattooius 84. To obituary writers thart places him in the file marked ‘Soon’. But it’s not soon enough for one People magazine scribe, who announced the star’s death:
He died “TK in TK”.
Jobbing internet Aunt Sally, Katie Hopkins, has checked the news cycle and noticed that X Factor boyband range the Stereo Kicks are on the news.
Katie Hopkins pressess ‘f1′ on her kayboard and calls them names. And they respond.
Tom is the one stoody by the other one.