Published January 25, 2009
'Oz'cars: Jackman, Luhrman Plan Musical Number | Kate: Oscar But No Maid Marian | Law & Disorder At Criminal Intent | Lost: No Ratings Without A Hero | Rosie’s Ribbon Cutting; ‘moon’ Shines At Sundance; Stevie’s Song; Alicia’s Room
The plans for the 2009 Academy Awards show are oh so hush hush. The producers won’t even tell us who’s presenting until they arrive on the show. Imagine reclusive stars like Lassie, Doris Day, J.D. Salinger and Justin with Britney and Jessica Biel!
Well, the line up will probably be more serious than that, but here’s a little scoop about the potential opening number. Seems “Australia” and “Moulin Rouge” director Baz Luhrmann, was telling friends about his role in all this at the Australia Week festivities here in New York this past week.
You want to know why Oscar host Hugh Jackman has been seen all over town lately? Well, he has asked Luhrmann and Catherine Martin -- the director’s wife -- to choreograph and produce a big opening musical number for him for the Oscars.
This should be something on the level of Busby Berkley and somehow make reference to all this year’s big films. You can almost envision Jackman -- a song and dance man trapped in a Wolverine -- in top hat and tails, doing his Fred Astaire thing to Bruce Vilanche’s rhymes about "The Reader," "Slumdog Millionaire," "Ben Button," "Frost/Nixon" and "Milk." Maybe throw "The Dark Knight," "Doubt" and a couple of others in just for fun.
Sounds like Oscar producer for the night Bill Condon is trying to come up with some eye catching, popular stuff to make viewers keep their recently digitized TVs tuned to ABC. If anyone can do it, he can, that’s for sure. Here’s an idea Bill: intersperse an Oscar-centric episode of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” with all the nominees playing for charity. Regis can host, and you can torture the players who get the wrong answers! So when no one remembers the names of the 1984 supporting actress nominees, they get a little electric shock!
I’m just sayin’…
It's a war of Kates — or Cates — as the search for Robin Hood’s Maid Marian continues.
I told you the other day about Sienna Miller leaving "Nottingham," the Ridley Scott directed feature set to star Russell Crowe. The feeling was that petite, young Miller would seem dwarfed on screen by the older, beefier, "Gladiator" star.
Now comes word from sources that Kate Winslet, nominated for Best Actress in "The Reader," has passed on the role of Maid Marian and the opportunity to spend quality time with Crowe, Scott and pals in the woods.
A new offer has just gone out to Cate Blanchett, I am told, but the answer is likely to come back negative. Blanchett is likely too expensive and too serious to get involved in this venture. An Oscar winner herself for The Aviator in the Best Supporting Actress category, Blanchett also has to set her sight her sights on a Best Actress win. Plus, she already did her action thing with the recent "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull."
Producers are mulling a back up plan, I’m told, waiting to make an offer to Rachel Weisz. This seems almost perfect, as Weisz may be the right price and just at the right point in her career to have "Nottingham" make a difference in upping her profile. And if she doesn’t take it, my suggestion to the producers is Jennifer Ehle. But no one asked me!
It seems like things are pretty shaky these days over at NBC’s "Law & Order: Criminal Intent."
The problem: recently appointed producer Robert Nathan, who was brought in to run the episodes featuring newcomer Jeff Goldblum, is out after shooting two chapters. There’s word that Ed Zuckerman, producer of the original "Law & Order," is taking his place.
But things are not that simple. According to sources, Goldblum’s character has not really emerged yet on screen. "The two episodes they have are terrible," says an insider who says that everyone who worked with Nathan is gone as well.
The result is that USA Studios, which airs the show before it goes to NBC, has postponed the season premiere for a second time. The original prrmiere was set for last November, then moved to March. Now it might be in the late spring or early summer.
The irony is that the eight episodes featuring Vincent D’Onofrio are moving along pretty well, and should be finished on time. The hold up is all with the eight starring Goldblum. They simply don’t exist so far.
Meantime, "Law & Order" executive producer Dick Wolf is also the man behind the new documentary shown last week at Sundance about the rock group, The Doors.
"When You’re Strange" is director Tom DiCillo’s first doc after six fiction features, and he’s done a great job pulling together lots of previously unseen footage of Jim Morrison. In fact, DiCillo is the first filmmaker ever to make Morrison seem like a real person who was very insecure, troubled, and haunted by, of course, parents who didn’t understand him. DiCillo even got his hands on rare footage of a film Morrison was shooting in the desert but never completed.
The film is one of the few that offers anything new or revelatory on the pre-digested Doors myth, and should garner a nice sized audience when it’s finally released. What it doesn’t address is how the three remaining Doors — John Densmore, Ray Manzarek, and songwriter Robby Krieger — have soldiered on since Morrison’s death in a Paris bathtub 1971. It hasn’t been easy. This was borne out by the fact that Densmore refused to sit with Manzarek and Krieger at last week’s screening. Indeed, the trio didn’t even take questions from the audience. They let Di Cillo handle all that.
The debut of the new season of "Lost" was pretty much a ratings nightmare. ABC says it was off by 25% from the last season opener.
I don’t doubt it. Even though the show’s creators claimed in an hour long special that this year "Lost" would answer more questions, it really didn’t. I felt Lost myself, which isn’t good.
The idea of this season is time travel. Okay, but it doesn’t really make sense. Also, the series has abandoned the flashbacks to stories of the characters’ lives, and even the flash forwards. If the characters seem confused, what are the viewers to do?
I do think the biggest problem, though, is that Jack — Matthew Fox — is no longer the show’s sturdy hero and tentpole character. He’s now bearded, taking pills and drinking, and deferring to Michael Emerson’s Ben Linus. This is a big mistake. A multi layered show like "Lost" needs some clearly delineated saints to play off the sinners. Jack has lost his halo, and left the viewers in the lurch.
The best part of the season opener was when Hurley tried recapping everything that happened to his mother. When he got to the part when, early in the show, someone had to press a button every 108 minutes, he shrugged and said something like, "They never really explained that."
Indeed, it turns out that most of the intriguing stuff from the original set up has been Lost, or swept aside without explanation. At this point, there’s no way everything could fit together. I do love Beatle-named Desmond and Penny, though. Until Jack comes back, if ever, they’re the new heart and soul of the show.
Rosie O’Donnell unveils her Maravel Arts Center on Monday with a ribbon cutting in the morning. The center, designed for Rosie’s Broadway Kids, is named for the TV star and comedian’s former teacher Pat Maravel. Located in the heart of the theatre district, the state of the art building includes two dance studios, a music studio, a study café, practice rooms, a library, dressing rooms, administrative offices. It should attract kids from all over the city who want to get into theater arts. Rosie, as usual, puts words into action. Bravo!...
…"Moon," the feature film by David Bowie’s son, Duncan Jones, sold at Sundance this week to Sony Pictures Classics. Nathan Parker, son of director Alan, wrote the screenplay about an astronaut abandoned on the moon. Sam Rockwell turns in a tour de force performance playing multiples of himself. Among the producers is Trudie Styler. The film premieres tonight at Sundance…
…Stevie Wonder debuted his new single, "All About the Love Again," on ABC’s Obama special on Tuesday night. We featured it here for listening only last week. You can hear it at here. Stevie labored for years on his most recent album, "A Time 2 Love," but guess where he recorded this hit? "On the road," says singer daughter Aisha (yes, the baby from "Isn’t She Lovely" is now an adult and a mom). The song was literally put together while Stevie was out touring last fall…It’s included on the new Inaugural CD, "Change Is Now: Renewing America's Promise," on Hidden Beach Records…
…And which dressing rooms did President Barack Obama and wife Michelle use at the Washington Convention Center during the Neighborhood Ball? Why, the ones where Alicia Keys had been rehearsing and changing. Keys was happy to vacate for the Obamas, and moved her things – including a keyboard—up to the backstage holding area…
…Back here in New York, famed Elaine’s eatery continues to confound the recession. Last night was packed as usual, with actor Bob Balaban and producer wife Lynne toasting producer Ilene Maisel on the release of "Inkheart," her Warner’s feature. In its 46th year, Elaine’s still keeps ‘em coming. And look out for February 10th, when friends will undoubtedly come by to fete New York’s most famous hostess on an important birthday…