Published February 06, 2003
Sylvester Stallone is missing from the box office. Where is he? On video, I'm afraid.
The first syllable of Stallone's surname name apparently applies to his career — 'stall.' And that's being kind. The one-time king of the hill with Rocky and Rambo is now in career hell, with no possibility of parole anytime soon.
Stallone's latest film, Avenging Angelo, has been ready for a year but still has no release date in sight. The movie also happens to mark the final screen appearance of Zorba the Greek star Anthony Quinn. He died when filming ended in June 2001. It's not a great finale for such a major Hollywood star.
Stallone had another release called Eye See You, which played for one week last fall in theatres before heading to the video store. It is sometimes referred to as D-Tox. In any case, it was dead on arrival, despite being produced by Brian Grazer's Imagine Films at Universal and directed by Jim Gillespie.
Another feature, called Shade and directed by newcomer Damian Neiman, is also finished but it's disappeared into the ether. RKO Films produced it with Merv Griffin, but Shade has no distributor as yet.
And this one has a pricey supporting cast, too: British heart-throb Stuart Townsend, RKO owner (and actress/socialite) Dina Merrill, plus Hal Holbrook, Bo Hopkins, Thandie Newton, Jamie Foxx, Michael Dorn and, last but not least, Gabriel Byrne and Melanie Griffith. Publicists tried to make it seem like the latter two were having an affair in real life last year to generate interest in the film, but nothing sparked — including the movie.
Lana Clarkson, 40, found dead at music legend Phil Spector's estate a few mornings ago, is not just some anonymous blonde bombshell from a Raymond Chandler paperback.
She is a person. She has a family. The family is grieving. And they are mad.
"She has a mother, a sister, a brother," said my source in Los Angeles, where the Clarksons live. Originally from the Napa Valley area, they are now ensconced in Hollywood, trying to make sense of what happened to Lana.
"They're just doing the normal things right now, like making arrangements," my source said. "Of course there will be a civil suit when the time is right. But I think right now they just want to know what happened."
That seems to be the consensus among Clarkson's family, friends and even Spector's too. How did Lana wind up on the foyer floor of Spector's faux castle, dead from a gunshot wound at 5 a.m.? We may not know the answers for a while. Spector probably won't be arraigned until the first week of March. Until then, he'll have to make do without his posh digs -- the police have barred him from re-entering the scene of the crime. Wherever Spector is, he will have to try and piece together a defense.
So what about hanging some kind of scandal on Clarkson, the way Nicole Simpson got tarred and feathered right after her death? "I don't think it will be so easy," said my source, who's an old friend. "Everyone who knew Lana liked her. She was fun to be around. There aren't going to be any skeletons in closets."
Twenty years ago, Chrissie Hynde thought she was a washed up square. She sang about living in the metaphorical "middle of the road." Remember the line, "I got a kid, I'm 33"? She thought she was old. We thought maybe she was right.
She was wrong.
Hynde is now 51 and the same rock star she was in 1983, and in 1979 when The Pretenders released their hit single, "Stop Your Sobbing." Last night, the group played the first of two gigs at the Beacon Theatre in New York. If women half Chrissie's age could rock the way she did last night, there wouldn't be any of those glorious, slutty twinkettes who've clogged up our culture the last five years.
I mean, Chrissie Hynde could eat Britney Spears for breakfast and still have room for a power bar.
The Pretenders are really just Chrissie and drummer Martin Chambers, since the other original band members went on long ago to their final Spinal Tap resting places.
Promoting an excellent album that was released early in the winter called Loose Screw (Artemis Records), Hynde led the band through a ferocious two hour set last night. The sold-out audience, most of whom looked to be about 35-45 years old, stood for most of the show. Hynde couldn't believe it. On Tuesday in Torrington, Connecticut, we were told, the audience sat still for the duration. Hynde didn't know what to do. The Beacon was her reward.
Chrissie is an enigma, which any good rocker should be. She puts on a punk stance, but she's really a romantic with a gorgeous full-bodied voice that is capable of singing just about anything. She does love to curse like a sailor, though, and would put most sailors to shame. During her ode to home state Ohio, "My City Was Gone," she announced, "They're still [expletive] it up, too!" During another number she ordered all the men "under 30 and good looking, or under 35," backstage after the show. But it was her comment early on about the smokin' five-piece Senators that cinched it: "A real live rock and roll band!" she declared. "The last of a dying breed."
Loose Screw has only sold about 50,000 copies because, let's face it, no one has figured out how to market smart rock to adults. I see that Artemis has chosen the nicely elegiac "The Losing" as a "single" they want to promote. But the big hit off Loose Screw is a triumphal cover of an obscure 1990s rock song called "Walk Like a Panther." The Pretenders are on David Letterman tonight, and that's what they should play if they want to get everyone's attention. In the meantime, buy this record, see this group live. The Pretenders are for real!