As I reported a couple of days ago, Lions Gate Films was this close to making a deal to take Mel Gibson's "Apocalypto " off of Disney's hands. Tonight, Disney has issued a release saying they will distribute the film as planned. I like that their release specifies that this "refutes internet reports."
That means this column.
What the studio doesn't say is, no one wanted to take on the Gibson baggage with "Apocalypto." Disney is forced to honor its agreement with Gibson's Icon Productions. That's the way the cookie crumbles.
But what a mess for Disney. You can't blame them for trying to shop the movie around, which is what they were trying to do. They're stuck in a bad situation. "Apocalypto" has no stars other than Gibson attached to it. It's hard to imagine the publicity campaign in December, just as the Oscar race is heating up and all the other studios are flogging their big movies.
Will Gibson do press junkets, sit for "Access Hollywood" and all those shows, and not be asked about being Anti-Semitic, misogynistic, sexist, alcoholic, and a drunk driver? As several insiders said to me this week, it's not like anyone wanted to see "Apocalypto" that much anyway.
Without Gibson to flack it night and day between November 15th and December 8th, its chances of getting an audience outside of Mexico are pretty slim.
Gibson staying with Disney should be interesting to say the least. For one thing, Gibson has a lot in common with the company's founder, Walt Disney. The creator of Mickey Mouse and everything that followed has often been accused of anti-Semitism himself. Several biographies depict him as sympathetic to the Nazi effort, including one published in 1993 by author Marc Eliot called "Walt Disney: America's Dark Prince." It certainly doesn't help that because of the way Disney has treated employees over the years the company is glibly referred to in industry circles as "Mouse-schwitz," a very dark twist on "Auschwitz ."
I didn't make this up, so don't kill the messenger. There are 110 references to "Mouseschwitz" on Google alone.
You can’t be in Hollywood for very long without hearing about Brangelina, baby Suri or Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn. Let’s address the latter since we’re pretty exhausted from the first two.
As I told you yesterday, Aniston and Vaughn recently dined at Wolfgang Puck’s new Cut restaurant in the Regent Beverly Wilshire with Jen’s "Friends" friend Courteney Cox and her hubby David Arquette.
This caused quite a commotion apparently, with paparazzi showing up even when the quartet tried to keep things quiet.
Insiders say that it was pretty clear that Jen and Vince are not engaged, just as their publicist keeps insisting.
However, the other inside news is that despite our cynical belief that their relationship is somehow a PR creation, the stars of “The Break-Up” are indeed serious if not engaged to be married.
“She enjoys his sense of humor,” says my spy, which should be good news for men all over the world.
Laughter is the best distraction. It also doesn’t hurt that Vince has become very successful on his own in the last couple of years.
In the end, Jen and Vince’s chances of making it will depend on how much time they can actually spend with each other despite hectic schedules.
One thing my spy underscored: how “nice” Aniston is, and how “real” she is (I always like it when stars are described as “real”!)
Indeed, even during her Brad Pitt years, when he was besieged by fans and press, Jennifer was always gracious and accessible. And that’s never easy.
As for the other two aforementioned Hollywood hot topics, let’s take poor little missing Suri.
I cannot count how many reasonable people came running up to me this week to say that Suri didn’t exist, that Tom Cruise was busy looking for a baby that looked like him and that Katie Holmes was never pregnant! I love this particular take on the so-far-not-unveiled baby!
Despite my feelings about the whole TomKat scenario, I will say I have a lot of sympathy for Katie Holmes. For one thing, she sure was pregnant, and she most certainly did give birth to little Suri.
Yesterday, a paparazzi-based service put out a telescopic picture of Katie inside Tom’s house with a “lump” that they assumed was Suri. Can you imagine living with that kind of intrusion on a daily basis?
No matter what you think of Cruise’s entire gestalt, there’s no excuse for harassing these people.
Eventually, perhaps in Vanity Fair, we’ll see pictures of this baby and guess what? She’ll look just like … a baby!
It will be quite uneventful unless, of course, she actually gives an interview or displays a silver tail. Neither of these is likely!
Actor James Woods is mourning the sudden loss of his brother Michael Woods, who died at age 49 from a massive heart attack this week in Rhode Island.
Michael Woods was a father of three and much beloved by his brother, who’s taking a couple of days off from shooting his new series. The brothers were very close. James Woods is setting up a scholarship foundation in Michael Woods’ memory. Our condolences …
Wonder about how all those CDs get onto the racks at Starbucks? The guy in charge of doing it is Alan Mintz, a former Sony Music exec and lawyer who works hand in hand with Starbucks Entertainment chief Ken Lombard. I got to meet them in the last few days — very cool guys with excellent taste. Check out the latest Starbucks CD, a new music compilation called “Senses Working Overtime.” It’s named for the very wonderful classic XTC single …
Just to clarify, the great Jayne County points out that Gene Simmons and KISS opened for him and his group The Electric Chairs years ago, not the other way around! Jayne is still hopping mad that Simmons has stolen the Electric Chairs name for his son’s group. Maybe Gene should change the name to Lethal Injection! ...
Best news of all: Eva Mendes is one of the guests of honor tomorrow at Mercedes-Benz Polo in Bridgehampton. Even the ponies are said to be shining their saddles and shoes in anticipation …