Roman Polanski | David Gest | Spector Case Suicide? | Mel Gibson | Far From Heaven
Shocker: Polanski Papers Published
As usual, thesmokinggun.com has scored a coup. They've published the 1977 grand jury deposition of the 13-year-old girl who director Roman Polanski was convicted of raping.
The interrogation of Samantha Gailey (now Geimer) is so unbelievably, insanely awful that Polanski may not be able to overcome it. In the interview, Samantha describes Polanski having intercourse with her, performing oral sex on her and sodomizing her. In order to do this, she said, he plied her with champagne and pills (quaaludes).
Polanski's defenders will point out that the girl admits to having had sex twice before her encounter with the director. But Gailey clearly recalls telling Polanski to stop what he was doing to her. He also asks Gailey, a thirteen year old, if she is on the pill.
An unnamed woman finally knocks on the door of the room where this happened -- at the home of Jack Nicholson. Previous published reports have identified the woman as Anjelica Huston, Nicholson's girlfriend at the time.
Polanski lives in Paris and cannot return to the United States without being re-arrested for this crime. Geimer recently absolved him in several interviews seemingly tied to the Oscar voting for his film, The Pianist.
How about the timing for this leak? It would be fun to say there's a conspiracy against Polanski, but thesmokinggun.com just digs and digs on a regular basis for court papers everyone has forgotten about. Once again, they've hit paydirt.
The revelations are a shame no matter what since Polanski is one of the all time great directors. No matter what happened 26 years ago, The Pianist remains an exceptional piece of art. Polanski is not the first great artist in history undone by a personal mistake. And he won't be the last.
Liza's Hubby Retires Dead Man at Charity
You may recall that Liza Minnelli's hubby, David Gest, had a not-for-profit charitable organization called the American Cinema Awards Foundation. The head of the group was listed as Leo Jaffe, a man who had been dead for many years. Gest paid himself handsomely from the tax-free income of the group, which served as a sop to old Hollywood stars.
Now the new filing is out and it looks like the Awards are done. The good news is that Jaffe, once the head of Columbia Pictures and the father of producer Stanley Jaffe, is no longer in charge. Gest has stepped into that role.
But the ACA is listing no activities for last year and no contributions from outsiders. It had expenses of $31,319 with a net loss for the year of $429. Details of the expenses are not itemized.
Calls to the ACA office, which are funneled through their accountant Maxine Gainer, were not returned.
So much for Gest, who despite his high-profile marriage and managing of Minnelli, is pretty much a non-starter these days in show biz. The other charity he trumpets is the Whitney Houston Foundation. But that too is pretty much moribund, although in its day that group did give a lot of money to charitable causes. But last year, according to tax filings, Whitney's foundation gave most of its money away, emptying its coffers almost to the bottom.
Gest, by the way, has also been cut out of the next Michael Jackson special on CBS. And Minnelli may re-think him as her manager when he has to tell her that her Liza's Back album, the deal which he engineered, sold an appalling 21,000 copies according to Soundscan. Evidently all the publicity Gest has generated for Minnelli has not translated into sales.
Phil Spector Remains Un-Cleared in Murder
Another bizarre twist in the Phil Spector murder investigation yesterday: Los Angeles radio station KFI reported at 3 p.m. (Pacific Time) that Lana Clarkson's death was "an accidental suicide."
The reporter who broke the story claimed that he had information from the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department that had ruled out Clarkson as intentional suicide, but they couldn't rule out that she shot herself. This set off a flurry of activity with Spector suddenly looking innocent in subsequent news stories. He was arrested for investigation of murder last month and released on $1 million bail, but all of a sudden that seemed irrelevant.
To add to the afternoon's activities, Spector himself circulated an e-mail to friends that read: "We hate to use the words, 'I told you so,' but I did tell you so. After seven weeks of silence, we can say with certainty, this will speak for itself, and boy does it speak volumes."
But the e-mail was a little premature. Spector has not even been arraigned yet (there's no date set after a March 3 postponement).
The Sheriff's Department is denying the whole "accidental suicide" business. Moreover, results from Clarkson's autopsy have not come out, and they would be critical to understand if, say, Spector handed her a gun to examine and she pulled the trigger by accident.
Of course, Spector's attorney's office -- that is, the office of Robert Shapiro -- denied knowing how this story leaked or how the e-mail surfaced. We know it didn't come from Clarkson's side of the case, and the police didn't do it. That leaves... space aliens! Who had the most to gain by releasing that piece of info? You decide.
Meanwhile, the campaign to destroy Clarkson in the same manner as Nicole Simpson continues. Last week, a story circulated that Clarkson was handy with guns and even knew how to use a crossbow -- because of the movies she'd been in. This was meant to imply that she must have been responsible for her own death. Suicide by crossbow! Luckily, no one in their right mind would listen to such nonsense.
Mel Gibson Faces Career Crisis — Like It or Not
Sunday's New York Times Magazine didn't do a heck of a lot for Mel Gibson. In fact, there's a good chance it may have wiped out his career.
Reporter Christopher Noxon did an excellent job describing the church Gibson built in the Malibu hills. He also had an eye-opening interview with Gibson's dad, Hutton Gibson, who apparently believes the Holocaust never happened.
Gibson's dad uttered this now-famous quote in the piece regarding the Holocaust: ''Go and ask an undertaker or the guy who operates the crematorium what it takes to get rid of a dead body,'' he said. ''It takes one liter of petrol and 20 minutes. Now, six million?'' He also believes Al Qaeda hijackers weren't in the planes on Sept. 11. ''They were crashed by remote control,'' he said.
Gibson senior also insists his 10 children back him all the way. (These people are fertile too. Hutton has 49 grandchildren, seven of who are from Mel.)
Even though Noxon points out the son should not be blamed for the father's sins, Mel nevertheless has a close relationship with his dad, and has used him as a reference point in the past.
Mel Gibson has always had strange things to say about controversial issues. But these new revelations about the Malibu church and the father are pretty amazing. They are also quite different from the Gibson we see at press events: He has a lively sense of humor, is generally quite accessible and has never been offensive or particularly combative.
That will all probably change now, especially with his filming of a self-financed film called The Passion. This look at the last 12 hours of Jesus' life will evidently lay the blame for his death on the Jews.
The $25 million epic stars Jim Caviezel, the actor from The Thin Red Line, whose own odd ideas — espoused in interviews — have kept him very much from becoming a star. Caviezel hasn't been blacklisted ... he simply chooses strange projects.
What will happen next is anyone's guess. Mel may be getting a cold shoulder from Hollywood. Luckily, he has an Oscar and millions of dollars to console him.
Far From Heaven Still Near Oscars
It doesn't look good for Julianne Moore or Todd Haynes Oscar-wise on Far From Heaven, but all is not lost. Two other nominees from Focus Features are in good shape going into the March 23 ceremony.
Elmer Bernstein's gorgeous score for the film is an odds-on favorite to beat even the excellent music from Frida. Bernstein, who is 80 and quite lively, is the legendary composer of soundtracks to such films as The Magnificent Seven, The Man With the Golden Arm, To Kill a Mockingbird and The Sweet Smell of Success.
I had the great pleasure of interviewing Bernstein for Red Carpet magazine, which is now on sale. A protégé of another legend, Aaron Copland, Elmer is one of those people who has never been tainted by jaded Hollywood. And his Far From Heaven music is ... heavenly.
The other Far From Heaven nominee who seems to be a strong contender is cinematographer Ed Lachman. Those rich colors in the film are courtesy of his genius — think of the golden autumn leaves in the opening scenes. Lachman is an eclectic character.
He shot Erin Brockovich, The Limey and the Virgin Suicides — all terrific. He also shot one of my favorite music films, Say Amen, Somebody. On the downside, he actually stooped so low as to work with Larry Clark on the hideous Ken Park. But no one's perfect. And the look of Far From Heaven is. So we'll forgive him that one mistake and hope he's on to better things.