Anna Paquin, Cindy Lauper, Whoopi Goldberg, are some of those featured in a new PSA for the Give a Damn campaign, started by Lauper’s True Colors Fund which fights for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights. [Note: the video above should pop up and start playing on its own out of the blue – or rather, out of the white space.]
Also taking part in the PSA are Jason Mraz, Kevin Alejandro, Wanda Sykes, Elton John, Eric Roberts, Sharon Osbourne, Kelly Osbourne, Clay Aiken, Judith Light, Cynthia Nixon, and Kim Kardashian.
Not surprisingly, the announcement that “one hate crime is committed approximately every hour of every day” in the United States or that “in the past 16 years over 13,000 men and women have been discharged from the military for being gay” didn’t cause much of a commotion. (Who gives a damn?)
Instead, the Internet has been abuzz because of the earth-shattering revelation that Anna Paquin calls herself bisexual in the PSA. (Clay Aiken calls himself gay and Cindy Lauper says she’s straight as well, but those announcements aren’t considered “revelations.”)
Find out more about We Give a Damn at wegiveadamn.org.
Daniel Radcliffe to Sing and Dance on Broadway: ‘How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying’
Daniel Radcliffe, the star of the Harry Potter franchise, is returning to Broadway to sing and dance in a revival of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. The musical is scheduled to open in spring 2011.
Radcliffe will play the ambitious young man who goes from the mailroom to very corporate top. The Pulitzer Prize-winning musical, a humorous critique of American corporate culture, features a score by Frank Loesser, and book by Abe Burrows, Jack Weinstock and Willie Gilbert.
Rob Ashford will direct and choreograph the new production.
Robert Morse starred in the original back in 1961, and went on to reprise the role in David Swift’s 1967 film version opposite Michele Lee and Rudy Vallee.
How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying was revived on Broadway in 1995, with Matthew Broderick in the lead.
Radcliffe made his Broadway debut in 2008 in a revival of Equus, in which his performance as a troubled young man reaped widespread praise. He’ll next be seen at the movies in David Yates’ Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, which opens Nov. 19.
Photo: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Jaap Buitendijk / Warner Bros.)
James Cameron & Xingu Indians vs. Brazilian Government
James Cameron and Avatar co-star Sigourney Weaver were recently in Brazil, where the director joined protesters against the building of a gigantic dam on the Amazon’s Xingu River; the Belo Monte dam would destroy the local environment and displace tens of thousands of local Indians. Cameron went as far as saying that what was taking place in the Amazon was akin to what happens to the Na’vi in Avatar‘s Pandora.
A federal judge put a halt to the project only to have his ruling overturned by a higher court. (If you read English-language news sources on the matter, you’d think the first judge acted that way as a personal favor to Cameron, who “led” the campaign.)
Amazon Watch has issued a statement explaining that “the battle is not over.
“We are committed to supporting Brazilian indigenous peoples who have vowed to fight to stop the Belo Monte dam.
“This dam is one of the most destructive projects ever undertaken in the Amazon.”
The Brazilian government of Luiz Inacio da Silva (a.k.a. Lula) says the dam is needed to provide electricity to the country’s industrial south, but environmentalists affirm that’s total bullshit: big mining companies in the Amazon region will be the ones to reap most of the benefits from the dam, which critics claim, will be inefficient as well.
Like in any solid democracy, money (billions of [pick your favorite currency]) has talked way louder than justice, the environment, or “the people” – most of whom in Brazil (and elsewhere), however many times they’ve watched the environmentally friendly Avatar in glorious 3D, don’t give a fuck one way or the other. Hey, there’s a World Cup just around the corner.
But then again, miracles do happen. Xingu Indians and their fellow Amazon denizens are in dire need of one.
You can help make that miracle happen: Take action. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org. A form letter can also be found here. (I just tried one of the Brazilian embassy phone numbers found on that page and spoke with a representative who courteously – but vehemently – denied that the embassy had stopped taking calls about the Belo Monte issue.)
More on the Belo Monte Dam in this Ecofactory report.
Photo: Avatar (WETA / 20th Century Fox).
James Cameron & Sigourney Weaver Plant Tree in Brazil
Avatar‘s Sigourney Weaver and James Cameron are in Brazil promoting both the release of the sci-fi blockbuster on DVD and Blu-ray in that country, and the Earth Day Network/Fox Home Entertainment effort to have 1 million trees planted around the world.
In this photo, Weaver and Cameron can be seen planting – or at least posing as if they’re planting – a pau-brasil tree in the Ibirapuera Park in the city of São Paulo on Sunday, April 11. Some say the tree gave the name to the country; others say the country gave the name to the tree. Take your pick.
Anyhow, it all matches Avatar‘s pro-nature stance. And it’s also worth noting that the pau-brasil is nearly extinct. And that the tree in question is the first of the million trees to be planted globally.
Also in Brazil, Sigourney Weaver told local reporters that Cameron would have won the Academy Award for Best Director earlier this year if not for the fact that “Jim didn’t have breasts, and I think that was the reason; he should have taken home that Oscar.”
Weaver then added, “In the past, Avatar would have won [the Best Picture Oscar] because they [the Academy] loved to hand out awards to big productions, like Ben-Hur. Today it’s fashionable to give the Oscar to a small movie that nobody saw.”
(Please note that the above is an English translation from a Portuguese translation of whatever it was that Weaver said in English.)
The “small movie that nobody saw,” of course, was the Iraq War drama The Hurt Locker, directed by one of Cameron’s former wives, Kathryn Bigelow. Bigelow became the first woman to ever win a Best Director Academy Award.
Photo: Avatar (Mark Fellman / 20th Century Fox).
Avatar sold 3.2 million DVD (including Blu-ray) copies on its first day out (not including rentals), last Thursday, according to figures provided by 20th Century Fox (via Deadline.com). Earlier reports had Avatar selling 4 million units.
James Cameron’s 3D sci-fier – on DVD in plain old HD 2D – broke The Dark Knight‘s record for Blu-ray sales: 600K copies for TDK vs. 1.2 million for Avatar.
However, The Dark Knight holds the record for “old-format” DVD sales: 2.1 million copies vs. Avatar‘s 2 million. (Of course, there were fewer Blu-ray players then; most people had to buy regular DVDs.)
Approximately 2 million more Avatar DVDs were sold on Friday. Two-day total: 5.2 million copies (if figures are accurate), beating the Twilight Saga: New Moon‘s 4 million copies sold on that title’s first two days out just a couple of weeks ago.
Photo: Avatar (WETA / 20th Century Fox)
James Cameron’s 3D big-screen blockbuster Avatar (above, Pandora’s floating mountains) has already become a 2D DVD and Blu-ray blockbuster. On its first day out, Thursday, Earth Day, Avatar set the Blu-ray sales record for one day, with 1.5 million copies sold. (Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight had been the previous record holder with 600,000 Blu-ray copies sold.)
According to estimates, overall 4 million copies of Avatar have been sold. (Update: A later report says that 3.2 million copies were sold.)
Avatar producer Jon Landau was quoted as saying in The Hollywood Reporter that “we’re not focusing on sales. We’re focusing on the [Earth Day] events” that have been tied to Avatar‘s DVD launch. Landau then talked about kids being “the future” and that the Avatar release is “raising awareness.”
How many of those kids will actually go home aware that global warming is quite possibly the most serious threat currently facing planet Earth, and how many will actually change their lifestyles for that reason are whole different matters. They should have statistics for those things as well.
A 3D version of Avatar is expected to come out later in the year, perhaps as early as November. (The film is also expected to hit 3D theaters once again in August, with six extra minutes of footage.) The 3D DVD release will be a “special” version with an array of bonus features. If that’ll be the “Special Collector’s Edition” remains to be seen. 20th Century Fox may want to keep on “raising awareness” until Pandora’s waterfalls have gone dry.
To date, the Robert Pattinson-Kristen Stewart-Taylor Lautner romantic triangle The Twilight Saga: New Moon, which raised awareness about the dangers of interspecies dating, has sold 6.5 million copies since late March – 4 million of these on its first two days out. For now, New Moon holds the year’s DVD record.
Avatar Pandora image: WETA / 20th Century Fox.
Chris Hemsworth as Thor
Chris Hemsworth has the title role in Kenneth Branagh’s upcoming Thor, Paramount’s fantasy-adventure written by Ashley Miller and Don Payne, and based on the Marvel comic books. The image above is the first one released online.
In addition to Chris Hemsworth, the Thor cast includes:
Natalie Portman. Anthony Hopkins. Tom Hiddleston. Stellan Skarsgård. Rene Russo. Idris Elba. Kat Dennings. Ray Stevenson. Jaimie Alexander. Adriana Barraza. Colm Feore. Matt Battaglia.
In the big-screen version, Hemsworth is a semi-disabled medical student, Donald Blake, who uncovers his alter ego, the mythical Norse god Thor, so as to fight a powerful enemy threatening the Earth. (As if the planet needs more enemies…)
Chris Hemsworth is best known for his appearance (as George Kirk) in J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek reboot and for being the brother of Liam Hemsworth, currently on North American screens playing opposite Miley Cyrus in The Last Song.
Thor will be released on May 6, kicking off the summer movie season next year, much like Paramount/Marvel’s Iron Man 2 is kicking off the summer movie season this year.
Chris Hemsworth Thor image: Marvel / Paramount Pictures.
Carey Mulligan in ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ remake?
Carey Mulligan, not Kristen Stewart, Natalie Portman, or Keira Knightley, is now rumored to star in David Fincher’s Hollywood version of Niels Arden Oplev’s Swedish blockbuster The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (in the original, Men Who Hate Women).
Mulligan, a near-total unknown until late last year, shot to arthouse stardom following her performance as a willful adolescent in An Education, for which she won a Best Actress BAFTA Award and received an Oscar nomination.
Now, the Sunday Times reports that she will likely get to play the English-speaking Lisbeth Salander, incarnated by European Film Award nominee Noomi Rapace in the Swedish original.
According to the Times piece, Mulligan “has won the approval of” both David Fincher and the family of the late author Stieg Larsson, the creator of the tough but vulnerable Lisbeth. [Apr 27 Addendum: According to Hollywood Elsewhere, producer Scott Rudin says the story about Mulligan’s casting is false.]
In The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Salander is a brilliant computer hacker who helps a disgraced journalist to crack a decades-old case involving a missing teenager. Greed, sex, power plays, dirty politics, family dysfunctions, skeletons in the closet, and ugly violence (mostly against women) are all part of the dramatic mix.
Larsson’s Millennium trilogy, all featuring the character of Salander, has sold 25 million copies worldwide.
Photos: An Education (Kerry Brown / Sony Pictures Classics); The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Music Box Films)
Jake Gyllenhaal ‘Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time’ Hollywood Premiere
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, directed by Mike Newell and starring Jake Gyllenhaal, will have its Hollywood premiere on Monday, May 17, 2010, at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard. The event will benefit the American Film Institute.
Also as part of the AFI benefit, Mann Chinese 6 and El Capitan Theatre will present “A Cinematic Celebration of Jerry Bruckheimer,” which will include screenings of Bruckheimer-produced fare such as Armageddon, with Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thornton, and Ben Affleck; National Treasure, starring Nicolas Cage; Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, with Oscar nominee Johnny Depp; and Top Gun, the movie that turned Tom Cruise into an international box office superstar.
Each screening will be introduced by an actor or filmmaker from the movie.
American Film Institute website.
Oprah Winfrey ‘Restrictive’ + Conan O’Brien TV Drama
Kitty Kelley’s Oprah: A Biography, unauthorized, of course, is due out Tuesday. USA Today reports Kelley’s claims that her Oprah will show the real Oprah Winfrey in “high-definition.” However, high-definition is only worth having if you have a quality TV set.
As a curiosity: According to Kelley’s interview in the New York Times, Winfrey has been a more “restrictive” subject than either Frank Sinatra or Nancy Reagan.
“… [A]nd I’ll tell you why. In promoting this book, we have already been told by Barbara Walters’ producer, No, you cannot be on The View, I cannot disrupt my relationship with Oprah. Joy Behar, the same thing. Charlie Rose; Larry King said, I will not do it, it might upset Oprah. Even David Letterman.”
According to Kelley’s USA Today interview, Oprah will not address Winfrey’s friendship with Gayle King (“I know people are expecting me to ‘out’ her. But I think she’s just asexual. And if she is (gay), she is never ever, ever going to come out. So relax, people”).
Kelley also adds that she knows the identity of Winfrey’s purported “secret biological father.” Who will remain nameless in the book. Bummer.
Oprah Winfrey was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress for her performance as the stepdaughter of Whoopi Goldberg’s character in Steven Spielberg’s The Color Purple (1985).
According to Damien Bona and Mason Wiley’s Inside Oscar “Oprah Winfrey said when people accused her of playing an Aunt Jemima role [in The Color Purple], ‘At first I was very kind. Now I’m just ready to slap them.'”
Winfrey and fellow The Color Purple player Margaret Avery lost the Oscar to Anjelica Huston in Prizzi’s Honor.
More recently, Winfrey was credited as one of the executive producers of the Academy Award-nominated drama Precious, which won Oscars for Best Adapted Screenplay (Geoffrey Fletcher) and Best Supporting Actress (Mo’Nique).
Photo: Oprah Winfrey in The Color Purple (Warner Bros.)
Late night talk show host Conan O’Brien will be finding a new home at Time Warner’s TBS, not Fox (will heads gonna roll?) as most had predicted until recently.
Considering all the publicity surrounding what has gone on behind the scenes since Jay Leno usurped O’Brien’s place on NBC – which led O’Brien to spend his days tweeting, etc – I just can’t imagine that someone somewhere won’t try to make a movie out of this soap opera. Network meets Broadcast News meets The Insider: It Happened One Late Night, or something.
O’Brien is one of those included in Time magazine’s list of most influential people of 2010 – at #7 (perhaps because of all those tweets) – along with the likes of Lady Gaga, Rain, Adam Lambert, Shah Rukh Khan, Robert Pattinson, Neil Patrick Harris, Elton John, Barack Obama, Cristiano Ronaldo, the Lost creators, Meryl Streep, Oprah Winfrey, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Warren Buffet, Prince, Preity Zinta, Tiger Woods, and Banksy.
Conan O’Brien’s TBS show is expected to debut in November.