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Highest Paid Actresses + Zooey Deschanel vs. Los Angeles Times Columnist

Angelina Jolie Salt
Angelina Jolie in the box office hit Salt: $293 million worldwide.
Ramon Novarro biography Beyond Paradise

July 5: Forbes magazine has come up with a list of the highest-paid actresses in Hollywood. This “top-ten actresses” list includes five Academy Award winners (Angelina Jolie, Reese Witherspoon, Julia Roberts, Sandra Bullock, Meryl Streep), one of the stars of Sex and the City (Sarah Jessica Parker), one of the stars of the old television series Friends (Jennifer Aniston), one of the stars of The Twilight Saga franchise (Kristen Stewart), one of the stars of Charlie’s Angels (Cameron Diaz), and one of the stars of the domestic box office misfire Life As We Know It (Katherine Heigl).

As per Forbes, “to compile our earnings numbers we talked to agents, lawyers, producers and other industry insiders to come up with an estimate for what each actress earned between May 1, 2010 and May 1, 2011. Earnings consist of pretax gross income. Management, agent and attorney fees are not deducted.”

Earnings aren’t restricted to movies; they apparently include everything from television residuals to hard cash made off of a line of perfume. See below the list of top-paid actresses in Hollywood in the last year, as per Forbes:

1. Angelina Jolie, $30 million
1. Sarah Jessica Parker, $30 million
3. Jennifer Aniston, $28 million
3. Reese Witherspoon, $28 million
5. Julia Roberts, $20 million
5. Kristen Stewart, $20 million
7. Katherine Heigl, $19 million
8. Cameron Diaz, $18 million
9. Sandra Bullock, $15 million
10. Meryl Streep, $10 million

And to think Sandra Bullock pocketed all that money without having made a single movie since 2009. Admittedly, Bullock is currently starring in Stephen Daldry’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, opposite Tom Hanks, John Goodman, and Max von Sydow.

Photo: Salt (Andrew Schwartz / Columbia Pictures)

Meryl Streep will obviously be much funnier than Margaret Thatcher ever was, as this The Iron Lady trailer – or rather, international teaser trailer – can attest. Streep lacks the steely, coldly ruthless character of the former British prime minister, but Phyllida Lloyd’s The Iron Lady doesn’t look like it’s going to be a “serious” political drama. More like a fuzzy, cuddly, harmless dramedy with feminist overtones, perhaps? Something along the lines of Stephen Frears’ The Queen, shamelessly begging for the love and attention of “middle-brow” moviegoers and Academy voters alike?

Written by Abi Morgan, The Iron Lady also features Jim Broadbent, Anthony Head, and Richard E. Grant. The Iron Lady, which will undoubtedly earn Meryl Streep her 108th Oscar nomination, is scheduled to open December 16.

July 21

Lily Collins, Snow White, Tarsem Singh
Lily Collins as Snow White

Lily Collins stars as Snow White in Tarsem Singh’s as-yet-untitled Snow White movie, which is supposed to be a dark reimagining of the fairy-tale. Obviously, Snow White’s dress has also been reimagined, at least if compared to the one worn by Disney’s apple-eater and heavy sleeper. In Singh’s film, Julia Roberts plays the Evil Queen; Armie Hammer is the Prince; and Game of Thrones’ Sean Bean is The King. Academy Award nominees Michael Lerner and Mare Winningham play, respectively, a baron and a baker.

As everyone knows, The Twilight Saga‘s Kristen Stewart is set to star in a rival version of Snow White called Snow White and the Huntsman and to be directed by Rupert Sanders. Chris Hemsworth and Charlize Theron are slated to co-star.

Singh’s next film, Immortals, starring Man of Steel‘s Henry Cavill, Slumdog Millionaire‘s Freida Pinto, and Twilight‘s Kellan Lutz, is due out November 11. Collins will next be seen in John Singleton’s thriller Abducted, co-starring Kristen Stewart’s The Twilight Saga co-star Taylor Lautner.

The Lily Collins Snow White should come out in March; the Kristen Stewart Snow White should hit theaters in June.

Photo via EW.

July 7

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark monster Guillermo del Toro
Ugly monster in Troy Nixey’s Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark

A Prometheus alien? Wrong. Ralph Fiennes about to eat Daniel Radcliffe in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2? Nope. The face above belongs to one of the creatures found in the Guillermo del Toro-produced, Troy Nixey-directed Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark.

A remake of a 1973 made-for-television movie, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark stars Katie Holmes, Guy Pearce, and Bailee Madison. A horror drama about a shy young girl who discovers ghastly creatures living right in the basement of her new house, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark has a few elements in common with del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth, e.g., little girls, big monsters, a fantastic “underworld.” Probably not coincidentally, Nigel McKeand’s teleplay was adapted by del Toro, working with Matthew Robbins.

True Grit‘s Kim Darby and Where the Boys Are‘s Jim Hutton – without any troublesome little girl – starred in the 1973 TV movie directed by John Newland.

The new Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, which will screen at the Fantasia International Film Festival, opens August 26.

Photo via Dread Central

Giraffe, Kenya

Academy Award nominated actress Alfre Woodard (Cross Creek), Passion Fish), Field of Dreams writer-director Phil Alden Robinson, and cinematographer John Bailey (The Accidental Tourist, As Good as It Gets) are among eight members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences who will be traveling to Kenya and Rwanda “for an educational and cultural exchange with African filmmakers, students and the local creative communities,” the Academy has announced. The AMPAS delegation will arrive in Nairobi on Saturday, July 9, and travel to Kigali on Sunday, July 17; they will return to the U.S. on Sunday, July 24.

Also in the Academy delegation will be producer Stephanie Allain (Black Snake Moan, We the Peeples), sound mixer Willie Burton (The Color Purple, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade), editor Carol Littleton (Places in the Heart, The Manchurian Candidate); production designer Wynn Thomas (Mars Attacks!, Wag the Dog); and Academy director of exhibitions and special events Ellen Harrington. Harrington, Alfre Woodard and Phil Alden Robinson also took part in the Academy’s International Outreach initiative to Iran in 2009.

The information below is from the Academy’s press release:

The itinerary in Nairobi includes numerous workshops and seminars at One Fine Day – Films (formerly known as FilmAfrica!), a training facility where more than 65 student filmmakers from nine African countries gain experience in a variety of filmmaking disciplines and collaborate on a feature-length production.

In addition, several delegates will present and discuss a film from their career; films to be screened include Silverado (Bailey and Littleton) and The Shawshank Redemption (Burton).

Academy members will also visit the Kakuma refugee camp near the Sudanese border, where they will experience the work of FilmAid International (an Academy Institutional Grants beneficiary), a non-governmental organization that provides film training and open-air screenings to help address social and medical issues affecting long-term camp residents, and the community of Kibera, a large Nairobi slum.

In Rwanda, the delegates will inaugurate the KWETU Film Institute, a professional training center, and lead master classes for students and filmmakers. The group will also take part in the opening night of the Rwanda Film Festival, held in Kigali, and its regional festival “Hillywood,” which presents open-air screenings of African films for audiences of up to 10,000 people per night in the hills region of the country.

This trip is being undertaken as part of the Academy’s International Outreach Initiative, which has previously sent members to Vietnam, Iran and Cuba. The program brings delegations of film artists to countries with developing film industries and creates opportunities for creative conversations between emerging and established filmmakers.

Photo: Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences website

July 11

Zooey DeschanelZooey Deschanel affirms she loves downtown Los Angeles in an open letter posted at, a site co-founded by Deschanel herself. Why would this L.A. native – who shockingly doesn’t live on the Westside – go through the trouble of defending her “love” for her hometown’s downtown?

Here’s why: Los Angeles Times columnist Patt Morrison began her July 10 article “Downtown L.A.: Good enough for the royals, but not for Zooey Deschanel?” with the remark “I can’t believe Zooey Deschanel is really the snobby cow she came off sounding like Saturday evening.”

Morrison had learned that at a BAFTA event attended by Deschanel, Nicole Kidman, Jason Bateman, Paul Rudd, Tom Hanks, Jennifer Garner, Mary-Louise Parker, Blake Lively, Jennifer Lopez, Quentin Tarantino, and Prince William and wife Catherine, among others, the (500) Days of Summer actress and daughter of cinematographer Caleb Deschanel had told USA Today‘s Claudia Puig: “I just don’t want them [the prince/duke and his wife] to see the worst of L.A.” By that, Puig explained in her royally fluffy piece, Deschanel had meant “the area near the BAFTA event at the Belasco Theater in downtown Los Angeles.”

Morrison has since corrected her piece with the following addendum: “As it turns out, Zooey Deschanel doesn’t live on the Westside.” Now I’m wondering, where does Zooey Deschanel live? And who’s gonna complain about uncollected trash, streets full of potholes, and lack of city services west of the 405?

And just curious… In her piece, Morrison lauds the British royal family, remarking at one point that Prince William even slept with the United Kingdom’s homeless just for the experience of it! The prince/duke of Cambridge is no longer sleeping in the streets, we all know. But what about the homeless he slept with? Where are they sleeping now?


Zooey DeschanelBelow is Zooey Deschanel’s open letter to the Los Angeles Times’ Patt Morrison:

Dear Ms. Morrison,

I feel compelled to respond to your recent blog post regarding comments I “allegedly” made outside the BAFTA dinner on Saturday night. I never spoke to you at this event; in fact, you weren’t even there. I am completely and utterly shocked that a professional journalist, whom I have never met, would take a partial quote out of context and use it as the basis for a misguided personal attack. Further, I find it appalling that you would resort to name-calling to get your point across. In a court of law this would be called hearsay, and in journalism, I believe this should be the beginning of an investigation, not the end of one.

Let me be clear: the quote from USA TODAY that you used as the foundation of your piece was taken completely out of context. I NEVER said that Downtown LA was “the worst of LA”. I did make a reference to a parking lot adjacent to the theater that had a lot of trash in it in an attempt to be humorous. I simply said, “It’s funny they brought royalty here, there is a parking lot with trash around the corner.” It wasn’t an opinion. It was true. There was indeed a parking lot with trash around the corner. I thought that the juxtaposition of British Royalty and trash was amusing in a high-brow + low brow sort of way, but I never said that I, personally, didn’t like downtown, the Royals, or even trash.

I LOVE DOWNTOWN LA and I relish any opportunity to spend time there. I have pride in my city, that’s the reason why I thought it was kind of funny that they didn’t clean up the immediate surroundings before the Royals came through. In the end, of course, it didn’t actually matter since those two crazy kids were flown in by helicopter anyway. Silly me. Regardless, I don’t even think I need to defend my love of Los Angeles. I am a native Angelino, and had you done any research at all, you would have found that I have been quoted in the press on numerous occasions talking about how much I love Downtown.

In your piece, the character you’ve created of “me” is actually pretty funny. I don’t know who this person is, but it seems as if you’ve borrowed her from the Susan Lucci repertoire. You make so many far-fetched conclusions; for one thing, you state, “go back to your house on the Westside.” Well, I can’t do that because I do not live on the Westside. You also open your piece by calling me a “cow”, which might be your opinion, but I wish a journalist for the Los Angeles Times and KPCC had found a more sophisticated way of sharing a difference in perceived opinion.

It’s hard for me to comprehend why you launched such a vile and toxic blow in my direction over a sentence fragment that you did not even hear for yourself. I do hope that in the future when writing about something, especially a human being, you will consider both the facts and context before publishing your opinion.

Zooey Deschanel

Zooey Deschanel writes music, sings, and acts on screens, small and big. She is a co-founder of hellogiggles. She is one half of the indie folk band She & Him . She dances too but just for fun.

July 11

Liza MinnelliDescribed as the “high-priestess of the music hall” and as the “contemporary incarnation of ‘all-purpose’ in the American style,” Academy Award winner Liza Minnelli was announced as the latest Officer in France’s Order of the Legion of Honor at a ceremony held today at the French Ministry of Culture in Paris.

Minister of Culture Frédéric Mitterrand declared that Minnelli, “for more than five decades […] has ensured that the show must go on.” A visibly moved Minnelli, for her part, said she was “honored to have become a part of France, a part of Paris.”

She also recalled that her father, director Vincente Minnelli, had promised her that one day “she would learn to dance, would wear a nice dress, and would go to Paris … This moment is marvelous. It’s today!”

Additionally, Minnelli thanked French icon Charles Aznavour, whom she reportedly considers her mentor.

Liza Minnelli’s first film appearance was in the last scene of Robert Z. Leonard’s In the Good Old Summertime, a 1949 musicalized remake of The Shop Around the Corner that starred Minnelli’s mother, Judy Garland, and Van Johnson.

In addition to her Best Actress Oscar for Bob Fosse’s Cabaret (1972), Minnelli has earned one British Academy Award (also for Cabaret), three Tonys (including a special award), two Golden Globes (for Cabaret and the 1985 television movie A Time to Live), an Honorary Grammy, and an Emmy. Her album “Confessions” was released in fall 2010.

July 13

Jesse Metcalfe, Julie Gonzalo, Josh Henderson, Jordana Brewster, Dallas
Jesse Metcalfe, Julie Gonzalo, Josh Henderson, Jordana Brewster, Dallas

The new Dallas, to be aired on TNT in summer 2012, brings back the old DallasLarry Hagman, Patrick Duffy, Charlene Tilton, and Linda Gray as the more mature versions of their characters. New Dallas cast members include Beyond a Reasonable Doubt‘s Jesse Metcalfe, Fast Five‘s Jordana Brewster, Christmas with the Kranks’ Julie Gonzalo, and Yours, Mine and Ours’ Josh Henderson.

In addition to Hagman, Duffy, and Tilton, the original Dallas featured a couple of movie veterans, MGM singing star Howard Keel (Show Boat, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers) and Oscar nominee Barbara Bel Geddes (I Remember Mama, Vertigo). Also in the recurring cast were Priscilla Presley, Steve Kanaly, and Earthquake‘s Victoria Principal, among others.

Photo: TNT

July 12

Silent Souls Aleksei Fedorchenko

Shadow Distribution will present the US theatrical release of Aleksei Fedorchenko’s Silent Souls, an Official Selection at the 2010 New York, Toronto and Venice film festivals. Silent Souls will open at Angelika Film Center in New York on Friday, September 16, and at Laemmle Theaters in Los Angeles on September 30. Other cities will follow.

The Silent Souls plot synopsis below is from the film’s press release:

When Miron’s beloved wife Tanya passes away, he asks his best friend Aist to help him say goodbye to her according to the rituals of the Merja culture, an ancient Finno-Ugric tribe from Lake Nero, a picturesque region in West-Central Russia. Although the Merja people assimilated into Russians in the 17th century, their myths and traditions live on in their descendants’ modern life.

The two men set out on a road trip thousands of miles across the boundless land, with them, two small birds in a cage. Along the way, as is custom for the Merjans, Miron shares intimate memories of his conjugal life. But as they reach the banks of the sacred lake where they will forever part with the body, he realizes he wasn’t the only one in love with Tanya…

July 12

Convento, Jarred Alterman, Convent
Jarred Alterman’s Convento

Jarred Alterman’s Convento, accompanied by several shorts, will be screened on the roof of The Old American Can Factory in New York City at 9 p.m. on July 16. The screening will be preceded by April March’s live music and will be followed by a q&a with the filmmaker “and subjects,” in addition to a reception in the courtyard.

In the Rooftops Films press release, the evening is described as a “a madcap dance between nature and machine, between past and future, between the living and the dead.” The release adds that also featured will be “robo-animal sculpture installations” by Convento‘s Christiaan Zwanikken.

Below is information about Convento, from the press release:

CONVENTO (Jarred Alterman | Portugal | 52 min.)

Two fox skulls rise on spindly necks to dance and fight. Nearby in the chirping woods, a woman gathers her laundry, seemingly oblivious. A metal beetle whirrs and clicks, scaring a curious bird into fissure. A monastery in ruins is resurrected as a palace of ingenuity, as much in harmony with nature as it is incongruous within it.

Built 400 years ago, the convent on a cliff is now home to Geraldine Zwanikken and her sons Christiaan and Louis. The family settled here to find and forge a new wellspring of creativity. Christiaan has tapped the well literally, building a robotic donkey which walks an endless circle, lifting water to compound’s highest point, to trickle down and nurture Geraldine’s garden. The art is ghastly but gorgeous, an homage to the boys’ childhood donkey, and to all working animals and clever machines. Made out of modern scrap machinery but referencing eternal truths about the history and nature of animal life, this piece, like all of Christiaan’s work, like the convent, is a glorious contradiction, an object at odds with itself.

Director Jarred Alterman revels in the Zwanikkens’ poetic paradoxes. Lusciously photographed, intricately edited, delicately constructing a soundscape that mixes the sounds of the hills with the noises of a science fiction film set in Medieval times, Convento is a delightful immersion in the sun-dusted scrubland, in the crumbling walls of the ancient building, in Christiaan’s Frankenstein lab, revealing a unique vision of existence.

Convento plays with:

GOING WEST (Martin Andersen | UK | 2 min.)

SESEKE CLASSIC (Rainer Komers | Germany | 5 min.)

THE ORD (Enid Baxter Blader | Aptos, California | 10 min.)

SYNCHRONISATION (Rimas Sakalauskas | Lithuania | 8 min.)

LET THEM BELIEVE (Todd Chandler and Jeff Stark | Brooklyn, NY | 15 min.)

The Old American Can Factory: 232 3rd St. (at 3rd Ave.), Gowanus/Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY 11215. Subway: F/G to Carroll St. or M/R to Union


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1 comment

D. Lama -

Patt was being mean and mean can come in all sorts of shapes sizes and points on the political map. I do feel that when one is balanced in their life then meanness has a far less likelihood of emerging. I hope the Patt can find a bit more balance in her life so that she does not misuse her talents in the way that she had when speaking about the imaginative character with your name attached to the article.
Zooey, your reply was well thought out and unemotional and did not come from a place of inflated ego. I commend you in having the emotional maturity to respond to Patt in such a constructive and humorous manner.
With respect,


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