The Muppets Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy took a well-deserved swipe at Fox News while taking part at a press conference at London’s May Fair Hotel this past Jan. 26. Please scroll down to check out the video.
A little while ago, Fox Business Channel’s Eric Bolling said the following: “The Muppets are back and being terrorized by an evil oil executive in their new movie. Liberal Hollywood depicting a successful businessman as ‘evil,’ that’s not new. I’ll put it out there: Is liberal Hollywood using class warfare to kind of brainwash our kids?”
Kermit the Frog doesn’t quite think so. “Oh yeah, it’s sooo dangerous,” Kermit responded when a journalist asked him about Bolling’s accusation. “It’s a funny thing, they were concerned with us having some prejudice against oil companies and I can tell you that’s categorically not true. And besides, if we had a problem with oil companies, why would we have spent the entire film driving around in a gas-guzzling Rolls Royce?”
The best response, however, was left to Miss Piggy: “It’s almost as laughable as accusing Fox News of, you know, being … news.”
Directed by James Bobin, from a screenplay by Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller, The Muppets was released in the United States last November. The film stars Segel, Amy Adams, Rashida Jones, Chris Cooper, and features a whole array of star cameos, including those by Alan Arkin, Zach Galifianakis, Emily Blunt, Ken Leong, Jim Parsons, John Krasinski, and Mickey Rooney. In the film, the Academy Award-winning Cooper (Adaptation) plays the villainous oil executive Tex Richman, who knows there’s oil under the Muppets’ studio – and is out to get it no matter how.
As for Bolling’s claim that “Liberal Hollywood depicting a successful businessman as ‘evil,’ that’s not new” … Well, he is certainly right on that account. Subversive Mary Pickford, surely a revolutionary Communist out to overthrow the U.S. government, starred in numerous films in the 1910s in which she was a member of the disenfranchised – or at least had to spend time as one of them so as to learn about generosity, compassion, and selflessness.
Sidney Franklin’s delightful The Hoodlum (1919) is a case in point, as the New York elite (to which Pickford belongs) is portrayed as self-absorbed and uncaring until Pickford’s spoiled brat spends time in a poor ghetto and discovers that there’s much more to life than Park Avenue. Now, see below Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy topple Fox News.
Camera and YouTube post by Russell Nelson.
Quotes via TheCelebrityCafe.com
Clint Eastwood Super Bowl Chrysler Ad Irks Right-Wingers
Who won the Super Bowl this past Sunday? You don’t remember? You’re probably not alone. However, you’ll likely recall some of the ads and shows presented during the game. Curiously, even more memorable than M.I.A.’s middle finger, Madonna’s (otherwise PG-rated) Mylène Farmer-style musical extravaganza, and the movie spots for The Dictator, The Avengers, Battleship, and John Carter was a simple car ad. A Chrysler car ad, for Christ sake. (Please scroll down.)
The ad has become a cause célèbre not necessarily because of what it has to say or how the message is conveyed. In fact, “It’s Halftime America” looks like every corny ad that G.E., for one, has been cranking out since time immemorial. The issue here is the political affiliations of the ad’s car salesman: Clint Eastwood.
Clint Eastwood, Chrysler Super Bowl Halftime commercial
Eastwood, a paragon of socially sanctioned vigilantism disguised as “rugged individualism” in the Dirty Harry movies, and a self-proclaimed admirer of New Gingrich, Chris Christie, and Herman Cain, starred in the Super Bowl Chrysler ad boasting about the “comeback” of Detroit – “Motor City is fighting again” – that has left right-wingers, who perceived the ad as an endorsement of U.S. president Barack Obama’s policies, foaming at the mouth. (Now, just imagine if Eastwood had been hawking Honda or Toyota…)
At Fox News, Eastwood had to defend himself by stating, “I am certainly not politically affiliated with Mr. Obama. It was meant to be a message just about job growth and the spirit of America. I think all politicians will agree with it. I thought the spirit was OK.” Eastwood then added, “I just want to say that the spin stops with you guys, and there is no spin in that ad. On this I am certain. I am not supporting any politician at this time.”
Indeed, in the same interview in which Eastwood had expressed his admiration for Cain, Gingrich, and Christie, he clearly stated that he was against bailing out banks and auto companies.
“Look at me,” he told the Los Angeles Times’ Patrick Goldstein. “I’ve had to make films for less money or go out and find my own money. On Mystic River, I had to cut my salary and everyone else’s to get it made. I know the score. If I start to grind out two or three turkeys, I’ll be unemployed, just like anyone else.”
Following his three recent domestic turkeys – Invictus, Hereafter, and J. Edgar (despite the box office friendly presence of Leonardo DiCaprio) – we’ll see if Eastwood will be joining the currently long, long, long lines of the unemployed “just like anyone else.” (Not likely: Eastwood is set to star alongside Justin Timberlake and Amy Adams in Robert Lorenz’s baseball drama Trouble with the Curve. He is also attached as director of the latest A Star Is Born remake, this one to star Beyoncé Knowles in the old Constance Bennett [What Price Hollywood?]/Janet Gaynor/Judy Garland/Barbra Streisand/Michelle Pfeiffer [Up Close & Personal] role).
I should add that Eastwood has been in the hot seat before with his fellow “conservatives.” That was when the eventual Best Picture and Best Director Academy Award winner Million Dollar Baby came out in late 2004. One key plot point in the generally well-received melodrama depicted euthanasia from a positive standpoint. That approach irked right-wingers, especially the religious affiliated. (Also very much annoyed were some individuals who claimed the film was an affront to the handicapped.)
Wrapping this up, Eastwood also told Fox News that he donated to charity the money Chrysler paid him to appear in the ad.
Clint Eastwood quote via The Hollywood Reporter.
Madonna Super Bowl Show: Best ‘W.E.’ promo
Madonna, movie trailers (The Avengers, Battleship, John Carter), and car commercials were some of the hits at the 2012 Super Bowl broadcast yesterday. Below (sorry, the video has been deleted) is the spectacular (or spectacularly tacky, if you wish) Madonna Super Bowl XLVI Halftime Show in HD. (Madonna’s Super Bowl show, I should add, was a total – if much less daring – rip-off of Mylène Farmer’s shows throughout Europe.)
According to reports, the 2012 Super Bowl was watched by a record-breaking 111.3 million people in the United States. (Overseas, about 111.3 people watched it.) Now, I don’t know if those (domestic) figures truly reflect the number of people in front of TV sets across the country; either way, what remains totally unclear is how many of those purported 111.3 million Super Bowl watchers were a) actually paying any attention to the game b) at least half-way sober so they’d have an idea of which teams were playing c) noticed M.I.A. extending her middle finger while Madonna sang “Give Me All Your Luvin.'”
A lot of people with way too much free time in their hands have been bitching about that M.I.A.’s finger-pointing. A few years ago, those same people wreathed in agony at the time of the Justin Timberlake-Janet Jackson “wardrobe malfunction.” Perhaps they’re afraid M.I.A.’s middle finger will lead to war with Iran – much like Janet Jackson’s bare breasts led to death and mayhem in Iraq – or at the very least, increase the rate of global warming.
Of note: Madonna’s appearance at the Super Bowl wasn’t exactly a trailer, but the showwoman-actress-singer-director-etc. has a new movie out. That’s W.E., a widely panned love story featuring Andrea Riseborough as Wallis Simpson, James Darcy as King Edward VIII, in addition to Abbie Cornish and Oscar Isaac. Following a couple of Oscar-qualifying runs late in 2011, W.E. opened last Friday; Madonna’s song for the movie, “Masterpiece,” won a Golden Globe a few weeks ago.
New photo: Andrew Garfield in ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’
The Amazing Spider-Man leading man Andrew Garfield can be spotted in another recently released “in character” photo. Garfield, of course, looks quite different from Tobey Maguire, the star of the Sam Raimi-directed Spider-Man movies of a few years back. The Help actress Emma Stone, for her part, is replacing Kirsten Dunst.
Directed by Marc Webb, fresh off the sleeper hit (500) Days of Summer, The Amazing Spider-Man also features the following:
Roger Dodger actor Campbell Scott. Two-time Best Actress Oscar winner Sally Field (Norma Rae, Places in the Heart). Veteran Martin Sheen (Badlands, Apocalypse Now). Rhys Ifans. C. Thomas Howell. Julianne Nicholson. Denis Leary. Irrfan Khan.
Andrew Garfield movies
Among Andrew Garfield’s prior screen credits are:
- David Fincher’s The Social Network, with Jesse Eisenberg and Justin Timberlake.
- Mark Romanek’s Never Let Me Go, with Keira Knightley and Carey Mulligan.
- Robert Redford’s Lions for Lambs, with Redford, Tom Cruise, and Meryl Streep.
The Amazing Spider-Man is scheduled to open, in both 3D and 2D, on July 3.
Andrew Garfield The Amazing Spider-Man image: Columbia Pictures.
Bradley Coooper ‘Paradise Lost’ canceled
Bradley Cooper, whose The Crow bit the dust not too long ago, has just seen another big-budget project go down the drain. According to Deadline.com, Legendary Pictures’ Paradise Lost, which was put on hold a few weeks ago, has now been totally scrapped.
Inspired by John Milton’s poem, Paradise Lost was to have been directed by Alex Proyas, with Cooper as Lucifer, Benjamin Walker as the archangel Michael, Casey Affleck as the archangel Gabriel, Diego Boneta as Adam, and Camilla Belle as Eve. Among the many hands working on the screenplay were those of Stuart Hazeldine and Lawrence Kasdan.
As with Gore Verbinski’s Johnny Depp-Armie Hammer movie The Lone Ranger last year, and with (at least to some extent) Akira and David Dobkin’s Arthur & Lancelot more recently, the issue was Paradise Lost‘s budget. As per the official story, Legendary was unable to bring costs down to $120 million. (Deadline adds that the studio has already spent “low eight figures” on the project. That translates into more than $10 million on a no-go movie.) Hollywood studios have been revising downward their movie budgets following significant drops in DVD sales and at the domestic box office.
Although it’s possible that Paradise Lost will be picked up again in the future, there’s no guarantee that the talent currently associated with the movie adaptation will remain on board. Moneyball lost director Steven Soderbergh (Bennett Miller replaced him), while American Gangster lost director Antoine Fuqua (Ridley Scott eventually replaced him).
For now, Arthur & Lancelot is still a possible go at Warner Bros. The Killing‘s Joel Kinnaman and Game of Thrones’ Kit Harington are slated to star. Also at Warners, Akira is still on hold. The project is to star TRON: Legacy‘s Garrett Hedlund, and possibly Breaking Dawn - Part 2‘s Kristen Stewart, Ken Watanabe, and Helena Bonham Carter. As per Deadline, the test options of both Dane DeHaan (Chronicle) and Michael Pitt (Boardwalk Empire), either of whom was to have played Tetsuo, have lapsed. (Among those mentioned for either of the male leads were Stewart’s Twilight co-star Robert Pattinson, in addition to Brad Pitt, The Amazing Spider-Man‘s Andrew Garfield, James McAvoy, X-Men:First Class/Shame‘s Michael Fassbender, Star Trek‘s Chris Pine, and Justin Timberlake.)
Catherine Hardwicke, Evan Rachel Wood: Erotic Thriller ‘Plush’
Production designer-turned-director Catherine Hardwicke, who hit the big time following the worldwide success of the first Twilight movie, may be reteaming with her Thirteen star Evan Rachel Wood in the erotic thriller Plush, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Set in the L.A. music world, Plush was written by Hardwicke and Artie Nelson. Both Hardwicke and Wood are officially attached to project, which will be hawked to prospective foreign buyers at the upcoming Berlin Film Festival’s European Film Market beginning next week.
Thirteen created quite a buzz when it came out in 2003, but Hardwicke’s first – and to date only – major commercial hit has been Twilight, which turned Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson into movie stars. Starring Amanda Seyfried, last year’s Red Riding Hood was a critical and box office disappointment.
Hardwicke is currently working on Knock-Out, the story of Swedish boxer Bosse Högberg and his relationship with cabaret singer Anita Lindblom. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows’ Noomi Rapace and her husband, Ola Rapace (to be seen in Sam Mendes’ James Bond movie Skyfall), are set to star. Last year, Hardwicke was reportedly going to work on an adaptation of Martha O’Connor’s psychological novel The Bitch Posse, but that seems to be on hold for the time being.
Hardwicke’s credits as a production designer include Cameron Crowe’s Vanilla Sky, starring Tom Cruise and Penélope Cruz; David O. Russell’s Three Kings, with George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg; and Costa-Gavras’ Mad City, with Dustin Hoffman and John Travolta.
Evan Rachel Wood was recently seen in the George Clooney political drama The Ides of March, co-starring Clooney and Ryan Gosling, and, on television, as Kate Winslet’s selfish daughter in Todd Haynes’ Mildred Pierce remake.
James Cameron Collaborator Andrew Wight, Cinematographer Mike deGruy Die
Producer Andrew Wight (right), best known for his collaboration with James Cameron on Sanctum, and cinematographer Mike deGruy, among whose credits is the documentary Deep Blue, have died earlier today as their helicopter crashed while taking off from an airstrip south of Berry in New South Wales, Australia. Wight, from the Australian state of Victoria, was 51; deGruy, from Santa Barbara, California, was 60.
According to the Melbourne Herald Sun, they were scouting locations for a documentary at Jervis Bay, NSW. Avatar and Titanic‘s James Cameron was reportedly involved in the project as well.
In addition to various Adventures of the Quest programs for Australian television and other TV fare (e.g., Last Mysteries of the Titanic), Andrew Wight produced a couple of features: the aforementioned Sanctum, for which James Cameron received credit as co-producer, and Aliens of the Deep, a 2005 documentary co-directed by Cameron and Steven Quale. Purportedly based on Wight’s near-death experience in an underwater cave, Sanctum was a box office disappointment in North America, grossing a mere $23.2 million. However, the adventure drama found a much wider audience overseas; its worldwide gross was $108.6 million.
As per the Herald Sun, Wight was recently named the head of Cameron Pace, James Cameron’s “first international 3D production office,” based in Australia.
Mike deGruy (right) won both an Emmy and a BAFTA Television Award for his work (along with about a dozen others) on the 2001 television documentary Blue Planet. His only feature film credits as a cinematographer were two underwater documentaries: Incredible Suckers (1995), which he also wrote, about octopuses, and Deep Blue (2003), directed by Andy Byatt and Alastair Fothergill, written by David Attenborough, and narrated by Michael Gambon. (At TED.com, check out deGruy talking about the Earth’s oceans.)