● The AP plans to host an online stream of Whitney Houston’s funeral for those who feel they need to bid a digital adieu. [AP/Huff Post]
● He said he wouldn’t, but it looks like Seal has gone ahead and taken off his wedding ring. Perhaps so as not to distract from his canary yellow manicure? [TMZ]
● T-Pain has named his next mixtape The Heath Ledger Project because, as he says, "that’s how much I love music." "I want to master my craft like [Ledger] tried to do before he died,” he continued. "I think he went so crazy trying to master his craft that he died for what he loved doing." [Rap-Up]
● Meryl Streep will play Julia Roberts’s mother in John Wells’s Oscary adaptation of August: Osage County, set to begin production this fall. [THR]
● With a MoMA retrospective on the approaching horizon, Cindy Sherman is using photoshop to try something new. "It’s horrifying how easy it to make changes,” she says. [NYT]
Another day, another miserable complication in the ever-shrinking life of Little Orphan Lindsay. Previously: LOL’s horrible father figure forked over a bundle of voice mails about his daughter to RadarOnline. And as part of its honorable mission statement to provide the highest level of public-service journalism, RadarOnline has made available one of those recordings, in which we learn, through the cigarette-scorched voice of her mother, that Lohan may have been dating Ledger shortly before his death. And that she could be as little as one bender away from her own personal D-Day.
Reveals her frog-throated mother through the voicemail addressed to Lohan’s father, “She was dating Heath when he died.” This confirms some rumors that have been pinballing around for some time now. It also adds some gravity to Lohan’s grief following the star’s passing. And the fact that she’s been unspooling significantly since.
“I don’t know if you know that, but I know ’cause I would drop her off and they were friends. Very, very close, okay?” Her concern continues. “Because when she’s drunk or takes an Adderall with it she will do something like Heath Ledger did in a second without thinking.” Oh, Donata Sullivan! Why ever would Lindsay be so prone to substance abuse? There’s yet more yammering about how Lohan needed to stay away from her demonic dad, suffering from night terrors as she did from his violent outbursts in the past. So she would frequently stay with her mother. Lesser of two evils and all that, I suppose.
Mommy Dearest also opines about how LiLo should split up with Samantha Ronson, but Lohan’s inherent difficulty to do so: “It’s very easy for a rational person to say. But [not] for an irrational person who has a problem with her DNA and alcohol and Adderall and asthma and every other thing she’s got wrong with her.” Other things like this and this.
● In Michael Lohan’s guesstimation, Lindsay Lohan has a week, or a month, or a year to live and needs to be in a long-term rehab, lest she wind up like Heath Ledger, who Michael would like you to know was very close to Lilo. [NYDailyNews] ● Lady Gaga’s ninth tattoo will be a dedication to her father, who lived through open-heart surgery. Fittingly, Gaga plans to get a heart with the word “Dad” inside of it. [ContactMusic] ● Natalie Portman defends her vegetarianism by comparing eating meat to rape. [Celebrity-Gossip]
● Andrew Morton, who’s written the unauthorized biographies of Tom Cruise and Princess Diana, claims Angelina Jolie permanently damaged her relationship with her mother by sleeping with her boyfriend when she was just 16. [NYDailyNews] ● Kate Gosselin says she’d like to be in a movie one day. What qualifies her? All those years playing herself on television. [People] ● A girl planning to throw a Harry Potter-themed Halloween party received a cease-and-desist letter from Warner Brothers, who claim the party was “infringement of Warner’s rights”; now she’s just having a “Generic Wizard Night” that also happens to fall on Halloween. [Guardian]
Remember those exciting few months leading up the release of The Dark Knight last summer, when the film’s viral marketing campaign was changing the way movies are marketed, and all anyone could write about (including this writer) was Heath Ledger’s supposedly earth-shattering portrayal of the Joker? Those were fun times that now seem to be of another life time. Ledger collected all the posthumous awards he possible could have, and the next Batman film languishes in development hell with silly rumors of Megan Fox and Cher as Catwoman. Now that Ledger is gone, and the prospect of never seeing his Joker on screen again is a likely one, his role in the movie feels much too small. What happens after he’s captured and sent to Arkham Asylum for evaluation? Some amateur, albeit talented and ambitious filmmakers, have decided to answer that question.
Judging by when these videos were posted (some as early as 9 months ago) The Joker Blogs has been on YouTube for a while now — and even though we’re admittedly late on it, it’s worth a share. The web series takes the form of a classified collection of interviews between Patient #4479 (The Joker) and Dr. Harleen Quinzel, destined to become his accomplice Harley Quinn. It’s easily the best impression of Ledger’s iconic portrayal out there, right down from the makeup to Ledger’s hypnotic lip-licking. But still — there’s something missing, and it only serves to remind us how irreplaceable the actor is. In the most recent video, Patient #4479 escapes captivity, and Dr. Quinzel pleads for help to find him. The first video is embedded below. Cue Heath Ledger nostalgia now.
When Mickey Rourke accepted his Best Actor award at last year’s Independent Spirit Awards for The Wrestler, he took the opportunity to remind the film community of another aging bull out there who deserves a second chance at cinematic glory. While the camera cut to a very embarrassed Roberts, Rourke declared, “Eric Roberts is probably the best actor I ever worked with, and I don’t know why in the last fifteen years, ain’t nobody give him a chance to show his shit again … Eric Roberts is the fuckin’ man.” While the 53-year-old actor (and brother to Julia) probably won’t be collecting industry hardware anytime soon, a quick trip to his IMDb page will show you he’s hardly out of work. Starting September 18, you can see him as a mogul with a heart of gold in the series Crash, a spin-off of the Oscar-winning film. After that, he’ll play a corrupt CIA specialist in Sly Stallone’s Arnold-less action opus The Expendables. Here is the “the fuckin’ man” on falling in love with a wrestler, getting embarrassed by The Wrestler, and giving makeup tips to Heath Ledger.
Can you tell me about the character you play in Crash? I’m not going to talk about Crash today.
I know you play a character named Seth, right? Seth Blanchard, the richest guy in America, twenty eight billion bucks. He’s going to bring pro football back to L.A. He has a vision. I can’t talk about that vision, but I can tell you that he takes a left turn into another life and decides he’s going to build a city for the homeless.
I didn’t expect that. When I hear Eric Roberts is playing a mogul, I automatically think the guy is going to be a prick. Yeah sure, of course you did. I just finished playing a prick for Sylvester Stallone in The Expendables. I play a rogue CIA agent cooperating with a Noriega-style drug lord. I’ve got this guy by the balls and he’s got me by the balls, so we’re holding each other captive by the balls.
Is this movie going to be as gory as Stallone’s latest Rambo movie? No, it’s not gross like that. It’s poignant splatter.
Did you make any new friends on set? Steve Austin is my new best friend, pal. I’m dead serious. We fell in love with each other on the first day of shooting. He’s so cool, and he’s gonna be a real actor brother, it’ll blow your mind!
Speaking of great friends, how did you feel when Mickey Rourke called you out at last year’s Independent Spirit Awards? I was embarrassed, but I was also very flattered. It’s embarrassing to have to kindness overflow out of the microphone and spew all over you. He’s in The Expendables, too. He plays a bad motherfucker.
As someone who was once nominated for an Oscar, did you have any advice for Mickey before the ceremony? Wallow in it dude, just fuckin’ wallow in it. It’s so much fun. Everybody acts so silly about it — it gets so blown out of proportion. It’s just a gas, you know? And everywhere you go it’s, “good luck Mr. Roberts, and good luck Mr. Rourke.” For a few weeks you’re the shit.
What about you? Are you in search of a Rourke-style resurrection? That’s a huge question and I don’t have a big enough answer for it. But I can tell you this, everything is cyclical and all you can do is whatever you can do and when it all gets said and done, it’s all said and done. Besides, they overpay all of us.
You had a supporting role in The Dark Knight. How did you feel when Heath Ledger suddenly passed away? I didn’t worry about the film because the film was bigger than his death. On set I remember being told, “You can’t approach Heath, because he is in character.” And I’m like, “Fuck that. Hey Heath, how you doing?” And then he just said “Great, how was that last take? I wasn’t comfortable with that.” I’m like, “I thought it was great dude.”
Is he talking to you in his Joker voice or is he talking to you in his normal voice with his accent? In his regular voice with his accent.
What was your reaction when you first saw him come out in full costume and makeup? I said, “You should fix your lipstick.” And he winked.
Do you think Chris Nolan intended for his character to appear in the third film? You have to ask the boss. The boss and his brother are the guys to ask that question.
To the dismay of everyone within earshot of my desk, my excitement will not be quelled about how totally major this year’s Cannes Film Festival is going to be. In addition to new awards-contenders from the likes of Quentin Tarantino and Michel Gondry (who didn’t make the list, only because I couldn’t find much on his latest film, L’epine Dans le Coeur), the sun-soaked Riviera festival will premiere Sam Raimi’s return to death and evil, as well as Jane Campion’s first major release since the Kiwi director tried, disastrously, to make Meg Ryan edgy in 2003’s In the Cut. Penelope Cruz hugs a lot of people in Pedro Almodóvar’s Broken Embraces, Ang Lee takes Woodstock and Brad Pitt screams, “Each and every man under my command owes me one hundred Nazi scalps … and I want my scalps!” Oh, and the late Heath Ledger might just get another Oscar. After the jump, the festival’s, if not the year’s, most anticipated films (with trailers).
Agora by Alejandro Amenabar. From the director of The Others and The Sea Inside comes a historical drama, starring Rachel Weisz and Max Minghella, about Hypatia of Alexandria, the Egyptian philosophy professor who fell in love with her slave. Minghella tells BlackBook, exclusively, “Rachel’s performance in the film is, objectively speaking, quite spectacular. Performances in historical films can so easily stray into frigidity, but she injects everything with warmth and modernity, which I really believe is a principle reason why the film is as accessible as it is.” Of his working relationship with Weisz, he adds, “I felt completely comfortable around her. We grew up on the same street in London, and now in New York our apartments are directly opposite one another — which is fantastic for voyeuristic reasons, but also a bizarre coincidence. Maybe it’s our shared geographic history, but I feel very at home around her.”
The White Ribbon by Michael Haneke. While it certainly would have been interesting to watch Haneke eke out another version of Funny Games, the master of torture’s latest project sounds incredible. Courtesy of IMDb: “Strange events happen at a rural school in the north of Germany during the year 1913, which seem to be ritual punishment. Does this affect the school system, and how does the school have an influence on fascism?”
Taking Woodstock by Ang Lee. Of course the director who turned Jewel into a cowgirl, Kevin Kline into a swinger, Eric Bana into a monster, and Jake Gyllenhaal into a pederast would eventually set his sights on Woodstock. Starring an incredible cast that includes Demetri Martin, Emile Hirsch, Live Schreiber, and Jonathan Groff, audiences surely won’t be able to quit it.
Inglourious Basterds by Quentin Tarantino. Unless you’ve been living under a very large, Brangelina-proof rock, this one needs no introduction. Still, I’m going to overlook the misspelling, and bypass the backlash by moving ahead to the backlash backlash, and just the love the guts out of this movie. Tarantino and Nazis? It’s almost better than Darryl Hannah and an eye-patch.
Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky by Jan Kounen. Forget Shirley MacLaine and Audrey Tautou for a minute, and watch Anna Mouglalis transform into the gamine Rue Gambon icon as she navigates a relationship with composer and pianist Igor Stravinsky. And keep an eye on Mouglalis: up next, she’ll star in 2010’s Serge Gainsbourg biopic.
Drag Me to Hell by Sam Raimi. Full disclosure: I saw an unfinished version of this. And, as a huge Evil Dead fan, was excited to see what the director of Spider-Man might do with his return to full-on horror. Alison Lohman plays a banker who pisses off a geriatric gypsy, which leads to one of the best catfights ever to appear on film. That said, some of the effects felt a little amusement-park ride-y, but I’ll reserve judgment until watching the final cut.
Broken Embraces by Pedro Almodóvar. This is the return of “Penelepedro,” the unstoppable force of director Pedro Almodóvar and Penelope Cruz, who last captivated audiences with Volver in 2006. It’s got a film noir feel to it, centers on love and a car crash that leaves the protagonist blind, and features a soundtrack that includes Cat Power and Uffie. It sounds near perfect, really.
Map of the Sounds of Tokyo by Isabel Coixet. From My Life Without Me to last year’s Elegy, Coixet has proved herself a masterful storyteller, which is why we can’t wait for “a dramatic thriller that centers on a fish-market employee who doubles as a contract killer.” Tokyo stars Oscar-nominated actress Rinko Kikuchi, who, in my opinion, is one of today’s most revelatory onscreen chameleons.
Bright Star by Jane Campion. Kiwi director Jane Campion is to dark drama what Amy Heckerling is to romantic teen comedy — no matter how tragically their recent films have bombed, I still get excited when their names are attached to new projects. Like this one. Starring Paul Schneider and Abbie Cornish, Bright Star chronicles the love affair between 19th-century poet John Keats and Fanny Brawne, before Keats’ early death. Actually, I just got sort of bored writing that, but, hey, at least it doesn’t feature Meg Ryan getting her nasty on. Plus, Campion made The Piano, so she’s more than capable of a comeback.
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus by Terry Gilliam. Doctor Parnassus might just be the most exciting of all of the offerings at Cannes this year. Yes, the last time Gilliam and Heath Ledger worked together, they created The Brothers Grimm, which was very much so. And yes, Gilliam’s last film, Tideland, was ugly, misanthropic, and bloated. But after Ledger’s tragic death, actors Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell, and Jude Law stepped in to play the same character in various dream worlds. Plus, Tom Waits channels the devil, supermodel Lily Cole plays a damsel in distress, and Christopher Plummer transforms into the 1,000-year-old title character. Intriguing is a gross understatement.
● Queen Elizabeth is the latest recessionista. Word is she’s cutting back at the Buckingham Palace, asking staffers to reuse leftovers from banquets, among other things. [Page Six] ● Speaking of cutting back, Karl Lagerfeld has downsized his luxurious lifestyle … almost. Lagerfeld ditched his Paris home but kept his chambermaid, chauffeur, and chef, who are all “musts.” Oh, and he refuses to get rid of his Hummers. [Spiegel] ● Louis Vuitton announced today they’re scrapping plans to build their 10-story Ginza flagship store amid a declining luxury market in Japan. This would have been the largest LV store in the world. [WWD]
● Director Terry Gilliam would like you to stop comparing Heath Ledger to Hollywood burnouts like James Dean and River Phoenix. [Guardian] ● Marc Jacobs was spotted with boyfriend (not husband) Lorenzo Martone at the Chandelier Creative Recessionista Christmas Extravaganza being adorable. Nice to see MJ with a stable boyfriend for once. [Page Six] ● Anne Hathaway is on the cover of January’s Vogue, entitled “Change, Yes We Can.” By change, Vogue means change your hair color, not the world. [Just Jared]
Scott Campbell’s needles have seen more celebrities’ flesh than those of a Beverly Hills Botox specialist. The man behind Saved Tattoo is responsible for body art adorning everyone from model Lily Cole and Marc Jacobs to the late Heath Ledger. In a recent interview with Starworks, Campbell muses on his work for the aforementioned boldfacers, as well as his book, currently in the works.
Shot in part by photog and provocateur Terry Richardson, the tome in question will highlight Campbell’s finest works (which include “tattoos and drawings for tattoos … paintings and sculptures”). While Campbell’s tattoos are inarguable pieces of art, the artist himself harps on the fact that his interest lies in what’s behind the image or text. “I’ve carved little stories into the skin of thousands of people. Whether it’s with needles or brushes, it’s always about storytelling.” So, which stories have been the most moving for Campbell to tell? “I’ve been humbled by the honor of tattooing memorial tattoos on Heath Ledger’s mother, father, and sister at his house the night before his memorial services.” And, “I covered up a tattoo that a Russian soldier received against his will in an underground prison cell 30 years ago, after being captured by Afghani soldiers.” At the same time, certain ink jobs haven’t been as well-received Campbell would have hoped: “I had a cracked out tweeker storm into the shop and try to slit my throat because he thought I had put subliminal penises in his tattoo.”
Heath Ledger’s ghoulish Joker makeup gave me the heebie jeebies. But he looks like a squeezable birthday clown compared to this grisly concept art. Some of these images, found in The Art of The Dark Knight, were created before Ledger was cast — back when names like Crispin Glover, Lachy Hulme, and Paul Bettany were bandied about. Ledger’s knife-wielding clown was a frightening cat, but this joker would have sported a chainsaw.