Monday, September 8, 2008

Tommy Lee Jones: No Money For Old Men

Tommy Lee JonesTommy Lee Jones is suing the makers of "No Country for Old Men" for $10 mil, but not because of that horrible ending.

Jones says he was promised "significant box-office bonuses" and claims he hasn't received any.

In the lawsuit, Tommy says Paramount Pictures paid a reduced upfront fee for him to be apart of the film -- but says the studio needs to shell out a hell of a lot more dough -- now that the film is an Oscar winning hit.

Calls to Paramount have not been returned.

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Why The Dark Knight will Beat Titanic

Box Office analysts are predicting that The Dark Knight will finish with $530-$540 million domestically, about one Forgetting Sarah Marshall away from breaking Titanic’s $600.7 million record. But I believe they are wrong - and here’s why.

I’m sure that Warner Bros will rerelease the film in theaters eventually. The film has made a record $55 million on IMAX screens alone, and IMAX Filmed Entertainment chief Greg Foster tells The Hollywood Reporter that there is “a real possibility” of an IMAX rerelease in future years. Robert Zemeckis’ The Polar Express 3-D has been rereleased in IMAX theaters every holiday season, resulting in a four year total of $70 million. “Ultimately, it’s a decision that Warner Bros. has to make, Foster says, adding: “We’d certainly support that.”

Last month, The Dark Knight overtook Star Wars to become the second highest grossing domestic film of all time. But many people forget that Star Wars spent only a fraction of the last 31 years in the top two placements. Shortly after surpassing Jaws to become the highest grossing film of all time, Star Wars was knocked off the top by E.T. Overtaken by both Jurassic Park and Forrest Gump, Star Wars dropped the #4 of all time. It wasn’t until the late 90’s rerelease of the trilogy special editions that the film reentered the top two spots.

The stage has been set, and I’m sure it will eventually happen folks. It’s just a matter of when and how. Could Warner Bros rerelease the film in a special edition with additional footage that was cut from the theatrical release? If the studio wasn’t set on releasing a DVD in time for Christmas, they probably could have attempted some kind of special edition rerelease with extra footage. But alas, home video sales will be more profitable, especially during the holiday season.

From what I understand, there were no actual scenes that were completely cut out of The Dark Knight, only trims here and there. So I’m not sure if it would be worth it. But it didn’t stop Paramount/Dreamworks, which added a couple minutes of footage for the IMAX rerelease of Michael Bay’s Transformers. I seriously doubt Warner Bros would attempt to up-convert the film to 3D as the technology just isn’t there yet. Plus the action sequences would probably make your eyes bleed. One thing is or sure, the enviable digital conversion of IMAX theater will make the distribution of such a rerelease more cost effective.

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Justice at last? 13 years after he was cleared of murder, OJ Simpson is back in court accused of kidnap and robbery

By Sarah Chalmers

For a man widely believed to have 'got away with murder', former American footballing legend OJ Simpson has hardly been keeping a low profile.

Almost 13 years after he was acquitted of the double murder of his wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ron Goldman, the sportsman known as 'The Juice' lives a life of luxury in sunny Miami, Florida.

He may have been deemed responsible for the deaths of his ex-wife and her friend in a subsequent civil case, but OJ still lives in style.

OJ Simpson

Charmed existence: OJ Simpson

Home is a six-bedroom ranch-style villa with a swimming pool. Simpson's black Lincoln Navigator is parked in the imposing driveway.

A guesthouse in the three-acre grounds is occupied by Simpson's eldest son, Jason, from his first marriage, to Marguerite Whitley.

Youngest son Justin, 20, still lives with his father, as does OJ's on-off girlfriend Christie Prody, 33.

With an estimated income of £200,000 a year from his American football pension, Simpson wants for nothing. He doesn't work, but spends most days on the golf course.

In the evenings he is to be found socialising with friends or visiting lap-dancing bars.

Little wonder, then, that he has been heard exclaiming 'I love my life', while tucking into a healthy breakfast of smoked salmon bagels in his favourite deli, Roasters 'n' Toasters.

Now, however, that charmed existence may be about to end.

And in a curious twist of irony, a courtroom may yet prove to be the setting for his undoing.

OJ Simpson

OJ listens to the not guilty verdicts at his murder trial in 1995

This week in Las Vegas, Simpson is due to stand trial on charges of kidnapping, armed robbery and assault with a deadly weapon, following an alleged robbery at gunpoint of two sports memorabilia dealers.

If found guilty, he could be imprisoned for life.

OJ Simpson

The former American football star and his wife Nicole

And while many people across the U.S. and beyond - not least members of Nicole's and Ron Goldman's families - believe this would be a fitting end to a shameful chapter in American legal history, others concede that Simpson has been 'set up'.

Certainly, the circumstances of the heist sound curious. But as four co-defendants have already pleaded guilty and stated that they are prepared to testify against Simpson in return for reduced sentences or immunity, the omens do not look good.

According to attorney Paul DerOhannesian: 'What this case is about as much as anything else is trying to get OJ Simpson in jail for what he did years ago.

'Those who are interested in this trial are interested in a retrial of OJ. The prosecution are cutting every deal they can to get Simpson.'

The dramatic details of his murder trial are well known. But the next instalment of the OJ Simpson show promises to be no less spectacular.

This time, the scene is a court in the all-too-fitting entertainment capital of the Western world: Las Vegas.

And while the media circus which surrounded Simpson's murder trial is not yet in place - local television station Channel 13 plans to send just one crew - it is this verdict, expected in five weeks, which may alter the course of Simpson's life.

On paper it reads like the plot of one of the Naked Gun films Simpson starred in during the Nineties.

The retired footballer and five others are alleged to have entered a Las Vegas hotel room in September 2007 and taken Simpson memorabilia at gunpoint from two dealers.

Simpson admits taking the memorabilia, but claims the items were originally stolen from him. He denies breaking into the room and insists no guns were present.

Nevertheless, the man who set up the meeting between Simpson and the dealers says the footballer's entourage carried at least one gun.

In a 212-page book on the heist, 45-year-old Thomas Riccio, who admits he is 'out to make as much money' as he can from the incident, insists: 'I was standing right next to the guy with the gun.'

Friends say Simpson has become a target for wannabes trying to make a name for themselves on the back of his notoriety.

And it is worth noting that Riccio, who has been granted immunity from prosecution, is selling advertising space on his own body, as he will be followed 24 hours a day by a camera crew throughout proceedings.

Pedro Rosado, a partner in Roasters 'n' Toasters, says the star already has a home full of memorabilia, and insists he has long had 'a bull's-eye on his back'.

'I tell OJ to watch it all the time. I think he was set up.

'The things he was supposed to have demanded back - the memorabilia - it don't make sense. Why would he want one item when he has 30 or 40 similar items at home?'

Certainly, Simpson has little cause to rock the boat. He has an enviable lifestyle in Florida, where he is still greeted like a sporting hero despite his notoriety and is able to raise his two youngest children in peace.

At Gulliver Academy, the prestigious private school attended by his daughter, Sydney, and son, Justin, Simpson was a familiar face among the crowds of cheering parents at events.

Although Sydney, 22, is now studying in Boston, Justin lives at home and attends Florida State University where he is excelling at sport.

Most surprising of all, even Nicole Brown's family - who were vehemently opposed to the man they describe as 'evil' getting custody of Nicole's children - admit he has been a good father.

The Browns see the youngsters twice a year for extended breaks and Nicole's sister Denise, 50, says the pair 'have turned into strong, smart, good-looking kids'.

Their former headteacher concurs, describing the pair as among his 'favourite' ex-pupils.

Astonishingly, Simpson recently admitted he had never discussed Nicole's murder with his children.

It is nothing short of a miracle that the pair have emerged as unscathed as they would so far appear.

Why, then, would Simpson risk losing their respect and disrupting their lives again for the sake of a signed football and other items from his sporting heyday?

It is not the first time Simpson has been on the wrong side of the law since the murder trial.

In 2000, he called police claiming he was the victim of domestic abuse, saying his girlfriend Christie Prody had attacked him. The same year, he was arrested - but ultimately cleared - of road rage.

He has also been charged with speeding in his powerboat and pirating cable television signals.

And last month, Arnelle Simpson, 39, his daughter from his first marriage, called the police from her father's home after she got into a brawl with his girlfriend Christie.

Arnelle is said to have knocked her father to the ground, causing him a head injury, during a dispute about Prody's drinking and Simpson's alleged failure to support Arnelle's mother.

It was the second time one of Simpson's daughters had called the police.

Sydney accused her father of being verbally abusive during a row in 2003. Simpson played down the incident and no action was taken.

Whether or not this proves Simpson has become a target for troublemakers, or has simply now been exposed as the violent, law-breaking thug many believe he is, is a moot point.

Ron Goldman's sister Kim, for one, does not care what Simpson goes down for as long as he ends up behind bars.

'This situation in Vegas has nothing to do with the murder of my brother Ron, but I would like to see him go to jail.'

And today, Kim and the rest of the world will be one step closer to seeing that become a reality as jury selection for his trial begins.

We may never know what happened in that Vegas hotel room, or on the steps of his ex-wife's home, but as long as Simpson ends up behind bars, there will be no shortage of people celebrating.

Additional reporting from Annette Witheridge in New York.

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There's only one thing the boy wizard wants now that he's all grown up—to play a drag queen.

-By Chris Norris
-Photograph by Steven Klein

It's a brilliant June day in Manhattan's Bryant Park. Small white clouds dot the wide arc of midtown sky. Children's voices mingle with music from a gilded carousel. And, sitting on a green folding chair, as moms pass with strollers and idlers sip iced tea, the world's most famous English schoolboy is talking dirty.

"Stepping out the motherfucking carr, they in awe," says Daniel Radcliffe. "I'm looking like a starrr, bitch."

He looks up. "How was that?"

Bright-eyed and bushy-browed, the British actor is gamely reciting some phrases we've come up with to test his American accent, in preparation for becoming a full-time New Yorker when he moves here this fall to star in the Peter Shaffer play Equus. We started with some conversational basics—softened t's ("Can I get a bottle of water?"), smashed syllables ("Look at the size of that squirrel")—and are now in the extra-credit section: Lil Wayne lyrics. Radcliffe tries again.

"Stepping out the motherfucking carrr, they in awe, I'm looking like a starr, bitch. When you see me make a wish."

Britain's richest teenager, who will turn 19 in a few weeks, sure does look like a star: knockabout-natty with a choppy brown coif, olive designer tee, navy blazer, and dark skinny jeans—these last are made by Absolut Joy, he says, looking down to check the button on his fly. "And I would like to say that that's what lurks beneath."

Ah, yes, this would be the virile Dan Radcliffe, he of the bare-torso cover shots and professions of girl-craziness, the young man who appeared at last night's Tony Awards still trailing tabloid buzz over his harrowing, occasionally naked performance in Equus, which was originally staged in London. Radcliffe plays Alan Strang, a self-flagellating, stable-boy mental case, a role that fans of him as a certain bespectacled boy wizard—whose presence looms over us even now in a sunny New York City park—might find unsettling.

"Whenever I can I want to leave Harry there on the screen," Radcliffe says. "I don't want to bring him into my normal life."

Even without the signature glasses and inky hair, Radcliffe retains a slightly otherworldly aura, as if he wandered out of some early-seventies Disney musical costarring Angela Lansbury. A slight five feet five, he has fine features and large blue eyes that appear designed to widen in amazement.

The trailer for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Radcliffe is a little manic. He leans forward as he talks—arms tightly folded, eyes darting about, speaking quickly through a clenched jaw that's lightly dusted with stubble. It's likely that Radcliffe is a bit jumpy about being in public—since we left his Manhattan hotel against his handlers' wishes, a bodyguard trailing by a discreet half-block, our stroll has attained the frisson of a Compton roll with Snoop Dogg.

"Not particularly," Radcliffe says when asked if he's nervous. "No, no, no, not at all! The reason I'm looking around is 'cause I always like to clock where everybody is in terms of who's recognized me. 'Cause they try to be subtle and they never are."

What's the latest count?

"Well, there were those two Japanese girls, and that couple over there, and those other two girls, and that mother and daughter . . . "

Like any maturing child star, Daniel Radcliffe is carefully plotting his career after he leaves the role that made his name. Two things make his case unusual: (1) He may be the most eerily adult such actor since a post–Taxi Driver Jodie Foster, and (2) that character happens to be the most popular literary hero since the invention of the printing press.

The seven Harry Potter books have sold more than 400 million copies. They have been translated into 67 languages. They've made their author, J.K. Rowling, the highest-earning novelist in history. And they've spawned the top-grossing film series of all time, which has earned Harry Potter's cinematic representative a fortune the London Times this year estimated to be $39.7 million. Having just signed a contract for $50 million to see Harry Potter through to graduation, Radcliffe is tied with the ubiquitous Miley Cyrus on Forbes' "Hollywood's Top-Paid Tweens" list. Today he occupies a sphere of fame, wealth, and public imagining that approaches the supernatural. Escaping Harry Potter may be his biggest magic trick of all.

We first meet in the hotel lounge, a book-lined nook with Edwardian aspirations: Beaux Arts shelves, a carved-wood fireplace, tables for chess and backgammon. The vibe is somewhere between Kipling-era smoking room and Oxford-don study—an effect that's amplified when Hogwarts' own bursts in and takes a seat at the cribbage table. When Radcliffe marvels at the surfeit of ice in his glass, I counsel him to order booze neat—when he's old enough.

"Well, I am old enough to drink," he says with mock indignation. "But not in this country, apparently." Ever since Equus added a kinky twist to the end of one of the most well-attended puberties of the decade, Radcliffe's passage into adulthood has been the stuff of feverish speculation. For the record, Master Radcliffe does drink—in moderation and in private. Vodka and Diet Coke is his cocktail of choice, he says, "'cause I'm a pansy-ass civilian." Also for the record, he celebrated reaching Britain's age of consent, 16, almost three years ago, in the customary manner, with an older girlfriend. The age difference "wasn't ridiculous," he says. "But it would freak some people out."

Maybe because he's surrounded by people at least twice his age, Radcliffe tends to date older women. He's currently single, although he explains that this is primarily due to time constraints. "Most of my friends have been girls, and I see how they are with their boyfriends and I think, I couldn't do that," he says. "I just don't have the time."

Some people might reasonably assume that the Harry Potter kid is an impending train wreck of a former child star, a Ritalin-addled, Humvee-carousing little egomaniac the appearance of whose first mug shot is only a question of time. But aside from random street shots and headline puns about nude wizards, Radcliffe is notably absent from the tabloids. Instead, his image is that of an autodidact with a heavy-duty reading list (Nabokov, Joyce), hipster rock tastes (Arctic Monkeys, the Hold Steady), and modest spending habits.

A scene from My Boy Jack

"The only thing I'm likely to spend on is artwork, 'cause that's the only thing I'm interested in that costs a lot of money," Radcliffe says. His grandest vehicular ambition is, heartbreakingly, a Golf GTI, which he describes as "a good, small German car that zips around." For the multimillionaire teen, wealth's greatest luxury is not material but creative. This means roles in carefully selected films: He was in the Australian coming-of-age movie December Boys and the World War I drama My Boy Jack and has recently been attached to a film about the British photojournalist Dan Eldon, who was killed in Somalia in 1993. I ask him about other dream parts: Super-villain? Terrorist? Sex fiend? "I think part of me would love to play a drag queen," Radcliffe says, "just because it would be an excuse to wear loads of eye makeup."

Since he'll soon be playing psych patient Alan Strang eight times a week, it seems fair to ask if he's spent time on the couch himself.

"No," he says. "Please. No. Never. I've been pretty happy. I've got a great family. We're a very tight-knit group—we work very well as a team and as a tribe. I owe it to that."

David Yates, who directed 2007's The Order of the Phoenix as well as The Half-Blood Prince, due out in July (he'll also oversee Deathly Hallows, which will be released as two films in 2009 and 2010), calls his star "one of the most grounded people you'll ever meet." "He's under extraordinary pressure, with all this fame and the success," he says. "But he is just a very down-to-earth, sensible lad."

The son of a literary-agent father and casting-agent mom, Radcliffe made his acting debut at age 10 (in a BBC version of David Copperfield) and was cast as Potter a year later, entering what would become an ongoing alternate reality—leaving a private school for on-set tutors and communing almost solely with film folk and fellow wizards.

But while they may have eaten his childhood, Radcliffe says the Potter films have provided significantly more joy than angst. "They've been a laugh," he says. "They've been great. For the most part I've been happy every single day. And all the times I've been unhappy, it's never been anything to do with Potter. It's just been the normal, boring teenage crap. Insecurities, acne—all the normal stuff."

Whatever "boring teenage crap" means in the world of older girlfriends, A-list costars, and $25 million paychecks, the theme of adolescent turbulence will play an increasing role in Harry Potter's life, at least, as the franchise enters its final chapters. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince promises to be darker and raunchier than its predecessors. As Potter's nemesis, Lord Voldemort, marshals his forces for the series' two-part Götterdämmerung, "the students," according to the Warners Bros. plot summary, "are under attack from a very different adversary as teenage hormones rage across the ramparts."

To wit: Harry falls for pal Ron Weasley's sister, Ginny—in a romance Radcliffe describes as "timid and shy and clumsy"—while Ron and Lavender Brown have an amour fou Radcliffe calls "carnal."

The trailer for December Boys

Although he opted against college in favor of his career, Radcliffe seems to have absorbed a Ph.D.'s worth of cultural material on his own. A Radcliffe fan site includes three pages of Dan-approved books—ranging from Rushdie's Midnight's Children to Zola's La Débâcle to nine different editions of Moby Dick—while his music tastes suggest a 35-year-old critic for the NME.

But for an admirer of Sid Vicious (whose onscreen portrayer, Gary Oldman, taught Radcliffe how to play bass—making Harry Potter, technically, a fourth-degree-separated Sex Pistol), the poet, bookworm, and cricket fan does seem just a tad . . . well-behaved. No?

"I don't pretend to do anything particularly wild," Radcliffe says. "People talk about rebellion and they say, 'Where is the teenage angst?' But I say I try to do it simply by the choices I make in the work I do. I just like wrong-footing people. I write poetry and I love it. I like being different from most other people in my generation."

Radcliffe isn't just different from his peers; it's like he's of another generation. As he walks along Fifth Avenue, he describes the rush of playing a character as thrillingly alive as Alan Strang. "It's because he's absolutely living in the present," he says. "He can only live in the moment, to use a horrible, clichéd, boring phrase. 'In the moment.' It's like 'carpe diem.' After Dead Poets Society, everyone was like, 'Oh, carpe diem.' Shut up!"

I nod at the memory of everyone saying "carpe diem" until I realize something: Dead Poets Society came out in 1989. That was the year of Radcliffe’s birth. Just whose memory implants is he using?

As we walk into Bryant Park, I mention that they often show movies here on summer nights—one recent screening was of the '68 action pic Bullitt. "Okay, who's cooler," Radcliffe says, "Steve McQueen in Bullitt or Paul Newman in Cool Hand Luke?" A moment later, I note that the nearby merry-go-round is playing "The Band Played On," just like the runaway carousel in the 1951 Hitchcock thriller Strangers on a Train. "Oh, fantastic," Radcliffe says. "Where the guy is crawling under to stop it and it keeps picking up speed?" Um, yeah, that one.

Conversation turns to the future—all the way to the end of Harry Potter. In February, shooting begins on the saga's terminus, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. That finale will be a bittersweet experience for more than the cast and crew. The film will close an era, one that began back in 2001—before the Olsen twins were legal, before Britney got knocked up, before a whole slew of Fannings came along to turn childhood itself into a performance. It will be the end of an eternal student, whose graduation will mark us all as a bit older.

Radcliffe faced it alone first, when he began reading Deathly Hallows on a plane trip. "It was very emotional, actually," he says. "In the front of the book I wrote something Anton Chekhov wrote to the woman he ended up spending the rest of his life with: 'Hello, the last page of my life.' Which I thought was very appropriate."

The fact is, Radcliffe's life has sort of been magic—at least as magic as lives get these days. He became Harry Potter at 11. He will cease to be him at 21. And when he puts down the wand and broom, he’ll be setting aside one of the most enchanted childhoods of the decade—no longer England's richest or most famous teenager but just another twentysomething actor.

"I can't wait," he says, looking across a dark-green lawn and into a not-so-distant future.

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