Tag Archives: Roman Polanski

Stars Who Have Struggled Back from Ignominy

stephen collinsHas there ever been a faster fall from celebrity to ignominy than that of Stephen Collins? With TMZ’s release last week of a recording made during a therapy session — in which Collins apparently admits to three instances of exposing himself and/or inappropriate touching with three girls under the age of 14 — he immediately became poison to the public and the industry. His scenes were cut from “Scandal,” he was dropped from the film “TED 2,” and countless media outlets reaped ratings, sales and page views from his shame. The TV Guide Network and UpTV dropped “7th Heaven” series reruns from their schedules. And all before a single charge was filed.

Criminal charges may happen, of course. People magazine confirmed that the NYPD had received an official complaint about Collins after the audio came out, and that the case is under investigation by the Manhattan Special Victims Squad. The LAPD reopened a 2012 investigation. Collins’ estranged wife, Faye Grant, secretly made the tape and then handed it over to police that year. She now claims she had nothing to do with the TMZ leak, although Collins’ attorney has pointed out that the timing, on the eve of their divorce trial, is questionable to say the least.

Given the fact that Collins once enjoyed a squeaky clean, religious faith-inflected image, his fall from admiration is particularly brutal. And of course, the accusations are much uglier than in most of even the worst celebrity scandals. But not all.

Going all the way back to the death of actress Virginia Rappe at a wild party in 1921, some of Hollywood’s famed have dropped to the lowest depths. Then-superstar Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle was accused of raping the young ingenue violently and assaulting her with foreign objects, leading to her death. It was also said, however, that she was ill with venereal disease when she went to the party. Three manslaughter trials later, Arbuckle was exonerated, with a public apology from the jury, no less. Nevertheless, he remained persona non grata to his formerly adoring public. The case is still argued about today.

From 2003 into 2005, the media was full of awful step after awful step of the case against the late Michael Jackson. Some 70 investigators from the Santa Barbara D.A.’s office descended on Neverland Ranch with a warrant, you may recall, and accusations led to his indictment and trial for child molestation.

On June 13, 2005, the jury found Jackson not guilty on all fourteen charges, but he was a shell of his former self; his old life was over. He lived in self-imposed exile for a while. His health deteriorated and his dependence on pain medication increased, until he died in 2009.

On the other hand, director Roman Polanski’s life and career went on with a great deal of success after the 1977 incident when he was accused of raping a 13-year-old girl. He pled guilty to having unlawful sex with a minor, but fled the U.S. before he could be sentenced. Last year, “The Girl,” Samantha Geimer’s disturbing memoir about the rape, was released. Polanski has said he’s regretted the incident ever since.

There were many who believed the star best known as Pee-wee Herman would never come back from lewd conduct charges filed against him in 1991 — the masturbation incident in a Florida adult theater — or the 2002 scandal when his home was raided by police and the L.A. City Attorney’s office seized what they claimed was a massive collection of child pornography. But Paul Reubens has reclaimed his career — possibly due in part to his steadfast insistence that his collection of vintage gay erotica was not child porn.

He issued a statement that people “may think I’m crazy or anything that anyone wants to think about me. That’s all fine. As long as one of the things you’re not thinking about me is that I’m a pedophile. Because that’s not true.” The child porn charges were dropped. Reubens went on to a series of high-profile TV guestings including the role of a European prince on “30 Rock” (created for him by Tina Fey), then his triumphant return as Pee-wee in 2010. This year, movie audiences saw him in “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” and TV viewers watched him in “The Blacklist.”

Only a few years ago, an Access Hollywood poll showed that 72 percent of moviegoers planned to pass on future Mel Gibson films — that after the star’s anti-Semitic tirade while being arrested, his hurling of the N-word, and his accusations of abuse by ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva.

However, industry insiders we spoke to at the time predicted he would overcome. After all, he was worth almost a billion dollars and had an entertainment empire. “If you’re saying people won’t come to see his movies because of this, no,” one writer-producer who had worked with Gibson said flatly. “That’s just not how it works in this business. As long as he’s productive, he’ll have an audience.”

You may have noticed that in the recent “The Expendables 3,” Gibson’s villainous character’s wife is a beautiful young woman with a Russian accent. The casting was not a coincidence. Some joke.

Some stars have struggled back from ignominy. Whether Collins can find a pathway to some sort of public reconciliation is a question that won’t be answered for a long time.

Despite Detention, Polanski Hands-On With Film

Timothy Hutton

Timothy Hutton

Timothy Hutton was glad to hear the news that Roman Polanski’s “Ghost Writer” will premiere at the Berlin Film Festival in February — despite the fact Polanski remains under house arrest in Switzerland awaiting extradition to the U.S. on his 1978 conviction for having unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl. But, Hutton wasn’t surprised.

The embattled director continued to supervise post-production work on his latest movie when he was imprisoned near Zurich, as well as when he was allowed to return to his Swiss chalet.

“I knew looping and sound work had been done with the different actors and it was on track to come out next year,” Hutton says. “I don’t know the details of how the film has been worked on, but I’m sure that he’s involved with every aspect of it, every detail.”

Hutton plays an American lawyer representing the British prime minister in the feature. The adaptation of Robert Harris’ novel, it’s about a writer recruited to help a disgraced PM (said to be a thinly-veiled Tony Blair) produce his memoirs against the backdrop of a possible indictment at the international criminal court. Pierce Brosnan and Ewan McGregor play the prime minister and the writer, respectively.

“I think it’s going to be a really terrific film,” Hutton says.

Hutton was, of course, stunned when Polanski was arrested last September. “I mean, yeah, it was just a few months before we were all working on the film,” he notes. As for his feelings on the matter? “All I care to say about it is that I had a really great experience working on the film.”

Hutton is due to return to the cameras for Season 3 production of his terrific TNT “Leverage” series in March. The show, in which he plays the mastermind of a group of tech-savvy con artists who employ their skills to bring down bad guys, returns to the lineup Jan. 13. First, time off with his sons, ages eight and 22, and “the cousins are coming up to my house in upstate New York. We’re hoping to get up to one of the local ski areas. A couple of the kids have never skied.”

THE VIDEOLAND VIEW: Jana Kramer tells us she loves her gig as the newest bad girl, Alex, on the CW’s “One Tree Hill,” but adjusting to life in North Carolina hasn’t been as easy. She’s especially missing being with her boyfriend Johnathon Schaech, who she met when the two filmed “Prom Night” together.

“It’s totally a different world out here in Wilmington. I was like, ‘Where’s the town?’ And, they said, ‘This is the town.’ I’m like, ‘It’s only five blocks!’ I fly back to L.A. when I can to spend time with my boyfriend. It’s hard, though. I’m so tired of being in an airplane,” she says. “My boyfriend was just in the country Georgia, so that was really difficult because he was gone for three months. Now that he’s back in L.A. it’s a lot easier.”

Luckily, the cast has become like a second family to Kramer. “I was really nervous when I first came on board because everybody’s been on this show for seven years now. I was worried in particular about Sophia [Bush], because you never know how girls are, and this being primarily her show, but she was extremely welcoming. Sophia, Lisa and I hang out all the time. Everybody’s pretty close because you kind of have to be, since most of our friends are in L.A.”

Now, Kramer just hopes the long-running show has a little more steam left in it. “We just keep crossing our fingers. Hopefully, it sticks around a couple of more years because I just got on the show. It’d be nice to have something steady and to have more time to explore the character, but I’ve learned to never get your hopes up in this business because things change so quickly.”

INDUSTRY BITS: The Russell Brand-Jonah Hill “Get Him to the Greek” shot last summer, but they’re adding new material to the feature expected in June, with production to commence mid-January. Among the parts being cast are a newscaster and two beautiful and sexy girls, one of whom will be required to go topless.

“Greek” has Brand reprising his Aldous Hill, wayward rock legend, role from “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” with Hill as the record company intern charged with getting him to show up to perform his own comeback concert.

Casting is underway for a pilot presentation for a new reality-style TV drama called “Nowhere Home,” following the lives of four runaway teenagers — three girls and a guy, ages 13 to 18. Let us hope the producers don’t choose to glamorize their lives.

With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster

Beck/Smith Hollywood Tacky Taste Awards 2009

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all and a big thank you to readers of this column who submitted candidates for this year’s Tacky Taste Awards.  From lofty heights to lowlifes, cheesy reality TV stars to the Nobel Prize Committee – 2009 marks possibly the most wide-ranging menu of celebrity bad taste we’ve seen in the history of this contest!   So let’s get to it:

Jon Gosselin

Jon Gosselin

1.  Jon & Kate Gosselin.  The couple who rose to fame as the parents of cute twins and sextuplets – and gained infamy with their bitter split, their affairs, their ugly accusations, oversized egos, etc. were deemed tackiest by a clear majority.  As longtime reader B.B. Richmond of Naples, Florida Fla. put it:  “There could not be a Tacky Taste Award without mentioning Jon and Kate, the All-American loonies. Where did Jon and Kate get the ‘great’ idea to pimp out their kids?  ACORN?  I can envision ACORN advising them. ‘Don’t call it “child abuse,” call it a “Reality TV Show.”’ Hopefully the kids will earn enough money to pay for the best mental help money can buy.” 

Kate Gosselin

Kate Gosselin

Other readers echoed her sentiments:  “The Gosselins should win in tandem,” said Carma, adding, “It’s like they had a tacky-thon to see who could embarrass themselves more.  At least Jon shows some regret for his behavior, she never apologizes for being a ‘B’ from hell!”  Diana wrote: “Kate Gosselin, for so very many things, but mostly for going on national TV and crying about how she can’t afford to feed her children in one breath, then in the next bragging about the diamond and ‘mother of pearl’ she’s going to buy (she clearly does not know what mother of pearl is).

joe-jackson2.  Joe Jackson.  “Joe Jackson is your walking definition of tackiness.  What could be tackier than trying to hype his new record label on the red carpet of an awards show right after Michael’s death?” asked Greg B. of Canoga Park, CA.  Savannah wrote that Jackson’s attitude seems to be: “Just because everyone knows I abused Michael doesn’t mean I’m not gonna contest the will!” 

Kanye West

Kanye West

3.  “Mr. Bad Attitude Kanye West, for spoiling Taylor Swift’s award moment,” as reader Margo P. put it, speaking of West jumping onstage and interrupting Swift’s acceptance speech to say that Beyonce deserved the award.  And from Jed:  “Kanye West deserves a big a** kicking for his VMA stunt.”

 

Carrie Prejean

Carrie Prejean

4.  Dethroned Miss California Carrie Prejean.  From Jeff:  “Carrie Prejean takes the cake!  Skanky hypocrite with her holier than thou attitude, her fake boobs and her sex tape of her masturbating. Now the religious right is cutting ties with her. No one else comes close to this tackiness.”  Morgan P. of Cleveland found the humor:  “What a hoot!  She’s ready to walk off Larry King’s show over ‘inappropriate’ questions?  Larry King, the scary hard-hitting inquisitor.”

David Lettermn

David Lettermn

5.  David Letterman.  “Ughhhh,” wrote Judy O.  “I can’t watch him anymore, thinking of him doing the dirty old man number with his female staff.” “What a nauseating man.  Never liked his mean humor, so I’m glad he’s now getting some turn-about from other comics,” said M.M.

 

Miley Cyrus

Miley Cyrus

 

6.  Miley Cyrus and her daddy, Billy Ray:  “Look at her tacky clothes.  She’s turning up the skank quotient!” wrote D. Lewis of New York.  “Last year it was the bedroom magazine pic, this year pole dancing on the Teen Choice Awards” – Carol.  “…And then come the comments from her father that it’s really okay, people are reading things into that aren’t there.  Riiiiight” – J. Horwitz, Newark, N.J. 

Levi Johnston

Levi Johnston

7.  Levi Johnston, the spotlight-loving father of Sarah Palin’s grandson, and ex-boyfriend of Bristol Palin:  From Patty W.: “Levi Johnston deserves to be named Tackiest. Also Vanity Fair and Playgirl and all the media rushing to help him embarrass Sarah Palin for fun and profit.”

 

Martin Scorsese

Martin Scorsese

 

8.  The Roman Polanski Defenders.  Contributor B.B. Richmond again summed up the feelings of others who expressed disgust toward those advocating in favor of director Roman Polanski’s release, more than three decades after being charged with rape and pleading guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor.  “It was treated like a ‘minor infraction’ by Hollywood beacons of morality Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen, David Lynch, Jonathan Demme and Pedro Almodovar who signed a petition to demand Polanski’s release from jail on a morals crime.  Earth to those lights, so lofty that they are out of touch:  I will tell you the same thing that Sister Mary Ann taught in fifth grade, ‘Show me your friends and I will tell you what you are.’” 

Perez Hilton

Perez Hilton

9.  Perez Hilton.  The self-proclaimed most hated Hollywood blogger on the internet drew some hate from our readers, too, for several of his exploits this year, including his feud with the Black Eyed Peas’ Will.i.am.  “I am voting for Perez Hilton (who’s famous for what again?) for saying he’d been attacked by Will.i.am when it was clearly his manager,” wrote Isaac. 

Michael Lohan

Michael Lohan

10.   Michael Lohan:  Lindsay’s father got Tacky Awards attention for releasing  embarrassing and damning tapes about his troubled daughter.  “This man has no conscience.” – L. Ramirez, Albuquerque, N.M.

 DISHONORABLE MENTIONS go to Sammy Sosa for “looking whiter and brighter” – M.P; Sarah Palin for reasons including “her endless whining” – Tracey W; Glenn Beck, for “fear-mongering that goes beyond tacky” – D.L.; and the Nobel Prize Committee, for giving President Obama the Nobel Peace Price “for doing nothing.  It sort of cheapens the prize they gave Yasser Arafat, don‘t you think?” – B.R.

That’s it for this year.  From now on, may all your turkeys be tasty ones