Tag Archives: Susan Sarandon

Sarandon Aimed to Avoid Health Guru Caricature on ‘Big C’


Susan Sarandon has been going from project to project to project over the last year or so, and says she was on the verge of taking a little work break when “The Big C” came her way. “I wasn’t quite sure I wanted to do it until I read it, and knew what was going to happen at the end. That convinced me,” she tells us.

Sundays on the Showtime dark comedy, Sarandon’s self-help guru – Joy, the self-named and titled Joyologist — is a cancer survivor who leads others in finding their paths to true happiness via lectures, retreats, the gamut. Laura Linney’s and Oliver Platt’s characters fall under her charismatic spell.

“The only thing I was concerned about was making sure she was treated sincerely, you know?” notes the revered Oscar-winning actress. “I was trying to not be a caricature of those people that are in that business. And I think she really believes it, and you know, I felt she should actually help people even though other things happen later that maybe make you think of her in a different way. At least you start off, I think, believing she’s really sincere and has turned her cancer experience into something that is really positive, and that’s great.”

Speaking of positive, that’s the word she uses frequently to describe Linney – “just relentlessly positive and a total pro, of course, with a very welcome sense of humor.  Laura’s very special, she has a light and she’s trying to do something unique and funny and at the same time, a little dark.” Working on the show, she notes, “is a good excuse for us to stay in touch. You know, we kept running into each other. I’ve known her for years. But now I feel like I’m part of the family, and you take advantage of that as much as possible.”

Sarandon’s current string of films ranges from “Jeff, Who Lives at Home,” now in release, to the upcoming “Arbitrage” with Richard Gere and Tim Roth, “The Company You Keep” with Robert Redford and Julie Christie, “Robot and Frank” with Frank Langella and Liv Tyler, and the sci-fi flick “Cloud Atlas,” in which she cross-dresses to play a man. However, the honesty-loving star is quick to point out that they are not large roles.

“I keep saying that they’re all — you need to put them all together and maybe you have two real films to my credit,” Sarandon says. “But I don’t mind going in almost like a temp and dealing with a certain problem that needs to be solved. And if the characters are fun and the company is inspiring, and they’re trying to do something different, I’m very happy to jump in for the ride.”

BeckSmith Hollywood’s Annual Tacky Taste Awards Voting is On for 2011!

Nicole Polizzi, better known as Snooki, Tacky Taste Award Winner 2010. Who will win this year?

 Sure, you’re thinking trick or treat, but the fact is, it’s less than a month now until Thanksgiving, which means it’s time for our annual roasting of celebrities who’ve exhibited the tackiest taste this year.   Readers decide this, you may recall, not us.   How far we have come from this contests’s beginnings, when a simple extramarital affair or wardrobe malfunction could be enough to land the prize.  With tacky reality notoriety a way of life, show business celebrities have to work extra hard to out-tacky one another now.  And yet, they do.  So what do you think?  Will Snooki win again?  Or does Susan Sarandon have a chance for calling the pope a Nazi?  Or Hank Williams, Jr., for comparing the President to Hitler?  Or maybe the Kardashians will inspire Kontempt through their Klothes.  Who knows?   Tell us who’s your choice for Tackiest celeb and be sure to include why.  Send emails marked Tacky Taste to Stacy@becksmithhollywood.com.  The results will be posted Thanksgiving week.

Rash of Splits Sends Shudders Through Tinsel Town

Courtney Cox and David Arquette

So now it’s Courteney Cox and David Arquette.

The old wives’ tale goes that death comes in threes.  But what can we say about the string of splits among couples of long standing in Hollywood?  They’re not just changing partners, some of them seem to be changing personalities as well.  Is it another sign of the end times coming?

Their shared screwball humor couldn’t keep Courteney and David together after 11 years of marriage – or David from his stunningly disappointing appearance on Howard Stern’s radio show this week, mouthing off about their lack of a sex life, and about his extra-marital “conquest.”  This certainly doesn’t jibe with the thoughtful and dignified announcement of their split that stressed their ongoing commitment to their six-year-old daughter – or with David’s nice-guy image of the past.  He described Courteney being tired of having to be his mother.  That explains a lot.

Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins

Their political stands, social consciousness and artistic collaboration weren’t enough to keep intact couple of 23 years, Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins.  “Maybe you have a relationship to have children and you realize that it’s fulfilled after that,” Susan said of their split last year.  She also said she never imagined the relationship would end.  She has, of course, since been linked with “ping pong boy” – the co-owner of their Manhattan Spin ping pong club – 32-year-old Jonathan Bricklin, though both have given half-baked denials.  (She’s seeing a lot of friends these days, etc.)  As we await their reality show – really! – we can add that Robbins, too, has been seen with a younger date on his arm.

Bradley Whitford and Jane Kaczmarek, wed for 17 years, recently got their final divorce papers.  He grew a mustache and moved to Texas for his “The Good Guys” show, while Jane is focusing on mothering their three children, and dating someone new.

Cameron Crowe and Heart’s Nancy Wilson split this summer after 24 years.   Although their unions were shorter, the last few days have brought surprise celebrity splits by thought-to-be-happy couples Ben Harper and Laura Dern, and Christina Aguilera and Jordan Bratman

So now who do we look to as enduring show business couples?

Happily, there are still quite a few around – like Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara. Married since 1954, the comedy icons are still going strong with their new web series, “Stiller & Meara,” just launched.  Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman have been husband and wife for 28 years, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson for 22; Michael J. Fox and Tracy Pollan, 22 years; John Travolta and Kelly Preston, 19 years; and  Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick, married 21 years.  When Kyra said her heart still skips a beat whenever Kev walks into a room, romantics everywhere went “Aww.”  Long may they swoon.

Sigourney Weaver’s Emotional ‘Prayers’ Journey Continues

Sigourney Weaver in "Prayers for Bobby" (Photo from Lifetime)

Sigourney Weaver in "Prayers for Bobby" (Photo from Lifetime)

Sigourney Weaver’s Emmy nomination for Lifetime’s “Prayers for Bobby” underscores the huge and lasting emotional impact the movie has had upon the esteemed actress.

Sigourney plays real-life gay rights activist Mary Griffith, a deeply religious woman who tried to turn her son away from homosexuality — but in the face of rejection and despair, he committed suicide.  Thus began her turn-around.  Sigourney reports that since the movie aired earlier this year, “I’ve had a number of parents come up to me on the street — or sisters, brothers, or others — and say ‘Thank-you for this story.  My daughter is gay, or my sister is gay…’

“That’s meant so much to me.  They acknowledged what we were doing in the hope it would open some eyes.  And then I read in the paper last week that the poll numbers haven’t changed about Proposition 8,” she adds, referring to California’s anti-gay marriage initiative.   Not that she would have expected the film to cause a complete shift in public opinion, Weaver says disappointedly, but she did think that collectively, all the productions, profiles and protests since the vote would have had an impact.

“I’m still amazed it got on the ballot,” she admits.  “It seems so unconstitutional, to have a referendum on whether your neighbor should have the same rights as you.”

Meanwhile, producer Stan Brooks is looking into foreign release for the movie.  “After all, we’re not the only country that has these issues.  I’ve been asked ‘When is it going to be shown in Ireland?’ ‘When is it going to be shown in India?’  I hope Lifetime keeps showing it and at some point distributes it around the world,” she says.

As for whether she’s had any flak for playing the role: “I don’t think so.  Of course I don’t go looking for trouble.  I don’t go hunting around websites looking for comments.”

She wouldn’t have time for that, even if she wanted to.  Weaver has five features on the way.  She recently wedged in an appearance at Comic-Con, where the “Aliens” star was accorded royal treatment including a standing ovation, led a discussion about women in action films, and was part of the panel discussing James Cameron’s highly anticipated “Avatar.” And she’s in the midst of making Disney’s “You Again” comedy with Jamie Lee Curtis, Kristen Bell, Betty White and Kristin Chenoweth.

Jada Pinkett Smith in Hawthorne (photo from TNT)

Jada Pinkett Smith in Hawthorne (photo from TNT)

HARMONIOUS CONVERGENCEJada Pinkett Smith is a loyal colleague, Joanna Cassidy wants us to know.  “When she works with actors, she works with them again. She’s really good that way.”  Cassidy’s currently being seen on Jada’s “HawthoRNe” series as the hospital administrator who was Jada’s late husband’s mother.

“I actually did a movie with Jada about a year and a half ago – ‘The Human Contract,’” notes Cassidy.  In that one, she played Jada’s character’s own mom.  “It was very believable.  I wore a wing that’s very curly and long, Jheri curled,” says the actress of her mixed race character.

Now, Cassidy’s thrilled with the numbers “HawthoRNe” has been pulling, declaring that “It’s a win for TNT” – and that in all probability, she’ll get to keep working with Jada.  “I love it.  I love it.  It’s very easy with her.  We have a very nice rapport and I’m able to find my place with her.  I don’t have to struggle.  It’s good that our characters are in conflict,” she adds.  “We already talked about some of the story ideas for next year – more in the vein of being competitive, possibly for some male attention.  You know how women are,” laughs the actress, who rose to fame in “Blade Runner.”  “Let’s light that fire.”

CASTING CORNER:  Casting continues on the HBO Films’ Al Pacino biggie, “You Don’t Know Jack,” with the Oscar winner playing controversial assisted suicide-supporting Dr. Jack Kevorkian, and fellow Oscar winner Susan Sarandon as Hemlock Society activist Janet GoodJohn Goodman and Danny Huston are also in the cast.  Among the secondary roles now being filled by director Barry Levinson are those of a Hispanic California woman suffering from an inoperable spinal tumor, who’ll be seen consulting with Dr. Kevorkian as police burst into her home.  She’ll dare the cops to arrest her or leave.  The woman’s husband is being cast also, as is a handsome forty-something anchor man who’ll be seen interviewing Kevorkian, a.k.a. “Dr. Death.”

AND:  You know the hunger’s got to be intense amongst actors trying to get in on “Dinner for Schmucks.”  That’s the film, due to roll in October, that stars Paul Rudd as an executive at a private equity fund, where the bigwigs delight in having dinner parties wherein they bring guests so stupid or boring that they can have fun mocking them.  Rudd’s character thinks he’s got it made when he finds the ultimate loser: an amateur taxidermist named Barry who creates religious and historical tableaus using dead mice – Steve Carell.  Of course, things turn out very differently than planned.  Now casting forces are filling in both the roles of the other “masters of the universe”-style execs, their significant others, and of course, the other hapless dinner guests.

With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster