BY MARILYN BECK AND STACY JENEL SMITH
Many of this year’s celebrity “Dancing with the Stars” contestants have youth on their side, but the Go Go’s Belinda Carlisle tells us she has her own secret weapons. “I chant every day and do a ton of yoga. Besides keeping you flexible, it really does change you emotionally and keep you calm,” says Carlisle, who is a dedicated Buddhist. “I’ve been practicing heavily for four years, and I just know from experience it makes a big difference in everything. I think if I didn’t have that, I’d be a lot more crazed.”
Carlisle, who certainly had her wilder days with the Go Go’s, says she’s also being assiduous when it comes to taking care of herself. “Everybody knows that I have to be in bed by 8:30. It takes precedence over everything else. I’m 50,” she points out. “I’m one of the oldest contestants, so I have to take extra care. Plus, this is a unique experience, so I might as well give it my all. I don’t want to do anything half-assed.”
With the new season of “DWTS” launching tonight (3/9), Carlisle tells us she’s just trying to enjoy the ride as long as she’s lucky enough to be on it. “I started the first couple of weeks feeling like I was 100 years old, but now I’m adapting physically. I’m finding the salsa pretty easy. I learned it in three days. The waltz took two weeks to learn because it’s about restraint, and that’s something that I don’t do very well,” she adds with a laugh.
Luckily she has a good partner to keep her in check. “I don’t think I could have a better partner than Jonathan [Roberts]. We have great chemistry, and we have a lot of fun, which I think is the main thing.”
THE BIG SCREEN SCENE: “We don’t have a clue yet what she’s got,” says filmmaker Johnathan Demme — referring to his “Rachel Getting Married” star Anne Hathaway.
“I have to laugh because people have the perception that Anne is really good at certain kinds of things, and then every time she does something new, she redefines herself. Did you see her sing and dance on the Oscar show?” he asks. Of course, Hathaway was a nominee this year for Demme’s movie — which gets its DVD release Tuesday (3/10) — for playing the difficult, fresh-from-rehab sister of the title character played by Rosemarie DeWitt. He says of Hathaway, “She’s my new daughter — don’t tell her father. If she chooses her parts well, she’s going to blow our minds again and again and will create a body of work up there with the likes of Katherine Hepburn, Denzel Washington — any of the greats. Now she’s playing the White Queen in Tim Burton‘s ‘Alice in Wonderland,’ and I can’t wait to see what she does with that.”
In fact, he says, it was the prospect of making the movie with Hathaway that convinced him to do it. The “Silence of the Lambs” Oscar-winning director, whose credits also include “Philadelphia” and “the Manchurian Candidate,” has been sticking to documentaries for a while, because that’s the way he likes it.
He’s soon to debut his “Neil Young Trunk Show” concert movie at the SXSW Film Festival — and is currently filming a documentary about the late Bob Marley for which he’s been traveling to Jamaica. “This is a healthy place for me to be. I don’t function that well in kind of formalized situations. I’ve done all that,” Demme says. “I like doing things where you don’t have to worry about opening up in 1,000 theaters. You don’t have to return a kajillion dollars. What I’m doing is a blast without the stress.”
HERE ‘N’ THERE: Country star Big Kenny Alphin is biting off an awfully big acting challenge for himself with his “Free Like Me” independent feature that’s set to roll next month. He’s playing an alcoholic, depressed rock star who can’t stand to let anyone touch him, and who goes off to the Caribbean to drink himself into oblivion. Casting is underway for subsidiary characters, including the housekeeper he encounters who starts him on a turnaround.
LeVar Burton is getting ready to do a staged reading of a piece called “The Caterer” at the Whitefire Theater in L.A.’s San Fernando Valley. It’s described as the story of a man who “sells you your appropriate death.” Shivers! Cynthia Watros is also aboard.
And you have to wonder about a casting breakdown that went out for a new celebrity-pranking reality show. Forces involved were supposedly looking for stars interested in pulling pranks on friends and fans — with a nice little fee to go on top of it. And we do mean little: $100. Maybe the notice itself is a prank.
With reports by Emily Feimster.
To find out more about Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith and read their past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
COPYRIGHT 2009 MARILYN BECK AND STACY JENEL SMITH DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.