Eric Roberts tells us, “I hope to retire young, in the next year and a half or maybe two years.” For real? “I probably will. Unless someone offers me my own series and it’s incredible, I think I’m going to hang it up in about a year and a half – because, you know, Hollywood is run by lawyers not by artists, and I don’t find that terribly appealing.”
But in the meantime, he’s certainly not showing any signs of slowing down. Right now, he’s busy filming Starz’ “Crash” series, in which he’ll debut next month playing a billionaire entrepreneur who has designs on bringing an NFL franchise into Los Angeles. He also just finished his role on Sylvester Stallone’s big-screen “The Expendables.” The movie shot in Brazil, L.A. and New Orleans, and Roberts describes production on the action picture as rigorous and then some. Or, as he puts it, “It was a $#@%!! every day.”
Roberts did a lot of his work with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin in the picture that also features Stallone himself, Dolph Lundgren, Bruce Willis, Jet Li, Jason Statham, Terry Crews and a cameo by Arnold Schwarzenegger — in a tale of mercenary soldiers on assignment in South America. “I’m telling you, Steve Austin is one of the greatest cats on the planet. He’s my new best friend and I mean that. I love that guy to his bone marrow,” Roberts says. “He’s the coolest, nicest most generous man I think I might have ever worked with.”
The series has him working with the also cool Dennis Hopper, “an old, dear friend,” says Roberts — as well as Ross McCall, “an actor I’m crazy about.” “Crash” will keep him working in New Mexico for the next seven weeks. He likes the people, but “every day around 1 o’clock it’s 105 degrees or more,” he points out.
No wonder visions of retirement are dancing in his head.
Says the actor, who was nominated for an Academy Award for his performance in the 1985 “Runaway Train,” “Ever since they gave my Oscar to the wrong guy, I keep working as hard as I can because I realize, I’m a workaholic. It makes me happy. That’s what I do.”
ON THE PERSONAL SIDE: It’s been all over the news that Candy Spelling chose not to attend her granddaughter’s first birthday party upon discovering that it was being set up for daughter Tori’s Oxygen reality show, “Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood.”
To hear Tori talk about her life on TV, however, is to get the impression that having the cameras around is no big deal to her – and it’s the same with her offspring.
“Liam figured it out pretty early on in his life. For one, he’s bonded with all of the cameraman,” she tells us. “Even with the paparazzi, he’d play with the camera, but now he’s over it. Now Stella has stepped in and is hamming it up.”
While some might get tired of the lack of privacy, Spelling says it’s not as bad as people think. “People always say to me, ‘Is it weird having cameras in your face 24 hours a day,’ and it’s not. It’s not what people think. It’s not like a regular television show,” she explains. “It’s reality so it’s a very small crew and they become like family to you. They’re more like flies on the wall so I forget they’re there. I just go about my life. And they’re obviously not there 24 hours a day. We have down time alone with our family. I really have enjoyed the experience.”
WOMAN ON THE SCENE: “Two and a Half Men” is set to return Sept. 21 and this season we’ll be seeing a lot more of Charlie Sheen’s onscreen love interest. Actress Jennifer Taylor, who plays his fiancé Chelsea, has been made a series regular, so does this mean marriage for his bachelor character? “I hope. I’d love to be there forever,” says Taylor, who has had various small roles on the show since the pilot. “I think it’d be interesting if they got married. People could see Charlie’s character stumble along through everything that it entails. I think that’s more interesting than being the same thing over and over again. You can still preserve the essence of his character but in a committed relationship.”
No matter what happens, though, Taylor is just excited to be a more permanent member of the popular show. “I never thought when I had a small part on the pilot that it would lead to me being a regular seven seasons later. When I heard, I thought maybe it was a joke because they told me on April Fools Day. I was pleasantly surprised,” she says. “I’ve kept different journals over the years and one time I wrote that I wanted to be a regular on a Chuck Lorre sitcom after working with him on a pilot like 10 years ago. It’s literally a dream come true. I feel like the pressure is on, though. Now I have to earn my keep! I’m just going to take everyday I’m here as a gift and just hope it keeps going.”
ASTUTE OBSERVER: Legendary writer Budd Schulberg, who died last week at age 95 leaving a legacy of great work (“On the Waterfront,” “The Harder They Fall,” “A Face in the Crowd,” etc.) was truly one of a kind. The Oscar winner gave us a great many insightful comments through the years. Marilyn recalls his observation that society had changed so much that the hot, young up-and-comers in Hollywood bought copies of his “What Makes Sammy Run” because they considered the unethical central character Sammy Glick a hero — and wanted to be just like him.
With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster