Tag Archives: Colin Firth

Bale Locked Out, Portman’s Baby Dance: Highlights From the Winner’s Circle at the 83rd Academy Awards

Natalie Portman, Colin Firth

Colin Firth is looking forward to doing a lot of cooking, as he’s found it’s “a very good way to decompress.”  Natalie Portman is looking forward to staying “in bed, not having to do my makeup or hair, keeping my sweats on and relaxing.”   The “King’s Speech” Best Actor and “Black Swan” Best Actress Academy Awards winners seemed to be, among other things, downright relieved to be at the end of the awards season marathon.

But if going through all the interviews, parties and other awards shows and events while pregnant might have been extra taxing for Portman, she told press backstage that she found advantages in the experience as well.  “It’s been sort of a protection against, you know, all the hoopla.  It keeps you centered on where your meaning is in the midst of a lot of new shiny stuff which is superficial.”

Portman pointed out that, contrary to reports, she doesn’t know the gender of her baby yet.  Asked what the baby was doing when her name was announced, Portman admitted she didn’t remember anything about those first moments when she went to collect her Oscar.  However, “the baby definitely was kicking a lot during the song portion of the show — a little dancer.”

An astute reporter asked the Israeli-American Portman — the face of Miss Dior Cheri – about her response to Dior designer John Galliano’s recent arrest, complete with charges of his using anti-Semitic slurs.  She looked momentarily taken aback, and then simply passed on the question.

Another reporter asked her what were the chances of her naming her baby Oscar.  She replied, “I think that’s probably, definitely out of the question.”

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The erudite Firth said he had not seen the new PG-13 cut of “The King’s Speech,” but added, “I don’t support it.  I think the film has its integrity where it stands.”  In a move that strikes many as ridiculous, the MPAA rated the movie just named Best Picture of 2010 with an R – only because of a scene in which Geoffrey Rush’s speech therapist character endeavors to get his client’s mind off his stuttering by getting him to use unaccustomed swear words, including the F-word.  “I’m not someone who is casual about that kind of language.  I take my children to football games…and I hate hearing that language around them, but I’m not going to deny them the experience of a live game,” said Firth.  “I don’t take this stuff lightly.  But the context in which it’s used in this film could not be more edifying. It’s not vicious…I haven’t met the person yet who was offended by it.”

Firth also gave a behind-the-scenes insight as to how Oscar-winning director Tom Hooper set the scene for Firth’s Academy Award-winning performance.  “The way of working was conducive to the kind of tension and anxiety that I needed. The very first thing that Tom shot of me was single shot of me.  It was quite a baptism by fire.”  Firth noted that normally on a movie, a director will start with simple shots, such as characters getting out of cars, while the cast and crew are settling in, then work up to “the critical stuff, the stuff on your face.”  Tom started him off with a 10-minute scene with the camera trained right on his face.  “There was nothing to do but commit.”

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Melissa Leo

Speaking of the F-word, Melissa Leo said she had no idea that it was escaping her lips when she accepted her Best Supporting Actress Oscar for “The Fighter.”  “Those words, I apologize to anyone that they offend,” she said in the press room, with seeming sincerity.  “There’s a great deal of the English language that is in my vernacular…It was a very inappropriate place to use that particular word in particular.”

Asked about the excruciating wait for the Best Supporting Actress winner to be announced by the meandering 94-year-old Kirk Douglas, Leo made it clear she didn’t mind a bit.  “You know, he’s an old actor, and he knows.  Actually, he was doing us all a huge favor.  The longer he strung it out, the calmer we got to be.  I got to take more than one glance at Amy,” she said, referring to fellow nominee Adams.  “He strung it out in a rather delightful way for me.”  The announcement raised her heart rate, but Douglas’ bit “allowed my heart to settle down a little bit.”

The 50-year-old actress, who told us that her career had never been better since she matured out of her ingénue years, also commented on her dress.  She chose white, she said, referring to her real-life character, Alice Ward, the mother and manager of boxers Micky and Dicky Ward.  “I would like to think that Alice would have liked it.  I noticed a lot of footage of Alice in white.  It showed up on camera in the era of black and white TV.”  She added, “I could not have played her without having met her.”

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Christian Bale

Speaking of Dicky Ward, Christian Bale – who won Best Supporting Actor honors for playing the fighter – missed out on Melissa Leo’s award thanks to being out of the Kodak Theater with his real-life counterpart.  “I find myself likewise out in the bar with Dickiy and my wife thinking that it was like the other awards where you just walk on in and go out and unfortunately missed Melissa’s acceptance speech because they wouldn’t let me in.  I was literally banging on the door with Dicky going ‘Let us in!’  And they wouldn’t let us in.  That was my mistake.  I’ll know better if I ever return to the Academy Awards.”

So, he also missed Leo’s F-bomb.  “I missed the F-bomb, but you know, I’ve laid down many of them myself before.  So I think I know what it’s all about.”

The normally press averse Bale was met with questions alluding to his very good-naturedness.  “It’s just a genuine thing, you know?  I’m so flattered when anyone comes up to me and says they were so touched by the performance, I really adore that.”  But as far as going through the rigors of awards season campaigning, he reminded the press that he’s been in China, making filmmaker Zhang Yimou’s WWII move set amid the Japanese rampage in the Chinese city of Nanjing — and “I’ve not been a part of any of the campaigning that’s been going on.”

He praised his fellow nominees and mentioned there are a lot of other actors who’ve done great work this past year – and noted it’s nothing like the motorcycle racing he was watching this morning, where there’s a clear winner crossing the finish line.

He said he’s going to let his daughter decide where to put the Oscar.

Asked about the next “Batman,” Bale noted that, “I’m in the middle of filming a movie in China , but after that, it’s going to be straight on to ‘Batman,’ so yes, absolutely.  Much more ‘Batman.’”

He also fended off a question about Charlie Sheen by, again, saying he’d been in China and doesn’t know what’s been going on, earning a few guffaws from the press corps.

Bale said that he’d already decided he liked the character before it hit him, “’Oh, he’s a welterweight, isn’t he?’  He’s a crackhead.’  How many fat crackheads do you see?”  And therefore, the actor would need to put himself through a grueling weight loss process to play the role.  Talking about raw ability and passion, Bale recalled Jimi Hendrix, who played guitar with “his fingers just bleeding, blood dripping off the strings and I thought, ‘That’s it. That inspires me to no end.’  So whatever it takes, I feel like I’ll do for a movie.  But the thing is, a lot of people see it as a gimmick, and it’s not a gimmick.”

Would he do it again?  “I’m getting a little bit older now, and I’m starting to recognize that if I do too much, there may be no coming back from it.  I don’t have quite that same mentality which I did only a few years back, where I felt I was invincible and it didn’t matter what I did, I was coming through.  You know, I have a child now.  I just want to be smart about any other body alterations I make in the future.  There is only so much a body can take…Who knows?  Maybe that will be the last of it.”  But he admitted he’s been saying that for several roles.

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Best Adapted Screenplay winner Aaron Sorkin – “The Social Network” – told the press, “Like a lot of people, I grew up worshipping the movie ‘The Graduate’ and like a lot of people I wondered how it must have felt for Buck Henry to see Dustin Hoffman bringing Benjamin Braddock to life for the first time.  Now I don’t have to wonder” – because he experienced the same feeling watching Jesse Eisenberg bringing to life his version of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

Asked about the partially Facebook-enabled revolution in Egypt, Sorkin admitted he’s “been cranky” about social networking until recently.  “Along the way somewhere, I turned into my grandfather…But when I see social networking tools mobilizing people for great causes like that, I really want to thank the Mark Zuckerbergs out there for doing it.”

He also thanked Mark Zuckerberg for being “an awfully good sport about this.  There’s not anyone out there who would want a movie done about things they did when they were 19 years old.”  Or, if you did, you’d want the movie to show only their own point of view, certainly not the point of view of people suing you for hundreds of millions of dollars.”

‘King’s Speech’ Third Go at Abdication Era Drama for Anthony Andrews

Anthony Andrews, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter, Colin Firth with their Screen Actors Guild Actor statuettes

Anthony Andrews has been having a ball enjoying the accolades and awards raining down on “The King’s Speech,” which he terms “just extraordinary.  I changed plans to be a part of the Screen Actors Guild Awards, which were preceded by the Directors Guild’s — a tremendous achievement for Tom Hooper — and from that point on, the little Ferrari really took off.  It’s been a whirlwind, even though I’m only a tiny part of it,” says the esteemed British actor of “Brideshead Revisited” and myriad other acclaimed productions, who plays Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin in the Oscar favorite.  “We’ve had time to hook up again as a cast, and I’m happy to be back together.”

Andrews has a distinction from his cast mates, in that this is by no means the first time he’s visited the particular piece of history depicted in “The King’s Speech.”

“It’s weird, because I’ve done it three times now — first with Jane Seymour in ‘The Woman He Loved.’  She and I had the impossible task then, of recreating Edward and Mrs. Simpson.  It was a lovely made-for-television film and it had an entirely different slant, looking at the story as a romance, rather than as a political upset, though the abdication had to be in there, of course.”

Andrews played George VI himself in the British mini-series “Cambridge Spies,” about “the birth of the spy schools that grew up in Cambridge of the 1930s.”

And now, as Baldwin, who was determined to avoid war at any cost as Hitler was cranking up his military machine, Andrews found himself back in that time and space again.  “As in the play, (ital.) The King’s Speech (end ital.), the story is really about the relationship between two guys working to overcome a common problem.  It’s the strength of the relationship between these two”  — Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush.

Andrews notes that one scene that got cut had the dignitaries of the day lining up to sign the new king’s accession papers, and figuratively sort of  placing their bets on whether the tongue-tied younger brother could make it.  “It was interesting, but something always has to go when you make a film, and it had to go.”  Perhaps it will show up as a special feature when the DVD comes out in April.

Andrews is now taking a little break from the revelry.  “I’m off back to the U.K. mid week.  I want to persuade my dog to think ‘I still have a master,’ to say nothing of my children.”  He jovially notes that his son and two daughters are all but grownup now, “but they still like to see Papa now and again.”

Art of Film is Ageless At Swanky, Star-Studded AARP Movies for Grownups Awards

Lori Loughlin


Lori Loughlin says she has no regrets about departing “90210” and is leaving the CW show “on the very best of terms.”  Lori, who’s been playing mom to Shenae Grimes and Tristan Wilds on the series since 2008, departs at season’s end as the show’s young cast of characters graduates from high school and heads off into college life.

“The CW has a demographic and they need to write to that demographic and I think the CW does that really well, you know?” she says.

“I think, for me, it’s time to creatively move on, because there’s not that much for me to do, and again, I understand and I have no hard feelings.”

Not that Loughlin’s character has lacked for drama through the years, with her own hot romances and a rivalry with Jennie Garth that heated up in Season 2.  Garth told us recently that she disliked the direction “90210” has been taking.  Loughlin says, “You know, I think it’s fine.  Jennie had a different attachment to the show.  ‘Beverly Hills, 90210’ was her show for so many years, and she felt protective, almost motherly toward it.  Along comes the new incarnation, and I don’t think she was happy with what they were doing.  But for me, I had no attachment to the old version, so I was completely fine with it.  I also thought it was a whole different show.  Also, I think she had some issues with what they wanted to do with her character, and I understand that, because nobody knows that character better than Jennie.  So at times I think she felt like they were misrepresenting Kelly.”

As for what Loughlin will do next, the mother of 11 and 12-year-old daughters, and wife of designer Mossimo Giannulli says, “I’m going to take a moment and breathe before I jump back into anything.  I love television, but a series is a grind and so I just want to take a moment before I make any decisions.”

Robert Redford

MEANWHILE:  We caught up with Loughlin at this week’s 10th Annual Movies for Grownups Awards, the elegant event honoring the best of 2010 films appealing to mature moviegoers, put on by AARP at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel.  Sally Field, Tony Bennett, Angela Lansbury, Larry Hagman, Jacqueline Bisset, Mickey Rooney and dozens of other names were there to celebrate honorees including Lifetime Achievement Award winner Robert Redford.  Winners on hand included “The King’s Speech” Best Actor Colin Firth; Best Actress Lesley Manville (“Another Year”); Best Supporting Actress Phylicia Rashad (“For Colored Girls”); Andy Garcia, picking up Best Comedy Film honors for his “City Island”; and Rob Reiner, receiving his theater seat statuette for the Best Intergenerational Film, his charming “Flipped.”  Rob congratulated the AARP for making their award look less like an electric chair than it used to.

AGELESS:  “The King’s Speech” screenwriter David Seidler admitted to the crowd that initially, it was assumed that the film “would be seen by nobody under 40.  It was basically made for this audience.  I didn’t quite buy into that, and I was delighted when we realized that a youthful audience was able to see and enjoy this film.  They understood the teasing.  They understood the bullying.  They understood being marginalized.  They understood bravery. And they understood the power of a supportive friendship.  What that means to me is that film is universal and it doesn’t make any difference what age you are” — a view supported by the fact the film has now surpassed the $150 million mark in box office grosses.

He added, “If you still have a brain you can still be a pain and make a contribution to the art and commerce of film…I would like to think we can view this and see ‘Toy Story 3’ and love it, and the audience that ‘Toy Story 3’ was made for can see this film and love it.”

Jane Seymour ABC photo

SAY WHAT?:  Jane Seymour, ravishing in a form-hugging red cocktail dress, made it clear she is squarely in “The King’s Speech” camp, telling us “I loved it in every possible way.  Since I played Wallis Simpson years ago, I sort of had an inside feeling for that particular movie.  I know what went on.”

Jane’s own latest effort, the current “Waiting for Forever” — she’s a producer on the film directed by husband James Keach, not a star — has met with mixed response.  “People are seeing it and loving it.  Some of the critics don’t get it.  One of them talked about it being about stalkers, and said it’s irresponsible to make a movie like that with what happened in Arizona.  I thought, ‘What in the world has that got to do with this movie?'” admitted Jane.  That is a strange take on the off-beat comedy in which Tom Sturridge plays a street performing juggler who wants to court the love of his life, “The O.C.’s” Rachel Bilson.  Jane’s feeling about that critic:  “Clearly, he saw another movie.  It’s wild.  But anyway, I’m very proud of it.”

Martin Landau

AND:  Martin Landau also told us he’s a fan of “The King’s Speech” and is impressed by “The Town” as well.  “Ben Affleck is a really good director,” noted Landau, the 82-year-old Oscar winner who still heads The Actors Studio’s West Coast branch — and keeps up a schedule demanding enough to daunt folks half his age.  Currently, “I’m doing Tim Burton’s new ‘Frankenweenie,’ his new animated feature.  And I’m doing ‘The Simpsons,'” added Landau, whose tender “Lovely, Still” love story with Ellen Burstyn is newly out on DVD this month. “Then there’s a script I’m reading now, a two-character road picture.  I like it, so I may do it.  A bunch of stuff is going on.  That’s better than not, right?”  Right.