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When Woody met Jennifer

What would Woody Allen have to say to Jennifer Aniston? The eccentric filmmaker reportedly had dinner with the former Friends star (and famous Brad Pitt ex) in West Hollywood - which is news in itself, since New Yorker Allen usually shies away from he glittering lights of LA. Perhaps Allen, who has been making films in Europe recently, is looking for some Hollywood money for a project starring Aniston.

Crowe called on weight

I could say a lot of things about Russell Crowe, but I wouldn't call him fat. Yet that's what the Daily Mail is saying with some unconvincing photographic evidence to push the point. And I bet South Sydney rugby league club fans won't take to kindly to the UK tabloid's reference to his "ghastly tracksuit".

Doing it digitally

Can't afford the real Brad Pitt to star in your next film? Well, maybe soon, you can have his computer double for a fraction of the fee. Apparently the expertise to create exact screen replicas of humans is almost with us, meaning the people you see on screen may not be real at all. But can these avatars act? I guess that depends on who's weilding the mouse on the computer. Maybe the digital Pitt will be better than the real thing.

A matter of type

"I like playing ugly people who are failures but ironically I’m very attractive and very successful."

That's British comic actor Steve Coogan talking to Entertainment Weekly in an article that asks why he's not a bigger star in the United States. Maybe his latest film, Hamlet 2, will remedy that - but there's really no knowing these things. Many brilliant British stars have failed to make it in the US. Sometimes it's a matter of "type" - which explains why cuddly Dudley Moore had a Hollywood career and his arguably more talented but less immediately likeable comic partner Peter Cook didn't. Even John Cleese, one of the few genuine comic geniuses, has failed to make a huge impact in America.
PS: Full marks to Coogan for suggesting Americans check out classic comedies Porridge, Steptoe and Son and Hancock's Half Hour.

I'm back ....

Showbritz is back in action as a standalone site. Here's what you missed if you didn't click on over to debritz.net:

Those wacky Germans

From a BBC story about German comedy duo Otto Kuehnle and Henning Wehn, who are performing in Edinburgh:

And when the pair spend a minute chatting away in German in front of a bemused Edinburgh audience, they say they are just copying British behaviour abroad by talking in their own language.
"But we do it without shouting," Wehn says. "You should try that."

and (especially for my bagpipe-playing friend in Shanghai):

"The Scots and the Germans have a lot in common," Kuehnle explains.
"Yes, we all hate the English," replies Wehn, quick as a flash.

BB rules UK

Big Brother may have finally tanked in Australia, but not so in the United Kingsom. The programming chief of Channel 4 in Britain says the "reality" show has become the station's equivalent of soap operas such as EastEnders and Coronation Street. It's not longer a huge ratings performer, but it has settled into a comfortable position on the TV schedule. So, what went "right" in the UK and "wrong" in Australia? As much as I'd like to blame failed host Kyle Sandilands, the reasons are most likely deeper, and touch on the difference between lifestyles and viewing habits in the two countries.

Beeb boobs

Who said the BBC had gone downmarket? I blame the audience. As I write, the most emailed story on news.bbc.co.uk is titled "Clouds that look like breasts". It's actually quite a dry, informative yarn about weather phenomena, but I bet that's not what the folks who found the story on Google were looknig for.

Turn ons and turn offs

Quite a few English language TV series and movies are screened here in Belarus, but I can't understand a word of them. Rather than using subtitles, they are dubbed. I've become quite a fan of the Russian-dubbed Nip/Tuck, but I'm sure I'm missing some of the subtelties of the script. At least the local TV chiefs have put some effort into the translation of that show, using actors with distinctive voices for each character. An American made-for-TV film I began to watch the other night featured the voice of just one man, who narrated the action and didn't even attempt to change his voice to represent the different characters.

Opera's pretty fly

The Fly, an opera based on the David Cronenberg film, directed by Cronenberg and conducted by Placido Domingo, opens in LA next month. Purists may be outraged, but if it puts bums on seats then it's good for the artform. Film adaptations today, Puccini, Mozart and Verdi tomorrow, then Wagner. Maybe.

Jolly good show

She's been (unfairly*, in my opinion) branded sexist and racist, but the late Enid Blyton still sells 10 million books a year. And she's just been voted Britain's beat-loved author - ahead of Roald Dahl, J.K Rowling, Jane Austen and a bloke called William Shakespeare. It's interesting that Rowling is the only living writer in the top five. I wonder if she'll still make the list in 50 years time - or 400 for that matter.
* Because she was a product of her times and should not be judged by the standards of today.

Farewell, Charlie Barry

I was saddened to hear of the death of Brisbane actor Charles (Charlie) Barry, who died on August 14 and whose funeral will be held today (Wednesday). Barry was a popular performer at the old La Boite theatre in Hale St, and will be remembered with a smile by his colleagues and theatre patrons. His family and friends are encouraging donations to the Queensland Aids Council in lieu of flowers.

Faded Glitter

Gary Glitter, the former glam pop star who is nearing an end to his jail term in Vietnam for child sexual molestation, reportedly wants to make music again. And who, exactly, does he think will purchase it?

Porridge served on stage

"One of the theatre managers told us it was the first time they had seen a queue at the gents in the interval."

So says British theatre producers producer Ed O'Driscoll about his recent stage version of Britcom Dad's Army. He hopes to equal or better the success of the show, which drew the "elusive male audience" to the theatre, with a stage version of Porridge. The big question, of course, is whether anybody could do on stage what the genius Ronnie Barker did on television.
PS: O'Driscoll's Dad's Army was not the version seen in Brisbane a year or two ago; it was a compilation of two favourite episodes and two "lost" scripts that never made it to the small screen.

Skippy lives in Svetlogorsk

How bizarre. Just two days after writing about Tony Bonner's bid for royalties on Skippy, I sat down in front of the TV in Belarus and heard a familiar tune while the end-credits to a show were running over a picture of a kangaroo. No, it was not the original Skippy but the remake of about a decade ago, filmed on the Gold Coast. I bet those actors are getting payments.

Hey, hey here's a spray

"The Monkees haven't split up, they're just going under the name of the Kaiser Chiefs. I did drugs for 18 years and I never got that bad as to say, 'You know what? I think the Kaiser Chiefs are brilliant'. Anybody whose drummer writes the songs are not to be trusted."

So said Noel Gallagher, the talented Oasis brother, in a celebrity-filled spray on Britain's BBC Radio One. Gallagher, who was drunk and very tired, also called Amy Winehouse a "destitute horse" and said just-married-in-Vegas Peaches Geldof should be "stamped on". Where would rock'n'roll be without such characters?

Tony Bonner's bold move

Actor Tony Bonner wants a financial cut from the remarkable success story that was/is the TV series Skippy the Bush Kangaroo. Good luck to him. but I don't fancy his chances. Given very few, perhaps no, Australian television actors ever received royalties until relatively recently, the defendants in the case are sure to get support from other producers who don't want to pay reisduals to their former talent.

Harry Potter and the pragmatic business decision

The sixth Harry Potter film is "fabulous" and ready to go - except it won't be released until July next year because the distributors, Warner Bros, want a surefire hit for next northern summer. But what about the loyal, addicted fans who were expecting to see Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince in November? Well, they just don't count. Neither, apparently, do the members of the royal family who were due to see the film at their annual freeloading cinema outing (sorry, royal premiere) this year.

Play it again

Let's do the time warp ... a popular Minsk radio station is making me feel home sick and nostalgic for the 70s and 80s. Not only have I heard the Suzi Quatro-Chris Norman duet Stumblin' In* for the first time in more than a decade, Savage Garden are still apparently on high rotation here in Belarus.
* I also heard Smokey's Living Next Door to Alice in a cafe.

Rocky road for new film

"The first I heard about it was when people sent me cuttings from US papers ... I have no view on whether it should be remade but it doesn't have my blessing."

That's Richard O'Brien speaking to the BBC about plans to remake The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Should the cult classic be remade? Could lightning strike twice in terms of casting and pure schlock value? Two things are for sure: a new generation will embrace a new film, and the already well-off O'Brien will make even more money from his 30-year-old rock musical, which remains a staple of the stage and the late-night screen.

Not playing the game

Far be it for me to be a defender of the "rough" ejection of an actor from one of Hugh Hefner's infamous parties, but I do ask this: Who the heck is Jason Statham and why would he go the Playboy Mansion wearing only a bathrobe and then refuse to have his photo taken with partially clothed women?
PS: It's good to see than Jon Lovitz got into the spirit of things and had his photo taken near the girls' bottoms. I wonder if there's a Mrs Lovitz...

Farewell, Christie Allen

A little bit of my childhood was lost when I heard that Christie Allen had died. Her hit Goosebumps (written if memory serves me correctly by the very quirky B.A. Robertson) will now be rining in my head for days. It's been a sad week, with the death of comic actor Bernie Mac and soul man Isaac Hayes, who presumably has gone to wherever it is good Scientologists go in the afterlife (something to do with spaceships I suspect).

Father knows best?

Amy Winehouse's father now has a gig on London radio. I presume he is not giving parenting advice.

Brangelina's twin set

How to show the pictures you don't have? Show them in the context of the cover of the magazine that did shell out the big bucks for them. Well, that's what every other media outlet is doing, so I will too. Here, on the cover of People, are some celebrities who just had a baby. Or maybe two babies. Of course, as some wit has already noted, all babies look like Winston Churchill, so what's the fuss?

Photoshop 'til they drop

How would Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz, Matt Damon, Keira Knightley and other stars look if they were ugly? The News of the World, a great British newspaper of record, reveals all here.

Now for the nudes

So much celeb news, so little time. So, here are the highlights:
* Veronica twin in nude pix shock.
* "Mini-Me" actor Verne Troyer sues over sex tape.
* Britney Spears "beds her minder".
* The earth moves for Judge Judy.
* Presidential hopeful John McCain takes on fully clothed Paris Hilton.
* Elizabeth Taylor not near death.

Censoring the fame game

Do celebrities deserve legal protection from the prying media? Some analysts say the Max Mosley decision, in which the F1 boss won a court case against a News of the World expose of his unusual sexual interests, could be the end of tabloid reporting as we know it. The Australian has an interesting article on proposed laws in the land down under.

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