"I CAN'T say I'm crazy about romantic vampires. To me the vampire is simply an evil monster," says horror and fantasy author Brian Lumley.
WELL, JUST because "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" hasn't exactly electrified the box office, that doesn't mean the perennial genre is staked. In fact, Viggo Mortensen has been offered the lead as Dracula in "The Last Voyage of the Demeter." This plot is culled from the middle of Bram Stoker's famous book, about the Count's terrible (for the crew) travel by sea, from Transylvania to England. The film will be directed by Neil Marshall, a man who is well known for horror films such as "Dog Soldiers" and "The Descent."
Viggo will be a vigorous, sexy-looking Dracula if he accepts the role. But I doubt he'll be romantic. It's only when Count Dracula arrives in England that he goes bonkers for some of London's prim, swan-necked maidens.
- IF YOU ever become a star in Hollywood, and write about your pre-show biz life, be prepared--anybody you ever worked with, or passed on the street, will claim your story as their story.
That's what's happening to Channing Tatum. He'll soon be appearing onscreen in the movie "Magic Mike." This is a tale based on his own teenage experiences as a stripper.
But now other male ecdysiasts are claiming Channing's memories are faulty. They say episodes in his film are really their episodes. Not only that, they say Channing is not giving them enough credit for teaching him how to shake everything the good lord gave him. Oh, please. Channing refers to his accusers as "bizarre characters." The actor, one of Hollywood's most promising properties, was 18 when he stripped for four months. Hardly enough time to steal anybody else's moves. With his body, he didn't have to move. All he had to do was just stand there.
- IT ESCAPED my attention that Monday was the third anniversary of the deaths of Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett. Farrah--who had been battling cancer-- had died early on June 25, and the media was just beginning to react and pay tribute to her, when the news came of Jackson's overdose. Farrah was pretty much pushed to the side in the sensation of Michael's shocking passing.
I remember Michael as the sweet, shy 19-year-old I met during the filming of "The Wiz." He seemed a bit too shy and sheltered, but he was charming. (I suspected some of his innocence might have been "self-protective," but stars sometimes do that. I sat by Michael awhile at the Neverland dinner after he'd given Elizabeth Taylor away to Larry Fortensky in 1991. He still seemed to be the same hesitant Michael although he was more "got up" than the bride. Then I observed him in L.A. at Elizabeth's famed 65th birthday party fundraiser for AIDS in 1997. By the time I went to his 2001 Madison Square Garden concert and after party, he seemed "ruined" in so many ways. At the Liza Minnelli-David Gest wedding in 2002, he appeared with Elizabeth "onstage" during the church wedding ceremony and he fizzled out at the terrific after party in a Wall Street Bank. That night, he refused to really perform though --or perhaps because - so many superstars were giving themselves joyfully.
The saddest part of his death was its tragic inevitability. Farrah Fawcett I knew much better. Mostly through correspondence and phone calls. This darling girl never failed to thank me for a positive review or a sensible take on some of the tumultuous events of her life. In almost every note or call, she referenced her parents--she missed them, was on her way to visit, had just come from visiting, and they were so grateful I was on their little girl's side. She also called with news, which was rare. Her soft voice was exactly as it was onscreen.
She had her demons, and I came to wonder what she was exorcising, in choosing to play so many abused women during the course of her career. When the famous smile faded, there was something deeply sad in her face. I felt she deserved better than Ryan O'Neal, but say what you will, he cared for her deeply and was with her at the end. (Ryan himself admits she was too good for him.) I regret the loss of Michael, who destroyed himself and his great career. (A pox on the enablers who weep at his grave now.) I miss Farrah, who was lovely, sweet and brave to the end.
- AS SOME of you know, there's a Lifetime TV movie being readied about the infamous Casey Anthony case--the Florida mother accused (and acquitted) of murdering her little girl. The role of Casey has been recast several times. But one important character has not been cast--TV's dark angel of vengeance, Nancy Grace. Nancy never let up on this case and the producers feel she is vital to any telling of the story. (She is either loved or loathed by her public.)
I have a suggestion for this role. Her name is Cathy Griffin. The Texas-born Ms. Griffin has been jill-of-all-trades, including a private eye, a gossip columnist, a TV reporter, a brilliant onetime stringer for this column. I still consider her part of our family. She still works PR for various entities. She's been taking acting classes for years. I'm telling you, Cathy has the high-energy, laser-beam intensity of Ms. Grace. Nancy was born in Georgia, but they are both unambiguously Southern, ambitious, no-nonsense women who don't take no for an answer and never forget if you cross them. (Cathy has mellowed a bit, can still rise to a fine lather if the mood strikes.) Anyway, you producers, think of Cathy. Believe me, if anybody can do justice to Nancy Grace's intensity, she can.