"THE CULTURE has become so damaging that someone who leaves anonymous comments can drive the story!" That's what one "veteran showbiz reporter" says in reaction to the Internet scandal that is rumbling through Hollywood.
It's a complicated tale of an online gossip site called "Crazy Days and Nights," which may or may not be entirely fake, may or may not be written by a celebrity or a real "insider," but most certainly has caused some trouble.
Robert Downey Jr. had to issue a public denial that he was submitting "items" to the site.
This is a tale of Internet titillation. It doesn't titillate me very much, but it illustrates how powerless celebrities are in the face of people in their pajamas, sitting at home, just making it all up. (Ordinary folks are even more powerless!)
- DON WINSLOW'S hot novel "Satori" just landed, in trade paperback, in all the bookstores and on websites last week.
This book is sprung from the classic No. 1 best-seller "Shibumi" by the late, acclaimed author
Trevanian. It's a prequel. Winslow was so taken by the protagonist in the novel, he decided to continue the adventures of Nicholai Hel.
Come 2013, Leonardo DiCaprio will be starring in Warner's "Satori" movie which sets itself at the height of the Cold War. DiCaprio will play Hel, who is everything Bond and Bourne were--or are--and quite a bit more.
Nicholai Hel is a genius and mystic, the perfect assassin. Western by birth but Asian by upbringing -- I don't know if he likes his martinis shaken or stirred-- he speaks seven languages and kills with his bare hands. He loves a beautiful French courtesan spy.
Well, you didn't think our Leonardo would make a movie without a love interest? Even "J. Edgar" had that...sort of!
You know, the authors of thrillers have a hard time establishing their names and I am forever forgetting and buying their books over and over. But Don Winslow is the guy who wrote "Savages," which was voted one of the 10 best books of 2010 by the New York Times. You can visit him at www.donwinslow.com.
Now I'm gonna wait for the movie and Leonardo!
- SPEAKING OF Leo, I suppose millions will go see the 3-D re-release of James Cameron's poorly written, awkwardly acted 1997 mega-hit "Titanic." More power to the devoted fan base. But I think I'll stick with the 1953 black and white version about the sinking of the great ocean liner. It was also titled "Titanic" and starred Barbara Stanwyck and Clifton Webb. It was their mature love story--a marriage breaking up in the bitterest of circumstances -- that fueled this film. (Robert Wagner and Audrey Dalton were secondary players, with their own love story that is not dissimilar to Leo and Kate Winslet's.)
This first "Titantic"-titled movie had factual inaccuracies, of course. Less was known about the circumstances of the sinking than was learned later. But for emotional wallop it is the superior movie. In fact, it contains Clifton Webb's best dramatic performance ever, and Stanwyck is
magnificent. Their parting on the deck of the doomed liner is one of the high points of both their careers.
It's not that I don't appreciate the technical wonders of Cameron's behemoth, but I still find it hollow at the center.
As for Mr. DiCaprio and Ms. Winslet, they remain grateful for what "Titantic" did for their careers, but are both rightly embarrassed by their performances.
- OUR OLD friend Sally Morrison, who was so vital working with Elizabeth Taylor and Dr. Mathilde Krim at AmfAR for many years, is taking on a shiny new job-- literally. After toiling at AmfAR, Sally worked with diamonds at JWT and Forevermark. (Exposure to all of Elizabeth's baubles had given Sally some expertise!)
Now Sally will be the head of jewelry public relations at The World Gold Council. She says, "Gold is at an all-time high from an emotional, iconic, intrinsic perspective."
Sally also worked for a number of years as Elizabeth Taylor's press rep and was largely responsible for the success of the epic Christie's auction of the star's personal belongings. She remains active in the HIV/AIDS fight and Taylor's foundation. She is determined that the world never forget that Elizabeth's greatest accomplishment was not as a movie star.
- ONE OF my favorite publications, The Week, told us recently that the color of the year is ... tangerine!
They published a group of items for sale in this color, one being the "Joe Fresh Mac Coat," a big bargain. So I went to their website and was thrilled by the reasonable prices. They offered a fingertip length coat in the color of the year at only $29.
Big disappointment when I discovered that you could only buy this in their stores. You couldn't order it on the web or by telephone. Lo and behold, I found there was a Joe Fresh store right in the Big Apple at Fifth Avenue and 43rd Street.
So there I was, early in the morning of their opening day. There was a long, long line, numbers of people in lounge chairs and sleeping bags waiting to get in. Well, I missed my chance and went home because the store wasn't even scheduled to open until noon!
Power of the press!
- I REALLY don't know what action star Chuck Norris is doing these days, but Norris has not been forgotten. He has been voted, in a recent poll, as "America's Favorite 'Fantasy Relative'" born in 1940. More people of a certain age would prefer to be a long-lost cousin of Norris than of Al Pacino, Nancy Pelosi, Martin Sheen, Frank Zappa, Dionne Warwick or Raquel Welch, although those other luminaries from the class of '40 rank pretty high.
I tend to think men would prefer to be very, very, very distantly related to Raquel. Even today, she does not inspire gents to think, "Why, I'd just like to sit around and talk about the old times with her." As anyone who saw Rocky at her recent Lincoln Center tribute or on "CSI: Miami" can attest, the woman still sizzles.