"I KEEP my guard up a lot, because, you know, you can't trust anyone in this business. That's what sad. You can't trust anybody." That's pop-star Justin Bieber, talking to GQ's Drew Magary.
Poor Justin. He is not going to feel much better about things once he reads Mr. Magary's article, which is titled "Man Up, Bieber." It's not that reporter Drew is mean, he simply has a journalist's jaundiced eye and cocked eyebrow, observing 18-year-old Bieber -- his high
voice, his inattentiveness, his slight frame, the eardrum-puncturing decibel at which he plays his music.
Oh, it all ends pretty well, with the writer conceding that Bieber is, after all, only 18 -- "I feel no desire to punch him in the face anymore." After Bieber lets loose with a bit of profanity, Magary approves, "To be a real man, you gotta be a real boy first."
I wonder, however, if young Mr. Bieber will appreciate the eventual approval? He might stop reading after the first page.
This issue of GQ features Michael Fassbender on the cover and also includes a fascinating article on soul singer D'Angelo, who rose fast, declined faster and is now coming back. Like the piece on Mr. Bieber, the Fassbender and D'Angelo articles fall, from time to time, into the "fame can suck" category.
Both Fassbender and D'Angelo suffered the burden of being overly-sexualized. It might have cost Fassbender an Oscar nomination for "Shame" and according to GQ's Amy Wallace, almost drove D'Angelo mad. (Many will never forget D'Angelo's intensely erotic "Untitled" video.
Was he naked and what exactly was happening below his hipbones?!)
D'Angelo--who is deeply religious--descended into addictions. Fassbender has to contend with a lot of jokes about his anatomy. The "Prometheus" star probably wanted his GQ profile to steer clear, but the references begin on the opening page, and end on the closing page. Writer Chris Heath describes a charity event at which Fassbender's friend Charlize Theron "went there" in her award acceptance speech. (The actor had introduced her.) Fassbender, while admitting the unfettered Charlize has "a filthy mouth" wasn't too happy.
Both men have other issues, of course. D'Angelo suffered the responsibility of being an African-American star; to be a role-model, to excel. As Chris Rock puts it: "You represent your race, and you have responsibilities that go beyond your art. How dare you just be excellent?"
Mr. Fassbender regrets how easy it is to be pulled into believing what people tell you--like insisting you're going to be nominated for an Oscar. Fassbender tried to ignore the talk, but admits he eventually expected that nod from the Academy. And when it didn't come, "I was very upset by it. It's a vanity thing. It does become important. And it shouldn't. That was a good little lesson."
All three of these articles--Bieber, Fassbender and D'Angelo are marvelously written. In fact, they make the June issue of GQ literally sizzle.
But closing the magazine I was reminded of a remark made by Talli Wyler, wife of the great director William Wyler who had been know as actress Margaret Tallichet.
One day, around 1941, Margaret was on a set waiting for something to happen. (Moviemaking is not glamorous, folks.) She looked around, took it all in, and said aloud, to nobody in particular, "What's so great about this?" She was already married to Wyler. She remained married to him until his death in 1981, and never regretted her decision to retire.
But don't get me wrong, I love Hollywood, as the great columnist Sidney Skolsky used to say.
- FROM THE accomplished to the ridiculous. Reality TV creature Kim Kardashian is considering a leap into politics. She thinks she'd make a fine Mayor of Glendale, Calif.
Well, both Clint Eastwood and the late Sonny Bono took on mayoral duties--in Carmel and Palm Springs, respectively. Why not Kim? (Please don't answer.)
Kim's interest in politics has been ignited by hobnobbing with the elite of both parties at the last two White House correspondents galas. But we're sure she reads newspapers too. Or surfs HuffPost and the Drudge Report.
Miss Kardashian is planning to speak at El Rodeo School and also Beverly Hills High School later this year, before the election. She wants to urge teens to be more involved, to get out and vote, when they are of age.
Kim's sister Kourtney told a pal of ours, "Kim would make a phenomenal mayor for any city. She genuinely cares about people and their day to day concerns. She's the rock in our family." When our friend said, "Well, there is a good mall in Glendale," Kourtney replied icily, "I doubt Kim's attraction to the mayorship is a mall."
Perhaps not. The Kardashians are strictly Rodeo Drive. But I suppose a mayoral campaign would enliven another season of her show.
- ON A similar subject--Lindsay Lohan. That Lifetime movie she is supposed to be making, "Liz and Dick," begins shooting is less than two weeks. But so far, Lindsay's Richard Burton has yet to be cast, nor has any other actor been announced.
Who is going to play the hapless cuckold Eddie Fisher? Who will essay the dignified, shattered Sybil Burton? Listen, who'll play the Pope, the one who denounced La Liz for her affair with Burton, and suggested her children be taken from her?
Oh, and I hope Miss Lohan -- whom I am still rooting for -- stops whatever she is doing to her face, especially her mouth. People always talk about Elizabeth's eyes and her classic nose, but the star of stars also had a delectable rosebud pucker, as distinctive as her other features. No sausage lips for Elizabeth Taylor, please.