Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Kylie Minogue says not finished with pop stardom

Breast cancer sidelined her for two years, but pop singer Kylie Minogue is back with a vengeance with a new album, an upcoming tour and the belief that after 20 years at the top, she isn't finished yet.

Minogue, who transformed herself from a 1980s soap opera actress to one of the biggest-selling female stars and sex symbols in Europe and in her native Australia, said her well-publicized cancer battle in 2005 forced her to evaluate her life.

"You do tend to hear more about people who have said, 'That's it. I'm going to go in a completely different direction.' And I think I would have had a valid excuse.

"But no, not me. I'm not finished. I get joy out of what I do. I'm ready to go on," Minogue, 39, told Reuters in an interview.

Since recovering from surgery and chemotherapy in 2005, the petite blonde has written a children's book, launched a perfume and a London museum fashion exhibit, been honored with an Order of the British Empire by Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and released her 10th studio album, "X," in Europe in November.

Not that "cancer" is a word you hear Minogue using often. In fact, she'd rather not talk about her illness at all.

"I don't have a nice little phrase to summarize what that meant, or what it did, or how I've changed. I don't want to talk about it too much.

"I have some understanding of what other people might go through, but I don't have the answers. I am sure the day will come where I will be more forward about it. If I was one-on-one with a patient, I would share everything," she said.


The performer of dance hits like "Can't Get You Out of My Head" and "Spinning Around" said there are three very personal songs on the "X" album, which is due to be released in the United States in March.

But some reviewers have expressed surprise that "X" is more an album of classic Kylie dance and pop numbers than a reflection on the tumultuous last three years, during which Minogue also split with her long-term boyfriend, French actor Olivier Martinez.

The announcement of Minogue's European tour, set to begin in May in Paris, laid to rest persistent media speculation about her health.

She dismissed the notion that the tour would be physically less demanding than her extravagant, abandoned 2005 "Showgirl" world tour.

"You don't feel the pain when you are performing, when your adrenaline is going. It will be two hours of energy," she said.

"The bulk of the show is going to be more streamlined, but I'm sure there will be a moment when the showgirl in me will appear."

Like many pop stars who are huge in Britain and Europe, Minogue has not made the transition to mass-market fame in the United States. But even that has its blessings.

"It's a slightly weird situation for me because I can still walk the streets here (in Los Angeles) and no one will recognize me. I love it," she said.


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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Sylvester Stallone on "Rambo"

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Rambo is coming to get theater audiences this week with Sylvester Stallone back on the big screen as the touch-as-nails Vietnam veteran.

One year ago Stallone's "Rocky Balboa," the sixth film in the movie series about a rags-to-riches boxer, restored luster to the franchise earning $155 million at global box offices.

Now "Sly" Stallone is back on Friday with the second of his two movie character icons -- action hero John Rambo, in "Rambo" -- a movie he starred in, wrote and directed.

At 61, Hollywood watchers have speculated about whether Stallone was up to the task of taking on the Rambo character again, but the star appears in great shape after a grueling three months in the Thai and Myanmar jungle making the film:

Q: Did you wonder if you were still up to the task?

A: "Oh my God, by the third month things were breaking down. You don't get a break. Even a football player gets a weekend off. On this, we were scouting, going six days-a-week, and it gets you. The big thing was trying to stay on top of your game, eat the right stuff, take the right supplements and so on."

Q: You decided to write, direct and star in it. Why take all that on, when directing alone is such a tough job?

A: "It is, especially these kinds of films. I didn't realize. "Rocky" was hard but it was much easier than this one. I didn't even think about the trucks and the jungle and 300 extras and the heat and so on."

Q: Did you have any fun on this shoot?

A: "It was a bitch to make it. The fun part is I enjoyed seeing it. Usually I can't sit through things I do, but I enjoyed this."

Q: How do you explain the global appeal of John Rambo?

A: "There hasn't been anyone like him, and he really does put his stamp on the dark side. Rocky's got optimism. The glass is half-full. This man is just a pessimist. And I feel his thoughts about 'What is life all about?' are more common and more visited by people than Rocky's thoughts, I really do. We're always questioning our worth and our insecurities."

Q: You've always been closely associated with Rocky. But how much of you is in Rambo?

A: "I got to play two very different characters that are actually both sides of most people's personalities. Imagine being able to play your upside and then being able to play your demons?...Rambo, like most guarded people, is so pent up inside. He's such a physical creature in that way and wants to physically act out his demons, and that's exactly who I am (laughs). On one side. On the other, I'm very optimistic, just like Rocky ... these are the two characters that I really love and that I'm proud of."

Q: How hard was it getting back in shape?

A: "Rocky was just inundated with injuries, so I never really got into top shape, but it was OK, as he wasn't supposed to be in peak shape. This one was so hard. The weather, the pollution and just the overall lifestyle took a big toll. Many people had to go to the hospital to have fluids pumped into their bodies. We were all pushing it."

Q: Did your wife come to visit the set in Myanmar?

A: "I begged her not to come, unless she was wearing a mosquito-proof dress. I told her it was going to be hard. She lasted two days and said, 'I can't take it anymore!' But that's what it is. If you're going to do this movie you have to go to where it's at. It's not for a vacation."

Q: How long do you think you can go on doing action films?

A: It's uncharted territory ... what I'd like to explain is, it's not about action, it's about in-between-the-action. It's the interaction, the brain work and a story that the audience can emotionally hook into. My buddy Bruce (Willis) is still doing it, and you've got Harrison Ford now in the new Indy movie, and he's 65. So I think if you do it intelligently, where every now and again you have back pain (laughs) and then you keep going, like Clint (Eastwood) did, I think it still works.



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It's Paris Fashion Week!

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Murphy, Edmonds 'friends,' not spouses

LOS ANGELES - The wedding ceremony between Eddie Murphy and film producer Tracey Edmonds two weeks ago was only symbolic ƒ‚ and that's as far as they plan to go, they announced Wednesday.

Murphy, 46, and Edmonds, 40, traded vows on New Year's Day on a private island off Bora Bora in French Polynesia in a ceremony that was not legally binding.

"After much consideration and discussion, we have jointly decided that we will forgo having a legal ceremony as it is not necessary to define our relationship further," said a statement on behalf of both Murphy and Edmonds issued by publicist Arnold Robinson.

"While the recent symbolic union in Bora Bora was representative of our deep love, friendship and respect that we have for one another on a spiritual level, we have decided to remain friends," the statement said.

The statement did not clarify whether the two remained a couple. In an e-mail exchange, Robinson said he could not comment beyond the statement.

Murphy has six children from previous relationships. He and Edmonds, whose credits include "Dreamgirls" and "Beverly Hills Cop," began dating last year. They became engaged in July.

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Monday, January 14, 2008

Golden Globes Fashion Flashback

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Spice Girls gaze at gowns in Cavalli men's show

MILAN (Reuters) - Britain's Spice Girls turned out to watch Roberto Cavalli's winter 2009 menswear show on Monday and he didn't disappoint them, including in his show a gorgeous green evening shift and a black satin Cinderella gown for women.

The quintet -- better known by their nicknames Posh, Baby, Sporty, Ginger and Scary -- had front-row seats for the show, which Cavalli told Reuters was aimed at "a sophisticated man ... even a rock star type."

Geri "Ginger" Halliwell, wearing a beige ruched mini dress, was open-mouthed at a voluminous black satin long gown and pointed out to Victoria "Posh" Beckham -- wearing a black trouser suit and headband -- the green version.

Cavalli, smoking his trademark cigar, said his show was "for a man who doesn't need to find himself in eccentricities."

Models wore suits in shiny midnight blue and black jacquards. Cavalli brought back turn-ups to straight-leg trousers and threw roomy sheepskins or leopard print coats over the top of outfits.

He used shiny black for a hooded oilskin coat or plumped up duvet style gilets over thick rib jumpers.

Accessories featured alligator-look black briefcases and big scarves, while one model sported a sparkling black brooch on an evening suit lapel.

For the women, Cavalli offered feathered evening bags in pink or black to match dresses.

His glamorous womenswear was a big hit with retailer Hennes & Mauritz, where eager shoppers queued up when they went on sale on November 8.

Cavalli said he had no plans for any further collaborations and was keen to know who might be the next designer for H&M -- which has already used collections by Karl Lagerfeld and Stella McCartney.

"I enjoyed myself, it was great," he said. "I'd like to see who does the next collection ... I don't think other designers want to put themselves up against my success."

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Friday, January 11, 2008

Vanessa Hudgens and Ashley Tisdale: Still Shopping

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No pressure for AFI Awards winners

LOS ANGELES - Talk of the writers strike buzzed around a Four Seasons ballroom Friday as George Clooney, Javier Bardem and other stars gathered for a no-pressure awards lunch hosted by the American Film Institute.

The AFI Awards honored 10 films and 10 television programs of 2007, as selected by juries that include critics, academics and others in the industry. There were no winners or losers, and no acceptance speeches ƒ‚ just a lunch of Lake Superior whitefish, truffle herb mashed potatoes and chocolate cake.

The awards are among several traditionally low-key Hollywood gatherings that are getting a bump in attention this year because glitzier events like the Golden Globes have been toned down.

Attire was business casual (though "There Will Be Blood" writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson wore a collarless shirt, scruffy beard and funky red hat), there were only a handful of photographers and the only TV cameras there were shooting for AFI.

Producers, directors and actors from each honored film and show sat at tables together to watch clips and listen to AFI's "rationale" for each pick. Critic Leonard Maltin read out the reasoning for each movie, and AFI trustee Rich Frank did the honors for TV shows.

"It's relaxing," said Hal Holbrook, whose supporting performance in "Into the Wild" has won wide acclaim. "This was nice. You don't have to sit around waiting for somebody to call your name. That was tough the other night at the Critic's Choice."

Tilda Swinton, wearing a loose linen dress, said she was grateful for the no-competition atmosphere.

"This is great. This is the way it should be," said Swinton, who plays a corporate lawyer in "Michael Clayton." "Maybe it'll start a trend."

The writers' strike topped AFI's list of moments of significance from 2007.

"AFI looks forward to the day when a new business model will form, and an artist's work will rise above the numbers," said Bob Gazzale, the organization's president and CEO.

Former Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences president Frank Pierson said it had been "a very difficult year" and praised the honored films for showing that "the artists and the businessmen have done it again together."

Clooney, in a sleek black suit, said he hoped to use his connections to bring together "people who know each other" on both sides of the strike.

"The secret is to get these people in a room together ... so they don't poop in each other's hats," Clooney said.

He said he'd spoken on Thursday with Harvey Weinstein and to Steven Spielberg on Friday morning. The Weinstein Company announced plans Thursday to sign an interim deal with the Writers Guild of America.

Talk of Sunday's Golden Globes, which the WGA had threatened to picket, attracted mostly shrugs from honorees. Writer-director-producer Judd Apatow shrugged at mention of the current plan for a press conference announcing winners.

Apatow, whose "Knocked Up" was honored, called the lunch "the most fun of all the events."

"I just try to have a drink and meet a bunch of people that I would never have the courage to talk to otherwise," he said. "I was talking to Jason Bateman, who was talking to Javier Bardem. I don't know if I'm on Javier's radar."

The films honored at the lunch were "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead," "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly," "Into the Wild," "Juno," "Knocked Up," "Michael Clayton," "No Country For Old Men," "Ratatouille," "The Savages" and "There Will Be Blood."

The honored TV programs were "Dexter," "Everybody Hates Chris," "Friday Night Lights," "Longford," "Mad Men," "Pushing Daisies," "The Sopranos," "Tell Me You Love Me," "30 Rock" and "Ugly Betty."


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Vanessa Gets Her Shop On

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Friday, January 4, 2008

Celebs Say 'Aloha' to Hawaii

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Bounty Hunter' friend caught pants down

HONOLULU (AP) A sidekick of TV bounty hunter Duane "Dog" Chapman turned himself in to authorities Friday after a shopping center security guard reported seeing him naked in his pickup truck, performing a lewd act, police said.

But Tim Chapman's lawyer insists his client spilled juice on himself and was just changing clothes Thursday night.

The guard told Chapman to put on his clothes and get out of the truck, police said. After dressing, Chapman started his truck and drove over a sidewalk, nearly hitting the guard, then drove off, police said.

The guard told police that he recognized Chapman from Duane Chapman's show "Dog the Bounty Hunter" and that he was performing an unspecified lewd act. Duane Chapman and Tim Chapman are not related.

Tim Chapman's attorney, Brook Hart, said it was all a misunderstanding.

"It was simply a man who wet his pants with orange juice inadvertently and was changing them, doing nothing wrong at all and believing he had sufficient privacy to do it," Hart said.

Police said they were investigating whether to charge Chapman, 42.

The A&E television network put the show on hold indefinitely in November after the release of a private phone conversation in which Duane Chapman repeatedly used a racial slur to describe his son's girlfriend. He has apologized repeatedly.

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