Actors come and go, radio presenters live or die by their ratings and musicians top the charts only to be dropped, hostages to the vagaries of fickle public opinion.
But some stars are destined to be remembered forever, their successes immortalized in terrazzo and brass on the Hollywood Walk of Fame — a draw for visitors from across the world that has more staying power than any individual celebrity.
Launched in 1958, the walk has built up more than 2,600 stars, each a tribute to the contribution of a public figure in the fields of motion picture, television, recording, radio or, latterly, live theater.
“The criteria for getting a star are longevity in the field of entertainment — of five years or more — awards nominations, and very important to us is that they do philanthropic work,” said Ana Martinez, who arranges the ceremonies.
The ceremonies often coincide with the release of a movie as it is the celebrity who chooses the date, and a $40,000 fee is paid by the honoree’s entourage — $15,000 to cover the event and the rest for maintenance.
Nearly 50 years after its launch, the 2.5-mile (four-kilometer) stretch smack in the middle of Hollywood now attracts an estimated 10 million tourists a year, who come to soak up the glamour.
“It’s very special to be here, to be here in person to see the stars of the singers I love and I listen to often, and of the actors that I grew up with,” Brazilian tourist Daniela Oliveira told AFP.
Not all the honorees are actors and musicians, of course — the late film critic Roger Ebert has one, as do hockey announcer Bob Miller, LA Lakers owner Jerry Buss and Winnie the Pooh.
Other stars often go to groups — fictional or otherwise — such as the munchkins from “The Wizard of Oz,” “The Muppets” and “The Simpsons,” while Kermit the Frog, Mickey Mouse and Godzilla have their own.
E.M. Stuart, erstwhile president of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, is credited with coming up with the idea in 1953 for an attraction that would “maintain the glory of a community whose name means glamour.”
The walk’s initial costs came to $1.25 million and the first stars honored the likes of Olive Borden, Ronald Colman, Burt Lancaster and Joanne Woodward.
The selection process for honorees sparked controversy, however, when it emerged that Charlie Chaplin had been turned down for a star and his son sued unsuccessfully for damages amounting to $400,000.
Chaplin finally got his star in 1972, five years before his death.
The walk was designed to accommodate 2,518 stars, and by the 1990s most of the space had gone, prompting the dedication of a second row.
Now there are hundreds of blank stars — leaving hope for newcomers to the entertainment industry pining after the Hollywood dream.
The R-rated “X-Men” spinoff “Logan” slashed into the weekend box office, opening with a massive $85.3 million in North American theaters, according to studio estimates Sunday, while best-picture winner “Moonlight” got a significant, if far from superhero-sized, Oscar bump.
The debut of 20th Century Fox’s “Logan,” starring Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, ranks among the biggest March openings ever and top R-rated debuts. Like last year’s R-rated “Deadpool” (also a Fox release), the better-than-expected opening for “Logan” — a darkly violent, grittily dramatic movie applauded by critics — further proves moviegoers’ hunger for less conventional comic book films.
“‘Deadpool,’ was to comedy what ‘Logan’ is to drama. The only common theme is that they’re quote-unquote ‘comic-book movies’ and they’re rated R,” said Fox distribution chief Chris Aronson, who credited director and co-writer James Mangold and Jackman for executing their personal vision for the film.
Jackman has said it will be his final performance as Wolverine, whose claws he has worn for 17 years. “Logan,” made for about $100 million, also sold $152.5 million in tickets overseas.
“On a global scale, we’ve exceeded all pre-release expectations,” Aronson said.
Last week’s No. 1 film, Jordan Peele’s horror sensation “Get Out” slid just 22 percent — a small drop for any movie but particularly in the horror genre. The acclaimed Universal Pictures release, made for $5 million by Blumhouse Productions, dropped to second place but still grossed $26.1 million. Its 10-day total is $75 million.
The Oscar best-picture winner “Moonlight” had its widest release yet, appearing on 1,564 screens. It turned in its biggest weekend, too, with an estimated $2.5 million. That accounts for roughly 10 percent of the movie’s total domestic haul of $25.3 million.
“Moonlight,” made for just $1.5 million, is also out on DVD and on-demand. Indie distributor A24 said it will be its highest-grossing release in its five-year existence. “Moonlight” also ranks fourth on iTunes.
“That’s a true Oscar halo effect in full view,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for comScore. “Usually the biggest bounce comes from the nominations. But this film hadn’t made a ton of money. A24 smartly expanded into more theaters, and it really worked for them.”
Barry Jenkins’ drama is nevertheless one of the least widely seen best-picture winners. Only Kathryn Bigelow’s “The Hurt Locker” ($17 million) earned less at the domestic box office.
Though it memorably did not win best picture, Lionsgate’s “La La Land” — winner of six Academy Awards — is closing in on $400 million globally after adding another $11 million internationally and $3 million domestically.
Lionsgate’s “The Shack” also opened in North American theaters over the weekend and came in third with $16.1 million. The Christian tale, starring Sam Worthington and Octavia Spencer, was slammed by critics, but it attracted one of the largest faith-based audiences in recent years.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to comScore. Where available, the latest international numbers also are included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.
Now in its seventh year, the festival is attracting filmmakers, stars, students and fans from around the city and the globe. This week’s events offer a wide range of themes for movie, art and music lovers, and a unique platform for the Kingdom to celebrate its creativity
When the Cambodia International Film Festival began in 2009, it was responding to a very specific need: films made in the country simply did not have a platform for screening. With no major cinemas, the crewmembers often would not even have a chance to view their own work on the screen.
“We started to say ‘we should bring some of these films back,’” says Cedric Eloy, the chief executive officer of the Cambodian Film Commission and one of the festival organizers. After beginning with an approximate audience of a thousand people, the festival has grown yearly, and organizers expect this incarnation, which begins tonight and runs through Thursday, to exceed 20,000 attendees.
Despite expanding alongside the industry, Eloy says the festival has maintained its mission – to give filmmakers a platform, to present trends in local cinema to outsiders working in the industry, and to develop a local knowledge base about movies from all over the world.
For the first time, this year’s edition will be held in the spring, where Eloy expects it to remain in coming years. The lineup is an intoxicating mix of local and regional films, with Western offerings sprinkled throughout, as well as a celebration of local music, arts and dance. Because of the range of films, the organisers have tried to arrange the agenda as much as possible by theme – for example, there will be a showcase of Lao cinema, a series on the Rwandan genocide, and a collection of films for children.
“There’s really a desire to make it accessible to a large audience without it feeling too overwhelming, so that’s why there’s an intention to have all these different themes,” Vanaka Chhem-Kieth, a press officer for the festival, says. On top of providing nearly a week of entertainment for residents, the festival is also an opportunity to foster a local film ecosystem.
“We do film production and film training most of the year, so we connect everything we do [with the festival] … and people can make professional connections between Cambodia and other industries [elsewhere],” Eloy says. “A lot of people, when they come to present their film here, discover that there is an industry. They make connections and might have an idea for other projects. So it leads to other films in the future and other collaborations.”
Director Rithy Panh, whose documentary Exile will be making its Cambodian premiere, sees the festival as an opportunity for locals to see and hear perspectives potentially unfamiliar to them.
“You have nearly 30 different countries [where films being shown are made] and these are 30 different points of view and ways of doing cinema differently, and I find that it’s important for our youth to discover these different viewpoints,” he says. “It’s not sufficient [for success] to have a good diploma in management. You also need culture.”
In order to make the festival as accessible as possible for the public, the organisers have implemented a ticketing system that allows the first half of the audience to get in free, while all subsequent tickets cost just $1.
For admission to all the events, and the perk of getting to skip lines, the public can purchase a pass for the entire festival for 50,000 riel ($12.50). In line with targeting a young, local audience, Koh Pich will host a series of open air events, including a screening of Davy Chou’s celebrated film Diamond Island.
These days, more A-list Hollywood actresses are starting to embrace the world of TV.
Hollywood’s IT girl Emma Stone will reunite with Superbad co-star Jonah Hill for the Netflix comedy series Maniac which is set for release later this year. The TV show, directed by True Detective’s Cary Fukunaga, is based on a Norwegian series of the same name and it follows the fantasies of a patient in a mental institution.
Naomi Watts’ upcoming Netflix TV series Gypsy will see the actress portraying Jean Holloway, a therapist who gets intimate with the people in her patients’ lives. Due for release later this year. Hmm … wonder how Fifty Shades Of Grey director Sam Taylor-Johnson will work her magic on this show?
Michelle Pfeiffer and Robert De Niro have starred in three films together, and are now doing TV work. The actors reunite in the upcoming HBO TV movie Wizard Of Lies, where Pfeiffer plays Ruth Madoff, the wife of convicted American financial fraudster Bernie Madoff (De Niro). The series is set to premiere in May.
Three-time Oscar winner Meryl Streep will be starring in Warner Bros TV’s The Nix, a miniseries about a man on a mission to prove that his mother is not guilty of an alleged crime. Directed by J.J. Abrams, The Nix is an adaptation of a critically-acclaimed novel by Nathan Hill. The Hollywood Reporter reported that Streep is earning US$825,000 (RM3.6mil) per episode.
Julia Roberts will produce and star as Eleanor Ford in Today Will Be Different, a TV series based on a novel of the same name. In the series, Roberts’ character tackles the issues that she has been putting on hold such as confronting her son who has been faking an illness and a wayward husband.
This article appeared on The Star newspaper website, which is a member of Asia News Network and a media partner of The Jakarta Post
After the ministers, dignitaries and survivors of the Khmer Rouge had filed in Saturday evening, and Angelina Jolie had greeted the arrival of King Norodom Sihamoni and Queen Mother Norodom Monineath, the lights in the ruins of the ancient city of Angkor Thom finally dimmed for the world premiere of First They Killed My Father.
For a brief moment, the rustling of insects was the only sound before the audience of more than 1,000 was transported back to April 12, 1975.
An adaptation of Loung Ung’s autobiographical book recounting her and her family’s suffering under the Khmer Rouge, the Jolie-directed film depicts in vivid detail the forced evacuations from Phnom Penh, the journey to the brutal labour camps in the country’s northwest, and, for Ung, the conscription of children as soldiers into the ranks of the Revolutionary Army of Kampuchea. Ung, who is portrayed in a highly emotional performance by child actress Sareum Srey Moch, was five years old when her family was ordered out of the capital.
For some fellow survivors in attendance at the world premiere, the depiction on the big screen was a harrowing trip back to the country’s darkest chapter.
Say Vorphorn, a 45-year-old doctor in attendance, said that while his experience as a child-survivor of the Khmer Rouge could not be compared to Ung’s, the loss of his own father resonated strongly.
“I was 3 years old during that time, but I didn’t suffer as much because my mother was a cook … [but] I feel this deeply inside my heart because my father was killed during that time,” he said.
Ma Rynet, the star of The Last Reel, who played an extra in a scene in which a captured Khmer Rouge soldier is beaten by angry villagers, said that seeing the final product brought her to tears.
“I hope the world will know Cambodia through this film,” she added.
Shot in the country between November 2015 and February 2016, the movie employed more than 3,500 background actors to recreate scenes showing the population transfers and forced collectivisation of the Khmer Rouge, as well as battle sequences from the eventual Vietnamese invasion that toppled the regime. The film is in Khmer, with occasional French and Vietnamese, and will be released later this year on Netflix.
In an interview with The Post, Jolie said that beyond highlighting the potential of Cambodia for filmmakers – foreign and domestic – she hopes the film will in some ways reintroduce the country to international audiences.
“I hope that people will not just look at this film as a history lesson but they will walk away with a new love and respect for the country,” she said. Attending the film with her six children – two of whom are Cambodian – Jolie has pledged to remain involved in supporting the local film industry.
After attending the premiere, Youk Chhang, the executive director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia, said the movie represented a new approach to portrayals of the trauma of the Pol Pot regime.
“I think that this film, for the first time, would train [a Cambodian audience] to look for a beauty in the darkness,” he said, noting that human scenes, in which Ung shares a cricket to eat with her sister, or is hit by her brother after stealing rice, “really capture the heart”.
Himself a child survivor, Chhang felt that it accurately captures the emotional complexities of a childhood experience of mass atrocity.
“Children don’t use physical resistance, they use emotion. It’s the only form of resistance to fight [with] … I think Angie [Jolie] captured the complexities of the emotion on the camera.”
Jolie, speaking to The Post after the film’s Saturday press conference at the Raffles Hotel, said that rendering a child’s point-of-view on-screen was a central challenge in orchestrating the camera-work with director of photography Anthony Dod Mantle.
A difficulty was not just having shots at Ung’s low height but deciding “what she will and will not look at”.
“That point of view grows. At a certain point she cannot look at blood, and when she’s older the POV matures and gets hardened and she starts to witness things she didn’t when she was younger,” she said.
Loung Ung, in an interview on Saturday, said that she hoped the film may break misconceptions about the emotional experience of surviving war and genocide.
“I think people will see that it takes more than anger, [and] it takes more than strength to survive. It takes love, it takes soul and we Cambodians have that in spades,” she said.
Another survivor, Sin Nou Visakha, 65, broke into tears as she spoke to The Post after the screening, calling “the image the same as reality”.
She hoped the film could educate Cambodia’s youth about the horrors of the past.
“I want the young children to watch this, more than old people, because we have been through it and some of them don’t believe that we suffered like that.”
First They Killed My Father will be screening in Phnom Penh at Olympic Stadium on Tuesday, February 21, at 6pm and in Battambang on February 23. It will be available on Netflix later this year.
The producer of Captain Phillips and Fifty Shades of Grey, Michael De Luca, is working with Yoko Ono to produce a film chronicling the love story between the late John Lennon and Ono.
The movie does not yet have a set release date but will feature Theory of Everything’s Anthony McCarten, Luca, Ono and Immersive Pictures’ Josh Bratman as screenwriters.
De Luca has said as quoted by Rolling Stone that the storyline will “focus on the ripe and relevant themes of love, courage and activism in the US – with the intention of inspiring today’s youth to stand up for and have a clear vision for the world they want”.
Lennon’s first encounter with Ono came about when the latter set up an art exhibition called Unfinished Paintings and Objects in November 1966.
Their conversation kicked off when the Beatles founder asked Ono about her painting called Painting to Hammer a Nail In.
At that time, Lennon was still married to his first wife, Cynthia. Nonetheless, in 1968, the couple got a divorce and Lennon married Ono the following year in Gibraltar.
Throughout their relationship, Ono and Lennon made music together and became famous for their anti-war protests against the Vietnam War and support for the hippie movement. (nik/kes)
Jack Sparrow returns for the fifth time in “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” trailer.
In the hair-raising trailer released on Monday, the trouble-making and mellow buccaneer (Johnny Depp) is shown to be soaked in mud as he faces his adversary, Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem).
Salazar, fleeing from the Devil’s Triangle, happens to lead a syndicate of ghost pirates who target to systematize a “killing spree” for all pirates.
Sparrow will be assisted by his crew composed of Captain Barbosa (Geoffrey Rush), Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Joshamee Gibbs (Kevin McNally).
To counter Salazar evil’s forces, Sparrow must also team up with a prodigious astronomer, Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario), and Henry (Brenton Thwaites), a young sailor in the Royal Navy, to locate the Trident of Poseidon.
“Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man Tell No Tales” will first grace theaters on May 26. The film’s previous franchises, chiefly “Dead Man’s Chest” and “On Stranger Tides,” have grossed billions of dollars.
An independent Indian film and a Singapore – Thailand production steal the limelight at the International Film Festival Rotterdam
One of the biggest film festivals in the world, the 46th International Film Festival Rotterdam ended on Saturday night with the awarding of the prestigious Hivos Tiger Award to Sanal Kumar Sasidharan’s Malayalam-language indie film “Sexy Durga”.
Another big winner was the Singapore-Thailand co-production “Pop Aye”. Produced by Anthony Chen, director of the award winning film “Ilo Ilo”, it’s directed by Kirsten Tan, a Singaporean filmmaker who made her name with short films “Sink” (2009) and “Cold Noodles” (2010). “Pop Aye” took home the World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award for Screenwriting at the Sundance Film Festival, where it premiered last month. In Rotterdam, the film won the VPRO Big Screen Award, which is chosen by five film enthusiasts. Tan takes home a cash prize of 15,000 Euros Bt560,000) and financial support towards its theatrical release in the Netherlands.
“Ten years ago, I spent two years in Thailand. Now I live in New York,” Tan tells XP, adding that she had long wanted to become a filmmaker in a country where there is a small film industry.
“When I went to do research in Surin, Pong was the first elephant I met,” Tan says of the larger-than-life movie star. “At first I didn’t want him because he is too big and too good looking. Pong is a temple elephant so he’s familiar with voice commands, but we had to train him more to use him in the film.
Pong isn’t the film’s only rookie. Musician Thaneth Warakulnukroh is also making his big screen debut and only his second experience of working in front of the camera since the 1986 TV Series “Thewada Tok Sawan”.
“It was really hard to find an actor who suited the role. Our casting director tried to find one, but no one fitted the character, until one day, Prabda Yoon suggested Thaneth and he was perfect. He’s serious about his craft and committed to the role, which I really like about him,” Tan says.
Thaneth stars opposite popular actress Penpak Sirikul, who plays his wife. “Just by looking at Penpak’s photograph, I knew she would fit the character. I have watched many of her more recent films and she’s a really good actress. She’s was the easiest to cast.”
Tan was delighted to receive the award from the audience jury. “I’m so happy, not least because it was unexpected,” she says.
“Pop Aye” will soon be released in America and Singapore. The search is now on for a Thai distributor and Tan is hoping that it will screen this year.