Celebrities share awkward teen photos to raise funds for hurricane relief

Posted September 30, 2017 16:36:06

Celebrities have shared photos of their awkward teenage stage on social media to raise thousands of dollars for Puerto Rico’s hurricane relief efforts.

On The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, US actor Nick Kroll put out the call for throwback photos.

Host Colbert said he then decided “right on the spur of the moment” to donate money from his Americone Dream Fund to the One America Appeal for every celebrity post using #PuberMe and #PuertoRicoRelief.

He asked Kroll how much he should donate per post. Kroll suggested $1,000, and, after checking the fund’s account, Colbert agreed.

“I want to see bowl-cuts, I want to see brace-faces, a constellation of acne across your T-zone,” he said.

But who counts as a celebrity? Colbert said: “I get to determine.”

So far, photos of varying awkwardness have been shared by celebrities including Reese Witherspoon, Mike Bloomberg, Jimmy Fallon, Debbie Harry, Al Yankovic, John Oliver, Sarah Michelle Gellar and the Backstreet Boys.

Topics: storm-disaster, disasters-and-accidents, television, social-media, actor, arts-and-entertainment, united-states, puerto-rico

Heath Ledger’s father calls for more awareness in wake of rising drug deaths

Posted September 27, 2017 19:21:29

The father of late actor Heath Ledger says a dramatically increasing rate of drug-related deaths in Australia “doesn’t surprise” him and has called for more education on the potential dangers of prescription medication.

Drug-related deaths hit the highest point since the 1990s last year, Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data shows, and the majority of those were caused by prescription medication.

Kim Ledger, a founding patron of advocacy group Scriptwise who has been raising awareness of addiction since his son’s death in 2008, said a lack of understanding of the dangers of prescription drugs was behind a number of deaths.

“The worst thing is that most of the people taking these drugs will not know the downside of mixing medications. And this is what’s creating a number of deaths,” he told the ABC.

“Most people have no idea that prescription medication can lead to deaths.”

The overwhelming majority of drug-related deaths in 2016 were accidental, the ABS said, and were most commonly associated with prescription medications benzodiazepines (anxiety medication) or oxycodone (painkiller).

‘You can get addicted in a matter of days’

A person dying from a drug-induced death in 2016 was most likely to be a middle-aged male, living outside of a capital city in a country area.

“A typical scenario can be the person who has had either an industrial accident or a motorcar accident, and they spent some time in hospital — it could be as little as a torn muscle but could be some sort of tragic injury,” Mr Ledger explained.

“And then during the process of repatriation they’ll be issued up prescription painkiller, and it’s these painkillers that if not wary of them, you can become addicted in a very short space of time — a matter of days in some cases.”

Patients then get “hooked on the highs” that the drugs are giving them, and then find themselves addicted when they leave the hospital.

“They then start mixing — they get whatever they can from a doctor, and if one doctor doesn’t issue what they want, they’ll travel to another doctor and get more of the same or something different,” Mr Ledger said.

Mr Ledger has called for a real-time monitoring system to prevent people doctor shopping, and said an education program similar to the anti-smoking Quit campaign could also help.

“It’s an addiction, it’s an illness, and you know there are so many different types of addiction,” he said.

“This one is no different except that you know the consequences of mixing some of these drugs affects people in in a variety of ways and you’re not to know when you’re taking a variety of these drugs whether they are actually going to put you to sleep or not because you have combined them with alcohol or sleeping tablets or something like that so that you can catch people out and it does.”

Topics: community-and-society, drugs-and-substance-abuse, actor, health, death, australia

Greta Scacchi’s love affair with Italian cinema

Posted September 20, 2017 17:11:56

From lead roles in Hollywood to the stages of Paris, Greta Scacchi’s acting career has taken her around the world.

But the 57-year-old is particularly fond of the cinema of Italy, where she was born.

“I think that, as in many countries in the world, Italy is in a period of change,” Scacchi told RN Drive.

“There’s been a struggle with economic pressures and with the pressures of informal immigration.

“Because of the shifting identity of Italy, and the difficulties that people are suffering there, the cinema is beginning to produce a kind of new neo-realism that’s as gritty and real and good as some of their post-war cinema.”

Reverence for art and culture

Scacchi, who is an ambassador for the Italian Film Festival, which is touring capital cities, believes that there is an open reverence for art, academia and culture in Italy, which leads to a very different sort of film than those produced by major Western studios.

“When you watch Italian films it’s very engaging, because you must engage with them,” she said.

“You are requested, as an audience, not to just lie back and have the thing wash over you — you have to think and apply yourself and then you’ll find it’s very rewarding.

“It [Italian cinema] doesn’t necessarily answer all the questions; the stories can have some inconclusive quality, but that is their truth — not all questions can be answered and things aren’t black and white.”

Though she is best known for her work in Hollywood films like Presumed Innocent and The Player, for Scacchi those projects were a means to an end — a chance to return to the roles she truly loved in Europe.

“I didn’t go to Hollywood until I really had to,” Scacchi said.

“European film directors wanted me for a project, but the producers and the money people decided they had to go for a bigger American name.

“When that happened to me the third time, I went to the [United] States.”

After two weeks in Los Angeles, Scacchi said she was offered a role in Presumed Innocent.

“So that was the ticket that I needed to get into their kind of American market,” she said.

“I soon ran away … I didn’t like it very much.”

Different on-set cultures

Scacchi’s long and varied career has seen her take roles in everything from Australian favourites like Looking for Alibrandi, to period dramas like Emma, alongside the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow.

Having worked on films around the world, she believes that each country has its own distinct culture on set, and America’s is the most hierarchical.

“The star system is their form of monarchy,” she said.

“I remember when I first walked onto a film set in America and nobody was allowed to look Harrison Ford in the eye.”

Yet, when starting out in England, Scacchi was told of the importance of knowing everyone on set.

“In America there was no chance to do that because if you ever met eyes with the focus puller, he would look down at the ground,” she said.

When she began working in Italy, Scacchi found that it was necessary to become more distant for her own protection.

“In Italy, when I applied this technique of getting to know the names of the focus puller or the clapper loader, by day three they were saying ‘come here and give me a kiss’ or ‘why don’t you sit on my lap’, and I realised that in Italy if you are a lead actor, you don’t say hello to everybody,” she said.

“They don’t want you to be familiar — they want you to be just a little more on a pedestal.”

And again Scacchi explained her experience of working in Australia was different yet again.

“In Australia, of course that wouldn’t go down at all well,” she said.

“Everybody here is the same, it’s democracy, it’s egalitarian, and I actually like that environment most of all.”

Topics: film, actor, history, italy

Harry Dean Stanton, cult American actor, dies aged 91

Posted September 16, 2017 10:17:19

Harry Dean Stanton, whose scruffy looks and off-beat demeanour made him a favourite of directors seeking a character actor to add eccentricity or melancholy to the screen, has died from natural causes, his agent said. He was 91.

Stanton, who appeared in some 70 movies and many television shows including Repo Man, Paris, Texas and most recently David Lynch’s reboot of television’s Twin Peaks, died peacefully at Cedars Sinai hospital in Los Angeles, his agent John Kelly said in a statement.

Stanton’s final on-screen role can be seen in the upcoming film Lucky.

In a career spanning 60 years, Stanton’s roles were not always big but were meaningful and could add a special quirk or flavour to a film.

Sometimes he said very little in his roles, but with a long, craggy face highlighted by unkempt hair and sad, droopy eyes, Stanton had a strong physical presence and made a point of not over-acting.

“He’s one of those actors who knows that his face is the story,” his friend Sam Shepard, the playwright and actor, said in the 2012 documentary Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction.

Shepard himself passed away in July this year at the age of 73.

Stanton credited Jack Nicholson with giving him vital professional advice. Nicholson had written a part for Stanton in the Western Ride the Whirlwind and told him, “Let the wardrobe do the acting and just play yourself.”

“After Jack said that, my whole approach to acting opened up,” Stanton told Entertainment Weekly.

Stanton’s eclectic body of work

Stanton worked with many of Hollywood’s most notable directors, including Frances Ford Coppola (The Godfather Part Two and One From the Heart), Sam Peckinpah (Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid), Martin Scorsese (The Last Temptation of Christ), Ridley Scott (Alien), and Lynch (Wild at Heart, The Straight Story, and Inland Empire).

Stanton could be taciturn to the point of mystery. In Partly Fiction, when Lynch asked him how he would like to be remembered, Stanton replied: “It doesn’t matter.”

Two 1984 films cemented his reputation in Hollywood: Repo Man and Paris, Texas.

Repo Man became an independent cult film favourite with Stanton as a comically grizzled and paranoid car repossession expert trying to pass on his dubious code of ethics to his apprentice.

In Paris, Texas, written by Shepard and directed by Wim Wenders, he played an emotionally broken, nearly silent man trying to put his life and family back together — a portrayal that many in Hollywood thought should have at least earned Stanton an Oscar nomination.

Other notable Stanton movies were Pretty in Pink, The Missouri Breaks, Red Dawn, Escape From New York, The Green Mile and Cool Hand Luke.”

In the 1960s, Stanton was frequently seen on US television in classic cowboy shows such as Gunsmoke, Rawhide, Bonanza and Have Gun, Will Travel.

In 2008-2009 he played a manipulative polygamist on the HBO series “Big Love.”

Stanton was born July 14, 1926, in West Irvine, Kentucky, to a tobacco farmer father and hairdresser mother who divorced when he was a teenager.

Stanton, who was a cook at the battle of Okinawa during his US Navy service in World War Two, became interested in acting while attending the University of Kentucky and pursued acting at the prestigious Pasadena Playhouse in California.

In the 1960s, Stanton and Nicholson were was part of a clique of hard-living Hollywood rebels who also included Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper and various rock stars.

Stanton told an interviewer that he and Hopper had a running joke that some of Hopper’s best work — in “Blue Velvet” and an Oscar-nominated part in “Hoosiers” — came in roles that Stanton had turned down.

Stanton made a second career of music, playing regularly in Los Angeles and sometimes touring with the Harry Dean Stanton Band, in which he sang and played guitar and harmonica.

Stanton never married but once told an interviewer he had “one, maybe two” sons.


Topics: actor, film-movies, arts-and-entertainment, death, united-states

Daniel Radcliffe enters the Jungle in life beyond Harry Potter

Posted August 04, 2017 11:09:28

Daniel Radcliffe says his role in the new film Jungle is part of his mission to play as many varied roles as possible after finishing up with Harry Potter.

The British actor told ABC Radio Melbourne‘s Lindy Burns that as the series wound up, being typecast as the teenage wizard “was obviously a concern”.

“It wasn’t so much a concern of ‘I think that’s going to happen’, as it was ‘I don’t know what’s going to happen, and that’s a possibility’,” he said.

Radcliffe said while some directors might be turned off by his history of playing Potter, “others are intrigued by it”.

“For as many directors as there probably are out there … who essentially saw me as just that one thing, there were a lot of other people who were equally excited by the prospect of being the one who reinvents me, or shows me in a different light.”

“My mission from when I came out of Potter was to, [with] every opportunity somebody gave me to do something different and show something different — just take it.”

That is exactly what Radcliffe did when offered the role of adventurer Yossi Ghinsberg in Jungle.

Jungle, by Wolf Creek director Greg McLean, is based on Ghinsberg’s true story of becoming stranded in the Amazon rainforest for three weeks in 1981.

The film had its world premiere at the opening night of the Melbourne International Film Festival on Thursday.

Radcliffe became ’emaciated’

Making the film required shooting in remote locations in sometimes difficult conditions.

“I hesitate to, when talking about this film, to say, ‘Oh my God it was so hard’,” Radcliffe said.

“It’s based on a true story of a guy who suffered way more than I did.”

McLean said Radcliffe worked with his trainer to bring his body weight down to “an emaciated state” for the film.

“This speaks to his integrity and his commitment as an actor to be truthful to Yossi’s story,” McLean told ABC Radio Melbourne’s Ali Moore.

“He was eating a boiled egg or an energy bar a day.”

Radcliffe had to bring his body weight down twice for separate scenes shot in Colombia and Queensland.

“When we finished shooting the scenes in Queensland, he went to the local Thai food restaurant and ordered about $300 worth of curries and noodles,” McLean said.

‘More than I bargained for’

Before filming started on Jungle, Radcliffe read Ghinsberg’s best-selling book about his ordeal and then had two long video chats with the adventurer.

“They were just me picking his brains, asking about any details I could,” he said.

He said Ghinsberg’s story was compelling because he “was not in any way a survivalist”.

“There was nothing really in his background that equipped him for this,” he said.

Ghinsberg said he went into the Amazon because he wanted to explore uncharted territory, find a remote Indigenous tribe and marry into them.

“It was a naive dream that was based on a lot of reading of adventure books,” Ghinsberg said.

“Only problem, I got much more than I bargained for.”

Ghinsberg said he was “privileged” to have Radcliffe play him in the film.

Topics: actor, carnivals-and-festivals, biography-film, film-movies, melbourne-3000

John Heard, Home Alone actor, dies aged 72

Posted July 23, 2017 06:48:53

Emmy-nominated actor John Heard, best known for playing the father in the Home Alone movie series, has died at the age of 72.

His death was confirmed by the Santa Clara Medical Examiner’s office in California late on Saturday, local time.

TMZ reported that Heard, who lived in southern California, was found at a Palo Alto, California, hotel where he was recovering from back surgery.

According to the site, police had been called to the hotel to reports of a medical emergency, but Heard was pronounced dead at the scene.

Heard played Peter McCallister, the father of Kevin, played by Macaulay Culkin, in Home Alone and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.

He earned an Emmy nomination for a guest role as a corrupt police detective in The Sopranos.

Heard also played Tom Hanks’ rival in the movie Big.

He was briefly married to fellow actor Margot Kidder, who played Lois Lane in the Superman films alongside Christopher Reeve.

Also among his list of film credits were Battlestar Galactica, Beaches — opposite Bette Middler, Gladiator and White Chicks.

Fellow actor and co-star of Cutter’s Way, Jeff Bridges posted his condolences for the “wonderful actor” on Twitter.

Fans say ‘Goodbye to Mr McCallister’


Topics: film-movies, actor, arts-and-entertainment, death, united-states

BBC announces Jodie Whittaker as first female Doctor Who lead

Posted July 17, 2017 04:38:32

The lead role in British sci-fi television series Doctor Who will be played by a woman for the first time in its more than 50-year history, the BBC has said.

After much speculation over the role, Britain’s public broadcaster said 35-year-old British actress Jodie Whittaker, who starred in the award-winning television crime drama series Broadchurch, will play the Thirteenth Doctor.

The news was announced in a one-minute video clip broadcast on television after the Wimbledon tennis men’s final match, showing the actress walking through a forest wearing a long coat and hiding her face with a hood until the final moment.

“I always knew I wanted the Thirteenth Doctor to be a woman and we’re thrilled to have secured our number one choice,” said Chris Chibnall, the show’s new head writer and executive producer.

“Her audition for The Doctor simply blew us all away.

“Jodie is an in-demand, funny, inspiring, super-smart force of nature and will bring loads of wit, strength and warmth to the role.”

The Doctor, who travels through time in what from the outside appears to be a blue police telephone box, has the ability to regenerate, allowing a number of actors to play the role since the series was first broadcast in 1963.

Whittaker will replace Peter Capaldi, who took on the role in 2013 amid an increasing clamour that it should go to a woman. His final episode will be the 2017 Christmas special.

Previous Time Lords include Tom Baker, Christopher Eccleston, and David Tennant.

Whittaker said it was “completely overwhelming” to be taking on the role and she wanted to tell fans of the series “not to be scared” by her gender.

“As an actor, as a human, as someone who wants to continually push themselves and challenge themselves, and not be boxed in by what you’re told you can and can’t be. It feels incredible,” she said.

“This is a really exciting time, and Doctor Who represents everything that’s exciting about change. The fans have lived through so many changes, and this is only a new, different one, not a fearful one.”


Topics: science-fiction-films, actor, women, arts-and-entertainment, united-kingdom