Liz Smith: Madonna To Glamorize the Globes

And more from our Liz: Kutcher cuts it off … Natalie Wood investigation folds … Lindsay Lohan as La Liz?!!

“THE SATIRIST is prevented by repulsion from gaining a better knowledge of the world he is attracted to, yet forced by attraction to concern himself with the world that repels him,” said journalist Italo Calvino.

In other words — Ricky Gervais on Sunday night, at the Golden Globes. Are we ready?

* * *

SPEAKING OF the Globes, it looks to be the usual glut of major stars — so many more than at the Oscars. Among them will be Madonna. Her “W.E.” movie has been nominated for Best Original Score and Best Song (“Masterpiece.”) “W.E.” has been Madonna’s passion for the past two years of filming and editing. But she has another reason for appearing at one of Hollywood’s most glamorous evenings. On February 5th, she’ll perform at the Super Bowl halftime. It’s never too soon to promote an event, or an upcoming album.

Madonna’s set list for the Super Bowl is still fluid, but she will, without a doubt, perform “Like a Prayer.” This is the number that always leaves ‘em screaming for more.

* * *

ASHTON KUTCHER has cut his hair and shaved his beard. Apparently, this alteration will be incorporated into upcoming episodes of “Two and a Half Men.” This is good news as far as I am concerned. I was surprised that the producers of the show ever allowed Ashton to appear so scruffy and unattractive — though it didn’t affect the ratings; Ashton has carried the show effectively since the departure of Charlie Sheen.

Still, the grungy beard wasn’t an appealing look. And it didn’t help him as he separated from Demi Moore. He looked majorly creepy. She looked vulnerably wan.

So, now it’s up to Demi to put on a couple of healthy pounds and move ahead. Boys to men, honey.

* * *

AS I predicted, the Los Angeles police who are “re-investigating” the 30-year-old drowning death of Natalie Wood have come up with zilch, nada, zero new evidence. What a waste of time, money newsprint and webspace this was. The only positive I see coming out of it is that a new generation, perhaps intrigued by the scandal, will search out Natalie’s fine and often neglected work.

I did catch something about her the other night on Turner Classic Movies. It was Robert Redford’s tribute to Natalie. They had starred in two movies together, 1965’s “Inside Daisy Clover” and “This Property is Condemned,” which was released in ’66.

Redford admits he was pretty much an unknown quantity in Hollywood back then, but Natalie, who was at the peak of her stardom, demanded him as her leading man in both movies. Redford spoke so affectionately and admiringly about her — certainly it’s the way she’d prefer to be remembered.

* * *

IT’S FUNNY, in a grim sort of way — the news that Lindsay Lohan might portray Elizabeth Taylor in a Lifetime movie about the star of stars. Everybody is retching and carrying on about what a terrible idea it is, but back when Lindsay was still in her teens, I compared her to La Liz, favorably. This was when Lindsay’s behavior was merely rebellious and had not tipped into illegalities.

Lindsay was an unusually appealing child star who had, apparently overnight, blossomed physically into a gorgeous teenager, just the way Elizabeth did. Her overbearing mother, Dina, also put me in mind of Elizabeth’s relentless stage-mom, Sara. And Lindsay’s press reps at the time reminded me of the games that used to be played by the old MGM studio flacks. Protect, deny, threaten! (“Lindsay was certainly not flirting with Colin Farrell. If you print that you’ll destroy her career!” It was to laugh.)

I thought — and I wrote — that Lindsay seemed poised to have a great, Liz-like career, full of drama, romance and good movies. When I met her at an Oscar night party, her real troubles were just beginning, but she was still an A-list, promising young star. She said, “You are the only person who writes anything nice about me!” I promptly took her across the room to meet Barbara Walters.

And then everything went to hell. Over the years, as Lindsay plunged from one humiliating misadventure to another, I made repeated attempts to reach out, through a variety of people, to get her side of things. (The original dragon at the gates of Lindsay’s reputation, Leslie Sloane, eventually threw in the towel.) But to no avail. It was frustrating and infuriating to watch this talented girl — today a young woman of 25 — throw it all away with such a senseless air of entitlement.

Now, Lindsay says she has cleaned up her act. Her Marilyn-styled Playboy layout got her the kind of attention that didn’t involve handcuffs, and I have an idea she needed the money, too. (The IRS says she owes them about $100,000.)

So, Lindsay as Liz? Why not? Lindsay can’t harm Elizabeth’s iconic image; that is carved in diamonds. She won’t be ET — who could be? — but she might turn in a convincing performance. She can act. (Does anybody even recall Sherilyn Fenn in the 1995 TV movie on Elizabeth? See? Relax.)

And at least, if the movie happens, Lindsay will be compelled to dye her hair dark. If you ask me, the great tragedy of Lindsay’s career has been her decision to bleach her beautiful auburn locks blonde. So unflattering. Miss Taylor also went blonde at various times in her fifties and sixties. It wasn’t a great look for her, either.

15 comments so far.

  1. avatar rick gould says:

    I always thought that Natalie Wood would have made a far better Daisy Buchanan opposite Redford in “The Great Gatsby” than bug-eyed, twitchy Mia Farrow back in 1975.

    Sorry, but while LiLo and LaLiz may have childhood circumstances in common, Taylor, even at 25, had career, friendships and love affairs far more substantial and interesting than anything Lohan has accomplished to date. LL won’t play ET in even a Lifeless TV movie, it will go the way of her non-turns as Linda Lovelace and Victoria Gotti. Lindsay Lohan should try playing herself, except better…

    • avatar Deeliteful says:

      rick:

      Always enjoy your posts and usually agree, which is why I don’t respond.

      Even now I agree with your post. But how is Lindsay gonna play herself better? I really hope this talented young woman can get her act together (sans parents) and we can talk about her for years to come. The path she is on in one of self-distruction and none of us want that.

      • avatar Mr. Wow says:

        Dear Deeliteful…

        This girl would have been better off as an orphan.  Of course now she’s 25 (“That’s a quarter century, makes a girl think!” as MM said in “Some Like It Hot.”)   So her youth is no longer an excuse–tho emotionally she’s still probably 14.

        I will say this–she doesn’t blame the parents, as horrible as they are.  She blames everybody else, of course, and never appears to take responsibility for her actions, but it would be so much easier–and garner sympathetic understanding–if she said what we all know and think: “Look at what I come from, how could I have turned out differently?”

  2. avatar Danielmilstein says:

    Hey Liz thanks for your entertainment information. It was great reading your article. One thing I learned before I became a bestselling author and long before Inc Magazine voted my company as one of the fastest growing companies is that some times we should read the gossiping article and news of stars also in leisure time.

  3. avatar Barbara says:

    I have never understood the attraction to Ashton. That dirty hair and scraggly beard and ever present ski cap made him look pretty unattractive to me (even to the point of looking smelly–not sure you can “look” smelly, but you’d expect that if you stood next to him, you’d want a distance between you.) I watched a couple of the Two and a Half Men and was totally unimpressed. The story lines were still all about Charlie and Kutcher is not much of an actor. Glad others seem to be enjoying the show but I’ve tuned out.

    Lindsay Lohan as Elizabeth Taylor? Ugh. Another one I just can’t stomach. Elizabeth was always beautifully put together and glamorous, reaching out to others and having a magnetic attraction to men. Lindsay is only about herself. She is in her mid-20′s but looks at least a decade older. No friends. Certainly no attraction to men. Can’t see that casting at all. She was a cute kid but totally lost it.

  4. avatar NSH says:

    It was said that the producers of “The Great Gatsby” asked Natalie Wood to audition for the role of Daisy Buchanan and she refused – I’m unsure if that’s the case. She would have been perfect for the role, as she would have been playing Bonnie to Warren Beatty’s Clyde.

    • avatar rick gould says:

      I think Natalie’s sister wrote that they wanted her to screen test for Daisy, which is she rightly considered insulting. Seems like I also read that Wood was keen on the role as the mother in “Ordinary People,” directed by Redford, but he was already set on Mary Tyler Moore. That might have been interesting, too.

      As for Lindsay, my sister and I caught a few minutes of “The Parent Trap” remake last summer and were just surprised at how charming and natural this little redheaded, freckle-faced girl was…and what the heck happened?

    • avatar Mr. Wow says:

      Dear NSH…

      Actually, Natalie very much wanted the role of Daisy, but by 1974, she was considered too mature.  It was a huge blow to her.   But that’s the way it was (is)  

      In 1968, Elizabeth Taylor was all hopped up about appearing as Anne Boleyn with Richard in “Anne of the Thousand Days.”   The producer, Hal Wallis, had the unfortunate task of letting Elizabeth know she was far too old, at 36, to play the teenage Anne, and was too plump anyway. (Hal didn’t mince his words.)    Elizabeth fretted for a few days and then got over it, even making a lightning fast appearance in the movie, clapping a mask over her face during a ballroom scene.    Burton gave her some jewelry, too.

      Natalie was less secure, and though younger than Elizabeth, was considered an “old time” star, a part of the studio system that had died.    So was Elizabeth, but she didn’t care.  She already had her Oscars and her legend and made movies for reasonable salaries and lots of perks–she didn’t feel like challenging herself anymore, or proving anything.  Natalie did.

  5. avatar janie k says:

    Lindsay Lohan as Elizabeth Taylor??? NO, NO, NO, NO!!! Despite Lindsay’s early success, she has wasted her potential and needs to appear in small, meaty roles (maybe in indy flicks) to rebuild her reputation. That’s of course assuming that anyone will hire her. If she stars as ET, the attention will be on the controversy constantly surrounding Lindsay and not on the film, or the story. Certainly there must be better choices.

  6. avatar NSH says:

    Thanks for the clarification, Mr. Wow…Perhaps in the end it was best Natalie wasn’t in “The Great Gatsby” since it wasn’t a very good film. I think this recent publicity surrounding her untimely death might offer a chance to reassess her career and those unfamiliar with her work can see what an important, and special, actress she was.

    • avatar Mr. Wow says:

      Dear HSH…

      Her career zoomed in the early 1960′s, but just as she reached her peak, the industry that groomed her fell apart.   She could have done more, branched out into adventurous, less standard projects. But after a few expensive old-style Hollywood flops, she re-thought her life, married again, had her first child.  After that marriage failed, Wagner entered her life again, they re-married and she wanted his child.  These weren’t “wasted” years, from her perspective, but when she finally became restless, and looked to revive her career, she was shocked to find the parade passing by.

      She is still the only actress who has ever convincingly portrayed Gypsy Rose Lee–her dressing room showdown with Rose remains the most intense.   And I’ve seen every production of “Gypsy” with the exception of Merman.  (But I could have, I’m old enough!)

      • avatar rick gould says:

        Mr. WoW-
        Even though Natalie “semi-retired” on a high note, with the contemporary hit “Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice,” what happened to her kind of happened to Demi Moore… Hollywood tends to consider actresses in their mid-30s who take 5 to 10 years off for family old news… which is too bad, but a fact of life.

        Aside from being adorable, I always thought Natalie was highly underrated as an actress.

      • avatar Mr. Wow says:

        Dear Rick…

        “Bob and Carol…” was actually considered her “comeback film.”    Wisely, she took a percentage of the profits and—rich as she already was–became financially independent for the remainder of her life.  

  7. avatar NSH says:

    People who knew Natalie Wood have told me the adjectives most often used to describe her were nice, kind, thoughtful, generous, massively talented and great good fun; besides being beautiful, of course.

  8. avatar Baby Snooks says:

    Lindsay Lohan could probably pull off the younger and the “nipped and zipped” older Elizabeth but what about the, well, the elephantine Elizabeth?  There is Kirstie Alley who of course goes from the size 2 to the size 20 the same way Elizabeth did.  And probably could pull it all off much better than Lindsay Lohan could.  Honestly there was too much at the end for a film. Unless someone does a series of films.  Maybe using the marriages as “time frames.”  Now a film about “The Burtons” would probably be fascinating. Although I guess the Burtons already did “The Burtons.” It was a silly movie called Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf.  Her final role, solo, was the sequel to The Driver’s Seat.  Of course that would be perfect for Lindsay Lohan.  She’s just too young to pull it off. Kirstie Alley, however, probably could.

    I still say she should have stayed in Washington and sent the entourage to Los Angeles.