“THE STAR thing, the celebrity thing, is new to me. I don’t want to be a good celebrity, a good f**king star. I want to be a good human being.”
So says two-time Oscar nominee and star of the coming The Bourne Legacy — Jeremy Renner. He doesn’t want to be a good f**king star? He wants to be merely a good human being? What a revolutionary approach to show biz!
Renner, who is known to audiences from his performances in The Hurt Locker, The Town and Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, is poised to become one of Hollywood’s biggest money-making actors.
Gazillions of dollars have been poured into the new Bourne movie. (Renner does not play the Jason Bourne character originated by Matt Damon. He plays an agent who doesn’t have amnesia.) Lots of dough has also been spent on the hugely anticipated The Avengers, based on the Marvel Comics characters. (He will co-star with Chris Hemsworth, Robert Downey Jr., Samuel L. Jackson, Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson.)
Jeremy’s resistance to “the star thing” is shaping up to be a monumental task. This is what the Hollywood Reporter wrote last week: “His ability to carry the ‘Bourne’ film—along with his ‘Avengers’ role … will affect the fate of three companies (Universal, Disney and Marvel.) It will even spill over on Paramount’s plans for the next ‘Mission Impossible,’ where he has been groomed to supplant what has been for more than 15 years Tom Cruise’s one-man show.”
Yikes! Let’s just put a little pressure on the guy. (Renner himself denies the Cruise “grooming” rumors.)
Luckily, the talented Mr. Renner has a day job — real estate. It has been a genuine passion for him, and he’s made a success of it. He also studied psychology before he fell into acting. All the better to deal with agents, managers, directors and UsWeekly.
It’s good to have something to fall back on if those eager “boy-have-I-got-script-for-you!” messages on your iPhone ever dwindle.
I DID something unusual over the weekend. I tuned into Saturday Night Live. Well, I did watch the show a few weeks ago, to catch Lindsay Lohan. But generally SNL is off my radar. So, last Saturday I was eager to see Modern Family star Sofia Vergara. Her opening monologue was funny, and in one of the skits she managed an amazing impersonation of Fran Drescher, of all people. In general, however, I felt this delightful woman was wasted, as were the regulars.
Then one skit came on that amused me. It was clearly a spoof of boy bands. They called themselves One Direction and every note they sang, every carefully over-practiced gesture, every fluffy strand of hair seemed a dead on pastiche of boys in a band. SNL hadn’t lost its touch, I thought.
Imagine my surprise when I eventually realized these young men were not castmembers, spoofing it up, but a real live boy band. And extremely popular, too.
Still, I can’t help feel there is an element of parody in One Direction’s presentation. And that’s not a bad thing.
MEMO TO Zac Efron — Australia may be the end of the earth to you, but they have paparazzi with telephoto lenses. It’s a civilized country.
The heartthrob Mr. Efron was caught on the balcony of his hotel suite in Sydney in his tight black undershorts … in low-slung pants, and apparently scratching for something lower in those pants … and in the nude. From the back.
Mr. Z. is in Australia promoting his upcoming film, The Lucky One. Actually, his fans consider themselves the lucky ones. They don’t get to see this much of their idol in the movies!
TONIGHT, at Macy’s in New York — Madonna. The legendary pop icon will appear at the legendary shopping emporium to promote her new “Truth or Dare” fragrance.
This is no casual just-another-celebrity-perfume-thing. It hooks into the Blu-ray disc release of M’s famous “Truth or Dare” documentary, and the star’s current album “MDNA.” And that hooks into her coming tour, which kicks off next month in Israel. Her last tour took in something like $400 million. Nothing casual about those numbers. Anyway, Macy’s is braced.
Still and all, braced as they can be for The Big M, I’ll never forget Elizabeth Taylor’s last appearance there, back in 1992, as she launched “White Diamonds.” La Liz was late, as usual, and the streets were packed around the store. Elizabeth’s limo arrived at a side entrance. The barricades were up. But there was a problem. Elizabeth’s door couldn’t open on the curb side. Her handlers struggled.
Suddenly, the door swung open on the street side. Out popped Elizabeth, exquisite and slender, in a short white and orange dress. The mob, which had been screaming was stunned into silence. Her bodyguards were paralyzed with surprise and fear — she was in the street, alone! Elizabeth paused momentarily, wiggled her fingers at her fans, walked around her car, and swept into Macy’s like a queen.
It was one of those you-just-had-to-be-there moments.
“I’ve been accused of being a traitor. But I was never against Germany. It was the Nazis I hated.”
Those were Marlene Dietrich’s last words to a German film crew, when she shot her scenes in her final film, Just a Gigolo in 1978. This is from Charlotte Chandler’s book, Marlene, now out in paperback. (Dietrich spent the last 13 years of her life secluded in her Paris apartment. She did not feel welcome in Germany.)
Ms. Chandler has written many successful movie star biographies — Bette Davis, Ingrid Bergman, Mae West, Joan Crawford. Some have doubted the veracity of her candid quotes from these icons.
Certainly Dietrich’s family didn’t think much of Chandler’s book. But the “Marlene” chapter on persuading the star to agree to appear in Just a Gigolo — told from screenwriter Joshua Sinclair’s perspective — is fascinating. This saga is not only utterly true to Dietrich, but true to all stars, negotiating a deal. That chapter alone would make a great film.
Marlene Dietrich was buried in Berlin, in 1992. She was finally forgiven by Germany for hating Adolf Hitler.
This column originally appeared on NYSocialDiary.com on 4/12/12