Liz Smith: The Naked Truth About Paul Rudd

Paul Rudd

And more from our Gossip Girl: Brad Pitt has not saved lives … “Entourage” the movie? … “Downton Abbey” a big hit on DVD… and a special “Julius Caesar” for one night only in New York City

“I SEE the comfort religion brings people, and I just don’t want to deny anyone that. I just don’t like the separatism that comes from religion, and, without fail, the need to put your beliefs on someone else. When you start telling someone else how to live, you should check yourself, man. It drives me crazy, really.”

That’s Brad Pitt, in his long, serious and Jennifer Aniston-free Q&A with Entertainment Weekly magazine.

This is an interesting interview. Brad is a serious guy, and I don’t think he intended to hurt Miss Aniston’s feelings with his remarks about their marriage in Parade magazine. EW interviewer Jeff Giles sticks mostly to Brad’s career. (Jennifer, by the way, looked utterly unconcerned in the hours after the Parade storm broke, strolling through the West Village with her hot new man, Justin Theroux.)

Giles and Pitt do discuss the actor’s fabled good looks, which he (Brad) feels are fading and “mundane” — and he’s glad of it. Internet rumors are also mentioned — such as the tale of Brad heroically saving an extra who fell from a horse during the making of “World War Z.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about … there are no horses in the movie!” I have not saved any lives, okay?”

Okay, Brad, you’re just an average non-heroic guy.

I wanted to give this interview some space, as I feel that I (among many) perhaps jumped all over Brad too quickly the other day.

* * *

ADORABLE Paul Rudd tells Playboy magazine that he is happy he got a chance to keep his clothes on in his movie “Wanderlust.”

Paul says: “I have been naked in a lot of my movies. There’s something inherently funny about the naked male body, particularly mine. Ryan Reynolds, sure it makes sense why he’d strip down. But not me. I should not be allowed.”

Paul is being too hard on himself. I recall seeing him — pretty much all of him — in production of “Twelfth Night” a few years back at Lincoln Center. He has nothing to be ashamed of.

* * *

“ENTOURAGE” the HBO series has ended — with the participants all flying off to Paris to attend Adrian Grenier’s (Vincent Chase’s) surprise wedding. It seemed an opened-ended finale. Certainly that’s what the show’s producer Mark Wahlberg told “Extra” reporter Mario Lopez on Emmy night. But don’t expect “Entourage” back on the small screen. Just like that band of vixens on “Sex and the City,” Mr. Wahlberg is looking toward a feature film to further the adventures of Vince, Turtle, Johnny Drama, Ari Gold, etc. “We’ve been talking about the movie nonstop. That’s the goal.”

And Mark shares this column’s admiration for Steve Buscemi, the lead actor of his other HBO hit, “Boardwalk Empire.” Mark raves: “Steve is literally one of the greatest living actors. I’m just so glad he finally got the platform to show his talents.”

And I am so glad that Mark Wahlberg, with his early rough edges and hardscrabble childhood, who was swept away by early fame as a rapper and model, settled down and became what he is today — one of Hollywood’s best and most prolific men in front of the camera and behind the scenes. Are you listening, Lindsay or are you too busy crashing parties? My weakening support for La Lohan was given a boost with the latest lurid story of “Lindsay and Her Mother, Drunk and Making Out.” Oh, please. A mother and daughter with heads close together, chatting, obscured by their mutually fried over-blonde locks. But Lindsay invites these misrepresentations — she can’t stay in, stay home, and away from situations fraught with temptation. (And that mother of hers is simply no help at all.)

* * *

BUT FEAR not, civilization as we know it (knew it?) remains alive and kicking. What show on DVD has sold more copies online via Amazon than any other? Will you be surprised to learn it is the first season of PBS’s marvelous “Downton Abbey?” The hit drama has outsold U.S. shows “The Wire,” “The Sopranos” and “Friends.”

* * *

MORE CULTURE: On October 4th, at The Players Club, for one night only, The Frog and Peach Theatre Company present Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar.” Or as it is advertised here: “The Shockingly Modern Thriller.”

It will star Rip Torn as Caesar, with Shirley Knight, Austin Pendleton , Michael E. Knight, Tom Noonan, Ryan Tramont, and the great Estelle Parsons. The invite says along with The Bard, we’ll have “an elegant evening of cocktails and glamour, on romantic Gramercy Park South.”

For tix info log onto Frog and Peach Theatre.

* * *

JACKIE COLLINS’ Goddess of Vengeance novel, which we mentioned here last week, is out on audiobook, with husky-voiced Jackie reading as her main character, the sexy, dangerous, take-no-prisoners Lucky Santangelo. Jackie is said to be quite convincing. This is available from MacMillan Audio.

* * *

SOME OF you might have noticed that the well-known and well-liked star of “Taxi,” Jeff Conaway, was omitted from the list of those who had passed away, in the (quite moving) memorial segment of the Emmy telecast. There’s always a screw-up. It happens at the Oscars, too.

Now, even though she was never a TV star, never a series performer, I was glad that Elizabeth Taylor was not omitted. Taylor appeared in about 10 made-for-TV movies, from the ridiculous (“Divorce His, Divorce Hers,”) to the fairly sublime (“Malice In Wonderland,” with Liz wickedly funny as gossip queen Louella Parsons.) There were Westerns — “Poker Alice”… melodramas — “There Must Be a Pony”… an adaptation of Tennessee Williams’ “Sweet Bird of Youth.” Not to mention classic stints on “Here’s Lucy” with Richard, a high-camp week-long appearance on “General Hospital” back in 1981, a guest shot on “Hotel,” and numerous Bob Hope specials.

22 comments so far.

  1. avatar Count Snarkula says:

    I have seen Paul Rudd totally naked. Twice. And I will add, Liz, not only does the gentleman have nothing to be ashamed about; he has much to be proud about. And I am not focusing on the penis. No questions. That is all I am saying. XOXO – The Count

    • avatar rick gould says:

      “Count” yourself lucky!

      I flew back to Portland from MI last night watching “Midnight in Paris” on the plane (partially to drown out screaming no-neck monsters!) and I was wishing the whole time it was Paul Rudd playing the lead and not one-note Owen Wilson ;)

    • avatar Mr. Wow says:

      DEAR Count…

      Yeah, he has a great ass,  But that’s all I’m sayiing.  No questions. 

    • avatar Mr. Wow says:

      Dear Count…

      Uh, yeah…he’s got a great ass.

  2. avatar D C says:

    I think the Emmy people forgot about Jeff Conaway’s work in Taxi.  They probably think of him only in terms of Grease. 

  3. avatar D C says:

    Speaking of Emmys, and forgotten people… since Jeff Conaway was probably forgotten because those behind the scenes at the Emmy’s might have been too young to even know Taxi existed… what does that mean to the Emmy’s of 20 years in the future…. on the In Memoriam section will they be showing people who’s only contribution to television was being in a “reality” show?  People like me, who do their best to avoid this brand of drivel won’t even know who is being memorialised.  “Reality TV” is proof that our elders were right — we have gone to hell in the proverbial handbasket. 

  4. avatar Dan Patterson says:

    I enjoyed Elizabeth Taylor in various TV appearances over the years. I thought she was quite funny, making fun of her own iconic image, when she appeared on THE NANNY. MALICE IN WONDERLAND (soon to be on DVD again) was quite funny, and so, I think, was THESE OLD BROADS. However, I never got to see THERE MUST BE A PONY, and I wish it would get a DVD release.

    • avatar rick gould says:

      Somebody actually posted all of “There Must be a Pony” on YouTube. It’s not a bad copy, either.
      And she was in excellent form, acting and physically, in the TV film, too!

      • avatar Mr. Wow says:

        Dear Rick…

        Great moment in “Pony” with ET’s character being confused with Joan Collins.   “Joan Collins worked very hard for her fame, and I’m not going to disappoint her fans!”

      • avatar Dan Patterson says:

        Rick, thank you so much! I went to YouTube and spent a thoroughly enjoyable hour and a half watching it. I really would not have thought to look there. I thought Miss Taylor’s performance was excellent, and didn’t she look great! She was a star in everything she did, and we won’t see her like again. Thanks again!

      • avatar rick gould says:

        Dan–
        If you are in the mood for latter day lurid Liz, the entire version of “The Driver’s Seat” is on YouTube.
        It was made as Liz was splitting up with Burton and she (and the script) are waaaay out there. But it has a number of fascinating moments. And Liz is surprisingly game…
        Plus Liz appears with Andy Warhol…most fitting!
        And it’s probably Taylor photographed at her most natural…

      • avatar Mr. Wow says:

        Dear Rick…

        “When I eat, I eat.  And when I orgasm, I orgasm.”    One of the many loony moments in”The Driver’s Seat” which also shows a whole lotta Liz!   If you want to see a well-toned ET in skimpy slips, transparent bras, and her bare legs photographed up to practically where the sun don’t shine, this is the movie to rent or buy. 

        And yes, she is really beautiful in the movie, but shot in an especially  harsh manner.  (She’s not supposed to look good anyway—although essentially she just looks like our girl out on the town at her most garish and momumentally coiffed.)

      • avatar rick gould says:

        Mr. Wow–
        The Driver’s Seat certainly isn’t dull!
        And it says a lot about Liz, a product of the studio system, to allow herself to be shot in natural light and without body makeup… and despite being under extreme emotional duress…still looks pretty awesome.

        And ET certainly isn’t walking through this “art” film!

      • avatar Dan Patterson says:

        Thanks, Rick and Mr. Wow, I will definitely give THE DRIVER’S SEAT a look. I never tire of watching Elizabeth Taylor movies. Hell, I wish they’d rustle up all the missing footage from CLEOPATRA. I’d love to see it.

      • avatar rick gould says:

        The scene in “Driver’ s Seat” where Liz is doing makeup in closeup and pops her eyes as she’s doing her eyes is amazing…forget about Bette Davis eyes!

    • avatar Mr. Wow says:

      Dear Dan…

      Forget about “These Old Broads”–an embarrassment  to all…especially to La Liz.

      “Malice” is great and so are ET’s moments in “North and South.”

      • avatar Dan Patterson says:

        I remember that Liz was in pretty bad shape, but I thought she sent up Sue Mengers right well. The show played for cheap laughs and roman-a-clef hijinks. If I remember, Liz and Debbie had a scene about a joint ex-husband. Great art it wasn’t, but I remember giggling a lot.

        But Liz was great as Louella Parsons – you could just sense her great glee in playing the part. (I bet she would have liked to have played Hedda too!)

        Thanks to Rick for letting me know that THERE MUST BE PONY is on YouTube

  5. avatar Lila says:

    Sigh. Liz, you are right about Mark Wahlberg. He has done a 180-degree turn and really made himself into a respectable, serious, talented actor. That took hard work and probably the even harder task of separating oneself from one’s immature sycophants and enablers of one’s youth.

    But as to Lindsay Lohan – well, I give no credence to the photo you are describing, have not seen it or the headline. What I HAVE seen, lurking in the lesser headlines of my main news page, is that Ms. Lohan was at some party and threw a glass at a photographer, accidentally hitting someone else. And later at the same party, another woman who had been near Lohan’s perch was found to be seriously injured by broken glass. Not clear if the injury is connected to Lohan at all, but she certainly behaves in low-class ways, like throwing her glass at someone. So… guess we should not be looking for a Wahlberg-like break into professionalism any time soon.

    I still think she would benefit from 6 months or a year on a ranch in Wyoming or someplace. No cell coverage, no cable TV, no major anything anywhere close… just you, your horse, your cattle, and the brightest stars in the night sky, and waking up sore and hungry and appreciating your breakfast. A little perspective.

    • avatar Mr. Wow says:

      Dear Lila…

      The ranch idea for LL is perfect.  But I fear she is actually too stupid and her enablers too greedy to put her where she belongs—in the country, out of sight, living a real life, coming to grips with her own and other people’s humanity.