Celebritology Live

Jul 28, 2011

Celebritology blogger Jen Chaney discussed the latest celebrity gossip and pop culture news making waves across the Web.

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Sorry I missed the chat last week, but Comic-Con was occupying all of my attention.

Today, let's gnaw on any leftover nuggets from the pop culture fest, and also discuss "Cowboys & Aliens," Morrissey's latest ill-advised public statement and the sad death of Amy Winehouse, as well as anything else that's on your mind.

In honor of the final installment of the movie franchise, I think we should come up with a list of British actors (or UK actors in general) that DIDN'T appear in the Harry Potter movies. My list includes Dames Judi Dench and Helen Mirren, and for the men Colin Firth and Daniel Craig (because who doesn't like Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bond?) I'm not going to speculate what roles they should have played since I think the HP movies have been cast perfectly. Who's on your list?

It is hard to come up with fine British actors who didn't show up in those movies. Michael Caine and Michael Sheen pop to mind.

I had wondered whether any of Amy Winehouse's existing conditions (heart issues, emphysema, alcohol-related liver problems) caused her death, but wouldn't that have shown up in the autopsy? If it's drugs, that wouldn't be known until the results of the toxicology tests, but would something like a heart attack or cirrhosis show up in an autopsy?

This is a good question. I would think so. But it's also possible that there could have been multiple issues going on, so it may be hard to determine a single cause of death.

I was so embarrased, Katy Perry and I wore the same Smurfs dress to Comic Con. What were some of the most interesting costumes and fashions you saw at Comic Con?

Actually, Perry wore that dress to the premiere of "The Smurfs." Though it really is appropriate for a variety of occasions, including Comic-Con.

This was my third time at Comic-Con, which means I've reached the point where a lot of it seems commonplace to me now. The chicks in scantily clad superhero outfits, the steampunkers, the Batman dads with their little Stormtrooper children -- I saw a lot of your standard fare.

Quite possibly my favorite sighting, though, happened when I was taking a cab to one of the parties one night. I looked to my right and saw the Ghostbusters mobile, with a Ghostbuster behind the wheel. I couldn't get my camera out quickly enough to take a picture. But trust me, it was awesome.

Saw that the Bones panel was cancelled after the stars pulled out "for personal reasons." Was there any more info about that? Any insight you can share? And perhaps even more importantly--did you see any Chuck stars?

No, I didn't hear any more info about the "Bones" cancellation. Emily Deschanel is pretty far along in her pregnancy, so I suspect that may have been a factor in her case. Don't know about Boreanaz, though.

And yes, I did see some "Chuck" stars at the parties -- I briefly spoke with Zachary Levi at the Warner Bros. shin-dig. I also visited his Nerd HQ set-up -- Levi's website, the Nerd Machine, hosted its own set of panels and activities at a nearby coffee place. It was pretty cool.

I also plan to post a final Comic-Con highlights post, which will include footage of Levi getting verklempt during the final Chuck panel. So stay tuned for that.

The intense one has arrived in our fair city to film The Dark Knight Rises and was at a brief press conference today. From the twitpics I saw, he is looking scruffy as ever and really, really likes those tracksuits. I'll still try to see him, though.

Shoot, I haven't seen any twitpics yet! I will have to look. If you do see him, please report back.

Is anyone else skeeved out about Hefner and his former fiancee discussing the boudoir? I don't want to hear about anyone else's sex lives, least of all an octogenarian and his Playmate.

Yes, skeeved is a good word for it.

Are the movies hyped at Comic-Con ever as cool as they seem to be there?

Sometimes they are, sometimes they're not and sometimes they don't even seem that cool when you're there.

I think the sense of adulation tends to be a little stronger at Comic-Con than anywhere else -- after all, the fans have traveled there because they love these actors/TV shows/films, etc. So it can blow things out of proportion a little.

Movie-wise, though, things were far less electric than they were last year, when Harrison Ford showed up unexpectedly and so did all of "The Avengers." Hall H almost imploded when those two things happened.

At Comic-Con who made you say ick-nast?

Like a celebrity or a regular person?

I didn't say ick-nast, but during the "Immortals" panel, Kellan Lutz came across like a total lunkhead. (Don't know if he actually is, but he came across that way.)

On the other end of the spectrum, from the same panel, Henry Cavill is pretty stunning.

I don't think we need Quincy here.

Well, maybe not. But I don't think it's fair to jump to conclusions about a specific cause until the toxicology report is released.

Sean Bean? (my fav hottie right now due to the Game of Thrones)

Good answer. Pretty sure he didn't show up in a Potter movie.

I was so delighted by Linda Hamilton's Marine Corps Ball invitation! It's nice to see Sarah Connor with a sense of humor. I like that Ms. Hamilton continued to laud the delightful Ms. White but also highlight her own "attributes." Having said that, I hope the YouTube invitations stop. They're no longer original or charming, and they put perfectly nice people (like Ms. White) in the unfair position of being a rat (declining) or an angel (accepting).

It's getting out of control. Scarlett Johansson had to turn down an invitation. And as I noted in the a.m. mix, another girl in Virginia is trying to get Justin Bieber to come to the prom with her.

I mean, it's sort of cute. But this is what the "intimacy" of Twitter and the Internet have done -- they've made celebs so reach-out-and-touchable that people feel like they really can go out on a date with these stars. Which is cool in a certain way, but also pretty silly in another.

Back in my day (says the old lady who remembers the 80s), we wrote a fan letter, mailed it to the PO Box listed in Tiger Beat and were thrilled if, three months later, we received an autographed photo in return. I can't even imagine what psychological damage might have resulted if I had grown up believing that a member of Duran Duran might actually retweet my tweet.

Wow, that sounded racier than I meant it to.

I just started to see a few photos and headlines touting "fab post-baby bods" weeks after the star has given birth. I feel so bad for these women. I know people have to take care of their money-makers, but to put a post-partum body into a rigorous workout seems cruel and extreme.

Yes, but a lot of the stars do it. And it is a shame. There is so much pressure on the physical appearance in this business, especially for women, that some new moms probably start to panic.

I mean, I started to panic after I gave birth and no one cares what I look like.

I dunno, I still think he looks good in this pic.  Maybe I go for scruffy, though?

As previously established, I definitely prefer my Bale scruffy. And, if possible, singing the Powerpuff Girls theme song.

I have zero problem with the way Mr. Bale looks in that picture.

Why was he choked up? The show got renewed?

No, because it was the last Comic-Con panel. So he made this very heartfelt thank you speech to the fans.

I missed that panel but heard about it later and watched it online. Whether you are a "Chuck" fan or not, it's a pretty sweet moment.

Simon Pegg? He's a great British actor I doubt has been in the HP movies.

Another good one! See? Hogwarts didn't recruit all the Brits.

It's perfectly reasonable to speculate based on known facts. I'd bet my next paycheck.

I hear you. Let me rephrase: as a person/cultural observer, fair to speculate. As a reporter, best not to.

Of course, I'm a reporter/blogger/critic/cultural observer, so I don't know what the heck is reasonable anymore.

I assumed overdose, but her parents are adamant that she was off drugs and just had lingering problems with alcohol. The thing about drug addiction, though, is you can quit and think you've beaten it, and then go backwards at a seemingly good time. But like you said, we just won't know until the report comes out. And even if it wasn't directly drug related you can't treat your body the way she did and expect everything to be fine after quitting. I'm sure she did some permanent damage.

Right. We just don't know right now if her death was caused by previous damage or if she was still using and her parents didn't realize it.

We often jump to conclusions about these things and wind up being wrong.

There are a few that might have been great in the films: Michael Palin, Rowan Atkinson ... Benny Hill?

Great, now I have an image of Harry, Hermione and Ron running around looking for horcruxes to the tune of the Benny Hill theme.

Can someone cut that together and put it on YouTube please?

For my money I think I'm going with Bale. It is veeery close, though. (This is based on pure looks, not acting ability.)

I like both actors, but I think I skew Bale, too. Of course, I've seen more of Bale's films because he's been in the business for so long, so there's more to judge him by.

The Quincy line was justified (and good)

Point taken.

I went four years ago and ended up unexpectedly impressed by some of what I saw in the panels. I know I ended up at a couple of movies I might have otherwise not cared about. And I'm not in the target demo for them, either.

And, to your point, plenty of the movies are not at all about superheroes.

"Drive," for example, played at Cannes and is screening in Toronto this fall, but also was promoted at Comic-Con. And well-received, too. Although it looks brutal.

I agree, I mean, we are calling it speculation. It's like when everyone was wondering, just saying they were wondering, if Sean Taylor's death was related to some things from his past. Turns out no, but if someone has a recent past with some bad things in it, it's only natural to wonder. We also speculated that Brittany Murphy's death was due to illegal drugs, but it wasn't. I don't see anything wrong with the guessing. When someone dies young you want to put a label on it and tell yourself it was unnatural and will not happen to you.

That's very true. Part of our fixation on causes of death may be just that: oh, he/she overdosed and that won't happen to me because I'm not a drug user.

David Cassidy tells us during some interview he did that those likes and dislikes were totally made up and he knew nothing about them until they were published. I know, you're totally shocked, right? He said his agent would sign off on what the magazine wanted to publish, and they completely left him out of it.

I am truly *stunned* by this admission.

Those articles always seemed so thoroughly reported and not at all written for publicity purposes.

To be fair, the HP movies have, for whatever reason, gone heavy on established theater talent and character actors. We can throw out names of British TV and film stars all day (Ricky Gervais! Hugh Grant!), but it wouldn't make much sense.

Good point. Which is why people are still throwing out names right and left.

What about John Cleese?

He was! As Nearly-Headless-Nick!

John Cleese

Point to producer Jodi!

it makes my skin crawl? Yes.

Yes, that's exactly what it means. That's the great thing about the word skeeved: it sounds like its definition.

Cowboys and Aliens with the dazzling masculine energy of Danial Craig and Harrison Ford OR Crazy, Stupid Love with the amusing masculine energy of Ryan Gosling and Steve Carrell? Both seem to be getting middling reviews.

"Crazy Stupid Love" is getting better reviews, though not uniform raves. I saw "Cowboys & Aliens" and I'd say that the first half is pretty good and the second half is not. Movie totally falls apart halfway through.

Let's revisit this matter next week, after some of you have seen it, and see if we agree on the scene that sends the movie down the drain.

On a positive note, I so want to see Harrison Ford do another Western. He's a great gravel-voiced cowboy.

Did you see Liz Kelly?

I did. In fact, I tweeted a picture of her one night when we grabbed a bite together.

She is doing well and says hi to everyone!

I follow you on Twitter. Will you go to the prom with me? Of course, if you say "yes", I'll have to find some high school that will let me re-renroll as a high school student.

Are you a member of Duran Duran? If so, then yes, I will totally go to prom with you.

I can never get the image of him in The Machinst out of my mind--he will never be attractive in my mind.

His weight loss for that movie was indeed extreme.

Watch him sing the Powerpuff Girls theme -- it might help.

Heath Ledger died of an accidental overdose. So, a person doesn't have to be a drug user to die of one/shouldn't think it can't happen to them. I am now totally paranoid about over-the-counter drugs and always ask my doctor and the pharmacist if there are drug interaction precautions between those and my prescription meds, like blood pressure medication.

That's a very good point.

And another good example of people making assumptions after a celebrity death. Immediately after Ledger died, there was some media speculation about him being another one of those actors who got caught up in drugs, blah, blah, blah. And it turned out that wasn't really the case -- it was an accident, not the result of an addiction.

Was there anyone, anywhere, who felt even a scrap of sympathy for Jesse James and Kat VonD on the dissolution of their relationship (which may have been fairly dissolute anyway)?

I don't feel much about anything regarding that relationship.

Look, C hristian Bale is a man on the go. Batman needs to be prepared to jog at a moment's notice, okay?

Oh, man. This is great. I am so posting this after the chat.

I was thinking about Sandra Bullock and how hard it must be for her to take the high road with that dirtbag she divorced flapping his gums all over the place. So, I wondered, you who have interviewed celebrities: do they read anything about themselves that is in the media? (If it was me ... I wouldn't!)

I think it varies from celeb to celeb, obviously: some read their press (or at least their press about certain projects), others don't and still others say they don't but really do.

I think it's probably wise to avoid the more gossipy stuff, unless of course inflammatory untruths are being spread.  Ignorance, rightly, is bliss for some of these people.

In general, I have encountered more directors or actors who read their press or reviews re: their films/TV shows, etc. Understandably, they tend to be curious about that.

TECHNICALLY, it's not a track suit. The Post-Gazette says it's black cargo pants with a t-shirt and a hooded jacket.

True. But still suitable running wear.

Look if the Bat signal turns on, do you want Batman to be able to dash or not? If so, then accept that he needs to wear clothes that he can easily run in and remove to put on his appropriate Dark Knight attire.

I'd say the truth is 1/2 way between those 2 extremes. The list of drugs in him makes it pretty conclusive he was using perscriptions drugs recreationally or to self-medicate. Definitely NOT taking them as perscribed AND mixing too many pills with alcohol.

True. But he wasn't a serious addict who was purposely trying to get high, unable to function, etc.

I saw an interview with Madonna where she said she DID read some of the press. She thought people would be surprised to learn that her feelings got hurt by some of the stuff. I'm sure they let most of it roll of their backs, though.

Someone like Madonna? Yeah, I think she has a pretty thick skin about this sort of thing by now.

I am thinking more of the younger stars who are relentlessly assessed on the Internet, etc., especially when they get unknowingly photographed in a bikini on the beach.

I agree! He "needs to wear clothes that he can easily run in and remove."

Ahem.

And on this note, that ends this week's chat. Let's gather again next week at 2, shall we?

Thanks for all your questions and prom invitations.

I'm surprised that you haven't had any comment yet on the spoof "Lost" video clip that LindelCuse presented at Comic-Con. I think it's still up on the EW website if you haven't seen it.

Adding one more here... I did know about it and actually posted it in the blog.

Was bummed that I didn't make that panel.

In This Chat
Jen Chaney
An accredited Celebritologist, Jen focuses on pop culture news and trends in the entertainment world.

In addition to overseeing movie content for the Post's Web site, she also writes regularly about film, DVDs and stars of screens large and small.

When she isn't blogging or at the movies, she's ... um ... probably at home, watching a movie.

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