The Washington Post

Tiger Woods, 'Eclipse,' M. Night and more -- Celebritology Live

Jul 01, 2010

Join Celebritology blogger Jen Chaney to gab about the latest celebrity gossip and pop culture news making waves across the Web.

Coming up shortly after 3, challenge Jen to a live video test of her summer movie knowledge.

We're officially into our first week without Liz. It's only temporary, of course, since Liz just gave birth to lil' Desmond over the weekend, and will return from maternity leave in the fall. But I'll just say this: her absence is already being felt.

Plenty to talk about today, from swirling, non-confirmed rumors about Tiger Woods, to "Twilight," to the Jason Bateman iPod controversy. Or, for that matter, whatever's on your minds.

Let's do this.

Who will pay Anna Chapman in the inevitable Spies of 2010 movie?

This was discussed in a chat yesterday.  A reader suggested Jewel Staite. I went with Jessica Biel.

Anna Chapman


I actually think she bears a stronger resemblance to Jennifer Aniston. But Aniston isn't quite the right age.

How about Anna Chlumsky? She was good in "In the Loop," another politically-oriented movie. Plus, she's "My Girl," for God's sake. No one expects my girl to be a spy!

Producer Paul needs to take a more active role in the chat since Liz is away. We know you can multitask!

Are you suggesting I can't answer your questions alone? Huh? Well, are you?

Seriously, producer Paul will indeed be helping in various ways. In fact, he's already done a guest post today about how he'd recast the movie "Clue."

The over-under on me saying something that will get me fired is currently 6 weeks. Hurry back Liz!

That is an excellent name. Of course, they should know that means the baby will cry every 108 minutes.


On the plus side, at least the kid will know how to turn the fail-safe key.

I flipped to the Daytime Emmys just as they were honoring Dick Clark for his lifetime work on American Bandstand.

He looked shockingly ORANGE. Not a little excess spray tan orange, but Oompa Loompa orange. The camera must have had some kind of filter, but boy it was the strangest thing I've seen on TV in a long time.

I missed most of the daytime Emmys because I was too busy with the BET Awards. But based on this photo, I see what you mean about orange. Ryan Seacrest looks slightly naranjo as well.

I just can't picture Al Gore as an abuser, unless you count potentially boring someone to death as abusive. What do you think?

Well, let's remember that he's innocent until proven guilty. But I agree, it's one of the more surprising accusations I can recall.

But Ms. Chapman isn't all that innocent looking.

True, but Chlumsky can play non-innocent now.

My votes are for either Oscar Nominee Anna Kendrick or Rachel Nichols from ESPN.

Yeah, I thought Kendrick as well. And we know for a fact that Kendrick can act, although Nichols -- a former Postie, and someone who went to high school with my husband -- could always get pointers from her movie-making father-in-law....

Did I miss the birth announcement?

It came up in Gene's chat on Tuesday.

Liz and Desmond.

The "official" birth announcement was in Monday's morning mix. It was at the bottom of the post, though, so maybe you didn't see it.

In any case, super-happy news.

Sort of like hearing Tiger Woods was cheating on his wife with 15 different women, some of them porn stars?

Uh, yeah ... although Gore surprises me even a little more.

What was he thinking? I think I've rarely seen worse ratings on an opening film!

As I said to Jen yesterday, I can't think of a more unnessary movie. I just don't know why this was made.

And I watched "Ghost Rider"!

Well, I understand why the movie was made. "Last Airbender" has a strong fan following, so I am sure the studio saw potential dollar signs there.

But the reviews are right. The movie is flat and the 3D  adds zero dimension.  But I did think that Noah Ringer, the young boy who plays Aang, has a wonderful pure, innocent face. He obviously has no acting training, but he holds the camera nicely. The movie just doesn't allow the viewer to care much about him.

I also think Shyamalan may have alienated the "Airbender" fan base because of the casting issue, which he addresses in the Q&A posted in the blog today. He got really fired up when we started talking about it, and it's clear he doesn't think it was necessary to cast the leads as East Asian. Which is his choice, of course, but I think he needed that core fan base to be evangelists for the movie. And many of them did the opposite.

We'll see how it does at the box office, I guess.

I get the financial reason. I just found it unnessary because it (from the trailers/commercials at least) seems to just be retelling the story of the cartoon.

By comparison, while "GI Joe" and "Transformers" were kind of crappy movies, at least they had original stories rather than just completely lifting from the cartoons.

M Night claims that he selected the best young actors for the roles in Airbender rather than be limited by race. The reviews I've read so far have hated the acting. Is this a direction issue? Editing?

The acting is not great, but it's hard to know how much of that is the actors vs. the director. Maybe a little of both.

As I just noted, I didn't think Noah Ringer was so bad. I found the performances by Jackson Rathbone and Nicola Peltz more distractingly off-key.

Is also the name of Archbishop Tutu--not a bad person to share a name with. Have you talked to Liz since the baby arrived?

It's a most excellent name, "Lost" aside.

We haven't talked but we've exchanged e-mails. I've tried to leave her in peace for a few days at least. I don't want to suck her into the work vortex while she's still adjusting to motherhood.

I have to empathize with Jason here...I was in Walmart the other day, the last person in a long line, when a clerk opened the lane next door, grabbed my cart and pulled me over to the next lane, effectively by-passing about 6 people in front of me.

I could have insisted she take the next person in line, but I had a headache and didn't really want, I endured a couple glares, bought my roll-back items and was out the door lickety split.

The difference, of course, is that you're not going to get written up by Us magazine for skipping the Wal-Mart line. (At least I assume not ... wait, you're not Jennifer Garner, are you?)

As I said, we all have a line cutter lurking inside. Most of us can occasionally get away with it in circumstances like you describe without the world thinking we're the Worst Person Ever.

I caught her interview on Chelsea Lately, where she says that she and all her siblings were given middle names to indicate where they were conceived.

Did I fall prey to a prank? If that is not a prank, it's about the creepiest baby-naming convention I can think of.

And by the way, who is actually able to know exactly when they conceived? That's some kind of spidey-sense.

That explains Robert BackseatofaBMW Howard.

No, that is true. Both Bryce Dallas and Ron Howard have told that story before.

I don't want to get into the biology -- or, ahem, the sexual behavior  -- that would allow one to pinpoint the place of conception. But it's possible to know, or at least be able to reasonably guess.

Since we don't have Liz to share Andy/Opie/Page photos with us this summer, do you have any pet photos to share? I'm sure you can adopt a nice cat to meet the Celebritology fans' insatiable appetite.

I have a wonderful, adorable beagle mix whose photo can be seen if you scroll down the page of this article.

Assuming you saw the movie before your interview with M. Night, did knowing how bad the movie is affect the questions you asked, or how you interviewed him?

Great question.

I did see the movie beforehand. And in terms of the questions I asked, it didn't change them drastically. I knew I wanted to ask him about the casting choice, and I knew I wanted to ask him about box office.

Having seen the film, though, I pressed him a little harder when he talked about how his cinematic interests dovetail so much with the masses, which is why he still has the confidence of the studios. At some point, especially if "Airbender" does poorly, confidence could run out.

Honestly, I'd like to see him bounce back from his slump. I loved "The Sixth Sense" and thought he had a lot of potential as a filmmaker based on his first several movies.

That makes three of us (including my husband). I actually think that "Ghost Rider" had potential.

It made the mistake a lot of comic book movies do -- spending 2/3 on the character's origin.

You know why "Blade" works? Because they just told us "he's a 1/2 vampire who hunts vampires" rather than spending an hour explaining it.

Is it just me, or does the "alleged" spy girl look like Amanda Bynes? Also, strange that Ms. Bynes "retired" just before these arrests were made...

Ooh, good point! Bynes would be perfect!

I have to say that I probably wouldn't have been thrilled to be left standing in line while Jason Bateman got preferential treatment and was allowed in ahead of others but it doesn't seem like he asked for the special treatment.

Wasn't this "line jumping" instigated by the store personnel and not Jason?

That's my impression, yes. I guess people thought he should have said, "No, no. Please. Let me wait here for another few hours for your iPhone."

Actually, the idea that people have to stand in line for hours for the privilege of purchasing a phone is ridiculous in itself ... says the woman who will undoubtedly be standing in long lines at Comic-Con for the purposes of listening to movie studios try to sell her on seeing a movie in the summer of 2011.

This heading is right above your beagle mix's photo.

Read the whole story and it will make more sense. That's one of "fun facts" about how dogs like to spend their vacations. And for the record, Casey does like to eat sand.

No, Jewel Staite is still a closer resemblance than anyone else. For the record, I'm not the original poster.

Fair enough.  But Bynes is pretty good.

I guess we know who's going to sweep the Razzies this year.

Oh, the Razzies field is going to be jam-packed this year. Just jam-packed.

What has been worthy this summer?

Iron Man 2, meh.

SATC 2, cringe.

MacGruber, not worth the $1.50 I paid.

And I just read a review complaining that Vampire Edward and his kin aren't sparkling enough in Eclipse.

Woe is me.

I hear you. But here are two worthy movies for you: "Toy Story 3" and "Winter's Bone."

There are some gems out there. But the mainstream releases, on the whole? Definitely disappointing.

Why do you think the Washington Post has so many celebrity or pop culture type chats as opposed to more serious issue related ones ? Is it tonic for the masses or a dumbing down of society as a whole or do they think this is what readers want and need ?

Oh, it rates an answer.

I think we do a lot of discussions on serious topics. Perhaps there are fewer today because we're heading into a holiday weekend.

As with anything we do on the site, we obviously consider how much interest there may be in a given topic and whether readers will definitely have questions to pose. No one wants to plan a chat and then get no participation. And -- as Paul can confirm -- we have found that pop culture-related discussions do very well.

But that certainly doesn't mean we don't explore the serious stuff, too.

Thank goodness they weren't conceived in Truth or Consequences, NM. Or for that matter, Boring, OR.

Intercourse, PA

Paul Williams, ladies and gentlemen. Keeping the chat classy.

Should play the role of the spy. That's also about as big as a star as you're going to get for what is probably nothing more than a Lifetime made-for-TV movie.

These people may have been spies, but they are dim and dull. You really want to watch a movie about vaguely ethnic suburbanites schmoozing with mid-level career bureaucrats?

Kirsten Dunst

I think you just described the plot of "Burn After Reading."

Amy Adams looks a lot like her, and is in her age range. I think Amy Adams would handle the role like she owned it.

Looking up pictures of cute redheads all day. Sometimes my job isn't so bad.

I've seen her pic here, but have no idea who this woman is.

She played Kalee on Joss Whedon's "Firefly" and "Serenity."

Count me as one of the core fans who anti-evangelized. M. Night's defensiveness over his casting choices, which made ABSOLUTELY NO SENSE as they weren't even the "best actors for the job" (the lead wasn't even an actor) has turned me off not just this movie but any movie he makes in the future. Why wouldn't you cast people of Inuit descent to play characters who were clearly supposed to be based on Inuit culture? Or Asians to play Asians, or whatever.

To be fair, there are some East Asians in the movie. But it would have made sense to cast at least a couple in the lead roles. Rathbone in particular -- and I'm sorry to keep picking on him -- seems terribly miscast.

I understand that he has the creative control here. And diverging from the existing notions of who these characters are is his right. But I also understand why many people felt like this was a missed opportunity to give some higher profile roles to Asian actors, and why some of the fans are offended by that.

Shyamalan feels very strongly about his position. And if people don't like it, guess what? They'll, as you plan to do, vote with their wallets.

There is a Parole Maryland... how about that for a middle name that sets expectations...

Or even better: Accident, Maryland.

How do you folks decide who to interview for Celebritology? You've had some great pieces lately with directors and screenwriters (MNS, Jon Favreau and Justin Theroux from IM2). Does having the Washington Post name seem to help get some attention?

Jen challenges them to an arm wrestling match first. She's freakishly strong.

Since I joined the blog in a more official capacity, we've done more pop culture stuff. So that's been part of it.

And having the Wash Post name does help as far as securing interviews, even if we are one of those old media organizations!

Anyway, glad you're liking it. And if you ever have suggestions, send 'em on.

Oh my gosh, I'm getting old. I have no idea what that is.

It was a sci-fi show -- a Western in space -- on your television machine a few years ago.

"Son Reed Cross was named after a London street because 'Volvo isn't a very good middle name,' according to Howard."

I swear I made my comment independent of this.

As far as being named for where you were conceived, both of my nephews were named after where they were conceived.

Of course, my sister was lucky enough to go to cool sounding places like the "Rollins" run on some river in Colorado (?) and "Jackson" Hole.

I don't think "Shady Grove Fertility Center" would have had the same ring in my daughter's case.

No, probably not.

Neither would the middle name "tube."

I still miss Lost, will the pain ever go away?

To be blunt: no.

But I plan to post something later this afternoon that will at least dull it. A little.

Just passing this along.

After everything she has put it with, I think Elin deserves that money.

We still don't even know if that settlement amount is on target. Everything is speculation at this point until someone in Tiger Woods's camp confirms what's going on, which I doubt they are rushing to do.

If there's any truth to it, the idea of paying someone hush money is a little disturbing.

And with that, it's time to log off this chat so I can attempt (and most likely fail) to answer summer movie trivia questions in a video chat that will begin shortly.

Feel free to tune in for that. And meet me back here at 2 p.m. next Thursday at 2, when surely someone else will have cut in a line somewhere, thereby inviting intense scrutiny.

Happy Fourth, y'all!

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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