Celebritology Live

Jul 12, 2012

Celebritology bloggers Jen Chaney gabbed about the latest celebrity gossip and pop culture news making waves across the Web.

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Welcome to another week of Celebritology bedlam.

Let us begin the conversation.


Tom's lawyer is claiming that Scientology had nothing to do with the divorce. Who does the lawyer think he's fooling?

Anyone who believes Scientology had nothing to do with the divorce.

Of course, we don't know what was really going on so maybe that's true. It certainly doesn't square with other reports about Suri and her religious upbringing going forward, though.

Over the holiday. I was surprised how much I enjoyed it. I think the ladies behind me were hoping for more of a hen party though.

Well, it's a bit of one. But ultimately it's not exactly a happy, "Yay, isn't stripping so much fun?" experience. I anticipated that but perhaps not everyone did.

It is so amazing to watch Anthony Michael Hall grow up into Ed Helms.

Isn't it?

Related question: does this mean Jane Krakowski gets to reprise her role as cousin Vicki?

Do you think a celeb's salary can be reduced incrementally by the number of tattoos the make-up artists are forced to cover up?

Interesting question. I doubt it, but if one is covered in them, it certainly does present a make-up challenge that will require more time before reporting to set each day.

I wonder: if  a heavily tatted actor and a semi- or non-tatted actor were both basically tied for a role, would the studio go with the non-tatted one? Is there some ink-scrimination going on if that's the case?

A lot to consider here.

Ever since Lost I was keeping Penelope on my list of baby girl names. When Tina Fey opted for it, I shrugged it off. But now, with the Kardashian taint, I'm very sad to say that I think I'll have to scratch it off my list.

Aw, really? It's still a nice name.

Most important, will Randy Quaid return from intergalactic exile to reprise his role as the inimitable Cousin Eddie?

There may be a blog post in this somewhere: Vacation characters who must return in the reboot.

Given all the jokes about Mitt Romney and his poor dog, this new "Vacation" comes at a timely moment, doesn't it?


So Andrew Garfield doesn't like Robert Pattison because Garfield is a serious actor... Even if you like the latest Spider-Man film, would anybody really consider it a "serious film"? Think it's more likely Garfield just wanted that lead role in David Cronenberg's adaptation of Cosmopolis (having read the book, neither of them is how the main character comes across anyway).

That Us item, which I linked to in the morning mix, was pretty silly.

I agree with you: they compete for roles, including that one, and maybe there's some bitterness there because of that. I will say that Garfield has displayed more acting chops at this point than Pattinson has. But maybe Cosmopolis will change that? Not sure.

I like Aaron Sorkin, and have been a fan of his since Sports Night. That said, I've noticed, first with Studio 60 and now The Newsroom, he's become a little acerbic towards women, and is taking out his personal issues on fictional characters. In Studio 60, Sarah Paulson's character was a human voodoo doll he could use to vent about his real-life break up with Kristin Chenowith, plus he had a pitiful woman staffer plead to Chandler and Josh "Are you here to save us?" In The Newsroom, Emily Mortimer is a flustered, philandering, heart-breaking klutz who gives women colleauges unsolicited dating advice and makes comments about how their legs got them places, not their talent. Maggie is reduced to a wide-eyed object of affection chased by two men more interested in one-upping each other than they are in her, and she succumbs to debilitating panic attacks that one of the men has to save her from (ugh). I like the show, but I find Sorkin's writing of women increasingly disturbing. I miss CJ, and I'm starting to think he knows as little about women as he does technology.

This has been noted repeatedly in the blogosphere during discussions of that show.

I understand the criticism. I think in general in "The Newsroom," a lot of the dialogue doesn't ring true, on either side of the gender divide. To be fair, though, I missed the beginning of last week's episode. I caught the Waterston/Fonda scene, though, and I thought that was the strongest moment on the show so far.

Emily Nussbaum's review indicated that episode four -- this week's installment -- will be seen as the worst yet amongst people who don't like the show.

Hi Jen: Besides you and Celebritology (of course), Ted Casablanca's The Awful Truth was a daily read. What happened to make him leave E! after so many years? Any word on where he's headed next?

I don't know why he left, honestly. There are various theories circulating online, including one that involves a blind item error (Google it, it's easy to find) but his farewell note suggests it was just time to move on.

Aren't you glad the Post did not accidentally post a photo of Nicolas Cage instead of your photo on today's conversation page?

No, I'm not! I should totally make that my profile photo from now on.

Three days after posting that item, I'm only now able to look at that e-mail without laughing. And most of the time, I still do.

Bless Vanessa Hojda, who was such a good sport about this.

But mostly because of Drunk Sam Watterson. Does this make me a horrible person? I also like seeing Dev Patel sit there awkwardly. And wouldn't it be fun if you could attend a Sorkineese Boot Camp? I'd love to be able to talk like a Sorkin character from time to time.

I agree with every single statement in this comment.

Also, the answer to your questions are 1. No and 2. Yes, it would be super-fun. Let's create one.

Considering how the "Enquirer" was right on the money with the John Edwards mistress-baby story, how likely is it that mainstream media will consider it worthwhile to pursue the "Enquirer" story about Tom Cruise's alleged "house of horrors"?

Great question. I think mainstream media, aside from reporting on the lawsuit threat, will probably avoid it.

For one thing, the Edwards story, while a bombshell, was far less inflammatory. The Cruise story is really over the top. It's hard to believe that Suri was kept in a windowless room or some of the other things that story says. You may think Cruise is weird or you may not agree with Scientology, but I think most would have a hard time leaping to the conclusions that story suggests.

I was wondering to myself this morning whether it was wise or not for Cruise's attorney to threaten that lawsuit. Obviously, he did not intend for that letter to get leaked. That only drew attention to the Enquirer story, which I think most of the blogosphere might have missed under other circumstances.


Jen, thanks for taking the bullet for us by reviewing and distilling the ESPY awards in such an amusing manner. Between the picture of Hayden Paniterre (whover she is) being scared by Giant Athlete and the Nicholas Cage email attachment picture, you have the beginning of a new Scary/Scared Celebrity photoblog.

Yes, I've found my calling! A Tumblr of frightening and or frightened famous faces.

That's it. I'm giving my notice tomorrow.

What inquiring minds REALLY want to know is, did she ever land a summer job?

As far as I know, she hasn't yet. At least not as of a couple of days. But she's doing more media appearances -- I think she was on CNN yesterday -- so maybe it will lead somewhere.

All Hail drunk Watterson. He's like if you combined Roger Sterling with Bert Cooper. He is without a doubt the single reason to tune into the show. That scene between him and Fonda was magic, like watching to old boxers circling each other in the ring.

Yes, it was great.

I think the previous chatter was referring to the drunk Sam Waterston Twitter feed, but both are delightful.

Could you please post the link to Richard Leiby's classic Post article on Scientology?

If I could find it, I could. It's old enough that a standard Google search won't cut it. I'd have to pull it out of the archive, which I can try to do post-chat.

Jen, after watching MM I find myself a leeeeeetle bit obsessed with Channing Tatum. Sure it's just physical, but he does seem like a nice guy with a good marriage. Should I be ashamed?

My threshhold for what constitutes pop cultural shame is somewhat high, but still: of course you should not be ashamed.

Tatum has a down-to-earth quality that makes him attractive. Personally, when it comes to Magic Mike matters, I'm more of a Bomer/McConaughey girl myself. But plenty of people responded to Tatum as you did; he is quite a dancer.

Do you believe the claims that Mick Jagger had an affair with David Bowie, also bedded Eric Clapton at least once, and for two years stalked Angelina Jolie?

I don't know about the last two, but that Bowie story -- which is in a new book about Jagger -- has been around for decades. It's one of those things that's been said so much it feels true, whether it is or is not.

In any case, I would abolutely not be surprised if one of them said it were true. I could also believe it's a celeb myth that became fact due to repetition.

Speaking of tatts...Miley Cyrus...Theodore Roosevelt... I think I liked it better when people were getting butterflies tattooed on their derriere. It seems like everyone is trying to out do each other with the new emphasis on inspiring quote tattoos. (And I'm using ridiculously broad brushstrokes here. I just know a few young people who have done this recently and it's not a trend I'm behind. But then I don't really care for tattoos but you dont' really care about that do you?)

I think this is a great new direction for Cyrus. The quotes she chooses will only get more scholarly until pretty soon, her entire body will be required reading for some Political Science 101 class.

Reading list:

David McCullough's "John Adams."

Miley Cyrus's entire right arm and part of her left thigh...

I'm sorry, but this chat is devolving into all TV shows I don't watch, all the time. It was Lost, then it was Mad Men, today it's The Newsroom ... not to be picky, but it's about celebrities, right? Not just TV shows?

You are exagerrating, my friend. Yes, I answer questions about TV. So far, we've also discussed TomKat and Ted Casablanca and Miley Cyrus. I think the balance is just fine.

He's on twitter, and has already posted scoops on the TomKat break-up.

Yes, I had seen that. That's not a new paying job, though.

I'm sure he'll wind up somewhere.

I find it pretty scary that Katie Holmes had to conduct her pre-divorce calls on a disposable phone. Is it the $cientolocult or Tom who monitored her regular phone? Yikes. That is truly alarming to me what she had to do to get away from their clutches, and good for her.

Well, we don't know if they monitored. It's possible they did. It's also possible she was just being incredibly cautious.

Like, if she used her regular phone to call lawyers, and they called her back when she was away from the phone but Cruise saw it -- that would give away the plan, right?

The fact that she had to be secretive indicates that she felt that she was being scrutinized or something. But that doesn't necessarily mean that Cruise or anyone else was following all her phone calls.

Jen: Following on your blog post on Peter O'Toole finally hanging up the greasepaint, I want to urge fans of his to seek out "Loitering With Intent." It's two volumes of memoirs he wrote some 20 years ago. And he really wrote them--there's no "as told to." They are astonishingly good. His early years as the willing accomplice of a bookie father who sometimes left the racetrack before paying up, leaving his little boy behind to make excuses, show the initial training that made him a superb actor.

Thanks for this recommendation.

I believe O'Toole or his reps indicated that he is working on another volume of those memoirs now, post-retirement. Now would be a good time to catch up with the initial writings.

Will there be a Lifetime movie about the whole escape, a new "Not without my daughter"? Who would play Katie?

The inevitable question: I don't think there will be a movie because anyone who tried to make it would be smacked with lawsuits.

That being said, I think Anne Hathaway does a pretty impressive Holmes, though she would never do a movie like the one you describe.

See how this also brings us back to Miley Cyrus?


Newsroom is pretty much Sorkin's Sports Night placed in a Newsroom with a lot of extra Sorkin political pontification. The blond lady on Newsroom in a copy cat role of Felicity Huffmans's original Sports Night role should hope she will have as much television success as Felicity Huffman. The new show is made for the fast forward button on your DVR. Can you give us a link to Emily Nussbaum? Thanks.

Giving you this link means I am talking about TV again, but I insist.

Here's Nussbaum's review.

For people looking for good names: I always thought Jennifer is a good name. If we only knew someone with that name....

I endorse this only because every girl born in America is no longer named that.

In the 70s, when I was born (yes, I'm old), everyone had that name and it was the pits.

The whole divorce thing and all the publicity make me feel sorry for him......

It's a sad situation. And I'm sure it's not pleasant seeing one's face on that Enquirer story.

I don't think the first comment was about TV - it was about Sorkin, a celebrity in his own right, and how he is potentially abusing/exploiting his celebrity to make thinly veiled digs at people who've made him mad.


But I also reserve the right to talk about TV, especially when some chatters do want to discuss it. I don't want the chat to be dominated by any one topic, if possible.

Just think, someone in New York there could be a drug dealer using the disposable phone the drug dealer found after Katie Holmes threw it out.

The mind reels.

Also, I think anyone who is planning a surprise divorce is now going to use this same tactic.

In addition to "The Wire," it also reminds me of the second cell phone issue in Breaking Bad.

I named my daughter Jennifer in 1993, and there wasn't another Jenny in her class until she was a sophomore in high school.

Lucky her.

I kept my maiden name when I got married because so many people call me by my last name -- to differentiate from the many other Jens we all know -- that it feels like my first name.

With such a focus now on coming up with unique baby names, I doubt we'll ever have a situation as dire as the Jennifers of the 1970s again.

If you want even more reason to like Channing Tatum you should really read this great GQ piece on him from last year. Take me camping Channing!

I'm not a huge Tatum fan necessarily, but that is one of  the best celeb profiles I ever read. I loved it so much, I blogged about it.

I was born in the '60's but I'm not old. I'm only thirty-fourteen.

Yes. And I turn thirty-ten next month. So also, still quite young.

RIP Ernest Borgnine, a great actor with an outstanding work ethic. BTW, while looking up the cast of "Marty" on IMDB, I discovered that Jerry Orbach had an uncredited bit part as a ballroom dancer in the film.

Nice: Baby's dad in "Dirty Dancing" as a dancer.

Will there be a Lifetime movie on the Jerry Sandusky case? Who would be well-cast to play him? (I'm guessing that ESPN and Spike TV would pass on such a project).

Who would want to watch that? It's so upsetting that I don't think most people would.

A moment, please, to mark the centennial this Saturday of the birth of Woodie Guthrie, folk-singer extraordinaire and influence on the whole mid-20th century folk revival.

Mark it further by reading this Style piece on Guthrie.

I appreciate your trying to see both sides of an issue, Jen, but I'm having trouble swallowing the fact that Katie needing a second phone is an indicator of a pretty scared woman. If this prenup was so ironclad, why did she need to make all these arrangements ahead of time in total secrecy? I think it's creepy.

Well, that's the big question. She clearly wanted to have the upper hand in the divorce negotiation, and it seems like she got it. Without it, she might have a harder time getting primary custody of Suri.

I suspect -- and again, this is just speculation -- that was her primary concern and not even necessarily because of Scientology, although clearly that could have been part of it. Kidman has had little contact with her children with Cruise post-divorce, and Holmes may not have wanted to see that scenario repeated.

So, to repeat what's been said already by other commenters and media reports, she did to Cruise what Cruise allegedly did to Kidman: the blindsiding break-up.

Will we have a Friday List tomorrow? Help me make it through the week!

We will. I do not know what it will be yet, but there will be something. Suggestions are welcome.

I recall Ted Danson breaking out of type-casting post-"Cheers" by playing a married father who molests his young daughter in a made-for-TV film (title was "Something About Amanda" or something similar).

Oh, "There's Something About Amelia." I remember watching that even though I probably wasn't supposed to.

The difference there is that it was a work of fiction made, in part, to raise awareness about child abuse. ABC aired a lot of movies like that back in the '80s. I vividly remember the one about teen suicide with Zach Galligan and Molly Ringwald, "Surviving."

I even remember that Pat Benatar's "We Live for Love" was on the soundtrack. The Sandusky case is about real people and has played out publicly, devastating the victims and an entire community. I can't imagine any of those individuals supporting a film, though it's not out of the realm that someone could try to make it.

I think my fave observation was from the person who said "yeah, my arm used to look like that, too -- right before a 10th grade history test." That is all.


And on that note: we're 23 minutes over time with the chat, so time to shut 'er down.

Thanks for your questions and comments. Let's reconvene next Thursday at 2, shall we?

In This Chat
Jen Chaney
Jen Chaney anchors The Washington Post's Celebritology blog, The Post's online window into the world of pop culture and celebrities. She also frequently writes about entertainment trends, filmmakers and other Hollywood-related matters for the print edition of The Washington Post.

A Post staffer for more than a decade, Jen also can be seen reviewing movies on WETA's "Around Town," where she is one of the show's regular film critics. Last year, she contributed a series of essays to the book, "The Friday Night Lights Companion."

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

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