Celebritology Live

Nov 01, 2012

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

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Welcome to today's discussion. Busy day, people. Just got off an American Horror Story conference call with Chloe Sevigny that made me extremely nervous for her character.

Also, shortly after the chat, I am scheduled to talk to Robert Pattinson. Got questions for him, preferably reasonably respectful ones? Pass 'em on.

Let's get started.

Couldn't post this in the blog, have to run to client meeting. So the chat gets it: RE: Chris Brown's Halloween Costume: This tells you all you need to know about Chris Brown. Please also note that he was going to the party of the girlfriend he beat so badly he put her in the hospital dressed like that. Chris Brown clearly relishes in being seen as a thug. The best thing we can do is show our distate for his "choices" by ignoring him completely -- no more coverage, no more buying his albums, no more going to his concerts, etc. Maybe when it hits his wallet and his ego, he will finally get a clue.

I hear you, EPJD. It's hard to ignore him entirely when he still has a pretty significant fan base, and also when he does ridiculous things that spark so much "What the...??!?!?" conversation.

He also has some talent, it's just a shame that he keeps choosing to bury it under so much bad behavior.

It's a week late, but can I weigh in on candidates for Sexiest Man Alive? Jeremy Renner. He can come show me his archery skills ANYTIME.

You can weigh in, because I have not written that post yet. I was planning to focus the post more on predictions -- as in, who will likely get it this year -- as opposed to who we want to "win." But Renner should not be ruled out.

because it means lots of pictures of Javier Bardem at premieres. Sigh. He is a handsome man. Oh, and that Daniel Craig fellow's ok, too.

Bardem is just so good in "Skyfall." Not handsome -- he's deliberately off-kilter-looking -- but a fantastic Bond villain.

*facepalm* If there was ever a time to stop covering a celebrity's every move, I think it's now, with Chris Brown. It would benefit everyone if he slipped into relative obscurity. (Like Paris Hilton, how she kind of disappeared from the national spotlight. I don't think anyone misses reading about her.)

Clearly you and EPJD are on the same page.

The difference between him and Paris Hilton is that she was famous largely for being famous. And he has gotten famous for his music. Four years ago -- certainly before the Rihanna episode -- he did not have this reputation.

I'd rather just see him start using better sense, but maybe that's asking too much.

Is this really something you are working on? Cause if you are, please add Michael Fassbender and Tom Hiddleton to your list. Swoon.

It does sound like preposterous thing to be working on. And yes: yes. The answer is yes.

Suggestions duly noted.

In fact, examining his filmography, there is an inverse correlation between how bad his character looks and how good his performance is. For evidence, see: awful curls in Before Night Falls, awful mustache in The Dancer Upstairs, jaundiced complexion in Love in the Time of Cholera, illness makeup in The Sea Inside, and of course, THE haircut in no country for old men. I'm glad he's good in the film, I am happy for him that his English speaking audience is growing.

Ha, very true.

And on the opposite end of the spectrum: he looked great in "Eat Pray Love." But not one of his better movies.

Only rarely does he score on both counts. (Please see "Vicky Cristina Barcelona.")

Can we have a Game of Thones edition?

Uh, sure.

Gotta be RDJ. He just had a kid, he was in Avengers, and now he's working on Iron Man 3, I believe. And he can STRUT!

Yes, this was noted in last week's chat. He could easily be this year's sexiest man.

May I offer a defense of George Lucas' decision to entrust Disney with his film legacy NOW? Unfortunately, as we age, some people fail to make adequate arrangements, whether familial or professional (or both). In Lucas' case, he will with any luck live long enough that he can still wield some control over what becomes of his, at least in the free market and the court of public opinion.

Well, I hope Lucas lives for a good while longer. But that's definitely a valid point. Lucas has been criticized so much for not knowing when to let go and let someone else take creative control. Now he has actually done that. It just takes some getting used to, I think.

I asked this same question of the Reliable Source yesterday, so fair is fair, I will also ask you. Purely on the basis of what is good for Celebritology Live, would you prefer to see a second Obama term or a first Romney term?

Purely on the basis of what is good for Celebritology, I would prefer to see George Clooney get elected. That would be the best thing for the blog, without question.

Honestly, I don't think the election will affect readership to Celebritology or its content one way or the other. One way it may have an impact is in terms of how many famous types we regularly see in Washington. On that count, I think an Obama win would be more advantageous.

But again, since I mostly cover this stuff from a more national perspective, it probably won't make a big difference one way or the other.

True, but it still would have been a bad decision to dress as a terrorist for Halloween. Like when Prince Harry went as a Nazi. Nobody thought that was a good idea, and he didn't have anything like the Rihanna episode in his past.

Of course. But I think the fact that Brown constantly stirs up controversy in this way makes people even more primed to be outraged about it.

A terrorist costume is a bad idea all around, though, absolutely.

I've always wondered what's on your tshirt in your chat photo. That's a good blue for you, BTW.

That photo is so old. I should probably get a new one, except that my appearance really hasn't improved with age, so I figure, why bother.

To answer your question about the shirt: it's actually a picture of the Hollywood sign, which is ridiculously geeky. When that photo was taken, I did not think it would be plastered across the top of Celebritology.

and haven't been able to read anything online, including Celebritology -- how's about a nice link to the stories that everybody's commenting on? I'd like to be able to determine on my own whether Chris Brown's Halloween costunme is worthy of my scorn, etc. Thanks.

So sorry to hear it. Hope you're faring okay post-Sandy.

Here's the Chris Brown costume post.

Here's today's morning mix post.

Here's my essay about Star Wars.

That's a start, anyway.

You are scheduled to talk to Robert Pattison? I'm beyond jealous. Ask him if he sees himself in an action hero movie since they are all the rage these days. And if he were to be in a Marvel/DC Comics film, what character would he like to play.

I definitely plan to ask if he would ever consider signing on for another franchise. It's a huge commitment to make, both to the same character and to the same promotional circuit, for multiple years.

I have a feeling he wants to take a break from that for a while.

Is this chat gonna be "Sexiest Man Alive Nominations 2.0"? Because, while I could handle half the posts of last week's chat being of no interest whatsoever, if it's gonna happen twice in a row, I'll just check out now.

No checking out!

Raise another subject and I will be happy to tackle it.

It seemed like a rather sweet, sentimental gesture that Lucas took Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher to lunch this summer to tell them that he was handing over the franchise to Disney. Sort of like telling your kids that you're selling the farm to the big land owner from the neighboring state.

Well, but based on the EW interview, that's not what he did. He told them there would be additional Star Wars movies, but he didn't mention the Disney thing, probably because it was still in the works and hush-hush. Mark Hamill said in the interview that he didn't hear about the Disney/Lucasfilms deal until he read about it online.

I am really happy with the direction, pacing, and character development this season. I'm glad I stuck with it. That said, I can't be mad at the Governor because he is played by David Morrissey, who in chubbier days starred in a Doctor Who Christmas special with David Tennant.

I was much happier last week, when the Governor showed up.

We're at a point in the narrative where we need to start contemplating more questions than just, "Can they live?" and "Will Hershel live?" and "Where the [bleep] is Carl?" Opening things up to this whole new town and introducing a multi-faceted character was a smart move, and one that was easy to make since the comic laid the groundwork for it.

I just watched E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial with my son (who's four and loved it), and it was so funny to hear the mom telling the older son, "No, you're not dressing up as a terrorist for Halloween!" and remembering what was going on in the early '80s when the movie was released. I hadn't seen E.T. in years and it is still such a good movie. It seems to me that Spielberg's movies are always about family, what makes a family, the search for family. A timeless topic.

I referenced that very moment in my Chris Brown post.

And I said a lot of things about E.T. recently, here.

and neither Lilo nor Amanda Bynes have hit anyone, be it with fists or automobiles. What gives?

Well, re: Bynes, there is this.

Thanks for the link to your Star Wars essay. I remember watching the "Star Wars Holiday Special'--I was about eight or nine and cried buckets over the Storm Troopers tearing apart the stuffed animals that belonged to Chewie's sons.

And yet now, it is unwatchable. It's one of the most bizarre moments in television history.

Have you seen it? Peter Jackson and Gollum and witches and wizards and all sorts. Love Air New Zealand air safety videos--not stuffy at all.

I have not had a chance to watch it yet. But I will.

The Lord of the Rings films certainly boosted tourism in New Zealand, and I'm guessing "The Hobbit" will do the same. I just hope they serve Denny's meals over there.

From the Skyfall commercials I've seen, is Javier Bardem blonde? That made me think of his bad haircut in No Country for Old Men. He doesn't need to hide his hotness. We know he is a good actor. He can be pretty too!

He is blonde. And he also has some, uh, facial issues.

I don't think it's an attempt to mask his attractiveness, certainly not in the case of "Skyfall." His appearance is essential to his character. I don't want to say more because I don't want to spoil it for anyone. But just trust me.

2 points: (1) $4 billion in a non-cash deal seems pretty low to me -- I would think that the Lego rights alone are worth more than that; and (2) I dread, dread, dread what the Evil Empire is going to do to the Star Wars franchise. If you think Jar Jar Binks was bad (and every rational thinking human older than 6 does), then the onslaught of new "characters" designed just for merchandising and cross-promotion purposes is going to make you choke on the gall rising in your throat. (my apologies for that last image....)

I agree with you on the amount. It seemed low to me, too.

My kneejerk reaction to the Disney thing was similar, too. Argument against it is how they've handled things re: the Marvel acquisition. I don't "The Avengers" felt "Disney-fied" in any way. Was it marketed heavily, and used to spin off toys and other junk? Of course, but that's going to happen to "Star Wars" either way.

The key to me is who they choose to steer that first movie as writer and director. Obviously a lot of ideal candidate names have surfaced, but I wonder who would really want to take on that responsibility. We've all seen what it's like to be the person who screws up Star Wars. Who wants that weight on his or her shoulders?

And I just thought that his attempts to go all ugly for his masterful roles were simple Oscar <tm> bait, a la Charlize Theron in Monster. Who woulda thought is was about his *craft*? Just another way that Celebritology is enlightening the masses.

Hey, Capt. Smart Aleck: you could make that argument for "No Country." But I doubt that Bardem signed up to be a James Bond villain because he thought, "Hey, here's a chance to get an Oscar nomination."

Now I'm going to have Bill Murray's Star Wars karaoke in my head all day.

You're welcome.

At it again. Shows up at benefit for deaf children to their surprise and joy, and pays $50 for cotton candy. Does the man have no flaws?

Nope. None. He is not a human being, he is an idealized meme and therefore: no flaws.*

*Statements may apply to our image of Gosling and not the actual human being, who probably has flaws.

I heard on NPR that the figure was low ($4B) because Lucasfilm has been struggling for years. I think it was described as "ailing".

I read that, too. But it still seemed really low.

I mean, Facebook spent $1 billion on Instagram. I feel like Star Wars -- and Indiana Jones, and other things Lucas -- should be worth 10 times that.

Whatever the market will bear, I guess. And what the seller is willing to accept.

Of course not. He signed up to play a Bond villain because he (and his manager) wanted to make bucket-loads of money!

Yep. And also to entertain us with his acting craftmanship, said the blogger who seeks to enlighten all with her infinite knowledge about everything.

James Bond villain and Oscar nomination. Hmmm. Not two things I generally think of together.

I know. I was being sarcastic.

Nicole Kidman and Jennifer Aniston also got major kudos for their makeunders in The Hours and The Good Girl, respectively.

True, but "The Hours" was definitely more of an Oscar bait-y movie than "Skyfall."

Did your son go trick or treating? Costume? Did you liberate any of his candy?

He did. He went as an inflatable pumpkin this year, as he did last year. (His choice.)

I have not "borrowed" any of his candy, mainly because we have so much left over of our own, there is no need to pilfer.

Thinking about your comment about how Chris Brown constantly stirs up controversy. A way to keep himself in the news? Sort of like Ann Coulter -- she deliberately says outrageous things just to stir the pot.

Very possible. Although someone like Coulter's entire career is based on saying provocative things. That's basically her job description. Brown's doesn't have to be, it's just veered in that direction.

I've been reading a lot (what with staying at home b/c of Sandy) about low-ish rated shows that may soon get the axe--and "Nashville" keeps coming up. Sure, its soapy, but Connie B. and even Hayden P. are making it a really fun show to watch! What have you heard, and what do you think?

I have been watching, although I haven't seen last night's ep due to American Horror Story duties.

I agree that it's a bit soapy, and that I don't care about the political subplot involving Britton's husband at all. But I generally like the show. And I think the music on it is pretty strong. It's the only brand new show I have been consistently watching this season, so hopefully it will stay put.

I cannot remember where I saw this, but recently saw some pics of Mila Kunis looking distinctly puffy about the face and with perhaps a belly. Is she just eating normally or are there any rumors to her being pregnant?

There was a very silly rumor that circulated this week and was shot down by her publicist. I find these sorts of pregnancy rumors so insulting. If a woman's T-shirt sticks out just a little, she's automatically in her first trimester.

Has ANYONE from any James Bond film EVER been Oscar-nominated? Or even nommed for a Golden Globe?

Not that I recall, but please correct me if I am wrong. The music has been nominated, I think. And there have been nods for effects. But that's about it.

I think The Dark Knight proved it's possible, and I don't think Heath Ledger's nom was just a post-morten honor. A role as a villian can be just that good.

That is very true. I was just making the point that Bardem may not have signed up for the part with the golden glow of Oscar statuettes twinkling in his eyes.

I suspect there will be some press stories that ask whether Bardem might get a nomination, but that he ultimately won't. Hard to say for sure until we all see more of the award-worthy fare, but that's my guess right now.

Please. Chris Brown was a famous R&B/Pop singer long before the Rihanna incident. If that isn't your type of music, then you weren't aware of him. Since the assault, people who wouldn't have cared about him are suddenly alerted to everything he does. Not defending him by any means. Just saying.

I think you and I are in agreement, right? That was basically what I was saying in my response.

I think Disney wisely saw the generational shift in the coming years and has positioned the Star Wars franchise to be the grandest cash cow in the land. James Bond is a product of our parents' and our parents' parents' generations. Gen X isn't as emotionally invested in all that stuff. But, Star Wars? Come on, that has a younger fan base that crosses over from Gen X with the original triology and into the Gen Y/Millenials (or whatever the heck they're being called these days) with the second, albeit inferior, trilogy. Thrown in the younger fans of some of the cartoons and video games, and you have a recipe for a franchise that can last for the coming generations.

Yes, that's very true. But only if they play this right creatively. Star Wars fans didn't turn on the franchise entirely when Episodes I - III came out, at least not from a box office perspective. All of those movies still made plenty of money even if many found them creatively lacking.

But I think there will be even more intense scrutiny on what Disney does. If it seems like they're handling things wrong, some of the longtime fans could decide they are no longer interested. The kids, however, may not care as much one way or the other. Which means even in a worst case scenario, this could still be a lucrative proposition, as you said.

I've never watched a Bond movie all the way through and fell asleep during the original Star Wars both times that I saw it in the theater. Just happened to remember that with discussion of SW and Bond being Oscar-worthy which I know you didn't say, Jen.

I rewatched the first Star Wars (Ep IV, that is) with my son. And he definitely got bored. It does get draggy. "Empire" is much better.

With all due respect, if celebrity women ate, there probably wouldn't be rumors about them being pregnant whenever we see a bit of belleh.

Actually, I think the reverse is true. I think if everyone didn't think a woman was pregnant just because she has the leanest slice of meat on her, celeb women might feel more comfortable eating an actual meal.

As a culture, we are much less forgiving of weight on a female -- famous or not, really -- than weight on a male.

This Millenial celebrates all things Bond (except for Never say Never Again) and can't stand the Star Wars prequels. So there.

We -- definitely myself included -- tend to make all kinds of generalizations about what matters from a pop culture perspective to different age groups.  Thanks for reminding us that not everyone "fits the profile."

As of September 2012, Forbes listed George Lucas's net worth at 3.3 billion. He's pledged to give away half of his fortune to charity. I believe he still owns Industrial Light and Magic. He's 68. Maybe he thought 4 billion more was enough.

Lucas might be altruistic? If I were to believe this, why then I'd also believe that actors care about their craft sometimes. And how dare I?

All right, that's enough sarcasm, at least for chat purposes, for today. Thanks for joining me, as always. Will join you next week at this same time, after we've established who the next president is.


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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