Celebs Silent on Obama's War, Eager to Bash Palin

Wednesday, 30 Mar 2011 08:49 PM

By James Hirsen

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The Left Coast Report: A Political Look at Hollywood

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Natalie Portman's 'Black Swan' Ballet Double Speaks Out
2. American Idol Finalists Flee Haunted Mansion
3. Stars Line Up for Role in Palin-Bashing Film
4. Obama's War Met by Hollywood's Silence
5. Glenn Beck Foxy on Plans for New Network
 

1. Natalie Portman's 'Black Swan' Ballet Double Speaks Out

In Hollywood, what you think you see is not always what you get.

Natalie Portman's dance double in "Black Swan" has revealed that the actress performed only a small percentage of film's dancing sequences.

American Ballet Theatre soloist Sarah Lane told Entertainment Weekly, "Of the full body shots, I would say five percent are Natalie. All the other shots are me."

Lane felt the need to speak out because of a claim made by "Black Swan" choreographer Benjamin Millepied.

"There are articles now talking about [Portman's] dance double that are making it sound like Lane did a lot of the work, but really, she just did the footwork, and the fouettßs, and one diagonal phrase in the studio. Honestly, 85 percent of that movie is Natalie," Millepied told the Los Angeles Times.

Lane countered, "The shots that are just her face with arms, those shots are definitely Natalie. But that doesn't show the actual dancing."

Millepied is far from an objective source. He is Portman's fiancß and is expecting a child with the actress.

Videos had been posted on the Internet that depicted the digital effects used to place Portman's head on the ballerina's dancing body.

Fox Searchlight, the studio behind "Black Swan," issued the following statement: "We were fortunate to have Sarah there to cover the more complicated dance sequences and we have nothing but praise for the hard work she did. However, Natalie herself did most of the dancing featured in the final film."

The studio evidently felt it necessary to send out a second statement: "We stand by Natalie's performance, hard work and dedication to the role."

Lane was a significant contributor to the success of "Black Swan," and the appropriate thing to do would be to give her the proper credit.


2. American Idol Finalists Flee Haunted Mansion

The 11 remaining "American Idol" finalists have been living the high life while competing on the most successful show on television.

As a matter of fact, they've been lodging in a luxurious Beverly Hills mansion. Unfortunately, an issue has arisen with their temporary digs. It turns out the house just may have a haunting problem, according to TMZ.

When the lights were flickering, the talented group of singers reacted the way most people would — they became a bit concerned. But then again, old homes sometimes have electrical problems.

Next a strange spider infestation occurred. Well, old homes sometimes have bug problems, too.

However, seeing a bed sheet apparently come to life and float down the hallway finally sent the "Idol" finalists over the edge.

Despite the fact that the "American Idol" hopefuls had only spent three weeks in the residence, after water leaked into the house during a rain shower, producers decided to relent and find another haunt for the exceptional 11.


3. Stars Line Up for Role in Palin-Bashing Film

HBO is having no problem casting a new made-for-cable movie, with an Oscar-nominated actress, an Emmy-winning actor and an additional critically acclaimed acting veteran queuing up for roles.

What's the A-list attraction to the project?

The TV flick is "Game Change," an adaptation of Mark Halperin and John Heilemann's book, which follows Sen. John McCain's 2008 campaign and selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate.

Oscar nominee Julianne Moore portrays the former Alaska governor, Ed Harris has the role of John McCain and Woody Harrelson is cast as Steve Schmidt, McCain's erstwhile senior campaign strategist.

The real Schmidt has received a great deal of media attention for his disparaging remarks about Palin.

Expect the docudrama to convey its own derision for the vice-presidential candidate. HBO is the same network that delivered "Recount," a lopsided revisionist history of the presidential election of 2000. "Recount's" writer and director — Danny Strong and Jay Roach — are on board for "Game Change."


4. Obama's War Met by Hollywood's Silence

Now that the Obama administration has decided to launch a "kinetic military action," thereby intervening in what appears to be a struggle between Islamic jihadists and a murderous dictator, almost no one in Hollywood is voicing any opposition.

Aside from Michael Moore, outspoken celebrities who very publicly castigated the Bush administration's war effort are now strangely silent over Obama's flexing of U.S. military muscles.

This is in stark contrast to a few years back when gobs of celebrities picked up their anti-war megaphones.

Here's a sampling:

"You can't beat your enemy anymore through wars; instead you create an entire generation of people revenge-seeking. These days it only matters who's in charge. Right now that's us — for a while at least. Our opponents are going to resort to car bombs and suicide attacks because they have no other way to win. ... I believe [Rumsfeld] thinks this is a war that can be won, but there is no such thing anymore. We can't beat anyone anymore." — George Clooney

"This is a racist and imperialist war. The warmongers who stole the White House (you call them "hawks," but I would never disparage such a fine bird) have hijacked a nation's grief and turned it into a perpetual war on any non-white country they choose to describe as terrorist." — Woody Harrelson

"In a situation like this, of course you identify with everyone who's suffering . . . the terrorists who are creating such horrible future lives for themselves because of the negativity of this karma. . . . It's all of our jobs to keep our minds as expansive as possible. If you can see [the terrorists] as a relative who's dangerously sick and we have to give them medicine, and the medicine is love and compassion. There's nothing better." — Richard Gere

"I believe — though I may wrong because I am no expert — that this war is about what most wars are about: hegemony, money, power and oil." — Dustin Hoffman

"We have been the cowards, lobbing cruise missiles from 2,000 miles away. That's cowardly. Staying in the airplane when it hits the building, say what you want about it, it's not cowardly." — Bill Maher

"America doesn't have the moral right to tell other people what to do. To say the whole world has to fall into line is you-know-what. I hope more people will rise up." — Spike Lee

"We must remain hopeful that for our children and our children's children, that we are not a warring nation, but we will embrace and practice true compassion and honor the ideals of peace and freedom, and we will not give up. Peace!" — Jessica Lange

"How will the bombing of Baghdad, a city of five million, accomplish a regime change?" — Susan Sarandon

"I think war is based in greed and there are huge karmic retributions that will follow. I think war is never the answer to solving any problems. The best way to solve problems is to not have enemies." — Sheryl Crow

Tomahawk missiles are raining down on Libya, and U.S. warships, aircraft and troops have been deployed to the Mediterranean Sea. There has been insufficient explanation to the American people, and there has been no authorization from Congress.

And what do we hear from the Hollywood left? The faint-hearted hum of hypocrisy.


5. Glenn Beck Foxy on Plans for New Network

The media message concerning Glenn Beck has really been in flux.

First came widely circulated reports that the cable host was considering leaving Fox News at the end of his contract and that he would set up a branded cable network or expand his subscription video content on the Web.

Beck's camp evidently felt the time to respond was now. The host released a statement to counter the story. However, the language appears to be painstakingly crafted in order to leave his options open.

Beck's release begins by stating, "Roger Ailes has built the most important voice in America today — Fox News — and it is an honor to do my show there every night."

The next sentence, though, sounds like a politician's canny answer to a question regarding a presidential run. "I have no intention whatsoever of doing the show I am doing now on Fox anywhere else," the statement reads.

The reference to the "show" that he is "doing now" could reasonably be interpreted as leaving open the placement of a program that would be different from his present one. In addition, such a program could be aired somewhere other than Fox, perhaps on the Glenn Beck Network or whatever new name Beck comes up with for the cable channel.

Actually, Beck has no qualms about engaging in media activities other than the "show" that he is "doing now." He started out as an apolitical morning drive DJ, has written six New York Times best-selling books, and founded Mercury Radio Arts, a multimedia production company through which he creates content for radio, television, publishing, and the Internet.

Beck has also produced and played multiple roles in a film version of his book, "The Christmas Sweater," and has toured the country doing his comedy stand-up act.

In 2010 Hollywood decision-makers were being pitched an animated television concept that centered on Beck. He is the third-largest radio talk-show host in the country, and although a handful of stations have recently dropped his show, 88 stations have reportedly picked it up in the past year alone.

Reports had indicated that Joel Cheatwood, senior Fox News exec, may leave the network and join Mercury Radio Arts and possibly head up the new Beck-owned and operated cable channel.

Cheatwood is a key ally and asset to Beck's career. He was the news director at WMAQ in Chicago, where he experimented by bringing Jerry Springer into the newscast as a commentator. He went on to program CNN's "Headline News," where he transformed the channel into HLN, making a cable star out of Nancy Grace and a new cable television presence out of a radio talk show host named Glenn. When Cheatwood went to the Fox News Channel, so did Beck.

Beck's future with the network even came up when Don Imus, currently a Fox Business Channel personality, grilled Fox News host Neil Cavuto on the subject. Imus revealed that he had sent Beck an email asking him about his future but did not receive a response. Imus asked Cavuto to reveal Beck's post-contract plans.

"He's a great guy. I would love and hope that he can stay here," Cavuto said. "These are things that, you know, are settled in due course as they say."

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