US DIARY ORLA HEALY
Liam Neeson is officially a really big fella in Hollywood. The 60-year-old actor stands poised to join an elite group of critic-proof leading men -- including Matt Damon, Will Smith, Johnny Depp and Robert Downey Jr -- who can command a $20m (€15m) fee for a film. So goes the buzz among industry types after Neeson's new movie Taken 2 pulled in a cool $126m (€97m), and counting, after opening worldwide last weekend -- a box-office killing for a movie that cost $45m (€35m) to produce. That understandably has Fox Pictures itching to ink a deal with the actor to start shooting Taken 3 in early 2013.
Neeson, who earned $1m (€772,000) for Taken, was able to up his asking price to $10m (€7.72m) for the sequel after a string of hits ( The A-Team, Unknown, and The Grey), added to his reputation. And now, according to the Hollywood Reporter, the actor can expect to double that paycheck to $20m (€15m) if he agrees to reprise the role again -- not too shabby for a guy who was just cursing his luck for losing out on two meaty roles: the first being the title role in Steven Spielberg's upcoming Lincoln, which, after a scheduling conflict went to Daniel Day-Lewis. The second: "For 10 seconds I was going to be Noah in Noah's Ark. But Russell (Crowe) is playing that now, I think. And they wanted me to play his nemesis and I thought, Ach!," he ruefully told reporters, "If you're not Noah, what's the point?"
A bad romance for Demi Moore
IN what might be the understatement of the week, Demi Moore is reportedly "not psyched" about Ashton Kutcher's very public romance with Mila Kunis. And not just because, as some are suggesting, the Black Swan actress was recently named the 'Sexiest Woman Alive' by Esquire magazine. Or because Kutcher and Kunis, who have been pals for more than 15 years, are flaunting PDA (public displays of affection) on the streets of New York for the paparazzi 24/7.
But, as one source tells US Weekly, because Demi "was so insecure over the course of her marriage. . . it's hurtful that he's with someone he knew the whole time he was with her".
The source has a point. Kunis's recent comments to People magazine (that Kutcher was the first boy she had ever kissed, and that she's had "the biggest crush on him" ever since) weren't particularly sensitive. Ditto for Kutcher's subsequent confession that he "always had a thing" for Kunis too.
Moore, who is described by the source as "beside herself over her fractured relationship with her three daughters, and heartbroken that Ashton has fully moved on. . . she's isolated, frightened and lonely," is also bracing for the one-year anniversary of her split from Kutcher next month -- a date he's said to have set as the deadline to finalise their divorce.
In a slick move that may owe something to Katie Holmes's brisk divorce from Tom Cruise, Kutcher is believed to have relocated from LA to NYC so he can take advantage of the New York court system which would swiftly and confidentially process a closed paper divorce. Here's hoping the Two and a Half Men star is sensitive enough not to do the deed in or around November 11 -- the day Demi turns 50.
Designs on a US election victory
FASHION designer Alfred Fiandaca is going to have to learn to zip his lips if he wants to keep on the right side of his number one client, Ann Romney.
The NYC-based couturier (who has long been a favourite with political wives including Mrs Reagan, Mrs Johnson, Mrs Dukakis and a slew of Kennedys) was probably just trying to be nice last week when he talked about working on Mrs Romney's campaign closet.
Instead, Mr Fiandaca painted a rather unflattering visual of the GOP candidate who, he says, has very definite preferences about the clothes worn by his wife. "He likes a waistline, and he likes her to show her figure off," Mr Fiandaca revealed, adding: "He's always staring her up and down and smiling. They're like two kids who just met. They're really adorable."
Proving he's not a complete political neophyte, Mr Fiandaca played it perfectly when asked to compare his client's sense of style with that of Mrs Obama: "I'm not a political person so I don't want to get into that," he prefaced before delivering quite a zinger. "I will say that Mrs Romney is very interested in wearing clothes by American designers made in America. Not just American companies that are made in Taiwan, but made in America. And all of my clothes are made in Boston or New York." Touche.
It's search and destroy for votes
Joe Biden wasn't the only Democrat who couldn't stop laughing last week. Team Obama apparently got great mileage out of a Google blip that resulted in a search of the phrase "completely wrong" yielding scores of photos of GOP challenger Mitt Romney.
In spite of strenuous efforts by Team Romney to have Google "fix" the optic nightmare they believed to be a form of malicious digital skulduggery, the folk at the left-leaning search-engine giant explained their algorithms were simply responding to the saturation coverage of Romney's recent statement that he was "completely wrong" to diss the 47 per cent of American who rely on government assistance.
The grumpy GOP-ers got a little of their own back when some bright spark searched the phrase "one term proposition" which returns countless images, natch, of Mr Obama.