Thursday 18 January 2018

Unfazed by nude Moss and snoring at Scorsese – JFK Jr was one cool dude

US Diary

Seth MacFarlane and Charlize Theron at the premiere of
Seth MacFarlane and Charlize Theron at the premiere of "A Million Ways to Die in the West" also starring Liam Neeson

Orla Healy

In his new memoir JFK Jr, George, & Me, Matt Berman, the co-founder of John F Kennedy Jr's political-pop culture magazine, gives readers a glimpse at just how hard the late Kennedy scion had to work at playing normal. "I think Jackie taught him to be unspoiled, masculine and real," Berman writes in the book which was released on Tuesday. "He could high-five a stranger on the subway, eat with his hands and slurp from your can of soda in a way that dispelled the image of a Little Lord Fauntleroy."

JFK Jr could put strangers at ease. "At a party, he'd find the shyest person in the room, go up to them and ask them something easy to answer. He would find a way to relate to whomever was standing in front of him," gushes the author.

Berman recalls how, after Pamela Anderson cancelled a cover shoot where she was to pose nude as Eve – and blew the $20,000 budget – he and John frantically scrambled to find a replacement which eventually materialised in the form of Kate Moss. Berman admits he was a bit frazzled when Kate told him she wouldn't be needing "a partitioned set... She handed her robe to the stylist, walked into our dreamlike garden, and took her position amidst the foliage and the live animals as naturally as Eve herself".

John, naturally, didn't bat an eye. Berman also recalls a private screening of Casino, hosted by director Martin Scorsese. "Five minutes into the movie, I heard snoring, looked over, and saw John, People magazine's Sexiest Man Alive, with his head back, mouth open, dead asleep," Berman writes. " I hoped Mr Scorsese couldn't see him."

In one of his more poignant anecdotes Berman also recalls a conversation with John just as Jackie O's belongings were being shipped to auction. "What kind of stuff are you keeping? Don't you want some cool painting for your loft like a Warhol or something?" Berman says he asked his friend who shook his head. "I don't know," he said. "A lot of it's not really my taste. I kind of want to buy my own things."

Liam's a rogue with brogue

Liam Neeson will be revealing more than usual when his new movie A Million Ways to Die in the West opens stateside on Friday. America's favourite action hero, who plays a gun-slinging villain named Clinch Leatherwood in the film, is going native. As in, losing the American twang in favour of what he calls a "broad" Irish accent. And it's a very personal decision.

About 10 years ago, the movie's director Seth MacFarlane made fun of Neeson's "brogue" on his TV show Family Guy, a gag that still niggles the 61-year-old actor. "His main character, the little fat father in Family Guy, they were making fun... 'Imagine Liam Neeson being in a Western. Haha! With that funny accent of his,'" Neeson explained in an interview. "So when Seth called me to ask if I'd do the movie, I said, 'I'll do it on condition that I do it in a very broad Irish accent.' So he agreed."

The bawdy Western – which co-stars Charlize Theron, Sarah Silverman, Amanda Seyfried and Neil Patrick Harris – wasn't the only movie on Neeson's agenda last week. On Monday night he attended the debut of Save NYC Horse Carriages, a 10-minute film he narrates as part of his battle to prevent NYC mayor Bill de Blasio from banning horse-drawn carriages near Central Park.

Neeson, who argues the ban will unnecessarily rob the predominantly Irish drivers of their livelihoods, is up against heavyweight animal rights activists (including Debbie Harry, Pamela Anderson, Lea Michele, Kristin Chenoweth and Miley Cyrus) who claim the practice is inhumane – but don't count him out. He does, after all, tend to perform best when cast in the role of the underdog.

O'Dowd now stage royalty

Chris O'Dowd and Jim Norton are officially members of Broadway royalty. On Wednesday the two actors – along with castmates from the hit revival of Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men James Franco and Leighton Meester – were canonised on the walls of Sardi's with the restaurant's iconic caricatures.

O'Dowd, who recently picked up a prestigious Theatre World award (which honours thesps making their Broadway/Off-Broadway debut) is also being tipped as one of the frontrunners in this year's Tony race for best actor in a play. His main rival for the laurel seems to be Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston who is generating rave reviews for his performance as Lyndon B Johnson in political drama All the Way.

Also competing in this category: Samuel Barnett (Twelfth Night), Mark Rylance (Richard III) and TV's Monk Tony Shalhoub (Act One). The Tony awards will take place at Radio City Music Hall on Sunday June 8.

Reality bites as K-clan land

Think Kim and Kanye will take a breather? Think again. Fresh off yesterday's extravagant nuptials, the bride and her groom are heading to Southampton on the east coast where they will hook up with Kourtney and Khloe who plan to start shooting their latest spinoff Kourtney & Khloe Take the Hamptons, early next month.

Locals (read: affluent Manhattanites who summer in the elite east coast enclave) who thought they had outwitted Kardashian Inc by ensuring nobody would rent them a storefront to house their Dash boutique are now spitting nails at Irma Herzog, a local businesswoman who last week agreed to give the clan a 600ft venue next to her restaurant for free in exchange for airtime on the E! network show.

"They didn't want to pay the $30,000 to $60,000 rent, so they agreed to shoot episodes of the show in the restaurant," a source told the NY Daily News which reports Hamptonites can't believe they will have to deal with "the hassle of the entourage, the cameras, the paparazzi and all the fanfare that comes with this attention-seeking family". Reality, even in the Hamptons, bites.

Sunday Independent

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