US DIARY ORLA HEALY
Broadway lights go out on Spidey's tangled web
News that the lights are going out on Broadway's Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark, has sparked a finger-pointing blitz about who is to blame for the ill-fated $75m rock musical, which pundits predict will be $60m in the red by the time the curtain falls on January 4. And remarkably – given the epic scale of lawsuits, safety issues and backstage histrionics that have plagued the production since previews started in November 2010 – Bono and The Edge are getting far more than their fair share of flak for composing a score, which, according to a smack in the New York Times, "was supposed to be a selling point with audiences but ended up being dismissed by critics".
"A lot of us feel that it's an extraordinary show with lousy music," Terry Allen Kramer, a veteran Broadway producer who put about $1m into the spectacle, complained to the Times before acknowledging that "the budget numbers were a disaster – just a disaster".
She's not exaggerating. Operating costs for the special effects-packed production, which has grossed a healthy $203m to date, run between $1m-$1.3m a week – a sum believed to well exceed ticket revenues, which started to nosedive at the end of the summer.
Producers Michael Cohl and Jeremiah Harris optimistically say they hope to recoup some of the losses by taking the show to Las Vegas in 2015. They are also talking up the possibility of staging it in Germany. And, the mind boggles, maybe even taking it on the road.
"I think the investors will eventually see something, but look, this is showbiz," Cohl breezily told the Times. "I hope the show will be a huge hit in Vegas and Germany and on an arena tour, and then I expect them to see some money back. But it will be a long road and take a long time."
Harris, speaking to the Wall Street Journal, said there are plans to retool the show before it hits Sin City. He couldn't, however, reveal if those changes include a new script or a fresh score from Bono and The Edge.
Chatty JLaw's sister act
Jennifer Lawrence probably pushed the over-sharing envelope when, as part of the massive promotional drive for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, she detailed her gastrointestinal problems for talk-show host David Letterman. But the 23-year-old who captured America's heart when she fell up the steps as she went to collect her Best Actress Oscar at last year's awards, quickly redeemed herself with an equally unfiltered story about her brother who was in studio with her for the TV taping.
Asked what he does for a living, JLaw frankly confessed: "God, I don't know ... It's something with computers... It's something called Louisville Geek I think... I think he goes to an office?"
When Letterman joked about how close the siblings must be, the wise-cracking actress didn't pause for breath before admitting: "We talk all the time. I just never ask any questions!" Cute.
Top Gun aims for pal Jack
Tom Cruise is a glutton for punishment. The Mission Impossible star, who is reportedly trying to woo ex-wife Katie Holmes back into married life, is attempting to coax 76-year-old Jack Nicholson out of retirement – and it's hard to tell which challenge will prove the more difficult.
Cruise, who has signed on to play a "straight-arrow" secret service agent in Doug (The Bourne Identity) Liman's upcoming comedy El Presidente, is convinced that Nicholson is the only actor to play the title role in the movie about a dicey former US president who, in the script-pitch, is described as "an alcoholic and womanising sleazebag who was elevated from VP when the president died". Unfortunately Nicholson, who co-stared with Cruise in 1992's A Few Good Men, insists he's done with acting and not, as has been reported, because he is suffering from "memory loss" issues but because he's fed up making bad movies.
"Contrary to opinion, however sated I got, I always looked after myself. I'm in good shape – a little stout, but healthy. I have a mathematician's brain," the notorious party animal said recently. "The movie business is the greatest business, but I only want to do films that move people, films about emotions and people."
According to a snippet in The Hollywood Reporter, Tom's decision to take a "Hail Mary pass" by pitching up unannounced at Nicholson's Hollywood Hills home last week obviously moved the three-time Oscar winner who has promised to "at least read the script". No such leaks on the progression of Project Katie.
Family joy at Skakel release
Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel walked out of court on a $1.2m bond Thursday after spending 11 years in prison for the 1975 murder of his Greenwich Connecticut neighbour, 15-year-old Martha Moxley. The 53-year-old nephew of Ethel Kennedy, who has always denied committing the crime, caught a break last month when Judge Thomas Bishop overturned his conviction on the grounds that his defence attorney Michael "Mickey" Sherman's representation at trial was "constitutionally deficient".
Skakel's brother, George, told reporters the family is overjoyed. He also described Michael's journey through the legal system as "a travesty of justice" and "public lynching."
Moxley's 81-year-old mother, Dorthy, who brought the case to prominence when she enlisted the help of Vanity Fair magazine's legendary crime scribe Dominick Dunne, admitted she was disappointed by the ruling. "I don't think he was a Jeffrey Dahmer or one of the mass murderers ... he was just a kid who had problems," Mrs Moxley told reporters as she left the bail hearing.
"The whole thing didn't have to be this way, but I think it's a lesson to parents," she said. "If your child does something wrong, face up to it ... I'm disappointed, but this is life." Prosecutors have yet to announce if they will file for a retrial.