Movie executive opens up on 'needy' celebrities
Former movie exec Amy Pascal - forced out of the top job at Sony Pictures after a hack attack leaked embarrassing internal correspondence online - says one thing she won't miss about the job is the thankless task of hand-holding precious celebrities.
"They're bottomless pits of need," the woman responsible for hits such as American Hustle, Zero Dark Thirty and The Social Network told MC Tina Brown at a 'Women In The World' seminar last week. "You've never seen anything like it . . . they are so great," Pascal (56) added mischievously. "They're filled with need to be loved and to be great, but that's because they're magical."
Not, apparently, included in that group: Angelina Jolie, whom director Scott Rudin called a "minimally talented spoiled brat," in a particularly stinging exchange with Pascal. "Angie didn't care," said Pascal, explaining Jolie "understood because we all live in this weird thing together called Hollywood. If we all actually were nice, it wouldn't work."
Talking about the trauma she experienced as her private emails went public, Pascal admitted: "There was this horrible moment when I realised there was absolutely nothing at all that I could do about whether I'd hurt people, whether I'd betrayed people, whether I'd said things that I didn't mean." She did not, however, give much truck to one of the major talking points ignited by the leak - the pay disparity between American Hustle actresses Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence and that of their male co-stars Bradley Cooper, Christian Bale and Jeremy Renner.
"Here's the problem: I run a business. People want to work for less money, I pay them less money. I don't call them up and go, 'Can I give you some more?' Because that's not what you do when you run a business," Pascal scoffed. "The truth is, what women have to do is not work for less money. They have to walk away . . . not be so grateful for jobs. Know what you're worth. Walk away."
Pascal, who scored a producing contract with Sony as part of her exit deal, already has her next gig lined up - a Cleopatra remake with - you guessed it - Angelina Jolie.
Helen Mirren is laying it on thick for the Broadway punters she hopes will pack her New York run of The Audience. In an interview with The New York Times to promote the play, which started previews last night, Mirren likened the Royal family to a species of "aliens" who inhabit a strange world "so beyond our understanding. You've never queued for anything. Ever, for anything. Every time you go in the street, the traffic is stopped for you. It's a world you can't imagine. But, inside that, they are the same flawed, insecure, vulnerable, complicated human beings we are. It's my job to get into the person who's inside that world."
Miren also took the opportunity to draw a sharp distinction between English and American royalty. "I think people misunderstand because she doesn't smile all the time," the actress said of the British monarch. "But she's not a movie star, she's a queen. Smiling is not a requirement. What's required is to be dignified, to be almost iconic and self-controlled - not to be charming. In the end," she said, "I prefer that to someone who smiles a lot and secretly has bulimia."
Pity the person who has to tell the Dame about all the smiling bulimics she will be expected to charm at The Audience's March 8 opening night party.
Axe to grind
Former Obama top gun David Axelrod must have had his tongue firmly planted in his cheek when he said he didn't want to write another gossipy, mud-raking political memoir.
In the days since the release of his bio (Believer: My Forty Years in Politics) Axelrod has raised eyebrows over stories that don't exactly paint his former boss in a good light. Apart from the headline-makers about how Obama "modified" his support for same-sex marriage to avoid offending black church leaders, Axelrod also tells tales which show how chippy and childish President Cool can be.
In one, during the 2008 campaign, Obama flipped when NY Times columnist Maureen Dowd found fault with his strategy. "Obama proceeded to blister her . . . No one got under Barack's skin more than Maureen," Axelrod writes. "He was patronising and disrespectful . . . After that awkward encounter, she seemed to take particular delight in psychoanalysing Barack and belittling him in print, which only deepened his contempt . . . 'Why are you friends with her,' he would demand after Maureen sent one of her acid darts his way."
Axelrod (60) reserves much of his own contempt for the late Elizabeth Edwards who he describes as an "edgy and quite often unhappy" woman.
During his spell on her husband's 2004 campaign, he quotes her spewing one-liners such as: "John was a hick in a plaid shirt when I met him. He's come a long way." Axelrod writes: "If her attitude towards John was right out of My Fair Lady, her approach to the campaign bore a greater resemblance to The Manchurian Candidate."
So much for RIP.