And more from our Gossip Girl: Showtime’s hot new series … Barbra’s got a gimmick — “Gypsy” looms closer
“EVERYTHING IS important. But, you know, my sanity is important, too. Even if I am angry I’ll just put a smile on my face and fake it … I know I have to give up a lot of myself, or a lot of private life … And I want to be normal. Well, not normal, but I want to have some sort of normalcy. I don’t want to go crazy.”
That’s teen dream Justin Bieber, ending his Vanity Fair interview with Lisa Robinson. At 16, Bieber might be the youngest person ever to appear on VF’s cover.
Now of course I have to admit, I’ve never sat down and listened to a Justin Bieber song. I saw him perform once on a televised awards show sometime last year. He looked 12 (he still does) and appeared to be relying heavily on a lot of pre-recorded backup and supposedly sexy moves. (I found his little grinds and tentative crotch-grabbing silly.) But the girls in the audience were delirious.
For a long time, Bieber’s popularity seemed forced, a sort of faux stardom. But perhaps that’s how it always seems when the star is very young and the observers not so young at all. In any case, the boy does seem to be “somebody.” Let’s just hope this rush to the cover of VF doesn’t spoil it. Sometimes being on the cover of VF is like winning an Oscar too soon.
As for Mr. Bieber keeping his sanity: from his mouth to God’s ear. In all likelihood, Justin will go the way of Ricky Nelson, Fabian, the Cassidy brothers, David and Shaun, Leif Garret, Bobby Sherman, most of N’Sync and The Backstreet Boys, Hanson, etc.
That’s not a bad thing, if Justin’s estimated $100 million fortune is reliably handled by his parents and managers. But, it’s hard to predict. He is so babyish-looking right now (unthreatening for his little-girl fans) that it is hard to imagine him as a more sexually assured older teen or young adult, with facial hair. Lisa Robinson cites Leonardo DiCaprio as one of the teen idols who escaped being typed, but Leo did not sing; he had extraordinary acting talent. (She also mentions Michael Jackson, as having survived the transition. But then — kaboom!) There’s an entirely different relationship between a singer and his audience.
Also, Leonardo DiCaprio was never convincing as a “teen idol.” Something in his face and manner. He was clearly meant to be an actor — and not one who was going to rely on his youth. He’s certainly not pretty anymore.
So here’s to Justin Bieber. He’s just a child, and I can only wish him well in what can be a horrible business.
I won’t be attending any Bieber concerts. But if he gets into acting, I’ll most assuredly take a look.
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FIRST, MICHAEL Riedel broke the story of Barbra Streisand doing a new screen version of “Gypsy.” Then the New York Times followed up, with a few more comments from Arthur Laurents, who says if it comes to pass he will direct the film — at age 91. In between, this columnist put in frantic calls and e-mails to Barbra’s press rep, a guy with whom we have always had a fair and honest relationship.
He said, “What I know is, there have been conversations.” You might think this is not significant, but I read it as, “Okay, I’m not telling you to dress, but … think ahead on a gown.”
Barbra as Mama Rose in the musical Frank Rich once called “The American Theater’s answer to ‘King Lear.’” It really could happen.
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SEVERAL MONTHS back, I told all of you about a wild Showtime screening I attended. The network showed us two of their coming series (which air this Sunday) –“Episodes” and “Shameless.” The one-two punch of these two wildly disparate shows left the audience reeling. Most people loved both, but many were unsure. There was a lot of head-holding and drinking to recover.
Well, now critics have seen both, in the privacy of their living rooms, and the reviews are smashing. The Hollywood Reporter — my new favorite magazine — raves over both. “Episodes” tells the farcical (but not too far removed from reality) efforts to launch an Americanized version of a witty British series. The show’s creators, played by Stephen Mangan and Tamsin Greig, are appalled to discover that the erudite professor of the series will be acted in the U.S. version by washed-up sitcom star Matt LeBlanc, who plays himself. (With marvelous self-deprecating wit.) The whole thing is a riot, and spot-on about show biz.
“Shameless” is something else — a blue collar Chicago family struggling to get by, despite grinding poverty, youthful sexual identity issues, and a drunken lout of a father (Bill Macy). It’s comedy, it’s drama, it’s mesmerizing. Emmy Rossum will be a great big star after this, and the guy who plays her maybe shady boyfriend, Justin Chatwin, sizzles. There’s also a very funny recurring character, the sexed-up next door neighbor whom you’ll recognize as Steve Howey, who played Reba McEntire’s son-in-law for six seasons on “Reba.”
Fair warning on “Shameless.” Not for the prudish or faint of heart.
And later this year on Showtime? My heart beats faster as “The Borgias” bear down, with their daggers and poisons and religious hypocrisies. (The popes back then were libertines, more or less, and hot for gold, jewels and power.)
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“I don’t want to set the world on fire; I just want to keep my nuts warm.”
That’s the great Ernest Borgine’s motto, as told to Vanity Fair’s Proust Questionnaire. The 93-year-old icon is happily married (“Finally!” he says) to the beautiful Tova, for the last 40 years, and he is still working. When VF asks, “What is your favorite occupation?” he replies: “There’s something besides acting?”