Liz Smith: Michael Fassbender — The Biggest Man In Movies?

Michael Fassbender

And more from our Liz: ABBA’s new album … “Uggie” retires… Michael Jackson is “Immortal”

“HE’S QUITE … blessed!” says Calamity Chang, a British burlesque star who appeared with actor/leading man/hunk Michael Fassbender in some of the many nude scenes in the movie “Shame.”

Fassbender is the one George Clooney made a sexy reference to at the Golden Globes — in case you’ve been under a rock.

But the actor, of German and Irish extraction, has a real claim to fame. It is in being one of the hardest-working men in international films. He has completed a twenty-month spell of work, where he shot six movies.

I just saw him onscreen being kicked through a door by martial arts expert Gina Carano in the perfectly silly Steven Soderbergh movie “Haywire.” (This is the one your teenage male offspring are so crazy about.)

* * *

WAIT FOR it! ABBA is about to release their first new song in twenty years. In April, their first album since 1994 will be out, titled “A Twinkling Star To A Passing Angel.”

And ABBA’s hit musical show, “Mamma Mia!,” is still seen everywhere worldwide — still making money since it opened in 1999.

* * *

THE DOG “Uggie,” from the award-winning silent screen hit “The Artist,” is being retired by his trainer, Omar Von Muller. He doesn’t want to put Uggie through any more long hours. Says, “He’s getting tired.” But does this mean the adorable “Uggie” won’t turn up at the Academy Awards? Say it isn’t so!

* * *

THEY SAY only seven people turned up for actor Nicol Williamson’s burial the other day. The bad boy of English theater had not worked since 1997, and had turned down some great offers in his time.

His obit describes him as a hell-raiser: one of the patron saints of bad behavior, “almost deliberately badly behaved,” prone to walking offstage in mid-performance, throwing things, an exhibitionist and the last of a breed.

One of Williamson’s obits by Roger Lewis refers to the actor’s being possibly influenced by Marlon Brando and Method acting. This led to the story of Laurence Olivier and Dustin Hoffman in “Marathon Man.” To look sweaty, Hoffman ran around a football field. He was panting when Oliver remarked, “Why don’t you try acting, dear boy? It’s far easier.”

* * *

I SEE why movie stars like Brad Pitt don’t like to give interviews. He gave one to The Hollywood Reporter recently in which he cited his “depression” in the 1990’s when he was coping with “the celebrity thing.”

Depression is serious stuff. But almost everybody suffers from it occasionally. Headlines reporting his remarks make it seem he is seriously “down.” But Pitt seems very happy these days. He has Oscar nods, a stimulating romantic partnership, lots of good charity efforts and six children.

* * *

IN THESE days when the 1% is being excoriated, guess what? Even though the global market is shaky and China’s buying of luxury goods is a bit shaky, LVMH is still going strong. Sales of Louis Vuitton and Loewe handbags, Krug champagne and Hennessy cognac, Tag Heuer watches, and other spirits, leather, feather and fashionable goods, including Burberry, seem to be soaring.

* * *

MICHAEL JACKSON began his showbiz career as an adorable, phenomenally gifted child. He didn’t need a lot of razzmatazz to showcase his pure voice and amazing dance technique. (A technique that even the great Fred Astaire would come to admire.)

But as the years rolled on, Michael ramped up the sets, the style and the strangeness. Sometimes he appeared to get lost under the “stuff,” when all he really needed was to sing and dance, period. But, when people pay hundreds of dollars for concert tickets, they want spectacle as well as talent. Perhaps more the former than the latter.

And spectacle is certainly the attraction of Cirque du Soleil’s Michael Jackson tribute show, titled — with typical understatement — “Immortal.” The show features all the usual Cirque bells and whistles: acrobatics, LED screens, huge balloons, animatronic re-creations of Michael, and, but of course, his real image and voice, as compelling as ever.

Apparently, although the show was a huge hit in Montreal and Las Vegas, taking in over $100 million, some consider it tasteless, overblown, exploitive — especially as the Jackson family is involved. Well, they have to be involved. The Jacksons, in tandem with Sony, control Michael’s music and likeness. While Michael was alive, the Jackson family didn’t seem to be thriving, nor did their golden goose.

But now Michael is the most successful dead celebrity ever. His estate has garnered a whopping $450 million bucks since the pop icon’s tragic death almost three years ago. Michael, who loved to break records and boast of his accomplishments, would be so happy to know he’s still the King of Pop, so crowned by his friend Elizabeth Taylor. Michael’s children, Prince, Paris and Blanket, will never know a day of financial need. Nor will anybody else in the family.

“Immortal” is planning move on to London and other spots in Europe. As one newspaper review stated, “It’s like a Michael Jackson tour, without Michael.” But that seems to be good enough for Michael’s fans.

Oh, and these fans don’t care if some condemn the show as “tacky, sentimental and visually overloaded.”

It’s as close to the old Michael Jackson experience as those who adored him can get. They love it.

One Response so far.

  1. avatar Baby Snooks says:

    Realty is Michael Jackson was worth more dead than alive. But that of course leads us to all the “conspiracy theories.”  All of which, well, take us back to the “worth more dead than alive.”  It’s all about the money, honey. Which is why our civilization appears to be finally collapsing.