From CNN Entertainment reporter Kareen Wynter in Los Angeles:
I couldn't believe it when my crew and I arrived outside of the UCLA Medical Center in L.A.'s Westwood district today to cover the latest in the Britney Spears saga. In fact, I almost had to ask if we were at the right hospital. (In fact, maybe I did. My mind is a bit blurry right now after a morning of nonstop live shots.)
Because not only were there no other media or paparazzi on hand, but no fans. That's right - fans. Earlier this month, some of Britney's faithful followers actually beat some of the media to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center when she was hospitalized there, but today ... nothing.
Given recent history, I thought that this would rank as one of the big stories of the day. Well, a local news station finally showed up after about an hour. Another crew popped up a short time later. But the bottom line is, even after being out here for eight hours, the media circus that has trailed Spears at every opportunity just wasn't out in full force today.
So, that got me thinking. Is the media growing tired of this troubled pop star? I doubt it. But I do believe that a jadedness has set in - that many of those who cover Spears are no longer shocked by some of her unexpected misfortunes. I have to admit, when I got the 1 a.m. call about Spears' latest hospitalization, I wasn't surprised. Not at all.
Spears' family, friends, and advisers have all publicly expressed concern for her well-being. Let's just hope that, finally, she does get the support that she needs to get through whatever it is she is going through.
– Kareen Wynter
From CNN Entertainment Producer Matt Carey:
A terrible pall has been cast over the Sundance Film Festival by the shocking death of Heath Ledger. The festival is just days away from handing out its awards, but the normally celebratory mood has been replaced by a feeling of sadness and almost dread. Everyone around here looks like they’ve been kicked in the stomach.
A lot of stars with films at the festival had a personal connection to Ledger - no one more so than his ex-fiancee Michelle Williams, whose Sundance film is "Incendiary." She never came to Park City to promote it. But Naomi Watts, who was romantically involved with him at one point and co-starred with Ledger in "Ned Kelly," was in town when the news hit. She later canceled all of her interviews to promote her film, "Funny Games."
Some stars here have been gracious enough to share their feelings about Ledger as an actor and a person. Lukas Haas, who told us he had met Ledger several times, described him as a "very sweet" person. Jacqueline Bissett (who, like Haas, stars in the Sundance film "Death in Love") said she met Ledger in Venice, Italy, where he premiered his film "Casanova." She called him an actor of tremendous talent and potential.
Patricia Clarkson and Stanley Tucci ("Blind Date") also paid tribute to him as a performer. Tucci said he was especially impressed by Ledger’s work in "Brokeback Mountain," which earned Ledger his only Oscar nomination.
The Sundance Film Festival hasn’t been pleased with reporters asking questions about Ledger. When we came to the premiere of "Death in Love" Tuesday evening, a Sundance press officer threatened to revoke our credentials if we asked any questions about the late actor. She said we were there only to ask questions about the film. I find that akin to someone in the White House telling the press corps what they can and can’t ask the President. I don't think it serves us as a society to restrict what the media can ask in public settings.
It's difficult to ask stars for their thoughts on such an occasion and yet I can't help thinking, who better to characterize an actor's contributions than a fellow actor? In times of tragedy people take comfort from hearing what others are feeling and thinking on the matter, and it's really in that spirit that I ask - not out of a salacious desire to pry.
None of this is meant to imply that members of the media should ask questions in anything but a sensitive and respectful manner. And I respect any star's right to decline to answer a question, be it about Heath Ledger or any other issue. But to prevent us from asking is a form of prior restraint.
– Matt Carey
From Entertainment Producer Matt Carey in Park City, Utah:
The Sundance Film Festival is generally about art and commerce, but politics wasn’t far away Monday night.
Mike Gravel, the former Alaska senator who's running a quixotic campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, turned up at the Sundance Film Festival that evening. While the leading Democratic Presidential candidates were debating in South Carolina, Gravel was sitting on a panel sponsored by the Creative Coalition.
We talked afterwards, and true to form, he was very outspoken.
He slammed Sen. Barack Obama, saying he was "inconsistent" on the issues and that his "lack of experience shows." He added, "I don't think in many respects he knows what he's saying or the ramifications of what he's saying."
Ouch! I guess he won’t be on the short list of vice-presidential nominees if Obama gets the nomination.
But Gravel didn't stop there. He also slammed CNN for keeping him out of the South Carolina debate, calling it a "conspiracy between the network" and the Democratic National Committee. And he said he was bored during the debates, even the ones in which he participated.
Perhaps most surprisingly, he said it won’t make any difference who is elected President. He suggested it's going to be the "same old-same old" either way.
From CNN Entertainment reporter Brooke Anderson:
The rock stars of U2 lit up Sundance with their star power and incomparable music. ("New Year's Day," "Sunday Bloody Sunday," "Stuck in a Moment" are some of my favorites, though it's hard to name just a few.)
The group was in Park City premiering "U2 3D," a concert documentary, offering audiences with 3-D glasses a front-row seat to their 2006 stadium shows in South America.
U2's live shows are incredible - and the film is also electrifying. A conversation with Bono and The Edge ... well, that was just plain cool.
I spoke with the band before the debut of their film. Here are some of the highlights (and yes, Bono does most of the talking when they do interviews):
And Bono, we love you guys, too.
From CNN Entertainment Producer Jennifer Wolfe:
Julian McMahon may be the Lothario on FX’s "Nip/Tuck," but Dylan Walsh certainly turned heads at the CNN suite today.
He arrived alone.
He arrived early.
And he came to talk about "Just Add Water," his film at the Slamdance Film Festival.
But being the good sport he is, Walsh indulged the "Nip/Tuck" fans in the crowd and offered a little teaser of some upcoming episodes.
He tells us that his character Sean McNamara's TV career really takes off and he gets a manager, portrayed by Sharon Gless, and what starts out as a positive relationship turns very dark.
Thanks for the tip Dylan. We award you the "Actor with the Least Entourage" Award.
From CNN Entertainment reporter Brooke Anderson:
Yes, Colin Farrell is an Irishman. Yes, he's "dangerous," sexy ... a rebel. But I have interviewed Colin before where he kept his language in check. Not this time. He let himself get a little too comfortable as we were talking live on CNN about his new film "In Bruges."
Farrell was explaining why director Martin McDonagh allowed him to keep his Irish accent while starring as a hit man based in London. He said that McDonagh probably saw his recent film "Cassandra's Dream" and thought "F**k that, he's Irish!"
Then, realizing his slip, he exclaimed, "Oh s**t!"
I was immediately flustered and mortified, as was he. His co-star Brendan Gleeson began laughing hysterically. In the end, we all joked about it, brushed it off, and eventually moved on with the interview.
Colin was very sweet and apologetic afterward. He told me that if the FCC decides to come after me to let him know and he'll have a chat with them.
Good thing the FCC doesn't regulate language on cable.
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