August 12th, 2009
11:14 AM ET

Liam Neeson quietly attends premiere

"Five Minutes of Heaven" isn’t a big budget film, but one of its stars came out to support it last night in New York.

Liam Neeson

Tall and stoic Liam Neeson stood before a somewhat disheveled group of photographers as they did their job snapping away flash after flash. Along with the stills, a small press presence of television crews gathered outside the screening room of the Tribeca Grand Hotel.

We were waiting for the chance to speak with Mr. Neeson on his first outing since the tragic loss of his wife Natasha Richardson in March. Well before his arrival journalists were advised not to ask any personal questions of the actor. The publicist escorting Mr. Neeson down the press line never left his side during interviews.

As Neeson stepped up to speak with me I extended my hand. "Hello darlin,'" he said softly in his Irish accent. You could see in his light eyes that something had dimmed; maybe the great loss he has suffered is simply explained on his face. No need for a journalist to probe further.

The mood at this event was unlike any premiere I've covered in the past. Most film premieres replete with sprawling red carpets are spectacles. Photographers shouting, salivating to capture one more pose, journalists angling for a few more seconds with the actors, and publicists at the ready waiting to pull their charges off the line and into the safety of the theater away from the hungry press.

Respectful is an adjective I would never have chosen to describe a film premiere. But last night it was just that.

August 12th, 2009
08:47 AM ET

Sneak peek of 'Twilight: New Moon'

CNN's KJ Matthews offers you a look at "The Twilight Saga: New Moon" in today's buzz:

Filed under: movies • Music
August 12th, 2009
08:35 AM ET

Judges respond to Paula's departure

Paula Abdul has left "American Idol" and her fellow judges are finally speaking out.

Among the responses, in a handout tape provide by Fox:

"I'm kind of in black, because I'm mourning," said Kara DioGuardi.

"She was like my best buddy, really, on the show," said Simon Cowell. "and you only realize how much you miss somebody when they're not there. So I'm sad."

Abdul might not be out of work for long. She's allegedly being pursued by other networks for spots on other shows, but nothing has been nailed down yet.

Filed under: Uncategorized
August 12th, 2009
08:31 AM ET

Your pop culture cheat sheet

Here's what's going on in the world of entertainment this morning:

  • The New York Times reports on why Paula Abdul left "American Idol:" Among other things, the paper says that she was "surprised and dismayed" by the hiring of Kara DioGuardi and that she felt there were other opportunities for her outside of the show.
jay leno
  • According to Variety, Disney has acquired the rights to a new version of "The Diary of Anne Frank," to be written and directed by David Mamet. Variety goes on to say that "Mamet brings his own original take on the material that could re-frame the story as a young girl’s rite of passage."
  • Jay Leno has been cleared by the Writers Guild of America West of violating the guild's strike rules, reports Variety. Some in the guild complained that Leno performed a daily monologue for six weeks, while the 2007-2008 strike was still going on.
  • Now that toy company Hasbro's Transformers and G.I. Joe are box office stars, Lego is the next to get the Hollywood treatment, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Warner Bros. is working on a movie that will be a "live action-CG hybrid," described as similar in some ways to "Toy Story."
  • Jessica Simpson tweeted about her experience during an earthquake in Japan, saying she thought she was "hallucinating." She went on to say, "I have never felt anything like this in my life." Simpson is shooting a reality show there.
  • Matthew Broderick, Vince Vaughn and Ben Stein were among those at the low-profile funeral for writer/director John Hughes on Tuesday, reports The Los Angeles Times.
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Our daily cheat-sheet for breaking celebrity news, Hollywood buzz and your pop-culture obsessions.