August 6th, 2009
08:19 AM ET

"A Perfect Getaway" - except for the bugs!

The upcoming thriller, "A Perfect Getaway," starring Milla Jovovich, Steve Zahn, Kiele Sanchez, and Timothy Olyphant, centers on a honeymoon couple who face a multitude of dangers while on a remote hike in Hawaii. Oddly enough, the film wasn't shot there, but in Puerto Rico - and it was there that the film's two leading ladies encountered something in the wild that left their mark - bugs. I caught up with Sanchez and Jovovich at the movie's premiere at the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood tonight and they told me the island's insects did not taking a liking to them.

Timothy Olyphant and Milla Jovovich attend the premiere of "A Perfect Getaway" on August 5.

"I did get attacked by something," Sanchez says. "The dermatologist came and I was covered in bites, so much so that they had to cover me in make-up every day. The dermatologist said it was –whatever the Spanish equivalent of this is - "gringa disease. " She laughed. "They were just basically making fun of me.  Oh yeah, put the cream on it, it'll be better. "

Jovovich had a similiar reaction while holding her baby daughter. "There was a point where I was holding my four month old daughter and I felt stings on my leg and I didn't understand what was happening until they really started stinging really hard and I looked down and saw that I was standing on a red ant hill. There were red ants all over me, stinging me and I started doing this crazy dance with my four month old daughter in my arms just trying to get away - and hold her so she doesn't fall. You do a film you think you're under control, but mother nature is."

For his part, Olyphant says shooting in the wild was a breeze. "It was not that demanding of a shoot," he says with a grin. "We might have been guilty of starting to drink early. There's the beach and the sun's going down and a little rum wouldn't hurt."

And Jovovich had the perfect calorie-conscious cocktail ready. It was her own tropical drink made with Splenda. She called it the “Mojita-vich” of course...

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Filed under: Celebrities • movies
June 9th, 2009
08:32 PM ET

Why did Ben kill Jacob on 'Lost'?

(WARNING: Spoilers ahead.)

I caught up with Michael Emerson, who plays the mysterious “Ben Linus” on “Lost,” at a premiere recently. And yes, he does have eyelashes (I lost that bet with my camera guy Rick).  The show has one last season to go and a lot of loose ends to tie up. I asked Emerson what he’d like to see “Ben” do in the remaining episodes.

emerson lost

“I would like him to do a lot. I would like him to find out - I would like ME to find out - what the heck is going on. You know, it will be exciting. I don't know any more than the viewers of the show know at this moment. But I'll get a script for the first episode in August and I hope it will be revealing.” Shooting resumes mid-August in Hawaii.

As for life after “Lost,” what’s in store for him? “I wonder. I mean it will be interesting to see. It will be not be “Lost” for sure. And I assume I will play something different.” But after leaving so indelible a mark as “Ben” is there the danger of being typecast? “Well there's, yeah there's always that danger, you know, once you play someone sinister, so I’ll just have to do something goofy, I guess, or something. A change of pace. Maybe I will get to do a play. I would like to go back on stage.”

Before we parted company, I asked jokingly, “Why did you have to stab poor Jacob like that in the finale?” Diehard “Lost” fans know the scene well, but for those who don’t, a quick recap: At long last, “Ben” comes face to face with the mysterious “Jacob,” a character often spoken about but never seen till that episode. “Ben” follows every order given to him by the enigmatic “Jacob” over the years and wasn’t allowed to ever see him in person. He finally gets to meet him, but only because he’s tagging along with another character who’s been granted an audience. Angry about “Jacob’s” lack of respect and why the other character got to see him so quickly, he asks, “What about me?” Jacob just looks at him and says, “What about you?” And then, Ben stabs him.

“That's what he had to do. Jacob was so mean,” Emerson says, “Ben was looking for a father.” And then of course there was “Jacob’s” agonizingly vague answer to “Ben’s” question, “What about you?”

“What kind of answer is that?” I asked.  “That's a good question. Does Jacob wish to be killed on some level and transform or move on to the next stage?” Emerson wonders, “I don't know what's going on.”

Speaking of “Lost,” seasons one and two are out on Blu Ray June 16th. I got my hands on some advance copies and decided to watch the pilot episode just to see what struck me, lo, these many years later. Something did - one exchange in particular had added interest seen through the lens of the season five finale. Young “Walt” comes across “Locke” on the beach playing Backgammon:

Locke: “Backgammon is the oldest game in the world. Archaeologists found sets when they excavated the ruins of ancient Mesopotamia. Five thousand years old. That's older than Jesus Christ.”

Walt: “Did they have dice and stuff?”

Locke: [nods] “But theirs weren't made of plastic. Their dice were made of bones.”

Walt: “Cool.”

Locke: “Two players. Two sides. One is light. One is dark.”

Hmm…  Are Jacob and a character some fans call “Loophole Guy” light and dark forces from ancient Mesopotamia playing some cosmic contest with human lives on the island?

I agree with Emerson, I don’t know what’s going on.

June 5th, 2009
01:22 AM ET

Whitney: Sizzle this

As we reported earlier today, Whitney Houston’s long-awaited comeback album will be arriving September 1st. It’s her first studio album since 2002's "Just Whitney."

To say the least, there’s been a lot of drama since then, from her divorce from Bobby Brown to her battle with drug addiction. Her record company has put together a “sizzle reel” to promote the announcement, including behind the scenes footage from a recent photo shoot. Have a look and see what you think – is Whitney back on her feet and ready to be a big star again?

June 5th, 2009
01:09 AM ET

The man who wasn’t there

Just came back from the red carpet premiere of “The Taking of Pelham 123” in Los Angeles.

“The Taking of Pelham 123” is a modern update of the 1974 film and stars John Travolta as New York subway train hijacker who takes hostages for ransom. Denzel Washington plays the subway dispatcher Travolta’s character communicates with throughout the crisis.

The bigger premieres are usually held in Westwood and this was no exception. They pulled out all the stops, recreating the look of an actual Big Apple subway station, complete with giant train facades, route maps, and white-tiled walls. Washington was the first to arrive, which was very unusual. Standard operating procedure is for the biggest stars to get there last, right before the screening.

Turns out there was a reason for that: Washington told me he was hoping to get to the NBA Finals at the Staples Center in time for the third quarter. His wife was already there waiting for him. Behind us, crowds of UCLA college kids were screaming, “We love you, Denzel!! Denzel, you’re a god!!”

But everyone’s thoughts were really with the man who wasn’t there: John Travolta, who is very understandably taking a hiatus from the public eye to mourn the tragic death of his son Jett. Washington said he’d recently talked to Travolta, who was in “a tough situation” that he’s trying to “work through.” Denzel said he really got to know him “over the phone, over the wire” while making the film (their characters spend most of the movie interacting over the phone), and they got along “quite well,” and even sang songs. “He’s a great character and a great man.”

January 25th, 2009
11:22 PM ET

Starstruck "Slumdogs" at the SAG Awards

Wow, there's just no denying "Slumdog Millionaire!" I'm happily eating crow after predicting a big win for "Milk" (see previous blog post). These are heady times for the Best Cast in a Motion Picture winners.

After doing a little dance backstage, Dev Patel told us that it was a surreal experience walking down the red carpet and seeing Kate Winslet. "Titanic" was one of the first movies he really loved, and he was blown away that she recognized him. She wasn't the only star who did.

Patel: "I just couldn't believe it. They know who we are." Anil Kapoor, who plays the treacherous host of the Indian version of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" in the film, had his sights on another big star on the red carpet: Angelina Jolie.

He implored his co-star Irrfan Khan (who appeared with Jolie in "A Mighty Heart") to introduce him. "Don't be a shy American," he implored, "act like an Indian!" Khan did, and Kapoor delightfully made her acquaintance.

But beyond the famous faces they're seeing, it's clear that what the "Slumdog Millionaire" cast values more is the effect its success is having on India and its film industry.

Kapoor: "This is what India needed. We needed a platform for more films to be shot in India."

On a lighter note, he said he heard from Regis Philbin, who hosted the original American version of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire." Kapoor said Regis joked that he wished "he could have been as nasty to his contestants."

It's full speed to the Oscars, now, and if these guys tell you it's just a thrill to be nominated, believe them.

"We were in Mumbai and Danny, Dev, and Freida (Pinto) were there," Kapoor recollects, "When it was was nominated for Oscars, Dev started dancing and getting excited. [Director] Danny [Boyle] had tears in his eyes. Danny said, 'We premiere in Mumbai, and we hear the Oscar nominations were announced.' We couldn't feel it - we were completely numb."

January 25th, 2009
10:43 PM ET

Sean Penn: Man of few words

The backstage bursts into applause when Best Actor winner Sean Penn walks in. The first question posed is, did he have any reservations when he took the title role in "Milk?" His one word answer: "No."

What can I say, he is a man of few words! But then he opened up a bit about the film and credited most of its success to director Gus Van Sant, who, he said, was "incapable of making an irrelevant movie." He called him talented, great, and an adjective you don't hear often about a director: gentle.

Van Sant, he said, did a tremendous job of creating a positive environment for the cast. Ultimately, Penn felt it wasn't the theme or the politics that drew him to "Milk," but the script and the director.

And while Penn is definitely one of our more serious actors, there was a moment of levity: he said he realizes he's getting older every time he sees those crow's feet on the big screen! The feeling here backstage is that Penn really disappeared into the role and truly became Milk. I think the word that sums it up best for me is that is was a "winning" character and performance in every sense of the word.

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