Already a Classic

Posted November 24, 2006

The perennial bachelor prankster is also Hollywood’s silver-haired statesman, making movies and speaking out for a basic American decency. Yet, open as George Clooney may seem, he remains as elusive as Cary Grant, Gregory Peck, and other classic stars he calls to mind. That’s not unintentional, learns the author, who visits Casa Clooney for a chat about the producer-actor-director’s latest film, The Good German. America projects two kinds of power in the world: hard power, which is tanks, jets, and missiles, and soft power, which, at the moment, is George Clooney. He is dashing, and charming. He put David O. […]

In defense of Orlando Bloom

In defense of Orlando Bloom

Posted September 17, 2006

The Haven star can act but it’s not easy to tell. Sarah D. Bunting is co-creator of Orlando Bloom is not a bad actor. He isn’t Olivier, but he isn’t Shatner, either. Why, then, does everyone assume he’s a bad actor? For starters, he’s pretty. Not ‘handsome,’ mind you: pretty. The bulk of Bloom’s fame derives from his role as Legolas in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and while he acquitted himself well with a bow and arrow in those films, he also had very long flaxen hair, the sort that usually belongs to mermaids and Disney heroines. […]


Posted September 1, 2006

In his Santa Monica headquarters, director Michael Bay is preceded down the hallway by two gigantic beasts. The flesh-colored English mastiff named Mason (after Sean Connery’s character in The Rock) is roughly the size of a Shetland pony. Grace (named after Liv Tyler’s character in Armageddon) is a year-old puppy, nearing the size where she too could be fitted for a saddle. As Bay steps into an office decorated with such props as the model for the space shuttle from Armageddon and a bomb from Pearl Harbor, he explains that his beloved canines recently forced him to trade in his […]

Mr. Pitt & His Magical Mattress

Posted September 1, 2006

On a hot summer afternoon, the most glamorous birth father in America sits in a diner booth and tries to make sense of the world. A thunderous revving noise ruptures the quiet of the Spitfire Grill on a lazy afternoon in Santa Monica, California, accompanied by a series of subsonic reverberations that tinkle the ice cubes of my overfull water glass, breaking the surface tension, sending droplets down the side. Abruptly, all is still. The waitress resumes filling the saltshakers. Steely Dan harmonizes on the sound system overhead. The door opens, and he walks in–his helmet beneath his arm–like Achilles […]

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest

Posted July 14, 2006

The first time I saw Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest I didn’t know what to expect, so I was paying all sorts of attention trying to figure out what I thought and why. I saw plenty of flaws and expressed the following criticisms…

Johnny Depp Plays it His Way

Posted June 24, 2006

The defiant one: Johnny Depp has had studio executives squirming over his interpretations of how characters should be played. But “you’ve got to do what you believe in,” the actor says. It is dangerous for a rebel to be loved too much. Defiance is the troublemaker’s oxygen, and the surprise of a great big bear hug from the mainstream powers-that-be can be enough to choke it right out. There’s a temptation to wriggle free. Johnny Depp, one of his generation’s most iconoclastic actors, is in that situation now with Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, the sequel to the […]

Troy Story

Posted June 17, 2006

A horse may just be a horse, but in Troy, it’s a lot more spectacular when paired with the likes of Orando Bloom, Brad Pitt, and Eric Bana. This epically expensive tale of passion, pride – and, of course, that face – might be one of the greatest stories ever sold. An exclusive from the Cabo San Lucas set of Troy. It isn’t pretty, what they’re doing to Orlando Bloom. He’s flung himself onto the hard-packed Mexican dirt several times now, enacting the turning point of a complex scene in which his character, Paris, has just taken a (terrible) battering […]

Fresh Blood: Leonardo DiCaprio

Posted June 1, 2006

Is this 20-year-old actor the next River Phoenix? If not, why do we like pretending he is? The boy with the most beautiful name in Hollywood was once told by an agent to change it to Lenny Williams. More recently, producers have advised him to star in movies about teenagers who strangle their girlfriends, or in tacky, fast-money Westerns like The Quick and the Dead, which opened Friday. In his short career — he just turned 20 — Leonardo DiCaprio has seen all the twisted ways people respond to a prodigy’s gift: change it, own it.  It’s not that DiCaprio […]

A Pirate’s Life

Posted June 1, 2006

He wasn’t looking for superstardom, so superstardom came looking for him. Johnny Depp on family, Pirates of the Caribbean 2 and how he got a chest of gold without selling his soul. Fatherhood has a way of changing people, even iconoclasts. “When I became a dad for the first time, it was like a veil being lifted,” Johnny Depp says, as he leans forward, rolling loose tobacco into dark brown paper and using his knee as a table. “I’ve always loved the process of acting, but I didn’t find the occupational hazards particularly rewarding.” Occupational hazards like being stalked by […]

The Celebrity

Posted June 1, 2006

He lured the paparazzi to Africa, where people really needed the attention. If it wasn’t for Brad Pitt, most Americans would never have heard of Namibia. They might not know about AIDS orphans in South Africa, or the plight of children in Haiti, or what transpired at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Pitt, 42, has been a movie star for 15 years—and a paparazzi target for nearly as long. Celebrity mags have made millions reporting on his love life, and the obsession only intensified when he began romancing Angelina Jolie. So he started fighting back—but not by punching […]