• The List
  • 30 January 2007

Sucking the blood of popular entertainment

It’s Hollywood awards season, meaning a succession of worthy films and actors acting seriously and actorly. Pictures like Babel, Bobby, Last King of Scotland, Blood Diamond and Letters From Iwo Jima represent a grim condemnation of war and political insularity, collectively about 150 years too late, yet just in time to lecture President Bush before he abandons office and Iraq, nabs a few juicy executive positions and settles down to a life of ranching and hunting. Hopefully with Dick Cheney at his side. Still misfiring wildly.

Leonardo DiCaprio, who maintained a Sarth Afrikan accent for his role in Blood Diamond and a straight face opposite Jack Nicholson in The Departed, has revealed he contemplated quitting acting after Titanic. He claims he was considered just ‘another piece of cute meat’ after disappearing beneath the waves, and that ‘it was pretty disheartening to be objectified like that’. The band played on though, leading with the world’s smallest violin.

Warner Brothers has hired Johnny Depp’s production company to make a film about the Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko, with the Pirates of the Caribbean star tipped to take the lead. Sorry, the polonium-210. Which all seems regrettably hasty, what with the former KGB man barely cold in the ground. And still glowing.

Meanwhile, Death Wish director Michael Winner has been denying reports he faced amputation or death after contracting a mysterious tropical disease, urging everyone to ‘calm down’ so he could continue selling insurance from his sick bed. The clearly suffering car prang peacemaker has been reduced to two fine dining engagements a day.

Before that, Sylvester Stallone resisted Mike Tyson’s entreaties for a boxing role in Rocky Balboa. The 60-year-old didn’t fancy sparring with the former heavyweight champion, explaining that ‘Mike wanted to fight me in the film, but I thought it was a bad idea’. Stallone was naturally keen to preserve that pretty face of his, a survivor of successive assaults from Carl Weathers, Mr T, Dolph Lungdren and a clearly overwhelmed plastic surgeon, who obviously thought, ‘stuff it, he won’t be finishing with Rocky V’.

Finally, Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, Jim Morrison and Al Capone is quite the constellation of stars. Especially if your chief ‘talent’ consists of Gail Porter and paranormal investigator Chris Fleming ?" a household name if you live in Chris’ house. In Dead Famous (out on DVD on 12 Feb) Porter and Fleming disturb America, annoying the world’s most famous ghosts. The intrepid duo ponder whether they’ll find James Dean when they travel to the scene of his famous accident? Only if he lost his legs in the crash, the Leech imagines.

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