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Archive for July, 2009|Monthly archive page

Denzel Washington to Play Obama in Biopic

In Celebrities, Hollywood, Politics on July 26, 2009 at 8:31 pm

President Obama has expressed his wish that if a movie were ever made about him, he would want the starring role to be given to Will Smith.

Part of the reason for the Smith preference has to do with the size and shape of both men’s hearing appendages.

Casting, though, is an unpredictable activity particularly when the movie role is that of a current president.

According the U.K. Daily Mail, Smith isn’t going to get the Obama part, but instead it’s going to go to Denzel Washington.

The Oscar winner reportedly wanted the role and Obama has apparently given his approval.

“It was at the President’s suggestion,” Denzel said.

The actor did additionally mention one potential issue that may have to be addressed by the make up artist.

“The only problem is he has bigger ears than me,” Denzel divulged.


Hollywood Vampires and D.C. Draculas

In Culture, entertainment, Movies & Entertainment, Uncategorized on July 20, 2009 at 9:09 pm

Johnny Depp to Play Carol Channing?

In Celebrities, Culture, Movies on July 19, 2009 at 7:59 pm

by James Hirsen

I’m not kidding.

Johnny Depp is making a play for the lead role in a movie biography of singer-actress Carol Channing.

Forty-six-year-old Depp was out promoting his latest flick, “Public Enemies,” when the subject of future role choices came up.

According to the U.K. Daily Mirror, the actor is ready to get in touch with his inner songstress.

“My dream role would be to play musical legend Carol Channing in a biopic of her life,” he explained.

“I love her, I really do. She’s amazing,” he added. “With all the digital technology available these days, I could probably pull it off.”

Jack Sparrow-turned-Dolly?

Well, he got the mascara thing right but he’s going to need some major hair highlighting help from Kojo.

The New Harry Potter Flick is Fad and Formula

In Uncategorized on July 18, 2009 at 6:58 am

“Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” brought in $58 million on its opening day. Most critics seem to like it.

I don’t. I’m tired of the same old H.P. formula. Harry goes to school, learns new tricks to fight the cardboard villain and display C.G.I. along the way.

Rating: 4 and 1/2 yawns.

Michael Jackson’s Children and the Custody Question

In celebrity, law on July 12, 2009 at 8:23 pm

by James Hirsen

After the touching tribute Paris, daughter of Michael Jackson, gave her daddy at the memorial service, media attention turned to the future of Jackson’s three young children.

Despite the fact that the court gave Michael’s mother, Katherine, guardianship over Prince Michael, Paris and Prince Michael II, the legal tug-of-war over custody continues.

Because the two older children, Prince Michael and Paris, were born to a married couple, under California law there is a presumption that the custody of minors will be granted to the legal parents. That presumption of custody would result in the surviving parent, Debbie Rowe, getting custody.

In the past, pursuant to an arrangement with Jackson, Rowe attempted to give up her status as legal parent, but she later returned to court and had her parental rights restored.

Rowe’s effort to end her parental rights will likely be brought up in the legal discussion, but in the state of California, parents’ rights are not terminated without a judicial investigation and hearing.

Still, the presumption gives Rowe custody of the children, if there is no evidence that refutes the idea the custody is in the best interests of the children. The law allows judges to overrule this presumption based on proof that parental custody would be detrimental to the children.

Everything hinges on the evidence. If evidence is presented that Rowe has little or no relationship with the children, her custody will be denied; if evidence is presented that the children have frequently spent time with her and know her as their mother, she will be given custody.

If Rowe wins custody of the two older children, she may also get custody of the third child, Prince Michael II, despite having no claim as the legal mother, because of the court’s desire to keep all of the siblings together.

Jackson’s will names his mother, Katherine, as guardian and, states that if she were unavailable, the children would go to singer and actress Diana Ross.

However, a will is not normally effective for custody purposes in a case in which one parent’s will deprives another parent of custody.

James Hirsen, J.D., M.A. in media psychology, is a media analyst, teacher of mass media and entertainment law at Biola University, and professor at Trinity Law School.

Jackson, Lennon and Elvis

In Celebrities, Culture, Entertainment and Media on July 5, 2009 at 9:07 pm

by James Hirsen



Media coverage of the death of Michael Jackson has reached a fever pitch with his memorial service that is scheduled to take place this week in Los Angeles.

Fans from all over the world have registered for the chance to receive tickets to attend the event, although only 11,000 people will actually be allowed into the Staples Center.

All three networks will broadcast live coverage of the service with their primetime attendant anchors present at the arena.

The cable news channels will feature wall-to-wall coverage of the event, too, and the memorial service will likely be the lead story on the evening news everywhere.

As we have all witnessed, numerous stories of significance involving foreign policy and domestic legislation have been shunted aside in favor of Jackson interviews, retrospectives and specials. This is part and parcel of what our celebrity loving country has come to expect.

Regrettably, the tragic scenario has played out a number of times before. A music icon dies suddenly and unexpectedly, and under a mysterious set of circumstances. Along with Jackson, two other legendary stars come to mind, and their passing had the same dramatic effect on the public and the culture.

It was a chilly December day when John Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono finished a routine recording session. They had no idea how deep a darkness would soon fall.

The world at the time was consumed with things other than a former Beatle’s solo career. A new leader, Ronald Reagan, had just been elected President of the United States, with a full slate of issues ahead of him that included a faltering economy and enemies abroad.

As John and Yoko returned to their Manhattan apartment at the Dakota, a disturbed fan, Mark David Chapman, sent four hollow point bullets racing Lennon’s way. Police took the legendary musician to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The media behaved quite differently the day the Lennon music died. The New Media was not yet in force. Cable news programming was still in formation. Much of the public heard the word of Lennon’s death from Howard Cosell during a broadcast of “Monday Night Football.”

Still, news of the former Beatle’s passing spread fast. It was the lead story on all of the major networks and above the fold in newspapers around the world.

As the sad news traveled, crowds gathered outside the Dakota. Much like the throngs who mourned for Jackson in New York, London and L.A., Lennon fans sang songs and recited lyrics in his honor. Yoko Ono asked the mourners to return the next Sunday for a memorial for John. That Sunday, Central Park was overrun with over 100,000 people. A similar gathering took place in John’s hometown of Liverpool with 30,000 people in attendance.

Many radio stations played Lennon music exclusively for several days in a row.

Although John’s death was similar to Michael’s in terms of public reaction, media coverage and cultural impact, another pop music icon passed on under much more eerily parallel circumstances.

His career was fading. His performances had fallen far below expectations with the resultant criticism from the entertainment press. He appeared unhealthy, but he and his handlers decided it was time for a summer comeback tour.

Just like in Jackson’s case, the tour never happened. In August of 1977, Elvis Presley was found dead on the floor of his Graceland home by his fiancee, Ginger Alden.

His death was the lead story on all of the broadcast networks except for CBS, which made it second to a Panama Canal story, possibly because Walter Cronkite was away on vacation.

For years insiders at the CBS newsroom were said to have repeated the words “remember Elvis,” because the network felt as if it had been remiss in its coverage of the star.

The day the Elvis music died dominated the media cycle for weeks on end. Much like the death of Jackson, the cause of Elvis’s death would remain a mystery and consume massive amounts of media airtime.

Early reporting indicated that Presley died from a cardiac arrhythmia, which fit with the excess weight he was carrying. But an autopsy of the legendary singer showed large quantities of a host of drugs including Morphine, Demerol, Valium, Codeine and Quaaludes, some of which were also found in Jackson’s home.

The passing of Jackson, Lennon and Elvis invites the kind of speculation that, like their iconic images, goes on forever.

James Hirsen, J.D., M.A. in media psychology, is a media analyst, 
teacher of mass media and entertainment law at Biola University, 
and professor at Trinity Law School.