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LIZ SMITH: MONEY CAN’T buy love ...

Daniel Craig:  The Biggest Bond Ever (Sean Connery is Shaken, Stirred And Feeling Cheated) ... Save Your Bread, "Les Miserables" is Coming ... Taylor Swift's Dream House — A Nightmare Now? ... Photographer Chuck Close Reveals Naked Faces ... Brooke Shields as "Gypsy's" Mama Rose — Why Not? 
by Liz Smith
Monday, November 19, 2012


“MONEY CAN’T buy love, but it improves your bargaining position,” said Christopher Marlowe.
Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson.
BILLION DOLLAR BOND: By now, the worldwide box-office take of “Skyfall” has most likely surpassed one billion dollars.

So, who benefits from this bonanza? Mostly it will be the producers/rightholders Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson. Also Sony Pictures. But what about the incredible star, Daniel Craig, who has elicited even some die-hard Sean Connery devotees to declare that Craig “is the very best 007 ever?” Well, Craig collected 17 million for “Skyfall,” but won’t receive a piece of the pie. (And Sean Connery, the original 007 now thinks the Broccolis and Saltzmans cheated him.)

Craig’s salary will most assuredly rise on his next few films, and he is committed to two more Bond movies. You think he’ll settle for a measly $17 mil? I bet Craig collects $25 million for the Bond epics, plus a percentage. Listen, actors have to take care of themselves and strike while the iron is red-hot.

All this money talk has left me shaken, stirred and ready to gulp that martini right down.
P.S. Without being a spoiler, let me say that in my own opinion, a certain vital character in the 007 canon — who looks to be dead as a doornail in “Skyfall” — will return. This is a movie after all, and we are entitled to suspend disbelief. If this divine character does not return, we will be very annoyed. And that’s putting it mildly.
IF YOU don’t think the coming movie adaptation of “Les Miserables” is a big thing, consider this — New York’s maven of movie promotion, Peggy Siegal, has arranged at least three major “Les Miz” events, including the gala premiere at The Ziegfeld Theater on December 10th (party after at MoMA.)

Directed by Tom Hooper, “Les Miserables” — based on Victor Hugo’s novel — is all about a stolen loaf of bread and poor miserable people prior to the French Revolution. It stars Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen.

The French Revolution was complicated and endlessly fascinating. The masses wanted to free themselves from rich oppressors, so they killed as many as they could. Many of those who died were oppressed as well. And poor. But what the hell, the guillotine was up and working, why not use it?
I DON’T want to put too much stake in what In Touch says (especially now that Tom Cruise is seriously suing them) but it was interesting to read that pop/country star Taylor Swift has a white elephant on her hands. I do mean the $4.5 million estate she bought in Hyannis Port, when she and Conor Kennedy were hot and heavy.

I guess she’ll sell it, because she is practically right next door to the Kennedy family and some of them did not approve of her. (Do you love that?) Well, all this according to In Touch. Ethel Kennedy seems to adore her. It’s all for the best, really. Taylor is only 22 and Conor, a callow 18. Much too young for serious entanglements and million-dollar properties.
IF YOU are not afraid of being photographed looking, well — just like you are, Chuck Close is the man for you.

He has photographed everybody from Clint Eastwood to Hillary Clinton to Kate Moss to Julianne Moore. Ms. Moore is shown in the current Harper’s Bazaar article of Close, and she is indeed naked-faced. (Although maybe a bit of mascara was applied.) It is a lovely portrait. She is a lovely woman.

Close says he prefers to shoot his subjects realistically because, “You don’t see a face like that except when you’re making love.”

Still and all, even he sometimes regrets the intimacy. Close felt he had to apologize to Kate Moss because of the result!

And she said: “Oh, I’ve had enough pretty pictures of me.”
THE VERY last page of the The Hollywood Reporter always amuses. It is devoted to some nostalgic event or star. This week, the magazine closes with a photo of a very young (but gorgeous) Brooke Shields, applying lip gloss. Behind Brooke stands her omnipresent mother, Teri Shields, with a hairbrush, ready to comb out any stray fly-aways.

Terri died recently, a victim of Alzheimer’s. Brooke was a devoted child to the end. Many years ago, during one the innumerable revivals of “Gypsy” I joked, “This play is so great, I’d see it with Brooke Shields as Mama Rose!” I instantly regretted that remark, because I’ve always felt Brooke was an underrated actress. But now I think — why not Brooke as Mama Rose? I’ve seen her onstage and in cabaret. She’s got the chops and the charisma. She’s got the history for sure.

As far as I am concerned “Gypsy” should be revived every two years. Broadway should never be without “The best damn musical ever!”
LAST WEEK we told you about Lesley Gore’s wonderful work with the Kids Helping Kids program in the South Bronx. However, it’s not the children who are HIV-positive. Rather, their parents. Grim either way, but these children have guts and high hopes thanks to Miss Gore and all her concerned. friends.

Contact Liz Smith here.

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