THE LIAM NEESON AFFAIR — Boy, talk about a story picking up traction? The Liam Neeson Affair that started Monday with his revelation to a reporter from the U.K.’s Independent literally reverberated around the world. Yesterday, Neeson was on Good Morning America with Robin Roberts, basically confirming what he had said and what he had felt. The live audience sat, literally dumbstruck, not sure what to do or what to say. Somehow, in the midst of his redemptive speech, Neeson brought up Schindler’s List; I don’t know if that was a good thing or not.
Ironically, last weekend I watched Neeson’s last movie, The Commuter: about a beleaguered commuter who gets caught up in a possible assassination attempt. The dialogue, and the acting (and, the movie even had Sam Neill in it!) was very rudimentary, but the one thing that saved it all … was Neeson. His gravitas made it all work. Without him, it would have been another C-level flick.
I like Neeson; loved him in Love Actually and when I see a movie of his on the tube, I often stay with it. This story shocked me along with everyone else, but, as many have pointed out, he did realize what he had done and did regret it. It’s been said that this was maybe a PR-ploy, but I think not. It’s something that clearly never needed to come out.
The NY-premiere last night, of his new movie Cold Pursuit, was locked down heavily with security and Neeson slipped in at the last moment.
It’s sad all around: For Neeson; for the revelation; and, the critical response. Strange times for sure.
NO HAIR — NBC’s next live musical Hair Live!, has been pulled from the schedule of the network’s upcoming projects. According to NBC, the musical will be replaced by another title in the future.
Deadline reports that NBC learned that the live event would be competing with the series finale of HBO’s Game Of Thrones and the season finale of ABC’s American Idol. The competition played a role in the network’s decision not to go forward with Hair.
“Live musicals are a part of this network’s DNA and we are committed to continuing that tradition with the right show at the right time,” NBCtold Variety. “Since these shows are such enormous undertakings, we need titles that have a wide appeal and we’re in the process of acquiring the rights to a couple of new shows that we’re really excited about.”
Hair Live was set for broadcast on Sunday, May 19, 2019 before a live audience. The musical is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Stage director Diane Paulus was set to co-direct the project with Emmy Award-winning Alex Rudzinski, the director behind the network’s acclaimed Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert.
The original love-rock musical celebrates the 60’s with songs such as “Aquarius;” “Good Morning, Starshine;” and “Let the Sunshine In.” Claude, Berger, and their free-spirited friends balance their bohemian lives with their rebellion against the Vietnam War and The Establishment. It’s the summer of love in all its barefoot, long haired, bell-bottomed, beaded and fringed glory.
No question that the less than superlative ratings for Fox’s RENTcontributed to the decision. And, no update on Jennifer Lopez’s Bye, Bye Birdie.
SHORT TAKES — From the moment I first heard Van Morrison’s “Moondance,” I have had the greatest respect for the man and the career he’s built. My colleague Randy Lewis, from the L.A. Times, interviewed him and has produced just a sensational read. Check it out here: http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/music/la-et-ms-van-morrison-las-vegas-residency-wiltern-20190201-story.html?fbclid=IwAR36XFzgRm_EvKSxx2jqWW32yDHMqia8D9J5632fs1z15wymHOGsMFTXd2w… Trophies for the 18th Annual AARP Movies For Grownups Awards were handed out last week with Green Book and Can You Ever Forgive Me?walking away from the ceremony as the top winners. Hosted by Martin Short, the ceremony took place at the Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills. The Peter Farrelly-directed Green Book won Best Picture/Best Movie for Grownups while the film’s star Viggo Mortensen won for Best Actor. The Can You Ever Forgive Me? screenwriters Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty won for their script while Richard E. Grant won for Best Supporting Actor. Other winners of the evening included Glenn Close winning Best Actress for The Wife; BlacKkKlansman director Spike Lee as well as Roma for Best Foreign Film. If you’re of a certain age, you know AARP well. I’ll say one thing. Richard E. Grant’s performance in Can You Ever Forgive Me? was pure perfection. I’ve been a fan of his since Steve Martin’s L.A. Story (1991) and to see him deliver a performance of this magnitude was fantastic … The Highline Ballroom officially closed Monday, with The Roots as their final act. New York has lost some major venues in the last year; this was one of the best, now gone … The new trailer for The Avengers’ Endgame was a nice surprise at a Super Bowl that needed all the surprises they could get. Looks mega. Out in April … Sighting: Author Mark Bego at the Tucson Gem Show (see photo) … Former PR-magnet Danny Goldberg, the guy who managed Nirvana during their rise in the early nineties, is prepping a new book to release alongside the 25th anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s death. Titled Serving the Servant: Remembering Kurt Cobain, the new book will feature Goldberg’s own memories of the songwriter, previously unreleased files, and interviews with Cobain’s family, friends and former bandmates. I began to work with Kurt the year before Nevermind was recorded and remained close to him until days before his death,” Goldberg said in a statement. “Media depictions of Kurt typically focus on the tragedy of his death. While it is impossible to ignore the inner demons which tormented him, in researching and writing Serving the Servant I have been more often reminded of Kurt’s brilliance, his sense of humor and his kindness to most of those around him. He was so complex that no two people experienced the same person, but I hope I am able to add another dimension to Kurt’s legacy.” The book will be out via HarperCollins’ Ecco Press imprint … The Mike & Micky tour (Micky Dolenz and Michael Nesmith) resumes March 1 in Medford …The new ABC chieftain, Karey Burke, said yesterday, she’d loved to see a Lost re-boot. I got the title too: Lost Again.
NAMES IN THE NEWS — Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Randy Alexander; Michelle Grant; Art Rutter; Georgia Dolenz; Jacqueline Boyd; Tyrone Biljan; David Salidor; Jodi Ritzen; Scott Shannon; Wendy Stuart Kaplan; Bill Schill; and, CHIP.