TARANTINO’S TREK — This last six months has had a Weinstein, a Bush, a Lauer, a Rose and a Keillor, so I’m elated to be able to say that yesterday’s news about director Quentin Tarantino possibly directing and writing the next Star Trek, was a most welcome surprise. I’ve been a trekkie for as long as I can remember and this news was like manna from heaven. My father actually had William Shatner in a limousine once (he promoted Shatner’s The Transformed Man album back in 1968), going to the airport, and called me and put the Shat on. Years later, I asked him about it and he couldn’t believe it; sometimes, I can’t believe it either! I love Tarantino, with his Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs stone cold classics.
Turns out that Tarantino first started talking about Trek years back in a 2015 interview on the Nerdist podcast; and, dazzled his with his rather detailed knowledge of the show. Turns out he’s fascinated by the Shat (good news for him for sure) and really loved the Next Generationseries the best of all. In fact he cited the episode Yesterday’s Enterprise (the 63rd episode in the series) as his favorite of all time and said that he felt it could expand on it; whatever that means.
Tarantino’s next movie is his Sharon Tate-one that will not even come out till 2019, so even if his Trek does get the go-ahead (producer J.J. Abrams heavily involved in a decision) it wouldn’t be after 2019 at the earliest.
Check out the brilliant podcast here: https://nerdist.com/nerdist-podcast-quentin-tarantino/
Worth the wait? Definitely.
BEGO TIMES — Author Mark Bego, currently riding high with his Top Ten Amazon-bestseller Eat Like A Rock Star (Skyhorse) was back in New York yesterday for two interviews with Times Square Chronicles’ Magda Katz and journalist Brad Balfour. Katz’s interview took place at The Lambs; America’s First Professional Theatrical Club, established in New York in 1874 and was a terrific locale as we were on the scene. Bego talked on video about his early career and what led him to become the author of 62 books. Among his book highlights were his 1984 tome on Michael Jackson (which sold in the millions) and subsequent hit tiles on Cher, Elton John, Billy Joel, Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Bonnie Raitt, Debbie Gibson, Micky Dolenz and Leonardo DiCaprio, among others. Bego also worked for the late-great Cue Magazine as their nightlife reviewer as well as a brief stint with the legendary publicist Howard Bloom.
Good ‘n Screwed’s Joanna Bonaro showed up, as she was Katz’s next interview, and she revealed to Bego that she had cooked two dishes from his book and that they were both major successes. Bonaro’s TV-pilot unspools Friday night in Brooklyn Heights with a special showing and cast-members Robert Funaro and Armen Garo slated to attend. We’ll be there and have details Monday.
From The Lambs, I rode downtown with Bego, and his PR-man David Salidor, to the great Italian-eatery Aleo restaurant on 20th street for a chat with Balfour. Balfour has just started his own podcast after a successful run as a major NY-journalist and Bego was to be among his initial subjects. Both Bego and Balfour have known each other’s for decades and their camaraderie was apparent.
Bego, who sees Barry Manilow (an early book subject as well) Thursday night in Long Island, has two in-store signings this weekend; Saturday at the Riverside Square Mall in Hackensack, N. J. (1:00PM-3:00PM) and Sunday at the Palisades Center Mall in West Nyack (12:00PM-3:00PM).
HALLYDAY PASSES —Johnny Hallyday, known as the “French Elvis” for his massively popular recordings and acting career, has died. He was 74 years old and had been battling cancer, according to Agence France Presse.
Widely credited as the first French star to popularize early rock ‘n roll in France, Halladay sold more than 110 million records over his 50-year career. He sang French-language covers of American pop, starting with his 1960 debut album. His appearances soon set off near-riots, and his popularity paved the way for American rock acts to break into the French market. Hallyday reportedly gave the Jimi Hendrix Experience its first France performance, opening for him at the Paris Olympia in October, 1966.
Hallyday made his first screen appearance in 1955, and broke out in France in Where Are You From Johnny?, essentially playing himself in his portrait of a young rocker.
As Hallyday aged, he transitioned into ballads, remaining popular as his generation went along with his changing style. In 2001, he performed at the Eiffel Tower before more than 600,000 people.
Hallyday dominated the charts in France. He recorded more than 1,000 songs, writing many of them, and hit No. 1 on the French charts more than 30 times. But crossing over to the American market remained elusive – despite appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show, US concerts, and many Las Vegas appearances, he remained something of a cult act in the states.
In the 1980’s, Hallyday starred in Jean-Luc Godard’s Detective, winning critical notice for his portrayal of a boxing manager who was heavily in debt. Again, it was not a stretch, as Hallyday struggled in real life with tax issues.
His best acting performance was his world-weary criminal in Patrice Leconte’s 2002 The Man on the Train, winning him that year’s Prix Jean Gabin for best actor. He also appeared in The Pink Panther 2 with Steve Martin in 2009 and the film Vengeance that same year.
Born Jean-Philippe Smet in Malesherbes, Paris, Hallyday was the son of a French mother and Belgian father. When his parents divorced, he was raised by an aunt, a former silent film star. He later took his stage name from his aunt’s husband, American entertainer Lee Halliday, who played a big influence on his life.
Elvis Presley was said to be the inspiration for Hallyday’s serious showbiz bug. After allegedly seeing Elvis’s film Loving You, he signed up for acting and singing lessons, which led to his successful career launch.
While audiences loved Hallyday, his personal life was rocky at times. Besides the tax problems, he had a failed suicide attempt, broken marriages, documented drug addiction to cocaine, a bad motorcycle accident, and a surgery on a herniated disc that went horribly wrong.
Hallyday is survived by his wife, Laeticia, and their two adopted children, Jade and Joy; son David Hallyday from his first marriage with actress Sylvie Vartan; and daughter Laura Smet from his relationship with actress Nathalie Baye.
SHORT TAKES — Billy Bush, on Stephen Colbert Monday night, was terrific; open and passionate defending his Op Ed in Monday’s New York Times and his travails. He did admit that his producer on the Today Show admitted that they might have acted too hastily in firing him, though he didn’t mention who that was. He also said that Matt Lauer fought for him but finally had to give in to the company line in letting Bush go. Honestly, Bush is a great talent and he got a raw deal. He got fired and Trump became President. Go figure, although for this year, it is not surprising … Our colleague Roger Freidman had an interesting column, on our dear-departed Charlie Rose, at least from the airwaves, the other day. Check it out here: http://www.showbiz411.com/2017/12/03/charlie-rose-staff-will-be-paid-through-end-of-year-disgraced-newsman-focuses-on-web-site-next … Micky Dolenz has hit last two shows of 2017 this Thursday (At Clearwater Casino in Washington) and next week at the State Theatre in Bay City, Michigan … WOR’s Tom Cuddy at Walker’s in Tribeca.