It's hard sometimes, living in L.A., especially when I'm working for the casting biz, to avoid Useless Celebrity News. The weird part is how much I know about shows/people I've never seen, due to the relentlessness of the coverage. My favorite morning radio show breaks down the train-wreck reality show du jour (so I can disdain what I do not watch) and somehow a lot of what appears on TMZ seeps into my brain.
But two things have happened over the last few days that a) concern celebrities, and b) matter to me. I shall break it down here:
1) Phil Spector convicted of murdering Lana Clarkson in the 2nd degree. (For non-US-based readers, that means an intentional killing that was not pre-meditated.) Spector's first trial for killing Clarkson ended in a hung jury two years ago.
I've had a personal reason to pay attention to this trial, over the last six (6!) years. You see, I was booked to work a print modelling job with Lana Clarkson two days after she died. It was a good gig -- a nice "commercial rate" for a print ad, for an electronics company, to be used in Sweden only. They shot several models over 3 days, and Lana & I were supposed to work the same date. I only found this out because the producer on the job used to be my L.A. print agent (big city, small business) and we got to talking during some down time.
It really pissed me off, how the defense smeared this woman in the public -- calling her a "failed actress," an "aging starlet," and worse. The fact that she was still booking print work at age 40 was proof that nothing was over yet for her; she had a body of work that, while admittedly not A-level, insured that she'd be able to make a comfortable living for some time to come. I don't think the wider world realizes how many people in "show business" are considered successful, even if they aren't household names.
I can say with 99.9% certainty that, after 19 years in this business, of all the times that I've been down enough to consider "ending things" (which are mercifully few) ... days before a high-paying print gig was never one of those times. That creepy fucking troll killed her, and he deserves to rot for it.
2) "Billy Bob" is Ar-kansan for JackAss. I refuse to post the actual video on my blog, but you can follow the link above. It's got over 1.6 million hits on YouTube, so people probably know what I'm talking about.
Basically, Billy Bob Thornton went on a national Canadian radio show to promote his band, which was on tour at the time. The host of the show dared to mention that Thornton was also known as an Oscar-winning actor & screenwriter ... which prompted him (Thornton) to give the host the "silent treatment," a la a tempermental 3 yr-old, for the remainder of the interview.
I don't know where the f**k people get off. I mean, seriously ... you were one of those non-famous-but-working people I mentioned earlier, and you were lucky/talented enough to become a bona-fide star on top of it. How dare you berate the radio guy, telling him that he "was instructed not to talk about that"? Do you think anyone would care about your ratty-ass band, if it weren't for your celebrity? The host was dead-on correct when he said that you're a young band, and even the greats needed sufficiently more than 2 years to garner accolades in the press. Oh, and if you didn't ever want your "secret" acting life mentioned, then what the hell was this?
You twice admonished the host with "Would you ask that of Tom Petty?" Mr. Thornton: do you really pre-suppose that your musical career is comparable to that of Tom Petty? Because I'll save you the trouble -- it's not. And guess what? Tom Petty's acting career (his music videos + what else? ...) isn't comparable to yours. So get the fuck over it, and answer the questions like a big boy.
I truly hope that someday I can have the horrendous burden of dealing with interviewers mentioning that I've won an oscar or two. Until that happens, though, I admire your fortitude. How do you stand it?
I think my "favorite" part, though, is watching your band-mates squirm as they realize what's happening. The "I hate when mommy makes daddy hit her" expressions on their faces are as priceless as they are disturbing.
I recently heard a different radio interview that featured a friend of mine who's "made it" on a successful TV show. I don't know what's become of him, or if it was too early in the morning, or maybe Jupiter wasn't aligning well with Venus that day ... but the humble, sweet guy I used to work with did not make an appearance. Instead, there was this unrecognizable, smug zombie who seemed to be trying to make the host (and his listeners) feel unworthy of his time and attention. And as someone who would sell a limb, or possibly even a non-essential family member, for the incredible opportunities that either of these jerk-offs have ... it boggles my mind. Can we all just get the fuck over ourselves, and remember that we're acting, not curing cancer? Thank you.
Oh ... one more thing: Billy Bob -- is your band's name really a juvenile sexual innuendo? 'Cuz that's classy.