Oh well, at least it wasn’t Peter Parker!
Just as the Lizard was being introduced as the new villain of the upcoming “Spider-Man” reboot at the film’s jam-packed panel discussion at Comic-Con on Friday, the actor who will portray him, Rhys Ifans (pronounced Reese Ee-vans), was arrested for shoving a female security guard at the event.
The Wrap reports that the Welsh actor become incensed when a member of his entourage was denied admission into the convention hall because he didn’t have the proper credentials. Ifans apparently shoved his way past the guard, who said he was aggressive and belligerent and smelled of alcohol. After participating in the panel, Ifans was cited for misdemeanor battery. It is now up to the San Diego City Attorney whether to pursue charges. A spokesman for Sony Pictures said that the actor deeply regrets the incident.
If they had to get this kind of press at one of their most well publicized events, studio executives must be relieved that it involved their villain, not their new young hero. After actor Andrew Garfield endeared himself to the Comic-Con crowd with his Spidey fakeout and surprisingly emotional speech in which he called his appearance there “the coolest moment of my life,” a verbally abusive Lizard could only build interest in the on-screen showdown between the two actors.
Rhys Ifans is a hard-working actor who admittedly likes to party hard. The sometimes rocker (Ifans appears with the Welsh psychedelic rock band The Peth) has gone from appearing in low-budget indie films (he played Danny in the wonderful “Danny Deckchair”) to big costume dramas (“Vanity Fair,” “Elizabeth: The Golden Age”) to international mega-hits (he was Xenophilius Lovegood, Luna’s father, in “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1”).
With his upcoming role as Peter Parker’s reptilian nemesis in “The Amazing Spider-Man,” Rhys Ifans is poised to become a very familiar name among movie fans. And possibly law enforcement officials?
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The new Peter Parker wows the crowd at Comic-Con
For those who are worried that Andrew Garfield may not have the gravitas to shoulder “The Amazing Spider-Man,” the franchise’s well-publicized “reboot” that is already being called the Big Movie Event of 2012, the actor gained a lot of fans with his surprisingly emotional appearance at Comic-Con yesterday.
When the highly anticipated and jam-packed “Spider-Man” panel began in the largest convention hall, Garfield was nowhere to be found. The first questioner rushed the microphone, dressed in a crappy, ill-fitting Wal-Mart Halloween costume of the character. The jittery costumed fan started talking in an American accent and was clearly a Spidey-geek who had even the diehard fans in the audience rolling their eyes. But suddenly, the spindly nerd ripped off his mask and revealed himself to be the new Peter Parker in the flesh. The crowd roared enthusiastically at Garfield’s deception. The actor then pulled out a handwritten speech which he read alound (in his natural British accent):
You have no idea how much this means to me. I've always wanted to come here as a fan, and this is my first time, so here I am, as a fan. I just want to say a couple of things. I'm Andrew Garfield and I'm going to be here introducing this panel, this “Amazing Spider-Man” panel.
Stan Lee says that the reason why Spidey is so popular is because all of us can relate to him, and I agree. I needed Spidey in my life when I was a kid, and he gave me hope. In every comic I read, he was living out my and every skinny boy's fantasy of being stronger, of being free of the body I was born into, and that swinging sensation of flight. And upon receiving his power, unlike most who have become corrupted, he used it for good. And I think that we all wish we had the courage to stick up for ourselves more, to stick up for a loved one more, or even a stranger you see being mistreated, and Peter Parker has inspired me to feel stronger. He made me, Andrew, braver. He reassured me that by doing the right thing, it's worth it. It's worth the struggle, it's worth the pain, it's worth even the tears, the bruises, and the blood.
And, and, and I wouldn't be able to stand here in front of you guys right now without feeling that Spider-Man was here with me with his reassuring hand on my shoulder, making sure I don't fall over and concuss myself. He has inspired countless people: girls, boys, men, women, all of us, and he's saved lives. And he's saved my life. And I owe Webhead a lot and I owe Stan the Man a lot and I'm humbled to be here, like you do not know, to share the work that we've done with all of you. And this is my first Comic-Con. This is definitely the coolest moment of my life and thank you for being here to share it with me.
It’s a rare moment at Comic-Con when attendees are seen wiping tears of pure emotion from their eyes. At that moment Andrew Garfield could have ejected steel-like strands from the web shooters on his wrists and scaled the walls of the convention hall in a single jump and no one would have been surprised.
The next Catwoman could learn a thing or two from the original
Actress Anne Hathaway is about to join a notable group of actresses who have purred their way into Gotham City to try and conquer Batman. Hathaway will be seen as the Catwoman in Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight Rises,” which is filming now and will be released in 2012. Before Anne put on the kitty ears, we had Lee Meriweather and Eartha Kitt in the role, followed by Adrienne Barbeau, Gina Gershon, and more recently, Michelle Pfeiffer and Halle Berry. But to me and most Baby Boomer boys who were introduced to Catwoman on the iconic 1960s “Batman” TV series, there is only one “real” Catwoman: sexy, gorgeous Julie Newmar.
One of the most well attended events at San Diego’s Comic-Con on Friday was the reunion of “Batman” TV legends Adam West (the Caped Crusader himself), Burt Ward (Robin, the Boy Wonder), and Julie. Though each has made many public appearances over the 45 years since the campy series first aired, this was surprisingly the first public reunion of the three stars.
The Wrap reports that the performers, now 82, 66, and 77 respectively, exhibited a warm camaraderie and an understanding of their place in the history of the franchise. “My Batman, I think of as the Bright Knight—the others are the Dark Knight,” West joked during the panel discussion. “It’s just a different ball game, that’s all—not that I wouldn’t love to play the Dark Knight’s father!” Hear that, Mr. Nolan?
Burt Ward told how he was injured while filming one of the famous shots of the Batmobile lurching out of the Batcave. “On one of the takes, my door flew open,” Ward said. “I grabbed the gear shift and broke my pinkie finger. They said, ‘We have to get you to the hospital—but we have to get the shot first!’"
Julie Newmar was asked about her form-fitting Catwoman get-up. She loved it. “Well, if you wear black, it takes 15 pounds off your body,” Newmar reported. “When you put on the heels, which were four inches, it takes what—five pounds per inch off your body?”
Not that the stunning Newmar needed any help making herself more alluring—she was the number one sex symbol for a generation of boys in the 60s and 70s. I was an 11-year-old in Chicago when I somehow found Newmar’s home address and wrote to the actress. I’ll never forget the day when a large envelope with a very distinctive handwriting arrived in the mail.
The envelope contained two photos in addition to the above bikini shot, each one signed in a different way. On the photo Newmar sent of herself in the skin-tight Catwoman drag, she wrote “To D., Love, J.” and drew little cat whiskers on the J. Wow. How many actors even answer their own fan mail today, much less respond to the ravings of a lovestruck 11-year-old boy? And how thrilled was I by Newmar’s suggestive comment in the letter that she’d like to be in more films “as one way of visiting me.”
I’ve run into Julie Newmar several times since moving to Los Angeles, and she still causes a sensation whenever she enters a public place. You can practically hear nerves being pinched as everyone in the room cranes their neck to gaze at the stunning, shockingly tall woman who could still give Batman a run for his money.
I heard from Miss Newmar once again in 2009 after writing a piece about another show of hers that was a source of childhood fantasies. It was called “My Living Doll” and only lasted a season. Newmar played Robot AF709, also known as Rhoda Miller, who lived with an Air Force shrink played by Bob Cummings. In this Johnson-era, testosterone-laced male fantasy, Cummings was trying to transform Newmar’s android into the Perfect Woman (i.e., one that would do whatever he wanted whenever he wanted it!). Oy, is it possible that the modern-day women’s movement was formed just so they could band together to protest this show? But Julie was wonderful, and I remembered one episode where she played the piano beautifully. I suspected that it was really her playing and received the following response.
Thank you for the video and the kind words about me in your blog. It is fascinating how you were able to catch one of the favorite pieces I did on television, you are very perceptive. It was me playing the piano. It was direct-recorded in one take. How very pleased I am to have your approbation.
No photos this time, but Miss Newmar is still able to cause my aging heart to flutter. She also sent me a link to her own blog which showcases her diverse writing. The woman shows no signs of slowing down!
Julie Newmar has “given her blessing” to Anne Hathaway as the next incarnation of the feline temptress. If I were you, Anne, I’d hightail it over to Julie’s and learn a thing or two from the best. And don’t forget the four-inch heels!
'I Didn't Have to Sell the Studio on Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis; I had to Sell Mila and Justin on Me. ... '
After the under-appreciated cheer-dudes comedy "Fired Up," director and writer Will Gluck moved on to the smash critical and box-office hit "Easy A," with Emma Stone as a teen navigating rocky shores of sex, reputation and social scene with a brilliant, distinct script that mocked both Demi Moore and hypocrisy, With "Friends with Benefits," Gluck's back in the bedroom, with Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis as two people who decide to get physically tangled up without getting entangled emotionally; complications, of course, follow. We spoke with Gluck in Los Angeles.
When you're casting a film where you've got a lot of edgier material to push by, you know it's going to be a hard R, how intense was it the temptation to go with somebody who has a bit more of a known dramatic quantity than Mr. Timberlake?
Gluck: None in this situation. This was one of those things that I wasn't going to do the movie unless I had Justin and Mila. As soon as I got this script and I figured out what I wanted to do with it, I wanted to make sure it was from a fresh take. I drew up a list, and there was two names on it: Justin and Mila. I wasn't going to do it unless I could get them.
Did you have to sell anybody else on Mr. Timberlake?
Gluck: I didn't sell no one. My biggest sell was selling this, and me, on Justin and Mila. That's my biggest snow job -- and foolishly they both signed on very quickly. The studios were very supportive.
Will the superhero crush Harry Potter and friends?
2:15: The Cinerama Dome in Hollywood is one of my favorite movie theaters in the world. It was built in 1963 for widescreen and Cinerama films and the screen and sound can't be beat. I’d see anything here.
2:20: What? $17.00? Jesus, a family of four would need a bank loan to see this film. Is 3D just an excuse to charge more?
2:25: The clerk at the concession stand just asked me what kind of mustard I wanted on my hot dog. I love this place!
2:29: Hmmm, the theater is less than half full on opening day? Perhaps the studio hyperbole about wiping out those kids from Hogwarts was a bit premature. Or maybe it’s just because “Captain America” opened in about a trillion locations?
2:35: Ugh, so many previews of 3D films. Even the new “Spiderman?” It adds nothing to the film. Andrew Garfield looks puny, like Chris Evans before he becomes Captain America.
2:40: Only the animated films seem to benefit from the 3D technology. I can’t believe that I’m looking forward to seeing “The Adventures of Tintin.”
2:46: Okay, I admit that the Paramount logo looks pretty cool in 3D.
2:49: I love that Captain America is set during World War II where it belongs. And, of course, Nazis make the best villains. But why is crazed Nazi Huge Weaving talking English to all the other Germans? They could have found a way around that—like the clever technique used in “The Hunt for Red October” when the Soviets are speaking in fluent Russian until the camera zooms in to their lips and then zooms out and they're talking English (but we know they’re really speaking Russian!).
3:10: Hayley Atwell looks like a 14-year-old boy’s fantasy of a 1940s woman. But I guess everything in this movie is a 14-year-old boy’s fantasy. I liked Atwell in that Woody Allen film, “Cassandra’s Crossing,” and the remake of “Brideshead Revisited.” However, I don’t think “Captain America” will provide the final word on her acting chops.
3:18: Hugo Weaving is an effective Nazi, despite that ridiculous accent, but I can’t get the image of him as the drag queen in “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” out of my head.