By Eileen Murphy
Relax, everybody. Now, take a deep breath and repeat after us: Liam was only kidding. Only kidding. Only KIDDING! Now, breathe out. Feel better?
Everybody’s favorite Jedi master was apparently just letting off a little stream last month when he told a Redbook reporter that he was planning to retire from the movie business, effective immediately. The hue and cry that greeted the Oscar-nominated actor’s remarks seems to have astonished the self-effacing Ballymena hunk.
In the June issue of Redbook, Neeson is quoted as saying, "I’m getting out. I’m retiring from movies next year. Honest to God, I don’t want to do it anymore," he exclaimed. "I just want to spend my free time with that saucy minx who writes ‘New and Noteworthy’ . . ."
OK, we made that last part up, but you get his drift. Apparently, Neeson was just venting a wee bit of frustration.
"It was something that came up from finishing a long period of work onstage and on film," Neeson told reporters during last weekend’s "Star Wars" press junket. "It’s not true."
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So, what prompted his talk of retirement?
"I just was venting a bit of anger," he said. "I just was missing my family. And missing being on a trout stream." Well, each to his own. We almost never miss anything even vaguely related to trout.
Now, we have some more Neeson news, but this relates directly to the plot of the new "Star Wars" movie, so if you’re reading this while camping out in front of your local movie theater, STOP READING RIGHT NOW. WE’RE NOT KIDDING. SKIP DIRECTLY TO THE NEXT ITEM. IT’S A FUNNY ONE ABOUT THE POPE RIPPING UP A PICTURE OF SINEAD O’CONNOR. WELL, HE DIDN’T REALLY DO IT, BUT THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN FUNNY, RIGHT?
Still with us?
We’ve heard that diehard "Star Wars: The Phantom Menace" fans are upset — hey, are these people always upset, or is it just our imagination? — because the film’s soundtrack album gives away some of the plot..
LAST CHANCE TO STOP READING!
Apparently, song titles chosen by composer award-winning John Williams reveal important story details.
NO KIDDING! STOP RIGHT HERE IF YOU DON’T WANNA KNOW!!
The tracks at the heart of the dispute are "Qui-Gon’s Noble End" and "Qui-Gon’s Funeral." Anyone with the intelligence of a wookie will surmise that this doesn’t bode well for Liam Neeson’s character, coincidentally named Qui-Gon. We agree with one fan, who complained, "It’s like calling a song ‘Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker’s father.’ "
Of course, to paraphrase Yoda in "The Empire Strikes Back," there is another — possible explanation, that is. As a devoted student of Neeson’s film catalog, we can assure you that he does have a rather a noble-looking (and shapely) end . . .
Baby, baby, babies (on the way)
Those of you who’ve been wondering just what those U2 boys have been up to lately will be relieved to learn that they’ve been fruitful and are set to multiply. We refer, of course, to the baby boomlet taking place in Killiney.
Bono and wife, Ali, are set to welcome a little stranger in October, who will join siblings Jordan and Eve around the Hewson hearth. Now we hear that The Edge and his American girlfriend, Morleigh, are expecting a Millennium moppet, which will bring Edge’s total offspring to five — he already has three children with ex-wife Aisling, and one with Morleigh. This rather throws down the, er, gauntlet, to bandmates Larry Mullen Jr. (two kids) and Adam Clayton, who currently gets nada on Father’s Day.
In more U2 news, we hear that the band is planning to take part in Net Aid, a benefit concert that is scheduled to take place on Oct. 9. The event will be three separate concerts that will take place simultaneously in the United States, Switzerland and Britain. The concerts will be broadcast live on the net at www.netaid.com.
Money raised from the concert and, we presume, internet ads, will be used to combat extreme poverty in poor nations. The event will be organized by the same team that put together "Live Aid" and "Hands Across America." We’ve even heard rumors that George Michael and Andrew Ridgley of the late, lamented hair band Wham! may even reunite for the occasion.
And for those of you who bought the band’s first greatest hits collection, "U2: The Best of 1980-1990" only to stare longingly at your VCR and television, take heart. The band will release a "Best of" video collection, featuring the clips for "Pride [In the Name of Love]," "New Year’s Day," "With or Without You," "I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For," "Sunday Bloody Sunday," "Bad" and so on. The video will be packaged with four exclusive U2 postcards and a previously unreleased live track, "One Tree Hill," from the film "Rattle and Hum." The video should hit stores within the next few weeks.
And in our last bit of band news, we hear that a downloadable version of their new song, "The Ground Beneath Her Feet," is available on the web at www.u2dublin.com. The song was co-written by Bono and author Salman Rushdie, and it’s no coincidence that Rushdie’s new novel shares the same title.
Six degrees of Minnie Minnie Driver is certainly widening her circle of friends these days, to the point were she can replace Kevin Bacon in the "Six Degrees of Separation" game.
Let’s play one round, which will take us from Minnie to tennis bad boy John McEnroe in six moves. Ready? OK: Minnie’s engaged to Josh Brolin, son of James Brolin, who’s married to Barbra Streisand, who made the movie "What’s Up, Doc" with Ryan O’Neal, who’s the father of Tatum O’Neal, who’s the ex-wife of John McEnroe.
Wasn’t that fun? Here’s another: Minnie to Kate Moss in four steps. Answer next week.
Wilde times at Circle on the Square
Actor Corin Redgrave will perform Oscar Wilde’s "De Profundis" at NYC’s Circle in the Square Theater on Sunday, May 16, to benefit the Actor’s Fund. Wilde fans will know that "De Profundis" ("Out of the Depths") is the title of the letter that Wilde wrote from his prison cell at Reading Gaol to his feckless lover, Lord Alfred Douglas. All seats are $45. For information, call (800) 386-3849.