(c) 2002 Irish Echo Newspaper Corp. By Eileen Murphy
Yes, yes, she’s technically British, but actress Minnie Driver (like heartthrob Robbie Williams) will always have a special place in our column, if not our heart. Minnie initially earned her “N&N” berth by gaining 25 pounds to play the lead in M’ve Binchy’s “Circle of Friends.” She guaranteed herself lifetime membership after she was callously dumped by her boyfriend, Southie hunk Matt Damon, who — much to her surprise — announced on a TV talk show that he wasn’t seeing anyone significant. And then she told control freak Barbra Streisand to take a hike regarding wedding arrangements during her brief engagement to Josh Brolin. Ah, the list goes on and on . . .
Anyway, Minnie caused something of a stir this week with some rather catty remarks about British actresses. In a recent interview, she opined, “In England, with all due respect, we have some of the plainest actresses in the entire world as our greatest.”
Minnie illustrated her point by using Dame Judi Dench as an example.
“You can have Judi Dench, a very small, round, middle-aged, lovely mothering-type playing Cleopatra,” she noted. (Dench is currently playing the Queen of the Nile in a West End show.)
“You know, here [in the U.S.] she would melt into the crowd in a second,” said Driver.
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Shortly after these remarks were reported by the New York Post, newspapers in England seized on the story, and Driver was lambasted in the press. Driver, who in our opinion should be careful about throwing stones, given her oddly shaped jawline, was quick to insist that her remarks were taken “out of context.”
“I never called Dame Judi’s small, round and middle aged,” insisted Driver. And actresses like Kate Beckinsale (of ‘Pearl Harbor’ fame) are “ridiculously beautiful.” Unfortunately, it was a bit tough to understand Minnie, what with her foot in her mouth and all . . .
U2: out on the street?
Nothing stands in the way of progress in Dublin — not even an Irish supergroup and their beloved recording studio.
We hear that U2 has been at loggerheads with the Dublin Docklands Development Authority regarding their Hanover Quay recording studio. The DDDA has issued orders that the band, and several other nearby residents and businesses, vacate the area so that the buildings can be demolished as part of a neighborhood redevelopment plan.
U2 told Hot Press that they “have a great place to work at the moment that we’re completely happy with.”
But that doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t consider moving to new digs. Providing that they’re nicer digs, of course.
“We don’t want to move,” they said through a spokesperson.
“But if the DDDA can come up with something for us close by as part of their plan for this unique area, we’d certainly be interested.”
Well, the band may be flexible, but their hometown fans are not quite so easily placated. They’ve circulated a petition urging the DDDA to reconsider the decision to demolish the studio, on the grounds that it is a site of cultural significance.
6 degrees of exasperation
Louis Walsh might be the man with the Midas touch when it comes to the Irish music business, but it seems he has a tin ear when it comes to fielding criticism of his tuneful talents. The pop impresario took umbrage recently when an Irish DJ described Walsh’s newest act, a singing group named 6, as “crap.”
On last week’s “Liveline” radio show, DJ Ronan Collins — himself a one time singer — described 6’s debut album as “absolutely awful, terrible stuff.
“[It’s] lacking in imagination, [and lacking] any kind of musicianship,” said Collins.
“If these are the cream of Irish talent,” he continued, “there is a very dim future for singers and dancers in this country.”
No sooner had Collins finished waving this particular red cape than the bull (Walsh) was on the phone, pawing the ground and snorting. The DJ’s criticism, he said, was just a bad case of sour grapes.
“You failed!” Walsh snapped at the radio presenter, who had once aspired to a career as a pop star. Collins spent time working in Dublin nightclubs, and had recorded a duet with Irish country star Susan McCann before becoming a radio personality.
“You tried everything and you failed at it all,” Walsh taunted the genial host.
“You were never on ‘Top of the Pops.’ ”
Louis might be a bit sensitive about the new band, given the controversy surrounding their beginnings. The group members were chosen from among 5,000 hopefuls, and the whole process was documented on the show “Popstars.” One of the finalists, Nadine Coyle, had to be kicked out of the band at the last minute when it was revealed that she’d lied about her age by two years to comply with the 18-and-older rule.
This left the band short one member, which meant that, for a while, 6 actually equaled five, which was a bit of Walsh-style new math. But now we hear that they’ve found a singer to replace notorious Nadine, so they’re back up to 6. Or is that Six. Whatever — it’s giving us a headache, and we haven’t even heard them sing yet.
Lara the Luddite
We try not to hate her because she’s beautiful, although it’s tough, especially when she’s rich, gorgeous and thin as a rail. But there’s something so refreshingly down to earth about “The Practice” star Lara Flynn Boyle that we can forgive her for boasting that she eats like a horse and never gains an ounce.
The dark-haired, blue-eyed Boyle, who became the object of tabloid scrutiny when she began her on-again, off-again (and currently on-again) relationship with fellow actor Jack Nicholson, recently described her no-frills approach to life in the fast lane.
“I always say, I’m an actor; I’m not slicing DNA,” Boyle told Britain’s Daily Telegraph.
“I don’t have a phone in my trailer. I don’t have a fax machine. I’ve never turned on a computer, and I don’t have an assistant,” she admitted.
“I don’t have a stylist. I do my own makeup,” she said emphatically. “I don’t like any of that stuff. I think that people who have all these assistants around them forget real life.”
[Pardon us for a second, while we send the intern out for tea. Earl Gray, sweetie, not too much milk, and make sure to get us one of those nice wooden stirry things.]
Boyle’s no-nonsense attitude extends to her fellow celebrities: she has no patience for moaners and navel-gazers.
“I read about one actress who was complaining that she had a terrible childhood and has been in years of therapy,” said Boyle. “And I go, ‘You’ve got to be kidding! There are a million women in the world that would give anything to do what she’s doing.’ ”
Although she’s enjoying success on the small screen, Boyle has her eye on movie stardom. She’ll appear as the villain in the “Men in Black” sequel, due out later this year. Boyle was determined to put her personal stamp on the film, convincing the producers to let her vamp it up on screen.
“Instead of all the leather motorcycle garn I was supposed to wear, I’m in furry little nightgowns, and I play it very girly,” she purred. Which sort of sums up our philosophy, too, come to think of it. Although it’s awkward to type in a furry little nightgown.
Boyz: zoned for reunion?
Will they or won’t they? Rumors are circulating that defunct Irish boy band Boyzone will mount a reunion tour this year — without former front man Ronan Keating, who’s busy working on his solo career.
The Sun newspaper quotes a source who says that the other boyz — Keith Duffy, Stephen Gately, Shane Lynch and Mikey Graham — want to revisit their glory days. Obviously, they’re all a little longer in the tooth, having aged from boyz 2 men since their mid-’90s inception, so they might want to think about a new name.
What makes the story sound like a public relations gambit are the energetic denials from all involved parties. The band’s manager — wait, can an ex-band have a manager? — Louis Walsh’s spokesperson said, “It’s the first we’ve heard of it.”
Keith Duffy was a bit more blunt.
“It’s a load of crap,” he told worldpop.com.
Why’s that, Keith?
“Firstly, if we were to do this, we would have to get all four of us together,” he said. “We would have to record a single, promote the single, make sure it’s a hit, make an album, promote them both around the world, then rehearse a tour. Then start planning dates for shows.
“All in all it would take anything up to 18 months or two years,” he concluded. Not that he’s thought about it, of course.
It sounds to us like Walsh and Co. are running the idea up the flagpole to see if anyone salutes. We can’t imagine that the boyz, who were bitterly disappointed when Ro cancelled plans for the original reunion tour, would be averse to pocketing the loads of cash a tour would generate. That is, of course, unless their original fan base has moved on to more serious, soulful, grown-up bands. Bands that embody the hopes and dreams of their generation. Like Westlife, maybe . . .
Chieftains to roll with the Stones
If Mick Jagger has his way, Paddy Moloney will get some satisfaction.
To celebrate 40 years in the music business, Irish trad legends The Chieftains plan to release a star-studded followup to their 1997 bestseller, “The Long Black Veil.” Collaborating on the new album will be an eclectic mix of rock and pop acts, including the Rolling Stones, Van Morrison, Elvis Costello, Art Garfunkle, The Corrs, Sinead O’Connor and Joni Mitchell.
Jagger, who sang the title track on “Veil,” will lend his vocal talent to the Irish folk classic “The Rocky Road to Dublin.” There’s no word yet on what the other stars are singing, but we’ll keep you updated. The album, which will be on the RCA label, will hit stores on March 4.
New Age superstar Enya, whose ethereal song stylings have earned her pots of hard, cold cash, says that she has no problem with being 40 and single. The hardworking singer says her job can make it difficult for her to maintain romantic relationships.
“Men demand a lot of your attention,” she sighed. “And [when I’m working] I can’t give it to them.” But, she added wistfully, “I know it [kids and a hubby, that is] will happen someday.” In the meantime, she doesn’t have to worry about crayon marks on the walls of her castle, or anyone leaving the loo seat in the upright position.