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New & Noteworthy: Pierce says fame’s like a meringue

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

(c) 2002 Irish Echo Newspaper Corp. By Eileen Murphy

James Bond star Pierce Brosnan’s recent ruminations on the nature of fame left us thinking he should have a snack before he does interviews.

Fame is “like a big piece of meringue” which “doesn’t fill you up,” he told a reporter from The Observer. The star elaborated that the meringue is “beautiful,” which makes you “keep eating it.” The reporter mercifully cut him off before he could describe it as light, fluffy and teeth-achingly sweet, or we’d have had to high-tail it to the nearest bakery.

Brosnan, who’s about to start filming the 20th Bond movie, says that he plans to star in the one after this, if producers will have him.

“It’s good money and it’s great fun,” he said of his role as the suave super sleuth.

But though he enjoys the perks, like great tables in restaurants, gifts, beautiful clothes and cars, Brosnan says that, at the end of the day, he finds it all “a bit hollow.”

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“It doesn’t really nourish you,” he said.

Brosnan also wishes that he’d been a bit less candid with the media about his life during the course of his career.

“I just wish I was kind of paler, more enigmatic,” he said ruefully.

“They know about my life. They know about my childhood. They know I was a widower,” he said.

“They know too bloody much!” he finished. (Guilty as charged, officer.)

Pants on fire

Show us someone in the entertainment industry who hasn’t shaved a year or two off his or her official age, and we’ll show you, er, ummmm, hmmmm . . . Sean Connery, who only seems to get better as the time goes on. But sexy Scots aside, there aren’t many others who’ll fess up to their full number of birthday candles, and fewer still who claim more than their fair share. Which is why we have to tip our cap to aspiring Derry pop star Nadine Coyle.

The 16-year-old singer was, until recently, a contestant on the highly popular Irish game show “Popstars.” On the show, which can best be described as “Survivor”-meets-MTV, a pack of wannabe singers compete with one another to see who’ll make it into the final six, thus earning a place in a bona fide pop band. The chosen few receive a recording contract with BMG, plus perks like handlers, personal assistants, style makeovers and tips on how to moan about their loss of privacy even as they sell their exclusive wedding photos to Hello! Magazine. Not that we’re thinking of anyone in particular, Bryan and Kerry. Perish the thought.

Anyway, back to the story. It seems that Nadine is not only pretty and talented – the Derry dynamo is also quite enterprising. Flouting contest rules stipulating that “Popstars” contestants must be at least 18 years old, Nadine fudged the numbers on her application, and added two years to her real age, which is 16. Despite reports in the Sunday World that “even dogs in the street” were aware of schoolgirl Nadine’s real age, producers apparently didn’t have a clue. Until last week, that is, when they booted her off the show in front of millions of viewers.

Nadine, as one can imagine, burst into tears. (Focus camera on sobbing songbird.) Viewers sighed. Could her fledgling career be over, even before it had begun, they wondered.

But wait! Never one to miss a golden opportunity, “Popstars” judge/music impresario Louis Walsh leaped up and offered to manage her career. Live, on camera, of course. We hear that Walsh refers to his protTgT as “Little Dana,” in reference to Eurovision singing sensation-turned-Irish-politician (and Derry girl) Da . . . well, you know who. So it was a win-win situation all around: Louis got his next pop princess, Nadine got her big break, and “Popstars” got reams of free publicity. And, of course, we all learned an important lesson about telling the truth, didn’t we?

Colin: looking drawn?

One of our New Year’s resolutions was to stop referring to Irish actor Colin Farrell as a . . . (whoops! Almost said it!) Let’s just say, we don’t want to use that heat-inspired word that rhymes with “snotty” because the guy’s a serious actor now. He received critical raves for his performance in “Tigerland,” and even though only three people saw him as Jesse James in “American Outlaws,” we hear he looked pretty cute in his cowboy duds. Or, rather, he looked quite authentic. Whatever.

Anyway, we hear that the former “Ballykissangel” heartthrob has been signed to play a comic book character in a movie based on the Marvel Comics series “Daredevil.” Farrell will play Bullseye in the $50 million movie, which we assume is a good thing. We can only hope that he’ll wear one of those slinky superhero outfits with the fake muscley-chest fronts, like George Clooney did in “Batman.” And it’s nice to know that they’re taking Colin’s Irish roots into consideration by casting him in this role. Bullseye refers to darts, right?

Nicky: sensitive soul

He may be a cute young millionaire and a member of Ireland’s premiere boy band (not counting U2), but Westlife cutie Nicky Byrne is a surprisingly sensitive soul. Or so he says.

“One of my friends . . . calls me ‘Mr. Sensitivity’ because he thinks I’m very sensitive and have no problem showing it,” Byrne said.

The singer, who’s dating the taoiseach’s daughter Georgina, admits, “I’m very passionate about how I feel.” Which means we’ll watch the wisecracks, Nicky. We promise.

The stand-in is not enough

We’re sure that Colin Salmon is an accomplished actor and a heck of a nice guy and all, but we’d have cheerfully kicked him in the, er, pants if we’d been in the shoes of actresses Saffron Burrows and Salma Hayek recently. That’s because the affable Salmon was tapped to stand in for 007 star Pierce Brosnan when the would-be Bond girls had their screen tests last week.

According to the comprehensive (but unofficial) Bond site, www.mi6.co.uk, Salmon got the call because Brosnan was unavailable. He played a love scene with each actress, and says that he’s glad he doesn’t have to make the final decision.

“I really enjoyed the audition with Saffron Burrows,” he said. (You’ll remember her as the beautiful girl who got “in trouble” in “Circle of Friends.”) Mexican actress Salma Hayek “was great,” Salmon said.

The only actress who has secured a part in the upcoming film, the 20th in the Bond series, is American actress Halle Berry. Berry, who will play a villainess appropriately named Jinx, has scotched rumors that she will appear topless in the film.

“Let’s clear that up,” she said on NBC’s “Today Show.”

“It’s a rumor. Bond is PG. There is going to be no topless anybody and it is certainly not me.” And she should know, since she charged producers of the recent John Travolta movie “Swordfish” an extra $500,000 to drop her top.

Falling a little farther from the tree

Irish actor Peter O’Toole must be feeling pretty chuffed these days. We hear that his 19-year-old son, Lorcan, is quite a chip off the old block when it comes to things theatrical. But, where his father developed a reputation as a legendary hell-raiser in his youth, Lorcan plans to take a more mellow approach to life.

“Lorcan looks up to his father,” revealed a pal. “He’s seen his triumphs.”

But the son also had a front-row seat for the elder O’Toole’s more painful moments.

“[Lorcan] has seen [his father’s] mistakes and doesn’t want to make the same wrong turns,” the friend said.

The younger O’Toole, who recently graduated from a posh public school in London, has moved to New York to study acting. He’s been accepted into New York University, where he is studying acting at the prestigious Tisch School of the Arts. This is the same school that gave us a few actors you might have heard of, including Billy Crystal and Alec Baldwin. (By the way, parents, NYU is not – repeat, NOT – responsible for the dubious careers of the other Baldwin siblings. So don’t grab your aspiring thespians and run for the hills, OK?)

Irish actor glad to be ‘Damned’

File this one under Every Cloud Has A Silver Lining.

Last year, Irish actor Stuart Townsend got fired from what was, up to then, the biggest role of his career: one of the main characters in “Lord of the Rings.” But after being unceremoniously dumped from the fantasy flick, he was offered a role that had, shall we say, a bit more bite to it.

Townsend was hired to play the Vampire Lestat in the screen adaptation of Anne Rice’s “Queen of the Damned,” a sequel to “Interview with a Vampire.” In the original movie, the hunky vamps were played by vampy hunks Brad Pitt (Louis) and Tom Cruise (Lestat). Those of you with long memories for scandal will recall that goth queen Rice harangued the films producers and its director, Neil Jordan, insisting that Cruise was miscast. She stopped when the bucks started pouring in.

Townsend’s Lestat wakes up a couple of centuries after the first movie, and winds up being a rock god (which, considering the nocturnal lifestyle of most musicians, makes perfect sense). Townsend costarred in the movie with R&B artist Aaliyah, who died in a plane crash last year.

Playing a rock star on film seems to have brought out Townsend’s inner Bono.

“I had to make three rock videos and do a concert in front of 3,000 people,” he said, laughing. “Then I realized that what I really wanted to be was a rock star. Rock and roll!”

The actor says that he admires Rice’s unusual take on the legend of vampires.

“She made vampires more interesting by making them more sensual and dealing with the immortality issue,” he said.

“[Bram Stoker] dealt with it, too, but Rice goes down a few different avenues.”

This being a vampire movie, there is plenty of blood on tap. (So to speak.) But Townsend says that the gore’s not terribly excessive.

“There’s plenty of blood, but it’s not meant to scare,” he explained. “It’s bloody but it’s sensual. It’s going down the Anne Rice route.” That route, by the way, is down the block, hang a left, straight for three lights, then a right at the blood bank.

Belles of the ball

For those of you who’ve been fretting about the career prospects of Irish girl group Bellefire, we have some good news. Though the band has been away from the Irish/UK pop scene in recent months, they’ve been busy, busy, busy in the land of the rising sun.

The girls, Cathy and Ciara Newell, Kelly Kilfeather and Tara Lee, have been up to their ears in adoration in Japan, where their single “Perfect Bliss” has been a huge hit – reportedly the most-played record ever by a foreign band on Japanese radio.

“It was absolutely crazy in Japan,” Tara told Sunday World reporter Eddie Rowley. “We couldn’t believe it ourselves. We ended up going over three times, which took up most of the year.”

One thing that the girls discovered is that Irish soccer star Roy Keane is hugely popular with the Japanese, which is odd even given that the country is in the throes of World Cup fever.

“We were asked about him all the time,” said Ciara. “One fan came [to our show] dressed up on Irish gear.

“He had the scarf, the jersey and said, ‘Go raibh mhaith agat!’ ” she recalled.

“We were gobsmacked.”

The girls are back in Ireland at the moment, preparing to make a dent in the hometown pop charts with a new album this spring. Things couldn’t be better for the Irish band, which is managed by wily genius Louis Walsh. They’ve just signed a major record deal with Virgin/EMI records, and we hear they’ll be the opening act for O-Town’s U.S. tour this summer. Which gives a new meaning to girl power.

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