But after months of speculation, in which producers (and eager publicists) leaked the names of every hunky actor in Hollywood — Hugh Jackman, Clive Owen, Jude Law, Ewan McGregor, Colin Farrell, etc. — it seems that the guy with the inside track has been front and center all along. And the guy’s got a bit of experience, to boot.
Yes, kids — the Internet Movie Database (IMDb.com) is reporting that Irish actor Pierce Brosnan is actually the studio bosses’ firm, first and foremost choice to head the cast of the 21st Bond film. Apparently, all of the denials and crazy stories that have flown back and forth in the press over the last few months were a form of, um, contract negotiation.
“The mood around Sony is that Brosnan will be back,” said a source. “Hence, the reluctance of filmmakers to come right out and announce that they have parted ways with Brosnan.” (Or, as he’s probably known in the executive offices, the Cash Cow.)
Sony, which owns the rights to the Bond movies, is said to be unwilling to risk a box office disaster by taking a chance on a new actor. Sony’s looking for a hit, and conventional wisdom dictates that the studio stick with what has worked so far.
“They could lose more money with an unknown actor, or with an experienced but popular actor,” said the insider. “They’re well aware you just can’t place any actor in this role.”
Which seems to be a backhanded slap at the hapless “Bond” effort by British actor Timothy Dalton. But they say the movie business is a jungle.
Mariah’s ‘dramatic’ declaration
Barely a week goes by without another slightly kooky Mariah Carey story popping up, as if by magic. But now that she’s busy promoting her new album, “The Emancipation of Mimi,” the multi-octave singer is really stepping up the confessionals. And her whimsy quotient has gone into complete overdrive, yo. So if you’re feeling at all queasy, you might want to skip this next paragraph.
Mariah has revealed that she still believes in Santa Claus because, well, she’s “whimsical.” Now, I checked Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary just in case the secondary meaning of the word was “rich and daft,” but, um, no luck. But whimsical she is — aggressively so, it seems. Need another example? The girl identifies strongly with her Jack Russell terrier, cleverly named Jack.
“I can be professional but really I’m more like my dog,” she told Britain’s Q magazine. “He’s a kid, and so am I.”
In more Mariah news, the diva-ish singer admits to being “a little dramatic” at times. Oh, and she hates listening to screechy singers.
“I don’t want to hear someone scream at me all the time,” she said.
Delta to stay covered up
For a pop star, Brian McFadden seems to be a bit of a prude. The Irish singer put his foot down when his Aussie girlfriend, Delta Goodrem, said she was going to do a spot of modeling — in some saucy lingerie.
Now, to be fair, Delta had a good reason for wanting to run around in her skivvies — like fellow popstar Kylie Mingue, she’s recently launched her own underwear line. But Brian, a solid family man (well, at least until he dumped his wife — reportedly for Delta), thinks the sexy snaps will hurt Delta’s wholesome image.
According to the London Mirror, the Irish hunk’s wishes have prevailed, and professional models — who, presumably, don’t have jealous boyfriends of their own — will be used.
“He asked Delta to reconsider,” revealed a friend of the couple. “She’s smitten and didn’t want to rock the boat.”
But who’s got a shot at J.R.?
The big-screen version of the venerable TV soap “Dallas” is shaping up to be a star-studded event, Rumors are rife that either Brad Pitt or Irish hunk Colin Farrell will play Bobby Ewing, the role made famous by Patrick Duffy. Catherine Zeta Jones’s name has been floated about as a potential Pam, though the Welsh actress insists that y’all are plum crazy.
One factor that could clinch Colin’s decision to don a Stetson is whether his “Hart’s War” co-star, Bruce Willis, winds up playing uber-baddie J.R. Ewing, the role made famous by Larry Hagman. The two actors became pretty palsy on the “Hart” set — and they can swap Linsay Lohan dating stories between scenes . . .
They’re at a place called Vertigo
U2 launched its Vertigo Tour last week in San Diego with a high-tech set draped in curtains of light, and a set list culled from both their new album and their extensive back catalogue.
The song lineup seems to be the most surprising element of the show, mixing what rock DJs call “deep cuts” with stuff from the new album. A set list from one of the early shows included “Love And Peace,” “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” “Bullet the Blue Sky,” “Running to Stand Still,” “Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” “New Year’s Day,” “Miracle Drug,” “Sometimes You Can’t Make it on Your Own,” “Beautiful Day,” “Pride in the Name of Love,” “Where the Streets Have No Name,” “One,” “Zoo Station,” “The Fly,” “Elevation,” “Mysterious Ways,” “City of Blinding Lights,” “Vertigo,” “All Because of You,” and “40.”
Critics and fans (who voted with their wallets by snapping up tickets in record time) seem to be of one mind when it comes to the new show. The Times of London declared, “U2 is now the only superpower left in the pop world. And they came together with the world’s last superpower on Monday for the opening night of the [the tour].”
USA Today called the show, “a whirl of rock and roll passion,” while the L.A. Times applauded the band for “challenging personal themes and enduring energy [that] keep U2 relevant.”
The physical layout of the stage is similar to the one used in the Elevation Tour, though the neon-rimmed “heart” is now an oval-shaped “Eclipse.” The walkway serves two purposes, providing a standing-room enclosure for fans who want to see the band up close, and a ramp that allows Bono to run, jump and move into the center of the area.
The show makes its way to the East Coast next month, with sold-out shows in Philadelphia (May 14 and 22), New Jersey (May 17 and 18), New York (May 21), and Boston (May 24, 26 and 28). For more information, visit the band’s official site, www.u2.com.
In more U2 news, Bono offered some reminiscences about the late Pope John II, whom he called “the first funky pontiff” and “the best front man the Roman Catholic Church ever had.”
“[He was] a great show man, a great communicator of ideas even if you didn’t agree with all of them, a great friend to the world’s poor, which is how I got to meet him,” Bono said in an official statement. “Without John Paul II, it’s hard to imagine the Drop The Debt campaign succeeding as it did.”
David and Posh Beckham might get a kick out of saddling their children with kooky names, but at least they’re giving the kids an option when it comes to their monikers. The celebrity pair, who have three, um, distinctively named sons, chose some plain-vanilla middles to go with them. Which means little Brooklyn can opt for “Joseph,” Romeo can go with “James,” and the newest addition, Cruz, can choose to be “David Jr.” (Well, sort of.)
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If you can feel the ground trembling under your feet these days, don’t be alarmed — it’s probably the result of dozens of Irish pop stars shaking in their boots. And you can’t really blame them, now that pop Svengali Louis Walsh has announced that he’s planning to write a tell-all book about his experiences in the music industry.
Louis, the power behind such chart-toppers (and chart-floppers) as Boyzone, Westlife, Bellefire, Girls Aloud, and Samantha Mumba, will hold nothing back.
“Not one of them is safe,” he told ananova.com.
“It is going to be warts and all. Sex, drugs, boyfriends, girlfriends, wives — everyone is in the firing line.”
The brash star-maker is looking at a six-figure advance — if he ever gets time to write it.
“I have been offered a lot of money to do it,” he boasted. “But I won’t be writing it for at least another year because I’m tied up [with television] and Westlife’s new album.” Which should some of his intended targets enough time to enter the witness protection program.