VARIETY, SUNDAY 17 JANUARY 2010
Bettany portfolio Priest (2010) PAUL Bettany assumes the role of a vampirekilling priest in the film adaptation of the South Korean comic or manhwa of the same name. Legion (2010) It’s one of his rare action roles; Bettany kicks angel butts and totes machine guns as the rebellious archangel Michael. Creation (2009) As Charles Darwin, Bettany is suitably tormented by the death of his young daughter and anguished by the decision to write a pivotal book that will rock society and break his wife’s heart (Jennifer Connelly). The Young Victoria (2009) Lord Melbourne, like any politician, always has something up his sleeve to win the hearts and minds of people to suit his own purposes. In his case, it is to woo the young Queen Victoria so that he could rise to power. Yet, despite his character’s scheming deviltry, Bettany manages to make his unpopular politician somewhat honourable. Inkheart (2008) Dustfinger is a “fire eater”, a street performer – sly, manipulative and certainly untrustworthy – from a fictional world who crosses to our world accidentally. Bettany injects some vulnerability to his role to prevent Dustfinger from being a total creep. The Da Vinci Code (2006) Bettany hones his villain chops as the albino Opus Dei monk Silas who commits murder for the church, but Silas’ anguish and remorse over the deed makes him a complex bad guy. Firewall (2006) Bill Cox is a violent, cold-blooded killer who is willing to poison a young boy to extort money from Harrison Ford’s Jack Stanfield. Don’t mess with him! Wimbledon (2004) As jaded tennis player Peter Colt, Bettany proves that he is a capable romantic lead. Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003) To portray the ship’s surgeon, Dr Stephen Maturin, Bettany studied dissection and learned to play the cello. To understand Maturin’s quiet, introverted nature, Bettany lived apart from the rest of the crew. – Compiled by ELIZABETH TAI
Star-friendly show Raucous and fun, the Golden Globes is Hollywood’s ultimate guilty pleasure. By PATRICK GOLDSTEIN O one can lay a glove on the Golden Globes. It’s the award show that has survived so many crazy incidents and outrageous behaviour over the years – remember the time a Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) member was suspended for selling a photo of Tom Selleck to a tabloid? – that it has developed an almost absolute immunity to criticism. Showbiz journalists have penned detailed exposes, columnists have mocked the HFPA’s picks, TV critics have panned the show, but nothing, not even the infamous choice of Pia Zadora as new female star of the year, has been able to stop the Globes from motoring along as one of Hollywood’s most unlikely institutions. I suspect the Globes owe their robust health less to their value as an award season barometer than to the fact that everyone in Hollywood, even the eye-rolling studio executives who privately ridicule the group’s tiny cadre of obscure international journalists, enjoys the idea of having an award show that is as raucous and silly as the Academy Awards is stuffy and tame. The Globes are Hollywood’s ultimate guilty pleasure. If the Oscars are as earnest as an Ed Zwick movie, the Globes are as daffy and unpredictable as a Sacha Baron Cohen comedy. They are also refreshingly populist, which surely has earned the Globes a big dose of goodwill from the studios, which have been complaining for years about the Oscars’ fondness for dark, dreary dramas that barely make a dent at the box office. No one will accuse the Globes of dreariness. In fact, the Globes’ nominations are clearly weighted towards pop appeal, with a separate (but equal) category for best musical or comedy, for its best picture and best actor and actress awards. That’s why this year’s nominations have far more in common with the Joe Beer Can tastes of the multiplexes than what we’ll see on Feb 2, when the Oscar nominations arrive. While Up in the Air and The Hurt Locker continued to roll up nominations, the Globes made room for far more populist films. Its best musical or comedy film category was dominated by nominations for such broad comedies as The Hangover, Julie & Julia and It’s Complicated, which, with the possible exception of The Hangover, are longshots for Oscar best picturedom. In fact, if we were giving out odds, It’s Complicated, a frothy comedy from Nancy Meyers, would be a 900-1 shot for an Oscar best picture nod. The Globes best actor in a musical or comedy category is also weighted towards mainstream entertainment, with Robert
> FROM PREVIOUS PAGE hours a day to get in shape. I hate hearing actors moan about it,” he said. He is just as dedicated in dismantling his Legion-honed body. When he had to play Charles Darwin, he put on 20kg and after that was over, he returned to sculpt his body with another brutal bout at the gym for Priest, which is also directed by Stewart. “Then I finished Priest, and it was Christmas. I’ve been steadily abusing my body with cheese and booze since then,” he smiled. Fame and money – Bettany seems to have
Downey Jr (from Sherlock Holmes) and Matt Damon (from The Informant!) getting nominations, while Sandra Bullock, the kind of actress who rarely gets any love from the academy, earned a Globes nomination for both of her 2009 hits, a best musical or comedy actress nod for The Proposal and a best dramatic actress nod for The Blind Side. (The odds of Bullock getting an Oscar nomination for The Proposal: 9,000-1.) Of course, big movie stars – especially big movie stars who are willing to show up for the Globes TV broadcast – seem to cast a potent hypnotic spell over the 83 international journalists who make up the HFPA. The bigger the star, the bigger the whopper when it comes to unlikely nominations. In 2005, Nicole Kidman earned a best dramatic actress nod for Birth, a little-seen drama that ended up making a grand total of US$5mil. In 2006, Leonardo DiCaprio landed two best dramatic actor nominations, one for The Departed, one for Blood Diamond. In 2007, Angelina Jolie – who seems to have a Globes nomination wrapped up from the minute the
cameras start rolling on one of her movies – scored a nomination for A Mighty Heart, a forgettable political drama that was a mighty flop. This year the stars are equally dominant. As you scan the nominations, some of the choices, notably Damon for The Informant!, Julia Roberts for best musical or comedy actress in the blink-and-you-missed-it Duplicity and Tobey Maguire for best dramatic actor in Brothers, seem geared far more for the value of their appearance on the Globes broadcast than any appreciation for their bravura acting. (The odds of Maguire earning a best actor Oscar this year: 90,000-1.) Speaking of odds, the easiest odds to lay are that the Globes will lavish attention on a film bankrolled by Harvey Weinstein, who over the years has earned the reputation of being a beneficent Medici-style patron to the HFPA. Every year, some Weinstein Co production scores with the Globes, even though it is largely ignored by most critics’ groups and Oscar voters. In 2006, the Globes gave a best drama nomination to Bobby, a wooden, now-forgotten drama that was released by Weinstein. In 2007, the Globes mysteriously expanded the best drama category to seven pictures, perhaps to make room for The Great Debaters, another Weinstein production. This year the Globes is giving the love to Nine. Even though the Weinstein-produced film got a woefully lukewarm reception, it managed to earn five nominations, including a host of acting nods (just as the Weinstein’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona did last year). Unfortunately, the film is too distant and chilly to be populist entertainment. That goes against the grain, since the Globes have little interest in dark or depressing navel-gazing, which is probably why the gloomiest of this year’s awards contenders – The Road, The Lovely Bones and Bright Star – were films that came away emptyhanded, at least in terms of major nominations. Give the Globes credit for consistency. Despite all of their members’ oddball behaviour, from the cat fights at cocktail parties to an incident in which a HFPA member grabbed Brendan Fraser’s bottom, the Golden Globes know how to put on a star-friendly show. Call it lightweight or giddy fun, but in Hollywood, that’s what they call entertainment. – Los Angeles Times/ McClatchy-Tribune Information Services ■ The 67th Annual Golden Globe Awards will be telecast live on Star World (Astro Channel 711) at 8am tomorrow; encore at 7pm. Before that, catch the ‘Countdown & Live from the Red Carpet’ on E! (Astro Channel 712) at 7am tomorrow. Also on E! is ‘Fashion Police: The 2010 Golden Globe Awards’, on Wednesday, at 1.50pm.
Ricky Gervais, pictured with the Golden Globe Statuette, will host the 67th Annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in California today (tomorrow morning, Malaysian time). – Photo from NBC
Family above all it all, but it isn’t difficult to see what matters to him most. Always protective of his family, Bettany is known to be reluctant to talk about them in interviews. But in a rare moment, he told us how his son Stellan had followed him to set one day to write in a journal entry for school about what his day on the set was like. “He was asleep when I read his journal, and I saw this complex picture which I
couldn’t quite work out. And his diary entry said: ‘Today we’re in the desert. Dad jumped off the motorcycle onto a train and killed some vampires,’” he said, beaming proudly.
More reports on Legion in StarTwo on Thursday ■ ‘Legion’ opens in local cinemas nationwide on Thursday.