Fr 5/7: Amanda Peet and Nick Griffin plus Wale on the LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN, CBS. Amanda Peet, Born on January 11th, 1972, Amanda Peet grew up in New York and made a decidedly unconventional debut into showbiz: At three-years-old, a thoroughly uninvited Peet jumped onto a stage during the middle of a play. Despite the auspicious beginning, Peet treated acting as more of a hobby than anything else, and only began to consider it a potential career after her drama professor at Columbia University encouraged her to audition for renowned acting teacher Uta Hagen. Peet studied with Hagen for four years, during which time she participated in the off-Broadway revival +Awake and Sing. Though she would eventually be voted one of the year’s 50 most beautiful people in a 2000 issue of People magazine — not to mention participate with the likes of Susan Sarandon, Samuel L. Jackson, and Jack Nicholson — Peet worked as a waitress during the first few years of her acting career. The sloe-eyed brunette made her onscreen debut in Craig Singer’s Animal Room (1996). That same year, she could also be seen in an episode of Law & Order, and went on to play a role in Grind (1996), a crime drama starring Billy Crudup. Before long, Peet landed a small role in the Michelle Pfeiffer-George Clooney romantic comedy One Fine Day. Since then, the actress has continued to build both her film and television credits: in 1997, she appeared in the AIDS drama Touch Me, and the following year she had sizable roles in South Boston crime drama Southie with Donnie Wahlberg and Rose McGowan, which won the American Independent award at the 1998 Seattle Film Festival. On television, she could be seen guest starring on a number of shows including Seinfeld and Ellen Foster. In 1999, she got her own television show, Jack & Jill, on the WB network. That same year, she could be seen playing Sean Patrick Flanery’s fiancée in Simply Irresistible and then acting as his bedmate in Body Shots, another in the long line of explorations into pre-millennial twentysomething dating fear. After starring in director Neil Turitz’s debut Two Ninas, Peet landed a leading role in Peter M. Cohen’s independent comedy Whipped. While the film itself performed dismally, Peet met her boyfriend, Brian Van Holt, on the set. Despite it’s independent status, Whipped was given a solid amount of mainstream marketing, and Peet was praised for a game performance in the face of an admittedly weak script. After a small role in 2000′s Isn’t She Great with Bette Midler and Nathan Lane, Peet was finally recognized by critics and audiences alike in The Whole Nine Yards. Though the film itself did not fare particularly well, Peet was praised for holding her own against Hollywood heavy-hitter Bruce Willis, which certainly didn’t hurt her when it came time to audition for Saving Silverman, which placed her opposite Jason Biggs while he was still reeling from the success of American Pie. In 2002, Peet played a considerably less vicious wife in Changing Lanes with Ben Affleck and Samuel L. Jackson, and won no small amount of praise for her performance as the heroin-addled mistress of Kieran Culkin’s godfather in Igby Goes Down. Peet would go on to star opposite film veterans Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson in Nancy Meyers’ Something’s Gotta Give, in which she stars as Nicholson’s scandalously young girlfriend, as well as James Mangold’s psychological thriller Identity with John Cusack. In 2004, Peet signed on for the sequel to The Whole Nine Yards (aptly titled The Whole Ten Yards), and acted alongside Will Ferrell, Chloë Sevigny, and Josh Brolin in the Woody Allen feature Melinda and Melinda. The next year, Peet starred alongside Ashton Kutcher in the romantic comedy A Lot Like Love, before joining the cast of the politically charged thriller Syriana. Then, in 2006, the actress accepted a recurring role on the one-hour drama Studio 60 On the Sunset Strip. The Aaron Sorkin written series received major critical acclaim but was cancelled after just one season. Undeterred, Peet next teamed up with John Cusack for the quirky, heartfelt drama Martian Child.
The other guest: Nick Griffin was born in Barnet and grew up in Halesworth in rural Suffolk, England. Initially educated at two Suffolk private schools, St Felix School (in Southwold) and Woodbridge School, Nick studied history and then law at Downing College, Cambridge and boxed while at Cambridge and was awarded a full blue for representing the University against Oxford three years running, losing the first year on points and winning in the next two with first round stoppages. Nick graduated with an honours degree in Law. Nick is married to Jackie, a specialist nurse, living in Wales. They have four children, now more or less grown up. All are bi-lingual in English and Welsh. Mr Griffin was elected to lead the BNP by a large majority vote of the membership in a secret ballot in September 1999, and re-elected with nearly 90% of the vote in 2007.
Before there was Roman Polanski, there was Errol Flynn. Before David Letterman, Charlie Chaplin.
LOS ANGELES – The older brother of actress Mia Farrow has been found dead in his Vermont art gallery. The body of sculptor Patrick Farrow, 66, was discovered by police at 11:30pm on Monday night at Farrow Gallery in Castleton after they received an emergency call from his wife Susan. Officers are treating the death as suspicious and are planning an autopsy to determine the cause. Patrick’s death comes less than six months after Mia’s daughter Lark Previn died in a New York hospital following a long undisclosed illness. The Farrow family also suffered more heartbreak just over a year ago when Mia and Patrick’s nephew Jason Dene was killed in Iraq. Vermont State Police Lt. Timothy Oliver said in a statement: ‘The victim’s body is being sent to the office of the chief medical examiner for autopsy to determine cause and manner of death.’ Sorrow: In the last 13 months, Mia Farrow has lost her daughter Lark Previn, nephew Jason Dene and now her brother Lt Oliver added the death was considered suspicious because parts of the investigation ‘did not add up’, but said police did not consider foul play. Patrick, who is two years older than his famous sister, was born in Los Angeles and lived his early adult life in New York before moving to Vermont 30 years ago. He and his wife Susan co-owned and operated the Farrow Gallery, where his body was found. Mia is yet to release a statement regarding her brother’s death, with her representative admitting: ‘She is definitely quite upset.’ Born in Los Angeles in 1945 to Australian director John Farrow and Irish actress Maureen O’Sullivan, Mia leaped to fame in 1964 in the popular U.S. soap opera Peyton Place. During her year on the show, she fell for legendary crooner Frank Sinatra and married him in 1966 when she was 21 and he was 50. Their marriage last just two years, during which Sinatra demanded Mia drop her critically-acclaimed performance in Rosemary’s Baby, which she refused. Two years later, Mia married German-Austrian pianist Andre Previn and despite divorcing in 1979, remained on good terms after.
The couple had three biological children together and adopted three others, including Lark and Soon-Yi, who famously had an affair with Mia’s next partner Woody Allen. In 1980, Mia started a long-term relationship with director Woody, although the two never lived together.
They adopted two more children together and had a biological son Ronan together. Mia became Woody’s muse and starred in 13 of his films, most notably Hannah And Her Sisters in 1986.
It’s always interesting on the day after a grueling, never-ending awards season to see so many bloggers jumping right back into the fray with lists of contenders for next year’s Oscar race. Gimme a break, or at least a weekend, before we have to get back into it. Anyway, who knows what’s really gonna happen next year when the most celebrated movie of this year didn’t even have a distributor putting it in the game until an announcement on Aug. 28!!! That was when it was revealed that Fox Searchlight would release “Slumdog Millionaire” in North America. A few days later, it played for the first time in Telluride, and it was off to the races. What turned out to be another best picture nominee, “The Reader” (which was still shooting as late as August), didn’t even announce it was going to compete in this year’s race until Sept. 29 (and then to great controversy)! But back to “Slumdog’s” Telluride debut. I was at that screening. You could feel the excitement and the sense of discovery. Until then, the movie was almost surely going straight to DVD, in the U.S. at least. Warner Bros., which produced it, no longer had an indie division to release it and didn’t want to be bothered. As I have written here, I first heard the name “Slumdog Millionaire” at an L.A. Film Festival party in June in a casual conversation with Bob Berney, the indie-savvy president of the soon-to-be-defunct Picturehouse (another division shut down by Warners). He told me he had seen this remarkable film and wanted to help on the release, although even Bob didn’t really see its awards potential at that point. File it under: You just never know. Instead of handing it to Berney, though, Warners gave it to Searchlight (retaining a 50% financial interest) and Fox execs have been gloating ever since. The combination of a great but different kind of movie and an inventive, smart distributor made the difference between blockbuster movie or Blockbuster rental. As Fox co-chair Jim Gianopulos told me at Sunday night’s “Slumdog” celebration, “You gotta love Hollywood.” That initial “Slumdog” Telluride screening and final Oscar victory party were just two of a number of highlights for me this season. There were many more: — Seeing Woody Allen’s “Vicky Christina Barcelona” at its first press screening last May in Cannes was thrilling, not only because it was a masterful comic comeback for Woody but also because I was able to witness and immediately note an Oscar-winning performance by Penelope Cruz. Being blown away by the first finished print of Ron Howard’s “Frost/Nixon” back on April 17 at Leonard Maltin’s USC class. The session was accompanied by an hourlong Q&A with Howard for 500 students, who seemed to love the movie despite its being about events that happened before they were even born. Another highlight happened in the heat of last season on Dec. 5, 2007, when director Christopher Nolan hosted an Imax press preview of the first six minutes of “The Dark Knight,” and we all got a taste of the extraordinary originality of Heath Ledger’s Joker. Moderating those Q&A and tribute sessions with the likes of Mickey Rourke, David Fincher, Meryl Streep, Leo and Kate, Christopher Nolan, Angelina Jolie and so many others was another great highlight for me. And, as always, watching the awards season progress and the fortunes of movies rise and fall is fascinating stuff. Looking back now, maybe it was a sign that “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” the movie I thought certainly could — and deserved to — go all the way to best picture, had to shut down 20 minutes into a disastrous first press and industry screening at the DGA due to digital projection problems. The “Button” team recovered nicely with a good-natured reception in the lobby and successful screenings later in the week, but the jinx was on. It did get three well-deserved Oscars (makeup, visual effects, art direction), but being runner-up to a little-known British picture shot partially in the Hindi language was not part of the master plan. You can’t always predict how these things are gonna go. So again, how can we possibly predict with any sense of confidence where next year will take us? I guess Oscar junkies must have their fun. But with the industry and independent film distribution in the doldrums, it’s entirely possible that there’s another “Slumdog” out there just waiting to be discovered and released in time for next year’s awards season. I can remember no other time when there were so many good, independently made films that can’t seem to get arrested. Lasse Halstrom’s remarkably beautiful and touching new film, “Hachiko: A Dog’s Story,” with Richard Gere and Joan Allen, is still looking to lock in domestic distribution in an industry wary of taking on anything that doesn’t have a marketing hook. “Strength and Honour,” from debuting writer-director Mark Mahon, is a kind of Irish “Rocky” with a wonderful lead performance by Michael Madsen and a great track record at the film festivals where it has appeared, but it still can’t find someone willing to take a chance on it. Although hard-nosed critics aren’t likely to go for the film’s sentiment, I had the opportunity to show it to my UCLA Sneak Preview class a few weeks ago, and the response was astounding. This same group had seen “Slumdog Millionaire” in the fall session and they seemed equally pleased by this feel-good crowd-pleaser. Unless someone can see the potential for such films as “Hachiko” and the “Strength and Honour” and so many other mid-range movies with the potential to touch an audience the way “Slumdog” has, these films will just wind up in the same bargain DVD bins where “Slumdog” was headed until the movie gods intervened. With hope, next season will provide its share of Cinderella stories and fun stuff to write about. This awards cycle, which I have been chronicling in “Notes on a Season” since Cannes last May, has certainly not disappointed. It was fitting that it all ended Sunday night with an Oscar ceremony that was one for the ages — a beautifully produced show by Bill Condon and Laurence Mark that captured everything we still love about movies and the Academy Awards. Those bloggers, columnists and critics out there who were panning it before it was even over have had to run back into their holes and take cover from the vociferous reaction, in and out of the industry, to their ill-conceived attack. “I don’t get the criticism,” one longtime academy member told me Monday. “This was an amazing show. You could just feel it in waves as it went along. Those guys [Condon and Mark], they are really good.” I’m told the academy itself was fielding numerous calls complaining about the complainers — but, hey, everyone is entitled to an opinion even if it was formed before the show made it to the air. You can’t please everyone, but with this production the Academy got back on track — and the 13% increase in ratings was the cherry on top. Here’s hoping this team returns next year. Clearly, the public still has a jones on for the Oscars when they are produced with smarts and style. As for “Notes,” this is it for awhile, at least until we have a whole new batch of real, not imagined, contenders to riff on. Until then, as Queen Latifah so poignantly crooned Sunday night, “I’ll be seeing you.”