Archive for April, 2009

Shattered Glass is a glimpse into pre-internet age journalism

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

Not so long ago, a few select publications were considered to be the only worthwhile places to turn when it came to getting cutting-edge news and current events analysis. The New Republic was at the top of this game because it supposedly attracted the most talented and insightful journalists in the biz.

That was all before Stephen Glass showed up. Shattered Glass is the true story of how Glass (Hayden Christensen), an up-and-coming star at one of the most highly respected magazines in the world, proceeded to make up fictional news stories out of thin air.

As the old saying goes, you make up one lie, you’ve got to make up another to cover the one before, and on and on. And when you have a whole department at your company devoted to fact-checking, as allegedly did The New Republic, it’s only a matter of time before everything comes crumbling down.

In the same way people are drawn to watching train wrecks, there was something alluring about watching Glass weave a more and more tangled web for himself in this movie. The whole smarmy Washington news journalist culture and Glass’s boss (Peter Sarsgaard) make you feel like you’re right in the middle of Glass’s predicament.

Now, 10 years and millions of internet news pages after this real-life story, this DVD is a good retrospective on the way things were, and an important eye-opener about how things very well could become.


Spacey meets Abramoff in prison to prep for film

Monday, April 27th, 2009

Two-time Oscar-winner Kevin Spacey has met with Jack Abramoff at a federal prison near Cumberland to prepare for his leading role in a film about the disgraced Washington lobbyist, a Hollywood executive said Monday.

Spacey and director George Hickenlooper (Factory Girl) met with Abramoff Friday afternoon to discuss plans for a film called Casino Jack or Bagman, based loosely on Abramoff’s career in Washington, said Richard Rionda Del Castro, chairman of Hannibal Pictures in West Hollywood, Calif.

Rionda Del Castro said he is executive producing, cofinancing and distributing the film.

“Kevin Spacey wanted to get some personal information to be close to this character, and I believe that Abramoff was giving some ideas on the story and the information to make it as precise as possible,” Rionda Del Castro said in a telephone interview.

He said Abramoff has expressed admiration for The Usual Suspects, the 1995 crime film for which Spacey won an Academy Award as best supporting actor. He won the 1999 best-actor Oscar for American Beauty.

Rionda Del Castro said the movie will begin shooting in late May, with a release expected in the summer of 2011.

Spacey publicist Staci Wolfe confirmed that the meeting occurred.

Abramoff defense attorney Abbe D. Lowell didn’t immediately return telephone calls and e-mails from The Associated Press.

Abramoff, 50, is serving time at the prison’s minimum-security camp for offenses stemming partly from a federal probe of influence-peddling in the nation’s capital.

He began serving a six-year sentence in November 2006 for conspiracy, honest-services fraud and tax evasion in the purchase of casino boats in Florida, and was given four years last September for mail fraud, conspiracy and tax evasion. His projected release date is Dec. 1, 2011, according to the federal Bureau of Prisons.

Prison spokesman DeWayne Hendrix declined to comment on Spacey’s visit, citing privacy rules.

Magnolia Pictures plans to release a documentary film about Abramoff titled Casino Jack: The United States of Money late this year, spokesman Arianne Ayers said.

Abramoff is no stranger to Hollywood. He and his brother Robert produced the 1989 Dolph Lundgren action movie Red Scorpion and its sequel, Red Scorpion 2.

The federal correctional complex near Cumberland includes a medium-security prison that houses former Army surgeon Jeffrey MacDonald, whose convictions for the murders of his pregnant wife and two young daughters in North Carolina were the basis for the book and television movie, Fatal Vision.

Kevin Spacey Playing Jack Abramoff in Biopic

Saturday, April 25th, 2009

According to Deadline Hollywood, Kevin Spacey is currently in Washington D.C., paying a visit to Federal Prison so he can meet with ex-lobbyist and scandal magnet Jack Abramoff. Is Spacey somehow involved in one of Jack’s frauds? Nope, it’s research for a role in his latest film, with his director George Hickenlooper also tagging along.

The two of them are shooting a script by Dead Ringers writer Norman Snider called Casino Jack (which was Abramoff’s nickname). They’ve been negotiating for weeks to get face time with the imprisoned Abramoff, who is apparently a Kevin Spacey fan. That’s cute.

The film is likely to cause a bit of a stir if marketed right: it’s a Goodfellas-style thriller about Abramoff’s corrupt stint in Washington, wheeling and dealing with members of the Bush administration. The film supposedly even involves figures such as Karl Rove, and most likely Tom DeLay as well.

Production Weekly broke news last Friday that Spacey and Hayden Christensen (who Hickenlooper worked with last in Factory Girl) are playing Abramoff and Michael Scanlon.

Abramoff would not and cannot make a profit out of the film, so why is he agreeing to help them in a creative meeting, which is what they’e doing? Looks like ol’ Casino Jack just wants someone to tell his side of the story and get back at his fellow Republicans who gave him up, and what better way to talk to the American people than through a star-powered Hollywood movie, eh? Besides, lest we forget that Abramoff was once rubbing elbows with Hollywood elites back in the 90’s. He produced and co-wrote the Dolph Lundgren awesomeness Red Scorpion.

Who knows… In about five years when he gets out of jail, maybe his movie would already be a top getter, allowing Abramoff to amass new fortune by becoming a Hollywood mogul. Ick.

George Hickenlooper, Kevin Spacey meet with jailbird Jack Abramoff

Saturday, April 25th, 2009

George Hickenlooper, the native St. Louisan who directed the Warhol-era flick “Factory Girl” and the rock doc “Mayor of the Sunset Strip,” is profiling a particularly infamous character in his next film: lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who is currently in prison after multiple convictions related to shady casino operations. Hickenlooper is preparing a movie based on Abramoff titled “Casino Jack.” The director and star Kevin Spacey were recently allowed to visit Abramoff at federal pen to get the lobbyist’s side of the story.

Among other crimes, Abramoff was accused of shaking down competing tribes of American Indians who were seeking casino licenses and playing them against each other.

The more you learn about Abramoff, the creepier his story gets. He also flew planeloads of American legislators and manufacturers to the Northern Marianas Islands, a U.S. protectorate where officials wanted to operate sweatshops with virtual slave labor. (Abramoff also had a brief career in Hollywood, where he produced a couple action movies starring Dolph Lundgren.)

I read the Norman Snider script, which was originally titled “Bagman,” when I flew out to Los Angeles for the Oscars. I’ve been making notes to send to Hickenlooper, whom I consider a friend, but he hardly needs my help. With the great Spacey, who starred in the similarly smart “Recount,” the project is in good hands. Filming is expected to start next month.

Oh Boy

Friday, April 24th, 2009

Lacoste has signed up Canadian actor Hayden Christensen to front a print and television advertising campaign for its latest male fragrance, Lacoste Challenge. Christensen, who is most famous for starring in the blockbuster Star Wars series, “perfectly captures the modern spirit of the brand,” said Global Marketing Director Andreas Gerber, “He’s young…dynamic, with a charismatic twinkle in his eye that brings to life the ethos of the new fragrance.” The new scent will be available from July 1.


Hayden Hearts Lacoste

Friday, April 24th, 2009

Psst we’ve just got wind that Hayden Christensen is the new face of Lacoste Challenge. Following in the footsteps of fellow hunks, Matthew McConaughey, Josh Hartnett and James Franco, Hayden looks fresh faced and well… just gorgeous.

Hayden said: “I’m excited that LACOSTE invited me to be an ambassador for the brand as the face of its new men’s fragrance, Challenge. I’m an active guy and I always try to face what life throws at me head on, so I really identify with the ethos of the fragrance, to ‘never resist the call of the game’. To me, LACOSTE is a brand that inspires men to embrace life’s challenges with a stylish flair and masculine elegance – just as its founder René Lacoste did.

Jack Abramoff Gets Hollywood Jail Visit

Friday, April 24th, 2009

My sources tell me that 2-time Academy Award winner Kevin Spacey and film director George Hickenlooper (Factory Girl, Hearts of Darkness) are right now visiting Washington DC lobbyist Jack Abramoff in Cumberland Federal Prison. Abramoff, of course, was responsible for one of the biggest political scandal to hit the nation’s capital since Watergate, and is the subject of a screenplay Casino Jack starring Spacey and directed by Hickenlooper and written by Norm Snider (Dead Ringers) and produced by Bill Marks, George Vitetzakis and exec-produced by Donald Zuckerman and Richard Rionda of Hannibal Pictures. A portion of the project is being financed by Brad Feinstein of Titan Multi Media Group in a deal being negotiated by Paradigm. The story is described to me as a modern day GoodFellas set in Washington DC that plays like a thriller involving Karl Rove and others in former President George W. Bush’s inner circle. Cameras will roll later next month.

I’m told that Kevin Spacey is set to star as Jack Abramoff, Hayden Christensen will play Abramoff’s closest associate Mike Scanlon, Spencer Garrett (Public Enemies) will play Majority Leader Tom DeLay, and Arrested Development star David Cross will play Abramoff crony Adam Kidan. The production is also in talks with Tea Leoni as Abramoff’s wife.

After weeks of extensive negotiations with Abramoff attorneys and prison officials, Spacey and Hickenlooper were finally granted access late this afternoon for a creative discussion with Abramoff who is serving a 6-year sentence. Apparently the disgraced former lobbyist, who produced two Dolph Lungren movies in the early 1990s, is a big Spacey fan — ironically citing Usual Suspects as one of his favorite films. Spacey, who is a personal friend of former President Bill Clinton and who couldn’t be more the political opposite of Abramoff, apparently appreciated and respected Abramoff’s openness to talk. According to an insider, “Abramoff was in good spirits and very charming with the actor. For two guys who couldn’t be more different, they seemed to get along very well.”

Because of Son of Sam laws, Abramoff is legally unable to profit from any story told about him. But he apparently agreed to meet with Spacey and Hickenlooper because he believes no one has heard his side of the story. My source tells me, “Jack feels he has nothing to lose if he can at least convey his perspective even if it’s from inside prison walls. Frankly, he feels like he was thrown under the bus by his fellow Republicans, especially John McCain who wanted to use Jack to help sell himself to the American people as the great reformer. The reality is Jack wasn’t doing anything that wasn’t happening on K-Street already. In fact it’s still happening to this day and everybody knows it.”

Also my source tells me that both Spacey and Hickenlooper had met Abramoff separately once before in the early 1990s when the former Washington lobbyist had a Hollywood shop set up with his brother Robert Abramoff to produce movies. “Jack used to get around the Hollywood circuit quite a bit before he came to DC,” my source says. “It wouldn’t surprise me if he wouldn’t end up back there after he gets out of prison.”

In 2004-2005, as you may recall, Abramoff was jokingly referenced by George Clooney during the 2005 Academy Awards. More significantly, Abramoff was convicted of defrauding American Indians out of millions of dollars in casino money, a scam that brought down a number of prominent Washington figures, among them Republican Majority Leader Tom DeLay and Ohio Congressman Robert Ney. The story even gets more interesting because, according to the FBI, Abramoff was associated with a man who allegedly hired two Mafia hit men to murder the owner of a fleet of Florida casino boats Abramoff was in the process of purchasing. The Abramoff story is filled with many surprising twists and turns and has become an iconic symbol of the Bush era and all it represented.

This will be Hickenlooper’s first feature since the controversial Edie Sedgwick/Andy Warhol biopic Factory Girl. A self-proclaimed political junkie, he’s also the cousin of the very popular Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper who hosted last summer’s Democratic National Convention. The filmmaker chronicles his cousin’s role during that convention in the upcoming documentary series Hick Town which he produced with R.J. Cutler (The War Room, September Issue).


Lacoste Official ad and News

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009

For the first time on the web, TETU disseminates official image chosen for the campaign of the beautiful Hayden Christensen ( “Star Wars”, “Jumper”) for the perfume brand crocodile.

The force is with new Lacoste fragrance. This fragrance for men, effectively called “Challenge”, was indeed chosen to face Hayden Christensen, the beautiful boy whom we had caught the eye in Star Wars. Brand and a crocodile, “she said, wanted to illustrate its modern, elegant and dynamic. Scent, this would lead to fresh notes of tangerine and lemon enhanced with bergamot opening, by a trio of ginger-lavender-purple heart-and a teak-wood ebony background.

Visually, most importantly, it gives a Hayden Christensen favorably highlighted by a small shirt and tight jeans. It seems as it was in the movie Jumper, suspended in space-time. But fans can rest assured, when the Canadian actor turned advertising along a facade of building in Los Angeles, he was restrained by a harness and cables.

Less romantic to imagine that the beautiful Hayden really has super powers, but more reassuring for his safety. And curiously, it does not detract from the furiously sexy side of the campaign. The image, which had already circulated on the Internet these days, was not selected for final visual displays: here, for the first time, the official image.


“Challenge”, Lacoste perfume played by actor Hayden Christensen

Friday, April 3rd, 2009

The new fragrance for men by Lacoste, “Challenge,” available in May, includes fresh top notes and woody base of a solid. Actor Hayden Christensen, who played Anakin Skywalker in the last trilogy “Star Wars” became the muse of the brand with the crocodile to the advertising campaign of this perfume.

The fragrance opens on fresh, energetic tangerine and lemon, bergamot enhanced. The central agreement has an aromatic ginger and hints of juniper berries and leaves of violets. The notes of funds based on a forested with teak and ebony wood.

The case is two-tone, like the bottle, brilliant yellow, contrasting with the matte black.

The American actor Hayden Christensen, the new muse of the mark in the crocodile, said: “Lacoste is a casual sophistication, that of the active man who faces the challenges of life with a distinguished style and natural elegance.

In the campaign which he is the icon, the actor is filmed and photographed in the process of jumping to catch the perfume bottle in midair. The slogan “Do not resist the call of the game” with these images.

Toilet water, 50 ml: 40 euro
Toilet water, 75 ml: 50 euro
Toilet water, 90 ml: 60 euro

Challenge (for men)

Friday, April 3rd, 2009

Hot novelties from the house of Lacoste are a real blend of challenge and energy in upcoming days of 2009. A very interesting choice by Lacoste is Hayden Christensen who is presented as the advertising face and new strength of the Lacoste brand. Popular, charming and handsome actor is known for his role of Anakin Skywalker from cult Star Wars.

New fragrance Challenge opens with notes of pure energy created of tangerine and lemon with a hint of bergamot. A heart of this fragrant challenge hides ginger combined with aromatic lavender and violet leaves, creating a perfect, pleasant and sensual harmony. Base notes leave a trail of ebony and teak wood, which are in charge of the modern, powerful trend on the border between tradition and trend.

Perfume Challenge by Lacoste arrives on the market in May and it will be available in flacons made of transparent glass with a black stopper decorated with a white crocodile, symbol of the house.

The call of the game perfume Lacoste Challenge

Friday, April 3rd, 2009

Lacoste announced the commercialization of its new fragrance for the month of May 2009. Called “Challenge”, the scent is a nod to the fighting spirit of the founding father of the house Lacoste, the champion tennis legend. The fragrance is aimed at all those for whom life is a challenge, with the motto: “Do not resist the call of the game.”

Three notes, a short
The 3 notes of “Challenge” have to remind the playground on which René Lacoste has built its reputation. As it’s a managed service, the scent starts with freshness and energy. The aromas of tangerine and lemon, which blends a touch of bergamot warm, open way with panache. The note of heart, symbol of the net, giving punch flavored with ginger and spicy incisive. Lavender, juniper and sweet violet leaves powdered supplement this. As a bottom line of short, teak and ebony wood provide power and consistency to the scent.

A bottle like a tennis racket
The bottle of “Challenge” is not unlike the handle of a tennis racket, dressed in shiny black and grip. This feature was born of a practice of Rene Lacoste who in 20 years, wrapped the handle of her racket tape. The aim was to increase its adhesion and ease of grip. An idea that quickly became popular and today symbolizes the holder of the scent.

Eau de toilette Lacoste Challenge, spray:
50 ml: 40 euro.
75 ml: 50 euro.
90 ml: 60 euro.

Available from May 2009.