News Column

SINCE YOU ASKED [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (PA)]

July 1, 2013


"I didn't really want to play the villain, but there are certain moments where you think it might be a good time to do that."

Jason Statham tells Empire magazine he was reluctant to take on the bad-guy role in the upcoming "Fast & Furious 7.",Oprah tops Forbes power list,After two years as a runner-up, Oprah Winfrey was named the most powerful celebrity by Forbes, heading the six women and four men who make up the top 10.

It was the fifth time the former talk show host who runs her own TV network has headed the annual ranking of 100 celebrities. The ranking was released June 26.

Singer Lady Gaga came in second, followed by director-producer Steven Spielberg and singers Beyonce and Madonna.

"There is nobody else with that kind of consistency and power," said Dorothy Pomerantz of "There are only three people who have been on every single one of our lists since 1999. It is Oprah, Howard Stern and Steven Spielberg."

Singer-actress Jennifer Lopez, who was No. 1 last year, dropped to 12th place.

With earnings of $77 million from June 2012 to June 2013, Oprah was not the highest earning celebrity, an honor that went to Madonna who made $125 million. But Forbes said Oprah's position in Hollywood and her presence in the press, on television and in social media propelled her to the No. 1 spot.

"She still wields an enormous amount of power, which is really what we look for in our fame matrix. She is taking this cable network and turning it around just through the sheer force of her will, her connections and her ability."

Despite hip surgery, which forced her to cut short a tour, Gaga earned $80 million in the past 12 months which, along with her army of fans and powerful social media presence, assured her second place.

"She is still a huge force in pop music. Even when she is not playing, people are talking abut her and speculating about her," Pomerantz said.

Steven, with earnings of $100 million in the last year, was the top man on the list, ahead of rock star Bon Jovi at No. 7, Swiss tennis champion Roger Federer, who makes $400 million each year from 10 sponsors, at No. 8, and Canadian-born singer Justin Bieber, the youngest member of the list, at No. 9.

"Between the money and the influence, he has had a good year," Pomerantz said about Roger, who was the only athlete in the top 10. Golfer Tiger Woods was a few spots below at No. 15.

Although only 23, sixth-place singer Taylor Swift, made the list for the first time and rounded out the top 10 along with Emmy-award winning TV talk show host Ellen DeGeneres.

Forbes based a celebrity's earnings on income from tours, books, contracts, endorsements, movies and residuals. Each celebrity was given a marketability score, developed by California market research firm E-Poll.

It gauged fame and influence by how often celebrities appeared in the media and used Starcount, a Singapore-based company that looks at 11 social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, to determine their presence in social media.

"In today's world, celebrities have this enormous ability to reach out to their fans, who really are their customers, and to sell their product, which is really themselves. If they don't take advantage of that it hurts them," said Pomerantz.

Pop stars, most notably Biebs, Gaga and Barbados-born singer Rihanna, are particularly good with handling social media, according to Forbes, whose full list can be found at celebrities/

Newcomers to the list included Oscar- winning actress Jennifer Lawrence, at No. 49, Australian model Miranda Kerr at No. 100, and E.L. James, the author of the publishing sensation "Fifty Shades of Grey," at No. 42.

"She (James) made $95 million last year," said Pomerantz.

-- Reuters,Channing & Jamie's name game

There's something about Channing Tatum that makes those around him spontaneously break into song.

Perhaps it's his presence, at once disarmingly genial and physically imposing. Or maybe it's his illustrious moniker that leads Channing and his buddy, "White House Down" co-star Jamie Foxx, to launch a serenade in the midst of an interview.

They're singing the song the two released online that puts a goofily perverted spin on Channing's name. And it's one you've been hearing quite a bit lately: Channing, 33, has been having a major moment since he, ahem, fronted last year's male-stripper saga "Magic Mike", based on his own experiences. In "White House," Channing is a cop protecting both the ambushed capital and his daughter in "White House Down," a thriller starring Jamie as the president.

"He does have a very interesting name," says Jamie, 45. "He's cool, too, because he embraces (the joke)."

Sobriquets are important to Channing and his wife, Jenna Dewan- Tatum, who named their newborn daughter Everly.

"Jenna just heard it. She's a little fairy, and she hears things in her head. She just heard 'Everly,' and it seemed kind of magical," Channing says.

Given the breadth and length of Jamie's career, what's his key to staying focused?

Going by his given name of Eric Marlon Bishop while off the clock, for starters.

"You surround yourself with great people. People who actually tell you that your nose is running," he says. "My sister is very good at not letting me slip up and get a big head. She never called me Jamie Foxx. She always called me Eric. That's the best way to stay grounded."

-- USA Today,I loved actress Anna Kendrick in "Pitch Perfect." What is she doing next? -- M.F.

Quite a lot. She's in the current comedy "Rapture-Palooza," co- stars with Olivia Wilde in the romantic comedy "Drinking Buddies," due out July 25, with Bryan Cranston in the upcoming comedy "Get a Job" and with Lena Dunham in the upcoming "Happy Christmas," and she just finished filming the horror drama "The Voices," with Ryan Reynolds. And up next: the musical "The Last 5 Years," which just began production, and the comedy-drama "Wish I Was Here," with Kate Hudson.

What is that cute actor Jason Schwartzman doing? I haven't seen him in anything since his show went off HBO. -- N.W.

He co-stars with Tom Hanks and Colin Farrell in the drama "Saving Mr. Banks," due out on Dec. 13, with Edward Norton and Ralph Fiennes in the comedy-drama "The Grand Budapest Hotel," due out next year, and is set to shoot "Squirrels to the Nuts," with Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson, and Tim Burton's "Big Eyes," a film about painter Margaret Keane, starring Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz.

-- Robin Adams Sloan, King Features Syndicate,Mick talks career satisfaction

Mick Jagger thinks his original career plan to become a school teacher might have provided plenty of satisfaction.

The Rolling Stones frontman told BBC Radio on June 28 that his music career has not been challenging intellectually and that teaching might have been "gratifying" instead. He also said he had considered becoming a politician or a journalist when he was a teen.

Instead he has become one of the most successful rock singers in history.

Despite his interest in other careers, Mick says he's "very pleased" with how things have turned out.

The band is marking its 50th year together with a series of concerts that will also include a first ever appearance at the Glastonbury festival this weekend and a return in July to Hyde Park in central London.

-- Associated Press,Does anyone else think it's odd that Bret Michaels has a new line of neon-themed dog toys and accessories in his Pets Rock Collection at PetSmart? After all, the Butler County native is still front man of those hair-metal icons Poison. And of course you remember the band's breakthrough debut from 1986, "Look What the Cat Dragged In." Just saying.

"I rocked the '80s, so it's really fun to bring some retro-style to my pet line," Bret said in a statement. "Music and pets are important parts of my life, and these neon-themed additions represent an era of self-expression and uniqueness that my fans and a generation of pet parents will identify with."

Some of the new Pets Rock selections include:

I Love the '80s Dress: Aww! Your pooch can flash back to the '80s with this sassy dress, complete with neon pink top and splashes of neon green, red and yellow stripes.

Boombox Toy: Back in the '80s, everyone had a boombox, right? Doggie can howl along while playing with (or chewing) this toy, which has a faux volume-control dial and skull decorations.

Guitar Bottle Cruncher Toy: Duke can make some music by crunching along this guitar-shaped toy stuffed with an empty plastic water bottle.

Dog lovers can sink their teeth into more at

-- Newsday

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