News Column

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

September 16, 2013

YellowBrix

"I remember thinking, 'I like this guy.' He's just like, super lovable. ... It felt like losing a family member, and it still does to this day."

Jake Gyllenhaal on "Inside the Actors Studio",Hollywood execs label Heigl as 'difficult',Katherine Heigl may be a rom-com box- office queen -- netting millions for films such as "Knocked Up," "The Ugly Truth" and the Pittsburgh-filmed "One for the Money," -- but the actress hasn't exactly lived up to her pleasant screen persona in real life, at least, according to some Hollywood insiders.

"She can cost you time every single day of shooting," one insider, who worked with her on the film "Life as We Know It," told The Hollywood Reporter, describing "desperately difficult situations" on set.

"Wardrobe issues, not getting out of the trailer, questioning the script every single day ..."

While some have come to Heigl's defense -- like her "Life as We Know It" director Greg Berlanti, who told the magazine that he would definitely work with her again -- others have said her "movie star demands" and "sense of entitlement" make her hard to pursue.

A TV network executive tells THR that Katherine, 34, was passed up for the lead in a potential new series because of her sullied reputation.

"On many levels, she would have been perfect for the role, but all of us said, 'She's not worth it'," the insider said.

In the past, Katherine has publicly slammed projects she's been a part of, souring her relationships with some directors and co- stars. She went on record deeming Judd Apatow's "Knocked Up" a sexist film, saying it was "hard for (her) to make."

Then, in 2008, the actress skipped putting her name in the hat for an Emmy nomination with her role on "Grey's Anatomy," saying the writing wasn't good enough. The remarks didn't sit well with show creator Shonda Rimes, and Katherine was later cut from "Grey's" in its sixth season.

Her manager, mom Nancy Heigl, also apparently has a pretty stiff reputation.

"I have never experienced anything like Nancy Heigl," an anonymous movie exec told THR. "It's about the mouth. ... Whatever you'd say, you were an idiot ...You knew that every day you were going to get slammed."

Another insider said having to deal with Katherine's momager is what could lead to the demise of an otherwise talented actress's career. But the former "Grey's Anatomy" actress isn't fazed.

"This is a fear-dominated industry," Katherine previously told Vanity Fair. "And my mother refuses to be intimidated by that. This is all a game of chicken, and my mother is really good at chicken."

-- New York Daily News,'Sherlock' star: e_SFlbI survived kidnapping

Years before his career-making turn in BBC's "Sherlock" and breaking through on this side of the Pond in this year's "Star Trek Into Darkness," actor Benedict Cumberbatch faced death at the hands of armed kidnappers in a desolate stretch in South Africa.

The life-affirming scare took place during a weekend off of filming the 2005 miniseries, when Benedict and two friends suffered a flat tire en route back to the set of "To the End of the Earth," "The Fifth Estate" star told the Hollywood Reporter in a revealing cover story.

"It was cold, and it was dark. I felt rotten. We were wary, because that's a notoriously dangerous place to drive," he told the trade publication. "Then, poof, the front-right tire blows. So, we got the spare, but that meant getting all of our luggage out. We were like sitting ducks, adverts for -- not prosperity necessarily but materialism."

Their worse fears were realized when six robbers toting guns surprised them, demanding Benedict and his companions put their hands on their heads and look at the ground.

"They started frisking us and said: 'Where's your money? Where's your drugs?' -- we had smoked a bit of weed -- 'Where are your weapons?' And, at that point, this adrenaline of fight or flight just exploded in my body. I was like, 'Oh ... we're (in trouble)!', " an emotional Benedict told the Hollywood Reporter.

The three men were bound and thrown into the car -- Benedict stuffed in the trunk after complaining about losing sensation in his limbs.

"I was scared, really scared. I said: 'What are you going to do with us? Are you going to kill us?,' recounted the 37-year-old actor. "I was really worried that I was going to get raped or molested or just tortured or toyed with in some way, some act of control and savagery."

Then, abruptly, the men were cut loose into the night, leaving Benedict with a new perspective even as his trajectory has taken him to an up-and-comer in Hollywood with three critically lauded movies ("12 Years a Slave," "The Fifth Estate" and "August: Osage County") out this fall.

"I kind of thank God I had the presence of mind to give them the idea that it would be better to keep me alive," Benedict had told Britain's Daily Star in early 2012 of the incident. "It taught me that you come into this world as you leave it, on your own. It's made me want to live a life slightly less ordinary."

-- New York Daily News,I can't believe that actors Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones are splitting up. They always looked so happy. Why? -- K.P.

The two, married 13 years, have recently gone through rough times, with Michael's cancer battle and Catherine's struggles with bipolar disease. No papers have been filed, though; they're taking a break, and no one knows yet what will happen next.

I really like actor Aaron Paul from "Breaking Bad." What will he do next? -- S.L.

He co-stars with Toni Collette in the comedy-drama "A Long Way Down," stars in the action film "Need for Speed," due out in March, and has joined the cast of the biblical epic "Exodus," starring Christian Bale and Sigourney Weaver, now in production.

Bon Jovi is my favorite band. Is Richie Sambora coming back? -- A.S.

Given the icy relationship between Jon Bon Jovi and Richie, it doesn't appear likely anytime soon. Apparently, there hasn't been any contact in months, after Jon reportedly ordered Richie to go into rehab or leave the band. Richie's side denies that this took place; he doesn't seem bound for a return to the band in the near future.

-- Robin Adams Sloan, King Features Syndicate,Wayne's Vegas home selling for $70M

The lavish estate that was home to "King of Las Vegas" Wayne Newton is on the market for $70 million. It's an eyebrow-raising price tag, but the owners say it's a property fit for royalty. Indeed, they say they have already fielded inquiries from a noble Saudi Arabian family. With creditors at his door, Wayne sold the property in 2010 for $19.5 million to CSD LLC, headed by investors Lacy and Dorothy Harber. He had lived there since 1968.

The 40-acre "Casa de Shenandoah" property several miles southeast of the Las Vegas Strip was listed by Sotheby's on Sept. 9.

In flusher days, the "Danke Schoen" crooner's property featured flamingos, South African penguins and Arabian horses. Wayne outfitted it with gold-trimmed doors, serene pools and plush carpeting.

In addition to the main mansion, the property includes four homes, 1,500 trees and an exercise pool for horses.

Wayne, 71, his family, and a menagerie of exotic animals downsized in June to a $3 million estate on 20 acres nearby.

Grant Lyon, who is overseeing the property for the Harbers, said the price has risen by $50 million in part because of the improvements CSD made to the property. The new owners added a 14- car garage, remodeled the horse stables, and removed manure.

Lyon imagines the property will appeal to a wealthy equinophile. It can house 60 horses.

"If someone is an avid horse person and wants to live in Las Vegas but still maintain a level of seclusion and privacy, it's probably the only property that offers that," he said.

He said the hope is to find a buyer, likely from abroad, who sees the property as a trophy.

-- Associated Press,'Sherlock' star: I survived kidnapping

Years before his career-making turn in BBC's "Sherlock" and breaking through on this side of the Pond in this year's "Star Trek Into Darkness," actor Benedict Cumberbatch faced death at the hands of armed kidnappers in a desolate stretch in South Africa.

The life-affirming scare took place during a weekend off of filming the 2005 miniseries, when Benedict and two friends suffered a flat tire en route back to the set of "To the End of the Earth," "The Fifth Estate" star told the Hollywood Reporter in a revealing cover story.

"It was cold, and it was dark. I felt rotten. We were wary because that's a notoriously dangerous place to drive," he told the trade publication. "Then, poof, the front-right tire blows. So, we got the spare, but that meant getting all of our luggage out. We were like sitting ducks, adverts for -- not prosperity necessarily but materialism."

Their worse fears were realized when six robbers toting guns surprised them, demanding Benedict and his companions put their hands on their heads and look at the ground.

The three men were bound and thrown into the car -- Benedict stuffed in the trunk after complaining about losing sensation in his limbs.

"I was scared, really scared. I said: 'What are you going to do with us? Are you going to kill us?,' recounted the 37-year-old actor. "I was really worried that I was going to get raped or molested or just tortured or toyed with in some way, some act of control and savagery."

Then, abruptly, the men were cut loose into the night, leaving Benedict with a new perspective even as his trajectory has taken him to an up-and-comer in Hollywood with three critically lauded movies ("12 Years a Slave," "The Fifth Estate" and "August: Osage County") out this fall.

"I kind of thank God I had the presence of mind to give them the idea that it would be better to keep me alive," Benedict had told Britain's Daily Star in early 2012 of the incident.

"It taught me that you come into this world as you leave it, on your own. It's made me want to live a life slightly less ordinary."

-- New York Daily News

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