Thursday, July 17, 2008

Thursday, 17th July 2008

Helen Mirren the bikini queen reigns supreme at 63

Last updated at 4:03 PM

on 16th July 2008

Most women only a few days away from their 63rd birthday would be steering well clear of the beach.

And if they did venture there, it would be in the most modest of concealing attire.

Dame Helen Mirren, however, is happy to flaunt her enviable curves and flat stomach in a bikini.

How does she do it?

Dame Helen Mirren looked sensational while holidaying in Puglia, Italy this week

It seems hard to believe that this is the same actress whose portrayal of the Queen won her an Oscar.

Yet this was no retouched studio shot, with the only work to transform her toned body having been carried out during gruelling hours in the gym.

Dame Helen is holidaying in Puglia, on the southern tip of Italy, with her film director husband Taylor Hackford, 63. Bikini queen: The actress flaunted her enviable curves

She bought a castle in the neighbourhood to celebrate her 2007 Academy Award for Best Actress.

She bought the 500-year-old building and grounds near Lecce for around £680,000 and immediately drew up big plans for the estate with refurbishment work starting last summer.

The property was uninhabitable, with tumbledown walls and a driveway that was little more than a dirt track.
When the couple first visited the nearby village of Tiggiano to greet locals and - once they heard - civic officials, the welcome was so warm that a baker even made her a cake decorated with a scene from The Queen.

Her new Italian home is surrounded by high fortified walls and has a mature vineyard within its grounds.

The Mediterranean can be seen half a mile away.

Dame Helen also owns an enormous home in California and a property by the Thames in Wapping, East London.

Known for her diverse acting ability, Mirren has adapted to many styles.

From her role as Queen Elizabeth II to a racy housewife in Calendar Girls and a hard-nosed detective in Prime Suspect

Sultry: Helen Mirren poses for a sexy look in 1974, aged 29, (right) and still looks just as good aged 41 in 1986 (left)

American singer Natalie Cole poses during a photocall at the 57th International Film Festival in Cannes, southern France, Saturday, May 22, 2004.

Cole has been diagnosed with hepatitis C, her publicist said in a statement Wednesday July 16, 2008.

The statement said the disease was revealed during a routine examination and was likely caused by her drug use years ago.

(AP Photo/Laurent Rebours, FILE)

Grammy-winning singer Natalie Cole has been diagnosed with hepatitis C, her publicist said in a statement Wednesday.

Hepatitis C is a liver disease spread through contact with infected blood.

The statement said the disease was revealed during a routine examination and was likely caused by her drug use years ago.

"I've been so fortunate to have learned so much from my past experiences," said Cole.

"I am embraced by the love and support of my family and friends;

I am committed to my belief in myself and in my abiding faith to meet this challenge with a heartfelt optimism and determination.

This is how I intend to deal with this current challenge in my life."

Her physician at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, Dr. Graham Woolf, said Cole has had a "terrific response to her medication and is now virus negative."

"This gives her an increased chance of cure," he said.

Woolf said Cole is recovering from side effects of the medicine she's taking, including fatigue, muscle aches and dehydration.

Cole, 58, the daughter of jazz legend Nat King Cole, has sold millions of records over her long career.

She is due to release "Still Unforgettable," the follow-up to 1991's Grammy-winning, multi-platinum CD "Unforgettable ... With Love," on which she remade some of her father's classics, in September.
July 15, 2008

Money makes the world go round and right now Hollywood is all about following the money.
Once upon a time the studios financed their own movies, and gradually as production and marketing costs kept rising, began looking for partners and financing to help them reduce risk.
While Paramount spun the news yesterday that they walked away from a 450-million Deutche Bank slate financing deal, which would have funded 25 % of each film's budget capped at $30 million per picture, the chill was felt around Hollywood.

What impact would this have on the elusive Ryan Kavanaugh of Relativity Media, who has also gotten funding from Deutsche Bank, which was withdrawing from the film business?
Kavanaugh co-finances big-budget movies all over town, and also has his own deal to produce movies for MGM release.

No one should be surprised that banks are starting to demand tougher terms on these deals, which tended to favor the studios.
Bigger forces are at work: money is drying up.
And debt is more expensive.
"At the end of the day, someone has to pay," said one company chief.

The credit crunch will only put more pressure on studios like Paramount to be more risk averse (like morphing Vantage into a more genre-oriented label).
"You'll see more big budget sequels and remakes," says one observer.

Meanwhile the Weinsteins are shuffling their deck chairs to stay ahead of the financial curve:
they just announced a showy Showtime pay-TV deal for which they must deliver 95 movies.
The question is, did they pay upfront to get that deal?
Yes, they put down some sort of guarantee that they would deliver all the pics, but nothing anywhere near the fantastic $100-million figure that has been reported.
I'm hearing it was way less than half that figure.
The Weinsteins needed the Showtime deal in order to seal the additional financing they need.
Locking in a pay deal was essential to going forward.
When they extricate themselves from MGM distribution at year's end, they might really be in business.

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