Hollywood Stars Overseas
Doug Anderson writes: Dear Luke Ford,
Have you or your colleagues investigated what Hollywood stars do in Japan? Pierce Brosnan zoomed around in a sportscar for Lark Cigarettes in the early 90s. Arnold pushed a caffine-laced "sports drink" (and maybe still does). Peter Falk and Scotsman Sean Connery pushed Japanese-made Suntory Whiskey (the ads were quite tasteful, really).
Japan seems like a huge cash pit for stars on the way up, at the top, or on the way down. Is it that American audiences don't care what stars do abroad? Or is it that publicity and legal thugs prevent us from finding out about this stuff?
Luke says: I think Hollywood stars are like you and I. They want to maximize the things they like (such as money) and minimize the things they do not like (bad publicity).
SCHWARZENEGGER'S FRIENDS AND COLLEAGUES BLAST PREMIERE MAGAZINE AND WRITER JOHN CONNOLLY FOR PUBLISHING ARTICLE THEY DENOUNCE AS TOTAL FABRICATION
An Article about Arnold Schwarzenegger appearing in the March issue of Premiere Magazine  has raised the ire of Schwarzenegger's friends, physician and co-workers, who blasted the magazine for publishing false statements about Schwarzenegger's health and behavior. Schwarzenegger's former co-stars, such as Linda Hamilton, Jamie Lee Curtis, Sharon Stone, Rita Wilson and Kelly Preston, as well as director and producer James Cameron, have come forward to denounce the Article by John Connolly, titled "Arnold the Barbarian." Well-known producer Arnold Kopelson also weighed in, describing an account of a purported event on the set of Eraser as "a total fabrication."
The Premiere Article written by John Connolly (whose former clients have viewed him as a "consummate liar" as reported in New York Magazine), has been criticized as a work of fiction denounced by a whole host of people who are specifically mentioned in the Article but who were never contacted by Premiere before publication.
Recent articles in US WEEKLY and the LOS ANGELES TIMES also recount the groundswell of support for Arnold voiced by his co-workers and friends, who view the Premiere story as a "hatchet job" with political undercurrents.
The Premiere Article relies largely on unidentified sources in describing alleged instances of inappropriate behavior by Arnold. But the actresses and female producers who worked with him over the years have squarely condemned the Article's false characterization of Arnold's behavior on the set and his treatment of women, sending blistering letters to Premiere Magazine in support of Arnold. Others mentioned in the Premiere story also refuted the reported incidents, which they characterized as ridiculous fabrications.
Arnold's Co-Workers Decry Article As Fictional Gossip-Mongering
Linda Hamilton, who co-starred with Schwarzenegger in both of the wildly-successful Terminator films, denounced as "fantasy" the story of an incident in a limousine in which the Premiere article claimed Arnold lifted her onto his lap in the presence of her then-boyfriend Director James Cameron and others (including Schwarzenegger's wife, Maria Shriver). Hamilton stated in a letter she sent to Premiere's Editor in Chief: "Let me be perfectly clear. In my nearly twenty years of friendship with Arnold Schwarzenegger I have never witnessed ANY HINT of the behavior you so carelessly ascribe him. I have known and witnessed Arnold on set as a man who is tirelessly PROFESSIONAL, and in life as a singularly devoted husband, father, and family man." Hamilton went on to describe the publication as "unsubstantiated/gossip-mongering/character-assassinating/smear campaign/tactics."
For his part, Academy Award winning Director-Producer James Cameron (who worked with Schwarzenegger on the blockbusters Terminator, T2 and True Lies) likewise condemned Premiere for its report of the fictional limousine incident. In a letter to Premiere, Cameron described the report as "pure fiction," adding that over the 18 years he has known Schwarzenegger, he has "never seen Arnold act in the coarse fashion [Premiere] describe[s] with any woman, at any time, ever, and most certainly not with Linda Hamilton . . . ." Cameron added: "The situation you describe did not take place, and though I object on principle to your printing of pure fabrication like some cheesy tabloid, I particularly object to the unfair and absurdly off-the-mark picture it paints of Arnold, who is as good a man and human being as I have known."
Jamie Lee Curtis, who won a Golden Globe Award for her portrayal of Schwarzenegger's wife in True Lies, said that the Premiere article "outrages" her. She wrote of Schwarzenegger in a letter to Premiere: "I admire him as a man, husband, father, friend and icon of the power of the American dream. I hold him in the highest esteem." Curtis stated that she worked with Arnold for seven months on True Lies, during which his trailer door was always open. She added that she never observed anything like the behavior described in the article, noting that Arnold's "wife and his family are the most important things to him in the world." Curtis lambasted the article as a "smear campaign" and a "politically motivated hatchet job." Chastising Premiere's publishers, Curtis told them, "you should be ashamed of yourselves."
Rita Wilson, who played Schwarzenegger's wife in the comedy Jingle All The Way, wrote to Premiere that Arnold "has acted only in the most professional of ways" when they worked together. She added that he "always treated me with respect, as well as everyone else on the set. He never stepped over any boundaries or made me feel uncomfortable." Also noting that Schwarzenegger's trailer doors were always open, Wilson said that she was "saddened" by the hurtful article.
Actress Kelly Preston, who has known Schwarzenegger since working with him on the 1988 comedy Twins, also wrote to Premiere to challenge its characterization of Schwarzenegger, stating that she has "never known him to be anything but kind, respectful and a true gentleman." She also described him as "a loving father and devoted husband," adding that she counts her "experience working with him as one of my fondest memories."
Major behind-the-scenes players in Hollywood have also rallied to Arnold's defense.
Well-known Producer Arnold Kopelson, who produced Eraser, challenged the article's account of a purported incident in Schwarzenegger's trailer during that production. Kopelson, who won a Best Picture Academy Award for Platoon, noted Schwarzenegger's professionalism, and described procedures on the movie set which would have made it close to impossible for the reported incident to have taken place. Kopelson cited his extensive presence on the set during which he and Schwarzenegger were "virtually inseparable for major blocks of hours during each day and more often than not, on weekends as well," as support for his conclusion that the incidents described in the Premiere article could not have taken place, since had they occurred Kopelson certainly would either have observed them or would have heard discussions about such improprieties on the set.
What Kopelson did observe were discussions with Arnold exhibiting "only love and respect for Maria and their children." Describing the article as "dribble," Kopelson said that the events described in the article were "inconceivable," and concluded that Premiere's account of Schwarzenegger's behavior is "a total fabrication."
Rae Sanchini, who has been President of Lightstorm Entertainment since 1993 and was Executive Producer of True Lies, and who was an executive at Carolco Pictures when it produced Red Heat, Terminator 2 and Total Recall, wrote to Premiere that "In all this time I have never once witnessed any of the incidents described in your article or any other conduct consistent with the very stilted picture you paint of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Quite the contrary, he has always treated me and the other women producers and executives involved in these various projects with the utmost respect and courtesy." Sanchini continued: "Although I have worked with Premiere on a number of past articles, I was not contacted in connection with this story, and the names of the many other women producers whom Arnold has successfully – and repeatedly – worked with were also notably absent."
Schwarzenegger's long-time dresser, Gregory Allen Hall, who has worked with Arnold for nearly a dozen years, sent his own scathing letter to Premiere's editor after reading the story's account that Arnold had supposedly humiliated him with cruel comments during the filming of Terminator 2, allegedly leading to Hall's termination. Hall denounced the story about him as false, telling the editor, "Mr. Schwarzenegger has been extremely generous to me and aside from being a good boss he is a good friend. While it is true I was fired from a film, nothing else you reported is true. The film was 'True Lies' not 'Terminator 2,' and I was fired by my boss the Costume Supervisor, not a producer and it was Mr. Schwarzenegger who rehired me (as his personal dresser) when he found out I had been fired." Hall went on to chastize the magazine for failing to contact him about the story.
Producers of the London television program The Big Breakfast on which Schwarzenegger appeared with host Denise Van Outen, denounced the claims in the Premiere article that any improprieties took place when Arnold did the show. In fact, they were so delighted with Arnold's appearance that Producer Nicholas Lazarus urged him to return to the show again when his schedule permits, writing "we would dearly love to welcome you back on to The Big Breakfast very soon." Describing Schwarzenegger as a "fantastic guest," he added that Van Outen had no problem with the interview and enjoyed meeting Arnold, stating that they consider him "a great friend of the show."
Renowned Cardiac Surgeon Proclaims Medical "Facts" In Article "Represent No Facts At All"
Schwarzenegger's cardiac surgeon, Dr. Vaughn A. Starnes, also chastised the magazine for its false depiction of Schwarzenegger's 1997 elective heart valve replacement surgery. Schwarzenegger, a former 13-time "Mr. Universe" and 6-time "Mr. Olympia," who has served as Chairman of the President's Council on Physical Fitness, Chairman of the California Governor's Council on Physical Fitness & Sports, and Chairman of the Inner City Games Foundation, previously sued with successful results when false statements were published about his health. Among other bogus statements in the Article, the Premiere story states that Schwarzenegger had three of his heart valves replaced with pig valves during his 1997 surgery. In fact, however, Schwarzenegger's cardiac surgeon confirmed that the valves used in Schwarzenegger's surgery were human homograft valves, not pig valves, used to correct a congenital defect. During the successful surgery, two, not three, of Schwarzenegger's heart valves were replaced. Dr. Starnes, who serves as Chairman of the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, wrote to Premiere: "I would like to comment on the medical facts of this article. [¶] First of all, they represent no facts at all." Starnes went on to confirm that Schwarzenegger's "condition was not obtained by the use of steroids" but was rather the result of a congenitally acquired condition. Dr. Starnes also confirmed that Arnold's "outlook is excellent with the expectant duration of this valve to be far in excess than quoted for a pig valve."
Schwarzenegger does not shy away from filing defamation lawsuits in response to false stories about his cardiac health. Most recently, the Berlin High Court in Germany reaffirmed Arnold's victory in a defamation suit he filed against German cardiologist Dr. Willi Heepe, who was ordered to pay Schwarzenegger monetary damages and attorneys’ fees, and to issue a public retraction. And a little more than a year ago, Schwarzenegger settled his $50 Million defamation action against the US tabloid, the Globe, which had published an article falsely stating that Schwarzenegger suffered from a "heart crisis" and was a "ticking time bomb" long after his complete recovery from valve replacement surgery. In addition to payment of an undisclosed amount and a charitable contribution to the Inner City Games Foundation, the former owners of the Globe admitted it made a mistake and published a prominently placed retraction, correction and apology.
John Connolly replied to his critics in the May issue of Premiere, 2001: During the course of researching this article, neither James Cameron nor anyone at his company, Lightstorm Entertainment, responded to my numerous requests for an interview regarding Arnold Schwarzenegger. Linda Hamilton’s spokesperson told me on four separate occasions that Ms. Hamilton was too busy to speak with me. Nor did Jamie Lee Curtis return any of my phone calls.
In addition, I called Dr. Starnes’s office five times for an interview. He, too, never returned any of my calls. Furthermore, my story states that Mr. Schwarzenegger had three, not four, valves replaced. As for the issue over whether they are pig valves, in June 1997, Mr. Schwarzenegger appeared on Oprah Winfrey. When asked whether he chose a synthetic or pig valve for the replacement, Mr. Schwarzenegger responded, “I’m not going to say which valve I chose, but now every time I see bacon, I start crying.”
I repeatedly requested that Mr. Schwarzenegger grant me an interview, either on or off the record. I made these requests through Mr. Schwarzenegger’s publicist and through other associates of his. All of these requests were denied. Mr. Schwarzenegger refused to talk to me. I stand by my story.
XXX writes: "I've directed interviews with Arnold on a bunch of junkets and he's never been even flirty (not that I'm such a babe). But he was nice and signed a copy of his book for my Austrian-born mechanic. I'd wonder more why a conservative guy is getting so much heat when lots of liberals are such dogs."
LA Unified Teacher Under Pressure To Inflate Test Scores
Peter writes: I am a teacher in Los Angeles interested in writing an expose under a pseudonym about the current situation in public schools vis-a-vis testing and the dirty underbelly of the system. The pressure is enormous to bend, if not break, my ethics to produce higher scores. I am in a personal dilemma.....want to expose it.